Thursday, 31 October 2013

"In My Habitat" - by February Grace

Hello lovelies, so weekend has started.  And this is India and we celebrate an amazing festival here tomorrow.  I am doing a special post tomorrow describing Diwali to the world.  Don't miss it out!

And here today, we have February Grace, author of "Of Stardust", which I will be reviewing in the next month.  And she has given us a great guest post with adorable images of her life.  I loved it and I hope you do too.

Welcome, February!

IN MY HABITAT

- Guest Post by February Grace

My habitat has changed a lot in the past year or so. For fourteen years we lived in 1000+ sq. foot, two bedroom townhouse- 200 square feet of which consisted of storage space in the basement. When my daughter moved out and we needed less space, we opted to downsize in a major way: to a small one bedroom apartment in a more desirable area, at the cost of space to store stuff.

Going through the process of sorting/donating/giving away was exhausting but also liberating. I have come to love our little 800 sq. foot, one bedroom apartment. For one thing, I have to think very hard before I bring anything new into the place, and I won't do so unless I know for certain exactly where it's going to go!

At the old place, I wrote holed up in a dark little corner of the living room. Now, we have a living room with a cathedral ceiling that feels very open and I have claimed what would have been the 'dining area' in that open plan for my workspace for writing, painting, making collages, and collecting the things I do collect. It is wonderful to write comfortably out in the open, (well, except when he decides that he wants to try to push the laptop off of my lap.)


I don't write at a desk at all anymore. This came about of necessity as I have a very bad back so I need to sit in a comfortable position to be able to write at all. This is my favorite glider rocker.


I actually use a lap desk for my laptop and the rocking ottoman to prop my feet up while writing. This is what I see from where I sit.


This is one of my favorite views in the apartment. Being that it is so small, I have tried to infuse personality into every little corner I can. On this shelf you'll find some of my favorite books, as well as notebooks from novels past and present, a figurine or two, and a couple of things that are keepsakes I've picked up representing key items in my stories (note the model of Gus's 1958 Chevy pickup from OF STARDUST in this shot.)

To the left of the bookshelf is another little bookshelf, with a memory board behind it and little boxes and my favorite place to keep my pencils.


To my right, there is some of my own artwork on the walls. I favor bright colors. I always have, but after losing my sight entirely for a time and then only regaining part of it back (but gaining what I call 'hyper colors' thanks to my eyes not filtering UV anymore after several surgeries) I especially love having the white walls to showcase the colors of my paintings and also collages that I make. Many of those are also inspiration pieces for stories I am or have worked on.


If I turn to my extreme right and look almost over my shoulder into the kitchen (the place where all-important coffee and chocolate ice cream sodas- my fuel- are made) I see some of the Disney keepsakes I have picked up over the years. I am especially fond of Disney Monorails so you can see, my kitchen shows that. There are several more Monorails in other locations in the kitchen.


Finally, when I sit on the couch (which I like to do when I'm editing stories on paper away from the screen) I'm facing the other direction. There is a huge, sunny glass door wall to let in lots of light on summer days, and another of my favorite views in the apartment: a Disney themed painting I did, along with a bookshelf/bench holding my collection of hardcover Victoria Magazine decorating books (which is one of my few prized possessions) and a few plush friends.


Notice the throw pillow in the middle- I picked that up on my last trip to Walt Disney World and felt it quite an appropriate addition to my home, especially now that I have made such close friends with a few Fairy Godparents : It says: "Believe In Magic."

I hope you've enjoyed this peek behind the scenes at me in my unique habitat! Thank you so much to Vidya for hosting me today!

Feature & Follow #34: Books I am embarrassed to admit I loved?

RULES
  • To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee and Alison Can Read}
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  • Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers.
If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

5 STAR ARC Review: My Sort Of Fairy Tale Ending by Anna Staniszewski

When I read the second book in this series a few days ago, I immediately requested the review copy for the third one.  Not because it can't wait; no, it's not that.  These type of books makes your reading more light, fun and lovable.


Original Title: My Sort Of Fairy Tale Ending
Series: My Very UnFairy Tale Life #3
Author: Anna Staniszewski
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: November 5th 2013
Source: Review copy from publisher
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Happily ever after? Yeah, right.

Jenny's search for her parents leads her to Fairyland, a rundown amusement park filled with creepily happy fairies and disgruntled leprechauns. Despite the fairies' kindness, she knows they are keeping her parents from her. If only they would stop being so happy all the time-it's starting to weird her out! With the help of a fairy-boy and some rebellious leprechauns, Jenny finds a way to rescue her parents, but at the expense of putting all magical worlds in danger. Now Jenny must decide how far she is willing to go to put her family back together.

REVIEW

Jenny goes in search of her missing parents to the fairy world.  But, if you imagine fairy world in your mind, just forget it and read on.  It's just a worn out amusement park, where all magical being were - kind of - tortured.  Well, Jenna is a prisoner now in the hands of the completely insane fairy queen.  With some help from a fairy boy, will she bring down the entire rule and also save the magical community as well as her parents?  Tough...

Great world building and great characterization.  In so few pages, I started liking the characters so much.

I liked the way the story winded up.  It was clean, just like a fairy tale.  Nothing to be sad of; I finished it just with fond memories.

If I am still a kid at school, I would want my teacher to read/recommend these type of stories to me.  It's fun and kids will love this.  Highly recommended for those who love middle grade fantasy novels.

5 STARS!

SERIES ORDER

0.5.  Jenny’s First Adventure - Read for FREE at Goodreads
1.  My Very UnFairy Tale Life - Amazon | Goodreads
2.  My Epic Fairy Tale Fail - Amazon | Goodreads | My review
3.  My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending - Amazon | Goodreads

Monday, 28 October 2013

Finding Your Voice: POV and The Third Person Conundrum

- Guest Post by Pavarti K Tyler

What point of view to write from is a really personal decision. Some authors have a preference for one over another, me, I find that the stories dictate which POV I use and I’m comfortable writing in either. However, there are some rules and pitfalls with all the options.
First Person – (I walk) first person is when you write from the “I” perspective. I think, I walk, I feel. When writing in first person, it’s essential you remember that you can’t include anything other than what the character experiences. That means no foreshadowing, no little hints at what another character really means. There are ways to include these things, but they all have to be from the reality of your main character, so that foreshadowing becomes not a note to the reader, but something the character thinks, and now you have to include that suspicion in their future understanding of events.
Pros – First Person is extremely immediate. You exist in the moment with the main character. This, when done well, immerses the reader in the world of the story. It’s also commonly considered the easiest POV to write. I don’t agree, but I’ve seen it all over the place so there may be some merit to this.
Cons – First Person is often looked down on by the literary elite as the “lazy” way to write. It’s also taken over the YA genre almost completely, making readers assume that first person books are appropriate for younger readers.
Second Person – (You walk) Very few people do this. Personally, I love second person. Second person is when the authorial voice speaks directly to the reader directing them in each moment (think Choose Your Own Adventure Books). Someday I’d like to write something this way but it’s tricky to find the right story for this voice though, as some part of your readership is likely to be alienated by not being able to relate.
Pros – Second Person is unique and will make your story stand out.
Cons -This is probably the hardest POV to write effectively. Also, it can become tedious if you don’t keep the action moving forward. Best used for short pieces.
Third Person – (He/She/It walks) For 3rd I’m breaking out into three sub categories:
3rd Person Omniscient
3rd Person Close POV (UK Version)
3rd Person Close POV (US Version)
Cons – Difficult to maintain consistently and can lead to an overly didactic “Authorial Voice”
Cons – The danger of head-hopping (detailed below) is one that can destroy even the best written book with critics and readers alike.


3rd Person Omniscient – One of the hardest POVs to pull off, primarily because people don’t understand it. This isn’t just true for readers but writers as well. A well written third person omniscient piece is an undertaking of time and style. In 3rd Person Omniscient the narrator knows all, everything to come and everything that happened before. Writing in this way and still maintaining a relationship between the reader and the character is very tricky.
Pros – Allows for a highly stylized and traditionally considered “literary” feel.
3rd Person Close POV – Close POV indicates that you are deeply immersed in the character’s experience of the world. This is very similar to writing in first person, in that the narrative cannot include things the character would know or experience directly. The difference is that different sections can belong to different characters (like George’s POV in Chapter 1 and Clementine’s POV in Chapter 2). This allows the reader insight the characters might not possess, often leading to a heightening or tension.
Pros – Allows for multiple POVs within a book but maintains the intimacy and relationship created through close point of view. More common for Adult Literature and viewed as for a more mature readership.
(UK Version) vs (US Version) – Head-hopping is a highly contested issue in Third Person narratives. In the UK and Australia, head-hopping is not seen as such a great offence. However in the US market, which is the dominant international market, head hopping is a giant no-no. Usually head hopping involves some thought or insight from a secondary or minor character within a section dedicated to another character’s POV. While the UK Version of 3rd Person Close POV seems to be a middle ground between 3rd Person Close POV (US) and 3rd Person Omniscient, it is a distinction rarely recognized by critics or reviewers. For good or bad the American style is the standard which should be adhered to even by non-American authors. To read more about head hopping check out this article on Awesome Indies: http://awesomeindies.net/2012/09/30/head-hopping-was-is-it-and-whats-wrong-with-it/)
I don’t necessary write in just one POV. Each story has its own reasons for being written in the way it was. For White Chalk, the novel I’ve just released, I chose to write it in First Person. The reason for this is because the story itself is not overly complicated. There aren’t twists and turns and car chases and international intrigue. It’s actually a very simple story about a girl, not unlike myself, who’s struggling to find her way through the chaos of her existence. By writing in first person, I was able to explore her inner world, her perceptions and experiences, in a way which draws the reader in. The experience becomes the focus more than the plot details.
Do readers have a preferred POV? There are standards amongst genres (YA = 1st person, Horror = 3rd person, etc.) and while they aren’t hard rules, I do notice many authors fall inside those rules. Does the POV affect readers choice in what book to read? I’d love to know!
White Chalk
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre –  Literary Fiction/Coming of Age
Rating – R (15+)
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Pavarti K Tyler on Facebook  & Twitter

Friday, 25 October 2013

Mike Hartner – Why Book Covers are So Important

Book Covers are very important.  Whether it is physical book covers for placement in stores, or e-book cover graphics for online sales, like Amazon and Goodreads, and kobo and iTunes, a cover is the first thing your customer will see.  A $20 cover, created by you, or picked from one of the templates, may work in rare cases, but don’t bet on it.  My cover (“I, Walter”) was created by a graphical artist.  Within minutes of seeing it, I knew that I liked it.  It has since been favorable commented on by editors, customers, friends, and mentors alike.  Everyone is impressed with the cover.  And it contains elements of the story.  I, Walter is an historical fiction / romance / adventure that includes a girl, a pirate ship, and coats-of-arms.  All of these are on the cover, including a rose to signify the romance with the girl.  The graphic artist did a spectacular job on the cover, and it shows.  And everyone who has seen this cover has commented on it by telling me that they think it’s gorgeous.
Covers are the first thing the public sees.  If the cover is drab, the concern is that the writing will be as well.  Is it justified? Probably not.  But put your best forward.  You’ve already spent a lot of time making your manuscript the best it can be… Why not do the same with the cover?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction/ Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Mike Hartner on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review + Giveaway: As the World Dies Untold Tales (Horror) by Rhiannon Frater

I am new to Rhiannon Frater.  But, I am new to "As the World Dies" series.  I have those books for a very long time, but I didn't read it yet.  These tales are a good reminder of what I am missing.


Original Title: As the World Dies Untold Tales
Series:  Volume 1
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: March 22nd 2012
Source: From Xpresso Blog Tours
Genre: Horror

This is full of zombie short stories all taking place in the same setting but at different places and for different characters.  And each story has its own way to make you yearn for more, and just when you think you need more, something so horrific happens, and you are terrified and want everything to stop, and that's when the next story starts and you sigh with relief still thinking about the previous story.

Rhiannon sure knows how to write and also knows how to terrify you.  Half of the time, I was wondering how can one person imagine all these gory details and put down in paper without being frightened herself.  But, maybe she is stronger than me.  Or maybe I love to be scared.   Well, whatever.  She is one of those authors who writing makes you hooked to your chair.

I will definitely update this review on more character details after I read the "As the World Dies" series.

Recommeded for zombie lovers!

5 STARS!

GIVEAWAY


There are two giveaways that Rhiannon is giving you readers.  Enjoy!

GIVEAWAY 1


Readers can enter the giveaway for the complete Untold Tales series (Volume 1-3) in eBook format - 1 winner gets the whole series. Open internationally.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY 2

Prizes: A bookmark, Untold Tales Volume 1-3 in paperback, and an audiobook of Volume 3 - Open to US/Can.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

OB Cover Wars #3 - VOTE!!!

Vote from now till 5th November for your favourite cover in the widget below. 

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Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre -  Fiction / Coming of Age / Historical
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Carla Woody on Facebook  & Twitter

Serving Time

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre -  Science Fiction/Fantasy
Rating – Adult
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Nadine Ducca on Facebook  & Twitter

WHITECHALK

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre -  Literary Fiction/Coming of Age
Rating – R (15+)
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Pavarti K Tyler on Facebook  & Twitter

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Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre -  Psychological Suspense
Rating – 18+
More details about the book
Connect with Catherine Astolfo on Facebook  & Twitter

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Cover Reveal: Suffering of a Witch by Suza Kates


Original Title: Suffering of a Witch
Series: The Savannah Coven Series #7
Author: Suza Kates
Publisher: Icasm Press
Release Date: October 19th 2013

SHE WON’T GIVE UP
Kylie Worthington is in love with a man who doesn’t return the sentiment. She’s thrown away her pride and all attempts at pretense, yet Quinn St. Germaine still pushes her away. With the arrival of her trial, she will go where Fate dictates and is destined to fall in love. At least she’ll finally find the man she was meant for. Whether she likes it or not.

HE WON’T GIVE IN
Quinn has spent his life preparing for his family’s prophecy, but no spell or book could have ever prepared him for Kylie. Her passion for him is strong—and persistent—but he must deny what she makes him feel. Though he’s drawn to her beauty and vitality, deep inside he fears her. Quinn already knows what he wants, and accepting her means giving up on himself.

THEY BOTH WILL HURT
United in their battle against evil, Quinn and Kylie can’t see what’s right in front of them. And they never suspected what destiny had in store. Only the worst can bring them together, but will they be forever bound by love? Or by loss?



What do you think about the cover?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Cover Wars #2 from Orangeberry Book Tours


Vote from now till 29th October for your favourite cover in the widget below. 


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Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre -  NonFiction / Careers
Rating – G
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Brian Cormack Carr on Facebook  & Twitter

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Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre -  NeoGothic Horror / Thriller 
Rating – R for violence & language 
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Lee Tidball on Facebook  & Twitter

3rdTime3D-2
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Romantic Suspense 
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
 Connect with George Bernstein on Facebook & Twitter

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Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre -  Thriller / SciFi 
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Lucas Heath on Facebook  & Twitter


Review: Ward Against Death by Melanie Card

I think I have to include more of mature YA fantasy books in my reading pile.  That would have helped me appreciate this book more.


Original Title: Ward Against Death
Series: Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer
Author: Melanie Card
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: August 2nd, 2011
Source: From Rockstar Book Tours
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.

However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…

REVIEW

Edward de'Ath, twenty-year old necromancer and physician, is called to wake a dead nobleman's daughter, Celia.  When she wakes up however, Ward didn't expect for her to ask his help to find her murderer and he absolutely didn't think he would accept her plea and follow run after her.  Ward has his own share of problems with the law before adding kidnapping a rich girl to it.  But, soon Ward understands, inside this attractive, brave and beautiful girl, Celia is pure trouble.  She is part of the Assassin Guild and her skill with weaponry and her cunning persona scares Ward.  In spite of all these differences, the couple manages to go through many difficulties to find the murderer and find themselves in love.

Ward is considered puny at first, but he is intelligent, kind and gentle.  The character development of Ward is amazing.  From a scared running-from-law shy person, he turned out to be a bold powerful one.  Kicked out from Physician's Academy, Ward learns to do surgery by stealing dead bodies.  He practices necromancy without liking it, but even without his knowledge, he is pretty good at it.  He always thinks of him as inferior, but when situation arises, he is still doing his job with everything he got.

Celia is a cunning, strong, kick-ass heroine, who makes use of any situation to her advantage, without thinking about others.  She is the member of the Assassin's Guild and we also know at the end, that she is a means to something big.  Spending time with Ward made her care for another person and also fall for him.

Apart from the characters, the world building is good as well.  It will take time for the readers to understand the world, but being the first in the series, this is expected.  Melanie is a great story teller and it shows.  Enjoyed every moment of it.

The cover art is okay, but it doesn't much say about the book, except that Celia comes back from the dead and something to do with physician's tools.

No cliffhangers.  But, some things are left open to go on with the next books.

Filled with action and adventure, this book is a great start to the series and have a great hope for the upcoming books.

4 STARS!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

ARC Review & Guest Post: The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty

So, here is another children's book, that needs notice.


Original Title: The Snatchabook
Author: Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: October 1st 2013
Source: From the publisher
Genre: Children's

Where have all the bedtime stories gone?

One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down...when a Snatchabook flew into town.

It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

REVIEW

There isn't much to review in these type of books.  I finished it in about 3 minutes and most of that time is just to turn the pages.  Any story I reveal in this would be a spoiler.  Well, okay..someone is stealing all of the books and we need to identify them fast or else kids will have nothing to read at night.  Fun, easy and well, cute for kids.

Another picture book with cute pictures to keep kids interested about books.  It would be a great book for group reads for kids.

5 STARS!

IN MY HABITAT

- Guest Post by Helen Docherty

I wrote The Snatchabook at my old workplace, during the summer vacation of 2011. I was teaching Spanish part-time at a university, and at the end of the academic year we had learned that the entire Languages Department was going to be closed down, which meant that we were all going to be out of a job within a few months. Nothing like fear to act as an incentive..!  I had always wanted to be a writer and I felt that I had nothing to lose, so I spent two days a week that summer holed up in a small, bare office that nobody else was using, writing and writing. I think it was the intensity of that period, coupled with the pressure I had put myself under to produce something - I have always worked best under pressure - that enabled me to write The Snatchabook after a few weeks of trying to come up with a good story. Also, I had a lot of encouragement from Tom, which really helped.

Since then, we have moved house to Swansea and I am now self-employed as a writer, as well as being a full-time mum. Our youngest daughter, who is 3, goes to school for two and half hours a day, so I have to try to cram everything into that time. I like to work with as few distractions around me as possible - hence my almost bare desk. The zebra postcard was sent by a friend who knew that I was writing a story about a zebra (Abracazebra, out next year). I write partly by hand, and partly on the computer. I used to spend a lot of time writing as a child, so the discipline and the absorption feel very familiar. I still get annoyed if I am interrupted mid flow, unless it's by one of our daughters!


Tom's desk, on the other hand, is clearly an artist's desk. He works in ink and watercolor - hence all the bottles, pens and brushes.  The watercolor sketches on the desk are color tests for Abracazebra, which he is working on at the moment.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Excerpt and Giveaway: Wind and Shadow by Tori L. Ridgewood


Original Title: Wind and Shadow
Series: The Talbot Trilogy #1
Author: Tori L. Ridgewood
Publisher: Melange Books 
Release Date: June 20 2013
Genre: Paranormal
Buy: Amazon

After a series of misadventures including being accused of attempted murder in high school, Rayvin Woods, a photographer and natural witch, left her hometown of Talbot in Northeastern Ontario, hoping to start her life over and never return. Ten years later, circumstances force her back to face her past and her former crush Grant Michaels.

Malcolm de Sade, a cunning vampire, escapes from an underground prison looking for vengeance. His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town. Rayvin’s power is all that stands between de Sade and his domination of Talbot, and beyond.

Grant Michaels, a police officer, thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger... but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it's too late?

Rayvin didn't count on rekindling a lost love or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life when she came home to Talbot. Facing the past can be a nightmare… It’s worse when a vampire is stalking you.


EXCERPT

The pain in her eyes was tearing him apart. “You want to make amends?” She laughed, and looked away.
“You could put it that way . . . Rayvin. Look at me. We connected once, remember? When we were kids? I’ve missed that in my life. I didn’t realize, before you were gone, how much I needed you in my world.” He leaned forward and reached for her. “How can I make you believe me?”
“Why?” She jumped up, staring down at him. “What’s changed since yesterday that could possibly have reversed an opinion you’ve had of me for years? I don’t understand! You’re not making any sense.”
Grant’s face burned. “You don’t know what I think of you. You’re not a mind-reader, Rayvin.”
“I don’t have to be. I’ve seen how you look at me. Yesterday, you wanted to run me out of town, and now look around you.” She gestured wildly. “Candles, blankets. You don’t want to ‘start fresh’, you just want to get laid.”
Grant got to his feet. “Really? Is that what you think?”
“What else have men ever wanted from me?” she responded, wearily. “You know what, it was a noble gesture for you to drive me home, and help me with Andrea. But now I’d really like you to leave.”
“No. We need to talk; we have to figure this out.” Grant moved closer to her. Rayvin’s teeth were bared, but she held her ground as he approached. She infuriated him, she insulted him, but she didn’t back down, and by God he admired her for it. “I know you’ve been hurt, but I’m not him. Not all men are like that. I’m not like that.”
“I’ve felt your desire, Michaels. I know that you want me. Maybe we should just get it out of the way, so we can move on with our lives.” Her eyes glittering, she closed the distance between them and ran one finger down his chest. Behind her, in the fireplace, the flames on the candles flared and elongated. Grant’s body responded immediately to her touch; his breath quickened as his manhood swelled. Her laugh sounded like a sob. “But I have better things, more important things to do with my time. I’d rather not fulfill your adolescent fantasies tonight. I’m telling you again to please leave.”
Looking into her eyes, a breath apart, dozens of possibilities flashed through his mind, most of them involving the shedding of clothing and the quilt on the floor. Maybe they should fulfill their physical needs, and move on. But that wouldn’t leave him satisfied. Grant needed more from her, and he strongly suspected that she needed him, no matter how much she denied it. He saw the plea in her gaze, the sorrow and the anger. Taking a deep breath, he raised his chin and stepped back.
“Point taken. But there are a few things you should know.” He picked up his jacket from the edge of the couch. “Yes, I want you. I’ve fantasized about you for years, ever since we were in the tenth grade and you walked past me in your parka. It wasn’t your body that really caught me, though, Rayvin. It was the way you smiled when you pulled the furry hood up around your face. God, I wanted you to smile at me like that. I wanted to give you pleasure like that. So I guess the past does matter, in a way. I can’t let go of how I felt about you, and how I still feel. I don’t want to, because I have never felt for anyone the way I do for you.”
Grant put on his jacket. “That was the first thing. The second is this: I believe there is a reason for everything. You chose to come back here, no matter what you decide to tell people. You weren’t driven here, you could have gone anywhere. I think you might be punishing yourself for some reason. You want people to hate you, because that will justify rejecting them. So don’t blame the citizens of this town for making your life miserable. That’s all on you.”
He walked to the front door.
“Is that it, Michaels?” Rayvin called out. He turned around, his hand on the doorknob. She hadn’t moved, but the candles in the fireplace had almost completely burned to their stands. Her face was cast into shadow by their brilliance.
“No, there’s one more.”
Grant strode forward, crossing the room in three long steps to take her in his arms. Rayvin’s eyes burned into his for a moment, before he leaned down and tucked her into his chest. He held her close, feeling the beats of their hearts together, inhaling the scent of her hair, just breathing. Slowly, her hands moved to his back. They pressed gently. He sighed, moving a ticklish lock away from his face.
Behind them, the flames dwindled into tiny points of light, before they extinguished themselves.
“Whatever else you tell yourself, Rayvin Woods,” he whispered, kissing just above her ear. “You have to believe that everything will be okay.”
“I tell myself that all the time.” Her voice was muffled by his shoulder. “I’m just so tired of being alone. And now . . . there’s no other way. There just isn’t.”
He released her, letting his hands move down to clasp her fingers. “You’re wrong, Ray. There’s always a choice.”
Grant pressed his lips to her forehead, and went back to the front door.
He opened it, not expecting to step into madness.
Hands with sharp claws grabbed him by the neck and shoulder, hauling him forward and up; it was so sudden he couldn’t react. By chance, his right hand caught the doorframe as he was being pulled out. Impossibly, his assailant was on the roof. He gagged on a stench that invaded his nose and mouth, taking his breath away. Whoever had grabbed him had impressive gymnastic skill: he jumped down, flipping in the air, double-jointed arms maintaining their hold on him, and dug his heels into the lawn to gain purchase. Grant tried to call out, but his shirt collar was tightening around his throat, cutting off his air supply.

Rayvin’s mouth had opened in warning, too late. She watched, horrified, as filthy claw-like hands reached down and yanked Michaels nearly off his feet. A rage she did not know she possessed boiled up in her blood. She flew across the room in a heartbeat, grabbing Grant and holding on with all of her strength. She pressed the hand he’d wrapped around the jamb so hard that her nails scraped against the painted wall, and winced against the pain of ragged paint chips digging into the quick.
From her vantage point at the doorframe, the vampire’s bared fangs seemed only a few inches from Michaels’ face. He grunted, straining his neck to keep away from the snapping jaws. The creature had both arms around the policeman’s upper body in a tight grip. Rayvin reached out with her other hand and hauled back on Michaels’ shoulder, heaving with as much power as she could muster. The thing hissed at her, digging in with his heels. Michaels’ hand slipped under hers.
“Hold on!” she cried, bracing herself against the wall.
Time seemed to stop in her desperate tug of war. Sweat broke out on her body with the effort it took, helping Michaels resist the unnatural strength of the bloodsucker. Anger fuelled her reserves as it occurred to her that he was toying with them. Amid the grunts, Rayvin heard the distinctive rip of clothing being torn. Michaels’ hand slipped a little more; now, she was only anchoring his fingers. She’d lost hold of his shoulder when his jacket gave way under the vampire’s claws. She lunged forward to get another grip and felt her own sweater tear under an elongated canine as she found a handful of shirt. Michaels’ feet were leaving marks on the concrete step as he was dragged forward. The monster laughed at them, sneering, his black eyes narrowed and dirty, demonic face twisted in a maniacal grin.
Rayvin felt the fabric of Michaels’ shirt starting to give. In another moment, his fingers would slip out, lubricated by their combined sweat. Her heart broke as he ground out a command to her, between his teeth. “Let go, Rayvin! It’s okay, just get inside!”

“Yes, let go, Rayvin,” the creature mocked, using Michaels’ body to creep closer to her. He leaned over the big man’s back like a sinister gargoyle. She smelled his disgusting breath, the odours of dead things and rotting flesh making her gag. Michaels fell to one knee under the weight, which the vampire used to his advantage, moving towards Rayvin until only inches separated her panting lips from his malevolent grin. She couldn’t look away from the fathomless black eyes. In the back of her mind, she heard Michaels crying out for her again, ordering her to save herself, but she was losing herself in the chasm of the vampire’s gaze. She blinked, and the reality of the present disappeared . . .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.

At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.
AUTHOR ONLINE: Twitter | Website

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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Excerpt + Spotlight: For Love or Vengeance by Caridad PiƱeiro


Original Title: For Love or Vengeance
Series: The Reborn Vampire Series
Publisher: Entangled - Ignite
Release Date: September 23rd, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance

FBI Special Agent Helene Alexander is a goddess.  An actual frickin’ goddess. And her mission is clear, see that justice is served at all times or her days as a goddess are numbered. Helene’s new FBI partner defines good-looking, but Miguel Sanchez, wants nothing to do with her ends-justify-the-means attitude. He knows through experience the type of guilt her actions can bring and Miguel wants nothing to do with Helene’s careless ways. Even if she’s so damned hot she makes him burn with the need. When the serial killer they’re tracking strikes again, Helene and Miguel are drawn into a case that will challenge their most fundamental beliefs about justice and vengeance. But it’s the passion between them that forces a goddess to choose: eternal life with all her powers...or death—to save the man she loves.

EXCERPT

It was crazy. Certifiably so.


Dangerous.


Thrilling.


Helene and Miguel had made it to her Chelsea apartment in record time and now they stood in her living room, barely a hand’s breadth apart. Anticipation charged the air around them. She couldn’t remember ever wanting a man quite this much. The evening had been romantic, he was gorgeous, and her body was pulsing with need. She felt warm despite the slight chill of the air.


Miguel gently stroked his fingers over her hair and she almost felt the blast of heat from the contact. He smoothed the curls and laid his hand at the crook of her neck.


“So soft,” he murmured, brushing his fingertips over her skin.


She worried her lower lip, even as she savored his touch.


This was a dangerous step they were taking.


Dangerous both emotionally and physically.


“Are you sure?” he asked. He reached up with his thumb, soothed the spot on her lip that she had been biting.


She didn’t delude himself that the night would lead to anything more permanent. She almost wondered what had possessed her to make the invitation in the first place. No good could come of a relationship with her partner.


Then again, they weren’t talking about a relationship. They were two consenting adults doing what consenting adults did. She smiled. “I’m sure we’ll enjoy this. And no, I won’t regret it.”


Relief washed over his features, but it was tinged with apology, and she understood. He was a man for whom sleeping together was a prelude to something deeper. Something more profound. But for her, sex was just sex.


So she took the next logical step. Literally.


She closed the distance between them until her body was pressed to his and then combed through the strands of his hair. Dipped her hand down to cradle the back of his head and urge him forward, her gaze locked with his until that moment when their lips finally touched and desire dragged their eyes shut.


She was no stranger to his kiss, having experienced it the other day, but that didn’t make it any less
enticing.


He was an amazing kisser. He moved his lips against hers, urged her to open her mouth with a slight tug of her lower lip with his teeth. That gentle nip pulled a shudder from her. And a stab of desire to feel his mouth elsewhere on her body.


Without breaking away from his kiss, she eased her hands beneath his suit jacket and slipped it off his shoulders. Did the same with his holster, which thudded against the wood floor. She undid the buttons on his shirt, parted it, and covered his chest with her hands.


“Princess, are you in a rush? Because I’m not,” he said against her lips, breaking away from the kiss.


“You’re not?” she asked, puzzled by his restraint.

He skimmed his large hands across her shoulders, down her arms and to her hands. Twining his fingers with hers, he said, “All good things take time.”

ABOUT CARIDAD PINEIRO

New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word and in 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released. Over a decade later, Caridad is the author of more than thirty published novels and novellas. When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista.

AUTHOR ONLINE: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Sunday, 6 October 2013

10 Things You Didn’t Know About JD Combs

Some of these you may be able to find if you dig hard enough into my own blog, but most of these are things I rarely talk about so I thought I’d share them with you.
  1. I’m an avid tennis player.  I’d love to say I’m an avid tennis fan as well, but I can’t say it and be remotely honest about it.  I love to play the game but I never watch it or follow any of the players.
  2. I can be the world’s worst hockey fan when it comes to watching my boys play.  Obnoxious could be my name at some of the games I’ve watched.  I’ve been told repeatedly that I need to stay calm and carry on or my friends will leave me to sit elsewhere.  My husband never sits near me because of the obnoxious factor I can bring to the game.
  3.  I love to drive around in the summer with the windows rolled down and the music cranked up.  The feeling of the warm wind rushing through the windows and the sound of the music is a balm to my entire being.
  4. I hate mushrooms.  All of them.  They’re slimy and taste like dirt.
  5. When I was 10 I couldn’t wait to grow up and a have kids of my own.  When I turned 16 I never wanted to have kids.  I now have three who are my entire world.  I guess I knew more what I wanted when I was 10 than I did when I was 16.
  6. When I was in high school, I wanted to be an Ambassador to a small kingdom and have the handsome prince fall madly in love with me, sweep me off my feet and make me his princess.  In other words, I love fairy tales.
  7. I am a true Scorpio through and through.  I will be your most loyal friend when my trust is gained but do one thing to piss me off and you’re out…forever.  I don’t forgive easily, but I’ll give you my heart and soul when you earn it.  I’m stubborn and independent.  I don’t like being told what to do or how to do it.  I am incredibly intuitive about others, but I can keep many secrets about myself.
  8. I’m afraid of spiders and heights.  Well, actually, I’m terrified of spiders and only moderately disturbed by heights.  In other words I wouldn’t make a good candidate for Fear Factor.
  9. I can cry at the drop of a hat when it comes to thinking about my kids growing up and leaving home.  My oldest son says I’m a pansy.  I have to agree.
  10.  At one time we had 10 pets in our house.  We had an old, incontinent golden retriever, a bunny, three rats, a cat and a field mouse we rescued from our cat.  Little did we know the rescued mouse would go on to deliver three babies.  The mice were every mother’s worst nightmare.  They constantly escaped and were thankfully set free.  The rats were absolutely delightful.  I bawled like a baby when we put the first one to sleep.
Now you know some things about me I’m not even sure my husband knows.  So can we just keep them between you and me?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre –  Romantic Suspense
Rating – R (adult language / sexual scenes)
More details about the author & the book
Connect with JD Combs on Facebook & Twitter

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