Spotlight on #HistoricalFiction: Stanley and Hazel by @AuthorJSchaffer

Hi Everyone! Hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day. Shifting gears from romance to historical fiction today, with a look at “Stanley and Hazel” by Jo Schaffer. Be sure to enter J. S.’s tour giveaway for a chance at a gift card. Read on for book and giveaway details. Enjoy! xo, Celia…

Bewitching Book Tour of Stanley and Hazel by Jo Schaffer, Feb 18 to Feb 25

 

Stanley and Hazel by Jo Schaffer book cover 
Title: Stanley and Hazel
Author: Jo Schaffer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Month9Books
Date of Publication: May 15, 2018
ISBN: 978-1946700650
ASIN: B07982QYX4
Pages: 280
Cover Artist: AM Design Studios

A great depression grips the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante-in-waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She’s out and about without an escort and against her father’s wishes.

When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice.

But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem “undesirable.” They’ve put into motion “The Winnowing,” a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will.

As Stanley and Hazel’s forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.

Amazon | Meet The Author Video

Stanley and Hazel Excerpt

 

Hazel stumbled down the grassy hill of the moonlit park. Stanley glanced at her from several steps ahead. “You with me, Bananas?”

“Yeah.” She swallowed back the urge to be sick. Hazel’s legs moved her forward but nothing seemed real. She was in Forest Park at night with a newsie boy she’d just met and Sandy’s runaway sister was back there, slumped against the statue of St. Louis with her head cracked open.

She couldn’t make her brain take it all in. Evelyn’s face—caved in on one side, her mouth slack, teeth showing like gravestones covered in blood. Gripped with panic, Hazel quickened her step to catch up with Stanley—her only guide in this darkness. He was a part of it. This was his world, not hers.

 

Jo Schaffer photoAbout Jo Schaffer

Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker and a Taekwondo black belt. She’s a founding member of the nonprofit organization that created Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the nation’s biggest conferences for teens where bestselling authors present writing workshops to nearly a thousand attendees. Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. But her favorite thing is being mom to three strapping sons and a neurotic cat named Hero. They live together in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

Web site | Instagram | Facebook Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | YouTube | GoodReads | Snapchat: jojoschaffer

Jo Schaffer’s Bewitching Book Tour Giveaway

Visit Jo Schaffer’s Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance at a Starbucks or Amazon e-gift card (winner’s choice) plus one e-Book of winner’s choice.

 

Advertisements

Spotlight on High Heat #Romance: The Mediator by Candace Laville @LavilleAuthor

Hello, Dear Readers and Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m super psyched to share a new erotic romance series with you, The CUPID Dating Agency. It’s a multi-author, shared-world series populated with demons, angels, humans, and of course, cupids. Each story is a unique, standalone read. I’ve been invited to write stories for the series — hurray! — and will give you all a look at what I’m whipping up later this year. First up in the series for February we have Candace Laville’s high heat menage, “The Mediator”. Enjoy! xo, Celia…

The Mediator book cover, by Candace Laville, The CUPID Dating Agency series

 
Title: The Mediator
Author: Candace Laville
Series: The CUPID Dating Agency
Series #: First book in series (standalone read)
Genre: Adult, erotic romance (HEA, ménage, threesome)
Publisher: Smart Heart Publishing
Date of Publication: February 5, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-911573-13-5
ASIN: B07L4XRBC1
Page/Word Count: 86 pages / ~25,000 words
Cover Artist: Pam Palmer

General elements: angels, demons, Valentine’s Day, humor, very explicit sex scenes, strong language; heat level 5, reading time ~2.5 hours

That Kerry’s birthday falls on the most romantic day of the year sucks. That she’s set up on a date with both an angel and a demon sucks worse. But she’s about to discover that being trapped between good and evil makes for one hell of a good time.

Mike and Cal, angel and demon, are reluctant business partners. To help them get along, Cupid sends a mediator called Kerry, but rather than working on a truce, the guys are soon locked in a different battle, this time over Kerry’s smoking curves.

Universal link | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | GoodReads

The Mediator Excerpt

(First Meet, Cal’s POV…)

“My dear Miss Dalton.” The cupid pressed a button at the side on his chair. A motor whirred as his seat rose up. “The terms and conditions set out that the appointment is to last twenty-four hours.”

“That’s crazy.” She ripped the card out of his hands and held it in front of her. “Twenty-four hours? What kind of date lasts twenty-four hours?”

Any date with me, baby.

“This one will.” The cupid didn’t relax his tone.

She slumped her shoulders. “Fine. Do you have a photo database of losers, or do I pick a name from a hat?”

He aimed his hand at Mike and me.

We practically shot up in unison.

“Oh.” Her gaze, from light-blue eyes, drifted from me to the angel. “Sorry about the loser comment.”

I smirked. “No problem.”

Angel sissy to my left mumbled something incomprehensible. Yeah, dude had no idea how to handle a woman like that.

She leaned toward the cupid and cupped her mouth. “Which one?”

The cupid beamed. “Both.”

Kerry coughed into her fist, eyes wide. “Ha. You nearly had me. Seriously. Which… Which one?”

“Both. This is not a date, though, you understand. The cupids’ responsibilities go far beyond merely pairing up couples. I’m pleased to tell you that we have determined that you are a rare mediator, the perfect match for these two gentlemen.”

She faced us, her hands gripping the edge of the desk to her left and right. Her clothes looked like she’d got dressed at night, but I was more interested in what lay beneath anyway.

“A mediator?” The poor baby almost hyperventilated.

Mike leaped forward and guided her to his chair. His hand oh-so-accidentally brushed her full breasts.

What a dick.

 

About Candace Laville
Candace is a UK author who writes romance and erotica. When she’s not engrossed in writing, she enjoys traveling and sightseeing, and adding to her ever-growing shoe collection.

Look her up on GoodReads | Follow her on Amazon

About The CUPID Dating Agency

The secret is out: angels and demons walk among us. The Cupid Dating Agency, once merely responsible for aligning the fates of compatible humans, have expanded their portfolio. Operators of luxury cruises and charitable organizations are as valued as casinos and trendy bars, and it’s up to the cupids to find the angels, demons, and humans who will run these businesses. Should a heavenly attraction between the participants lead to all sorts of sinful fun, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: Albion Moon by @MLMastran

Happy New Year, Dear Readers! To kick off the new year of reading recs, fellow Champagne Books author is here to share the first book in her paranormal romance series. Read on for details, an excerpt, and a link to her tour giveaway. Enjoy! xo, Celia…

Bewitching Book Tour image for Albion Moon, book by author M L Mastran, tour dates 1/28 - 2/11

 

Albion Moon book cover, book by author M L Mastran
Title:
Albion Moon
Author: M. L. Mastran
Genre: Mystery, suspense, paranormal romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: August 2018
ISBN: 978-1-947128-36-1 (e-book)
ISBN: 978-1-947128-37-8 (print)
Page/Word Count: 171 pages / 94,000 words
Cover Artist: Creative Paramita

Stand up and fight or lose everything.

Evaline’s brother is missing. She’s desperate to find out what happened to him. As she digs deeper into his disappearance, the mystery reveals an ancient family secret carried through the bloodline that began centuries ago in the Scottish Highlands.

As this secret from the old world closes in on Evaline, she tries to sort through her disconcerting feelings towards the mysterious Mason. He not only seems to always know when she is in danger, but he is insistent on protecting her, no matter the cost.

As the old world collides with the new, Evaline discovers she must choose to stand and fight or risk losing everything, and everyone, she holds dear.

Champagne Books | Amazon | LuLu | B&N

Albion Moon Excerpt

Over the next couple days, I picked up applications from the couple of banks and other places in town as well as in Shasta, the next town over. On Thursday, Kristy, Lizzy, and I hung out and went for ice cream downtown. We hit a couple of stores as Kristy wanted to get some clothes. I loathed clothes shopping. I peeked at the racks while Kristy tried stuff on and Lizzy weighed in. She got a text. One of the other servers had called off, and Mason needed her to come in.

“I have to get to work. Sorry, Kristy,” Lizzy said.

“That’s fine,” Kristy said. “Can we get some lunch there when we take you in?”

I shook my head slightly at her scheming.

“Absolutely,” Lizzy said, looking at me. “Let’s go.”

We piled into my car and headed out onto Old River Road. It was a great day for a convertible ride. The late summer sun beamed on us as we drove down the road. I had AC/DC blaring, and as we rounded a curve, I heard a siren. Peering into my rearview mirror, I eyed the red flashing police lights atop one of the town’s two SUV police units.

Kristy glanced back. “What the fuck? You weren’t speeding.”

I looked down. I was just below the speed limit. After I pulled over, I got out my registration and insurance. The cop approached my door, and what I saw caused a huge lump to form in my throat.
Campbell had a smug look on his face as he spoke. “License, registration, and proof of insurance please.”

I handed them over without making eye contact.

He examined my license, which still had my Sacramento address on it. “A little way from Sacramento, Miss Bennett, aren’t we?”

“Yeah, I guess I am.”

“Where are you headed right now?” His tone turned from mocking to icy.

“I need to get her to work,” I said, indicating Lizzy.

He eyed Lizzy, who appeared annoyed by his questions. “Oh, a Cowan sister. How fitting. Tell your brother I got a nice cell waiting for him.” She didn’t say anything as his attention moved back to me. “So, are you here on vacation?”

My blood boiled as the dream I had with Jimmy came back to me. I glared at Campbell. “I’m visiting family for a while.”

“So, what is the address you’re staying at in town?”

“What does that matter?” Kristy interrupted any response I was about to make. “What the f—?”

“Smart ass like your brother,” he said, cutting her off. “He’s a great bunk mate for Jonas.”

Now speechless, she sat there.

After opening my door, he indicated for me to move. “Please step out of the vehicle.”

Not wishing to cause a scene, I complied and stood by my car.

He turned me around. “Face your car, hands on the hood.”

Kristy found her voice again. “Are you fucking kidding me? We weren’t doing anything!”

Campbell flashed her a look. “Shut up and don’t move.” He then patted me down. “Do you have any weapons or drug paraphernalia I need to be aware of?” He spun me back to him.

Looking at him dead in the eye, I answered, “No.”

Holding my elbow, he walked me toward his vehicle as he eyed Kristy and Lizzy, who were clearly uncomfortable with what was happening. Despite my apprehension, I followed him. He took me behind his patrol truck and returned my license.

“I suggest you watch yourself, Miss Bennett. These back roads are dangerous, and if something were to happen, it could be quite a while until you’d be found.” My stomach churned as he leaned into me and whispered, “A woman like yourself, all alone, might entice trouble.” He reached for my breast, and I reacted quickly.

Shoving the bottom of my palm up into his lip, I knocked him back but didn’t wait to see his reaction. I returned to my car, got in, then took off. I was sure he was going to follow, but he didn’t.

Kristy turned to me. “We need to report him, Evaline. That was wrong in so many ways.”

Shaking my head, I said, “It will make things worse, trust me. Just forget it, okay?”

She gave Lizzy a concerned look, who then asked, “Why did he take you back there?”

I didn’t say anything as we drove into the parking lot, parked, then got out.

Kristy was still fired up. “This is such bullshit. He made a move on you, didn’t he?”

“Just drop it, Kristy, okay? It’s over. I wanna forget it.”

The dust kicked up in the parking lot as we made our way through the front doors. A few patrons were seated at the bar, and several booths and tables were occupied. We headed to an open booth as Lizzy returned to the back.

While still a bit shaken from the encounter, I pondered what had just happened. A knot was in the pit of my stomach as thoughts raced through my mind.

Does he know I know what he is? Will he try to hurt what family I have left? Will he hurt me to find out what I know? I thought of my dream again—Jimmy had warned me. Or will he kill me?

 

About M. L. Mastran
Author M L Mastran headshot
Nothing captures the attention of M.L. Mastran more than writing a good story with amazing characters and a history arc that made the history books. This is Albion Moon in every sense.

On the flip side, M.L. can also journey to another world completely and pull the same elements with fantasy and make the reader yearn for more. Her uncanny ability to blend genres makes her unique to the literary world and an absolute reading joy. From the first moment you open the page, curiosity will pull you in and keep you engrossed in the story as you take the voyage with the characters to different places and times; to experience the events as they unfold.

Whether being told from a one character perspective or several points of view, her stories will unfold in your mind like a movie playing in your head. This is what pushes M.L to write her stories. It’s the thrill of the read and the drive to carry readers away that will make this trip to the literary world of imagination all the sweeter.

Facebook | Twitter

M. L. Mastran’s Rafflecopter Giveaway

M. L. Mastran is giving away One (1) signed copy of Albion Moon, open to US Shipping. To enter her tour’s official rafflecopter giveaway, visit her Albion Moon Tour Giveaway Page.

Celia’s Favorite #Holiday #Dessert #Recipes

Season’s Greetings Dear Readers!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful December. To close out 2018 and the last holiday celebration of this year, I’m sharing three of my favorite, dessert recipes. They appeared in the blogosphere around this time least year, and the first two are on the Decadent Divas blog today, but I’m posting all three here for you, too! I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does. Bon appetit!

Holiday Spritz Cookies

spritz cookies

Recipe compliments of my mother. Requires cookie press.

3/4 cup regular sugar (some recipes call for “powdered”, but mom swears by regular!)
1 cup margarine, or butter, or shortening (mom uses shortening; I use butter. Both are delish.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a bowl, mix together margarine (or butter or shortening), sugar, vanilla, egg until fairly fluffy.
3. Stir in flour, salt, baking powder.
4. Optional: separate dough into bowls, add food dye of your choosing (see photo).
5. Fill cookie press; press dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.
6. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
7. Remove from sheet and cool on cookie rack.
8. Eat. All. The. Cookies!
 

tom and jerry holiday house, san francisco

Holiday Caramels

Recipe compliments of my grandmother.

1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups white sugar
2 cups white Karo Syrup
1 stick of butter (1/4 lb.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix together the first three ingredients (milk, sugar, syrup) in a large bowl.
2. Melt the butter in a large heavy kettle, pour in the mixture and bring to a boil.
3. Stir continuously while mixture boils until it reaches the temperature of 245 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer (can take up to 25 minutes).*
4. Once the 245-degree temperature is reached, remove kettle from stove.
5. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then pour mixture onto a large buttered cookie sheet or flat pan.
6. Cut into pieces, wrap with plastic wrap or your candy covering of choice (or eat All The Candy, LOL).

* Note: If mixture overcooks, candy gets too hard.

story mansion, ashbury heights, san francisco

Snickerdoodles

Recipe compliments of my grandmother

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine, butter, or shortening (my grandmother uses shortening)
1 – 2 tsp. vanilla (grandmother uses 1 more often than 2)
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. In a small bowl, mix the tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Mix together margarine (or butter or shortening), sugar, vanilla, eggs.
4. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt. Add to wet ingredients.
5. Form one-inch or 1 1/4 inch balls, and roll balls in sugar/cinnamon mixture.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
7. Remove from sheet and cool on cookie rack.
8. Eat. All. The. Cookies!

Happy new year!

xo, Celia

Photos:
First home = Tom and Jerry’s House, a San Francisco Historical Landmark.
Second home = Storybook House, decorated for every holiday!
All photos (cookies included) by moi.

Spotlight on #Holiday #Paranormalromance: Gifted: the Dark Forgotten

Hello Dear Readers! USA Today bestselling author Sharon Ashwood is here today with some LOL holiday gift ideas and a look at her holiday novella Gifted: A Dark Forgotten Christmas Story. Read on and enjoy! Happy Holidays! xo, Celia

 Bewitching Book Tour Dec. 3 to Dec. 31

 

10 Holiday Gifts for Your Supernatural Friends, by Sharon Ashwood

Christmas shopping can be challenging at the best of times, but the non-humans on the list can present special problems. Need ideas for what to get the vampire with centuries of clutter in his garage or the mermaid who needs everything waterproofed? Here are some suggestions from our retail experts:

1. Get that vampire a month’s rental on a storage locker big enough to house his spare coffin collection!
2. For the shifters we suggest many, many lint rollers or a rechargeable hand vacuum!
3. For the fussy feline shifters, how about modern art that doubles as a scratching post?
4. As a stocking stuffer, nothing beats fake human teeth for the vampires!
5. A definite must have: non-toxic chew toys for the werepuppies.
6. Environmentally friendly dry cleaning options for the mummies on your list.
7. Steaks
8. Stakes
9. A personal crossroad for that special demon. Top seller: something on Route 666.
10. High-strength spray adhesive is a thoughtful present for those zombies who just can’t keep it together.

Just remember, whatever you choose, it’s the thought that counts–or possibly the deliciously fresh brains that just manufactured that thought …

 

Gifted, the dark forgotten book cover image

Title: Gifted: A Dark Forgotten Christmas Story
Series: Dark Forgotten Series (Book 5)
Author: Sharon Ashwood
Genre: Paranormal romance/urban fantasy
Publisher: Rowan and Ash Artistry
Date of Publication: November 11, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-7750279-3-5
ASIN:: B07K5DYCBK
Page Count: 124
Word Count: 35
Cover Artist: Wicked by Design

Who says the holiday season is just for humans?

For all the holly-jolly times, family gatherings are complex no matter who—or what—you are. When you’re hunting for the latest “it” toy to stuff a stocking, it doesn’t matter if you’re alive or Undead, fanged or furry—you’re just as desperate to be the cool dad. And then there are the family grumps who never send cards, the ones who eat all the good candy, and those who drool and dig up the neighbor’s yard.

No, the Yuletide Season isn’t for the faint of heart—and sometimes it’s downright demonic–but holiday miracles make it all worthwhile. Chance encounters and unexpected forgiveness remind us that joy doesn’t come in a gift-wrapped box.

This novella from the Dark Forgotten world catches up with favorite characters for a fresh take on the holidays. Those visiting the world for the first time will understand why Chicago Tribune called it “simply superb.”

Grab this book and return to the world of the Dark Forgotten. Santa Claws is waiting!

Amazon

Excerpt

“Don’t you want to go see Santa Claws?” Errata Jones asked in her husky, teasing voice.

“Meh,” Perry Baker replied, still grumpy at the prospect of crowds and gift-giving decisions. Plus, it was cold, gray, and rainy—a typical December day in the Pacific Northwest.

“Where’s your boundless holiday spirit?” She turned into the parking lot outside the Fairview Sports and Recreation Center. It was the final day of the Yuletide Holiday Market, an arts and crafts event by and for the local supernatural community. “Counting today, there’s only three shopping days till Christmas.”

“I really hope you’re not going to make me sit on Santa’s knee.”

“I don’t think so, darling. That would be weird, even for us.”

Errata swung her Jaguar coupe into the last parking space, beating out a massive pickup by a whisker. The truck made a sound like a startled dinosaur as it lurched to a stop on the frosty pavement. Turning off the Jaguar’s ignition, Errata smoothed her chin-length, jet-black hair, then glanced in the rear-view mirror, looking pleased with herself. Perry twisted in his seat to see the pickup driver turn a Christmassy scarlet and lurch off.

Perry willed his heart to resume its normal rhythm. Errata was a werecougar, and there were reasons cats shouldn’t drive. Werewolves like him were another matter. Wolves appreciated order, including stop signs. Cats did things because they could—like pester him into going to this stupid craft fair.

That’s what he got for befriending a feline. He cast her a sidelong look, taking in her high cheekbones and smooth, golden skin. It was all he could do not to reach over and stroke her hair, but that would be crossing a boundary. She’d made it clear from the start that cats walked alone.
Errata finished preening and gave him an arch look. “Shouldn’t you be shopping for your human, what’s-her-name?”

Perry released his seatbelt. “Her name is Tiffani. With an i.”

“Tiffani. Of course it is.” Errata patted his cheek with a pitying look. “Come on. First fifty guests get a goodie bag.”

“She’s fun,” Perry said, sounding defensive even to himself.

“Humans generally are,” she said agreeably. “You should buy her something really nice.”

“Men don’t shop before December 23rd,” he protested as he got out of the car.

“Friends don’t let friends give their sweethearts, even ones named Tiffani with an i, gift cards.”

“But gift cards make sense.”

Errata flung the end of her scarf over her shoulder with a flick of one gloved hand. “Be grateful you have me to watch over you.” She clicked the locks and swept toward the entrance of the building, leaving Perry to catch up.

“Cats,” he grumbled. “What do you want for Yule?”

“Not a gift card.”

 

About the Author
Ashwood headshot

USA Today bestselling author Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

Sharon is a winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

Web site | Twitter | Tumblr (The Prattler) | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | GoodReads

 

A How-To for #Writers: The Young Adult Writer’s Journey

Hi Everyone! I have a non-fiction highlight for you today. For the writers in the audience, here’s a How-To reference book on writing Young Adult fiction from two experts in the field. Coming next in December: stay tuned for holiday cheer (and recipes!), along with some fun fiction. Happy Holidays! xo, Celia

The Young Adult Writer’s Journey Bewitching Book Tour Dec. 3 to Dec. 31

 

The Young Adult Writer’s Journey book cover image

Title: The Young Adult Writer’s Journey
Author: Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds and Janet Schrader-Post
Genre: Nonfiction Reference
Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing Group
Date of Publication: November 23, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-944056-98-8
ASIN:: B07K3VZ2ZK
Page Count: 232
Word Count: 60,000

An Encyclopedia for YA Writers.

Finally, an all-inclusive book on young adult fiction must-do, don’t do and how-to. If you want to write a young adult novel, you need to read this book first. Coauthored by an award-winning YA author and an acquisitions editor, both experts on kids and what they like to read, this encyclopedia contains all you need to start or improve a career as a YA fiction author.

From an examination of the market, genre and its sub-genres, to mechanics and the business, everything is at your fingertips. This amazing writer’s resource is written in a relaxed and interesting style, with plenty of contemporary references and examples for clear understanding and easier application.

Book Trailer | Amazon

Praise

“The Young Adult Writer’s Journey is a ‘Must Have’ at your fingertip reference for anyone who writes (or wants to write) for or about kids. Engaging text with topical and thought-provoking insights leading from idea to submission . . . and beyond to populate a story with believable characters young readers can relate to.” —Nancy Gideon, Award-Winning author of the By Moonlight series

“The trouble with “how to” books on creativity is that they usurp creativity. Not so with this very insightful guide for YA writing. If it doesn’t become a standard or even a classic among reference books, it will be an oversight. Janet Schrader-Post and Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds have all the marinated smarts and credentialed experience to pull this off, and they do! No dictated wisdom from on high here, no grafted creativity, THE YOUNG ADULT WRITER’S JOURNEY is accessible, motivational and a clear map that leaves plenty of room to discover for anyone wanting to explore their creative side.” -Thomas Sullivan, Pulitzer-nominated author of THE PHASES OF HARRY MOON

Excerpt

When you talk about world-building, many writers think you’re talking about fantasy lands like Narnia, Westeros, Panam or Middle Earth. For most teens, school is their world. What kind of home life they have is their world and these worlds need to be just as complicated as Narnia. Well-developed teen worlds like Hogwarts, North Shore High School, home of the Mean Girls, Rydell High School of Grease, and Panem of Hunger Games are so well-developed they seem real, and you remember them as though they were a place you visited.

To create a real world for teens in our times, you really need to know them: what they do every day, what they like, what motivates them, the environment in high schools and many other details. Home life for kids is very different from twenty or even ten years ago. It takes two incomes now to support a growing family or to succeed, so both parents most likely work. This leaves kids as young as nine or ten at home alone for long periods of time (or even younger, unfortunately). The enemy of these parents is the school holiday, and it seem like there’s more than ever. These parents have no idea what to do with their children. Many can’t afford childcare, so the kids are home alone. It’s a thing you must think about when writing for them.

Children come from all levels of society. Poor kids will view the world through different eyes than kids who have well-off parents. Kids living with a single parent might have a different view of the world as well as different social structures. The kids with single parents or working parents might have to go hungry on weekends, on school holidays and especially during the summer. It’s hard to think about, but true. There are teenagers out there who eat breakfast and lunch at school and their families provide dinner. Sometimes all they get is their school meals some days. When school is out, they scavenge and fend for themselves or they don’t eat.

 

Why I Write Young Adult Fiction, By Janet Post

I started writing fiction when I retired from the newspaper business. I’m an award-winning reporter with many Florida Press Awards. Being a reporter really honed my writing skills. You have to write tightly, concisely, and most importantly, on command. No waiting for your muse when someone’s standing in front of your desk with their hand out.

My first book after retiring was a Cracker Western. I was married to a Cracker Cowboy, so I had credentials. Credentials matter when trying to get published. Pineapple Press published Alligator Gold in 2009. After that, I wrote two adventure novels, one of which is coming out soon from Tell-Tale Publishing, Valley of the Golden Mummies. Getting the adult fiction published was difficult. The market was moving toward e-books, so I wrote some romance and published it under my daughter’s name, Melanie Thompson. I liked writing romance, but it still wasn’t me, it wasn’t what I wanted to write.

My son retired from the military and went to work as a teacher. He has his finger on the pulse of what kid’s, especially teenagers, like. So together, we wrote Vagrant, sold it as a series to Tell-Tale Publishing and it has since garnered two prestigious awards. I’d found my home. I love writing Young Adult fiction.

Young Adult, besides being on fire, is so much fun to write. Kids are hysterical. They suffer (not that funny but . . .), they laugh, they’re interested in so many things, and most of them are plowing through school doing the best they can. They have their own language. They’re learning about life which offers fresh topics and allows you to explore wonderful depths of emotion. They fall in and out of love and they take it so seriously. They’re technically savvy in ways most people can’t understand. And then there’s the huge cast of characters to choose from.

In The Young Adult Writers Journey, a new reference book I wrote with my editor Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds, we cover this cast of characters in depth. High school kids come in all shapes and colors, have handicaps, nervous disorders, character flaws and problems adults have, but to them, they’re so much worse because they’re just learning to deal with them while they’re going to school and trying to learn to socialize. It’s comparable to running a marathon with one leg tied up on crutches. It can be funny and terrifying at the same time.

If you want to learn how to write for teens, make sure you get a copy of The Young Adult Writers Journey. It’s available for preorder on amazon.com and it’s coming out November 23, 2018, Black Friday, just in time for Christmas giving.

 

About the Authors

Author Fortin-Hinds headshot
Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds knows kids well. She spent decades teaching teens and adults to write and improve their reading skills. As a literacy expert and certified coach, she helped both teachers from elementary to secondary and preservice graduate students learn to improve reading and writing instruction. She has taught at both the secondary and graduate level, everything from rhetoric, essays, and thesis statements, to poetry, short stories, and how to write a novel. She has learned to use both sides of her brain simultaneously, but enjoys the creative side the most, learning to play piano, draw and paint, and find time for her own writing since retiring from her “day” jobs.

A “true believer” in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, mythic structures, she uses that lens when considering manuscripts for Tell-Tale Publishing Group, a company she founded with some friends from her critique group a decade ago.

Shcrader-Post headshotDaughter of a Colonel, Janet lived the military life until she got out of high school. She lived in Hawaii and worked as a polo groom for fifteen years, then moved to Florida where she became a reporter. For ten years she covered kids in high school and middle school. Kids as athletes, kids doing amazing things no matter how hard their circumstances. It impressed her, and it awed her. “How wonderful teens are. They have spirit and courage in the face of the roughest time of their lives. High school is a war zone. Between dodging bullies, school work and after school activities, teens nowadays have a lot on their plate. I wrote stories about them and I photographed them. My goal was to see every kid in their local newspaper before they graduated.”

Janet love kids and horses, and she paints and writes. Now she lives in the swampland of Florida with too many dogs and her fifteen-year-old granddaughter. She started to write young adult fiction with the help of her son, Gabe Thompson, who teaches middle school. Together they have written a number of award-winning YA novels in both science fiction and fantasy.

Tell-Tale Publishing Web site | Tell-Tale Publishing Blog | Twitter | Elizabeth Forntin-Hinds Facebook | Elizabeth Forntin-Hinds GoodReads | Newsletter | Janet Schrader-Post Web site | Janet Schrader-Post Facebook | Janet Schrader-Post’s Vagrant Chronicles

 

Holly Jolly #Holiday Hop & #Giveaway, December 1 – 4, 2018

Image, Holly Jolly Holiday Hop, December 1 to 5, 2018

Hi Everyone! Happy December and welcome to the Holly Jolly Holiday Hop! This hop runs December 1 – 4, 2018. Discover over 60 authors with giveaways at every hop stop. So many chances to win amazing prizes. Plus, be sure to enter the grand prize giveaway for a chance at a $50 Amazon gift card!

Celia’s Hop Stop Giveaway — CLOSED

The tech gods have spoken. Cassie Montgomery, you’re the winner of Celia’s Giveaway, congrats!

  • $5 e-gift card from Amazon(dot)com or Starbucks(dot)com (winner’s choice)
  • E-book copy of Diamond Moon (paranormal romance) or Haven (urban fantasy) (winner’s choice)

To enter this hop stop giveaway: Visit Celia’s Holly Jolly Hop Stop Giveaway 2018 on Rafflecopter.

Excerpts from Diamond Moon & Haven

DIAMOND MOON – Ross and Darci’s First Meet

He reached out with his Wolf senses. The feedback froze his fingers on the doorknob. Female. Damn, she smelled good. Human. Wolf. Wait…both? The copper tang of blood hit his nose. And injured.

He flung open the door. His abrupt move caught his visitor off guard, one small, white fist raised to knock. The woman startled and fell forward. Catching her, he pulled her inside, kicking the door shut with his foot.

She sagged against him, a shivering bundle of wet woman. Underneath the dampness, her scent drop-kicked his gut. Apples and cinnamon. Roses and honey. His body perked up, taking extreme notice. He fought the growl of possession threatening to tear out of his throat. Holy hell, had his potential mate just walked into his home in the middle of a storm?

The scent of her blood jump-started his brain into action. He lowered her gently to the floor. “Jesus. You okay?”

His instincts urged him to check her for wounds, but he was a stranger and didn’t want to spook her. But goddamn, he wanted to touch her. Peel off her wet clothes. See all of her. With a jacket covering her torso, tight jeans hiding her legs, and her ball cap pulled low on her face, all he’d seen so far was her quivering pale chin, full red lips, and those delicate, trembling hands.

“S-s-sorry, d-dripping all ov-v-ver your f-f-floor,” she said, teeth chattering. Her snow white fingers curled on the hardwood, arms trembling with her effort to keep herself upright. Blood streaked the wood. A line of liquid crimson slid down her jaw and dripped from her chin onto her jacket.

To hell with propriety. “You’re injured. Let me help you.” He pulled off her cap and damn near swallowed his tongue.

Big green eyes blinked up at him from a face so pale it made him think of moonlight. Drenched, short black hair lay plastered to her head, the ends framing features reminiscent of the fairies his sister loved to draw for the hidden-object games she designed. Ethereal beauty. My beauty. He stroked a knuckle down her cheek then ran his thumb over her soft, full lower lip.

She flinched and batted his hand away, falling to her side in the process.

Ross snapped back to reality with a healthy hit of guilt. “Shit. Sorry.”

His gaze shot to her forehead where a two-inch cut sent blood trailing over her prominent cheekbone with its silky-smooth skin he’d so enjoyed caressing—

Shit. He gave himself a mental ass kicking for scaring her. “I’m Ross. You’re safe here. Promise.”

* * * * * *

HAVEN – Carina and Alexander’s First Meet

Turn around.

I froze, my moment of weakness chased away by a jolt of adrenaline. I resisted Adrian’s pull. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

Silence.

“Nothing, I guess.” A wave of energy rolled into me, curled itself possessively around my body, and gave me one hell of a head rush. “Oh, wow.” I bit my lip, bracing against reaction.

Adrian tightened his grip on my waist. “Rina?”

Mark and Ren stalked over, faces grim.

“Did—? Do you—?” My mouth was so dry I could barely speak. “Do you guys feel that?”

Adrian squeezed, capturing my wandering attention, concern etched in the stern set of his jaw. “Feel what? What’s wrong?”

I started to tell them the Invisible Man hugged me against an electrified fence, but a second wave of energy bowled into me, making me tingle from head to toe. The sensation walked the line between pleasure and pain. A moan escaped me.

Mark took me from Adrian. “That’s it. We’re out of here.” He tried to pick me up, but I shook my head. Bad idea. Dizziness took the hall, and me, for a little spin.

Turn around. Turn. Around.

Was it a voice or instinct urging me on? Either way, the desire proved irresistible. I pulled away from Mark, pivoted, and forgot how to breathe.

The electric energy pulled back. The dizziness abated. All extraneous noise and people drained out of my perception until there was only Him.

Tall, fit, and bad-boy handsome with skin like pale honey, his thick, walnut brown hair hung tousled in a sexy, I-just-got-out-of-bed way. A hip, black, button-down shirt accentuated a sculpted upper body before it tucked into slacks painted on long, lean legs. The whole package made my mouth water.

Hot. Yummy. Totally my type.

“Who are you?” I whispered.

His mouth twitched in a hint of a smile as if he heard me—impossible given the distance between us. Heat spread, loosening my muscles, and my pulse sped up. Nerves. What’s wrong with me? Guys never made me nervous, not even gorgeous ones.

I nibbled my lower lip, mind racing to make sense of my reaction. His gaze tracked the movement and then slid back up. The heat from his stare hit me full force, driving a shaft of need through me. Energy rocked me again, a warm, electric breeze bathing my skin. My eyes widened in comprehension. The energy came from him.

 

Holly Jolly Holiday Hop Grand Prize Giveaway

For a complete list of all the hop stops, and to enter this fabulous hop’s grand prize giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card, visit the main hop page on the Book Vixens Web site.

Keep Hopping!

Thanks for visiting my hop page! For your next stop, visit author Zoe Dawson’s Facebook Author Page.

Have fun and happy holidays!

Xo,
Celia


The Fine Print (aka hop rules)

  • Winners will be notified at the end of the hop on December 5th.
  • Facebook has nothing to do with the Holly Jolly Holiday Hop!
  • Each participating author/page is responsible for their own giveaway and the drawing of their winner and distribution of their offered prizes. Celia’s winner will be notified via email and announced here on this blog page by end of day (11:59 p.m. PST) December 5, 2018.

 

 

Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: Claimed by @AndreaRCooper

Hello Dear Readers! As we bid farewell to November and hello to December, here’s a look at a paranormal romance by fellow Champagne Books author Andrea R. Cooper. This is the first book in her Claimed series. Read on for info and excerpt. Happy reading! xo, Celia…

Claimed by Andrea R. Cooper book cover image

 
Title: Claimed
Author: Andrea R. Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: June 6, 2016
ISBN: 1771552778
Page Count: 241

Renee Maxwell lands her dream job as assistant to archaeologist Damon Cubins in wondrous Turkey. However, she starts seeing strange things after finding a unique crystal. For one, hot Damon now looks like the sexy demi-god and underwear model of her dreams. Her feminist ideals are challenged with each bit of banter and seductive look he gives her, but she’s not falling for his charm.



Time is of the essence for incubus, Damon Cubins, who must find a one-of-a-kind crystal or turn into a full-fledged demon. He has neither the time nor desire for love, but his new assistant tests his resolve. When he discovers she’s got the crystal he needs to save himself, he must make a decision to either romance it from her or walk away. But can he?

Amazon | B & N | Kobo | iTunes | Watch the Claimed Trailer

Claimed Excerpt

She huffed and snatched up her towel. Thankfully, it reached just below her butt, leaving her long legs exposed for his admiration.

Then she batted her eyelashes at him. “I would never give you the satisfaction.”

“Of which?” He beamed. “Drowning or bathing?”

“Both.” She inserted the corner of towel between her breasts, locking the rest of it around her, and then grabbed her canteen. “Uh, thank you for saving me.” She shivered, and he doubted it was merely from the dunk in the water. “Please don’t tell the others; it’s embarrassing.”

After his nod, she breathed out a sigh. She looked as if she anticipated that he would haul her back into the water for a lesson.

Her movements reminded him of abused animals. He speculated most people, who couldn’t swim but grew up around water, would try to learn unless they experienced drowning or trauma in the past. Could that have happened to her? There was more to this situation than her usual stubbornness. Vulnerability even.

As she leaned over to finish filling her canteen, her ample bosom peeked out. His lust twisted at the thought of the sounds she would make when he kissed her nipples until they pebbled.

Suddenly, she jerked up, spilling some of the water. “Did you get a good enough view?”
He opened his mouth, but no words came out. Without waiting for his reply, she stormed away. Damon flopped backward, letting his body float. His mind drifted to images of making love to Renee in the river. After he helped her over her phobia, somehow. Hmm, he could kiss her down there while she treaded water.

Nah, she’d never go for it. This is a business trip. No time for sleeping with the staff, no matter how sexy they are when arguing with him.

 

About the Author
Author Ivy Keating headshot
Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).

Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Web site | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Blog | Pinterest

 

 

Spotlight on #ScienceFiction: Camouflage by @ivy_keating & @scottspotson

Hi Everyone! For those of you in the US, hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, yesterday. I’m so happy it’s raining in San Francisco, and the AQI is now in the green zone, down from the weeks of concerning red and purple zones. For your reading pleasure, here’s a look at a science fiction story from fellow Champagne Books authors Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson. Info and excerpt below. Happy reading! xo, Celia… p.s. Be sure to watch their trailer, too…it’s really good!

Camouflage by Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson book cover image

 
Title: Camouflage
Author: Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: September 23, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-947128-54-5
Page Count: 241

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what they do find terrifies them to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges. It attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

Champagne Books | Amazon | GoodReads | Watch The Trailer –>

Camouflage Excerpt

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

“The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.”

The next paragraph got him thinking.

“A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.”

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.

He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.

The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”

Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.
“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.
“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.

After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

 

About the Authors
Author Ivy Keating headshot
Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world. A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England. An area that inspired the question… what if?

Web site | Instagram | Twitter

Scott Spotson, has written nine books, and specializes in science fiction and urban fantasy. His best-selling book, Life II, was twice selected by the largest independent on-line book discounter, Book Bub, as a recommended read.
 

 

Spotlight on #Fantasy #Romance: A Guardian’s Hope by @ReneeWildes

Hi Everyone! Hiding out with the family in our San Francisco home, avoiding the smoke blanketing our city, I’m getting a lot of reading accomplished. Here’s a look at a fantasy romance series by fellow Champagne Books author Renee Wildes. I’ve added this one to my TBR and look forward to experiencing Renee’s take on the Sleeping Beauty story. More info and excerpt below. Happy reading! xo, Celia

A Guardian's Hope (Guardians of Light series, Book 2) by Renee Wildes Book Cover

 
Title: A Guardian’s Hope
Series/#: Guardians of Light series, Book 2
Author: Renee Wildes
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: September 4, 2018
ASIN: B07GZY991J
Page Count: 275

An assassin nun. An elven paladin. A ruthless queen who will destroy all they hold dear.

As a child, invaders butchered Maleta’s parents and left her ravaged body for dead. Now, reborn as a finely-honed weapon for the Gray Goddess, Hedda, Maleta has shed the burden of emotions for one goal—regain her homeland for her brother.

Cianan ta Daneal’s mission to the fractured land of Shamar is twofold: to overthrow a despotic queen, and to save a life. For months, he’s been haunted by recurring visions of a beautiful swordswoman slaughtered by a skeleton army. He never expected to lay eyes on that woman and recognize her as his Lifemate—or that she’d turn and run like hell.

Uniting Shamar’s diverse peoples in revolt is easy compared to the delicate task of wooing a woman who flinches from his touch.

Slowly, Maleta dares to hope that her country, what’s left of her family, and her shattered heart are safe in Cianan’s steady hands. But when the cold blade of fate strikes true, can she trust his love is strong enough to pull her back from the Abyss?

Warning: This new twist on Sleeping Beauty contains an assassin nun who knows no fear. Okay, just one fear, but it’s a biggie. And an Elven paladin with the Devil’s own negotiating skills. To coax her heart out of hiding, he’s gonna need every one of them.

Champagne Books | Amazon | B&N

A Guardian’s Hope Excerpt

Maleta sighed and speared a chunk of carrot. This place gave her the creeps. Too many hired killers with dark auras. She rolled her stiffening shoulder again.

The door banged open as three men entered with the wind.

“Heyla, Cary,” the tallest one called to the barkeep. “Any hot cider left?”

“Still whining ’bout the cold?” Cary poured three dippers of steaming cider into a tankard and slid it down the bar. “You ain’t even seen cold yet.”

The men in the room laughed, a sound of camaraderie, not mockery.

Maleta stared at the newcomer. His aura shone different from the others, his pure soul blinding gold in the surrounding Darkness. Why was a paladin in a place like this?

His head snapped around. She cursed her curiosity as his piercing cobalt gaze collided with hers. Something shifted in his appearance, a mask of the mind she couldn’t see past, as if her eyes saw one thing and her mind another. Meal or nay, now she’d the information she sought, she should move on.

Too late. He stalked toward her with the fluid swing of a lifelong horseman, tankard cradled in both hands as if warming them. The body of a sinner, on a saint. Her breath caught in her throat as he neared. There were few men who could look her in the eye. She’d reach this man’s chin. Maleta tensed as he stopped on the other side of the table. Unable to tear her gaze from the unwavering intensity of his, she trembled as his scent, like fresh-cut fir boughs with a warm hint of musk, surrounded her. Who was this man? Trouble, in more than the obvious. Why did he single her out?

“Heyla, Shield-Maiden,” he said in a voice as rich and smooth as rare drenieval whiskey. The underlying lethal heat in his voice could rob the unwary of their senses. “I have not seen you here afore.” He held out a hand. “My name is Cianan.”

She eyed that hand, unwilling to touch him, sensing ’twould give him too much knowledge, too much power. Long musician’s fingers with archer’s calluses. Even without their hands touching, the truth of his name pierced the shadows around her soul, the shadows of lies and pretext that were her new identity.

Maleta stared at him, helpless not to. Those eyes drew her in, promising things she couldn’t even comprehend. They weren’t the eyes of a saint. Too blue, too knowing. Long raven hair glinted blue-black in the firelight. Foreign accent, not one she recognized, with a lilt she couldn’t place. Charm she trusted not at all.

She focused on slowing her pounding heart, forced herself to breathe. “What you want?”

His lips quirked in a smile. “Many things, Lady, but I would begin with your name.”

“Why should I be giving that out?”

He just smiled, but his eyes studied her. Watchful. Probing. Aware. Too aware.

Time to end this. “My name and business are mine.” She stood.

He raised a hand. “Nay, finish eating. I shall go. But tell me your name first.”

“Sonja.”

Knowledge of the lie flashed in his eyes, and she curled her fists with impotent fury. Damn paladin. What game was this?

“I bid you a good evening, Sonja.” He dipped his head and returned to his friends at the bar.

So much for rooming overnight here. She downed the rest of her meal, gathered her pack, then fled the tavern. The cold air cleared her head. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d been forced to camp out in the open. She didn’t enjoy it, but she’d survive. She always did. Please, Hedda, don’t let him follow.

 

About the Author
Author Renee Wildes headshot
Renee Wildes grew up reading fantasy authors Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey and is a huge Joseph Campbell fan, so the minute she discovered romance novels it became inevitable that she would combine it all and write fantasy romance. Renee is a history buff and research junkie, from ancient to medieval times, esp. the Dark Ages. As a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, she gravitated to protector/guardian heroes and heroines. She’s had horses her whole life, so became the only vet tech in a family of nurses. It all comes together in her Guardians of Light series – fantasy, action, romance, heroics, and lots of critters!

Web site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook Pinterest

 

 

%d bloggers like this: