Guest blog: Gayle Trent on cozy murder mysteries

Gayle&Cooper

Photo courtesy Soho Photography

Today, I’m happy to welcome my author buddy Gayle Trent to Magical Musings. Gayle writes cozy murder mysteries under her own name, as well as Amanda Lee and Gayle Leeson.

Jennifer: Welcome, Gayle! Please tell readers about your new book, The Calamity Café, written under the name Gayle Leeson.

Gayle: Thanks for having me on your blog, Jennifer! In The Calamity Café, Amy Flowers is tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint. Lou Lou Holman inherited the café from her father and delights in bullying her staff. So Amy doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place. When Lou Lou refuses to sell, Amy informs her that she’ll be opening up a café of her own.

Later that evening, Amy gets a call from Lou Lou’s son Pete. Pete says he’s talked his mother into selling the café and asks Amy to come meet with them before she changes her mind. Naturally, when Amy shows up, she’s the only person there other than Lou Lou…who is slumped over her desk dead. [Cue the dramatic music!] 🙂

Jennifer: This is the first book in your Down South Café cozy murder mystery series. Can you tell us a little about the series?

Gayle: I wanted to set the series in a fictional town in Southwest Virginia; and although Winter Garden is fictional, it’s close to some real towns—Abingdon, Bristol, Meadowview—because I wanted to give readers a bit of SWVA flavor.

The series features a number of eclectic characters, including Amy’s great-aunt who has discovered Pinterest and made such boards as People I’ve Outlived and Lord, Have Mercy. One of my wacky characters—Dilly—came about because years ago our family stopped to see a woman who had a litter of cocker spaniel puppies. While conversing with the woman, she told us she had a raccoon who came to her back porch every evening for a biscuit. She’d give him one, and he’d waddle back up into the woods. I mean, that’s the kind of stuff you can’t make up.

I also wanted to feature a few SWVA traditions in the series. For example, in the second book—Silence of the Jams—Amy makes and cans strawberry jam to serve and to sell in the café; and the third book features beekeeping. That book is tentatively titled Honey, it’s Homicide.

The Calamity CafeJennifer: What appeals to you about the cozy murder mystery genre?

Gayle: I like the small town settings. I enjoy letting readers get to know the characters and watch them grow over the course of several books. Exploring relationships between characters—how two characters can be friends but still argue or how a friendship can grow into a romantic relationship—is so much fun. And I think readers enjoy that too.

Captain Moe, of the embroidery series (more on that below), was introduced in book one—The Quick and the Thread—and Marcy wasn’t sure she could trust him. He was a supporting character in several of the books, and their friendship has grown to the point where he’s almost like an uncle to her. In book ten (Better Off Thread, which will be released on December 6, 2016), he’s at the center of the murder investigation.

Jennifer: What inspired you to write the Down South Café series?

Gayle: I thought it would be cool to write a series set basically in my own hometown. There are such beautiful places in SWVA and the surrounding region to explore and introduce to readers. Plus, I enjoy going back to some of those old tried-and-true recipes. My grandmother’s meatloaf recipe is included in The Calamity Café. And there’s an oatmeal pie recipe submitted by one of my readers. Naturally, I had to make and taste-test the pie before putting it into the book, and it was delicious!

Jennifer: You also write under the names Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee. Can you tell us about those books?

Gayle: I write the Daphne Martin cake decorating series under the name Gayle Trent. That series series features a heroine who is starting her life over after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. She enjoys spending time with her sister, nephew, and niece, but she and her mother have a complicated relationship that isn’t always pleasant. Daphne has also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.

The embroidery mystery series, written as Amanda Lee, features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.

Jennifer: What are some of your favorite mystery books/authors and why?

Better Off ThreadGayle: I’ve always enjoyed Mary Higgins Clark—she was one of the first mystery authors I read as an adult. I started with the Nancy Drew books by Caroline Keene, graduated to Victoria Holt, and then read Mary Higgins Clark. She is so adept at plotting. Actually, I think every author I enjoy reading is a master of plot: Jeffrey Deaver, Harlan Coben, Dean Koontz—although Koontz is also a master of characterization. When I read Koontz’s book Watchers and wept for the villain, I realized I was in the presence of greatness! Lol!

Jennifer: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What got you started on your writing journey?

Gayle: I had a college professor tell me I really had a knack for writing. I’d always enjoyed it, but I never realized I was any good or that someone might actually want to read what I’d written. She encouraged me to keep at it, and I did. I can’t say I didn’t question that decision over and over throughout the years. I can’t even keep track of how many manuscripts I threw away after they were rejected!

Jennifer: What’s next for you? What are you working on?

Gayle: I’m currently working on the third book in the Down South Café series, and I’m exploring the possibility of doing a movie lovers’ mystery series wherein the heroine runs a movie memorabilia shop and works for the local theater production company. I think readers who love books, movies, and plays would enjoy having all those elements come together.

MORE ABOUT GAYLE

Gayle Trent lives in Virginia with her family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff (the dog featured in the embroidery mystery series). Gayle also writes as Amanda Lee and Gayle Leeson. Please visit her online at http://www.gayletrent.com. You can also follow Gayle on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

GIVEAWAY TIME

Gayle has generously offered one print copy of her new book, The Calamity Café. The giveaway is open to those 18 and older, U.S. only. To enter, use the form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Guest Posts, Jennifer's Posts | Tagged | 4 Comments

Novellas and short stories — Do you read them?

Unwanted finalUnwanted, e-novella #14.5 in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, will be released on July 18. Woot!

I’ve written several e-novellas for this series — Thread of Death, Kiss of Venom, and now Unwanted — along with short stories like Carniepunk: Parlor Tricks. There are also several free short stories for this series on the Free Reads page of my website.

I enjoy writing the e-novellas and short stories — especially since many of them are from the secondary characters’ points of view.

Unwanted is an e-novella that takes place after the events of Bitter Bite, book #14. It is told from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, Gin’s foster brother. If you’ve read Bitter Bite, then you know that Finn definitely needed his own story after everything that happened in that book. And a hug. 🙂

Finn is one of the most popular characters in my Elemental Assassin series, and I’ve had many requests from readers over the years to write something from his point of view. After everything that happens to him in Bitter Bite, it seemed like the right time to finally give him a story. (And I also had time in my writing schedule to do it as well.)

Writing the e-novellas and short stories really lets me delve into my secondary characters and show their emotions and feelings about everything that’s going on around them. It also lets me expand my overall world building and show different parts of Ashland, my fictional city, that I might not get to visit in a regular Elemental Assassin book.

But I know that not everyone will read all the e-novellas and short stories, so I try to make each one of them almost like mini adventures for the secondary characters. That way, if you want to read the e-novellas and short stories, you are getting a complete story. But if you don’t want to read them, then you’re not going to miss out on anything that ties in to a major storyline in the main books.

To me, the e-novellas and short stories are just fun bonus material for fans of my series, like all those behind-the-scenes features that you see on so many movie and TV show DVDs these days. I hope to write more of e-novellas and short stories and explore some of my other secondary characters. Time and writing schedule permitting, of course.

What about you guys? Did you read e-novellas and short stories that tie into book series? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite book series?

UNWANTED INFO

Unwanted is about 20,000 words — around 75 pages — and will be available as an e-novella only. There will not be any print or audiobook versions at this time.

Unwanted is priced at $1.99, and it is up for pre-order at the following sites:

Amazon Kindle / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Google Play / iBooks / Kobo

And here is the e-novella description. This contains major spoilers for Bitter Bite. So if you absolutely do not want to be spoiled, skip reading the e-novella description.

The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella—from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, the foster brother of Gin Blanco, and a fan favorite of readers of the series.

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes…

You can read an excerpt from the e-novella here. Scroll down, and click on the Read Excerpt tab.

I hope that everyone enjoys the e-novella when it is released. Happy reading!

Posted in Jennifer's Posts | Tagged | 4 Comments

Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone by Maggie Mae Gallagher

Many people know that I write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. However, in the last year I branched out into unknown territory into the world of Erotic Romance under the name Anya Summers. What I never expected was how much I would end up growing as a writer by venturing along this new path. You see, I’ve always been someone who followed the rules, never really straying from what was considered acceptable or normal. Oh sure, I march to the beat of my own drummer, what writer doesn’t as we are all a little quirky, but I still stayed within my little box or bubble. We like our creature comforts. It’s scary and not without a bit of personal risk to push past our boundaries.

That’s not to say that my paranormals and UF worlds haven’t made me grow, because they certainly have, but in different ways. I think it may be the deeply personal nature of Erotic Romance, the stripping away of everything, including the characters inhibitions to achieve that intimacy with another that has forced me beyond my comfort zone as a writer again and again. It’s beyond our comfort zone where authenticity and individuality as a writer exists I think. I never suspected when I began writing my Erotic Romance series that the boundaries it would make me push past would be healing for me.

For instance, my July 15th release, His Driven Domme, the fourth installment in the Dungeon Fantasy Club Series, was a tough book for me to write on so many levels. The protagonist of this story, Lucy, is a dominatrix, which as much of a type A personality as I am, is not a trait I share with the heroine. So for me, I had to push myself beyond what I felt comfortable with, to the point that many of the scenes I had to force myself to go there to see the other side. And that’s where the magic happened in this book, and all of my Erotic Romances. They forced me to stretch myself emotionally and mentally into unknown territory which in turn allowed me to get to the heart of this heroine and transfer it onto the page.

When you reach beyond your comfort zone I think not only as a writer, but in life as well, that’s were freedom truly lies. Don’t be afraid to go there with your writing, you won’t be disappointed.

MMGsmallAbout Maggie Mae Gallagher

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a M.A. in History.

Maggie is a #1 Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author published in multiple fiction genres including urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and erotic romance under the name, Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the midwest with her two furry felines.

Upcoming releases:

His Driven Domme (The Dungeon Fantasy Club Series, Book Four)

HisDrivenDomme_small copyJesse Noble loves fast cars and even faster women. A professional race car driver, he’s used to being in the driver’s seat, until a devastating loss on the track forces him to walk away from the only life he’s ever known. After months of rehab and soul-sucking depression, Jesse heads to his friend’s place in Scotland, thinking a month or two of indulging in the fleshy delights of the Dungeon Fantasy Club will help him maneuver the road to recovery more than any painkillers.

Lucy Martin is the mistress and commander of her world. Labeled an ‘Ice Queen’ by her co-workers, she hides her tender and passionate heart from the world, even as she hopes to one day find a man who will help soothe her shattered heart. Now her best friend Zoey, the only person on the planet Lucy can confide in, has gone AWOL and left the country for some Scottish laird. On a mission to rescue her BFF, Lucy travels to Mulladoch Manor and has her world turned on its axis; finding herself in an exclusive BDSM club where she feels right at home.

When the dominant Jesse spies the luscious Lucy sporting four-inch stilettos and leather in the Dungeon Fantasy Club, he surrenders to a night of mind-blowing ecstasy, her caresses somehow driving away every one of his inner demons with supreme skill. In the race of his life, Jesse moves out of the driver’s seat and willingly becomes her passenger – if only she’ll continue tying him up and paddling his bare ass into the most erotically charged, world altering orgasms he’s ever experienced.

When their past secrets are revealed, Jesse will have to convince Lucy to enter the fast lane with him – and prove that he’s willing to submit to all of his Domme’s utmost desires. Can he make the ultimate sacrifice and give up control – for love?

Publisher’s Note: While this is the fourth installment of Anya Summer’s Dungeon Fantasy Club series, like all the books in the series, it can be read as a standalone. It contains explicit sexual themes including anal play and BDSM elements, as well as femdom scenes. If such material offends you, please do not purchase.

Available from Blushing Books & Anya Summers July 15th!

Casket Girl (The Mystic Series, Book Two)

Casket Girl-200x300-Print Trading Card UseLove Can Be Deadly

All he wants is to find a killer…

FBI Special Agent Josh Blake has seen some bizarre cases in his day. His latest case is one for the record books. He has multiple homicides, corpses drained of every ounce of blood, and no suspects. The party filled streets of New Orleans have witnessed more than its fair share of brutal murders, but when rumors surface that the French Quarter may be hiding an insidious monster bent on drenching the streets in dead bodies, he must suspend logic and place his trust in the mystical.

She wants a fresh start…

Isabel Toussánt left her family home in the bayou three year ago, cutting all ties with her abusive whisky swilling father, to forge a new life in the French Quarter. Now a successful business owner of Madam Toussánt’s Mystical Gifts in Jackson Square, and a Seer with voodoo roots. Except the foundation of her new life shatters as she is dragged into a deadly game when her business becomes the target of a serial killer and one of her employee’s winds up dead.

A passion neither expected…

Determined to stop the brutal slayings, Josh must rely on the beautiful Isabel who makes him question everything he has ever known about life and death all while surrendering to a desire hotter than a Bayou night. When Isabel disappears without a trace, with tourists flocking to the party capital for Halloween, and the body count continues to mount, Josh will be forced to push beyond the boundaries of what he thinks is possible and rescue the woman he loves, even if it means locking her up and throwing away the key.

Available from Maggie Mae Gallagher December 2016!

Posted in Erotic Romance, Maggie's Posts, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Writing Craft and Editing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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!

99c BOOKS

huntHunters in the Night (The Nightcrafters Book 1)

by Ramsey Isler

Real magic can only be done in the dark. That’s the very first lesson in the long, dangerous education of a nightcrafter. Kal Kai, a seemingly ordinary millennial in New York City, was once a promising nightcrafter-in-training until he discovered the dangerous consequences of magic that put innocents in harm’s way.

Now, years after his banishment from the nightcrafter ranks, a chance encounter with a powerful government agent gives him the opportunity he’s been waiting for. He now has a chance to stop the reckless use of magic for good, thanks in large part to a brilliant young engineer who shows Kal that science can counter and enhance magic beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

But the masters of the dark will not give up their power without a fight, and Kal’s most formidable challenge will be the same man who taught him everything he knows.

Amazon

FREE BOOKS

allAll Eyes on Me (A Miranda and Parker Mystery Book 1)

by Linsey Lanier

Nobody deserves to die that way.

In the Las Vegas desert a once famous pop singer lies dead, the only clue to her murder a bizarre disfigurement.

To avoid the hassle of a media frenzy, the local police sergeant decides to call in his old mentor Wade Parker to consult on the case.

After nearly dying eight months ago, Miranda Steele can’t wait to get back to real detective work. If she can’t solve this case, not only will she fail her destiny, another psycho killer might get away with murder. But Parker harbors secret reservations about their new venture together.

Especially when he suspects there might be more to this murder than meets the…eye.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Trade Paperback

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coverUncovering Love

by Kacey Shea

Evelyn Harper lived the perfect life. Until she was fired from her job. After a ridiculous idea devised among friends comes to existence, Evelyn finds herself part owner in a private investigation firm specializing in matters of the heart.

Throughout wild antics with her best friends Jonathan and Kate, Evelyn conducts relationship background checks for a wide variety of clients. Soon it becomes clear that one case has moved beyond professional and Evelyn finds herself fighting an attraction she cannot resist.

Will Evelyn admit her feelings when she uncovers love in the most unexpected of places?

This is the first in a series but can be read as a standalone. Contains explicit material, intended for adult (18+) only.

Amazon

NEW RELEASES

shaShattered (Psychic Visions Book 9)

by Dale Mayer

Some events are life shattering…

Caught in a gilded cage for most of her life, Hannah keeps trying to escape. There’s something wrong with her the doctors can’t diagnose, but she’d rather be free and die than stay trapped… forever.

When she’s caught once again, Trevor offers her a unique way out. Should she trust him? And what if he finds out the truth? Will he still be on her side?

Trevor knows he has a lot to make up for in his life. He works at it every day. But when the opportunity to rescue an incredibly talented waif comes, he doesn’t realize how much will be asked of him.

Time is against them. And that’s when they find out that not all enemies are outside in the world.

Sometimes they are inside… we just don’t know it…

 [Kindle]  Nook  iBooks  Google Play  Kobo

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meltingMelting the Ice: A Traditional Regency Romance (A Series of Elements Book 2)

by Elizabeth Johns

Along with her triplet sisters, Lady Beaujolais Winslow is a celebrated beauty, but after five seasons she has yet to find a match she finds tolerable. Since her father refuses to arrange a marriage, it is rumoured in London society that she is holding out for a duke.

Benedict Stanton, Duke of Yardley, vowed never to marry again when his first marriage ended in a scandalous divorce. Having retreated to the country for nearly a decade, he is thought to be a cold-hearted recluse. Now faced with leaving his dukedom to the Crown for lack of an heir, he sets out to find a bride in a manner more suited to generations past—through his solicitor.

When Lady Beaujolais receives one of the Duke’s impersonal proposals, she rejects it out of hand and in considerable anger. Little does she know she is soon to be forced into his company every day…

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | kobo

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2 new books, 1 author, a lot of crazy

I’m so proud of my newest release, RAINING LOVE & MURDER (Love & Murder Book 4). It was just out everywhere on Saturday.  There’s a lot of craziness going on in my life (almost all of it good craziness). I’ll send out a newsletter this week, but this is my official announcement.

CHRISTMAS REDEMPTION (Love & Murder Book 5) is on pre-order for July 21st, so it will be a Christmas in July book. It’s a novella, and like all the Love & Murder books, it’s a standalone.

The blurbs for both books are below. All of the Love & Murder books have a love story, suspense, and mystery. They also have either a dog or cat (and sometimes both) as an important secondary character. This brings an important question:

What are your favorite books – or movies or TV shows – with a dog and/or a cat?

Raining Love and Murder-Amazon

An abandoned dog. A homeless veteran. A woman on the run. Her life in jeopardy.

Sisters Dawn and Sunny stood together through the trauma of their childhoods and the fame they gained from Dawn’s songwriting and Sunny’s magical voice. But when Sunny marries the son of a cult leader, Dawn’s life is in jeopardy. Taking on the identity of Raine, she goes to ground in a small Wisconsin town with a handsome innkeeper whose upbeat temperament is the antidote to her pain.

Chuck’s always been a good-time guy, and now that he’s come up with a plan to help the town, no one in Trouble Bay thinks he’s up to the hard work. Just as well that he has a new guest to deal with. A woman with secrets. A woman who who makes his heart beat faster. A woman in danger.

**This stand-alone book also has a woman who thought she married a prince but he turned into a snake, and so much more. It’s a powerful and emotional story of love, friendship, dogs, music, and—maybe—murder.

Amazon | Amazon UK | AmazonCA | AmazonAU | BN | Google Play |iBooks | Kobo

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ChristmasRedemption-266x400Everyone has a secret…

Someone attempted to kill Sylvia last Christmas, but she doesn’t expect it to happen again. She’s heard about the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde from Michigan, but the thrill-seeking murderers have kept to their native state, and Sylvia has other concerns.

The freezing, starving, and frightened cat she found in her garage.

Two couples snowed in at her bed-and-breakfast with her and her college professor/screenwriter boyfriend are giving her odd vibrations.
And then there are Sylvia’s past misdeeds. She’d like to tell the man she loves the truth about herself … but some people can’t take the truth.

And some secrets can be deadly…

Amazon | Amazon UK | AmazonCA | AmazonAU | BN | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

 

Posted in Edie's Posts | 4 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

 

rainRaining Love & Murder (Love & Murder Book 4)

by Edie Ramer

An abandoned dog. A homeless veteran. A woman on the run. Her life in jeopardy.

Sisters Dawn and Sunny stood together through the trauma of their childhoods and the fame they gained from Dawn’s songwriting and Sunny’s magical voice. But when Sunny marries the son of a cult leader, Dawn’s life is in jeopardy. Taking on the identity of Raine, she goes to ground in a small Wisconsin town with a handsome innkeeper whose upbeat temperament is the antidote to her pain.

Chuck’s always been a good-time guy, and now that he’s come up with a plan to help the town, no one in Trouble Bay thinks he’s up to the hard work. Just as well that he has a new guest to deal with. A woman with secrets. A woman who who makes his heart beat faster. A woman in danger.

**This stand-alone book also has a woman who thought she married a prince but he turned into a snake, and so much more. It’s a powerful and emotional story of love, friendship, dogs, music, and—maybe—murder.

Amazon | Amazon UK | AmazonCA | AmazonAU | BN | Google Play |iBooks

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hitThe Hitwoman Under Pressure (Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman Book 15)

by JB Lynn

Maggie Lee’s dedication to her family knows no limits.

Even though her life is in chaos, she’ll take any chance to repair her fractured family.

All she has do is:
Get out of the loony bin
Eliminate the killer who’s hunting her sister
Make sure her family doesn’t go off the rails (yup, this one’s the toughest)

Thankfully she’s got the help of an ex-lover, a conman, and a sexy sailor, along with her psychic friend, her loyal, but bickering, pets, and her favorite mob boss.

If only she could rely on them to help her stop the man who wants her sister dead. With two hitmen already killed for going after him, Maggie could use all the help she can get.

Maggie’s skills (and sanity) are put to the test and the stakes have never been higher.

Amazon

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rampRamping Up

by Zoe Dawson

The world of extreme sports just got a little steamier! Zoe Dawson’s pulse-pounding, emotional series follows the wily young female agents of Mavrick Allstars as they chase their dreams—and meet the chiseled athletes who make them come true.

Helena “Lena” Mavrick is ready to prove that she can play with the big boys. Working at her father’s internationally renowned agency, Mavrick Allstars, Lena sets her sights on one of the most coveted phenoms out there: a twenty-four-year-old surfer caught ripping it in a viral skateboarding video. Signing him would be a huge win—and his marketing appeal isn’t the only thing that makes Lena’s heart skip a beat. Trouble is, fraternizing with the client is against company policy.

Professional surfer Gunner Smith lives under the absolute control of his coach—until he takes the ultimate risk and starts over as a skateboarder. Gunner swore he wouldn’t give up his freedom again, but Lena’s out-of-the-blue offer makes him think long and hard. She’s smart, she’s bold, she’s got sponsors lined up around the corner—plus she’s drop-dead gorgeous. He’s just not sure his coach will let him get away that easily, because he’s not just Gunner’s coach, he’s also his father.

Gunner is used to hiding his tortured past. But when his steamy affair with Lena threatens their future, he must decide whether he will sacrifice everything for the woman who’s stolen his heart.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google

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bodyThe Body Reader

by Anne Frasier

For three years Detective Jude Fontaine was kept from the outside world. Held in an underground cell, her only contact was with her sadistic captor, and reading his face was her entire existence. Learning his every line, every movement, and every flicker of thought is what kept her alive.

After her experience with isolation and torture, she is left with a fierce desire for justice—and a heightened ability to interpret the body language of both the living and the dead. Despite colleagues’ doubts about her mental state, she resumes her role at Homicide. Her new partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, doesn’t trust her sanity, and he has a story of his own he’d rather keep hidden. But a killer is on the loose, murdering young women, so the detectives have no choice: they must work together to catch the madman before he strikes again. And no one knows madmen like Jude Fontaine.

Amazon

FREE BOOKS

cruxCrux (Southern Arcana, Book #1

by Moira Rogers

Southern Arcana, Book One

Jackson Holt has carved out a life for himself as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a desperate woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why Marcus always finds her, no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible, unbelievable truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as they struggle to uncover the truth of her past—and her destiny.

Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon Australia | Amazon DE

 

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Why Princess Might Be the Career Choice for You

As part of my Cin Wikkid: April Fools For Love book tour, I was asked many Princessly questions. Build your perfect prince or princess was popular. It made me realize my idea of royalty was more Shrek than Disney. But I’m a traditionalist in some ways.

Top 5 Princessly Necessities

Sparkly Tiara. Seriously, these things rock. A hat that glitters and is a nice nest egg for retirement? Where do I sign up?

A handsome prince. Or an ogre prince, but the key point is, this is your soulmate. Seriously, this guy loves you enough to hack apart impenetrable sword-sharp thorns or brave a whole new world or change from a beast into a man. If that isn’t true love, what is?

Adventure. From flying carpets or canoes or exploring creepy old castles, being a princess means new experiences. Well, unless you have really, really long hair, in which case you’re locked in a tower. It’s only a real problem if you make the mistake of starting the pectin diet on the wrong day (beware the door-to-door fruit saleslady) or are the victim of a shoddily manufactured spinning wheel. But Princesses Are Resourceful!* You’ll find a way out of any difficulty by The End.

No cooking or cleaning! You’ll have an army of servants to do all that, or at the very least strangely musical animated household items.

Stylish transportation. Although the new BMW hypercar has a lot to recommend it too.

What about you? If you changed careers, what would it be? Would Princess be on your list?

 

 

CinWikkid3x4.5
From award-winning bestselling author Mary Hughes comes a fairytale romance with a twist.
THE WRONGED DAUGHTER
Cinderella hungers to escape from under Widow Wikkid’s grinding thumb. But to snare a plum job at Prince Industries, Cin desperately needs her degree, and she can’t wrap her mind around tax accounting.
Then scarred but sexy Rafe Montoya ignites her imagination with his brilliant tutoring—and, as they work together in his cozy apartment, he sets her body on fire. She thinks he’s the one for her, until he starts pushing her to attend Gideon Prince’s marriage-mart ball.
THE HANDSOME PRINCE
Rafe is really Gideon Prince, head of Prince Industries. He must name his bride by his April first birthday or suffer the loss of his family fortune.
Rumors say he’s still single because women love his money and looks, not him. Is he lonely or just another duplicitous tycoon?
THE GLASS SLIPPER TEST
Hopefuls flock to Prince’s birthday ball, but only the woman who is kind, wise, and generous will win his heart. Is it Cin, or will her stepmother, as she always does, snatch the prize for her own daughters?
And on the night of the ball, when Cin discovers Rafe’s true identity, can she even accept his final test?
Warning: Rags-to-riches fairytale meets the texting generation. Stepsisters who are a blush-brush shy of a full makeup set, and a ball gown built like a tank. Contains material intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion advised.
For anyone who has ever been persecuted or hidden their light under a bushel.
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CN0Y8GG/
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cin-wikkid-mary-hughes/1123933834?ean=2940158431982
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/643840
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cinwikkidaprilfoolsforlove-2058859-149.html
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cin-wikkid-april-fools-for/id1125208529?mt=11
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mary_Hughes_Cin_Wikkid_April_Fools_For_Love?id=K0NnDAAAQBAJ
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/cin-wikkid-april-fools-for-love
Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CN0Y8GG/

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Shattered is almost here!

The story that started it all – Tuesday’s child (permafree) – was first published in 2011, almost 5 years ago today. That spawned a wild ride that at times made me nauseous and at times gave me a nosebleed from the heights I flew. But never have I regretted the journey.

On June 29th, Shattered, book 9 will be available! 

Some events are life shattering…

Caught in a gilded cage for most of her life, Hannah keeps trying to escape. There’s something wrong with her the doctors can’t diagnose, but she’d rather be free and die than stay trapped… forever.

When she’s caught once again, Trevor offers her a unique way out. Should she trust him? And what if he finds out the truth? Will he still be on her side?

Trevor knows he has a lot to make up for in his life. He works at it every day. But when the opportunity to rescue an incredibly talented waif comes, he doesn’t realize how much will be asked of him.

Time is against them. And that’s when they find out that not all enemies are outside in the world.

Sometimes they are inside… we just don’t know it…

And if you haven’t ordered your copy of Shattered yet, the preorders are up!

[ cover: Psychic Visions - Shattered ]

 [Kindle]  Nook  iBooks  Kobo  Google Play

SEALs of Honor: Cooper will release on July 19th! Preorders available now!

[ cover: SEALs of Honor - Cooper ]

 [Kindle]  Nook  iBooks  Kobo  Google Play

 

 

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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

v3Portals: Volume 3

by Michelle Diener et al.

Book blurb: Welcome! You have arrived at a portal to the galaxy.

Enter, and you’ll be introduced by award-winning authors to worlds beyond imagining, with heroes & heroines who dare to take it to the edge and beyond. Count on these adventurers to take their best shot … at their enemies and at romance!

Contains 10 first chapters, with links to purchase any or all of the complete books, should you wish.

Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

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lakeshoreLakeshore Secrets: The McAdams Sisters (By The Lake Series Book 1)

by Shannyn Leah

Kate McAdams was forced six years ago to leave her beloved hometown of Willow Valley, leaving behind her family and the only man she’s ever loved, Marc Caliendo. Although she has created a new life for herself away from the drama, secrets and stress of the small town, she must return upon her grandmother’s death. Her return brings back wonderful memories, especially of Marc, but also horrible fears from the past.

When fate throws her and Marc together once again, how can they ignore the everlasting love and desire between them? Will Kate stay and face her demons or will the deceit and secrets of the past destroy any future they may have and force her to leave again?

This book can be read as a stand alone, but for more enjoyment read them in the order of the series, as all the characters appear in future books.

Amazon

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Pushed Too Far: A Thriller (Val Ryker series Book 1)

by Ann Voss Peterson

FREE THROUGH SATURDAY

A TOWN’S TERRIBLE SECRET

Two years ago a woman was brutally murdered, her body burned until only ash and shattered bone remained. Police Sergeant Valerie Ryker solved that case, putting psychopath Dixon Hess in prison for life, and becoming the first female police chief of her tiny Wisconsin town.

A COP’S UNFORGIVABLE MISTAKE

Then the original murder victim turns up in a frozen lake, all in one piece and only recently dead, and Val must enter a race against time. In only forty-eight hours, Hess will be set free, and he wants payback. And Val, her town, and everyone she loves are at the top of his list.

A KILLER’S NEXT VICTIM

But surviving Hess’s vengeance is only part of her dilemma. For there’s another killer in Lake Loyal. One who may be closer to Val than she knows…

Val will need all the help she can get, including a sexy firefighter, her dead sister’s daughter, and a tough Chicago cop named Jack Daniels. Everyone has a breaking point, and Val has just reached hers.

Amazon

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onceOnce Upon a Night at Sea (Princess Cruises Presents: Kindle Love Stories)

by Barbara Longley

A spilled latte. A broken nose. Marin and Jason are bracing themselves for anything—except finding love on the high seas.

Things don’t start off on the right foot between Marin and Jason. After all, spilling caramel latte all over the hottest guy she’s ever laid eyes on isn’t the best way to make a good first impression. And, based on his brusque reaction, Jason isn’t quite Marin’s type, anyway. But when Marin wins the trip of a lifetime—a weeklong Caribbean cruise aboard the spectacular Emerald Princess—she’s shocked to find the sinfully handsome guy she’d doused in coffee back home occupying the stateroom next door. Even more shocking? Cruising on the high seas just might turn the tide of romance their way.

Amazon

 

 

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What’s in a name…? A Blurb Fit for Royalty — Guest Remi Bond

Please welcome guest Remi Bond, whose release Surprise for Three: Leap Year, along with S.L. Carpenter’s Chasing Dreams: Leap Year, leaped into reader hands February 29!

The first thing a reader sees of an author’s book is the cover or title. I think Surprise for Three is a good, engaging title, and with SL Carpenter’s artwork, you know the cover is going to be superlative.

But the next thing a reader sees is the “tag” and “blurb”, the hook line plus the three or four paragraphs that set up a promise as to what kind of ride the story will give.

I wrote what I thought was a good blurb, but for this first menage, was it good enough?

So I handed it over to The Blurb Queen, a professional. Oh, my, am I glad I did! Here’s the before and after, paragraph by paragraph, for your reading pleasure.

TAG
Before: (none)
After: Will she dare to take a leap this bold?

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

Before: Annaliese loves Ransom, but she’s too shy for him, and knows it. So in farewell, she throws him a Leap Year birthday party—with a surprise. Sure, she doesn’t get his heart a-pumping, but the beautiful exotic dancer popping out of the cake will.

After: … she’s not daring enough for him
Annaliese loves Ransom, but has given up on winning his heart. It hurts too much to watch him with other women, so she’s leaving town. In farewell, she throws him a Leap Year birthday party—with a surprise. She may not get his heart a-pumping, but the beautiful exotic dancer popping out of the cake will.

THE RICH PLAYBOY

Before: Ransom craves the adrenaline rush extreme sports and kinky sex give him. His heart belongs to Annaliese, but he’d make her miserable as her lover. He can only hope his hot blood cools before another man sweeps her away …and then the giant cake is wheeled in.

After: … he’s too much of a risk-taker for her Ransom’s heart belongs to Annaliese, but he’s convinced he’d make her miserable, since he craves the adrenaline rush of extreme sports and kinky sex. He can only hope his passion for her matures before another man sweeps her away … and then the giant cake is wheeled in.

THE INJURED SEAL

Before: Jack’s home from war for good and looking for a sweet woman to settle down with. When a relative maneuvers him into a pirate costume to swing his sword for some rich woman’s birthday party, he spies sweet Annaliese and knows she’s the one he wants. But she loves another…

After: THE WOUNDED WARRIOR … she’s just what he’s looking forJack is home from duty as a Navy SEAL and on the hunt for a sweet woman to settle down with. When a relative maneuvers him into a pirate costume to swing his sword for some rich chick’s birthday party, he goes along as a favor. Then he spies sweet Annaliese watching his moves and knows she’s the one.

(Wrapup)

Before: When the exotic dancer bursting from Ransom’s birthday cake turns out to be a well-muscled pirate, it’s a surprise for three.

After: A LEAP YEAR LOVE TRIANGLE … can they make it last?
When Jack sees the way Annaliese looks at Ransom, he’s ready to back away … until Ransom invites him to a private after-party for three. Can Annaliese overcome her shyness to share passion with not one, but two hot men?

WARNING

Before: This story contains material intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion advised.

After: Warning: This story contains hot ménage and demonstrations of affection between two alpha heroes and one heroine.

Don’t miss your chance to get in on this sexy celebration—get your copy of Surprise for Three today!

Here are the finished products:

Chasing Dreams: Leap Year by S.L. Carpenter

Michelle has reached a crossroads in her life just as the year offers her an extra day – February 29th. Walking away from an empty relationship and striking out on a new path is reviving feelings—both scary and wonderful. A train trip home offers time to think about her future, and what the Leap Year might bring. It also offers her a good looking drunk, passed out in her sleeping compartment.

Josh is mortified that he crashed in the wrong compartment, but fascinated by the woman who let him sleep and even covered him with a blanket. Their meeting seems pre-destined, as does the passion sparking between them.

But they both have pasts, and sometimes the past can leave a long shadow across the future. Michelle and Josh will have to come to terms with where they’ve been before they can really set off on the ultimate adventure…chasing their dreams.

Amazon | Amazon UK

Surprise for Three: Leap Year by Remi Bond

Will she dare to take a leap this bold?

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR … she’s not daring enough for him
Annaliese loves Ransom but has given up on winning his heart. It hurts too much to watch him with other women, so she’s leaving town. In farewell, she throws him a Leap Year birthday party—with a surprise. She may not get his heart a-pumping, but the beautiful exotic dancer popping out of the cake will.

THE RICH PLAYBOY … he’s too much of a risk-taker for her
Ransom’s heart belongs to Annaliese, but he’s convinced he’d make her miserable, since he craves the adrenaline rush of extreme sports and kinky sex. He can only hope his passion for her matures before another man sweeps her away … and then the giant cake is wheeled in.

THE WOUNDED WARRIOR … she’s just what he’s looking for
Jack is home from duty as a Navy SEAL and on the hunt for a sweet woman to settle down with. When a relative maneuvers him into a pirate costume to swing his sword for some rich chick’s birthday party, he goes along as a favor. Then he spies sweet Annaliese watching his moves and knows she’s the one.

A LEAP YEAR LOVE TRIANGLE … can they make it last?
When Jack sees the way Annaliese looks at Ransom, he’s ready to back away … until Ransom invites him to a private after-party for three. Can Annaliese overcome her shyness to share passion with not one, but two hot men?

Warning: This story contains hot ménage and demonstrations of affection between two alpha heroes and one heroine.

Don’t miss your chance to get in on this sexy celebration—get your copy of Surprise for Three today!

Amazon | Amazon UK

What about you? Does a polished blurb make a difference?

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