Monthly Archives: May 2013

ANTHOLOGY TAKING SUBMISSIONS!


 Stalkers

A Collection of Thriller Stories

stalkers3

This anthology will have a main theme of Stalkers. That is about where my direction stops. It does not have to be paranormal, though it can be. The story can be a psychological thriller, horror, paranormal, suspense, action…whatever you want it to be. You can have a demon stalking someone in their dreams or a serial killer stalking prey, just to give you a couple examples. Whatever your twisted minds can come up with. I want stories that have you looking in the backseat of your car before you get in—stories that make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you think someone looked at you just a little too long.  Let your imaginations flow free and DELVE into the DARKER side of your mind…You know you want to.

This is an adult anthology but please…NO SEXUALLY DISTURBING scenes.

There will be more guidelines for submissions this time around. This is the 3rd anthology and we are learning as we go. Please CAREFULLY look them over and make sure that your story is formatted according to the specifications. Stories submitted that do not follow the guidelines will not be considered for the anthology.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  1. The word count for stories must be AT LEAST 5,000 words but CANNOT EXCEED 12,000 words.
  2. Microsoft Word document is preferable over all other file types with the following specifications:
    1. Font: 12 pt Times New Roman
    2. Line Spacing: DOUBLE SPACE
    3. Paragraph indentations: 0.5” (page layout > first line indent) *DO NOT USE TABS*
    4. Margins: Normal margin settings (click on page layout > margins > normal)
    5. Contest runs from June 1 – August 1.  All entries must be turned in on or before August 1st.  NO EXCEPTIONS.
    6. You must sign a contract if you are chosen to be in the anthology. (If you are under 18, a parent or guardian must be willing to sign the contract.  Your parents will also need to be aware this anthology may contain adult content.)
    7. You must be a fan of http://www.facebook.com/cynthiashepp because that is where all the contest details and announcements will take place.
    8. There is no monetary compensation. The winners receive a paperback, pdf, and a mobi, plus lots of great exposure!

SEND ALL SUBMISSIONS TO  cynthiashepp@yahoo.com with the following information:

  • Subject: STALKERS
  • Your story attached using the guidelines above
  • A brief bio up to 100 words
  • A brief dedication up to 50 words
  • Two social links you wish to share (example: website/blog and Facebook links)
  • One of your published books (if you have one) you wish to link to on Amazon

HAVE FUN & BE CREATIVE!

Agents of the Crown Blog Tour


Agents of the Crown Series tour banner

 

 

  Elizabeth A. Lance

 

Author Bio:

author

 

Elizabeth A. Lance lives with her husband, Brandon, their two teens, lovingly nicknamed Princess and The Boy, and a menagerie of crazy animals. She is the author of  several short stories, the Young Adult series, Soul Mates as well as the Agents for the Crown, Regency series with Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing. She loves to hear from her fans and can be reached a http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethAnneLance

 

 

      

 

Book 1: Courting Danger, Agents for the Crown

COURTING DANGER

 

Ellen Montgomery wants nothing more than to live her life on her terms. However when her Father catches her riding his favorite stallion astride and in her brothers breeches no less, he decides to send Ellen to Paris for some much needed polish before the London Season. Ellen is soon fascinated with the Lords she meets, but only one makes her blood burn in more ways than one!

 

Christopher Fairfax, the new Earl of Durham has sworn off women, they are nothing but trouble. But he soon finds himself intrigued by his best friend’s younger sister, a wild little hellion who won’t listen to reason and won’t stay out of his head.

 

Ellen and Christopher both find themselves courting danger when they find a common enemy in Lord Darby, a ruthless man wanted by the crown for murder. A man determined to gain Ellen’s hand and therefore her fortune in marriage by any means necessary. Ellen and Christopher must work together to stop him before it’s too late.

 

 

  Book 2: Artifice, Agents for the Crown

ARTIFICE

 

David Alexander Cole, the Earl of Whitborne is tired of his life as an agent, but when he meets an enchanting young miss with an unusual request he finds he cannot help but be intrigued.  Miss Joanna Deville enters his life like a whirlwind and he finds himself hard pressed not to help her in her quest for love, but soon finds himself entangled in a love triangle. The game is one of deception, make a certain gentleman jealous, and catch a jewel thief in the process, but it goes awry when he finds himself falling in love with Joanna’s devastatingly beautiful best friend, Miss Arianna Channing.  What’s a spy to do when confronted with such Artifice…

            Arianna Channing has always been the belle of the ball. Her entourage includes all of the most eligible gentlemen, and she enjoys the power her beauty has over them, but there is one… One delectable rake with the power to make her feel something more, something real and true, but he’s embroiled in a charade of love with her best friend. How can she ever convince the rakishly handsome Lord Whitborne to quit his deception and join her in a true romance…

                “Very well, my dear, you have yourself a bargain.  As soon as we reach London, I shall become your Flirt.  Though, I may ask for a favor in return later,” Alex replied, with a wicked grin.

 

 Book 3: Charade, Agents for the Crown

CHARADE

 

Jessica Farrington fell in love with Lord Ashley Sinclair the moment they were reacquainted. She only wishes that he actually felt the same desire for her, as she does for him.  Jessica soon finds that she must leave London when a letter arrives informing her of her father’s assassination attempt in Vienna.  Her best friends join her on her journey and she realizes that Ashley will be along as well. She is secretly thrilled, for it will afford her more time in his company.

Enter Lord Knight, a handsome and romantic masked Romeo, who takes Jessica’s breath away. His late night visits to her balcony, and his stolen kisses have Jessica’s heart soaring.  His dancing grey eyes and wicked smile remind her so much of her love, but are her suspicions of her amorous Romeo correct?

Join Jessica and her friends as they travel to Vienna to unmask an assassin and find her heart’s desire.

EXCERPT FROM COURTING DANGER

 

Ellen joined her aunt in the front hall and they walked out to their waiting carriage together.

“Will Mr. Fairfax and Jonathon be joining us this evening?”

“I fear not my dear. He and your brother have both deserted us for the gaming clubs I believe.”

Ellen was disappointed to find that he would not be joining them in their box at the Opera that evening. Ever since she had realized her true feelings for him earlier that morning, she had hoped to run into him and start repairing their relationship. “Oh. I see.”

“I am sure that we shall have a fine time without them my dear. Countess Olivia and Lord Sinclair are sure to join us.”

Ellen glanced down the street as she climbed aboard the carriage. She noticed an unfamiliar equipage parked down the block, but in the streetlight, she could not make out the crest. Something about it disturbed her, however she was unsure what. “Aunt Kate, do you know whose carriage that is?”

Kate glanced in the direction Ellen had indicated and studied the crest upon the door. “Why, if I am not mistaken, I believe that those are the Duke of Avebury’s colors, though I cannot be sure, my dear.”

Feeling worried, Ellen frowned, for the Duke lived on the opposite side of Paris. “What could he possibly be doing over here?”

“I would not worry about it, love, for if it is he, he shan’t bother us.”

They rode to the south of the city where the opera house was located. Jean opened the carriage door and helped them to descend. They entered the exquisitely decorated building and made their way through the throng of patrons to their box on the second floor. Ellen sat down in one of the front seats so that she might take everything in, and looked around in excitement. The stage, hidden by gold brocade curtains, would be easy to see from their seats. She glanced up with delight at the gorgeous tapestries hanging upon the walls. Everything looked so inviting.

Picking up her opera glasses, Ellen gazed about the room, waiting for the Opera to start. Her eyes caught on the box directly across from her and she gasped.

Christopher sat across from the Well’s box with a stunning raven-haired courtesan. At least that is what Ellen suspected her to be. The woman wore a dangerously low cut gown of ruby red silk. She had a positively gaudy diamond necklace around her throat and the seductive way she leaned into Christopher made Ellen sick with jealousy.

She felt as if she had been slapped. “How dare he!” Positive that her cheeks were as red as the Cyprian’s gown, Ellen covered them, willing herself to be calm. She turned at once to Lord Sinclair, who had just entered the box. “Lord Sinclair, how lovely it is to see you. Will you be joining us for the entire performance, Milord?”

Sinclair smiled. “If you wish, my dear Miss Montgomery, it would be my pleasure. I had hoped to be invited to sit with you for a while.” He took the seat next to her.

Ellen turned her fiery gaze back to Christopher. If he thinks I am going to behave the proper lady with him sitting with a harlot, then he has another think coming. She leaned in closer to Lord Sinclair with determination and her most charming smile. “Have you seen this opera, Milord?”

“I am afraid not, however I am told that it is quite delightful,” he answered, a roguish grin lighting his face. “You do look very lovely this evening Miss Montgomery.”

“La Sir! You will put me to the blush!” she exclaimed as she tapped him playfully with her fan, her eyes twinkling with naughtiness.

“So what has put you into such high spirits this evening?” he asked.

“Why, it is your company, of course, my Lord,” she answered with an amused smile.

“I could not possibly take all of the credit for your mood. Perhaps it is the…atmosphere.”   Sinclair arched an eyebrow and cast a look across the room with a smile.

“A lady would never admit to that, Milord.”  Ellen brushed her fan against her left cheek and felt her cheeks heat at his look.

 

Buy Links

 

Courting Danger

Artifice

Charade

AUTHOR LINKS

Author Page 

 

Facebook page

 

Author Facebook Page

 

Author blog

 

Goodreads

 

Twitter: @ElizabethALance

 

 

FATAL BLOG TOUR & REVIEW


Final Blog Poster

FATAL SYNOPSIS

Zombies eat brains: wrong.

Zombies are mindless and unthinking: nope.

Zombies are rotting bags of flesh: not necessarily.

Zombies kill humans: never… well, there is that one exception.

Grayson Patch hasn’t been human since he was seventeen years old… and that was nineteen years ago. When he rose from the dead that night, a Zombie, he had no memory of his former life, a craving for raw flesh, and only one purpose: to find a cure. He wishes only to be human again and he is promised that it is possible. But first he must find the human that can help him before he begins to decompose… and trade her life for his. As he learns more about her, he just doesn’t know if he can do it. Can he? When the cost of being human again is to become a monster?

Cori Abbot isn’t scared of Grayson. Not when there are a million other things for her to worry about. Like being the new girl in a school that is a fraction the size of her old one. Or making new friends while battling her antisocial tendencies. And then there’s the big one: dealing with the recent and sudden death of her father. Yeah, there are bigger problems than the strange, withdrawn, and consistently angry guy who seems to hate her for no apparent reason. Imagine how surprised she is to realize that the ever hostile Grayson might actually be the one who understands her the best.

Fatal 

MY REVIEW

This book was a totally new take on zombies and I loved it! I read it in a day (well, there was some under the covers with my kindle, barely keeping my eyes open reading going on). It was just that good though. The characters grabbed you from the first page and you are hooked. I liked that Cori and Grayson weren’t all sunshine and roses. Cori is upset over her father’s death and at a new school to boot. Grayson is a very unhappy Zombie that ignores everyone and lives in his own miserable bubble. Watching their romance unfold and watching the patience and love in which it does, was awesome. Don’t think it is all romance though… there is plenty of action and lots of interesting tidbits about Zombies and how they manage to live among us. Throw in a cast of awesome sidekick friends, a reaper, and a whole lot of lies that change everything… and you have the making of a great book. I don’t want to say too much because I do not want to spoil it! I am very impatiently waiting for the next book in the series. I urge you to run buy it while it is only $0.99! I give this 5 stars.

 

AUTHOR BIO

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T.A. Brock lives in Oklahoma, where Zombies do not thrive. When not immersed in the world of fantasy writing, she enjoys spending time with her big girl, baby boy, and hubs. Some of her favorite things are coffee (specifically with cream, sugar, and chocolate), music (especially something with a good beat), books (especially paranormal), and Tennis. She despises raw meat and therefore is exceedingly glad she’s human.

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/TA-Brock/116595218525559?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TA_Brock

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982826.T_A_Brock

Blog: http://ta-brock.blogspot.com/

ON SALE FOR $0.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME!

BUY LINK: 

Fatal

FATAL BY T.A. BROCK (KINDLE)

Excerpt & Giveaway from Mother’s Curse (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)


Please enjoy this excerpt from the exciting and beautifully written YA fantasy, Mother’s Curse, by Thaddeus Nowak. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

Feeling slightly better for having a bit of light to keep with her, she continued down the street, occasionally looking through a window to see the remains of a room. After the third storefront she passed, she wondered at the reason all of the furniture and even drapes, carpets, and accessories had been left behind. Even in the desperate flight from Antar, people were still taking their belongings. They removed their drapes, even ones far less decorative then what Stephenie suspected were here. Why would everyone desert a city and yet leave almost everything behind as if they were simply going across town to visit a friend? She was hesitant to consider an answer. This city had been deserted and abandoned for a long time. Antar castle and city above had been there for as long as memory could recall and the original castle even before then. Had any of those above known about a city deep in the rocks under their feet, there would have been stories.

Stephenie used her stolen crystal to look into a shop that reminded her of a bakery, with a large oven in the back wall and the remains of shelves still partially attached to a side wall. The sparkle of something shiny and shaped like a pendant caught her eye. Looking closer at a mass on the floor, she paused and then stepped quickly away from the window as a shiver of fear rolled down her spine.

She closed her eyes, but the unmistakable image of a human skull laying on the floor would not leave her sight. She shivered again and looked up and down the street. Perhaps they didn’t leave.

Mustering her courage, Stephenie slowly approached the window again. She forced herself to look at the mass on the floor. Wiping away some of the dirt on the window, she could make out the arms and runners of a rocking chair mixed with what was likely clothing and the decayed bones of the person who’s head had rolled several feet away after the chair had collapsed. Bits of hair and desiccated skin clung to the skull, which was fortunately staring away from the window. The person died sitting in a chair and no one came to remove or bury the body?

Stephenie sniffed the air and thought about the strange odor she had been noticing since she had entered the city. It was a musty sweet smell. “Is this a plague city?” She felt her throat tightening with each breath and again quickly retreated from the window. She turned toward the way she had entered the city, ready to run back to the large doors and flee, but the dryness of her throat and the sound of water stopped her. If this is a plague city, then I am as good as dead and I might as well die after I’ve had something to drink.

Slowly, she turned around and continued down the street, no longer bothering to look into the store fronts. The rot and death they held did not interest her anymore.

She passed several side streets, but continued following the slowly turning main street because the sound of water was getting louder in the direction it was heading. After a short time, the street opened into another large plaza at least a hundred feet in diameter. Several streets exited the round plaza, but at the very center, lit with several points of glowing light was a fountain. Its water pushed up from a center mound and cascaded down several stone statues into a series of white marble bowls. The fountain was a dozen feet high and thirty feet across.

Drawn by thirst, Stephenie quickly reached the edge of the fountain and could feel a cool mist splashing over her. Knowing she would die slowly and painfully from whatever disease had killed the residents of this city, she did not care if the water was poison as long as it tasted fresh. Taking a small sip, she tested the flavor and found it cleaner than what she was used to in the castle. Scooping up more water with her hands, she drank deeply before noticing how dirty her hands had become. After quickly rubbing away the dirt, she moved a couple feet away and continued to drink until her stomach felt full.

Relieved of her thirst, she sat down next to the fountain and buried her face in her wet hands. She sobbed with frustration and relief in one confused wail. While she would not die of thirst, how was she going to get out and warn her father and Joshua about her mother’s betrayal? She cradled her cut arm in her lap and leaned back with her eyes closed. I’ve got light and some water, but what good would warning everyone do if I bring a plague to them? She shook her head. Damn it, why do the gods hate me so? Fundamentally, she knew her tie with Elrin, even if a result of her mother’s doing, was her real damnation. She could not bring herself to worship the demon god and she dared not seek out the other gods for fear the priests would sense her connection to Elrin.

Opening her eyes, she stared at her foot prints along the cobbled street. A lone trail to remind her that she had to do whatever it was she was going to do on her own. There was no one to help her.

She sat silently staring into the distance for some time. Then she blinked her eyes, uncertain that she was not imagining it, but after a moment, there was definitely a strange luminescence moving down the street. As it grew closer, she scrambled to her feet, recognizing the dim outlines of a human form. The apparition was moving in her direction. She quickly moved away from the fountain, but as it closed on the fountain, it appeared not to notice Stephenie at all. Instead, it held its, or her, hands as if carrying something. When it reached the fountain, it leaned over as if scooping up water.

Mother's Curse BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice eBook editions are just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get your copy for just 99 cents
  2. BONUS: The sequel is also discounted to 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  4. Visit the featured social media event

Mother’s Curse is a coming of age story about the youngest Princess of Cothel and her efforts to save her father and brother from her mother’s schemes, while at the same time, coming to terms with what it means to be a witch. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Daughter’s Justice continues Stephenie’s journey of discovery, where she must overcome national opposition to her being a witch as well as lead her friends and protectors on a mission to stabilize her countries finances. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Thaddeus Nowak is a writer of fantasy novels who enjoys hiking, photography, and the outdoors. Visit Ted on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Guest Post from Thaddeus Nowak & Rafflecopter Giveaway (Novel Publicity)


Please enjoy this guest post by Thaddeus Nowak, author of the exciting and beautifully written YA fantasy, Mother’s Curse, and its sequel, Daughter’s Justice. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

Why This Male Reader Loves Strong Female Characters

A Guest Post by Thaddeus Nowak

I’ve mentioned it before, but my formative childhood years were spent with the neighborhood girls. My family had the only boys for many blocks and with my closest brother being four years younger than me, the only people my age to play with were girls. I learned all about Barbie and Ken and playing house. I’m not complaining, we also romped around the woods, got covered in mud, had snowball fights, and played ball just like any group of kids would. To me, they were just my friends. There were no boys versus girls attitudes between us (that concept came later when we went to different schools and I had to make new friends). And even when faced with that concept, I always preferred to be on the girls’ team, because that’s where the girls were.

Due to those early years–to this day–I always think of women as equals, and probably superior in many cases. So when it comes to reading novels or watching movies, I have no trouble identifying with a female lead. In fact, I think female leads actually make stronger characters than their male counterparts.

What is a strong character?

To me, a strong character is one who’s personality can be felt. They may have inner fears and concerns, but they make the hard decisions and are decisive when it counts. They know what they want and actively make plans to get it. A strong character is a leader, someone the other characters look to for guidance. That is not to say they are hard-headed and stubborn; they have to be smart enough to know when they need to ask for advice and be willing to admit when they are not able to do something themselves. Delegation does not have to be a weakness–when done right it is a strength.

It may seem counter intuitive, but physical strength and prowess do not make a character strong. In fact, it can make them weaker in the long run. A bully lashing out and attacking may be able to overpower and intimidate others, but they still lack the strength of character that someone standing up to them possesses.

For male characters, physical strength and skill in combat (especially in fantasy novels) is a socially expected norm. A male character, who is not stoic in the face of danger can’t overcome his foes and has to rely upon others, is perceived as weak. The problem is, being a stoic loner often overshadows some of the character’s personality and limits how dynamic the character can be.

Whereas a female lead, while she may be physically adept, is not expected to use brute strength to overpower her foes. Society accepts the fact that she can have doubts (which are perfectly human, regardless of sex) and allows her to use her mind and intelligence to overcome obstacles. She has to decide to stand up to the stronger bully. I personally feel it makes the character richer and more balanced–more human and more like the girls I grew up with.

It’s not what’s on the outside that counts

The other reason I prefer stories with strong female protagonists is that they do not usually feature the females as window dressing–on the cover or in the story. While I have my share of traditional fantasy art hanging on my walls, my childhood influences don’t align with the concept of the half-naked damsel in distress unable to do anything for herself. Too many of the stories with male protagonists tend to have the main woman of the stories hopping along on the man’s coattails, doting on his every action. The girls I grew up with definitely did not dote; they knew what they wanted and knew how to get it. So when I read a story, I want to enjoy a little nostalgia and see women as I know they are.

Mother's Curse BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice eBook editions are just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get your copy for just 99 cents
  2. BONUS: The sequel is also discounted to 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  4. Visit the featured social media event

Mother’s Curse is a coming of age story about the youngest Princess of Cothel and her efforts to save her father and brother from her mother’s schemes, while at the same time, coming to terms with what it means to be a witch. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Daughter’s Justice continues Stephenie’s journey of discovery, where she must overcome national opposition to her being a witch as well as lead her friends and protectors on a mission to stabilize her countries finances. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Thaddeus Nowak is a writer of fantasy novels who enjoys hiking, photography, and the outdoors. Visit Ted on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Mother’s Curse Blog Tour & Giveaway from Novel Publicity


Please enjoy this interview with Thaddeus Nowak, author of the exciting and beautifully written YA fantasy, Mother’s Curse, and its sequel, Daughter’s Justice. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

1. Stephenie surely defies stereotypes. Born a princess, but a tomboy. Cursed as a witch, but a likable relatable character all the same. How did you go about creating her character?

Stephenie was born in my imagination many years ago. It was during a time I was struggling with another story. To help “get my creative juices flowing,” I started to write random scenes with random characters. One scene I wrote was about a young girl who was alone in a public house where a conflict broke out, and she had to fight her way out.

Well, I kind of fell in love with the character and had to find out who she was, where she was going, and why she was alone in the world. In making that discovery, I crafted the current story arch that is the Heirs of Cothel Series. It took some time to work out her past and what her life would be like growing up as a witch and how the damaged relationship she has with her mother would affect her. Based on those factors, her break from what would be typical for a princess seemed natural.

Which then led me to think of the girls I had grown up with and the women I know today; many of them are tomboys and are not afraid of getting dirty and running about the woods. So it just seemed natural that Stephenie would be that way as well: a strong young lady who has her own motivations and agenda, but is compassionate and can sympathize with others, even if she cannot fix all of their problems.

As a bit of trivia, many aspects of that original scene are in Mother’s Curse.

2. Did you face any special challenges writing a female lead character, given that you are a male author?

Yes and no. I grew up surrounded by girls. My family had the only boys in the neighborhood for many years, so all my friends were female and that does give me something to draw from.

When writing Stephenie, I try to get into her head and see the world through her eyes. Occasionally, I need to refocus and make sure she would really react in a particular way. The good thing is I have had her in my head for so long that I usually have a pretty good idea of what to write for her. My bigger challenges come with some of the other female characters and making sure I am true to them.

3. The tension between Stephenie and Sergeant Henton is one of my favorite parts of the book. How did you develop their relationship using such subtlety and not hitting us over the head with cliché romantic dialogue?

I am glad the subtlety of their relationship is being noticed. I had one reader tell me they were worried that I might fall into one of the overused traps they see in so many YA novels. Once they realized I had not done that, they were ecstatic.

I can say this approach in the story is very much me. I am something of a romantic, but I don’t care for most of the stories dubbed as “romance”. Do people act in stupid ways when they are trying to attract other people? Of course, but too many stories seem to force stupid decisions upon the characters to ratchet up the tension. Too many times, that is done through obvious misunderstandings that could be resolved with half a minute of conversation that the characters work very hard to avoid.

My goal is to never have a character deliberately sabotage their relationships for stupid reasons (at least not a character I respect). If things work or don’t work, I want there to be more substance to the reasons. I want the investment in the relationship to be greater, and so the emotions stronger. Perhaps I’ve watched too many classic movies, but there is something very powerful about what is never said aloud between people.

4. The Kingdom of Cothel is at war. Could you tell us more about the front lines Stephenie is so desperately trying to escape to?

At the opening of Mother’s Curse, Cothel, and most of the other countries to the west, are fighting against an invading army that sailed in from the Endless Sea. These invaders have many witches and warlocks in their ranks and are overwhelming the holy warriors and soldiers of the people who live around the Sea of Tet. These Senzar invaders have killed royal families and left countries without rulers. Stephenie’s father was quick to join the battle because his oldest daughter was married to the crown prince of Esland and one of the first to be killed.

The Senzar spent most of their focus driving toward a prominent mountain range in the middle of the land between the Sea of Tet and the Endless Sea to the west. Their main forces have yet to cross over Cothel’s boarders. However, they are on the doorstep of the country and Cothel’s forces are low on supplies and reinforcements. Stephenie’s desperation is to reach her father and brother, the King and Crown Prince, because she fears her mother is plotting something that could put them and the people of Cothel at risk.

5. Although firmly rooted in the fantasy genre, Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice remain quick-paced engaging reads not mired in the details of exotic lands or creatures. Why did you decide to depart from the genre with regards to this important aspect of storytelling?

While some fantasy novels feature lengthy descriptions and details about the various inhabitants, to me Mother’s Curse, Daughter’s Justice, and the subsequent books that will be in the series, are foremost about the main characters: Stephenie, Henton, and Kas. The backdrop of the world, while important, really is a backdrop and I have tried to embrace the idea of less being more.

I am proud of the world I have created, but I am also willing to let the nuances soak in over time as they become relevant to the story. For those who like to find out more about the lands Stephenie has to explore and the history I have created for those lands, I try to put some extra information up on my website. I’ve been adding to it slowly, but have had requests for more information and will work to increase the frequency of the postings.

6. Which authors, film makers, and other sorts of storytellers serve as your primary influences in crafting this book series?

This is a good question. In all my reading, I cannot recall consciously thinking I would like to expand on a specific idea in my own stories. I am certain all the things I have read have had significant subconscious influences. I grew up with a mixture of the classics (Isaac Asimov, Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, and Arthur C. Clarke) and contemporary writers such as Joel Rosenberg, Barbara Hambly, Jane Lindskold, and Kate Forsyth. There are, of course, many more I did not list.

From TV and movies, I would tend to pull more influences from the scifi realm. For conscious influences, I would say I really liked the whit and humor of Farscape and how the characters got along. The only thing I can say I remember the actual spark of the idea was from the movie High Spirits. That movie lent me the idea that over many years ghosts would fall into a trance and continually relive an aspect of their lives, no longer aware of the world around them until something disturbed their environment.

7. How did you write the interactions between Stephenie and her mother without wanting to strangle the latter? And how did you craft such a formidable villain despite her maternal relation to our loveable hero?

Well, first off, I love my own mother, so no parental issues there. I do know she got a few questions when other people first saw the title and read Mother’s Curse, but having been an early reviewer of the story, she’s also a strong supporter.

For Stephenie and her mother, I wanted the interaction between the two of them to be very toxic and antagonistic. Years of mutual hate meant they knew how to push each other’s buttons and get under the other person’s skin.

Some of it I think I may have pulled from my experiences working in sales and dealing with difficult customers, but mostly it came from the number of years I worked in what was effectively the advanced support team of a crisis management center. Our job was to help people recover large computer systems that were in real trouble. It was high pressure work and not everyone could handle the customers who were themselves under incredible stress. A big part of the role was simply human psychology, empathizing with the customer and helping to make sure they knew you had their best interests at heart. It was really more managing the people than actually working to repair and troubleshoot the databases.

A natural side effect of learning how to help reassure people in a crisis is an insight into how one could hurt people. Hopefully, I’ve managed to put those years of experience to good use in making believable villains.

8. Have any experiences, personal quirks, or people you know worked themselves into your writing? If so, how and where?

Well, not so much in Mother’s Curse or Daughter’s Justice. There is a lot of me in the characters, especially when it comes to the pragmatic nature of several of them, but I did not really draw from any other people. As a kid, I spent a fair amount of time gaming with my friends and that has lent me the ability to quickly imagine another person, craft some personality traits, and put on a different hat to play that part.

However, the next book, tentatively titled Daughter’s Revenge, will feature someone close to me in the pages. I’ve had numerous requests to include a character for our horse, Dollar (original show name was Silver Dollar due to a white mark on his withers about the size of a silver dollar). So, in book three, look for Stephenie and others to spend some time on horseback, and Dollar to be along for the journey.

9. When not writing, what do you like to do with your free time? Tell us something whacky and cool!

Free time? I don’t quite understand the question. 🙂

I have had to narrow down my list of hobbies and “want-to-dos” considerably over the years. There is just not enough time in the day. However, the primary activities I keep up with include:

Hiking. Though we lack any mountains to make it challenging, I try to spend time on a couple local trails. It is excellent time for working out specific plot details in my head. This year I have two different vacations planned, both of them involve a week of hiking with my wife. One will be in North Carolina, and the other will be on the west coast.

I often mix photography in with the hiking. My wife and I are generally landscape photographers who want trees and mountains in almost every shot, though I do like shooting soft water. I’ll definitely post a few shots of my vacations online after each of those trips.

I also try to keep fit at the gym, but that unfortunately slips from time to time. However, I need to get back into proper condition to hike 15+ miles a day in the mountains with about 35 pounds of gear (cameras, lenses, and a tripod gets heavy).

And of course, I read a lot of novels when I can. Though lately that has also been hit and miss. I always feel guilty reading something else when I can be working on my own novels. But sometimes I just have to take a day or so of solid reading and knock out a book simply for the joy of it.

10. What’s next for the Heirs of Cothel Series, and when can we expect book three?

Book 3 is tentatively titled Daughter’s Revenge. I will let the title imply what it will. As I have already alluded to, Stephenie and others will be going on another road trip, this time using horses. She will learn more about herself and continue to grow as a person. There will be a couple of new characters introduced, but aside from that, I don’t want to give too much away.

Regarding the release date, the first two books have released in the first quarter of the year. I am am aiming to move that up some, but a lot of things have to come together with the proper timing to make that happen. I will definitely keep everyone posted about when to expect book 3 on my website as things get closer.

Mother's Curse BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice eBook editions are just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

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Mother’s Curse is a coming of age story about the youngest Princess of Cothel and her efforts to save her father and brother from her mother’s schemes, while at the same time, coming to terms with what it means to be a witch. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Daughter’s Justice continues Stephenie’s journey of discovery, where she must overcome national opposition to her being a witch as well as lead her friends and protectors on a mission to stabilize her countries finances. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Thaddeus Nowak is a writer of fantasy novels who enjoys hiking, photography, and the outdoors. Visit Ted on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Burning Sage Promotion & Rafflecopter Giveaway


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Burning Sage by Deena Remiel

Blurb:

Burning Sage by Deena Remiel - Cover

Sage Wilcot, an accomplished scientist, has set her sights on her lifelong obsession, studying the volcanoes of the island of Santorini. Once there, though, she gets more than she bargained for. The dormant volcano is waking and shaking things up in the process.

An enigmatic stranger—from a mythical ancient city—comes to her rescue and challenges her to believe in the unbelievable. Will she take the huge leap of faith for love’s sake or stay cloistered in her fortress of certainty and solitude?

Excerpt:

“Well, now what?” She brushed the sandy grit off her hands and sloshed her way to drier land. “I’m here. On a grumbling volcano. Alone. What the hell was I thinking?” She shook her head at her own audacity and stupidity.
“You were thinking of me, perhaps? I can only hope.”
Sage spun around at the sound of the low-timbered voice. “Emmanouel?”
He stepped out of the shadowy darkness and outstretched his arms in a welcoming gesture. “In the flesh. And you, Sage, are too, I see. Looking splendid.”
“Yes, much less dusty and grimy. It’s amazing what a shower and some clean clothes can do.” Really, Sage? That’s your big comeback?
He laughed lightly and sauntered closer to her. “So were you?”
“Was I what?”
“Thinking of me.”
“In a way.”
“In what way?”
“Annoyance, actually.”
“Why is that?”
“You disappeared on me earlier. You were following me out of the hole we were in, and then when I went to introduce you to a colleague, you were gone. I could have used some backup on my story about my face being injured and how you fixed it with that watery stuff of yours. See? It’s all gone. No cut, no bruise….”
“Just beautiful, soft skin that I long to touch.” His husky voice sent thrilling pulses through her body and a tingly sensation across her skin. He reached out, and with the back of his hand, tried to caress her cheek. Barely controlling her burgeoning lust, she stepped back.
“Now cut that out. I’m trying to be angry with you.”
“I’m sorry. Go ahead.”
“Well, I can’t now. You kinda fizzled it out of me.”
“Oh, good. So now I can touch you, yes?”
“No!” she huffed, and stepped farther out of his reach. “You can tell me where you went and why you’re here now. How did you know I’d be here?”
“I never left. I can never leave.”

GIVEAWAY
Win one of 5 copies of Ghost of a Chance by Deena Remiel.
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About the Author:

Deena Remiel

It was the mystique of Arizona’s history and landscape that called to Deena and catapulted her career as an author. When she’s not writing romance and urban fantasy in the wee small hours of the morning or in the deep, dark of night, Deena teaches language arts to middle school students. She currently lives in Gilbert, Arizona with her husband and two children, but New Jersey will always tug at her heartstrings. She believes in angels and loves connecting with her fans, so find her at deenaremiel.com.

WEBSITE    TWITTER     FACEBOOK    BLOG    PINTEREST

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY OF RAZING KAYNE


REVIEW BY CASSIE HOFFMAN

RAZING KAYNE

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When your life is turned upside down, everything you have known is taken away from you, and you’re left to pick up the pieces all by yourself, can you survive and keep going? This is what Kayne Dobrescu is faced with every day.

Kayne, a police officer who is working overtime to take care of his family, a doting father, and a husband to a woman who he really doesn’t know. One day everything Kayne knows is turned upside down when he finds his children dead, and his wife the only one in the house. With her taking her own life, Kayne is the only suspect, but it doesn’t end there. His baby girl Tasha is missing. Where did she go, and who would have taken her, or did his wife do something to her before she killed his other children?

With everyone pointing the finger at Kayne, he decides that he has to move on with his life. Moving to Payson, Arizonia and leaving the ghost of his past behind, he takes a job as a State Trooper. But, moving away will not keep the ghost of his past away.

On patrol, Kayne pulls over a speeding car and that is when he meets Jessica (Jess) Hallstatt. Jessica is a widow of a fire-medic who got killed on his job saving a baby who was trapped in a car, two years prior. Jess is now a widowed wife and mother of four children, three girls and one boy and runs an Event Center in her home she built with the money from her husband’s death…The Hallstatt House.

Forgetting to give back her ID, Kayne has to take it back to her at her home and with that little mistake, it opens up a whole new world for both Kayne and Jessica.

Becoming friends and enjoying spending time with her children, Kayne finds a reason to be happy for once since his family was taken away from him. He no longer looks at his pistol and thinks about ending it all. Being around Jess’ kids is hard for Kayne, especially her little girl Gracie, the one her husband saved, since she is around the same age his missing daughter would be. Kayne soon learns that all the kids are adopted and Jess didn’t have the happy marriage everyone thought she did.

Spending more and more time around Jess and her children, Kayne can’t help but think about Gracie and how she looks so much like his missing daughter Tasha, but it couldn’t be could it? With that thought, Kayne decides to stick around Jess and learn more about her.

With a necklace, a two year old mystery is solved, but how could it be? With new information, both Kayne and Jessica’s lives are turned upside down. How far would a mother’s love go for her child? What would you do to save your child? Jessica is faced with that decision and she will do whatever she has to do.

With murder, kidnapping, Russian kingpins, and secrets coming to light, Kayne and Jessica will have to do everything they can to save their family and learn who they can and cannot trust.

Razing Kayne is a great book, full of suspense, steamy scenes, mystery and romance. It is a book of everything you would want all rolled into one. The author literally has you on the edge of your seat when reading and wondering what is going on. She did a great job interweaving the plot and making it a unique one. I’m sad that it took me so long to read it. I’m one of those people who look at covers and will pick a book based on that, and I have to be honest—the cover made me not want to read the book. I now know you can’t have a book cover being the only thing keeping your from reading a book, and thank goodness it didn’t, because I’m so happy I did, and I learned my lesson! Kayne is an alpha-male and also a gentle giant rolled into one. The characters are great together and you can feel the heat coming off the pages when you read their encounters. Razing Kayne will make you laugh and cry. My heart broke for both Jessica and Kayne while reading. I want more of them! I give this book 5 stars!

 QUOTES FROM THE BOOK 

“There’s a lot in this life I’m uncertain about, but the one thing that is perfectly clear to me is that I don’t want this—us—to end. If someone asked me to sit down and make a list of everything I wanted in a wife, I could sum it up with one word: You surpass any list I could create.” -Kayne

“I need you, Jess, with everything in me I need you, not just now or tonight, but forever. You’re my North Star and Safe Harbor and all those other sappy clichés, but above all else, you are my dragon slayer.” -Kayne

“I know so. Don’t you know you’re my hero? You charged into my world and rescued me before I knew I needed rescuing. You’ve made my every dream come true and then some.”- Jessica

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BUY LINK

 Razing Kayne (Walking A Thin Blue Line)

Razing Kayne (Volume 1) Paperback

GIVEAWAY

JULIEANNE HAS OFFERED  ONE E-COPY FOR GIVEAWAY! TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY, ASK JULIEANNE A QUESTION. IT CAN BE ABOUT HER BOOKS, WRITING…OR ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU CURIOUS.

FOR TWO SHOTS AT EXTRA ENTRIES, PLEASE LIKE HER ON FACEBOOK AND FOLLOW HER ON GOODREADSMAKE SURE THAT YOU TELL ME THAT YOU DID SO THAT YOUR EXTRA ENTRIES WILL COUNT.

ENDS 5/20

JESS MONEY GUEST POST


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SYNOPSIS

Banksters, politicians, and sinister corporations aren’t afraid of laws or regulators or voters. The only thing they fear is an uprising of the people.

That fear is about to be realized.

The man who now calls himself Thomas Paine lived his entire life by the rules. He went to college, served bravely in combat, raised a family, and paid his taxes. Then his employer went bankrupt, taking his pension and his wife’s medical insurance with it. After her death he’s decided that America needs a Second Bill of Rights, one that he is determined to bring about through an “American Insurgency.”

How many among the desperate and disaffected who see the American Dream turning into the American Nightmare will join him? Can targeted vigilante violence really inspire true political reform and save democracy, or will it just provoke massive government repression, and perhaps even widespread martial law? Is it possible that the insurgency will spawn a successful non-violent third party, or will government seek to squash that as well? 

And what about FBI Special Agent Darren Medlin? How far will he go to stop Paine before he draws his own line in the sand? What role will the beautiful young talk show host Crystal Dickerson play? What important decisions will she face, and how will her relationship with Medlin evolve?

AUTHOR BIO

Raised in a politically active family, Jess Money majored in Political Science with a minor in Economics. He sold his first magazine article at the age of 16 and has since written everything from ad copy and political mailers to a screenplay for DreamWorks, which earned him membership in the Writers Guild of America. Along the way he had a career in professional motorsports, worked with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Volleyball program, managed two of the entertainment industry’s most acclaimed screenwriting programs, and worked as a bar bouncer when that’s what it took to keep the wolf from the door.

No longer the handsome devil he once was, he decided against posting a picture, even though using an old one might boost sales.

GUEST POST

Thanks to Cynthia for inviting me to do this guest post, which is particularly special because, although I’ve had success at many other types of writing, PUBLIC ENEMIES is my first novel, and this is my very first chance to discuss how it came to be.

Although neither paranormal fantasy nor historical romance, PUBLIC ENEMIES shares one thing in common with many books reviewed and discussed here: a young woman caught up in an important struggle. However, Crystal Dickerson, an ambitious but principled young talk show host on a small independent radio station, isn’t struggling with zombies or vampires or paranormal elites. Instead, she’s unexpectedly caught up in an historic struggle for the future of America.

The idea for the book came out of my participation in a citizen’s group fighting overdevelopment in our local community. One night driving home from yet another city council meeting I realized that the developers and their council puppets that run our city didn’t fear anything. Our referendum and initiative petition drives kept forcing public votes, which they kept losing, yet they forged ahead, each time tweaking their plans just enough to force us into another arduous ballot fight or expensive litigation, which they also kept losing. Just as in Washington, nothing seemed to deter them, nothing pried them loose from the grip of special interests. Then I thought, “Well, everybody is afraid of getting shot.”

Of course, in a real world civilized society governed by the rule of law with a functioning judicial system, disgruntled folks can’t just go around knocking off politicians with whom they disagree. But the famous question, “What if?” is the birth mother of fiction. What if a hooker picked up in Hollywood turns out to be someone special, and the guy who did the picking up is really Prince Charming? What if a cute little extraterrestrial accidentally gets stranded in your back yard? Or, what if someone started dishing out vigilante justice to corrupt politicians?” 

In a flash the idea for the novel congealed. In Hollywood movie terms it would be DEATH WISH (or DEXTER) meets NETWORK. What if a vigilante set out to administer justice to those so financially powerful and politically connected that they were exempt from the law, beyond the reach of the formal justice system?

The question, “Do the ends justify the means?” always hangs on the perceived merits of whatever the end is. Mere assassinations alone would not be enough to sustain reader interest, or make a plausible case why some portion of a fictional public might embrace this kind of vigilante justice. On the other hand, for years polls have shown that an increasing number of people feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. Naturally, folks differ about exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it, but this still prompted me to examine various reforms that have been suggested to improve our political system.

And thus was born PUBLIC ENEMIES, in which an elusive domestic terrorist using the alias Tom Paine attempts to force enactment of Constitutional amendments he calls “The Second Bill of Rights.” But unlike terrorists who aim for mass casualties, Paine carefully targets only those he considers “the real Public Enemies” — politicians, banksters, lobbyists, and the heads of sinister corporations. By selecting Crystal’s show to communicate his demands, Paine thrusts her into a spotlight she’s not yet fully prepared for, and into conflict with both FBI Agent Darren Medlin, charged with stopping Paine, and entrenched special interests who stand to lose if the proposed amendments are adopted.

Writing the book took a long time, largely because it was hard to explore these complex issues without interrupting the narrative pace or interfering with the emotional connection for the reader. Ultimately the issues shaped the characters, set the stage for crucial decisions each has to make, and provided a terrific vehicle for developing the romantic and professional relationship between Crystal and Agent Medlin. In the end, they become co-co-protagonists. Neither one can succeed or maintain their principles without help from the other.

The professional editor I hired, Hillel Black, called a late draft “fascinating and impressive.” I hope you find the premise intriguing enough to warrant reading, and agree with him when you’re done. I’m particularly interested in what female readers have to say about how Crystal is portrayed, the growth of her character, and how she deals with issues on many different levels. Hopefully I did this well. Of course, I’m also interested in response to the book as a whole.

AMAZON BUY LINK

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MAGGIE THOM GUEST POST


Today we have a guest post from author Maggie Thom! Please make her feel welcome and leave comments!

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SYNOPSIS

He didn’t commit suicide but who’s going to believe her…

Frustrated at being fired from her latest job and overwhelmed by her consolatory family, Sam decides to move to the family’s cabin at the lake. A place she hasn’t been since her dad committed suicide there twenty years before. Or did he? Snooping is something she’s good at but someone seems to be taking offense to her looking too closely at what has been happening at the lake. What she discovers is shocking. Now she must uncover what’s real and what’s not. All that she learned growing up, may be false. Keegan, who has recently moved to the area to finish his latest book, is also trying to find out if his grandfather, who’d passed away ten years before, died of natural causes or was murdered? The descendants of the four families, who own the land around the lagoon, are dying off. Since Sam and Keegan are the only ones questioning the deaths, they find themselves working together to seek the truth. Are people being murdered? Who would benefit from their deaths? Why would there be barricades and armed guards at the north end of the lake? To stay alive, Sam and Keegan must find the answers and convince others, before more people are killed… including them.

 

“This is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think the story is over, think again.” Read Your Writes Book Reviews

GUEST POST

What the Cover Reveals

By Maggie Thom

Whether you’re book is a paperback or an ebook the book cover is almost as important as the amazing story you’ve written. Some would say that as an ebook it has to be even more enticing and engaging to attract attention through the bombardment of all that is on the internet. People are generally visual and make judgements very fast and move on very quickly, so your book cover needs to grab their attention long enough for them to check out what your novel is about. It is the first impression they have about your book.

Another way to think about the cover is to think of it as the window to your book. So what is the view telling people? If your book is a gentle, cozy kind of book you don’t want fire on the front. The same holds true if you book is about wars or murder. You’re probably not going to have a picture of a beautiful flower on the front, unless it has blood dripping from it or it is gripped in the hands of a dead person. What you put on the cover really needs to reflect what’s inside. People are not only going to determine if they like the cover but whether it is a type of book that they would like to read. So it has to be eye catching but tell a story of its own.

If you’re writing romances than you are more likely to have one or two people on the front. What they are doing and the level of undress can be determined to some degree by how explicit your book is or the depth of the love story.

If you’re writing suspense or mystery, then you want there to be some mystery, some intrigue on the front – maybe a weapon, a dead body, someone hiding.

If you’re writing fantasy than you want something that shows that the people are different or the world is different.

Each genre of book is going to require that there be something a bit different on the cover. It gets a little tricky when your book crosses over several genres but it just may mean you have to include a few more elements on your cover.

Not only does the picture matter but so do the colors. If it is a cozy, warm hearted story than you probably don’t want black or browns or super bright reds or oranges. Softer colors would go with the softer story. If it’s a swashbuckling tale than you are going to want blacks, whites, grays, browns with maybe some splashes of color. So really think about whether your story is dark like horrors or light, like a love story and does it have a happy ending.

There really are a lot of factors to consider in creating your book cover. It needs to entice, to draw people in, to make them curious as to what is inside. Really the front of the book is the packaging. So make it attractive and tempting. Make sure the cover appeals to you but that it is also conveying your story. Ask some of your friends or people who’ve read your book if they feel that the picture goes with the story that you’ve created. There are some amazing book covers out there, make sure yours stands out in the crowd.

What appeals to you on a book cover?

AUTHOR BIO

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Maggie Thom took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a fulltime, twenty year career in management, to write full time. After her initial panic that she might need a straight jacket, she published her first book Captured Lies, October 2012. And now is excited to release her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013. Her third book, Deceitful Truths (sequel to Captured Lies), available fall of 2013. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. Married to her best friend, she is learning that humor, love and patience help her navigate her way through her twins’ teen years. Her motto: Escape to read and Read to escape. “Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!” InDtale Magazine

She can be found at:

www.maggiethom.com

www.facebook.com/authormaggiethom

www.twitter.com/maggiethom2

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6549592.Maggie_Thom

https://plus.google.com/102887579832939598896/posts

https://pinterest.com/maggiethom2/

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BOOK LINKS:

Amazon:

http://amzn.to/183Jtz1


iTunes:

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Kobo:

http://bit.ly/1026Y47


Smashwords:

http://bit.ly/11MrCb4