Buzzing Blast – Protected by a SEAL by Makenna Jameison #Giveaway

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About the Book

Protected by a SEAL

Title: Protected by a SEAL

Series: Alpha SEALs Book 6 (stand-alone)

Author: Makenna Jameison

Published: August 23rd, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Age Restriction: 18+

Synopsis

His need to protect her is nonnegotiable…

Navy SEAL Brent “Cobra” Rollins never met a woman he didn’t want. He’s gotten more action than his entire SEAL team combined, but the gorgeous brunette he barely even touched is the one he can’t get out of his head.

Ella Thompson is working her way through school, and the cocky, assertive Navy SEAL who stood up for her is also wrong in about a thousand different ways. Player? Check. Older man? Check. Interested in a relationship with her? Not a chance in hell.

When she’s all out of options, Ella returns to her former shift at a cocktail lounge to make ends meet. Her boss is willing to give her the job back—for a price. The only thing scarier than submitting to him is being pawned off as payment to his enemies. The man who can save her is the one she should never want, but he’s the only one who’d also protect her with his life.

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Makenna Jameison is a bestselling romance author. She writes military romance and romantic suspense with hot alpha males, steamy scenes, and happily-ever-afters. Her debut series made it to #1 in Romance Stories on Amazon. Makenna loves reading, writing, the beach, and traveling to new places. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and two daughters.

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Excerpt

He tucked his phone back into his pocket and glanced around again, realizing the entire place smelled like Ella—fragrant. Sweet. Good. He could tell she was still pissed at him though, judging from the way she watched him with hands on both hips. Her ire would have to wait—because as soon as she said a name, he was out of here.

Tracking that motherfucker down.

“Tell me what happened.”

She looked startled for a moment but quickly recovered. “It doesn’t matter,” she said quietly.

“It matters to me. If someone is hurting you, I want to know about it. If you’re scared, I want you to tell me. If you’re frightened of someone, I’ll protect you. And if you tell me who did this, I’ll be out of your hair this instant, because I’m going to fucking kill them. Now start at the beginning.”

Ella looked uncomfortable. “Frank said he’d give me my old job back.”

“Yeah. Got that part.”

“But he wanted…he said….” Fresh tears rolled down her cheeks, and it took every ounce of Brent’s strength not to go to her. She needed to get this out. To tell him what happened.

“I thought I could handle Frank, but I was in way over my head. He wanted to see me outside of work. Told me that I had to sleep with him. I told him no, and he threatened to take my job away. Some of my student loans fell through for next year, so I was desperate. I told him I wouldn’t sleep with him, but I guess he thought he could pressure me. He said he wanted a kiss.”

“And the bruises?”

“He, uh, grabbed me in the hall last night.”

“At work?” Rage burned through him.

“Yes. I came out of the bathroom, and he was pissed that I’d dropped an entire tray of drinks. The guys at the table were total assholes and deserved it. I was going to quit right then and there. But Frank followed me into the back hall. He grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let me go.” Ella sniffed, her watery gaze meeting his. “Then he made me go down the hall to his office.”

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Buzzing Book: Recipe for Lust by Alice Ward #Interview

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About the Book

Recipe for Lust

Title: Recipe for Lust

Author: Alice Ward

Published: August 19th, 2016

Genre: Romance

Age Recommendation: 18+

Synopsis

When Claire, a young and ambitious cook, decides to audition for Extreme Cuisine, she has no idea just how much her life will change in just nine weeks. Having just gotten out of a long term relationship, she is ready for a new chapter, and maybe even a hot fling or two. Though she’s never been formally trained as a chef, Claire holds her own in the competition which pairs amateurs and professional chefs side by side. Her biggest surprise comes when her celebrity chef crush, Scott Maxim, becomes a fellow competitor. Sparks fly between the two both on and off the screen, and her crush quickly grows for the kitchen bad boy.

As the competition continues, everything seems to be going well for Claire. She holds her own in the competition and gets along with the other chefs, including Shep Thompson, Extreme Cuisine’s host and chef to the stars. As Claire’s relationship with Scott grows, however, her other cast mates begin to get jealous, especially Shep. Shep is quiet and kind, and Claire hardly notices his advances until he takes out his jealousy on Scott in the competition. Tension between the three grows, and the drama it creates angers the other competitors who think Claire is receiving special treatment.

Claire is pulled away from the competition when she gets news that her pregnant friend, Kennedy, has been hospitalized. Claire joins her friends in Boston, but is shocked to learn that Shep has followed her there out of concern that she may not return to the show. The two get even closer over one steamy night.

Claire decides to return to the competition, but with only a few weeks left, secrets and betrayal begin to surface. She realizes that nothing is what it originally seemed. With all revealed, Claire faces her biggest challenge yet: beating the professional chefs at their own game.

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

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Alice Ward is an Amazon Bestselling author who loves to write hot & steamy contemporary romances.

Reading and Writing romance is her passion and she writes with her true heart.

Living in Miami, the beach is her favorite place to relax with her laptop and write her next spicy romance.

However, when she is not reading or writing romance, she also enjoys being with her beautiful family.

Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Interview

1) Describe your relationship with a good book.

Books are sacred so I never dog ear the pages or break the spine and I never, ever read the last page first!

And, before you ask… Yes, I have a Kindle and read eBooks but I still love the feel of a physical book in my hands. That’s why I publish my books in both formats, eBook and paperback.

2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?

Before we were married, my husband and I wrote love letters to each other. I’m very proud of them because they helped me to land the most amazing man ever, but they’re not for publication, of course.

3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.

I make it a point to sit my butt down in a chair and write every day. It’s as simple and as hard as that.

4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?

My schedule allows me a set number of hours per day to write. Even if I’m having a bad writing day and don’t get my normal word count in, I never go past my writing time. Time with my husband and family is very important to me.

5) Why did you write this book?

I love cooking shows and can watch them for hours. I might even be secretly in love with Bobby Flay.

6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?

I think this is, for me, the opposite. I was a shy kid so a big part of why I started to write was so I could have the adventures in my own head that I thought other people were having in real life. So, I guess I might be writing about the things I might want to do and then I just let my imagination take off from there.

7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?

Family, children, and a legacy of good books for the generations to come.

8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.

Well, my mother brought me up to never lie so I guess I’ll have to tell you now that all my books are based on my own life. Before I settled down and got married, I had one hell of time!

Excerpt

“Welcome to United Airlines.” A woman with a tight blonde ponytail and a name tag that read ‘Sara’ greeted me at the counter.

She took my ticket and waved to another employee who quickly jumped to her side. “Please escort Miss Walker to her terminal,” she ordered and gave me a warm smile.

The boy — his name was Thomas according to his name tag — was friendly and eager to help me through the security counter. The line was long, and I was worried that I’d spent too much time saying goodbye to Lauren, but he quickly ushered me through to the side where there was no wait.

Wow, I could get used to first class.

We approached the terminal riding a gold cart, which Thomas had commandeered at the security station. He handed me my purse and carry-on and moved quickly to the counter where another blonde with a tight ponytail stood. Her face looked sour, and she seemed unimpressed that I had arrived in such style. “You’re free to board whenever you like,” she said, her tone clipped and efficient.

Thomas, on the other hand, was still eager to please and extremely friendly. “There are refreshments available onboard, or if you like, the first class waiting area is just down that way.” He pointed down the long corridor.

Other passengers who had obviously been waiting for their turn to board looked at me with resentment. I wasn’t prepared to come across so pompous and just wanted to board. “I’ll go ahead and board now. Thank you, Thomas.” I shot the sour blonde a fake smile.

She took my ticket and motioned for me to pass. I held the stub in my hand and walked down the long tube that was supposed to resemble a hallway. I felt my nerves rattle as I took each step. I hated flying, especially alone. What was I doing?

“Right this way, ma’am.” A perky brunette with a bob hairstyle greeted me at the entrance of the plane. I followed her as she guided me to the left, a section I’d never seen before. It was magnificent, better than I ever imagined. The seats were slick black leather and were equipped with massage options and had the ability to stretch out into a bed. I was in my own cubicle-like area, no other passenger to sit next to and listen to stories about their family, or their illness, or God forbid, their cats.

“Can I get you a drink?” the woman asked.

“A mimosa?” I asked, uncertain if that was an option.

She smiled and nodded before disappearing. On her return, a tall glass topped with an orange slice was quickly handed to me. Yes, I could get used to this.

The flight was amazing, even taking off and landing seemed easier in first class. I wasn’t sure if it was the feeling of being packed in like sardines in a flying can that usually stressed me out, but this was easy and made me want to travel more. I was ready to see the world.

The first class passengers were allowed to exit the plane first, giving the coach passengers their first glimpse of the pretentious asses that enjoyed hot towels, fruity drinks, and enough space to stretch out during the flight. I felt bad as I walked past the couple with two small children, both of which were puffy eyed from crying and out of their seats begging to be let off the plane. “I’m hungry!” one screamed, while the other sucked vigorously on his thumb with tears still wet on his face. No, I didn’t feel bad for them, at least not as badly as I felt for the ones around them who endured that endless chaos.

I ducked into the nearest restroom and rinsed my hands under the water. Even in first class, I still felt clammy from being on the metal deathtrap. My face looked refreshed, a slight glow shining on my skin from the excitement, or fear. Either way, it suited me well.

The crowds of people pushed me through the airport towards the luggage claim. The conveyor belt started, and suitcases rolled towards the waiting crowd. The woman who had the two children on my flight smiled as she leaned in and grabbed a torn suitcase that looked like it came from Goodwill. Her two kids were climbing on the belt, trying their best to take a turn on what must have looked like a fun ride. I watched as the dad effortlessly pulled each one down and showed no expression on his face as he repeated the procedure each time they climbed back up.

Finally, my suitcases appeared. I grabbed them and walked towards the front of the airport. A woman with thick rimmed cat eye glasses and short black hair stood holding a sign with my name. I walked towards her. “Hi, I’m Claire Walker.”

She extended her hand and smiled. Her hair style and glasses made her look older from afar, but now up close she couldn’t have been more than twenty-five; no older than me. Her tone was perky and her demeanor bubbly as she shook my hand. “I’m Gretchen, the production assistant for the show. Welcome.”

It took no time for her to take one of my bags and start walking towards the exit. “These are your only bags?” she asked without stopping to hear my answer.

“Yes,” I said as I almost ran to keep up with her.

“I’ll be taking you directly to the hotel. From there, you’ll be checked in where you can settle in your room, freshen up if you wish, and then promptly return to the lobby where you’ll be introduced to the other contestants and be briefed on the show.” Her lips moved as quickly as her feet.

“That sounds great. Anything I should know beforehand?”

She stopped at the sidewalk, let a tall man with gray hair take the bag from her hand, then motioned for him to take the one I’d been lugging around as well. Her glasses pushed down from her eyes to her nose, and she looked me up and down. “Like what, dear?”

I had no response. I didn’t know what. That was basically what I was asking, wasn’t it?

“Anyway, everything you need to know will be clear at the briefing,” she said.

Gretchen climbed into the back seat as the driver held the door open and then looked to me as if I were holding her up. “You coming, dear?”

Dear? I didn’t like that. She was the same age as me, maybe younger. The dear seemed to be condescending.

I climbed into the back of the black Lincoln and looked ahead as the driver pulled away from the airport.

Gretchen shuffled through papers and ignored the fact that I was sitting right next to her, eagerly waiting for information on the show, on the procedures, on anything really. It was obvious she wasn’t into small talk, and she was too busy to worry herself with my concerns, so I slouched down into the leather seat and stared out the window as we drove through the large city.

“We’re here,” she announced.

I opened my eyes, not realizing I’d fallen asleep and hoped I hadn’t snored, or drooled. I wiped my mouth. It was dry, thank God.

Gretchen was already out of the car and the driver had my suitcases pulled from the trunk as I stood for the first time on Austin’s soil. Well, maybe not soil. It was a beautiful cobblestone drive, but soil sounded so much more poetic and soothed my frazzled nerves.

The bellhop took my bags and rolled them on a gold metal cart inside the hotel. The lobby was impressive with its marble columns and large white plush sofas and dark wood furniture. Gretchen was already at the check-in desk and filling out paperwork for my room. “She needs your identification,” she said quickly and returned to the forms.

I pulled my driver’s license from my wallet and handed it to the woman behind the counter. “Here’s your key, ma’am,” the woman said with a strong southern accent.

Ma’am. I wasn’t sure I liked that any better than dear.

I took the key and felt my stomach ache with anxiety. Gretchen’s bubbly but to-the-point personality quickly pulled me out of my attack and brought me to a place of order.

“Your room is on the fifth floor. There’s a vending machine right outside your door, and you have exactly thirty minutes before you’re to meet back here,” Gretchen ordered as she pointed to the large sectional sofa in the corner of the lobby.

My room was equipped with a large king-sized bed, marble countertops in the bathroom, and a view of the city’s skyline. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

After wasting several minutes scoping the place out, I realized I’d better get myself freshened up and back down to the lobby. I pressed my clothes with my hands and ran a brush through my hair before exiting the hotel room I’d been assigned. A large man with a bald head was bent over at the vending machine outside my door. His pants were falling down to show the crack of his ass, and as he stood to apologize for being in my way, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was one of the contestants.

I smiled graciously and moved towards the elevator where a hand reached out and slapped the side to keep it from closing. “Thank you,” I said without seeing who I was thanking just yet.

“Not a problem,” a voice replied. A familiar voice.

I turned towards the stranger who sounded so familiar, and my heart fluttered in my chest. I knew I must be staring, and there was no doubt that my mouth was hanging open at the sight of one of my favorite chefs.

“I’m Aiden Maxim, nice to meet you,” he said with a charming smile.

I wanted to scream. Jump up and down. Fangirl him for hours on end. “Yes, I know who you are,” I admitted, proud that my voice sounded clear and professional.

He smiled, and his eyes roved down my body. They felt like snakes slithering against my skin as I pressed myself hard against the elevator wall. He had been a regular on my favorite cooking show for a couple years at least, and his bad boy persona was what kept many women tuning in when he was a guest. Now, here he was, in the flesh — tattooed and muscle-bound flesh — introducing himself to me, like I wouldn’t know who he was. Aiden Maxim. Wow!

“But yet, I don’t have any idea who you are,” he said with a crooked smile that did interesting things to my lower belly.

His eyes were still on me, smothering me, caressing me, causing me to become more and more anxious.

“I’m Claire,” I said, my voice becoming shakier the longer I was in his presence.

My palms were sweating as I rubbed them together in front of me. “Are you part of the show?” I asked, figuring he may be a host or a guest chef.

“Yes, one of the contestants,” he said proudly.

“C-contestants?” I stuttered, my shakiness now replaced with pure fear in my voice.

“Yes,” he confirmed.

“I thought this was an amateur cooking competition?” I asked, hoping I had misunderstood him.

“They decided to switch things up and add some professionals, semi-professionals, and amateurs together,” he said. “Better ratings, ya know.”

Yeah, better ratings, my ass. This would be a televised slaughter. And great, I get to be a part of it all!

The elevator door opened, and Aiden motioned for me to exit first. A gentleman was underneath that onslaught of tattoos and wolfish grin. Nice.

Even though it was a few minutes early, people were already gathering near the large sectional sofa that Gretchen had designated as the meeting spot in one of the private conference rooms. Some of the faces were familiar, some not. My stomach flopped as I moved towards the group, wondering if I should just run back to my room and call Lauren and Asher to send me another first class ticket home. I enjoyed that part of the trip. The rest of this production I’d gotten myself into, I wasn’t so sure would be as enjoyable.

Gretchen appeared with a clipboard and wasted no time getting right to it. She went around the room to each contestant and read a short bio. I was relieved when I realized that there were more amateurs than professionals, but some of the names that were read off gave me chills. This was the real deal. No more playing in the kitchen, it was time to get to work.

“We’ll have you each create an intro for the show. Just be yourself and tell us a little about why you’re here, what you do for a living, why you love cooking, why you want to win, whatever comes to mind.”

Panic set in at the thought of being pushed in front of the camera so suddenly. As each person took their turn, I realized they were all as nervous as I was, or at least many of them were.

“Aiden Maxim,” Gretchen called out.

Aiden had been behind me, something I wasn’t aware of until he placed his hand on my hip as he passed by. He winked, smiled in that sexy crooked smile of his and whispered, “Wish me luck, sweetheart.”

Even his swagger was cool. He stepped up to his spot and looked completely at ease in front of the four cameras aimed at his face. He spoke without any sign of pressure or nervousness. I listened, soaking up every last word — how he used to help his grandma in the kitchen, how he’d dedicated his life to feeding the poor, and how he planned on opening his own culinary school for underprivileged children with the winnings from this show.

Adrenaline rushed through my veins as I watched him make love to the camera. “That was perfect,” Gretchen said with a smile. It was obvious as her eyes lingered on his chest that she found him attractive. How could anyone not find Aiden Maxim attractive? He was hot, a bad boy with a big heart, and he could cook.

My name was called, and my fingers went numb. My throat felt tight, and my heart raced. Oh God, I don’t know if I can do this!

 

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Buzzing Cover Reveal: Storm Wolf by Stephen Morris #Reveal

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About the Book

Storm Wolf
Title: Storm Wolf
Author: Stephen Morris
To Be Published: September 1st, 2016
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis

He was given the wolf-magic to save his neighbors; now it drives him to kill them.

“LIBAHUNT!” Alexei breaks the terms of the wolf-magic he inherited from his grandfather and loses the ability to control the shapeshifting. His grandfather’s magical wolf-pelt was meant to protect their rural village in 1880s Estonia by fighting the terrible storms in the sky but instead, it drives Alexei to kill, slaughtering his neighbors, his friends —even his family.
Heartbroken, Alexei flees his home in search of an enchanter to free him from this hideous curse. Wandering through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Bohemia, he encounters the Master of Wolves, who forces Alexei to terrorize and murder the local farmers, and the infamous Frau Bertha who traps all those who anger her by turning them into wolves. Will Alexei find a sorceror who can free him?

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Stephen Morris

Stephen has degrees in medieval history and theology from Yale and St. Vladmir’s Orthodox Theological Academy. A former priest, he served as the Eastern Orthodox chaplain at Columbia University. His previous academic writing has dealt primarily with Late Antiquity and Byzantine church life.

He is also the Chair of the CORE Executive of Inter-disciplinary.net and organizes annual conferences on aspects of the supernatural, evil and wickedness, and related subjects. The magical and fantastic elements in his books are all based on authentic medieval and Renaissance occult beliefs and practices, as well as local folklore, legends, and history.

Stephen, a Seattle native, is now a long-time New York resident and currently lives in Manhattan with his partner, Elliot.

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Buzzing Book: Extracted by Tyler H Jolley and Sherry D Ficklin #Giveaway

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About the Book

Extracted

Title: Extracted

Series: The Lost Imperials, Book 1

Authors: Tyler H. Jolley and Sherry D. Ficklin

Published: August 15th, 2016

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

Genre: Science Fiction / Action & Adventure, Science Fiction / Steampunk, Science Fiction / Time Travel

Synopsis

Two opposing factions of time travelers vie for control of the future in this thrilling steampunk series opener dubbed “Interesting” and “Unexpected” by Kirkus Reviews.

Lex and Ember—two time travelers with no memories of their lives before being recruited into the time war—are torn between the factions. When Lex accepts a mission that lands him deep within the heart of the Telsa Institute, he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they were, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them once again.

*This special edition contains expanded content and bonus material not found in the first release.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

About the Authors

Tyler_and_Sherry

Tyler H. Jolley was born in the era of the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones sagas. He has been enamored with science fiction and adventure stories ever since. In order to support his hobby of writing he decided to pursue dentistry. He graduated from Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine in 2002. He then completed a four year orthodontic and periodontic residency at the University of Pennsylvania. In June 2006, he opened a private practice, Jolley Smiles, in Grand Junction, Colorado.Snowboarding, mountain biking, road biking, fly fishing, bird hunting, camping, hiking, and backpacking are the things he enjoys doing with his family. He also enjoys lecturing internationally on temporary orthodontic implants. Some of his journal articles have also been published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics. However, his true passion has always been fiction writing.When life gets stressful he escapes to unseen worlds to find relaxation. His career has been the vehicle to let him write without worry. He finds inspiration from most of his adolescent patients. He continues to dream up fun and thrilling books to this day.

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Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs. She is the author of several YA novels ranging from contemporary romance to science fiction. In her spare time she co-hosts the Pop Lit Divas radio show and is constantly trying to take over the world.

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Excerpt

My breath comes in short, shallow bursts. I can feel the warmth of Ethan’s body radiating like a tuning fork against my back. In front of me, there is only darkness. I strain, listening, waiting for the next wave of attack. The leather straps holding up my suede harness dig into the skin of my shoulders, but the ache only sharpens my focus. The urge to turn around is strong, though I know better. Months of training have taught me exactly what happens when I turn my back to the darkness. So I listen, honing my senses until I catch the sound of Ethan taking a small step forward, away from me. My eyes are useless, so I close them. Knowing my attackers are well paid for their ability to move in silence, there is little hope that they will give themselves away. We need another strategy. As if reading my mind, Ethan picks up the conversation we were having earlier.

“All I’m saying is, maybe you need the extra practice,” Ethan says, his tone mocking. Even without being able to see him, I can sense him moving, beginning to circle counterclockwise. I know he’s trying to draw them out, to bring the fight to him. It seems like a sound strategy, so I jump on board.

“Oh, yes, because it isn’t like she turned around and kicked the crap out of you, too.” I’m mimicking his movements now. My voice is flat, free from emotion, and my words are empty. I can’t see him moving, but I can feel him, as if we’re connected by a million invisible threads.

“How am I supposed to just punch a girl?” Ethan asks. “And I was tired from taking the guy out like five seconds earlier.”

“She isn’t a girl. She’s more like a pissed-off kangaroo in a top hat. She has a nasty right hook, I’ll give you that.”

I hear the sharp whip of air as a bamboo pole cuts through the darkness, headed toward my face. Even with our phony argument going on, I’m able to hear it coming before it lands. I bring up my hands and block the blow with my forearms. The impact stings, bruising the bones there, but better my arms than my face. With a movement perfected after one too many blows to the head, I grab the pole and pull it aside, dragging my attacker with it. As he closes in, I drop the pole and lock arms with Ethan. I flip over his back and kick out, knocking my attacker to the mat. As he struggles back to his feet, Ethan spins into my place, delivering a secondary kick that sends the man flying into the wall with a dull thud. “Yeah, but she’s scrappy,” he says.

“Scrappy? Is that boy code for you couldn’t stop staring at her rack?”

Behind me, I feel Ethan duck a blow, and then land one of his own before pressing his back against mine. “I… that’s not… I didn’t even… I mean…” he sputters.

I smirk. Busted.

Footsteps approach, but we keep sparring. I bend over, using my attacker’s own momentum against him as I put my shoulder into his gut and stand, propelling him over my head and onto his back on the mat. I don’t need to see my victory to realize what the maneuver has cost me. A muscle in my lower back seizes, and it’s all I can do not to drop to my knees in agony. I clench my fists until I feel my fingernails cut bloody crescents in my palms. There is no way I’m going to be the weak link—no way I’m going to let Ethan fight alone. Back to back, that’s how Rifters are trained to fight. And Ethan always has my back.

“Don’t feel too bad. She was pretty scrappy after all.”

Ethan mumbles, “It’s a girl thing.”

“Hold up, what’s that supposed to mean?” I ask, stiffly regaining my footing as my back screams in protest.

As usual, Ethan turns to check on me. “Nothing personal, Ember.”

Not wanting him to get slammed for it again, I grab him by the shoulder and pull, revolving us to our starting positions just as the first attacker flips back onto his feet and lunges. He would have taken me in the stomach, but I bring up my knee just in time to block his advance before kicking him in the face. There is a loud crunch that sounds like breaking bone. I hear him hit the mat with a groan. The lights flick back on, and Mistress Catherine blows her whistle.

Normally we spar with off-duty guards, since most of them have military training of some kind. They know how to take a hit and how to deliver one without doing too much damage. We might be lowly recruits, but Rifters are rare, and our lives are precious.

But as the man whose nose I have just broken pulls off his black ski mask, my heart falls into my shoes. Flynn is staring up at me, and his face is covered in blood.

“Nice hit, Ember,” he says as blood drips from his nose and onto his white shirt. Mistress Catherine hands him his horn-rimmed glasses and shoots me an amused smirk. Behind me, Ethan snickers.

Great. And here I was thinking this day couldn’t get any worse.

Reaching down, I offer Flynn a hand up, which he accepts with a smile.

“I’m so sorry,” I mutter, but he waves it off.

“Catherine told me you were really coming along. I wanted to see for myself.”

The others are shuffling out, so I turn to grab a towel and follow them, but Mistress Catherine closes the door behind a worried-looking Ethan, presses her back against it, and narrows her eyes at me. I used to think it was hard to look menacing in a knee-length pencil skirt and beige brocade top, but she radiates power. It might be the stern pucker of her thin lips, or the way her graying hair is knotted tightly at the nape of her neck. She resembles a librarian except for the long, jagged scar that runs from her left temple to the cleft in her chin. Well, that and the spider-shaped, iron shoulder harness permanently affixed to her upper arm.

Not sure what’s going on, I freeze, yellow towel in hand. Before I can say anything, I feel something moving behind me. I manage to move to the side just as a wooden staff comes slamming down against the spot where I’d stood a heartbeat earlier. I turn and see Flynn grinning, blood still dripping off his chin. He spits before whirling the staff like a windmill in front of him. “What I don’t understand,” he says, circling to my left, “is how that Hollow got the best of you. According to Ethan’s report, Kara had no problem with her. And Catherine here tells me that you mat Kara at almost every practice now.”

I have no idea what to say. Does he think I let her beat up on me? Just then, my legs are swept out from under me. I fall to the mat, but, rolling swiftly backward, I bounce up onto my feet. Catherine has a staff, too, and comes toward me from the right. I hold up my hands and back up slowly. In the corner of the room, a vent erupts in a cloud of steam, and Tesla’s image appears but says nothing.

“Look, I didn’t let her get away,” I say. “If that’s what you’re implying. She was strong. And fast.”

Catherine shakes her head. “You are strong. And fast. And clever.”

“I’m sorry!” I blurt out when my back hits the corner and they are still coming at me.

I don’t think Flynn would ever hurt me, not really, but Catherine, well…

Without another word, they both attack. I manage to duck one blow but take another in the ribs before I decide to make a break for it. Jumping as high as possible, I’m able to get a hand on the chain attaching one of the punching bags to the ceiling and hoist myself up. I leap over Flynn and roll as I hit the ground behind him. They’re quick, though, and have me surrounded again in seconds.

It’s easy to forget that they are trained Rifters, too. Catherine doesn’t rift anymore, but Flynn is still active and in really good shape. They aren’t holding anything back either. Flynn lands a blow to my lower back, but when Catherine moves in, I’m able to grab her staff and force it from her bad arm. Suddenly, time is moving in a blur. I’m not thinking about my next move anymore. My body is reacting of its own accord. I’m not sure how it happens, but I blink and Catherine is on her knees. Flynn is standing in front of me, and I have the two staffs crossed at his neck. He’s holding up his hands and saying my name.

I drop the sticks and step back. The muscles in my arms and legs are twitching like I’ve just run ten miles.

“That’s what we mean,” Catherine says, climbing stiffly to her feet. “You could have taken the Hollow girl. So, why did you hesitate?”

I close my eyes, calling the fight to the front of my memory. There was something about the girl. She was beautiful, for sure, but that wasn’t it. There was something else, too. Something I can’t put into words. I look up to find they’re staring at me, waiting for some kind of answer. I can feel Tesla glaring holes into my back, watching me like one of his little science experiments. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Flynn sighs and holds his hands out to me. I take them without hesitation. “Ember, I know it’s hard. I know you don’t like hurting people. It’s against your very nature to harm someone or let someone suffer. But you are too important to risk losing. Understand? Sometimes, you have to put someone down, let someone get hurt or even die, to save yourself and your team. You can’t hold anything back.”

I take a deep breath. “And what if someone dies because of me? Because, for some reason, my life is worth more than theirs?”

Flynn lowers his head, looking me in the eye. “That is a burden you will have to learn to carry.”

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Buzzing Tour: The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates #Interview #Giveaway

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About the Book

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles

Title: The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles

Series: Finding Billy Battles, Book 2

Author: Ronald E. Yates

Published: June 2016

Publisher: Xlibris

Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical Fiction

Synopsis

Billy Battles is definitely not in Kansas anymore.

As Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy opens Billy is far from his Kansas roots—and his improbable journeys are just beginning. He is aboard an ocean liner sailing to the Mysterious East (Hong Kong, French Indochina, and the Philippines), among other places.

The year is 1894 and aboard the S S China Billy meets a mysterious, dazzling, and possibly dangerous German Baroness, locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government, and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea. Later, he is inadvertently embroiled in the bloody anti-French insurgency in Indochina–which quite possibly makes him the first American combatant in a country that eventually will become Vietnam.

Later, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are just beginning. As the 19th century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries and an assortment of malevolent and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present?

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Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njxdwc2ngww

About the Author

Ron Yates 1

Ronald E. Yates is a former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.

He is the author of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy the first in a series of novels. The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles, published in May 2016, is the second book in the series. He is also the author of The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill.

Other books include Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey Through Japan, a collection of columns translated into Japanese, as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist’s Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a Global Economy.

Yates lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America where he covered several major stories including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia in 1975, the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy in Beijing, and revolutions in Nicaragua, El Salvador an Guatemala.

His work as a foreign correspondent resulted in three Pulitzer Prize nominations and several other awards, including the Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; The Inter-American Press Association Award for coverage of South America; and three Edward Scott Beck Awards for international reporting.

Yates is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He lives in Murrieta, California.

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Interview

1) Describe your relationship with a good book.

My relationship with any book begins with character development. Almost anybody can write action scenes, spill lots of blood, describe car chases, gun battles, and explosions, etc. But developing a character that readers care about, empathize with, like or even hate requires a lot of insight and practice. Too many people today (including some experienced editors) demand that a book begin with heart-stopping action. They believe that today’s reading audiences have very short attention spans and therefore require a constant dose of high-octane conflict along with clichéd cardboard characters. I disagree. Tension is not created just by the external forces a character must deal with. It comes from inside us. I want to see and feel how a character reacts (or fails to react) to events. Having said that, the first two books in my Finding Billy Battles trilogy contact significant action and conflict, but NOT at the expense of character development.

2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?

I began writing when I was in the sixth grade. By the time I was in the seventh grade I was writing short stories that I hasten to add were imminently forgettable. However, that was the kind of practice I needed. Later, I worked for my high school newspaper and learned how to write concisely and to describe things accurately. So I would say the first thing I wrote that I was proud of was a column in that high school newspaper. Later, after graduating college and going directly to the Chicago Tribune (unheard of today—and even then it was highly unusual), I was immensely proud of writing the main story for the front page of the paper after I was at the paper just a couple of months.

3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.

As a journalist I am used to meeting deadlines. I met them unfailingly for the 25 years that I worked as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Now that I am essentially writing for myself, I still set deadlines. My goal is to turn out 3,000 to 5,000 words on the days that I write—which is about five days a week. I usually reach that goal unless I get hung up doing research, which the first two books in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy required and which book 3 is also necessitating. I consider research VERY IMPORTANT, especially for those who write historical fiction. I pride myself on making sure my characters use no modern vernacular and act in ways that are out of place in the era my books are set. I also set deadlines for when I want to complete a book. For example, I am currently working on Book 3 in the trilogy and my goal is to finish that last book in April-May 2017. Check back with me to see if I meet that deadline!

4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?

When I was a working journalist for the Chicago Tribune and then a Dean and Professor of journalism at the University of Illinois, I could never find large enough blocks of time to write consistently. Writing requires HUGE amounts of time and long periods of seclusion–things most of us don’t have. Therefore, time to write was always my greatest challenge. Now that I am no longer administering a college, teaching or working full-time as a journalist I am blessed to have a lot more time to write than I ever thought I would have. Having said that, writing is an intensely solitary pursuit. I takes you away from family and friends and can turn you into a recluse if you are not careful. Take breaks often and get out and smell the flowers.

5) Why did you write this book?

I grew up in Kansas and I was always fascinated by what life was like there in the 19th Century when the state was still quite wild. At the same time, I spent a lot of time in the Far East as a foreign correspondent and I was equally intrigued by what life must have been like in the 19th Century colonial period in places like French Indochina, The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. Then one day I got the idea to blend the two using a character from 19th Century Kansas who goes to the Far East in search of himself.

6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?

I draw a lot from my experiences covering war, revolution and mayhem during my career as a foreign correspondent. I witnessed horrendous suffering up close and I saw what war can do to people—especially the innocents such as children. There is nothing pleasant about violence and the suffering and death it often brings. I guess what I learned is that no matter where you are, no matter what people you are observing and writing about, there is a tangible human connection when it comes to violence and war. I have seen both the crass depravity of the human soul and its decency and kindness. I am convinced that humans were never meant to hate one another and yet, that emotion remains a powerful force in the world.

7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?

I want to finish book #3 in the trilogy. Then I want to move on to my memoirs focusing on my quarter century career as a foreign correspondent. My plan is to write a book that looks at the “stories behind the story.”

8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.

Hmmm. I always liked a line from the journalist A. J. Liebling: “I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better.”

I guess that’s about as good a lie as I can tell.

Excerpt

Introduction

William F. R. Battles

Kansas City, Missouri, 1949

 

I spent most of my life as a newspaper scribbler, what they call a journalist today. So I appreciate how important it is to seize your readers early on so they will keep reading. However, there are some things that I need to explain before I get to this next, very turbulent time in my life.

As I am writing this it is early 1949 and even though I consider myself blessed to have so far avoided my second childhood, the filaments of my ripe old brain sometimes get about as limp as worn out fiddle strings when I exercise them too much. Nevertheless, I have recorded to the best of my memory and ability the incidents that transpired as I made my way to French Indochina aboard the S. S. China in 1894.

Readers may conclude that my reasons for leaving the United States for the Orient were self-centered and vague. If you read the initial installment of my tale then you know the first thirty-three years of my life were fraught with tragedy of one kind or another–some of it of my own making, but much of it the result of what others did. As I said in that first book, I need to acknowledge the corn about some pretty terrible things I did during my life.

I have killed people. And people have tried to kill me. I never wanted such a life, but it was thrust on me and I had to make the best of it.

Even though most of those violent altercations occurred early in my life, their repercussions were relentless and unwelcome companions as I grew older. They still are, even now at my advanced age. I wanted to let you know all of that so you can make up your mind right now if you want to read further.

I had my share of tragedy and misfortune too. If you read the first part of my story then you know I lost my wife to a cruel disease after only eight years of marriage. You will also recall that my response to that tragedy was to fog it out of the country. In doing so, I left everybody I loved behind. Those included my five-year-old daughter Anna Marie, my mother Hannelore Battles, my in-laws Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius McNab, my cousin Charlie Higgins and a lot of other people who I considered good friends.

Some folks may think my flight to the Orient a craven act–one that any man worth his salt would never contemplate, let alone carry out. I cannot disagree with that condemnation. I felt that way often as the S S China made its way to the Far East. Even later on, after I had settled in places like Manila and Saigon, I would reproach myself for what I had done.

Had I been indicted and put on trial for my actions and were I the judge and jury, I certainly would have found myself guilty of appalling judgment, capriciousness, and even child abandonment. As it was, there was no trial and no conviction, but I was a guilty prisoner of my impropriety nevertheless. Never a day went by when I didn’t regret leaving my little daughter behind in Denver for others to rear. As my mother pointed out to me more than once when she attempted to dissuade me from my journey to the Orient, I was raised without a father. Now my daughter was about to suffer the same fate. It was a brutally compelling argument, but I was not to be deterred.

And so, here I was aboard the S. S. China en route from San Francisco to our first port of call, Honolulu, the Republic of Hawaii. Back then, Hawaii was an independent republic, not the annexed territory it is today. As I would learn Americans in 1894 were considered unwelcome interlopers by many native Hawaiians. They were seen as greedy exploiters who were interested only in manipulating and profiting from the sugar and pineapple industries.

The first day aboard the S S China had been eventful, to say the least. I had been questioned by a surly Pinkerton detective who was trying to locate Nate Bledsoe–the man I had killed five years earlier in a gun fight at Battles Gap, my family’s homestead in Western Kansas.

Ten years before that I had killed Nate Bledsoe’s mother, a malevolent woman who had imprisoned Horace Hawes, the owner of the Dodge City Union, Ben Minot, a printer and me in a barn at the same place. Her death was an accident. Her sons, Nate and Matthew, began shooting at me and my two companions as we were escaping. As I returned fire with my Winchester rifle, a single bullet hit Mrs. Bledsoe in the throat just as she stepped out of the house and onto the porch where her sons were shooting at us. She died instantly.

Later in this scrap, Matthew Bledsoe was killed by Ben Minot, a friend and co-worker of the Dodge City Union. The Bledsoe clan was influential in Kansas in those days and had considerable pull in Topeka, the state capital. They were not about to let the shooting deaths of two of their kin go unpunished even if this particular branch was known to live outside the law. For the next several years, they hunted me down and on two occasions, came damned close to killing me.

Now, five years after I and several members of a wildcat U.S. Marshal’s posse had shot it out with Bledsoe and eight of his companions at Battles Gap, I was under investigation by the Pinkerton Detective Agency. It had been hired to determine if Nate Bledsoe was dead or alive and if the former was the case, where his bones were buried. Of course, I knew exactly where Nate Bledsoe was–or what remained of him and I sensed that the Pinkerton man knew that I knew. But I would be damned if I were going to admit it. Let’s just say I was “economical with the truth,” as my cousin Charley Higgins used to say.

My ongoing trouble with the Bledsoe clan could have been another reason for my voyage to the Orient had I wished to rationalize it that way. But, of course, I was not running away from the Bledsoe clan or the ghosts of the two Bledsoe’s I had eradicated or even the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

I was running away from myself though at the time I didn’t know it. Nor did I realize what I was moving toward and how my travels and trials would transform me in ways I could not have imagined. Of course, those thoughts were furthest from my mind that first evening aboard the S S China. I had, after all, been invited to have dinner at the Captain’s table in the First Class Dining Saloon with a few other passengers, among them, the mysterious and stunning widow Schreiber.

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Buzzing Book: Beyond All Recognition by Kenneth Eade #Interview #Giveaway

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About the Book

Beyond All Recognition

Title: Beyond All Recognition

Series: Brent Marks Legal Thrillers

Author: Kenneth Eade

Published: July 15, 2016

Publisher: Times Square Publishing

Genre: Legal Thriller/courtroom drama

Recommended Age: 18+

Synopsis

Experience the suspense and mystery of the latest in the best selling legal thriller series from the author critics hail as:”One of the strongest thriller writers on the scene.”

This fast-paced and action packed legal and military thriller introduces us to 26-year-old Captain Ryan Bennington, in command of a company during the Iraq War and fighting a faceless enemy in the global war on terror where a split-second decision could mean the difference between killing an innocent civilian or losing an entire platoon to a suicide bomber. Ryan survives the war and comes home to conquer PTSD and chronic unemployment, only to be arrested for following the orders of his Commander to kill suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in a small Iraqi village, who turn out, after the raid, to be civilians.

Lawyer Brent Marks takes on Ryan’s defense in his court-martial trial, which will reveal the deepest, darkest secrets of the military industrial complex. In their search for a scapegoat, have the powers-that-be gone too far this time?

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About the Author

Author Kenneth Eade

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an up-and-coming author in the legal thriller and courtroom drama genre, has been described by critics as “One of our strongest thriller writers on the scene and the fact that he draws his stories from the contemporary philosophical landscape is very much to his credit.” He is the author of the “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the fifth installment of which, Killer.com, won best legal thriller in the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards, and the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series”.

Said Eade of the comparisons, “Readers compare me in style to John Grisham and, there are some similarities, because John also likes to craft a story around real topics and we are both lawyers. However, all of my novels are rooted in reality, not fantasy. I use fictional characters and situations to express factual and conceptual issues. Some use the term ‘faction’ to describe this style, and it is present in all my fictional works.”

Eade has written twelve novels, which are now in the process of being translated into six languages. He is known to keep in touch with his readers, and offers a free Kindle book to all those who sign up at his website, www.kennetheade.com.

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Interview

Describe your relationship with a good book.

A good book for me is good company.  It is a source of inspiration as well as a distraction from the problems of everyday life.  Most importantly, it provides the stimulation for thought.

When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?

I have been writing since I was a little kid.  I used to make a “newspaper” for the adults when I was about 8 years old.  I took creative fiction writing in college.  But my path went on to law, which actually provided me a wealth of information for stories and characters.  But the first thing I wrote that I was the most proud of was “Bless the Bees”: a non-fiction book about the importance of pollinators to humans, the threats they face from our environmentally unfriendly actions, and how to save them.

Please describe your work ethic as an author.

I haven’t really developed that yet.  As a lawyer, I had enough self-discipline to sit down and work for hours on a project.  As an author, I have not been able to balance distraction, family life and inspiration.  I will learn, though.

Why did you write this book?

I’ve been writing a series of legal thrillers called, “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series” since 2014 and have developed a following of loyal readers who enjoy the books.  One of my readers is a retired First Class Sergeant with the U.S. Army who suggested the premise of the book, which is a young officer who is prosecuted for following orders to kill all military age males in four houses in an Iraqi village who were suspected al Qaeda operatives, as a scapegoat for the “higher-ups” in the government who handed down the orders.  When I started to do the research on the book, I discovered that these types of orders had, in fact, been given, and that military subordinates had been court-martialed for following these orders, instead of their superior officers.  My reader wanted me to express to all my readers what it was like to be a soldier in a foreign war.  It is a pro-soldier, anti-war novel.

What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?

I practiced law for 35 years.  During that time, you could probably say that I have seen it all: The hopes, the dreams, the disappointments, the fears and the goals of the men and women who have touched my life.  Besides my professional experiences, personal experiences have also contributed to my “inspiration bank”.  I have been a world traveler since the age of 10, when my family moved to Greece for three years.  Everything I have committed to memory eventually comes to the inspirational surface.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?

I hope to be successful in raising a family again.  I also hope to be at the top of the author’s spectrum in terms of popularity and sales.  It is very important that the messages of my novel are imparted to the world.

Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.

If I told you that, it probably wouldn’t be a lie, but you may think that it is.  Moreover, since you already know it would be a lie, there’s no fun in telling it.  I like people to see the truth in my stories.

Excerpt

“You get numb to it. That’s all I can say. Numb to death, killing. You get numb to the things that happen in war, but you can never forget them. They come back in your dreams after you finally get back home and they never leave.”

Slap!

Pull!

Observe!

Release!

Tap!

Squeeze!

“’SPORTS’ – It’s called the immediate action drill. Helps remind you what to do if your rifle malfunctions. It’s drilled into your head in training. You’re breaking that rifle down and putting it together two hundred times a day and by the time you get over there, you’re doing it like a machine on autopilot. All the war planning in the world goes out the window when the first shot’s fired in combat. That adrenaline kicks in, lights you up like a firebomb. But you remember SPORTS because it comes to you automatically, and that rifle’s the most important possession you’ve got. You’re only alive as long as it’s in your hands.”

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Buzzing Cover Reveal: Oak & Mistletoe by J.Z.N. McCauley #Giveaway

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About the Book

Oak & MistletoeTitle: Oak & Mistletoe
Author: J.Z.N. McCauley
Published: October 11th, 2016
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Content Warning: Violence

Synopsis

A Druid Curse, A Prophesied Love, A Consuming Vengeance…

Catherine Green, along with her twin sister and older brother, travels to Ireland on a college graduation trip. Her vacation takes a permanent turn when she lands her dream job at an art and history museum on her beloved Emerald Isle. She meets a handsome stranger named Bowen, an expert of sorts on local ancient studies. Though their first meetings are turbulent at best, Catherine finds herself drawn to him.

Unaware that she is the key to breaking a hidden curse, Catherine unleashes the evil madman Conall and his druid followers, imprisoned since ancient times. Tragedy and loss ensue, sprouting within Catherine the deep seeds of rage that thrust her onto the damaging path of vengeance. Confused by the enigma that is Bowen, his mixed signals, and her own feelings, she is swept away with him on an unexpected journey surrounded by myth and long-forgotten knowledge. In order to stop the evil plans of Conall and his reunified army, Catherine must entwine her fate with peril. Her survival is trivial to her as long as Conall dies. She’ll do whatever it takes.

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an Advance Reader Copy of Oak & Mistletoe,
please see Contact Form

About the Author

JZN McCauley

J.Z.N. McCauley resides in lovely New England, where she loves wearing jackets and boots in the unpredictable weather there. She is a wife and mother who enjoys life to the fullest. Also, being a nerd across many genres is something she expresses openly.

McCauley spends most of her spare time writing, drawing, or reading. She loves archeology, mythology, history, music and many other forms of art as well. Always having a variety of interests and talents, she could never pick just one. When the chance pops up to travel to any of her favorite places, she takes way too many pictures. Otherwise she is exploring a mystical land in a daydream. Which all provides fuel to her immense joy of writing.

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Buzzing Cover Reveal: Recipe for Lust by Alice Ward

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Recipe for Lust
Title: Recipe for Lust
Author: Alice Ward
To Be Published: August 19, 2016
Genre: Romance
Age Recommendation: 18+

Synopsis

When Claire, a young and ambitious cook, decides to audition for Extreme Cuisine, she has no idea just how much her life will change in just nine weeks. Having just gotten out of a long term relationship, she is ready for a new chapter, and maybe even a hot fling or two. Though she’s never been formally trained as a chef, Claire holds her own in the competition which pairs amateurs and professional chefs side by side. Her biggest surprise comes when her celebrity chef crush, Scott Maxim, becomes a fellow competitor. Sparks fly between the two both on and off the screen, and her crush quickly grows for the kitchen bad boy.

As the competition continues, everything seems to be going well for Claire. She holds her own in the competition and gets along with the other chefs, including Shep Thompson, Extreme Cuisine’s host and chef to the stars. As Claire’s relationship with Scott grows, however, her other cast mates begin to get jealous, especially Shep. Shep is quiet and kind, and Claire hardly notices his advances until he takes out his jealousy on Scott in the competition. Tension between the three grows, and the drama it creates angers the other competitors who think Claire is receiving special treatment.

Claire is pulled away from the competition when she gets news that her pregnant friend, Kennedy, has been hospitalized. Claire joins her friends in Boston, but is shocked to learn that Shep has followed her there out of concern that she may not return to the show. The two get even closer over one steamy night.

Claire decides to return to the competition, but with only a few weeks left, secrets and betrayal begin to surface. She realizes that nothing is what it originally seemed. With all revealed, Claire faces her biggest challenge yet: beating the professional chefs at their own game.

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About the Author

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Alice Ward is an Amazon Bestselling author who loves to write hot & steamy contemporary romances.

Reading and Writing romance is her passion and she writes with her true heart.

Living in Miami, the beach is her favorite place to relax with her laptop and write her next spicy romance.

However, when she is not reading or writing romance, she also enjoys being with her beautiful family.

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Buzzing Blitz – The Spirit of Grace by Terry Lynn Thomas #Giveaway #Excerpt

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About the Book

Spirit of Grace

Title: The Spirit of Grace

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Genre: Historical Gothic Mystery

Published: January 16th, 2016

Publisher: BlackOpal Books

Synopsis

Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies.

In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.

The Spirit of Grace is similar to the Gothic style of Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney.

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About the Author

Terry Lynn Thomas

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Terry Lynn Thomas married the love of her life, who promised to buy her a horse if she relocated to Mississippi with him. Now that she has relocated, she has discovered that she can be happy anywhere as long as she has her man, her horse and time to write. Terry Lynn devoured novels by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Daphne Du Maurier as a child. These gothic mysteries captured her imagination, never let go, and influence her writing today. When she is not writing or riding her horse, she visits historical houses and cemeteries, hunting for story ideas.

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Excerpt

I had just put the silver away and was in the process of laying the used dish towels near the stove so they could dry overnight, when I saw Zeke in the back corridor. Something stopped me from speaking to him or asking what he was doing back here. He must have gone upstairs and come back down again on the servant’s staircase, which no one ever used except Anca and me.

I ducked behind a huge parka and watched as Zeke bent over Grace’s camera bag, unzipped it, and slipped out a black canister of film, all in one quick fluid motion. After he did that, he took another canister of film out of his pocket and slipped that into the camera bag in place of the film he had taken. He didn’t see me standing in the shadows spying on him. He headed back up the stairs, his footsteps quiet as passing time.

I walked back into the foyer and up the main staircase to my own room. Once inside, I locked the door behind me. I changed out of the black dress, fumbling with one hand. The image of Zeke switching the film in Grace’s camera bag ran over and over in my head. I tried to convince myself that he hadn’t been doing anything harmful. Maybe he just needed to borrow some film. But I knew what I had seen. I knew what I had heard this afternoon—Zeke speaking flawless German on the telephone.

The magic I had felt earlier, the possibility of a future with him had been clouded now. Our future together wouldn’t be a happy one. How could it be? I had fallen in love with a spy.

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Buzzing Series: The Detective Madison Night Series by Carolyn Arnold #Interview #Giveaway

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About the Series

Detective Madison Knight Books

Title: Detective Madison Knight Series

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Books in Series as of 2016: 8 (Standalone)

Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.

Genre: Police Crime, Mystery

Synopsis

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice.

Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind (FREE), Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).

About the Author

Carolyn Arnold

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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Interview

1) Describe your relationship with a good book.

A good book has my nose buried in its pages, whether they be paper or electronic, and I think about it even when I’m not reading, and I’m back to it as soon as I can be.

2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?

I first started writing when I was a teenager and I remember being proud of everything I wrote. I’d demand that my family listen to me read what I had written.

As an adult, however, a proud moment came for me when I finished writing my first full-length novel.

3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.

I have always viewed writing as something very important. Even before I made a dime with my writing, it was never a hobby. Once I decided to self-publish, I’ve always approached the industry with the respect and professionalism it deserves, and I have emulated the traditionally published market. Some authors will drink while they write or edit, but you would never catch me doing that!

4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?

I have goals and deadlines, but on a daily basis, I go with the flow of life. If I’m stressed or get feeling overwhelmed, I’ll step back and see what needs to be adjusted in my schedule. Walking my beagle Max or taking him to the dog park, or visiting a beach (during the summer) helps me to step away and clear my mind as well. And, of course, I always make time to catch up with friends.

5) Why did you write the Detective Madison Knight series?

I love to watch crime dramas and read mysteries, but I was getting tired of always seeing a man being in the lead while his female partner stood timidly by his side. I wanted a strong-willed woman who would even say things that would make people gasp and who was married to finding justice for murder victims. Detective Madison Knight was born.

6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?

I can’t say that I draw repeatedly from past experience. Aspects from real life does, however, find a way of worming into stories.

7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your personal life?

As an author, I intend to be a New York Times bestselling author many times over and I’d love to see my books (at least one of them) made into a movie or the rights for that sold. I also think it would be amazing to have a television series based on my characters.

As for my personal life, I intend a bright and beautiful lake house estate with a swimming pool. I want it to be somewhere I’m proud to entertain friends and where I can hold charity fundraisers.

8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.

A storyteller and a liar are two different things, and I’m going blank. LOL

 

Line of Duty

A hero has fallen, and hard-edged detective Madison Knight will stop at nothing short of finding justice—even if it means risking her own life.

Releasing 9.26.16

For more information, visit http://carolynarnold.net/in-the-line-of-duty/

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