HE BELONGS TO ME with Theresa Rizzo and giveaway


He Belongs to Me is a love story . . . a tale of betrayal and deception and of a young mother’s determination to recover what belongs to her.

Forced to leave her baby and tricked into relinquishing her parental rights, four years later Catherine Boyd is back and she’ll do anything to regain custody of her son–even reconcile with the husband falsely accused of killing their son’s twin.

All in the name of love for a little boy, generations of pain and tragedy are exposed in a courtroom drama.

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Thanks to Sami at JKS Communications we have a digital copy of HE BELONGS TO ME to give to one (1) lucky commenter.  Do you often get emotionally involved in the books you read?  


In a life riddled with painful endings and bright beginnings too few to count, Catherine sought refuge in routine and simplicity. Ordinarily she would have dreaded the choreographed chaos of a graduation ceremony, but this day she embraced it with a light heart. She should have been exhausted from long nights spent hunched over textbooks cramming for finals, but her racing mind made sleep impossible. This was it. The day she’d worked so hard for had finally arrived. Today she would graduate—with honors. Not only had she earned her degree, but more importantly, she’d earned her son.  She slipped into her soft cotton robe and crossed the hall. Paint fumes lingered from her last-minute application of the fluffy white clouds that drifted across the slate-blue walls and ceiling. F-14 Tomcats streaked around and through the puffs, trailing vapor wakes.  The spotless room with its airplane lamp and new furniture smell held an air of expectancy. Crossing to the bookshelf, she knocked over a few stuffed animals. She tossed a Berenstain Bear book onto the desk and another across the bed, pulled out the desk chair and, opening the closet door, tugged the two shirts and a worn jean jacket askew. The jacket slid from the hanger to the floor and she left it where it fell. That was better. Now it had a more comfortable, messy, lived-in look. A little-boy look.  A boy could fall in love with this room. Hopefully her son would.  Catherine allowed herself this rare, brief moment to wish that things were different. If only the past could be erased and she could look up into the stands and see Thomas by Drew’s side, smiling proudly at her as she received her diploma. In her fantasy, both Thomas and her son were joining her in California, as excited as she was about their fresh start.  But fantasies, by definition, don’t deal in reality. Long ago, Catherine learned to suppress such futile longings. Circumstances had extinguished many of her dreams—like those of a happily-ever-after with her husband and son—but some were well within her reach. Soft light filtered through the blinds as the sun crested the neighboring houses. Drew was probably in the air right now.  A slow smile spread across her face. After four long years she would at last be a real mom.  

Finish reading Chapter 1 excerpt here.
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Rachel Brimble and 16 MARSDEN PLACE with giveaway

Thanks for taking the time to visit with Manic Readers,Rachel.

Your first 2 books, Searching for Sophie and Reluctant Witness, are mystery/romances featuring Detectives.  You seem to have broken away from that with your other works. Why?

I took a break from featuring Detectives simply because a new detective didn’t come knocking on my imagination for a LONG time. I’m happy to say though, one reappeared during 2012 and she’s now my strongest ongoing character. Cat Forrester makes her debut appearance as the heroine in Finding Justice, my first book in an ongoing series with Harlequin Superromance. She has also made cameo appearances in A Man Like Him (coming Aug) and again in book three which will be released in 2014 🙂 

You’ve also written some historicals as well. The Arrival of Lily Curtis, Love’s Debt, and The Seduction ofEmily.  Is the process different for you with each genre or fairly the same?

It’s much the same with regard to characterization and plotting, but obviously I have to spend additional time on research. All of my historicals are about the characters and their emotions rather than an historical event of the time, which makes the process much the same as my contemporary work. Love, hatred, joy, loss and every other emotion are universal and timeless, so getting inside a character’s heart and soul in the 1800s is much the same as it would be for a character on a journey today.

16 Marsden Placeis your latest.  Can you tell us a bit about it, please?

16 Marsden Place s the first romantic comedy I have written since 2010 (The Sharp Points of a Triangle) and my writing process started in the exact same way. In both my comedies, the heroines came to me fully formed and ready to play. In comedy, the voice is paramount and Sienna (my heroine) spoke so clearly to me it was as though I was taking dictation when I was writing. Adore it when that happens! 

The story is set in the fictional English town of Potterford and opens with Sienna about to lose her lingerie/sex shop due to an astronomical rent increase. Her only option is to move the shop to her home address––much to the distress of her new neighbor, single father Jack Beaton…


Having read 16 Marsden Place I can share that there’s plenty of humor and some great lines and zingers.  Do you have a book in mind for the dueling lawyers,Kelsey Morgan and Mike Scott?  Talk about combustible…I wouldn’t have minded a bit more from them.

I have had SO many readers and reviewers asking me to write a sequel for Kelsey and Mike, lol! I love that people are connecting with them so enthusiastically and want to see what happens between them. My editor has also asked me to write their story so the pressure is on! I am fully committed to Harlequin and Kensington for the rest of the year but who knows what will happen in 2014. 🙂 

Was writing always your goal?

Yes! I loved telling and writing stories as a child and by the time I was 12, I wanted to be a journalist. That aspiration slowly faded and I ended up working in a bank for 10 years. Once I became pregnant with my first daughter, I had a ‘now or never’ moment and started writing short stories. The rest is history! 

Do you write what you’d like to read?

I read widely and voraciously so I never really think about my writing as something I can’t find on the shelf and so write myself. My stories are a product of my imagination mixed with experiences from my own life or articles I’ve seen in the paper or on TV. I love romance and can’t imagine writing another genre right now, but who knows? Relationships are at the center of every story in books, movies or TV and I love digging deep into my main characters to find out what made them who they are today and what decisions they make for the future.

Do you want to write or have to write?

Have to write – which isn’t always a good thing! I become quite savage when I haven’t written for even as little as two days. My husband and kids know exactly when I’ve been away from the computer for too long or if I am getting frustrated and can’t move a scene forward. Just picture a cartoon character with the bulging eyes and pumping vein at the temple – that’s me during these ‘dry’ times, lol!

I’m not fit for public consumption when I can’t read.

Is there anything special your muse requires?

Silence – I can’t create with noise or music or anything distracting going on around me. However, I can edit with noise. Once the story is down, I love playing around with it, tweaking and deleting. For that, I am happy for my kids to be coming in and out of the room and the TV blaring downstairs 🙂

Who’s in control, you or the characters?

I’d love to say me, but that is very rarely the case – with each book I write, I plot less and less and instead, allow my characters their freedom. This can get frustrating and I usually hit a roadblock around the 40,000 word mark (my latest books are around 85,000). When that happens, I make myself write through it and hope when it comes to the following drafts there’s something I can use. In fact, I tend to write the entire book this way – crappy first draft is the future! 

Do you have a favorite hero and heroine that you’ve written?

My favorite heroine by far is Cat Forrester (Finding Justice/A Man Like Him) so I would have to say her hero is pretty much up there on my ‘favorites’ list too. Jay Garrett is just perfect for this fiery, impulsive and impassioned red-head 🙂 

That someone else has written?

I am a huge Nora Roberts fan and have so many favorite hero/heroine couplings of hers that I couldn’t even begin to list them. If I were forced to name a favorite, I would say Cameron Quinn and AnnaS pinelli from Seaswept (book1 in the Chesapeakes eries) and of course,Eve Dallas and Roarke from Nora’s In Death series (writing as J D Robb).

Do you currently have a WIP you can share bits of or no?

I can’t share any ‘bits’ but I have just completed and sent off book three in my ongoing Templeton Cove series for Harlequin Superromance. The book is set mainly at the Funland fairground in the Cove and follows the journey of Sasha Todd and John Jordon. They are initially brought together fighting over the fair, but soon realize they have to work together if either of them are ever going to move on from their parents mistakes…

England and Scotland are on my bucket list to visit.  There’s so much history, so many things I’ve read about I’d like to experience.  What’s it like living so near Bath, or is it really no big deal for you?

You would think after living so close to Bathf or over 12 years that I might be complacent about it by now, but I’m not at all. I feel blessed that I live so close to such an historical city and go there as much as possible. Bath is continually buzzing with locals as well as foreign visitors and I recommend spending at least three nights there to see everything. It’s a wonderful place––and thankfully rich with story inspiration!

Do you have a favorite book?

It’s extremely hard to name a favorite book, just because I love books! The only book I’ve read three times is Gone With The Wind, but love almost everything by Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult, Jean Fullerton, Philippa Gregory, Robyn Carr, Dorothy Koomson…… 

I never made it through Gone with the Wind. Scarlett got on my nerves too bad.


Anything by Richard Curtis– Four Weddings and A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually. Fabulous movies!

I enjoyed those too, especially Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually.

Have you read anything lately that you’d highly recommend to others?

Me Before You –Jojo Moyes. A fabulous tear-jerker of a story. Pure genius…

Thanks so much for visiting,Rachel.  I’ve enjoyed it.

Thanks to Enn and Omnific Publishing we have an ecopy of 16 Marsden Place to give away.  What do y’all think about retail & residential side by side?  I don’t mean someone living over their store in a downtown area, I’m talking cul-de-sac. Giveaway ends @12 am est on 7-3-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!

My Manic Readers review of 16 MARSDEN PLACE.

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Billi Jean on Becoming a Best Seller and the Dreaded Deadline

Okay, we all hear how someone hit the best sellers list and think, “Wow! That’s great for them, hooray!”  And really, it is great. It’s amazing and thrilling and kinda makes, me at least, a bit shy! But, no one, at least that I’ve seen (I am in a hole by myself typing away frantically most days now….) writes about the pressure that puts on an author.

What pressure? How can that happen? Isn’t having a best seller a big sigh of relief for an author….? I mean, your name is out there? (This is my alter ego asking….the one that wants to go to the mall after work to look at those really cute shoes on sale atMacy’s)

Well, when you hit that number one best seller list, no matter where, there is pressure. Pressure to keep yourself in the reader’s mind. To be seen. To be out there — in their face so to speak. And that means, yes, you’ve guessed it, you need to have more books out there. Well, books take writing, and writing takes time. Balance with this the need to hurry up and get that book done, and you are in a fix if you’re not very, very good at juggling.

Juggling what? Oh, you know—life, the one with other people in it, with the life you lead through your keyboard. Let’s not even mention the need for food, exercise (ha!) and some kind of beverage that doesn’t make you have to use the restroom too often. I’m talking family. Those people that love you and want to spend time with you because they love you …or let’s be realistic, they want to eat, have clean clothes and hear your opinion on their opinion that they shouldn’t do homework before they watch a television show…..

Yeah. All that. J So, yes, a best seller is thrilling and exciting, but you have to learn to structure your life if you want to stay on top of your game.  I have to set aside time for what I want done, when, and how I’ll do it tons more than I ever did prior than my pep talk with my publishers. Add to that my recent move to another country and I’ve created a bear of a problem if I don’t schedule my time correctly.

So, my days start out with coffee -anyone that doesn’t probably uses Mountain Dew- but coffee is, to borrow a phrase, my cup of tea. While I enjoy my java, I have an hour to read what I’ve written the night before. I do that, work out any kinks, then I have to get ready for my day job and help assist my mini me in clothing selection (uniforms are a blessing I’ve learned), shower negotiations, lunch prep, breakfast, maybe throw in laundry too, and then we’re out the door. Evenings are reserved for homework, while I read a bit more of my story – just once more is always nice. After that, we are both allowed to do our thing. She can play or watch one show, I get to put on headphones and write. One blessed hour if I’m lucky. Then bed time for her, glass of water, check the fan and make sure the door is open – then for me, it’s writing until I can’t keep my eyes open.

Shopping, leaving the house for long trips, and so on are always for the weekend, so I can write for half my day and do all that other stuff – groceries, fun stuff at parks, goofing off 101 with mini and so on.

Then the week starts all over again.

Not bad, really. I also bank on the fact that my day job is only 10 months out of the year and the other 2 are open for more writing, and fun stuff with mini. I have vacations too, but those are usually filled as well, with half writing, half fun.

I guess, hitting that best seller list though, was and is, worth it. I still write, I still love it, and I still want it to be something that others enjoy reading. So, all in all, while it’s moved into the #2  spot in my life– family is still in the #1 spot – it’s still as an important part of me. Mostly, the deadlines are moving me one step closer to my dream of one day being a full time writer. At least when I do hit that fluffy dream, I’ll know more of the reality of writing – really, truly writing for my work– and my pleasure!

 Billi Jean on Amazon

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Billi Jean on Noble Romance Publishing

UNBEAUTIFULLY with giveaway

Warning: This is not a story about fate or destiny. This is a story about pain, sorrow, and suffering. This is an impulsive whirlwind romance between two lovers that are not meant to be together. Theirs is not a world with sunshine and roses. Instead, their love blossoms in a secret world full of crime, violence, and death. Their story is about what can be born from nightmares.

Danielle “Danny” West is the daughter of Deuce West, President of the Hell’s Horsemen Motorcycle Club. A sweet and beautiful girl, she loses her way, searching for things that are always out of her reach. Erik “Ripper” Jacobs is the Sergeant of Arms in the Hell’s Horsemen. Once a man who always had a smile on his face, his life takes a turn for the worst when a tragedy befalls him, leaving him scarred and broken. During a midsummer night, Danny and Ripper’s paths cross, forever changing their lives. Hastily, their lust turns to love until another tragedy forces them apart. On a journey that is marred with ugliness and chaos, Danny and Ripper must discover if their unforeseen connection can find the beauty in their world.

This is Danny and Ripper’s story.

Everything has beauty. Even the ugly. Especially the ugly.
Because without ugly, there would be no beauty.




 The first time I fell in love it was with a pair of blue eyes and a wide dimpled grin.
“Your old man loves ya, Danny girl,” He whispered. “You never ever forget that, yeah?”
I never did. And I never thought I could ever love any man as much as I loved my father. But as we grow, we change, we begin to make our own decisions and thus become independent and self sufficient and start turning away from our parents and turning to others. We form friendships, strong bonds and ties and begin experiencing life outside of the bubble we grew up inside of.
And we fall in love…a second time.
The second time I fell in love it was with a badly scarred face, the stuff of nightmares; the sort of disfigurement that mothers steer their children away from. Ugly, jagged slashes marred the skin from the top of his skull, down over his right eye, an eye that had been dug out of his face with a serrated blade. The scars continued across his cheek, over his lips and down his neck, ending at the top of his shoulder. His chest was a hundred times worse; scar tissue as far as the eye could see.
“Baby,” He said gruffly, “Man like me got no business with a girl like you. You’re nothin’ but fuckin’ beauty and I’m a whole lot of fuckin’ ugly who’s already halfway to hell.”
But he was wrong.
Everything has beauty. Even the ugly. Especially the ugly.
Because without ugly there would be no beauty.
Because without beauty we would not survive our pain, our sorrow, and our suffering.
And in the world I lived in, the world he lived in, a secret world within the world, a world of of constant crime and cruel, cold, death, there was almost nothing but suffering.
“You may not be beautiful the way you were before,” I whispered, placing my hand on his hard chest. “But you’re still beautiful. To me.

Madeline is giving away a $30 Amazon gift card.  Emtries via Rafflecopter below. Winner will be announced June 29th.

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Madeline Sheehan, a Social Distortion enthusiast and devoted fan of body art, has been writing books since she was seven years old. She is the author of The Holy Trinity ebook trilogy and Best Selling Undeniable series.  Homegrown in Buffalo, New York, Madeline resides there with her husband and son.


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WHISPERS FROM HELL with Edward V’Kanty

Thanks for stopping by to visit with Manic Readers, Edward.

You’ve moved around quite a bit.  What did you think of South Carolina & Louisiana?  I’ve lived in SC but I’ve never been near Louisiana.

South Carolina was nice, but I lived in the western part of the state. I’ve always felt more “at home” near a natural body of water and have found that living in an area lacking an ocean or river leaves me feeling that my life lacks balance or harmony.  

I loved New Orleans! I know the first thing everyone thinks about is the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, but there’s just so much more to the city & the area in general. I only moved away because the local economy was floundering so badly.

I’ve visited Las Vegas but not sure I’d like to live there.  How do you like it?  Is your writing  prompting your proposed move to Los Angeles?

Las Vegas is okay. I know it is a big hit with many people, but I have never been a big fan of gambling or casinos.

Yes, my move to California is in part due to advancing my writing career. I would like to connect with filmmakers and possibly work on turning my stories into films. I am also hoping to attend film school.

I’ve read that your book, WHISPERS FROM HELL, isn’t just horror/paranormal stories but modern age parables.  Can you expound on that please?

It was never my intention to do anything other than to write the stories I enjoy writing, but, after going back and re-reading each story, I have found that each story sends a message, a lesson to be learned by the protagonist…and maybe by the reader as well. For example, in “A Requiem For The Damned,” Evan learns that his own vanity comes at a price and that price will be paid by those most dear to him.

Do you HAVE to write or do you choose to write?

Both. I love to write. There isn’t anything more enjoyable than letting a story pour out of my mind onto paper. It is also something of a vocation, or a calling, and I think you would hear this from any writer. It’s just not something one can decide to do. Either one is a writer or one is not a writer. 

Is there any author, past or present, whose works parallel yours?

I can definitely see something of Edgar Allan Poe in my writing.

I love Poe…

Is your horror more subtle or in your face?

It really varies with the story. Some stories, such as “Borrowed Time” and “Brette’s Discovery” are more subtle and suitable for those that prefer to avoid the gore and horrific imagery found in “Night Terrors” and the title story (“Whispers From Hell”). 

How do you prefer to write?  Are there certain things your muse requires?

My first & second drafts are usually completed with pen & paper. I cannot write without my MP3 player! Music is a must!

Some writers are superstitious, are you?

I don’t think so. I tend to come at things from a more logical perspective.

Who’s in control, you or the characters?

I write out the outline first, but, once I begin composing the actual story, the characters take it from there. 

Have you read any thing lately that you couldn’t wait to discuss or recommend?

Yes. I recently read “The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym,” the only novel penned by Edgar Allan Poe. I would love to see this brought to film! 

Is there a WIP you can possibly share bits of?

Not at this time. I’m currently working on the first draft of “Testament,” which is the story of how the witch trials in 17th century New York began. It will be a novella and a prelude to my upcoming full-length novel “Dark Heritage.”

Testament sounds interesting….

Thank you again,Edward.  I’ve enjoyed meeting you.

Thank you for this opportunity as well. It has been a pleasure meeting you, too.

Manic Readers can visit Edward and pick up WHISPERS FROM HELL at Amazon and B&N.

BESIDE YOUR HEART with Mary Whitney and giveaway

People are saying that my book, Beside Your Heart, is about the one who got away. It’s not. It’s about The One who got away. I think there’s a difference.

They say that memories become harder for Holocaust survivors as they age because their vision of the past becomes more vivid. It’s supposed to be especially true for those who lived through the war years during their teens. Somehow those years are so formative for people that we carry those times with us forever. While the majority of what we’ve seen and felt through our lives falls along the wayside, our teen years continue along, and we only recall them more strongly as we age. Tragedy at that age compounds things infinitely.

I think that’s why we remember our first loves so clearly. Yes, they are the “first” of something we experience, which is always a bigger deal, and yes, it’s love, the strongest emotion. But a first love also usually happens to us when we’re not quite adults. We’re not jaded at all, and we don’t have scars of past loves. We dive in deep, innocent to all the pain that can occur (and usually does!).  As time passes and our lives change, the intensity of the feelings we develop for the person stick with us.

In Beside Your Heart, Nicki and Adam become each other’s first loves, yet something more happens between them than just a high school fling. Nicki is only seventeen, but she’s having to deal with the very adult emotion of grief and doing it all alone. Adam becomes a part of that process. Plus, they genuinely share the same interests and “click” on that very personal level we only have with a few in our life.

So these two don’t just recall the one who got away. They know each other was The One who got away and who isn’t coming back (or so they think). I don’t want to spoil too much, but hey, this is a trilogy, so you know their story can’t end with the first book! : ) I hope you check out Beside Your Heart and start their journey from the beginning!



Thanks to Enn and Omnific Publishing we have a digital copy of BESIDE YOUR HEART to giveaway to one (1) lucky commenter.  What do you think it is about first love that makes it so special?  Giveaway ends @12am est 6-25-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good luck!

BESIDE YOUR HEART at Omnific Publishing

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Traveling cross country with Lila Munro and LOVE VINDICATED

Hello Manic readers and fans! And thank you so much to the staff for letting me take over the blog today. It’s always a pleasure to be here and I’m looking forward to chatting a few minutes at the end of the day when things settle and I’m in my latest home away from home for the night.

I’ll be honest. I nearly forgot to send this blog post last week. You see, being married to the Marine Corps isn’t always easy and for the last few weeks I’ve been in the process of moving across country—and I do mean literally. After my husband spending the better part of six years overseas, he finally came home to orders for us to report from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to a new station in Portland, Oregon. He’d only been home three weeks when the movers arrived, packed up all my worldly goods, and carted them off. Then my grand new adventure began! I’ve been regularly blogging about it over at Realmantic Moments. Please do come by and catch up on where I’ve been, what I’ve seen there, and what I’ve been doing.

Now, being as I just about missed the boat (you must know I’m pre-writing this a week ago Sunday), I’m sitting in a hotel in Missouri the morning we’re supposed to pull stakes and head into Nebraska looking at my calendar and an “oh crap!” moment occurs when I see I am supposed to be here today and I have neither sent a blog post in or even entertained the idea of writing it. (Yes, the writer’s life—gotta love it!) Oh…wait…hehe…there it was! My topic of discussion or today. A bit of the writer’s life. You see, the writer’s life doesn’t just exist behind this screen, typing away fourteen hours a day…well, okay, I’ll concede at times it does. But, you have to live life to write it.

And at this point (June 9 by the by), I’m living it fully. There are a few things I’ve learned over the course of the past few years with Marshfox being gone so much. Things are just things and can be replaced—they matter not. People are what’s important and taking the time to smell the roses with the people that matter most to you makes life all the sweeter.

So far I’ve passed through ten states, June 9 will mark the eleventh and I’m enjoying every single moment of this nomadic adventure and taking notes along the way. You see living life in order to write it means watching, tasting, smelling, feeling…seeing something or someone and trying to discern what their story is.

One of those discerning moments occurred to me two states back last week when we were driving through the streets of downtown Indy (side trip—my best friend lives there and it’s home to my publishing company—check my blog out you’ll get all the skinny *wink*). In downtown Indy they have statues—very, very lifelike looking statues I might add—placed all over the place. They’re walking along, sitting on benches, playing. There’s a statue couple where the man is helping the woman out of a store holding her umbrella and another of a daddy hoisting his child up onto his shoulders for a Sunday stroll. Well, in the course of all of five minutes, those statues became as real to me as flesh and blood humans. And they began to tell me a story…

If you’re ever in Indy, downtown is a must stop.

Thanks for having me by today and please check out my latest novel which released today, Love Vindicated, Book One in my brand new series Steele Image.

Lila Munro

In 1980, Kyle Montgomery’s life was seemingly perfect. Heavily recruited by Force Recon fresh from the Naval Academy, he’d been working black ops for the Marine Corps for six years and was on the cusp of being promoted to Major. He was on the fast track to bigger and better things, had all the right people vetting him, and he’d married the woman of his dreams and was exploring a lifestyle which could have ended his career. With the Iranian embassy under siege and the Middle East in turmoil, Kyle was sent on a mission which would change the course of his life forever.

Returning home after three months of being invisible, Kyle finds his wife has been murdered by the very people he’d been sent to protect. And instead of the government retaliating, they hand him his walking papers with the agreement they’ll never speak of the events again. It’s like Kyle never existed. His wife never existed. And the people who maimed and tortured her never existed.

Resigned to never again walk that path again, Kyle opens the first Steele Image club with the thought of providing a safe haven for others like him, those who were invisible to the public and most of the government. Those who had eclectic sexual tastes. Those who would later become his allies. And his enemies. And both will drive him back to the place he’d thought he’d let go of forever to vindicate his love…

Now available at Amazon and ARe

Cindy Holby’s BREATH OF HEAVEN with giveaway

A knight who has known honor but never love and a mysterious huntress with a closely guarded secret share an arranged marriage with a surprisingly sensual consummation—and a fantastic adventure beyond imagination.

She appeared from nowhere in form-fitting leather, enchanting as the mysterious woods around her. Those dazzling emerald eyes were a challenge, daring the intruder to enter her magic realm.
Tormented boy becomes a battle-hardened warrior, Rhys DeRemy owed unswerving obedience to his king—and now he owed another man his life. If he took the heiress of Aubregate to wife, he could ease the debts of past and present. And Eliane drew him as a candle draws a moth. Her fiery nature ensorcelled him, her silken bed promised…A BREATH OF HEAVEN.
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LOVE’S PRICE Lord Trent Srs.2 with Cheryl Holt and giveaway

The fun and excitement continue this week with the release of LOVE’S PRICE, Book #2 in my Lord Trent trilogy.  The novel is a fast-paced, thrilling ride, filled with my usual great characters, intricate plot lines, and infuriating villains.  And there’s the added bonus of two brothers falling for twin sisters—a double love story that’s sexy and unforgettable.

The linking premise in the three novels has to do with Charles Sinclair, the Earl of Trent.  He is England’s most notorious roué, and over the decades he’s sired many illegitimate children.  His oldest bastard son, Phillip, is on a quest to find his lost half-siblings and build a family with them.  The books tell the stories of four of Lord Trent’s cast-off children on their rocky road to happily ever after.

The heroes in LOVE’S PRICE are James Harcourt, Earl of Westwood, and his brother, Tristan.  They fall in love with twins, Helen and Harriet Sinclair Stewart.  The twins are two of Lord Trent’s illegitimate children, and because of their illicit parentage, their lives have been extremely difficult.  When they meet James and Tristan, sparks fly and lust blooms—but it takes the two brothers quite awhile to discover that they’re madly in love, too.  Harriet is one of my all-time favorite characters out of all the ones I’ve ever created.  You won’t believe the jam in which she lands herself.


The three books—LOVE’S PROMISE, LOVE’S PRICE, and LOVE’S PERIL—are being released back to back in May, June, and July 2013.  They will all be available as print books and e-books.  LOVE’S PROMISE and LOVE’S PRICE are out now, with LOVE’S PERIL coming on July 1st.  They’re a great way to lounge at the beach on your summer vacation, and I hope you’ll check them out.  Thanks to everyone for your interest in me and my “Lord Trent” trilogy!  I’m grateful.








Helen Stewart never understood why—as a tiny girl—she and her twin sister Harriet were sent away to boarding school and never allowed home for holidays.  At age sixteen, they were shocked to discover that they are the illegitimate daughters of the notorious rogue,Charles Sinclair.  Cast out by their relatives, they moved to London, and Helen has made a life for herself as a lady’s companion.  In her line of employment, she must maintain a stellar reputation, but she’s exhausted by the fussy whims of the debutantes she’s forced to chaperone.  She’d give anything to change her fate.

James Harcourt, Earl of Westwood, is in a bind.  After his father died, he learned that his estates were bankrupt.  He gambles to replenish his coffers so he’s living a dissolute bachelor’s life.  When his female ward arrives unexpectedly for an extended visit, he must protect her from scandal by hiring a lady’s companion.  When pretty, alluring Helen interviews for the position, he’s instantly smitten.  She possesses the qualifications to fill a much more intimate role.

He shocks her by suggesting she become his mistress, and when his offer is rebuffed, he begins a cunning seduction, aimed at wearing her down. Helen can’t resist the temptation he offers, but she doesn’t have the sophistication to survive in his world.  And as James immerses them in a dangerous spiral of pleasure and excitement, he proves that he is determined to have her at any cost…

One lucky commenter is going to get a kindle ebook of both LOVE’S PROMISE and LOVE’S PRICE.  Tell me if you prefer your heroes to need a dose of comeuppance and  redemption, a squeaky clean good guy, or a fella who falls somewhere in between?    Giveaway ends @12 a.m. est 6-16-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good Luck!





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THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB Asphalt Warrior Srs. Pt.2 with giveaway

Welcome to Part 2 of our Asphalt Warrior Srs. feature.  Manic Readers is fortunate to have a print copy available to give away to one lucky commenter today.  

Here’s a taste of what you have to look forward to with Murph.

When Gilligan’s Island first appeared on TV, I was a kid living in Wichita, Kansas, where I was born. I thought Bob Denver was the lead singer of The Wellingtons, the group that recorded the song. I guess this was what my Maw was talking about when she talked about the superiority of radio over television, and how radio forces the listener to use his imagination. There seemed to be something Bob Denverish about the lead singer’s voice. I later discovered to my dismay that he was not a part of the group. But since Bob Denver had once played the role of Maynard G. Krebbs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, I imagined him looking like a beatnik and playing an acoustic guitar and singing the song while Sherwood Schwartz sat at the controls in the recording booth. That tells you everything you need to know about my imagination, and my Maw.

I flipped the burger once and accidentally flattened it on the frying pan with the spatula, but I kept thinking about that fiver in my Finnegans. I finally set the spatula down and went back into the living room and pulled the book off the shelf. I opened it and took the bill out and reread the sentence. Then I set the book back on the shelf and reached for my copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus. I placed the fiver inside, and put it back on the shelf.

I decided I wanted to hold onto the bill for awhile. I didn’t want to spend it until I came to grips with both the message and the audience. Had Trowbridge written it to himself, or to me? The possibility of ever learning the truth was nil, which was why I felt it belonged in my Camus. One thing I had learned in college was that if you ever had a question about truth, reality, or the meaning of existence, read a novel by Albert Camus. Pretty soon you’ll be so baffled you’ll forget the question.

(For those of you who never served in the army and subsequently faked your way through seven years of college, “Camus” rhymes with “Shamu” [the killer whale]).

But merely opening The Stranger had helped me. Five minutes later I was seated in front of my TV with a beer and a burger, waiting for the tantalizing vision of Mary Ann to come sashaying down the beach in her tight denim short-shorts. I don’t know who invented the word “sashay,” but Mary Ann brought it to life and gave it meaning. She always makes me forget Albert Camus.


THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB is the third and latest in Gary Reilly’s posthumously published Asphalt Warrior series. Brendan Murphy aka Murph is back driving his taxi in Denver.  Once again he gets involved with a fare,Mr. Trowbridge.  Of course there are consequences.  What are those consequences?  To answer that you’re gonna have to read THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB.

I had never heard of Gary Reilly or The Asphalt Warrior.  I’ve only gone by Denver on the interstate several years ago on the way to Las Vegas. I was a blank slate about this whole shebang.  The blurb sounded interesting and even though THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB is the third in the series I decided to give it a go.  I’m really glad I did.  The only problem is that now I have to get the first two and read them; like my TBR mountain isn’t out of control enough already.

Murph, our Denver cab driving protagonist, is a hoot.  A quiet hoot but a hoot none the less.  Murph has his routines and modest obtainable goals.  He meets a wide range of society via his cab and is an astute observer and judge of human nature.  Murph, against his better judgment, usually winds up involved in some way with a fare.  In THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB there are two mysteries, both involving Mr. Trowbridge. The solutions were unique.  My interest was certainly piqued by the $5 bill quotes and the “why the devil?” behind them. Despite the involvement of two detectives, Duncan and Argyle, I never felt stressed or worried about Murph the way I may have with a typical mystery.  The lack of that tension doesn’t detract from the story or the mysteries at all; in fact it’s totally in keeping with the way THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB read for me.  Imagine being cozy in your snuggly clothes-sweats, flannel jammies or whatever-curled up in your comfy chair with a bowl or plate of your favorite comfort food.  For this slice of time all is right with you and your lil’ corner of the world.  That is how Murph makes me feel when I read.  He’s funny in a quiet easy way, never crude, and made me think without being in my face about it.  Ponder is actually more appropriate than think and yes, there is a difference.  Murph chats and I listen (read), laugh, and ponder.

THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB was a funny, entertaining, deceptively simple and oddly soothing read, so much more and better than I expected.

4.5 stars

Seriously, what’s not to love?  Murph has his routine what about y’all?  Creatures of habit?  Favorite shows you have to watch daily, a comfort read?  Do tell and you’re in the running for the print copy of THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB. Sorry, due to shipping costs it’s U.S. only.  Giveaway  ends at 12 am est on June 14. 2013 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good luck!

Gary Reilly, the Asphalt Warrior Series and Running Meter Press Pt.1


Thought all the Manic Readers out there would enjoy the back story to the Asphalt Warrior series.  I’d never heard of Gary Reilly or the Asphalt Warrior Series until being sent a review request.  However, after reading THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB I understand what all the fuss in Colorado is about.  The Asphalt Warrior and Ticket to Hollywood are now on my TBR mountain & Murph has become one of my favorite fictional characters.  

I really hope you’ll join us tomorrow for my review of THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB and  giveaway of a print copy.  


How did Running Meter Press come to represent the novels –particularly the Asphalt Warrior series — of the late writer, Gary Reilly?

Long story short.

I met Gary in a film class at the University of Colorado at Denver in the mid-1970s. We had several things in common: an interest in humor, a desire to produce animation and we were both veterans milking the GI Bill for all it was worth.

He and I teamed up on a couple of animated films. Most memorable were “Transylvania Toothache” and another called “A.M.” which appeared in the Denver International Film Festival.

Gary’s first love, though, was writing. As we became close friends, he shared his manuscripts with me. He’d had some success early on when his short story, “The Biography Man” was included in the Pushcart Prize anthology of 1979.

After that, he went underground, producing more than 25 novels but never seriously pursuing publication.

His cab-driving, philosopher character, Murph, evolved from a tongue-in-cheek advice column he penned for my cartoon humor site on AOL in the mid-90s. After that popular gig ended, he moved Murph to print, producing 11 comic novels.

About seven or eight years ago, I introduced Gary to my friend, Mark Stevens who was a former colleague at The Denver Post, a partner in a rock band and a fiction writer. He and Gary got together regularly at a coffee shop to discuss writing. They called these meetings their Europa State University sessions (the name of coffee shop was Café Europa). It was there that Gary helped shape and guide Mark’s work. The result: Mark has, so far, published two critically-acclaimed and popular thrillers set on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies.

Both Mark and I encouraged our friend to get serious about publishing his own material. About the time he decided he was ready, Gary was diagnosed with cancer. He simply ran out of time.

For such a prolific writer, Gary’s last will was remarkably terse — only three lines long. One line granted Mark and me permission to do whatever we saw fit to get Gary’s work in print. And so Running Meter Press was established to do exactly that.

RMP became an imprint of the more established Big Earth Publishing of Boulder, after their editors raved about Gary’s novels. Teaming up with Big Earth, Running Meter has just released the third in the Asphalt Warrior series: The Heart of Darkness Club. The first two were local bestsellers, the second, Ticket to Hollywood, a finalist for a 2013 Colorado Book Award in the Genre Fiction category.

RMP will continue to publish Gary’s work. We look forward to including some of his more serious efforts which include a couple of compelling novels based on his service as an MP in Vietnam during the war.

Mike Keefe, Running Meter Press

May 30, 2013

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