Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The History of Hilary Hambrushina
Marnie Lamb

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

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

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


Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Blitz: The Right Fit by Daphne Debois plus Giveaway

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

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

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

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


Book Blitz: Monsters Among Us by Amanda Strong plus Giveaway

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

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

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


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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

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

Seeds of Eden
A.P. Watson

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

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

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


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Blitz: Joy Ride by Cynthia Rayne plus Giveaway

Joy Ride
Cynthia Rayne

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

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

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


Monday, June 19, 2017

FULL COUNT is now available!

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

Awesome. Now I get to find a tutor. 

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

Hello, curiosity. 

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

What they are saying about FULL COUNT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

Inspiration by Kailee Reese Samuels, author of Grunt plus Giveaway

 Inspiration for Grunt

Kailee Reese Samuels

 After the first two books in The SOS Series – The Initiation and Tea for Two – I felt main character Sal Raniero needed to go through a period of growth. There had been questions posed within the previous “chapters” of his life and Grunt serves to answer many of those. Grunt is a standalone piece, interconnected within the SOS series, yet independent. It is completely possible to read any of my work out of order.

The twists and turns exist abundantly within Grunt. From the time of his capture until his release, Sal endures increasingly difficult levels of manipulation. During this time, he begins to take on the character visible in Juliet – sharp, confident, and controlling.

The inspiration for Grunt ultimately belonged to Sal. After writing Juliet, I really wanted to take an in-depth look at who he was prior to then. I wanted his backstory. How did he achieve his position at Juliet? Why is he so broken? Why is he teetering between Serene’s submissive and this unforgettable Dominant?

I needed answers, so The SOS Series predominantly formed to answer those lingering questions in my own mind. The difficult part of writing a book such as Grunt is that the first third of the book exists with Sal being in a solitary environment without much dialogue. This allowed the opportunity to learn how to keep the momentum going without the crutch of people. The book became Sal’s internal struggle with his past and present merging into an undecided future.

Throughout the book, I maintain Sal’s inner issues, giving a real insight into this boy becoming a man. From the time of his initiation to the gross devastation and loss in the second book, Sal has met with challenges and stood up to them. The challenge in Grunt is now taken out of his hands, and he must decide how he will survive. Not only does he manage to keep his focus, he thrives under the conditions thrown at him.

From a personal perspective, I found inspiration in my own life struggles at the time which I could transfer to the page. I began writing Grunt in the fall of 2015 when my father was in the hospital. The original manuscript was a sloppy mess. I would come home from the hospital and just want to escape in writing, and I did—without any chapters or order in the mix. I always know the beginning point A to the end point Z, but I don’t always know the journey the characters will take to get there.

The book required vast amounts of reorganization on my part, but I did it and along the way chose some different aesthetic aspects which I think lend to the feeling of the story. Such as the use of quotes from characters instead of chapter headers. It became part of the immersive feel of Grunt. I wanted the reader to be alongside Sal in the cell, and I feel I accomplished that.

Thank you for the time! Have an enjoyable day! – Kailee XO

Kailee Reese Samuels

(The SOS #3)
Publication date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Erotica, Romance

Six days.
No one thought I could last
Here in the cell—I now call home
They didn’t know I grew up in the prison of my crime family’s dream.

Six weeks.
No one thought I could withstand
The loss, the drugs, the torture
They didn’t know how much I would enjoy their game.

Six months.
No one thought I could survive
Their puppet and prey—but I like to play—Hard.
And I don’t lose.

They picked the wrong guy. Their so-called ‘grunt’ would fight to get home and take revenge. I vowed to come back—for her—for Kaci. But everything changed.
My maniacal mind wrapped with a pretty mug, I am an unforgiving opponent, tough—tougher than they ever imagined.
And I will never – ever – break.

Author Bio:
Embracing diversity. Coffee addict. Mango lover. Blueberry fetishist. Sweet peach tea crazy. Red wine devout. Whiskey deviant. Tattooed & pierced. Loves shoes. Collects rosaries. Fanatical organizer/cleaner/list-maker. Never sleeps. Hermit and recluse.
KAILEE REESE SAMUELS has been spinning tales since she can remember. Her books are contemporary fiction with a no-holds-barred attitude. She adores listening to her characters ramble and putting them into situations that push the boundaries.
Creativity is the way to change.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Excerpt from THE YEAR of FOUR by Nya Jade plus Giveaway

The Year of Four
Nya Jade

(Phoebe Pope, #1)
Publication date: October 28th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .
Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.
As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.
Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.
Excerpt from:


Later, as the rest of the campus slept, Phoebe lay heartsick in the small grassy courtyard behind her dorm. Under a clear sky, she gazed at the brittle-looking moon, willing her body not to succumb to fatigue. If she did not sleep, the nightmare would not come. But Phoebe knew that, whether or not her eyes closed, the memory would still find a way in. Always.
She remembered rain hammering on the roof of the car as her father sped down a road lined by a wall of forest on either side. Behind them, the choral growl of the Vigos rose.
“Seat belt!” her father had shouted. His eyes were focused ahead, his jaw hard. Drawing the belt across her body, Phoebe stared in the side view mirror, seeing the moving shadows growing larger in the distance. Her panic soared.
“It’s going to be okay.” Her father stole a quick glance at her. “They can’t chase us all night. I promise you.”
Phoebe glanced at the speedometer and swallowed; the needle had pushed up past ninety. They turned a tight corner, and then, as her father had promised, the Vigos fell back, their growls receding into the drone of the rain. Phoebe saw triumph flash in her father’s eyes mere seconds before the car hydroplaned, turning and turning as though it would never stop.
Even now, as she lay curled in on herself, her arms wrapped around her body, Phoebe could hear the explosion of the car smashing into the tree. She could taste the gagging heat of blood dripping down her throat as she crawled her way out of the tangled mass of glass, metal, and branches.
“Dad,” Phoebe cried, stumbling over to the broken shape of her father lying nearby.
His eyes flickered up at her. “Honey,” he said, his voice hoarse and urgent. “They heard the crash.” He coughed raggedly, and blood ran from the corner of his mouth. “You’ve got to go.” What her father was asking her to do rattled around in Phoebe’s brain, failing to fully register even as her legs gave way underneath her. Her knees hit soggy earth, and, frantically eyeballing his injuries, she touched his face.
“You’ve already started heal—”

“I can’t heal enough before they get here.” His eyes slid to the darkness behind her, in the direction from which they’d come. Phoebe could hear them coming and the ground beneath her trembled with the vibrations of their advancing feet—Vigos drunk with the scent of a Shaper down. 

The Blood of Kings
Nya Jade

(Phoebe Pope, #2)
Publication date: April 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

According to the press, Phoebe Pope and teen movie star Colten Chase are no longer an item—which is just how the happy new couple like it. And yet there’s trouble in paradise . . .
Phoebe is haunted by dreams that show her things she can’t possibly know about—including a pact between Colten and a wanted assassin. In the daylight, she struggles to keep a newly emerging power hidden, even as her hands itch to wield it.
Meanwhile, in the wake of their escape from a Vigo crèche, Phoebe and her fellow Hyphas study under lock and key at the Campus Below. As the foursome wait to see who among them will fulfill the prophecy, someone dear to Phoebe is kidnapped by a powerful Vigo determined to use her to spy on the Shaper royalty. When the Hyphas are called to the Royal Court, Phoebe refuses to heed warnings of imminent danger for she will do whatever it takes to rescue her loved one.
But once at court, nothing is as it first appears. A sinister force controls some royals, while others whisper behind closed doors about forbidden alliances. And as Phoebe draws on her courage to complete the task set by her enemy, she makes a startling discovery—one that upends her father’s memory.
With dangerous conspiracies surfacing, Phoebe must uncover what the Royal Shapers really want from her, and decide whether there’s room for Colten in her unraveling life.

Author Bio:
Nya Jade has enjoyed a fun career as a singer-songwriter. Her music videos have aired on the Vh1, BET and MTV networks and she’s opened for some of the biggest names in music. Nya’s music has also received recognition in major publications, including USA Today and the LA Times. She took a break from writing and performing music to write The Year of Four, her first YA novel. When she isn’t writing, Nya can be found hanging out with family and friends, reading or bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes. Nya lives with her family in California.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Writing Fantasy by Mallory McCartney, author of Black Dawn plus Giveaway

 Writing Fantasy
by Mallory McCartney

Thanks for having me!! When it comes to writing fantasy, this passion started at a young age. I was always an avid reader, and the big influences were reading Harry Potter by JK Rowling and The Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce. I remember after reading these books being left with the overwhelming feeling of inspiration and awe, and I started to daydream about what my own fantasy world would look like. I think all fantasy writers are born from daydreams, and where these thoughts take you once you start answering questions about the world and the characters. Writing wasn’t always a constant thing for me, I wrote a rough first manuscript of Black Dawn at the end of Grade Eight but then I left it alone for seven years. Revisiting it, it took me two years to rewrite the novel, and let me tell you writing a fantasy novel is a constant learning curve. It’s exhilarating to see your world blossom, but I have notebooks filled with history background, family trees and plot points, and it was with this that the world of Kiero came to life to me. This is one of the things I love most about writing fantasy, is that after the outlining, the writing comes from your heart, the characters made real because of your dreams, and their journey completely up to your imagination. There are no boundaries and no “wrong” way to outline a fantasy novel. Finds what works for you as an author, and roll with it. For me, after knowing what direction I am going, I write, not overthinking anything, and get the first draft on paper. From here I rework it, going through multiple drafts and then entering the editing process.
Of course, it’s important to know your world inside and out, but let creativity come, and enjoy the process of creating your fantasy, and never give up on it 😊

Black Dawn
Mallory McCartney

Published by: Clean Reads Publishing
Publication date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult

The end of an Empire. The rise of a Queen.”
Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life that is until two mysterious, and dare I say handsome soldiers show up at her apartment doorstep and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Coming from the magical and ravaged world of Kiero, Emory is brought back not realizing that both men are darkly woven in her past. Discovering she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line Emory is thrown into Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne. With both lives clashing Emory uncovers hidden secrets from her past, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
Some things are better left in the shadows.

Author Bio:
Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Blitz: The Dragonian’s Witch by Meg Xuemei X Plus Giveaway

The Dragonian’s Witch
Meg Xuemei X

(The First Witch, #1)
Publication date: June 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

He abducts me to find his fated mate, unaware that I am she.
I am Freyja, the First Witch. I was born with a cruel curse: anyone I touch with my bare skin will die an agonizing death. That is, until a formidable, drop-dead gorgeous Dragonian prince invades my forest home.
The prince’s lust burns hot and bright for me, yet he resists, wanting his destined witch more. The oracle promises the witch will be his true queen and bring him the greatest kingdom on Earth. Knowing he’s the only man who can touch me, I crave his scorching caress. But I’ve sworn never to reveal that I am the witch. Not until he chooses me above her.
When the mating frenzy drives both of us to the brink of insanity, someone has to give, but it won’t be me.
I surveyed the surroundings. If I escaped into the woods, Lucas would find me. The shifter’s nose had to be as good as my wolves’. That was why Ares had brought him along. I wondered what his animal was. Judging from his size, he could be a white lion or a bear.
If I escaped to the plains, the guardians would spot me. They weren’t in league with me yet. If Ares caught me running away, he would chain me for the rest of the trip.
“Why are we stopping here, Ares?” the horned Dragonian asked.
“Freyja needs a bath,” Ares said with irritation.
“The wolf girl?” the horned one asked. “And you let her have her way? We need to be on our way. We’ve wasted enough time just tracking her.”
Ares snarled. “I’ll decide what we need or don’t need.”
The others gathered around in the clearing, sitting on the rocks. Some of them took off their boots with satisfied groans.
That was exactly what I’d planned for them to do—to get in the water with me. Over four months on the road, rushing from one place to another to look for me, they had to be desperate for the feel of a warm woman. When they saw me naked, their needs would be raging. And when they came for me, they’d get what they deserved.
I would soon be reunited with my pack.
I removed my gloves, kicked off my boots, and dropped my cloak. I breathed in the fresh, damp air. The lake smelled different from the hot spring in my forest, but its earthy scent blending with the sweet honeysuckle was equally pleasant.
What would come next might not be as pleasant, but I had to gain back my freedom.
Within seconds, I was clad in only my undergarments. My skin prickled with exhilaration as it met the clean air.
Ares cleared his throat to remind me of my modesty. If he was so concerned about my decency, why wasn’t he turning around as well?
His men stopped what they were doing and stared at me.
I slowly pulled the last of my garments over my head and lazily stretched my limbs. My bountiful breasts and perky, red nipples were generous for every eye to see and appreciate.
As I twisted my torso for another long stretch and bent down, I saw the men’s jaws drop in shock. Yet none of them moved their heated gaze from me.
I straightened and turned away from them, my fingers on the top lines of my panties, ready to pull it off my long, toned legs.
“Freyja!” Ares shouted.
I wheeled toward him. “What?” I asked innocently.
“Turn around!” he roared at his men. “Don’t fucking look at her if you want your fucking eyes stay in their sockets!”
Of course, they wanted their eyes staying in their sockets. The men obeyed, though slowly.
Wonderful! Ares—the prude—had just sabotaged my perfect plan.
But he wasn’t that prudent since he himself hadn’t turned around. His gaze, heated, dark, and furious, locked with mine. I tilted my head in challenge. What’s the harm in having a look? You’re looking.
His gaze dipped lower to my breasts, then lower—I’d pulled my panties half an inch down. When he tore his eyes from my body and stayed on my face by sheer will, a sudden fire of possessiveness leapt in them, turning his irises deeply molten gold.
“Stop what you’re doing,” he said, his voice hoarse as if he hadn’t spoken for a while.
“Why?” I asked.
“Shouldn’t you cover yourself?” He seemed incredulous at my innocent question.
“But I’m going to have a bath,” I said. “Who bathes with their clothes on?”
“There are men around!” he said. “You can’t go traipsing around naked in the wilderness.”
“Why do you think I even consider any of them, or you,” I asked, “a man? Haven’t you seen a naked woman before? I’m sure your men need to wash themselves, too. Their smell, yours included, nearly choked me half to death from a mile away.”
Actually he smelled really good.
I heard someone chuckle. Ares growled nastily and the chuckles died off immediately.
“It’s a big lake,” I said with a small shrug. “There’s plenty of room for all of us.”
“Like hell I’ll let them share the lake with you naked,” he said. “There’re social rules.”
“But you just said we’re in the wilderness,” I said, putting confusion into my voice. “Who’s going to govern the rules?”
“I am,” he said. Then he yelled at the men. “Go patrol the perimeter and don’t look this way.”
The men picked up their weapons and slowly scattered.
“Are you sending them away so you can get into the lake with me alone?” I asked.
“No, I’m not getting in the lake with you,” he said. “But I’ll watch you. If you think you’re clever enough to pull this stunt and slip away, think twice. So far, I’ve been courteous. But if you keep causing trouble, you’ll force my hand. Then I’ll have to get rough with you and tie you up and drag you behind me. I don’t care that Ventus has taken a liking to you. Just remember, his fealty is always to me.”
I pulled my panties off and tossed it on top of the pile of my clothes. Dark fire leapt in his eyes and his gaze drifted down toward the valley between my thighs. He wanted me. He wanted me badly. He looked like he was ready to stalk toward me.
Did I really want him to die? My body tensed at the thought.
Ares inhaled sharply, his knuckles turning white on his sides, but he didn’t move toward me.
“Earth,” I said, walking toward the lake. “All this drama over a bath.”
“By undressing yourself like that in front of my men,” he spat, “you put yourself in danger and them in a tough spot. If any of them loses control and touches you, I would have to punish them severely.”
“What about you?” I asked over my shoulder, my bare feet hitting the cool water.
“I have enough self-control,” he snarled.
“Right, I’ve learned it the hard way,” I said, intentionally dipping my gaze down at the bulge at his groin covered by his sculpted armor.
His eyes glittered with amber fire. “You’re now my responsibility, Freyja,” he said. “I have to guarantee that you’re well treated and unharmed until the day you’re allowed to go your way.”
“I’m so touched,” I said.
Obviously, he didn’t like my tone since he was probably expecting my gratitude. His next words were full of acid. “You have no problem getting completely naked but flustered at my hard-on,” he asked. “Why is that?”
“You go figure it out.” I brushed him off, knowing that would irk him more.
When I sent him one last glance filled with disdain, I caught such ravenous hunger in his eyes that the heat pooled within my belly again.

Author Bio:
Meg Xuemei X is an award-winning author of steamy paranormal and sci-fi romance. She finds it dreamingly delightful to be around drop-dead gorgeous alpha males who are forever tormented by her feisty heroines, formidable alien angels, wild shifters, haughty fey, dark vampires, and cunning witches.
She's visited the universe of The Empress of Mysth, The First Witch, and Dark Chemistry. Next she'll boldly go to the badland of The Wickedest Witch. At this moment, in her southern California abode, she's packing as many forbidden weapons as she can carry. Her favorite one was a magical whip.
She is always happy to hear from readers and welcome new friends on Facebook.
Facebook: facebook.com/MegXuemeiX
Email: megxuemei AT gmail.com
She'll be giddy if you sign up to her mailing list at eepurl.com/YxOcn to hear about her new release, discounts,giveaways and fun stuff!