Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Michael F. Stewart - Assured Destruction - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose their livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.

My Review

Adolescent infatuation is dealt with in a whole new way in Michael F. Stewart's thrilling escapade, Assured Destruction. There's a love triangle to be sure (it is a young adult novel, after all) but the players involved do not encompass the stereotypical dynamic common to the genre. At sixteen, Janus is already a kick ass computer hacker. She helps her disabled mom run their hard drive destruction business. She knows what it's like to be emotionally and financially abandoned by her father. She's not going to fall for some boy just to have him leave her. She's too smart for that.

But it doesn't mean they won't try to win her over. Out of the two guys vying for her heart, Jonny is the most interesting. He's a graffiti artist who's emo in the extreme. He's quiet, dependable, loyal, but does his obsession with Janus border on the psychotic? Is he out to get her for turning him down? His loner characteristics take on a harder edge when cast in a suspicious light. Stalker tendencies aside, his troubled teen persona creates doubt surrounding his true motivations. Is he in love with Janus, or is he out for revenge?

His rival for Janus' affections is Karl, Mr. Popularity with the killer physique. In the beginning, he looks right through her serving as the lap dog of her lifelong frenemy/rich girl, Ellie. When they all end up in detention for a cyber prank that Janus originates, his admiration for her grows. He's intrigued by her bad girl side, and can't get enough of it. When a suspension escalates to her expulsion from school, Karl pulls out all of the stops to win her over. But will it be enough?

Young adult readers enjoy a hefty dose of romance in their stories, and while Assured Destruction doesn't center around a love story, there are enough elements in place to satisfy a longing for swoon-worthy moments. The dating game is intermingled with the driving plot of a mystery. When suspects are methodically taken out of the equation, it leaves the ending wide open for a truly heart-pounding scene in the back of car, as Janus chooses who she wants to be with. It's a moment that rounds out the book on just the right uber-sweet note.


Assured Destruction can be purchased at:
Amazon (paperback), Kindle

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
Pages: 185
ISBN: 9780981269948
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press
Release: March 22, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

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Rita Antoinette Borg - Meg the Egg - Book Blast & Giveaway

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Little Meg finds the outside world a bit too loud and far too scary! So, she’s going to stay inside her safe white shell, thank you very much. But then the Howl breaks into the barn and steals Mother Hen! What is she supposed to do, still holed up in that egg of hers? She can’t run and she certainly can’t fly. Well, never get between a chick and her momma, cause this little bird’s got a can-do spirit and a whole lot of courage that she didn’t know she had before! A tale of self discovery that speaks to all children’s fears of the unknown, Ms. Borg delivers a great read-aloud resource for parents and teachers alike. With an onomatopoeic construction that gives life to the story and encourages children to participate through repetition of words, noises, and actions, MEG THE EGG is the perfect story for beginning readers.

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Rita Antoinette Borg was educated in New York and now resides on the Mediterranean island of Malta. She performs storytelling and creative writing workshops in schools across the country and works as a freelance writer for local magazines and newspapers. Ms. Borg has published four picture books aimed at early readers as well as an anthology of short stories for older children. Her books have been recognized by the Malta National Annual Literary Awards. Her book “Don’t Cross the Road, Holly!” was chosen as the year’s best Children’s Book in English. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators.

Pump Up Your Book and Rita Antoinette Borg are teaming up to give you a chance to win fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works: Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from April 22 - May 17, 2013. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on May 20, 2013. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

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If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t load, you can visit the Meg the Egg tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/04/01/pump-up-your-book-presents-rita-antoinette-borgs%E2%80%99s-meg-the-egg-book-blast-%E2%80%93-win-25-amazon-gift-card-and-free-books/ for your chance to enter and win!

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Mariel Grey - Surrender of Trust - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title was very difficult for me. I think a title should reflect both the genre and the mood of a book. Because this story is a romance, I naturally wanted something which sounded romantic. Originally, I was going to use a different title. The editor of one imprint thought my original title was cute. In contrast, the editor of another imprint didn’t like the original title at all. I eventually came to the realization that I needed to change the title. In a relationship, we often surrender bits and parts of ourselves. Hopefully a relationship brings out the best in us and prompts us to surrender the worst parts of ourselves. I think the title I chose for the book, Surrender of Trust, fits.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are no underlying moral messages in the story. However, there is character growth. It’s always more interesting if your characters grow and evolve. It’s a story about relationships and the personal growth of individuals.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
I’m not completely sure how to answer this question because it could address two issues. If you are asking if the plot is realistic, the answer is yes. The plot line is realistic. All of the events could conceivably have happened. Some people might question one scene at a race course, but it is possible those events could have occurred as well. If your question is asking whether the book is realistic in its setting, then again the answer is yes. Surrender of Trust is a historical romance and I spent a great deal of time researching the background and details for authenticity. I researched the names of the jockeys who were racing during that period. I even tried to determine those jockeys who did, or may have, participated in a specific race referenced within the book. The scandal which involved the Prince of Wales, Sam Chifney, and his horse, Escape, at Newmarket really occurred. The races (and the racecourses) of Newmarket, the Oaks, and Derby Stakes at Epson Downs are real and still run today. The background of my heroine, Lucy Goodwin’s father is loosely based on that of the original owner of Tattersall’s auctioneer, an establishment still in existence today. The particulars of the gambling den are based on a description of one from the period. Many of the locations referenced in the book are real and survive today. The details of the attire, both that of the men and women, are authentic. The hairstyles mentioned, like the Titus, were real fashions during that time period. The particulars of the musical instruments and their makers are accurate, as are the descriptions of the china. The furniture, wall coverings, and architectural details of the buildings are faithful to the period. The meals described are modeled on real menus. Letty Lade and the scandalous women racers existed. The list goes on.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Actually, I never intended this book to become part of a series. I originally wrote Surrender of Trust to be a stand-alone title. After I completed the book, I realized it was perfect for a series, so I would have to say no. I’m glad it turned out as it did.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The research! You have no idea how difficult it is to verify small details like the names of popular haircuts of the day. I really wanted the details I reference in the book to be correct. I spent hours and hours researching small details. As I discussed earlier, there are numerous historical details sprinkled throughout the book.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I certainly learned more about the customs and norms of the day. But more importantly, my research reinforced my gratitude to be a woman living in modern times as opposed to living in that time.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have been interested in books and writing since I was a little girl. When I was in the first grade, I was having trouble learning to read. We visited my grandparents’ house and I found my father’s old Hardy Boys series. We brought those books home and my father started reading to me every night. I could never bear when my father left off reading in the story, so I’d pick the books up and try to read and sound out the words. I’d have to figure out what the words were and what they meant by the context. By the end of the second grade, I was reading those books independently. After I finished that series, I was off to read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Kim Aldrich books. I loved reading! I still do. Naturally, my love of books led to a love of words and a fascination with how words could be manipulated to could convey meaning and evoke feelings and imagery. Not surprisingly, I decided early on I wanted to write. I saved my allowance and babysitting money and brought a typewriter in the seventh or eighth grade so I could do just that. Then the teenage hormones kicked in and I headed down other paths in life for a while. I’m finally at a point in my life where I’m back to writing again.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There is no way I can choose just one favorite author! I read so many authors and genres and enjoy them all for different aspects. My husband and I have an entire room filled with nothing but shelves of books alphabetized by author. When the shelves become filled, we reluctantly have to part with some of the books to make room for more. We are, of course, making the transition to ebooks, which helps. Every author has a distinct voice, style, and, of course, genre. I’ll rattle off a few of the authors I like, but I’ll be leaving out probably 50 or so...

For historical romances: Stephanie Laurens and Madeline Hunter
For action, adventure: James Rollins, Jack DuBrul, Clive Cussler
Florida stories: Carl Hiaasen, James Hall
The dark side: Dean Koonz (more his older books)
For a little twist: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Steve Berry
Mystery/crime: Jeffrey Deaver, John Sanford

9. Tell us your latest news.
I’m working on the second book in my Surrender Series. Did I say working? I meant to say slaving on my second book. I hope to have it completed early next year.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your interest in me and in my book, Surrender of Trust. I hope you enjoy the book, as well as the rest of the Surrender Series. I truly appreciate your time. It's a busy world out there. I know your time is valuable and you could spend it anywhere, so thank you for spending it with me and with my work. Please feel free to contact me with your comments, good and bad. Feedback helps me become better at my craft and more responsive to my readers’ tastes. I also appreciate when you post reviews about my books on Amazon or other websites which can help other readers decide whether they might enjoy reading my book or not.

About the Book

Lucy Goodwin fears losing her individuality and independence to marriage under 1803 English law. Bereaved of her father, Lucy’s world revolves around her brother and his successful thoroughbred breeding business near London. Her security and independence are threatened when her brother is injured and Lucy is confronted by potential disgrace and scandalous allegations. Lucy's actions worsen the situation by exposing the reputation and honor of her brother's new business partner, the Marquis of Chalifour, to the potential scandal. Lucy is torn between protecting her brother and her heart, or Chalifour, the man she loves, from ruin.

Lord Philip Lyton, Marquis of Chalifour is a member of the prestigious Jockey Club. He seizes the opportunity to merge his horses with the Goodwin horses to create a superior strain of thoroughbreds. A serious injury to Lucy's brother forces Chalifour to deal with Lucy instead of her brother. Chalifour's growing sense of unease with the partnership conflicts with his growing feelings for Lucy. When he discovers Lucy has deceived him, Chalifour must decide whether he can believe in Lucy's goodness, despite appearances to the contrary. In order to extricate her and her brother from certain calamity and claim Lucy for his own, Chalifour must find a way to earn Lucy’s confidence and her heart.

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
Pages: 228
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: self-published
Release Date: April 7, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo

About the Author

Mariel Grey fell in love with books and writing at a young age. It began with her father's boyhood Hardy Boy series at the end of her first grade and continued from there. Mariel knew she wanted to work as a writer in some capacity before she went into high school. An essay she wrote in the eleventh grade won her a trip to Washington, DC, to meet then President Carter. Life, though, has a funny way of intervening in people's dreams, and such was the case with Mariel.

At this point in her life, Mariel is able to return to her passion of writing. Her debut book, Surrender of Trust, is the first in her Surrender Series, historical romance set in the extended Regency period. Mariel is hard at work on the second book in the series and hopes to have it completed by early next year.

Mariel currently lives in Orlando, Florida. Prior to that, she was a longtime resident of South Florida and frequent visitor to the Florida Keys, where she still maintains strong ties. After Mariel completes her Surrender Series, she hopes to delve into some contemporary romance. She figures being a longtime resident of Florida should give her plenty of fodder for some interesting and diverse stories.

Links to Connect with Mariel:
Web site

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wendy S. Russo - January Black - Excerpt & Giveaway

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January Black

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma. More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple. What was January Black? It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.  

While walking south on Main Street, Matty and Iris traded shopping bags. She cocked her head sideways while looking at the cover of the book he bought her.

“Black Sheep,” she read aloud thoughtfully. “Alice Glass. Why do I know that name?”

“She wrote the novel that ‘Marker’ is based on,” he replied, referring to a SteerNet serial about to be cancelled in its first season.

“Ugh,” she said, dropping her hand. The book slapped her leg. “That show is horrible.”

“Agreed, but never mind that. ‘Black Sheep’ is by far her best work.”

“I’ll give it a try,” Iris said. “Take a look in yours.”

He pulled the small paperback out his. Peter Oldham was his mother’s favorite historical fiction author. Matty recognized “Drops in August” as soon as the corner of the cover cleared the paper sleeve. He bit his tongue to keep from groaning.

“Oh, God,” she said, likely in reaction to the cringe he failed to hold back. “Maybe this was a bad idea.”

Thinking of his mother, and her repeated suggestions that he read the book, Matty’s initial disappointment dissipated. “No, this is good,” he told Iris.

“That’s not what your face says.” She reached for the book.

“Oh, no!” He shook his head and moved his hand out of her reach. “This will do very nicely.”

“Nicely? For what?” She crossed in front of him and walked backward, reaching for the book as he whipped his hand up and behind his head.

“For a joke on my parents.”

She stopped cold in her tracks. He planted his feet so that he wouldn’t run into her, but his momentum carried him forward anyway. She put her hands forward to stop him from falling, but when he hit them, she lost her footing and stumbled backwards. He lunged forward and caught her in his arms.

When he regained his balance and stopped her fall, she was shocked, breathless, and completely supported in his arms at a sharp angle to the ground. People around them on the sidewalk applauded.

One man who passed them said, “Nice catch, kid!”

Matty stepped back and brought her to her feet. She seemed to be searching his eyes for something.

Finally, she asked, “Are you a brat, Matty?”

“Depends.” He felt as if he would shake apart if he let her go. “Do you like brats?”

As her lips pulled into a smile from ear to ear, she touched her forehead to his collarbone. A few moments later, she looked back up at him and squirmed just slightly. He let her shrug him off, and when her arms were free, she slapped his cheek playfully before skipping south on the sidewalk. All of his internal organs melted into his legs. About ten steps later, she turned around.

“Are you coming?” she yelled.

Matty shook off his daze and ran to catch up with her.


Refreshingly intelligent and loads of fun! I lost a few hours as I read this book. It's a Young Adult novel that is refreshingly and astonishingly intelligent, and the love story is perfectly played out. ~Christine Ashworth, Amazon Review

The mystery was intriguing - I loved how Wendy Russo weaved in all her secrets throughout the book, how she incorporated just enough to keep you reading, while never actually divulging much of anything. I was guessing for most of it and that's pretty hard to make me do. 
~Julie, Clean Teen Reads

 Wendy Russo has created a masterpiece.
 ~Ivan Amberlake, Author  

Book Trailer

Author Wendy S. Russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.  

More Information:

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/8/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Tabatha Vargo - Playing Patience - Book Blast & Giveaway

Book Title: Playing Patience
Author: Tabatha Vargo
Release Date: April 26th 2013
Genre: New Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Presented by: As You Wish...

Sometimes all you need is Patience.

Life’s been hard for Zeke. Being a punching bag for his alcoholic father has turned him into stone. Not even the dodgy trailer park he lives in can scare him. Fighting is his release and sex, drugs, and his guitar bring him peace, but deep down Zeke isn’t quite as hard as he makes himself out to be. When he meets Patience, she finds all his broken pieces and puts him back together, but she’s a ray of light in his shadowed life and the last thing he wants to do is bring her into his dark world. Playing careless is easy, playing the bad guy can be fun, but playing Patience is impossible, especially when she can see right through him.

Zeke isn’t the only one who’s broken, and for the first time, in a long time, Patience feels alive. Her black and white world gets a shot of color when she meets Zeke. He’s unlike anyone she’s ever met with his tattoos, piercings, and blunt honesty. She wants nothing more than to let go and ride the wild side with him, but some wounds never heal and the broken pieces of Patience aren’t so easy to find.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young adult readers.***


Her cheeks turned pink and a frown pulled on her pouty mouth.

“I shouldn’t have come here. I just wanted to say thanks.” Her eyes cut me before she turned and walked away. She made it to the hood of the waiting car, before my conscious peeked out and slapped the shit out of me.

“Hey,” I called out to her.

She stopped and faced me again. Instantly, I felt like the biggest dick in the south when I saw her eyes brimming with tears. Someone so sensitive didn’t stand a chance around a person like me, but knowing that I’d probably never see her face again made it okay for me to kind of apologize for being myself for some reason.

“I’m rude, but you’ve seen first hand what happens to shiny things in a chop shop,” I gestured to the world around us. “Your best bet is to stay away from these parts, princess. A pretty thing like you wouldn’t last two hours out here. How long were you at The Pit last night before you were dying on the bathroom floor? An hour, tops? Think of my rudeness as a blessing.” I adjusted my guitar case in my sweaty palm and turned toward my trailer door.

I looked back to get one final glimpse of her. The contrast between her and the trailer park around her was alarming, although, with her fair skin, white hair, and pale, blue eyes, I’m sure she stuck out just about anywhere she went. She was unique, a single snowflake with her own icy patterns, and if she stayed in my hell any longer she’d melt.

“Have a nice trip back to Wonderland, Snowflake,” I said, as I opened my the door,

“My name is Patience,” she snapped.

Patience…it was as unique as its owner. I liked it, although, I’d never admit that out loud. Instead, I shook my head and laughed like she had told me a joke, walked inside, and shut her out.

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Tabatha's been writing since she could pick up a pencil. Her first publication was a little poem in her elementary school paper, from that point on she was hooked. When she was a teenager, she traded in her girly magazines for personalized writing notebooks.

At nineteen, she met her own personal prince charming and writing took a back burner for a while. She's now married to that prince and the mother of a beautiful seven-year-old princess/rock star. Once her daughter was born, writing came back into her life, and she finished her very first novel, Wicked Fate, in May of 2009.

She's now pursuing her English degree and she hopes to one day teach while continuing to write.

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Playing Patience by Tabatha Vargo

Playing Patience

by Tabatha Vargo

Giveaway ends June 01, 2013.
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John J. Healey - Emily and Herman - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
The book’s original title, the one I submitted it with, was the somewhat baroque: ‘open your life wide, and take me in forever’. It’s taken from one of the so-called ‘Master’ letters, love letters, written by Emily Dickinson that was found unsent after her death. It told me all I needed to know about her and became the sort of core for her character in my novel. When I sent the MS to the man I hoped would become my agent - and luckily he did - Ed Victor in London, he called me a month later after he’d finished it and said, ‘I’ve got two things to tell you; I love the manuscript and I hate the title.’ My original intention had been to go a bit against the current fashion of very short titles, to have an old fashion title that would cover a good portion of the book’s cover. But I was persuaded to change my mind and I’m quite glad I did. Ed said, how about something simple like: Herman & Emily? And then when Arcade took the book and agreed to publish it my editor, the divine Jeannette Seaver said, “I think it would be better ‘ladies first.” And voila.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I certainly had no message in mind as I wrote it. But by the time one finishes it I think a number of small messages are apparent. Perhaps the one most evident is that the minutia of reality is far more wondrous than magical, spiritual thinking.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
I believe the idea and the rendering of 20 year-old Emily Dickinson falling in love with 32 year-old Herman Melville in the autumn of 1851 is realistic, even if it’s not historically true. There’s a difference. I made a great point of surrounding them with details that are as realistic as possible. The book is well researched. Where they go, how they go, what they wear and eat, the hotels and the restaurants, the other characters in the story, all of that is based on fact.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I would have created a role for Margaret Fuller.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
There is a wonderful quote of Stanley Kubrick about film: A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later. I feel the same way about literature, getting the rhythm right is always the great challenge.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing it was a great pleasure and gave me the opportunity to explore the lives of these extraordinary American artists and the rich history of New England and New York City.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
No, only that it started at a very early age. I still conserve a ‘novel’ I wrote when I was about nine years old, some six pages long, about the end of the world.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have many favorite authors. Just to name a few: James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Thomas Wolfe, Alice Munro, Marguerite Yourcenar, Ian McEwan, Philip Roth, Shirley Hazzard, Mo Yan. They are quite different from each other in many ways. But what most strikes me about the work of all of them is that, reading them; it feels as if the book in question has always been there. The difficulties they’ve traversed producing the finished works are not on the page.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I’m hoping someone talented will make a film from EMILY & HERMAN. It’s certainly one I’d like to see. And I’m hard at work on another work of fiction that has to do with Joyce, Amalia Popper, Ireland and my own family.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Try and buy EMILY & HERMAN at your local bookstore! Local bookstores are just the best. But if you can’t, order it on-line.

About the Book

A delightful romantic account of Emily Dickinson’s and Herman Melville’s relationship.

The manuscript of this novel was discovered by John J. Healey in a box left by his grandfather, Professor Vincent P. Healey, after his death. This engaging work of fiction is a romantic account in which four iconic figures of American Letters play a leading role.

In the summer of 1851 Herman Melville was finishing Moby Dick on his family farm in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. Surrounded by his mother, sisters and pregnant wife, it was a calm and productive season until his neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne lured him to Amherst. There they met twenty-year-old Emily Dickinson and her brother Austin. On a whim the two distinguished authors invited the Dickinson siblings to accompany them on a trip to Boston and New York. In Manhattan they met journalist Walt Whitman and William Johnson, a runaway slave, and it was there, despite their efforts to control it, that Emily and Herman fell in love.

This, for the first time, is their story.

Prices/Formats: $21.95 hardcover
Pages: 256
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Release Date: April 1, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon

About the Author

John J. Healey has been published in the Harvard Review and has directed two documentary films, Federico Garcia Lorca and the award-winning The Practice of the Wild. He lives in the United States and Spain.

Links to Connect with John:
Web site

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beth Fred - The Marlowe Girls series - Excerpts & Giveaway

The Fate of a Marlowe Girl

When twenty-four-year-old Tiffany escapes her sister Kammy's too wild Cancun bachelorette party, she finds herself in a bar with the unwanted attention of a gorgeous local named Luke. Luke may be charming but Tiffany is leaving in two days and doesn't need any complications. But complications are exactly what she gets when the cops show up to raid Kammy's party. When Kammy is arrested, Tiffany agrees to have dinner with Luke, so he'll help her get Kammy out of jail. Kammy's arrest forces her to spend an extra day in Cancun, meaning she'll miss a crucial meeting, and as an accountant in tax season, she is already drowning in work. Not to mention, every second she spends with Luke makes it harder to leave. With Luke, Tiffany is almost ready to forget about work. Will the airport be their final goodbye?  

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The Other Marlowe Girl

When twenty-four-year-old dance school drop out Kammy Marlowe is evicted by her mother, she goes to her favorite bar. She finds an unlikely friend in the blunt eye candy, Enrique. But Kammy knows there is no way she and Enrique have a shot because he's her brother-in-law’s brother and has been privy to her wild past. Enrique swears he’s only interested in the person she is today, but their relationship is tested when her ex-husband's drug dealer attacks her, looking for money. With no options and a money hungry drug dealer on her back, Kammy accepts a position as a dancer at a strip club. But when Enrique shows up at the club, their relationship is over. With no reason to stay in Texas anymore, Kammy auditions for the Bolshevik Ballet and gets the opportunity to go to Russia. Only Enrique is determined to stop her. Will she give up the chance of a lifetime to stay with the man she still loves?  


Excerpt 1

“We’ll talk about this more tomorrow. I don’t want my brother to see me out so late.” He placed a hand on my cheek and pressed his lips against mine. My mouth parted and so did his. The taste of Enrique filled me with desire, but I’d learned enough from Emmett that I knew I didn’t want whatever chance I had with Enrique to start out like this. Using more self-control than I knew I had, I pulled away from him.

Excerpt 2

When we got back to Tiffany’s, he walked me to the door. He cupped my face in his hand and leaned in inching his lips closer to mine. I’d never wanted anything so bad. He was so close I could smell the mint of his breath and feel the heat on my face, when he moved away from my face and hovered over my ear instead. Geez! What was he doing? Just kiss me already. He brushed my hair behind my ear and whispered, “I’m sorry. I forgot you asked me to wait until the fifth date.”

He became more vertical and dropped his hands around my waist pulling me to him. Locked in his arms, I felt so safe. “Forget I asked you to wait.” I did.

“No ma’am. I have to think you asked me that for a reason, and my girl needs to know I respect her.”

“Fine. But last night was a date… Did you say I’m your girl?”

“Do you want to be?”

Excerpt 3

We arrived at my car. “Here we are,” I said. I stepped closer to the door, but I made no effort to get in, because what had started out as a really bad night, I was enjoying now.

“Get in the car, so you’re out of the rain,” he said.

“Okay.” I pulled his coat off and handed it to him.

I opened the door and sat down in the driver’s seat. Before I could close it, Enrique placed a hand on the door frame and leaned down. “I want to see you again. That’s the real reason I walked you to your car.”

Too bad. He had me convinced good guys still existed with that story about his cousin. “No cousin Nikki?” I teased.

“Cousin Nikki is very real, and I don’t like for her to walk around by herself at night. I wouldn’t lie to you. I just needed time to get the courage to tell you I. Want. To. See. You. Again. You shot me down pretty hard in there.”

“So you were hitting on me?”

beth fred photo

Author Beth Fred

Meet Beth Fred! That's me! I'm a full time ELF keeper and part time writer/blogger/writing instructor. I'm represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. I like my tea hot, my romance sweet, and my guys chivalrous. Real men hold open doors, refer to you as ma'am, make promises they keep, and aren't afraid to profess their undying love. It's not breakfast if there aren't carbs(at least, not in the South). Fajitas, carnitas, and churros are just few of my favorite things. Bet you can't guess where I'm from ;) Wanna know more about me? You can find that here:    

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ali Berlinski - A Beautiful Mess - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title may sound like an oxymoron but there’s a story behind it and after you read the book, I think you’ll agree there’s no other title that fits it better.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life can be ridiculous at times. But imagine what your life would be like if you laughed through all the heartache? Let me show you how to say yes to your mess.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
I’d say 99% of what I write is truthful, or the truth as I know it. Everything in the book happened to me in real life and that is one of the reasons I think people will really relate to it. That being said, go ahead and feel free to add your own elements of fantasy i.e picturing me as some hot actress like Jessica Alba.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No. In hindsight you can always say, oh I should have done this or that and drive yourself crazy. Luckily, I don’t live my life that way. I put everything I had into the book and am extremely proud of how it came out. The book is very of the moment and that’s how I hope people will read it.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the courage to be completely honest. You’d think being honest with yourself would be simple but I’m pretty sure teaching myself how to perform a lobotomy would have been easier. It was really challenging, but deciding to open up has been one of the most rewarding experiences.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve always felt more comfortable expressing myself with pen and paper. So in many ways, I had no idea how I felt about certain things until I had written them down and saw them staring back at me. Really, it’s great, and much cheaper than going to therapy. Even if you don’t think you need therapy or want to write a book, I’d recommend everyone write his or her story.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was 8 years old, my fourth grade teacher told me I was the second best writer in class. That’s right, not first—SECOND. Who tells that to a child? Anyway, second or not, it was the first time I ever felt really good at something.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Picking just one is hard. I’d say it’s a tie between Dr. Seuss and David Sedaris. I’ve read all their books and am in love with each one. What I love about both of them is their ability to bring lightheartedness to the heavy things in life.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Besides being the first author ever to get published by crowdfunding? Well, I recently got my Spanish driver’s license, which doesn’t sound all that exciting but here in Spain you almost need to be a doctor, mechanic, and farmer just to drive. I’m honestly thinking of framing it when it comes in the mail.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
For every book you buy a book is donated to a child in need. What other form of entertainment offers good karma? NONE! Go get it today and start laughing at me!

About the Book

Biracial and bicoastal, Berlinski spent her childhood flying between the families of her divorced parents, without ever feeling like she fit in anywhere. Fortunately, she never lost her sense of humor, which is apparent on every page of her first book, a riotous and revealing look at the consequences of divorce, too much air travel, cultural diversity and conflicting and conflicted parents. With an open heart and an honest soul, she recounts her somewhat misspent youth and a wildly exciting (though equally torturous) love affair with the guy of her dreams. She loves, she loses and she packs it in, leaving behind the guy, two dysfunctional families, and a comfortable life to move to a foreign country and start all over again.

She’s Carrie Bradshaw reimagined as a third grade teacher in Brooklyn with zero interest in Manolo Blahniks. She’s a tough New Yorker with a tender twist of California sunshine in her blood that knows when to fight and when to surrender. Her journey will be oddly familiar and utterly unique to anyone who’s ever believed that love would save them—if not with this guy, then maybe with the next.

As her grandfather once said, “Well, it may not be the party you hoped for, but since we’re here, we might as well dance.” So now she lives in Spain and, despite everything, Berlinski keeps on dancing.

Prices/Formats: $15.00 paperback
Pages: 211
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Pubslush Press
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Buy Links: Pubslush Press

About the Author

Imagine what your life would be like if you laughed through all the mayhem. Ali Berlinski is an expert on making complicated family relationships and messy situations comedic. A biracial child of divorce, Ali grew up between two coasts and two families. With a gay deaf brother, ex-nanny step mother, and celebrity ex-boyfriend, it's no surprise that her personal life served as fodder for her first book, a beautiful mess.

The literary lovechild of David Sedaris and Carrie Bradshaw, Ali's charming collection of anecdotes sheds precious, unconventional insight on her quest to use laughter to embrace the lighter side of heartache, cancer, depression, divorce. Her story reminds us that sometimes we all need a little help putting the fun back in dysfunctional. Can we be happy with this life? Ali Berlinski will help you say yes to your mess.

Links to Connect with Ali:
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

R.K. Avery - Be Careful What You Wish For - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
There is an interesting story that goes with the title of the book. It actually started out as two books. The first was called The Missing Link and the second was called Let It Bea (the main character is Bea Miller). I found that neither book had enough merit to stand on its own so I creatively merged the two and changed the title to Be Careful What You Wish For. This is a saying as old as time and pretty much sums up the book.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. The message is no one is above the law. That, and don’t pass judgment on others too quickly. You have no idea what they have been through.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
It started off as a true story. I was kidnapped from a beach when I was 25 months old. Luckily I don’t recall it but my mother remembers it like it was yesterday. Often over the years I wondered what my life may have been like if my story didn’t have a happy ending so I decided to write my own happy ending.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I don’t think I would. I think I wrote it with my readers in mind. I wanted something that would captivate their interest to the point that they couldn’t put it down wondering what might happen next. When I wrote it, I thought it would appeal mostly to women but the support has been surprising. Men, women and teenagers alike have approached me saying how much they loved it.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Probably the research that went into the abuse scenes. Not having grown up in that type of environment, it was difficult for me to write about something I didn’t know.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I am incredibly lucky and very blessed.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always been interested in reading and writing. Just having the ability to make someone happy or sad just by the words you chose is a feeling like no other.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I am a Catherine Anderson fan. She paints such vivid pictures with her words it makes me feel like I am right there. She also has a way of making someone who the world might see as damaged or broken into a lovable character that steals the show.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Right now I am in the process of finishing up book #3, Reflection in the Mirror. I am also querying to agencies that might be interested in turning Be Careful What You Wish For into a Lifetime or Hallmark movie. It has all the necessary ingredients, I just need someone to believe in me. I also received word that Be Careful What You Wish For was nominated as a required reading book for the high school students in the state in which I live. It’s just nominated, not selected yet, but it’s still a high honor.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Each one of my books is a labor of love. I put my heart and soul into it and when I finally finish and release it out into the world, nothing makes me happier than knowing I did a great job.

About the Book

Beatrice Miller is a penniless widow, living a meager existence with her four, rambunctious boys. Her entire life, she wished and dreamed of having a little girl of her own. When every effort fails, she is haunted and reminded of the chilling words of her father, “If you want something, take it.” Unable to shake the feeling he is out there, watching and waiting, she can’t seem to escape the lasting scars no matter how hard she tries.

When beautiful, blue-eyed, three-year-old Maggie Taylor mysteriously vanishes, the Bunting Valley Police Department begin a kidnapping investigation that uncovers unthinkable crimes spanning many years—not only in Bunting Valley, but also in surrounding states and jurisdictions.

Through the handwritten journal of Bea Miller, she takes you on a journey into the mind of a deranged individual who believes you can make your own wishes come true. The twists and turns are guaranteed to keep you awake at night.

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $12.95 paperback
Pages: 236
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Brighton Publishing
Release Date: 2011
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

About the Author

R.K. Avery was born and raised in northeast Ohio. Writing a novel is something she has dreamt of doing for the last thirty years. As a recent graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, she has written numerous, unpublished, children’s picture books, but her true passion is writing adult fiction. R. K. Avery lives in Macedonia, Ohio, with her husband, two kids, and four dogs, the most recent addition a rescued Puggle named Princess.

“Having the ability to make people laugh or cry, just by using the written language, is a gift so powerful and I hope, one day, my name will be among those who possess it” ~ R.K. Avery

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Cynthia Dagnal-Myron - The Keka Collection - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title was a natural, since it’s a “collection” of Keka’s Blog posts. But the subtitle, “Soul food for lone wolves and wild women” was taken from that blog, which is still there on Open Salon. I envisioned my blog as a place where women and men who felt a little wilder and therefore sometimes a little lonelier than most could come and share our thoughts and ideas. And it turned out to be exactly that—a den of lone wolves, howling to each other as kindred spirits in search of adventure and common bonds.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My life has been a magical mystery tour. So the message that readers seem to find peeking out between the lines of my writing is that life is a constant stream of miracles that take you on a journey made just for you. So if you stay open to all of the possibilities and are willing to look beneath the surface, disguises and unusual “forms” the answers to your dreams may take, everything you yearn for will manifest. Even when I’m writing a review of something or just telling you about a place I’ve been or a person I’ve met, the message is that everything we do can be “transformative.” Nothing is as simple as it may seems at first glance—and that’s a great thing!

3. How much of the book is realistic?
All of the book is realistic, actually. But because I’ve had such an unusual life, sometimes it reads like a novel. I think all lives are stories, and all lives have messages for us. No life is “mundane” or “just normal.” I don’t know what normal means. I’ve never met anyone who fit the dictionary description of “normal” yet. I don’t think there’s any such thing!

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I might have added some chapters about the life-threatening illness I suffered about two years ago that Roger Ebert helped me endure, because he recognized many of the symptoms from his own battle with cancer. But that could also be another book, about what I learned by surrendering to it and riding through it watching for “clues.” Roger certainly thought so. When “spirit” puts you in that choke hold you can’t escape, you can bet you’re being taught a life lesson designed to absolutely change your mind, body and soul. It hurts, but if you let it be…you come out of it with amazing insights.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Choosing which posts to include was the hardest part. I’d been urged to turn the whole thing into a book, but that would’ve been too long and too complicated. So I started reading through my posts and choosing the ones that seemed to fit together best. I wasn’t sure exactly why they fit until other people read the proof and began to tell me how they all started to come together and tell a story about me and life in general.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
First, I learned how powerful it is to be able to publish my own book—just holding the first proof in my hands was incredible. I’d been published three times before in the “traditional” way, and though I really loved that experience, this was empowering in a very soul satisfying way. I’ve just published a tiny short story called “Deadline” as a Kindle edition, just to continue to explore self-publishing as a means of reaching out to readers in this very unique way. But second, I learned that there was a “storyline” to my life that I’d sensed but never put into words. And realizing that other people could feel and be inspired by it was just delightful. We write to communicate, if only with our own inner selves. The fact that my ruminations could also “illuminate” was very rewarding and exciting.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I began writing little “stories” by reciting them to myself and “transcribing” them as little squiggles that I considered “writing.” So I was writing before I could actually write. It’s a compulsive thing—I do it as easily as I breathe, and have since I came into “consciousness” so to speak. I always say, “I write, therefore I am.” When I stop writing…it’ll be a sign that I’m coming to the end of my life, I think.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Cormac McCarthy, oddly enough—the cowboy books, most of all, like All the Pretty Horses. I even love the movie of it that Billy Bob Thornton did, and I know that a lot of ranchers out West here felt as I did, despite what the critics said. When I moved West in the early 80’s and we drove into New Mexico…I had a transformative experience. I saw the red mesas and wide open turquoise skies…and I realized that I could never live in a city, especially a city back east, again. The land itself just claimed me, and I was forever changed. Cormac “gets” it. Even when he writes about the border and the terrible violence that has been part of the Southwestern experience since ‘way back when it all belonged to Mexico, I feel that he understands this place better than any other writer save Edward Abbey, perhaps. I know the places and the people he describes and the terrible beauty of it all. And I love the way he makes it all “sing.” Sometimes joyfully, sometimes mournfully, but always powerfully and poetically.

9. Tell us your latest news.
The bad news is news the entire world knows, I lost my dear friend Roger Ebert recently, and not seeing his messages in my Inbox anymore has been very strange and sad. I used to always add his email address to my little scatter mails about this and that, and he would always respond to those, too—sometimes by posting things I’d sent to his blog. So now, when I’m going through my contacts list, and I see his name, I get a little twinge. On the writing front, I’m plugging away at a novel, my first, via Camp Nanowrimo, the “gathering” of writers from all over the world who try to write a novel in a month or so. Mine won’t be ready in a month, but it’s fun to watch the word count go up and up and up. Although I’ve always been able to find time to write, so it’s not the big motivator for me that it is for others. I think I’ll be finished with the first draft by Christmas of this year. I’ve already created a cover and found a picture of a young man who fits my description of the main character—you can buy the rights to those pictures for a pittance, actually. So now my book cover is my desktop background. That keeps me going!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
For the writers out there, I’d like to say that the only thing you need to do to become a successful writer is to keep writing. All the tips and tricks and whatnot are nice, but you’ll find your own tricks and your own voice and your own inspiration and everything else only by writing a lot. Every day. The only thing more important than that is reading a lot, though once you start writing you’ll find it hard to read other people’s work without wanting to jump up and get your laptop as soon as you read a passage you particularly admire. To everyone else I say, again, that your life is a story worth telling. Or at least worth living “intentionally,” with your heart and mind wide open. You’re already writing it, even if it’s not on paper or for sale in bookstores. If you read mine, you may begin to believe that. You may even start your own blog! So start with The Keka Collection, and see if you get “the fever.” It’s one illness that you shouldn’t try to avoid, or cure!

About the Book

Cynthia Dagnal-Myron is an award-winning former reporter for both the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star whose articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Salon, Working Mother, Orion and many others. During her Sun Times years, she sat desk to desk with mentor and friend, the late Roger Ebert, traveled with and interviewed the top rockers, film stars and other celebrities of the 70’s and 80’s and dated Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once.

For five wild years she traveled with and interviewed Kiss, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton, Todd Rundgren, Brian Eno and members of Queen, the Who, Aerosmith, Styx. She reviewed all of the top rockers of the 70s and 80s like Led Zeppelin, Traffic and Rod Stewart.

She also interviewed film stars like John Travolta, Kirk Douglas, Richard Pryor and the then unknown cast of Star Wars--and dated Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once.

And then one day...she walked away from all of it. And never looked back.

The Keka Collection: Soul food for lone wolves and wild women, is "the rest of the story," as told via Keka’s Blog, at Open Salon.

Prices/Formats: $9.99 ebook, $11.99 paperback
Pages: 249
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: self-published
Release Date: February 4, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook

About the Author

Cynthia M. Dagnal-Myron is a former reporter for both the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star, published author and optioned screenwriter who spent 8 years on the Hopi reservation as wife of a Hopi artist, and over 30 years as a teacher and administrator.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Mona Hodgson - Dandelions on the Wind - Author Interview

Author Interview 

1. How did you come up with the title?
One of my favorite poems is Castes of Yellow by Viola Jacobson Berg inspired the title. The image of a dandelion viewed as a mere weed to be discarded--a weed tossed about on the wind--came to mind when I considered my main character, Maren Jensen, and the other women in the Saint Charles Quilting Circle. The life they'd known...before Maren came to America and the life the women knew before the Civil War was gone, leaving them feeling like Dandelions on the Wind.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Our value isn't based upon our circumstances, what we do or don't do, how we feel, how we see ourselves, or how others see us. Our true value is based upon who created us. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by God's own hand (Psalm 139:14). And He has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

3. How much of the book is realistic?
My goal is that the entire story is realistic. I love it when readers email me or post on my Facebook Mona Hodgson Author Page that they felt like they were actually strolling the boardwalk in Cripple Creek with one of the Sinclair Sisters in Two Brides Too Many or hearing the hiss of the steamboat on the shore of the Missouri River in Bending Toward the Sun. I strive to truthfully write fiction, which means I set my story characters in a real time and place with authentic goals, challenges, emotions, and journeys toward a deeper relationship with their God.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I don't let myself go there. I do my best, thankful for all of the editors in the production process, and then I release the story with open hands and a heart full of gratitude, praying that my readers will be edified, and God be glorified.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting started, drawing all the characters onto the stage and getting to know them, and then having to let them go. That's why I write series. At least I get to live with a set of characters in a particular setting for three or four stories. It's also why you'll recognize a couple of the characters from The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series in The Quilted Heart Novellas.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
In every historical novel I write, I learn more about my favorite time period--the mid-1800's into the 1900's, more about what I didn't know I knew about human nature, and more about God's faithfulness. I have typed the end on eight works of historical fiction for WaterBrook Press now, and I always marvel at the thrill and power of story.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
In 1984 at a conference for police families, I met a real life writer. She interviewed my hubby and I for a magazine article. I remember sitting across the table from her, thinking, hmm, a writer. Very interesting.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have to name two: 1) Grace Livingston Hill because her stories reached out to me in high school and introduced me to Christian Romance. 2) Cathy Marie Hake is one of my favorite historical novelists. Her books, Fancy Pants and Whirlwind made me laugh and cry and sigh, teaching me much about humanity, writing, and the Providence of God.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I have four historical fiction stories releasing this year. All three eBook novellas in The Quilted Heart Series (Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore) this spring and the first novel in my Hearts Seeking Home Series releases August 6th.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I appreciate you! Thank you for spending time in my books and for meeting me here. If you have a love for Old West historical fiction that is true to the human experience and inspirational, I'd be honored if you'd connect with me on a more regular basis.

About the Book

When Maren Jensen took a job on Elsa Brantenberg’s St. Charles, Missouri farm, she never expected to call the place her home. As she grows to love Mrs. Brantenberg and her granddaughter, Gabi, Maren is transformed from a lonely mail-order bride-without-a-groom to a beloved member of the Brantenberg household.

But when Gabi’s father, Rutherford “Wooly” Wainwright, returns to the farm unexpectedly, everything changes for Maren. Despite the failing eyesight that caused her suitor to reject her, she can see that Wooly desperately needs to reconnect with the family he abandoned when his grief sent him running toward the army—and into the Civil War. She also senses there could be something more between the widower and herself, if either can move beyond their past hurts.

Comforted and counseled by the wisdom of the women in her beloved quilting circle, Maren begins to discover the cost such decisions demand of her heart. Are her choices in obedience to God, or is she running from His plan? Is it too late for love to be stitched into the fabric of her life?

Prices/Formats: $1.99 ebook
Pages: 111
Genre: Fiction/Christian/Historical
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon

About the Author

The author of nearly forty books, Mona Hodgson writes historical fiction for adults and picture books and readers for children. In 1987, Mona began writing articles, poems, and short stories for publication and has had several hundred printed in more than 50 different publications. Her publishing credits now include The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek historical fiction series, The Quilted Heart eBook novellas, nearly 30 children's books, and contributions to 11 books for adults. Mona is a speaker for women's retreats, schools, educators and librarians, and at writers conferences throughout the United States and Canada. She holds professional memberships in Women Writing the West, American Christian Fiction Writers, Pikes Peak Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. What does Mona like to do when she's not writing? Picnic, read to kids, visit museums, play Wii Tennis, sink her toes into wet sand at the beach, retreat with her sisters, explore new places, gaze at sunsets and share lunch with a friend.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

S.M. Boyce - Lichgates - Excerpt & Giveaway

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Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things--Ourea.

Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother's recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book's untamed power. Discovered by Ourea's royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict--a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn't trust anyone... but she's being hunted and can't survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn't know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.

Lichgates is FREE
Download your copy now!

Praise for Lichgates
Wow, the world building on this one was breathtaking. The world of Ourea is just full of so many things. Surprises are around every corner.
~Alexia P.

From the first few pages into this story, it was obvious that Boyce has a way with words.
~Author Becca Campbell

Thunder rumbled overhead. A dark cloud churned in the sky, and her heart fell into her stomach; there hadn’t even been a single fluffy cloud up there ten minutes ago. That didn’t make sense at all—how could the weather shift so suddenly?

She glanced to the door and then back up the trail, hesitating, but her decision was soon made for her. A blinding bolt of moss-colored lightning flashed, striking something in the sinkhole. The hairs on her arms stood on end. Heat coursed through her calves, and she caught her breath. Her ears rang.

Wait. That lightning was definitely green.

The cliff trembled as a deafening boom shattered the air. A drizzle of rain began, but it quickly melted into heavy drops that pelted her skin and clung to her hair. Another rumble coursed along the far edge of the valley. Kara needed shelter, and the last place she would go in a lightning storm was up a hill.

She turned back and twisted the door’s handle, sighing with relief as it opened—unlocked—and swung inward. Still, as wet as it was outside and as much as she wanted a safe place to wait out the rain, she lingered on the threshold to examine the room.

Mud covered everything from the floor to the ceiling, and since there weren’t any supports to hold the roof, she couldn’t figure out how the ten-by-ten dirt shelter hadn’t caved in yet. The air within was heavy, moist with the rot of dead leaves, and her only guiding light streamed in from behind her. Roots dangled from the ceiling like stalactites reaching for the floor. The wind picked up, howling as it pelted rain against her back.

She tested the ground with her sneaker. The dirt floor supported her weight, so she tip-toed into the room and left the door open. Rain fell in lingering drops on the threshold before disappearing into the growing pools of mud. She stuck her hands in her pockets and watched the raging storm outside.

A flash of dark brown blurred past her.

She jumped. A tan flicker snaked along the roof, and clumps of soil fell in sheets. She glared at the ceiling, holding her breath as the settling dust rained onto her shoes.

It had almost looked like a root moving, but—no, that was crazy.

Another streak of motion raced down the opposite wall. It passed through a shaft of light, and Kara saw its pointed, wooden tip. Tiny veins sprouted from it like hairs, digging into the dirt so that it could travel. It was a root moving.

Author S.M. Boyce

International Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga.

S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries.

Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.


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Ends 4/25/13
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