Friday, 29 December 2017

The Stone of Courage: A #Fantasy Novel by M.J. Evans

Award-Winning author is excited to announce that her newest release, "The Stone of Courage" has received the Book Excellence Award for middle-grade and YA fiction. A horse-lover since birth, M.J. Evans loves writing stories based upon horses or horse-related fantasy creatures. Her passion for horses comes through on every page she writes. If she isn't writing, you can find her riding in the Dressage arena on her 17 hand Hanovarian or going on a trail ride in the beautiful Colorado mountains. She has happily been married to her high school sweetheart forever and is the mother of five fabulous children.

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About the Book

Be it known throughout the land that the rightful heir to the throne of Crystonia will be the wearer of the Silver Breastplate with its four Stones of Light: The Stone of Mercy, The Stone of Courage, The Stone of Integrity, and The Stone of Wisdom.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is conquering fear for the sake of doing what is right.

A young Duende girl named Carling is in possession of the coveted Silver Breastplate. But the breastplate is only partially complete. The green Stone of Mercy, which Carling found on her first quest, is nestled securely in its place on the breastplate. Now, the Wizard of Crystonia sends her on her second mission to find the red Stone of Courage in the foreboding region known as the Northern Reaches. The assignment will be difficult because the stone is under the guardianship of a reclusive Tommy Knocker named Shim who has no intention of relinquishing it to the young Duende girl or to anyone else.

"The Stone of Courage" is the second tale in the critically acclaimed and award-winning series, "The Centaur Chronicles". This book continues the compelling adventure that began with "The Stone of Mercy" as Carling attempts to gain another stone on her way to becoming the righteous ruler of Crystonia.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

From chapter 9: The Test

Shim sprang into life and began dancing around the three sparkling crystal stalagmites that Carling had noticed earlier. But now that she examined them more closely, she noticed each column supported a rough-hewn wooden box. “I have made a fun game for you to play!” Shim said as he let out a giggle that made Carling’s blood freeze in her veins. “It is going to be so much fun. Now, let me explain the rules. One of these boxes holds my jewel, my beloved jewel. The other two are empty. If you pick the right box, the stone will be yours. But…,” here Shim paused and grinned, hopping from one foot to the other in delight and anticipation, “if you pick one of the empty boxes, your Centaur friends will be dropped into the pool of lava, never to be seen again!”

The creature twirled around the three stone stalagmites, a throaty laughter escaping his lips, his eyes twinkling, his large nose looking even larger.

Carling, frozen in place, followed Shim’s dance with her eyes but her mind was busy. What am I to do? What am I to do, oh Wizard? Tell me, please. This is too much for me.

Carling could hear Tibbals start to weep. Tandum shouted from the net. “Let Tibbals go! Just take me. She has done nothing to deserve this.”
Shim stopped dancing and looked up at his captives. “Oh, she has done quite enough. First, she brought her here,” he said, pointing his crooked cane at Carling. “And then she killed many of my dear bats. The bats are the innocent ones, after all.”

Without saying a word, Carling stepped up to the three columns. The only sound in the cavern was the gurgling of the bubbling lava pool. All eyes were on the young Duende. Carling stopped and held out her hand, stretching it first toward one box then another. Her hand was trembling. With every ounce of patience within her, she waited for some sign from the Wizard to tell her which box to pick.

“What are you waiting for?” screeched Shim. “Pick one! Pick one!”

Carling ignored him and kept waiting for an answer. Which box? Which box? She asked over and over. Softly an answer came. It wasn’t her ears that were attuned to the response to her pleading―it was something deep inside her that was being touched by some unseen power. Through no effort of her own, her hand moved to the box on her right. Swiftly, she reached out, lifted the latch, and opened the lid, oblivious to the screech coming from Shim.

Nestled in a bed of soft moss was a large red stone.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Fixtures & Fittings: A #Romance Novel by Julia Blake

I was born and raised in the lovely, historic, market town of Bury St Edmunds, where I live still with my daughter, one crazy cat, and a succession of even crazier lodgers. I'm typical Cancer, in that although I like to visit new places and see new things, I'm always very pleased to get home again.

My loves are writing and reading (obviously), but I also enjoy cooking, spending time with friends and, when I have the time, decoupaging.

This past year has been the busiest of my life, with the release of three novels, one eBook novella and a collection of short stories and poems, and it’s been wonderful seeing my stories comes to life, knowing that people are loving my characters as much as I do.

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About the Book

Book two in the fabulous Blackwood Clan saga, Fixtures & Fittings is Marcus’s story.

Rich, handsome, sophisticated, Marcus Blackwood has it all. Then tragedy turns his perfect life upside down, leaving him sole guardian of his young niece. Traumatised into selective muteness, Megan needs more than Marcus believes he can give her, but, what she needs most of all, is a home.

Searching for the perfect house, instead Marcus finds Grace Lovejoy, an eccentrically hippy, single parent. Grace and her children are being forced to sell their beloved home. Using the connection between Megan and the Lovejoys, Marcus struggles to bring his little niece back from a very dark place.

And then there’s Grace … the complete antithesis to everything he’s ever looked for in a woman. There’s also a connection, a bond between them, that Marcus can’t explain and is not even sure he wants.

And all the time, the deadly consequences of trying to break through Megan’s muteness creep ever closer…

Sometimes, you have to choose, what to keep and what to leave behind…

A heart-warming, romantic read, interspersed with real edge-of-the-seat action, Fixtures & Fittings is one book you’ll want to keep forever.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Grace Lovejoy, a character from the book:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born on an inner city council estate in London. It was pretty rough, I never really fitted in, I always wanted more from life.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

My father left when I was 13 and my mother couldn't cope, so I ended up in care. I haven't seen or spoken to either of them since. But I have my children, they are my family now. Zoey, my eldest is 15. An amazing person, despite the circumstances of her birth, she is a child who was meant to be on this earth. And then there are my boys, Finley and Connor, twins, they're now ten years old.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

My world is one of struggling to get by and self-sufficiency. We live in a huge rambling house, that simply eats money. That is why it's up for sale, why I have this man, Marcus Blackwood, coming to view it this afternoon. I don't want to leave here, none of us do, but, I can't afford it anymore. Despite growing most of our food in our large garden and on our allotment, and watching every penny, we simply can't afford to live here anymore.

What are your goals?

I don't really have any goals for myself. It's my children my ambitions are for now. Zoey has a brilliant future ahead of her, I think she can become whatever she wants to be, but she's leaning towards working with children with special needs. The boys? Well, it's a little too early to tell, but Connor is an extremely talented artist, so, you never know.

What is your greatest fear?

That I won't be able to care for my children anymore, that something will happen to me and they'll be on their own. There's no one else, you see, just me. I've tried to teach them how to rely on themselves and on each other. I know Zoey would always look after the others, but, she's only fifteen, still a child herself really.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

Never give up.

What is the greatest obstacle you have ever had to face?

Being pregnant and alone at sixteen. Not how I saw my life going, but, from the moment I felt her move under my heart, I know this was my baby and that I loved her more than the world itself, and that I was going to keep her, no matter what.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone?

I'm afraid. Most of the time, there's this fear, that the life we live is so precarious, so fragile, it can change or even end in a heartbeat, and that scares me.

Have you ever been in love?

There was Daniel. Amazing, wonderful Daniel. Zoey and I went to an all-day Summer folk festival and he was one of the acts. Zoey was only a toddler, but she sang along to his song, waving daisies at him. After the show, he came to find us. It was love immediately. We were together for several years, until we weren't. I will never forget that day, sitting on our bed in my wedding dress, waiting to go and be married to my Daniel. When the police knocked on the door, I thought he'd forgotten his keys, but they'd come to tell me he was... I really can't talk about this anymore. It was a very long time ago, and I've cried all my tears now, and anyway, soon after I found out I was pregnant with the boys, so I had to cope, for their sake.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

I guess maybe people would describe me as a hippy. There's never any money left over for me, you see, it's all for the kids, so I tend to wear long, tie-dyed skirts and dresses, unless I'm working in the garden or on the allotment, then I have a variety of old trousers I got from the Army & Navy store. They're practical and hard-wearing, there's no point me having fancy clothes.

What is your favorite food?

The man who owns the allotment next to mine has a goat, and I barter fresh fruit and veg for goats cheese and butter. The goat's cheese is the best I've ever had, salty and tangy, it's so good on my homemade bread you could make a meal just of that, in fact, I have on more than one occasion. Then there are the tomatoes and summer fruits from our garden, so fresh and ripe, picked and eaten straight away. And old Mr. Branson, two doors down, I also barter my produce with him for his homemade wine. Admittedly, some of it's an acquired taste, but, it's better than nothing, and his damson wine is actually really nice.

What do you own that would be hardest to part with?

Our home. We love it. It defines who we are. It's ripping our hearts out that we have to leave, but, we have no choice.

What do you regret most in your life?

That Daniel never got to meet the boys, these amazing characters that we created from our love. He would have been a great dad, he was a great dad with Zoey, and I regret the waste and that my boys grew up fatherless.

What is your greatest virtue?

I'm hard-working, and I never give up or give in. I look after my family solely by myself and have raised three spectacular children, who are strong, fearless and kind.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

Spend it with my family, in our home, in our garden. Just do all the normal things we enjoy so much. Oh, and maybe crack open a bottle of Mr. Branson's elderflower champagne - maybe even two.

Monday, 25 December 2017

The Shadow Realm: Distant Memories - A #Fantasy Novel by J.L. Keathley

I was born and raised in Arkansas. I have been married ten years. I have two daughters. I am thirty but rarely act my age. I started writing last year and have plenty of ideas for books I want to write. I love reading, mostly anything about the supernatural. I am an animal person. I have several animals that include snakes, lizards, sugar gliders, and rats. I have cut down quite a bit. My goal is life is to write stories, my readers can’t put down and to travel around in bus and see the world.

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About the Book

Jade was a happy normal teenager excited about her upcoming 16th birthday. (Even though it meant being the center of attention, which she hated!) She just knew turning 16 would open up a whole new world to her. She would be getting her driver’s license and a little more freedom.

But Jade's world didn't just change, it shattered into pieces. Unbeknownst to her she was actually a vampire-witch hybrid and belonged to a world that she knew nothing about. Plagued by strange dreams of past lives that she had no memory of, she struggled to control her thirst for fresh blood and her new magic powers, while trying to accept what she had become…

Coming the 25th of March 2018!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I wanted to write the type of story that I want to read.

What genres do you write?

YA and MA Fantasy and Fiction

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

Thriller/Horror. It is different than what I am used to. Think it would make me a better author.

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?

I hope to write at least 500 words, but that isn't always the case. Sometimes I am lucky and can write between 2,000-5,000 words at a sitting.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Jade, she is the main character and has abilities beyond even she knows.

What authors have most influenced you?

Richelle Mead, P.C. Cast, Christopher Pike, Stephanie Meyer, L.J. Smith

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

The financial cost of publishing. I am sure I am not the only one. A book cover, editor, trailer, programs to write, and ect. can take a lot of money. I have been lucky and have gotten a lot of help with a lot of this for my first book and I am grateful.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

That is funny. Probably from a beta reader. "You're a mean, mean woman, that was a heck of a cliffhanger. I need more."

What is your writing process?

Create an outline and write what comes to mind.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Including revising probably 5-6 months.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

They pop into my head randomly.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre?

Not yet.. but you never know.

What are you working on now?

Editing my debut novel and a YA southern fiction.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

Trying not to rush it.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Keep writing, Don't give up.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Hope you enjoy my novel when it's released, and don't worry there will be more books in this series.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Dark Past: A #Romance Novel by L A Cataldo

L. A. Cataldo's books combine romance, thriller, and suspense with a touch of humor. Her approach to writing is fast-paced love, some dark and emotional impact. They're engaged to grab you and keep you wanting.

She is a romantic at heart. She believes that a true romance can become reality. Or maybe in one's dreams.

She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two sons, and a bunch of dogs running around. "wink" She was raised in a large family of Sicilians. Her mother was an avid reader who passed on her love for books to Laurie.

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About the Book

Isabella Lovino moved to New York City to hide from the demons of her past, leaving everyone behind. Her troubled history makes it difficult to get a job, but when an opportunity comes up to work at an architectural firm, she takes it. On her first day of work she bumps into a stranger on the street and her whole world changes.

The gorgeous Jason Hart owns his own architectural firm, but that’s not enough. He knows what he wants, and what he wants is the beautiful Isabella Lovino—the same thing he has wanted since college. When he sees her at the restaurant, he knows he can’t let her get away this time. Will she notice him now?

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Keep reading for an excerpt:

As I walked down the busy streets of New York City headed to my new job, a man walking towards me caught my eye. He was very handsome and I couldn’t stop looking at him—and in New York, that's saying something. He was over 6 feet tall, and even though he was wearing a suit I could see that he was extremely well formed. Very nice, I thought. He had dark wavy hair, and the color of his eyes rivaled the crisp blue of the sky. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t turn myself away; I just kept staring at him. Oh my, I thought to myself. Just Beautiful! Why does it seem like I’ve seen those eyes before? Maybe in a dream? Hmm. As I got closer to him, he looked my way. I stiffened with the thought of being caught staring. For a moment, I thought he might be looking past me, but as we got closer our eyes locked. My body warmed. I was hypnotized by him. I felt like I was somewhere else, floating in a cloud. In that moment, it felt like he and I were the only people that existed. The energy between us was invigorating.

I shook my head and tried to look away. Get it together, Isabella. As much as I tried, I still couldn’t turn my head away. Right at that moment, I tripped. It was an out of body experience, and I could see myself as I went airborne over the sidewalk and landed on my arms. When I landed, two thoughts crossed my mind: Ouch that hurt! and Oh, how embarrassing! I hoped he hadn’t seen that. I quickly looked up and saw that he had, then lowered my head back down in embarrassment.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Return of the Vampire Hunter: A #Fantasy Novel by Catherine Green

Author of British paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels, Catherine Green was raised on books from a young age, and has happy memories of Saturday mornings spent in her small local library, devouring the contents of the shelves. Catherine has always been fascinated by the supernatural world, and it feels natural for her to write about vampires, werewolves, witches and other mystical creatures in her contemporary stories.

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About the Book

Return of the Vampire Hunter + Box Sets Giveaway

Surprise! I could not let the year end without one last treat for you, my gorgeous readers. I decided to revisit some manuscripts, do a little editing, and now I present to you my brand new urban fantasy novel Return of the Vampire Hunter. What do you think?

Just your average Cheshire housewife – who used to hunt vampires!

Hannah Oakley used to be a vampire hunter. She retired from active service when she fell in love with the female vampire she was hunting, but old wounds refuse to heal. She and the vampire fought almost to the death at the time, and now it seems that the vampire has tracked her down. Hannah must return to work, grudgingly accepting help from a new hunting partner, and she is determined that this time she will finish the job. But can she ignore the old lust for her vampire lover? Is the mother able to be a vampire hunter one more time? And will her marriage survive the ordeal?

Now, because we are fast approaching Christmas, and I am full of festive cheer, you may download Return of the Vampire Hunter for FREE, as part of the 25 Days of Box Sets Giveaway courtesy of New Adult Noir(e). Here’s what you need to do:

Grab an AMAZING, *FREE* Urban Fantasy box set! + 19 more box sets in other sci-fi & fantasy genres! Also, don't forget to join our "25 Days of Prizes" giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 25 FREE X-mas prizes!

Check back in December for more details, and keep watching my Facebook author page for links to your free gifts. Merry Christmas!

Have you discovered the Redcliffe novels? Sign up today, and receive your fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!)

Get it free in the Mages & Mavericks Collection!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Totem Rebirth: A #Fantasy Novel by D.H. Gibbs

Hailing from her native Trinidad and Tobago, Author, Illustrator, and lifelong bibliophile D.H. Gibbs found a way to blend her creative abilities with her love of the written word.

From her early days, she spent many waking moments crafting tales, honing her graphic design skills, or dreaming up elaborate vacation plans to satisfy her love of exploring new locations. Her creative endeavors have afforded her many opportunities and inspired her to take her love of new and different worlds to craft Childrens’ and New Adult books for readers everywhere.

When not writing, she can be found dreaming up new, fantastical stories for her fans or indulging her love of art, reading, or planning her next great adventure.

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About the Book

The races collide as each Konstantinos royal has claimed a throne. Who will survive? Who will be left to pick up the pieces?

For decades Nika Konstantinos has been on the run; from a past that nearly destroyed her and the truth about her family. Now she has embraced her destiny and as queen of the Immortals, her first order of business must be to ensure the death of her twin brother.

Nikolaj Konstantinos has chosen to be the Alpha of the Totems for one reason and one reason only. To get revenge on the Immortals, that murdered his mother. Now that the truce between the races has ended he will stop at nothing to destroy the Immortals.

Friends are lost and gained as brother and sister face off. But there is more than war brewing on the island of Seychatka and when Nika’s past comes back to haunt her she struggles to keep the memories at bay. Will she be able to overcome this new obstacle or will it prove to much for her to survive?

Fans of Throne of Glass, A Shade of Vampire and the Red Queen series will surely enjoy the second installment of the Seychatka series.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Nikolaj Konstantinos, a character from the book:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born on the island of Seychatka growing up was a battle to prove myself stronger than everyone else.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

No. My family is dead.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

My twin sister.

Who was your best friend growing up?

As alpha I have no friends. That would be a sign of weakness.

Who is your enemy?

The Immortals are my enemies because they murdered my mother.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

In my world only the strongest survive. As Alpha of the Totems I shape the course of my people.

What are your goals?

I would like to destroy the murdering bastards that killed my mother and rule the immortal throne.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

My Beta. He is my second and has raise me from a young age. for him.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone?

Yes. I would give up my roll as Alpha if I could have my sister back.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

I prefer to wear the Totems traditional leathers and our wrist guards because you never know when a subordinate will need to be reminded of their position.

What do you regret most in your life?

That I don't remember my mother. I believe if she were still alive my life would have been different.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?

I would try not to be constantly angry.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Viral Spark by Martin McConnell

Martin McConnell holds a Physics degree from SIUE, and when he isn’t writing speculative fiction, he’s motivating other authors, stargazing, reading, or playing Kerbal Space Program. He avidly encourages everyone to seize control of their dreams by driving their own plot.

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About the Book

The world has become a place of comfort, where a shopping trip means heading to the first floor to collect new food tubes for the printer. Menial tasks, like cleaning up or cooking, are relegated to robots, and Robert’s job while finishing school is to maintain them. With only three classes remaining, he’s hoping for something better.

Then everything starts to glitch:
the robots, the building, and even the people.

What starts with glitchy videos, misbehaving touch-screens, and random fighting, grows into a race against time to fix the problem before it escalates. Maybe he can land a cushy programming job in the process, but this virus is more than it appears...

Note: This is a retelling of my earlier novella trilogy, now out of print. I decided to change the story into a novel, weave some threads tighter, and re-release the story that people keep asking me about.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Write Farm Live Store

Keep reading for an excerpt:

As I pull up the environmental settings, I think about the two men that were fighting. They weren’t acting rationally. They behaved like a couple of drones in our pseudo-society, filled with printed biscuits and tea on tap. There was something primal happening in their heads. Something real. Perhaps they were behaving the way that human beings should, and the rest of us are the crazy ones. Human beings weren’t built for all this catered coddling.

I tap the little button that says THEMES, and scroll down the list. Most of the complicated ones carry a heavy price tag, but there is always some kind of special promotion happening. There it is: Shipwreck. The sample photo shows fish swimming about a deep blue backdrop with water-rippled sky lighting and steampunk accessories. But it’s still higher than what I’m willing to pay. Hard to justify on a student budget.
Freebies it is.

The menu changes, and the list fills with plain colors and design choices ranging from solids to stripes to pattern fills. The holographics can be accent plants or bits of useless furniture, like bookcases adorned with trinkets. I select Island Green, and my apartment is transformed. It’s a good day for green.

The kitchen island loses its stainless steel and granite structure, converting itself into grainy bamboo, except for the black display, which remains smooth. The other counter tops and tables in the apartment shift as well, while the wall colors itself a creamy shade of lime. Light shines from behind me, and when I turn, there’s a window above the sink overlooking an ocean scene. There’s even sand dollars lying on the beach. Overhead, a solid white skylight appears.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Accept the Broken Heart: A Memoir by Robin Leigh Anderson

Robin Leigh Anderson was born in the Montana Rockies and escaped to California in the early 1970s. She attended school in Montana, Washington State, and California, eventually settling in beautiful Santa Barbara with child and cats where she lived for 38 years before escaping sans grown child and late cats to Northern California. An advocate of reinventing oneself, Ms. Anderson dabbled in many of the major disciplines of life, providing fodder for the writing she pursued since she was eight. She has won numerous awards at writing conferences over the years, and was staff of the prestigious Santa Barbara Writer Conference for ten years. She has published numerous articles and short stories in her lifetime. She taught “crash-and-burn” intensive writing seminars in Santa Barbara and was the moderator of a writers’ critique group. She still conducts occasional seminars and enjoys editing others’ works, words being her all-consuming passion, as she writes in several genres.

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About the Book

What can be said of Hell, when at its most quiet, I was most terrified? The explosions that had rocked every fiber of my being and made my bones feel like they could simply shatter like tempered glass still resonated. I looked over at the wounded, wondering if I had the same haunted look in my eyes, and thought I probably did. In this war, no one leaves. No one goes home... and everyone is a casualty of war. Unbelievable love set against unbearable challenges. I lived this novel. We need to learn, and to teach others, to study war no more.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

From the chapter entitled "Green Eyes":

“Aren’t you ambitious!” I teased. “A Hawaiian honeymoon and three kids, and on Marine pay.”

“Well, if I stay in the Marines, I won’t be a corporal forever,” Tom countered. “And I wager I couldn’t keep you from nursing. You’re too good at this.”

“Oh, son, you’ll probably find there’s a lot of things you can’t keep me from doing,” I said, rolling my eyes.

He smiled weakly. “I will enjoy every minute of it.” His eyes closed and my breath caught in my throat. His eyelids fluttered open . He struggled to focus on my face. “Would you kiss me?” he requested.

I leaned over and gave him a lingering kiss. He tasted strangely sweet.

“Soft lips, and warm,” he whispered. “Bet the rest of you is pretty warm, too.”

I chuckled. “Easy, Marine, we’re not wed yet.”

“You’re telling me I’ve got to wait?” There was a definite twinkle in his dark eyes. “I can do that. I think it will be worth it if I can own your heart.”

“You already do,” I said, and I meant it.

“I did it, I fell in love,” he whispered. “Thank you, green eyes, thank you.”

“You bet, handsome,” I nodded, “the pleasure is all mine.”

Tom gave me one last long look and a tiny smile. A thin trickle of blood ran down his cheek from the corner of this mouth. I tried not to react. His breathing slowed, then stopped. I gently put a finger to his inner wrist. I concentrated, but there was no pulse. His fingers did not release mine from their grasp. My other hand shook as I reached out to close his eyes. I sat next to the cot, my heart racing.

The pilot joined Patty in the doorway to the ward. “Look, lady, I can see from here he’s not breathing any more. Time to go.”

Patty turned to put one hand squarely on the pilot’s chest and she pushed him back through the office and out of the tent. “Back away, hard-charger,” she said angrily. “Don’t think for a minute I can’t put your ass in the dirt. What do you think it took for her to sit there like that for the final twenty-five minutes of that boy’s life! You should be so fucking lucky that someone will be with you when you get your arrogant ass blown out of the sky that last time. Go have something to eat, go take a leak, or go jump off a cliff, but leave the girl be. You’ll be on your way soon enough.” Without waiting for a reply, Patty walked into the tent, slapping the flaps closed. She sat down at the desk and kept an eye on the ward as she completed the requisition forms for the pilot.

I don’t know how much later it was when I kissed the fingers of his cold hand and offered up a small prayer. I pulled dogtags free of his shirt and looked at his full name.

Patty rose as I walked out of the ward past the stalwart Marines. “Your shift is over,” she said softly. “You couldn’t do more than you did today. I heard everything. Go now, rest, write your family, whatever. I’ll bring you some supper later.”

All I could do was nod. I walked to the billet tent and looked around for my diary. Suddenly my knees crumbled. I fell onto my sleeping bag. The grief of an unrealized lifetime welled up inside me, and I sobbed uncontrollably.

The pilot stood outside the tent, unsure if he should enter. Patty walked up to stand beside him. “When somebody writes his family, tell them he wasn’t alone.”

“She shouldn’t be, either,” the pilot said quietly.

Patty gave the man a squeeze on his arm. “She’s not alone. She’ll never be alone.”

Monday, 11 December 2017

Tie Died by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones has been a published writer since 1987. She started as a newspaper reporter, published her first novel in 2002, attended college in her 40s, and opened the doors to Idea Creations Press in 2012. She has published 12 books to date in the genres of Christian fiction, nonfiction (including Christian and business) mystery, YA and LDS middle reader. Kathryn offers opportunities for authors to get their books out into the world using her publishing services and loves speaking to authors about writing, publishing and marketing.

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About the Book

When 18-year-old Brianne James discovers a murdered young girl at Montgomery Park – a 15-year-old who has been left for dead in the icy snow – there is only one thing she can do: search for the killer.

Brianne has a nose for sleuthing. She can connect with people; even scary people. She has the smarts to solve even the most underhanded crime, and she can solve it with or without the help of the police or her parents.

When it comes to Conner Ryan, however, his unrelenting assistance is quite another story. When you’re in love with one of the hottest guys in school – who in the heck cares?

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Keep reading for an interview with Brianne James, a character from the book:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born in New Jersey. My brother and I grew up with terrible parents, but eventually found our way to a new family who took us in.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

Yes, and I'm grateful for that. Still, my mother is often in my business more often than she should be. Dad is more easy-going, but he isn't well, and I try to keep things as positive as I can with him.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

The day I was taken in by Susan and Henry. I still remember the first time I stepped into my new bedroom. It was actually pretty. I even had a bedspread and a place to hang my clothes.

Who was your best friend growing up?

My brother, Oscar. He and I took care of each other. Mom was not often among the living. She drank a lot, and so did Dad.

If you could compare yourself to someone from another novel, who would it be? 

I read mostly from the computer screen, but rarely novels. I'm more into finding the answers to clues, researching how people die, and stuff like that. I might look into what causes a person's skin at death to turn blue. Stuff like that.

Mom would say I'm a lot like her. She would say that she's showing me the ropes through her Susan Cramer Mystery series - a series that you can read right before this book. Because I'm not really blood related to either Susan or Henry, I would say that I'm my own unique person. Sure, I like solving murders like Mom, but Mom and I are totally different.

Who is your enemy?

Criminals. Did you know they come in all shapes, sizes and ages? I find that incredible. People who sneak around and take another life, may think they will never be found out, but they usually are. I'd like to think that I'm helping the police out. They might not like it either, but who cares?

Who do you most admire in your world?

As much as I tease her - my mom. She started this detective stuff out years ago, not really knowing what she was doing. People haven't always been kind to her. But she has always been kind to me, even in the beginning when I played with mud balls, and probably looked like one. She fed me and my brother when we were hungry, and took us in when we needed a place to crash.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

Some might say I'm too smart for my own good. Maybe they're right, but my favorite subject in school is biology - and that's not just because Conner Ryan is my science partner.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?

Maybe this is more scary than embarrassing, but you'll want to pay special attention to the secondary characters in this book. Some of them are not what they seem to be.

What is your greatest fear?

I have more than one fear. One of them is that Henry will die. He's been so good to me and my brother. Another is that I will never have a boyfriend.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

Love is more important than any investigation, but it's hard to balance the two.

What is the strangest situation you've ever found yourself in?

Too many strange situations to count. Not counting my younger years, I would say finding a girl lying dead at the local park.

What is the greatest obstacle you have ever had to face?

Letting go of my birth parents, and opening my heart to the future.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone?

Okay. I'm not really as secure as I sometimes sound in the book. I mean, the past is always creeping up. Stuff I might not even share, but that you will more than likely see between the lines. How can a person be totally secure when their birth parents really didn't care about them?

Have you ever been in love?

Yes. Conner Ryan is the hottest guy in school. I'm not going to tell you if or how it worked out for me, however. You'll have to read the book.

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Renegade Series - A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire, A Rebel Among Us by J.D.R. Hawkins

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of only a few female Civil War authors, and uniquely describes the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner, and A Rebel Among Us, recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. These books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Her nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses, has recently been published. She is currently working on another sequel for the Renegade Series. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Learn more about her at

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About the Book

J.D.R. Hawkins’ Renegade Series describes the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of several families during the Civil War. With colorful settings and vivid descriptions, the series portrays life during a tumultuous time in American history. From the spring of 1861 until the end of the war in 1865, the characters in this family saga come to life, experiencing pain and suffering, as well as joy and jubilation. The Renegade Series is astounding in its imagery, and truly one not to miss.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I've been a writer ever since I can remember, and have written everything from songs to poetry to short stories and novels.

What genres do you write?

Primarily historical fiction, but I have also written children's books and a nonfiction book.

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?

Five hundred words is a basic goal. When I'm writing a book, though, I shoot for a page a day.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I would be Anna. She is strong and strong-willed, and although she has experienced personal loss, she has big goals and dreams.

What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?

Battle scenes were the toughest. It gave me nightmares! I startled awake one time after I dreamt a bullet whizzed by my head. I drew a lot of description from actual journals and diaries, so the descriptions are real.

What are your goals as an author?

I would like to be an international best seller. I would also like to write three or four more books.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Show don't tell. I fall into this trap frequently, which is easy to do when writing historical fiction. It helps to have a great editor to point these issues out.

How many books do you have on your "to read" list?

I'm really behind on reading some of the best sellers. I'd like to read The Girl on the Train and A Broken Kind of Beautiful.

Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

Mostly I write in third person, but one of my books is in first person. They are all in past tense. I thought that would be the most effective way to tell the story.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

I don't have a problem with coming up with titles. The first book in the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, was taken from a quote a Confederate soldier wrote in regard to the Civil War, stating that it was "all a glittering lie."

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre?

I wrote a book about my great aunt and uncle, who ran a hotel in my hometown, Sioux City, during the Depression. Supposedly, there was gangster activity going on there, and money was hidden behind the wallpaper!

What inspired your current work?

Seeing the Gettysburg battlefield was awe inspiring, because I had never seen a Civil War battlefield before. It inspired me to write the first book, which turned into a series.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

It was nonfiction, which I hadn't done before on that large of a scale. There was so much research involved. It was exhausting!

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Write what you love and feel passionate about, and never give up!

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

I decided to write from the Southern perspective because it has nearly become lost to history. Slavery was an issue but it wasn't the cause of the Civil War. I didn't understand that because I grew up in Iowa and wasn't told about the Southern side. So I researched it myself and discovered the truth.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Hidden Revolt by Jeffrey Bardwell

Jeffrey Bardwell wrote his first fantasy epic when he was 7 years old: a thrilling single page adventure. Subsequent epics have grown and matured alongside their author. He devours fantasy and science fiction novels and is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove. When not writing, Jeffrey enjoys cooking, gardening, and shooing baby dragons from the compost bin.

The author lives on a farm. He is overfond of puns and alliterations and a gigantic ham. He is also an unabashed history, mythology, and ecology buff and would love to hear from you. Send him an email!

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About the Book

Welcome to the revolution. Fire up the dragons!

The Iron Empire is ripe for revolt. The guilds are repressive, the price of dragon rum and steaks are soaring, and the mage menace spreads unchecked. Resentment builds. One day a young hero clanks into the capital and promises to kick the imperial palace to rubble.

Devin, more artifice than mage with his mechanical foot, returns to the empire, his nemesis Captain Vice in hot pursuit. The firebrand mage stirs the passions of imperial citizens under the guise of dragon conservation. We are all like slabs of dragon flesh: once powerful and mighty, but the empire bleeds us until nothing remains but bones and ruptured organs. The message resonates. A rebellion is born in secrecy and treachery. Beneath their cloaks of lies and shifting alliances, mages, gentry, and commoners alike reach for the mantle of the butchered dragon while Captain Vice's iron fist slowly closes around them.

Rise up and smash the state in Book Three of The Artifice Mage Saga. Join the fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody's hands are clean.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I enjoy telling stories and crafting worlds.

What genres do you write?

I write speculative fiction, primarily epic fantasy steampunk.

What is the quirkiest thing you've ever done while writing?

Wore my cat on draped across shoulders like a snoring fur stole. She kept my neck warm and I provided her a bony bed.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Delegating is the hardest task I face. It's too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do every single thing yourself.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

Someone once told me that my language was beautiful and my imagery evocative and my characters felt like real, flawed people. Just not the same someone at all three times.

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique?

Wept. Gnashed my teeth. Scanned it again for the useful advice.

What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author?

Oh, doubts galore. Who doesn't? They're a part of me, but they're not the boss of me.

Would you recommend self-publishing to other authors?

If it's your lifelong dream, go for it. If it's not your lifelong dream, go for it anyway. Either way, you'd better be the most stubborn son of a . . . . ahem, determined individual in the world to make it work.

What is your writing process?

Idea. Character arcs. Outline. First Draft. Developmental Edit. Second Draft. Copyedit. Third Draft. Format. Publish. Shout out to my editor and beta readers! The second half of that process would get pretty rocky without you. Thanks, everyone.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I am an outliner, though probably an outlier outliner. Whole scenes have a way of just sneaking into my outlines.

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing the third book in 'The Artifice Mage Saga,' an ongoing fantasy steampunk adventure where the destiny of an empire rests on one man's shoulders.

What inspired your current work?

I was inspired by my father's old workshop filled with mysterious hand tools to write about an artificer who gets caught in a situation where all his vaunted tool knowledge is useless.

How do you market/promote your work?

Lately, I've been experimenting with AMS ads. I've got a background in statistical analysis, so exploring different multivariate analyses on my own sales dataset has been fun.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Thank you for allowing me to have a career I love. I've enjoyed getting to know some of you via emails. I hope to meet more of you face to face at a fantasy convention some day and look forward to producing more stories for years to come.

Friday, 1 December 2017

A Daffodil for Angie by Connie Lacy

Connie Lacy worked for many years as a radio reporter and news anchor after dabbling in acting in college and community theater. Those experiences show up in some of her novels.

Her passion for human rights prompted her to write “A Daffodil for Angie,” a historical novel set in the 1960s. Her interest in climate change led her to imagine a not-too-distant future when oceans have risen fifteen feet. That's the backdrop for "The Shade Ring Trilogy." And her fascination with time travel and the paranormal are on display in "The Time Telephone" and "VisionSight: a Novel."

Growing up, she lived in Japan and Okinawa where her Army dad was stationed. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a degree in Journalism and Creative Writing.

She and her husband live in Atlanta.

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About the Book

1966. A tough time to be a teenager, especially for Angie Finley. Her dad’s in Vietnam as antiwar protests mount. School integration is underway. Bullies target the first black girl in her class. Her mom’s pushing her to be a cheerleader. Women are pressing for equal rights. Oh, and a good-looking football player can’t keep his hands off her.

Looks like ditching her glasses for contacts and frosting her hair might not make life at Lafayette Senior High as successful as she imagined.

Set against a backdrop of the Sixties, A Daffodil for Angie is a compelling coming-of-age story about a girl on the cusp of womanhood facing tough choices during one of the most tumultuous decades in American history.

Angie comes face to face with growing antiwar sentiment and racial violence as rising social consciousness transforms American society with a little help from the likes of Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Aretha Franklin.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

It was Miss America pageant weekend, something I used to love when I was little. We’d gather in front of the TV and pull for our favorites. But, somehow, watching young women try to out-pretty each other didn’t seem romantic anymore. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to take part when it came time for our school pageant either. Although I knew my mother would be jazzed up about it, just like she was when Deedee was in high school. Of course, beauty was Mom’s business. She started out as a beautician and now owned her own salon.

Ever since the divorce, she held a Miss America Hen Party, complete with beer, chips and dip, deviled eggs and a roomful of jabbering, smoking women. All of them were former beauty pageant contestants who matured into plump, middle-aged, self-appointed beauty experts. They ranted and raved about each and every contestant’s legs, hair, teeth, makeup, evening gown, bathing suit, choice of shoes and breast size.

I sat on the front porch, trying to keep my distance as the ladies passed judgment, turning our house into the Beer Hall for Catty Women.

The two yellow maples in the front yard were still green, but their leaves were getting ready to morph into that brilliant golden color that made our house look kind of charming in the fall. It was thanks to Dad that Mom didn’t have them chopped down when we moved in. She argued they killed the grass with their shade. He convinced her they’d increase the resale value someday.

It was a modest house – three bedrooms and one bath – but Dad also planted pink azaleas and blue hydrangea bushes in the front yard, which made me get my camera out every spring to take pictures. And he set out a big patch of daffodils by the mailbox that poked their pretty yellow heads up every January, like beacons of hope reminding me, even in the dead of winter, that spring really was just around the corner. Mom had to concede Dad’s gardening did actually “enhance our home’s curb appeal.”

A huge guffaw wafted through the door.

The porch was my refuge after failing to come up with a better alternative. I’d called Janet, but she said Dottie and Craig’s sister, Sherry, were coming over to watch the pageant with her. She said I could come too, but you know how it is when someone only invites you last minute like that. And, besides, I wanted something better to do. Like have a date with a boy? Like Craig, maybe?

Unfortunately, a squadron of mosquitoes used me as their evening field rations, forcing me to retreat to my room much sooner than I’d hoped. I slipped inside by the carport door, snagging a Coke as I tiptoed through the kitchen.

The clucking from the living room got louder and louder.

“Lord-a-mercy! That one’s way too busty.”

“She just needs a better bra!”

“Judges don’t want giant, bouncing boobs.”

“But men do!”

“Har har har!”

They didn’t notice me at all, glued as they were to our new TV.