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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tall, Dark & Paranormal (ADULT titles) Release day spotlight and GIVEAWAY

TD&P RDL Banner
 

I am so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for the TALL, DARK, AND PARANORMAL Box Set (ADULT titles) with 10 full-length Paranormal Romances by 10 bestselling authors! This box set is only $.99 for a limited time! Go grab your copy NOW! 

                                      


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  ABOUT the Tall, Dark & Paranormal Box Set:  


***Ten Thrilling Tales of Sexy Alpha Bad Boys – from some of the hottest names in paranormal romance, this $.99 limited-time boxed set has something for everyone, from werewolves to vampires, ghosts to demons, and witches to wizards. With over 825,000 words in these ten full-length novels, you’ll spend hours falling in love with each of these wickedly hot heroes.***

CRESCENT MOON by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author  Lori Handeland… A cryptozoologist travels to New Orleans to investigate whispers of a wolf in the Honey Island Swamp.    

FOREVER FREED by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Laura Kaye… A reclusive, empathic vampire falls in love with a woman he planned to kill, and must fight his ancient guilt, bloodlust, and an old vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear.    

SINS OF THE FLESH by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro… Mick Carrera is a mercenary hired to eliminate problems, but the genetically engineered woman with the superhuman powers is nothing like what he expected.    

SPELLBOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Opal Carew… What is Lucinda, a tenth level wizard, to do when Destiny pairs her with a man who is utterly domineering, overwhelmingly masculine, incredibly irresistible and, according to her most trusted friend, extremely dangerous?    

SPELL BOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Julian… A warrior born to defend. A young witch in need of protection. A dangerous desire neither of them expected.    

HAUNTING A COWBOY - Brand New from USA Today Bestselling Author Randi Alexander… When a ranch foreman hires a ghost whisperer to handle the spirit that’s haunting him, the attraction between them is…supernatural  

HUNTRESS FOR HIRE by USA Today Bestselling Author Terry Spear… He's bound to get her killed, so why does the huntress desire the vampire-turned hunter more than life itself?    

DEAD SEXY by USA Today Bestselling Author Paige Tyler… Can her love save him from a curse worse than death?    

ASMODEUS: DEMON OF LUST by Bestselling Author Sara Humphreys… When Kai Kelly discovers an unusual ring in the attic it leads to much more than she bargained for. She may not realize what she has in her possession, but the boys in Hell sure got the message.    

BEAUTY AND THE BEST by Bestselling Author Judi Fennell… Reclusive artist Todd Best hasn't produced anything since the death of his wife…until aspiring romance novelist Jolie Gardener enters his life and turns it upside down.

TD&P Front Cover
 

Add it to your Goodreads Today!

  About The Authors: 


Handeland Lori Handeland is a two time RITA Award winner and the New York Times bestselling author of the paranormal romance series, The Nightcreature Novels, as well as the urban fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles and the historical fantasy series, Shakespeare Undead.  She also writes western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.          


Author Photo  Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink, Heroes, and Hearts of the Anemoi series.          




Pineiro  New York Times and USA Today bestseller Caridad Pineiro is a Jersey Girl who just wants to write, travel, and spend more time with family and friends. Caridad is the author of over 40 novels/novellas and loves romance novels, super heroes, TV and cooking.          



Opal Carew  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Opal Carew is the author of erotic romance stories in which she makes offerings of hope, success, and love to her readers. As Amber Carew, she writes futuristic, urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and contemporary romance.          



Julian  New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Julian writes sophisticated, sultry romance for adventurous readers. She is happily married to a Springsteen fanatic and the mother of two sons who introduced her to the joys of Slipknot, Warped Tour and never-ending headaches.          



Randi Alexander author pic  USA Today bestselling author Randi Alexander writes smokin' hot romance with heroes who'll have you begging to ride off into the sunset with them. Her emotional love stories sweep you off your feet, so prepare yourself to be rode hard and put up satisfied on the sexier side of happily ever-after!        


Spear  USA Today bestselling Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal romance novels and a medieval Highland romances series. Heart of the Wolf was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly's Best Book of the Year.            




Tyler  Paige Tyler is a USA Today Bestselling Author of more than fifty books, including the new action-packed paranormal/romantic-suspense X-OPS and SWAT (Special Wolf Alpha Team) Series, both from Sourcebooks.            




Sara Humphreys  Sara Humphreys is an award-winning bestselling novelist of paranormal and contemporary romance. The mother of four teenage boys, Sara has been married to her college sweetie for twenty years. She believes in true love, great sex, and happily ever afters.          


Fanell  Award-winning, best-selling author Judi Fennell loves to laugh and loves love, so it's no surprise there's a little bit of each in every book she writes. Check out her fairy tales with a twist.            






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GIVEAWAY 
 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Fulcrum Art Gallery (review)



I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to browse through the remarkable breadth of pictures available at the Fulcrum Gallery and to be offered one of them in exchange for an honest review.  There are a variety of prints available, and one can get lost for hours browsing through the selections.  It is important to make sure that you are specific in your requests since, for example, a request for dolphins could garner either pictures featuring a sports team, a particular personality or a cetacean.  If your preference is for the classics, there are copies of famous paintings or one can order scenes of beautiful geographical locations.  There are photographs or paintings in various sizes and, if you are stuck for ideas, just start typing in a word and suggestions will pop up.  You may access the gallery through this link


Once you decide what subject you want, there are multiple ways to customize.  Choose the size of the print first as that will affect the rest of your options.  You can choose a type of frame (and there are quite a few variations in appearance and pricing), various matting options, and a selection of coverings which can be glass, plexiglas, glare protection or not, even a museum quality option.  Be advised that the appearance of the frame changes but it is still ultimately plastic.

Make sure that you sign up for the e-mail offers, especially since a coupon is offered immediately.  This offers a fun and economical way to decorate your space, if money is extremely tight, you can even forgo the frame and just purchase an attractive print or two.  Delivery was prompt and notification through e-mail is very timely. 

I was delighted to discover this wonderful resource and definitely will consider using Fulcrum Gallery again if I need to decorate my walls or buy someone a beautiful and thoughtful gift.

From the pictures below, you can see what an excellent job of packing they do and they obviously really want you to enjoy the print you receive as they offer a very nice guarantee.  The only thing that I do offer as a caveat is to make sure you get a ruler out and evaluate the sizes as I tend to be a little oblivious to how large things are so I was a little surprised when I unpacked the box and discovered that the picture was a little smaller than I had anticipated but I LOVE the print and it makes a great addition to my collection of big cat pictures! 








Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Escape by Mary Balogh (review)

                                         

5 out of 5 stars


The Escape by Mary Balogh is part of the ‘Survivors’ Club’ series and centers on Sir Benedict (Ben) Harper, who has barely survived the war but is still struggling with his severe injuries, some of which have made it virtually impossible for him to walk. His depression and aimlessness leads him to visit his sister, Beatrice, where he makes a less than salubrious impression upon widow Samantha McKay who has escaped the strictures of her sister-in-law, only to have her outing ruined by the apparently boorish man. Further acquaintance gradually allows each of them to realize that although they each have hurdles to overcome, life may still be worth exploring. Samantha’s desperate decision to change her life may either be the best or worst gamble she has ever made and Ben must decide whether to explore the possibilities of that become available to him or continue along the path that he is on.

This beautiful historical romance continues to demonstrate this author’s ability to present individuals tortured by their experiences who find a way to claw their way to happiness. The intense and heartwrenching after-effects of war has a pervasive influence on both those who fought directly and those who are at home, and this story exquisitely depicts the journey that two wounded souls take. I love the way each of them must learn to be their own advocate, and reach for a dream that seems unreachable. Vows made and honored can either be a source of strength or a prison, and the story explores the importance of deciding what one is comfortable with accepting or fighting against, even as it emphasizes that there are multiple aspects to any story which colors one’s perception. My favorite aspect of this author’s works is that the characters are definitely not perfect but find a way to face their failings and grow beyond them, making difficult decisions that may not conform with society’s dictates but which are right for them. I enjoyed the opportunity to get a slightly different view of events touched upon in other books of this series and look forward to reading more about the unique members of the Survivors’ Club.

© Night Owl Reviews 

I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review. 




Other titles in the Survivor's Club series:


          

My review of The Arrangement is at this link




Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Coming Woman by Karen J. Hicks (spotlight, excerpt and GIVEAWAY)

                                             


At a time when Hillary Clinton is considering another run for the presidency, it might be helpful to consider the first woman who ran for president—and at a time when women were prohibited from voting!

The Coming Woman: A Novel Based on the Life of the Infamous Feminist, Victoria Woodhull, by Karen J. Hicks, is a novel based on the life of feminist Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President, 50 years before women could even vote!

Running for President wasn’t Victoria’s only first as a woman. She was also the first to own a successful Wall Street firm, the first to publish a successful national newspaper, and the first to head the two-million-member Spiritualist Association.

She was the first woman to enter the Senate Judiciary Committee chambers to petition for woman's suffrage, her argument changing the entire focus of the suffragist movement by pointing out that the 14th and 15th Amendments already gave women the vote.

In her campaign for the Presidency, Victoria Woodhull boldly addressed many of the issues we still face today: equal pay for equal work; freedom in love; corporate greed and political corruption fueled by powerful lobbyists; and the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor, to name only a few. Her outspoken and common-sense ideas may shed a new perspective on the parallel conundrums of today’s world.

This bold, beautiful, and sexually progressive woman dared to take on society and religion. To make an example of the hypocrisy in what Mark Twain dubbed The Gilded Age, she exposed the extramarital affairs of the most popular religious figure of the day (Henry Ward Beecher). This led to her persecution and imprisonment and the longest, most infamous trial of the 19th century. But it did not stop her fight for equality.

Victoria’s epic story, set in the late 1800s, comes to life in a modern, fictional style, while staying true to the actual words and views of the many well-known characters.


The Coming Woman: A Novel Based on the Life of the Infamous Feminist, Victoria Woodhull


A Novel

Based on the Life
of the Infamous Feminist,
Victoria Woodhull


KAREN J. HICKS


Excerpt:


Chapter 1

The early spring drizzle on Great Jones Street doesn’t deter newsboys from hawking the April 2, 1870 headlines up and down the thoroughfare between the beer gardens and dance halls of the Bowery and the opulent emporiums of Broadway.

“Petticoat Politician Victoria C. Woodhull to run for President!”

“Indian raids in Wyoming!”

“Sergeant Patrick Gass of Lewis and Clark expedition dies at ninety-eight!”

The heavy, mahogany front door at No. 17 flies open. Victoria Woodhull, lithe and fair at thirty, skips lightly down the steps of the elegant four-story brownstone. Her bobbed and curled brown hair bounces gently against her high forehead. A diamond ring glitters on her right thumb.

“Queen of Finance takes on Government!” yells a newsboy.

Victoria smiles as she hails him. He hands her a New York Herald.

“So Mrs. Woodhull is to run for President, is she?” she asks. “What do you think of that?”

“No offense or nuthin’ to you as a woman, Ma’am, but it’s plum crazy.” The boy looks down and shuffles his feet.

Another newsboy waves and calls out, “Mornin’, Mrs. Woodhull! You’re stirrin’ things up for sure today!” He runs on yelling: “Bewitching Broker in dash to the White House!”

The mortified boy on the steps turns as red as the fresh rose pinned to the black velvet band at Victoria’s throat. She pats his cheek; her laughter is soft and melodic.

“Don’t be embarrassed, son. I’m sure you won’t be the only one of your opinion. And I shouldn’t have tricked you. Here’s an extra penny to apologize.”

“Thank you, Ma’am!” The boy scoots away, calling out: “Asa Brainard pitches fifteenth straight win for Cincinnati Red Stockings! New York Knickerbockers can’t stop ‘em!”

Victoria skips back up the steps, flipping through the newspaper. Glancing up as she opens the door, she spies tall, scarecrow-looking Stephen Pearl Andrews skirting puddles, hurrying toward her. His bony nose, bushy gray hair, and grizzled beard glisten with droplets of rain. His calf-length black coat flaps wildly in the breeze.  Victoria grins and goes to meet him, blue eyes sparkling like sunlit waves. She takes his arm and Andrews’ wildness softens at her touch. He pats her hand.

“So did the Herald print your announcement?” he asks.

“The entire thing!  And Ashley Cole wrote the perfect headline and introduction!”

“You are on your way to your destiny, la mia stella.”

Inside the house, Victoria walks past tall vases of fragrant flowers and a staircase that curls upward to the second floor.  She stops at a marble statue of the famous Greek orator Demosthenes—classic tunic, laced sandals, laurel wreath on his head. 

“Demosthenes’ promise to me as a child—that I would live in a mansion in a city surrounded by ships and rule my people—It’s all coming true! How do you say thank you in Greek, Pearl?”

“Efharisto.”

“Efharisto, Demosthenes! I will fight for freedom for our people as you did for the Greeks.” She pecks Andrews on the cheek. 

“Demosthenes’ prophecy has driven my entire life, Pearl, but you are his corporeal representation and have given me the courage to act on it. So thank you, too.”

“Yes, yes. Let’s look at this announcement now.”

Victoria opens the Herald to page eight, and Andrews reads the headline aloud. “’The Coming Woman, Victoria C. Woodhull, to race for the White House: What she will and what she won't do . . . New ideas on government.’” 
He beams proudly. “Victoria, a Golden Age is upon us, and you are going to lead it!”

“Come, Pearl, we must tell the family!”  She takes Andrews’ arm and hurries down the hallway, a spring in her step. Andrews reluctantly allows himself to be dragged along. The cacophony of voices increases as they near the kitchen, and Andrews slows his stride even more. Victoria chuckles.  “Come now, you’re not going to the gallows.”

“I think I would rather,” Andrews mutters.

They enter the kitchen, where Victoria’s mother Roxanna Claflin, a short, stern woman with tightly curled gray hair, sits at the foot of the table, carping with a heavy German accent. She glares at Andrews through round, wire-rimmed glasses.  Victoria’s quarrelsome father Buck, whose sharp features are made more ominous by a black patch over his left eye, is at the table’s head. The long, wooden benches along each side hold over a dozen sisters, husbands, and children.

Victoria’s youngest sister Tennessee looks up excitedly. Tennie is twenty-five, shorter than Victoria, and fashionably plump. Her dark hair is an unruly mop of short, tousled curls, and her eyes resemble deep wells of melted chocolate.

“Did they print it?” she asks.

“Every word!” Victoria says.

Colonel James Blood, Victoria’s dark and dashing Civil War hero husband, walks over and kisses his wife. She kisses him back, and then hugs her daughter Zulu Maud. The girl’s eyes light up with adoration, looking like a sunny, summer sky.  Victoria tries to hug her son Byron as well, but he jerks away, spilling his milk. Byron is physically large for his fifteen years, but mentally he is still a five-year-old. He grins a toothless grin as Zulu Maud sops up the milk. The family begins to bicker.

“My god, people!” Tennie yells, clapping for attention.  “Shut up for five minutes and let Victoria read the paper! History is being made here.”

“Well, whoop-dee-do and hullabaloo. Who gives a hoot.” Victoria’s sister Utica stands. Wobbles. She’s only twenty-nine years old, but alcohol and drugs have stolen her beauty and zest. She staggers out.

Roxanna pushes back from the table, her face blotched with anger. She glares at the Colonel. “It’s you, Mr. Hellbound Blood!” She turns her fury on Andrews next. “And you and your passel of Free-lovers! You’ve led my baby onto this path that will destroy her and all of us along with her!”

“Oh for heaven’s sakes,” sister Polly snaps. “Victoria is not going to the White House. What party will support her? We’re just poor people from Ohio.”

“Mr. Lincoln was a poor boy from Illinois,” Pearl counters. “And look what a fine president he turned out to be.”

“Yeah, he was so fine someone shot him,” Polly says.

“That’s what I mean! You want someone to shoot you, Victoria?”  Roxanna rushes out, wailing hysterically in German.

“My god, Sis, you better read before somebody else has a hissy fit.” 

“I can’t. Not with Mama so upset.”

She hands the paper to Tennie, who skims the page.

“My god, look at the end! ’Victory for Victoria in 1872!’  Whatta brick ol’ Ashley is!”

“Miss Claflin, it’s unladylike to use such slang,” Pearl scolds. “But a fine prediction nonetheless. You must tell your friend I applaud him. I couldn’t have written a better introduction to Victoria’s announcement.”

“At least not in so few words,” Tennie teases.  She hands the paper to Colonel Blood.

“Ashley probably should have left out this part about Victoria winning if women are allowed to vote. The male zeitgeist will bury a suffrage amendment for sure now,” Blood says.

“I agree,” Andrews says. “I’m sure he meant it as a vote of confidence, but politicos are threatened by anyone with an intelligent thought and the courage to voice it.  Especially if that person is a woman.”

“Well, they’re just going to have to get used to it,” Victoria says. “I’m going to pursue this to the end and with the Spirits’ blessing I will win.”



Chapter 2

The same morning, inside the redbrick mansion at 10 Washington Street, one of the few remaining homes of wealth in this once fashionable neighborhood near Wall Street, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt breakfasts with his dutiful son William. Each has his head buried in a section of the Herald. The shipping and railroad tycoon is the richest, most powerful man in America, and his appearance reflects it. At seventy-eight, he is six-foot-one and still slender and handsome. His receding white hair is carefully groomed, and sideburns feather down his jaw line. His black suit is elegantly tailored, and the white ascot at his throat sets off piercing black eyes.

Portly William Vanderbilt scratches his bushy, mutton-chop sideburns as he reads. He frowns when his father gooses the pretty, young Irish maid who pours tea.

“Father, act your age!”

“I’ll act any way I mad-dog want to, Billy Boy.”

At forty-nine, William is a shrewd businessman who runs Vanderbilt’s railroads, but he wilts under his father’s gaze and goes back to reading. Suddenly he whistles.

“Well, well, did you know about this, Father?”

“What's that, Billy Boy?”

“Your little friend's sister— Listen to this: ‘I therefore claim the right to speak for the un-enfranchised women of the country, and believing that the prejudices that still exist against women in public life will soon disappear, I announce myself candidate for the Presidency.'”

The Commodore laughs uproariously.

“I wouldn't laugh too hard. She wants to redistribute the country's wealth by nationalizing the railroads. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.”

 “It's mighty fortunate you made the wise decision to marry me last year instead of that tramp sister of hers, Cornele,” Mrs. Frank Vanderbilt says, walking over.  She is a tall woman and looks more feminine than her name implies.  "You'd be right in the middle of the ridicule.”

“For once we agree, Mrs. Vanderbilt,” William says. “It's bad enough he sponsors their banking firm.”

“Billy, yer a goddamn blatherskite!”

“I don't want them coming here anymore!” Frank straightens into a queenly pose and faces her husband with bravado.  “Talking to spirits is evil. Let the dead rest.”

“Confound it all, Mrs. Woodhull brought money into this house consulting those Spirits! We might have become paupers last September if she and Tennessee hadn't warned me that Fisk, Gould, and the President were plotting to corner the gold.”

“Mr. Grant wasn't involved—”

“Don't be a blockhead, Billy! You think his own brother-in-law would act without the General's knowledge for god’s sake?”

“I'm not going to argue with you, Father, but how long are those hussies going to make you pay for that fluke of advice?”

“Them gals don't make me do nuthin’! I gave ‘em a start, but they’ve made their own way. Got more sense than all my sons put together!” He yanks the napkin from his collar, throws it on the table, and strides out.

~ ~ ~

The pandemonium of trading—mostly of Erie, Harlem, and Northern Pacific railroad stocks—stops when Cornelius Vanderbilt strides into the New York Stock Exchange. A flick of his hand resumes the frenzy. Since the day is gloomy, the wide front doors are propped open to let in light and fresh air. Square columns rise to arches above the mezzanine, where full-length, domed windows provide additional light. The elegant fleurs-de-lis décor seems at odds with the raucous business being conducted by some six hundred traders who mill about the vast open floor.  Vanderbilt maneuvers his way through the frenzy, stopping to shake Blood’s hand.

“Tell Victoria she pumped my blood up good this morning,” he tells Blood. “The reaction of my wife and son to her announcement added considerable spice to my breakfast.”

“I’ll let her know. She’s serious about this, you know, and as Cole said in his article, she has the merits of novelty, enterprise, courage, and determination.”

“That she does. And I’m sure she’ll tackle this competition with the same gusto she brought to Wall Street. I’m right proud to know the three of you.”

“Thank you, Sir. Are you coming to the reception?”

“Nah, can’t make it. Got me a race in the park and game of whist. But tell the gals I’ll be cheerin’ ‘em on.”

“I’ll do that, Sir. Your support means a lot to them.”

The Commodore pats Blood’s shoulder and continues toward the ticker station that clacks noisily at the end of the room. Jim Fisk, partner in Erie Railroad and at thirty-five already one of Wall Street’s power players, maneuvers toward him. Fisk’s roly-poly physique matches his jolly personality. His short, wavy red hair and walrus mustache accent his ruddy complexion.  As Vanderbilt stops at the ticker station, Fisk slaps him on the back.

“Capital day for the market, Commodore!”

“Thanks for the review, Jimbo.” Vanderbilt shrugs the pudgy hand off his shoulder and studies the ticker. “You hain’t been paintin’ the tape, have you?”

“Nah, they did great by themselves today.” Fisk says, not the least offended by the insinuation that he has manipulated stock.  He laughs heartily and fires up a cigar.

“You gonna smoke that mad-dog thing in here, Jimbo, pay up.”  Vanderbilt points a thumb toward a large box labeled fines.
Fisk’s crystal blue eyes sparkle with impish exuberance as he drops five dollars in the fine box.

The clock strikes noon. Trading stops.  With a final wave to his "subjects," Vanderbilt is gone.
~ ~ ~

Morning showers explode into an afternoon downpour as brokers, bankers, businessmen, and reporters flock to the offices of Woodhull, Claflin and Company at 44 Broad in the Wall Street district. A black marble countertop separates the reception area from several wood-and-glass cubicles where business is conducted. A sign on the counter reads: all gentlemen will state their business and then retire at once.  The scent from urns filled with red roses removes any trace of mustiness the rain has brought. Exquisite crystal chandeliers dispel the day’s damp gloom.

In her private office at the rear, Victoria replaces the wilted red rose at her throat with a fresh one from a vase. Smiling, she strolls to the luxurious reception area where men lounge on dark leather sofas and gold-and-green upholstered chairs set on plush forest-green velvet carpet. A portrait of Cornelius Vanderbilt hangs over the mantle, along with a framed needlepoint tapestry that reads: "Simply To Thy Cross I Cling." The other walls hold original oil paintings, including Frederick Church's ethereal Aurora Borealis. Silver buckets are set up around the room, each holding an iced bottle of champagne.

Stephen Pearl Andrews circulates, clearly in his element as he works the crowd.  Colonel Blood talks with a group of bankers.  Jolly Jim Fisk has his showgirl mistress draped on his arm. His partner at Erie, Jay Gould, stands nearby, funereal-looking even in a stylish gray suit. In sharp contrast to his friend, Gould is rail-thin and reserved. He consults his gold pocket watch as Fisk joins several reporters—including Ashley Cole of the Herald, Jim McDermott of the Sunday Press, and Johnnie Green, City Editor of the Sun—who congregate around Tennie.  Luther Challis, a handsome banker with unruly black hair, rubs Tennie’s leg suggestively with his black silk umbrella.

“Mr. Challis, you are wetting my ankles!” Tennie scolds. She lifts her tailored navy skirt to show the wet top of her short boot. The men’s surprise at her immodesty gives way to admiring whistles. Grinning, Tennie drops the skirt, adjusts the bright red ascot at her throat, and holds out a cigar for the flustered Challis to light.

 “Lemme ask you gentlemen somethin’,” she says. “Why is a free man a noble being but a free woman a contemptible one? And why do females fawn upon their male masters, when they might instead lead them by the nose wherever they please?”

“You can lead me anywhere, Miss Claflin,” Johnnie Green flirts. He is a smoothly shaven Portuguese man, just turned thirty. Tennie returns his ogle, but Victoria’s appearance interrupts the banter. 

Tennie jumps to her feet, sweeps an arm toward her sister.
“Gentlemen, the next President of the United States, my sister and partner, Victoria Claflin Woodhull!” 

The room erupts in cheers, applause, and one or two whistles and catcalls. Reporters scribble their impressions.

“Mrs. Woodhull,” Jim Fisk calls out.  “Some people think you must be a homely, man-eating spinster because only that type of woman would make such a spectacle of herself.”

“That's funny,” Luther Challis counters. “I heard she must be a beautiful courtesan because only that type of woman would welcome such attention.”

“And yet here I am, gentlemen, just a hard-working businesswoman.”

“Do you really think you can win the White House, Mrs. Woodhull?” Tribune reporter Whitelaw Reid asks.

Victoria glances at the slender man who looks much older than his thirty years. His hair flips up at the top of his ears and on his nape, and his walrus mustache droops below the corners of his thin mouth. Although some consider Whitelaw handsome, his long, pointed nose, sharp-edged jaw, and narrow eyes are disconcerting to Victoria. 

“Of course I do, Mr. Reid. Why else would I run? As the physical and spiritual worlds become one, it is time for political action guided by Higher Powers. With Ralph Waldo Emerson’s eminence, I say our country is ready for a transcendentalist at its head.”

“So you will lead us with Spirits?” Reid probes.

“Mr. Lincoln did, so why shouldn’t I? But I also have an agile mind and have studied all the philosophies of government so that I might mold my own doctrine from those portions that make sense to me. In politics, like with religion, it behooves us to be aware of credos but not follow them in toto. We must create our own truth as we apprehend it. I assure you that I will spend my fortune advocating my views on equal and just government.” She smiles mysteriously. “And I may soon have a surprise—”

The reporters immediately shout over each other for details. 

Victoria's eyes twinkle, but she refuses to comment. The newsmen turn to Tennie . . . Blood . . . Andrews. But they are as much in the dark as the rest of them.  Victoria gestures toward a table filled with fruit, cheeses, and pastries. 

“Delmonico’s fabulous Chef Ranhofer has prepared a most bountiful spread for us, so everyone please enjoy.”

~ ~ ~

The rain has left New York City by dusk, although the streets still glisten as Victoria’s white horses pull her white closed carriage majestically around ruts and puddles. They stop at the rain-slicked corner of Beaver and William Streets, where the brick building at No. 56 is home to the elegant Delmonico’s restaurant. Delmonico’s, the first U.S. restaurant to offer an ala carté menu, is famous for its succulent steak. It is also the favorite of the Wall Street crowd due to its convenient location and its installation of a stock market ticker tape.

Victoria and Tennie alight from the carriage and climb the few steps between columns imported from the ruins of Pompeii. They inhale the mouth-watering aromas that waft onto the street and peer briefly through the front doors’ etched-glass windows before entering.  The well-heeled diners frown and whisper as the sisters make themselves comfortable at a prominent table. Mr. Delmonico hurries over.

“Mrs. Woodhull, Miss Claflin, how nice to see you.”

“Hi, Mr. D,” Tennie says. “We’ll have two tomato soups, please.”

“It’s after six, Mrs. Woodhull,” Mr. Delmonico says to Victoria.  

“Yes, thanks to your delectable catering, our party ran later than expected.”

“Sis was too busy jawin’ to eat any of your fine spread, and I thought a little soup would be the perfect topper for all them rich delights,” Tennie says.

Victoria cringes at her sister’s grammar but doesn’t correct her, knowing from experience it is futile.

 “I, uh—”  Mr. Delmonico looks uncomfortable and crooks his arm toward the women. “Here, let me escort you out. We can pretend you just stopped to have a word with me.”

“We take our lunch here every day!" Victoria says, stunned. "We engage in business with these men regularly.” She glances scornfully around, turns back to the restaurateur. “I have just paid you several hundred dollars for our event, and we would like some soup. Are you saying that because we are not accompanied by a puppet in pants you won’t serve us?”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Woodhull. It’s not me, you understand. The law says no unescorted women after six.”

Victoria’s cheeks spot red; her eyes flash. Tennie, however, hops to her feet and sashays out. Victoria and Mr. Delmonico watch curiously as she hails their coachman. Everyone stares as the tiny African-American man in scarlet velvet suit and gleaming knee-high patent leather boots nervously follows Tennie to the table. She motions him into a vacant chair and smiles sweetly at Delmonico.
 “Tomato soup for three, please.”

I’ll have that brought out right away, Miss Claflin,” the restaurateur says, biting back a laugh. “And it’s on the house so no one can say I sold you food.”

The coachman looks around at the sea of gaping and glaring white faces; his forehead glistens with sweat. Tennie pats his hand and winks at a snobbish couple at a nearby table, causing them to sputter with rage.

“Why must a woman have an escort to be reputable?" Victoria fumes. "What a comment upon the utter falsity and double standard of the social conditions under which we live! We should have just left and never come back!”

“My god, Sis, lighten up. Like he said, it ain’t his fault. When you’re President it’s the first law you can change.”


The Coming Woman: A Novel Based on the Life of the Infamous Feminist, Victoria Woodhull was published by Sartoris Literary Group in August 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Historical

Praise for The Coming Woman:

"If you have a heart, if you have a soul, Karen Hicks' The Coming Woman will make you fall in love with Victoria Woodhull." - Kinky Friedman, author & Governor of the Heart of Texas

"What kind of confidence would it take for a woman to buck the old boy's club of politics in 1872? More than 140 years pre-Hillary, there was Victoria Woodhull. This book takes you back with a breathtaking, present-tense bird's eye view into a time when women's liberation was primarily confined to one woman's very capable, independent mind. I couldn't put it down." - Ruth Buzzi, Golden Globe Award winner and Television Hall of Fame inductee

"The Coming Woman is a great read and a long overdue biography written beautifully by Ms. Hicks. Victoria Woodhull comes alive in each and every paragraph; a vital strength and spirit in Woodhull propels her to run for president of the United States when women weren’t even allowed to vote! What a woman, what a book! An inspiring must read for every woman and any adventurous men! Thank you, Ms. Hicks for finally telling her colorful story." - Jennifer Lee Pryor, author of Tarnished Angel: A Memoir and President, Indigo, Inc.

About the Author:


 Karen J. Hicks is retired and lives in Henderson, Nevada. She recently published her second novel, The Coming Woman, based on the life of the infamous feminist Victoria C. Woodhull, who was the first woman to run for U.S. President. Her first book was a self-help book titled The Tao of a Uncluttered Life. Karen served as in-house editor for author Steve Allen and has written several screenplays, as well as poetry, short stories, and essays. To learn more, go to http://www.karenjhicks.com/

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GIVEAWAY

Please leave a comment with a valid e-mail address about a way you have gotten around the rules without confrontation to be eligible to win a Kindle e-book version of this title.  Winner will be chosen using Random.org after Sept. 29, 2014.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hathor Legacy by Deborah Bailey (Guest post, excerpt, review and GIVEAWAY)




I am delighted to have a guest post by Deborah A. Bailey, about a subject that always fascinates me since it varies so much from person to person...




What is your writing process?
 by Deborah A. Bailey


When it comes to writing, every author has their own way of getting words on the page. Once you find the way that works for you, there's less struggle. But, of course, the challenge is to find the process that allows you to be productive and to enjoy what you're doing.

I used to be one of those people who ran into blocks and dry spells. But now, as soon as I get an idea, I jot it down. I used to stop working on one project to jump to another, then nothing got completed. Now I keep a file on my computer with notes for future stories. When it's time to start something new, I take out my notes.

Usually a conversation will pop into my mind first, then additional details about the characters will fill in. I might write several scenes before I start the book. None of them may end up in the finished book, but they help me to get a better idea of the characters and the setting.

For me, writing the first draft is the easiest part. I aim for 2000-4,000 words per day, depending on how much time I have available. During that time there's very little editing. I just write. My outline helps to keep me on track. But I have been known to deviate from the plan if the characters lead me in a different direction!

When I'm finished, I let the book sit for about a week or so. Then I give it a read from the beginning. If I've made notes along the way, I check those as well. It's time for re-working and re-writing. I can fix things that really don't work, or expand on things that work better than expected.

Editing is my least favorite part because I'm a recovering perfectionist. I have to force myself to stop the tinkering and get the book done. Once I'm satisfied, I turn it over to my editor and beta readers. At that point, I check my file of notes and start working on ideas for the next book. That way, I never stop writing. I find that if I stop for too long, it's hard to get the momentum back.

I used obsess over writing faster, but now I accept that my book will take as long as it takes. It's more important to enjoy the process.




                                                 


Hathor Legacy: Burn

by Deborah A. Bailey

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BLURB:

On the planet, Hathor, an old threat re-emerges that may destroy the fragile alliance between the Guardians and Novacorp.  When Nadira is called to investigate a rash of fires throughout the city, she discovers the Deshtu, another group with PSI powers who have been purposely kept in the shadows.

Working to uncover the source of the fires, Nadira learns the brutal truth about the origin of the Guardians. The Guardian Elders have plans to make Nadira more powerful, and she may be forced to sever her psychic connection to her lover, Jonathan Keel.

When an unexpected ally gives Jonathan information about the Deshtu that connects them to the fires, he becomes a convenient scapegoat for the opposing factions. Nadira puts her life on the line to solve the crime, while the Elders make their move to remove Jonathan from her life forever.

As time runs out, the Guardians prepare for a clash with Novacorp that could plunge the planet into chaos, and a final betrayal forces Nadira to risk everything to save herself and Hathor.

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EXCERPT



A blast from a stunner shot out, illuminating the darkness. It hit the wall above Nadira's head and sent out a shower of sparks.

Out of the darkness, a woman dressed in grey coveralls ran out of the shadows. In her fist she clutched a long, metal cylinder. The woman raised her arm to strike, as a screeching cry that sounded like the whine of a mining drill escaped her lips.

Nadira reached out and sent an energy blast in the woman's direction, sending her flying. She fell and slid across the floor.

In front of her, on the other side of the warehouse, she saw three figures struggling under the overhead lights. One of them was dressed in security garb. "Lt. Lin!" As she ran towards them, Nadira saw the glint of an oversized, mine-issue stunner, then bright blue light shooting out.

A man leaped towards her. Gripping a smaller stunner that fit in the palm of his hand, he aimed at her head. She sent out a blast that pushed him back. He crumpled on the ground, gasping.

Piercing screams echoed through the area, followed by stunner fire. Lt. Lin stood in the lighted area.

When she spotted Nadira, she rushed towards her. "Nadira! Watch out!"

But before she could get far, two bright blue and white stunner blasts hit her. She swung and managed to get off a shot before she went down.

"No!" She moved towards her, but stopped short as four figures emerged out of the shadows. All she could see was the outlines, and hear the rustle of their coveralls.

"Who are you?" A gruff, male voice demanded.





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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


As a little girl when Deborah A Bailey was watching Star Trek and Twilight Zone, she was writing and drawing her own superheroine comics. When she grew up, she continued to write and followed her love of technology into a career as a computer programmer and developer. But writing was never far away from her heart, so over the years she wrote and published stories set on other worlds and in Earth's future. Ultimately she fulfilled a lifelong dream and completed her first novel in the Hathor Legacy universe, Hathor Legacy: Outcast.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and her work has been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun. In 2013 she published a short story collection, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. In her "other" life, she's a freelance writer who's published three non-fiction books and countless articles that have appeared in print and online. Visit her blog for writing tips, interviews and updates.

Website

Twitter

Amazon Author page



                                     


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GIVEAWAY




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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here



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My review:

3.75

Hathor Legacy: Burn by Deborah A. Bailey is the exciting sequel to Hathor Legacy: Outcast and continues the unfolding saga of Nadira, powerful and talented Guardian Sentry, and her lover, Jonathan Keel, son of the CEO of the most profitable mining installation in the system.  Nadira gets drawn into the investigation of mysterious fires plaguing her town and starts uncovering a frightening pattern that involves individuals with lesser degrees of talent who are not actively acknowledged by those who are in power.  There is continued opposition to her relationship with Jonathan, who has secrets of his own to protect and the stakes get higher and higher as they try to carve out a life together which may be an impossible dream.

This intriguing sequel gives a glimpse of more of the inhabitants of Hathor and provides twists on some of the preconceived notions of the hierarchy on the planet.   I enjoy the glimpses of psychic powers provided and the futuristic touches but wish I had a clearer idea of the relationships between the various factions being described.  There are plenty of intriguing secondary characters sprinkled throughout the story who will hopefully be featured in subsequent stories and it is fun to watch as Nadira stretches her wings but one should ideally read the first story in the series to get a grasp of the characters and the events thus far.  I thought the villain was a little too obvious and there was an odd dynamic between several of the factions but this was an entertaining addition to the series and I enjoyed learning a little more about Hathor.





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (upcoming release, with Q&A)

I am thrilled to have a few questions and answers from author Faith Hunter about the heroine of her 'Skinwalker' series...



                            





Alpha Kick-Ass 
1. How many times has Jane kicked your ass?
Every. Single. Book. She is willful and destructive and protective of her friends and those she claims as family. She thinks violence is always the first method of choice in dealing with problems. She has no taste in clothes. Her taste in men is suspect. (Until BROKEN SOUL.) And will not cuss, even when something should be said. Just … Drives me nuts.

2. We all know Jane is powerful—but I think being an Alpha and a kickass UF hero is more than physical strength. How has she out-smarted her opponents in the past?
Jane is always learning, watching her opponents, deducing their weaknesses and updating her weapons. In Broken Soul, Jane gets to … uh … has to … start learning how to use a sword. She pretty much hates it, but Beast pretty much loves it. Of course, Beast loves anything that kills prey, and the flying claws (Jane’s throwing knives) and her long claws (swords) are favorites! But Jane also uses her brain when it comes to turning the weaknesses of her opponents against them, especially Leo Pellissier, the master of the city. Leo believes he has a vamp-version of the Devine Right of Kings. Jane and her new best pal Adelaide are forcing Leo into the modern world with a mixture of brains, moxie, and snark.

Jane also protects her family—not pack. Jane is two-souled, and her second soul is a mountain lion she calls Beast. Mountain lions don’t do pack, except for their female kits, which sometimes hang around for years. Of course, now, Jane has family. The Everharts, the Truebloods, and her newest family—the Younger brothers—and the people she loves have changed her perspective on how to protect and how to be protected.

3. Is there anything Jane wouldn't do to protect those she considers 'hers'?
Jane has a lot of problems. 

With possession. Her Beast is possessive of everyone she claims as family, and of any man Beast wants to mate with. Her favorite word is “Mine.”
With morals and ethics. As a child Jane was in training to be a Cherokee War Woman, with all the violence and judgment that once sometimes required. Then came the Trail of Tears and her grandmother forced her into her wesa form (bobcat form) and put her out into the snow in a faint  hope to keep her alive. Grandmother succeeded, but not the way she intended, and Jane did black magic by accident to stay alive. One hundred-plus years later, Jane was raised in a Christian children’s home, where she was expected to put violence away and solve personal problems with forgiveness and kindness when she would rather kick butt and as questions later. So she has always been in a moral and ethical limbo, not sure which parts of her previous life to draw upon.
Recently Jane was absolutely certain she would never use black magic items or commit murder for any reason. But then people she loved got into trouble, and she was being pulled in many different directions. Her magical compass stopped pointing north and started pointing to expediency—meaning she began to believe that the end often justified the means.

4. Would Jane ever back down from a fight? What if she knew she would lose?
Of course she’d back down. Jane has walked away from fights in the past, fights where winning and losing both meant making worse problems. The fight she would never back down from, is one where walking away meant that other people would be hurt. Jane would fight to the death to save others. And it’s worse now with new people in her life, people she loves like family. She would give her life to save them, but … sometimes even death isn’t enough to give to protect those she loves.

5. What is one quality Jane has that makes Jane a top alpha predator?
 
Jane has her Beast, the mountain lion soul that shares her own power and strength and abilities with Jane, to help her defeat evil. Beast sets Jane apart, making her the Apex Alpha, the Maximum Menace. LOL



New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter writes dark urban fantasy and paranormal urban thrillers.

Her long-running, bestselling, Skinwalker series features Jane Yellowrock, a hunter of rogue-vampires. Her Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy series features Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic, alternate reality. She has a new paranormal crime solving series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram, who can siphon away the magic of others, to be released in late 2015.

Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she has written action adventure, mysteries, thrillers, women’s fiction, a medical thriller series, and even historical religious fiction. As Gwen, she is a winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for Fresh Talent in 1995 in the UK, and won a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award in 2008. Under all her pen names, she has over 30 books in print in 29 countries.

Faith Hunter writes full-time, and is a workaholic with a passion for jewelry making, white-water kayaking, travel, all which appear in and are used in her novels. She gave up cooking for lent one year and the oven stayed turned off for so long that it refused to come back on and had to be replaced, but she is having a hankering for homemade bread, and is considering getting back to baking in her remodeled kitchen. Occasionally, she remembers to sleep. The jewelry she makes and wears is often given as promo items to fans who come to her signings, and is used as prizes in contests. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast. (The poms don’t whitewater. The pampered dogs stay in the RV in lazy, air-conditioned comfort!)

Faith is a founding member of MagicalWords, a writing forum at www.magicalwords.net geared to helping writers of fantasy and other genres.

For more, including a list of her books, see www.faithhunter.net , www.gwenhunter.com  and www.magicalwords.net. To keep with her, join her fan pages at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter



New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter writes dark urban fantasy and paranormal thrillers, including the Skinwalker series, featuring rogue-vampire hunter Jane Yellowrock, and the Rogue Mage series, a post-apocalyptic, alternate reality series, featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. She has a new series under wraps.


A few of the Jane Yellowrock series include:
                    


The Thorn St. Croix series includes: