Posted in excerpt, fiction, Spotlight on July 3, 2015

ALoveStoryforaNation Cover LARGE

 

Synopsis

As nightly raids burn the capital city, the mundane existence of Gerald Sanpatri takes a dramatic shift when Rosia walks into his life bringing laughter and unexpected love. She inspires the ex-writer to once again take up his pen and write the impossible: a love story for an entire nation. A Love Story for a Nation chronicles the explosive and heart-warming journey of one country’s brush with history through the eyes of a courageous man who dared to stand up, smile, and think the unimaginable.

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Excerpt

From Chapter 6

Gerald left the house and weaved through the maze of alleyways to Gomez’s house. He nodded politely at the overflow of people who spent their lives in the filthy streets; the homeless, local youth committees killing time, thinking over their nighttime shenanigans, the women washing their dishes in basins, old men smoking, and children playing with rocks and sticks. Reoux had a unique sensation that pulsed through its heart, a smell all its own, charcoal and garbage, fresh fruit and onions, rice and mud—an evening feel of warmth amid the din of the crowd and the dung of society’s underbelly.

Cecilia greeted Gerald at the door and escorted him out to the back of the house overlooking the river. He saw four gentlemen standing near the bank of the river and looking off into the distance towards the presidential complex.

“Gomez! Gerald is here,” Cecilia called to her husband.

Gomez turned around, as did another familiar face, Horace.

“Gerald, come,” said Gomez.

“Well, this is a delight,” added Horace. He stood beside the two other men, one looked familiar but the other a stranger.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know you had company,” said Gerald.

“Company, indeed. Since when has Uncle Horace been company?” said Horace. “Is there not familiarity here?” He laughed.

“Gerald, please, have a seat here on the blanket,” said Gomez, pointing at the identical spot where they had sat just a few days earlier. “Horace will be staying here for a week or so.”

“Just passing through, you know. It has been so long, and I had such a grand time on Independence Day. Antoine was in rare form. I feel such affinity here, able to gaze on his highness over the banks of the polluted river. Poetic justice. You reap what you sow.” Horace continued surveying the fortress across the river as he spoke. “So how is that lovely wife of yours?”

“Rosia? She’s fine. Thank you.”

“Oh, and I’m sorry. This is Sonni.”

“Yes,” said Gerald. “I believe I met him earlier today. You are the one who moved into the apartment up near the boulevard, right?”

“That’s right. I met Mr. Sanpatri already. Nice to see you again.”

“Well, good,” said Horace. “This is cozy. And lastly, this is Meneshmi.” He signaled to a middle-aged man who had yet to speak a word.

“Meneshmi?” inquired Gomez with a sudden sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“That’s right. Meneshmi Bula,” said the stranger, holding out his hand to Gerald.

“But—” Gerald stopped, and pondered for a minute at the strange coincidence.

“Oh,” laughed Horace. “That’s right. I’ve become so used to it that I hadn’t even thought of the connection. Ironic. Hahaha. So ironic.”

Gerald shook the gentleman’s hand.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Sanpatri. Or rather, to see you again,” said Meneshmi.

“Again?” asked Gerald.

“Of course he wouldn’t remember you. You were just a freshman…” said Horace, looking over at Meneshmi, “when Sanpatri was graduating with his Bachelor’s degree.”

“We went to school together?”

“That’s right, Mr. Sanpatri. I remember you well, but there’s little reason you would remember me.”

“I’m very sorry,” said Gerald, still puzzled over the man’s name.

“Please don’t be,” said Meneshmi.

“But Meneshmi Bula? Is that really your name? It’s just—” continued Gerald.

“Oh, it’s no coincidence,” said Meneshmi.

“No coincidences ever occur in politics and literature,” joked Horace.

“I’m sorry,” said Sonni, the young man who had been trying to keep up with the conversation, “… but what are we talking about here?”

Horace leaned over to whisper in Gerald’s ear. “Illiterate.”

“Sonni, the main character in Mr. Sanpatri’s most famous novel, The Belle of Burgundy, was named Meneshmi Bula,” said Gomez.

“Gomez, you’re going to have to paint this young pup a picture. I don’t think the words are making it through that fishnet brain of his,” cackled Horace.

“Standing firm. In the native dialect of the Banti hill tribe, Meneshmi Bula means ‘standing firm’,” offered Gerald.

“This man is a walking metaphor. A literary reference who has come to life,” continued Horace, pointing at Meneshmi.

“But why would you choose that name, Meneshmi?” asked Sonni.

“It’s not difficult to guess,” said Gerald, feeling uncomfortable and regretting his decision to visit.

Horace shook his head in disbelief. “He’s an example of the young, uneducated saps whose only schooling comes through the current system of modern manipulation-matriculation. Don’t worry, Sonni. It’s not your fault.” He turned back to Gerald. “Can you believe what these people learn these days? Sonni was telling me about a class he takes called, ah…”

“Patriotic Socialization.”

“That’s it, Patriotic Socialization and the… what was that? The crappiness of…”

“Patriotic Socialization and Citizen Contribution.”

“Yes, exactly. What a young memory he has! Let’s hope he’s half as clever when he becomes an engineer. Have you covered two plus two yet?”

About the Author

Mark is a proud Western PA native but has lived most of the last twenty years in Vietnam and Malaysia. His experiences in Asia have redefined everything including his palate, his outlook on life, and naturally his writing. You can find him most days cruising around Penang Island, eating the local delicacies and taking in the sun and exotic breezes as he looks for interesting places to write.

He has authored four novels with number five and six already somewhere on the horizon. His interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – to culture and language – to history and religion – making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy writing injected with doses of Asian culture, history, adventure, and delightful humor. You never know what you might get when you pick up a Sasse novel.

Besides novel-writing, Sasse is a prolific dramatist, having written and produced more than a dozen full-length dramatic productions. He especially is fond of the short play format and has twice won the Best Script award at the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival Penang. His plays and short musicals have also been produced in Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, Australia. Performances of his scripts also won Gold and Bronze medals at the Southeast Asian Forensics Competition 2014.

His professional background is as diverse as his writing. He holds Master’s degrees from California State University Dominquez Hills and Azusa Pacific University in Humanities and TESOL respectively. His undergraduate degree was in English, which helped him develop his passion for creative writing. He has extensive experience in teaching English, history, and drama.

On top of all of this, he loves to cook everything from gourmet pizzas, to Mexican, to various Asian dishes. Flavor is the key of both his cooking and his writing. He very much hopes you enjoy the taste.

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Posted in Contemporary, excerpt, Spotlight, women on July 2, 2015

youweremeantforme

Synopsis

Thirty-five-year-old Miranda Berenzweig is not an impulsive person. She’s been at her editorial job at Domestic Goddess for eight years, she has plenty of great friends, and even though she just broke up with her boyfriend, her life is back on track.  Having a baby isn’t even on her radar until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn in a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little one to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays that the newborn will be all right and that a loving family will take her. But Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind—and she keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks if she’d like to be the foster parent, and maybe even adopt her.  To her own surprise, Miranda jumps on the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new mother love—or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s biological father surfaces, wanting to claim his child.

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Excerpt

The rocking of the train was making her sleepy; Miranda Berenzweig rested her head against the wall and closed her eyes. Just for a minute, she thought. Just one little minute. When she opened her eyes, she was still sitting in the subway car, entirely alone and freezing. She leaped up in a panic. Clearly, she had slept right past her stop, and several stops after that; she’d come to the end of the line. The doors were open and the platform was elevated; that’s why she was so cold. But where was she? Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue, that’s where—at least according to the sign.

Well, she’d just have to get a train going back; she could forget about finding a cab out here.

Miranda stepped onto the platform. Even from up here, she could smell the sharp, salt-laced wind coming from the ocean. It was a good smell, actually—clean and bracing. But she had to get home. She felt nervous being out so late by herself, a feeling that intensified when she went down the stairs. There were no longer any token booths; she could see the phantom spot where the booth had been, its ghostly perimeter still outlined on the floor, like something from a crime scene. There was not a soul in the station, and she was just about to sprint up the stairs to the other side when her attention was snagged by a neat, cream-colored bundle that sat right by the banister.

She paused. It looked harmless enough—a folded blanket or something—but in the post-9/11 world, she had to wonder. Could a bomb be concealed in those folds? How would she know, anyway? Did she even have a clue as to what a bomb looked like? While she was debating this, she saw something else even more startling: a tiny foot peeking out from one corner of the blanket. It flitted through her mind that this was the second bare foot she’d seen tonight. Only this one belonged to a doll.

A doll. Not too likely there was a bomb in there. Miranda could see the little toes, all five of them, lined up like tiny brown nuts. What a well-made thing. Clean too. Why would someone have thrown it away? Then the foot moved. Miranda stopped, not sure she saw what she thought she saw. She was exhausted, disoriented, and possibly a little drunk. The foot was an exquisite creation, crafted from something so smooth and pliant that she could not guess what it might have been. But when it moved again—this time causing the blanket on top to stir ever so slightly—she knew that it was no mere simulation. The cold she had been feeling ever since she woke up seemed to gather speed and force; it shot right through her, like a bullet. Carefully, she lifted a corner of the blanket away.

There, wrapped in a surprisingly clean white towel and cushioned by the bottom part of the blanket, was an infant. No, not an infant, a newborn, with cocoa-colored skin, black hair plastered to its tiny skull, and eyes that were tightly shut against the harsh light of the subway station. Oh. My. God. Was it even alive? Should she touch it? She remained that way for several seconds until the infant opened its mouth in a yawn that seemed to devour its entire face. The eyelids fluttered briefly before closing again. Definitely alive!

The yawn propelled Miranda into action. She lifted up the tiny creature. Under the towel the infant was naked; the umbilical cord, tied in a crude, red knot, looked as if it had been sawed off, and there were reddish streaks on her body. Was the umbilical cord infected, or was it supposed to be that way? She had no idea but wished she had some antibiotic ointment. Avoiding the red protuberance, Miranda shifted the baby gingerly in her arms. Around one wrist was a bracelet; the small pink glass beads were interspersed with white ones whose black letters spelled out baby girl. Someone had cared enough to place that bracelet on her wrist; was it the same person who left her here in the station? Miranda wrapped the blanket around the infant’s body. But that didn’t seem sufficient, so she opened her coat and positioned her close to her own body. That ought to keep her warm. Or at least warmer.

The station was still empty. What should she do? There was an app on her phone that would help her locate a police station. But she did not want to be walking around here in this strange neighborhood by herself. No, she’d rather head for the station house back in Park Slope. She waited downstairs for the train; it would be warmer than the windy platform. When she heard it arriving, she hurried up the stairs and got in as soon as the doors parted.

As the train chugged along, it occurred to her that the infant might be hungry or thirsty. Hungry she could not fix. But she had a bottle of water in her bag; also hand sanitizer, which she wished she had thought to use earlier. Damn! Gripping the tiny body under one arm, she managed to squirt the green gel over both hands and rub furiously. Then she wet her fingers with the water and held them to the infant’s lips. She opened her mouth and began to suck. Tears welled in Miranda’s eyes. She was thirsty, poor little thing. Naked, abandoned in a subway station, and thirsty too—the final and crowning indignity in a brand-new life that so far seemed comprised of nothing but.

When they reached their stop, Miranda made her way through the dark streets toward the police station. At least the rain had tapered off. Against her body, the infant felt warm and animate. Miranda was keenly aware of her breath, in and out, in and out. The rhythm calmed her.

Yanking open the heavy doors to the station house, she stepped inside. A bored-looking officer behind a bullet-proof shield was leafing through a copy of the New York Post; two other officers, one pale and seemingly squeezed into a uniform that was a size or two too small, the other brown as the baby Miranda held close to her heart, were chatting in low voices. Above, the fluorescent light buzzed like a frantic insect. The cop reading the paper finally glanced up. He looked not at Miranda, but straight through her. “Can I help you?” he said in a tone that suggested he would sooner endure a colonoscopy, a root canal, and a tax audit—simultaneously.

“Look,” she said urgently, opening her coat to reveal the infant in its makeshift swaddling. “Look what I just found!”

 

About the Author

Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels (with a seventh forthcoming) for adults, twenty six books for children as well as numerous essays, articles and short stories that have appeared in national and literary publications.  She is also the editor of two essay collections and is the fiction editor of Lilith Magazine.  She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two children and two very noisy Pomeranians.

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Posted in excerpt, paranormal, Spotlight, Urban, Young Adult on July 1, 2015

RARlarge

 

Synopsis

After her foster mother’s unexplained death six months ago, fourteen-year-old Isla Timearth just wants things to go back to normal for her and her twin brother, Monty. But “normal” can only go so far for a closed-off girl with abandonment issues and an anxious boy that gets frequent nosebleeds. Still, the troubled redheads give it a shot by returning to the summer camp they’ve been going to for years.

Aside from her crush showing up unexpectedly, the summer starts out as Isla expected: she participates in multiple activities with her friends, while her brother shies away from doing anything with anyone. But camp traditions get rained on when their biological mother shows up unannounced and, as far as Isla’s concerned, unwelcome.

Knowing that Mother Nature is the mother of all mood swings, Isla isn’t all that surprised to find out that her temperamental biological mother is the terrestrial goddess. What does surprise her is that Monty, the favorite twin, already knew but never told her. Despite being annoyed that such a huge secret was kept from her, Isla has always questioned the loyalty of her own flesh and blood. But once more family secrets start to unravel around her fellow campers, Isla finds out whether blood really is thicker than water.

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Excerpt

That doesn’t answer my question,” I said. “But don’t worry. I used to care, but I got over it.” I’d grown sick of Mona playing favorites between Monty and me, and it was amazing how much better I felt once I stopped trying to compete for her time.

“It’s not as straightforward as you think, Violetta.”

“Oh I’d say it’s pretty straightforward, Mona.”

“Well maybe you’ll change your mind after you see this,” Mona said as she pressed together her middle finger and green-tinted thumb. As soon as she snapped those two fingers, the downpour stopped cold turkey. “You see? I’m not just your birth mother, Violetta, I’m Mother Earth as well. And there’s nothing straightforward about being a child of Mother Earth.” Well, that explained why Mona told us when we were younger that she didn’t have a stable home or income that would support us full time. Not that it really made a difference anyway; the fact that Mona chose the weather over her biological children was inexcusable in my book. “Isn’t that right, Montrose?”

“Wait, you knew about this?” I asked my brother.

“I thought we weren’t gonna tell her,” Monty said to Mona. He looked just as shocked as I was, but obviously not for the same reason.

About the Author

The first story J.B. Kantt ever wrote was for a creative writing class application during her college days. Little did she know that a step towards fulfilling her undergraduate language arts requirement would also be a step towards fulfilling a passion for writing she never knew she had. Now, despite her dreams of becoming a developmental pediatrician, not a day goes by that J.B. doesn’t think about becoming an author as well. When she’s not hitting the books, she’s working on her next book (in between volunteering and practicing taekwondo).

Her debut novel, Roses Are Red, is the first of the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Series. J.B. hopes that her journey to publication helps other writers realize that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible, no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been writing.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, Interview, romance, Spotlight, women on June 30, 2015

not so new in town

 

Title: Not So New In Town

Author: Michele Summers

Series: Harmony Homecomings

Pubdate: July 7th, 2015

ISBN: 9781402293580

 

You can’t go back, and you can’t stand still…

Lucy Doolan is a marketing genius. She can sell rain to a frog and snow to a polar bear. Newly single and unemployed, she’s lured back to her hometown of Harmony, North Carolina to help out her pregnant evil stepsister…only to find former crush heartthrob Brogan Reese has returned too, to open a new business in town. To add insult to injury, he’s still hot.

If the thunder don’t get you, then the lightning will…

Brogan never noticed Lucy much when they were young, but seventeen people have recommended her to help him. She’s got his attention now. With her sweet personality, brilliant imagination, and penchant for doing the completely unpredictable, Brogan is finding a whole lot of excuses to spend his days—and nights—with Lucy.

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Today we are pleased to sit down with Lucy Doolan and Brogan Reese, the hero and heroine in Michele Summer’s latest, Not So New In Town (July 2015). Lucy and Brogan are going to answer a question about their relationship and tell us a bit more about themselves!

Who was interested in marriage first – you or your wife?

Lucy: Definitely me. I think. I mean I didn’t come right out and propose, but he’d have to be an idiot not to know. Oh, wait…he was an idiot. *snicker*

Brogan: I admit I was gun shy, having already failed at one marriage. But the idea of losing Lucy and not having her in my life every day was unacceptable.

 

Excerpt

“Let’s dance”—Brogan shoved his chair back, grabbing Lucy’s hand—“and give these two some alone time.”

“I don’t want to dance.”

“Sure you do. They’re playing Trace Adkins.”

Wanda helped by pushing Lucy’s chair from the table with her foot. Brogan tugged Lucy around more dining tables to the middle of the sawdust-covered dance floor, where couples swayed to the band’s rendition of “Every Light in the House.” Slipping his right hand around the small of her back, he pressed her plush curves into his chest. Her smooth hair tickled his chin, and the smell of citrus filled his head. Lucy stood stiff as a telephone pole as he tried maneuvering to the slow beat of the music.

“You gonna dance like a robot all night, or just with me?” He cocked his head and peered into her face, where doubt disappeared and desire took over as her gaze softened. Brogan liked that look as he slightly bent his knees, pulling her closer. “I won’t bite unless you want me to,” he whispered next to her ear.

“Good to know.” She heaved a shaky sigh. “Well, I guess you’re better than Clancy Perry over there looking like he wants to cut in.” Looping her left arm around his neck, she rocked her hips to the beat. Brogan swallowed a groan. Right now nothing else mattered. All he cared about was luscious Lucy filling his arms.

“Let’s look like we mean it so Clancy or his brother, Clinton, won’t get any ideas.” He bent as if to kiss her.

“You don’t mind if I start singing, do you?” she said, smiling as she moved away from his lips.

Brogan’s head jerked back. “Oh, hell no. My ears haven’t recovered from this morning.”

“I know all the words.” Tossing him a saucy look, she started to hum…loudly.

“Shut up and dance.” Brogan tucked her back under his chin and shook with laughter.

About the Author

Michele Summers writes about small-town life with a Southern flair and has her own interior design business in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Miami, Florida. Both professions feed her creative appetite and provide a daily dose of humor.

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Posted in Romantic Suspense, Spotlight on June 29, 2015

livesbetweenuscover

Synopsis

How far would you go to save the one you love?

Reporter Skylar Kendall has run from commitment all her life, pushing people away before they leave her, until her niece worms her way into Skye’s heart and settles in tight. Skye relaxes into a career she enjoys and relishes being a doting aunt.

Then her niece becomes gravely ill. Unable to bear yet another loss, Skye is determined to find a cure, but the girl’s only hope lies in the embryonic stem cell therapy Michigan Senator Edward Hastings repeatedly opposes. When Skye fails to find alternative treatment in time, she vows to end the senator’s political career.

Curious about the woman behind the scathing articles on his best friend, Mark Dutton pursues Skye. Dating Mark gives her access to Hastings’s life and secrets that would launch Skye’s career and satisfy her need for retribution… Only she hadn’t counted on falling in love.

Can she avenge the lives lost to politics at the expense of her new love and friends?

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Praise for the book

“Wow! This book has it all: a current political topic, a steamy love story, a family in peril, and lots of plot twists! I was drawn into the controversy along with Skye. Powerful characters round out this incredible read!” Melissa Camp, Librarian

“This charming novel gracefully addresses embryonic stem cell research and garnishes it with a powerful, tender romance… The author handles the complexities of science and morality with tremendous care and nuance; there are no hypocrites or villains here, only loving people doing their best in terribly difficult situations. Contemporary romance readers of all political leanings will be enthralled.” ~ Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Theresa TreeTheresa Rizzo is a bestselling, award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 
Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty-two years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me, won the 2014 National Indie Excellence Award for romance and the 2014 Readers Crown Award for Mainstream Women’s Fiction and was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards.

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Posted in Blog tour, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 28, 2015

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ASeasonforKillingBlondes cover

A Season for Killing Blondes
File Size: 397 KB
Print Length: 216 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc (June 12, 2015)
ASIN: B00XCZ5EE2

Synopsis

Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the body of golden girl, Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside Gilda’s office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation. When three more dead blondes turn up, all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders.

Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

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About the Author

Guidoccio 001In high school, Joanne dabbled in poetry, but it would be over three decades before she entertained the idea of writing as a career. She listened to her practical Italian side and earned degrees in mathematics and education. She experienced many fulfilling moments as she watched her students develop an appreciation (and sometimes, love) of mathematics. Later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma as a career development practitioner and put that skill set to use in the co-operative education classroom. She welcomed this opportunity to help her students experience personal growth and acquire career direction through their placements.

In 2008, she took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

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Posted in paranormal, Spotlight, Urban, Young Adult on June 27, 2015

Between-Dreams

Synopsis

Sidney Sinclair was living the dream of any eighteen year-old girl…

A handsome rock star boyfriend, a closet full of designer clothes, a limousine service at her beck and call, and a mansion in the hills of Los Angeles.

Even with all that glamour and excitement at her fingertips, she still feels as if she’s been missing something in her life so she decides to leave.

While trying her best to put her dysfunctional romantic relationship aside and tend to her beloved Granny, Sidney unexpectedly stumbles upon an intriguing emerald pendant boxed away in her grandmother’s closet.

Soon she learns it once belonged to her long-lost mother who committed suicide when she was just a baby. Suddenly feeling emotionally connected to the woman who had birthed her, Sidney begins to wear the necklace.

This sends her on a whirlwind journey that alternates between fantasy and reality…

Almost immediately, she starts having dreams linked to the mysterious pendant. As danger begins to seep into her life, Sidney refuses to remove the necklace and instead documents each dream to help her further understand them. However, she soon begins to wonder if they are dreams meant to bond her to a mother whom she never knew?

Or a subconscious warning that threatens her very life?

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Excerpt

I pushed open the mahogany doors and entered our suite. Ray was sitting on the bed wearing a black button down shirt with matching slacks.
“Happy birthday, babe…surprise!”  I announced throwing up my hands in the air.
He sat as still as a statue staring at me in disbelief as I rushed over to him jumping in his lap laying a kiss on his perfectly full lips. He didn’t respond to my touch and instead took my hands and gently scooted out from underneath me.
“Sid. What are you doing here?”  He said in a hushed tone. Climbing to his feet, he nervously glanced toward the closet doors.
As my brain began to slowly process the fact that Ray was not happy to see me, I heard the door to our closet open and out walked a strikingly sexy young woman. She had vivid red hair, the color of a fine burgundy wine, full of fire and exotic danger. Her hair perfectly complemented her catlike green eyes which were deep set inside of her perfectly oval face, reminiscent of a delicate porcelain doll. She was breathtakingly beautiful.
She was my worst nightmare.
I was mesmerized; I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was wearing an expensive black gown with a neckline cut seductively low, which perfectly accented her full breasts and flowed downward to reveal a sensual hint of her long, toned legs. Her dress was sprinkled with Swarovski crystals woven into the fabric to make it truly stunning, not to mention memorable.
I suddenly recoiled in horror…
She was wearing my dress!
I resented the fact that she looked so good in it.
Her cat green eyes were focused on me. She was appraising me and silently saying, “We both know I look sexier in this dress than you ever could.”
I looked at her and then back at Ray still trying to understand why this woman was in our room with my boyfriend and wearing my dress. My boyfriend was sitting daftly on the bed trying to comprehend the feminine connection between me and this goddess who had turned my entire romantic life upside down.

About the Author

Cynthia Austin lives in Northern California with her husband, two boys, and Olde English Bulldogge named Count Dogula. They love all things horror, gothic, and Victorian which prompts her friends to dub them as “The Adams Family.”
She is an avid reader who may be slightly obsessed with music. She hears music in a way that she believes the artist intended it to be heard: visually, with a storyline that follows. Listening to the songs by her favorite artists, she was inspired to write her first series titled “The Pendant.”
Cynthia has been published twice in The Writer’s Monthly Magazine as well as the online news site, Yahoo! Voices. She currently attends Diablo Valley College, in Pleasant Hill, California, where she is working to achieve her degree in English.
Posted in excerpt, mystery, Spotlight, suspense on June 26, 2015

Resurrected

 

Synopsis

Ray Courage’s wife Pam died thirteen years before in a car accident. Or did she? Ray’s world is turned upside down when he receives a series of e-mails from someone claiming to be his dead wife, accusing him of attempting to kill her and vowing revenge. Ray sets out to find the identity of the e-mailer only to discover the circumstances of his wife’s apparent death appear to be all but accidental. Soon Police Detective Carla Thurber comes to suspect Ray of killing his wife, and of a subsequent murder of Pam’s confidant. Meanwhile, a murderous predator who does not want the facts of Pam’s death to surface aims to stop Ray. In the greatest challenge of his life, Ray must outrun the police and elude those who are out to kill him as he seeks the truth about his wife’s death.

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Excerpt

Prologue

Pam Courage drove and drove and drove, a brilliant November mid-afternoon turning to dusk then dark. She made the same loop four times. Sacramento to Davis and back again. She’d driven more than two hundred miles, but clarity would not come. She usually thought best when she drove alone. Today, not so much.

How had everything become so screwed up so quickly? This was not a gradual buildup of events, or a perfect storm of random happenings, nothing that she could have predicted or seen coming. This was a two-ton anvil falling out of the sky and clobbering her. The meeting with Yuri had been a disaster. Ray? He’d upset her like never before.

Her cell phone rang on the passenger seat. Ray. Now the third time he had called, no doubt worried, maybe approaching frantic as the dinner hour had come and long since passed. No, let it go to voice mail. Ray. God dammit.

More than five hours had passed since she had surprised Dr. Susan Whitehead when she dropped in to her office unannounced. Pam had never been to a psychologist before, but Dr. Whitehead had helped others in her office. They talked only briefly, Pam too distracted to say much more than she’d fought with her husband in the morning, and problems at work had her distressed. Dr. Whitehead had encouraged her to talk more. Instead, Pam said she needed to think things through on her own. So she drove.

She would have to go home. She could not keep driving, avoiding the inevitable. No, this time she would merge onto Interstate 5 and go home. She owed it to herself and she owed it to Ray.

Just a couple of days ago she considered her life almost perfect. Great job. A good marriage. She thought about Sara and the joy she felt when she watched her daughter play tennis and soccer. Now she had the lead in the sixth grade play. A budding thespian. Was there anything that her twelve-year old daughter couldn’t do? Pam had been the same way as a girl. Confident. Adventurous. Fearless. She smiled. Quickly the smile evaporated. Now here she was, her confidence shaken to its very core, everything she felt true and right turned upside down. Not in a million years would she have predicted this happening to her. She looked at her eyes in the rearview mirror and saw something almost animalistic—panic, fear and hopelessness.

Her hands on the steering wheel did not obey the direction from her weakening will as she flew past Sutterville Road, the exit leading home. Five miles later she exited at Meadowview Road, turned right on to Freeport Boulevard and drove past the tiny town of Freeport, where the road met the river and followed its windy route towards the delta. Here there were no streetlights, nothing but darkness and the narrow tunnel of illumination from her headlights.

The cell phone rang again.

“Shit.” Even without looking at it she knew it was Ray. But this time, rather than spurring her to drive on, the call convinced her to return home. Her grumbling stomach announced the hunger she’d been ignoring all afternoon.

She never drove down here, by the river, where she regularly read of cars plunging off the side into the cold waters, the bodies of drivers, passengers, men, women and children fished out by grim scuba divers. Though only ten miles from home, she felt in another world, a million miles away. A dark place, timeless, untouched by civilization. She turned up the heater to combat the increasing chill of the late fall evening.

She glanced in the rearview mirror again and noticed a truck following a couple of hundred feet back, its headlight higher and farther apart than those of a car. Had there been someone behind her when she started her aimless journey? Of course there had. She had been driving on some of the most traveled freeways and roads in Northern California, millions of vehicles passed over them each day. At any given moment there was sure to be someone—a car or a truck—right behind her. She’d been so lost in her thoughts all day that she never paused to think about the other cars around her; yet her subconscious seemed to have been at work because it told her that the truck behind her right now, shrouded in the black night, had been with her all day. She snorted at the idea and its improbability. She was getting tired and starting to imagine things.

Cold, hungry, and growing more afraid in the alien landscape, she looked for a side road or pullout so that she could turn around. About mile later she spotted the driveway leading to a house on the right side of the road. She slowed and flicked on her blinker. The truck behind her seemed to slow as well.

A wrought iron gate guarded the driveway, but there was enough space between it and the road for Pam to pull over and turn back towards the road at a ninety-degree angle. She looked to her right to make sure the lane heading back towards Sacramento was clear. She looked left to see the vehicle advancing on her. Advancing at her, its high beams blinding.

She reached down for the shifter to put it into reverse, but failed to engage the release button, leaving her car centered in the road. The truck was going to hit her. With little choice, she floored the accelerator to propel herself forward and out of harm’s way. The truck veered towards her new path.

Walter Heffner told police that night that he thought an airliner had crashed on the road in front of his house, the sound so deafening, the eruption of flames so huge that only an object that large moving that fast could explain it. By the time he put on his shoes and coat he saw what was left of a car straddling the center stripe of the two-lane country road, the heat from the fire so great that he could not get within a hundred feet. His eyes searched the now brightly lit landscape for a second vehicle or whatever might have caused such a conflagration. He looked up the road and down. Nothing but darkness. That seemed strange to him.

About the Author

ScottMackeyScott Mackey lives in Northern California, where he writes both fiction and non-fiction. His first book, Barbary Baseball, achieved critical acclaim from baseball historians for its quality research and writing. He followed that with two young adult novels. His popular Ray Courage Mystery Series includes Courage Begins, Courage Matters, and Courage Resurrected. The fourth book in the series, Courage Lies Beneath, is scheduled for release later in 2015.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on June 25, 2015

The Sheik's Ruby

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sheiksThe Sheik’s Ruby by Whitney Award Winning Author Jennifer Moore

Shelby wants to break away from the mold of her small town and make a name for herself in the big-city journalism world. While skiing, she meets mysterious stranger Hakim who is actually the prince of the Middle Eastern kingdom of Khali-dar. When his enemies learn of Hakim’s connection to an American girl, they target Shelby. Fleeing to the safety of Khali-dar, Shelby falls deeper in love not only with the prince, but with his country. As she struggles to survive terrorist attacks, withstand the Sheik’s prejudice, and find her place in a world she doesn’t understand, she must choose which life she is willing to sacrifice—the comfortable one she has worked so hard to create, or the one with the man she loves.

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Excerpt

“Does your father know you’re asking me?”
Hakim gazed over her shoulder and took a deep breath. “He knows.”
“But he doesn’t want me to come, right?”
“I will bring a companion of my choice tomorrow.” He locked his gaze onto Shelby’s and leaned toward her. “You are my choice. Will you please come?”
The Sheik apparently doesn’t buy into the whole “guests are gifts from Allah” idea. “Of course, I would love to come.” She smiled, but knew it didn’t appear convincing. She hated feeling like she was the source of their discord.
“You are nervous. Please do not feel uncomfortable.”
“I’m worried I’ll say or do something stupid.” She winced. “I’m not exactly a refined debutante who knows how to act in formal situations. I don’t want to embarrass you, Hakim.”
“I do not want you to be a refined debutante. I have spent enough time with those people to know they are not what I want.”Hakim maneuvered his horse until he faced Shelby and their legs were nearly touching. He leaned closer, his gaze earnest. “What I want is you, Shelby Jo.” He cupped her cheek in his hand.
Shelby felt her heart flutter and her nerve endings tingle as she lost herself in the deep brown pools of his eyes.
His thumb stroked her skin, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. He slid his hand into her hair and drew her closer, his lips covering hers.
When she drew away, Shelby inhaled deeply and grinned. “Hearing you put it that way, how could I possibly refuse?”
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Praise for Sheik’s Ruby

“What a fun read! THE SHEIK’S RUBY is a fabulous Cinderella story with both ancient and modern tones you don’t want to miss.”
~Josi Kilpack

~*~

“THE SHEIK’S RUBY is a perfect blend of romance and adventure, set in locales both familiar and exotic. When I finished, I wanted to start over and enjoy it again.
~Nancy Allen

 

JenniferAbout the Author

Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. She suffers from an unhealthy addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.

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Also by Jennifer Moore: Becoming Lady Lockwood (2014 Whitney Award Winner), Lady Emma’s Campaign & Miss Burton Unmasks a Prince.

 

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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 7/17/15

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 Dystopian, Giveaway, Spotlight on June 24, 2015

Children of Darkness

The Children of Darkness, book one of the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers by David Litwack

“But what are we without dreams?”

A thousand years ago the Darkness came–a time of violence and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

Childhood friends, Orah and Nathaniel, have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. When their friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds the young to the Light—they barely recognize the broken and brooding man the boy has become. Then when Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel follows in a foolhardy attempt to save her.

In the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy. For hidden in the keep awaits a truth from the past that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might release the long-suppressed potential of their people, but they would also incur the Temple’s wrath as it is written:

“If there comes among you a dreamer of dreams saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

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Praise for The Children of Darkness

“A must-read page turner.” Kirkus Review

“Litwack’s storytelling painted a world of both light and darkness–and the truth that would mix the two.” Fiction Fervor

“The Children of Darkness is a dystopian novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.” C.P. Bialois

“A fresh perspective on our own society…[an] enjoyable read that will make you wonder just how society will judge us in the future.” Lexie

 

 

David LitwackAbout the Author

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

After publishing two award winning novels, Along the Watchtower and The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky, he’s hard at work on the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers.
David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

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BookBlast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 7/12/15

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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