The Weird Disorder–Guest Elle J Rossi

Elle1Please help me welcome Elle J Rossi!

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve heard that book people, in general, are weird. They talk about characters as if they’re real. They have book boyfriends. (I’ll admit to having three—okay, maybe five.) They debate book cover choices and cry over the end of a series. They believe in time travel and lore and second chances and happily ever afters. They plan their days around words.

If the people—book people—I’ve come to know over the last several years are considered weird, then I feel very fortunate to be amongst such an awesome crowd. Matter of fact, I wear the bookie label with pride. Someone get me a T-shirt!

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about one facet of the book world. Authors. Not only do authors have to have crazy levels of imaginations, they also need to have a head for business, a shiny personality that makes people want to interact with them, focus, determination, and above all, drive.

On any given day, an author can wake up and have no clue who they are. Will they be a young girl fighting her way through the streets of Chicago because her parents are too wrapped up in their own lives to care? Or, perhaps, a mother of three who’s put so much energy into her husband and children she’s forgotten who she is. Maybe she’s a badass huntress covered in demon guts or a thirsty vampire trying to control the urge. She is all these things and more. Becoming these characters is paramount to getting to the heart and soul of their story.

But wait! After the words (not to mention the blood, sweat and tears) are on the page, many deep breaths are taken and the gears are switched. Time to handle the business end—I won’t even get into the many details of that aspect. In between writing and business, maybe we take a few moments to peek in at the social media sites. Har-har. Peek? Yeah, right. We lurk, we scroll, we crack jokes, we interact. For many, this is our only interaction with people who don’t reside in our heads. Here, we can be whoever we want to be.

When I asked other authors if they ever feel like they have multiple personalities, I got a lot of awesome answers.

Kemberlee Shortland, author and CEO of Tirgearr Publishing, said, “I’m definitely a Sybil!! Three pen names plus my writer persona. Add to that my publisher persona, the ‘me’ who deals with authors, the ‘me’ who deals with frisky cover artists, the ‘me’ for business dealings, the ‘me’ when I’m promoting, the ‘me’ for family and the other ‘me’ for friends… I’m basically the one person and yet also a myriad of other people I drag out when situations arise.”

Author Peggy West said, “This morning I am a woman wearing a bathrobe, drinking a cup of coffee and wondering about the meaning of life yet am also a young woman in 1840 who takes a dangerous chance as she walks along the raging sea to the dark mansion where she will go through the hidden closet of a missing woman and will get stuck there. Writing day.”

Me? I am a reader, an author, a cover artist, a wife, a mother, a friend, and, depending on the day, Wonder Woman. These multiple personalities create the whole me. I’m weird. So what? I’d rather be weird than boring.

BlessedAreTheWriters

So, who are you today?

Check out the newest release in Elle’s popular Josie Hawk Chronicles, Indigo Dawn.

IndigoDawnVampire Lust and Pixie Dust.

Josie Hawk is a Huntress. A killer devoted to protecting the humans of Nashville from the shadows that lurk in the night. But the shadows are gaining ground. When an infamous pixie tricks Josie into a drug-induced nightmare, Josie envisions the death of her vampire lover, Keller O’Leary. Was the vision a threat … maybe even a promise? But from whom?

Desperate to track down the source of the toxic psychedelic pixie dust, Josie kicks and punches her way toward the truth. But her efforts backfire, provoking a deadly attack at Wolfie’s—the bar Josie co-owns with her sister-in-arms, Sage.

Tag. You’re it. Haunted by the threat to Keller, Josie scrambles to outwit her elusive opponent before the deadly game escalates and claims more lives. But in saving Nashville, will Josie lose those she loves? Or will she be too late to stop the deadly game of tag?

Amazon | BN | Kobo

Scarlet TearsAnd look for Scarlet Tears this fall!

 

 

 

Posted in Guest Posts, Mary's Posts | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

The Anatomy of Creating A Small Town – Setting is Everything

Moraine_Lake_17092005A lot of care and research goes into creating a setting.This is where your characters live, where your characters were shaped as individuals. The environment dictates their temperaments and  values, and outlook on life.  In the case of my fictional town of Laurel Falls set in the beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, I wanted the name of the town to be strong symbolically.

I knew these stories were going to be about strong, hardy people. I wanted them to have hardships not only in their personal lives, but in their work and social lives. I also wanted a western themed place, cowboys, ranching, horses, rodeo, roping, branding, and hard work. So, I chose the State of Montana. With Montana there were plenty of choices and I narrowed it down to Yellowstone area and Glacier National Park in the Flathead Valley. I ultimately chose, Glacier after looking at the pictures of the park and the landscape simply sucked me in.

As a small town, Laurel Falls needed to have its own presence and personality. I knew what components I wanted to build this town. I wanted a waterfall. Water is one of the four main elements, a flowing, ever changing element. I wanted that symbol for this town’s name as the fluidity of the characters flowed around the setting. Into and out of the setting. Just like the beautiful push/pull of life. Water also symbolizes purity, healing, and cleansing.

imagesAlso a perfect fit for my town as there are tortured souls here, people in desperate need of healing and some cleansing. Letting go of their heavy burdens and finding true happiness. Some on a long journey back from recovery, taking them far away, then back to the warm arms of this small town. Back to home.

The second element was something that symbolizes Montana. I chose laurel which is often referred to as mountain laurel. These cluster of flowers are a clear shade of snowy white with dark pink accents or a single shade of pink.

Laurel flowers represent ambition as well as success and renown. They are often gifted to people who are heading into a new phase of their lives.

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They are meant to represent a wish for the recipient to push on with their lofty ambitions, despite any roadblocks they may encounter. This is a metaphor for most of my characters in the story. Changes are coming to Laurel Falls in the form of an heiress to a hotel fortune. She doesn’t even know she’s seeking something until she gets stranded there, stranded and experiences the slower pace, the wonderful warmth of the people, a simpler, basic, but richer life when she falls for one of its native sons.

writerworldThe best part about creating a new story is the research aspect of it and setting is one of my favorite things to do. It adds atmosphere, tone, description, details, and texture to the writer’s toolbox to use to enrich the story.

Laurel Falls, Montana, nestled in the Flathead Valley, set in a rich environment of rivers, forests, lakes, mountains, teeming with elk, mountain goats, big horn sheep, along with bears, wolves, and mountain lions for a sense of danger.

A declining town that is losing it’s citizens in a slow spiral, but that is all about to change with one broken down, very expensive little blue British sports car.

Are you from a small town? What did you love about it or dislike. If you’re from the city, what small towns have you visited and did you enjoy the experience?

Here’s the cover and blurb for my first book in the Laurel Falls series, Leaving Yesterday:

Leaving Yesterday_DawsonIf you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, don’t miss the start of this captivating small-town romance series! Laurel Falls, Montana, features spectacular mountain scenery—but it takes a rugged cowboy to convince one woman to slow down and enjoy the view.
 
Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He’s couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

trace-raffertyteaserlaurelfallscollage

Happy reading!

Zoe

Upcoming releases:

Going to the Dogs 2: Piggy Bank Blues

Piggy Bank Book 1 SmlA penny saved is a penny earned.

Ian Lassiter is living the high life in Manhattan and loving it. He’s a successful artist and sculptor and has just adopted an adorable Mantle Great Dane named Ozzie from his sister, Callie. The bachelor life suits him, so he thinks until he gets a load of AlphaGroup’s newest client.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” O’Reilly is trying to save her art school for the deaf where she teaches. Thinking her clever Border Collie, Georgia who paints amazing huge abstract flowers could be commercial, she reads about grants available from AlphaGroup Investments that could help out. But, the guy she deals with, Ian, is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s a renowned artist and touted as a confirmed bachelor. Lizzie comes from a big family and the man she gets involved with would have to embrace not only a happily ever after with her, but want kids as desperately as she does.

Ian just doesn’t fit the bill, or does he?

To Protect and Serve: Her Master Defender

9780373279395A battle-hardened marine and a driven NCIS agent join forces to survive…

Though survival training is Master Sergeant Tristan Michaels’s specialty, one of his students has been murdered. And sharing quarters with the ravishing NCIS agent sent to investigate is a challenge his expertise hasn’t prepared him for. Tristan has his reasons for distrusting NCIS agents, but Amber Dalton is stirring unwelcome feelings of a different kind…

Despite the fierce attraction between them, Amber is determined not to let it distract her from the mission. But when they’re captured by the killers, escape means combining forces and daring to survive freezing mountain terrain.

Posted in Zoe's Posts | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Listening to and writing for audiobooks

Do you listen to audiobooks?

It seems like audiobooks are becoming more and more popular these days. I’ve had folks tell me that they listen to audiobooks in a variety of places and ways — everything from while they are in the car or on the train commuting to work or even while they’re at home doing housework.

Out of my various books, the audiobooks for my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series are the most popular. They are narrated by the awesome Lauren Fortgang, who does a great job of bringing my heroine Gin Blanco to life. Instead of getting e-mails asking when the next book will be out, now I get e-mails asking when the audiobook will be out. LOL.

Spider's TrapThe audiobook for Spider’s Trap, Elemental Assassin #13, was released on July 28, the same day as the print and e-book versions. You can order the audiobook through Audible and Amazon.

I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, but I’m interested in trying them. But what has really impacted me is that I find myself writing my books with the audiobook version in mind.

When I’m writing a new character, I will ask myself questions like “What does this person’s voice sound like?” and “How can I make them sound different and distinctive from the other characters?” Then I’ll put in some tags for the audiobook narrator to pick up on and hopefully use. Here’s are some examples from Spider’s Trap:

“Well, Blanco?” Dimitri demanded in a low, gravelly voice.

“I can’t let you go anywhere, can I?” Owen murmured, a teasing note creeping into his deep, rumbling voice.

“But what about you, sweetheart?” Mallory said in a twangy voice that was far more hillbilly than high society.

I think adding the voice tags not only makes for a better audiobook, but that it is also a little bit of extra description for folks reading the print and e-book versions as well.

What about you guys? Do you listen to audiobooks? And for all the writers out there — do you describe your characters’ voices with audiobooks in mind?

GIVEAWAY TIME

Thanks to the folks at Audible, I have a download code for the audiobook of Spider’s Trap to give away. To enter, use the form below. Open to those 18 and older, worldwide.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!

FREE BOOKS

hocBook title: Hearts of Clover (Half My Heart and Change My Heart bundle)

Book author: Danielle Stewart

Book blurb: HALF MY HEART
NOVELLA: THE CLOVER SERIES

At nineteen, Devin Sutton lost his first love, his freedom, and his hope. Years later, the only thing he has on his mind this holiday season is finally settling the score back in Clover, North Carolina.

That is, until the girl he thought he’d lost forever crosses his path. Rebecca Farrus is supposed to be off living the life of her dreams, not tending bar in some dive.

When faced with the choice, will Devin decide to celebrate what he’s finally found or keep seeking retribution for everything he lost?

CHANGE MY HEART
BOOK 2: THE CLOVER SERIES

You really can’t have it all, or so Devin Sutton is finding out fast. Returning to Clover was all part of his plan to exact revenge on the town that robbed him of nearly a decade of his life. Unfortunately, things quickly begin to crumble when he’s forced to choose between rekindling an old love or destroying the town. Walking the fine line between both might just end up leaving him with nothing.

With his heart full of vengeance is there any room for love?

Amazon

NEW RELEASES

wiohBook title: Wish in One Hand

Book author: B.E. Sanderson

Book blurb: Nobody promised Josephine Mayweather life as a genie would be all eating bon-bons and sniffing roses. In fact, no one told Jo much of anything about her wish-powered existence. The only thing she knows for certain: Enslavement sucks. So instead of squandering her immortality, or slowly going nuts from it, she found a purpose—setting her kind free from their Masters and those three little wishes.

And the plan is going strong. That is, until some murderous thing decides her rescue missions are the perfect opportunity to play ‘off the genie’. Stopping this freak should be easy for a chick with phenomenal powers, but the Efreet’s existence isn’t the only secret her kind has kept and ignorance isn’t half the bliss they make it out to be.

In order to stop a murderer, she partners up with a former lover she’s avoided for decades and begins uncovering her brethren’s secrets—whether they like it or not. With the help of people Jo’s not sure she can trust, she just might uncover the answers in time to prevent a war . If she doesn’t get screwed over first. The whole damn situation stinks, but with genies dying around her, Jo’s got to man up—even if doing so could get her killed.

Or worse, enslaved again.

Amazon | Goodreads

99c BOOKS

alwbfBook title: A Love Worth Biting For

Book author: Roxy Mews

Book blurb: Who’s afraid of the big bad hybrid?

Hart Clan Hybrids, Book 1

Amber Paulson’s wolf has chosen a mate for her, but Amber is not amused with its pick. Jake Meyers might look amazing in a wet T-shirt and have the cheekbones and strong jaw that artists drool over. Too bad he is missing a pulse.

Jake is a vampire, well, mostly. Then a tall, curvy redhead pops up on his radar and something awakens in him. Even though he tries to stay away, Amber gets under his skin, and his vampire/werewolf heritage starts to become more bark and less bite. For the first time, he feels the call of the moon, and he knows it’s all because of Amber Paulson.

Amber’s trying to stay away, and Jake’s trying to not turn furry. They both fail miserably—and with a lot of sweaty and enjoyable property destruction.

By giving in to her mating call, Amber finds out more than she ever wanted to know about herself, her family, and the rogue wolf who took so much from her so long ago. As her past comes back to bite her, she’ll have to decide what she’s willing to give up for her mate. Her home? Her pack? Her…heartbeat?

Warning: This book contains a snarky shifter heroine who could give Sookie a run for her money, a hot hunk of a vampire with a soft (and furry) side, and sex so sizzling that even an inter-species war can’t get in the way.

Amazon | BN | ARE | Kobo | Samhain

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So Many Questions with author Maureen A. Miller

Hello, readers!  I am joined today by author Maureen A. Miller. In addition to writing she also runs Just Romantic Suspense and Just Contemporary Romance. Talk about a busy lady! Let’s get to know her a bit!

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To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi all. I’m Maureen, and I’m a Romantic Suspense author. Okay, I’m also a Young Adult Science Fiction author, but we all go through those strange phases in our life. :)  I like cheese puffs and anything with mozzarella on it. I also like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (minus the mozzarella). I am completely uncoordinated so it is understandable that I write. I’m one of those people who should wear body armor walking down the sidewalk. If there’s something to trip on…I’ll find it!

Have you been writing “forever” and if not, when/how did you decide to write?

I started in the seventh grade with my blockbuster story, Super Watermelon Man. Many years later I wrote my first Romantic Suspense novel. Someone suggested I submit it to the Golden Hearts (which I knew nothing about at that tender age), and low and behold, I got the call that I was a finalist. That definitely kick-started my career and lust for writing.

What genres do you typically write?

I am primarily a Romantic Suspense author. That is where my heart is. I went off on a tangent to write the BEYOND series, a young-adult, science fiction, romance trilogy. I confess, I wrote the series because as a kid I used to have a big crush on the original Starbuck. I imagined him coming down in a Colonial Viper and whisking me away on romantic adventures in space. That pretty much sums up the BEYOND series plot! LOL

BeyondSeriesFacebookBanner (1)

Do you read in the same genres you write? 

Absolutely! Sometimes (and please don’t repeat this to anyone) sometimes I will sneak a Regency in there. (gasp!) We used to read books under the blankets with our flashlights on when we didn’t want to get caught. That’s how I read a Regency these days. I feel like I’m betraying my genre! :)

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas for your stories?

I daydream. If the daydream becomes a recurring one, then I’ll write about it.

Shadow300Are you on social media? If so, which platforms do you like to use to interact with your readers most?

You’ll find me on Twitter and Facebook. I admit to being a bit of a voyeur on Facebook, but I’ll pop up with silly things from time to time.

What is the strangest thing a reader has ever said to you?

A reader once said that she enjoyed books with pigs and baseball in them. I had to think about that for a few seconds and then realized that  EMOTIONAL WAVES is a romantic suspense novel that happens to have pigs and baseball in it.

What do you love most about the romance writing world?

Oh gosh, where do I begin? I love the authors, I love the readers. Every time I pick up a new book I do the same Snoopy dance of excitement. Is there any better world than one that promises you Happily Ever Afters on a consistent basis?

What do you have coming up?

MIST, the second book in my Blue-Link series will be coming out soon.  These books are all stand-alone, but they revolve around an enigmatic woman who runs BLUE-LINK, a global company investigating risk management for startup operations around the world. The first book in the series, SHADOW takes place in New Jersey and London. MIST takes place in Maine and Nova Scotia.

Mist72Anything else you want to say to the Magical Musings readers?

You guys rock! Anyone who reads, rocks! I want to just reach through the screen and give you a big bear hug. And to the authors at Magical Musings…you know I adore you!

* * * * *

Thanks to Maureen for visiting us today!  I remember getting my hands on one of her books years ago and couldn’t stop at just one. She is a fantastic storyteller. Even though I am not a fan of Young Adult or Science Fiction, I loved her romantic suspense books enough that I figured I would give her YA a try. I was surprised how captivated by her BEYOND books. I hope you all get the chance to read something by Maureen.

* * * * *

Have you ever branched out to read in a new genre simply because you loved the author’s writing in another genre?

Posted in Amy R's Posts | 8 Comments

New Release!

Tomorrow is the release for the 8th book in the popular Family Blood Ties series and continues the saga of Tessa and Cody as they battle both humans and vampires alike. This book ends in a cliffhanger the same as the other books in the series.

Tessa’s world exploded.
VID8R0.2
She survived Deanna’s inheritance.

She sees more, hears more … understands more.

But more is not always better.

Cody doesn’t like what’s happening around him. Tessa has walked through hell and she has a lot more to go before she’s clear. He plans on standing by her side – her guardian – whether she wants him to be there for her or not.

Jared can’t believe all trails lead him into trouble. He’d escaped once. Tried to stay out of the mess since. But a friend is missing, and when he tries to get help, the person he confides in goes missing too.

The vampire world was never ready for Tessa before. The new Tessa?

No one is ready for her.

Available at:

Amazon, B&N, IBooks, Kobo, Google

Vampire Series 1-8

 

Also new is – Paranormal Passions

This great collection features ten incredible ParParanormal-Passion-Facebook-Blast-Ad (2)anormal reads including Shifters, Ghosts, Sci-Fi, Demons & more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindle US – http://amzn.to/1E1mlnR
Kindle UK – http://amzn.to/1PhSybn
Nook – http://bit.ly/1E1mjfL
Kobo – http://bit.ly/1flp7IY
iTunes – http://apple.co/1WAeuDW

 

Posted in Dale's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!

NEW RELEASES

stBook title: Spider’s Trap

Book author: Jennifer Estep

Book blurb: Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

SPIDER’S TRAP, Elemental Assassin #13, has been released and is available at:

Amazon Kindle | Amazon paperback | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | IndieBound | Audible | Amazon audiobook

FREE BOOKS

itdTitle: In Too Deep

Author: Tracey Alvarez

Blurb: Each book in the Due South series contains a sizzling, sexy love story set on an unspoilt, wild island in New Zealand.

Meet Piper and West…

She vowed never to return.
To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who’s part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn’t stop the guilt she feels over her father’s drowning death. Now nine years later she’s obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.

She’s a risk he can’t take.
West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can’t imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother—his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can’t resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?

Saying goodbye for the second time might just destroy them both.

Amazon

99c BOOKS

The+Golden+Apple (1)Title: The Golden Apple

Author: Michelle Diener

Blurb: Kayla’s world has been turned upside-down . . .

Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake.

Rane’s honor is torn in two…

In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to–including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy.

Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together . . .

Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla’s actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.

The Golden Apple is followed by its sequel, The Silver Pear.

Amazon

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ndTitle: Nobody’s Darling

Author: Teresa Medeiros

Blurb: Dear Reader,

I never enjoyed being a wanted man until the day Miss Esmerelda Fine marched into the Tumbleweed Saloon and pointed her derringer straight at my heart. Who would have guessed some duke’s granddaughter–an awfully pretty one at that–would come gunning for the likes of me, a notorious bounty hunter with a taste for whiskey and a fondness for peach pie? Lucky for me, she was a mighty poor shot. Instead of killing me, she hired me to find her runaway brother. Little did she know she was about to make the acquaintance of a flea-bitten basset hound named Sadie, the infamous Darling Gang, and my shotgun-toting kinfolk. And little did I know she was about to lead me on a merry chase that would take us from a bungled bank robbery to the very first Wild West show to tour London, England.

I should have turned down her offer. I should have resisted her charms. But I didn’t.

Because there comes a time in every man’s life when he’s got nothing left to lose…but his heart.

Yours,
Billy Darling

Amazon

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Taking up the (Unreasonable Obsession) Challenge–my Cool Stuff

Leisha began this, and Zoe challenged us to continue it–whether it’s a ’68 Mustang or the perfect summer day, we all get a twinkle of delight at really cool stuff. Here are a few of mine.

1. GEMSTONES. Yeah, the shinier the better. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds…we toured the gems room at the Natural History Museum and I might have drooled a time or two. Strangely, I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. I think I like to look at it more than I like to be weighed down by it.

2. MYSTERIES. Detective books like Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, a 1/7 ton, orchid-growing, beer-swilling genius, and Elizabeth Peters’s feisty 1900s archeologist Amelia Peabody; smart crime dramas with great characters like NCIS and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Sherlock (Holmes), who is so popular he is in books, television and movies!

Roses

3. SCENTS. Good smells, like roses, lilacs, perfume, soap, author Leigh Morgan’s candles. New-mown grass and hay. Incense. Bakeries. Ooh, donuts…mmm. Bacon sizzling, even though I’m a vegetarian. Coffee…hmm, must be dinner time, lol.

photo credit: P2450117 via photopin (license)

photo credit: P2450117 via photopin (license)

 

 

4. PUZZLES. I do CrossSums every day and enjoy variety puzzles so much I bought a box of 40. The trick is getting the mechanical pencil to run out of lead at the same time the eraser is worn away to nothing.

5. Whose Line Is It Anyway? Scenes from a Hat. Colin doing his dinosaur imitation. Wayne singing anything. Other humor too, Stephanie Plum, DragonBall Z Abridged, Weird Al, Marx Brothers, Simon’s Cat, xkcd.

DrWhoScarf6. SCIENCE FICTION. Again, from books to television to movies: Asimov, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Marvel’s Avengers. Many science fiction stories are about friendship and solid teamwork, which I adore. Others rejoice in grand adventure. Some have both! Who doesn’t love the way Sarah Jane and the Doctor constantly rescued each other?

My niece knitted her own Tom Baker scarf and I’m just tickled every time I see it.

HubbleSite.org The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

HubbleSite.org The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

7. VISTAS. Not just on earth, but anything I can gaze at and breathe freer. Lakes, fields, forests, mountains. Even a big backyard satisfies something deep inside.

India Gala 2014 (32)8. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. If it bangs, blows, or bows, I love it! My earliest memories are of banging on a toy piano, and I loved visiting my aunt, thinking she was the coolest because she had a real one!

What’s your coolest stuff?

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What I Want In A Book

I want it all. Really. Especially when it comes to emotion. I want a book (and a movie) to make me feel, to make me laugh, to make me afraid, to make me care (above all, make me care). And when I write a book, I want the reader to feel all these emotions, too.

But sometimes I actually have to put a book down because the emotions are so intense. If you were a fan of the Friends TV series, you might remember this:

And then this:

I love these because that’s how I feel sometimes as I read a book. If a book is intensely scary or sad, I have to walk away. (Usually to my chocolate stash.) I’ll come back, but not until I cool down.

Little Women is one of my all time favorite books, and it’s because of the great characters (another necessity) and the emotion. I like action and a fast-moving plot, too, but for me, evoking emotion has to be number one.

What about you? What do you want in a book?

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Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!

BOOK CONTESTS

Dark Horse 250px heighDark Horse

by Michelle Diener

Details: Michelle Diener is running a book blitz in conjunction with Prism Books Tours and there is a $25 gift card and two print copies of Dark Horse up for grabs.

About Dark Horse:

Some secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she’s made a powerful ally–a fellow prisoner with whom she’s formed a strong bond. Sazo’s an artificial intelligence. He’s saved her from captivity and torture, but he’s also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn’t know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he’s not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5’s owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn’t the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he’s going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

Enter contest here. CONTEST ENDS AUGUST 18TH.

FREE BOOKS aTBook: Assassin’s Touch (Iron Portal Series)

Author: Laurie London

About: New York Times bestselling author Laurie London presents ASSASSIN’S TOUCH, the first book in the Iron Portal paranormal romance series. Enter a darkly sensual world where secret portals separate modern and ancient realms, band-of-brother heroes fight evil together, and sworn enemies dare to become passionate lovers.

Haunted by loss, Cascadian assassin Rickert D’Angelus is on a mission of vengeance. Determined to stop the Pacifican army from finding a portal to his world, he leads a group of warriors into New Seattle with one goal–to kill all Pacifican soldiers.

Agent Neyla Trihorn had the perfect life until a deadly accident revealed her latent para-abilities. Now, the former fashion designer is the Pacifican army’s hottest commodity in their fight against the invaders.

When Rickert discovers a beautiful, unconscious soldier on a cold mountain ledge near the portal, he realizes she’s a Protection-Talent and cannot be killed. To prevent the army from using her skills again, he takes her as his prisoner instead.

But when he pulls her into his arms, a sexy and compelling vision appears, awakening something inside him. Something he can’t ignore.

Torn between duty and passion, Rickert must decide if the vision is a Talent trick designed to foil the enemy or the answer to his deepest desires…

Amazon

FF sub-divider

Treasure on Moon Lake

by Amy Gamet

51he-7Z7VOL._UY250_Jewelry designer Tori Henderson is desperately trying to save her shop, when her mother announces she’s marrying the father of Tori’s long ago crush, Gabe. Tori wants Gabe, but Jed – Gabe’s oh-so-sexy black sheep half-brother – comes to the wedding and does his best to hijack Tori’s devotion to her teenage dream.

Circumstances forced millionaire entrepreneur Jed Trainer to attend his father’s wedding. He had no desire to see the father who left Jed and his mother behind, nor the half-brother who’d betrayed him by sleeping with Jed’s once fiancé. No, the Trainor men were poison, and when Jed learns Tori is vying for Gabe’s attention, he knows his desire for this woman can only mean trouble.

When Tori learns Gabe is bringing a date to the wedding, Jed offers to bring Tori himself, knowing any woman on his arm is sure to be on Gabe’s radar. But his ploy for her attention just may blow up in his face. Can Jed prove to Tori he’s the Trainor brother she really belongs with?

Amazon

99c BOOKS

517FFQ90kWL._UY250_Bloodlust Denied

by:  Christina Phillips

Book blurb: Tired of the thin-blooded aristocrats in 1815 London, Alexius yearns for better sport. He is drawn to a dark-haired seductress who shows no fear and refuses to obey his commands. Entranced by such novelty, he denies his bloodlust and decides to keep her to warm his bed.

Immortal vampire hunter Morana has never mistaken her prey before, but the dark stranger mesmerizes her, enticing her to forget everything but the dangerous pleasure she finds in his arms.

Neither one can deny the pull of the other, but there is something beyond the lust—a recognition neither can put a name to. The past and present collide and unless they discover the truth behind the lies, Death will triumph once more.

AmazoniBooks | Kobo | B&N

NEW RELEASES

mmmoonwitchedMoonwitched

by Renee Wildes

He was bred for war. Her magic is only for peace. Together they must fight for love.

Guardians of Light, Book 7

Weapons stolen, comrades dead, ship burned and sunk, Valkyn is rotting in Lord Zurvan’s grim dungeon, wondering if he will ever again see his sons. Rescue comes from an unexpected source—the human witch Zurvan sent to patch him up between beatings.

Mari can’t bring herself to let Valkyn die, never mind that the fearsome northern riever is the scourge of her homeland. Yet in him she finds an ally who could help restore the rightful boy king to the throne. And a man who reminds her body there’s life after widowhood.

Their first kiss unleashes pent-up passion she thought was long buried, clouding all the reasons they shouldn’t get involved. But the blood on Valkyn’s hands is anathema to Mari’s magic. If she dares open herself to him fully, he could destroy her.

Valkyn knows his heart has already surrendered to hers. When this quest is over, the real quest will be convincing her that polar opposites not only attract, they belong together—forever.

Warning: Contains a witch who abhors violence teaming up with a war-hardened riever who has never known peace. Complicated by a savage warlord, a boy king in hiding, an embittered selkie prince who’s lost his skin, and hot love scenes that show a lot of it.

Amazon | BN

SPECIAL OFFERS

51vDNP0llWL._UY250_In the Cards

by Jamie Beck

Lindsey Hilliard flees her charmed life in New York, searching for answers after her fiancé’s betrayal fills her with self-doubt. Unfortunately, her rented Malibu home is next door to Levi Hardy, the sexy but insufferable man who humiliated her years ago.

Hardened by a grim past he keeps concealed, Levi prefers maintaining a comfortable distance from folks, especially a nosy princess like Lindsey. But then a motorcycle collision brings him to his knees, forcing him to accept her assistance with his recovery. Sparks begin to fly when the woman who doesn’t believe in herself teaches the cynic how to have faith in others. Levi realizes his body will recover, but his heart won’t if Lindsey returns to the ex who wants her back.

In the biggest gamble of his life, Levi teaches her to trust her own voice, and hopes she’ll use it to say good-bye to her past and hello to a future with him.

Amazon

FF sub-divider

51a3dFxKMQL._UY250_For Darkness Shows the Stars

by  Diana Peterfreund

It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

E-book deal. FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund is on sale for $1.99: http://amzn.to/1L4cOz7

 

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