I’m incredibly thrilled and honored that two of my adult romances, FEARLESS (romantic suspense) and SOMEBODY LIKE YOU (contemporary short) have finaled in RWA’s® Golden Heart® Award.
My heart is singing. 🙂
BECKON ME, Cindy Thomas
Today, I’m featuring Cindy Thomas, a friend and Agency sister, and the author of BECKON ME (my review is at the bottom of my interview).
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a total book nerd. I love reading, promoting, writing, holding, smelling (weird, right?), and devouring books. If I didn’t have kids and a husband, I’d probably spend every single free second with a book in my hand. I mean, I still do that, but I have less free seconds than I would if I didn’t have them. 😉
What do you do for fun when you are not writing?
Read. And watch Friends, Ally McBeal, or anything on HGTV when my eyes get tired.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve always been a writer, honestly. I wrote silly, nonsensical short stories as a kid, then lots of angsty poetry as a teen, and moved into full length books as an adult.
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere. Sometimes my ideas come from brainstorming with critique partners. Sometimes I wake up with them. Sometimes it’s something I see on tv that sparks an idea. Driving long distances in the car are super helpful when brainstorming my new ideas.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I’ve done both. I wrote much cleaner with an outline, but I think I prefer to pants it most of the time.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
THE FACE ON THE MILK CARTON by Caroline B. Cooney is the book I read in high school that has forever changed me. I have two copies of the book and have read it at least ten times. I absolutely love it.
Can you tell us about your recent release, BECKON ME?
BECKON ME at its heart is about friendship, loss, and choices. The short: It’s about a girl who gets shot alongside her best friend after their freshman year of college. Karina (the main character) survives, but her best friend does not. Karina then is haunted by her best friend, and discovers (from her super super hot neighbor, Eli) that she now must decide if love and loyalty are worth losing her soul.
The long: Everything nineteen-year-old Karina Mitchell knows about death changes the instant that she and her best friend, Rainey, are shot. For one, souls don’t die. They cross over. Only, Rainey’s soul hasn’t, and her ghost is hell bent on haunting Karina.
When Karina begins her sophomore year of college and moves into the apartment that she was supposed to share with Rainey, she learns a few shocking truths from her mysterious and gorgeous blue-eyed neighbor, Eli.
One: Karina has been chosen to become a Beckoner—an immortal conduit of the dead who helps safely guide souls to the other side.
Two: She’s the reason that Rainey’s soul can’t cross over—Rainey followed her back from death and missed her window to be at peace.
Three: Eli is hot. As in swoon-worthy, to-die-for, will-make-you-forget-yourself hot. And it turns out, Eli is a Beckoner, too.
Despite her attraction to Eli, the decision to become a Beckoner isn’t an easy one—it would mean giving up her own mortality … her own soul. But if she doesn’t, her best friend will be left to suffer an eternity at the hands of the evil Ceptors, dark creatures that feed on the souls left behind. After all, it’s her fault Rainey is haunting her.
Time is running out, and Karina needs to decide: Are love and loyalty worth sacrificing her soul?
BECKON ME is a new adult paranormal romance suitable for upper YA and NA audiences ages 16 and up.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I loved writing the scene at the club. It reveals a lot to the readers without telling too much, and the chemistry between Eli and Karina was really fun for me. But I think I’d have to say the closing scene was my favorite one to write. Karina suffers a lot over the course of this book and to be able to finally give her some peace felt really incredible.
What project are you working on now? I’m working on the sequel to BECKON ME (titled RELEASE ME) and also a YA contemporary that I’m crazy about.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? No matter how hard it gets, don’t stop believing in yourself or your dreams. Never give up.
Do you have a day job as well? Yes. I’m a senior publicist and the manager of marketing at Spencer Hill Press.
How did you choose the genre you write in? I write the genres I love to read.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? All the time.
Will you have a new book coming out soon? I hope so! 🙂
Pick up BECKON ME:
My Review of BECKON ME:
I LOVED this book. It’s beautifully written and has all the feels. Karina’s a sweet yet spunky heroine I rooted for from page one. I laughed out loud at her wit (especially when she puts Eli in his place) and cried with her when she worried about Rainey. It takes an excellent writer to make me care about a character I only meet for a few pages, but Cindy does this effortlessly with Rainey. I was weeping in the final pages (spoiler) when Karina helps her cross over. I felt so sad for Karina, yet happy for Rainey, all at the same time.
And Eli! He starts off with his sexy, playboy exterior, but inside, he’s 100% a kind-hearted, loving guy. I’m so glad he met his match in Karina.
I really enjoyed the complexity of the Beckoner role. Such a creative idea. And Cindy weaves in the back story in a seamless way that gives you the information you need without overloading scenes.
So, when’s book 2 coming out? grabby hands
Review for GRUDGING, by Michelle Hauck
I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review of GRUDGING, by Michelle Hauck. Let me just say, I’m so unbelievably psyched I got to read this so soon!
Wow. Where to begin?
Well, as you might have guessed, I enjoyed the first book in the Book of Saints Trilogy. I can’t wait for the next in the series, FAITHFUL, which will be released in 2016.
Fantasy is a tricky genre to get right. Too much world building, and your readers get lost. Not enough, and they’re even more lost! Michelle does it just right in GRUDGING.
The story takes place in a fantasy world that centers around ciudades-estados, each its own fortress against the hordes of the North who have come to ruthlessly invade.
Ramiro, the seventeen-year-old protagonist, is a friendly youth on the cusp of manhood. He longs to earn his right to grow a beard, not realizing at first how costly earning that beard may be to the life he loves. In a quest to save his home city, Colina Hermosa, he, his older brother, and a few faithful friends, set out on a dangerous mission to cross the southern swamps and bring back a witch, a Woman of the Song. Only she can save his city from the northern invaders.
Claire has been raised in the southern swamps to avoid men and be cautious of using her song, magic passed from a woman to her daughter for multiple generations. When she’s called to serve as a Woman of the Song, she needs to find the strength buried deep within herself to embrace her legacy of magic, before the Northern army overruns Ramiro’s city.
Two worlds collide and sparks fly between Claire and Ramiro (sorry for the cliché, but it works). I thoroughly enjoyed their witty exchanges, the depth of their conflict, as well as the budding romance.
Michelle’s writing is beautiful and thought-provoking. Her characters are multi-dimensional and fully developed, and her settings burst to life with vibrant color.
Readers seeking a book about sacrifice and honor, and the cost of using magic to achieve the good of many, as well as fans of Robin Hobb and Patrick Rothfuss, will thoroughly enjoy Michelle Hauck’s debut novel, GRUDGING.
Pub. Date: November 17, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.
The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.
On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.
The Women of the Song.
But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.
A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.
Burying the dead is easy. Keeping them down is difficult.
At the Bureau of Special Investigations, agents encounter all sorts of paranormal evils. So for Agent Brynner Carson, driving a stake through a rampaging three-week-old corpse is par for the course. Except this cadaver is different. It’s talking—and it has a message about his father, Heinrich.
The reanimated stiff delivers an ultimatum written in bloody hieroglyphics, and BSI Senior Analyst Grace Roberts is called in to translate. It seems that Heinrich Carson stole the heart of Ra-Ame, the long-dead god of the Re-Animus. She wants it back. The only problem is Heinrich took the secret of its location to his grave.
With the arrival of Ra-Ame looming and her undead army wreaking havoc, Brynner and Grace must race to find the key to stopping her. It’s a race they can’t afford to lose, but then again, it’s just another day on the job . . .
A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC Nelson lives with a family and a flock of chickens near rainy Seattle.
Find JC Nelson here:
Face book: www.facebook.com/authorjcnelson
The Reburialists on GoodReads:
Buy The Reburialists Now:
MY FAVORITE MISTAKE, by Kelly Siskind
So, I love Kelly’s books. And I can’t WAIT to read this one. Without further ado, MY FAVORITE MISTAKE:
What happens in Aspen is definitely not staying in Aspen . . . A girls’ trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She’s got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass . . . and war is declared. Kolton doesn’t know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool—although she does have an unholy gift for that—but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they’re both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real . . . if they don’t kill each other first.
Add MY PERFECT MISTAKE to Goodreads here (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25798815-my-perfect-mistake)!
Preorder MY PERFECT MISTAKE:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-perfect-mistake-kelly-siskind/1123347506?ean=9781455565429
A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.
She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—Gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.
She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group.
2015 Golden Heart® Finalist
And, the cover (scroll below for an excerpt):
Excerpt (so, yeah, pre-order NOW):
He tosses me my anti-sexy helmet. “We should take another run before we head down.”
I catch it and shake my head, unsure I heard him right. “Sorry, we? Shouldn’t you be skiing with your buddies? It’s bad enough you hijacked my lunch and I have to sit at a table with you again tonight. Now you want to ski together? Thanks but no thanks.”
He lifts his arms over his head and stretches from side to side. A sliver of skin peeks out below his jacket. “The guys called it quits early. Worried you can’t keep up?”
As fucking if. The dude’s obviously egging me on, but he snaps my self-control. Everything between us is action, reaction. Spark and flame. What’s his deal, anyway? Why sit with me and ski with me when we’re worse than cats and dogs? If he thinks firing me up means he’s getting a replay of last night, he’s mistaken. Still, I need to beat his ass on the slopes. “Fine. I’ll take that run. It’s about time I put you in your place. But let’s be clear. We can have lunch and ski together, but there will be no sex.” A teen walking by stops midstride and doubles over in a fit of giggles.
“I didn’t catch that.” Kolton leans forward and cups a hand around his helmeted ear. “Do you mind speaking up?”
What a total douche.
“Everyone is wise until he speaks,” I mumble, recalling my granddad’s words.
Kolton straightens, a question passing across his face. “Are you Irish? My granddad used to say that all the time. Along with, ‘Shut your mouth and eat your dinner.’”
I laugh, abrupt and maniacal, the sharp sound catching me off guard. The energy shifts between us, like the first time I understood my Spanish teacher—the foreign becoming familiar. I frown, unsure I want Kolton to feel familiar. “Yeah, I am. The first curse I learned was feckin’ arse, and I’d kind of like to use it now.”
He smiles to himself, as though we’re friends who would sit and talk and laugh about our shared upbringing. Ruffled, I cram my helmet on, get geared up, and try to stomp out of the lodge all look out, buddy, but with the boots and Martian head, it’s a fail.
Skis on and goggles down, we race to the lift. He arrives first, making like he’s been waiting forever with a dramatic yawn. I roll my eyes and push past him. The lift line is empty, so it’s just him and me on the four-person chair.
“Mind not doing that?” he says partway up as I swing my skis.
The chair sways in response, and I rock my legs harder. “This?”
His olive skin grays. “Yeah. That.” He leans his elbows on the safety bar and closes his eyes.
If he pukes, I’ll likely toss my cookies, too. When my brother got food poisoning from China House’s all-you-can-eat buffet, it wasn’t pretty. I hadn’t eaten a thing there, but the second he threw up, I proceeded to reenact that pie eating scene from Stand by Me: projectile vomit, solid stream, fire hydrant force.
I still my skis and stop bouncing.
We pass one supporting tower, then another, before he opens his eyes.
“You regretting that lunch?” I ask, smirking.
He flexes his hands, and the poles dangling from his wrists knock around. “No. I’m regretting getting on this chair with you.”
Such a charmer.
INTERVIEW with Michelle Hauck
I’m honored to be featuring Michelle Hauck on my website today. As many of you know, she’s the author of the BIRTH OF SAINTS Series. Her first book, GRUDGING, was published 12/15, and FAITHFUL will come out on November 15, 2016. I can’t wait to read the next installment in this fantastic series.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a mother of two college students, and I work with special needs kids in an elementary school. Passionate Chicago Cubs fan for decades. Addicted reader. I also host many online contests dedicated to matching writers with literary agents. I love to chat on social media. Come say hi on twitter. You can find me at @Michelle4Laughs.
What inspired you to write the BIRTH OF SAINTS Series?
My usual answer is to say all the ideas came from the lyrics of one song. But even before I heard the song, I had a general idea that I wanted to write something that wasn’t set in an English or American-based world. Those are the traditional settings for epic fantasy, but I wanted to stretch myself. Somehow the word “sand” from that song led to a desert setting, plus the fact that I had taken a recent vacation in Tucson, Arizona. All their amazing scenery inspired me and the book became a Spanish-inspired world under siege.
Once I had the world, I had to give it life. I think the grandest epic fantasy go beyond merely creating characters to the culture behind them that makes them tick. Like a lot of my writing, the big picture in Birth of Saints focuses on a clash of cultures and how the different political and religious beliefs come into conflict. I make sure to weave in not only the conflict, but the complexities that cause the characters to respond as they do. That is the fun part of making up worlds!
I know you’ve finished book 2, FAITHFUL. How are plans for book 3 coming along? Any hints you can share with your readers about book 2 or 3?
I think I can safely say that Faithful has the same kind of fast-paced ending as Grudging. There are new tests and new twists, along with new characters. You’ll get to see a little more about the Women of the Song in Faithful and even more in the untitled third book, including Claire’s grandmother. I’m also working on scenes that show the background of how the Northerners came to leave their homeland from the point of view of Santabe as she becomes a major player. You’ll have to read it to find out more.
Once this series is finished, what are your plans for future books, or have you thought that far ahead?
Thanks for asking. I’d started a rewrite of my first ever manuscript—the one that had no conflict, was full of head jumping, and told instead of showed—over a year ago. I worked on it again last summer and got all the way to the big finale when I had to work on book 3 for Birth of Saints. I plan to finish that rewrite first thing. I also have another manuscript with my agent at the moment and hopefully that will go out to editors in the next few months. Then there are several ideas knocking around in my head. It will be exciting to write about a whole new world during the summer of 2017.
Thank you, Michelle. I wish you all the best with FAITHFUL’s release.
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.
She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.
Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.
Here’s the cover for FAITHFUL:
Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series!
A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.
Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?
On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.
What they find instead is an old woman.
But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.
A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.
ADVICE From the Query Trenches
I recently offered to critique some queries/first 250 pages for fellow authors planning to enter an online writing contest (they were all excellent, by the way). As I go back and forth with a few of them after, it occurs to me I’ve learned something during the past two years of querying. I thought I’d share some tips I’ve picked up over time, as well as sites writers can go to for information about what works and what doesn’t in queryland.
Reading is free. You only get one chance to query each agent. The last thing you want to do is query your dream agent with something you’re not 100% confident about.
Be aware that most agents reject with the standard/form rejection (and be careful not to read too much into them; they’re form). It’s rare today to get more than a form R for a query and no response means no is becoming the norm. I’d say that for about 1/2 my full/partial requests, I got a form R, which is rough, because it’s hard to improve if you don’t know what works and what doesn’t.
Not that I blame agents. They’re super busy and receive hundreds of queries a week (some get hundreds per day). They don’t have time to write thoughtful rejections unless they truly feel they want to reach out to the author. Others have been burned with nasty replies to their feedback (who would do that?!).
Form Rs are becoming the norm, which means you might not be able to rely on agent feedback to tweak your query.
Query tracker – writers don’t post queries here, but you can track the agents you query and get data on how many they request, how fast they respond, and other inside tips on what their standard rejections look like from writers in the trenches with you so you’re not lulled into reading more into your rejection than you should. http://www.querytracker.net/
QueryShark (Janet Reid Lit Agent is considered the guru of queries): http://queryshark.blogspot.com/
Absolute Write Forum. You have to join to view the queries in Share Your Work, but the site has tons of other resources. I visit almost daily. You need 50 posts before you can post your query for critique in Query Letter Hell, but it takes a brave heart to take on QLH, as you’ll see if you read. I recommend reading the queries and the critiques to learn. Critique as many as you can before you post (>100). The best way to perfect your query is to critique others. They also have a thread called Successful Queries (in the QLH thread). There are hundreds posted and it’s interesting to read the queries that landed agents. Some are a standard query format while others are exceedingly creative.
Michelle Hauck. Last year she posted queries for critique, and you can find them on her blog. She hosted a query blog hop this past fall. You can follow the links and read other queries for ideas of what works for readers and what doesn’t.
GUARDIAN OF SECRETS, by Brenda Drake
I’m psyched to share Brenda’s Release Day Launch for Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2).
ABOUT GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (LIBRARY JUMPERS #2):
Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.
And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.
Maybe. If she survives.
She did a U-turn and drove off. I sprinted to the area where I spotted the lightning. A shadowed figure sat on a white bench near the water. Another flash of light kissed the sky and illuminated Nick.
Since discovering he was a wizard, Nick struggled with his new magic. And he was careless. Anyone could spot him out here. How would he explain it to someone who was human and not from the Mystik realm? I couldn’t imagine how it felt to have that much power. Unlike him, I was a Sentinel. I had little magic and relied on my battle training to best wizards and other-world creatures. He only needed to shock or electrocute his adversaries.
“What exactly are you doing?” I asked, approaching.
He almost fell off the bench. “Shit, Gia. Don’t sneak up on a person like that.”
“Seriously, Nick? What are you doing? Someone might see you, and then we’d be discovered.”
“Just leave me alone.”
“I’m not going to just leave you alone.” I sat down on the bench beside him. A light breeze swept loose strands of my hair across my face. The briny smell of the ocean filled my nose. “Talk to me. You’re my best friend, Nick. I’m here for you.”
He formed an electric charge on his palm. I created my pink globe and tossed it on his hand, snuffing out the charge.
He made another electric ball and I cast another globe at it.
“Quit doing that.”
“You stop it.”
“I get it. Your globe is badass. It can counter magic and shield people, but it makes you weak. I can do this all night and wear you out.”
“You’re not nice.”
He buried his face in his hands. The knuckles on his right one were torn, with blood coagulating around the wounds. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I can’t stop myself. I know I’m being mean to Deidre, to my parents…to everyone.”
“You haven’t been that mean to me, yet. That has to say something. I’m the most annoying one of the bunch.”
He snorted. “Did you just snort?”
“No.” He looked startled. “It was a sneeze.”
“I think you snorted.”
His face brightened. “I know what you’re trying to do. And it’s working.”
“I’m not trying to do anything. That was a full-on snort.” I wrapped my arm over his back and watched the water lap against the retaining wall in front of us. “I know you can’t see a therapist for this, ’cause what would you say? That you just found out you’re the son of the most evil wizard of the Mystik world and the curers recently released your magic?”
He gave me a half smile. “Yeah, that might not go over too well.”
“Or maybe you could. They’d think you were delusional, and you’d score some drugs.”
“Drugs make me nauseous.”
He stared at his hands, and I stared at the water, searching for the right words to say. “This has to be tough for you. I get it. I’ve been there. It’ll take time to adjust. How about I be your counselor? Anytime you feel anxious or angry, you call me and we’ll punch some bags or whatever. It always helps me to relax. Plus, my services are cheap.”
“Violence would make you relax.” He was pleased with his retort and laughed, which was followed by another snort.
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1):
Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2):
ABOUT BRENDA DRAKE:
Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2). She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). Look for her upcoming novels, Thunderstruck, Seeking Fate (Fated Series #3), and Assassin of Truths (Library Jumpers #3) coming soon from Entangled Teen.
AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, by Laura Heffernan
I’m thrilled to share my critique partner’s release of her debut novel, AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR. Let me tell you, this book is so much fun!
Here it is!
Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.
Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer .
Add to your TBR list: Goodreads
He touched my chin with two fingers, bringing my gaze up to meet his. Damn those green eyes. I searched them for answers, wishing I knew whether he was putting on an act for the audience. Even with the lights off, the cameras stationed in the yard would capture us. The producers filmed everything, day and night. Everyone in America would know if we kissed. For a moment, I struggled to remember why that was bad.
“I guess it’s not your fault, since I got the question right,” I said begrudgingly, shifting slightly backward.
“If that is the best I can get, I’ll take it. But I’m going to work on complete forgiveness. I’ll pay you double interest on our bet—six cents.”
“Well, then,” I laughed. “Maybe I’ll have to reconsider once I get my money. I’d hate to have to send Birdie to break your kneecaps.”
The image of five-foot-tall Birdie coming after Justin with a baseball bat cracked him up. I laughed, too, crossing my legs and settling more comfortably in the lounger. My knee practically touched Justin’s leg. He didn’t move.
We sat quietly for a few minutes. I wondered if he heard my heart pounding. Even not wanting to get caught kissing on national television with a near-stranger, I found something about Justin irresistible. Possibly his smile. Or his dimples. His brains. The ease of talking to him. His personality. The fact that he was practically perfect for me in every way.
That line of thinking wasn’t helping. I needed to change the subject before I started calling him Mary Poppins.
“It’s a beautiful night.” I gestured at the sky.
“Yes, it is,” Justin said, his eyes never leaving my face. Did he lean forward slightly? Only inches separated our lips.
The warmth definitely wasn’t the beer. I licked my lips nervously and leaned in, closing the gap. If he moved the tiniest bit…
Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.
WOUNDED LOVE, by Marianne Rice
I’m psyched to be a part of Marianne’s Release Day Blitz for WOUNDED LOVE!
WOUNDED LOVE by Marianne Rice
A Rocky Harbor Novel #3
Ten years ago, Ellie Fairfield left Rocky Harbor brokenhearted and pregnant…
Trying to take care of her son the best she can, the single mother returns to the town close to her heart to run a local inn. Ellie knows it will be tough moving back to Rocky Harbor, and that old memories will haunt her. But the last thing she expects to find on her doorstep is the man who abandoned her when she needed him the most.
Angry at the war, the world, and himself, Colton Riley’s homecoming isn’t a pleasant one…
Being medically discharged from the Marines is one of many disappointments Colton has suffered over the years. A decade ago, he lost a chunk of his heart when the love of his life betrayed him. A year ago he lost his leg. Now, half the man he once was, Colton tries to put back the pieces of his life by accepting a construction project at the local inn, but he didn’t count on finding Ellie standing on the front porch.
The more time they spend together, the more they realize the love they shared years ago hasn’t died…
Even though Ellie is still hurt and angry, she knows her heart belongs to Colton. It’s not easy letting go of the past, especially with the secret she’s hiding from everyone. But when an illness puts her little boy’s life in danger, she has no choice but to tell Colton the truth—a truth that threatens to destroy their love once and for all.
With a past spun together in a web of lies, will Colton and Ellie be able to mend their wounded love?
MEET THE AUTHOR: Marianne Rice writes contemporary romances set in small New England towns. Her heroes are big and strong, yet value family and humor, while her heroines are smart, sexy, sometimes a little bit sassy, and are often battling a strong internal conflict. Together, they deal with real life issues and always, always, find everlasting love. When she’s not writing, Marianne spends her time buying shoes, eating chocolate, chauffeuring her herd of children to their varying sporting events, and when there’s time, cuddling with her husband, a drink in one hand, a romance book in the other.
THE LEGACY OF PARKERS POINT, by Deslora Lowe
Inheriting his grandfather’s estate on the rocky point in Serenity Harbor, Maine is the perfect escape from the biggest professional disaster of Grayson Mann’s life. Will distance and space help Gray heal old family and professional wounds enough to open his heart to love?
Lauralee Adler struggles to save the family art gallery as she watches her aunt succumb to Alzheimer’s. Returning to the small coastal town is payment for the kindness that saved her life and soul. Now she’s on a quest to find her father. Will this trip home help her learn to trust and finally convince her she can truly belong for the first time in her life?
From Cabins to Cottages…Keep the Home Fires Burning
A transplanted big city gal, world-wide traveler, and foreign-service brat, who now lives in a coastal Maine town, Delsora Lowe loves to write about small town heroes from the cowboys and ranchers of Colorado to the game wardens and lobstermen of Maine. Her work in the hospitality industry, rape crisis, admissions, alumni relations, and women’s advocacy has allowed her to interact on a daily basis with real life heroines and heroes. Lowe’s family visits to Colorado are the inspiration for an upcoming contemporary western series in 2017. And her daughter’s wedding and her son’s home on the coast of Maine provided plentiful ideas for the Starlight Grille series.
I really enjoyed this sweet romance that takes place in a fictitious town in Maine. After a professional disgrace, Grayson Mann inherited an estate in Serenity Harbor. He leaves his former life behind and, seeking redemption, opens a bar and gets involved in the tight-knit community. Lauralee’s family has lived in Serenity Harbor for generations, but she grew up elsewhere, in foster care. She moves home to help her aunt, who now has Alzheimer’s, run an art gallery. And to see if she can discover her father’s identity. Both wounded, they meet and fall in love. But they’ll need to learn to trust each other and themselves before they’ll find their happily ever after.
I appreciated how well-developed and fleshed out Delsora’s characters are, despite this being a shorter story (137 pages). By the midpoint, I felt as if I knew both Lauralee and Gray, that they were friends. Deslora’s writing is excellent and the editing is professionally done.
Lauralee & Grayson grab hold of you from page one. I alternated between smiling over their cute interactions, to swooning over the steamier scenes (closed bedroom door). This fun and heart-felt romance can be read in one weekend. It’s perfect for curling up on the sofa in front of the fire on a cool fall night.
SWEET REALITY is here!
Check out this cover:
SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ
Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.
That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .
Amazon ~ http://amzn.to/2sQJ1Y1
Barnes & Noble ~ http://bit.ly/2rAEQex
iBooks ~ http://apple.co/2sNdViS
Kobo ~ http://bit.ly/2so095R
Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.
Connect with Laura
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Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2sJNQz8
BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2umbMwF
CONDUIT, C.C. Dowling
I’ve been friends with C.C. for a long time, so I’m thrilled to share her upcoming release, CONDUIT, which comes out Oct. 31. Check out this gorgeous cover:
When college senior Jane Lamb dies suddenly, she discovers that the afterlife is less pearly gates and fluffy clouds and more standing in line at the DMV. But before she can spend eternity lamenting over her short, unremarkable life, she’s offered a do-over—as a Conduit, a reincarnated messenger contracted to reap souls.
Determined to do things right the second time, Jane takes the job and reincarnates as eighteen-year-old college freshman Liv Hartley. Only, the excitement for her new life doesn’t last. There are consequences to bearing the coveted infinity symbol tattoo marking her as a Conduit, and Liv quickly finds that getting a second chance doesn’t mean getting a better one. Possessive demons, stolen assignments, and a love life that’s decidedly complicated are all a far cry from the mundane existence Jane led. But with more questions piling up than bodies, there’s only one thing Liv knows for sure: life doesn’t get any easier after death.
Filled with sparkling wit, conflicted romance, and more spirit than a haunted mansion, Conduit is a fun-filled paranormal that explores the idea of regret, love, and what we would give to live twice.
Conduit is set to be released on Tuesday, October 31st. Halloween! Make sure to preorder your copy for only $0.99 [http://www.reuts.com/product/conduit-c-c-dowling/] and please add to your Goodreads TBR!
C.C. Dowling is an author who writes everything from gritty urban fantasy, to paranormal sci-fi, to steamy contemporary erotic romance (under a pen name of course!).
C.C. shares her love of writing with her love of singing, music, and science. She spent the first half of her college life performing, and the second half in a lab.
C.C. currently lives in America’s finest city, with her husband (the financial shaman), her two children (who love to play in the yard with the faeries), and her very real pet dragon (who guards the perimeter of her house at night).
When she’s not working or writing (which is still technically working), C.C. can be found playing a round of disc golf, or desperately trying to figure out which pair of sandals are the most appropriate for the harsh Southern California winters.
You can find C.C. on Twitter @CCDowling, at her website [www.ccdowingauthor.com], and on her official author Facebook group, Misfits & Mayhem [www.facebook.com/groups/DowlingMisfits/]. She’d love for all the misfits to join the mayhem. Also, get the latest release news by signing up for her newsletter [http://www.subscribepage.com/CCDowlingNewsletter].
THE RIGHT KIND OF RECKLESS, by Heather van Fleet
I’m so excited to share the release of my friend’s new book, THE RIGHT KIND OF RECKLESS! Congratulations!
This cover! I love it.
I’m in love with a woman I can’t have, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling.
The problem? Her brother’s my best friend.
I shouldn’t want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I’ve never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.
But one look into her eyes and I’m a mess for her. She’s my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2hxGg6E
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ipsemY
Heather Van Fleet is a stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee.
Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 and currently writes YA, NA, and Adult contemporary romance. She is published through Sourcebooks Casablanca with her Reckless Hearts series. Along with being an author, Heather also serves as a foreign rights assistant agent through Inklings Literary. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary.
EDGE OF CHAOS, by Molly E. Lee
I’m so happy to share Molly’s release day! I had the privilege of reading an ARC of EDGE OF CHAOS, and it’s a 5-star read. My review is posted below.
About EDGE OF CHAOS:
Blake Caster has been in an emotionally abusive relationship with Justin for so long, she can’t tell what is normal anymore, and so she clings to the one thing that is solidly hers—her passion for extreme weather.
Three years into her Meteorology degree, Blake meets professional storm chaser, Dash Lexington, who is as gorgeous as he is daring. Instantly recognizing her passion and skills in analyzing weather data, he makes a spot for her on his tight-knit storm chasing team. Dash and Blake form a fast friendship and it forces her to realize just how toxic her relationship with Justin is. She can’t deny the lightning-worthy chemistry she has with Dash or how her heart stalls every time he gets too close to a tornado.
With each chase and the cherished moments with Dash, Blake discovers her own self-worth and gains the strength to end things with Justin for good. But he won’t go easily. As Blake tries to sever ties with one man, she fears she’ll lose the other to his dangerous obsession—and she doesn’t know if she’ll be enough to save him from the impending storm that could end them all.
Get your copy here:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1RF4yq9
What an excellent read! I loved how the author wove weather science into this love story.
I had all the feels reading this book. Blake is such a wonderful main character. And her arc is SO well developed, not rushed at all. The author took Blake where she needed to be at just the right pace, allowing her to fully heal and move on.
And Dash. Sigh. I loved how kind and patient he was with Blake, giving her the time she needs, yet loving her all the while.
I can’t wait to see what this author writes next.
A 1-click buy for me.
SHATTERED, by Sharon Johnston
I’m one of the lucky few who got to read this book in advance. WOW. This is SO GOOD! Anyway. I’m honored to part of Sharon’s cover reveal. Check it out!
Shattered: An Open Heart Novel Book 2
Mishca needs to save her sisters, but only Ryder can save her.
The truth about Mishca’s past shattered her heart. She deals with the pain by focusing on a new mission: saving her newfound family from their creator. With her sisters scheduled for termination, Mishca and her friends set out on a journey up the North Queensland Coast to save them before someone else dies.
Ryder understands the need driving Mischa. It’s in her DNA. But he’s not giving up on the chance they can still be together. She’s the only one to have seen him levitate. The only one to watch the sparks dance across his skin. The only one he trusts enough to know what is in his heart. And now, he might be the only one who can stop Mishca from losing her humanity.
Driven apart by secrets, will they come together in time?
My hands grip the steering wheel so tight my knuckles resemble mini snow capped mountains. I could drive under the truck 200 metres ahead in the opposite lane and end it all. It would be so easy. Accelerate; yank the wheel, and then nothingness. The scenario plays through my mind so vividly I actually wince.
Suck it up, soldier. This pity party is over.
I shake my head as though that will make the intrusive thoughts dissipate. The best thing might be to think of nothing at all. Thinking about the fact people want to kill my sisters, thinking about how I stuffed everything with Ryder, thinking about Isobel and how I’m her incarnate, thinking about Colin… Ah crap, now I’m thinking about Colin.
I want to travel back in time and bitch-slap past-me for believing that Imogene’s love for Colin was my own. Part of me is furious with my original for passing on her insanely passionate feelings for my former university professor. The other part of me is furious with Colin for not realising that I was his soul mate’s duplicate. Being a clone sucks ass.
Release: September/October 2016
Like the sound of SHATTERED, but haven’t read An Open Heart Novel Book 1:DIVIDED yet? City Owl Press has lots of purchase options on their website.
Giveaway: Sharon is giving away three handmade bookmarks that all feature purple to match the cover and a heart for the book series. See the Rafflecopter for details on how to enter.
About the Author
Sharon is an author and public relations professional from Mackay in Australia. She writes across Young Adult, New Adult and Adult categories in a variety of genres. Her novel Divided is published with City Owl Press.
Sharon is also a regular mentor for the pitch contest Pitch Wars. When she’s not writing or working in PR, Sharon is gaming with her hottie hubby and kids, binging on Netflix, or playing with her fur babies.
THE DARKEST LIE
is out in the world, and I’m proud to share Pintip’s release
ABOUT THE DARKEST LIE
“The mother I knew would never do those things.
But maybe I never knew her after all.”
Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.
As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…
ABOUT PINTIP DUNN:
Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”
Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, is a finalist in the Best First Book category of RWA’s RITA® contest. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.