Monday, May 29, 2017

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY: Remember to Thank a Soldier

We all get caught up in the fun activities of Memorial Day--getting together with friends, BBQs, having a great time, but let's not forget the real meaning of Memorial Day. Soldiers risk their lives every day for our freedom, a freedom that we take for granted. Nothing in life is free and I for one am thankful that we have such brave men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect our freedom.  

Dear Solider: Thank you for your Service. Thank you for your Sacrifice. Thank you for your Courage. I Salute YOU. This day honors all of you. 


Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formally known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.

Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action.

The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.

Whatever you decide to do on this 3-day weekend, say a prayer and a "thank you" for all of the US military personnel who are serving around the world to keep us all safe.

#Excerpt: AIDING THE DRAGON by Jessie Donovan


Aiding the Dragon
Jessie Donovan
(Stonefire Dragons #9)
Publication date: May 25th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Teagan O’Shea is a rare female dragon-shifter leader. While her Irish clan has a tradition of female leaders, they have always had to hide behind a male face publicly to prevent the other clans from viewing them as weaker and then attacking. When the truth leaks, Teagan is faced with a choice—hand over the leadership to a male or invite the challengers to a leadership trial and earn her place. Out to prove having a penis isn’t required to be a leader, she picks the latter.
Aaron Caruso is sent to Ireland under the guise of repairing relations between two clans on the isle of Ireland. However, upon arrival he learns the truth. Determined to secure Teagan’s place so he can escape her alluring eyes and addicting personality, he busies himself with helping her any way he can. A female used him once and he’s not about to go through that again, no matter how much the Irish female tempts him.
As the pair work together on preparations for the leadership trial, both Aaron and Teagan start to see each other in a new light. Both have their own self-imposed loneliness and yearn for something they can’t have. Can Aaron and Teagan not only change tradition but also open their hearts? Or will they each be doomed to live alone to fight their inner battles?


EXCERPT:
Twisting the knob, Teagan entered the small room. Aaron’s back was to her. While she appreciated his broad shoulders and his thick, dark hair, she smiled at how he was tapping his fingers. He always did that when it came to meeting with her, either in person or via a video conference. “Just make sure not to wear down my table with your nails.”
Aaron’s movements stopped. He turned and Teagan hid her surprise. The male had grown a close-cut beard since the last time she’d seen him. The dark whiskers made him look wiser.
And maybe a wee bit sexier. Not that she’d ever tell him that.
Then he frowned and she banished that thought. Grumpy wasn’t what she needed, among many other things.
Aaron growled, “I wouldn’t have to tap my fingers in the first place if you were on time.”
Killian took a step toward Aaron, but Teagan put up a hand. “I’ll deal with him. Eliza is waiting for you. Go with her and search Sadie’s things. Update me on any developments.”
Her brother nodded and exited the room. Like most males in her clan, he obeyed her orders without question.
Aaron, on the other hand, leaned back in his chair and propped his feet on the table. “Should I get comfortable whilst you use a power play to assert your dominance? Or are you actually going to tell me why I’m here?”
She walked up to his feet and pushed them off the table. “Keep your dirty bloody boots on the floor. Do that again, and I’ll make sure you always have a bucket and rag to clean up after yourself.”
His pupils flashed to slits and back, signaling he was talking to his dragon. “I’m not here to clean.”
She shrugged. “The way I understand it, you’re here to help me for the next few weeks. Bram didn’t say cleaning was off-limits.”
Aaron stood. His dark brown eyes met her green. They were exactly the same height, which was a nice change. Teagan was tall, even by female dragon-shifter standards.
She barely had time to note the flecks in his eyes when he spat out, “Cleaning is off-limits. As is babysitting or being assigned entry-level guard duty. I’m a trained Protector. If it’s not related to my job, then I’ll refuse to do it.”
She raised an eyebrow. “And what? Disappoint your clan leader and destroy his hard work at trying to strengthen our alliance?”
“Bram would see it my way. Besides, you need this alliance more than we do. We already have Lochguard at our back. Who do you have?”
His words stung and her dragon stood at attention.
He was correct that she needed the alliance, but she wasn’t about to put up with bullshit to achieve it. That was the wrong message to send to Stonefire.
She had dealt with many a male acting like Aaron Caruso. She knew what to do.
Fisting his shirt, she pulled him close. For a split second, her dragon reveled in his scent and the heat of his body so close to theirs, but Teagan quickly pushed her beast to the back of her mind. As Aaron’s eyes flashed, she swept his legs with her own. Aaron lost his balance and Teagan guided him to the floor, face down. With his hands behind him and her knee in his lower back, she leaned down to his ear and whispered, “Just because I’m female doesn’t mean you will treat me as any less of a clan leader, understood?”
He turned his head to meet her eyes. “I’m not doing it because you’re female. I’m doing it because you’re irritating.”
Resisting the urge to press a talon against his throat, she replied, “That just earned you guard duty. Maybe twenty-four hours without sleep will teach you a lesson in etiquette.”
She withdrew a key from her pocket and released Aaron. Before he could do more than rise to his hands and knees, she dashed out the sole door and locked it.
His voice was muffled through the door. “Let me out, bloody woman. This isn’t how you treat a guest.”
“Aye, you’re right. It’s how I treat a pest.”


Author Bio:
Sign up for Jessie's newsletter and never miss a release or special: http://jessiedonovan.com/newsletter
Jessie Donovan wrote her first story at age five, and after discovering the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey in junior high, realized that people actually wanted to read stories like those floating around inside her head. From there on out, she was determined to tap into her over-active imagination and write a book someday.
After living abroad for five years and earning degrees in Japanese, Anthropology, and Secondary Education, she buckled down and finally wrote her first full-length book. While that story will never see the light of day, it laid the world-building groundwork of what would become her debut paranormal romance, Blaze of Secrets.
In late 2014, she became a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.
Jessie loves to interact with readers. When not reading a book or traipsing around some foreign country on a shoestring, can often be found on Facebook.


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Friday, May 26, 2017

Interview with Erica Ridley, LORD OF PLEASURE



Trivia:

Born:
Indiana
From:
Florida
Lives:
Costa Rica
Dogs or cats?
Dogs
Beer or wine?
Tequila
If there were no tequila:
India Pale Ale
Beach or mountains?
Mountains
Football or soccer?
Da Bears
Favorite movie genres:
Action/Adventure, Comedy
Favorite book genres:
Suspense, Thriller, Romance
Favorite pastime:
Traveling
States visited:
26
Countries visited:
30
Morning or night person?
Morning
Walk or run?
Rollerblade
Plotter or Pantser:
Storyboard + Scrivener
Apple or Android:
Apple
Tea or Coffee:
Coffee
Chocolate, light or dark:
Yes, please
Meat or veggies?
Vegetarian
Favorite foods:
Indian, Thai, Italian
Favorite music:
All of it
Instruments played:
Piano, guitar, violin
Biggest fear:
Snow


Excerpt:
“Lady X, I presume?” His heart was still pounding and his breath a bit too quick, but he’d made it. He was the first at her side.
“Lord X.” Her red lips smiled up at him from beneath her impenetrable black mask. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
“The pleasure is most definitely mine.” He proffered his arm. “Come with me.”
“Should I?” she rejoined archly.
“I shall beg if I must.”
Only when her fingers curved about his elbow did his tense muscles finally relax.
He guided her up the slender staircase lining the far wall. When they reached the upper promenade, he led her not to the balcony overlooking the back garden, but to a hidden corridor with a second, smaller staircase, twisting up a dark tower.
She tilted her head. “What’s up there?”
“Come and find out.” He stepped into the darkness, held out his hand, and waited.
She placed her white-gloved fingers in his.
“I’ve been thinking of you all week,” he said roughly. “It’s been maddening.”
“Why didn’t you stop?”
“I can’t.” He pulled her into his arms and slanted his mouth over hers.
The last time he’d kissed her, he’d felt she was holding back on her passion. He didn’t want her to. Not with him. Not tonight. He cradled the side of her face in his hand and told her with every kiss that there was no need for circumspection. No need to be tentative.
Whoever she was before she stepped through the vestibule door, here she was a goddess cloaked in darkness and sheltered by the night. They were as anonymous as stars in the sky, their passion as bright. Her power was boundless. With naught more than the taste of her kiss, she was capable of bringing him to his knees.
Heart pounding, he pulled away while he still could.




Blurb: Lord of Pleasure


Nondescript “good girl” Miss Camellia Grenville only ever opens her mouth when forced to sing at her family’s musicales. That is, until the night she infiltrates the ton’s most scandalous masquerade ball on behalf of her sister, and finds herself in the arms—and the bed—of the one man she’d sworn to hate.


Irresistibly arrogant and unapologetically sensuous, infamous rake Lord Wainwright always gets his way. When he accepts a wager to turn his rakish image respectable in just forty days, he never anticipates falling for an anonymous masked lover...or that discovering her identity would destroy them both.



Buy links:
Amazon:

Apple iBooks:

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-of-pleasure-erica-ridley/1125322545?ean=2940157202507

Kobo:
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lord-of-pleasure-5

Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Erica_Ridley_Lord_of_Pleasure?id=ocqzDQAAQBAJ


Author Bio


Erica Ridley is a USA Today and New York Times best-selling author of historical romance novels.
In the new Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind rags-to-riches romance with rollicking adventure.
The popular Dukes of War series features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

Get free stories and 99¢ new releases: http://www.EricaRidley.com/club99

Street Team: http://www.ericaridley.com/street-team  


Author Retailer Links:




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Guest Post: What I'd Tell a New Author by N.W. Harris, DARKEST DAYS


Darkest Days
N W Harris
(The Last Orphans, #4)
Publication date: May 22nd 2017
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult

The ancient slave mongers who killed the adults and enslaved the children have angered a more advanced species of aliens. Composed of pure energy, this superior race has attacked the Anunnaki home world and is now setting a course for Earth.
The energy-based aliens believe in a system of trial by battle. They seek to push Shane and his friends into the arena with the ones who killed their parents.
The results will determine if humans deserve to live, or if they should be made extinct as well. It’s up to Shane to keep his friends—and an army of kids who look up to him—alive. They’ll be fighting not just for their own lives, but for the fate of the entire human race. Can the enemy of Shane’s enemy be his friend, or is this just another species determined to exploit and destroy them?


GUEST POST BY N.W. HARRIS:
What would I tell a new author?

What to tell a new author, hmmm… There is so much to tell, though every writer’s journey is different. First off, I’d tell them to write for themselves. If one writes just to get published and make money, I think they’ll go mad and/or quit before they ever get close. Why? It takes years to polish one’s craft enough to be published by a creditable publisher. I think writing has to be looked at as a hobby that could become a career. A writer has to want to write because there is something that is inside them that needs to get out. Write for a creative outlet. Write like it doesn’t matter if anyone besides you ever reads it. Write almost everyday, but it is important to take days off too.

Much of the education for the profession comes from practical experience. Sure, a writer draws from their experiences and traditional education. My educational background is mostly based in science, biology and anthropology, and it provides a volume of information to draw upon. But, I had to learn the craft of writing by trial and error. Every writer has to find his or her voice. That can take years, and it can only be discovered by hard work.

I’d tell them to persist. It’s my favorite word. You have to write a novel. Destroy it. Rewrite it. Invest countless hours and sometimes even years. Then you have to be willing to let all that work go because it was just the classroom where you polished your craft. You have to swallow rejection after rejection and keep fighting. When you get criticism, you have to listen to it. I’m not saying a budding writer should try to oblige every critic, but growth is critical and growth comes from taking in criticism. Deal with any pain it might cause quickly, and then get into the game again by applying what you’ve learned.


Author Bio:
Born at the end of the Vietnam war and raised on a horse farm near small town north Georgia, his imagination evolved under the swaying pines surrounding his family’s log home. On summer days that were too hot, winter days that were too cold, and every night into the wee morning hours, he read books. He lives in sunny southern California with his beautiful wife and two perfect children.


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NEW RELEASE: SALT by Pauline Creeden


Salt-FB-FINAL

Her kind treats her as less-than-human, but she’s always been so much more.  

Salt-FINAL_HighMermaid life has never been easy for Verona. Her scars give evidence of her abuse. When her day of reckoning arrives, she is determined to endure exile. According to her father’s experience, exile is better than becoming a land-walker and risking her life among the humans.  

However, when she saves the life of a drowning human boy, she inadvertently sets off a chain of events which force her to choose a path: stay with the humans she has become attached to or return home to a life of scorn. A savage hunter draws closer, threatening even the humans. Her only hope is to keep everyone safe until the next full moon, but those around her devise their own plans.  

 

 

 

Buy links:


 

FREE Coloring Book with purchase:

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Get the prequel book for FREE

scales cover --

Monday, May 22, 2017

#Excerpt: Epic Fantasy ASSASSIN'S CURSE


The Prophecy of the Witch Stone

From the line of power twice born
To the power born twice
Shall arise the seekers of the Stone.

Look for the sign of the witch in two joined
For they shall be the saviors
Who shall grasp the power from darkness
And bring it into the light
For when the flower blossoms
Then will be the time

For their powers shall be twined within a single aspect
And stand balanced on the sword’s edge of good and evil.
False guidance shall lead to the path of doom
And will spell destruction of all
That they were brought about to save.

PROLOGUE:
The boy stood in the middle of the room staring blankly at the wall.
Choose well was all he remembered.
The room was about sixty paces long and probably half as wide.  It was two stories’ high with numerous oil lamps set along the upper walls that provided more than adequate lighting for the entire room.  A balcony ran along three of the four walls and provided a means to observe any event happening below.  There was one door leading in and out of the room, but it was blocked by a large, well-muscled man dressed completely in black.  His eyes were deadpan, like those of a cold-blooded killer. 
The air was relatively cool, but the young boy felt a drip of sweat run down his back.  He tried to hide his nervousness beneath a façade of serenity while staring at the wall, but he could feel the butterflies roiling in his stomach, threatening to unman him.
The wall the boy stared at contained all conceivable manner of weapons, from short throwing knives to elegantly curved swords to long-handled halberds with wickedly curved barbs and spikes.  The boy had to choose something soon or forfeit his chance to test again for another year.  He would not let this opportunity pass, because this was the day he had trained long and hard for, the day he had anticipated for the last three years, and the day when he would finally prove himself worthy.  Today he would test to become an apprentice in the guild of assassins.
The rules of the test were simple: choose your weapon and fight.  Any novice who aspired to test for apprenticeship had twenty short minutes to fight and draw blood from their opponent.  Whatever weapon a novice chose to test with would be the school in which they would be apprenticed if they passed.  There were five schools: Sword, Knife, Axe, Staff, and Bow.  The tests were short, brutal, and bloody, designed to ensure that no one advanced who did not rightly deserve to.  Their opponents were fully trained brothers of the guild who gave no quarter or latitude to the would-be contenders.  Many tested for the honor, but few passed their first time, and some even lost their lives in the attempt. 
Jeda had decided many months ago to choose a pair of fighting knives as his weapon of choice.  He was good with knives, both in hand-to-hand combat and throwing, and liked the way they felt perfectly balanced in his hands.  He had been steadfast in his weapon of choice until the moment he entered the room and saw Brother Mave waiting for him.  A slight grimace passed over his face, but he quickly composed himself.  The last thing he wanted was for Mave to see he was scared.  Mave was dressed in the traditional, assassin color of black, but also wore a distinguishable symbol of red, crossed swords on the bandana holding back his hair.  That symbol marked him as a preeminent sword expert within the guild, second only to the masters in the School of Swords.  Knives were excellent, close-in fighting weapons, but Jeda was not good enough with them to draw blood from a sword expert like Mave.  Now he stood immobilized, staring at the weapons wall, furiously trying to think of what he should do next.  He knew he would have to choose wisely if he was to survive this day. 
Damn, of all the brothers in this guild, how could I be so lucky as to get Mave? Jeda thought sarcastically.  He stepped forward and reached for the weapon he thought he would have the most luck with.
No sense in changing now.
***
Mave saw the boy look his way and inwardly smiled.  He knew the boy was scared, and rightly so.  It was not chance that brought him here today, but a carefully orchestrated scheme to make sure he tested the boy.  He felt Jeda was no more than a third-year upstart who did not deserve the opportunity to test for apprenticeship.  Most novices trained for five or six years before petitioning to test.  Mave was going to make sure that the boy did not pass.  That was as it should be, for it was Mave who had brought Jeda to the guild in the first place.  He should be the one to put the boy in his place and teach him humility.
Jeda finally reached up and took a pair of fighting knives off the wall.
Mave shook his head at the boy’s choice.  I knew it.  The boy may know how to fight, but he knows nothing of winning.
“Begin,” said the dispassionate voice of the master-in-attendance judging the test.
Mave strode forward, closing the distance and eliminating the only advantage knives would give the boy.  Without the distance to throw them, they were completely useless against swords. 
The boy stood stock-still, visibly trembling as Mave approached.  His frozen fear was pathetic and almost embarrassing.  Mave would cut him slightly with his first blade and knock him out with the handle of his second, putting a quick end to this charade of a test.  Twirling his swords in a deadly dance, Mave felt no sympathy for the boy.  Today’s failure would set Jeda back at least a year and give him more time to learn proper respect and modesty, traits Mave felt he was sorely lacking. 
The young fool doesn’t know what he’s in for.   
As Mave swung the first blade to catch the boy across the cheek, something unexpected happened.  Jeda dove forward, under the first blade, and whipped one of his knives at Mave’s exposed side.  Mave deflected the throw with his second sword.  If he had not been such an excellent swordsman, the throw would have a scored a hit.
Maybe not quite the fool I took him for.  Mave spun around swinging the sword in a deadly arc to face the boy as Jeda jumped to his feet.  The swing cut the boy high on the arm and he cried out in shock and pain.  The cut was deep and bleeding heavily, rendering the arm useless.  The boy went down on one knee, but Mave moved cautiously forward.  He would not be caught off-guard a second time by the boy’s cleverness.  When Mave came within a sword’s reach of him, the boy jumped forward into a diving roll and threw his second, remaining knife.  Mave anticipated the move and easily deflected the throw, shaking his head at the boy’s stupidity in throwing away his last means of defense.  As he turned to face Jeda, he realized his mistake.  He felt a blade slice through his trousers, burning and drawing a bright-crimson line along his leg.  Jeda had used the second throw to distract Mave from his true objective: the first blade that Mave had deflected.  The boy had used his diving roll to reach that first blade, left forgotten on the floor.  
How did he get that knife so quickly and throw it so precisely? Mave wondered, looking down at his bleeding leg.     
“Enough.  Blood has been drawn by Novice Jeda,” said the master’s voice from the balcony.  “He is elevated to the rank of apprentice.”
Mave studied Jeda with a smoldering anger.  He was a good fifteen feet away and was wobbling on his feet from loss of blood.  It didn’t seem possible that he could have thrown that knife in his condition.  Mave knew the boy must have somehow cheated. 
This is not over; no one makes a fool of me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book blurb:
 When elite assassin Jeda received his assignment to kill a witch and deliver her twin daughters to the Countess of Berkshire, he had no idea it would be his last. The witch stuns him with an elemental blast, but not before he's able to throw his knife. When Jeda regains consciousness, the dying witch is performing a compelling spell between him and her twin daughters .
 

Now bonded to the girls, Jeda's old life is forfeit. His only thought is to take the girls and run as far away as he can. He has no idea that the twins are the ones spoken of in the long-lost prophecy of The Witch Stone. Forces are gathering: the white witches want to teach them; the Countess wants her grandchildren back, and the guild has sent their best assassin to bring Jeda back, dead or alive.

Jeda must use all of his assassin skills to stay one step ahead of them all, but will it be enough to save himself and keep the children of prophecy alive?


Amazon link: