Friday, August 26, 2016

You Were Mine at Merlot by Pamela Gibson (spotlight blast) Adult title, Killion Group


ADULT title
by 
Pamela Gibson


Contemporary Series
Release Date: 7/2/2016

Series: Love in Wine Country (#3 in series)

Is it love or just another Napa crush?

Tropes: second chance, fake boyfriend, protector
Heat Level: Spicy

Blurb:

Is it love or just another Napa crush?

Always impulsive, winery event planner Mariel Reynoso dreams of earning the respect of her family by proving she is as competent as her successful older sisters. When an arrogant ex-lover threatens to get in the way of her promotion, she decides to find a fake boyfriend to discourage him.

Zack Leoni is big, sexy, and intimidating. Best of all? He owes her.

Now a Deputy Sheriff, Zack is a man whose career is in danger. Falsely accused of a crime, he’s got time on his hands while an investigation concludes. When Mariel asks him to help her, he’s shocked. Five years ago he embarrassed her in public, an action he’s long regretted. A chance to make it up to her is just what he needs. The problem is he might not be able to keep his hands off her.

Old hurts quickly disappear as proximity flares into passion. But Zack and Mariel must learn to trust each other before their relationship can mature and be as intense and satisfying as a bottle of fine Merlot.


Buy Links:

Kindle
Kobo
Ibooks



Author info (from her blog):

Pamela Gibson began making up stories as a small child, using her grandmother’s perfume bottles and spools of thread to create worlds for her characters. Growing up in San Juan Capistrano, California, she found a new source of story ideas while wandering through the ruins of the old Franciscan Mission in the center of town. It motivated her to write many history books under the name Pamela Hallan-Gibson before turning to her favorite genre…romance.

Now she writes on a 32-foot Nordic Tug, a trawler called Sea Bear. Married to a man who has salt water in his veins, they live aboard almost full time, getting off to fly home to Sonoma, California for holidays and special family occasions. The Sonoma and Napa Valleys are her favorite settings, full of stories waiting to be told. But there will be others, inspired by the cruising lifestyle that will take her (this year) from Mobile, AL to the East Coast, to the Great Lakes, and down the rivers of middle America back to the Gulf.

Pamela is the mother of two, grandmother to a yellow lab, four rescue cats, a lizard and a fish. She has a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s in public administration, and was lucky enough to win or final in twelve contests while honing her craft.

She’s addicted to chocolate, white sand beaches, and all the trappings of Christmas. She loves to hear from readers. Connect with her at pam@pamelagibsonwrites.com, Author Pamela Gibson on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter at @pamgibsonwrites.




Thursday, August 25, 2016

Scorpion's Empress by Yoshiyuki Ly (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT ADULT title



I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from author Yoshiyuki Ly, who shares the beginning of the story of...The Scorpion’s Empress
(ADULT title)



Initial ideas for The Scorpion’s Empress
by Yoshiyuki Ly


Hey there, my name’s Yoshiyuki Ly. For my guest post, I’d like to clue you in on an old draft of ideas I wrote for my book. I made this about a week before I wrote the first chapter. I find it interesting that not much changed from my first ideas and the final product. 


Here it is:

The story is essentially about two good people stuck in the middle of a bad city.
“Is it a sin to try so very hard to survive?”

Tynan is the city in the middle of a desert, ruled by a stratocracy with temple knights, paladins and dark knights. Ser Cain Astaroth acts as the head of the city. The paladins are third in the chain-of-command, just under the Holy Knights Thirteen. The mysterious dark knights are absolved from following the law and do whatever the paladins and Holy Knights Thirteen can’t in order to protect Tynan’s citizens.

Raj is the Empress of Tynan’s Elysium, or lowtown. Similar to a Queen of Beggars. A huge city where everyone puts in their share and lives in harmony. They abuse their few rights in the city to get what they want. Basically looking and acting like they’re poor, but they’ve actually got it made. Their socialism works better than the capitalism in Eden, or hightown. Stella is the madam of Elysium’s brothel, Nirvana, where a lot of Eden’s citizens go to spend their money. She’s Elysium’s main moneymaker. Some tense backstory with Raj and Stella, with Nyte in the middle. The whole issue made Raj paranoid about seeming weak—somehow. Because of this she’s anxious about maintaining her image and staying true to her Empress title. “Look but don’t touch.”

Some rich citizens live in Elysium, in the Garden of Eden, mostly to show off their wealth and feel better about themselves. They cause a lot of issues for Raj and make Elysium’s residents resentful toward those in Eden. There’s also a long bridge in between Tynan’s two halves. It’s really hot in Elysium because of the cramped buildings. Anyone who comes from Eden to Elysium is a “scorpion digging in the sands of Elysium.”

Videl starts off as a temple knight when she’s young. Very pious. She had to pay off her father’s debts since both parents passed away. Had to take care of her younger sister Luna—ungrateful, spoiled at first. Never had to work a day in her life because of all that Videl’s done for her. She’s supposed to marry one of her childhood friends as part of an arranged marriage per parents’ will. This is when she runs away and draws Videl down to Elysium. Before this happens, Videl’s worried about her relationship with her sister. She’s also down about her personal relationships. As a paladin, she’s not allowed to casually date—whoever she’s with in public, she’s expected to marry them. So she’s had to restrain herself a lot; longs for more. Really soft-hearted and idealistic.

As for Raj and Videl coming together…there’s a power play in the title. Reflect it off of this devotion I have—the one I keep hidden.




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The Scorpion’s Empress
by Yoshiyuki Ly

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GENRE: Erotic Romance

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BLURB:

After years of serving a corrupt government, Ser Videl, an idealistic paladin, learns that her younger sister is tangled in a dark scheme against Raj Mangala, the compassionate yet troubled Empress of the city's oppressed lowtown; the two women meet and are deeply drawn to one another, finding a shared sanctuary in their violently-divided city. The Scorpion's Empress is intimately written through the eyes of both twenty-seven year old women.

Videl's loving devotion is just what Raj craves, but Raj is wary of letting her guard down while protecting her throne. Determined to prove her worth, Videl chases after Raj and works to unravel the mystery of the plots against the Empress. Raj wants Videl to serve her emotional and sexual needs, and the two explore a meaningful relationship of dominance and submission that delves fully into their deepest wants. When the conspiracy against Raj comes to a head, Videl's loyalties are tested when she is forced to choose between her past and her Empress.

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EXCERPT

I stood up and slowly walked to one of the torches along the wall. That fire festival where we'd had our first time together… I took the torch and went back to her. Videl stared at me—expectant, anxious. I moved the fire closer to her face. She steeled her eyes and waited. She didn't protest. She didn't shirk away from me.

“Ain't you scared?” I wondered. Videl shook her head. “It's fire for fuck's sake! Any normal person would've told me to cut it out by now.”

“You wouldn't burn me with it. I know you like my face too much to do that.”

I laughed and said, “Oh, so it's all logic with you? Your imagination must be full of rocks.”

“This might have played out differently if I were in subspace,” she pointed out. “But, right now, I'm not bothered by it. I can reason myself out of most situations. It's hard to suspend my disbelief. I trust you to be logical, too. If you burned me, you wouldn't get to show me off to Nyte later on.”

“Show you off, huh?” I asked, putting the torch back. “You think that's what I wanna do?”

“I have a feeling you'll want to when the time comes.”

“We'll see about that. For now I wanna see more about suspendin' your disbelief.”

Videl was about to ask me what I meant—until I picked her up and threw her down onto the polished wood of the table. I straddled her, watching her pulse pick up along her neck. She bit down on her lip to keep from making a sound. 

 
Amazon link


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Yoshiyuki Ly was born in San Diego, CA. She lived there until moving away to college. In high school, she began writing fanfiction as a serious hobby. Her pen name is representative of her multiracial heritage and a unique, diverse outlook that is reflective in her work. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in philosophy, she spent her free time reading the works of Virginia Woolf, Soren Kierkegaard and Simone de Beauvoir. She then spent the next years honing her craft to become a published author.


Links

Amazon author page
Twitter
LiveJournal
FanFiction








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The tour dates can be found here


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inheritance by Joan Cleveland and Marisa Cleveland (Excerpt, review and GIVEAWAY) GFT



 
by Joan Cleveland & Marisa Cleveland

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GENRE: Middle Grade Fiction

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BLURB:

His destiny is to save humankind. But first he must survive middle school... The descendants of the fallen angels never had it so good. At twelve, Grayson Lahash is thrust into an unfamiliar world where battle lines balance precariously in favor of good over evil, and his unexpected arrival and fallen heritage may be just enough to tip the scales. But as Grayson uncovers the secrets of his past, he must decide if he's willing to risk everything for the destiny that is his to inherit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~




EXCERPT

Uzza, as his dad had called the Goliath of a man, extracted a small pen from his pocket. “Say goodbye to your father, boy. It might be a century or two before you see him again.”

The pen bit into the nape of Grayson’s neck. He slapped his hand over the wound. “Ouch.”

Grayson gripped his dad’s wrist, holding on tightly, but then all of sudden he couldn’t form another thought. His brain blurred.

Why was the giant wearing heavy work boots? Why was his mother lying on the floor? Why was he being carried down concrete stairs, across the green grass, and put into a car? The smell of leather filled his nostrils as he landed in the back seat.

“This is all he should need.”

His dad’s blurred words clicked into place. All he should need.

How had his dad fit twelve years worth of Grayson’s life into a single battered old bag?

Despite the haziness of his body, Grayson’s mind raged even as his eyelids shut. He coughed, and the ashy scent of smoke shot alarm bells off to all his neurons. With a will stronger than he knew he possessed, he pried open his eyelids enough to see his home engulfed in flames.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Joan Cleveland was born and raised in New Hampshire, where she is a volunteer aide at a small, private school. She spent over twenty-five years assisting teachers in the classroom at the elementary level. The widow of Maurice T. Cleveland, Jr., Joan has three adult children.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marisa Cleveland loves to laugh, hates to cry, and does both often. If she couldn't express herself through writing, music, and dance, she would die. As a former gymnast, cheerleader, and dancer, she understands the importance of balance, and she encourages everyone to stay flexible.

Instagram: @thereisnobox
Twitter: @marisacleveland


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GIVEAWAY

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My review:

3.5 out of 5 stars



Inheritance by Joan Cleveland and Marisa Cleveland is a middle grade paranormal story with inspirational elements that centers around twelve-year-old Grayson Kale Lahash, whose life suddenly turns upside down. His abrupt transfer to Westside Preparatory Academy in New England is accompanied by a traumatic last glimpse of his parents and their house. A mysterious shift from being the kid undergoing bullying and a determination to figure out what is going on leads Grayson on an adventure that involves several other seventh-grade kids who each has his or her own agenda. Now to figure out who is friend and who is foe…and keep his soul in the process…may be a task that will require divine intervention.

This adventure story that features mostly tweens blends elements of fantasy and religion in a mystery tale. I like the variety of characters although their unveiling is a bit haphazard at time, and there is an uneven shifting between the factions with somewhat confusing motivations underlying the actions of various beings. There is an imaginative blending of the concept of good and evil with the premise of being careful of what you think or wish for, plus a creative rendition of the ongoing angel versus demon conflicts. It would be nice to have a little more depth for most of the characters and a less murky view of some of the parents, but overall this is an entertaining tale that covers subjects like bullying, debilitating disease, temptation, and cooperation to achieve common goals.


A copy of this title was provided to me for review

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet by Lilly Cadoch ( spotlight, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) MFT


Busy Mom's Cheat Sheet - Tour Banner

Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet 
by
Lilly Cadoch

GENRE – Parenting Self-Help
PUBLICATION DATE – July 2016 
LENGTH (#Pages/# Words) – 153 pages / 31,181 words PUBLISHER – Picki Beli Publishing 
COVER ARTIST – Eli Hershko

Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet was a finalist at the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards?

 

SYNOPSIS

Finally! A book that makes it easy to understand how to feed your kid’s body, mind, and spirit for ultimate health and success.
• Do you have the desire to feed your kids healthy food but don’t know where to begin?
• Are you a modern parent struggling to find balance for your children in a busy lifestyle?
• Do you worry that your kids may not have all the necessary tools to reach their full potential?

Then this book is for you!
In this book you will learn how to teach your children to:
• Make healthier food choices including 18 tips for foods to avoid
• Have a battle-free and enriching bedtime routine
• Integrate regular exercise into your kid’s weekly schedule
• Incorporate time management skills to allow more free time
• Reprogram their mind for success to handle life’s inevitable challenges

Includes 45 bonus recipes that are quick, easy, and delicious!

Lilly Cadoch, certified health coach, award-winning author and mother of two boys, explains in a simple and understandable way, body, mind and spiritual lessons to teach your kids. She learned these lessons the hard way over many years and vowed to change that when she had her children. After witnessing first-hand the tremendous results this has had in her family, she wrote this book to share these lessons with all caregivers and their children. This book is a quick guide aimed at simplifying a lot of information into a very accessible and easy to understand way.
For more information visit BusyMomsCheatSheet.com

BUY & TBR LINKS
AMAZON CA -  

BMCS - Full Wrap
 

 

EXCERPT


INTRO

In today’s global economy, more is expected of our kids than ever before. To have a better chance for a successful future, our kids are expected to perform from a very young age. They are taking more standardized tests than we can count, expected to excel at competitive sports, participate in extracurricular activities, all while excelling academically in their coursework. Not only that but college admissions are getting more and more difficult, with no guarantee of getting into the college of choice. As a result, we expect a lot from our kids for them to succeed.

Our goal as parents is to make sure our kids are provided with the optimal conditions in which to succeed. One of our responsibilities is to ensure our kids are eating healthy. This starts with the food we provide them. But our food supply is getting worse every day, which is only working against us. Our kids are eating more processed foods and sugar than ever before, and not enough fruits and vegetables. We live in a country where they count ketchup as a vegetable in the school lunch program and where we are not always told what is in our food supply. According to Food Chemical News, the leading news service on US food law and policy, a U.S. Senate appropriations bill also stipulates that “tomato paste used to make pizzas can be counted toward the weekly total of vegetable servings." The childhood obesity rate is at an all-time high, leading to more cases of childhood diabetes than our medical system is prepared for. It is a very sad fact that this might be the first generation that our kids’ lifespan is expected to be shorter than ours, even by five years.

That is why we need to arm our kids with the physical, emotional and mental tools so that they have a better shot at figuring out their life-path and achieving their goals. A part of arming our kids with this knowledge means that we need to communicate to our children that a healthy life starts with a healthy body. A strong body leads to a strong mind. An open, calm mind helps us discover our life’s purpose. Providing these tools to our loved ones is no easy feat considering we are already very busy caregivers. We have so much going on and adding more items to our ever growing to-do list could be enough to throw us over the edge. That coupled with the fact that the food system isn’t really in our favor and most of the food options out there are not really good for us.


BODY

Drinking water is the most important of all lessons and a habit that we want to ingrain into our children’s everyday routine. Water makes up approximately 60% of your body weight. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, “The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water.”[1] Water is involved in every cellular activity in the body, and when you don’t drink enough water, those processes are not as efficient. Some of those processes include metabolism, removing toxins from the body, bringing nutrients to your cells, enabling kidneys to filter properly, etc. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy, make you tired, cause overeating, constipation and prevent weight loss. Another interesting fact about the importance of proper water intake is that most cravings are due to dehydration, so if your child has a craving, first see if it subsides after drinking a glass of water before giving into it.

What exactly does drinking water on a regular basis mean, you ask? While it used to be “drink eight glasses of water per day,” the one-size-fits-all rule, now we are seeing more information that suggests that the amount of water we drink should be more customized to individual needs. A metric to help you gauge the proper amount of water intake is to drink ½ ounce to 1 ounce per pound of your body weight[2]. So if you weigh 100 lbs., then you should be drinking between 50-100 ounces water per day. Be sure to remember that the level of activity, weather, etc. determines where you fit in that range. So if your kids are tired, sluggish and cranky, try giving them a glass of water.
[1] Batmanghelidj, F. Your Body's Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty! Don't Treat Thirst with Medications. Falls Church, VA: Global Health Solutions, 1995. Print.
[2] Batmanghelidj, M.D., F. "Frequently Asked Questions." WaterCure. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.


If making sure you’re drinking enough water every day wasn't enough of a challenge, another thing to consider is the pH balance of the water you drink. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, “pH is a number between 0 and 14 that indicates if a chemical is an acid or a base.”[1] pH can either be alkaline or acidic. pH is measured on a scale of 1–14, with 1 being extremely acidic and 14 being highly alkaline. Water should be at least 7.4 pH, which is the same level as your blood or higher for optimum health and hydration. You are probably wondering what does this all mean and why does it matter?

Let me explain: Our bodies work best when our body is alkaline. If it is too acidic, it can cause inflammation, which is a breeding ground for ailments, disease and a variety of health issues. Imagine a fish tank. When a fish tank is clean, water is flowing through the filtration system, the water is clear and fish swim quickly to and fro. As the fish tank gets dirty, the water gets cloudy, algae starts to form on the surface and the fish don’t move as quickly. Eventually, if the tank isn’t cleaned, the fish will ultimately die.

I never realized that the water we drink can have different pH balance levels. This is not typically labeled on the water we drink, so how do we know? Well, you can use a simple and fun water experiment. My kids love putting their scientific hats on and testing different brands of water. I bought pH test drops for water pH. I found pH test drops for water pH with a color chart on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price (approximately $20.00). You need to get the drops, not the strips, to have an accurate reading of water pH, as the strips are used for testing the pH level of urine or saliva. My kids and I added a few drops of it into the different types of water we drank and waited to see which color the water turned. Light green, yellow and orange tinted water are progressively more acidic. Darker green, blue and purple tinted water are progressively more alkaline. I was shocked to see that the store brand water bottles I was sending my kids to school with every day had an acidity level of four!

MIND There is a direct correlation between eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep, and how it affects our thought patterns, how it makes us feel about ourselves and how we view the world around us. The food we eat doesn’t just feed our cells. Food also nourishes our thoughts, which then affect our actions. Now that we know what it takes to get our children's bodies to work better by eating healthier, drinking more water, exercising and sleeping more, we can focus on how to make our children’s mindset optimal. We are all programmed genetically for negative thinking—it's a survival mechanism to make sure we take action in times of need to stay “safe and sound.” Did you ever wonder why you never forget any mistake you have made and dwell on them way too long, while you brush off or downplay your accomplishments and successes, attributing them to luck or something that is not a big deal? How we think and our mindset as to how we approach life has a direct correlation with the type of life we are going to have. So it is very important that we retrain our thoughts for success and happiness by focusing on positivity, abundance, giving, gratitude and love. Failure is just life telling you that you are heading in the wrong direction—against your goals. So in reality, failure is just life giving you a nudge to make sure you adjust your course so that you can continue on the right path to achieve your goals. Happiness does not mean you will have no setbacks. It's how you deal with those setbacks and learn from them that cultivate happiness and ultimate success. WE are usually the ones that get in our own way, telling ourselves it's too hard, we are not good enough, we can’t do it, etc. One way to teach kids the lesson about how to view failure and how to overcome fears is through examples of other people's stories. All people that have had success experienced rejection at some point. To drill this home, the kids and I google autobiographies of successful people, especially the ones my kids admire, to show that success came with hard work, failure and continued perseverance. We read these articles to understand what they did to succeed and, as a result, they feel inspired to pursue their own goals.
[1] Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.


AUTHOR BIO

Lilly Cadoch is a certified Integrative Nutrition health coach and award-winning author living in New York with her husband Eli, her two boys Natanel and Itai, and her dog, Angel. She has spent the last few years learning about nutrition and mindful living for both herself and her family while working full time.
Being a very busy working mom, she was determined to find a way to feed her kids healthy and teach them the tools to have a healthy body and mindset so that they could successfully face the ever growing expectations kids face today. She learned these lessons the hard way over many years and vowed to change that when she had her children. After witnessing first-hand the tremendous results this has had in her family, she wrote this book to share these lessons with all caregivers and their children. This award-winning book is a quick guide aimed at simplifying a lot of information into a very accessible and easy to understand way.
Lilly has a passion for food and cooking and loves spending time in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes with her kids. She spends her time educating herself on various different aspects of food and nutrition, creating life memories with her kids, going to spin class with her husband, and playing in her backyard garden.

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS


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PERISCOPE – BusyMomsCheatSheet
SNAPCHAT – BMCheatSheet


 

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Solitary Horseman by Deborah Camp (VBT, guest post, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) GFT


It is my pleasure to share a thought-provoking guest post by author Deborah Camp who muses...



Why Do We Say That?
by 
Deborah Camp


I’m sure you’ve wondered about words and phrases that fall out of your mouth by rote. We hear things as children and we repeat them, often without questioning the origin. Later, we find ourselves pausing and thinking, What the heck does that mean?

Here are some origins of well-known and often-used sayings that made me giggle or gasp. I bet they elicit the same in you.

Piss poor. People used urine to tan animal skins. Everyone in the family urinated in the same pot and then the pot was taken and sold to the tannery. Therefore, if you had to do this to survive you were “piss poor.” And if you were really bad off, you “didn’t have a pot to piss in.”

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! – Filling a tub with hot water was a big chore, so it wasn’t done all that often way back when. Once the tub was filled, however, it was a family event. The head of the family took his bath first, followed by his sons and any other males in the household. Next, the mom bathed and then the girls in the family. Last to get dunked was the baby or toddler and the bath water was usually murky by then. Sometimes it was so black a little one could get lost in it. So, it was always good to check before you threw out the water.

Dirt poor. Houses that were built quickly consisted of four walls and a roof. Trees had to be felled or lumber had to be hauled in and it wasn’t cheap. People didn’t worry about the floors unless they were well-off and could afford to put in wood floors. Therefore, many new settlers had dirt floors, which meant they were “dirt poor.”

Raining cats and dogs. Speaking of building houses . . . sometimes lumber was so scare and costly that people opted for thatched roofs. Cats and dogs would snuggle under the thatch to keep warm and dry. When it rained heavily, the thatch would get slippery and the animals would tumble out of them.

Chew the fat after we bring home the bacon. Having fresh meat has been a big deal ever since the cavemen slayed their first small animals. Bacon is one cut of meat that can be hung and cured, which many people. It was hung from the rafters in the kitchen. When visitors dropped in, they could admire that big slab of cured meat, which was a testament that the man of the house “could bring home the bacon” and provide well for his family. They’d sit by the fire and the host would slice off bits of the bacon fat and give to the guests to demonstrate how much he thought of them. They’d chat and chew the fat.

Upper crust. Baking in a fireplace or cook stove was an art that often went askew. Most bread loaves ended up burned on the bottom, chewy in the middle, and crusty on top. The burned stuff was given to workers, the chewy part was given to children, and the parents and/or visitors were given the best of it – the upper crust.

A dead ringer. Centuries ago medicine was hit and miss. Physicians even had trouble pronouncing someone dead. There were many times when a person who was considered dead awakened! Therefore, to be on the safe side, bodies were laid out in their coffins or on a long table in the family home and everyone would get drunk and get loud to see if the dearly departed would rouse up again. Thus, they had a “wake”. In England, some people went to greater extremes and tied a string around the wrist of the deceased, which they then guided out of the coffin and up to the ground where the string or cord was attached to a bell. If the bell didn’t ring after a day or two, you could breathe a sigh of relief. You had a dead ringer. Of course, if the bell did ring, well, that chap was saved by the bell!

Isn’t history a hoot?



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Solitary Horseman

by Deborah Camp

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GENRE: Historical Romance (Western)

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BLURB:

Texas rancher Callum Latimer believed that the Civil War had killed everything tender and yearning inside of him until he struck up a partnership with Banner Payne. His dark-haired, golden-eyed, spirited neighbor stirred embers that he thought were long dead...

Sunlight glided over hair as she shifted from one boot to the other, and before his mind could catch up with his instincts, Callum reached out and wrapped his index finger around one of her auburn curls. Its softness against his calloused skin sent longing through him like a rushing river. She’d be like that all over – soft where he was hard, giving where he was not. He heard her gasp and his heart bucked.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT

Topping a small ridge, he caught sight of the two cowhands, who were now with Eller and Hollis. Just as well. He didn’t mind that audience for what he was about to do. They needed to know what he would and wouldn’t put up with. As Butter approached them at a lazy trot, they all turned in their saddles to face him. Shadows played across them, but Callum was fairly certain that Johnson and Baines shared a quick and telling eyeball to eyeball exchange.

Yes, boys, time to reap what you’ve sown. Callum slowed Butter to a walk and then reined her to a stop near the semi-circle of cowpokes. He looked toward the mooing herd, some grazing and some lying down to chew their cud. They were all Payne cattle. He could tell because they were underweight by his standards.

“They’re sure on the puny side,” he said, swinging his gaze back to the men and zeroing in on Johnson. He figured that Jeb Johnson was the ringleader and Russell Baines followed along like a faithful hound. “Long way from bringing top dollar at market.”

“We’ll get them fattened up by market time,” Eller said, all puffed up with confidence he sure as hell hadn’t earned.

“We will, huh? That’s good to hear. I’ll hold you to that, Eller. If they’re not, maybe you’d be so kind as to let me dock your pay.”

Eller grinned. “I ain’t that kind, cousin.”

“Didn’t think so.”

“But we will get these cattle up to a decent weight.” Eller gave him a wink.

Callum switched his attention to Johnson again. “Any of you know what happened to the heifer that birthed the calf we found this morning?”

They all exchanged befuddled glances, shaking their heads.

“I’ve looked for her off and on all morning,” Hollis said. “I found a trail, but it got washed out.”

“Over that rise, out by the Pitchfork foothills?” Callum asked, and Hollis nodded. “I saw that, too. Did you notice that it was the tracks of more than one cow?”

“Yep. Looked like maybe three or four.”

Callum nodded, all the while keeping his gaze shifting from Johnson to Baines and back to Johnson. “Mama cows with newborns don’t wander off with a couple of other heifers and leave their calves behind them.”

“Maybe a coyote was after her,” Baines said.

“No coyote tracks. Just cattle and horses.”

“Horses?” Hollis echoed with a scowl.

“They were mostly rubbed out by someone trailing a branch, making them hard to see. I had to get down off my horse and look real close to find a few of them.”

“Well, hell.” Eller crossed his wrists on his saddle horn. “I don’t like the sound of that, cousin.”

“Only one conclusion to make from it,” Callum said, staring hard at Johnson and watching the sweat bead on the man’s forehead under his hat’s brim and dampen his droopy black mustache. “We have some cattle thieves in our ranks.” From his periphery vision, he saw Hollis and Eller glance at each other and then direct their attention to Johnson and Baines.

“I’ve heard about Yanks roaming in these parts and stealing cattle,” Baines piped up, his dark eyes widening.

“I’ve heard that, too, but I don’t have any Yanks on my payroll.” Callum squinted one eye, taking a sharper bead on Johnson. “You took the Paynes' market money last season, didn’t you?”

“No!” Baines blurted, his eyes growing even bigger, bugging out even.

“We was robbed,” Johnson said, quietly, his face tightening.

“Yeah, I heard that story.” Callum rested his hand on the butt of his gun. “Since then Payne cattle have gone missing every few weeks – a few here and a few there. I reckon you’re in cahoots with another rancher or just hiding the stolen cattle in the brush land by the river. Letting them get fat before you drive them to market. Of course, you plan to hightail it from here before then.”

“You surely ain’t accusing us of stealing,” Johnson snarled.

“No.” Callum leaned closer. “I’m calling you thieving sonsofbitches outright and to your cowardly faces. Men are hung for what you’ve done, but I don’t have the time to catch you at your thieving and turn you over to the sheriff to be hanged. So, I’m telling you to get the hell off this land and don’t ever show yourselves to me again or I’ll put a bullet in your brain pans and not lose a wink’s sleep over it.” He stared hard at Baines and then at Johnson. “Either one of you doubt me? Say so now and I’ll demonstrate on one of you.” He tightened the ivory grip on his revolver and pulled it ever so slowly from the holster.

He could see that he’d made an instant believer out of Baines, but it took Johnson a few seconds.

“You’re plumb loco!” Baines said. “You can’t just shoot a man and get away with it.”

“I don’t see anyone who would say that what I do or don’t do isn’t right and proper.” He glanced at Hollis and Eller. Hollis looked off to the horizon and Eller gave a shrug and another grin.

Johnson stared at him before the blood slowly seeped from his face until he was pasty white. He looked away from Callum’s steady gaze and stared at Eller.

“You got anything to say about this, Hawkins?” Johnson asked.

Eller’s brows shot up. “Seems that Cal’s doing all the talking here. I’m just a bystander.”

Johnson glowered at him for a moment and then spit at the ground near Eller’s horse. “We don’t stay where we ain’t wanted. Where do we pick up our pay?”

Callum had to smirk at that. “You can pick it up in cow dung on your way off the ranch.”

Johnson’s head angled back as if he’d been socked. “You’ve made an enemy, Latimer.” He reined his horse around and gave it his spurs. Baines was right behind him, his copper colored mustang throwing up dirt clods.




Amazon

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Author of more than 45 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah's first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of the Author's Guild.

Lover of the west and the people who tried to tame it, Deborah likes to write about strong, independent women and the men who are their equals. She grew up on a diet of TV westerns which have served her well. Since she appreciates men with devilish twinkles in their eyes, she likes to mix laughter in with the love scenes in her books. Also widely published in non-fiction, she writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on her next historical romance set in the wild, wonderful west.

Her books have been re-issued on Amazon for Kindle Direct and have attracted tens of thousands of new fans. For a list of them, visit her website.

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The tour dates can be found here


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Unraveled by Jennifer Estep (spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) LTP

unraveled blog tour banner


by
Jennifer Estep


Blurb: What could go wrong when you’re trying to unravel a decades-old conspiracy?

As the current queen of the Ashland underworld, you would think that I, Gin Blanco, would know all about some secret society controlling things from behind the scenes. I might be the Spider, the city’s most fearsome assassin, but all my Ice and Stone elemental magic hasn’t done me a lick of good in learning more about “the Circle”. Despite my continued investigations, the trail’s gone as cold as the coming winter.

So when Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, gets word of a surprising inheritance, we figure why not skip town for someplace less dangerous for a few days? That place: Bullet Pointe, a fancy hotel resort complex plus Old West theme park that Finn now owns lock, stock, and barrel. At first, all the struttin’ cowboys and sassy saloon girls are just hokey fun. But add in some shady coincidences and Circle assassins lurking all around, and vacationing becomes wilder—and deadlier—than any of us expected.

Good thing this assassin brought plenty of knives to the gunfight…

Unraveled (Elemental Assassin #15) | Jennifer Estep | Pocket Books | $7.99 | 400 pages | August 30, 2016 | ISBN: 978-1501142215 | Goodreads link

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Excerpt #4


“Why couldn’t Lane sit out here with you?” Phillip asked. “Or Jo-Jo or even Sophia for that matter? Why did I get elected to freeze my balls off tonight?”

Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, was often my partner in crime in all things Spider-related, while Jo-Jo and Sophia Deveraux healed me and cleaned up the blood and bodies I left in my wake.

“Because Finn is still dealing with the mess that Deirdre Shaw left behind at First Trust bank, and Jo-Jo and Sophia had tickets to The Nutcracker tonight,” I said, ticking our friends off on my hand. “And of course, you know that Owen promised Eva that he’d help out with that holiday toy drive she’s leading over at the community college.”

“I would have been happy to help Eva with her toy drive,” Phillip grumbled again. “Thrilled. Ecstatic even.”

Despite their roughly ten-year age difference, Phillip was crazy about Eva Grayson, Owen’s younger sister, although he was waiting for her to finish college and grow up a bit before pursuing a real relationship with her.



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About Jennifer Estep:

jennifer step author picJennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Unwanted, e-novella #14.5 in the series, was released on July 18. Unraveled, book #15, will be released on Aug. 30.
Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. She is also the author of the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.


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My review is pending...it's been one of those weeks!

I will say that I loved it (4.5 out of 5 stars) and it's exciting and full of those things that make me love Gin and her friends...snark, excitement, ruthlessness, and great analytical powers to go with her Elemental ones!

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Jennifer Estep’s Unraveled Blog Tour runs August 15-September 2! Here are the lovely stops, swing by to check out reviews, Q&As, and to enter the giveaway!


TOUR STOPS
8/15: Tome Tender (review + giveaway)
8/16: DianaMCKiaradB (review + excerpt)
8/17: BJ’s Reviews (excerpt)
8/18: Rantings of a Reading Addict (review + excerpt)
8/19: The Book Nympho (review + giveaway)
8/21: A Book Fanatic Obsession (review + excerpt), Story Forge (Q&A + excerpt)
8/22: Books and Things (review + giveaway), Angel’s Guilty Pleasures (excerpt + giveaway)
8/23: Cover2Cover (excerpt + giveaway)
8/25: Goldilox and the Three Weres (review + giveaway)
8/26: LilyElement Book Reviews (review), Urban Fantasy Investigations (excerpt + giveaway)
8/27: Book Junkiez (review + excerpt), Will Read for Feels (excerpt + giveaway)
8/28: The Book Crumb Trail (review + giveaway)
8/29: Diane’s Book Blog (excerpt + giveaway), Bad Bird Reads (review + giveaway)
8/30: Slippery Words (review + excerpt + Q&A), Gizmo’s Reviews (review + excerpt)
8/31: Bambi Unbridled (review + giveaway)
9/1: Bookish Things & More (review + excerpt)
9/2: Books That Hook (review + excerpt)





Friday, August 19, 2016

Fearless Destiny by Annette Bower (VBT, guest post, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) GFT


It is my pleasure to have a guest post by author Annette Bower, who answers my question:

ELF: What do you think is the strongest attraction about the genre(s) you like to write in?


AB:  My strongest attraction to write in the romance genre but closer to women’s fiction with romantic elements is women’s stories. I like to tell stories about a women’s journey in life. My first Soul Mate Published book, Woman of Substance, came out of my Women’s Studies university classes. As a mature student, it was then that I realized in more detail about how advertisers have aided women in feeling badly about this wonderful package of bones, organs, nerves, and skin we habit. We can reproduce another life and in doing so, we place that small life a head of our own. But if we merrily went along and accepted our bodies as wonderful, companies wouldn’t sell much of the potions and lotions, that we in weak moments purchase, searching for the women we were prior to the little ones entering our lives.

It was then, that I learned about women who would rather smoke cigarettes and suffer the consequences than be fat. It was then, that I learned about women dying to be thin. I wanted to write about a woman brave enough to do the opposite, and dress to appear larger, experiencing an inkling of the challenges women larger than designers have designed spaces for, and manufacturers have produced clothing for encounter daily.

I wanted to bring forward that some of the negative feelings we have about ourselves, are not justifiable. Just because a chair doesn’t fit our backside, or a pair of pants don’t close around our abdomen, does not mean it is our fault, and we should change ourselves, rather we should try and change the things we can and not judge someone for their girth.

Then I needed to find a man who would love brave Robbie and have a HEA. And I found Jake.

In my second book,
Moving On, published by Soul Mate Publishing, I wanted to write about loss in a woman’s story. Anna had been a trauma nurse and when her fiancé was dying due to a work related accident, she couldn’t save him. Eventually, she packed up that life and moved to a small town where no one knew her secret and wouldn’t look at her with pity, or not know what to say when they did see her. She had also lost her faith in her nursing ability. Many women around me were young widows and were on their own discovering ways through that loss. They were brave women. I needed to find a man who would give Anna her HEA. I found Nick, who also experienced loss.

In my third novel,
Fearless Destiny, published by Soul Mate Publishing, I wanted to explore that place where many women find themselves caught between doing their art, whether it is writing, painting, music, or dancing, etc, and being the responsible adult in a family and a community. Women usually have to put these desires on hold until they are older. Tiffany has always been her father’s helper in the family business. Her brother had asthma and therefore couldn’t help Dad. Tiffany became a qualified plumber and felt she could be happy-ish marrying a man from town, raising their children in Apex, and eventually being the owner of the plumbing business. But things changed, and she had an opportunity to explore her art. In the beginning of the story she is on her way home for a week’s rest and to share her good news that she has a commission. But she is pulled right back into her plumber boots. Her parents’ expectation is that she will drop the art and return. And she questions if it had always been this way but because she was a pleaser, she hadn’t noticed. It’s hard to control your destiny when the ones you love want the old you back.

I needed to find a man who would guide Tiffany toward her future because he’d been down the road of pushing boundaries. I found Will, the man ready to accept Tiffany on her terms.

Thank you E.L.F for hosting today and asking this question that made me recall why I love writing women’s stories with a HEA ending.


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by Annette Bower


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GENRE: Women's fiction with romantic elements

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BLURB:

From the Romance Review Readers Choice nominee, Annette Bower, comes a new small town romance, Fearless Destiny.

Tiffany George, riding high on her commission as a fresco artist, returns home for some deserved rest and relaxation.

The drive is uneventful until she rescues Will Cleaver on the side of a highway. While savoring memories of a kiss and a well formed butt, her future goals do not include a romance.

Once in town, she discovers the hopes and dreams of her community hinge on the development of a new resource mine and Will Cleaver’s designed neighborhood. Her parents demand she give up art and resume her working partner role in the family business.

Tiffany George is pulled by her community roots and stretched by her newly discovered independence.

Will Cleaver knows about taking charge of destiny. He models the courage she uses to become the woman she needs to be.

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EXCERPT

Turning onto the highway that led into the town of Apex, Tiffany George saw an abandoned gray compact car. Her father’s voice rang in her ears, Don’t drive by stalled cars on the highway. You never know who needs you. Slowing to a stop, she grabbed her flashlight and tucked her cell phone into her pocket.

She expected to see an empty vehicle. Tiffany felt like an unprepared Girl Scout when the light illuminated dark eyes. A hand pushed through black hair. The man’s discomfort was obvious. His shoulders braced against the seat.

“Can I help you?” she called through the window.

“I’m not sure.” His jaw muscles tensed, while he shaded his eyes against the flashlight.

“I’m going to open the door.” Her forearms and biceps bulged, and her sandals skidded on gravel but the driver door wouldn’t budge.

“Locking system jammed.” His speech was slurred.

“That doesn’t happen. Have you been drinking?” She sniffed for alcohol.

“No. Pain.”

“What kind of pain?” She watched him with first-responder alertness. “Heart attack?”

“No.” He bent down toward the floor.

Growing up as her father’s helper in the family plumbing business, Tiffany knew her way around vehicles.

The man’s head slumped onto the headrest. “Okay, Mister, tell me what’s happening.”

“Muscle cramps in both legs.” He sucked air through his teeth. “Need to get out of this sardine tin.”

“Push on your knees,” she said calmly.

“Thanks, Nurse Nancy. I’ve tried. I need out.”


Amazon link

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Annette Bower sets her romance novels in Saskatchewan because she believes home can be as exotic as anywhere else in the World. Annette travels extensively, but always returns home to Regina, Saskatchewan. Born in Regina, her experiences as a nurse, administrator, town councillor, teachers’ assistant and student inform her stories and reflect the experiences of many readers. Annette’s stories are read around the world and have been shortlisted on many national and international stages.

Annette Bower writes about women’s roles in families, in communities and women’s emotions at the beginning and end of love in her home office in Regina, SK. Her short stories are published in magazines and anthologies in Canada, United States, and United Kingdom.

Her women’s fiction novels with romantic elements, Woman of Substance and Moving On are published by Soul Mate Publishing.

Annette Bower’s day-to-day experiences as a nurse, administrator, town councillor, teacher’s assistant and student means that her stories are the real thing because they are about you and your neighbours. Her short stories and novels are read around the world. Her romance novels are set in Saskatchewan because she believes home is as exotic as anywhere else in the wide world she has visited.

Links to be included:

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GIVEAWAY

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The tour dates can be found here