Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Interview with debut mystery author Sylvia Sarno

Today’s special guest is Sylvia Sarno to tell us a little bit about her writing life, and particularly her new novel, Sufficient Ransom.

Since I was a child I've been fascinated with stories. When I was about six years old, my father started reading classic stories to me and my sisters at bedtime. He read (in a theatrical way that kids love) Gulliver's Travels and a number of Shakespeare's plays, simplifying the language and condensing the stories so that we could understand them. When I got older, I considered a career as a writer. But the thought of writing a book seemed so arduous to me, though I loved to read and discuss them. I wanted to work in business. In college, I majored in English because I loved the subject. I planned to learn about business by working in companies, not by studying them. After working in commercial real estate, investment banking, and in my own recruiting firm for years, I decided I really wanted to write novels.

Welcome, Sylvia. Please tell us about your current release.
Sufficient Ransom is a mystery/thriller about a mother’s hunt for her missing child. Searching for her son, Ann Olson throws caution to the wind. Soon, she finds herself enmeshed in the seedy world of Mexican drug dealers who operate just across the border in Tijuana. Does Ann, an atheist, embrace Christianity despite her husband warning that her pastor friend is more interested in converting her than in finding her son? Does she make it out of the drug tunnel alive, or is her rashness her downfall? And is her son’s disappearance related to that of other recently missing children in San Diego? A story of a mother’s love, courage in the face of evil, and her unexpected journey of self-discovery along the way.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I was a child living in Turin, Italy in the 1970’s, there was much talk of kidnapping. The heir to a business fortune had been kidnapped in Rome. My parents talked about the situation a lot in front of me and my sisters (maybe they shouldn’t have because it is a scary subject). We were attending an American school and many of my classmates came from wealthy families. Some of the children were driven to school by their bodyguards. Years later, those fearful emotions came back to me and inspired Sufficient Ransom.

Snuggled against Travis in the hotel bed, Ann checked her phone again. She had left Richard several messages and emails urging him to return home early from Hong Kong. Terrified Kika would make good on her promise to take Travis, she couldn’t stand the thought of the next days without her husband. It was nearly midnight and he still hadn’t responded. She imagined his days and nights were jam-packed with meetings, as usual.

With Richard’s heavy travel schedule lately, she and Travis were alone much of the time. It seemed more so since the whole CPS thing started. Ann knew she had to find a new school for her son. She had interviewed a few prospective places, but she wasn’t in any hurry after the disaster of the last school. She cherished their leisurely meals together, their playtime, and visiting all their favorite places, like they used to do when Travis was very small.

Travis had been born four weeks early—small and helpless. Nothing she had read in the books prepared Ann for the awe she felt in the presence of this perfect little person whom she and her husband had created. Terrified something would happen to him, she didn’t take Travis out of the house for the first two months of his life. On their inaugural outing, fearing an accident, she admonished her husband to drive slowly. When they arrived at their destination, an Italian restaurant in Del Mar, she had clutched Travis in his car seat as she ran for the door, afraid the hot sun would burn his delicate skin.

When the waitress bent down to take a look at Travis, sleeping in his seat, Ann threw a blanket over him, fearful germs would somehow reach him. “I’m sorry,” she said to the startled woman. “I’m a little nervous. You see. It’s his first time out.” The waitress, a mother herself, understood, as did the many others whose eager hands Ann had gently turned away. The world, women especially, love to touch a baby. As Travis grew, she relaxed more. But that feeling of vulnerability remained.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My second novel is loosely based on a real-life conflict that occurred in World War II Italy. I am excited about this project because it has enabled me to explore my southern Italian heritage. The rise of fascism is an eye-opening and captivating subject. I’ve always been fascinated by how average people survive in a totalitarian society. The Italian variety under Mussolini was unique in so many ways. Reading about the ingenious ways people devised to cope with the crazy stuff the elite foisted on them has made me appreciate the Italian people all the more.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I sold my first book to a stranger.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write while my kids are in school. When they’re not in school, I spend my time with them and on other tasks like cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. So I guess I would say that I write part-time and am a housewife the rest of the time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I prefer being completely alone in the house to write. People noises (voices, talking) distracts me and sets me day dreaming. I wear earmuffs when others are around.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I’ve always been fascinated by people. I wanted to help those with problems.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I like to eat, at restaurants especially. And I have a sweet tooth that I try—and often fail—to curb. Italian pastries are my favorite. I think I’m addicted to chocolate. I can’t have just one piece—I have to eat the whole bar!


Thank you so much for the opportunity to address your readers, Lisa. I’ve enjoyed it!

It's been my pleasure, Sylvia. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Interview with debut middle grade author Mr. M.

Today’s guest is MG author Mr. M. He’s talking with us about his debut novel The Magical Adventures of Brian Leonard that released this month.

Mr. M. was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He has an MFA from the American Film Institute and a MHD from Pacific Oaks College. He lives with his wife, son, and dog in Sherman Oaks. The dog is super cute!

Welcome, Mr. M. Please tell us about your current release.
Brian's just an ordinary teenager, struggling with the usual trials and tribulations of junior high. He's just started dating Sophia, and he hopes the upcoming school dance will be a memorable event. Hanging out with Sophia and his best friend, Johnny, Brian's shocked to see his uncle Bobby at the dance. Bobby's been dead for years. After warning Brian to stay away and spitting ectoplasmic goo at him and Sophia, Bobby's spirit flees. This is one terrible date.

Brian quickly discovers his spooky encounter was a warning. The spirit of his black-magic-wielding grandmother Esther is restless, and way too active for anyone's good. Thirsting for revenge on the family that rejected her evil, Esther traps Brian's mother and Huck in a ghostly dimension. Brian needs to become a ghost in order to save his mom and uncle!

What inspired you to write this book?
Brian was originally a character I wrote for an unpublished short story. A bulk of the material serves as the first three chapters of this book. The story was about a boy who has a crush on a new girl at his school.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on two stories. One of the stories is the sequel to Brian Leonard. Lately, I have really enjoyed reading young adult books. I loved reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I also enjoyed reading The Fault in Our Stars. When I was a middle school student, I enjoyed reading books like Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. All of these books have really engaging characters.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote a lot when I was in film school. None of my scripts were produced. However, I learned a lot about storytelling. Later on in life I became a television executive. Some of the greatest stories I have seen were episodes of television.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full time. I am a teacher. This is another passion of mine. I normally write after my son goes to bed. It can be challenging at times. Sometimes I feel blocked. When those moments happen I try and write something else. Eventually I will be able to refocus on the project.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am actually incredibly boring. I normally write on a laptop. Sometimes I write in bed. Occasionally, it helps me if I listen to music. Typically, I will listen to rock ‘n’ roll. Listening to punk rock bands also helps me write. I love listening to Blink 182 and Green Day.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I wanted to play baseball for the Dodgers. At the time we had a great infield. Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, and Bill Russell were our guys. We cheered them on during the best and worst of times. I stopped playing organized baseball after the sixth grade. Eventually, I played softball once a week for a day camp I worked at. I would love to throw out the first pitch someday! That would be so cool!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Writing is about sharing. Whether you are a second grader or an adult, it is important to share your creative thoughts. Never be afraid to share your thoughts with another writer. I would love to hear from you. I would love to come visit a book group. The book will be out during the first week in August! Buy a copy!

Thanks, Mr. M.! Happy writing!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book excerpt from Hidden Shadows by Lauren Hope

Today's feature is a book blurb and excerpt for the romantic suspense novel Hidden Shadows by Lauren Hope.

During her virtual book tour, Lauren will be awarding a randomly drawn lucky winner (1) $25 Amazon gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other blog stops and enter there, too! 

Blurb about Hidden Shadows:
Jenna Gregor is a busy, single mom of two, successfully overseeing a Perinatal Wing in a downtown Nashville clinic. On the surface, Jenna’s achievements are many, her future bright and promising. But in her past are secrets, sins she doesn’t want exposed. Sins someone else doesn’t want to forget, or forgive.

Just as Jenna’s life finally seems to be falling back into place after her bitter divorce—Bennett Aston can handle her sarcasm and stubbornness quite nicely—it all begins to unravel. Someone is lurking, hiding in theshadows, slowly and meticulously ruining Jenna’s well-crafted world. As threats evolve, suspicions grow, and death becomes a vivid reality, Jenna must decide whom she can trust and find her allies, before her secrets become her undoing.

Excerpt from Hidden Shadows:
All a child needed was its mother. That’s what her own mom had yelled to her over the booze and music one night when Desiree asked the simple question—where’s my Daddy?

At any rate, she thought lazily, as her mind began to lag with the memories, today was my last attempt.

Her spiraling depression made her unsure if she could even make it to the hospital the next day, much less go unnoticed—especially after being escorted out today by the burly security guard for her suspicious behavior.

The self-pitying thoughts turned to anger again, a hot, boiling, lava-like rage that burned under her skin. She felt as though her head would explode with the pain.

She jumped up, screamed the wrath, and ran to the bathroom’s small stretch of counter. Her thin, pallid face reflected back at her in the mirror above the sink. Breaths puffed out raggedly from her tight lungs as she looked around blankly at the numerous infant outfits scattered throughout the room. She balled her hand in a firm fist, punched the mirror with force, and watched numbly as bits of bloody glass shattered over the sink.

It was freeing in a way, a sense of relief and release to watch her veins spew their red anger. It calmed her some, settled her thoughts.

Control, control, she ordered herself. “You are a bright woman who deserves what she wants. You will not be outsmarted.”

Author bio:
Lauren Hope is the author of the bestselling mystery Screaming To Be Solved, and her first published work, The Shadow Series (Hidden Shadows, Chasing Shadows). Lauren creates a modern twist on the classic 'whodunit,' combining suspense, romance, even comedy, for intriguing, heartfelt stories.

With a background in Communication and Journalism, Lauren has sat behind the anchor's desk and worked in the corporate world, finding her ultimate love in writing. Screaming To Be Solved was named a 'Hot New Release' by Amazon in 2013 and charted in the top 10 on Amazon's international bestseller list.

She lives with her husband, daughter, and floppy-eared rescue pup in Tennessee.


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Friday, August 22, 2014

Book excerpt from This Time (Time for Love Book One) by Trish Edmisten

Trish Edmisten is the author of several novels, including Extraordinary Will, a Reader View’s award winner in the contemporary romance category. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Journal, A Long Story Short, and Creative with Words. Besides being an author, she holds a degree in criminology. Trish lives in Fresno, California with her husband and two daughters.

Trish is touring her novel This Time with Goddess Fish Promotions. As part of the tour, Trish will be giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a lucky winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Blurb for This Time:
Seven years ago, he broke her heart. This time, the tables are turned!

Chelsea Schumacher always knew this day would come. Sooner or later, she would have to face Justin Jacobs, the guy who broke her heart when she was just seventeen years old. With his brother about to marry her best friend, that day is finally here. It’s been seven years since she last saw Justin, but time has done nothing to dull the pain of his rejection. If anything, the ache has grown worse. Determined not to let him have any power over her, and more determined not to ruin her best friend’s wedding, Chelsea makes her own vow. Things will be different this time. Or will they?

Excerpt from This Time:
Their group was too large to fit into a booth at the restaurant so the hostess sat them at a round table. Chelsea’s stomach turned a little when Darren pulled Danni’s chair out for her before taking the seat next to her. Seven years obviously hadn’t done anything to diminish his devotion to her. As happy as she was for her best friend, she was again envious. Why couldn’t she find a man who would gaze down at her with such tenderness as he pulled her chair out for her?

From where they sat, Chelsea could see into the bar where the dance floor was. Music was playing, but only a few couples were dancing.

“You’re going to save me a dance, right?”

Chelsea tore her eyes from the dance floor and sucked in her breath as she turned to face Justin. How the hell did he end up sitting next to her?

“I don’t dance.”

“Don’t or won’t?”

His confident grin grated on her nerves. Just because other women had fallen victim to his intoxicating masculinity and overpowering sexiness didn’t mean she was going to do the same.

“Don’t, end of story.”

Justin leaned forward. “How can it be the end when we haven’t had the beginning?”

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Interview with paranormal romance author Christine Wenrick

Today’s special guest is paranormal romance author Christine Wenrick.

She’s currently doing a virtual book tour for her latest novel, Guarding Poppy, Men of Brahm Hill, Book Two.

During her tour, Christine will be awarding one randomly chosen Grand Prize winner a $100 Amazon gift card and a Runner Up will receive an autographed copies of Someone Else's Skye and Guarding Poppy (US only).

To be entered for a chance to win these great prizes, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Christine is a graduate of Washington State University where she received a BA in Interior Design. And true to form of using mostly her ‘right brain’, she splits her time between her commercial design career and her imaginary world of writing. She lives in the scenic Pacific Northwest where she enjoys hiking, camping and photographing many of the wonderful places that served as inspiration for her writing. Her biggest reward in life is any given day when one of her books connects with a reader because she herself is such a lover of reading. Some of her favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Kimberly Derting.

Welcome, Christine. Please tell us about your current release.
Guarding Poppy is the second book in my paranormal Men of Brahm Hill series, which is an offshoot of my first series The Charmed. The premise is five individual stories of men who are trying to deal with the aftermath and consequences of one giant supernatural battle.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a story about a man who was grieving the loss of his best friend when the right woman enters his life. Alec Lambert is a strong leader who feels a tremendous responsibility to remain strong to those around him even though he has not allowed himself a chance to grieve since his friend’s death. It makes him sort of a cold character in the beginning of our story and is one of many obstacles he and Poppy will have to face in order to find happiness.

“Why. Am. I. On. A. Plane?” Poppy emphasized each word as her hands gripped at the luxurious sofa arm beside her. But the modern jet seemed determined to bounce all of them out of their seats as the cabin continued to jostle about angrily. They were definitely in the middle of some mean turbulence, which was to be expected of anyone fool enough to be flying in a small plane in winter conditions.
“Because it’s the most efficient way to get someone across an ocean,” Alec answered. “We still have about an hour or so before we land. So you’re going to have to let me know if you’re going to panic on me.”
Her gaze narrowed on him angrily as she pushed her next breath through her nostrils. “Can I just hit you instead and we’ll call it even?!”
His brow lifted as if he found that comment interesting.
Poppy leapt to her feet inside the small cabin and she noticed Alec braced his hands against his chair arm as if to steady himself. Surely he didn’t think she was really going to hit him? “You’re not going to trip again, are you?” he asked her.
Poppy glared at him and then down at herself. She was looking for any reasonable explanation to defend the innate clumsiness he’d gotten to experience firsthand within the first minute of meeting her in Joseph’s study. “These are very challenging heels!”
Yep. That was the best she could come up with.
The Elder smiled. No, it was definitely more of a smirk. “I’m sure they are,” he replied. “Now, will you please sit down before you get bounced off your feet? The turbulence may get worse before it gets better.”
Worse?” Poppy squeaked. She might very well end up back in his lap if this turbulence got any worse. She didn’t like to think of herself as a coward, but when it came to flying she definitely was, even more so than her irrational fear of spiders. They just had too many legs. “Look—you need to understand. I don’t fly! Ever . . .! You need to find a way to land this plane, right now!”
“I can’t do that. As I explained, we’re over a lake.”
“Well get un-over the lake!”
The Elder didn’t say anything in response, just seemed to contemplate that. He removed the reading glasses that were a dead giveaway that he was human, though, he looked fit enough to give even one of his Dhampir guards a run for their money. He’d certainly felt fit enough when she had crash-landed into his chest in Joseph’s study . . . which had been utterly embarrassing. One moment, she’d been fully prepared to burst in and make her case to Joseph about why she needed to stay at The Hallow, and the next, the tip of her shoe had caught on the carpet and she was flying forward straight into a complete stranger.
“In an effort to have us all on the ground safely as soon as possible, I do not recommend suddenly veering off course to get ‘un-over’ a lake. We will be starting our descent shortly.”
“Oh God, descent . . .,” she mumbled to herself as she rubbed her hands over her face. “This is not good. This is not good.”
“It will be all—”
“Where are we landing . . . Elder Lambert?” she added awkwardly, realizing they had not actually exchanged first names.
He returned his glasses to the bridge of his nose and went back to looking at his tablet. “You may call me Alec. I much prefer it to Elder Lambert. We’ll be landing in Alberta at The Oracle, The Brethren site I’m in charge of. After discussing it, Joseph and I felt this would be the best place for you to stay.”
“Well, isn’t that nice,” she answered him flippantly. “You discussed it. By any chance—in any of this heavy dialogue—did anyone consider asking me if I wanted to go to Canada?”
Alec just sighed in that ‘you’re going to cause me a lot of trouble, aren’t you’ sort of way.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Next is the third book in my Men of Brahm Hill series, Leaving Lily Behind, which will continue to raise the stakes for all of our characters. It will be released next April.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I saw my first novel, The Charmed, published in paperback. The first year I was releasing only in eBook format. That in itself was great but there is just something about seeing your work in a paperback, something you can hold in your hand that makes it all real.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, writing is a second job for me, which means I can’t write as fast or as often as I would like. For my day job, I own a small commercial interior design/architectural firm. I am very lucky in that I love my day job as much as my writing job. Finding time to write is tricky but you just have to stay committed to it. The hard part is making sure to carve out enough social time with my friends.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My friends tease me that if I give a character a more common name like Bill or Mike, they will surely die before the end of chapter three. They are exaggerating, of course, but I have to admit it’s very true. I like for my characters to have more uncommon names and I am particularly fond of English names like Poppy and Gemma.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An interior designer, which worked out well. My mom could tell early on that I was going to be an interior designer. She said even when I was very young I was constantly rearranging things in my bedroom. And even now, in my writing, you can see that design influence in things like the description of the tree house from my first series, The Charmed.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope that your followers will check out Guarding Poppy and thanks for having me here today to talk a little about my Men of Brahm Hill series. The enthusiasm and dedication of readers is what allows all of us writers to be able to do what we love to do.



Thanks, Christine!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Interview with Christian fiction author Nigeria Lockley

My very special guest today is Christian fiction author Nigeria Lockley. Her debut novel, Born at Dawn, is due to release on September 30.

I'm happy to have her here today to talk about the book and give us a preview of it.

Nigeria Lockley possesses two Master's degrees, one in English Secondary Education, which she utilizes as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second Master's degree is in Creative Writing. Born at Dawn is Nigeria’s first published novel. Nigeria serves as the Vice President of Bridges Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that assists student parents interested in pursuing a degree in higher education. She is also the deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Church of God. Nigeria is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters.

Welcome, Nigeria. Please tell us about your current release.
Born at Dawn chronicles what happens to the members of the Barclay family when their matriarch, Cynthia Barclay decides she cannot wait on God to deliver her and disappears. Leaving behind a husband and two kids Cynthia steps out to reclaim her life.

What inspired you to write this book?
After watching a PBS documentary about the life of James Brown I discovered that his mother had abandoned him. That served as the catalyst of the concept behind Born at Dawn. The more I toiled with the idea and sought God the family grew and their story became clear to me.

“Thanks, Barbara, for letting Keith and James come over,” Cynthia said as soon as Barbara Dillinger opened the front door of her brownstone. “Marvin got tied up at work.” Lying, Cynthia fidgeted nervously on the stoop while waiting for the boys to come out.         
“Looks like he’s not the only one that got tied up,” Barbara said her hazel eyes filled with horror. She pointed at the welts Marvin’s hands had left around Cynthia’s neck. “Why don’t you come in and relax for a moment?” Barbara opened the door wide enough for Cynthia to slide through. “The boys are upstairs playing—karate chopping and body slamming each other. A few more minutes of play isn’t going to hurt them.”
            Barbara took Cynthia’s black, leather jacket from her and escorted her from the steps of her brownstone into the living room.
            “I’m sorry it took me so long to get over here—I walked,” Cynthia said, soaking up the place. In the two years that the boys had taken karate with Sean, Barbara’s son, the two women had never actually been inside of each other’s homes. Pickups and dropoffs were usually relegated to a switch at the doorstep of the parent supervising the play date or a meeting at the subway station.
            “Please have a seat.” Barbara swept her arm around the room inviting Cynthia to take a seat.
            Cynthia looked to her left and then her right, trying to decide whether she wanted to take a seat on the mustard quilted leather sofa or the spoon-shaped zebra-print chair that faced the picture window.
            “Would you like a cup of coffee or tea?” Barbara offered.
            “Barbara, there’s really no need in going through all of that trouble,” Cynthia said settling herself into the spoon shaped chair.
            “And there’s no need for you to go through all of that trouble either,” Barbara chirped pointing at Cynthia’s neck.
            “Barbara, I’d rather not discuss this.” Cynthia craned her neck toward the spiral staircase and called for her sons. “Keith…James,” she shouted into the air
            “But I want to discuss it. Come here.” Barbara grabbed Cynthia’s hand and dragged her over to the full-length mirror that rested against an exposed brick wall near the window. “Look at yourself.” Barbara gathered Cynthia’s burgundy shoulder-length hair back as if she was about to put it into a ponytail. “This isn’t right, Cynthia,” she said, tracing the welts on Cynthia’s neck with her French-manicured fingernails.
            “Marvin is just going through something right now. He’s trying to open his own business; he has me and the boys. It’s a lot for him to handle.” Cynthia fingered the welts herself wishing she’d tied a scarf around her neck.
            “I don’t think he’s dealing with more than you are. You don’t have to go home if you don’t want to. You and the boys can stay here,” Barbara offered, releasing Cynthia’s hair.
            Cynthia massaged her face with her hands. “We can’t…I mean, I can’t.”
            “You can’t stay there either,” Barbara interjected. “I know we don’t know each other well, so this might seem strange or feel a wee bit uncomfortable, but if you won’t stay here, at least let me take you to a shelter,” Barbara begged Cynthia earnestly.
            “And this might seem strange to you because we don’t know each other well but I took a vow, for better or worse. Now there’s a reason those vows say for better or for worse—some days are going to be better and some days are going to worse. It just so happens that today was one of the worst.” Recalling the days when Marvin was sweeter, gentler, romantic even, Cynthia massaged the welts around her throat. “Marvin isn’t all bad, and I’m not all good, so it would be wrong of me to turn my back on my husband. I’m going to fight for this marriage until we get back to better days when we held hands and slow danced to Marvin’s old records.” Cynthia’s high cheekbones rose as she smiled, lost in the memories of the days when the phrase I love you did not come after a bloody lip or bruised eye. “He wasn’t always like this.”
            Cynthia touched the princess-cut diamond of her engagement ring, which rested over a simple gold band. She could still hear Marvin say in his rich baritone as he presented her the ring while they were seated by the waterfall in Harlem’s historic Morningside Park, “A simple ring for the woman I simply want to spend my life with.”
            Cynthia held onto that memory as Barbara presented her with reality of her situation.
            “So how long do you plan on suffering through this? What about you? What about Cynthia? What do you want for your life? Forget your marriage. I mean you. What do you want?” Barbara cocked her head to the side and stared at Cynthia’s reflection in the mirror. Her hazel eyes felt like acid searing right through her skin. It seemed like she could see Cynthia’s thoughts.
“Do you think all I have is all I want? Anyone who knows me will tell you I love to cook. That’s the one moment of peace I get throughout the day. I wouldn’t mind doing it professionally, but if I have no one to share my success with, what good would that do me? You know, when I first came to sign up at the dojo, Sensei Kelly told me it was full for the semester and there was a waitlist for the next semester, but I came at least twice a week to check if anyone had dropped out until one day sensei just said, ‘Mrs. Barclay I have room for your boys.’ If I didn’t give up on a karate class, how can I give up on a marriage?”
            “What good would being in a graveyard do you or your sons? What does your pastor have to say about this?” Barbara retorted without hesitation.
            “My pastor?”
            Barbara spun Cynthia around so that they were face-to-face. “You haven’t told your pastor about what’s going on?” Barbara said, wagging her finger. “That’s a big no-no. You can’t try and fight this battle on your own when you’ve got Satan right up in your house trying to kill you.”
            “Barbara, I don’t have a pastor. I don’t even go to church,” Cynthia mumbled her cheeks aglow from embarrassment.
            “Huh?” Barbara inhaled and clutched her chest as if she was about to have a heart attack.
            “No, I don’t go to church. We can’t all be the picture of perfection that you are,” Cynthia sneered.
            Barbara grabbed Cynthia by both wrists and pulled her to the nook in front of the picture window. Both women took a seat in the nook.
            “‘Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it.’ I am not perfect but I rely on the one who is to keep everything afloat for me. How is your marriage supposed to stand without the Lord’s divine protection? Why don’t you spend the night with the boys and come join me tomorrow at Cornerstone Baptist Church?”
            “Thank you, Barbara, but no thank you,” Cynthia said, rising from her seat in the nook. “Marvin is expecting me back this evening. I could never stay out overnight, especially with you. He already thinks you’re a bad influence with all your makeup and fancy clothes.”
            “There’s a church on every other block in Harlem. Just promise me you’ll find one to attend tomorrow.” Barbara clutched Cynthia’s hands and pleaded with her eyes.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working my second novel, Seasoned with Grace. In this novel Grace King, a volatile model, is sentenced to do community service at a church after being placed on probation for assault. While there she is forced to confront the demons of her past in order to obtain the future that she desires.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
There was never a time that I did not consider myself a writer. Now, I can officially call myself an author, but I have been engaged in the act of writing my entire life. I began by writing short stories, which then turned into an extended love affair with poetry. Now here I am sharing my first novel with the world.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am not yet able to write full-time, however I’m always making mental notes or post-it notes of what I want to write. I write during my commute to and from work. The A train is my writing cave. I whip my laptop out and let my fingers fly. I also binge write. When I have time off from work I just write and write to supplement the days I’ve missed.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Before I started writing fiction I used to write poetry, so I love the way certain words sound. Whenever I encounter a word that I have an affinity for I jot it down and try to get as many of the words on my list that day into the chapter I’m working on.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The truth be told I spent a long time believing that I was destined to be the black Madonna (I grew up in the 80s). Eventually, my mother broke the news to me that I really wasn’t going to make it in the music biz since I can’t sing. That’s when I turned to writing.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Regardless of where you are in your walk in life Jesus can turn your situation around and breathe life into it. Don’t accept defeat and don’t give up or give in just because you didn’t win today. I gave up on my writing, but the Lord never gave up on me. As soon as I poured myself into in Him He poured out a blessing for me.

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Thank you, Nigeria!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book blurb and excerpt for The Honeymoon Prize by Melissa McClone

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions for the contemporary romance novel The Honeymoon Prize.

Melissa will award a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tours stops and enter there, too! Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

NOTE: This book is on sale for only $0.99 during the tour.  Why not grab yourself a copy today?

He needs a wife...

Single bodyguard Nick Calhoun has been given an ultimatum by his boss--find a wife or lose his cushy, high-paying job. Clients' wives are hitting on him and putting Nick, and his boss, in hot water. But monogamy? He's never been a white picket fence kind of guy, and he's not about to embrace the happily married lifestyle now. He needs a wife who doesn't care about his steamy, extra-curricular love life...and he knows just the woman to fit the bill.

She needs a home...

Adalaide Sinclair spent years caring for her ill grandmother. Upon Grammy's death, she's stunned to find herself evicted from the only home she's ever known and labeled a thief by her inheritance-hungry family. Addie needs to find a place to live and a job--fast. So when her childhood friend, Nick, proposes a no-sex marriage of convenience, she puts her dreams of true love and happily-ever-after on hold. Finding Prince Charming can wait a little longer, right?

But will their friendship survive the honeymoon?

When Nick and Addie unexpectedly win a dream honeymoon, they decide to go their separate ways during the ten-day vacation. Too bad a camera crew is waiting for them at the tropical paradise. Acting like a head-over-heels bride and groom for reality TV wreaks havoc on their no-sex agreement...and blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Will Nick and Addie remain married in name only, or will a romantic honeymoon for show turn them into true newlyweds?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I feel like a Miss, not a Mrs.”

“Well, you’ve got five years to get used to the title.”

Five years.

That suddenly seemed like a long time to play house. Dating while caring for her grandmother had been impossible. She’d tried a few times over the years. But given up. Still she believed in love, the forever kind that would last a lifetime. Someday she would find that.

Someday . . .

He touched her arm. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, just . . .” In spite of her doubts, Addie hoped Nick understood the depth of her gratitude. A week ago, she’d forgotten her key to Emily’s apartment and fallen asleep on the welcome mat leaning against the front door, waiting for her friend to return from a date. “Thanks for everything. I owe you big time.”

“Thank you.” He flashed her a charming smile that sent female hearts aflutter, brought women to their knees at bars and clubs, and convinced Addie to accept his marriage-of convenience proposal. Not that saying yes took much convincing. Desperation had a way of making a person see the brighter side to any option, including marrying her closest guy friend.

“Without legal proof I was a one woman guy, my boss would ship me off to some boring assignment guarding a building or I’d be looking for a new job.” “I’d be homeless.”

He winked. “You win.”

“We both win and get a free honeymoon out of the deal.”

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!



Twitter: @melissamcclone

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