Did you read A Shine That Defies the Dark? Then This is For You…

A plea for help!
 
A Shine That Defies the Dark currently has only 19 reviews on Amazon. I know there are more people than that who have read it. If you read A Shine That Defies the Dark, and can spare a moment, will you please go to Amazon and leave a quick review for me? It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, just a rating and a statement as simple as “I read this” would do wonders.
 
How does this help me? Well, when a book has 25 reviews Amazon will list it in the “also bought” and “you might like” lists (the recommendations you see when you make a purchase). When a book has 50 reviews Amazon can feature it in their newsletters and promotions. Every time this happens there is more exposure, which increases the chance of sales.
 
Thank you in advance if you’re able to leave a rating, I can’t express how grateful I’ll be. Here is the link to the Amazon page.

Book Review: Watch You Burn by Amanda Searcy

Watch You Burn by [Searcy, Amanda]

WATCH YOU BURN is about Jenny, a teen with a bad history related to fires–as in she has a tendency to start them. Jenny has just been sent to live with her dad, a contractor who is renovating an old motel in New Mexico, because there’s an arson investigation back home in Ohio, and things have gotten a bit, er…hot.

Even though she has the best of intentions, Jenny can’t fight the “itch” to start fires. One little fire, what could it hurt? Unless someone saw her. And now, that someone is lurking outside her room at night and Jenny is sure it’s just a matter of time until she’s turned in.

But then the man she’s certain witnessed her starting a fire is murdered. And another murder follows, and soon Jenny realizes she’s surrounded by people she doesn’t really know and everyone is a suspect…including her dad.

WATCH YOU BURN is a deep, dark descent into the world of girl who is deeply troubled and finds herself in a bad situation. There were so many red herrings that, even when I was certain who the “bad guy” was, I kept doubting myself. It was an intriguing book that kept me turning the pages, anxious to find out what would happen next. I can’t say I liked Jenny, but I empathized with her enough that I wanted to know what would happen.

Overall, a good read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the opportunity to read WATCH YOU BURN

I received an ARC of WATCH YOU BURN in exchange for an honest review of the book

The Light At Finnigan’s End Teasers

Who wants book teasers?

The Light at Finnigan’s End (Rum Runners, Book 2) comes out in less than a month. I have 20 images, each with different excerpt from the book, and I’ll be posting them slowly until release day.
Want to see them all at once? Everyone who is signed up for my newsletter will get a special preview of all the images at once. The advanced preview will be sent out Wednesday at 5pm, so there’s time to sign up! (click here for the newsletter link)

And here’s your first teaser…

Author Spotlight: Happy LaShelle

Name:   Happy LaShelle 

Author of:   According to Audrey (Clean Teen Publishing)

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

Well, like a lot of writers I stapled and taped my own books together when I was a kid. My mom saved a bunch of them and they’re kind of precious to me. One of my favorites is The Donkey Advensher wherein a girl takes her donkey on a ride through the forest and finds a rabbit, a frog, and a silver dollar (ha!). But my first serious project as an aspiring author was a little historical chapter book about a young girl enamored with the London stage in the early 20th century.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to becoming a published author?

Yes, and I’m so grateful forever to her! I happened to start following author Susan Dennard on Twitter back when she had just received her first book deal on her first series. She had tweeted about how to write a query letter, and when I followed her advice I started getting requests for my manuscript. I emailed her to say thank you, and it began a lovely friendship/mentorship for me. She would check in every few months to see how things were going for me and offer advice. She’s an incredibly generous person who gives back to the writing community in every way. She now has a whole following of writers who learn from her posts and newsletters.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

Honestly that’s a great question I wish I knew the answer to. According to Audrey took me years of writing, rewriting and revision, but there was a big learning curve there, so now that I’m diving into writing the sequel I’m hoping for the best. I think every book is different. If I’m guessing I would say 6-9 months to write it and 3-4 months of revision, so… 9 months to a year, maybe.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

I like to have a general outline in my head of the plot, but it’s amazing how it takes on a life of its own and starts twisting and turning, and then (sometimes) serendipitously comes together in ways I could never have planned. I have a YA historical project that I’ve only written a bit of, but I’ve done weeks of research on the details of the time period. A historical calls for that, though. For my contemporaries I’ll just stop sometimes in the middle of writing and look up questions that arise.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (The things you’d never want anyone to know?)

I don’t think so? I was at a writing conference once and for fun you were supposed to share if you had, say, a lucky pen or a superstitious quirk in your writing routine. And I was thinking… no… not me. And then later I realized – yes! – I totally do have a favorite pen that I use for everything. Something about it feels happy and magical to me, and it makes my writing look pretty. It’s this special light blue color and I used to be able to order it in bulk. Now I have to buy a pack of 10 colors just to get one of my special pens! I do love the act of actually writing my drafts with a pen, though. I find my ideas and thoughts flow more fluidly than they do when I’m typing.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage-or any interesting research-for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

Last summer we visited Great Britain and I was bombarded with so many fun ideas for my next book. History is my passion so I love to travel and learn and soak in the stories of the past. My great-grandparents on my mom’s side came from Scotland and my dad’s grandparents emigrated from England so I feel this close connection to the culture. Let’s just say that it’s not a coincidence that the sequel to According to Audrey is set in England and France.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I enjoy reading most categories and genres but… no surprise here… historical fiction is at the top of my list.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

No secrets really, but in According to Audrey I did include some symbolism for myself that I didn’t think anyone would necessarily pick up on. For example, on the opening page Dove is sketching a tethered sailboat in the harbor, then in the last pages she admires a painting of a sailboat bobbing freely on the open sea. Also some foreshadowing – like in Chapter 4, Leo tells Dove that if she gets too close to the fire the flames could burn her. Little things like that.

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

 I cast a St. Bernard in Pottermore and I really love my patronus! It’s described as warm, bright, playful, thoughtful, positive, adventurous, sensitive, and offering a ray of light in a dark world. I’d like to think that innately my best self is these things.

Is there one thing you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Yes, I wish I were way better at deep POV. I’m making progress but I feel like I’m always relearning how to delve deeper into the point of view of the character in order to better immerse the reader into the story experience. I’ve leaned a lot from Susan Dennard’s written teachings on this subject, actually.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Keep going. The process can take a long time, but let your passion propel you forward. Let the rejections (and there will be many) make your work better, and don’t take no for an answer. Do something for your writing everyday – for me, reading about writing and the writing life is hugely inspiring. One of my favorite writing mentor books is Page After Page by Heather Sellers. Her funny, straightforward style is charming, and her wisdom is so encouraging to everyone on the author path.

In what ways do you pay it forward to help other aspiring writers?

I read and critique works-in-progress for fellow writers trying to get published. I also chime in on writing blogs and websites where people post their work for review. I think it’s so important for us all to support each other. If we’re further along on the path, it’s our duty and honor to turn around and offer a hand up to the person right behind us.

Want to know more about Happy?

Visit her at her website

Visit and like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/happylashelle/

Follow her on Twitter

Check out the pics on Happy’s Instagram

See what Happy is reading—and writing—on Goodreads

 

According to Audrey

What would Audrey do?

Cautious and introverted, seventeen-year-old Dove spends most of her free time pursuing her one true passion: painting. The twinkling lights of Balboa Island, the ferryboat to the peninsula, the fire pits on Big Corona Beach…these have long been the subjects of her canvases as she daydreams about finding an Audrey Hepburn-film kind of romance.

A hotshot jock is exactly not the type of guy she’s been looking for—but when Leo Donovan drops his cool act to show his vulnerable side, Dove begins to question everything. But first she’ll have to navigate her way through claim-staking mean girls and disapproving parents—and still keep her focus on attending the art school of her dreams.

Being in love turns out to be more complex than the average silver-screen classic. Can Dove follow her heart (and Audrey’s cues) to create her own perfect Hollywood ending?

Fans of Audrey Hepburn and the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s will love this fun coming of age story.

Get According to Audrey from Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

Book Blitz: Blackbird Road by James L Weaver

 

Blackbird Road
James L. Weaver
(Jake Caldwell #3)
Published by: Lakewater Press
Publication date: September 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, Thriller

With his wedding day fast approaching and his PI boss heading out of town, ex-mob enforcer Jake Caldwell decides to take one more job before a much-needed vacation. But in a matter of days, his client is assassinated and her six-year-old son kidnapped.

With just a few clues, Jake calls on old friends to help track down the person responsible. Only this time his fiancée Maggie, desperate for Jake to leave his violent history behind, can’t guarantee she’ll be there when, or if, he comes home.

But Jake can’t turn his back on those who need him. It’s in his blood.

A perilous plot of lies and secrets unfolds, and Jake encounters criminals more brutal than ever. And when a threat to thousands of innocent lives is uncovered, Jake once again dives back into his past, requesting favors from some unexpected and unsavory contacts.

Jake needs to stay one step ahead of the bad guys if he’s to have any future at all.

The third book in the award-winning JAKE CALDWELL series is an intense, complex, and frantic race against time. Weaver has done it again in this raw and riveting read set in the Ozarks.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Dawson’s arm lashed out and backhanded the kid. The boy flew back and crashed to the gravel, hands covering his face. Dawson advanced on the crumpled figure, and Jake jammed his foot against the gas pedal.

“I’m fine,” he said. “Just gotta take care of something. I’ll call you back.”

He tossed the phone to the passenger seat as he maneuvered the truck toward the fork in the road. The heat crawled up his neck, flushing his face in a crimson hue, feeling the sting of the strike on his face as if Dawson struck him. Jake’s father was the master of the backhand slap, and Jake the recipient of it many times. The perfect balance of speed and stealth—you never saw it coming. As Jake wrung the life from the steering wheel and spun right at the fork in the road, he had to get his shit under control or it would be Dawson’s neck beneath his hands. That wouldn’t end well for anyone.

By the time Jake roared up the driveway, a woman made a feeble attempt to stand between Dawson and the boy. Another quick lash from Dawson’s hand sent her sprawling on the ground beside the kid. Jake slid to a stop in a cloud of dust and grabbed his pistol under the seat. Dawson jerked his head at the disturbance, a snarl rising on his stubbled face. Jake drew a deep breath of sanity through his nose and out his mouth, releasing the gun. It would be a horrible idea to bring it, and he wouldn’t need it anyway. If he couldn’t take care of a drunk wife beater, then he might as well give it all up and go work as a janitor somewhere.

Jake stomped from the truck, noting the blood trickling from the boy’s nose. Old, purple and yellow bruises lined the woman’s arm like a bad tattoo. The familiar scent of whiskey wafted from Dawson as Jake drew close, hurling him back to the house in Warsaw when he would lay on the floor after a beat down from his father, his mother shielding him from further blows.

Author Bio:

James L Weaver is the Kansas City author of the Jake Caldwell series featuring IAN Thriller of the Year finalist Poor Boy Road, and the IAN Thriller of the Year finalist and New Apple Official Selection sequel Ares Road from Lakewater Press. He makes his home in Olathe, Kansas with his wife of 20 years and two children. His previous publishing credits include a six part story called “The Nuts” and his 5-star rated debut novel Jack & Diane which is available on Amazon.com. Author note: a handful of the raters are actually not related to him.

His limited free time is spent writing into the wee hours of the morning, playing parental taxi cab to his kids’ sporting endeavors, and binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Current favorite TV shows: The Walking Dead, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Game of Thrones, The Resident and Shameless.

Current favorite music artists: Alter Bridge, Rush, Sara Bareilles, Halestorm

Last best book read: Twisted Prey by John Sandford

Favorite comedians: John Caparulo, Kathleen Madigan, Mike Birbiglia, John Mulaney

You can follow him on Twitter @jlweaverbooks.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Author Spotlight: James L. Weaver

Name: James L. Weaver 

Author of: Poor Boy Road; Ares Road; Blackbird Road (Lakewater Press)

Jack & Diane

From: Olathe, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City, a mere 250 miles from the geographic center of the United States)

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

The first story of any real length was a handwritten tale of a monster versus a knight that I did for a high school English class – Sir (something or other) and the Gorgon, I believe it was called. I still have it in a box in the basement and it is pretty horrible. Maybe when I become a New York Times Best Selling author, I’ll auction it off for charity. Maybe. It’s pretty bad.  Though, I did get an “A” on the assignment!

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I’ve always had the thought it would be “fun” to be a writer. I’d written a lot of short stories and a couple of novels, and I tried to unsuccessfully land an agent. I didn’t really have an inkling that it could be a possibility until I finished the first draft of Poor Boy Road. I still didn’t have an agent, but I had a vision of a series featuring Jake Caldwell that might just get me to where I wanted to go. I still can’t quit my day job, but I’d love to be able to write full-time.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

Number one above anyone else is Kate Foster at Lakewater Press. She’s the one who came to me and said she loved Poor Boy Road and wanted it. She guided me in carving and polishing that lump of stone into an award winning novel I’m very proud of. She’s a fantastic cheerleader and I’m so glad she took a chance on me.

Do you exclusively write crime thrillers or have you written in other genres?

I love crime thrillers, but I had an idea years ago about a coming of age love story between a boy and girl in Kansas City. I wrote the manuscript and went through the agent hunting process with no success. I let it sit in a drawer for a number of years and discovered it again when I was looking for tax records or something. After I read it again, I decided it was too good a story to just sit and rot in the bottom of a drawer. So, I polished and went agent hunting again. About that time, my mom was diagnosed with cancer with a bleak prognosis. She’d always encouraged my writing and I could think of nothing she’d love more than to have my book in her hands, so I decided to self-publish it. Unfortunately, the cancer was vicious and she died three months from diagnosis, so she never got to see it. It’s gotten great reviews and I’m proud of it. I have someone sniffing around for a movie option of it, so I reworked it and had professional editor Rebecca Carpenter work her magic on it. So, the new and improved Jack & Diane is now available on Amazon. It really is a sweet story and anyone who grew up around the 80’s will love the references.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

I have a full-time job, a great wife and two active teens involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. As such, I don’t really have a set schedule, but write when I can squeeze it in – most typically between 10 pm and midnight when everyone else goes to bed and a few hours squeezed in on the weekends. It really depends on what stage of the writing process I’m in and if I’m binge watching anything on Netflix or Amazon.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

First draft has typically been about five to six months and then another month on the first round of revisions. It depends on how hung up I get on the plot. The plot for Poor Boy Road crystallized in my mind in a fifteen minute car ride. For my upcoming Jake Caldwell novel Blackbird Road, I got really hung up on a few of the plot points and it took me much longer to work through those road blocks.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

The process has grown. With Poor Boy Road, I didn’t outline the book at all. I just wrote it because I had a clear line of sight of where I wanted it to go right from the get go. Ares Road was a more complex plot and I made it a little more than halfway through it before I realized I was confusing myself and mucking the story up. I sat down and plotted it out and the story flowed much better. Blackbird Road was even more complex with Jake going up against two different villains, each with their own plotlines and I got seriously locked up trying to work through things, even with a formal outline. The book Mastering Suspense, Structure and Plot by Jane Cleland really helped me burst through the roadblock and provided me with a different methodology to map out the entire book. I’d highly recommend the book and her process if this is something you struggle with.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

Not that I can think of. I’m a pretty regular, down to earth guy.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

My books are set in Kansas City and around Warsaw, Missouri which is a small town in Benton County around the Lake of the Ozarks. It’s an area where my dad and his family grew up and I spent a lot of time in the area as a kid. While I was writing Poor Boy Road, my dad and I hopped in the car and he drove me around the area and told me a lot of stories about the area and his life, some I’d heard and many I hadn’t. We hit the nice areas with sprawling ranches with pretty white fences, and some areas with trailers and houses in such shambles that you’d think they were abandoned until you saw someone moving about or laundry hanging on a clothesline. I don’t know if you’d call that a literary pilgrimage or not, but it spurred my writing and is one of my favorite memories with my dad.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

I had the character of Jake Caldwell mulling in my head for months, but couldn’t come up with the right setting to place a leg breaker for the mafia who wanted out.  When I traveled back to Warsaw for my grandmother’s funeral, the beautiful setting of the area mixed in with the seedier aspect of the county’s drug problem seemed a perfect setting to establish where Jake came from. The inspiration and the entire plot literally developed in the car ride from the cemetery back to my dad’s house.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I love thrillers, but am evolving to other genres. There’s really three authors that I will immediately buy anything they write – Stephen King, Lee Child and John Sandford. Give me a good supernatural King tale, or an intense ride with Child’s Jack Reacher or Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and I’m on cloud nine. A few other authors that knock my socks off are John Hart, Jonathan Tropper and Fredrik Backman – my Lord can those guys write! They make me feel like a kindergartner with a crayon and a Big Chief tablet.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for? There’s some nuggets hidden in that only a select few will catch. The fun part is when they call you out on it.

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

You can’t craft a character out of thin air that doesn’t take on some semblance of real people in your life. You pick a trait here and there from different people and mold them into a relatable character. As a tribute to friends and fans, a lot of the character last names in my books are based from real life people. The characters themselves are not, but people seem to get a kick out of seeing their name in print. The bad part comes when you have to kill off their “character”! I had two friends whose last names I used as FBI agents in Ares Road and they actually were arguing over a beer one night about which character was better. That was a really cool moment.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. It’s a teenage love story of vampires and werewolves, but Meyer wrote a really compelling tale. I read them all.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Google myself? Maybe once a year. Check my reviews on Amazon or Goodreads? Probably twice a day.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Scene setting. I think I’m really good with dialog, but setting a scene is sometimes a challenge. That’s why writers like King, Hart and Backman blow me away – their scenes are so incredibly vivid and I turn green with envy reading them. I’m working on it, though!

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

TRUTH. Find someone who will tell you what sucks and what they love (and they need to do both). Early on, I had beta readers who would hand a draft back and say “That was really good” and that was it. THAT DOESN’T HELP ME! I want someone to tell me they laughed out loud because something was so funny in one part and they laughed out loud at another point because a plot point was so ludicrous. Does it hurt to get that blunt feedback? Hell, yes! But, I’d rather have them tell me so I can fix it, than to have the novel rejected, or get a one star review on Amazon or Goodreads. Find someone who will tell you the truth!

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author? MARKETING. Unless you have an agent who is going to do it for you, you’d better figure out a marketing plan. It’s taken me a while to get that through my thick head, but establishing a social media presence and marketing yourself will be key to your success. I still struggle with it, but am getting better. There’s so many great and unknown writers out there – how are you going to make your voice heard through the noise?

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

I’m happy to talk with someone or give a critique of a sample of their work.

Want to know more about James?

  • Visit James at his website
  • Like his Facebook page
  • Follow James on Twitter
  • See what James is posting on Instagram
  • Check out what he’s reading–and writing–on Goodreads  (look for Jack & Diane, Poor Boy Road, Ares Road, and Blackbird Road as there’s a couple other authors by the same name whose books keep showing up on my profile)

 Poor Boy Road (Jake Caldwell, Book 1)

ONCE YOU START RUNNING, IT’S HARD TO STOP.

Mob enforcer, Jake Caldwell is in the dark business of breaking kneecaps and snapping bones. But each job sends him one step closer to turning into the man he swore he’d never become – his violent and abusive father. Leaving the mob is easier said than done, so when his boss offers a bloody way out, Jake has no choice but to take it, even if it means confronting ghosts of old.

Arriving in his Lake of the Ozarks hometown, Jake has two things on his mind: kill ruthless drug lord Shane Langston and bury his dying father. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love all over again and team up with his best friend Bear, the Sheriff of Benton County, to take Langston down. Racing through the countryside searching for Langston, the web of murder, meth and kidnapping widens, all pointing toward a past Jake can’t escape and a place he never wanted to return – Poor Boy Road.
An AWARD FINALIST crime thriller! Book one in the Jake Caldwell series.

For fans of Jack Reacher and The Prey Series by John Sanford, this “great suspenseful read” is “more truth than fiction” that you won’t be able to put down

Get Poor Boy Road on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 Ares Road (Jake Caldwell, Book 2)

With his days as a mob enforcer behind him, Jake Caldwell’s trying to go straight.

But it seems his past won’t let him go.

His first job working as a private investigator turns up a teenage girl screaming down a dead man’s cell phone, and Logan, his mentor and the only man with answers, beaten into a coma.

Now Jake’s taking it personally.

The only clues Jake has to unravel the mystery are a Russian with a stolen, silver briefcase and three names: Snell, Parley and Ares. Teaming up with his best friend Bear, the Sheriff of his home town, and an attractive FBI agent, Jake quickly discovers they’re not the only ones looking for the briefcase and its deadly contents.

It’s no longer about seeking revenge.

The “thrilling second book in the JAKE CALDWELL series” is a “heart-stopping ride” that won’t disappoint fans of Lee Child’s JACK REACHER and John Sandford’s THE PREY series.

Get Ares Road on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 Blackbird Road (Jake Caldwell, Book 3)

With his wedding day fast approaching and his PI boss heading out of town, ex-mob enforcer Jake Caldwell decides to take one more job before a much needed vacation. But in a matter of days, his client is assassinated and her six-year-old son kidnapped.

With just a few clues, Jake calls on old friends to help track down the person responsible. Only this time his fiancée Maggie, desperate for Jake to leave his violent history behind, can’t guarantee she’ll be there when, or if, he comes home.

But Jake can’t turn his back on those who need him. It’s in his blood.

A perilous plot of lies and secrets unfolds, and Jake encounters criminals more brutal than ever. And when a threat to thousands of innocent lives is uncovered, Jake once again dives back into his past, requesting favors from some unexpected and unsavory contacts.

Jake needs to stay one step ahead of the bad guys if he’s to have any future at all.

The third book in the award-winning JAKE CALDWELL series is an intense, complex, and frantic race against time. Weaver has done it again in this raw and riveting read set in the Ozarks.

Get Blackbird Road on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 Jack & Diane

When his best friend moves away, nine year old Jack Phipps is sure nobody can replace him in the house across the street…until Diane Riven moves in. Their friendship and romance takes us on the journey of their lives, to the sweet places where they learn to love and trust, and the dark corners where bullies terrorize and hearts break. It’s the coming of age story of a boy and girl who discover that together they can accomplish anything, but that even true love has its limits.

Get Jack & Diane on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

CTP Fall Book Sale & Giveaway

We’re one week away from Fall and CTP wants to celebrate with their Bring On Fall Free Book Sale and an Author Sponsored $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! For one weekend only, they have selected a handful of titles throughout their different imprints that will be listed as free on Amazon from 9/14 to 9/16. This is a limited time promotion as the price will go back up to $4.99 on Monday. Take advantage of this exciting sale this weekend and Fall in love with some new books to cozy up with while you drink your Pumpkin Spice Latte, or tea, or wine, or whatever you love to sip on while reading. Enjoy!

FREE BOOKS AVAILABLE 9/14-9/16:

From YA to steamy romance, witches, queens and everything in between, there is sure to be something for everyone!

This group promo runs from 09/14/2018 to 09/16/2018 ONLY.

Some of the authors listed below are also offering Kindle Countdown Deals on their sequels, which means you can snag sequels or even a few series for the low, low price of $.99 each during this sale!

Get your Kindles ready, or download the Kindle App on your tablet or phone and prepare for an amazing FREE reading extravaganza!

HAPPY READING! LET’S BRING ON THE FALL Y’ALL!!!

Unspeakable - Michelle Pickett Vampires Rule - K.C. Blake The Woodlands - Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Skin And Bones - Susan HarrisResurgence - Sharonlee HolderThe Second Window - Erica Kiefer

Never Forgotten - Kelly RisserPrelude - Nely Cab

Queen of Someday - Sherry Ficklin

Minutes Before Sunset - Shannon A Thompson

Milayna - Michelle Pickett

Lady of Sherwood - Molly Bilinski

Dating An Alien Pop Star - Kendra L. Saunders

Dreamthief - Tamara Grantham

Extracted - Tyler H. Jolley & Sherry D. Ficklin

Crushed - Kasi Blake

Catalyst - Kristin Smith

Broken Fate - Jennifer Derrick

Bait - K.C. Blake

Aftermath - Sandy Goldsworthy

Bad Bloods - Shannon A Thompson

A Shine That Defies The Dark - Jodi Gallegos

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card sponsored by our amazing authors!

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Can’t see the Rafflecopter form? Click HERE to go straight to the form. Best of luck!

Bloodthorn - Tamara GranthamSpellweaver - Tamara GranthamRiven - Sherry Ficklin

Smoke And Mirrors - Susan HarrisCollateral Damage - Susan HarrisSilverwitch -Tamara Grantham

Afterlife - Sandy GoldsworthyNever Back Down - Susan HarrisNight Of The Hunter - Susan Harris

Aftershock - Sandy Goldsworthy

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Milayna's Angel - Michelle Pickett

The Innocent - Michelle PickettCreatura - Nely CabFinding Willow - Michelle Pickett

A Message For My Spammers

I’ve just devoted way too many minutes to cleaning up my comments and deleting spam. It’s a bit out of control.

I know, Spammers, you spend a lot of time trolling the interwebbie thing, and you hate for your work to be in vain. I thought I might offer you some tips so that your efforts can be better targeted and all the silly, mundane spam can quit being such a burden to both of us.

  • “Assess far on minuscule the flabbergast” doesn’t mean anything to me. Please consult your American translation dictionary and try again.
  • I do not read Russian.
  • Or any of the Asian languages.
  • Nor the Middle Eastern ones.
  • I’m neither located in Melbourne, nor do I own a car there, so I have no need for a car removal service in Melbourne.
  • Opening with “Howdy” doesn’t make the rest of your super-shady comment any less suspect!
  • I am not following that link.
  • There are far more educated people than I, who can make recommendations about plug-ins, web servers, etc
  • If you found duplicate information on my blog, it’s because I’m human, and forgetful, and probably have no idea what I blogged about a week ago.
  • I will not call you daddy.
  • Also, I will not spank you.
  • I am definitely not following that link
  • However miraculous that pill may be, it will not give me guaranteed penile growth. Mother Nature determined that in advance.
  • Posting the exact same comment to each and every one of my posts is just lazy, lacking in creativity and is the mark of a spammer who isn’t truly invested in his/her future with the spamming company
  • What can an online casino tell me about the topics I blog about (books, writing & parenting)?
  • I am by no means “truly a webmaster” and the “sheer velocity of the loading time” has more to do with your internet provider than anything I’ve done.
  • I don’t believe, based on your generic comment, that you really do think I made “good points”, that you’ve bookmarked my blog, or will be coming back frequently. (Nobody is that interested in a post about pink eye!).
  • And for the rookie spammer: You were supposed to copy & paste ONE of the spam comments. I don’t think you were intended to post all the possible variations of spam comments! I hope you’ve been fired for your lack of attention to this deplorable career path you’ve chosen.

And finally, why are you trying so hard to invade my pitiful web page? Don’t you have a country or multi-million-dollar corporation to topple? There’s much more glory there! Dream big, my Spammer friends.

Blog Tour: I Do Not Trust You by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

 

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, authors of Sanctuary Bay and the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong, are back with a story that features their signature plot twists and uneasy ever-changing alliances. I DO NOT TRUST YOU (Wednesday Books; September 11, 2018) is a thrilling journey at every turn that asks – what would you do to save the
ones you love?
Memphis “M” Engel is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.
Ashwin “Ash” Sood is a little too posh for M’s tastes, a little too good looking, and has way too many secrets. He desperately wants the ancient map M inherited from her archeologist father, believing it will lead him to a relic with the power to destroy the world. M obviously can’t trust
him.
Equally desperate to find the relic for reasons of her own, M forms an uneasy partnership with Ash. From the catacombs of Paris, to a sacred forest in Norway, to the ruins of a submerged temple in Egypt, together they crisscross the globe in their search. But through it all, M can never be sure: Is she
traveling with a friend or enemy?

In their latest collaboration, Burns and Metz prove once again the magic that happens when two talented mystery authors work together. Going on M’s journey will have readers’ hearts race with every page. With its dangerous secrets and dark mythology, I DO NOT TRUST YOU is irresistible to any fan of YA thrillers.

Excerpt from I Do Not Trust You:

“You should’ve seen Miss Memphis here get into it with Nick last period,” Brianna said, squeezing in between M and Inez at their usual spot in the cafeteria. “She shut him down with her crazy ancient cultures voodoo.”

“He’s an ass. He’s lucky he’s hot,” their friend Ayana commented, waving her spork in Nick’s direction.

M shrugged. “I wouldn’t try to debate him in Physics. I just know more about Rome than he does.”

“What about AP Chem? Would you debate him in that?” Inez asked in a fake-serious voice. “Would you debate him in German class?”

“She’d debate him in German, in German,” Brianna joked. “And if he tried to fight back, she’d switch to Greek.”

M threw a French fry at her. “I can’t help it. I grew up speaking different languages.”

“And learning about pharaohs. And becoming well versed in the history of the Etruscan people,” Ayana said, putting on a fake accent that was probably supposed to be British. “Oh, and setting broken bones in the bush.”

“That only happened once,” M muttered. Her friends laughed.

“Anyway, it was epic. Thanks,” Brianna said. “I can’t stand fighting with people, and Nick always goes after me.”

“He knows you hate it,” M pointed out. “That’s why he does it.”

“An ass, like I said.” Ayana shrugged.

“You think he’s coming to the party tonight?” Brianna asked.

“Probably. Everyone else is,” Inez replied. “Even Memphis.” M made a face. “Anything to get out of the house. Bob and Liza would expect me to play board games with them otherwise.” Her friends exchanged a glance. M winced. “No offense.”

“Oh, were you offending someone?” Nick piped up from behind her. “Good girl.”

Immediately Bri looked down, while Ayana rolled her eyes. Inez just smirked, glancing back and forth between M and Nick.

“I was not offending anyone. I only meant I don’t like parties,” M said. She didn’t bother to turn toward him. It didn’t matter; he inserted himself onto the bench next to her anyway. A little tingle ran up her spine as the scent of his co- logne hit her nostrils, spicy and warm.

“Mmm, they’re boring. Everyone talking about the prom or the senior trip or whatever. I’m over it,” Nick said.

Me too, thought M, wishing she didn’t agree with him. She loved her friends, but even they were all about high school. M just didn’t care. High school was nothing more than what she had to get through before she could leave. After the crash, after the shock of Bob and Liza becoming her guardians, she’d asked if she could go off to college early, either Boston University or the University of Sheffield in England. Both had the kind of archeology program she wanted and would’ve let her in with no questions. They knew her father. They knew high school was a waste of time for someone like her.

But her guardians said no. They said she needed stabil- ity and normalcy after losing her dad. Never mind that traveling the world and taking care of herself was normal for her. While she and Dad technically lived in Boston, she’d never spent more than a few months there during the school year. They traveled. Half the year spent on digs. She missed it.

“What’s with this thing, anyway? Is it to fight off bad guys?” Nick teased, finding an excuse to touch her. He reached for M’s collapsible bo staff, tucked in the inside pocket of her jacket like always. But before he touched it, be- fore his flirty smile registered in her mind, M had already grabbed his hand, twisted it back to the breaking point, and used the pain to push him off the cafeteria bench and onto the floor. With her other hand, she whipped out the stick and shoved it up against his throat.

M froze. Hes just hitting on you. Her friends were aghast, and everyone nearby watched, openmouthed. Nick’s eyes were wide with panic.

“Sorry.” M stood up, leaving Nick on the floor. “I’m really sorry.”

“Freak,” he muttered, climbing to his feet. He glanced around, noticing the barely concealed laughter from onlook- ers. “Jeez, I just wanted a fry,” he joked, as if he hadn’t been humiliated, then hurried out of the cafeteria.

“What. The. Hell?” Inez asked. “He was flirting with you and you beat him up!”

“I know.” M groaned, shoving her staff back into her pocket. “I didn’t mean to. It was just reflex.”

Her friends were silent. She’d freaked them out. Should she explain the years of self-defense and martial arts training? That she and Dad ended up in some rough places? Her friends lived in a city, they understood danger. Sort of. In a nice, upscale Boston kind of way.

M sighed. There was no point in trying to explain. No- body understood her life.

“You kinda push all the guys away,” Brianna pointed out quietly. “Maybe not like that, but still . . .”

“I don’t do romance,” M replied. She was done with love, period. She’d loved her parents, and they were both gone. Love hurt too much. It was better to steer clear of it.

They all ate in silence for a minute.

“I mean, he is an ass,” Ayana said finally. And everybody laughed.

M: You up?

MIKE: It’s a 12 hr time difference. Of course I’m up.

M: Like you never sleep in on weekends.

MIKE: Fine, your text woke me.

M: I don’t think that glyph is a lotus. It’s bending the wrong way.

MIKE: It has to be a lotus. If it’s not, the whole phrase is wrong.

M: The rest of the phrase never sat well with Nefertum anyway.

MIKE: Your dad said it was a lotus.

 

About the Authors
LAURA J. BURNS and MELINDA METZ have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including Sanctuary
Bay, Crave, and Sacrifice, as well as the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong. They have also written for
the TV shows ROSWELL, 1-800-MISSING, and THE DEAD ZONE. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North
Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.

Author Spotlight: Wendi Silvano

Name: Wendi Silvano

Author of: Turkey Trouble; Turkey Claus; Turkey Trick-or-Treat; Just One More; What Does The Wind Say?; Hey Diddle Riddle; Counting Coconuts. (Upcoming book: Turkey’s Eggstra-Special Easter, Two Lions Press, January, 2019)

From: I was born in Salt Lake City and grew up there. I lived for two years on the coast of Oregon at ages 7-8, and I lived in Peru for 18 months at 21-22. I have now lived in Grand Junction, CO for 19 years.

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

I don’t remember for sure if it was the very first “story” I wrote once I decided to try and write a children’s picture book, but Just One More, was certainly one of the first. When I lived in Peru I was fascinated by the crazy bus rides I took (since drivers cram their buses as full as they can get them, and people bring animals of all sorts aboard). I knew that multicultural stories were something publishers were looking for and I thought I could make a funny book telling the tale of a young boy who is so crammed in he can’t get off the bus. Just One More ended up being my first published picture book (after 7 years of submitting and after 24 rejections).

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I was an elementary school teacher for 11 years, until my 3rd child was born. I quit teaching to stay at home with my kids. I didn’t really like so many of the domestic things stay-at-home mom’s often do (cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting, etc.). I started looking into how to write teacher resource books, as I thought that might be something I could do to earn a little money. The more I looked into that the more I realized that I really wanted to write fiction picture books. They were something I had always had a passion for reading… so why not help create what I loved to read most?

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

When I first began writing, I pretty much began on my own. As there was no internet to use, I checked books out of the library on “how to get published” and purchased a copy of the Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Market Guide. I joined SCBWI, and began sending away to publishers for the author’s guidelines. Since I had three tiny children, I wasn’t really able to attend conferences often (I only went to one during the first five years of my writing career. I didn’t have a critique group or anything at that point, so SCBWI was probably my best source for help. However, once I moved to Grand Junction, I found a group of three other writers who became my critique group and their help was absolutely critical to improving my writing and helping me get published. Cherie Winner, Linda Armstrong and Penny Stine hold a very dear place in my heart. We laughed a lot, and learned a lot and I credit their help for my success. Years later, Diane Hower moved to town and revitalized the local SCBWI members (and we formed another critique group here in town which was amazing). There’s nothing more helpful than having a good critique group!

Do you exclusively write  picture books or have you written in other genres?

I write everything from ages 0 to about 8. (I think my brain quit growing after 3rd grade!). I have written board books, early readers, picture books and young chapter books. I have also had numerous stories in children’s magazines. (I have absolutely NO ideas for middle grade or YA novels). I have done considerable writing for the educational market, which has included writing reading passages that are used for standardized tests from Kindergarten to Grade 12 levels, and a number of teacher resource books for middle grades. I did the puzzles for the puzzle spreads in OWL Magazine for two years, and have done a variety of work-for-hire assignments of all sorts. I will try almost anything.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

I will admit that I go through cycles in my writing. There are times when I can write every day and be productive, and other times when my family has greater needs and I am lucky to get in any writing time for weeks. There are also times when I have a few hours to work on my writing and nothing comes out right. Those are the most frustrating days because my available time is so limited I hate to not be productive. I have learned that is just the nature of the process and I have to live with that. I do try to do something writing-related EVERY day. If I can’t write or revise something I try to research or send out queries, etc. I read, on average, 25-30 picture books per week. I request so many picture books from the library (that are shipped in from all over the area), that they have given me my own reserve shelf. I think there is nothing that helps more with my writing than reading the wonderful writing of others. It gives me a feel for what works and why. It generates new ideas and shows me new ways to structure or approach a story.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions

Once I figure out what it is that I want my story to be, and know how I want to approach it the first draft usually doesn’t take long (maybe a few hours to a day or two). But, it can take me many tries at starting a story to figure out what execution might work. Once a draft is done and I start revisions it will usually be many, many months (or even years) of getting feedback, revising, putting it away for a while and getting it back out to take a fresh look, then revising again, over and over, before I feel a book is ready to go on submission. It’s crazy, but most of my books that have sold have taken at least a year to get “right”.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

I have numerous notebooks full of possible ideas for picture books. When I choose one to start working on I might look for other picture books on similar topics/themes to see what is already out there. I brainstorm every idea, word or notion that comes to mind on the theme and try to think of a unique approach. If a book has science elements or some character that is an animal, I will, of course, get as many books from the library as I can find on the topic to learn more. I love reading other children’s books about a topic (i.e. the states of matter, hedgehogs, etc.) because they explain things so simply. It’s the easiest way to learn about something.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

I don’t know if it is quirky, but I find that every time I am sitting at the computer writing, I get a craving for gumdrops. I try to resist the temptation, but often cave and eat a few… just for inspiration!

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

I haven’t gone on a trip specifically to do research for a story (although that sounds delightful!), but when our family went to Peru to visit relatives in 2008 I was taking good notes for future story ideas. We visited the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu (where a current story is set) and the Amazon Rain Forest (where several older stories have been set). Anywhere I go I am watching for inspiration for stories.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

Not so much an exact moment… more like a general time frame. As I said before, I have notebooks full of possible ideas. I might think of a title or character or plot idea and write it down, and then later work on it over time to see if a whole story comes of it. For example, I saw a facebook video or a person in a tyrannosaurus costume wearing a tutu and visiting some office somewhere. It gave me the idea for a character who is a tyrannosaurus who desperately wants to dance ballet, but struggles because she has those itty bitty arms that can’t reach the barre and clunky legs and a long tail that gets in the way. But it took some time after seeing the video before the story idea came around.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

Of course I read picture books by the hundreds (as that is my preferred genre, and there are SO many wonderful ones being published lately I could never choose a favorite. When I read adult stuff I find I tend to lean towards thrillers because they keep me from falling asleep as I read (or drive if I am listening).

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

I haven’t done that yet… but what an intriguing idea!

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

Sometimes. In fact, my Turkey character was inspired by a “pet” turkey that a family had that I lived with for a time in Peru. This turkey acted just like one of the family dogs. He would come running when leftovers were scraped into the feeding trough, and would follow people around, wanting attention. I never knew turkeys had so much personality!

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

There is a wordless picture book called The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang. It has to be one of my all-time favorite picture books. It was published in 1996, and was actually a Caldecott Honor book, with truly incredible illustrations (the grandmother in the story is depicted in negative space… so clever and fun). However, I hardly ever hear anything about this book, or see it on recommended reading lists, or anywhere. Every child deserves to know about this book. My five children and I have received such delight in reading it.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Once in a while. It’s sort of scary to see what comes up!

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

A Llama or alpaca. I fell in love with them in Peru, and have a fascination for them now.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Yes. I struggle with critiquing the work of other writers. I can tell you if a manuscript is working and if I like it, or if I feel like there’s something amiss, but I struggle to be able to put my finger on exactly what is right or wrong sometimes.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Be patient and persistent. Even great work can take a long time to get published. You have to hit the right editor or agent with the right thing at the right time. Keep learning how to better the craft and don’t give up!

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Do what you can to market your own work. Publishers often don’t do that much, and it is up to you to create a buzz.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

I love talking to aspiring writers. They are so enthusiastic and anxious to learn. I am the local area coordinator for the Western Slope Area of the Rocky Mountain Region of SCBWI. I help organize and coordinate writing “Connects” in our local area so writers have a chance to get together and learn from each other.

Want to know more about Wendi?

 

Turkey Trouble 

Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving… and you’re the main course. But Turkey has an idea- what if he doesn’t look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead? After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever! This delightful book is a Children’s Choice Award winner!

Get Turkey Trouble from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

    Turkey Claus

Turkey is in trouble…again. He made it through Thanksgiving without becoming a turkey dinner, but now it’s almost Christmas, and guess what’s on the menu? Turkey decides the only thing to do is to ask Santa for help. He sets off for the North Pole, but getting in to see Santa on Christmas Eve isn’t as easy as Turkey expected. It’s going to take all his ideas- and his clever disguises- to find a way into Santa’s house. After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise, and Santa has the perfect solution!

Get Turkey Claus from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Turkey Trick Or Treat

Everyone loves Halloween candy—even Turkey. But how can he and his barnyard friends get any when the farmers give it out only to children? With a costume, of course! As his pals look on, Turkey comes up with one clever costume after the next. Each trick gets better and better…but will Turkey and his friends end up with any treats? This hilarious companion to Turkey Trouble and Turkey Claus is filled to the brim with holiday fun.

Get Turkey Trick or Treat from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Just One More

Hector doesn’t know what he’s in for when he climbs aboard a bus high up in the Andes Mountains. He watches in disbelief as the driver lets MORE people and MORE animals on the already swaying and bouncing bus until it’s ready to burst. “There’s no more room. This bus is packed.” said Hector. This bus is piled and stacked up to the roof and out the door!” But the bus driver hollered, “Just one more!” Come along with Hector as he learns a valuable lesson. There’s always room for just one more.

Get Just One More from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

What Does the Wind Say?

A rhyming picture book for 3-5 year-olds that poses playful questions about some of children’s favorite things, like the moon, clouds, frogs and raindrops. From whish-a-woo to peek-a-boo! the answers to the questions make for lively poetry. Warm, charming illustrations depict familiar scenes for little ones.

Get What Does the Wind Say? from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Hey Diddle Riddle

Enhanced with gatefold flaps and bold illustrations, a silly book will challenge kids to guess the answers to simple riddles featuring the dish and the spoon, the three kittens, and other classic nursery rhyme characters.

Get Hey Diddle Riddle on Amazon

Counting Coconuts

Help! Monkey is hungry. But before he can eat his coconuts, he must find the fastest way to count them. A trio of tapirs, a slithering boa, an oh-so-slow sloth, and a wickedly wise jaguar are among the rainforest animals that suggest various counting methods. Learn to count by sets and help Monkey complete his comical, ever-changing, arithmetic task.

Get Counting Coconuts from Amazon