Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Crazy Ones

The Crazy Ones
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Guess what I just watched. Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher. This passage is from an old Apple advertising campaign and highlighted in the movie. I love it. People always ask me where do I find my inpiration. Well...from stuff like this for one. 

The film highlights the major moments in the life of Steve Jobs. It shows us the good and the bad and who Steve Jobs was at work and at home. If you are a fan of the man behind the Mac, this movie is a must see. 

passage copied from Wikipedia

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Master's Blog Tour and $20 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Good day everyone! Today is my stop on The Master's Book blog tour. I have not read this book yet, but it sounds wonderful. I definitely will not let this story slip by. Check the excerpt below and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

The Master's Book by Philip Coleman 
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing 
Genre: Upper MG or lower YA Mystery/Thriller
Age: 12+
Publication Date: March 15th, 2013
Page Count: 236

Book can be found at:
 GoodReads | Amazon

Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene... 
In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 25. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels. 
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once. 
Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it? 
Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

Back in the basement, I cleared the shelves and moved them, as usual. Not for the first time, I cringed when they made a scraping sound on the floor. I went straight to the innermost chamber and opened the airtight cabinet. It took a few minutes to get the folders out of the way.
I’d barely finished when I jumped at a noise behind me. Maeve stood there in the doorway with her arms crossed, staring.
The game was really up now. Well, at least Stephanie wouldn’t be able to blame me when the folks found out.
Maeve’s big, round eyes wandered around the narrow room. “So this is what’s behind the shelves.”
“Stay out of this, Maeve. If you say anything to the folks, you’re dead.”
“Why would I do that? I’ve known about this since last Saturday and I haven’t told Mammy and Daddy.”
I almost dropped the folder that was in my hand. “You what? How did you find out?”
“I wanted to hear what you and Stephanie were talking about, so I listened at the door of your room. Then I came down here myself the next morning and tried to unscrew the shelves, but I couldn’t move them on my own. I tried again on Monday, but I still couldn’t move them.”
All that time worrying about keeping Mam and Dad from finding out, and my nosy little sister was watching the whole time. Typical. Just bloody typical.
“So it was you who kept leaving the stool in the way?” I asked, recovering from the shock.
“Yeah, I had to stand on it to reach some of the screws. What are you doing in here now anyway? What’s in that cabinet?”
“There’s a safe at the back of it. Look, here.” I carefully arranged the folders in stacks on the floor. “It’s just that we can’t figure out the combination. We’ve tried de Meulenaer’s date of birth, but that doesn’t work.”
“How did you find that out?”
“We looked at the Internet, of course.”
“Well, maybe there was other stuff about him on the Internet that might have given you a clue.”
“Nah. There was hardly anything in English. There was something about a book he wrote, about some woman called Marie de Bourgogne.”
Maeve pulled at her ear, a habit of hers when she was thinking hard. “Well, Marie could be French for ‘Mary’. There’s a girl in my class called Mary Alcock, and Monsieur Hubert calls her ‘Marie’.”
“You mean your French teacher?”
“Who else? What’s Bourgogne though? Mary of Bourgogne?”
And then there was that “ping” in my brain. Our visit to Bruges. How could I have been so dense?
“It’s Burgundy,” I cried excitedly. “Of course. Mary of Burgundy. Remember when we visited her tomb, and Dad was talking about her?”
“Oh yeah, that’s right.” Maeve pulled on her ear again.
“It doesn’t get us any nearer to finding out the combination, all the same.”
“Well, maybe if this guy was interested enough in Mary to write a book about her, he came up with a combination that had something to do with her. What about her birthday? Have you thought of that?”
“Meh, it’s worth a try, I suppose. Come on up to my room, and we’ll have a look. We needn’t put all this stuff away, but we’d better put the shelves back.”
Back upstairs I typed “Mary of Burgundy” into Google. It recognised the name when I’d only got as far as “Mary of B—”. Maeve crouched beside me and stared at the screen as the results page loaded.
This time we got tons of stuff in English, starting with a long Wikipedia article. Luckily, her birthday was on the first line: the thirteenth of February, fourteen fifty-seven. I didn’t bother reading any more.
“Can we go now?” I said.
“Just a minute,” said Maeve, scribbling frantically on a piece of paper.
“How long does it take you to write out one date?”
She scrunched up the paper and shoved it into a pocket in the front of her skirt. We closed the screen and headed back downstairs. This time, she called out the date to me while I punched it on the number buttons of the safe, making things a bit faster.
13021457. I got the error message again. Another one of Maeve’s crackpot ideas. Still, I’d better try out all the combinations. So I went through the same rigmarole of different formats, with and without zeroes.
In a way I almost felt pleased when none of them worked. I turned back to Maeve. “So much for that notion. It wasn’t such a great idea after all.”
“Don’t give up just yet. Try the date she died.”
“Why would anyone pick the date someone died? Besides, you didn’t write it down.”
“Yes, I did. It was on the first line of the article.”
I sighed, annoyed at Mauve for thinking of checking the other important dates. “All right then. Read it out.”
“Nah, it doesn’t work,” I said when I got another error message.
“Maybe try just the year.”
I did that. I waited for the error message to pop up, but instead the safe whirred a little bit longer than before. The door popped open.
It couldn’t really be that simple, could it?

Author bio 
Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France. 

Author Sites:
Website  Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Today's stop was brought to you by Candace at CCB Book Promotions

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Inspiration For Awakened

 This article was originally posted during my blog tour last spring and appeared on Bookish Comforts book blog.

 I am often asked where my inspiration comes from. My answer is usually... everywhere. People, music, movies, something I see in nature or some times an idea organically pops into my little brain and I just run with it.

But I do have a story on how I came up with the idea for my first story in the Legends of Elyndia series and I am here today to share it with you.

The Inspiration for Awakened

Inspiration comes from many places. It can be found in nature, movies, people we meet and from the books we read. It can also come quite literally from an actual event. It was one summer day when I witnessed a gesture as innocent as a father passing a precious family heirloom to his only son that brings us to what we are talking about today, my debut novel, Awakened, book one in the Legends of Elyndia series.

A few years back my father-in-law decided that it was time to share an important gift with my husband. It was something that was passed down to him from his father and was very dear to him. He pulled out an oblong box with contents unknown to us at the time. From the box he pulled out an object wrapped delicately in a baby blue cloth and tied closed with a thick white string. After untying the string and carefully unwrapping the object, he placed it in my husband’s eagerly waiting hands. It was an antique knife with a curved blade and tattered copper sheath. When the knife was handed to my husband he held it with great respect, as it was obvious that it was very old. Not long after he held it, my husband carefully pulled the sheath from the blade and held the knife out in front of him for everyone in the room to see. As he was holding the knife I pictured a wave of powerful magic wash across the room as if the beholder just awakened an ability they never knew they had.

From that moment, I began writing a middle grade story in honor of my son. It was about a young boy that finds a magical knife and gets transported to ancient Egypt. I worked on that story and outlined it from start to finish over a three-month period. Then one day I just could not stand it any longer, and shared the story with my son. I knew for sure he would love it. After I explained the story he looked me in the eye and said…nothing. He then shrugged his shoulders and went back to his Gameboy. I asked him what he thought and he said it sounded boring and didn’t think kids would like it. So I scrapped it.

Before I started working on the middle grade book, I was working on an epic fantasy, but that story was just was not coming together for me either. So what did I do? I took a few of my favorite elements from the epic fantasy, combined them with the magical qualities I gave my knife in the middle grade story, and Awakened was born.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cover Reveal...Journey to Landaran

I'm excited to reveal the cover for the YA Fantasy, Journey to Landaran by Judy Goodwin.  This book is scheduled to release February 1st, 2014.

This stunning cover was designed by  Katt Amaral.

Book Description:
Aidah and her twin brother Tavish have always had a knack for getting into trouble. From pie stealing and pranks to hunting for magical creatures, they have always escaped notice in their tiny mountain village.
Until now.
Aidah begins seeing visions through her brother’s eyes. He’s a Firestarter, gifted with the Talent to control light and heat, destined to become a Sun Mage in the great city of Landaran. But he doesn’t want to leave without his sister. As storm clouds gather, Aidah dreams of a beautiful man, a frightening man, calling to her.
She fears the truth. That she may developing a Talent of her own, one that will change their lives forever.
The power to read minds. To possess bodies. To travel inside dreams. In the world of Ernid, Spirit is the ultimate power.
Nations will go to war over them.

 Add it to your Goodreads shelf!

Aidah's movement was too sudden. The branch she stood on snapped, and she fell back, tumbling down the nest towards the brink of the ledge. Tavish reached out and caught hold of her tunic as her legs slipped over the edge.
“Grab my arm! Pull yourself up,” he commanded as the fabric in his hand began to tear.
She tried to grab for his arm, but her body was turned awkwardly. At least her predicament seemed to have one benefit. The roc, startled by her fall, wheeled away.
Aidah didn’t have time to see if there were any other flying creatures down there, such as a few frightened wyrret parents. The tunic tore. Aidah scrambled to get hold of something, anything,. She felt herself falling, and then Tavish’s fingers clamped hard around her wrist, his short nails pinching into her skin.
“Sis, don’t move. I’m not secure here. Just stay still and let me pull you up.” She looked up at her brother holding her with one hand, trying to get a foothold or any kind of handhold on the cliff to brace himself in order to pull her back up. The fact she was looking up at him alarmed her--she was truly hanging off the cliff, her shoulders rubbing the hard granite of the edge, her lower body dangling.
Tavish found a rock to hold onto and pulled, but while the cords in his neck jutted out and his arm trembled with effort, he couldn’t pull her up even a little before his feet began to slip. She very carefully grasped his arm with her other hand, but still he was not quite strong or secure enough. Aidah’s heart pounded through her rib cage, as fear began to sink in. If she fell, it would be a messy death. Death wasn’t something she ever really thought about, yet here it suddenly was, glaring at her. The two of them struggled, trying to get her up, but it was useless. She swallowed back a moan as tears burned in her eyes.
“Gods, if I knew a spell to fix this!” Tavish gasped.
His words seemed to trigger something within her. Strength, that was what he needed. If only she could somehow lend him strength . . .
A blinding pain tore at the base of her skull, and she could suddenly hear Tavish muttering to himself, although his lips were firmly pressed shut. She didn’t have time to listen to what he was saying, however, before a pressure wave suddenly went through her body, traveling from the soles of her feet up through her torso and out through her hands where she gripped Tavish’s arm. As the wave passed, strength left her, darkening her vision. She opened her mouth to scream, thinking perhaps she was dying.
With a cry, Tavish pulled hard at her, and she found herself on the cliff again, in Tavish’s arms lying at the very back of the ledge. Apparently he had pulled so hard he’d sent both of them back several paces. Even now he looked ready to do it again--there was no trace fatigue. She, on the other hand, felt pale and sickly. The world spun, and she was afraid her knees wouldn’t hold her up. Trembling, she tried to get up and failed, falling back against her brother.
He set her down and got up, brushing snow and dirt from his trousers. “Wow, where did that come from, I wonder? I feel like a fresh ox! I think I could move a mountain right now! Did you do something, Sis?” He paced around stretching out his arms and legs, as if unable to stand still.
The world was graying out to Aidah and she found it difficult to follow what Tavish was saying. Her head was pounding with one of the worst headaches she’d ever had. “I don’t . . . think so. Maybe your magic helped you. Can we go home? I’m not feeling so well . . .” The world suddenly tilted and fell into blackness.

About the Author:
Judy Goodwin developed a passion for writing at a young age, creating picture books from the time she
could read and write. She continued this passion throughout her schooling, earning her BA degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. In her day job, she works as a technical writer in the healthcare field. She enjoys sharing her love of books and fantasy with her daughter and partner. They live in Gilbert, Arizona, with two Shiba Inu (Japanese) dogs, one wiener dog, and four black cats.
Ms. Goodwin has published short stories in small press and online magazines including Space and Time, Dreams and Nightmares, Alienskin, and Beyond Centauri. With the advent of eBooks and indie publishing, she decided to move into the brave new world of publishing with the debut of her first novel, Heart of the Witch.
Journey to Landaran is her second full length novel, the first installment of the Spirit Mage Saga.

Author Links:
$20 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
2 e-Arc winners (INT)
2 Paperback ARC winners (US) 


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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cover vs Cover...You Can Help Decide!

Melanie Shawn - Snow Angel
Melanie and Shawna, the sister duo who make up Melanie Shawn, are having a cover vs. cover competition and YOU get to help decide which one they use! Choose between these two awesome covers below.
Let them know on Facebook and Twitter which one you'd like to see on the cover of their upcoming release, Snow Angel, coming this month!
He is looking towards the future... Newly appointed Chief of Police Eric Maguire is sexy, single, not ready to mingle. Tired of casual hook-ups and meaningless affairs, Eric is ready for something real. When a mysterious dark-haired beauty moves in next door, Eric knows he’s found exactly what he’s been missing. She is running from her past... Lily Sotelo just got the break of a lifetime choreographing for pop star Karina Black’s winter tour. As important as it is that she does an amazing job, it’s equally as important that she remains anonymous. Which shouldn’t be a problem. She’s spent the last ten years on the move, never letting anyone get too close. Until now. Her new neighbor is as persistent as he is sexy and is making Lily want things she knows she can’t have.
Excerpt from Snow Angel
by Melanie Shawn
Excitement and nervousness coursed through Lily’s entire being as she practically skipped down the wooden steps that led out to the café. As she reached the bottom of the staircase, the smell of coffee hit her like a slap in the face. She took a deep breath in through her nose and the delicious aroma caused her mouth to begin to water. Lily had been trying to cut caffeine out of her diet over the last year. It was part of her clean living lifestyle. Over the last six months, she had been doing pretty well. She’d only had two sodas, which, considering Dr. Pepper was like crack to her, was no small feat. She was pretty proud of the fact that she had only fallen off the no-caffeine wagon twice. It was about to be three times though because she was definitely ordering a coffee to-go. She moved between several tables and chairs as she made her way up to the counter to place her order. The moment she stepped up, Sue Ann appeared from the swinging doors that looked like they led to the kitchen like they’d choreographed it in a play. “Good morning, sunshine!” Sue Ann sing-songed cheerily. “Good morning.” Happiness filled her as she let herself soak in being on the receiving end of Sue Anne’s happy demeanor. Sue Ann was just a lovely person, and lovely people were few and far between in Lily’s life. Smiling, she pulled out her wallet. “Can I have a coffee to go?” “Sure thing, sweetie. You’re up bright and early for getting in so late last night?” Sue Ann observed, her brow arching in question. Lily nodded, trying to keep her expression open and pleasant. Inside, her heart was pounding as fear spread from the top of her head to her feet. Her first instinct when people started asking questions or taking note of her comings and goings was to shut down. Go on the defensive and erect the very necessary protective shield she stored right below the surface. But that was her old life. This was a fresh start. A new beginning. Lily hadn’t really lived in a small town but she’d hear that people noticed things and also felt the need to comment about things people in big cities didn’t notice and didn’t care about. Plus, there could not be a sweeter woman asking the questions. Sue Ann was harmless, and Lily knew that she wasn’t in any kind of danger. Still, old habits die hard. “So,” Sue Ann continued, totally oblivious to Lily’s panic, “do you have a big day planned?” Lily felt her heart rate speed as she took in a fortifying breath. Just answer her, she told herself, like a normal person would. “I’m meeting Lauren to go look at rental properties.” There. That wasn’t so hard. “Oh, well you know you’re welcome to stay upstairs as long as you like,” Sue Ann said. “Thank you so much. I wish I could take you up on that. I love the space. It’s so cozy and welcoming. Unfortunately there is just not enough room for what I need,” Lily explained. Sue Ann handed Lily a cup of heavenly, piping hot coffee. Her eyes narrowed, seemingly not convinced that space was the reason Lily couldn’t stay in the apartment above the café. “Well, I hope you slept well at least.” “Oh, I did,” Lily assured her. “I was out like a light the second my head hit the pillow. And believe me, that never happens. Usually I toss and turn for hours.” “Trouble sleeping?” a very male, very deep, very sexy voice asked from behind her. Lily not only recognized the huskiness and timbre of the voice asking about her sleep problems, but her body’s response to it felt like déjà vu. Her pulse raced. Her palms moistened. The hairs on her arms stood as goose bumps spread across her skin like lava flowing down a volcano. She knew that this time, however, it wasn’t fear causing these disproportionate physical reactions—it was arousal coursing through her veins. In her twenty-six years, she’d never, ever, had such an instantaneous visceral response to a man. It was equal parts unnerving and thrilling. Lily felt another very foreign emotion creep up inside of her. It took her a moment to identify it. Embarrassment? Yep, that was it. She hadn’t handled it all that well the first time she had experienced the overwhelming response her body had to the man standing behind her. During their first interaction she had just abruptly removed herself from the situation. Not exactly the most mature response to un-be-lieve-able explosive chemistry, but hey, it had worked. She had come away from her brief brush with fiery heat of arousal unscathed. Standing with her back to the source of said arousal, she crossed her fingers—literally—hoping that she would be just as lucky during the second round in the ring of this erotically charged bout. She swallowed hard and heard the audible gulp as she turned to face her worthy sex-on-a-stick opponent. Unlike the first time she had seen him, when he had been wearing a tux, today he was dressed in black sweats, a white shirt, and a charcoal gray zip-up hoodie. His broad chest and strong arms filled it out in a way that made Lily’s mouth water. Sweats, tux, it didn’t matter; he probably could have been wearing a garbage bag and she would have the same crazy reaction to him. He was just hot. Ridiculously, toe-curling, heart-fluttering, pulse-racing hot. A low growl escaped his throat and her eyes flew to his. She was almost rendered speechless by what she saw. Of course she remembered that he had blue eyes—how could she forget?—but looking at them now she saw that they were not your run-of-the-mill, ordinary blue eyes. No, his were deep blue with hints of green outlined by a dark ring of navy. If she had one word to describe them, it would be intoxicating. “Hi.” His captivating eyes darkened a shade and a sinful smile crossed his face. “Hi,” she squeaked out. “Feeling better?” he asked. “Huh?” She wasn’t following. “The other night, at the wedding, you said you weren’t feeling well,” he reminded her as he stepped slightly forward. “Oh, right.” She nodded. She had only said that because if she hadn’t excused herself she was scared that she would have started dry humping him on the dance floor, and call her crazy, but she didn’t think that would have been appropriate. She cleared her throat. “Yes, I’m fine.” “No more lightheadedness?” His voice dropped an octave as he asked her what should be an extremely innocent question, but her body wasn’t quite reading it as innocent. “Nope,” she answered. Which up until a few minutes ago had been the truth. At the moment, his nearness, his voice, his eyes, his smell, his self was having quite the dizzying effect on her. Lily heard the chime above the front door ding snapping her out of her lust-trance. She turned to see Lauren gracefully step into the café, phone to her ear. She wore black slacks and a plum-colored button up silk shirt that complimented her fair skin tone perfectly. Her blond hair was pulled up into a French twist and not a strand was out of place. The style and outfit would have seemed stuffy and severe on someone else, but Lauren was able to pull it off, looking classy and sophisticated. Lauren spotted Lily in the small space almost immediately and moved quickly towards her. She removed the phone from her ear and placed it in her bag. “Hi, Lily. Have you been waiting long?” “No, not at all.” Lily heard the slight tremor in her voice she was unable to mask. Oh lord. Not a good sign. At all! “Hey, Eric.” Lauren reached up and kissed the man that made Lily’s insides turn to mush on the cheek. She turned, extending her hand in introduction. “You know Lily, right?” “We met briefly at Justin and Amanda’s wedding,” Eric confirmed. His deep voice instantly caused a tingle to race down Lily’s spine. Lauren paused, her eyes alighting as though she had picked up on the chill Eric’s voice had caused. She then slowly looked back and forth between Eric and Lily. Scanning. Assessing. Searching. Finally, her lips twitched and turned up at the corners as she asked, “Am I interrupting something?” “No,” Lily said quickly. She felt her eyes widen the way they always did when she lied so she shook her head to add emphasis. Perhaps the head shaking was a little much, she realized belatedly, considering the small smirk Lauren had been sporting was now turning into a full-fledged grin of amusement. “Are you sure? I can give you two a moment,” Lauren offered faux-innocently, not even trying to disguise how amusing she found all of this. Well, at least someone is enjoying themselves.
Eric ignored the fact that Lauren was being a smartass. He didn’t blame her—if the shoe were on the other foot, he would think that this whole thing was Grade A entertainment. Unfortunately—or fortunately for him, since he couldn’t quite call it yet—he was not a spectator in this exchange. Lily looked like she wanted to run as fast as she could for the door. Her eyes kept darting towards the front of the café like she was planning a great escape. But she also kept licking her lips, and every time she looked at him, her eyes would dilate and the pulse in the base of her neck would speed up. Eric knew how to read people and their body language. It was part of what made him a good detective. The responses she was displaying only happened when you felt something strongly for someone: desire, love, hate. Since they had barely said ten words to each other, the possibility that she could be feeling either love or hate for him was slim to none. So by reasonable deduction he assumed that she must be feeling desire. He sure as hell knew he was. Since he had laid eyes on Lily three days ago, he had not been able to get the image of her swaying on the dance floor at the wedding out of his mind. Eric had never seen anyone move like she had. Her body fused with the music floating through the air like she was one with it. He had been mesmerized. The slow dance they had shared almost seemed like it had been a dream or like they’d been living out a scene in a romantic movie. He’d stepped onto the dance floor, and she’d turned as if sensing his approach. He’d asked if she would like to dance over the pulsing beat of the music. She’d nodded yes, and at that exact moment, the music had slowed. It was surreal. She’d placed her hands around his neck and he had wrapped his arms around her waist. He’d pulled her towards him and their bodies had fit like a glove. When they began moving, it hadn’t felt like either of them was leading. The second their bodies had come into contact they’d just started instinctively swaying to the beat. They’d only danced for a minute or so before she excused herself, saying she wasn’t feeling well, but it had been an extremely erotically charged sixty seconds. So much so that, looking at her now, his body was now aching for a little repeat action. The feel of her thighs pressed against his, the smell of her hair as it brushed against nose, the soft sigh that escaped her mouth as she’d melted into him all came rushing back to him and shot directly to his groin. “Well, we better get going,” Lily said as she began to move around him. Lauren turned to follow her just as her phone rang. She glanced down and then, holding up one finger, said, “I just need to grab this. It’ll just take a minute.” Without waiting for a response, Lauren moved to the hall that held the back offices and restrooms. As much as Eric truly believed that Lily was attracted to him, he also sensed that for some reason that fact made her nervous. The last thing he wanted was to make her uncomfortable, so he decided to let her off the hook. For now. “It was good seeing you again. I hope to see you around,” he said as he brushed past her to step up and grab his to-go order, and a heated desire spread through his entire body. Damn. What was it about this girl that made his body feel so…alive?
About the Author
Melanie Shawn is the writing team of sister duo Melanie and Shawna. Originally from Northern California, they now make their home in So Cal. Growing up, Melanie constantly had her head in a book and was always working on short stories, manuscripts, plays and poetry. Shawna always loved romance in any form - movie, song or literary. If it was a love story with a happy ending, Shawna was all about it! They have joined forces to create a world where true love and happily ever after always has a sexy twist!
Find Melanie Shawn

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Long Lost Birthday Post

Have you ever put together a post, left it tucked away to finish later, then forgot about it? I have, and this is one of them. I usually do not post very much from my personal life and I thought it was about time I did.

My birthday was weeks ago, so don't feel like you need to send all sorts of birthday wishes. But if for some reason you are compelled to send me gifts please feel free. Instead of writing a boring recap of the past event, I decided to share the highlights with a series of photos.

This was the best birthday cake ever. It was a raspberry, white chocolate truffle cake. It weighed one hundred pounds.

These were my wonderful gifts from my loving family. They know me so well. 

I saw these guys.

And these guys were awesome.

I got the coolest shirt in the whole wide world. Husband loves it. He makes me wear it every time we go out. 

We came home to this.

Then Blue ignored us for hours for leaving him behind. I must point out he had awesome pet sitters. Alas, he did not care. And no he did not get in trouble for destroying two sets of mini blinds and a candle. In fact, I begged for his forgiveness all night.

And there you have folks. We spent the weekend at Newport Oregon. We ate yummy chowder, drank micro brews and gained ten pounds. I cannot wait to do it again.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Any one can join in any time!

On Saturday, October 5th, I had the pleasure of attending Wordstock in Portland Oregon. The highlight of my day was meeting and getting books signed by three fabulous authors.

The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann
~part two of The Peculiar

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

Coda by Emma Trevayne

I have read The Peculiar and cannot wait to dive into The Whatnot. Stefan Bachmann is only nineteen years old, but his talent reaches beyond his years.

Claire Legrand and Emma Trevayne are new to me, but from listening to them read from their books, I am sure I am in for a treat.

What is new to your shelf?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars...Hold On While I Grab A Tissue

The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

So this is how I handled it. How'd you do?

Who hasn't heard about The Fault In Our Star? Anyone? I mean everyone went on and on about how great it was and how it made them cry their freaking eyes out. I can proudly say I have joined the ranks of the brave men and women who dared to bare their souls to the heart wrenching story.

The Fault In Our Stars sat patiently in my kindle for many months, just waiting for the day that I felt brave enough to give it a try.  I was afraid to read this book. Cancer is not an easy subject to read about, and anyone who has watched a friend or family member suffer from the evil illness may be reluctant to give it a try. I know I was. Then one day out of the blue I finally thought I would read a few pages just to see it it grabbed me.

Not only did it grab me, but it reached into me, grabbed my heart and soul with both hands, and refused to let go until I devoured it. I think the first tear trickled down my cheek at the half way point. From there it was a non stop water works show. I read it in one sitting.

***This is not a review. It is just a post about the affect this book had me.***

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cover Reveal & Giveaway...Redemption Red

I'm excited to bring to you the cover reveal of Redemption Red by Delancey Stewart! This book is scheduled to be released October 15th, 2013.

Redemption Red by Delancey Stewart (A Wine Country Romance)

Love, loss, and a smoky red…

When Audrey Montgomery’s carefully planned life collides with the self-destructive path Tyson Dawes is on, neither of them can predict what will happen next.

Audrey is a diligent and self-reliant culinary student at Portland’s prestigious Cordon Bleu. She has a clear picture of her future in mind, and it allows little room for the steely-eyed and tormented young man she bumps into by chance while wine tasting with friends.

Tyson Dawes had a perfect childhood, raised among the vines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. But even the most idyllic of upbringings couldn’t have prepared him for what he would face as a Marine. He returns to his childhood home angry and haunted by the storms of what he has faced and by those he has lost.
Do opposites truly attract? Can the lure of Audrey’s apparent clarity and innocence offer Tyson hope in the face of his emptiness?
This is the second book in the Wine Country Romance Series. The first book, A Rare Vintage was published in June and is available on Amazon.

While Redemption Red is part of the Wine Country Romance Series, it is a stand alone. These books can each be read individually.

Add the book on GoodReads.

Buy A Rare Vintage, on sale now for only .99 cents! 

About the author:
Delancey Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She's been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a wine seller. Despite lots of other interests, she has always been a writer.
A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler, story reader, and tech writer for a defense contractor. She tackles all these efforts at her current home in Southern Maryland.
Delancey Stewart is the author of Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001 and the Wine Country Romance Series which includes: A Rare Vintage and Redemption Red, as well as the Girlfriends of Gotham Series, publishing with Swoon Romance. The first book in that series, Men and Martinis, will be released in Winter 2013.

Find the author:
Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Must be 18 or older to enter
One winner will win (US only): 
- an ebook copy of both "A Rare Vintage" and "Redemption Red"
- a gorgeous bracelet created with recycled wine bottles on an aluminum link bracelet. It measures 7 1/2 inches long and features green, brown, blue, gold and clear color glass rings. The bracelet is handmade and can be dressed up or down, thanks to the elegant styling. 
- a 10 ounce jar of Oregon Pinot Noir chocolate sauce from Euphoria Chocolate Company in Oregon (where Redemption Red is set). Great for use on ice cream, in coffee or just on a spoon! 
4 winners will win (INT):
- an ebook of Redemption Red
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Just Finished Reading...Chase Tinker and the House Of Secrets

Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets
 by Malia Ann Haberman

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In Chase Tinker's world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination...

After spending the summer at his grandfather's gigantic, incredibly magical house, thirteen-year-old Chase Tinker thought things couldn't get any more bizarre, or that the secrets and lies couldn't get any worse, but he was wrong.

As summer turns into Autumn, join Chase and his family for even more magical craziness. Craziness that will include: the sneezing of strange powers, the reappearance of the evil Marlowe family, another frightening kidnapping, the discovery of a mysterious, magical girl, a dangerous rescue mission, and a secret so mind-boggling, it will lead to a shocking climatic finish that will turn Chase's world completely upside down and leave him feeling like one of the worst people on the planet.

My thoughts~

Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets is a whimsical and fantastic read. I have been a fan of Malia Ann Haberman since I read book one, and this story is even better. 

Now I say this next part with caution, because sometimes this statement can be the kiss of death for a book. (The reason being, is that it sets a pretty high standard.) I felt certain parts of this book have some what of a Harry Potter vibe to it. Now I’m not saying this is “the next” Harry Potter, but throughout this book we get several scenes where the kids are learning and practicing their magic, and it is very creative and a lot of fun to experience it with them. 

Now it’s not all fun and games. Chase is hit pretty hard with conflicting family dynamics, all while dealing with a “rival” magical family over possession of the family home. The character growth is very satisfying and the plot clips along at a good pace. If you are looking for a well written and entertaining read, for yourself or middle grade child, I can recommend this series. Malia's imagination is boundless and I look forward to reading book three. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Cover Reveal...The Vampire's Hourglass.

Today we're excited to reveal the cover of the newest book in the Of Light and Darkness series by bestselling author Shayne Leighton.  The Vampire's Hourglass is schedule to be published by Decadent publishing the end of this year or beginning of next.

Book Description:

After narrowly surviving a near-death experience in an effort to save Valek from yet another showdown with Aiden, Charlotte awakens inside the forsaken, crumbling walls of the Regime Palace. Though she finds herself surrounded by her closest friends, she is conflicted over her feelings of the sudden absence of her Vampire guardian from her life.

With Nikolai there to console her, Charlotte cannot shake the undeniable chemistry she feels for this familiar stranger. But they are running out of time. Charlotte’s peculiar ailment will return and Sarah, the witch, will sacrifice her youth and beauty in order to save her best friend, unless they find the secret, Dark City.

Charlotte, Nikolai, Sarah, and several other favored characters travel down to the underbellies of Prague to find Valek. But what they end up discovering are the dark and nasty secrets the elder Vampires have been hiding for centuries. Charlotte must overcome her mortal limitations to win back the heart of the one she truly loves and escape the gates of Abelim with her throat intact in this enthralling, highly-anticipated third installment of the Of Light and Darkness Series.
 Exclusive Excerpt:

           “Does it hurt? You know...when I’m around?”  

            He was talking about the scar that still thrived at the side of her throat. The one that appeared there after Valek left his first, initial bite months ago in Francis’ home. The one that had ailed her since and nearly killed her until she unwittingly saved herself by stabbing a hole in her own chest. Not her empty, openly bleeding heart and her feeling of abandonment and being alone, but a literal hole that she created herself some snowy weeks ago when she attempted to end it all to prove herself as something more than just an expendable mortal in this game of light and darkness. She wanted to finally be recognized as a hero, nearly having killed herself for the sake of saving her friends from Aiden. Knowing the tainted taste of the blood from her ruptured heart would drive him away.

            But what did she have to prove for it now? Another giant scar. And more than that, her nightmare came true. Valek was nowhere to be found, no matter how hard she looked. After everything he did, and everything that had happened because of his carelessness, she wasn’t sure how badly she wanted to find him. That thought made her heart constrict. But then again, Aiden had disappeared as well. At least there was that. 
       “Not really. Not as much as the emotional pain underneath it,” she finally answered Nikolai’s question honestly. “The heartbreak hurts worse than the scar ever could.”

About the Author:

In Shayne's first year out of high school she penned, co-directed, and starred in the feature film 'The Incubus', a paranormal romance, which obtained distribution and screened in over fifteen theaters across South Florida among major theater chains such as Regal, AMC, and Cinemark. 'The Incubus' has also obtained a passionate fanbase of over 100,000 girls online and has garnered the attention of reporters from the Miami Herald, CBS News, and NPR Radio. Leighton also starred alongside Scream Queen, Tara Cardinal, in the film 'Legend of the Red Reaper' which made its world debut at the 2012 AFM in Los Angeles. Twenty-Two-year-old Leighton is excited to release her debut young adult novel series, 'Of Light and Darkness', set in contemporary Prague, as well as developing the film adaptation of the novel series. Recently released songs can now be heard on with a full-length album in the works. Leighton is currently named #35 on the pop charts in Miami, FL. Named #26 in Boca Magazine's "Top 100 'It' People" for 2011. Shayne Leighton lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband and key inspiration, Frank and travels back and forth to the Czech Republic often. Find out more about Shayne at:

Check out The Vampire's Daughter, the first book, for only .99 cents on Amazon!
Add it on GoodReads.

The Vampire's Daughter & The Vampire's Reflection by Shayne Leighton *signed*
Open Worldwide!
Must be 13 or older to enter (with parental permission).
Ends Aug. 8th, 2013

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Just Finished Reading...The Year Of The Great Seventh

The Year Of The Great Seventh by Teresa Orts

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Published July 6th 2013 by Drayton Press

Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.
To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.

My thoughts~

3.5 stars 

The Year Of The Great Seventh was an enjoyable read, and I will definitely read more of Teresa Orts writing in the future.

I will start off with saying that Teresa is a talented writer. The images she provided for us were very easy to picture and I feel like I got to know the characters very well. I do think a lot of people will like this story, but I do have to admit, the book was not exactly for me. Let me explain.

This story is outside of my usual reads, as it is set in a modern, contemporary world. But the reason I was drawn to this story is the hint of the Egyptian mythology that was given to us in the summary of the book. The mythology was there, but in my opinion, for the first half of the book we only get little hints of it. The plot finally kicks in when we reach the halfway mark, and once it got started, it was exciting; it just took a while to get there.

Over all, I must have found it enjoyable, because it was hard to put down. Even when I felt like I was not really into the story, I had the desire to keep reading, and I cared enough about the characters that I had to know how it ended.

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