Posted in contest, Cover Reveal, Giveaway, romance on December 19, 2013

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Title: Southbound Surrender

Author: Raen Smith

Expected Release Date: January 27, 2014

Cover Designer: Steph’s Cover Design

Hosted by: Love Between the Sheets Promotions

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Synopsis

Five days. Fifty square feet. One last shot at love.

Cash Rowland first laid eyes on the tenacious and irresistible Piper Sullivan when they were both seventeen. He falls for her hard and just when he thinks she’s doing the same, Piper is torn from his life without warning. She leaves no contact information but only a vague promise of fate.

Five years later, their paths unexpectedly cross. When he shows up with his eighteen-wheeler unannounced, Cash persuades Piper to head out on the open road to give him one last shot at love. But what should be a routine delivery across six states suddenly becomes an unforgettable journey when they save a woman with a broken past and discover that second chances are only for the lucky ones.

 

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Excerpt

We’re leaping through the air feet first, the rain falling down on us as we’re suspended above the water below. It’s only five feet down, but somehow I see the pink toenail polish on her feet and the sheen of her legs. Then I see her feet hit the water before I do. I’m holding my breath now, anticipating the cold rush of water around my whole body.

And it feels surreal, the rain pummeling my body as I jump off this cliff with the girl I fell in love with when I was seventeen. To say that I’m falling all over again is cliché and mushy and hopelessly romantic, but it’s true. And even though it’s just mere seconds that we’re suspended in the air, it feels like forever that we’re dangling there together. I’ve never seen my life and future as clear as I do now as I inch toward the water. Whatever happens in the next seventy-odd years that I plan on living, the only thing that matters is that Piper Sullivan is with me. I won’t ever let go of this hand.

The water crashes over me then, consuming me with a coldness that sends shockwaves through my body. My head ducks under momentarily before I pop back up to see Piper’s head emerging next to me. Her eyes are wide and wet with surprise as she exhales, sputtering water in front of her.

She lets out a shriek, “Oh my God, it’s so cold!”

“Hell yeah it is,” I reply as I kick my legs to stay afloat. Our heads bob in water that can’t be any more than sixty degrees, and I realize that we’re not holding hands anymore because we’re both treading water. I swim toward her until our faces are just an inch apart. The rain splashes against the water between us, plopping small splatters of water onto her chin. We’re both breathing hard as I reach underneath the water and wrap my arm around her waist. I feel the lace tucked against her skin and pull her closer until our bodies are rubbing against each other.

“Warm me up,” she whispers.

“I thought you’d never ask,” I say as I press my lips onto hers. They’re warm and soft, and a jolt rushes through my body as I connect with her. Our lips move against each other, slow for only a moment until we’re frantic against each other. She bites my lower lip gently again and damn, does it feel good.

Let’s be honest, it sends me overboard. I explore every inch of her lips and mouth as both of us still bob in the icy water. She reaches for me, putting her arm around my waist and guides her legs toward me. She circles her legs around my waist, and I’m holding her then as she sits on me. She rocks closer to me as I kick to keep us both above water. And I realize that the only thing between us are two thin, so unbelievable thin, layers of fabric. I can feel the goose bumps running along her legs. I hold her there as our lips find each other in the rain. The water crashes down behind us from the waterfalls, the dull thud of splatters echoing in my ears.

A glint of brightness lights up the sky for a brief moment, and I see her face like I’ve never seen it before. It’s full of desire and longing and bliss, and I swear, I catch a glimpse of love. I think for a second that maybe, just maybe Piper Sullivan loves me.

 

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About the Author

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Raen Smith is the author of the Unraveled Series and Southbound Surrender. She loves writing about complex characters with a sprinkling of happily ever after.

When she isn’t writing novels, she spends her time wrangling two small sons and teaching at a technical college. She lives in a small corner of Wisconsin with her husband and two sons.

Visit Raen Smith’s website, Facebook page or follow Raen on Twitter.

 

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Giveaway

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Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, contest, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery on December 18, 2013

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HEARTACHE front

Heartache Motel: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Genre: Women Sleuths, Cozy Mystery, Humorous Mystery, Short Stories
Number of Pages: 225
Published by: Henery Press (December 10, 2013)

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SYNOPSIS

Heartache Motel, Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas

Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin

A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)

When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart

A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)

Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker

A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King’s home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief’s crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.

Review

Surprisingly, I have not read anything by these three authors!  I know I have some books by LynnDee on my Kindle, but that is about it.  However, after reading these three novellas, I definitely want to dive into some of these series!  I love how all three centered around a dive motel with Elvis impersonators and drag queens.  That made each story fun and unique.  I love how several of the employees of the motel crossed into each book, gave it a sense of familiarity even though the story lines were all different.  All three had characters that are quirky but loveable all the same.

We give this 4 paws and highly recommend this book to introduce you to these three wonderful authors and their characters that you can find in the various series!

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About the Authors

TERRI L. AUSTIN

Terri Austin bio picAs a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers!

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LARISSA REINHART

larissaAfter seeing Paper Moon as a child, Larissa Reinhart fell in love with stories about confidence capers. QUICK SKETCH is the Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL. HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (#2) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (#1), a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit.

 Website * Twitter * Facebook

 

 

 

LYNDEE WALKER

LynDee headshotLynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

 

 

 

Giveaway

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Tour Participants

December 10 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
December 11 – Socrates’ Book Review BlogSocrates’ Cozy Cafe – Review, Interview
December 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners  – Review
December 13 –  Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book– Spotlight
December 14 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
December 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
December 16 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review
December 17 – fuonlyknew – Review
December 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
December 19 – Mochas, Mysteries and More – Interview
December 20 – My Recent Favorite books – Review
December 21 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Interview
December 22 – Jane Reads – Review, Interview
December 23 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
December 23 – Queen of All She Reads – Review

 

Posted in contest, Cover Reveal, Giveaway, romance on December 16, 2013

Discovering Lucy Cover

Title: Discovering Lucy

Author: Laura Dunaway

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Expected Release Date: February 2014

Hosted By: Love Between the Sheets

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Goodreads Giveaway

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Synopsis

After three long years of living in a hell she never could have imagined, Lucy Jane Simmons courageously escapes to New York City for a fresh start. A new beginning…

When Lucy meets Knox Taylor, the intoxicating man in the business suit, everything she thought she knew about relationships changes. He is strong, seductive and makes her feel safe. But can she open up enough to let him in?

Will Lucy Jane escape the scars of her past? Can Knox give her the future she ultimately deserves? A story of rediscovery…

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About the Author

Laura Dunaway

Laura Dunaway has been married to her prince for 17 years and together they are raising three amazing kids. While she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, it wasn’t until this past year that she finally realized she should pursue her dream of writing a book. After many many attempts at starting one, Distorted was finally the one that flowed and before she knew it, she’d written The End. When she’s not busy shuttling her kids to lessons and practices and making dinner, she’s busy behind her computer writing her next book, Discovering Lucy, which will be out winter of 2014.

Connect with Laura

Facebook | Goodreads

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Other Books by Laura Dunaway

Distorted

Distorted

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Giveaway

(1) $10 Amazon Gift Card

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Posted in Book Blast, contest, excerpt, Giveaway, suspense on December 15, 2013

reviving izabel

REVIVING IZABEL

(In The Company of Killers #2)

By Bestselling Author J.A. Redmerski

Release December 10, 2013

An Adult Suspense

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Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers, #1) is on sale for .99 cents for the release of Reviving Izabel!

Killing Sarai: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

 

Determined to live a dark life in the company of the assassin who freed her from bondage, Sarai sets out on her own to settle a score with an evil sadist. Unskilled and untrained in the art of killing, the events that unfold leave her hanging precariously on the edge of death when nothing goes as planned.

Sarai’s reckless choices send her on a path she knows she can never turn back from and so she presents Victor with an ultimatum: help her become more like him and give her a fighting chance, or she’ll do it alone no matter the consequences. Knowing that Sarai cannot become what she wants to be overnight, Victor begins to train her and inevitably their complicated relationship heats up.

As Arthur Hamburg’s right-hand man, Willem Stephens, closes in on his crusade to destroy Sarai, she is left with the crushing realization that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. But Sarai, taking on the new and improved role of Izabel Seyfried, still has a set of deadly skills of her own that will prove to be all she needs to secure her place beside Victor.

But there is one test that Izabel must face that has the potential to destroy everything she is working so hard to achieve. One final test that will not only make her question her decision to want this dangerous life, but will make her question everything she has come to trust about Victor Faust.

Excerpt

-Unexpected Affection-

Victor reaches up and touches my wet hair. The gesture causes my heart to race.

“You have a good sense of people, Sarai,” he says as his hand moves to my chin. “You’re right about Fredrik…,” the pad of his thumb brushes my bottom lip. A shiver races between my legs. “He is…shall I say…unhinged in a sense.”

My breathing picks up and I feel my lashes sweep my face when Victor’s lips fall upon mine.

“Unhinged in what way,” I ask breathily when he pulls back. With my eyes closed, I sense his scanning the curvature of my face and my lips, and I feel the breath emitting softly from his nostrils onto my face.

Every miniscule hair stands on end when his other hand pushes up my thigh and finds my naked waist underneath the shirt. His long fingers dance against the flesh of my hipbone and then rests there.

I open my eyes to see him staring back into mine.

“Is something wrong?” he asks and his mouth sweeps mine again.

“No, I…I just didn’t expect this.”

“Expect what?” I feel his fingers fit behind the elastic of my panties.

My head is swimming, my stomach a fluttering, nervous ball of muscle. “This,” I answer, my eyes opening and closing. “You’re different,” I add softly.

“That’s your fault,” he says and then his lips devour mine.

He pushes my body back against the couch pillows and falls between my legs.

His cell phone buzzes around on the coffee table and I’m reminded just how human I really am when I curse Fredrik for ruining this moment even if it’s to let me know that Dina is safe.

 

About the Author

jredmerski12Born November 25, 1975, J.A. (Jessica Ann) Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

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Tour Giveaway

(3) Signed print copy sets of Killing Sarai and Reviving Izabel  – International
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Posted in Book Blast, contest, Giveaway, Middle Grade on December 14, 2013

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THE MAGIC VIOLIN

Eight-year old Melina wants to become a good violinist. When she loses confidence, her Rumanian teacher Andrea decides it’s time for a magic dose of self-esteem. A mysterious old woman in rags gives Melina some curious advice; a violinist Russian hamster, who happens to live under the old woman’s hat, offers her a virtuoso performance; a shooting star fills her with hope on Christmas Eve. Is Melina actually playing better, or has her violin become magic? Who is the old woman in the town square, and why does she wear the same emerald ring as her teacher Andrea?

Praise for The Magic Violin

“Mayra makes this storyline and its backdrop magical, with just the right hint of mystery to it. Her characters’ “voice” comes through loud and clear. Accompanied by the crisp, detailed, and lifelike illustrations of K.C. Snider, this book is a keeper. This is a great read, especially for kids interested in music, mystery, magic during the holiday season, and the beauty of winter.”
–Stories for Children Magazine
“… The Magic Violin is an inspiring and uplifting book about a young girl and her realization that believing in oneself can have a very magical outcome… Mayra’s book definitely has a strong message, one that is important and everlasting. For children and jaded adults alike, The Magic Violin will lift spirits and just may give you and your child the boost to believe in your power to reach your goals.”
–Mama Divas

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FREDERICO, THE MOUSE VIOLINIST

Frederico is a tiny mouse with a big dream: he wants to become a violinist. Each day he watches as Stradivari makes his famous violins. Each night, he sneaks into the workshop to play. But the violins are too big! Then, unbeknown to Frederico, Stradivari sees him playing and begins carving a tiny device. Could it be a famous Strad especially for Frederico?

 

Praise for Frederico, The Mouse Violinist

“Cute and curious, a little mouse transports us into Antonio Stradivari’s magical workshop. In a sweet playful way, Frederico conveys to us his love for the violin, while he introduces us to this marvelous instrument. Lovely tribute to a genius, whose exceptional instruments have delighted us for 300 years!”—Dorina Raileanu, violin teacher, author of the Dorina Violin Method

“Frederico’s story is adorable and touching. I’m sure it will entertain many children, teach them a few things about the violin–and who knows, perhaps even give them the desire to learn to play!”—Francine Engels, Suzuki violin teacher
“Frederico the Mouse Violinist, written by Mayra Calvani, is a sweet story about a small mouse who lives in the workshop of the famous violinist, Antonio Stradivari. My family and I loves animal tales. I read it to my seven year old son, Noah, and he loved it. The illustrations are beautiful, and this story will entertain and teach children, ages 4-8, about violins for years to come.” –Book Reflections

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THE DOLL VIOLINIST

Five days before Christmas, Emma is captivated by a doll in a shop window. Each day, she sneaks out of the orphanage to check if it’s been sold, but the shop owner, Madame Dubois, sends her away. Will the magic of Christmas bring Emma, Madame Dubois, and the doll violinist together?
ABC’s Children’s Picture Book Finalist!
Honorable Mention Award in the 75th Annual Writers Digest Writing Competition!

Praise for The Doll Violinst

“The story reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas. It is a time to reach out and give to the less fortunate. It is also a time to have compassion for the homeless and orphans like the main character Emma…This story will pull at your heart, and it will inspire you to go donate tons of toys to your local orphanage this upcoming holiday season.”—Speak4Languages
“I loved this picture book! It reminded me of Christmas stories from my own childhood. This is a feel – good picture book that will be enjoyed both by the child and by the adult who reads it to them since it truly embodies the spirit of Christmas. The Doll Vioinist would be the perfect gift for that little girl on your Christmas list!” –Kidztales

 

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MayraAuthor Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others. She lives in Belgium with her husband of 25+ years, two wonderful kids, and her two beloved pets. When she’s not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. She’s represented by Serendipity Literary.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Blog * Website

 

 

Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/2/14

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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in Book Blast, Business, contest, Giveaway, nonfiction on December 13, 2013

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The Next America

Title: The Next America: Moving Beyond a Fragile Economy
Author: Don A. Holbrook
Publisher: Don A. Holbrook
Pages: 304
Language: English
Genre: Nonfiction/Business & Economics
Format: Paperback, eBook & Audio Book

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Synopsis

The economic chaos of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis that has created so much destruction of wealth for regular Americans is far from over. This book examines problems and possible solutions within national, international, and local realms that will help us navigate these times and set a course toward calmer waters. While some clamor for more taxes to cover our government’s programs, The Next America shows how we can restructure our tax code so it positively affects all aspects of our communities: education, businesses, innovation, political transparency, environmental issues, investments, and more. Concerned citizens and economic players alike will be inspired and motivated to act to reestablish the American Dream during this transitional time. The Next America believes an informed citizenry can create a solution to hold our elected officials accountable for real change that will be robust and beneficial to all American’s not just the elite few at the top, without moving away from our free market and capitalism based economy.

Excerpt

From reading the newspaper, watching television, or listening to the radio, it should be clear that the unsettling situation America finds itself in today has presented us with several conundrums. We are concerned about where our nation is headed, how to make a living, how to prepare for retirement, how to create a better life for our families today, and how to leave our posterity with an inheritance of economic opportunities.

The global economy has created more chaos and hardships than most of us have previously experienced. Not since the Great Depression have folks been so beleaguered by so many tumultuous problems. Even more devastating is the degradation of our main pillar of humanity, our core: the family unit. With the massive amount of unemployment and underemployment that has arisen in this perfect economic storm, many of us have burned through our benefit claims, extensions, and options. We face loss of income and also hope and self-dignity. These immense problems have made many of us rethink our values and dreams. In the worst of cases, we have given up the ideal of aspiring for a better life—not only for ourselves, but also for our children. The economic pressures are not the only problems in this perfect storm. We face burgeoning pressure from religious zealots who are not tolerant of religious differences. We face environmental calamities,

both natural and man-made. In addition, the resources that we depend on to fuel our global economy, such as energy, are peaking in costs and diminishing in availability.

To further frustrate and annoy our already overloaded psyches, we have a complete lack of trust in our governmental systems. People are weary of the either/or partisan politics and government’s failure to look out for our best interests.

Watch Don Discuss Moving Beyond a Fragile Economy

About the Author

Don HolbrookDon Holbrook is a private economist consultant involved in economic development public policy, site location decisions for private sector investments of new facilities, strategic destination tourism development feasibility and public-private partnership conceptualization, including public sector incentives to entice business investment into local economies. His non-fiction books on local economic development efforts to rebuild, renew and sustainably balance economic development public policy to create world-class communities have been groundbreaking successes within economic development.  His first book, the “Little Black Book of Economic Development” has spawned a series of follow-up books on how communities, companies, individuals and families can navigate these treacherous economic times.

Holbrook is one of the worlds foremost thought leaders and public speakers on the subject of how communities can build smart and sustainable local grassroots driven economic development strategies to achieve maximum success in what he refers to as “The Art of the Deal Today.”

Holbrook was formally indoctrinated as a Fellow Member of the International Economic Development Council, for his lifetime achievements by his peers in 2008.

He lives with wife and two sons in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 2010, Holbrook was formally Knighted at West Point USMA as a member of the modern day Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, a modern day Knights Templar Order.

His latest book is the nonfiction/business/economics, The Next America: Moving Beyond a Fragile Economy.

Connect & Socialize with Don!

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Pump Up Your Book and Don Holbrook are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins December 2 and ends December 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 30, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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Posted in Blog tour, contest, Giveaway, self help, Spotlight on December 11, 2013

Through the Withering Storm

Title: Through the Withering Storm
Author: Leif Gregersen
Publisher: Createspace
Genre: Self-Help Memoir
Pages: 186
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480205346
ISBN-13: 978-1480205345

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Synopsis

Mental illness is something that is a great deal more common than many think. Statistics show that 1 in 5 North Americans will require treatment for a major disorder at some point in their lives. This means either you or a family member or friend close to you are very likely to be stricken down by a failure of our most essential and complicated organ in our bodies.

When I was first treated for a mental health issue there was so much stigma and misunderstanding about mental illness that I completely denied I had a problem. Despite that mental health issues ran in my family, no one talked about them, everyone shunned those who were different, and as a result I wasted years of my life not understanding that there was help available and that I didn’t just have to ‘tough things out’. My denial and pain was so bad at one point I tried to join the military during the first Gulf War just to find a way out of life, I thought I would either gain the discipline needed to overcome my illness or die trying. I needed neither.

Some find my story funny, some find it sad, but it is a story that is being played out among more people than you may think right now, right around all of us. Depression, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Addiction. It‘s something we can no longer avoid, especially with America now deploying and redeploying troops en masse to combat zones where even the strongest among us can succumb to the pressure of such a situation. It is my hope that those who read this book can walk away from it having had a look inside the mind of someone who lost his mind and one day regained it, but not without first going through incredible pain and suffering. This suffering doesn‘t have to happen. What has to happen is that attitudes and knowledge have to improve.

Guest Post

My Reasons for writing:

When I look back now at when I started writing, it is a bit hard to nail down the exact thoughts I had in my head about why I wanted to write.  I think a big reason for me was that I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and was very sensitive about getting ‘stressed’ at a regular job and thus it was very hard for me to find ways to either make money or occupy my time.  My first desires towards being a writer came from a very young age.  When I was young, my parents exposed us to classical literature and that to me was almost a religion.  I can remember being very young and my Dad gathering the family in the living room to read “Robinson Crusoe” and Faulkner’s “The Kite”.  I quickly learned to read even before I was old enough for school.  I pushed myself because I was the youngest and felt I was getting behind my siblings.

Early on in school I was set apart as a gifted child and put into special classes along with the regular workload of the grades I was in.  I loved elementary school and all the yearly events and being able to play football after school every day with friends.  When I got to junior high either my mental illness had begun to take its’ toll on me or I simply stopped caring because of the dramatic change in how my schooling was done.  Soon after getting into junior high (or middle school) my parents bought a laser disc player and we would watch movie after movie every night of the week.  I marveled at the people who wrote the stories sometimes more than the actors who played them out.

In junior high I was put into Air Cadets (civil air patrol in the US as far as I understand) and I felt that would be my career-become a military pilot or officer.  When high school came, many of my ideas changed, but a love of literature and writing stayed.  I took typing and academic English (which I failed later) and read all I could.  By the end of high school I completed the hardest academic English course and got University entrance level marks, but needed other courses to get my diploma.  That summer I spent many nights after work staying up reading everything from Julius Ceaser to Les Miserables.  I could hardly wait to get to University and get the challenge of more English courses.  But sadly I became extremely mentally ill and had to be put in a mental hospital twice.  My family relationships broke down and seeking some anchor from my past I tried to join the military, which was impossible with my mental health record.  I traveled out to the West Coast and lived in a traveller’s Hostel for some time and though I hadn’t started writing I often thought about and talked about becoming a writer.  It took a few years, but I eventually returned to Edmonton and got my hands on a book called “The Writer’s Handbook” and tried to teach myself to write stories and poems.  My reasons at first were to impress friends and family members, but then I found that there were many rewards to writing.  One of the big ones was self-understanding and self-expression.  I wrote and wrote and then one day I learned by accident that a letter I had sent to a newspaper had been chosen as the ‘letter of the week’.  I was elated, but my life wasn’t going all that well.  I would soon end up back in the hospital and I was put on medications that made me incredibly restless.  All I had at this point was a few poems and some short stories and no ability to sit down at all to write any more.

I pushed myself hard and would read all the shortest short stories from a book I had bought just to feel in some way I was working towards bettering my situation.  After some months, a new Doctor put me on a better medication and I struggled back to normalcy.  I remember meeting a young woman at a church event and asking her if she was single and she said, “I have a boyfriend, he’s going to be a Doctor.”  It kind of offended me in the way she said it and I said, “Well what if I become a great writer some day?”  It was kind of silly, but I have known a few women that I had interest in who married Doctors and felt defensive about it.  The truth of the matter is though, that a Doctor really would provide a more stable emotional and financial situations for a young woman, I just didn’t like the idea of being dismissed because of my career choices.

Back to why I write, I think that parts of me want to think that one day I will make a lot of money from my writing, but in the past few years that has changed dramatically.  I now see writing as an incredible form of communicating with anyone with the ability to pick up a book and start reading.  There are times when this is disturbing, like when people you don’t know at all have read your book and they come up to you grinning like idiots not realizing that though they may know my work, they don’t know me and I know absolutely nothing about them.  Sometimes it is disturbing, but most of the time it feels kind of good.  People read my work, they like it and they feel that I have certain talents and abilities that have eluded them.  There are many rewards to writing something, but mainly writing is its’ own reward.  Some people I have met are deathly afraid of dying, of not accomplishing anything, having nothing to leave the world.  If I were to die at my age I would have dozens of short stories, a number of books and articles and all kinds of newspaper interviews.  I will pass away with the feeling that I haven’t wasted this incredible gift of life we have all been given, and with my book “Through The Withering Storm” I have the extra hope that I have done something to ease the stigma and suffering of people like myself who are afflicted with mental illness.

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About the Author

From a young age I showed promise in writing and poetry, and did well in school. Even in grade five I used to draw and write stories for my own comic books and post them on the bulletin board in class. When I got to high school, I began to read voraciously, and though I failed my first academic English course, I took continually more advanced courses and got higher and higher grades in them. I was hopeful to attend University and study English, but before I finished school I was stricken with a severe breakdown and had to be hospitalized where I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. From that point, family and friend relationships broke down and I ended up sort of drifting until I signed up for Flying School in Vancouver, BC. In the middle of this training, I took off for the US with a friend and tried to join the US Army as a helicopter pilot. All of these adventures are detailed in my memoir, which covers my life from the age of 13 to 21 which was the point at which I decided I had to stay in one place (I had returned to Edmonton near my home town and where my parents lived) and I took treatment for my disorder and began to write seriously. I spent some years just studying and writing poetry and then moved on to short stories, and my book, “Through The Withering Storm” is actually partially short stories I wrote and collected at that time. Now, since I turned 30 I have been living in an assisted-living house for males with Psychiatric Disorders and life has gone quite well. I landed a great job doing labour work/stage hand/security work for the stage and screen Union, IATSE. I have seen many concerts, worked closely with some big stars, and made enough money to continue writing and self-publishing my books, which have already paid for themselves in sales for the most part.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, contest, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery on December 10, 2013

banner large WHIPS CUFFS LITTLE BROWN BOXES
Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes – A Lilly M. Mystery #1 (Lilly M. Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
File Size: 428 KB
Print Length: 341 pages
ASIN: B0054EAM5A

whips 2

Synopsis

Turning forty, menopausal and single mystery writer, Lilly M. needs a little excitement in her life now and then. So, when her aunt Fran turns up missing, Lilly decides playing amateur detective might do the trick. Of course, she would have to keep her snooping from Irene, her adopted mom. She thinks Lilly will snoop herself right into trouble. It doesn’t take a crystal ball or Irene to predict Lilly’s fate; most of the time, her life just turns out that way.

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Excerpt

“Some days I hated my life. Turning forty, pre-menopausal migraines, single, gaining ten pounds in six months, not to mention having three, sometimes overbearing mothers,  and an editor with no compassion.
On the other hand, I had Kline, sort of, and there was my career, or what was left of it. I had a dog that idolized me, even if no one else did, and a house of my own. Those pluses should sustain me through my crises. So now, I would go home and write. It’s what I do. — Lilly Millenovanovich”

The windows were huge, covering the entire front wall of the building. Once we turned the lights on, anyone from the street could see us. Not a good idea.

“Mona, wait. Maybe we should …” My words ended in muted garble as I tripped. A large object like a rolled up rug came into contact with my foot. Before I knew it, feet, legs, and then the rest of me fell to the floor, along with the large vase I grabbed hold of in a desperate attempt to remain standing. Mona heard my grunt, a thud, and the crash of shattered pottery as I landed.

“You okay?” She whispered, despite all the clamor I had just made.

“I’m fine! Can you reach that light so I can see my way up off this floor?”

I heard the flip of the switch and blinked when light filled the store. As soon as my eyes adjusted, I looked down at the object causing my fall. My hand, sticky, wet, and red, lifted off the so-called rug. I stared at it for a second until the message registered in my brain, then I screamed. I scrambled backwards on all fours in crablike motion to distance myself.

“Oh, God. I think I’m going to be sick all over again.”

Mona turned and took in the scene. “Is that …?” she started.

I forced myself to look at the body with a bullet hole in the middle of the forehead and nodded.

Review

I think this is a series that has a lot of potential but I felt like there wasn’t a good introduction to the characters for the first book in a series. It seemed like many things were revealed about Lilly throughout the book that maybe could have been done in the beginning when introducing her as the main character. The storyline was fun and the characters engaging (and quirky!) and I will read the 2nd book to see if the writing style improves.

I would give this 3 1/2 paws

pawprintpawprintpawprinthalfpaw

About The Author

Kathryn LongKathryn Long is a recently retired school teacher who has enjoyed writing mysteries for several years. Credits include mystery shorts, “Betrayal in an Envelope” and “A Good Man”, both published by The Piker Press. Long has ventured into self-publishing the cozy Lilly M. mystery series with titles Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes and Gangs, Illegals, and a Rose Tattoo, as well as a series of YA novels, Cinderella Geek, Not So Snow White and Alice in Realityland under the pen name Jennkrist. Dying to Dream is her latest mystery gone to print with indie publisher, Mainly Murder Press. Future publications include a romantic suspense novel titled A Deadly Deed Grows, which will be coming out next year with The Wild Rose Press.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

 

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 2 – Brooke Blogs – Interview, Giveaway 
December 3 – According to Squenn – Review
December 4 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Giveaway 
December 5 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Giveaway 
December 6 – Darla King Series – Review
December 8 – Socrates’ Book Review Blog – Review, Giveaway 
December 9 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway 
December 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Giveaway 
December 11 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway 
December 12 – Dr. Pepper Diva – Review, Giveaway

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Posted in contest, Giveaway, Kindle on December 7, 2013

December Kindle Fire

 

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

 

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT!

Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7″.


The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HDX (US Only – $229 Value)

 

Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

 

Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

 

 

 

December Kindle Fire Giveaway #2 Sponsors

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
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  4. Author Talia Jager
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
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  7. Kelly’s Lucky You
  8. LeahSay’s Views
  9. Author Bella Street
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  11. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
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  14. Author Kelli Beck
  15. Barb’s Wire – eBooks & More
  16. MumbleBee Inc.
  17. MyLadyWeb: Women’s History and Women Authors
  18. I Know That Book!
  19. NESSAROX
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  21. My Story That I Like Best
  22. Jessica Loves Book
  23. Author Jennie Sherwin
  24. Candace’s Book Blog
  25. Attack of the Books!
  26. Author Elizabeth Seckman
  27. Author Rosanne Rivers
  28. Author Carole Lanham
  29. Author Jennifer L. Weil
  30. The Real Bookshelves of Room 918
  31. Author David Pandolfe
  32. Author Georgina Young-Ellis
  33. Author C.J. Burright
  34. Author Derek Rempfer
  35. Book Crushin
  36. Laloba Press
  37. Author Louise Caiola
  38. Author Becky Monson
  39. Write Story Editing
  40. Bookworm Lisa
  41. Author John D. Mimms
  42. Author Heidi Garrett
  43. Stanley and Katrina Pet Authors
  44. Author Carol Davis Luce
  45. Author A. Wrighton
  46. The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
  47. Immortal Ink Publishing
  48. Circus of Lost Souls
  49. Author Inger Iversen
  50. Author Tracy Jorgensen
  51. Author Christy Hayes
  52. Author Lisa C. Temple

 

Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:

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Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7″ HDX (US Only – $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7″.

Ends 1/1/14

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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in Book Blast, contest, Giveaway on December 7, 2013

 

rook updated

Rook

Could you be the monster to save who you love?

Two women, separated by generations, must leave what they know to start a new life. Seventeen-year-old Kate’s senior year is ruined when she’s moved from the only home she’s ever known. After an isolating month alone in her apartment, school starts, but neither her classmates nor her teacher are who they seem. Kali, a single mother living in the nineteenth century wilds of Montana, is stalked by a malicious past. She fights to keep her daughter safe while her freedom is threatened by her less than benevolent benefactor. Both find love, and with it hope, but that is quickly ripped away as one woman must learn the lessons of the other — before it’s too late to save either.

 

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Praise for Rook:

“This book also drew me in. I couldn’t let go of what was happening and when life intervened and forced me to close my computer I kept looking for a few moments to sit down and read some more.” Brookeworm, a Blog 4 Stars

“Rook had me hooked from the first page. It all started so mysteriously that I just had to know what it was all about. “ Jannat Bhat, Obsessive Compulsive Reader 4 Stars

“Rook is an amazing story that had me at the edge of my seat.” Tee Loves Kyle Jacobson Blog, 5 Stars

 

Excerpt

Is that him? Is he back?

My legs jerked, kicking and twitching me around to face the sound. I managed to roll slightly, knocking against a soft, solid object at my feet. It grunted weakly, and immediately I recoiled as though I had been bitten. Squinting, I stared, willing my eyes to find light in the dark, but there was nothing.

The sound of the runner drew closer, as if they would trample me any moment. A dim, swaying light appeared through the trees, burning away the inky edges of the deep shadows. When light and sound were almost upon me, branches above me snapped, spraying me in a shower of dried pine needles and snow.

 

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Tour Schedule

 

Monica MAuthor Stella MacDonald

Stella is a married graduate student with three boys. Utah is home right now, but the need to wander has extended beyond the fantasy world of writing and into real life. She’s lived all around the US and even into the Middle East. The world is really a small place, only made bigger through imagination.

 

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BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/30/13

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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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