Clockwork Igni

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Christina Bauer and her YA urban fantasy, Clockwork Igni.

Author’s description

Long live the me! As Queen of Antrum, I rule an underground realm of demon hunters who love finding new caves. Hey, it’s boring down here; I’m glad they all have a hobby. Per usual, I try to act interested about their latest discovery, but all I hear is “blah blah blah new cavern blah blah blah Forbidden Tombs blah blah blah massive bronze pyramids blah blah blah creepy ticking sounds.” It’s a little odd, but I’m not worried.

My bad.

Suddenly, the Forbidden Tombs burst through the ground in my home realm of Purgatory. Bronze pyramids smash through abandoned buildings and highways, making rush hour a nightmare. Even worse, the metal structures attract tiny lightning bolts called igni, which are my very special supernatural buddies. Within minutes, every last igni gets stolen away.

Now. I’m. Pissed.

Whoever hides inside those pyramids? Time to dust off your mummies and shine up your sarcophagi. Because my husband, Lincoln, and I are breaking in and kicking ass.

 

Angelbound Origins

In which Myla Lewis kicks ass and takes names. Nuff said.

1. Angelbound

2. Scala

3. Acca

4. Thrax

5. The Dark Lands

6. The Brutal Time

7. Armageddon

8. Quasi Redux

9. Clockwork Igni

10. Lady Reaper

About the Author

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too. Christina lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby. She loves to connect with her fans at BauersBooks.com.

Find the Author

Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!
Blog: http://monsterhousebooks.com/blog/category/christina
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorBauer/
Twitter: @CB_Bauer
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christina_cb_bauer/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cb-bauer-481b12139/
Web site: http://monsterhousebooks.com/authors/cbauer

Buy the Book

On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Clockwork-Igni-Angelbound-Origins-Book-ebook/dp/B08JZ9LFZH

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding an angel/demon necklace to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

An Excerpt

I stand in a small square room. A heavy iron door looms before me. All around, the walls are lined with intricately-entwined gears and springs. Tiny pieces whirl and tick away at high speed. With each click and swipe, a tiny jolt of worry ricochets down my spine. Sweat beads on my palms.

I’m girl enough to admit it. This scene freaks me out.

No question why, either. This isn’t just any metal portal. It’s Pandora’s Door. As in, the girl didn’t keep a box of nasties. Nope. Instead, something awful lurks behind this very entrance. If I pull on the handle, that magical whatchamacallit gets free. Based on what I’ve learned, the mystery something-something could make everything right again. In other words, my igni would return. I’ll move souls once more. The Great Scala is back. How perfect.

Or I could release an unknown scourge that destroys all the after-realms. Definitely not as cool.

A memory appears. I picture Verus giving me a solemn warning: “No matter how tempting the door may appear, you must step back and walk away.”

It’s logical enough advice. Plus, Verus is an oracle angel. In my experience, she’s right most of the time. Perhaps I should give up. Go home. Play with my kid. Smooch my hottie husband. Get a mocha.

That lasts all of five seconds.

Screw it. I’m going in.

I grasp the handle and pull.

Thank you!

Christina Bauer — we appreciate your sharing your book Clockwork Igni with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Magical Beasts Series

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Geoffrey Saign and his YA fantasy series Magical Beasts.

Author’s description

Samantha and Jake fight to save their poisoned parents, and instead find themselves in a battle to save the parallel magical world of KiraKu. The two teens discover they must defeat the Evil One—a diabolical master of deception—or their own world will fall too. Samantha must master the mysterious supernatural staff, WhipEye, and find out if she has what it takes to fulfill the prophecy of the true guardian. In a final battle, reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, the two teens will have to risk everything, or lose it all. For Fans of Fantastic Beasts, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings.

~ Magical Beasts is now in development for a major motion picture. ~

Getting Surprised by your own Characters

In my books I usually have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. I’m always curious as to whether other authors experience this, so I asked Geoffrey Saign if he had any such characters in his Magical Beasts series. Well it turns out he had a lot of them! Read on for his interesting answer.

Yes!!! Vampire bat Queen Valera in Book 4, Guardian The Stand, the only book she’s in, is in 5 short scenes. Yet she is so fundamentally important to the story, to the main character, and to the fate of an entire world, that it cannot be overestimated. Plus she is super powerful, mysterious, and interesting! An immortal, she can kick butt, and has no patience for stupidity. But she empathizes with the hero of the series, Samantha (Sam) Green and doesn’t want her to die. When this character first appeared, I had a vague idea about her. Then I loved her immediately and needed to put her into three more scenes. I was so enthralled with her, she came into the climactic ending too.

The same thing occurred in the other books in the series, where a character began as rather mild and ended up as wildly important. In Book 3, Guardian The Sacrifice, the same thing occurred with the Beister, a maniacal killer with huge secrets in his past that directly affected the main character in a shocking way. In Book 2, Guardian The Quest, Drasine, the golden dragon had a significant role, was mysterious, and very powerful. And in Book 1, Guardian The Choice, Heshia, a minor character at first, again became wildly important for the main character, even though she was only in 4 scenes.

Heshia, Drasine, the Beister, and Queen Valera all had a major impact on the main character, the plot, and the ending. They all made my writing more exciting and fun to complete, and the stories richer.

About the Author

Geoffrey Saign’s love of wildlife led him to write the award-winning fantasy series, Magical Beasts. He often experiences the magic of nature and wildlife while hiking and swimming. He has a degree in biology and has assisted in field research on hummingbirds and humpback whales. Geoff loves to sail big boats, hike, and cook—and he infuses all of his writing with his passion for nature. As a swimmer he considers himself fortunate to live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota. See what he’s up to at https://geoffreysaign.net/magical-beasts

Find the Author & Learn More

Bookbub — https://www.bookbub.com/authors/geoffrey-saign
Goodreads—Magical Beasts Book 1—Guardian The Choice — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50094484-guardian
Website — https://geoffreysaign.net/magical-beasts-fantasy-book-series/

Buy the Book

Book 1 is FREE April 12-18
Book 2 is 99c April 12-16

Kindle/KU/Paperback Series page — https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZR6VDJ8

Audible — https://www.audible.com/pd/Guardian-The-Choice-Audiobook/B081PVPNLN

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

From Guardian The Sacrifice, Book 3

She peers into my eyes. “What are you willing to do to save your friends? To save the love of your life?”

I slump. Desperation and hope fill my voice. “Anything. Everything.”

Her hands drop away from my face. “Kneel before me.”

I slump down on one knee and lower my head. The woman is power mad, like the crazy kraken Gorgon, and the Evil One. I bite my lip.

“I’m not like either of them,” she says tersely. “This is your test, not mine. Look at me when I speak to you.”

Unable to keep the anger out of my eyes, I lift my head and stare up at her. She reminds me of Tris, able to see what I’m thinking just by looking at me. “Why are you doing this? You’re the Black Dragon. A caretaker. Why are you hurting us?”

She ignores my questions. “You and your friends will bring the Beister to me. Agree to this or you’ll never see your friends again.”

When I think of Mom I have to fight back tears—I don’t want to give the Black Dragon any satisfaction. But I do wish I knew more of Mom’s life as an Original. “How do we find the Beister?”

“Answers are coming. For now, get out of my sight.” She grabs my arm and in one fast, twisting motion she tosses me out over the river.

Before I hit the water, I see her turn and walk off the bridge. I sink sluggishly as if in slow motion. My arms and legs won’t respond when I try to swim to the surface. I tell my limbs to move, but they won’t. Starved for air, I gulp water instead, my lungs choking on it. Sunlight sparkles on the surface above me, and then I’m descending into oblivion.

Thank you!

Geoffrey Saign — we appreciate your sharing your Magical Beasts Series with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Looking for More?

This week I’m featuring two more YA fantasy books on my blogs. Check out The Virus of Beauty (post goes up Thursday 4/29) and my review of A Fairy’s Quest.

 

Where Your Treasure Is

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author M. C. Bunn and her historical romance novel, Where Your Treasure Is.

Author’s description

Feisty, independent heiress Winifred de la Coeur has never wanted to live according to someone else’s rules—but even she didn’t plan on falling in love with a bank robber.

Winifred is a wealthy, nontraditional beauty who bridles against the strict rules and conventions of Victorian London society. When she gets caught up in the chaos of a bungled bank robbery, she is thrust unwillingly into an encounter with Court Furor, a reluctant getaway driver and prizefighter.  In the bitter cold of a bleak London winter, sparks fly.

Winifred and Court are two misfits in their own circumscribed worlds—the fashionable beau monde with its rigorously upheld rules, and the gritty demimonde, where survival often means life-or-death choices.

Despite their conflicting backgrounds, they fall desperately in love while acknowledging the impossibility of remaining together. Returning to their own worlds, they try to make peace with their lives until a moment of unrestrained honesty and defiance threatens to topple the deceptions they have carefully constructed to protect each other.

A story of the overlapping entanglements of Victorian London’s social classes, the strength of family bonds and true friendship, and the power of love to heal a broken spirit.

Who Wants Well-behaved Characters?

In my books I usually have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. I’m always curious as to whether other authors experience this, so I asked M. C. Bunn if she had such a character in her novel, Where Your Treasure Is? (And if she didn’t, I wanted to know how she got the characters in her head to behave so well!)

It turns out her book is full of unexpected characters! Read on to learn the rest of her fascinating answer.

If our characters behaved, we wouldn’t have any stories!

Actually, during the first draft of Where Your Treasure Is, a host of characters completely blind-sided me. Though I never planned per se to write a romance that only focused on the lovers, I was unprepared for the world that opened up around them while I wrote their story. There are Winifred’s cousins, young and old, her Uncle Percival and his manservant Morrant, her staff in the town and country—and George Broughton-Caruthers, her handsome, devilish neighbor. Court is a gang member and horse racing enthusiast. His cronies are other prizefighters, cardsharps, gamblers, prostitutes, and circus folk.

The beginning of Winifred and Court’s story came to me in a flash, as did its end. What I had to find out was what happened in the middle. Every time I sat down to write, thinking that I was about to get back to my lovers, all these characters popped out, and the plot, with all its twists, followed them. What was really strange was how familiar they all were. Dorothy felt like that the entire time she was in Oz. Mentally chasing after these characters through London’s streets and around the Norfolk countryside, so did I.

Yet it was Beryl Stuart, Court’s half-sister, who added a richer, darker layer of complications to a plot that could otherwise have easily been summed up as “lonely rich girl meets poor bad boy” and “the course of true love never runs smoothly.” Because of their differences in social class, Winifred and Court were going to have a rough time of it, no matter what. There’s a dark current that flows out of Court’s world into Winifred’s long before their love story begins, though neither one of them is aware of it. Beryl and her friends bring a second love triangle into the plot, which leads to the next book in the series, Time’s Promise.

I’m also deeply fond of Court’s friend Sam Merton, a boy with a love of firecrackers, rip-roaring yarns, and penny dreadfuls, and Winifred’s memoir-writing uncle, the old adventurer Sir Percival and his manservant Morrant.

About the Author

C. Bunn is a writer of Victorian romance and historical romance novels, a singer (in the indie rock band Mister Felix), and a songwriter. She holds an English degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from North Carolina State University.

“I’ve always loved writing. It’s a joy to do what makes me happy and to share it.

“My father was a great story-teller. He read to us at the dinner table and passed on his love of history. He’d haul me out of bed in the middle of the night if there was a great old movie on the late show, and family trips always included visits to historic sites. His father was born in 1888, and I have Granddaddy’s letters to his bride-to-be in my dresser. I’m working on the story of Daddy’s first ancestor in America. It’s set in Jamestown, 1690. My mother’s grandmother was placed in an orphanage after the Civil War because her father died on the way home, so I always felt that connection to and had a curiosity about the past. Both of my parents read to me before I could walk. Daddy gave me Dickens, Twain, and Stevenson. Mama put the dictionary in my hands and let me watch I, Claudius  and Shoulder to Shoulder when they first aired on Masterpiece Theatre. She told me I’d be a writer one day.”

Acting was another girlhood passion. “I wanted to play all the characters in the books I’d read, or in the stories I made up, like Dickens and Louisa May Alcott did. I also wanted to be an archaeologist because we knew one who worked on digs in Israel. There was never a time when I wasn’t making up a story, and it was always set ‘a long time ago.’ What I really wished for was the car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so I could fly back in time and see what it was actually like for women in Victorian and Edwardian England.”

When she’s not writing, she loves reading long old books. “I love Anthony Trollope’s series, and Anna Karenina. Of more recent vintage, I really enjoyed The Forsyte Saga and The Raj Quartet.”

Her idea of a well-appointed room includes multiple bookshelves, a full pot of coffee, and a place to lie down and read. To feed her soul, she takes a walk or makes music with friends. “I try to remember to look up at the sky and take some time each day to be thankful.”

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their dog. Where Your Treasure Is is her first published novel.

Find the Author

Website https://www.mcbunn.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mcbauthor/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/mcbunnauthor/
Twitter https://twitter.com/MCBunn3
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/bunn6220/

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Chapter 2. A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted

Approaching the right turn that would take him to Swift Street and the Royal Empire Bank, Court Furor concentrated on traffic. Cold bit his cheeks and hunger gnawed his belly, but he ignored both through force of habit. The soles of his boots were thin and his gloves pointless…No point worrying about what the day would bring, never mind the next one…He was a man of no prospects and no property but preferred to think of it as freedom from responsibility…It was no secret he fancied himself a bit of a lad though he wasn’t overly tempted by long, romantic entanglements. An hour or two with a willing girl would suit…

He directed the horse to a slow walk, trying to secure a place in the queue for the curb. In the gleaming brougham beside him sat a woman, her face hidden under an enormous, bright green hat trimmed with black ostrich feathers. Her driver signaled, and Court tugged his reins…Though a thick veil covered her face, Court caught a glimpse of golden hair, coiled in heavy masses on her shoulders. The wind lifted the edge of her mantle, and he was briefly amazed by the brilliant green of her dress…She’d obviously never missed a meal in her life.

********

Suddenly Geoff and a woman appeared at the bottom of the stairs…Their progress was impeded by the woman’s wildly kicking little boots. Her struggles and the flashes of her bright green and purple silks made her look like an exotic bird thrashing in Geoff’s arms….

Geoff…thrust the woman at him…the woman struggled and kicked…and cried for help. Involuntarily, he clapped his hand over her mouth. She only screamed louder.

“Shut up, you fat sow!” Geoff swatted her across the temple….

The woman’s eyes rolled and she went limp.

Court howled in dismay and caught her… In his arms, she was a mountain of soft cashmere and folds of velvet. Her mantle fell open, and her scent hit him. Lilies and some dark, exotic spice. It was so unexpected and heavenly that the alley and the hackney disappeared. Even his panic was gone.

“…We can’t take ’er!”

Geoff clicked off the safety and waved the pistol under Court’s nose. When Court did not let go of the woman, he pointed the pistol at her head. “I ain’t arguin’! Drive!” He slammed the cab door…

His heart hammering, his head whirling, Court untied the horse, swung up onto the box, and grabbed the reins. As he turned the cab into the street behind the bank, yet another fire truck raced past. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! They were in for it now.

Thank you!

M. C. Bunn — we appreciate your sharing your book Where Your Treasure Is with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Let Me Explain …

As I began to create The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters, I realized I wasn’t writing a series in the classical sense. In fact, my novels occur simultaneously, almost, as they present a time of great turmoil through the eyes of seven different participants.

Because these seven are sisters, though, they obviously make plenty of appearances in each others book. But, how one sees  their own actions is quite different from how they perceive what their sister does, right? Along with much else, I was excited to explore this point of view difference.

I’ve been looking for a succinct way to tell potential readers what in they are in for before they begin reading. Like most authors, I’d rather attract readers who like what I’m doing.

Today I came up with this add-on blurb and from now on I intend to add it to every book description. I think it helps. What do you think?

The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.

Which sister do you think saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you read.

Oh Good Now This

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Susan Merson and her women’s literary fiction novel, Oh Good Now This.

Author’s description

Starting over is hard enough but when ghosts decide to hitch a ride into the future—things can get complicated.

Widowed Vivi leaves California for a new start back east landing in a college town near her old friend Vikram, now the local ‘spiritual’ leader and disappointing lover. But the two have old business which leads them to uncovering the ghosts they conjured long before and the ones that are haunting them now.  Vivi reclaims her life, — with the help of a couple different dimensions– saying hi to the ghosts who choose to hang around, and growing a new garden and a new life.

We need eerie music for this!

I am fascinated by characters that undergo a major transformation in a story, so I often ask an author if there is such a metamorphosis in the novel I’m featuring. I asked Susan Merson this, and you’ll see her interesting response below. But here’s the thing.

Sometimes, instead, I ask a different questions and it usually goes like this. “In my books I’ve always had one minor character who insisted on playing a larger role in the story. I’m curious: was there such a character in your novel?”

Guess what? Author Merson answered that questions also, and I didn’t even ask it. Cool, huh? Read on …

I like to think of my new book OH GOOD NOW THIS  as a second time around, coming of age story. I am fascinated by how people survive and live their lives fully, especially after loss and the plain old battles of living day to day.

Amanda is a woman in her 60’s who ends up living near Vivi, my protagonist, on a country road, hidden behind tall pine trees. She craves light and strips the house of all its possessions, heaves her clothes into the dumpster, white washes the walls, and scrapes the floors til they shine. Through the large window in her living room she can see the moon and puts her white mattress and white duvet directly in the path of its glow. She can not bear the weight of any memory, any lover, any remnant of what was and lives a reclusive, solo life until she welcomes a young man into her home. He is visiting the local college for a seminar and she needs the money from his room rental.

And she falls in love with him. His easy loping style, his curiosity, his tease of pleasure at her company. Just his presence in the house inspires her to return to the root of who she was as a young woman and she spends her days painting pine cones and making soup, pretending she does not care when or if he returns.

Of course, he leaves, returning to his own life, but freezing Amanda in this new beginning as a person who sees the world deeply, through an artist’s eye once again. And the love she bears for this man-boy, releases the hold her body had on its poisons. Renewed, refreshed, no blockages to hold them back, the old poisons find their way into her body, creating illness when she was just reclaiming life.

Amanda’s death informs the lives of my other characters in this world. The journey she makes from cynical, rejected trophy wife, to full and faulty artist—this unfolding—surprises everyone. And inspires them, as well.

Amanda was a surprise to me when I was writing the book. She showed up when Vivi needed to see how the choices we make in our own lives can affect us, can make our choice for life or death very real. Vivi insists that life is worth the struggle even though she has seen how giving in to poison can loosen our grips and let hope recede. Amanda shoves Vivi toward choosing life at an important juncture in the story and I am grateful she showed up to let me introduce her.

About the Author

Susan Merson began her career as an actress on and off Broadway, in television and film. Co-founding the LA Writers Bloc in 1985 with award winning writer Jane Anderson, she has mentored writers through the Bloc and through her private and university classes in Playwriting, Life Stories, Writing as a Spiritual Practice, Tarot for Writers and the popular VOICING Series.

Her short fiction has been featured in The Jew in America, Nice Jewish Girls (Penguin), The Worcester Review, the Chicken Soup series and several other online platforms.  As a playwright, her award-winning plays have been performed internationally, including her 8 solo plays featured and used as example in YOUR NAME HERE: An Actor Writers Guide to Solo Performance. (Amazon). Long form fiction available on Amazon is her award-winning blog, WHEN THEY GO AND YOU DO NOT and her first novel DREAMING IN DAYLIGHT.  OH GOOD NOW THIS, her newest novel launches 12/1/21.

She is a tarot reader and counselor, a maker of quilts, clothing and whimsy.  Susan is a humble mother and a proud resident of New York City.

Find the Author

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/susanmersonauthor
WEBSITE: http://www.susanmerson.com

The author has also done a series of five videos regarding the use of Tarot for writers (for more information, visit her website):

TAROT FOR WRITERS #1:  INTRODUCTION
An introduction to using your own intuitive powers to tap into the resonance of Tarot images, packed with archetypes and symbols, to jumpstart inspiration for your artistic projects.
**CORRECTION: The Raziel Tarot Deck is designed by artist Robert Place with commentary by Rachel Pollack. https://youtu.be/LGONsfOayJg

TAROT FOR WRITERS #2: LANDSCAPE
Explore the landscape of story. Entering the world of the card offers visceral clues to the landscape of your writing. https://youtu.be/Mwq9x-I9oQE

TAROT FOR WRITERS #3: CHARACTER
A brief exploration of character and how to find their first basic journey. Look deeply at the character clues in the cards and throw three cards to begin their adventure. https://youtu.be/CuovTNQ5ztk

TAROT FOR WRITERS #4:  WHAT STORY SHOULD I WRITE TODAY
On pulling cards to intuitively discover the story, the genre, the themes and the major turning points of a new story. https://youtu.be/eHm0mVSNaPo

TAROT FOR WRITERS/ #5 TIMELINES AND DEEPER DIVE INTO RELATIONSHIPS
Timelines and going deeper into relationships with pro and antagonists. The more cards you draw the more information you can gather. https://youtu.be/EClPq0e-H70

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/…/oh-good-now…/1138532579
Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1546617489
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Now-This-Susan…/dp/B08RCXVNTX/

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

They have settled into their chairs and Tara is tossing some cards, shuffling them and getting a feel. She flips over three cards.

“Oh, my dear. Some bleak times, past, yes?”

Vivi is startled by this pronouncement. “Well, it’s been a time of change, I’d say.”

“Change?” says Tara. “You betcha. This Tower card is about the whole thing coming crashing down. But it’s in the past position. See here? This is the present,” she shows Vivi the 7 of cups. It’s a picture of a man taking a look at a whole gallery of possibilities. “Look at him”, Tara says. “He’s got lots of things to choose from.”

“Well, that sounds good,” says Vivi tentatively.

“Not bad. Don’t get over infatuated with the possibilities. And the last one… here. The Hermit. Yep.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Oh it’s fine. Just a time to go inside and let things percolate. Inner wisdom and all that. Not a bad sentence!” Tara laughs again. “Now. Anything specific on your mind?” Tara continues to flip cards. “So,” she says. “Who is this guy? This King keeps showing up. King of Cups? He fell out of the deck twice while I was shuffling. “Who is this guy who won’t leave you alone?”

Vivi is mystified. “How did you…?’

“Oh, it’s not magic. The cards just know, that’s all. They pick up what you bring. Who is this guy?”

On a personal note:

I learned to read Tarot Cards at 17 years old, in the first creative writing class I ever took. My English teacher was way ahead of her time!  I agree with Susan Merson that Tarot readings are wonderful for many things, including providing inspiration for an author.

Thank you!

Susan Merson  — we appreciate your sharing your book Oh Good Now This with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Cheryl Holt  and her Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek.

Author’s description

From New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Holt, comes a sparkling, fast-paced novel about the complexity of family—and all the ways they can drive us crazy.

The lavish Layton-Benjamin wedding promises to be an event to remember, and the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to impress their guests by hosting it at the exclusive Cross Creek Inn, a private mountain retreat tucked away in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. But the bride and groom are from completely different backgrounds, and they’ve only known each other for a few months, so it’s been a ‘hurry-up’ engagement that has everyone worried.

 When the groom arrives late and tempers start to flare, it’s clear the wedding is a minefield that has to be carefully navigated. As parents and friends begin taking bets over whether the happy couple will make it to the altar, secrets are revealed, new loves emerge, and true happiness is finally found.

Book your visit to the Cross Creek Inn! A witty, fun summertime story about family, friendship, and finding out what matters most—that only Cheryl Holt could tell.

From a Caterpillar into a Butterfly

When I got the chance to ask author Cheryl Holt anything, I wanted to know more about her characters and specifically about the ones that make a transition from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Holt is a very experienced author, and I appreciate her guest post because it also includes her take on when a character shouldn’t show growth.

Read on for her fascinating response.

I have been writing novels for twenty-five years now, so I’ve gotten really good at making sure there’s a good character arc for nearly all of my characters.  I like to have all of their issues resolved at the end so, for example, if a character is unhappy and lonely at the beginning of a novel, she will wind up happy and together with someone at the end.

That said, I’m also renowned for writing characters who are driven and determined to achieve a goal, and those people usually don’t change during the story.  They are typically my villains, but I’m hailed as the “International Queen of Villains”, which means I write some of the best (worst) villains in American fiction.  One of the reasons they’re so fun and infuriating is that they don’t ever alter their behavior.  If my villain is seeking revenge at the beginning of the novel, he’ll still be fussy and stewing at the end—even though he’s been thwarted.  He will never relent, and the book wraps up with him trying to figure out how to restart his plot in a more successful way.  That sort of maddening focus is one of the things that makes a good villain.

In my new novel, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn, I would have to say that the character who makes the biggest transition in the story is the bride’s sister, Rachel.  In the beginning of the book, Rachel is grouchy, testy, and in a permanent bad mood.  She is the sibling who’s always had a chip on her shoulder, who’s always felt as if the other siblings got a bigger slice of life than she did.  She’s permanently convinced that everyone is luckier and happier than she is—even though she could change her life whenever she’s ready.

She’s her sister’s maid-of-honor, but she’s so unhappy it seems like she might deliberately sabotage the wedding in petty, juvenile ways.  But by the end, she turns out to be a champion to her sister, and in the process, she manages to completely change her life and head off in a new direction.

I think she’s fun, and when her life turns around, readers will be cheering for her.

About the Author

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over fifty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer.  She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards.  She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre.  For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.”  She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans.

Find the Author

Visit her website at http://www.cherylholt.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialcherylholt/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theCherylHolt
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/36853.Cheryl_Holt

Buy the Book

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QNMMNJW

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding autographed print copies of the book (US ONLY) to 10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Sharon…

The view out the window of her suite was spectacular, and Sharon was trying to enjoy it.  She was surrounded by thick, verdant woods, and off in the distance, stark mountain peaks rose, seemingly to the stratosphere.  Even though it was mid-July, they were dotted with snow.

She’d never been what might be described as a mountain person.  Being a typical Californian, one who’d been born and raised in Los Angeles, she’d had her auras read and her chakras aligned and her pores opened.  She was a water person, and she lived on the beach in Malibu where she could stare out at the ocean.

Still though, the Colorado scenery was beautiful, and she had to remember that it was and focus on that fact.  It was awfully quiet though, and the silence would take some getting used to.  In Malibu, with its lone highway that was constantly clogged with cars, there was always a hum of traffic.  It was a regular drone that never ended.

She wondered if the serenity and isolation might gradually drive her crazy, but then, she was staying in Colorado for four short days.  She could endure any torment for four days.  Couldn’t she?

On Sunday morning, after Eric and Jennifer departed on their honeymoon, she would head back to California, and the appalling weekend would be over.

As the mother of the groom, she should have been more excited, but she couldn’t muster the necessary enthusiasm.  Initially, she’d decided she wouldn’t attend, but friends had nagged until she’d changed her mind.  So…here she was, but she wasn’t glad about it, and she had to alter her mood, bury her misgivings, and forge on with a positive attitude.

Thank you!

Cheryl Holt — we appreciate your sharing your book A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

She’ll be here in two weeks

She’s the One Who Cares Too Much

Book 2, my story of the soft-spoken and caring sister who discovers her own fierce power, will be available for purchase Friday Feb 12 and can be pre-ordered now.

I’ll be honest. I struggled with Coral’s story at first. Her personality was too mild for my taste (I like wilder women) and her dreams were so traditional. But over the months we spent together, she won me over as we discovered her power and strength together.

Every woman has a right to pursue her own happiness, and while Coral may want the simple things in life, she’s hardly a simple lady. Furthermore, in the end she may really be the one sister who saves Ilari. I think there is a good chance it’s true, but I’ll have to keep writing to find out.

Coral is Close

I’ve had such fun creating my magical seven sisters for my current series! One of my chief frustrations is that only one of them, Ryalgar, has seen the light of day. But that’s about to change ….

Over the next couple of weeks I will be putting the finishing touches on Coral’s story, checking it once, twice and thrice to make every little detail perfect.

If you don’t self-publish books yourself, believe me — the release of the new book is an exciting time. It’s also hard work, as an author needs to spend time on the promotional work that will get her story in as front of as many readers as possible.

I always like to try new approaches, and this time around I’ll be doing my first release day book blast with a new company (new for me that is). I’m quite happy with others I’ve used, and I’ll be using them too, but the more eyes I can get on this book, the better. So I’ve added Hot Tree Promotions to my arsenal.

They use something new to me — a promotional teaser — and I needed three of them. They gave me the option of designing my own or paying to have them made. I thought, I like messing around with graphics, so why not give it a try?

Above is my first attempt, and I’m rather pleased with it. Wish me luck — I hope it sells a lot of books for me.

Want to learn more about Coral and her story? Check out her pre-order page.

Love, in Writing

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Elsa Winckler and her romance novel, Love, in Writing.

Author’s description

A hardcore Science Fiction writer and a softhearted romance novelist clash on the sunny South African coast…

Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical worldview. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other’s identity.

Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham’s is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he’s found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn’t reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?

Why a Science Fiction Writer?

I write science fiction and fantasy (and love to read it), so when I read the blurb for Elsa Winckler’s Love, in Writing and saw that her cynical hero wrote science fiction — I had to ask why. Here is her response.

Margaret Parker, the heroine in Love, in writing, is a romance writer. She’s kind and nice and she’s holding out for the fairytale and her own hero.

I couldn’t quite decide on the hero – it was looking for someone who would be her exact opposite. But what would he do? What will he be like? And why would she fall in love with him?

A few nights later Graham Connelly woke me up. Drop-dead gorgeous (of course), jaded, cynical about love and life and a science fiction writer.

I’m a die-hard romance reader, but while doing my Honours in English we studied William Gibson’s Neuromancer and although I can’t say I’ve fallen in love with science fiction I did learn to appreciate writing based on alternative possibilities.

Margaret has very particular ideas about what kind of man she wants to be with and it takes her a while to realize although Graham doesn’t fit into any of the molds she’s hanging on to for dear life, he is in fact exactly the kind of hero she’s been looking for.

About the Author

Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during her English Honours studies, she was hooked for life.

She married her college boyfriend and soul mate and after 45 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 4 beautiful grandchildren, they are now fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa.

She likes the heroines in her stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous!  Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

Find the Author

Website: www.elsawinckler.com
Personal Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/elsa.winckler
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ElsaWincklerRomanceAuthor?ref_type=bookmark
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elsawinckler @elsawinckler
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6557709.Elsa_Winckler
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/elsa-winckler
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elsawinckler/
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/elsaw1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elsaw1/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elsa-winckler-1ab2a42b/

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PCD16HZ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-in-writing-3
BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-in-writing-winckler-elsa/1138396881
Itunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1542709299

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding copy of a short story to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

Read an Excerpt

Dumbfounded, Graham stared after her, then followed her. He looked down at her, trying to read her face, but she averted her eyes.

“Kissing you, letting you touch me the way you just did…”

She looked up at him, her green eyes reflecting…was it hurt?

“It’s a big deal to me, Graham.” Her eyes were bright with unshed tears. “I want what my parents had. I want the fairy tale. The romance, the love, the wooing, flowers, the forever. And you…” She took a deep breath. “It’s everything you don’t want. Please leave.”

At her words, Graham stepped back quickly. Margaret smiled a sad smile and showed him the door again. He walked out but when he turned around to say goodbye, she’d already closed the door softly behind him and was securing the lock.

Exasperated, Graham pushed his fingers through his hair. Forever. Where the hell had that come from? A fairy tale. And romance and flowers and what did she say? Wooing. Stupid word. Who still used the bloody word? And what the hell did her parents have to do with it? He had just kissed her. People kissed! It was normal, not a train smash. And it was just a kiss, wasn’t it?

But as he stomped down the stairs toward his car, he remembered how soft she’d felt beneath his fingers, how responsive she’d been. He could instantly recall the flowery scent of her perfume, remembered the sound of her breath and he remembered the sight of white lace cupping firm breasts. He groaned out loud.

She was right. He shouldn’t have kissed her. She wanted more, needed more. Hell, he wasn’t so jaded he couldn’t see that. And yes, she was right, it wasn’t what he wanted. He was the last man on earth who should be around Margaret. She deserved someone who would want to provide everything she wanted. He grimaced. He was not a candidate.

Thank you!

Elsa Winckler — we appreciate your sharing your book Love, in Writing with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Gumbeaux Love

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Jax Freyand and her southern women’s fiction novel, Gumbeaux Love.

Author’s description

The adventures of the Gumbeaux Sistahs continues. Five, fiery southern women wage wars against their unique problems using their improbable friendships, hilarious evil-genius schemes, strategy sessions with oh-so-many cocktails, and a shared passion for good gumbo.

Single, Southern artist, Judith Lafferty, casually confesses to her Gumbeaux Sistahs that she is occasionally lonely and would like to fall in love again. Seriously – you’d think she would know to keep her mouth shut around these women by now. The sistahs tackle her problem along with their own with their usual unreasonable, extreme plots and schemes, including a kidnapping, a cupid costume, trying out pick-up lines at the cheese counter, and blind dates from hell. In helping out their friend, the sistahs help each other out as well and bring to light the many flavors of love in all of our lives. Be ready for twists, turns, laugh-out-loud times, and heart-wrenching moments. You’ll be sure to recognize yourself and your best friends in the unstoppable sistahs.

What makes Louisiana Women So Special?

I’ve lived most of my adult life in the south, including nearly seven years in Lafayette Louisiana. So when given the chance to ask author Jax Freyand any question at all, I just had to know what it was she thought was distinctive about Southern women.

To my delight, she answered me specifically about the women of Louisiana. I have to say, I agree with her answer.

Not sure I can speak for all southern women,  but I know Louisiana women! Here’s what I find unique about them:

1.      Attitude – there’s a certain type of openness, impetuousness, and willingness to jump into the party spirit on a moment’s notice that happens to women in Louisiana.  Hand them a second-line handkerchief, and they will grab their own outlandish hats, beads, and boas and go off with total strangers, dancing down the street. It quite normal to the natives, but visitors notice it and are often enticed to move here because of it and many other reasons.

2.      Food – yes, food shows up everywhere in the US when women get together. Pot lucks and parties always turn up macaroni, potato salads, and baked beans. But when Louisiana women get together, Cher! Gumbo with hot French bread, little muffulettas, crawfish pasta, jambalaya, pulled pork po-boys, and bourbon bread pudding are just many of the unique mainstays for that group!

3.      Friendliness – sure there are friendly people all over the world. Thank you, God! But you can count on it in Louisiana. That’s how we were raised.

About the Author

Born in New Orleans, Jax came into this world with a sense of celebration of southern culture, food, family and fun. Translating that celebration into her writing and onto canvas is her true calling. Her colorful art depicts everything from her dancing Gumbeaux Sistahs paintings to her popular line of original Mini paintings of southern icons. Because over 25,000 of the mini paintings have been created and sold into art collections worldwide, Jax holds a world’s record for The Most Original Acrylic Paintings on Canvas by One Artist from the World’s Record Academy.

Jax is also the co-founder of the Women of Infinite Possibilities, an empowering women’s organization started in Covington, LA, where Jax lives today with her loveable, tornado-of-a-pug named Lucy.

The Gumbeaux Sistahs’ series of novels is a work of love for Jax After painting the Sistahs for many years, she finally gives voice to these women characters who have something to say and constantly make Jax laugh when she writes about them.

Find the Author

Website: http://www.gumbeauxsistahs.com/
Jax art and gifts can be seen at www.artbyjax.com.

Buy the Book

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Gumbeaux-Love-Book-Sistahs-novels-ebook/dp/B08GJ9FZX5/

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Judith rinsed her juice glass in the kitchen sink just as the doorbell rang.

“Who in the world at this hour?” she thought, shaking her head and glancing at the clock on the wall. “It’s not even eight o’clock.”

She walked to the front door and started to open it, but before she could swing it open all the way, a hand clutching a paper coffee cup shoved its way inside, barely missing her face.

“What?” she yelped. Then she laughed. “Oh no, are you kidding me?” She opened the door to five Gumbeaux Sistahs, including Bea, Helen, Dawn, Lola, and Trinity who stood on her front stoop holding coffee. It was especially a surprise to see Trinity there since she lived across the lake and had a long way to come. But the most unexpected thing of all was Dawn, who stood there looking embarrassed as all get-out, wearing a big, red Cupid costume.

“Not again!” said Judith, rolling her eyes and remembering that this was exactly the way that the sistahs had originally kidnapped her and become her best friends in the world.

Dawn grimaced and said, “I don’t know why I’m always the one who has to wear a stupid costume.”

Thank you!

Jax Freyand — we appreciate your sharing your book Gumbeaux Love with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.