What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'giveaway')

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: giveaway, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,140
1. Happy Roald Dahl Day! Let’s Celebrate with Some Pinnables & a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Roald Dahl day!

Roald Dahl Day takes place every September 13th, the celebrated birthday of one of the world’s favorite storytellers. There are celebrations happening all over the world and Jump into a Book is no different. To get started go have a look at some of these fun activities to not only prepare for your party but have fun jumping into some of the most well known books of all time.

As you may already know, Mr. Roald Dahl holds a special place in my heart. You also know that my award-winning enhanced digital e-book The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory got it’s started as a thought….an idea, from a note by Willy Wonka inside an old book at the yard sale.

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie

From there the adventure began into one of our all time favorite books, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Chapter by chapter we explored the world of Willy Wonka.

What We Encountered Along The Way

  • We won our own golden tickets by sheer wit.
  • We entered into the jungle to learn how chocolate and gum were made and even got to make some of our very own.
  • We met Oompa Loompas and even had a wardrobe exchange. We’ve never truly been right since then as they have very short legs.
  • We learned the true secrets of gobstoppers. We’d tell you but our mouths are full.
  • Willy Wonka’s factory is a masterwork of mazes. We had to utilize our skill at them to work our way through this enchanting chocolate factory, including but not limited to the ever famous scissor maze where we walked clean through a piece of paper. Of course we haven’t kept that info to ourselves but have happily shared it with all of you.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Charlie

 

All of these adventures we’ve taken together and now you can too. Although The Ultimate Guide to Charlie is a beautifully illustrated interactive e-book, the entertainment comes from doing the crafts, recipes, and games once the book is shut. It’s good old fun ,21st century style. We loved creating a balance between the virtual world and the actual world. Magic comes from our inspirations and imagination. The Ultimate Guide to Charlie will lend itself to hours of fun again and again. Check out the Ultimate Charlie website for extended details of crafts and activities.

It’s been over a year since our “Charlie” hit the virtual shelves of the iTunes iBookstore and what fun adventure it’s been! We have much to celebrate:

  • We’ve seen “Charlie” top the charts to #1 on the iTunes iBookstore no less than 7 times in the months of November/December.
  • We won the coveted QED award for innovative design.
  • We won a Bronze medal in the E-Lit Book Awards.

QED Award

AND now…announcing a very crazy, exciting, “Wonkalicious” deal!

 

AND The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is on sale at the App Store for $3.99!!!

itunes1

AND…For non-iPad/iPhone/iPod users, get the PDF version for $7.95 HERE.

buy-pdf

WIN ONE!

Here’s your chance to WIN a PDF copy of The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory!! We will be giving away one copy to one lucky winner. Contest runs from September 13 until Midnight on September 15th. Must be 18 years old or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

We’ve honored Roald Dahl by jumping into some of his many books too. Here’s a few:

Witches:

This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.” -The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches

Big Friendly Giant

“We is in Dream Country.” the BFG said. “This is where all dreams is beginning.”

BFG

 

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

fox1

 

Roald Dahl had amazing wit and wisdom and some of his quotes are among the most frequently shared on the Internet. Here are a few of my personal favorites {Please feel free to Pin to Pinterest!}

Roald Dahl quote

 

Abstract Background of blie lights.

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

 

**The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory book is not affiliated or associated with the author, publisher, or distributors of Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

 

The post Happy Roald Dahl Day! Let’s Celebrate with Some Pinnables & a GIVEAWAY! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

Add a Comment
2. Guest Post and Giveaway: Samantha Grace, Author In Bed With a Rogue

Please welcome Samantha Grace back to the virtual offices!  She’s here to share some private facts about Sebastian, and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of In Bed with a Rogue!

Hi, everyone! I’m Samantha Grace, historical romance author of the series Rival Rogues. It’s great to be back at Manga Maniac Café talking about my newest release, IN BED WITH A ROGUE. My favorite characters to write are always the males, whether it’s the hero or a secondary character, so I was very happy to see the title for today’s blog:

Top 5 things you’d never find in Sebastian’s bedchamber

I love this topic, but I needed a little help from my street team, The Social Graces, to come up with a list. Here’s what we decided…

1) A mess—You would never find anything out of place in Sebastian’s bedchamber, and not just because he has a staff of servants. Lady Helena Prestwick notices when she first has a chance to study him at the theater that everything about his appearance is intentional, from the starch of his collar to his carefree hair made to appear as if he’d crawled from bed looking like perfection, to his high-polished footwear. “A lot of effort went into his appearance, suggesting he cared a great deal how others viewed him.” And how right she is. Sebastian believes one can never be too fastidious. “People were judged on appearances, and he took pains to set himself apart from the disheveled mess his father had become in his last years.” Sebastian’s father suffered from PTDS after his military service, which started rumors of madness in Sebastian’s family. Now that he and his sister have both been jilted before their weddings, the rumors have resurfaced, and Sebastian refuses to give any more evidence to back-up the gossips’ claims.

2) A muddy pair of Hessian boots—Even if Sebastian wasn’t a bit of a neat freak, you wouldn’t find the boots in his room because he…uh…he lost them one evening when attackers jumped him outside a tavern in Whitechapel.

His assailants ripped the coat from his back while he tried to catch his breath.

Found it!”

Another kick to his kidney paralyzed him in a cloud of pain. Two men grabbed his legs and tugged at his boots.

Not the Hessians,” he mumbled.

They laughed and ran off, the splash of footsteps growing faint.

Bloody… hell…” he said between wheezing breaths. He would have given them his purse if they had asked nicely, but no gentleman should have to part with his boots.

He rolled to his back and cried out as his muscles wrenched. If he ever learned his attackers’ identities, they were in for a shocking introduction of his foot to their backsides.

Lucky for Sebastian, Helena wasn’t far away and came to his rescue when he called out for help, even though she risked having her secret discovered.

3) A Do Not Disturb sign—Sebastian would never take his conquests home for a night of fun. He has a mother and younger sister under his care, and he would never dream of exposing them to anything inappropriate. He would, however, like to bar his sister from his room, but Evie will have none of that after he is delivered to the front stoop battered, bruised, and unconscious. (I think she burned the Do Not Disturb sign.)

He was in his bedchamber. God only knew how he had gotten there.

He smacked his lips. His mouth was dry, like someone had shoved a wad of muslin in it. With eyes still closed, he fumbled for a glass of water on his side table without success. He cracked open an eye.

Faith!” He jumped, then sucked in a sharp breath as pain sliced through his ribs.

His younger sister pursed her lips. “What happened this time? Did an irate husband chase you out a window?”

I refuse to respond to such a ridiculous accusation.” Gingerly, he probed the bandage around his middle. How had that gotten there?

Eve slid from the edge of the bed and went to retrieve a porcelain pitcher from a tray sitting on a side table. “The doctor said you bruised your ribs and knocked your head. And don’t pretend I have insulted you. I smelled the lady’s perfume on you before your valet cleaned you up.” Despite her scolding tone, her brown eyes were sympathetic when she glanced over her shoulder. “I worry about you, Bastian. God only knows what you are doing that causes you to come home with bruises. And no coat or boots at that.”

Well, it’s not bedding married women, not that you should know about such goings-on.”

4) A Letter of Complaint—Helena learns Sebastian knows her secret when he approaches her at a ball, and she thinks he intends to blackmail her. She invites him back to her town house so they can discuss the terms in private, but he suggests they wait to leave the ball separately so no one connects their names. In the meantime, Helena takes refuge in the ladies’ retiring room to avoid running into him again at the ball. She has the misfortune of crossing paths with Lady Lovelace and receives a favorable recommendation of Sebastian’s skills, although the Widow Lovelace insults him in the process. (Perhaps there’s a little jealousy at play?)

I saw you dancing with Lord Thorne.” Lady Lovelace plopped onto the tufted stool and smoothed a hand over her hair. “If you’ve a rendezvous with Sebastian, you will not regret it.”

Helena’s breath hitched.

The widow’s eyes gleamed in the looking glass. “Just as I suspected. He is worth the risk, so long as no one else finds out. Most every lady desires him in her bed, but she would be mortified if others knew she’d been bedded by a Bedlamite.”

She twittered at her joke, but Helena didn’t find her amusing in the least.

Forgive me, my lady, but you are mistaken about Lord Thorne and me.” Helena headed for the retiring room door, brushing past the attendant who wasn’t even bothering to pretend she wasn’t eavesdropping. Her owl-like eyes blinked several times at Helena.

Oh?” The widow swiveled on the seat. “You haven’t succumbed to his charms yet? You would be the only woman whose skirts he has chased but failed to lift.”

5) An Attack Cat—One of my favorite scenes involves a stray cat Helena rescued on one of her late night excursions to Whitechapel. Sebastian isn’t likely to forget his introduction to Luna.

He swept the hair from her forehead. “I want to see where you lived. And Fergus promised to take me fishing. Perhaps you and Gracie would like to come along too. Fergus said you are quite the angler. And he said his mother, the best cook in Aberdeenshire, will bake a pie in my honor. I am not one to turn down a sweet.”

She rolled her eyes, laughing, knowing sweets were not his weakness. “When did you and Fergus become confidants?”

I’ll have you know Fergus and I are the best of friends now.” Sebastian tugged his trousers over his hips. “He invited me fishing when he offered his congratulations belowstairs earlier.” His eyes flew open and he jumped away from the bed. “Damnation!”

Helena gasped in surprise. Luna was clawing her way up his leg, clinging to his trousers as he hopped and tried to shake her loose. When she sank her teeth into his thigh, a string of curses poured from him.

Luna, no!” Helena scrambled off the bed to intervene, but Sebastian pried her from his leg before she reached them.

The cat hit the floor at a run, sprang onto the desk chair and desk, then slipped on the pile of post before she gained traction and dashed into Helena’s dressing room. Letters plopped to the floor.

Sebastian turned incredulous eyes on Helena. “Did you see that hellcat? He tried to unman me.”

A laugh burst from her. “He is a she, and Luna didn’t mean to hurt you. She was playing.”

His dark scowl brought about another peal of laughter.

I’m sorry,” she said, her voice muffled by her hand over her mouth. “Are you hurt?”

He lifted a brow. When his lips twitched, she knew he saw the humor too. “You could have warned me you had a guard under the bed.”

I hope y’all enjoyed the sneak peek into IN BED WITH A ROGUE. I’d like to thank Manga Maniac Café for having me here today! I look forward to chatting with all of you.

Should we play a fun game of “In Your Pants”? The idea originally came from a Harlequin post on Facebook, but let’s put our own spin on it. I’m assuming most of us have at least one book on our bedside tables. List the title and add “In Your Pants” at the end to create a new title. I’ll go first.

The Templars and Assassins in Your Pants (That’s quite the crusade!) Now it’s your turn!

To connect with Samantha…

Samantha Grace Author | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Bio:

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest.

In Bed with a Rogue

By Samantha Grace

Soucebooks Casablanca

Historical Romance

September 2, 2014

ISBN: 9781402286612

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

He’s the Talk of the Town

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family’s reputation no matter what it takes.

She’s the Toast of the Ton

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he’s quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she’s got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes…

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publishers Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

Website: http://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Grace/264436686918343

Twitter: @SamGraceAuthor https://twitter.com/SamGraceAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4946067.Samantha_Grace

Buy: Amazon | B&N | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | iTunes a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Samantha Grace, Author In Bed With a Rogue appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
3. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Goodnight, Ark PLUS A Giveaway!!!

Dzoo dzoo-doo dzoo dzoo dzoo dzooooo!!!

(That's me playing my kazoo in celebration.  You didn't know I was a kazoo virtuoso, did you?  Just another of my many talents.  I am also a whiz at removing toothpaste "mints" from the sink :))

Welcome back to another year of Perfect Picture Book Fridays!

I am so looking forward to all the new picture books we're going to share!

Parents, teachers, readers, and writers take note!  There will be something for everyone to enjoy and learn from :)

I am thrilled to be presenting a wonderful book for the 2014-2015 PPBF kick-off, written by none other than your friend and mine, Laura Sassi.  Since this is part of her blog tour, we are fortunate to have her here with us today, sharing her thoughts on the illustrations and how parents and teachers can engage their kids through them.  She and her publisher, Zonderkidz, are also generously offering a giveaway, so one lucky reader will win a copy of this delightful book! (U.S. residents only - street address, no P.O. box - publisher's stipulation.)  Laura's thoughts and the giveaway will appear below the book listing.

Title: Goodnight, Ark
Written By: Laura Sassi
Illustrated By: Jane Chapman
Zonderkidz, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (according to publisher, but I think ages 2-3 would enjoy it too :))

Themes/Topics: animals, bedtime, fear (of thunderstorms), language fun (rhyme, onomatopoeia)

Opening: "Beds are ready.
Food is stored.
Noah hollers,
"All aboard!"
Guests rush forward.
Furry, scaled,
woolly, feathered,
swishy-tailed."

Brief Synopsis: Two by two, the animals board Noah's ark.  They're supposed to settle down and go to sleep... but the heavy rain, thunder and lightning frighten them, so two by two they climb in bed with Noah!  How much can one bed take? And will anybody get any sleep?

Links To Resources: talk about onomatopoetic words - what onomatopoetic words can kids think up?  Words for eating sounds? Engine noises? Musical sounds?; Noah's Ark coloring page #1Noah's Ark coloring page #2; talk about the bible story of Noah's ark - how is it like GOODNIGHT, ARK and how is it different?; talk about fears - is anyone afraid of storms?  What other things are frightening?  What can you do to feel safe and secure when you're frightened?; the animals are described as "furry, scaled, woolly, feathered, swishy-tailed" - what animals can you think of that are furry? scaled? etc.; please see Laura's thoughts below on ways to use the illustrations; here's the link to book trailer (in case it doesn't load properly here :)) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRsc-pKmKwM




Why I Like This Book: This is a delightful story - an entertaining, clever, child-friendly twist on the original Noah's ark.  The text is the perfect length for young attention spans.  The rhyme is filled with fun onomatopoetic words that kids will enjoy joining in with.  The art is bright, colorful and engaging, filled with small details that will keep young listeners busy.  But possibly my favorite thing is the skunks who have a whole story of their own going on in the illustrations.  Start looking for them in the 4th spread and watch what happens :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

The Importance of Illustration - Thoughts From Laura Sassi
(A lesson for writers, and an opportunity for parents, teachers, and kids :))

Author Laura Sassi
Visit her Blog
Like her on FB
Follow her on Twitter
One of the basic rules of picture book writing is that writers need to let the illustrations tell part of the story. I understood this in principle, but it wasn’t until I saw Jane Chapman’s delightful illustrations for GOODNIGHT, ARK that it really hit home. I mean, WOW! Her illustrations truly show that principle in action and are a great reminder for me, that as a writer, I should curb any lingering tendency to over-describe or over-prescribe my texts and let the illustrators do their jobs.  

Here, then, are some great examples of how Jane used illustration to add humor and even extra plot details to GOODNIGHT, ARK. You’ll have to look carefully, for they are subtly sprinkled throughout her rich and colorful spreads:
1.Extra Animals: In addition to the key players, Jane adds extra animal guests.  I found nine extra pairs. Can you?
2. Extra (funny!)provisions: The text makes no mention of specific provisions, leaving lots of room for Jane to add humorous extras like the canned cat food that rolls across the floor on the tippiest page in the story.  It took me several reads to notice them! What other funny provisions do you see?
3. Underwear!: Every child I’ve read my story to has howled at Jane’s humorous inclusion of polka-dotted boxers quietly hanging on the line to dry.  We’ve also chuckled over the toothbrush. Both nice touches, I would never have thought of. What other humorous extras can you find?
4. Extra Plot Layer:  I don’t want to give away the most exciting part, but a certain pair of creatures is instrumental in restoring balance on the ark. In her illustrations, Jane brings out the personality of this pair in a darling way, even hinting through their gestures that they planned the whole stinky thing.  I LOVE that extra layering! 

Thanks, Laura!  To see the other stops on Laura's blog tour (6 completed, 4 upcoming) please click HERE for the links.


And now for the giveaway!  All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment telling us something funny about bedtime: a favorite trick for getting kids to bed? an unusual bedtime routine? something kids won't sleep without? some clever way kids try to get out of bedtime?  Anything fun and bedtime-related.  Bonus point if it includes an animal in some way :)

My example (which does not include animals except as occasional topics of discussion) is that when my son was little, he was never ready for sleep when he got in bed.  Instead, he had what he called his "thinking time" which inevitably (Every. Night!) involved him getting up numerous times and coming to ask me such can't-wait questions as, "How much is infinity?", "Where does wind come from?", "How many teeth does a tyrannosaurus rex have?", and "Why is it called the Milky Way?"  To which I would respond knowledgeably, "Uh......." :)

Please leave your comment by Sunday September 14 at 5 PM EDT.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced next week.  One note: the publisher stipulates that the winner must reside in the U.S. and have a street address, not a PO box, so please let us know if you're commenting just for fun and are not eligible.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  Hurray!  Can't wait!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


0 Comments on Perfect Picture Book Friday - Goodnight, Ark PLUS A Giveaway!!! as of 9/12/2014 5:58:00 AM
Add a Comment
4. REX WRECKS IT! EVENTS


Ahoy! I have two signings coming up soon for my new picture book REX WRECKS IT! 

Paul Czajack, Dana Alison Levy, and Ben Clanton at the Andover Bookstore
September 27 @ 1 PM
89 Main St # 1, Andover, MA 01810

www.hugobookstores.com

Ben Clanton at the Odyssey Bookshop
October 4 @ 11 AM

9 College Street, South Hadley, MA
www.odysseybks.com

I'd love to see you at one of the events! PLUS if you are in the Andover area there is a contest you can enter for a chance to win a signed copy of REX and an original illustration. Drop off the completed entry at the Andover Bookstore.

0 Comments on REX WRECKS IT! EVENTS as of 9/11/2014 9:46:00 AM
Add a Comment
5. Interview with Claudia Connor, Author of Worth the Fall and Giveaway

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Claudia! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Claudia Connor] I asked my family for help on this one. Weird. Tired. Fun. Loving. Hungry. I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Claudia Connor] Sure. Worth The Fall is a love story, plain and simple, though love is never simple. Abby and Matt are two people with no other reason to be together and lots of reasons to be apart. Matt’s a Navy SEAL hero with skills, badassness and an intense sense of responsibility, but he’s also a man with so much love to give. He’s just never found anyone he wanted to give it to. Until Abby. But Abby’s been left all her life and knows she can’t watch another person walk away.

So it’s about falling in love, making choices and taking chances. It’s also about believing you’re enough, believing you’re worthy of what’s being offered. I absolutely LOVE these characters. I spent three years with them before I ever considered writing their story, then almost three more years writing it. Any minute of any day I can pop into their lives, be a fly on the wall. It’s like watching your favorite movie that never ends! Hopefully when people read the book they’ll feel the same.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Claudia Connor] I don’t really feel like I come up with anything or create anyone, as odd as that may sound. I only try my best to write down what I see and fill in any blanks the characters leave. Though sometimes those blanks are more like craters. Black holes. I watch and listen and write down what they say and do and hope I do them justice.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Claudia Connor] The characters. I could stay with them forever. Even though it was hard, there was so much love between Abby and Matt it always felt good to be with them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Claudia Connor] Hmm…I guess I’d have to say the hero. I hate to point fingers fingers at Matt, but he had a lot to work out. And then there’s the whole men can be difficult thing:)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Claudia Connor] Ooh…That’s a tough one and it changes hourly, even minute to minute. Okay, I’ll admit, I even googled How To Find Your Theme Song. LOL It was a fun test but I’d never even head of the songs it suggested for me. Maybe…Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd. I’m not sure the song describes me in any way, but it’s always stuck.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Claudia Connor] During the day, my phone, my lifeline to the world. Over night, my little pillow, affectionately known as Baby Nino. It was in my crib when I came home from the hospital and I can count on one hand the nights I’ve slept without it. Where I go, Baby Nino goes. And yes, that includes my honeymoon.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Claudia Connor] Diet Coke. Empty mug. Laptop. And twenty-seven other things but you only asked for three;)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Claudia Connor] Back up dancer for J. Lo. Of course that would require a certain amount of talent. But, hey. It’s a dream.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Claudia Connor] Waiting On You, Kristan Higgins. It Happened One Wedding, Julie James. And a re-read, Safe Harbor, Christine Feehan

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Claudia Connor] I love watching TV. My husband and I have gotten into a habit of finding a show then watching the entire thing straight through a couple of episodes each night. We recently flew through every season of Game Of Thrones and just finished both seasons of Vikings. Now we’re sad. My all time favorite show was Alias. I own that and have re-watched with each of my daughters when they hit their teens. I LOVE going to movies. Gladiator is my all time number one favorite movie. I think at last count I’d seen it 14 times. If you haven’t seen it, GO NOW. I promise you will thank me!!! And of course, I love to read. Though there aren’t many hours in the day, not even on the weekend, that I’m not working, thinking, plotting, rewriting, or driving my children to activities.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Claudia Connor] I’m in all the usual social media places. In addition to the ones below, they can find me on Pinterest. I have a special board for each book, always great for procrastination:)

http://claudiaconnor.com

https://www.facebook.com/ClaudiaConnor

https://www.goodreads.com/claudiaconnor

https://twitter.com/Claudia__Connor

Thank you so much for having me!

Worth The Fall
The McKinney Brothers # 1

By: Claudia Connor

Releasing September 9th, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

Prepare to be swept away by a talented debut author with a passionate, powerful story to tell.

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/worth-fall-mckinney-brothers-1-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21469653-worth-the-fall?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Fall-McKinney-Claudia-Connor-ebook/dp/B00J1IQX4E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1407203839&sr=1-1&keywords=Worth+the+Fall

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/worth-the-fall-claudia-connor/1120019663?ean=9780553390919

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/worth-the-fall/id841778887?mt=11

Author Info

Claudia Connor attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and masters degrees in early childhood education, and completed her studies in Sawbridgeworth, England. Always a lover of happy endings, she enjoys movies, reading, and spending her days putting on paper the stories in her head. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.
Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claudia.connor.18

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Claudia__Connor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8058866.Claudia_Connor

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25 Gift Card to eRetailer of Choice and Digital copy of WORTH THE FALL)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Claudia Connor, Author of Worth the Fall and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
6. How Teaching Makes You Better at DOING by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (plus a giveaway!)

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

IMG_5422 (1)It’s back to school season here in New Jersey (or, outside Philadelphia, as I typically refer to it) and that means big changes in my household. All summer, my kids and I are bums. We hang out at the beach, at the pool, at the mall. We travel, we sleep in, we do nothing. Summer is heaven.

But come September, my children’s lives change. Gone are the no schedule, no stress days and in their place we have wake up alarms, agenda books, and deliverables (and, it seems, a LOT of laundry!). The kids aren’t the only ones who go back to school—as a children’s book author, the school year means that I go back to school as well.

Every year, between school visits, Skype visits, and events like Dot Day or World Read Aloud Day, I connect with about 100 different schools all around the world. Because I spend so much time with school kids, I end up doing quite a bit of teaching, especially teaching writing. Which happens to be a completely different skill than actually writing.

There is a very stupid expression that you sometimes hear people throw around: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I want to be very, very clear here: that is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Not only is it disparaging, inflammatory, and demeaning, it also has the distinction of being very WRONG. I definitely knew that before I personally started working with schools, but now that I teach on a regular basis, I can tell you that those who teach can do better than anyone else.

teach

It has to do with the nature of teaching. In order to teach someone a skill, you have to know it so well that you can explain every step, even the ones you do automatically or on muscle memory. Here’s an example: when I was in graduate school, I bought a brand new Mustang that I couldn’t drive. Because it was a stick shift and I only knew how to drive an automatic. So I had a friend try to teach me how to drive stick. We got in my car, I started it up, and I asked him what to do next. He said, “OK, now drive.” I looked at him blankly. “Just don’t stall the car,” he added. I had no idea what that meant. So he said, “Don’t ease off the clutch to quickly. Or too slowly!”

At that point, I threw him out of the car. He, to this day, doesn’t understand what had upset me.

He knew how to drive a manual, and things that I needed to know—how to properly come off the clutch when changing gears, how to tell when to shift up or down, etc.—were things he’d stopped thinking about. So he couldn’t teach me to do them because he hadn’t been thinking about all those little steps that you do to succeed that once you’re successful, you completely forget about.
(For the record, I can now totally drive a stick.)

When I started teaching writing, I struggled with this same thing. I thought to myself, How can I teach something that I just DO? Trust me, this was very difficult to figure out. But the more I did figure it out—the better I got at teaching others how to write—the better I actually got at writing. Just like my friend who failed at teaching me how to drive my Mustang because there were so many things he was doing on autopilot that he couldn’t explain, as writers, we do that same thing. When you get to a certain point in your writing journey, you don’t even think about certain things like how to conceptualize a complex character or add layers to your plot, you just do it. But if you try to teach someone else how you do what you do, you have to break down every action into baby steps so that you can show your students how to mimic your actions. This forces you to think through your methods, and in the process, refine them even more.

So even if you’re not at the point in your publishing career where you are teaching, I’d like to encourage you to think like a teacher to become a better writer. For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to create a charismatic main character,” I’d ask you to analyze what steps you’d take to do that, like:

  •  Start with something familiar
  •  Add some positive unique features
  • Give the character some flaws that make him or her relatable
  • Give him or her positive relationships (family, best friend, etc.) and negative relationships (nemesis, villain, etc.)
  • Temper every extreme (like “good” or “bad”) with something that brings it back a notch (like “good but hates kittens” or “bad but rescues kittens”)

The more you go through this process of treating your writing objectives like lesson plans, the deeper you’ll understand what you’ve done when something work—and what you may have left off inadvertently when something doesn’t work.

When you’re a good teacher, your students will benefit. When you yourself are your own student, your teaching skills make you so much better at doing.

Happy Back to School!

SudiptaParisSudipta is an award-winning author of over 40 books and the co-founder of both Kidlit Writing School and Kidlit Summer School. Her books include DUCK DUCK MOOSE, TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS, ORANGUTANGLED, and over thirty more books that have been acclaimed by the Junior Library Guild, the California Reader’s Collection, the Bank Street Books Reading Committe, the Amelia Bloomer list, and many more. Find out more about her by visiting Sudipta.com or her blogs Nerdy Chicks Rule and Nerdy Chicks Write.

Sudipta’s new class: Picture Book A to Z’s: Plotting in Picture Books

The Picture Book A to Z series is designed to be a collection of master level classes that cover all of the fundamentals of picture book craft. While each class is complete on its own, taken together, the series will teach you everything you ever wanted to now about picture books- and a lot more!

The ability to craft a strong picture book plot is one of the factors that separates unpublished writers from those who consistently sign publishing contracts to see their work in print. This course will teach you the essentials of creating compelling plots, starting with Arcs, Beginnings, and Climaxes — then literally taking you through the alphabet. Each topic will be explored in depth, both in the lessons and in the discussion forums and webinars. The writing exercises that are a part of of the course are designed to help you apply the lessons to your own writing seamlessly and immediately. By the end of the course, you will never look at plotting the same way again! The first course in this series, Plotting in Picture Books, will begin on October 6, 2014.

Bonus Critique: Register for Plotting in Picture Books before September 20, 2014 and receive a free picture book manuscript review and 20-minute Skype session with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, redeemable within six months of the course’s completion.

Thanks, Sudipta! And now for the giveaway…either a 20-minute telephone/Skype PB critique with Sudipta or one of her signed books. The choice is yours. Just comment once below by September 16th to enter!


10 Comments on How Teaching Makes You Better at DOING by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (plus a giveaway!), last added: 9/8/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
7. Little Author ~ Book Giveaway



 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 



   

        Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough
   


   

     


          Little Author in the Big Woods
     


     


          by Yona Zeldis McDonough
     



     

         
            Giveaway ends September 30, 2014.
         

         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         

     

   

   


      Enter to win

0 Comments on Little Author ~ Book Giveaway as of 9/8/2014 12:24:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. LUG, DAWN OF THE ICE AGE Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway



Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age: How One Small Boy Saved Our Big, Dumb Species by David Zeltzer, for ages 8 to 12, Egmont, September 9, 2014

Source: Netgalley, by invitation from the publisher

Synopsis (from the publisher): In Lug’s Stone Age clan, a caveboy becomes a caveman by catching a jungle llama and riding against the rival Boar Rider clan in the Big Game. The thing is, Lug has a forbidden, secret art cave and would rather paint than smash skulls. 

When Lug is banished from the clan for failing to catch a jungle llama, he’s forced to team up with Stony, a silent Neanderthal with a very expressive unibrow, and Echo, a girl from a rival clan who can talk to animals and just may be prehistory’s first vegetarian and animal rights activist. Together they face even bigger challenges—Lug discovers the Ice Age is coming and he has to bring the warring clans together to save them not only from the freeze but also from a particularly unpleasant migrating pride of saber-toothed tigers. It’s no help that the elders are cavemen who can’t seem to get the concept of climate change through their thick skulls.




Why I recommend it: Lug is my new hero. He's endearing, funny, and smart. David Zeltzer has managed the magical feat of channeling the voice of a twelve-year-old cave boy to perfection. Lug is the only one in his clan who seems to realize climate change is coming, although in this case, it's an ice age. But you'll also enjoy Lug's creative tendencies, his attempts to bring rival clans together, and of course his first crush. An easy and fast read. Final art not seen, but it looks as if the lively drawings will enhance the story nicely.



Photo credit: Fiona Dulbecco


David Zeltzer emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child, graduated from Harvard, and has worked with all kinds of wild animals, including rhinos, owls, sharks, and ad executives. David lives with his wife and daughter in Santa Cruz, California. He performs improv comedy and loves meeting readers of all ages. His second book about Lug is scheduled to publish in Fall 2015. Visit David’s website at www.davidzeltser.com. He’s also on Twitter: @davidzeltser

And now, a touching guest post from David, with giveaway details below that.

*  *  *

Dear My Brain on Books readers,

Joanne kindly asked me to share something about my journey as a writer.

Although I was a constant reader, up until I was 21, I was sure I’d be a theoretical physicist. But right before my senior year at Harvard, my best friend was struck and killed by lightning. His name was Qijia Fu and that sudden loss changed everything for me. Instead of continuing on with my plans to go to grad school and do theoretical physics, I suddenly felt I wanted my work to have more of a connection to people, emotion and imagination. I spent my last year of college taking classes in everything except science. There was a regular playwriting contest at Harvard where the winning piece was produced. I co-wrote a play with my brilliant friend, Alexis Gallagher. Encouraged by the win, I began writing screenplays. I wrote with Alexis, with my wonderful actor friend Max Faugno, and on my own. A couple of scripts got optioned, but for some reason it never occurred to me to move to LA. Instead, I wrote whatever I wanted and paid for my tiny NYC apartment by working as a freelance advertising copywriter on the side. My friend Zimran Ahmed always called me Madman, long before the famous show came out.


For more about me, LUG, and other upcoming books, please visit my website. And here’s the page with the LUG book trailer: http://davidzeltser.com/books/lug-dawn-of-the-ice-age

Hope you enjoy it!
David

*  *  *


Thank you, David. I'm so sorry to learn this about your friend, but glad you found a beautiful way to connect with people.  

Readers, the publisher has generously offered a signed, hardcover copy to one lucky winner. Open to addresses in the US or Canada only. You must be at least 12 years old to enter this giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower and comment on this post. I will give extra entries if you mention this on Twitter, Facebook, or your own blog, but please include a link. Thanks! This giveaway ends at 10 pm Eastern Time on Friday, September 19, 2014. Winner to be announced Monday, Sept 22.


Be sure to visit these other stops on the LUG Blog Tour: 



 Monday, September 08, 2014
Review and giveaway

Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Guest post and giveaway
Guest post and giveaway



0 Comments on LUG, DAWN OF THE ICE AGE Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway as of 9/8/2014 10:22:00 AM
Add a Comment
9. Adi Alsaid at BN Americana Recap + Giveaway

Hello! It's Thursday night (though this post is going up on Friday) and I'm popping in to write a quick recap of the super fun event that I just got back from. Barnes and Noble Americana in Glendale hosted Adi Alsaid, debut author of the YA contemporary novel Let's Get Lost. Alexandra Adornetto (Halo, Ghost Town) was also supposed to be at this event but she left unexpectedly before the signing started. This was disappointing to some of the attendants but it meant more time with the lovely Adi Alsaid. 

He started off the event by telling us about his cab driver, a talkative Russian with a Swedish accent who has had an amazing life. Alsaid said that it was people like his can driver that made him want to write let's Get Lost. He has an appreciation for the many interesting and varied people you often meet on road trips. That's one if the reasons why his book is told from the pov of the people that the main character meets and not from her pov. Alsaid likes to write from a perspective that is not his and often writes from multiple points of views. One of the ways he does this is by writing from a female pov. He says that he does it well enough that some people at his publishing house actually thought he was female. He usually knows from the first sentence whether or not his character will be male or female. 

When asked why his main character was going to see the northern lights or if that place had significance, Alsaid said no, that he chose it so that she would have a reason to go on the road trip. However, by the end of the book, the destination does gain significance. And it wasn't until Alsaid wrote the ending from the main charaxter's pov did he understand her reasons. 

Alsaid has only been to one of the locations in his book. He chose places he's never been becausr he prefers to make stuff up. The one place he did visit though was Barnesville, Minnesota.

When asked who some of his favorite books were he are he mentioned books by authors Anne Patchett, Kurt Vonnegut, Jennifer Egan and the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip. He is currently reading Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (who he called a YA Vonnegut). 

After a few more questions it was time to sign books! Alsaid was really great and didn't mind all of our senseless babbling while he signed our books. And look, we managed to get a rare picture of the entire Read Now Sleep Later team at the signing.

Alethea got to take the Let's Get Lost home for Cypress Park Library. We got quite a few looks while wandering around the Americana with it, but it was /a great conversation starter. And we even think Alethea managed to hand sell a book to the Sprinkles clerk. If you want to see more pics, check our the Facebook album.

Many thanks to BN Americana, Adi Alsaid and Harlequin Teen for putting on a wonderful event. Now that you've made it this far I have a wee giveaway for you. We got a bit of fun swag at the event last night that we thought you guys would like. Included in this pack are a signed ARC of Let's Get Lost (not pictured), a signed poster for Let's Get Lost, a bookmark and a Let's Get Lost luggage tag. This giveaway is US only and ends on 9/13/14. Thanks and good luck!

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US residents only.
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


0 Comments on Adi Alsaid at BN Americana Recap + Giveaway as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
10. Guest Post and Giveaway: Victoria Roberts, Author of My Highland Spy

 

Please give warm welcome to this morning’s special guest Victoria Roberts! She’s here with a Top 5 list, as well as a chance to win a copy of her brand new book, My Highland Spy!

Top 5 reasons Highlanders are so sexy by Victoria Roberts

Thank you so much for having me back at Manga Maniac Café. I love chatting about Highlanders. And there are many reasons why I find Highlanders sexy. See if you agree.

  1. The kilt. The mere thought of kilt wearing men make women swoon. Why? *shrugs* Perhaps it’s the mystery of what lies underneath said garment. It’s certainly something to ponder to say the least. Wouldn’t you agree? I think Lady Ravenna Walsingham does.

  1. That sexy Scottish brogue. Seriously. Isn’t it to die for? You can’t tell me whenever you hear Gerard Butler, Sean Connery or Sam Heughan speak that their voices don’t give you shivers from head to toe. Yep, pretty much every single time.

  1. Highland men have very big…broadswords and they’re not afraid to wield them.

  1. Highlanders ooze masculinity and take their alpha male roles very seriously. *raises hands* I surrender, my laird! God, who wouldn’t?

  1. Highland men know how to remove their plaids with a flick of the wrist. The men are very resourceful.

What do you love most about Highlanders? Sourcebooks will give away one paperback copy of My Highland Spy (US and Canada only, please.)

“An exciting Highland tale of intrigue, betrayal, and love.”

—Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author of Highland Master

“Roberts’ newest features a surprise-laden, quick-paced plot, replete with unconventional and fiercely independent characters. Her lyrical prose grabs readers’ attention, and the high level of emotional tension simply adds to the depth of the story. This book begs to be read and reread.”

—RT Book Reviews

This Highland Laird won’t bow to the Crown
Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do-he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep.

But this lady spy might make him…
Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator.

If she doesn’t betray him first
Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the woman he loves in an English spy?

Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BCZNW8

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1l4KJa5

Indigo: http://bit.ly/1iSeyP0

Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/VFXnFe

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/WR8U5Z

Website: www.victoriarobertsauthor.com

Award-winning author Victoria Roberts writes Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as “one of the most promising debut authors across the genres” and was also a 2013 RT Reviewers’ Choice award winner for X Marks the Scot.

Represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America® and several local chapters, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine Celtic Guide.

Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty one years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish adventure, she’s dragging her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun. Visit her at www.victoriarobertsauthor.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoria.roberts.395

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763317.Victoria_Roberts

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Victoria Roberts, Author of My Highland Spy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
11. Spotlight and Giveaway: Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell

 

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell.  Be sure to check out all of the stops on the tour so you can read all of the excerpts and increase you chances to win!

Excerpt:

“Please,” she said, not knowing what it was she was asking him for. To please understand? To please honor her wishes?

To please forgive her?

Dane shook his head. “You have wasted your time and mine, Lady Mosby. The challenge is not mine to withdraw. Your brother claims to be the offended party. He challenged me and I will not back down from meeting him. I have no quarrel if he wishes to withdraw, but I will not sacrifice my honor and my reputation on the likes of him.”

“He challenged you?” Jemma repeated, astounded.

“Yes.”

“But why—?” she started, then stopped. Why did Cris do anything? She had thought he was growing out of his wild stage. It had been a long time since he’d been rash and foolish, but the possibility was always there, bubbling beneath the veneer of manners. All it took was a little drink. . . .

At her abrupt silence, a muscle tightened in Dane’s jaw. In three long strides, he crossed to the door behind her and opened it. “Go home, Jemma. I can’t save your brother from himself any more than you can. And I’ll be damned before I sacrifice my pride for him.”

Or for any of them.

Jemma nodded to herself. He was right . . . and yet, what would become of her family? Cris was the last of their line, a line that stretched all the way back to Normandy, to before the Conqueror. Duty, honor, and obligation to her name had been drummed into her from the cradle. Dane had been her one defiance, and in the end, she had done what had been expected of her.

Just as she would do what she must now.

Nightingale

By: Cathy Maxwell

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon: Impulse

Fate has brought them together -again.

At one time, Jemma had meant the world to Dane Pendleton, but then she betrayed their young love by marrying another for his title and fortune.

Now Time has turned the tables. Dane is wealthy, respected, knighted and the widowed Jemma has nothing but her pride.

His honor for hers . . .

Dane’s name is on the lips of every beauty in London. They whisper he learned “tricks” while he was in the Orient. But has he forgotten Jemma, now Lady Mosby, and what they had once meant to each other? And will he accept her devil’s bargain?

In every woman’s life, there is that one love who slipped away. The man who makes her wonder “what if?”

But is this a momentary madness or a chance to rekindle a love that could last a lifetime?

Originally appeared in the print anthology THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/nightingale-by-cathy-maxwell.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22103882-nightingale?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nightingale-Originally-appeared-print-anthology-ebook/dp/B00JTYQIX6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406661266&sr=8-1&keywords=Nightingale+by+cathy+maxwell

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nightingale-cathy-maxwell/1119290961?ean=9780062367679

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/nightingale/id867234286?mt=11

Author Info

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats.

Author Links

Website: http://www.cathymaxwell.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-Maxwell-Fan-Page/144546442251787

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maxwellcathy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/67037.Cathy_Maxwell

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Digital Copies of NIGHINGALE)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
12. Spotlight and Giveaway: Texas Twist by Cynthia D’Alba

 
Enter to Win
TONS of TEXAS TWIST Goodies
Gift Card, Mugs, T-Shirts, Etc


 
Real bad boys can grow up to be real good men.

Hit hard by the death of her parents, Paige Ryan needs to figure out what to do with her life. She moves to Whispering Springs, Texas, to be near her step-brother. But just as she starts to get her life on track, the last man she ever wanted to see again sends it right back off the rails.

Cash Montgomery was on the cusp of having it all. Three bull riding titles, fame, fortune and respect from his family. Until a bad bull leaves him injured, angry and searching for comfort at the bottom of a bottle. With nowhere to go, he moves into his sister-in-law’s old ranch house in Whispering Springs—which he’s surprised to find already occupied.

As Cash rebuilds the dilapidated home and Paige starts out on her medical career, their old friendship begins to reemerge and sparks are ignited. Paige knows that Cash is nothing but a heartache waiting to happen. But maybe this bad boy has grown up to be a real good man?

Warning: Watch out for falling lumber, falling in holes, and falling for the wrong guy…again. You can leave your hard hat on.


 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

 
 
Award winning author Cynthia D’Alba was born and raised in Arkansas. After being gone for seventeen years, she’s thrilled to be back home living on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. When she’s not reading, writing or plotting, she’s doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans





The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Texas Twist by Cynthia D’Alba appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
13. Blog Tour: Stanley the Builder by William Bee PLUS Giveaway

Add to Goodreads 

About the Book: Stanley is a helpful guinea pig who helps his friend Myrtle build a new house.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: When it comes to picture books, I can't help but do the storytime browse when I look through them. You know the one. You open a book, check the length of the text on the page and if it's a page long, you put it aside in the not for storytime pile. Yes, I know, longer picture books are great for lapsits and older readers, but I'm always on the lookout for simple text to use with my youngest storytime crowd.

New toddler books are hard to find so I am thrilled that William Bee's Stanley is here! Bright colors, simple text and fantastic vocabulary all make this a wonderful addition to toddler storytime.

Stanley builds Myrtle's house using a variety of trucks which is sure to be a hit with young readers. I love that in addition to the vocabulary of each vehicle used, there's also an introduction to the color of each vehicle. The colors are bright and vibrant and sure to engage young readers who will love looking at Stanley's adventures.


Along with his friend Charlie, Stanley builds Myrtle's house using concrete, bricks, nails and of course paint! 


The process of building is explained in a way that toddlers will understand. They're sure to want to read it again and again. And who can resist the adorable Stanley? 

Stanley is a great addition to toddler storytimes and would pair nicely with Lauren Thompson's Mouse Series

Would you like to win a copy? 
-One entry per person
-US Address only
-13+
-Contest ends September 8

Loading...

Full Disclosure: Copy reviewed from galley received from publisher for review 



0 Comments on Blog Tour: Stanley the Builder by William Bee PLUS Giveaway as of 9/1/2014 8:49:00 AM
Add a Comment
14. Evil Librarian Giveaway

Are you ready for a giveaway? I’ve got an ARC of a book that releases next week, EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen. Previously known for writing middle grade (The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian) and picture books (the best-selling Library Lion), this is her debut novel for young adults. I have to […]

0 Comments on Evil Librarian Giveaway as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
15. 5th Blogiversary Celebration

Five years. That's right, I'm celebrating five years of my blog. Looking back at this year's posts, I see there aren't too many, but there's good reason for that. I'll get to that in a moment. There are lots of things to cover.

First, I want to say that Robin Williams made my day. Please don't take this the wrong way. I am not trying to make light of a tragic situation. I know both depression and addiction are powerful diseases. My point in saying he made my day is that it emphasizes no matter how successful or financially well off you are, you are still not immune. It reminds me that chasing every last dollar and stressing over bills is not the answer. We live in a beautiful world and need to focus on the truly important things.

Now, as soon as I can put my soap box away, let's get on with the party...


A little bit further down this post, you can find details on the blogiversary prizes. Some of you may have noticed that I have been a bit absent from the "writing world" coming close to a year now. At least, I hope you noticed. Well, there's good reason for that. I've actually been living a childhood dream.


I'm currently a Walt Disney World Monorail Pilot! Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to drive one of those things. Last November, an opportunity arose and I took it. Let me tell you, the actual drive training is one of the most challenging things I've done in a long time. Every minute has been worth it! I am having a blast and spend my days with some absolutely amazing cast members.

As for my writing, I have some plans and things are coming together. 



My friends at Helping Hands Press (www.myhelpinghandspress.com) are helping me celebrate this blogiversary for the next 25 days. I have two projects that I am working on for them. Quite a while ago, I started co-authoring a story called Amish Wonder. When finished, it will be a novella about a young Amish boy thrust out into the secular world. For fans of the Defective Amish Detective, I will be re-editing those stories into a complete novel with a nice surprise on the end.



I am also working with Dinosaur George Media on two different series. Ask DG is a question and answer picture book for young readers. Book 2 will feature illustrations from the very talented Victor Donahue. Both Ask DG and Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts book 2 are expected to be available by Christmas. You can find these books and more here: store.dinosaurgeorge.com



And the one that started it all - The Empyrical Tales. Book Four of the Empyrical Tales will continue the story of Zandria and Olena by telling the tale of The First Queen. The whole series will be revamped and re-introduced soon. Until then, I will keep those details under wraps. Please visit my official website for more details and the series and my other books - www.MillerWords.com

While you are there, please check out my new online store, where you can get autographed copies of all of my paperbacks at a special price with free shipping.

In five years of writing, blogging and social media, I have met some fantastic writers and been blessed with some great fans. I've received humbling reviews and inspiring emails. I've tried my hand (not always successfully) in many different genres and have something for most every type of reader. To celebrate, I am giving away the gifts. Here are the links to five of my paperbacks available through Goodreads.com:














In addition to the paperbacks, Helping Hands Press has put together a prize pack of selected eBooks (mine and some of my author-friends). Lazarus Filmworks, for whom I wrote the adaptation of Daniel's Lot, is also including some prizes. Please be sure to visit both of my sponsors. This part of the giveaway will be done through Rafflecopter exclusively on my blog. You can earn an unlimited amount of entries by using social media once a day for the next 25 days.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In closing, I want to express my gratitude. That is one thing of which I have an abundance and can afford. I am full of thanks for all of my experiences over the past five years. I am thankful for the people, both real and virtual, that I have met. I am thankful for the opportunities I've had. In this time, I have also watched my family grow and change and I thank God for that gift. Please feel free to share this post and all of the prize links. And, as always, I appreciate any comments on my blog.


Thank you for the past five years,
and I look forward to the next five!
Mark

0 Comments on 5th Blogiversary Celebration as of 9/1/2014 3:41:00 AM
Add a Comment
16. Spotlight and Giveaway: Heroes are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

 

Heroes Are My Weakness by: Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon Romance

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm

The dead of winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man.
A woman.
A sinister house looming over the sea …
He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.
But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It’s going to be a long, hot winter.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_17.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19367048-heroes-are-my-weakness?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Heroes-Are-My-Weakness-Novel-ebook/dp/B00H7LT5II/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1406673522&sr=1-1&keywords=Heroes+Are+My+Weakness

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heroes-are-my-weakness-susan-elizabeth-phillips/1118735367?ean=9780062106070

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/heroes-are-my-weakness

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/heroes-are-my-weakness/id778904920?mt=11

Author Info

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soars onto the New York Times bestseller list with every new publication. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. Susan delights fans by touching hearts as well as funny bones with her wonderfully whimsical and modern fairy tales. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a wife, and mother of two grown sons.

Author Links

Website: http://susanelizabethphillips.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanElizabethPhillipsNovels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sepauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/41313.Susan_Elizabeth_Phillips

 

Excerpt (Chapter 1):

Annie didn’t usually talk to her suitcase, but she wasn’t exactly herself these days. The high beams of her headlights could barely penetrate the dark, swirling chaos of the winter blizzard, and the windshield wipers on her ancient Kia were no match for the wrath of the storm that had hit the island. “It’s only a little snow,” she told the oversize red suitcase wedged into the passenger seat. “Just because it feels like the end of the world doesn’t mean it is.”

You know I hate the cold, her suitcase replied, in the annoying whine of a child who preferred making a point by stamping her foot. How could you bring me to this awful place?

Because Annie had run out of options.

An icy blast rocked the car, and the branches of the old fir trees hovering over the unpaved road whipped like witches’ hair. Annie decided that anybody who believed in hell as a fiery furnace had it all wrong. Hell was this bleak, hostile winter island.

You’ve never heard of Miami Beach? Crumpet, the spoiled princess in the suitcase retorted. Instead you had to haul us off to a deserted island in the middle of the North Atlantic where we’ll probably get eaten by polar bears!

The gears ground as the Kia struggled up the narrow, slippery island road. Annie’s head ached, her ribs hurt from coughing, and the simple act of craning her neck to peer through a clear spot on the windshield made her dizzy. She was alone in the world with only the imaginary voices of her ventriloquist dummies anchoring her to reality. As sick as she was, she didn’t miss the irony.

She conjured up the more calming voice of Crumpet’s counterpart, the practical Dilly, who was tucked away in the matching red suitcase in the backseat. We’re not the middle of the Atlantic, sensible Dilly said. We’re on an island ten miles off the New England coast, and the last I heard, Maine doesn’t have polar bears. Besides, Peregrine Island isn’t deserted.

It might as well be. If Crumpet had been on Annie’s arm, she would have shot her small nose up in the air. People barely survive here in the middle of the summer let alone winter. I bet they eat their dead for food.

The car fishtailed ever so slightly. Annie corrected the skid, gripping the wheel more tightly through her gloves. The heater barely worked, but she’d begun to perspire under her jacket.

You mustn’t keep complaining, Crumpet, Dilly admonished her peevish counterpart. Peregrine Island is a popular summer resort.

It’s not summer! Crumpet countered. It’s the first week of February, we just drove off a car ferry that made me seasick, and there can’t be more than fifty people left here. Fifty stupid people!

You know Annie had no choice but to come here, Dilly said.

Because she’s a big failure, an unpleasant male voice sneered.

Leo had a bad habit of uttering Annie’s deepest fears, and it was inevitable that he’d intrude into her thoughts. He was her least favorite puppet, but every story needed a villain.

Very unkind, Leo, Dilly said. Even if it is true.

The petulant Crumpet continued to complain. You’re the heroine, Dilly, so everything always turns out fine for you. But not for the rest of us. Not ever. We’re doomed! Doomed, I say! We’re forever¾

Annie’s cough cut off the internal histrionics of her puppet. Sooner or later her body would heal from the lingering aftereffects of pneumonia¾at least she hoped so¾but what about the rest of her? She’d lost faith in herself, lost the sense that, at thirty-three, her best days still lay ahead. She was physically weak, emotionally empty, and more than a little terrified, hardly the best state for someone forced to spend the next two months on an isolated Maine island.

That’s only sixty days, Dilly attempted to point out. Besides, Annie, you don’t have anywhere else to go.

And there it was. The ugly truth. Annie had nowhere else to go. Nothing else to do but search for the legacy her mother might or might not have left her.

The Kia hit a snow-packed rut, and the seat belt seized up. The pressure on Annie’s chest made her cough again. If only she could have stayed in the village for the night, but the Island Inn was closed until May. Not that she could have afforded it anyway.

The car barely crested the hill. She had years of practice transporting her puppets through every kind of weather to perform all over the state, but even a decent snow driver had limited control on a road like this, especially in her Kia. There was a reason the residents of Peregrine Island drove pickups.

Take it slow, another male voice advised from the suitcase in the back. Slow and steady wins the race. Peter, her hero puppet¾her knight in shining armor¾was a voice of encouragement, unlike her former actor-boyfriend-slash-lover, who’d only encouraged himself.

Annie brought the car to a full stop then started her slow descent. Halfway down, it happened.

The apparition came from nowhere.

A man clad in black flew across the bottom of the road on a midnight horse. She’d always had a vivid imagination¾witness her internal conversations with her puppets¾and she thought she was imagining this. But the vision was real. Horse and rider racing through the snow, the man leaning low over the horse’s mane streaming. They were demon creatures, a nightmare horse and lunatic man galloping into the storm’s fury.

They disappeared as quickly as they’d appeared, but her foot automatically hit the brake, and the car began to slide. It skidded across the road and,with a sickening lurch, came to a stop in the snow-filled ditch.

You’re such a loser, Leo the villain sneered.

Tears of exhaustion filled her eyes. Her hands shook. Were the man and horse indeed real or had she conjured them? She needed to focus. She put the car into reverse and attempted to rock it out, but the tires only spun deeper. Her head fell against the back of the seat. If she stayed here long enough, someone would find her. But when? Only the cottage and the main house lay at the end of this road.

She tried to think. Her single contact on the island was the man who took care of the main house and the cottage, but she’d only had an e-mail address to let him know she was arriving and ask him to turn on the cottage’s utilities. Even if she had his phone number¾Will Shaw¾that was his name¾she doubted she could get cell reception out here.

Loser. Leo never spoke in an ordinary voice. He only sneered.

Annie grabbed a tissue from a crumpled pack, but instead of thinking about her dilemma, she thought about the horse and rider. What kind of a crazy took an animal out in this weather? She squeezed her eyes shut and fought a wave of nausea. If only she could curl up and go to sleep. Would it be so terrible to admit that life had gotten the best of her?

Stop it right now, sensible Dilly said.

Annie’s head pounded. She had to find Shaw and get him to pull out the car.

Never mind Shaw, Peter the hero declared. I’ll do it myself.

Buy Peter¾like her ex-boyfriend¾was only good in a fictional crisis.

The cottage was about a mile away, an easy distance for a healthy person in decent weather. But the weather was horrible, and nothing about her was healthy.

Give up, Leo sneered. You know you want to.

Stop being such a douche, Leo. This voice came from Scamp, Dilly’s best friend and Annie’s alter ego. Even though Scamp was responsible for many of the scrapes the puppets got into¾scrapes heroine Dilly and hero Peter had to sort out¾Annie loved her courage and big heart.

Pull yourself together, Scamp ordered. Get out of the car.

Annie wanted to tell her to go to hell, but what was the point? She pushed her flyaway hair inside the collar of her quilted jacket and zipped it. Her knit gloves had a hole in the thumb, and the door handle was icy against her exposed skin. She made herself open it.

The cold slapped her in the face and stole her breath. She had to force her legs out. Her beat-up brown suede city boots sank into the snow, and her jeans were no match for the weather. Ducking her head into the wind, she made her way to the rear of the car to get her heavy coat, only to see that the trunk was wedged so tightly into the hillside that she couldn’t open it. Why should she be surprised? Nothing had gone her way in so long that she’d forgotten what good fortune felt like.

She returned to the driver’s side. Her puppets should be safe in the car overnight, but what if they weren’t? She needed them. They were all she had left, and if she lost them, she might disappear altogether.

Pathetic, Leo sneered.

She wanted to rip him apart.

Babe… You need me more than I need you, he reminded her. Without me, you don’t have a show.

She shut him out. Breathing hard, she pulled the suitcases from the car, retrieved her keys, snapped off the headlights, and closed the door.

She was immediately plunged into thick, swirling darkness. Panic clawed at her chest.

I will rescue you! Peter declared.

Annie gripped the suitcase handles tighter, trying not to let her panic paralyze her.

I can’t see anything! Crumpet squealed. I hate the dark!

Annie had no handy flashlight app on her ancient cell phone, but she did have… She set a suitcase in the snow and dug in her pocket for her car keys and the small LED light attached to the ring. She hadn’t tried to use the light in months, and she didn’t know if it still worked. With her heart in her throat, she turned it on.

A sliver of bright blue light cut a tiny path through the snow, a path so narrow she could easily wander off the road.

Get a grip, Scamp ordered.

Give up, Leo sneered.

Annie took her first steps into the snow. The wind cut through her thin jacket and tore at her hair, whipping the curly strands onto her face. Snow slapped the back of her neck, and she started to cough. Pain compressed her ribs, and the suitcases banged against her legs. Much too soon, she had to set them down to rest her arms.

She hunched into her jacket collar, trying to protect her lungs from the icy air. Her fingers burned from the cold, and as she moved forward again, she called on her puppets’ imaginary voices to keep her company.

Crumpet: If you drop me and ruin my sparkly lavender dress, I’ll sue.

Peter: I’m the bravest! The strongest! I’ll help you.

Leo: (sneering) Do you know how to do anything right?

Dilly: Don’t listen to Leo. Keep moving. We’ll get there.

And Scamp, her useless alter ego: A woman carrying a suitcase walks into a bar…

Icy tears weighed down her eyelashes, blurring what vision she had. Wind caught the suitcases, threatening to snatch them away. They were too big, too heavy. Pulling her arms from their sockets. Stupid to have brought them with her. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But she couldn’t leave her puppets.

Each step felt like a mile, and she’d never been so cold. Here she’d thought her luck had begun to change, all because she’d been able to catch the car ferry over from the mainland. It only ran sporadically, unlike the converted lobster boat that provided the island with weekly service. But the farther the ferry traveled from the Maine coastline, the worse the storm had become.

She trudged on, dragging one foot through the snow after the other, arms screaming, lungs burning as she tried not to succumb to another coughing fit. Why hadn’t she put her warm down coat in the car instead of locking it in the trunk? Why hadn’t she done so many things? Find a stable occupation. Be more circumspect with her money. Date decent men.

So much time had passed since she’d been on the island. The road used to stop at the turnoff that led to the cottage and to Harp House. But what if she missed it? Who knew what might have changed since then?

She stumbled and fell to her knees. The keys slipped from her hand and the light went out. She grabbed one of the suitcases for support. She was frozen. Burning up. She gasped for air and frantically felt around in the snow. If she lost her light…

Her fingers were so numb she nearly missed it. When she finally had the flashlight back in her grasp, she turned it on and saw the stand of trees that had always marked the road’s end. She moved the beam to the right, where it fell on the big granite boulder at the turnoff. She hoisted herself back to her feet, lifted the suitcases, and stumbled through the drifts.

Her temporary relief at having found the turnoff faded. Centuries of harsh Maine weather had stripped this terrain of all but the hardiest of spruce, and without a windbreak, the blasts roaring in from the ocean caught the suitcases like spinnakers. She managed to turn her back to the wind’s force without losing either one. She sank one foot and then another, struggling through the tall snowdrifts, dragging the suitcases, and fighting the urge to lie down and let the cold do what it wanted with her.

She’d bowed so far into the wind that she nearly missed it. Only as the corner of a suitcase bumped against a low snow-shrouded stone wall did she realize that she’d reached Moonraker Cottage.

The small, gray-shingled house was nothing more than an amorphous shape beneath the snow. No shoveled pathway, no welcoming lights. The last time she’d been here, the door had been painted cranberry red, but now it was a cold, periwinkle blue. An unnatural mound of snow under the front window covered a pair of old wooden lobster traps, a nod to the house’s origins as a fisherman’s cottage. She hauled herself through the drifts to the door and set the suitcases down. She fumbled with the key in the lock only to remember that island people seldom locked up.

The door blew open. She dragged the suitcases inside and, with the last of her strength, wrestled it shut again. The air wheezed in her lungs. She collapsed on the closest suitcase, her gasps for breath more like sobs.

Eventually she grew conscious of the musty smell of the icy room. Pressing her nose to her sleeve, she fumbled for the light switch. Nothing happened. Either the caretaker hadn’t gotten her e-mail asking him to have the generator working and the small furnace fired up or he’d ignored it. Every frozen part of her throbbed. She dropped her snow-crusted gloves on the small canvas rug that lay just inside the door but didn’t bother to shake the snow from the wild tangle of her hair. Her jeans were frozen to her legs, but she’d have to pull off her boots to remove them, and she was too cold to do that.

But no matter how miserable she was, she had to get her puppets out of their snow-caked suitcases. She located one of the assorted flashlights her mother always kept near the door. Before school and library budgets were slashed, her puppets had provided a steadier livelihood than her failed acting career or her part-time jobs walking dogs and serving drinks at Coffee, Coffee.

Shaking with cold, she cursed the caretaker, who apparently had no qualms about riding a horse through a storm but couldn’t summon the effort to do his real job. It had to have been Shaw riding the horse. No one else lived at this end of the island during the winter. She unzipped the suitcases and pulled out the five dummies. Leaving them in their protective plastic bags, she stowed them temporarily on the sofa, then, flashlight in hand, stumbled across the frigid wood floor.

The interior of Moonraker Cottage bore no resemblance to anyone’s idea of a traditional New England fishing cottage. Instead her mother’s eccentric stamp was everywhere¾from a creepy bowl of small animal skulls to a silver-gilded Louis XIV chest bearing the words pile driver that Mariah had spray-painted across it in black graffiti. Annie preferred a cozier space, but during Mariah’s glory days, when she’d inspired fashion designers and a generation of young artists, both this cottage and her mother’s Manhattan apartment had been featured in upscale decorating magazines.

Those days had ended years ago when Mariah had fallen out of favor in Manhattan’s increasingly younger artistic circles. Wealthy New Yorkers had begun asking others for help compiling their private art collections, and Mariah had been forced to sell off her valuables to support her lifestyle. By the time she’d gotten sick, everything was gone. Everything except something in this cottage¾something that was supposed to be Annie’s mysterious “legacy.”

“It’s at the cottage. You’ll have… Plenty of money…” Mariah had said those words in the final hours before she’d died, a period in which she’d been barely lucid.

There isn’t any legacy, Leo sneered. Your mother exaggerated everything.

Maybe if Annie had spent more time on the island she’d know whether Mariah had been telling the truth, but she’d hated it here and hadn’t been back since her twenty-second birthday, eleven years ago.

She shone the flashlight around her mother’s bedroom. A life-size mounted photograph of an elaborately carved Italian wooden headboard served as the actual headboard for the double bed. A pair of wall hangings made of boiled wool and what looked like remnants from a hardware store hung next to the closet door. The closet still smelled of her mother’s signature fragrance, a little-known Japanese men’s cologne that had cost a fortune to import. As Annie breathed in the scent, she wished she could feel the grief a daughter should experience following the loss of a parent only five weeks earlier, but she merely felt depleted.

She waited until she’d located Mariah’s old scarlet woolen cloak and a pair of heavy socks before she got rid of her own clothes. After she’d piled every blanket she could find on her mother’s bed, she climbed under the musty sheets, turned out the flashlight, and went to sleep.

***

Annie hadn’t thought she’d ever be warm again, but she was sweating when a coughing fit awakened her sometime around two in the morning. Her ribs felt as if they’d been crushed, her head pounded, and her throat was raw. She also had to pee, another setback in a house with no water. When the coughing finally eased, she struggled out from under the blankets. Wrapped in the scarlet cloak, she turned on the flashlight and, grabbing the wall to support herself, made her way to the bathroom.

She kept the flashlight pointed down so she couldn’t see her reflection in the mirror that hung over the old-fashioned sink. She knew what she’d see. A long, pale face shadowed by illness; a sharply pointed chin; big, hazel eyes; and a runaway mane of light brown hair that kinked and curled wherever it wanted. She had a face children liked, but that most men found quirky instead of seductive. Her hair and face came from her unknown father¾“A married man. He wanted nothing to do with you. Dead now, thank God.” Her shape came from Mariah: tall, thin, with knobby wrists and elbows, big feet, and long-fingered hands.

“To be a successful actress, you need to be either exceptionally beautiful or exceptionally talented,” Mariah had said. “You’re pretty enough, Antoinette, and you’re a talented mimic, but we have to be realistic…”

Your mother wasn’t exactly your cheerleader. Dilly stated the obvious.

I’ll be your cheerleader, Peter proclaimed. I’ll take care of you and love you forever.

Peter’s heroic proclamations usually made Annie smile, but tonight she could think only of the emotional chasm between the men she’d chosen to give her heart to and the fictional heroes she loved.  And the other chasm¾the one between the life she’d imagined for herself and the one she was living.

Despite Mariah’s objections, Annie had gotten her degree in theater arts and spent the next ten years plodding to auditions. She’d done showcases, community theater, and even landed a few character roles in off-off Broadway plays. Too few. Over the past summer, she’d finally faced the truth that Mariah was right. Annie was a better ventriloquist than she’d ever be an actress. Which left her absolutely nowhere.

She found a bottle of ginseng-flavored water that had somehow escaped freezing. It hurt to swallow even a sip. Taking the water with her, she made her way back into the living room. 

Mariah hadn’t been to the cottage since summer, just before her cancer diagnosis, but Annie didn’t see a lot of dust. The caretaker must have done at least part of his job. If only he’d done the rest.

Her dummies lay on the hot pink Victorian sofa. The puppets and her car were all she had left.

Not quite all, Dilly said.

Right. There was the staggering load of debt Annie had no way of repaying, the debt she’d picked up in the last six months of her mother’s life by trying to satisfy Mariah’s every need.

And finally get Mummy’s approval, Leo sneered.

She began removing the puppets’ protective plastic. Each figure was about two and a half feet long, with moveable eyes and mouth and detachable legs. She picked up Peter and slipped her hand under his T-shirt.

“How beautiful you are, my darling Dilly,” he said in his most manly voice. “The woman of my dreams.”

“And you are the best of men.” Dilly sighed. “Brave and fearless.”

“Only in Annie’s imagination,” Scamp said with uncharacteristic rancor. “Otherwise, you’re as useless as her exes.”

“There are only two exes, Scamp,” Dilly admonished her friend. “And you really mustn’t take out your bitterness against men on Peter. I’m sure you don’t mean to, but you’re starting to sound like a bully, and you know how we feel about bullies.”

Annie specialized in issue-oriented puppet shows, several of which focused on bullying. She set Peter down and moved Leo off by himself, where he whispered his sneer inside her head. You’re still afraid of me.

Sometimes it felt as if the puppets had minds of their own.

Pulling the scarlet cloak tighter around her, she wandered to the front bay window. The storm had eased and moonlight shone through the panes. She looked out at the stark winter landscape¾the inky shadows of spruce, the bleak sheet of marsh. Then she lifted her gaze.

Harp House loomed above her in the distance, sitting at the very top of a barren cliff. The murky light of a half moon outlined its angular roofs and dramatic turret. Except for a faint yellow light visible from a room high in the turret, the house was dark. The scene reminded her of the covers on the old paperback gothic novels she could still sometimes find in used bookstores. It didn’t take much imagination for her to envision a barefoot heroine fleeing that ghostly house in nothing more than a filmy negligee, the menacing turret light glowing behind her. Those books were quaint compared to today’s erotically charged vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters, but she’d always loved them. They’d nourished her daydreams.

Above the jagged roofline of Harp House, storm clouds raced across the moon, their journey as wild as the flight of the horse and rider who’d charged across the road. Her skin turned to gooseflesh, not from the cold but from her own imagination. She turned away from the window and glanced over at Leo.

Heavy lidded eyes… Thin-lipped sneer… The perfect villain. She could have avoided so much pain if she hadn’t romanticized those brooding men she’d fallen in love with, imagining them as fantasy heroes instead of realizing one was a cheater and the other a narcissist. Leo, however, was a different story. She’d created him herself out of cloth and yarn. She controlled him.

That’s what you think, he whispered.

She shivered and retreated to the bedroom. But even as she slipped back under the covers, she couldn’t shake off the dark vision of the house on the cliff.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

***

She wasn’t hungry when she awakened the next morning, but she made herself eat a handful of stale granola. The cottage was frigid, the day gloomy, and all she wanted to do was go back to bed. But she couldn’t live in the cottage without heat or running water, and the more she thought about her absent caretaker, the angrier she grew. She dug out the only phone number she had, one for the island’s combination town hall, post office, and library, but although her phone was charged, she couldn’t get a signal. She sank down on the pink velvet couch and dropped her head in her hands. She had to go after Will Shaw herself, and that meant making the climb to Harp House. Back to the place she’d sworn she’d never again go near.

She pulled on as many layers of warm clothes as she could find, then wrapped herself in her mother’s red cloak and knotted an ancient Hermès scarf under her chin. Summoning all her energy and willpower, she set out. The day was as gray as her future, the salt air frigid, and the distance between the cottage and the house at the top of the cliff insurmountable.

I’ll carry you every step of the way, Peter announced.

Scamp blew him a raspberry.

It was low tide, but the icy rocks along the shoreline were too hazardous to walk along at this time of year, so she had to take the longer route around the saltwater marsh. But it wasn’t just the distance that filled her with dread.

Dilly tried to give her courage. It’s been eighteen years since you made the climb to Harp House. The ghosts and goblins are long gone.

Annie pressed the edge of the cloak over her nose and mouth.

Don’t worry, Peter said. I’ll watch out for you.

Peter and Dilly were doing their jobs. They were the ones responsible for untangling Scamp’s scrapes and stepping in when Leo bullied. They were the ones who delivered antidrug messages, reminded kids to eat their vegetables, take care of their teeth, and not let anyone touch their private parts.

But it’ll feel so good, Leo sneered, then snickered.

Sometimes she wished she’d never created him, but he was such a perfect villain. He was the bully, the drug pusher, the junk food king, and the stranger who tried to lure children away from playgrounds.

Come with me, little kiddies, and I’ll give you all the candy you want.

Stop it, Annie, Dilly said. No one in the Harp family ever comes to the island until summer. Only the caretaker lives there.

Leo refused to leave Annie alone. I have Skittles, M&M’s, Twizzlers…and reminders of all your failures. How’s that precious acting career working out?

She hunched into her shoulders. She needed to start meditating or practicing yoga, doing something that would teach her to discipline her mind instead of letting it wander wherever it wanted¾or didn’t want¾to go. So what if her acting dreams hadn’t worked out the way she’d wanted.  Kids loved her puppet shows

Her boots crunched in the show. Dead cattails and hollowed reeds poked their battered heads through the frozen crust of the sleeping marsh. In summer, the marsh teemed with life, but now all was bleak, gray, and as quiet as her hopes.

She stopped to rest once again as she neared the bottom of the freshly plowed gravel drive that led up the cliff to Harp House. If Shaw could plow, he could get her car out. She dragged herself on. Before the pneumonia, she could have charged uphill, but by the time she finally reached the top, her lungs were on fire and she’d started to wheeze. Far below, the cottage looked like a neglected toy left to fend for itself against the pounding sea and rugged Maine cliffs. Dragging more fire into her lungs, she made herself lift her head.

Harp House rose before her, silhouetted against the pewter sky. Rooted in granite, exposed to summer squalls and winter gales, it dared the elements to take it down. The island’s other summer homes had been built on the more protected eastern side of the island, but Harp House scorned the easy way. Instead it grew from the rocky western headlands far above the sea, a shingle-sided, forbidding brown wooden fortress with an unwelcoming turret at one end.

Everything was sharp angles: the peaked roofs, shadowed eaves, and foreboding gables. How she’d loved this Gothic gloom when she’d come to live here the summer her mother had married Elliott Harp. She’d imagined herself clad in a mousy gray dress and clutching a portmanteau¾gently born, but penniless and desperate, forced to take the humble position of governess. Chin up and shoulders back, she’d confront the brutish (but exceptionally handsome) master of the house with so much courage that he would eventually fall hopelessly in love with her. They’d marry, and then she’d redecorate.

It hadn’t taken long before the romantic dreams of a homely fifteen-year-old who read too much and experienced too little had met a harsher reality.

Now, the swimming pool was an eerie, empty maw, and the simple sets of wooden stairs that led to the back and side entrances had been replaced with stone steps guarded by gargoyles.

She passed the stable and followed a roughly shoveled path to the back door. Shaw had better be here instead of galloping off on one of Elliott Harp’s horses. She pressed the bell but couldn’t hear it ring inside. The house was too big. She waited, then rang again, but no one answered. The doormat looked as though it had been recently used to stamp off snow. She rapped hard.

The door creaked open.

She was so cold that she stepped into the mudroom without hesitating. Miscellaneous pieces of outerwear, along with assorted mops and brooms, hung from a set of hooks. She rounded the corner that opened into the main kitchen and stopped.

Everything was different. The kitchen no longer held the walnut cabinets and stainless steel appliances she remembered from eighteen years ago. Instead the place looked as though it had been squeezed back through a time warp to the nineteenth century.

The wall between the kitchen and what had once been a breakfast room was gone, leaving the space twice as large as it had once been. High, horizontal windows let in light, but since the windows were now set at least six feet from the floor, only the tallest person could see through them. Rough plaster covered the top half of the walls, while the bottom was faced with four-inch-square once-white tiles, some chipped at the corners, others cracked with age. The floor was old stone, the fireplace a sooty cavern large enough to roast a wild boar…or a man unwise enough to have been caught poaching on his master’s land.

Instead of kitchen cabinets, rough shelves held stoneware bowls and crocks. Tall, freestanding dark wood cupboards rose on each side of a dull black industrial-size AGA stove. A stone farmhouse sink held a messy stack of dirty dishes. Copper stockpots and saucepans¾not shiny and polished, but dented and worn¾hung above a long, scarred wooden prep table designed to chop off chicken heads, butcher mutton chops, or whip up a syllabub for his lordship’s dinner.

The kitchen had to be a renovation, but what kind of renovation regressed two centuries. And why?

Run! Crumpet shrieked. Something’s very wrong here!

Whenever Crumpet got hysterical, Annie counted on Dilly’s no-nonsense manner to provide perspective, but Dilly remained silent, and not even Scamp could come up with a wisecrack.

“Mr. Shaw?” Annie’s voice lacked its normal powers of projection.

When there was no reply, she moved deeper into the kitchen, leaving wet tracks on the stone floor. But no way was she taking off her boots. If she had to run, she wasn’t doing it in socks. “Will?”

Not a sound.

She passed the pantry, crossed a narrow back hallway, detoured around the dining room, and stepped through the arched entry into the foyer. Only the dimmest gray light penetrated the six square panes above the front door. The heavy mahogany staircase still led to a landing with a murky stained-glass window, but the staircase carpet was now a depressing maroon instead of the multicolored floral from the past. The furniture bore a dusty film, and a cobweb hung in the corner. The walls had been paneled over in heavy, dark wood, and the seascape paintings had been replaced with gloomy oil portraits of prosperous men and women in nineteenth-century dress, none of whom could possibly have been Elliott Harp’s Irish peasant ancestors. All that was missing to make the entryway even more depressing was a suit of armor and a stuffed raven.

She heard footsteps above her and moved closer to the staircase. “Mr. Shaw? It’s Annie Hewitt. The door was open, so I let myself in.” She looked up. “I’m going to need¾” The words died on her tongue.

The master of the house stood at the top of the stairs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Heroes are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
17. Spotlight and Giveaway: Breathe by Kristen Ashley

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Kristen Ashley’s Breathe.  Enjoy!

BREATHE by Kristen Ashley (August 26, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $7.00)

There’s nothing like the first time . . .

In Carnal, Colorado, Faye Goodknight is the town’s quiet, shy librarian. She may also be Carnal’s last remaining virgin. For years, Faye has had a crush on Chace Keaton, but the gorgeous cop has always been unattainable. She’s resigned to live contentedly with only her books for company—until Faye suddenly meets Chace alone in the woods . . .

Chace doesn’t think he’s the good guy everyone believes him to be. He’s made a lot of choices he regrets, including denying his feelings for Faye. Through his choices, he’s come to believe the pretty librarian is too good for him, but after their time in the woods, Chace realizes that she may be his last chance for redemption. Soon, their long simmering desires grow to a burning passion. Yet always casting a shadow over their happiness is Chace’s dark past . . . 

Buy Links:

B&N

BAM!

IndieBound

iTunes

Amazon

 

Excerpt:

“Are you okay?” she asked quietly.

Chace rounded the side of the counter.

Cute, tight skirt that skimmed her hips, cupped her ass and hit her knees. Her low-?heeled, brown boots. A scoop-?necked tee under a cardigan. Skin displayed above the neckline of the tee highlighting an unusual and attractive three-?tiered necklace. Auburn hair falling in sheets over her shoulders and down her chest, a hank of it at the top, right of her forehead pulled to the side in a cute bobby pin. Makeup subtle and appealing.

She looked like a librarian who had good taste in clothes and a light but expert hand with makeup. Her own style, a style that did nothing to emphasize the obviously attractive features of her face or frame and because of that, they contradictorily accentuated them. It was a style that worked for her in a huge way.

And it had been working for Chace the same way for a long fucking time.

“Chace,” she said, still talking quietly, “did something—?”

She stopped talking abruptly when it became clear to her that he wasn’t going to stop coming at her.

She took a step back.

Too late.

He was on her, he rounded her waist with an arm and twisted them so he was moving her backward toward the door she’d come out.

“Oh God,” she whispered, hands coming up to rest light on his chest, eyes wide and staring in his. “Is the boy okay?”

He didn’t answer.

He moved her through the door, reached out a hand, grabbed it, slammed it, turned her sharply then moved in so she was pressed to it.

“What are you—?”

She stopped talking abruptly this time because he tightened his arm around her waist and yanked it up, yanking her into his body. His other hand drove into her silken hair at the back of her head. Then his fingers cupped her head and tipped it to the side. He slanted his head to the other side and slammed his mouth down on hers.

She made a noise of surprise, her body tense against his and he thrust his tongue between her lips. Without a choice, they opened, another noise of surprise filled his mouth but he ignored that one too, carried on with what he was doing and took her mouth.

She tasted like bubblemint again. This time he knew why since his tongue encountered the gum.

Sweet, fresh, clean. Fucking clean. Beautiful.

God, nothing more beautiful.

He deepened an already deep kiss, needing it, and she gave it to him. The tension flowed from her body, it melted into his, her hands slid up his chest, one curving around the back of his neck, fingers going into his hair. The other one slid around his shoulders and held on tight.

Then she gave more, pressing deeper, her tongue timidly sparring with his, her fingers flexing into his scalp, her arm holding tighter. He took it, pulling her close even as he pressed her back into the door, forcing her soft curves to mold to his frame.

When he felt it start to take over, when he knew he’d lose control if he didn’t stop, he stopped.

Tearing his mouth from hers, he tipped his head to rest his forehead on hers, his eyes opening to see, up close, hers drifting open in a cute, sexy flutter and he whispered,

“Bubblemint.”

She blinked slowly. No, languidly. Like she was shaking off a dream she didn’t want to let go.

Then she whispered back, “I’m addicted to it.”

Chace couldn’t bury the groan that escaped his throat as he slid his cheek down hers and buried his face in her neck. Her perfume was flowery but there was a hint of vanilla mellowing it. Sweet and fresh.

And clean.

The woman in his arms was addicted to gum. Not crack. Not kinky sex. Not booze. Not shopping. Not nagging a man or controlling him.

Gum.

Fucking gum.

He smiled against her neck.

About the author:

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.  And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Giveaway:  a copy of BREATHE with a signed bookplate plus an OPI nail polish set. Five winners get a copy of the book with signed bookplate. This giveaway runs through September 23 and is open to US/Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Breathe by Kristen Ashley appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
18. Win Rumble by Ellen Hopkins!

This morning I have a giveaway for Ellen Hopkins’ latest release RUMBLE.  Check out the blurb and enter to win a copy!

 

Can an atheist be saved? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of faith and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”
Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

About Ellen Hopkins:

Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Tilt, and Smoke, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral. She has helped to shape the literary landscape with more than 4.5 million copies in print. Successfully combining her two passions—writing poetry and writing fiction—her compelling novels told in free verse expose and examine the struggles facing today’s youth. Ellen lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative designed to help highly motivated young people build solid career paths toward a more positive future. Rumble is her latest book. Visit her at www.EllenHopkins.com or go to www.VentanaSierra.org.

US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Win Rumble by Ellen Hopkins! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
19. Win In Bed with a Rogue by Samantha Grace

I have a special treat this morning! To celebrate the release of Samantha Grace’s In Bed with a Rogue, Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway! You can win 6 (SIX!) of Samantha Grace’s novels!

In Bed with a Rogue By Samantha Grace

Soucebooks Casablanca

Historical Romance

September 2, 2014

ISBN: 9781402286612

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

He’s the Talk of the Town

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family’s reputation no matter what it takes.

She’s the Toast of the Ton

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he’s quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she’s got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes…

SAMANTHA GRACE

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publishers Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.      

Website: http://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Grace/264436686918343

Twitter: @SamGraceAuthor https://twitter.com/SamGraceAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4946067.Samantha_Grace

Buy: Amazon | B&N | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | iTunes

Enter for a chance to win a 6 book bundle by Samantha Grace!

The six Samantha Grace books include:

· Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel

· Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half

· Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie

· Lady Vivian Defies a Duke

· One Rogue Too Many

· In Bed with a Rogue

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Win In Bed with a Rogue by Samantha Grace appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
20. Guest Post and Giveaway: Finding Miss McFarland by Vivienne Lorret

Please give a warm welcome to Vivienne Lorret!  She’s here to answer a question and to share some information about her latest release, Finding Miss McFarland.  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

 

How does Griffin relax after a hard day saving Delaney from herself?

Unfortunately, Griffin Croft doesn’t know how to relax. In the beginning, when Delaney frustrates him to insanity, he spends much of his time boxing at Gentleman Jackson’s. Some days, he’d love nothing more than to settle down into a wing-backed chair and indulge in a slice (or two) of gingerbread. Yet, even that plan goes awry when he discovers that Miss McFarland shares a fondness for the cake.

Of course, by the end of the story, I imagine he is perfectly capable of keeping both of them thoroughly occupied and sated. 

Finding Miss McFarland

Wallflower Weddings Book Three

By: Vivienne Lorret

Releasing August 5th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

Fans of historical romance authors Lorraine Heath and Sophie Jordan will adore Vivienne Lorret’s latest Wallflower Wedding novel. 

Delaney McFarland is on the hunt for a husband—preferably one who needs her embarrassingly large dowry more than a dutiful wife. After the unspeakable incident at her debut, Delaney knows marrying for love is off the table, but a marriage of convenience—one that leaves her free to live the life she chooses—is the next best thing, never mind what that arrogant, devilishly handsome Mr. Croft thinks. Delaney plans to marry for money … or not at all.

Ever since the fiery redhead burst into his life—in a most memorable way—Griffin Croft hasn’t been able to get Miss McFarland out of his mind. Now, with the maddening woman determined to hand over her fortune to a rake, Griffin knows he must step in. He must help her. He must not kiss her. But when Griffin’s noble intentions flee in a moment of unexpected passion, his true course becomes clear: tame Delaney’s wild heart and save her from a fate worse than death … a life without love.

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_6353.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18780732-finding-miss-mcfarland?from_search=true

Series Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/115423-wallflower-weddings

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Miss-McFarland-Wallflower-Wedding-ebook/dp/B00GLS2I46

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-miss-mcfarland-vivienne-lorret/1117657323?ean=9780062315786

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/finding-miss-mcfarland/id747479279?mt=11

Author Info

I fell in love with fairy tales and the romance behind happily ever after at a very young age. Like a lot of you, I tweaked the fables bit by bit in my imagination until they suited me perfectly. By the time I was eleven, a teacher encouraged me to start writing.

Throughout the years that followed, my teachers remained my most fervent supporters, giving me the tools I needed to continue my journey as a writer.

My husband and I have two teenage boys, who are heroes in their own right. For now, we live in a small Midwestern town near Lake Michigan…until a time in the future when a new adventure calls us to other shores.

I am currently working on my next novel, but I always enjoy hearing from my readers. Feel free to email me at vivienne@vivlorret.net

Author Links

http://www.vivlorret.net/home

https://www.facebook.com/vivienne.lorret

https://twitter.com/VivLorret

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806374.Vivienne_Lorret

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Set of DARING MISS DANVERS and WINNING MISS WAKEFIELD)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Finding Miss McFarland by Vivienne Lorret appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
21. The Gamer’s Alphabet letters no one has guessed yet

The giveaway for Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet ends this weekend, but there are still a few letters up for grabs. Maybe you can be the first one to correctly guess the terms that Joey Spiotto and I used for…

The letter G. Here’s the clue:

G is for ...

G is for … ?

Guesses have included:
gasp
game controller
game over
game hog
grab
game
gamer
guidance
gore

The letter H. Here’s the clue:

H is for ...

H is for … ?

Guesses have included:
hack
helmet
hit points
helm
hide
hiding
human shield
hero

The letter I. Here’s the clue:

I is for...

I is for… ?

Guesses have included:
invite
intrepid
insert coin
invitation
install
intro

The letter K. Here’s the clue:

K is for ... ?

K is for … ?

Guesses have included:
kitty
kitten
kickflip
kombat
kite
kick
KO
kat
King
kingdom
kill

The letter W. Here’s the clue:

W is for ... ?

W is for … ?

Guesses have included:
wand
witch
wizard
warzone
war
wiggle
forward
winner
wink
wind
willow
wire
wired
wireless
wave
way
wardrobe
watch
wimp
wild
widescreen
wart
wing
World of Warcraft?
wham
warroom
whack
wood
widget
wario
warez
waves
warp
warp zone

Whew! That’s a lot of wrong guesses!

And finally…

The letter X. Here’s the clue:

X is for ... ?

X is for … ?

Guesses have included:
extreme
x(s) as in times something, like a 75x combo or multiplier on your score
x-ray
(e)xplode
planet X

If you can’t wait until the on-sale date of October 28 to get a look at the whole book, get those guesses in now!

0 Comments on The Gamer’s Alphabet letters no one has guessed yet as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
22. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is Y for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with Y. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by Y? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

Y is for ... ?

Y is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap things up when we get to Z. Get those guesses in, and good luck!

0 Comments on Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is Y for? as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
23. Bartography Express for August 2014, featuring Jennifer Holm’s new novel

This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of The Fourteenth Goldfish (Random House), the new novel from Babymouse author and three-time Newbery Honoree Jennifer Holm.

If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of this week.

20140822 Bartography Express

0 Comments on Bartography Express for August 2014, featuring Jennifer Holm’s new novel as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
24. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is Z for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

But you better do it quickly, because we’ve gotten to Z and so we’re wrapping things up today. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by Z? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for the final letter:

Z is for ... ?

Z is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

But remember: Get those guesses submitted in the next couple of days. Good luck, and thanks for playing!

0 Comments on Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is Z for? as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
25. Spotlight and Giveaway: Tempt Me Eternally by Gena Showalter

This morning I have a giveaway for Tempt Me Eternally by Gena Showalter to celebrate this Pocket Star-E release.  Check out the excerpt and enter for a chance to win a digital copy.

SUMMARY:

The huntress becomes the hunted in this sizzling paranormal romance from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Gena Showalter, previously published as part of the Deep Kiss of Winter anthology with #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole, now available as a stand-alone ebook!


With only skin-to-skin contact, Aleaha Love can change her appearance, assuming any identity. As an AIR (Alien Investigation and Removal) agent, her newest mission is to capture a group of otherworldly warriors. So imagine her surprise when the hunter becomes the hunted, and she’s taken captive by dangerously seductive Breean, a golden-skinned, iron-willed commander, who threatens everything Aleaha stands for—and makes her want to be only herself, for the first time in her life.

EXCERPT:

They were coming.

Warriors unlike any other. Monsters of unimaginable power. Otherworlders. Fierce creatures with the ability to look inside your soul, glimpse your greatest fear, and present it to you with an unrepentant smile.

Should’ve stayed home, Aleaha Love thought. ’Cause we’re gonna get spanked. Hard. And not in a good way. Instead, she’d answered her cell and her captain’s call to action, and now found herself crouched in the middle of a gnarled forest, staring into a snow-laden clearing, moonlight shooting bright amber rays in every direction as flakes wafted in the breeze like fairy dust.

Though she wore white from head to toe, had a pyre-gun stretched forward, and was burrowed in a drift as cover, she felt exposed. Vulnerable. And yeah, damn cold.

What in the hell did I get myself into?

“Everyone in position?” a voice whispered from her headset.

A whisper, yeah, but it startled her. She managed to cut off a yelp, but couldn’t stop tremors from sweeping through her. Steady. She’d never hear the end of it if she accidentally fired her weapon before the fight had even begun.

“Premature weapon ejaculation,” they’d say with a chuckle, and she wouldn’t be able to deny it.

One by one, twenty teammates uttered their assent. They had wicked cool nicknames like Hawk Eye and Ghost. Her turn, she said, “Lollipop, in place.”

She rolled her eyes. “Dress her up and watch her play bad alien, delicious cop,” the boys had laughed before giving her the stupid moniker her first day on the job. “Naughty lawbreakers will want to taste her, not outrun her.”

That had been, what? Five weeks ago, she realized with a jolt. Oh, how life had changed since then. From hiding in the shadows, afraid of what she was, to working cases with New Chicago’s elite team of smart-asses, content with her somewhat pampered existence. A pampered existence she didn’t deserve and hadn’t earned, but whatever. No guilt for her. Really.

“Need someone to snuggle against, Lolli?” a quiet, amused male voice asked. Devyn, supposedly a king of some sort and a self-proclaimed collector of women. He wasn’t really a member of Alien Investigation and Removal but was a special contractor, as well as the man who’d once wired her gun to blow bubbles rather than fire at target practice.

Word on the street, he was more powerful than God and deadlier than the devil, though no one would tell her outright what he could do. He was an otherworlder, that much she knew. That, and most of AIR’s flunkies kept their distance from him. They feared him, which only heightened Aleaha’s need to keep her own secrets.

She, too, was different.

She didn’t know whether she was human or alien. Or both. She didn’t know whether there were others like her or not. She didn’t know who her parents were or why they’d abandoned her on the dirty streets of the Southern District—a.k.a Whore’s Corner—of New Chicago, and she didn’t care. Not anymore. All she knew was that she could assume anyone’s identity with only a touch. That person’s face became hers; their height became hers; their body became hers.

For years, she’d lived in fear of being found out, of being hunted and tortured for her unnatural ability, afraid that everyone who looked at her saw the truth and knew she wasn’t who she claimed to be. But she couldn’t drop the mask. As herself, she was wanted for theft, assault against a police officer, and more theft. And then maybe kinda sorta murder. Not that she was culpable. He’d deserved it.

She’d rather lose a limb than spend any more time in jail.

Her fear of discovery was waning, though, and she was settling comfortably into her newest life as Macy Briggs. Maybe one day I’ll even be worthy of it. Again, not that she felt guilty. Really.

But with Christmas only a few weeks away . . . ugh. Worst. Holiday. Ever. Her “friends” would bake Macy’s favorite foods, not Aleaha’s. They would give her gifts meant for Macy, and reminisce fondly about good ole days she knew nothing about, and she would have to smile through every minute of it. And yeah, okay. Fine. Then she would feel guilty.

“What, ignoring me?” Devyn said with another of those snarky laughs. “Wasn’t like I was going to ask to feel you up or anything. I mean, I was just gonna surprise you with my handsiness.”

God, she was on the job, yet she’d lost track of her thoughts. Mortifying. “Can you take nothing

seriously?”

“Hello, have you met me? I take making out very seriously.”

All the men on the line snorted in their attempts to muffle their laughter. They might be wary of him, but they couldn’t help but enjoy his perverted sense of humor.

“Fuck you, Chuckles,” she said, trying not to reveal her amusement. Irreverent bastard.

“Excellent. We’re on the same page, because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do to you.”

Give herself to Devyn? Not in this lifetime, and not because he wasn’t attractive. If anything, he was too attractive. Hell, he was total screw-like-ananimal perfection. Tall, with dark hair, wide amber eyes, and skin that glittered like a jewel; there was no one else like him. There was a recipe for his smile, though: wicked desire dipped in acid, wrapped in steel and sprinkled with candy. The recipe for his laughter? Well, that was wicked desire tossed in the gutter, wrung out in a whorehouse, and slathered with scented body lotion. Women threw themselves at him constantly, and he ate it up like they were his own personal smorgasbord.

They probably were. Thank God she wasn’t in the market for a boyfriend. Or, rather, a lover, since that’s all someone as fickle as Devyn could ever amount to. Macy—the real Macy—had been dating a piece of scum Aleaha was still trying to lose and she didn’t have the time or patience to throw anyone else into the mix.

“Temper, temper,” Jaxon Tremain chided. He was one of two agents who hung out with the sexy otherworlder, and the resident smoother. There was something unnaturally calming about his presence, as if he could slink inside a person’s psyche and wash away her fears. “Would you kiss me with that mouth?”

“Funny,” she said dryly.

She could hear the others chortling and snorting with more surprised amusement. Someone said,

“Soliciting kisses from women, Jaxon? Mishka will kill you for that.”

“If by kill you mean seduce, then yeah,” Jaxon replied. “You’re right.”

Mishka was Jaxon’s wife and a hired killer who possessed a robotic arm. Aleaha had only seen her once, but that had been enough to scare ten years off her life. Never had she seen eyes so cold or heard a voice so uncaring. Of course, the moment Mishka spied Jaxon, her entire demeanor had changed. So had Jaxon’s, for that matter. Usually he was as con- servative as a priest. One glance at Mishka, though, and he’d morphed into gutter man.

Aleaha had marveled at the change in him, a change she was witnessing once again. Empathetic as he was, perhaps he was veering onto the perverted track now to get her mind off the bloody massacre sure to begin. Apparently, though, she didn’t need help today. She couldn’t concentrate worth a damn. What was wrong with her?

“Well,” Devyn said, drawing the spotlight back to him. As always. “Be a good lollipop and answer the man. Will you kiss him or not?”

“I could give you a list of all the things I’ll never do to you with my mouth,” she muttered. “How ’bout that?”

Devyn laughed, and, yep. It was wicked desire. “She reminds me of Mia when she talks like that. Tell us, Lolli, is that list for everyone or just Jaxon?”

“All right, team,” Mia Snow herself interjected before Aleaha could reply. “Save it. You know I only want you to stun these men. Do not burn them. I repeat, do not burn them. An open wound will bleed and that will spread their infection. And believe me, I will kill every single one of you myself if that happens.”

There was a moment of frightening silence. Infection. What a delightful reminder. Not only were the warriors coming here vicious, there was a possibility that they were bringing the plague with them.

“Good,” Mia continued. “I’ve got your attention. Solar flare approaching in ten.” She was inside a van about a mile away, watching the action on a night- vision monitor with a handful of backup agents. “Nine.”

Aleaha tensed. A few months ago, a big case had busted wide open and AIR had learned that otherworlders were traveling to Earth through interworld wormholes that initiated with solar flares. Then, a few weeks after that, another case had come to light. Members of a race of aliens known as the Schön had descended, their bodies carriers of a virus that passed to humans through their blood and ejaculate. This virus turned men and women into cannibals. Their queen—or living host of this sickness—was on her way here, due to arrive in the near future.

Tonight, ten members of her horde were supposed to utilize one of those wormholes. Their purpose: to smooth the way for her. Which meant, destroying AIR.

“Six.”

Shit. The countdown. Despite the frigid temperatures, sweat beaded on Aleaha’s brow, dripping from the brim of the white cap she wore. Stay calm. You have to stay calm.

“Five.”

Though her résumé claimed she’d worked as a cop for more than two years, this was actually Aleaha’s first mission.

What seemed forever ago but had only been a few months, she’d stumbled upon the body of a woman who’d been raped and killed in a back alley—a woman she’d recognized as Miss New Chicago’s Finest in Uniform calendar girl, Macy Briggs.

She’d almost walked away. The higher the public profile, the more scrutiny she received. But . . .

Already tired of the adult-toy-store clerk identity she’d previously stolen, Aleaha had seized the chance to better herself, hiding the body and shifting so that she was an exact match to Macy’s appearance, thereby claiming the woman’s life as her own.

Only later had she learned that Macy had applied to AIR and been accepted. To back out would have looked suspicious and changing identities yet again hadn’t appealed. So she’d done it. She’d attended that first day, then the next. And the next. They’d watched her suspiciously, as if they knew the truth, but they had never accused her and she’d realized she was probably paranoid. Soon they’d even relaxed, accepting her as one of their own. Now, here she was, done with trials and on mission one.

“—was actually your warm-up,” Mia said, cutting into her thoughts. “Ten. Nine.”

Shit. She’d missed the end of the first countdown? She was practically begging to be killed tonight.

“Seven. Six.”

Oh, God. What if she did, in fact, die out here? What if she lost everything she’d worked so hard to gain? Her gun hand shook. You have to stay calm, damn it.

With bouts of extreme emotion, she shifted from one identity to another without any control. “Four. Remember, guns set to stun and only stun.”

Her pyre-gun was already dialed to the proper setting, so she curled her index finger around the trigger and swallowed the hard lump in her throat. Breathe in, breathe out. You do know how to fire a weapon, at least. A skill she’d learned from her only true friend, Bride McKells. A vampire, and her champion. They’d been separated more than a decade ago, chased apart by cops who’d caught them breaking into homes for food, and Aleaha hadn’t been able to find her since. She’d never stop looking, though.

“One.”

Hop over to  XOXO After Dark to read more! 

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/08/12/pocket-star-e-nights-tempt-eternally-gena-showalter/?mcd=z_140825_ShowalterTemptMe_PSEN

US residents only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Tempt Me Eternally by Gena Showalter appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts