Buzzing Book: Catalyst by Kristin Smith #Giveaway

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About the Book

catalyst

Title: Catalyst

Series: The Deception Game, book 1

Author: Kristin Smith

Published: November 21, 2016

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

Genre: Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Dystopian, Dystopian, Science Fiction

Synopsis

Too pretty. Too smart. Too perfect.

In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose genetic modification for their children, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As the only “normal” girl, everyone around her is a little too pretty, a little too smart, and a little too perfect. But when her father dies suddenly, her world changes in an instant.

With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait.

In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most.

Catalyst is a thrilling adventure of danger, romance, intrigue, and deception.

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About the Author

kristin-smith

Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels with enough kissing to make her mother blush. She’s a beach lover and a Just Dance guru who enjoys belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). As a self-professed chocoholic, Kristin is a firm believer that if a dessert doesn’t have chocolate in it, then it’s not considered a dessert. (Except for crème brûlée. She can always make an exception for crème brûlée.) Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys.

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Buzzing Blast: If You Wish…by Cassandra Sage Briskman #Excerpt

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About the Book

if-you-wish

Title: If You Wish

Author: Cassandra Sage Briskman

Published: September 14th, 2016

Publisher: Waterside Productions

Genre: Young Adult

Recommended Age: 12+

Synopsis

Ella Jackson is an ordinary teenage girl whose father just happens to be a rich and famous film director. Her life must be awesome, right? Not exactly. Her father is always working and her stepmother and two step sisters basically live to make Ella miserable. Life sucks, until Ella meets Julian. But, instead of falling in love with him, she finds herself falling in love with the hottest boy at school…her step sister’s boyfriend. In a remarkable coming of age story written by a real teenager, If You Wish confronts bullying, drug abuse, and LGBT rights in a story that is anything but a fairy tale.

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About the Author

cassandra-sage-briskman

Cassandra Sage Briskman is a 16 year old YA author, who splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Brooklyn, NY. If You Wish is her debut novel.

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Excerpt

Usually fairy tales start off once upon a time, blah, blah, blah. I guess I could start off my story that way, but then the story wouldn’t be right. The truth is, I’m not a princess. And this really isn’t a fairy tale. There is no magic fairy godmother who goes around turning poor girls into princesses and pumpkins into carriages. So if you want that kind of story I suggest you read something else. This story is going to be about me, Ella. Just plain old boring me. I’m just a normal 16-year-old girl. I’m not special or different in any way at all. That is, I never thought I was special, until I met Julian. But he comes in later. You’ll have to start from the beginning. So go on. If you wish…

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Buzzing Book: George Bailey Gets Saved in the End by Ken O’Neill #Interview #Giveaway

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About the Book

george-baileyTitle: George Bailey Gets Saved in the End

Author: Ken O’Neill

Published: October 17th, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Age Recommendation: 18+

Synopsis

George Bailey, who has made a fortune selling Christmas ornaments, is having a rough few days. He’s thrown his back out lifting the Thanksgiving turkey; his father has died and his wife has left him. He’d turn to his best friend for support, but said BFF is having an affair with his wife.

Let the holiday season begin!

On the heels of all this misery George meets a new woman, and he also meets Jesus (or perhaps just an awfully nice guy named Jesus). As he scrambles to hold together his floundering family, he must figure out if these strange and wondrous events are miracles or symptoms of a nervous breakdown.

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About the Author

ken-oneill

Ken O’Neill is the author of The Marrying Kind, which won the 2012 Rainbow Award for best debut, and the 2013 Independent Publisher Award Silver Medal for LGBT fiction. The Marrying Kind was also a finalist for the 2013 International Book Award in the Gay and Lesbian fiction category. The book was included on Smart Bitches Trashy Books list of top three favorite novels of 2012.

Ken lives in NYC with his husband and their two cats who think they’re dogs or, perhaps, people. When Ken is not checking his Amazon rating to see if anyone has purchased his books, he enjoys reading, dancing (though usually only when no one is watching) and eating dark chocolate, purely for medicinal reasons. He is at work on his third novel.

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Interview

1) Describe your relationship with a good book.

It’s very much like the early stages of a romance:  All I want is to shut out the rest of the world, and spend time together with this fascinating, wonderful, beautiful book. I want to learn everything I can, and just being close to it.

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

By the third or fourth grade I was definitely writing stories. I wrote a series of mysteries featuring two brothers (the Ashe family) and two sisters (the King family) who were amateur detectives. They were called the King/ Ashe Adventures. In my memory they were great! Any resemblance to my brother and me and to the girls who lived across the street, or to The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew for that matter, is purely coincidental.

3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.

It’s not great. If I had a boss other than myself I might be fired. Certainly I’d be reprimanded, given a verbal warning. I have written two novels. My debut was THE MARRYING KIND. So I do write eventually, but there are a lot of fits and starts and procrastination along the way. I’m hoping to be more disciplined with the third. I have about 60,000 words of a work-in-process. It will probably end up being shorter in length than George Bailey… Still I imagine I have another 25,000 words to go (before I begin the massive rewriting phase.) Wish me luck!

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

Poorly. (See my answer to question 3.) When I’m really in the zone of writing I don’t want to do anything else. But often I’m not in the zone. I’m trying to carve out time for writing and commit to it. That’s my goal! (Wow, my time chatting with Melissa is providing me with insights and proving to be so much more cost effective than hiring a life coach would have been.)

5) Why did you write this book?

This question has more than one correct answer. In my first book there was a character based on my Romanian grandmother. And the main characters were Macedonian/Romanian, which is my ancestry on my mother’s side. My father’s parents were born in Ireland. And my Irish grandmother, Nan, was an amazingly spiritual woman, but not at all sanctimonious. She was a remarkable woman. I knew I wanted to place her, or someone like her, into a made up story. So for a while all I knew was that I wanted to write about Irish/American people, which in and of itself is not a story.

But because of my grandmother’s sweet disposition, I knew I wanted to explore the concepts of kindness in someway. Still not a story. But I was starting to feel like maybe something would come to me. And then one day I forced myself to sit down and write, and out came a scene about a man who walked into a bar and began talking to a woman he’d never met before about It’s A Wonderful Life. I still didn’t know much. But I knew the guy was Irish, had a grandmother, was falling in love with this woman and I knew he hated that Christmas movie.

All that was left for me to do was to keep writing, so I could find out the rest. The little bit I had intrigued me. I really did want to find out what was going to happen. I kept writing.

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

As you can probably guess, my family is a big source of inspiration. Specifically my characters often seem to be working through issues with their siblings. I think this is because I only had one sibling, a brother. But he died of AIDS. So I have gone from having a brother to being an only child.  Had he lived, I don’t really know what kind of relationship my brother and I would have. I’d like to think it would be good, but I know from my friends’ experiences that that is not always the case. I know many people who don’t speak to their siblings, which I understand, but it saddens me nonetheless. In my books, brothers (and sisters) usually work things out. Or they try to, anyway.

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

As an author, I’d love to complete at least two more books. I know a lot or writers finish two novels a year, but that really seems like falling into the category of Overachiever to me. As for my outside life, I love travel. I’d like to do more of that. Perhaps spend six months living in London.

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

Had my family not been forced into exile, I would be seventh in line to be crowned King of Macedonia.

Excerpt

All the usual invitations had been extended. Yet oddly, not a single friend—The Strays, they always called them—joined the Baileys for dinner this year. The lack of guests in no way altered the quantity of food the family prepared. It mattered not whether thirty people attended, or just the eight of them. As far as George’s mother, Claire, and his wife, Tara, were concerned, you could not call the day Thanksgiving unless the turkey weighed more than twenty-five pounds. Theirs weighed in at record-breaking twenty-nine point four. Add the stuffing, all the pan drippings, and the cast iron Le Creuset roasting pan to that number, and George was hoisting a weight just shy of forty pounds when his back went out.

Considering George’s relative level of fitness, which was extremely high by American standards, though only average when compared to other Manhattanites, he did not believe it was the weight per se that precipitated his injury. Rather he suspected his troubles were brought on because he had been forced to crouch down when removing the turkey because his wife, for reasons still unknown to him, insisted that the bird go in the lower oven. Not that George blamed her for his mishap. Just at the moment George was taking the pan out of the oven, he remembered being told something about bending with his knees. But by then it was too late. Something deep within his core seized up. As his knees buckled, he lurched forward to the sound of Tara shouting, “Don’t you dare drop that bird, George!”

He didn’t.

George spent most of the day alternating between ice packs and a heating pad, because his wife said cold but his mother said hot, and he figured it was easier just to keep them both happy.

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Buzzing Blast: From Stardust to Babylon by Amanda Bucan

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About the Book

from-stardust-to-babylon,

Title: From Stardust to Babylon

Author: Amanda Bucan

Published: August 24th, 2016

Publisher: Publishnation

Genre: Memoir /Creative Non-fiction

Synopsis

Amanda grew up in an impoverished ex-steel town where she endured a lonely and ostracized childhood. Bullied at school she becomes a withdrawn teenager who at sixteen meets her `twin flame` while working in a humble social club. The two quickly embark upon a passionate affair though the relationship is ill-fated from the outset, and Amanda eventually marries someone else.

For nineteen years they live separate lives, until one harrowing day in 2001 Amanda learns via telepathic messages that Simon has died. This activates an astonishing onslaught of paranormal activity which will ultimately change the course of Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Biblical history. With the revelation of a monumental conspiracy, this story brings truth and hope to a troubled world through a universal language that transcends all faiths and all cultures. Journey the road together, awaken to life`s synchronicities and grow in wisdom.

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About the Author

amanda-bucan

I was born in Northamptonshire in 1964 where I still reside today. I consider myself to be an ordinary person who`s experienced some extraordinary events. A home loving humanitarian at heart with a passion for fairness, equality, and creating a better world.

When I`m not writing I love spending time outdoors communing with nature and observing the wildlife; those inspired moments watching Autumn leaves in lowering sunlight while the birds squabble over their tea, and I munch through several large chunks of dark chocolate washed down with a hot mug of tea. I`m attracted to people from all walks of life who are kind, thoughtful and honest. I enjoy shopping trips and watching TV dramas, including Bates Motel, Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge, but mostly I love Poldark…. (Well who doesn`t?) Favourite places for a return visit would include Egypt`s Temple of Karnak, (probably the most peaceful place on earth!) The Cairo museum and Italy`s Amalfi coast. I`m also partial to a bracing boat trip across Lake Windermere on route to the little town of Bowness.

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Excerpt

October moon casts a pool of suffused silver light onto my pillow as I wait with bated breath, bathing in its ethereal glow.
Presently the waiting is over. The room fills with his essence and a voice breaks through the ether.
`Let me look at you! `
I readily comply, tingling from head to toe as he skims purposefully over my limbs, clothing them in a sheath of living fabric.
There is no movement in the darkness thick like treacle. The temperature drops like a stone, yet warmth ignites my wanton spirit till smouldering flames dance through my spine.
I drift with each new breath upon another. Not a single part unaffected by the pure filtered love that permeates every pore.
A gentle tease of my lips and they awaken to that human hair sensation, delicate and soft. All the while I chase it, flicking the tip of my tongue back and forth as my heart skips and flutters to the dissonant sound of a lone branch rapping at my window.
My hand slips impatiently through the deep velvet black. He finally allows me to touch him. I caress the invisible; a flimsy cobweb on my fingertips to tantalize and tickle.
The curtain wafts to a midnight draft from the window. Shadows bobble and bounce around the room: trees waving, a headlamp flashing.
The echo of a taxi door slams in the street while raised voices and clacking high heel shoes break the stillness. And yet there is a moment strong and silent, a moment of divine gratification; a place he calls absolute, complete paradise, right here right now.
If only the moon would shine forever. If only time could be suspended.
“Please don`t leave me!” I beg with a whisper. “I`m scared you`ll be gone when I wake.”
My eyes grow heavy yet I fear to close them, suppressing tiredness for several more hours totally immersed in his love before I finally succumb to the restraints of my inferior body.
“I love you.” He whispers. “Now sleep!”

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Buzzing Book: Collateral Damage by Susan Harris #Giveaway

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About the Book

collateral-damage

Title: Collateral Damage

Series: The Ever Chace Chronicles #2

Author: Susan Harris

Published: October 31st, 2016

Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing

Genre: Fairy Tales/Folk Tales/Legends & Mythology,Fantasy/Paranormal

Synopsis

When Derek Doyle wakes up next to a ripped-apart body, he’s terrified he’s about to lose everything he holds dear—Ever, his job, and his family. Dealing with his past has never come easy to Derek, especially since he’s too afraid of what people would think if they knew exactly what kind of monster he really is. But finding out who’s setting him up could be harder than the team thinks. As long as Derek has lived, there’s bound to be a long list of enemies.
Ever Chace has a lot on her plate. Confronted with the possibility that she is indeed losing her mind, Ever tries to push it aside as they deal with the ramifications of Derek’s past. Every new relationship has teething problems, but learning to deal with a mate who’s used to being a lone wolf has its own set of issues.
Can the team figure out how to save Derek from a swift execution? And just how much strain will the revelations put on Derek and Ever’s shiny new relationship?
Collateral Damage is the exciting sequel to Skin and Bones by Susan Harris.

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Pick up the first book in this series, Skin and Bones by Susan Harris FREE on Amazon!

About the Author

susan-harris

Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland. An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy genre. When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, anything Disney and psychology. If she wasn’t a writer she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.

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Interview

Describe your relationship with a good book.
A good book provides an escape for the reader and that’s how it should always be. When I’m engrossed in a story, the real world slips away and for a short period of time, I feel as if I am sucked into a world where I am an observer in faraway worlds where magic is real and heroes can still win. I fall in love with characters and places that only exist on the pages of a book, or in the authors mind.

When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?
I started concocting stories from a young age. My mother says that as soon I could form sentences with pen and paper, I was writing. Whether it was poems of short stories. I’m very proud of the first novel I had published properly. Shattered Memories helped me heal old wounds and tell an unconventional story.

Please describe your work ethic as an author.
I’ve been told that I am very strict with myself about making time for writing. I normally start early in the morning and work until late in the evening, trying to get in as many words as possible. I also tend to have to finish a chapter before I can finish up; my OCD won’t allow me to stop mind chapter in case I lose the train of thought for the chapter.

How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
Reminding myself that it’s important to have a work/life balance is essential. Taking time out to enjoy the little things is vital in order for me to not feel bogged down by the sometimes-dark aspects of my stories.

Why did you write this book?
I wrote the Ever Chace Chronicles after watching an episode of Criminal Minds and thinking “What would Hotch be like if he was a werewolf?” I also happen to love psychology and creating a team of supernatural profilers is probably the closet I will ever get to being a profiler.

What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
Collateral Damage, which is book 2 in the series, tells the story of a man haunted by his past. Like Derek, I’ve been left with a few scars from my past that continue to haunt me. I’ve also been told on numerous occasions that I’m not good enough to be a writer. But this I use as motivation. There are a lot of people out there I’m determined to prove wrong.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
As an author, I want to continue to publish books that readers enjoy. Personally, I hope to continue feeling comfortable in my own skin, laughing more, and enjoying the little things.

Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
I can play many different instruments, but I am most effective on the tin whistle.

Excerpts

Melanie

His words were cut off as Melanie sprang forward and pinned Ricky against the wall. She brushed her nose against the curve of his neck and inhaled the scent of him—leather and motorcycle oil and just him, just Ricky. Her fangs sprang free of their own accord, and she fought against the urge to sink them into the curve of his neck where that delicious vein pulsed.

“You just had to come back early, didn’t you?” Donnie growled.

“Well, if you had fucking told me why I was sent on babysitting duty, then I might have had the sense to stay away.”

Melanie snarled at the idea that he would have stayed away from her. She pressed herself closer to him, her body flush against his, and felt his arousal. Her lips peeled back, and she whimpered, “Donnie, help me…”

Ricky set his hands on either side of her hips as Caitlyn inched forward. Melanie hissed at Caitlyn, her fingers wrapping around Ricky’s throat. When Caitlyn took another step, Melanie heard a guttural voice coming from her own lips.

“Mine.”

Caitlyn guffawed. “I have no interest in your paramour, Melanie. I just don’t wish for you to do something you may regret.”

Hunger punched her stomach, lust curled inside her, and she lifted her gaze to meet Ricky’s own. She was surprised to see him grin.

When Donnie made to grab her, Ricky shook his head. “She can do this on her own, Donnie. Can’t you, Lanie? Once you think about it, you’ll step back, and I’ll leave until it’s easier for ya’, babe.”

Her grip tightened on his throat.

“Possessive little vampire. I like it. Nice to know you still have that fire in you, babe.”

“It hurts.”

His hand squeezed her hip, and she shuddered. “I know babe, and I’m sorry. If I’d known this was why they were keeping you away, then I’d have listened, I promise. Now, wanna let me go so Donnie isn’t forced to do something he really doesn’t want to do?”

She growled again, not wanting to let him go. She wanted to sink her fangs into his neck and taste him.

A slow, sexy smile crept across the warlock’s face, and he lowered his voice. “I know, babe, but think about it. The first time you sink those pretty little fangs into my neck, I wanna be inside you, too.”

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Buzzing Blitz: Oak & Mistletoe by JZN McCauley #Giveaway

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About the Book

Oak & Mistletoe

Title: Oak and Mistletoe

Author: J.Z.N. McCauley

Published: October 11, 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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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 Blitz: The Seer’s Daughter by Athena Daniels #Giveaway

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About the Book

the-seers-daughter

Title: The Seer’s Daughter

Series: Beyond the Grave, Book 1

Author: Athena Daniels

Published: November 9th 2015

Publisher: Sunset Coast Publishing

Genre: Romance / Paranormal / Suspense

Age Recommendation: 18+

Synopsis

To save her, he must let go of everything he ever believed.

Upon returning to her hometown for her grandmother’s funeral, Sage Matthews is terrorized by a series of strange events. She dismisses each eerie occurrence as a by-product of her overwrought emotional state, until it becomes chillingly clear that something not of this world is desperate to get a message—or is it a warning?—through to her…

Detective Sergeant Ethan Blade comes to Cryton, South Australia, to catch a serial killer. When Ethan meets Sage—the latest victim’s beautiful granddaughter—his attraction to her is explosive and inconvenient. He knows she’s not crazy, but Sage’s theory about the murders is unbelievable.

With the handsome detective rejecting her ideas, Sage embarks on the supernatural journey that her grandmother started. What she discovers shatters everything Sage ever knew about herself—and who she really is.

Ethan’s routine case quickly turns personal when he discovers Sage is the killer’s next target. For her, he’ll break all the rules and cross every line. But how can he protect Sage from an evil he cannot even conceive of?

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About the Author

athena-daniels

Athena Daniels lives on the northern beaches of sunny Western Australia, where she writes romantic suspense and paranormal romance.

Athena is the author of romantic thriller Desperate and the first two books in the Beyond the Grave series, The Seer’s Daughter and The Alchemist’s Son. The Seer’s Daughter was a Top Pick at The Romance Reviews and was featured in AusRom Today’s January 2016 top-twenty list of “Lust-Have Sci-Fi, Paranormal, and Fantasy Novelists.”

Athena has a natural curiosity about the “more” there is in life, and holds several qualifications in metaphysics and natural therapies. She is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner, life coach, and feng shui specialist.

To learn more about Athena, or to take a sneak peek at what’s coming next, visit her online or connect with her on social media.
www.athenadaniels.com

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Excerpt

Ethan started to rise, and Sage grabbed his wrist. “Ethan?” She must have surprised him because he froze in place above her, his eyes piercing as they met hers.

“Yes?” His voice was deeper and a little rough.

“Thank you.”

His dark eyes intently searched her face, and a muscle along his jaw twitched as if there was something he couldn’t quite say. “You’re welcome,” he eventually said.

She was still gripping his wrist, but she didn’t let go. Couldn’t.

As she stared at him, something flared in his gaze. Could it be desire?

“I have to go. I’ll check on you tomorrow.” His husky tone belied his words. She didn’t let go, and he didn’t pull away. They were trapped in the moment, the air alive and crackling between them.

“I have to go,” he repeated. But there was no conviction behind it.

Without conscious thought, Sage leaned forward and kissed him. His lips were warm and full, and heat roared throughout her body. He hesitated for the barest fraction of a second before taking over. His hand, large and strong, cupped the back of her neck, and he deepened the kiss. Her body softened, her mind blanking as she surrendered to the sensual pull of his mouth. Tangling her fingers in the silky hair at the base of his neck, she tugged him even closer. His scent flooded her nose and she let out a soft sound. With a groan, he licked deeper into her mouth.

Mother of all things holy, the man knew how to kiss! Every inch of her skin was on fire and aching for his touch. She ran her hands across his shoulders and down his chest, resenting the thin layer of fabric that kept her from the warmth of his skin. Tugging at the bottom of his T-shirt, she caressed his taut abdomen, then slid her fingers up and across the rippling muscles of his chest. The contact was electric, and she reveled in the low sound it elicited from him.

He leaned into her, his weight pushing her into the mattress, and the juncture between her thighs grew hot and demanding. He pushed up her singlet top and found her breast. When his fingers brushed over her pebbled nipple, streaks of pleasure shot through her.

“Ethan,” she gasped, wanting more. Wanting all of him. Now. She tugged at his shirt, undoing the top two buttons before ripping the remainder.

He pulled back. Hands on her shoulders, he held her in place. Blood thrummed through her veins as she looked into his handsome face, flushed but set into hard lines. His breathing was as ragged as hers, and he dragged in a couple breaths before trying to speak.

“We can’t,” he rasped, looking as though it were the hardest thing he had ever said. Appearing almost tortured, he released her. Standing, he turned his back to her while he tucked in his ripped shirt. His hands curled into fists at his sides, and he squared his shoulders before turning back to her, his face etched with pain.

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Raising Mary: Frankenstein by Ace Antonio Hall #Interview @SylvaSlasher

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About the Book

Raising Mary

Title: Raising Mary: Frankenstein

Author: Ace Antonio Hall

Published: August 26, 2016

Publisher: Bards and Sages

Genre: Horror

Synopsis

Down in the Catacombs, No One Can Hear You Scream But the Dead.

Sylva Slasher has a unique job for a high school senior: she raises the dead for criminal investigations…and parties. Her latest client is a seven-year-old dying from Leukemia who has requested that she raise Mary Shelley. Sylva wants to make sure the event goes perfectly for her special client, which, of course, means things go horribly wrong.

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About the Author

Ace Antonio Hall

Ace Antonio Hall is the author of the horror novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher (Montag Press, April 2013). His short stories They, Raising Mary: Frankenstein, and Bated Breath have been awarded Honorable Mention for the Writers of the Future Awards 2013, 2014 and 2016. He published his short story Dead Chick Walking in Calliope Magazine Fall 2013 #141 and The Eldáling in their Spring 2016 issue.

In 2015-2016, Hall sold his short stories to be published with Weasel Press/The Haunted Traveler, Bride of Chaos/9 Tales, Pure Fantasy & Science Fiction, Vol. 4, Jitter/Prolific Press, Calliope Magazine, Bards and Sages, Bloodbond Alp and Night to Dawn Magazine #29. Hall received a BFA from Long Island University and taught English for more than a decade. He is a native New Yorker who now resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Follow Ace on Twitter @sylvaslasher, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Tumblr.

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Interview

What is the hardest part of writing your stories?

Making sure that I don’t put too much action in them. I like my stories to be scary, but my character is also a martial artist. When you balance your time between watching horror and reading/watching Marvel Superhero films, the hardest part is keeping the goosebumps rising on my reader’s flesh.

What are your favorite TV shows?

In no particular order, Penny Dreadful, Fringe, The Twilight Zone, X-Files, Qunicy, M.E., Rockford Files, Star Trek (Original series), Daredevil (Netflix), 24, The Blacklist and the Creature Feature TV movies that came on back when I was a kid. Anyone who is keen on those shows will definitely see the influence in my stories, and novels. Rod Serling probably influenced me the most, as many of my stories have big twists and elements of speculative fiction. J. J. Abrams and Alex Kurtzman are geniuses. Besides Cowboys and Aliens, everything that Alex tapped his creativity in, I love. From Spider-Man to Star Trek to Ender’s Game. He just gets the kind of science fiction that I live for.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I go to the movies to watch horror films. There’s nothing better than a bucket of popcorn and screaming women to give me the adrenaline rush I love that inspires me to tap on the keyboard, the minute I get back home.

Who is your favorite author?

It’s a toss up between Octavia Butler and Stephen King. Many of my peers complain that King is too wordy, but the way he can slow down a moment and make it terrifying is worth the extra descriptions. He’s also phenomenal at characterizations. He writes his characters in such a natural way that the reader can bet his life’s salary that they know someone exactly like one of them.

Parable of the Sower seems to seep into every one of my novels. Octavia is such a powerful storyteller that uses symbolism and vivid imagery that not only entertains but inspires.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Yes. Here are the top things that publishers look for in the first ten-to-fifteen pages:

1) State the name of the protagonist.

Many have said otherwise, stating that it is boring and not creative, however, I have found that if you’re trying to get past the slush pile, there is nothing more irritating to the agent or publisher reading your manuscript as to not knowing who the protagonist is, and much worse, not knowing if it is a male or female.

2) Introduce all the main characters (or make a reference to them) by pages 6-10.

3) State the age of the protagonist. (Especially, if you are writing YA. Publishers and Agents want to know right away the age group of the target audience. For YA, it is 12-18)

4) Reveal the ghosts of protagonist. What pains the character? This information is not only good to allow the reader to empathize with the character but also allows the reader to relate to the character’s pains. Needless to say, the pain must be an emotional one that most people in your target audience can relate to. Remember: The thought process that many publishers and entertainment producers have is, “Show me something I’ve seen before, but differently.” Also, you must insert, masterfully (or as best as you can), the internal/external conflict of the character, thus showing the beginnings of the arc, which sets up the arc’s path and destination.

Before page ten, we should know some of the demons that plague the protagonist, and show things that makes the character likable. Unless you want your protagonist to be an unlikable character, which is probably not the best idea (unless she is an anti-hero, even then, be cautious). Also, writing an action(s) which make the reader, in this case, the Publisher or Agent, like the character is also key. For example, when the hero helps his neighbor get a cat out of a tree even after telling the neighbor about his allergies to cat fur. The reader can’t help but like your hero. See how powerful that tool is?

Note how long this point is—that’s because I feel it is Very Important!

5) Setting. The setting is more than the place, it is the environment, the weather, time of day, and date. You can barely get through the first paragraph of any good novel and not know if it is hot or cloudy, cold, or windy.

The weather, as well as your descriptive word choices, will help set the tone whether you want the mood to be dark, or sarcastic, colorful, humorous, or Gothic.

The time of day is simply letting the reader know if it is day, or night, morning, or midnight. The date can be literal:

On October 29th, 2008, I helped my mother kill her abuser; dad.

Or it can be more ambiguous:

Long, long ago, in a world where zombies were as common as the cold, I’d finally learned how to throw a curve ball.

6) Inciting incident/Call to Action. Sometimes, these are two different occurrences, many times, they are the same. In either case, this is where your plot truly begins, letting the Agent or Publisher know what your story is about. Wait until after page ten to do this, and it is highly plausible that your story will not catch their attention.

7) Use the 5 senses, thematic elements (many first time authors simply have the character state the theme), mold the tone, and have the opening images set up the mirror images of what the character will have to walk into upon his/her adventure–the normal world before they enter the STRANGE NEW WORLD.

8) If it’s a Science Fiction story, technology must be introduced immediately. If the character is a bad-ass, show the reader why within the first six pages, but also remember that it is so important to integrate the ghosts, and characteristics that the reader can relate to, as well, or you chance making the reader not care about your numero uno character. Not good.

9) Lastly, if the character is employed, either use an immediate reference to what their job is, or allow the reader, in this case, the Agent or the Publisher, see the protagonist in their workplace immediately. For example, a witch bewitching, a vampire feeding, a teacher instructing a class, an agent on a mission, an athlete in a competition, etc.

Excerpt

For more than nineteen hours, I inhaled death. Darkness crawled around my soul and ripped jagged holes in my sagging heart. The death I inhaled spilled out of my lungs, oozing acidic poison so damaging to my spirit, it was scarred for life. I pressed play one last time before getting off of the plane which had just traveled from Bournemouth to Hawaii.

A warm hand came down gently on my shoulder.

Her voice eased out a gentle tone. “Are you ready to go, “Sylva?”

My best friend, Emily. She knew not to utter another sound, for I had no voice in which to answer. The moving image began again, and almost for an instant, I smiled. But seeing that sweet little girl in the video again—those tiny dimples, that heart-warming smile, and hearing her cheerfully sing, dancing like a ballerina on that small airplane monitor only reminded me that I would never, ever see her again.

As I watched, my thoughts drifted omniously like black clouds floating into the stormy memories of the past downpour of chaos, the last forty-eight hours. I knew for certain that I wouldn’t study for my AP necromancy exam for Monday, tomorrow. Mom would chew me out because I’d miss yet another day, or two, of senior high school.

I wouldn’t eat. I wouldn’t sleep much either. I’d spend that dreary time obsessing about how, for a seven-year-old girl named Dresette Swansea, raising Mary Shelley from the grave sealed her walking papers in an envelope marked death.

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Buzzing Blitz: Weeping in the Wings by Terry Lynn Thomas #Excerpt #Giveaway

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About the Book

Weeping in the Wings

Title: Weeping in the Wings

Series: Grace Bennett Mysteries, Book 2

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Published: August 11, 2016

Publisher: Black Opal Books

Genre: Historical Gothic Mystery

Synopsis

San Francisco, March 1943

Sarah Bennett harbors two secrets: She sees ghosts, and she’s in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr. Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her—a spirit whose incessant weeping only she can hear.

Meanwhile, as Sarah struggles to cope with the relentless weeping, she comes face to face with Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is ostensibly convalescing from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and Sarah’s love and trust are soon put to the test.

Things take an even darker turn when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, and Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead. Unsure who she can trust, she must unlock the mystery of the weeping ghost in order to save Dr. Geisler—and herself—from an unknown enemy.

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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

After he left, I worked straight through until 11:30 and had just put my completed work on Dr. Geisler’s desk when a scream pierced the quietude of my office. I ran out into the corridor and followed the hysterical sounds toward the foyer. Bethany and I met in the hallway. Together we raced toward the noise.

The screaming turned into a hysterical incantation. “No, no. Please. No.”

Minna. She stood near the front door, a black dressing gown flowing over her bony frame like a witch’s cloak. Her hair hung in wild curls the color of spun silver. She looked as though she could have raised her arms and cast a spell or hopped on a broom and flown away. Instead she held a piece of paper in her trembling hand. Scattered around her feet were the petals and stems of a desiccated bouquet of roses, a flower box from Podesta Baldocchi lay on its side, tossed away in the chaos.

Chloe sat at her desk, observing everything, missing nothing, her eyes huge. The maid, a young girl in a uniform two sizes too big, froze, holding the dust rag suspended in midair.

I moved toward Minna, desperate to help her, but Bethany waved me off.

“Minna, what’s wrong?”

“Sarah. Bethany.” She waved the paper she held in her hand through the air. “It’s Gregory. He’s alive.” Her breathing became heavy and deep. She tore the letter up, threw the pieces on the floor, covered her face with her hands, and wept. Deep racking sobs coursed through her body, threatening to topple her.

Bethany swept in and put a comforting arm around Minna’s shoulder. She spoke to her in the same sweet, disarming voice she had used on Mr. Collins. “Come on, dear. Let’s get you someplace safe. We’ll lock the house and make sure that Gregory isn’t here. I’ll see to it personally.” She spoke to the maid. “It’s all right, young lady. Go see Mrs. McDougal for a cup of hot cocoa. There’s a good girl.”

“You’ll protect me, won’t you, Bethany? And Matthew. He’ll come for Matthew.”

“Of course.” Bethany spoke in a soothing voice. “I’ll take care of everything.” Minna allowed herself to be led away. The two women made their way toward the staircase, while Bethany muttered comforting words in Minna’s ear.

Just as they were about to reach the first landing and slip out of sight, Bethany called to me. “Find my husband. Tell him to hurry.”

Before heading off to search for Dr. Geisler, I picked up the torn pieces of paper that Minna had thrown on the floor and tucked them into my pocket. I had every intention of finding out the truth about Gregory Geisler.

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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.

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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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