Mondays are for Excerpts

22 Sep

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

“Sir, I believe I know who killed your daughter,” Tessa said, emotions shaking her voice. Words raked the back of her throat. “But before I can tell you who did it, I need you to promise me, you’ll allow the bank to return the money back to the farmers.”

The mayor shot to his feet, fists clenched to his side. “How dare you come into my house, dangling a carrot in front of me and ask such nonsense! My daughter didn’t steal anything from anyone! Prove it, if you can.” He pointed a finger at Mr. Popescu and said, “You, and the rest of you farmers, make my life miserable with this accusation. I’m sick of all of you!”

Tessa reached into her purse and pulled out two pieces of paper and handed them to the mayor. He hesitated to take them.

“You ask for proof of her illegal activity. These are copies of contracts for the same person, only different amounts. Mr. Popescu here can confirm for you receiving a certain amount from me and handing part of it to your daughter while she notarized the contract.”

The farmer nodded.

The mayor took the documents, looked them over then said, “How do I know this is not fabricated by you, a denigrating conspiracy against my daughter?”

Tessa sat composed, her shoulders straight, her hands steady. A peaceful feeling came over her when she spoke with a candid voice, “What would I gain lying to you, Sir? You have here two people telling you the truth. If you’ll listen to the other farmers you’ll hear the same story. There’s a lot of money in your daughter’s account that belongs to others and not to her.”

The mayor seemed to ponder her words, then slumped on the sofa, next to his wife. He rested his elbows on his knees and looked sideways at his wife, then back at Tessa. He pushed a hand through his completely white hair, a pained look on his face.

“Suppose I agree to this. How do I know how much money goes to whom?”

“We’ll work together, calling in each farmer and ask how much money they gave away. You’ll have to trust them,” Tessa said.

“And how do I know you’re telling me the truth about my daughter’s killer?”

Tessa pulled out of her purse a brown envelope and placed its content on the coffee table in front of the mayor.

“Because the same person who did this to me told me he gave your daughter the same lesson. Only I was lucky and survived. This is me in the intensive care unit hours after the attack. A friend found me, otherwise I’d probably not be here.”

The mayor’s mouth fell agape. He lifted each photo with shaky hands, then placed them back down. He looked at Tessa, then back at the photos. His wife stopped rocking and covered her mouth with both hands, her head shaking in denial.

“My baby, my poor baby, what she had to go through,” she said against her palms. Her husband embraced her, caressing her wrinkled cheek.

“Did he get caught?” the mayor asked, his face flushed with fury.

“He had an accident. Unfortunately he didn’t survive to face his trial.” Tessa gathered the photos, then stood. “I’m sorry I put you through this, Sir. I wish I didn’t have to show you the photos. Nor did I intend to add more suffering to your family. But I owed this to myself and to your daughter, who became the victim of the same person. It’s time to do the right thing.” 

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Banned Book Week Hop

20 Sep

banned book week 2014[2] 2

“Don’t touch the stove,” — “Don’t listen to that song,” –“Don’t watch that movie!” … and the list goes on. How many times have we heard these or variations of such don’t-s especially during our childhood?

Well, if that was not enough we can add one more to the list: Don’t read that book! For one reason or another some books land on the Banned Books List and while we don’t really pay attention to it on a regular basis, here we are taking one week out of the year to … celebrate these books. Why? Because some of the reasons those books are on the list are–in my opinion–very subjective (Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered “racially insensitive,” “oppressive,” and “perpetuates racism.” Or J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter makes the list for “occult / Satanism”).

Please join us during the week of 09/21-09/27 for the Banned Book Week Hop organized by Mary @ The Book Hounds and Kathy @ I’m A Reader Not A Writer. Find your way to lots and lots of blogs giving away tons of prizes, all of them from the same category–banned books. You’re allowed to rebel for once and no one will judge you for it, I promise.

My Giveaway: one e-copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

wallflower

What you have to do to win it: It’s simple: FOLLOW THIS BLOG BY EMAIL by clicking on the button to the right called “Sign me up!” (atop all images) and leave your answer to the question: What book from the banned Book List you read and loved it? I start first and say that my fave book of ALL times is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind.

VBT–An Event to Remember… or Forget by Melissa Baldwin. Guest Post and Giveaway

18 Sep

An Event to Remember Tour

Tour Schedule 

 

An event to remember or forget

An Event to Remember… or Forget

Sienna Harris is a girl with a plan. Her days of slaving away at Carrie’s Classic Events and More are numbered as she is on the brink of launching her own event planning company. Her relationship with Luke Price is headed in the right direction and they are approaching their one-year mark. The future is looking bright and she knows that life could not get any better . . . That is until her perfectly planned world is thrown upside down by the unexpected arrival of someone from Luke’s past.
She receives the shock of her life on the night of the biggest event of her career. Sienna will now have to pull it all together without a list or a plan. The question is, can she do it?

Amazon

 Guest Post–Juggling responsibilities and managing time

I have always been very organized and good at keeping a schedule but even then life gets so busy that I sometimes wonder how I will be able to keep up with everything. These many tasks include the day job, taking care of husband, caring for children, chauffeuring children to practices/ lessons, exercise, PTA, housework, laundry and making time for writing.  

I know after talking to most women, we all feel this way at some point. we want to do everything and be everything. 

Writing is my break from all of the day to day responsibilities. I love being able to escape into my characters and their world.

If I could give any kind of advice to my fellow mothers, wives, working women, writers etc. it would be to try your best, be patient with yourself, ask for help when you need it and above all else love yourself.

 

Melissa BaldwinAuthor Melissa Baldwin

Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she fulfilled her dream with her debut novel, An Event To Remember . . . Or Forget.
Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. She is a master at organization and multi-tasking. Her daily jobs include mother, chauffeur, wife, PTA President, Fitness Trainer, and now Author.
When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, fitness, decorating, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

 Blog * Facebook * Pinterest * Twitter

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/2/14

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

Cover Reveal for Sherry Gammon’s Port Fare Series

16 Sep
Unlovable is now an audiobook!! If you click here you can get the audiobook for free with a 30 day free trial of Audible on Amazon!! You can’t beat free!!Along with the release of the audiobook, I’ve redesigned the covers of the first two books in the Port Fare series. ( I’m designing covers now. Click here and check them out!) To celebrate the new look, I am giving away paperback copies of the entire series. 

Here is the new cover for Unlovable. I didn’t change it too much because I really loved the original one. (Thank you, Paul Beeley), but another author came out with almost the exact same cover, including the coloring :'(

I kept the girl on the swing because she fits Maggie’s story perfectly, though I did add flowers to the swing. The rest has been changed completely. I love the blues and pinks, and I’ve always wanted a moon on the cover. I also added Maggie’s trailer in the background!

Here is the eBook cover:

And this is the Paperback
     This is the audio book cover.
 This is the new cover for Unbelievable! It’s a real change. I feel this cover fits the story so much better. Lilah feels trapped by her domineering father and his demands. She desperately wants to break free…can’t tell you anymore or I’ll spoil the story I feel this new cover portrays Lilah and what she is going through in a much stronger way, and it seems to fit in better with the other covers. While I loved the old cover, and had a huge say in its design, (Thank you again, Paul) it seemed out of place with book one & three’s covers. This one holds the same “feel,” if you will.
Here is the Ebook cover:
And this is the paperback
Unbearable’s cover didn’t really change, only the back was updated.

 

So, what do you think??

Sherry’s Web page

Sherry’s Goodreads page

Purchase links:

Mondays are for Excerpts

15 Sep

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

Cristian stopped laughing then put a hand on top of hers, squeezing it. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. What’s done is done. I’m assuming you had a good reason for getting drunk and I’m actually glad you called me—even though it wasn’t for the right reason.”

Tessa sighed, feeling remorse and sadness. “I need to know: did I . . . did we?”

“Have sex?” Cristian finished her sentence when she couldn’t. “No, we didn’t.” He looked at her with sad eyes and pressed his lips tight.

“Thank goodness!” she exclaimed. A sigh of relief escaped Tessa, then she saw his face go pale, and hurried to say, “Cristian, please don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean it that way.”

He tried to walk away, but she grabbed his wrist, forcing him to stop, and looking deep into his blue eyes she said, “You’re one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. You’ve been my friend now during a period of my life when I couldn’t trust anyone. With your candor, your patience, your sense of humor, your passion, you helped me learn how to let people back into my life. I wish I could give you what you want, but I can’t.”

Tessa sighed and swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. “Yesterday was one of those days I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life. I was driving to see my therapist and this young man jumped out of nowhere in front of my car and I got out and saw him on the ground. Then another driver came and when I asked for help he said the kid was pretending and I should kick him aside, get in my car and drive away because I was blocking the traffic.

“Then he kicked my car and began insulting me. I was taking all that abuse while people crowded around us to see the scene and . . . something I don’t know what, made me stand up and follow the man back to his car and I . . . I hit him in his crotch.”

“He insulted you and hit your car? You hit him?” Cristian stared at her with incredulous eyes.

“Yeah. I hit him. I hit him for the teenager hurting on the ground, for all the women that are out there taking the kind of abuse we take when men think that we can’t drive, or all we know how to do is whore around. I’m so sick of this mentality. Maybe that’s why I want so desperately to have this event we’re working on so we can change something. Why do people have to be so hateful? Why is there a need for so much abuse?”

Cristian pulled her up and wiped off her tears with his thumbs. His face came down to her, as if he wanted to kiss her, then abruptly he hugged her and rocked her side to side.

The embrace felt warm. Tessa closed her eyes and let Cristian rock her—it felt good. He held her for a while, resting his chin atop her head.

“You don’t stop amazing me. I wonder if there are stores around that sell armor, or something,” Cristian said after a while, and when she didn’t say anything, he looked down at her and said, “You know, for protection?”

Tessa pinched his arm then said, “Keep teasing, then no armor will protect you from me.”

“So.” Cristian titled his head. “Are you going to tell me why you need a therapist?”

HH for web

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VBT–Dancing with Raven by S.G. Rogers. Spotlight and Giveaway

12 Sep

 

Dancing with Raven Cover

Dancing with Raven by S.G. Rogers

Tori Moss is no stranger to heartbreak. Raised by a foster mother since the deaths of her parents in a horrific accident, she’s poured herself into ballet. A disappointing audition sends her into an emotional tailspin, but it’s the strangely intriguing new guy in school who catches her as she falls. Although Tori and Raven seem to be nothing alike, they share an uncommon ability to see the sudden flood of demons pouring into Los Angeles. When she discovers a plot to bring about the Apocalypse, Tori must decide whom to trust. One wrong step may cost her everything.

 

AMAZON

add to goodreads

 

SG RogersAuthor S.G. Rogers:

Currently residing in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, S.G. Rogers writes historical romance, fantasy, and romantic fantasy stories. She’s owned by two hairless cats, Houdini and Nikita, and lives on an island populated by exotic birds, deer and the occasional gator. Tab is her beverage of choice, but when she imbibes, a cranberry vodka martini doesn’t go amiss.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 9/24/14

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with author Susan Squires. Giveaway

11 Sep

Susan,

Thank you for accepting to be a guest on my blog. You and I can talk for hours about the same passion that brought us together in the first place—writing—but I’d be selfish keeping you just to myself. Can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule and sitting down with me for a cup of . . . wisdom, writing and romance.

Last week I posted a review of your novel titled THE COMPANION which I absolutely loved for its raw emotions, heroes with more than just good looks and a storyline that kept me awake late in the night. This novel redeemed for me the entire vampire species, it truly did and I thank you for it. Along with the review I promised my fans an interview with you so, here I keep my promise. Shall we? 

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.

I had always wanted to write. When I was 12 I started a novel written from the point of view of my dog and got 36 painfully typed pages done. When I was 16 I was sure I would be a writer. But I had other interests too. I was a theater major in college and did some acting, got a Masters Degree in English lit. And then life got in the way. Neither writing or theater seemed like a practical way to make a living. (I was right about that!) Nobody was getting work teaching. I went to work in the business world, had some luck, got to be an executive in a Fortune 500 company, but I always felt something was missing. In one of my many mid-life crises, I decided to write a book. That was difficult for me. I’d studied great literature. I knew I probably wouldn’t turn out to be the next Jane Austen. But I read a novel with an exciting premise on the back blurb. The actual book didn’t seem to deliver. I remember finishing and saying to myself, “I may not be Jane Austen, but I can do better than THAT.” So I wrote a book. It was awful. I had to decide whether I was going to put the effort in to get better at this thing. So I took classes, and got a critique group. I sold the second book I wrote, DANEGELD, about Vikings and Saxons in Dark Age Britain. It got some attention. I was on my way… 

When did you write THE COMPANION and what was the inspiration for it?

I had written five books and wanted to return to an idea I’d had some time earlier. During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, many people blamed the people who had the disease, as if it was a punishment for being bad. I didn’t believe that. I had just watched (again) the old movie of Dracula with Frank Langella, and I thought to myself, “What if vampires can’t help what they are? What if they just have a disease, and everyone just thinks they’re evil because of it?” So my vampires have a parasite in their blood that gives them eternal life, and strength, and the ability to influence weaker minds, but it also extracts a terrible toll. The world of the Companion was born. And, of course, some things we all believe about vampires are myths in my stories. I wrote some of my vampires as Italian—so of course their aversion to garlic was a myth. So was the stuff about crosses. Just superstitions! I also wanted my world to be a little kinky but with real people who experienced real emotions. I wanted readers to experience what it would really be like to be a vampire, or to be in love with one. 

Why did you pick the Regency Era for your novel? 

See above—all those references to Jane Austen? I loved the Regency period. I had read every Georgette Heyer book I could get my hands on. I thought they were pretty perfect, except they didn’t have enough sex (or any!) I had done an earlier vampire story called SACRAMENT that first laid out the world of the Companion and I wanted to revisit and expand that world. I had already accumulated a lot of research materials on the Regency, and I’d been to England several times. So I combined my two interests, and did Regency vampires. 

I know there are 6 novels in the series called COMPANION (can’t wait to read them all!). The second novel titled THE HUNGER follows Beatrix Lisse, who you introduce to your readers during THE COMPANION. Why out of all your secondary characters you chose her to become the main heroine in the second novel?

Cami, you are so perceptive! I had a special love for Beatrix. She was based on a character I loved from my first vampire novel. That novel was far, far too long, and in order to publish it I had to cut it in half. (It was still published and more than 120,000 words.) So my beloved character hit the cutting room floor. But when you are a writer, those characters can live again… and I brought her back as Beatrix Lisse.

Is it true that each novel in the series follows a character you introduce in the previous novel?

No. Some books follow characters you’ve never met. Sometimes characters from previous books show up. Sometimes a villain reappears. Each can be read as a standalone book. In some cases, all they share is the world construct. 

A series of 6 books must be hard to write. You need to remember when and where each story begins/ends, keep track of all heroes, etc. Can you tell us which book was the easiest to write and which the hardest? Were you stuck at any given time and if yes how did you overcome it? 

Because the Companion series doesn’t follow a single, overarching story arc, they were much easier to write than a series where each book follows the same character group and occurs immediately following the previous book. I had more freedom that way.

Of course the first book in a series is often the easiest. It seems to just flow out, because the idea is shiny and new and you just want to live the story. But in ONE WITH THE DARKNESS, I had an experience that was very hard, and that turned into something very easy. It’s the sixth book in the series. I had submitted an idea my editor didn’t like. I was crushed. She started trying to suggest what I should write. I not only didn’t like her ideas, I got angry (though she probably never knew that. I was nice—she was my boss after all.) I told her I’d go away and think about it. I was in Philadelphia for the day job at the time, trying to get home on a Friday night. The plane broke. I had to stay over night. And while I was having a very lonely dinner at the Ramada Inn coffee shop, I had the idea that would become ONE WITH THE DARKNESS. I thought to myself that I really needed to come up with a character I cared about. Immediately I thought about ONE WITH THE SHADOWS, my last Companion book. The hero’s mother, the Italian Contessa who was also a vampire, stole almost every scene she was in. She had a great tragedy in her past. During the Roman Empire, she had let the love of her life, a barbarian slave, age and die rather than make him a vampire. She lives with horrible regret. Why not, I thought, allow her to go back in time and try to change that? The idea of Leonardo DaVinci’s time machine was born. (I liked it so much I wrote three more books using that device called the DaVinci Time Travel series. The first one even has a vampire heroine.) Who, after all, was better to invent a time machine than Leonardo? Of course, it’s not as easy to change history as one would think. J I won’t say more than that. But I got to research Caligula’s Rome, and barbarian slaves, and…. And I love that book. Once I got going, it was easy to write.  

Ah, I love the Starz’s series called DaVinci’s Demons! So amazing you were able to incorporate his history into your novels. As much as I’d love to continue talking about the COMPANION series, I’m also interested in what you’re working on now, what genre and when should we expect its publishing? 

I’m currently working on the MAGIC series. There are seven books planned. It’s about a big modern family, the Tremaines, who have inherited Merlin’s DNA. When each sibling finds their destined mate, another with the Merlin gene, they are instantly attracted, and their gene is activated. They get a magic power. You’d think that would be just great, right? But the bad boy brother is an outsider who doesn’t want to believe it will happen to him. The oldest sister is sure of her destiny, until the man who raises her power is an alcoholic still in love with his dead wife. And I won’t even talk about the middle sister, poor thing. Then, of course, there are those who got their magic from Morgan Le Fay. They don’t have quite the same goals as our heroes. The family is as much a character in these stories as any individual. I’ve fallen in love with all of them as I’ve been writing it. My writer friends say it reads as much like a contemporary romance as a paranormal. One friend says it’s a paranormal romance for readers who don’t like paranormal romances (that would be her.) This is a series that should be read in order. It’s also the complicated kind of series. Everything is intertwined, and all the characters appear in all the books. I plotted out six books before I ever started writing. The first book (about that bad boy brother) is DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?, followed by HE’S A MAGIC MAN and WAITING FOR MAGIC. NIGHT MAGIC, the 4th in the series, is out starting September 8th. There’s also a novella that tells the Tremaine parents’ story, YOUR MAGIC TOUCH, available only in digital formats (but at least it’s only $.99!) I’m currently working on THE MAGIC’S IN THE MUSIC, which will be out next year. By the way, I planned only six books in the series, but a new character just showed up, and he won’t be denied. So the series is seven. 

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A lot of my readers are aspiring writers. What is the one piece of advice you have for them? 

Hmmm. One piece of advice? That’s really hard. How about two pieces? The first is to learn the craft. My first book was not good. But writing is something you can learn. I put in the work, and two of my books were named Best Books of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly, and I have Reviewer’s Choice awards, Rita nominations and other contest wins now that were a direct result of doing the work to get better. People may read you once based on a blurb or a cover, but they keep coming back if the books are good. 

The second piece of advice is a direct corollary of the first. Stick with it. Most people who want to write don’t finish a book. Most people who finish a book don’t really polish the whole thing. Most people who get a finished product don’t keep at it until they sell to the buyer who can really get them the distribution they need. So decide on what you want for your book? Supermarket shelves everywhere? Or do you just want to see your title available on Amazon? Know what you want for that book. Then pursue that goal and don’t stop. 

I couldn’t agree more, Susan. Being so experienced, my next question is: what is your take on traditional publishing versus self-publishing?

This is a publishing world where everything is possible. Isn’t that an improvement for writers? We’re in the driver’s seat. We can self-publish, publish with an e press, a small press, or go for an agent and a New York house. I published 17 books with New York houses, and got all the benefit of that. I am self-publishing my new series and it’s given me both a wonderful freedom and more control over the end product, though it also has brought more responsibility. Bad cover? I approved that, and I can’t blame my publisher. I will say, that while we can all point to instances of lightning striking for self-published authors, most authors build their audience over multiple books. It makes it easier to sell self-published books if you already have an audience built with a publishing house. That said, NY publishing is harder to get into these days, and traditional publishers are pretty clueless about how to promote digital sales. If you need proof, just look at the price of digital copies for traditionally published books. Digital copies of THE COMPANION are only 50 cents cheaper than a paperback copy was. I can hardly wait to get my rights back! So in the end, the awful truth is that the choice is yours. And that’s both frightening and empowering. The only obligation you have is to yourself and your readers to write the best book you can. 

Susan, thank you so much for your time. I had a tremendous time interviewing you. Good luck with your upcoming release (love the cover, by the way!) and can’t wait to see you again. For those interested where to find Susan please visit:

http://susansquires.com

Facebook/AuthorSusanSquires

Goodreads.Susan_Squires

twitter.com/SusanSquires

And now to the much promised giveaway: I decided to offer one e-copy of Susan’s upcoming novel titled NIGHT MAGIC to one lucky winner. What do you have to do for it?

Add NIGHT MAGIC to your to-be-read list on Goodreads and leave a comment with the link you did so. I’ll have the giveaway running until September 24th with the winner announcement on September 25th. 

Good luck everyone!