Friday, March 27, 2015

Moving Violation Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Moving Violation
Author: Melanie Jackson
Series: Chloe Boston #1
Pages: 180
Date Published: August 4th 2010
Publisher: N/A
Format: Kindle
Genre: Mystery
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Hope Fall's greatest detective is stuck in parking enforcement because at 98 pounds, 5 foot nothing, she will never be able to pass the department's physical exam. But with the aid of her dog, and her writer's group, Chloe may just be able to solve Hope Fall's first homicide and impress the new chief of police.
~Try an Excerpt!~
Walking through the busy offices I came to an awkward halt when I stepped into a back room and came face to face of Officer Bill. Had his head always been this large?
The Officer Bill outfit consists of two parts. The most obvious is a large, bulbous, smiling head wearing a policeman’s hat. The other part is a felt uniform that you step into and have Velcro’ed across your back.  This part of the uniform included bulging felt shoes that belonged on a clown. I thought the whole outfit looked rather scruffy and gave Officer Bill a seedy appearance. It had obviously never been cleaned.
“Let’s go, Boston.  It’s time to climb into the suit, chickie,” Gordon said with a sneer. Mrs. Smith was right; he was a sexist as well as a bully.
“Forget the suit,” I countered firmly. “I’m already wearing a real uniform.  Let’s just get this head thing on.” Gordon didn’t argue with me. He seemed happy, even eager, to assist in my embarrassment any way he could.
Slipping the head on over my ears, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t that difficult to see out of the grill front and that the head was not so heavy that I couldn’t hold it up without staggering. In fact, the papier-mâché cranium stayed in place with only periodic need for hand adjustments when I actually walked.
Although I could hear Gordon laughing at me, I was beginning to feel good about the assignment. After all, what could be more important than giving young, formative minds a positive view of law enforcement?  I was actually eager to see the reaction of the kids to this goofy outfit.
“Let’s go, Boston. The door’s this way.”
My peripheral vision was nonexistent so I allowed Gordon to guide me to the door, which may have been my first mistake. When we were positioned to leave, the principle slipped through the door ahead of me to hold it open. I was somewhat shocked to see what must have been close to one hundred children standing politely on the playground outside, eagerly awaiting my arrival.
Fully prepared to do the deed, I walked toward the door, propelled by an unnecessary shove from Gordon that made me stumble. Then I stopped cold. I don’t mean I stopped walking, I mean that something stopped me and abruptly enough that my feet almost slid out from under me.  It didn’t take long to recognize the fact that Officer Bill’s head was stuck in the door.
“Turn it sideways, Boston,” Gordon demanded.
“Too late,” I explained in a low voice. “I’m stuck. Better pull me back.”
And sure enough, I was stuck. My head was jammed snuggly between the door frames which prevented me from going forward, backward, or even turning my head. Before I could come up with another idea as to what to do I felt Gordon beating on the back of my head in an unhelpful manner. The loud concussions were giving me a headache.
“Gordon, what are you doing? That hurts!”
“Trying to get your fat head through the door.”
That’s when I heard it. The sound of the youngest children standing in the front beginning to cry.
“He’s trying to kill Officer Bill,” one of the children exclaimed.
“Officer Bill is having a fit,” an older kid called to amused laughter. “Call 911.”
“No kids— Officer Bill is fine!” I shouted, in a very un-Bill like voice, but the crying continued and actually began to spread, the kindergarten equivalent of mass hysteria.
I could only imagine what it must have looked like.  Officer Bill jerking left and right with his head stuck in the door while Officer Gordon attacked him from behind. Gripping the frame and pulling as hard as I could I tried to put and end to the horrid scene.  And I succeeded, in a way.
With little warning my head became unwedged and I flew forward onto the playground almost on top of the children. Hands out, I tried not to fall but couldn’t help myself. I hit the pavement with a resounding “umph”. Officer Bill’s right ear was laying on the ground beside me and I feared for his nose. I reached for the strap holding me in and dislodged the left ear. That’s when the children started to run and screech.
“He killed Officer Bill,” a little girl in yellow dress screamed. I hoped she was pointing at Gordon.
I tried to get up but found that the head was too heavy when I was prone. Never mind making an officer lift a sandbag, how about trying to get up while wearing an Officer Bill head?
I reached again for the velcro fastener but couldn’t find it. The best I could do was crawl across the pavement toward a bench, pushing my massive head before me.  The head made a loud grating noise as it scraped across the asphalt. An eye screen popped out, leaving a hole. I scooped up the eye and put it in my pocket. Of course, the children regarded this as an additional act of aggression. Zombie Bill was rising from the dead and collecting body parts. There was more screaming.
Finally I dragged myself upright, found the strap and managed to pop my head out of the Officer Bill costume. I put the damaged Bill head on the bench.
Looking around the playground I saw that almost all of the children were gone. They were running behind buildings and for the bushes at the far end of the playground looking for places to hide.
School. I had always hated being there.
~Meet Melanie!~  
Melanie has been writing her entire life. In fact, one of her earliest fond memories is receiving an IBM Selectric typewriter for her birthday. After publishing romance novels (Scottish historical and paranormal) for New York based publisher Dorchester Publishing from 1999 to 2010, Melanie chose to begin self-publishing cozy mysteries. Since then she has released the Chloe Boston, Butterscotch Jones, Miss Henry, Wendover House, Kenneth Mayhew and Jane Blackthorn Mystery series.

Melanie Jackson is the award-winning author of more than one hundred novels and novellas published in various languages. She lives with her writer husband and her bossy cat in the Sonoma wine country. Besides gardening, she is involved with animal charities.


Get “Moving Violation”, the first book in Melanie’s Chloe Boston Cozy Mystery Series, absolutely free by visiting your favorite online bookstore or by selecting from these links:

Amazon (Kindle)   http://www.amazon.com/Moving-Violation-Chloe-Boston-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B003YH9JKI

Smashwords (All Formats)   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/20686
. 
This book is on sale for only $0.99, as are the first books of Melanie's most popular other series:

Moving Violation (Chloe Boston Cozy Mysteries 1) http://www.amazon.com/Moving-Violation-Chloe-Boston-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B003YH9JKI

Due North (Butterscotch Jones Cozy Mysteries 1) http://www.amazon.com/North-Butterscotch-Jones-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B004VMOANQ

Portrait of a Gossip (Miss Henry Cozy Mysteries 1) http://www.amazon.com/Portrait-Gossip-Miss-Henry-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B007X6IL5A

The Secret Staircase (Wendover House Gothic Mysteries 1) http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Staircase-Wendover-House-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B005V0K81A
Melanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

Review: The Wolf's Torment (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: The Wolf's Torment
Author: Stephanie Burkhart
Series: Moldavian Moon #1
Pages: N/A
Date Published: April 30th, 2011
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Format: eBook
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Mystery
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tour 

Synopsis:
It's 1865 in Moldavia, a country nestled against the shores of the Black Sea, and Crown Prince Mihai Sigmaringen returns after receiving an education in England. His best friend, Viktor Bacau joins him. Mihai is intent on modernizing his nation, but he's also a witch, and it's time he embraces his heritage. The tasks in front of him are many including getting married. Lady Theresa von Kracken arrives in Constanta as Mihai's intended. Mihai has vowed not to fall in love again, but Theresa manages to break the battlements around his heart. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Viktor is bitten by a werewolf. Viktor's transformation threatens everyone around him including his wife's safety and Mihai's happiness with Theresa. Viktor's bite is the wolf's torment.

~My Thoughts~
First off, I thought the cover was intriguing. A mysterious castle, the shadowy specter of a guy-who could potentially be hawt underneath that cloak thing- and all the intrigue you expect from a serial Victorian novel. *Shivers in excitement!* 

Written in a third person, The Wolf's Torment really brought to mind the classic gothic novel simply by adapting to the grim style and feel of reading over someone's shoulders as they pour out their heart and soul. There was an interesting dynamic at play here as well. Mihai and Theresa's romance is a center player, but not really the whole point of the piece. Mihai has a best friend who suffers a werewolf bite, Viktor. The romance and the paranormal are very much separate even though Mihai was a witch. Overall it was a really creative way to interact the different magical types in a way I haven't seen before. 

The dialogue felt a bit clunky to me, so I had a bit of a hard time relating to the characters when I felt that they weren't saying what I wanted to hear, or what they did say rang oddly to my ears. I did enjoy the thoughts of each character more than their interactive dialogue though, so that's something :) 

The pacing of this book is very fast. Blink and you might miss an injury here, a kiss there, even a death. It was a bit disconcerting at times, because I kept wondering if I missed something, but then would look back and find that I hadn't, the plot had just advanced at such an exhilarating pace that my mind hadn't quite kept up! 

Try an Excerpt!~
Mihai led Theresa out to the dance floor. They performed a waltz and he discovered
Theresa had a natural grace, following his lead impeccably.

He flashed her a smile. Theresa was a perfect fit in his arms, and the suddenness of that
realization drove two conflicting emotions through him -- awkwardness because he wasn't expecting to enjoy her company and delight because he did. His father had chosen his bride well.

An aggressive tap on the shoulder stopped him mid-waltz.

"Shouldn't you introduce me?" asked Viktor.

Mihai fought against a frown. He would have liked to have had the dance with Theresa
alone. Instead, he thought to mind his manners for now.

"Theresa, this is my best friend, Viktor Bacau."

She politely nodded.

"Do you mind finishing the dance with me?" asked Viktor. Theresa looked at Mihai. Reluctantly, he gave her a slight nod. "I'd be honored to," she said.

Mihai left her side and walked off the dance floor. Sonia was there as well, her gaze fixed on Viktor. Was she experiencing the same thing he was? Reluctance? A God-awful feeling watching him with someone else? Was that the stirrings of jealousy?

He leaned over. "Why are you frowning?" "Why are you?"

"I'm not."

"You are."

Why was his sister so stubborn? "I suppose I'd rather be dancing with Theresa."

"Viktor's just being polite."

"I suspect you'd rather be dancing with him."

Sonia pursed her lips and gently rocked back and forth on her feet. She always did that
when Mihai had struck a nerve.

"You and Viktor have spent a lot of time together recently," Mihai continued.

Sonia stopped rocking, surprise in her eyes. "Well, I enjoy his company."


"And I suspect he enjoys yours."
~Meet Stephanie!~ 
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire.  She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee.  She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing. You can find her on the Web At: Her WebsiteTwitter, FacebookGoodreadsYoutube, and Pinterest pages!

Stephanie Burkhart will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fallenwood Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC)

Title: Fallenwood
Author: Leslie D. Soule
Series:  N/A
Pages: 158
Date Published: March 3rd 2011
Publisher:  N/A
Format: Kindle
Genre:YA Fantasy
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy. When 16-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.

~Guest Post!~
How to Find Scholarly Sources for Research
So this is a topic I thought I’d write about because even with my M.A. in English, I find it difficult to find reputable sources sometimes, and it does take quite a lot of searching to dig down through all of the information out there. While the world wide web makes information accessible, we have to ask ourselves whether much of it is reliable information that we are accessing. When I was writing papers for my classes, I was able to use JSTOR to look up articles, and found it to be an excellent source of information, particularly on topics where not much information was available. You have to pay to access certain articles though (I spent a small fortune in research), and you have to be affiliated with a college. Thus, I made sure to print out a copy of the articles I’d accessed, to be sure that I had them in case I wanted to do any further analyses in the future.

In general, I find that print is always the way to go – easy to cite, copy, and to analyze in order to find the author’s basis for their arguments. With online articles, sometimes there is not even an author name to attribute the writing to. Most libraries have a section for scholarly journals. They call this section Periodicals in order to confuse you.

Another way to go is to find authors who are known for doing a lot of research on the topic you are interested in, and reading what they have to say on the subject, first. For example, I really like author Jared Diamond. He’s a professor, and he puts a ton of research into his books. So when I found myself writing a paper on the collapse of the Easter Island society, I had a stack of books on the subject, and found that none of the conclusions presented held a candle to Jared Diamond’s extensive scientific research on the subject. In short, I believed him, above all others, because of the thoroughly convincing depth of research he’d done. He made himself look so much more reputable because of the sources he cited and the lengths he went to in order to research the subject. That should be the aim of your work as well – to find reputable sources to base your research on, so that you in turn appear reputable as well.

It is important to entertain various views on the subject, which you can then dismiss with proof if you so choose. This is a way to show that you are not just dismissing ideas because you do not like them. I was impressed with an episode of Digging For The Truth, when they brought a man on who believed that the pyramids were built by Atlanteans. They didn’t discredit the man outright, but showed through the proof of the stoneworkers’ own carvings, that the idea didn’t hold much weight. This was a respectable way to go, in my opinion.

Although I lament the lack of publicly-available online sources of scholarly information, I have faith in your abilities! Now go forth, study, and be good!
~Try an Excerpt!~
The monk held up a hand. “That’s quite enough. She’s coming with me.”  

“You can’t do that,” the fire-haired royal servant sputtered. “As stated in Section 6 point 8, Subsection B of Article 1 dash 9, no one who is not a servant to the royal throne of any kingdom is permitted to…”  

“She’s still coming with me. You can argue about it ‘til the realms reconnect if you want, but that’s how it’s going to be.” His voice was powerful, yet soft and reassuring. 

A bright flash seared the woodland clearing, lighting up the night, revealing the towering forms of pines. To Ashley’s amazement, floating inches above the cloaked man's hand was an orb of fire. The flaming orb swirled beautifully, shades of red, orange, yellow, and white as though it were a living thing. The heat of the flame warmed the night air, and the sphere levitated as though dangled from a string.  

Ashley was mesmerized. 

“I said she’s coming with me,” the monk repeated, the fireball suspended menacingly and persuasively in ether.  

The man in black gritted his teeth, spat at the ground, and stared at the monk. “So that’s how you want to play it, eh, Will?” 

Will shrugged. “Nothing personal, Rupert,” he answered casually. “It’s just that I prefer to greet our guests and show them around myself. 

That’s all.” 


Rupert grumbled under his breath. He turned and walked toward his horse, a large black Andalusian.
~Meet Leslie!~ 
My name is Leslie Soule (pronounced "soul" like that part of you that is innate). I am an author who loves to try new genres and Sacramento, California is my hometown. I have an M.A. in English from National University and am a member of the English Chapter of the Sac State Almuni Association, and the Sacramento branch of the California Writers Club (as of June 2014).
Leslie will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

Gideon Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Gideon
Author: Cherry Adair
Series: Lodestone #2
Pages: 347
Date Published: March 26th, 2015
Publisher:  Adair Digital
Format: Kindle
Genre:Action Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Powerful cartel leader Sin Diaz lives a dangerous life filled with secrets and lies, and surrounded by people who claim to have known him all his life. Yet flashes of another life, totally unrelated to the jungles of Cosio, hang tantalizingly on the edges of his memory. He'll trust no one until he remembers his true past. 

NO DREAMS OF A FUTURE
T-FLAC operative Riva Rimaldi's mission is simple. Go undercover, learn terrorist Escobar Maza's agenda, then kill him. But when the helicopter she's on crashes deep in the jungle she finds herself in the wrong hands. Is the sexy as hell leader of the ANLF, Sin Diaz, the enemy of her enemy, worse than Maza himself? 

TOGETHER THEY HOLD THE KEY
Sin and Riva must work together to stop a madman who will go to any lengths to attain his terrifying goal. But can they unravel the truth in time? The countdown clock is ticking.
What they don’t know could get them killed.
~Try an Excerpt!~
T-FLAC operative Riva Rimaldi had a clear mental image of the chopper she was on: It was hurtling toward the ground, following a fiery explosion.

Five out of the six people on board would die. She was sorry she couldn't forewarn the two operatives accompanying her of their impending death. The warning would be useless and come too late. That was the bitch of her ability. When she received a vision, she knew precisely what would happen, but not precisely when. Even more of a bitch was that she while she could see the future, her ability to modify it was typically nonexistent. Riva had to let the nightmares that ran through her brain play out in real life.

She saw it as the pilot did. A bright, swiftly moving light headed up at them from the trees below.

“SAM.” Surface-to-air missile? Out here? In the middle of nowhere?

Curling into a ball around her duffel, one hand wrapped in the backpack’s straps, Riva braced for impact. She might as well kiss her ass good-bye. Despite what she'd seen, no one would survive the hit, and if she did, she’d wish she hadn't.

Between one heartbeat and the next, the missile slammed the tail with a loud, fiery explosion, spinning what was left of the chopper end over end. A blast furnace of heat engulfed her as she was thrown around the cabin like a rag doll. Everything gyrated like a kaleidoscope around her, as if she were separate from the event. In the split second when rational thought was possible, Riva knew she couldn't jump out. Even if she had a chute, which she didn't, she'd be sliced and diced like chopped salad by the swiftly spinning blades if she attempted it.

I’m screwed.

Primal fear set in and all she could do was scream as she, and what was left of the burning chopper, hurtled uncontrollably toward the trees.
~Meet Cherry!~ 
New York Times/USAToday Bestselling author Cherry Adair’s innovative action-adventure novels have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. With the creation of her kick butt counterterrorist group, T-FLAC, years before action adventure romances were popular, Cherry has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels. She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on a new T-FLAC trilogy. Cherry loves to hear from readers.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Days of Future Past Blog Tour! (+$ 15 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Days of Future Past
Author: Sally Smith O'Rourke
Series: N/A
Pages: N/A
Date Published: November 29th, 2014
Publisher:  Smashwords Edition
Format: eBook
Genre: Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Things are not always what they seem.

Fate sometimes conspires to right a decades-old wrong. The 6.8 earthquake that strikes Southern California one warm March night is the fateful event that brings family therapist Ann Hart and trauma specialist Ted McConaughy back together.

Twenty years after his betrayal caused the cancellation of their wedding, Ted finds himself in need of Ann’s help. The intense, recurring dreams that are invading his sleep are thought to be memories of past lives. And hypnotherapy, one of Ann’s specialties, may be the cure he seeks.

Their journey defies time and reason, forcing them to re-evaluate their capacity for love and forgiveness.
~Try an Excerpt!~
Chapter One

Sunday, March 9, Now

Night fell over the arroyo, and the lights in the garden twinkled to life. The moon, glowing with a halo portending the possibility of rain, rose in the western sky. A light breeze stirred the ferns and mosses that framed the thatched roof cottage casting shadows on the walls, making it appear as though someone was home.

Ann smiled at the memory of Alex, her husband of four years, rushing into the house with the charming miniature bungalow. He’d been like a small child bringing in a stray puppy he’d found on his way home from school. He insisted it had called out to him from the display window of a shop in Silver Lake, and he simply had to stop and take a look at it. Carrying it carefully into the house, he said it was the final piece for their woodland backyard, a fairy house. The woman in the shop had told him a story about a young groom captured by an ogre only a few days before his wedding. His bride-to-be begged for help from the garden fairies who did, in fact, bring him home in time for their nuptials. Ever after, the newlyweds set out food and gifts for the fairies in gratitude. “So,” the woman continued, “if the garden sprites feel welcome at your home, they will always protect you.”

As Ann turned away, something caught her eye. She peered into the dim evening light almost putting her face on the glass. She was sure she’d seen a figure move inside the fairy house, not a shadow but an actual figure. She laughed at herself. Amazing what your mind could imagine, thinking she actually saw a fairy.

The garden was beautiful, everything they had hoped, especially at night. The moonflower vines with their white morning glory-like blossoms now wove their way through the tree branches. The moonbeams caught by the flowers created an almost iridescent glow. It was magical. She gritted her teeth, still angry that Alex never got to see it like this.

***

It was well past lunchtime when Ann and Alex stood on the patio to look at their handiwork. The overcast had yet to clear, but the cloud cover kept the January morning cool and mild making the physical labor of creating the woodland landscape fairly comfortable.

Alex slipped his arm around her waist, “Well, we did it.”

“It looks so magical. Imagine how it’ll look at night with the lights.”

Alex leaned over and kissed her. “You’re the magical one, my witchy little witch.”

All her life Ann had had the weird ability to know when things were going to happen, not hunches or feelings, but knowledge. Somehow she just knew things. It wasn’t controlled, and it only happened occasionally. The first time Alex witnessed it was when they started a day trip to Oak Glen for the apple harvest. Ann told him that he was going to get a traffic ticket. He laughed saying he hadn’t gotten a ticket since he was a teenager. When he got pulled over that day, he decided she was a witch. After he’d seen the ‘gift,’ as her mother called it, in action a few more times, he bought her a heather witch’s broom that still held a place of honor at the fireplace.

“So, does that make you my warlock?”

“No way, I don’t do anything magical.”

Ann gave him a very wicked grin. “Depends on your definition of magic.”

“Really? Nice to know I’ve still got it.”

“Oh, you’ve definitely got it.” She kissed him.

“I think we should christen the garden with champagne,” Alex suggested.

“You don’t mean smash a bottle over it, do you?”

“Well, we could, but I’m thinking that it might be more fun to drink it.”

He turned her in his arms and kissed her nose. “I love doing this everyday stuff with you.” Then he kissed her more thoroughly. “I love doing everything with you,” he whispered.

Leaning her head on his chest she sighed. “Me, too.”

“You, too? You like to do things with you, too?” he teased. Feigning exasperation, she pretended to try and push away from him. But he held firm and wiped a dirty gloved hand down her cheek. “Boy, you sure could use a shower.”

“Are you insinuating that I’m a dirty girl?”

“I certainly hope so,” he said with a leering grin.

“Sir,” she said pretending to be shocked, “what kind of girl do you take me for? I’m a good girl, I am.”

“Yes,” he said with a raised eyebrow, “and I know just how good.”

He picked her up and whirled her around then set her down gently. Just as he bent to kiss her, the piercing sound of the phone threatened to end their romantic moment.

“Let’s ignore it,” Ann whispered.

Alex glanced at the phone then kissed her. But as soon as the voice of Bill Wyman called out Alex’s name from the answering machine, the mood was broken completely.

“Hey guy, we have a plane down in the Sierra foothills. I’ll pick you up on the way to the airport if you’re there.” There was a pause. “Alex?”

Alex looked at Ann, silently asking how she felt about his leaving at that moment in time.

One of his passions was flying, and they’d had the plane, a Grumman Tiger, for three years. Bill Wyman was Alex’s flight commander in the Civil Air Patrol, and a downed plane meant search and rescue.

The question was still in his eyes. So, pushing the disappointment down as far as she could, Ann reminded herself that she was married to an amazingly generous man who wanted to help people. How could she say ‘don’t go?’

She smiled and shook her head. “Go … I’ll take a bath and put on my sexiest nightgown.”

“Never mind the nightgown,” he said, winking as he picked up the phone.

“Put the champagne on ice, I’ll be back early,” Alex said before he left. “And you might hold up on the bath, too. We can take one together later. You know, to conserve water.”

“Yeah, to conserve water,” Ann said with a playful wink, “good idea.” She couldn’t help but giggle. Sometimes it felt like they were teenagers, and after four years of marriage he could still make her giddy.

Then he held her in a passionate embrace, making the long lingering kiss the last time he ever touched her and the last time she saw him. The fairies had failed them.

***

Staring out at her fairy garden, Ann rubbed her eyes dry before tears could fall onto her cheeks. She leaned her forehead against the cold glass of the window. He’d been gone more than six years, why did she keep doing this to herself? Why couldn’t she get past it? She knew the clinical term was denial, but it was too hard to accept. They never found Alex or the plane. Her hope from the beginning was that he might be living in some mountain village with no memory of himself. Was it really so awful that she wanted to believe he was still alive? Any psychiatrist worth his salt would say yes. As a psychiatrist herself, she had to admit that this was definitely denial and not hope. Hope had been important in the beginning. The hope that he’d landed in some out-of-the-way place and wasn’t able to call, the hope that some Good Samaritan had taken care of him, the hope that he was fine. But eventually, hope had to turn to reality.

She wasn’t sure why she still harbored the fantasy when she knew it was a fantasy. When they didn’t find the plane after the spring thaw, after all the snow was gone, hope started to dwindle, but she wasn’t prepared to give up. So, that first summer she spent weeks driving from town to town all over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On the western slopes, the eastern slopes, in the valleys. She’d even found a few towns that weren’t on any of the maps she was using, but no one anywhere had seen him. No one had seen the plane. She knew then that he was gone but not having his body made it hard to accept. No casket to say good-bye to, no grave to visit. Not that she would visit a grave. She couldn’t stand of thought of seeing proof of his death carved in stone.

She took a step back away from the window and blew out a deep breath.
~Meet Sally!~ 
“Where shall I begin? Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?” (J.A. June 15, 1808)

That I reside in the Victorian village of Monrovia, California; a mere two miles from my place of employment. A local hospital where I spend most daylight hours in the operating room as a scrub nurse.

That I am a native Californian, having been born in Glendale, and spent most of my life here with a relatively short span of years in Reno, Nevada where I attended school. Returning after graduation I have remained in sunny SoCal.

That I was widowed some time ago. That I have very domestic hobbies like sewing, cooking, baking, candy making and cake decorating. Oh, yes I write, too. Mike, my late husband and teacher, taught me that writing has to be treated like a job so every day no matter how tired I am I edit, research one or more projects and write.


That I have finished the sequel to The Man Who Loves Jane Austen with Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen; have started a story of reincarnation that takes place in Pasadena, CA and am making notes for a ghost story set in San Francisco. Three stories running around in my head and often colliding but I untangle the debris and continue on. Feel free to check out Sally's blog!
Sally will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Contract to Wed Blog Tour (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Contract to Wed
Author: Holly Bush
Series: Crawford Family #2
Pages: 180
Date Published: February 5th 2015
Publisher: Holly Bush
Format: ebook
Genre: Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Synopsis:
It's 1891 . . . Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright. 

Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle but lost the love of his life the day his wife died, over ten years ago. Now, his happy, carefree, little girl needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a Senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.
Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?

~Try an Excerpt!~
“Thank you for coming to see me this morning, Jolene,” Calvin Billings said as he assisted her into the red leather chair across from his desk.

“The reading of the will, I understand, is not until Wednesday morning,” Jolene replied and straightened the folds of her black silk skirt. “I’m curious to hear what prompted this meeting.”

“I’m not sure I should have asked you here to tell you what I’m going to tell you,” Calvin said as he shook his head. “Turner’s will was very specific.”

Jolene shrugged. “Don’t put yourself out for me, Calvin.”

The attorney was silent a long moment and then leaned forward. “I wanted to talk to you about some of the details of Turner’s will before Wednesday’s meeting so that you can process it privately, rather than in a room full of people.”

“What details?”

Billings sorted through papers laid out before him on his massive gleaming desktop. He settled on one and looked at Jolene over the tops of his glasses. “The bulk of Turner’s estate will be settled on one, Jillian Crawford Shelling currently residing with your sister in South Dakota.”

“I don’t understand,” Jolene said.

“A little over fifty million dollars will be set aside in an estate for Miss Shelling, overseen by myself and her step-father, Jake Shelling, as executers. Various charities will receive an amount totaling nearly one million dollars. Family members, including Turner’s mother, brother, nephews, and your sister Jennifer, have been gifted annual annuities. In addition, his mother’s home expenses will be taken care of for as long as she lives. A few servants and his secretary have been given lump sums ranging from fifty to one hundred thousand dollars.”

Jolene stared at her gloved hands lying in her lap. She picked at a stray thread in the crocheting and thought she’d have to correct Alice for handing these particular gloves to her to wear. But perhaps she’d best let Alice alone on this error. Perhaps she’d best contemplate what Calvin had just said. She looked up at him.

“He has gifted our fortune, my fortune as well, to Jillian? Did he not understand that he would have still been a clerk in my father’s bank had he not married me? Did he forget what I did for him? He would have been nothing without me. I made him!”
~Meet Holly!~
Holly Bush writes historical romance set on the American Prairie, in Victorian England, and recently released her first Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush. 
Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

A Spacious Life Blog Tour (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: A Spacious Life 
Series: N/A
Pages: 204
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Palmer Higgs Pty Ltd
Format: Kindle
Genre: Self-Help
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

Synopsis:
Meditation and mindfulness are tools for working with the mind, but where they have led me is to a blossoming of the heart…

What does a spiritual seeker look like? Could you pick one in a lineup? If you said yes, chances are you weren’t imagining this meditating model. Born in Sydney, Australia, Narissa Doumani grew up well loved, well educated, and (reasonably) well dressed, but for years grappled with what she admits is ‘the ultimate first world problem’: how to be truly, deeply happy in any lasting way. In this intimate memoir, she explores the creative process, traverses the heights of romantic love and the despair of self-doubt, and comes face to face with her own fragile mortality. But it’s in a cave in a Thai forest, where she meets the Buddhist yogi who will become her spiritual guide, that she learns to unravel the messy states of mind and heart that had kept her from living a spacious life—and thereby begins to uncover the happiness, meaning, and connection for which she always yearned.

~Try an Excerpt!~
When the nurse left, I lifted the neck of my hospital gown and peeked down the length of my body. I saw a pair of full breasts, and the gentle curve of my hips as they arced away from my torso’s centre line and back in again to meet the tops of two strong and supple thighs. I saw a belly that rose and fell with my breath. Plum in the middle, it dipped into a perfectly neat buttonhole of a navel, a tiny well where my life line had once been. It paid homage to my mother, to her mother before her, to all mothers throughout time and space, without whom I could not have taken a single breath nor walked a day upon this earth, and served as a reminder of an eternal law—that our life lines are interconnected, and so we may grow only through the care and nourishment of others.


My body was a picture of youth, of health, and yet it was a lie. Beneath the soft exterior hid a dark stowaway, a ruthless killer waiting for the opportune moment to seize power of my life’s vessel and break it down cell by cell. I may have been born and raised through the nourishment of others, but in the face of the worst possible outcome, a showdown with the Grim Reaper, I was utterly, terrifyingly alone. Fear rumbled from my belly right down to the caverns of my bowels.
~Meet Narissa~ 

Narissa Doumani is the student of a reclusive Thai yogi, and a dedicated practitioner of mindfulness, meditation, and the Buddhist path. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne, Narissa spent nearly a decade working as a model and presenter in the world of commercial advertising, using the circumstances of her everyday life to cultivate clarity and peace of mind. Born into a Thai-Lebanese-Australia family, she is a strong advocate for diversity, tolerance, and finding one's own authentic path. Her debut memoir, A Spacious Life, invites us all to do just that, and to live with meaning beyond the material.
Narissa will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.