GUEST POST A Little Bit of Everything Lost – Stephanie Elliot

GUEST BLOGGER – Stephanie Elliot

The Idea for Writing A Little Bit of Everything Lost

When I first thought about writing A Little Bit of Everything Lost the idea was to write about a guy I dated in college. I had old journals filled from our time together. It had been an on-again, off-again situation. I wouldn’t even give the experience the title of ‘relationship.’ He wasn’t even a boyfriend, just someone who was around and someone I was infatuated with. He was the someone I wanted to write a story about.

When I dug into those journals a couple of decades later – thinking that there might be a story there – I discovered there wasn’t much to the story that had caused me such heartache when I was a sophomore in college. Of course, back then I thought my whole world lived and breathed that guy. Didn’t we all think that way about a guy or two when we were young and impressionable?

I guess that’s the story I wanted to tell. A story filled with longing and angst, and how it felt to want to live and breathe that one person you felt could clutch your heart and own you. That person who could say your name like no one else, look right into the depth of your soul and know exactly what you were thinking.

So I didn’t tell my story. Instead, I mixed up a few different scenarios, used the shell of some guys who I had experienced some things with, created some situations that might have caused a young Marnie to be devastated and then molded a story that I hope many woman can relate to.

And with grown-up Marnie, I wanted to let women know they don’t have to be super moms, and they don’t have to be perfect wives, and it’s okay to let go of the guilt from past or present mistakes. And that it’s definitely okay to think about a first love, because first love is an important part of everyone’s lives. And whether we know it or not, many times the actions of our pasts lead us to the perfections of our present lives.

Synopsis

At 19, Marnie plunged into first love with Joe, a guy who was completely wrong for her. Their romance was fast and exhilarating and like nothing Marnie had ever experienced or understood. Just as quickly as it began, it was over, with no explanation. He left her with unanswered questions and unexpected feelings of loss and regret, and a quiet grief she would carry with her for the next fifteen years.

When Joe returns, Marnie is a 34-year-old wife and mother to two rambunctious little boys, who is slowly healing from a devastating loss. All the emotions she suppressed from the past fifteen years surge to the surface, threatening to ruin her marriage and destroy her family. She’ll need to confront the one person who hurt her the most to realize that love and loss sometimes go hand in hand… and that you have to live with some of your toughest choices for the rest of your life.  A Little Bit of Everything Lost is part coming-of-age/part love story. It’s a story about a woman desperate to make peace with the past. It’s for all women who have ever experienced the magnitude of first love, whether it was a lasting bond or a fleeting moment. Because first love – while it might not have been the best love – is a love none of us ever forgets.

EXCERPT

Chapter Four – October 2004

“Who saw him?”

Collette was barely in the door when Marnie shot the question at her.

“What’d he look like? Was he with anyone? How long’s he in town?”

Marnie felt on the verge of a breakdown reoccurrence, and after what she’d been through the past summer, the reappearance of Joe was going to bring her to the edge.

She was so fragile, and Collette of all people had known her history, had been there when she had first met Joe, fifteen years ago, when he had stormed into her life, and created a whirlwind, changed her from being the person she might have been. And even though they had been together for just a short while, he had thrust himself upon her so abruptly and passionately, she hadn’t seen it coming. And just like that, he was gone.

Marnie’s face was flushed, she paced the room like a caged animal, plumped pillows, and wiped non-existent dust. She was a nervous wreck at the mere thought he could be back.

“So, where is he?” she asked again.

“Whoa, Marnie, how about, ‘Hey Collette, would you like some coffee?’”

“Sorry. Coffee?” And Collette followed Marnie into the kitchen where she poured one cup for Collette, cream and sugar, and one for herself, black.

“Thanks. So anyway, no one’s actually seen him yet. Fran’s mom ordered something from their family bakery last week and found out his grandmother’s turning ninety, and that the whole family’s coming into town for it. So, technically, I guess he’s not officially back yet. But he’s coming back. For the party.”

“His grandmother’s still alive? When’s the party?”

“I don’t know, around Thanksgiving maybe?”

Marnie sat with her head in her hands, the scent of coffee filling the room, steam wafting from their cups. Collette knew enough to wait quietly while Marnie let her thoughts form, the history of her past churning through her mind.

“What am I going to do?” Marnie said, more to herself than to Collette.

“What you’ve wanted to do all of these years, I suppose.” Collette said.

“I have to see him.”

Collette nodded.

“I have to tell him.”

AUTHOR BIO

Steph headshot 2014Stephanie Elliot is the author of A Little Bit of Everything Lost, What She Left Us, and the novella, The Cell Phone Lot. She is also a writer and editor and has written for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. In her spare time she edits manuscripts for other writers and proofs executive documents. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY The Boss Series – Abigail Barnette

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 THE BOSS SERIES – BLOG TOUR STOP

  • The BossTitle: The Boss
  • Author: Abigail Barnette
  • ISBN: 9781493625482
  • Series: The Boss Series (Book #1)
  • Published: July 15th 2013
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre: Erotic romance/BDSM
  • Word Count: 120,000
  • Source: Tour Operator

Sophie Scaife almost ran away once, trading her ticket to college for a ticket to Tokyo. But a delayed flight and a hot one-night stand with a stranger changed her mind, putting her firmly on track to a coveted position at a New York fashion magazine.

When the irresistible stranger from that one incredible night turns out to be her new boss – billionaire and publishing magnate Neil Elwood – Sophie can’t resist the chance to rekindle the spark between them… and the opportunity to explore her submissive side with the most Dominant man she’s ever known.

Neil is the only man who has ever understood Sophie’s need to submit in the bedroom, and the only man who has ever satisfied those desires. When their scorching, no-strings-attached sexual relationship becomes something more, Sophie must choose between her career and heart… or risk losing them both.

BOOK #2

  • the girlfriendTitle: The Girlfriend
  • Author: Abigail Barnette
  • ISBN: 9781492744115
  • Series: The Boss Series (Book #2)
  • Published:  August 17th 2013 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre: Erotic romance/BDSM
  • Word Count: 132,000
  • Source: Tour Operator

Unemployed, blacklisted, and pregnant, Sophie Scaife’s life is totally upside down. Her relationship with publishing magnate Neil Elwood is on the rocks. Her best friend’s career is igniting. And Sophie is afraid she’ll make one of the toughest decisions of her life alone…

When a devastating diagnosis forces Neil to return to London, Sophie throws caution to the wind to follow her heart across the Atlantic. Keeping a scorching D/s affair as red-hot in sickness as it was in health is a challenge, even for two lovers as inventive as Sophie and Neil. But Sophie is more than willing to try anything her Sir commands, and their fantasies of control become a welcome refuge from the daily stress of illness.

While Neil’s wealth and privilege make adjusting to her new situation easier, Sophie finds herself rebuilding her life around an uncertain future. And while both of them face the changes between them head-on, they’re all too aware that their happiness may be fleeting—and Sophie could lose Neil forever.

EXCERPT

How do you tell the guy who just tried to break up with you that you’re pregnant with his baby?

When the doors opened on his floor and I stepped into the softly lit vestibule, Neil was there already, waiting for me.

When I saw him, my stomach dropped like I was in the backseat of a minivan going over a bad hill. He was pale, he looked tired, and the smile he gave me was worried and forced.

But he was still Neil, so handsome and tall, with his in-between-blonde-and-brown hair and his gorgeous green eyes. My heart flip-flopped, like it always did, since that first moment we’d met at LAX over six years ago.

“Hello, Sophie.”

“Hey,” I responded in a short, friendly monotone as we moved into the inner foyer. His apartment, which I had just begun to feel comfortable in before our near-breakup or breakup-in-progress, whatever was happening between us, suddenly seemed like a stranger’s home. I’d had a difficult enough time getting used to the fact that my boyfriend lived in a Fifth Avenue palace with checkered marble floors and a freaking home movie theatre. Now I felt like I had to be on my very best behavior.

Neil helped me with my coat. “You look very pretty,” he said softly.

I hadn’t changed out of the crème-colored cowl-necked sweater and soft old jeans I’d worn to the doctor’s office. I didn’t feel particularly pretty, but I murmured a thank you all the same. I noted his salmon button down. “It’s not pink, it’s salmon,” he had argued with me a few weeks ago, before we’d tumbled playfully into his bed.

I blinked back my tears at the memory. “You’re not so bad yourself. Did you go to work today?”

“No, I was just so tired of hospital gowns. I needed to get dressed or end up deeply depressed.” His laugh was short.

I wanted to touch him. I wanted him to touch me. I just wanted everything to be okay between us.

He led me to the kitchen, where Sue had laid out our neatly plated dinners. “Halibut, I hope you don’t mind.”

“It smells amazing.” It actually smelled awful, but I didn’t hold that against his housekeeper. It was the uninvited guest in my uterus. It made everything smell ten times stronger than usual. I looked around the kitchen. The counters were scrubbed clean, the light was off over the stove. I slid into one side of the breakfast nook. “Sue’s gone for the night?”

“I didn’t ask her to stay on past seven.” He went around the wide, marble-topped island and reached into the cooler beneath, coming up with a bottle of white wine.

“None for me, thanks,” I said, too quick. He gave me a strange look, and put the bottle away.

That was weird. He usually liked wine with dinner.

Oh god, he was probably staying sober to let me down gently when he broke things off for good. The wine was for me, to drown my sorrows, if necessary.

I completely lost my appetite.

“So…” He sat down across from me and unfolded his napkin. “It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Any developments in the job hunt?”

I knew what he was asking me. “I didn’t take the job with Gabriella.”

He nodded, and poured ice water into my glass from the carafe on the table. “Were her terms—”

“You know why I turned it down.” My hands clenched in my lap. I was more angry than I thought I would be. I’d been preparing for this moment, steeling myself against hurt and disappointment so that I could walk away with dignity. Instead, my emotional control snapped like a rubber band and I accused, “How dare you.”

“Sorry?” He looked like a man staring through the windshield of a car that was nanoseconds from hitting him.

“You did it again. You pushed me into making this huge decision, but you acted like you were somehow protecting me. You did it when you stole my plane tickets six years ago. Now you tell me that I have to take this job because it’s a wonderful opportunity, and you magnanimously declare that you’ll let me go if you have to.

“You didn’t even ask me what I wanted. You didn’t tell me what you wanted. It’s like you don’t care about the outcome, you just don’t want to feel responsible for it.”

“Magnanimous?” he repeated, outraged.

My hands were clenched to fists beneath the table. If we were going to break up, then we might as well raze this fucker, salt the earth, and poison the ground water. “If you didn’t want to be with me… then just break up with me. Don’t force me to make the choice for you.”

He was struggling to control his temper as he said, measured and controlled, “I wanted you to slow down and think about what you were doing, and where we were headed. You keep pushing me away—”

“I keep pushing you away?” I snorted derisively. “When I got to the hospital the other night, I was so worried about you. Then, you basically break up with me and try to make it seem like it was for my own good. For four days, I felt like I couldn’t call you or see how you were doing, while you were in the fucking hospital. I had to get updates from Deja, and all of those were total bullshit. Exhaustion? You don’t get exhausted.”

“On the contrary, I was quite exhausted,” he said quietly.

I looked up, and I knew he could see how furious I was from the way he slightly flinched when our eyes met. Good.

I reached into my pocket and fished out the ultrasound image. I placed it face down on the table and slid it toward him. “I needed you. I called you eleven times because I was freaked out and scared about this. And I came down to the hospital afraid something really horrible had happened to you, and I was thinking about all the stuff I would miss about you if you died. And what the hell was I going to do about this?”

He lifted the photo and turned it over. It took a moment for him to register what it was. I saw a surprising mixture of emotions in his expression, things I didn’t expect. I’d been prepared for angry, or scared. Maybe cold, or strained and polite. Instead, his eyebrows lifted and he blinked in momentary shock. The slightest smile twitched at the corner of his lips. He looked pleased, maybe even a little proud.

I clasped my hands together under the table to stop myself from trembling. The longer he looked at the photo, the more the color drained from his face. There it was. That was more like what I had expected.

He looked up, throat moving as he swallowed. His eyes met mine, and a sick feeling of dread curdled my stomach. Whatever he was going to say, I knew it was going to be bad. But it was so much worse than I had expected.

“I have cancer.”

BOOK #3

  • The BrideTitle: The Bride
  • Author: Abigail Barnette
  • ISBN: 1497486173
  • Series: The Boss Series (Book #3)
  • Published: March 24th 2014
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre: Erotic romance/BDSM
  • Word Count: 140,000
  • Source: Tour Operator

After a tumultuous year, Sophie Scaife’s relationship with her boyfriend and Dom, billionaire media mogul Neil Elwood, is hotter and happier than ever. His sizzling Dominant side pushes Sophie to new and challenging heights of submission and erotic exploration as she follows her Sir’s every whim. But with his daughter’s impending wedding and a milestone birthday turning Neil’s thoughts toward settling down, Sophie faces a much different future than she’d planned.

Caught in a conflict between her new wealth and her desire for independence, Sophie fears she’s becoming just another Fifth Avenue trophy wife. With her fashion journalism career over and her new effort as a writer uninspiring, Sophie has to work harder than ever to prove her intentions to Neil’s family and friends.

Sophie isn’t the only one struggling to adapt to her new lifestyle. When private jets and designer labels threaten her bond with Holli, Sophie finds herself walking a fine line between the world she now inhabits and the past—and people—she fears she’s left behind. After a shocking revelation divides her loyalties, Sophie is in danger of losing her best friend or fracturing the trust of the man she loves.

REVIEW

You might mistake The Boss for just another FSOG copycat upon first impression, which would make you wrong. The Boss is what FSOG should have been. Why, you might ask and my answer would be simple because The Boss makes sense.

Though it shouldn’t be an issue and sadly so often is, The Boss series has obviously been edited and or written by someone with a solid understanding of the usage of the English language. Furthermore, Neil and Sophie’s incredible compatibility in the bedroom made their relationship believable in ways that FSOG never approached. If you remember after one spanking Ms Steele was running for the hills, which did not bode well for her future with someone who had their own personal playroom. Quite simply I felt that The Boss was more genuine than the majority of stories of its kind, the reader could appreciate the connection between these characters.

One night six years prior altered the course of Sophie Scaife’s life instead of following the path she had laid out for her, she took the plane ticket to New York that the mysterious Liam left after their passionate debauched night together. When the high profile magazine she works for is bought out she never imagined that she would meet up with the man she never forgot.

Despite her youth Sophie is not a pushover, she saves her submissiveness for the bedroom. Neil Liam Elwood has never forgotten Sophie either and despite his reservations is unable to resist her and soon the two are involved in a passionate affair that will change them irrevocably.

Jenny TroutAbigail Barnette is the erotic romance pseudonym of Jenny Trout, Y/A author, blogger, and funny person. Writing as Jennifer Armintrout, she made the USA Today bestseller list with Blood Ties Book One: The Turning. Her novel American Vampire was named one of the top ten horror novels of 2011 by Booklist Magazine Online. She is a proud Michigander, mother of two, and wife to the only person alive capable of spending extended periods of time with her without wanting to kill her.

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GIVEAWAY

  • One set of signed paperbacks of THE BOSS, THE GIRLFRIEND, and THE BRIDE open to International readers
  • Two Screaming O ™ lipstick vibe as featured in THE BOSS, with one signed paperback copy of THE BOSS US Only
  • Five e-book copies of THE BRIDE

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Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.

RELEASE DAY SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY – UNSEEN (The Heights V.#1) – Lauren Stewart

NOW AVAILABLE

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Book Description

An impossible love as divided as the world around them.

After Addison finds a nearly-dusted vampire in the garbage outside her building, her ability to stay off the supernatural world’s radar is deader than the vamp. Almost as dead as she’ll be if anyone thinks she put him there. Should she finish the job somebody else screwed up or move him somewhere humans won’t find him? To keep the Heights hidden, she may have shoved a stake into her own chest. Just when she thinks her life couldn’t possibly get any more dangerous, she finds out who he is.

As vampire king and Prime to all supernatural beings in the North American zone, Rhyse is accustomed to getting what he wants without asking. But he neither wanted nor asked to be wounded in an ambush, waking up chained to a bed with a hole in his chest. Unfortunately, he needs help to discover who tried to kill him. But worse than that, his only ally is his captor, someone unaware she has the power to destroy their entire world.

As a prophesied war brews in the Heights, Addison and Rhyse must decide which carries more risk—trusting someone who could destroy you or trusting someone who could love you?

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  • Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00037]Title: Unseen 
  • Author: Lauren Stewart
  • ISBN: 9780988170193
  • Series: The Heights (Volume #1)
  • Published: May 29, 2014 by Off the Hook Publishing
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
  • Word Count: 100,000
  • Source: Publisher

EXCERPT

Addison backed up until she hit the counter. It was over. It had been over ever since those chains came off. Ever since she brought him into her apartment. Into her life.

“I saved you. I could’ve left you outside until the sun came up.”

“I imagine you wish you had.”

“Can you…can you not kill me? Just take some, but not all?”

Rhyse brushed her hair behind her shoulder and curled his fingers around the nape of her neck, whispering, “Do you trust me that much?”

“I don’t even trust you a little.” She felt the sting of tears. “I don’t want to be turned. If you drain me, let me die.”

He ran his other hand up her shoulder, to her throat and slowly closed his fingers around it. One move and her neck would break. “To drain you I would have to drink from you. And that, my pet, I will not do.”

She didn’t know what he meant but now seemed like a bad time to argue.

“Did you know what you are? How many of you exist?”

She didn’t answer. Partially because speaking required the air he was cutting off. Then his hands were gone, just like the rest of him.

Was it over?

When one of the women behind the counter moaned, Addison went to make sure they were all right.

Rhyse was on top of one of them, his fangs obviously burrowed in her neck. The woman moaned again, her legs wrapping around him. One hand clutched his shoulder and the other slapped the wall, searching for a hold.

It had to have been shock that made it impossible to look away. Or run away. The woman’s moans got louder, then crested, and her body went limp. Not in a dead way, but in an I-just-had-the-best-orgasm-of-my-life way.

Get out of here.

“Leave and they will die.” His voice stopped her after only two steps. “Stay and they will wake up from a very pleasant, very erotic dream.”

She ground her teeth when she heard another moan. He must have moved on to the other woman. With two to feed from, there was less of a chance he would drain them, but… “Why should I trust you?”

The woman’s moans stopped and she whined, “No.”

“I do not care if you trust me,” he said. “Only that you obey me.”

“Fuck you.” But she didn’t move. “Are they alive?”

“Of course. It is against the law to kill humans.”

“Then let me go.”

“You are not human, Addison.” His voice came from just over her shoulder.

“I am. I promise. Totally human.” Somehow he’d missed the fact that seers were human, despite her telling him at least five times.

She heard the shuffling of fabric and looked down to see him wrapping his already-bloody shirt around the arm she’d cut. He tied a knot with the sleeves and pulled it tight. There was no part of this that she understood.

She sucked in a breath when he put his hands on her hipbones. Then another as they slid to her belly and down, pressing her back into him. She felt his heat and a vibration on her back as he made a sound similar to a cat’s purr but scarier. Clenching her eyes shut, she waited for death.

“You should thank them.” His voice was all sex. Dangerous, risky, awesome sex. “They just saved your life.”

They did? “Thank you,” she called out with a shaking voice. “Now that your belly’s full, how about you back off a little?”

“I should kill you, Addison.”

“I’m going to have to disagree with you about that.”

After a moment he stepped away, sighing as if he just made a really tough decision and wasn’t sure it was the right one.

“So,” she said, heading for the door, “it seems like you’re feeling better which is great. I’m really happy for you. Since you don’t need me anymore, I’m gonna go now. I’ll see you around.”

“Come to me, Addison.” His eyes were back to their original inhumanly beautiful colour. Though he didn’t quite look calm, he looked satisfied.

“No.”

“Come to me or I will snap your neck.”

“Okay.”

“If you had simply brought a human to me, this all could have been avoided.”

“I was just thinking the same thing.” Total lie—she wasn’t thinking a god-damn thing besides, “Shiiiiit!”

“You and I have things to discuss, and a few memories to alter along the way back to your home.”

Damn it on many counts. “Alter or wipe?”

“Alter, of course. Although my strength has returned, wiping that many minds would still be highly taxing. I prefer to save my power for other activities.”

Like…? Nah, she didn’t want to know.

He opened the door and gestured for her to go first. Which he’d probably never done before. Minions opened doors for him and she doubted chivalry ranked high on his list of valuable traits. But she went because when you gotta go, you gotta go.

“Did you know?” he asked.

What was it with that question? “Know what? That your victims come while you feed? Yeah, I heard it happens occasionally.”

“Always. They always come while I feed. If it were possible, I would show you.”

“I just heard more proof than I wanted to, thanks.”

“I have no doubt that it would be far more enjoyable to feel you come than to hear her do it.”

GIVEAWAY

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Lauren StewartLauren Stewart lives in Northern California with two of the most amazing children that the world has ever seen. She reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you’ll find elements of other genres–fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women’s literature, all with a touch of humour because what doesn’t kill us should make us laugh.

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Penelope’s Ghost – Goldie Alexander SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY

Haunting. Haunted. Redeemed.

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Book Description: When Lisa Harbinger takes a job as nanny to a prestigious Australian family, she gets more than she bargained for: two spoilt children, vengeful ghosts, a long-unsolved mystery and a blazing passion she and her enigmatic boss are unable to deny.

  • Penelope's Ghost_cover (1)Title: Penelope’s Ghost
  • Author: Goldie Alexander
  • ISBN: 9781941260142
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: April 9, 2014 by Boroughs Publishing Group
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre/s: Paranormal/Romantic Suspense/Contemporary
  • Word Count: 83,560
  • Source: Publisher

EXCERPT

No sign of Richard that night, which meant another filled with disappointment and heartache. I was feeling utterly sorry for myself until at breakfast Shirley happened to mention that he’d driven to the city to overnight in the East Melbourne house. Then he planned to bring Dana back to Rangoon. Only then I remembered him telling me how this would happen, though he never said exactly when. Much as part of me hated the idea of his being so nice to his ex—and I knew this was totally unfair as Simon was still nice to me—I was curious to meet her. Still, I was astonished and a little appalled when a message came from Eleanor inviting me to dinner that night. Surely Dana would need at least one evening to settle in without having to meet a stranger?

Then I went into a spasm of paranoia. Did this invitation mean Richard and Dana were announcing their reconciliation to the world? I almost managed to tell myself that Richard owed me some explanation, that our meetings weren’t just casual flings and that he should have warned this was about to happen.

What about Tamsin? Where did she fit in? I was so distraught, so sick with apprehension I found it almost too hard breathe—and from then to bathe the kids, put them to bed, and read them a story. Willow, always quick to pick up on my moods, kept asking, “Nanny have you got a sore head?”

I gathered Anna used this excuse for when life wasn’t going her way.

I thought about sending Eleanor my apologies. Then decided against it. It would only make her suggest another night. Better get it over and done with. When I did get to the sitting room in time for pre-dinner drinks, I was the last to turn up, and Dana was already nursing a long glass filled with what looked like soft drink.

goldieGoldie Alexander has published over 75 books plus many prize winning short stories and articles. For children she is best known for, “My Australian Story: Surviving Sydney Cove”, now in its 10th edition. Amongst recent work are three collections of short stories: ‘Killer Virus’, ‘My Horrible Cousins’ and ‘Space Footy”.

Her latest novels for Young Adult include ‘The Youngest Cameleer’, ‘In Hades’ a verse novel, and ‘That Stranger next Door’. For middle grade readers: ‘eSide: A Journey into Cyberspace’. ‘ Cybertrix: 2043, and ‘Neptunia’, and the Junior novel ‘Gallipoli Medals’. She has authored the how-to-write ‘Mentoring Your Memoir’, facilitates creative writing workshops and mentors emerging authors.

Penelope’s Ghost is Goldie’s first, but far from last, Romance novel.

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GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive a 10-book subscription to the Lunchbox Romance line.
The ten-book subscription will provide the winner with a new Lunchbox Romance every two weeks. Lunchbox Romances are “delicious short Romances consumable during the lunch hour.”

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RELEASE DAY SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY Losing Control (Kerr Chronicles #1) – Jen Frederick

Bestselling author Jen Frederick is offering readers a free digital serial romance via her newsletter starting on Tuesday, May 27th. To celebrate the release of Losing Control, Kerr Chronicles #1, Jen is holding a Rafflecopter giveaway for a Kindle Fire e-reader loaded with her entire backlist. Here is the link to receive Jen’s newsletter and her free digital serial romance http://bit.ly/TCLAaA.

NOW AVAILABLE

  • LosingControlCoverTitle: Losing Control
  • Author: Jen Frederick
  • ISBN: 9780991426744
  • Series: Kerr Chronicles #1
  • Published:  June 16th 2014 by Pear Tree LLC
  • Format: ebook, 280 pages
  • Genre: New Adult
  • Source: Publisher

SUMMARY 

I’d do anything to keep my mother alive.

Anything, including ask Ian Kerr for help. I don’t know much about him, except that he has more money than some small countries. And he’s willing to spend it on me. Just one catch: there’s a string attached, and not just the one I feel pulling me into his arms and his bed. There’s also the plan for revenge he wants my help with.

Every time he says my name, it makes my body shiver and my heart stutter. I know he’s going to wreck me, know there won’t be anything left of me but lust and sensation by the time he’s done with me, but even though I can see the heartbreak coming towards me like a train, ready to crash into me, I can’t get out of the way. I want what he makes me feel. Want what he’s offering.

This may have started out as something to save my mother, but now…now it’s about what he makes me feel. I’m in danger of losing everything that’s important. Worse? Ian’s whispered words and hot caresses are making me believe that’s okay.

LosingControlTeaser3

EXCERPT

“Bad morning?”

The question comes from a rich deep voice to my right. Some stupid actor, probably. The notes of his voice are perfectly modulated as if he spent years perfecting the tone and depth to reach the biggest audience.

“Yeah, what’s it to you?” I challenge because I’m not in the mood to be chatted up by some wannabe in an off, off Broadway production who wants to try out some new lines on a messenger girl.

My sneering gaze melts right off my face when it lands on the owner of the voice. Dark haired and dark eyed, the stranger gives me a slow smile as I take him in. He’s tall, much taller than my five foot four inch frame. I have to trek upward to see the entire package.

And there’s so much to appreciate from his trim waist to the wide shoulders encased in a gray wool suit coat that fits him so well I wonder if he was sewn into it. Tiny stitches on the lapel mark it’s expensive provenance. A dark tanned neck gives way to a firm chin and lush lips.

Bee stung is the description that I’ve heard used to describe the same look on super models. Those lips are about the only soft thing on his face. Those lips and a hollow on the side of his face that appears when those plush lips curve upward. The divot is too shallow and wide to be termed a dimple, but it’s just as devastating.

One hand is stuck in a pocket and his jacket is pushed behind the hand to reveal a flat stomach. No desk paunch on this guy. There’s an intense sexual aura about him. The nonchalant stance, the dark gaze, the lush lips are all an invitation to rip the buttons of his snowy white shirt apart and see exactly what lies underneath all of those fabrics.

I stick a thumb under my jaw under the guise of giving my chin a scratch just to make sure my mouth is closed. This guy? He can practice lines with me all he wants.

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Bestselling author Jen Frederick lives with her husband, child, and one rambunctious dog. She’s been reading stories all her life but never imagined writing one of her own. Jen loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at jensfrederick@gmail.com.

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The Year of Blogging Dangerously – Beta Reading, Ranting and Reviewing

On this date in 2013, an innocuous blog was created Penny Dreadful Book Reviews. At the time, a fact that was significant probably only to a handful of people, if that, hopefully there are more of you now. A few days after I wrote my first post I clearly remember casually mentioning to my husband that I had started a blog and he asked me how many followers I had when I told him proudly that there were four. He laughed and then proceeded to list my three closest friends. He was right but missed my childhood neighbor albeit that was a curve-ball after all since they had never met. In retrospect it might sound more auspicious if I said I lost a bet or something, but truly the reason I started this blog seemed arbitrary at the time.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, however aren’t we all guilty of this particular crime? I have been taken in countless times by gorgeous covers and then found the substance within sorely lacking. Typically I chalk it up to “you win some, you lose some,” today being the first anniversary of my blog’s creation I was reflecting on how I came to start it in the first place. Somewhat ironically it was a case of as Wiki states prejudging the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone that led me to this place.

Throughout my teens and even into my early twenties I entertained dreams of becoming a writer when I “grew up”,

I know, I know. Who didn’t?

But I was the one in English class who was regularly told that I was one of the best (in more than one school I might add) and as I write that sentence it occurred to me that that was out of thirty some odd students and that I may not have been truly very special at all! Give me a moment …that is a hard pill to swallow. Regardless, I have taken writing courses and know my way around a sentence BUT I later realized to my chagrin that I really had no stories to tell still don’t. Like Cartman, I maturely decided to go home, I was content to quietly lose myself in the work of others or so I thought.

I can be standoffish, to be honest I am not sure why. Unlike most babies perhaps I just never got past the “stranger danger” stage, however once I have finished eyeing you mistrustfully and decided that you pose no real threat good luck shutting me up. I met Auralee Wallace at work, against my will, I would like to state for the record. A friend, who completely unlike myself never met a stranger, was having a long drawn out conversation with her while I lurked in the background wondering when we could return to our regularly scheduled programming. Then the unthinkable happened she transferred into our department, I should preface this somewhat so you don’t think I am a complete bitch. Auralee is one of those elegantly beautiful blondes, and my past dealings with the beautiful people had left me with a healthy mistrust of their ilk. But as I am sure you have already guessed, she was the exception to the rule, a blonde who was not only gorgeous but smart too. Admit it you would have hated her as well! Worst of all she’s nice and despite my best efforts I grew to adore her.

During the decade and a half that I have known her, she completed her masters, taught college English and has written four manuscripts. Quite without realizing it I have been beta reading for a number of years and unofficially reviewing for longer. We have had some very satisfying discourse on the implications of geriatric pregnancies on Bold & the Beautiful, my love hate relationship with New Adult literature and the strange appeal of erotica just to name a few. In between these often bizarre discussions she would cleverly dole out Sidekick in bite sized pieces wanting to know what I thought. I would gobble up these offerings demanding more and tactfully sometimes more so than others, pointing out things that I liked and very carefully, authors are SENSITIVE, things that I didn’t.

She, unlike myself was not content to take her toys and return to more hospitable climbs that are not littered with rejections from agents and as of this time last year she “was”, take note that is significant, was unpublished and having heard just about all that I ever wanted to on the subject. I decided the solution was ridiculously easy.

  1. Start a blog
  2. Get noticed
  3. Share my opinion on what I read in the meantime
  4. And get her published already duh!

Well perhaps promoting Sidekick was not my sole focus but it was definitely a motivating factor. I am a fixer at heart after all, and though I may have an inflated sense of my own self worth I would like to think I helped somewhat. At the time Auralee assured me if her seventy three year old father could manage a blog that I could. It was significantly more difficult than anticipated but I completed my first post shortly thereafter (read a few frustrating Friday nights later), a short 4-Star review of Tracey Garvis GravesOn the Island was the result, the rights of which have been sold to MGM for a screen adaptation. Now there is a movie I will look forward to.

Before I knew it, it was almost as if the blog became its own entity complete with Facebook and Twitter pages both of which I largely eschew in my personal life. I quickly learned that I was a tiny minnow (possibly only plankton) in a vast ocean and that the day I posted for the first time was not as ground breaking for everyone as it was for me. However times change and while I am no Great White as yet in the vast book sea that I have declared my home, I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and the chance to pick their brains about their amazing stories. I have read some brilliant work that I would never have gotten the opportunity to read and for that I must be thankful that Auralee came up with such a ingenious suggestion. Best of all the wise people at Escape Publishing saw what I smugly identified years ago and are releasing Sidekick June 1st for you all to enjoy.

sidekick_final-2

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

 

The Here and Now – Ann Brashares

  • TheHereandNowTitle: The Here and Now
  • Author: Ann Brashares
  • ISBN: 0385736800 (ISBN13: 9780385736800)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: April 8th 2014 by Delacorte Press
  • Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
  • Genre: YA/Sci-fi
  • Source: Publisher
  • Rating: C+

Though perhaps not as malevolent sounding as Schwarzenegger’s iconic line “I’ll be back” from this little known James Cameron film The Terminator, said ironically, because truly, has anyone not seen the 1984 cult classic or the any of the three soon to be four film sequels not to mention the television series with a second in pre-production?  

Terminator1984movieposterWhile reading The Here and Now I was strongly reminded of Kyle Reese’s demand to Sarah Connor “come with me, if you want to live.” This badass yet strangely romantic movie contributed to my life long love of time travel story lines which in turn fuelled my insatiable appetite for science-fiction, specifically sci-fi/romance. Truly how could anyone raised on Doctor Who not love time travel stories? Throw in a reading or two of Daphne DuMaurier’s The House on the Strand, Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book and of course Outlander (but that is a story for another day) and my fate was sealed. Obviously, I was quite predisposed to like Ann Brashares YA The Here and Now.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

While Prenna did not travel back in time to fall in love, by Murphy’s Law that is precisely what she did. Note: Murphy’s law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. The Here and Now started off strongly with a captivating opening scene. Clearly, newly arrived from the future Prenna, naked and confused comes upon Ethan fishing alone on the riverbank, see the Terminator parallel anyone? Not quite as compelling as Arnold with all of his glorious muscles but considering I am not a teenage boy…

Being a gentleman Ethan gives her his sweatshirt and she disappears to be seen again until she turns up in his English class with no memory of their previous meeting. Not surprisingly Ethan has not forgotten and wonders why she doesn’t remember him but I guess it isn’t the type of thing one brings up in idle conversation. “Hey, did you write down the assignment? And by the way do you remember me? I was the guy who gave you the shirt off his back.” No? Guess not.

Unfortunately, that was about the extent of the intrigue for me, all the right things seemed to happen, the council elders begin to focus on Prenna, members of her tight knit community who act against established rules begin disappearing yet I found that the story was easy to put down and walk away from.

Both Prenna and Ethan were likeable characters and the plot in and of itself was interesting there just seemed to be some vital spark missing that made the reader care about the outcome of their plight. Ultimately I felt that The Here and Now was somewhat clinical in its approach despite the presence of all the required components to make a great story, the feeling or passion was missing, which was a disappointment. Despite this I will check out another compelling sounding work, My Name is Memory a previous work by Brashares before I make up my mind completely.  

authorAnn Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series,3 WillowsThe Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her husband and their four children.

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.