Coming Soon – The Gemini Factor – f/k/a Gemini Rising

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This controversial first novel has been reworked and will be published in October by Class Act Books.  The Gemini Factor deals with a sensitive subject in a fantasy setting.  With 5-star reviews, the book has done well as Gemini Rising.

My rights in the book reverted to me this month, and Class Act has signed on to publish the novel under its new title.

In 2012, Gemini Rising was #1 in Mainstream Novels in the Preditors & Editors Poll as well as garnering the Paranormal Romance Guild award in its category.

I’m excited to see it ‘remastered’. It will have a new cover, but here is the original.

Sinbad Sails Again by Toni V. Sweeney

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In this last entry in the Sinbad series, Sinbad sh’en Singh, abruptly growing tired of the younger generation’s condescension, kicks over the traces.  Taking his youngest son and a grandson on a journey to the places he and wife a Andi visited on that fateful journey over half a century before, he prepares for one last adventure…

…which doesn’t go as planned, when son Mal is abducted and find himself on the way to the Slave Pits in the Fringes.

Since this is the last novel in the series, I wanted to tie up any loose ends and answer any question left dangling in the other novels…that’s the reason for the rather lengthy story—as well as weave an adventure worthy of a final curtain call for my hero.

Bringing in characters from other stories, some now as advanced in age as Sinbad but no less active and still as adventuresome, as well as introducing some new one who are also a bit of a challenge, I’ve woven a story that I will is a great finale for this series.

I think when all’s said and now, the reader will feel satisfied with how the story ends, and will consider all his questions answered…along with having a Happy Ever After ending (for a change).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Toni V.Sweeney lives in Lincoln, NE where she writes SF/fantasy novels under her own name and romances under her pseudonym, Icy Snow Blackstone.  She is also promotions manager for Class Act Books and reviews books as a certified professional reader for the New York Journal of Books Online.

Sinbad Sails Again is available from the publisher’s website: www.classactbooks.com, and also amazon

Review of Hunks to the Rescue–Breaking the Rules

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book of novellas which lives up to its name of Hunks to the Rescue.  The gents in these stories will keep your attention and libido on peak.  One of my favorites was Breaking the Rules by Katie O’Sullivan.  I liked the writing style. There were interesting turns of phrase that built both the character and the tone of the story.  Jake, the hero—an undercover cop—is quite the hunk coupled with a spunky heroine. I found O’Sullivan’s setting in detail in the restaurant trade refreshing and different.  I learned a bit about the hierarchy that achieves those beautifully presented dishes.  This romantic suspense is spicy and intriguing enough to please Abbie’s ideals. You can watch the hero Jake overcoming a few blots on his reputation, and you just get the feeling he’s a good cop—but not your average guy!  This book of novellas resided on my bedside table for a short time—I just couldn’t put the book down!

Turning the Tides — Nell Castles

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Nell has graciously agreed to answer a few questions you might find interesting.  Nell,

What is your greatest temptation?

            In men: After 24 years of marriage, I’ve learned to ignore temptations. But if you’re asking what qualities I find most attractive: I like a man with a good laugh.

            In food:  Bread, cheese, and wine. And I give in to them all the time.

            In clothes: Dressing like a homeless person.

What is your greatest weakness? Being nice to people who are jerks. I wish I’d speak up more and lose the reflexive smile.

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be? A flying car.

Your dream home – mountains or ocean? I love them both, but if push comes to shove, I’d choose the ocean over the mountains. Watching the tides roll in is my favorite activity on earth.

What inspired you to become a writer? Opening up books with bad prose and realizing their authors were making money. That helped to vault me out of my insecurities and give it a try. Since I was a kid, I’d dreamed of writing a book and was waiting for the perfect inspiration. It wasn’t until I gave up on the idea of writing a great novel that I was able to complete an entire project.

Do you have a daily writing routine? Until I went back to graduate school in the fall, my routine was to write first thing in the morning in the nook off our kitchen, watching the squirrels jump back and forth from the dogwood tree to the eaves of the garage. Whenever I reached an impasse, I’d walk my dogs and wait for inspiration, which almost always came. I’d go back to writing a couple of hours more and then get ready to meet with my students (I teach kids with dyslexia). I’m looking forward to a 2-month break from classes so I can get back to my work in progress.

What is your favorite book?  I can’t give you less than five.  Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Cry, the Beloved Country, The Corrections, Invisible Man. I majored in English literature and love reading as much as I love my children, so this is a difficult question to answer.

What is your favorite movie? Another tough one! Room with a View, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Pulp Fiction, Fiddler on the Roof.

Who is your favorite historical figure? Flawed as he was, Thomas Jefferson remains a man whose intellect, energy, and vision inspires me. I absolutely love the portrayal of his character in Hamilton, even though it’s not too flattering.

In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him? In my new release, Turning the Tides, my “hero” is first seen sneaking, hungover, out of the bed of a woman he met the night before. After creating a stainless hero in my first novel, A Leap of Faith, writing a more flawed character was a lot of fun.

Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her? My favorite heroine is generally the one I’m currently writing. Right now, I’m enjoying being in the head of the heroine of my WIP: a successful stylist to the stars who is forced to return to her small town and face the secret she left behind.

What do you have out now?  My debut novel, A Leap of Faith, released last June with The Wild Rose Press. I think of it as an old-fashioned love story, where both of my protagonists are pure of heart.

My new novel with The Wild Rose Press, Turning the Tides, is a bit of a departure from the traditional love story:  (blurb)

Ever the black sheep of her adoptive family, Lee Cooper has finally buckled down to a responsible job as a social worker in Southwest Florida. Defending her client against charges of child abuse awakens buried memories of her own abandonment in a Korean orphanage. Can she remain objective for the sake of a child?

Bricker Kilbourn, the court-appointed guardian, doubts Lee’s judgments–and his opinion might determine the little boy’s fate. He’s got his own family issues and haunting secrets to keep. Falling for a woman is not part of his plan.

He’s running from his past. She’s searching for answers. Will their resolution to protect a child bind them together or wrench them apart?

Excerpt:

Lee took a deep breath. Time for the sales pitch. “Amber’s been learning appropriate expectations for a child Kaleb’s age. I’d like to see her visitations increased while he’s in custody.” If the guardian ad litem was really so influential, maybe he could pull some strings.

Bricker frowned. “The nursery school teachers report Kaleb plucked at his hair after her visit.”

Great. I wonder if Amber knows and just didn’t tell me. Lee hoped her face was impassive. “Sometimes kids act out when they’re separated from a parent.”

One eyebrow rose high, and the corners of Bricker’s mouth lifted. “He doesn’t pull out his hair after his dad’s visits.”

The man seemed bent on disagreeing with her. Lowering her head, she forced a smile before raising her gaze. “But his dad sees him more often than his mom does. If Kaleb visited with her more often, he might be less traumatized when she left.” She didn’t know if that was true, but she hoped it sounded convincing.

Bricker scratched his chin. “Kaleb seems a lot more comfortable with men than women. A little unusual for a three year old, in my experience.” He shook his head. “Makes me wonder what, exactly, goes on at home.”

Low blow. Her nails biting into her palms, she fired him a look of pure venom. “Are you a psychologist, too, Mr. Bartender?” she snapped. “Otherwise, it’s not your job to psychoanalyze my client.”

He raised an eyebrow. “And what exactly are your  credentials? Since you’ve diagnosed Kaleb with post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Lee’s pulse thumped in her throat. “For your  information, I studied psychology. In a real college. Not Bartending School.” The nasty words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. What was she doing?

He raised his palms, twisting his lips into a mocking smile. “A psychology major! You should have said so,” he drawled. “Maybe you can diagnose me next.”

Lee scrabbled for the door handle with her right hand. If she didn’t get out fast, she’d slap his arrogant face–and ruin Amber’s chances of regaining custody of her son

Where can eager fans find you? On my blog, Facebook, or on Amazon

Nell Castle grew up in western Pennsylvania and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia. Since then, she’s lived in Key West, Anchorage, Sarasota, and Virginia Beach. She moved back to northeastern Ohio to raise her kids closer to the family homestead but looks forward to moving back to a gentler climate. Until then, she revisits white powder beaches and mountain streams in her writing. Turning the Tides is her second release with The Wild Rose Press.

 

 

All In For Love

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Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense Anthology

*~*

ALL IN FOR LOVE

Six award-winning authors bring you six *sweet to sensual* romances filled with suspense, thrills and maybe even a ghost or two—for less than the price of a cup of coffee—99 cents!

Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!

With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart at La Bonne Chance than a hand of poker. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef–when it comes to love, the stakes are high.

Thank goodness what happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance….

Ready to roll the dice?

An Inn Decent Proposal, Sharon Buchbinder
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?

Perfect Odds, Lashanta Charles
When a jilted bride meets the man of her dreams, will she embrace the new plan, or cling stubbornly to the old one?

A Ghost To Die For, Keta Diablo
She didn’t believe in ghosts…until one showed up in her room.

Raising Kane, Kat Henry Doran
Funny how a night in jail will change a woman’s outlook on life.

For Money Or Love, Margo Hoornstra
She’s the one woman he can’t afford to lose.

Take A Chance On Me, M.J. Schiller
Who do you count on when the chips are down?

Giveaway

To add to the fun, we are giving away one gambling themed handmade item to ONE lucky commenter who will be selected by a Random Number Generator.

Links

Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071V94BWM

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/allinforloveanthology/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35052000-all-in-for-love

Webpage http://lucky6authorsblog.blogspot.com/  

Tagline (20 words) What happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance. Are you ready to roll the dice?

* * *

Excerpts and Author Fun Facts

Excerpt from An Inn Decent Proposal by Sharon Buchbinder

After the hotel auction, a stunned Jim Rawlings and excited Genie King go to Sips, a local coffee house. Overwhelmed with self-doubts verging on buyer’s remorse, Jim begins to question his sanity. Genie, on the other hand, is bursting with enthusiasm and ideas…

“Why did you want this place?”

“The old girl called to me, begged me to save her.” He gave Genie a wistful smile. “Do I sound crazy?”

“You call the Inn ‘she,’ too?”

“Yes, she’s like a grand old dame who’s fallen on hard times.  Remember the parties? The famous people who stayed and played there? Celebrities came to the Inn because they knew their privacy and secrets were safe with us. If those walls could talk!  Every day was new and exciting. I would love to bring back her glory days.”

Genie leaped up, ran around the table and hugged him. “I have the same dream. We can do it.”

He hesitated for a moment, then returned the gesture, his hands unable to resist lingering on her luscious curves just a tad too long. Genie’s inviting cleavage made him wish they were somewhere private. He could scarcely breathe and had to shake his head to dispel naughty images of nuzzling her soft breasts. “We can do what?”

She sat down again, but clung to his hands. “I’ve done the research. The Inn should be in the National Park Service Historic Registry—but it isn’t. If we can get her added to the Registry, there are laws and standards about how we make the rehabilitation. We can bring it up to modern codes, but have to use certain treatments—”

“I hate to burst your bubble, but where will we get the money to do all this?” He wasn’t sure he could afford too many more big gambles like this last one.

Her face flushed and her sapphire blue eyes sparkled. “If we can get her added to the Registry, we’ll qualify for special low interest loans. And for a major tax credit. And we have a million dollars in equity.”

“Pretty, smart—and you say you can cook? If you can do all that, you are a genie.”

She released his hands, pulled her shoulders back, and inadvertently gave him a better glimpse of her bosom. Genie gave him a scalding look. “Are you challenging my cooking, Mr. Rawlings?”

Uh-oh. He never dreamed of Genie having a little temper. He couldn’t resist tweaking her. “I’m sure you’re a solid cook.”

She stood, almost knocking her chair over. “Solid? What the hell does that mean? Average? Good enough to make the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner for the family—but not good enough to cook for guests? Tell you what, Mr. Critic, you come to my house for dinner tomorrow night.” She scribbled her address on a business card and threw it on the table. “My food makes men go weak at the knees.”

Hypnotized by the sway of her voluptuous ass as she stalked out of the nearly empty café, Jim bet it wasn’t just this saucy woman’s cooking that made strong men weak.

About Sharon Buchbinder

Sharon Buchbinder and her husband used to breed and show Egyptian Maus and Color Point Persians (formerly called Himalayans). If you’ve ever seen the mockumentary, Best in Show, you have an idea of what life was like 24 out of 52 weekends a year for this wild and crazy couple. When Sharon returned to school for her PhD in 1986, she decided a doctoral program plus a toddler plus a full time job was more than enough and they placed all their cats in good homes—including their own.

* * *

Excerpt from Perfect Odds by Lashanta Charles

Callista is meeting her fiancé at the airport so they can fly out to N.Y. where they’re supposed to get married, but it seems plans have been changed without her knowledge.
“James? Where are you? They’re boarding everyone now,” I say when I answer.

“I’m not coming,” he says.

I pause in making my way to the attendant station. Surely I heard him wrong.

“Hang on a sec, let me ask them how long we have before they can no longer wait. If you’re here already it shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll just need to hurry. Like, sprint through the airport or maybe get one of those guys on the carts to give you a ride somehow.”

The attendant smiles at me and holds her hand out for my boarding pass. I move to give it to her, but hear James speaking again.

“Cali, you’re not listening. I’m not there. I’m not coming,” he says.

Pulling my boarding pass away from the attendant, I force a smile and step away for privacy. “What are you talking about, James? I’m here waiting for you.” As if he doesn’t know that. He helped me load our luggage into the car before I left this morning. Is this some sick joke he’s pulling right now?

“I’m not coming, Cali,” James repeats for the third time.

I stare numbly at the ‘now boarding’ screen above the attendant. I heard him the first two times. It makes as much sense now as it did then – none.

“I don’t understand. You can’t not come. I can see if they’ll schedule us for a different flight. I’m sure it’s not too late. We’re getting there early enough that one day won’t really matter,” I tell him.

He lets out an exasperated sigh. He’s annoyed? We’re two weeks away from our wedding and I’m at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, sans fiancé. I battled an hour and a half of traffic to get here and get us both checked in two hours early, lugged all our suitcases – overweight, I might add – only for him to call when it’s time to board the flight to New York and tell me he’s not coming, yet, he’s the one who’s annoyed?

“I don’t know what else to say, Cali. I’m trying to do right by you here. We both knew this wouldn’t end well.”

I splutter. Try as I might, I can no longer get the words to flow from my mouth to have this conversation. We didn’t know anything of the sort. Do right by me? How is standing me up for our wedding doing right by me? I didn’t ask to marry myself. I didn’t insist on us having a short engagement or me moving in with him. I definitely didn’t count on any of this.

About Lashanta Charles

So I don’t really have anything too witty, but I have a 6-year-old with a sharp tongue. One of the things I always tell my kids is that mommy and daddy knows everything. So one day I’m taking my daughter to the store to buy toys with her birthday money. This is how the conversation went:
Her: So, who gave me this birthday money?

Me: Poppy (Grandad)

Her: Oh, I really miss Poppy. I want to go see him.

Me: Well, you have to wait until this summer, when you’re out of school.

Her: Why?

Me: Because you have to learn things in school and if you miss a day, you’ll miss what you need to learn and then you won’t know everything.

Her: Ohhhhh, you mean like you and daddy don’t really know everything even though you say you do?

Me: *speechless*

* * *

Excerpt from A Ghost To Die For by Keta Diablo

Rooney encounters a stranger in her hotel room and soon finds out he’s a ghost!

Rooney looked at the man through narrowed eyes. “You weren’t at the séance on stage, so what then, were you in the audience?”

No, I was on stage, but kind of hanging around in the background. He put his hands in the air, palms out. I swear, I won’t hurt you, but I been lurking around this hotel for two months now wondering how I was going to get out of this mess. Then you arrived at La Bonne Chance with your sister, you know, the fabulous Fontaine sisters, the crème-dela-crème of psychics, and my prayers were answered.

She snorted. “I’m not a psychic, mister, so if that’s your angle, you picked the wrong sister.”

No, I picked the right sister. Now if only I can get her to hear me out.

“I don’t want to hear you out; I want you to get the hell out of my hotel room. Like now!” When he didn’t comply, she moved the can of hair spray until it loomed inches from his face. “I’m going to count to three. If you aren’t out of that chair and out that door by then, I’m giving you a face full of hair spray.”

Go ahead. Maybe then you’ll realize what I am and listen.

“You asked for it.” She held the nozzle down and let him have it right between the eyes. He didn’t move a muscle, didn’t react at all. Much to her dismay, she didn’t even have the satisfaction of seeing him blink. The drizzle and aroma of hair spray hung heavy in the air but didn’t seem to bother him nearly as much as it did her. Through a series of chokes and chortles she managed to eke out the words. “What are you, some kind of weirdo with inhuman defenses?”

A ghost.

“What!”

You asked me what I am and I’m telling you. I’m a ghost.

Eyes wide, voice in shriek mode, she fell onto the edge of the bed and glared at him. “You can’t be a ghost. I don’t believe in ghosts!”

Understandable. Neither did I until I became one.

She reached out and touched his arm, more to prove him wrong than anything else. A startled scream escaped when her fingers danced through vacant air. Coming to her feet, she paced a small area beside the bed. “This can’t be happening. It isn’t possible.”

That’s exactly what I said when they pushed me off the balcony and I wound up in this state.

She resumed her prior position on the bed. “Someone pushed you off a balcony?”

More like tossed me over, right here at the La Bonne Chance Casino, seventh floor, two months ago.

“Two months ago? You’ve been wandering around here for two months?”

He released an exasperated sigh. I thought you might be a good listener, but I’ve said that twice now. Two months ago I died, and yes I’ve been hanging out here, twiddling my thumbs and trying to figure out what to do next.

“You can’t leave the hotel?”

Not yet, anyway. I’m working on it, but you have no idea how much energy it takes just to project my voice. No one else has been able to hear me, or see me, until you, Rooney, and now I seem to be experiencing a renewed sense of energy.

“Stop saying my name as if we’re besties.”

Well, after that séance and the conversation you had with Violet about your little sister, Vanessa, I kind of feel as if we are.

About Keta Diablo

Keta once dressed up as old man on Halloween and picked up her 9th grader at school in costume! Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased. In fact, he refused to get in the car. She followed him out of the parking lot and down the street for two blocks before he’d even look at her. Yes, he finally got in, but didn’t appreciate her humor…at all. Update: He’s in college now and says the “old man” incident is now one of his fondest childhood memories.

* * *

Excerpt from Raising Kane by Kat Henry Doran

Lt. Kieran Pollack signs in to work and comes up against the woman of his dreams: Mallory Kane, ace investigative reporter. Unfortunately she’s just spent the night in jail and is in no mood to speak with anyone–particularly a cop.

 Anything I need to know before I head upstairs, Sarge?”

“It’s all there.” The night duty man passed him the report from the previous platoon. “The usual pugs, thugs and mugs threw themselves a circus down at The Dirty Dawg last night.”

Kieran scrawled his name on the sign-in roster. “Again? Somebody ought to look into closing down that pest hole.”

“I bet the Mayor is thinkin’ along those same lines. With the Chief on vacation and the Deputy Chief at a meeting out of town, as PIO it’s your job to handle the fallout. Lucky man.”

Fall-out? “What are you talking about?”

A woman with mile-long legs and hair the color of roasting chestnuts strode past the desk, heading in the direction of the revolving door.

“Overnight guest,” the sergeant advised under his breath. “TV Reporter. I was you, I’d head that one off at the pass.”

In addition to a talent for scoping out shapely legs, Kieran possessed the good sense to act on sound advice. After shooting both cuffs and ensuring his tie hung straight, he glided up beside the woman. “Excuse me, miss?”

She stopped, threw back her shoulders, then turned. “Yes?”

In the shimmer of an early morning sun he saw a nasty bruise blossoming across one cheekbone and winced. “Does that hurt as bad as it looks?”

“Who are you and what do you want?”

She possessed a voice designed to make a man think of hot nights and cool sheets. Extending a hand, he launched into his usual PIO song and dance. “Kieran Pollack, Public Information Officer for the Victory PD. What’s a pretty thing such as yourself doing in a joint like this?”

The screech of tires on the street outside obscured any response she might have made. Panel vans bearing the logos of the local TV affiliates disgorged reporters and camera-persons who wasted no time in storming the doors to the Public Safety Building.

Kieran attempted to head her off at the pass with a fast two-step and a faster line of bull. “Look, can you help out this hard working public servant?”

She raised one hand to shield her injured cheek. “Not without my attorney.”

“Aw, now. Why do you want to go and do something like that? We don’t need no lousy lawyers to make things right, do we?”

“I believe it’s somewhere in the Bill of Rights,” she murmured, eluding his out-stretched hand with a fast step to the left.

“Please. Hear me out,” he pressed, one eye on the camera-persons now jockeying for position just inside the doors. “I can make this all disappear―if we could go someplace to talk. It would be to your advantage, I promise.”

A spark flared in those dull, pain-filled eyes. “I’d sooner walk barefoot through a nest of pit vipers than spend one second alone with any member of the Victory Police Department.”

About Kat Doran

There was the time I played private duty nurse for my uncle, after he underwent a resection of an aortic aneurysm. Very scary for a number of different reasons. It became my job to ensure Father Joe got sufficient rest which boiled down to playing traffic cop and time-keeper on visitors. On one afternoon, I could see Joe was fatigued and needed a nap. As I rounded up the crowd to send them out the door, one smirked at me. “Who’s Nurse Ratched, Joe?” he asked.

I said, “Who are you, the Pope?”

He said, “Close to it, honey. I’m the Bishop.”

Aw geez.

* * *

Excerpt from For Money or Love by Margo Hoornstra

Lindsey Carr’s two best friends, Rita and Anne, discuss exactly why she and her mega-millionaire boss, Daniel Montgomery, are no longer romantically involved.
Shooting Lindsey a quickly manufactured smile, she turned her full attention to the eye candy. “No doubt about it. Those are bedroom eyes.” She trailed her fingertips over Daniel’s forehead, down his cheek and onto the outline of his lips.

Lindsey brought both hands to her lap under the table, locked her fingers together and squeezed. It was a four-page spread in Today’s Tech magazine. The picture of Daniel’s forehead, cheek and lips.

An important distinction to remember. If that had been her boss in the flesh he’d be blushing beet red from all the fluttery female attention. Daniel Montgomery was different than most other powerful millionaires. Those she’d heard about anyway. Certainly drop dead gorgeous as had been established. With a mile wide shy streak not many people knew about or even suspected. Hands still clasped, Lindsey leaned away from the display.

Anne slid her glass aside and moved up to fill the void, her critical gaze focused on Daniel’s picture. “I’m never sure what the term ‘bedroom eyes’ means.”

“Not droopy or sleepy.” Rita didn’t bother to look up. “Sexy. There’s no other word for it. Well, maybe erotic would fit. I must say, Lindsey. It amazes me you can work side by side with this man day in and day out and manage to keep your hands to yourself.”

“It’s easy.” She murmured the blatant lie. Very easy. He does the same and then some.

“You and this marvelous specimen.” Rita waited until Lindsey glanced up then met her eye to eye. “As a couple, are old news, right? That’s what you’ve said.”

“Absolutely.” Purposely lowering her voice, she mentally counted to five before she spoke again. “We did the dating thing for a while.” She shrugged one shoulder for effect. “It didn’t work for us.”

Lindsey took a small gulp of wine to avoid having to share more, and was relieved when Rita and Anne went back to hunk browsing. Trying her best to ignore the fact it was Daniel’s hunk they browsed, she gave up to give into her own thoughts about the man.  Bowing to a mutual attraction that became evident soon after they met, Lindsey and Daniel dated for a time. A very short time, consisting of a few casual dinners, a couple of movies.  That one night in….

“Why didn’t it work for you exactly?”

Unsure who asked the question, Lindsey looked up then blinked. “It just didn’t.” She slowly let out a breath. “I don’t think of Daniel Montgomery in that way.” Much anymore.

“Then why are you blushing?” Her sharp gaze unrelenting, Rita leaned considered her from across the table. “Care to share?”

I’ll have no peace around here until I do. Taking her time to indulge in another sip, she completed a long, slow swallow then licked her lips.

About Margo Hoornstra

Becoming a coffee connoisseur wasn’t an instant fall head over heels event for Margo Hoornstra. Initial cups were loaded with milk and sugar. When the children arrived, two AM feedings coupled with six AM risings for work necessitated more indispensable caffeine. Flavored, iced, lattes and such, a true coffee aficionado, she covets them all.

* * *

Excerpt from Take A Chance On Me by M.J. Schiller

After chasing leads at the station, Cash returns to his home where his partner, Ian, is supposed to be watching over the murder witness, Harper…

 Cash slowly pulled his keys out of the door, examining the pair. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing. Right, Ian?”

Ian nodded loosely. “Nothing. Like she said.”

Cash closed the door and set his keys on the end table. “Uh-huh.” He stuck his hands in his pockets. “What’s behind your back?”

Ian shot a glance at Harper. “You’re on your own.” He ducked into the kitchen.

“Coward,” she mumbled out of the side of her mouth.

Cash moved forward, and she took a step back. He lunged, catching her, and causing her to scream. He wrestled the bottle from her hand and brought it out where he could see it. Ian ran in, his concerned gaze darting to Harper. He stopped and put a hand over his heart, leaning against the side of the archway between the two rooms.

“Hmm.” Cash took a step back, tilting the bottle. He fought the smile tugging on his lips. “Is this my Jäger?”

Ian and Harper looked at each other with open mouths, but neither spoke.

Cash ambled over to the coffee table and clinked the bottle against the shot glasses as he set it down. “So—and correct me if I’m wrong—it looks like, while I’ve been out working my ass off, the two of you were busy getting snockered.”

“Oh, no.” Harper shook her head. “We were working hard, right, Ian?”

Ian made an attempt to stand straight, but swayed comically. “We were working hard.” He nodded, but turned to Harper. “What were we working hard at again?”

“Looking at the mug shots.”

“Oh. Yeah. That’s right. We were looking at the mug shots.” He faced Cash. “And doing shots.”

“Sh-sh-sh. It’s a secret.” Harper laughed.

Ian chuckled along with her. “Oh, yeah.”

Cash put his hands on his hips. “Well, I hate to tell you, friends, but the cat’s out of the bag now.”

“Cat? What cat?” Harper laughed, seeming to be slightly more sober than her partner in crime, his partner.

“He has a cat?” Ian seemed genuinely confused, looking around for the feline. “You never told me you had a cat.”

Harper sputtered and broke into laughter again.

Cash sat, hiding his chuckle. She was so damned cute. He put his feet on the coffee table, spreading his arms out along the top of the couch. “Whose idea was this anyhow?”

They pointed at each other.

“It was mine?” Harper asked. Ian nodded. “Oh. It was mine.” She smiled and didn’t appear to try to hide her pride.

Cash shook his head, staring at them for a moment. He stood and pulled out his phone. “Okay, Ian. I’m calling you an Uber.” He punched some buttons. “Chrissy’s gonna kick your butt. And the next time she sees me, she’s gonna kick my butt.” He looked at his screen. “Two minutes away.” He came over and put his arm around Ian, steering him to the door.

“I’m leaving?”

Cash grabbed his jacket off a recliner. “Yes, you are. Maybe the night air will sober you up some.”

“I doubt it.”

Cash laughed. “I doubt it, too. And you, little missie—” he swung around to point to her.

She looked about, then put a finger on her chest and mouthed “Me?”

“Yes, you. Don’t think you’re off the hook. I’ll deal with you when I get back.”

About M.J. Schiller

One day–when M.J.’s triplets were about two, and her eldest four–she was doing laundry and matching up the socks, one of her least favorite chores. She lined them up all along her arms as she hunted for their mates. After a bit of fruitless searching, she glanced at the time and realized she needed to hustle to be on time for a prayer service she was attending at her church.

She made it in time, her four children in tow, and removed her coat before kneeling to say a prayer. An half hour later, as she piously prayed along with the congregation, her eldest asked, “Mommy, why do you have a sock on your shoulder?” She had missed removing one of her husband’s long, mateless gym socks!

 

 

 

A Hundred Kisses by Jean M. Grant

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I would like to welcome Jean and her characters to my blog and here she is to bare her soul!

What is your greatest temptation:

In men: an accent, usually British/Scottish/Australian

In food: sugar (and in drink: coffee of any kind!)

In clothes: mary-jane shoes – so comfy and cute

What is your greatest weakness (example: buying shoes)? My children. Okay, that’s the mom answer, but it’s true. Also flowers – for my perennial gardens. I love flowers. I will spend my entire IRA on them, if it means a gorgeous garden of lilies and lupine! Flowers bring sunshine to my days.

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be? Red Jeep Wrangler (which is the same answer as my teen self who loved to watch MacGyver; yes, yes, his was not red, but a gal’s gotta stand out!)

Your dream home – mountains or ocean? Mountains, with a lake. Or at least a meadow of…flowers.

What inspired you to become a writer? My love of the hero’s journey, the hope of a happy ending, and my tendency to get lost in daydreams. My mother was also an artist and poet.

Do you have a daily writing routine?  If so, please share. Nope! I write in nooks and crannies and around family and work and life schedules. Sometimes I can write for hours on end for days in a row if time (and life) permits; sometimes in the wee morning hours. I would love to write daily. Eventually!

What is your favorite book? Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Two words: Jamie Fraser.

What is your favorite movie? The Princess Bride

Who is your favorite historical figure? Jacques Cousteau and Eugenie Clark, pioneer marine biologists

In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him? Well that would be Sir Alasdair Montgomerie, a man carrying pivotal information for the Scottish Cause against England, but who travels under the guise of Aleck Stirrat, a trader. He’s got a dark past and a baron hunting him.

Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her? That would be lovely, but cursed, Lady Deirdre MacCoinneach, an enchanting woman with a magical ability to sense the lifebloods or auras of others.

A Hundred Kisses from The Wild Rose Press and Jean M. Grant!

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Author bio:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

Website: http://www.jeanmgrant.com

Twitter: @JeanGrant05

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanmgrantauthor/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Kisses-Jean-M-Grant/dp/1509214410

Links on TWRP:

E-book: http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5014-a-hundred-kisses.html

Paperback: http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/paperback-books/5070-a-hundred-kisses-paperback.html

 

CLAIMING THE MAVERICK’S HEART by Debra Holt

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GENRE: Romance

BLURB:

“He’s back.”

Words Macy Donovan hoped to never hear.

Trace Cartwright was the maverick rodeo cowboy who broke her heart, leaving her on the steps of the church on the eve of their wedding. Now he’s returned to build his home and to lay claim to her heart … again. Macy barely survived the broken heart the first time. Does he think he can walk back into her life and take up where he left off?

~*~

Excerpt:

Macy nodded and smiled along with her. There was a lot to miss about Gram, and a tight squeeze circled around her heart. A little more than a year had passed, but that wasn’t enough time to temper the loss. She doubted that even twenty years would alleviate the emptiness her grandmother’s passing had left.

~*~

About the Author:

Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Claiming-Mavericks-Heart-reliving-redemption-ebook/dp/B01LVVAV29

 

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/claiming-the-mavericks-heart-debra-holt/1124729959?ean=9781946016058

 

Debra invites you to visit her website at http://www.debraholtbooks.com.

She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com.

Twitter is https://twitter.com/DebraHoltBooks

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DebraHoltBooks.

~*~

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Enter to win! The author is giving away a $10 Amazon/BN GC.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

On Seas So Crimson by James Young

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GENRE: Alternate History

Before we have the intriguing blurb and excerpt, we have an interview.  And here’s James!!

What is your greatest temptation:
In food:  I would say it’s my incorrigible sweet tooth.

In clothes: I have a large an eclectic collection of fandom T-shirts.  Especially crossovers.  For example, right now I’m wearing a “Darth Nagin” T-shirt that depicts Darth Vader with a red kerchief and spiked baseball bat questioning two Rebel X-Wing pilots.  Things that make a person take an extra instant to make sure their eyes aren’t deceiving them are amusing to me.

What is your greatest weakness (example: buying shoes)?

My greatest weakness is procrastination.  I tend to wait until the last possible second to do something, and it has bitten me in the tail more than once.  “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute…” does not always end well.

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?

If gas were no object?  Some sort of off-road capable utility vehicle like a souped up Land Rover.

Your dream home – mountains or ocean?

Mountain.  You can do a good site survey and not build in an area prone to landslide.  One never knows when the ocean might up and decide to kill you.  “Huh, so this is why we couldn’t get tsunami insurance…” is not a thought I want to have.

What inspired you to become a writer?

Being an avid reader with hyperaggressive muses.  I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and it prods me with ideas on a regular basis.  Someday, hopefully, I’ll have enough time to hunt down and kill all the plot bunnies in my head.
Do you have a daily writing routine? If so, please share.

Not really, no.

What is your favorite book?

There’s a FB meme about this.  It ends with the writer’s brain short circuiting.  But, if I had a gun to my head, I’d say it’s a toss-up between The Big E (nonfiction) and Red Storm Rising or Alas, Babylon (fiction).

What is your favorite movie?

I haven’t watched it in forever, but the The Crow

Who is your favorite historical figure?

Genghis Khan.  There’s something to be said about nearly being executed by your family, recovering, then going on “a roaring rampage of revenge” pursuant to conquering most of Eurasia.

In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him?

In all of my books, my favorite hero (please don’t tell the rest of them) is Adam Haynes.  He’s the scion of a wealthy family who so despises Fascists that he goes off to fight them in the Spanish Civil War.  Coming back to the United States, he watches in horror as the Germans initiate World War II and rushes off to join the RAF.  Just missing the First Battle of Britain, he is in England during the temporary truce that precedes the Second Battle of Britain in 1942.  Readers meet him at the start of Acts of War as London is burning, the Royal Family is fleeing to Canada, and England proper is getting ready to leave the war.

Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her?

Commander Leslie Hawkins, captain of the Confederation Star Ship (C.S.S.) Shigure.  Leslie is a highly capable officer who has excelled in her jobs.  Despite this, she has somewhat low self-esteem and issues trusting those around her.  She’s the main character in “Ride of the Late Rain,” and will also make a lengthy appearance in the forthcoming Though Our Hulls Burn

What do you have out now? Excerpt, blurb, book trailers

Acts of War

Collisions of the Damned

On Seas So Crimson (a collection of the previous two novels)

Pandora’s Memories (a novella set in the Usurper’s War universe)

An Unproven Concept (novel)

A Midwinter’s Ski (novella)

Ride of the Late Rain (novella)

After the Scythe—a post-apocalyptic novella

Barren SEAD—a nonfiction work about Vietnam air combat.

Excerpts for Acts of War and An Unproven Concept can be found at my blog, Vergassy.com.

There is also a merchandise page where you can buy art related to my book universes.  The links therein will take you to Etsy.  Feel free to poke around, see if there’s anything you like.

New releases anytime soon?

At the moment I’m finishing my dissertation.  This means any new works will likely occur in the back half of this year.

Where can eager fans find you?In addition to my blog, I’m also on FB.

BLURB:

Adolf Hitler is dead.  Great Britain has fallen.  The Royal Family has fled to Canada, and the United States stands alone against the Axis.

On Seas So Crimson collects both novels of the Usurper’s War into a single package.  Acts of War (Amazon Bestseller in alternate history) begins this universe with London on fire, while Collisions of the Damned (recommended by Alternate History Weekly) continues it with the desperate defense of the Dutch East Indies.

EXCERPT:

“All hands, this is the captain speaking,” Gordon began. “Shortly we will be passing by the Hood. All available hands are to turn out topside to give three cheers for His Majesty. That is all.”

Eric stepped back from the sight, his face clearly radiating his shock. Gordon smiled as he came back up towards the front of the bridge with the officer of the deck.

“The King is going into battle?” he asked incredulously. “Isn’t that a bit…”

“Dangerous?” Gordon finished for him. “Yes, but much like your situation, circumstances precluded His Majesty’s transfer to another vessel.”

“What? That doesn’t make any…”

“His Majesty was apparently aboard the Hood receiving a briefing from the First Sea Lord when the Queen Mary was torpedoed,” Gordon said, his voice cold. “We were not expecting the German surface units to be as close as they were, and it was considered imprudent to stop the Hood with at least two confirmed submarines close about. Is that sufficient explanation to you, or would you like to continue questioning our tactics?”

Eric could tell he was straining his host’s civility, but the enormity of what was at risk made him feel he had to say something.

“I’m no expert at surface tactics…”

“That much is obvious,” Gordon snapped.

“…but the Hood is a battlecruiser,” Eric finished in a rush. “While I didn’t get a great look at the Germans before they shot up me and my commander, Rawles saw at least two battleships.”

“Your concern is noted, Leftenant Cobb, but I think that you will see the Hood is a bit hardier than a dive bomber.”

Okay, I’m just going to shut up now, Eric said. I may have slept through a lot of history, but I seem to recall the last time British battlecruisers met German heavy guns it didn’t go so well. A quote about there being problems with your “bloody ships” or something similar comes to mind. The Battle of Jutland hadn’t been that long ago, as evidenced by the Warspite still being a front-line unit. Eric sincerely hoped Gordon’s confidence was well-placed.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

James Young is a Missouri native who escaped small town life via an appointment to the United States Military Academy. After completing his service in the Army, Mr. Young moved to Kansas to pursue his doctorate in U.S. History. Fiction is his first love, and he is currently the author of the Usurper’s War (alternate history), Vergassy Chronicles (space opera), and Scythefall (apocalyptic fiction) series, all of which are available via Amazon or Createspace. Currently living in the Midwest with his loving, kind, and beautiful spouse, Mr. Young spends his time completing his dissertation while plotting new, interesting ways to torment characters and readers alike. As a non-fiction author, Mr. Young has won the 2016 United States Naval Institute’s Cyberwarfare Essay contest and the U.S. Armor Center’s Draper Award for a battle analysis of the Golan Heights. He has also placed in the James A. Adams Cold War History contest held by the Virginia Military Institute and been published in the Journal of Military History (“The Heights of Ineptitude”).

Blog: https://vergassy.com/

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/ColfaxDen/

Twitter: @Youngblai

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

James Young will be awarding a 9 x 12 print of the cover painting, “Death of Kongo” signed by the author and the artist Wayne Scarpaci (US ONLY GIVEAWAY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOR MORE CHANCES TO WIN AND FOR MORE FUN! FOLLOW JAMES ON HIS TOUR:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/02/nbtm-on-seas-so-crimson-by-james-young.html

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde

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tourbanner_theunlikeabledemonhunter-002

GENRE: Urban Fantasy Romance

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

BLURB:

Bridesmaids meets Buffy.

The ago-old story of what happens when a foul-mouthed, romance impaired heroine with no edit button and a predilection for hot sex is faced with her worst nightmare–a purpose.

Ari Katz is intelligent, driven, and will make an excellent demon hunter once initiated into the Brotherhood of David. However, this book is about his twin Nava: a smart-ass, self-cultivated hot mess, who is thrilled her brother is stuck with all the chosen one crap.

When Nava half-drunkenly interrupts Ari’s induction ceremony, she expects to be chastised. What she doesn’t expect is to take her brother’s place among the–until now–all-male demon hunters. Even worse? Her infuriating leader is former rock star Rohan Mitra, whose sudden retirement in his early twenties now seems a lot less mysterious.

Convinced that her twin still has a shot at his destiny, Nava hatches a plan to convince the Brotherhood to bring the other Katz sibling into the fold. It’s too bad Rohan’s guarding her so closely that she might not be able to put it into action.

And it’s really too bad Rohan’s exactly what Nava’s always wanted: the perfect bad boy fling with no strings attached, because he may also be the one to bring down her carefully erected emotional shields. That’s as dangerous as all the evil fiends vying for the bragging rights of killing the only female ever chosen for Demon Club–or the one demon in particular out for payback.

Odds of survival: eh.

Odds of having a very good time with Rohan before she bites it: much better.

Excerpt:

The maybe-demon from Josh’s alleyway was back, having stopped about five feet away and triggering the motion sensor. What with Josh’s sister trying to kill me and all, he’dmediakit_bookcover_unlikable-002 fallen off my radar.

Aloe gooped over my fingers, having clutched the frond hard enough to break it, and my terror and an intense curiosity resurfaced. There was no denying his compelling presence. Plus, he had those long lashes that were my Kryptonite. I opened my mouth to scream. Or drool.

He held a finger up to his delectable lips to keep me quiet, circling me with lazy strides, checking me out.

I’d have been offended by the blatant appraisal except under his intense scrutiny, I lit up with an electric zing. I found myself stroking the aloe stalks in an obscene manner. Even knowing he couldn’t see my blush since I was in the shadows didn’t kill my utter mortification at jerking off plant life in not-so-subtextual yearning.

He stalked toward me, his leather jacket rustling with each step.

I held up a hand to stop him, the faintest electric crackle pulsing off my skin.

He didn’t stop, didn’t slow. In fact, he kept up his steady approach until his hand covered mine. My magic shocked us both at his touch. I gasped and shivered as pleasure, not pain, rumbled through me.

Hand still clasped in his, he stared at me suspiciously, instead of in fear, but had I wanted, I could have broken his hold. Not a demon, then? He fingered the thin silver necklace I wore with surprising gentleness, toying with the cute floral pendant dangling off it that read “I will kick you in the balls if I have to.”

“Should I be scared?” Given how he sounded like sex, sin, and salaciousness–the true definition of a triple threat–I decided that yes, he was most definitely a demon.

I met his mocking gaze, my rooted stance and beating heart placing me somewhere between morbid fascination and noping the hell out at warp speed.

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

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A global wanderer, hopeless romantic, and total cynic with a broken edit button, Deborah mediakit_authorphoto_unlikable-002writes adult urban fantasy to satisfy her love of smexy romances and tales of chicks who kick ass. She is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way. “It takes a bad girl to fight evil. Go Wilde.”

 

 

Links:

Website: http://www.deborahwilde.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wildeauthor (@wildeauthor)

FB: https://www.facebook.com/deborah.wilde1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16189297.Deborah_Wilde

Buy Links:

Pre-order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Unlikeable-Demon-Hunter-Nava-Katz-ebook/dp/B01MR8GI6B

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

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Deborah will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to one winner, another winner will win a print copy of the book (International), both are randomly drawn via rafflecopter during the tour.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

For additional chances to win and more entertaining excerpts, follow Deborah on her tour:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/02/book-blast-unlikeable-demon-hunter-by.html

Spear of Destiny by Paul McDermott

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Class Act BooksPaul McDermott is with me today and has agreed to sit on the hot seat.  Paul, are you ready to begin the interview. As my Brit ex used to say, ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’

What is your greatest temptation:

In women:

It wasn’t a gin-house in Chicago, but my Casablanca moment happened when I was far from home and SHE walked into the bar. Twenty-five years later she walked out of my life and I’ve never allowed anyone else to get close. Like everyone else, I only have one heart, I can’t afford to have it broken twice.

In food:

As I write it’s Chinese New Year’s Eve [Jan 27, Year of the Rooster about to begin]. I love ALL Chinese cuisine, and I’m pretty handy with a wok myself! Favourite recipes: anything Sweet ‘n’ Sour or Szechwan, usually based on Chicken or Prawns (or BOTH!)

In clothes:

“If you remember the Sixties, you weren’t there, Man!” I’m in regular contact with others from my Uni days: we call ourselves the “Baby Boomers”, so I guess that makes us Recycled Teenagers from the Woodstock/ Flower Power generation (and YES, I was there!)

What is your greatest weakness (example: mine is cars)?

I have to ‘fess up, although I’ve made several attempts to give up, I still smoke – but FAR  less than I used to! Sooner or later I expect our dear Chancellor of the Exchequer will add on one hike too many to the tax we pay on tobacco, which will probably persuade me to quit altogether …

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?

“They don’t make them like that any more …” How many times have I heard that said? My father taught me to drive in a Saab V5: built like a tank and totally trouble-free. One feature it had (1967) was a form of Cruise Control which made it possible to get 80+miles per gallon on long journeys!

Your dream home – mountains or ocean?

“♫ Where the mountains of Mourne roll down to the sea …♫”                                      I’ve lived in towns & cities in several different European countries, and for the moment I’m happy “back where I belong” – or to quote another song, “In My Liverpool Home” Related image

My dream home (which I still think I might be able to achieve) would be to buy a traditional Gypsy caravan and wander at my own pace along the back roads and by-ways of Ireland at the steady five-miles-a-fortnight provided by my faithful horse.

What inspired you to become a writer?  To write this book?

I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t write: I believe my skull would burst from the inner pressure if I didn’t scribble my thoughts and ideas on paper. The family Gremlin [arthritis] decreed that I had to take early retirement from teaching, and that was when I decided to make my first attempt to have a book published. That was a childrens’ book, through a local Indie publisher. It sold reasonably well and I was encouraged to write a sequel. Unfortunately the publisher folded just as I finished writing the intended sequel … I have since written a third book in the series, but haven’t tried to find an alternative publisher yet.

My current book. The Spear of Destiny, was inspired by a combination of circumstances which were not ‘typical’ of my “general” creative processes. I lived in Denmark for a number of years and had the privilege of meeting people who had been active members Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H01758, Erich v. Manstein.jpgof the Danish Resistance Movement during WW2. The story of their brave deeds has never been given the recognition it deserves, and I wanted to redress the balance. When the Danish billionaire Carsten Ree had the wreck of U-534 refloated and it was installed as a permanent exhibit in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, the story almost wrote itself. The basis of the story appeared as my NaNo entry in November 2010, the end result of 30 days of madness and strong coffee!

Do you have a daily writing routine?  If so, please share.

I always hope my daily writing ‘routine’ will begin before I get out of bed! Explanation: I keep half a dozen notepads and a plethora of pencils/pens at my bedside. I frequently wake during the night with the vestiges of a dream still circulating like morning mists on the very edge of consciousness. If I can scribble a few key words on paper, I will sometimes be able to build this into a coherent tale. This was what gave me the format I used in The Chapel of Her Dreams, first volume of a planned trilogy. I can also confirm the truth in what’s said about retirement: I was “never so busy when I worked for a living”. I seem to spend most of the day writing something or other; if I don’t get a minimum of 1500 – 2000 words written, I feel I’ve wasted the day. At the moment I have about 8 “Works in Progress”. This is my way of trying to avoid the dreaded ‘Writers Block’: if I ‘hit the wall’ with a story, I switch to something else until my Muse stops sulking and returns to my draughty garret.

What is your favorite book?

Favourite book – not counting the American-English dictionary! I used to have one of these when I worked for an International School funded by a US company  J        Writing about ‘what you know’ means I always read my local newspaper: I prefer to reflect Current Affairs in my writing whenever possible (the Liverpool Echo is available on-line for those unfortunates who do NOT live in the Cultural Centre of the Known Universe). I’ve read (and re-read) “The Lord of the Rings” so often, I’ve replaced my (paperback)Image result for lord of the rings copies at least three times! Just finished The Darkest Hour by another Liverpool author, Tony Schumacher who paints a gritty and very believable “What if …” scenario of GB following a German victory in WW2. Don’t read this in a dark room … I’m also struggling through a twin-language book of Celtic Fairy Tales in an attempt to force myself to learn Gaellige (research for another WiP)

What is your favorite movie?

I think I could probably recite from memory the script of The Italian Job – the ORIGINAL, with Michael Caine: the ‘remake’ was an insult to the original cast.             If I’m allowed a ‘second bite at the cherry’ I’ll go for The Rocky Horror Show,  BUT no film/DVD can compare with being in the audience at a live Stage performance

Who is your favorite historical figure?

I have to include two of my ancestors, Brian Ború and Cuchulain … what do you mean? How dare you suggest the Sí aren’t real? However, if you’d prefer someone you can put dates and recorded deeds on, I’ll go for Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Worldwide Brotherhood of Scouts. The basic survival tips I learnt from my years as boy and young man have proved very useful.

In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him?

One of the most satisfying things I took from writing The Spear of Destiny was having the opportunity to honour the memory of a number of real people alongside my fictional characters. One such Hero is Captain Johnny Walker. Although he only plays a small role in my story, he was almost entirely responsible for the success of the Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic. General consensus is, he literally worked himself to death in the process.

Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her?

Sally, main protagonist of Plague Sally [spoiler alert: sequel is half-finished]. She is a skilled healer/herbalist who uses natural medicines. Falsely accused of witchcraft, she must run for her life.

How about a blurb and excerpt from The Spear of Destiny?

Blurb:

In 1945, U-boat Kapitän Herbert Nollau must deliver a weapon which will turn the war in Germany’s favour. His orders are delivered verbally. There will be no written records… and no witnesses.

Alone, far from home, hunted by the Danish Resistance and the might of the Allied Forces, he must obey either his final Orders…or the inner voice of his conscience.

Excerpt:

Überlojtnant Herbert Nollau stood with his Zeiss nightglasses glued to his eyes, impervious to the rain whipped across his cheeks by half a gale. This howled almost exactly at ninety degrees to the tide, which had just reached the full but had not yet begun its retreat. His command craft, U-534, sat uneasily at anchor, dipping at bow and stern in the current, yawing appreciably as frequent Force Ten gusts buffeted her broad flanks. Low, heavy rainclouds hunkered closer, seeming to settle on the upper branches of the natural pine forest which spread untamed, unculled, across the low hills of Schleswig-Holstein.

An identical pair of black Opel staff cars bracketed a canvas bodied Mercedes half-track transport wagon, all three vehicles picking their way carefully along an unmarked country road. The headlights were taped down to the size and shape of a feral cat’s vertical slits, acknowledging the strict rules governing all traffic during the hours of darkness. The road to the harbour just outside Lübeck was neither tarmac’ed nor enhanced with any form of lighting. The drivers were obliged to steer cautiously around every twist, using the gears and brakes more frequently than the accelerator.

“Amateurs!” he thought to himself, as the three sets of headlights crawled slowly closer.

He blanked the thought as soon as it intruded on his consciousness, forcing himself back into State-approved Wehrmacht thinking, based on purely practical matters directly related to carrying out current instructions, with maximum efficiency, without question. He pulled the collar of his oilskins closer around his throat in a futile attempt to prevent the rain from seeping through, soaking his uniform. Raising his night glasses once more, he cursed the weather, the Wehrmacht and the world in general, feeling more exposed and vulnerable with every minute that passed as he waited for the convoy of lights to crawl closer, carrying the equipment which he had been ordered to collect. It bothered him that he was expected to set sail immediately, and await orders concerning his destination by radio once he had cleared the bay and entered Store Bælt: technically, that section of the North Sea was neutral Danish waters, and if he were to remain on the surface for any length of time in order to receive orders …

As the lights snaked around another pair of curves and began their final descent to the shoreline and the jetty where U534 was waiting, Herbert Nollau realized that he had on board a much more powerful sender/receiver than any other U-boat: in fact, not just one but two radios equipped with the Enigma cryptographic programme had been installed, ostensibly for testing. With a sudden jolt, the deceptively young-looking Überlojtnant realized that this technology was far more sophisticated than that which had previously been regarded as the best in the world: apart from being guaranteed unbreakable as a code, it could also send and receive radio signals without his craft needing to surface.

He shook his head to clear the worst of the pools which had formed in the upturned brim of his sou’wester and made his way down the ladder bolted to the side of the conning tower, aiming to be waiting on the quay before the three vehicles wheezed to a halt. His mechanic’s ear analysed and diagnosed a list of faults he could clearly identify from the laboured chugging of each engine. Furious at this indication of inefficiency, a corner of his mind decided that he would have had the senior officer responsible for each vehicle court-martialed, if the decision had been up to him. In spite of the horrors he had witnessed in three years of naval warfare, he shuddered. His orders, distasteful though they might be, were crystal clear …

Two gaunt, silent shadows slid with simultaneous choreography from the rear seat of each of the Opels: their sleek black trenchcoats almost touched the planks of the jetty, glistening in the starlight as if the officers wearing them had been marching for hours in the rain rather than just stepping out of a warm, dry car. Nollau fired off his most formal salute: the four SS-officers responded with a world-weary, bent-elbow half-salute and pointedly refrained from returning Nollau’s “Heil, Hitler!” One detached himself for a moment and gave a hand-signal to the driver of the canvas-sided truck.  The driver immediately hammered his fist twice on the bulkhead behind his seat. Four soldiers appeared over the tailgate of the wagon and began to manoeuvre something long and heavy out of the cargo space.

Turning to face his command meant that Herbert Nollau had to turn his back on the four staff officers. Somehow he managed to do this with an insolence which stated quite clearly that, as far as he was concerned, they were barely worthy of his contempt.

He placed a small, shrill whistle to his lips and blew, one long (but not overloud) blast. Within ten seconds, the deck was populated by about twenty matelots, standing at ease, who somehow contrived to arrive from nowhere and in total silence. Close to the bows, and just for’ard of ’midships , cables were deployed from two small jib cranes. Within seconds, the submariner crew were on the jetty, taking the unidentified cargo from the shoulders of the four soldiers and hoisting it with ease onto the foredeck, thence by some lightningfast legerdemain out of sight below decks. The crew had followed, leaving Überlojtnant Nollau as the only member of the Senior Service still on the jetty. At a silent gesture from one of the anonymous black trenchcoats the four soldiers climbed back over the tailgate, into the truck. After about four attempts, the driver managed to coax the engine into life and began to back and fill, facing back the way he had come.

As he completed the manoeuvre and gunned the engine to set off up the hill, the four SS officers opened their trenchcoats to reveal the muzzles of rapid fire MP40 machine pistols. With one accord they raised their weapons and sent round after deadly round of ammunition into both the cab and the rear of the vehicle, holding the triggers steady. Before the hail of bullets ceased, the fuel tanks of the wagon exploded, sending flames soaring high into the night sky, setting small fires in the tree tops as they lost their intensity and curled back towards the ground.

Suddenly, Herbert Nollau’s orders seemed fractionally less dishonourable.

Having emptied their weapons, the four executioners appeared to have rediscovered some of their habitual swagger and pride. Crashing the butts of the now-empty weapons against the rough wooden planking of the jetty they raised their right arms to the fullest, and screamed: “Heil, Hitler!” as their heels crashed together in perfect unison.

Sick to his stomach at the pleasure his countrymen took from the callous murder of fellow Germans, it was all Herbert Nollau could do to raise his arm, bent-elbowed, in the less formal salute he would never under normal circumstances have accepted from others nor used himself.

~*~ BUY LINKS:

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/historical-fiction/the-spear-of-destiny-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZKRH5K/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/718491

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in the Year of the Tiger, Paul’s natural curiosity combined with the deep-seated feline need to roam has meant that over the years he’s never been able to call any one place home. His wanderlust has led him from one town to another, and even from one country to another.

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write – my father claims to possess a story I wrote when I was six, which filled 4 standard school exercise books! What I do remember from that time was being told off for doing the Liverpool Echo crossword before he got home from work!”

While Paul was living in Denmark, he allowed himself to be persuaded to write for a purpose instead of purely for his own amusement. Perhaps it was the catalyst of breathing the same air as Hans Christian Andersen.

Paul’s IT guru (aka his talented daughter!) has recently constructed a website for him:

www.paulmcdermottbooks.webs.com

Paul frequently lurks at:  www.thewriterschatroom.com  (Sundays & Wednesdays)

The Spear of Destiny was released April 15 by Class Act Books.