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…
Title: Stanley and Hazel
Author: Jo Schaffer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date of Publication: May 15, 2018
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.
Stanley and Hazel Excerpt
About 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.
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.
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…
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
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.
The Mediator Excerpt
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.
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.
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…
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.
Albion Moon Excerpt
About M. L. Mastran
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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 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!
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
10 Holiday Gifts for Your Supernatural Friends, by Sharon Ashwood
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
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!
About the Author
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.
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
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
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.
“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
Why I Write Young Adult Fiction, By Janet Post
About the Authors
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.
Daughter 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
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
Excerpts from Diamond Moon & Haven
Holly Jolly Holiday Hop Grand Prize Giveaway
Thanks for visiting my hop page! For your next stop, visit author Zoe Dawson’s Facebook Author Page.
Have fun and happy holidays!
The Fine Print (aka hop rules)
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…
Author: Andrea R. Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: June 6, 2016
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?
About the Author
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.
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!
Author: Ivy Keating and Scott Spotson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: September 23, 2018
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?
About the Authors
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?
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.
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
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
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.
A Guardian’s Hope Excerpt
About the Author
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!
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