Friday, November 28, 2014

Ghosts of Grace Cottage by Carolyn Wren Excerpt & Giveaway

Eloisa Waters is creating a new life for herself.  After travelling for twelve months, she comes home at Christmas, purchasing a small country cottage in a sleepy English village, despite the fact its previous owner was a recluse, the original owner was supposedly a witch, and it’s now rumored to be haunted!

On the first night in her new home, sensual erotic dreams surprise and delight her.  Only these aren’t dreams.  The rumors are true.  Two handsome Regency ghosts inhabit the cottage, becoming corporeal at night, trapped by a curse, compelled to satisfy every desire of the new owner.

Elly begins to fall in love with Anton and Phillipe, her charming ghostly lovers.  But is there more? Can the curse be broken? Or does Elly risk her own soul. As Christmas approaches, and memories surface, how will Elly choose?  How can she possibly leave behind the Ghosts of Grace Cottage? 

“Are you sure?”

Elly grinned at her friend. “Sal, I think you’re doing this wrong. You’re a realtor, I’m looking for a house. Your job is to talk me into buying, not out of it.”

Sally, her lifelong buddy and trainee real estate agent, looked dubious. “It’s old.”

Elly let her gaze wander over the deep red bricks of the cottage almost obscured by the climbing white roses. She saw the faded paint on the window frames and doors, the cracked tiles on the roof. None of that mattered. Something about this place called to her, tugged at her. “Imagine it with snow on the roof.”

“I’m imagining the roof collapsing.”

“Just look at those flowers. Whoever heard of roses blooming so close to Christmas?”

“It’s a freaky property. The climbing white roses bloom all year round. The bushes in the front garden don’t bloom at all, ever.”

“Imagine lying in bed and letting the fragrance waft over you.”

“Imagine lying in bed and letting the freezing cold wind waft over you from the cracks in the wall caused by the climbing roses penetrating the mortar between the bricks.”

“You do realize, Sal, you have no romance in your life.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I was born in England. My parents loved to travel as my dad spent many years in the navy. By the time I reached the age of 12 we had traveled pretty much around the world on cruise ships.

This sounds fun and exciting unless like me you can get sea sick sitting in a bathtub. Lets just say boats do not feature highly in my books.

I still love to travel, but I use planes. All of my life I have written stories in my head. I would rewrite and add characters to TV shows, edit and change novels I was reading, invent scenarios and scenes to amuse myself on long journeys. But strangely I never wrote any of them down. About three years ago I woke up with a scene so clear in my head I knew I had to put it down on paper. Now, what should I do with this one page of prose? I know, I will email it to some friends. The friends approved, in fact they asked what book it was from. I shyly admitted it was my own work and the reaction was immediate...please write the next bit! I did and I have not stopped writing since.

Web links and Buy links

Buy links

Carolyn will be awarding a $50 gift card to winner's choice of Amazon or Secret Cravings Publishing to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Academy: Thief by C. L. Stone Excerpt & Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will run a $25 Amazon/BN gift card via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Kayli Winchester is a dirt-poor girl living out of a hotel, forced to be the parent for a drunken father and teenage brother who she’s desperate to keep in school. The only way she scrapes by is to utilize her one skill: pickpocketing. But even though she’s a thief she has a moral code: no kids or old ladies, only targets who can defend themselves. Not that they see her coming…

Thinking she’s been working under the radar, Kayli has no idea The Academy has been watching and taking notice. Now a team that needs her skill has offered her a way out of her predicament and it’s her last chance: work with them, or face jail time. Kayli resists at first, but slowly the boys reveal they can be trusted. With Marc, the straight man, Raven, the bad-boy Russian, Corey and Brandon the twins as different as night and day, and Axel their stoic leader, there’s a lot Kayli can learn from these Academy guys about living on the edge of the law. If only she can stay on the good side instead of the bad.

Especially when the job they offer her is more than any of them bargained for. After it’s done, the hunters have become the hunted and their target is now after Kayli. The Academy boys do their best to keep her hidden, but a thief like Kayli will never sit still for long.

Meet an all-new Academy team in Thief, the beginning of the Scarab Beetle series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I don’t know what you want me to do,” I said, but my voice was nearly gone, thick with the fear that he was way too close and seemed to think he knew what I wanted. I didn’t want him to know he was right. I don’t know why. My pride was too strong. I’d been this way for so long, I didn’t know how to give in. I didn’t know how to trust.

He opened his mouth, like he wanted to say something else but stopped, and his eyes drifted down to my mouth and held. My breath caught in my throat.

Before I could think to even push him off, his mouth claimed me. He kissed me hard enough that my head pressed back into the wall. His hands slid back to cup around my jaw to keep me from pulling away. His lips pressed down, mouth parted.

I kissed him back. I don’t know what came over me, but I wanted to feel those promises. I wanted to believe, for the moment, that maybe I could just let go, like he said, and trust that I could be accepted for who I was. Was I just like him? Could I be like that? Could I find a place just for me among these guys and waltz in and be with them? I opened my mouth, inviting him in, just a little.

Like opening the gates, his mouth claimed me again. In every possible place I could think to hide, he found me. My mind blanked out. I didn’t have room for anything else other than him and his kiss that told me everything would be all right. His kiss sank into me over and over again. Lips pressed against mine, tugging at my skin, at heart strings, at my core.

When he finally released my mouth so I could breathe, his lips trailed over my face, across my eyes and my brows.

“Why did it have to be you?” He breathed out as he whispered against my face. “I was hunting a thief, and I found a beautiful wreck.”

About the Author: C. L. Stone once lived in Charleston, SC, and currently lives among Cajuns. She writes about cute boys and uncomfortable situations, usually mixed together. You can email her at Sign up for email updates, get exclusive info on upcoming release dates, get notified when freebies are offered, and sometimes sneak peeks!

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Google, or All Romance eBooks.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan Creating Characters & Giveaway

What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.

Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.

Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.

Creating characters for Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan
How did I create the characters in Bringing Up Mike?
I took the advice contained in chapter four—Character vs. Plot of William C. Knott’s 1973 classic, The Craft of Fiction, Amazon ASIN B007PS37U0.
The first thing that William Knott teaches is that you put your characters in trouble and let that drive the plot.
I started the novel with Joe, a teenage prodigy who has created the artificial intelligence that he named Mike. Joe has two problems. The first is that he doesn’t want Mike to be treated as a possession / slave. To do this, he must demonstrate that Mike can pass a Turing test, interacting with unsuspecting people for several months with no one realizing that he isn’t human. Second, Joe is lonely, he hasn’t any family or friends, and lacks social skills, let alone have a girlfriend or gone on a date.
Next, I created a rough character sketch for Joe. He’s seventeen, about thirty pounds overweight from having been focused on creating Mike as part of his Ph.D. dissertation at Caltech. (Why seventeen? I wanted this to be a young adult book). His hair is halfway down his back, he wears glasses, blue jeans, a T-shirt and Birkenstocks. He is shy and tries to avoid being noticed. He rides a bicycle—never having learned to drive.
Where are Joe’s parents and why aren’t they helping him? I decided that his mother died in a car accident when he was very young. His father was a Caltech professor who relied on students to take care of Joe, who died of cancer before Joe graduated from Caltech.
A particular challenge was formulating the character of the artificial intelligence, Mike. My initial conception was that he was like Dennis the Menace, having an emotional age of six, but differ from him in having an enormous knowledge of things. Since Mike doesn’t have the ability to communicate by body language, I decided to have him able to imitate the voices of anyone, making quips based on lines from movies or TV shows, similar to the Genie in Aladdin.
Next, I created a stable of major characters with whom Joe interacts with. Sue, a smart girl that Joe has met online, who is desperate to go to college as far away from home as possible. George and Martha, a couple whose teenage son had died from a soft-tissue sarcoma. I based their skills, interests and personalities as composites of people I was familiar with, and formulated a history / biography for how they ended up being in Shelbyville, Tennessee. In Scrivener, I created a unique character sketches for each. As each chapter was written, these sketches were modified and updated.
Since the novel has many minor characters, I created a single crib sheet showing their names, ages, occupations, and relationships. Grandparents are in yellow, teenagers in red, parents in green, young children in light blue, horses in brown. To get ideas for minor character’s, I often did Google image searches on ministers, hairdressers, dressage riders; then wrote a description based upon a composite of these images.
Inherent in the major character backgrounds were the elements of conflict—the problems that they had to overcome, e.g. Martha and George’s grief for their dead son, the sparks between Sue and her stepfather, Joe trying to raise Mike without inadvertently revealing who he or Mike actually are.
As the characters interact with each other, they drive the plot forward and define the character arcs, how each is transformed over the course of the novel. To keep track of the conflicts and character arcs, I created a timeline,
Before I started writing Bringing Up Mike, I worked out a rough version of the timeline, that was modified and updated as I wrote each chapter. You can think of it as initially drawing a map from space, then creating a more detailed map after exploring the territory on foot.
In summary, defining characters in trouble, results in the problems and conflicts these characters must overcome, which creates drama and drives the novel’s plot.

Martha walked to the barn, the shotgun stock tucked firmly against her side, then stopped fifteen feet from the back of the horse trailer.

“Any reason why I shouldn’t shoot you trespassers?”

Three men who were struggling to get the stallion into the trailer froze. The fourth, a big burly man, stood in front of Martha, the horse directly behind him.

“This isn’t what you think. We’re retrieving our lost stallion,” said Sly.

“At dawn? Without asking permission?”

“It didn’t seem polite to wake you up so early.”

“Seems to me you sold him for four thousand dollars.”

“It was a joke to teach the kid a lesson. That horse is worth twenty thousand, I knew the contract wasn’t valid, because he’s a minor.”

“There’s no way I’d let that stallion go back to someone who starved him.”

“He had plenty of pasture! Once he learned not to bite the hand that fed him, he’d get his grain.”

As they talked, Sly edged closer to Martha, then tried to grab her shotgun. Martha pivoted, pointed the gun at the wheel on the horse trailer, and shot.

There was a CRACK-BANG as a burst of birdshot exploded the tire. Startled and frightened, Comanche reared up and dragged Reuben and Sam, who had wrapped lead ropes around their hands. Martha threw herself flat on the ground, followed by the crack of a bullet that stopped Sly in mid-step.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley. He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike,,

Book and Author Links

Buy Links

Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.
the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
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Deviation by Christine Manzari Excerpt & Giveaway

This post is part of a cover reveal for the re-release of Christine Manzari's DEVIATION. One randomly drawn winner will be awarded a $25 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom.

Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.

When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus.

Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?

Enjoy an excerpt:

We stood quietly, looking at the monument.

“All right then. Had enough?” Sterling asked. “Time to get back to the stadium before Farnsworth comes to.” “Are you kidding?” Arabella grabbed our hands, dragging us through the cemetery and around the back of the building. The light was starting to fade as the sky began to morph from pinks and oranges into deep purples. “Don’t you want to see his original burial spot?”

“I didn’t really want to see his current burial spot. I just wanted your player’s card,” Sterling admitted as she dragged him along.

We wove in and out of the ancient grave sites, making our way down a worn path, under trees, and to the back corner of the graveyard which was cloaked in too many shadows for my comfort. Soon, we were standing in front of a traditional looking headstone with a carving of a raven underneath words that said “Quoth the Raven Nevermore.”

Arabella stood there for what seemed like an eternity, staring at the tombstone that wasn’t even the current resting spot of the poet anymore.

“He was an orphan, just like us,” Arabella murmured.

“How did he die?” I asked.

Arabella tore her gaze from the raven. “It’s kind of a mystery. He was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious and in distress. He kept calling out the name Reynolds and the last words he spoke were, ‘Lord, help my poor soul.’ All of the medical documents have been lost. Some theorists think it was murder, some suicide, some cooping.”

“What on earth is cooping?” Sterling asked, kicking at a pile of leaves at the base of the headstone.

Arabella turned to face Sterling. “Hard to explain, you’ll have to look it up. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say he was forced to do something he didn’t want to do.” Arabella turned back to the tombstone. “Just like us.”

“That’s all very fascinating, but I’m afraid story time is over,” spoke a deep, strange voice.

I whipped around just in time to see half a dozen large men emerge from the shadows. Before I could even think about struggling, one of the men had caught me in a tight grip and another was putting something across my nose and mouth. I kicked out blindly, bucking in the strong grip of the man holding me. As a sickly, sweet, cloying scent filled my mouth and nostrils, Poe’s words echoed in my thoughts. Lord, help my poor soul.

And then everything went black.

About the Author:
The first thing Christine does when she's getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She's addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Denoument by M. O. Kenyan Excerpt & Giveaway

Marietta Parks believes that the only way to stop surprises from happening in life is to control your own fate. Paying attention to every detail she scripts out her own life. Leaving love, romance and children out of it. But then she meets a man who just has to be added into her story, Tobias Harden was the man of everyone’s dreams but t her he was a lovely addition to her already scripted life.

Tobias Harden was the modern day Casanova. Love was not in his vocabulary, and he was allergic to the word commitment, like poison Ivy to the bare skin. A chance kiss with Marietta Parks makes him question his single life. He was to be the best for her, and oddly enough she happens to be the only woman he wants to kiss. Tobias convinces Marietta that she needs him in her life. But after three years of marriage and life’s obstacles, he finds himself in bed with another woman. He has to convince her that he is still the man for her, especially now that she’s pregnant.

 “I thought he was the great Tobias Harden, the best sex on both sides of the pond. He can’t do a simple kiss.” Marietta pouted as she stomped towards the two actors.

 “This isn’t working.” Tobias said to her as Marietta walked towards them.

“No kidding. Sarah, you look like a fish drowning in a fish bowl and Toby; you look like someone is forcing you to swallow an eel. You are actors; I don’t care if you don’t find each other desirable pretend. We pay you to pretend, you make your living pretending.”

“I find him to be very sexy.” Sarah said as she winked in Tobias’ direction.

Marietta frowned and turned to face Tobias just in time to see the same frustrated expression on his face. “What about you, do you find her sexy?”

“Just run this scene by me again.” Tobias grunted.

“The kiss has to be passionate, everyone has to shiver at how intensely passionate it is.” Marietta huffed in frustration and stepped in between them. “I think you are both trying to lead the kiss. Kiss me like you would a girl you are desperately in love with.”

“I’ve never been in love.”

 “Join the club. Kiss me like you are trying to convince me that… I am your moon and stars. That is before you ditch me the next morning. You lead, I’ll follow.”

Marietta stood staring at his ‘kiss me’ lips. They were beautiful, well molded. Their lips moved in the rhythm set by the beating of their hearts. Her body shivered as his hands caressed her back. Then he shivered and that startled her so much she had to break the kiss.

Marietta stepped back and stared at him dazzled.

“So do it like that.” She took Sarah’s hand and urged her closer to Tobias, “Let him lead.”

Reading,Writing,Romance, Creativity and Imagination. These are the words that describe my work.
I was born in Nairobi Kenya and had a passion for books ever since I could remember. Romance and love have always been a strange phenomenon for me. I have always wanted to change the ending of a love story. I decided to start writing my own.

One winner will receive a copy of RED TEARS BLUE BLOOD and COVERT EXISTENCE. the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:
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