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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Hard Day's Night by Mia Kerick (Review, excerpt and GIVEAWAY)

by Mia Kerick


GENRE:  YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romance novella



High school senior Kalin (Lennon) Macready knows several facts for certain: John Lennon is his hero. Beaumont Finley Danforth II (Fin) is his best friend. And—this is the complicated one—he feels more for Fin than mere friendship.

For weeks, Lennon pesters Fin, who like Lennon admits to questioning his sexual orientation, for a commitment to spend twenty-four hours together exploring “the gay side of life.” Fin reluctantly agrees. Each boy will seek to answer the daunting question, Am I gay? Lennon pre-plans the day, filling the hours with what he assumes “gay life” is all about: shopping for fashionable clothing, indulging in lavish dessert crepes, boogying to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and yes, listening to show tunes.

However, Lennon quickly realizes that in creating his plan he has succumbed to the most common and distorted of gay stereotypes. Can he be gay and not fit them? And more importantly, is it possible that spending one very hard day and night together will help Fin accept that he’s gay, too? If so, maybe Lennon has a shot at winning the heart of the boy of his dreams.

“A Hard Day’s Night” is an amusing young adult contemporary romance about two boys who seek to discover if they must fulfill stereotypes to be together.

In the end, maybe all you need is love.



We’re surrounded by lit up mirrors. I mean, I’m totally relating to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds at this point. It’s like being on a trip—talk about plasticine porters and looking glass ties.

“Giovanna, iz vhat you call me. I vill be making you up to be irrezeesteeble— preety like two perfect dolleez—you vill see, no?” My spine stiffens, letting me know in no uncertain terms that I may not be ready for this step. And if I’m wavering at the mere prospect of being made up like a “perfect dolly”, I’m certain Fin is close to panic-attack-mode. “Seet down, my booteeful boys....”

“Breathe, Fin... in, out....”

I offer this type of encouragement service to Fin at school before he takes major calculus tests. His parents freak out if he gets anything below an A minus on a test or quiz, which sometimes causes his nerves to act up.

We might be tall, but Fin and I still have to stand on our tiptoes to slide our asses onto the two matching bar stools set up in the middle of the tiny mirrored room, which was likely once been a storage closet. Giovanna is an incredibly tall, and rather masculine, glass of water, and I guess she just doesn’t like to bend over. Or maybe she does like to bend over, but just not while she’s working. In any case, we sit side-by-side like two perfect victims on the too-high stools under the glaring searchlights.

“Who I do first?” Her question sends chills of trepidation shooting up my already stiff spine. But when she unceremoniously drops a handful of cosmetics on a table near the wall and moves directly in front of us, I gather that what she means by “do” is just apply makeup. And although Giovanna’s new position blocks a portion of the blinding light (that just so happens to be shining down upon us with the directness of the sun in the tropics), her broad shoulders are still as intimidating as a linebacker’s. I shrink down onto my stool, nonetheless aware that I will be the first to find myself being worked over...I mean, worked on, by Giovanna’s impressively large mitts...or hands. Yes, hands.

 “That’d be him... he’s first.” Fin pokes me rather unceremoniously with his elbow and I nod, although I will admit I am finding it a challenge to subdue my fight or flight instinct.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Now marital equality is the law of the land!! WOOT!! Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind.

Find Mia on:



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My review:

4 stars

A Hard Day's Night by Mia Kerick gives a glimpse of a couple of high school seniors who are exploring their personalities and their relationship.  Kalin Macready is known as Lennon and his life is permeated by the philosophy of the Beatles.  He already knows he wants to intensify his relationship with his best friend Beaumont Finley Danforth II (who is known as Fin), he just has to convince Fin of that.  A plan to spend the day doing things that are associated with being a gay male challenges both of them, and they will have to figure out how they want to proceed, with each other, and with their future plans.   

This contemporary teen romance is a gentle exploration of the stereotypes of young gay males as well as a homage to the Beatles and their influence.  The interesting goal stated by Lennon/Kalin, “I do have twenty-four feminine-side-exploring, team-switching, relationship-igniting hours to make my homeboy see the rainbow-hued light.” aptly states the premise of the story but the twists provided by their reactions to such things as a makeover day at the spa or participation in a Zumba class adds both humor and an insight into their respective personalities.  I love the evolution of their relationship and their unique responses to the various things they try, even as I cringed at some of the events that took place.  It is my impression that each chapter heading is a Beatles song title that meshes well with the contents, and the affirmation that one has to live one’s life according to one’s heart is a great message in this entertaining and positive tale.

A copy of this title was provided to me for review

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Dreamt of Trees by Gilles DeCruyenaere (VBB, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) GFT

by Gilles DeCruyenaere


GENRE: Science Fiction / Dystopian



Jason Crawford has dedicated his life to fighting the mysterious alien race which threatens the massive city-ship he calls home. A few days before his first mission, however, Jason discovers a terrible secret which could mean an end to his way of life forever. Fearing government reprisal for this new-found knowledge, Jason takes refuge in the Rim, a walled-off section of the ship where citizens are left to fend for themselves while the government ruthlessly plunders its resources.

While there, Jason forms an uneasy alliance with fellow exile Greg. Though they share the same goal of exposing the government's terrible secret, their relationship is strained; Jason is selfish, profane and morally ambiguous, while Greg is generous, kind and liberal-minded.

Will Jason and Greg manage to achieve their goals despite their ideological differences? Will Jason ever escape the Rim, and if so, can he hope to regain anything even resembling the life of entitlement to which he was accustomed?

"I Dreamt of Trees" is a story of struggle and survival in a dystopian society built on fear and greed. Though you may be tempted to judge the characters, be certain of one thing: On the USS McAdam, no one is quite as good, nor quite as bad as they seem.




Drake was pulled out of his reverie by a child's shrill cry; across the parking lot a small girl tugged insistently at her mother's skirt while pointing up and to the east.

“Sky pretty!”

He smiled. The huge bank of lights which orbited the ship once every 24 hours did so without deviation - though the eastern sky did take on a pretty purple hue as the lights dipped toward the horizon in the west, it was the exact same pretty purple hue every single day; only a child or a simpleton would find it exciting. Drake dropped the NicoStix into his pocket and put his little car into reverse.

As he checked his rear-view mirror, he caught sight of a young couple staring wide-eyed at the darkening sky. What the heck … Drake put his car in park and stepped out onto the pavement, squinting towards the east for any sign of whatever these people found so interesting. He stared at the pretty purple sky for a full sixty seconds, finally grunting in annoyance and turning back towards his car. As he placed his hand on the door handle, a chorus of oohs and ahhs arose from the people in the parking lot, and he spun around just in time to catch a bright splash of colour coruscating across the eastern horizon.

Drake gasped audibly. The shield surrounding the ship was designed to absorb harmful radiation, converting it into harmless light energy. The multicoloured light generated was usually barely visible, and only at the darkest time of night; for the light to show so vividly at sunset would require an absolutely enormous amount of radiation.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Gilles DeCruyenaere lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with his wife Joanne and their fur-baby Yogi. In his spare time Gilles enjoys reading, watching movies, creating art and experiencing nature, as well as collecting rocks, minerals, antiques and Star Wars paraphernalia. A graduate of the Digital Media Design program at Red River College, Gilles recently served as film editor for the feature-length animated film “Emma's Wings: A Bella Sara Tale”.

Amazon author page



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Dating After Forty-Eight by Morgan K. Wyatt (VBB, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) GFT

by Morgan K Wyatt


GENRE: Non-Fiction



The world of dating can be both brutal and mysterious. Why do some people marry the first person they meet and live happily ever after? While the rest of us suffer failed relationships, unexpected divorces, and even the death of a spouse that pushes us back into singlehood. Being single can be especially challenging after forty. Most people could use some help, which is the reason behind the book.

Dating after Forty-eight is a collection of well-read blogs that highlights workable dating strategies. Instead of dating being a trial, turn it into a fun adventure and possibly a happy ever after.




This is where most of the complaints come from when people bitterly complain about their online dates looking nothing like their profile pic. Everyone wants to look good on their profile but using a photo where you are twenty years younger or fifty pounds lighter isn’t fair to you or your date. You’ll end up attracting men or women who want the younger, lighter version of you. When you show up, they’re mad, which makes for a bad date.

People who might like the current you bypass your photo because they figure you wouldn’t like them because they happen to look their age. Different sites tell you different things you should do for a photo.

The first thing you need to do is take some current photos of you by yourself. Close-ups, full lengths, doing something active, and remember to smile.

Men Do’s & Don’ts

Use pictures of you only. A trio of your golf buddies could have your date imagining one of them as her date only to be disappointed when you show up.

Dress well. This is your first impression. No shirt unbuttoned to your navel, ratty shorts, or speedos.

Don’t use a picture of yourself with another woman, even your daughter. A woman wants to imagine herself by your side.

Do ask a friend to take photos of you or go to a professional. The selfies or bathroom pictures show a lack of initiative.

Show candid photos of yourself doing something you love from playing with the dog to barbecuing.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Morgan K Wyatt has penned twenty novels. Her articles and stories have appeared in several anthologies and magazines including Guideposts, Ladies Home Journal, Playgirl,  Greensboro Magazine, and The Dollar Stretcher. Her most recent fiction publications include a sweet romance, The Inheritance, and a anthology, Sunkissed: Summer Effusions. 
Dating After Forty-eight marks her foray in non-fiction. The research for the book and blog resulted in her own happy ever after love story.




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Monday, October 5, 2015

Sidhe - The Incubus Saga: Book 3 by Amanda Meuwissen (VNBtM, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT ADULT title

It is my pleasure to share a guest post by author (and editor) Amanda Meuwissen who answers the question...

ELF: What do you do to mentor others?

Author Voice – Mentoring the Next Generation

by Amanda Meuwissen

I wear several hats in my professional life, one being writer and another editor. And I don’t just mean editing my own work; I am Managing Editor for, and read chapters from around 20 stories each week. It’s a dream job really, though it isn’t the one that pays the bills, because I get to experience all of these different novels before they’re even finished and have a bit of my own hand in them as well.

For me there is an automatic sense of mentoring that goes into editing another person’s work, and it doesn’t matter if I’m older or younger, more or less experiences, or have more or less published novels under my belt than the person I’m editing for, because everyone needs an editor. More than anything it’s about expressing the reader experience to the author so they know how to tweak or react accordingly. Is what they’re writing evoking the reactions they wanted? Awesome!

So while copyediting is helpful, as well as comments about plot structure and pacing, the most important thing I can offer other writers is my honest opinion, so they can ask themselves if my reactions are in line with what they want readers to experience.

When I read and edit someone’s work, I always want to err on the side of the author so as not to impose too much of my own voice, or risk changing theirs. It doesn’t matter what POV they write in, whether they overuse passive voice, or over simplify descriptions; it’s about whether or not they are telling an engaging story the way they want. That is always the lesson I want to pass on to writers who give me their work to read.

Besides having to edit many stories for my publisher, I also beta friends’ work, and approach it the same way. I may not always have time to read, but I am always open for queries into how to approach writing and publishing, and adore people who recognize the value of a good critique. One thing I would never do, however, is tell someone how their last book could have been better, but would rather tell them how the current one they’re working on could improve, because that’s something they can still change, while an already published book is set in stone. Besides, no matter how good the book, there will always be enough bad reviews out there to cover that part for me.

Working with BWN gives me opportunity to mentor so many new authors along with making relationships with already successful ones, and over time it has grown out of straight up mentorship into community. The authors, editors, and narrators at BWN have a closed Facebook group where we share ideas, help promote each other’s work, and ask advice all the time. I also point aspiring authors toward valuable Goodreads Groups like Support for Indie Authors.

The most important aspect of mentoring is to listen. Hearing someone talk passionately about their story ideas and then want to share with me their actual writing is half the fun of being an editor (and author). None of us would be in this business if we didn’t love stories. People are always welcome to contact me, and I hope other writers approach mentoring this same way. 


Sidhe - The Incubus Saga: Book 3
by Amanda Meuwissen
ADULT title


Nathan Grier returns from the Veil a changed man. The consequences of his time with Malak, the dark sidhe king, and the deal made to free him may be more than he can bear. The weakening of the Veil and new enemies foretell of a greater battle still ahead. With Nathan’s brother Jim now an Awakened changeling, and Nathan’s role in Malak’s plans finally revealed, Nathan’s love for fae hunter and incubus, Sasha Kelly, may not be enough to save him after all.



“Nathan, it’s us,” Sasha tried to say calmly, inching closer with hands held up in seeming surrender.  Jim did the same.

Nathan knew he had to be a pitiable sight with that weakly held knife, but he’d use it, damn it, he would.  Somehow he’d use it. 

His back hit the corner of the room. 

“Playing that game?” Nathan scoffed. “I know better.  You haven’t been them in…in so long, I…I don’t even remember.  I don’t remember…”

“Nathan,” Jim pleaded, moving closer with one hand outstretched.  He looked so strange to Nathan, almost believable with those dark blue eyes so caring, so concerned.  “I can’t imagine what it must have been like, but it’s over.  You’re not in the Veil anymore.  We got you out.  You’re safe.  With us.”

“Please believe us, Nathan,” Sasha said. “Just look at us.”  He gestured to himself; to Jim.  Sasha too looked so normal, so honest and how Nathan remembered him.  “It’s really us.  You’re safe, Nathan.  Please recognize us…”

He recognized them.  But it had to be a trick.  Another damn trick like all the others. 

“I gave you what you wanted,” Nathan said again.  He was so cold.  Nothing looked right.  Nothing felt right.  He couldn’t understand why this was happening when he had finally given in.

“Nathan, it’s us,” Sasha said more firmly, like maybe Nathan just couldn’t hear them.

“Malak took you and we’re so sorry,” Jim said. “We wish we could have gotten you out sooner, but you have to know us.  Please tell me you still know us…”

“Malak…?” Nathan glared at the false images before him, knife still held firm, warning them not to get closer.  “It had nothing to do with that, you know that, you know.  I didn’t…I didn’t go to the Veil.”

Jim and Sasha stopped their progression toward him, their eyes wide and disbelieving.  They shared a pained look, not knowing what to say until finally Jim spoke, slow and gentle.

“Nathan, don’t you remember?  Malak said killing the spriggan instead of banishing it broke the deal. That’s why we couldn’t win, why we couldn’t save you.  You went to the Veil, Nathan.  You’ve been in the Veil.  But you’re out now.  I don’t know what Malak did to you there, but we got you out.”

It almost made sense, as if a second reality were trying to push into Nathan’s mind: memories of what Jim was saying, memories he knew weren’t fabrications, and yet…how could he remember things happening two different ways?

The Veil?  Had that been the Veil?  To him it had felt like life.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Amanda Meuwissen is the author of The Incubus Saga and The Collector. Amanda also serves as COO and Managing Editor for She oversees editing and series selection, and is featured as a narrator for several BWN series. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).

Social media and website links:



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Friday, October 2, 2015

The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace by Ellen Byerrum (VB, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

It is my pleasure to have a guest post by author Ellen Byerrum as she answers the question...

ELF: What scares you the most or makes you happiest about writing?

Writing: The Fear and the Joy

by Ellen Byerrum

Writing isn’t usually dangerous, but it can be scary.

When I settle down to write, I try to not to think about the multitude of opportunities ahead for fear. For starters, there are 400+ blank pages to fill. That’s a lot. For some reason, this reminds me of Barbara Stanwyck in the great old movie Ball of Fire
, looking at all the books in Gary Cooper’s library. “Wow,” she says. “Lot of books! All different?”

When beginning the first page of the first chapter of a new book, I try not to worry about my ability to fill the remaining 399 pages. All different. What if I can’t do it this time? Can I sustain the plot, the characters, and the suspense through all those pages? And the largest concern: Does the story work?

Thinking too much about those things can introduce a brand new fear—the fear of waking up one morning and realizing you’ve got nothing. You can’t write. You’re blocked.

In my opinion, not all writer’s blocks are the same, nor do they come from the same source. Sometimes you can be blocked from sheer exhaustion. It’s hard to write when you are wiped out from the race to finish the last book on deadline, followed by all the promotion that is expected of you. Basically you have poured all the contents of your head, heart and soul onto the page and you are, temporarily, an empty vessel. Maybe you have ideas to write, but somehow you just can’t get them down. You’re blocked.

Or you’re blocked because the story isn’t working. But maybe it is working and you can’t see it. Or maybe it’s almost working and it just needs a jumpstart. Hopefully one of the many strategies you’ve perfected will kick in. Strategies that might be as simple as throwing out a scene, starting in a different part of the story, such as the climax, working backwards from a major plot element, or just renaming a key character.

Luckily, most of the time it works out. Facing your writing fears and moving forward to the finish eventually results in a book. I’ll refrain from hitting some of the other obvious fears: Will the book be published? Will it sell? Will readers like it? Will you ever write another? So many fears, so little time.

When you finish, you reap the rewards. Which brings me to:

The Joys of Writing

The compensations of writing are sweet.

Finishing the book feels wonderful. Each and every time. It’s a big accomplishment. A book is the tangible result of your work, something you can hold in your hands. It’s great to see your book in print, and on the bookstore and library shelves. It’s even sweeter to hear from your readers about what they liked, what they want to see in the future.

Now, creating fictional worlds and writing books is not that important in the scheme of things. After all, it’s not a cure for cancer. And yet. . . I’ve had readers, people facing serious illness and long-term treatment or terrible sorrow, who have let me know how much they relied on my books to help them through difficult times. It humbles me. That’s perhaps the biggest joy of writing. 


by Ellen Byerrum


GENRE: Suspense/Thriller



If you lost your memories, would you lose your soul?

“In my memories, my eyes are always green.”

After a devastating accident, a young woman finds herself recovering in a memory research facility. Her eyes are brown; her memories are broken. Years of her life are blank, yet she remembers being two very different women, one called Tennyson, the other Marissa. If she can’t trust her memories or her own eyes, who can she trust? To save her sanity and her life, she begins a secret journal between the lines of Homer’s Odyssey—and her own harrowing odyssey into madness and murder. Lost among her shattered memories, can she find her true self?




In my memories, my eyes are always green.

As green as the dark and dangerous sea, my grandfather used to say. Mermaid’s eyes, he called them. Eyes that changed, from the color of seaweed, to sea glass, to the green of troubled water. Yet I was never troubled, when my eyes were green.

There are huge gaps of time, years, when I don’t remember anything about my life. Still, I am quite convinced that my eyes were always green.

Even in my double memories, they are green. Even though I seem to remember being two people, they are green. It doesn’t matter if I recall being a child with blond streaks in my braids, collecting shells with my grandfather at the stony edge of the sea, or if I think I was a dark-haired girl riding a new pony, under the watchful eye of my pretty mother. My eyes are always green.

These days the mirror tells me my eyes are not green. They are brown. As brown as leaves that die in the fall.

I’m writing down these words because I don’t know if tomorrow I will remember what I know today. I have too many memories. Like the memory of my eyes. But I also have memory losses. Great chunks of time are missing. Frankly, I’m terrified of losing more pieces of myself, no matter how small.

“Green eyes are a false memory, Tennyson,” according to Dr. Embry. “You never had green eyes.”

Amazon link


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ellen Byerrum is a novelist, playwright, reporter, former Washington D.C. journalist, and a graduate of private investigator school in Virginia. The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace is her first suspense thriller, which introduces Tennyson Claxton, a woman with two sets of memories from two very different women.

Ellen also writes the Crime of Fashion mysteries, which star a savvy, stylish female sleuth named Lacey Smithsonian, a reluctant fashion reporter in Washington D.C. ("The City Fashion Forgot").Two of the COF books,Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, were filmed for the Lifetime Movie Network and can occasionally be seen on odd dates and odd times in the middle of the night. The latest book in that series is Lethal Black Dress, but there will be more to come.

She has also penned a middle grade mystery, The Children Didn’t See Anything. She occasionally writes a newsletter that contains her latest publishing information.

You can find more about Ellen on her website





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