Copper – Race and Status, the struggle continues

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I started watching Copper, a cop series on BBC (www.bbcamerica.com/copper/) that takes place after the Civil War in the Five Points section of New York, because I thought it was going to be about English cops in London around the turn of the century. I couldn’t have been more wrong, but by the time I realized my mistake–ten minutes into the first show–I was already hooked. 

Three soldiers, each from different segments of society, return home from the Civil War, bonded together because of their experiences in the war and now face life after the war. They find themselves in need of each other’s help. 

Detective Kevin Corcoran played by Tom Weston-Jones is the lynch pin around which the series revolves–a rough and ready young Irish cop who must navigate the often seamy immigrant neighborhood of Five Points. His commanding officer during the war was Robert Morehouse, son of a society elite, played by Kyle Schmid, who lives uptown and who struggles to walk the line between maintaining his friendship with Detective Corcoran and holding onto a common sense of decency and maintaining his family fortune which often requires him to scheme and cheat around his own code of honor. The most interesting member of this unholy triumvirate is Dr. Matthew Freeman played by Ato Essandoh.  Freeman is a freed black man, who lives in Five Points, but he is also a physician, highly skilled and respected both by Corcoran and Morehouse. He is called on by Detective Corcoran to help him solve crimes and occasionally to save lives. 

The series sports an interesting concept and one which reflects the challenging dilemnas we still face in our society–how the very rich deal with the middle class and the very poor and vice versa. How the different races and ethnicities learn to tolerate each other–sometimes because it’s in their own best interest, sometimes because they’re forced to, and sometimes because their interactions with each other teach them a valuable lesson about how we’re really all the same–once you strip away the color of our skin, the accents in our voice, and the customs we practice. 

Copper holds a mirror up to the society that existed then and sadly still exists today. Yes, I suppose, we’ve made strides, but in some respects, we haven’t. That’s what makes this show so fascinating-that close to 150 years later, we’re still struggling with the same issues. 

But, hurrah, for a series that can entertain and invite us to examine our own world!

Several of the more interesting plot lines deal with the women in the show. The aftermath of Detective Corcoran’s decision to enlist in the Civil War leave his too vulnerable wife and child behind. The child’s death and his wife’s eventual suicide show the high price to be paid for our definition of heroism and country loyalty.

Another plot traces the almost decline of the very beautiful and distinguished wife of Robert Morehouse–Elizabeth Haverford played by Anastasia Griffith–who develops a nasty addiction to opium to deal with her guilt over her misguided involvement in a rebel plot to burn down New York City. 

The only “wife” character that does well as the second season comes to a close is Sara Freeman played by Tessa Thompson. She is able to fight the memory of her two brother’s untimely and tragic deaths and regain her strength and peace of mind.  When her mother is found and brought to live with her at Five Points, Sara defends her home and neighbors and way of life. Although it is imperfect, she lives there as a free woman.

And, finally, the most economically successful woman in the series–Madame Eva Heissen played by Franka Potente–owns a saloon and brothel in the uptown section of Five Points and Eva’s Paradise in the slum section.  When Eva impulsively stabs a customer in the eye (for good reason) and he later dies in the hospital (he’s actually murdered, but that’s another story), her fate and the ownership of her successful business operation are up for grabs. And so it goes for a single woman who is striving to make a living in this dog eat dog world.

 

It’s Complicated – The Veritable Truth about Human Relationships

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Okay.  So sue me.  I’m hung up on complicated relationships.  In my last blog post, Newsroom – The Glory of Revenge –  I was ranting — oh, yes, I’ll admit I was even foaming a bit at the mouth — over that week’s episode of Newsroom and Sloan’s sheer audacity and courage to do what I totally consider the right thing to do in such a totally wrong situation–punch the jerk out.

That revelling in the TV series brought me and my sisters to a fond memory of another movie we’d seen years ago — well, not that far back — It’s Complicated, a title which, excuse the cliche’, hit the nail on the head. 

Meryl Streep is a divorced woman who has just, after ten years, come to terms with her status as a now single woman when her cheating ex-husband, played by Alex Baldwin, re-enters her life and wants to have an affair with her.  It seems his life with his new younger wife is not working out as planned, and he longs for his old life.  Meryl, in this film, is a gourmet chef.  She lives in a beautiful house–peaceful, I think, is the key word, which is in stark contrast to Alex’s life with his rambunctious and out of control new five year old son.  Plus, his new wife wants yet another baby.

In a night of unexplained and drunken revelry, Meryl succumbs to Alex’s charms, and Alex reads that as a signal that he might have a chance to win his ex-wife back.  Meryl is tempted, but hasn’t she grown beyond this relationship.  All her girlfriends are charmed and appalled at the same time.  Of course, to complicate the situation, because in this story–which mirrors real life so brilliantly, life is complicated–three almost totally grown up into adult children want to see their parents re-united and apply the appropriate pressure AND a new man enters Meryl Streep’s life played by the ever so charming Steve Martin.

170px-Steve_Martin_2011Martin is uneasily divorced, too, and after five years, still listens to tapes in his car on how best to deal with the situation.  He is afraid of being hurt again.  He is winsomingly shy and very much taken by Meryl.  They’re thrown together–he’s her architect and for the past few months has been fielding her obsessive emails regarding designs for her new dream kitchen.  That alone has won him brownie points in her eyes.  When she meets him, it is instant attraction, except, of course, for her ex-husband who keeps popping up at odd times.

I love this movie, the characters, the complications because we are rarely defined by the single role we play in other people’s eyes.  We all have secrets we dare not reveal to even our best friends.  Secret passions, secret meetings, secret thoughts, secret regrets.  None of us are only the mother of or the wife of or the daughter of — we are the sum total of all of it.

It’s Complicated captures the nuances of being human and when we are thrown together, we carve out complicated relationships! Yeah.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O09NjpB4AI

Newsroom – the Glory of Revenge

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Confession: I watched the Emmy award winning drama The West Wing religiously years ago so when I caught wind that Aaron Sorkin had penned yet another political drama called Newsroom, after he personally observed first-hand how cable newsrooms operate, I was sold.

It is the only series I watch that I deliberately make a point to see twice.  The dialogue is that good. In Season One I was intrigued with the Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Daniels) and MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer) “seemingly doomed” relationship that had ended but not quite ended, was still in fact, according to me, “simmering” under the ever watchful HBO viewer’s eye.  I liked it because it was complex. She cheated on him, and he couldn’t quite forgive her for it.  And yet he was still desperately in love with her, and you get the sense (and maybe I’m just being an incurable romantic here) that she was the woman for him.

Midway through Season One I was pulled into the Maggie Jordan (played by the delightful Alison Pill) and Jim Harper (played by John Gallagher Jr.) “almost” relationship, waiting for it to take off. Again, the relationship between these two was complicated.  She was with someone else that it takes her awhile to realize she doesn’t really love. That realization boiled out of her, and the guy she’s with breaks it off in a super-gentlmanly fashion that made you just want to jump into the screen and hug him. Meanwhile, Jim was dating her best friend–who he’d been trying to like–even though he’d been secretly attracted to Maggie and doing everything he could to get over her.

So I was distracted and didn’t see it coming–the attraction between Sloan Sabbith played by Olivia Munn and Don Keefer played by Thomas Sadoski, who coincidentally was the super gentlemanly guy who was with Maggie.  Again, another complicated relationship emerged, a bit sneekily.  Sloan dropped a bunch of little hints, but Don was true blue because he was tied up with Maggie at the time.  When he became untied, Sloan was still dating an unknown guy, but flirting was taking place.  We get the feeling that something was going to happen.

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Presto.  Although Newsroom is all about the stories that break and how this cable network covers them–and I love that aspect of Newsroom–I am equally intrigued by the stories that happen in the newsroom itself.  Complicated stories.

Case in point: Sloan has had photos of her naked body, posed pics, taken by her then boyfriend, with her consent, taken by an expensive camera she purchased for him as a gift–and all these little details make the story all the more intriguing–plastered on a site called Revenge.com without, of course, her consent by her boyfriend who is angry at her because she broke up with him.  He is behaving very badly.

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Sloan is feeling humiliated. She is questioned by one of her bosses and made to feel even worse.  And the episode traces her desperate desire to move from humiliation over the incident to rage with the help of Don Keefer, because she chooses to hide out in his office.

In one of the final scenes of the episode, a cooly competent Sloan seeks out her bitter, demented sick ex-boyfriend, who works in a nearby building, and nicely calls him out of meeting. His co-workers are astounded because everyone knows what’s happened. But the guy goes out into the hallway to talk to Sloan. You can cut the tension with a knife.

She right sucker-punches him in the nose.  She kicks him in the groin, and when he attempts to follow her and WHAT hit her back, Don Keefer, her new potential love interest, appears from out of nowhere — like Superman – waves his finger in front of his face and basically warns him to forget it.

No one who watches that scene can begrudge Sloan her violently physical revenge. I call it the glory of revenge. There is no way that Sloan can reverse what her ex-boyfriend has done. But she’s acted.

I related this episode to my sister with another sister (who’d seen the episode listening and rooting me on). We’d been mesmerized by the sheer audacity of what Sloan had done!

I walked away from this episode thoroughly entertained and wiser regarding the colossal potential bitterness of former lovers and enthralled with the complexity of relationships in general as portrayed on Newsroom.

Yeah to Aaron Sorkin.

(I want to thank Wikipedia for the use of the Newsroom promo photo and HBO.com for the use of the two photos of two posters of Sloan and Don which are available for purchase on their website!)

Out of Africa – Love, Freedom and the Savagery of Civiliation

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Movie poster for Hollywood blockbuster movie Out of Africa (from Wikipedia)

If you, like me, enjoy paying tribute to your favorite authors by visiting where they used to live or seeing the landscapes that inspired them, a wonderful resource is a book entitled Literary Trips: Following in the Footsteps of Fame, Editor Victoria Brooks, 2000.

It’s not a bad way to spend your time when you’re not writing but looking to keep inspired.

I don’t know why I’m such a fan of doing this, but I’ve been to Mark Twain’s house in Hartford, Connecticut, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s house in Salem, Massachusetts, and I’ve seen the moors that inspired Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, to name a few.  And although I know that so much of writing happens inside the imagination, I scrutinize the houses and the furniture, the grounds and the landscapes, as if there’s some magic that I can imbibe and take away with me that will make me a better writer.

This time I was inspired by the famous movie–Out of Africa starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford– based on the biography of the author, Karen Blixen, a woman who came to Africa to marry a Baron, but who ended up also falling in love with a big game hunter, starting a coffee plantation that failed, and when her lover was killed tragically in a plane crash, returning to Norway, where she took the pen name Isak Dinesen.

I came to Karen Blixen’s house because I loved her writing, her stories, but I also loved THE STORY OF HER CAREER.  Her literary career didn’t begin until 1934, when she was 49 years old, after she returned to Norway.  Her first book, Seven Gothic Tales, was rejected by numerous publishers in Europe before it was published in New York and went on to receive the Book of the Month Award.  Yeah!  She went on to write her memoirs–her second book–which inspired the film Out of Africa.  Yeah!   And then she wrote a slew of other stories which eventually won her a Pulitzer Prize.  Yeah!

Wouldn’t you just love that to be your story???

I wanted to see this woman’s house.  I wanted to walk in her back yard.  I wanted to imagine myself living there–and yeah, I can hear what you’re thinking–as if I were the star of that Hollywood movie.

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Front view of Karen Blixen’s house in Nairobi

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Rear view of Karen Blixen’s house in Nairobi

Her life was both grand and tragic.  I suspect that it was the years she lived in Africa that influenced her to write great literature.  Once she left Nairobi, she never went back, but Africa was never far from her thoughts.

When I first read her memoir, Out of Africa, published in 1937,  I was awe struck by her opening line, “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” Back then I tried to imagine those hills in the distance and how it would feel to gaze on their majesty everyday.

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the lovely Ngong Hills that could be seen from Blixen’s backyard
that she was so fond of — enveloped in a hazy mist

n Nairobi, when I stood in Karen Blixen’s back yard, I gazed into the distance and stared at those hills, hardly believing I was actually there.

I imagined that no matter what had happened to her when she lived in that house–the death of her lover, the destruction of her coffee plantation, the news that she’d contracted a near deadly disease (syphyllis)–all stuff of great drama, the hills remained a constant for her.

In truth, she’d written that she loved those hills and she was heard to say that if people could move mountains, those were the ones she would have taken with her back to Norway.

I love knowing that and knowing that I was there.

Karen Blixen’s house is a tourist stop, and you can see why when you traipse through rooms half filled with authentic period furniture and half filled with props from the movie that was donated from the film.

Oh, she was a pretty fair writer, too. You can’t walk through the house unescorted, which is a problem for me because the tour guide goes much too fast.   I can’t absorb my surroundings that quickly, and I like to examine everything and imagine myself in each room, imagine how her day would be, and then how I would live each day in each room.  So I’m always the laggard on every tour.

Maybe someday, people will tour through my house.  Imagine my life. Read my story, Wild Point Island.  Sit in awe and wonder at the words I’ve written.

Maybe.
A girl can dream, can’t she?

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 5 – T.M. Franklin

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Traveling with MORE

By T.M. Franklin

 Since the theme of the Blogger Book Fair this year is Check into the Blogger Book Fair and Book Your Trip to Faraway Places, I thought it would be fitting to take a look at some of the locations—both real and imagined—in my novel, MORE.

MORE tells the story of Ava Michaels, a young woman who discovers the world isn’t quite what it seems, and in fact, neither is she. Ava is a student at Allenmore College, a fictional liberal arts college in the fictional town of Witteville in northwestern Missouri.

Allenmore Map

This is where Allenmore would be, if it were real.

Although Allenmore, and Witteville aren’t real, they are loosely based on where I went to college—Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, Washington. It’s what I had in my head for most of the scenes at Allenmore, including the bell tower, which is introduced in the sequel to MORE, The Guardians (coming November 7th.)

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An aerial view of CWU. See the tower?

Of course, Ava doesn’t spend a lot of time at Allenmore once she meets Caleb Foster, and finds out about an ancient race of people—the First Race—who fear she might be a threat, putting her own life in danger.

“We need to go—now,” he replied abruptly, striding through the room and throwing their extra clothes and toothbrushes in a small duffle bag. “There’s a safe house in Mead. If we can get there, they won’t be able to track us.” He cracked the door, peering out and then slamming it shut suddenly. “Too late,” he muttered, grabbing her hand and dragging her into the bathroom. Ava’s heart raced, adrenaline surging through her body as Caleb shoved the window above the shower, tossing the bag through the small opening then turning to her and lacing his fingers together. “I’ll give you a boost,” he said urgently. “When you hit the ground, run. Don’t go to the car, just run, you understand?”

 “But—”

 “We don’t have time,” Caleb said through gritted teeth. “They’ll be breaking down the door any second. Just run, Ava. I’ll be right behind you.”

 Ava stepped into his hands, pulling herself through the window and out into the cold morning air. She landed on the ground with a grunt, rolled to her feet, and began to run. She heard Caleb hit the ground a moment later, his pounding footsteps closing in quickly. He grabbed her hand, pulling her to the right.

 “This way,” he said, looking over his shoulder. She heard a shout and turned back to see Tiernan under the open window, pointing their direction. Caleb cursed under his breath, yanking her behind the motel office. “Wrap your arms around me,” he ordered.

 Ava didn’t think. She just did what he asked.

 “This is going to feel a little weird,” he said. “Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Don’t move, whatever you do.”

Ava inhaled deeply, clenched her eyes shut . . . and the world fell away from her feet.

  MORE, Chapter 8

Ava and Caleb’s journey take them north to the Canadian border, as they head toward what Caleb hopes will be a safe haven, a Colony in Ontario about twenty miles from Red Lake.

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Red Lake – yes, it’s real. No, the Colony isn’t.

But I have to say, I think my favorite location in MORE is the city of the First Race, located in the Rocky Mountains about fifty miles from Kalispell, Montana.

Rocky Mountains

 

A wide valley spread out at their feet, rolling lawns and landscaped gardens interspersed with modern buildings of white stone, glittering metal, and glass. Laid out in a perfect circle, the city wound out from a large central building—itself circular, with a two-story balcony running around the entire structure. Like spokes on a wheel, a dozen or so pathways fanned out from the central building at even intervals, intersecting with roads laid out in concentric circles. Beyond the city, the mountain rose up into the clouds, curving slightly around the city borders as if a chunk was carved out of the peak with a giant hand. Like the path, the city was surrounded by snow, but there was none actually within its borders. The city was jarringly structured, but still beautiful, and Ava took a moment to gape in wonder.

 “What do you call it?” she asked, her voice a near whisper.

 “New Elysia,” Caleb replied.

 MORE, Chapter 13

 Imagine the city about where that lake is, and you’ve got it!

 So, there you have it—some of the beautiful locations of the MORE trilogy. What are some of your favorite locations from books you’ve read? Let me know in the comments!

 

About T.M. Franklin

 

TMFranklinT.M. Franklin started out her career writing non-fiction in a television newsroom. Graduating with a B.A. in Communications specializing in broadcast journalism and production, she worked for nine years as a major market television news producer, and garnered two regional Emmy Awards, before she resigned to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance writer. After writing and unsuccessfully querying a novel that she now admits, “is not that great,” she decided to follow the advice of one of the agents who turned her down—write some more and get better at it. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Mike, is mom to two boys, Justin and Ryan, and has an enormous black dog named Rocky who’s always lying nearby while she’s writing. Whether he’s soothed by the clicking of the computer keys or just waiting for someone to rub his belly is up for debate.

In addition to MORE, Franklin penned the Amazon best-selling short story, Window, as well as another short story, A Piece of Cake, which appears in the Romantic Interludes anthology. The sequel to MORE, The Guardians, will be released in the fall of 2013.

 

Connect with T.M. Franklin

Website | Facebook | Twitter  | Goodreads

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About MORE

Ava Michaels used to think she was special.

As a child, she fantasized about having magical powers . . . making things happen. ButAva grew up and eventually accepted the fact that her childish dreams were just that, and maybe a normal life wasn’t so bad after all.

Now a young college student, Ava meets Caleb Foster, a brilliant and mysterious manwho’s supposed to help her pass physics, but in reality has another mission in mind.What he shows Ava challenges her view of the world, shaking it to its very core.

Because Caleb isn’t quite what he seems. In fact, he’s not entirely human, and he’s not theonly one.

Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient race bound to protect humans, but only after protecting their own secrets—secrets they fear Ava may expose. Fighting to survive, Ava soon learns she’s not actually normal . . . she’s not even just special.

She’s a little bit more.

 

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About Window

 

Chloe Blake has a unique gift, an odd connection to her house that results in glimpses of the past, present, and future via the picture window in her living room. Unfortunately, it’s a gift that sometimes proves to be more of a curse. Especially when she tries to help out Ethan Reynolds, the gorgeous boy who lives across the street – an endeavor that, for some reason, always seems to backfire. Or leave her covered in mud.

But the house is convinced Ethan’s life is in danger and Chloe’s the only one who can save him. The problem is, he thinks she’s more than a little crazy.

 

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Welcome to Blogger Book Fair – Day 5 – Lissa Bryan

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This year’s Blogger Book Fair theme is travel to far-away places. Travel is also a major theme of my novelThe End of All Things. After a horrible plague decimates the nation. Carly and Justin must travel from their home in Juneau, Alaska to a place with a warmer climate, where they will have a better chance of survival. It’s a journey across a nation laid to waste by the disaster, but also a journey into love.

 

Check out the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB0FAV1a6Bc

Excerpt:

 

“I’ve never been out of Alaska,” Carly said. She wasn’t sure she could explain to him how awful a prospect it was to leave everything behind, to give up on the idea the world might return to normal if she just waited there instead of abandoning her hope and home.

“I’ve never been to Florida.” Justin took a large bite of his cold pork and beans and chewed with relish. “Here’s the thing.” He pulled a paper towel off the roll beside the sink and used it as a napkin. “We need to leave soon. It’s going to be a very long journey, and I don’t think we’ll manage to make it all the way to Florida, or even south of the Mason-Dixon for that matter, before the winter sets in. So we have to hurry and get as far as possible in the time we have left.”

Carly hesitated before asking, since she knew it was another dumb question, but she had to know. “If we can’t take a car or a motorcycle, what are we going to do?” “Ride bicycles. Walk.”

“Justin, you’re talking four thousand miles here.” The idea of moving into a house across town had been daunting enough, let alone the idea of traveling across most of North America.

Carly shook her head. “You’re talking about more than half a year, maybe more.”

“Do you understand, then, why I want to leave as soon as possible? We need to go somewhere we can grow enough food to sustain ourselves. Florida has an excellent climate for farming. I’m not saying we have to get all the way to Florida. There are other states in the South that would have a good climate for us, but I’m thinking of Florida as my goal. We may be able to use different vehicles during  sections of our trip, but that’s not a guarantee. The ones we find may have dead batteries, or the fuel could  have gone bad. If we encountered a roadblock or traffic jam, we’d have to unload the vehicle and try to find another. Bikes are more reliable.”

“Do you actually have this planned out, or is it just an idea you have?”

Justin chuckled. “Once you get to know me, Carly, you’ll find I have everything planned out.” He went out into the hallway and grabbed one of the bags that contained his gear. He opened up the front pocket and withdrew a map. A route had been highlighted, cutting across Canada and through the US, a bumpy line, but almost perfectly diagonal.

She traced her finger over the long line. “What if I refuse to go?”

“I can’t leave you here to die, Carly.”

Die? She gave him a startled look, but he didn’t back off and admit to exaggeration or soften the comment with a shrug or smile. Instead, he looked straight into her eyes, and his steady gaze told her he wasn’t trying to scare her or embellish. He saw it as an inevitable consequence if she were left there on her own, not as a possibility.

She looked away, unable to meet his eyes any longer. “Because you knew my dad?”

“No, not just because of the promise I made when I joined The Unit, but because I fancy myself to be a decent human being. One way or another, I’m going to have to convince you, but I hope to hell it doesn’t take very long. I know you don’t know me very well yet, but you’ll find I’m a person who keeps my promises. And I promise you I will do my best to keep you safe, warm, and fed. I’m your best shot at survival.”

He tugged up the sleeve of his T-shirt and showed her the symbol tattooed there, the same symbol that was on her father’s ring. “This once meant something. It meant enough that I had it permanently etched into my skin because it’s a part of me. It wasn’t just a military unit. It was a code of honor. I may be the last man standing, but I swear I’m not going to let that code die, too.”

And gazing into his eyes, Carly believed him. She might have very little experience of the world, but she knew sincerity when she saw it. He truly cared about what happened to her, for whatever reason. Her doubts and fears warred with her instincts, which told her Justin was what he presented himself to be. He was a nice guy with a mischievous sense of humor and a strong sense of honor and duty. Her father had told her to trust no one, but he had also told her about the symbol and what it meant to the men who wore it.

“I’m scared,” Carly said. She felt her cheeks warm in embarrassment at the admission, but she felt like he deserved her honesty.

“I am, too. None of this is going to be easy, but I’d put our chances at reaching Florida higher than most.”

“That doesn’t sound too encouraging.”

Justin was quiet for a long moment. “Do you want me to be honest or comforting?”

Carly blinked when tears stung her eyes again. He already thought she was stupid. She didn’t want to add whiny to the list. “Just for a little while, can you be optimistic?”

He took her hand in his own. “Sure, honey. I understand.”

You can read the entire first chapter here.

The End of All Things is available through TWCSAmazon, and iTunes.

The End Of All Things Final Version

About the author:

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Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot…. though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

 

Links:

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Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 4 – M.L. Guida

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MaryGuida-web 1 (5 of 5)

 

I’m M.L. Guida and the paranormal has always fascinated me every since I was a little girl. I used to watch Creature Feature, Outer Limits and Night Gallery. But now, Supernatural, A Haunting and Ghost Hunters are among favorite shows. How can you not love Sam and Dean Winchester?

What’s my preferred supernatural being? Vampires —from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Ann Rice’s Lestat de Lioncourt to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters. I’d love a sexy bite on the neck.

I’ve always loved pirates. Yes, who can resist Johnny Depp’s Captain Sparrow or Error Flynn’s Captain Blood.  Riding the high seas and sinking the enemies’ ship.

Based on these two fascinations, A Pirate’s Curse was born. This book takes place in 1691 and in the Caribbean. I did take liberties in writing this book, since vampires were not in vogue until a much later date.

I soon discovered that this book does not fit in a box with publishers. It’s neither historical nor paranormal and consequently, it was rejected, not for the writing, but for the placement. Also, many publishers were afraid to take a chance on vampires. Why? Because they thought the market was flooded with vampires. I disagree. I love vampires. I’m a writer, but a reader first.

My vampires are not your typical vampires. After drinking from a cursed lake, they only turn during the full moon, thanks to a crafty demon. I did take a twist on the lore and I think readers would enjoy this new tale.

I took a daring step and decided to self-publish. This was scary since I had to do everything a publisher does but front the costs. I learned two lessons. First, I had to get an experienced editor, but I didn’t want any editor, I wanted an editor who knew about pirates. How did I discover my wonderful editor—Jennifer Bray-Weber? I went on Amy Atwell’s site, Authors EMS, and found a list of editors. I clicked on Ms. Bray-Weber’s clients and liked the reviews I found.

But an editor isn’t the only necessity. I needed a professional cover. I admit.  As a reader, I judge a book by its cover. So, I wanted a book that I’d be willing to purchase. I’ve always loved Hot Damn Design’s book covers so I had Kim Killion do my cover. Hot, isn’t it?

MLGuida_APiratesCurse_2000

I also took Ms. Atwell’s class and learned about the self-publishing process, but nothing prepares you for it until you step into it. I discovered I needed two programs – one to change images into pdf’s and an image manipulation tool. Luckily, I was able to find two free software programs on the internet – novaPDF and Gimp. I needed both for Createspace which is what I plan to use for my print version. E-books do not require either of these programs.

I’m still learning how to navigate through Amazon, but one of the best features is the ability to set my own prices. For the duration of this week, A Pirate’s Curse will be 99 cents. I hope you enjoy it and pass it along to your friends. I always want to hear back from my readers and would love to hear your reviews on one of the social medias or  you can also reach me on my website: www.mlguida.com

What are your favorite supernatural beings? Have a favorite vampire? I know some of you are Supernatural fans, so are you a Sam or Dean fan? It’s hard for me to choose. I love them both. I love Dean’s quips and Sam’s looks.

If you leave a comment, I plan to have a drawing and will give away a free copy of A Pirate’s Curse.

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair – Day 4 – Heather Allen

July BBF button copy

The Just Breathe Trilogy tells the story of brother and sister, James and Ever Harding and their journey into an unknown world where unbelievable things are possible.

 

51gjEbbIWFL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Just Breathe (Book #1)

 

Ever Harding, an average teenager with a passion for swimming is about to turn eighteen. Out of the blue she has been dumped by her longtime boyfriend, which is the ultimate of tragedies in her life. Little does she know that on that fated eighteenth birthday, she will have to make a choice that will change her life as she knows it forever.

A month before her birthday, Ever meets Jack, a mysterious new boy with mesmerizing eyes. He affects her like no one else. This meeting sets things into a whirlwind she never would have dreamed. With Jack’s guidance she discovers a family line that leads her to the sea. She must make the ultimate choice, stay on land where life as she knows it, won’t change, or go and live in the sea as a mermaid with Jack.
Ultimately her choice sets into motion an even bigger decision, in which she has the fate of a race of people, in her hands. The people in the sea are in a feud, she will tip the balance. She must battle the ageless moral dilemma of prejudice and race. Once she comes to terms with her life changing choices, she must ask herself; did I make the right decisions? And Is Jack really who I think he is?

 

        Just Breathe Excerpt:

 

I walk slowly into class, early like normal. I would rather be early and watch Michael come in than vice versa. I hate that feeling, when you walk in and everyone is staring at you. I would rather be the one doing the staring. I take my seat towards the back. The seat to the left of me is always empty, now that Michael has found a new spot. The other three sides are all occupied. Sasha to my right is a pretty good friend, so we start up a conversation about the impending game and our predictions for the outcome.

Our teacher, Mr. Griggs walks in and greets us so I turn to face the front and notice in my peripheral vision the seat to my left is not empty, as it should be. No, Did Michael come back? I‘m scared to look. My heart starts to speed up. Slyly I turn my head to the left letting my hair fall into my eyes to mask my glance. My heart stops and my breath catches. It’s him, the boy from the lake. He has ear buds on and he doesn’t notice my glance. I turn the other way quickly and realize I am going to hyperventilate or faint. Ok Ever, you really didn’t see anything, there really is some logical explanation as to why this boy’s hands lit up like a Christmas tree in broad daylight. Calm down.

Then I hear Mr. Griggs drone on about a new student. What? What did he say? I totally missed it. As I glance over to the left, the boy is just sitting back down after being introduced and our eyes meet. He smiles and I blush feeling warmth spread through my face down my neck. Wow, his eyes, he is gorgeous. I keep staring unable to break the lock of his eyes. They are the bluest eyes I have ever seen. They look like the color I would imagine the ocean to be.

Suddenly I hear my name.

“Ever Harding,” Mr. Griggs says loudly.

I break my trance and glance around, all the eyes around are on me, I stammer, “Um, Yes Mr. Griggs?”

I sink further down into my seat. “Ever, can you please pair up with Mr. Tanner and show him the assignments for this week?”

“Um yes, Mr. Griggs,” I mumble.

Sasha bumps me with her elbow and asks, “What was that, you just phased out there for a sec.”

I just shrug my shoulders hoping not to draw any more attention. Tanner, I think, what is his first name? I glance over at him and he has a confused, almost frown on his face staring straight at me. There’s that warmth again. I look forward suddenly, maybe my mom was right and I am coming down with something. I put my hand on my forehead to feel for a fever, nope pretty normal.

I lean over towards the new boy, without meeting his eyes and ask, “Um, sorry I didn’t get your first name.”

He backs away and stutters like I surprised him, “It…It’s  Jack.”

Then he glances the other way as if trying to avoid eye contact.

I lean over and whisper, “I have fourth period study hall in the library at twelve, can we meet then to…ah, catch you up on the assignments?”

He just nods without looking at me and looks up at Mr. Griggs. He doesn’t glance my way again throughout the rest of the class. When the bell rings, I look over and he’s gone. I think I’m going crazy. Where is Gabbi when I need her?

Second period creaks slowly by, of course because I want to be somewhere else. I practically run to English Lit and see Gabbi talking to Reggie. Lucky me, now I have to share her during our only class together. I sit down and she glances toward me smiling but does a double take when she sees my face.

 

Heather Allen is the author of Just Breathe, Barely Breathing, and Forever Breathing. Heather lives in sunny Florida with her husband and three children. She has dedicated her life to education for the past fifteen years with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. She finally realized her dream of becoming an author only recently. She savors every moment on this new journey and continues to touch the lives of children now, not only through teaching but also her books.

You can find Heather:

On her bloghttp://heatherallen127.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heather-Allen/245833965548588?fref=ts

Twitter: @kelconcar

Just Breathe – book trailer http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DvtZMKp6mv64&h=3AQFjdfE_

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17731788-just-breathe

 

Buy Links:

Just Breathe-

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Just-Breathe-ebook/dp/B00AVLTKFE/ref=sr_1_8_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1372789824&sr=8-8&keywords=just+breathe

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-breathe-heather-allen/1113847213?ean=2940045082440

Itunes/ibooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/just-breathe/id580991386?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/254324

 

 

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 3 – Megan Johnston

July BBF button copy

transition1Transition, The Chimera Hunter Series

The Chimera a race so old, the humans relegated them as a myth. The Gods feared their powers; they believed they were a deadly race, with physical abilities beyond belief. So, they split their race in half condemning them to wander the earth, searching for their other half to be complete. Without their sodalis, each was destined to live life without dreams, without love, without hope. The future rested on finding their one true mate for life.

SHELBY O’NEIL has led a solitary life with her parents. So when she goes to school at Washington State University, she believes her life has just begun. Now in her second year, the dreams begin. She dreams with the same man, night after night for months. When her dream world becomes her reality, and her life becomes a danger zone, she quickly learns to trust the one man who has thrown her into this new and dangerous world.

DEVELON COLE is Chimera and his race has been on earth as long as humans. His people are desperate to find their one true mate for life, and Develon has just found his, in the small college town of Pullman Washington. His goal is to protect her against the hunter’s and guide her into who she was always destined to be, his sodalis, his mate.

c9a534850a7c9326ab8dd9bbff0f2e50_ntpvAuthor Bio

Megan S. Johnston is a freelance writer and entrepreneur living in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to writing fiction, she runs several family-owned and operated businesses, which she started over twenty years ago. She is an avid reader of paranormal romance and a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.  She has four children and seven grandchildren and lives with her husband and two dogs in Woodinville, Washington. Transition is her début novel.

Social Media Links:

 

website:    http://megansjohnston.com/ 

blog:          http://MeganSJohnston.wordpress.com

twitter:       http://twitter.com/MeganSJohnston1

goodreads: http://goodreads.com/MeganSJohnston1

facebook:   http://Facebook.com/MeganSJohnston

 To Purchase on:    Amazon     Authorhouse

Don’t miss the fabulous give-away: Two autographed copies of Transition:

Top ten tips for new and aspiring writers

By Author, Megan S. Johnston

 These are my top ten tips for new writers, if you want to be taken seriously.

# 1:      Be who you really are ~ in other words, be yourself. It is essential to never copy or imitate another’s work. You will eventually find you own style and voice.

# 2:      Know your subject matter ~ whether you are writing non-fiction or fiction, you have to know what you are writing about. If you are not a specialist in the field, you have to research your subject matter prior to publishing. You want your subject to be believable, something the reader can connect with. You don’t want readers losing interest, or pointing out that your work lacks research.

#3:       Write, write, write ~ you have to set time every day to write, weather in the morning, afternoon or evening.  It can be anything from your grocery list to mapping out your characters. It’s wise to keep a notebook always handy; you never know when the creative juices will start flowing. Make sure to write them down when it’s fresh in your mind. When listening to other people’s stories, pay attention to how others react. Write down the most interesting parts and the reaction. Then analyze it.

#4:       Read, read, read ~  read what you want to write about. If you want to write murder mysteries, then that’s what you should be reading. It will not only help you with your craft of writing, but will show you the market trends for your genre.

#5:       Believe in yourself ~ always tell people you are a writer, not that you want to be a writer. It tells the world who you are, not what you want to be.

#6        Join a writers group ~ you are not alone in your struggle to be heard. Discussing your work in a group can help you work through some of the creative problems you may have. By sharing your work with other writers and helping them critique their work, you will help not only yourself, but contribute to the group. This will also help you grow a tougher skin. Listen to what works for others in your group, what works for them may not necessarily work for you, but it’s good advice. There will always be readers who do not like your work, but there are many others who will.

#7        Learn the rules ~ remember the rule “show, don’t tell”? This is one of the most important rules by far. There are other rules you have to follow too, such as, brushing up on your grammar and punctuation. If you need help in this area, there are some free grammar helpers online.

Here are a few you can check out: http://www.grammarbase.com/free_grammar_corrector/

http://www.paperrater.com/

And a favorite of mine: http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2011/12/12/5-free-grammar-checkers-for-bloggers-and-writers/

#8        Trust your readers ~ your readers and critique partners will lead you in the direction of your own unique voice. When you feel the need to write a different way, do it. Being your own self is the best practice.

#9        Experiment ~ read different genres, everything from fiction to non-fiction to poetry. You could even try writing a memoir. You never know what will strike your fancy. Maybe you’re a poet, and didn’t know it! Some writers like short stories to large novels. Experiment with a few you like, you never know where it may take you.

#10      Listen and take a chance  ~ when you finish with your work, and your readers tell you it’s good, send it out. The only way you’ll be published is to take a chance. Do research and find publications that print work similar to yours. Send it to them. Keep sending.

AND!

Never give up ~ giving up should never be part of your vocabulary. Weather you decide to self-publish or go with a literary agency, don’t let rejection stop you from doing what you love. Don’t worry if you receive rejection letters, some of the greatest authors out there were rejected prior to being published. Keep submitting your work.

 

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 3 – Jody Kessler

July BBF button copy

I am really pleased to introduce Jody Kessler, who is offering a fab GIVEAWAY . . .

Interview with Jody A Kessler. Author of Death Lies Between Us, a New Adult Paranormal Romance from Crescent Moon Press 

 

Can you give us a brief description of Death Lies Between Us?

A discontented Angel of Death saves the life of his newest client instead of escorting her to the afterlife. Why? Because he loves her – of course.  Death Lies Between Us is about tender first love, family bonds, lost spirits, Angels, and Native American shamanism.

Are any of your characters based off of real people?

Many of my characters are a mixture of different people. I like to take a personality trait from one person and add it to something that really stands out from another person. And then sometimes my characters find me and only exist in my imagination.

Who was your favorite character to write?

Juliana is my main character and my favorite. She is young but smart and independent. She is really sensitive to the spirit world and it has been entertaining to find out how clairvoyant she is and watch her abilities grow as she experiences more of the supernatural.

Chris Abeyta, a temperamental ghost hunter and shaman is my second favorite. Chris gets to practice Native American ceremonies and rituals, and he hunts ghosts.  He’s helping Juliana understand and develop her paranormal abilities.

What is the best piece of advice you would give new authors?

When it comes to publishing; do your research well. Talk to as many published authors that you can. Ask questions about what they have gone through, and what they recommend or would do differently in terms of contracts, agents, royalties, payment, Indie pub vs. traditional, book pricing, and marketing. I’m sure there are many other details that are worth noting, but my point is, find out as much as you can before signing anything.

Do you have any new projects that you’re working on?

The 2nd book in this series, Angel Dreams, is under contract and is due out in early 2014. I’m really excited for its release and hope it is well received by readers and book lovers. It is a whirlwind of Angels of Death, warlocks, bikers, demons, suicidal teens, spiritual possession, and exorcism. This coming fall/winter I hope to finish the, An Angel Falls, series and start writing something completely new.

 

What was your greatest challenge while writing Death Lies Between Us?

Hand writing the first draft and then transferring the entire manuscript to my computer was definitely a challenge. My handwriting is pretty terrible and hard to decipher so it was a long process. I no longer write my novels with paper and pen. Although, I still like to edit with pen on paper and then go back and make my changes in the computer one page at a time.

What is one message you would like to share with your fans?

I’ve always been fascinated with the existence of the supernatural and paranormal. I have had a lot of personal experiences with ghosts and such. I would love to know what my readers think about spirits, angels, shifters, and vampires etc.  Share your thoughts with me. I’d love to hear what you think.

Lastly:  Why do you write?

When I’m not writing, I feel completely out of sorts. So, I write to stay sane and balanced in my life.

Thank you for having me.

 DLBU cover - Copy - Copy

Back Cover Blurb

Saving the life of someone you love should not be the worst thing you have ever done, unless you are an Angel of Death.

Disgruntled with his position in the afterlife and conflicted by his feelings toward his new client, Nathaniel Evans forgoes the rules and saves nineteen year old Juliana Crowson from being hopelessly stuck in Forge Creek. This alters Juliana’s destiny and she finds herself in a series of near death accidents.

In the mountains of Colorado, Nathaniel comforts Juliana as she struggles to understand her paranormal abilities while coping with her brother’s drug addiction. When an ill-tempered Native American Shaman teaches her the difference between ghosts and place memories, she decides she wants nothing to do with the supernatural world. Too bad she doesn’t know that Nathaniel is part of it.

Will fate bring these two together, or has Nathaniel made the biggest mistake of his afterlife?

 

 A short excerpt from Death Lies Between Us.

 

He turns to stand in front of me, silent as a shadow. His hand lifts out of the dark. His fingertips brush the underside of my chin gently tipping my face up to his. How does he move and make no sound?  His fingers move to my temple, brushing away a hair then trailing down to the edge of my jaw where they halt. He watches my face and looks into my eyes. I feel a surge of loneliness from somewhere deep inside him. I don’t understand it or have time to dwell on it but it makes me want to hold onto him. His gaze lowers to my mouth.

He’s so close. I didn’t see it before, but he glows. The slightest iridescent shimmer encapsulates him, so totally different than the way Chris’s aura looked. He smells good too, like I remembered, and more. It’s so familiar, but I can’t say where from. The ozone smell of clean air after a storm and hints of cinnamon and honey swirled in cream. It’s intoxicating. Even the feel of him standing near me is like a caress passing over my skin. I can’t believe myself. I’m going to let this vague stranger kiss me, and I want him to.

 

032More about Ms. Kessler

Jody A. Kessler enjoys writing paranormal novels and is a member of Pikes Peak Writers.  She is a yoga instructor, Reiki Master, and a graduate from the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy. When she took an extended leave from her massage practice to stay at home with her newborn she returned to her first true passion —writing. She spends most of her time being a mother, writing, and teaching yoga, but also likes going to concerts, hiking, practicing herbal medicine, and reading anything that catches her interest. Jody lives in the mountains of Colorado with her family.

Death Lies Between Us is her debut novel and the first book in the An Angel Falls series. Book two, Angel Dreams, is scheduled for release in early 2014.

She welcomes visitors to her website www.jodyakessler.com

Purchase a copy on Amazon   Barnes and Noble

Or connect with her here:  Facebook  Goodreads  Twitter  Pinterest

And now for the Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card and 6 Ebooks:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6e09b31/

 

 

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 3 – Zrinka Jelic

July BBF button copy

Hello Blogger Book Fair hoppers

I’m very delighted to meet you. My name is Zrinka Jelic and I’m author of three published books, Bonded by Crimson, a paranormal romance, and Treasured Chest, a historical romance. Plus my work appears in an anthology titled Angles Cried dedicated to tiny victims of unimaginable and senseless violence of Sandy Hook School.

Today I’d like to talk about my newest release, a time travel romance titled “Love Remains”. It was published by Crimson Romance on July 15th.

It is dedicated to all women, but especially working kind. It takes a lot of skill and energy to juggle career and family, and to keep going day in and day out. When kids are sick and we have to stay at home with our little ones, we face the employer’s scrutiny and in some cases even losing jobs. The treatment of working mothers in the corporations got me thinking and I’ve decided to show my findings (at least the way I was treated when faced with the issue) through my writing. And since I am a romance writer, what best way to do it than through romance. Of course, being of Croatian descent, I have to throw something Croatian in the mix. Would you sacrifice your family for the sake of your career? Is it OK for corporations to dispose of women who put their families before their jobs? Is there a golden middle?

I hope you’ll find “Love Remains” a thrilling read as I found it when I wrote it.

9781440570476

Here’s the book’s blurb

Olivia Owen, a busy, single, high-functioning, corporate executive officer, is not afraid to die a spinster for the sake of her career. But in an alternate reality world, bridged by the angel of her Down’s syndrome sister, she meets Tom Medar, a dedicated, Croatian defense attorney who dreams of the right woman, but never has time to find her. Together they foil an adulterous murder plot while discovering there’s room for love and family in their busy lives—but not before they are separated again.

 

When they awaken from their alternate world, will they be able to cross countries to find each other again?

Love Remains is now available on Amazon

Also, there’s a little giveaway on my blog and since I’m in Canada I’ll have to make it digital. So a copy of Love Remains for your e-reader and $5.00 Amazon gift card. Just drop by my blog Hello Romance and leave me a comment, join my blog or like my Facebook page.

And a bit about me

ME

Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”

 

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 2 – Lauren Grimley

July BBF button copy

A Late Bloomer’s Defense of Fantasy

 

Though it might seem odd coming from the writer of vampire novels and twisted myth tales, I never liked fantasy growing up. I tried and abandoned the Chronicles of Narnia and decided I was perfectly content with simply watching the movie versions of Alice and Wonderland and other famous fantastical tales for children. I wanted my reading to be real, preferably historical, and later on when I discovered horror stories, gruesome. I didn’t see what reading about made up worlds could offer someone in the real world. At least I had the excuse of being young, uneducated, and inexperienced.

I can’t say the same for the scores of adult readers who pooh-pooh an entire genre of books based on pre-conceived notions of what fantasy entails. I understand that people’s tastes vary, and we all need to be tolerant of that. I also understand that fantasy fans haven’t done the genre any favors by holding conventions full of grown men dressed as wizards waving plastic wands and wearing stuffed dragons as geeky accoutrements. (I can mock these people because I’ve been known to show up at book releases waving wands and wearing radish earrings, myself.) What outsiders often overlook, however, is that our exuberance for our favorite fantasy books has nothing to do with the trite objects we costume ourselves with. Fantasy fans love fantasy for the same reason most other readers love their favorite genre: because we love the way a well woven tale, yes, even one that takes place in another world, can teach us about ourselves and the more mundane world in which we live.

Few will argue that sometimes we need to step back from a situation and see it in a new light in order to really understand it. That’s the beauty of fantasy. By embellishing our world or completely recreating it, fantasy authors force us to look at humanity and/or society in a new light.

Still not buying it? I see. You’d rather read a book with more serious and immediate themes, such as the exploitation of people through the media and reality television. You’ve just agreed to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Or perhaps you like to read about situations that appear over and over again in world history like the persecution of entire groups of people by a group whose leader has convinced his followers that they are somehow superior. Not a book about Hitler I’m afraid, rather Voldemort from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. More of a classics, type? How about the timeless tale of star-crossed lovers whose backgrounds make it impossible for them to be together? You’re sighing remembering the first time you read Romeo and Juliet or perhaps Wuthering Heights. Well, that’s just how half the teens (and a large percentage of their moms) felt when they picked up the Twilight books for the first time.

There’s nothing wrong with disliking fantasy—assuming, of course, that you’ve actually read some it. If you’re like the younger version of myself, though, and are reluctant to pick it up simply because you think vampires and wizards have less to offer you than fictional humans, take a step back and reconsider. Much like the crazy fans at conventions donning hairy masks or plastic fangs, the characters in fantasy books are really just humans with a few extra accoutrements. Stripped down, their experiences and their worlds aren’t all that different from those we call reality. And in the hands of the right authors, those extra accoutrements make for some fantastic reading! Pun intended.

Book and Author Information for Lauren Grimley

 Author Information:

Author website: http://www.laurengrimley.com

Blog: http://blog.laurengrimley.com

Twitter @legrimley: https://twitter.com/legrimley

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurenGrimley

Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/105156245095191358255/posts//p/pub

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5825387.Lauren_Grimley

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authorlegrimley/

Lauren_Grimley

Bio:

Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by.

Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel, and she’s thrilled to be continuing the series with Unveiled. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at www.laurengrimley.com

 Book Information:

 Unforeseen (Alex Crocker series, book 1)

Genres/tags: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, vampire series

Available formats: ebook and paperback

Publisher: Malachite Quills

Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/Unforeseen.html

Trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4jIAt-U1iQ

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13624479-unforeseen

 Teaser:

Alex was quite sure gifted was a term delusional parents applied to their strictly average children, vampires were gorgeous dead guys in her eighth-grade girls’ novels, and Seers was a middle schooler’s misspelling of a department store known for power tools.  Teachers, however, don’t know everything–it’s Alex’s turn to be educated.

Running alone the night before school ends, Alex is violently attacked.  Regaining consciousness, she finds herself in the home of the Rectinatti Regan, the leader of one of two covens of vampires battling nightly on the streets of her city.  If that discovery wasn’t enough to make her think she’d gone insane, she realizes she’s sensing the emotions of another of the vampires as strongly as she feels her own.  Discovering these creatures have the answers to what she is and why she was attacked, she decides she wants to stay, despite knowing it is a dangerous, possibly deadly desire.

Purchase links for Unforeseen, book 1:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Unforeseen-Lauren-Grimley/dp/1623750210/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unforeseen-lauren-grimley/1110436184?ean=2940014543286

 

Fabulous Give-Away for Unforseen and Unveiled:

Unveiled coverUnveiled (Alex Crocker series, book 2)

Genres/tags: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, vampire series

Available formats: ebook and paperback

Publisher: Paramance

Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/Unveiled__book_2.html

Trailer link: http://youtu.be/hfz5KLrVC9k

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17969407-unveiled

Teaser:

With strength comes vulnerabilities. With love comes loss. With power comes pain. The world Alex now belongs to hinges on such balance. Her every step seems to be lurching her precariously closer to one wrong side or another.

Alex had known her life as a Seer wouldn’t be easy. She knew her gift would be difficult to control and constantly sensing others’ emotions would be overwhelming. She even knew she’d be hunted for the power it would provide whichever coven of vampires controlled her. What she didn’t foresee were the difficulties she’d have with the parts of her life she ought to be able to control: her decisions, her actions, and her relationships.

It isn’t until she’s botched every facet of her new life that the opportunity arises to make things right. Rocky’s lover has been abducted, and Alex’s gift is the best shot at bringing her home alive. But even that will require tipping the scales in a direction no one but Alex can understand.

This sequel to Unforeseen is a darker tale of the battles Alex continues to fight against her enemies, her gift, and even herself. This time victory might cost her sanity, her lover, or her life.

 Purchase links for Unveiled, book 2:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Unveiled-Alex-Crocker-Series-ebook/dp/B00CXGQGPC/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369217456&sr=1-3&keywords=lauren+grimley

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unveiled-lauren-grimley/1115393815?ean=2940016588780l

cover pict“Unknown” a short story from book 3 of the Alex Crocker series:

Genres/tags: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, vampire series, young adult

Available formats: ebook only

Publisher: Malachite Quills

Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/Unknown__from_book_3_.html

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15839498-unknown

 Purchase link for “Unknown”:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1623750210/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1623750210&linkCode=as2&tag=laurgrim-20

Teaser:

Middle school is supposed to bite. Middle schoolers aren’t.

Alex simply wanted to do a favor for a friend while taking a much-needed reprieve from her far-from-average life and returning temporarily to her teaching position. Torie was just trying to trudge through another day of middle school surrounded by naïve peers who had no idea what she was to become. Neither teacher nor student expected to glance across a classroom of normal human teenagers and into the face of their enemy. Neither Seer nor Knower could have understood how their gifts would leave them second-guessing everything they’d been taught to believe about the other side.

Coming Soon:

unbridled cover 2Unbridled, a collection of connected short stories from the Alex Crocker series

Genres/tags: paranormal romance, vampire series, urban fantasy, short stories

Expected release: September 2013

Available formats: ebook & possibly paperback

Publisher: Grimm Sisters

Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/Unbridled.html

Unbridled, is a novella-length piece comprised of four connected short stories focusing on the female characters from the Alex Crocker series. It is about unlikely friendships and less likely lovers. Some parts are dark, others steamy, and still others humorous. Even in it’s lighter moments though, it’s meant to honor all women who have fought the good fight, whether they have survived physical or sexual assaults, abuse, deadly illnesses, or the seemingly more mundane, but still intensely painful experiences of love and loss. Alex may be the first female warrior in my fictional world, but she is preceded by scores of real-life everyday women warriors.

I plan to self-publish this one because I’d like to donate a majority of the proceeds to women’s charities. Around the time I was finishing the first draft of this project, my mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. If ever there was a compelling reason to honor women who bravely fight all of life’s battles, this was it. Luckily, Mom kicked cancer’s ass all over again and did it with a sense of humor (epitomized by her “Save Second Base” t-shirt!). Unfortunately, though, everyday more women have to join Alex as warriors to fight their own battles. The over-arching story in this collection focuses on females who were victimized by the Vengatti, but I make it clear that none of these characters are merely victims; they’re fighters and survivors, as are so many of my readers.

 Also by Lauren Grimley:

apply liberally cover“Apply Liberally” a short romantic comedy/chick lit piece:

http://www.amazon.com/Apply-Liberally-ebook/dp/B00DP3YLK4/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372778578&sr=1-3

 

Teaser:

Lissa had decided when she left the stale air of her classroom that afternoon that she was not going to wallow. She would not give Tom, Mr. I’m-just-not-ready-to-commit-right-now, the satisfaction of devastating her summer the way he had destroyed her confidence and sanity the previous four months. No, she decided she would bask in the freedom of her single status. Or at least drown her sorrows in a pitcher of Margaritas, a torrid romance novel, and a package or two of Oreos enjoyed on the nearest vacant stretch of beach.

That’s when it started raining.

Still, a single woman on a mission can not be deterred. And who doesn’t need a little sunscreen even in a thunderstorm?

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 2 – Wynne Channing

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Guest Blog: Wynne Channing, author of the bestselling YA novel,

What Kills Me

 

I’m so fortunate that thousands have gone on the adventure with Axelia in What Kills Me and are eagerly awaiting the sequel, I Am Forever.

To think that it all began in Asia with bugs.

I was living in Taiwan for a few months and at night, I could hear cockroaches scurrying around my room. But when I turned the lights on, they’d be gone. Cursed Houdini bugs!Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep, afraid they’d rent out my mouth for a party. So I would lie there, thinking all sorts of crazy things, asking myself all sorts of questions: “What would happen if I suddenly disappeared?” “What if I fell into a hole? What if that hole was filled with blood?” Man, that would suck. That image, of a young woman climbing out of a well, soaked in blood, was what started it all.

Buy What Kills Me

What Kills Me Cover Small

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads

 

About the top-rated, best selling book: An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race. So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive. How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

 

HeadshotAbout Wynne: Wynne Channing is an award-winning national newspaper reporter and best-selling young adult novelist. Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite). She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”

 

Connect with Wynne

 

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Google+ | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube |Amazon Author Page

 

Welcome to Blogger Book Fair 2013 – Day 2 – Jean Murray

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Hot First Kisses.

Do you remember your first kiss?

Mine?  On the windowsill of my best friend’s house.  Yes, he came to the window to give me a kiss.  I smile every time I think about it.  Whether simply romantic or dangerously seductive, first kisses have a way of getting our heart racing.  Those awkward moments right before it happens, right before your lips touch.

New.  Fresh.  Exciting.  Hot.

What will he taste like?  Will you like it?  How long will it last?  Will the second be just as good as the first?

It can make a lasting impression and build anticipation for the next time.  Firsts are always special.

Do you remember your first kiss?  Or read a great first kiss scene?  What make them so special?  Please share.    

Leave a comment and enter to win Author Jean Murray’s Key to the Cursed Giveaway.  ENTER RAFFLECOPTER

 

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Author Jean Murray brings a wonderful new spin to the paranormal world with her Egyptian Underworld gods.  She broke ground in the paranormal romance genre with Soul Reborn and now continues the Key to the Cursed journey with Soul Awakened.  See what readers and reviewers are saying about her new book ~ http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16484518-soul-awakened?auto_login_attempted=true

Web Address: www.jean-murray.com ; www.keytothecursed.com

Blog Address: www.wickedromance.wordpress.com

Face Book:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJeanMurray

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/wickedromance

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5103113.Jean_Murray

Book Trailers: 

Soul Reborn:http://www.youtube.com/user/KeytotheCursed?ob=5#p/u/0/smSJsJp5o74

Soul Awakened: http://youtu.be/S3IlOKhBZoY

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THE HUMAN REALM, HIS BATTLEFIELD.

Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.

DEADLY SECRETS BETTER LEFT UNEARTHED.

Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess’ undead army unleashing hell on earth.  But Lilly has a secret—one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.

Amazon Purchase Links:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004WDYK7A/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwjeanmurray-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004WDYK7A

Barnes & Noble Purchase Links:

Purchase Print&Nook:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Key-to-the-Cursed/Jean-Murray/e/9780982820063/?itm=1&USRI=soul+reborn

ARe:  http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-soulreborn-546847-140.html

 Soul Reborn Excerpt:

Asar moved closer, and placed his hands on the table on either side of her hips. With no means of escape, she leaned back, but he closed the space.

“Your reasons for joining the Nehebkau reveal the character of your soul. It is no coincidence the asp was chosen for you. It was chosen for you by the gods. As you said, we want the same thing. To protect what we love. The gods have decided to cross our paths, our fates. It is important we succeed. You are not the only one that has family at stake.”

She straightened closing the distance between them as far as she dared without touching him. “Yes, this is personal for me. The curse destroyed my family’s life. I’ll do everything in my power to stop it. And, if you are asking whether I’d betray your trust? No. No, I wouldn’t.”

He narrowed his eyes slightly before he pulled away, though his hands remained on the table close to her hips. She let out a heavy breath.

Lilly saw the hunger in his eyes. Hunger she had seen several times before when he stared at her. She squirmed under his gaze. With very little room to move, her hip brushed his arm. The fire in his eyes intensified with the slight contact. A stark contrast to the coldness of his skin.

Finally, she couldn’t take it. “Do you have to look at me that way?”

“What look would that be, Lilly?”

Another chill ran down her spine when he said her name. She lifted her chin. “The one that looks as if you are going to take a bite out of me. It’s very disconcerting. I’ve enough problems with revens trying to make me a meal.”

He blinked, then suddenly his eyes darkened. He leaned in closer so that his lips almost touched hers. “You mean this look.”

She inhaled sharply. Her heart clashed against her chest. “Yes.”

“And what if I wanted to take a little nibble?”

The words sent an instant rush of heat through her body, tingling in all the right places. She closed her eyes, and gripped the table. The wood creaked under the stress.

“Open your eyes,” he commanded.

She complied and found him staring into her soul. Her connection to him was so strong. Everything about him pulled her in. The more she struggled to stop it, the stronger it became.

Her body trembled, feeling the cold press of his lips against hers. Coldness spread over her face, cool and delicious. Like, an ice cold drink on a sweltering day, quenching an unknown thirst. His strong cold hands grasped tightly around her biceps and pulled her in tighter to his mouth. Her reluctance got lost somewhere in the taste of him. Desperation overcame her as he aggressively sought out her tongue with his own. A moan escaped her lips with the onslaught of pleasure. He answered her with a growl which resonated in his chest, spurring her to slip her hands under his tunic and up his tight muscular back.

The deep growl of arousal propelled to a deafening roar. He reared back and retreated several feet into the darkness.

She gasped. To stabilize herself, she gripped the table and leaned over to catch her breath. Her warm fingertips pressed against her burning lips.

“Whoa,” she muttered under her breath. She didn’t know what to do with herself. Stay? Go? Run? She just kissed an Egyptian god—the God of the Underworld, no less. Her body throbbed from a simple kiss.

Who was she kidding? There was nothing simple about it.

TAGLINE     “Only the strongest love can unlock the souls of the Underworld.”

Reviews:

Romantic Times (RT) Book Reviews (Sept2011) –  4/4.5 stars/Scorcher, http://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-review/soul-reborn

Night Owl Reviews:  Reviewer’s Top PICK/ 5 Stars (Abigail, Feb2013)  “The first book in the “Key to the Cursed” series was absolutely phenomenal. Anything that deals with old world deities and is written well always hooks me from the get go. This was definitely an excellent book to begin a new series.”  http://paranormal.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Reviews/Angibabi4-reviews-Soul-Reborn-by-Jean-Murray

Bitten by Paranormal Romance – 5/5 Alpha Howls, Hot http://www.bittenbyparanormalromance.com/2011/07/review-of-soul-reborn-key-to-cursed.html

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11135250-key-to-the-cursed

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BOOK II:  Soul Awakened

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/S3IlOKhBZoY

Genre: Paranormal Romance

ISBN: 9781937254971

Length: Novel
Publication Date: January 2013
Cover art by Taria Reed

Purchase Links: 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B0I1A9G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwjeanmurray-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00B0I1A9G

Books –A – Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Soul-Awakened/Jean-Murray/9781937254971?id=5602792319200

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soul-awakened-jean-murray/1114128757?ean=9781937254971

Book Blurb:

LOVE FOR BLOOD OR HONOR

Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.

HAUNTED BY SINS OF THE PAST

Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most– his Parvana. His butterfly.

Reviews:

Night Owl Reviews:  Reviewer’s Top PICK/ 5 Stars (Abigail, Feb2013) :  “I know other readers are going to love this series as much as I do. Get settled in for a thrilling paranormal tale.”  http://www.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Reviews/Angibabi4-reviews-Soul-Awakened-by-Jean-Murray

Bitten by Paranormal Romance, Ollie (Feb2013): 5/5 Alpha Howls, Hot

“I don’t know where to begin to describe the absolutely marvelous job that the author does in not only creating a wonderful world with so much depth and detail, but a story line the has the mystery and intrigue that will keep you glued to the pages.”  http://www.bittenbyparanormalromance.com/2013/01/arc-review-of-soul-awakened-key-to.html?zx=7d4a84f0db7635b8

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16484518-soul-awakened

 

Welcome Blogger Book Fair 2013 Day 1 – Lily Bishop

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Far Away Places in No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached was born when Lily Bishop and her husband took a tenth anniversary trip to Las Vegas. Laura Todd lives in Miami and Fox Thornton lives in Atlanta. During part of the book they travel to the Bahamas on a yacht, and they travel in private jets.

Fox moves in some pretty expensive circles. When writing this book, it was exciting doing research on how the other half lives. I looked at some exclusive hotel suites in Las Vegas that have butlers, and I looked at actual yachts and private planes that were listed for sale online. Of course, I didn’t buy either, but it was fun to look.

I wanted to think about what would happen if a traditional, “good” girl hooked up with a guy in Las Vegas. Would she feel guilty, since this is something she never does, or would she just go with the flow, knowing she would never see him again? What if what happened in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas?

No-Strings-Attached web

Blurb:

Can romance survive embezzlement charges?

Laura Todd attends a conference in Las Vegas and meets Fox Thornton, a consultant to the hotel industry. Far away from her normally quiet life, Laura is swept away by her strong attraction for Fox. They both know the score, and neither expects to see the other again. After their hot weekend, circumstances bring them back together in Miami, where Fox is investigating a suspected embezzlement and Laura is the prime suspect. Can their brief romance rekindle in the real world, where suspicions and misunderstandings lurk behind every corner? Will their no-strings-attached affair evolve into a strong relationship, or is it destined to stay in Vegas?

Excerpt:

Fox Thornton stared at the cards nestled against the green felt. Focus, man, focus. Something had to change. A fun hand of blackjack had turned into a bloodbath. After being in meetings all day, he had planned a quick hand of blackjack, but two hours later, he had lost more than he intended. He blamed his losses on the gorgeous blonde at the end of the table and her sexy silver dress. How could he leave with her if she made no effort to leave?

Her hair reminded him of wheat in summer and it curled around her shoulders with a devil-may-care attitude. Her eyes shone like dark amber whiskey and glowed with an inner fire when she smiled—which was often—and frequently in his direction. She leaned forward and he caught a glimpse of a little dark hollow between her breasts. He stifled a groan.

He shifted position to relieve the pressure caused by a wave of desire. How long had it been since he’d been this hard for a stranger? Not since college ten years ago. As she considered the cards, her tongue peeked between rosy lips. What a turn-on.

Fox looked for any of the managers he knew from the remodel, and saw James, a pit boss who had joined him for drinks one night. He sent him a text and then moved over to the vacant seat beside her.

“The luck’s better over here,” he said with a smile, but then he cut his eyes away, not wanting to appear too eager. She spared him a quick glance before turning back to her cards.

Sitting beside her made things worse. He smelled roses every time she moved, and now he had a full view of her long, tanned legs. One of her legs bounced up and down, betraying her nervousness. He blocked out the image of those legs wrapped around his waist or he would never be able to stand. As soon as James closed the table, he would ask her to dinner.

Her bizarre play was screwing up the natural order of the cards. She laughed when the cards fell her way, and when they didn’t, she seemed stunned, as if she should be able to predict the card order.

If anyone else had been playing that inconsistently, he would have switched tables and cut his losses. Now he was so intrigued he couldn’t walk away without a phone number.

The girl’s strapless dress fit against her like a second skin, and he couldn’t look away. While they waited for the next round of cards, she fidgeted with a silver-threaded scarf. He could imagine that scarf in his hands as he pulled her to him … He had to get control of himself.

When the waitress brought drinks, he took care of the tip, and his blonde beauty flashed him a smile. When she won for the third time in as many hands, he saluted her with a flourish. She repaid him by blowing him a kiss. Now he had her attention.

Favorite light blue front on - smallLily Bishop was born in a small town near Athens, Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia and received a Bachelor’s in English, and then enrolled in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Purdue University. After a year, she left the program and moved to Atlanta. Like a siren’s call, Athens wanted her back, and she returned to Athens where she received her Master’s in Public Administration. She now lives in the Upstate of South Carolina and works full-time as a database administrator for a university. She is married to her best friend, and they have two children. When she is not writing, she and her family are playing German or Euro-style board games.

Lily writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and her goal is to blur the lines between romance, chick lit, and women’s fiction. Her books are peppered with family members who make things complicated and couples who can’t seem to find a way to be together. Lily writes with a Southern flair, but her characters find themselves in exotic locations and sometimes dangerous situations. She loves to interact with readers about her characters and stories.

Contact Information:

Website/Blog: www.lilybishop.com

Twitter: @bishoplily

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLilyBishop

Buy Links:

Amazon US (print and digital): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D0UN0T0

Amazon UK (print and digital): http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D0UN0T0