Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Christian, fiction, Giveaway on October 25, 2014

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Synopsis

Death, discovery, and dilemma set the tone in the first three chapters of this fiction novel set in South Chicago, 1977–1979. The Williams family moves to Chicago due to a job transfer. Seth is a commercial airline pilot with a wife and two sons.

Bribes, greed, jealously, infidelity, and intrigue challenge this Christian family, who find out at closing that their house is in a homeowner’s association with rules which must be followed. The accidental death of a neighbor’s child and the murder of a volunteer board member keep Sally Williams busy after she becomes a board member and then president, by default.

Many homeowners do not know this neighborhood is built over one of many former garbage dumps from Chicago’s trash in the 1950s and ’60s. Follow this family through two years of mishaps, mayhem, and murder as they try to live a normal family life filled with school, sports, and home-ownership problems. Not all neighbors live a life with Christian morals–some of them leading sad and shocking lifestyles which create a challenging environment.

This novel is the first of a series.

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Review

This is a nice clean book about a housing community and the lives of several families in the community. To top it off, the community was built on top of a garbage dump that had been closed.  It is supposed to be a Christian book, but there aren’t a lot of religious mentions in the book.  There are a few that reference bible verses, but nothing too heavy.  The characters are very realistic and since the book is set in the 1970’s, the author did a good job of setting the scene for that era.  The characters are likeable and while I have never lived in a community with a homeowner’s association, I felt like the author showed what a HOA can be like and the problems that can arise.

There were some interesting twists – long lost loves, murder and blackmail. I was surprised at a few of the twists and how the book ended but I felt like it didn’t really tie everything up, so perhaps that means a follow up book?  It does say that this is the first of a series so I guess time will tell!

I give this 3 1/2 paws.

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About the Author

Sandee Martin Drake is a retired French and Spanish high school teacher. She received a BA in French from Florida State University and an EdM in education from Weber State University. She has four different stories published in four different books. The latest of these are Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware by Cecil Murphy and Twila Beck and Northern Arizona Authors Association Collected Works: Volume 2.

Giveaway

I am giving away the print copy of this book that the author sent me.  Open to US residents only

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Posted in Blog tour, fiction, Giveaway, women on October 24, 2014

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Title: Sifting Through Mud
Author: Demetria Foster Gray
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pages: 276
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

The death of Nyla’s husband comes as a shock to everyone except Nyla. What’s shocking to Nyla is her inability to grieve his death like a typical loving wife should grieve. But Nyla isn’t a typical loving wife. She’s a woman in desperate need to breathe. The oxygen in her life has long gone, and the astonishing thing she feels from her husband’s death is relief, not grief.

Even more astonishing is the rare and unexpected friendship which develops between Nyla and her dead husband’s mistress. However, Nyla isn’t aware her new best friend is a former mistress. And as their friendship deepens into an unshakable bond, Nyla is forced to face secrets her husband took with him to his grave. This means she has to sift through mud to unravel the truth. A truth that’s better off dead.

Yet through it all, the one thing which makes Nyla violently breathless, is the exact same thing that causes her to finally breathe.

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About the Author

D GrayDemetria Foster Gray is a novelist, freelance writer, and communications consultant. She earned a degree in Marketing Communications and spent the bulk of her career writing for the corporate world. Creating fictional characters and building stories has always been her first love. A native of the Chicago, IL area, Demetria now lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Blog * Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and 1 Free Ebook copy of Sifting Through Mud

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate and 1 ecopy of her book.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends on November 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 3
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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Tour Schedule

October 7

Interviewed at Review From Here

October 9

Book featured at PUYB Virtual Book Club

October 13

Book reviewed at Hanging Off the Wire

October 15

Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews

October 17

Guest blogging at I’m Shelf-ish

October 20

Book reviewed and Guest blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

October 22

Book featured at My Life. One Story at a Time

October 23

Interviewed at Read Your Writes

October 24

Book featured at Confessions of a Reader

Book featured at Storeybook Reviews

October 27

Guest blogging at Melina’s Book Blog

October 28

Book reviewed at All Things Romance

October 29

Book reviewed at The Phantom Paragrapher

October 30

Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on October 23, 2014

RETURN TO DRAKE SPRINGS

A Next Door Category Romance ~ Drake Springs, Book One

Cheryl Norman

Lance George debates his decision to return to his hometown, but the price is right on the abandoned veterinary hospital he hopes to buy. He’s saved his money to open his practice by living frugally and purchasing wisely. There’s no room in his life for wasteful spending. His alcoholic mother squandered everything she had when he was growing up, leaving him with an obsessive motivation to achieve financial security.

Iris Porter is unaware that she broke Lance’s heart in high school. She’s too busy trying to earn a living in a tough economy. She hopes to reclaim her old job as a veterinary assistant when Lance reopens the town’s only animal clinic. Popular and friendly, Iris is known to be generous to a fault. When a friend’s baby is stricken with leukemia, she organizes fundraisers and enlists Lance’s help.

Lance’s feelings for Iris rekindle when he realizes how much she’s changed. The high school snob is at odds with the caring, sensitive woman who wants to help a family in need. But can he reconcile Iris’s generous spirit with his overpowering need for penny pinching?

 

 

Excerpt

Lance George cruised into town in a fog of black insects and misgivings. He’d had good reason to leave home years ago. Was returning a mistake? He’d debated during the entire three-hour drive from Tallahassee and still questioned his decision. But he was here now. The moving company had his packed belongings ready to deliver. Inhaling a breath for courage, he slowed at the Welcome to Drake Springs sign.

Searching familiar landmarks, he recognized the Hurricane Lantern, a rustic restaurant located on Highway 471. To his left stood the stately Wilson home, vacant and for sale. Five blocks past the city limits sign, Highway 471 became Main Street. He passed the First Foster Bank and Boyd’s Diner, both still in business. A left turn here would take him to the high school, but he’d skip that detour down bad-memory lane.

The stoplight at Main Street turned red and he applied his brakes. A flash of purple grabbed his attention. Was that—? No, it couldn’t be. What were the odds he’d return to Drake Springs and immediately see the girl of his adolescent dreams? In the flesh—and what beautiful flesh—Iris Porter stepped into the crosswalk walking a bicycle to the opposite side of Main Street. It may have been nine years since he’d seen her, but with her blond curls sticking out the edges of a bicycle helmet, she looked as adorable as ever.

She turned her head and met his gaze but kept walking. She wouldn’t recognize him, and even if she did, why would she acknowledge him? She had deemed herself too good for him. He’d been a bookworm. A nerd. His limited circle of friends didn’t include babes and jocks. No reason to hope her opinion had changed.

She continued toward the courthouse. She hadn’t lost that subtle but alluring sway of hip that drew the attention of every male student standing in the halls at Foster County High—especially him. Instead of mounting her bicycle and riding, she chain-locked it to an oak tree.

“What’s your story, dear Iris?” He eased forward with the morning traffic while keeping her purple shorts and T-shirt in his peripheral vision. She still had her cheerleader’s legs and slender shape. If anything, she was thinner now. She disappeared inside the Foster County Courthouse. “Doing a title search? Paying your taxes? Filing for divorce?”

Iris’s rejection in high school had driven him to succeed and improve himself, so maybe he should thank her for stomping all over his heart. He continued his drive through town, leaving behind Iris Porter and all conjecture about her.

When he reached Ortega Street, he turned left and pulled into the parking lot of his destination. A business property that once housed Hodges Animal Clinic faced Main. Behind sat a modular home included with the business property. The lot looked weedy, abandoned, and neglected. No wonder it had such an attractive price tag. The realtor must have taken the online photos in winter, before the spring foliage filled in the blackjack oaks. Now shade cast most of the lot in darkness, forming a thick barrier against the hot Florida sun.

A middle-aged, heavyset woman stood in the gravel parking lot. He parked his Transit Connect beside her late model Buick. He’d recently purchased the economical business van in preparation for his new practice. It was small enough to serve as his personal vehicle, too. Unlike his mother, Lance did his research and made practical choices. Impulse buying got people in trouble.

“Doctor George?” The woman approached him with outstretched hand even before he’d fully exited his van. “I’m Barbara Sinclair.”

“Thank you for meeting me.” He shook her delicate manicured hand.

Everything about the woman looked professional, from her perfectly groomed, chestnut hair to her business attire. A few years and a few pounds ago, she was probably a real babe.

“I feel as if we’ve already met, from your e-mails. I believe this property will suit your needs.”

“It looks less cheerful than in the online photos.”

She winced. “Weeds grow quickly in Florida. The reduced price should more than make up for the little TLC the place needs.”

“Right.” He’d reserve judgment until he inspected the buildings. He locked his van, an action that earned him a bemused smile from Ms. Sinclair. She probably thought it overkill for a small town like Drake Springs, but she refrained from commenting. “Could you show me the office first? If it doesn’t suit, there’s no need to tour the house.”

“Exactly my thought. Follow me.”

He fell in step beside her. “What happened to Otis Gibbons? I thought he was the listing agent.”

“You know Otis?”

“I’m originally from Drake Springs, hence my interest in opening a practice here.”

She opened the door, stepped aside, and motioned him in. The faint odor of antiseptic mingled with the woman’s cologne as she moved past him. She’d been a bit generous with her atomizer. “Otis sold me the business when he was elected county commissioner. He didn’t want any question of conflict of interest.”

“Right.” He shut the door against a swarm of love bugs. Those inescapable black insects that frustrated Floridians every May and September seemed especially thick this spring.

“It may be a bit warm. I turned up the air conditioning about thirty minutes ago when I opened the building.”

“Feels comfortable.”

“The air conditioner is fairly new. Four years old, I’d say.”

The office was a converted Florida Cracker style house, with porches and a breezeway. The reception area was in the former living room. A pass-through with added counter separated the public area from the office. A few animal carriers sat along one wall of the former dining room. “How many exam rooms?”

“Three. The hall gives access both from the reception area and the operating room. There’s also a bathroom.”

“Hmm.” The equipment was gone, probably sold by Doctor Hodges’s estate after her death. Stainless steel tables, gleaming as if recently polished, dominated each examination room. “How long did you say this had been vacant?”

“About three years, but Otis has kept the power connected. He also hired a cleaning service to make regular visits.”

Too bad Otis hadn’t arranged for lawn service as well. “That’s been costly for Otis.”

“Frankly, he expected the property to sell quickly. It’s an attractive location, and Drake Springs is growing. But even Florida wasn’t immune to an economic recession.”

She led him around to the operating room, at one time the house’s kitchen. A door led back to the dining room/office, where the receptionist’s desk and file cabinets now stood. The rear of the house had a utility room, still equipped with a clothes washer and dryer. One wall held stacked cages. A breezeway led to fenced pens outside. He would have preferred more kennel room, but this could work.

“Well, Doctor George, what do you think?” She closed the back door and walked down the steps. “Want to see the residence?”

“Yes, I do.” He followed her past the fenced pens to the back door of the doublewide mobile home. “Where do people take their animals for medical care since this clinic closed?”

“Right now they’re driving twenty-five or thirty miles, to Lake City or up to Georgia. Trust me, this town will welcome you with open arms.”

He was counting on it. He’d saved a tidy sum of money and had qualified for a loan, but he needed equipment, supplies, and utility deposits. He wanted to make this property work, because it’s all he could afford.

The blue painted metal roofing on the home matched the roofing on the clinic. He’d guess the modular home to be less than ten years old, although the roof made it look newer.

“Is the roof new?”

“About four years old.” She unlocked the back door of the residence and led him inside. “Doc Hodges made several improvements before opening her practice.”

Not a fan of modular housing, he examined each room with skepticism. The floor plan was surprisingly open and pleasant, with vaulted ceilings and plenty of windows. A large great room separated two bedrooms and a bath from the owner’s suite and kitchen. The walls were painted or paneled, rather than the patterned wallboard he’d seen on older mobile homes. “Doctor Hodges lived here?”

“Yes. It was convenient, especially for emergencies with animals staying overnight.” She opened the blinds, revealing two windows overlooking the front porch and the front yard’s large crepe myrtle tree, just beginning to bloom. “Her mother sold all the furniture but not the appliances. Of course, if you prefer to live elsewhere, you could rent it out.”

He gave a noncommittal murmur, but he’d be nuts to live anywhere else. Living near the clinic made economic sense. He wouldn’t spend more than he needed to. The bedrooms were roomy enough, especially the owner’s suite with its own bathroom and walk-in closet.

“Cable and high-speed internet are available here, too.”

“Good.” He didn’t need television, but internet was vital to his business. “Immediate possession?” The sooner, the better, because he had no home. His mother had lost their house years ago, and Pops had no room to spare.

“Yes. Considering the amount of your down payment, you’ll have no trouble qualifying for the loan assumption. As soon as we can schedule the closing, you can hang out your open-for-business sign.”

“Well.” He chuckled. “It’s not that simple. I need equipment, for starters. And staff. You know any experienced veterinarian assistants?”

She led him into the kitchen. The appliances looked new. Doctor Hodges hadn’t been one to cook as far as he could tell. But Doc George enjoyed cooking. And he could make the most of this spacious, well-appointed kitchen.

“I know of one. She worked for Doc Hodges but lost her job, of course, when her boss died. She might welcome the opportunity to interview with you.”

“Thanks. First, let’s write the contract.” He followed her outside to the long front porch, additional construction to the original modular home, probably one of Doc Hodges’s improvements. It faced Ortega, a residential street with tidy, modest homes and mature shade trees. Empty except for a wooden swing, the porch could be a cozy retreat at the end of the day, assuming he wasn’t too busy to stop and relax.

Ms. Sinclair removed a ballpoint pen and business card from her purse. She wrote on the blank side of the card. “Here’s the name of the vet assistant when you get ready to hire your staff. You can probably find her at Miller’s IGA Market on Desoto, where she’s been working part time.”

He stuffed the card in his shirt pocket. “Thanks.”

They walked around to the front of the business via the sidewalk, which returned them to the gravel parking lot. “Let me get my brief case and I’ll meet you inside.”

Jittery with nerves, he went inside the building and paced the reception area. This was it. He was about to gamble—no, not gamble—invest his savings into his own practice. He’d have to start out conservatively, at least until he knew how many patients he’d have. One experienced assistant would be a good idea. He could hire more staff as his practice grew. He fished the business card from his pocket and flipped it over to read the name. His hand trembled. The card flew from his fingers.

He stooped to pick it up and read the name again. And smiled.

Iris Porter.

****

Cheryl Norman grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and earned a BA in English at Georgia State University in Atlanta. After a career in the telecommunications industry, she turned to fiction writing and won the 2003 EPPIE award for her contemporary romance, Last Resort.  Her debut with Medallion Press, Restore My Heart, led to a mention in Publisher’s Weekly as one of ten new romance authors to watch. Running Scared, a romantic suspense set in Jacksonville, Florida, and Washington D.C., received a Perfect 10 from Romance Reviews Today. Reviewer Harriet Klausner calls her writing “Mindful of Linda Howard.” She currently writes the Drake Springs series romance novels for Turquoise Morning Press.

Her passion for cooking and healthful eating led her to write four cookbooks and an award-winning blog, The Hasty Tasty Meals Kitchen (hastytastymeals.com). She also offers writers grammar help via her Grammar Cop blog, newsletter articles, and workshops.

In addition to writing fiction and cookbooks, Cheryl works with other breast cancer survivors to raise awareness about early detection and treatment of the disease.

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Books by Cheryl Norman (Amazon)

RETURN TO DRAKE SPRINGS (Book 1: Drake Springs Next Door series from Turquoise Morning Press)

RUNNING OUT OF TIME (Turquoise Morning Press)

REBUILD MY WORLD (Turquoise Morning Press)

RECLAIM MY LIFE (Medallion Press)

RESTORE MY HEART (Medallion Press)

RUNNING SCARED (Medallion Press)

ROMANCE ON ROUTE 66 Anthology (Highland Press)

 

Short fiction by Cheryl Norman

Coming soon: Hometown Blessings (Highland Press’s Christmas Blessings anthology)

The Christmas Prayer (Highland Press’s The Heart of Christmas anthology)
Veiled Threat (Turquoise Morning Press’s The Wedding Day Collection)

Twilight Time (Highland Press-Romance on Route 66)

Bad Moon Rising (Highland Press-Romance on Route 66)

Giveaway
signed copies of the original Drake Springs novels, RECLAIM MY LIFE and REBUILD MY WORLD.
US only.

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Posted in Blog tour, fiction, Giveaway, Young Adult on October 23, 2014

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Title: K-9 Cop: Case #1 The Dreck Report
Author: Erna Mueller
Publisher: Erna Mueller
Pages: 220
Genre: YA
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Synopsis

No one thought as highly of Lieutenant Spencer Watley as he did himself. This selfish cop met 14 year-old Justin Andrews during an important stakeout. Determined to nab a group of cyber killers, he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way, especially a smart mouthed teenager like Justin.

After Spencer bids him good riddance, he is killed by the hackers and stands before the gates of heaven. But – what’s this? After a life of putting dangerous criminals behind bars, he’s locked out?

He yells at the angel blocking his entrance, only to find out he needs to go through the J.R.P. program before he can enter. That’s the Jerk Redemption program, otherwise known as sensitivity training boot camp, which to his horror consists of non-stop Oprah and Dr. Phil reruns. Or he can go back to earth and help Justin’s dysfunctional family. Spencer opts for the lesser of two evils, to help Justin.

But the Angel pulls a fast one on Spencer. He can only go back to earth in the body of his K9-Partner. Spencer refuses, but like it or not, Spencer becomes a dog. He falls back to earth and is slowly morphed into a dog that closely resembles a mop.

And if being a dog wasn’t bad enough, Spencer also swallowed an important microchip his killers need to hack into PC’s and steal millions. Now the criminals are hot on his trail for the only existing microchip that’s logged in his belly.

Justin and Spencer butt heads constantly; both are stubborn and willful, neither one wanting to give an inch. Spencer needs to find out what the killers are up to, so he swallows his pride and forms a bond with the boy. Spencer relays to Justin his past and together with the help of Justin’s girlfriend, Shahla; they discover the hacker’s plans. Spencer has broken down Justin’s reserve and he finally learns the meaning of unselfish love.

But it’s too late, the hackers have captured them.

Can Spencer maul the shins (and other choice areas) of his kidnappers and stop them from their evil plan?

Can a selfish man find a heart?

You bet. He just has to become a dog first.

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Excerpt

Justin Andrews’ heart pounded so hard he thought it would punch out his throat. He trudged across St. Ignatius High School’s elm tree shadowed lawn, trying to keep up with his father who strode briskly. The half hour spent in the principal’s office sent ruts of adrenaline coursing through Justin’s veins. Even the balmy Seattle afternoon didn’t lighten the day’s heavy mood. The skin peeking out the back of Mr. Andrews sport coat collar was already flushed red. It wasn’t sunburn.

A spring wind blew through the private school’s grand hall window. Solitude and long shadows contrasted with another day of classes and activities. The daily exodus of uniformed schoolboys took place an hour ago, without Justin.

He opened the computer lab door and politely stepped aside as his father entered the flower-scented room. Baskets of bright, freshly cut bouquets covered every flat surface, including half the floor. Condolence tags hung on most.

“You were lucky to get a scholarship to this school,” muttered his father, Eugene Andrews, as he steepled his hands and assumed a confident expression.

Mr. Andrews was thin as a rule, which even his hair obeyed, and his business suit hung on his spare frame in straight-ironed lines.

“We can barely afford their activity fees, and how do you show your appreciation? By spending valuable time in Principal Hammersmith’s office because of your usual antics!

I hope you were as embarrassed as I was.” Mr. Andrews’ red face had grown haggard, but he returned to his normal tone. “I’m trying my best to understand you, but it’s difficult when you act before you think.”

Justin stopped tapping the keys of one of the classroom computers. He brushed back his sandy colored hair and tried hard to look unruffled by his father’s venting. Tall for his thirteen years, his even features were dappled with impish freckles, and his deep blue eyes sparkled. He frowned, recollecting that Principal Hammersmith had accused him of having “an understated confidence that bordered on impudence.”

Vicky Andrews, Justin’s sixteen-year-old sister, lounged in a computer lab chair, black backpack on the floor, waiting to go. She plucked a daisy from one of the bouquets, broke off the stem and stuck the blossom in her hair. She casually twisted the hem of her black T-shirt and listened to the scolding, ready to spring in as mediator if needed. Her eyebrow ring and bright pink hair screamed independence; an attitude she freely cultivated in her public high school.

“Chill out, Dad,” Vicky said, as she chewed away on a sizable wad of gum. “You’re making such a big deal out of this.”

“Big deal? It’s a disgrace. Your brother pasted Principal Hammersmith’s face on a picture of a mountain goat.”

Vicky tried to muffle her giggle with little success.

Her father glared at her. “So you think it’s funny, do you?” he asked as he continued to pace the floor.

“Sorry.”

“Not how your mother and I raised you. Did you see his screensaver?”

Justin had photoshopped Sister Constance’s face on a female goat in a very compromising position with the Mr. Hammersmith goat. Eugene glared at the twenty- nine monitors of goat love, floating red chubby hearts and Cupid with a compound bow and lots of arrows, then he and Vicky high-fived one another behind their father’s back while he gazed once more at Justin’s computer animation.

Justin’s fingers tap-danced across keyboards. He deleted another goat screensaver and set it back to the original portrait of Principal Hammersmith’s stony face sternly guarding the entrance of St. Ignatius. More clicks, another computer, another step closer to undoing his creation. His father walked over to the window and his voice rose as he spoke to Vicky.

“It would be one thing if his disrespect was limited to the school, but . . .” He yanked the curtains wide open and pointed at the athletic field. The computer lab famous goat love played on the new billboard-sized screen looming over the football stadium. And at Main Street’s busy intersection. And on Interstate Five.

“This is an offense punishable by a year of kitchen duty.”

Justin’s father bobbed his head back and forth in that parental duck-neck way.

“I’m not even going to ask how you accomplished that.”

“It helps to know the operator.”

“You mean an adult helped you do that?”

“Yeah. A guy who works here at the school who operates the billboard liked it too. He downloaded The Love Hammer’s-”

“Justin!”

“It’s the file name! Okay, Hammersmith. He had him as a teacher when he was in school, before Mr. Hammersmith became principal. Anyway, he wanted to pay me for the file of the screen saver image he saw in the lab.”

“You received money for that?” his father asked outraged. “No. I gave it to him for free.”

The veins in Mr. Andrews’ thin neck stood out in vivid ridges.

“Ah, come on, Dad, you know The Hammer, I mean Mr. Hammersmith had it in for me. It’s just not fair what he did to me.”

“You still need to have some respect for authority, Justin. Do you really believe your revenge was justified? That any revenge is justified? What if someone had done that to your mom’s picture?”

“No fair.” The words sank into a dark place within Justin’s mind where rationality always triumphed over emotion, and his breath caught. “Yeah, no, I was wrong, I’m sorry.”

“You’d better be sorry, though that’s not a big help now!” Mr. Andrews stopped pacing, leaned in and whispered, “I have to pay to have the whole newsletter reprinted and I still need to buy groceries. Do you want to know where the cash is coming from? Remember that allowance you had?”

Vicky’s slouch perked straight up. “Newsletter? What newsletter?”

“Justin put an obituary of Principal Hammersmith in the school’s newsletter.”

“Those weren’t supposed to get mailed. Besides, I’m writing a letter of apology, and you’ve got to admit,” he gestured to the bouquets, “the school did receive a lot of flowers. Aren’t they beautiful?” Justin smiled nervously then returned to de-goating the computer lab.

“You’re lucky they’re not going to expel you!”

Vicky raised a challenging pierced eyebrow. “The reason Justin wasn’t expelled was because of the special grants this school receives. His high test scores sure bumped up the school average. They’re not going to get rid of him.”

Mr. Andrews sighed and rubbed his face. “Maybe your Mom and I shouldn’t have let them put Justin two Grades ahead.”

“But he still gets straight A’s, Dad. Academics aren’t the issue. It’s Mom.”

“He still needs to learn discipline.”

“Come on now, it’s tough for Justin. Put yourself in his place. He’s only thirteen. Most of the other guys are already sixteen. They give him a hard time.”

“I’m almost fourteen, and I can take care of myself.” Justin puffed up as one more pair of amorous goats disappeared.

“He misses Mom,” Vicky sighed. “We all miss Mom. Don’t be so hard on him.”

Mr. Andrews’ cell phone played a disco jingle. He sighed before answering, “Eugene Andrews. Yes Ma’am. Sales projections ready by tonight. Fine.”

Vicky winced and gave a pained expression as the call ended.

“Look, I have to get back to work before I get fired,” Mr. Andrews said to Vicky and blew a heavy sigh. He straightened his tie, and picked lint off his sleeve as he crossed the room.

“As for you, young man,” Mr. Andrews said looking back at Justin, “you’ll receive your punishment tonight after dinner.” Dad slammed the classroom door behind him.

A vision of stacks of dirty dishes and a lonely soapy sink hovered in Justin’s mind. “I know Dad’s going to ground me until I’m eligible for Medicare. After I finish changing these screen savers I’m going to the park. I need to be alone.”

Vicky patted him on the shoulder. “If I want to find you, you’ll be in your tree, right?”

 

About the Author

Erna MuellerI was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.

I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.

My new book, “K-9 Cop”, is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay.  The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by awomenswrite.com.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

 

 

Giveaway

Erna is giving away one audiobook of K-9 COP!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends Dec 19.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, Dec 22.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Posted in Blog tour, Giveaway, romance, women on October 22, 2014

Strollers & Stilettos Cover

 

Title:                            Strollers & Stilettos

Series:                         In Stilettos, #4

Author:                        Nana Malone

Release Date:           October 20, 2014

Genre:                         Contemporary Romance

 

Synopsis

What happens when real life gets in the way of Happily Ever After?

Chronic list-making, event planner, Jaya Trudeaux Westhorpe, envisioned a fairytale ending once she married hotel magnate, Alec Westhorpe—complete with a steamy, extended honeymoon and an eventual family.  What she didn’t expect was a baby on their doorstep and a family-phobic husband.

When reformed playboy, Alec Danthers Westhorpe, married the woman of his dreams, he thought he’d finally found peace. But a long-hidden secret threatens to jeopardize what he holds most dear.

Warning: Sexy, sass talking women will make you laugh, cry and want a pair of killer footwear.

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Excerpt

Of all the things Alec never thought he’d hear, “Someone’s left you a baby at the hotel” would have been at the top of the list. A baby abandoned on his property was bad enough. One in any way tied to his name was a potential disaster. Especially given the Kleinman deal. The old goat was already looking for a reason to back out of working with them.

Alec’s heart thundered as fury coursed through his blood. With one call, the ground beneath his feet shook. According to Caleb, the baby had come complete with a birth certificate naming him as the father. It wasn’t true. Couldn’t be true. Except, maybe it could be.

His stomach pitched even as he gripped the steering wheel. Normally, Jaya would be a calming influence, but right now, the last thing he wanted was her near this mess.

This was all some kind of mistake. He and Jaya had been apart for six months before he’d finally pulled his head out of his ass and come back to her. But he hadn’t slept with anyone. He would never have done that. Are you sure about that?

The bile rose in his throat, and he choked it back. Shortly before he’d realized he couldn’t live without Jaya, he’d been willing to do anything to bring himself a reprieve from missing her. Including drinking himself into blind oblivion. All he had were hazy, foggy patches and pieces from that one night, but he’d woken in his own bed. But there had been blond hairs on the pillow next to him, and the place had smelled distinctly of floral shampoo. Would he have substituted someone else for the woman he wanted? Could he have? No.

At least that’s what he wanted to believe, what he had to believe, but still, it was possible.

“Alec, I’m sure it’ll be okay. We’ll figure out what’s going on.” Jaya’s voice was soft, reassuring.

It only made him feel worse. He cleared his throat. “Jai, you didn’t have to come.”

“Caleb called in a 9-1-1. When are you going to realize that means that I’m coming too? We’re a family now. Your problems are my problems.”

Yeah, well, he’d see how she felt about it once they got to the hotel. Because he was pretty sure she wasn’t going to take it so smoothly that he had his own personal Billie Jean.

After breaking a myriad of traffic laws, they arrived at the hotel in barely one piece, and Caleb met them in Alec’s office, but halted when he saw Jaya. His gaze darted to Alec’s as he spoke. “Jai, I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Whatever you have to say to him you can say to me. Where’s the baby?” Jaya asked.

When she crossed her arms over her breasts, Alec realized he probably couldn’t love her more than he did in that moment.

Caleb nodded brusquely before radioing one of his team to bring the baby in. When he turned his attention back to them, he spoke quickly. “About an hour ago, one of the maid staff found the baby girl in the business center. The kid had a note pinned to her that said, “Property of my daddy, Alec Westhorpe.” Caleb darted a glance at Jaya before moving on. “She also had what looked like a legit birth certificate on her, naming him as the father.”

Alec ground his teeth together. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. “I don’t have a kid.”

Caleb nodded. “We’ll clear it up. The mother is listed as one Melanie Brooks. We’ve started digging up any information on her that we can. But right now she’s a ghost.”

Jaya’s voice was calm and level as she asked, “How old is the baby?”

“Eight and a half months, if the birth certificate is to be believed.”

Alec kept his eyes on Jaya. His body clenched, waiting for her to do the math. Waiting for her to turn a wounded, disbelieving gaze his way. But it didn’t come. Instead, she asked more questions.

“Can we talk to the maid who found the baby? Maybe she saw something?”

“My guys are talking to her now. Whoever left the kid, left her with a few days of baby food and her blanket and a toy or two.”

She sighed. “That poor baby.”

Alec watched his wife carefully. She seemed unconcerned whether the baby was his or not. Her only concern was for the welfare of the child.

There was a brief knock at the door, and Caleb’s right hand guy, Tom, walked in, carrying a squirming bundle. If the situation hadn’t been absurd enough, Alec might have started laughing at the picture Tom made with the kid. Someone as big as him, looking extremely uncomfortable with a baby in his arms.

As if sensing the new audience, the baby turned her head, and her gaze collided directly with Alec’s. He sucked in a sharp breath. Jet-black hair framed her heart-shaped face. Startling blue eyes stared back at him. And like him, she had a cleft in her chin. His head swam, and prickly heat stung his skin.

Jaya didn’t seem to notice. Instead, she relieved Tom of the tiny burden. “Hey there, beautiful girl. You’ve had a heck of a night, huh? Well, don’t you worry, we’ll find your mama, okay?”

The baby gurgled and rewarded Jaya with a smile.

“Have you called Child Protective Services yet?” Alec asked.

Caleb nodded. “Right after I called the cops. They’re already on their way and will be keeping it discrete. They’re interviewing the staff.”

For the first time since they’d walked in, Jaya slanted him with a displeased look. “We are not handing this baby over to CPS.”

 

About the Author

NanaMaloneUSA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since.

With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters. Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana meantime works out her drama, passion, and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Nana is the author of twenty novels. And the books in her series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists as well as the iTunes Breakout Books list and most notably the USA Today Bestseller list.

 

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Giveaway

Nana will be giving away a digital copy of Sexy in Stilettos, the first book in her In Stilettos series
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sexy in Stilettos Cover

Synopsis for Sexy in Stilettos

What’s worse than having to watch your sister marry your ex fiancé? How about when that fiancé fires you from the family business?

Hyper-organized, event planner, Jaya Trudeaux is used to doing things by the book and never making waves. It’s a strategy that’s served her well until she finds herself in failure alley with no fiancé, no job and her thirtieth birthday looming. Maybe it’s time to change her methods. Starting with an unlikely date to the wedding from hell.

The only thing that can tie carefree, playboy, Alec Danthers down is his formidable step mother. When she calls him home to help find his wayward brother, he never imagines an uptight, list making, sass-talking woman would make him think about putting down roots.

Can Jaya put the lists down long enough to enjoy the ride that is Alec? Will Alec stop running long enough to recognize true love?

Warning: Sexy, sass talking women will make you laugh, cry and want a pair of killer footwear.

 

 

Blog Tour Stops

October 20, 2014

Musings From an Addicted Reader

So Many Reads

October 21, 2014

Romance Junkies

Reading By The Book

Read Your Writes

Book Talk with Eileen

October 22, 2014

Cricket’s Chirps   

Snarky Mom Reads

StoreyBook Reviews

October 23, 2014

Joyfully Reviewed

The Book Review

Love Romance Passion

The Season For Romance

So, I Read This Book Today

SOS Aloha

October 24, 2014

Becky on Books…and Quilts

A Closet Full of Books

Em & M Books

Posted in Book Blast, e-books, excerpt, romance, Spotlight on October 21, 2014

The Art of Love by Michele Shriver

Published on October 21, 2014

 

Chelsea Matthews has a simple dream—travel the country on the art fair circuit selling her hand-crafted jewelry. When her disapproving father refuses to release her trust fund money to support her ambitions, she takes a part-time job in a campus gallery. While counting the days until she can be free of its stuffy confines, an unexpected temptation comes in the form of a sensitive painter.
For Hayden Shaw, having his paintings displayed in the finest galleries is the true measure of an artist’s success. When the pursuit of his goal puts him in contact with the free-spirited Chelsea, his world is turned upside down.
Can two seemingly opposite artists find middle ground and discover the art of love, or will a gallery curator with an agenda of her own undermine both their dreams?
Hayden Shaw stopped and took a deep breath. Whittier Gallery. The name was etched on the door, and underneath that, in smaller letters, Marissa Kincaid, Curator. Was she the woman who would change his life?
A chime sounded as Hayden pulled the door open and walked inside, a portfolio of his work tucked under his arm. He had a pitch prepared as to why this particular gallery should feature his art. That
same pitch hadn’t gone over well at the last gallery he visited, but he was undeterred.
A woman sat behind the desk talking on the phone and she gestured in his direction that she was almost finished. Not wanting to eavesdrop, Hayden nodded and wandered in the direction of one of the
displays. It featured oil painted scenes of the Boston Harbor, and he couldn’t deny the skill of the artist. Did Hayden’s own work belong here? Was he good enough?
No negative thoughts, Shaw, he chastised himself. Hayden remembered the pep talk his roommate had given him before he left. He had to be bold and confident.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. Can I help you?”
Hayden turned around to face the woman as she stepped out from behind the desk. “I hope so. Are you Ms. Kincaid?” As he studied her face, though, Hayden doubted it. The woman facing him didn’t appear
much older than his own twenty years. He doubted she was old enough to be in charge of a prestigious art gallery.
She shook her head and tucked a wayward strand of light brown hair behind her ear. “No. I’m Chelsea Matthews. I just work here.”
“Hayden Shaw.” He extended his hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I’m a student here at MassArt,” Hayden said. “I understand you display student work, and I have a portfolio with some pictures of my paintings—”
“Pictures?” Chelsea interrupted, “or paintings?”
Hadn’t he made that clear? Hayden tried again. “I’m painter and I’m interested in having my paintings displayed here. I do photorealism, so they’re paintings based on photographs. I didn’t want to
lug the originals all the way across campus, so I brought pictures of them.”
“So, pictures of paintings of pictures is what you’re saying.” Chelsea’s face carried an amused expression, and Hayden wasn’t sure how to take it. Was she making fun of him, or rather his style? Not
everyone understood or appreciated photorealism. Maybe this gallery wasn’t the right place after all. Or was she simply trying to joke around? He didn’t always get people with quirky senses of humor.
“I guess you could say that.” He set the portfolio on the desk. “Would you like to see them?”
“I could look at them, but it’s not up to me whether the gallery will showcase your work,” Chelsea said. “Can you leave this so I can show Marissa?”
“Sure. I can do that.”
“Good. She should be back in a little later,” she said. “Can I ask you something, though?”
Hayden nodded. “Fire away.”
“Why here?”
He had the speech prepared as to why he felt this gallery was a good fit, but truthfully it wasn’t much different than the one he gave at the previous gallery. Besides, he didn’t think that was what
she wanted to hear. “I’m not sure what you mean?”
“I mean what’s the appeal here? What’s so special about galleries?”
Was she serious? She worked in a gallery, and she wanted him to tell her what was special about them? “I want people to see my work.”
“Then why not display it around campus? In the classroom buildings, stairwells, wherever. People do.”
He knew that. It was impossible to walk anywhere on the MassArt campus without seeing student artwork on display. While it made for an interesting environment, seeing paintings in stairwells,
sculptures on the grass and metal works hanging from a tree, Hayden didn’t quite understand why it was such a popular thing to do. “I want people to be able to appreciate my work.”
“Who’s to say that the folks walking down Huntington Avenue can’t appreciate it?”
She had a point, and Hayden was left unsure how to respond. “It’s not the same.”
“You mean you want someone to appreciate it by buying it.” Her lips curled up in a smile. “Am I right, Hayden Shaw?”
She was, and Hayden hated how materialistic she made him sound. He stuck his hands in the back pockets of his jeans and averted his gaze to the floor.
“Oh please, don’t be embarrassed.” Chelsea laughed. “Making money is a noble goal. I certainly want to make money from my art.”
“You’re an artist too?” Hayden regarded her with curiosity. “What kind? Are you a student here?”
“Yes. Jewelry and metalsmithing major.” She reached up and touched the necklace she wore, holding it out for him to see. “I made this.”
For the first time, Hayden examined it. It looked to be made out of Scrabble tiles, spelling out the letters F-R-E-E. Art was definitely in the eye of the beholder, but he found the necklace oddly
appealing, much like the woman who wore it. “It’s very unique,” he said. “Are you? Free, that is?”
Mischief danced in her hazel eyes. Pretty eyes, he decided. Not unlike the rest of her. “It depends on the context in which you’re asking.”
“A woman of mystery. I like that,” Hayden said, then wished he could take the words back. The conversation had veered dangerously close to flirting, which probably wasn’t wise given that he hoped
to have a business relationship with this gallery. “Is your work on display here?” His eyes scanned the gallery showroom for any cases that might house
jewelry.
She shook her head. “No. Galleries aren’t my thing, and my work’s not Marissa’s thing.” She shrugged. “I’m hoping to go on the art fair circuit this summer, after graduation.”
“Art fairs?” Hayden frowned.
“Yeah. You know, like Ann Arbor. Des Moines. Kansas City.”
Why would anyone pass on a prestigious gallery in Boston in favor of the capital of Iowa or a city most famous for barbecue? “Are you from the Midwest?” Hayden asked.
“No. New Hampshire.”
“Then I don’t see a connection,” Hayden said.
“The cities I just mentioned host some of the best art fairs in the country,” Chelsea said. “Surely you’ve heard of them.” She said it as if she expected everyone had.
Hayden shook his head. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no. Art fairs aren’t really my thing.” He didn’t get the appeal of traveling to cities in the middle of nowhere, peddling art on the street. “No offense, but have you considered aiming a little higher?” Okay, so the Scrabble necklace was kind of strange. Some people liked strange.
The amusement that once reflected in her eyes faded, and Hayden knew at once that his words had offended her. “No offense, but have you?” She retorted before turning away from him. “I’ll show
Marissa your pictures when she gets back.”
 

Buy it for 99 cents!!!

 

Michele Shriver writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. In her free time, Michele enjoys football, hockey and reading a good book written by someone else.

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Posted in fiction, New Adult, romance, Spotlight, Young Adult on October 21, 2014

Amazon Burning_CVR

Title: Amazon Burning
Author: Victoria Griffith
ISBN: 978-1938231940
Publication Date: October 2014
Pages: 338
Genre: New Adult/Romance/Fiction/Young Adult
Publisher: Astor + Blue

 

Amazon Burning is a debut young adult novel by Victoria Griffith. In this page- turner, Griffith weaves a suspense- action thriller centered on coming of age in a tangled web of romance, mystery, and chaos in the Amazon.

When 22-year-old aspiring journalist, Emma Cohen, is forced to flee the comforts of her NYU student life, she maneuvers an internship from her father at his newspaper in Rio de Janeiro.  There, Emma is immediately swept into a major news story–and a life-threatening situation–when a famous jungle environmentalist, Milton Silva, is mysteriously murdered.

Emma must now enter the Amazon rainforest with her father to investigate; both awed by the enormity and beauty of the Amazon, and appalled by its reckless destruction.  Not only will Emma have to brave the primal world of the Amazon, she must fight to survive the kidnappers, villains, corrupt activists, and indigenous tribes that lay in wait along the ever-twisting trail of the murder case.  Stretched to the brink, it’s up to Emma, her father and the dreamy news photographer, Jimmy, to unravel the mystery and live to tell the tale.

Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith is a spectacular debut Young Adult novel.  Griffith’s powerful rendering of the Amazon rainforest forms the perfect, wildly exotic backdrop for this extraordinary tale of a young urban woman coming of age in the midst of intense conflict.

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About the Author

Victoria Griffith is the author of the award winning non-fiction picture book The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont (Abrams, 2011), which won numerous awards, including the prestigious Parents’ Choice. The book was recently translated into Portuguese for the Brazilian market and was also released in audio book version.

Before becoming a full-time author, Victoria spent twenty years as an international journalist, fifteen of those years as foreign correspondent for the UK’s Financial Times. During that time, she had fun writing on a wide range of topics, including Brazil’s Yanomami Indians, architecture, space exploration, the human genome, and the growth of the Internet. She even managed to fit in some children’s book reviews. Her most terrifying assignment was preparing lunch for Julia Child, who praised the Brazilian fish stew but refused to touch the blackberry dessert. Victoria lives in Boston with her husband and three daughters.

Website

Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, excerpt, Review, women on October 20, 2014

Palmetto Moon banner

Palmetto Moon 2

 

Title: Palmetto Moon
Author: Kim Boykin
Publisher: Berkely Trade
Pages: 320
Genre: Southern Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Synopsis

June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

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Excerpt

Charleston, SC

June 20, 1947

“Murrah?” Rosa Lee’s eyes go wide and she shakes her head at me like I’ve forgotten the rules, but I haven’t. Since before I was born, my parents forbade the servants to speak their native tongue in our house. Offenders were given one warning; a second offense brought immediate dismissal. I say the Gullah word again, drawing it out softly. “Why are you crying?” The hands that helped bring me into the world motion for me to lower my voice.

Rosa Lee’s husband, Desmond, told me my first word was murrah. It was what I called Rosa Lee, until Mother made me call her by name. “My own murrah.” The forbidden words bring more tears. I press my face into the soft curve of her neck and breathe in the Ivory soap Mother insists all the servants use, mingled with Rosa Lee’s own scent—vanilla and lemongrass.

She holds me at arm’s length, trembling, and I know I’ve done it again.

“You got to tell them,” she pleads. “Make them see you can’t go through with this.”

I point to the door that leads to the elegant dining room where my parents are eating their breakfast. “I have told them. Mother refuses to listen, and I’ve begged Father. He says I have to do this.” She looks away. Her body rocks, sobbing violently on the inside. “Rosa Lee, please don’t cry. I can’t bear it.” She shakes her head and swipes at the tears that stain the sleeve of her freshly pressed uniform. “I won’t do it again. I promise.”

“When you’re asleep, your heart takes over. You got no control, and it’s gonna kill you.”

She’s right. Since I graduated and moved home from college two weeks ago, I’ve been sleepwalking like I did when I was a child, but these outings don’t land me snuggled up in the servant’s quarters, between Desmond and Rosa Lee. Most of the time, I wake up and return to bed without incident, but last week Desmond found me trying to leave the house. He said I was babbling about sleeping in the bay, which might not have been so disturbing if I hadn’t been wearing five layers of heavy clothing. I knew what he thought I was trying to do to myself and told him not to worry.

Since then, Rosa Lee has insisted on sleeping on the stiff brocade chaise in my bedroom. Of course, my parents don’t know she’s there or that she’s so afraid I’ll walk to the bay or step off the balcony in my sleep, she’s tethered my ankle to the bedpost with three yards of satin rope she begged from Mrs. O’Doul.

“Maybe it will be different after the wedding.” I love her enough to lie to her. “Father says I’m a Hadley and once it’s over with, I’ll fall in line the way I was born to.”

“But what if Desmond hadn’t caught you?” She threads her fingers in mine and kisses the back of my hand. A part of me wishes her intuition hadn’t sent Desmond to check on me, that he hadn’t found me. “And what are you gonna do when we’re not there?”

“Don’t say that.” My knees buckle, and I melt into a puddle at her feet. Justin has made it clear he’s happy with his staff and has no plans to add “two ancient servants.” But living under his roof and not having Rosa Lee and Desmond with me is unthinkable, another high price of being the last Hadley descendant.

“You think it’s not going to get worse after you’re married? Who do you think’s gonna be there to save you? Mr. Justin?” She hisses the last word. “You think long and hard before the sun comes up tomorrow, because I’m afraid down to my bones that you won’t be alive to see it.”

She collects herself and heads into the dining room to check on my parents. They won’t look into her beautiful brown face and see she’s been crying any more than they see this wedding is killing me, or at least the idea of being yoked to Justin McLeod is. Not because he’s eight years older than me and, other than our station in life, we have nothing in common, and not because of his good qualities, although no one can find more than two: He is a heart-stoppingly beautiful man and the sole heir of the largest fortune in Charleston.

For over a hundred years, Justin’s family and mine have built ships. And while two world wars made us rich, a prolonged peace threatens to weaken our family fortunes considerably. Somewhere in all that, my father convinced Justin a Hadley-McLeod union would position them to take over the world, at least the shipping world. And Father is certain nothing short of a blood union will keep Justin in the partnership.

Rosa Lee pushes through the swinging door and pours the coffee down the drain, her signal that breakfast is over and my parents are no longer close by. I smile, trying to reassure her I’m okay, that I’m going to be okay. She shakes her head and starts to wash one of the breakfast plates in slow motion, barely breathing. I hate those things, and after tomorrow, I’ll own twenty-four place settings of them, part of my dowry. I don’t give a damn about thousand-dollar plates, but I do care for Rosa Lee.

“I can do this.” I say from behind her. My voice sounds sure, steady. “I will do this.”

 

Review

Looking at the cover I’m not sure I would have guessed that the book is set in 1947.  Vada has decided that she can’t bear to be forced into a marriage with Justin and with the help of Rosa Lee & Desmond (the household help) she leaves Charleston for a town just 50 miles away.  Now in today’s world that would be nothing, but back then that was probably far enough away to hide.  After all there was no internet, easy ways to track people, etc.

I enjoyed the story but wish it dove a bit deeper into the different characters and their history.  I don’t know if we got the full story on all of the characters, at least the main ones.  There was some surprising revelations on some of the minor characters, or at least to me!  I didn’t quite understand what Vada saw in Frank Darling, perhaps because he was so different than what she knew?  I don’t know his age, but I guessed him to be older than her.  I think Vada was probably mid-twenties and my impression of Frank (by some of the background) is that perhaps he was in his mid-thirties.

I loved some of the characters and disliked others.  I think an author’s goal should be to have a good balance of character to love or hate and Kim did a good job here.

Overall I give it 4 paws up, a great story about the south and a time that I can only imagine.

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

 

About the Author

Kim BoykinKim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule, and Palmetto Moon, also from Berkley 8/5/14. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

WebsiteFacebook * TwitterBlog * More books * Contact Kim

 

 

Posted in Guest Post, romance on October 20, 2014

Today I welcome author Kim Boykin to StoreyBook Reviews.  I just finished her book Palmetto Moon.  So welcome Kim!

Palmetto Moon 2

My Journey to Being a Published Author

By Kim Boykin

Writing for me has never been a problem; I produced three novels in a span of three years and then two more a few years later. But trying to get published is like trying to solve the Rubik’s cube in 5.5 seconds. It seems impossible, but it’s not.

Most everyone will tell you, to be traditionally published, the first and most important step is finding an agent. While I love my agent, I disagree.

After I finished The Wisdom of Hair fourteen years ago, I signed with Jane Jordan Browne. Jane and I had a lot in common, she was kind of like an older me, and I loved her. And then, after the first round of submissions, she died.

Jane had cancer and didn’t know it. My heart was broken because I liked her so much, and she was a great person, but also because I felt like she was my shot at getting published. Jane told me not to worry; she’d told her partner to sell my work, but I knew the reality of the agent/writer relationship.

Unfortunately, the agent I inherited didn’t care much for Southern fiction. For two years, I held out hope she’d sell my work, but in the end, I had a frank conversation with her assistant and asked if the agent was every going to sell my books. When the answer was a very kind, “no,” I divorced my inherited agent and floundered. For eleven years.

I’m horrible at rejection, so I submitted to agents on and off, but got nowhere. Out of total desperation, I asked myself, “Who buys books?” The answer was obvious; I was pitching to the wrong people. Immediately, I looked online and found Michael Neff’s NY Pitch Conference. A four-day crash course in honing a pitch and then pitching to four editors, who do buy books. Turned out, I was one of the darlings of the conference with three out of four editors requesting the manuscript. Still I knew I needed an agent.

Nobody likes to write query letters, but the first paragraph of mine basically said, “I have three editors reading my manuscript and I’m looking for representation.” I sent out 167 e queries. By the end of the week, I had 60 agents reading the script, and 20 reading the whole script. I ended up with 3 offers; then I got to send out rejection letters.

And the icing on the cake? When I met Leis Pederson, I liked her a lot and hoped she’d buy my book. In the end, or, I guess I should say the beginning, Leis picked me and we’ve been a team for The Wisdom of Hair and, my new novel, Palmetto Moon.

There are a lot of reasons not to pursue traditional publication. Unless you’re lucky enough to get a huge advance, you’ll work your butt off marketing and selling your own book. And some authors who get those big advances will tell you they kill themselves trying to sell their books. But, for me, to have gone through all this and come out on the other side with two novels with the Penguin stamp of approval? It was worth it.

Posted in Book Blast, fiction, Giveaway, romance on October 19, 2014

 

Where there is love

Where There is Love by Mya O’Malley

Mia Dennsi is a beautiful young woman who has experienced a challenging childhood. As an out of work teacher, Mia accepts a position for home-schooling a troubled, misunderstood teenager. Mia makes it a priority to help Cassidy overcome her challenges and reach for her dreams. In the process, Mia experiences healing of her own; she is faced with issues she must now come to terms with.

Mia finds a rare friendship in Jamie, her caring and attractive neighbor. The relationship starts off as friendship, but will Mia let this healthy friendship bloom into something more or is she destined to a repeat the vicious cycle of making the same mistakes over and over again?

Through the various twists and turns of Mia’s love life, she is forced to make a decision that will affect her entire future. The reader cannot help but root for this character to succumb to true love and happiness.

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Excerpt

I would have done anything for that girl. Anything. I have dreamed of Mia, I have waited for Mia. I have loved Mia.

I can’t trust Mia.

I can’t get my hopes up again, only to be crushed by her. I couldn’t stand it.

She doesn’t allow herself to be happy. What has happened in her life to cause her to reject the people who love her, who care for her?

I remember the first time I ever laid eyes one her. The way she bumped into me, how embarrassed she was. I swear to this day that she is the most beautiful creature I’ve laid eyes on. Her slim build, dark hair and striking eyes. And that smile, that smile still warms my heart.

I went to see my grandma in Maine for the weekend once I realized that I was falling in love with Mia. My grandmother and I have always been close. She has been there for me through thick and thin ever since I was a child. I grew even closer to her as I was growing up, finding my way in life. For some reason, I always found it easiest to share my feelings with Grandma, the two of us like kindred spirits.

My feelings for Mia scared the life out of me. I told my grandmother that I didn’t want to risk getting hurt again and that Mia seemed so unsure of herself. She offered me a piece of advice that I will hold true to my heart forever: She placed her hand over my heart and said, “Go where there is love, surround yourself with love.” So I did, I went to Mia and tried to tell her how I felt, only to be brushed off with news of Josh coming back into the picture.

I’m happy with Danielle, she’s smart and she’s beautiful. Yeah, I’m going to give this a chance, I would be a fool not to.

But…I think…she’s not Mia. My heart can’t take Mia.

She has the power to hurt me, and I can’t survive that again.

 

About the Author

MyaMya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters. The family also consists of two boxers; Destiny and Dolce and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.
Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her fifth novel.

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