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NARCOLEPSY with Eric James Fullilove

                                                                      

Narcolepsy grew from an idea that I’ve had for many years – what happens when the governments and the banks and the pension funds and the states all go broke and the only people with money are criminals?  Would the authorities one day be desperate enough to take a bailout from criminal elements to prevent the financial systems from collapsing?

And if the answer is yes, how would it work?

I started writing in earnest when I got divorced in 1991 and decided that writing was something that I could do and should do and could hopefully do commercially.  I started out by writing a movie script based upon a short story entitled “Smooth Criminal” that involved the perfect crime committed by a powerful telepath and a character, Jenny Sixa, who is a “consultant” telepath brought in by the police to solve crimes because, within limits, she can access the last thoughts in the victim’s mind, which in turn, would typically give her some clues as to the identity of the killer.  However, in the first victim in the book, she sees her name in the victim’s last thoughts, planted there by the killer.

After about a thousand re-writes, that script got optioned but it was a typical “when pigs fly” option, meaning, I would get paid if someone paid the producers to pick up the script.  Then I saw the movie The Producers, where the Tim Robbins character says that a Hollywood studio gets asked to say “yes” to 50,000 projects a year, and typically actually says yes less than 10 times.

I thought, wow, those are absolutely lousy odds, and I thought I could get a book published about my character faster than I would ever become a movie mogul.

I found an agent and Bantam Spectra picked up the resulting novel (now called Circle of One) and a sequel, entitled The Stranger.

Sci-Fi is a really vibrant community, and I’ve had the privilege to meet a number of the masters in the field, but after the Jenny Sixa books, I thought I wanted to move into thrillers.  My agent at the time suggested I do a thriller with a black main character (since I’m black and lots of black authors were hitting the bestseller lists at the time) and I did, which in 2001 resulted in a novel called Blowback, which was ultimately published by Harper Collins.  All told, it sold about 15,000 copies, recouped it’s advance, but the problem was that I’d taken my agent’s advice a little too seriously, and I’d created a character named Richard Whelan who was a little too…racial.

The man had, well, issues.  It was a very fast paced book, which is the kind of novel I love to write, but I got lots of feedback along the lines of, “dude, loved the story, but why is he so…black???”  And the reality was that a high octane national security/political thriller was not the kind of genre that the African American audience naturally gravitates to.  So the early hardcover edition, published by Harper imprint Amistad, had a cover blurb that made it seem more like a relationship novel with guns than a thriller.  My publisher fixed the positioning in the paperback edition, which then sold pretty well, and the Blowback paperback cover is a model for the Narcolepsy cover.

So in Narcolepsy (which I would define as Narco/Lepsy, or the process of being lulled into a false sense of security by narcotrafficantes) began with this idea of the west being broke, and whether someone would turn to criminals to float the financial system in a time of crisis.

The novel is set in the not too distant future, (“Ripped From Tomorrow’s Headlines!”) where the European sovereign debt crisis can has been kicked as far down the road as it can by stopgap measures in four countries, Spain, Greece, Italy, and Portugal.  There are no more bailout funds left, and the Americans are broke.  (Or maybe struggling to keep the government open-slash-renegotiating the debt ceiling).  The head of the fictional World Bank is negotiating with the Chinese to inject money into these same countries, and the Chinese are not interested because to them, it seems as if this is a never ending black hole.

Meanwhile, in the fictional World Bank’s offices in London, the hero Myles Saldana is an analyst running credit risk models on Spain when his boss calls him and tells him the new rates to apply to Spain’s central bank debt.  Saldana replies that the rates are crazy, because they would push Spain’s central bank into default, and the financial markets would go bezerk.

It is at this point that the story, in the first two chapters, begins to take a darker turn.  Arnold, Myles’s boss, calls him into the office and tells him that he’s sending him a list as “insurance” just as commandos break in looking to secure the mysterious list.  They kill Arnold and pursue Myles because they figure out he has the list, and the chase is on across London to Paris and finally to Geneva, with Myles trying to understand the significance of the list, its relationship to the burgeoning financial crisis triggered by Spain, and his own fate for being in possession of such a toxic item.

Sample Narcolepsy

I wrote this book during the summer of 2012 and thought it was terrific, but couldn’t get an agent remotely interested in it.  That was when I decided to self-publish Narcolepsy (although I certainly didn’t do my SEO scores any favor with that name) as well as a “reboot” of the Richard Whelan character in a novel called Credible Threat.

I think Narcolepsy occupies a unique place in the thriller genre and I am 80% through the sequel.  I am also excited about Credible Threat, because it involves an assassin threatening the President of the United States who claims to have been the second gun in Dallas in 1963 – a claim that at first blush doesn’t seem credible…but then again when shots are fired…

So, I enjoy writing, I think novels and plots have a rhythm and a depth and a velocity that I really enjoy exploring, and I love bringing diverse and interesting characters to life.  I think Narcolepsy does this, I think Credible Threat will do this, and I am grateful to have an audience.

The last thing I will say is that I work for an absolutely astonishing organization called World Vision International, the Christian, child focused humanitarian relief and development non-profit.  We work in roughly 100 countries around the world and in some of the most difficult contexts imaginable.

My work with them has taken me to some amazing (and heartbreaking places) including, for example, the “Hotel Rwanda” in Rwanda that was the basis for the movie of the name (the actual name of the hotel is the Des Miles Collines) Vietnam, where I heard a tour guide talk about how the Vietnamese kicked American butt during the war, the so-called “killing fields” in Cambodia, and the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, where Jesus, betrayed, was captured and began his journey to crucifixion.

As I write this, I’m sitting in London, soon to be traveling to Bangkok and Tanzania over the next thirty days, among other places.

In effect, I like to think that my work involves doing my small part to prevent the futures that I write about.

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CALLAHAN CHRISTMAS MIRACLE and giveaway with Tina Leonard

Becoming a husband and family man in the middle of a raging land feud wasn’t the destiny Galen Callahan saw for himself. But once he laid eyes on Rose Carstairs, he knew the bouncy blonde with the warrior heart was his future. Now, with Rancho Diablo under siege, the eldest Callahan sibling will do whatever it takes to protect his new wife and triplets.
Except Rose refuses to be protected! No husband of hers can stop her from fighting by his side while keeping their newborn sons out of the line of fire. With Callahan lives and legacy on the line, Galen has a new mission: to vanquish a dangerous enemy and bring his family together in time for Christmas!
Galen Chacon Callahan looked over Rancho Diablo, where dark smoke filled the sky above the canyons with smudges of black. He put his binoculars to his eyes, studying the smoke as it grew and thickened.
He turned as his sister, Ashlyn, drove up in the jeep. “It’s not a wildfire,” she said.
“No.” Rancho Diablo was safely separated from the fire by the canyons, but if someone was sending up signals near the expansive ranch, it would be a message the Callahans couldn’t ignore. “It’s the land Storm Cash has offered to sell us.”
“I know. I wonder if the elderly farmer who sold that land to Storm still lives there.” She studied Galen’s face. “Think we should ride over and check on him?”
“I’ll call the sheriff. He can alert the proper authorities. I think it’s best if we stay out of it for now.” He was troubled by the fire, and an uneasy feeling was growing in the pit of his stomach. “I’m heading back.”
“I’ll stay here a bit longer.”
“Got your gun?” Galen asked, knowing full well that Ash could take care of herself. He could order her back to the ranch—should order her—but she’d just ignore him. Probably give him a blistering retort to send him on his way as well.
“When do I not have my gun?” Ash didn’t even bother to glance at him. Her eyes were glued to the horizon.
“Don’t go over there.”
“I won’t. Quit fussing. You’re like a mother hen.” Ash finally turned to look him in the eye. “By the way, the new agents are at the house, waiting for you to interview them.”
“New agents?”
“The ones to replace Ana and River. Jace lined them up every hour on the hour for interviews. Remember we agreed we needed new agents? Sawyer Cash can’t handle everything on her own. And anyway,” Ash muttered under her breath, though he could plainly hear every word of her complaint, “I’m not exactly sure she’s capable of handling anything.”
He’d listened to all the negative things the Callahan clan said about Sawyer, and he couldn’t say there wasn’t real reason for concern. She was Storm Cash’s niece, after all, and they’d never been certain if they could trust their wily neighbor. He always seemed to be in the wrong place at the right time. “Maybe we’re just being suspicious,” Galen said.
“There’s no such thing as too much caution.”
“I know. I’m heading off. Be careful. Don’t invite trouble.” Even though he knew Ash was more than capable of protecting not just herself, but the ranch, Galen couldn’t help leaving his sister with that warning before riding toward Rancho Diablo’s main house. After last month, when their aunt Fiona blew up Uncle Wolf’s hideout in Montana, he and his brothers had decided that the women in their family had earned their stripes. They could more than take care of themselves. Ash, like the rest of them, had been in the military, a trained operative. She was as tough as any male Callahan. Tougher, maybe. And so he and his five brothers had finally decided that their overprotective attitude toward their baby sister was accomplishing nothing and was detrimental to their family harmony.
Ash had never listened to anyone’s concerns, anyway. Like Fiona, and the women who’d married into the Callahan family, she did what she wanted—which was mostly chase Xav Phillips, a family employee who rode the canyons and kept an eye out for trespassers.
Galen was pretty sure Ash caught him on occasion, too.
He was so busy pondering the smoke in the canyons and his platinum-haired baby sister that he almost missed the rider heading his way. A brunette he didn’t recognize rode up on a gray horse.
“Hi,” she said, smiling, as if it was every day strange women appeared at Rancho Diablo.
“Hello?” He swallowed, peering into the dark green eyes smiling at him from under a white cowgirl hat.
Her smile turned sweeter, somehow sexy. Galen tried to pull his brain back from the alluring abyss into which it was threatening to fall. “My name’s Somer Stevens. I’m here to apply for the agent position.”
“I believe the agents are supposed to be waiting for their interviews up at the house.”
“There are ten candidates over there right now. It’s not every day that an opening comes up for a position at Rancho Diablo.” Somer winked conspiratorially. “I figured I’d better take a look around before I decided whether I belong here or not.”
He frowned. “My brothers were going to show everyone around.”
“Yes, but if I’d waited for the canned tour, I wouldn’t have gotten to speak to you directly.”
Direct. Assertive. These were valuable traits in someone working for the Callahans. Most likely he would’ve done the same thing, if he’d been in her shoes. But he wasn’t, and he was going to let her know that stroking his ego wasn’t going to get her anywhere.
This one wasn’t getting the job. Somer didn’t follow directions, and she made him sweat. She wore dark blue pants and a blue jacket, all very proper for an interview; she had a great horse and a lot of attitude, yet something told him Somer was nothing but trouble.
And he never ignored his instincts.
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USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Tina Leonard writes with humor, sexiness, and fun. With over 2.6 million books sold, she plans to keep writing books readers enjoy. Her writing schedule keeps her very busy with independent heroines and the heroes who love them.  visit Tina     FB

SKELETONS KEY with Stacy Green

Many thanks to Ivy for having me back on Manic Readers! It’s one of my favorite blogs to visit. I’m excited to bring you SKELETON’S KEY, the second book in the Delta Crossroads Series.

Ironwood Plantation is at the heart of the book. It brings characters Cage Foster and Dani Evans together, and it represents their mutual journey to becoming whole.

The house is also my own special creation. I’ve always loved old homes, and plantations hold a special place in my heart. To me, an old home is like a living entity. When I walk into one, I can feel its energy, as if all the lives that were led inside the walls are collectively welcoming me. That may sound corny, but it’s the truth.

Ironwood’s exterior is based on Malmaison Plantation, a historical home in Greenwood, Mississippi that burned down in the 1940s. The inside is all my own: the dual staircase, the grand ballroom, the French tile in the foyer, the butler’s pantry, and of course, the secret passage everyone is so desperate to find. Does it contain the legendary Ironwood cache? Or something infinitely more significant? You’ll have to read to find out. 🙂

I loved every minute of writing this book, but creating Ironwood will always stand out. When I close my eyes, I can see the house as though I’d really walked its halls. I hope you will, too.

An excerpt from SKELETON’S KEY, available in print and all digital formats.

Ducking her head to see beneath the oak’s drooping branches, Dani turned into the drive. Glimpses of dirty white railing partially hidden by rosebushes had her clenching the steering wheel with anticipation. The path wound slightly to the left, around the big tree, and Ironwood emerged.

Pictures hadn’t done her justice. The mansion’s wooded exterior was gray and faded, the balconies sagging dangerously in places. Its four front columns were cracked, its iron railings rusting, and the widow’s peak had lost part of its outboards.

But she was still beautiful, like a weathered grandmother who’d seen more of life than most could comprehend. The grand home’s front was a five bay structure, its centerpiece a two-story portico with four perfectly spaced Greek pillars. An exquisite bracketed cornice marked the roofline, and while several of the Italianate brackets were missing, their craftsmanship was still visible on the remaining pieces. Standing guard over the house was a widow’s walk with a balcony that circled a small cupola. Additional porticos marked the east and west sides of the house.

Dani closed her eyes and imagined the house’s mistress standing on the walk, waiting for her son to come home from the Civil War. Her summer dress would be lightweight, but hoops and underskirts would have added several pounds to her frame. Her hair might have hung in pin curls or been done up in a more stately but ornate knot. A delicate white handkerchief etched with precise stitching – probably flowers – would be crushed in her hand as she prayed for her son’s safe return from the war.

That son would have been John James Laurent, and he did return from the war. He and his father kept Ironwood afloat during the Reconstruction, and the plantation employed free blacks for decades, running a modest but successful cotton crop until sometime during the Great Depression. Ironwood had been slowly sinking into quiet despair since. The once grand home was no more than a shadow of its former glory.

Moisture dripped onto Dani’s lip. She flushed, hastily wiping the tears away. Old homes had always held a special power over her, but the plantations were a force she couldn’t explain. It was as if the last remnants of a forgotten way of life desperately grasped for survival. For someone to remember. To save them.

She would save Ironwood.

Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

Website     Amazon Author Page       Facebook Stacy Green, Author

Twitter @StacyGreen26

Why My Heroine Wants to be Like Martha Stewart with Ava Miles

So, hi there. I’m Ava Miles, a contemporary romance writer of the new Christmas story called THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, part of my Dare Valley series. I want to thank Manic Readers for hosting me today to talk about my newest novel.

My heroine, Abbie Maven, is a single mom of a teenager. She manages the interior decorating at her brother’s hotels, the hero of Book 3 of my series, THE GRAND OPENING. Abbie orders the flowers, the furniture, the pictures. She puts the little touches like an antique Tiffany lamp around the hotel to give their guests an extra feel of comfort. She’s now working in Dare Valley at her brother’s newest venture, the restored Grand Mountain Hotel, which had been a destination for mobsters, silent screen actors, and the jetsetters in the 1930s.

This Christmas Abbie is determined to enjoy her Martha Stewart-inspired plans of baking and wreath making. Abbie likes Martha Stewart because she’s incredibly creative. I mean, her veritable ideas seem to come from a constantly bubbling well. She’s made herself without a man—something Abbie knows something about. Martha seems to have learned from her mistakes, which Abbie admires. She’s had her own tragedy in her past and has been building a respectable life for herself and her son until Rhett Butler Blaylock blows that to smithereens.

It’s rather funny to her. Only a man named after the iconic hero from Gone With The Wind could get under her skin. Her Rhett, her brother’s dear friend, is ridiculously sexy. He knows his way around women, but once they started their secret fling, he didn’t have eyes for anyone else. But he’s a poker player and has created a rather bad-boy image to attract crowds.

She doesn’t like it (and she’s pretty sure Martha wouldn’t either).

But he’s fun and romantic and makes her feel carefree.

And he’s so smitten with her that he shocks her by volunteering to help her with her Martha Stewart crafts. He even proposes she make gingerbread women and not just gingerbread men to show she’s all about equal rights, suggesting she use her green and red sugar sprinkles for sequin dresses. Again, she doesn’t approve, and she’s sure Martha would agree with her. It’s why they’re called gingerbread MEN.

Then there’s her wreath making. Here’s a snippet of him helping her.

“Rhett picked up the fake red amaryllis flowers she’d laid next to the first wreath. The sight of it in his huge hand should have looked silly, but like Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, Rhett combined Alpha male toughness with a softer, playful side. In moments like this, it was easy to imagine them together.”

So here she is, falling in love with a bad-boy poker player who’s helping her with her crafts. This she’s sure Martha would approve of.

What do you think? Would Martha Stewart appreciate a rough-and-tumble man helping her out with her creative projects?

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Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to Ava’s delight, BlogCritics says “It [NORA ROBERTS LAND] captures the best of…a Nora Roberts novel,” while USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog praises the series noting its “wonderful, idyllic setting… [and] great characters.” Ava continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again” and then THE GRAND OPENING, which reviewer Mary J. Gramlich says “is a continuation of love, family, and relationships.” Now, Ava releases the fourth book in the series, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, with her recognized wit and charm, creating happy endings with humor and heart. A descendant of generations of journalists, Ava—a writer since childhood—now lives in her own porch-swinging-friendly community with an old-fashioned Main Street lined with small businesses. Much like Dare Valley.

THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, Book 4, The Dare Valley Series, by Ava Miles

Contemporary Romance/Fiction/Original

October 2013/On Sale 10-21-13/$2.99 (eBook), ISBN: 9781940565026

Visit Ava       FB     Nora Roberts Land on FB       Twitter    Pinterest

OUT FROM UNDER and giveaways with Selene Chardou

“I have always been strong, independent and wanted a life that belonged to me. It’s the very reason why I chose to attend Stanford because it is away from the small-town life that seems more Twin Peaks than charming. Secrets are a dangerous commodity and Pine Bluff has them in spades. So do my parents, and the dirtiest secret of all is my brother, Trey. Sergeant at Arms for the Demon’s Bastards, a criminal, a felon, and perhaps the catalyst for the tragedy that destroyed my life just days before I was supposed to leave for college.
“Now I am on the run because my life is in danger and I could be next. I don’t want to live my whole life looking over my shoulder and I don’t want to live my life shrouded in despair. Anxiety has me in a death grip, unable to let go. I pop Xanax to get through the day and were it not for my famous cousin, I would probably be dead already.
“My name is Trista Lennon, and I am tired of being afraid.”
Linx Carter never thought he could help anyone when he could barely help himself. He is hanging on by a thread after a tough, six-month Gods of Rock Tour with his band, Winter’s Regret, and Scarlet Fever. He has a greedy ex-wife, two sons and all he wants is to put the pieces of his life back together.
Linx knows there is something special about Trista from the moment they meet. She’s wounded, in desperate need of a friend yet feminine, feisty and no one’s charity case. She is the strongest woman he has ever known.
Through their friendship, they will find the strength to heal themselves and love one another but a feud between two gangs is brewing. Trista is caught in the crossfire, and by proxy, so is Linx. What they discover might not only cost them the love they have for one another but their lives too.
The motorcycle clubs, and the violence they brought with them, was the major reason why I wanted to leave this place. I couldn’t take the biker gangs and the casinos, the whores and the drug trade any longer. I was sick of it and how our whole lives were affected by it. My parents owned their own accounting firm, but it was mostly a front to do the books for the Lucifer’s Saints MC and every illegitimate businessman come tax time.
Like most men, my father was a contradiction. He didn’t want his children to be involved in a life of crime though he and my mother were neck deep in it. I suppose it made me feel slightly better they’d been bullied into their position as accountants mainly for a biker gang but they also had to take some of the blame. We could have moved to another town, another state but perhaps they were just as greed-driven as the average adult and could only see working for the MC as an end game toward early retirement.
We lived comfortably but I couldn’t disguise my quiet disgust at how our lifestyle came at the cost of lives lost, ruined and destroyed. They dealt with unsavory people and washing dirty money clean didn’t make me feel any better, no matter how comfortable my life was as a result of my parents’ profession.
Of course, I was a walking cliché myself. I had secretly been the girlfriend of an MC prospect for over a year, Tristan dated a woman with direct ties to a rival MC and Trey was in the MC. I needed to get away because I didn’t want this kind of life. I certainly didn’t want to bring children into this kind of environment, no matter how charming Pine Bluff and its proximity to Lake Tahoe were. Underneath the town lurked a rot and filth that marred our beautiful surroundings and vaguely reminded me of the show, Twin Peaks. Like that idyllic town, nothing was as it seemed and it was the same for the nearby towns of Birch Tree, where the Saints ruled, and Black Oak, the town where the Knights had placed their claim.
“Earth to Trista, how are you and what are you doing here?”
I turned towards Tristan’s voice before I smiled and walked over to embrace him and Taryn.
“I’m great, although to be honest, I can’t wait to get out of this po-dunk town,” I said, before I sipped from my drink.
Tristan glared at me with harsh sky-blue eyes. “What’s that? Coke? You better not be drinkin’. Mom and Dad would have my ass if they found out their perfect daughter was caught at a Bastards’ party with this many drunk and fucked up people running around. What they hell is wrong with you? If anyone can understand how out of control these events can become, it’s you.”
“Well,” I said as I placed my hands on my hips. “If you have any ideas on how I am supposed to spend my New Year’s Eve, especially in our little hole in the wall town, I’m all ears,” I replied in a sarcastic voice.
“Maybe you should spend some time at home for a change. Take Clooney with you—he’ll make sure you get home safe and sound.”
I laughed out loud. “That can’t happen. Trey would go postal if he knew I was alone with Clooney. He told me I had to leave with you two when you decide to go home or he would have another prospect drop me off. He’s demanded I cut any and all ties to the MC before I leave for Stanford.”
“He’s right, you know,” Taryn replied in her soft, barely-there Northern Irish accent. “You’ve been surrounded by this whole sordid scene since you were a wee child and it’s not healthy. I was so happy to get the hell out of Belfast, I didn’t know what to do. Of course, I miss me Ma but do you know what it’s like to attend high school and university in a normal environment? No bombs exploding and not having to worry about being a Catholic?”
She paused and wrapped her arms around Tristan’s waist. “That’s why I love your brother so much. He loves me for me and it doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the most fit men I have ever met.”
My brother looked at her before he kissed her lips softly. “I love you too, babe.”
I smiled at both of them before I pursed my lips and left the clubhouse. I sat outside on a wooden bench and watched a few revelers in more than close-for-comfort positions while I drank my SoCo and Coke.
The sheer need to leave this place had become an all-consuming obsession and I couldn’t wait for the New Year. As far as I was concerned, it couldn’t come fast enough.
Selene is offering The One More Night Rock and Roll Trilogy Omnibus Collection in e-book form (ePub, mobi or PDF)  to one (1) lucky commenter.  Motorcycles & rock stars ~ good, bad, take  ’em or leave ’em, do they do anything for you?  Giveaway ends @12am est 10-27-13.
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The Realm of Selene Chardou     Pinterest     Selene on Twitter      Selene  on Facebook

Selene Chardou is a world traveler and the alter-ego of Elle Chardou.
Ms. Chardou’s writing is all about hot romance and exciting times with the wild, damaged, out of control and/or rich and famous set in the New Adult realm.
She is currently working on Rock My Heart, the first novel in the Scarlet Fever Series, which concludes the story of Kasper “Kaz” Gillian and Sydney Lundvik; she is also working on In Too Deep, the conclusion to The Lovers Duet. She also has a pop stars series planned and an MC series planned that chronicles the issues between Lucifer’s Saints and Demon’s Bastards motorcycle clubs.
Ms. Chardou has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

10/14/2013
Reading, Eating & Dreaming 
My Fiction Nook

Smardy Pants Book Blog
Storm Goddess Book Reviews
10/16/2013
Shh Moms Reading 
Simply Ali 
10/17/2013
Tattooed Book Review
Talk supe
10/18/2013
Read Our Lips! Book Review Blog
For The Love of Reading 
10/21/2013
RomFan Review 
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
10/22/2013
Day Dreaming Book Reviews 
Mrs Condit & Friends Read Books
10/23/2013
Manic Readers Guest Author Blog 
Harlie’s Books 
Hesperia Loves Books 
10/24/2013
What’s On the Bookshelf 
Journey with Books 
10/25/2013
Harlie’s Books 
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HEA Romances With A Little Kick 

LIVING SEPARATE LIVES with Paulette Harper Johnson

Title: Living Separate Lives

Author: Paulette Harper

Publisher: Thy Word Publishing

Genre: Christian Fiction, Novella

Hosted By: Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tour www.wnlbooktours.com

ISBN-13:  978-0-9899691-0-9

Releasing: Nov 5, 2013 e-book and paperback

Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny

 

Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes.  What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised.  Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.

Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008.  Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

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Website

Email: pharperjohnson@gmail.com

“Stop preaching to me. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’ve had enough of your self-righteousness.” The words continued to cut Jordan’s heart; words that she never heard before coming from the mouth of her husband, Eric. “You knew how I was before we got married.”  His tone deepened with every word.

Standing in front of the sink, Jordan was frozen and motionless in the middle of the kitchen. She held the dish towel in one hand and a plate in the other. She turned and faced Eric, whose eyes were cold and hard.  The verbal blows kept coming.  Her mouth opened wide, but no words could be formed when he uttered the deadly words, “I want a divorce.”

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Lathams Landing Anthology and giveaway with Tara Fox Hall

Latham’s Landing is a cursed island mansion that dwells like a sitting spider on a long clear lake in the northeastern United States. The stones that make its skeleton are red granite, bleached in spots to white and pink. Lights form at night in its windows, though the electricity there has been off for some time. Winding out from the isle is a long narrow stone bridge that snakes to a house of glass known as The Sea Room. On some nights, The Sea Room also lights up, burning like a pyre of Hell as it welcomes in new victims.

How many have died on the shores of the island, or within the walls of the mansion is unclear. What is known are the many drownings in the waters just around the island. The shallow water is home to many hidden rocks ready to gore a boat’s bottom. Winds tend to come up out of nowhere, becoming tempests of lightning and rough waves in mere minutes that overturn boats with childish ease. Time passes differently there, the hours slipping away like minutes.

To those that spend the time to research the haunted isle, there is also one other troubling characteristic: the house changes. Return through a doorway you just left, and you may find yourself in a room that you’ve never seen before. What was once a wall may suddenly have a door…and the door you ran to for escape may suddenly disappear. Part of the house is sunken, or so the tales tell. But more than one fisherman has returned with his catch to report a house that sits up on dry land, no contact with water visible. The tides ebb and flow, is what some say. However, no one who goes looking for the proof of that ever comes back.

Disappearances stack up back from the owner’s time. Hans Latham was a shipping tycoon who made his fortune in transport. Some say on foggy nights they hear a clipper ship’s foghorn sound on the lake. Others report a ghost ship covered with algae and flying tattered sails, crewed by a host of skeletons. It is hard to say really, what is truth and what comes from fear. For the isle wears an unspeakable menace like a permanent cloak, and none who come close enough to see anything—and live to tell about it—ever tell all that they have seen.

It is said that the island is able to sense your fears, to reach into your soul and see what most terrifies you…and bring those fears to life. Some people report dead loved ones beckoning to them from the shore. Others tell of haunting music floating on the breeze, plaintive and melancholy. But most report a shadowy male figure that waits on the shore appearing near dusk. He will not answer any mortal’s call, and never leaves the shore. Not long after, a wind often springs up, storm clouds appear on the horizon, and the waves began to heighten. Those who report seeing him—for most everyone agrees it must be Latham’s ghost—don’t fish those waters again, if they make it back to shore. For it is well known the island takes offense with those few that manage to successfully escape its storms, enacting terrible vengeance if they dare its waters again.

What exactly haunts Latham’s Landing? Certainly Latham himself, and also possibly his wife, who died there. A woman is sometimes sighted near The Sea Room, dressed in flowing gauze with ribbons in her short hair. There are two reported sightings of a ghost child within the mansion, a boy with needle teeth who asks for his missing father. There are still more reports of a crying girl with long hair on the shore. She plays a flute stained with blood. Like Latham, it is said these spirit apparitions come in advance of storms.

Strangers come from time to time, looking for paranormal activity. They usually say they have experience; that they know what is waiting for them out there on Latham’s Landing. They bring along lifejackets, just in case they get marooned there. They quote that the police are available with an easy call to 911, and that they are not afraid of ghosts. They go, either with permission or without, sometimes sneaking out with oars in the middle of the night. We find their gear, their boats, sometimes even their personal effects. But we never find them. Not alive, anyway.

You want to go on to Latham’s Landing? Go ahead. Yes, I’ll rent you a boat. I’ve done my duty and warned you. I won’t stop you, though I must insist you fill out this waiver, which says you are liable for any damage to the boat and equipment. Go on, the isle is waiting for you. It already knows you’re coming. I wish you Godspeed where you’re going, and I hope you get there. I don’t think I’ll be seeing you again. If by some 100-1 chance you do survive, you will not be the same. No one is, once they set foot on Latham’s Landing.

Three novella-length tales of suspense and horror of the haunted sunken Isle mansion known as Latham’s Landing.

The Origin of Fear 

Four college friends mount an expedition to Latham’s Landing—an abandoned island estate infamous for mysterious deaths—to gather pictures and inspiration for a thesis on the origin of fear.

All That Remains 

Sandra has come to Latham’s Landing seeking to discover what really happened to her relative who disappeared there years before, persuading her reluctant friend Tina that a little paranormal investigation will be fun.

The Fire Within

A bitter Caroline Stone embarks on a mission to destroy the evil isle estate that took her fiancé, joining with several others also out for retribution. Can the combined fire of their hate triumph over the relentless evil of Latham’s Landing?

It was a clear calm night. Carolyn watched the lake waves lapping the shore, then looked out into the blackness.

The cursed house was out there, waiting. Latham’s Landing. It had killed Rob. It hadn’t been any accident. Tonight she was here to settle the score.

She hefted the three 5-gallon cans and five 1-gallon cans of gas into the boat one by one. It had taken a stop at each station on the long journey here to not arouse suspicion. That last place she’d had to buy three, and the guy had taken her name. That didn’t matter though. By tomorrow, she’d have burned all that stood on Latham’s Landing down to the bare red granite.

It was said if you went to the island, you never came back. That was fine. Without Rob, she didn’t want to live. The fire within her raged, its fury poisonous. She would destroy the cursed house, or die.

***

Hours later, Carolyn swam up to shore, then lurched through the waves, choking and sputtering. Coughing up lake water, she went to her knees on the shore, crawling back onto the dry land, her hair a Medusa’s nest, her clothes sodden.

Nothing had gone as planned. The tides that she’d researched had been off, swinging her around the far side of the island where there was nowhere to dock. Stranger, she’d felt a wind on the mainland shore when she’d launched the boat, yet there had been none on the water.

When she’d finally managed to get on the right side of the island, she’d run out of gas. Bewildered, she’d checked the tank to see it was empty. In the lightening sky, her suspicion was proven true. Her watch revealed that the night had passed in what seemed to her several hours. So she’d turned for the shore with the oars, cursing, figuring to come back the next night.

That was when the wind had begun to blow.

At first it was a soft breeze, lightly tickling her neck with wisps of her hair. Then it became stronger, the force intensifying until the boat was rocking in the choppy waves, her hair plastered to her skull from water and wind. Determined, she’d filled the tank with the spare marine gas she’d brought, then cranked the engine to life.

Where the rocks had come from, she wasn’t sure. But the bottom of the boat had peeled away like a can opener had rent it, water spilling in to cover her feet. She’d jumped and began swimming, sure that she’d end up on the rocks herself, another victim of the island. Instead, she’d made it to shore, disheveled but alive, gas containers bobbing beside her in the waves.

She turned to stare at the house, its red granite rock sparkling in the new dawn. “You haven’t beaten me,” she hissed, shaking her fist at it. “I’ll be back.”

Tara’s giving away an ecopy of the LATHAM’S LANDING ANTHOLOGY & a size large T-Shirt with a copy of the cover.  I’ve read the first two & the’re scary as all get out.  The first flat scared the beejeezus outta me!  What’re you afraid of?  Giveaway ends @12am est 10-25-13.  Good Luck!

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Email: tarafoxhallATgmail.com

 

Zombie Apocalypse Top Ten and DREAMS OF THE CURSED with giveaway

Top 10 Things I want in a Zombie Apocalypse

10. Lifetime supply of pens and paper so I can write and the stories in my mind don’t turn into a multiple personality disorder.

9. First aid kit, in case I get a paper cut from the paper.

8. Antibiotics. Even in a zombie apocalypse I’ll probably get a sinus infection because I seem to have a predisposition for them *sniffs*

7. A sniper rifle.  Don’t think that one needs explanation.

6. My glasses so I can actually see the zombies that I’m aiming at (see 7)

5. Toilet paper. Um, yeah . . .

4. My kindle fire filled with a ton of books so on my zombie-killing down time, I won’t be bored.

3. A water well. Don’t want to stink like the zombies. Oh, and I could have something to drink, too

2. A flashlight, ‘cause I don’t like the dark.

1. A katana sword. I could me some zombies with a katana sword.

A violent war has waged in secret underneath the notice of humanity since the beginning of time. Evil has pledged the destruction of humanity in spite of a power those that covet it could not possibly contain. Now the Warriors have inherited this fight and are honor-bound to rid the world of this ancient malevolence. By guarding the most precious, piercing light they possess—their female kin known as the Oracles or Dreamers—the Warriors have a chance against the darkness.

Chantal Breelan, plagued by horrific nightmares for most of her life, believes something is wrong with her. Why else would she have such visions of destruction? But when creatures of terror came crawling out of the shadows to hunt her down shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she discovers the truth. Her dreams become reality, throwing her headfirst into a battle wrought by cursed monsters, where death and torture lie at every turn.

Mathias is a descendant of a Fallen Angel and a powerful Warrior. He vows his life in service to pay recompense for the sins of their fathers by guarding Chantal from within the shadows. Long has he fought, shedding sweat and blood, hoping that his struggles wouldn’t be in vain. With Chantal’s life in danger, he is forced to reveal himself, yet she manages to surprise him with her fierce tenacity and strength. In his sacrifice, he finds redemption and life’s ultimate reward—a love to surpass all time.

Now Chantal has picks up the reins of her birthright and stands by her Warrior kin, by Mathias.

She’s on a mission to rescue others like herself. Yet, in this challenge, a battle of wits is exposed. New players are discovered, throwing strategies into question. When the truth comes to light, can Chantal hold her band of brothers together, or will they crumble under the weight of betrayal?

My Thoughts..5 stars

Chantal Breelan knew she was different; she was simply unaware of the extent of that difference until Matthias revealed both himself and her heritage.  Chantal is an Oracle, a daughter born of a Contrite and a mortal woman.  To be treasured and protected at all costs.  Oracles are also highly prized and sought by The Fallen and their minions.

When last we saw Chantal and her Warriors they had won a temporary reprieve against the Kajola and other creatures of the Shade but at a high cost. 

DREAMS OF THE CURSED begins with a search and rescue mission.  Chantal is determined to findLydia, the young Oracle kidnapped at the end of Legacy of a Dreamer.

Chantal and the Warriors get more than they bargained for onceLydiais located.   

The Shade~ A pale imitation of our world populated by evil creatures.  Warriors can use the Shade to move about quickly.   An Oracles grace causes them to become beacons of light in the Shade.  The Shade is especially dangerous to an Oracle at night or anywhere the shadows are thick.    

The Fallen~ The angels who sided with Lucifer against God and were cast out of Heaven.   

The Contrite~ Fallen angels who repented, almost immediately.  They will spend eternity atoning by protecting the Oracles and humanity from the forces of evil.  There are a limited number of Contrite and no one knows how many are left.  They aren’t big on communicating with one another.  

The Warriors~ male children of the Contrite and human women, they aren’t nephilim but something else.  Warriors protect the Oracles, with their very lives if necessary.  Is there a ordained Warrior for each Oracle?  If so, what does that mean for an Oracle whose Warrior is killed?  An Oracle whose Warrior has turned?  Does it hold a special meaning for Damon?  Questions and more questions…  

Oracles~ the female children of the Contrite and human women.  Oracles are treasured.  Their dreams are prophetic and they are blessed with grace.  Does their grace have any special meaning for the Contrite?  No Oracle has lived very long so the extent of their talent and abilities is unknown.  Are their abilities unique to each Oracle? Chantal, at nineteen, is the oldest known Oracle.  More questions.   

Chantal has grown as a fighter and leader.  The Warriors who protect her would prefer she sit back, sheltered and away from the battles, but that’s not who or what Chantal is.  In many ways Chantal is an enigma with the breadth of her abilities unknown.   Her personal Warrior, Matthias, is proud and frustrated.  Their feelings for each other are growing and maturing into a love that could last centuries provided they live that long.   

Legacy of a Dreamer was fast paced but DREAMS OF THE CURSED blows it away.  Ms. Jean’s fascinating world exists within and beside ours.  It’s occasionally glimpsed out of the corner of your eye yet gone when you turn. More of the history of the Fallen and Contrite is divulged giving rise to as many or more questions than were answered.  The mythology being created is engrossing and elaborate.

New characters are introduced while others, spoken of in Legacy of a Dreamer but unseen, are brought into the light.  There are some who aren’t entirely what I had believed them to be adding an intriguing dimension.

Who, exactly, is Princess?  There’s definitely more to her.  Trystan is another new character.  I dislike her intensely but can’t go into the why’s. DREAMS OF THE CURSED is so tight it’s extremely difficult to discuss without spoilers. 

I literally flew through the book because there are no good or easy stopping points.  The last third is especially fraught with tension.  There were several times I actually commented aloud because I was so “there”.  Honestly, by the end the air around me was a vivid blue as I railed against traitorous selfish characters, Ms. Jean for leaving me dangling, and near tears for those I fear are lost.  I’m highly anticipating yet also dreading Book Three.  Exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, excellent. 

Thanks to The Writer’s Coffee Shop we have a digital copy of DREAMS OF THE CURSED to give away.  Do you believe in angels? Give away ends @12am est 10-23-13.  Good luck!

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Allie Jean was born with an overactive imagination. At a very early age, a child, her days were spent inventing stories, directing her sisters in made-up plays or telling elaborate ghost stories. Her mind never took breaks, or shutdown, even when she slept. When her eyes shut at night, she would have vivid dreams complete with extensive, elaborate plot lines, and good overcoming evil villains.

She was encouraged by her parents, even at a young age, to write down her tales, and it has remained a somewhat-secret hobby. It became a means to escape from the drama of real life into one of the many worlds she created.

Now living in California with her husband of ten years, her love of storytelling had taken a backseat with the arrival of their four children. Though she always found time to write down her thoughts on whatever was handy, including a stray diaper or two while rocking a sleeping child in the middle of the night when her characters begged for attention as well.

As a busy wife, mother, and working full-time outside the home, somehow she has been able to write down her relentless character’s story. Her once-secret hobby and private world is now released for others to enjoy. Nothing would make Allie happier that to continue writing and spend more time at home with her family on a more full-time basis.

TAKING CHANCES with S.J. Maylee

Thank you so much for having me here today. I’m new to Manic Readers and I’m here today to share with you my debut. Just after TAKING CHANCES was released,Lydia, my heroine started talking to me again. I think she’s finally forgiven me for what I put her through. I did give her story one heck of an happy ending after all. Let’s hope she has forgiven me, because I agreed to let her interview me.

A Heroine and her Author, the interview:  

Hi everyone, I’m Lydia, the heroine of TAKING CHANCES. I’ll right, S.J., first question. The story starts a little over a year after I meet Jake. Why did you make me wait? 

Oh no, maybe she hasn’t forgiven me. This could get interesting. To be honest,Lydia, you weren’t ready for him yet. I wanted to give you a fighting chance and I stand by my decision.

Okay, that’s fair, just as long as you weren’t planning on pairing him up with someone else. You weren’t were you? 

Nope, you were always the heroine I had in mind for Jake. I don’t think anyone else would have been his match.

Great Answer. Okay, next question. Did you have to tempt us while we were at work? That was kind of a risky bet, don’t you think? 

It was. As you remember, I put Jake in your path before you even entered the building on your very first day of working together. You weren’t ready then and I also learned you’d need much more concentrated doses of each other to push you forward. You weren’t the only one TAKING CHANCES. I think I’ve since made it up to you though. Don’t you think?

Yes, you did try that first. I guess I should be thanking you for not giving up on us.  

You’re welcome,Lydia. I’ll always be here for you.

I’d ask you some more questions, but I’m late for my date. See you later, S.J. Don’t forget to write my brother’s story.  

Have a great time,Lydia, and don’t worry. I won’t forget about Sean, he won’t let me. J

That was a close one. I sure am glad I got the ending right or that might not have gone as well, lol.

 

Lydia’s father walked away from her when she was eight. She’s struggled to not let him affect her, but fears she wasn’t loveable enough to make him stay. Jake wants to love one woman, but after scaring the last woman he met outside of the club, he doubts he has the right. She protects her heart by sticking with her fantasies, and he lives by a set of rules that excludes women who choose a vanilla lifestyle.

The two will be kept in a conference room working together until their special project is complete. IfLydiaand Jake hold tight to their bland lives, they’ll always yearn for love that is out of reach. But together they can find common ground, passion, and a reason to take chances. Once they discover the grand possibilities of the love they desire, they find themselves in the very place they tried never to be again, facing unguaranteed love.

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 S.J. Maylee fell in love with storytelling at a young age and with it came a deep-seated desire for everyone to find their happily ever after. She’s finding the happy endings for her characters one steamy story at a time.

When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her caring for her garden, laughing with her two young sons, or dancing to her husband’s music. She’s a PMP (Project Management Professional), Nia instructor, and coffee addict.

As a writer she has a tendency to break hearts, but she always glues them back together.

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Sue Moorcroft introduces her Beta Readers

At a recent event at the Everybody’s Reading Festival I was asked what I meant when I referred to ‘my beta readers’. I explained that my beta readers are people who read my manuscript as a fairly early draft. Obtaining objective feedback is part of my writing process.

Two of my beta readers I trust to notice holes in plots, tell me when a character’s coming over wrongly or the storyline is hard to follow, point out when eyes change colour or that I have two characters of the same name. (Yes. I have reached the end of a draft without noting that little detail!) They are both men. I rely on them to tell me when my male characters don’t sound, think or react like men.

Other beta readers – and these vary from book-to-book – are people who have helped me with the research. I ask them to tell me what I’ve got wrong. I’m bound to get stuff wrong! I want them to help me avoid readers bombarding my publishers with complaints.

As Is This Love?  has just been released as an ebook (on Kindle and all other ebook platforms) and will launch in paperback on 7 November, I thought I’d tell you a little about my four beta readers, and what their role was in the book’s creation.

Mark West is a horror writer. This strikes some as a bizarre partnership, as I write romantic fiction, but Mark can not only write a mean love scene (although there may be demons, ghosts or severed body parts involved) he’s got an instinctive understanding of story and makes me laugh. His comments, typed on an electronic version of the manuscript, are short and pithy. ‘And … breathe!’ tells me when I’ve written an overlong sentence and ‘I’m hitting my head on the desk now …’ suggests my heroine’s overlooking the obvious. Mark’s my longest standing beta reader.

Dominic was my major research source for Dream a Little Dream, as he has narcolepsy, the same neurological condition as the hero (also called Dominic, confusingly) which causes uncontrolled sleep. He was so good at feeding back that I asked him if he’d take on the role for Is This Love?  He writes his thoughts in the margin of a hard copy of the manuscript and tacks on bits of paper if he runs out of space. He’s precise and to the point, understands the value of pointing out the good as well as the bad, and is particularly good at analysing break up behaviour. This proved surprisingly useful.

Gail is a yoga instructor and columnist and I thought of her when I was looking for just the right job for my heroine, Tamara. She helped me create Tamara’s business and excelled at telling me what I needed to know before realised that I needed to know it. Without her, I probably would never have thought that if you work for millionaires, in their homes, you’ll probably have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. That NDA really helped my plot! Gail read the manuscript on her kindle and gave me about four sentences of notes, none of which were about yoga. (She spotted cups and cars that changed colour – where were you, Mark and Dominic?) She said the yoga was right, which made me feel very insecure. Research is rarely right first time. But she did point out that I listen to her instruct twice a week and have practised yoga for years …

Sue and Adrian keep alpacas. I visited their farm and met the alpacas, learning about their habits and preferences (their babies are just so cute!) and borrowed alpaca-keepers’ magazines. Sue read the manuscript on her Kindle and read aloud any bits she thought needed work, to get Adrian’s opinion. Her notes, too, were pretty light, but there were several details that needed changing, so I was grateful for her ‘saves’.

So that’s what beta readers are about! Useful, aren’t they?

 

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue received three nominations at the Festival of Romance 2012 and is a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner. The vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Sue’s the editor of the Association’s two short story anthologies.

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles and courses, is the head judge and columnist for the Writers’ Forum fiction competition and a creative writing tutor.

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