Friday, July 31, 2015

July Giveaway - Last Day to Enter

Giveaway for July is an eCopy of Dead in a Dumpster: Leah Norwood Mystery #1. Entering the giveaway will also register you to receive my quarterly newsletter.You may unsubscribe at any time. 


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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Through His Heart by Deborah Camp $50 Gift Card Giveaway

 

“Sending you an SOS.”
 

When psychic Trudy Tucker hears this plaintive cry in her mind and then connects psychically with a little girl’s kidnapper, she is drawn to a small town in Missouri where everyone is suspect – including herself and her lover, celebrated psychic detective Levi Wolfe. As she and Levi work together to sort through whom and what to trust, an innocent life hangs in the balance.

 

 

 
A shudder raced through her and her stomach knotted. Nausea rose up to her throat as darkness descended in her mind. 
“I’m sending you an SOS. Sending you an SOS. An SOS.” Can you find me? Can you hear me? 
“I hear you,” Trudy whispered, answering the small, trembling voice. 
“Did you say something, Rachel? Are you singing something?” This was a different voice in her head. A deep bass, but gentle. Coaxing, cajoling, cunning. 
The darkness parted like a curtain in Trudy’s mind and Rachel came into view. She sat in a child’s white rocking chair, her red tennis shoes dangling inches from the floor. A wedge of purple discolored her right cheek. Her lips twitched and her chin quivered. 
“Be a good girl and do what you’re told and that won’t happen to you again. No one wants to hurt you. You gotta obey, though. Can’t say ‘no’ to your elders. Your mama should have taught you that.” 
“It hurts.” 
“Want me to kiss it and make it well?” 
Rachel rounded her shoulders, making herself smaller. “Nuh-uh.” 
“Okay then. I could make it stop hurting though . . . I’ll read you a Bible story. How about that? Remember what we talked about? God is way up here . . . then there’s his disciples right here . . . and then your elders . . . and you’re way down below that.” 
Glimpses of hands . . . moving up and down, illustrating the levels. Dirty nails, dry skinned knuckles.
“Where’s Mommy?” 
“Are you hearing me? This is important.” 
“I want to talk to Mommy.” 
“She doesn’t want to talk to you! God gave you to us. Your Mommy is busy serving the Lord and now you’re here serving us because it’s been ordained. Quit touching your face! That won’t help it heal. Come sit in my lap while I read. Did you hear me ask nice? You won’t like it if I have to ask twice. That’s my good girl. You act like this all the time and you won’t get any more boo-boos.” 
Was he kissing her? Was he licking her?
 




Author of more than 40 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah’s first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is widely published in non-fiction and writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on a series of novels featuring two psychics who work with police nationwide to identify and track serial murderers. All of her novels are available on Amazon as ebooks


 
Guest Post
 

Tips for Novice Writers – and Reviewers!

When I taught writing there was always a student in every class who would approach me after having a few pages edited by me and ask, “Should I just give up writing?” To which I would answer, “If all it takes is for me to tell you to, then by all means, give it up!”
Sure, I knew the student wanted me to stroke and coo and say, “No, you must not quit!” But really? If that’s all it had taken for me to stop writing, I would have thrown away my pen and paper in fifth grade!
If you’re a writer, you write. Doesn’t matter if no one but you reads it. Stories and characters waltz about in your brain and you simply have to allow them to blossom into text. However, once we do allow our works to be seen by people other than those who personally know us, then we have to learn to accept criticism and we must understand when to take advice to heart and when to dismiss it. These are difficult lessons to master.

Here are the top three things I’ve learned from reviewers:
1.      Get as many reviews as possible from people you don’t know. Look for similar praise and beefs. If several reviewers praised your snappy dialogue, rejoice and strive to make your dialogue sparkle even more. Conversely, if several reviewers note that your pace is slow or that it was difficult to understand her heroine’s motivation, take a close look at those hiccups. Fix them before you write your next book.
2.      When reviewers find typos or bad grammar and punctuation, hire a professional editor and proofreader for your next project. Be aware that editors and proofreaders aren’t the same thing. Editors discuss plotting, characterization, pacing, word choices, and sentence structure. Proofreaders catch typos, incorrect punctuation, misspellings, and continuity mistakes.
3.      Be sure that the people who review your books actually like the type of book you’ve written. I’ve had yucky reviews from people who admitted that “I don’t usually read this kind of thing” or “romances aren’t my cup of tea.” I dismiss those. Same goes for the editor you choose. Ask the editor who she/he has read in your genre and what her/his favorite books are in your genre. If she/he hasn’t read any books that have been published in the past two years, then she/he probably isn’t savvy about what’s hot and what’s not in your field.
4.      In closing, let me also caution you not to reply to a reviewer or editor until you’ve given yourself a day to think about it. Temper whatever you say or write, understanding that your work was published and people have a right to their opinion. With reviewers, it’s best to thank them, taking them  to task only when they get “personal” in their critiques. With editors, it’s best to discuss why and how you can improve what you’ve put on paper. Great editors can make you a great writer, so when you find one, don’t ruin the relationship by being too cantankerous and stubborn.
 
Giveaway:

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dead in a Dumpster Giveaway on Goodreads

If you are a member of Goodreads, I am giving away a paperback copy of my book, Dead in a Dumpster.  Enter here:



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dead in a Dumpster by B.L. Blair

Dead in a Dumpster

by B.L. Blair

Giveaway ends August 01, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Excerpt - Convince Me (Holton Series #1)

     Driving cautiously, she slowed the car and rounded the curve moving the car closer to the center stripe as she couldn't see the right hand edge.  The car coming from the opposite direction had done the same, and suddenly, Anna was faced with two bright headlights bearing down on her.
     For a moment, she did not know what to do, then reacting instinctively, she jerked the car to the right and her bumper narrowly missed hitting the other vehicle.  The slick road made it difficult to control the car, but she had been driving slowly enough that she managed to slide into the side ditch unharmed.
     Anna sat in her car stunned and unbelieving.  She had never been in a car accident before and wasn't sure what to do, which was an unusual situation.  Anna had learned at an early age to be calm and efficient.  It was the only way to survive.  Her abusive father had hated inefficiency and commotion, so she had learned to be controlled and competent.  Anna hated not being in control.
     For this reason, she loved accounting.  Numbers could be controlled.  It may take her a little time, but she could always find an answer, which was more than she could do with people.
     Anna shook her head and then leaned forward to check on Sophie.  The cat appeared unharmed but began protesting the rough treatment.  Anna tried to reassure her and soon the cat settled.  Anna took a deep breath then reached for the insurance manual in her glove compartment.  The manual would tell her what she needed to do.  She felt better already.  She had a plan.
     All thoughts of a plan immediately flew out of her head when the door of her car swung open and a deep, soft voice asked, "Are you alright?"
     Anna turned and looked up into the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.  Eyes that were the color of a cloudless sky on an early spring day.  They were framed with dark thick lashes that lightened on the tips.  The lean, clean face went well with the eyes.  It was a pleasant face, not too hard or too soft, but a man's face nonetheless.  It was lean and powerful.  He had strong cheekbones and a straight nose.  Light blond hair fell across his forehead.  She stared at him unable to move.  Her heart began to pound, and her body reacted to his nearness.  She had never reacted so strongly to any man before, and she forced herself to take a deep breath.
     He leaned into the car and asked again, "Miss, are you alright?"
     This time his voice propelled her into action.  She shook off the fog that had come over her and nodded once before saying, "Yes, I am fine.  Just a little shaken.  Was anyone hurt?"
     She glanced again at the man staring at her with a concerned look on his face.  Their gazes locked, and he watched her silently with his calm blue eyes.  He seemed very close, and Anna leaned back against the seat to get farther away.  His broad shoulders filled the doorway, and she felt a small jolt of fear.  She hated feeling physically intimidated.  But the fear quickly faded as he looked at her a moment longer then a slow, gentle smile crossed his face.  Anna felt her heart stop.  She willed it to begin beating again.
     "There is only you and me," he said softly. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

two Outta three by S. Briones Lim


Jesse Tyler is the perfect mix of sweet prince and bad boy… 

He is also my best friend—and I’m hopelessly in love with him. 

Unfortunately he didn’t feel the same way about me, and to make matters worse, he moved away in the middle of our senior year, completely cutting me off. 

Now after a few years (and did I mention a new guy?) I am hit with the biggest bombshell of all—Jesse is moving back to town! 

I know I should be happy, but I can’t help but feel a bit nervous about our reunion, especially since I never once stopped loving him. 

Will things be weird between us? 

Will we struggle to reconnect? 

But even more importantly… 

Will he finally feel the same way about me?


Purchase Links
Amazon:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1fcW2A5

Excerpt
“So, I was thinking we can go out to Carbanaro’s tomorrow night,” Ethan said coyly.
“Are you kidding me? That place is expensive!” I exclaimed with a mouth full of food. Apparently, I had lost all sense of table manners, but of course Ethan was nice enough not to care.
“Well, it’ll be our fourth date and I was thinking—”
“Oh! I didn’t know anybody else was in here,” a voice exclaimed. I looked up to see Jesse’s shocked face. He glanced between me and Ethan and then back again.
“It’s okay, man. Just having lunch with Rocky.” Ethan reached out and tapped my arm.
Jesse’s lips tightened. “I see.”
Ethan smiled warmly, seemingly oblivious to Jesse’s judging eyes. “Are you new here? I haven’t seen you before.”
I cleared my throat, nearly choking on a piece of lettuce. “Ethan, this is my old friend, Jesse. He just started working for us yesterday.” I paused and glanced back up at Jesse, who had backed his way over to the old fridge in the corner of the break room. “Jesse, this is Ethan. He’s…uh….we…uh…”
Ethan stiffened slightly, but never lost the smile on his face. “No labels.”
“No labels,” Jesse repeated. He opened the fridge and grabbed a dirtied insulated lunch bag. Realizing he had no choice but to eat with us, I quickly began chomping down my salad. Anything to hurry lunch along.
“Old friends, huh?” Ethan glanced between the two of us. “How long have you known each other?”
Jesse answered for me. “We’ve been friends since we were fourteen.”
“Wow, almost ten years. That’s impressive!” Ethan’s eyes widened in appreciation.
“We lost touch a few years back,” I corrected, stabbing into yet another cucumber. I kept my eyes focused on my half-eaten salad and didn’t notice Jesse quickly making an exit.
“Where are you heading off to? You can eat with us,” Ethan offered.
I lifted my head and realized Jesse was already making his way towards the door. He paused sheepishly and shook his head. “No offense, but I’m a bit of introvert. I need my lunch break to regroup…alone.”
“Understood, my man.”
Introvert? Since when?
“Are you sure you aren’t just sneaking out to take a smoke?” I asked doubtfully.
Jesse shook his head, but kept his expression cold. “I quit a long time ago.”
He stopped smoking too?
Ethan turned back towards me. “So, Carbanaro’s? Tomorrow evening?”
“Uh, sure,” I replied absently. “Why not?”

Thanks to her Mom’s unwavering devotion to read a bedtime story to her every single night throughout her childhood years, S. BRIONES LIM’s love for books began before she could even speak.
Raised in Southern California, Author S. Briones Lim initially dreamt of becoming an artist and/ or Book Author. A Psychology Degree (Summa cum Laude), a stint in Art School, and a career in Advertising/Media later, she is finally delving back into her first love – books. As a self- renowned bookworm, S. Briones Lim’s love for books has inspired her to pen her own novels and hopes her readers will fall in love with her stories as much as she enjoyed writing them.
Author of the Amazon Bestselling novel, Caught Inside, S. Briones Lim’s other obsessions include time with family, POPCORN, watching movies and her dogs, Tobi and Roscoe. She currently lives on the East Coast with her husband and continues to write every day.

Contact Information
Twitter: @sbrioneslim


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway - Dead in a Dumpster

If you are a member of Goodreads, I am giving away a paperback copy of my book, Dead in a Dumpster.  Enter here:



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dead in a Dumpster by B.L. Blair

Dead in a Dumpster

by B.L. Blair

Giveaway ends August 01, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Sunday Quote


Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Thin Slice of Heaven by p.m. terrell - Giveaway


BLURB:
She had arranged to meet her husband in Northern Ireland for a second honeymoon, but when Charleigh arrives at the remote castle, she receives a message that he won’t be coming—and that he’s leaving her for another woman.  

Stranded for the weekend by a snowstorm that has blocked all access to the castle, she finds herself three thousand miles from home in a country she knows nothing about. 

She is soon joined by Sean Bracken, the great-grandson of Laird Bracken, the original owner of the castle, and she finds herself falling quickly and madly in love with him. There’s just one problem: he’s dead. 

As the castle begins to come alive with secrets from centuries past, she finds herself trapped between parallel worlds. Caught up in a mass haunting, she can no longer recognize the line between the living and the dead. Now she’s discovering that her appearance there wasn’t by accident—and her life is about to change forever.

GUEST POST:
In A Thin Slice of Heaven, Charleigh loves butterflies. In the scene that follows, she is in the village with Sean during the snowstorm. The streets are empty and the shops are closed. They've dismounted from the horse so she can peek into the windows of the shops.
“Look,” she said, pointing to a sun catcher in the window. “A butterfly.”

His voice was soft and though she turned her gaze back to the sun catcher, she could feel his eyes remaining on her. “You love butterflies, don’t you now?”

“I do. How did you know?”

He shrugged. “From the way in which your face lit when you spied it.”

“It is beautiful, isn’t it?” She stared at the hand-painted butterfly with its alternating rows of yellow and orange fringed with black. “It has meaning, you know. It’s like the metamorphosis of life in one tiny creature. They start their existence as a tiny egg on a leaf, so miniscule that most people wouldn’t even know it was there. Then they hatch into a caterpillar, all chubby body and spindly legs. Quite ugly, in fact.” She chuckled. “They eat and they eat and when they can eat no more, they attach themselves to a branch and just hang there. From the outside, it looks like nothing is happening. But the metamorphosis is taking place on the inside. Until finally, the wings emerge, all soft and gooey. The caterpillar pumps blood into the wings until they grow large and strong, capable of making it fly away.”

“I have heard,” Sean said thoughtfully, “that every soul’s journey takes place first on the inside before it is manifested on the outside.”

“Exactly!” She whirled around to face him. “You’re the only one I’ve ever met who understood that.”

“Not the only one, I’m quite sure.”

“Oh, but you are. Most people would have heard my explanation and thought it nothing more than whimsical ramblings. You understood.”

He pointed toward the sun catcher. “You see the pattern around the butterfly? That symbolizes the Celtic cycle of life. Though you might search, you will never find a beginning nor will you find an end.”

The butterfly symbolizes Charleigh's own transformation in the book. When she arrives at the castle, she is tired, overworked and anxious. When her husband sends a text saying he's leaving her for another woman, she imagines the woman to be much younger and much more beautiful than she. But as the story progresses, she learns that her soul is beautiful.

The Celtic design depicting the endless cycle of life is also symbolic. She learns through Sean that Life does not end when the physical body ceases to exist. The soul's energy is transformed and carries on.

For those who have read the book, you know that this discussion means something far more. Charleigh is herself transitioning, though she does not yet know it. She is in a cocoon herself, believing that her life consists only of the small bubble each of us finds ourselves living, and yet she doesn't yet know how close she is to breaking out of that cocoon and becoming transformed.

The cycle of Life is apparent within and around her, and Sean is gently leading her to discover this realization herself.

EXCERPT:
“What’s happening?” Charleigh whispered. Her throat had grown dry and her voice was hoarse with tension. Though she attempted to keep her tone low so they would remain unobserved, it sounded loud and harsh in the strident atmosphere that seemed suddenly to have gripped the village. She felt anxiety growing deep within her and the urge to get back to the castle burgeoned with ferocity and urgency; but she realized with a sickening sensation in the pit of her soul that the growing inharmonious throngs were between them and the sanctuary of her room. 

“Do not be afraid, m’ Leah,” Sean answered. He did not whisper but his voice was deep and taut. After a moment, he said, “They are reenacting an event that occurred… some time ago.” 

“Oh,” she breathed. She should have felt relief but her insides continued to roil as if his explanation did not match the scene unfolding before her. Nervously, she said, “Reenactors. We have them in America.” 

“You have witnessed them, then?” 

“Yes. I find them very interesting…” She forced the words past her dry lips. “They reenact battles from the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, mainly.” 

As the churning skies turned to the color of tar, Charleigh could discern the sources of the strange glow: they were torches held aloft by dozens of people. More were joining them, stragglers rushing from the village to catch up, while they began to spread apart in a more orderly column as they converged on the flat land they’d crossed on their way into the village. One man in the forefront stopped and began pointing and directing those that followed. 

“These reenactments,” Sean continued, “were the people alive?”


p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, a multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books in five genres: contemporary suspense, historical suspense, romance, computer how-to and non-fiction. 

Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence, themes that have carried forward to her suspense.  

She is also the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She is the organizer and chairperson of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the real town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime. For more information on this event and the literacy campaigns funded by it, visit www.bookemnc.org. 

Author’s website: www.pmterrell.com  

GIVEAWAY:
p.m.terrell will be awarding a Celtic Butterfly Suncatcher similar to the one mentioned in the book, symbolizing both the never-ending cycle of life and the metamorphosis of a butterfly to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Every Choice by Samantha Rey


Red.
Red is everywhere.
Not just red, blood.
Blood is everywhere.
It is all over me.

Cassie Whitlock has relived that day countless times in her dreams for the past four years. It left more than just physical scars, it has caused her to close herself off to everyone. She no longer believes in love. Love only ends in pain.

That’s why when she meets Luca, she is surprised by the immediate and undeniable attraction between them. She doesn’t want complicated and she knows he’s about to make everything complicated. As their lives become more intertwined, it becomes harder to hide her secrets, and harder to resist him, but when she discovers he has secrets of his own, she begins to question everything. Cassie has to make a choice: hold on to the ghosts of her past or be brave enough to imagine a future.

Excerpt:
I quickly found the notebook that had slid under the passenger seat and was locking the car when divine intervention made me look up.
I could see Luca clearly through his window, the shades were completely up. He was shirtless, which had my body feeling all sorts of things without my permission. I walked a little closer and out of the street lamp light in case he looked out and saw me staring. He was every bit as beautiful as I imagined he would be. I pictured running my fingers along his smooth chest and down to feel the slight indentations to mark his six-pack. His waist narrowed to slender hips and when he turned, dear Lord, the V was in full sight.
Against my better judgment, I stepped even closer so that I could see his face. He was several stories higher than me, but I could see him fairly clearly. Every time I had seen Luca, his face had been a mask of cool calculation and astronomic arrogance. He didn’t seem to look that way now. In fact, his expression made me care about him in a way that I didn’t want to. It’s like he sent a hook out and it pierced its way through me and now I had no choice but to be reeled in.
“Cassie?”        
The voice came out of nowhere and startled me. I turned around so fast that I lost balance and fell into the bush next to me. No one ever said dancers were graceful off the stage.
“Shit,” I muttered as I struggled to push myself up. London came over and helped me.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“No, it’s fine. I was the idiot who fell.” I said, following her up the stairs.
“What were you doing in the bushes anyway?” she asked.
I was not going to tell her the truth, that I was looking at the hot guy in the window who doesn’t want me, but somehow that makes me want him even more.
“Nothing,” I replied.
She didn’t say anything until we got inside and I sat back down on the couch to continue my homework.
“Well, I’m going to go do some work in my room. Try not to fall into any more bushes while watching hot, half-naked men in front of windows, will you?”
She didn’t even turn around to see my mouth fall open as she left.

Available on Amazon - http://amzn.to/1HuZTiv

Samantha Rey graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia with a degree in theatre and a Master’s in elementary education. While her full-time job is currently teaching third grade just outside of Washington, D.C., her love of theatre, entrancing characters, and never-ending drama has not subsided. She has always loved creating stories and the Every series is culmination of a lot of hard work and following her dreams. When she is not writing, she is reading way too much, choreographing musicals, grading papers, and spending time with her husband and their dog, Paisley.

Twitter: @AuthorSamRey

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Excerpt - Dead in a Park: Leah Norwood Mystery #2

     After lunch, I headed back to the Scents and Sensibility.  We continued to have a steady stream of customers throughout the afternoon.  I was helping a customer decide on a purchase when a hush fell over the store.  The sudden silence caught my attention.  I looked up to see Marcus Cantono standing in the doorway. 
     Marcus is tall and muscular.  His shoulders fill out his shirt nicely, and he has a flat, lean stomach.  He is very well built, and drop-dead gorgeous.  He has jet-black hair that he wears a little too long and a classically handsome face with startling blue eyes.  Although incredibly handsome, he exudes danger.  It is in the way he walks, the way he stands, the way he carries himself.  I don’t think he's even aware of it.
     Most of the times I had seen him before, he had been dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and black leather jacket.  But now he was dressed in a business suit that looked like it cost more than I made in several months.  The style was sharp and professional, nevertheless he still managed to look menacing.  It didn’t make him any less attractive. 
     He is part of the Cantono family, but as far as I know, all his businesses are legitimate.  When we met, Marcus had taken a liking to me.  He told me he had returned home as his mother was in poor health, and he wanted to help her.  He had also told me that I didn’t have to be afraid of his family.  That was the main reason I wasn’t worried about any of them coming after me.  My gun might be a deterrent, but he was a bigger one.
     Marcus is another man who kissed me and then disappeared from my life.  He had shown up at my store on New Year’s Eve and informed me I was his date for the evening.  I didn’t have a better offer so I told him to pick me up in two hours at my apartment.  I went home and put on my most flirty skirt, and we went out for dinner and dancing.  At the stroke of midnight, he kissed me.  I still remember the look of disappointment on his face.  I had a feeling my face mirrored his. 
     “Well, damn,” he had said.  “It looks like we are destined to be just good friends.”
     Looking at him standing at the front of my store, it was hard for me to believe the kiss had done nothing for me.  He was still the best-looking man I have ever seen.  Too bad there was no chemistry.  A twitch of his mouth indicated that he was trying to hide a smile.  He knew the effect he had on people.  The women in the room were half afraid and half aroused.  When I narrowed my eyes and glared at him, the twitch turned into a full-fledged smile.  I shook my head as several women gasped including the one next to me.
     “Emma,” I called.  “Can you please come help Annie?  She wants a box set of Vanilla Vine.”
     Emma hurried over to me with wide eyes.  I gave her a quick smile, pointed at Marcus, and said, “You, come with me.”
     As Marcus followed me to the back room, the conversations started up again.  I knew his visit would be the main discussion topic.  Harry jumped up the minute we entered the room.  He stopped when he saw Marcus, and I waited to see how he would react.  We didn’t know much about Harry’s life before he arrived at the shelter, but in general, he was a friendly and happy dog.  The only two people he had reacted negatively to were both men. 
     Marcus looked at Harry and smiled widely.  “You got a dog?”
     I nodded, stunned at Marcus’ reaction.  I don’t know what I had been expecting, but the pure joy on his face was a surprise.  Marcus knelt on the floor and held out a hand to Harry.  The dog took one sniff and stepped forward eagerly.  Marcus took Harry’s head in his hands and rubbed briskly.  The dog shook with delight.
     “I love dogs,” Marcus said.
     “I would have never guessed,” I replied dryly.
     Marcus grinned up at me, and my heart skipped a beat.  We might not have chemistry when we kissed, but he could still take my breath away.  He gave Harry one last pat and then stood.
     “How are you?” he asked me.
     “Fine.  Why are you here?”
     “I can’t just stop by to visit a friend?”
     I raised an eyebrow and cocked my head before asking, “We’re friends?”
     “I thought we were…hoped we were.”
     “I haven’t seen or heard from you in almost two months.”
     “You’re pissed,” he said.
     “I’m not pissed,” I replied sharply.  Okay, so maybe I was a little pissed, but I wasn’t going to let him know that.  “That doesn’t seem friend like to me, that’s all.”
     “I could say that I haven’t seen or heard from you in almost two months, either,” he said.
     “Yes, but I don’t have your phone number or your address.”
     “Ah,” he said.  “Then the fault is mine.  In my defensive, I have been busy.  My first restaurant in the area is schedule to open in March.  I have been working non-stop.”
     Marcus had been a successful restaurant owner in L.A. before moving back to Reed Hill.  He planned to continue that success here.  When we had gone out on New Year’s Eve, he had told me about his plans.
     “I’ve seen the ads for Bella’s.  I'm looking forward to eating there.  Now, why are you really here?”
     He laughed softly.  “I heard you found another body.”
     “Word sure gets around fast.”
     “Yes, it does.  Are you okay?”
     “I’m fine,” I replied.  “It wasn’t as traumatic as the others.  No blood and I didn’t know him.  That probably shouldn’t have made it easier, but it did.”
     “Are you sure you didn’t know him?”
     Something in his voice made me pause.  I trusted Marcus, but I didn’t know him that well.  Although he seemed to be on the right side of the law, his family was as close to a crime family as we had in Reed Hill.  I walked over to my desk to give me a moment to think.  I leaned against it and looked at him.
     “I didn’t see his face so I can’t be sure, but I don’t think I know him.”  If I hadn’t been watching, I wouldn’t have seen the relief that flew across his face.  “Why are you so curious?”
     For a moment, Marcus looked uncomfortable.  He shifted slightly and looked away.  Could the Cantonos be involved with this new murder?  I didn’t want to even think about that.  In spite of what I had said earlier, I did consider Marcus a friend. 
     “It’s not curiosity, it is concern,” he answered smoothly.
     “Well, thanks but there are no need for concern.”  I walked around to the other side of the desk.  When I look back at him, he was studying me carefully.  “What?’
     “You are not going to get involved again, are you?”
     I huffed out a breath and sat down.  “No.  Why do you even care about that?”
     “Because the last time you found a body, you were run off the road and almost choked to death.”
     “Candace was crazy.  This body has nothing to do with me.”  Again, Marcus looked uncomfortable.  I started to worry.  It was obvious he knew something.  “Marcus, what are you not telling me?”
     “Nothing,” he said quickly and headed for the door.  “Keep that dog close to you.  What’s his name anyway?”
     “Harry,” I said slowly. 
     The grin was back.  “Harry?”
     “I didn’t name him,” I said with a sigh.  “Marcus, what’s going on?”
     “Nothing,” he said again.  He walked over to me and gave me a kiss on the forehead.  He then picked up a pen and wrote on a piece of paper.  “My phone number and address.  We are friends, Leah.  Call me if you need anything.”
     I stared at the door after he left wondering what to do.  I knew Damian Cantono was still in jail, but the Cantonos had a lot of friends.  Drugs were one reason why a well-dressed man in a business suit might be in the wooded area of the park.  Drugs in Reed Hill equaled the Cantono family.  Marcus had told me he would make sure the “family business” was shut down.  For the first time, I wondered if he had lied to me.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hollow Towns by Ann Livi Andrews


Available for pre-order on Amazon.


The end didn’t come swiftly as media and literature had predicted. There was no deadly virus released to wipe out humanity. There was no meteor on course to collide with earth. There was no Biblical flood or fire and brimstone. And there was no army of the undead to rise up against the living.

In fact, no one knew where or when it began. It was suspected to have first occurred in some remote village without the means to report what was happening. Even when it began to be reported, no one understood what was happening, so no one was alarmed. They were just lightning storms. First came a thick, gray cloud covering that blocked out the entire sky and all light. Then the steady and unending drizzle of rain that never turned into a downpour, but never lightened up either. Then there were reports of lightning. But no one took notice. After all, who cared about a mild storm? It wasn’t until the cloud bank reached Spain, and then France, that the panic began to rise.

Scientists called it a climate shift, but even they couldn’t explain how it was destroying entire cities or why there were very few bodies found. Paranormal experts claimed extraterrestrial visits and mass abductions. Conspiracy theorists believed the government was concealing either a massive war that was quickly escalating and approaching the United States or a government funded weather control experiment had grown to an uncontrollable scale. The religious believed, wholeheartedly, that it was the Second Coming.


But when the thick cover of clouds and the steady rain reached American soil, people stopped looking for the root cause and began trying to find a means of survival. In the end it didn’t matter whether a family had boarded up their house, hid in a basement, secured themselves in a panic room, fled to the country, or found a cave or underground bunker that they thought would protect them. It found them just the same as it had everyone else. And the cities that had once stood out so brightly against the darkness were now just as silent and hollow as every other town, village, farmhouse, hut, and tent around the world.

Friday, July 17, 2015

July Monthly Giveaway

Giveaway for July is an eCopy of Dead in a Dumpster: Leah Norwood Mystery #1. You may enter daily.  Entering the giveaway will also register you to receive my quarterly newsletter.You may unsubscribe at any time. 


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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Time is Relative for a Knight of Time by Brett Matthew Williams - $50 Gift Card


Meet Rolland Wright - a seventeen year old orphan living out of his car in rural Woodland Hills, California. Aside from grappling with the fact of being abandoned by his drunken father two years previous following his mothers mysterious murder, his life mostly revolves around finding a warm place to sleep at night. When one day he is attacked by men claiming to have killed his father, Rolland discovers a strange ability to slow the flow of time around him, beginning a journey that takes him to places outside of time, space, and eventually to the early 19th century to fight the sinister General Andrew Jackson. With the help of a rag-tag group of historical and mythical figures with various supernatural abilities of their own (Joan of Arc, Jesse James, etc) known as the Knights of Time, Rolland solves the mystery behind his mother's murder, falls in love, battles the evil Edward Vilthe - reaper of souls, and finds a home of his own in the paradise known as Eden.

The Time is Relative series chronicles the origin story of the mythical figure Father Time, beginning with the award winning first novel, Time is Relative for a Knight of Time. All dates and events are historically accurate. The participants... maybe not.


Excerpt:

It was a muggy, humid morning when U.S. General Andrew Jackson woke to the sound of tribal horns. Immediately identifying their purpose, he quickly gathered both his wits and his pants, grabbing his sword and sidearm as he left his tent.

Known to be tough as hickory, Andrew Jackson was a moderately tall man for his time, standing at six feet, one inch. In this and in his military rank he was often compared to George Washington among elite society in Boston, Washington, and New York, despite his humble beginnings.

Jackson’s rigid demeanor was only matched by his sharp attention to detail. His crisply, pressed uniform was such that it demanded the attention of all the company’s men. Each stood at full attention, showing perfect respect for their commanding officer as Jackson made his way through the columns slowly, careful to catch each and every pair of eyes.

“Today we fight like dogs, and live like kings!” Jackson roared to his men, who cheered loudly in response. Their gusto and appreciation for their General’s bravery in the face of danger was not unnoticed by his adversaries on and off the battlefield.

A slave, brought directly from Africa on Jackson’s orders, walked Jackson’s horse to him around the hustle and bustle of preparing for the day’s campaign. A light rain began to fall on the heads and shoulders of every soul under the barely visible sun, uniting them in nature. They all felt the soft droplets as they landed on both white and brown skin alike. Lightning struck diagonally across the gray sky, followed shortly by an attention-stealing clap of thunder that rocked the previously dry Florida landscape.


Guest Post:
If I Had A Time Machine
by Brett Matthew Williams

            If I had a time machine the first thing I would do is flip through the channels. Wouldn't you? I mean, look, we all have our favorite things. If you're a person who likes the flavor cherry, often times you'll prefer the cherry flavored version of twizzlers, cough drops, etc. So, if by some miracle of nature I came into possession of a time machine I would first get organized and then start by making a list of 'greatest hits' or moments in history I would legitimately want to see. The following are my top five.
Preface: Even if I COULD travel back in time, I don't think that I would want to. Not that it wouldn't be fun, I just don't have the will power NOT to stop things from happening/changing the past to effect the future. I'd screw the world up, just to see Robert Kennedy elected president, Lincoln not be assassinated, or that numerous terrorists attacks not come to fruition. Who wouldn't? I think the world would be a better place if both Malcolm X and Tupac Shakur were able to hold a discussion on race relations in the early 21st century.  

#1 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Second Continental Congress - 1776
            Nerd alert: I love America. Not simply in a patriotic way, but the fundamental chameleon-like structure by which the country has managed to not only get what it wants by exercising the process of democracy, but also be incredibly vocal in its displeasure with its governments actions at any given time. That's brilliant.
            I would specifically like to be there for the arrival of the delegates, if I had my choice. Imagine the fanfare behind not only the good Doctor Franklin, but John Adams, George Washington, John Hancock, and Thomas 'Freakin' Jefferson! And yes, Freakin was his adopted middle name. Amongst happenings in American history this is the big one - the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A document that my great, great, great, great, great grandfather Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire signed many decades ago still brings a swelling of pride to my heart.
            Even if the smell back then, especially in July, would have been something fierce.

#2 - The Colony of Roanoke, South Carolina. - 1586
            A lot of people confuse the lost English colony of Roanoke, now infamous due to the disappearance of all of the townspeople, with the current city of Roanoke, Virginia. It's not. Furthermore the current place of Roanoke Island, South Carolina is a pretty interesting spot. In recent years it's come into the national eye as the chosen hometown (and final resting place) of beloved television icon Andy Griffith. But I digress...
            The plot of the third novel in the series, Time is Relative Concerning the Lost Colony, largely surrounds my thoughts pertaining to the mystery surrounding the historical anomaly, and how our intrepid heroes might have played a role.

#3 - A performance at The Globe Theatre in the heyday of William Shakespeare
            Preferably King Henry V as it's my favorite history, and overall play of his. Remember kids, despite what your middle school English teacher told you, the plays of William Shakespeare are NOT literature. Shocked? Look at the definition of the word literature - a piece of work meant to be read, but not read out loud. Shakespeare's plays were ALL written to be read aloud, thus, they do not fit into the category of literature. Making both Billy Shakespeare, and his works a whole new level of awesome.
            The question is, was he awesome enough to warrant a visit from the Knights of Time? Stay tuned. 

# 4 - Ebbets Field - April 15, 1947
            The Brooklyn Dodgers new first basemen, Jackie Robinson, breaks the long standing color barrier that kept generations of amazing players out of the major leagues. The popular misconception is that this game, or many of the early games that year, were attended/watched by a predominantly white audience. This simply isn't true. On that day the crowd at Ebbets Field of 26,623 had roughly 14,000 African American fans cheering loudly for their hero. Jackie scored, by the way, in a 5-3 Dodgers victory.
            Go Dodgers!

# 5 - The Library at Alexandria, Egypt - circa 47 or 48 B.C.E.
            This one would require a translator, one who was well versed in ancient languages and dialects. Also, a portable, fully charged copy machine, camera phone, etc. Am I forgetting anything else? Let me know in the comments.
            The big question for me is "What came before?" Our historical record as a species only goes back to the 30th century (3000) B.C.E. Yet we know from the fossil record that human beings have been around for nearly 195,000 years. How we got from there to here... I don't know. But I would sure like to know!
             I would plan to spend weeks in the library going over all of this information, as I feel it would be my best clue in my quest to find out what came before our recorded history. Imagine the vast swath of knowledge contained, then destroyed by the army under Julies Caesar being looked at, much less catalogued. Again - I wouldn't be able to contain myself.   

            In the Time is Relative books I explore the possibility of what exactly DID come before our limited recorded history. While some people may choose to believe that we as a species have only existed for said amount of time, I firmly disagree. In the first novel, Time is Relative for A Knight of Time, Marcus Turtledove offhandedly mentions some 12,000 years of recorded time in Eden/Earth. Without giving too much away, we'll definitely be exploring this in the next few novels of the series, Time is Relative for Wavering Loyalties (to be released Autumn 2015), and Time is Relative Concerning the Lost Colony (TBD 2016).

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Brett Matthew grew up with a passion for both film and history. He began his career fresh out of high school as a Production Assistant/ football player on NBC Universal’s television series Friday Night Lights (of which he can often be seen in the first two seasons as a member of the championship team – Go Panthers!). He quickly moved on to serve as an Original Series intern with the USA Network in Studio City, California. Following work on shows like Monk, Psych, and Burn Notice, Brett returned home to Texas to continue his education, graduating with his degree in History from Texas State University. A proud Master Freemason, Brett thoroughly enjoys fantasy fiction, watching Netflix, running, baseball, Shakespeare, and spending time with his family and critters.

Twitter: @Time1sRelative

Brett will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to one lucky winner. Follow the tour on Goddess Fish Promotions for more chances to win! 


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