Release Promotion–Lord of Sherwood

Lord of Sherwood: the Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy, Book Three by Laura Strickland

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BLURB:

Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny.  With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman Tyranny.  But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.

Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding.  He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down.  But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet.  She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.

Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago …

EXCERPT:

Curlew bowed again. When the man reached Nottingham and inquired after an under-forester called Champion, he would know this meeting for a farce. But Curlew would be well away by then.

A small, wicked smile tugged at one corner of his mouth. He straightened from his bow just as the young woman’s cart reached him. Any well-behaved Saxon underling, as Curlew well knew, would avert his eyes respectfully as she passed. Instead, he lifted them to hers.

And, shockingly, she returned his stare, bold and unswerving as any lad. Nay, not like a lad though—for she was all woman, this one, her face brimming with character, interest, and mischief. A smile twitched her lips as their eyes met and held—it said many things: that she knew he had just spun a fabrication, that she applauded him for it, and that she found him just as fascinating to look upon as he found her.

His blood leaped at that look and he condemned himself silently. This, a well-bred Norman miss, was surely no proper object for his admiration. Only, she did not appear particularly well-bred nor well-disciplined. Who was she?

And would he ever see her again?

Curlew stood there with the blood drying on his hands as the small train lumbered past, grateful for his escape, and utterly scorched by her gaze.

Not until they were well past did he draw a deep breath and strive to shake off the spell that held him.

BUY LINKS:

The Wild Rose Press

KOBO

All Romance ebooks

Amazon

Google Play

Laura Strickland

Author bio:

Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland is the author of Scottish romance Devil Black as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood and Lord of Sherwood. She is currently working on the second book of a new Steampunk romance series.

Author contacts:

Author web page: www.laurastricklandbooks.com

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1408276940&sr=1-2-ent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002632317

Book Trailer for The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZvJC__mD5s

Guest Interview–Christy Effinger

Welcome to an author friend from The Wild Rose Press, Christy Effinger.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m originally from Southern Indiana, but now I live in a suburb of Indianapolis with my husband and baby daughter. Books have always been my passion; I earned an MA in English and then taught for several years at a community college. I’m excited to have a book of my own in print—finally!

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

I usually start with the characters. Say Nothing of What You See began with the mental image of a woman jumping off a grain elevator, but there was another character I’d been thinking about for some time. He was intelligent and sophisticated but also controlling and jealous. I wanted to find out how these two characters were connected. And to do that, I had to write the story.

  Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I work from a rough outline, but I’ve learned to be flexible. Often characters take me in a direction I never could have imagined. That certainly happened with Say Nothing.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

When I wrote Say Nothing, I sometimes listened to electronica while I worked. I love chill-out, downtempo, and ambient music. Now that I have a baby, I cherish the quiet moments when I can write. But music remains an important source of inspiration.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

Right now I’m home with my baby daughter, so I write during the day. I tend to write in short bursts when she’s napping or playing. Morning is my favorite time to work.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

Say Nothing is a paranormal new adult novel, but my WIP is contemporary women’s fiction. I also have a historical fiction project in mind I hope to tackle one day.

In what genre do you read?

I love all kinds of books, from literary classics to commercial fiction. I also enjoy narrative nonfiction and poetry.

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BLURB:

 

When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.

 

Chloe plans to train as a medium but it’s Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.

 

Then one winter’s day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother’s dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil’s deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost…betrayal.

BUY LINKS:

The Wild Rose Press

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

EXCERPT:

 

“You are absolutely stunning, Mira.”

 

I stole another glance in the mirror. The material was a rich, shimmery gold that fell from my shoulders in folds of liquid light. It looked like something a Greek goddess might wear. Oh, how I wished the girls from Amberville High School could see me in this dress!

 

“When you came here,” said Dr. Simon, “I had a vision of you like this. I looked at the girl before me, but I saw the woman you are now.”

 

“Thank you,” I murmured, gesturing toward the piles of clothes on my bed. “You’ve been so generous. I know you’ve spent a good deal of money on me—”

 

“Money means nothing,” he interrupted abruptly. “I have more than I could ever spend, more than I know what to do with. Don’t consider the cost.”

 

His tone was brusque, and I wondered if I had offended him.

 

But the next moment Dr. Simon smiled. “I think of you as my charity case. You were like a doll thrown out in the garbage. I simply rescued you from the trash, cleaned you up, and dressed you in something decent. But the beauty was present all along.” He touched my cheek. “Here.” Then he touched my forehead. “Here.” Then he touched my chest. “And here.”

 

I knew he was referring to my heart, but even so, his hand on my chest made my face warm with discomfort.

 

“You blush so easily,” he laughed. “You’ll never be able hide anything, Mira, with such a transparent face.”

 

“That’s all right,” I said, taking a small step back. “I don’t have anything to hide.”

 

 

 Quote from a 5-star review:

 

“A tale of darkness and despair at the hands of a madman . . . fabulous reading.” –Tome Tender

Effinger Photo

BIO & CONTACTS:

Christy Effinger’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in various print and online publications. She lives near Indianapolis. Her website is www.christyeffinger.com.

Author Links:

Website: http://christyeffinger.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/christyeffinger

Tumblr: http://christyeffinger.tumblr.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/christyeffinger

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/christyeffinger

Google+: http://google.com/+christyeffinger

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/christyeffinger

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Now through September 30, 2014

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Release promotion–Postmarked Ever After

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BLURB

A delayed letter and a message from afar unite two hearts.

Recently widowed, Serena Gray battles the daily drama of the Emergency Room, as well as her grief. When a mysterious letter arrives, it raises questions about a past she’d only heard her beloved husband speak about.

While on hospital rounds, she sees a child’s brush with death and recounts a vivid dream that bears a message.

Will she risk happiness for the truth or keep a secret from the past?

EXCERPT

Serena unplugged her curling iron and finished her hair. The doorbell rang and she walked from the bedroom to the living room to let Adam inside. “Hi, come on in. I need to get my shoes and I’ll be ready.”

“Okay, I’ll wait right here.”

Adam kissed her and watched her bare feet take brisk steps to the hall. He ambled over to the fish tank and peeked in the glass at the Neon’s swimming, then sat down on the sofa. Adam glanced at the typed forms lying on the coffee table and remembered Serena mentioned trashing records. As he waited, his attention went to the handwritten letter resting on the sofa beside him. He looked away, not wanting to be nosy. Why does that writing seem familiar? Once more, his vision focused on the note. The signature that read “Katie” caught his eyes. Katie, Serena must have a friend with the same name.

Adam heard Serena make a noise and started to stand. He noticed the worn message again. The name Nicky seemed to jump off the page. It has to be a coincidence, can’t be my family. Before Adam considered his actions, he picked the letter up and began to read.

Serena tossed a pair of low heels in the closet and then tried on three pairs before deciding on wedge sandals. She walked into the living room and saw Adam standing rigid. She looked at his pasty white face. In an instant, she noticed his eyes narrowed to a slit. As Serena wondered what was wrong her gaze fell to his hand. He gripped the letter and ogled at her.

“Serena, what is this?” Adam’s words came out slow and controlled.

“Adam, let me explain.” Serena touched her throat and swallowed hard as she stared at Adam’s hand clenched to the letter.

“Really, this ought to be good!” Adam’s words echoed in the room. His nostril flared. “This is Katie’s writing, and she’s talking about our daughter.” Adam gritted his teeth “Where did you get this?  Was Jason your husband?”

Serena wanted to cry, but she held her emotions back. “Adam, please set down and let me explain.”

“No, I’ll stand… you talk.” He nodded toward the note in his hand.

“Jason was my husband and Nicky’s real father. I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you, but I fell in love with you, and then I didn’t want to hurt you or Nicky. I was planning to tear the letter to shreds.” Serena’s voice was low and flat. She hugged her arms as she responded.

“So you’ve had this all along and didn’t bother to mention it,” he hissed.

“I didn’t know what to do. There was no reason to say anything” Serena slumped on the corner of the couch. “Both Jason and Katie are gone. You’re all that Nicky has left.”

Adam glared at Serena. “Am I to believe that this letter, you and I, our love…. It’s all coincidence.”

“Yes,” Serena shook her head. “I didn’t plan to meet you and I assure you my love is real.”

“Hah, I don’t know what’s true anymore.”  Adam stepped back and put more distances between them. “You owe me a better explanation.”

Serena held her head up and looked at Adam. “The letter arrived months after Jason’s accident” She turned her head from Adam, and the stone-cold gawk she saw. “I put the envelope away and decided to forget about it.” Serena stepped closer to the sofa. “I moved to Greensboro because my mother has Alzheimer’s.”

She rubbed her forehead. “I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was the day I met Nicky at school, and then you.” She twisted her hands as she talked. “I wasn’t sure if you knew you weren’t Nicky’s biological father, and I saw how much she loves you. I didn’t want to stand in the way of the relationship you two have.”

Adam’s mind teetered with indecision, “sounds farfetched and doesn’t set well, if this is innocent you should have told me from the beginning.”

In one fast movement, Adam tossed the letter down and opened the front door, “Serena if you care anything for Nicky, you’ll keep this information to yourself. One day, I’m going to tell her everything, but I figure she’s entitled to grow up with a happy childhood. ”

Adam eyed Serena. “As for us, “I’ll not have a life with a woman who keeps things from me, never again.”

The door slammed. She squeezed her eyes tight in an effort to hold back the tears that flowed. Serena was sure she understood the way a wounded animal hurt as the sound of sobbing carried throughout the room.

BUY LINKS

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Amazon

Mary Ball

BIO:

Mary L. Ball is an inspirational author and lives in North Carolina.

In her books, Mary hopes to encourage people to see the wonder of love and a divine guidance.

When Mary isn’t working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband at functions.

Web contacts

http://marylouwrites.weebly.com/

http://marylouwrites.weebly.com/-behind-every-story-blog

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-author-Mary-L-Ball/200478210087932?ref=hl

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5934448.Mary_L_Balll

Guest Interview–Nancy Fraser

Welcome to Nancy Fraser, author of both contemporary and historical romance. Let’s jump right into the interview questions.

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

Yes, many. For my contemporary novels, I like to add some color by citing attractions in the city/town setting that I’ve actually experienced myself. In my vintage historical, April Love (part of my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll series), I send my H/H to Grand Cayman Island. I was there in the early sixties with my family, and those pictures (taken with an old Brownie camera) and memories are a big part of the novella.

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

Once I quit questioning my sanity at wanting to be a writer, I usually make myself a cup of coffee (I’m a certified cof-a-holic), park myself at the computer and pull up a blank document. I create a ‘very rough’ blurb for the book and two or three tweets pertaining to the WIP. I sometimes also surf the various stock photo sites for a picture of my hero or heroine. These exercises usually get my creative juices flowing again.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing process?

For my featured book, A Saved Woman, it was my editor’s insistence that I needed more conflict. Because I absolutely adore her, and respect her insight, I went back and fleshed out a couple of scenes. As always, I was happy for her suggestions. Most often, though, it’s those pesky passive phrases that trip me up. You work hard to avoid them and—somehow—they sneak in there anyway.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

First of all, I don’t there’s anything ‘normal’ when you’re a writer. I just retired from outside employment this past December. In my cluttered brain and in a very neat spreadsheet, I had my writing plotted out for the following six months. However, s#!t happens. I lost a cousin (for whom I’m serving as executor) just a week after retirement, and my beloved writing partner in May of this year. Needless to say … my schedule quickly went the way of the green-specked deadline fairy,

When not under outside influences, my day begins early. I’m usually dressed and grasping that first cup of coffee by 8:00. I try to write at least 3-4 hours with occasional five minute breaks to stretch my legs (aka re-fill my coffee cup). After a break for lunch and social media, I get another three hours in before calling it quits for the day. I write five days a week, although not always M-F. I devote two full days to family. If my daily routine is interrupted, I try to make up the time in the evenings. Otherwise, at least one hour each evening is set aside for social media.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

Yes, I do, several in fact. I know the ‘experts’ (whoever they are) will tell you it’s easier to build an author platform if you stick to one genre. I wish my brain worked that way. It doesn’t. In addition to western historical, I also write contemporary, vintage historical (e.g., 1950s-1960s), and have dabbled in time travel (probably my favorite of all my books). Later this year, my first borderline erotica will be released from Decadent Publishing.

As a creative person, I can’t expect my imagination to tether itself to one point in time, especially when I can’t confine the reader in me to one genre.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?

If I didn’t, I’d be lost before the end of the first chapter. I use a spreadsheet of my own design for plotting out every book I write. I often will surf the stock photo sites for images that reflect my H/H or my setting and put them on my corkboard. One of the images I purchased from an online site became the award-winning cover of my release, The Lawman’s Agreement.

For my five-book series (The McCade Legacy) set in post-Civil War Mississippi, the characters move between three different towns along the Mississippi River. I have an extensive spreadsheet devoted to keeping everything straight. No matter which town they’re in at any point in time in the series, I know the banker’s name, the owner of the mercantile, the sheriff, and even the owner of the local saloon/whorehouse.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

If I’m working on a contemporary story, I usually draw from names of people around me, my family, their friends, my friends. If I’m working with a historical setting, I’ll Google the state census for 20 years prior to the book’s setting to get a feel for both the surname and given names popular at the time.

One of my best resources (and most loved), has been the contests I’ve run where the winner got to have their name used in the next series book, and also in a couple of cases got to name one of the businesses featured in the story.

Perhaps I should do that again…soon.

A Saved Woman

BLURB

Katy Anderson has experienced more heartache than most know in a lifetime. Given to a man old enough to be her father, she has spent the past six years secluded from everyone except for her three young children. Her husband’s untimely death brings relief that … finally … she and her children are free.

When Sheriff Mitch Logan arrives at the Anderson homestead, he is moved by Katy’s sad circumstances and vows to right the wrongs done to her. Mitch has always shied away from marriage due to his dangerous profession, yet he quickly changes his mind when Katy comes into his life, and into his heart.

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Barnes & Noble

AMAZON

EXCERPT

Katy set aside the storybook she’d been reading to the children and urged a sleepy Alice to unlatch from her breast. Happier than she could ever remember being, She laid the baby in her crib and drew the lightweight blanket up to her tiny heart-shaped chin.

A sigh of contentment flowed through Katy, the simple release calming her in a way she couldn’t describe. The past week had been like a rebirth, the start of a new life for herself and her children. She lifted two narrow logs from the basket beside the stove, her efforts halted by the sound of an approaching horse. She’d barely reached the door when Toby’s excitement rang out across the yard.

“Sheriff Mitch, Sheriff Mitch,” the boy called. “Come see the fort me and Susan built from the old rags.”

Mitchell Logan slid off his horse and started in their direction. She watched in wonder as the tall man hunkered down beside where they played. A lump formed in her throat when the usually shy Susan wrapped her arm around the sheriff’s neck and laid her head down on his shoulder.

Tobias had never shown his children such gentleness. Tobias had never beaten the children, likely because she’d always placed herself between them. However, he’d also never bothered to show interest in them or what they were doing. Her beautiful, precious children accepted their father but learned quickly to be wary of him, even at their young age.

Yet, in the span of a few short days, this total stranger had taught them trust, compassion.

Katy straightened her shoulders and silently strengthened her resolve. No man, no matter how gentle, how trustworthy, would ever come near her again. She’d allow his warmth toward her children, if only to teach them to return kindness. For herself, she wanted only his friendship, his understanding, and nothing more.

She stepped off the porch and crossed the distance between them, coming to a stop at his side. Mitch looked up at her and smiled, his dark brown eyes twinkling with humor. In no more than a heartbeat, her resolve weakened and she found herself wishing it was her head on the sheriff’s shoulder, and not Susan’s.

From a 5-star review:

Historical Romance Full of Passion

“A Saved Woman” opens with the Sheriff telling Katy her husband is dead. This story is set in 1865 and is wonderfully written. Nancy Fraser paints a neat picture of Cold Creek (a western town, and of the characters; Mitch Logan, the sheriff, and Katy Anderson, a poor mother of three). Mitch is a kind, passionate man who is great with children. Any woman would love to have him. Katy is a fragile and yet strong woman who would do anything for her kids, and swears to never let another man near her. Until Mitch. There’s a twist near the beginning I hadn’t expected. I love it when a writer adds something I don’t anticipate to their story. The romance will surely have your heart pounding, as it did mine. If you enjoy short romances with western themes, I encourage you to get to know Mitch and Katy.

BIO:

Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Social Media:

Website: www.nancyfraser.ca

Blog: http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/

Twitter: @nfraserauthor  http://twitter.com/nfraserauthor

FB: http://facebook.com/nancyfraserauthor

GIVEAWAY

Since I mentioned it earlier, I decided to go ahead and offer a giveaway. Here is the Rafflecopter code:

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Release promotion for The Wish List Addiction

Wish List Addiction

Blurb for The Wish List Addiction

 

Rebecca Mathews is a Listoholic—you name it, she has a ‘To Do’ list for it. Coupled with her daily ‘Must Achieve’ List, she possesses a mid-term, creatively drawn ‘Wish List’ and an exhaustively-researched ‘Bucket List’. But so far, they have delivered nothing but spectacular failure. 

With her much-loved career exploded in her face, her marriage terminated in an acrimonious divorce and her frail father’s pleas to return to her native Northumberland ignored, Rebecca concludes that if it wasn’t for her beloved four-year-old son, Max, she would be adding a trip to a Swiss clinic to her list. 

A sparkle of light appears in Rebecca’s life wrapped in the guise of ‘The Little Green Book of Wishes’, which challenges the reader to ‘ditch the list’ and instead to use its gems of wisdom as a ‘dip in/dip out’ lucky bag of challenges from all areas of life. 

Persuaded by her colleagues to relinquish her obsessive reliance on her multiple lists, cast adrift from their reassuring structure, she agrees to complete random tasks selected for her from the ‘little emerald book of miracles’. 

Will it deliver the desired result and cure Rebecca of her Wish List Addiction?

 

Excerpt from ‘The Wish List Addiction’

EXCERPT

Copyright 2014 © Lindsey Paley

“Right! Where’s that wishes book then?” Deb demanded first thing Monday morning. “Hand it over! I’m holding you to your promise.”

Before Rebecca handed the little green book to Deb, Nathan glanced at their team manager, Georgina, still engrossed in a complicated call, then scootered his chair to Deb’s desk as if keen to get involved.

“The Little Green Book of Wishes.” Deb rotated the book in her hand, stroking its emerald cover as though wedding dress silk, parting its pages at the contents page. “‘Wishes with your Partner’, ‘Wishes with Children’, or ‘Wishes for the World’ section? Hey, there’s one of your wishes here, Nath, from the ‘Wishes with Friends’ section—‘Real Ale tasting’! Oh, and ‘Swishing’! Now that’s one I would include on my wish list!”

I don’t understand why you are both so excited.” Nathan rolled his eyes. “It’s a complete waste of time and energy, if you ask me. Wishes never come true. I’d love to get the supervisor’s job when Georgina is promoted to associate next month, but I know I won’t, so what’s the point applying? Why put myself through all that anxiety and stress?

Anyway, it’s Becky we’re selecting random wishes for, not me. And why put poor Becky through the hassle and potential humiliation of performing challenges from a randomly purchased book extolling the unachievable virtues of fulfilling our deepest desires? Crazy, if you ask me.”

He flicked his Baringer & Co pen between his fingers until it became a blur. However, despite his pessimistic forecast, he continued to pour eagerly over the contents section of the little green book with Deb and Rebecca.

“Well, I think it’s an excellent idea and so does Fergus. Hey, look, there’s even a section on marrying. Thank goodness, ’cos I could do with some seriously helpful tips, we’ve still got so much to do. I’m up for ‘Becoming the Perfect Bride’ and ‘Maintaining a Successful Marriage’. Might even try ‘Co-existing With Your In-laws’.” She sniggered.

“Oh, I’m so excited. Look, Becky, ‘Amassing a Prestigious Shoe Collection.’ Let’s study that one and slip off one lunchtime soon to Jimmy Choo’s wedding shoe emporium! Come on, what’ll be your first challenge from the little green book? You chose the category, but me and Nath are choosing the challenge.” She held the book up to Rebecca’s face and flicked the pages from back to front, her perfectly plucked, honey-blonde eyebrows disappearing into her fringe.

“Well, I really don’t want to go on a date, and my career is rock bottom, so it’ll have to be some sort of an activity.” Rebecca fervently hoped the selection would be ‘Making Maracas’ or ‘An Afternoon Kite Flying’, which she and Max had discovered, but somehow she doubted Deb would let her off so easily.

“Right, now me and Nathan will confer. It’ll be a great way of meeting new guys, anyway.” She giggled. As she was in love, she expected the whole world to want to be, too. “Mmm, what do you think, Nath?” They huddled together in her cubicle, her blonde mane meeting his dark spikes. “Where will there be lots of hot, single men? Oh, and let’s find something she can do with Max, too, this being the first challenge.

“What about ‘Taking a Dance Class’? Must be on everyone’s wish list that, surely? It suggests the waltz or the tango. Here, did you know the tango is said to have been born in the brothels of Argentina, the dancers connecting chest-to-chest or hip-to-thigh displaying strong and determined passion? What could be better? Only two stars, Becky, must be an easy challenge, right?”

“You’re joking. I’m not taking Max to a tango class! Anyway, look what it says at the end. A dance class such as the tango or the jive is not for the faint-hearted when wishing to meet new people. No, Deb.”

“Well, okay, but I might persuade Fergus to take some lessons with me.

We could perform a passionate tango as our first dance at the wedding reception—spice up the night and shock the grannies!”

Her infectious giggle rang around the office, causing Georgina to lift her eyes and throw them a puzzled look. Shaking her short, black curls, she returned to her phone call. It was their lunch break after all.

“Right, ‘Exercising Section,’ then. What sport have you always had a hankering to try? Yoga? Crossbow shooting? Oh, what about Morris dancing? Is that really a sport?”

“Be serious. I’ve not done any real exercise since giving birth to Max. Anything too energetic would be the first and last challenge to be attempted from the book and I’d end up in the A&E.”

“I suppose that also means ‘Climbing Mount Everest’ is not going to make Rebecca’s wonderful wish list, then?” Deb smirked.

Rebecca’s glare said, “Do you think I’m stupid?”

“Right, got it.” She held the book up in front of her and Nathan’s faces. He glanced at the page and then peered around the cover at Rebecca.

“Sure,” Nathan agreed. “As good as any. And Max can join in with that, too, which is what the book is suggesting, I think. There’s a great club near us which runs a junior academy and welcomes kids from the age of three.”

“What? What are you talking about?” Rebecca’s heart hammered against her ribcage, particularly at Nathan’s suggestion that Max join her.

She had not agreed to involving him in this crazy folly. But her new friends ignored her protestations.

“Yes, I’ve been to that club with Fergus’ nephew. It’s great fun. Right, decided.” Deb turned the chosen page toward Rebecca. “There you are, Becky, ‘Learning to Play Golf’. You can take Max along and have some fun just hitting the balls from the driving range, or there’s an American mini golf course to try out. You can enquire about the junior academy whilst you’re there for Max. It’s an activity you can do together and there’ll be lots of men wandering around in that delightful golf gear. You could kill two birds with one golf ball!”

She handed the book to Rebecca, who grabbed it and read out loud, “Learning to play golf is fun. Hitting a golf ball is easy, but hitting the ball in the direction you want it to go takes an enormous amount of practice. Mmm. Look at the warning at the end. Be sure never to stand in close proximity to a golfer’s swinging club. I foresee disaster.”

Available now from All Romance ebooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Smashwords. For more details, click over to:

Prism Book Group

 

Guest Interview–Alexa Bourne

 

Today I’m chatting with Alexa Bourne, romantic suspense author.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Suspense to leave you breathless, romance to soothe your soul.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I love reading when I have time. I also love watching sports, especially soccer and football. Oooh, and I’ll travel anywhere over the world because I love adventures

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

The music I use depends on what I’m writing. For my Scottish stories, I listen to a lot of Celtic. For my suspense scenes, I listen to metal/alternative. For a love scene, I’ll toss on love songs. For my New Year’s book, Simple Treasures, I played Christmas and New Year’s songs.

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

Yes, I have! I really love the opportunity to set stories in places I can accurately describe so my readers feel like they are really there. My full-length books are set in states I’ve lived in. So far all my novellas are set in my happy place, my favorite place in the world, the UK. Upcoming settings are Austin, TX, Mexico, and Thailand!

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

I was really surprised with how long it takes to go through my revisions. In the beginning, I would plan for a certain amount of time and then I’d always have to expand it so I could do my best job.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

I have 2 and I can’t choose just 1 to tell you! As a traveler, I’d love to visit New Zealand. It looks so beautiful there. From friends I’ve heard how different society is there and I’d love to observe it. As a writer, I would love to spend 4-6 months somewhere in Scotland. I would love to have a volunteer assignment so I can interact with the locals and then also spend a huge chunk of time writing new books set in Scotland.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers get an idea of what it’s like to be in other countries, maybe a country she dreams of visiting one day. I also hope readers see ordinary people in my characters and everyday courage and love.

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BLURB for Dance Away, Danger:

Sensible dance instructor Tessa Gage likes her life organized, risk-free and on her own terms. When her cop brother goes missing, his crooked partner tries to kill her, and a handsome stranger claims he’s come to protect her, she’s forced to leave her comfort zone. With more dance and business sense than survival skills and no idea who to trust, Tessa has no choice but to rely on this man who’d rather be anywhere but by her side.

When carefree carpenter Matt Rylan gets a late night call from an Army buddy who once saved his life, he finds himself where he never again wanted to be—responsible for someone else. Honor demands Matt cooperate, but he never expects his simple babysitting job to test the limits of his self-control. Nor does he expect it to explode into a race against time for his very freedom.

As Tessa and Matt get closer to the truth, and to each other, Tessa learns to step outside the safety of her world to help set the wheels of justice in motion. For Matt, supporting this courageous woman suddenly becomes everything to him.  Yet, his biggest challenge remains sharing his closed-off heart with her before the danger silences them both forever.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

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All Romance ebooks

EXCERPT

“Hammer, I’m callin’ in a favor.”

Matt Rylan tightened his grip on his cell phone. Hammer. No one had called him that in three years, not since his friendship with Jason Gage had drifted apart.

“Jason?”

A strained sigh pushed through the phone line. “You remember.”

Matt gritted his teeth and crushed his lucky fishing hat in his fist. “Did you doubt I would?”

“Truthfully? Yeah. It’s been a while.”

He tossed his cap into the half-filled suitcase sitting in the center of the unmade bed. “What’s up?” he asked, like it hadn’t been years since they’d spoken. From the dresser, he grabbed the plane ticket he’d reserved two weeks before. The one he’d sacrifice tomorrow because Jason had called to collect a debt. And regardless of what his old friend wanted, Matt couldn’t say no to the man who’d saved his life on a battlefield in a far-off country most Americans didn’t know existed.

“My sister, Tessa….” Jason began.

“What about her?”

Jason had shared stories of the teenager during breaks between missions. Their parents’ death in a car wreck had hit her especially hard, which was understandable, but soon after, Jason couldn’t shake her. She became a clingy, paranoid pain in the ass. Jason had to take care of everything for her while he was in high school. Apparently, she hadn’t learned to do anything for herself since.

Matt shuddered at the thought of someone clinging to him like that. He’d willingly surrendered those burdens when he signed on with Uncle Sam and left his permanently discontented sisters to their husbands.

Jason ripped something and let loose a string of vicious swear words. “I need you to protect her.”

Matt’s stomach muscles clenched like a vice grip around a two-by-four. He’d been a contractor since he got out of the Army, taking care of buildings instead of people, which was exactly how he wanted it.

“What kind of trouble is she in?” He tossed the plane ticket into the suitcase and concentrated on his buddy’s words.

“Not her. It’s all me.” Jason wheezed and coughed. “Tell me you’ll do it.”

“What about the cops?”

“I’m not…sure which ones I…can trust.”

Matt straightened at the urgency in his one-time friend’s voice. He’d left soldiering, left responsibility, in his past where it belonged. He’d carved a sweet life for himself, working when he wanted and taking off when he damn well pleased. He answered to no one.

“Come on, Hammer. I got nobody else.” Jason gasped in between words.

A cheer erupted from the TV as Matt returned to the living room. Which of the teams had scored?

No way could he say no. Man, he was a fool. “I’m in.”

 

Bio:

Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.

When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.

http://alexabourne.com/cuan-macdougall-pub/
https://twitter.com/AlexaBourne
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexaBourne
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5818611.Alexa_Bourne

Guest Interview–Julie B. Cosgrove

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I am a native Texan, widowed at the age of 58, who majored in religion and has always been a bookworm. My faith is the most important thing in my life. To be given the humbled honor to write about my Lord and have that touch others in a way that strengthens their faith still amazes me daily.

As a freelance writer, I write devotionals and inspirational articles for several publications and websites. I’ve also authored three Bible studies. I lecture to church groups and lead retreats. But fiction is my passion. Our Lord told stories, because people relate to stories. Each of my novels contains characters with real struggles and doubts, but through the process God helps them discover something in their lives worth redeeming.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Reading and word games/puzzles. I also enjoy observing nature and the wonderful variety of creation in plants, birds and animals.

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

Plot, though it evolves around my characters’ life struggles and eventual discovering of God’s mercy and grace at work in their lives. I want people to identify with my characters, but in less they can dive into their lives through the plot, I don’t believe they will see my characters three dimensionally. Our experiences and our reactions to them define us greatly.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Freestyle. I let the creative juices flow and am constantly surprised where God directs my story- always to better plots than my own brain could conjure up. Then I go back and edit, edit, edit to polish it.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

In 1994, when I’d reached a very dry point in my life, a friend suggested Christian radio. I listened for thirty days, and never went back, except an occasional deviation into Bach or Handel. Gosh, has it really been twenty years? Wow. Music is how I get my worship on, which is my Lord’s and my private joke because the radio is the only thing I have talent to play. Whenever I feel I’m starting to sink, Christian music lifts me back into His hands. But I write in total silence, probably more than not. Stems back to my bookworm in the library days, I guess. That’s where I studied the best.

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

Yes, many of them. However, I also had the honor to freelance write for a travel site for two years and my assignments were to help people visualize the locations. That has helped my scene-setting immensely. I research until I can put myself there—walk the streets, smell the foods and flowers, and see the people. Thank the Lord for the vastness of the internet!

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I am blessed to work part-time as a church secretary, and they allow me to write when things slow down. But I seem to have “writing cravings” as if God is beckoning me to carve out time to pray and create. In those times, my fingers fly over the keyboard for hours, even skipping meals and sleep. (Not at work, though!)

In what genre do you read?

I love suspense and cozy mystery. Always have, from the age of eleven on. In fact, most of my Netflix list is murder mysteries as well. I am just not at the point to where I can murder any of my own characters…maybe down the road

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I am a total cat person. I have had cats all my life. I have two and they are my joy. They have made widowhood so much easier. To have another heartbeat to talk to when I get home is so nice. Few things are more soothing than a purring cat on your lap. I call them my “beasty boys.”

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

In all my writing, fiction and non-fiction, there is one underlying theme- the fact that God breaks through the mundane, everyday life in a broken world to reach out and show us His vast love for us. Thus my blog – Where Did You Find God Today? It always amazes me how God chooses to communicate with us. I want my readers to discover it for themselves. From the beginning of creation, God’s greatest desire has been to be with His children. Jesus came and walked among us for just that reason. It is also why He died for each of us.

Hush In The Storm

Blurb /Synopsis:

Jen, a young widow floundering in the storm of mourning, whose only lifeline is her humdrum job, is tossed into a maze of deceit and intrigue by a coworker named Tom…at the request of her late husband, or so Tom says. He kidnaps her and fakes her death to keep her safe from the cartel who he thinks caused her husband’s “accident.” Together, they are thrust into a tempest of danger and deceit where no one is whom they claim to be. The list of people Jen can believe in keeps diminishing. Who can she trust while dodging the Feds, human traffickers and the press who’ve discovered she’s alive? How will Jen rescue the two held-captive girls she befriends without drowning them, Tom, and herself in the waves of betrayal, especially when she’s begun to suspect her husband may not be as dead as everyone thinks..

Genre: Christian contemporary suspense romance

Publisher: Prism Book Group

BUY LINKS

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

to learn more, visit Julie’s website

To add to your Want To Read list on Goodreads

Excerpt:

An eerie thought pressed a clammy hand upon my shoulder. What if all you thought was true never actually was?

Widowed unexpectedly at thirty-one, I naturally longed for what could never be again. Regrets and what-if mantras swirled daily through my mind. I’d learned to push them aside. But this sudden, unsolicited notion surged an icy-hot chill through my body.

My logical side chided me. Don’t be silly, Jen. Of course it was true. The diamond band on my left hand glimmered with proof. Robert had cherished me, married me, spent five loving years with me…that one night didn’t mean a thing.

I shuddered off the question and leaned in to review the balance sheets my boss had emailed.

But the bizarre suggestion whispered once more in the back of my thoughts just loud enough to keep me from concentrating. The numbers on the page became muddled gibberish. I closed my eyes, sucked in a breath, and tried to focus.

I fiddled with the little gold cross I always wore around my neck, more out of habit than any indication of piety. I hadn’t perched in a pew in years, except for our wedding day and at Robert’s funeral. But after the latest in the series of sympathizers walked away, I seethed a semi-prayer under my breath. “Dear Lord. Please. Why can’t everyone just leave me alone?”

I had a job to do. The report was due first thing in the morning. I had to concentrate on the now. Besides, I never wanted to hear the eggshells crack as well-meaning colleagues tiptoed around my mourning. I was stronger than that, at least in public.

One by one, the other workspaces emptied. The buzz of office machines and human chatter diminished until the only sound was the soft hum from the fluorescent lights and the tick of the office clock, like a steady heartbeat.

At last, a welcomed solitude settled around me in a thick hush. In fact, it was too quiet. I tapped my pencil, then my foot, to dispel it.

A short, high-pitched ding pierced the silence.

My heart jumped into my throat. The elevator? The bottom right-hand side of my computer screen flashed 6:05 p.m. It was too early for the janitorial staff. None of the executives or customers ever ventured down to this dingy basement department with no windows and stale, recycled air.

I swallowed. “Who’s there?”

Tom stepped out of the elevator, then pushed open the glass door with the stenciled white lettering proclaiming the owners of this windowless dungeon—Abernathy & Smith Accounting Firm.

“Hey, Jen. Still at it?”

My heart slid back into place.

My jaw set, making a dental impression in my now tasteless chewing gum. Of all people to show up after hours, why Tom? Those piercing blue eyes unnerved me. Many times over the past few weeks, I’d find his gaze on me. And now, he and I were the only ones left in the department.

I wanted him to leave—and for these numbers to make sense so I could do the same. I also wanted my life back, but I wasn’t about to discuss that with him, or anyone else for that matter.

“Back away from it for the night, Jen. It’s time to go.”

His voice took on an authoritative tone. A hint of brogue, no doubt leftover from some forgone ancestor, twirled the last word on his tongue. They called his type the black Irish—dark hair, crystal blue eyes. Right now his windows into the soul darkened to a deep, steel gray. Stern. Inflexible. Like my eighth-grade biology teacher’s stare when I hadn’t paid attention in class, again. That sort of look always made me buckle.

Bob’s Burgers is close.”

Cholesterol-clogging comfort food did sound good. I grabbed my purse off the back of my chair. “Okay.” I raised my finger. “But we’ll go Dutch.”

“Whatever.”

“Well…” I glanced to the office wall clock. 6:15. My stomach responded with a silent rumble to remind me I hadn’t stopped for lunch. I loathed eating alone and didn’t feel like whipping up something at home. Even eating with Tom was better than the alternatives. “The janitors will be here in a bit anyway. Can’t concentrate with them vacuuming, emptying the trash bins…”

I sighed and dug into my purse. “Where are my keys?”

Tom dangled them in front of my nose. “Left ’em on your desk. But, we should take my car.”

I shook my head and opened my palm, fingers cupped. “Uh, no. We shouldn’t.”

“Your choice.” He exhaled through his nostrils, plopped the keys into my hand, and then texted something into his cell phone. I noticed his jaw twitch as he slipped his phone back into his jacket.

Was it me, or had his mood taken a dark turn? Had I ruffled his male feathers by insisting we go in separate cars and pay Dutch? I made an attempt to smooth things over. “Thanks for the offer, though.”

“I was just trying to save you…”

I touched his arm. “Tom, I don’t need saving.”

One side of his mouth stretched into a smirk. “You sure?”

5-star Review comments 

“Suspense and romance touches the shadowy underworld of human trafficking. A recent widow is kidnapped and her death faked, supposedly for her own good. But if she’s really a widow, why does she keep hearing her husband’s voice? Julie B. Cosgrove weaves a tale that both shocks and informs.  Hush in the Storm will keep you reading late into the night.” Mary Hamilton, author of the best selling Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series

“Hush in the Storm by Julie B. Cosgrove is a tough but compelling read about a woman spirited away into the darkness and harsh reality of human trafficking. In addition to her terror and confusion over this split-second turn in her life is the unspeakable horror that perhaps someone very close to her is involved in her nightmare. This is a page-turner that will not only entertain but also inform and educate on a topic relevant to our time and culture.” Kathi Macias  (www.kathimacias.com) is an award-winning writer of more than 40 books, including Deliver Me from Evil.

J Cosgrove

BIO

Julie B. Cosgrove is a freelance writer, professional speaker and published author. She is a member of Advanced Writers & Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, North Texas Christian Writers, The Christians Writers Group Two, and Christian Writers Fellowship International.

She represents Women at Risk International, a Christian missionary group who sponsor safe houses for women and children snatched from human trafficking and slavery in 13 countries and is actively involved in Prayer For Freedom, a nonprofit anti-trafficking ministry.

Julie has authored three contemporary faith-based novels. Focused, set in the Texas Hill Country, which follows a woman’s journey to find God in her empty nest, was released in 2012. She is working on the other two novels in that trilogy, Grounded and Rooted. The sequel to Hush in the Storm, Legitimate Lies, launches through Prism Book Group in early 2015.

Author Links:

http://www.juliebcosgrove.com

http://Wheredidyoufindgodtoday.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/juliebcosgrove.tx

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JulieBCosgrove

Giveaway-  3 Kindle or Nook versions ( commenter’s choice) emailed

My Sexy Saturday excerpt–When Lonely Hearts Meet

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Here are 7 paragraphs from my February release, When Lonely Hearts Meet. A sweet romance novella, this is book 2 in the Sugar & Spice Bakery series which is set in small-town Texas.

The older woman’s voice was pitched low but the throaty tone carried. What caught his eye was the sight of shapely calves encased in skinny jeans. The trio of brass bracelets and the long sweater that almost reached her knees clued him in that the lady was new in town. Not normal attire for this rural Texas town. He’d automatically registered that her left hand was ring-free.

The sight of the key making station meant he’d walked halfway down the aisle in his perusal of the interesting stranger. Wade glanced up and jerked when he spotted a narrowed gaze shooting daggers from the thin face of a woman close to his younger son’s age. Busted.

“Eavesdrop much?” The younger woman jammed a hand onto her angled hip.

Tread lightly around this suspicious one. “Beg pardon, miss.” Wade tipped a forefinger against the brim of his Stetson as he dipped his chin. “Ma’am, I heard the call for assistance and thought I’d see if I could answer a question.”

“You work here?” Eyebrow raised, she gave him the once-over. “Dressed like that?”

“Hayley.” The older woman gave a sharp wave, glanced at his length then stepped closer. “Do you know about paints?”

“Done my share of painting. And I’m a fair-to-middlin’ handyman.” He gazed at her, recording the details of her easy smile, her hazel eyes, and the waves of light brown hair framing her face. The combination piqued his interest, something that hadn’t happened in a very long time. “I’m not an employee here…” he shifted his gaze to the young lady and again, dipped his chin, “but I can be neighborly and try to answer your questions.”

BUY LINKS

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Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Be sure to click over to the other blogs involved in today’s sharing of sexy excerpts.

Cover Reveal–Unlocked Treasure

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I’m so excited to share this cover for my October release from The Wild Rose Press, Unlocked Treasure. Set in Rhonda Island, this novella poses the question–Will a prophecy keep a lonely woman from accepting the promise of adventure?

Here’s the blurb:

Aleen MacRae blames the lure of the sea for breaking apart her family and then her engagement. When her interest is caught by a man she sees both in person and in a dream, she resists—afraid to believe in her aunt’s prediction that her future is tied to the sea. Braden Williams is on the hunt for treasure buried centuries earlier by Rhode Island pirates. His search brings him to the property where Aleen lives. Collaboration on genealogy research draws them closer, and Braden steers her toward his true passion—sailing.

Attending a party with Braden’s family lets her glimpse what she’s been missing. An unexpected discovery before her date with Braden at the Halloween Midnight Organ Recital forces a decision. Will Aleen play things safe or accept what this free-spirited man offers?

As soon as I hear of the release date, I’ll post again.

Story Inspiration for Stone Of Destiny

Behind the scenes with Stone of Destiny by Mary L. Ball

Wouldn’t it be great if we could look ahead and see our destiny?  There are fortunetellers who claim that for a price they can tell you what lies ahead. Most of it’s lucky guessing and common knowledge which statically fits 95% of all individuals.

What if an object could change the outcome of our future? People everywhere would struggle to get hold of any item-if they thought it would clear the path to a carefree life.

The truth is there is no way of looking into a crystal ball and knowing what you’ll be doing five years from now and I’ve never known a rabbit’s foot to guaranteeing that life will be a bed of roses. Think about it, the rose is a beautiful soft flower, but the stem has thorns. At times, we all face an unpleasant situation and wish there was a magic potion for problems. Some of us have an   inclination to hold onto sentimental objects, and place our dreams around them. YA fantasy books portray many of those imagines.

One day I passed by my oldest grandson reading a fantasy book. I glanced at it and immediately thought. I need to write about a different kind of magic, a divine guidance that comes from faith and trust. Over the next few days Stone of Destiny was born.

The novel focuses on a sapphire ring and the importance it plays in a family’s life. I choose this symbol because the dark-blue gem is my birthstone. Once the manuscript was submitted to Prism Book Group and the edits began, I began to second-guess the story.

Does it really fit the message I want to convey?

Have I been true to myself while writing this book?

As I pondered those questions Joan, the editor-in-chief of Prism Book Group emailed and said, “Mary, have you researched the Christian meaning of the sapphire stone?” She sent me a link to follow.  I hadn’t check out anything about the sapphire, but as I read the information, I smiled. The words, “the sapphire symbolizes mental clarity, faithfulness and truth,” explained the underlining plot of my story.  When I continued, the explanation said, “The sapphire is often called the stone of destiny,” I knew that once again, the Lord used someone to answer my concerns and that the fictional story should be told.

StoneofDestiny bigger-001 (Mobile) (Custom)

Stone of Destiny blurb:

 Taylor Harrison has given up on everything but her work. The youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, her life is complete. That is, until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home and find the missing heirloom.

 First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn’t understand; thoughts that should remain unspoken, voiced. 

 Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself.

  Is this a fairy-tale or her soul, reaching out for a life she can only find through faith and trust in God?  

Amazon.com: Stone of Destiny eBook: Mary L Ball: Books

Mary Ball

Bio-

Mary L. Ball lives in North Carolina and writes Christian fiction novels blended with romance to encourage readers to see the wonder of love and divine mercy.

When she’s not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband.

Readers can connect with her on Face Book and Twitter. https://twitter.com/inspires4mary

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-author-Mary-L-Ball/200478210087932?ref=hl

by author Linda Carroll-Bradd