Welcome to the book blitz for WHEELER, a stand-alone adult contemporary sports romance/romantic suspense, by Sara Butler Zalesky. See below for information the book, buy links, a post from the author on writing (un)awkward scenes, and details on her giveaway.
WHEELER by Sara Butler Zalesky
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: WHEELER Author: Sara Butler Zalesky Release Date: July 4, 2016 Genre: Adult Contemporary Sports Romance/Romantic Suspense Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Loren Mackenzie has overcome many obstacles in her life to be an elite professional cyclist in the Women’s World Tour in Europe. Known as the Ice Queen of the peloton, she rarely shows emotion in the heat of competition; inspiring her team with quiet strength and determination. But her cool confidence masks a dark past filled with horrors.
A change in management of Loren’s cycling team brings her face to face with a life she thought she left behind, adding to the pressures of competition. When a chance meeting with an A-list celebrity quickly develops into a whirlwind romance, the cameras of the tabloid-media focus on Loren, revealing the cracks in her facade.
The affair also exposes a menacing rival, threatening not only her chances in the World Championship but her life. When love and obsession collide, Loren stands in the center of a storm.
Can she find the courage to defeat her inner demons, or will her fear and shame consume her?
Writing (Un)Awkward Sex Scenes: A How-To Guide I’ve been hesitant to give Wheeler to friends and family or even tell my coworkers I wrote a novel. Why? Like my protagonist, Loren Mackenzie, I only let people see what I want them to see; I like to keep my cards close to the vest. I’m a Scorpio, it’s who I am.
But, in very unScorpio fashion, I can’t write or talk about sex without blushing and I stumble over my words. I’m a visual thinker, meaning I can see what I want to describe in my mind clearly, like a photograph. While I don’t have an eidetic memory (I wish!), I can envision what something looks like or how a person moves and fairly accurately describe it. That includes sex.
Jennie Nash wrote a great article for the HuffPost blog called, 7 Rules for Writing Sex Scenes. She says, ‘Sex scenes are very difficult to write because everything else is stripped away and all you’ve got to work with are the characters and the emotions. There’s nowhere to hide. But that’s also what makes them so powerful.’
I couldn’t agree more, Jennie.
Set the Stage for Doing Good Work. There is nowhere to hide, in your head or in the place that you write. I write in my dining room/playroom/office, between 9pm and 2am most nights. It’s often the only time I am completely alone, other than my cats. My spouse and child are asleep and I can sit quietly and focus, listening to my Pandora stations. Music can inspire, especially sappy love songs. I even have a Spotify playlist aptly named: Graham’s Mixtape.
Focus on Dialogue. Do other people talk during sex? Uh, well, I don’t, really. (Is it hot in here?) With Loren and Graham’s first time, I wrote in a little more nervous excitement for her. For Graham, he has a sensuality to him already, and perhaps I wrote him a little over-the-top romantic. But that’s okay; it works for the character’s type. He’s not your typical leading man. While he’s tall, he doesn’t have the big muscles of Chris Evans or Chris Pratt. Think Colin Firth+David Tennant+Tom Hiddleston+Patrick Stewart = Graham Atherton.
Which leads to Characters Stay in Character and Watch the Tone. Graham is an actor and actors emote. He has a love of Shakespeare and uses the bard’s words to woo the lovely Loren. Nobody would have guessed – least of all those closest to her (and possibly herself) – that she was such a romantic. Same with speaking French. Somehow it works for them and sets the tone for the characters throughout the story.
Consider the difference between the internal and external action. I’ll be honest, I thought about scenes I’ve seen in films or read in books (with some of my own experiences) and envisioned every single action and reaction. I thought I had created some viable scenes until one of my Alpha readers, Debbie, said: “The build-up was great, loved that, but then you only come at me with a sentence and expect to finish it off? I’d be disappointed.”
After I got up off the floor from laughing, I began anew with more blushing and ear burning as I rewrote every single sex scene in my novel. There aren’t many, mind you, but heaven forbid they do it the same way twice. I had to come up with different situations and positions. Should they have oral? OMG Do I really have to write that? HOW do I write that? (Shudder)
Which leads to Remember, they’re just words. I’m new to this writing thing, and I find it very hard to separate myself from the feels and step out of the scene. I get snappy when interrupted because I am left feeling raw and exposed. It sucks even more because I know I’m reacting that way but I can’t stop it.
My intention has always been to write complex characters and true-to-life situations as best I could. Real people laugh and cry, flirt and kiss, yell and argue, dance and sing. They put themselves through enormous amounts of stress. They love and they have sex. There’s no way to get around it.
Which brings me to Jennie’s last comment: Prepare for the inevitable confrontation. At some point, someone will ask about what I wrote. Can I talk about sex without wanting to run and hide? My cheeks will be bright pink and I might not be able to look the person in the eye ever again.
Author Sara Butler Zalesky
About the Author Sara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.
The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.
Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is ‘Wheeler’, a romantic, women’s fiction/sport novel, which combines the author’s romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.
Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.
Follow the author’s blog at sarabutlerzalesky.wordpress.com or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really..
Welcome to the book blitz for AT ANY PRICE, the first book in the new adult contemporary romance series, Gaming the System, by USA Today bestselling author, Brenna Aubrey. See below for information the book, buy links, a post from the author on the redesigned covers, and details on her giveaway. You can currently pick up the ebook for Free!
AT ANY PRICE (Gaming the System #1) by Brenna Aubrey
When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she’ll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.
It’s a desperate step, but it’s the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother’s mounting hospital bills.
Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO
Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he’s sexy, driven and–as CEO of his own gaming company–he’s used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what’s happening, he’s found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she’s made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.
She can’t tell if he’s playing her…or if he’s playing for keeps.
This New Adult book is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content and adult situations.
A Whole New Look Same “stunningly addictive” story, but with a whole new look!
The new Adam & Mia covers were over a year in the making! Over the period of ten months, photographer Lindee Robinson followed the life journey of real life couple, Marcus and Elena.
When it came time for me to choose a new “face” for Adam & Mia, the beloved couple featured in five of the Gaming The System books, I knew Marcus and Elena would fit the part. I contacted Lindee for her assistance in the new look and she was thrilled, informing me that Marcus and Elena, both professional models, had so much natural chemistry together, they’d be perfect!
So we contacted them soon after their own real life fairytale wedding, but were informed that timing would not be on our side for a little while… they were thrilled to learn that they were expecting their first child. Instead of searching elsewhere for new models, however, Lindee came up with a wonderful idea. Why not document their pregnancy, the early infancy of their child and launch an epic project fit for an epic super couple?
So we did just that…over the course of ten months and three different photo shoots, we collected enough images for the new look for the Gaming The System books. Elena was eight months pregnant during their first shoot, their child, six months old at the second. For the third, Marcus and Elena recreated their own wedding, complete with Elena’s wedding dress for the cover of Adam & Mia’s wedding book. All the pieces fit into place. Lindee had taken over a thousand photos of them over the course of many hours in photo shoots. Now it was time for a new design.
I had no question that I’d go back to Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations to give the books a fabulous new look. After all, she’s the one who created their original, amazing brand four years ago when I went to her with At Any Price. And as with her previous covers, they are compelling, eye catching, classy and colorful. Covers fit for Adam & Mia.
I hope you all enjoy the new look as much as I enjoyed working on this project when I got the idea over two years ago! I’m glad they are finally ready to reveal–well….almost all of them…but I’ll be talking more about those other ones later!
Author Brenna Aubrey
About the Author Brenna Aubrey is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary romance stories that center on geek culture.
She has always sought comfort in good books and the long, involved stories she weaves in her head. Brenna is a city girl with a nature-lover’s heart. She therefore finds herself out in green open spaces any chance she can get. She’s also a mom, teacher, geek girl, Francophile, unabashed video-game addict & eBook hoarder.
She currently resides on the west coast of the US with her husband, two children, and two adorable golden retriever pups.
Welcome to the book blitz for WHO SHE WAS, a stand-alone new adult contemporary romance, by Stormy Smith. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the ebook for just $0.99!
Synopsis Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.
Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.
Charlotte (Charlie) Logan is broken. Under her perfectly-crafted exterior are the shards of a shattered heart. A handful of angry words changed her life completely and Charlie’s never been able to forgive herself for the truth she’s hidden from everyone.
While Trevor pushes Charlie to remember the music that lit her soul and the laughter they shared, they find themselves reverting to a banter-filled rhythm that feels all too familiar, yet different now. When Trevor’s own secrets come to light, it becomes clear he and Charlie both must face their tragic pasts if they have any hope at a future together.
Excerpt – Chapter 1 “Are you guys ready for this?”
The overly-excited frat boy in charge yelled into the microphone and the backyard of the Sigma Alpha house hit deafening levels. Inside their dingy kitchen, I shared a wary look with a few of the Kappa pledges.
“As much fun as we’re already having tonight, it’s about to get real! The fifth annual dating auction is about to start. That means the only thing standing between you and a hot little sorority pledge is your parents’ money!”
A petite redhead who barely looked fifteen, let alone eighteen, drew back the curtain of the kitchen window to peek out as he continued and then giggled.
“I can’t believe rush week is finally here and tonight is the auction!” She actually clapped her hands together and I forced my eyes not to disappear into the back of my head. “I hope Austin bids on me,” she gushed. “He’s so hot.”
“And you will be yet another notch on his freshman bedpost,” I muttered before I could stop myself. The girl behind me in line stifled a chuckle, and I smiled knowing there was someone else who understood how absurd this was.
“Your mom was a Kappa, too?” She asked.
I nodded. The line of sorority pledges filed forward through the kitchen to the back door as the emcee announced the next piece of meat up for bid. I kept my eyes forward and not on the half-filled keg cups and ripped open chip bags.
“Can you believe we have to go through with this just to pledge?” The girl twisted a piece of her hair and I didn’t miss the fear that flashed in her eyes. “The worst part was when I told my mom, she was actually excited.”
We took another step forward as I shook my head in disbelief. I hadn’t bothered to even tell my mother since it wouldn’t have mattered. Getting in was all she was worried about and Katie was the only one who ever mattered to her.
Then, I was next. I swallowed down my own anxiety and pressed my sweating palms down my skirt. It was tight and high-waisted, and my heels were higher than I was comfortable with.
Katie would have loved me in it.
I missed my Chucks.
My name came over the crackling sound system and I felt warm fingers encircle my own.
“You’ll do great, Charlotte,” she encouraged. I hadn’t even bothered to ask her name and she’d been astute enough to pluck mine from the bio being read to the crowd. I gave her a tight-lipped smile and returned the gesture even though I wanted to yank my hand from hers and wipe it off again.
I pushed through the torn screen door and pulled the humid August air into my lungs as I straightened my posture and put one foot in front of the other. My smile was so automatic it didn’t matter that I didn’t feel it anywhere but the shift in my cheeks—not too much teeth to seem fake, just enough for no one to ever think anything was wrong.
The emcee’s voice was lost in the cat calls. I heard bids of anywhere from five dollars to twenty as they commented on my rack or how my long hair would come in handy. My fingers tapped out a familiar rhythm onto my hip, one that I refused to acknowledge, but it was the only way I could keep circling the rickety stage.
I had to get into this sorority. It was what she wanted. It wasn’t optional.
“Two hundred and fifty dollars.” His voice silenced the crowd.
My smile didn’t waver as I let out a longer exhale and thanked whoever he was while also praying he wasn’t a psycho.
A sweaty, drunk guy helped me off the stage, and I was thankful when my heels sunk slightly into the ground because it was over and all the attention shifted to the next piece of cattle. I followed the turning heads in the direction of my bidder, who was still lost in the crowd.
The crowd shifted as their attention focused back on the next pledge up for bid. The light from the porch found him and he stood facing me, clearly waiting. For a split second, time stopped.
He smirked, catching my pause. The baby-face Trevor had the last time I saw him was gone. Instead, angular features and questioning eyes stared back at me.
I wanted to spin on my heel and run the other direction. Trevor was the slip knot of my life. The carefully intertwined ropes I’d wrapped around the person I used to be — the one he alone had understood and yet still abandoned — could be unraveled with one tug. He could destroy me and everything I’d done to atone for my mistake.
No one knew what I’d done. How it was all my fault. I’d never told anyone so he couldn’t know. It was a secret I desperately wanted to share so I no longer had to bear it alone, but knew I couldn’t.
“Fancy meeting you here, Charlie,” Trevor said as he pushed his thick-rimmed glass up his nose, failing to convince me he was any more comfortable with our impromptu reunion than I was.
I didn’t need him anymore. He was the who’d disappeared and left me all alone. It didn’t matter that he was the one who knew the rhythm I tapped out to get through the worst of times. Or that in an instant I remembered what real laughter felt like and the feel of ivory under my fingertips. It couldn’t matter. Not anymore.
I charged forward, auto-smiled and played the part I’d cast for myself.
“Charlotte,” I stated. “My name is Charlotte.”
Author Stormy Smith
About the Author Stormy Smith calls Iowa’s capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her.
When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband, twin sons or girlfriends. .
Welcome to the sale blitz for THE TEXAS MUTINY SERIES, a new adult contemporary sports romance series, by M.E. Carter. See below for information on the books, buy links, an exclusive list of ten fun facts about the series, and details on her giveaway. Also, for a limited time, you can pick up JUKED, book 1 in the series, for free.
Synopsis Juked: verb.
A slang soccer term meaning: faked out, deceived, confused your opponent
See examples Daniel Zavaro and Quincy Watson:
As the rising star in Houston, Daniel has found fame as Captain of his Pro soccer team and the city’s most eligible bachelor. Daniel has everything – except someone special – and that suits him just fine. He doesn’t want, or need, complications.
Quincy has baggage, and lots of it. After a tragic accident spins her world on its axis, she finds herself as a single mother, raising a newborn nephew she never knew she had. Between parenthood, her full-time job, and dealing with the suffocating grief of losing her sister, every day is a struggle.
When they begin to cross paths unexpectedly and often, an unlikely friendship starts to evolve. Feelings change. Lines get crossed. What happens next surprises them both…
a person, especially a young woman, who regularly follows a celebrity in the hope of meeting or getting to know them.
See example Tiffany Wendel:
Whore. Slut. Cleat Chaser. I’m used to the names so they don’t bother me. These are my boys. My friends. So what if I like to have dirty sex with them? My body is no one’s business but mine.
Why is Rowen Flanigan making me re-think how I live my life? Making me question my choices? He’s only a rookie.
a member of an athletic team in his first full season in that sport.
See example Rowen Flanigan:
Player. Son of a legend. Rookie.
Sure, I’d heard the stories of the groupies before. Who hasn’t? I’ve just been more sheltered than my teammates. So what? I didn’t expect her to be smart. Witty. Kind. She brings me to my knees in every way – except one.
That part? I’m saving until the time is right.
So how in the hell did I end up falling for a Groupie like Tiffany? And how in the hell is this going to work when everyone at my job has had a piece of the one thing I haven’t?
Ten Fun Facts about the Texas Mutiny series By M.E. Carter Every author has their own writing process. The things that make them most comfortable and help them reach their goals. Problem is, characters seem to have a mind of their own and sometimes that means the original process goes out the window! I experienced that phenomenon over and over while writing the Texas Mutiny series. Here are Ten Fun Facts about the series and how the writing process didn’t exactly go as planned.
My youngest child, who most know as “Bug”, is the inspiration for multiple younger characters in the series. When I wrote Juked, baby Chance started out as a two month old – the same age Bug was at the time. When I wrote Goalie, Theo was about 14 months old – the same age Bug was at the time. I try to keep the characters different, but babies/toddlers all tend to be pretty similar in their learning process, so many everyday situations have been added to various scenes. .
I never planned to write a book about a groupie. But when inspiration hits, there’s not a lot you can do to stop it. I was in my car writing Juked one night, while my daughter was in dance practice. I was researching derogatory terms for “soccer groupie”. (For the record, there are several terms, but nothing I’ve been able to find that is exclusive to the sport of soccer, like “puck bunny” would be to hockey.) Instead, I stumbled across several blog posts from former soccer groupies and I was fascinated. So yes, some of the things that happen in Groupie? They’re not the result of my imagination at work as much as they are based on true stories. .
I never panned to write Goalie either. One of my beta readers for Groupie mentioned that she would be interested to know what happened with Santos and Mariana, who were at that point, just secondary characters that popped in and out very briefly. I told her there wasn’t a story there. The following morning, I sent her quite a few texts cussing her out, as I suddenly had a 30 chapter outline and story rolling through my brain. .
Goalie is about a couple going through a divorce. I wrote it while I was going through a divorce. There’s a misconception that I wrote my own divorce story. I didn’t. We could all be so lucky as to divorce a man like Santos. Which is weird to say since he’s a serial cheater. But if you make it to the end, you’ll see why I can wish for that. .
I’m not a fan of naked torsos on covers, but I wanted to try a “Social experiment”, if you will, about how well a naked torso cover is received. That’s how Juked ended up with a soccer player on the cover. Then it turned into a whole series and I have to keep the covers consistent with more torsos. Serves me right. .
Speaking of covers, one really cool feature with the paperback, if you put two of them side by side, the second one upside down, and push the covers together, the pictures come together like a puzzle to make one whole person. It works with the covers of Groupie, too. However, it does NOT work with Goalie. If you put those two pictures together, it looks like a threesome with a four-boobed alien woman in the middle. That’s a different genre, altogether. .
I toyed with just letting the soccer team be the Houston Dynamo, which is our actual team here in Houston. Then the inspiration for Groupie hit and I figured their very real PR department wouldn’t want to have any sort of association with some of the things my players do off the field. And since a lawsuit didn’t fit into my schedule, I very quickly changed the team name. .
Speaking of changing the team name, I couldn’t come up with one I liked for anything! So I had a contest in my group for one. The winner, Helen Cope, came up with the name “Texas Mutiny”. Not only did she win some books, she is a character in Juked. Remember Rosemary Cope? Erik’s mother? Helen’s middle name is Rosemary and liked the sound of it for the character. .
In the acknowledgements of each Texas Mutiny book (except Megged) is the name John Marshall. He is the husband of a good friend of mine and has been obsessed with all things soccer since he can remember. He’s in his 40’s and still plays on a competitive league. John has never read a romance book in his life until he beta read the entire series. It’s not uncommon for him to send me notes from his job because he’s gotten caught up in a chapter. His wife has even texted me pictures of him reading my books the day they go live, so he can see the final product! I also been told the conversations they had while he beta read Groupie were, um…. Interesting. .
My favorite characters in this series, by far, are Tiffany and Rowen. There is something so lovely and wonderful about knowing nothing in your past matters to the person that loves you the most. I love them so much that they are getting a second book, tentatively titled Outswinger. It’s scheduled to release in July.
a player in the goal whose duty is to prevent the ball from entering or crossing it
See Santos and Mariana DeGuajarado
As goalie of the Texas Mutiny, Santos is damn good at protecting that net. But he never bothered to protect his marriage.
Letting the fame and notoriety go to his head, he lost the things he loved the most… his wife and kids. Now he has one shot to make it right before losing at this relationship game and he’s determined not to miss this time.
Mariana has been scarred so deeply by Santos’s betrayals, she will carry the wounds forever. After almost ten years of marriage though, she knows him well, and she knows he won’t let go without a fight. Still, she refuses to be a push over.
Synopsis Megged: noun.
a playing technique where the aim is to kick, roll, dribble, throw, or push the ball between an opponent’s legs
See examples Santos and Mariana DeLaGuajardo:
It’s been two years and three months since Santos has had sex. Not that he’s keeping track. After the way he betrayed the love of his life, he’s willing to give up sex altogether as long as it means keeping her in his life. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about it…
Despite living in the same house for months, Mariana is still hesitant to cross that final, physical line. The wounds that Santos left combined with her insecurities stop her from taking what she really wants.
When a misunderstanding makes them realize they’re finally on the same page, Santos and Mari must decide what’s most important to them. But this time, it’ll be Mari’s way or nothing.
*****MEGGED IS A 13,000 WORD SHORT FOLLOW UP TO GOALIE. IT IS INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY*****
Author M.E. Carter
About the Author My name is ME Carter and I have no idea how I ended writing books. I’m more of a story teller (the more exaggerated the better) and I happen to know people who helped me get those stories on paper.
I love reading (read almost 300 books last year), hate working out (but I do it anyway because my trainer makes me), love food (but hate what it does to my butt) and love traveling to non-touristy places most people never see.
I live in Houston with my four kids, Mary, Elizabeth, Carter and Bug, who was just a twinkle in my eye when I came up with my pen name. Yeah, I’ll probably have to pay for his therapy someday for being left out..
Welcome to the book blitz for IMMORTAL FIRE, the third book in the young adult fantasy series, Red Winter Trilogy, by Annette Marie. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive guest post on the author’s favorite dragons, and details on her giveaway.
IMMORTAL FIRE (Red Winter Trilogy #3) by Annette Marie
About the Book Title: IMMORTAL FIRE Series: Red Winter Trilogy #3 Author: Annette Marie Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Release Date: April 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Once, Emi believed the heavenly gods were righteous and wise, while the earthly yokai spirits were bloodthirsty and evil. But with a traitorous deity poised to destroy her world, and the yokai standing as humanity’s only defense, the lies of her upbringing have toppled to reveal a far more terrifying reality.
Despite the looming threat, Emi can’t escape her greatest distraction: Shiro, the fox yokai who has so deftly claimed her heart for his own. Soon—too soon—she will have to break the curse that binds his magic and memories. And once the ancient power inside him awakens, the yokai she loves will be changed forever.
As the earthly gods gather to wage war against the heavens, Emi and Shiro must gamble everything to turn the tide against their immortal, all-powerful foes. Together, they will find a way to save her world—even if it means losing each other.
Annette Marie’s Top 5 Dragons 1. Smaug from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, because of course he’s in my top five. He’s the ultimate dragon personality. “My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail is a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!”
2. Temeraire from His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. Temeraire just isn’t quite what you’d expect—intelligent, elegant, and surprisingly polite. I’m pretty sure everyone who’s read the book immediately adored him. The dragonet puzzled at the question for several moments, and finally said, with a dissatisfied air, “I do not have a name.”
Laurence asked, formally, “May I give you one?”
It–or rather he, for the voice was definitely masculine–looked him over again, paused to scratch at an apparently flawless spot on his back, then said with unconvincing indifference, “If you please.”
3. Mushu from Disney’s Mulan. This one needs no explanation, right? Mulan: My ancestors sent a little lizard to help me?
Mushu: Hey! Dragon. DRA-GON, not lizard. I don’t do that tongue thing.
4. Janx from The Negotiator Trilogy by CE Murphy. A dragon in human form, he’s my favorite character from the series. I wanted him to be in every chapter. Margrit saw him move, quick long strides that somehow suggested a larger creature transferring its attention from one spot to another. His approach was consummate grace, fire flowing across an open space like a living thing. Then he was beside her, making the air crackle with dry heat.
Eyes half-lidded like a snake’s, he stepped back with a smile that revealed curving eyeteeth and offered her a hand. “Dance with me, Margrit Knight.”
5. Zwi from the Steel & Stone Series by yours truly. How could I resist including one of my own dragons? Zwi is absolutely Adorable, with a capital A. Plus she’s clever, brave, and always ready for trouble. Piper drew herself up and glared instead. “Your dragonet snuck into my room and stole something from me.”
Ash glanced at the creature on his shoulder. It tilted its head and somehow managed to project total innocence.
“Zwi, were you stealing again?” he murmured.
The dragonet trilled, its head weaving from side to side as it squirmed in a distinctly guilty way.
Author Annette Marie
About the Author Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
Welcome to the book blitz for Midnight Sky, the second book in the young adult dystopian romance series, Dark Sky, by Amy Braun. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive guest post by the author, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…..
Guest Post MIDNIGHT SKY was probably the most challenging novel in the series to write. Sequels need to carry the events of the first story and act as the gateway to the grand finale. I wanted this story to have a dramatic end, but I needed events to carry the story and close certain questions. I was excited to delve back into the world of Westraven and add new history to the story. I decided to focus on the backstories of Claire’s parents, since their actions are crucial to the series and the story as a whole.
The map I sketched of Westraven became more detailed, and I think my favorite setting to write in this story was the Barren, a haunting, once militarized portion of Westraven that holds history for more than one member of the Dauntless crew. World-building is one of my favorite things to write about, and I was excited to jump back into Westraven and expand its setting.
Another exciting element was the love triangle between Claire, Sawyer, and Riley. I’d always planned for a rocky relationship between Claire and Sawyer, given their strong wills and butting-heads, but I’ve never written a love triangle. Riley was a late addition to the DARK SKYuniverse, and I was so glad to include him. His story is a complex, terrifying one, and since he seeks Claire’s affection, it forces Sawyer to consider his attitude when the risk of losing Claire’s heart becomes evident. He doesn’t trust Riley and fears for Claire’s safety, but to win her over he’ll have to change. By the time the story was over, I could tell that all of the characters had grown, though Sawyer’s arc was perhaps the most apparent.
Starting the story took a little longer than I intended, but I was flying through it by the end. The final scenes were written at 2:00AM because I couldn’t sleep without the idea jotted down. I was very happy it ended the way it did, considering what will be coming in the final novel. Since MIDNIGHT SKY grew so close to my heart, I decided to put more effort into its promotion, seeking the help of XPresso Tours and En Pointe Author Services to help with blog tours, release blitzes, and review opportunities. I’m so pleased to have taken that risk, since it has definitely paid off.
There was a fair amount of editing recommended by both my Beta reader and my editor, but I was grateful for their insight. I constantly strive to improve my writing, and correcting my bad writing habits helps produce a stronger story.
One of the best moments in this journey was seeing the cover for MIDNIGHT SKY, created by Deranged Doctor Design. They blew me away with the CRIMSON SKY cover (and every other cover they’ve made for me), and I decided to put a little more insight into what I wanted from the sequel’s cover. The result was stellar. I couldn’t be happier with the look of the cover, and am dying to see what they’ll create for the final novel and two novellas of the DARK SKY series.
Writing sequels is always daunting. You want to carry on with what readers love, but you also want to introduce new elements to make the series stronger as a whole. I’ve never written an ending like this before, so I hope my efforts paid off. I know that I’m happy and proud and passionate about MIDNIGHT SKY, and I think new readers and fans of the previous novel will find it to their liking.
Ten years ago, the sky shattered and the Hellions emerged. No one was able to keep them from destroying the city of Westraven. Now that the bloodthirsty monsters rule the skies and have forced the few remaining humans underground, Claire Abernathy lives in a nightmare. She survives by using her skills as an engineer for a ruthless tyrant connected to her mother and father’s past failure.
Then Claire’s world is torn apart when her sister Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions, and Claire herself is taken by dangerous sky pirates known as marauders. But Claire will not be intimidated by them while her sister’s life hangs by a thread, and so she strikes a deal with them: If they help rescue Abby, she will fix their ship and give them the chance to take the revenge they desperately seek.
As Claire fights for her sister’s life, she begins to realize that the Hellions are not the only dangers she’ll face. Burdensome secrets and devastating betrayals threaten her at every turn, and if she loses herself to them, it won’t just be her life that is destroyed…..
Author Amy Braun
About the Author Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
A special thank you to author Summer Lane for today’s guest post on the fear in State of Fear. To find out more about Summer and her book, State of Fear, the eighth book in the new adult dystopian series, Collapse, including buy links and details on her giveaway, please see below.
This is the 8th book in the Collapse Series. How do you keep the storyline and world going this far into the series? The issue with Cassidy Hart is not running out of stories – it’s containing them! Cassidy’s world is monstrously huge and the options for story pathways are endless, so I really had to zero in on what I wanted the eighth book to be. In terms of technicality and research, this was a challenging book – but it was also exciting to write. I was able to utilize some elements that I have wanted to use for a long time, like submarines and ice…trust me, it’ll make sense when you read the book!
Do you find it difficult to write about one set of characters for ten books? No, I don’t. The longer you’re with your characters, the better you get to know them. In this case, I have had the opportunity to get familiar with my characters to such a level that their development and characteristics are incredibly organic. It’s a real blast!
Are you Team Uriah or Team Chris? A lot of people like to think that Uriah is the perfect guy for Cassidy – while some much prefer Chris, since he is the original male lead (and he’s pretty awesome, in all honesty!). I have my own secret thoughts on this subject, and I don’t like to project my opinions on such an emotional element of the series. I leave that to my readers. But I will say that, in the end, Cassidy is a strong woman who doesn’t need anybody. She’s one of those kickass characters that can survive no matter what – and anyone she falls in love with is just a bonus. I don’t say to belittle the importance of the male leads, but to stress that Cassidy is just that kind of character at this point in the series.
What’s with the title? Why ‘fear?’ What’s there to fear in this book? The title is really a projection of the underlying theme of this book. My characters are thrust into a type of warfare that’s really unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They go to the barren wilds of Alaska, where the icy glaciers surround them and the dark winter solstice blots out the sun. Omega could kill them all – so many terrible things have happened, and could continue to happen. Cassidy is doubting herself and her relationships. This book is about exploring all of those fears, and then figuring out if our heroes are going to succumb to the darkness or stand up and kick its butt. It’s gritty, it’s dark and it’s intense. It’s my kind of story, and that’s why I wrote it.
State of Fear (Collapse Series #8) by Summer Lane
About the Book
Title: State of Fear Series: Collapse #8 Author: Summer Lane Publisher: WB Publishing Release Date: July 20, 2016 Genre: New Adult Dystopian Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis The world has gone nuclear, and the militias have met their first major defeat.
Torn and desperate, Cassidy Hart and her team make a difficult decision to relocate their forces to the cold, barren wilderness of Alaska. Yukon City has become a stronghold for survivors of the apocalypse.
Or has it?
Cassidy is on her own. Commander Chris Young remains in California to combat the shadowy forces of Omega, while Cassidy attempts to rebuild the militia’s strength at Yukon City. Uriah True has ideas of his own when it comes to surviving, and the militias are splitting apart.
Veronica Klaus is unleashing hell upon the west coast. The true, terrifying nature of Omega is revealed at last. A dangerous, desperate move is made to find reinforcements and seize a weapon that could give the militias an upper hand.
The downside? It just might kill everyone on planet earth. Cassidy, Chris and their friends have made it this far. How much longer can they survive? How much longer can the world survive?.
Author Summer Lane
About the Author Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of The Collapse Series, The Zero Trilogy and The Bravo Saga. She is also the author of Collapse: The Illustrated Guide, a #1 bestselling graphic companion to the phenomenal original series.
She is the owner of WB Publishing and Writing Belle, an online magazine where she has worked with countless authors from around the globe. Summer is also an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher.
Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her days writing, collecting tea, and writing some more.
The 2016 Debut Authors Bash hosted by YA Reads is a fantastic way to discover new authors and their books. I’m hosting the wonderfully funny and talented Jennifer DiGiovanni, author of the delightfully witty young adult romance, My Senior Year of Awesome. You can read my five star review of this debut novel here.
Leave your own funniest vacation disaster in the comments section.
Top Ten Vacation Disasters
When you bring the hair spray for 10% humidity level, but you encounter a 100% humidity level.
That time your parents decided to showcase their vocal skills at the resort’s family karaoke night.
Any situation that prompts you to say “I’m sure we’ll laugh about this later.”
When you pick up the wrong suitcase at baggage claim and wind up with a week’s worth of clothes fit for your grandmother.
Unintentionally hiking through a skunk crossing.
Packing underwear for only 2 of your 3 children.
“Sorry, the swimming pool is closed for maintenance. But the arcade is open.”
“Didn’t we tell you when you booked this cruise that it’s Star Trek fan club week? Please come to dinner dressed as your favorite Vulcan.”
Making it to the airport with 5 minutes to spare. And finding out that your plane leaves from gate Z-189 when your standing at gate A-1.
Seriously? You need a passport to get into Bermuda?
My Senior Year of Awesome by Jennifer DiGiovanni
About the Book Title: My Senior Year of Awesome Series: School Dayz #1 Author: Jennifer DiGiovanni Publisher: Swoon Romance Release Date: March 1, 2016 Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis A girl desperately tries to avoid the boy she was voted most likely to marry by her senior classmates. To prove senior superlative votes are meaningless, she and her best friend create their own list of awesome high school achievements to be completed by graduation.
It’s the final semester of senior year, and everyone at Harmony High can’t wait to find out the results of the Senior Superlative votes! But the balloon bursts in Sadie’s face when she discovers she’s been voted “Most Likely to Get Married” to Andy – a boy she’s never dated or ever thought of as a potential boyfriend. Completely and utter mortification sets in.
To prove high school means something more than a Senior Superlative award, Sadie and her best friend Jana decide to create their own list of awesome non-academic achievements to be completed before graduation.
Yet, the harder Sadie works to show everyone she’s not the least bit attracted to Andy, the more appealing he becomes. Typical for the girl who can’t seem to achieve anything important, even the completion of one lousy college application.
When senioritis kicks in and the school year dwindles down to mere weeks, Sadie decides to risk her good girl reputation to prove that an Awesome Achievement means much more than any Senior Superlative vote. By the time Sadie realizes her epic screw-up, she just might have lost her chance at the prom date of her dreams.
About the Author Jennifer is a freelance writer and YA author. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, working on home design projects, or trying to meet the daily goals on her Fitbit. MySeniorYear of Awesome is her first novel.
A special thank you to author, Tessa Bailey, for today’s guest post on how Romany Outcasts came about. To find out more about Tessa and her book, Thrown Down, the second book her contemporary romance series, Made in Jersey, including buy links and an exclusive excerpt, please see below.
How Thrown Down Came About
I’ve wanted to write a secret baby book for a long time, which probably will shock anyone who knows me, since I could whine about the hardships of parenting for hours. But still. The idea of a man finding out he has a child—and he has missed important milestones in that child’s life—is a sad concept, but how better to prove a hero’s strength of character than to have him bust his butt to make up for that absence? I knew Vaughn DeMatteo would be the man for the job. His life began the moment he met River and being away from her has wreaked havoc on his soul. When he finds out he left River a single mother, working two jobs to make ends meet, he sets out to win his family back—and he never wavers. I love him for that.
Excerpt Forty-nine months and three days.
That was how long it had been since he’d seen her.
Vaughn swayed to the right, his shoulder slamming up against the wall. Then he kind of just hung there, counting forward and backward from one to ten. Not helping. Not helping. His stomach pitched at the sight of River walking through the drunks, like a nurse walking among the wounded on a battlefield. She could still knock his lights out on sight. Not that he’d doubted it for a second. But God, if it were possible, she’d grown even more beautiful over the last forty-nine months. Her blond hair was tied up in a ponytail, a pencil stuck through the base, in a way he remembered well enough to make his throat go raw. In a short black skirt and fitted white T-shirt, River tried to look the part of indifferent barmaid, but didn’t pull it off.
Not by a stretch.
Eyes Vaughn knew were just a shade darker than cornflower blue flitted to each table, and her fingers tugged on the skirt’s hem self-consciously every time she approached a new one. When she fumbled with the notepad, recovering with a nervous laugh, a choked sound left Vaughn. “Riv,” he whispered.
She looked up so fast, he might as well have shouted. The sudden impact of having River’s focus on him after such an extended period of time without it released a rushing sound between his ears, blocking out the sad lounge act…and apparently someone asking if he needed a table. Because when Vaughn snapped back to reality, a man he towered over by at least a foot was in his face. Snapping his fingers.
“I wouldn’t…” Vaughn shook his head to clear it, experiencing a resurgence of anger, this time for having his attention diverted from where he needed it to be. On River.
“I wouldn’t advise snapping your fingers in my face again.”
“Why’s that, huh?”
A toss of blond hair snagged Vaughn’s gaze as his angelic ex-girlfriend zigzagged through the crowd, drawing more than just his notice. Ah no, quite the opposite. She was putting on an unwitting show for every man in the room, attracting lecherous looks by virtue of being her beautiful self, light in a dark tunnel, same way she’d always been.
Finger snapped in front of his face. Again. “This is my place and I asked you a question.”
“This is your place?” Vaughn asked. God, one hour back in Jersey and already his accent had thickened from water to oil. “You hired River Purcell to clean up tables?”
Vaughn plowed a fist into the underside of the man’s jaw, watching him fall backward onto the sticky concrete floor with detachment that slowly morphed into satisfaction. So much for calm, he thought, shaking out his right hand.
Thrown Down (Made in Jersey #2) by Tessa Bailey
About the Book
Title: Thrown Down Series: Made in Jersey #2 Author: Tessa Bailey Publisher: Entangled Brazen Release Date: April 14, 2106 Genre: Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis He has one last chance to deserve the girl of his dreams…
Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set onher…and River is in danger of drowning a second time.
No one believed Hook’s resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he’ll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he’s worth their love in the process–even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.
But even as River’s body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time…
Author Tessa Bailey
About the Author Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
A special thank you to author Christi J. Whitney for today’s guest post on which character from her Romany Outcasts Series would make a great companion for Doctor Who. I always love when I discover a fellow author who is also a Whovian, so I couldn’t resist posing this topic to her, and I’m absolutely delighted with her response! To find out more about Christi and her book, Grey, a young adult fantasy including buy links and details on her giveaway, please see below.
1) Why ____ from the Romany Outcast Series would make an excellent companion for Doctor Who – and the first time/place he/she would request to visit would be ____.
I have to say, when I received this topic to write about for my guest post, I couldn’t stop grinning. It combines two of my favorite passions – writing fantasy and watching Doctor Who. I’ve been a fan of the British television show since I was twelve years old. I first set eyes on that crazy-haired, long scarfed, completely eccentric Fourth Doctor on late-night public television reruns on Saturday evening…and I fell in love.
Of course, Doctor Who wasn’t big in America when I was growing up. Actually, I didn’t know anyone that even knew what the show was! I would’ve loved to have gotten my hands on some merchandise – to have a Tardis toy or a stuffed K-9, but you couldn’t find anything in stores. I used to record episodes on my old cassette tape recorder and play them in my room at night to go to sleep. I didn’t even know another Doctor Who fan until I was in my mid-twenties.
Suffice it to say, when the show came back for a reboot in 2005, I was in heaven. And now, I can go out to the store and actually find Doctor Who stuff in the aisles. I can order string lights and t-shirts and sonic screwdrivers to my heart’s content. It’s a great time to be alive!!
I love the idea of one of my characters from Grey being visited by the Doctor himself and asked to go on some adventures.
I feel my main character Sebastian Grey would be a bit skeptical when the strange man with the big blue box dropped into his back yard. Sebastian is dealing with enough secrets and weird occurrences in his own life. He wants answers to what’s going on, but he’s also afraid of what he may find. However, his best friend Katie Lewis would absolutely jump at the chance to fly off with the time travelling alien.
Katie’s been wracking her brain to try and figure out what’s been going on with Sebastian, and the Doctor might just be able to help her figure it out. Plus, she’s always loved to travel, anyway. What would it hurt to go and visit a few places while she’s at it? Katie’s never met a stranger and has no problem speaking her mind, so she feels she could pretty much keep the Doctor in his place if he starts to get off track.
Just a few pit stops, though…Paris, definitely. England in the Victorian era. And ancient Rome. Because, why not? Besides, she’s always wanted to see how those togas actually worked as a fashion statement.
But then, off to get some answers about Sebastian. Why is he so secretive, and what’s going on with him lately? She’s pretty sure it has something to do with Josephine, but she can’t get anything out of him. But with the Tardis and the Doctor at her disposal? She might just find out!
Grey (Romany Outcasts #1) by Christi J. Whitney
About the Book
Title: Grey Series: Romany Outcasts #1 Author: Christi J. Whitney Publisher: Harper Voyager Release Date: April 30, 2015 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Harper Voyager | Book Depository
Synopsis Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager –- good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.
But when Romany gypsies arrive in town, Sebastian discovers that his world is not what it seems.
There is an age-old feud between his family and the gypsies — and this isn’t the only secret his brother has been keeping from him. His life is not his own.
The girl he’s been dreaming about has just turned up at school, and he feels compelled to protect her at all costs.
Even if that means life might never be normal again.
Upcoming Releases by Christi J. Whitney
SHADOW (Book 2 in “The Romany Outcasts Series”) – 2 June, 2016.
MIDNIGHT (Book 3 in “The Romany Outcasts Series”) – 2017.
Author Christi J. Whitney
About the Author Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the dramatic.
She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons.
When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, geeking out over Doctor Who, and watching superhero movies.
A special thank you to author Randi Cooley Wilson for today’s guest post on why she chose Gargoyles to populate her Revelation Series. To find out more about Randi and her book, Restoration, a new adult paranormal romance, including buy links and details on her giveaway, please see below.
The Sexy Appeal of Gargoyles
Those of us obsessed with urban fantasy and paranormal romance stories understand the pull and fascination we as readers have with sexy, brooding, supernatural beings. After all, angels, demons, vampires and werewolves aren’t the only supernatural creatures we’re obsessed with these days.
The newest, and sexiest, fantasy boyfriend comes in the form of Asher St. Michael. A protector in The Revelation Series, which includes: Revelation, Restraint, Redemption, Revolution and Restoration. Asher is the leader of the London Clan of Gargoyles. He’s a brooding bad boy, who is loyal, sexy, wealthy and struggling with falling in love with his charge, Eve Collins.
“Gargoyles?” you question with disbelief lining your voice. Gargoyles, I assure. You mean the ugly stone statues that sit on top of buildings? Yep, those are the ones! Over the years, Gothic folklore tells tales of gargoyles as living, breathing creatures who watch over a charge. In mythology, they are perceived to be noble beings, protectors of mankind, and over the centuries they have bound themselves to ensure human safety. What could be more sexy than that?
As an author, I am fascinated with mythology and the history behind the why’s of certain tales. In my opinion, when you delve into the history of gargoyles, it seems only natural that these creatures, which were created to protect, make their way into our paranormal romance stories, which is why I wrote an entire series based around these supernatural beings.
So how do you make stone statues sexy and appealing to readers? When writing about these otherworld characters, I found myself drawn to a few key ingredients that make up a hot, sexy, brooding, bad-boy leading man and applied them to the main characters in this series.
When I developed the character backgrounds for The Revelation Series’ gargoyles, I first started with the mythology behind the beings. I began with how they were created to protect, and then developed key character traits I felt were important in that line of work. For instance, which side, Heaven or Hell, would they be protecting? Would they love once, mate for life, or multiple times? Since gargoyles are bound to a charge, would that be a blood bond and what would happen if that bond were with a female, who is not their mate? It was also important that each clan member had a connection to garish and old-school Gaelic with names and historically correct regional and physical traits.
In my research, I discovered that most gargoyles found family, or clan, of high importance. In addition, they were considered fiercely loyal and had keen protective instincts. Add those elements to more human personality aspects such as: confidence, sense of humor, how deeply they can love and family bonds — and you’ve got yourself ingredients for some pretty sexy gargoyles. Of course, some tattoos and piercings never hurt a leading male either.
Aside from looks, wealth, strength and the physical beauty of The Revelation Series’ Gargoyles is that above all else, they are willing to sacrifice everything in order to be with the person they love and that, in any species, human or supernatural, is really the core of what each one of us is looking for. To be loved completely, and accepted for who we are..
Restoration (Revelation #5) by Randi Cooley Wilson
About the Book
Title: Restoration Series: Revelation #5 Author: Randi Cooley Wilson Release Date: November 30, 2015 Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
Synopsis Would You Run
Would You Fight
Would You Fall To Fate
If your heart was full of love, could you give it all up?
Eve Collins will do anything to save those she loves, especially her gargoyle protector and mate, Asher St. Michael. With the world crumbling down around them, Eve and Asher must face the final battle between darkness and light. One that will end in great sacrifice.
When the skies darken and love in it’s truest form is tested, would you run? When death becomes silence and battle lines are drawn, would you fight? If you had to sacrifice, to save the one you loved, would you fall to fate? Would you dare to let it go?
The End, Begins.
Restoration is the highly anticipated finale in the Revelation Series, a mesmerizing epic romantic journey filled with dark themes, beautifully melancholic musings, divine secrets, sacrifice and forbidden love.
Author Randi Cooley Wilson
About the Author Randi Cooley Wilson is a new adult paranormal/fantasy and contemporary romance author.
A resident of Massachusetts, she makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of wine and coffee, and has a slight addiction to bracelets.
A special thank you to USA Today bestselling author, Jillian Dodd, for today’s guest post on her favorite scene to write in Vegas Love. To find out more about Jillian and her book, Vegas Love, a new adult romantic comedy, including buy links and a teaser, please see below.
My favorite scene to Write in Vegas Love
My favorite scene to Write in Vegas Love was when you first are introduced to Cash. He’s in a bar with his buddy and I love how much fun they are having.
“She’s giving me fuck-me eyes. I’m gonna make my move,” Jared says, referring to the hot girl he’s been drooling over since we got to the club.
As he starts to rise, I push his shoulder back down. “Don’t.”
“Why not? She’s hotter than hell.”
“Let her come to you.”
“What if she doesn’t?”
“Trust me on this.”
“Fine. Whatever. So, hey, next weekend, I think we should go to that music festival. Lots of alcohol and free love to be had.”
“Love is never free,” I say, teasing him. “You should know that after dating Prada Pauline.”
“She was certainly willing to let me spend my hard-earned money on her, but I cut her loose when she started going on about the C-word.”
“Commitment, dude. I’m not ready for a house and the white picket fence just yet.” He glances in the direction of the big-boomed girl again. “Too much fun to be had. So, should I get us tickets?”
“No, I have a wedding to go to in California.”
“Family friend. Maddox Harper.”
“The running back? Are you serious? He’s marrying that hot-as-hell supermodel.” He slaps my back. “Can you imagine how hot all the bridesmaids will be? Not to mention the guest list. I’ve always dreamed of being backstage at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. I bet that’s what the wedding will be like.”
“Except they’ll have their clothes on.”
“Dude, you have to take me. I’ll be your plus one.”
“It’s a small wedding.”
Jared picks up his beer and pouts. “You’re gonna get laid by some gorgeous model, and I’m going to be stuck here.” His eyes wander back toward boob girl.
“Stop looking at her. It makes you look desperate.”
“Did you see the tits on her? Hard not to stare.”
“She looks like a mis-formed Barbie doll. Like someone blew her boobs up just to see how big they could make them without her toppling over.”
Synopsis Hollywood actress, Ashlyn Roberts, just had the worst week of her life. Her ex released a sex tape of them and just when she was convinced her current boyfriend was a keeper for standing by her side, he breaks up with her at a friend’s wedding.
She’s planning to drown her sorrows in booze when she meets a sexy stranger as she’s leaving the wedding and they end up in Vegas, married.
Cash Crawford is offered a dream job working with his brother as a junior talent agent.
He’ll put his shiny new law degree to good use and make a bunch of money in the process. His first task is simple: Keep Ashlyn Roberts out of trouble and don’t sleep with her.
Which might be kind of tough, since they definitely consummated their Vegas wedding.
Will this one night stand end in the quickie divorce they promised each other? Or will they realize they got lucky in love?
Author Jillian Dodd
About the Author Jillian is the USA Today bestselling author of the The Keatyn Chronicles, Captive Films, and the That Boy series.
She grew up on a farm in Nebraska, where she developed a love for Midwestern boys and Nebraska football. She currently lives in Florida.
Her next release, Vegas Love, is a contemporary standalone romance releasing November 24th, 2015.
A special thank you to author, Marie Powell, for today’s guest post on travelling and world building. To find out more about Marie and her book, Hawk, including buy links and details on their giveaway, please see below.
Travelling and World Building
Hawk really started for me on a family trip to Wales with my two kids (then 11 and 16). On that trip, I began what would be eight years of research into 1282-83 Wales, during the time of the invasion by Edward I (Longshanks). I was interested in how people might survive an invasion like that, and keep their language and humanity intact. I had always been interested in Wales, since I knew my grandfather was a Welsh speaker (although he died before I was born.)
So we drove the narrow mountain roads, and by some luck or fate, we stumbled onto the details that set the stage for Hawk. We went castle-hopping through the big castles like Caernarvon and Beaumaris, and quickly realized these were actually created to subjugate the Welsh, after the invasion. We learned there was a Prince of Wales who wasn’t connected to the English monarchy; in fact, the English considered him an arch enemy. A villain. Llywelyn’s title was stolen along with his crown (or coronet) and his royal seal — and his head, which hung on the Tower of London for about 10 years.
Then we discovered Llywelyn’s castles, and through books and websites I began to learn about his history. For example, we explored the sites of Dolwyddelan, Criccieth, and Castell-y-Bere. Walking around the huge, empty ruin of Castell-y-Bere was a revelation for us. It was also humbling to see yourself against that mass of stone, and listen to the eerie wind through the mountain of the legendary giant, Idris. We were also visiting Pen-y-Bryn, the 15th Century manor house in Aber, on the day an archeological dig started there to determine whether it’s the site of Llywelyn’s lost castle, Garth Celyn (although that hasn’t been decided to date).
It’s possible to write a historical novel without travel, and many writers have proven that. But for me, it’s another lens to bring to bear on the world of my characters. It gives me the chance to say, “What would Hyw have done?” or “How might Cat react to that?” Travel is a way into their world, and the more sense of atmosphere and detail I can have in my mind before I write, the better I like it. Also, it sends me on an adventure along with my characters. Nothing can beat that feeling.
Hawk by Marie Powell
About the Book
Title: Hawk Authors: Marie Powell Publisher: Five Rivers Publishing Release Date: August 1, 2015 Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon CA | Kobo | !ndigo
Synopsis Hyw yearns to join his father in serving the charismatic Llywelyn, Prince of Wales. If only Hyw dared tell anyone of his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, it might help secure his place in the royal guard.
Cat, his sister, longs to inherit the magical ability that runs through her mother’s line. If only she could see her future, now that she is 13 and promised to a boy she barely remembers.
When a messenger summons the prince to a secret meeting, Cat and Hwy find themselves in the middle of a war that threatens to destroy all of Wales. Can they master their special abilities in time to save the royal family—and themselves?
Set among the actual events and personages of late 13th century Wales, Marie Powell has constructed a fantasy novel that recreates what life might have been like for two teenagers coming of age..
Author Marie Powell
About the Author Marie Powell is the author of 30 published books, including the young adult historical fantasy Hawk (Five Rivers, 2015) and Hawk and Crown (Five Rivers, 2016).
She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and her award-winning short stories and poetry appear in such literary magazines as subTerrain, Room, and Transition.
She lives in Saskatchewan, and her writing workshops are popular across the province.
A special thank you to author, Bella Love-Wins, for today’s entertaining guest post, Shopping List: Three Essentials to Trap Man Candy. To find out more about Bella and her book with Bella Wild, Disguise, buy links, and details on their giveaway, please see below.
Bella Love-Wins’ Shopping List – 3 Essentials to Trap Man Candy (For entertainment only)
It’s sometimes difficult for women to decide on what to look for in a guy when they’re hoping for someone passionate, sexy-looking and romantic. No ladies, I’m not talking about an elusive unicorn. These guys are out there, just waiting for someone like you to turn up so they can claim you.
I won’t cover how or where to find these creatures. We’ll save that for another guest post.
Let’s get to the three things you’ll need to trap him when you do catch sight of him. To help you score, I decided to share my super-secret list that has been passed down to the women in my family for generations. Let’s call them Bella’s Triple-Threat: 3 Man Candy Trap Essentials.
Here it is:
Remember they said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well, protein is a must for any scorching hot, muscle-bound man candy out there. Keep a bag of the top brand in your purses, ladies. You really don’t want to be caught without it when you meet him. As soon as he’s within ten feet, pull out one of those beef jerky strips and shake it in front of him. He’s guaranteed to come running right into your arms.
Important Note: Forget the veggie-jerky. It’s a wicked, wicked sham.
Every woman needs a good friend. A bestie would be ideal, but in the absence of that, a wingwoman makes for good company while you’re on the hunt. Also, said wingwoman should be strategically selected to make you look hotter, and smarter in your man candy’s eyes. You can also take turns during your search, to make it worthwhile for you both, and to cover more ground.
Hot Pink Stilettos
No matter where you go, these are a must. The higher, the better. Glitter or sparkle will give you bonus points too. Slip them on when you track down your man candy, and when he’s within reach, just stand there and let the heels do its job. The sparkle and shine will mesmerize him long enough for you to swoop in and catch him while he is in a daze.
Well, that’s it. Beef jerky, a wingwoman, and hot pink stilettos. Simple, but effective to help you trap that man candy when you find him. Did I leave out an essential? Tell me what you would add to the list in the comments below or on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BellaLoveWins.
Happy man candy hunting, ladies!
Disguise (Billionaire Rock Star #1) by Bella Love-Wins and Bella Wild
About the Book
Title: Disguise Series: Billionaire Rock Star #1 Authors: Bella Love-Wins and Bella Wild Release Date: September 28, 2015 Genre: Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Synopsis Can love be ignited under her disguise?
Lexxi Rock is a fiery pop / punk rock singer and guitarist — and billionaire, thanks to her father’s oversight. She’s grown tired of Los Angeles, the limelight, the isolation, her image, and her lackluster romantic life, most recently tarnished by smoking hot country star — and cheating bastard — Wilkes Barracks.
When her father suddenly becomes ill, she decides to temporarily leave it all behind. Anxious about the unwanted paparazzi and media attention that would follow her right back to her home in Tucson, Arizona, Lexxi takes a drastic, unprecedented step to hide from them all.
There’s only one wild card she did not count on. Lexxi has no idea that her father’s neighbor, and scorching hot firefighter, Sebastian “Bash” Sullivan, knows exactly who she is, and plays along with her ruse to get close to her.
Bash is the one reason she’s tempted to blow her cover, but can she trust him? Will her disguise work for long enough to nurse her father back to health? Can Bash save her when disaster strikes? .
About the Authors I live a little north of Toronto and dream of moving to the small town of Grimsby, Ontario one day very soon. Once I move out of the city, I would love to have a Shih Tzu and 2 cats as pets and practice kids. I love writing action-packed, steamy romance stories about new adults and characters in their mid-twenties, sometimes from wealthy families. I love my female characters to be strong, and my men stronger, with a vulnerable, sometimes broody side.
I love to laugh. I think it should be a law to laugh every day. Pink is my strength and my weakness. The color, not the artist.
A special thank you to author, Carrie Ann Ryan, for today’s guest post, Co-Writing and the Branded Packs Series. To find out more about Carrie Ann and her book book with Alexandra Ivy, Abandoned and Unseen, buy links, and details on their giveaway, please see below.
Co-Writing and the Branded Packs Series
When Alexandra Ivy asked me if I wanted to write a series with her, I calmly nodded and smiled, saying “Sure, that sounds like a great plan.”
On the inside, however, I was screaming and shaking and going OMG OMG OMG it’s Alexandra Ivy.
It only took three hours for me to actually do the dance and scream.
In front of her.
That’s how amazing Alexandra Ivy is.
I am truly honored to write this series with her AND I got to make a great friend out of the project. What more do I need?
So what is the Branded Packs series?
It’s an ongoing paranormal series where the world shut down when a virus hit the humans. The shifters might have saved them, but were caged for fear of what the shifters are. Now, twenty-five years later, the shifters are able to fight back and Alexandra Ivy and I are making sure you get to see how.
We plotted the first two books in an afternoon sitting in my hotel room and laughing. We named the characters and the worlds and even had cute nicknames for the dark series. Because even in the darkness, we need light.
Book 1: Stolen (test subject) & Forgiven (you done me wrong)
Book 2:Abandoned (momma bear and the lazy cat) & Unseen (Ninja Mom Wolf and the Unseen Polar bear)
I hope you enjoy the series. We loved writing it! And there is MORE to come in 2016!
Abandoned and Unseen by Carrie Ann Ryan & Alexandra Ivy
Synopsis Abandoned When bear shifter, Anya Tucker fell in love with the wrong man, the only thing she left with was a broken heart—and her two bear cubs. Now she’s mended her wounds and learned that in order to raise her babies she can only trust herself. When her sons meet the lazy cat next door and fall heads over tails for him, she’ll do whatever she takes to protect them—even from a past she’d thought she’d left behind.
Cole McDermott is a jaguar on a mission. Long naps, a willing woman, and a full stomach is usually all he needs when it comes to relaxing after a long day of protecting his Pack. Then he meets Anya and the burn of temptation is silky and tantalizing indeed. When a horror from Anya’s past threatens everything she loves, Cole will put everything aside and fight for her family—as well as his own.
Unseen Nicole Bradley had no reason to live after the humans murdered her son. Not until she learns to hunt down those responsible for his death. Shifting into her wolf form at night, she slips out of the compound, determined to do as much damage as possible. The last thing she expected was to discover secrets that could destroy the SAU.
Polar shifter, Tucker Stone, lives off the grid. It’s the only way the Unseen can avoid being rounded up by the humans and tossed into a compound. Besides, he’s a loner by nature. But he can’t walk away when he sees the pretty female wolf in danger. Risking exposure, he takes her to his hidden den and tries to heal her wounds.
Can a reclusive polar bear and a wolf with a death wish find happiness together?
Author Carrie Ann Ryan
About the Author New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Carrie Ann Ryan, never thought she’d be a writer. Not really. No, she loved math and science and even went on to graduate school in chemistry. Yes, she read as a kid and devoured teen fiction and Harry Potter, but it wasn’t until someone handed her a romance book in her late teens that she realized that there was something out there just for her. When another author suggested she use the voices in her head for good and not evil, The Redwood Pack and all her other stories were born.
Carrie Ann is a bestselling author of over twenty novels and novellas and has so much more on her mind (and on her spreadsheets *grins*) that she isn’t planning on giving up her dream anytime soon.
A special thank you to author, Annette Oppenlander, for today’s guest post, Making History Come Alive for Today’s Teens. To find out more about Annette and her book, Escape from the Past buy links, and details on her giveaway, please see below.
Making History Come Alive for Today’s Teens
I remember sitting in history class suppressing my yawns while the teacher droned on about battle dates, treaties and politicians. I couldn’t have cared less. Not only that, it was hard to recollect anything during exam time.
So, when it comes to making history feel real, we’ve got to dig deeper, use our senses to get a feel for the place and time. For instance, when fifteen-year old Max enters the shack, Bero the pig herder occupies with his mother and sister, we get a taste for what it smelled and looked like. The place reeked of unwashed bodies and moldy straw, it was gloomy thanks to a couple of tallow lights, the air dense with smoke from the cook fire. From Max’s modern day perspective this is horrendous and we can all feel for him.
We see the world through the eyes of a typical teen who loves to play computer games. We all know guys like Max. Slightly nerdy, smart and spontaneous, sometimes awkward. He’s used to the Internet, cell phones and Facebook.
As we follow him to medieval Germany, we’re immersed into a harsh and cruel world where life isn’t worth much. Max doesn’t fit in. Everyone knows he’s an outsider before he opens his mouth. He suffers through slimy gruel and bug-infested nights. The more detail is given, the more we see and live this world along with our protagonist. We can relate because we can empathize with our guy. We could be that guy.
By throwing our modern likeable guy Max into some horrendous adventures, history is no longer boring. History becomes hiSTORY.
Escape from the Past (The Duke’s Wrath, #1) by Annette Oppenlander
About the Book Title: Escape from the Past Series: The Duke’s Wrath #1 Author: Annette Oppenlander Publisher: Lodestone Books Release Date: July 31, 2015 Genre: Young Adult SciFi Adventure Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Synopsis When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he’s sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn’t realize that 1) He’s been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game’s rules and complete its missions—if he lives long enough.
To fail means to stay in the past—forever.
Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless.
It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott.
Overnight he is dragged into a hornets’ nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.
Author Annette Oppenlander
About the Author Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults.
When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.
“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive.
When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”
A special thank you to author, Jennifer Probst, for today’s guest post, A Real Love Story. To find out more about Jennifer and her book, Searching for Beautiful, buy links, and details on her giveaway, please see below.
A Real Love Story
As a writer, I’ve evolved into the idea that theme in my series is an important part of the reading experience. What’s so amazing about theme is the reader doesn’t usually know it’s there. Like an invisible presence that bond and connects the books together into one whole, most readers wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly if the writer has incorporated a certain theme in his or her work.
But like anything well done, it’s an element that subtle but powerful. An string as delicate and strong as a spider’s web.
When I began examining my main themes I explored in my work, I kept coming up with certain repetitive subject matters. One emerged more powerful than any other, and I realized this was the premise that excited me beyond all others. I consistently searched for answers, story after story, within the pages of each book I wrote.
In order to embrace romantic love, one must accept and love thyself.
But…not. Not when life makes us a tangle of our pasts, and mistakes, and shatters our confidence at every turn. Not when pain hits. Not when we are rejected and abused by the ones we love.
Barriers begin to spring up, and it becomes harder to accept and believe in true love. I’m fascinated by this human condition of normal people fighting to believe and accept extraordinary love and passion.
In the Searching For series, I sketch out each character with the same type of issues. Whether it be hero or heroine, I strip down and explore their pain, finally allowing them to grow within the book until they are strong enough to reach for the one they love.
I never get tired of this. In Searching for Beautiful, Wolfe is damaged from his past. He has such intense demons, he believes he not worthy of anyone’s true lasting love, including himself. His journey is one that humbled me, and made me cry as I wrote it.
When you read a book you love and keep coming back to, examine its theme. What is it within the pages the story contains that you are fascinated with? What do you understand and bond with as your own issues? I think it’s an important part of being both an astute reader and writer.
Tell me some of your all time favorite books that exemplify the theme you love the most!
Searching for Beautiful (Searching For #3) by Jennifer Probst
About the Book Title: Searching for Beautiful Series: Searching For #3 Author: Jennifer Probst Publisher: Gallery Books Release Date: May 26, 2015 Genre: Contemporary Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Synopsis The highly anticipated third novel in the Searching For series from Jennifer Probst, “one of the most exciting breakout novelists” (USA Today), featuring a runaway bride and the man who wants to be more than just her best friend…
Genevieve MacKenzie has her life completely under control. About to wed the charming Chief doctor at the local hospital, she’s an up-and-coming surgeon with everything she could ever want. Until an escape through the church window on the day of her wedding sends her life into a tailspin…and flings her right into her best friend’s arms.
When Wolfe catches his best friend falling out a window on her wedding day, he doesn’t ask questions. He whisks her away, determined to watch over her and discover the truth behind her desperate escape.
But when his feelings turn more than platonic, he realizes he may risk his most important relationship in order to protect his damaged heart, and the woman he loves.
Can Genevieve and Wolfe’s friendship turn into something deeper—or is it already too late for true love?
Author Jennifer Probst
About the Author Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.
A special thank you to author, Jen Cumming, for today’s guest post on injecting humor into serious, sometimes painful topics. To find out more about Jen and her book, Ms. Conception, buy links, and details on her giveaway, please see below.
(Don’t) Stop Laughing, This is Serious
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. I’d better, after all of the time and effort my husband and I put into becoming parents. I truly love it … but there are times when I dream about running away. Right now is one of those times. I am sitting at my computer, attempting to write a guest blog post – something deep and meaningful or hopefully witty – and I can’t get a minute to myself. Because I am also tugging two impossible pieces of Lego apart and attempting to help with fractions from grade 3 math. I hate fractions and I hate Lego that won’t come apart even with that bloody “tool.” So, between sentences, I am demonstrating fractions with the Lego and sweating as I claw pieces apart.
Chick lit, a verboten term in books these days, is my favourite genre. The British (and Irish) were the pioneers of chick lit. I love the dry British wit – Marian Keyes hits the right note every time, as do Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding, to name a few. They portray women trying to succeed in life, work, and love, with humor and compassion…
Sorry, just had to break up a fight over Lego for play versus Lego for fractions. I’m back.
When I decided to write my book, I had a few possible avenues. I could have made it a memoir; after all, my character and I had similar experiences. But truthfully, I’m not really a memoir-type gal. I don’t really enjoy reading them. I like to be entertained and transported when I read a book. I love forensic mysteries and period pieces (Tudor England is a fave), but those wouldn’t work with my story, so chick lit (or women’s fiction) it was.
There are lots of books about finding the right job, the right guy, the wedding, pregnancy, raising kids, et cetera, but very few about struggling to have a baby. Going through fertility treatments is no laughing matter. It is serious, it is depressing, it is isolating – it is NOT fun. My husband and I used humor as our coping mechanism. We exaggerated stories of waiting for the “shy” guy in a growing crowd of impatient men lined up for the “sample” room. I laughed off the internal ultrasounds with comparisons to elephants. That was how we managed to survive our three-year odyssey at the clinic. And after many attempts and many failures, we had success.
I have spoken to many friends of friends about our experiences. I always try to infuse humor in my shared experiences. I hope it makes them smile, because I know how hard it is to smile in the midst of that journey. I’m hoping my smile therapy works as my kids grow. After all the trouble we faced having kids, I figured the rest would be a piece of cake – possibly one-eighth of a cake. Hold on, I can show you with these Lego.
Synopsis Abigail Nichols has tried everything from rash-inducing herbal creams to acupuncture in a desperate, last-ditch effort to get pregnant.
Wedged into her iPhone schedule among new business pitches and rebranding design meetings is Abby’s ovulation cycle, along with potential opportunities for illicit afternoon quickies.
With all of their hopes and savings on the table, Abby and her husband Jack enter the whispered world of fertility clinics.
Along with a meddling mother-in-law, competitive pregnancies, and constant obligatory sex, Abby’s baby-track mind conspires to ravage her career, her marriage, and her sanity.
One thing she knows for sure: a healthy sense of humor (and the occasional glass of red wine) is the best coping strategy. One thing she wishes she knew: whether it will be enough.
Excerpt A procreation vacation? What the hell is that? The first email is from my best friend, Jules, one of the few people who know Jack and I are struggling to have a baby. I ignore the rest of my inbox and start Google searching.
There are hotels in the Caribbean that offer fertility vacations? Seriously? Powder white sand beaches, private infinity pools, couples massages with fertility-boosting kelp wraps and reflexology, all to supposedly stimulate semen production. After three years of unsuccessful pregnancy attempts, I’ve found fertility utopia.
Wait, hold on; there’s something here about drinking sea moss elixirs. That doesn’t sound overly appetizing. I read a quote from a successful vacationer: “I conceived as soon as I got home.” With rising excitement, I check out the menu, knowing Jack loves a great meal. Darn, there’s a lot of tofu – this might not fly. My husband Jack is many things, but tofu lover is not on that list.
I click on another link and find the Fertile Turtle vacation package. Apparently sea turtles are symbols of fertility. “You can watch sea turtles hatch while trying to fertilize your own egg.” My cheeks flame. I couldn’t have sex with anyone watching, even poor sea turtles. Jules is definitely yanking my chain. Hitting reply to her email, I type, “The poor turtles. You bitch!”
This is what my life has come to. The ongoing struggle to have a baby has spilled over into desperate Internet searches, sexy lingerie purchases, and my ovulation cycle scheduled into our iPhones. Oh god, sexy lingerie purchases. My face flames brighter at the memory. I thought spicing up our sex life might help, but in my crazy one-track baby-on-the-brain mind, I’d stupidly put the office address in the “ship to” box. That was a really fun day in the office. Pressing my hands against the heat of my cheeks, I sigh and turn back to my computer. Another day begins for me, Abigail Nichols, marketing maven by day, fertility-obsessed sex fiend by night.
Author Jen Cumming
About the Author Jen Cumming had two dreams: to be a mother and a writer. The first was much harder than she’d imagined, but it gave her plenty of material for her second dream. Now she’s realized both and traded drug cocktails and early morning line-ups at the fertility clinic for juice boxes and evening PTA meetings.
Jen’s latest dream is to live in a small village in France and eat croissants. Being allergic to wheat might hamper that dream, so in the meantime she does her best to balance life with two young children and run a business with her husband in Toronto.
She loves to spend time at the cottage in the summer, ski in the winter, and travel whenever she can.
Welcome to the next stop on the Taking What’s His blog tour. Taking What’s His is the fourth book in the Shillings Agency series by New York Times bestselling author, Diane Alberts. Today I have a top five list from the author and I actually squealed a little when I saw that Diane is a fellow Whovian. Her list of the top five Doctor Who moments rocks. See below for information on the book, buy links, a her top five Doctor Who moments, and details on her giveaway.
Taking What’s His (Shillings Agency #4) by Diane Alberts
About the Book
Title: Taking What’s His Series: Shillings Agency #4 Author: Diane Alberts Publisher: Entangled Brazen Release Date: April 28, 2015 Genre: Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Synopsis A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…
Some lines are meant to be crossed…
One explosive device was all it took to turn Holt Cunningham from ass-kicking Marine to IT technician. Hell, he’s still not over it. So when the cute little strawberry blonde at the bar asks him to kiss her, Holt can’t resist the temptation of a sexy distraction. Before he knows it, she’s blown his mind…and then skipped out the next morning.
Lydia Thomas never expected things with Holt to go quite that far, but oh, it was worth it. After being far too good for way too long, she was ready to be bad. Except that there’s that tiny detail that Lydia kept to herself-Holt just spent the night doing naughty things…with his best friend’s little sister.
One night isn’t nearly enough. But with his friendship on the line, how far will Holt go in order to claim what’s his?
Favorite Scenes from Doctor Who
Hello! I’m Diane Alberts, but you might also know me as Jen McLaughlin! As Diane, I write sexy contemporary romance for Entangled Publishing. My latest book, TAKING WHAT’S HIS, is the fourth book in the Shillings Agency series (all can be read as Standalones, though), and it centers around Holt Cunningham and Lydia Thomas.
Holt, now, he’s one of my favorite heroes. He’s fresh out of the military—as are all the Shillings heroes—and he’s been injured. We don’t know the full extent of his injuries right away—and I will not post spoilers!!—but the injuries aren’t just superficial. They go deeper, too. But there’s another reason I love him, and that’s because…
He loves Doctor Who!
Some of you might not know what that is, but some of you might! My characters talk about it quite a bit in the book, so I thought it would be fun to list my favorite moments. It will come as no surprise, I’m sure, that some of these pop up in the book.
Rose and Ten. God, Rose and Ten. My favorite moment just happens to be the saddest, too. When Rose and Ten are separated by that wall for all eternity—GOD. It breaks me.
Then, of course, you have the moment where he literally BURNS A SUN to say goodbye, and doesn’t even get to say “I love you.”
Then she comes back, and kicks ass, and saves the world. LOVE THAT, TOO.
Okay, in fairness, I will give credit to Ten and Donna, too. She’s such a great friend for him, and I love how she sasses back at him equally. Ten got used to his companions loving him, and Donna isn’t having it! It’s why I love her, too.
Ah, his last episode when he regenerates. He goes and finds Rose…before she ever met him. He tells her she’s going to have a great year, because she’s about to meet him and doesn’t know it. IT SLAYS ME.
If you watch Doctor Who, what are your favorite moments?
Author Diane Alberts
About the Author Diane Alberts is a multi-published, bestselling contemporary romance author with Entangled Publishing. She also writes New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling new adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. She’s hit the Top 100 lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble numerous times with numerous titles. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.
Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and a cat. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.
A special thank you to author, Audrey O’Connor, for today’s guest post. To find out more about Audrey and her book, Lessons in Pure Life, see below.
Guest Post: New Adult in Tropical Paradise — A Raw Costa Rican Romance
I’d pitched three different story ideas to Tryst Books, but the tropical romance idea hooked me and I found myself daydreaming about a Costa Rican love story. It helped that it was February. Days were short and nights long, freezing.
Lia and Diego were born out of a memory-wish, and an excited feeling of potential. There was something so dizzyingly delicious about both the sexual tension and the open, beautiful maturity of young people who will easily drop the world’s prejudices to connect with one another.
Costa Rica is raw and gorgeous and unlike any other place I’ve been. The environment, communities, and individuals blend into these brilliant concoctions that begged to be written in heady description. Romance could bud all over the place – on the beach, in the rainforest, in the classroom, in the squares of small towns, on the patios of restaurants, even in the bed of a police pick-up truck headed to jail. (True story, but that’s a post for another time!)
Couples wander in the slow haze of evening, scanning tables of thousands of hand-made souvenirs, handling colorful shell bracelets, Bob Marley t-shirts, and 4/$1 ocean postcards. Motorcycles rip up and down the small pedestrian streets in beachside markets like Playa Coco, where the air smells like pizza and fried beans and exhaust and Australian Gold and saltwater.
Synopsis Freshly minted grad Emilia Noble arrives in Costa Rica to teach English in the tropical community of Pacifica. Its carefree, pura vida lifestyle is a welcome contrast to her dark and wintry origins. Tossing caution aside like an old winter coat, she plunges headfirst into an exotic cocktail of sensory pleasure.
Diego is a local whose surfer body and cool detachment make Lia buzz with a long-lost thrill. Fascinated by her new environment, she can’t help but wonder about the moody inner workings of the boy with triceps like Wolverine and a grimace to match.
Diego seems to have no problem ignoring Lia, though. Caught up in his family’s conflicted attitude toward foreigners, he notices her only when it’s convenient.
But as Lia thrives in her new surroundings, Diego might just find reason enough to defy his embattled, insular father. When north and south are mixed together, the results are intoxicating.
Author Audrey O’Conner
About the Author Audrey O’Connor can’t help but color outside the lines with big, bright markers.
She’s fascinated by the influence of popular culture on the female experience and inspired by creative boldness and the breaking of the dumb rules women are supposed to follow.
Audrey lives in Chelsea, Quebec, where she can be found DJ-ing at local events or scanning a cafe for outlets for her laptop.