In the lead-up to Valentine’s Day in this month of luuuuuurve, there are a couple of things going on I just wanted to quickly let you know about.
The first is that today over at Aussie Owned and Read I’m sharing an excerpt from my latest novel, which is a fantasy that I describe as “Beauty and the Beast meets Ancient Greece”. There’s kissing. (The draft doesn’t yet have a name. For those that have been following my blog for some time, this will come as no surprise.)
The other is that, starting on Sunday, I’ll be giving away two copies of Lucid Dreaming over at Goodreads. The giveaway is here if you want to bookmark it and add it to your calendars — and why wouldn’t you? 😉
I’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled awesomeness.
I am super-excited to be taking part in the blitz for How to Save a Life by Lauren K. McKellar. This woman is one of my rocks in the writing community; she’s also incredibly, incredibly talented and has made me cry on more than one occasion. (Because of her writing, not because she’s been mean or whatever. I don’t think she has a mean bone in her body.) I’ve read a couple of excerpts from How to Save a Life now, and I’ve already laid in a stock of tissues in preparation for when I get my grabby hands on this book. Which, by the time this post goes live, I will have.
I’M NOT JOKING.
If that’s not enough of a recommendation, then there’s also a giveaway if you scroll to the bottom of the post. 🙂
Title: How To Save A Life
Series: Emerald Cove #1
Author: Lauren K. McKellar
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 21 July 2015
Life is not a love song …
I learnt the hard way that labels stick. Laura took “lovely”, and the teacher branded me “lady-like”.
It stuck with me, even through my high school years. It felt like that was all I’d ever be.
Until everything changed.
Lia the liar.
Lia the lost …
Now the choices are endless. But I don’t want to be any of those either.
My name is Lia Stanton. And this is my story.
Buy it now
She walks up the stairs, and straight away my heart leaps from my chest, beating a staccato that raps into my throat, the pulse point at my wrist, all throughout my body. I go from steady to strung-out in the blink of an eye.
“Mum,” I call, and this time on the staircase, she spins around.
“Yes?” She frowns.
Don’t go up there,
I try to say the words, but my stupid voice won’t work. My mouth moves, but no sound comes out, and Mum tilts her head to the side. “Lia …”
I try to scream so loud my lungs hurt, and still, nothing.
Don’t go into your bedroom.
You can’t see that.
It will ruin you.
“Lia, you’re normally such a sensible girl.” She sighs and turns her back, then walks up the stairs again.
My voice mightn’t work but my feet do, and I charge after her, leaping up those stairs two at a time. She floats down the hall toward their room, and I run, run as fast as I can, and grab onto her shoulder just as she tightens her grip on the door.
“Lia, will you drop it?” She turns to face me. “I’m just going to see if your father is home. What harm could I possibly do?”
My stupid voice is without once again, and as I try to yell at her, to tell her that no, she shouldn’t go in there, that seeing what’s behind that door will destroy her—
She twists the handle.
She opens the door.
And she screams.
And straight away I’m back on the couch, hearing that blood-curdling noise that chills me to my very bones, that signifies the start of the end of life as I know it. I race up the stairs to try help her, to try and make it stop, but when I get there she has collapsed in the hall.
And nothing I try to do will fix that.
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Lauren K. McKellar is the author of romance reads that make you feel. She lives by the beach in Australia with her husband and their two dogs. Most of the time, all three of them are well behaved.
Cadence Anderson has the perfect definition of happily ever after . . .
Until she doesn’t. A freak earthquake shatters her life as surely as her home, taking away everything she holds dear. She wakes in a hospital to find that her beloved husband and infant daughter have been killed, crushed by the earthquake’s wrath. Disoriented, injured, and alone, Cadence refuses to accept the loss. So when a man claiming to be her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time to save her family, she doesn’t need to give it a second thought. She accepts.
Thrust back eleven years, she now faces the ordeal of high school all over again. But this time, she’s armed with all the knowledge of her adult life and the determined to do everything better, from preventing the loss of her best friend to avoiding her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. She’s focused solely on Austin, her future husband, and is content to bide her time until she meets him again.
But then James Gordon crosses her path. Cadence wants to remain single, but James has his sights set. He is determined to win her over, and he’s very hard to resist. As Cadence starts to develop unwanted feelings for him, she realizes he threatens to disrupt everything, changing the future and distracting her from her original goal. Now, Cadence must choose: deny the unpredictable and exciting path James offers her, or stay true to the life she had and is trying desperately to resurrect. Second chances are more complicated than they seem.
Deceptive Cadence combines the soaring emotion of a heartfelt romance with the innovative storytelling of magical realism, crafting a uniquely moving, intricate tale about love and loss that asks: what would you do if given the chance to right all your wrongs?
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A steady beep brought me out of unconsciousness. My eyes felt heavy. I struggled to open them. The distinct aroma of cleaning products hung in the air. My brain switched on as I realized where I was and forced my eyes open. The beeping sped up. White walls encircled me in the hospital room; directly across from me was a closed bathroom door. I was completely alone. Where was my family? My husband? My baby daughter?
I tried to sit up, but my whole body writhed with pain. I moaned, and a second later, a nurse dressed in aqua scrubs burst into the room.
“It’s all right. Just don’t move,” she said in a soothing voice.
I wanted to ask a million questions, but I couldn’t form any words. She gently pressed me back onto the bed and checked me over. I watched her; she seemed to avoid looking directly into my eyes. As I followed her movements, I became aware of the cast on my arm. My right leg was bound and raised in a sling, and I appeared to have large bolts sticking out of my thigh.
“What happened?” I finally managed to utter.
The nurse slowed. “You have a fractured femur, ulna, and radius. You also sustained substantial head trauma, which is why you’ve been unconscious for the past few days.”
“Few days?” I groaned. “What day is it?”
“But how? The last thing I remember was . . . was . . .”
I didn’t actually know. Monday was a haze. I’d come home from university and found my husband, Austin, had cooked dinner, and our eighteen-month-old daughter, Melody, was bathed and in her pajamas. I’d been so surprised. I kissed him, his dark scruff tickling my nose, and felt as if I’d never be happier. We’d sat and eaten together, enjoying our family time. Our little Melody rambled about this and that, while Austin told me about his day.
“There was an earthquake,” the nurse said.
I snapped back into focus. “But we don’t live near a fault line.”
The nurse dropped her gaze. “It was an accident. Your leg was crushed under a ceiling beam, and your arm broke when you hit the floor.”
“When I hit the floor?”
“You were found wedged between your bed and the collapsed wall and roof.”
I tried to remember. Austin and I had put Melody to bed at her normal time, and a few hours later, we’d gone to bed. How had I ended up on the floor? I rubbed my forehead.
“Where’s my family?”
“Your parents arrived yesterday,” she answered.
“My parents?” I lived a long way from my parents, clear across the country, in Perth. For them to come last minute like that . . .
“Where’s my husband?”
The nurse didn’t answer.
“Where’s my daughter?” My voice rose.
Again, no answer.
The beeping sped up. “Where are they?”
A doctor—wearing a white coat and carrying a clipboard—entered the room, my parents right behind him. Mum rushed forward and grabbed my hand. I felt sick. Before the doctor even said it, I knew what had happened.
“Your husband was found holding your daughter in her room. We believe it was fast . . .”
I couldn’t hear any more. My ears buzzed. My heart ached.
“No.” I pulled my hand free. “No! I don’t believe it!”
“Cadence, honey,” Mum said as tears streamed down her face. “Austin is gone. He died trying to protect you and Melody.”
“Melody! Where’s Melody?”
Mum sobbed uncontrollably. Dad stepped forward to grab her shoulders.
“I’m sorry, Cadence.”
I gasped, feeling as if my heart had been ripped from my chest. “No! I don’t believe you! I’m dreaming. This has to be a dream. It can’t be real.” I closed my eyes tightly. “Wake up, Cadence, just wake up.”
Mum’s hand squeezed my arm as she continued to sob. But I couldn’t wake up from it. It was all real.
My eyes shot open, and I threw up. The nurse rushed to clean me, but I shoved her away. The beeping from the heart monitor increased.
“Cadence.” Mum grasped my shoulder. “Breathe, honey.”
“No, no!” I pushed her away, trying to pull free of my restraints. “I don’t believe it. I want to see them, now.”
“Nurse,” the doctor said firmly.
The nurse grabbed my drip, and the next thing I knew, the world became hazy.
About Katie Hamstead
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dogs.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.
Written by nine authors, Never Be Younger is a Young Adult collection of Shakespeare retellings. From Othello to Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet to The Winter’s Tale, each story has been crafted with a new spin.
From the halls of a high school to hip night clubs to the depths of space, Never Be Younger gives Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets a fresh spin for a new audience. Nine authors pay tribute to the Bard by taking his timeless tales to new heights, entrancing readers all over again. A Shakespeare story by any other name still reads as sweet.
All proceeds from the sales of Never Be Younger go to United Through Reading, a charity dedicated to uniting military families through reading.
To Undreamed Shores by Cortney Pearson
I bask in the brisk air, hands aching while the pocket of pain still gnaws at my shoulder.
“That moon shines on those other places, just like it does here in Bohemia. I want to see it from somewhere else. To see what it’s like, knowing something so constant is with me no matter where I go.”
Cove stares at the moon. After several moments he says, “I have something I’d like to show you. Will you come for a ride with me?”
“What, you mean now?”
He laughs, “Yes, now.”
“But I’m—” Sweaty, dirty. Dreadfully behind on this order. If I have any chance of going with Christabel in a few weeks, I’ve got to step it up—I haven’t even started on her pots yet.
Cove takes my hand and, as with last night, I’m instantly aware of how smooth his skin is against the rough spots on mine.
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About the Authors
S.M. Johnston: Star Crossed Lovers and A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare
Jessica L Pierce: A Day of Errors
Jessica is a somewhat crazy – yet loving – blond. She lives in Green Bay, WI, hates the cold, and loves her completely awesome camo coat. She is passionate about football, baseball, photography and writing, and won’t go near cooked peas. (Raw peapods are fine.)
She is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and will graduate in December 2015 with a degree in Communication with emphasis in Journalism. She is a sports photographer and her work can be found at: http://www.studio52photos.com
Cortney Pearson: To Undreamed Shores
Cortney Pearson is the author of Phobic and Such a Secret Place, a mother, musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles.
E.L. Wicker: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare
E.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and two children. Fueled by the bossy voices in her head, she writes New Adult fiction with a side of romance. You can find E.L. on Twitter, and her website.
Nicole Zoltack: Any Way the Wind Blows
Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys, with another little one on the way. She enjoys horse riding (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead.
Olivia Hinebaugh: Mark The Music
Olivia Hinebaugh spends her free time writing. Obviously. The rest of her time is spent playing and reading with her two young children. She also loves: watching Sia’s music videos, quoting Mean Girls, and folding laundry. She actually really does. You can find Olivia
Adrianne James: A Witch’s Life
Growing up Adrianne James couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up the majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.
During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked up in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.
As a New Adult Paranormal (and sometimes contemporary) author, Adrianne James writes strong women, powerful magic, and love that lasts a lifetime.
Christina June: The Scarf
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and the world’s most rambunctious four-year-old.
Nineteen-year-old Olivia Dean has the perfect reputation, the perfect boyfriend, and an increasingly perfect CV. She has it all, until Christian breaks up with her in public, calling her out as a self-gratifying sexoholic: the kind that plays solo. But Olivia doesn’t masturbate all night — the only thing she does is sleep … right?
Now all the boys on campus seem to want her attention for the absolutely wrong reason — including resident hottie, Logan Hays. He’s pulling out his best moves to gain her attention, so resisting his sexy charm is hard work. With rapidly slipping grades, a disturbingly lurid reputation and demanding parents, Olivia must discover the truth behind her rumoured sleeping problem. If she doesn’t, the perfect life she’s worked so hard for may slip away, including the one person who has Olivia breaking all her rules — Logan.
What do you do when you’re asleep?
Shh! is a story about acceptance, learning to trust and in turn love while facing life’s unexpected difficulties.
NB: This book is of a mild heat level, and contains no explicit sex scenes.
At five p.m I was starving. After just the muesli bar for breakfast, I’d skipped lunch to avoid a potential repeat of this morning, which meant my stomach had jumped into full riot mode. Nervous about facing my fellow students, I pulled my big girl panties up and marched myself to the dining hall. It was early, so I wasn’t all that brave, if I were being totally honest with myself. The place should have been near empty.
There were half a dozen people in the common room, watching some crappy reality television show. I scooted around the back of the seats and up into the dining hall. Dinner smelled delicious — burgers — if my senses served me right.
Twirling my meal card around my fingers, I strolled right up to the servery and stood in line. The girl in front of me turned and I tossed a confident smile her way. She smiled back. The line wasn’t moving yet as dinner hadn’t officially started, but people began flowing in, increasing the number of voices in the room. I swiped my clammy hands on my jeans. This was the first time in more than a year that I’d come down to dinner alone. Generally I came with Christian and being alone was a little daunting. It was all cool, though. Savvy should turn up soon, then I wouldn’t look like a loner. She never responded to this morning’s text and I hadn’t seen her since Saturday night, but that wasn’t uncommon if she’d hooked up with a guy. Especially with how busy I’d be this year. She knew my Sundays were reserved for study, so she didn’t usually bother me then, and today we’d been at classes. Still, it was a little weird. She could have at least called to chat about Christian, surely she knew like everyone else.
My tummy grumbled like a truck moving at high speed. I glanced at the clock; it read five-thirty p.m. The line started moving, thank the lord. I glanced over my shoulder, and surprisingly the line curled all the way around the edge of the hall. Everyone had to be famished tonight, not just me.
I kept my eyes to the front and walked through the servery where I built my own burger: meat, egg, tomato, beetroot, no lettuce, and a slathering of tomato sauce — perfect. As I emerged out the other side, my gaze slid over the line, looking for someone who might join me, and the weirdest thing happened. Not a soul met my gaze. It was like they all deliberately looked the other way, or were engrossed in such deep conversation that they didn’t see me.
I’d never had problems with friends. People just … well … they liked me. It had always been that way. I liked everyone, and they all liked me back.
My tummy churned for reasons not associated with hunger. What the heck had I done wrong? I walked over to one of the many empty tables and set my tray down, then flicked my phone out of my pocket and pretended to check my texts. Savvy had replied and I’d missed it.
Sorry I missed breakfast. Catch you at dinner.
A string of girls who I knew — we’d all been freshers together last year — walked right past me, talking softly as if they thought I couldn’t hear, but when people are talking about you, it’s not hard to tell. And those girls were most definitely doing just that. The glances my way every few seconds were a dead giveaway when everyone else in the room was deliberately avoiding my gaze.
I ducked my head, and studied my phone again. Whatever was going on, it was weird. I was the captain of Oxley’s hockey team, netball team, in the social committee, and even campaigning for the university’s student council. I had lots of friends.
Savannah’s giggle sounded like it came from somewhere behind me. Thank gosh. I really needed to talk to her and figure out what was happening. The whispers and stares, the fresher at uni this morning, Dane on Saturday night, sexploits — Oh my gosh. Christian. I glanced over my shoulder, raising my hand to call Savvy over, but my heart dropped into my stomach.
Savvy was attached to Dane’s hip. Her arm hung around his waist and his rested on her shoulders. Christian walked in step with them and the two guys wore massive grins. I hadn’t seen Christian that happy since … well, since I couldn’t remember. I suppose now that I thought about it, lately he’d been kind of cranky and tired. Always tired.
I swung back around in my seat, hoping they hadn’t seen me, and there someone had sat in the chair opposite me: the tool from this morning. He stared like I was some porn star he’d just paid to watch. And he smelled like a brewery; not to mention his eyes looked a little glassy.
Those same eyes locked on my mine and he placed his flattened palm on his chest like he was about to dive headfirst into a heartfelt apology. Which frankly, he owed me. His hand circled over his left pec, going for his heart, but then it moved to the other side and — ohmygod did he just tweak his nipple? My heart pounded a little faster and I glanced away. The entire dining hall looked at us. But he was like a train wreck. I couldn’t stop my gaze sliding back. His hand trailed down his chest and disappeared under the table in the general direction of his groin. He moaned, then his arm started moving slow at first and increasing in speed, all the while his dark eyes held my gaze. Then the crazy guy rolled his eyes back in his head and yelled, “Yes. Aaa—aa—ash. Yes!”
He arched his back. What in hell’s name was this freak doing? It was like that old nineties movie where the chick faked an orgasm in the middle of a café, except this was some dude in the centre of the Oxley College dining hall and I wasn’t entirely sure he was faking it.
Spent, he flopped in the seat, his arms hanging beside it, then snapped his head forward again and his face split in a stupid grin as he pushed his chair back, placed an arm across his waist, and freaking bowed.
The whole room full of people thought this idiot was funny.
I couldn’t move. It was as if the air had frozen around me and I was a statue unable to even blink.
“My impersonation of the one and only Olivia Dean,” he shouted, loud enough for the whole room to hear.
Couldn’t the ground just open up and swallow me already? My cheeks burned so hot they should have caught fire. Blood rushed past my ears so loud that I couldn’t hear anything; my stomach lurched.
I was going to throw up.
I needed to get out of there, right now. Whatever held me in place snapped free. I shot to my feet and high-tailed it out of the dining hall, past a million staring faces. The common room was no more than fuzz at the edge of my periphery, Front Courtyard much the same. I cut across the back of block F and made a beeline for K, then darted up the stairs and into my room.
Whatever was going down, it looked like I was the centre of a joke I didn’t find funny or nice.
- Signed paperback of Shh!
- $10 Amazon Gift Card
Author of the Collective Series; Forget Me Not and Remember Me. And Oxley College Saga; Shh! and Wait!
If you’ve been waiting for Isla’s Inheritance to come out in paperback but haven’t quite gotten around to buying it, this may be of interest to you — I’m giving away three paperback copies over at Goodreads. The contest is running for all of February, so if you live in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US or the UK, now’s your chance to enter.
I suspect you need to have a Goodreads account to enter, although I don’t know for sure since I’m already a member.
ENCHANTED LOVER: Tales of Everlasting Love
Seven Novels of Mystical, Magical and Paranormal Romance
I asked each of the seven authors in this boxed set about the supernatural “critter” in their story. Here’s what they said.
PARAMOUR by Margaret Ethridge (ghost)
Two men: one living, one dead, and both vying for her love. Camellia Stafford has never been alone in her room. For twenty years, she’s been engaged in a fierce power struggle with her bedroom’s previous tenant, Frank DeLuca, the ghost trapped in the light fixture above her bed.
Margaret on PARAMOUR: One of my favorite childhood memories is of the time my mom and I snuggled in her bed on a cold, gray day and watched an old black and white movie called The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Like Lucy Muir, I fell in love with the ghost of Captain Daniel Gregg. Not long before I started writing Paramour, I watched that old favorite again. But this time, the bit when Anna told her mother that Captain Gregg used to visit her when she was a little girl and they had been friends stuck with me.
How cool would it be to be pals with a ghost? What if she grew up with that ghost in her room. Would she have fallen in love with him like her mother did? I also liked the idea of a tortured young hero trapped between worlds. When I was young, we had the coolest light fixtures in my bedroom. They were these old 60’s chic gold cones that could be adjusted directionally.
I remember spending hours staring up at that fixture, daydreaming. What better place to snare the man of my dreams? And that is how handsome, young Frank DeLuca came to be trapped in the light fixture above Camellia Stafford’s bed.
ENTRANCED by Maddie James (time travel, reincarnation)
Jack and Claire set out on a wild search through time, not only for the resolution to a powerful attraction between them, but also for a historical artifact that holds the key to their future happiness — the coveted silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard’s skull.
Maddie on ENTRANCED: My story, Entranced, possesses the supernatural element of time travel, and not necessarily a supernatural character. Unless you could call the severed head of the pirate, Blackbeard, a supernatural character. For you see, once Blackbeard was beheaded, it was important to secure his skull, to take back to the authorities as proof of his death. Pirate lore says that it was hung from the bowsprit of a ship, and then lost forever.
But not in my book…
MYSTIC THUNDER by JC Wardon (witch, mystic)
Millennia of tempestuous ancestral history forewarn Rayne Cavanaugh to hide her ability to communicate with ghosts. But when the nephew of the man she just can’t resist goes missing in the mountains of Mystic Waters, West Virginia, she must decide between self-preservation and love.
JC on MYSTIC THUNDER: Rayne and her two identical sisters all have different inherited mystical gifts. Rayne is of The Devine, which means she is able to cast and conjure spells, but they each have another gift which manifests before they learn of this particular ability, and Rayne’s is to see and talk to ghosts.
She flees to Mystic Waters, West Va., to hide from the notoriety she’s suddenly exposed to in LA, but what she finds when she gets there is a man whose nephew is missing, and a ghost who insists she follow him into the dark reality that someone has been murdering young men for years on Mystic Mountain. She must chose between protecting herself and helping the man she is falling in love with, while conscious of the three-thousand-year-old curse that warns all Cavanaugh women to never fall in love.
RUNNING OUT OF TIME by Cheryl Norman (time travel)
When Stacy Webber travels to Germany for her best friend’s wedding, she loses more than her luggage and purse. She lands in a different time, fifty years ago, with no idea how to return to her world.
TIMELESS by Jan Scarbrough (psychic, ghost, reincarnation)
When Beth Abbott receives a surprise inheritance from her birth mother, she travels to the family’s nineteenth century mansion in Old Louisville, KY, now a bed and breakfast. There she meets the resident ghost, a little girl whose crying not only scares, but also intrigues guests.
Jan on TIMELESS: James Van Praagh, John Edward, and Theresa Caputo the Long Island Medium, are well-known psychic mediums and part of our popular culture. Believe them or not, they all bring messages of love from the spirit world.
When I was presented with the original cover of Timeless and the idea of writing about a child ghost, I needed a character that could communicate with the ghost. Enter Jeff Halstead, the hero and my reluctant medium. Years ago, I met a real medium named Dale Epley at a “psychic faire”. When I discovered she taught continuing education classes at night, I took a couple. Later, I attended her workshops and meditations at her home, and occasionally scheduled readings. I’ve learned many things from Dale over the years, and like the high-profile mediums, she brings messages of love and hope.
MAN OF HER DREAMS by Cat Shaffer (dreams, parallel times)
Jessi Flint has a perfectly good life with a successful business and the perfect man. So, he’s only in her dreams…until her flaky assistant goes to a New Age fair and Jessi suddenly begins receiving gifts with love notes signed by a mysterious Damian.
Cat on MAN OF HER DREAMS: Jessi Flint has a perfectly good life with a successful business and the perfect man. So he’s only in her dreams…until her flaky assistant goes to a New Age fair and Jessi suddenly begins receiving gifts with love notes signed by a mysterious Damian. Still, the last person she expects to see when she arrives back home in Michigan for her high school reunion is her mystery man. She finally decides to go with the flow after her mother expresses her delight with Jessi’s fiance, her best friend and closest cousin both go ga-ga over Damian and she finds herself falling head over heels for the man of her dreams.
ALMOST MAGIC by J.M. Kelley (magic, witch, gifts)
When it came to Vivian Burroughs’ unique connection with nature, her grandmother always said, ‘Mediocrity may not burn as bright as a firecracker, but it seldom blows up in your face.’ But the old woman never advised her on what to do when a sexy new neighbor stokes the flames of attraction.
JM on ALMOST MAGIC: Burroughs women have always been a little different, and the residents of Essex Woods, Pennsylvania are all too aware of their unique history. The tradition of weird continues with Vivian, who can (kind of, sort of) bend nature to her will. Vivian just wants a little normalcy in her life. Something that’s hard to come by when all the single men in town know that the words normal and Burroughs never go hand in hand. So what’s a (slightly) magical gal to do for a date and maybe a mildly enchanted happily ever after?
Jack Riley might not be the one to ask that question, but Vivian sure can picture him as the guy with the answers. But Jack is dealing with a not-so-normal life of his own. When your dead wife won’t stay dead and you’re pretty sure your daughter can read your mind, who has time to woo the town’s favorite (maybe, could be) witch?
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card or a set of seven print books from the authors’ backlist.
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Category: Romance > Paranormal
Length: Seven full-length novels, Boxed Set
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Retail Price: $5.99
Ebook Price: $0.99 (Special Promotional Price)
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | IBOOKS | KOBO | SMASHWORDS
If you could be any character in your book (and receive their powers as well, if they have any), which would you be and what would you do?
Oh dang . . . Ummm. I’d be Ana Lane I guess – car fanatic, surfer girl, and basically an emotional psychic on crack who is pursued by a gorgeous and devoted guy named Kian. But I am lucky enough to have a real crew of teenaged models who I get to see on a regular basis. I found Cape Cod teenagers from the real Barnstable High School on Facebook that looked like the characters (at least, in my mind) and they were brave enough to become the models in a fancy-shmancy studio we use. So yeah – Raef, Kian, MJ, Ana and Kian text me all the time – LOL.
Do you incorporate yourself into your characters’ personalities? If so, which character are you most like?
I think all authors pull from what they “know” so yeah, I’d say Eila’s dry humor is me, the craziness of MJ is me, and Ana’s take-no-crap attitude is me. Of course, all those personality traits help in my other job: driving a school bus.
What do you aim to teach your readers through your books?
Strength, perseverance, and devotion. I want my female readers to be bold and strong, and my male readers to understand that being protective does not equal being controlling. I want teenagers to see relationships painted in a positive light and that every relationship must be a balance of one another.
Where did you get the inspiration for your characters’ names?
Kian, Raef, and Christian were all on my list of boy names for my son (he ended up as “Finn”). Jesse was a dear friend in high school as was MJ. Nikki is my niece’s name, and Mae is my daughter’s middle name. Ana, Eila, Rillin, and Collette were all just made up, though they seemed to fit the characters.
Have you always known that you wanted to become a writer?
HAHAHAHAHA – NO. I have a degree in Forensic Psychology from Mount Holyoke College (Criminal Minds type-thing), but while I was in college professors would say I had a “knack” for writing (I figured they were all high on something). Then I came out of college and was asked to interview an artist. From there other magazines and newspapers began approaching me. That was 16 years ago and the rest is history. I now teach fiction craft to teenagers at libraries and high schools. Truth = no one is born a writer, but you CAN be born a storyteller. Learning HOW to tell the story – that’s what I teach.
Do you have any routines before writing to get the creative juices flowing?
Walking and driving actually allow my mind to wander and thus, begin writing in my head (I occasionally have missed a bus stop or two, LOL). I am a rocker-girl at heart, so I listen to music non-stop while I write and blog. I just saw Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and New Politics in Mansfield. AWESOME!
Which scene(s) did you enjoy writing the most? — in Undertow or Stormfront, or both.
Oh man . . . The bonfire scene in UNDERTOW I enjoyed writing because I had just been at the boardwalk the night before with my daughter. It is also that crazy turning point in the book when readers suddenly realize I am a seriously deranged writer. I had a lot of fun writing STORMFRONT, but I laughed myself silly writing the scene where MJ convinces Eila to become a criminal. I also spent a great deal of time writing a certain scene between Eila and Raef on the yacht. I think I rewrote it 10 times. The next book I hope to have out is Kian and Ana’s story, known as CRUEL SUMMER.
If you could give one advice to every human on earth, what would it be?
Never judge someone if you have never walked in their shoes. So much hate is based on ignorance of the other person, race, or country. All it takes is a moment to step back and realise you may not know where the other person is coming from and that your hate is unwarranted.
Luckless Eila is unknowingly the last of her kind: Rare. Gifted. Breakable. Stunning Raef is her kind’s historic enemy: Soulless. Lethal. Lost. A legendary death 160 years before would set their lives to collide, forcing a beautiful killer to become a savior, a simple wallflower to become a warrior, and ruthless destiny to become a death sentence.
Seventeen-year-old Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother Elizabeth vanished, the town legend declares that she drowned . . . or was struck by lightning.
Unbeknownst to the town and Eila, however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence.
But what starts out as a quest for redemption, evolves into something more and soon young guardian, Raef, is forced to reveal the truth to Eila. As hidden secrets about their warring families come to light, Eila begins to realize that she may be their best shot at survival, even if it means following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps to save her killer bodyguard.
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About the Author
I have been a journalist for 15 years and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center. I also drive a 16-ton school bus because I am ENTIRELY NUTS.
In addition to working jobs that should come with a warning label , I hold a BA in Psychos (Forensic Psych), torment the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jump from the Town Neck bridge in an attempt to reclaim my youth.
I live on Cape Cod with two smallish humans who apparently are my kids, my fishing-obsessed husband, two canines (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. Nope – that’s not a type-o. The bird is quite the indoor camper.
by Emily Shaffer
Release Date: 23 September 2014
In the town of Belle Ridge there are doctors, lawyers and teachers… but there is only one vampire. Will Leighton has become an expert in making a life for himself amongst the unsuspecting small-town inhabitants, as the high school history teacher. He has spent hundreds of years crafting an identity and routine that make him feel almost human, but he is always missing that important final element, love.
Ashton Wallace is beautiful, smart, and angry. She was forced into an eternal existence, and now her family has moved her away from everything and everyone she knows. In Belle Ridge she is supposed to finish high school and start her life again, but how do you make plans for the next several centuries?
Will has never met another of his kind, and is immediately intrigued by Ashton. He longs to show her that the perceived vampire lifestyle, so popular in storybooks, is far from reality…but will she let him be a friend and guide in this new existence? Can Ashton accept Will into her life, or will she be led astray by a dark stranger with whom she shares an unknown connection?
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In the town of Belle Ridge, there were doctors, lawyers, and teachers. But there was only one vampire, and he happened to be the high school history teacher.
Will Leighton always loved the start of a new school year. Classes were set to begin the next day, and as he looked around his classroom at the empty chairs, he smiled as he imagined them filled with chattering young people. He always looked forward to catching up with former students and getting to know new ones. The sense of community he felt as a teacher was the only thing that came close to making him feel like he was part of something, like he belonged.
Will was an outsider, and he knew it. No matter how many friends he made or local groups he joined, there was always a thread of solitude running through everything he did. The loneliness had a certain feeling to it. It wasn’t quite sad, or depressing, it was more like he was adrift with nothing he could truly connect to. But on this day, somewhere in his two-hundredth or so year on Earth, Will felt something he never had before: familiarity. Something in himself was being pulled, as though by a magnet, toward a nearby presence. Could it be that after so many years, Will Leighton wasn’t alone anymore?
About the Author
Whether writing stories to entertain her younger siblings, or typing up an essay for a class, Emily Shaffer has been a writer for as long as she can remember. Her stories may have changed from talking cartoon frogs to angsty young adults, but her goal to write a compelling story remains the same. When not writing, she lives in Nashville and enjoys all the music, food, and excitement that city has to offer. Her first novel, the well-received chick-lit title That Time of the Month was self-published on Amazon in 2012. Her latest novel, as the others before, are fueled by diet soda and pie.
Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…
Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…
But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?
And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.
Enter to win a zombie heart necklace and a $5 gift gard to Breathless Press/Lycaon Press
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I suppose I should count myself lucky they hadn’t started carving me up, and that I’d gone for an overdose rather than throwing myself in front of a truck or out of a window. I’m in damn good condition…for a corpse. Still in one piece as far as I can ascertain, and that ain’t easy to determine, let me tell you. You know how an arm or a leg goes after you’ve sat on it for a while, cutting off the circulation? But before the blood flow starts again and you get pins and needles? That numb heaviness? My whole body is like that. Like every part of me is full of lead.
Also, the not breathing is weird. I take a couple of breaths out of habit, for the familiar feeling of air moving in and out of my chest. After that I don’t bother. It takes too much concentration and there are other things I need to focus on. Like, what do I do next, for instance?
So, what, I’m just gonna lie here?
It’s an option, but I’d probably give the next person who opens up my drawer a heart attack. I don’t want another death on my conscience. Not when I already have my own.
I put my hands up against the metal above me, and leave dents in it. Whoa. Gonna have to watch that. Clearly, I don’t need a lot of muscle or effort as a zombie, which is good because I never had the first and never gave the second. I try again, but more hesitantly, and push myself outward. The drawer slams open so fast, wheels screeching, that it reaches its full extent hard enough to slam my skull into the drawer front, and then rebounds until it’s almost closed again. That should’ve hurt, but it didn’t. I touch my skull, half expecting it to be cracked in two, but there’s nothing. Not even a dent…or a lump for that matter. But when I twist my head to look, the drawer front looks like it got beat by a baseball bat. That’s gonna be one hell of a giveaway.
I reach up and use just one finger to push the drawer wider. This time I roll out until my upper half is free of the drawer. That should do. Careful not to squeeze too tight, I grip the sides of the slab I’m lying on. I’m not sure about sitting up, because clearly I don’t know my own strength any more, and the weird all-over numbness means I can’t sense what I’m doing, or how much pressure I’m using. There’s no pain to tell me when I might be damaging myself, if that’s possible.
Okay, this is it. I push myself upright easily enough, but can’t stop myself slumping forward. Everything feels heavy. My head too heavy for my neck, my shoulders too heavy for my torso. Still holding the sides, I drag one leg up until my knee touches my chin, and then the other. I shuffle ’round until both feet drop to the floor, pulling my legs with them. I have plenty of strength but pretty damn poor coordination. It’s kind of hard to synchronize your moves when it’s like someone has attached weights to every bit of you. Won’t this be fun?
So I’ve got my feet on the ground. I stare at them and wiggle my toes. Back in the afterlife, they moved easily and in sequence. Now they just jerk. There are bruises and needle marks in both my arms, probably from them trying to pump a ton of drugs into me to bring me back. My skin is pale, only one shade away from stark white, with a bluish tint. Oxygen deprivation, I’d guess. I thought I’d be gray. Maybe that happens later. For now, I can probably pass for just being sick, if I can get my coordination together and get out of here.
With that objective in mind, I lurch to my feet and fall flat on my face, luckily with one arm preventing my nose from getting smashed. Not that it hurts, but I really don’t need to make myself look any worse. I push back onto my hands and knees, grab the edge of the table beside me, and then pull myself up slow and easy. At least I’m standing, even if I am swaying like I’m still getting hit by the alcohol. For the first time, I get a good look of where I’m at.
The morgue. I’ve seen enough cop shows to recognize it. Never expected to be in one, least not and be aware I was. The table I’m hanging onto is one of those where they lay a body, clean it, and slice it up to figure out who or what killed you. I guess I should be grateful they hadn’t got to that stage with me. Trying to stitch myself up with zombie fingers and with all my innards falling out would have been tricky.
After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).
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