Wednesday, December 17, 2014

VISITING LILLY BY TONI ALLEN




Visiting Lilly
by Toni Allen


Toni will be awarding a free e-book of VISITING LILLY and a FREE TAROT CARD reading for one lucky commenter to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


BLURB:

D.I. Jake Talbot is a burnt-out British detective given a second chance to believe in love, friendship and the transcendent essence of the human experience. When he investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly he uncovers a dangerous family hiding a forbidden romance that mysteriously crosses the boundaries of time. The deceitful family does all they can to prevent Talbot from discovering their secrets surrounding an unsolved murder, family betrayal; at the core of which is a keenly intelligent, though somewhat mentally challenged young man who is fixated on an elderly woman being held captive by her own grandson. Talbot sets out to right the many wrongs done to the blameless, and in turn, rediscovers his own humanity.







Excerpt of VISITING LILLY:

Jake makes notes

Chapter 17

Notes, yes, he should make notes, before all of the mad ideas popping into his head were zapped off into outer space. Time machine, bloody hell, he’d be interviewing little green men next, and scanning the airways for flying saucers. Placing his notebook on the table he tapped his pen up and down. Just make marks on the paper, words, anything, don’t think, write.

1)         Frankie Hayward did not have a time machine … did he? Okay, so check it out. How? Good bloody question.

He drew heavily on his cigarette and stared down the street at people hurrying about their business. A young woman nearly slipped on the snow and fell. Instinctively he stood, ready to assist. Haste. Now there was a good word to write down. He sat and scribbled.

2)         Two people were in no hurry to do anything. Why didn’t Keith’s parents report him missing? Where were they in all of this before they cried ‘murder!’?

3)         See if there are any early psychiatric reports on Frankie. Mother said there were, Weissman alluded to them. Perhaps they would come with the files Weissman had promised.

4)         How long has Lilly got to live? Stupid question, can’t be answered. Not long.

On better days he would have phoned Yates to run it past him. Suddenly there was only him, no sounding board, no second brain to fit the puzzle together. Closing his eyes, he smiled. So that was Weissman’s game. Now the only confidante he would have was Frankie Hayward himself. Oh, how clever, single him out and throw them together. Shit, was Weissman expecting him to go the same way as Keith? Involuntarily he shivered and hugged his coat tighter around his chest. Images of the headline sprang before his eyes, 'Stressed copper on leave disappears, alien abduction suspected.’



TONI ALLEN Bio and Links:

Toni Allen is a professional tarot reader, astrologer, author and photographer.

I’ve been a professional tarot reader for about 30 years, and an astrologer for about 25. Now, thanks to the internet, I have an International client database. My main website is creaking because I haven’t updated it for so long, but it’s still fully functional and full of lots of interesting information. www.toniallen.co.uk . A new build is underway, with lots of modern bits and pieces so that you can connect with me via Facebook and easily keep up to date with events that I’m offering readings at.









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Monday, December 15, 2014

IF YOU BELIEVE - A CHRISTMAS ROMANCE BY MYA O'MALLEY


If You Believe (1)


Synopsis of IF YOU BELIEVE by Mya O'Malley

Sometimes love only comes once in a lifetime. For some lucky people, it is possible to love again.

Melody and Jack had shared an unforgettable love story that abruptly came to an end. Melody, left picking up the pieces, finds herself alone years later, with no hope or desire to date again. With the holiday season approaching, Melody finds it particularly difficult to get Jack out of her thoughts.

Jack isn’t sure if he’s an angel or a ghost, but his mind is set on one thing only, finding a new love for Melody by Christmas Eve at midnight. Easier said than done, with many obstacles to tackle, Jack underestimates how difficult the task is. With conflicting emotions, Jack takes it upon himself to find a man for a woman he still loves.

With the clock ticking as the holidays approach, this charming story of finding love the second time around will have you laughing and crying, but ultimately, it will have you believing in true love.

If you believe






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Excerpt of IF YOU BELIEVE:

Excerpt from If You Believe- Mya O’Malley

He stood, watching her, feeling every ounce of her pain, her anguish. He was probably the only one who understood what it was like to lose the person you loved, the person who was everything in the world to you.
If only he could just touch her, reach out to her, make her feel happy again. But that was just selfish on his part, wasn’t it? It wouldn’t be fair to Melody. Anybody could see that even three years later, she was still struggling. Hadn’t he always told her that if something happened to him, he would want her to fall in love again? It saddened him to think that if she continued down this cold and lonely path, she would be alone forever.
Melody had wanted it all, a home filled with children, a loving marriage. Thinking back to how happy they had once been, it broke his heart to see her this way, and it was always saddest to see her like this around the holidays, which were quickly approaching.
Jack’s mind was whirling with ideas, if only...He wished that he could talk to her just one more time, but alas, that was against the rules. If only there was some way, if only he could help her see the light. The corners of Jack’s mouth crept up as his mind took hold of an impossible thought. Would he be able to pull this off? If he did, could he ever be the same again? …
The electricity was undeniable. It was something that he should have considered, knowing how powerful their attraction and love had been in life. The look on Melody’s face was shock, confusion and curiosity all rolled into one. He would have to remember not to touch her again, it was simply too much of a risk to take. He knew that if his cover was revealed, the rules stated that he could never make contact with her again.
“What was...did you feel?” Poor Melody peered at him with those gorgeous light brown eyes of hers. There was something different about her eyes now; once they had been filled with spark and mischief, but now they were sadder, as if the light had somehow gone out. The same eyes that had looked at him with varying degrees of emotions for all those precious years they had shared together. The same eyes that held him spellbound right now. Jack didn’t know what to expect; he had no way of knowing how hard it would be to not reach out and touch this woman who was his wife, the love of his life. She evoked so much emotion in him that he had to turn his head before she saw the tears that sprang from his eyes. He had known this would be hard, but Melody took his breath away. Melody was always beautiful, but now she also appeared slightly sad and fragile. Looking down at her so many times before, he knew of her sadness, of course, but standing right here beside her, Jack could practically feel her strong emotions within his own heart.
Since he had gone to great lengths to disguise his true identity, Jack would have to do better than this. There was no way that she could recognize him by his appearance. He was once tall, standing six foot three inches tall, maintaining a trim physique with messy light brown hair. He now stood barely five foot seven with wavy dark hair and a stocky build. The only thing about his appearance that Jack wasn’t able to change was his eyes. Nobody could change their eyes, because it was a fact that eyes were the windows to the soul.
Melody stood before him, her mouth gaping open as if she were caught in a spell. Think of something, quick, he told himself.
“Melody. I heard great things about your store. You see, I’m new to this area and I was just walking around and I figured I’d come check out your store.”
Melody appeared as if she had composed herself slightly. Clearing her throat, she finally spoke. “Where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking.”
He really should have been more prepared, how could he have forgotten how inquisitive Melody was?
“Um, I’m from down south, Florida.”
“Whereabouts? I have a friend from the Orlando area.” He should have also remembered her old college roommate from Orlando. Was Miami far enough away to field off further questions?
“Miami.”
“Miami? What brings you all the way up north to the New York area?”
Wow, she should have been a lawyer instead of owning a business. “My job. I work in the city now and live here in the suburbs.”
“What do you do for work?”
Thinking quickly on his feet, Jack steered away from his real occupation in life, working for an insurance company.
“I work for a pharmaceutical company. I’m in sales.” That ought to do it. He was reminded of a time when Melody had quizzed him nonstop when they had first met, he had felt like he was interviewing for a job. They had laughed many times together over that memory.
“Oh. Well, who is it that recommended you to my store?” Her eyes peered cautiously through her striking auburn hair. The long hair that was always slightly out of place, always in her eyes. Wishing that he could reach out and touch her beautiful hair just once more, he reeled himself back in.
“Just some guy at a diner recently. He raved about the selection of books and the coffee. Hmm, if I recall, he also said that you have the best cheesecake in town.” That should do it. Melody loved to bake and could go on and on about her desserts.
And that she did, thank goodness for the distraction of a good cheesecake. When Melody had stopped gushing about how she prepared her cheesecake, she caught herself and chuckled.
“You must think I’m something, rambling on like this. I’m sorry, I just realized that I didn’t catch your name.”
My name, my name. Something unusual perhaps, but fitting for a friend. “Oliver.” Where did that come from?
“Oliver. Well, Oliver, I don’t usually do this because we are closed, but would you like to try some of the cheesecake? We happen to have some left over.”
“Oliver” could tell that he had gotten on Melody’s good side. She wasn’t a particularly outgoing person. As a matter of fact, she was usually pretty shy, but he was delighted to see that he had made an impression on her. Or perhaps it was just good business sense. Either way, Oliver had succeeded in completing the first step of his mission: meeting Melody.
****
Melody couldn’t recall the last time that she had felt so comfortable with a total stranger. It wasn’t like she was even physically attracted to him, Oliver wasn’t her type at all. He was the complete opposite of Jack in every way. Well, in every way except for those captivating blue eyes. It was uncanny how much Oliver’s eyes reminded Melody of Jack’s eyes. It wasn’t just the color or the shape, but it was the intensity of his gaze. That was probably why Melody had felt so comfortable with him from the start.
“I know that you’re going to think this is forward, but would you mind showing me around town sometime?”
Melody sucked in a breath and inwardly panicked.
“My girlfriend is coming up in a few weeks and I wanted to show her around a bit.” He finished.
Melody’s shoulders visibly dropped as she let out a sigh. “Sure, yes, Oliver, I think that would be fine.”
Two finished slices of chocolate cheesecake and decaf coffees later, Melody realized this was the best evening she’d had in, well, just about three years.



Mya Omalley
Mya O'Malley, Author
Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters. The family also consists of two boxers; Destiny and Dolce and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya currently has three new releases: AT FIRST SIGHT, a contemporary romance about dating in the modern world, published by Astraea Press, and WHERE THERE IS LOVE, a contemporary romance in which a woman struggles with past obstacles, ultimately faced with whether or not she will open her heart to love. WHERE THERE IS LOVE is published with Solstice Publishing. Mya is excited to say that Astraea Press released her contemporary holiday paranormal romance titled IF YOU BELIEVE. Due to be released late January is THE CALM AFTER THE STORM, published by TouchPoint Press. This novel is a contemporary romance taking place in the setting of Hurricane Sandy. The story revolves around the idea of a utility worker from Georgia falling in love with a woman in New York.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her sixth novel.



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Friday, December 12, 2014

TARA QUAN'S NEW RELEASE, FLIRTING WITH FIRE!






Flames literally ignite, sparks magically fly, and life as he knows it changes forever...

Publication Date: October 24, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Multicultural, Holiday (18+)

Series: A Witch's Night Out #1


Apprentice witch Catalina Gato is prohibited from assuming her human form in front of her new employer without his express permission. Since he doesn’t know he’s a warlock, he can’t give it, leaving her in a familiar’s limbo. To make matters worse, she’s barred from leaving his house, and her attempts to enlighten him of his true nature results in burnt notes, charred walls, and exploding laptops.



On All Hallows’ Eve, she gets one night of freedom. Deciding some no-strings-attached sex might take the edge off the intense attraction she feels for her clueless boss, she signs up for Madame Eve’s service. When she meets her masked mystery date at the Castillo Capital, she realizes she might have gotten much more than she bargained for.



After being gifted a one-night stand from his annoying best friend, attorney Leo Difuoco reluctantly ventures to the Castillo Capital to celebrate Halloween. When he meets his oddly familiar green-eyed date in a Cat Woman costume, flames literally ignite, sparks magically fly, and life as he knows it changes forever.


Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, paranormal worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest  |  Google+ | Amazon











Excerpt 1 (PG) – 250 Words

Not bothering to close off the room, Leo hooked his fingers under his boxers’ waistband. “You’re a little pervert. Can’t you at least act like you’re not looking?” Very few sane people had lengthy conversations with their pets. He needed to get a life.

His audience of one lay down on her stomach, her face resting on her paws. The first couple of months, she’d pretended to be interested in something else— his assortment of fluffy white towels, for example. Now, she watched him shower like it was nobody’s business. Sighing, he took off his shorts and tossed them into the hamper, his aim perfect enough to remind him of his basketball-playing days. She meowed and nodded, as if in approval.

He stepped into the glass enclosure, feeling oddly self-conscious. With a twist of the handle, water fell like rain over his head. As he scrubbed, he continued to address the cat. “I’m going out tonight. It’s Halloween, and the guys are beginning to think I’ve turned into a hermit.”

The ensuing meow was pitched higher than usual. Though he hesitated to read too much into feline noises, his brain somehow interpreted the sound as an expression of enthusiasm. The plan he’d been lukewarm about gained appeal. “Besides, costume parties are great places to pick up chicks.”

He cringed at a loud crash. Poking his head out, he took stock of the damage. Ceramic shards from what used to be his soap holder covered the floor, along with globs of shiny translucent liquid.




Excerpt 2 (PG-ish) – 500 Words


Her lips pursed, [Cat Woman] stared down at him for a long moment. Then she muttered, “What the hell,” and dropped her very attractive behind onto the opposite seat. “So, this is your idea of an easy place to pick up chicks in costume?”

Not only was the question out of place, it bore an uncanny similarity to something he might have said to his cat. “Well…one in particular, I guess. What’s your name, by the way?”

“Cat.”

She had to be joking. Or she obfuscated on purpose. He decided on the latter. After all, keeping one’s identity hidden made for a great exit strategy. “Mine’s Leo.”

She lifted the leather menu and opened it, blocking his view of her face. “I know.”

Madame Eve must employ a double standard, revealing the identity of men and not women. Another possible theory was Jack had forged the card and kept the woman’s details a secret on purpose. Both explanations seemed plausible. “What else do you know about me?”

She flipped a page. “Everything.”

Talk about unfair. Cat Woman must have received an actual profile, complete with a photo and an option to decline the date. “It might not be all true.”

She tilted the menu forward an inch, revealing the top half of her masked face. “What?”

“The profile you read. Jack has a weird sense of humor. You shouldn’t trust any of it.”

Her eyelids lowered into a slight squint, something the non-human Cat he knew had a habit of doing whenever he forgot to grab his keys. “I don’t follow.”

“It’s obvious you received some basic information about me.” When she shook her head, he waved off the denial. “It’s not a big deal, but I thought I should tell you someone else filled everything out. Since I hadn’t been offered a file on you at all, we should pretend this is a normal date and start over.”

With a shrug and a swift nod, she put the menu down, pulled her gloves off, and reached an arm across the table. The smile she sent him made his stomach do an unsettling flip. “My name is Catalina Gato. I’m a maid, accountant, and shape-shifting witch with a clueless boss and very meddlesome sister.”

What a sense of humor. Considering her costume, cat burglar would have been funnier, but she deserved bonus points for saying it all with a straight face. He took her hand and fought the odd urge to grab her, kiss her silly, and tear her clothes off.

The candle’s flame changed from blue to white. Then the fire shot up in a straight line, six inches high. Another round of nervous clapping followed.

Their palms still touching, he frowned. “Someone here must love Halloween. These special effects are over the top, not to mention dangerous.”


She shook her head and broke contact. Hints of disbelief and resignation laced her bell-like laugh. “Do you think Gomez has recovered enough to send a waiter our way?”




Excerpt 3 (Spicy) – 350 Words

Soaping her too-sensitive body, Cat closed her eyes and recalled an image of Leo from earlier that morning. She’d wanted nothing more than to slip through the glass doors, run her palms along those wet, chiseled abs, and trace the defined lines of chest muscle with her fingers. After less than two minutes of voyeurism, she’d imagined levering herself using those broad shoulders, wrapping her legs around his torso, and fusing her mouth with his.

Why did her boss have to be clueless and sexy? If not for the latter trait, it’d be much easier to hate his guts. Instead, she was trapped in a weird limbo between impatient annoyance and unbridled horniness. She switched the water to a cold blast. It didn’t help.

One cardinal rule existed in all professions—Thou shalt not lust after the boss. To it, she’d add—especially not when you’re his minion, bound by blood to do his bidding, and he doesn’t see you as a human being. But the impracticality of this attraction didn’t change the fact this man appealed to her in the most carnal way. It was a good thing she transformed into a cat whenever he came close, else her panties would be damp from constant sexual fantasies.

When she slept, she dreamt of learning the texture of his dark five o’clock shadow with her lips, of feeling his coarse chest hair rasp over her breasts. He might be no more than two inches taller than her, but she’d be powerless in his grasp. The man was all muscle, from his thick neck to his toned arms. Even without the magical rules demanding her complete obedience, he could compel her to do whatever he wanted.

This embarrassing and unrelenting lust put an impetus on finding a way out. She’d served Nonna for a little over three years and spent the past six months in his care, leaving an interminable eighteen months on the damn contract. By the time it ended, she’d be a frustrated nymphomaniac.




Excerpt 4 (Spicy) – 270 Words

Gomez’s manners thus far had been impeccable, but Leo could draw a straight line from the man’s eyeballs to Catwoman’s chest. To be fair, those were some gorgeous breasts—either that or the woman wore a killer push-up bra. High, pert, and full, they combined with lush wide hips to form a perfect hourglass shape. In those heels, her legs seemed to go on for miles.

Distracted by the lithe yet voluptuous body, it took him a moment before he could focus on her face. She had straight, silky black hair, cut at the chin to form a short bob. Her dark leather mask started halfway down her forehead and ended under her cheekbone, lending her heart-shaped face a mysterious and sexy air. Plum red lipstick accentuated a pair of pouting lips, which were perfectly situated between a small button nose and sharp pointed chin.

He had to agree with Jack. Catwoman was smoking.

The maître d’ led her into the lounge’s interior. As she walked closer, her spicy perfume blended with the scent of fresh tobacco, the intoxicating combination interfering with his ability to focus. Spotting him, she stopped in her tracks.

Her emerald-green eyes went wide. Then she swept him from head to toe with her gaze. The direct scrutiny triggered a sudden tightness in his pants. An electric sizzle spread over his skin and made his fingertips tingle.

A collective gasp distracted him from the odd physiological reaction. The candle on his table now blazed blue instead of orange, the flame growing to twice its original size. He snuck a peek at the other tables, all of which seemed to be experiencing the same fiery effect.


The lounge must have invested in some fancy pyrotechnic candles in honor of Halloween.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

REVIEW AND INTRODUCTION TO THE YA BOOK, WHO R U REALLY? BY MARGO KELLY

who are you (1)


Review of Who R U Really? By Margo Kelly


Review Written By Bea Smith, Middle School Librarian,
Fort Worth, Texas ISD

Fourteen year old Thea is a typical, middle class teenage girl. She’s well behaved, makes good grades, and comes from a loving, stable family. She feels her parents are too overprotective, as most teenage girls do.  She has a falling out with her crush, and to distract her and keep her out of their hair, her brother’s friend introduces Thea to an online role playing game. When Thea confesses to her mother that the altercation with a boy at school got physical, her mother signs the both of them up for self-defense classes.  Her mother talks to the instructor and expresses her concerns about Thea’s growing fascination with the role playing game. The instructor assures her mother that playing the game is a harmless pastime.

          Then Thea is contacted by Kit, an older boy who is also playing the game. Gradually, Kit manages to separate Thea from her friends and family as he plays on her insecurities and her need for acceptance. But is he who he says he is?
          
          Thea and her friends seem very real to me. I spend my days with teenagers and I could easily see these characters as my students. Thea was sympathetically portrayed as an intelligent, kind girl who was just naïve enough to put herself in real danger by taking Kit’s word that he is the person he portrays himself to be online. The pacing of the book is even, and the climax is riveting. I couldn’t put the book down.  It is just the right balance of tension and suspense to be scary, but not too scary or graphic.
 
          As a school librarian, I am required to teach cyber safety. I am continuously amazed at how well my streetwise students can parrot the safety guidelines, yet how easily they fall into traps as we walk through the simulations in our lessons. The scariest thing is that Thea’s parents do everything correctly. They eat dinner together each night, have family night once a week, and monitor her activities. Before letting Thea play the role playing game, her father goes online to make sure it is acceptable. When Thea’s mother walks into Thea’s bedroom and sees Thea minimize her screen, Thea’s mother makes Thea maximize it so she can see what Thea is doing. Thea’s parents monitor her email and her cell phone. Yet Kit, who is older, manages to give Thea the advice and the means she needs to deceive her parents and put herself in deadly peril.

          The side plot about Thea’s best friend and her battle with anorexia is a little distracting, but it is a good device to further separate Thea from her support network. Eating disorders are a real problem with adolescent girls.

          I was interested to learn that Margo Kelly was inspired to write the book when her own daughter was nearly abducted by a cyber-predator.  Now, mother and daughter give talks together to educate the public about cyber safety and potential pitfalls in even seemingly innocent situations.


          Margo Kelly is an excellent writer and I will definitely read more of her books and put them in my school’s library. Tweens and teens should read it—and so should their parents. 



who are you


Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly


Thea's overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She's living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can't defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends.


Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really "gets" her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit's allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a true-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea's life spins out of control.



Praise for WHO R U REALLY?:


"Kelly's first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message." --Kirkus Reviews


"Suspenseful novel that's guaranteed to give readers goosebumps--particularly as events heat up toward the end. A good choice for families to read together." --School Library Journal


"Who R U Really? is a fantastically creepy book that is surprisingly realistic and totally engrossing.... Once I opened it, I couldn't close it. Who R U Really is a satisfyingly unique YA thriller that left me guessing up until almost the very last page.... This book is very realistic and I really enjoyed the writing style." --Tempest Books


"Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens." --VOYA Magazine



Excerpt of WHO R U REALLY?

When Tim’s eyes, bluer than an Idaho sky, met mine, my mind turned to mush. He towered
above everyone else at the bus stop, and on this cold January morning he looked cuter than ever
with his bomber hat and rosy cheeks. He shoved his sidekick, Josh, jokingly, and a cloud of
white air escaped Tim’s mouth.

My best friend, Janie, whacked me on the hip. “Omigosh, Thea. Here they come. Smile.”

Her words bounced in rhythm with her black ringlets. She adjusted her new fluffy snow white
parka, and even though it had a hood, she would never smash her perfect curls simply to stay
warm. The crisp air made the tip of her nose red, but the rest of her face remained alabaster
white. We’d been best friends for years, and at fourteen, having a friend made the ninth grade
bearable.

Janie hoped Josh and Tim would ask us to the Winter Solstice dance, but I just hoped to
speak to Tim without sounding like a complete idiot. Tim walked in our direction with Josh right
on his heels. They stopped in front of us, and everyone else hovered to watch the show.

“Thea,” Tim said. I wanted to reply, but no words came.

Josh approached Janie, and I fidgeted with my favorite fuzzy pink scarf.

“Jan-eee,” Josh said, dragging out the last syllable of her name. He eyed her up and
down. “You look like a giant fat marshmallow.” 







Margo Kelly
Margo Kelly, Author



Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

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Monday, December 08, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL BRIMBLE

I’m excited to have Rachel Brimble on my blog today. Rachel is an award winning author who lives in England and writes in multiple genres.

Rachel Brimble near Buckingham Palace


Caroline: Please tell us about growing up.

Rachel: I grew up in the city of Bristol, England with my mum, dad and older brother. Bristol is famous for its maritime history and a great place to live with plenty to do and see. I then married and moved to a small market town near Bath and have lived here for almost fourteen years. My husband and I have two teenage daughters and my third “child”, a black Lab called Max.

I was most definitely a bookworm! Happiest in the library or reading in the park/my bedroom/ the bath, it was inevitable I would write my own stories one day!

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Rachel: Favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, Jodi Picoult and Philippa Gregory – favorite genres are romantic suspense, women’s fiction and historical novels revolving around real life people or events. I also read a lot of biographies of the past British monarchy. I particularly love the Tudor and Plantagenet eras.

Caroline: You included some of my favorite authors. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Rachel: I watch FAR too much TV but can’t resist US shows like Scandal, Rizzoli & Isles, The Blacklist & Grey’s Anatomy as well as UK series like Downton Abbey, Eastenders, Ripper Street & Call The Midwife. While watching TV, I am always knitting! Gone are the days when I used to watch with idle fingers, haha!

If I’m not watching TV and knitting, I am reading or walking the beautiful English countryside with my family and beloved dog, Max.

Caroline: Your countryside is indeed beautiful and Bath is one of the loveliest cities. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Rachel: “Set it up the way you want it to be.” Iyanla Vanzant

I totally believe if you don’t like something in your life or the way it is going, do something to change it. Make yourself happy, don’t rely on others to do it for you. This is YOUR life, go be happy!

Caroline: Excellent advice. How long have you been writing?

Rachel: I started writing short stories when I had my eldest daughter in 1999. I had a little success online and in women’s magazines but my real dream was to be a novelist. It wasn’t until my youngest daughter started school full-time that I got serious. I started writing my first novel in 2005 and The Wild Rose Press published SEARCHING FOR SOPHIE in 2007.

I am proud to say I have had at least one novel published every year since then. At the moment, I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for Lyrical Press/eKensington.

Caroline: The Wild Rose Press author’s loop is where I met you. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Rachel: I am lucky enough to be able to write full-time around being a wife and mum – I move around the house with my laptop. Mornings I write on the settee, early afternoon at the kitchen table and when the kids come home from school, it’s in my bedroom. I am in the process of decorating my own office in the spare room – fingers crossed, this will become my domain! I need silence to write, but can edit anywhere, no matter the background noise.

Caroline: I’m the opposite. I write to music and edit with silence. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Rachel: A bit of both! I start each book with a premise, usually something I’ve seen on TV or in the newspaper…sometimes on historical documentaries. I then trawl the internet for “pictures” of my hero and heroine. After that, I sit down and write a rough chapter plan and finish with a 3-4 page synopsis. Once I’ve done this, I am keen to start the writing and tend to write the first draft from beginning to end without looking back.

The pantser side of things comes in the fact I don’t mess with where the characters want to go…which is sometimes a long way from what I had planned. You have to trust the work to come out right, regardless of your ideas. The following drafts are spent clearing up the mess of the first draft!

Caroline: So, you do use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories.

Rachel: See above – a lot of my story ideas come from real life events or people, but by the time the story is written, the original idea is unrecognizable to me, let alone anyone else. I think TV & newspapers are vital sources of inspiration.

Caroline: I agree. When I hear or read a story, I can’t help thinking of an alternate spin on the story. Do you set daily writing goals?

Rachel: I am lucky enough to write every day…although I try not to at the weekend. I am happy if I manage 2,000 words a day but this doesn’t happen if I have editing to do as well as the writing. I start my work day at 8.30am and work straight through until 3.30pm when the kids get home from school. After getting a few chores done, I head back to the laptop for an hour before dinner…maybe grab an hour after dinner and finish about 7pm.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Rachel: Enjoyment, escapism and a sense of the happy ever after – I don’t plan to write literature now or in the future. I want people to pick up my books and be hooked for the pure enjoyment. I like writing about lifelike places and people – hopefully I manage to convey that for the reader too!

Caroline: Well said! What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Rachel: I would love to write a big single title romantic suspense sooner rather than later and look forward to seeing which direction that takes my career. I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else so I hope with each book, I gain more readers and more success. Writing is hard work, but the rewards are worth the blood, sweat and tears.

Caroline: We do have the best job in the world, don’t we? Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Rachel: I am currently writing the first draft of my fourth Victorian romance with eKensington – this is set in and around Bath and tells Jane and Matthew’s story, secondary characters in my upcoming release, WHAT A WOMAN DESIRES (Jan 2015).



Caroline: Gorgeous cover and I believe everyone loves a series. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Rachel: Keep going and don’t be afraid to submit your work – too many authors give up at the first ten or even twenty rejections. You have to keep going, keep writing and keep learning. The only author who remained unpublished is the author who gave up. Also, you will never be published if you don’t submit your work. Take a leap of faith and go for it!

Caroline: Correct, success requires persistence.  Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

Rachel: I haven’t had my hair cut professionally in almost 16 years – because my hair is so curly, I can get away with my husband or daughters giving it a quick trim, lol!

Caroline: I envy you. Mine usually looks as if I’d stuck my finger in an electrical outlet. Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

Rachel: My family and I were rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof during the 2010 French floods – the most terrifying 12 hour ordeal of my life!

Caroline: I remember that, Rachel. That must have been terrifying. Is your book a series? If so, how long?

Rachel: CHRISTMAS AT THE COVE is book four in my Templeton Cove series with Harlequin Superromance, but all the books can be read as stand-alone stories. I have no idea when the series will end because I have notes for at least three more books on file. Fingers crossed, Harlequin will renew my contract once my editor has reviewed book number 5 which is sitting on her desk right now J

Caroline: Can you give readers a blurb about your book?
Rachel: Gladly.
More family for Christmas? 

Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news. 

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.



Caroline: How about an excerpt of CHRISTMAS AT THE COVE?

Rachel: Here you go.

She glanced around the garage. “I’m sorry to turn up unannounced like this, but I’m here and we need to talk.”
He stared at her in disbelief as questions, demands and weaknesses hurtled around inside him, battling with the intense sexual frustration storming through his body. “Just like that, you turn up and say, ‘We need to talk’?” He shook his head and turned away from her, lest he get caught in the snare of her wide, impossibly gorgeous eyes. “Go away.”
“No.”
Keeping his back to her, he uncrossed his arms and planted his hands on his hips. He tipped his head back and smiled as insanity rushed his bloodstream. He wanted to grab her, shake her, kiss her and make love to her. God, he wanted to drop to his damn knees in front of her and beg her to tell him where she’d been and now she was back, was she back for good?
“Scott?”
He closed his eyes, barely resisting the urge to cover his ears with his hands and block out her tempting voice, achingly laced with the unmistakable sound of a plea. “Whether you want to see me or not, I have to talk to you, and I won’t leave the Cove until you hear me out.”
Her heels clicked closer and his body tensed, waiting for what came next. The dangerous, musky scent of her perfume wafted under his nostrils and he inhaled. She approached the bench beside him and put down a business card. “My number’s on there. I’m staying at the Christie. Call me when you’re ready to talk. It’s important or I wouldn’t have come.”
He glanced at the card. Carrie Jameson. Producer.
She turned and walked away. He let her go, feeling like a smashed up car after a hurricane, tossed and turned through the air before being spewed crudely across the highway, left to rust and burn.
He picked up the card. His hand shook and the rare sting of tears shamed him. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Carrie was back and his libido told him only too clearly there was no way in hell he wouldn’t go to her. How was he supposed to let her go a second time when he’d lived the last three years regretting he didn’t stop her the first time?

Caroline: Where can readers find your CHRISTMAS AT THE COVE?

Rachel: At these links:




Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Rachel: I love connecting with readers so please follow me so we can chat! I am ALWAYS on Twitter… ;)



Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 05, 2014

MEOW IF IT'S MURDER BY L. C. LoTIEMPO'S NEW SERIES


 Meow if its murder

Toni is awarding a $50 Amazon Gift Card or cash to one lucky reader. Enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.


About MEOW IF IT'S MURDER;

Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…


Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too.


Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives.

Meow if its murder

About MEOW IF IT'S MURDER;

Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…

Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too.

Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives.

Amazon             Barnes & Noble


Excerpt of MEOW IF IT'S MURDER;

My friend cut me an eyeroll, a sure indication she thought I was full of, as the French would say, merde. “The only other thing she saw was that this mission had to do with something that was switched.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Something switched? Like what? That’s not much of a clue.”

Chantal shrugged. “What can I say? Sometimes the images come over a bit…clouded, shall we say? We have to interpret them the best we can.” She hunkered over the pile of cards before her and flipped over the one closest to her. “Well, well,” she murmured. “On a much better note, it looks like there is love in your future, chérie.”

I let out a squeal and gave her arm a playful punch. “So now you’re reading my cards? Please don’t. I do so hate when you do that.”

“That is because you do not open yourself up to the universe.”

“I wouldn’t say that. I’m very open. Just not to portents and omens.”

She shook her curls. “You are practical to a fault. Just once I’d like to see you let yourself go – believe in the unbelievable. The world is a wonderous place, if you only open yourself up to all the possibilities.”

I hesitated, and then shrugged. “Oh, what the hell. Hit me.”

She plucked a second card from the pile. “The King of Swords crosses your card,” she said. “That means a dark handsome stranger will shortly enter your life and sweep you off your feet.”

I rolled my eyes. “You can tell that from one card?”

“Not just from the card – the vibe. And this is a strong vibe, very strong indeed.”

Uh-huh. I’d heard all this before from my friend, in many ways, shapes and forms, and a handsome stranger, dark or otherwise, had yet to make an appearance in my life. “Well, when he shows up you’ll be the first to know. I’m not holding my breath.”

Chantal glanced at the clock on the wall and jumped up. “Oh zut – I am late for my shift at the flower shop. Remy will kill me.” She swept her tarot cards into their velvet pouch, tucked them inside her tote, and ambled toward the front door. Her French accent slipped a bit as she said, “Try not to work too hard, willya? You’ve been looking a little peaked lately.” She opened the front door and stopped still. “Well, well,” she murmured, accent back in full force as she shot a swift glance over one shoulder. “Come quickly, chérie. This will teach you to have more faith in my predictions. There is a dark, handsome stranger out here who wants to see you.”

“You’re kidding.” I moved forward and looked over Chantal’s shoulder. The street outside was deserted. I cocked a brow at my friend. “There’s no one here.”

Her tongue clucked against the roof of her mouth. “You are not looking in the right place.”

Chantal pointed down. I followed her finger and beheld her dark, handsome stranger.

A stocky, black-and-white cat.


Toni
Toni LoTiempo, Author

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few!

Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!).

She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York.

Praise for the Book

"Meow if it's Murder is an absolute delight and Nick and Nora make a purr-fect mystery-solving team. ! I couldn't put it down!" --Michelle Rowen, national bestselling author


“Meow If It's Murder is delightful! Readers will love the mystery and charming cat. You don't want to miss this new series” –Rose Pressey, USA Today Bestselling Author


"Nick and Nora are a winning team. The crafty feline manages to stay one paw ahead of his new owner - and the criminals in Cruz, California." –Rebecca Hale, NY Times Bestselling Author


"Namesakes Nick the cat and Nora the deli owner can teach Hammett’s amateur detective duo a thing or two. Meow if It’s Murder is a fast-paced cozy mystery spiced with a dash of romance and topped with a big slice of “cat-itude.” Enjoy!" ~Ali Brandon, NY Times Bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries


"Nick and Nora are the purrfect sleuthy duo!" – Victoria Laurie, NY Times Bestselling author of the Psychic Eye Mystery Series






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$50 Blast Giveaway

Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/22/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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