MINUS ONE the latest Drew Smith with Norwood Holland


Minus One the Drew Smith Series prequel takes us back when the attorney launches his legal career.  Before the ink is dry on his license to practice law Drew Smith finds himself at the center of a murder mystery.  The recent law school graduate works as a hotel concierge and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat and Julio.  Like the three musketeers they bond in a fraternal friendship put to the test when Medhat is kidnapped after running up a drug tab he can’t pay.  Rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat then becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders.  Driven by their romantic entanglements the attorney is captivated with a pretty Latina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio and his Filipina love find themselves expecting, and Medhat’s passion for blondes gets him snared in a femme fatale’s net. Minus One captures Drew Smith’s evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with seriousness of purpose.

MINUS ONE at Amazon


Chapter 1

Caught Red-Handed

HE OFFICERS WERE dispatched on a possible domestic dispute. They didn’t know what to expect when Mrs. Oliphant met the two at the elevator, one Latino the other African- American, both towering over the blue haired dowager. Nervous and animated, she spoke as rapidly as she stepped, guiding them to the apartment door.

“Are you related?” asked the stocky dark haired Latino. “No. I’m Carol’s next door neighbor. There was a fight and I heard the disturbance,” Mrs. Oliphant sighed and shook her head as though shaking off a secret annoyance. “Mind you, I don’t eavesdrop but I couldn’t help hearing—you know thin walls and vents carry conversations. This is her apartment.”

They stopped in front of the corner apartment at the end of the hall. “I have the key,” she said. Mrs. Oliphant’s tiny trembling liver spotted hand offered it up between the thumb and forefinger. With a nod the Latino urged her to open the door. “Hard to make sense of it all,” she continued her prattle fumbling to get the key in the keyhole, “I could only piece things together. She’s so distraught almost hysterical—it had to be something traumatic. I gave her a sedative.” She relaxed with the key finally in.

“Did you go in?” the Latino asked. He reached over her shoulder, turned the knob and pushed the door open. “No, she told me to call the police.” Mrs. Oliphant followed the two in.


Norwood Holland is a freelance writer, lawyer, and author of the Drew Smith legal thriller series based on the capers of an urban trial attorney.  He is a graduate of Howard University School of Law with a bachelor’s degree in English from Fisk University where he studied under the renowned Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps.  Holland favors D.C.’s local color in his fiction and currently writes the blog editorial independence.com devoted to promoting independent authors among other things.

He has served in several government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and a number of Washington’s top national law firms.  In the mid 90s Holland began freelancing for the local media.  Some of his credits include The Writer Magazine, the Examiner, and Black Literature Magazine.  Minus One follows up on the success of Sleepless Nights, the first in the Drew Smith Series.

Email: norwoodholland@aim.com






Small Towns Big Problems with Lynn Cahoon

Looking at the stories I’ve released this last year (The Bull Rider’s Brother, The Bull Rider’s Manager, A Member of the Council, and, last month, Temporary Roommates) they all have one thing in common – the setting is either a small town, or a designated neighborhood.

Marriage Not Included, my May 22nd release with Soul Mate publishing is no different.  Set in my old stomping grounds,Lauren, my heroine, lives on a farm where the closest neighbor is a half mile away. And yet, even with that much land separating homes, the sense of community she shares with her neighbors may even be stronger than a big city apartment building.

I love driving down the road and waving at passing cars, whether or not you knew the occupants.  I always wondered why my folks knew exactly where I’d been after school before I’d even arrived home. Once, I was in a car accident (I ran off the road into a pasture fence, my sister in law drove by, saw me talking to our local law enforcement guys, and drove out to the farm to get my parents who took over the conversation as soon as they got there.

So there are good and bad with life in a small town. Everyone knows your business. And figures they have a right to help or tell you what you’re doing wrong.  And it’s those quirky secondary characters that show up in my books, manning the local grocery store, or clerking at the bank.  They bring fun and life to the small town setting, making me glad I’m writing the story.

Manic readers, your turn, what do you like to find in your small town stories?  Or are you big city bound all the way?




Marriage Not Included

Lauren is headed back to school, this time not as a fun loving coed but to achieve her dream of turning the family farm into Idaho’s first Heritage Seed Center. Selling organic produce at the local farmers market, she meets Miles. After an unexpected act of kindness toward her daughter,Lauren agrees to one date.

As a VP and heir apparent to HN Seeds, the family business,Miles unknowingly holds the future of Lauren’s farm in his hands.Lauren’s looking for anything but a romance. She’s got too much on her plate to risk the distraction. But he plays the one card Lauren can’t resist, family. Miles needs Lauren and her daughter to feel at home. And Lauren needs Miles and his large extended family more than she knows. But can she forgive the one betrayal that would ruin all of her plans for the future?









Amazon author page

Soul Mate website 

BIO – LynnCahoonis a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters, modern cowboys, or hot doctors, sexy in scrubs. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want.  She blogs at her website.

Television Glomming with J.Kenner and CLAIM ME giveaway

In a recent conversation about various television shows, my editor for the Stark Trilogy (Release Me is now 12 weeks on the USA Today list and Claim Me is entering its fourth!!  But I digress …) told me about a relatively new show called The Americans. It is, she assured me, fantastic.  

Now, I don’t watch a ton of television.  I usually have a maximum of three shows that I’m following at once, and they’re often seasons ahead of me.  But we’ve been becoming less enamored with a few standbys (cough—Mad Men – cough) and wanted to try something new. (The other show I recently started watching is White Collar – a totally different feel, but also loads of fun!)

We’ve only just finished episode two of The Americans, but I am hooked!  Why?  For the same reasons that make any fiction compelling:  great characters and a great story.

Let’s start with the characters.  In this case, our hero and heroine are also an anti-hero and heroine.  They are, for all intents and purposes, the bad guys.  The KGB.  The spies who infiltrated during the Cold War (and can I just say – the eighties?  I mean, the sound track alone is a hoot!).  And yet less than two hours of air time in and I absolutely love these people.  I’m rooting for them and curious about what happens and on desperately curious about where they started and where they are going to go.  (And it doesn’t hurt that the more bad-ass of the two is the woman, though that tends to be a trend in my favorite shows.  I’m thinking of Alias and Buffy.)

As for the story, the individual plots that I’ve seen so far have been limited, but the overarching story just screams drama.  A secret war against deep-cover agents during a volatile time in history.  That’s going to be either awesome or cheesy.  So far, The Americans seems to be leaning toward awesome.

And the really cool thing:  there are still about a dozen episodes on iTunes that we haven’t watched.  Which means that I see a glom-fest ahead of me.  And, yes, I should be writing.  I mean, I actually owe my editor some pages.  I wonder if I can claim television glomming as an excuse?  Especially since she’s the one who turned me on to the show …


What’s your favorite television show?  Do you watch as episodes air, or do you glom a season after the fact?  

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Claim Me! (print for US winners, digital for international winners!) Giveaway ends @12 a.m. est May 31,2013 with winners announced shortly thereafter.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner has written over 40 books under multiple names including Julie Kenner and J.K. Beck.  Her newest release, CLAIM ME, is the second book in the bestselling Stark Trilogy, which began with RELEASE ME, a multi-week NYT and USA today bestseller, continues with CLAIM ME, and which will conclude in July with COMPLETE ME.




You can learn more about her at her website  or connect with her on Twitter (@juliekenner) or on Facebook.


In the Wild with Michele Drier

The other night I woke up about 5 a.m.I was a little disoriented because I’m not normally awake then and I lay there wondering what woke me.

I didn’t hear anything, but my cat suddenly jumped up on the bed and sat on my head, his signal for an empty food bowl. I tried to reason with him—mostly me saying, “No, go away” and him saying “Merow”—before heading to the laundry room where his food is.

As I rounded the kitchen door and flipped on the light, a large brown-gray animal streaked past me and headed through the cat door. I stood there in a tee shirt, without my contacts, my glasses on the bedside table, and screamed.

My first thought was “skunk”.  I have a multigenerational family of them living under my house and for sure I didn’t want to get sprayed in my own kitchen. The screaming woke me up enough to see the mask, as a probably 30-pound raccoon headed out the door.

I live in a city with almost half a million population, in a county of 1.5 million in California, with close to 38,000,000 people. We have just over 239 people per square mile compared to the country as a whole that averages 87 people per square mile. So generally speaking, it’s a pretty urban neighborhood and a settled one—my house is 60 years old.

But I forget sometimes that we’re newcomers. There was the Thanksgiving morning I saw the wild turkeys in my front yard. There are flocks of them that live near the rivers in the area and it’s not uncommon now days to see a group of ten to twenty patrolling the lawns of small office complexes. And I met the skunks, and their pal the opossum, when in a lapse of judgment I fed the cats on the porch.

This isn’t my first run-in with the wild. As a kid, I used to visit an aunt and uncle who lived on Twin Peaks in San Francisco and fed their neighborhood raccoons on the front deck, overlooking the whole bay.

One night, in a different house and a different city, my daughter and I came home from the movies and found a baby opossum frozen in terror on the inside sill of the front door. We never figured out how it got there and managed to avoid the cats. We swept him off and carried him to the overgrown jasmine in the side yard, where I figured his family lived because of the nocturnal rustling.

Pretty much, the wildlife and I have reached detente. They’re welcome to the whole outdoors, but I draw the line at in the house. The cat suffered most in this episode. He didn’t lie to me, his food bowl was empty, but now the cat door is closed at night and he has to use his litter box.

I’ve lived in rural areas of the state, including the Sierra Nevada foothills and the far North Coast so animals don’t frighten me, but there are some people who are much more urban than me.

One of them is the mother of a friend. The friend lives further up in the foothills and her mother is from downtown Oakland. On a recent visit, she yelled at my friend, “There’s a big animal in your yard!”

My friend looked out the window and said, “Mother, that’s just a deer,” at which point her mother said, “Well do something! Call it’s owner!”

In addition to writing, Michele is in the running for the President of the Guppies, a subgroup of the National Sisters in Crime. These Guppies aren’t fish—the name stems from The Great Unpublished, a mixture of unpublished and recently published mystery writers.



Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review is available at Amazon. She’s working on the second book in the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries, Labeled for Death, out in spring 2013.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook, paperback and audible at ebook retailers.  All have received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild. SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story and Danube: A Tale of Murder are available singly and in a boxed set at Amazon, B&N and Kobo. The fifth book, SNAP: Love for Blood rated 5 stars, is now out. She’s writing SNAP: Happily Ever After? for release in summer 2013 and a seventh book in late fall 2013.

Visit her website or facebook page,  or her Amazon author page,


THE LAST TIME and Elodie Parkes with giveaway


Just a little about me to let your readers know who I am.

I live in rural England, United Kingdom and I work in an antiques shop as well as writing. I have two dogs that keep me fit with their need for walks. Love the countryside and the coast.

I write romance, contemporary, and erotic with a twist of mystery, suspense, or the paranormal, now and then. I like to make the story unusual in some way, by a quirk in the tale.

I started writing when I was seventeen. Life intervened in my writing time and I stopped serious writing for some time. I started writing again seriously a couple of years ago, because I had so many stories in my head.

I write contemporary, erotic romance, and sometimes even in the middle of writing the steamiest scene, I will suddenly realize something is not quite right and it will have me grinning.

Take my new release, The Last Time. I have to smile at the journey made to the principal characters’ names, and quietly wonder if anyone will notice what I am about to spill the beans on to you readers here.

The two characters that fall in love were originally called Anna and Graeme. Then a very well-known trilogy used the name Anna and her beau was called ‘Mr.Gray’, and I decided I couldn’t possibly let my characters have those names.

I considered new names for a week, unable to write until I had my darlings re-named.

I came up with Seth and Bethany, and her brother would be Jake.

I settled to write and wrote happily for a few days until…. wham…in the middle of a love scene steaming up the screen of my laptop, I suddenly realized Seth was calling Bethany, ‘Beth’ and she naturally was calling him, Seth. That didn’t seem right…Beth and Seth?

I went on a rampage through baby name websites looking for names I liked for these characters as much as Seth and Bethany and then…exhausted and out of chocolate biscuits I decided Seth wouldn’t ever shorten his loved one’s name. It would always be Bethany, and even her brother would stay with Bethany.

Hallelujah for MS Word, as only a few minutes later I could once more let my sweethearts fall in love on the page.

The book is a love story, with threads of mystery. It is also supposed to be a fun and sometimes wistful look at what people do for love. How it sometimes drives them to things they would not normally do.

The Last Time, published by Eternal Press.

Actor Seth Carbery swears he will never fall in love again, that is until he meets private detective Bethany Snow.

Something strange is going on. Seth and other members of the movie cast and crew are receiving threatening letters, but no threat has ever been carried out… yet. Bethany Snow is sent on location by the Black Agency to investigate, and guard Seth Carbery against danger.

The case is not what it first seems and even when Bethany thinks it could be over, a new twist means she becomes a target.

Seth and Bethany find they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Who is sending the letters and why? DoesSethhave a secret admirer or stalker?

With steamy romance, graphic love scenes, and a quirky story of what people do for love this erotic romance is for adults only.



“We have webcams up and the program we use can be set to watch nighttime activity.” She said softly, looking at his perfectly kissable lips.

Seth’s eyes had darkened at her and his gaze was dreamy.

“You’re kidding, what if a cat walked by?” He moved slightly closer to her as they stood by the table.

“Oh the heat signature wouldn’t register enough to set the alarm off” she answered, and she leaned slightly towards him.

Sethlooked a little amused. “So I can’t go anywhere at night without you bursting out of your trailer? You do know I work far into the night sometimes?”

He was very close, andBethanywondered how she could keep her hands off him.

“We wouldn’t have that part of the program set at those times. I can explain everything to you some other time. Right now it’s very late, and you have to be on set tomorrow. I’d better go.”


Sethdidn’t want her to go. He was desperate to kiss her. He looked into her blue eyes, and then at her lovely mouth and creamy skin with its sprinkle of freckles. He reached out a hand and gently held her face.

“It’s already tomorrow,” he said, and he kissed her.


Find Elodie online:

where you can read lots of snippets from my erotic romance novels, meet other authors and read snippets from their books.

Elodie on FB


Goodreads Blog


Manic Readers

The Romance Reviews



Find Elodie’s books:

Millie reinvented

Millie reinvented Amazon UK

Two of Them

Two of Them Amazon UK

 The Horoscope Writer

The Horoscope Writer Amazon UK

A Celtic Tapestry

A Celtic Tapestry Amazon UK

A Celtic Tapestry Amazon Ca

A Celtic Tapestry Kobo


Barnes & Noble



They are available on Apple iBooks

Enter the rafflecopter draw to win $25 US, or £25 GB Amazon gift card and an ebook basket, of all five of Elodie’s erotic romance books released to date.

Millie Reinvented, Two of them,The Horoscope Writer,  A Celtic Tapestry in which Elodie has a short, The Picnic, and The Last Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please consider sharing news of this event. No request within ‘Rafflecopter’ is mandatory, please don’t forget to give a valid email address there, so that we can notify the winner.

The prize winner will be announced on June 1 on this blog, Facebook, and twitter. The prize winner will be emailed to let them know.

STARE ME DOWN with Riley Murphy



A Dom stuck in anger management classes meets his match in his court appointed therapist. Their attraction is off the charts. Unfortunately though, the timing is bad for both of them. Or at least it is until he discovers his little vanilla doll isn’t vanilla at all. Then it’s a matter of timing be damned. He can’t keep his hands off her. A definite problem as she has a past to deal with and he has a goal to seize. So when the present rears its ugly head they are both blindsided. Now they’re forced to stare each other down if they hope to have any chance of a future together.


Riley at Ellora’s Cave

OVER THE EDGE with Suzanne Carroll

Love that you own a purple feather boa…Do you actually wear it?  In public?

Yes, I do! Sort of. But not in public.  I used to wear it for playing dress ups and tea parties with my daughter, but she’s a bit older now so it’s actually been a while since the purple feather boa has made an appearance. Maybe I should get it out again…

Please tell us about abseiling down cliffs, at night no less.  Don’t think I could do that, I’ve developed a thing about heights since having children.

Ah, the abseiling.  My husband introduced me to abseiling, and it’s great, once you can convince yourself to step backwards off a cliff.  The nighttime abseil was quite an experience.  There was a group of us and we decided to descend North Head.  The cliffs there overlook the sea and Sydney Harbour. We started at dusk  and it was dark by the time we all got to the rock platform at the bottom.  It was fantastic, watching the day fade into black over the harbor, but it was windy, and halfway down the cliff my hair blew into the device and got stuck. Not fun. For a few moments we thought we’d have to cut my hair out, but my husband managed to untangle me.  The scariest part of the whole thing, really, was climbing back up the cliffs in the dark afterward.

Did you always want to write?

Always.  I wrote my first story when I was seven and I was hooked. 

Is everything plotted out or do you go with the flow?

Bit of both really.  I start out with an idea, a couple of key plot points, but the story often shifts and changes as I write.

A bit about THE THUNDERSTORM, please.

The Thunderstorm is a short story about love lost and love rediscovered. And the lengths someone will go to find that special person again.

The Thunderstorm came about when I was contacted by AudioGo to take part in a writing contest. There were five authors involved and the brief was to write a Young Adult romance of 5000 words, with the theme of Lost and Found.  It was harder than I thought it would be, trying to fit a story into 5000 words, and in this case it was the story’s ending that came first.  I could see the final scene in my head so clearly and I sort of worked backwards from there. 

Why Young Adult or whatever they’re calling it now?

In the case of The Thunderstorm it was just part of the brief for the competition.

About OVER THE EDGE, please.

Where to start.  I say that Over the Edge is a romance with a laugh.  And it is.  But it’s also about Zoe’s journey.  She’s got this idea that she should be living a particular life, following a particular plan, but when she tries to fit the pattern it’s just one disaster after another.  And Angus is always there.  He has his own issues.  His heart is guarded, but Zoe becomes a chink in his armour and we see glimpses of his vulnerability as the story goes on. Their friendship grows, slowly becoming something more, but Zoe is still trying to follow her plan…

So, Over the Edge is about Zoe’s journey and where it takes her, with Angus, humour and romance weaving their way through that journey. 

Is there another genre you’d like to try?

Sometimes I think an historical romance would be fun to write.  And I’ve had an idea for a “mystery”, too.

Do you think you’ll stick with contemporary romance, YA, or bounce between the two?

Most of my ideas revolve around contemporary romance. I have no plans for more YA at the moment, but it could happen.

Is there anything you have to have to get your creative juices flowing?

No, not really.  Nothing specific comes to mind. That sounds so boring, doesn’t it?  Although, looking through Pinterest has been known to spark something, lol.  Some of those photos are amazing and I can sometimes see stories in them.

We had to do that in English once. We were shown pictures and had to choose one to write a poem or short story about.

Do you listen to music while writing or do you prefer silence or white noise?

Silence.  I can’t listen to music when I write because I get too distracted.  I start dancing in my chair and singing along and nothing gets written.

Is there a WIP you can tell all the Manic Readers out there about?

I’m currently fleshing out an idea that I’m pretty excited about.  It’s another romance, set in Australia and the UK, but there’s a bit of a twist. We’ll see what happens with that.

Love twists..:)

Anything you’d like readers to know?

I love pasta. And port.  I have a thing about  lighthouses – I love them.  I get equally nervous and excited about people seeing my work, but mostly, I just really hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. 

Thank you,Suzanne, for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit Manic Readers.

I’ve enjoyed it.

Thank you so much for having me, it’s been fun 🙂 

In six weeks Zoe Harper will marry Dan Costi in an over-the-top Sydney society wedding, complete with fire-eaters and belly dancers. But when she receives an unexpected gift from her future mother-in-law, Zoe realizes she’s making a huge mistake. In a blazing sidewalk argument, she breaks up with her fiancé, and his mother—who has joined the fight via conference call.

Following the advice of friends and co-workers, along with some inspiration from late-night-television self-help guru Dr. Pam, Zoe sets out to find the life she thinks she should be living. Always a planner, she makes a list of goals: travel, career, tattoos, and no romantic entanglements. It’s all carefully laid out, until she meets Angus Creed.

Angus is supposed to lead the opening waltz at a charity ball in New York City. Only problem is the handsome billionaire construction magnate with the tabloid past can’t dance. Not one step.

Tainted by gossip and with a well-publicized failed engagement behind him, Angus has become a master at keeping an emotional distance. Until he meets Zoe.

What starts as dancing lessons, slowly becomes something more. Angus begins to let down his guard and open his heart, even when his past makes an unexpected and unwelcome return. As Zoe discovers the real man behind the headlines, she questions where her new choices are taking her. Her goals look good on paper, but are they what she really wants? And by the time she realizes where her heart lies, will it be too late?

My review of OVER THE EDGE  for those who may be interested.

Buy @ The Writer’s Coffeeshop


Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband and children.  By day she works in an office where she sneakily scribbles plot ideas on yellow sticky notes and hopes they don’t accidentally end up on the departmental monthly report.

One such sticky note has turned into her first novel, Over the Edge.

Suzanne on Goodreads



Australian Fiction Outback Style and giveaway with Alissa Callen

Australia and America might occupy different hemispheres, but their history, at times, went hand in hand. Whether someone lived in the Old West or the outback, their experiences were often similar. It was just the frontier that differed. In many parts of Australia today men and women continue to carve out a life in a beautiful and often harsh land. It is the stories of these men and women that are celebrated in a booming Australian genre called ‘rural fiction’ or ‘rural romance.’

I’m lucky enough to write in such a genre as well as live on a small slice of Australia at the gateway to the outback. Inspiration for my stories surrounds me, whether it is the brown snake stealing water from the dog bowl, the sun setting over the cattle yards or the resilience of bush communities in times of drought, flood or … fire.

Summer here is often scorching and this year the fire risk has been high. In January we discovered what pioneers would have learned very quickly, that humans can be powerless against Mother Nature. A bush fire consumed what little cattle feed we had left and threatened our farm house. But thanks to local volunteers and the fire brigade the only thing we lost were fence posts.


While the outback can deliver many trials it also is a place of great beauty. The vivid colours, the sense of space and the timelessness of the rugged landscape all combine to make it a special area. So special, in fact, that my heroine in Beneath Outback Skies puts her life on hold to save her historic ranch from a never ending drought.

Paige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her wheelchair-bound father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile. Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions… It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs.


Despite Australia and America being hemispheres apart they share a common denominator of generations making a life in a beautiful but sometimes inhospitable land. In the homegrown Australian genre of rural fiction the lives of such men and women, their struggles and their joys, are captured on every page. And with the digital-wave of eBooks such stories can be read and enjoyed no matter what hemisphere you may live in.


@Random House

Alissa is graciously giving away a kindle copy of What Love Sounds Like to one lucky commenter. Australian rural fiction often contains horses and dogs as they are part of life on the land.  Beneath Outback Skies features a pony called Gidget and a blue-heeler puppy called Bundy. What is your favourite name for a pet ( any sort)?  Giveaway ends @12am est May 15, 2013 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good luck! 

Outback speech pathologist, Mia Windsor, believes her morning from hell is over. Then suited-up, city-boy Kade Reid strides into her office and announces he and his wide-eyed niece are the clients that she will be living with for the fortnight.

Kade Reid adheres to a single edict — money is as important as breathing. But when he becomes an instant father to four-year-old Tilly, he escapes to the only place he was allowed to be a child…the family property of Berrilea.
As Mia and Kade work together to help Tilly overcome her speech delay, can they face their fears in order to give Tilly the family she so desperately needs?


@Escape Publishing 







Face book page


List of other rural fiction authors and books.

From Lit Snob to Genre Fan with Kate Belle

‘…there’s a lot to learn from genre fiction.’

Like you, I love to read. Before I started writing seriously my reading tastes were selective, particular even, and very much focused on the literary. I’d even go so far to admit I was one of those deplorable literary snobs. (Actually, I’m not sure that part of me is yet dead – I think it’s just dormant).

Then, as I joined writing courses and groups, I realised two things. There are many excellent non-literary books out there worth reading and, more importantly, my reading choices were limiting my writing ability. I also realised that there are many literary books that weren’t worth my time, no matter how the literary elite heralded their apparent value (mostly because I didn’t have a hope in hell of understanding them).

Part of learning to write was learning to read more widely. The experience of workshopping forced me to read more commercial types of work and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. I developed friendships with other writers who wrote in genres I simply wouldn’t have bothered with previously and they exposed me to new writers and books.

I started reading review blogs and writers’ blogs and exploring the ‘commercial fiction’ shelves of the second hand bookshops and discovered there was a lot to learn from genre fiction. Pacing, rounded characterisation, building a compelling plot and the power of simple words. All these things exist in good literary fiction too, of course, but there is a drama to the commercial fiction genre that just grabbed me. Perhaps it’s my Leo personality, but I just love an ‘OH MY GOD’ moment when I’m reading.

Then my first publishing opportunity arrived. For commercial erotic fiction. I knew I could do it because I understood now what commercial fiction readers wanted from their books. So, without hesitation, I prepared a proposal for my agent and submitted it. Within a week she rang to tell me it had been accepted. I had my first publishing contract with Random House’s new digital imprint, Random Romance.

If I’d stuck to my snobbish literary ways, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to try my hand at writing romance. It was a genre I was previously very ambivalent and a bit cynical about. But my years of exposure to different genres had paid off in spades. I loved creating these stories, loved writing them, and really enjoyed knowing where they would end (I’ve always had problems with writing endings).

While I still tend to buy literary types of work for my personal bookshelves, I don’t stick my nose in the air when it comes to commercial fiction. I appreciate that writing quality genre fiction is a worthy pursuit with its own challenges and benefits. And it’s nice to know I can no longer be labelled a snob.


Breaking the Rules: Grace is a beautiful woman in complete control of her world. A long time ago she chose a career over children and marriage, and has never regretted it. Then Ramon Mendez walks into her office. Ramon is about to commence his PhD, a work on erotic literature, and from the outset there is something about him that makes Grace’s blood run hot. Aware of the need to maintain her professional reputation, she rejects his advances, but he persists. And during their intimate supervision sessions, her defenses start to crumble, for Ramon’s work is exposing desires within Grace she never knew existed.

Read a sample chapter.

Breaking the Rules: iTunes & Amazon.


Bloom: Thirty-six-year-old Emma’s life looks as perfect as could be. She loves her solid, straight-laced husband Gary, who has given her three beautiful, if spoilt, children and a secure life. But something is missing. Gary hardly notices her anymore and she feels frumpy and invisible. Her friend, Lisa, talks her into joining a social boot camp class at the local gym. Emma immediately recognises their instructor as the gorgeous runner she sees each evening while walking her dog in the park. He introduces himself as Ramon Mendez. In spite of herself Emma is besotted.

Before long her mind is filled with guilty fantasies of him. One evening, when things at home have become too much to bear, she bumps into him alone in the park. An opportunity presents itself and no one need ever know. Ramon promises and delivers everything that’s missing from her marriage – passion, romance and excitement – but Emma must discover if they are the things she really wants.

Read a sample chapter.

Bloom: iTunes & Amazon 



Kate is a woman of many passions who juggles her pens with the rest of her life. She holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternized with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Kate lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter, and a menagerie of neurotic pets.



Twitter: @ecstasyfiles 

SAFE IN HIS ARMS with Billi Jean

Today, the second book in my contemporary series, Safe in His Arms goes up at Total-E-Bound. I can’t really express in words how thrilled I am about Mac and Mandy’s story. The Love’s Command series started with Running Scared back in August of 2012, but the reality is, I wrote the story at my mom’s house out in Arizona almost a year before the release date. So, this second story seems to have taken forever to get from my fingertips to your eyes!

Running Scared was my first attempt at writing contemporary without the freedom I find in my paranormal and fantasy worlds. Still, any sort of writing for me – outside of college research papers (gah) – sets my imagination on fire. In Running Scared I discovered that there were two more stories, possibly four, simmering up from the adventure Lacey and Russell started.

Mac, introduced as Wolf in Running Scared, even pushed his story forward with Lacey, demanding to know where Mandy was living and so on. J You might say he’s a tiny bit upset with Mandy for disappearing, but I’m not going to give anything away here, you’ll simply have to go out and find Safe in His Arms today to learn more about Mac the sexy SEAL and the woman, Mandy, that completes him!

I will, though, share this little snippet since I’m just as in love with these two characters as I was with Russell and Lacey …..


“Repeat that?”

Mandy stared up at Mac, not quite believing what he’d just said. The roar of the wind coming in from the open helicopter door made it insane. She could barely breathe, let alone hear Mac even if he was right in her face.

He grimaced and pulled her by her shoulders until he could yell in her ear.

“You heard me, sugar, up, now. The ‘copter’s going down.”

He released her and unbuckled her safety harness before she could stop him. Hauled to her feet, she grabbed his arm and tugged at his uniform only managing to get a glance down from him.

“I— We can’t— I mean, where are we?”

A sudden shudder rocked her into him just as a loud explosion roared through the cabin. Mac hauled her in tight against him and forced a pack on her back.

“We have to jump. Feet pointed down. Straight down or you’ll break your legs. Feet down, arms crossed and stay the fuck near me.”

“What! No, no, Mac, I can’t!”

Rapid rat-a-tats hit the side of the ‘copter and she screamed as they started to spin in a circle. From her peripheral, she saw Tad’s head slump forward. Mac dived for the front and she swallowed to keep from throwing up while trying to keep an eye on Mac struggling with Tad. For several tense seconds she thought she might be pulled from the plane by the sheer momentum of their spin, but somehow Mac and Tad got the ‘copter flying right again. Mac stayed up front a bit longer, but turned back to her with a look so frighteningly intense she felt tears rush her eyes.

They were going to die and she’d never even told Mac she loved him.

Mac pushed her back down in her seat and grabbed the side of the ‘copter and leaned out so far she had to close her eyes. That only made it worse. She quickly opened them to see Mac bring his rifle up, take aim, and fire. His big shoulders barely moved with the kick. He let go of several more rounds, his face tight with such deadly concentration she shivered. After two more shots, he pushed away from the opening with one hand. This was what he’d not wanted her to see. Him killing. She knew it like she knew she’d never survive if he was taken from her.

An explosion louder than before sounded above the whirl of the Hawk’s engines and the wind whipping through the cabin. She grabbed the straps above her head as they rocked back and forth like some crazy kid’s beach toy.

Mac turned and slung the rifle strap over his shoulder, grabbed her hand, and jerked her up against him. Her legs felt like noodles. She shuddered uncontrollably and couldn’t stop a small laugh from bursting from her numb lips when he said, “They’re gone. We jump. Now.”

He was serious. “But the… Oh, God, oh, God, can’t you simply fix…? I mean, Mac, we can’t leave Tad! He’s—”

“He’s dead.”

Dead? She shook her head, tears burning her eyes. Tad dead? But he’d been there, right there… Mac reached up and caught her face in his hands.

“Sugar, I can’t fix this. It’s going to crash and we’re not going with it,” he yelled. “I rigged it so it will fly on its own far enough away from us to not come down on our heads, but it’s going down.”

She tried hard to stop the flood of tears spilling over but she could feel them wetting her face. The wind rushed in, chilling her through her layers of gear, but her face felt flushed and too warm. Mac grimaced and brushed at her face.  “Just stay close, point those feet and stay alive. If I thought you couldn’t do this, I’d not make you.”

She shook her head. She couldn’t do this. Her stomach lurched to her throat. The helicopter dipped and shuddered, but he tugged her upright and to the open doorway. What looked like deep, dark ocean spread out beneath them like some kind of creepy Jaws movie.

“I can’t do this! I can’t jump out of this. Oh, God this is crazy!”

Her wail was met with a ‘don’t fuck with me’ look she absolutely hated. Reaction set in and her body began to shake like Jell-O. The ‘copter dipped again and he braced them both against the side, one arm tight around her, plastering her from head to toe to his bigger, stronger body. The open door bit into her back. Sweat dripped down her spine and ribs. A chill rushed her immediately followed by heat like she’d caught a fever. He was serious. So serious she knew, if she didn’t jump, he’d simply push her out the open door.

She looked down and regretted it instantly.

“We have to jump. Now, before it’s too late.”

She met his hazel eyes and tried hard to focus. “I—”

“If you open your mouth to say you can’t, I’m going to spank you.”

She smacked his chest light enough but it hurt her hand on the straps he had across his chest. “Stop! Please, Mac. This is serious! I’m not a SEAL! Why can’t—?”

“Mandy.” He finally turned serious and gripped her shoulders to hold her still. Had she been trying to get away? “Listen, we have to do this. Any lower and we won’t make the fall. Tad is gone. Now, think, sugar. We can do this.”

She glanced away from his determined stare. The wind whipped so loudly through the open door, they were yelling at each other. Her throat hurt. Breathing was getting harder and if she didn’t get a grip she was going to black out, but she looked back up at him.

He grinned and nodded tightly. One big arm hauled her hard to him and he pressed his face to hers. “I’ll get us out of this. Trust me.”

She wanted to smack him again and cry into his broad chest all at the same time. Instead, she simply held on tight to his warmth.

“I trust you.”

There was blood on his shirt and he smelt like gunpowder, she realised. The next instant he set her aside, but held her hand as he leaned out of the open door. Her stomach nosedived to her toes and she laughed.

“Oh, God, I never meant it when I said I wanted to dive out of an aircraft.”

He grinned and kissed her hard and fast. Releasing her mouth, he took her hand and pulled her tight. “I’m sorry, baby. We drop, keep your arms crossed like this, feet down. The floatation I have on you will bring you back up.”

Gathering her nerve, she let him pull her closer to the open doorway and immediately backed up into him at the sight of the water below her. “But the water is right there!”

“It has to be,” he yelled in her ear. His rough whiskers brushed against her skin, making this so real she couldn’t pretend she’d wake up from this nightmare. “We need much closer. Wait for my signal.”

Closer? The water looked like it was rushing up to them. Whatever he’d done with the ‘copter, it wasn’t nosediving but it was going at an angle and that angle was bringing them closer and closer to the blue ocean. Eyes stinging from the wind, she tried to keep his instructions in mind.

“We jump on three. You will be right in front of me. As soon as you surface, you find me. See those islands? We make for those.”

Islands. Oh my God. Her whole body shuddered.

“Survive, sugar. Just jump like you’re at a pool.”

“Okay,” she managed, trusting him more than anyone else in this world.

“Now, one, two, three!” He shoved her out and she screamed.



Billi on Amazon

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DOWN BY CONTACT Seattle Lumberjacks and Jami Davenport with giveaway

Why sports?

I love sports, especially football, baseball, and basketball, and I’m developing a love for hockey, too, though I don’t know as much about it. Sports heroes appeal to me because they’re usually alpha males how are used to having their way in the world until they meet just the right woman. Then these big, strong guys fall hard and fast.

With the plethora of “sports romances” how do you make yours stand out?

I think what makes mine unique is that football plays an integral part in my stories. It isn’t just a backdrop. You couldn’t put the hero in a different profession and have the same story like you can with some many sports romances. More and more women are savvy sports fans. They recognize immediately when you aren’t well-versed in the sport your hero plays. I do my research and try to make the football portion of book as realistic as possible.

How do you get into a man’s head to write sports romances and his POV?

Research, research, research. I watch lots of football, listen to interviews, read books written by players. I’ve participated in the Seahawks’ Football 101 workshop at their training facility for the past few years. My husband played high school and college football, so he’s a great help. The best compliment I’ve ever gotten is when he read a locker room scene in Down by Contact and said I’d nailed it. That’s exactly how guys would act in a locker room.

High praise indeed…:)

It’s showtime.
After twelve years in the league, all Zach Murphy wants is a Super Bowl ring. He’s been about hard hits not smooth manners, about breaking quarterbacks not making small talk at cocktail parties. But now he’s shattered something else. After dumping a tray of drinks on the team owner’s snooty daughter and accidentally feeling up the Governor’s wife, his tenure with his team looks perilously short. And things are getting worse.
Life is looking up for Kelsie Carrington-Richmond. A onetime beauty pageant star and mean girl, she only recently stopped living out of her car. But those times have passed. Her finishing school for real men has a real shot, and the Seattle Lumberjacks have hired her to polish their roughest player.
Except…it’s Zach. Long ago she broke his heart. He’s just the beast she remembers—gruff, protective—but she’s nothing like the beauty from his past. Yet, getting knocked down happens, and getting back up makes a contender. And they both have the hearts of champions.


Kelsie Carrington glided across the room straight toward him. His Cactus Prairie High School crush here? In Seattle? What the fuck? Wasn’t halfway across the country far enough to escape her and those painful memories? He blinked several times, but there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with his vision. His one-date disaster balanced on a pair of heels so high the altitude should require an oxygen mask. Her blond hair shone as brightly as the gold in a coveted Super Bowl ring. Each graceful step of those long legs carried her closer to him.

He held his breath and prayed she didn’t recognize him. Just like old times, Kelsie looked right through him, as if he didn’t exist. Her patent beauty-queen smile was plastered across her perfectly made-up face. Damn, seeing her transported him back to being an awkward teenage boy who only fit in on the football field. Her fake smile reminded him how stupid he’d been to fall for her particular brand of poison. Her perfect face dredged up a shitload of painful emotions.

Oh, yeah, painful all right. Zach Murphy had fallen in love once and been carried out of the game on a stretcher. He’d stick with football. Football gave him life, while women sucked the life out of him. Football made sense to him. Women didn’t.

Especially this woman.

He glanced to either side to see if any of his teammates noticed the fucking bleeding heart dangling on his sleeve. They were too busy staring at Kelsie—she’d always had that effect on men. Well, except for the king of asshole quarterbacks, Tyler Harris. Zach gave Harris a few grudging points for tossing out his womanizer ways and only having eyes for his sassy girlfriend.

Yet something on Zach’s face must have clued Harris in. Like a hungry hyena catching the scent of wounded prey, Harris’s sharp gaze moved from Zach to Kelsie and back again. The quarterback possessed this uncanny ability to dissect an enemy’s weakness—and despite being teammates, they were enemies. One corner of the fuckhead’s mouth turned up in a knowing smirk. He nodded briefly at Zach and returned to his conversation with his hot little girlfriend, even though Zach knew damn well the jerk kept one eye on him.

Ignoring Harris, Zach scratched his chin and studied Kelsie. What the hell was the cause of his most humiliating moment in a lifetime of humiliating moments doing here a thousand miles from Texas, invading his territory?

He blinked a few times and looked again. Really looked beyond the beauty-queen face and body. Something was very wrong with this picture. A loaded tray of drinks teetered precariously on the palm of Kelsie’s raised hand as she moved in and out of the crowd. Rich girl Kel had never worked a real job in her life. Yet, he doubted she was serving drinks just for the unique opportunity to slum with the common folk.

Damn, maybe his life wasn’t the only thing that’d changed.

Kelsie scanned the room then did a double take. Their eyes met and crashed with the intensity of a wrong-way collision on I-5. The fake smile faltered. The gliding stopped. She looked around the room as if planning an escape route. Then she straightened her shoulders and turned on the charm, gracing him with her halogen smile—perfect white teeth and hot red lips. Really hot. As if she were happy to see him.


Zach scowled his best don’t-fuck-with-me scowl.

Kelsie faltered. Her stride went from graceful to jerky. The smile slipped off her face, replaced by what appeared to be panic. She pivoted on her impossibly high heels and fired up the after-burners.

Oh, no, she wasn’t getting away this easily. Zach jumped to his feet and gave chase, single-mindedly focused on confronting her, something he’d been dying to do since his senior year of high school. Yeah, stupid idea, but he’d never been one for thinking before reacting, a trait which worked well in football, not so well in real life.

She glanced over her shoulder, her blue eyes filled with what looked like fear, as if she expected him to do physical damage to her or some stupid-assed thing like that.

Zach cornered her near the head table. Kelsie changed directions and charged past him. He spun around to follow, refusing to let her off that easily. He clipped her full tray drinks with his elbow. She lurched with the tray, but it was too late. Helpless, Zach watched the disaster happen in slow motion.

The tray teetered back and forth, as Kelsie desperately fought to gain control. The tray won. Glasses of wine sprayed red, white, and pink across the tablecloth, looking like a tie-dye session gone mad. Goblets shattered. Women screamed as wine drenched expensive evening gowns. The team owner leapt to his feet, his sputtering laced with profanity as red wine coated his custom-tux and white shirt. His spoiled daughter, Veronica, didn’t hold anything back either, loudly insulting the size of Zach’s brain and his dick. Closest to the debacle, the governor’s wife leapt to her feet, her low-cut sequined evening gown hung on her like a limp rag. Red wine and mimosas dribbled down her neck and chest and disappeared in her cleavage. Zach grabbed a napkin and desperately blotted at the wine. In his panic, he swiped the napkin across the plump mounds of her breasts. She screamed as if he’d purposely groped her. HughJack, the team’s head coach, grabbed him and pulled him away.

“I’m sorry. Oh, fucking hell. I’m so sorry.” Zach wanted to crawl under the nearest boulder.

“What did you think you were doing?” Coach spoke in that deadly calm, quiet voice that struck fear in the meanest of linemen. Zach preferred HughJack’s ranting and notorious clipboard throwing to that voice.

“I—I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

Veronica, still sputtering and looking for blood, turned on Kelsie. “You! How could you be so stupid?”

“I—I—” Kelsie shoved her fist in her mouth, obviously horrified at the carnage she’d helped cause. She lifted her gaze to Zach’s. Anger blazed in her stormy blue eyes.

Wait one fucking minute. She blamed him? He hadn’t done one damn thing other than be where he was supposed to be—a charity benefit for a charity whose name he couldn’t even remember. She was the one who didn’t belong here.

Jerking her gaze away from his, Kelsie dropped to the floor and started wiping up the mess with any napkin she could confiscate from the nearby tables. Several other staff joined in the fray, wiping tables, cleaning up the mess, and comforting wet, angry guests.

Zach debated on whether or not to fade into the background or make her night that much worse. Once again, she’d made him look like a backwards hick, her special talent.

A fat, sweating chef with chocolate stains on his white apron waddled out of the kitchen and spoke in a harsh whisper to Kelsie. “You idiot. Did you do this?”

Kelsie didn’t look up, just worked frantically to clean up the mess. The chef bent down and pointed a pudgy finger in her direction. “You’re fired. Get the hell out of here. I’ll be contacting you for reimbursement for the damages.” He kept his voice low, but Zach heard him.

Zach stepped forward, a knight not exactly comfortable in his dinner-jacket armor. “Apologize to the lady. It was an accident, and your behavior is abusive.”

The chef gritted his teeth and spoke loud enough for only Zach to hear. “Who the hell are you? Some dumb jock? You probably beat up your girlfriend on a regular basis. And you accuse me of abuse?”

Zach exploded and charged. Just before he made contact, two defensive linemen, big suckers, yanked him backward and pinned his arms behind his back. Zach lunged at the fat chef again, dragging the linemen with him. More teammates jumped into the fray and held him back. Several others restrained the chef, who hurled accusations at Zach and Kelsie.

“Stop it, you dumb shit.” Harris smacked Zach on the arm none too gently. Zach grunted and squinted into the harsh light glaring in his eyes. Someone had a camera trained on him.

Harris stepped in front of Zach, blocked the cameraman, and faced the furious cook. “Let’s calm down and be civilized. It was an accident.” He spoke in an aside to his teammates. “Let them go.” The men did as Harris ordered. The cook made a move toward Zach but Harris countered it, placing his body between the two dueling men. He put his hand on Zach’s chest and pushed. Zach staggered back a step, reining in his temper.

He’d done it again. Screwed up in a social situation and dragged the whole team down with him. His new team. The ones who were counting on him to be a leader on and off the field. He’d led them, all right, almost into a brawl.


@ B&N

My review of DOWN BY CONTACT

Jami is giving away all three (3) Seattle Lumberjacks books to one (1) lucky person from all the blog stops. Winner will chosen via Rafflecopter ( see below).  Good Luck!  

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STRADDLING THE EDGE and giveaways with Julie Prestsater

Straddling-the-EdgeTour (1)

Summer McGallian … the scandalous home wrecker from Against the Wall and Between The Sheets. The one who stole her co-worker’s fiancé, the other woman, the one people whisper about and stay away from. Only for Summer, things aren’t always as they appear and she knows that better than anyone. She hasn’t been herself since she was in high school, when life was less complicated and relationships weren’t about making compromises to land the guy. When her heart is broken, there’s only one thing left for her to do … prove she isn’t who everyone thinks she is. And maybe, just maybe, she can get back to being comfortable in her own skin again, without input from a man. But when she encounters Sexy Guy, Dean Michaels, everything Summer has ever known about the opposite sex is about to change.

Dean Michaels knew he’d seen her somewhere before. What he never imagined was that the gorgeous woman in a baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt tossing back a beer in his favorite spot could be Summer McGallian—the woman who always looked like she’d stepped off the pages of a glamour magazine when he’d seen her from afar at work. And to make matters worse, she’s Chase Marino’s ex, the one guy who gets under his skin like no other. If the thought of being someone’s bitch in jail wasn’t enough to scare him, he would’ve strangled that bastard years ago and tossed the body in the Mojave Desert. But forget about Chase … Dean knew from the moment he saw Summer’s sexy smile and heard her cute laugh, she had to be his. And he won’t let anything get in the way of that.
The Against The Wall series isn’t just about steamy sex scenes and swoon-worthy romance, but about new friendships, undying love, and a ton of laughter. Enjoy the ride as you get to know and love Summer and Dean, just as you did Shelly and Matt, and Melissa and Tyler, in the final book, Straddling The Edge.

Making characters we’re inclined or already dislike sympathetic or likeable. How difficult & why try? 

In the first two books in the Against The Wall series, Summer McGallian is thought to be a man-stealing skank who is loathed by all her female colleagues. Pretty much everyone who read the books hates her. I remember getting texts from one of my friends who was reading on her lunch break that said, “That b***h!” Haha.  

So why write about a character that your readers have already decided to hate with a passion?  

Honestly, I wanted to write Summer’s story because I didn’t want her to end up with Chase. For me, he is the ultimate douche and I wanted him to die an old maid with a shriveled up ****** from lack of use. Haha. I really did.

I set out to give Summer her own happily ever after without Chase. I didn’t know who was going to walk into her life or what was going to happen.  I just knew Chase, the a**hole, wasn’t for her. Thank God for Dean! Swoon!  

I think readers will be pleasantly surprised that Summer isn’t at all who we thought she was. She’s actually very cool and someone you’d want to be friends with. Doesn’t that happen often though? Especially with women. Sometimes,  we can be a little catty and size up another girl without knowing who she really is.

There’s a lesson here.  

Shelly and Melissa did not like Summer at all. They had heard all the rumors; they had jumped to their own conclusions. But when it came to the truth, they had to acknowledge they were wrong. And they did.  

It’s okay to admit you’re wrong. Good things can come of it. In this case, the good is a solid friendship between the girls, along with quite a few laughs along the way. 

My next challenge is to write Chase! The man I can’t stand. I have to figure out a way to get him to “pet the dog”. Yikes! It’s going to be a tough one. The final Against The Wall book will be out this summer and is titled, Playing Chase.

Julie is giving away an Kindle Fire via Rafflecopter but for commenting today you’re also in the pot for AGAINST THE WALL swag and a digital back list of your choice!   Giveaway ends @12am est 5-15-13 with winner announced shortly thereafter.

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