The Vineyard by Michael Hurley [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

 

 

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The Vineyard

 

 

Blurb

Ten years after their college days together, three wounded and very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. As the come to grips with the challenges and crises in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive poacher known only as “the fisherman” threatens to change everything they believe about their world–and each other.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

 

Drowning seemed like the best option or, for that matter, the only option. Being an inveterate planner of all things, even the means and manner of her own death, Charlotte Harris had explored for a full year the various ways she might best do herself in. Every possibility always came back to the water and to this place. But now that she was finally here and making her final crossing to the island, the greenish-gray waves pushing ahead of the ferry across Vineyard Sound seemed too gentle—incapable, almost, of the kind of violence necessary to end a life.

 

. . . .

 

The pleated sundress she had chosen for “the occasion,” as she primly regarded her own death, was neatly pressed and folded in the valise stowed in the trunk of her car. It was her only luggage. On the ferry, the tiny Fiat was dwarfed by the enormous SUVs and minivans parked all around it. They needed to be big enough to land platoons of parents, children, dogs, and bicycles, and all the assorted materiel of summer for the annual assault on Martha’s Vineyard by the armies of New England. There was one couple, however, who looked out of place.

They were young—very young. The girl had a deep green tattoo across the small of her back that appeared and disappeared as her halter top rode up above her jeans. She was clinging like a wet dishtowel to the boy, who was better-looking than the girl, and as tall, lean, and hard as a light pole. Charlotte was thirty-two. She guessed the boy’s age and did the mental math. There was at least ten years’ difference between them, maybe more. A thread of imagination flashed briefly in her mind, then vanished. Five years ago, she might have . . .

 

. . . .

 

Dory was rich. Stunningly rich. Although she thought of herself as someone just like everyone else, there was no one quite like Dory. She lived her life as though everything were possible. No objective was beyond her ability to shape reality to her ends. So, when Charlotte had unburdened herself of the story of her failed marriage over martinis during one of Dory’s excursions to Boston, Eudora Delano’s Search and Rescue Service had snapped into action.

Dory decided that Charlotte must stay with her on the Vineyard until she got over losing her child to cancer, as if that were even possible, and got over losing her husband to the contagion of indifference that followed, as if that were even necessary.

 

. . . .

 

Book Trailer

 

Author Bio

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.

The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.

Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.

When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.

 

WEBSITE: http://www.mchurley.com/
GOODREADS: 
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5445584.Michael_C_Hurley
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/mchurleybooks

 

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Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

 

10 Winners will receive a Copy of The Vineyard by Michael Hurley.

20 Winners will receive a Signed Bookmark of The Vineyard by Michael Hurley.

 

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The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack [BookBlitz

 

Daughter eBook Cover

 

 

Speculative Literary Fiction

Date Published: May 19, 2014

   After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light-two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.

 

Children of the Republic, Helena and Jason were inseparable in their youth, until fate sent them down different paths. Grief and duty sidetracked Helena’s plans, and Jason came to detest the hollowness of his ambitions.

These two damaged souls are reunited when a tiny boat from the Blessed Lands crashes onto the rocks near Helena’s home after an impossible journey across the forbidden ocean. On board is a single passenger, a nine-year-old girl named Kailani, who calls herself The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. A new and perilous purpose binds Jason and Helena together again, as they vow to protect the lost innocent from the wrath of the authorities, no matter the risk to their future and freedom.

But is the mysterious child simply a troubled little girl longing to return home? Or is she a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of a godless Republic, as the outlaw leader of an illegal religious sect would have them believe? Whatever the answer, it will change them all forever… and perhaps their world as well.

 

 EXCERPT

 

THE GIRL FROM THE BLESSED LANDS

 

Jason offered his bottle, but the girl shied away. Helena cradled the child’s head and tilted her chin while he trickled a few drops into her mouth.

The girl licked her cracked lips and opened for more. After she’d drunk her fill, she turned to Helena. Her eyes grabbed and held. “The dream,” she said. “It’s true. I can see it in your eyes.”

Helena felt a sudden urge to distract the girl, to disrupt that penetrating gaze. “Who are you?”

The girl ignored the question, instead resting her hand on Jason’s forearm.

His muscles twitched as if he were unsure whether to linger or jerk away.

“Your arm is hot,” she said.

“That’s because I’ve been running.”

The girl’s ocean-blue eyes opened wider. “From what?”

He withdrew his arm and flexed his fingers. “Are you from the Blessed Lands?”

The girl nodded.

“Why would you make such a dangerous voyage alone in such a small boat?”

“I was in no danger,” she said.

He waved a hand at the flotsam, still surging in the tide. “But your boat’s destroyed, and it took us to save you.”

“Yes, I suppose.” She looked back out to sea as if expecting to find her boat still afloat. “Then I thank Lord Kanakunai for sparing me and delivering me to kind people who would help.”

“But who are you?” Helena said more insistently.

The girl motioned for more to drink, this time grasping the bottle with both hands and emptying it. When she finished, she sat up and lifted her chin like royalty. “I am Kailani, the daughter of the sea and the sky.”

 

BOOK TRAILER

 

AUTHOR BIO

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic .
Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software Dave Portrait Hi Resindustry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

 

He’s published three novels so far in this new stage of his life: There Comes a Prophet, Along the Watchtower, and the recently released The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.
David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

 

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The Burden of Souls by Andy Monk [BookBlitz]

 

the Burden of Souls cover

 

 

Sci-Fi / Dark Fantasy

Date Published:September 2014

SciFi

Small Town, Dark Heart…

A long way from anywhere, on a road going nowhere, lays a small, unremarkable town. It seems a peaceable, prosperous little place, on the surface at least.

Away from prying eyes however, in the shadows and the forgotten corners, there is a web being weaved through the lives of its inhabitants by the town’s urbane and mysterious Mayor. A man prepared to make a deal for your heart’s desire and, maybe, for your very soul…

Welcome to Hawker’s Drift, a town where nothing is quite as it seems…

 

 Excerpt

Only three people trudged behind the coffin-laden wagon.

He assumed the woman in the black dress was the widow. Her face was veiled, but her back was straight and she moved as freely as the cloying mud allowed; a young widow. A small bookish man peering through rain-smeared spectacles laboured next to her, struggling to hold an umbrella over them both in the wind. Behind came a cadaverous looking old bird clutching a dog-eared bible to his chest. A preacher.

Amos pulled his horse to the side of the road; if that wasn’t too generous a description for two mud-choked ruts. It meandered towards a town that occupied a low slung hill; the only feature on the vast tableland of grass. He took off his hat and let the rain sting his face as the little procession passed. The widow glanced up at him hesitantly, before nodding an acknowledgement. From behind the shadows of her veil he got the impression of an attractive woman with no intention of crying. There was sadness, not unexpectedly, coming off of her, but interspersed with those dull grey waves came prickly spikes of fear too.

The preacher flicked a glance in his direction as well, but he quickly dropped his eyes and scurried along, his body bent forward against the driving rain. He looked terribly unhappy with his lot. The preacher was suffering, a physical pain beneath a terrible craving.

The third man, his jacket flapping in the breeze, ignored him, and Amos tried to do the same to the hot, fetid desire that was rolling off of him like a burning fever.

Whoever was being buried had not warranted much in the way of gestures from the rest of the town. What did you have to do to end up with only two mourners and a sour-faced preacher at your funeral?

As the wagon bearing the coffin rattled on towards the cemetery, signified by a small forest of crosses poking above the surrounding long grass, he let the rain wash the scent of their souls from the air before he replaced his hat and pushed his weary horse on towards the town.

Out here, where seas of grass washed towards too far away horizons and the earth squatted beneath colossal skies, it amounted to civilization.

He slipped his coat back and made sure his gun was free to draw.

Civilization, he had found, tended to suck.

 

Author Bio &  Links

Andy Monk lives in London with his partner and their goldfish.

After a high-flying academic career and glittering success in professional sport, followed by a jet-set lifestyle of wild parties, exotic holidays and beautiful women, he settled down to write internationally acclaimed best-selling novels.andy monk

Andy Monk has a tendency to exaggerate and has an occasionally tenuous grip on reality.

He does, however, have a goldfish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Silvern by Christina Farley [BookBlitz + Giveaway]


Publisher: Skyscape
Published: 23 September 2014
Format: Paperback 373 pages
See: Full bibliographic data
Categories: Children’s Books Fiction General Science Fiction Fantasy Traditional
ISBN 13: 9781477820346 ISBN 10: 1477820345


Official Book Blast for Silvern by Christina Farley

This is a book blast, you will post the promotional info we provide you with, including the giveaway. No reviews required. Please mark your Calendar.

Jae Hwa Lee has destroyed Haemosu, the dangerous demi-god that held her ancestors captive, and now she’s ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Then the god of darkness, Kud, sends an assassin to kill her. Jae escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins the Guardians of Shinshi to seek out the orb before Kud can find it.

But Kud is stronger and more devious than Haemosu ever was. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.

You can purchase Silvern at the following Retailers:


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Photo Credit: Liga Photography 

After teaching and traveling internationally for ten years, Christina started writing about her adventures, tossing in a little fiction for fun. This inspired her to write the GILDED series, a YA series based on Korean mythology about a Korean-American girl who takes her destiny into her own hands.

Besides writing, Christina loves traveling, running, driving too fast, and eating dark chocolate.

Christina writes fantasy for teens. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of the Jennifer Lyons Literary, LLC.
Learn more about Christina by visiting her at www.christinafarley.com or by chatting with her on Twitter @christinafarley.

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The Wizard’s Gift by Michael Waller [BookBlitz]

The Wizards Gift Cover

Fantasy

Date Published: June 30, 2012

  Blurb

The last of an ancient group of wizards leaves a gift to the newly arrived race of men. It is revered and cared for by a line of priests until it is stolen, and the high priest and his sovereign murdered by a king who believes himself destined to be a great wizard. But from ancient writings the high priest had discovered that the gift is not benevolent as was thought. This forces the son of the high priest, unexpectedly elevated to his father’s position, and the young prince who is equally suddenly king, into a race to find the gift before it can be used as that may cause the destruction of the world. Accompanied by the retired captain of the palace guard they hope to speed their journey by crossing the Wasteland, a seeming desert, which is fabled to be populated by monsters, and from which no visitor has ever returned. In the course of their adventures they are hunted by dog faced men and captured by slavers, but the young prince truly becomes a king, and the priest discovers that he has a destiny that goes beyond the bounds of his world.

 Excerpt

 

Hiding behind the trees they waited for the approach of the dogfaced men. The defile was cut deeply into the hillside and was flanked by rocky crags that rose almost vertically to the top of the hill. Their pursuers would have no alternative but to follow them up the defile as the climb on either side of it would be almost impossible in the fury of the thunderstorm.

Carantor, crouching behind a tree was the nearest to the gap through which the dogfaced men would have to come in single file. His plan was to allow a small number of them through before he broke from cover to face the remainder as they tried to climb through the gap. Caran Tuith and Bataan stood a few yards back their swords drawn and ready to deal with those first few in the tight confines of the gully. In the flashes of lightning they could see down the rocky stairway with its steep sides, all the way to the bottom, and they were sure that in their present position they could not be caught unawares. Water ran over the slippery fragments of rock and between their feet before cascading over the tangle of exposed tree roots, much of it falling onto Carantor’s back. Oblivious to the cold water he waited, anxious and alert, for the arrival of the creatures that had pursued them for three days. He knew that there was no possibility of hearing their approach amid the noise of the storm, and although the lightning when it came illuminated the defile and its approach, the heavy rain and the pitch darkness between the flashes could hide their arrival until the very last moment.

All three strained their eyes and ears. Their fingers clenched and unclenched around the hilts of their swords. The rain had soaked them to the skin and though Caran Tuith and Bataan had been oblivious to how wet and cold they were during their flight, now, standing still and quiet, they began to shiver and feel the numbness growing in their toes.

Bataan thought that he saw something move to the right of the defile, a large figure silhouetted for a moment against the blinding white of the lightning. He turned to tell Caran Tuith that he thought the dogfaced men had succeeded in climbing the cliffs and were coming over the top of the hill when, in another flash of lightning, he saw in the young King’s face a sudden alertness as he moved away from Bataan as if readying himself for combat. Bataan did not need to ask what the lightning had revealed to his friend. He too readied himself, and turned his eyes back to the defile trying to discern any shape or movement in the darkness, the figure on the crest above forgotten.

For a moment the storm seemed to lessen a little, like a squall at sea that suddenly abates to give a moments quiet respite before returning with renewed force. In that lull they heard the sound of movement amongst the rocks as feet dislodged loose stones and sent them clattering downhill. As the wind and rain returned Bataan thought that he heard the sound of shouting voices. Then the whole sky flashed white with a tremendous sheet of lightning that lit the ground before them in stark black and white. In its glare the three stared in disbelief at the scene in the defile. The dogfaced men where there, but they were not climbing up to fight. They were struggling in the mesh of nets whose ends were held by large figures straining to keep their footing on the crest above. Once more all was plunged into darkness, and an immediate and deafening crash of thunder showed that the storm was directly overhead.

Although their faces were hidden in the dark, both Bataan and Caran Tuith’s wore the same bewildered expression. The strange tableau, cast into such stark relief by the lightning, was unexpected and confusing. Almost before they had time to have a second thought Carantor was with them.

“Run” he yelled over the noise of the storm.

 

 

 

 

Author Bio

Michael was born in Middlesbrough in the North Riding of Yorkshire, UK in 1951 where he was soon creating havoc as a short trousered rebel. Fortunately as his mother was head cook at police headquarters his numerous run ins with the constabulary were dealt with in the privacy of the family home. A junior school run by nuns, and then an excellent grammar school under the watchful eye of Marist priests educated him to have a love of literature, music and science. Though they did nothing to curb his Michael Waller (The Wizards Gift)anti-authority streak.

An initial ramble through all manner of jobs finally came to a halt in the oil and chemical industry where his love of science and all things technical provided him with gainful employment for almost thirty years. Whilst working he spent several years in the Middle East with visits to India, and around Europe before landing in the USA where he has lived for the past twenty years.

Retired now he writes, take photographs and restores vintage British motorcycles in upstate New York.

 

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Lust, Mechanics and Mini Coopers by Elle Brookes

Bella Media Management

Romantic Comedy/Adventure/Time Travel

Date Published: June 15, 2014

Part Two: Sex. Coffee. Time Travel.  Coming Soon

 

BlurbAdventure-romance author, Lesley Meryn, has lived her own share of adventures. But the one thing she has never experienced is the “coupe de foudre”, the Lightning-Bolt of Love. Connected by years of friendship to the sexy action-movie star, Jason Hambrey, Jax, the two really are “just friends” but the paparazzi are merciless, making their lives and their friendship almost impossible to sustain.

When Lesley’s Aunt dies, leaving her a piece of property in North Yorkshire, Lesley is mystified. Her aunt kept it a secret. Lesley travels to London and learns her that her aunt leased the property twenty-five years before to an ‘Historical Research Society’. The lease on the property is up for renewal. Before she makes her decision; Lesley travels to the farm to investigate

Nothing could prepare her for what she finds at the farm. Miles Sherwood is dark, devious, and desperate. He’s the very last person one would consider the head of a stuffy British ‘Historical Society’

Lesley finds him insufferable, yet irresistibly attractive. The two unknowingly share a deep connection. Whether they like it or not…it’s Lightning-Time!

 

 

Excerpt

 

“UNDONE…”

Miles stared at the computer again without seeing it. Now his brain was whirling with even more concrete, even more disturbing images. For a man who had always taken a measure of pride in his discipline and self-control he felt as though he were on the verge of losing it completely. He poured another mug of coffee from the thermos on his desk, hoping that it might help to clear his head.

The phone chirped at his elbow. He stared at it until it stopped, then rubbed his hands over the stubble on his face. He took another long drink of coffee.

When Miles looked up, she was standing there in the open doorway, watching him. He flinched slightly, wondering how she could have snuck up on him so easily. He hadn’t even heard her.

“I’m leaving,” Lesley announced firmly and quietly and without preamble. “Now.”

“We haven’t discussed the lease.” He found himself staring at her lips.

”There’s nothing for us to discuss,” she stated flatly, trying to keep from looking at him directly.

“And your car—” Miles caught her eyes with his.

“I’ll walk if I need to…” Lesley stared back at him without flinching.

“Its a long walk,” Miles replied still locking eyes with her.

“I don’t care.” Lesley swallowed, desperate to keep her resolve.

“It might rain,” he observed.

“It might,” she replied faintly.

Miles took a step towards her. “Not until we finish our business.”

“Our business can be settled by the solicitors.” Lesley took a small step away from him, her heart thudding madly.

“Why not between us?”

“I’d rather not.” She pulled her gaze away from him, fixing her eyes firmly on the painting behind him. She noted that the rapier was back in its scabbard on the wall next to the painting.

“I think we can settle this like two civilized people.”

Lesley gave a short laugh. “Do you really believe that?”

“We could at least try….” he raised a brow.

“Ahh…Don’t you think we’ve gotten a bit past that?”

Miles scratched his cheek thoughtfully. “I must have missed that part.”

“Missed it? You engineered it!” Lesley faced him, offering her bruised wrists for his inspection.

“I believe that you made a considerable contribution in that regard.” he replied dryly, tilting his head to the rapier on the wall.

Lesley stared at him a moment, then dropped herself obstinately into the beleaguered upholstered chair.

“I thought you were leaving,” he said.

“Oh, I am.”

“Then kindly do it, so I can get back to work.” As if.

Miles folded his arms against his chest and leaned back against the desk. He raised his chin to the door. He was torn between the dread that she would do just that and the hope that he could think of something to get her to stay.

“If you’re going to go, then go.” He thought that perhaps reverse psychology would work with someone as seemingly perverse as she was. He smiled inwardly. She was almost as bad as he was. “I can have Conan take you to the train station.”

Lesley stared at him then moved her attention to behind him resting it on the painting, then on the rapier hung on the wall beside it. After admiring it for a few seconds, she came to a decision.

“That’s yours. then?” She turned her head to the sword.

“Yes, it is.”

“Do you know how to use it?”

His eyes slitted dangerously at her. “What are you getting at?

“Is that just for decoration, or do you know how to use it?”

“Maybe.” His mouth set into a firm line.

“Mmm…” she paused. “Have you got another one?”

“If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, then stop thinking about it.”

“What is it you think I’m thinking about?”

“I don’t even want to think about it.”

“You were the one who suggested that we settle this like two civilized people.”

“You are out of your mind…” he hissed between his teeth. “How can you even suggest—”

“I consider it a rather civilized way of resolving our differences. Well, it used to be, in any case.”

“I consider it out of the question.”

“Why?” she asked.

He turned away from her, raking back his disheveled hair, not certain just how he should respond to her.

“I’d like to propose a little wager.” Lesley stuck her chin out at him, the defiant eight year old still very much a part of her.

“A what?” His head swiveled to face her.

“You heard me, a wager. If you win, you get the lease renewed, same terms, no questions asked, for whatever length of time you require. “

“And if I lose?” he asked softly.

“If you lose… you tell me what it is you’re really doing here. I mean really. The absolute truth.”

“I thought I’d already done that,” Miles replied calmly, “told you the truth…”

Lesley offered him a wry twisted smile. “Nah….I don’t think so. There’s more.”

“What makes you think that?” Miles asked, humoring her.

“Mmm…” Lesley raised a brow as she took stock of him again. “If there isn’t, then what have you got to worry about?”

Miles looked down, shaking his head.

“You’re afraid.”

“Of you? No.” Miles raised his head slowly. “For you…yes.”

“I’m not. What do you say?”

“You’re very sure of yourself, aren’t you?” His brows rose.

“No more than you appear to be,” came the response.

“I think you have the wrong idea about me, D’Artagnan.”

“I don’t think that at all.”

Miles took her in carefully, the set of her jaw, her flashing eyes, the determined set of her lips. Oh God, those luscious delicious lips. He could no more set upon her with a sword than he could willingly smash the treasure of a priceless Fabergé Egg. No matter how much she provoked him.

“I suppose you’ve changed your mind about me, then…” he replied dryly, taking yet another tack.

“What do you mean?”

“Yesterday you declared me a man without principles. What could possibly have happened between then and now that would lead you to believe I would keep to the terms of any wager you cared to propose? In a duel of honor?”

Lesley had no response to this.

“Listen to me, you selfish brat. You want to go, then go. For whatever reason you’ve chosen to concoct, it’s not enough that we fence words, now you want to use the real thing. You have no idea what you’re proposing, or who you’re dealing with. And I’m weary of playing games with you. And I adamantly refuse to be a character in one of your self-indulgent literary exploits.” He gave her an exasperated wave. “Ach!”

She stared at him, speechless, for several moments. The heat of adrenaline flashed through her. He was so devilishly handsome, those black eyes flashing at her, and so… so…

“You’re insufferable!” she finally breathed.

“Thank you,” he nodded. “From someone who has elevated the concept into an art form, that is high praise indeed.”

Shaking, and outraged beyond words, Lesley gathered herself up and started for the door.

“What? No scathing retort?” Miles commented quietly, not able to stop himself.             “No parting sarcastic remark?”

Lesley paused, her fingers trembling on the door handle. There was everything in her that wanted to reply, yet she held back, unwilling to allow him to succeed in his attempt to goad her. With a deep breath of resolve, she wrenched the door open and walked down the long tiled passageway.

Miles stared at the open door, the sound of her boots receded down the long corridor. With each step the haze in his head grew stronger and the roar louder, and he found that he was having difficulty breathing. He knew he had to do something or else he would never be able to function or think clearly again. He had so much unresolved sexual tension, building up from the first electric moment he’d seen her, he had to do something. And he realized then, that he would do just about anything to keep her from leaving. He swallowed, took two deep breaths and cursed himself for his weakness and for what he was about to do.

“Wait!” he called from behind the door, and down the passageway her boots slowed. “Wait! I’ll do it!” He listened for a reply. There were no footsteps. He held his breath.

Carefully, he tilted his head around the door and came face to face with her. She stood silent, watching him, waiting. He found himself caught up, transfixed by those hazy smoky emerald eyes, and he knew he was lost.

“I’ll do it. Damn you,” he whispered. “I’ll do it…”

She smiled. And it sent a fiery cold shiver down his spine, which was surprisingly, frighteningly, familiar.

 

 

Author Bio

Elle grew up in Los Angeles, California, but has lived in San Francisco and then Jamaica when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer.  At the age of  twelve she bOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAecame obsessed with keeping falcons in the back yard. Fortunately, for the hundreds of hapless French poodles living in the San Fernando Valley at the time, she was not allowed to do this. In the course of the following years, she took on the challenges of earlier times, learning how to fence, how to ride horses, archery skills, and she even took a “Grand Tour of Europe”. Travel continues to be a passion of hers. Her father always claimed that she had been born into the wrong century.  He may have been right.  Elle currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie, and her hedgehog, Quiller.

 

 

 

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Wings of the Butterfly by S.M. Pace [BookBlitz]

wings-butterfly-pace-ebook

Young Adult

YA Fantasy

Date Published: August 15, 2014

 

Three nations teeter on the brink of war, and caught in the middle, a brother and sister find themselves surrounded by dangers they never imagined.

Adopted by the Yurha, Toby still struggles to properly fit in.  Hunting in the forest, he stumbles across a jeweled cuff that attaches to his wrist and won’t come off.  Afraid at first, he is soon thrilled to discover the cuff carries powerful magic.  But as he tries to control it, he realizes the cuff is still linked to its original owner – an owner who will go to cruel lengths to get his magic back.

Miles away, Toby’s twin sister Ora struggles with life in a strange city.  She and family have fled Yois for Nietza, where Ora will not be arrested for possessing magic.  However, Nietza is not the magical paradise Ora had imagined.  Despite her new friends, she can’t feel safe in a country where women are little more than pawns.

Secrets, brutal murders and war edging ever closer drive both siblings from their safe places.  Failure to stop those who pursue them will mean a fate worse than death.

 

 

Excerpt

 

Toby worked at the wrist cuff, but it hardly budged. It had become something like a piece of his arm.

Leaves shuddered overhead. A pair of squirrels raced over the branches, chittering. Toby sat alone against the bole of a tree, a half mile or so from the settlement. No sign of an oversized hawk, but he had a better idea than scanning the branches. He’d ended up inside the hawk’s mind before. He thought he could do it again.

He stripped away his leggings and loin cloth and laid them beside him. Naked, he shivered, despite the unusual heat of the mid-autumn day. A thrill of fear coursed through him at the other part of his plan. The memory of pale fur sprouting across his arm stuck hard in Toby’s head. If it means what I think it means, the thought drifted as Toby steadied his breathing. He pressed his back against the rough bark and sank into the wrist cuff.

The wellspring of magic nearly swallowed him. He tried to imitate what Kyat had done, pushing his awareness away from the crystals, and into the metal. A different power, with the taste of metal, stung him.

Blackness swallowed him. He fought to stay aware. Everything shifted, spun, and someone else’s mind swept over and around him. He glimpsed scaled claws and dark feathers. The hawk.

He watched through the creature’s eyes, and felt what it felt. Spasms wracked its body. One claw flattened, flexed, the scales melting away to reveal a misshapen foot. Toby cried out at the pain of even that small success. Then the foot twitched and turned back into a claw, and with a strangled cry, the hawk took flight.

Toby was thrown back into his body. He knew the hawk hid somewhere at the north-eastern edge of the pack’s territory, where the hills began to give way to mountains. He’d also learned something else; the feel of a type of magic he’d never experienced before. He sent his mind back into the wrist cuff.

He pushed away the bits of his magic, and other magics he couldn’t name. In the midst of those, the cuff held a bundle of power that curled and writhed. Shifting magic.

To wear fur and run on all fours. To howl and tumble with his brothers. To run with the pack during full moon hunts, and take down a deer with his teeth. To be a wolf, like his family. To be truly one of them.

Toby willed every ounce of those thoughts into the magic and spread it through his body.

A cramp struck his lower belly and doubled him over, then dropped him to his knees. His chest tightened and, for a moment, panic seized him, and he wanted to shove the magic away.

He breathed slowly while spasms wracked his body. The bones in his legs cracked first, shifting, and forcing him to stand awkwardly on his hands and feet. Then his arms and back twisted. His face crunched, stretched. His shoulders popped. Fur grew, like tiny pins bursting out of his skin. The whine of an animal spilled from his throat.

 

 

Author Bio

S. M. Pace lives with her husband in the wilds of Virginia, along with a pond full of fish, a turtle and too many squirrels.  When she’s not writing, she’s wrangling a dozen pre-schoolers, learning a new recipe or reading.

Website: http://spacewomen/home/

Twitter: @StephMPace

Blog: smpace.com

S. M. Pace’s Fantasy World Post – Sign up to Fantasy World Post and get worldbuilding snippets, short fiction and behind the scenes peeks at my current WIP.  All free, just for signing up.

 

 

Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires # 10) by Chloe Neill [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

Blood_Games-398x600

 

Urban Fantasy

 

 

Blurb

While Merit didn’t choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she’s managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet….

A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn’t been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options. Vampires and humans aren’t on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?

Links

Purchase Blood GamesAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | iBooks | IndieBound | Tantor

 

Author Bio

Chloe Neill is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires and Dark Elite series.

She was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest–just close enough to Cadogan House and St. Sophia’s to keep an eye on things. When not transcribing Merit’s and Lily’s adventures, she bakes, works, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys–her favorite landscape photographer/husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. (Both she and the photographer understand the dogs are in charge.)

Chloe is represented by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency. Chloe is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and the Romance Writers of America. 

 

GIVEAWAY

 Want to win this SUPER MINI SWAG PACK? Easy: leave a comment below and let us know which is your FAVORITE Chicagoland Vampire story! (or if you haven’t read the series, it’s fine, just let us know how soon will you start reading it!) Winner will be picked on August 8!

 

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The fun doesn’t stop here. Want more chances to win? You can also enter the Blood Games Grand Prize Giveaway, which runs July 28  through August 8 on Chloe’s web site.

What is the Grand Prize Giveaway prize?

  • An engraved Cadogan House medal necklace

  • A Kindle Paperwhite

  • A complete set of Chicagoland Vampires Audiobook CDs (graciously provided by Tantor Audio)

  • A limited edition Cadogan House keychain

  • Chicagoland Vampires bookmarks, pens, and lanyard

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Fallen by Laury Falter [BookBlitz]

 fallen-cover_FINAL

 

Young Adult

Young Adult Fantasy

Date Published: April 1, 2009

 

 Blurb

Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.

 As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.

 Excerpt

 

“I apologize for the delay, Abaddon.”

I turned my head to find Eran standing beside me, no more than a few inches away.

Excitement swelled inside me, so powerful I couldn’t have contained it if I’d wanted to. The nervousness now displayed on Abaddon’s face gave me even stronger encouragement.

I wanted so desperately to reach out and wrap my arms around Eran, wanted it more than anything in the world. My desperate yearning was only being held back because I still couldn’t move.

I’m not sure Eran would have allowed it anyways. He was a warrior, and he was now engaged in battle. Besides, I was nothing more to him than someone to save.

Eran didn’t look my way but kept his focus on Abaddon, who stepped back a few paces, his confidence faltering.

It was Sarai who strolled forward, self-assured, placing herself in the middle.

As she strolled by Abaddon, she mused, “Don’t worry, I believe I can handle this one.” Her face curled up into a hideous grin as she continued her approach.

I knew then what she planned…but it was too late.

“Eran, so good to see you again…” she whispered in a low drawl.

“No!” I screamed enraged, waiting for Eran to fall to the ground, whimpering with desperation as Rufus had done.

Eran remained standing.

A moment passed and Sarai’s face contorted, confusion setting in. Her state of shock became more defined, deepening further when he finally replied.

“You don’t work on me, Sarai…” I watched in disbelief as his gorgeous smirk, the one I missed so deeply, rose up. Eran turned and his stunning eyes settled on me, concentrating so intently I could not have mistaken his message. “I’m already in love.”

The world changed for me at that moment. As Eran’s confession hung in the air, I felt the passion and the power in me swell. Nothing was impossible now.

Sarai’s mouth fell open, a shaken sigh escaping. She then looked at me, her eyes narrowing in fury as Eran’s words sunk in.

Eran flippantly disregarded her, turning to address Abaddon. “You are outnumbered. You are overpowered. You have allowed yourself to be cornered. Shoddy work, Abaddon.”

As I watched their interaction, it dawned on me that Eran was enjoying this moment and that it appeared to have been long overdue. I felt a smile on my lips, nearly causing me to giggle.

It was then Abaddon released me. I fell to the ground, hitting it hard but overwhelmed with relief. I glanced up, wondering what power Eran had over Abaddon to give up his hold on me.

In an instant, I realized what had happened.

Abaddon had let me go willingly. He needed his energy – all of it – for another reason…

Leaning forward, Abaddon’s arms extended, his feet sweeping up from the ground, as he lunged for Eran.

 

 

 

 Author Bio

Laury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also an animal rights activist, a sailor, a one-handed golf putterer, and a Colorado River conqueror.profile_pic

She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles.

 

 

 

 

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From Indiana with Love by Sandra Sookoo [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

BookBlitz

 

From-Indiana-With-Love-Sandra-Sookoo

 

 

From Indiana With Love

 

Contemporary

From Indiana with Love

By: Sandra Sookoo

Released July 2014

 

Blurb

Being embroiled in an FBI sting isn’t exactly conducive for book research or warm fuzzies—or is it?

Samantha Arnold, prep cook and struggling romance novelist, believes adventure is right around the corner. Trouble is, nothing exciting happens in the small town of Newburg, Indiana. When a routine trip to pick up chicken results in meeting a guy too well-dressed to be a farmer, she can’t help but hope things are about to turn.

Special Agent Patton Mitchell isn’t exactly enjoying his stint in the farming community. The property he’s using as a home base adjoins that of his mark, and it also connects him with meek and mild Samantha. Her questionable Internet search history has triggered a visit from the NSA, which means him, and he’s not above a little flirting to get his answers.

Suddenly, small town life explodes into a story right out of Sam’s imagination, with intrigue, guns and betrayal to boot. What she thinks of as a madcap caper is a fight for life or death in Mitchell’s book. Between dodging bullets, chasing a would-be terrorist and dealing with drop-in relatives, there might just be a shot at romance—if the bad guys don’t get them first.

 

 

Author Bio

Sandra is a writer of romantic fiction. Her portfolio includes historical, contemporary, sci-fi, and paranormal romances in full-length books as well as shorts and novellas. No matter if the heat level is spicy or sweet, she loves to blend genres and oftentimes will add humor to the mix.

When not immersed in creating new worlds and engaging characters, Sandra likes to read, bake, taste new teas, watch The Big Bang Theory, and Psych as well as Finding Bigfoot and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World: it’s where dreams come true and the soul can play. When she’s not writing, she’s keeping things interesting at her Believing is Seeing blog or spending time with her husband, who patiently answers questions she has about men, sci-fi-related subjects, and the odd “what if”.

Sandra loves to hear from her readers. You can write to her at sandrasookoo@yahoo.com, visit her website at www.sandrasookoo.com, or look her up on Facebook and Twitter. All links are provided on the front page of her website.

 

 

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Aqua Alaskan Nights by Amanda Jones [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

aqua alaskan nights

 

Blurb

After losing her job, Hayley struggles to make ends meet and allows her career status to define her. She finds inspiration in successful photographer Trevor Tott, but their professional aspirations clash when she experiences his questionable ethics along with unwanted advances from her overbearing boss. With the help of the ship’s crew, stunning Alaskan backdrops and a leap of faith, they might find business can be mixed with pleasure.

With cameos from favourite Aqua characters Harry and Casey, Amanda Jones weaves a plot that keeps the pages turning.

Love happens on The Aqua…

Have you jumped in yet? The Aqua series is the ongoing story of the cruise ship Aqua, where crew members such as Chef Amber and Captain Hallmann appear frequently, and other favourites, such as Harry and Casey, make cameo appearances. With each book in the series, the familiar characters and their stories grow and weave cleverly together. You’ll meet Hayley and Trevor again in books for the upcoming Alaskan and Caribbean series as well. Read along the entire series to get to know and understand the cruise ship, its passengers and regular crew members.

  Excerpt

HAYLEY CAUGHT her hat as a strong breeze blew onto the deck. She shoved the brim in her pocket, pulled her red curls into a ponytail and kept her eye on the camera screen as an iceberg floated down the glacier-carved fjord. The sun bounced off the blue glass as it bobbed in the sea, the summer light shimmering as if the water was a celestial globe. She pressed the shutter release but by the time the camera processed the picture and took the photo, the image was blurry. Why did she ever think of doing this?

Minutes earlier the glacier had released the clear blue ice with a sound louder than a cannon blast. She had watched in awe as it calved and cascaded into the thin arm of the bay, pushing water onto the glacial plateau, rocking the smaller ice pieces around it. An iceberg had been born before her eyes.

Hayley looked toward the maze of islands and coves that stretched along the Inside Passage. These were the moments she lived for – the raw beauty of the wilderness stirred a longing deep inside of her each time she stood in its midst. To her, nature was a kindred spirit and since she was a teen, she’d lived to protect it, from picketing at zoos to chaining herself to trees to protest against clear-cuts. That passion had led her to investigative reporting and she had covered the environment beat ever since.

She turned back to her camera. She had been in such awe of the moment, that she missed taking a photo and now struggled to capture the iceberg in some fashion. Words were her ability, to describe a moment rather than take a static image, but her prose wasn’t valued anymore. In the last round of cuts at the newspaper, her job landed on the chopping block. They no longer needed an environmental reporter – the stories from the wire were good enough.

To her dismay, the only job she could land was in public relations – she had crossed to the other side. And of all things, she was assigned a cruise ship company. Not only had she left her meaningful beat behind, she was now covering luxury travel, far from the world she had vowed to protect. Hayley spent years journeying to destinations, uncovering a story, or highlighting an area with natural heritage features, but in her new PR position she had an endless laundry list of tasks: photograph daily scenic shots, attend the workshops, interview the crew, plan the media trip with the photo workshop leader.

While her client was dining with the captain, she was running all over the ship to deliver the requested photos on time. And worse was, she didn’t have a creative eye. Some people could write music, others could dance to any beat, and photographers could capture a moment in one single image. She never could and always relied on publicity photos for her articles.

Yet she needed the job. She had a mortgage, car payments and college debt to pay. She had to hold onto the position at least until she found something better.

What made it worse was the client. Blake Harrison. The name already sounded harsh. He made it seem as if the free cruise was a big perk, yet with the workload she wouldn’t get much time to relax. On top of it, he didn’t cover any expenses and only dangled the carrot of a one-year contract if the cruise went well. She had to cobble together the money for the plane ticket to Vancouver and didn’t have much left over for a good camera. She had bought a cheap digitalhoping it would do the job. She spent the first few days learning how to use it and then realized its deficiencies. It was slow in capturing images no matter what speed she set it for – how would she ever get the wildlife pictures she needed? And she never knew she had a shaky hand – all the years she wrote for the paper, if she used a camera, it was their top of the line models that had an image stabilization feature.

She looked over to the man on her right. He had more than one camera body, a large format camera in his hand and then a Nikon with a telephoto slung over his shoulder. After so many years of holding down a steady job, one in which she won awards, it was hard to believe that she was starting over. Her life had been set, and then the entire global economy got turned on its side and her industry took the biggest fall. At times it seemed her life was coming apart and there was no way she could hold it together. It was at moments like this that she felt tears building up, and she pressed her lips together to fight them off. It was so unprofessional, in the middle of strangers on the deck of a ship, on a work assignment, but lately she couldn’t control her emotions. She had dipped into her savings and was at the brink of financial collapse, not knowing where she would live or get health insurance from. The pressure month after month had become too much and she worried how she would cobble her life together.

She looked back to the sea, where the iceberg had turned exposing a large gap in the shape of a heart. Two thin arms of ice reached out to form an arch above the turquoise water. She felt small in the presence of these large cities of ice, these mountains that folded into the distance. It made her life and her problems seem inconsequential in the grander scheme of things.

The glacier was built one snowflake at a time, over thousands of years and it had now come to the end of its lifecycle, gracefully floating to whatever awaited it. Mammoth next to the ship, but the size of an ice cube when it reached the open ocean, it was changing, sliding to the edge, holding on, and then breaking, tumbling into the sea, sloshing about till it found solid footing in a new environment.

How unlike this piece of ice she herself was. It might float for years, enduring elements as it traveled along the coastline. It would eventually melt, bit by bit, erode and be forgotten. Would her life be much different? In time, her work would be cast aside, buried in cyberspace, nullified among more timely articles. Nor did her life matter to anyone but herself and her cat. She would be forgotten.

This is why she found solace in nature. It talked to her without a word. Thoughts slipped into her mind and found a home, made sense. There were times, in fact, that she found she was more interconnected with nature than people.

Hayley dropped her chin into the wide collar on her jacket and turned back to her camera bag. She pulled out an old tripod and started extending the legs. It was the one good thing about this cruise – when she was out in nature, she forgot the rest of her life. Even if she was stuck behind a camera lens for some of the next two weeks, she was still close to the one element that soothed her.

“Don’t bother setting up your tripod.”

The voice pulled Hayley out of her thoughts and she looked toward the man with broad shoulders and a pointy face. “I always use one.”

“You’ve never shot on a ship before.”

“Of course I have,” she lied, fumbling with the tripod legs splayed on the deck. She was in a time crunch to get a shot of the ice slab before the ship turned.

“It’s a moving platform.”

“I’ve got lots of space,” she said curtly. She looked beyond him, toward the fjord that stretched into the distance, then at his long lens and bulky camera bag. Perhaps he did know something.

“True but you’ll be buffeted from the wind.” He pointed his chin toward the fast-moving clouds, his windbreaker billowing from the breeze. “It will be useless.”

“I have an anchor,” she said sharply and hung her bag to the center post. She walked toward the other end of the deck to scout a scenic shot.

“Don’t leave your camera unattended.”

She didn’t have time to be interrupted – she had to get a good image and deliver it to her client in an hour. She threw her arms out toward the water surrounding them. “What? Someone’s going to run off with it?”

“I never leave my camera unattended.” He wrapped his long fingers around the body of his camera. “It’s too expensive.”

“Never say never.”

He paused for a moment. At the top of his head, a small patch of bald skin glistened in the afternoon sun that poured over the mountainous coast. “I never leave my camera.”

She rolled her green eyes. The man irritated her but the scenery was so beautiful that she didn’t want to leave the deck and miss something.

He walked toward her, then dug around in his bag and handed her a camera. “I used to shoot with this.”

“It’s old.”

“But good quality.”

He pushed his sunglasses onto his forehead, and showed her the camera settings. He had soft blue eyes, the color of the ice floating past them, and his long face led to a warm smile. Then he handed the camera to her. “Go get that iceberg.”

HAYLEY’S PONYTAIL bobbed from side to side as she walked toward the bow. Trevor watched her kneel next to her backpack and remove a filter. Even though she was tiny, her fiery curls gave her away from across the boat.

She rested her elbows on the railing and took a photo, then checked it in the viewfinder. A smile spread across her face and she turned to him with a thumbs-up. She walked further down the deck and took more pictures.

He knew the pressure of getting a good photo and could sense it a mile away. Besides, he had watched her for a while that afternoon. She seemed to be a perfectionist, muttering to herself and criticizing each shot she took. In time, she had stressed herself so much that it seemed nothing was working.

And then, the iceberg drifted by and she lowered her camera in awe. He heard her talk to it as if it were a human, and then she murmured over and over, “Stay strong,” and, as she did, her shoulders dropped. Trevor edged closer to her, drawn to the exclamation and the wonder in her expressions. She wasn’t the only one susceptible to the iceberg – the lower deck was crowded the moment the iceberg calved with a loud boom, and when he looked down all he witnessed was a maze of hands pointing, and then the gasps and shouts. But among that chaos there was a sense of peace with this woman, as if she had stepped into a bubble of calm. She said, “Stay strong” one more time and at that moment, he felt a warmth spread through the palm of his hand. The unthinkable had happened to Trevor. The entire time the iceberg had drifted by, he hadn’t taken one photo. Not one.

It seemed she had come to the realization at the same moment and fumbled with her camera. He focused his zoom lens and took a few photos, then turned back to her. It was then that he mentioned the tripod, and in doing so, seemed to pop her out of the magical bubble she was in. It didn’t surprise him when she got defensive – perfectionists always did.

Trevor looked back toward the woman who now leaned her chin on the far railing, watching. He zipped up his bag and jotted down a note, then speared it on the hook of her tripod’s center post. It read: “Play with the camera this afternoon. I’ll see you around. -T”

He hadn’t signed his name – he wanted to leave her with an air of mystery.

 

 

Author Bio

Romance author, Amanda S. Jones, loves travel, chocolate and red wine. You’ll find all of these elements in the books she writes! Her first romance series, “Aqua” takes place on the cruise ship, Aqua, a slow-burning pleasure dome of food and attraction that spurs the reader’s imagination. Each book has exotic locations, sumptuous foods, seduction, enticement and true love, so open the pages and step aboard to see what’s in store for characters with the help of the ship’s crew, a romantic destination and a leap of faith. If you’re interested in updates on Amanda and her book series, sign up for the Aqua Club newsletter on her website!

 

 

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Ringmaster by Trudi Jaye [BookBlitz]

Ringmaster.v5FINAL_v2

 

Paranormal Romance

Date Published: May 28, 2014

 Blurb

Roll up! Roll up! Join us for the greatest show on Earth! 

The magical Jolly Carnival is the only life Rilla Jolly knows—and it’s all falling apart around her. Just as she’s thrust into the role of Ringmaster after her father’s unexpected death, an old family friend turns up to challenge her birthright.

Her rival’s sexy son Jack isn’t helping either. Despite being a greenhorn and an outsider, he’s intent on charming everyone, convincing them that Rilla isn’t up to the task. It’s not going to be easy to persuade the Carnival folk she’s still the best choice to lead them all.

But Rilla must also contend with another threat—the ongoing sabotage that has been disturbing their delicate magical balance and threatening to destroy the Carnival. All signs point to an insider, making it impossible to know who to trust.

To save her beloved Carnival, Rilla must do everything in her power to find the saboteur before they attack again—but if she takes her eye off the battle for Ringmaster for even a second, she risks losing the one thing she’s trained for her entire life.

 

Excerpt

 

CHAPTER ONE

The red-and-white tent roof shuddered in the wind and rain. Ropes and canvas flapped, as if Abacus himself were objecting to his final resting place.

Rilla swallowed hard around the lump that had been permanently stuck in her throat since she’d been told of her father’s death. All around her were Carnival folk, their heads tilted upward, tears running down many faces.

It couldn’t be true. Her larger-than-life father was limitless, unbeatable. Certainly not meant to die in a stupid car crash.

Over their heads, Missy crawled along the high-wire rigging toward the top of the massive tent. The silver of her leotard sparkled under the lights, and her long legs clung to the ropes with an elegance that hid powerful muscles. Every pair of eyes in the tent watched as she completed the tradition that had been started three hundred years before, by the nine original families.

The ashes of almost every member of the Jolly Carnival who’d passed on were contained in one of the two huge round tent poles. They literally held the very essence of the Carnival. And now her bright and brilliant father was another collection of ash in the Carnival tradition.

Barb squeezed her hand; Rilla glanced at her and nodded. It was Barb’s daughter Missy up there doing the final ceremony, and she was glad it was someone who’d loved her father almost as much as she did. Rilla looked around the tent, trying to memorize the people. Everyone was there, from the newest greenhorn to the oldest hand, crowded into the massive big top. She knew every face in the room.

Rubbing at the tears running down her face, Rilla felt her anger flare again. She’d been keeping it at bay, but every so often, it burned its way up her throat. She wanted to shout at someone, hit them, cry out at the injustice.

It wasn’t right.

A violin began to play a slow, haunting melody. The tune hit the chorus and she recognized it. She tried to smile. From her other side, Christoph’s muscular arm clamped around her shoulders, and she listened silently to the rest of the ABBA song that Viktor was playing in slow time.

The song was a lovely idea, but her father would have hated the slowness. He loved the speed of the tunes by the Swedish band. He’d always said the tents went up faster to the beat of “Mama Mia.” And he’d always preferred the nickname Abba to his full name Abacus.

“He wouldn’t want you to be sad, little one,” said Christoph as he gave her another squeeze with his massive arm.

She looked up at him and took comfort in his familiar lined features. He was the strongman of the Carnival in more ways than one. “I know. But it doesn’t help.”

“No, it doesn’t. Come, we should go now.” Rilla allowed Christoph to gently pull her toward the tent flaps that would take them away from the crowds of people. His mustache twitched, and she knew he was trying not to cry at the loss of his friend.

As they walked out, a flash of blue hair caught her eye. A man stood near a side entrance to the big top, his expression a strange mix of anger and excitement. His shock of blue hair stood at attention on his head, and he wore a black shirt with matching black trousers. A ripple of unease washed through Rilla. The stranger caught and held her gaze. Then he turned and disappeared out into the storm.

Rilla frowned. She opened her mouth to question Christoph, then closed it again. Her father knew literally thousands of people. He’d been a big, charismatic personality who’d lived his entire life on the circuit. There could be any number of people she’d never met who could claim a relationship with him.

The blue-haired man might have seemed out of place, but that didn’t mean he shouldn’t be there.

She glanced back up at Christoph as they neared the exit. For the first time, she noticed the grey hair mixed with the black on his head. Her father and Christoph had grown up together, lived their lives together. The big man had helped Abacus raise Rilla when her mother had left. He was going to feel the gap left by Abacus just as she did.

“Rilla, there’s a problem.”

“Pardon?” Rilla turned, trying to focus on the scruffy boy who’d stopped her. She blinked and recognized Joey, one of the younger runners.

“There’s a man. He says…” Joey trailed off as an older man strode past him, straight up to Christoph and Rilla. He pushed out his chin and glared at them both.

“My name is Blago Knight. I’m here to claim the title of Ringmaster.”

Rilla felt the world sway. If Christoph hadn’t been holding her up, she didn’t think she would have remained standing. The momentary confusion cleared and she blinked, looking at the man in front of her. Her gaze narrowed.

Who the hell did he think he was?

“You do realize this is my father’s funeral?” she said, her voice breaking in the middle. She cleared her throat and pulled herself together. She was the Carnival leader now.

“Of course I realize it, young lady. But it doesn’t change the fact that I demand to speak to the Nine. You must convene an emergency session.”

“You’ll have to wait, Blago. This isn’t the time.” Christoph’s voice boomed unnaturally loud. Every eye in the crowded room focused on Rilla and the stranger.

“I know the rules as well as anyone, Christoph. I have to announce my intentions to the Nine immediately or it’s too late.” He glanced at Rilla. “If you stand in my way, you forfeit your rights to the Ringmaster claim.”

Shivers raced across her skin as she stared at the old man in front of her. Bushy eyebrows covered bloodshot eyes, dark and fierce at their center. The lined face was surrounded by a seething mass of white, frizzy hair. He held a black cane in one hand and an old-fashioned bowler hat in the other.

How could he have a legitimate claim? She didn’t understand. She’d never even heard of him.

A knot of tension pushed against her temple, and a headache crawled across her scalp. She lifted one hand to her forehead and rubbed at it, trying to break up the pain that was bashing around inside her head. She just needed a moment to clear her head, time to think without this grief filling her up until she was ready to burst with the pain.

But rules were rules. “Come with me. It will be informal but enough to judge your claim and if you’re valid.”

“‘Course I’m valid. Just ask ol’ Christoph here. He’ll vouch for me.”

Rilla looked up at Christoph in shock.

Her oldest family friend nodded and she realized he’d used Blago’s first name a moment ago. Of course he knew him.

But how? And why had she never heard of this stranger? “Fine.” She looked around and gestured to the others in the Nine. They would meet immediately to determine his claim.

***

Rilla paced along the narrow aisle in her caravan, clenching and unclenching her hands. “How can someone I’ve never heard of have a claim? It doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Christoph lifted his head from his hands. “I’d never have thought…” He cleared his throat. “Abba… your father would never have expected him to come back. It was so long ago.” He lowered his head into his hands again and seemed to shrink into the small sofa in Rilla’s lounge area.

“What was so long ago? What is this all about?”

He looked up again, shaking his head. “He was in the show crew, probably would have been Showmaster instead of me if he’d stayed. But he was thrown out, thirty years plus three.”

“Thirty-three years?” Rilla stopped pacing. “Isn’t that…? He tried to stop a Gift?”

Christoph nodded. “Got himself and his family kicked out. Everyone back then was shocked, especially Abba. They were tight.”

“His whole family?”

Again, Christoph nodded. “Mother, father, sister—they all helped him. He fell for the Mark, interfered with her Gift.”

She’d been told, her father had drummed it into her, but she’d never really thought… The Carnival had thrown someone out? Left them behind to survive without the help of the group? “But surely…” She stopped when she saw Christoph shaking his head. “No wonder he’s pissed.”

“Listen, Rilla, he’ll have support from some of the older ones who’ve been rumbling that you’re too young to be Ringmaster and that you won’t be able to deal with the sabotage problem.”

“It’s not against the rules to be young.” She crossed her arms and glared at him. Her father hadn’t expected to die and leave her to run things at twenty-four years of age, but she was perfectly capable of doing it.

“No, just uncomfortable for some of the older ones to accept.” Christoph heaved a sigh and rubbed one hand over his forehead.

“And some of the younger ones.”

He shrugged. “You’ll just have to prove them wrong. You’ve been raised for this, Amaryllis Jolly. It’s your family name on the sign out front, your family that survived the wreck, and your father that’s been running the show for the last forty years. Don’t forget that.”

“I can’t forget it. But…” She rubbed her hand over her stiff neck muscles.

“Don’t doubt yourself, Rilla. This isn’t the time or place. You’re the acting Ringmaster until the Carnival chooses someone to lead. You’ve got an advantage and you need to use it. You need to prove to everyone, especially the Carnival, that you’re the right person for the job, and you’ve got to do it quick. Blago, he’s a smart man. He’ll take every advantage he can get.”

“How well do you know him?”

Christoph sighed. “He was one of the old gang. We were all tight when we were kids. But I’ve changed since then. Maybe he has too.”

Rilla took a deep breath. “The Nine accepted it pretty easily.”

“What else could they say? He’s legitimate, Rilla. Him and his son.”

“His son?”

“The fella that was waiting outside the tent. Tall, dark hair.”

Rilla shook her head. How could she have overlooked the son? It frightened her that she could have missed something so simple.

“Nah, he stood back. Let his da do the talking. Blago was raised Carnival. But the boy, he’s green and he looked it. That’ll count against him, no doubt there.”

Rilla nodded. Outsiders weren’t welcomed easily.

“Where are they now?” She had to plan, to figure out how she was going to fix this.

“In the food tent, where you should be.”

“I’ll get there.” It was her father’s funeral; of course she would be there. “How long do I have?”

“‘Til the end of our stay here. Three weeks. After that, we’re headed for the Compound with a new Ringmaster.”

Rilla nodded. Winter was almost on them; they were due a rest. “Has there been a Mark named yet?”

Christoph shook his head. “Maybe there won’t be. We’ll be busy dealing with this. Maybe the Carnival will give us a break.”

“We can’t count on it,” said Rilla. “Tell Joey to keep an eye out, and let me know as soon as something happens. We can’t lose focus just because we’re in the middle of a crisis.”

“Listen, Rilla, no one expects you to—”

“What? Do what I’ve been trained to do? This wouldn’t have stopped my father, and it won’t stop me.” Rilla banged her fist against the wall. Glass rattled in the ancient trailer, and she scowled. It might be the biggest trailer in the Carnival, but it sure wasn’t the newest.

“Christoph, what happened to the Mark he fell for?” she asked.

“Last I heard, Blago married her.”

 

 

 

Author Bio

  I’ve always loved books, and the stories they bring to life in my head. I’ve always had an overactive imagination as well, and distinctly remember sitting at the base of the big oak tree at school when I was a kid, building houses for the fairies, telling their stories as I went.

Born and raised in New Zealand, I have also lived in the UK, US, and Denmark. I love to meet new people; it’s a fantastic way to gain exposure to new ideas and cultures and, of course, to get story ideas.

For the last ten years I’ve been a magazine writer, and currently I get to write about innovative and cutting-edge research for a tertiary institution in New Zealand. It’s an inspiring job, talking to people about their passion, and I try to tell their stories in the Trudi picbest possible way.

I live in a secluded haven amongst the trees in Auckland with my lovely husband and cheeky three-year-old daughter. I enjoy yoga, although I’m not very bendy, and karate, although I don’t like the idea of hitting anyone. It’s about pushing my boundaries, and both those activities are physical, in a way that my work as a writer isn’t.

I’ve worked as a camp counsellor, a waitress, a checkout girl, a citizenship officer and an editor. But none of those jobs compares to being able to call myself a writer.

 

 

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Shadows of Damascus by Lilas Taha [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Blurb

Bullet wounds, torture and oppression aren’t the only things that keep a man—or a woman—from being whole.

Debt. Honor. Pain. Solitude. These are things wounded war veteran Adam Wegener knows all about. Love—now, that he is not good at. Not when love equals a closed fist, burns, and suicide attempts. But Adam is one who keeps his word. He owes the man who saved his life in Iraq. And he doesn’t question the measure of the debt, even when it is in the form of an emotionally distant, beautiful woman.

Yasmeen agreed to become the wife of an American veteran so she could flee persecution in war-torn Syria. She counted on being in the United States for a short stay until she could return home. There was one thing she did not count on: wanting more.

Is it too late for Adam and Yasmeen?

Shadows of Damascus was released by Soul Mate Publishing on January, 2014.

  Excerpt

ADAM

Baghdad, Iraq

Summer 2006

M4 Carbine rifle ready, Sergeant Adam Wegener scanned the street, skimming from window to rooftop. Nerves on edge, his neck and shoulder muscles strained to keep him focused. His heart thumped against his ribs.

Patrol leader Lieutenant Clifton moved his troop with caution through the street, Adam’s fire team at the rear. They’d done street sweeps many times before, but this one was different. Something was not right. Apprehension took hold of his insides and squeezed tight with every step.

Adam turned and walked backwards a few steps, establishing eye contact with Corporal Scottsdale. He nodded at the big guy’s expressionless face, assurance at having Big Scott cover his back. He checked on the other two members of his team trailing his left, Corporals Andrews and Bradley, and faced forward again.

The neighborhood seemed unnaturally quiet. No children walked to school, no laundry hung outside windows on this breezeless day, not even alley cats explored the overflowing garbage containers.

From a corner of his eye, he caught a movement in one of the windows. Wood shutters slammed closed against the windowpane.

A loud boom burst the air. Adam hit the dirt, his head pounding the pavement. The world went silent. He spat blood mixed with something solid. Parts of his body armor and uniform had been ripped off, along with patches of skin. He rose to his knees, his hands searching for his rifle. Finding it, he clasped the rifle in his arms and crawled. He moved as if swimming in a viscous liquid, not knowing which direction to take. He saw only clouds of smoke.

He screamed the names of the soldiers in his team, not sure if his voice even worked. He couldn’t hear a damn thing. His elbow landed on something hard, a boot. He moved his fingers up the leather, across the twill fabric of the pants, until his hands sank in soft flesh and wetness. The man mumbled something, his voice muffled and distant.

“Big Scott, that you?” Adam shouted.

A shower of bullets rang by his side. Helmet gone, he ducked and covered his head. His ears popped from the pressure, jump-starting his hearing.

“Take cover.” Big Scott’s voice penetrated the sounds of warfare.

He scrambled to his feet, hoisted Big Scott on his shoulder, and dashed to the nearest house. He kicked the door and threw himself and Big Scott inside. Propping the injured soldier’s back to one wall, away from the windows, he snatched the M9 Beretta pistol from the holster mounted on his chest rig and forced it into Big Scott’s hands.

“Cover the door.”

Rifle raised and ready, he moved from room to room to secure the small house. He entered the kitchen, coming face-to-face with an old woman. Sitting motionless on a wooden chair, hands clasped on the Formica table in front of her, she stared down Adam’s raised barrel.

Keeping an eye on the wrinkled, tanned face, he scanned the kitchen. No place for anyone to hide, not even a closet door to check behind.

“Anyone else in the house?”

She held her stare, unflinching.

Adam tried to recall Arabic words he heard Fadi, the interpreter assigned to his patrol unit, say in situations like these. But he couldn’t recall a single one.

“Where’s your husband?”

The woman blinked. She craned her neck to one side, looking past him toward the front of the house. The white scarf covering her hair slipped down to her shoulders, revealing gray strands pulled back in a tight bun. She lifted the scarf and refastened it under her chin.

His hand shook. He aimed a loaded weapon at a woman the same age as his mother. Hell, she even resembled her.

“Rajul? Rajul?” Was that the right word for man? Why was she so calm?

The only point of entry was the door he came through. He heard heavy movement outside. The sounds of shouting men grew closer. The old mother could yell to alert the insurgents any second. He snatched a towel hanging on a hook to his left, and held his index finger to his lips, motioning for the woman to go with him to the front room.

She followed without uttering a sound.

Adam pointed his weapon for her to sit on the cement floor. He tore the towel into strips and kneeled in front of her.

Big Scott moaned. He slumped to one side, pistol aimed at the door.

“I got you, man. Have to secure the old mother first.” He used a towel strip for her hands and tied another around her mouth.

He turned to Big Scott, got his first aid kit out of a side pocket on his torn pants, and dug for supplies. He applied bandages to Big Scott’s bleeding midsection. Keeping pressure on the wound with one hand, he pulled the radio from his pack and reported to his platoon sergeant they were trapped inside one of the houses.

“Damn it, which one?” Lieutenant Clifton’s voice crackled.

“Don’t know. Scottsdale’s injured. It’s bad.”

“Andrews, Bradley?” The lieutenant screamed back.

“God damn IED was right under them. Can’t confirm.”

“Second platoon’s six blocks away. They’re en route and—”

A loud explosion silenced the radio. Cursing, he flung the radio across the room.

“Hang in there, big man. QRF’s on the way.” There was no way the Quick Reaction Force could come to their rescue if they didn’t know where they were.

“How long?” Big Scott’s voice came out calm, surprising him.

“Ten minutes.” He fumbled with more bandages. Could second platoon make six blocks in ten minutes? It was possible. “Stay with me. Think about that sweet girl you got back home. Sandy, right?”

He slumped beside Big Scott. Sticky stuff on his back squished. He closed his eyes, hoping to God the sensation resulted from an injury he hadn’t yet felt, rather than the blood and flesh of his missing team members splattered all over him. He needed to find a way to signal their location.

Big Scott clamped a charred hand on top of his. “Won’t make it.”

“The hell you won’t. Sandy’s waiting for you.” He pulled himself to his feet and approached the door. “You’d better not disappoint her.” If he opened the door and his patrol didn’t spot him, the insurgents would be alerted to their position, and that would be the fucking end. If he didn’t do anything, Big Scott would bleed out. He looked back at the corporal. His friend didn’t have much time. There was only one thing to do.

“We have to get out of here.”

He propped Big Scott on his shoulder and opened the door. Clouds of smoke blocked his view. Using the cover of smoke, he edged his way along the side of the house, unable to see a yard past his face. His foot stumbled over a chunk of cement, and he collapsed against the house, slumping down on the dirty street, overcome by how absurd this mission was.

A clomp of boots on the gritty pavement caught his attention. They were trapped. They could not fade into the concrete, not a car nor a bush to hide behind, and he didn’t have time to retrace his way back to the door. He aimed his rifle in the direction of the approaching boots and counted the steps. One man, probably a scout. Shots would draw others.

He slung the rifle across his chest and let it hang. Clamping a hand on Big Scott’s mouth, he stifled the soldier’s agonized moan. Adam stretched to full height, flattened his back against the wall, and pulled his knife.

Heavy fire erupted around them. Bullets shattered the wall to Adam’s left. He hit the dirt again. Big Scott’s limp body fell on top of him, pinning him down. Knife gone, he tried to push Big Scott off. Pain shot through his body like electricity. He doubled over and collapsed once more, trapping his rifle under him.

Leather boots slammed right next to his face. He wrapped his hand around the ankle and tried to topple the guy down.

“Don’t fight me, Adam. I’m here to helb you.”

“Fadi? That you Fadi?”

“Shut ub before zey hear us.”

Fadi took hold of Big Scott’s shoulders and pulled him into the house. He returned to Adam and dragged him until they were inside. He checked their injuries.

Multiple holes on Adam’s left side bled. Big Scott lay flat on his back, praying aloud.

“Clifton knows where you are now.” Fadi applied bandages to Adam’s leg.

He sucked in a sharp breath and tried to stay alert, his eyelids too heavy to keep open.

Fadi shook his uninjured shoulder. “Do what you always do to stay awake.”

Adam opened his eyes. “What?”

“Count, man. Count za bains. Double za number if zey were very bainful, half if zey were minor,” Fadi urged in his particular accent.

Adam’s mind kicked into counting mode. Shit, was he crazy?

“How’d you know where we were?”

“I heard za insurgents shouting to each ozer.” Fadi moved fast to administer the articles in his first-aid kit to Adam’s other wounds.

Crunching numbers didn’t do much to alleviate his pain, but the process helped him filter through Fadi’s heavy accent.

“At first I didn’t understand the words they were using for directions,” Fadi explained. “Arabic has two words to indicate left. One can mean north, depending on the dialect. I had to get closer to figure it out, and that’s when I saw you. Clifton was very mad. Didn’t want me to leave the team, but hey, I’m a contract interpreter, not one of his soldiers.”

The woman moaned from her corner. Fadi shot his head up and approached her.

“Who did this?”

“Needed to make sure she didn’t scream.” Adam tried to lift himself on his elbows. He groaned, the full force of deep searing pain setting in.

Fadi untied the woman’s mouth, released her hands, and spoke to her, his tone low and gentle.

“She’s an old woman, Adam. She’s trapped here just like we are. This is her home. No one and nothing is going to drive her out of it. You didn’t need to tie her up.”

“Not taking any chances.”

Scott’s praying voice disturbed rather than comforted Adam. He concentrated on breathing. Why couldn’t he just pass out and be spared this agony?

The woman placed her hands in her lap, flipped her palms upward and muttered something.

“What’s her problem?”

“She’s praying,” Fadi said.

“I didn’t hurt her. See what else you can do for Big Scott before I lose it.” Adam found it hard to formulate his words.

Fadi kneeled in front of Big Scott, tore a bag with his teeth, and spread its contents over his gaping wound.

Adam’s eyes darted between the old mother and Big Scott. Never hesitant Scott. Never questioning and never smiling either. Were they praying to the same God? Would He listen?

“Tell her I’m sorry I tied her up, will you?”

“Itlaa barrah balady,” the woman responded to Fadi.

“What the hell did she say?”

“She wants us to leave.”

“We wouldn’t be here if her people hadn’t planted that Goddamn IED. Tell her that.” Adam spat blood.

“She meant leave her country.”

Darkness closed in on Adam, the bliss of unconsciousness threatening to take over. He closed his eyes.

“I’m okay with that . . .”

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Bio

Lilas Taha is a writer at heart, an electrical engineer by training, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims by choiceMEDIA KIT Lilas_Taha. She was born in Kuwait to a Syrian mother and a Palestinian father, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Gulf war in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There, Lilas met her beloved husband and true friend, and moved with him to Sugar Land, Texas to establish a family. She is the proud mother of a daughter and a son. Instead of working in an industrial field, she applied herself to the field of social safety, working with victims of domestic violence.

Pursuing her true passion for creative writing, Lilas brings her professional interests, and her Middle Eastern background together in her debut fictional novel, Shadows of Damascus.

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Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum [BookBlitz + Guest Post + Giveaway




On the morning before her 67th death, it is business as usual for Jesse Sullivan: meet with the mortician, counsel soon-to-be-dead clients, and have coffee while reading the latest regeneration theory. Jesse dies for a living, literally. As a Necronite, she is one of the population’s rare 2% who can serve as a death replacement agent, dying so others don’t have to. Although each death is different, the result is the same: a life is saved, and Jesse resurrects days later with sore muscles, new scars, and another hole in her memory.

But when Jesse is murdered and becomes the sole suspect in a federal investigation, more than her freedom and sanity are at stake. She must catch the killer herself—or die trying.

You can purchase Dying For a Living at the following Retailers:
    

 

Guest Post

 

10 favorite books of all times

An impossible task! But here is a good sampling:

1 Empress by Shan Sa
2 A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
3 Here by Wislawa Szymborska
4 Dune by Frank Herbert
5 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
6 Averno and/or The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck
7 On Writing by Stephen King
8 Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton
9 Emma by Jane Austen
10 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner and a ferocious guard pug. When not writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, and wearing a gi. Her poetry has appeared in North American Review, Bateau and elsewhere. Her first urban fantasy novel Dying for a Living  is now available on Amazon, as well as her short story, Dive. She’d love to hear from you on Facebook, G+, her blog, or Twitter.

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4 Winners will receive an  E-Copy of  Dying For a Living +Signed Bookmarks by Kory M. Shrum.
1 Winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.
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Below the Surface by Tim Shoemaker [BookBlitz + Guest Post + Giveaway]


 

Something is wrong with Cooper. He’s plagued by a fear he doesn’t understand and can’t control. Cooper just wants to escape, and a summer vacation aboard the restored cabin cruiser, The Getaway, with best friends Gordy, Hiro, and Lunk seems like the perfect way to do it. Two weeks of fun—with no mysteries or life-and-death danger. That’s the plan. But their plans are shattered the very first night when they witness a murder. Or did they? Despite their intentions of leaving the investigation to the police, narrow misses and creepy encounters lure them in. Is there really a body floating in the underwater currents of the lake? The closer they get to the truth, the deeper into danger they get. Too late they see the trap. Now each of them must face their own buried fears . . . just below the surface.

You can purchase Below The Surface at the following Retailers:
    

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Quick Bio

  • Happily married for more than thirty years to Cheryl, the love of my life.
  • Dad to three grown sons and two daughter-in-laws
  • Elder Chairman in my church and high school small group leader
  • Full time speaker and author since 2004
  • Living in the greater Chicago area
  • Grateful for God’s incredible grace and mercy to me in countless ways

My Passions

  • To be a man of integrity, who loves God and others with all my heart.
  • To be an extraordinary husband to Cheryl, the wife of my youth.
  • To love my sons, daughters-in-law, grandkids and extended family with everything in me.
  • To impact kids and youth in ways that cause them to become true men and women of God.
  • To help parents teach their kids about God and the principles He’s given us to live by.
  • To help couples experience the richness that comes from a marriage guided by God.
  • To help men see what a Christian man should be in all the various facets of life.

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Guest Post

Summer is just around the corner, and Tim stopped by the neighborhood to talk about his *Favorite Vacation Spot!*.

 

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is a real favorite. I can go there for a day—or a week—and it always makes a good getaway. Like to swim? This is a spring-fed lake. Super clear. Clean. Like to boat? The shoreline never ceases to interest as you cruise the lake. I’m not a fisherman, but plenty of people love fishing Lake Geneva.

 The town of Lake Geneva offers a nice variety of specialty shops. And great places to eat or snack. Perfect in the daytime, and even nicer at night. The town is big enough to be interesting, but small enough to cover on foot.

 On a windy day the waves get whipped up to a nice frenzy. And in a storm, the lake is as turbulent as the clouds overhead. The lake seems alive, and it’s moods shift throughout the day. I spent a lot of time sitting along the waterfront while writing these last few summers. It’s terrific!

 I chose Lake Geneva as the setting for Below the Surface, the book featured in this tour. The town has a lot of interesting history—but more importantly for the story—it has a lot of interesting places. Some that the typical tourist would never notice. Like the tunnel that funnels all the overflow from the lake into the White River. The tunnel is creepy. Dark. And perfect for the story. There’s other places like that in town, too.

Sometime in August a little carnival comes to town during Lake Geneva’s Venetian Festival. The carnival squeezes it into Flatiron Park, and every other little spot they can. The best time to take in the carnival is at night. I like walking through the carnival, looking at the people. I love standing on the public pier, looking at the bright lights from the rides reflected on the water. The smell of roasted sweet corn fills the air, and people are in a festive mood.

There’s plenty to do at Lake Geneva. Then again you don’t have to do anything. You can just bring a bag chair and sit in one of the parks along the water with a good book. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

 

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 3 Winners will receive a Copy of Below the Surface by Tim Shoemaker.
1 Winner will receive a Complete Set of The Code of Silence Series by Tim Shoemaker.
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