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Thank you for hosting us today. We’re excited to talk about the alpha trait honor and our stories for the boxed set Tall, Dark & Alpha as we try to figure out: what IS alpha?
An Alpha is Honorable
An alpha man may not always act like a perfect gentleman, especially if he’s a bad boy or a little rough around the edges. But you can always count on him to be honorable and do the right thing, even if he has to put himself last. His code of ethics and conscience are even stronger than his muscles.
The alpha hero in Rock My Boat by Afton Locke, a paranormal romance, is a shape shifter. Even though Simon would lay down his life for Rhonda, he struggles with honor. He wants more than anything to be a normal man again, but to achieve that, he needs to take something from her. Can he trust her consent when it’s delivered under the influence of passion? (Once addicted to the sea, you can’t escape its pleasures.)
Silver Tongued Devils by Dawn Montgomery, a sci-fi romance, has two alpha heroes. Na’varr has given up everything to protect those under his command. He will never stoop to the level of his cousin and murder innocents. Despite his status as a mercenary, a space pirate, he will follow his own code until the end. Raesa’s situation is something he couldn’t ignore, and he would fight against the Imperial command or his cousin’s Advarian Republic to keep her safe.
Brom Raine would die to protect his captain and the woman they’ve taken on board. His half-human/half-feline DNA has blended his mind into a perfect balance. He will never let anyone else harm Raesa. (She was always one step from hell until she found redemption in their arms.)
The alpha hero in Crazy by Eve Langlais, a paranormal romance, is a vampire. Zane thinks he’s such a bad-ass, but when he meets innocent Ella, he can’t help but protect her. (Ella hears voices and they don’t like anyone.)
In Sex With an Ex by Eve Vaughn, a contemporary romance, the alpha hero is a lawyer. Ethan waited for Riley when he didn’t believe she was ready for the kind of relationship he wanted with her. He was even willing to walk away if it meant Riley’s happiness. (When two divorcees reunite in the bedroom, the sex is hotter than ever, but can their hearts survive the second time around?)
The alpha hero for In Her Wildest Dreams by Farrah Rochon is a CEO chocolatier. Even though he’s wanted her physically for years, Gavin has respected the boundaries of his friendship with Erica, because he knew she just wasn’t ready to go there yet. (When the woman of his dreams asks him to create a Valentine’s Day fantasy, Gavin plans to show her just how sweet their reality could be.)
In Two Cops, a Girl and a Pair of Handcuffs by Paige Tyler, a contemporary romance, the heroes, Reed and Hayes, are both cops, so they come with their own handcuffs. The heroine, Cilla, is eager for them to make her their prisoner, but she’s also a little nervous. Reed is quick to reassure her that everything they do will be for her pleasure. (Working the late shift just got a whole lot more fun!)
The alpha hero in Chase and Seduction: Hot Country Series, Book 1 by Randi Alexander, a contemporary romance, is a musician. Chase Tanner is a country western singer who donates his time singing kid’s songs to the sick little patients at children’s hospitals. He funds charities in honor of his mother, and is always available to do whatever needs to be done to help neighbors in need. When Chase realizes he is a detriment to Reno’s career, he chooses to back away from the woman he wants in his life, and give her the space she needs. (Come backstage and get your hands on country superstar Chase Tanner!)
In Tall, Dark & Apocalyptic by Sam Cheever, a paranormal romance, the alpha hero is a bounty hunter. Audie’s view of the world is black and white—good or bad. When he meets Yeira, the lines between black and white blur. But despite the dictates of his heart, Audie still strives to do the honorable thing. (A grand passion in an apocalyptic world. A love beyond reason and without boundaries.)
Tall, Dark & Alpha boxed set
*Releases March 8th from Amazon and other online retailers.*
He makes your heart pound and melts your resistance away. He promises you a world of passion and you find it impossible to resist his dark charm. When he catches your eye across the room, you know he means business. He could be an executive, cop, shape shifter, or a bad boy looking for a little fun. Once he has you in his sights, you can’t get away—and after one sizzling night in his arms, you won’t want to. He’s Tall, Dark & Alpha. The alpha male is the ultimate indulgence…the richest dark chocolate…and we’re offering him to you in abundance.
Delve into the sensual worlds of award-winning authors: Randi Alexander, Koko Brown, Sam Cheever, Delaney Diamond, Eve Langlais, Afton Locke, Dawn Montgomery, Farrah Rochon, Paige Tyler, and Eve Vaughn. Immerse yourself in the alpha male experience.
Featured Story – Rock My Boat by Afton Locke
Workaholic CEO Rhonda Simms embarks on a Caribbean cruise to create an ad campaign for a big maritime freight client. She finds it impossible to concentrate, however, when Simon Mann, a blue marlin shifter, sets his sights on her. From a private, hands-on safety briefing to a wild ride in the ocean, he rocks her ordered world.
Simon drowned years ago in a shipwreck caused by Rhonda’s client, and he’ll do anything to be a normal man again. As his mate, Rhonda is the only person who can help him.
Tired of being so responsible, Rhonda is ready to let loose with a shipboard fling. Mating with Simon could cost a lot more than her virginity, however. Will she stick to her present course or will she let this sexy alpha rock her boat?
He watched, dumbfounded, as she unfolded some towels and spread them out on the dry part of the balcony floor. When she straightened, he grabbed her arm.
“Wait. I have to explain something. I would have done it in the theater, but I ran out of breath.”
She tugged on her dark, erect nipples, setting fire to every logical thought in his brain. For a virgin, she sure knew how to seduce a man. To think he planned to seduce her. Rhonda was obviously in charge here. She stepped closer.
Her tongue circled his ear while her bare breasts pressed his chest. “I’m about to give you a gift. Why can’t you just accept it?”
He forced himself to take a step back. “Because mating with me will change you forever.”
She pointed at the stormy water and laughed. “You’ve already changed me. Those are my emotions. See what you’ve done to them?”
Grabbing her again, he held her against the wall. “I’m not just talking about emotions. If you do this, you’ll never be the same again physically.”
For the first time, her brow puckered with doubt. “I won’t turn into a fish, will I?”
“Then I don’t care.”
She pulled his hand to her bare thigh then to the edge of her panties, which were just as damp, but hot. Unable to help himself, he sampled her swollen flesh with his finger. She was even wetter than she’d been this morning.
With his heart racing out of his chest, he glanced at the sea, realizing Poseidon would know everything that happened here tonight. Rhonda had given her consent, hadn’t she? Hadn’t she?!
More importantly, was it good enough for him? If he lived, his conscience would follow him for the rest of his life.
Afton Locke Links:
Web site: http://www.aftonlocke.com
Facebook profile page: https://www.facebook.com/afton.locke
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AftonLockeAuthor
This post is part of the What IS Alpha? Blog Tour.
The grand prize for the tour is a $25 Amazon gift card.
To be eligible, leave a COMMENT on this post. It MUST relate to the alpha trait discussed in the post.
The winner will be announced at http://www.aftonlocke.com/tdatour.html on March 20th.
From Cynthia Leitich Smith
Do you wear more than one hat in the children's-YA book world? There are a lot of us. Writers who also are teachers or librarians. Illustrators who do promotional design. Retired librarians who work as consultants.Today we welcome indie bookseller and author-illustrator Annette Simon, who has boldly decided to split herself into three people (the third of whom is a special guest reporter at Cynsations) and interview herself. Or herselves? Read on to discover for
By Annette Simon
for Cynthia Leitich Smith
's CynsationsReporter AS: I’m glad we could all get together. Where do each of you work?
Bookseller AS: My work is play in a lovely independent, The BookMark
, in Neptune Beach, Florida.
Writer/Artist AS: I play in my studio
, at my kitchen table, and on whatever paper scraps are handy.Reporter AS: You both love books. How does it feel to be surrounded by them?
Bookseller AS: Pretty much like heaven, except without the time to read them all.
Writer/Artist AS: Both inspired and intimidated. All those fantastic, new books! But a store’s never-ending supply makes getting published look easy.
Bookseller AS: Booksellers know otherwise. Besides, we champion the creators of those fantastic, new books.
Writer/Artist AS: Really? Bet we champion you more....Reporter AS: I take it, reading is both a privilege and a job requirement?
Bookseller AS: Of course. Also, fun.
Writer/Artist AS: Ditto. And ditto. Hey, remember ditto paper?
Bookseller AS: The smell of third grade! Remember when our teacher’s sub –Reporter AS: Ladies, what’s the best part of your job?
Bookseller AS: Talking with people who love books. Matchmaking people and books. And when someone comes back for more? That reluctant reader now reads? Just … joy.
Writer/Artist AS: I’d say it’s those moments of creating when you’re in the zone, almost outside of yourself. But copy that about talking and reading. Nothing beats knowing your work matters to someone.
Bookseller AS: Icing on the cake is when that book was created by a friend.
Writer/Artist AS: Aww…. Uh, we’re friends, right?Reporter AS: So you share the same mission: connecting with readers.
Bookseller AS: It’s our reason for being.
Writer/Artist AS: Absolutely.Reporter AS: What’s something you learned on the job that surprised you?
Bookseller AS: That there is no perfect book.
Writer/Artist AS: Are you kidding me? I can name several right now. How ‘bout –
Bookseller AS: I mean, there is no one book that’s perfect for everybody, every time. Its connection will depend on a person’s reading level, time, interests, desires, life story, mood, and goals at that moment, which can and will vary any day of the week.
For children’s books, the buyers are also the gatekeepers, so add their goals for the reader. However, these are also the reasons why most good books will probably connect with someone, at some point.
Writer/Artist AS: Hmm ... I hadn’t thought of that. Okay. It relieves a bit of pressure. My book will not be for everybody, all the time, and that doesn’t mean it is (or I am) a failure.
More likely, my book will
connect with someone, somewhere. I’ll channel Mr. Dean Martin
….Reporter AS: Tell me about the bookseller/author relationship. How do you best work with each other?
Bookseller AS: As I said, booksellers love writers and artists.
Writer/Artist AS: And we love booksellers. Also, librarians and media specialists.
Bookseller AS: We do, too. But, Esteemed Authors, please don’t just stroll into a store and expect folks there to drop all to see Your Fabulous Creation.
Unless, of course, you’re Harper Lee
, J.K. Rowling
, John Green
, Judy Blume
, my parents, or the President
Then, please. And by all means!
Writer/Artist AS: So what do I do if I’d like to see my book in your store?
Bookseller AS: Please visit the store’s website, and contact appropriately. If you’re a regular customer (and we hope that you are), please say so. If you’re visiting the area and can sign stock, let us know. But please, never tell indie booksellers that they can purchase your book from that giant online store.Reporter AS: That happens?
Bookseller AS: More than you’d think. If you’re traditionally published, our source is your publisher. If you’re not, make sure your book is available through a reputable distributor.
Also, when you’re visiting the store, please don’t yammer on all "me, me, me."
Talk with the sellers, ask about business or favorite titles. And once your book is on the shelf, please consider a link to the store on your author website. It’s just good business, you know?Reporter AS: Parting thoughts?
Bookseller AS: Um ... I’ve become addicted to spine poetry.
Writer/Artist AS: I may have had a hand in that. Wanna share one we made together?
Bookseller AS: With pleasure. ‘Cause it’s true.Reporter AS: Thank you, Annettes. I couldn’t have said it better, myself.Cynsational Event Report
Last weekend, writer/art gal Annette Simon launched her new picture book, Robot Burp Head Smartypants!
(Candlewick, 2014), at bookseller Annette Simon’s store.
Here’s a glimpse from AS of how it went:
We're on the store's events board!
Books in the house! Er, store.
Prime real estate: a store window.
Event prizes included foam numbers and alphabet puzzles, and sticker packages made by Annette and her mother-in-law.
Party treats included iced cookies.
Annette recruited store colleague and Duval County reading specialist Pat Laurence to play the green robot (and wear its tie).
Why we do what we do.Cynsational Giveaway
Enter to win a signed and personalized copy of Robot Burp Head Smartypants!
(Candlewick, 2014) and a set of alphabet-and-numbers foam stickers. Author sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. a Rafflecopter giveaway
IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU by Jessica Scott (March 4, 2014; Forever E-Book; $2.99)
She plays by the rules . . .
Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn’t have much tolerance for BS, which is why he’s mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can’t possibly be true. He’s even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there’s something simmering beneath her icy reserve-and Ben just can’t resist turning up the heat . . .
. . . and he’s determined to break them
The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can’t resist locking horns-and lips-with Ben. He’s got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she’s ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia’s past, she will have to choose between following orders-or her heart . . .
About Jessica Scott:
USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
She’s written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.
She’s pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one ofEsquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.
Social Media Links:
Olivia looked away. The first packet was heavy in her hand. “The quick summary is that you have five drinking and driving, two assaults, three hot urinalysis tests and five soldiers caught with other intoxicating substances.”
“Define ‘other intoxicating substances’? What the hell does that mean?”
“Huffing, spice, bath salts.”
“Bath salts? What the hell are bath salts?”
Olivia pulled out her phone and pulled up a website explaining the drug. “They’re really new but we’re starting to see more of them. They’re meant to be a synthetic drug that mimics cocaine and ecstasy but they’re really bad stuff. Some of it is variants of plant food.”
Ben reached for her phone and angled it so he could see. His hand was big and rough against hers. Hot where their skin met. If he noticed, he didn’t give any indication. “Plant food?”
Olivia tried to ignore how his hand felt against hers. Because, oh yes, she’d noticed. Heat spread across her skin, sliding up her forearm and tingling down her spine. “Soldiers will smoke anything these days,” she said quietly.
“That’s a whole ’nother discussion,” she said, easing her hand out of his. “The short version is that intoxicating substances are prohibited by regulation and I advise you to do two things with these kids: send a strong message that this behavior won’t be tolerated but also enroll them into drug abuse counseling to send a message that you’ll help those who want it.”
Ben studied the paperwork in front of him. Tormented emotions flickered over his face and it was everything she could do not to ask him what was on his mind. She didn’t have time or reason to go crawling around Ben Teague’s head but that didn’t stop the want pulsing warmly over her skin.
“I know this kid,” Ben said quietly. “I served with him downrange last deployment but ever since he’s come home, he’s been nothing but trouble to the old commander. Zittoro has three previous drug charges,” he said.
“Private Zittoro is a different case. I recommend you separate him from the military under a chapter nine, rehab failure.”
She heard his quick intake of breath. Saw the conflict flicker over his sharp features.
He cleared his throat roughly in the awkward silence. “Zittoro… he’s got nowhere to go. He’s got a deadbeat dad and his mom is… well, she’s not winning any parent of the year awards.” His fist clenched on the table in front of her. “If I throw him out of the army, what happens to him? He’s an addict.”
She flinched at the pain in his words. Ben had only been a commander for a couple of hours but the strain was already obvious in his voice.
“You can’t save everyone,” she whispered. She waited until his eyes met hers.
“You know that, right?”
There was no comfort she could offer. This was the burden of command: to balance the needs of the army over the needs of the individual. A tightrope he had to walk alone.
All she could do was give him the facts and her opinion. But in that moment, she had the sudden urge to save him from this. “If you keep him, do you have the manpower to keep going to his room and making sure he hasn’t overdosed every night? Do you trust him enough to give him a weapon and believe he’ll do his job?”
Ben’s throat moved as he swallowed. “Guess not,” he said quietly. He leaned back and it was as if a wall of glass crystallized between them. “What other fun things do you have in there for me?”
Olivia wasn’t convinced by the sudden shift in Ben’s mood but now wasn’t the time or the place for digging any deeper. She reviewed the rest of the drug packets, watching him tense more with each one. She stopped after the last driving under the influence.
“Why is this bothering you so much?”
He offered a half-assed cocky grimace that failed to mimic the smile he was going for. A pretty shitty attempt to cover the darkness twisting beneath the surface. He took a deep breath. “I’m a big boy. I’ll do what has to be done.”
“I didn’t imply that you wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s not bothering you.”
He drummed his fingers on the table. “Let’s finish this up. I’ve got to get down to my company and start digging out from the mountain of crap that my predecessor left me.”
He brushed her off. The action was as insignificant as a paper cut.
She leaned back and picked up the next packet and wished it didn’t sting like it did. Then she made the mistake of meeting his gaze. There was such a dark lack of hope in his eyes. A bleak resignation to the things he was forced to confront. She almost reached for his hand. It would have been a simple gesture of support. But he looked at her as though a single touch might have shattered him.
He was not her problem. She didn’t do damaged and introspective.
Because there were people counting on her not to get distracted.
But looking at him now, she wondered about the glimpse of the tired warrior she saw behind those tormented brown eyes.
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Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off in the form of a dream job offer. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to turn down the job and make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help or of her handsome new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.
Fun, heartwarming, and romantic, Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn’t afraid to show him that he doesn’t. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.
Author Rachael Anderson USA Today bestselling author Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Blog: The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
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, Chasing Prophecy
, James Moser
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By: C. C. Gevry,
Title: Chasing Prophecy
Author: James Moser
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Thriller
Ebook available at: Kindle | Smashwords
Mo is a shy teen who is just trying to survive high school. He has secretly fallen in love with a girl named Prophecy who lives with a group that some call a commune and others call a cult. When she disappears, Mo must find the courage to face the monster that her family has become. Chasing Prophecy is a contemporary coming of age story that is heartwarming, suspenseful, and beautifully written. This book chronicles the adolescence of one boy who must transform himself to save the girl of his dreams.
“A stellar read for teens and adults, full of hilarious growing pains, tenderness and a few surprises. Moser’s debut is an unflinching young-adult novel that sees a group of friends tested by bigotry and the illegal machinations of a religious cult. The author serves up an irresistibly wisecracking narrator in Mo Kirkland. Every page ripples with a controlled cleverness. There’s also a rawness to this tale similar to that which many teens face in the real world. Moser can wax rhapsodic about young love, but he shows that he knows how to raise the tension in the second half of the novel.”
Max leaned over and whispered, “They don’t have any gear.”I looked at their packs. He was right. No rolled-up tents, sleeping bags or cookware dangled from any of the straps or hooks. Just bulging backpacks. Their empty sports-drink bottles were the only clue that they’d known they were about to hike straight up a mountain.
I remember thinking how weird it was that they carried so much weight uphill and none of that weight was soap, clean clothes, or sleeping bags.
Max peeked inside one of their packs. He undid the top pull-cord and pulled out a giant freezer-bag of red crystals. I undid the top drawstring of one of the other backpacks. More bags of the same stuff. I held one up. A bright flash startled us, made us step back. After blinking away the spots, I saw Clean with one arm extended, centering us in another picture he was taking on his phone.
“What’s this?” I asked, holding up a bag of what looked like raspberry Sno-Kone.
“Drugs,” Max said softly.
“It is not ‘drugs,’” said Clean. “It is the salvation of our family. It is the sword we will use to fight off Big Brother, to beat him back from our land, to cut off his hand as it reaches for what is ours. Now put those bags of salvation back, please. I’m sending word of our salvation to my father.” He held the Blackberry closer to his face and I knew he was forwarding the picture to Able back at the ranch.
Big buckets of reality crashed down on me head. Huge bags of drugs brought in from Canada. Hiked over the border in the dense woodsy areas where the Mount Baker National Forest drops to the Canadian Border.
These guys are criminals, I thought.
Clean waved at our tents, sleeping bags, and the rest of the food. He said, “You guys should just chill for a day, catch your breath, eat, drink, and sleep. No fires. We’re way off the trail and we’re nowhere near the spot where people hang-glide, base-jump or wall-climb. I put all the dehydrated food pouches in the blue backpack—soups and chili and fruit. A whole bottle of water purifying tablets. It’s not tons but it’ll keep you fueled til you’re back home. Thanks to you, the hard work is done.”
“Thanks, bruh,” said the leader of the other team. The three of them were leaning into the rock and leaning into each other. They must have done that on the way up, at night, to stay warm.
Clean motioned us to the other end of the rock. He said, “We leave in half an hour. Drink all the water you can, then fill up one small water bottle each. Remember to add an iodine tablet. No one can get sick on the way down. And,” he said, pausing to reach into his pack. “We wear these on the way down.” He pulled out green and tan camouflage floppy hats and t-shirts that matched the backpacks our visitors had carried.
“What about . . .” I started to say.
Max took a deep breath, dropped his chin and stared at the ground. He understood before I did that the Vision-Quest was over. We’d come to exactly this spot because this was the mission Able and Clean had planned for us all along.
Clean said, “We’re carrying it back down to the trailhead. We’re taking no food. We ate less than 24 hours ago and will be able to eat again before we go to sleep, after we get home. We have water. It’s downhill for us so we should make the car before dark. I have a small thing of sunscreen. Other than that, all we need is some guts.”
Max’s face was angry. I was just plain numb. There was nothing else to say.
Half an hour later, Clean hugged his three companions goodbye. We stayed on the southern end of the ledge, teetering under the heavy packs, just nodding politely to the other crew. We started down and did not talk. The backpacks carried the same weight but since I’m smaller than Clean and Max, I struggled more. I panted and stumbled a few times. We reached the tree-line in a couple hours.
Max and I kept trading WTF looks.
I thought, What is Kazzy doing right now? Does she have backpack of drugs, too? Did she know about this? Of course she didn’t know. The day before she looked so lost and confused. As lost and confused as anyone in the dining hall. If she had drugs on her back, she was as surprised as we were.
God, I wanted to hold her and I wanted her to hold me back. I’ve never wanted to hold someone so much. I thought of the squeeze she’d given me as she left the school bus.
The school bus. Right. They’d chosen a special ed. school bus to bring us in and out because it would hide in plain sight. No cop would pull us over for a small reason.
Max suddenly said, “Shit.” He kicked a tree, nearly fell from being off-balance under the heavy pack, steadied himself, unstrapped, and dropped his pack on the ground. He looked at me, then at Clean. “This is illegal. It’s not what you said we’d be doing.”
Clean moved quickly toward Max. I dropped my pack to the ground and took a long step toward them–to break up the fight before it got started. Clean’s eyes darted to mine. He put his finger to his lips.
Max put up his fists but Clean was already past him.
Clean took two long steps down the path, to the bend in the next switchback. He looked back at us—eyes on fire. He pointed sharply at us and then up into the woods.
We pulled on our packs and labored up the rocky hillside, grabbing at pine trees and brush. Glancing to our right, I saw Clean doing the same. We reached a spot thirty feet off the trail, level and dense with ferns. From the trail we heard a rustling and the unmistakable clip-clopping of horseshoes. We dropped down in the ferns, shimmied out of our backpacks and kneeled down in the dense mossy soil.
A forest ranger on horseback came into view. As he brought the horse to a stop, it sniffed at the air, looked our way and froze. I knew it had smelled us. We turned to Clean. He put one finger to his lips and stared daggers at us.
The ranger wore an olive green, short-sleeved shirt and cargo shorts. He had a walkie talkie clipped to his belt and a satellite phone in his hand. The saddle held a canteen, knapsack, and a long leather sleeve with a shotgun handle sticking out. As he turned around, I saw a handgun holstered at his side. The guy looked straight ahead, spoke into his satellite phone, dismounted, whispered softly to the horse, and stroked its mane.
I looked back at Clean and what I saw told me that the Bethlehem family had changed forever. The fingers of one hand were spread toward us, commanding we remain still and silent. His other hand held a gun. The lines on his face were calm. He was not afraid.
The ranger turned his back to us, lowered his hands, undid his belt buckle, moved his legs apart, looked to the sky, began to whistle. Clean gently clicked off the safety. The horse heard it, darting its eyes in our direction, snuffled, pawed at the ground restlessly. The man turned back to the horse, whispered, went back to whistling.
After the ranger and horse were safely out of earshot, we stepped over to Clean.
Max said, “What are you doing with a GUN???”
I added, “Yeah, and what were you gonna do if he saw us?”
Clean looked calmly at me, snapped the safety back on, and returned the gun to the waist-band against his lower back. He clicked on his walkie talkie, adjusted the volume and channel, and said, “Redemption Team One to Redemption Team Two. Redemption Team One to Redemption Team Two. Anyone out there chillin’? Over.”
A long pause, and then the crackling response, “Chillin’ like Bob Dylan. Thought you guys were gone. Over.”
Clean said, “We just ran into Steve’s Big Brother. You remember Rick, right? Over.”
A longer, crackling pause.
“Copy that. Long time since we’ve seen Rick. He by himself? Over”
And the longest, crackling pause yet.
“How long til Rick arrives for dinner? Over.”
“He’s probably not coming to your house, but if he does go that way, it’ll be at least an hour. No more than two. Over.”
“Copy that. If you seen him again, tell him sorry we missed him and we’ll catch him next time. We’re running late and we’ll be gone in ten minutes. Over.”
“Sounds like a plan. Sorry about the fast turnaround. I know you guys are tired from the trip. From the long drive all the way from California, I mean. Over.”
“Copy that. Catch you guys next time. Over and out.”
“Copy that. Over and out.”
Clean switched off his walkie talkie and clipped it onto his belt.
“Look at me,” he said. “Everyone take a drink of water and pee if you have to. We are not stopping for a few hours, until we get to the parking lot. I will walk on point. That means I’ll be by myself about fifty feet ahead. There will be NO talking, so I can hear what’s ahead. You watch where you’re walking and you watch me. I put my hand up, that means stop. I point, and that means you have five seconds to go wherever I’m pointing.
“We run into someone and can’t hide in time, you just do exactly what I do. We’ll say hello all friendly-like, but you keep your heads down and you do not slow down no matter what. I will go first. I’ll pause, I’ll make some small talk for ten seconds while you pass me, and then I’ll bring up the rear after the two of you are down the trail a bit. I will catch up on my own so don’t look back. We don’t look back and we don’t stop no matter what.”
“Say it so I know you understand,” he said.
“Don’t look back,” Max said.
“Don’t stop, no matter what,” I said.
About the Author:
James Moser has always loved stories in all forms. He is in his fourteenth year of working with high school students. The author’s goal was to write a book that would inspire even his most reluctant readers. Young adults have always inspired him. As such, he wanted to show teenagers transforming themselves to overcome obstacles, which is what he watches them do, every day.
Moser has a B.A. in English and a Master’s degree in Secondary English Education. He lives in Seattle with his beautiful wife and eight year old son. When he’s not reading and writing, or thinking about reading and writing, he’s watching way too much television while snacking on frozen treats from Trader Joe’s. Man, those things are good.
Where to find James Moser:
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Sensual Surrender by Katie Reus
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: The Serafina: Sin City Series, #2
Pub. Date: March 3, 2014
Length: 50,000 words
I’m ready to move on. Please don’t search for me. Please just let me go.
The note on the kitchen table shatters Jay Wentworth’s world into bits. Ellie is his lover, his soulmate, his best friend…she’s the woman who stood by him through the aftermath of a horrible explosion, the woman he’s planning to propose to. He’d do anything for her…except let her go. With his fierce protectiveness kicked into overdrive, he teams up with Ellie’s Hotel Serafina boss, billionaire Wyatt Christiansen, to find her. Ellie is family at the casino and they take care of their own.
Ellie is devastated when her secret past finally catches up with her. Stupid to think she could bury the mistakes of her youth and find happiness with a good man. Leaving Jay rips her heart to shreds, but it’s the only way she can protect him from the dangerous people she once ran with. And deep down, she fears he’ll never be able to forgive her for hiding her past from him.
The closer Jay gets to the truth about Ellie, the deeper he plunges into danger. He’ll move heaven and earth to save her, but if she can’t trust in Jay’s love it might be too late for both of them.
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1cPr9f4
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1fxkMuP
All Romance eBooks: Coming Soon
Meet Author Katie Reus:
Katie Reus is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.
However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.
Connect with Katie at:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/katiereusauthor
Find more stops:
Make sure to check-in on Katie’s Facebook page this week, as she’ll be celebrating the release of SENSUAL SURRENDER with giveaways on her wall!
Copyright © 2014 Katie Reus
Jay wasn’t sure if he believed the guy so he’d be following up. Stepping back, he put some distance between them, but still didn’t take his eyes off the bastard. Once he’d reached Ellie and Wyatt, he saw that Ellie was wearing Wyatt’s jacket to help her cover up. She clutched her purse to her chest as if it could protect her. And she was shaking. Shit. He needed to get her out of there.
Questions later, he reminded himself. Wrapping his arm around Ellie’s shoulders, he started to steer her out of the room when he saw Brannon hovering in the hallway acting as a lookout. He nodded once to indicate they were clear, but before they could leave, Ellie stopped and swiveled in the direction of the security guy.
“Cody, are you going to be okay? I’m sorry I got you fired.” The words spilled from her at once as if she’d just found her voice again.
“This was a long time coming.” There was a dark, deadly edge to the man’s voice that surprised Jay. “You guys get out of here. I’m going to clean up this mess.”
Unsure exactly what the guy meant, and not really caring, Jay squeezed Ellie’s shoulders. “Come on.”
“We can go out this way,” she said quietly, motioning toward the end of the hall in the opposite direction of the pulsing beat of the club.
After checking the alleyway, they all spilled out into the bright sunlight. The glare was jarring after being in the darker atmosphere, but Jay didn’t release his grip on Ellie.
“Wyatt, Brannon.” He nodded at them, indicating they should walk ahead. He wanted them gone so he could talk to Ellie alone.
She still wouldn’t look at him, was looking anywhere but at him in fact. Currently her gaze was on her shoes, three-inch heels that she’d worn once before while they’d made love on the counter in their kitchen. He quickly shoved that thought away.
As the other two men moved toward the parking lot, Jay turned Ellie so that she had to face him. Now that she was safe and he was able to touch her, the anger burning inside him pushed toward the surface. “We talk here or at home. Your choice.”
“No,” he said savagely. “I come home on a break to find a bullshit note from you, throwing away our relationship like it meant nothing, then I find out from Wyatt that you quit with no notice. You’re going to talk about whatever the hell scared you enough to run. So you get a choice. Here. Or home.”
Shifting from one foot to the other and still not looking at him, she finally whispered, “Home.”
Tour Wide Giveaway: Digital copy of SENSUAL SURRENDER per the total number of tour stops (~12), and (1) Grand Prize: 6” Kindle (US only).
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The Dragon Shifters of Derkesthai Academy
The Dragon Shifters of Derkesthai Academy series is a paranormal romance series with mystery and suspense elements where dragon shifters hunt a magickal hoard thief who threatens to bring down the entire dragon mage race.
TO HAVE & TO HOLD
The Dragon Shifters of Derkesthai Academy, #1
Release Date: December 2013
American-born heiress Cate Cooper never believed her sexy, stalwart English husband of two years, Grayson, could be a monster of epic proportions until he shifted into a fire-breathing dragon right in front of her eyes. After several near-miss encounters with the dragon who almost killed her, Cate trapped the beast in the attic using her own magickal skills as spell-caster and an enchanted chatelaine left to her by her grandparents. She agreed to give her husband one year in the magickal confines of their attic to battle the dragon within before she gives up on him for good.
During the year Grayson Cooper has been trapped in his attic fighting for his life and his marriage, his best friend and legal partner, Michael James, seduces his wife and devises a plan to take over her fortune. If that’s not bad enough, clues in an intricate embezzlement scheme all point to Grayson, who, according to the world, disappeared without a trace the year before along with a million dollars. Only Grayson and Cate know the truth of where he’s been.
In this paranormal romantic suspense novella, Grayson Cooper must embrace his dragon shifter heritage, clear his sullied name, and save the only woman he’s ever truly loved from a ruthless villain bent on destroying him and Cate as well as the whole dragon shifter race.
FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
The Dragon Shifters of Derkesthai Academy, #2
Release Date: January 15, 2014
This is a contemporary paranormal romance novella with mystery and suspense elements. This is the second story in the Derkesthai Dragon Mage Academy series. Derkesthai Academy is Hogwarts for dragon shifters.
Noah Easton, a Special Forces dragon shifter, escapes the torture of a hoard thief bent on stealing dragon hoard stones and their elemental power from the mages who possess them, but the situation becomes personal when the hoard thief targets the woman he loves. He must return to his hometown of Mystic Springs to protect those he loves from a magickal threat he cannot identify before he loses everything.
April is a modern day oracle. She reads tea leaves and just about anything else that can predict coming events. However, past abandonment issues make her resistant to reading her own signs. But when evil comes to Mystic Springs, April must face her biggest fears of abandonment and betrayal in order to save what’s most important to her. Only by studying the past and owning her future can she stop a magickal criminal who threatens to steal everything she’s ever loved and destroy the dragon mage who holds her heart.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/from-this-day-forward-mackenzie-lucas/1118070485?ean=2940148166061
UNTIL DEATH DO US PART
The Dragon Shifters of Derkesthai Academy, #3
Look for Until Death Do Us Part, the next story in The Dragon Shifters of Derkesthai Academy series, out later this year. In Until Death, David Pearson hunts the wounded hoard thief who is a dragon shifter herself and his ex-wife, whom he still loves. Iona LeFay only ever wanted the attention of the one man she’s always loved, her ex-husband David Pearson. Unfortunately, now he must kill her in order to stop the wheels of a huge conspiracy that could bring down the whole dragon shifter race.
Author Bio & Contact Links:
Mackenzie Lucas is a lover of story in any form. She’s an avid reader of genre fiction, she writes contemporary and paranormal romance, and she listens to an eclectic mix of music that spans from pop/rock to country to gospel. She loves a good story whether it’s an erotic short, a full-length romance novel, or the narrative slice-of-life found in country music. In any story, emotional integrity and authenticity are most important to her as well as a big dose of romping hot sexual tension. She enjoys smart-mouthed, sexy heroines, hunky alpha heroes who know how to take care of their women, and plot twists that surprise her, but most of all, she just wants to experience a satisfying emotional arc of a character falling in love and finding what he or she needs most in life.
Mac is a small-town country girl with a world-traveler’s soul. She grew up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and she’s lived in Dublin, Ireland, in Long Island for a summer, and now resides in the Washington, D.C. area. She obtained her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Dickinson College and received her M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She’s currently an author, writing coach, president of Washington Romance Writers, a mother, and a wife. Her latest contemporary romance, Essence, was published by Soul Mate Pulishing in January 2014.
With Mackenzie Lucas–whether you’re reading her light paranormal romance or her small-town-based contemporary romance–you’ll always get a story about connectedness, community, and emotional authenticity, and, at its core, love. No, and it doesn’t hurt that all her heroes are panty-melting gorgeous alphas and all their sexy, sensually aware heroines know how to stand up to them, give no quarter, and love them just as they are.
To find Mackenzie Lucas online go to: http://www.mackenzielucas.com. You can also find her on Twitter at: @MacLucas_writer. Follow her on Facebook at: MackenzieLucasFanPage to keep up with her latest releases and book news. Or sign up for her newsletter at: http://www.mackenzielucas.com/newsletter.
Twitter: : https://twitter.com/MacLucas_writer
GRAND PRIZE: $50 Amazon Gift Card
RUNNERS UP: 3 Runners Up receive a dragon T-Shirt XL size only
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SETH by Eve Langlais
Cyborgs: More Than Machines, #5
His mission: Blend in with the humans. Save the cyborgs. And seduce the only woman he ever loved, without getting killed.
Cybernetic spy models are different from other humans turned machine. For one thing, they never completely lost touch with their humanity, or their memories. But retaining their identity doesn’t mean the military didn’t mess with their lives. Seth lost the woman he loved because of their web of lies. When the chance arises to make things right, he relies on his superior intellect—and irresistible charm—to prove his innocence, and make Anastasia his again.
Anastasia might possess upgraded parts and programming, but the scientists never could cure her of her biggest weakness, jealousy. The volatile emotion made her walk away from love once. Can she overcome it and recognize the truth? Or will she continue to let the military manipulate her emotional strings?
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seth-eve-langlais/1118482045?ean=2940045666077
There was no warning. No sound to betray their presence. No smell. Nothing. Just the sudden cold touch of a pistol muzzle nudging the back of his head.
Silence reigned except for the chirp of the little creatures that lived in the woods and emitted bird-like noises. They sounded cute until you came across them. Unlike a feathered denizen of earth, the furry buggers who chirped like songbirds resembled more a rat with spiked fur, razor-sharp teeth, and a really bad attitude if they felt threatened. Ankles beware!
They’re not the only ones who get nasty when their lives are in danger.
Although none of his muscles moved, Seth held himself ready to act, letting his internal processor analyze the space around him, seeking a hint, anything to give him an edge. He inhaled deep, testing the air, in an attempt to see if he could identify his attacker. Lo and behold, he got a faint trace.
Of all the things he expected to smell out here in the forest, vanilla soap wasn’t one of them. The clean fresh scent was familiar, as was the position he found himself in. Strange as it seemed, he’d lived the almost exact scenario once, a long time ago. But he’d thought that person dead. Or at least lost to him. It can’t be. Not after all this time. Was it possible?
No time like the present to test his theory.
“Well hello there, gorgeous. I knew you couldn’t resist me forever.” He couldn’t help but grin when his guess was confirmed by a husky voice that still had the ability to send shivers down his spine.
“I see you’re still just as annoying.
Whirling lightning quick, Seth played the part of surrendering victim and held his hands above his head so the gun pointed at his forehead. Face to face, he couldn’t help but drink in the reality of the lady who haunted his dreams. His ex-partner. The only woman he’d ever loved. The only one who ever spurned him. The woman he’d once called wife.
A wife who wore a scowl and didn’t shower him with welcoming kisses.
He couldn’t resist goading her. “Me, annoying? Never. Handsome and dashing, yes. I might even use the term rakish.”
“And cocky. You do realize I’m holding a loaded gun to your head. Do you really want to tempt me into pulling the trigger?”
If she’d wanted him dead, his brains would already decorate the bushes around them. Anastasia knew hundreds of ways to kill a man. However, he’d wager she wouldn’t have returned just to put a bullet in his head. She’d torture him first. Probably painfully. How he’d missed her.
“You won’t kill me,” he stated with utter confidence.
“Don’t be so sure. I’ve pictured your death a thousand times. My favorite was the one where I push you off that cliff we once climbed in the Himalayan Mountains and watch you fall, knowing that you’ll actually have time to reflect on what a jerk you are before you hit the ground.”
Okay, so this wasn’t exactly the reunion he’d once hoped for. Someone still had anger issues. Question was, did she mean it when she said she wished him dead? Only one way to find out.
“Well, if you’ve returned to kill me, would you mind getting on with it? I’ve got places to go, people to see.”
“You mean irritate.” The muzzle of her gun dropped, and she rolled her expressive blue eyes.
“And here I thought you enjoyed my quirky nature and sense of humor.”
“I blame my previously defective, human brain for that momentary lapse of reasoning.”
He couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh how I’ve missed your acerbic tongue. My dearest Anastasia, love of my life, I am delighted you’ve returned to brighten my existence. Did you miss me?”
She snorted. “Like a dog misses his fleas.”
Hello, my name is Eve. I’m a stay at home mom who writes full time in between juggling my three kids, hubby, and housework, I write really raunchy stuff–usually with werewolves lol.
I am a bestselling Amazon author, ranking often in their top 100 romance authors. But I’m not just popular with Kindle readers. I was one of the top ten selling authors on AllRomance for 2013 and have had numerous of my books hit the top 100 books over all on Barnes & Nobles as well.
I’m writing romance, my way. I do have a twisted imagination and a sarcastic sense of humor something I like to let loose in my writing. I like strong alpha males, naked chests and werewolves. Lots of werewolves. In fact, you’ll notice most of my multi partner stories revolve around great, big, overprotective Lycans who just want to please their woman. I am also extremely partial to aliens, you know the kind who abduct their woman and then drive them insane…with pleasure of course.
I love to write, and while I don’t always know what my mind is going to come up with next, I can promise it will be fun, probably humorous and most of all romantic, because I love a happily ever after.
Connect with Eve:
GRAND PRIZE: Signed Seth paperback with Evel Minion tshirt and button
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Pleasing the Pirate By Sharon Cullen
Loveswept Historical Romance
On sale February 25, 2014
Two hearts are wrenched between love and duty in Sharon Cullen’s tale of a ruthless pirate and the Scottish lass who fills him with desire for something greater than plunder.
With her clan’s crops burned and their property confiscated, Mairi McFadden is desperate to free her brother from imprisonment so that he can take his rightful place as chief. Her only hope is the fierce English pirate Phin Lockwood, but the buccaneer laughs at her meager funds. His roving eyes, however, tell Mairi there’s something else he’ll take in exchange for her brother’s rescue. Though she burns with hatred for the English, she’ll do anything to save her clan.
The crown has made it clear that Phin has two choices: bring in a certain Scottish traitor or hang. And he’s not about to let a tiny, whiskey-eyed woman get in his way, even if she is pointing a gun at him. When Phin learns that Mairi’s brother is the very man he seeks, he’s more than willing to use the lass as bait. But as the moment of capture draws near, Phin is surprised by his feelings for the courageous beauty who has him considering risking his life—for someone besides himself.
AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 25th 2014:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After earning a degree in journalism from Ohio University, Sharon found the stories inside her head were more interesting than what was going on in the world around her. Yet, it wasn’t until years later that she decided to pursue her secret dream of writing a romance novel. Since then she’s been published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and historical romance.
The Notorious Lady Anne is Sharon Cullen’s first historical and her debut novel with Loveswept. Look for The Infamous Lord Blythe coming in 2013.
Sharon’s other job descriptions include chauffeur, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.
If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her at her blog or her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.
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I have spotlight for Jennifer McQuiston’s What Happens in Scotland & Summer Is For Lovers. Learn about the books, then enter for a chance to win them!
What Happens in Scotland & Summer Is For Lovers
By: Jennifer McQuiston
WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND (Released Feb 26th, 2013)
She woke up married… And then she ran.
When recent widow Georgette Thorold wakes up in a Scottish inn with a wedding ring on her finger and lacking all memory of how she came to be there, she does what any well-bred lady with a modicum of sense and a distrust of marriage would do: she panics, clocks the wickedly handsome stranger in her bed over the head with a chamber pot, and runs.
James McKenzie, Esquire has either spent the evening protecting a very naïve, and—dare he say it—very drunk young lady from the advances of every disreputable character in the town of Moraig, or he has gone and married a pretty, scheming thief. Not that his own head is entirely clear on the matter, but when the woman in question repays his kindness with a knock on the head, the bill for her room, and the theft of his purse, an embarrassed James is determined to track her down and show her she picked the wrong solicitor to swindle.
As Georgette sets out to discover exactly what happened during her forgotten night, she uncovers a man that seems far more a hero than a rake. But when they finally meet, instead of sweeping her into his arms and kissing her senseless, he serves her with a summons, claiming she is a thief. Now the fight is on, and the only question is was it a night worth remembering? Or a mistake they would both rather forget?
Buy Links (What Happens in Scotland)
SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS (Released Sept 24th, 2013)
David Cameron has been tricked. After bringing his supposedly ailing mother to Brighton to take the waters, he’s found himself bombarded with young ladies of marriageable age, while his mother has made a marked improvement. Seeking respite from the hordes, he retreats to a beach he hasn’t seen in years–and finds a woman he’s never quite been able to forget.
Caroline Tolbertson just wants to be left alone. But her mother is determined to see her married off, no matter Caroline’s protests–or her embarassing lack of suitors. Seeing David Cameron, her childhood crush, again sets her heart racing, but she’s older and wiser now. And no, that wasn’t her heart sinking when David suggested a faux courtship instead of the real thing.
But Caroline has never been very good at following the rules, and the fake attraction soon grows into the real thing. Now Caroline has more scandalous pursuits in mind and David is finding it very hard to say no to his gorgeous friend. Will giving in to temptation send them both down a path they each claim to abhor–straight to the altar?
Buy Links (Summer is for Lovers)
Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/01/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for-what.html
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.
(Paperback Copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND & SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS, and Pack of Mother Mae’s Chocolate Chip Scottish Shortbread Mix)
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[Manga Maniac Cafe]Good morning, Patricia! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Patricia Eimer] Absent minded professor turned writer
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead?
[Patricia Eimer] Before the Devil
Faith Bettincourt’s life has never been anywhere near sane but it’s gotten worse now that her best friend has married her brother, her parents have gotten back together and her own love life has fallen apart. Now her best friend is pregnant with Faith’s first niece or nephew and everyone is happy but her and Matt—who’s still busy trying to bring the angels on earth into the modern era. But just when they think they’ve finally gotten things worked out the crap hits the fan in the only way it could for the Bettincourt clan when Faith runs down the angel of death with her brother’s new SUV and ends up having to take on his job. Now between running the afterlife’s Death Services Department, trying to repair her relationship with Matt and prepping for the coming baby it can’t get too much worse. Until someone else decides there isn’t much they wouldn’t do to get Faith demoted and take her promotion.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?
[Patricia Eimer] The epilogue. I know that sounds strange but at that point I knew that everyone got happily ever after and I got to give them—and me—that last little bit of happiness before I closed the book on them and said goodbye. Plus I got to write in my favorite character ever with Iggy the Evil Hamster of Death. It’s too bad I didn’t think of him in the beginning. These would be completely different books.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?
[Patricia Eimer] Without giving too much away it would have to be one of the scenes between Matt and Faith after she’s become the Angel of Death and he thought he was going to lose her forever.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Patricia Eimer] My phone. It seems like every time I do the worst things happen. Case in point? I went into early labor with my son while alone, at the grocery store, and had to drive myself home so someone could take me to the hospital for them to stop the labor and send me home. Not pleasant. So now, I take my phone and nothing bad happens.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Patricia Eimer] My kindle (charging because as usual I’ve run the batteries down)
Herr’s Old Bay potato chips (so addictive)
A crocheted plot bunny that I was given by a fan at the Baltimore Book Festival
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Patricia Eimer] I always wanted to be a judge on one of those Food Network shows like Iron Chef or Top Chef. One of those jobs where you just sit there and let people feed you and make dumb comments. If I had my choice though I’d be on Japanese Iron Chef because if you’ve ever watched the translations of those people’s comments they’re so totally brain dead it’s ridiculous. Although, knowing my luck I’d get something gross like grasshoppers as a secret ingredient. So I want to be a judge on a day with a good mystery ingredient and Mario Batali is cooking because he tends to bring his own booze and you got to love a chef who feeds you and gets you drunk.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] You are stranded in a remote cabin during a blizzard. Who would you like to be stranded with?
[Patricia Eimer] My husband. Even after 10 years of marriage he’s still my best friend and the person guaranteed to make me laugh no matter what. Oh and my kindle.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Patricia Eimer] I laughed so hard I cried through all of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette and I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout. Absolutely amazing book!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Patricia Eimer] The easiest way is twitter (@PatriciaEimer), but I can also be found at my website (www.patriciaeimer.com) , Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/patriciaeimerofficialpage) and goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4977539.Patricia_Eimer)
About the Book
Title: BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD
Author: Patricia Eimer
EBook: 368 pages
Release Date: February 24, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Not Even Death Keeps a Good Demoness Down
There’s never an end to the crazy when you’re demon spawn. Not that Faith Bettincourt’s complaining. She’s been patching things up with her angelic on-again off-again boyfriend, Matt, and her best-friend-turned-sister-in-law is soon giving birth to the Anti-Christ Part Deux. Oh, and Faith is saving kids from Death in her pediatric unit one soul at a time. Life is good.
Until Faith accidentally runs over the Angel of Death and is forced to take his place. Now she’s taking lives instead of saving them. Which is kind of a problem when you’re a nurse. As if that weren’t bad enough, she is suddenly thrust into the worst scenario of them all–Matt’s ex Brenda is back, and she’s brought the Apocalypse with her.
Faith’s not about to give up the world…or her man. But when the chips are down, what’s a demoness supposed to do? Besides take matters into her own hands, of course.
Book 1 LUCK OF THE DEVIL and Book 3 BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD are 99 cents for a limited time on all eBook platforms!
Patricia Eimer is a small-town girl fated to be a storyteller. After a stint of “thinking practically,” she earned degrees in Business and Economics, but her passion has always been a good book. She lives in Pittsburgh with her two kids and a husband who learned the art of frozen pizza to give her more time to write. When she’s not writing she can be found fencing or arguing with her dogs about plot points. Most days the beagle wins, but the dalmatian is a close second. She’s a distant third.
5 bundles of an ebook copy of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead with any other Entangled ebook released at the same time — Covet, Suspense, etc.
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2/24/2014- book’s blog- Excerpt
2/24/2014- The Reading Obsession- Spotlight
2/25/2014- Urban Fantasy Investigations- Guest Post
2/25/2014- BookHounds- Interview
2/26/2014- Happy tails and tales- Review or Spotlight
2/26/2014- In The Pages of a Good Book- Excerpt
2/27/2014- Manga Maniac Café- Interview
2/27/2014- Margay Leah Justice- Review or Spotlight
2/28/2014- Fade Into Fantasy- Guest Post
2/28/2014- Toot’s Book Reviews- Interview
3/3/2014- Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!- Interview
3/3/2014- Books and Things- Excerpt
3/4/2014- Romantic Reads and Such- Guest Post
3/4/2014- Let’s Talk About Books- Review
3/5/2014- The Jeep Diva- Guest Post
3/5/2014- Cassandra Lost in Books- Excerpt
3/6/2014- Sapphyria’s Book Reviews- Guest Post
3/6/2014- Read-Love-Blog- Excerpt
3/7/2014- Miriam Smith- Review or Spotlight
3/7/2014- Fantasy Book Addict- Guest Post
CAUTION: A fish named Doreen has taken over my twitter feed… and now my blog! I cannot be held responsible for anything.
In celebration of POOR DOREEN (swimming into stores in March) I’m doing a fantabulous giveaway!
But before we get to the giveaway, introductions are in order.
Meet Poor Doreen, the fish star of my new picture book.
Actually. Sorry. Her full name is Mrs Doreen Randolph-Potts. Ever heard of a fish with such a name? Neither had I.
And she is quite unusual. Have you ever seen a fish in a headscarf? With an umbrella? Me neither. Nevertheless here she is.
Now, Doreen is on a mission—to visit her second cousin twice removed
who’s just had 157 babies… But unknown to her, she is dodging disaster
at every turn on her journey upstream—oblivious to the mortal danger she
is in! She remains an oblivious unfortunate fish, utterly clueless,
despite the narrator’s panicky warnings along the way… like, “OH NO
DOREEN! That’s not a dragonfly! IT’S A HOOK!”
Fortunately, for Poor Doreen, that’s not the end of the book or of her. (As you’ll find out when you read the book.)
FOR A CHANCE TO WIN “POOR DOREEN” I want to hear from you!
Please enter 1 of the following via Twitter, or Instagram, or my Facebook page (here
) and make sure to include the hashtags
to be in the running -
My fish’s name is ……. & I hope to win “Poor Doreen”! #PoorDoreen #unfortunatefish #fishynames @sallylloydjones
My fish looks like this.. & I’m entering to win “Poor Doreen” #FishFace #PoorDoreen #unfortunatefish @sallylloydjones (include a photo or drawing)
My fish met her end by…… #unfortunatefish #PoorDoreen @sallylloydjones
The contest will run until the end of March and a winner will be
chosen at random to receive a free book (you may enter more than once!
You may enter 101 times! As much as you like.)
And entrants will be featured in future blogs too! Don’t miss the
chance to have your fish portrait shown in a glorious fish gallery.
I can’t wait to hear from you, and to share more about POOR DOREEN
in coming weeks.
If you’ve never attended the NCTE Annual Convention, then I’ll let you in on a little secret: wear comfortable shoes! You’ll be on your feet hustling between sessions, walking around the exhibit hall,… Read More
If you’ve never attended the NCTE Annual Convention, then I’ll let you in on a little secret: wear comfortable shoes! You’ll be on your feet hustling between sessions, walking around the exhibit hall,… Read More
Nurture a child's interest and talent for writing this holiday season with one of these items. Look for a chance to win one of these five items by reading the giveaway information at the bottom of this blog post.
By: Angela Muse,
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The Christmas Owl
, Atlanta author
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Welcome to our holiday hop!
We are so excited about our latest book, The Christmas Owl, that we are giving away two prizes to one lucky winner. Our prize is a 5-inch stuffed owl and a signed hardcover version of The Christmas Owl. This story follows a Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word. This colorful holiday tale is perfect for children aged eight and under.
This giveaway ends on December 13th at midnight so ENTER today.
Click to see the other blogs participating in our holiday hop hosted by Youth Literature Reviews and Mother Daughter Book Reviews.
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Click here to view this Linky Tools list…
By: C. C. Gevry,
Today we’re celebrating the release of Entangled Teen’s November books! Read about them and enter to win the giveaway below!
Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette #3)
by Andria Buchanan
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Although she’s still stuck in the magical world of Nerissette, Queen Allie is finally ready to build a relationship with the half hottie, half dragon next door, Winston. But all isn’t really fair in love and war.
Unrest is quickly forming at the borders and soon Allie realizes that the Fate Maker wasn’t the only one who wanted her crown. When her trusted aunt Bavasama sends her troops into Nerissette on a campaign of murder and mass destruction, Allie has a tough decision to make.
She can’t take the chance of letting more people die or letting those she’s lost disappear from memory, but there is more at stake than even she knows. Still, Allie has to do something. And in the process she’ll discover what she’s truly made of when faced with a series of options…each more horrible than the last.
In the Blood
by Sara Hantz
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
For seventeen years Jed Franklin’s life was normal. Then his father was charged with the abuse and murder of four young boys and normal became a nightmare.
His mom’s practically a walking zombie, he’s lost most of his friends, and the press camps out on his lawn. The only things that keep him sane are his little sis; his best friend and dream girl, Summer; and the alcohol he stashes in his room. But after Jed wakes up from a total blackout to discover a local kid has gone missing—a kid he was last seen talking to—he’s forced to face his greatest fear: that he could somehow be responsible.
In a life that’s spiraled out of control, Jed must decide if he chooses his own destiny with Summer by his side or if the violent urges that plagued his father are truly in the blood…
Spring Moon (Indiana Teller)
by HRH Princess Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Amid the expansive plains of Montana, the Lykos Ranch stretches for miles. The inhabitants who live in near isolation from the outside world are members of the most powerful clan of werewolves in North America. Among them lives just one human: Indiana Teller.
Grandson of the clan’s leader and offspring of a werewolf father and a mysterious yet human mother, Indiana is rejected by his peers and heads to the University of Montana to find a normal life. Despite warnings from his grandparents, he falls in love with a beautiful human, Katerina.
Before too long, he is the victim of an accident that would have killed him had he not miraculously vanished at the moment of impact. Are these strange occurrences just chance or the machinations of a hidden enemy out to destroy him? Facing his destiny, Indiana will have to choose who to believe, and who to love.
by Vivi Barnes
Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen
He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.
At least at this moment, I don’t care.
Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…
I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.
It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.
Except that she’s not.
Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.
To celebrate the launch of these books, Entangled Teen is giving away three ebooks. Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway down below for more information!
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Here’s another cover reveal – this time for Rachel Van Dyken’s sexy The Wager. Check out the excerpt, and then enter the fun giveaway!
By Rachel Van Dyken
Lose a bet, lose your heart…
What is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they’ve been thrown together in a wedding party. It’s awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she’d always hoped he could be.
If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend’s other best friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn’t forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake’s already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake’s falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . . .
Author’s Social Networking links:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1bMQisp
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
“Jake!” Grandma peered around the mannequin and yelled. “Help her out of that dress! We have a wedding emergency! Hurry!”
“Right.” Jake released Char’s hand and shook his head as he took a step away. “Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve helped you out of your clothes, huh, Char?”
And special moment gone.
Ignoring the burning sensation on her face, Char walked into the dressing room and pulled the curtain.
“Don’t you need help?” came Jake’s voice.
“I think I know how to undress myself, Jake.”
“Yes.” His warm chuckle made Char want to smack him. Shivering, she reached for the zipper. “But when I do it, it’s unforgettable. That’s all I’m saying.”
Fine. She’d had enough. Refusing to let him think she was afraid of him touching her, she took his challenge. With a huff Char pulled open the curtain. “Prove it.”
His eyes widened and then a wicked smile curved his lips. “My pleasure.”
The way the man said “pleasure” did really unfortunate things to Char’s body, things that made her re-think her rash decision.
“Where’s the zipper?”
“Aww… can’t find it? That happen to you often, Jake? Can’t find the zipper, where does my equipment go…”
“Oh that, I never have problems with. You should know.”
Her eyes narrowed into slits as she watched him close the curtain and then do a turning motion with his finger.
She turned around and faced the mirror. Jake placed his hands on her shoulders then ran them down both of her arms. She would not shiver, she would not react!
He placed his hands on her hips, then unzipped the dress. Slowly he ran his hands back up the sides of her body, all the way until he hit just below her breasts. Her breath hitched as he winked at her in the mirror, bypassing her breasts and finding the fastener behind her neck.
Char chewed on her lower lip as she watched him delicately undo the fastener and then held the dress to her body so it wouldn’t fall.
“You have beautiful hair.” He ran a few pieces through his fingers and sighed, locking eyes with her in the mirror.
He wasn’t smiling. Was he seriously paying her a compliment? To her face? Or her reflection?
“It’s just a compliment, Char. Not a proposal.”
She blushed profusely. “Thank you.”
The way he looked at her made her feel naked. And now she remembered why things had gone haywire in the first place. She never knew which Jake she was talking to. The one who had been her friend when she was little, or the millionaire playboy who had no soul.
Char doubted he even knew which one he was. She just needed to make sure she remembered, lest she end up with a broken heart again.
“Everyone decent?” Grandma called from the other side of the curtain.
Jake stepped back and winked. “Unfortunately.”
Char felt her face heat.
“Damn,” Grandma called. “You’ve lost your touch, son.”
“Don’t I know it.” He licked his lips and nodded one last time at Char before stepping on the other side of the curtain.
Rafflecopter Prize Details
1 WINNER: "Wits and Wagers" Board Game, plus e-copy of THE WAGER
5 WINNERS: SIGNED Forever gift bag, print copy of THE BET and e-copy of THE WAGER a Rafflecopter giveaway
Guest Blog: Thrills & Chills While Doing Laundry (Wait. What?)
By Lindsey R. Loucks
Instead of taking one of the buses speeding through campus during my college career, I always walked, my gaze aimed at the ground for anything shiny and round. If I found treasure in the form of a quarter, it was well worth the few bumps on the head or rude comments I got from not looking where I was going. Like most college students, I was poor.
But I became a pretty successful quarter tracker, and when I’d find one, I’d add it to my carefully stacked pile with the hope I’d have enough to do laundry soon. With all that walking around campus, there were days when I came home smelling a tad ripe.
The washers and dryers were located on the basement floor of my apartment building, and let’s just say that going down there, alone, was the equivalent of walking into a dragon dungeon with my arms loaded with raw meat. That’s what it felt like anyway.
Storage cupboards took up the far wall that led from the stairs to the laundry area, each one about three feet long and three feet wide. Sometimes one of them would be open a crack. The single overhead light only cast a faint orange glow, deepening the shadows inside that open cupboard to an inky black.
Whenever I’d see one of those open cupboards, I’d stop in my tracks while my imagination tumbled over everything that could be lurking inside. Usually the things I imagined involved segmented legs, machetes, Brazilian poison dart frogs, porcelain dolls, or a combination of all of the above, just waiting to spring out.
My pulse racing, I’d give my laundry bag a squeeze and check to make sure I still had my quarters. Then, with my breath held, I’d race past the open cupboard, dump all my clothes into the washer, throw in some soap, push my quarters into the slots, start the machine, and sprint back out before I’d used up all the stored air in my lungs.
It was such a rush! It made laundry day pretty much the best day ever! Of course, I’ve always lived for that pump of adrenaline that fear gives me. I watch scary movies alone in the dark by myself on purpose. I guess I’m weird like that.
On one of my trips to the laundry room, my boyfriend’s brother went with me (I can’t remember why exactly, but I may have told him about the spooky basement). When he saw the wall of cupboards, his exact words were, “A serial killer stores his victims in these, huh?”
And that’s when I stopped doing laundry in that apartment building. Nah, just kidding. I still did. Remember that adrenaline rush thing I was talking about? Yep.
All of this was the fuel I needed to eventually write Haunted Chemistry. Who knew laundry could be so delightfully scary?
How about you? What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you while doing laundry? Have you ever done laundry in a particularly frightening place?
Haunted Chemistry by Lindsey Loucks
When bookish college co-ed Alexis heads to the laundry room in her new apartment, she runs into Ian Reese, the chem lab partner she crushed on all last semester. And the guy who stood her up on their first date. But she’s down for an awkward reunion, and no better place than her creepy laundry room.
Ian has every intention of making amends, but just when Alexis begins to trust him again, a new threat calls more than their future together into question. A ghost from the apartment’s past is hellbent on revenge, and if he wants to get his girl, he’ll have to get the ghost first.
Amazon BN Goodreads
My name on his tongue sounds amazing, but I try not to notice. I turn, the bulk of my laundry bag holding the door open for me. “What?”
He swallows and glances at his black boots. “It’s great to see you again.”
I nod. It’s great to see him, too, but I’m not the one who didn’t show up for our date at the end of last semester and who vanished for an entire summer with no explanation. Maybe he forgot about our non-date, because he sure isn’t trying to explain himself. But why didn’t he call to tell me he wouldn’t be coming instead of making me wait for him?
My bag bites its weight into my shoulder. When I shift it to the other one, the door creaks closed in Ian’s face. I wince. I didn’t mean for that to happen.
“Well.” He frowns through the broken squares in the window. “See you.”
“Yeah.” With a sigh, I watch him walk away. I’ve missed our group study sessions where we’d always sit next to each other and accidentally nudge each other’s knee or foot. I’ve missed how easy it is to be with him. I’ve missed him. He doesn’t seem like the type who wouldn’t call to say he couldn’t make it. But he didn’t.
About the Author:
Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she’s not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she’s dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she’ll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.
She’s been with her significant other for almost two decades.
$50 gift card. Winner’s choice of Amazon or B&N
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Author Interview with Jan Coffey (aka May McGoldrick, aka Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick)
Q. What inspired you to become an author?
We’ve always been writers and readers! Nikoo used to write stories for her grade school friends. After high school, being very good at math and sciences, she was encouraged to go to engineering school. After all, that was where the JOBS were. So she did…and tucked away her love of writing (in a safe spot) in favor of her immediate responsibilities. Later on, writing took a backseat to paying a mortgage and raising a family. She never lost her love of storytelling, though.
Jim wrote poetry and ‘007’ skits for the other kids in the neighborhood. He later became an English major and at least tried to stay in touch with his desire to write. In fact, after finishing college he wrote a screenplay that almost sold to Robert Redford’s production company. But real life again interfered with dreams as he pursued a career in a submarine shipyard before going back to school and getting his PhD some ten years later.
Q. Why did you decide to write together?
After our younger son successfully came through heart surgery as an infant, we found ourselves reassessing our lives and our goals. We have always been storytellers and readers, and we decided to try writing a short story together. That story, a prizewinner in a national writing contest, was the first step. The next step, naturally, was a full-length historical novel!
Q. You are somewhat unique in that you are a married writing team. How well does that work for you, and what are the pluses and minuses?
We can no longer even imagine writing separately. In our nonfiction book, Marriage of Minds: Collaborative Fiction Writing, we talk about the difficulties and the delights of working together, but we can tell you that the joys outweigh the hardships by a mile…at least for us. To sum it up, everything comes down to our ability to separate the work from the person. We came to the realization early on that just because we don’t like a passage or a paragraph or a chapter that our partner wrote, that doesn’t mean we don’t like THEM. Another thing that has made our writing career possible is that we had a solid foundation in our marriage (thirteen years!) before we started collaborating on our fiction.
Q. What is the biggest challenge and the biggest pleasure about writing as a team? Do you each have a particular area of specialty in the writing?
Two heads being better than one should be the theme song for every collaborative writing team. You are never alone. You always have someone to talk over your ideas with. But of course, having two heads doesn’t necessarily mean that you have twice the brain… or that you can write twice as fast. Also, feeding times are difficult…bathroom times are hell.
The biggest pleasure that we’ve found in the actual act of writing is the feeling of complementing each other. While we don’t really have specialty areas, Nikoo could be characterized as the screenwriter type (she loves writing dialogue), and Jim is more the poet type (he loves imagery and language, descriptive passages… he also loves sleeping in late, long walks on the beach, old movies… anything to keep from working.)
Q. Do you write in different genres?
We do. Our choice of historical romance was simple… Jim had the historical information from his dissertation work and his PhD, and Nikoo had the stories. And we’re both fervent believers in satisfying endings! So May McGoldrick was born.
After more than a dozen historical romances under our belt, we pursued romantic suspense and suspense thrillers under the name Jan Coffey.
Our decision to write nonfiction grew out of our desire to help other writers who might be looking for an alternative way to successfully tell their stories. Also, we’re teachers, so many of our handouts and exercises went into our Step Write Up collection.
We also write young adult under both names.
Q. How did you come up with the story for Mercy? Is the book, the characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
For many years we lived in Newport, Rhode Island. Our house was an early nineteenth-century home that was rumored to be haunted by two sisters—very friendly ghosts. During our years living there, we experienced some strange things. There were many occasions when our dog would wag his tail and bark excitedly at an empty doorway. Also, our toddler would smile and wave his hand at the same invisible people that we couldn’t see. Doors closed on their own. There were creaks in the old plank floors after we go to bed. On one occasion, Nikoo was baking in the kitchen when a cold hand touched her face. She turned to find the baby monitor had gone off. Running upstairs, she found our son was choking in his crib. To this day, we credit the sisters for saving our child’s life.
An old seaport town, Newport is famous for the ghosts of pirates and seamen and the families that they were left behind. There are stories of executed buccaneers being buried on the shore below the high tide line so the souls would never rest as the waves washed across the sands. There are so many ghost stories about the historical homes on the island.
Our novella Mercy was pieced together from many of those stories. An inn on the bluffs, a widow’s walk on a house on another corner of the island, an angry ghost who unsettled every occupant of the home she haunted. Isn’t this the way all stories are born?
Q. Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
We start with a working title. The final book title always goes through a constant revision because the two of us have to agree. That often takes some negotiating before deciding on the final name. Of course, there have been many instances when the marketing departments at our publishers have changed the title in the eleventh hour. We still get letters from fans saying, “Why can’t I find a copy of the novel Jeweled Cup that was advertised in the back of one of your earlier works?” Jeweled Cup became Flame. And that is another ghost story, but set in the Scottish highlands…
Q. Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
We have been working on Road Kill (working title) about a small-town Connecticut photographer that discovers crime scene photos are mixed in with her work—pictures of a slayings that have not yet been discovered. As the result, she becomes the center of a police investigation and the target of a killer’s obsession.
We love to hear from our readers. So please stay in touch.
Nikoo & Jim
Mercy by Jan Coffey
Julia Klein’s life has begun to unravel—her daughter Amy has been suspended from school, Julia is about to lose her job, and her boyfriend Garrett is being transferred thousands of miles away.
Overwhelmed, she and Amy leave for a weekend at a rambling old colonial inn. Julia never suspects that Garrett, desperate to find a way to keep Julia in his life, has decided to surprise her by joining them. Nor does she expect her daughter to befriend a mischievous ghost…or that she herself would be possessed by the malevolent spirit of a long-dead mother.
As a dark secret emerges, Julia, Amy, and Garrett find themselves pitted in a fight for survival against a savage presence that intends to resurrect/repeat/relive a horrible crime committed two centuries ago. And this time, Amy and Julia will be the victims.
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Starting up the stairs, Garrett tried to bury the image of a teary Julia when she’d closed the door on him yesterday after he’d arrived at her house. She’d been too upset to talk.
He shivered as a gust of cold air rushed down the stairwell, slapping him in the face. Garrett hesitated, startled by the sharpness of it. At the top of the steps, a shadow moved, catching his eye. But when he reached the second floor landing, he was surprised to see no one there and no open window.
Doors were visible on both sides of the well-lit hallway. A light flickered behind him. Then, halfway down, a bulb buzzed, blazed intensely, and burned out. He stopped dead. A tall woman in a long, gray dress was standing beneath the darkened light, glaring at him.
Something in her face kept him from looking away. Her eyes burned with emotion. Bitterness. Anger. Hatred.
The hairs on his neck rose when she started in his direction. She moved toward him, filling the narrow hallway.
Garrett turned to make room for her, shuffling his overnight bag from one shoulder to the other, but as he did, his room key dropped to the floor.
When he bent down to retrieve it, chilled air, oppressive and gray, hit him like a wave.
He froze. He’d felt this sensation once before, diving with a film crew at the raising of a sunken slave ship. It was in the ship’s cargo hold. It was a feeling so icy, so overwhelming, that it went straight through him, infusing his bones, numbing him. With it came a sudden memory of some forgotten nightmare—a barren winter field, the gaping black hole of a bottomless grave. He could almost taste the dank odor of death.
Cold panic washed through him. She was on him, all around him. He could feel the woman’s fury. Snatching the key, he straightened up.
She was gone.
Garrett looked up and down the hallway. He was alone. No door had opened or closed. The woman had disappeared.
He was in a colonial inn in Newport, he thought. Of course it could be haunted. He ran a hand over his face. Key in hand, he continued down the hall. By the burned-out light, he saw a set of stairs going up to the third floor. Peering up, he saw the chain across the steps with a sign. ‘Private Residence’. It was dark beyond.
Julia had no idea that he was coming. He’d been on the phone with her this afternoon, and they’d even sent texts back and forth a couple of times tonight. He had given her no inkling that he was already on his way to Newport. Yesterday, he’d been shut out. By showing up here today, he wanted to show Julia that the promotion and the move didn’t change the way he felt. He wanted to be part of their life.
His room was just beyond Julia’s. With one last look down the hall, he turned the key in his door and entered the dark room. A gust of autumn wind blew in from an open window, rattling a picture frame on the wall and causing the gauze curtains to stand straight out like ghostly wings against the ceiling.
Standing inside the door, Garrett sensed that he was not alone in the room. He could feel the eyes of someone watching him. Hating him.
He switched on a lamp by the door. Yellow light bathed the room, throwing deep shadows into dark corners.
The door slammed and Garrett jumped, his eyes sweeping the room. The wind eased, and the sheers fell calmly against the sills. No one else was there.
"Halloween, a wicked draft, and exhaustion," he muttered. “Get a grip.”
The temperature had dropped considerably since he left Boston this afternoon. He closed the window and glanced around at the furnishings. Four-poster bed. The usual dressers and tables. Two reading chairs by the window. Exposed ceiling rafters of rough-hewn timber completed the colonial feel of the room. At one end, the bathroom. At the other end, a door that he knew must lead into Julia and Amy’s room.
He checked his phone. The last text from Julia had come a few minutes after seven. They were walking into the theater to see a movie. Almost two hours ago.
His eye was drawn to Julia’s door. He walked over and unbolted the latch, but it was locked from the other side.
He stopped, hearing faint voices. Snatches of conversation.
I want to stay…
A woman and a child’s voice. But the woman didn’t sound like Julia. And it couldn’t have been Amy. For a second, he wondered if the receptionist downstairs had put him in the wrong room.
"Julia?" he called, pressing his palm flat against the door. The wood felt like ice.
The voices stopped.
The knob turned from the other side, but it didn’t open. Suddenly, a heavy bang rattled the door.
Shocked, he jumped back. Over and over, the doorframe shook.
"Unlock it, Julia," he called.
As suddenly as it started, it stopped, and the sound of scratching began. Someone was sitting on the floor on the other side, clawing at the door. Then, as he stared, long lines of claw marks started to show through the paint. Garrett took another step back.
“This isn’t happening,” he said, feeling the hackles rise on his neck.
Just as the words left his mouth, the scratching stopped. Even as he stared, the claw marks disappeared.
The sound of moaning came through the door. A woman crying.
About the Author:
Jan Coffey aka Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick are storytellers, teachers, and partners in the truest sense.
Nikoo was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved to United States on the eve of Iranian revolution. After receiving a degree in Mechanical engineering, for fifteen years she worked in shipbuilding and robotics, holding manufacturing and higher level management positions. Always a writer and teacher at heart, she gave up her engineering career to pursue writing full time over a decade ago. These days, she also conducts frequent workshops on writing and publishing and serves as a visiting author at middle and high schools.
When their first son was born, Jim gave up a successful career in shipbuilding to pursue a PhD in Medieval and Renaissance literature. After being awarded tenure at a university in Pennsylvania, he found that the opportunity to write novels full-time could not be ignored. Since then, he and Nikoo have written well over two dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. Along with his writing, he currently teaches English and Creative Writing in northwestern Connecticut.
Together, Nikoo and Jim write historical fiction as May McGoldrick and contemporary suspense thrillers as Jan Coffey.
These prolific and popular authors have been the recipients of numerous awards for their work. They now reside in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
$20 digital gift card (Winner’s Choice: Amazon or B&N) and a Nautical brooch for every tour stop.
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Guest Blog by E. J. Russell
My youngest (by eight minutes) son is a lifelong aficionado of the macabre. Nick’s favorite book in grade school was an oversized, cheerfully illustrated book on historical disasters (his favorite was – and still is – the Black Plague), and post-grade school, he graduated to all-things-Stephen-King.
It’s only natural, then, that when he was a senior at the local arts magnet high school, he and his friends decided to make a horror movie. Their script involved a too-good-to-be-true free vacation at a B & B that turned out to be the lair of cannibals. The location for the creepy isolated hotel?
I didn’t know whether to be insulted or flattered.
True, the very remoteness of our out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere house can be alarming. We live on a six-mile-long, partially paved road, with no feeder streets – you can only enter from one end or the other. Our house, screened from the road by a stand of shaggy Douglas firs, sits at the back of a grove of ancient, gnarled walnut trees that have almost forgotten how to leaf out, and the blackberry brambles looming on either side of the bumpy driveway rival Sleeping Beauty’s daunting thorn hedge.
To my husband, this set-up is a dream come true. For him, our virtual fortress on the hill is the perfect sanctuary, a retreat where he never has to see a neighbor if he doesn’t want to. But for our extrovert daughter, who gets freaked out by the least hint of the weird, it’s a nightmare in the making. She avoids being home alone like she’d avoid Nick’s favorite disaster, and if for some reason she can’t, she turns on every light in the house. Every. Stinking. One.
Nick, pragmatic opportunist that he is, was perfectly willing to exploit the creep factor for his film, even though he’s just as quick to embrace the seclusion when he’s feeling anti-social.
My two heroes in Northern Light have a similar love/hate relationship with rural isolation.
For desperate painter Stefan, the remote cabin in the Oregon Coast Range, off the grid and hugged by the forest, is a refuge. There, away from the stress of his financial difficulties and the reminders of his personal failures, he finally has a chance to reconnect with his artistic vision and start to rebuild his shattered life.
But the solitude that Stefan finds so comforting nearly sends Luke, my art investigator, running for…well, not the hills. He hates those damn hills. For Luke, who once endured a disabling traumatic event in the mountains, safety is a well-populated sea-level community, where he can see the horizon whenever he looks out his window, and know that he’s not trapped.
So how about you? City dweller or country cousin? Hustle and bustle or peace and quiet? Or are you like Nick, who’ll take which ever one suits his mood at the moment?
Northern Light by E.J. Russell
Genre: M/M Romance
Nothing gives art fraud investigator Luke Morganstern a bigger rush than busting forgers, the low-life criminals who dare victimize true artists. But when his latest job sends him to a remote cabin in the Oregon Coast Range, he’s stunned to discover the alleged forger is his former lover, Stefan Cobbe, the most gifted painter Luke has ever known.
Stefan, left homeless and destitute after the death of his wealthy partner, doesn’t exactly deny the forgery — he claims he doesn’t remember, an excuse Luke can’t accept.
But Luke’s elderly client suggests Stefan may be telling the truth and presents another possibility – a dark presence in the woods, a supernatural fury simmering for decades. Luke must face down his fear of the uncanny – and admit his feelings for Stefan – if either of them is to survive.
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Luke slammed the heel of his hand against his forehead. Shitgoddamnsonofabitch. He’d asked the fucking question. Now he’d have to listen to an answer he could never un-know. His chest heaved and he stared Stefan down, waiting for the words that would either damn him as a liar or condemn him as a forger. Either one would force Luke to choose between rebooting his career or destroying the man he’d once loved.
Stefan blinked. Blinked again, brows drawing together in a tight vee. "What?"
For some reason, maybe aftershocks from his Fiat-flashback or mortification that Stefan had witnessed his resultant freak-out, the bewildered affront on Stefan’s face kicked Luke into art investigator asshole mode. "Did you think you’d get away with the fake Arcolettis because he was a relative unknown? Because all his pieces except one are in private hands?"
"Who the hell is Arcoletti?"
Luke guffawed, sounding unpleasant even to himself. "Good one."
"No. I mean it. Who’s Arcoletti?"
"Jeremiah Arcoletti. American realist painter. Disappeared in 1945 along with all thirteen canvases from his last collection.” Luke’s eyes popped wide. "Holy shit. That’s it, isn’t it? The lost collection." He poked Stefan’s shoulders with stiff fingers, peripherally aware arguing in the middle of a dark mountain road was ridiculous and possibly suicidal, but he didn’t give a flying fuck. They’d finish this now. "Is that your plan? Recreate the lost collection out here in your little studio in the big woods?"
"Stop it." Stefan batted Luke’s hand away, his gaze fixed on the ground, avoiding the question. Pleading the artistic Fifth. Last refuge of the guilty.
"Where’d you see his work? The museum in Amsterdam? Hell, in all those years of prancing around with Marius, you could have seen every fricking one of the privately held pieces. Marius had the connections for it. You could toss his name around to get access to the Gordon letters too. Damn it." He dropped his arms, suddenly spent. "The Stefan I knew would have cut off his hands before he’d counterfeit another artist’s work. What’s happened to you?"
"What hasn’t?" Stefan’s eyes were wide, his pupils huge in the combined light of headlights and flashlight. "But I swear. I’ve never heard of this Arcoletti."
"No? Then tell me. What’s coming off your easel these days? Studies in Monochrome? The Picture of Oregon Gray?”
"I…I don’t know."
The feeble disavowal flipped Luke’s asshole switch back on. "Don’t give me that shit. You don’t paint with your eyes closed."
"No. I just…" Stefan’s voice was hoarse, and he clutched his flashlight to his belly, casting warped, inverted shadows across his face and distorting his features into a death’s-head mask. "I’ve been painting, but I don’t remember them. I’m not even sure how many there are."
"Artistic amnesia? Bullshit. You must have seen them when you handed them over to Boardman."
Stefan shook his head and pinched his eyes closed. "Thomas always loaded them into his car. I never looked. Not after…not when they were finished."
"No. I was afraid…" Stefan wrapped his arms across his stomach, pointing the flashlight into the woods, and his face was his own again, drawn and haunted.
"Afraid of getting caught?"
"Afraid of what I’d paint next," he whispered.
Luke’s lips twisted. "Denial. It’s what’s for dinner. No wonder you’re so fricking thin."
"Why is everything black and white for you, Luke? Let in some color, for Christ’s sake." Stefan forked the fingers of one hand through his hair. "Even a little gray would be a change."
Luke refused to allow the broken edge of Stefan’s voice to influence him. He’d let sentiment sway him once before and it had cold-cocked his career. "Right or wrong, Stef. It’s not that tough a choice."
"Fine." Stefan raised his head and met Luke’s gaze, his shoulders shifting as if bracing for a blow. "You’ve already made up your mind, as usual. Go ahead. Turn me in to the art police."
Luke searched Stefan’s face for some flicker of remorse, some acknowledgement he accepted the enormity of his crime. Nothing. Only the droop of his lips and a telltale glitter in his eyes, hinting at unshed tears. "Can you give me a reason not to?"
Stefan’s breath caught in what might have been a laugh if his face weren’t so bleak. "Guess not." He saluted Luke with a middle finger. "Enjoy your drive."
Stefan strode uphill, the beam of his flashlight bouncing from road to hillside, and Luke’s last trace of adrenaline drained away. He sighed, deep and exhausted.
The lousy car sat perpendicular to the road, driver’s door ajar. If he was lucky, he’d manage to creep down the hill by midnight. He shut the damn door before the brainless chime of the key alarm drove him nuts and leaned his forehead against the car roof, the beaded rain icy against his heated skin.
About the Author:
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer and business intelligence consultant. She returned to her childhood love of writing fiction after her twin sons learned to drive and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class.
Her daily commute now consists of walking from one side of her office to the other — from left-brain day job to right-brain author cave — where she’s perfected the fine art of typing with a cat draped across her wrists and a dog attached to her hip. Her stories include gay and straight characters because her life includes gay and straight characters (as does everyone’s).
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
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13 Shocking Reasons Real People were Committed to a Lunatic Asylum by Sarah Ballance
If you thought you had to get your crazy on to land in a place like Ruby Hill, you’d better think again.
The following list of reasons folks were locked up for “treatment” between 1864 and 1889 at the RUBY HILL-esque yet very real Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum is absolutely true. (My commentary, however, may be prone to exaggeration.) (Source)
Bad Whiskey – I don’t know if this guy drank bad whiskey, sold bad whiskey, or manufactured bad whiskey, but you’ve got to feel for anyone forced to sober up a lunatic asylum. I’m pretty sure that type of residence is exactly where I’d most need whiskey, bad or otherwise.
Drospy – I admit I had to look this one up. It’s the old word for edema, which is what happens when you carry excess fluid. Basically this means if you’ve ever taken off your socks to find they’ve left dents in your legs, you could have been committed. Now THAT is lunacy.
Fighting Fire – Not setting them, but fighting them. Apparently firefighting in the 1800s wasn’t always considered the heroic profession we know it as today. And someone at the admissions desk is a pyromaniac.
Menstrual Deranged – What does that mean, exactly? Aside the menstrual part – we get that. Monthly, even. But deranged? We probably don’t want to know, but what do you want to bet a man came up with that one?
Masturbation for 30 Years – Erm, okay. But why THIS GUY and not EVERY OTHER GUY ON THE PLANET? I’m just sayin’….
Suppressed Masturbation – So what we’ve just learned is there is clearly a target zone for this particular activity—somewhere between once and 30 years’ worth. Good luck with that, boys.
Ill Treatment by Husband – Okay, so he’s a jerk so they lock HER up? I bet a man thought of that one, too. (I’m gaining a whole new appreciation for my fabulous husband, who—in over 16 years of marriage—has not once sent me to an asylum.)
Seduction and Disappointment – I’m not sure who was seduced in this scenario and who was disappointed, but apparently this was not the time to oversell oneself. (No wonder that one guy just stuck to masturbation for 30 years.)
Scarlatina (Scarlet Fever) – You there, with the contagious disease. Into the criminally over-crowded asylum. Yep, that’ll fix you. That will fix all of you. Muahahaha.
Medicine to Prevent Conception – To be fair, all forms of contraception were made illegal in the United States in 1873, so this was at least technically a crime. By the 1880s, though, there was a handy-dandy sausage casing device (yes, that would be animal intestine) alternative. Might have been worth a shot because…
Dissipation of Nerves – There’s nothing to indicate the dissipation of nerves was in any way related to conception rates, but my husband and I have six children (one of whom was conceived after I was surgically sterilized) and I’m telling you, asylum people. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. It a classic inverse proportion, and if you don’t believe me just ask all those people who see me with six kids and immediately assume I’m crazy. But I digress.
Carbonic Acid Gas – I’m not sure of the particulars here, but just so y’all know, this is a byproduct of breathing. BREATHING WAS A CRIME.
Novel Reading – ERMAGERD, YOU GUYS. First we can’t breathe, and now they take away our novels! But fear not, for RUBY HILL is not a novel, but a novella. Which can only mean READING RUBY HILL WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF AN INSANE ASYLUM!
Okay, so my logic might be a bit flawed, LOL, but I’m going to distract you quickly so you won’t notice. ?
Here’s a related little historical twist that blew my mind.
In September, Entangled Scandalous released my historical romance, HER WICKED SIN, which is set during the Salem Witch Trials. Back then, the Salem in question was actually Salem Village, which has since been renamed Danvers. Danvers is home to the Danvers State Lunatic Asylum (reportedly one of the most haunted places in the world, and they turned it into APARTMENTS, y’all!), which sits on Hawthorne Hill, the very site of the gallows where the Salem witches were hanged. Nice little coincidence, right? But it gets better. Back in 2011—long before I’d given any thought to writing about the Salem Witch Trials or a haunted lunatic asylum—I had out there a little novella about a haunted house. Its name?
Now that you’ve been properly wooed (yes-I-said-wooed), are you ready to dive into the dust, abandonment, terror—and yes, romance—of an abandoned mental institution? (Come on—you’ve got to see how the romance fits in there, right?) If so, I hope you’ll consider a dark, dangerous trek (or, you know, just click over) to your favorite e-tailer for the scoop on RUBY HILL!
PS: I’m probably hiking with grizzly bears as you read this, so bear (ha!) with me if I don’t respond immediately to your comments. I do look forward to your replies—and I have been promised nightly wifi—so if I’m not mauled, eaten, or otherwise incapacitated, I will SO come back for you! ?
Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance
From her earliest memories, Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum, and she’s not the only one. Decades after the abandoned hospital ended its institutional reign of torture and neglect, something lurks in the shadows. Since she’s a paranormal investigator, it’s Ashley’s job to find out what.
Crime scene expert Corbin Malone doesn’t believe in ghosts. A born skeptic, he has no interest in entertaining the hype surrounding the mysterious deaths at Ruby Hill, but he won’t turn his back while more women die. He agrees to an overnight investigation, never expecting his first encounter would be with the woman he pushed away a year ago. But when he discovers Ashley is a target, he learns his greatest fear isn’t living with his own demons, but losing her for good.
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Death had a flavor. Equal parts bitter and bland, the damnable taste was more sickening than the stickiness in Corbin Malone’s throat. It soured his gut, leaving him with an unease he couldn’t quite swallow, and the deeper they drove into the countryside—the closer the car brought him to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum—the more potent the flavor. Five years a cop, he’d neatly sidestepped the ugly aftertaste until things got personal.
Until the body belonged to his brother, Cash.
Nearly six months had passed since Cash Malone fought for his last breath inside the dismal, abandoned halls of Ruby Hill. Though his body now rested six feet under a distant patch of cemetery grass, Ruby Hill remained his tomb—a giant, crouching headstone marring acres of otherwise beautiful, rolling hills. And for Corbin, a visage of murder.
About the Author:
Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.
She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Kobo, For the Muse Publishing, and ENTANGLED PUBLISHING.
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The Invisible Boy, a new book that deals with the isolation quiet children can feel, is the kind of book that serves multiple purposes in an elementary school classroom (e.g., interactive read aloud book, teaching demonstration text, mentor text for strategy lessons). Previews of the book and giveaway information come at the bottom of the post.
Blog: The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
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“As daughter of our ruler I grew up in the crossfire of an ongoing war… All I’d ever wanted to be was a great warrior and ultimately lead my people into victorious battles.”
With only a small army at her command Halíka Dacomé, a skilled warrior and daughter of the Elemental King, is ready to lead one final battle to save her planet. A battle against the savage, bloodthirsty Primords who want to extinguish the diminished race of Elementals once and for all.
But before battle commences her father is given an ultimatum from the enemy leader, Arfron Uhnok. If the king agrees, Halíka Dacomé must marry Arfron Uhnok to prevent further bloodshed. If the king disagrees they, as a race, will all perish.
Horrified by her father’s decision, Halíka Dacomé leads her army onward regardless of the consequences. Because her heart belongs to another. A love that blossomed many years ago. A love that her father has forbidden.
Halíka faces her toughest battle yet and learns that not all battles are those fought with a sword…
The Battle for Arcanon Major is an epic love story set against the backdrop of war and is the first Prequel to Elemental: The First.
What do we want from a Strong Female Character? by Alexandra May
It’s hard to decipher what the term ‘Strong’ Female Character actually means. Do readers want to read about a heroine who takes no prisoners, fights to the death and answers to no one? Or do we want to read about a character that tries her best, has flaws but deals with situations to the best of her ability.
What does ‘Strong’ mean exactly? Strong as in strength? Strong as in compassion? Strong as in confidence? Many of our leading female protagonists in YA literature are strong characters, but flawed as much as they are strong.
One of my favourite characters is Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series. She’s sassy, mouthy, kicks a mean roundhouse and is devoted to her bonded best friend, Lissa. Critics might say that being bonded creates the first flaw in Rose’s character. The fact that she devotes her own life to ensure Lissa stays alive is maybe a flaw but shows strength of character. She’s already accepted that Lissa’s life comes first in all things. At the end of Book 3, Shadow Kiss, though, Rose takes an unexpected path. She’s about to follow her love, Dimitri to kill him. This is where her strength reaches out revealing that not only is she flawed, she’s also human (or dhampir, whichever way you look at it.). She’s leaving Lissa behind for the first time ever.
The most important points when I created Halíka Dacomé were not only to show her strong character but also show how human she was. She’s an Overlord, or General, of a mostly male army. She’s fights well, takes ownership of her decisions, and accepts advice from others and ultimately her strength in character is what drives her army to follow her. They believe in her, wholeheartedly.
Underneath all of that she’s deeply flawed. Her love for her brother brings on an awkward situation when he won’t return to his post, preferring to stay with her in the final battle. Not even her strong will can remove him. He is her weakness but also her strength. When her childhood friend and love interest arrives, her emotions become twisted. She even sheds a few tears in his close company. He is also her weakness. Some might say that her love is her strength. This really all comes down to how the writer wants to define that particular aspect of the character. Love can always make a situation better or worse.
The next most important aspect when writing a romance with a strong character is writing an equally strong opposite. Some readers were upset at the end of book 6, Last Sacrifice of the Vampire Academy series. Rose Hathaway chose Dimitri over Adrian. In truth Adrian was never Rose’s equal. The relationship was born more of friendship and lust rather than equalling Dimitri in other ways. Dimitri and Rose know, really know each other. They work because they’re in sync. They know each other’s strengths and weakness as though they were their own. They balance one another in a way that Adrian and Rose never had.
For Halíka Dacomé her biggest weakness, her biggest flaw was her compassion. She followed her heart and was led by it to make a decision that she would not have normally made. That decision led to her downfall.
So, my next task when I write the sequel to The Battle for Arcanon Major is to show how she overcomes the realisation that her heart got in the way of her rational thinking. Will her strong character enable her to overcome her moment of weakness?
Alexandra May is an English author of three books, bringing together the epic saga of Halíka Dacomé and her modern day equivalent, Rose Frost.
Elemental: The First, Elemental: Origin and The Battle for Arcanon Major draw in Alexandra’s love of strong women characters, sci-fi, history, romance and a little warmongering on the side!
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