Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Goddess Born by Kari Edgren


Having in view the closeness in time and space of the events, 1730 Pennsylvania and 1693 Massachusetts, and also the subject of Goddess Born, it is impossible to not connect the story‘s events with what remained in the American history, and in the universal one too, as the „most notorious cases of mass hysteria”: the Salem witch trial. In fact, it is imperative that such a connection shall be made. That's because the heroine’s fear - of death- , of being accused of witchcraft and her desperation to find a haven (next to the "fragility" of the women social position in that era) is what ignites and feeds the events of the story.

In a time of great despair, Selah – the heroine from Goddess Born, will make decisions that will be considered ideal at the time. When everything seems to be ruined, when it seemed that there was no future for her, the chance comes with a stranger even if not in the best moment of his life himself. But the chance is one with two faces: the possible happy ending of the contraption that Selah brews can be replaced at any time with the more probable disastrous finale that could lead not only to her dishonor and loss of the welfare state, but even to the incarceration or death of those involved.

Slowly, but surely, the social drama gives place to a romance impossible to fulfill, reaching to closely intertwine with it and to influence each other. The social reactions are manipulated by the main characters, Selah and Henry, but the secrets that each of them conceal threaten the very success of their plan.

The paranormal side of the story is present from the beginning, being kept somehow hidden through veils, without being pushed in the eyes of the reader, but not less generating, directing motivations and reactions. The author offers the possibility of developing several ways of the story keeping you curious about what will be her choice and whether the fantasy element will belong to other characters too.

The main characters evolve, you will feel them and love them. The story being told in the first person, by the heroine, you will always know her thoughts and fears, but the author will take care to show you also Henry's intentions even if in the roller coaster of events, Selah will misinterpret them.

Various types of human natures, religious fanaticism and naivety, ignoble interests and desires for vengeance, but also kindness, loyalty and a deeper understanding of the world from some of the characters will intervene and provide confrontations and attacks, lethal dangers and miraculous salvations, but also unexpected twists in a story whose pace is kept alert, the rarest slower moments existing only to point the suffering brought by an impossible love.

Goddess Born denouement seems to solve some of the problems, but will also bring other issues whose resolutions will have to make the subject of another book, a story that will take place at an entirely different level. I cannot wait to read it.

About the author:
Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book. Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/22/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt and Giveaway: Stone of Destiny (The Danaan Trilogy #2) by Laura Howard

Published: April 21st, 2014
Cover Artist: Najla Qamber


Allison thought it was crazy enough when she found out her father, Liam, wasn't entirely human. But now she has to join his magical allies to unravel his former mistress's plans. Aoife wants to keep Allison's parents apart forever. 

Despite Allison's efforts to keep Ethan, the only guy she's ever cared about, out of this supernatural mess, fate keeps throwing him back into the mix. 

Will Allison be able to find the amulet that holds the enchantment Aoife placed on Liam and destroy it? Are Ethan' s feelings for Allison strong enough to endure the magic of the Tuatha De Danaan?

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.


I led him into the foyer and shut the door behind him. He followed me to the dining room and when I sat, he took the seat beside me. He caught my eyes and raised his brows expectantly.
“Niamh asked me to go to Tír na n’Óg with her and Liam.”
“What, you mean go right now?” Ethan asked.
I nodded. “She doesn’t want to wait until Aoife makes a move. In a way I agree with her.”
“Did you tell me you needed to talk so you could just tell me you were leaving?”
I glanced up at him. “Yes, I hoped you’d understand.”
“No Allison. I don’t understand,” he said, jumping up so fast the chair nearly fell over.
I hesitated. “Niamh came by after you left last night. I know there’s a lot going on here, but I’ve thought about it all night. The sooner we take care of the threat Aoife poses on all of us, the better.”
Ethan stared at me, his face hard. “I understand that part. But I told you whatever happens, I’m coming with you.”
“What?” I said, shaking my head. “You can’t.”
“Like hell I can’t.” He crossed his arms, eyes narrowed. “You’re not leaving me behind this time.”

About the author:
Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known.

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Excerpt and Giveaway: The WindKeepers Series by Anna Hackett


As Keeper of the Winds, Livia Cavalli needed to focus her power on keeping the evil Tempest Winds trapped in their island prison. What she doesn't need is to be distracted by sexy horse trainer Rafe Donovan. Three hundred years ago, Livia became an immortal Keeper to numb her emotions, but Rafe arouses her in a way she hasn't felt for centuries.

For Rafe, Livia is a challenge he longs to solveand take to bed. Once she's in his arms, their desire is overwhelming. But when his own powers reveal Livia's secret pain, he realizes taking her body isn't enough - he wants to heal her soul, too...

"The deadly Tempest Winds have escaped. Now, four brothers gifted with the power of the winds must recapture the "Venti Tempesta" before they can unleash their evil on the world..."

WindKeeper Dante Venti, Keeper of the South Wind, is in Rome on a mission to entrap the Southwest wind and its holder before it can infect humanity with the vice of pride. Dante already feels pride seducing him...but the "real" temptation is alluring assassin Samia Hassan.

Samia has been sent to kill Dante, but her body is irresistibly drawn to him, his power and presence enveloping her. And if she's not careful, "she" will be entrapped by Dante, body and soul...
The deadly Tempest Winds have escaped…

Now, four brothers gifted with the power of the winds must recapture the Venti Tempesta before they can unleash their evil on the world…

Antonio Venti, Keeper of the West Wind, wakes naked and chained, captured by the nemesis he hunts. The evil Northwest Wind is spreading the vice of lust across the city of Florence and Antonio feels his skin heating, his blood firing and his body wanting. He refuses to succumb, but then his cunning prey offers him his ultimate temptation—the woman he craves above all else.

Sophia Crane has given up on rich, cheating men. She’s come to Italy to focus on her art restoration and discover the truth about the legend of the WindKeepers, but then she wakes naked and locked in a room with her sexy boss. As Sophia and Antonio fight their scorching desire, Sophia learns the terrible truth about the power of the wind, and that she may either be Antonio’s salvation or his downfall.

The deadly Tempest Winds have escaped…

Now, four brothers gifted with the power of the winds must recapture the Venti Tempesta before they can unleash their evil on the world…

Billionaire Luca Venti is head of Venti Enterprises and the Keeper of the volatile North Wind. He prides himself on his control and as he battles the deadly Northeast Wind in the heart of Venice, he refuses all help. But the vice of rage beats within him and when he discovers his new personal assistant is hiding more than just dangerous curves under her suit, his fury wants to be unleashed.

Rayne Santini was sent to spy on Luca, not to get involved with him and his explosive temper. She knows all about angry men who like to hurt others, but as she watches Luca struggle against his vice, she refuses to stand by and do nothing. But when their enemy entraps them, Luca’s control begins to crumble and the only thing standing between him and his rage is Rayne.

The deadly Tempest Winds have escaped…

Now, four brothers gifted with the power of the winds must recapture the Venti Tempesta before they can unleash their evil on the world…

Skye Santini has lived her life in the shadows, hiding from the horrors of her past. Tired of always being afraid, she vows that now is her chance to make a difference. She will be the virgin sacrifice to appease Soren Venti, the Keeper of the East Wind, who has succumbed to his vice of greed.

Locked away in his villa on Lake Como, Soren has no memory of his identity. He is driven only by the whispers of greed to take, own and possess, but then one fragile woman enters his domain. Soren wants Skye above all else…but he wants her willing, not as a duty-bound lover. As they are drawn together, their dangerous enemy, the Southeast Wind bears down on them. He wants Soren to join him and rule the world…and he knows that Skye is the only thing stopping him.


Claiming the East Wind
She was the virgin sacrifice for a greedy wind god.
Skye Santini clasped her hands together and tried to wrestle her nerves into some sort of submission.
She was failing. Big time.
Swallowing hard, she stared up at the beautiful villa. A cool, brisk wind blew in from Lake Como and tossed her hair around her face. She scraped it back. She could do this. She wanted to do this. Besides, she wasn’t exactly a virgin and the male locked inside wasn’t exactly a god. He was a man. A man who usually ran the finances for the successful company he and his brothers had built, Venti Enterprises.
Oh, and he was a WindKeeper on the verge destroying the entire world.
“This is insane. Skye, you can’t do this!”
Skye turned and watched her sister storm up to her. Rayne never held back from saying what was on her mind. She was also a trained Aurae warrior and the best big sister in the world.
“Rayne, I’ll be fine—”
“Fine?” Rayne gestured wildly. “The man has succumbed to his vice. He has no memory of who he is, no idea of his power, and no clue about the danger lurking close by.”
Skye looked again at the building. Vines climbed up the side of the cream-colored villa. Windows overlooked the manicured gardens that reached down to the lake. It was beautiful and she imagined, on most days, peaceful.
Today it was nothing of the sort.

About the author:
I’m Anna Hackett and I write action romance stories to thrill you, excite you and leave you inspired. I write about people overcoming unbeatable odds and achieving seemingly impossible goals to inspire you with the truth that the possibility exists for all of us to do the same. I love car chases, explosions and spaceships…and of course when the boy wins the girl. Oh, and I’m a sucker for that moment when the team is walking in slow motion, shoulder-to-shoulder heading off into battle. After reading or writing an awesome action romance story, I’m left energized and feeling like anything is possible. I aim to give the same to my readers.

Happy Release Day! The Garden of Death (The Garden of Eden #2) by L.L. Hunter

Designed by: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design and Photography 


You wouldn’t think dying in the place where death rules would change the fate of the world, would you? Well it did. I died, and now everything is upside down.

When Eden died in the Realm of Death, unbeknownst to everyone, her death changed the world. When her lifeless body is found by her father, Lakyn and brought back to the Michaelite Sanctuary, everyone thinks she is just suffering from the effects of the Death Blossom.

Little do they know, Eden is actually stuck inside her own alternative reality—one where she’s married to Asher, and all the souls of the newly dead have been spat out of the death realm. 

Now Eden must race against the clock, and figure out what is going on with the souls including her own, all before she wakes up. The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of one sixteen- year old half demon, half angel girl. 

Will it be too late? Or will Eden’s soul linger in the Garden of Death for eternity?

The highly anticipated sequel to the bestselling The Garden of Eden.

Eden Daylesford is a sixteen year old Nephilim girl stuck smack bang in the middle of a war between angels and demons. And the bad thing is that she shares both of their blood. When her mother takes her to the Michaelite Sanctuary in London to try to get rid of the deadly trait that has started to appear – one that hasn’t been seen in a long time – it could stop Eden from forming any sort of relationship with anyone, including the tempting Asher. Eden has no idea just how powerful she is… 

Will she learn to embrace her new ability and accept her new role, or go back to her old life of an ordinary human teenager?

Will she be tempted?

The enticing first book in the spin off novella series to The Legend of the Archangel. Set after events in The Chronicles of Fire and Ice. 

About the author:
L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Garden of Eden. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. 

She has been writing since her teens - everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” Follow her:

Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway: I Run to You by Jennifer Sivec by Jennifer Sivec

Release Date: July 2nd, 2014


Alyssa Bennet had been living life on autopilot, never taking chances or the time to figure out what she wanted in life. A broken family and lonely childhood had failed to show her the true meaning and depth of what love can be.

But all that changes on her 25th birthday.

Alyssa suddenly realizes that it’s up to her to take charge and choose the direction of her life.

Landon Daniels, Alyssa’s best guy friend is always there for her whenever she needs him. But when life takes a drastic turn with an unexpected diagnosis, her relationship and feelings for Landon become too complicated to face. Alyssa is forced to rely heavily on the only two people she’s ever been able to trust, her best friend Anna and her beloved Nona.

As they always have, they help Alyssa sort through the mess that has become her life. At her time of deepest despair, Alyssa finally begins to learn what true love really means. But her old feelings of inadequacy quickly creep back into her life making her doubt she can ever have happiness.

Will Alyssa be strong enough to face her fears and run toward the only man she’s ever loved, or will she destroy her chance completely?


I knew I didn't have anyone to blame but myself about staying with Tom, in a passionless, loveless relationship. I was young and maybe even a bit lazy, in and out of college when I could afford it. I was completely lost in my life with no idea how to find myself but then again, it’s not as though I was making much of an effort. I was tired of waiting tables, but I didn't really know how to do anything else. Besides, it was good money and I didn’t have a lot of options.

There was nothing I could do about the mishap at the moment. I went downstairs without even bothering to say anything to Tom. He rolled over and was already snoring away, so I went into the kitchen and made some coffee and poured myself a bowl of cereal. I tried to pet our grey cat, Willow, who had just jumped on the counter to watch the coffee brew but he scurried away from me just out of arm’s length. He stared at me with an air of disdain while he licked his paws. I hated cats. I especially hated this selfish fat cat. He didn't want anything to do with me unless I was feeding him. Brat!

But now, all I could think about was that stupid broken disgusting condom.

My phone buzzed.

"Happy birthday, my lovely. Party tonight. XO Anna" Anna was texting me first thing in the morning, like she usually did.

My Bestie since the first grade, Anna always remembered my birthday, usually before anyone else. I couldn't wait to tell her what happened, but I didn't want to do it in a text conversation. I wanted to tell her in person.

"Wait till I tell you what happened first thing this morning."

I knew she would be shocked when I told her that Tom climbed on me, since he hadn’t done so in months. But she didn't respond which was just as well because I didn’t really want to have a text conversation about it anyway. She was working, trying to be a responsible adult, unlike myself so she didn’t have time for my drama, even if it was my birthday.

It was 9 o’clock AM on my birthday and already, I felt depressed. My birthday usually made me feel depressed, but not this early. It typically hit by noon, but thanks to the morning mishap, it was creeping up on me a lot sooner.

It struck me that I hoped he didn't think the morning’s disaster was my birthday present, which I could completely see! An overwhelming feeling of disdain for Tom his stupid grey cat came over me before I could help myself and I started reflecting about our relationship, as I often did when I wasn’t happy. Tom wasn’t very nice to me. He was typically harsh and condescending, and lacked a filter, no matter where he was or who as around. Whatever he was thinking, just flew out of his mouth. The other morning when he realized I forgot to buy milk he snarled at me, “What that fuck were you thinking Lys? How am I supposed to eat my damn cereal now?”

I cringed when it happened, but I realized that it was a typical scenario. It didn’t seem to matter if it was milk, laundry, what I made for dinner, or what I wore to the bar, Tom just wasn’t pleased about something. Whether it was my birthday or a random Thursday, I often wondered why we were still together, sharing cartons of milk and a life.

And now this condom incident.

My face started to get hot and I realized that I was freaking out over the thought of it. I had always been so careful with my birth control, no matter who the guy was, or how many times I slept with him.

I didn't want to have a baby, ever. A messy, loud, time-sucking expensive baby. I always told everyone that I never wanted to have a baby. Babies were dirty and they spit up and shit everywhere. Every parent I knew was exhausted. They never slept and said their children took up every second of your time. They attempted to sound happy about it. But you could tell from the bags under their eyes and copious amounts of caffeine they needed to function, that it wasn’t as magical as they tried to make it seem. Babies were but, but was it worth the sacrifice of having sagging boobs, getting fat, and having stretched out lady parts? I had to admit that there were a few babies that were adorable, but the majority of them just had big heads, weird hair, and looked like aliens. The thought of that big head pushing itself out of a very sensitive area of the body made me want to vomit. I decided before I ever lost my virginity to Bobby Baughman, that I had no desire to ever have one of those things popping out of my body.

About the author:
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember; journals, poems, and short stories. I always wanted to write a novel and started several over the years, but for some reason I could never see them through to the end. Until Eva came along.

I was abandoned as a child, at about the age of 2 or 3 which I strangely never gave a lot of thought to. Then I became a mother. When my youngest child was about 2, I watched him sleeping one night as I often did. But this night, I was gripped by this heart-wrenching realization that he was about the age that I was when my parents left me. Something stirred inside of me, and eventually Eva was born. “Leaving Eva” began as a story of a girl who was heartlessly abandoned, and then her story took on a life of its own. It was no longer the story that I began, and it became something else entirely.

I am happy to have finally gotten in touch with my inner Author. She’s always been there lying dormant inside of me, reflecting in other parts of my life. But now she is awake and alive, shining through me every day.

I am very fortunate to have a wonderful supportive husband, two beautiful children, and an incredible family. I have a career that is rewarding and challenging and I get to work with amazing, funny, talented people every day.

Writing has been an escape, a refuge, and an outlet for me. I feel so lucky to get to channel my energy and my creativity through my writing.

I hope that my readers will continue to stay with me through my journey as I grown and evolve. I am so grateful for the support I’ve received and the amazing people that I’ve encountered along the way!

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway: Forever Layla by Melissa Turner Lee

Description: 15+

What if the woman you envied most is the person you are destined to become?

In 1994, high school senior David Foster was the lackey and soundboard geek for his best friend’s grunge band. During spring break, the band lands a dream gig playing at a motel in Myrtle Beach, SC. David expected all the girls to ogle the guys on stage, but when a beautiful blond “Bond Girl” approaches him and calls him by name, he’s shocked to find out she knows more about him than a stranger should.

She even knows about his notebooks and his visions of time travel.

What she thought was a quick time-travel-sightseeing trip takes a surprising turn when she meets the young adult version of the man she’d heard stories about as a child. His fairy-tale romance with the woman he’d loved, Layla, inspired her to accept nothing less than a love just as strong…but hopefully not as tragic. When she won’t tell the younger version of him her name, he calls her Layla–and the world as she knows it changes forever.


I have to tell you that writing a 70K word novel is so much easier for me to write than a 500 word guest post, so I cheated and asked my beta readers to help me come up with this post. I’m also lazy and my personality turns most things I don’t love doing into a joke so I can laugh at it. This is what you get when you combine those things.

My facebook post in my beta readers group:

Me: OH MY GOSH!!!!! (Sorry, I’m a writer and a bit dramatic at times.) I’ve just received the hardest guest post topic EVER!!!! You guys have to help me. Here it is:

The Challenge of a Good Time Travel Story. (about what Time Travel story should have or not, the traps to avoid, etc)

A: Well that should be easy for you to write.

Me: How’s that?

A: Because you got it just right. You wrote it like Doctor Who, but better. Too many time travel novels aren’t plausible because of the science. You focused on the characters and left the science vague enough that it becomes a side issue, but explained it enough so that it felt possible. The characters had me hooked from the beginning and had me thinking about them for days after I’d put down the book. Great Job!!!

Me: Awww thanks.

S: Well I normally HATE time travel novels and I LOVED yours because you drew me in with the characters and their story, so by the time I was dealing with the time travel issues, I was too wrapped up in their lives and their love to be bothered by it being a genre I normally hate.

Me: Thanks guys. Anything else?

A: Well you didn’t fall into the loop cliché either with the same day repeating.

Me: Gross! I’d never do that to my readers. I remember watching Groundhog Day and by the time the guy was killing himself to end the day, I wanted to do the same.

A: Hahaha, yep! That’s why your time travel novel works and others don’t.

Me: Thanks for helping me. I’m going to use all this for my guest post.



Layla looked down at her salad. “At least your mom cares about your future. She’s just trying to get you somewhere good in life before she lets go.”


“But she’s wrong about what you’ll become. You will never be a dentist.”

“Because I’m going to discover time travel. So you really are from the future.”

Layla leaned in closer to whisper, “Do you see how hard it is for me to let you pay for my meals? To let you so much as put a bandage on my knee when I can do it myself. If getting to the airport is all I needed to do to get back to my work and my life, don’t you think I’d do it?”

I leaned in to whisper, “So is this conformation that you really are from the future? That this isn’t a hoax?” I was so close to her again. Her fragrance was everywhere, filling my senses. I could feel her presence and it electrified the air between us. My heart raced as I stared into her eyes that were huge saucers of warm hot chocolate.

She was in the same trance, looking back at me and having trouble forming her sentence. “I…can’t…tell…you.” She swallowed.

“I think you already did.” I knew in my heart I was having a moment. It was just like the flashes that I had to jot down in my notebooks. This wasn’t just the attraction between a guy and a pretty girl. This went deeper. This was more. She was my future. Just as much as that vision of how time travel would work. I was seeing into my future and all the potential that came with it.”

I leaned in closer. I didn’t want anyone to hear the craziness of what I was about to say. “What if you are Layla? THE Layla. What if you are the catalyst sent to get me on the path to my destiny? What if you and the time travel go hand-in-hand and there cannot be one without the other? You want me to accept that I’m never going to be a dentist. Well if all you are telling me is true, maybe you need to accept that you are never going back home. You are Layla.”

She pulled back and took in a quick breath at my last statement. She looked like she was going to speak but never did. Maybe she was having trouble processing the idea.

“If I’m to be a time traveler and it all starts with my great love for the beautiful Layla and you have shown up in my timeline and I automatically call you Layla. Then you must be Layla. You either believe the stories you were taught or you don’t. Or maybe you liked them better when they were for someone else and didn’t require anything from you.”

She said nothing as I watched her take it all in. Her blonde hair was messy from the ocean breeze by the pool, but I liked it like that. It reminded me of how she looked when she got up from bed. She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I could hardly believe I was sitting at a table with someone like her. It almost made her story unbelievable because there was no way that I’d end up with a woman like her.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” She asked, her eyes becoming even more wet with emotion.

“Like what?”

She blinked and swallowed. “Like I mean everything to you.”

I thought about her words and what she had told me about my future. I thought about the time travel I’d told no one about. I thought about the notebooks and the Cheerwine and Philo T. Farnsworth.

“Because maybe you do.”

About the author:
Melissa Turner Lee is a stay-at-home mom of three of the CRAZIEST boys ever. She’s also the wife to a wonderful man she met when at 17, who is also the inspiration behind her awesome Painter series. Melissa has a degree in Journalism and Marketing, which she has never used. One day her husband sent her to the local book store for a day to herself. Melissa picked up Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and her life changed. She remembered being 17, falling in love. But most of all she remembered herself. She’d become “Mommy” and forgotten all about Melissa, the girl who dreamed of being a writer, but suddenly she remembered and the writing started. And It hasn’t stopped.

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Interview and Giveaway: Unti Culbertson #2 by Judi Culbertson


Bookseller-turned-amateur detective Delhi Laine is back with another atmospheric mystery, but this time, it’s a family affair.

Nineteen years ago, Delhi Laine’s two-year old daughter disappeared. After a frantic but inconclusive search, authorities determined that she must have drowned, her body washed away from the picturesque English park in which she was playing.

Delhi’s heart has never healed, yet her family has since soldiered on. But when a mysterious letter arrives containing the ominous words, YOUR DAUGHTER DID NOT DROWN, their lives are once again thrown into turmoil. With her family torn between fighting for the past and protecting the future, Delhi is caught in the middle. For a mother, the choice to find her daughter seems easy. But for a family left fractured by the mistakes of the past, the consequence, and the truth, may be infinitely more costly.

Fans of Carolyn Hart will be swept away by this story of a family on the brink - and their hunt for the truth.

Thank you, Mrs. Judi Culbertson
Does a woman detective have some advantages over a man detective? What kind of a person/detective is Delhi Laine?
Absolutely. Women amateur detectives usually have more interesting day jobs, and work in fascinating milieus. My character, Delhi Laine, is a used and rare bookseller which explores the world of cut-throat estate sales. It also lets readers learn what valuable books they may have right on their own shelves. Women sleuths are caterers, professional organizers, dog walkers, archeologists, you name it. When was the last time you heard about a man solving crimes from his cupcake shop?

I think that women are also more interested in domestic situations, everything from the reasons a marriage went wrong to why the chow mein tastes funny. Women sleuths can decode psychological hints that turn out to be important later on. It’s also easier for women to ask personal questions, in part because they seem less threatening and people are more used to confiding in a woman.

It’s also natural for women amateur detectives to be perceived as “outsiders” whose findings are discounted by the authorities. How satisfying is it when the underdog turns out to be right and the police have gotten it wrong? Very! In my stories, Delhi is looking for the truth in a situation and often sees things the detective on the case, Frank Marselli, doesn’t. As he points out to her, “You’re the nagging pain you get with appendicitis or a brain tumor. It can’t be ignored, but it doesn’t make anyone’s day.”

Delhi operates on a moral code leftover from being raised as a Methodist minister’s daughter. She sees life realistically and with humor. She’s tenacious in protecting her family and has to find out what really happened. Her other passion is books and she is always hoping to discover the one great find of her life.

What does a writer need, apart from talent, to write a good mystery & detective story? 
I’ve published books in several genres, and find that mysteries the most challenging to get right. I read a lot of mysteries and love watching British detective series, especially Morse and Frost, and the Canadian detective, Murdoch. What these stories have in common, along with those created by writers such as Donna Leon and Sue Grafton, is a world that you can settle into, with a main character you want to know more about. 

To write a good mystery, you need characters that readers can identify with and a world that they want to keep coming back to. You also need a strong plot with complications and misdirection and, ideally, a clever twist at the end. This happened by accident in my second Delhi Laine book, An Illustrated Death. Until almost the end I thought the murderer was one person; it turned out to be someone else. Most readers were fooled too.

How do you like (and why) your mystery stories to be? Do you give clues through the story for the readers to try to figure out the mystery on their own or you keep everything for the ending? What should be avoided in a mystery / detective story?
As I said, I like mysteries that draw me into a colorful world and let me settle in, whether it be Oxford, Venice, Santa Teresa, or Amish Country. I like getting to know the same people from book to book. I like a strong mystery as well. This is the kind of world and puzzle I’m trying to create.

I give clues throughout the story, information that may not seem important. Often it’s an aside to something else. I hate mysteries that suddenly drop in the perpetrator at the very end. That definitely should be avoided. When I read the cover flap or book description, certain words are a deal breaker for me: crime syndicate, teenage runaway, drug cartel, ex-convict or anything else that signals a hard-boiled world. I also don’t like a story narrated in alternating chapters between the detective and the criminal.

On the other hand, I can’t stand heroines who are relentlessly chipper, inoffensive to the point of being long-suffering. Too-cute descriptions of people and situations make me cringe. I don’t like romance mixed in with my mystery either, though I know a fair number of people do. 

How do you think you evolved as a writer from your first published book?
This is hard to say, since I’ve written in different genres and for a long time. A Photographic Death is my thirteenth published book. As far as mysteries, I feel each book is getting better. At least I hope so.

What is the worst thing about our present day mystery & detective literature and what is the best one?
Times have changed since Agatha Christie, and it’s gotten harder to come up with ingenious plots. For a while, authors seemed trying to outdo each other with the grisliest murders possible, overturning past taboos. I find that tough slang and constant profanity get old very fast, along with the belief that a sex scene is de rigeur. Too often these are gratuitous and shoehorned in and don’t add much to the story. 

The best thing about present day mysteries, I think, is that they present a more rounded picture of the detectives’ lives and emotional struggles. Good literature of any genre draws you into a believable world and and makes it compelling. I personally like DNA, psychological profiling, and other tools that weren’t available in Dame Agatha’s day. Perhaps in response to forensic science, there’s also been a flowering of mysteries set in other centuries, other countries, relying more on traditional deduction.

It’s a smorgasbord out there.

About the author:

JUDI CULBERTSON draws on her experience as a used-and-rare book dealer, social worker, and world traveler to create her bibliophile mysteries. She has co-authored five illustrated guides with her husband, Tom Randall, of such cities as Paris, London, and New York. She is also the author of the acclaimed nonfiction titles SCALING DOWN and THE CLUTTER CURE. She lives in Port Jefferson, New York, with her family.


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Guest Post and Giveaway: The Merlin Chronicles Series by Daniel Diehl


Merlin the Magician only exists in myth and legend – at least that’s what archaeology student Jason Carpenter thought until he discovered the mysterious orb that had housed history’s greatest wizard for 1,600 years. 

Forced into an uneasy alliance, Jason and Merlin are sucked into a web of deceit, intrigue and murder that sends them on a chaotic race to outwit, and out run, Merlin’s ancient nemesis, the evil sorceress Morgana le Fay, her gang of drug smugglers and a 500 year-old Chinese necromancer. Tis a race against time to complete their quest before an army of dragons are unleashed on a vulnerable and unsuspecting 21st century world.

OMG what a book!! [...] First i have to confess, i have NEVER read a Merlin book......Ever.....Much to the shock and amusement of my friend and fellow reviewer Laura.So i can honestly say, hand on heart, I went into this book with open eyes, And let me say what a book!!
If you are a Merlin fan you have, no NEED to get this book. - OrchardBook Club (Goodreads)


After being accidentally thrown into the modern world of the 21st century, the wizard, Merlin teamed up with archaeology student, Jason Carpenter to aid him in his battle against the evil sorcerous, Morgana le Fay. 

In this second book of The Merlin Chronicles, Merlin braves the mysterious depths of Morgana's underground lair in search of the alien device with which she communicates with the Dragon Lords. 

Meanwhile, Jason is forced to battle his way across war-torn Central Africa in search of a legendary gem that holds the key to closing the dragon gate forever. When Merlin is captured by Morgana's thugs, Jason and Beverley, must risk their lives and the future of mankind in a desperate effort to save their friend.

Which Merlin is this?

Students in one of my writing classes asked me if any of the characters in the Arthurian romances were based on real people. While the standard answer is ‘maybe, but we just don’t know’ there is really a lot more to it than that.

While Arthur himself may or may not, be based on any one or more people, and others like his adulterous wife, Guinevere, and his numerous knights are certainly fictitious the most implausible of all, Merlin, was actually a very real person and it is on this man that I based my Merlin. Much frustratingly incomplete work on tracking down the historical Merlin has been done but, briefly, this is pretty much what we know. 

The real Merlin, like my character, was of Welch origin, was named Myrddin Emrys ap Morfryn (Myrddin, or Merlin, translating as Eagle), lived roughly between 480 and 570 A.D. and he was either a Christian monk or a priest. Among the verifiable historical characters that he seems to have known was the Saxon warlord known as King Vortigern, whom we will meet in the second book of the Merlin Chronicles. Merlin would have been just a boy when he encountered Vortigern sometime around 490 – 510 A.D.

It seems that, like my own Merlin, he attended a battle to give spiritual support to his liege lord and that the sight of the slaughter drove him mad. What, precisely, he raved about as he wandered through Wales, northwestern England and southwestern Scotland is unknown but, like our own Merlin, villagers were frightened by this half wild man and drove him off in a hail of sticks and stones and calling him Myrddin Wyllt, meaning Merlin the wild. Supposedly, in his madness, Merlin had gained the ability to ‘see’ or make prophecies and the belief in his power to fortell the future brought him to the attention of many in high places. 

Whatever it was that the old man was raving about it seems to have hit too close to home for a petty war lord named Rhydderich Hael (translated as Roderick the Generous, which he obviously was not). Hael fancied himself king of Strathclyde and kept his ‘castle’ – actually a fortified hill fort – at what is now Dunbarton, Scotland and seems to have been, at one point, a friend of Merlins, possibly inviting him to court as an advisor. What Merlin might have said, or why it upset Hael, we will never know but there is some surviving evidence that Hael ordered the old man’s murder which took place near the mouth of a Strathclyde river at the point where it emerged from an underground cave. 

There are still numerous writings which purport to have been executed by Merlin but unfortunately there is scant evidence to support these claims. But the historical Merlin retains deep roots in his homeland of Wales. The oldest inhabited town in Wales is named Carmarthen, which is a corruption of two words; the first being ‘caer’ often used to mean castle but actually translating as ‘place of refuge’. The second part of Carmarthen came from, as you may have guessed, Myrddin. Hence, Carmarthen literally means Merlin’s place of refuge.

To learn more about the real Merlin I recommend the following two books in the order they are presented ‘The Quest for Merlin’ by Nikolai Tolstoy and ‘Chasing Merlin’ by Sarah White

About the author:
Daniel Diehl has been an author, writer and investigative historian for thirty-five years. For nearly twenty years Diehl has been involved in writing for publication and documentary television production. Mr. Diehl’s work has won awards from the Houston (Texas) Film Festival, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (US) and the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Arts Foundation. Working alone and as a part of the multi-award winning team of Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, Diehl has produced work in two main categories; trade publication and television documentary scripts. His canon of work includes twenty non-fiction books (which have been translated into ten foreign languages), one previous work of fiction and scripts for more than one hundred and seventy hours of documentary television primarily for A&E Network, The History Channel, History International, Biography Channel and Discovery Network.

My Hunger and No In Between (Inside Out #3.2, #4) by Lisa Renee Jones


An Inside Out Novella in Mark's POV 

While Chris and Sara have traveled to Paris to avoid the chaos of press and police after the tragic night we'd shared, I have stayed to face the reality of what has happened. But there is no peace to be found in facing the truth, and no truth to be found in the confessions that have been made and retracted. 

I am a Master, all about control, and yet right now, facing great tragedy, I feel as if I have none. With my club and my relationships of the past in the spotlight, I find sanctuary in the one place I've promised I will never be again, but cannot seem to resist. Her arms.

Mark and Crystal's story begins in the novella Master Undone

Publication Date: August 19th, 2014 


The fourth in the Inside Out erotic romance series by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, this steamy novel resolves Chris and Sara's relationship and leads into Mark's story. 

"Chris and I have faced our demons and bared our souls to one another in Paris. Now that we are back home in San Francisco, I want to believe that nothing can tear us apart. Not Ava’s accusations against me to the police, or Chris's fear that he will destroy me as he feels he did Amber. And not Mark, who was once too intimately a part of our lives, and who I can see crumbling inside out. He believes he is invincible, just as I want to believe Chris and I are invincible. We have to be invincible. We need each other too much for any other ending." 

About the author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today and USA Today lists. 

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.

Excerpt and Giveaway: Love Is Never Past Tense... Series by Janna Yeshanova


*An Epic Russian Romance Saga Based on a True Story*

A whirlwind romance on a romantic Black Sea beach turns into a quick marriage for Serge and Janna, only to have family, fate and foolishness tear them apart. As the cold war grinds to a halt, the politics of late Soviet Russia separates the lovers on different continents. Never quite coming together, never quite letting go, their lives overlap and entwine over the years…

Beneath the adventure and romance is a deeper story of achieving dreams regardless of obstacles. Janna Yeshanova brings forth her personal account of courage in the face of impossible odds, her indomitable spirit, and a heart of gold that held onto a lost love for decades.

Anyone who’s ever pondered the eternal question, “What makes life worth living?” can find the answer within the international romantic saga of LOVE IS NEVER PAST TENSE…

“Can the power of love stand up to time, politics and distance? Two young lovers face turmoil, separation and the fall of their homeland. This intriguing and often painful love story spans for decades of life-altering years, life-altering events, but proves that true love will endure as long as the human heart beats.” - Amazon top 1000 reviewer

“The portrayal of Communist and post-1991 Russia is brilliantly done and made the story so much more than 'just' a romance.” - Amazon top 500 reviewer, Christoph Fischer

“This very modern love story, lets you feel the sorrow, fear and joy of a couple coping with events that reshaped the world. A great, dramatic romance in classic Russian style.” - Amazon reviewer

Newly reunited lovers Janna and Serge thought the world had given them another chance at happiness. After years of separation following a heartbreaking divorce and harrowing escape from post-cold-war Russia, the couple had reconnected through emails, and finally took the leap to see each other in person. 

In The Net of Cupid 
Their reignited spark burns ever brighter as they enjoy an idyllic beachside vacation together in North Carolina. Once again life teaches these lovers another surprising, scary lesson. On the coast of an ocean for the first time in his life, Serge rushes into cold waves and mortal danger. He abandons Janna on the shore, leaving behind their plans for a future together. Janna is helpless watching Serge fight a cruel battle with the elements, struggling to make his way back to shore. 

In The Land of Scarabs 
The romantic saga continues as they travel to Egypt for new experiences. Through an impromptu arrest by customs officials, they emerge to a sun-kissed sand-dune paradise. Egypt is everything they hoped it would be and more. On a desert trek with the Bedouins they find a guide, an old friend of Serge’s from Russia. 

Experience this poignant tale of a love that spans decades and continents, as this amazing couple travels the world, discovering both their past and their future together. 

These stories are unconventional women’s fiction, told in the uniquely Russian voice of Janna Yeshanova. Though she was forced to flee her beloved homeland, leaving a piece of her heart behind, she will always and forever be Russian.

For Release June 23rd 2014 

Newly reunited lovers Janna and Serge thought the world had given them another chance at happiness. After years of separation following a heartbreaking divorce and harrowing escape from post-cold-war Russia, the couple had reconnected through emails, and finally took the leap to see each other in person. 

Zebra Fish 
Their reignited spark burns ever brighter as they travel to Egypt for new experiences. Having trekked through the desert with Bedouins, they settle on the sunny beaches for relaxation. The beauty of the Egyptian sea seduces the lovers into a scuba diving expedition, but when their boat disappears from the surface, they are stranded on the coral reef with no rescue in sight. 

BONUS STORY: A Favorable Offer 
On their return flight from Egypt, Janna watches in horror as Serge is beset by an inexplicable illness. Fighting for his life, deep in delirium, death makes Serge a favorable offer … ‘let go and let death take him.’ 

Janna can hardly believe Serge’s feverish ramblings as she overhears snatches of their insane conversation. 

Experience this poignant tale of a love that spans decades and continents, as this amazing couple travels the world, escaping one peril after another in their desire to forge a new future together. 

These stories are unconventional women’s fiction, told in the uniquely Russian voice of Janna Yeshanova. Though she was forced to flee her beloved homeland, leaving a piece of her heart behind, she will always and forever be Russian.


There were no more splashes. Serge looked around the dark water, but he did not observe any signs of a sea monster. Gradually they calmed down, and again the cold began to occupy all their attention. They again rubbed each other and embraced. But it only helped for a short time. Serge’s predictions began to come true. A large shiver shook their bodies, and their lower jaws would not submit to the commands of their brains. The lower jaw dangled as if on strings and sparred with the top jaw, producing an intolerable knocking of teeth.

“Serge, are we going to die?” Janna cried out.


“We will die. Serge, we will not be able to bear it. Isn’t this terrifying to you?”

“No,” he insisted, “it’s not terrifying, because we will not die. Or, at least, we’ll die somewhere and sometime, but not here, and not now.”

“I feel that for me, this place will be the last. Wait. Don’t speak. Listen. When I am gone, don’t linger. Fasten a lead belt around my body and send me to the depths. You can come here like it’s my grave. Don’t waste your efforts on superfluous expenses: a coffin, transportation to the States, or a funeral. To me it’s all the same, but you would have huge expenses.”

“Are you finished?”

“Promise me!”

“I won’t even think about it. You always taught me that one should only believe in the best, and then it will come true. Stop all this talk about death.”

“One often thinks of death, especially at times like this.”

“While a person lives, he should only think of life, and you’re not going to change my mind about that. I speak as someone who already tried to drown in the bottom of the sea. I crept out then from an impossibly complex situation. This is a piece of cake compared to what happened there, on the Black Sea.”

“The Black Sea is my native sea, and this is a stranger's sea. Red, the color of blood…”

“You are driving yourself into a condition where your body will cease to struggle. Once you convince the body not to resist, the end is inevitable and close.”

Serge took her shoulders and began to shake them in a frenzy. “Get this nonsense out of your head—I’m not asking, I’m ordering you to!”

“Are you the boss, then?” Janna asked, barely audible, and Serge understood that her life forces were quickly leaving her.

About the author:
Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna Yeshanova, M.A., MEd, escaped to the United States when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. Arriving in the United States with her mother and daughter in tow, $126 in her pocket and knowing not a soul, Janna’s talent and experiences have helped her become a high end organizational training and development professional. Her exodus story is included in the book.

Founder and principal of Life-Spark, LLC, Janna is a dynamic and powerful life coach, premier trainer and motivational speaker. She leverages her passion and engaging style to help others to overcome adversity and spark the possibilities of their lives. 

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