BLUE BUTTERFLY and giveaway with Marian L. Thomas

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

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

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

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




Website     Amazon Author Page     Twitter

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


DESIRING LADY CARO and giveaway with Ella Quinn


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you like to do on long trips?

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

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

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

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

Website: (Up soon)      Facebook     Twitter     Blog     

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily nods, then consults an imaginary note pad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Available: April 8, 2014

 Format: E-book & Paperback (POD)

Genre: Post-Apoc Romance

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


How to Write Nonfiction (or other genre) Like a Pro

I believe that one of the most important things in writing nonfiction is to research your subject thoroughly.  You cannot over due this. Check out other books, films, documentaries, exhibits. If you are able to tour where your subject lived or an incident took place it is a bonus. As your researching you should not only be gathering facts, but absorbing the essence or atmosphere of your subject, until it becomes a part of you. You want to empathize as much as possible. When I was writing my book on Glenn Gould, I would listen to his music constantly- quite a treat for me, since I have always been a devoted fan. I loved watching documentaries about him and the documentaries that he made. I loved his mannerisms and the sound of his voice. Sometimes you might even have certain things in common with your subject. Glenn had a cottage onLake Simcoeand so did I. I knew that area very well, since I also spent childhood summers there. I have a great love of animals, especially dogs. It is a plus if you can instinctively relate to some of the person’s life or situation. Another aspect I think it is just as important that you remain “true” to your subject.  You should approach them/it with integrity and honesty.  Sometimes there will be differing opinions and facts, so you need to make a decision that best serves your subject and what, to you, seems true. Don’t sacrifices your subject for sensationalism. Most times the subject is dynamic and captivating without distorting facts.  

How to Create a Great Work Area for Inspiration

Whatever makes me feel inspired or motivated is what I bring into my environment.  Each person’s area will be individual to them, of course. I always have pictures of my subject or something related to my writing. I always write in the same place. I have my classical music playing, I don’t like complete silence. I prefer a mellow lightening. I have a few inspirational messages on my book shelf. I will sometimes look at the visual images that I have in front of me, and just wait. Sometimes, if you just have patience, sit still and wait, something will come to mind. Sometimes, I just start typing and ideas or impressions come into focus. Then I will to back later and re-write, but the skeleton is there. I close my door with a “Do Not Disturb” sign. My dogs are always beside me, usually sleeping. Sometimes I have small medallions nearby as well. There is one author, who has a mock-up of a book cover and keeps it on his desk. I use my pictures. When I was writing the Glenn Gould book, I had numerous pictures of him, but I also had pictures of the places related to him- Massey Hall, his house in the beaches,Lake Simcoe. I used the same method when I was writing my book on Northern Dancer. I do become very involved, to the point of being very protective. It is always wonderful to have an empathy with the character.


In GLEN GOULD: SKETCHES OF SOLITUDE writer Anne Kaufmann gives us an imaginative glimpse into the world and soundscapes of Canadian icon and music legend, Glenn Gould. It is a series of vignettes or “sketches” of Gould’s life based on his own recollections over the years and those of others who knew him. Artist Rudin Koci perfectly augments the poetic prose with his colorful, bold and energetic illustrations. This book will inspire young people of today to nurture their own creativity through art and music.

Amazon paperback      Ebook





Anne Kaufmann is a former teacher librarian. She studied English Literature at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. Her passions include music, books, animals and creating nature journals. She has shared her life with dogs, horses, cats and birds. A nature lover, she spends many hours exploring the forests north of her home with her Border Collie, Indy. Some of her favorite childhood memories include summers at her cottage on Lake Simcoe, settling back on the family couch reading while listening to her dad’s weekly String Quartet group, playing with her dogs and wishing for a horse. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

About the Illustrator:

Rudin Koci was born on January 7th, 1971, in Tirana, Albania. He holds dual citizenship, Canadian and Albanian. In 1994, Rudin graduated from Academy of Arts, Tirana, Albania with a major in Theatre Design and finished his Masters in Fine Arts in 2001-2003 at the Slade School of Art, University College, London, UK. In 2007 he earned his Bachelor of Education at Windsor University, Ontario in 2007. Rudin lives in Toronto, Ontario and shares his passion for art with his students.

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