Moral Order: The Rise of Luca C. Mariner by Phil Pauley



Society has been ripped apart by environmental decay and the battle scars of progress. Solar storms, extreme weather, barbaric tribes and outcasts rule the planet. In the 22nd century, no one lasts in the Wilds for long. Shielded from this world, teenager Luca C. Mariner lives a privileged existence in one of the last remaining Megacities. Yet his tranquil life is about to be shattered as Luca and his friends are thrown into the brutal reality of the Wilds when Earth is attacked by a merciless alien alliance. Luca, fragile humanoid Ceiba and feisty Asia-Mae are catapulted into a thrilling adventure of intergalactic and deep sea mystery. They must battle against time and use their strength of friendship to become leaders of a new resistance. But is it too late to restore moral order across the universe and ultimately save humanity from imminent collapse?



Luca C. Mariner 

Luca is a bright but quiet and unassuming teenage boy. He loves his life in the megacity Acacia Burj and wouldn’t change anything about his life. He has been bullied and felt rejected because both his father and grandfather disappeared many years ago. He lives with his mother, Skye and sister, Gaia, in a modest apartment. He has been shielded from knowing the truth about his extraordinary family in a desperate bid to protect him from the unimaginable dangers that lie ahead. Unknown to Luca, the Mariner family have harnessed the power of Ancient Entanglement which enables them to travel throughout the Universe and gives them unique, supernatural abilities.

Asia Mae Morningstar 

Asia Mae is a feisty young woman and a strong role model. With no brothers or sisters, and parents who are regularly away on paleontological digs, she is fiercely independent. She’s skilled in martial arts and musical ability and is always keen for adventure, possessing an active imagination. She is a great source of support and kindness to our hero, Luca, and anyone else fortunate enough to meet her. In contrast to the technological aspects of the story and the damage paid for humankind’s progress, Asia Mae plays a vital role as the heroic ‘mother nature’ figure.

Ceiba Ammos  

Ceiba is a Bion – a human with bionic additions. Not naturally as brave or outgoing as his friends, and nervous of the fact that he’s not 100% human, Ceiba’s character shows that he can achieve just as much as anyone else. Being a Bion has numerous advantages (which is why many people choose to have mind controlled bionic implants). However Ceiba didn’t choose to be a Bion and his family can’t afford to give him the latest upgrades. He is submissive but his enhancements make him physically strong. Ceiba represents the fragile balance between humanity and progress and is the unknowing bridge between the two worlds.

Next stop on the blog tour is!



Running into his first love at his brother’s wedding isn’t the homecoming Dr. Luke Ward imagined. Maid of honor Penny Montgomery should have been his bride. And now, despite how things ended between them, the former Tawnee Valley bad girl just made him an offer the still-smitten best man would be a fool to refuse.
Eight years ago, Penny lost the only man she ever loved. Spending the weekend together is a huge risk—and the only way to see if she’s really over Luke. But when a family emergency forces the handsome surgeon to extend his visit, their passionate reunion fling flames into a deeper attachment. Does Penny have the courage to try for a second chance with Luke—and say “I do” to her best man?
AMAZON     B&N     BAM

9780373658466 cover Luke (126x200)

A glass of wine appeared over her shoulder and Luke’s breath teased the hairs on the back of her neck. “I had to turn down a lot of eligible ladies to get back here.”
Glancing over at the bar, she took the wineglass and felt him sit in the chair behind hers. All of her cells were attuned to whatever frequency Luke gave off. At the bar stood a gathering of white-haired women all giving Luke come-hither looks and finger waves.
Penny choked back a laugh. She tried her hardest to look serious when she turned to Luke. “I hope you let them down easy. It’s just as hard to find a man at their age as mine.”
Leaning in so he could speak in her ear and be heard over the music, Luke’s cheek rubbed against hers, sending a wave of heat through her. “I always try to be gentle.”
“I’m sure you do.” She could feel his cheek lift in a grin. A shiver rippled down her back.
He moved back until they were eye to eye. “They were actually encouraging me to hit on the wedding coordinator.”
Penny glanced over at Rebecca in her peach suit. She was a few years younger than Penny and looked as if the pressure of this wedding was about to make her explode.
“I suppose you could go for Rebecca….” Penny put on a pretend thoughtful look.
The music changed to a slow song again. “Come on. You can tell me all about what that look means on the dance floor.”
Luke pulled her out of the chair and guided her into his arms. She’d given up on love songs when Luke left, preferring the rawness of modern rock. Slow songs messed with her brain and made her think about things she couldn’t have.
“So, are we for or against chatting up the wedding coordinator?” Luke raised his eyebrow as he looked down at Penny.
“I think she’d have an aneurism if ‘we’ approached her.” Penny mocked Luke’s look.
Luke laughed. “Fair enough. Besides I’m only here until tomorrow. Wouldn’t be fair to get anyone’s hopes up.”
“No, you wouldn’t want to do that.”
He pressed his hand into the small of her back and she allowed herself to move closer to him. To breathe in his scent. To feel the heat of his body against hers. The song didn’t matter as long as it didn’t stop.
“Besides,” he leaned down like he had a secret to whisper in her ear, “I always heard that the best man was supposed to hook up with the maid of honor.”
Penny’s breathing hitched as she met his eyes. “I think it’s actually a written law somewhere that if both parties are single, it’s required.”
“So we’d be in a lot of trouble if we didn’t at least attempt to…” He wiggled his eyebrows.
“Heaps of trouble.” Her heart beat hard against her chest as she tried to keep a teasing tone.
“We wouldn’t want that.” Luke gave her a cocky smile. “But then you were never the type to follow rules.”
“I’ll have you know I’m one of the upstanding citizens in Tawnee Valley now.”
“Really?” His sarcastic tone made her laugh.
“I’m a valued member of the Chamber of Commerce. My shop brings in tons of tourists.”
“I guess that nails it then.” He made a serious face even though his eyes were twinkling. Still dancing, he led her to the side of the dance floor. “Rules are rules after all.”
She swallowed as liquid heat flooded her system. Her fingers locked around the back of his neck. “I suppose after the reception…”
The heat in his blue eyes made her breath catch. He didn’t have to say he wanted her. It was there and it scorched her through to her soul. She didn’t want to wait. It had been too long since she’d held him, since her skin had brushed against his.
His smile grew cocky. “Why wait?”

Author Bio

Between walking her Jack Russell-Beagle mix, petting her two cats and driving her two kids all over creation, Amanda Berry writes contemporary romance novels (thanks to a supportive husband). A Midwest girl stuck in the wetlands of South Carolina, she finds inspiration in her small-town upbringing. A list of her current releases and backlist can be found at

Moral Order: The Rise of Luca C. Mariner by Phil Pauley blog tour schedule

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Introducing N.R. White & CROSSWINDS with giveaway

Thanks for taking the time to visit Manic Readers, Neal.

Thank you for featuring me. I am truly honored.

As a journalist covering assignments all over the world you seen and experienced a lot.  What was it about the white buffalo birth in the mid ‘90’s and the Native American prophesy surrounding its birth that captured you imagination and inspired your trilogy?

It was the people. For some reason beyond my level of comprehension, many of the chiefs, spiritual leaders and elders who visited the farm permitted me the honor of taking part in many of the ceremonies. They shared their stories with me and welcomed me as a friend. I learned a great deal about Native American culture, about spirituality and most important, about the journey we all walk in life. I saw things that had I not been there, I never would have believed. But they happened. It would take nearly 20 years for me to truly understand all that transpired and the meaning behind it before I could begin to write the story in a way, that I hope anyway, would have an impact on everyone. While millions around the world were fascinated by the white buffalo story as my stories were picked up by the wire service and published in newspapers around the world, at the time, most believed it only relevant to Native Americans. The fact is the white buffalo was the fulfillment of a prophecy and is directly related to everything going on in the world today. Unfortunately, we’re quick to put a label on people (and cultures), quickly dismissing thoughts and ideas out of hand instead of taking the time to listen, research and make an independent decision. During the two years I spent covering that story, I learned you shouldn’t dismiss a man out of hand unless you first walked a mile in his shoes. When you can do that, you have a completely different perspective on life. That’s what “Crosswinds” is all about. The story continues in the second book, “Wind Speaker,” when Bobby, well, I don’t want to give too much away. But I can say the white buffalo story comes to life in “Wind Speaker.” 

What’s the top three differences between the writing you do as a journalist and that you do as an author.

There is a huge difference. Journalism is fact-based reporting – reporting the facts in a clearly defined format in as few words as possible.

As an author, you have an unlimited canvass to paint with words. At first I found it very difficult because I kept trying to wrap up every story in less than 1,000 words. After a while, though, working on the book was very liberating. Once I allowed myself to color outside the lines that I had spent my entire career working in, I loved being able to tell the story behind the story that enables you to bring your characters to life. 

Did you always want to write a book?

Always. My earliest memories are of my mom teaching me to read and sitting on the front porch swing with my Granny at house on the side of the mountain and listening to her tell stories. I’ve always loved telling stories and I’ve been writing them down since I was able to string words into sentences. In nearly every grade at school, I would have at least one teacher encourage me to consider writing as a profession. Until it came time to start paying my own bills, I always wanted to be an author. After college, and realizing how difficult it was to raise a family and pay the bills by writing books and only receiving rejection letters in return, I chose a career that allowed me to write everyday and get paid to do it.  

What has been your favorite part of finally getting your book published, seeing it “out there”, and discovering what readers think?

The feedback from the Advance Copies for Review have absolutely blown me away. Every comment that I’ve received has not only been glowing, but each one said they couldn’t stop thinking about the book long after they finished the last page. They said the book made them reflect on their own life and actually think about the unexpected crosswinds that impacted their life – which is the exact reaction I hoped “Crosswinds” would have on those who read it.

Please tell us about CROSSWINDS.

The book takes place at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport during storm when all flights are delay. Bobby, a 19-year-old sailor fresh out of boot camp is on his way to his first duty station overseas and is flat broke because he’s not able to get paid until he reaches his ship. After several hours of waiting in the terminal, he walks into the airport’s only smoking lounge and bums a smoke from an older man in a blue jacket, Jack.

For Bobby, the book is very much about coming of age during a time in his life filled with uncertainty about the road ahead. For Jack, an old salt who has seen and done it all, the fluke wind that allowed his path to cross with Bobby’s provides an opportunity to impart valuable life lessons he wishes someone had shared with him when he was Bobby’s age. Those lessons are subtly passed along in form of stories as Jack takes readers back into his past, along for the ride.

You’ve already started on the second book, Wind Speaker.  What can you share with us about it without giving too much away?

While I’m extremely proud of “Crosswinds,” I feel “Wind Speaker” is the best thing I’ve ever written (and that’s saying a lot). The story begins four years later as Bobby is getting out of the Navy. His best friend aboard ship is killed on a mission and before leaving on the mission, he asks Bobby to promise to check on his pregnant wife who is living on a reservation in Oklahoma if something were to happen to him. That’s where the story really begins. It has the same flow as “Crosswinds,” with about ten times the goose bumps.

Do you have another trilogy or series waiting in the back of your mind?

Yes. I have a notepad full of notes. Every time I have an idea for a storyline or a character I jot it down. Actually, it’s more of a folder because a most of the notes are written on scrap paper, napkins, receipts and whatever else I can find to write on.

But I have to finish the Crosswind Series first. That’s priority number 1!

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

“She Cries” by Alexandra Allred. Alex is an extremely gifted writer.

What are you currently reading?

A lot of newspapers. Between work and my book projects, I’ve gotten behind on my reading. All I’ve really had a chance to read lately are periodicals, and I read several every day.  

Thanks for stopping by Manic Readers, Neal.  I’ve enjoyed meeting you.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and thank you very much for introducing me and “Crosswinds” to your readers. As a first-time author, I am greatly honored that you chose to feature “Crosswinds.” I hope we can do this again soon.

The Next Chapter Publishing and Author N.R. White announce the blog stop for Crosswinds
Summary: Stranded in an airport during a storm, a random act of kindness and an
unexpected encounter leads to a life-changing experience for a young
sailor on his way to his first duty station overseas. When Bobby walked
into the airports only smoking lounge and asked to bum a smoke, Jack
knew there was a reason a crosswind had unexpectedly blown the sailor into his path. It wasn’t until several hours later that Jack realized
the exact purpose of their chance encounter.

Release Date – August 28, 2014

Buying Links:

The Next Chapter Publishing                                                                     Amazon

About the Author:

“Crosswinds” author N.R. White is a U.S. Navy veteran and an award-winning newspaper journalists. Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, his family moved to Columbia, S.C. at the age of 10 when his father returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam — at the same time South Carolina was in the process of integrating its public school system. The son of a career soldier, he graduated high school in West Germany before attending the University of South Carolina where he majored in journalism.

Having covered assignments around the world, those experiences are captured in the characters and settings of his manuscripts.

“Crosswinds” is the first of a three-book series. He is currently working on the second novel in the series entitled “Wind Speaker,” which he anticipates being released in 2015. The inspiration for the series originated during the two years he covered the birth of the white buffalo in Janesville, Wisconsin in the mid-1990s, and the Native American prophecy that foretold not only the calf’s birth, but its significance to people of all races across the world.

Visit N.R. White on these pages.

Blog – /

Facebook page – 

and you could win:
Grand Prize – $20.00 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of the first edition
Second Prize – Ebook Copy of Crosswinds

Blog Tour Schedule

9/12/2014    Manic Readers – Interview, Book Spotlight
9/13/2014    The Next Chapter Publishing – Review Highlight
9/14/2014    Ashley Nemer Blog — Review

THE GLASS HOUSE Audio Book Prologue

“Those who live in the Glass house shouldn’t throw stones.” With a newly wed wife and a successful architect career, things are looking up for Todd Clemons. But when eccentric millionaire Thomas Glass comes to town, Todd discovers his business is more in demand than he bargained. Dangerously in demand. Forced to work for Mr. Glass against his will, Todd must complete the task at hand save himself and his new family or else this may be the last project of his life.

TEXT ME and giveaway with Shelley Wall

Have you done anything adventurous?
Oh my gosh, where to start? As the middle daughter of three in a farmer’s family with no sons, I was raised to help with everything in the field and the house. Consequently, I had a serious aversion to being “treated like a girl” whether at work, home, or school.
There is also no reason why anyone, woman or man, should live their life without trying new things and forcing themselves to go beyond their comfort zone. How sad would it be to grow old and suddenly realize you’ve missed out on so many things that your body can no longer handle?
I am fortunate to have married a man who is more adventurous than I. He also pushes the entire family toward new things on a constant basis.
Before we married, we skied, white-water rafted, sky-dived, and camped a lot. Since then, we’ve done a lot of snow-skiing with the family, still white-water rafting, deep-sea fishing (I love to fish more than he does), snorkeling, mountain-climbing, toured a few different countries, attended a lot of college and professional sporting events and—next on the list is scuba diving and perhaps a captain’s license. Oops, I forgot a couple of things. A couple of years ago, I ventured onto a wakeboard and am now attempting to wake surf. My body rebels a little on those two though. We’re hoping to get a nice big boat at some point and take an inner coastal boat trip to the casinos in Louisiana or perhaps go to Padre’s Island. The boat trip would mean we’d have to find a landslide fortune though so not likely to happen.
I like to consider myself an avid jogger/runner too but am starting to wind down due to constant injuries. Over the past years, I’ve run in about a half dozen races. My kids ran in a mud run with me last fall along with a few other parents and friends. May try to do that again soon.
That’s about the limit of my adventures to date but there’s always a new challenge around the corner. By far, the most challenging and heart-stopping was jumping out of a plane and coasting to the ground under a beautiful parachute.

Shelley is giving away a digital copy of TEXT ME  to one lucky commenter.  Well, have you been adventurous?  We’re all ears…:)

CoverImageCarter Coben is having some serious communication problems lately. First he mouthed off to a project manager at work and got fired, now his girlfriend’s dumped him and trashed his cell phone. About the only place he hasn’t got his wires crossed these days is at the anonymous texting app, Carter thinks he might have found a real connection with “She Hearts Dogs,” but little does he know he’s already quite acquainted with this cunning canine-lover . . .
When Abigail Jeffries gets a random text message from a stranger saying he’s been dumped, she can’t help but answer it—and recommend he send his ex some flowers from her new shop. When she delivers the bouquet though, she finds out his ex was cheating on him with his best friend—the same best friend she’s impersonating via text! Abby feels guilty, but she can’t help responding. But what will happen when Carter finds out that Abby is not only the face behind the texts, but the reason he got fired at work and his mysterious mutt-loving pal on
Will they ever manage to sort out their mixed signals, mistaken identities, and misunderstandings to find real love? This madcap, modern-day You’ve Got Mail for the texting generation will delight romantic comedy fans.

Amazon  Visit Shelley    Twitter     FB    Blog

Shelley K. Wall was born near Kansas City, the middle daughter of three. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with additional post graduate work there and at the University of Wyoming extension in Casper. She worked for many years in Information Technologies, as a Network Engineer, a Project Manager, Operations Director, and I.T. Department Head. Above her writing efforts, she continues to maintain her technical certifications in various technologies and consults regularly on projects. After writing numerous Project Plans, I.T. Directives, Budgets, Personnel Evaluations, and Strategic Plans; She found fiction to be thoroughly refreshing and a wonderful creative outlet.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters In Crime (SinC), the Houston Literary Guild, and various technical organizations. Above the courses taken in her academics, Shelley has taken local fiction writing courses through Houston’s Leisure Learning Program and InPrint of Houston plus attended numerous fiction workshops across the U.S.

Her first release, Numbers Never Lie, debuted in 2012 and was an Amazon Daily Deal in January. It soared to number three for romantic suspense, eight for contemporary romance, and seventeen in overall romance on the Amazon Bestsellers List.

Other titles by Shelley include Bring It On(2012), The Designated Drivers’ Club(2012), Flood Flash and Pheromones(2013), and Chloe’s Secret. Chloe’s Secret is the newest release which hits the ebook shelves on October 2nd, 2013. Her latest manuscript, Text Me, was recently selected for representation by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

Shelley enjoys writing characters that deal with drama in a humorous way, situations that are believable even if intense, heroes and heroines that aren’t perfect, and villians that may have an inkling of redemption hidden away.

SAVING SOPHIE & giveaway with Cate Beauman

Cate Beauman is back with the seventh installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Saving Sophie is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes!

Buy it now!

When the only choice is to run…

02 Saving Sophie_ebook

Jewelry designer Sophie Burke has fled Maine for the anonymity of the big city. She’s starting over with a job she tolerates and a grungy motel room she calls home on the wrong side of town, but anything is better than the nightmare she left behind.

Stone McCabe is Ethan Cooke Security’s brooding bad boy more interested in keeping to himself than anything else—until the gorgeous blond with haunted violet eyes catches his attention late one rainy night.

Stone reluctantly gives Sophie a hand only to quickly realize that the shy beauty with the soft voice and pretty smile has something to hide. Tangled up in her secrets, Stone offers Sophie a solution that has the potential to free her from her problems once and for all—or jeopardize both of their lives

Sophie glanced around one last time at the town she’d called home for more than twelve years as Dylan merged south on the onramp towards Brunswick, knowing she would never come back to the place where she and her mother had made their fresh start.

“Your train leaves at nine. We should make it in plenty of time.”
“I’ve never traveled by train.”
“Me neither.” Dylan moved into the right lane, letting faster traffic pass. “Have you decided where you’ll go?”
She shook her head, even though she’d thought of little else since she woke this morning, knowing today had to be the day. “Somewhere big. Somewhere where he can’t find me.” She swallowed. “He’ll look. He’ll never stop,” she said, staring into the side mirror, waiting for the black Mercedes to rush up behind them and force them to pull over. “You have to be careful.”
Dylan huffed out an amused laugh. “That bastard doesn’t scare me.”
She wished he didn’t scare her either. “Be careful anyway.”
“I will, but he’s a coward.”
“No more than me,” she murmured, glancing down at the hints of bruised skin peeking out from under her sleeves.
Dylan tossed her a look. “Don’t go there.”
She sat back fully in her seat, unable to take her eyes off the mirror until Dylan eventually exited the interstate and drove toward the center of town, stopping in front of the Amtrak station as the train pulled up.
“Looks like you won’t have to wait.” She set the emergency brake and searched through her purse. “Here’s my license.” She handed over the Maine ID and paper ticket she’d bought and printed when Sophie gave her the green light from her kiosk at the mall. “We don’t look all that different with your wig, so this should get you your next ticket in Boston.”
“Thank you.” Sophie leaned over and gave Dylan a big hug. “Thank you so much. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.”
“Don’t look back, Sophie.” Dylan eased away, squeezing her hand. “Get out of here and never look back. Here are the phone numbers for the Stowers house shelters in Baltimore and LA I told you about—just in case.” She handed over the March copy of Trendy magazine with papers sticking out from the edges.
“Thanks. Please don’t forget to put flowers on my mother’s grave.”
“I won’t.”
She nodded and hugged Dylan for the last time. “Bye.”
“Bye. Take care of yourself.”
“I will.” Sophie got out, sliding her backpack on her shoulder as she made her way to the bored-eyed man at the ticket kiosk.
“Ticket and ID, Ma’am.”
Sophie handed over both, holding her breath, waiting for her plan to fall apart.
“Safe trip.” He gave them back.
“Thank you,” she murmured, letting loose a shaky exhale as she turned and moved toward the train, wanting to run instead of walk. She boarded the first available car and stared out the window as she sat down, watching Dylan pull out of the lot in the rusty hatchback, already missing the only person she’d had a connection with. She bobbed her leg up and down, struggling to keep her fidgeting at bay. Minutes passed, feeling like hours, until finally the doors closed. The train jerked forward, moving toward Boston—the first stop on her journey to freedom.

Did you enjoy the excerpt? You can read the first chapter on my website,, or you can finish the whole book here!

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The Inspiration Behind Saving Sophie

Stone and Sophie are as opposite as can be—or so it seems—and that’s why telling their story was so much fun! Readers met Stone in Justice For Abby. He’s a gorgeous bad boy, more interested in taking care of himself than worrying about anyone else. Stone’s a hard-ass. There’s no other way to say it, but everyone has an achilles’ heel. That’s what drew me to Ethan Cooke Security’s latest bodyguard. I kept asking myself what type of woman had the power to bring a man like Stone McCabe to his knees. Enter Sophie Burke, a shy jewelry designer dealing with lots of trouble, and you just might have your answer.

I hope you enjoy Sophie and Stone as much as I enjoyed writing them!

~ Cate

The Unofficial Saving Sophie Soundtrack

Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Stone and Sophie’s story! You can listen to them on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Saving Sophie:
⦁ Grey Street by Dave Matthews
⦁ Sleep by Plumb
⦁ Come To Me by The Goo Goo Dolls
⦁ All I Want by Staind
⦁ I’d Come For You by Nickelback
⦁ Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran
⦁ In My Veins by Andrew Belle
⦁ Only You by Matthew Perryman Jones
⦁ Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk

 05 The Bodyguards of LA County Series

zina 2Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, four years later, I’m currently working on my eighth novel, Reagan’s Redemption, which I plan to release in early spring of 2015. I’m very grateful for the support and success I’ve had.” – Cate

SOLOMON’S WHISPER and series giveaway with Sandra Brannan

Your first four novels in the Liv Bergen mystery series have garnered national attention from readers, booksellers and librarians who can’t wait to see what’s next in store for the heroine. What do you hope people get out of reading the series?

My goal with every book is to either change a reader’s plans or make him or her lose a night of sleep. In my first book, I loved hearing how people couldn’t put the book down or how they read it in two days. That’s when I know I’ve done my job as a writer. I am also having fun showcasing the colorful life of ranchers in the Black Hills and underscoring the pioneering and indomitable spirit of the Dakotas.

The intriguing Agent Streeter Pierce and amateur sleuth Liv Bergen have had such a unique relationship from book one. How do you create that chemistry on page?

I’m a sucker for unrequited love, like in the Bridges of Madison County and the African Queen. Real romance is all about the sweetness of anticipation and the fulfillment through patience, effort, and commitment. I haven’t followed the modern day method of character development under a tangle of sheets. Instead, I have tried to create a real and lasting chemistry between Liv and Streeter that most of us – if we’re lucky – can relate to, which is one of a deep respect and friendship, a meaningful relationship to last a lifetime.

 How do you like the romance in your mystery/thrillers?  Thanks to Sami at JKS Communications Manic Readers has the entire Liv Bergen series in digital to give away to one (1) lucky commenter.  Good luck!

My thoughts on SOLOMON’S WHISPER

Solomon's Whisper

Trying to convince Liv Bergen from resigning from the FBI to return to mining after nearly losing her nephew, Streeter Pierce asks Liv for one condition: to wait six months before making her resignation official or public.Five months into the condition, Streeter becomes desperate to keep Liv, so he bends the rules and assigns her a seven year old cold case – Brianna Keller, a young girl taken from her bedroom during a slumber party and found dead along the road in the dessert near Vegas. Streeter believes if Liv sees how she can help her family, help avenge a child’s death, she may not feel as if she’s endangering them. So what better way than to assign her Brianna’s case? After all, Brianna is Liv’s niece, her sister Barbara’s youngest child.


Sandra Brannan

Sandra Brannan has created a heart-pounding mystery thriller series around Liv Bergen, a woman who embodies the spirit of South Dakota. Much like her character Liv Bergen, Brannan has spent her career in the mining business. Working her way up from day laborer in the

company her grandfather founded to a top executive in the family business wasn’t easy, as Sandra often received threats from those opposed
to mining.  These life experiences give her a first person perspective into the high-stakes scenarios of which she writes.

In response to the overwhelming success of In the Belly of Jonah (2010), Lot’s Return To Sodom (2011), Widow’s Might (2012) and Noah’s Rainy Day (2013), Brannan prioritizes her time first to the librarians and booksellers for nominating her to earn two ABA Indie Next List Notables,
to book clubs and fans who have described Liv Bergen as the love child of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, and to teachers for all the gratitude she has for their role in her success. Her books have landed on the Denver Post best-seller list and reached the top 10 for e-book mysteries and top 5 for women’s mysteries. She celebrates the launch of the fifth book in her series, Solomon’s Whisper, in September 2014.

Named one of the top 25 most fabulous women by Black Hills Magazine, Brannan lives in her hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota, with her husband. Their budding family consists of four boys and three grandchildren.

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT and giveaway with M.L. Buchman


Trisha O’Malley rebelled against her affluent family by joining the U.S. Army’s secret helicopter regiment, the 160th SOAR. Now a Chief Warrant Officer, she found her toughest fight yet in the pilot’s seat of an MH-6M attack helicopter.

William Wallace Bruce is an undercover CIA agent who doesn’t trust the military. But when the Horn of Africa is threatened by Somali pirates, Trisha flies out to recover ships and hostages…including one very ungrateful Will. Everything about Trisha triggers his mistrust: her elusive past, her wild energy, and her proclivity for flying past safety’s edge. Even as the heat between them turns into passion’s fire, Bill and Trisha must team up to confront their pasts and survive Somalia’s pirate lords.

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Trisha looked up at Billy. His narrowed eyes revealed that he was indeed totally perplexed.

It was perfectly clear to her, and she just figured out that meant she was too damn stupid to live. She shrugged to herself, feeling the warm weight of his large hands still resting on her shoulders.

Well, stupid is something I’m really good at, she had to admit to herself. With one foot she shoved the door to her cabin closed until the latch clicked. Then putting a hand on either side of his neck, Tricia pulled his face down to hers.

His hesitation didn’t last long, then the kiss became everything she remembered from the first one. Power, heat, strength.

And then it became more. When he folded his arms around her and held her tight against him as they teased each other’s lips, she was just gone.

She’d never felt such a thing before. In Billy’s arms, Tricia O’Malley felt … safe. As if someone else would take care of the world, just for awhile. That was so foreign, she almost pushed away. Then she changed her mind and leaned closer because it felt so damn good.

Trisha wished she was still wearing the stupid towel, so that she could just let it slide ever so slowly to the floor like some heart-fluttering romance heroin. But she was dressed now, so she went for plan B.

Sliding her hands down to his waist, she tugged Billy’s T-shirt free and dragged it off over his head. If she could have shredded it with her teeth, she would have.

When she reached bare skin, rather than throwing herself against it, she hesitated. A desecration of multiple scars ran across one of the most beautiful chest she ever seen. Two obvious bullet holes, one by his waist another terrifyingly near his heart. A third, old one deep on his arm, just below the shoulder — the one Ralph of Detroit had given him. Thin white lines crisscrossed as if he’d been whipped or dragged over rough ground.

And one deep line that matched the scar across his face, as if a knife had been dragged diagonally down from his ear, over his chin, then sliced him from clavicle most of the way down his ribs below one breast.

Tricia look so slowly back up to his eyes, which watched her intently from just inches away.

Awaiting her reaction.

She didn’t know what to think. She’d been all freaked out over a bullet that hadn’t even penetrated her armor. He appeared to have been tortured and clearly been close to death several times.

At her continued inspection, he shrugged slightly as if to say, “It’s who I am.”

She watched a shiver ripple over the skin as she stroked a single finger down the long line of the deep knife cut.

Then she leaned in and kissed it. The shiver turned into a soft groan that rippled across his magnificent chest.

It was the last sound they made.


M. L. Buchman has over 25 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” In addition to romance, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at

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L is for Lavender & giveaway with Jenna Jaxon

Lavender is one of my favorite flowers. I love the color, the look of the flowers, and of course, the smell of lavender has the power to soothe us to sleep with little trouble. Since the days of the ancient Egyptians, lavender has been used for medicinal and helful purposes. It was also a “miracle plant” during the Middle Ages. So there is little wonder that I used lavender extensively in my medieval novel Time Enough to Love.
The scent of lavender has been associated with medicinal uses for centuries. The ancient Romans used it in their baths, the Middle Ages saw it used to help ward off plague, and our culture uses it today in a variety of ways, but especially. I’ve noticed, in laundry detergents and fabric softeners. In fact, I must confess that I use a lavender/sweet cotton scented fabric softener for my laundry.
Early on in Time Enough to Love, the hero, Sir Geoffrey Longford, remarks on the scent of lavender that surrounds the heroine, Lady Alyse de Courcy:
He reached out to capture a tendril of her hair. Rubbing his face against it, he inhaled deeply. “You smell so sweetly. ’Tis like flowers in summertime all about you. Even your hair smells like the meadows near my home.”
Alyse smiled at that, her breath coming more normally. “’Tis lavender, my lord. My mother has it cut in our fields, and dries it to make sachets to keep the clothes and linens fresh. She says it gives us good health.” With a shy glance at him she continued, “I do bathe in it too, for it calms and soothes the soul.” She gave a rueful chuckle. “I fear I will require such a bath when I return to my room.”
I wanted to have this olfactory marker for Alyse so I could play with its use in several ways throughout the course of the novel. Not only does Alyse have this scent clinging to her, but she gives Geoffrey a token, a small bag with a lock of her hair in it. The bag smells of lavender because it’s made of part of an old gown of hers that’s permeated with the scent. I also have Geoffrey send Alyse a sprig of lavender as a token of remembrance.
One thing I was excited to discover is that lavender is also used as an insect repellent. Its use as a sachet tucked into linens and clothing helps repel fleas, the major carrier of the Bubonic plague. So the fact that Alyse and Geoffrey have so much contact with lavender explains why they are protected, to an extent, from the plague. To highlight this, I made lavender sachets and gave them out as swag at this year’s Romance Writers of America National Conference. I hope it gave everyone sweet dreams.

Jenna is giving away an ecopy of TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE to one (1) lucky commenter.  What’s your favorite flower? 

TETL front



When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?





Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London. Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.