Guest Release Promotion—Keri’s Christmas Wish by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

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For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas so much she seldom enjoys the holiday. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?

A devout Christian at heart, Jeremy Hinton, a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Energy Medicine Practitioner has studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens the life of the woman he loves, will all of his faith and training be for naught?

BUY LINK

Amazon ebook

EXCERPT

An image began to form in her mind…a young girl being led around on a horse by an ethereal figure. As the trio came closer, Keri felt as though she looked in a mirror. Her heart swelled. Tears clogged her throat, filled her eyes, and slipped down her cheeks.

“Hi, Keri!”

The childlike voice reverberated through her entire body. Keri smiled and whispered, “Hello.”

 Excitement lit the youngster’s eyes. Brilliant colors vibrated around her. “Do you know who I am?”

“You’re me as a little girl. That’s Spark, my horse who died when I was a teenager.”

Spark nodded his head as the girl giggled—a joyous melody that rang through the atmosphere. “No, silly, I’m your big sister. Only, I didn’t live very long.”

 Tension seeped in, a mixture of shock and awe.

 “Don’t be afraid. Ask Mom.”

 And then the mirage disappeared.

Pamela S Thibodeaux publicity photo

 Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Participants on the blog tour for Keri’s Christmas Wish will have a chance to win one of 5 electronic  or 5 print copies. Prizes awarded at the end of the tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Additional stops on the blog tour where Pamela would love to see visitors

Dec 10th – Marilyn Leach Blog: marilynleachteaandbooks.com

Dec 11th – Robin Bayne Blog: http://wwwwritingbetweensundays.blogspot.com/

Dec 12th – Raquel Byrnes Blog: http://nitewriter6.blogspot.com/

Dec 13th – Cami Checketts Blog: http://www.camichecketts.com/

Dec 14th – Linda McLaughlin Blog: http://lindalyndi.com/reading-room-blog/

Dec 15th – Diane Burton Blog: http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Dec 16th – Maureen Bonatch Blog: http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/

Dec 17th – Alicia Dean Blog: https://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

Dec 18th – Jody Day Blog: http://jodysdevotionaljournal.blogspot.com/

Dec 19th – Marian Merritt’s Blog: http://marianmerritt.blogspot.com

Dec 20th – Kim Headlee Blog: https://kimiversonheadlee.blogspot.com/

Dec 21st – Patricia Preston Blog http://patricia-preston.blogspot.com/

Dec 22nd  – Delia Latham Blog http://chirpnchatter.blogspot.com/

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

BookBub page

Guest Interview—Jana Begovic

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (ex Yugoslavia) where I spent most of my adult life. I also acquired most of my higher education there (B.A. and M.A. degrees in languages and literature). With my husband and son, I immigrated to Canada in 1991, half a year before the country was engulfed in a civil war. After graduating from the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Canada, I started working for the Department of National Defence and began my career path as a foreign language curriculum and testing specialist. With a full-time job that involves a lot of international travel, too, I currently write only as a hobby.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Gourmet cooking and entertaining friends and family, reading, running and other fitness activities, travel, walks in nature.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I think of the characters first and have a rough contour of the plot in my mind. I allow the story to evolve organically without much planning.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

I’ve traveled to most of the locations I mention. For example, in Poisonous Whispers, parts of the plot unfold in Vienna, Rome, Barcelona and Glasgow. Glasgow is one of the cities I have not visited yet. England and Ireland are also mentioned in this book, and I was fortunate to visit England several times. I dream of travelling to Ireland because I feel a strong attraction to that country. My bucket list is much too long for one lifetime.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

When I get stuck, I simply stop writing and let the story ferment further in my subconscious mind. I also believe in synchronicities, that is meaningful coincidences that come into your life when you need them. And invariably, whenever I’d hit a reef in my storytelling, I would hear a story from a friend or an acquaintance during my travels that would inspire me to continue writing. When it comes to Poisonous Whispers, I simply trusted the process because I believed this book was destined to be born. I will never forget sitting in an airport in Europe and having the “Aha” moment, and knowing without a speck of doubt where the story needed to go in order for the plot line to come full circle.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

I was shocked to see my characters assume a life of their own. They became alive and started to control the storyline. I was especially surprised that the heroine would reveal a certain secret to her husband almost ruining her marriage. That was so unnecessary and cruel!!! When it comes to editing itself, the realization that it is an almost never-ending process, that it is almost impossible to catch every single error discouraged and frustrated me many times. And I’m not even a perfectionist in my everyday life!

What’s your dream vacation destination?

A hot climate with white pebbled beaches surrounded by pine trees, buzzing with cicada song and infused with the scent of brine and Mediterranean grasses. I believe I’m describing the Adriatic coast where I used to vacation, and which I will always miss.

In what genre do you read?

I read both fiction and non-fiction, commercial and literary prose, but literary fiction is my preferred genre. I enjoy the depth of literary thought, and I crave books that make me stop after every couple of pages and contemplate life.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope that readers derive pleasure from reading my debut novel; I hope they read it slowly, visualizing the pictures of both the physical and emotional landscapes I painted; I hope they lose track of time once they step into the multi-layered worlds I created; I hope the heroine’s pain-laced journey touches them, and also shows them that pain and loss, and poor judgment can deepen, strengthen, humble and redeem us.  And I hope they like and relate to my characters in spite of their flaws and moral fallibility.

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“Don’t you ever forget about me…,” he whispers during their secret encounters. Like a curse, these simple words now haunt Leandra, a reputable psychiatrist, who finds herself in emotional chaos after the sudden breakup of her illicit affair. Unable to heal on her own and tormented by dreams in which supernatural forces create havoc with her fate, she desperately turns to David, a colleague psychiatrist, asking him to take her through past-life regression therapy. She hopes that this unorthodox and somewhat suspect technique will explain her profound connection to the lover who has abandoned her so abruptly.

The sessions take Leandra through 17th and 19th century Ireland, Italy and England, where love, loss and betrayal are the leitmotifs in an ambiance of co-mingled fantasy and reality. In her hypnotic state, Leandra recounts a saga of intoxicating love, dizzying passion, flaming lust and profound heartbreak. Despite the painful answers she finds under hypnosis, Leandra still cannot let go of the hope to reunite with her lover. Ultimately, the shattering revelations from her past-life incarnations, along with the turmoil over her ruined marriage, become the stepping stones of her introspective path to healing, self-discovery and an appreciation of true love.

BUY LINKS

Roane Publishing

Amazon

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

EXCERPT

A tiny streak of pale light is cascading softly down the cell window and making a shy sliver in the veil of darkness. I open my eyes, disoriented. I do not move; I do not even dare blink until I get my bearings. Then I remember and freeze in horror. I sit up, an aching all over my body and cold dread in my heart. Instinctively, I try to disentangle my matted hair with my fingers, but it is hopeless. All around me, I smell mold, decay and death. How can I survive another day in this hole? The sound of the door opening with a screech makes me jump in terror.

The gaoler walks in; a heavy set of keys dangling and jingling in his hand.

“Come. You are being moved in preparation for tonight’s execution. A verdict was reached.”

I speak not but follow him. We climb a steep staircase. Below us, I hear moans and yells and what sounds like the death throes of those hopelessly lost to the world and forgotten by justice, compassion and mercy. Again, I am feeling dissociated from the event of my calamity; I see my body walking, but my soul is not in it and indifference over what might happen floods me. Death is not the end. Death offers me salvation from pain, from the torment of living a human life.

We leave the jailhouse and enter the house across the street to the village inn. The inn owner, James Bourke, looks at me with hatred and disdain. He also always hated my husband because his wife had hoped my husband would marry her. She was in love with him, and when he married me she tried to kill herself. James married her later, but has always known that she never stopped loving my husband.

The gaoler takes me upstairs to one of the guest rooms and locks the door behind me. The room is wide and clean even though sparsely furnished. The bed is large and looks inviting and I realize how exhausted I am. On the bed is a white, thin chemise and I immediately understand thisis what I will wear tonight when I am pushed off the bridge into the water that is cool even on the hottest of summer days. Will I have the strength or the will to swim and save myself? What surprises and almost delights me under such grave circumstances is a bathtub in the corner of the room. There is steam rising from it and I immediately undress and slip into it, relieved to be able to wash off the dirt, the grime, and above all the horrible stench on my body. I rub myself raw trying to clean my skin. Washing my hair is more difficult because at home I have servants who help me with bathing, dressing and undressing. I have been spoilt by marrying a man of wealth and power. Where is my husband now? I crave his protection. If he saved me now, would I give up Kieran, would I give up love in order to live? I surmise I would.

After I have washed, I come out of the tub feeling more exhausted than ever. At the same time, I realize I have not eaten for over a day and devour the plate of bread, cheese and apples ravenously. As I am eating, I can feel tears stream down my face; they are tears of silent despair and hopelessness. My chest is heaving with pain and I have difficulty swallowing the last few bites. I throw myself on the bed thinking my weeping and sobbing will continue forever, but I fall asleep. One would think that my dreams would be filled with the terror of the situation, but instead I dream of Kieran. In my dream I accuse him of being a weakling, of not fighting for our love. He just looks at me sadly and his eyes are filled with tears of powerlessness. He is also saying something in his defense, but I do not understand his words. I wake up feeling a sharp pain stabbing my chest and I gasp for breath. I feel like I am suffocating. I take a sip of water from the pitcher on the floor and the pain subsides. Outside, the moon is peering out from behind a cloud and I realize I’ve slept through the whole day. It is time to get ready for a new chance at life or for death.

I use the chamber pot and wash myself again with the bath water that is no longer clean. I tie my hair into a braid and pin it up. If I had scissors, I would gladly cut it off so it does not weigh me down once the cool river takes me in its wet embrace.

I sit on the bed waiting for my fate to open the next chapter of my life. I do not understand why I am suddenly so peaceful, and I cannot be certain if it is tranquility or resignation that has filled my heart.

I have no reaction when I hear the key turn in the lock and see the homely face of the gaoler appear in the doorframe. He is carrying a large red candle and in its light his toothless smile appears eerie and foreboding.

“Are you ready, my lovely, to face the savior? I must say ‘tis a shame to see such a nice body go to waste and be eaten by the fishes and snakes, but you are not the first or the last wretched witch this village has put an end to.”

His laughter is broken by a cough that must be tearing up his insides. It is so strong that it overwhelms him and he has to bend down to cough out something awful that seems to have been stuck in his throat. What a horrid man!

From a 5-star review

“The writing is exquisite—a book of depth, sophisticated in style, literary in nature. Ms. Begovic displays strong lyrical and poetic writing filled with symbolism and universal truths. The book also holds an element of suspense that keeps the reader wondering about the relationships of the characters until the surprise ending. A beautiful story, a compelling read.”

Beverly Knauer, Author of “The Line Between”

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As far back as she can remember, Jana has been fascinated by storytelling and intoxicated with the written word. As a young child, she began spinning stories, talking to an imaginary friend and devouring fairy tales. Her love of reading and writing drove her to study languages and literature. She works for the Government of Canada in the field of military language training. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but has lived in Canada since 1991.

WEB CONTACTS

Facebook

Twitter @ZhannaBegovic

Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

One AUTOGRAPHED book copy as giveaway will be mailed to a reader who leaves a question/comment and his/her contact info. The author will select the winner randomly. Good luck!

 

Welcome to the Highway Café Christmas Blog Tour

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The post may not be the top one but it’s there all three days.

Hi there, I’m Elf Sparkle

My job at the North Pole is decorating the wrapped packages with ribbons and bows or silk flowers or glitter. <giggle> I love glitter, and I love this job because I like making things look pretty.

Playing holiday music while I work keeps me energized. I switch between vocals like Celtic Ladies Christmas or carols by country artists and instrumentals like Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas in the Aire.

My favorite holiday snack and drink. I can’t decide between pfefferrnusse cookies (spice cookies coated in powdered sugar) or thumbprint cookies (cookies rolled in chopped nuts with a dab of jam in the center). But I know my favorite drink is hot chocolate stirred with a mini candy cane.

I’m the Secret Santa for Elf Annie, who works in the kitchen concocting decadent hot cocoa for Santa’s sleigh ride and helping Mrs. Claus bake cookies. I’m giving Elf Annie a mini-grater for the final flourish of fresh cinnamon or nutmeg on top of the whipped cream Santa loves on his cocoa.

This winter/holiday recipe I got from my mother (although she was Midwest born and bred).

New England Cranberry Custard Pie

Ingredients:

4 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup undiluted evaporated milk

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon nutmeg

9” unbaked pastry shell

1 8-oz can whole berry cranberry sauce

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

¼ cup chopped nuts

Combine eggs, salt, 3/4c sugar, evaporated milk, water, vanilla and nutmeg. Beat well. Pour into pastry shell. Bake in hot oven (425°) 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350° and bake 20-30 minutes more, or until knife inserted hallways between edge and center of pie comes out clean.

In small saucepan, stir cornstarch into cranberry sauce then add 2 T sugar. Heat until boiling, then boil one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in nuts and orange rind. Cool cranberry mixture before spooning over the custard. Cool 3-4 hours before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

My holiday gift to participants on this blog tour is that each task completed in the attached rafflecopter earns a chance in a random drawing for a print copy of One Winter Knight, a medieval winter holiday anthology of 8 stories, or an electronic copy of Silent Signals, a historical western novella.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
TAG LINE: Will the valley’s feud between cattlemen and shepherds keep Konrad and Anora apart? BLURB: After losing half his herd in the Great Blizzard of 1886, rancher Konrad Werner needs to safeguard his cattle. Tomboy Anora Huxley trains the Australian Shepherds and Kelpies that run the family’s sheep herd. Although cattlemen and shepherds are at odds, the pair discovers common interests. A threat is overheard, and Konrad rides out to Anora’s ranch to protect her. The tense situation reveals their true feelings. Will Anora be swayed by family loyalty, or will she listen to her heart that responds to Konrad’s silent signals? Buy link for all electronic formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/681040 Here are the sites for the other participating authors. Visit them for more holiday fun, recipes and giveaways. http://transcanadaromancewriters.blogspot.ca/2016/12/highway-cafe-christmas-blog-tour.html http://www.findingthewritewords.blogspot.com/ http://www.tenastetler.com/my-blog/ https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/ www.writerknapsack.com http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com/ http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/ http://www.sorchiadubois.com/

http://www.carolhenry.org/

www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com

http://casimclean.com/casis-christmas-…cal-mystery-tour/ https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/ http://mariahlynneauthor.blogspot.com/

http://kkweil.blogspot.com http://www.clairdelunebooks.co.uk/

http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/holiday-blog-hop/

Guest Release Promotion—It’s In The Blood by Juanita Aydlette

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Never stare at a shirtless hunk with green eyes. Gabrielle Madsen is drawn in by such a pair of eyes that captures her soul and leaves her a prisoner of an addictive kind of love–not that she’s complaining. But her educational trip turns out to be more than just a fun-filled summer escapade.

She’s faced with a life-changing decision that could affect the world around her. Her discovery of this ancient, legend-come-to-life proves to be deadly, but her heart can’t break away. She and Josh Van Ness fall in love and must battle the forces that want to keep them apart.

BUY LINKS

Class Act Books

Amazon ebook

Smashwords

EXCERPT

Away from the open menagerie was a path surrounded by dense trees. It was across a narrow decorative bridge built into the landscape. The thick greenery provided a shady side to the open garden. A spotlight created by the sun beckoned to me from inside and I walked away from the others. My eyes were fixed on the pink and red groundcover that glimmered with a hypnotic seduction. I ventured toward the fragrant breeze, unaware of how far I had strayed.

After only a few yards inside the cover of the trees, my body was seized again by a rumble and a frightening snarl. A chill blanketed me and I couldn’t move. I didn’t dare look around, for the back of my blouse had already been saturated by the heated moisture from the breath of the beast. My first instinct was to scream, but fear had stolen my voice. So I took a deep breath and held it. The scent of horror filled my lungs. It was familiar. Was I being stalked by the animal that lurked outside my hotel grounds?

Help me please, rang inside my head. My eyes squeezed shut as its sharp fangs pinched my shoulder. Tears filled my eyes and my hands formed a fist. I waited to feel my bones snap when suddenly, it let go. The leaves crunched. The sound grew fainter by the second, then nothing. My eyes remained closed as I trembled and listened.

“Miss?” A woman’s voice severed my nightmare. “I saw you come out here. We’re getting ready to go to another area. You don’t want to be left behind.”

Without hesitation I ran past her, clutching my throat and sobbing. The other tourists were boarding the van and I made my way to the back. The woman I believed saved me from certain death, came and sat beside me.

“Hi. My name is Kara. Are you okay?” She placed her hand on my shoulder.

“Did you see anything?” I searched her eyes for a confirmation. “An animal? It was behind me.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see anything,” she said and smiled.

“Was it a spider?” the little lady with the blinding yellow blouse asked.

“No. Never mind, Kara. I guess I’m just tired. Thank you for checking on me.”

“You’re welcome, you take care.” She quickly returned to her seat.

My body trembled as the bus came to stop. I ran from the tourist center to the hotel. Once inside the bathroom, I stripped and examined my shoulder. A painful bruise was both in front and in back. I cried out loud, shook convulsively, and then laughed hysterically. Was I going mad?

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Juanita Aydlette is from Shreveport, Louisiana, and now lives in Texas.  She’s the only girl in a family of four brothers. She love music, planting flowers and is a dog lover…that’s why she works at an animal clinic.

WEB CONTACTS

Website

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Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette

Guest Release Promotion–Hill Country Homecoming by Julie B Cosgrove

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Sarah has the dollars and sense. Travis possesses the horse sense. When tragedy befalls the Bar-M one Christmas, can they put aside their differences to save it?

BUY LINKS

Amazon Kindle

Smashwords

EXCERPT

Live rich, marry richer.

That had been Sarah Mansfield’s goal since grade school. Now, after years of plotting and planning, it lay within reach. She angled the two-carat round-cut solitaire, surrounded by a myriad of smaller stones, to catch the light streaming through the car window. The facets glimmered in the warm, winter sun as it bounced off the bare cypress branches swishing overhead.

Her fiancé, Tucker Simpson, sat next to her in his shiny, new Italian convertible. As he shifted gears and pressed the clutch, his hand-stitched, never-stepped-into-manure boots gave off a soft whiff of saddle-soap. Outside the window, the glistening emerald Guadalupe River wound along the state road like a lazy rattler seeking shade.  “It is the one you wanted. From Harrison’s, right?”

“Yes. I should have known you’d dare not shop anyplace else.” She gave him a teasing wink.

“Only the best for my girl. As soon as I signed the Henderson account with the firm, it proved my worth.” His diamond-eyed, eighteen-carat gold longhorn tie tack blinked in her direction. Symbol of graduating in the top of his Texas law school class.

She grinned.

He slipped his hand from the gearshift and laced his fingers through hers. “After only six months with Abernathy, Smith and Firth, I am the newest junior partner, at $300K a year. Now, I can almost afford you.”

“The ring is perfect. Just like you, honey.” She fluttered her mascara-laden eyelashes and pecked his golf-course-bronzed cheek in response.

His French aftershave, at $129.95 an ounce, swept her into euphoria. Yep, all the effort and waiting had paid off.  Born into one of the wealthiest horse breeding families in Central Texas, Sarah spent her summers galloping across the plains in the morning, lounging on rafts in the river through the afternoons, and kicking up dust at the rodeo dances until midnight, all the while tantalizing the local boys she kept at arm’s length. While they offered a certain amount of fun, they didn’t fit the bill. Too uncouth and prone to spit chewing tobacco.

The school year, spent in San Antonio, sequestered her in an upscale parochial girl’s school away from the inner city sharks, though a few boldly circled the posh pond trying to lure a socialite with their good looks and slumming charms. Nice playthings on which to practice her femininity, but long ago, she’d set her sights on far larger fish—Dallas or Houstonian guys with daddy’s money bulging from wallets in the back pockets of their too-tight jeans.

After she graduated, she attended one of the top private colleges in the state and pledged a sorority—the one of her mother and grandmother. Next, she spent the obligatory year touring Europe with the other debutantes, per time-honored protocol, in order to round out her cultural repertoire and to catch the eyes of rich and eligible cosmopolitan bachelors. The fact she had enough brains to make straight A’s all the way through school hardly mattered. Graceful flirtations, the right haircut and perfume, and a flawlessly tanned body did.

Her best friend, Emma Rose, landed a minor British duke, but Sarah’s attention fell on Tucker as he volleyed the beach ball while summering on the Italian Riviera. His rippled abs captured the Mediterranean sunbeams and ricocheted into her heart. She used every feminine wile in her well-bred arsenal to convince him to snare her instead of one of the other girls, and then played a mild hard-to-get to reel him in. She convinced her father to pay for her to get her Master’s in Renaissance English Literature at the university in Dallas so she could keep Tucker wiggling on the hook once he landed employment at the prestigious law firm. It was also where she made her debut into society, accumulating well-established names and addresses for her future wedding invitations.

Yep, her plans had fallen in place. Sarah laced her arm through Tucker’s and leaned into his shoulder blade. She raised her left hand higher. “Everyone at the Christmas Dance tonight at the Bar-M Ranch will wish they were us. You are going to drool over my dress.”

“I’d prefer to see you out of it, but I know you are the wait-until-the-honeymoon type.”  She lifted off his chest and protruded her lower lip as she twisted to face him. “Which you’ve agreed to abide by.”

“Anything for you, angel. You just keep reminding me you’re worth the wait, okay?” He winked.

She snickered. “My daddy will, for sure. He’s won awards for his rifle shooting.”

Tucker cleared his throat. “How many folks are you expecting tonight?”

“Oh, around two-hundred I guess.” She scrunched her nose and swished back her palomino-blonde hair. “Dad insists on letting the ranch hands and their families join in the holiday festivities. Which, unfortunately, means Mr. Righteous will be in attendance.” She mimed a gag, dipping her finger to the back of her tongue.

Tucker’s eyes twinkled in response as he draped an arm over her shoulders and pulled her close. “You mean your dad’s right hand man, Travis?”

She snuggled into his ribcage and yawned. “That’s the one. Hope he leaves his Bible in the bunkhouse. I don’t want religion spoiling my Christmas.”

He reared his head back, revealing a protruding Adam’s apple peeking from his starched and professionally pressed Oxford shirt collar. A laugh exploded from his lips.

“Turn down that road up ahead on the right, honey, where you see the large oak and the Texas flag.”

“Yes’m.” Tucker twisted to face her as she rose off his torso and smoothed her hair back into place. “Sarah. Am I seriously supposed to get on this Travis’ good side? I mean, could he prevent our wedding if he disapproved?”

She brushed a piece of lint from her French designer jeans. “Daddy always values his opinions about raising horses, so sometimes he gets his nose a bit too high, if you get my meaning. But”—she lifted her gaze and narrowed her blue eyes—“if that cowpoke hisses, you ignore him. He’ll slither back into his hole where he belongs as soon as he realizes Daddy’s happy as long as I’m happy.”

“Good to know.” His eyes returned to the road winding through the prairie grass ahead of them.

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove has ten contracted novels and novellas published or in the works. She also writes for seven devotional publications and websites and is a professional speaker who leads women’s religious retreats and writers’ workshops. Julie lives in Fort Worth, Texas but her heart is at her family’s property in the Texas Hill Country on the Guadalupe River.

 

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Guest Release Promotion–Lily and the Gambler by Linda McLaughlin

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

I’m so thrilled about my latest release, a western romance set in the California Gold Country, specifically Grass Valley, 1868. My husband and I visited the area some years ago, and I fell in love with it. Grass Valley was especially interesting to me because of the large Cornish population in the 19th century. This area had deep gold veins that couldn’t be panned. The Cornish miners were encouraged to come because of their experience in the tin mines of Cornwall, which were petering out. To this day, the Cornish pasty is a local treat.

A shorter, sexier version of this story was previously published by Amber Quill Press. When I got back the rights, I realized I now had the opportunity to tell the tale as I’d originally intended, as a sensual romance. It was fun to revisit Lily and King’s world and spend time with them again. They are two of my favorite characters. I hope readers will agree.

Linda McLaughlin

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Respectability is in the eye of the beholder. Or so Lily Penhallow hopes when she assumes the guise of the widow Albright. She has learned the price of flaunting convention and is determined to obey society’s rules from now on. After her lover, Nigel Albright, was killed in a duel over a card game, Lily dons widow’s weeds and travels to Grass Valley, California where she plans to marry the man her uncle works for, a respectable mine owner named Hugh Ogilvie. Then, on the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets Creighton ‘King’ Callaway, a professional gambler, just the kind of man she should avoid.

King believes that since life is a gamble, there’s no point in planning for the future. You have to trust Lady Luck. After meeting Lily, King knows he has found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?

Only Lady Luck knows for sure…

BUY LINKS

Amazon Kindle

B&N Nook

Coming soon to other retailers

EXCERPT

Lily smiled at him. “That was quite a trick. Do you tell fortunes, too?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. Is the lady interested?”

“Perhaps,” she said, aware he was flirting with her again and annoyed with herself because she was enjoying it. “There should be a deck of cards here somewhere.”

“No cards required. Just let me see your palm.”

Unable to stop herself, Lily stripped off her gloves and let him take her hand. He held it in his left hand, and with his right index finger, traced the lines on her palm. Shivers ran up her arm at each caressing touch. His scent, a mixture of bay rum, male musk, and a faint hint of tobacco, overwhelmed her.

“What do you see?” she asked, her voice suddenly breathless.

“Health and long life.”

“What, no handsome stranger?” she joked.

He raised his head and stared into her eyes. “Oh, yes, I see romance ahead for you. With a dark haired fellow. But he isn’t a stranger.”

For what seemed an age, she stared into his green-gold eyes while her pulse quickened and warmth stole through her veins. It would be so easy to surrender to the feelings he evoked.

“I also see a fork in the road ahead,” he added softly. “You have a decision to make. A very important decision.”

She snatched her hand away, knowing she couldn’t afford to be distracted by him. It wasn’t as if he had made her any promises. “I think you need to practice your fortune-telling skills, Mr. Callaway.”

He chuckled. “There’s something else I’d like to practice.” Cupping her chin, he stared at her, his eyes full of half promises. “Oh, hell, I may get my face slapped for this, but…” His hand moved to the back of her neck as he lowered his head and captured her lips in a kiss that stole her breath away.

For a moment, she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the kiss. Then a door slammed somewhere in the house, reminding her of where they were. She pushed him away. “How dare you?” she hissed.

He gave her a lazy grin. “What’s that old saying? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?”

“I think you’d best be going.”

He paused at front door, turned and held her gaze for a moment, then left.

She sighed and leaned against the doorjamb. What had she been thinking to let him kiss her, however briefly?

LindaMac

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it’s only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O’Farrell. A native of Pittsburgh, PA. she now lives in Southern California.

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Guest Release Promotion—Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane by James Austin McCormick

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A reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.

All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy…

…and only Sillow has any chance of stopping it.

BUY LINKS

Class Act Books

Amazon

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EXCERPT

Laser fire and shouts echoed as Sillow was thrown headlong into the cell.

“What are you?” a female voiced asked. “Some type of green midget?”

Sillow groaned and tried to get up. He settled for a slumped kneeling position.

“I’m a Sylvan,” he replied. He squinted into the shadows and saw a figure seated on the upper berth of a bunk. He could make out little apart from a muscular, yet shapely pair

of legs. “Who are you?”

The figure jumped down from the bunk. She was an Amazonian, strong and athletic with an impressive cleavage and long chestnut hair falling around her shoulders. She was

also extremely pretty despite the artificial eye and cheek implant. She stretched out a perfectly formed silver arm, extending her hand. “Titanya.”

Sillow’s eyes widened. “The Pirate Queen?”

The woman nodded.

The Sylvan took her cybernetic hand and let himself be hauled to his feet. He found himself head high to her magnificent chest.

“Sillow,” he replied, smiling at her breasts. “I’m from the Alliance.”

“Up here, short stuff,” the woman told him.

Slowly and very reluctantly, Sillow turned his attention upwards. He grinned. “Nice to meet you.”

Outside, cries and weapon fire continued to echo through the halls.

Titanya frowned. “Any idea what all that’s about?”

“Whole place is going crazy,” the Sylvan replied. “Something got into Tamerlane’s AI system.”

The woman took a couple of tentative steps toward the door. Screams echoed through the walls.

“Sounds like a warzone out there,” she remarked. “You sure the AI is causing all this?”

Sillow frowned. “You know, this is going to sound kind of crazy but…” he paused, running a hand over his pointed chin.

“What?” Titanya demanded.

“Well, it kind of looks like the one causing all this is Darius Drake. You heard of the guy?”

“Oh yeah,” the Earth woman answered. “We’ve met.”

“Well, somehow he’s put himself into the computer system.” Sillow gave an embarrassed shrug. “Sounds sort of off the wall I know.”

There was a sudden explosion and flames tore through the slits at the top of the door.

“Look out.” Sillow threw himself at Titanya, knocking her off balance and sending her tumbling to the floor. The Sylvan landed on top of her, head buried in her thick auburn

locks. A fireball tore past them, turning the bunks into cinder.

It was some moments before Sillow glanced up. He found himself looking at the stern, beautiful features of the Terran woman.

“You okay?” he asked. “Just so you know, that was me protecting you.”

“Just so you know,” Titanya replied, “under any other circumstances I’d have busted your jaw for that.”

Sillow grinned. “You mean saving your life?”

Titanya flung the little Sylvan back onto his feet. “Yeah, right. I can’t believe a pipsqueak like you got the drop on me.”

JamesAustinMcCormick-1128

James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England who considers writing pure escapism. After the publication of his first SF novel, Dragon, he realized he wanted to keep exploring the universe he’d created. So far he’s written two more Dragon books, Dragon: Smuggler Tales and the most recent, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane, and three stand-alones.

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99 cent sale on Libbie: Bride of Arizona

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Just in time for Black Friday…steal away to when times were easier. Or maybe not.

On her own for the first time, tomboyish Libbie Van Eycken accepts a mail-order proposal and travels across country to find a place to call her own. Arizona rancher Dell Stirling needs a wife but didn’t count on the eccentric creature that brings chaos in her wake.

Can they overcome cultural clashes and unrealistic expectations to create a real marriage?

Amazon

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Sale continues through November 28th

EXCERPT

“I placed an ad in a newsletter called the Grooms’ Gazette. Months ago on a business trip, I saw a similar publication in Phoenix.” Plus he’d overheard a recent conversation at the Cabinet Saloon about a rancher out in Chino Valley who was quite happy with the wife he’d acquired this way.

Maida’s sigh lasted a couple of seconds. “So, she’s a mail-order bride.”

Just like his sister to go all dewy-eyed. He guessed mail-order was the appropriate term, but he didn’t like it much. Dell unfolded the telegraph office stationery that by now had well-worn creases. Hoping to make her words flow better, he omitted the ‘stops’ at the end of each sentence.

“Dear Mr. Stirling, Your ad in the Grooms’ Gazette caught my eye above all the others.”

He paused and glanced up to see if anyone would comment on that statement. This first line was his very favorite.

“I, too, have an affinity for animals. In fact, I’ve spent a good portion of my life on my family’s Australian cattle stations.”

“Australia? I thought you said she’s from Boston.” Skip pointed an accusing finger.

“I’m reading what the lady in question wrote.” Dell shook the paper. “Let me finish.” Then he glanced down to find his place.

“I’ve helped with branding, herding, and calving. I sling a mean loop, and my boomerang-throwing skill is proficient.”

He rested a finger on the foreign word and looked up. “I’m not sure what she means here.”

“At twenty-one years old, I’m not a stranger to hard work. I enjoy all types of music and feel most at home in natural settings, especially warmer climates. My circumstances have become unsettled, and I will relocate immediately. Miss Libbie Van Eycken.”

Aware of tightness invading his shoulders, Dell flexed them before lowering the paper to the table and waited.

“Now, I’ll get the pie and coffee.” Hazel reached for Skip’s plate and stacked it on top of hers as she stood. Her lips pinched tight, and she studied Dell for a long moment before turning away.

“Mama, I’ll help.” Maida shot to her feet, cleared Dell’s plate, and reached for the bowl of carrots. “No one says another word until we return.” Then she scurried toward the kitchen.

Good. Dell needed time to think. He knew while the women were absent, none of the men would exchange a single word. As he’d read Libbie’s words aloud, he suddenly realized how very few details she’d included. In his ad, he’d requested an experienced cook and housekeeper, but Libbie mentioned neither of those skills. Nor had she described what about her circumstances had changed. Why hadn’t he noticed these omissions before? Since hers was the only response he’d received, he’d counted himself lucky that she understood a rancher’s life. Maybe he’d been too hasty.

Guest Release Promotion—UnderStory by Lisa Lickel

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Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. She’s found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies.

BUY LINK

Amazon

EXCERPT

Kingston’s cabin was maybe half a mile away through the woods, if she got the direction right. He’d hide her for a while, help her figure out what to do. She had to be close to the turn-off toward the tiny crossroads community of Spruce. She could make it. If she alerted the authorities before Art found her, she might stay alive.

If she wanted to. Brisk air reinvigorated her brain cells, forcing them to work overtime, remembering the bad parts about growing up, and now, trying to do more than run on instinct. A woman like her, born defective, was useless, her father said. She shouldn’t bother trying to get a boyfriend, her mother told her.

But she wasn’t useless and had done well…until lately.

She would figure this out and live.

She had to. For Kenny.

Art would be mad when he realized she’d taken his new Jeep. He didn’t really think she was that stupid, did he? To believe she’d hide out until he could have her declared dead? That he would turn over part of the insurance money so she could start over somewhere else at the age of twenty-eight?

Her breath glittered in the rusty morning light through the fine powdery flakes swirling down. Honeysuckle grabbed her jeans. Hawthorn tore her cheek, tugged back her hood and tangled in her hair, pulling it from the loose bun she’d tied before huddling into her mother’s old coat. She didn’t even pause. The coming storm had been forecast for the past three days, with each prediction adding inches to the snow total.

She hitched the nubby wool higher around her ears, dragging the red plaid fringed blanket into the understory.

Lisa Lickel A (3) 105 KB

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer and editor. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. She is vice president of Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat, Inc. Lisa loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and workshops, is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor.

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Guest Release Promotion–The Story of a Peace-Loving Man By Toni V. Sweeney

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THE FIRST ENTRY IN A NEW SCIENCE FICTION SERIES…

Against the background of an interplanetary war comes the story of Allan McAllister and N’Sagar sh’en Singh.

He’s a Paxist, a believer in peace, forced by the United Terran Federation into military service to punish his treasonous kinsman. She’s the daughter of a Felidan pride chief, one of the enemy, but there’s no hatred in her heart for the lone Terran marooned on her planet.

Thrown together, then torn from each other by the aftermath of a war neither wanted, their love will be a tragedy and a triumph as a man sworn to walk the road of Peace is made to follow the dictates of War and suffer its consequences.

This is their story…

BUY LINKS

Class Act Books

Amazon

Smashwords

EXCERPT

Pardee had a package from Shelagh. Home-made cookies. He opened the little box, offering it to Allan. The smell of ginger and cane sugar wafted out. “Gingerbread raisin. Have one, Mal.”

“Why do you call me that?” Allan asked, selecting a large, thick wafer. He inhaled the spice’s sharp scent. It made his mouth water. Taking a bite, he spoke through the sweet mouthful. “My name’s Allan. I don’t use my middle name.”

“No, you’re Mal. Short for Malcolm, aye.” Jon picked his own cookie, ate it in two bites before going on. “But mal also means “bad” an’ you’re a bad boy, Allan Malcolm McAllister…just like I am. Whether you want t’ be or not.”

“What do you mean you’re bad? I don’t see anyone beating up on you. They may be a little deferential to you but at least you aren’t ostracized like I am.”

“Is that your way o’ askin’ about me background? For if ’tis, I’ll be tellin’ a sordid tale, boyo.” Pardee could turn the thickness of that Irish accent on and off at will, but it always became more pronounced when he got serious. He picked another cookie.

“I guess I am,” Allan replied. “I’ll admit I’m curious. You’ve become my friend, Jon, and I can’t help wondering why. Is it for the notoriety, or are you just a glutton for punishment? It certainly can’t be because of my winning personality.”

“Now that…” Pardee pointed at him with the second cookie, closing one eye in a weird little squint just short of a wink. “…is where you’re wrong. I’ll admit I felt sorry for you at first, but it didn’t take me long to see you an’ I are alike in a way, an’ if an’ when things get down to basics where’er we’re goin’, ’tis you I want guardin’ me back, Mal. Just as I’ll be guardin’ yours.”

That floored Allan. That this man who was almost a stranger would come right out and say he trusted him with his life and would be willing to protect him, too.

“In that case…you’d better tell me how you became a bad boy, Private Pardee. Give me the whole, sordid mess.”

 

ToniVSweeney_Nov18

Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Graphic Art and also produces book videos. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. Her novels have garnered awards from The National Writers Association, Preditors & Editors, The Maryland Writers Association, and The Paranormal Romance Guild. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books. She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild.  Recently she was named a professional reader by netgalley.com.

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd