Guest Authors Blogging on Manic Readers!

Interested in guest blogging on Manic Readers? Please contact Ivy.
ivydtruitt at gmail (dot) com.


I DIDN’T KNOW with Yvette Allen Tatum

“I Didn’t Know” is for more than just an audience of one. If you look to your left, look to your right, or directly in the mirror, you will see or know someone who has been sexually abused… even if you look in the mirror, and the person is YOU! More than the tragedy of sexual abuse is the tragedy of the silence of sexual abuse. It must be talked about. Our stories have to be shared; someone’s life is literally depending upon YOU to BREAK THE IGNORANCE OF SILENCE! “I Didn’t Know” brings to the forefront the many hidden faces of child sexual abuse. The author, Yvette L. Allen-Tatum, shares not only her story, but the compelling testimonies of others–everyone from the actual victim, to the offender, to those who standby by in disbelief and allow these heinous crimes against our children to continue. Our voices have to be heard, our children must be free or freed to tell the TRUTH: that someone touched them. Who can they run to? Will it be you?

I Didn’t Know – Identifying, Confronting & Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse – the title is indicative of the subject matter.  In this book the author brings to the forefront the many faces of child sexual abuse; those of the victims and the abusers.  Yvette Allen-Tatum boldly confronts her past of child sexual abuse to demonstrate that TRUE deliverance is possible.  Yvette believes that we ALL (victims, abusers, enablers, nay-sayers, etc.) can OVERCOME the horrible effects of child sexual abuse.
This book proves that true healing is possible and necessary for us to become more than CONQUERORS through Christ Jesus.
As a community, we have to:
⦁ Identify Child Sexual Abuse –
⦁ We have to talk about it (raise public awareness)
⦁ Know the signs & symptoms
⦁ Confront Child Sexual Abuse –
⦁ Error on the side of caution – THE CHILD
⦁ Be quick to BELIEVE the victim and make all necessary inquiries
⦁ Studies show people are more apt to believe the innocence of the accused; this has to END
⦁ Overcome Child Sexual Abuse –
⦁ We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the WORD of OUR TESTIMONY

What advice can you offer someone who is dealing with sexual abuse

The best advice I can give someone who is dealing or struggling with sexual abuse is to FORGIVE yourself!!! It is not your fault. No one has the right to violate you and take (steal) your most prized possession. From there I would encourage the person to someone. Now I realize this could be very challenging in and of itself, but it is necessary.

Please know I understand the process of sharing some of the most intimate details of your life with another person is no easy task. Let’s face it, finding a person to confide in that you trust is harder than some may think. I mean, nine times out of ten it was a trusted person (a family member, close friend of the family, a neighbor, teacher, coach, etc.) who violated your trust to begin with. Statistics show that 90% of child victims know their offenders. As such, the first person or persons you may confide in or consult with are yourself and God. And that’s ok. I cannot think of a better person (even though God is not a human being but you get my point) to entrust this information with. Besides, it is not as if He doesn’t already know.

I truly believe God can and will heal you from everything that ails you or causes you to have dis-ease. You simply have to come unto Him. The Bible tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, (KJV). The Amplified version of that same passage of Scripture puts it this way, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.”

From here, trust God to instruct you with your next steps. He will never steer you wrong!

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Author, Teacher, Conference Host, Public Speaker, Encourager, Motivator, Ordained & licensed Minister of The Gospel, Radical for Christ, undercover Comedian and the list goes on…
Yvette is a graduate of Grace Christian College where she earned her Masters of Divinity and a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. She is also a graduate of University of Richmond, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance and a Minor in Leadership Studies. In addition, she has 30 plus years of experience in income tax preparation and bookkeeping.
As the Founder of Surrounded by Faith Ministries, Yvette has had the opportunity to touch and transform the lives of many women with the Word of God. This mighty Woman of God has a prophetic teaching anointing which has enabled her to cross many boundaries. As such, the Call of God on her life has broadened from transforming the lives of women to transforming LIVES with the Word of God. While she still holds a passion to train and equip women in the life study and application of the Bible, her ultimate goal is to strengthen families. To do so her platform is geared to men, women and children.

Yvette L. Allen-Tatum

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Francesca Pelaccia on Writing the Action Scene

An action scene isn’t just a car chase in an espionage novel, a sword fight in a historical, or even a hot and heavy sex scene in a romance. An action scene is any scene that needs the pace cranked up to its most intense level to build tension, deliver emotional impact, and thrust the plot forward with one big punch. So, how does an author turn an action scene into a heart-pounding experience for the reader, while building tension and emotional impact, and advancing the plot?
First and foremost, the action scene should not be overloaded with description of any length. The setting should be set up before the action begins so the reader knows where the action is taking place. A winding mountain pathway during the night, a crowded downtown street during morning rush hour, the prince’s secret boudoir on his private island, whatever your setting, it should be introduced before the action begins to limit the need for description. When the action begins, an author only needs to mention the details that create the immediacy, urgency, or the sense of dread, panic, romance, or in short, the scene’s emotional goal. More important, these details should be mentioned as they relate to or affect the character.
Compare the following two sentences.

  1. Kate quickly maneuvered her old car around the sharp mountain path lined with thick trees and littered with rocks the size of soccer balls. It was a long and deep fall over the edge and she didn’t want to fall. 
  2. Kate gunned the car around the mountain path. The trees grabbed at her. The rocks jabbed at her car. She banged her head on the window and gripped the wheel. She wasn’t going over the edge. She wasn’t dying today.

The first example is straight description. The second uses the description to reinforce the sense of danger and its impact on the character. The first is long and factual. The second is hard-hitting and emotional. 

The action scene should also not have any character internalizations. In an action scene the character runs on instinct. It’s not the time for characters to think up a vaccine to neutralize a killer virus, make deductions based on hieroglyphics, or wonder whether someone loves you or someone loves you not. Characters can reason, question, or deduce all they want after the scene but not during. During the scene characters should only react, and it doesn’t matter if they are running away from the bad guy, fighting with him, or wrapped in his tattooed arms. Compare the following two examples.

  1. Kate knew she shouldn’t have gone to the castle. She had been warned against visiting by everyone in the town. But she had wanted to know the truth. Now the truth was shooting at her. She pressed the accelerator of her car. She couldn’t become victim number six. She would lose her deposit on her trip to Cancun in December with Ashley, Maxine, and Diane, she had to plan her sister’s bachelorette party or her mother would never forgive her, and she definitely had to catch one of her niece’s soccer games.
  2. Kate shouldn’t have sneaked into the castle. A bullet shattered her back window. She ducked and floored the accelerator. She wasn’t going to become victim number six. She wasn’t through with life yet.  

In the first example, the action is stalled because of the character’s reflections. In the second example, it’s all about the action. Kate doesn’t even realize that she is panicking. She’s simply reacting. The action scene must also be told in real time so the reader participates. Don’t summarize. Let the action unfold in front of the reader’s eyes and describe only what is happening, not why.

Dialogue can be used in an action scene if it contributes to the tension. But it should be direct and succinct. There should be no fillers, no small talk, and no pleasantries.

Kate’s cell phone shrilled. She couldn’t answer. The prince’s Ferrari was gaining on her Mini Cooper.
But it wouldn’t stop. 
She grabbed the phone. It was her partner. “Not now!”
“Don’t go to the castle!” Diane shouted.
“Too late.”
“You went?”
“Call the F.B.I.”
“You found him?”
“And his five victims.”

The quick-fire volley of the dialogue builds on the urgency and emotional chaos of the scene.

The structure of your sentences contributes to the pace. An action scene is not the place for long flowing sentences of narrative value. Your sentences should be short, clean, direct, and punchy. The best way to achieve this is by using subject/verb/object constructions and vary them up with sentences that use “and” or “but”.

Kate spied the knife. It was buried in mud. She yanked it out. The edge was ragged and blood stained. She had to get out and now.

Don’t complicate sentence structures by using “before”, “after”, “during”, “while,” or “when”. They lead to confusion and weigh the sentences and the action down.

Kate spied the knife before she picked it up. After Kate picked it up, she saw the ragged edge and blood stains. While Kate was examining it, she heard someone approaching. During the time she heard someone approaching, Kate put the knife in a bag.

You can use phrases to offset the basic sentence structures, but sparingly. They can be annoying as they are in the following example.

The knife. It was buried in mud. Edge blunted. Stained with blood. She had to leave. Now.

Avoid using adjectives and adverbs. Instead, use action verbs and succinct nouns. Compare the following.

  1. Kate saw the expensive butcher’s knife. It was slightly hidden in thick mud. The deranged, filthy-rich prince and his big gun were not too far behind her but she pulled the knife out. Its teeth were heavily dulled and the fat blade was covered with dark blood stains. She gingerly placed it in a clear Ziploc plastic bag and put it in her dog-eared purse. Then she started to move fast. 
  2. Kate spied the knife. It was buried in mud. The prince was on her tail, but she yanked it out. Its teeth were dulled and the blade was stained with blood. She threw it in her purse and ran.

The second far outweighs the first and without the use of unnecessary adjectives, adverbs, or wish-washy nouns.

Last but not least, keep your paragraphs short. They will quicken the pace of the scene.

Francesca Pelaccia
Author, The Witch’s Salvation

Francesca Cesario Pelaccia grew up in Toronto, Canada, and went to the University of Toronto, where she studied English literature. She started her working career moving in and out of teaching and corporate editing and publishing before settling on teaching adults English as a Second Language.

The Witch’s Salvation is Francesca’s first published novel. She has many other manuscripts in various stages of completion and genres gathering dust on her bookshelves. But it was not until The Witch’s Salvation that she “found her voice”. Francesca lives just outside Toronto with her family. She is working on the second book of the Witch’s trilogy, entitled, The Witch’s Monastery.

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WHEN GOD IS SILENT with Kellie Lane

Mission Impossible in Forty Days or Less

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change

it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.—Muhammad Ali

Have you ever found yourself in a waiting place with God?  It may seem as if your entire life has been placed on pause. You may find yourself confused and discouraged. You may feel as if the agony will never end. You sometimes question your petition. You may ask if God will ever work this thing out for you. Will He really do the very thing that you believe Him to do? At this point, it is very tempting to give up. When every fiber of your being is leading you to believe that what you’ve been praying for is impossible please know that it is possible. God is a God of limitless possibilities. You must believe that. The wait is for a reason. Yes it’s difficult to appreciate right now but later the timing will make sense. God is developing you into something greater, and it’s going to take a backbreaking experience to pull the best out of you. That’s right; God will strategically use your prayer petition as an opportunity to refine the greatness that has been buried within the deepest recesses of your heart all along.

Have you ever trained in a gym? When done correctly it is a very challenging experience. When you look around a fitness center you will see all sizes and kinds of people. Some will focus more on cardio; others will focus more on weights. Some will have mixed routines. The routines

vary because it takes different types of training to yield good results for different people. In like manner, your type and extent of training with God will be different from someone else’s.

I am heavily into fitness and healthy eating and have been this way most of my life. As I began to get more and more involved in fitness, God gave me a passion to help others achieve optimal health. I then realized that in order to share my expertise with others, I would have to take it up a notch. So, I decided to hire a personal trainer. On day one I realized that I was nowhere close to where I needed to be. As my personal trainer led me through different routines, he observed my strengths and weakness. He then customized my fitness plan. In other words, my trainer developed a plan that was designed to meet my unique needs. I find this as a perfect example of how God operates. God knows the strengths and weaknesses of every individual. As a result, He customizes a spiritual fitness plan unique to every one of us. I remember while training in the gym there were times when my eyes filled with tears and I felt like I couldn’t do another set of reps. My flesh would say, “Give up! Quit!!” but my trainer would be right there coaching me on saying, “Come on, Kellie. You’ve got to stretch yourself; push!!!” I would try once more, and then he would reach over and help me complete the rep. Just as my trainer helped me complete my tasks after he saw my determination, God will do even more. Our spiritual fitness testing is never to harm us; it’s to strengthen us. Sometimes it just requires us to stretch! Get out of your comfort zone. Easier said than done right?  Especially when you’re already wounded from being in the heat of battle. Yet, it’s an act of faith. Remember, faith is what moves God.

Ever get on the treadmill and feel as if you’re doing a pretty good job? Your headphones are on; you’re bobbing your head to your favorite tunes; you’re actually feeling pretty good. Then, all of a sudden, someone steps up on the treadmill beside you. The individual is nicely toned and looking good. They instantly start sprinting. Every muscle in their body is flexed. You wonder how in the world they can run like that. Well, the truth of the matter is that the person who has the body you desire did not just wake up one morning that way. They trained. They prepared. Early in the morning while others are still sleeping, they are up doing fitness routines. While others are enjoying tasty treats the physically fit person strategically counts calories and monitors their food intake. They are disciplined. They don’t cry and give up at the sight of a challenge. They know that they are champions and understand the requirements of being a champion. We should apply the same principle. We have to make a decision to live healthy disciplined lifestyles. Most people recognize a champion only when the world becomes his podium. However, that is not when he actually becomes the champion. He actually became the champion far before. Remember the movie Rocky? When did Rocky realize that he was a champion? It was actually long before he received the title. Remember how he would run the inclines of the stadium, reach the top, and lift both hands? He didn’t wait until he became undefeated; he began to dance his victory dance without an audience. He knew that greatness could not be held down and soon the world would know who he really was. We too must realize that in order to become a champion we must first gain victory in our daily lives. We must learn to do a “victory dance” while no one is watching. We cannot walk around defeated while waiting on God. We have to know with our knower that we are victors. Most people only see the champion in his moment of glory. However, it is his lifestyle that actually brought him center stage.

A champion realizes the cost to become great and willingly pays it. Are you willing to pay the price for greatness? Will we give up and quit when the resistance increases or will we press our way through no matter the opposition. Will we run the stadium as Rocky did and lift our hands even before the physical manifestation of our blessings come? Will we get out there and train no matter the conditions? Will we pray even when we’re sleepy? Will we witness to others through our pain? Will we bless others with what little bit we have? The answer must be, “Yes!” All God wants is a yes!

So how do we get to this place? How do we become victorious in every area of our lives? Well, first things first. We must set goals. When I first met my personal trainer, I did not allow him to set goals for me. I told him exactly what I wanted and the time frame of which I

expected to attain results. Based on what I told him, he put me on a plan called “Mission Impossible in Forty Days or Less.” Doesn’t that sound painful? Well trust me, it is.

However, I wanted what I wanted and I was willing to pay the price to get immediate results. Are you ready to get immediate results from God? What sacrifices are you willing to make to get God’s attention? How often are you willing to pray? Remember, God honors persistence.

You may very well be on a “Mission Impossible in Forty Days or Less.” Stop crying about it and train! You can do it! You will come out better than ever. Your life will become a wonder to all of those around you. They will know that it was the hand of God upon you. This is no time to

quit. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Embrace the moment; stop complaining.

You are an overcomer! Don’t become so overly consumed with your own problems that you miss what God is doing. Being consumed with your problems means that you’ve taken God out of the driver’s seat. You must allow God to be God. He’s in control. You didn’t lay the foundations of the earth! God did. Be willing to train hard and long. Become a spiritually fit saint—God’s champion. Before you know it your deliverance will have come!


Kellie Lane

When God is Silent @ Amazon

                    “Even if God is not talking, He’s still Listening.”

When Kellie Lane’s third marriage broke down, she felt broken in spirit, wounded, weary and depressed. When her prayers to God went unanswered, she was ready to give up and questioned His interest in what she was crying about. It was during this challenging time that she felt the need to record every phase of her journey in order to provide hope for fellow believers, who will at some stage in their life, endure a similar journey. At times, her eyes were so full of tears she could barely see to write, but she pushed through the pain and when God finally answered her, it was in a way that she never imagined.

When God is Silent is a believer’s guide to answered prayer and encourages others to see that God stands ready and willing to answer and that there may be various reasons why He has not yet answered. Through encouraging readers to push, pray, and persist until the point of breakthrough, the book identifies how to become God’s champion, and that there is no quitting, whining or complaining along the way. The book tells us that believers must be properly positioned and conditioned to receive all that God has to offer as well as stay mindful that God is the author and finisher of our faith. He knows the plans that he has for us and often they are far greater than anything anyone could ever have imagined. When God is Silent teaches others to be better equipped in the art of prayer and how to receive from the Lord.

When God is Silent aims to help those who have begun to loose faith in God. In charting her journey, author Kellie Lane provides a frank, sincere and compassionate guide for others who are struggling to understand why all they can hear is silence. Lane hopes to reinstall the hope that they will get the answers they are so desperately searching for and that God offers you many chances in life, so you should never give up until you find peace. 

Visit Kellie     Kellie on FB     Goodreads

About the author: Kellie Lane is a Family Nurse Practitioner, freelance writer and motivational speaker from Mississippi, USA. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a BS in Nursing and an MS in Nursing and is currently working to complete her Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree. When not writing or studying Lane is passionate about communicating God’s word. She is happily married with six children. The book is dedicated to Lane’s mother who died at the end of last year and was unable to see the final result of her book.

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JUSTICE FOR ABBY and giveaway with Cate Beauman

Cate Beauman is back with the sixth installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Justice For Abby will be available for Amazon pre-orders starting March 27th and on sale through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes starting April 10th!

Cate is hosting a pre-order party on her website complete with giveaways. Winners will be selected on April 10 so be sure to stop by before then for your chance to win!

                                                                                                            Nowhere to hide…

Fashion designer Abigail Harris has been rescued, but her nightmare is far from over. Determined to put her harrowing ordeal behind her and move on, she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life while eluding the men who want her dead.

The Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring is in ruins after Abby’s interviews with the police. The organization is eager to exact their revenge before her testimony dismantles the multi-million dollar operation for good.

Abby’s safety rests in the hands of former US Marshal, Jerrod Quinn. Serious-minded and obsessed with protocol, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest agent finds himself dealing with more than he bargains for when he agrees to take on his beautiful, free-spirited client.

As the trial date nears, Abby’s case takes a dangerous turn. Abby and Jerrod soon discover themselves in a situation neither of them expect while Jerrod fights to stop the ring from silencing Abby once and for all.

The black bag was ripped from her head, along with several strands of her hair. Abby blinked against the bold light of the naked bulbs hanging from the low ceiling. She glanced around the dingy space in shock as her gaze traveled from girl to girl—six young teens, dirty, bruised, and malnourished, staring up at her through bland eyes while they sat or lay on filthy mattresses on the dirt floor. “What—”
“In.” Victor shoved Abby into a small, windowless room, slamming the door, locking her in with a rusty scrape of something sliding against the heavy metal barrier.
She walked on shaky legs to the wooden chair in the corner and collapsed to the uncomfortable seat, clutching her arms around her waist, shivering as she bit hard on her bottom lip while tears rained down her cheeks. Where was she? What was this place? She shuddered, remembering six sets of listless eyes holding hers. Nothing good was happening here.
She covered her face with trembling hands and gave into her sobs, relieving the worst of her dread, wishing for nothing more than to be home with Lex and Livy. Thinking of her sister and niece, she forced away her tears, taking several deep breaths of stale air. If she wanted to see her family again she needed to pull herself together. She couldn’t get herself out of this—whatever this was—if she didn’t think. There had to be a way out. Her eyes darted around the barely lit space, searching for a weapon, another exit, anything.
The door opened, and she rushed to her feet as a tall, well-built man stood haloed in the beam of light from the room beyond. Abby blinked as he stepped forward. “Renzo?” She bolted from the corner and fell against her friend’s firm chest as a wave or relief flooded her. “Oh, thank god.”
His strong arms wrapped around her.
“I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t know what’s going on. I need help. Can you help me?”
“What happened?” He eased her back some, but she refused to release him from her grip.
“My family—we were on our way home from Virginia Beach. We stopped at a rest area, and two men grabbed me and brought me here.”
“You were with your sister and niece?”
“Yes, Alexa and Olivia. I think they’re okay, but I need to call and make sure. Will you get me out of here?”
“Of course.”
She could hardly believe she was leaving. “Thank you. Thank you.” She hugged Renzo again as tears of gratitude flowed free. “I knew this had to be some sort of mistake.”
“Come on, let’s get you home.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and walked with her to the door. “Oh, wait.” He stopped.
“I can’t let you go.”

Did you enjoy the excerpt? You can read the first chapter on my website,, or you can finish the whole book here!

                                                           The Inspiration Behind Justice For Abby

Justice For Abby is one of my favorite stories in The Bodyguards of L.A. County series (Okay, they all are, but I really love Abby and Jerrod!). I truly enjoyed writing their adventure. Oftentimes I found myself caught up in Abby’s rollercoaster ride as she heals from her experiences as a survivor of the Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring. At times I cried with her, and at others, I laughed. She’s so strong and sweet, but she’s vulnerable and struggling. Enter Jerrod Quinn, the perfect man to provide her protection and help her overcome her ordeal in his own quiet way.

Although Abby’s story is one of fiction, sex trafficking is a very real crisis for millions of young women, men, and children all over the globe. My idea for this novel came after a night in front of the television watching crime television. A segment showcasing the mysterious disappearance of a young woman named Amy Bradley bothered me greatly. She vanished from a cruise ship in March of 1998 while vacationing with her family. Unfortunately, Amy has yet to be found, but she is believed to be alive, stuck in the horrific world of human sex trafficking. I immediately began my research into this very troubling epidemic and shortly after wrote Forever Alexa, the story of Abby’s sister dealing with the aftermath of Abby’s disappearance. My readers have requested Abby’s story, and I felt the need to share her experience.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Abby and Jerrod as much as I enjoyed writing these two fantastic characters.


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                                                       The Unofficial Justice For Abby Soundtrack

Music always plays a huge part in my writing process. With two boys and two dogs in the house, music helps me “get lost” in my story. I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube and put together a playlist of songs that I feel represent the characters or the situations they face as the novel unfolds. Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Jerrod and Abby’s story! You can listen to them on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Justice For Abby:
⦁ Applause by Lady Gaga
⦁ Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
⦁ She Is by Ben Rector
⦁ I Should Go by Levi Kreis
⦁ The Other Side by Jason Derulo
⦁ Why Don’t You Love Me? by Hot Chelle Rae ft. Demi Lovato
⦁ We Owned The Night by Lady Antebellum
⦁ Stars Go Blue by Tim McGraw
⦁ Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol
⦁ Come Back by Pearl Jam
⦁ By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North
⦁ Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran

Cate currently lives in Tennessee with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, three years later, I’m working on my seventh novel, Saving Sophie, and I’m an Amazon best selling author. I’m very grateful for the support and success I have had. – Cate “

Amazon Author Page   

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The Bodyguards of L.A. County

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Sexy Talk and giveaway with Stephanie Joyce Cole


In my novel COMPASS NORTH, Meredith falls into an unexpected romance and yes, she has sex.  But the nuts-and-bolts of it happens, as they say, “off camera.”  One website gave COMPASS NORTH a rating of 2 out of 5 for sensuous content.  The scenes are sexy, but not explicit.

In the sequel I’m now writing (A LATE HARD FROST), I’m anticipating more sexual heat.  The story is taking me there as I write about Cassandra, the damaged and temperamental artist.  But now I face a common writer’s dilemma:  How do you write about sex?

It’s not easy.  (I was going to write “it’s hard” but thought better of that…)  It’s not easy because there is such a huge variation in the language readers find acceptable and evocative in a sex scene.

For most of us, sex is very personal.  One woman may adore being cuddled and cherished in bed, while another might want to be bound and spanked.  And maybe a third wants both of these options, depending upon her mood.  Similarly, one woman will find certain words, phrases and descriptions sexy, but another will be offended (or perhaps amused) by them.  A writer has the daunting task of coming up with words and descriptions that will titillate but not alienate.  And there is no way to please everyone.

Take the “slippery cleft.”  I’ve seen it used frequently in sex scenes, and you probably have too, and you know what it denotes.  But honestly, as a hiker who frequents the often damp Cascade Mountains, a slippery cleft is a moss-covered crevice into which I hope my boot-clad foot doesn’t slide.  Even Diana Galbaldon, who in my opinion wrote some of the hottest sex scenes around in OUTLANDER, uses the slippery cleft.  But personally, I just can’t get past the image of a dangerous gaping gash in a boulder field, waiting to trap my foot.

What if, during the darkest period of your life, you suddenly had a chance to disappear and start again, as an entirely different person?  Would you take the chance?  When Meredith stumbles into a new identity and a new life in a small town in Alaska, she finds it’s not so easy to leave behind the baggage from her past.   


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“That’s upstairs.”  Rita jabbed her cane toward a set of narrow stairs near the back of the room.  “There’s a bed up there–well, a cot–and some blankets and pillows too.  There’s an extra towel in the bathroom, I’m pretty sure.”  She barely glanced at Meredith.  “I get up real early.”  Rita gave her a curt nod.  “Switch the light off when you go up.”  She turned away and hobbled into her bedroom, pushing the door closed without a backward glance.

Meredith clicked off the overhead light and felt her way across the room and up the narrow stairs, trying not to think of the spider or what else might be ahead.  She slid her hand up the wall to find the attic light switch, and pressed the door shut behind her.  The room reeked of wet wood and old paper.  The sharp pitch of the roof made standing in the tiny attic impossible, except in the very middle.  She dropped her bag to the floor and collapsed onto the attic’s one dusty chair, causing it to creak and shift under her weight.  She heard Rita below, moving around, probably getting ready for bed.  One triangular window looked out over the meadow behind the cabin, but she saw only blackness outside.  Sharp splats of rain knocked against the windowpane.  She looked at the pillow and blankets on the cot, waiting to be made up for the night.  She was tired, so very tired, but she couldn’t move.  Not yet.

“What on earth am I doing?” she whispered.  She wrapped her arms around her chest and bent forward, staring at the floorboards.

Her thoughts tumbled and tossed.  Okay, okay, tomorrow I’ll go back.  I was in shock.  I’m still in shock.  Anyone would have been out of their mind seeing what I saw.  I’ll go back tomorrow and I’ll explain.

But even as she rubbed her face, trying to think clearly, trying to make some decisions about how to make her way back, Meredith knew, just knew, she really didn’t mean it.  Yes, she was going to sleep in this dingy attic in the home of a grouchy old lady who didn’t want her here.  Rita would surely want her to leave first thing in the morning.  And Meredith had no plan, no path to follow.  But somehow, being here was better than going back.  She had no idea what tomorrow would bring, but when she thought about going back, she could only see an abyss, a place so dark and painful anything, anyplace was better than going home.

What about you, readers?  Share your thoughts about sexy writing. What’s the book you’ve read with the most compelling sex scenes?  Or maybe a book with scenes that aren’t explicit but still got your blood pumping…PG comments only, please.  An ebook copy of COMPASS NORTH will be a gift to one randomly-selected person who comments today.    
Stephanie Joyce Cole, author of COMPASS NORTH, recently relocated from Alaska to Seattle, where she resides with her husband and a predatory but lovable tailless Manx cat.  She is currently working on A LATE HARD FROST, the sequel to COMPASS NORTH.  Visit Stephanie on Facebook or  
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Nina Duchenne walked away from a perfect life of wealth and ease to pursue a noble idea. Unfortunately, her hope of becoming a forensic investigator drowned in two years of mandatory street patrol. After one tragic night shatters her dream, she finds herself questioning the very nature of what it means to be alive.

Joey Dillon lives at the edge of a perpetual adrenaline rush. A self-styled cyber cowboy that chases thrills wherever he can find them, he is unconcerned with what will happen twenty minutes into the future. Lured into a dangerous region of cyberspace, he soon has the government of Mars trying to kill him. After fleeing to Earth, he takes refuge in places society has forgotten.

When two international agents threaten the security of West City, Nina gets command of the operation to stop them. Joey just wants to find his next meal. Voices from beyond the grave distract Nina from her pursuit, and send Joey on a mission to find out who is responsible. His suspicions lie grounded in reality while she hopes for something science cannot explain.

The spies prove more elusive than expected, convincing her they have help from a master hacker. Joey falls square in her sights with the fate of the entire West City, as well as Nina’s humanity, at risk. 

Nina settled into the chair and stared at the little bonsai tree on the edge of the desk. She could not help but feel like a schoolgirl sent to the principal’s office. Oliver looked at her for a moment with an expression that radiated a peculiar combination of calm and intensity.
“First, please relax. I want you to know that this meeting is not any form of disciplinary action.” Lt. Oliver smiled his most reassuring smile, speaking in a relaxing tone Nina had not expected.

“What? I mean, why did you…” Her nervousness peaked one last time, stealing her voice.

He shifted and leaned forward.

“Your commanding officer, Captain Farris, had some concerns regarding your well-being. He asked me to meet with you―unofficially―as a favor.”

“Okay…” Nina’s anxiety took flight on a strong exhale as she settled in to the cushions.

“It seems you are under an unusual amount of stress. Captain Farris and I are concerned about it. These past few weeks, you’ve been increasingly terse and confrontational. I have done some poking around, and it seems that there are issues within your squad. Yet I find no record of disciplinary action or complaints from you. Is there anything you would like to get off your chest?”

Nina picked at the helmet in her lap. “It was only supposed to be two years…”

“What was?” Oliver sat back and propped his chin up on his fingertips.

She sighed. “Div 1. The whole unit knows that I’m only over there because of the man-two.”

“I see.” Oliver nodded. “You feel the policy requiring all rookies to pull a two-year tour in Division 1 is unfair?”

“Yes.” Nina nodded. “Look at me…I’m five-four, maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet… I have a BS in forensic science… second in my class!” Her face flushed. “It’s a waste of resources to put someone like me out in a patrol craft.”

Oliver opened his mind, sensing her emotion. “You feel it’s beneath you?”


“No… I don’t, I’m not like my father. I’m…”


“…not built for this kind of work, my education is not being used, and…” She looked off to the side at the floor.


“Go on. What is frightening you?”


“It’s bad enough that I could get killed at any time by some ganger or criminal, but I’m just as worried the other cops are going to let me die or lock me in some cabinet again.”


“I feel isolated out there, like I have no backup. They’d leave me to die. Everyone but Vincent.”


Nina paused. “Wait… scared? I’m not…” Nina’s eyes locked onto his rank insignia―a matte black strip with a thick 0 next to a lieutenant’s bar.

They’re all psionic. Is he in my brain?


Oliver held up his hands. “Ms. Duchenne, please relax. You have nothing to fear from me. Please, tell me about… Officer Montoya is it?”


Nina relaxed, thinking about him. “He doesn’t treat me like an unwanted kid hanging out at her father’s job.” She hung her head. “Even other female officers have it in for me. In the locker room…”


“I have a feeling I know what is going on, Ms. Duchenne. Their attitudes are driven primarily by fear.”

One did not have to be an empath like Lt. Oliver to read the emotion from Nina’s face at that comment. “Fear? Of me? Are you serious?”

Visit Matt

Matt’s first book  Division Zero


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THE GREAT SCOTS AND GIVEAWAY with Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Paula Quinn









As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It’s a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can’t resist taking her up on her offer . 

Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call “Hawk?” As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.

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“I will dance with you.” She laced her fingers with his, squeezing lightly. “If it pleases you?
Sorley nodded, not trusting himself to speak. She looked at him with her great blue eyes, holding his gaze as if partnering him in the dance was the most natural thing for her to do.
He was certain he’d never seen her before.
Her accent told him why.
She spoke with a soft and pleasing lilt, the musical sweetness of the Highlands flowing in her voice. He also noted that her eyes weren’t just blue, but lavender-blue. And despite the brightness of her hair and her fair, creamy skin, she was graced with exceptionally long, black eyelashes. Though still tender in years, likely close to his own age, she already possessed the power to hold any man’s heart in the palm of her hand.
His own heart beat wildly, the rest of the hall, the dancers and the bright ring of torches, fading away. Nothing existed except the racing of his pulse and the flame-haired lass with the beautiful eyes. Her honeyed voice and dazzling smile.
She lit the hall as if a thousand suns had descended into their midst.
Sorley lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed her palm. He remembered too late that, because she was surely chaste, he should have touched his lips to the air above her knuckles, no more. Yet she didn’t pull away. The warmth in her eyes remained, her face even softening as if she’d enjoyed his attentions.
“I am Mirabelle.” Her sweet voice made his pulse leap.

About Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines.

Now a full-time writer, she’s quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books.

Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine Society. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.

Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida.

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Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, she’s the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can’t resist stealing a kiss. 

Lady Amelia’s duty is to marry well, but that hasn’t stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she’s beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she’s furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he’s ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?

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“I’ll stop at nothing to protect ye.”
Her eyes searched his, looking for something he hoped she found. “And what have I done to earn such a champion?” she whispered on parted lips.

“’Tis nothing ye’ve done, Amelia, and it can never be undone.” He bent to kiss her again. She fell back on the bed, taking him along with fistfuls of his shirt in her hands.

Feeling her beneath him made him hard as steel. He wanted her, throbbed for her, and he was tempted to tear away the two flimsy layers of wool between them, spread her wide, and sink deep.

But she was untried and untouched. And though every nerve ending on his body burned for her, ached to be her first, he didn’t want her to regret anything.

“I fear if I take ye, I won’t let anyone else ever do so.” It was a statement of truth that pained him as it left his lips.

“And I fear,” she whispered into his hair as he bent his head to her throat, “that if ye take me, I will never be satisfied with anyone else.”

About Paula Quinn

New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

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BLUE BUTTERFLY and giveaway with Marian L. Thomas

They say on the night that I was born June 30, 1969 the fringes of the moon could be seen peeking out through the thin layers of the clouds. They say that the rain had done come down so hard it felt like something was tearing away at your soul, drop by drop. They say my mama was laying in the birthing room screaming because I was ripping her life away from her. They say that the doctors wanted to cut away at her tummy, but she had done plain-out refused. She was an ebullient woman, with the heart of an unbreakable but beautiful stallion.
I ain’t never seen the woman with eyes so blue they felt like they could reach down into the pit of your core and tell you about yourself. I ain’t never seen the warmth of her smile or the way she could soothe my daddy with her kind-hearted words. People talk under their breath about her. Talk about how long her silky blond hair was or how thin and soft her frame was. I do alls I can when I hear them whispering about the woman who gave her life so I could dance in the rain on a hot summer day.
Just before she took her last breath they say that she stared into my eyes and smiled because I done come into the world with what she thought was the better part of her. The one feature that my daddy loved the most.
She was the one who placed the weight of my name upon me. Precious Blue Johnson, but everyone around here in Lutts County, Georgia, fixed my name at Precious.
My dear, sweet Daddy is a tall, well-stocked-around-the-tummy man. I heard that back in his heyday he sported a nicely trimmed frame of six feet, two inches. That his hair used to be slicked back so perfectly there wasn’t a black woman in Lutts County that wasn’t dying to give it a coat or two of sweet brown sugar with the very tips of their hard-worked fingers.

His shoulders hang now sometimes, but that wasn’t always the case. No, it be said that when Charles Johnson used to walk down these dirt-filled roads, his shoulders stood towering with an air of confidence that one could breathe in from a mile away.
Once upon a time, it be rumored that his hazel brown eyes were fixed on singing his way out of Lutts County. They still talk about this fact in the rooms of their barely-able-to-stand homes, where they figure can’t nobody hear them but God. Whispering under the dim lights about how it is such a shame that he wasted his talent on a white woman.
There are nights when I would wonder what his voice must have sounded like. I would hear him humming sometimes, but I ain’t never heard the sound of butter flowing from his lips.
That’s what they say he sounded like.

Ballerinas..most little girls dream of being one but it’s not an easy dream to realize.  Did you want to be a ballerina?  What do you think of them?  One (1) lucky commenter will win an ecopy of BLUE BUTTERFLY.  Good Luck!

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There have been five black ballerinas that have made a noticeable mark in the world of ballet. Five that have fought to have the world see their talent rather than the color of their skin. Each has graced the stage as soloist and/or principal dancer. Precious Blue Johnson is set to become one of them. Precious Blue Johnson, young, country and naive, from Lutts County, Georgia, is traveling to the energizing city of New York to search for her birth father and perhaps make history by becoming the first black ballerina. Her simple mocha skin and thick lips will put her in the center of a movement, expose secrets and unlock the past as she steps onto the stage as the Blue Butterfly. She will be guided by the vivacious and wise Ms. Ann and fall in love with the alluring Ray Silvers. Ray brings the whole package. Enchanting eyes, a bright future as a doctor, and a willingness to love completely. To Precious, he is perfect. Except Ray’s package includes his deadly past. Will their love survive the one person who could end it all—his drug-addicted mother? 




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Clean Fiction novelist Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging and dramatic novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations and featured in print magazines and newspapers. She has also been a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations. Her titles, My Father’s Colors and Strings of Color both received the USA Best Book Finalist Award. What makes her books unique? Mrs. Thomas is a pioneer for clean fiction for contemporary female readers. She refuses to lace her work with explicit sexual themes or profanity. Ms. Thomas’ books are rich with ever-intriguing themes of race, family strife, love, courage, friendship and forgiveness. And yet her tales, which seem to pre-stage current tabloid headlines, are spelled out in ways that suit the delicate moral tastes of both the Christian Fiction reader and the Clean Fiction book reader. Ms. Thomas resides in a suburb of Georgia with her husband, family and dear friends.


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DESIRING LADY CARO and giveaway with Ella Quinn


Thank you so much for having me back on Manic Readers!
My new book, Desiring Lady Caro, book #4 in my series, The Marriage Game happens while my hero and heroine are on the move. Specifically traveling from Venice to Paris in Lord Huntley’s private coach.
Considering the distances covered in any one day range between 30 -50 miles, depending on all sorts of things, such as the condition of the roads, how long they must wait for their horses to be changed out and so on, it’s important to do something to keep busy. There are books, looking out the window, and conversation, as long as you like the other person, but what else would one do? The answer: Games.
We have traveling games now, but I really like the ones from the early 19th century. Here are a couple of examples.
Here is an excerpt of Caro and Huntley playing chess in the carriage.

“I’m sorry. I am not used to trusting.” She rubbed her forehead. “May we discuss something else?”
“Anything you wish.” He had a long road ahead of him before she’d allow herself to have enough faith in him to discuss the most crucial topic, the rape. Yet if he and Caro were to have any kind of marriage at all, they must talk about it, though now was obviously not the right time. One step at a time. After she was safe, he would broach the subject with her. “Would you care for a game of chess?”

She let out a breath and smiled. “Yes, the same rules as yesterday?”
“No, a bit different, I think.”

They whiled away the hours making extravagant bets. Caro moved her queen. “Checkmate,” she crowed happily. “I believe I now own your castle, my lord.”

Huntley gazed down at the board. She had him dead to rights. “I think you do. I’ve nothing more to wager.” The coached slowed. “Aha! My fortunes have turned.”

Caro laughed. “You’re lucky it’s time for new horses.”

They’d agreed that all their imaginary property would return to its owner and the slate would be wiped clean at each change.
“I wouldn’t gloat overmuch,” he retorted. “I seem to remember you were down to your last chicken the last time we stopped.”

He placed the game board on the seat beside him and, after jumping down, held out his hand.
Caro took it and, still unused to the travel, climbed stiffly out of the coach. “So I was. How quickly one forgets near poverty.”

What do you like to do on long trips?

Ella’s giving away an ecopy of DESIRING LADY CARO to one (1) lucky commenter who answers her question.  Giveaway ends @12am est 4-5-14.  Good luck!

   Barnes & Nobel and Amazon bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.  

She is married to her wonderful husband of twenty-nine years. They have a son and granddaughter, Great Dane and a Chartreux. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make St. Thomas, VI home.  

Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of American, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History. She is represented by Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, and published by Kensington. Her debut novel The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, released in September 2013  

Website: (Up soon)      Facebook     Twitter     Blog     

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AFTER LIFE LESSONS and zombie survival kit giveaway with Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering

Emily sits up straighter, moves her neck from side to side and mimes righting a tie she doesn’t wear. Then she grins.

Emily: Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Emily and I have a very, very special treat for you this evening — or I suppose whatever time of day you’re reading this. Lucky bastards, by the way, you have no idea how much I miss the internet.
Anyway, I’m a character in a book called After Life Lessons, which is about the journey of yours truly and two other pretty special people. And one of them, I get to interview today.
So, Aaron, why don’t you introduce yourself to these good people?

Aaron: Uh, well, hi. M’Aaron, another character from said book. Former medic for the US Army. Um… fan of baseball?

Emily: Okay, how about age, sign, marital status, favourite Beatles song, that kind of stuff?

Aaron: About 29. I’m a… Pisces, is that right? March 3rd. I’m, uh, not married, and my favorite Beatles song is A Little Help From My Friends. Admittedly, that’s the only one I can remember, though.

Emily nods, then consults an imaginary note pad.

Emily: In the book, you come in as the sweeping hero. Is that a role you would have cast yourself in?

Aaron: *laughs out loud* Sweeping hero? That is not what I woulda thought. I think it was more a lucky chance? For all of us.

Emily: True. I mean lucky, I didn’t shoot you. But still, you’re too modest, Sir. What I meant to ask was… when you’re in a story like this, suddenly tasked with protecting two people, that can’t have been easy and I thought maybe you could tell us a bit about that. In more than 3 short sentences, please.

Aaron: I think, over the years, I’ve spent enough time having to think of other people that it came natural– when you’re in the army, you’re not the only person you gotta remember, gotta protect. As a medic, my entire job was takin’ care of other people. I mean, it was a little different, picking up a girl– sorry, woman– and her kid, but I’ve never thought to do anything else but help. Wouldn’t be me otherwise.

Emily smiles and for a moment forgets about her interview when she reaches for his hand.

Emily: Here’s another question. People ask me this, and I never heard you answer it (which is figure is maybe sexist, or maybe I’m just nosy). When you first met us, what did you think of me?

Aaron: Wow, really? Damn, well… I… You were half-starved and kind of grubby and you… you’re really short, you know? I kinda thought you were a kid at first. Like a street urchin outta Dickens or something.

Emily giggles; it takes her a while to regain her composure.

Emily: Harsh, dude. Fair, but harsh. I mean we can’t all make it through the apocalypse looking all hunky and… stuff. Anyway. Next question, since we’re all honest right now: On a scale of 1 to 10, how frustrated were you with me throughout the book?

Aaron: I think it varies. You’re pretty stubborn, don’t know if you know, so I think I got frustrated with you more than I woulda liked. If we average them together, maybe a 6? I’m real patient, remember?

Emily: I do. No idea how you do it, though. Did you ever think we wouldn’t make it? I mean… either survival-wise or, you know, you and me?

Aaron: I did. A lot of the time, I really thought it was hopeless, that we were just kinda dog-paddling against a rising current. Life, you and me, too. I mean… man, this makes me sound like a dick. I think it was all really scary, and so you’d be an idiot to just be blindly optimistic.

Emily: You never really let it show though. I don’t know, you always seemed so certain.

Aaron: Army training, again. Also, I didn’t want to scare either of you.

Emily: You took on a lot. More than me. I think I still try to make up for that. Here’s one last question: What would you say to people who call me a Damsel in Distress?

Aaron: They obviously aren’t paying attention. I think I didn’t give you enough credit at the beginning, either, but the longer I was around you, the more obvious it was to me you were gonna survive, picked up by me or not. You have that way about you, you know? Like no one can tell you what to do, not even zombies.

Emily: Ha. They had a pretty good try, though. Alright, that’s it for today. Thank you so much for answering my questions, and for sharing them… and… any last words to the people out there?

Aaron: I dunno, I’m not real great at speaking. I guess, just… life’s kinda short, and stuff can go haywire easily. People should do more than they think ‘cause you can lose it outta nowhere.

Laila and L.C. are giving away Emily’s Zombie Survival kit pictured here. Enter via the rafflecopter below the picture.

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Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.

After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.

The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.

Available: April 8, 2014

 Format: E-book & Paperback (POD)

Genre: Post-Apoc Romance

Tags: Zombies, Survival, Dystopian, Romance, Road Adventure, Family Drama, Love Story, Gender Roles, New Adult, Adult

Warnings: Contains language some might find offensive, some gore and situations of a sexual nature.


L.C. and Laila met in 2010 on an online forum and have been inseparable ever since. Having supported each other in their individual writing projects for years, they finally decided to work more closely together in a cross-continental cooperative writing partnership. Together, they host the podcast Lilt and started their micropublishing venture Lilt Literary in 2013.

L.C. (generally known as Lorrie) lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, kids, and too many pets. Laila is a nerdy German translator, living in Cologne with her kitten and a lot of sparkly lights.

Lilt Literary links: Lilt Literary | Facebook | Twitter | Podcast

L.C.’s Links: Twitter | Facebook Goodreads Pinterest | Instagram Tumblr

Laila’s Links: Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Tumblr 

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