Friday, December 20, 2013

Cover Reveal - Wolf's Bane by Ash Krafton

About the Book

Wolf’s Bane
(Demimonde #3)

Sometimes, when life gives you lemons, all you can do is try to avoid paper cuts.

Since becoming oracle to the demivampire two years ago, advice columnist Sophie has battled werewolves and survived a vampire attack (or two). However, not only was she powerless to save her lover Marek when he slipped to the brink of evolution, she also witnessed his transformation into a falcon, the symbol of Horus United.

Sophie’s quest to save Marek is further complicated when rock star Dierk Adeluf – who also happens to be the king of the Werekind – invites her backstage after a concert. Just when it seems she will find respite from heartache, Sophie is bitten by a werewolf and Dierk decides she is destined to be his queen.

Sophie is caught between the demivamps she loves and the Were who commands her to love him. Throw in his jealous wanna-be girlfriend—a true bitch if ever there was one—and an ambush by witches, and there you have the big mess that Sophie calls her life. And, hello? Her soul mate is still a bird.

She’s supposed to be the girl with all the answers, but Sophie needs more than a little advice–she needs divine intervention.
Forthcoming Spring 2014 via Pink Narcissus Press

About the Author

Ash Krafton is a writer of all things spec fic. She believes spectacular endings make the best beginnings… Why not? One billion black holes can’t be wrong. Her first novel BLEEDING HEARTS: Book One of the Demimonde is available through Pink Narcissus Press. The manuscript earned finalist distinction in several Romance Writers of America 2011 competitions and has earned several other awards. The follow-up BLOOD RUSH (Demimonde #2) was published in 2013 and the third installment WOLF’S BANE (Demimonde #3) is expected mid-2014. Her urban fantasy novelette STRANGER AT THE HELL GATE is available through the Black Rose line of The Wild Rose Press. In addition to novel-length fiction, Ash enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, some of which earned awards and distinction in several national competitions. One of her poems was selected as a Pushcart prize nominee. She’s a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Pikes Peak Writers, SFPA, and the Maryland Writers Association. She also contributes to Query Tracker’s blog at Ash resides with her family in a rural town in the heart of the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region. She’ll never leave, either, because coal is just another example of a spectacular ending waiting for a brilliant beginning. (It’s kinda fitting.) And because, like a black hole, once you’re in… …you can never get out.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Promo: The League of Skull and Bones by M.J. Fletcher

About the Book

Date Published: 10/15/2013
New Adult Paranormal / Steampunk

Jess Grimm has the ability to travel to any dimension in the multiverse. There’s only one problem… it’s killing her. 

Jess is in a race against time to find a device that can slow the progression of the power inside her, but she isn’t alone. Others want her power, and they don’t care how they get it, or if she is dead or alive when they do. 

The only person willing to help her is the mysterious Ronan Sparrow a member of the League of Skull & Bones, one of the very groups that want her power. But what does Ronan want in return? Can Jess trust him or will she find herself alone with enemies on all sides? 

The League of Skull & Bones, Book 1 of The Grimm Chronicles



I wasn't alone in the dark.

Snarls and growls surrounded me, running my blood cold. I moved my head from side to side, scrunching my eyes, trying desperately to catch sight of the beasts before they reached me. My crimson swords weighed so heavily in my hands that I felt as if I’d been fighting for what seemed like eternity.

Claws and fangs suddenly slashed out from the darkness and I did my best to defend myself, though in my heart I knew it was a losing battle. The beasts were overpowering me and soon I wouldn’t be able to stop them. No one was coming to save me. I was alone.

Talons slashed across my back and warm blood trickled down as pain shot across my spine. I stumbled and the beasts—I was sure—tasted victory. They moved in at me in waves. I spun my blades trying to battle the never-ending tide, trying to survive.

It was hopeless. For every monster I took down, another two took its place. I wanted to live, I wanted to fight, but the agonizing pain of my flesh being torn and sliced was too great to bear. I couldn’t go on. The jaws of one of the beasts clamped on my wrist, and I lost my grip on one of my swords. It fell from my hand and clattered to the ground and with it went my last vestige of hope.

Blood drained from my body and my vision faded.  I would soon black out, and then the beasts would feast on me. A scream bubbled in my throat and my mouth fell open, but no sounds came out. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see my own death and hoped that darkness would take me before the beasts did.

I bolted out of bed, my mouth still open in a silent scream, and my sheets tangled around me soaked with sweat. I stood at the foot of my bed, my breathing coming in ragged gasps.

The nightmares came almost every night. I couldn’t escape them no matter how hard I tried. I yanked at the sheets, dragging them off me and tossing them back onto the bed.

I’d worn only an old t-shirt to bed, though now I wished I had worn more. I didn't want to see my scars, didn't want to be reminded yet again, but I couldn't stop my fingers from tracing over the ugly scars that marked my arms and upper torso.

I walked from the top floor of my loft, down the stainless steel steps to the kitchen area. I yanked open the fridge and grabbed the container of milk and took a gulp. I placed it back in the fridge and slammed the door closed. I slipped down onto the couch that faced the large windows dotting the walls of my loft and sighed at the breathtaking view of Paris.  It always calmed me.

My fingers mindlessly drifted over the scars on my arms. They were a reminder of the very real night I had been trapped in a nearly unwinnable fight. Monsters had surrounded me and had almost killed me. If it hadn't been for my friends, I would have died.

But I hadn't died, or had I? I was far from the girl I had once been. Once I was the prettiest girl in school, and the girl who had hit every club and had had a blast when she had moved to Paris. But after  the vicious attack everything had changed, most of all me.

My fingers suddenly stopped, settling on the edges of identical tattoos on both my forearms. I glanced down at the image of a Skeleton Key. My scars refused to cross paths with the tattoos, as if they knew that they dared not go near them.

I slid my finger over the tattoo, and felt a buzz of power run through me. These unwanted tattoos were another reminder of something else entirely. But unlike my scar, I had chosen these.

The monsters may not have gotten me, but these tattoos were a different matter. They marked me for death.
I pulled my knees up into my chest and took a deep breath. Maybe I would wait here until dawn. Then I wouldn't have to worry about any more nightmares or death that constantly stalked me.

I sat alone in the dark looking out on the City of Lights, awaiting the dawn and praying that I could keep death at bay and that I wouldn't hear the sound of monsters.

About the Author

MJ Fletcher was born in New Jersey and now lives by the beach with his beautiful wife and daughter. He has been writing since he first stapled pages together as a child and called them a book. He finally realized his ambitions when his comic book series Adam Zero The Last Man of Earth was published by Ronin Studios. His other comic book work includes Digital Webbing Presents and The Hero Initiative. His first novel The Doorknob Society released in 2012 was nominated for a Cybil award in the young adult category. He has continued writing the Doorknob Society Saga his rollicking steampunk adventure series as well as working on numerous other writing projects.

Facebook: /doorknobsociety
Twitter: fletch125


Monday, December 16, 2013

Promo - Love and Other Wicked Games by Olivia Fuller

About the Book

Series: The Wicked Games #3
Release Date: November 22nd 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Manchester, 1840

Mary Isabella “Ellie” Angela Wilson Dillard, daughter of an abdicated Earl, lives a remarkably ordinary life as a seamstress in a dress shop. That is until the day a workers’ protest in the streets of Manchester sees her joining forces—and lips!—with a handsome and mysterious stranger she knows only as “Cal.” Ellie is soon drawn into his world and it isn’t long before she finds herself falling for this wicked stranger with a secret.

Cal has three desires: to reform the mills of Manchester after the death of a friend, to keep his efforts secret from his opposing wealthy peers, and to win the heart of the compassionate woman who agrees to help him, no questions asked. But the mills are not the only thing in need of reform. As the stakes grow higher, Cal struggles to overcome his past and the secret that may put Ellie out of his reach forever…

About the Author

Olivia Fuller began writing at the age of 4. She self-published her books using folded paper and a stapler, and gave a new story to her kindergarten teacher every day. She no longer writes about baby dinosaurs, now preferring to write romances instead. In her spare time she watches too much Netflix, laughs with her husband, and playfully narrates the lives of her cats, Cher and Rocket Kitty.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

EM's Review - Taken by Force by Jessica Frances

About the Book

Date Published: 12/7/2013
New Adult Paranormal Romance

Eight months have passed since Zoe, Charlie, Will and Rose parted ways.

Eight months living on the run and starting new lives.

But when Zoe has a dream and foresees trouble, she knows she needs to reunite them. Can she get to everyone in time? Or will it already be too late?

Even if they can get away from P.A.G.E. again, they know what will need to be done. If they can’t survive on the run, then they have no choice but to fight P.A.G.E.

Is there a way they can get out of this alive?

Or will this be one fight they’ll lose?


My head is slammed hard against the ground and my vision wavers as pain radiates down my neck and through my spine.

The smoke slowly begins clearing around me as my head lolls to the side, dark spots assault my eyes. I see the bottom of the Christmas tree and my eyes shift. Suddenly Dana is lying under it, facing me. She is trying to tell me something, but it’s like her voice has been put on mute.

“Dana…” I mutter her name and a sharp intake of breath enters my lungs, the black spots recede momentarily. I vaguely notice there is commotion going on around me and the man who hit me is no longer holding me trapped. I know I should move, try and escape while I can, but my eyes are glued to Dana. She is still saying something to me, but I’ve given up trying to work out what it is. Instead, I stare at her and try to take in every inch of her. 

She must be fifteen now and looks so beautiful. She’s wearing a blue nightie she used to love and her bright red hair is up in a loose ponytail. She lifts her head up, resting on her propped up hand, and again her mouth shifts urgently. I watch her lips moving and gradually I realize she’s repeating something over and over again. I squint my eyes and just make out what she is saying as strong hands grab my arms and I’m hauled up onto my feet, the image of Dana disappearing. I’m dragged away from the kitchen with Dana’s words now echoing through my mind.

She’d been saying to me, “Don’t fall asleep.”

About the Author

Jessica Frances
Born and raised in South Australia, Jessica spends her days working in a bakery, afternoons catching up on lost sleep, and nights reading and writing. Writing has always been a passion of hers, however it wasn’t until Zoe appeared into her head and wouldn’t leave that she finally was able to put a story down and finish it. After writing three books, she is wondering if she should start charging Zoe and her friends rent.



My Review

Taken by Force picks up eight months from where Taken by Surprise leaves off. While I think someone could read book two without reading book one and not have a problem, I wouldn't recommend it. Book one really builds up the relationships and Book two just wouldn't be the same without that.

There was a lot to like about this book. There is lots of action and suspense. It's all written very well just like book one. I was really glad to see Zoe begin to take responsibility for herself and rely on her own strength toward the end of this story. I liked that the team got a little down time and a moment to relax before it all hit the fan. I liked reading about all the characters' childhoods and Christmas experiences. It made it a great holiday read.

There was some I didn't like. There was no success for the characters in this book. Even when they "won" there was an undertone of depression. I get that. War is not pretty. But I would have liked to see a little victory so that I could cheer for my team! And it would have made the losses that more potent. I also wish there was more timey wimey stuff in this one like the last book. While there appeared to be NONE, I have a feeling I might be eating my words in the next book.At least I hope so!

The build up to the action was really slow, but I'm totally cool with that. It allowed me to really relate to the characters. Readers just need to know that and not give up. There is payoff!  This story has some mild language and lots of steamy scenes so I would recommend it for 17+.

All in all, it is an excellent continuation of the Taken series and I'm chomping at the bit to get the next installment!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Promo - Taken by Force

About the Book

Date Published: 12/7/2013
New Adult Paranormal Romance

Eight months have passed since Zoe, Charlie, Will and Rose parted ways.

Eight months living on the run and starting new lives.

But when Zoe has a dream and foresees trouble, she knows she needs to reunite them. Can she get to everyone in time? Or will it already be too late?

Even if they can get away from P.A.G.E. again, they know what will need to be done. If they can’t survive on the run, then they have no choice but to fight P.A.G.E.

Is there a way they can get out of this alive?

Or will this be one fight they’ll lose?


My head is slammed hard against the ground and my vision wavers as pain radiates down my neck and through my spine.

The smoke slowly begins clearing around me as my head lolls to the side, dark spots assault my eyes. I see the bottom of the Christmas tree and my eyes shift. Suddenly Dana is lying under it, facing me. She is trying to tell me something, but it’s like her voice has been put on mute.

“Dana…” I mutter her name and a sharp intake of breath enters my lungs, the black spots recede momentarily. I vaguely notice there is commotion going on around me and the man who hit me is no longer holding me trapped. I know I should move, try and escape while I can, but my eyes are glued to Dana. She is still saying something to me, but I’ve given up trying to work out what it is. Instead, I stare at her and try to take in every inch of her. 

She must be fifteen now and looks so beautiful. She’s wearing a blue nightie she used to love and her bright red hair is up in a loose ponytail. She lifts her head up, resting on her propped up hand, and again her mouth shifts urgently. I watch her lips moving and gradually I realize she’s repeating something over and over again. I squint my eyes and just make out what she is saying as strong hands grab my arms and I’m hauled up onto my feet, the image of Dana disappearing. I’m dragged away from the kitchen with Dana’s words now echoing through my mind.

She’d been saying to me, “Don’t fall asleep.”

About the Author

Jessica Frances
Born and raised in South Australia, Jessica spends her days working in a bakery, afternoons catching up on lost sleep, and nights reading and writing. Writing has always been a passion of hers, however it wasn’t until Zoe appeared into her head and wouldn’t leave that she finally was able to put a story down and finish it. After writing three books, she is wondering if she should start charging Zoe and her friends rent.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Grimm Chronicles by Ken Brosky and Isabella Fontaine

About the Book

Young Adult
Date Published: 8/25/2013

The award-winning Young Adult adventure series reaches its penultimate volume! This collection contains the following books:

Book 7: The Giant Slayer

Europe: birthplace of Grimms' Fairy Tales. An unfamiliar land, brimming with its own breed of Corrupted who hide in the shadows, growing more evil with each passing day. For modern-day hero Alice Goodenough, this is more than enough to worry about. But she also has a fencing tournament to think about.

And a promise to keep with Sam Grayle, a Corrupted dwarf who schemes for more and more wealth. When their train breaks down in a small town in eastern Hungary, Alice finds the legacy of the hero is alive and well. Corrupted have visited this town before, and they aren't quite vanquished just yet. There's one left, hiding away, biding his time to enact a terrible price on his enemies. A little creature with big, big plans ...

Werewolves. Vampires. Giants. Europe is a different place with new dangers, new monsters and new surprises.

Book 8: Darkness Rising

200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm brought their stories to life.

But why? The question has haunted the heroes for two centuries, and no one has come close to the truth. Alice Goodenough will learn the terrible truth. And it will come at a terrible cost.

The fencing tournament is in just a few short days. Alice's team is hopelessly outmatched, facing off against fencers who have more experience and an inhuman amount of energy. But the other fencers also have a special drug, one that Alice's team can use to even the playing field. Whether they should take the drug or not threatens to tear the team apart.

Meanwhile, Alice must live up to her agreement with Sam Grayle, who lusts after a hidden treasure that once belonged to the Corrupted. Alice must team up with a group of explorers and delve deep into a forbidden cave that holds more secrets than any of them expected.

Book 9: Malevolence

The Malevolence has been biding its time inside Castle Vontescue, but now Alice must finally confront it. The very same evil force that brought the Grimms' fairy tales to life now threatens the hero and all she holds dear. No one is safe in the darkness.

But what, exactly, is this centuries-old creature? To find that out, Br'er Rabbit will have to use all of his wits and decode a series of clues before time runs out. Meanwhile, Alice must keep her friends close and fight through her numerous injuries if she hopes to stop the evil.

But nothing is certain. Alice's body is breaking down. Her loved ones are in constant danger. There is no escape now ... soon, she must face off against the ancient evil that lurks within Castle Vontescue.

And there will be blood.

This volume also contains the following extras:
- The lost diary of Abigail Bauer
- An exclusive introduction

... And the following Grimms' Fairy Tales:
- Hans in Luck
- The Brave Little Tailor
- Tom Thumb
- Twelve Dancing Princesses
- Rapunzel


“There’s a boat,” I told Harper. “Through these trees. It can’t be far. It’ll take us across a lake. We … well, we’re not going to be any safer on the other side, but at least we won’t be surrounded by man-eating trees.”
“Fair enough. Come on!” Harper led the way, the flashlight’s beam bouncing with each step. We followed him closely, giving every possible branch a wide berth. The groaning was getting louder, echoing all around us. The sound of creaking wood came from every direction.

McCormack, breathing heavily, started to fall behind.

“Come on, you big lug!” I shouted, grabbing him by the shirt.

“I’m … I’m … I’m done, lassy!”

“No!” I pulled him harder, swinging my axe at a twisted branch as it reached out for him. Burning blackness spread across the bark, igniting the massive tree and lighting up the forest. We both drew in a sharp breath. All of the nearby trees were swaying, their branches pulling away from the flames, their trunks reflecting the orange glow. Each trunk had a distinct face, distorted and grotesque.

We hurried to catch up, ducking low beneath the branches of another tree. Something snagged the collar of my shirt, scratching my neck. I screamed, turning and grabbing the branch with my left hand. I swung my axe at the branch, but the axe head flew off the handle, landing somewhere in the darkness.

You don’t know how to draw an axe head, Alice!

“I got ya, lass!” McCormack’s big hands wrapped around my waist and he pulled while I twisted the branch. It tore the collar of my sweater but I was free! We hurried to join the others, weaving our way around another tree.

“Up ahead!” I told them, pointing with the axe handle. The trees were thinning out, and ahead I could see the lake. On the other side of the lake were the trees with the glowing blue plums, their light reflecting on the surface of the black water.

“Careful!” Cixi said, jumping in front of Wodehouse and slicing a branch in half before its claw-like fingers could grab him. A dozen trees were still in front of us, each one swaying, each one’s branches writhing and twisting toward us. Cixi cut another branch, then another. Harper dodged and ducked, trying his best to keep the beam of the flashlight directly ahead of us.

“Gaaah!” McCormack shouted.

I turned around, cursing. The big man’s arms were pinned to his body, one thick branch squeezing him tightly around the waist.

“They’re—urk!—they’re squeezing my bladder!” he shouted.

“Hold on!” I bent down, drawing a gladius. It wasn’t an axe, but it would have to do. I pulled it from the ground and looked up. Another branch! I ducked, avoiding the shadowy limb and swinging the short sword in a wide arc. I chopped away bark, but the tree refused to burn. I chopped again and again; slowly, the burning blackness appeared. I hurried to McCormack, hacking away at the limbs holding him. Bark chipped away. The burning blackness spread, turning the branches to ash. The trunk burst into flame, sending a hickory-sweet smoke into the air. The tree burned quickly, leaving ashes scattered at our feet.

McCormack clutched his stomach, gasping. “I don’t know who ya are, lass, but I owe ya one.”

About the Author

Ken Brosky received his MFA in fiction writing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and his BA in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. To date, he's had more than a dozen short stories published in literary journals, including Gargoyle, Barcelona Review and Midwestern Gothic.
This is Isabella Fontaine's first Young Adult series. In addition to managing the family farm, she also enjoys providing design-related services for those who meet the qualification of "fashion nightmare."

Our Goal

We devised 3 "rules" for this Young Adult series. All three are important to us.

1. There are no love triangles. We've set this as an explicit rule. Our main character might find love, but she won't be hounded by topless boys and she certainly will never spend her time deciding who to spend the rest of her life with.

2. Our hero, Alice, must use her brain to overcome her obstacles. That doesn't mean she can't kick some butt (she definitely can!), but she does have to rely on her knowledge to win the day.

3. Alice will never commit an act of violence against another human being without there being consequences. Sure, she can do battle with evil monsters ... but violence against human beings has real consequences. Too often our heroes of today cause physical pain to people around them in order to achieve victory. Alice is different. Alice respects nonviolence to solve real-world problems, and only uses violence to rid the world of the evil Corrupted.

Twitter: @kenbrosky


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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Promo Blitz - Favorite Places by Kelly Gendron

About the Book

Contemporary Erotica
Date Published: 12/10/2013

A five-minute trolley ride, one troublemaking luggage, and two stolen identities. Six months later, two strangers discover they’re married. She wants an annulment. He has other plans.

Being illegally hitched is about the only way Chase Lennox would ever be shackled to any woman. But when the multimillionaire playboy finds out he’s married to the woman who caused him to lose the biggest deal of his life, Chase decides before he gives his new wife an annulment, she’s going to help him close the deal he’d lost.
Jessina Landi has a three-foot radius comfort zone. The last man she let into it cost her a lot more than a broken heart. And the huge debt she owes for that trust, well, it’s due. If she takes Chase Lennox's up on his offer, it’s sure to cover the bill. 
There’s an annulment waiting at the end of their rainbow… well, that’s if they can get through the next two weeks without consummating the marriage.

About the Author

Kelly resides in a quiet suburb somewhere between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY. Her day job? Kelly has worked in the healthcare field for years. She represents a group of reputable nursing facilities in the WNY area. 
She's been faithfully writing for three years. However, she wrote her first book ten years ago but had to put it down to raise her son as a single mom. When her son got a little older, she was able to pick it back up. That's when she settled into her newly married life and started to seriously write again. 
The recipe for the men in her stories: a dash of bad boy attitude, a cup of strong and confident and, of course, besides being packed with magnificent bodies, and doused with shameless aptitudes, they must have a tender heart you want to rip out of the pages (or your e-Reader) and take to bed with you at night.
Kelly loves to hear from her readers! Visit her Blog, FB Page, Goodreads, Twitter. 

Buy Links

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Promo - Secrets and Lies by Christine Amsden

About the Book

Fantasy/Paranormal/New Adult Romance
Date Published: 11/15/2013

Cassie Scot,still stinging from her parents’ betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn’t letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.

To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness.


 “I smell trouble.“

Evan Blackwood had been staring blankly at a news report about a hunt for a man who had robbed a local bank earlier in the week. Now, he stared blankly at his best friend and cousin, Scott Lee. Evan had hoped Scott would help take his mind off the woman he loved – the woman who had flatly rejected him. Instead, Scott was making things worse with dire predictions… predictions Evan had no choice but to take seriously. Scott was, after all, a powerful intuitive, whose gift had only seemed to improve after his unfortunate run-in with a werewolf ten years earlier.

“What do you expect me to do?“ Evan asked. “Hit her over the head with a club and drag her by the hair back to my cave?“

Scott snorted. “You never had to do any of that. You had her right here, in your cave, and you let her walk out. You could order her back, but you won’t.“

Evan didn't dignify the comment with a response. Scott’s instincts had always served him better when it came to physical threats rather than emotional ones, and Scott didn't want to hear that Cassie would hate Evan for forcing her to stay with him. In Scott’s world, after she was safe, gratitude would soften her heart. Or if not that, then at least time. If Evan had ever thought anything of the sort, her reaction to his saving her life, and the life debt she now owed him, set him straight.

He had to admit, his initial marriage proposal hadn't been at all well done. Nerves he barely acknowledged had fumbled the question into a near-command, Marry me, and she had freaked out. Still, he had hoped she would want to marry him. Now, he wasn't even sure how he could try to convince her without inadvertently coercing her. The life debt made it difficult for her to refuse anything she knew he wanted, and impossible for her to refuse anything he directly commanded.

Scott wasn't the first one to suggest he just claim her, either. Evan’s father, Victor Blackwood, had said much the same thing, adding: I want to see you steal that girl right out from under her father’s nose. At least Scott’s motives were better.

“I spotted one of the Travises in town today,“ Scott said.

Evan nearly growled. “One of these days, we really need to run that family out of town.“

“Hey, you know I’d help you with that if it came to it, but it isn't going to happen anytime soon.“

“They wouldn't go after Cassie.“

“I wouldn't put anything past them.“

He had a point, Evan grudgingly admitted. The Travises had always lived just outside of civilized behavior, and they seemed to make their own rules.

“And I told you about the Blairs asking questions,“ Scott added.

“You also said they were probably just trying to stir up trouble.“ The Blairs were mind mages, adept at manipulating people’s behaviors with a few well-chosen, well-timed words.

“They may be succeeding.“

“Or they may be hoping to goad me into acting too soon, pushing her away.“
Scott didn't have an answer to that. Perhaps it was just as well that he didn't understand matters of the heart, since he was too dangerous by half, the beast within him prone to violence. Scott was, perhaps, the only man in town Evan didn't know if he could beat in a fight. He only hoped he never had to find out for sure.

“Come on.“ Evan shut off the TV with a flicker of will, not even bothering with the remote, resting within easy arm’s reach on the end table next to him. “I can’t stay here anymore tonight. We’ll find her, make sure she’s safe, and if not, send a message to anyone stupid enough to try anything.“

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Elemental Inferno by A.J. Locke

About the Book

Release date: November 2013
Genre: Adult-Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon

Rielle is a Winter Aura who for the past hundred years has held the job of controlling winter weather in her assigned area. During the non-winter months she can live as she pleases, as long as she doesn't do anything that would make her lose control of herself, which could unleash her power and have it snowing in July. Therefore, sex outside of winter is a big no-no, because what could make her lose control of herself more? If Rielle is unable to keep her winter magic dormant during her off seasons, she will be forced to Sleep by the Aura Elders. For Auras, it’s a fate worse than death.

When the Summer Aura for her area winds up mysteriously dead, summer weather spirals out of control until another Summer Aura arrives in the nick of time and brings things back to order. Aden is as gorgeous and alluring as they come, and before Rielle knows it, she finds herself with a roommate at the urging of the Elders, who seem uneasy about Aden, and want an eye kept on him. Rielle and Aden have a magnetic attraction to each other, and for the first time Rielle is afraid of losing control. However, Aden is much more than he seems, and when he shows Rielle a way to indulge their passions without repercussions, it seems too good to be true. But Aden’s secrets are ones the Elders fear, and can’t ignore. As they close in on him with deadly force in mind, Rielle will have to decide if Aden is in fact too dangerous, or if it’s worth going up against the Elders to save the man she’s losing her body, and heart to.


Chapter One

I think most people would only accept a job where their sex life was dictated by what season it was if their life depended on it. Then again, they might choose to die and have as much sex as they could before then. When I had accepted the job almost a hundred years ago, the fine print hadn’t seemed like a big deal. Yeah, I’m old. Immortal if you wanted to get technical, but I only looked about twenty-five. And though my life had depended on taking the job back then, that didn’t make the rules any easier to accept.
Especially since today was the hottest fucking day. It was the kind of day where people threw around adjectives like wet, hot, and sticky, while skirt hems were tugged up and shirts were peeled off. I guess the idea was the more naked you got the less the heat would affect you. I’d finally given up trying to read in a corner of the Brooklyn Public Library, because the conversation a group of people were having at the table next to me was making my ears burn. And it wasn’t because I was a prude. It was because I wanted sex.
Usually I wasn’t so hard up, but the intense heat that had suddenly come across the city had brought this carnal rage to the surface, which was why I was standing in front of a calendar in my apartment calculating how long it would be until I could wrap myself around someone’s body. It was late June, winter was about five months away, and I last had sex three months ago. I braced one hand against the wall, dropped my head, and released a slow exhale, trying to quell the thrumming in my body that had been present since I had woken up to this heat wave three days ago. It was only the beginning of summer, damn it. Yesterday’s high had been a hundred and six, and today it was even hotter.
I bet Bero had done this on purpose. That annoying asshole of a Summer Aura probably thought an early summer heat wave was just we needed. Wouldn’t be the first time he did something like this, but the Elders should have made him stop it. Over the past three days, dozens of people died or were incapacitated by the heat, especially children and the elderly. There were heat strokes galore, and crowded public pools. Hell, I had only high-tailed it to the library for their air conditioning. Mine was barely cooling my apartment down. I would have loved to use my winter magic to cool myself, but being out of my season meant I had to keep myself ridiculously in check, since a slip up could have it snowing in June, and the humans would think that signified the apocalypse. Here was where the ‘no sex until winter’ thing came in, because what could make a person lose control of themselves more than being in the throes of passion?

About the Author

A.J. Locke is a writer of Urban Fantasy, as well as an avid reader. She loves reading both YA and adult novels, and also enjoys post-modern Japanese fiction. A.J. is also an artist, and enjoys drawing, painting, and graphic design. Affairs of the Dead is her debut novel and is available now from Etopia Press.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

EM Reviews - Home World by Bonnie Milani

About the Book

Centuries of ruinous war have left Earth little more than a dusty tourist world within the star-flung Commonwealth she founded. Now, amid the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Hawaii, Jezekiah Van Buren has found a way to restore Earth – Home World to the other worlds of the Commonwealth – to her lost glory. 
The most ingenious prince even the genetically-enhanced, Great Family Van Buren has ever produced, Jezekiah has achieved the impossible: he has arranged a treaty that will convert Earth's ancient enemies, the Lupans, to her most powerful allies. Once he has the treaty sealed, it will not only make Earth rich again, but it will grant him the chance to escape the Ring that marks him as Earth's next ruler. Once the treaty is signed, he will be free: free to create his own future, and free to marry Keiko Yakamoto, the warrior-trained woman he loves. His future and Earth's is assured. Assuming he can convince his xenophobic sister to accept the Lupan's alpha warlord in marriage before the assassin she's put on his tail succeeds in killing him. Assuming he can thwart another deadly uprising by the interstellar criminal organization called Ho Tong. And before his ruling relatives on competing worlds manage to execute him for treason. 
Jezekiah manages to stay one step ahead of his foes, until his Lupan warlord-partner reaches Earth. And these two most powerful men suddenly find themselves in love with the same woman. A woman who just may be the most deadly assassin of them all.

Interview with Author Bonnie Milani

EM: We welcome Bonnie Milani, author of Home World to the blog today. I met Bonnie when I joined an online critique book. I'm not exaggerating when I say this woman taught me how to write. Maybe not single-handedly, but pretty a major factor. Needless to say, she is an amazing person and even more amazing writer. You're not going to want to miss this book. SoBonnie, you have created a phenomenally detailed world in your book Home World. Where did you draw inspiration from?

Bonnie: Pretty much everywhere: in the case of Home World, the entire story started with a dream. Then as I tried to work through where my heroine - a Samurai-trained young woman who was pretty definitely not Japanese - could possibly come from I realized the story could only happen in Hawaii. Voila! All of a sudden all sorts of elements started to fall into place. I'm lucky enough to live in CA, so I've been doing the island hop at least once every couple of years for ...welllllll....a lot of years. I've been there often enough to have gone exploring outside the tourist areas, to sit & listen to teens chat, catch the flavor of the local dialect. Over the years I also picked up a good many of the local stories about Tutu Pele, Hawaii's volcano goddess. Every last bit of it helped inspire Home World's story.

EM: I didn't know this all started as a dream! That's pretty neat. And so is being able to spend time in Hawaii! So you mentioned your heroine. I have to say, through the first part of Home World, I wasn't sure who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. Each character is drawn so completely that you have sympathy for each one. Seriously....Letticia is my favorite villain of all time. I want a t-shirt that says "Team Letticia". Did you mean to make your good guys do bad things and for your readers to have such sympathy for the villains or did that just naturally happen as you wrote the characters?

Bonnie: Oh, my dear, you DO warm my heart! Actually, the blurred lines between good & evil, and the sympathy for Letticia really was intentional. I wanted to explore the inner worlds of each character, so that readers could see why each of these people did: that they were working to protect themselves & their worlds. I wound up surprising myself by developing a real respect for JP & discovering that Octavian is actually quite an honorable fellow, & embarrassed as hell about it. With Lush - I wanted readers to be rooting for Lush to redeem herself. Hell, I kept hoping Lush'd redeem herself. Only she just wasn't going in that direction. Which was a GOOD thing for the story! Funny thing was that the only character who really gave me shudders was Grandfather Ho. He's even scarier than the Ta'an assassin. Incidentally, it was the Ta'an in this story who got me thinking about another character I'm hoping will fit into the sequel (God should grant me life enough to write it!). That one's Koh, a Ta'an who gets his first-ever introduction to kindness and compassion from Keiko and discovers there just may be other things to do with new & interesting people besides killing them. Don't know where or whether or if he fits, but now he's awake he's doing the damned cat-around-the-legs routine.

SEQUEL!!!!! Oh yes! So you've told me before that it took a long time for you to write Home World. Now that you have one book under your belt, do you think it will be easier/quicker to write and publish another?

Yes, feels to me like the old adage 'first time is always the hardest' holds true for story-telling, too. I learned far more about structure & character & conflict by writing (& re-writing &re-writing & re-writing....) Home World than I ever did by either taking classes or teaching them, for that matter. And as any teacher will tell you, you learn more about your subject as a teacher than you do as a student. That is SO true! Now...thanks to Home World I don't just have the outline for the sequel in my mind, I'm now able to see how the plot needs to unfold, to see what has to happen where in the through line for the story to make sense & develop the emotional wallop it needs. (If you think HW has a bittersweet ending just wait till you see the next one!)
Time-wise: I hope to GOD it doesn't take me longer to write than Home World! Right now, though, I'm working on a few of the short stories that've been kicking around the back of my mind for a number of years. Emotionally, I need to work on some SHORT stuff for a while to build up the energy to tackle the next installment of the Home World series.Mind, I haven't left the Commonwealth even in the shorts. I'm just doing a bit of a tour of its outlying regions.
The other thing that's been a pleasant surprise is how effective working with a micro-publisher has been. I've done the agent routine in the past, and even got an early version of Home World picked up by one of the legacy publishing houses for a proposed new line of sci fi novels. Only that deal fell through leaving me high & dry. I knew then I did NOT want to spend a year or two trying to get some 'name' publisher's attention. I was thrilled when a dear friend &mentor introduced me to Promontory Press. Here's hoping this works out as well as I expect!

EM: I hope it all works out for you too, Bonnie. You and Home World really deserve it. So you talk about the bitter-sweet ending. There are many of those moments in the book. What scene in the book was the most difficult to write for you emotionally?

Bonnie: Hands down, no questions asked, the most difficult scene emotionally was the scene where Teufelsman & his henchmen subject Keiko to Venus Seed. That was just ...So. Damned. Hard. It came too close to home, dredged up some memories I'd managed to submerge. But that's part of the reason writing is both so painful and so healing. If you as a writer try to protect yourself from what your character is suffering, if you try to keep the terror or agony or shame at arm's length,then you cannot tell the truth of your story. As a writer you just have to wade through it with them, even if that means you can't see the screen for the tears. What makes it worthwhile is that by enduring the pain with your character, you have to force yourself to take control of the memories you must call on in order to create the scene. You have to force yourself to re-live them - but this time by molding them into another shape. By taking control of them. Once you've managed to do that you drain those memories of the power to hurt you again. You don't just shove them back into the genie's bottle; you bend that amorphous, pervasive threat into a concrete, controllable blot & expunge it by embedding it in the page. So terribly painful? Emotionally draining? Yes, on both counts. But worth it many time overs.

EM: And I think this is why Home World is such an amazing story and you are such an amazing author. You have literally POURED yourself into it. I think this is something aspiring writers need to know. You're stories won't pack a punch unless you take the same punches your characters do. Are there any other words of wisdom you would have for someone thinking of writing a novel?

Bonnie: Wisdom she wants... I don't know about wisdom, but I can sure talk to getting the book written.  There are two consistent complaints I hear from aspiring authors:
1.Lack of writing time
2.Lack of helpful feedback

Taking these in order:  when it comes to writing time, you will never find time to write.  Trust me on this.  Scrubbing down the kitchen never feels quite so appealing as when you're staring at a blank page that does nothing more than stare back.  Then there's that cousin you've been meaning to call for the past month - suddenly that call just feels urgent.  And, of course, there's always the family, who're more than happy to soak up every second they can possibly get.  Something, some how, will always get in the way of your story unless you recognize your writing time as your own, uniquely personal form of worship. I read once that while the entire human species loves a good story, only about 1% of us actually have the gift of story-telling.  Don't let those millions of indie books on Amazon or Goodreads or Wattpad fool you:  take one look through the majority of them and you'll realize that simply slapping words onto a page does NOT, a story make.  I'm not trying to be snooty or elitist.  It's just that those of us with the gift LIVE with a whole universe of unexpected people popping in and out of the back of our minds.  To make those characters come alive on the page for readers who've never met them (or had to listen to them spout off in the middle of Uncle Arnold's 450th recounting of winning that blue ribbon) we have to learn the craft of writing.  We have to learn structure, learn HOW to make the excitement we feel work on the page, HOW to weave an action-reaction pattern into a through line and then fit the protagonist's character arc into the whole.  And that's just flat out HARD.  And the only way to learn it is to park your butt in the chair and MAKE time to DO it.  Suggestion?  Pick one set time of day and one specific work spot.  Then declare that spot and that hour your sacred time.  During that time you don't answer the phone, or spouses, or kids (okay, so for little ones the rules get bent) or do anything else.  That is the time you give to yourself to use the gift God gave you.  It works.  

Lack of feedback is a real challenge.  It amazes me just how difficult it is for any aspiring writer to find a reliable critiquing group.  Even in our internationally interconnected internet age it's still terribly hard to find a real writer's group whose member provide useful, honest, yet supportive feedback.  Family's nice - but let's face it, 'Wow, cool!' doesn't help a whole lot.  Yet hard as it is to find a compatible group it's worth the search.  No one can grow as a writer without fresh, unbiased eyes to say whether a scene creates the emotional impact we think we wrote into it - or even works, for that matter.  The GOOD news is that there are some great blogs (shall we mention names?) that can provide helpful links and recommendations.  I cannot urge your readers strongly enough to invest the time and effort to find a group that fits their individual needs.

Of course, there's another side to feedback.  And that's learning how to take it.  Maybe the hardest thing for any newbie to learn is to separate him or herself from the words on the page.  The 'giving birth' analogy is quite apt.  Stories are like our children in so many ways.  While they're in us, they need to be nurtured and shaped and disciplined.  But once those stories hit the page they turn into teenagers and have to be able to stand on their own.  A good critique points out what's right AND what's wrong with a story.  To become a good writer you have to learn to step back from the emotion you've invested in the story and see the words on the page for themselves.  Otherwise, you'll never be able to fix the flaws in your story.  You'll just spend a lot of hours nursing a broken heart.

EM: Thank you so much Bonnie for taking time out of your writing schedule to speak with me. I wish you all the best of luck with Home World. Readers...if you like scifi....GET THIS BOOK!  You will not be disappointed.

My Review

I reserve my 5 star rating for books that have that have a lasting effect. Home World has that power. I had the honor to read an advanced, advanced review copy and it is simply amazing. It's everything good scifi should be: well built future world with lots of tech and history, new and interesting "types" of people, and a vision of future earth that is believable. Milani also throws in a love.triangle...or square, but not in a cheezy way. Her characters are so vivid, you will be cheering or screaming at them. If there were a t-shirt....I'd be on team Letticia! She has to be my favorite villain of all time!

It has mild language, but there are some sexual themes that will probably preclude younger audiences from reading, but older teens and up will enjoy this masterful work of Science Fiction.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cover Reveal - Vegas to Varanasi by Shelly Hickman

About the Book

Romantic Comedy
Date Published - 12/1/2013

Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard. Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her. In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”


As I take a sip from my glass, the most stunning couple sits down at our table. I can’t decide who is more attractive. The woman reminds me of a movie star from old Hollywood, with wavy auburn hair that cascades down her shoulders and milky white skin I’m sure has never seen a pimple in its life.

The man? My God, he takes my breath away! I have to avert my eyes because when I look at him, I just want to grin like an idiot, he’s so beautiful.

I once had this same reaction when I was in college and had to take a summer geology class for a random science credit. I was not looking forward to the class because the study of dirt and groundwater doesn’t exactly excite me. However, when the instructor, a grad student, walked in, I got a big, stupid grin on my face because he was so cute.

That guy in no way compared to the specimen sitting across from me now. He looks Indian. Dark skin, luscious black hair with just a touch of grey, and the most amazing, sea green eyes. They might be the same color as mine, actually, but with my coloring, they’re nothing special. On him . . . holy hell!

I must be forgetting to avert my eyes because Luke’s voice jars me. “Anna!” he whispers. “You do realize that you’re psychotically staring at that guy, don’t you? Because I’m pretty sure he notices.”

The heat rises to my face, and I raise my glass to polish off my champagne. The man smiles politely at my show of bad manners.

No one else is seated at the table with us, so Luke offers introductions. “Hello, I’m Luke and this is Anna.”

“I’m Kiran, and this is Miranda,” the man replies. Miranda offers a curt nod, but is clearly bored with us already.

“It’s nice to meet you both,” Luke says.  “So how do you know the newlyweds?”

The waiter returns to fill their glasses. “I’m not a fan of champagne,” Miranda says as she pulls a compact out of her Coach wristlet. “Could I have an amaretto sour?”


“Thank you,” Kiran says to the server, before he addresses Luke’s question. “I’m friends with the family of the groom, for about fifteen years now.”

He must have grown up in the States, because I detect no accent when he speaks. “So you’ve known Jacob since he was a boy then. I hope you can vouch for his character,” I tease. “Luke and I have known the bride’s mother, Julia, since high school.”

“Her daughter made a good choice,” he confirms solemnly, as if I were being serious.

The waiter returns with Miranda’s drink and she takes a sip. “I don’t know what this is, but it’s not a vodka sour.” She sets the glass down in a huff.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I thought you said amaretto sour.” The waiter glances at each of us nervously.

“Well, clearly you thought wrong. Would you please get it right next time?” She then wrinkles her nose at me and smiles.

A roaring fills my ears, and I squeeze Luke’s knee to keep from saying something. He puts his hand over mine and pats it.

Kiran leans over and whispers something in Miranda’s ear, and her smug expression turns to indignation. She says nothing in response, but shifts in her seat to create some distance between them.

“I’m very sorry, ma’am,” the waiter says as he collects her glass. “I’ll get that vodka sour.”

As he passes me I touch his arm to stop him. I put my hand against my mouth like I’m trying to be discreet, but make sure my voice is loud enough for her to hear. “She did ask for an amaretto sour.”

I think Kiran stifles a chuckle.

“Whatever,” Miranda says.

Did she just say whatever?

Luke mutters under his breath, “Could she be any more horrible?”

“I don’t think so,” I answer at normal volume, looking straight at her with my fake smile. Then I make a show of taking the lip balm out of my Kohl’s Nine and Co. clutch, simply because I have the burning desire to repulse her with my mediocrity.

We continue to make idle chat, and the minute it comes up that Luke and I are not an item, Miranda makes it her mission for the evening to sink her claws into him, making me wonder about her relationship with Kiran. It isn’t long before the rest of the guests assigned to our table show, making it more difficult for Miranda to flirt. However, it doesn’t deter her from speaking over the couple between her and Luke.

Luke plays along, and I know exactly what he’s doing. He’s leading her to believe there will be some sort of fruit for her efforts, and even asks her to dance. He’s good. Very good.

Kiran’s posture is relaxed and he doesn’t seem the least bit perturbed by Miranda’s behavior. In fact, he seems amused. We exchange polite smiles, and he points to Luke’s empty seat, asking if it’s okay to sit there. I nod in agreement.

“Before I forget,” I say as he takes the seat beside me, “Would it be really out of line for me to ask what you said to Miranda after the amaretto sour incident?” Oh, wow. I realize I’m on my fourth glass of champagne, giving me the gumption to ask questions that are none of my damn business.

“No, it would not be out of line at all.” Geezus. Those eyes. “All I said was there was no reason to be unkind.”

“Thank you!” I hold up my knuckles for a fist bump. “You, sir, rock!”

He seems a little uncertain of what I’m doing at first, then smiles and returns a fist. Sheesh. Even his teeth are perfect.

“Well, as long as I’m being, let’s face it, really, really nosy, why don’t you seem to be upset that she’s all over my ex-husband?” Yeah, I’m definitely feeling the champagne.

“Ah.” He looks back in her direction; she is now inappropriately close to Luke on the dance floor. “This is a blind date. A friend of my mother has been bugging her about setting me up with her daughter. I’ve never even met her before tonight, but it didn’t take long to discover we weren’t going to hit it off.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

That was a quick change of subject and my faculties are a bit dulled. I pinch my eyebrows together. “I’m sorry?”

“From high school. You don’t remember me.”

I’m pretty sure I have a look of panic on my face because apparently all night I’ve been speaking to someone I knew in high school, and I don’t even have the decency to remember him.

“I’m sorry,” I say for the umpteenth time, “but Kiran isn’t exactly a common name. I think I would remember . . . Wait. Now that I think about it, there was a Kiran in my English Lit class junior year, but he was this quiet, kind of pudgy . . . .”

Kiran smiles and raises his eyebrows before nodding ever so slightly.

Inadvertently, I gasp and put my hand over my mouth. “No way!”

“You remember. You do remember me!” The pleasure in his voice surprises me.

“Oh, I didn’t mean to call you pudgy!” I. Am. Mortified.

“It’s okay, Anna. Actually, I was fat.” He takes another sip of champagne.

I can’t help but giggle at his directness. “No, no you weren’t. I admit I don’t remember a whole lot about you. You were soooo quiet! We did speak a few times though, didn’t we?”

“A few times. But do you know what I remember about you?” Briefly, he taps the top of my hand with his finger.

“Oh, God no.” I suck in some air between my teeth and scrunch up my face, praying it won’t be something embarrassing. “What do you remember?”

“There was this guy in our class, Mark. Big, muscle-bound jock.”

I roll my eyes. “Yes, and my pet name for him was asshole.” Kiran laughs and rubs his chin. I look over his shoulder to see Luke and Miranda slow dancing, and she’s girlishly fiddling with his tie. Boy, is she in for a surprise. I return my gaze to Kiran. “Sorry. Continue.”

“Mark was always making mean comments to me about my glasses, my weight.” I do sort of remember that. He sat behind Kiran, and I sat next to Mark. “Well, one day he was at it again, and you told him to give it a rest. And he said, ‘What about it? He’s a whale!’ Then you said, ‘And you’re a dick.’”

I nearly spit out my drink. I have no recollection of this incident. “I said that?”

“Yes. Yes, you did. And I had a huge crush on you from that day forward.”

Oh, no he did-unt! This Adonis had a crush on me? Inconceivable! Yes, I know. He wasn’t an Adonis back then, but still . . . .

About the Author

Shelly Hickman
Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as an illustrator for a contractor for the Nevada Test Site. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer applications and multimedia at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dog, Frankie.

Twitter: @shellyhickman

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