OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL – Map Your Way to Success (Helping Writers Become Authors Series) by K.M. Weiland
Synopsis Can Outlining Help You Write a Better Story?
Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal.
Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:
Help you choose the right type of outline for you
Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
Aid you in discovering your characters
Show you how to structure your scenes
Explain how to format your finished outline
Instruct you in how to use your outline
Reveal the benefits
Dispel the misconceptions
Includes exclusive interviews with ten respected authors, answering important questions about outlining.
Outlining can organize your writing and help you take your stories to the next level. Find out how!
My Review I have rampant ADHD. I didn’t realize that until the pandemic unfortunately, but I’ve definitely struggled my entire life. I just never knew why. So, I desperately need to plot in advance of writing. But even my plotting habits are all over the map. I was looking for a roadmap, a series of checkpoints to get me from blank page to a fully fleshed out outline to begin the writing process. I spent ten years as a project manager for a tech company and realized I flourished in that job because of the structure my brain needs, even if I didn’t know that was the reason for it at the time. An avid reader of K.M.’s blog, I happily purchased her book, not only to support her, but to get all the wisdom she willingly provides us in a single book, rather than clicking through dozens of posts on her website.
Weiland walks through the planning and plotting process with lots of examples and commentary by other author who swear by the plotting method, which I found really helpful. I think what I took most from her recommendations is that an outline doesn’t need to be strict. If inspiration hits while writing, you don’t have to rigidly maintain your original outline. It’s okay to take a path you didn’t even know was there and head in a new direction as long as the fundamentals of story structure are maintained. While I was hoping for a guidebook that gave me a checklist for completing my outline, project management style, it’s more of a recipe that you can adapt to your own tastes. Take what works for you and discard what doesn’t.
I think for me, my process will likely pull from a lot of different books, pulling out the pieces that fit into the way I work, and creating a flow that works for me. And Weiland’s book is the perfect place for me to start building my own system.
About the Author K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso.
She is the award-winning and internationally published author of acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic.
Her fiction includes the gaslamp fantasy Wayfarer, the historical/dieselpunk adventure Storming, the portal fantasy Dreamlander, and the medieval epic Behold the Dawn.
When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors on her award-winning blog HelpingWritersBecomeAuthors.com.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE KEEPER, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Royals and Legends, by Lynn Montagano. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE KEEPER (Royals and Legends Series #1) by Lynn Montagano
It started in the English countryside when he stopped to see if I was having car trouble.
It should have ended there.
But it turned into three of the most intense days of my life. And guess what? It didn’t end there either.
His name is Xavier Maddox. Sexy, talented, athletic. A British soccer star. The enticing bad boy.
He should be off limits for me.
My name is Victoria Chase. Ambitious, successful, broken. I’m the media relations director for the most successful football team in the United States. I have this policy about getting involved with athletes…or as I call them, the product.
Xavier was only supposed to be a one night stand. A distraction for me while I dealt with a long ignored family situation.
But he had other plans…
If he finds out what I’ve done, what I’ve destroyed, he’ll leave. Broken people like me don’t deserve a happy ending.
Excerpt #1 “Victoria,” a sultry, baritone voice revealed my name.
I stilled. Its tone washed over me, quickening my pulse. Taking a deep breath, I glanced to my left. Getting caught up in Xavier’s heated blue stare was not something I thought would happen tonight, or ever again for that matter.
Dressed in gray pants and a white button down shirt, he stood with his arms crossed. The sleeves were rolled up to expose his defined forearms. And more tattoos, just like he’d hinted at. He was motionless except for the subtle way his ring-clad thumb stroked his lower lip.
He didn’t wear a tie and the shirt remained unbuttoned at the top, but my assumption that he’d look hot in a suit, or some variation of it, was correct. I finished the rest of my bourbon in one swallow and put the empty glass down.
“Nice to see you again,” Xavier said with a sly grin.
“Alright, wait a bleeding second,” Cade interjected. “How do you—” His eyes widened. “This is the one from the pub, isn’t it? The one that got you all hot and bothered.”
Bennet draped his arm over Cade’s shoulders. “How about you and me go downstairs for a drink.” Without waiting for a reply, Bennet guided him to the stairs, where they disappeared down into the crowd.
“You seemed pretty involved in your conversation with those two.” He lifted an eyebrow. “Did I miss anything good?”
“Not as good as what just walked into the room.” The words tumbled out before I could stop them. Hitting on him wasn’t an option.
Or maybe it was.
Yep. It definitely was.
I’d blame it on the bourbon but that was a lame ass cop-out. He was hot and I felt more than a little frisky.
“I see.” He slid his hands into his pockets and before I knew it, stood inches away from me.
He smelled so good. Not of cologne or body spray or any of the manufactured crap some men seem to think they need. Just soap, shampoo and him. His scent reminded me of the outdoors. Fresh and earthy, like vetiver.
“Shouldn’t you be doing the rounds with your friends?” I asked.
“Are you a soccer player too?”
“Soccer,” he mimicked with a grin. “Yes. I play football.”
I bit my lip to stifle a laugh at his correction.
He leaned toward me, invading my personal space the way a five star general crosses enemy lines, with precision and a healthy serving of arrogance. I was essentially caged between him and the railing.
It took quite a bit of effort not to slide my fingers up his chest and unbutton the rest this shirt. Or tear it open and watch all the buttons scatter.
“Did you come here with someone tonight?” he asked.
“Like a date?”
“Yes, like a date.”
“Lucky me.” A mischievous smile pulled at his lips. “Guess that means we’re on a date now. Or at least picking up where our last date left off.”
“Hardly. I’m not so sure you’re my type.”
“I’m everyone’s type.”
“I’m not everyone.”
Author Lynn Montagano
About the Author Lynn Montagano is a contemporary romance author, writing coach, podcaster and unapologetic football fan. When Lynn isn’t writing or recording her weekly podcast, you can find her cheering loudly for her beloved New England Patriots or traveling somewhere new in this great big world.
Called One of the Best Crime Novels of the Year by New York Times * NPR * New York Post * Washington Post * Buzzfeed * South Florida Sun-Sentinel * Library Journal * CrimeReads
From the award-winning author of All Her Little Secrets comes yet another gripping, suspenseful novel where, after the murder of a white man in Jim Crow Mississippi, two Black sisters run away to different parts of the country . . . but can they escape the secrets they left behind?
It’s the summer of 1964 and three innocent men are brutally murdered for trying to help Black Mississippians secure the right to vote. Against this backdrop, twenty-one year old Violet Richards finds herself in more trouble than she’s ever been in her life. Suffering a brutal attack of her own, she kills the man responsible. But with the color of Violet’s skin, there is no way she can escape Jim Crow justice in Jackson, Mississippi. Before anyone can find the body or finger her as the killer, she decides to run. With the help of her white beau, Violet escapes. But desperation and fear leads her to hide out in the small rural town of Chillicothe, Georgia, unaware that danger may be closer than she thinks.
Back in Jackson, Marigold, Violet’s older sister, has dreams of attending law school. Working for the Mississippi Summer Project, she has been trying to use her smarts to further the cause of the Black vote. But Marigold is in a different kind of trouble: she’s pregnant and unmarried. After news of the murder brings the police to her door, Marigold sees no choice but to flee Jackson too. She heads North seeking the promise of a better life and no more segregation. But has she made a terrible choice that threatens her life and that of her unborn child?
Two sisters on the run—one from the law, the other from social shame. What they don’t realize is that there’s a man hot on their trail. This man has his own brand of dark secrets and a disturbing motive for finding the sisters that is unknown to everyone but him . . .
“Anywhere You Run had me hooked from the first page… It’s a novel both tender and ferocious—an absolute stunner.” —Lou Berney, Edgar Award–winning author of November Road
My Review This is one of those books that will stick with me years, maybe even decades, after I’ve finished it. The story is powerful, the characters breathtaking, the world maddening. As a cis het white woman, the most discrimination I’ve ever experienced is workplace misogyny, which is nothing compared to what Violet and Marigold go through in the deep south of 1964 America. I wanted to scream so many times. The way Violet and Marigold had to demur and act as if they were inferior to their white neighbors was only the tip of the iceberg. Being blamed for crimes against white people for simply being Black in the south was just one of the many injustices they faced. So when Violet takes the law into her own hands, getting the only justice she has available to her to not only protect herself, but her sister, I found myself not hating her for it. In fact, just the opposite. But instead of her being an anti-hero, she was actually a hero. To herself, her sister, and her family’s memories.
The story gripped me from the first paragraph and never let up. I was so invested in these characters and what would happen to them that I didn’t want it to end. I took my time and savored it, even though it’s a page turner. Because I knew when it was over, I’d have the book hangover to beat all book hangovers. And now that I’m finally here, I was right. I’m lost over what to read next, though I have already purchased Morris’s first novel.
Plot The main plot is the fate of the two sisters, but it seems like two separate plots at first. Violet is dealing with the consequences of her actions which are the direct result of the inaction of local law enforcement, while Marigold is dealing with the consequences of her actions — namely getting pregnant by a coworker she’s not sure she loves, but is now permanently tied to. As these consequences take on lives of their own and neither sister is able to control any aspect of their respective situations, they both seek to regain control of their own lives in very different ways. But the diverging plots are really two sides of the same coin as their fates collide when a man pursuing Violet uses Marigold to track her down. Told in multiple points of view, this is part mystery, part thriller, and part women’s fiction, but so expertly woven, I I still struggle to classify it.
Characters The characters are brilliantly crafted. Even the antagonist has a rich backstory and compelling reasons for doing what he feels he has no choice but to do. While I didn’t root for him to succeed, I understood why he was doing what he was doing and hoped for a happy ending for his family. I also was really pulling for him to find a way out of the mess he’d gotten himself into so that there would be a HEA for all involved. But this isn’t one of those kinds of stories. Violet, Marigold, Hank, and even the tertiary characters all came across as living, breathing human beings with reasons for doing everything they did. No one seemed to just be there to serve the story, but rather will like integral pieces of it, even the walk-on characters. The last book I read with this level of rich character development was GONE GIRL.
What I Loved About ANYWHERE YOU RUN 1. Pacing. The story moves at just the right pace from start to finish.
2. Violet. She doesn’t think she has anything to offer other than her looks, but she’s smarter than anyone gives her credit for.
3. Marigold. The typically grounded older sister finds herself in a place she’s not experienced with and without the tools to cope, but she’s as resourceful as Violet.
4. Twists. So many unexpected twists kept me guessing, kept me invested, and made me not to want the story to end.
5. Unexpected Endings. The author let us know early on that anything could happen and that no one was safe. I had no idea where the story would end up, but the ending was unexpected and satisfying.
Bottom Line One of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. This one will end up on my list of all-time favorites and I will read anything this author writes.
About the Author Wanda M. Morris is a corporate attorney, having worked in the legal departments of some of America’s top Fortune 100 companies. As an accomplished presenter and leader, she previously served as President of the Georgia Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, in which she established a signature female empowerment program known as the Women’s Initiative.
Wanda M. Morris is an alumni of the Yale Writers Workshop and a Claymore Award finalist for mystery writing. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She is married, the mother of three, and she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Welcome to the book blitz for TO LOVE A THIEF, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic suspense series, Relentless Pursuit, by USA Today bestselling author Delta James. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
TO LOVE A THIEF (Relentless Pursuit Series #1) by Delta James
Synopsis When the thief he is chasing becomes more than just a job, will the distraction be his undoing or her death sentence?
Claire Mitchell is a master jewel thief, who has a secret. Although the thrill of the heist is exciting there is a reason behind her choice of profession. Family honor above all else. It was the perfect plan… until he interfered.
Ryland Fletcher is the investigator determined to catch her. As he tracks Claire and gets to know her he finds there are more questions than answers. He doesn’t trust the beautiful thief in his bed but it doesn’t stop him from wanting her. The risk is life or death but the rewards are too great to resist.
What begins as a heist of the century turns into a game of cat and mouse. When their game of cat and mouse turns deadly it’s time to bring her in.
Excerpt #2 As she tried to duck behind the pillar in order to put it between her and the photographer, she clumsily ran into a tall, muscular man in an ill-fitting and probably rented tuxedo. He had to be close to six feet, six inches tall, and his shoulders looked like those of a flanker on a rugby team. Claire was fairly sure in some circumstances those shoulders could block out the sun. She was not a small-framed woman, nor had anyone ever described her as willowy. In fact, the most complimentary way to describe her figure was a true hourglass, but slightly larger on top. This guy in his rented tuxedo and cheap loafers made her feel petite and feminine.
Because of the difference in their height, Claire must have knocked into his arm, making his drink tumble out of his calloused hand and all down the front of her black and sequined halter gown. She pulled the dress away from her body.
“Here, let me help you with that,” he said in a deep baritone voice, as he stole a blatant glimpse down the front of her dress.
She let the damp gown fall back against her body where it molded to her curvaceous upper half. “I think you’ve done more than enough.”
“Hey, it was an accident, and you bumped into me, but in my opinion, it improved the fit of your gown.”
Claire looked him up and down. “As if I’d take fashion advice from you. Where did you rent that tux? Dolts Are Us?”
“If you’d like you can give it to me, and I’ll have it cleaned.”
“Did you seriously just ask me to take off my gown in a crowded room at a charity fundraiser?”
“I didn’t mean here. You can’t possibly think you’re so hot, I’d jump you in front of a bunch of high-class strangers.”
Maybe he hadn’t meant it that way, but it didn’t matter. The little girl who’d been having a wonderful time at the perfect Evangeline’s graduation garden party, didn’t consider the ramifications when she brought her hand back to slap him.
Author Delta James
About the Author As a USA Today bestselling romance author, Delta James aims to captivate readers with stories about complex,curvy heroines and the dominant alpha males who adore them. For Delta, romance is more than just a love story; it’s a journey with challenges and thrills along the way.
After creating a second chapter for herself that was dramatically different than the first, Delta now resides in Florida where she relaxes on warm summer evenings with her loveable pack of basset hounds as they watch the birds, squirrels and lizards. When not crafting fast-paced tales, she enjoys horseback riding, walks on the beach, and white-water rafting.
More about Delta, including a full list of her books and audiobooks, can be found at www.deltajames.com.
Her readers mean the world to her, and Delta tries to interact personally to as many messages as she can. If you’d like to chat or discuss books, you can find Delta on Instagram, Facebook, and in her private reader group https://www.facebook.com/groups/348982795738444.
If you’re looking for your next bingeable series, you can get a FREE story by joining her newsletter https://www.subscribepage.com/VIPlist22019.
Welcome to the book blitz for PITY DATE, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Pity, by USA Today bestselling author Whitney Dineen. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Faith I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out.
In all my twenty-nine years, life has never been smooth sailing when a man was involved. Astor Hill was everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner—handsome, successful, and interested in me. Until he started cheating. The cherry on the sundae is finding out the truth less than two weeks before we’re supposed to stand up for our best friends at their wedding.
When a staggeringly good-looking and kind stranger comes to town and offers to take me to the wedding, I jump at his proposal. Who cares if he’s gay? Astor doesn’t need to know that.
Teddy She thinks I’m gay?!
I’m taking a vacation from Hollywood and going back to Elk Lake. My grandfather hasn’t been doing well after Gram died and he needs my support. Luckily, I’m between blockbuster movies so I can make the time.
My first stop is Rosemary’s Bakery for one of the gingersnaps I remember so fondly from my childhood. The only problem is that the girl at the counter has eaten them all. After spilling my tea on me, she bursts into tears and tells me her troubles. I should be annoyed but I’m oddly charmed.
I know what it’s like to be dumped by a cheater, so I do the only thing I can think of: I offer to take her to the wedding to make her ex jealous. Unfortunately, with the help of the tabloids, things quickly spiral out of control…
Faith It’s Saturday, which means I’m supposed to be in Chicago. Instead, I’m sitting in my house crying. My eyes are nearly swollen shut as a result, making me look like a prize fighter who’s gone around the ring five too many times. Note to self: The post-boxing-match look does not look good on you …
I’m tempted to go into the bakery and tell GG the news about Astor. GG is Rosemary’s abbreviation for Gorgeous Grandma, which she insists on being called by her grandchildren. The only problem is there’s no going back once I tell her. And part of me is still holding out hope that Astor might come crawling back to me.
Obviously, I’d make him grovel and beg for forgiveness. He’d have to swear that Tiffany drugged him and took advantage of him. There would, of course, need to be regular flower deliveries, and he’d have to start coming to Elk Lake instead of me schlepping to Chicago. But if all that happens, maybe, just maybe, we aren’t through.
That would not be the case if GG knew what had gone down. She’d bring the cheating up every time she saw Astor, and he would never be able to get out from under her suspicions. Not that he would deserve to. The truth is, I might secretly want him to beg me to take him back just so I can make the rest of his life a living hell. Although, I’m not quite ready to admit to that. I’d like to think my intentions are pure, and we could live a beautiful life together.
I pick up my phone to call him, but quickly have second thoughts. There’s no way I can talk to him right now without spectacularly losing it. Which would negate my plan to make him jealous at Anna’s wedding.
After turning my phone off, I pull my tennis shoes out of the hall closet so I can get my food shopping done for the week. I normally go on Mondays after getting back from Chicago, but now that I’m not leaving town, I need some staples.
I start to feel a little bit better on the way to the market. That is until I flip on the radio and Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” comes on. Astor sang that to me the night he told me he loved me for the first time. It was a cringingly bad performance, but who cares? When the man of your dreams is declaring his love, there aren’t enough flat notes in the world to mess that up.
I park in the back of the lot, hoping a longer walk will snap me out of my current malaise. It helps a little as I’m not a complete basket case when I walk in. Grabbing a cart, I start my regular path through produce before hitting the cereal aisle and beyond. I grab a few apples, a couple of bananas, and a bag of greens before stopping dead in front of the dragon fruit display. I gasp before bursting into another uncontrollable sob fest. Astor told me we should plan a trip to Costa Rica so I could eat freshly picked dragon fruit. He claims the stuff we get tastes nothing like it should.
Picking up one of the hot pink fruits, I hold it to my nose. There will be no trip to Costa Rica now. Astor will probably take Tiffany, and they’ll stroll hand in hand on the beach while eating their body weight in exotic fruit. Hopefully it has the same effect on them as prunes. That would certainly ruin all chances of romance.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Can you tell me if you have any ripe avocados in stock?” The voice is too close for the man not to be talking to me.
As I turn around, I demand, “Why would I know about avocados?” I’m staring right at Teddy.
“Oh, hey, Faith. How are you?” Before I can lie and tell him I’m fine, he says, “I thought you worked here. You know …”—he motions toward my outfit—“you’re wearing the same thing the employees are.”
Is it any wonder Astor cheated on me? I look down and confirm that yes, I am wearing khaki pants and a light green shirt. I have no fashion sense whatsoever. I open my mouth to tell Teddy he should forget his ridiculous plan to help me make Astor jealous. There’s clearly no way that can ever happen. But as my lips part, no words come out. Instead, I hiccup loudly.
“Oh, Faith, no.” Teddy steps away from his cart and puts his arms around me. “I was hoping you might be feeling a little better.”
“This is better.” I rub my nose against his shoulder hoping not to leave a snot trail. It feels so nice to be held in someone’s arms. I hope he never lets me go.
Author Whitney Dineen
About the Author Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Welcome to the book blitz for GUARDIAN, the second book in the adult urban fantasy series, The Liminal Chronicles, by Amy Winters-Voss. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
GUARDIAN (The Liminal Chronicles #2) by Amy Winters Voss)
“One hundred pieces of gold for every kitsune head laid at my feet!”
Convinced redemption lies in becoming a Guardian, Umeji Tatsuya seeks mentorship from the legendary tengu king Soujou-bou. Though, the rest of the Guardian Council is skeptical he’s left behind his dark yakuza past. There’s no time to prove his loyalty and worth before disaster strikes.
A pair of kitsune refugees arrive and hot on their heels is a massive oni army led by Ibaraki Douji, who plans not only to exterminate kitsune kind but also to resurrect the title of Shogun to become ruler of Japan. As kitsune are slaughtered and Umeji and his family fight for their very survival without the support of the Guardians, Umeji questions where his loyalties actually lie.
Just when Umeji thinks things couldn’t get worse, the oni army lays siege to the rural town of Nonogawa and takes on the League of Guardians themselves. When Ibaraki makes off with a legendary sword, the Guardian Council blames Umeji for its loss. He’s done playing by their rules. With family and friends by his side and all of kitsune kind counting on him, Umeji vows to recover the sword and stop Ibaraki for good.
Will the cost be too high? Because the search leads to places mere humans don’t dare tread and what Umeji and his crew find is darker than anything he saw in the mob…
Guardian is the second book in the Liminal Chronicles series. Buy now and enjoy Umeji’s action-packed journey into Japanese myth, personal redemption, and found family.
Excerpt #1 Next, the tengu king’s eyes narrow and his wings ruffle. “Let us see you in your original shape, boy. Your magic doesn’t quite match the kitsune form you present.”
He waves his feathered fan, popping me back into human shape. At least I had the sense to dress formally, in a navy suit and a tie that Su-chan picked out for me. Though, I still feel out of place. Besides my aunt and I, everyone else wears a kimono and hakama. It’s different from the streets of Kyoto, where you see the traditional clothing only occasionally.
Then Soujou-bou raises a bushy eyebrow. “Nakamura-san, why do you associate with a magic thief?”
“That is his story to tell, Soujou-sama. Know that I believe him,” she responds in a flat, neutral tone that raises my hackles. She’s never this submissive.
As I give a deep, reverent bow, he remarks, “Boy, Nakamura-san’s recommendation does not excuse the evil in which you’ve partaken. Why did you stoop so low and steal kitsune magic?”
My insides twist at having to contradict the tengu king right off the bat. Taking a deep breath, I keep it simple. “We did not steal it, sir.”
But he snaps, cutting through the air with his feather fan. “No one gives such a gift! It destroys the owner. If I do not find your explanation satisfactory, you’ll not leave my palace alive.”
The declaration sends a shiver down my spine and my words spill out. “The fox I was fighting was Date Sari. She’d repeatedly attacked me and Aunt Hisako because of an old grudge and used her magic for evil—mixing it with that of an oni to add to her power.
“When she attacked my girlfriend, I tried to stop Date without killing her by dispelling her abilities. We didn’t know it would split and settle into each of us. The kami judged Date for her actions and Inari Okami was merciful. He didn’t require us to return her magic or hoshi no tama, which would have killed us.
“My aunt gave me a chance to start again after leaving the yakuza, and I wish to honor her and follow in her footsteps.”
“Yakuza, you say?” His eyes flick to my aunt.
I whisper, “I have much to atone for, sir.” Pressing my palms together in front of me, I bow as low as I can and remain in the position as I ask, “Please, teach me so I can serve as a Guardian.”
About the Author Amy is a former programmer turned author after her first trip to Japan in 2017. Now she writes Japanese myth-based urban fantasy to reconnect with the country and culture that captured her heart. She lives in South Dakota with her supportive husband, two wonderful kids, and three wily and crazy ferrets.
Welcome to the release blitz for PLAYING FOR KEEPS,a stand-alone adult contemporary romantic comedy, by USA Today bestselling author, Julie Hammerle. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her Giveaway.
Synopsis USA Today bestselling author Julie Hammerle’s quirky romantic comedy about two strangers, a fake relationship, and a teeny mid-lie crisis…
Bryce Barrett has disappeared off the face of the earth. Well, technically she’s just temporarily hiding out in a teeny Midwest town, away from her ruined marriage and professional demise…at least until she can figure out her next steps. But when she bumps into her ex—dressed in what could be only described as “dumpster chic”—she does the only reasonable thing a woman can do: panics and pretends the cute security guard on the scene is her new boyfriend.
Free-spirited nomad Jake Warner knew returning to his hometown was a bad idea. It’s bad enough that his family’s pressuring him to step into his dad’s hypercompetitive shoes and settle down, but when a complete stranger (cute, though possibly unbalanced) enlists him as her fake boyfriend, Jake knows he’s making some questionable choices…especially when he inexplicably goes along with it.
Now these two mismatched misfits are temporary allies against a town filled with happy, normal, and annoyingly stable people. Fake dating keeps everyone off their back while they plot their respective escapes. But nothing botches a plan more than unexpected chemistry…
Exclusive Excerpt “Ted, hello.” Bryce offered him her hand, and he pulled her in for a quick, friendly kiss on the cheek. She stiffened up. Damn it, is that moldy cheese smell me? No. It’s Ted. It must be Ted.
After he let her go, Ted spoke to the woman next to him, “Ree, this is my ex-wife, Bryce. Bryce, this is Rita, my girlfriend.”
We lah-dee-frickin’ da, Ted went and got himself a girlfriend.
But I have beaver slippers.
Bryce bit her lip to keep from laughing or crying, she wasn’t sure which.
Rita offered her hand to Bryce. “It’s nice to meet you. Ted has told me so much about you.”
“Yeah, nice to meet you, too.” Bryce greeted her ex’s new girlfriend with a perfunctory handshake as she took the opportunity to give Rita the once-over. She was the kind of effortless beauty Bryce, with her hair dye and multi-session workouts and (previously) gluten free, vegan diet, had only ever dreamed of being. Rita, whose luminous face apparently had no need for makeup, wore her long, dark hair in a cascade over her shoulders. Her white pants and nautical-striped shirt were right out of a J. Crew catalog.
Bryce folded her arms across her dingy, dirty t-shirt.
“What are you doing in town?” Ted asked.
He was definitely staring at her pants—or, well, his pants. She crossed her legs, trying to hide the big, gold “Michigan.” “I’m…I live here.”
Ted laughed. “You live in Wackernagel?”
Bryce frowned. “Well, I have the house here.”
“Yeah, you do, but I…I figured you’d sell it the first chance you got.” Ted laughed. “What about work?”
He hadn’t heard. Somehow news of her great professional demise had not reached Ted.
Bryce said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for loyal friends, Ted’s aversion to social media, and the fact that their work circles didn’t overlap. His high school teachers’ crowd didn’t have much contact with Big Law beyond Bryce.
“I’m taking some time off.” Bryce crossed her arms.
“Like, a sabbatical?” Rita asked.
Bryce nodded. Sure, let’s call it that.
“Good for you.” Tim smiled softly. “I’m glad you’re finally taking some time for yourself.”
Yeah, that’s what I’m doing. Bryce shot him a relaxed, self-assured smile. Might as well let him keep thinking things are wonderful. No harm in that. “Things are going really well for me here, in fact. I’m fixing up the house”—or, technically, redecorating it with old chip bags, empty wine bottles, and assorted other garbage—“and I’m really finding myself”—by binge watching TV shows, eating ice cream, and sleeping all day.
“That’s great,” Ted said. And his eyes were back on Bryce’s pants.
These stupid pants. They were blowing her cover. Her current outfit screamed everything but “I’m thriving!” Bryce chuckled, trying to make light of her oddball clothing. “I see you’ve noticed what I’m wearing.”
Ted’s eyes widened. “I have. Have you?”
She tamped down any annoyance at his semi-snide tone.
Author Julie Hammerle
About the Author USA Today best-selling, RITA nominated author, Julie Hammerle (she/her) writes romantic comedies for adults and teens. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, when not writing, she ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her music playlist reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.
She lives in Chicago with her husband and her two kids and a dog.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE LOST MAN, the sixth book in the adult contemporary romance series, From Connemara With Love, by A.S. Kelly. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE LOST MAN (From Connemara With Love Series #6) by A.S. Kelly
I left as he slept, believing that he’d still find me in his arms when he woke up. I left, taking everything I’d promised him. I took it all, and neither of us would ever have it again.
I left, turning my back on everything I knew, believing I could never be part of it.
I left the man who loved me, the family who raised me. I left my home, my roots, my dreams. I left my whole life behind in search of a past that was never mine. I hurt everyone who loved me, and broke him into so many pieces that I know I’ll never deserve his forgiveness.
But I’m here, now, trying to rebuild everything I’ve destroyed. I’m trying to find what I thought I’d lost. And although he says that he’ll never be the same, though he says that there’s nothing left of him, I can’t abandon him again. I can’t say goodbye to us.
They say that you always find your way back to happiness, but I’ve found my way back to the only place I’ve ever felt at home.
I’ve found my way back to him.
Excerpt #2 Niamh and I are alone again, with so much love between us and an intense fear to work through.
“What’s wrong?” Niamh asks me, curiosity splashed across her features.
“I lost myself.”
She tilts her head, her eyes questioning mine.
“I lost myself for a while.”
She smiles at me. “Thank God I’m here, then.”
Her fingers slip delicately between mine.
“Do you need help finding the way back home?”
I nod, breathless. I never want to take another breath again if it doesn’t taste like her.
“Home,” I echo. “Where is home for you?”
Niamh squeezes my hand; there’s an emotion in that gesture that I never want to give up. It trembles along my arm and into my chest, exploding with light and life.
Welcome to the book blitz for NOT TODAY, CUPID, a standalone new adult contemporary romance, by USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Bonds. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
As compiled by Scarlett Evans—executive assistant, grad student, and reluctant admirer of CEO Nick Hart’s snacktastic abs
Well, my fellow corporate drones, it’s another less-than-exciting investor meeting with the executives (Loud Talker, Human Buzzword, Master Delegator). And at the front, CEO Nick Hart, the world’s coldest—and ok, unbelievably sexy—tech badass. The man hasn’t smiled in the history of ever, he runs a tight ship filled with miserable employees, and gosh, he just really does not love feedback. Especially from me.
Development updates, acquisition delays, and…holy hell, why does he keep looking at me? I don’t work for him. I work for his brother. Which is good, because otherwise I’d spend every meeting secretly wondering what actually lies beneath that cool, aloof demeanor. Like, is he an uptight geek in the boardroom…and a sexy-assed freak in the bedroom?
He’d better not find out I’m the one stuffing the company suggestion box. What’s so wrong with a Valentine’s Day Social, anyway? But the fact that my notes are less professional and more entertainment is one seriously dangerous game. Because if he ever found out what I really thought of him, there’d be all kinds of sweet, delicious hell to pay…
Each book in the Harts series is STANDALONE:
* Miles and Miles of You
* Not Today, Cupid
Excerpt “I’ve gotta admit, I’m dying to know what you just signed up for.”
“That makes two of us.” I shove my burger aside. There’s no way I can eat it now. Not with the prospect of some half-baked project hanging over my head like a guillotine.
Miles smirks. “Drumroll, please.”
I give him the finger, but Beck indulges him, tapping the edge of the table.
“Anonymous says we need a—oh, this is too perfect.” Miles howls as Beck and I stare at him, waiting for the punchline. “A—” He chokes on his laughter and has to take a drink of water before continuing. “A Valentine’s social!”
He’s messing with me.
He has to be. Who would put that in the suggestion box? This is a place of business, not a fucking romper room.
Even if sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
“Let me see.” I reach for the laptop, shooting Beck a dark look. They’re both laughing like hyenas now. “Have you two been stuffing the suggestion box?”
“Don’t look at me,” Beck says, shaking his head. “I don’t have time for that kind of petty prank.” He chuckles. “It is pretty ironic, though. You know, since the only thing you hate more than Valentine’s Day is the suggestion box.”
Miles is laughing so hard now it’s a wonder he doesn’t bust a blood vessel.
Could this be his doing, some ass-backward attempt to make me appear likable?
It doesn’t matter. I’m not doing it.
“Pick something else. February fourteenth is the Epos launch. The timing is terrible and four weeks isn’t nearly enough time to put something like this together.”
“Oh, no you don’t.” Miles wags a finger at me. “You already agreed. Besides, that was the last one.”
Fucking hell. Leave it to Miles to pick the one week the damn thing isn’t overflowing.
“No way. It can’t be done.”
“Not with that attitude,” Miles says through peals of laughter. When he finally gets control of himself, he adds, “Relax. If anyone can handle it, it’s you.”
It’s true. I’ve never walked away from a challenge in my life, but what the hell do I know about planning a social? I’m the last person in the world who should plan this event.
On the other hand…
It could be the perfect opportunity to prove I’m not the controlling bastard Scarlett thinks I am.
Arrogant. Uptight. Cold.
Her words chip away at my brain with maddening persistence. I shouldn’t care what she thinks. I know it on a cerebral level, but after last year’s bad press, her ludicrous, ill-informed assessment is infuriating.
Salt on an open fucking wound.
“So?” Beck spears a piece of lettuce with his plastic fork. “Are you going to do it?”
My gaze slides from Miles to Beck and back again. It won’t be easy—I’m already spread thin with the Epos launch—but I’m no quitter. With a little time and a plan of attack, I can do this. And who better to help plan a Valentine’s social than Miles’s snarky, highly organized, whip-smart assistant?
“I’ll do it on one condition.” A slow grin curves my lips. “I want Scarlett to help.”
Author Jennifer Bonds
About the Author Jennifer Bonds is the USA Today bestselling author of sizzling contemporary romance with sassy heroines, sexy alphas, and a whole lot of mischief. She’s a sucker for enemies-to-lovers stories, laugh-out-loud banter, and over-the-top grand gestures. Jennifer lives in Pennsylvania, where her overactive imagination and weakness for reality TV keep life interesting. She’s lucky enough to live with her own real-life hero, two adorable (and sometimes crazy) children, and one rambunctious K9. Loves Buffy, Mexican food, a solid Netflix binge, the Winchester brothers, cupcakes, and all things zombie. Sings off-key.
To connect with Jen—and get a FREE book—visit www.jenniferbonds.com!
You can also find her on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook @jbondswrites.
Welcome to the cover reveal for GIRL OF ASTURE, a standalone young adult fantasy romance, by Keeley Holmes, releasing June 2, 2023. See below for the cover and information on the book.
GIRL OF ASTURE by Keeley Holmes
About the Book
Title: GIRL OF ASTURE Author: Keeley Holmes Release Date: June 2, 2023 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance Links: Goodreads
Synopsis My world controls when I can use my wings.
They control everything.
I’ve always felt trapped by the Order in Asture.
You can’t escape unless you fly, or you defy. There’s no way out of this nightmare, not one without losing my family and everyone I love. I must follow the rules, align to their expectations. Time is running out. The constraints of the Order are pushing me in a direction I’ve always felt I would fight against. My rescue comes in a unique form.
Ironically, the cage I hate so much is the only way I can see him. It’s our only way to be together.
To change the way of Asture, one must overthrow those who rule, but I’m not sure my level of rebellion and trickery can save everyone from the way of life enforced upon us.
Author Keeley Holmes
About the Author Keeley Holmes is the author of romance books. Lover of vegan food, herbal teas and chocolate, she advises that her books comes with a warning because there’s a high chance you’ll become best friends with the characters she creates.
So, if fictional BFFs are your jam, so are her books! She lives in beautiful Yorkshire, where sometimes she leaves the house and appreciates the beauty, before crawling back into her cave to write.
Welcome to the book blitz for STARSEER, the first book in the young adult LGBTQ fantasy series, Starseer, by Katya Hernández. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Fifteen-year-old Etar can see the future in the stars—a rare skill even among magicians. But while other Starseers before him have become the stuff of legend, Etar has never predicted anything more exciting than the weather. Orphaned at age five and living under his uncle’s disapproving gaze, he yearns to prove his worth.
Disaster strikes when, in defiance of his uncle’s orders, Etar breaks into the Starseeing Dome—an ancient structure built to potentiate the powers of Starseers. Aided by the Dome, the stars send Etar a vision of ironclad warships destroying Skalland, the tiny island he calls home.
Hunted by a bloodthirsty admiral who seeks to enslave his newly awakened powers, Etar will have to fight to protect his friends while grappling with his past, his out-of-control magic, and a budding friendship turning into something more.
Excerpt #2 Hundreds of times in the ten years he’d lived under his uncle’s care, Etar had gone out to the lighthouse at night to try his magic. But this forbidden room had always been in the back of his mind, tickling his curiosity, making him wonder what it would be like to follow in the footsteps of all the great Starseers named in his book.
But in coming here, a truth both painful and mind-boggling revealed itself. He had grown up believing it was he who lacked power when in fact, it was the setting that was all wrong.
Standing in the middle of the starmirror—as his book called the pool at the center of every starseeing chamber—he was stripped so completely of his reality that he wasn’t sure anymore what flesh was. He tried to scream, an impossible feat without lungs, and everything around him became darkness poked through with starlight. No beginning. No end.
He fell upwards, and as he shot through the endless night, he noticed with alarming lucidity that he was being pulled into a disc of burning red light. A star, surely, but he had never seen one up this close. He’d never noticed the torrents of fire whirling and exploding on their surfaces.
The star soon eclipsed his view, and a high-pitched sound pierced maddeningly through his core. There were words in there. He could distantly recognize the cadences of spoken language, but to his understanding, it was all terrifying gibberish. He recoiled from the turbulent sea of red light. He knew the message the star was trying to convey was important, but Etar didn’t want to hear its discombobulating yammering anymore.
As the star pulled him in with unfathomable force, he tried to scream again, and this time his breathless efforts shattered the trap of his subconscious like a crystal wall. He was in the Dome again, a fact he only registered because water sloshed around his feet, and Jossan’s voice was coming from somewhere near his face.
“… wake. Please, wake up!”
Etar shook all over. He couldn’t draw enough breath to speak. But most concerning of all, he couldn’t see. The ghost of the star dominated his visual field. He dug the heels of his hands desperately into his eye sockets and screamed when the light persisted behind his tightly shut lids.
“Etar, please, tell me what’s wrong,” Jossan said, holding Etar’s shoulders firmly between her hands.
It took several minutes for him to recover some composure. Every time he’d gone up among the stars, he returned with a pleasant sensation of having just woken from a good night’s sleep. Now, he couldn’t stop crying, he was blind, and his head felt like someone was trying to rip it open with a cleaver. “I can’t see,” he whispered, his voice breaking. His body faltered.
“Fuck,” Jossan said under her breath, her voice shrill. “Hang in there.” She hauled him up over her shoulder and started going somewhere. Etar could guess the rise and fall of the stairs, but after they hit the hallway, it was impossible to know where they were. All he could hear was Jossan’s frantic, whimpering breath and some of her men asking her questions she clearly couldn’t answer.
And slowly, as they moved along the castle hallways, Etar’s consciousness slipped out of his grasp.
Auithor Katya Hernández
About the Author Katya is a writer, illustrator, and graphic designer who lives with her partner, two cats, and two dogs in sunny El Salvador.
Her cats are her harshest critics, but she loves them all the same.
When she’s not writing or drawing the fantasy worlds that live in her head, she’s cosplaying as the creepiest monsters from all her favorite horror movies.
Welcome to the blog tour for UNDERTAKING LOVE, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Last Chance Responders, by Megan Montgomery. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
UNDERTAKING LOVE (Last Responders Romance Series #2) by Megan Montgomery
Synopsis Bethany West upgraded her lucrative career as a sex worker for her dream job as a death worker when she partnered at Smythe & Co. Mortuary. She expected her eco-friendly innovations and death positive attitude to blow the roof off the Victorian-era relic. But that was seven months ago, and during that time, she’s only managed to piss off her embittered business partner, George Smythe, a man dead set on maintaining the status quo and driving Bethany out of his namesake business.
When the pair reluctantly travel together to a mortuary conference in New Orleans—and compete in dueling embalming demonstrations—George finally recognizes the value of Bethany’s business model for the first time. He’s also starting to recognize a growing attraction to his blonde bombshell business partner. Meanwhile, Bethany learns the truth behind George’s cold contempt, and it’s much worse than she thought, stemming not from a single incident, but from the constant on-call status, the compassion fatigue, and the overwhelming stress of the job.
Bethany has 4 days to crack open his tough outer shell to reveal the compassionate man she knows is inside, and she has a plan, but unless George learns to open his heart and lean on her, at the risk of succumbing to their cremation-level attraction in a dangerous way, he’ll jeopardize both the business and their hearts by refusing the true partnership they both need.
Bethany I’d never been so turned on to hear my own name. My own church mouse-y name sounded wicked the way it shot off his tongue.
He said my name like it had already been in his mouth. Like he’d been playing with it, flipping it over frontways and back like a hard candy, waiting for the right time to pull it out.
“Sorry,” I said, pulling myself together enough to look sorry rather than fall to my knees at his feet. “I said I wouldn’t talk about work.”
His eyes stayed on me, lingering. His lips parted as he looked at my eyes, then down to my neck before blinking, forbidding himself to look any lower. His self-control was intoxicating.
When he swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbed. Reaching up, he loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, which was objectively the hottest thing a man could do besides rolling up the sleeves of his starched button-down. He’d already assaulted my willpower with that show a few minutes ago.
Finally, he took a sip of his drink. I thought he was going to let it languish on the table until the condensation dripped down his glass, leaving more puddle than ice, but he downed it in two big gulps.
The song changed and so did his expression. Again. I’d been watching him this whole time, studying the way he subtly nodded in approval when the song morphed from chaotic dissonance into a melody he recognized. I loved those moments, when the entire audience was in synch with the music and with one another.
I loved this music, but quickly realized I wasn’t nearly as well versed in jazz as George. He seemed to know every song except the pop covers. His eyelids drifted closed at certain times, when he was fully immersed in the music, the interpretation, maybe even the vibe of the room. I shuddered from the thrill of watching him enjoy himself.
But this song I knew. I knew it from our funeral music. It was on my favorite playlist to run when guests were arriving or during slideshows. Every song was meaningful and special. In no way trite or saccharine. I had no idea he’d put that playlist together until now.
That look of pleasure, of satisfaction on his face was . . . gorgeous on him. I didn’t know what the song meant to him. I didn’t even know the name, but from the look on his face now, it must have some special significance.
I stood and held my hand out to him.
Take my hand, George.
His eyes opened. He drowsily looked at me before looking around the room. I had brought him back down to earth. I didn’t know who this George was, but I wanted him down to the cellular level. The chemical level. Every molecule in my body cried out for him.
“Dance with me?”
He said nothing, but looked uncomfortable again, because I brought that out in him. I wasn’t having it tonight, though.
“No one else is dancing,” he said as if I couldn’t see that for myself.
“We play by our own rules.” I dared him to take my hand.
He let his head drop and I thought that would be the end of it. I’d have to find some other way to stand a little bit closer to him. To hold him. To connect.
But for the second time tonight, he shocked me to my core. He stood, taking a step gingerly toward me. He grasped my proffered hand and held it tightly in his own, moving it closer to his body. His other hand inched behind me, finally, finger by finger, settling at the small of my back.
I could hardly breathe. It didn’t even matter that we had the attention of the band and the audience. For what felt like an eternity, we commanded the room but not even George seemed to care. Bar service had all but ceased. Nothing mattered but his hand on my waist. His hand wrapped around mine. His eyes looking down at me. Mine looking up into his.
My confidence had taken a vacation. I had nothing more to babble about. I didn’t remember how to move. My plan to break George was wrecked. In this moment, he had broken me.
We were too close. We weren’t ready for this yet. Why had I asked him to dance? Did I really think I was Teflon enough to dance with him then brush it off like it was any other flirtation?
About the Author Megan Montgomery writes romance. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re morbid, but all her characters have cool jobs. She and her husband, Johnathon Olavarria co-host Forced Proximity podcast, a weekly romance book and movie club.
Her debut novel, Well . . . THAT Was Awkward was inspired by her homesickness for southern Maryland. She now lives halfway across the US on the prairie with her husband, son, and mom.
When she’s not writing, reading, lifting weights, or cooking dinners her son won’t eat, you’ll find her toiling in the garden or brewing potions from her medicinal herbs.