Memory of Us: Author Interview

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THE MEMORY OF US
by Camille DiMaio
Genre: Historical Romantic Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Number of Pages: 400

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Synopsis

Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.

While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the Church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.

But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?

ADVANCED REVIEWER PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“Powerful, emotional, and amazing read.”

“A smashing debut!”

“Brilliantly told and executed.”

“Will make you cry in the best way possible.”

“This is a beautiful story of redemption, love, and honor.”

“I fell in love with the characters.”

“I’m not sure if I have ever had such a range of emotions with a book.”

“This is one of the best books that I have read!”

“Touching and funny and tragic and beautiful.”

“Packs a powerful, emotional punch.”

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AuthorInterview

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? 

I would say that women’s fiction chose me, rather than me choosing it.  When I had the idea for the story, it naturally fit in to a genre that embodied a woman’s journey, with historical and romantic elements.

 

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from? 

From an early age, I always saw my mom reading, and I developed the same love for it.  She drilled me in vocabulary lessons and even cleaned bathrooms in bingo halls to supplement tuition at private school, where I received an excellent education in English and literature.  She also read everything I wrote as a kid and thought it was publishable.

 

How long have you been writing? 

I have been writing blogs and stories for as long as I can remember, and even had twenty-two pen-pals as a teenager just because I love to write so much.  When I set out to write a novel, though, it took me six years between conception and publication.  After having four children, I have to say that my book baby had the longest gestation period!

 

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.? 

I think there is tremendous cultural value in reading and writing.  It is the best way to help us identify with people in circumstances either similar or different to ours.  It expands our knowledge of the world, of facts, of places, of personalities better than anything else I can imagine.  It is also an excellent escape – and I know that I need to wind down often and just immerse myself in reading a story.

 

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

There is a priest in my book, so I did draw from my Catholic faith to be able to write about him authentically.  It also informed how far I would go with romantic themes in the book.  I personally find in literature and in movies that what is left to the imagination is sexier than what is spelled out for you.

 

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I love vocabulary, so I would like to think that using precise and beautiful words is a strong point for me.  I don’t want them to be common, nor do I want them to be intellectual.  I just want them to be perfect for the situation.

 

What’s something fun or funny that most people don’t know about you? 

I have three kidneys!

 about the author

DiMaio Pic

Camille is an award-winning real estate agent in San Antonio who, along with her husband of 18 years, home schools their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes, and forever stays up late reading “just one more chapter”. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. “The Memory of Us” is Camille’s debut novel. Her second, “Before the Rain Falls” will be released in the spring of 2017.

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  June 21 – July 5, 2016

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/21    Missus Gonzo  — Review

6/22    Books and Broomsticks Promo

6/23    The Page Unbound  – Author Interview #1

6/24    Texas Book Lover  – Guest Post

6/25    The Librarian Talks – Review

6/26    Country Girl Bookaholic  – Excerpt

6/27    It’s a Jenn World – Author Interview #2

6/28    Byers Editing Reviews & Blog  — Review

6/29    Forgotten Winds – Book Trailer

6/30    Margie’s Must Reads – Review

7/1       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo

7/2       The Crazy Booksellers – Author Interview #3

7/3       My Book Fix Blog — Review

7/4       StoreyBook Reviews  – Author Interview #4

7/5       Hall Ways Blog         – Review

 

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Blood Orchid Excerpt and Giveaway

Blood Orchid tour bannerBlood Orchid (Night Flower #2)
by Claire Warner

Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal/Romance
Release Date: June 2016

 

Summary from Goodreads:

 

Tied to Justin with bonds stronger than blood, Melissa De Vire heads into her new life with fear and anger. Anger at Emily, at Katherine and most of all, anger at Justin, fuels her resolve to find a cure for the curse. From the English court in 1752 to the fires of the French Revolution, Melissa struggles to survive her new existence and find forgiveness for Justin as clues to a cure begin to surface.

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 Book Excerpt:

“Thank God,” Melissa whispered, tears once again beginning to spill from her eyes. Unlike the tears she had shed throughout the night, these were tears of relief. Justin reached forward and drew her into his arms, wincing as his ribs screeched in protest. Her head lay on his chest and her bloody hands reached about his back. For a long time he held her, saying nothing as she cried.

“Come on,” He muttered finally as her sobs began to cease. “I’ll put you to bed,” He stood and drew her with him. Moving out of the library, he led her back to the main staircase and up to the first floor. They walked past walls damp with mildew and mould as he led her along the upper gallery. The door at the end opened into a lit bed chamber. The room was dry and fairly clean but simply furnished. A large four poster dominated the room and a stunted set of drawer stood against one wall. Melissa climbed onto the bed and settled back against the pillows. As Justin drew the blankets about her, she could smell the lingering scent of his cologne on the sheets and she closed her eyes, torn between anger and care.

“Get some sleep,” Justin muttered, he wished he could tell her that this were only a bad dream. Her dark hair fanned out over the pillows as she drifted toward sleep. Several stray strands of hair fell across her face and he brushed them away with a gentle touch. “You need some rest.

“I rested earlier,” She whispered, her voice hoarse from crying. “I had nightmares,” Melissa looked directly at him and tried not to blame him. She knew that he had tried to prevent the tragedy that had befallen her and his eyes spoke volumes of guilt and sorrow. The gentleness of his touch told her his feelings; she had felt concern and what could be described as love as his fingers lightly traced over her skin. “Could you stay with me?” The terror of the previous hours infused her words and his hand stilled. “I don’t want to be alone,”

“Of course,” He settled himself as comfortably as he could and watched as she drifted off to sleep. He coughed into his handkerchief and stared down at the bright bloom of blood on the white cotton with a wry smile. It was getting worse; he had indeed punctured a lung which didn’t bode well for the future. He needed to retrieve his brooch from John. That was one of his first priorities. He had ‘died’ at least once before, but he didn’t relish repeating the experience.  Bars of golden sunlight fell through the gap in the curtains and pierced the gloom. The pale light fell across Melissa’s sleeping face and guilt gnawed at his insides. If he had not approached her, she would have been free of this joke of a life. If she did not hate him now, she would. The first time she had to kill would drive that wedge of anger into her mind and he would pay the price. In this instance he could not even claim ignorance of the curse’s power. His own selfish desires had drawn her into this web and had it not been for him. He closed his eyes and attempted to banish the dark thoughts that were gathering inside his head. For now he had to make sure she was well, there would be time later to worry about things he could not change. The sun climbed higher into the sky as he stayed by her side, kept alert by his injuries and his guilt.

About the Author

claire warner

When I was a child, I made up games and characters when my sister and I played with dolls. As I grew older, I would make up scenarios and scenes, fully intending to write them down but never finding the time. In my late teens, I discovered the world of role playing and settled into an avid ‘geeky’ life of D&D, comics, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Years passed and I finally gave voice to the stories in my head. I write romance, fantasy, action and adventure. I love tales of steampunk and history, tales of magical powers and dark curses lurking in the shadows. Though The Black Lotus is not my first attempt at a novel, it is the first I have finished.

And some fun facts about me:

I sew.

My favourite Disney film is Atlantis.

I’ve been a film extra and stood 5 feet away from Sam Rockwell.

Babylon 5 is my fave sci-fi show.

I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.

 

Author Links:

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The Darkness That Could Be Felt Showcase Tour and Giveaway

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THE DARKNESS THAT COULD BE FELT

Treasure of the Raven King Book One

by  C. Wayne Dawson

Genre: Historical Military Fiction / Mystery

Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC.

Date of Publication: May 22, 2016

# of pages: 304

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Synopsis

Women are disappearing off the streets of Vienna in 1684 and Captain Mathis Zieglar vows to find out why. Defying orders to break off his investigation, he discovers they are being trafficked into the Muslim slave market. His only hope of ransoming them from a life of abuse is to find the treasure of the Raven King. The treasure is a secret code lodged inside an ancient text that will rock the Ottoman and Holy Roman Empires to their foundations.

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Excerpt

November, 1462

Wallachia, near Castle King’s Rock

“The Mohammedans have found us, Sire.”

Vlad Dracula, War Lord of Wallachia and Transylvania, jerked his horse to a stop. Dracula snapped his head around to look at his companion. “How close, Grigore?”

An excited buzz broke out amongst the warlord’s ten bodyguards. They came to a halt, sending up billows of dough-colored dust that contrasted with the forest’s darkness. Sweat dripped down their leather armor. Their horses pawed the ground impatiently, straining to resume their canters.

Grigore steadied himself with one hand against the back of his panting horse and caught his breath. He turned his steed around and pointed to a mountain pass five hundred feet up the road. “They’re there, Prince. If we pause for a short rest, they’ll be upon us and have our necks.”

“Damn. Reversing our horse’s shoes didn’t throw them off our trail for long,” gasped a trooper beside Dracula, fighting to control a mount that grew nervous as the pitch of desperation in the men’s voices intensified.

Dracula nodded as he tightened his grip on the reins. He focused on the road climbing sharply to the west. “No one can outrun Turkish cavalry forever, Luca. The spahis never quit.”

Cold hatred stiffened him in his saddle. He would love dashing into his pursuers and tearing into as many as possible before they could bring him down. It would be sweet revenge. They had taunted his fiancée until she flung herself from the castle window to her death. But no, not now. There was something more important to finish, something that would deliciously even the score.

Dracula called out to a man holding the reins of a packhorse. Bulging saddlebags draped over the animal’s sides. “Imre, you and Cosmin must take the next road away from us and keep the treasure safe.”

Dracula looked toward a basket lashed to the side of a mule, which was tied to the packhorse. A small head with wide eyes peered over the brim. “And take my son with you. Remember, you hold the fate of Christendom in your hands. Make your way to Buda and meet me there.”

As the men rode away with the boy, Dracula pulled chainmail over his head and tossed it to the side of the road. “Lighten your load, brothers. If we can make it to the next pass, the Hungarian army will save us.”

The small band of Dracula’s retainers cast aside their armor, then spurred their sweating mounts up the grade.

His heart pounding like a drum, Dracula racked his memory. There was a special trail up there somewhere. He’d outwit the Mohammedans, he always did.

Halfway up the grade, an arrow flew over his shoulder. Another struck Grigore in the leg.

“Radu.” Dracula cursed. “My brother has shown the Turks the shortcut.”

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about the author

C. Wayne Dawson writes for The Williamson County Sun, and has written for History Magazine, Focus On Georgetown, and SAFVIC Law Enforcement Newsletter. He also founded Central Texas Authors, a group that helps authors promote and market their books through media and collaborative efforts.

C. Wayne Dawson was a Professor of History for ten years and created the Chautauqua program at Mt. San Antonio College. There, he invited scholars, government officials and activists from clashing perspectives to engage one another in a rational, but passionate public forum.

The discussions took on the burning issues of the day: Immigration, Islam and Democracy, Israel or Palestine, The Patriot Act, and Human Trafficking. Attendance ranged from 200-350 people, including students, faculty and the general public. These events attracted representatives from the press, several radio stations, and Telemundo television.

In 2009, the students of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honored him with the Glaux Mentor Teacher of Year Award for his efforts in bringing the Chautuaqua program to Mt. SAC.

In the fall of 2012, he delivered six lectures at Sun City’s Senior University on “Muslims and Christians, the Struggle for Europe, 1453-1697.”

He recently completed writing his historically based novel, Vienna’s Last Jihad and begun his second, Treasure of the Raven King.

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  June 13 – June 22, 2016

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6/13     Hall Ways Blog

6/14     Forgotten Winds

6/15     Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

6/16     Byers Editing Reviews & Blog

6/17     The Page Unbound

6/18     Country Girl Bookaholic

6/19     The Crazy Booksellers

6/20     It’s a Jenn World

6/20     Reading By Moonlight — REVIEW

6/21     My Book Fix Blog

6/22     A Novel Reality

6/22     Forgotten Winds — REVIEW

 

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The Burning Star and The Frozen Star Book Blitz and Giveaway

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The Burning Star & The Frozen Star
Jessie Lane, M.L. Pahl
(Star #1)
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis for The Burning Star:

Seventeen-year-old Kay’s journey of a lifetime started in the woods where she met a beautiful man … along with a monster. The chance encounter led her to an unbelievable world that shouldn’t have existed, a place where myths and fairytales were real and, in some cases, deadly.

Kay knew she would have to brave this new world if she hoped to find a cure for her terminal cancer.

With a strange yet beautiful cast of characters, Kay uncovered truths that would change her life forever. However, before it was all over, she discovered she wasn’t the only one with problems.

Yet another seventeen-year-old young woman was fighting for her life.

Kira had grown up in a magical world. Despite this, her life had not been filled with many good things. She considered her empty, emotional solitude the only positive aspect of her life and fought daily battles to escape abuse and torture.

Trained to be an expert assassin, she was charged with kidnapping Kay and delivering her to Kira’s master, Lord Donovan.

As the two young women set forth on their journeys, their paths would cross in unimaginable ways. There was only one question that remained: who would come out alive?

 

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Excerpt:

I stood there frozen, knowing that I would probably die because of this wretched creature, when all of a sudden I saw the quick movement of an arm bringing down the point of the knife, slicing towards the large creature’s skull. The animal’s enraged screams ripped through the woods surrounding us.

My brain tried to analyze what was happening before me as I stood still as a statue and watched as the monster started to crumble away like something that had been burnt from the inside out and then fell apart.

This can’t be real.

I looked up from the ashes into the face of an angel.

He’s not an angel; he’s just a guy. Right?

He was staring at me as if he had just seen me sprout a second head. I was staring back at him like he was somehow related to those alien birds outside my window. My mouth flapped open to scream again, but before a sound could escape, the world faded to black, and I fainted.

At least I didn’t scream again.

 When I opened my eyes, two ethereal blue eyes were staring back at me. My head was throbbing like a bass drum in a marching band, and it felt like my head might split in two from the pounding headache.

“Are you okay?” he asked me, his voice strong but sweet.

Before I could stop my mouth from saying anything ridiculous, I replied, “Are you an angel? Did I finally die and go to Heaven?”

He bellowed a laugh while I blushed a shade that was more than likely lobster red. I smacked myself in the forehead and tried to hide my face behind my hand. What a brilliant way to make a first impression on an extremely hot guy. That’s when it hit me.

The past few moments of events flooded my brain again and I started to panic.

“Wait a minute! What was that thing and how in the world did it just, just—”

“The dog? I had to cut it with my knife to scare it away. It wasn’t a mortal wound though. He took off through the woods to escape. Sorry if you’re one of those animal lovers, but I was afraid it might kill one of us.”

I shook my head to try to clear it. “No, no, no, no. That was no dog. Well, it was at first, but then it became something else. It was black and huge and had those red eyes…”

Before I finished my sentence, I looked up at him to see complete shock and amazement on his face. I had never seen anyone look so bewildered.

“Don’t look at me like that! I know what I saw! Now what was that thing and what happened to it? It didn’t run off; I saw you kill it. And I would point to the body to prove it, but it, well, it fell apart or something.”

In a split second, the shock had disappeared from his handsome face, replaced by something more masked and calculating. “I’m sorry, but you’re quite mistaken. I didn’t kill it. I only wounded it. And it was a dog. Are you sure you didn’t hit your head or something? I’m afraid you might be having some kind of hallucination.” Somehow, when he said it, it didn’t seem as scary or grotesque as it did when I played what I saw back in my head.

 

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Synopsis for The Frozen Star:

The journey continues …

Kay discovered secrets, lies, shocking truths, and even love in a strange new world hidden from humans. Everything she thought she knew was turned upside down when she found out three things: she wasn’t human; she had a power she couldn’t control; and there was a possibility she might have found a way to cure her deadly cancer by using that very same power.

Just when she was on the precipice of gaining everything she wanted and saving her own life, tragedy struck. Would she be able to fight her way back to Ryan and save herself in the process?

Kira had lived a terrifying life of servitude and abuse under Lord Donovan and his son, Cole. It was an existence that had stripped away her emotions and reasons to keep fighting.

Just when she thought freedom was within reach, Lord Donovan struck again, ruining her plans and almost killing her. When she awoke from her injuries, it was to stunning revelations that would change her life forever, changes she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted.

Persistent individuals, such as Prince Kane, refused to let her walk away, though. Would she embrace all of her sudden fortune? Or would she walk away from those who needed her most, forsaking their acceptance and love?

WARNING: This is a upper ya/young adult/new adult fictional story that includes some explicit language, graphic violence, and mild sexual situations. Recommended for ages sixteen and up.

*This book is a re-release and revision from the original book published in 2012. Please be aware that some things have been added, deleted or changed.*

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Excerpt:

“Kira, do you have any birthmarks?”

That is it! My patience was long gone at this point. I stomped my foot in frustration and fisted my hands at my sides. How dare they start asking about my bodily marks! Over the years, my entire life really, I’d had all of my freedoms stripped from me. This was too much! There was no way I was going to let these people try to strip away the freedom of keeping any personal knowledge about my body to myself.

No longer thinking of the innate dangers of how one should act or speak to royalty, I shouted, “NO!”

Shocked looks went around the room at my angry outburst, but I lingered on Kane’s excessively amused look.

“Interesting…”

Growling in exasperation, I spoke through gritted teeth. “What’s interesting, Kane? Are you mocking me somehow?”

“Kira, dove, look down.”

Doing as he said, I looked to the floor and froze. Not quite literally, but it was pretty damn close.

Underneath the foot I had stomped a second before, the floor glistened with frost and ice. A layer of ice also encased my foot and had effectively sealed it to the area of frosted floor around said foot.

“Ah, God! Undo this, Kane! Undo it right now! Why would you do this to me?” I kept trying to jerk my leg up, but it wouldn’t budge an inch from its frozen spot on the floor.

“I had nothing to do with that, Kira. That is all you, dove.”

 

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About the Authors:

Jessie Lane is a best-selling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, as well as, Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.

She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in-the-making and her over protective alpha husband that she’s pretty sure is a latent grizzly bear shifter. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.

She’s also a proud member of the Romance Writer’s of America (RWA).

To be notified about new releases you can sign up for her Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/2XZan

Please visit Jessie at: http://jessielanebooks.com/ for more information!

Jessie

Author Links:

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ML Pahl or simply Mel to her friends and family, grew up in coastal North Carolina. With the Marine Corps at her back and the sandy beaches beckoning her face on, she learned that nothing could hinder her imagination.

She wrote and released her first novel, Zombies Don’t Ride Motorcycles, a lil’ zombie apocalypse novel that had the beginnings of a love story threaded in there, with her brother Matthew Leo in December 2014. (Written under the name Melissa Leo-Pahl)
Not wanting to be stuck in one genre, ML Pahl decided to dabble in everything from Science-Fiction to Romantic Comedy and even Paranormal. Whiskey Diaries is book one in the One Night Only series and her first solo project.
Not only is ML Pahl an author she is the owner/operator of IndieVention Designs. A book formatting and book cover company servicing other indie authors like herself.
Melissa currently resides in the frozen north of Minnesota, where she lives with her family and those cute dogs she’s always tweeting about.

ML

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Artificial Blog Tour and Giveaway

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Artificial By Jadah McCoy
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: April 4th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis

 

f620fb1c-1ae6-496c-b667-8ec5db360f8fShe struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.

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Excerpt

 

A house looms in front of me, quiet and ominous. It’s tucked away at the edge of the city, where the tree line gets thicker and more dangerous. It’s almost completely overrun with creep moss, the forest reclaiming the building after decades of disuse. It looks to be undisturbed, which means there might still be food there.

Eclipse season is coming soon, and the months beforehand are always a scramble to get more scouting parties out, pushing the boundaries of how late we return. There’s always a shortage of food, and if we run out during the eclipse, well… Whoever draws the short stick better gear up and pray their flashlight doesn’t attract anything other than Cull.

It couldn’t hurt to scout this one last building. Besides, Serge and Lucca won’t be heading back for a few more minutes, and there’s too much adrenaline in my system to retreat back into the sewers just yet.

I glance up; the sky is orange. I’ll have to hurry. Creep moss cascades from the door. I brush it aside and the thin tendrils disintegrate into puffs of powdery green. I cover my nose and mouth with a hand; the stuff can cause hallucinations if inhaled.

Inside, the building is mildewed and molded, the frame probably only held together by the moss and vines attached to it. Orange light shines through the stained windows, illuminating the dust motes in the air. The floor creaks as I pass through what looks to be a living room. A few feet away, something scurries in a small hole. Beady eyes peer out at me.

Past the living room is a tiny rectangular room that was once a kitchen. The one window in the room is shattered. Flowering limbs press through and cover every surface, sealing shut the cabinets lining the walls. I take my knife and jam it into the crack between the two cabinet doors, sawing all the way down until I can pry the limbs away with my blade. They drip red onto the counters below, and the liquid bubbles as it eats at the material.

I pull open the cabinet and… jackpot! Stacks of cans greet me on the other side. I reach for them and—

There’s a loud thud in the next room.

My hand freezes in the air, my grip tightening on the knife in my other hand. I step out of the kitchen and farther down the hall. The room across from the kitchen is dark and quiet, partially lit by a stray beam of evening sunlight.

“Hello?” My voice sounds too loud in the silence.

There’s no answer.

I return to the cabinet, shoving the cans of food into my bag. It was probably nothing, just some animal seeking shelter or being nosy. That doesn’t stop me from cleaning the place out and getting the hell out of there as fast as possible.

Sprinting wouldn’t get me out of the kitchen fast enough. Maybe I inhaled some of those damn creep moss spores on accident.

When I leave the house, I glance back one last time. For a moment I think I see a face in the dirty window, white and smiling, and then it’s gone. A shiver trails down my spine.

Definitely the creep moss.

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About the Author

 

fffc3bf0-8954-4d78-8eeb-0a86593659b8Jadah currently lives in Nashville, TN and works in law. When not babysitting attorneys, she can be found juicing her brain for creative ideas or fantasizing about her next trip out of the country (or about Tom Hiddleston as Loki – it’s always a toss up when she fantasizes).

She grew up in rural Arkansas, yet can still write good and sometimes even wears shoes! She did date her first cousin for a while but they decided against marriage for the sake of the gene pool.

Her true loves are elephants, cursing, and sangria – in that order. If you find an elephant that curses like a sailor whilst drinking sangria, you’re dangerously close to becoming her next romantic victim – er, partner.

She cut her writing teeth on badly written, hormone-driven fanfiction (be glad that’s out of her system), and her one true dream is to have wildly erotic fanfiction with dubious grammar written about her own novels. Please make her dreams come true.

Author Links

 

 

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Memories of Ash Blog Tour and Giveaway

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Title: Memories of Ash

Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book Two

Author: Intisar Khanani

Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: May 30, 2016

Publisher: Purple Monkey Press

Synopsis:

In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.

Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.

If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

 

 

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Excerpt:

Before me the water lies smooth, no ripple disturbing its crystalline surface. Upon that polished expanse gleams the spell-cast image of my mother. Dressed in a pale pink kimono embroidered in shades of rose, she kneels before a tea tray, hands on her lap and face raised toward me. I have her eyes, though my skin has the desert tint of my father’s people. Her lips, neither too full nor too thin, grace her face in harmony with the gentle roundness of her cheeks, while my own features remain hollowed by the fire that once consumed me from the inside out. By her very stillness I know she has detected some trace of my spell, the ties of blood and kinship that I have used to seek her out through the shields that surround her.

“Let it go, Hitomi,” Stormwind says gently.

I release the tenuous thread of my casting with unexpected relief. I have attempted this spell half a dozen times now, but not once have I taken it to completion. I could have done it today had I not paused to observe her. The bitterness on my tongue has the singular taste of cowardice to it.

My mother’s image breaks apart, replaced by the faint reflection of trees overhead. I watch the water’s movement over the multi-hued stones covering the lake bottom. In the early morning light, they’re every color of the earth: the burnished yellow of evening sunlight, a dreamlike lavender, grays dark as storm clouds and light as hope, reds both as bright as blood and as dark as death. The colors of life lie beneath the water, calling to me as if I might reach out and recover the memories I lost in ash nearly a year ago.

 

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Synopsis:

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

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Author Interview:

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?

I’m one of those people who was always writing something. I stapled my first books together when I was three or four, and never stopped. I’ve always had stories and characters in my head; even if I wasn’t actively writing, I was still telling myself stories as I went through my days. I didn’t get serious until my final year in university when I decided to write a novel in addition to my overload class schedule, 20 hour a week job, and multiple clubs and groups. (I’m still not sure what I was thinking.) I chose my favorite Grimms’ fairy tale, The Goose Girl, as my basic plot line to make it easier on myself, and wrote a chapter a week. By the end of the year, I had a complete draft of what would eventually become my debut novel, Thorn. I’ve kept writing since then, and have a wonderful backlog of stories to awaiting revision. It isn’t so much what inspires me to write, as that I would be miserable if I weren’t writing. I love living in these worlds, watching stories unfold, and taking that away from myself would make me a pretty miserable person. Believe me, I’ve taken time away from writing, and I speak from experience when I say that!

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

I write young adult fantasy, so clearly teens and adults who enjoy that genre are my general audience. But more specifically, my stories have strong women, difficult situations, and very real issues at heart. These are stories for people who are looking for both adventure and depth, excitement and sorrow. They are also stories that are set in a diverse world—in a world that is built on races and cultures that exist in our own world, but have been erased from the fantasy worlds we have traditionally been fed. So these books are also for people like myself, who grew up looking for a smart, capable heroine that looked even just a little bit liked them, or traveled through a city that might feel like home. These books are for the people like me who grew up twenty years ago, and needed a world that included them in more ways than one—and they’re for the girls growing up now who are still looking for that.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Sunbolt references a spell that my heroine, Hitomi, casts toward the end of the first book. She gathers the latent sunlight slumbering in the things around her—the leaves, the earth—and transforms it into a bolt of lightning. The spell has severe ramifications for her, but it’s also a heckuva powerful spell, and so once she recovers, “sunbolt” becomes her mage-name, and will follow her through the remaining books.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The cover for Memories of Ash was designed by Jenny over at Seedlings Design Studio. She is incredibly talented and I cannot stress how much I love working with her. For Memories of Ash, we discussed the different elements of the story. There are a lot of references to fire and ash, and there is a phoenix in the story. More than that, Hitomi is rising from the ashes of her old life, and of her memories, and so a bird of flame seemed the perfect image. With that to work with, as well as the design template from Book 1, Jenny started working through designs and color palettes with me. She has an amazing eye for design, and I couldn’t be happier with how this cover turned out!

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

It’s hard to play favorites, but if I had to, I’d say Hitomi herself is my favorite. She’s spunky, and smart, and strong, and she never gives up. She has her flaws, but she’s a bit more self-aware, and so she can even see herself doing things she shouldn’t ought to do. I love her for it, love how she struggles with herself, and can’t wait to see how she grows in the next book.

How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

This is a tough one! I guess I’d have to go with Hitomi’s nemesis, Arch Mage Blackflame. Although I suspect I understand his motivations better than Hitomi does, he’s still very cold-blooded in his pursuit of his goals, and his intrinsic racism makes me feel a bit sick.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

The release date. I’m a perfectionist, so in a non-existent world where readers could wait forever and I could be some kind of non-vampire immortal who would live forever, I would go on tinkering with the story for another couple of years. Living in the real world, and finding I need to be realistic, I’m happy with the book as it stands. But you did ask…

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

When Hitomi heads off to save her mentor in Memories of Ash, she journeys to a city called Fidanya where a massive celebration called the Festival of Guilds is taking place. Fidanya is modeled around Ottoman-era Istanbul, and there actually was an annual Festival of Guilds that was quite likely much more awesome than I managed to depict, complete with sporting competitions, parades, “the burning of the fortresses,” and fireworks. I only wish I could have seen it myself!

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

My fairy tale retelling, Thorn, has been compared to fairy tales by Robin McKinley and Mercedes Lackey, both in terms of the writing and the approach to storytelling. The Sunbolt Chronicles are somewhat less traditional in scope—because of the diversity of setting, Hitomi’s own heritage, the lack of a major romance line, and the tendency for the story to take unexpected twists and turns, the series really stands on its own. Not to suggest that I’m my own special snowflake—I think this points much more to the ridiculous lack of fantasy that does these things than anything else.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can stop by my blog, subscribe to my monthly (or less) author newsletter, say hello on Twitter, or visit my on Facebook.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ll be working on the next book in The Sunbolt Chronicles, as well as a companion trilogy to my debut novel Thorn. The trilogy follows the adventures of Rae, introduced in my free short story, The Bone Knife.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Readers make an indie author’s world go round. When you read an indie book you enjoy, leave a review! Even a short one (“I liked it!”) makes a huge difference in places like GoodReads and online e-retailers, especially Amazon. Without a marketing department behind us, we depend on our readers to help us get the word out there about our books. So next time you read something you love, take a moment to say so! 😀

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Pick a project and finish it—finish the first draft, and then the second, and on until you’re completely finished. Because until you take a project all the way through, you haven’t taught yourself key aspects of your craft. And once you’ve done it, it’s no longer half as intimidating as it used to be. Also, if you’re interested in indie publishing, now is the time! 😉

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you so much for the interview!

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

I start forward, my eyes on the bundle ahead of us. I cannot quite make out what it is. Something sticks out from the bulk of it, reaching across the floor like an errant branch, dried twigs.

Filled with foreboding, I draw closer, straining to make out the thing in the light of the glowstone. The mage slows beside me. My throat closes up. I stare, frozen mid-step, at the shape stretched out before me: a body that is nothing more than papery skin curled over the brittle bones within. A mummified corpse, preserved by the endless heat, untouched by nature, its clothing long since dissolved away. Its bones protrude obscenely: each rib tracing a line around its chest, the pelvic and hip bones encased so tightly in skin that the gaps, the natural spaces formed by the bone, seem translucent, as if the light were shining through thin parchment.

My stomach tightens into a ball. I swallow hard, forcing down the bile in my throat. The skull bears no expression, dull teeth showing through leathery lips, the eyes long since shriveled away. But that hand, outstretched… A plea. Or a single, hopeless attempt to escape death.

Beside me, the mage breathes a curse.

 

Intisar Khanani

About the Author:

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.

Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.  Intisar’s current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, an epic series following a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.

 

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Finding Dorothy Scott Excerpt Promo

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FINDING DOROTHY SCOTT

Letters of a WASP Pilot 

By Sarah Byrn Rickman

Genre: Military History / Biography

Publisher: Texas Tech University Press

Date of Publication: May 30, 2016

Number of Pages: 288

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Synopsis

3b53d68e-8f0b-4a05-8c91-e83e43579605More than eleven hundred women pilots flew military aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. These pioneering female aviators were known first as WAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) and eventually as WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Thirty-eight of them died while serving their country.

Dorothy Scott was one of the thirty-eight. She died in a mid-air crash at the age of twenty-three.

Born in 1920, Scott was a member of the first group of women selected to fly as ferry pilots for the Army Air Forces. Her story would have been lost had her twin brother not donated her wartime letters home to the WASP Archives. Dorothy’s extraordinary voice, as heard through her lively letters, tells of her initial decision to serve, and then of her training and service, first as a part of the WAFS and then the WASP. The letters offer a window into the mind of a young, patriotic, funny, and ambitious young woman who was determined to use her piloting skills to help the US war effort. The letters also offer archival records of the day-to- day barracks life for the first women to fly military aircraft.

The WASP received some long overdue recognition in 2010 when they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest honor that Congress can bestow on civilians.

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Excerpt

The Statue of Liberty Is Green!

Excerpted from Chapter Six, Finding Dorothy Scott

July 30, 1943, Dorothy wrote to the family:

I just got back from the most adventuresome trip I’ve ever had! It was an AT-6 trip to Newark, NJ. This was a trip I’ve long wanted! We left Dallas early the morning of July 26th. I got up at 5 a.m. On the way out, I buzzed Helen’s and my new house and also Penn and Paul out in the boat.

It went quite routine until we left Meridian, Miss., headed for Atlanta, GA. Over Birmingham we ran into a local thunderstorm so I radio’d in for a weather report. I deciphered the code to mean CAVU—or “perfect” weather, but actually it was so rough I couldn’t hold the paper still. So “Phooey” tap I and tell ’em I’m comin’ in.

We land ok and I walk into the weather hangar. “Ah yes,” they said, “A special just came in—real storms.”

Well, we stayed over nite (hmm– good steak) and cleared the next AM again. This time the report was low scattered clouds– very minor. A half-hour out, the “low scattered” had boxed in solid behind and below us. Again I tried the radio but no answer, so we turn around.

Whew! Going back to Birmingham, the area had fogged up nearly solid so I went on instruments. Boy! That was work. The other two kids hung on my wingtips and I followed that beam like a homesick angel. Just as we got over it I saw the field and headed in. Talk about being grateful at being on solid ground again! Those kids were a-thankin’ me too—and I was a-thankin’.

We got off again that afternoon and made it to Richmond, Va. All the rest of the trip we had visibility only from 3 to 8 miles—which is seeing ahead not at all and down just some.

The next day was a gay one. We flew to New Castle where I got to see some of the old gang—when I’d left them in Jan. I hadn’t even known what an AT-6 was for sure.

From New Castle I led them right over Philadelphia, then Wash. DC where I looked down on FDR and Wash. Monument, etc. Then we headed into New York and I got enough “lost” to fly over Manhattan’s skyline and the Statue of Liberty. (It’s green!) Then we delivered our planes and had 3 hrs ’til plane time. That we spent on a bus trip and subway ride.

Dorothy was flight leader. She and two new WAFS had taken three AT-6s to Newark to be put aboard a Liberty ship 3 bound across the North Atlantic. Dorothy had hoped to remain overnight in New Castle the night of July 27, to see her fellow WAFS still stationed there, but the weather delays earlier in Birmingham prevented it. Ferry pilots were authorized to fly a half an hour after sunrise to a half an hour before sunset, so the three, still flying in iffy weather and with darkness approaching, landed and spent the night in Richmond, Virginia, instead.

There, they relied on the local Red Cross for food and transportation after securing their airplanes. Red Cross volunteers had organized in many towns and cities where ferry pilots landed regularly. Cokes, coffee, donuts, sandwiches, and carrot sticks were in good supply because restaurants frequently were not available. The volunteers then drove the pilots to their hotels and picked them up in the morning to get them back to the airport. Dorothy thanked them profusely.

As for New York City, Dorothy, good navigator that she was, was not lost as she flew toward it. Though she had never been there before, by looking at the charts she could judge just how far off the route she needed to stray in order for them all to get a good look at Miss Liberty. In spite of the haze that was omnipresent over the big city and its environs, the statue and the skyscrapers reached for the clouds above them in all their vertical glory.

about the author

73615633-cd31-44c9-8173-2ca6d854aebfSarah Byrn Rickman is editor of the official WASP of World War II newsletter, the author of five previous books about the WASP, and an amateur pilot. In addition to her books, Sarah is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles about the WASP.

Sarah is a former reporter/columnist for The Detroit News (Michigan) and former editor of the Centerville-Bellbrook Times (Ohio). She earned her B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University McGregor.

Sarah was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and grew up in Denver, Colorado. She now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Richard, and their black Lab, Lady.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/1       Hall Ways Blog              — Review
6/2       StoreyBook Reviews     — Excerpt #1
6/3       My Book Fix Blog          — Author Interview #1
6/4       Forgotten Winds           — Review
6/5       Books and Broomsticks — Guest Post
6/6       Texas Book Lover          — Author Interview #2
6/7       Missus Gonzo               — Review
6/9       The Crazy Booksellers   — Author Interview #3
6/10     It’s a Jenn World           — Review

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Bound by Birthright Blitz and Giveaway

 

Bound by Birthright
by Janeal Falor
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 6th 2016

Summary:

Elven princess Arabella is set to marry the human Prince Phillip but her countrymen do not hesitate to express their anger with her parents’ attempt to improve relations with the humans. With death threats plaguing her, Arabella is forced into hiding.
When her sanctuary is usurped by pirates, Arabella goes on the run with humans who vow to help and keep her safe. She finds herself drawn to one of the humans, the dashing Robert, who steals her heart.
Arabella would like nothing more than time to get to know Robert better, but with pirates attacking and her wedding date approaching, time is one thing she doesn’t have. Arabella’s on a flight for her life and must reconcile with the truth—she can never be with the one she wants.
If only her heart would agree. 
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Excerpt
 
My hand brushes his.
I should pull away. I will pull
away.
Only, before I can do so, he
leans closer.
My breath becomes shallow and
catches in my throat. A flame kindles in my heart. It’s small at first, but
then bursts into a blaze coursing through my body. I tilt my face toward his,
and time ceases to exist as I’m aware of nothing but him.
My own breathing matches the rapid
rise and fall of his chest. I can’t help but take him in, from his chiseled jaw
line all the way to his distinguished brow. From his angular nose to a small
scar above his mouth—a sharp line that cuts across a portion of his upper right
lip. I’d noticed it before, but never paid much attention to it.
Now it consumes me. My fingers
want to touch it. My lips want to brush against it.
We stay locked in a halfway
almost-there-but-not-quite kiss. With his strong arms, he pulls me in closer. The warmth of his body fills me, fighting
against the chill in the air. His lips hover just above mine. He reaches up and
strokes my face.
As we gaze into each other’s eyes,
I melt into him, losing myself. The spell I cast on my eyes falters, and they
change to their true hue.
Stiffing a cry of pain, I bend my
head down and reactivate the spell. My eyes fill with tears from the stinging,
but they’ll no longer appear as my own. The crushing ache is much worse in my
chest, though I can’t tell if it’s from not kissing him or almost doing so.

 

 

About the Author
Amazon best selling author Janeal Falor lives in Utah with her husband and three children. In her non-writing time she teaches her kids to make silly faces, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and attempts to cultivate a garden even when half the things she plants die. When it’s time for a break she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family or drinking hot chocolate.
Author Links:
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No Other Will Do Excerpt and Giveaway

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NO OTHER WILL DO
by
Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Western Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Number of Pages: 368

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Synopsis

Men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts taught her and why she established Harper’s Station, a women’s colony that offers a fresh start to females in need. But when a dangerous and shadowy assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one man she trusts enough to ask.

Malachi Shaw has finally earned the respect he’s always craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s telegram arrives, he rushes back to Texas to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, Emma, Mal, and the ladies of Harper’s Station must choose between safety or risking everything to fight for their future.

 

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“Witemeyer’s latest is an entertaining read with plenty of drama and action, a smidgen of suspense and two main characters with perfect chemistry . . . And of course, the romance is tender and sigh-worthy—a key reason why her readers keep coming back for more.”  

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Excerpt

Mal slowed his mount and took stock of the rest of Harper’s Station. A tight cluster of businesses lined one side of the road. A handful of other buildings scattered beyond. Not much there to covet that he could see.

A creak of a door focused his attention back on the station house. A young woman emerged from inside and stepped onto the covered porch. A sophisticated woman with dark hair pulled back from her face and wound into an intricate bun at her nape. A grown-up woman of means and mission.

Mal’s heart thudded in his chest as he halted his mount. After all the letters they’d exchanged over the years, he’d thought he’d been prepared to see her again. He’d been wrong.

She curled her fingers around the railing post and leaned forward to look at him. Her brows arched slightly. “Malachi?”

The name fell from her lips so softly, he doubted he’d actually heard it. Must’ve just read the shape of it on her mouth. A mouth within a face achingly familiar yet changed.

Mal stared. He couldn’t help it. His little Emma had grown into a handsome, well-put-together woman.

The long tan skirt she wore swept the porch steps as she slowly descended. Her ivory blouse puffed up slightly at the shoulders, nipped in nicely at her tiny waist, and swelled over curves he hadn’t remembered being quite so . . . pronounced in the thirteen-year-old girl he last saw.

His collar seemed to tighten around his throat. “Malachi? Is that you?” She’d reached the bottom stair, her hand falling away from the post.

“Yep.” The short, scratchy croak of an answer wasn’t much of a howdy after ten years, but it was all he could manage.

Then she smiled. No, it was more than a smile. Her entire face lit up with such joy it nearly knocked him from his horse.

He’d forgotten. Forgotten what it felt like to have someone look at him like that. Like the world had suddenly gotten better because he’d arrived.

Unable to withstand her beaming a moment longer, Mal jerked his attention down to his saddle and concentrated on dismounting without doing something stupid like falling on his rear. He hoped his impassiveness would dim her enthusiasm enough for him to get a grip on his sputtering brain and allow him to think of something slightly intelligent to say.

He should have known better.

The instant his boots hit the dirt, she hit him. In a full-on, no-room-to-breathe hug.

about the author
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Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children.

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GIVEAWAYS! GIVEAWAYS! GIVEAWAYS! 

FIVE WINNERS EACH GET

A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK!

  June 1 – June 10, 2016

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/1       Missus Gonzo               — Excerpt #1

6/2       My Book Fix Blog          — Review

6/3       Books and Broomsticks — Author Interview #1

6/4       StoreyBook Reviews     — Guest Post

6/5       Margie’s Must Reads    — Review

6/6       A Novel Reality — Promo

6/7       The Page Unbound       — Excerpt #2

6/8       Byers Editing Reviews & Blog     — Review

6/9       Country Girl Bookaholic — Author Interview #2

6/10     The Librarian Talks        — Review

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