Friday, December 19, 2014

All of Me Blog Tour! (+$25 Starbucks GC Giveaway!)

Title: All of Me
Author: Heatherly Bell 
Series: N/A
Pages: 140
Date Published: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Healtherly Bell Books
Format: Kindle
Genre:Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours 
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
What would you do for a second chance with your first love?

Welcome to wine country and the small town of Starlight Hill, California, where the wine flows freely and so does the gossip. The town has never quite forgiven Ivey Lancaster for leaving their favorite son, Dr. Jeff Garner, when she met a man on an online dating site. But while the people of the township took sides, the truth of her absence is something Ivey doesn’t want anyone to know.

When a sudden change of plans forces Ivey to work with her hunky ex, she must keep it professional or risk her heart all over again.
~Try an Excerpt!~
Jeff sensed an opening and he proceeded to drive the proverbial Mac truck through it. “The best thing you and I can do is show everyone in town that we’re getting along. That we’re friends again.”

“Yeah. We better get the word out.”

He nodded. “Having dinner with me might help too.”

She whipped her head around so fast he worried about whiplash for a minute. “You and me? Not for real. That can’t happen. We’re not going there again.”

“Going where?” Yep, he was going to do this. Watch her walk right into his trap.

“Making love. Getting back together. Do I have spell it out for you?”

“Wow,” he said. “I’m flattered. But I was talking about dinner. You and your one-track mind.”

Suddenly, absolute quiet from the passenger seat. But as his luck would have it, not for long. “I caught you staring at my boobs. Don’t try to lie to me now.”

“I’m a man, Ivey, and right now you’re a wet-t-shirt-contest dream.”

“Don’t you dare stare at my boobs!”

He grinned. “Try and stop me.”

#

She turned to him, the light in her eyes that made him a goner. “We? Does that mean I’ve convinced you, Dr. Garner?”

He couldn’t help but grin. “Congratulations. I think we should make our recommendation that the board hire a staff of midwives and let them decide.”


She stared out the window. “I don’t know.”
~Meet Heatherly!~ 
When early onset stage fright dashed dreams of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, Heatherly Bell tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave.

She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).

Heatherly lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say ‘hello’ and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows.

Twitter:  @heatherlybelle

Heatherly will be awarding a $25 Starbucks gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon/B&N GC to a randomly drawn host.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Curious Stories Blog Tour! (+$15 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Curious Stories
Author: Gregory Eaves
Series: N/A
Pages: N/A
Date Published: August 16th, 2014
Publisher: Amazon
Format:  Kindle
Genre: Mystery
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours! 
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
If you like mysteries with a surprise twist at the end, then Curious Stories is for you. This is a small diverse collection of mystery short stories, ranging from the noir detective story to supernatural suspense. Neurotic characters and strange turns populate the pages of this quick and entertaining read.
~Try an Excerpt!~
Marchand sat down and stared dumbly at his computer screen, not knowing where to begin. He had tried creating outlines and character profiles, but no ideas surfaced. He took his hands and buried his face in them. They moved up to his forehead and slowly began a descent over the mounds of his closed, bulging eyelids, then over his bulbous nose and rough, reddened cheeks. He shifted his oversize torso in the direction of a buzzing noise; his body felt heavy, leaden with humidity and the salty crust of baked-on sweat. With uncharacteristic speed and violence he smashed a fly with his flyswatter, then turned his attention back to the screen.

He made a few tentative stabs at the keyboard, trying to grease the wheels. Nothing. Then he noticed the smell again, the same stench from yesterday that hovered somewhere between sweet and putrid. It irritated him not knowing what it was. The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. Marchand got up and crisscrossed the room several times, sniffing the air, trying to home in on a location. The dusty books were possibilities; he walked slowly past them, examining the gold-striped and leather bound volumes the same suspicious way a Nazi commandant would inspect prisoners-of-war. Some of the books were very old, with yellowed pages and stitched bindings that disintegrated when handled. They were musty with age and produced a very intense odor, to be sure, but that wasn’t it. He stood over a bologna sandwich, considered it, but rejected that as the source of the smell.
~Meet Gregory!~ 
Gregory Eaves was born October 18, 1950, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Speedway High School and Indiana University. In his twenties, he traveled extensively throughout the United States, with an eight year stay in San Diego, California, where he studied and practiced meditation.
   
Gregory moved to Florida and completed a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida.
   
Library school rekindled his interest in reading, which had been his favorite activity as a child growing up. Mysteries had been his first love, and he devoured his first mystery books with singular passion and zeal. Nothing else seemed to hit the sweet spot like reading The Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes, and Poirot. He later enjoyed authors like Raymond Chandler, John D. McDonald, Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith, and others.    
   
SCHISM is Gregory’s first novel.  His prior experience with writing included poetry and short stories. One of his short-shorts won runner-up in a contest in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
  

He now lives on the east coast of Florida, and when he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing guitar and collecting vintage stereo gear and vinyl records. He is a member of American Mensa.
Gregory will be awarding $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner during the tour via Rafflecopter, and a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

The Cowboys of Copper Mountain Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: The Cowboys of Copper Mountain
Author: Various 
Series: Montana Born Brides
Pages: 458
Date Published: March 10th, 2014 
Publisher: Tule Publishing Group
Format: Kindle
Genre:Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

A Cowboy For Christmas by Katherine Garbera
Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things. A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold. She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again.

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left. Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

Christmas At Copper Mountain by Jane Porter
Since the loss of her family in a plane crash, Harley Diekerhoff has led a quiet life and keeps to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seems perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas and before she knows it, Harley’s determined to make their holiday perfect.

Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed Mack and Molly’s world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. But Brock is determined to hold on to her and praying for a Christmas miracle…

Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone
Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Rachel Murphy loves the scent of gingerbread baking almost as much as she enjoys creating custom edible houses at Christmastime. But she needs a bigger kitchen if she wants to make the most of her impromptu holiday business.

Enter Nate Vaughn, handsome venture capitalist turned Montana dude ranch owner and her brother’s boss. Nate’s commercial kitchen is perfect for the baker. And he thinks she might be perfect for him…as a business partner.

After being burned by a celebrity baker, Rachel’s wary of Nate’s interest in her gingerbread houses, not to mention his mistletoe kisses. She should leave the Bar V5 ranch and return to Arizona. Or can Nate convince her she’s already home?

Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone
Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin's heart and brings back long-forgotten emotion. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won't be spending this Christmas… alone.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn't a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic's waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn't belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital.
 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Excerpt for Christmas at Copper Mountain:

“You okay, Miss Diekerhoff?”

Turning quickly, potato skins still dripping, Harley blinked back tears as she spotted Brock Sheenan standing by the fireplace, warming his hands.

Brock was a big man.  He was tall–six one or two—with broad shoulders, a wide muscular chest, and shaggy black hair.

Harley’s late husband, David, was Portuguese and darkly handsome, but David was always groomed and polished while the Montana rancher seemed disinclined to comb his hair, or bother with a morning shave.

The truth was, Brock Sheenan looked like a pirate, and never more so than now, with tiny snow flakes clinging to his wild hair and shadowed jaw.

“I’m fine,” she said breathlessly, embarrassed.  “I didn’t hear you come in.”

 “The faucet was on.” He rubbed his hands together, the skin red and raw.  “You’re not….crying…are you?”

She heard the uncomfortable note in his voice and cringed a little.  “No,” she said quickly, straightening and squaring her shoulders as she dumped the potato peels into the garbage.  “Everything’s wonderful.”

“So you’re not crying?”

“No,” she repeated crisply, drying her hands.  “Just peeling potatoes for dinner.”

Her gaze swept his big frame, seeing the powdered snow still clinging to the hem of his wrangler jeans peeking beneath his leather chaps and white glitter dusting his black brows.  His supple leather chaps weren’t for show.  It was frigid outside and he’d spent the week in the saddle driving the last herds of cattle from the back country to the valley down below so the cows could take shelter beneath trees.  “Can I get you something?”

“You don’t happen to have any coffee left from this morning that you could heat up?”

“I can make a fresh pot,” she said, grabbing the glass carafe to fill it with water.  “Want regular or decaf?”

He glanced at the clock mounted on the wall above the door and then out the window where the snow flurries were thickening, making it almost impossible to see the tall pine trees marking one corner of the yard. “Leaded,” he said.  “Make it strong, too.  It’s going to be a late night for me.”

She added the coffee grounds, and then hit the brew button.  “You’re heading back out?”

“I’m going to ride back up as soon as I get something warm in me.  Thought I’d take some of the breakfast coffee cake with me.  If there was anything left.”

“There is.”  She’d already wrapped the remaining slices in foil.  He wasn’t one to linger over meals, and he didn’t like asking for snacks between meals, either.   If he wanted something now, it meant he wouldn’t be back anytime soon.   But it was already after four.  It’d be dark within the hour.  “It’s snowing hard.”

“I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I don’t do a last check. The boys said we’ve got them all but I keep thinking we’re missing one or two of the young ones.  Have to be sure before I call it a night.”

Harley reached into a cupboard for one of the thermoses she sent with Brick on his early mornings.  “What time will you want dinner?”

“Don’t know when I’ll be back.  Could be fairly late, so just leave a plate in the oven for me.  No need for you to stay up.”  He bundled his big arms across his even bigger chest, a lock of thick black hair falling down over his forehead to shadow an equally dark eye.

There was nothing friendly or approachable about Brock when he stood like that.  His wild black hair, square jaw, and dark piercing gaze that gave him a slightly threatening air, but Harley knew better.  Men, even the most dangerous men, were still mortal.  They had goals, dreams, needs.  They tried, they failed.  They made mistakes.  Fatal mistakes.

 “Any of the boys going with you?” she asked, trying to sound casual as she wrapped a generous wedge of cheddar cheese in foil, and a hunk of the summer sausage he liked, so he’d have something more substantial than coffee cake for his ride.

He shook his head, then dragged a large calloused hand through the glossy black strands in a half-hearted attempt to comb the tangled strands smooth.  “No.”

 She gave him a swift, troubled look.

He shrugged.  “No point in putting the others in harm’s way.”

Her frown deepened. “What if you get into trouble?”

“I won’t.”

She arched her brows.

She ought to be intimidated by this shaggy beast of a man, but she wasn’t.  She’d had a husband—a daring, risk taking husband of her own—and his lapse in judgment had cost them all.  Dearly.


 “It’s dangerous out there,” she said quietly.  “You shouldn’t go alone.”
~Meet the Authors!~ 
USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author of 47 romances and women's fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, with her Tule Publishing novella, Take Me, Cowboy, winning the Novella Category July 2014. Jane today has over 12 million copies in print, including her wildly popular Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as it's Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear.
Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband three sons, and two dogs. You can learn more about Jane at janeporter.com.

LINKS:
Jane’s website – www.janeporter.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorjaneporter
Twitter – https://twitter.com/authorjanep
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/thejaneporter


USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 65 books. Writing is the chief focus of her time after her family and the only thing she likes more than working on her own books is reading other authors.  She is a frequent speaker at conferences and loves the opportunity to talk about writing with anyone who'll listen. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund. 

LINKS: 
http://www.katherinegarbera.com website
https://twitter.com/katheringarbera
http://www.pinterest.com/kathygarbera/
http://instagram.com/katherinegarbera 

Melissa McClone has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

LINKS:
Website: http://www.melissamcclone.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelissaMcCloneBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/melissamcclone
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/melissamcclone/

The authors will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn rafflecopter winner (international giveaway) and a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn host.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Mask of Verdoy Blog Tour! (+$40 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway!)

Title: The Mask of Verdoy
Author:  Phil Lecomber
Series: George Harley Mysteries #1
Pages:  460
Date Published: October 9th, 2014 
Publisher: Diablo Books
Format:  Paperback
Genre: Period Crime Thrillers
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
With Mussolini’s dictatorship already into its seventh year in Italy, and with a certain Herr Hitler standing for presidential elections in Germany, 1932 sees the rise in the UK of the British Brotherhood of Fascists, led by the charismatic Sir Pelham Saint Clair. This Blackshirt baronet is everything that Harley despises and the chippy cockney soon has the suave aristocrat on his blacklist.

But not at the very top. Pride of place is already taken by his arch enemy, Osbert Morkens—the serial killer responsible for the murder and decapitation of Harley’s fiancée, Cynthia … And, of course—they never did find her head.
~Guest Post!~
MASK OF THE VERDOY, the first book in the GEORGE HARLEY MYSTERY series, is set in London in the year 1932. Two and a half years after the Wall Street Crash plunged the world headlong into financial ruin the capital city is clamped tightly in the fist of austerity, leading to an increase in petty crime and prostitution as Londoners turn to desperate measures to make ends meet.

To Harley and the other veterans of WWI this was not the expected outcome of the longed-for armistice. Indeed, when they first returned from the trenches it looked as though the devastating blow that the war had delivered to European civilization might at least shake up the entrenched, centuries-old British class system and begin to make things better for the average man and woman in the street. The vote for women over 21, union representation, the first Labour Party government, social housing and education reforms – all these benefits were reaped in the first years of the inter-war period by a proletariat who’d learnt from their wartime experiences in the trenches and munitions factories to demand more from a society that their blood sweat and tears had helped forge over the centuries.

But as well as becoming more politicized the average Briton also began to get better access to Art and culture than ever before. Wireless broadcasts from the fledgling BBC, the introduction of mass market affordable paperback books, a better national education system, public concerts, dance halls, Lyon’s Tea Shops – not to mention the exciting American imports of Jazz and the movies; all these elements created an opportunity for hard-working folk to escape the drudgery of their 9 to 5. And, of course, production line manufacturing and advances in technology meant that the wonders of the modern age were now within reach of a much larger proportion of the general population. Gramophones, wireless sets, portable cameras, motorbikes & automobiles … the future must have looked extremely exciting for anyone looking out from the mid 1920s.

And then … Germany began exporting ‘free’ coal to Italy and France … a strong pound all but killed Britain’s exports … miner’s wages were slashed … and before long the country was experiencing its first National Strike. And just around the corner … the Great Depression.

Hunger marches, soup kitchens, ‘spikes’ for tramps (casual wards for vagrants) … this was the dour reality that Britain woke up to at the start of the 1930s – a humdinger of a hangover to follow the frenzied flapper parties of the Roaring Twenties. And, of course, such conditions created the perfect incubation conditions for the extremist politics that would cast such a devastating shadow on the rest of the decade; for people needed quick solutions and someone to blame – and of course, the fascists and eugenicists convinced many that they could offer both.

Here’s Vi Coleridge (Harley’s neighbour) on the subject:

‘But that’s just it—all those things they promised you boys when you came home. Well, where is it all, eh? I don’t know … what with all the strikes, two and a half million poor buggers on the dole, the Empire falling apart. The country’s gone to the dogs, George ... and I’m afraid your precious Mr. Ramsay MacDonald has made as big a hash of it as the rest of ʼem. And now, on top of everything else, we’ve got all these anarchist bombings! Bloody foreigners! Someone needs to sort it all out.’

But as George so rightly says, Vi - ‘Believe me—that someone is not Sir Pelham Saint Clair and the British Brotherhood of Fascists!’

Such is the 1930s Britain that forms the backdrop to Harley’s first thrilling outing. The Western world struggling in the grip of a global economic crisis, haunted by past military conflicts and turning to extreme politics as doom-mongers foretell the decline of civilization and the death of capitalism. Sounding familiar? Maybe L. P. Hartley’s assertion that "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there" isn’t quite so true after all.

For me the fascinating thing about this historical setting isn’t the differences with modern life, but the similarities. As we stride off into the 21st Century with our smug grins hidden behind our smartphones and touch screen tablets, maybe every now and again we should take a glimpse over our shoulder at the past (hell! you can even Google it if you want!)—there might just be a lesson for as all lurking in the shadows of the decades.
~Try an Excerpt!~
JUST THEN HARLEY heard a shriek from the direction of the fire escape.

He dashed back across the roof and lowered himself carefully onto the ironwork, shuffling as quickly as he dared back to the open window.

‘George … George!’

It was Vi. But her shouting wasn’t coming from Miss Perkin’s room, it was coming from further along the fire escape—from his own house. He made the extra few yards and then yanked up the sash window and threw himself awkwardly into the room.

Harley took in the scene with a professional’s eye: the dark puddle congealing on the floorboards; the mother-of-pearl-handled razor gripped loosely in the grubby, nail-bitten fingers; the leaden pallor on the boyish cheek.

There was a call from the floor below.

‘Police! Anyone there?’

‘Up here, Burnsey! Top floor!’ shouted Harley, already at Aubrey’s throat, searching for a pulse.

A thump of heavy footsteps announced PC Burns’ arrival.

‘Oh, Jesus Christ!’ said the policeman, removing his helmet and rushing over to crouch down beside the bed. ‘Any luck?’


But as Harley drew back the only sign of life Burns could see in the boy’s face came from the two tiny facsimiles of the guttering gas mantle, dancing in the dull pupils.
~Meet Phil!~
Phil Lecomber was born in 1965 in Slade Green, on the outskirts of South East London—just a few hundred yards from the muddy swirl of the Thames.

Most of his working life has been spent in and around the capital in a variety of occupations. He has worked as a musician in the city’s clubs, pubs and dives; as a steel-fixer helping to build the towering edifices of the square mile (and also working on some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as Tower Bridge); as a designer of stained-glass windows; and—for the last quarter of a century—as the director of a small company in Mayfair specializing in the electronic security of some of the world’s finest works of art.

All of which, of course, has provided wonderful material for a novelist’s inspiration.

Always an avid reader, a chance encounter as a teenager with a Gerald Kersh short story led to a fascination with the ‘Morbid Age’— the years between the wars. The world that Phil has created for the George Harley Mysteries is the result of the consumption and distillation of myriad contemporary novels, films, historical accounts, biographies and slang dictionaries of the 1930s—with a nod here and there to some of the real-life colourful characters that he’s had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with over the years.

So, the scene is now set … enter George Harley, stage left …

Phil lives in the beautiful West Country city of Bath with his wife, Susie. They have two sons, Jack and Ned.

https://www.facebook.com/GHMysteries

http://www.georgeharley.com/


@GHMysteries
Phil will be giving out a $40 Amazon Giftcard to a randomly drawn winner! So get commenting and get your chance to win! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Intimate Murder NBTM Tour! (+$50 Amazon GC Giveaway!)


Title: An Intimate Murder
Author: Stacey Verdick Case
Series: Catherine O'Brien #3
Pages:  288
Date Published: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Before the Falls Books
Format: eBook
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

Synopsis:
A Catherine O'Brien Mystery: When Jonathan and Susan Luther are murdered in their home, St. Paul homicide detective Catherine O'Brien and her partner Louise discover this isn't the first time the Luther family has been visited by tragedy. Is it a case of bad family luck or is there something more?
~It's a Human Thing~
There was once a comment made during the tour for A Grand Murder by a commenter from the UK in which she said that US author’s characters always seem to have marital problems. This surprised me since I don’t think Catherine and her husband Gavin have marital problems.

On the contrary, I think their relationship is exceptionally supportive of one another. Their relationship is playful, fun, and sexy. There’s never been any doubt in my mind that these two are in love and 100% committed to one another.

The conflicts that ruffle the two of them come from Gavin’s desire to protect her from getting hurt in a dangerous job.
Most of the conflict for Catherine is with herself and her own feelings. Catherine loves her job, and her husband, and struggles to balance the two.

This type of conflict feels universal to me (not just a problem for those of us in the USA). And I don’t believe the conflict is just female-centric. I believe men struggle just as hard with the conflict between family and work. At least I know my husband and I both struggle to maintain a balance and on most days fail miserably.

The story lines between these two, as a couple is more about how Catherine and Gavin come to terms with their struggles. The reader gets to experience Gavin and how he reconciles his desire to protect his wife with her inherently dangerous job.  The reader also gets to feel for Catherine as she struggles to  balance her desire to see Gavin happy without sacrificing what she’s worked so hard to achieve.

Does that sound familiar to anyone?

I bet it does especially if you have kids.  How can I give enough time and attention to my kids and see them happy without my needs being completely unmet. I bet there’s a few nodding heads now.

Ultimately Catherine and Gavin are not having “marital problems” they are navigating human problems.  Yes, these problems take place in the confines of a marriage, but the marriage is secondary to the human side of both of these characters.


Fortunately, Catherine and Gavin have been able to ride the rapids with grace and humor and without tearing one another apart.  To my mind, their love affair is the stuff of legend.
~Try an Excerpt!~
I locked eyes with her and wished, not for the first time in my life, that I had telekinetic abilities. If I had, I could mentally disembowel Jane Katts. That’s probably why God never blessed me with that particular gift.

“Hello Detective.” Jane Katts’ tone was overly pleasant. She must have trumped me in some way and now she’s was just waiting for me to concede the trick.

“Close the door behind you, O’Brien.” The chief rocked back in his chair and smiled.

There was nothing in his smile except pleasantry, which made me more nervous than the one Jane Katts had given me. A broad smile was so alien on the Chief’s face that I was certain that Jane Katts had managed to pull a switcheroo and replace the chief with a pod person of her own design; one who is not hard-edged and sand-papery as I have come to expect but instead soft, with as much grit as a nail file.

“I’m afraid there’s not enough chairs so one of you will have to stand.” The smiley version of our chief of police said.

I braced my feet a shoulder width apart and crossed my arms over my chest, I preferred to stand for whatever nasty surprise Jane Katts had in store for me.

Louise sat and introduced herself to Jane. They exchanged a handshake.

“Ms. Katts is the reporter who asked for the exclusive interview.”

He glossed over the detail about her being the reporter who had engaged in a calculated smear campaign against the department.

“She would like to change the angle of her story to get more of an inside view.” The chief’s eyes cut to my face and I saw a hint of the real chief behind whatever hoodoo Jane Katts had performed on him.
~Meet Stacey!~ 
Stacy Verdick Case was born in Willmar, Minnesota.  After a brief stint as a military brat, where she lived in Fort Sill Oklahoma and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, her family moved back to Minnesota.

Stacy has written all her life earning a High School Writer Award and a Daphne Du Mauier Award for excellence in Mainstream Mystery/Suspense.

Stacy currently lives in a suburb of St. Paul with her husband of twenty-years, her five-year-old daughter, and their two cats.

An Intimate Murder is the third book in the Catherine O’Brien series.

Visit Stacy on the web:

www.StacyVerdickCase.com
Stacy will award a $50 Barnes and Noble GC to one winner, and a signed ARC of An Intimate Murder (US only) to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during this tour and her standard tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christmas with the Marquis Book Blast!

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A randomly drawn winner will receive $15 PayPal cash. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
When an arrogant Marquis’s seduction fails, he plans a Xmas celebration at his country estate. Inviting the one girl who not only rejects him but seems to hate him is part of his plan to win her. His scheming soon turns to much more than decorating the house for Xmas. Abigail’s beauty incites a plan for revenge on the Marquis by his most depraved enemy, who is bent on kidnapping and raping Abigail. Can the Marquis save her and make this a merry Christmas after all?
~Enjoy an excerpt~
Abigail called after them. “Galoshes are by the back door. Gloves and scarves also. You don’t want to wear your best clothes on an expedition like this, gentlemen”

She leaned back in her chair and watched them go. Startled, but pleased, she hurried to her own rooms to change into riding clothes and tall boots. She adored tramping in the woods and how could she not join in the search for the perfect Yule log? After scarcely a thought she pulled on the breeches she wore when she was riding at home with no one caring what she did. She pulled on her riding boots, although she picked her second-best pair. Who knew what such wonderful snow would do to good boots?

She ran lightly down the steps to the back door. A small screech escaped her when the felt herself hauled against a strong chest, and looked up in astonishment at a livid Jason glaring down at her. Maybe not Jason, right now. No, definitely the Marquis. An irate Marquis, giving her a good swat on her rear and glaring at her.

“Don’t you even think of trying to escape me, you little fool. You’re not at your country home. You’re at mine, with some of the most licentious noblemen in London who’d be delighted to see you so scantily clothed. Do you want them to line up at your door tonight, you vexatious idiot?”

Abigail simply stared at him for a moment, her temper ready to boil over, when he suddenly softened, ran his hands over her hips and around her waist and pulled her against him. His kiss was hot and blazing, lingering at her lips with his tongue pushing into her mouth in a dizzying display of passion that had her clinging to his coat lapels.

“My god, Abigail, how am I going to stay away from you?”

He lay his forehead softly against her hair and softly caressed her well rounded bottom.

Stunned, she couldn’t think of a thing to say. She wrenched herself away and fled back to her room. She’d simply not thought of anything but her own comfort and that wonderful snow. Of course a woman didn’t appear in breeches at a house party for London aristocrats! Not unless there was a hunt scheduled or good riding was available.

She was an idiot.

How could she face Jason, and indeed her grandmother? And she herself was supposed to be chaperoning Bettina?

Burying her face in her hands, she tried to shut out her regretful thoughts. The fact that her every thought centered on Jason and his reactions didn’t even occur to her.

She didn’t see the lascivious face of Lord Wilcombe, earl of Wilmington, watching them from a corner of the hallway.
~About the Author~
Jean feels she’s very much a Californian although she was born in Ohio. California has been home for a good many years. Life changed drastically for her when she was six and her father died incredibly from an errant golf ball. A dishonest insurance agent forced her sheltered mother to seek work, and she became a teacher. Her hours required Jean to be alone in the house in the afternoon, and since she was forbidden to leave till her mother got home, she became an avid reader. The local library supplied most of the books and she developed early her two of main interests, Jane Austen and King Arthur.

Reading is still one of her favorite activities, although she sometimes has to push it aside to make room for her enduring love of writing. Her journalism degree was used infrequently until recently. Marriage and raising two children pleasantly got in the way. After twenty years of being a real estate broker and with the kids raised she finally could devote her time to writing, her first love.

Jean's enchantment with the lore and legends of Druids and, therefore, delving into their history led to fascinating research that inspired her popular Garland of Druids Series for Cerridwen Press. She's now enjoying writing stories filled with magic and romance for her Songs of the Mages Series, also for Cerridwen Press.

Few things in her life have been so satisfying, especially when all her books have a happy ending. Wonderful to make happen. It only gets more interesting when a secondary character demands his very own book. Who would want to deny him? Not Jean!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1771239.Jean_Hart_Stewart
http://www.jeanhartstewart.com/
https://www.facebook.com/authorjeanhartstewart
https://twitter.com/JeanHartStewart

Buy the book at Amazon or MuseItUp Publishing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

LGBT Tuesday: Faking It Season 1 Episode 1

What happens when two teenage girls fake being lesbians in order to become popular at their progressive, gluten-free, protest-loving, liberal high school? Well…MTV’s Faking It is trying to find out.
I first heard about Faking It while watching one of my other guilty pleasure shows: Awkward. Don’t judge me. MTV has been spewing out some hilarious shows full of drama and fun that make Glee and Pretty Little Liars look like watered-down Kool-Aid in comparison. When I saw the preview for Faking it I was both intrigued — and a little apprehensive.
At first I just looked at it and said…Urgh….way to capitalize on the gay-train MTV. You want to look progressive; you want to look HIP, so let’s make a show about fake lesbians….SighBecause fake lesbians played by straight actresses are so representative of the LGBT culture…right? Still, I thought that the concept was original and I should at least check it out because…reasons.
So I decided that I was going to get my popcorn and rage at how ridiculous the show was or at least get myself worked up at how completely wrong on so many levels it was to be sexualizing lesbians as a means to generate publicity for a show…yadda, yadda, yadda. Anyways….here we go!

Opening Scene
We have two best friends Amy (blonde) and Karma (reddish brunette?) who are getting ready for day one of high school (dramatic swoon). Karma is obsessed with being popular and making a name for herself, and she seems intent on dragging Amy along for the ride, because that’s what besties are for. Set in Austin, a “blue oasis in the red sea that is Texas”, alluding to the fact that Austin is pretty much one of the only liberal areas in all of the gun-toting, red-meat eating, (supposedly) gay-hating state, Karma goes on to describe that their school is so liberal, it’s the outcasts who are popular, and those that seek to conform to the norm of high school cheerleader/jock cliques are the losers.

Okay…

Like most teenage girls intent on the quest for popularity, Karma decides to pretend to be something she’s not to get popularity. She decides to be blind, soak up the sympathy and attention while getting a fake tumor removed, and then make a triumphant return to school where she can remain blissfully popular for the trials and tribulation she went through. (I may already hate Karma…)

Throughout the school day, we meet the other cast members, from Lauren –Amy’s future step sister and apparently the quintessential cheerleader type who is not happy to be in such a liberal place — to Shane, a very cute and extremely flamboyant gay guy who’s king of the school apparently. Despite Karma’s failed attempt at blindness, all her dreams come true as she and Amy score invites to Shane’s party. (like…yay!). Oh, and Shane’s trusty side kick Liam is there to make Karma blush and stammer and apparently throw up like she’s never seen a member of the male species before.
But unbeknownst to Karma and Amy, Shane only issued the invite because he thought they were lesbians and he always wanted lesbian friends.Perfect. The party is in full swing a few scenes later, and we find Shane trying to build a friendship with Amy about being in the closet and how awesome it is to be gay. Though Amy insists that she’s straight, Shane refuses to believe her and attempts to turn the light on in her figurative closet.
We also run across Lauren as she’s attempting to right the natural order of things and make herself into the Homecoming Queen. Shane doesn’t like Lauren’s sassy back-talk so he decides to take matters into his own hands.He nominates his new lesbian friends as the “preferred” Homecoming Queen and Queen nominees to force them to accept themselves and be happy about being out and proud!
They decide to roll with it, Karma being way more thrilled about their new found popularity than Amy, and she lets Karma know it by huffing and puffing and having a general bad attitude all day while Karma is flitting around answering interviews and fun questions about what it’s like to be a lesbian. Being best friends is really hard because in order to make Karma happy, Amy has to pretend to be a lesbian, and she (unlike Karma) is uncomfortable about lying about it. They fight, and it takes the cute Liam Booker to make Karma see that Amy’s friendship means more to her than being popular (thank god!).
Amy decides that to be a good friend to Karma, she will continue the charade and be Karma’s fake girlfriend anyway. Amy’s newfound commitment to “the plan” is tested when Lauren confronts the pair during an assembly and pep rally for the Homecoming race, claiming that they are fake lesbians. To prove the truth of the situation, Amy kisses Karma amid cheers from an entire gymnasium full of students and falling confetti.

Awwww….

The kiss seems to shake something loose for Amy, and you can almost see the realization click in Amy’s eyes as she gazes at Karma. She’s a full blown lesbian! They really aren’t lying; she loves Karma and the loving look in Karma’s eyes hint at the same feelings! Karma leans in close and whispers “Wow, way to sell it!” and all the self-discovery and love in Amy’s eyes turns to hurt as she realizes that Karma didn’t feel what she did. It’s one-sided…Now what?

 Final Thoughts
Despite my misgivings, I found myself in a rage — not because of the content-but because I had to wait an entire week for the next episode. So now I’m hooked. Thanks, MTV. And I will be bringing an in-depth recap and analysis about each episode of Faking It as it happens. I want to be thinking of some questions while I look at this show though. It’s obviously not going to be super realistic. I can’t imagine this sort of high school happening even in San Francisco or Key West. However if I suspend my disbelief for a minute, then I can definitely get behind Faking It for creating some sort of satire on American High School culture, and appreciate it for what it is. A step forward.
Maybe the show does capitalize on girls making out to get ratings, but it also wouldn’t have been on-air a decade ago. Maybe this quaint liberal high-school with lesbian Homecoming queens and a stoner “in-crowd” won’t be such a fantasy in 50 years. Either way…it’s entertaining as hell. Hilarious puns and witty writing, characters that had me at hello, and quirky stories that bring new and original ideas to the table…this is the silver screen at its semi-finest. It’s certainly introduced some excellent new words to me vocabulary…haha…vagitarians
Okay, so this episode was about set-up. I get that. We needed to find out who everyone was and why we should care in less than 25 minutes. So there was a lot to cover. For some reason, it seems that MTV is trying to make Amy the “butch” by making her style-challenged. Sigh. She wears overalls and a dingy t-shirt to a party. She wears ratty hair in a side ponytail and always is wearing unflattering jeans and sweatshirts.
Clichéd style aside, Amy seems to be my favorite character so far. She’s at least mostly honest and seems to just want her best friend to be happy.Karma, on the other hand, is the girl I hated in high school. She’s a social butterfly but friends with no one because she just wants to be popular. As soon as you aren’t popular, you are beneath her notice and unworthy of attention. She’s lying, conniving, and just hurt her best friend terribly. Hopefully she grows on me or this show could get hard to watch.

What do you think?

Is Faking It too unrealistic for you to enjoy? Do you find any of the characters stereotypical or clichéd? What were your first impressions of Amy, Karma, Shane, Liam, or Lauren?