Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Emerge" by S.E. Hall - Schmexy Girl Book Blog Tour


 Title: Emerge
Author: S.E. Hall
Genre:  New Adult (MA +17)
Emerge is Laney Walker's story; an 18 yr old quick witted, athletic, southern girl who lets few get too close and uses her sarcastic zingers to deflect most situations. This is her coming of age journey...starting at a new college, with a new softball team and a quirky roommate, all while living in a co-ed dorm.

One night.
Dane Kendrick.
It changes all which she thought she knew and awakens something, someone, within her that she didn't know existed.
A tale of friendship, loyalty, first love, primal love and...life.





EXCERPT

This party is actually pretty fun and I like almost everyone here. Kaitlyn has obviously nominated herself the non-designated driver. She’s chugging drinks down and flirting with every guy here, including Evan. I’m happy just sitting on my bale by the fire actually giggling a bit at her, when Matt Davis quickly slides in the empty spot Evan left in search of some non-barley based drinks for us.

“Hey, Laney. To what do we owe the honor?” Matt slurs.

“You don’t owe me anything, but I’m flattered you consider it an honor,” I retort, with a snap in my voice. I’m not oblivious to the fact that Matt has always had a “thing” for me, one I do not reciprocate. I’ve often wondered if he’s the culprit behind the creepy notes, but he’s had an alibi on too many occurrences.

“You want a drink?”

“No thanks, Matt. How are you getting home tonight?” He’s not a completely bad guy and I for sure don’t want to see him hurt.

“I don’t know. Wanna gimme a ride?”

“I didn’t drive tonight.”

“That’s okay; you can still give me a ride.”

Oh, isn’t he clever? His drunken innuendo doesn’t warrant a response and it’s not the right time for Evan to walk up, I assure you.  Matt’s legs are dangling in the air before I even register it completely, as he’s lifted by his shirt collar in one of Evan’s huge hands.

“You’ve got five seconds to apologize to the lady,” Evan growls.

“Geez, sorry, Laney, I was just kidding,” Matt musters insincerely.

I don’t tell him it’s okay, because it’s not, but I do say, “put him down, Ev, so not worth it.”

“You sure, Laney? Your call.”

“Yes, I’m sure, Brutus. Put him down and let’s take a walk?” I don’t have to ask him twice. Matt’s flat on his ass and Evan’s at my side in a flash. Walking away for a little breather, I latch my arm through his.

“What’s up with you?” I nudge him.

He shrugs. What’s this? Evan never broods. He’s my rock, my Mr. Grain of Salt.

“Evan, it was no big deal. Just a drunk comment by a boy scorned. Why are you stressing over it?”

“I can’t stand the way he talks to you. Not to mention, he’s always staring at you and talking about you; he’s obsessed. I don’t like it one damn bit, I’m on to him. If I find out he’s the one stalking you…” He runs his hand through his hair and blows out a breath. “I’ll kill him.”

The silence seems to go on forever, but Evan needs a minute to calm down and I don’t dare chance saying the wrong thing right now.

“And the first guy brave enough to hit on you, and that’s how he goes about it?”

“What does that mean? Brave enough to hit on me?”

“You really have no idea, do you?”

I just stare at him, my expression reminiscent of my “trying to solve quadratic equations” face.

He sighs and cast his eyes down. “Laney, you’re that girl. The one guys make up in their head when they put all the best parts together to make one perfect girl. The man who gets you to actually pay attention, well, he’ll be the luckiest guy on the planet, and he’ll know it. All that, and the fact that you never date, is pretty damn intimidating.”

There’s a flutter in my chest; does he mean I’m the perfect girl made in his head? Is he intimidated by me?
He moves closer now, I can feel the heat coming off his body. Yes, Evan, find the courage. And then his hand is cupping my cheek, and I instinctively lean in to it, a little gasp of air escaping my lips.

I’ve never imagined this with Evan, it’s never occurred to me to even dare hope what he felt for me was more than a protective best friend. Good thing, I would have done the fantasy no justice. His thumb brushes my bottom lip and I realize…I could be swinging a bat, casting a reel, and driving a truck all at the same time, but I’m still 100% woman.

I think I speak out loud. “Are you intimidated, Evan?”

He leans over, touching his forehead to mine as he takes a deep breath. His nose brushes along mine, his whisper on my lips. “Not anymore, I’m done with that, and I’m done not kissing you.  All you have to do is say no, precious girl. But please, please….just say yes.”

As I whisper “yes,” his mouth takes mine. His lips are soft and gentle, sending a sizzle throughout me. His hand glides from my cheek to the hair behind my ear, stroking it slowly, over and over again. He breaks contact to lean back slightly, meeting my eyes, and a whiny protest from the loss escapes me.  I’m positive he sees a confusing mixture of happiness, shock, and…lust?

“Again?” he asks me in a low grumble.

I leave the question unanswered, putting one hand firmly on the back of his neck, the other over his heart, feeling that hard chest and rapid beat under my palm, and pull him hard against my lips. He groans and steps in so his body is flush against mine as I open to allow him free reign of my mouth. Our tongues tangle together, knowing each other just as Evan and I do.

My mind is racing as quickly as my pulse, but instinct takes over as my hands move all over him. His solid arms, firm shoulders, strong back…tight ass. I can’t feel enough of him in this moment and lose myself to the desire consuming me. His sweet murmurs along my neck, jaw, in my ear spur me on, almost to the point of no return, until loud squeals from the party rip through our haze.

All at once, I remember where we are and that anyone could walk upon us. It also shames me that I was careless enough to leave Kaitlyn alone this whole time while I fondle my best friend in a field, so I regretfully pull back. Evan’s eyes take a while to slowly open and find mine, but in them I see everything I need to, overpowering any inkling I might have had about regret or embarrassment. In those blue pools, there’s no second guessing, these are not the eyes of my “friend.” I know my Evan, and he liked it. I really liked it, beyond my wildest dreams that I never had.

“Come on,” I say almost painfully, “we have to get back and check on Kaitlyn.”

His shoulders slump and he rolls his eyes, but finally grabs my hand and interlaces our fingers. We’ve held hands a million times, but never like this. It feels good, I feel secure, but most of all—I start to believe what people have said here and there in recent years…I feel beautiful.

Evan tugs on my hand slightly, slowing me up some, and turns me to him. “Laney,” he barely whispers, “can you do one thing for me? “

 He could say climb Mt. Everest right now and I’d agree. The look on his face is so sexy and now that I know how that mouth feels…wait, what was the question?

“Yessss?” Am I flirting?

“Can we pretend you’re really mine, just mine, Evan Mitchell Allen’s, at least for tonight?”

I think of the gentle hand on my cheek, the soft then rougher kiss, the protection from Matt, the #14 on his back every week, the Disney movie marathons, and I say, without a doubt in my mind, “with pleasure.”

 The smile that spreads across his face and the fist pump I doubt he realizes he’s just thrown assure me I should feel as good about my answer as I do. At least for tonight…is that all I want? All he wants?  I refuse to overanalyze right now; this is new, overwhelming, and exhilarating…I’m just gonna ride this wave without worrying; there’s a first time for everything.

I’m not sure which of us sets the pace for the walk back, but neither speeds it up. Once back, still hand in hand, I immediately notice that Kaitlyn is slow dancing with Matt, so she’s definitely way past drunk, or maybe he used a better line on her.  Whatever.  As long as I can see his hands, I’ll let her enjoy herself. Evan nudges me, so I look up.

“Dance with me?” Evan asks with an eyebrow raised and sexy plea in his eyes.

 It’s “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean in the background; we both love this song. I nod.

Evan sings the song softly in my ear as we dance. He has no idea what a good singer he is, and apparently my body just received the memo tonight as well. All the times we’ve cruised around together, singing at the top of our lungs, or played iPods while we fished…it did not have this effect on me. Why oh why could this not be the longest song ever written???

When the song ends, Evan guides us to settle in on staggered bales. Evan sits behind me and I lean back between his legs. He’s pressed against my back and his hands rest on my shoulders, hanging over slightly. His pinky moves up and down the outside of my arm, lightly, but I feel it.

Oh, do I feel it.

Turning my head to look back at him, I give him a smile. His own reflects back to me as much happiness as I’m feeling. It always feels good being around Evan, but something has shifted and now it feels even better. Consumed by these new stirrings and the cover of the night sky, I’m emboldened. I place my hand on his thigh and pull his leg in until it’s tight against me, hearing his sharp intake of breath. His body stiffens for a moment and then relaxes with his exhale.

“How long are we staying?” I ask quietly.

“We can leave whenever you’re ready. I’m only here because you are.” He tucks my hair behind one ear as he says it and I’ve never felt more feminine in my life.

“I’ll be right back,” I say as I get up to go wrangle Kaitlyn home.

I secure a ride for Matt, who again apologizes for his earlier behavior, probably because he and Kaitlyn think it’d be a great idea for her to ride with them; which I respond to with a laughing “hell no.”

Holding Kaitlyn up as we wait for Evan to bring the truck proves to be a challenge and I wonder how I’ll get her past my dad. Her rancid breath is really testing the duties of friendship right now…and if she pukes in Evan’s truck, Lord help her.

“Laney, did you have fun?!” Kaitlyn shrieks from the backseat when we’re finally loaded.

“I actually had one of the best nights of my life. Thanks for making me go,” I tell her, casting a sidelong glance at Evan. So worth it; the smile on his face as he reaches for my hand is one I will never forget.

“Me too, beautiful. Me too.”


About the Author:
S.E.Hall resides in Arkansas with her husband of 17 years and 3 beautiful daughters. When not in the stands watching her ladies play softball, she enjoys reading YA and NA romance.

Links:

Friday, June 28, 2013

"Vampire Elite" by Irina Argo - Book Tour

Be sure to comment on this post! The author is giving away a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card to one randomly chosen commenter! Click the image above to check out the other stops on the tour!

Title: Vampire Elite
Author: Irina Argo

Can the ultimate choice be made if saving your race means destroying the one you love?

At the beginning of the twenty-first century of our era a millennia long war between two immortal races was coming to an end. The Vampire Elite, the strongest among vampires, forced the race of immortal beings, the Amiti to become their blood suppliers, called bloodstock, locking them in their underground cells and treating them like livestock. The surviving free Amiti make a final attempt to strike back. The Queen of Amiti is proclaimed a traitor and is executed. Her death signifies the rise of a new Queen, her young daughter Arianna who becomes the last hope of her dying race. Arianna totally embraces her mission and is ready to fight for her people to the last drop of her blood but encounters an unexpected challenge—the vampire King Tor. They both are captured into a trap of love where they had to make an ultimate choice; to kill the loved one or to let their races die.

Vampire Elite is the epic story of a bitter conflict between two peoples, and the effect of that conflict on everyone living in its grip. The characters are driven to love and betrayal, vengeance and sacrifice in a world without easy black-and-white answers.

Based on an ancient Egyptian legend, packed with action and intrigue, Vampire Elite will pull you into the entrancing world of immortals and open new portals into their hidden universe.


EXCERPT 
(Oberon is captured. Anock is interrogating him)
 “I can’t do that, Anock.”

 “Oh, but you can. You don’t want this female to die, do you?”

 “No, I don’t, and I appeal to your mercy, Anock. You can spare her life; it’s your choice as much as it is mine. More than mine. I will not give the Keepers up. There’s nothing that you can do that will change my mind.”

 “Yes, Oberon, you will. At the count of three. One.”

 “I am so very sorry.” Oberon glanced at the woman. She held her head down, but her shaking shoulders betrayed that she was crying. “There is nothing I can do for you. The Keepers are the only Amiti’s hope, I cannot give them up.”

 Please Goddess, kill me. Spare me from having to make this choice.

 * * *
 “Two!” Anock was bluffing. He had no intention of letting the woman die. It was a test of wills.

 “Please, Anock. You’re a warrior, not a butcher. How can you reduce yourself to this level? Torture me, kill me, do whatever you want, but please, don’t waste her life.”

 Anock looked one last time at the Amiti.

 This is so wrong.

 “Three!”

 Blade’s sword hissed through the air, slicing through the female’s neck. Her head hit the floor and rolled toward the cage, lifeless jade-green eyes staring into Anock’s soul. It took a few seconds for the body to collapse to the floor.

The hysterical screams of the other Amiti filled the room.
Anock stared, transfixed, at the lifeless eyes.

Cara’s eyes. Oh Goddess.

  “Take the bloodstock to her cell and clean the place up,” he ordered, his voice and brain totally disconnected, and left.


Irina Argo is a combined pen name for two authors, Irina Kardos and Jo-An Torres.



Irina

Irina’s world is dark. She works as a clinical psychologist in a Juvenile Correctional Facility dealing with the extremes of human behavior on a regular basis and takes care of her paralyzed husband who suffered a stroke several years ago. To bring light into her life she writes. Writing has always been her passion. She is originally from Russia where she was employed as a TV journalist. 

Jo-An 
Jo-An is a Leo, a lioness who has emerged to follow her dream, to someday write a book of her own. She owned a costume shop for 15 years and was able to satisfy and excel in her creative nature. She is an over-achiever and believes that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and ignore the nay-sayers.  Her philosophy is based on Shakespeare "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves." She currently resides in California with her 5 cats and 1 husband.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Sanguinarium" excerpt

Who wants a little taste of what's to come in book 2 of The Ragnarok Legacy? You do? Of course you do! Enjoy the tease, darqlings!

I found myself almost twitching as I heard footsteps outside my apartment door. It wasn't the best neighborhood, and I unsheathed the massive bowie knife I kept on me at all times. If someone was gonna break in, they were about to have a very bad night. Green eyes sharp, I stared at the doorknob as it began to turn, my heart in my throat and my stomach dropping to my toes as the adrenaline flooded my system. It was quickly becoming an eternity I didn't have the patience for, waiting for the door to open.

Keyed up from a trying day, I closed the gap between us, reaching around the small aperture and yanking the assailant into my apartment. Flinging him to the floor as I leapt atop him, I kicked the door shut. Long blade bare and braced against my forearm, I held the edge tight against a throat that was pale and chilly like the damp earth of a grave. My stomach did a little flip of its own, and not because of the now useless adrenaline.

I stared down into a pair of steel grey eyes that I knew all too well. To mask the panicked pitter patter of my heart, I half growled, "You let me pin you. How in the hell am I supposed to really defend myself if you're taking it easy on me?"

Before I could blink, the whole world shifted and I was pressed flat against the hardwood floor, my knife being forced from my hands with an impotent clatter. My wrists were both trapped in the iron grip of one of his hands, the other trailing with gossamer grace over the jumping pulse in my throat. He leaned in close, his lustrous black curls begging to be touched. The smell of his aftershave was heady, only giving him more power over me.

"Is this better, my little jotunn?"

I squirmed, uncomfortable and hoping my voice was steady. "I'm not little, Jame." My words, thankfully, didn't quiver.

He inhaled deeply, his lips so close to my throat that I could feel the moisture from his breath. "No protesting the 'mine' portion?" His lips moved to my ear and I thought my heart was going to burst out of my ribcage, a teasing noise like a purr caressing the flesh. "I could hear your heartbeat through the door, Kacea. So smooth and rhythmic. Not all jittery and erratic like it is now. And your blood..." His fingers spasmed around my wrists, like he was having trouble staying in control. "I could smell you before I even came in the building."

In the five years I’d spent with the vampire, not once had he tasted my blood. At that moment, I felt it was going to change, and I wasn’t completely opposed to the idea. But I wasn’t wholly for it, either.

“Jamison.” He lifted his head, eyes meeting mine, and my heart skipped a beat. The cool grey eyes I’d become accustomed to were brimming with red, even the sclera were the deep crimson of freshly spilled blood.

“I could drink you to the last drop, and you’d be powerless to stop me.” His voice wasn’t his own, full of something eldritch and borderline evil. Almost… soulless.

I stopped struggling, feeling like it was appealing to his predatory nature and doing me more harm than good. “But you aren’t going to,” I said, hoping my words sounded more sure than I felt.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"The Bitter End" by Rue Volley (REVIEW)

Title: The Bitter End
Author: Rue Volley
Pages: 161
Genre: Erotica

Description: Bethany was born into a world of privilege and has never had to want for anything in her life. Her parents gave her everything but the one thing she desired the most...love. When Bethany’s mother dies, her Father becomes even more distant with the immediate replacement of Bethany’s mother by “Miko”, a woman who has no compassion nor interest in Bethany whatsoever.

On her own and living in a penthouse, a lavish gift from her father, Bethany ignores all responsibility as she lives on a weekly allowance her Father is sure to place into her bank account. With too much time on her hands, Bethany is free to pursue other interests such as a young man she never cared for in school named Ryan Blackwood. Ryan is a male escort for hire and has made his living on pleasuring the higher echelons of New York society women, but when he meets Bethany his game is shifted from one of hunter to one of prey and he will soon find out that she is not the easy target he once imagined.

Their torrid love affair is filled with a painful need to harm each other in every way, including the bedroom. Will Bethany finally receive the love she has always desired or will her lineage doom her forever?

“The Bitter End” is book one in the Golden Crown Series, filled with lust, greed, suspense and murder. Sometimes new beginnings lead only to bitter ends.


My Review
Rating: 3 Stars
Bethany Bittermend, a girl with daddy issues due to him mistreating her mother and cavorting with the hired help. It all spirals downward from there. Lots of plot twists that may have been engaging if they were made to stand out more. I feel like Miss Volley gets so swept up in her stories that she doesn't give them enough time to be polished. They're rushed out and a lot of things are missed. Punctuation, and occasionally whole words. Also, connection to the characters seems to be missing. Even though I've never been filthy rich, Beth's plight isn't something I feel involved with. She's downright unlikable, along with the rest of the cast. Even if we're supposed to hate her, shouldn't we feel a touch sorry for her with the things that she loses in this story? I didn't, at all.

Ryan Blackwood, although he's clearly attractive, also seems to be lacking depth. He throws money at everything, money earned from being an escort. The sex scenes with him, while meant to be both violent and passionate, seem to fall a little flat. And it's not even the "violent" nature of them that didn't sit right with me, because I've read hardcore BDSM and enjoyed it. It seems like a lot is supposed to be implied, but is really just missing, in the bedroom and otherwise.

**SPOILER**
The only thing I found really believable was the way Beth and Ryan ended up falling for each other. The emotions from both of them as they fell seemed genuine. Maybe just straight-up romance is something the author could attempt? I also enjoyed the way the story opened with a scene from near the end of the book, and most of the book was the events leading up to it, finally reaching a resolution at the end that will lead into the second book. Not really my cup of tea, but judging from the rankings, I'd say more than enough people would disagree with me.

See for yourself.

Biography
Rue Volley resides on earth with her partner in crime, Von Erik and their two pugs, Mobacca and Oshi Wan Konobi. She is a descendant of the Blackfoot Indians and is very proud of her heritage. She is a bestselling author with over 30 books published with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly publishing, Hot Ink Press and Vamptasy Publishing. She writes YA, adult fiction and hardcore erotic. Her writing style has been described as a perfect blend of Tarantino and David Lynch. It is action packed, extremely twisted and full of perfected characters that jump right off of the page. Rue is a leading advocate for the Arts as she has been for almost 20 years now, hosting a Radio Station and magazine dedicated to Indie Artists and helping them get more exposure. She also plays guitar and violin and will sing occasionally if you can bribe her with chocolate.

visit her website http://ruevolley.moonfruit.com/
visit her blog http://volleyview.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Rue-Volley/146299465525490?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RueVolley
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rue-Volley/e/B0089E2JP8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1358963109&sr=1-2-ent

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin - Goddess Fish Promotions Super Book Blast

***J.M. will be awarding Tea and Chip Nuts to three randomly drawn commenters (US/CANADA ONLY) during this tour and her Reviews Tour*** So be sure to leave a comment below and check out the other tour stops!

The Esposito Series Box Set: by J.M. Griffin 
Now you can own the first three books in the sassy and suspenseful Vinnie Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin!

By day, Lavinia (Vinnie) Esposito is a criminal justice instructor at a college in Rhode Island. By night Vinnie is an amateur sleuth, solving murders while trying to avoid getting yelled at by her Italian father, her hunky protective boyfriend Marcus Richmond, and her sexy upstairs tenant, the mysterious Aaron Grant.

For Love of Livvy (Book 1) 
Vinnie investigates the death of her beloved aunt, and a mysterious box is left on her doorstep.

Dirty Trouble (Book 2) 
Someone is stalking Vinnie and that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Dead Wrong (Book 3) 

Vinnie is out to save her brother from being framed after a valuable painting is stolen. 

EXCERPT
The front door knocker rapped twice after the door bell rang. I hustled from the rear deck of the gargantuan house to answer the summons. Someone seemed impatient, and I was curious as to who it was. My watch read just after eight o’ clock. I swung the heavy door open to find my prospective visitor absent.

It was so quiet, the town ghostly in its seemingly deserted state. Sundays were always lazy days in Scituate, once church was over. With a glance up and down the street of the small historic Rhode Island village, neat colonial homes stretched along the sides of the road in both directions. No one came into view.

On the doorstep, a package addressed to my recently deceased Aunt Livvy sat wrapped in brown paper. Again, I gawked up and down the street, but only empty sidewalks and barren roadway appeared in the waning light. The idea of a jaunt along the main drag entered my mind. I figured it would be senseless since the street was visible for about two hundred yards in either direction. Whoever had left the package was gone, long gone.

An eternity passed, or so it seemed, while my gaze locked onto the square, little box. Reluctant to touch it, I decided to call the local fire company to come take a gander. Call me paranoid, but as a criminal justice instructor, a recent audit of a class on bomb components remained fresh in my mind.

I quickly stepped to the living room and grabbed the phone. I dialed the private number of the fire station up the street. A grunt came across the phone line that could only be Bill MacNert.

“Hey Nerd, its Vinnie,” I said. “A package was just left on my doorstep, could you come down and check it out for me?”

“Sure, you got a secret admirer or somethin’?” He cackled, as only senior men can.

“Not likely, but you never know. This package is addressed to Lavinia Ciano, not Lavinia Esposito and is wrapped in brown paper. Nobody’s here to accompany this little surprise either.”

“I’ll be right down, Vinnie, don’t touch it.” He warned.

“Okay.”

Anxious, I paced back and forth across gleaming hard wood floors in the spacious living room of my newly acquired colonial. My fingernails tapped the enamel on my teeth as I wandered to and fro. As irrational as it seemed, I finally leaned against the door jamb inside the entry to wait for MacNert to arrive.

It wasn’t long before the limber old guy came into view as he hot footed down the street with a stethoscope in his hand. This particular piece of equipment wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but then he wasn’t a bomb expert either.

When he arrived on the doorstep slightly out of breath, he glanced at the parcel, and then turned toward me.

“This was just delivered, you say?” MacNert squinted toward me with wizened brown eyes that twinkled all the time. It was as though there was a private joke going on inside his head.

“Yeah, someone knocked on the door, and when I got here to answer, there was nobody around. It didn’t seem prudent to mess with it, so I called you.”

“You just finished that bomb class, eh?” He chuckled and then sobered quickly. Since 9/11, everyone took stuff like this with a serious attitude. While he chuckled, I knew MacNert was no different.

The stethoscope ends plugged into his ears, Bill laid its diaphragm on top of the package. Removing it, he gingerly set it against the sides and listened again. I didn’t make a sound as he stood and glanced up.

“There’s no tickin’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive. You should probably call the state police barracks up the road. Have them send their bomb guys down for a lookie see, just to be on the safe side.”

“Geez, I hate to do that. I’ll feel stupid if it’s a joke,” I whined.

“It’s up to you, but if you were nervous enough to call me, then you should call them. It’s just my opinion, Vin.” He stepped over the box and wandered into the entryway. “Got anythin’ to eat? Wifey’s out of town visitin’ her sister and I’m starved.”

Bill didn’t seem over concerned, but then again, he hadn’t recently taken a bomb class either. My eyes never left the box as I answered him. “There’s food in the fridge, help yourself.”

I’d known the homely man and his family for years and respected his opinion. Tapping my fingers against my lips, I called after him, “You’re right. I’ll ring the state police now, but stick around okay?”

Unwilling to be nailed as over-dramatic by the staties, I reluctantly punched in the numbers. It was bad enough that the local cops had bugged the shit out of me for the first month after Aunt Livvy’s death. They still stopped by now and then, annoying me even more with stupid questions. Questions to which I had no answers.

After the trooper covering the desk answered, I explained what I’d found on the doorstep. He seemed unconcerned until I mentioned my name and address, and then he stated someone would be down momentarily. The swift change in his manner piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he’d suddenly capitulated when his initial response had been of disinterest.

In the living room, I paced while awaiting the arrival of the state police. Within minutes a sleek, grey Crown Victoria pulled up to the curb out front and a tall, lean trooper got out. Broad shouldered and well built, he walked with assurance and a certain amount of swagger. I stepped into the open door entry and watched him saunter through the front gate onto the walkway. He stared at the package and then at me.

“Did you call about this box, ma’am?” Keen hazel green eyes traveled over my face and down my body.

Craggy features, sculpted from granite, faced me and I felt my blood run hot as the breath caught in my throat. What was this about? I gazed at him admiring the neat package wrapped in the trim uniform.

“I did. Bill MacNert from the fire station thought it would be a good idea since it was mysteriously left on the doorstep. He checked to see if it was ticking, but it isn’t.”

“Are you Lavinia Ciano?” The trooper’s glance strayed from the name on the wrapper to me as his eyes showed a glint of humor and his mouth twitched.

Could that humor be over the name? I wondered, as I said, “No, my name is Esposito. Livvy was my aunt.” Our eyes held and my heart pounded. I licked my parched lips and then glanced away.

An oversized van idled up behind the patrol car and the trooper glanced back. Two men stepped from the vehicle dressed in heavy gear and acknowledged him. He turned to the lead man, mumbled a few words and then stared at me again. If this was an action film, I would have expected Bruce Willis to jump out of the truck announcing he was about to kick someone’s ass. This wasn’t an action film, but a real life situation instead.

The two guys angled through the front gate and hitched their gear as they hauled a peculiar looking lidded barrel toward the front door. By this time, a few neighbors had taken notice of the activities. Several people straggled along the sidewalk across the street to watch.

You’d think it was a freakin’ sideshow. I smiled and waved. Nobody responded, they just continued to gawk. A little excitement for them on an otherwise dull Sunday, I guessed. The trooper stood aside and watched the crowd, but said nothing.

The overdressed bomb guys corralled the box between them. With delicate finesse they lifted and stowed it into the metal container, loaded it into the truck and drove off. I stared in disbelief. Hell, I wanted to know what was in the package. I had a right to know, didn’t I?

The trooper turned to leave and I stepped forward.

“Uh, I’d like to know what’s in the box, if it’s not too much to ask.” My hand snuck up to my hip as my cocky Italian attitude slid into place.

Tall and Curious stiffened at my tone and turned to stare at me. It seemed he wasn’t used to being spoken to in this manner, which wasn’t any big surprise. Women tend to respond differently to men in uniform, especially a man such as this luscious creature. Well, not this chick. I teach guys like him all year long and the “I’m so wonderful” thing gets old fast.

“I’ll be sure to let you know, Miss Esposito. If we have any questions, you’ll hear from us right away.”

I gawked a moment and my eyes narrowed. His opened wide in contrast and he waited, his body tense. Maybe he thought I’d pitch myself off the steps onto his perfectly toned frame and pummel the daylights out of him or something. It was a thought, but I really wanted to know what was in the package. Besides, his muscles were bigger than mine.

In an effort to change tactics rather than be handcuffed and dragged off to jail, I smiled and spoke in as nice a manner as I could muster.

“I’d appreciate any information you could give me officer, since the package was left in such an alarming way. Should I call headquarters tomorrow?”

His look narrowed. I suspected he was unsure of where this was headed. There was a moment’s hesitation before he answered the question.

“Sure, that would be a good idea.” He gave a nod of the stiff brimmed campaign hat that covered cropped brown hair.

“All right then. I’ll call the colonel first thing.” My voice remained light and sweet, and the smile was charming, at least I hoped it was.

The colonel runs a strict police force and is a tough disciplinarian with an intense dislike for any impropriety, implied or otherwise. I’d gleaned that much from the cops in my criminal justice classes.

A tight lipped smile crossed his face. I figured he couldn’t decide whether I really knew the colonel or if this was a ploy. To be truthful, I lied by omission. I hadn’t said I knew the colonel, I just said I’d give him a call.

“That won’t be necessary ma’am. As soon as there’s any information, I’ll get in touch with you.” With a nod of his head, he turned and left.

Don’t you hate that ma’am thing? It makes me feel old. I know I’m thirty-something, but really.

Bill MacNert stood near the doorway sucking down a sandwich filled with sausage and peppers. My mother had sent the food home with me the day before. The smell of rich tomato sauce and fragrant sausage tantalized my taste buds.

“Guess it wasn’t that serious then?” Slurp noises preceded a sauce blob that dripped down his uniform shirt.

 I glanced at Bill’s shirt, snagged a tissue from my pocket and dabbed at the drip.

“I won’t know until tomorrow, but if I’m the town laughing stock you’re in for it and don’t forget it. By the way, did you leave me any food?” I chuckled at his expression.

Bill’s guilt ridden grin assured me that he hadn’t, but he swore that he had. He handed me the empty plate before he headed toward the fire station. I watched the stethoscope bob up and down from the back pocket of his pants. He trotted up the street, and I felt sure the story would make the rounds since Bill was an avid gossip.

The crowd had dispersed, and I was alone again. Livvy would have had a fit over the whole affair had she been alive, but I figured there was no sense in being stupid. I act that way often enough, thank you.

Mystery still surrounded Livvy’s non-violent death. While the police weren’t forthcoming with information, the state troopers’ attitude on the phone caused me to reconsider the promise to my father to not investigate on my own. I wandered through the house deep in thought over the situation.

Darkness had descended as I headed toward the bedroom. Changing into a t-shirt and boxer briefs, I climbed into bed with a notebook. The troopers’ attitude niggled at me. I leaned back against the pillows scribbling notes about the package delivery. Words ran across the page as the scene and the trooper came to mind. The trooper’s name wasn’t on his badge, but I remembered the badge number.

The pad propped against my knees, my mind drifted over the parcel and the officer’s attitude. Warm hazel green eyes along with the trooper’s cool manner had drawn my interest. It wasn’t really just his bearing that caught my attention either and it was a struggle to stay focused.

Intense eyes sat above a strong, chiseled nose and firm jaw. I sketched the features onto the pad of paper. His lips weren’t thin, not too wide, but just right for kissing. Wondering what it would be like to taste those lips, I gave myself a mental head slap. A cop is the last thing you want or need, my inner voice echoed. This voice always echoed dire warnings through my head. It had a bad habit of doing so at the worst possible moment. Just stay focused on Livvy, I lectured myself.

Snuggled under the lightweight blanket, thoughts about Livvy and our life played in my mind. Muscles relaxed, and I realized I needed to talk to her tomorrow. The graveyard was about two blocks away from the house. I often went to her grave for a conversation when I’d become involved in one issue or another. That’s what my life consisted of, one issue or another. Most of the time the issues were huge, never mundane, not ever.

I sighed, sniffed the sweet summer scents that wafted through the open window and wondered how this summer in Rhode Island would be. The pillow slipped lower and so did I as my mind wandered over life, the package and my aunt.

About the Author
As a humorous, cozy mystery writer, J.M. adds a touch of romance to every story. She believes in fairies, doesn't believe in coincidence, and feels life is what you make it. Believe in yourself and look at the positive, not the negative, to bring about success. AND. . .never stop trying.

J.M. lives in rural New England with her husband and two very mysterious cats

  
Buy Link: 

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Rise of Paranormal Characters in Fiction: Jessica O'Gorek Guest Post

Here's what author Jessica O'Gorek has to say about the increase in supernatural characters in fiction, so much so that they've become somewhat common.

I don’t know when it started, where, or why, but somewhere along the way, Dracula took a back seat to zombies, sparkly vampires, werewolves, angels, and demons. (And soon, hopefully, they’ll all have to follow in the Gemini’s footsteps) I think back to Anne Rice’s Lestat and wonder if she kicked the craze off, but it seems like Stephanie Meyer was really the catalyst of the pop culture phenomena. 

Ever since 2008, fictional characters, such as Edward and Jacob, have become main stream stars. They live, they breathe, and they become real people in our imaginations and for some of us, in our hearts. (I’m not partial to the Cullens or anything.) After 2008, all of our books turn into movies and create this cross generational connection between teens, young adults and older adults. I think some of these series creates a connection across these ages and gives them something to discuss. The Hunger Games is a prime example of this with its deep concept of human greed and pain; it communicates important values to kids and brings the parents on board by doing so.

When characters are likable and easy to identify with, they’re marketable. One of my marketing concepts with Gemini Rising was to make pictures of all my characters and make them relatable. I’m sure some authors would argue that this takes some of the mystery and imagination out of reading a book, but if I have a vision of a character I think it’s fun to share it. With Onyx, he is just so beautiful and I felt the need to convey that beauty in my art work. 


About the Book: 
Title: Ethereal Fury (bk 1 Gemini Rising) by Jessica O'Gorek
Release Date:  June 4, 2013
Genre: Fantasy / Futuristic / Teen

BEWARE! THE PLANET IS WOUNDED... THE GEMINI ARE RISING AND OUR TIME ON EARTH IS LIMITED

Mother Earth, wounded by the human race and its disregard for her resources, will recruit human souls to serve Her and turn against humanity. A rising force festers; Gemini, a clan of paranormal beings will systematically possess and destroy towns, cities, and states. Amidst the chaos, a forbidden relationship between Onyx, a lead Gemini, and Violette, a human, begins. They will both find themselves in the middle of a revolutionary war that will either save, or destroy our world.

 Book Links: 

 What others are saying about Gemini Rising:
"Overall, Ethereal Fury (Gemini Rising #1) is an interesting read that will leave readers wanting more (in a good way). It certainly left me wanting more. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series." -- Heather Cranmer (Goodreads)

 "There is romance, there is danger, there is lots of suspense, and I can't wait for Book 2. Read it! Then you'll be hooked like me!" -- Nina (Goodreads)
  
"This was a very thoughtful and thought provoking read and I enjoyed it immensely.” -- Beth Cutwright (Amazon)

 "The pace of the book was good and kept you wondering what was going to happen next. When I reached the last page, I wished for it to keep going." -- William Perkinson (Amazon)

"Intriguing and engaging, an all-around good story." -- Sylvia Koontz



About Jessica O'Gorek:
I was born in Chesapeake, Virginia on April 19th, 1979. I was raised within the American Indian religion and was taught great respect for the earth and all its living beings. Powwows, sweat lodges, vision quests, you name it, I’ve done it. I was the weird kid who would confront kids on the playground in elementary school when they squished a bug. I would very sincerely tell them what they were doing was morally wrong and then I would pray for the bug to come back as a butterfly in its next life.

I grew up admiring my father, Barry Weinstock, as an author. When I was twelve I started hand writing novels. My first one was two thousand pages. My daughter, who is thirteen, is currently working on her first novel. I hope to continue the legacy.

author links: 




Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Revealing Hamilton" by Sarah Jayne Carr (Review)

Revealing Hamilton (JackRabbit7 Series)

Author: Sarah Jayne Carr
Pages: 322
Genre: Medical, Hard Science Fiction

A conversation with a stranger changes Amelia Hamilton's life forever. When she learns her grandfather faked his own death, normalcy slips from Amelia's grasp. To make matters worse, he is coming for her in less than seven days. What she hasn't determined is why.

Amelia's grandfather, Marius Benedict, once headed The Physician Coalition, an elite group of doctors who threw the Hippocratic Oath out the window. Years ago, they used a low-risk medical research study as a front for their experiments. Without their consent, innocents were injected with JackRabbit7, a hazardous substance used to alter their DNA. The victims were left with less-than-desirable super-human powers or excruciating death. Years after he disbanded the group, Marius has a new plan and is reforming The Coalition.

Max, a mysterious stranger from the Insurance Agency, offers to help keep Amelia safe. He introduces The Agency as an underground government organization that contains and eliminates those who intend to harm the world. To protect The Agency, the truth of their activities are concealed and replaced with sugar-coated stories in the media.

Over the course of the next week, Amelia has to accept the truth and learn who can be trusted. At midnight on her 23rd birthday, a contract between The Coalition and The Insurance Agency will expire, giving Marius full rein to approach his granddaughter and finish the project he started with her so many years ago.

My Review:
Firstly, let me say that it's hard to write a review for this book without giving any spoilers, so I'll jut comment on the writing style and leave out the plot (which was suspenseful and amazing, by the way).

I've got to say, I've never read a book quite like this. Full of intelligent dialogue, biting sarcasm (just the way I like it!), and
some imagery that gave me the creepy-crawlies.

I'd guess that a lot of planning went into this baby. There were so many twists and turns in the plot that you'd need a notebook to keep them straight while writing. But even with all the plot twists, everything is tied up in a neat little bow by the end, preparing to launch you into the next book.

For a debut, this is an excellent piece of work, and I look forward to opening "Embracing Hamilton."
Biography
Sarah Jayne Carr is a novelist who can be found most evenings with a cup of tea in-hand and her imagination racing from plot to plot. When away from her work, part of her mind is constantly brainstorming her next story and she always has writing paraphernalia within reach.

She wrote stories as a child, but became more serious about her passion during her twenties. In her spare time, she likes to read, splash in mud puddles, smell bookstores and eat Honeycrisp apples. Yearly, she participates in NaNoWriMo and has mentored others through the program. Due to her dedication to National Novel Writing Month, she is part of an amazing writing group.

Born and raised in Washington State, Sarah still resides in the area. Her life is richly filled with her supportive, yet swashbuckling husband and their golden Nugget.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahJCarr
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SarahJCarr1
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sarahjcarr
Website: http://www.sarahjcarr.com/

Buy Links:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gemini Rising Blog Tour: Interview w/ Jessica O'Gorek



Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing author Jessica O'Gorek. She's just recently released her novel "Ethereal Fury," the first book in the Gemini Rising series.


Hello, Jessica. Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently working on or promoting.

 I am an extremely creative person who always has to be working on a project of sorts. This is my longest one. I started my book series two and a half years ago and I’m half way through book four. I have just gotten the first one, Ethereal Fury, published. I have spent, and will spend, another six months promoting it before I can even think about writing again. 

What genre is your book? Do you write in other genres as well?
 YA paranormal romance. I have written adult fiction, in fact that’s how this book started out but my thirteen year old girl wanted to be able to read it so I had to go back and edit out everything I wouldn’t want her to read. Your own children are a great guide when it comes to deciding what is age appropriate and what isn’t. 

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
 Absolutely! I am much more like Onyx than anyone else though. Later in the series, as Violette grows out of her naivety and starts to wise up, I am similar to her as well. I think I am like all of my characters rolled into one, there is a little of each of them in me. It’s kind of scary if you think about it.

Do you have any writing rituals or interesting writing quirks?
 I like to be around nature when I write: out on the porch, in the sun, maybe by a breezy window. I feel much more creative when I’m alone too. It’s hard for me to tune everyone out and focus on the voices in my head with stuff going on around me.

What do you do to stay sane as a writer?
 I think for me I have to find ways to stay sane when I can’t write. When I write, I am at peace and feel content in my own skin. When I’m not writing, and I’m in the real world, that’s when the insanity hits.

Thanks for indulging us in a little information about you. Best of luck with your book, and the rest of the series!

About the Book: 
Title: Ethereal Fury (bk 1 Gemini Rising) by Jessica O'Gorek
Release Date:  June 4, 2013
Genre: Fantasy / Futuristic / Teen

BEWARE! THE PLANET IS WOUNDED... THE GEMINI ARE RISING AND OUR TIME ON EARTH IS LIMITED

Mother Earth, wounded by the human race and its disregard for her resources, will recruit human souls to serve Her and turn against humanity. A rising force festers; Gemini, a clan of paranormal beings will systematically possess and destroy towns, cities, and states. Amidst the chaos, a forbidden relationship between Onyx, a lead Gemini, and Violette, a human, begins. They will both find themselves in the middle of a revolutionary war that will either save, or destroy our world.

 Book Links: 

 What others are saying about Gemini Rising:

"Overall, Ethereal Fury (Gemini Rising #1) is an interesting read that will leave readers wanting more (in a good way). It certainly left me wanting more. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series." -- Heather Cranmer (Goodreads)

 "There is romance, there is danger, there is lots of suspense, and I can't wait for Book 2. Read it! Then you'll be hooked like me!" -- Nina (Goodreads)
  
"This was a very thoughtful and thought provoking read and I enjoyed it immensely.” -- Beth Cutwright (Amazon)

 "The pace of the book was good and kept you wondering what was going to happen next. When I reached the last page, I wished for it to keep going." -- William Perkinson (Amazon)

"Intriguing and engaging, an all-around good story." -- Sylvia Koontz


About Jessica O'Gorek:

I was born in Chesapeake, Virginia on April 19th, 1979. I was raised within the American Indian religion and was taught great respect for the earth and all its living beings. Powwows, sweat lodges, vision quests, you name it, I’ve done it. I was the weird kid who would confront kids on the playground in elementary school when they squished a bug. I would very sincerely tell them what they were doing was morally wrong and then I would pray for the bug to come back as a butterfly in its next life.

I grew up admiring my father, Barry Weinstock, as an author. When I was twelve I started hand writing novels. My first one was two thousand pages. My daughter, who is thirteen, is currently working on her first novel. I hope to continue the legacy.

author links: 



Friday, June 21, 2013

Drabble- red shirt

Just a little flash fiction from a group I'm in. Here's what came to me, in 100 words, from this picture:



Perfection. Exhausted, she’d collapsed into the welcoming arms of the verdant grass. I observed her silently, knowing that I would go undetected even when she awoke. The vixen didn’t know it, and her human mien would make her forget about it, but my vigil kept her safe. It was all she’d ever wanted, to be able to walk among them as a gorgeous beauty that inspired the bards to tears. My consciousness always transferred, and I had taught her how to become the very thing she sought. But in so doing, her memory disappeared. As a fox, I guarded her.

I could see this going somewhere...