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Guest Post and Spotlight: Those Review Blues by Angelina Rose

In Blog Hops, Giveaways, Guest Posts on August 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm

 
Me.1aTHOSE REVIEW BLUES…

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia… “a book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed on content, style, and merit…”

For many authors, reviews are the most terrifying part of releasing their book out into the big wide world. Once the send button on a submission to a publisher or agent is hit, their book is out there, finding its way to one and all (we hope).

Reviews are important enough for some people to earn a living from… they’re a necessary part of publishing a book. Nowadays though, through the use of the internet, anyone of any age and, maybe it can also be said, with any axe to grind, can write a review on your book.

One important aspect to always remember is that each and every review is one person’s opinion only. And this opinion is certainly going to be colored by both their conscious and unconscious biases. It is also going to reflect their beliefs and values… none of us can escape our interpretation and view of life.

Statistics also reveal, there will always be a group of people who will not like, even hate your book. Let’s hope that is a small number… but they will always be there.

What do I think makes a good review?

Not all reviews are equal…

  • There are those containing a handful of words that tell you nothing. They just say the book was a good read or maybe a waste of time: they don’t tell you why.
  • When a reader, or I should say a reviewer, makes their personal biaz clear when giving a review, I take what they say seriously. At least they are honest enough to admit to what colors their viewpoint.
  • A review sounding like a book description only shows the reviewer read the book and which part of the story they enjoyed.
  • Some quality reviews are not positive reviews. These are the ones that I really give my attention to (once I get over the ego hit). They give a different view of my work and I chose to learn from these critiques.

If a reviewer can put into words what it was about your book that grabbed their imagination, or maybe didn’t grab their imagination, this then gives readers the ability to decide for themselves.

Getting over a negative review.

I actually read we need three positive reviews to negate the effect on us of one negative review. Apparently our brain is programmed to react much more strongly to negative stimuli than positive ones.

In other words, before reading your reviews, make sure you have some of your favorite chocolate on hand to help you celebrate a great review, or pick you up after a negative one.

Whether we like it or not, it’s a fact your book will receive some negative reviews, but its worth remembering a review is the opinion of only one person in the whole wide-world…

About Angelina Rose:

Angelina Rose has wanted to write ever since she could hold a pencil. The first daughter of immigrant parents, Angelina had her head buried in books, lost in a world of heroes, heroines and exotic places.
Me.1a

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Angelina’s author career.

“I awoke in the ICU… I had been unconscious for several days,” Angelina says.

In 2010, Angelina had a long stint in hospital following her involvement in a motor vehicle accident: the longest time off work (as a Registered Nurse), she’d ever had in her life!

It was then she took up pen and paper and started to write again, just as she had done when she was a child. She wrote four short fiction stories for young adults, entered them in several competitions, and managed to win three first prizes!

After happily dipping her toes into writing those short fiction stories for young adults, Angelina has now authored four books in a new “Mill Creek Crossing Romance” series… contemporary romance intended for adults.

The “Starting Over Series” is another contemporary romance series she wrote about a subject she knows well… nurses and their love life. At a recent reunion of her graduating class, she could not help but notice how the same girls would group together and laugh, chat, and even shed some tears over their lives since graduating. Many of the girls had divorced… so Angelina thought “what if a group of the nurses came up with a plan to meet in two years and have a new love story to share?” Then the first story in the series was born.

There is always a story running around in her head. A man with thick dark hair, gray-blue eyes, with an engaging smile and a quick wit… or a girl crying over a broken relationship. She finds herself talking to these characters during her day: when she’s doing dishes, or bathing babies at the hospital. These characters crop up on days at the beach or on walks through the neighborhood. This is how the stories start to grow.
Angelina’s mother was an author, so Angelina grew up with a love of words and stories. If she wasn’t writing a short story about something that took her fancy, her head was buried in books… reading, reading, reading, as her brother constantly told her…

When she’s not spending time with her goodlooking man, or quality time with her laptop, she’s working at the hospital, hanging out with her family and friends, or walking her two dogs around the neighborhood. Angelina spends as much time as she can travelling, then coming home and including some of those adventures in her stories.

Angelina really loves to hear from her readers and she invites you to connect with her on Facebook as she interacts daily with her readers there!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

AR.Eyes.FGenre: Romance

Publisher: BookBaby

Release Date: April 26, 2013

Amazon

Book Description:

After a tragic loss five years ago, Sally Overby becomes an Attorney in Atlanta. She convinces herself that all she’ll ever need again is her young son, David, and her life as an attorney. Until one day, Colin Dean barges back into her life and promptly blows her safe world apart, driving her crazy as only a guy she’d had a “school girl crush” on can.

Although shocked and thrilled by Colin’s attention, Sally is wary to love deeply. Only, with every loving look Colin gives her plus every sweet kiss, as the attraction between them sparks, she can’t help but wonder if she’s met the one she should be with. And although Colin didn’t realize his life was going to change so quickly, amazingly, he isn’t the least bit interested in fighting that change. Instead, he’s gearing up for a different fight altogether… the one for Sally’s heart.

Will Colin be able to convince her that’s it safe to love him… and that forever isn’t really out of reach?

Romantic, amusing, and deeply moving, Book 4 in the Mill Creek Crossing Romance Series, is a tale that will stay with you.

The Eyes of Love is a novella… you will be able to enjoy it in just one day!

Sally, it’s been almost five years, honey. That isn’t too soon by anyone’s standards. Everyone wants you to be happy, including your son I bet.”

We’ll see. This isn’t a big deal. I think he just feels bad for me,” she said without thinking.

Why would he feel bad for you?”

Oh. Nothing. Listen, I’ve got to go. Call ya later!” she said as she quickly ended the call. She stopped for a moment and leaned against an old brick building, wondering how she’d allowed herself to slip. Up until now, no one outside of her high school had any idea of how bullied she was. And she was hoping they wouldn’t remember either.

As she started to walk again, she noticed Stephanie Dixon walking down Main Street, arm-in-arm with Jazz. She ducked back behind a small brick wall attached to the building and watched them. Stephanie hadn’t changed much. She was still buxom and blond and snobby. She walked like she owned the town, and Jazz looked completely out of place holding onto her.

Sally had never known Jazz personally, but she’d watched him around school for years. He was Colin’s sidekick, and the two boys had known each other since they were very young. Her shock over what Jazz had done to his friend was still fresh, and she wondered what they would do if she started walking down the street in front of them.

Deciding that she needed to do something bold for her inner younger Sally, she ran her fingers through her hair and walked out from behind the building. At first, they didn’t notice her, but out of the corner of her eye she saw Stephanie elbow Jazz. She walked directly into their path, but Jazz wouldn’t make eye contact. That’s when she realized that Steph was elbowing him not because she recognized her but because Jazz must have been admiring her a little too much. The thought made her feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Sally was mostly struck by how sad Stephanie really looked. She looked like a woman who was desperately trying to hold on to any shred of youth she had. Looking back, her looks were all she had even back then. She wasn’t all that smart, her personality stunk and now her looks were starting to fade too. For a moment, she almost felt sorry for her. Just a little.

Although the bullying had been horrible, it had given Sally the ability to gain strength in herself. As an attorney, she wasn’t afraid to fight for others because she remembered what it was like to have her basic human rights stripped from her.

Hungry for lunch, Sally ducked into Stella’s Diner to have a sandwich and plan her day. She had some shopping to do for the perfect dress to wear to the reunion, and the dress shop in Mill Creek Crossing might not have a big selection.

Welcome to Stella’s!” a waitress called from behind the counter. Sally nodded and found a booth next to the window. From her vantage point, she could still see Jazz and Steph who were now sitting on the bench where she and Colin had run into each other. She was angry about something and crossing her arms with a pout on her face. Sally was struck by how immature she still was, and there was Jazz trying to reason with her. Good luck, Jazz, she thought. She’d tried to reason with her many times throughout high school.

Hi there. I’m Gracie…” the waitress said as she put down a napkin and some silverware.

Gracie. It’s me. Sally Overby,” she said grinning.

Gracie stopped in her tracks and squinted her eyes. “Sally? I can’t believe it! You’re stunning, honey!” she said reaching down and hugging her. “What are you doing in town?”

Reunion. And to see Momma, of course.”

I can’t get over how beautiful you are!”

Thanks.”

You were always a sweetheart of a person, but now your outside matches your inside.”

That’s a nice way to look at it.”

So, what have you been up to?”

Let’s see… Became an attorney, got married, had a son, became a widow…”

Oh, Sally, I’m so sorry! I remember that now. Your Momma told me a few years back. You’re still single?”

Yep. But I have a date to the reunion tomorrow night, so I guess I’m officially back on the dating circuit now,” Sally said giggling.

Date? Who with?”

Colin Dean.”

Gracie started fanning herself. “Oh, girl, you scored on that one, huh?”

***


Spotlight: In Times of Trouble by Yolonda Sanders

In Blog Hops, Giveaways on July 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm

About The Author:

Yolonda Tonette Sanders took a leap of faith in 2004 when she resigned from her job with the State of Ohio after only three and a half years to focus more on writing. It was a leap that she has never regretted. In 2005, her debut novel, Soul Matters, was published by Walk Worthy Press and Time Warner (now Hachette Book Group). In 2008, her second book, Secrets of a Sinner, was published by Harlequin/Kimani Press. That same year Yolonda started Yo Productions, LLC, a Christian based literary services and theatrical entertainment company, which she used to launch and create her first stage production. The theatrical version of Soul Matters debuted successfully in September 2009 at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Since then, Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, is planning to release four of Yolonda’s titles by April 2015. Currently, Yolonda resides in Columbus, Ohio and is the loving wife of David, proud mother of Tre and Tia, and joyful caregiver of her mother, Wilene.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Genre: Christian | Contemporary | Inspirational

Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Strebor Books

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Amazon

Book Description:

Divorced, single mother Lisa Hampton is grateful for a fresh start after a humiliating scandal forced her to relocate from Maryland to Ohio. Her biggest issue nowadays is dealing with her rebellious teenage daughter, Chanelle, who is one smart comment away from being toothless!

Other than the stress of dealing with Chanelle, life is perfect. Lisa has a new beau and a steady job that allows her the opportunity to rub shoulders with very wealthy and influential people. She is best friends with Isaac and Olivia Scott, an extremely rich and powerful couple.

When Chanelle accuses the Scotts’ son of rape, Lisa learns how quickly her friends become enemies as Olivia and Isaac use their wealth and power to manipulate justice. The Scotts prove that they are willing to go to extreme lengths to protect their son, even if it means destroying both Lisa and Chanelle in the process.

Excerpt

Don’t jump to conclusions,” Lisa said to herself as she reached for the phone, flipping through the Caller ID. She hoped Chanelle had tried to call when she was asleep, but was disheartened to find no evidence supporting her theory. She quickly dialed Chanelle’s cell phone, hearing the hip-hop music selection that preceded her daughter’s voice mail. She didn’t bother leaving a message.

Dashing up the stairs, Lisa knocked on her mother’s bedroom door as a courtesy, but didn’t wait for a response. “Mama?” She peeked inside.

Arial, sans-serif;”Hattie lay like Sleeping Beauty underneath a tan comforter that blended in perfectly with her light skin tone. She looked so peaceful that Lisa really didn’t want to disturb her. She stood for a split second, admiring her mother’s beauty. Though she was in her mid-sixties, Lisa’s mother looked great—still-mostly-black hair, a shapely size ten figure and no wrinkles. Lisa hoped she’d inherited her mother’s genes and would also age gracefully. So far so good, but if Chanelle kept working her nerves, she’d surely look old and gray within a few years.

Mama!” Lisa spoke with more force.

Huh?”

Sorry to wake you . . . I want to know if you’ve heard from Chanelle.”

No, why? She’s not home yet?”

No, but don’t worry. I’ll find her.”

Her mother quickly sat up. “Did you call Jareeka? Maybe Chanelle accidentally dozed off over there.”

The girl’s name was actually Gericka, like Erika, but Lisa didn’t bother correcting her mother, who was notorious for renaming people. “Calling there is my next step. I wanted to check with you first.”

Lisa ran back down to the kitchen where Chanelle’s best friend’s telephone number was posted on the small magnetic bulletin board attached to the refrigerator. By now it was a few minutes shy of one.

<The phone rang several times before Marlon Young, Gericka’s father, answered.

<Hi! I’m sorry to call your house so late. This is Lisa.”

Yes, what can I do for you?”

Is Chanelle there?

No, why do you ask?”

Lisa’s throat tightened. “She’s not here yet. Do you know what time she brought Gericka home from the movies?”

I don’t know what Chanelle told you, but she didn’t go to the movies with Gericka,” Marlon firmly stated. “Gericka and Karen went to Louisville on Friday to spend the weekend with my mother-in-law.”

I’m sorry…I thought. Never mind. I’m sorry I woke you.”

It’s okay. I’m sure you’re concerned about your daughter. I pray she gets home safely,” he said, before hanging up.

With no other options, Lisa reluctantly dialed RJ’s number, which she had unfortunately memorized by now. She hated calling her ex-husband, but figured the situation warranted such an action. It was a waste of time because he hadn’t seen or heard from Chanelle either. As if his presence would calm Lisa’s nerves, RJ had offered to come over and wait with her until Chanelle arrived.

No, thanks!” Lisa quickly declined. He always seemed to be looking for an excuse to be near her, but the only man occupying her time was Minister Freeman, whom she had been out to dinner with on several occasions.

Please let me know the minute you hear from her,” RJ requested.

I will,” she assured.

He had some nerve, acting like a concerned father when he was the reason why she and Chanelle had left Baltimore and come to Ohio in the first place. Had she known several summers ago when she moved here that he would follow, she would have accepted a job elsewhere.

Feeling her blood pressure rise with each passing second, she went back into the living room and sat on the couch. She began fiddling with the charm on the necklace she never took off, which had become a habit whenever she became nervous or angry. The time was exactly 1:07 a.m. and that meant her daughter was now sixtyseven minutes past curfew. Lisa was fuming!

Though the “God, please don’t let anything bad happen to her” prayer cycled through Lisa’s head a few times, she honestly didn’t feel a need to panic. For some reason, Lisa knew Chanelle was okay—wherever she was. Chanelle was okay now, but Lisa couldn’t promise that she’d be later when she finally brought her behind home and parental justice kicked in.

***

Spotlight: Ice Rose by Alison Neuman

In Blog Hops, Giveaways on July 4, 2013 at 12:42 am

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Genre: Young Adult/Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Fireside Publications
Release Date: September 15, 2010
Author | Amazon

About The Book:
Ice Rose
— A teenager’s world is turned upside down when an explosion steals her dad and her identity. Entering an exclusive academy that immerses her in the world of secret agents, she must overcome her fears and disabilities to discover the truth about her dad’s mission, his software, and the mystery man stalking her before she ends up like her father — lost.

About The Author:

Alison Neuman lives in Alberta, Canada, where she is a freelance writer and lyricist. Nearing the end of her studies for the Bachelor of Applied Communications Degree program at Grant MacEwan College, she was inspired to complete the first draft of Ice Rose. The pace of secret agent books and movies gave her an unlimited playground for imagination. Music and performing are passions she was able to bring into her writing and build into her characters.

Alison’s writing has appeared in “MacEwan Today”, “Westword”, and the “Edmonton Journal” along with three tracks on the CD release Outside The Window Co-writing the screenplay adaptation of the book Whale Songwith author Cheryl Kaye Tardif exposed her to the world of screenwriting, which she hopes to continue to examine further in the future. Alison also has been writing shorter pieces of non-fiction, one entitled Establishing Roots, that earned a top ten ranking in the Edmonton Stories contest. This past spring she was a winner in The Expressions of Hunger Contest in the Emotional Poetry category. Her piece Undeniable Craving was on display in June and July in various artistic locations across the city of Edmonton. She has completed a final edit of her memoir “Searching For Normal” and is currently writing her next young adult manuscript.

When not writing creatively, Alison is editing or writing for her business, Sandy Tree Communications.

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The Secret Guardian by Wes Dodd

In Blog Hops, Giveaways on June 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm
Secret Guardian
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Wes Dodd was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1958, currently residing in Southside Virginia. He has two daughters and three grandchildren. Within the last couple years he has discovered a passion for creating and breathing life into great stories. He has published three novels: The Crimson Key, a mystery, The Secret Guardian, fantasy and Saving Faith, a romantic thriller.

Website | Blog

Secret GuardianThe Secret Guardian

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: CreateSpace & BookTango

Release Date: April 2013

Book Description:

A Sacred Society exists amongst us all. Believed only as a myth—its origin thrives in secret. Once transformed, each generation of its members become the elite of our society—some for good and some for evil as well. Troy Anthony, unknowingly and somewhat unwillingly, is about to join the elite, like his father before him. It takes a close family friend to ultimately expose the Secret to Troy, revealing his true destiny, and then she becomes a valuable ally. They inadvertently share a unique bond—one of which many doubt its very existence. Troy is taken to two magical places where he learns many secrets of the world, many of which we all have been curious about. It becomes an epic battle where Troy clashes with an evil tyrant, his father’s assassin, a distant cousin sharing many of Troy’s unique abilities.

She pointed at the water once again. “Touch the water with your finger, and you will see. Go ahead, trust me.”

Troy reluctantly reached out towards the lavender water with his index finger, slowly pushing it towards the water as if frightened from not knowing what may happen next. He barely stuck his finger in, then jerked it out quickly, as if something within the water might bite it off. The ripples that resulted spread quickly throughout the tiny pond—as if magical. As the water became calm and smooth once again, a clear picture appeared before him within the water. It was a clear picture of his mother—Claire. She was holding a newborn baby while in a hospital bed. His father, Bruce, was standing by the bed, and they both seemed very happy.

Alexa looked at Troy and smiled. “Troy…this is your history.”

Troy was mesmerized by the picture before his eyes, he as a child with his loving parents. It lasted for a few moments then slowly faded away. Then picture after picture appeared of times in his life, all in sequence. The second was of him playing in the tub with his mom, smiling with no teeth, splashing water with a crop of soap suds for hair. Then appeared his first steps at home with Mom and Dad. Then his first Halloween dressed as a fireman, walking from house to house with his dad. Then Dad taking him for his first haircut, which his mother treasured, tucking away the clippings in a safe place. Then when he got his first puppy, a Dalmatian named Blazer that would pull him along in his little red wagon.

Alexa watched Troy as he gazed at his history. She saw and felt his emotions, laughing right along with him. He continuously watched—his eyes glued to the pictures.

Then came Christmas when Dad dressed up in a Santa suit. Santa was enjoying the warm freshly baked cookies, washing them down with the ice cold milk, while he and his mother spied through the banister from upstairs. Then came his first day of school with riding the school bus for the very first time, and of course the time he lost his first tooth—he always believed that the quarter was a silver dollar. Troy and Alexa laughed together as they watched picture after picture.

Then came that awful day when Troy was dressed in his little black suit at his father’s funeral—saluting his father’s casket. Alexa could sense his emotions building up, quickly turning from happy to sad and then angry once again. Then he calmed down as the pictures showed the move to Virginia, his high school and first date with Becca. Then of course came football and winning each championship, including the last one with the miraculous catch that he couldn’t remember making.

Finally the pictures ceased, as the calm water turned lavender once again. Both sat quietly for a few minutes. Troy rose in silence and slowly walked around the edge of the water, gathering his thoughts as well as his emotions. Could what she was saying possibly be real? After a few minutes Alexa walked over to him. She put her hand on his shoulder. “Will you be all right?”

Troy turned to face her, looking deep into her amazing eyes. “I am not sure how you are doing this. Is it possible that you are telling me the real truth? I doubted you because it went against everything I had been taught…but now what you say might be the truth. There is still much I do not understand. I still have many questions to be answered.”

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The Crimson Key by Wes Dodd

In Blog Hops, Giveaways on June 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

 

Wes Dodd was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1958, currently residing in Southside Virginia. He has two daughters and three grandchildren. Within the last couple years he has discovered a passion for creating and breathing life into great stories. He has published three novels: The Crimson Key, a mystery, The Secret Guardian, fantasy and Saving Faith, a romantic thriller.

Website | Blog

The Crimson Key

Genre:Mystery

Publisher: Outskirt Press

Release Date: July 2012

Purchase

Book Description:

David Paige, a young detective from Charleston, S.C., is about to embark on an investigation of a lifetime—his own. After an unexpected tragedy shatters his perfect world, he discovers that his mother had been keeping a life-long secret from him, revealing that he is not who he believed he was. With no family member to turn to, David has to rely on his detective skills and a mysterious item left to him from his mother—a crimson-colored key.

The search for the truth takes David to New York City, where he runs head on into lies, deception and murder, all in an attempt to cover up a string of dreadful crimes. Then if this is not enough to deal with, he falls for the daughter of a prominent man, both sharing an undeniable attraction—which complicates his life even further.

It isn’t until a near-death experience, and help from his mother through several frightening nightmares, that the pieces of the puzzle finally begin to come together. The Crimson Key ultimately unveils many secrets, surprising many people including David—opening his eyes and heart as well.

The two were very close as young children but grew farther and farther apart with each passing year. Amber had blossomed rapidly, leaving Alice behind in a life filled with neglect, which led to resentment on her part. Alice felt and heard her sister sobbing for the first time she could remember.

Why are you crying?” Alice asked tenderly.

Alice,” Amber replied in a shaky voice, then hesitated a long moment. “You do know that I have always loved you dearly, don’t you?”

Why of course,” Alice promptly replied, while she thought to herself, “You sure have a funny way of showing it. I only see you about once a year, and it is always at night so no one will recognize you coming here. We never go out together in public. You make me feel as if you are ashamed to be seen with me.” Then Alice asked in a caring way, “What is wrong?”

Amber made a good effort to gather her emotions as she released her hold on Alice. Taking a step back, she wiped the tears from her face. “I am in love with an evil man.”

Alice didn’t feel sorry for her at first, or the least bit shocked by her statement. She thought to herself again, “I’m not surprised. You have always chosen the wrong type men. You always pursued the Bad Boys, or what you would call the Fun Guys.”

Then Alice noticed a bruise on Amber’s left cheek, and her feelings changed instantly. She asked in a serious tone, “What is his name?”

Alice and Amber stood facing, eyes locked in a stare, Alice waiting for an answer that Amber did not want to reveal. A tiny whimper then broke their stare. Alice’s eyes dropped instantly to the basket below that remained mysteriously covered with the blue blanket. The basket moved ever so slightly as another tiny whimper came from within. Alice’s eyes rose quickly, meeting Amber’s, which were again overflowing with tears.

What have you got?” Alice asked very slowly as she knelt down next to the basket. She gently rolled back the blanket revealing a tiny, tiny baby boy.

I couldn’t do it,” Amber said in a trembling voice, as tears rolled rapidly down her cheeks.

Alice could hear her sister’s voice but failed to comprehend a single word; the tiny baby boy had stolen her full attention.

I kept it a secret for as long as I could,” Amber continued. “I knew he didn’t want a child, him being married with a child on the way and due at any time now. At least it was when I left three days ago. It would have made him very angry…and he has a furious temper.”

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Saving Faith by Wes Dodd

In Blog Hops, Giveaways on June 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm
4222265_FrontCover
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Wes Dodd was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1958, currently residing in Southside Virginia. He has two daughters and three grandchildren. Within the last couple years he has discovered a passion for creating and breathing life into great stories. He has published three novels: The Crimson Key, a mystery, The Secret Guardian, fantasy and Saving Faith, a romantic thriller.

Website | Blog

4222265_FrontCoverSaving Faith

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Publisher: CreateSpace & Book Tango

Release Date: June 1, 2013

Book Description:

Fate rides on the wings of life, steering life along its unforeseen journey, thus fulfilling one’s destiny. Fate can also bring two paths to cross, though traveling in opposite directions, lives that had once ran parallel. So it was in the lives of Trevor Logan and Faith Thomas, two paths traveling parallel, destined to be one at a young age. Then came a sinister plan, painted with pictures of deception, sending their lives reeling in opposite directions. But after over twenty years, fate caused their paths to cross once again, by way of an unusual chain of events. Their paths crossed just when Faith’s life was in danger, leaving Trevor to risk his own to save hers, thus keeping a strange promise he had made to her father—over twenty years before.

From chapter 1

It was the birth of a new year, early January1989, back when times seemed far simpler and life moved at a considerably slower pace, two main ingredients making life much sweeter. In rural Southside Virginia, an area rich in faith and family, the sinking sun was fighting off darkness with its last burst of fire, transforming the cloudy horizon into a sea of blistering red waves. A rusted old Chevy pick-up truck, spattered with different colored muds like an abstract painting, pulled into the gravel lot of Scott’s Country Store, a local hangout in the community. The building was large enough to house farming supplies in the rear, with groceries located in the front and a grill to one side. This made it a popular hangout for the old and young as well because Mr. Scott, the owner, had two eye-catching teenage girls running the grill and front register.

Trevor Logan and his best buddy, Randy, entered the store. Trevor was calm and casual as usual, while Randy was brimming with excitement. “Hey everyone, come see the sixteen-point trophy buck that Trevor just bagged. It was one shot right through the heart from four-hundred yards.”

The store emptied quickly, with the exception of Trevor and Faith Thomas, who was working the grill. Killing a trophy buck on the last day of deer season did not excite Trevor half as much as Faith did. They were both seniors in high school, being sweethearts for the past four years. Trevor was six foot one in height, medium build with light brown hair and baby blue eyes. Faith was five foot eight with dark hair, vibrant green eyes and a contagious smile—the daughter of the local pastor.

Trevor walked over to the counter where Faith was working. She turned, leaned over the counter, then planted a long seductive kiss on his lips. Her working partner, Denise, walked by just as their lips were locked. Walking past, she planted her hand on Trevor’s butt cheek—squeezing it firmly.

Faith caught Denise in the act. “Denise!”

Denise laughed as she scampered back to the register. “The Devil made me do it.”

Faith turned her stare to Trevor. “Why do let her do that?” she whispered in anger.

She doesn’t mean any harm,” Trevor replied, still high on her kiss. “She knows that I only have eyes for you, and you are the sole owner of my heart.”

Faith stared into his dazzling blue eyes. “But still…”

Trevor cut her off. “But still, she is your friend…isn’t she?”

Faith’s eyes darted back over at Denise, witnessing her gazing at Trevor’s butt. “Sometimes I wonder.”

Trevor placed a tender hand on her cheek, pulling her eyes back to his. “You don’t mean that.”

Sometimes I think she pretends to be my friend, just to be near you.”

That’s silly,” he remarked, then tried changing the subject. “You want to come see my prize?”

She smiled. “You know how I feel about killing one of God’s creatures. I will wait until you have it mounted…at least then it will have the appearance of being alive.”

He accepted with a smile. “That’s fine with me. Do we still have a date tonight?”

The store closes at nine and I have to be home by eleven.”

Trevor planted another kiss on her lips. “I will take whatever time I can get. Randy and I will be done dressing out the deer, leaving me just enough time to clean up.” He then pulled out his wallet to retrieve his hunting license as he approached Denise at the register. “Why do you upset Faith like that?” Trevor asked softly so Faith would not hear.

Denise, a five-foot-three-inch blonde bombshell, looked seductively up into his eyes. “I can’t help it, she has something I want.”

Stop it,” he whispered as he filled out the Big Game Stamp. “You know that she is my one and only.”

But we would have so much fun together. You will eventually get tired of her…but never with me. I can please you in ways you never imagined.”

Denise leaned over the counter a bit so Trevor’s wondering eyes would fall down her blouse.

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Spotlight: Head Case by Jennifer Oko

In Blog Hops, Giveaways on June 13, 2013 at 1:41 am
Head Case Spotlight Banner
Head Case
by Jennifer Oko
Jennifer Oko Profile Image

About The Author:

Jennifer Oko’s first book, Lying Together: My Russian Affair (written under her maiden name, Jennifer Beth Cohen), was published in 2004 and received numerous positive reviews. The New York Times Book Reviewcalled Lying Together “riveting” and twice named it an Editors’ Choice. The San Francisco Chronicle raved, saying it was “a heady cocktail” and “a quick, juicy read.” Her second book, a satirical novel about morning television news entitled Gloss, was a Marie Claire “pick of the month” in 2007 and chosen as a “hot summer read” by USA Today.

Currently working as a freelance writer and media consultant, Jennifer is a “recovering” journalist and award-winning television news producer. A graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, her career has taken her across the country and around the world.

Additionally, Jennifer’s writing has been published in a variety of magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Maxim, Self and Allure.

Jennifer lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their son and daughter.

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Head Case

Genre: Humorous MysteryHead Case - Book Cover

Publisher: Jennifer Oko

Release Date: February 2013

Amazon

Book Description:

As one reviewer states: “HEAD CASE is an enjoyable gem of a mystery, and more…There are drug-dealing grannies, pill-popping celebrities, Russian mob bosses, eccentric ex-Soviet chemists, feuding roommates, faltering friendships, bad bosses and a rat named Raskolnikov – so how can you not have fun?

HEAD CASE is a new, exciting and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny mystery from an author whose work has been called “SIMPLY RIVETING” by The New York Times and “SHARP AND FAST-PACED” by Publisher’s Weekly. It’s like Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones meets Carl Hiaasen’s Nature Girl (with a dash of Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money) as Olivia embarks on a postmortem quest to deconstruct the remarkable events that lead up to her mind-altering death.

A comic satire of the influence of the psychopharmaceutical industry on American life, HEAD CASE takes Olivia and her estranged friend and roommate Polly Warner on a collision course involving ethically challenged executives, spotlight-hungry celebrities, third-rate mobsters and drug-dealing babushkas. A smart and savvy page-turner, HEAD CASE explores the meaning of personal relationships, emotional intelligence, and mental health while taking the reader on a synapse-stirring, neurotransmitting rollicking ride.

Praise for Head Case

“Head Case is an enjoyable gem!” ~Dan McGirt, Amazon Reviewer

“Oko’s writing is as addictive as the pills she pokes fun at!” ~ElevenelevenAM, Amazon Reviewer

“All I can say is that if you don’t put ALL YOUR OTHER BOOKS AWAY and read just the FIRST chapter you are NUTS; you will find yourself going and going and I will just say it now –your welcome!” ~Jennifer Elizabeth Hyndman, Amazon Reviewer

Excerpt

We stopped at a red light and I thought about trying to unlock the door and jump out, but I could see that his eyes were peering at me through the rearview mirror. They appeared to be curious, like he was trying to make sure he got the right girl. Or maybe he was surprised that I, short of stature, thin of frame—conventionally attractive in a conventionally symmetrical sort of way, but not exactly anyone’s exotic fantasy, especially considering the weary, exhausted facade typical of a candidate for a PhD in neurochemistry who was hard up against a number of deadlines and concerns—was the girl he was sent to get. He was no looker, either. His face was puffy but his eyes were squinty, almost closed. The lids were drawn down—the gravity of age, it looked like. But there was something soft about them, something almost sympathetic. These were not the eyes of someone I should fear. At least that’s what I told myself. For a kidnapping cabdriver, this guy was a softie.

Where are you taking me?” I asked again, as composed as I could muster.

The traffic stopped and he turned to face me.

His face was round, almost cherubic. A bulbous nose. Untamed, wiry white eyebrows, just like the photo on the license. A tweed cap was pushing down what appeared to be unmanageably coarse and long-since overgrown salt and pepper hair. He looked like a combination of Einstein and Mr. Magoo.

I could feel my phone vibrating in my pocket and started to pull it out again to see who was calling. Polly’s name was on the caller ID, but before I could answer, the driver waved his finger in the air, admonishing me. I put it back again and held up my empty hands like someone might do after the police tell them to drop their weapons.

The traffic began to move. An icy drizzle started splattering on the windshield. He hit the accelerator and the car lurched forward.

Where are you taking me?” I repeated, this time a little louder.

He sighed as if I were pestering him with my questions. “Brooklyn,” he relented.

Why? Where in Brooklyn? Where are we going?”

Please. Please, no worry,” he said, apologetically, like I should not think it a big deal that there was a strange man driving me against my will to a place I did not ask to go.

I looked out at the East River passing on my left, trying to put all of this cryptic information together, trying to figure out what I should do next. Had I known that I was nearing, well, oblivion, I might have done something differently. I might have ignored Lumpkyn and picked up the phone—told my parents I love them, told that intern over in Oncology that I thought he was cute, told Polly that I was sorry. I mean, what would you do if you were locked in a New York City taxicab with only fifteen minutes left to live? What issue would you want to resolve?

Spotlight: Demon Inhibitions by Gary Starta

In Blog Hops, Giveaways on May 24, 2013 at 7:43 pm
 
Author Gary Starta Headshot

About The Author:

Gary Starta is a former journalist who began writing multi-genre fiction in 2004. He likes to include science theory in his stories as well as elements of paranormal, fantasy, mystery and romance.

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Genre: Paranormal Romance/Science-FictionNew Cover for Demon Inhibitions
Publisher: Self-Published at Amazon KindleRelease Date: March 15, 2013
Amazon

Book Description:

Most people don’t travel to another universe to get a new job, house and boyfriend but psychic investigator Caitlin Diggs did. Now she’s living the life of her alternate self, working for the FBI’s Preternatural Division where her first case just happens to include chasing a genetically engineered man hell bent on stealing souls. Well, there had to be consequences.

Excerpt:

A full moon bathed my bedroom in bluish haze. It kept my eyes from closing. Normally I would have drawn the curtains on the nocturnal intrusion, but tonight I was hosting so to speak. I felt I was setting a better trap or “invitation” to Manners if I left the light on. Briana would have probably scolded me if she were capable of listening to my silent ranting. She had explained to me several times Manners would not be traveling via car, plane or broom for that matter. His appearance would be completely ethereal to all waking humans. He would meet me via an altered state of mind, in a dream or alpha state, where his thoughts and presence could transcend any physical traps an overly anxious former FBI agent (me) might feel compelled to set. It wouldn’t matter if I shined a lantern in my window or posted Rottweillers on around-the-clock guard duty, Manners would be oblivious to it. Briana stated this very emphatically, employing wild gyrating arm movements that nearly had me fearing she would turn me into a rat if I didn’t give her my undivided attention. So I sat and listened to her for an hour after we completed the spell. When my eyelids began drooping, she ordered me to bed. She took up residence in the adjoining guest room with Celeste. With a click of a doorknob, Briana could be at my bedside in seconds. But when I finally began to absorb the notion that Manners would not be using the front door to meet me, fear began to take hold. How would her presence help me? She could monitor my dreams all she wanted, but ultimately it would be up to me to break free of Manner’s paranormal grip-provided one: he was an incubus and two: he would still deem an appearance necessary to either protest his innocence or quiet my suspicions of him once for and all. My mind finally began to drift into that sleepy state where your thoughts start running into one another. How would I converse with him in the dream world? And would my gun be at my bedside in this dream? My brain felt like rubber. My eyelids finally shut. A faint hint of blue light seeped through them and then the next thing I knew…

Who, what…what do you want?” I sat straight up and stammered as a presence took shape over my brass four-post bed. At least I determined I could talk, albeit not very intelligently in my dream state. The shape continued to hover over me, within arm’s reach. I twisted in my covers, attempting to lunge towards my dresser drawer where I kept my gun. As my hand continued to fumble for the dresser knob, coldness brushed against my backside. At that instant, I gave up my hunt for the gun and reverted to my backside, hoping confrontation might keep the invading demon at bay. I shouted. “Back off and identify yourself.” I felt silly. I couldn’t very well command this thing to put its hands behind its back–if it had hands–let alone expect it to adhere to laws and protocols devised by those living in the real world.

The thing, best described as a floating transparent body of liquid, actually started to comply. It reversed itself away from me, about a yard or so. Now it hovered over my Victorian vanity chair. I seriously hoped its liquid makeup wouldn’t drip all over my prized antique. It began to glow blue, probably because it was in the direct path of a moonbeam.

Now tell me who are you.” Hoarse and raspy, my voice no longer sounded like mine. I tried to recall my vision where I had been speaking to the spirit of Alastair Crowley. My voice had sounded like mine then. In fact, I’d felt no different in that dream state whatsoever; I had classified that experience as a vision. But now, as I sat cowering in my bed, I felt more as if in a dream. I willed my legs to move, but like in a dream, they were uncooperative as if an iron vise was keeping them in place. As I struggled to escape my covers, the thing spoke to me in a whispered voice. Whatever it was, it was now inside my head!

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