NaNoWriMo - 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Writing Romantic Comedy Novels By Sylvie Stewart, author of The Lucky One plus Giveaway


Writing Romantic Comedy Novels – A Half-Assed Guide
By Sylvie Stewart

“Is it hard being funny?” That’s the common question, but it’s the wrong one. Being funny is in a person’s DNA. You either are or you aren’t. But those without the humor gene are great at other things. I’ll bet you a million bucks that Albert Einstein was boring as shit as a dinner guest. For a person born with it, being funny is like breathing. Writing funny, on the other hand, is the true challenge. But it’s one that comes with a huge reward if done right.

Careful planning…um, no. To write a good romantic comedy scene, you can’t simply outline and write. It has to come from some place more spontaneous. Stream of consciousness can often result in hilarious consequences. It can also result in a Uni-bomber-style collection of words that could possibly get you committed should you leave your laptop unattended. That aside, a brilliantly funny scene can unfold if you just let your mind take you where it will. Leave the editing for later. Oh, and password protect your laptop.

Witter banter. The sparking back-and-forth is absolutely essential to a successful romantic comedy. This is where the meat is…the juicy piece readers grab onto and laugh out loud over. This is also how you make the characters real and relatable. Nobody finds a character funny if they don’t like the character or relate to them in some way. That’s also why flawed characters make the best romantic comedy leads.

A barrel of laughs. Take it down to a half barrel. Sure, we need laughs, but we also need heat, romance, and real emotions—even (gasp) sadness. A balance makes the novel pop and makes the laughs all the more rewarding while keeping the story itself believable. Secondary characters are great for lending levity to more serious emotions and situations.


OMG, that scene! Every romantic comedy needs that one scene that just skirts the line of outrageous. It’s the scene readers will tell their friends about or will reference when reviewing the book. It’s the restaurant orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally (for those of you saying, “What’s that?” just picture pretty much any movie scene Vince Vaughn has ever been in and you get the gist). I can’t tell you how many readers have told me they practically peed their pants while reading the “Fiona and her lady parts” scene in The Spark. This is what every romantic comedy author wants to hear. It’s what we strive for. Just don’t send us the dry-cleaning bill… 

The Lucky One
Sylvie Stewart
(A Carolina Connections Novel)
Publication date: May 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

When your luck runs out, do you run away—or do you stay and fight?
Bailey:
Let’s get one thing straight. I am not your typical girl. Sure I’ve got all the parts, but I’ve been a stubborn, irreverent tomboy since the womb, as my Irish father would proudly attest. Despite my Irish blood, I’ve had a bit of bad luck here and there—I recently trusted the wrong guy and got derailed in my professional pursuits. But I’ve bounced back. With my shields firmly in place, I thought nothing, or no one, could touch me again. Until he did. And he just might make this tomboy do the girliest thing in the world—fall head over heels in love. Of all the damn luck…

Jake:
I’m a pretty lucky guy. I have a phenomenal family, a career I love, and I’m building a brand-new life back in my hometown. And, not to be a jerk about it, but I do more than all right with the ladies. Everything’s been going according to plan—like I said, I’m a lucky guy.

That was, until my luck ran out.
Until I met the girl I call “Irish.”
Irony can go kiss my a$$.
The first two chapters of The Lucky One are available for free download on Instafreebie!
Sylvie just won the National Indie Excellence Award for Romantic Comedy!


Author Bio:
Sylvie Stewart is an author of Romance and Romantic Comedy. Like the characters in her books, North Carolina is where Sylvie calls home these days, and she can’t get enough of the great weather and fun adventures NC offers. She and her husband love arguing over which of them is the funniest. Sometimes, she lets him win because she’s cool like that. When she’s not writing, she is hanging out with her husband and kids or reading, Romance being her favorite genre, of course. And she knows that life wouldn’t be worth living without a lot of laughter, friends, and wine! You can always find out what Sylvie’s up to at her website www.sylviestewartauthor.com
Want free books? Join Sylvie’s Review Team! http://bit.ly/2fIuOV6


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Blitz: Luca by Sarah Castille plus Giveaway


Luca
Sarah Castille
(Ruin & Revenge #2)
Published by: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Luca is the second book in a full-length, standalone series by New York Times bestselling author, Sarah Castille, set in Las Vegas and featuring deliciously sexy mafia bosses and the women who can’t help but love them.
Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in Las Vegas, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart…until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn’t enough for a man who takes what he wants—and Luca will do whatever he can to possess his mysterious temptress…
Police detective Gabrielle Fawkes lives for revenge. She lost everything at the hands of an unforgiving ruler of the Vegas underworld. Now she wants to see him six feet under. But when a near-fatal attack leads her into Luca’s arms, what was meant to be one night of unbridled passion becomes something forbiddingly more. Luca has his own agenda, but when strong, determined, kick-ass detective Gaby sets her sights on her target, Luca feels compelled to stand by her side and protect her at all costs. However, pursuing danger comes at a high price—and both Gaby and Luca must work together in order to eliminate the dark enterprise that threatens them.
RUIN & REVENGE SERIES
PRAISE FOR LUCA:
“An engrossing erotic crime drama that will leave readers wanting more.” – Library Journal
“With sizzling love scenes, taut plotting, and a hair-raising finish, Castille’s romantic thriller will appeal to her existing fans and win her new ones.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Luca is a fast-paced, action-packed tale balanced by humor, heart and family.” – RT Book Reviews 4.5 stars, Top Pick


Author Bio:
Sarah Castille is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Redemption Series, Ruin & Revenge Series, Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club series, Legal Heat series and the Club Excelsior series. A recovering lawyer with a fondness for dirty-talking alpha males, she now is a full-time writer, who lives on Vancouver Island. Sarah’s books have been listed as Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Ten Picks and Best Summer Reads, and Amazon’s Best Romance Books of the Year, and have won numerous reader’s choice awards including the Holt Medallion.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Blitz: Reach for You by Pat Esden plus Giveaway


Reach for You
Pat Esden

(The Dark Heart #3)
Published by: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Her passion is her greatest weakness.
His legacy is his prison.
To reunite, both must fight the demons within.

A world of deception and danger separates Annie Fremont from her mother—and from Chase, the enigmatic groundskeeper with whom Annie’s fallen in love. But she vows to find her way back to them, before Chase succumbs to the madness that threatens his freedom. The only person who can help is the magical seductress, Lotli, a beautiful, manipulative woman . . . a woman who has disappeared.
Annie must stay strong, even as the future she imagined is slipping away. With the help of family and friends, she discovers that Lotli is being held against her will, by those who want to exploit her powers. But though weakened, Lotli remains a powerful ally and adversary. A bargain is struck. And now Annie’s only chance to rescue Chase could also tear them apart . . .
Loyalties will be tested, walls will be breached, and enemies will be fought, yet Annie’s greatest battle lies within her own heart—to trust her love for Chase to overcome its greatest enemy, and to save those she holds most dear from the terrifying realm of the djinn. For all of their lives depend on it.
Previous books in the series:
25810168 28109696
CHAPTER ONE:
We journey. Ceaseless and hungry.
Carved into stone tablet. Tenerife, Spain
The campsite was ominously silent. Then a breeze lifted and my ear caught the faint clank and rattle of the bones and knives hanging in the pine trees behind us.
“You don’t think they’re both dead, do you?” Selena whispered.
I scanned the dilapidated camper ahead of us, a do-it-yourself RV created out of an old bread truck. Despite the midafternoon warmth, the doors were shut tight. The tent behind it, barely visible from our angle, bowed under the weight of rain that had pooled in its canopy. There was no campfire smoke. No trampled grass. In comparison to when we’d come here last week, the place looked deserted.
Goose bumps pebbled my skin. I gave the camper another once-over. “Zea was really old and sickly. He could have died—or if the kidnappers came here first looking for Lotli, they could have found him. They might have—”
Selena cut me off with a glower. “You mean, supposed kidnappers.”
My jaw clenched. Yeah, that was exactly what I meant. I understood why my cousin didn’t like that everything we’d discovered pointed to her boyfriend, Newt, being involved in Lotli’s disappearance, and perhaps Zea’s as well. But I thought we’d gotten past that, like a bunch of times already.
I swiveled toward where we’d parked our Land Rover. The Professor stood rooted next to it, a mixture of disgust and apprehension crinkling his face. From his scholarly glasses and sandy brown hair all the way down to his polished loafers, he looked anything but ready for our reconnaissance trip out here on the back roads of Down East Maine. An afternoon of research at Oxford University would have been more appropriate. “You want to check inside the tent while we look in the camper?”
His gaze flicked to the soggy tarps. He cleared his throat, then—as posh as ever—said, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally against the idea. But the thought of discovering a rotting corpse is a teensy bit abhorrent.”
“Would you rather discover one in a closed-up camper?” I snapped. It was lucky we’d driven into the campsite from the main road instead of walking like we’d done the last time. I’d assumed the Professor had an adventuresome spirit to go with his young Indiana Jones good looks. Especially since he was an archaeologist, though this summer he was tutoring Selena’s eleven-year-old brother as a favor. Still, and despite how eager he’d seemed to come with us, the Professor had freaked the second we started past the creepy stuff Zea and Lotli hung in the trees to scare people off: the knives and bones, pieces of copper pipe, broken mirrors, and doll parts. Frankly, I was surprised he’d even gotten out of the Land Rover at all.
I pasted on a smile. “Sorry. I don’t much care for the idea myself. Let’s just hope he’s napping or something.”
The Professor wiped his hands down the sides of his chinos. “I truly hope you’re right.”
As he headed for the tent, I tramped toward the camper with Selena close behind. If only Chase were here now. The creepy stuff hadn’t bothered him at all, and the fear of Zea being dead would have only driven him forward faster.
My chest tightened, my longing for Chase aching inside me, raw and unrelenting. If it weren’t for me, he would be here now. Instead, both he and my mother were trapped in the djinn realm, prisoners of his father, Malphic. If it weren’t for me, Lotli wouldn’t be missing either.
“Well?” Selena jerked her head at the camper door. “Are you going to just stand there?”
I raised my hand and knocked. One second passed. Two seconds. I rapped harder. Nothing. I tried the doorknob. It turned beneath my grip. I opened the door a crack, hesitated, and took a deep breath before pushing it open all the way.
A wave of hot, musty air rushed past me as if the camper had been closed up for days.
“Hello?” I said, sticking my head inside. I gave the air a cautious sniff. No dangerous odors, like a leaky gas stove, permeated the air. No rotting-trash smell—or decomp.
Selena nudged my shoulder. “What are you waiting for?”
I swallowed hard and stepped forward.
The place was cramped, a gypsy wagon on steroids. Tassels and prisms curtained the windows, letting only faint streaks of light inside. Miles of fuchsia and turquoise fabric draped the ceiling and walls. Animal skulls, feathers, and nubby candles clustered inside miniature altars. The fridge, table, and chairs, every surface that wasn’t fabric covered, was painted purple or black. Stars decorated the ceiling. An antique bed piled with crimson quilts and an avalanche of pillows took up the camper’s entire backend. It was cozy enough, I supposed. But I couldn’t begin to imagine what life had been like for Lotli, apprenticed to Zea as a child because of her magic abilities, essentially indentured. Not that I thought a devout shaman like Zea would have been cruel to her. It was just so different from anything I’d experienced.
“Zea, are you here?” I called out. “We need to talk to you about Lotli.”
I minced my way deeper into the cramped space, working my way toward the back of the camper. Cold sweat carved a trail down my spine. I crept past a tiny kitchen and dining nook, then the bathroom—one toothbrush in the holder, a washcloth draped over the edge of a yellowed sink.
I returned to the front of the camper and pulled aside the curtain that divided the living area from the bread truck’s cab. Seats for the driver and a passenger, seashells glued to the dash, insulated coffee cups in the holders—
Something brushed the back of my neck.
I yelped and jumped sideways, whipping around to see what it was and smacking my elbow against the wall. Pain zinged up my arm. I glared at Selena, standing barely an inch behind me.
“Shit,” I said, rubbing the sting from my arm. “You scared the hell out of me.”
She gave me a sheepish pout. “Sorry. I thought you knew I was there.”
“I didn’t think you were that close.” It wouldn’t have hurt half as bad, except I was already sore and bruised from being thrown out of the djinn realm earlier in the day.
Her pout transformed into a smug smile and she flipped her blond hair over one shoulder. “Looks to me like Zea and Lotli might have pulled a vanishing act after all. Huh?”
I stopped rubbing. “Or the Professor’s about to find something disgusting in the tent.”
“Want to bet?”
I closed my eyes, struggling to regain my composure. We couldn’t afford to waste time discussing the same thing over and over again, any more than I could have afforded the luxury of staying home to nurse my aches and pains. Chase and Mother were in danger. And I couldn’t go back to the realm and rescue them until we found Lotli. Without her and her flute-magic, it would be too risky, perhaps even impossible to enter or escape from the realm.
I shoved past Selena and strode to the tiny bathroom. “While we’re here, we should find something personal of Lotli’s that you can use to scry and see where they’re holding her.”
Glancing around, I spotted a scruffy hairbrush. You couldn’t get much more personal than that. I grabbed it and brandished it toward Selena.
She stood just inside the bathroom doorway, hands on her hips, eyes narrowed. “Cut it out, Annie, I’ve had enough of you talking like Newt kidnapped Lotli, the innuendos and little jabs. Maybe his family’s hiding something, but Newt doesn’t have anything to do with it. So quit acting like he’s evil, okay?”
I mirrored her stance. “He told you his dad was a stockbroker, that they owned their summer home. Those were lies. His brother is a registered creep. No matter what you want to think: Newt’s not innocent.”
She turned her back on me, her voice bordering on hysteria. “I don’t know why I bothered coming. You’re so, so . . . You always have to be right—” Her voice died and she slowly faced me. Angry red blotches mottled her face. But tears rimmed her eyes.
My anger drained. She didn’t look pissed. She was trembling like she was about to fall apart. Earlier today, when we’d first heard about the lies Newt and his family had been telling, I’d seen something in Selena’s eyes, something beneath her disbelief.
“What is it? Tell me,” I asked gently.
She raked her hands over her face. “Nothing. You just need to trust me. I know Newt couldn’t be involved. And he wouldn’t have let his brother do it either.”
I leveled my gaze with hers and toughened my voice. “What makes you so certain? Tell me the truth, Selena.”
Her chin quivered. “I just know.”
Tucking the hairbrush handle first into my hip pocket, I stepped closer. I pushed her hair back from her face. “You’re my cousin. Please. Tell me.”
“Nothing. He just wouldn’t do it. He loves me.”
“I get that. But—”
She shoved my hand away. “No, you don’t get it. I know he loves me. Like forever.” Her eyes pleaded for me to understand what she couldn’t bring herself to say.
A possibility seeped into my head. My hands went to my mouth, covering a horrified gasp. She couldn’t mean. She couldn’t have. “What did you do?”
“I kind of—I put a . . .” Her voice faded and she looked down at the floor.
“A spell?” A month ago, the idea of witchcraft being involved would never have occurred to me. Now it seemed more than likely.
“You can’t tell anyone. Mom, Dad, Grandfather—they’d kill me.” She curled her arms over her head, her shoulders shaking as she crumpled down against the wall.
I crouched and put my arms around her. “Whatever it is, it’ll be fine. It can’t be that bad.”
“It is,” she sobbed.


Author Bio:
PAT ESDEN would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Guest Post by Marnie Lamb, author of The History of Hilary Hambrushina plus Giveaway



Guest Post by Marnie Lamb
Most people write stories and poems in childhood, either for fun or for school assignments. For those who enjoy writing, one of the happiest experiences occurs when the parameters of a school assignment dovetail with personal creative interests. For me, this happened in my first month of grade seven, when we were assigned to write a short story on a topic of our choice.

I created three new characters who were my age and began writing about them: the main character, named Hilary, and her two very different friends, Carrie and Lynn. The story spun out as easily as a ribbon from a spool. I don’t recall the plot details, but the characters’ personalities remain etched in my mind. Lynn, the blonde who loved shopping and music. Carrie, the wild-haired girl with odd habits, like a need to worship vague deities named “the spirits” four times a day. At these times, wherever she was, she would kneel down and begin chanting, much to the embarrassment of Hilary and Lynn. And Hilary, the quiet brunette peacemaker who was most like me.

I liked these characters so much that I began writing about them outside of school. These early stories were comic escapades of the three girls’ adventures in my favourite city, Toronto. A visit to the Eaton Centre, the largest downtown mall. A trip to Exhibition Stadium to watch the Blue Jays baseball game. In one of these stories, the winds whipped and the sky greyed as the baseball game ended. The girls hurried home to their neighbourhood, Rosedale. (When I was writing the story, I asked my dad, who grew up in Brampton, to name a nice neighbourhood in Toronto. By “nice,” I meant similar to the suburban Ottawa neighbourhood in which we lived, but misunderstanding my meaning, my father pointed me to one of the wealthiest and most elite parts of Toronto.) I used a map to list the names of the streets down which the girls scurried in the dark and sultry summer evening, racing to get home before the storm broke: Crescent Road, South Drive, Elm Avenue.

It wasn’t until the girls were almost at Hilary’s house that they realized that a figure was skulking behind them in the shadows. Just as they were about to clobber the stalker with a baseball bat, they realized that it was only a concession worker who had followed them home to deliver their game-day program, which they’d left in the bathroom.

The next year, I left Hilary, Carrie, and Lynn behind. Their stories were fun and harmless, like a mouth that is all gums and no teeth. But I carved narratives with more bite, so I began writing mystery stories set in grand decaying mansions and tales of romantic entanglements. In my later high school years, my quest for straight As precluded writing outside of school assignments, because all my time and energy were directed towards studying. But my love for storytelling remained, and the grades and comments that my stories earned, from teachers and peers alike, encouraged me in that pursuit.

In university, I hoped to have more opportunities to write. Alas, neither of the two institutions in my hometown offered a creative writing degree. Instead, I chose to study the next best subject, English literature, which meant that I wrote essays in almost all my classes. The one exception was my third-year creative writing seminar. By that time, I was writing adult (or what I thought were adult) short stories. Hilary, Carrie, and Lynn had disappeared from the rear-view mirror several exits ago.

When I decided to pursue a creative writing MA three years later, the trio resurfaced. As part of my application, I had to write a statement outlining my vision for my master’s thesis. Ideas for several longer stories had been floating in my mind for some time. But when I sat down to write the statement, Hilary and her friends presented themselves as a possible subject for the book-length work that would constitute my final project.

Why did this happen? The seeds were planted in grade six. Beginning that year, I was bullied. One comfort that helped me through the experience was walking by myself in the snow of the schoolyard, bundled up in an unstylish snowsuit to protect against the minus-thirty-degree January weather, telling stories in my head. I promised myself that one day, I would publish a book, be famous, live in a penthouse in New York, and never have to see any of my classmates again.

The stories that existed only in my mind came before Hilary, Carrie, and Lynn, but as I was pondering my statement, I wondered what would happen if I juxtaposed these characters, whom I’d always liked, onto my own experiences. The premise would need to be much weightier than a walk home in pre-storm weather, the antagonist more threatening than a well-meaning if socially awkward stranger. What if the chasm between Carrie and Lynn were too wide for them to be friends, and Hilary were caught in the middle? What if being different caused more backlash than just a friend’s embarrassed chiding? What if one or more of the characters were bullied? I included this premise as one of three or four options for my thesis.

I was accepted into the MA program at the University of Windsor and didn’t have to think about my thesis until a year after I’d submitted my application. The graduate creative writing seminar, which all creative writing students would take before writing their thesis, ran from September to April. In February, I began thinking more seriously about my final project, and only one serious possibility emerged from the scraps of stories begun in my head or on paper: the story of Hilary, Carrie, and Lynn.

The idea of plunging right into a novel was daunting, so I decided to present the narrative as a short story to my seminar class. This time, the tale spun out like a ribbon unspooling itself, eager to show the world its splendor. The draft ballooned into a fifty-page novella. Although I considered the story to be a  rough first draft, I was encouraged by the positive reaction it garnered. Along with the praise came constructive suggestions for improving the story, including changing Carrie’s name, which was too derivative of Stephen King. This character had so long been Carrie to me, though, that I couldn’t alter her name too radically. Hence, Kallie was born.

At the end of the year, the seminar students were asked to write a short piece about their individual poetics. I began by writing about why I wanted to develop my novella into a novel and about my connection with the three characters, saying, “I feel that I need to get this story ‘out’ before I can go on to any other writing.” The novella did indeed become the novel that was my thesis: The Official Autobiography of Hilary Laura Boles.

I’ve tinkered with the manuscript over the years, including changing the title, but The History of Hilary Hambrushina is similar to the manuscript I submitted as my thesis project all those years ago and which help earn me a master’s degree in creative writing. Over the years, many people have wondered why I continued to pursue publication of the manuscript, in the face of rejections, shrinking opportunities for first-time authors, self-doubt, others’ doubt. It’s been a steep and stony road, travelled largely alone.


I continued out of love, faith, and honour. Love for the story and characters. Faith in not only the quality of the story but also its importance. Honour to my younger self, that child so determined to rise above the dross of her school life, to dream of a happier future. It seemed only fair to tackle an obstacle less daunting than the ordeal of facing taunting peers on a daily basis at a tender age. Even though I never bought that New York penthouse, I think my twelve-year-old self would be proud.

The History of Hilary Hambrushina
Marnie Lamb

Publication date: May 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being -cool, – Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary’s obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.


Author Bio:
A Journey Prize nominee, Marnie Lamb earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Windsor. Her short stories have appeared in various Canadian literary journals. Her first novel, a YA book named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, is forthcoming from Iguana Books. When she is not writing fiction or running her freelance editing business, she can be found cooking recipes with eggplant or scouting out colourful fashions at the One of a Kind Show.


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Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Blitz: The Right Fit by Daphne Debois plus Giveaway


The Right Fit
Daphne Dubois
Publication date: April 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She’s sworn off love, he’s sworn off sex, but together they’ll score the goal of a lifetime.
When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancĂ© is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.
As one of Toronto’s hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.
That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.
EXCERPT:
She dropped her gaze and stared at his hands. God, they are big hands. Big hands, big… “Do you want a coffee?” she blurted out.
“A coffee? Non.”

“Or maybe you need the washroom?” She pointed down the short hallway that lead to her bedroom.
He looked down the hallway, then back to Maxine. “You want me to use washroom?” he asked seriously.
“No.” She backed up a few steps until she reached the kitchen counter. The heat under her dress was now slick and uncomfortable. She glanced down and saw a mint leaf sticking out of her cleavage. Classy lady.
The romance cover model ran a hand through his hair again, making his biceps strain under the t-shirt sleeve. Maxine suspected he’d practiced that move in the mirror a few times. “Then what do you want?” he asked.
A burst of nervous laughter escaped, but then her smile faded. “No one has asked me that in a very long time,” she said. Slipping off his jacket, she laid it on the counter, letting her finger trace the stitching along the zipper, trying to build up her courage. “Why did you follow me into the cab?”
“Because no one has ever run away from me before.”
Rolling her eyes, Maxine looked up and saw that he was smirking. “Rejection is a new thing for you, I’m guessing.”
“Is that what you call inviting me here?” He tossed the ball cap and it landed perfectly on the dining table. The floorboard creaked as he took a step closer to her. There was a spark of anticipation in his eyes.
“Hold on, cowboy,” she said, putting a hand on his chest. My God! His muscles are rock hard under his shirt. Who the hell is this guy? She cleared her throat. “What makes you think you can kiss me again?”
He was still as stone under her touch, but Maxine could feel herself falling into his stare. “You kissed me,” he said, his voice ridiculously smooth. “There is a difference, I promise.”
It wasn’t only the French accent, but the confidence in his voice that made her knees almost unhinge. Her hand was flat on his chest; his racing heart was keeping time with hers. “That sounds like a proposition,” she said.
“It can only be decided one way.” Then he repeated his earlier question. “What do you want?”
He was so close she could see the faint brown and black colors of his stubble. There was a cleft in his chin. What do you want? An image of the long white box hidden in the closet was ignored; all Maxine wanted at that moment was to mold herself into his arms and forget about the last four years. “Kiss me,” she said.
His fingers grazed her cheek, tucking a wave of hair behind her ear. “Un moment,” he said. “A man should be prepared.” He peeled the last mint leaf off her chest then placed it in his mouth.
Maxine giggled through a surprised expression, which faded into a sigh.
Then, with deliberate care, he brought his lips down to hers, perfectly fitting their mouths together. He gently moved his chin starting a slow pace, controlled but with a sense of held back urgency.
This was nothing like the hastily stolen kiss at the club.
The cautious seduction was almost too much for Maxine. She wanted to taste him fully, kiss him back hard—tackle this moment like Alexis Colby.


Author Bio:
Daphne Dubois writes contemporary romance and believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference. When she's not putting her characters in compromising positions (ahem), she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Eastern Canada, the most romantic place in the world.
You can also find her writing for teens as B.R. Myers.

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Book Blitz: Monsters Among Us by Amanda Strong plus Giveaway


Monsters Among Us
Amanda Strong
(Monsters Among Us #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: June 26th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

What if the fate of the world lies with the monster—not the hero?
The world is shifting, and Sammy has complete control. But as hidden truths surface, she starts to doubt everyone who is close to her. The Ancients and Kory have been harboring dark secrets, and it could mean war between the Dragon Fae and the Irukas. With the Defenders as her devoted soldiers, Sam must make some difficult decisions. Should she save the world… or save herself?
Blake won’t give up on Sam. He knows he can’t trust Tonbo anymore, or the web of lies he’s been thrown into. If he hopes to save Sam, he must find the real reason Kory created the bug army. Turns out there could be something far worse than bloodthirsty bugs buriedon the islands, and Blake will have to fight his own inner demons if he wants to save those he loves—including Sam.
In a world filled with mistrust and lies, Blake and Sam must unearth the truth and face their own fears and weaknesses. If they don’t, their lives—and the fate of all humanity—will hang in the balance.
The complete series:
EXCERPT:
Rounding a corner, I flew right into a pair of bright aqua eyes. I knew those eyes, and the recognition felt like a slap to my face. I halted, not just to avoid collision but because of absolute shock.
Impossible. How’s he here?
“Blake,” Mack gasped.
I remained stunned, still hovering inches from his face. Where were all the Defenders? How did he just waltz in? Why wasn’t he bound? I couldn’t process what I was seeing.
Trying to recompose myself in those milliseconds we both remained in a locked gaze, it dawned on me that Jaxon had not rushed his brother. I only heard heavy breathing behind me, and I wanted desperately to turn around to see what Jaxon was doing. Was he preparing for an attack, or was he awaiting my command?
Yet, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from Blake. Those aqua pools pulled me closer, beckoned me nearer even though our faces were mere inches apart. Frustrated, I commanded myself to move. Show some strength. Straighten your back, for heaven’s sake. I’m like a freaking hunchback, practically bowing to him. What’s wrong with me? Back up… now.
I didn’t move. I couldn’t. It was like my bedroom all over again, when I’d found myself moving toward him, longing to be near him against my will. Only this time, it was worse. He was too close, the magnetic pull reinforced by his nearness. I felt helpless against it, which panicked me more.
He didn’t say anything, his eyes raking my face, searching for Sam. But I’m not Sam, I wanted to shout, though I didn’t. I just kept on gazing into his eyes like a dunce.
You’ve got to be joking, Sam. I heard and felt nothing. I know you’re here. You must be, because I’m freaking stuck in place.
Again, there was nothing to betray her presence until I did the unthinkable. I closed the gap and kissed Blake.
I kissed him like my life depended on it, like I couldn’t get enough of his mouth, like he was the only person in the room, never mind the others’ audible gasps. I wrapped my hands around the back of his neck, pulling him to me. Blake seemed just as shocked as I was by my actions. He stiffened at my touch, groaned under my lips, and then, before I could feel remorse, pulled back from me as fast as I’d come at him, untangling himself from my embrace.
There were those eyes again, probing my face, questions forming but not spoken.


Author Bio:
Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia, and now New Mexico home. She has loved to spin tales since childhood. It was not uncommon to find her hiding in some random corner, scribbling away in her spiral-bound notebook, with her bright pink glasses. You could say some things have not changed.
Amanda signed with Clean Teen Publishing in the fall of 2013. She is the author of two paranormal, YA series: The Watchers of Men and Monsters Among Us.
The first novel in The Watchers of Men series, The Awakener, debuted in October of 2013. It has been an Amazon number one best seller in three Young Adult categories. Book two, The Holy and The Fallen, released May 12th of 2015. She is currently working on book three, The Watcher’s Mark, releasing spring of 2016.
Hidden Monster released November 4th of 2014, and it finished as a Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Award: Young Adult Category. It is book one of a brand-new young adult, sci-fi thriller series called Monsters Among Us.
When Amanda isn't writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions, you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream. See more at:
www.authoramandastrong.com


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Seeds of Eden Playlist by A.P. Watson plus Giveaway



Seeds of Eden Playlist
1. Crystallised by The XX
2. Paradise by Coldplay
3. Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye
4. Bartholomew by The Silent Comedy
5. Shelter by The XX
6. Here With Me by Susie Suh & Robot Koch
7. Stay Awake by London Grammar
8. Fangs by Little Red Lung
9. Blinding by Florence + The Machine
10. Tip of My Tongue by The Civil Wars
11. We Hit a Wall by Chelsea Wolfe
12. I Gave You All by Mumford & Sons
13. Big Jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone
14. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars
15. Eyes on Fire by Blue Foundation 

Seeds of Eden
A.P. Watson

(The Concilium, #1)
Publication date: January 25th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Haunted by visions of the execution of an innocent man, Evey discovers that the secrets of her past and a mysterious stranger are irrevocably intertwined.
Visions of decapitated corpses, pools of blood, and a masked executioner have haunted Evey for as long as she can remember. Torn between a life in the waking world and dreams of the dead, she realizes her normal existence is nothing more than an illusion. As the veil between reality and her subconscious dissipates, she begins to question her own sanity. Each night as she closes her eyes, she wonders what wrongs she committed to warrant such a curse.
When a handsome stranger suddenly appears in Evey’s life, he is able to provide her with the answers she seeks. However, the only thing more mystifying than Conrad’s appearance in one of her nightmares is the undeniable attraction she feels for him. It is only when he confesses their fates and souls have been intertwined for centuries that an ancient secret is revealed. Now, the two of them must outrun a great darkness or it will claim their lives again.


Author Bio:
town of Estill Springs, Tennessee. Growing up in a rural town allowed her imagination to run wild, and Paige began making up stories in her head at a young age. This storytelling eventually transformed into a love of writing. She is currently penning her first trilogy, The Concilium Series, and is also planning to write four companion novellas to accompany it. She is an avid reader, enjoying a variety of genres and authors from Jane Austen to Charlaine Harris.
When she isn’t reading or writing, Paige spends the majority of her time dancing. She has been taking pole dancing lessons for the past three years and couldn’t be more in love with the sport. The blend of athleticism, grace, and flexibility required to dance continually challenges her and she strives to not only build strength but defy gravity, as well. Paige has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing from East Tennessee State University. She has been a critical care nurse at Bristol Regional Medical Center for the last five years. She currently resides in Johnson City, Tennessee with her adorable dog, Elle.


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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Blitz: Joy Ride by Cynthia Rayne plus Giveaway


Joy Ride
Cynthia Rayne

Publication date: June 15th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

IAN
As an English professor at an Ivy League university, I’m at the top of my profession, but something’s missing. I gave up my artistic dreams to pursue an academic career. And I’m still haunted by the scars of my past.
I enjoy breaking the rules and doing what I damn well please. And a dangerous infatuation’s blooming—Darcy’s intelligent, innocent, and virginal. I long to be her first, to teach her every wicked thing I know.
There’s just one problem—she’s my student, the ultimate forbidden fruit.
DARCY
I lead a well-ordered life with to-do lists and schedules. I always do the safe thing, make the right choices. I’ve made all my plans—got accepted into a master’s degree program, and I even have a graduate assistantship lined up.
Although, I long to be an author, like my father, but it’s not a stable career. Yet, I can’t stop thinking about seeing my name on a book cover.
To make matters worse, I keep my thinking about my sexy professor—he’s got a British accent, an attitude, and a bad boy streak. I hang on his every word. When we get close, all my barriers and rules break down. He’s encouraging me to throw caution to the wind and chase my dream.
Can I let go? Have the life I want and the man I long for?
EXCERPT:
Darcy cleared her throat. “Tonight was fun. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”
“Yes, I had a good time too. I hope you get some rest.”
“You too, Ian.” She’d said her parting line, but neither one of us moved, like we were drawn together.
Darcy was so close—within arm’s reach. Before I knew it, I leaned down to steal a kiss. At the very last moment, I changed course and pressed my mouth to her cheek instead.
Thank God.
She gasped.
Dammit. I’d come so close to crossing that infernal line. When I stood upright, Darcy had a fingertip pressed her to lips, mouth parted as though inviting more intimate contact. Or my imagination was in overdrive.
“Um, good night.” She took a step back.
“Good night.”
Technically, a kiss on the cheek was innocent. Even if my intentions weren’t. Yet I’d breached protocol all the same.
Professors didn’t kiss their students. Period.


Author Bio:
Cynthia Rayne is a USA TODAY bestselling author of the Lone Star Mobster Series, Let it Ride Series, and the Four Horsemen MC Series. While Cynthia was born and raised a damn Yankee in Ohio, her parents hail from Dixie, and she grew up on homemade buttermilk biscuits and southern wisdom. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, reading way too many romance novels, and drinking a truly obscene amount of coffee.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

FULL COUNT is now available!

I'm so excited to share Aaron and Mallory's story with everyone. 
About FULL COUNT:
Anyone who says they’re having the worst day hasn’t met me. My girlfriend cheated, I blew out my knee, and probably trashed my chance of going pro. All in one day. Then my jerk professor tells I’m almost on academic probation.

Awesome. Now I get to find a tutor. 

Enter Mallory Fine, quiet, a little intense, and my kind of gorgeous. Who also happens to hate baseball and any guy who plays it. 

Hello, curiosity. 

I tell myself this will be nothing more than a tutoring relationship. I’m a liar. I want this girl. How hard can her secrets be to unravel? It might be a challenge, but so is getting back on the ball field and I’m determined to make that happen—no matter the cost.


What they are saying about FULL COUNT:

"A grand slam romance! FULL COUNT is sweet, sexy, and tackles tough issues with heart. Lynn Stevens has knocked this sports romance out of the park!" - Marie Meyer author of Turning Point

"Full Count is a home run hit! It's a perfect realistic, romantic fiction! Lynn Stevens has written a book that is proof that the great modern love story is alive and well!" - Juli, Goodreads.com reviewers

"This book knocked my socks off and then some!...Lynn wrote these characters so well you almost felt like you knew them, you got a great sense of who both Aaron and Mallory are as people as well as together as a couple." - Ayekah, Goodreads.com review

"This book is really good and wasn't at all what I was expecting. It was raw and emotional; I couldn't put it down." - Books by the Beach Blog

"This was a great slow burn romance, dealing with a sensitive issue fairly common in the sports world." - Caroline, Reading, Willing & Able

"Iyou like J. Lynn and Jamie McGuire you will love this book." - Jessica R., Goodreads.com review

"This is one of those books that once you start reading you cannot put down until you finish it, It was completely NOT what I was expecting." - Scrap, Goodreads.com review

"...I must say that this story kept me on edge. Lynn Stevens manages to touch some very relevant issues about baseball, peer pressure and using drugs." - Next Book Around the Corner