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The Not So Good Girl & giveaway w/ Tara Fox Hall!

In the fictional world, evil characters are usually interesting and complex, and good ones are boring and hard to relate to. Yet in the real world, it’s just the opposite, with good people being interesting and complex, and bad people being boring, shallow, and usually unlikable. So, in short, WTH?

Stories in film and fiction have always inspired and entranced me; it’s why I became an author myself. Watching characters resolve their external conflicts and fight their inner demons helps me to make sense of my own life struggles. Yet I admit to never feeling like I could relate to any of the heroines of my youth, whether they were the various Disney princesses, She-Ra, the perfect Sweet Valley High twins, or the older “good” female characters from sitcoms who seemed to do most everything right with only slight slipups. As a girl, I was a far cry from the sweet, demure young lady I was often told I should be. Instead I was full of wild emotions, I didn’t care about wearing pretty dresses, and I wanted to have adventures. One of the reasons I became a tomboy was because the male characters I was exposed to were more interesting; they could go “dark side” in an episode and return to being a hero. They could be less than perfect, and not lose their “good” label, a facet I found incredibly attractive. It wasn’t until the advent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I finally found a heroine I could identify with; a female who was good not because she had no failings or temptations, but becausemost of the timeshe could successfully fight them. Further, she had her weak moments of utter failure and heartbreak, where she tried her best and still her world went south. Yet she always picked herself up and went on, even when all she wanted to do was curl up in a ball and give up. This resonating is probably why Buffy will always have a special meaning to me, even as I have moved my “best heroine” allegiance on to Carol from The Walking Dead.

I have tried to infuse this balance of vulnerability, hope, passion and fear into all of my heroines, as well as my heroes. To me, innate good is not a lack of evil, but quest to do what is just and right in the face of contrary desire and emotion. Its self-control, coupled with peace, love for others, kindness, happiness, and empathy. My kind of superwoman lives in the world I live in: where there is temptation, but there is also strength to overcome it. More importantly, it is okay to have your weak moments, as long as you get it right in the end.

 

 

 

Neither human stripper Sundown nor virgin were-halfbreed Serena knew how their futures would change when catalyst vampire Devlin Dalcon walked into their lives. Sundown was just looking to party and forget her tragic past; Serena was hoping for excitement and love, to be swept away from the dull routine of her short-order cook job and solitary life. Will these very different women finally face their fears in time to seize their own dreams of happiness?

 

It felt like the day from hell. Everything had gone wrong for me. I’d gotten hit on by an overzealous, middle-aged buffoon who’d fondled me intimately on his second lap dance. That had put me off so much, I’d been a beat behind when I took my turn onstage. The men in the audience hadn’t cared, but I had. I liked to think I was the most sought after girl in Hotcakes, and how could I, feeling like some amateur her first night on the pole.

“Shit.” I drank my seven-and-seven down in a gulp, and decided to pay my tab. It was time to go home.

Leaving some money on the bar, I motioned to Bill, the head bouncer at Hotcakes. He came over grinning snidely, his tanned face sharp, yet still friendly. “Another, Sun?”

“No,” I said tiredly, getting to my feet. “I should go home.”
He leaned in close. “Even though you’ve got a fan still here?”
I gave him a look that said he’d better not annoy me in the mood I

was in. “What are you talking about?”
“That guy in the corner,” he said, with a discreet hand gesture. “He

came in when you were on stage. He watched your set like he’d never seen a woman before.”

“Good for him,” I said dispassionately, though inside I was pleased to hear of the special attention. “It’s nice I can still give a man a lift, even as bad as I was.”

“You weren’t bad,” Bill replied seriously. “Just off by a few seconds.”

“Not good enough,” I replied stiffly. “I strive for perfection. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

As I went for my coat, a soft yet deep voice called out, “Please wait.”

I turned back to see my admirer coming toward me. As men went— especially compared to the type who came in here usually—he was a solid nine. He was handsome, tall, and his body was nicely muscular without being too bulky. He looked sort of young for some reason, yet I reasoned that he had to be at least twenty-one for Bill to have let him in the door. His straight dark hair was pulled sharply back in a short ponytail, which made me think he was older than the early twenties I pegged him for. That hairstyle wasn’t popular with the twenty-something crowd, and the clothes he was wearing also spoke to him being at least thirty-something.

“Can I take you for coffee?” he asked softly, his dark eyes staring at my breasts before looking up to my face.

At least he’s close to my age. It was nice to have a man come on to me who wasn’t old enough to be my father…wait. The stranger’s eyes had seemed red for a moment. Now they were dark again. It must have been a trick of the light. The bartender had just shut off the flashing neon signs in the front windows and announced last call. Maybe it had been the glare of the strobe lights that were still going strong? Maybe I’m drunker than I thought…Nah.

“Or something to eat,” the stranger added, when I didn’t reply. “You look like you could use a good meal.”

“Listen, buddy,” I replied sarcastically. “This isn’t Pretty Woman, got it? I’m not looking for a savior.”

“What woman is these days?” he stated bitterly. “I was just offering company, if you wanted some.”

I was surprised that someone so young could sound so bitter. Maybe he only looked young. Or maybe he’d had a childhood like mine. I reached out and ran my hands over his chest. His muscles bunched reflexively under my hands, making a shiver of desire snake its way through my body.

Maybe this is a good way to end the night. “What are you offering?” I said suggestively, giving him my best bedroom eyes.


Tara Fox Hall is giving one (1) lucky commenter a “You’re My Type” travel mug (U.S. only) . But don’t fell left out if you’re international. If you’re outside the U.S. and your comment is chosen you’ll win an ecopy of the book.  So, who’s your heroine? I’m with Tara on Buffy. I’ve always been drawn to the stronger women/girls. Probably why Island of the Blue Dolphins was my favorite book growing up. Share yours to be entered. Good Luck!

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Why I Love DC More Than Marvel & giveaway with Shannyn Schroeder

In my novella, His Work of Art, an ongoing argument between the hero and heroine is which is better: DC or Marvel? Personally, I land on the side of DC. Throughout their discussions, Adam, the hero, makes fantastic and believable arguments for Marvel. And he’s right.

Marvel, by far, has done a better job creating blockbuster movies. The comics, I think, do tend to be more diverse and Marvel takes some risks – a female Thor, a Muslim Ms. Marvel. Even knowing this, I still choose DC. Maybe I haven’t quite been drawn into the Marvel Universe because I don’t get to go out and see movies that often. I don’t know.

But for me, DC is a love that goes back to my childhood. I grew up watching the animated Super Friends and the old reruns of Batman with Adam West. As I grew older, the Batman movies pulled me in. Yes, DC had quite a few disastrous superhero movies, but I’m talking Batman. I love Batman.

When I had kids, they played with superhero action figures, and most of them were DC. I’m not sure why. I think because while Marvel has owned the silver screen, DC has won TV. There has always been some incarnation of DC heroes on TV. My kids watched the same Super Friends and Batman episodes I grew up on, but they’ve watched newer versions too. Shows like Teen Titans and Young Justice and Justice League were staples of their childhood.

And now, Arrow and Flash is some of the best TV on these days. Let’s not forget Gotham, which technically doesn’t have a superhero, but is filled with the origins of all of Batman’s villains. Part of what makes these shows successful is that they don’t try to be too serious. They’re comic book stories. No one questions how an automatic gun spraying bullets manages to miss Oliver 99% of the time. No one wonders why Barry and Flash are never seen together. No one asks why Gotham home is to so many bad guys. Are these shows perfect? Heck no. There are a few characters on each that I’d like to kill off, but there are so many others to love, that I’m willing to ignore the ones who act stupid.

I’m looking forward to the Supergirl and League of Legends. To be fair, I don’t totally ignore Marvel on the small screen. I watch Agents of Shield, although they almost lost me for a while. And Agent Peggy Carter was one of my favorite shows last year. But I can’t imagine ever thinking Ironman is better than Batman or Thor is better than…okay you got me there. Thor is better than Superman, but my thoughts might be tainted by images of Chris Hemsworth shirtless. Such discussions, though, are a different conversation.

Who’s your favorite superhero? Do you prefer DC or Marvel?

Reese Carter is definitely not your average college girl. She’d prefer to spend Saturday nights playing Hero’s Crusade than attending a wild frat party on campus. When she bands together with Adam, fellow comic enthusiast and illustrator, it appears that Reese has formed a dream team sure to propel her writing into the comic hall of fame.

Adam Hayes has never met a girl like Reese. She’s sassy, smart, and loves talking comics, although he can’t see why she’d choose DC over Marvel. He’s thrilled to finally put his artistic chops to use in their upcoming comic project. But this relationship is strictly professional. Or so he tells himself. When the two combine forces, they churn out magic in more ways than they had planned; they never expected to develop a steamy romantic sub-plot of their own…

Shannyn is giving away a digital copy of HIS WORK OF ART. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

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Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Behind the Story: An Unexpected Wish & giveaway with Eileen Richards

 

My debut release, An Unexpected Wish, is about a longing for change yet fearing it all the same. Anne Townsend is a twenty seven year old spinster. She’s accepted her lot in life but she’s not ready to give up yet either. When a wish from an unexpected source is granted her life changes drastically.

The inspiration for this book came from a very unlikely source: a website about the Mystic places of Britain. I was looking for a small village with a decent history to be the setting of my little regency about a family of three girls and their evil stepbrother. I wanted a Cinderella type story with a different type of fairy godmother.

I stumbled upon the Fairy Steps in Beetham, Cumbria. The fable goes that if you climb the steps without touching the sides, a fairy will grant you a wish. So what if our plain, spinster, Miss Townsend, was granted a wish to fix the dire circumstances her and her sisters find themselves in.

Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Anne’s adventures lead her in to danger and to love and her happily ever after.

Anne Townsend was a fun character to write. She is smart, dependable, practical and tough. She has to ride rough shod over her sisters and her stepbrother as her life careens on this new path. Her wish throws every single man in the village into violent love with her. Suddenly she is the center of several gentlemen’s attention and she has no idea how to handle said attention. She’d rather be a wall flower, thank you.

The vicar reads Song of Solomon during Sunday Service saying the word breast <gasp> in front of the congregation. Men want to call on her, dance with her, talk to her and Anne has no idea what she’s to do with this good fortune.

This book was a lot of fun to write. I love writing family dynamics. I also have two sisters and a brother. We fought. We borrowed each other’s clothes. We played. No matter how angry we got at each other, we still loved each other. We still forgave each other. It was those family dynamics at the core of Anne Townsend and her relationship to her family.

I learned a great deal writing this story. I discovered that humor is hard but fun to write and that when the ending is good, there will be tears. I hope you enjoy this first book in my series A Lady’s Wish.

An Unexpected Wish

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Anne Townsend doesn’t ask for much. Plain and poor, she’d settle for the funds to put food on the table. Making a wish on the fabled Fairy Steps is hardly a solid solution, but to see her two sisters taken care of, Anne’s willing to try anything. Yet when she finds herself suddenly surrounded with suitors, romance is now a possibility for the spinster everyone always ignored except with the one man who will never want her…

Nathaniel Matthews has no time for courting. As the eldest, he has his family’s lost fortune to rebuild, and his reckless brother to manage before he gambles his future away. Odd that Nathaniel can think of little but kissing bright-eyed Anne, who seems to be fighting off admirers from all sides. Is it the country air, or is Nathaniel ready to discover that love has a magic all its own?

Eileen’s giving away an ecopy of AN UNEXPECTED WISH. Enter via the rafflecopter link below.

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Eileen Richards has been writing for most of her life. Poetry, totally inappropriate answers to essay questions in school, and interesting error codes during her 30 year IT career has prepared her for the manic world of publishing.

She writes sassy regency romps set in the small villages of England where the rules are bent a bit and gossip rules the day.

Eileen resides with her husband and their diva of a greyhound in North Carolina.

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Melissa West on Music while writing & RACING HEARTS giveaway

Hi, Manic Readers! My name is Melissa West and I am the author of RACING HEARTS, the first in the Hamilton Stables series, featuring three Southern brothers and their struggles through life…and love.

Today I wanted to talk about music and how instrumental (*winks*) it can be to not only the writing process but the reading process.

Prior to writing RACING HEARTS, I wrote all five of my prior releases without music—without any sound at all, actually. I was of the opinion that for me to truly envision a scene and create that scene on the page, I needed absolute silence. I had to write without my family around, no TVs in the background, no chatter, no distractions, and no music. And this worked okay for me for the first few years of my career, but when I set out to write RACING HEARTS, I wanted a story full of heart. Above all else, I wanted to stir up reader emotions, and not just those for the romance, but for family, friends, and acquaintances. I wanted every scene to ooze feeling—happiness, sadness, you name it.

But as I began writing the book, I realized the emotions weren’t ringing true. I wrote and rewrote, only to set the book down. It wasn’t until I realized that my brain was the problem that I was able to reach THE END. I was overthinking, when what I needed to do was feel, just like my characters.

So, I created a playlist full of country music. Now to provide a little history here, you should know that I am Southern to the bone, born and raised, but I have never been a fan of country music. Still, I needed to create a picturesque town full of vivid characters, all with distinct personalities, all perfectly clear.

I sat down with my new playlist and began writing, and one month later, RACING HEARTS was written. But something cool happened along the way. I learned that I enjoy listening to music while I read, too. It makes sense, really. Music can make or break a great movie, so why not a book? Now, I don’t blast it like I do when I write, but having music that is similar in tone to the book I’m reading helps me to dive deeper into the book and creates an even more amazing experience.

Now, I’m 100% music when I write and at least 50% when I read, and I absolutely love it. What about you? Do you write or read to music?

                                                                        

In the lush heart of Kentucky, the Hamiltons are horse racing royalty, born to produce champions. To win takes heart and soul—and to love takes the wild spirit of the land itself…   

The oldest of three headstrong brothers, Trip Hamilton is considered the best horse trainer in the world. But he learned long ago to keep his focus on the horses and away from the riders. He’s seen the way heartbreak can waylay a career, and he’s determined not to risk it—until a stubborn, sexy rider thunders into his life, breaks his resolve, along with several of his rules, and takes his heart right out of the gate…  

Emery Carlisle has a point to prove. She’ll be the first woman to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby, if only Trip will hire her, and let her ride the spirited colt she fell for at first sight. He won’t—unless she agrees to train with the horse at Hamilton Stables, under his guidance. It’s supposed to be strictly business, but as the race approaches, and their undeniable chemistry builds, Trip and Emery may be headed for the greatest win of all—as long as the losses of the past don’t gain on them…

Amazon

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Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and YA sci-fi romance,

all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn’t like kissing? She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

Connect with Melissa at www.melissawestauthor.com or on Twitter @MB_West. And for sneak peeks at upcoming titles, prizes, and more, join Mel’s Madhouse: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MelsMadhouse

Website:

www.melissawestauthor.com 

Review of Expect a Miracle: A Mother’s Tale of Brotherly Love, Faith and the Race That Changed a Family’s Life by Jenny Long with Bob Der

Jenny Long’s young life tipped into chaos at age 12 with the death of her mother. By 18, she was a high school dropout, pregnant, and married to a convicted felon. But with the birth of her son Conner, Jenny vowed to end the vicious cycle and make a better life for her new family.
Two years later, Jenny’s second son, Cayden, was born with spastic cerebral palsy. Undaunted by the doctor’s recommendation to place her disabled son in an assisted living facility, she made the courageous decision to raise him at home. Similarly unfazed by Cayden’s disability, older brother Conner developed a loving relationship with Cayden, engaging and respecting him with a grace and determination that belied his young age. At age 7, Conner, determined to share his love of athletics with Cayden, entered the Nashville Kids Triathlon, pushing and pulling Cayden every step of the course. The two brothers crossed the finish line together, and their thrilling and emotional race captured the hearts of millions and earned both boys Sports Illustrated Kids‘s SportsKids of the Year award.
Expect a Miracle is the inspirational story of Jenny’s life and how she raised two extraordinary boys against all odds – brothers whose love and determination affirmed Jenny’s deeply held faith that everyone, no matter their challenges, can find their miracle. (From Amazon)

Heartwarming, inspiring, and all those other clichéd terms may be over used, but still apply to EXPECT A MIRACLE; as does children having so much to teach us and seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Each chapter begins with Connor or Connor and Cayden, then moves on to Jenny’s past working up to present day. When so many play the blame game Jenny takes responsibility for her actions. In the end it all comes down to you. You can play the continual victim or you can strive for more.

Parents expect/hope their children will love and protect one another, barring the typical sibling rivalry. When you have a special needs child there can also be resentment for all the attention and extra care they require, along with guilt for feeling that way. It’s not easy from any standpoint and I sincerely hope Connor and Cayden’s relationship continues without that.

As for the ending, was it simply another statistic or did personality differences play as large a role as the demands of the situation? While not unexpected I’d been optimistic for another outcome.

Memoirs aren’t a typical read for me but EXPECT A MIRACLE was easy to read. It goes a little deeper than skimming the surface but doesn’t get down to the nitty gritty. That being said, whether you’re crying for a young girl who loses her mother and is taken from the only family she knows, or at the beauty, fierce love, and determination of a young boy, you aren’t likely to be unmoved by Jenny, Jeff, and the Long brothers.
My thoughts….3.5 stars

nEVERMORE! Tales of Mystery, Murder, and the Macabre

nEVERMORE is an anthology inspired  Edgar Allen Poe and or his writings with each story pre-faced by a note from the author about what inspired their story.

There’s something here for everyone. From what I consider true horror (zombies, ghouls, and such) with Finding Ulalume (Lisa Morgan) and Asylum (Colleen Anderson), to chillingly good ghost stories like The Lighthouse (Barbara Fradkin), Afterlife (William F. Nolan, Jason V. Brock & Sunni K. Brock), and The Deave Lane (Michael Jecks). There are stories that speak to current times and themes like Naomi (Christopher Rice) and Dinner with MamaLou (J. Madison Davis) to a devilish revenge tale, The Masques of Amanda Llado (Thomas S. Rosche). There’s a sad story, Street of the Dead House (Robert Lopresti) and fantasy, featuring mermaids, sirens, and the like with Atargatis (Robert Bose) and The Drowning City (Loren Rhoads).

Individual rankings based on 5 stars:

The Gold Bug Conundrum ~ Chelsea Quinn Yarbro    3.5

Street of the Dead House ~ Robert Lopresti (The Murders in the Rue Morgue)   5

Naomi ~ Christopher Rice (The Tell-Tale Heart)   3

Finding Ulalume ~ Lisa Morton (Ulalume,poerm)   3

Obsession with the Bloodstained Door ~ Rick Chiantaretto (The Cask of Amontillado) 3

The Lighthouse ~ Barbara Fradkin (The Lighthouse) 4

The Masques of Amanda Llado ~ Thomas S. Roche (The Cask of Amontillado) 4.5

Atargatis ~ Robert Bose (The House of Usher)   4

The Ravens of Consequence ~ Carol Weekes and Michael Kelly (The Gold –Bug, The Mystery of Marie Roget, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Raven)   3

Annabel Lee ~ Nancy Holder (Annabel Lee)   3

Dinner with Mamalou ~ J. Madison Davis (all the stories of Poe)   3

The Deave Lane ~ Michael Jecks (The Pit and the Pendulum and Poe’s “thoughtful, highly creative atmospheric stories”)   4

133 ~ Richard Christian Matheson (Ligeia)   4

Afterlife William F Nolan, Jason V. Brock, and Sunni K. Brock (Eureka” A Prose Poem and the circumstances surrounding his death and those involved in his estate)   4

The Drowning City ~ Loren Rhoads (The Assignation)   4

The Orange Cat ~ Kelley Armstrong (The Black Cat)   4

The Inheritance ~ Jane Peterson Burfield  (The Raven) 3

Sympathetic Impulses ~ David McDonald (Poe’s Gothic tales)   5

Asylum ~ Colleen Anderson  (The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether)  3

The Return of Berenice ~ Tanith Lee (Berenice) 3

The Eye of Heaven ~ Margaret Atwood  (Poes’ obsession tales)   3.5

It’s enjoyable and interesting to seek and find reflections of the inspiration in each featured work. With Poe’s range and genre melding you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy too, regardless of your “horror” tolerance. Some you may skip while others will be revisited over time. Overall, nEVERMORE is worthy of a spot on your shelf.

Overall score 4 stars

 

To Update or Not Update & giveaway with Eileen Dreyer

I published my first book in 1986 as Kathleen Korbel for Silhouette. I’m forty something books later now, but I still cherish those Silhouettes. I also thought that they had one chance at reaching an audience, a month on the shelves and a few more in used book stores. It made me sad, because I loved all those characters(an author’s secret. Our characters are very real to us).

Well, a few years ago a wonderful thing happened to everybody who loved Harlequin and Silhouette books. A lot of us got our rights back. I was able to get twenty of mine back, and it’s been like old home’s week. I haven’t reread most of them in years, and it’s great having my friends back. Even better, because of the new technology, we can share them with our readers once more.

My Kathleen Korbel books were written between 1986 and 2009. A Prince of a Guy(and it’s partner, The Princess and the Pea) were published in the early 90s. So here’s the question. None of those books were set in a specific time period. They were just contemporary to the time they were published. Well, I want to publish them again now. Do I update them, or do I leave them in their original time?

You might not agree with my decision, but this is it. They stay true to the time in which they were written, and I’ll tell you why. The world has changed so catachlysmically since then that the entire book would change out of recognition if I updated them. Something as simple as the cell phone would negate the need for a lot of my stalemates, questions and suspenses.

Let me ‘splain. (Sorry. A brief Princess Bride moment). Prince of a Guy is about a secretary from Brooklyn named Casey Phillips, who travels to the tiny country of Moritania to check out the land of her ancestors. Instead, she finds herself impersonating the crown princess who has just been kidnapped (and Casey, of course, falls in love with the handsome prince). Just one of the changes would have to do with their chase after the kidnapped princess. I do admit I now find it amusing. Prince Eric and Casey are scouring the countryside for the princess. They’re hell-bent after the bad guys, when they see a post office…..and stop in to make a phone call. They let the palace know they’re all right, but not where they are so the palace doesn’t come after them. Now there would be a GPS fix and the Moritanian secret police (perhaps played by Hector Alizando) (Princess Bride reference) would stop them before they had their adventure and fel in love.

So no. I am not going to update my Silhouette books. I’m leaving them in their original times(and mentioning that at the front of the books). I hope you enjoy not only them, but a bit of a nostalgic trip back a couple of decades.

So, do you also think that with the leaps in technology updating can ruin the original story? Share your thought so be entered for a digital copy of A PRINCE OF A GUY. Good luck y’all!

A Prince of a Guy

When New Yorker Casey Phillips visits the tiny country of Moritania, she simply wants to see where her ancestors came from. Instead, she’s mistaken for a princess.

The real princess has been kidnapped, and Crown Prince Eric von Lieberhaven insists Casey—a dead ringer for the missing royal—step into the princess’s shoes until she can be freed.

As Casey upends royal tradition, Eric finds himself hoping the cheeky American never returns home. But can a secretary from Brooklyn really find happiness with a prince?

Available at: AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, KOBO

 

Eileen Dreyer

New York Times Bestselling, award-winning author Eileen Dreyer has published 38 novels and 10 short stories under her name and that of her evil twin, Kathleen Korbel in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery and medical forensic suspense. A proud member of RWA’s Hall of FAME, she also has numerous awards from RT BookLovers and an Anthony nomination for mystery. Eileen spent 16 years as a trauma nurse and is educated in trauma, forensics and death investigation. She is now focusing on what she calls historic romantic adventure in her DRAKE’S RAKES series, the latest of which, TWICE TEMPTED, is out now. A native of St. Louis, she still lives there with her family. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.

Website: eileendreyer.com  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EileenDreyer   Twitter: @eileendreyer

SNOWFLAKE BAY & a Christmas wedding with Donna Kauffman

Hello!  Thanks for joining me on my blog tour for my latest Brides of Blueberry Cove release, SNOWFLAKE BAY, and thanks, Manic Readers, for having me as a guest blogger! This book was particularly enjoyable to dive into because I got to combine some of my favorite things: Christmas, snow, Maine….and weddings!  In SNOWFLAKE BAY, our heroine, successful interior designer, Fiona McCrae, has been pulled into double duty as both maid of honor and wedding planner for her older sister, Hannah.  This enterprise was made a bit trickier by the fact that Hannah and her fiancé had decided to get married on Christmas Day.  And adding to that challenge was the part where the happy couple didn’t make that decision until Thanksgiving!  So Fiona is thrown head first into the wedding planning melee that ensues.

I know May and June are the more traditional wedding months, but I loved the idea of having a winter wedding, and adding in all the holiday traditions only made it that much more special.  Of course, nothing goes according to plan, but that’s half the fun! (Well, for the one writing it, it was!)  It would never have occurred to me to tie my own wedding to any holiday, especially Christmas, but I have been to a Christmas Day wedding and it was so beautiful and romantic, I knew I had to write one someday, and it was perfect for Fiona’s sister, Hannah, and her husband-to-be, Calder Blue (who readers get to meet in the first Brides of Blueberry Cove book, SEA GLASS SUNRISE.)

Have you ever been to a winter wedding?  Or maybe your own wedding was around—or on—a big holiday?  Was it in a snowy, winter weather locale or did you take the Destination: Anywhere Warm option?  I’d love to hear about it!  (Who knows, you could inspire another fictional wedding!)

 

BACK COVER:

 

There’s no place like seaside Blueberry Cove, Maine, at Christmas—and there’s nothing like a wedding, the warmth of the holidays, and an old crush, to create the perfect new start…  

Interior designer Fiona McCrae has left fast-paced Manhattan to move back home to peaceful Blueberry Cove. But she’s barely arrived before she’s hooked into planning her big sister Hannah’s Christmas wedding—in less than seven weeks. The last thing she needs is for her first love, Ben Campbell, to return to neighboring Snowflake Bay…

As kids, Fiona was the bratty little sister Ben mercilessly teased—while pining after Hannah. But Fi never once thought of Ben like a brother. And that hasn’t changed. Except Fi is all grown up. Will Ben notice her now?  More importantly, with her life in a jumble, should he? Or might the romance of the occasion, the spirit of the season, and the gifts of time ignite a long-held flame for many Christmases to come…

Something old might just become something new… 

Includes a DIY wedding project!

 

“Kauffman’s stories show that the bravery to reach for a connection is all we need to discover joy.”  –Publishers Weekly on Sandpiper Island

USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series, DONNA KAUFFMAN has been gratified to see her books get rave reviews in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia, where she is presently applying her crafty DIY skills to decorating her new mountainside abode. Well, when she isn’t busy trying to keep the bears from hanging out in her flower and vegetable garden all day and night!  With her new Brides of Blueberry Cove series, Donna’s been having a blast applying those same restoration and design skills to doing some fictional wedding planning. Of course, if that means haunting all those lovely antique shops and flea markets that are so plentiful in her new neck of the woods, well, it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make. When she’s not finding ways to take her love of all things rustic and vintage and give them a fabulous seaside, coastal Maine wedding party twist, she loves to hear from readers!  You can contact her through her website at www.donnakauffman.com.

 

ALLIANCE ~ A Timewalker Novel by M.L. Callahan

Alexa took a deep breath and waited for the panic rising to go back down into her gut where it belonged. She needed help. That was blatantly obvious to her now. She couldn’t get onto their computers. She had no idea where they kept the virus samples or how to destroy them. She had the guard’s access key card in her pocket, but as soon as they discovered him, they’d most likely turn it off.

Lifting her head, she inspected the man in front of her. He obviously hated Trent Georges. He was angry that they planned to experiment on human beings. And, by his own admission, Luke was on the team that was working with the M-6 Mutation of Ebola.

If he was smart enough to create a vaccine, he should know how to kill it.

Maybe he wasn’t beyond saving. Judging by the fury of his clenched jaw and fists, he was not happy with the way things were going here.

Maybe, just maybe, she should take a chance and trust him.

He could actually get into the lab. He knew how to wear the bio-protection suits that looked like they belonged in a cheesy sci-fi horror movie. He knew what he was doing. He had access to everything. Computer files. Viral cultures. Records. And he knew the building, the people, and the routines inside and out.

Maybe, just maybe, she could get him to listen.

In a sudden move that made her jump, Luke slammed his hand against the top of his desk. “Screw this.”

Luke slammed out of his office.

Alexa would have leapt for joy, but she barely had the energy to keep pace as she quietly opened his door to sneak out after him. His much longer legs ate up the distance through the long hallways.

She followed him into the elevator, got off when he did, and followed him past security and into the parking lot where the smell of fresh air, trees and open sky greeted her. She jogged to keep up as he walked toward his parked SUV.

He had the driver’s door open before she realized that he was about to leave her behind.

Alexa ran to the back of his car and ducked down before screaming his name. “Luke! Luke Lawson. Over here.”

He walked a couple steps past her, his eyes scanning the parking area. “Hello?”

While he waited for an answer that wasn’t going to come, Alexa streaked past him to his still open driver’s side door and climbed in, crawled into the second-row seats, and then kept going to the cargo area in the back. Other than a couple things in the passenger seat, the car was spotless.

The moment the engine came to life she curled into a ball on her side and tried to stay small. They went through a checkpoint, after which Luke hit the gas. Immediately, the tension drained from her shoulders and her entire body relaxed into a puddle of raw nerves and exhaustion. She’d never bent light for that length of time. It took a lot of concentration, effort and energy.

She was tired, hungry, discouraged and about to risk the lives of billions of people on one man’s honor. And if Luke Lawson turned out to be a grade-A asshole?

A shiver raced over her spine. She really didn’t want to think about the answer to that question.

LINKS:

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For centuries aliens have waged a covert war for control of Earth using time travel as a weapon. A select group of humans become their soldiers, genetically modified pawns destined to be caught in the crossfire. But this time, the pawns have a plan of their own…and the fate of all mankind rests in their hands.

Don’t miss ALLIANCE, Book 1 in The Timewalker Chronicles, a series ten years in the making featuring time travel, aliens, special ops, genetic engineering, action, adventure, danger, gadgets, spaceships, and romance. Don’t miss it!

 

M.L. Callahan is a sci-fi fanatic and full time writer. Alliance is Callahan’s twelfth novel. Fans of Hugh Howey’s Wool series, Wayward Pines, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s League Series, or Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series will not be able to resist Callahan’s complex world building, twisting plot lines, or unique premise. Callahan writes something brand new in the science fiction arena with character driven stories that read more like adventure books than hard science manuals. The Timewalker Chronicles are like nothing you’ve ever read before. Don’t miss this book!

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