Friday, January 30, 2015

Blog Tour: Not Without My Father by: Andra Watkins




Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez TraceAuthor: Andra WatkinsPublisher: Word Hermit PressPages: 240Genre: MemoirFormat: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON
Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?
Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.
After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.
As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.
Book Excerpt #1:
ROAD TO NOWHERE
Talking Heads
The journey is a long slog with an unpredictable number of mileposts.
One can make the trip alone, but why not share it?
As I traversed familiar mile markers and pulled up in front of my fa- ther’s house, I could predict where I’d find him.
In his recliner, his belly a shelf for a vat of popcorn. At eighty, he whiled away days feeding his face and shouting at the television. Whenever his throne was vacant, I eschewed all temptation to occupy it.
Because I imagined how many times he farted into the velvet uphol- stery.
Sometimes while naked.
I could hear the television when I stepped from the car. “Why am I do- ing this again?” I whispered as I slipped through the back door.
Andra!” There he was, sprawled in his recliner. A jagged scar played peek-a-boo through his open pajama top. “What’re you doing here?”
I opened my mouth and clamped it shut. Once I uttered my request, I couldn’t take it back.
I needed a wingman while I walked the 444-mile Natchez Trace from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. I planned to launch my debut novel and be- come the first living person to walk the 10,000-year-old road as our ancestors did. Nobody could convince me that an unathletic woman and her mid-life paunch were incapable of walk- ing more than a half-marathon every day for a month.
Even though my aversion to exercise was as spectacular as my father’s. I wanted my walk to redeem my novel’s hero, American explorer Meri- wether Lewis, one-half of the Lewis and Clark duo. He died of two gun-shot wounds on the Natchez Trace, seventy miles south of Nashville.
He was only thirty-five.
Was it suicide? Or murder? His death is one of America’s great un- solved mysteries.
To walk a forgotten highway for five weeks, I needed a wingman who could shuttle me to my first daily milepost and pick me up fifteen miles later. Someone who wasn’t busy. Someone available. Maybe this person even craved an adventure.
I scrolled through a list of prospects. My husband Michael couldn’t be absent from work for five weeks, especially since his job paid for my predilection to write. My friends all had children. Husbands. Gainful em- ployment. I discarded people for an hour, my list a scribbled mess that highlighted one harrowing name.
Dad.
My father wasn’t doing anything. He was available to go on a five-week jaunt through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
His stomach pooled over his thighs and his triple-chin jiggled as he leaned into his response. “Go on a five-week trip? Just you and me? I don’t want to do that, Andra.”
Why not?” I shouted even louder to penetrate his VA-issued, cir- ca-1980 hearing aids.
Well.” He chewed a handful of popcorn. “Because…….I got furni- ture to refinish.”
It’ll be here when you get back.”
Dad dug his fingernails into the arms of his chair. “I cain’t be away from my Sunday school class for that long.”
God won’t care if you miss church to spend time with your only daughter, Dad.”
Well, uh…….I……..Linda might need me here.”
Mom preened into the room with his bowl of ice cream. I never understood why she didn’t just hand him the carton. She placed the spoon between his fingers and smiled. “I don’t need you here, Roy.” Her flawless makeup matched her leotard. “I’m going to the gym. Be home in four hours.”
She flounced out the door, leaving me with my jiggly arms and red hair I forgot to brush.
I sighed and turned back to Dad. “Why don’t you want to do this, Dad? I mean, you haven’t been anywhere since your appendix ruptured two years ago. You’re just sitting here in this recliner, waiting to die.”
Dad picked at his ice cream and avoided my gaze. “Spending five weeks with you don’t sound like much fun, Andra.”
Dad and I shouted down my teens, harangued through my twenties and seethed away my thirties. For most of my life, our every interaction disintegrated into hurtful words and pregnant silences. Yet, I was willing to cast our history aside and endure his company for more than a month, while he rejected me?
Wrong answer, Old Man.
I gnawed my tongue to regroup. Dad was my last hope to take readers into my book’s world. To help my scribblings make me somebody. In a uni- verse of words with little meaning and even less point, I believed I created something valuable, a story that could make a difference, a tale that would leave readers fundamentally altered and pining for the next installment.
All writers are convinced whatever they write qualifies, be it dreck or brilliance. Our words are sperm and egg on the page. Merge them together, and one can hold a physical chunk of the writer. It’s a shame a book can’t arrive covered in blood and filth from the birth canal, screaming and howling to breathe.
But to get anyone to care about a story, the writer must make it about the reader.
My breathing even, I flashed my most fetching smile.
All right, Dad. Look at it this way. We’ll be riding near hundreds of tiny towns with lots of strangers who’ve never heard your stories. Think of all the junk shops and dive diners where you can enchant people. Don’t they deserve to meet you before you’re gone?”
Dad’s eyes took on a dreamy tinge. His yarns were Southern gothic legends, tales he rolled out for every stranger he encountered. I imagined myself spending the entire trip with a view of his broad back, regaling ev- eryone but me. He must’ve conjured the same scene. “I’ll do it, Andra. If the Lord lets me live ’til March, I’ll go with you.”
Dad would be my wingman on the Natchez Trace. Visions of literary stardom floated in front of my faraway eyes. Because my secret dream was The New York Times headline:
- Debut Novelist Walks Her Way to Blockbuster Best Seller! -
I basked in the mirage of that proclamation, in the glory of staggering to my Nashville finish line with crowds of people. News crews. Fans wav- ing my book and clamoring for an autograph.
My swelling imagination burst when Dad heaved himself from the chair, scratched his crotch and farted. “Yeah, Andra. This is gonna be real fun.”
What had I done? Besides self-scratching and legendary gas, his sleep apnea machine didn’t stifle his explosive snoring.
And the bathroom. I would have to share a bathroom with my father, whose hulking belly obscured all ability to aim. A sodden fact that seeped into my legs when I locked myself in Dad’s bathroom and plopped down on the toilet.
I didn’t want to spend five weeks with my father.
As I winced through a sink bath, I studied my face in the mirror. The beginnings of forehead wrinkles and crows feet. A hint of Dad’s bulldog jowl. I stuck my tongue out at my green-eyed self. “Welcome to Hell, you idiot.”


Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.
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Media Contact:

Dorothy Thompson
Pump Up Your Book
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague Island, Virginia 23336

Review: One Night in Mississippi by Craig Shreve

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"One Night in Mississippi" is the story of a young activist named Graden Williams who is brutally murdered in Mississippi during the sixties. After the perpetrators are charged but quickly released, Graden's brother, Warren, drifts aimlessly for decades, estranged from the rest of his family and struggling with the guilt that he feels over his brother's death. But when the U.S. Justice Department begins re-opening similar cases more than forty years later, he dedicates himself to bringing Graden's killers back to justice.
A phoned tip after a television appearance leads him to a remote town in northern Ontario, where he meets Earl Olsen, the only murderer who is still at large, and a man who turns out to be very different from what Warren had expected.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Surrender by Jennifer Burrows

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Katherine Anderson was living a dream life. She came from an influential family, had a successful career as a food critic, and was about to marry the man of her dreams. Her life suddenly takes a change for the worse when she finds her fiancé in the arms of another woman. Her dream wedding now cancelled, she tries to find herself in Italy, on a trip she was supposed to be taking with her new husband.

Massimo "Tony" Bertalucci has had his life destroyed by a cartel known to be trafficking black market olive oil out of Italy and around the world. While the cartel thought the entire Bertalucci family was dead and buried, Tony remains very much alive and determined to find a way to get his life back.

When Tony and Katherine’s worlds collide, she becomes Tony’s only hope of escaping Italy alive. What Katherine doesn’t realize is that this charming, unassuming Italian man is using her to save his own life. Will she be able to get back to the states safely, or will she be subjected to the same fate as Tony's family? Will Tony find a way to stop running? Or will he have to surrender his life to the cartel?

Guest Interview: Author Lavinia Urban








Erin Tait is a 15 year old girl, born with a birthmark covering the left side of her face.

She moves to her parent’s home town of Galladale, where all is not what it seems.
From day one, Erin is bullied by Jessica Watson, for looking at Sean Jackson.
Why is she trying to keep Erin away? It’s hard when Sean goes out of his way to talk to Erin, causing the bullying to get worse.

Erin is lonely and scared; she doesn’t know what to do. Can she control the fire inside?





Message from Lavinia:

My Erin The Fire Goddess series are what I am mainly known for. There are currently 6 books in this series available right now and only 1 or 2 (main) books in the pipeline.
I have written other, non-novel, books and I also have a brand new series that I am set to release this year.
Stay tuned for that one because everyone who has read the opening chapter has been emotionally gripped.
Here is the opening paragraph:

Time waits for no man. It has its own schedule and doesn't give you extra seconds or minutes. It doesn't wait for you to say the things you want or do the things you need to. It doesn't wait around for you to say goodbye, to tells someone how much you love them. Before you know it, it is too late and you don't get a chance for a do over. I know this all too well because last year my mum lost her battle to cancer. She was my rock. She was the most beautiful and loving mother who I loved and still love unconditionally. But now I'm left with a gaping hole in my chest.





Lavinia originally grew up in Cheshire and now lives in a small village just outside of Edinburgh with her husband and two daughters. Writing has always been something that Lavinia have loved since an early age but it wasn't until 2010 when the idea came to her to write Erin the Fire Goddess. Lavinia chose to name the main character and her sister after her two daughters, who inspire Lavinia to write every day.
Social links: Facebook:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/LaviniaUrbanAuthor
Erin the Fire Goddess Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ErinTheFireGoddess


Twitter:
@Lavinia_Missb
@Erinfiregoddess

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/laviniaurban/

TSU: https://www.tsu.co/Lavinia_Urban

Website: www.laviniaurban.co.uk

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LaviniaUrban/posts/p/pub

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/laviniamissb/

Blog: laviniaurban.blogspot.co.uk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430924.Lavinia_Urban



Now on to the interview:

1.) Do you have to have matching colored socks?

Yeah I have OCD and I have to wear matching socks. I am kind of
obsessed with socks too. I love fluffy ones and toe socks. One day I,
somehow, had one of my toe socks attached to me when I went to the
Dr's. Just as I went to the Dr's room someone called out that I had
dropped a glove. It was one of my socks and I was mortified. It was
the same day I had paper stuck to my big fluffy hat. Yup the life of a
writer without coffee is fun lol.
**I can not wear toe socks makes my feet feel funny I guess because all the toes are separated lol.

2.) What would you do for a Klondike bar ?

Errrrm what is a Klondike bar? *runs away to Google* Okay here was me
thinking it was an alcoholic bar lol. I have never had one. I am in
the UK though. ** lol that is okay if you never had one. If I could ship it to you without it melting I sure enough would.

3.) One of your earliest childhood memories.

My family used to find it freaky the things I can remember. The
earliest one I remember was when I was about 6 months old and a man
was handing me a small, pink teddy bear. **Wow 6 months old that is freaky. But pretty cool so you got a memory like an elephant lol.

4.) What is one thing that you can live without?

I would have to say family. I know, in a way, it consists of more than
one but as a whole my family completes me. **Aww that is so sweet.

5.) Favorite book that you could read over and over?

Honestly it would have to be Twilight or Harry Potter. I remember
reading the entire Twilight series 3 times in two weeks. **Loved both of the series but Harry Potter triumphs every time.

6.) What house of the magical world of Harry Potter would you be a
part of? Slytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw.

For me it would have to be Gryffindor, which is probably a popular
one. But if you asked my eldest daughter she would say that she would
love to be in Slytherin. **We have rivalry among ya'll be prepared with your wands lol.

7.) Have you ever had a nightmare and were able to remember it?

Oh yes, lots. I have woke up crying before. My nightmares mainly
consist of deaths. Morbid, I know. **I have never been able to remember them, I wish I did though.

8.) Favorite genre of movie?

This is a hard one, my husband would say that my favourite genre is
Horror/Thriller. You can't really class them as Horror because they do
not make them like they used to so they aren't very horrific. I also
love comedy's. But lately I have found that I am a huge fan of the
teen genre. I can sit and watch HP, Twilight, Hunger Games, Mortal
Instruments, etc. over and over and over again. 
** It is so hard to find a good Horror genre because they are not very horrific. It seems that the magical world has taken over which hey I have no problem reading but I think that genre is taking over to where the horror is no longer there.

Lavinia :)

Author of 'Erin the Fire Goddess' series
Links to The Beginning (Erin The Fire Goddess)

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Erin-Fire-Goddess-Lavinia-Urban-ebook/dp/B0085L3SDC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406380283&sr=8-1&keywords=erin+the+fire+goddess&tag=smarturl-20

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/181660

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/erin-the-fire-goddess-lavinia-urban/1112107623?ean=9781291068443

 Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/lavinia-urban/erin-the-fire-goddess-the-beginning/ebook/product-21142829.html



I have to give a huge thank you to Lavinia for being my FIRST guest on the blog. I loved your answers to the questions. I literally giggled!!!


And for those that do not know you can get book one The Beginning for FREE!! Who can pass up a good book like this. And it is perfect for teenagers to read so if your teen is looking for a good clean book filled with magic this is the book to get.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars #1) by Sara Shepard

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Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: Hades by Candice Fox

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A dark, compelling and original thriller that will have you spellbound from its atmospheric opening pages to its shocking climax. Hades is the debut of a stunning new talent in crime fiction.

Hades Archer, the man they call the Lord of the Underworld, surrounds himself with the things others leave behind. Their trash becomes the twisted sculptures that line his junkyard. The bodies they want disposed of become his problem for a fee. Then one night a man arrives on his doorstep, clutching a small bundle that he wants 'lost'. And Hades makes a decision that will change everything...
Twenty years later, homicide detective Frank Bennett feels like the luckiest man on the force when he meets his new partner, the dark and beautiful Eden Archer. But there's something strange about Eden and her brother, Eric. Something he can't quite put his finger on. When the two detectives are called to the scene of an attempted drowning, they find a traumatised victim telling a story that's hard to believe - until the divers start bringing up bodies.

Frank is now on the hunt for a very different kind of serial killer: one who offers the sick and dying hope at murderous cost. At first, his partner's sharp instincts come in handy. Soon, he's wondering if she's as dangerous as the man they hunt.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Review: The Buried (The Apostles #2) by Shelley Coriell

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Secrets from the past.
Voices from the grave.
Because nothing stays buried forever...
Cypress Bend, Florida, is a small southern bayou town filled with long-buried secrets. It's also the home of successful, fiercely independent state prosecutor Grace Courtemanche, who's pulled into a world of terror and self-doubt when she receives a phone call from a young woman buried alive.

In a race to stop a revenge-seeking killer, Grace unearths skeletons from her past along with feelings for the one man she swore she'd never need again, Theodore "Hatch" Hatcher, a rootless, smooth-talking FBI crisis negotiator who's back in Cypress Bend to deal with a secret of his own.

Blog Tour: Highland Troth (Highland Talents, #3 by Willa Blair

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Highland Troth (Highland Talents, #3) by Willa Blair Publication Date: December 3, 2014 Genre: Scottish Historical Romance

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synopsis
Years ago, after tragedy struck Jamie Lathan's family, fosterling Caitrin Fletcher was sent home, out of danger. Heartbroken, young Jamie never expected to see her again. He certainly never imagined he’d be called upon to escort her to be betrothed to another man. But now, as their attraction reignites during the trip, Jamie's longing for Caitrin deepens, and he despairs to lose her again. The secret he hides, however, may prevent any chance for a future with her. Can Jamie find a way to claim her himself without starting a war involving three clans? Caitrin is torn between her duty to make the marriage her father wants and her feelings for Jamie, the lad she’s loved for years. When she meets the man her father has chosen, her secret Highland talent tells her he cannot be trusted. Can she refuse the powerful lord without revealing how she knows he's lying...about nearly everything?
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excerpt
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, Caitrin,” Jamie said, trying to change the tenor of their conversation before they got too far down the wrong path. “Canna we begin again as the friends we once were?” He studied her eyes, searching for the lass he used to know, then smiled, hoping to encourage an answering smile from her. “Yer da’s description in his letter to the Lathan didna do ye justice.” Flattery might work. It usually did with a lass. Certainly, it couldn’t hurt. “Think ye to sway me with sweet words, Jamie Lathan? I’m nay longer a lass of sixteen years to be swept away by a lad’s fawning attention. I’m the heir to Fletcher. Dinna patronize me.” “I never would,” he replied. Too quickly, he realized, as her eyebrow arched. Ach, think. What was she up to? “I merely hoped to renew our acquaintance. Since we’ll be spending the next several days together, I thought we might enjoy—” “We may be forced to travel together, but there’s nay reason for us to make anything more out of the journey. Ye are here to do a job.” Jamie winced as she spoke the same words he’d said to himself not so very long ago. At least they were in agreement on one thing. “Aye, I am.” “Then I trust that ye will do it well and deliver me to my da.”
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about author
WillaWilla Blair is the award-wining author of Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling Scottish historical paranormal romance and a contributor to USAToday's Happy Ever After romance blog.
Her popular Highland Talents series, set in a pivotal point in Scottish history, is filled with men in kilts, psi talents, and plenty of spice. Available in ebook, print, and audiobook formats, the first three titles will soon be joined by more novels of adventure and romance.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blog Tour: P.O.W.ER by Lisa A. Kramer




Title: P.O.W.ER
Author: Lisa A. KremerPublisher: Word Hermit PressPages: 291Genre: YA Speculative Feminist FictionFormat: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON
What would happen if women and girls joined their unique abilities together to change the world? In a world where access to the written word is reserved to men, Andra BetScrivener has been able to read and write ever since she was a little girl without anyone teaching her. She must keep her abilities a secret in the country of New North, or she could lose her hands, her eyes or her life. In fact, the only paths offered to her–and all young women–are to either marry or enter the government-run Women’s Training Program, where she’ll be taught “feminine” arts like drawing, painting, and homemaking.
On her seventeenth birthday, Andra discovers that her abilities extend beyond reading. She can write events to life. As she begins to explore her new ability, she must take care not to jeopardize her father’s job as head scrivener at the Ministry. Despite her efforts to keep her powers hidden, she comes to the attention of both the government and a rebel group, who each desire to use Andra for their own goals. At the same time, she begins to meet other gifted women who have never dared use their unique powers. With the help of her friends Brian and Lauren—who has the ability to read minds—Andra must find a way to unite the power of women to create change.

When one side manipulates Andra’s words into killing someone, and the other threatens her father’s life and her own freedom, Andra decides to use her writing to empower others to stop governmental oppression. But in a society ruled by lies, cruelty, and inequality her journey will not be easy or safe. For each book sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to causes that support women and children around the world.

Excerpt:
My stomach dropped as soon as Dad entered the kitchen scowling at a thick card embossed with the government seal. My hand started to shake so much that I had to put down my mug of tea. I knew this day was coming. After all, it was my seventeenth birthday, the first day of the last year of my life.
“That’s the letter, isn’t it?”
Dad looked at me with one of his half smiles, the one that never reached his eyes. I hadn’t seen him smile with genuine happiness for years, not since Mother died. This smile made no effort to cover the sadness and defeat in his face. “Pour me some cocoa, please.” He lowered himself into his customary chair next to me, “I’ll do my civic duty and read this to you.”
“I could always read it myself,” I said. I waited for him to respond the way he always did. I hoped that provoking him a little would reawaken the Dad who let me believe I could do anything, while still protecting me from the cruelty of our society. That Dad had disappeared over recent years.
“Andra!” he said, “You know I don’t like you to say that out loud. You never know if someone might be listening. If I could let you read everywhere, I would. We can’t let your secret get out.”
“I’m sorry.” I handed Dad his cocoa and watched as he took several sips. For a moment he closed his eyes and his face relaxed. The secret to giving him those brief moments was in the cocoa. I make it just like Mother used to. She left us too soon to teach me all her cooking secrets, but she taught me a few. She was a woman who turned everything she touched into something beautiful, warm and comforting. She could make people calm even in the most terrifying circumstances. Mother and Dad both made me believe that my future wasn’t set in the same stone used to build the giant walls that separated New North from the outside world. Mother believed that somehow they would find a way to return to some of the freedoms of the past and make a better future for all women. She never got the chance to do that. She died and Dad grew afraid.

 “Ah, perfect as always. Now, to do my duty.” Dad put his mug down and brought my attention back to the thick card, or the envelope of doom, as I thought of it. The government seal—the Eye of the Lord—gleamed with a hint of gold ink as it caught the light from the sun shining through the window. It sent a shiver down my spine, as if the eye was really watching me.



Lisa A. Kramer has spent her life learning, creating, and exploring the world through theatre, writing, traveling and collaborating as an educator. She has lived in nine states and two countries (including Japan). She holds a PhD in Theatre for Youth, an MFA in Theatre Directing, and a BA in English Language & Literature and Theatre. She has published non-fiction articles in journals specializing on Theatre for Young Audiences, as well articles aimed at young people for Listen Magazine. In addition to young adult novels, she has ventured into the world of short stories, and has stories for adults in several of the Theme-Thology series published by HDWPBooks.com and available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. When not writing, Lisa shares her love of the arts and the power of story as co-founder of heArtful Theatre Company and as adjunct faculty at various colleges and universities. She also spends time enjoying New England with her husband, daughter, and two dogs from her home base in central Massachusetts.
Her latest book is the YA speculative feminist fiction, P.O.W.ER.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Blog Tour: Colorado Hope by Charlene Whitman


Title: Colorado HopeAuthor: Charlene WhitmanPublisher: Ubiquitous PressPages: 412Genre: Sweet Western Historical RomanceFormat: Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON
1875 ~ Beset by a sudden spring storm on the Front Range, newlywed Grace Cunningham watches in horror as her husband, Monty, is swept downriver. Pregnant and despairing, she stumbles into Fort Collins and tries to make a life for herself, praying that one day the man she loves will walk into town and back into her life.

A year after Grace’s tragic loss, Monty enters the dress shop where she works—with a beautiful woman on his arm. Shocked that he has no recollection of her, Grace is determined to win back his heart. Somehow she must help him regain his memories and his buried love for her—and not just for her sake but for the sake of their infant son, Ben.

Monty, miserable in his marriage to a woman he hardly knows, is inexplicably drawn to Grace. Every time he’s near her, memories surface, but they are hazy and troubling. He’s torn between his vows and the desires of his heart, for he cannot stay away from Grace.


Grace’s hope is sparked when Monty starts recalling glimpses of his past. But when murderous outlaws come to town, she is thrust into grave danger. Monty risks his life to rescue her, only to face even greater perils in the treacherous mountains. Can she truly hang on to hope when she is about to lose all she loves?


Excerpt:
May 16, 1875

A fierce wind whipped Grace Ann Cunningham’s hair, yanking at the long strands and pulling them free from their pins. She squinted through the haze of the blustery day and stroked her bulging belly, trying to comfort her baby, who seemed just as agitated by the sudden storm.

Her back ached from sitting on the hard buckboard bench all these miles—much less comfortable than the plush sleeper car they’d enjoyed last week on the train from Illinois to Cheyenne.

She frowned at the dark roiling clouds that had moved in and quickly blotted out the sun.

What had been a pleasant uneventful morning was now turning into an ominous and unsettling afternoon on the open prairie.

Grace sucked in a breath as the baby again kicked her ribs in protest. Her sweet husband’s sun-browned face tightened in concern as he caught her gesture. He pulled on the reins of the two draft horses—sturdy ones they’d bought yesterday in Cheyenne. Surefooted, the seller had told them. And Monty knew his horses, so she trusted his purchase and assurance that they’d
haul them without incident to Fort Collins. But looking at her husband’s face now, seeing the subtle telltale signs indicating that he hadn’t expected this squall nor felt at ease about it, gave her pause. And her normally talkative husband had been too quiet this last hour, eyeing the sky and listening to the roar of the nearby river, as if hearing their complaints and trying to suss out
nature’s intentions.

The baby all right, darlin’?” He scooted over on the buckboard seat to look her over, then took her hands in his.

Warmth from his gentle grip comforted her, but not as much as the love streaming from his adoring gaze.

I think so,” she told him, then smiled as he laid his hand firmly on her belly.

Grace thanked the Lord in a silent prayer for this wonderful man who’d married her in a simple ceremony last September. All those years she’d lived with her doting aunt Eloisa in the boardinghouse back in Bloomington, she never imagined she’d be blessed with such happiness.

When Montgomery Cunningham had first stepped into the parlor to take a room before starting college at Wesleyan University, she’d been a shy, giggling girl of ten. Neither of them foresawthe love that would spark six years later when he showed up again unexpectedly, about to head west to explore and survey lands unknown.

Monty closed his eyes, his hand still on the baby in her womb. She imagined him communing with their baby, speaking to it the way he spoke to rivers, to trees, to the land he traversed by boat and on horseback and on foot. Something had happened to him when he returned from the Hayden Yellowstone Expedition. He had changed from boy to man, yes—but it was more than that. He had fallen in love with the West, and with rivers in particular. Although he’d studied geology in college with John Powell, water captured his heart, and he sought out trips that had him navigating whitewater. Nothing made his eyes sparkle more than talking about the way water moved and sang as it cascaded and carved the face of mountains and spilled into waiting valleys. Well, except the way he looked at her.

Monty may have loved rivers, but Grace knew he loved her more. So much more, for he gladly gave up his exploring to settle down and marry and start a family. Although, Grace thought moving to the new town of Fort Collins, Colorado, was adventure enough. She hoped he’d come to see it that way as well and not be into the wild.







Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years. Colorado Hope is the second sweet Historical Western Romance novel in her Front Range series.
Her latest book is the sweet western historical romance, Colorado Hope.


Connect with Charlene on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: One Among Us by Paige Dearth

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Eleven-year-old Maggie Clarke is an average suburban girl known for her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, her life’s path is tragically altered when Maggie is ripped from her family and thrust into the horrific underworld of human sex trafficking. In captivity, Maggie watches over a young boy, who gives her a reason to live. Robbed of her innocence and freedom, Maggie does whatever it takes to survive.
With the help of Detective Rae Harker, the Clarkes’ frantically search for their daughter. Haunted by his own demons, Detective Harker vows to find Maggie—dead or alive. Meanwhile on the vile streets of Philadelphia, a strange man approaches Maggie with a dangerous proposition, and she risks everything to break free of the network of unsavory characters that control her. Not even she can know how far she will go to get even with the people who ruined her life.
Raw, edgy, and intense, One Among Us ultimately offers hope through Maggie, who grows stronger and more resourceful through her experiences. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, rooting for Maggie as she fights for her life.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: When Smiles Fade by Paige Dearth

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Emma was unloved from the moment she was born. Her earliest memory is being severely beaten by her father, Pepper Murphy, when she was eight-years-old. Seething with resentment over the sacrifice of his dreams for a woman he cares little about and children he never wanted, Pepper chooses to blame his oldest daughter. Her mother, Valerie, makes matters worse with her verbal abuse, leaving Emma isolated with a man that had no boundaries in punishing his daughter, taking his abuse to unimaginable levels.
Emma's father's coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.
Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.
Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

Blog tour and Review: Her by Felicia Johnson




Title: Her
Author: Felicia Johnson
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA/Fiction
Publisher: 8th Street Publishing
Release Date: June 2013
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print (Soon to be a Movie)
Trigger Warnings: Borderline Personality Disorder, Eating Disorders, Depression, Child Abuse, Self-Harm
Blurb/Synopsis:
In many ways, Kristen Elliott is a normal, seventeen-year-old girl. Kristen loves her family. She works hard academically, and tries to please her mother. She takes on the additional responsibility of caring for her twin siblings, Nick and Alison. She idealizes her best friend, Lexus, who not only seems to lead the perfect life, but also catches the attention of John, the boy Kristen secretly loves. However, as is the case with many teenagers, Kristen feels frustrated, isolated, and confused.
In other ways, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She knows something is wrong with her. Kristen feels like an utter failure. She is unable to please her abrasive mother, and scared to confront Jack, her abusive stepfather. She is also unable to protect Nick from Jack, making her fell all the more helpless. Adding to her problems, she knows she will never be as beautiful as her best friend Lexus. Kristen finds solace in self-injury, and the company of Mr. Sharp, her imaginary friend who encourages her feelings of self-loathing.
After a failed suicide attempt, Kristen is placed in the Bent Creek mental hospital, where she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. While in the hospital, she meets a group of peers suffering with their own mental illnesses, and a compassionate staff of doctors and counselors. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She discovers the circumstances that brought her to this breaking point, struggles to understand her mental illness, and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: her self-blame.
Kristen’s tale of endurance illustrates the complex illness of Borderline Personality Disorder. Readers – including those suffering from BPD and their friends and family – can glean insight into the illness from Kristen’s humanity. Her story is an example of how, if we try to push the past away, we are either doomed to repeat it or let it haunt us to our graves.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Blog Tour: A Dark Road by Amanda Lance

Dark Road Banner  
A Dark Road by Amanda Lance
BLOG TOUR
January 12-16, 2015







ADRCoverNot every friendship is as harmless as it seems. Loner James McKay wants nothing to do with Hadley Grayson. After all, the last thing a drug dealer needs is the pretty, new girl trying to be friends. Walking distractions like her lead to trouble, the kind that can get you 10 to 15 behind bars. Likewise, fencing champion Hadley Grayson isn’t thrilled about her family uprooting her during her senior year of high school. At least there’s James McKay, the quiet, mad scientist who is as adorable as he is mysterious. Though McKay may reject the idea of friendship, he gets one whether he wants it or not. But once the lies are told and the rumors spread, the dangers of meth making and dealing are impossible to avoid. Between secrets and overdosing classmates, McKay and Hadley will learn that loneliness can be a two-way street, changing both of their lives forever.
BUY IT FOR ONLY 99 CENTS ON AMAZON:
http://bit.ly/ADRAL










Amanda
A native of New Jersey and lifelong nerd, Amanda Lance recently completed her Master in Liberal Arts at Thomas Edison State College after her BA in English Literature and AFA in creative writing. She currently resides in Easton Pennsylvania with her boyfriend and their spoiled hound dog. She is a cliché booknerd who is terrible at math, clinically obsessive, and prone to addictive behavior. She may or may not be a recluse.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Relase Day: Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins








Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.





Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: Believe Like a Child by Paige Dearth

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ABOUT THE NOVEL:
Alessa is just seven years old when her uncle rapes her for the first time. As the years pass, his sexual appetite becomes more voracious and his perversion more twisted, until the abuse has become almost a daily ritual, with the unspoken involvement of the girl's mother.
At the age of sixteen, after the death of her only friend, Alessa finds herself at the mercy of her real-life monster, with no relief in sight. She flees her home to escape this hell, only to find herself descending into a more dangerous one. Alone and helpless in the streets of North Philadelphia, she encounters more human predators who want to take over her life and devour her. About to hit rock bottom, Alessa manages to break away from her new tormentors and finds refuge in a shelter for homeless and abused women.
Wherever she goes, however, trouble keeps seeking her out, until she meets three people who change the course of her life forever. Though Alessa's bittersweet journey is perpetually fraught with challenges, she does, nevertheless, manage to find fleeting moments of joy along the way. But as she begins to settle down, a ghost from the past comes to haunt her again, threatening to destroy the very foundation of her small world and plunging her back into an abyss of despair, until she makes her final bid for escape.

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Daughter of the Fallen by: Madeline Wynn



Title: Daughter of the Fallen
Author: Madeline Wynn
Publisher: Book Baby
Pages: 250
Genre: YA paranormal
Format: Paperback
Purchase at AMAZON
Most sixteen-year olds aren't worried about the fate of their immortal souls. May Krieg should be.

Typically, honor student May's biggest problems have revolved around her super-hot arch-rival, Jack. But when a school project takes them ghost-hunting in a local cemetery, she discovers that an ominous force roams in the darkness around her.

And it follows her home.

It claws its way into her life, burning messages into her wall and imprinting them onto her body. Even worse, she can't tell if it's trying to possess her... or protect her.

May's thoughts soon become actions, causing the target of her anger severe physical pain and giving her a rush the likes of which she has never experienced. She quickly realizes that she needs to find a way to reign in this power before she kills someone. May hates the pleasure it gives her, hates herself for hurting others, but she can't stop.


As her entire world shatters around her, she is forced to ask what her soul is worth-- and who would she risk losing her soul to save?

Book Excerpt:
This is New England. And in New England, a town without a good witch hanging or ghost story just, well, isn’t considered to be a real town. So when I walk past the iron gate of the cemetery and feel the urge to bolt riding up my legs like a herd of football players bum-rushing the food counter on taco day, I set my shoulders and do my best to cowboy up.
Set between imposing stone walls and punctured by large granite fists, Hillside Cemetery definitely looks like it deserves its sinister reputation, making my attempt at bravery rather brief. “This place sucks. Maybe we should just go.”
Here, watch your step,” Cay says and holds out his hand to help me over the uneven cobbles just on the other side of the entry. Once we make it over the stones, he drops my hand and pulls the recording equipment out of the duffle.
We’ve been friends ever since kindergarten, when some boy taunted me for living in a “little troll house.” Cay, the kickball king, told him that it was actually a gingerbread house, and everybody knows that only fairy princesses live in gingerbread houses.
He was wrong, of course; it was witches who lived in the gingerbread houses, a fact I pointed out to him later, but I gave him props for the effort. We’ve been “Cay and May” ever since, but the whole dating thing still feels… awkward.
Is this all from school or is Jack bringing some of his dad’s?” I swipe an errant curl of hair out of my face and cringe at my surroundings as I reach for the big videocamera. Why does it have to be so dark? Why can’t people ghost hunt in the daylight? You can still supposed get sound bites and whatever in the daytime, right? It’s not like ghosts go anywhere or sleep or, you know, whatever.
“Well, the big stuff is the professional gear with night vision from school. And then we have my stuff.” Cay stops in front of a wide tomb, laying his multiple cameras and his mini video recorder along the top like they are the most precious things in the world. “Weird that Mr. Dowd put both you and Jack on my team.”
“Yeah, weird.” And a nightmare. If it wasn’t for Jack, I’d be ranked first in our year, and, unlike Jack, if I don’t earn a ton of scholarship money for college, then I can’t go.
Cay fumbles with the equipment, his breath rising in great grey puffs of frost, lingering in his dark bob of curls. I shiver.
A BMW pulls up in front of the entry gate, looking sleek and new and out of place.
I run an unsteady hand through my untamable hair…right…Jack.
He gets out of the car and strides towards us, stepping out into the camera’s lights: short blond hair, high cheekbones, and a long neck leading to strong shoulders. Everyone at school, except for me, that is, adores him because he’s rich, intelligent and supposedly lost his virginity to a Victoria’s Secret model.
Watching the god-like way he strides across the cemetery, you can almost believe the hype. He lifts his eyes to meet mine as he nods a greeting. My heart flips.
Of course, it would be easier to dislike him if he wasn’t so damn… hot. I shake my head. I hate that about him, too.
You’re late.” I grab the sound gear from Cay and hand it to him, eyeing the orange-clad harpy of a girl trailing after him.
I had to pick up Alicia.” He indicates the thing as he straps on the professional sound gear. “And respond to your post on the AP History board about gun control.”
I huff. “You think we should arm everyone with a credit card?”
What I think is irrelevant, Mason.” Jack’s the only one in the universe who calls me by my full name. “It’s what the Founding Fathers wanted that matters.” He holds out his hand to help me navigate my way over a broken tomb. I ignore it. He smirks, “Or do you not support the Bill Of Rights?”
God, please keep me from throttling him tonight. Cay clears his throat.
“WTF, losers? A graveyard?” Alicia Impestio. Wearing her designer hoodie unzipped so that she reveals way more skin than she has to, her straight brown hair is bleached at the tips and held off of her over-tanned face by some rhinestone-studded catastrophe. I grit my teeth.
“Hey Alicia, glad you could make it.” Cay holds the minicam out towards her and helps her onto the cobbled path of the graveyard.
“Whatever.” Alicia grabs the mini and swats at Cay’s hand as she struggles to gain a foothold. A challenging endeavor, I’m sure, for someone wearing flip-flops in November.
She gives me the once-over, lips curling.
You really wore that?” She asks, mouth open with disdain.
Alicia…” Jack’s voice is low, menacing.
I mean” –she gives me the once-over and sneers- “Aren’t the Kardashians some of you people? They at least know how to dress. But, then again, they also know who their daddy is.”
That’s Alicia: hitting where it hurts. I blink through the stinging at my eyes as my mind races to find something snarky to say...something to…
“Alicia,” Jack snaps. “Stop.”
Fine, but tell Clay Aiken over there to hurry it. I’m cold.”
Jack makes a motion with his head to indicate that Cay should ignore her as he adjusts the weight of the portable boom on his back.
Okay, I’m filming.” I say and catch the low-hanging harvest moon before panning down to Cay. “In three, two, one…”
This is Cayden Robison of Chase Hills High Broadcasting reporting on site at Hillside Cemetery. In 1734, three witches were reportedly hung just up the road, on the town green and buried, here, in this cemetery, in unmarked graves.”
Then, in 1864, three men were arrested for grave digging, and ever since, people have reported strange things not only here, but especially out behind the burial grounds, in the woods.” Cay runs his hand along the top of a worn tombstone.
Reports of paranormal activity really began to pick up in the past thirty years.” He pauses, and I pan the camera over to the creepy oak and the broken bench beneath it, hands a little unsteady. “Some people claim to hear voices, others see full-body apparitions, but most convincingly, in the 1980s, some kids back here partying say that they found satanists performing rituals in the woods. They watched as the group made a make-shift temple of one of the half-buried barite mines in the woods, and claim that the men actually raised a demon.”
He stops, looking intently into the lens of my camera. I flex my fingers, my breath rushed, like I’ve been running.
Tonight, we’re going to dig for the truth and see if Hillside Cemetery is actually haunted.” Cays smiles.
Deep breath, May. It’s just a story. Fairytales. There’s no such thing as demons, or ghosts.  


Madeline Wynn holds a master's degree in procrastination. When she's not writing, she can be found ghost hunting, gardening and parading around her home state of Connecticut with her husband, dog and two kids.
Her latest book is the YA paranormal, Daughter of the Fallen.
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GIVEAWAY

Madeline Wynn is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends January 31.
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  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
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