Category Archives: guest release

Guest Release Promotion–Kizzie’s Kisses by Zina Abbott

My Kizzie’s Kisses Journey:

Being a Civil War enthusiast and with my story set between 1862 and 1865, my original plan was to write a Civil War story. With her home set in Salina, Kansas, Kizzie’s family was close to the turmoil of guerilla attacks from the pro-slavery factions in Missouri, not to mention the Lawrence, Kansas massacre that took place in August of 1863. I researched several Kansas cavalry regiments to decide which would fit best with my locality and characters.

Here is what happened as I started to write. I found my Kizzie fleeing from an Indian massacre, an actual event that took place just west of Salina  in 1862. Later that year, a band of twenty bushwhackers attacked the town. Through it all, Kizzie discovers her future sweetheart working as a guard on an ox-team freight train traveling the Smoky Hill Trail that stretched from eastern Kansas to Denver, Colorado. As for nearby Fort Riley, their troops were sent not only to fight Civil War battles and repel Missouri Confederates but also to fight Cheyenne war parties protecting their hunting grounds. One thing the fort needed for both efforts was replacement horses for its cavalry. What an interesting and not over done set of events to write about.

I have found that I can research, prepare time lines, develop an outline, but once I start writing, the characters write their own stories. This is what happened with Kizzie and Leander. Instead of Leander joining the Army, he worked at a contract freighter for the Army, passing through hostile Cheyenne and Plains Apache territories on the Smoky Hill and Santa Fe Trails. Several times a year, his travels took him past Kizzie’s home where he stopped to visit while they worked together to keep her mare and his stallion from being requisitioned for the Army’s needs at Fort Riley. Add to the story Kizzie’s colorful family and Charlie, the half-Kaw scout for the freight train, I believe Kizzie and Leander wrote quite a story.

What about all that Kansas cavalry regimental history I researched? Not to worry. Kizzie’s cousin, Otto Atwell, enlisted in the Army. I plan on him having his own book someday. Tales from those regimental histories will fill the pages of his story.

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Running from hostile Indians attacking Salina, Kansas, feisty Kizzie Atwell runs into freighter Leander Jones. He is as interested in her as his stallion is in her mare. The two join forces prevent the Fort Riley Army captain from requisitioning their prize horses for the cavalry. Will the bargain they make to save their horses lead to a more romantic bargain sealed with a kiss?

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About Zina Abbott:

Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels.

The author currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She is a member of Women Writing the West and American Night Writers Association. She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.

Connect with Zina Abbott:

 

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Blog  http://www.zinaabbottbooks.blogspot.com

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Sweet Americana Sweethearts:  a blog by authors who write in historical settings from 1820-1920

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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?

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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

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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/

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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…

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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.

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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.”

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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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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.”

 

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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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Guest Release Promotion—Sparks of Love by Mary L. Ball

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Misjudged and accused, Lynette Cunningham walks away from God and everything she loves. A phone call from her father offers hope. He announces he’s found a clue to the crime that forced her to run. Could this clear her name in her small North Carolina hometown?

Tragedy strikes and Lynette must face the two things that scare her most. The past and a man of God. Someone wants the past to stay buried. Will Lynette stay alive long enough to prove her innocence and accept the Love that is offered?

BUY LINKS

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Smashwords

EXCERPT

Lynette Cunningham tossed her severance packet on the table and kicked off her sandals. She rubbed her neck to knead the tension. The choices before her would wait. She was sad to be unemployed but excited at the same time. This was her chance to change careers.

Her cell phone chimed. She glanced at the number. “Hi, Dad.”

“How did your last day go?” Her father’s gravelly voice come across the airwaves.

“As planned. All of us employees received our final compensation from

Express Sky. The airline closing has me thinking. I may settle in one place for a while.”

“Honey, often things happen for a reason. The last time I came to see you, I noticed you seemed ready to make a change. Until you decide what to do, why not visit your ol’ dad?”

“I don’t know.” Her words churned as slow as butter.

“Please, come back home. At least for a time. The town has changed since you went away.”

Lynette’s mind drifted to Freedom, North Carolina and the memories of disgust on the faces of the townsfolk when she walked out of the police station a free woman.

“Nothing’s changed, Dad. There’s always going to be talk about that bank robbery.”

“Some folks enjoy the gossip, but you can’t let narrow-minded people rule you. You’re so much like your mother. She held on to a hurt for a long time, too, but I’m certain if Mom were alive, she’d tell you to give them another chance. You need to stop running from the past.” Her father cleared his throat. “I’ve found something which may end all the suspicion.”

Lynette gasped. His words danced around her ears like a buzzing fly.

“What? You discovered evidence to finally prove someone else is responsible?”

“I think so. I wanted to wait until you come back to take it to the sheriff. I realize it’s always been important for you to clear your name from the scandal. Thanks to the Lord’s guidance, this is a chance to help them arrest the real thief. Ten years is a long time for this to go unsolved.”

Her chest rose with a deep breath. “I doubt the Lord has anything to do with it. If God cared, He would’ve helped me years ago. I’m on my own, except for you,” she huffed.

“Darling, your negative talk bothers me. Sometimes, we must accept things and move on.”

“Dad, what did you find?”

“I think someone’s at the door. I’ll call you back later and explain everything.”

Before Lynette responded, silence met her ear. She laid the phone on the table and sat down, her mind on Freedom, North Carolina. As she debated her choices, Lynette drummed her fingers on the glass tabletop. The idea of dredging up the past unnerved her, but proving who was responsible for a crime she was accused of was appealing.

Mary L. Ball-Nov 14

Mary L. Ball is a multi-published author and member of AC FWs. She resides in North Carolina. When Mary isn’t working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband at church functions.

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Guest Release Promotion–Three French Inns by Patricia Kiyono

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Peter Brown joined His Majesty’s Army in the fight against Napoleon, but when he was wounded, a lovely French woman tended him. She was a recent widow, and they were on opposing sides of the war, so they went their separate ways. But he never forgot his “bel ange” — his beautiful angel.

Caroline Bouchard Duval marched with her husband in Napoleon’s army, eager to leave her sleepy village and see the world. But after being widowed, she returned to her childhood home in the French Alps. When a bloody traveler enters her father’s inn, she recognizes him immediately. Could this man give her another chance to fulfill her dreams?

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Smashwords 

EXCERPT

On the long road out of Lyon, her wagon had broken a wheel, and she’d had to walk the rest of the way. Three years of traveling with the army had prepared her well, and she’d trudged along, eating berries and whatever she could find along the way.

She’d been traveling alone and was within a day’s journey to her home when she’d heard a weak cry for help. She’d found him in the bushes. The stranger had been wounded — not badly, but enough that he wasn’t able to walk. A musket ball had pierced his calf and had done a lot of damage, though it had missed the bone. She’d dragged him to a clearing so that she could see well enough to clean the wound, remove the musket ball, and wrap his leg.

She’d found a rusty wheelbarrow and taken him to an abandoned barn, where she’d stayed with him until she was sure he’d recover. For two days they’d talked, told stories, and learned a lot about each other. He’d sympathized about the loss of her husband. She’d expressed sadness that he had no family waiting for him at home.

They hadn’t exchanged family names or any other information. Both of them had known that their meeting was a special moment in time meant to be remembered fondly.

She’d continued on to Ambérieu, back to her life as an innkeeper’s daughter. When her mother died, she’d taken over as cook and maid. But she’d never forgotten the handsome stranger. The man who now lay in her father’s inn.

Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.

She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures, especially for historicals, but she tends to set her contemporary stories in Michigan.