Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Exclusive Sneak Peek!

I'm so excited that I was asked to take part in the launch for the fantastic Kristen Painter. I have loved her previous books, and I'm looking forward to her new series. Below is the awesome cover and excerpt for the first book, House of the Rising Sun, which releases on May 13th.

Enjoy!




Prologue

New Orleans, Louisiana, 2040

Why can’t we take the streetcar?” Walking home from church at night was always a little scary for Augustine, especially when they had to go past the cemetery.
“You know why,” Mama answered. “Because we don’t have money for things like that. Not that your shiftless father would help out. Why I expect anything from that lying, manipulative piece of…” She grunted softly and shook her head.
Augustine had never met his father, but from what Mama had told him, which wasn’t much, his father didn’t seem like a very nice man. Just once, though, Augustine would like to meet him to see what he looked like. Augustine figured he must look like his father, because he sure didn’t look like Mama. Maybe if they met, he’d also ask his father why he never came around. Why he didn’t want to be part of their family. Why Mama cried so much.
With a soft sigh, he held Mama’s hand a little tighter, moving closer to her side. Unlike him, Mama only had five fingers on each hand, not six. She didn’t have gray skin or horns like him, either. She didn’t like his horns much. She kept them filed down so his hair hid the stumps. He jammed his free hand into his jacket pocket, the move jogging him to the side a little.
“Be careful, Augustine. You’re going to make me trip.”
“Sorry, Mama.” The sidewalks were all torn up from the tree roots poking through them. The moon shone through those big trees with their twisty branches and clumps of moss, and cast shadows that looked like creatures reaching toward them. He shivered, almost tripping over one of the roots.
She jerked his arm. “Pay attention.”
“Yes, Mama.” But paying attention was what had scared him in the first place. He tried shutting his eyes, picking his feet up higher to avoid the roots.
Next thing he knew, his foot caught one of those roots and he was on his hands and knees, the skin on his palms burning from where he’d scraped them raw on the rough sidewalk. His knee throbbed with the same pain, but he wouldn’t cry, because he was almost nine and he was a big boy. Old enough to know that he must also control the powers inside him that wanted to come out whenever he felt angry or hurt or excited.
“Oh, Augustine! You ripped your good pants.” Mama grabbed his hand and tugged him to his feet.
“I’m sorry about my pants.” He stood very still, trying not to cause any more trouble. Mama got so angry, so fast. “My knee hurts.”
With a sigh, Mama crouched down, pulled a tissue from her purse, spit on it and began to dab at the blood. “It will be okay. It’s just a little scrape. And you heal… quickly.”
The dabbing hurt worse, but he kept quiet, biting at his cheek. He looked at his hands, opening his twelve fingers wide. Already the scrapes there were fading. It was because of his fae blood, which he wasn’t supposed to talk about. He dropped his hands and stared at the tall cemetery wall next to them. On the other side of that wall were a lot of dead people. In New Orleans, no one could be buried underground because of the water table. He’d learned that in school.
The wind shook the tree above their heads, making the shadows crawl toward them. He inched closer to her and pointed at the cemetery. “Do you think there’s ghosts in there, Mama?”
She stood, ignoring his pointing to brush dirt off his jacket. “Don’t be silly. You know ghosts aren’t real.”
The cemetery gates creaked. She turned, then suddenly put him behind her. Around the side of her dress, Augustine could see a big shape almost on them, smell something sour and sweaty, and hear heavy breathing. Mama reached for Augustine, jerking them both back as the man grabbed for her.
The man missed, but Mama’s heart was going thumpthumpthump. That was another fae thing Augustine wasn’t supposed to talk about, being able to hear extra-quiet sounds like people’s hearts beating.
“C’mere, now,” the man growled. Even in the darkness, Augustine’s sharp fae eyes could see the man’s teeth were icky.
Mama swung her purse at him. “Leave us alone!”
“Us?” The man grunted, his gaze dropping to Augustine. Eyes widening for a second, he snorted. “Your runt’s not going to ruin my fun.”
“I’m not a runt,” Augustine said. Fear made his voice wobble, but he darted out from behind his mother anyway, planting himself in front of her.
The man swatted Augustine away with a meaty hand.
Augustine hit the cemetery wall, cracking his head hard enough to see stars. But with the new pain came anger. And heat. The two mixed together like a storm in his belly, making him want to do… something. He tried to control it, but the man went after Mama next, grabbing her and pushing her to the ground. Then the man climbed on top of her.
She cried out and the swirling inside Augustine became a hurricane dragging him along in its winds. Without really knowing what he was doing, he leaped onto the man’s back. The hard muscle and bone he expected seemed soft and squishy. He grabbed fistfuls of the man’s jacket—but his hands met roots and dirt and shards of concrete instead.
Mama’s eyes blinked up at him, wide and fearful. She seemed a little blurry. Was he crying? And how was he seeing her when he was on the man’s back? And why had everything gone so quiet? Except for a real loud tha-thumptha-thumptha-thump, everything else sounded real far away. He pushed to his knees, expecting them to sting from his fall, but he felt nothing. And the man attacking his mother was somehow… gone.
“Don’t, Augustine.” She shook her head as she scrabbled backward. “Don’t do this.”
“Don’t do what, Mama?” He reached for her but the hand that appeared before him was too big. And only had five fingers. He stuck his other hand out and saw the same thing. “What’s happening to me, Mama?”
“Get out of him, Augustine.” She got to her feet, one trembling hand clutching the crucifix on her necklace. “Let the man go.”
He stood and suddenly he was looking down at his mother. Down. How was he doing that? He glanced at his body. But it wasn’t his body, it was the man’s.
“I don’t understand.” But he had an idea. Was this one of the powers he had? One of the things he was supposed to control? He didn’t know how to get out. Was he trapped? He only wanted to protect his mother, he didn’t want to be this man!
The storm inside him welled up in waves. The heat in his belly was too much. He didn’t understand this new power. He wanted to be himself. He wanted to be out. Panic made bigger waves, hot swells that clogged his throat so he couldn’t take deep breaths. The thumping noise got louder.
The man’s hands reached up to claw at Augustine, at his own skin.
Mama backed away, her fingers in the sign of the cross. He cried out to her for help. He was too hot, too angry, too scared—
A loud, wet pop filled his ears and he fell to his hands and knees again, this time covered in sticky red ooze and smoking hunks of flesh. The thumping noise was gone. Around him was more sticky red, lumps of flesh and pieces of white bone. All he could think about was the time he and Nevil Tremain had stuffed a watermelon full of firecrackers. Except this was way worse. And blowing up the watermelon hadn’t made him feel like throwing up. Or smelled like burnt metal. He sat back, wiped at his face and eyes and tried to find his mother. She was a few feet away, but coming closer.
“You killed that man.” She stood over him looking more angry than afraid now. “You possessed that man like a demon.” She pointed at him. “You’re just like your father, just like that dirty fae-blooded liar.”
Augustine shook his head. “That man was hurting you—”
“Yes, you saved me, but you took his life, Augustine.” She looked around, eyes darting in all directions. “Sturka,” she muttered, a fae curse word Augustine had once gotten slapped for saying.
“I didn’t mean to, I was trying to help—”
“And who’s next? Are you going to help me that way too someday?”
He was crying now, unable to help himself. “No, Mama, no. I would never hurt you.”
She grabbed him by his shirt and yanked him to his feet. “Act human, not like a freak, do you understand? If people could see what you really looked like…” Fear clouded her eyes.
He nodded, sniffling, hating the smell of the blood he was covered in. He didn’t want to be a freak. He really didn’t. “I can act human. I promise.”
She let go of his shirt, her lip slightly curled as she looked him over. “This was your father’s blood that caused this. Not mine.”
“Not yours,” Augustine repeated. Mama looked human but was part smokesinger, something he knew only because he’d overheard an argument she’d had with his father on the phone once. He’d learned other things that way, too. Like that his father was something called shadeux fae. But not just part. All of him. And he’d lied to Mama about that. Used magic to make Mama think he was human. To seduce her.
“I never want to hear or see anything fae ever again or I will put you out of my house. I live as human and while you’re under my roof, so will you. Am I clear?”
The thought of being without her made his chest ache. She was all he had. His world. “Yes, Mama.”
But keeping his fae side hidden was impossible and five years later, put him out is exactly what she did.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blog Hop!

Good afternoon!  Below is a Rafflecopter form to win some great prizes! There are also the other sites on the Hop.  Make sure that you check them out!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another Great Tour



I was so excited to be a part of this tour!  The book was really good.  It had you guessing all the way to the very end.  I loved it!  The characters were fun and all had something that they were trying to avoid dealing with in their lives.  Definitely check this book out:


Here is a description of the book:

Calling themselves the Bitches of Brooklyn, five friends spend the weekend every summer in Cape Cod.  When on of the bitches doesn't show, and sends a cryptic note, each of the four women has to take a good look at what is happening in their lives.

I also had the privilege to ask the author a few questions.

1.  In three words, describe the main characters of your book?  I'll borrow three words from Elaine Viets who said they were "smart, sassy and sophisticated."
2.  What was the inspiration for the story? There were two inspirations - a reunion I went to where four lifelong friends showed up and one didn't. And the classic Hollywood film, A Letter to Three Wives.
3.  Do you have a plan about any other books connected to this one? I grew very fond of these gals (as I hope readers will) so I've already started a sequel. The next has a bit more of a mystery in it.
4.  What is next for you? The trade paperback of Slugfest, one of my Dirty Business mysteries is coming out in January, so I'm excited about that. People have asked me if I'll write any more Paula Holliday books and I’m trying to figure out a way to have her meet the Bitches!
 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Great New Author to Check Out!

great escape tour banner large WHIPS CUFFS LITTLE BROWN BOXES448


I am so excited to be a part of this tour.  This book was right up my alley.  I really enjoyed the plot as well as the characters.  I find it interesting that Lilly is a mystery writer. We don't see that very often.  You would think that it would be more common with the whole "write what you know".  I highly recommend this book to all cozy fans.  Kathy Long has a winner on her hands.  I am definitely looking forward to more from this author!!

Aunt Fran is missing. Those words echoed throughout the town, worrying family and friends. So, Lilly Millenovanovich, a mystery writer, decides to help the authorities find her aunt. The Barton police have very few leads and Lilly is between novels with time on her hands. Her search becomes a hazardous journey in Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes. Thrown into awkward situations is familiar to Lilly Millenovanovich, like hiding in a stranger’s bedroom closet and discovering a naked man cuffed to the bed. Though events sometimes turn dangerous Lilly continues her sleuthing and recruits Mona, her cousin and best friend, to assist in the search.

Complications erupt, making their quest almost impossible. A chain of store robberies, the unusual behavior of Aunt Fran’s husband, and death threats from the mob are just a few. No matter where the search takes them, Lilly sees one common element – Ron Kinecki, known by women in town as Slick Dick Ron. He’s the owner of Repo Ron’s Used Cars, but might be selling more than automobiles.

As luck would have it, not all eyes watching Lilly intend harm. Her eccentric neighbor, Kooky Colonel Crockett, proves to be a helpful witness as he stands guard over the neighborhood. Aunt Sadie, the bold matriarch of Lilly’s family, who may tip the bottle once too often, executes strong will and bold opinions to keep Lilly on a straight path. Even an anonymous emailer feeds Lilly clues.

Before it’s over, Lilly must face more trouble than she can manage alone. Still, with friends and family to lend their support, everything turns out well in the end. Certainly, it doesn’t happen without a murder or two, but then all is back to normal. At least until the next mystery hits town.

 

Author Bio:
Kathryn Long is a recently retired school teacher who has enjoyed writing mysteries for several years. Credits include mystery shorts, "Betrayal in an Envelope" and “A Good Man", both published by The Piker Press. Long has ventured into self-publishing the cozy Lilly M. mystery series with titles Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes and Gangs, Illegals, and a Rose Tattoo, as well as a series of YA novels, Cinderella Geek, Not So Snow White and Alice in Realityland under the pen name Jennkrist. Dying to Dream is her latest mystery gone to print with indie publisher, Mainly Murder Press. Future publications include a romantic suspense novel titled A Deadly Deed Grows, which will be coming out next year with The Wild Rose Press.
· Links:
 
 
· A Book Excerpt
 
           “Some days I hated my life. Turning forty, pre-menopausal migraines, single, gaining ten pounds in six months, not to mention having three, sometimes overbearing mothers,  and an editor with no compassion.
           On the other hand, I had Kline, sort of, and there was my career, or what was left of it. I had a dog that idolized me, even if no one else did, and a house of my own. Those pluses should sustain me through my crises. So now, I would go home and write. It's what I do. -- Lilly Millenovanovich”
 
The windows were huge, covering the entire front wall of the building. Once we turned the lights on, anyone from the street could see us. Not a good idea.
"Mona, wait. Maybe we should …" My words ended in muted garble as I tripped. A large object like a rolled up rug came into contact with my foot. Before I knew it, feet, legs, and then the rest of me fell to the floor, along with the large vase I grabbed hold of in a desperate attempt to remain standing. Mona heard my grunt, a thud, and the crash of shattered pottery as I landed.
"You okay?" She whispered, despite all the clamor I had just made.
"I'm fine! Can you reach that light so I can see my way up off this floor?"
I heard the flip of the switch and blinked when light filled the store. As soon as my eyes adjusted, I looked down at the object causing my fall. My hand, sticky, wet, and red, lifted off the so-called rug. I stared at it for a second until the message registered in my brain, then I screamed. I scrambled backwards on all fours in crablike motion to distance myself.
"Oh, God. I think I'm going to be sick all over again."
Mona turned and took in the scene. "Is that …?" she started.
I forced myself to look at the body with a bullet hole in the middle of the forehead and nodded.
 
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Exciting News from One of My All Time FAVORITE Authors!

I am super excited to be involved in this big reveal!  Carly Phillips is on my list of All Time Favorite Authors. I would definitely put her in my top 5!  She is always a go to author for me.  I have never been disappointed by any of her books. If you have not read her before, go and check out her books ASAP!

Before the big news, check out the blurb for the new book:

New York Times Bestselling Author Carly Phillips turns up the heat in her newest sexy contemporary romance series, and introduces you to the Dare family... siblings shaped by a father's secrets and betrayal.
 
Since finding out his father had another family on the side, Ian Dare swore to be the upstanding, responsible man his cheating parent had never been.  When it comes to his relatives, he gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum.  But one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts and Ian is entranced.  
 
He will do anything to possess her ... and does.  But any future with Riley must include him extending an olive branch to the half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he'd rather forget.
 
Independent and always in control, Riley Taylor makes no apologies for choosing men carefully.  Relationships have never been a priority and she believes herself hardened to domineering men - until she meets charismatic Ian Dare.  He manages to turn a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and when he takes control in the bedroom, she's stunned to discover she likes it. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined.  But Riley's past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian's dominance might just cost her everything.
 
 
 
 
 
 And now for the big news:

News from Carly: 

Dear Readers,
I know I’ve been teasing everyone for a while now about some exciting news that I have in the works. And I now have the official go-ahead to tell the world what's coming next for me!  Are you ready? I’m so ready to share. I’ve been DYING to shout from the rooftops and have had a hard time keeping the news to myself. But here you go:
 
I’m going Indie.

That’s right. Instead of publishing my next series of books with a traditional publisher, I’ve decided to self-publish the series.  Don't worry, I'll explain what this means for you.  But first ...Why am I making the switching to Indie you ask?   Well after a lot of research and many debates with myself, I made the decision to self-publish my next series for one primary reason: YOU, my readers. The rise and success of self-publishing has obviously made a huge impact on the industry, and many of my readers have reached out to me personally, encouraging me to make some changes.

Although my publishers have always been very good to me and I’ve very much enjoyed working with them, there is a good reason for me to make the switch. More control.  Making the move to indie is giving me more control over my books. I’m no longer tied to a specific word count set by a publisher. I have more control over the editing process. I can make the final decisions on covers, release dates, blurbs and content. And the most important factor: I now sets the price points of my books.  Making the switch to self-publishing is giving me total control to make both myself and you, my readers very, very happy. 

Now the answer to WHAT'S NEXT ... The first book in my brand new Dare to Love series (also titled Dare to Love) is set to release on November 18th 2013.

Coming soon, you can pre-order DARE TO LOVE exclusively at iTunes. On the day of release, you can find the books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. In addition, the book will be available in paperback too! Of course I’ll send a newsletter, but be sure to follow me on social media (links below) in order to get the most up to date information as it happens! For my paperback readers: This bears repeating: YES these books will available in paperback as well as eBook!  
 

Links to social media:


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Great Series to Check Out!!




Hello all!  I am so excited to have been on this tour.  Still Life In A Brunswick Stew, by  Larissa Reinhart was an amazing read!  Very entertaining and this blogger cannot wait for more!


Artist Cherry Tucker is at the annual Brunswick Stew Festival sharing a booth with her friend Eloise.  Trying to make some money selling small versions of her paintings, Cherry is catching up with her friend.  Poor Eloise suffers from Crohn's disease, but is having a good day and going to town with the stew, but after a while, begins to feel sick.  Taking her friend to ER, Cherry learns that there were a bunch of festival goers that have ended up there as well.  Running in to her deputy boyfriend, Luke, there, she promises not to get involved.  But when her friend dies, all bets are off. 

This is the second installment in the Cherry Tucker series.  I really enjoyed the growth with the characters and of course the hijinks that ensue.  Although the ending is a total cliffhanger, I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.  I fell in love with Halo, Georgia, and all of its residents.  If it were real, I would be on the first train down there!  Keep the awesome stories coming Larissa Reinhart!

Love,
A Huge Fan


Monday, September 30, 2013

Killer Image by Wendy Tyson



Hello all!  I am thrilled to kick off the Killer Image Blog Tour. 

I absolutely loved this book.  A great story, made even greater as it is set in my neck of the woods, the Philadelphia suburbs.  I love reading a book and knowing of the areas personally.  It makes the book even more real to me. The characters were great, and I am hoping that there is more in store, as I think there is so much more to tell about these characters.

Without further ado, here is a guest blog by the author of Killer Image, Wendy Tyson:


Where to begin?

A few weeks ago I stopped by a local bookstore to drop off an advance reader copy of KILLER IMAGE and to introduce myself.  The store was about to close, but the young employee, seeing the pleading look on my face (I had driven 45 minutes to get there), was kind enough to open the door and let me in.  She was adorably awestruck at meeting an author (and let’s face it, that kind of reaction doesn’t happen too often to debut authors), and, after a few minutes of shy chit chat, told me that she, too, wanted to write.  But where to start, she asked?  A novel felt too big and too overwhelming. 

She’s right.  Writing a novel can be a big and overwhelming goal. 

Poll twenty authors and you’ll probably get twenty different answers on how they go about writing a novel.  Some outline, some use sticky notes, some paper their walls with charts and diagrams and colored-coded references of who did what to whom, choosing not to write one word until every detail is worked out beforehand.  Others (like me) simply grab a pen or a computer and start writing, allowing the characters and storylines to come spilling out in one big hot mess to be sorted out later.

And for as many different opinions as you’ll get about writing the novel, you’ll hear just as many about how best to edit.  I remember reading about one author who rewrites the entire manuscript in a new file on their computer, typing it over word by word from beginning until “The End.”  They liked to be able to catch anything from the prior draft that didn’t ring right, and the exercise of writing it fresh each time meant that they weren’t lulled into accepting what was already on the page. 

I use a different method.  To edit and revise, I print the completed manuscript out (sorry trees!), put it in a three-ring binder, and read it again, making edits and notes as I go.  Any section that needs a major adjustment in character or plot gets a special color tab.  After I’ve been through the whole book, I edit on my computer, using those notes as a guide.  I’ll do this three, four, twenty times until I am able to read the manuscript and forget that I wrote it.  That’s when I know it’s ready.

But even with an understanding of how others approach writing and editing, authoring a novel can still feel like a daunting task.  So I advised my new friend to consider a few things:

·         Read, read, read, and then read some more.  Read not just everything you can in the genres you love (and other genres), but read books on writing.  My first instructor was Natalie Goldberg through her beautifully written books on the craft of writing.  My copy of Writing Down the Bones is as worn and marked as a beloved teddy bear.  There are other good books out there, too.  Look for ones with practical exercises.  These can help you to “find your voice” and start building trust in your own abilities.

·         Take a few classes.  The bookstore employee I mentioned at the outset is a college student.  If you’re already in school, look for classes on writing, even ones you can take as an elective if English is not your major.  But if you’re not in school, you can still find classes.  For example, The Writers Studio in New York City offers online workshops (I took some and loved them), and some colleges offer evening classes and workshops for non-students.  Look around to see what’s available in your area.

·         Participate in a writers’ group.  You may hook up with local writers, or find others with similar interests on the Internet.  Your local bookstore is a good place to start.  Take your time and find people you trust and whose opinions you respect.  And think twice before putting your material online at a public site – this can be considered publishing and may interfere with a later contract.  That said, writers’ groups can be a phenomenal way to begin, and the feedback of others can help you to hone your skills. 

·         Join an organization.  Many groups for specific genres (such as Sisters in Crime) are terrific for aspiring authors.  You can network, find mentoring opportunities and learn about the publishing field. 

·         Find a trusted beta reader.  If you meet someone with whom you click, who can read your material and offer insightful, honest feedback, hold on to him or her.  I had several beta readers with whom I used to switch manuscripts.  We weren’t a writers’ group – we met individually to trade and critique and followed no defined schedule.  But it was a great experience.  We all need beta readers at some point in the process.

·         Begin with short stories.  That’s how I started.  My first published pieces appeared in literary journals.  Writing short stories can help a new author work on technique and develop voice on a smaller-scale project that may feel less daunting.  This is also a great way to get acquainted with the industry and build a writing resume. 

Thanks for the awesome advice Wendy!  I am looking forward to more of your books!
 
Pick up a copy of Killer Image today!! You will not be disappointed!!