Posted in Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on May 27, 2015

Taylor Dean’s newest book is now available!

GIRLOFMINE


 

Trailer

 

The song that inspired me while writing GIRL OF MINE:
(Watch until the end. There’s a surprise!)

A interesting tidbit about GIRL OF MINE:
My dad always worried about the cost of the electricity bill. If he walked past my bedroom and noticed that my light had been left on, he would turn it off and holler,
“That’s okay, Taylor, I got your light.”
It became a bit of a joke in our household. My siblings and I loved to try and catch my dad leaving on a light, just so we could say,
“That’s okay, Dad, I got your light.”
Now that I’m an adult with my own family, the term takes on new meaning.
The message behind it has worked its way into my new novel, Girl of Mine.
My father brought me into this world, he cared for me, and he taught me well. He gave me my “light,” my life.
He nourished my “light” and helped me become the person I am today.
So, Dad, thanks for getting my light.
I’ll always be grateful.

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense–you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.


 

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$100 Blast Giveaway

Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/15/2015

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Posted in excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on May 26, 2015
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Synopsis

This third book in the series. A vacation becomes complicated by murder, discovery, and friendship. Danger lurks in too many directions. Alicia and her friends will have to stay alive and sort through the clues carefully if they want to save an innocent friend and prevent the destruction of an historic treasure.

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Excerpt

When the ranch faded out of sight, I began to get nervous. There was always the chance of an accident. The horse could step in a gopher hole and stumble, or a million and one other problems could arise, but those possibilities weren’t bothering me. I had the unnerving feeling I wasn’t alone out here. The nervous tension didn’t feel natural. It was more like a warning from outside myself. As I had this thought, I could feel that the red pendant was much warmer than normal. If it got much hotter, it would burn me. If the necklace was an early warning system, that would be great, but from the things the shaman had said, I didn’t think it would turn out to be that simple.

The dips, rises, and dry washes could hide someone from view, but they’d have to know the desert like a native if I couldn’t catch a glimpse of them. I could have chalked my fears up to knowing the ranch was empty or that the isolation had spooked me. I could have, but a little voice in the back of my mind kept asking, “Did the pendant spook me or had it warned me of danger?” I didn’t know, but I turned the horse around and let him pick his own speed on the return ride. He chose an all out gallop, and he was so fast I felt almost like I was flying.

A full hour had passed for Nick to take care of his meet-and-greet responsibilities by the time I rode the horse into the stable. David was still there. When he turned and saw us, his jaw dropped. He said, “Wow, that’s the last sight I ever expected to see.”

I said, “What are you still doing here? I thought you’d be out partying by now.”

I climbed down off the horse and began gathering the equipment I needed to groom Star. David said, “Let me do that. Star has decided to tolerate me again, and it is my job, you know. Besides, you’re all cleaned up for the party, and I still have to get ready. I’m just finishing up here, so I’ll rub down the horse and take him back to the pasture. You go have fun, and I’ll see you out there later.”

I thanked him and said, “By the way, what do Cobber and Corker do since the cattle drive is over? I haven’t seen them back at the compound.”

“You’d be surprised. Their work is never done. Cattle are always grazing somewhere on the ranch, and the dogs keep them more or less in the same area. Those guys are pretty good at running off any predators too. There’s always a cowboy or two who stay at the line shack closest to where the cattle are, and they keep an eye on both the herd and the dogs.”

My curiosity satisfied, I thanked him again and went to find Nick.

I saw him talking to the cooks. The barbeque was almost ready to serve, and as I got closer the smell made my mouth water. Standing beside Nick was Laudine. She was wearing a yellow skirt and a white blouse with a multicolored ruffle. She looked about thirty years old. I said, “Don’t you look great today? What are you doing hanging around the cooking on your day off?”

“I’ll have you know the absolutely perfect barbeque sauce being used today is my own special recipe. You didn’t seriously think I’d leave all the cooking to a bunch of cowboys, did you?”

One of the cooks at the grill said, “Hey, watch it, lady, or we’ll have you out at the cook wagon on our next roundup.”

I laughed at their banter and said, “I should have known. If this food tastes as good as it smells, we are all in for a treat.”

We weren’t quite ready to eat yet, so we rounded up Lawrence and walked out behind the recreation room to check out the activities. I rounded the corner and stopped dead in my tracks. I said, “Good grief, I had no idea a full carnival was camped out here. This is as big as most carnival midways, including the rides!”

Nick said, “We try to have something spectacular and different each year. This not only looks like a carnival, it actually is a carnival. The owner is a friend of Lawrence’s, so he set this up.”

I said, “Lawrence, you have hidden talents. How in the world did you ever become such good friends with a carnival owner?”

“It’s a long story and a good one, but I don’t think we have time for it today. One night when we’re sitting around a good fire, I’ll tell you about the first time I ran into Hannibus Carson. Right now I challenge you all to a game of breaking balloons.”

Nick was picking up the tab for the carnival, and all the games were free to party-goers. We began by throwing darts and progressed around the circle of booths. I love carnival food and was tempted to eat at all the food booths we passed, but I resisted in anticipation of the barbeque. Hopefully I could try these goodies later. It wasn’t long until we’d worked up an appetite and headed back to the food tables. We loaded our plates with barbequed ribs, potato salad, homemade French fries, and anything else that struck our fancy from the dozens of choices. One of my favorites was the cowboy beans, usually made with pinto beans, but the cook wasn’t above throwing in any other type of beans he happened to have around. I knew this dish always had ham or bacon for flavoring. I didn’t know what else they added, but I planned to ask before I went home. I wanted to be able to make this dish myself when I got a craving for the delicious smoky taste.

Once our plates were full, we found table space in the rec room and settled down to some serious eating. Laudine and I only managed to get through our first plateful, but when Nick and Lawrence went back for seconds, we had them bring us peach pie for dessert. Each piece was a huge slab, and Laudine and I could easily have shared one, but when the men brought us each a piece of our own, we ate every bite. The peaches were fresh from a local grower, the crust flaky, and the juice still slightly warm. All the food I tasted seemed way above the normal quality for a gathering of this type. When we couldn’t hold another bite, our friends went off to visit with Hannibus Carson and Nick and I decided on a walk to help digest the food. People were still coming up to talk to Nick, but now it was just friendly chatter. We strolled around from group to group, and sooner or later I saw almost everyone I knew. Betty and Cameron had been in the rec room while we ate. I saw David and Cody together at the carnival surrounded by a group of flirting girls. Becky Cloud, the assistant cook I’d met in the restaurant break room, stood close to David, smiling up at him like he’d hung the moon. The sheriff and his wife were piling plates with food, and the Herreras were still competing, but this time it was at one of the games on the midway. I saw Hwan with a tall, good-looking guy and steered Nick their direction. She introduced her friend as someone she had met in one of her classes at the university. I only caught his first name, which was Tony. Hwan was stunning in jade green jeans and a shimmering pearl-colored top. As we were moving to the next group, Reed walked up to chat with Hwan. Olivia Denning was there wearing a beautiful pleated squaw dress and barely resembled the efficient head housekeeper I’d met previously. Both the guests and the employees seemed to be having a great time. Even the Banner twins were here with a group of kids their own age and were behaving like normal teenagers.

It was just getting dark when we heard the band start its first number. We decided to have a go at dancing. Nick assured me it wouldn’t hurt his leg. We’d danced together a few times before, and we both loved it. The second number was a two-step and we were doing pretty well when I stumbled slightly and said, “Oh, damn, you need to come outside with me now.”

About the Author:


From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.


Posted in 4 paws, cooking, Cozy, Monday, mystery, Review on May 25, 2015

Chef Maurice Cover

 

Synopsis

“They say one should never trust a thin chef. By this measure, Chef Maurice was very trustworthy indeed.”

It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion.

Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village.

Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out.

Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings?

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Review

If you like cozies set in Britain and are a fan of British shows, you just might like this book. The main character is a rather rotund chef named Maurice. He is a strong character and reminds me a lot of Gareth Blackstock who is the main character in a British comedy called Chef – other than their sizes. Both believe that everything they say and do is right and they run right over the others.

Maurice has a friend who is a food/restaurant critic and together they make quite an interesting investigative duo.

The characters are witty and it wasn’t until near the end that I suspected who the killer might be based on actions at that time. You might be able to figure it out before then but the clues are subtle.

A series to watch and we give it 4 paws up

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About the Author

JALangJ.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries series.

She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy on May 24, 2015

Veils and Vengeance

Veils and Vengeance by Rachelle J. Christensen

When wedding planner, Adrielle Pyper, goes to Hawaii to orchestrate a destination wedding, she isn’t prepared for what she finds.
After the trauma of her previous event, the beautiful isle of Kauai is the perfect place for Adri to unwind and do what she does best – plan. She even lets herself indulge in the attention of the groom’s handsome brother. But just when everything seems to be perfect, an afternoon snorkeling trip turns to murder when Adri discovers the body of a young woman.
Shaken, but unable to let it go, Adri’s sleuthing leads her into more danger than she could imagine. When a number of “accidents” threaten her own life, it soon becomes apparent that someone will do anything to keep Adri from interfering with their vengeance.

 

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 rachelleAbout the Author

Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who writes mystery/suspense and solves the case of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and, of course, reading.

Rachelle is the award-winning author of six books, including Wrong Number, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, and What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know. Her novella, Silver Cascade Secrets, was included in the Rone Award-winning Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection.

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$25 Cover Reveal Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/15/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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Posted in Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on May 23, 2015

STGD Cover 300 dpi300

Stealing the Golden Dream, by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens

Scottsdale PIs Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino of Shea Investigations are hired by the Arizona Heritage Museum to guard the multimillion-dollar Dahlonega Golden Dream Coin Collection. When the collection is stolen out from under them and a loved and trusted colleague is murdered, it’s a strike at the very heart of the agency. Eddie has been set up to take the fall for both crimes, so their first order of business is to clear his name. Not only is Eddie’s freedom at stake, but their business is on the line. In fact their very lives, as well as those of their loved ones, are in deadly peril.

It soon becomes clear that Eddie has been targeted because of his former association with the mob. How far over to the dark side is Jordan Welsh, society girl, willing to go to save her lover Eddie from the echoes of his criminal past?

Stealing the Golden Dream is second book in the Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino series, which began with Stealing the Moon & Stars.

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Excerpt

The image of Eddie with Sofia Vercelli was imprinted on her brain. But she had it in mind to put it aside until Eddie was in better shape. Piling more stress on top of all he was already dealing with would not only be cruel and insensitive, it would also be stupid. He was much better at a good rousing argument than she. Better to wait until things had settled down to bring up the subject—but it was definitely a matter she intended to learn more about.

Jordan made her way through the house, opened the patio door, and followed Sadie outside. She stood by the pool staring at the half-moon mirrored in the inky water. Jordan shivered in the cool breeze that rippled the reflection. March days in Scottsdale were perfect—warm, in the upper seventies, low eighties. But the evenings cooled down to the low fifties. The desert air was clean, seasoned with the faint scent of mesquite, creosote, and the chlorine in the pool.

She rubbed her bare arms. Eddie moved up behind her, slipped off his jacket and draped it around her shoulders.

He put his arms around her. “You know I wasn’t with her that night.”

“Why would she say it if it wasn’t true?”

“I’m pretty sure she figures if she does this I might take her back.”

Jordan looked up, trying to see his face, but it was cloaked in darkness.

“It’s never going to happen. I told her I’m with you now. While I don’t want anything to do with her, if her story gets me off the hook, I’ll run with it. I can’t revenge Muggs if I’m sitting in a jail cell.”

“You think I don’t know that?” Jordan said. “She’s willing to lie for you? To the cops?

She must want you back real bad.”

Eddie moved his hands to her shoulders and turned her around. “It’s all one-sided. Don’t pretend you don’t know that.” He pulled her close and kissed her hard, long, and smoking hot as Louisiana pepper sauce. It burned all the way to her toes.

Eddie, the man she was born to love. She threw herself into the kiss, and before she really knew what was happening, they’d made their way into the house and were pulling at each other’s clothes.

He took hold of one of her legs behind the knee and lifted it. She wrapped it around him as he reached under the dress and caught the edge of her panties with the curl of a finger.

STGD teaser leg_edited-2

Praise for the Book

Smart and sassy. Classy with a twist of wry humor and just enough sentiment and romance to reel you in and keep you hanging until the end. Smith and Steffens, partners in crime-writing fiction, have struck gold again in Stealing the Golden Dream, the second book in the Jordan Welsh & Eddie Marino series, which began with Stealing the Moon & Stars. Their characters are so engaging and real, you’ll want to hire them next time you need a good PI team. — Kathleen M. Rodgers, author of Johnnie Come Lately and The Final Salute

The Smith and Steffens dynamic duo have created another enjoyable read.  Blending their contemporary noir heroes with their quirky and relatable friends and relatives, followed by a generous sprinkling of really scary bad guys, this tight story tingles with suspense, grit, and perpetual motion.  Living in Phoenix, I enjoyed the sense of place they created that portrays the unique character of the Phoenix and Scottsdale community. If you enjoy romantic suspense, you will love this book. — Cathy Ann Rogers, author of Here Lies Buried and Deliberate Fools.

Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino are an engaging duo, reminiscent of Castle and Beckett. Their chemistry makes this a must-read series. Smith and Steffens pen a heck of an action-packed, twisty-turny tale—they had me from page one! — Jenn McKinlay, New York Times best selling author.

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Posted in Book Blast, Giveaway, Young Adult on May 22, 2015

Best Friends Forever

Best Friends… Forever? by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.

Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue TV show modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?

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Praise for the Book

“For girls Landry’s age it’s wonderful to see that they aren’t alone and this book is giving them some very useful advice. It’s a fun story to read as well. I like that it’s so realistic.”

“I wish I could give this more stars. This book brought back so many incredible memories, things that I haven’t thought of in a long, long time. It was a well told story of a young woman who is discovering who she is without being cheesy or preachy.”

“…I LAUGHED SO HARD it was ridiculous! LOVED THIS BOOK.”

Trailer

Excerpt

“Landry, it’s gotta be so awkward for you to be going to Vladi’s school next year,” Tori said. “I mean, what if you run into him during the tour?”

“It’s a huge place,” Ashanti said. “People break up all the time. It’s not a big deal.ʺ

Tori raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Yeah, right,” and went back to her sandwich.

Meanwhile my delicious homemade soup was no longer sitting well. It never occurred to me Vladi might be around during the first pre‑freshman tour. I would be mortified if I ran into him and he was with a girl. Or worse yet, running into him, and he was with Yasmin. Plus, I hadn’t told my mom about the breakup, so if she saw him, she’d probably go over to talk to him. I could already imagine it: “Landry, Vladi’s here! Hon? Why are you hiding behind the garbage can? Your boyfriend, Vladi, is here. Come say, ‘hello.’ Stop trying to run away. Why is everyone laughing and pointing at you and calling you a ‘loser dumpee?’ What does that mean?”

Well, maybe the world would end and I wouldn’t have to deal with high school or Vladi and my mother running into each other.

****

Sadly, the world did not end, and on Thursday, we all had to go to the high school for a freshman information night from 6 to 9 p.m.

 

Krysten LAbout the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. True Colors is an international bestselling book. Krysten is book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/14/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on May 21, 2015

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too quiet in brooklyn

Too Quiet In Brooklyn (A Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn Mystery Book 1)
Self Published
Print Length: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00HFEY5PU

Synopsis

A Murder, A Child Missing, & A Young Woman Determined To Find The Truth …

Something weird’s happening. It’s too quiet, at least for Brooklyn, so twenty-two-year-old Fina Fitzgibbons is not surprised when she stumbles upon a throttled woman in the heart of Brooklyn Heights and discovers that the dead woman’s four-year-old grandson is also missing. She begins a wild hunt for the strangler-kidnapper, Ralph. During the chase, she resists falling in love with her boyfriend, Denny, an NYPD patrol officer, steps on the toes of Detective First Grade Jane Templeton, and uncovers secrets about her own past. In the end, Ralph has a deadly surprise for Fina.

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About The Author

susan russoSusan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She’s taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes. Too Quiet in Brooklyn, the first book in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series, published December 2013. The second book in the series, Missing Brandy, about a missing teen, published September 2014, and Whiskey’s Gone, about the abduction of a single mom, completes a trilogy. The working title of the fourth is Dead in Brooklyn.

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Giveaway

The author is kindly giving away copy of her book for your Kindle.

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Tour Participants

May 18 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight, Giveaway

May 19 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway

May 20View from the Birdhouse – Interview, Giveaway

May 21StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight, Giveaway

May 22A Blue Million Books – Interview

May 23Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Giveaway

May 24Brooke Blogs – Guest Post, Giveaway

May 25Carole’s Book Corner – Review, Giveaway

May 26Omnimystery News – Interview

May 27Tea and A Book – Review, Giveaway

Posted in Fantasy, Spotlight, Urban, Young Adult on May 20, 2015

guardian sword

Synopsis

Zoe Jabril could be just another 17-year-old girl attending parties with her friends and checking out cute guys—except her best friend is a Guardian Angel, and the boy she crushes on is a Nephilim, half-Angel, both sent to Earth to protect her. A high school classmate happens to be a trendsetting shopaholic Fairy. And now there’s a new Werewolf in town.

Now Zoe has to deal with her feelings toward Shay, who spreads a strange electrical current through her body every time he touches her. She is under constant attack from Demons, trying to kill and stop her from fulfilling the Prophecy: a girl will be born who will unite the Enlightens to battle evil. Then on top of that, between boring homework and drama with girls at school, she has to control new found talents if she’s to prevent the Devil from escaping Hell.

In order to do so, Zoe must devise a kick-ass plan ASAP or watch everyone die, because she’s running out of time. She turns eighteen in two months—the date Armageddon kicks off.

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Five facts about Zoe:

  1. She’s 17-yo, but a junior in high school.
  2. She has dark brown hair, brown eyes, is about 5’6 tall.
  3. Her BFF is a boy, Kieran, who lives down the street from her.
  4. Favorites: Color is purple, flower is orchid, food is chicken parmesan
  5. Career: Wants to be a vet.

Five facts about Shay:

  1. He stands at 6’2, has blond hair, aqua eyes, athletic build.
  2. Drives a black 1957 Bel-Air.
  3. Prefers wearing black clothes.
  4. Favorite movie: Star Wars (the original trilogy).
  5. Is a Nephilim (half angel and half human).

Five facts about Kieran:

  1. He stands at 6’, has wavy blond hair, blue eyes, model build.
  2. Drives a golden Cadillac CTS-V.
  3. Prefers neutral-colored clothes.
  4. Is a Guardian angel to Zoe.
  5. Comes across as bossy and controlling.

Five facts about Sidelle:

  1. Is a Summer Fairy.
  2. She’s dresses trendy, has green eyes, pixie black hair, and model build.
  3. Glamour powers: Can read minds, manipulates the weather.
  4. Attitude: Snarky with a capital S.
  5. Drives a green Mini Cooper convertible (Turbo).

Excerpt

I stumbled into Kieran as a tremor moved through me, the hairs on my arms stood at attention like tiny lightning rods. “Do you feel that?” my voice sounded breathless, even to me.

He glanced sideways, “Feel what?”

“Look.” I held out my arms to him, “I feel strange. Like someone…” I rubbed my slightly numb hands over my forearms and sucked in a breath, as he hooked his head around. I fell into step beside him. “Never mind. It’s probably nothing.”

This happens when lightning’s about to strike, right?

The heat from the sun radiated off the few cars parked along Boutique Row, their owners engaged in mid-afternoon shopping. Store fronts displayed the new and trendy ‘must-have’ dresses, shorts, and shoes for the spring season. I paused to see my reflection. Not a hair was out of place. Thank God.

The Coffee Grind’s signature cinnamon dessert scent wafted through the air and my teeth hurt with the memory of sinking them into it time and again. What I wouldn’t give to be able to park my back end on one of their leather wing-back chairs and crack open a book, while the fire crackled next to me in the original stone hearth.

“Earth to Zoe,” Kieran’s gentle voice broke my trance. He poked my shoulder. “Are you going to order or what?”

My face flamed. “You could’ve ordered for me.” I rummaged through my purple backpack. “You know I get the same thing every time.”

Kieran watched me rub my arms, as he told the cashier, “She’ll also have an ice water.” He tilted his head toward the menu board. “Anything else?”

“Did you order me a chai?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Cause you know I can’t function without a good cup of—”

“You can’t function with it, either.”

Then I turned my attention toward the clerk, unsure if I recognized him or not. I hope he doesn’t know me. “Nothing else. Thanks.” I handed him some bills.

“How’s track going, Zoe?” the clerk asked.

Damn.

“Think you’ll make it to State?”

I realized he was a sophomore on the team. Our paths crossed during several meets. He looked thin in his black polo shirt, and I knew a mirror would reflect a similar physique in me, though my lavender sundress tried to disguise it.

I shrugged. “I have fast times, but we’ll see. If I don’t make it this year, there’s always senior year.”

My fingertips skimmed the glass display of mammoth muffins and assorted pastries as we moved down the aisle to the ‘Pick-up Here’ sign. A heavy coffee aroma hung in the air.

A figure in dark clothing with yellow-tipped, spiked hair stared at me from outside the glass entrance door. His eyes narrowed on contact with mine.

Chills rushed through my body.

About the Author

Kristin V RKristin D. Van Risseghem grew up in a small river town in Minnesota with her parents and older sister. And after receiving a double Bachelor of Science degree from Winona State University in Paralegal and Corrections, she worked as a Paralegal for various law firms around the Twin Cities for 14 years. Then she left the legal field and is now a Senior Buyer for a technology company.

Currently, Kristin lives in Eagan with her husband and two Calico cats. She also loves attending book clubs, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. She has come to realize that she absolutely has an addiction to purses and shoes. They are her weakness and probably has way too many of both.

In the summer months, Kristin can usually be found lounging on her boat, drinking an ice cold something. Being an avid reader of YA and Women’s Literature stories, she still finds time to read a ton of books in-between writing. And in the winter months, her main goal is to stay warm from the Minnesota cold!

Kristin’s first book, The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos, is published by Kasian Publishing.

Kristin’s Website * Twitter * Facebook: Kristin D. Van Risseghem-Author Page * Goodreads

Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, excerpt, Review, suspense, Thriller on May 19, 2015

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Service Before Self cover

Publisher:  Tirgearr Publishing (February 24, 2015)
Category: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Tour Date: May/June, 2015
Available in: ebook, 154 Pages

Synopsis

A recent transplant to Southern California, Toby Grant has landed his dream job. He’s a service tech for Handy Dandy Services—the premier handyman service in the southland.

Things don’t go well for Toby on the first day when he is teamed up with Ryan Burnell, a twenty year veteran of Handy Dandy. Toby quickly learns the hardships of being Ryan’s partner, and finds himself in one uncomfortable situation after another.

In an effort to understand his new partner, Toby accidentally uncovers Ryan’s unsavory past involvement with drugs, burglary and other things he shouldn’t know about. He also learns that Ryan’s last partner of five years—Delsin Honaw— had been murdered…stabbed twenty-seven times.

Haunted by one misunderstanding after another, Toby learns the true meaning of the company’s motto—“Service before Self.”

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Praise for ‘Service Before Self’

“From eccentric waste billionaires and very flirtatious women, to unbelievable roach problems and ghosts in the attic, Toby’s numerous adventures in this book will make you laugh repeatedly, however, be aware some will also make your skin crawl. And, all the while poor Toby has to follow the deadpan instructions both gestures and verbal of the reluctant Ryan and do his bidding at a flick of a coin.

This story is not only a very funny, if cringe worthy insight into the working day of company representatives, and what sometimes they see when entering other people’s homes; but also an extremely gripping thriller in parts as Ryan is pulled back, yet again, into the world of drugs he left behind five years previously.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page of this story and would happily recommend it as a brilliantly entertaining book.”-Susan Keefe, Book Reviews by Susan Keefe

Excerpt

“No way Auggie. You know the rules,” Ryan scolded, waving a dismissive hand in the face of the little man.

Auto parts, littered the counter top. The sink was filled with a black, noxious liquid and what appeared to be the better part of a motorcycle engine. At the far right of the top was a paper grocery bag.

The little man wrapped on arm around it, sweeping it from the countertop.

It had been full of garbage, wet garbage and the bottom immediately fell out, sending its contents to the floor with a watery sound and the dull tin of empty cans. Left behind on the counter was a putrid, milky liquid and a small mass of writhing maggots.

To my shock, he slid the back of his right hand quickly across it, smearing the liquid, scraps of the bag’s remains and maggots alike onto the floor.

“Come… for you, I make lunch,” Auggie announced and threw two pieces of moldy bread on top of the very spot he had just wiped with his hand.

I shot a panicked look to Ryan, praying to God he would save me.

The corners of his mouth twitched with amusement. His gaze made me shiver with the certainty of the mean streak that ran deep inside him.

“Auggie. You know he can’t… not without losing his job,” Ryan said, patting the little man on the back.

A wave of relief washed over me and then, instantly, was replaced by the fear of the punishment from an open sigh.

“For you? Is tuna,” he said, holding one of the stale slices in his hand, looking hopefully to Ryan.

“Can’t old friend. Still need my job as well,” he replied.

“Ahh, is shame,” Auggie said undaunted, replacing the bread on the counter top, slathering the first piece with mayonnaise He slipped a small, unlabeled can onto an electric opener, tapping the top lightly. The can spun, whirling softly, jumping a little at the end and the device stopped of its own accord.

Without missing a beat, he turned the can upside down on the bread, emptying its contents before tossing the can onto the stack of trash on the floor.

It took me a few moments to recognize the small, shiny, gelatinous mound in the center of his bread.

“It’s cat food,” I said, my mouth hung open in disbelief.

“So? Is all the same. Is tuna,” Auggie shrugged, spreading the can’s contents with a second piece of bread before taking a huge bite out of the sandwich.

My stomach pitched and I turned away before the unthinkable could happen.

“Auggie, we’re pressed for time. What can we do for you?” Ryan asked, covering his smile with his hand and looking away.

“Ahh, yes, yes is toilet… is nothing. Please, for you, some lunch,” he said, holding out the half eaten sandwich.

“Rules are rules Auggie. As much as the newbie here would love to join you, I would be obligated to turn him in, get him fired and nobody wants that. Now, show me your toilet problem,” Ryan explained, patting the little man on the back once more.

We followed him through a narrow doorway, down a dark hall. We had to turn sideways to make our way pass a series of high school lockers that had been bolted to the wall.

“Is here,” Auggie said, lightly kicking open the door.

The smell hung heavily in the air, thick, palpable.

Ryan stuck his head in quickly before returning to the hallway.

“Christ, Auggie. How long has it been?”

“Is hard for say. When Christmas?”

“Auggie that was seven months ago. It’s been down since then?” Ryan shouted angrily.

The smell made me believe it.

“No. What Auggie just animal? Is working sometimes, must give delicate help, is all,” he said.

He suddenly threw himself against the door, making it bang loudly against the wall and kicked the handle on the toilet.

The bowl filled with water, pushing its contents and the smell through the walls to assault us before over flowing onto the floor.

It gurgled for a moment and then suddenly fell to the halfway mark, stopping.

The sharp whistle of the tank filling again rose in pitch, becoming shrill, almost ear splitting before reaching its goal and stopping with a loud, chattering bang of the pipes in the wall.

“See? Is almost fine,” Auggie announced, pushing the last of his sandwich into his mouth.

“It might be the tank,” Ryan said, whirling on his heels to return to the kitchen.

As bad as the kitchen had been earlier, it was now a haven compared to the hall.

“Is tank? Why Auggie not think such a thing?” he said as if Ryan’s comment had turned on a light bulb in his head.

“When’s the last time you opened it Auggie?” Ryan asked sternly, marching, as best he could, for the front door.

“Not Auggie… you last time,” the little man said defensively.

“Fuck man, that was almost four years ago,” Ryan chided, stopping to face him.

“Who knows time? Is come, is goes. Sometime hot, sometime cold, all the same. Sometime you come, sometime Jessica. Very busy here, no time to watch clock. Much work to do,” Auggie half shouted in return pushing pass him, yanking open the front door.

“Sorry man. You’re right. I’m sorry, I forgot myself. I apologize,” Ryan said sincerely following him outside.

Review

At first I didn’t think I was going to like this book – especially with the extremely descriptive words of people’s homes that they went in to work. Think hoarders, roaches, etc. Gave me the heebie jeebies! However, once we got past that the book really does have a deeper meaning. Ryan is always telling Toby that it is Service before Self. That you are there to do a job and not judge anyone’s situation.

Ryan is a pretty tough character. He was in a gang and a drug user/pusher, but he managed to turn himself around. However, gangs don’t always want to let you leave. Toby is the new kid on the block at the company and in the short amount of time this book is set (1 week), both Toby and Ryan learn a lot from each other – about trust and who you can rely on.

There is some humor in this as well with some minor characters – Dorothy Mae and Billy Bob.

This isn’t a long book and was a fairly quick ready for me.  We give it 4 paws up.

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About the AuthorTegon Maus

Tegon Maus was raised pretty much the same as everyone else… devoted mother, strict father and all the imaginary friends he could conjure. Not that he wasn’t friendly, he just wasn’t “people orientated”. Maybe he lived in his head way more than he should have, maybe not. He liked machines more than people, at least he did until I met his wife.

The first thing he can remember writing was for her. For the life of him he can’t remember what it was about… something about dust bunnies under the bed and monsters in my closet. It must have been pretty good because she married him shortly after that. He spent a good number  of years chasing other dreams before he got back to writing.

It wasn’t a deliberate conscious thought, it was more of a stepping stone. His wife and himself had joined a dream interpret group and we were encouraged to write down our dreams as they occurred. “Be as detailed as you can,” we were told.

He was thrilled. If there is one thing he enjoys it’s making people believe him and he likes to exaggerate. Not a big exaggeration or an outright lie mind you, just a little step out of sync, just enough so you couldn’t be sure if it were true or not.  When he writes, he always write with the effort of “it could happen” very much in mind and nothing, he guarantees you, nothing, makes him happier.

He has consistently placed in the top 3 in 189 writing contest in a variety of genres and has been featured in magazines a couple of times to raise money for Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

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Follow the ‘Service Before Self’ by Tegan Maus Tour

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Posted in excerpt, mystery, New Adult, paranormal, Spotlight on May 19, 2015

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Synopsis

Detective Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire!

The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral.

Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp.  But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.

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Excerpt

“Should I…say something? A prayer?” he asked Angelica, uncertain.

“Only if it makes you feel better,” she said. “Better off saving your breath until you’ve finished your duties. After that, say all the prayers you want for your friend.”

He sighed, and started reciting the Hail Mary in his mind, if only to distract him and steady his nerves for what he was about to do. He held the stake in place with his left hand and swung the hammer down with all his strength with his right. He felt the crunch of bone and the pressure of the muscles before the stake lodged itself into Camille’s heart.

Dark, cold and rancid blood spewed out of the wound, hitting him in the face. He didn’t tear his eyes away, however, from the hideous sight that was formerly his best friend. Her eyes–formerly bright green–snapped open; the whites were reddish and the irises were gone, it was all black pupil. Her formerly wide and friendly mouth opened. He watched, as if in slow motion, the jaw widen and distend beyond any lengths humanly possible, as Vincent’s had two years prior, as he had attacked that girl. The fangs were fully extended and as sharp as the very stake he’d used on her. But was the absolute worst, above the aforementioned atrocities, was the shriek that emitted from her throat. It started out softly, like a kitten whining, but it steadily and rapidly got louder until it resembled a cross between nails on a blackboard, a bat’s call and a demonic crow’s caw. He wanted to cover his ears, close his eyes, and rock like a baby until the men in the white coats came to take him away. But he couldn’t. He knew that he needed to save Camille’s soul before he lost whatever remained of his mind.

He dropped the hammer to the floor of the grave and grabbed the dagger Angelica handed him. The shriek stopped, mercifully, but the sound still reverberated in his ears. He wondered idly if he’d have hearing damage. He looked at Camille. Blood was covering her uniform, splattered on her hands, arms and face. Blood also trickled from her mouth (where she’d gnashed her fangs against her lower lip) and nose. Her eyes followed his movements, filled with blind hate and hunger. Her fanged mouth was set in a vicious grimace. Any pity he’d had for Camille vanished. This thing was not his partner and he was going to rid the world of this abomination once and for all.

He brandished the dagger and Camille looked at him even more hatefully. With a simple swipe, he severed the head from the body. Blood oozed out below the head and onto the white lining of the coffin before the eyes faded back to Camille’s natural green and the fangs retreated back into her gums. She was no longer a monster and her soul was set free.

 

About the Author

Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-lover, and will always associate vampires with love, blood and rock and roll. Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and now, at twenty-one, has two contributing credits in anthologies and a debut novel, Stake-Out, is soon to be published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015.

Purchase the Wishful Thinking anthology, featuring my short horror/sci-fi story, “Kill ‘Em With Kindness”

I’m a published poet in the anthology The Struggle with my poem “Aftermath”

Read my FREE debut short story “The Ghost’s Guitar”

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