Guest Authors Blogging on Manic Readers!


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

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How Babylon 5 influenced the creation of The Scope series and “A 38 Day Education.”

38Day2
When I first set out to writing A 38 Day Education, my mission was that of making The Scope, a fictional newspaper based loosely on my own college newspaper, a character unto itself which could provide a sense of continuity for a story arc lasting several years – possibly up to a generation.
Now that I am fully into writing the finale of this series, Countdown to Eternity, I believe this mission is well on its way to being accomplished.
Strangely, I have one of my favorite science fiction series, Babylon 5, to thank for the inspiration for this arc. A 90s-era television drama, Babylon 5 redefined the whole concept of science fiction. For years, sci-fi had been the realm of Star Trek, Star Wars and myriad robo-action flicks, from Robocop, to Terminator, to Short Circuit. Despite being entertaining and often compelling stories, gimmickry was commonplace and, Star Wars and Star Trek aside, originality was often sorely lacking.
Then along came Babylon 5.
Never before had a television series taken on such an ambitious approach to storytelling; a time-limited, five year story arc which would have a definitive start and end. Never before had science-fiction explored, on television, concepts such as reincarnation, interstellar diplomacy, and the legends of ancient races considered god-like in such detail. It set the standard for future series (Star Trek: Enterprise), as well as some reboots (Battlestar Galactica).
How did J. Michael Straczynski succeed an arena in which so many others had failed? He did something remarkably unique – he reoriented the storytelling concept from an action-adventure style serial into a more soap opera-style model. Rather than using gimmicks to solve continuity problems, those gimmicks became conflicts themselves. One example, time-travel, was first used by Star Trek as a storytelling device, then frequently recycled, almost gimmick-like, to resolve continuity glitches. Babylon 5 did the reverse; in “Babylon Squared” and “War Without End, Parts 1&2,” rather than plot tool, time travel used almost as an antagonist itself; it was part and parcel to the conflict, rather than an actual means to a resolution.
Where this figures into my novel series is that the goal of my series is to redefine the way a media-based story is portrayed. Rather than take on the concept of a news anchor moonlighting in another job, a reporter turned superhero, or a radio host who is a psychiatrist or attorney by trade, The Scope series takes the newspaper itself and molds the characters to the organization, rather than mold the story to the character. While Jay Ferragamo, Anshana Davis, Layna Dearforth, Craig Johannson, Cassie Owinger, and the rest of the staff are central to the story, with The Scope newspaper itself is the true continuing character which experiences the story, with the staff expressing the will of the newspaper. Yet it is their lives which are affected by The Scope, and whose decisions actually allows for the newspaper’s evolution as a character.
The Scope series will redefine fiction set in the world of media by showing readers what life as a member of college media really is like – how some wash out and why, and the reason others excel and choose it as a passion. The mission of this series is not just to show the how of college media life, but why some journalists of today may have turned out as they have. Like Babylon 5, the characters each have their strengths and weaknesses. Jay’s reliance on his instinct and intuition is juxtaposed to his extreme insecurity and loneliness. Craig’s wisdom and experience is countered by his fiery disposition and near-plodding decision-making process. Anshana’s conservative politics are belied by her fear of being judged by not just fellow African-American students, but her family as well. Cassie Owinger and Layna Dearforth’s common strength, a gritty determination to tell the whole story, is often offset by the impulsive nature of their personalities, though Cassie is a bit more measured than Layna. While Andy Halston’s own laid-back attitude is offset by his somewhat indifferent attitude to important issues, it is his cohort, Kenny Strasburg, who experiences the truly relatable pain of the series, fighting a nascent battle with alcoholism while demonstrating a true desire to change his ways and attitude as the series progresses.
Even the antagonists are relatable. Dr. Earl Falconer, the President of South Central College, is a classic academic-turned-politician who is in over his head, and is frequently shown speaking out of both sides of his mouth. His successor, Dr. William J. Harting, will be revealed to be far, far worse, as well as egomaniacal. Danny Winters, President of Student Government, is a well-connected fraternity brother whose spine is weaker than the will he outwardly displays. His successor, Natasha Davidson, is a prototypical “old money” daughter in attitude and appearance, but whose family now must rely on their name for success rather than any real fortune, as the latter was destroyed in a long-running local legal dispute.
The Scope series will explore all sorts of issues, ranging from race relations to small-town politics, to the individual issues of lost love, depression, substance abuse, and bigotry. This series will be real as college can get, show the world was American university in the 1990s south was really like, and how, as the titles suggest, changes always rises, history always awaits, madness must be reflected upon, we must bid farewell to our memories at times and, in the end, it’s all about our countdown to our own personal eternity.
Like Babylon 5 was to science fiction, The Scope series is high literary risk, but the hope is that reading it will bring the reward of enlightenment and better understanding thanks to compelling stories with characters who personal twists and turns keep you turning the page.
Amazon

REBEL WING with Tracy Banghart

 High above the olive groves and blinding white roofs of the village, Aris danced. She twisted and
dove, guiding her wingjet straight out over granite cliffs and the glitter of the ocean. As she did,
she imagined its wings were her arms, reaching far out into the blue. Her fingers would knife
through a wisp of cloud, and the moisture would linger against her skin, like a kiss.
Her father wouldn’t approve of such thoughts. To him, flying was a practical pursuit, for
dusting crops or traveling from place to place. Their village was built high on carbonate stilts, so
wingjets were the easiest form of transportation unless you were working the land or hiking
down the steep paths leading to the narrow beach below the cliffs. Most everyone here could fly.
But no one flew like Aris did.
At least Calix understood what flying meant to her.
She pressed the pedals under her feet and twisted the hand controls, diving in a last tight
pirouette before nosing the tiny two-seat wingjet toward home.
A flicker of light caught at the edge of her vision. She glanced out to sea and steered the
wingjet in the direction of the movement.
Suddenly, the flash became a speeding wingjet. It hurtled toward her, its silver sides
reflecting the sun. Aris hovered just off shore, the beach a golden crescent beneath her, waiting
for the wingjet to change course or slow to land. Instead, it grew larger, advancing quickly.
Surely the flyer saw her? Her hands tightened on the controls. She moved farther from the cliff.
The other wingjet shifted too, keeping her directly in its path.
Aris nearly waited too long. She jerked the controls down, the force of the other wingjet’s

passage rattling the bones of her machine as she locked into a downward spiral. Heart beating
wildly, she waited until the last second before pulling up and skimming the water. Beneath her,
waves rolled from deep blue to white, ruffled by her jet wind.
The other flyer followed, matching her move for move. Her stomach twisted as the
wingjet drew up alongside, giving her a clear view of its needle nose and the Atalanta flag decal
stretched across its sloping tail. No solar panels curved above its wings like on her wingjet.
Instead the whole thing shimmered a silvery gold, the hallmark of new-tech solar material. Aris
had only ever seen Military wingjets on news vids, never up close.
What was it doing here, so far from the front lines of the war?
Without warning, the jet shot upward, piercing the cloudless sky like a shining arrow.
She slowed to watch its progress, waiting for it to disappear. But with a flash of reflected
sunlight, it dove again, straight for her.
What is he trying to prove? Her apprehension shifted to annoyance. She darted out from
under the jet and flipped through the air to face him. It had to be a him. All members of the
Military sector were male.
For a moment they hovered in a strange standoff. Then the other wingjet rocketed
forward, forcing her into a series of evasive spins and loops. At first Aris dipped and whirled
away in anger and frustration. But gradually, his movements lost their aggression and she relaxed
into the dance, pushing farther and twisting faster until it was suddenly her chasing him across
the sky. She, who flew the most intricate patterns, she who nipped at his jet wind, whooping as
she tumbled toward the flashing waves below.
Eventually, the other flyer slowed and headed back to the cliffs, tipping his wings in a
“follow me” gesture. She watched him land, her heart still hammering, then followed suit.

 

 Kirkus has called REBEL WING “reminiscent of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (2008)…part mystery, part romance, part sci-fi.” Banghart’s e-book beings as a story in which a young woman sacrificies her identity to fight for her homeland and the man she loves but quickly turns into an examination of gender roles and self-discovery as Aris is challenged both mentally and physically in the heat of a war zone. Eighteen-year-old Aris is heartbroken when her boyfriend is drafted into the military, as tradition forbids women from participating in combat. But Aris is an ace pilot, and this talent permits her entry into a secret search-and-rescue unit in which she must disguise her female identity. With each person she rescues, Aris finds she is discovering a little more of herself.

Award-winning author, army wife, and mom, Tracy Banghart has an MA in publishing and an unhealthy affection for cupcakes. Her quiet childhood led to a reading addiction, writing obsession, and several serious book boyfriends. Rebel Wing is her third novel.

Visit Tracy’s Website: http://www.tracybanghart.com
Follow Aimee on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tracythewriter

EVERY UGLY WORD with Aimee L. Salter

Chapter One
As the psychiatrist enters the room, he offers me a patronizing smile. I return it in kind.
He indicates for me to take a seat, then sinks into a worn leather chair, looking just like a
doctor should: graying hair, well-trimmed beard, and wire-rimmed glasses I suspect he doesn’t
actually need.
We face each other over a glossy, mahogany coffee table. While he flips through my file,
I scan the room. Shelves of creased paperbacks line the walls. The single window is framed by
subtle drapes. There are doilies under the table lamps and two doors on opposing walls. This
office resembles a living room—if I ignore the bars over the shatterproof windows. Kind of kills
the good-time vibe.
Doc clears his throat. I take a deep breath and turn back to him.
“How are you, Ashley?” His voice is too loud for the muted tones of the room—all
earthy browns and soft corners. The quietly ticking clock in the corner tells me it’s 9:34 a.m.
That gives me about five hours to prove I’m normal and get out of this place once and for all.
Five hours until her life goes to hell, if I don’t make it home in time. I focus on him, try to smile.
It’s already been a rough morning, but I can’t tell him that, not yet.
“I’m okay.” I shrug, then freeze. My stitches are only memory now, but searing pain
lights up along the hard, pink lines spiderwebbing across most of my upper body. I breathe and
wait for the jagged bolts to fade. My surgeon says I’m healing. But he forgot to mention that to
the layers of mangled nerve endings beneath my fractured skin.
“Pain?” Doc’s eyes snap to mine. The benign disinterest was an act. He is measuring me.
“It’s fine. I just moved wrong,” I say breezily.
My physical scars aren’t the reason I’m here. He can’t fix those. But he can help me by
letting me out. As head of this facility, no one leaves without his approval.
I mentally shake myself. He will let me out today. He must. If I can get home in time, I
can fix . . . everything.
Doc’s lips press together under his perfectly trimmed mustache. After a second he smiles
again.
“I see you brought your bag.”
The duffel bag my mother packed before dumping me here six months ago sits on the
floor like a well-trained dog, as ready to go as I am.
“Yes.”
“So you’re confident about today?”
“I’m confident that I’m not crazy.”
Doc’s smile twists up on one side. “You know we don’t use that word in here, Ashley.”
There are a lot of words they don’t use in here. See you later, for example.
I take another breath. Cold. Calm. Sane. “Sorry.”
He returns my stare, face blank. “I’m glad you feel confident. However, I do have
concerns.”
“Concerns?”
He smiles in a way I’m sure is meant to be reassuring. But when he sits that way, with the
overbright anticipation in his gaze, it kind of makes him look like a pedophile.
“Ashley . . . you’ve changed therapists three times during your stay. Do you know what I
think when I hear that?”
I think the question is rhetorical, but he waits, expectant.
“Um . . . no?”
He hasn’t looked away. “I think as soon as anyone gets close to the truth, you flee.”
I can’t break my gaze without confirming his suspicions. So I swallow and wait.
His calm is maddening.
When he speaks next, it’s in the cool tone of a professional shrink. “I’ve read your file,
spoken to your nurses, and been briefed by your therapists. Now I want to talk to you. About
this.”
He makes his way to a closet in the corner, then pulls out a massive full-length mirror. It
stands taller than I am, with a wrought-iron frame that is hinged in the middle, allowing it to
pivot. He rolls it in front of the shelves in the corner of the room, far enough behind me that I
can’t see into it without turning my head.
A kindness? Or a challenge?
Doc returns to his chair and I force myself to follow him, to keep my eyes away from the
glinting surface.
“I have a hunch if we examine whatever it is you see in the mirror, we’ll find the truth
about the rest, Ashley,” he says. “I’d like you to stand before it and tell me what you see.”
Panic lights up my veins. “What? Now?”
Doc raises a brow. “Unless you have a better idea?”
I don’t. I’d expected this session to be like all the others—a glib exploration of my past,
patronizing questions about my psyche, along with self-congratulatory compliments when I
make a “breakthrough.” I was prepared to do whatever it took to get out of here by 2:30, but I
can’t look in that mirror—not now.

What if she’s there? She won’t understand why I’m ignoring her. She’s been through
enough today already. We both have. And breaking her heart is breaking mine.
“The mirror won’t make any sense without the rest of the story,” I say, trying to buy time.
If I can get him talking, show him how normal I am otherwise, maybe he’ll decide I don’t need
to look.
His face remains impassive, but his head tilts to the side just a hair. He’s onto me. “I
know the story you’ve fed your previous therapists. If there’s more, I’m willing to put the mirror
aside for a time—”
I slump with relief.
But he raises a single finger. “—if you tell me everything. There’s only one route to
getting my signature on your release forms, Ashley. And that’s it.”
His patience is a marble rolling along a slim edge, precariously balanced between hearing
me out and sending me back to that cell they call a bedroom.
Swallowing again, I try to make myself pitiful. I drop my head into my hands. “Okay,” I
breathe into my palms.
“Okay, what?”
“I’ll tell you the truth.” As much of it as I can, anyway. I’ll let him think he’s gotten
through where others failed. Hell, I’ll even consider what he has to say if it means he won’t make
me look in that mirror.
“Excellent.”
“So . . . where do you want me to begin?”
He crosses his leg over his knee, pulling up his pant leg slightly. “Nothing too dramatic.
Start with the night you planned to give Matt the letter.”
I feel the grin slide off my face. Nothing too dramatic. Right. I can’t help glancing
sideways at the mirror. Doc follows my gaze, and when he sees where I’m looking, he frowns.
For a moment the magnitude of what I’m trying to achieve is overwhelming. I cannot breathe.
But I force my muscles to loosen. I swallow my fear—and begin to speak.

 
Salter’s e-book draws on her past experiences as a bullied teen to create this truly gripping novel. Katie Sise, author of The Boyfriend App, called this “a gripping story…a chilling and heartbreaking debut with raw emotion searing every page.” This powerful story exemplifying just how deep scars from hateful acts can run has spurred an anti-hate movement, #StopTheHate. Join as individuals all over Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else spread the message to stop the hate, spread positivity, and promote a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying.

Aimee L. Salter writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you’re really thinking. And she’ll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn’t ask you about.

Visit Aimee’s Website: http://www.aimeelsalter.com

Like Aimee on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AimeeLSalter

Follow Aimee on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aimeelsalter

Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS

THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS is available now in HB, PB, & digital. Have you gotten your copy yet?  Amazon and B&N.

She begins life as a baby with “a face like a bowl of porridge . . . pale as a painted floor” (p. 2). She is to end it as a biologist of unique accomplishments, mentioned in the same breath with the great evolutionists Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin. In the more than eighty years in between, she will know extraordinary wealth and almost total deprivation. She will experience the heights of passion and the utter depths of loneliness. She will very nearly circle the globe in search of answers, both to scientific mysteries and to the inexplicable riddles of the human heart. She is Alma Whittaker, the heroine of Elizabeth Gilbert’s panoramic novelThe Signature of All Things, and she is one of the most memorable creations in the current generation of American fiction.

Alma is the only biological daughter of Henry Whittaker, an Englishman who has used every means within his grasp to rise from poverty to wrestle wealth from a scornful and resistant world. The ticket to Henry’s success has been an almost instinctive knowledge of plants, passed down to him by his own father, a master horticulturist at the court of King George III. Unlike his threadbare father, Henry has learned how to make plants pay; he comes to dominate the market for the trees used to produce quinine and becomes the wealthiest man in his adopted home of Philadelphia. Alma inherits her father’s fascination with botany, as well as his love of argument and confrontation, but she also has what he does not have: an unquenchable sense of wonder and a zeal for knowledge that is driven not by the love of profit, but by the love of life and all that makes it function. Lonely and misunderstood, but also brilliant and intensely curious, Alma studies the humblest forms of plant life, unwittingly embarking on a path of inquiry that will lead her to the darkest mysteries of evolutionary theory. On the way, she falls in love with Ambrose Pike, a uniquely gifted artist whose airy idealism and spiritual light attract her like a moth to a flame. Body clashes with spirit and science intertwines with religion as the two unlikely lovers journey, together and apart, toward their strange and improbable destinies.

Brilliantly researched and lovingly crafted by the internationally renowned author of Eat, Pray, Love, The Signature of All Things carries the reader breathlessly across the globe. The novel also covers equally vast spaces in human consciousness, ranging from the coolly rational to the pitiably insane. It is a work of extraordinary faith and of deep scientific reflection. Perhaps above all, it is the story of an irrepressible woman, determined to satisfy her most powerful urges toward both love and knowledge. A novel immersed in all the great questions of the nineteenth century, The Signature of All Things is also very much a novel for our times-and for all time.

signature of all things

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Elizabeth Gilbert grew up on a family Christmas-tree farm and went on to study political science at New York University. Her first book, a short-story collection titledPilgrims, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her first novel, Stern Men, was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her first nonfiction book, The Last American Man, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Gilbert achieved superstardom with her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which has sold more than ten million copies. Her follow-up memoir, Committed, also topped the New York Times bestseller list. Gilbert lives in Frenchtown, New Jersey.

Catching up with Xavier Axelson

What have you been up to since we saw you last?
Mayhem, chaos and creation…in that order. I’ve been recovering from a nasty shoulder injury (rotator cuff tear) and writing as much as I can.

I really enjoyed your interviews at The Examiner ((did I remember right?). What happened to those & will you be resuming them? Actually I gave the Examiner column up because of my shoulder injury/surgery…I just couldnt write and they need a certain amount of columns per month and I was out of commission for three months, so…bye bye. I’ve been thinking about picking it up again but in the end everything not writing or contributing to my passion for fiction is a distraction and I have enough of those already…

What’s your latest & greatest? My werewolf novella, Lily has been reissued with a fresh coat of paint and some extended scenes and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to Seventh Window Publications for bringing Lily back. It’s even better that I remember.

What’s coming up for you in the near future? Latest WIP & can you share any details? It’s funny, I’m shocked at how much I actually wrote during my year of shoulder drama. I have three anthologies coming out each with a new story by me, and also the first in an epic dark fantasy/horror novel coming out in August…fingers crossed…or early fall (realistic) The anthologies include an erotic bear horror story, an Upstairs Downstairs themed erotic story, and a short story to be included in a best of Gay Erotica anthology.
lily

Visit Xavier

Seventh Window

Amazon

 

John Guzzardo on Bob Hoskins and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Hello, fellow Manic Readers!

I am pleased and privileged to be contributing to this great website as a Guest Blogger. You will be seeing my work on Saturdays, and it will be focusing mainly on the world of cartoons, comics and stories. Without going too far into my background and boring you to tears, I wanted to get into a subject which few people have considered – the impact of the recently passed Bob Hoskins on American cinema with a groundbreaking movie that opened doors for creativity we now take for granted.

I am referring, of course, to that timeless piece of adult-themed silliness called Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

When Touchstone Pictures (a Disney-owned studio, by the way) took a flyer on this script in the 1980s, it was considered a super-high-risk endeavor, but not for the reason many people think. In the years prior, there had been many combinations of animation and live action that weres box office successes; The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Bednobs and Broomsticks, just to name a few. Mixing ink and paint with flesh and blood was nothing new. In fact, it was regarded by many critics as gimmickry aimed at kids with little, if any, genuine storyline. To be fair, Disney’s wheelhouse was family-children films, while Warner Brothers aimed for family films with a more mature approach.

Roger Rabbit was considered a reach for a reason – it was a sophisticated, character-centered storyline which somehow toed the line between kiddie-flick and adult comedy. While this was not unheard of, it had not been attempted on as grandiose a scale, and never using the beloved characters of Warner Bros, Disney, et al, all at once. These the characters were still widely seen in classic afternoon cartoons, and many of the jokes were distinctly adult in their punch, while some danced on the edge of good taste. After all, how many adult men did you who played “patty cake” with a redheaded animated bombshell who had a distinctly heard “bounce” in her step, among other anatomical locations?
Bob Hoskins’ performance as Detective Eddie Valiant took a script which was rather watered down (the New York Times review reported the novel itself to be far more sophisticated) and turned it into a groundbreaking piece of theatre. Hoskins created not one, but several characters who could be loved, hated and sympathized with simultaneously. His “interactions” with Roger were absolute gold, but it was the animated Jessica Rabbit who Hoskins created the sort of never-before-seen sexual tension between a real human being and conjuring of ink and paint. After all, she wasn’t bad, she was just “drawn that way.”

What Hoskins did for American cinema cannot be discounted. He took a plot device – the interaction between human and animated characters – and took it to another level. As great an actress she was, even Angela Lansbury’s performance in Bednobs couldn’t trump what Hoskins accomplished. For a couple of hours, he managed to do what no actor had yet done – allow our minds to believe he actually had an animated rabbit shoved down his pants.

He may always be remembered for his girlfriend’s classic retort “is that a rabbit in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me,” but Bob Hoskins’ contribution to American cinema, and that way we tell stories with fanciful characters, will always be so much more than that.

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret and giveaway with Ella Quinn

Thank you for welcoming me back to Maniac Readers! I’m here to tell you a little about my latest release, Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret, book #6 in, The Marriage Game.
As this book takes place in the West Indies, sailing would naturally be involved. I was in love with sailing long before I wrote this book, but although I knew how to sail, there was a great deal I had to learn about navigation. As some of you may know, every year I volunteer for the St. Thomas International Regatta. This is a several day event with sailors from all over the world. What better place to find help regarding a pesky detail about getting my characters from St. Thomas’s Charlotte Amalie harbor to Road Town, in the British West Indies, which as the crow flies is about three nautical miles. Bear in mind this story takes place in 1816. I did mention that to the sailors I sought help from. Despite that, the conversations went something like this:
Me: I’m writing a book set in 1816 and I need to sail from Charlotte Amalie to Road Town. What is the best route?
Sailor: Leave from the East End.
Me: Um, I can’t. It didn’t exist yet.
Sailor: Hmm, then you’ll have to motor.
Me: That would be nice, but engines hadn’t been invented.
Sailor: Are you sure you don’t want to change your date?
Me: I’m pretty much stuck with the year.
Sailor: In that case, you’ll have to sail toward the East End, go around St. John and approach Road Town from that direction.
Me: What’s that, about twelve hours if I can make six to eight knots?
Sailor: That should do it.
Well, at least the wind was at their backs on the return trip.
Have you ever sailed? If not, would you like to?
Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret

William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction…

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities…

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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) www.ellaquinnauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor

Twitter www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor

Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom

MIRRORED Book Blast and giveaway with Dalia Florea

NRCPHDALIAFLOREABANNER #MIRRORED @wnlbooktours

Read chapter one

Contest: One winner will received one autographed copy of Mirrored

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Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Romance

Recommended age group? 18 and up

Paperback: 152 pages

Publisher: Dalia Florea (February 17, 2014)

ISBN-10: 0615937446

ISBN-13: 978-0615937441

About The Author author_picture

Dalia Florea is a novelist and native New Yorker. Her debut book “Mirrored” recently reached the top 100 Best Sellers list in Women’s Detective Fiction and rated favorably on both Amazon and Goodreads. When she isn’t crafting suspenseful romance, Dalia enjoys solving Sudoku and cryptogram quotes, attending jazz concerts and visiting wineries. Dalia currently lives in Northern Virginia and is hard at work on her next two novels.

About The Book

mirroredcover The body of a teenage girl murdered in the Lincoln Houses is just the beginning….. Investigative reporter, Nicole Watkins is assigned to the story, but when she comes face to face with homicide detective Andre Moore, she finds herself guarding more than just her sources. Shaken by the murder of a teenage girl, Detective Andre Moore must put his own emotions aside or risk not only his life, but that of the attractive reporter, but is he strong enough to ignore his growing attraction? Love is the last thing either is looking for but when the case brings them together, the complications of the murders only seem to intensify the attraction. But, is passion enough? Does love stand a chance in the midst of secrets and murder?

Excerpt Chapter One

It was springtime in New York City; however, I didn’t see as many of the beautiful flowering blooms of Azalea shrubs or the pink and white blooms of the dogwood trees as I did growing up in Charlotte, N.C. The air back home had the sweet aroma of honeysuckles and jasmines, but I still could feel that it was springtime in the air as I briskly walked down the sidewalks of lower Manhattan. The air wasn’t all that fresh above ground, but it sure beat the smell of urine in the subway station.

I stopped at a bagel shop to grab my usual breakfast of bagel with cream cheese and a coffee. I’d become such a regular that Luiz, the store clerk, who worked behind the counter already knew my order. He tapped in the amount I owed on the cash register and then handed me a bag containing my breakfast with a big grin on his face.

“How are you today, Luiz?” I asked. I should trip him up one day and order something different, I thought.

“Good, good,” he said as another customer approached, interrupting him before he got a chance to say more. I looked back to wave, but his attention was focused on helping customers that were starting to flow into the shop.

New York City was unlike any city that I’d ever been to. Tall buildings invading the sky, cars jammed in traffic with drivers honking their horns, the smell of food coming from street vendors, street hustlers trying to lure pedestrians to either play card games or to buy something that they were selling and crowded sidewalks where everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere or another. I’d moved there three years ago after my divorce from Michael.

As I sat at my desk going through my notes, preparing to go to the 23rd precinct in Harlem to interview detective Andre Moore, my boss, Ryan Blackman, poked his head inside my cubicle to see if I needed any help with the preparation to interview Detective Moore.

“Ms. Watkins, this is your first field assignment and I want to make sure that you are prepared for this interview, especially with the nature of the case. I want to make sure that you are able to handle the details,” he said as he tried to read my facial expression. “I can’t afford any fuck ups. I want to be the first to run this story and I need everything you can dig up on this one. I had to pull lots of strings to get you this interview. Don’t make me regret it,” he said firmly.

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 TOUR HOSTED BY WNL BOOK TOURS

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THE MAGICIAN'S LAND available today!

640-197x300Quentin Coldwater has lost everything. He has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams that he once ruled. Everything he had fought so hard for, not to mention his closest friends, is sealed away in a land Quentin may never again visit. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him. Meanwhile, the magical barriers that keep Fillory safe are failing, and barbarians from the north have invaded. Eliot and Janet, the rulers of Fillory, embark on a final quest to save their beloved world, only to discover a situation far more complex—and far more dire—than anyone had envisioned.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young magician with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. His new life takes him back to old haunts, like Antarctica and the Neitherlands, and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers buried secrets and hidden evils and ultimately the key to a sorcerous masterwork, a spell that could create a magical utopia. But all roads lead back to Fillory, where Quentin must face his fears and put things right or die trying.

The Magician’s Land is an intricate and fantastical thriller, and an epic of love and redemption that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnificent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.

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LEV GROSSMAN WILL BE TOURING TO:

Brooklyn, NY St. Joseph’s College / 7pm August 5

Sponsored by Greenlight Bookstore

New York, NY Barnes & Noble (Upper West Side) / 7pm August 6

Boston, MA Brookline Booksmith / 7pm August 7

Minneapolis, MN Club Book, Roseville Library / 7pm August 11

Houston, TX Murder by the Book / 6:30pm August 12

Los Angeles, CA Vroman’s / 7pm August 13

San Francisco, CA Rakestraw / 7pm August 14

San Francisco, CA Kepler’s / 7:30pm August 15

Chapel Hill, NC Flyleaf Books / 7pm August 28

Atlanta, GA Decatur Book Festival August 29 – 31

Dragon Con August 29 – 31

Winston-Salem, NC Bookmarks Festival September 6

www.us.penguingroup.com www.levgrossman.com

Lev Grossman is the book critic and lead technology writer for Time magazine and a widely published cultural critic. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Magicians and The Magician King. A graduate of Harvard and Yale, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children. You can learn more about Lev Grossman on his websitewww.levgrossman.com and follow him on Twitter @leverus.

J.D. Brown and ATHENA'S ORACLE Cover Reveal

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AO front cover yellow with blue tint 300Athena’s Oracle: An Heiloom Vampyres Novella

By J.D. Brown
Leena’s ‘gift of sight’ secures her place as the next great oracle of Athena. Instead of being groomed for wifehood like other girls, Leena spends her days within the walls of the Acropolis, shuffled around by the clergy and doomed to be a virgin forever. Before her ascension, Leena decides to take matters into her own hands. With the help of her father’s book of alchemy, she casts an incantation calling forth her own personal hero. But when that hero turns out to be a rogue vampyre prince with a haunted past, Leena begins to question if her feelings for him are the work of divine intervention, or a love spell gone horribly wrong.
Athena’s Oracle is a prequel to the novels Dark Heirloom and Dark Liaison, also by J.D. Brown. Set in 4th century B.C.E., Athena’s Oracle chronicles the romance between Leena and Jalmari during the very early trials of their immortal lives.

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About the Author: J.D. Brown knows that vampires exist because she’s dating one and no, he doesn’t sparkle. Unfortunately, he’s not immortal either (or maybe her standards are too low). A magnet for subcultures and weirdness, J.D. was that socially awkward girl with more fictional friends than real ones. As a child battling a hearing loss and a medical condition with no name, J.D. found comfort in books where strong women always saved the day and got the guy. An obsession with Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer led J.D. to believe that her mutated chromosome made her something more, not something less. Thus her stubborn flare to persevere was born. A lover of fine cuisine, coffee, and shoes, J.D. never understood why shoe stores don’t serve Starbucks and soufflé. She resides in Wisconsin were she writes urban fantasy—aka vampires for adults—and has political debates with her dogs. She loves to hear from fans and is active on http://Facebook.com/AuthorJDBrown

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