Posted in Contemporary, excerpt, romance, Spotlight on May 3, 2016

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Restless cover

Title: Restless
Author: Michelle Bellon
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Pages: 204
Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

You grow up. You get married. You have a family. At least, that’s what Malea Winters believes she’s supposed to do. So why is it that every time she comes close to finding that happily ever after, she runs?

When she meets Garrett Taylor, she warns him that she’s not the marrying type because history has shown that long-term relationships are not her forte. She has a tendency to leave when things get too serious; the direct result of being raised by an emotionally detached mother and a stepdad with philandering ways. So she swore off men and surrounded herself with her best friends; three quirky, funny women who are facing challenges of their own.

But Garrett is everything she’s ever looked for; charming, successful, fun, and sexy. Despite her better judgment, his persistence pays off and she finds herself falling for him.

Learning how to love and be loved will be the hardest lesson she’s ever faced. The question is, will her relationships survive that lesson?

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Excerpt

As I walk down the aisle, avoiding eye contact with my husband-to-be, I remember the dream and feel the need to run.

I clutch the bountiful bouquet of flowers, red and white for our Christmastime wedding, and feel the sweat on my palms collect in the center. I want to rub them down the front of my dress.

But that would be unacceptable. My grandma has lovingly sewn every stitch, carefully placed every pearly bead, and worked every delicate piece of lace. It’s a work of labor and love.

Today, I am supposed to be a princess.

But as I look around at familiar faces, friends and family, watching me take this enormous step into life as a wife, as a life partner, I feel anything but princess-like.

I feel the lie. I feel the relentless pursuit of truth. Both follow me down the aisle, tapping on my shoulder and reminding me that I have no ability to live up to this responsibility.

I am quaking in my white heels. My knees are shaking. But still I march forward on the arm of the only male in my life I’ve ever thought of as a father. He isn’t really, but he’s the only man my mom brought home over the years to whom I formed any real emotional attachment before they’d split ways. Due to his philandering ways, he was out of our life more than he was in it. But when he was around, something inside of me recognized something inside of him, and I cared for him.

I swallow down my fear. It’s only nerves. It’s normal. This is the natural order of things: you grow up, you get married, you have a family. That’s how it’s done.

Then what?

I finally make eye contact with Garrett and search for…safety? Love? Answers?

Only my own fear reflects back. He can see the hesitation, the anxiety, the angst. He smiles cautiously. He’ll never admit what we both know.

Just before we reach the altar, I take one last look around. The gathering within the small church is there for only one purpose: to watch us get hitched.

I could run right now. This is my last chance. I could just turn around and make a run for it.

About the Author

Michelle BellonMichelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her four children and boyfriend, Seth. She loves coffee and has an addiction to chapstick.

She works at a surgery center as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. She writes in the genres of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won four literary awards to include making finalist in the New Age category in the USA Book Awards for her latest release, The Fire Inside.  Her latest release is the contemporary romance, Restless.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy on May 3, 2016

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Killer Kale Chips

Health Nut Mysteries

Patrice Lyle

Gemma Halliday Publishing

Synopsis

In the city that never sleeps, Dr. Piper’s search for the perfect wedding dress turns into the search for the perfect murderer. When famous diva Veronica Forks drops dead after eating a bag of Ken’s Killer Kale Chips, suspicion falls on former-mafioso-turned-surfer-dude, Ken.

According to Piper’s PI flashcards, Ken has the motive (she witnessed a tiff between him and Veronica), the means (the kale chips), and the opportunity (he was at the expo). But Piper’s sure the surfer-dude can’t be a killer and, as any good PI knows, the flashcards aren’t always right.

Plus Brownie, Piper’s pet pot-bellied pig, is addicted to Ken’s Killer Kale Chips, and if Ken’s arrested, Brownie will never snack again! So Piper takes it upon herself to root out the murderer who’s adding “killer seasoning” to kale chips before he strikes again.

** Coming in May **

About the Author

Patrice_Lyle1Patrice Lyle loves green smoothies, dark chocolate, mysteries, and humor. She wove these elements together when she created the Health Nut Mysteries, a cozy series about a naturopathic doctor who solves mysteries at health expos. Patrice also writes paranormal young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as holistic medical suspense. She has an MA in Writing Popular Fiction and a PhD in Holistic Nutrition. She’s also a Certified Traditional Naturopath. She now lives in Florida with her husband and two kitties, and is a firm believer in the theory that laughter is the best medicine.

 

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Spotlight on May 2, 2016

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Synopsis

Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by housewife and mother, Cathy O’Farrell, with ex-cleaner, Pimple is failing badly. Hardly surprising when Cathy’s too soft-hearted to charge their only clients, little old ladies seeking lost pets and a school kid searching for his stolen bike.

A new case involving a teenager in possession of an unexplained Glock pistol promises to change all that. Quickly Cathy’s deep in waters over her head, forced with hilarious results to pose as a mathematics tutor, a subject of which she’s truly clueless. There’s also the tricky situation of best friend and new mother Rosa hiring her to investigate her fiancé, Alec, plus the mysterious sabotage of Cathy’s friends’ cycle shop and a gang of yobbos dealing drugs at her children’s primary school.

Worst of all, an ill-fated trip to rural Norfolk has Cathy’s husband, Declan, intent on buying a post office and transplanting the family to safer climes, threatening to tear Cathy permanently from her beloved North London home.

Pretty soon Cathy’s risking her friendships, her marriage and even her life untangling all these messes. But that’s what you get for meddling in murder…

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Excerpt

What the fudge?

The branch creaks alarmingly as I test my weight against it. For a second I think it might snap but then my foot slips and we part company anyway. Bark scrapes another layer off my grazed skin and to my horror I find myself tipping backwards, falling, falling…

Far beneath me my daughter Sophie gives an unwitting squeal, Henrietta’s twins shriek in unison and I hear son Josh call out ‘Mummeeee!’ when as much by luck as design my left arm catches a forked limb long enough for me to grasp it and come to a bone-jolting, shoulder-wrenching stop. Sweat drips down my body, my knees shake uncontrollably and something’s poking between my ribs like a sharpened spear, causing an actual hole through clothes into flesh.

Dangling, I somehow hook one leg round the main trunk and cling there like my life depends on it. Which, for the record, it does.

‘Hang on, Mum!’ Sophie yells for perhaps the fifteenth time. She’d wanted to climb up here but I’d told her it was too dangerous. When will I listen to my own advice?

I stop panting long enough to call down. ‘I’m OK, sweetheart. Perfectly safe.’ How long since I last clambered up a tree? Me, an overweight, unfit middle-aged, mother-of-two in not so skinny jeans. And what did I promise my family – that I’d avoid potentially risky situations? That any cases I took on would absolutely not involve capturing murderers or exposing criminals? Not that our patch of North London known as Crouch End is inundated with killings, just that I’ve somehow succeeded in entangling myself with two in the last eighteen months. And now the simplest of mundane jobs has turned an everyday school drop-off into what could possibly be my final farewell.

A terrified glance below shows Sophie clutching on to her younger brother’s arm, their long-standing feud forgotten as they contemplate their mother’s plight. Lauren, Henrietta’s eldest by two seconds, is hopping from foot to foot, pale with anxiety while her sister’s nervously studying her watch. I wonder what’s upsetting them most – the thought of Aunty Cathy’s untimely demise or being late for class. Yet again.

Three feet above me, inches from reach, a tortoiseshell cat stares down with baleful yellow eyes. I hold out a coaxing hand. ‘Here, Fluffy. C’mon, kitty. Pishhh whishh.’

Disregarding me entirely, he licks his paw before stalking further out, balancing on a twig, with the arrogant grace of a tightrope walker. Oh how I wish I’d ignored him when I saw that distinctive white-tipped tail swagger across the zebra crossing. But I’d spent weeks scouring backyards, crawling on hands and knees, peeking under parked cars, over hedges, listening to sweet old Mrs Thompson choke back sobs as I admitted failure.

I’m gathering my courage and strength to scale higher when my mobile rings. I wedge my bum into a crevice between branch and tree, tighten my hold and, with a few contortions worthy of the great Houdini, extract my phone from my pocket to peer at the screen.

Caller’s number withheld. Should I answer it?

Am I in any position to answer it?

About the Author

Ellie Campbell Author 500Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sister writing team, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell.   Running wild as tomboys in Scotland, playing imagination games, they couldn’t dream that one day they’d co-author novels despite an ocean between them. From boring clerical jobs in London to a varied life of backpacking and adventure travel, both started almost accidentally as short story writers, Lorraine when working in publishing, Pam as a fun hobby while an at-home mother of three.

By the time each had 70 short stories published internationally, Pam was settled in Surrey, England, and Lorraine had finally taken root in Boulder, Colorado. Long telephone chats about life and fiction led to their current collaboration.  They have produced five acclaimed novels – How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad, Looking For La La, To Catch A Creeper and Million Dollar Question.  They write contemporary women’s fiction laced with humour, romance, and mystery.

When not hunched over computers, Lorraine, a certified ROTH ‘horse whisperer’, can usually be found messing about with her four rescue horses and Pam on a fund raising bike ride, madly cycling over mountains to Paris, Barcelona or Gibraltar on the back of her husband’s bone-shaking tandem.

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3 eBook copies of Meddling with Murder, open internationally
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Posted in Book Release, Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, Spotlight on May 1, 2016

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Passion, Poison, & Puppy Dogs

A Danger Cove Pet Sitter Mystery

Sally S. Smith & Jean Steffens

Gemma Halliday Publishing

ISBN: 9781943587469

Synopsis

—In this dog eat dog world, it’s people you have to keep your eye on.

When Lizzie Jones, pet sitter extraordinaire, is asked to watch over her best friend’s two spoiled dogs at the posh gated community of Craggy Hill Estates, the last things she expects is to wind up in the middle of a homicide. But that’s exactly what happens when she finds her best friend’s cheating husband and Danger Cove’s celebrity bodybuilder champ, Mr. Jupiter, floating face down in his hot tub. To make matters worse, the police aren’t looking any further than the wife for a suspect—isn’t it always the wife? Well, not in this case—at least Lizzie refuses to believe it.

Between dealing with Craggy Hill’s hot security guard, Tino Morales—who also just happens to be the man who broke Lizzie’s heart in high school, caring for her grieving friend, and watching three rambunctious dogs, Lizzie has her hands full. So she recruits her famous granddad, retired network field correspondent, Jimmy John Jones, to help her put two and two together to find the real killer. Was Mr. Jupiter murdered by one of his women on the side? A jealous, disgruntled employee? Or someone with a bitter and deep-seated hatred of the superstar? It’s up to Lizzie, Jimmy John, and Lizzie’s own pug, Vader, to crack the case before the killer claims another victim…this one much closer to Lizzie’s own heart!

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Excerpt

“I was thinking about you too,” I said. “I had a terrific time last night. Dinner, dancing. What more could a girl ask for?”

He smiled down at me, lifted my hand over my head, and led me to circle beneath our arms. Humming softly, he pulled me into a slow dance and whispered in my ear, “There are all kind of rhythms to the bachata. You like this one?”

Whew. When exactly had his cute-and-cuddly factor flipped the switch to hot and sexy? I was so caught up in the nearness of him that I actually made it a few beats before stepping on his toes and causing him to flinch in pain.

Dang. “Sorry, Tino. I guess I should have warned you that I’m a notorious klutz.”

He was all dewy-eyed and cuddly. “But the cutest klutz I’ve ever seen.” And before I realized what he had in mind, he bent his head, pulled me in at the waist, and planted a kiss on me. Our lips met softly, then tightened as we pushed against each other, caught by surprise at the heat we were generating.

I stepped back, breathing hard. He blinked a few times and ran his hand through his soft dark hair.

“Oh my,” I said.

Caliente,” he said.

“Yes.” I shook my head to clear it. “You can say that again.”

Caliente.”

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About the Authors

jean & sally authorThe international best-selling writing team of Sally J. Smith (right brain) and Jean Steffens (left brain) make up equal halves of one totally functional writer’s mind. Creative and intuitive and organized and systematic? What could be better than that?

The two desert dwellers work together side-by-side, literally finishing each other’s sentences, putting together their novels faster and more efficiently than they ever could individually.

When their heads aren’t together over a manuscript, you’ll find them with their families, at a movie, the yoga studio, the mall, or out-to-lunch—in the food sense, not the spaced-out sense, well…most of the time. Their current series include Jordan Welsh & Eddie Marino Novels, Mystic Isle Mysteries, Danger Cove Pet Sitter Mysteries, and coming soon, Aloha Lagoon Gabby LeClair Mysteries, and Digby Sloan Mysteries.

Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.

Visit our website, look around, and sign up for our newsletter. We love hearing from our readers and always answer our e-mails: smithandsteffens@cox.net.

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2 great giveaways!!

$25 Amazon Gift Card, Valid tour wide (US & Intl)
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and

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The Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs Give-Away: A Digital or print copy of the book, a coffee mug of adorable Vader, and a bib apron with our celebrity pug.

Go to our Smith and Steffens, International Best-Selling Authors FB Page by Saturday May 12th. Comment under Vader’s picture to enter and win a bib apron and coffee mug starring Vader, our celebrity pug, & your choice of a digital or paper copy of the book.

Posted in Book Release, excerpt, Spotlight, suspense on April 30, 2016

Violated cover

VIOLATED (BRANDON FISHER FBI SERIES)

by Carolyn Arnold

Published by: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-988064-71-0
ISBN (print): 978-1-988064-70-3

Synopsis

Sometimes the past should stay there…

The murder is one of the most heinous FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher has ever seen. But that’s not why he and two members of the team are rushing to California. The Bureau is interested because the prime suspect is one of their own, Paige Dawson.

But Paige didn’t go to Valencia to kill anyone. She had set out on “vacation”—her new lover in tow—only to confront the man who raped her friend twenty-some years ago. While the hands of the law are tied, she wants him to face the fact that he destroyed a young woman’s life and know that, as an FBI agent, she’ll be watching his every move. Yet, instead of accomplishing her goal, she wound up in the back of a police cruiser.

Now Paige must face off with a hard-nosed detective determined to stick a murder charge to a fed. But with the trained eyes of the FBI on the case, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the evidence lends itself to a serial killing, not an isolated incident. And as long as the local authorities are focused on Paige, the real murderer is still out there, possibly waiting to strike again…

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Excerpt

“Agent Fisher.” I had answered without checking the caller ID, but the ensuing silence on the other end of the line had me pulling back the phone and consulting it now.

SANTA CLARITA V.

That tells me nothing…

“Hello? This is Special Agent Brandon Fisher. Can I help you?” I looked for Zach, but he was gone again.

There was no verbal response on the other end of the line, but I heard a distinct exhale, followed by more deep breaths.

Santa Clarita… Where was that? It sounded Californian.

And I knew only one person in California.

“Paige?”

There was a jagged intake of breath. A sob, maybe?

“Oh God, Brandon.” It was Paige, and she was definitely crying. And Paige didn’t cry. I’d witnessed the odd tear fall when our relationship had ended, but this was different. Something was very wrong.

I leaned on my desk and looked around, but no one was nearby.

“What’s going on? Are you okay?” I asked. I gave her a few seconds to respond. She didn’t. “Where’s Sam? Is he okay? Talk to me, Paige.”

“Shh. I don’t want everyone to know.”

“What’s going on?” I was starting to get annoyed that she was avoiding my question. She was the one who had called me.

“I’m in trouble,” she began. “Big trouble.”

“What kind of trouble?”

“I’m in…jail,” she ground out.

Her words struck me as a physical blow. I even stopped breathing for a second. I sank back into my chair. “You’re what?”

“There’s been a misunderstanding is all.”

I’d hope so…

“Where is Sam?” I asked again.

“Please, Brandon, don’t tell Jack or Zach.”

Another aversion tactic. “I don’t know much to tell.” My concern for her was quickly morphing into irritation. “Where’s Sam?” I repeated a third time. Maybe I should record myself and just hit “play.”

Another deep exhale into the receiver.

“Talk to me,” I entreated.

“He doesn’t know.”

“What? How can he not know you were—”

“Shh! I can’t explain everything over the phone. I need you to get me a good defense attorney and send him to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. Have them ask for Detective Grafton or Mendez.”

A good defense attorney?

“What are you suspected of?”

“I don’t want—”

“You called me, remember?”

She sighed. “Something I might be regretting…”

“I’m sorry, but you asked me to get you—”

Jack came up next to my desk. He ran a hand along his throat, indicating my call needed to end. Now. And based on the way he was staring me down, refusing him wasn’t an option.

“Where’s Zach?” he asked.

“God, is that Jack?” Paige whispered. “Brandon, you can’t say a—”

I cupped the receiver portion of my cell phone and held it away from my ear. “He’ll be back,” I told Jack. “He probably just went to the bathroom.”

“Hang up,” Jack demanded. He never tolerated personal calls on the job, but this was going overboard. Besides, this particular one wasn’t personal. Or was it?

And why did Paige call me and not Sam? Was it just that I was familiar, or did she not want to give the new guy a bad impression? I dismissed the idea of her still harboring feelings for me before I even considered it, but whatever it was, I wasn’t sure I was completely comfortable with it.

I got up from my chair and walked away from Jack, taking my cell phone with me. I had it pressed to my ear again and could tell Paige was still on the line. I could feel Jack’s eyes watching me, but so far, he wasn’t following.

“I will do what you asked,” I said into the receiver, “but it would help to know what you’re…you know.” I didn’t want to say being charged with, seeing as Jack was still within earshot.

“I don’t want to get into it with you, Brandon. Hell, I probably shouldn’t have even called you. I just thought I could trust you.”

“You can.” The words had come out of their own volition.

“Thank you. I just need a defense attorney who is good at getting the innocent off—” Someone spoke to her in the background. “Yes, I know… Fine,” she said, her voice muffled, probably from her hand over the receiver. Then back to me. “I’ve got to go.”

“I’ll get you someone.”

“Remember, Detective Graft—”

“Grafton and Mendez. I got it.”

“One more thing, Brandon. Please let Sam know I’m okay.”

“And what about the part where you were…” I couldn’t elaborate as Jack was now literally breathing down my neck.

“You can’t tell him I’ve been arrested.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“Can I trust you or not?” she asked impatiently.

I nodded even though she couldn’t see it. “You can.”

“Sam’s at the Hyatt Regency, room 328.” Then she hung up. With the conversation over, I was left to face Jack, and based on his epic scowl, I was going to have explain why I didn’t hang up the second he had told me to.

“I need to make another phone call,” I said.

“Not right now you don’t,” Jack replied.

Zach came back to his desk, a confused look on his face when he saw the two of us, and Jack gestured for us to follow him into his office.

I was pacing in front of Jack’s door, not wanting to go in because I needed to get Paige that lawyer ASAP.

Jack gripped my shoulder with a firm hand. “Go inside.”

“Uh, yeah. On it.” I pressed on a smile and went into his office.

Jack shut the door and didn’t bother to take a seat. Neither did Zach or I, but the two of us kept looking at each other for a clue as to what this was about.

“Paige has been brought in as a murder suspect.” Jack delivered the statement as if it were any other case—direct, punchy, and succinct.

I swallowed roughly, my throat so dry I wondered if my mouth was even producing any saliva. I sought out one of the chairs that were positioned in front of Jack’s desk.

Jack’s gaze followed me until I sat down. “That was Paige on the phone with you, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah,” I choked out.

His jaw tightened. He shook his head. “Unbelievable.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what he was referring to—Paige’s arrest or my consorting with the…enemy?

Jack closed his eyes. “She just couldn’t leave it alone.”

“Leave what alone?” Zach asked.

Jack let out a heaving sigh, met my eyes, and then turned for the door. “Come on, we’re going to California. I’ll explain on the plane.”

About the Author

Carolyn Arnold

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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Posted in Contemporary, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight, women on April 29, 2016

every bride has her day

Every Bride Has Her Day by Lynnette Austin

Magnolia Brides, Book 2
ISBN: 9781492618003
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: Small Town Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Synopsis

CAN LOVE REVIVE A WILTING HEART?

Cricket O’Malley can’t wait to plant roots back home in Georgia, where she’s returned to restore an abandoned flower shop to its former glory. The only blemish? Her neighbor’s house is even more neglected than her old flower shop, and its occupant seems as surly as he is darkly handsome.

Devastated body and soul after a tough case went south, New York City detective Sam DeLuca thought he’d have no trouble finding solitude in the quiet Georgia town of Misty Bottoms, but his bubbly neighbor seems determined to shine happiness into Sam’s life. Sam is equally determined to close himself off, but his heart says otherwise…

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Lynnette’s tips for the Perfect Wedding

You and your special someone have decided to tie the knot! Now what? Above all, remember it’s about you and your fiancé. This is your wedding. You don’t need the approval of or advice from every coworker, your dentist, and your grocer. Have a clear vision in mind of what you and your groom want and hold to that. The same with your budget. Set it and stick to it. Don’t be talked into something that’s going to blow it out of the water. Don’t let others shanghai your wedding. If someone doesn’t like your color choice of red and white and thinks purple and green would be better, tell her you’ll pass on her choice so that she can use it for her wedding—or anniversary party if she’s already married.

Make your wedding day personal with those small touches—things that have meaning to you and your soon-to-be husband. It might be Mom or Grandma’s banana pudding recipe or a bulletin board with photos showcasing your relationship from first date, up to and including the rehearsal dinner. Make it meaningful—to the two of you.

Every Bride Has Her Day graphic

Excerpt

“Hold on a sec.” Sam raised a finger and headed back inside. Grabbing the small radio he’d found tucked inside a closet, he placed it on the ledge above the sink, dialed up a station that played a lot of Frank Sinatra, and opened the window. The music drifted into the twilight.

In another cupboard, he found a stub of a candle in a squat holder. His aunt Gertie’d probably kept it in case of a power outage. It would do. He lit it and stepped outside to find Cricket curled up on the back porch swing, Hobo at her feet.

“So you decided to come home,” he said to the dog. “You’ve been gone half the day.”

In answer, Hobo thumped his tail on the porch.

“Yeah, I know. You heard steak was on the menu for dinner.”

The tail thumped harder, and Cricket laughed, a warm, sultry sound.

Sam set the candle on a small side table, his system on high alert.

Cricket O’Malley. The girl-next-door meets sex goddess.

He didn’t understand it, but that didn’t seem to matter. Chemistry fairly sizzled between them.

He cleared his throat, then leaned down beside the fire circle. After he got a nice little blaze started, he pulled an old bench close. “I know we don’t need the heat—” He broke off. No, they sure didn’t. If they got within ten miles of each other, they generated enough of their own. “I mean, uh, I thought it might add a little ambiance.”

“Nothing I enjoy more than sittin’ around a campfire.”

“Have a seat then, and I’ll start the steaks.”

After he tossed them on the grill, he inched down beside Cricket.

The woman smelled like heaven. Or sin. He couldn’t decide which and slung an arm over the bench back. Hobo jumped up beside him.

Sam slid closer to Cricket to give the dog more room.

Hobo took it and more.

“You’re crowding me, boy.”

Those big eyes stared up at him, then Hobo threw his head back in an ear-piercing howl.

“Stop that!”

The dog answered with another mournful cry.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake.” He tried to move the dog off the bench, but he’d become a boneless, dead weight.

Cricket laughed. “I think we both know what he wants.”

Sam let out a half-laugh. “You up for it?”

“I can handle it if you can.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m up for it.” He rolled his eyes. “Wrong way to put that, but—”

He broke off as she laid a hand on the side of his face, leaned into him, and gave him a taste of heaven.

“Not enough,” he muttered, pulling her closer, dipping his lips again and angling them to take more. He trailed kisses along her neck, then moved back to her mouth.  His hands moved down her arms, brushed the sides of her breasts.

A log dropped and sent up a loud popping and a shower of sparks.

He drew back and laid his forehead against hers, noticed, thank you God, her ragged breathing matched his own. “Cricket—”

“Shhh.” She laid a finger over his lips. “Let’s just accept that for what it was.”

“What was it?”

“Darned if I know.” She laughed. “But Hobo’s quiet.”

Sam looked at the dog who, job done, had hopped off the bench and rested in the grass. “I’m liking that dog more every day.”

About the  Author

Lynnette AustinThe luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, PASIC’s Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse.

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Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, fiction, humor, Review on April 29, 2016

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Title: NOT QUITE SO STORIES
Author: David S. Atkinson
Publisher: Literary Wanderlus LLC
Pages: 166
Genre: Absurdist Literary Fiction

Synopsis

The center of Not Quite So Stories is the idea that life is inherently absurd and all people can do is figure out how they will live in the face of that fact. The traditional explanation for the function of myth (including such works as the relatively modern Rudyard Kiping’s Just So Stories) is as an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. However, that’s hollow. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life simply is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension, and the best we can do is to just proceed on with our lives. The stories in this collection proceed from this conception, each focusing on a character encountering an absurdity and focusing on how they manage to live with it.

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Review

This is a collection of shorter stories and I have to admit they are a bit bizarre, well some of them anyway! However they are interesting too. There are a few stories where they just end and in a way I felt let down, that there might have been more to the story that I guess we just have to make up on our own!

I like that some of the stories are short and some are longer. None of them take long to read and it is easy to put down if you need to stop for some reason.

I think one of my favorites was The Onion She Carried. The last line definitely made me smile in this story.

We give this 4 paws up.

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Excerpt

TURNDOWN SERVICE

Margaret’s heels clicked repetitiously on the polished marble floors of Finklebean’s Mortuary. The sharp sound echoed down aisles of metal-faced vaults in the chilled, solemn hallways. Her steps were quick but purposeful, her stride constrained by the tight skirt of her starched navy business dress. An invoice was clutched tightly in her talon-like hand. Someone owed her an explanation…and that debt would be paid.
Catching sight of the plain brown wooden door hidden off in a back hallway bearing a faded Caretaker’s Office sign, Margaret halted, causing her heels to clack loudly on the stone. She pursed her lips as she scrutinized the sign. As if using the white metal sign with flaking black letters as a mirror, she adjusted the smartly coiled chestnut bun of her hair. Then she shoved open the weathered door and marched inside.
“Excuse me,” she called out sternly before looking what the room happened to contain, or even whether it was occupied.

A portly man in old blue coveralls sitting at a rough wooden worktable looked up at her calmly. Long stringy gray hair framed his face around a set of coke bottle eyeglasses perched on the end of his reddened bulbous nose. A metal cart, half full of plastic funeral flower arrangements, was positioned next to the worktable. Individual plastic flowers littered the table surface.

Unlike the somber and silent polished gray marble trimmed in shining brass of the hallway outside, the caretaker’s room felt more like a basement or garage. The walls were cinderblock, unpainted, and the floor was bare concrete. Obviously, the room was not used for professional services.

“My bill is incorrect,” Margaret said, thrusting the invoice out at the frumpy little man between a thumb and forefinger, both with nails bearing a French manicure. “You maintain my grandfather’s plot, but this month’s bill is way over the usual twenty-five sixty-three…nine hundred dollars more to be precise. You may not be the person in charge of this, but you’re who I found.”

The older man quietly looked at her still presenting the invoice even though he had made no move to take it. “Name?”

“Margaret Lane,” Margaret said curtly.

“No,” the caretaker shook his mess of oily old hair. “I won’t remember you. I meant your granddad’s.”

Margaret pursed her lips again. “Winston Lane.”

“Ah, yes.” The heavyset man leaned back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head and cocking out his elbows. His belly pushed on the table slightly, causing loose plastic flowers to roll around on the tabletop. The flowers were separated into piles according to color: red, white, yellow, purple, and orange. “Winston Lane. His is over on hillside four, I believe.”

“I’m sure.” Margaret crossed her arms, still clutching the invoice. “So why do I have a bill for over nine hundred dollars?”

The caretaker hunched forward, setting his chin on a pudgy arm and wrapping a flabby hand around his mouth. “Let’s see…Winston Lane…bigger than normal bill…oh, that’s right!” His face brightened with recollection.

Margaret smugly waited for the expected rationalization to begin, the extras and add-ons designed to take advantage of the gullible grieving. She wouldn’t be so easily manipulated.

“He got an apartment.”

Margaret’s expression cracked.

“That’s what the extra money is,” he pleasantly explained. “It’s to cover the rent.”

Margaret stared, blinking occasionally. A thin purple vein throbbed angrily at the side of her neck.

The man smiled. Then he pushed his round glasses further back up his nose and grabbed one of the plastic funeral arrangements from the cart. It had a block of dense green foam set in a fake bronze vase and various colors of plastic flowers stuck in the foam. The man pulled all the flowers out in a single movement and set each in the respective colored pile on the worktable. Then he placed the vase in a pile of similar vases on the floor.

“You…rented my grandfather an apartment?” Margaret finally asked. “Why?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” the older man snorted, dismembering another arrangement. “He rented the apartment, not us.”

Margaret sneered, having recovered her self-possession and indignation. “Sir, my grandfather is deceased.”

“Yep,” the caretaker agreed. He started quickly taking vases from the cart, ripping them apart, and then tossing the materials in the respective sort piles. “Guess he didn’t like the plot he picked out. Maybe it wasn’t roomy enough, I don’t know. Some things like that you just can’t be sure of till you get in a place and stay there a while. Anyway, he must not have liked something about it because he went and got himself that apartment. He wouldn’t have done that if he’d been happy where he was at.”

Margaret stood rigid. The toe of one foot tapped irritably. “How could my grandfather possibly rent an apartment? He’s dead!”

“How couldn’t he?” The caretaker snorted again. “It’s a great apartment. Plenty of light. Nice carpets. Good amount of space. It’s got a nice pool, too. Not that pools make much of a difference to a guy like him, being dead and all. Anyway, take a look; happen to have a photo of the place right here. Can’t rightly remember why.”

The man handed Margaret a bent-up photograph he pulled from a coverall pocket. It depicted a pleasantly-lit living room with vaulted ceilings. Tasteful black leather and chrome furniture was arranged around a delicate glass coffee table. On top of the coffee table sat her grandfather’s mahogany coffin, looking just as stately as it had at her grandfather’s funeral service.

Margaret glowered, unsure what to make of the photograph, noticing after a moment that she was chewing her lip as she ground her teeth. Her brain couldn’t keep up, it was all just too ludicrous for her to grasp.

The man sorted more funeral arrangements. “So…you’re telling me that my deceased grandfather rented an apartment. Him, not you.”

“Yep. That’s the long and short of it.” The man jammed the photograph back into his pocket.

“My dead grandfather.”

“Yes’m.” He took the last arrangement off the cart and disposed of it as he had the others. He paused to dust off his hands. Then he grabbed a vase from the floor, jammed a plastic flower inside from each stack, and set the newly arranged arrangement on the cart.

“How could anyone rent my grandfather an apartment!?” Margaret threw up her arms. “He’s dead! The landlord couldn’t do that!”

“Sure they can,” the caretaker countered, paying more attention to the funeral arrangements than Margaret. “The building is zoned for mixed use.”

“Mixed use?! He’s dead!” She wiped her hand down her face slowly, stretching her skin as it went.

“So? He’s residing there. That’s a residential use. Certainly isn’t commercial.” The caretaker accidentally shoved two red plastic flowers in the same vase. Laughing at himself, he ripped them out again and started over.

Margaret stepped back, perhaps wondering if the caretaker was insane as opposed to just conning her. That would explain the photograph.

She crossed her arms loosely and tilted her chin upwards just a little, trying to mentally get a handle on the situation. Her brain felt like an overheated car with no oil in the engine. “I’m sorry, but that’s very distracting,” Margaret commented, pointing at the plastic flower piles on the worktable. “Is there any way that you could stop a moment?”

“Sorry.” The older man shook a thick calloused finger at an old clock on the wall, stopped as far as Margaret could tell. “I got to get this done.”

“But…what exactly are you doing? You’re just taking them apart and putting them back together.”

The rumpled man gestured at the flowers. “Well, people pay us to put these on graves, don’t they?”

“Right…”

“They come from a factory, don’t they? Someone paying someone else to bring something a machine made? I don’t think much of that. My way, there’s at least some thought in it.”

Margaret did not respond. Instead, she watched the man fill up the cart again. The arrangements looked exactly the same as before.

“Anyway,” the caretaker went on, “don’t you owe your granddad?”

“Pardon me?” Margaret puffed out her chest.

“Sure,” the man said, peering up at her through the finger-smudged lenses of his glasses. “He said when he bought the plot that you were going to take care of it and he was going to leave you money to keep going to school. He thought you should start working, but helped you out since you were going to mind his spot.”

Margaret swallowed, ruining her attempt to look indignant. A few beads of sweat gathered at her temples.

“You figure you’ve done enough?” The man had his head held low, hiding the tiny smirk on his face.

Margaret’s eyes widened. Her arms hung limply at her sides and her shoulders slumped. “But…”

“Hey, that’s between you two. I just take care of things like I’m paid to. If he wants his plot, I do that. If he wants a two-bedroom palace, I do that instead.”

Margaret absentmindedly twisted an old, ornate gold ring on her finger. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed as if the light in the dim room had gotten brighter. The meticulously squared corners of her mind twisted and stretched deliciously. “That’s right…it was a deal.”

“Come again?”

“I agreed to have his plot cared for.”

“And?”

“Well…” Her lips slipped into a pointed grin. “I pay you a fixed monthly amount to care for that plot. Apparently this apartment is his plot now, so the rent should be part of your monthly care. I expect you to take care of it accordingly. After all, caring for his plot is caring for his plot.”

“Now see here–”

“Regardless, I can’t help but think,” she went on, “that it reflects poorly on your services if grandfather isn’t happy with his plot, not mine.”

The caretaker gawked at Margaret, his mouth hanging loose. “Is that what you think now?” The older man finally growled.

“It is,” she responded with a saccharine tone, “and I expect that all future bills will be for the correct amount.”

“Hmph,” he huffed, settling back into his chair. “Wonder what your granddad would say about that.”

Margaret smirked. “You’re welcome to go and ask him, if you think it will get you anywhere.”

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About the Author

David S. Atkinson 2David S. Atkinson is the author of “Not Quite so Stories” (“Literary Wanderlust” 2016), “The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes” (2015 National Indie Excellence Awards finalist in humor), and “Bones Buried in the Dirt” (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80K). His writing appears in “Bartleby Snopes,” “Grey Sparrow Journal,” “Atticus Review,” and others. He spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.

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Giveaway

David S. Atkinson is giving away one paperback copy each – BONES BURIED IN THE DIRT & THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL PANCAKES!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive either BONES BURIED IN THE DIRT or THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL PANCAKES
  • This giveaway begins March 1 and ends on May 27
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 29.
  • Winners have 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!
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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance, Spotlight on April 28, 2016

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Title: Rivals of Fortune & The Impetuous Heiress

Author: Jane Ashford

Pubdate: May 3rd, 2016

ISBN: 9781492631514

Two classic Regency romances from beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford

RIVALS OF FORTUNE — Joanna Rowntree thought she would die of a broken heart when her one true love married another—until not one but two fascinating newcomers appear on neighboring estates. As the roughhewn Jonathan Erland and the polished Sir Rollin Denby engage in a heated competition for her hand, Joanna realizes her heart is alive and well—but to whom will she give it?

THE IMPETUOUS HEIRESS — When spoiled Lady Alicia Alston, privileged daughter of a duke, is accidentally tossed into a ravine after a wild gallop with Ian MacClain, Earl of Cairnyllan, she expects a proposal as soon as is convenient. The stubborn Scot has other ideas. It takes a headlong journey to prevent an elopement to give Alicia and Ian a chance to clear up misunderstandings and figure out what they find so damnably passion-inducing about one another…

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Excerpt

“Of course we can’t stop now,” agreed Frederick, full of contempt for the faint hearts. “We are nearly done.”

“Nonetheless,” said Erland, “I say that we put off finishing until tomorrow.”

As he spoke, everyone was suddenly reminded that this was, after all, his property. Something in his tone and bearing informed them, very politely, that they were being asked to leave.

Sir Rollin Denby smiled. “A guinea on the lord of the manor,” he murmured to himself.

Mr. Rowntree was frowning at their host. “But see here, Erland, what can it matter to you? You needn’t do anything.”

The other man smiled gently. “If you’ll pardon me, sir, I think that unlikely. I shall have to find the necessary materials for rigging a pulley, and Gerald and I have done most of the heavy work so far.” Joanna’s father started to speak, but he held up a hand. “And I am very ready to go on. Tomorrow.”

“A flush hit,” murmured Sir Rollin.

“No!” cried Frederick. “I won’t give up now. We cannot leave it all open this way for any…”

“Frederick,” interrupted Erland, “I should like to speak to you.” He beckoned commandingly. Frederick frowned, looked at him, then went.

Joanna joined her father but couldn’t decide if she would have preferred to go on with the work tonight. She was dirty, tired, and hungry, but now that the stone was really being raised, the excitement about what might lie beneath it offset these things. However, clearly, they could not argue with Erland on his own land, so she said, “Mother will be wondering where we have got to today.”

Mr. Rowntree appeared to struggle with himself for a moment, then, reluctantly, gave in. Joanna looked, without much hope, to Frederick and found him transfigured. Whatever Mr. Erland had said to him had dissolved all his objections in a moment.

They all walked back to the house together, Templeton and Carstairs taking their leave, Sir Rollin following them. While the Rowntrees were waiting for their carriage to be brought around, Joanna went to speak to their host.

“What did you say to Frederick?” she asked. “I was sure he would make a great fuss over leaving.”

Erland smiled down at her. “We have an agreement, he and I.”

“But what is it?”

“Oh no, I may not tell.”

“Just as you may not tell me what he was doing all day in your house?”

“But how would I know that?”

“You know. Frederick told me you did. I must say I think it is horrid of you, both of you, to plot without me. I was in this from the beginning, and now you won’t tell me what is happening. Frederick was clearing out his secret passageway today, wasn’t he? Did he find anything?”

Erland shrugged and smiled.

Joanna’s eyes flashed. “It’s too bad of you to treat me this way!”

Seeing that she was really angry, the man said, “Miss Joanna, this could be a dangerous hunt, you know, now that we seem close to whatever my uncle left. I don’t think you should be involved.”

Joanna tossed her head. “But my young brother should? A mere boy?”

Erland smiled again, then suppressed it. “I will watch over Frederick. Believe me, I shall take care.”

She glared at him. “If it is safe for Frederick, it is for me as well.”

Erland looked uncomfortable. “Well, we also thought it best to keep our progress as close as possible. All through this affair, too many people have known…”

“You think I will tell tales then?” exploded Joanna, now thoroughly enraged. “You think I can’t keep a secret?” She nearly walked away from him then, but somehow she could not. She wanted to show him just how mistaken he was.

The man reddened. “I did not mean…”

“Have I done so before?” she continued quickly. “Am I branded as a tattlebox then?”

Erland’s brows came together. “I never said that. But…”

“But what?”

“Well, I believe you have mentioned several things to Sir Rollin Denby that we would have preferred…” He trailed off in embarrassment.

Joanna opened her mouth to confound him, and realized that he was right. In her foolish infatuation, she had told Sir Rollin nearly everything. She crimsoned. It could not matter what Denby knew, but it mattered very much indeed that Mr. Erland knew she had told him and what he thought about that fact. “I…I didn’t,” she stammered. “I didn’t mean…”

“Of course, you meant no harm,” said Erland quickly.

“No, and I…” Joanna struggled with pride and her intense desire to have this man respect her. “I didn’t understand,” she managed. “I was mistaken in him.”

“Mistaken? In Sir Rollin, you mean?”

She nodded. “I thought he was so splendid, but he is not!”

“Not?” Erland looked down at her, some emotion growing in his eyes, and in that moment, Joanna realized that she wanted more than respect from this unusual man. She wanted love. He was nothing like the figure she had set up as her ideal short months ago, but she saw now that he was everything one could desire in a partner—intelligent, brave, kind, and principled. How stupid she had been not to see this before, how silly and young and stupid. “Oh, I wish I could do something to help you,” she cried.

Erland held her eyes for a moment, then took her hand. “You help me simply by existing,” he answered, and he brought her hand up and kissed it.

About the Author

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

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Posted in Guest Post, Spotlight, suspense on April 27, 2016

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House of the Hanging Jade cover

House of the Hanging Jade
Contemporary Fiction/Suspense
Lyrical Underground (April 26, 2016)
ASIN: B0138NHCMO

Synopsis

A dark presence had invaded the Jorgensens’ house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .

Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life . . .
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Guest Post

Today, StoreyBook Reviews welcomes Author Amy Reade!  She is sharing some tips of what to avoid if you travel to Hawaii.  I LOVE Hawaii and these are some great tips!

Kailani Kanaka’s Tips for Travelers in Hawaii: What to Avoid

  1. When visiting the islands of Hawaii, please refrain from wearing socks with your sandals. Important: this applies to everywhere on earth in addition to Hawaii. I know you want to keep your feet warm and prevent chafing on your ankles, but please note that your feet will not be cold here unless you are visiting the higher elevations (in which case please wear sneakers with your socks). And consider this alternative if your ankles chafe from sandal straps: slippahs (also known as flip-flops).
  1. Do not touch honu, or sea turtles, under any circumstances. I know they’re magnificent creatures and it would be very cool to feed them, but you put yourself at risk for huge (read: enormous) fines if you touch them.  Punalu'u Black Sand Beach 3
  1. If you are struck with an irrepressible desire to pet the many stray cats you will find, beware that they’re not all friendly. I know of a certain author who was bitten by a cat she thought was adorable. That author’s husband thought it was hilarious, but it sooo wasn’t. There is some good news, though, if you are bitten by any animal in Hawaii: Hawaii is rabies-free.
  1. You may want to visit one of the thermal pools fed by volcanic heat on the eastern side of the island. Have fun, but remember these two words of warning: inexplicable rash.
  1. If you are tempted to visit the Island of Lanai on, say, a catamaran day trip, please note that the aforementioned author did the same thing once and something laid wet, sticky eggs in her hair while she slept in a hammock. She will not be returning to that island.
  1. Do not, under any circumstances, take home lava rock from the islands. The fire goddess, Pele, will seek revenge; you and everyone you know will be besieged with bad luck until the lava is safely returned to its Hawaiian home.
  1. If you’re looking for something good to read on your Hawaiian holiday, consider House of the Hanging Jade. Here’s how the publisher describes the book:

A dark presence had invaded the Jorgensens’ house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .

Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life . . .

Anaeho'omalu Bay sunset

 

About the Author

amy readeAmy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New York City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, two cats, and a fish. She writes full time and is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands region of New York, and The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, a novel in the same genre set outside Charleston, South Carolina. Her third novel, House of Hanging Jade, is set in Hawaii and will be released in April, 2016. She is currently working on the first book of a series set in the United Kingdom (expected release date in early 2017). She loves cooking, reading, and traveling.

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, Spotlight, Young Adult on April 26, 2016
The Patience Trilogy
by
Beth Fehlbaum
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Steady On Books
Date of Publication: March 29, 2016
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Courage in Patience begins Ashley’s story. . .

Courage to endure.

Courage to survive.

Courage to overcome.

Tenacious 14-year-old Ashley Asher claws her way back to normalcy after enduring six years of an unimaginable Hell. Uprooted from her negligent and selfish mother, Ashley finds solace in the safety of her father’s home. Building a relationship with her stepmother, she’s finally able to open up and confront the past that haunts her.

With the help of her stepmom, therapist, and a group of troubled adolescents, Ashley battles her demons, struggling to find the normal teenage life she’s always wanted. Can Ashley find the strength and courage to overcome the horrors of her past while fighting for the future she so deserves?

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Hope in Patience continues the story. . . 
Hope to heal.
Hope to grow.
Hope to evolve.

Still shattered from the horrific events of her childhood years, 15-year-old Ashley Asher is barely holding it together. Battling her vicious and vile mother who still sees her as the villain and not the victim, Ashley’s stuck in a cycle of self-injury and self-hatred as a result–despite the many people who trying to pull her out of it.

Adolescence is hard, but throw in a new school, a new family, and a father she hardly knows, Ashley’s need for self-destruction and pain intensifies. Her new therapist, Dr. Matt, may be unconventional with bizarre antics, but he’ll do whatever it takes to pull Ashley out of the doldrums. Ashley just wants a crack at normalcy. But can her counselor and the friends and family who love her teach her that “crazy is the new normal” and that nobody has it easy?

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Truth in Patience concludes the story. . .
 
Truth in the past.
Truth in reality.
Truth for tomorrow.

Finally adjusting to life in small town Texas, Ashley Asher sees a glimmer of what happiness really is. Even her new relationship with the attentive Joshua Brandt shows promise of a first romance. But Ashley’s fear of intimacy after years of unspeakable abuse may cause friction and distance in their relationship.

Determined to prove to her that she’s healing, Dr. Matt, her beloved therapist, shows her that “life is messy.” And he doesn’t know how messy it is about to get. When her mother decides that Ashley belongs back in their hometown with her, Ashley is forced into another family feud that she isn’t prepared for. Refusing to leave behind the new life she created in Texas, Ashley and her mother go head-to-head. But can Ashley finally find the courage and strength to battle her demons when her mother might be the biggest demon of all?

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AuthorInterview

Welcome Beth to StoreyBook Reviews, thank you for taking the time to share a little bit about you with us!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I have been described as “writing without looking over my shoulder.” In other words, I am committed to authenticity and truth-telling and I’m okay with it if life appears messy in my books, because that’s how it is.

Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Homosexuality is mentioned in Courage in Patience, and in Hope in Patience a teen lesbian character moves to Patience. The discomfort some people have with the character’s sexual orientation is addressed, and the character’s struggles to be accepted as she is are also part of the storyline.

Are you a full or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I teach full-time during the school year, and I write full-time during the summer. I do write during the school year as well, but it is mostly on the weekends or holidays.

I teach seven periods a day, respectively 9th grade English, Pre-AP English, and an End-of-Course English I Lab class for students who have failed the test. When I get home in the evening, I do domestic goddessing as well as handle email related to my author job and upload the next day’s blog post for the group author site I founded, UncommonYA.  I’m lucky if I’m awake past 8:30, because I am T-I-R-E-D.  Lately I’ve been prepping for The Patience Trilogy’s release, so I’ve been super-busy working with my editor as well as approving cover design, etc. So lately, I’ve been not just tired, but busy AND tired.

What are some day jobs you’ve held? If any of them have impacted your writing, please share.

I have taught for nearly 19 years, and my experience as a teacher impacts my writing tremendously because I consciously weave the study of a particular novel into the character’s English class. This enables educators who use my books to pair the study of my book with the book referenced in the story, which is usually paired in some way thematically with what is going on in the main character’s life. In addition, I write free teaching guides to accompany my books, as well as provide free materials such as videos, PowerPoints, and printable book marks. They are found on the teacher resources section of my website.

Where did your love of writing and reading come from?

My childhood was quite traumatic and dysfunctional. As a young child, I can remember fantasizing that I was a member of, for example, The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family.

I began writing stories and poems when I was quite small, and as a teenager, I wrote poetry as a way of processing what was happening in my life.

As an author now, my childhood imagination and “Let’s Pretend” comes in handy because when I get stuck on a plot point, I can ask myself, “What…happens…now?” and try different scenarios on for size.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I would never write erotica or explicitly detailed sex scenes as an author. I would not be comfortable doing that. I’m not a prude, but writing those scenes would not be my thing. I would never write graphically violent scenes, nor would I write gratuitously violent scenes. I would never have characters swear for the sake of swearing, i.e. when my characters swear, they do so because to say those words in that way is the most authentic, realistic way I can think to communicate their feelings at the time. Finally, in terms of plot points, I will NEVER write about the death of a beloved animal, NOR will I ever have Ashley’s dog, Emma, die. The real-life Emma died suddenly at a young age, and it nearly killed me when it happened. She will live forever in The Patience Trilogy.

 

In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is a secondary English-Language Arts teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading.

Beth is a featured author on the 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List- High School. She is the author of the Kirkus Starred Reviewed Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014) and The Patience Trilogy: Courage, Hope, and Truth (Steady On Books, 2016).

Beth is a member of the RAINN (Rape , Abuse, Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. She has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope.”  

Beth is a survivor of a traumatic childhood, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.

Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.

 
 
GIVEAWAYS! GIVEAWAYS! GIVEAWAYS!
2 GRAND PRIZE WINNERS: 
Each win autographed copies of all three books in The Patience Trilogy  
Plus a $50 Amazon Gift Card


5 WINNERS
Each win autographed copies of Courage in Patience 
Winner names drawn 4/19, 4/24, 4/27, 4/30, 5/3
(US ONLY)

  April 19 – May 3, 2016

 
 
 
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Tour Schedule
4/19: Margie’s Must Reads  — Review
4/20: Books and Broomsticks — Author Interview #1
4/21:  Missus Gonzo    — Courage Excerpt
4/22:  The Librarian Talks   — Review
4/23: The Crazy Booksellers  — Promo
4/24:  The Page Unbound  — Review
4/25: It’s a Jenn World   — Guest Post
4/26: StoreyBook Reviews — Author Interview #2
4/27: My Book Fix Blog  — Review
4/28:  Forgotten Winds  — Hope Excerpt
4/29: Byers Editing Reviews & Blog — Author Interview #3
4/30:  Because This is My Life Y’all   — Guest Post
5/1: Hall Ways Blog — Truth Excerpt
5/2: Country Girl Bookaholic  — Review
5/3: Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Review
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