A Season To Remember
Four Short Stories For Christmas
by

Susanne Bellamy
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Noelle Clark
and
Eva Scott

Available for Free
at
Smashwords

Three Ships
by
Elizabeth Ellen Carter


An adventure romance set in the early 19th century on the Devon Coast.

Excerpt:

“Why doesn’t the lieutenant do something?” Laura whispered tautly.

“Just wait,” her father insisted.

Blackwell too had stopped running as he watched his two men close the gap. They were now only ten yards away when Renten picked up the lantern, pulled out the candle and dropped it in the cauldron.

The blackguards closed in – five yards, two yards – then the powder in the cauldron ignited. Renten disappeared in a flash of light and billowing smoke.

The two men ran into the miasma and, a moment later, their cries of distress were heard as they ran right off the edge of the cliff.

Laura gripped her father’s hand at the sound and the sight.

When the white-blue smoke cleared, the cliff edge was deserted, save for the cauldron.

Sands of Time
by
Noelle Clark

Kitty faces her first Christmas without the love of her life. She looks back with fondness on the memories of Christmases past and, with the love and support of her grandson Joe, finds inner strength to face the future with anticipation. Kitty realises that, as she gets older, time passes so quickly. Although sad and happy memories flood through her on this special Christmas day, she chooses to embrace every moment of life.

Excerpt:

They were nearing Kingfisher Island. Not a grain of the tract that joined the small sandy cay to the mainland was visible. A couple of small boats were moored along the deep channel on the southern side of the causeway, with people fishing from them. The boats bobbed up and down on the whitecaps, sometimes disappearing from view, then emerging again.

“Just over there, please, Joe. Near that clump of mangroves.”

Joe pulled on one oar, turning the bow of the boat towards where she pointed. Within a minute, she heard the sand scraping against the keel under the boat. Clamping her hand on the gunwale for support, she stood carefully and jumped over the side, landing in knee-deep water. Joe shipped the oars and joined her, the water not even reaching halfway to his knees. He grabbed the pointy prow and pulled the boat up onto the beach.

She gazed around her, the familiar sight of the few remaining stumpy mangrove trees, and the covering of pigface on the small dunes bringing a lump to her throat. The mauve star-shaped blossoms of the coastal succulent groundcover looked exactly as they had done for all these years. Nature’s legacy, constant and predictable, unlike humans, whose term on this planet was fleeting. For a moment she recalled the faint, salty perfume of the little dune succulents whose strong roots helped the sandy hillocks from washing away with each tide. When crushed, they emitted a soft waft of delicate scent. Not for the first time, she wondered why they’d been given the hideous name of pigface.

Joe’s outstretched hand appeared before her eyes, inviting her to take it. She refocused her vision, reached out, grasped it, and took a few steps through the water and up towards the sandy beach. Joe tugged gently on her hand, helping her to stand upright in the choppy waters which made the little boat bob roughly. A cascade of spray caught them both in the face as it slapped against the side of the wooden boat with a thud. They laughed in unison, blinking at each other through salt-filled eyes.

“Gotcha, Nan.” Joe’s smile, always so generous, beamed at her. She smiled back, raised her arm, and wiped her face with the sleeve of her blouse.

He held on to her hand until she reached the dry beach, then he stretched into the prow of the dinghy and pulled out an anchor attached to a sturdy rope, walked further up the beach, and buried it firmly into the sand. When it was secured, Joe turned and retrieved the picnic basket and the rest of the things they needed for their visit to the island, and deposited them where the low dunes met the beach. She walked to the picnic basket, leaned over and opened it, took out an old blue blanket, and spread it down on the sparse tufts of grass. Ignoring her sand-encrusted feet, she stepped onto the blanket, sank back on her elbows and gazed dreamily up at the cobalt sky.

All That Glitters
by
Eva Scott

Molly is a modern day Cinderella, second best to her half-sister Aimee and never measuring up to her step-mother’s expectations. Now Aimee has the chance to marry an elderly millionaire and Molly is expected to keep the man’s grandson, Connor Rathmore, from sabotaging the event. Handsome, charismatic and very, very sexy – how is she going to keep him from sabotaging her heart?

Excerpt:

“Well, are you ready?” She sounded rude but it was all she could manage to say. On the way over to pick him up she’d been too preoccupied to consider him at all. Instead she replayed the conversation she’d had with her stepmother. After receiving a reprimand for arriving late, Maria had grilled her over Connor Rathmore and found her answers less than satisfactory. Then the lecture started on her appearance. Where were the shoes? She’d kicked off those horrible expensive shoes at the airport and hadn’t given them another thought. An unforgivable act in her stepmother’s eyes. It was impressed upon her that she must try harder and remember her sister’s happiness. Of course. Molly loved her half-sister, Aimee, despite the fact the girl was spoilt rotten. Underneath all the embellishments she really did have a good heart. It wasn’t Aimee’s fault she’d been raised to be a life-sized doll.

She appraised the man before her. She steeled herself not to react to him. When he’d opened the hotel room door, more primal male than any man she had ever encountered, something unexpected happened to her. Bam! Right to the heart. Very inconvenient and impossible, the idea could not be entertained. Not for a millisecond. The consequences would be devastating.

“Good evening to you too.” He bestowed what she assumed was his best killer smile. “Shall we go?”

He stepped through the door, so close the heat radiating off his body hit her like a furnace. Her natural reserve began to melt. The scent of him was so… masculine and her knees wobbled as she caught her breath. Moving away wasn’t an option, even if she tried.

He smiled as if aware of the effect he had on her. Without looking back he strode towards the elevator and pushed the button. They stood in silence side by side while they waited. The animal magnetism between them shimmered, increasing with every passing second.

Molly’s senses scrambled. She stumbled into the lift. This situation would need careful handling. The man beside her must not guess his presence caused a meltdown. Her attraction to him created a complication she did not need. Just one week. Please help me make it through this one week. If her stepmother suspected an attraction between Molly and Connor, all hell would break loose.

A Touch of Christmas
by
Susanne Bellamy

As Starship Bluefire settles into orbit around Earth, Captain Andra Veluthian anticipates meeting her favourite human, Colonel Nick Madigan. Have his efforts to save the planet succeeded? And if so, will she lose any chance to be with him?

Knowing Andra’s fascination with all things Terran, Nick has planned a surprise for her. After all, it is Christmas, the season of giving. But when Earth’s leader and the Gravlarian captain spend time planet side, the temperature soars.

Excerpt:

Starship Bluefire – Log entry #1878 Orbit established around Planet Earth. Local time: 0715 – 22 December 2525 AD

“Reverse thruster off. Docking complete, Captain.”

Captain Andra Veluthian ordered her viewing screen to retract, rolled her shoulders then rested her head against the padded headrest of her Conforma-chair and looked at the view. Framed by a huge window on the bridge, planet Earth appeared close and surprisingly whiter than on her last stopover two years earlier. Through breaks in the dense cloud cover she could even discern the long coastline of what Earth dwellers used to call South America and, just appearing on the western edge across an expanse of ocean, was the island continent they called Australia. Home of the wombat, wallaroo and one handsome colonel.

Colonel Nicholas Madigan, political leader and guiding hand in Earth’s struggle against extinction.

Last visit, the fair-haired colonel had set more than a few hearts pounding among her crew. Including hers.

About The Authors

Elizabeth Ellen Carter

A future with words was always on the books for Elizabeth Ellen Carter who started writing her own stories when she ran out of Nancy Drew mysteries to read at the age of ten. Using her mother’s Olivetti typewriter with all italic keys, she spent endless school holidays making up her own (italicised) stories and then using the Dewey Decimal System to arrange and categorise her bookshelf.

Somewhere around the age of 13, she determined to become a journalist and at 17 was awarded a newspaper cadetship. She covered news, council, education and health but had the most fun as an entertainment and features reporter covering film, TV and music.

Best of all, she met her husband at the newspaper and, together, they started a small award-winning media, marketing and advertising agency. Today, she works as marketing manager for an international organic skin care company.

In 2012, Elizabeth also returned to the keyboard to write stories (and found laptops are so much better than manual typewriters).

Her debut novel, Moonstone Obsession, was shortlisted for the 2013 Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Awards for unpublished manuscripts.

Elizabeth is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Australian Romance Readers Association and the Gold Coast Writers Association. She is currently published by Etopia Press.

Website: http://eecarter.com/

Noelle Clark

Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and commercial historical fiction novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful, exotic, and interesting locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings. She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle’s not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading. Noelle is a member of Queensland Writers Centre; YON Beyond Writing Group; Romance Writers of Australia; and Australian Romance Readers Association, and is currently published by Etopia Press and Secret Cravings Publishing.

Website: www.noelleclark.net

Eva Scott

Eva Scott writes contemporary romance set in her homeland of Australia and historical fiction set in the Ancient World. Her books offer passion and adventure in some of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world. Her heroes and heroines are strong, sassy and ready to rise to their challenges, and learn a little bit about themselves along the way.

Having lived overseas for several years, Eva returned to study Anthropology before heading off to live in Papua New Guinea for a year. There she met the love of her life, author G.W. Gibson, who was stationed there with the Australian Defence Force. The rest is history, romantic history.

She now lives on the Redcliffe peninsula with her husband, small son and an assortment of animals. When Eva is not writing she enjoys mentoring first-time authors, cooking up a story, practising yoga and getting out on the bay on her stand-up paddle board.

Eva is a member of Romance Writers of Australia; North Lakes Writers Group; Queensland Writers Centre and Australian Romance Readers Association. She is published by Musa Publishing and Harlequin Escape.

Website: http://www.evascottromance.com/

Susanne Bellamy

Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations. Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to the real life one she married. He saved her life then married her. They live on the edge of bush land on a mountain in beautiful sunny Queensland, Australia with two children and their dog.

Paris will always be one of her top spots, and she fell in love with Scotland when they visited the west coast (nothing to do with fine single malts!), and recently had her first real trip to Italy–tick off one Bucket List item! She has enjoyed New Year in Kathmandu and trekked in the Annapurnas, sailed in Ha Long Bay on a junk, and stayed on a floating hotel beside a tethered elephant in Thailand. The Peak in Hong Kong and Mt Faber cable car ride in Singapore are favourite spots. Susanne loves travelling to new places and exploring the culture and history, and meeting new people. These experiences are gradually being incorporated into her stories.

Her as yet unrealised dream is a trip into Earth’s orbit.

Susanne is a member of RWA and enjoys mentoring new authors. She is published with Escape Publishing, and will be a 2015 release author with Entangled Publishing.

Website: http://www.susannebellamy.com/

 
 

Thank you for joining me for I Am A Reader, Not A Writer's Gratitude Giveaways Blog Hop!

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I'd like to thank Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for organizing this giveaway. This blog hop runs from November 15th through November 30th and has almost 200 blogs participating! We're giving our readers a huge "THANK YOU" to show our appreciation! Enter below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, and don't forget to check out the other participating blogs!

Be sure to stop by all of the other blogs giving away prizes!
Good Luck!!

 
 

Honor's Debt
by
Noelle Clark

On a quest to make amends for a long-ago indiscretion, Honor unexpectedly discovers the one thing she’s been missing in her life.

Honor Quirk arrives in Ireland excited—and a bit anxious—about meeting up with the estranged family of her late great-grandmother. The welcome from the residents of Robinhill Farm, Dermot and Bryan, is confusing and far from comforting. One is warm, the other aggressive. The outwardly antagonistic Bryan makes it very clear he doesn't want her there, branding her a gold digger.

Dermot, on the other hand, is delighted to meet her.

But Honor is no pushover and stands up to Bryan, letting him know that his bad attitude and trail of baggage have nothing to do with her. Despite their confrontational and hostile relationship, an undeniable attraction to each other creeps insidiously into the house on Robinhill Farm. They both desperately try to stifle the sparks, but living under the same roof makes it impossible. Unable to cope with the turmoil of living with Bryan, Honor runs away, straight into the arms of a charming newfound friend, Sean, who offers her a home—and love.

Shattered, Bryan finally takes control of his irrational belief that all women are evil, and fights to bring back the woman he loves. But is it too late?

Excerpt

The kettle on the gas hob began to whistle, the toaster popped, and the telephone rang. Honor, breaking her fixated stare at this brutish man, snapped into action. She grabbed the teapot, whisked off its woollen jacket and took it over to the kettle. While she busied herself adding tea leaves and filling it with boiling water, she glanced back over her shoulder. Bryan shovelled food into his mouth as though he hadn’t eaten in weeks. Dermot chatted on the phone, something about a delivery of lucerne bales. She placed the now filled teapot on the table, grabbed the toast and placed it next to Bryan.

He looked up at her and again their eyes held. This time, though, she noticed that some of the fire had gone out. In fact, he looked tired. Exhausted. There were fine lines etched at the corners, near the place where his thick, dark brows ended and his beard began.

“Your eyes. You have Dermot’s eyes.”

She stared unblinking as his deep voice resonated in her ears. It was as though he had two personalities, she mused. For some strange reason, she felt a surge of tenderness for this aggressive, bad-tempered, beast of a man.

Available Now:

About Noelle Clark

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Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and historical novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful and often exotic locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people, as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature, heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings.

She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle's not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading.

Contact Links

·         Website www.noelleclark.net

·         Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NoelleClark.Author

·         Twitter @noelle_clark

·         Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Noelle-Clark/e/B00CENUDLC

·         Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7046284.Noelle_Clark


 
 

Wild Fire
Guardian Witch Book Six
by
Ally Shields
Keep Reading for Contest Details!!

A vision. A lost talisman. A dangerous journey through time...

A month after their bonding, Ari and Andreas are still adjusting to married life when they learn the hard way that the O-Seven, the terrifying and brutal vampire elders, still have them in their sights. A three million dollar bounty hangs over each of their heads, and there’s no lack of assassins eager to collect.

When the local seer has a terrifying vision of the destruction of Riverdale, it’s up to Ari—as usual—to keep everyone safe. Only this time, an enemy from the past has bound her fire powers, and the city’s string of arsons seems connected.

Daron, the vampire prince in Toronto, has information that two of the vampire elders are on their way to Riverdale. Which can’t be good. Only a risky and unprecedented journey through time can provide the help they need. But that will leave Andreas to face the O-Seven alone...

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/13LH078
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wild-fire-ally-shields/1120690072?ean=2940150528499
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/wild-fire-12
Also available at most online booksellers

Click here for Official Trailer on You Tube!
Excerpt:

The tracks in the snow gradually moved up the slope toward the older parts of Riverdale, out of the tourist district, past residential homes, angling toward the cliff area that overlooked the Mississippi River. Then it took a sharp swing north.

Ari looked ahead, her gaze following the tracks through the gate and into the Riverdale Cemetery. "I don't like this." She came to a stop with one hand on the gate. "Don't you think the trail is a bit too obvious? As if he wanted us to follow him?" Her eyes scanned the cemetery grounds for anything unusual, a shadow, a hint of color out of place among the stones and crypts. The only sizable tracks went behind a tall mausoleum.

"A trap?" Ryan drew his pistol. "Do you sense something?"

"Maybe. But there is a lot of magical interference in graveyards." Ari frowned. She sensed a flicker of Otherworld power, but it didn't feel right. Shielded? Would a halfling demon be that good? She eased through the gate; Ryan followed close behind. Her magic stirred, raising the hairs on her arms, and she stopped, extending her witch senses to probe the area around them—tasting, smelling, touching the environment. Her magic roared to life.

"Back!" she shouted. "Power. And lots of it."

Two gigantic figures leaped from the top of the nearest crypt. A howling rent the quiet of the cemetery. By the time the creatures landed—one in front of Ari and Ryan, and the other cutting them off from the gate—both had morphed into fiery red, eight-foot demons, their eyes deep black holes. Each carried a metal shield and swung a five-foot mace.

"Hellsgate warriors!" Ari crouched, raising her fingers to call the witch fire to her command.

Author Bio:

Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, and considers herself a "river rat." The setting and folklore of that area are often incorporated into her Guardian Witch series. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009. She loves writing, reading and traveling. Way too often she can be found on Twitter. @ShieldsAlly

You Can Find Ally Shields at:

Other Books in the Series:

Awakening the Fire (#1); Fire Within (#2; Burning Both Ends (#3); Blood and Fire (#4); Fire Storm (#5).

Coming Soon!

Cross Keys, a Dark Elf urban fantasy (Oct. 3, 2014)

Eternal Fires (Guardian Witch #7) (TBA)

Let's have some Fun!!

Blog Tour GIVEAWAY: Nov. 7 - 10:  Readers and writers always talk about characters in books, but settings are almost as important, and they play a huge role in the Guardian Witch series. Wild Fire is no exception, and this blog tour is revealing several settings that are the backdrop for major events in this new release. In fact, I think they're so important that I'm running a special contest.

If you collect the names and numbers of all ten settings, you could win your choice of three ebooks in the series (including this latest release) or a $15.00 Amazon gift certificate. It's easy to do. Here are the rules.

Visit the blogs on this list -- or enough to collect all ten settings -- then email me at allyshieldsbooks@gmail.com by 9:00 a.m. EDT, Monday, November 10, 2014 with your completed list. You will automatically be entered in the random drawing (two winners).

NOTE: A setting may appear on more than one blog, so be sure you have 10 different settings before turning in your entry.

Here is the list of participating blogs*:
AJ Locke

Angela Myers

Brinda Berry

Carmen Stefanescu

Danielle Devor

Dani-Lyn Alexander

DL Richardson

JL Buck

Joyce Laverne

Kath Marsh

Kirstin Pulioff

Lindsey Loucks

Norma Huss

Sue Roebuck

Tina Gayle

Erin Moore



(*If you can't find any of the posts, return to allyshields.com for updated links.)

Now for the setting: #6
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Setting #6:  Olde Town Cemetery -
This old cemetery is making its first prominent appearance in the series. It is located near the cliffs of the Mississippi River.





More Fun: Those of you who are reading this before 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. EDT on November 7, are invited to join us at the official Facebook release party (https://www.facebook.com/events/314795258698003/) for games and prizes, including books, swag and more gift certificates!!


Good luck! Thanks for joining Wild Fire's release celebration!

 
 

Thank you for joining me for the release of
Reluctant Prince
Kingdom of Cymmera Book One

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Betrayal lies cloaked in shadow.

Seventeen year old Ryleigh Donnovan is certain her life is cursed. Nothing ever goes smoothly, and her first job interview is no exception. An earthquake rocks the building, sending Ryleigh on a frantic search for her younger sister, a search which lands her in the hospital. Terrified they’ll push her for answers she can’t afford to give, Ryleigh flees with a mysterious stranger.

Jackson Maynard is about to be ordained as a Death Dealer, a warrior for the Kingdom of Cymmera, but first he must pass one more test. When he fails to acquire the human girl the prophet has chosen, he’s forced to stand trial for treason. Banished from his realm, he seeks out the girl from the vision, Ryleigh Donnovan, and together they embark on a journey to save his dying kingdom.

Advance Praise

"A gorgeously wrought fantasy realm with a heroine who will make you cheer!" ~Wendy Higgins, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy.

"Reluctant Prince grips you from the beginning and won't let go...fresh and engaging."  ~ Ally Shields, author of the Guardian Witch series.

"A thrilling ride on a rollercoaster of danger that'll keep you gasping for breath with every turn of the page."  ~ Laura Diamond, author of The Zodiac Collector.

"Dani-Lyn weaves a tale of family bonds, untapped abilities and an alternate world of fantastic wonders, all discovered by a courageous heroine and a swoon-worthy hero I want to see again and again!" ~ Contemporary Romance Author, Theresa DaLayne.

“Reluctant Prince takes readers on a heart pounding journey through the realms. Fantastical world building and a captivating hero keep pages turning to the end.” ~ Julie Anne Lindsey, author of Prophecy and Deceived

Available Now

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Excerpt

Jackson clutched the stone wall of his chamber and gasped for air. What had just happened? He had returned to Cymmera, of that he was certain, but how? He hadn’t accessed the gateway. At least he didn’t remember opening it. A vision of her assailed him, beat at him, reminded him that he’d failed.

Oh, man. He was in trouble. He pushed away from the wall.

Images of his target taunted him.

He shoved a chair aside and tore through the pictures scattered across the table in a desperate search for salvation. There. He pulled the shot from the mess but found only condemnation. The long blond hair flowing behind her in the snapshot had not been visible to him, but there was no mistaking the deep blue of her eyes.

The pounding of a fist against the heavy wood door released him from whatever spell she’d cast.

“Jackson.” Another loud thud punctuated his name.

He struggled to get his bearings, tried to slow the racing of his heart. “Yeah, one minute.”

“Now. Your father wants to see you, immediately.”

Kai, his father’s most trusted warrior. He was in more trouble than he’d originally thought. Was it possible the king would sentence him to death for ignoring a direct order? Surely not without offering him a fair trial, or at least granting him the opportunity to explain. But what could he say? What explanation could there be for failing to deliver the girl? None.

“I won’t knock again.” The warrior would soon break down the door and drag him before the throne.

He crumpled the offending photo, the evidence of his disgrace, into a ball. Instead of tossing it in the trash as he’d intended, he shoved it into the small leather satchel he wore at his waist. With a deep breath, he released the latch and pulled open the door.

“Come.” Kai turned his back on him and strode purposefully down the corridor, their footfalls echoing through the silence of accusation.

The thought of escape taunted him, but he would never make it out of the castle. He had only recently completed his warrior training under Kai’s watch and would be no match for the seasoned soldier. Besides, Kai was a stickler for the rules. If he tried to run, the warrior would surely take him down, protégé or not.

Enter for Your Chance to Win!

Thank You for joining me for the release of Reluctant Prince!!

 
 

Night Owl Reviews 2014 Halloween Booklovers Contest
October 1st - 31st
Enter Below to Win Amazon Gift Cards

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3 = $100 Amazon Gift Cards

4 = $50 Amazon Gift Cards

27 = $25 Amazon Gift Cards

 
 

Chasing the Sun
An Earth Relic Novel
Book One
by
Sasha Abernathy

Hunted by Chaos. Protected by Death. Guided by Fire.
Terran is now the key to a world she never knew existed.

Normal was what Terran did best – house, job, dog, friends – rinse and repeat. She never knew demigods existed, or that you could journey to other realms, manipulate nature with your mind, or that the dead weren’t really gone at all, but instead existed in the Underworld. No, she lived the mundane life of any twenty-seven-year-old Alaskan girl…until she met Aiden, the complicated and gorgeous new local art gallery owner.

As their fiery relationship evolves into something more, Terran finds herself surrounded by a world of nightmares and gods, when the mysterious Aiden proves to be more than a simple man. Soon, Terran finds that she is not so simple herself. As an ancient evil threatens to escape and unleash all Hell, Terran must dive into a magical world she never knew existed to save them all…even if that means giving up her life to do it.

Genre:
Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Crimson Frost Books
Date of Publication: October 21, 2014

Available Now At:

Chasing the Sun Bookstrand http://www.bookstrand.com/chasing-the-sun-0
Chasing the Sun - http://crimsonfrostbooks.com/?p=372 (Our bookstore)
Chasing the Sun - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/486756

Excerpt

"Aren't these Aiden’s pieces?" Micah had caught up to me and seemed as perplexed as I did.

"Yeah, I guess so.”

“Who would have thought he'd donate his work?" Micah commented and then lost interest, walking away as she saw someone she recognized.

I stayed, staring in shock.

"Don't look so surprised. Your friend Jon's charity is truly for a good cause."

I shouldn't have lingered. By now I should have known to avoid anything having to do with Aiden. Many of the contributing artists were here to help promote their pieces so I should have known. But somehow he always caught me off guard.

"Actually, I'm surprised you have a heart at all." My disdain oozed off my words as I gave him the biggest scowl I could muster.

However ugly I thought his attitude, I couldn't say the same about his appearance. Aiden cleaned up nicely in his all-black tuxedo. His hair had been gelled down, but you could still see the natural wave of it. His tux looked as if it had been custom-made, which made me curious. How many black-tie events did he go to in order to have purchased a custom tux?

But, who cared? With my shoulders back, chest raised, and chin up I turned my head, grabbed my dress on the sides and walked away. Screw him.

I got about three steps away before I heard him.

"You look beautiful," he said to my back. It stopped me, my heart thumping loud in my chest. An immeasurable amount of time had passed since someone besides my friends had told me I was beautiful. I could feel him staring at me, but I didn't move. I only stood there, frozen.

"Terran," His voice was soft with yearning. It was then that I gained enough courage to walk away. I had already made up my mind about him. He was too complicated and I was tired of the ups and downs of his mood. This man would break my spirit, at least what little of it I fought to keep.

Top 10 Favorite Artists to Listen to While Writing

Let me preface this segment with the following: If I had to describe my music taste, I would say it is eclectic. Each key, tone, and beat of the music feels like another language that enhances my overall mood. I love to work in silence, so I could become lost in my world. But, some scenes definitely require music. So, without further ado, here are my Top 10 most inspiring artists for writing.

1.       Deftones. Without a doubt, the harsh vocals and pounding beats amplified my adrenaline when I really needed to get into those scenes that were full of energy. The best way for an author to make sure the reader feels the story, is to feel those emotions themselves while writing. That’s one of my favorite things about the whole process! Around the Fur was the best album for getting into the characters heart-pounding, adrenaline-junky rush of excitement.

2.       Deadmau5. Another great artist to get the energy pumping. But where Deftones left me aggressive, determined, and ready to go, Deadmau5’s album, 4 x 4 = 12, left me funky, fun, and upbeat. This was the perfect album for those scenes where Terran, my main character, got a little bit ornery. Deadmau5 put me in the perfect mood to write those fast and fun scenes.

3.       Mos Def. I fell in love with Mos Def after he played Ford Perfect in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (One of my favorite books). Then of course, who couldn’t love him in Dexter! But, that’s beside the point. J His album The New Danger has been one of my favorites for years. With a nice blend of rock riffs and sexy rhythmic rap, you can’t help but wiggle while you write those flirty scenes.

4.       Radiohead. Who doesn’t love the awkward and innocent vocals that OK Computer gives us. There something about the music that taps into that deeply hidden and insecure part of me. Radiohead put me just in the mood to write those scenes where your characters feel vulnerable and emotionally raw.

5.       Nina Simone. So one of the best things about the internet in Pandora. J I always knew I loved ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone, but I never knew anything about this soulful beauty until I explored her on Pandora. Her rich voice needs no music. When needing to write a calm and well thought-out scene where character movement was pivotal, Nina Simone was the perfect companion.

6.       The Mars Volta. Similar to Radiohead in the sense that it taps into my more vulnerable side, Amputechture by The Mars Volta was perfect for those more whimsical scene and melancholy scenes. Where Radiohead was raw, The Mars Volta and clean, polished, and smooth. The vocals suck me in and let me feel like I was falling into the eerie dream world of Terran.

7.       Cake. Fashion Nugget is one of those albums that are perfect for background noise. I think I’ve listed to this album more times than I care to count. The upbeat rhythm and quirky horns is perfect for those transition scenes. I am put in the mood to drive my car down a winding and smooth highway in the Rocky Mountains. And this feeling of smooth passage is exactly what you need when switching scenes.

8.       Johnny Cash. I am not a huge fan of country. Not at all. But there’s something about those classic guys that really gets me going. The Legend of Johnny Cash is a great compilation of his greatest songs. You go from fun and laughing with A Boy Named Sue, to the heartbreaking song he recorded after his wife passed, Hurt. His music is a great example of a story arch. You need all those moments of happiness, sorrow, pain, and hope. Not only do you need them in the story, but you need them in your characters to create depth. I love listening to Johnny when doing character profiling.

9.       The Lost Highway Soundtrack. Eerie and ranging from elevator type tune of Antonio Carlos Jobim to the blasting a masculine Rammstein, I can’t get enough of this soundtrack. I’ve never seen the movie, but was introduced to the music first by my husband who is a big fan. I almost don’t want to watch it now because I don’t want it to be a disappointment compared to the album. Perfect for those otherworldly scenes, this soundtrack puts me in the mood of dreams, nightmares, and where seduction of the unknown becomes irresistible.

10.   Silence. Absolutely nothing. That’s right. This is kind of a cheat since it’s technically not an artist, but I couldn’t do a top 10 without including it. Sometimes life feels like it should have a soundtrack. But at other times, life feels like you’re all alone and the only thing that is comforting is silence. We spin around like crazy in this demanding world, and sometimes sitting and doing nothing but being in your own head is the best thing that can happen. Silence is perfect when writing those reflective scenes where your character is making game-changing decisions.

Thanks for checking out my top 10 favorite artists to listen to while writing!

About Sasha Abernathy

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Born in Germany to a Puerto Rican mother and All-American Military father, who saw fit to give her a Russian name, Sasha Abernathy has always loved storytelling, traveling, and doing all things silly. Raised in Oklahoma, but eventually moving everywhere from Alaska to Spain, Sasha has finally settled in the beautiful state of Colorado. With her loving husband, two wild sons, and neurotic labradoodle, Sasha is surrounded by way too much testosterone and escapes through her mysteriously whimsical and romantic novels.

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Twitter: @EarthRelic

 
 

Night Owl Reviews 2014 Halloween Booklovers Contest
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The Zodiac Collector
by
Laura Diamond

For almost-16 year-old Anne Devans, the annual Renaissance Faire means three things—her dad spending weeks in the smithy, her bipolar mom doing some manic costume making, and another ruined birthday for her and her twin sister, Mary.

This year, Anne wants things to be different, and she’s going to do things her way.

On the eve of the Faire, Anne (along with a reluctant Mary) conjures up a spell that will make their 16th birthday party a whirlwind event. Little do they know that it’s a literal request.

After the mini tornado in their room subsides, the girls realize they’ve invoked the power of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. That’s the good news. The bad news is they also caught the attention of a sorceress named Zeena who has been collecting children born under each Zodiac Sign to enhance her power. Once she captures Anne and Mary, Gemini twins, the entire Zodiac—and the world—will be hers.

Anne leads the fight against Zeena, but her one-sided decisions could throw them into a world so far from home, even the Renaissance Faire would seem like a brilliant vacation. Between managing their new Zodiac powers, dodging their manic mother and trying to stop Zeena, they’ll get a 16th birthday they’ll never forget.

Book Details:

Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal

Paperback, 328 pages

Published by Spencer Hill Press

Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Advance Praise

“I knew this novel was promising when I read the blurb on Goodreads, and it far surpassed my expectations. A dystopian with mounting suspense, tons of conflict, and an interesting theme, this novel was hard to put down! Anything but predictable, Laura Diamond had me guessing what was going to happen next, throughout!” ~April Wood, blogger of A Well Read Woman

About Laura Diamond

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“Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. She’s a lucid dreamer, meaning she can direct her dreams while they’re happening. When she’s awake, she pens stories from her dreams and shares them with her readers. Laura has many published titles including the Pride Series (New Pride, Shifting Pride, soon to be re-released, and Tsavo Pride), the Endure Series (Endure and Evoke, soon to be re-released), The Zodiac Collector, a novella Sunset Moon in the Lore anthology, and several shorts stories. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond–Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.”

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Prophecy
The Calypso Series
Book One
by
Julie Lindsey

On the other side of death, is destiny.

Callie Ingram is spending her senior year focused on one thing: swimming. Her skill as a competitive swimmer is going to secure a scholarship and her future, or so she hopes. She has big plans, and Liam Hale, her gorgeous new neighbor, isn’t going to affect them. But when Callie sees Liam beheading someone, she learns his family has a secret that will change everything. The Hales are Vikings, demi-gods who’ve been charged by The Fates to find their new destined leader.

Callie’s caught in the middle of a budding Norse apocalypse, in love with Liam Hale and desperate to protect her best friend—who the Hales believe is marked for transformation. Putting the clues together as fast as she can, Callie discovers she has the power to rewrite destiny, for herself and all humankind.

Amazon               B&N                      Kensington                         iTunes

Excerpt

“Come on in.” The look in his eye stirred something in my middle, as if he’d issued a challenge.

I dove in. Under water, my hazy mind cleared. My limbs felt alive. I broke the surface rejuvenated. “Oh my goodness. I feel amazing.” I blinked salt water from my eyes.

“I’m glad.” Liam treaded water, closing the space between us slowly.

My fingertips traced the white scars on his chest. “Do you mind?” I glanced into his eyes, barely able to break focus on the luminous lines over his chest. They called to me. Whether because their shape was so familiar or because it broke my heart to think someone had carved into him this way.

“No. I don’t mind.” His breath shuddered over the words. “How do you see the runes?” His fingers encircled my wrist, stopping my hand against his skin.

“It’s the same one on the tombstones. Why’d you do this?” I flattened my palm over his heart. “Was it because your father died?” I bit my lip and shut my eyes. He hadn’t told me about his father. “I researched you online and I read about your dad. Was that the reason you moved?”

Liam released me. “You see the runes on the tombstones as well?”

“Yes.” Discussing his dad’s death, his move, and his scar were apparently off limits. I swallowed my irritation as I tallied up the things we couldn’t talk about. Fine. Maybe I could figure out what the rune meant without his help. “I grew up wandering the cemetery, collecting acorns and buckeyes. Mom took me for picnics when I was young. The kids played there in grade school. When they stopped, I kept going. It’s my quiet place. I think there and walk Chester there. I have chalk rubbings of almost all the stones.”

His eyes widened.

“The runes never come through. They’re smooth.”

Liam blinked, unspeaking.

“Did you do this to yourself?” I touched his scar lightly.

“No.”

My eyes flashed to his. I hated this option worse than any other. “Who did?”

His soft green eyes darkened. “I will answer your question on one condition.”

My heart jumped. “Okay.”

Liam lifted a palm to my cheek. Watching me closely, he slid his other hand to the back of my neck, cupping my head and bringing me closer in the warm salt water. He brushed his thumb over my lips and lifted my chin with his fingers. “Still okay?”

I nodded, hoping I wouldn’t forget how to swim or breathe.

His lips whispered against mine with feather light pressure, testing me.

The dusting of his lips ignited something inside me and worry washed away. I inclined my chin, pressing my mouth to his, savoring the electricity flowing through my veins. Liam’s lips parted. “And now?”

I draped my arms over his broad shoulders and curled my fingers into his hair. “Still fine.”

Callie’s in good hands, I promise….you know, in case you were worried for her. I hope you enjoyed the teaser and will consider reading more about Liam and Callie. You can find them on where digital books are sold.

About Julie Lindsey

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Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

 
Find Julie online:

Julieannelindsey.com

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