Review/Blitz post of Blue Baby by Carolyn Arnold



Author: Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Tours



Where light meets darkness…

Happiness is elusive for many, but from the killer’s standpoint, it’s something he

creates. And he’s determined to get it right…at least one more time.

The murders were one year apart, but the similarities have the interest of the FBI. Both

victims were found in their tubs, dressed in their wedding gowns. But that’s not the

worst of it. When a third body is found, Brandon Fisher and his team make the chilling

discovery that more than the killer’s method of operation connects the women.


4 stars

This book was a good read. If you like the show Criminal Minds or shows like that you will like this book. The Story takes you through the investigation. Keeps you wondering as to who the killer may be. It keeps you in suspense which can be very exciting. It gives you some incite on the investigation and the characters personalities. I enjoyed reading this and look forward to reading more from this author.


Author Bio:

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the

Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author


Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on

par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and

cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two

beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website –

Twitter –

Facebook –

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and

special offers at

Buy Links:

Amazon US –

Amazon UK –

Amazon CA –

Amazon AU –

Barnes & Noble –

Apple iBooks –

Kobo –




THE WHITE SILK WAS DRAPED over the porcelain of the tub like angel wings. She was beautiful,

radiant. Her face was flushed, and her eyes were open and staring at him.

He took the set of fake lashes from his pocket and applied them. He coated her eyeball with

glue before delicately using both hands to pull her eyes closed. The extensions fanned against her


He applied the eye shadow and stepped back to appreciate the hues of brown and gold.

Next. Lipstick.

He smeared the tube across her lips. The bright red was an exquisite touch of color against

her fair skin. He put the veil in place and wisped back the nylon until it framed her face and

ensconced her shoulders. He stood back to admire his work thus far.


The blonde sat with her back against the end of the tub, her dress spilling down her frame

and over the ledge. Her hair was a bed of curls beneath her veil. Her makeup appeared

professional, and he was pleased with his hard work. He wasn’t nearly as perfect with the first


Her mouth carried a hint of peace. Of happiness.

The Big Event was under way.


His gaze went to her left hand resting in her lap.

How could he have been so foolish? Was he rushing things? He moved swiftly through her

apartment and found what he sought on her dresser.

“There you go, beautiful.” He slipped the wedding ring on her finger, leaving him with one

final task.

He took the cigar cutter from his pocket, slipped her ring finger into it, and squeezed. As he

had the first time, he marveled at the ease of it, how such small blades were able to cut through

bone. He let the severed finger fall against her ivory dress.

Stepping back, he took in her beauty.

She was pleased. It was in the way her lips were set.

He smiled. “Now, you can just be happy.”




Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 box set



Welcome in the holiday season with 19 heartwarming and wholesome novellas from New

York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.

Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 takes you from the Smoky Mountains to

Florida’s sun-drenched beaches, from the Italian Alps to Paris, France, and even to a quirky little town in

Arizona. The Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 collection features all-new, stand-alone stories that are sure to

make you laugh, sometimes bring tears to your eyes, but always put you in the Christmas spirit.

Foreword by New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne.


Mona Risk Christmas PapaChristmas Papa by Mona


Living for three years in her stepmother’s respected house helps Monica forget the horror of her youth

and reform her wild streak, and even dream of a normal life, similar to her stepsisters’, with a loving

husband and children. Geez, she’s pretty enough to attract any man she wants, but to keep him is a

different ballgame. The moment they learn of her past or meet her adorable twins, they feel the urge to

move two-thousand miles away. Until Michael kisses her…

Cover_Gingerbread_Kisses_by_Beate_BoekerGingerbread Kisses by Beate Boeker

Carol spends Christmas at the luxurious Hotel & Spa “Dolomitissimo” in the snowy Alps of Italy

where she’s busy creating gingerbread men as name cards for her younger sister’s wedding. When

things start to go wrong, she finds help in the form of Tom, the attractive hotel manager, but then, her

sister manages to create havoc and Carol has to fight for her happiness.

Boycotting+Chirstmas_Melinda+CurtisBoycotting Christmas by Melinda Curtis

Bachelor Nick Santolli needs someone to help him give his niece a Christmas to remember. Back in the

day, no one did Christmas better than Joy Encastle. But times have changed and Joy would prefer to

boycott the festivities this year.

Devine Christmas Remember FRONTA Christmas to

Remember by Denise Devine

Katie McGowan is returning home from a business trip when a blizzard forces her to take refuge at

Lakewood Resort and miss celebrating Christmas with her family. The resort is overflowing with people,

including Ryan Scott, an avid snowmobiler who’d come to Lakewood to escape the holidays. Ryan and

Katie join forces to help others in need and learn the true meaning of Christmas.

AnAngelforChristmascoverRaineEnglishAn Angel for Christmas by Raine English

Alexa Stevens needs a job, or she and her daughter might wind up living out of the car. Blake Collins

needs a nanny to help with his spoiled ten-year-old. What seems like the perfect match turns out to be

anything but when the two girls and a rambunctious mutt create havoc at Christmas.

The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride by Aileen Fish

When veterinary student Tara seeks shelter in a snowstorm with handsome rancher Dylan, she quickly

writes him off as boyfriend material since he’s more temperamental than an unbroken horse. Thanks to

a job lined up half a state away, she’s not even tempted by a friend’s request that she move to White

Oak, until she learns what has damaged Dylan’s spirit. Will a sickly calf and the magic of Christmas help

her heal Dylan’s heart?

LuckyBreakChristmasSecondHoneymoonLucky Break Christmas: Second

Honeymoon by Patricia Forsythe

Lily is convinced that her new marriage to Marc is cursed because of a string of fiascoes. Marc knows

she’s wrong. It takes the intervention of three body-building wedding planners and most of Lucky Break

to change her mind.

Beach Walk by Grace Greene - Cover for IndieWritesBeach Walk by

Grace Greene

Twelve years earlier, Kelli, a teenage runaway, was taken in by a kind woman named Margie who gave

her a home, and safety and security. When Margie dies, her long lost nephew and only blood relative,

arrives with plans of his own. Kelli loves her life at Emerald Isle, but how far will she go to keep it, or will

Christmas bring a change of heart?

An Irish Christmas Blessing_COVER RustandAn Irish Christmas

Blessing by Roxanne Rustand

When Eve travels to Ireland to run an old friend’s quaint village bookshop over the Christmas holidays,

the trip is a dream come true—all the more because of the beautiful Irish countryside and the quirky

locals in the village. And then there’s the charming, enigmatic stranger who just might steal her heart…

ChristmasWedding- MScott-Ebook-LGChristmas Wedding by

Magdalena Scott

Jim Standish is ready—right this minute—to marry the love of his life, but Melissa Singer wants the day

to be one they’ll look back on forever. Planning and execution time: 25days. Will it be possible to create

the perfect Christmas Wedding?

finding+you+at+christmas+500x750Finding You at Christmas by Kristin Wallace

After years of looking out for everyone else, preacher’s daughter Janie Worthy is ready to get a life of

her own. A stalled car and a stranger on a motorcycle puts that plan in a tailspin…and leads to the best

Christmas present she could ever find.

ChristmasLaurel- Amazon (1)Christmas Laurel by Christine


Female army veteran Laurel Covington and her retired bomb dog have retreated to a cabin in North

Carolina’s Smoky Mountains. She’s dealing with PTSD and a mind full of ugly war memories, and wants

nothing more than solitude, quiet, and an escape from the clamor of Christmas. But then she meets the

tall handsome mountain man who shares the mountain, and who has his own ghosts from the past to

put to rest. Sometimes, the true meaning of Christmas can bring both healing and love when you least

expect it.

Lois Germain CoverCountry Christmas by Lois Greiman

Emily Kane was tossed into the deep end of the foster care system years before, making her cautious of

love and commitment. Securing her dream job at the Lazy Windmill, a working farm turned guest ranch,

has begun the healing process. But the past can’t be shut out forever. Will familial reunions cause her to

bolt back into hiding or will the magic of Christmas heal her heart and allow her to find her happily ever


The Christmas Crusade S. HatfieldThe Christmas

Crusade by Shanna Hatfield

Levi Clarke is on a crusade to create a merry Christmas for the patrons of Center for Hope community

center. He’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen, even if it means seeking a sponsorship from Kat

Kingsley, the woman too stubborn to realize she’s still in love with him.

Christmas Charm.inddThe Christmas Charm by Susan R. Hughes

Gemma and Chris were childhood best friends until their lives took separate paths, both leading to

heartache. Fifteen years later, a surprise reunion at Christmastime offers them a second chance at


Jarnagin Cover Evergreen RomanceEvergreen Romance by

Julie Jarnagin.

After giving up her plans for college to care for her ailing grandmother, Jillian Rogers has a shot at being

promoted to project manager at the local nursery, but the owner’s son comes back into town and tries

to take the job. Monty Nelson spent the last five years playing triple-A baseball after college but never

made it into the major leagues. Now, he has returned to Lakota, Oklahoma, driven to show his parents

he can succeed, but they stick him with running the Christmas tree lot with smarty-pants Jillian Rogers.

When old sparks reignite, Jillian and Monty must determine whether their romance will wither or if

they’ve found everlasting love.

ChristmasCupcakeMy Christmas Cupcake by Shaleen Kapil.

Clare thinks she is doomed to spend the holiday alone managing her new cupcake bakery until a

handsome stranger appears just as she is closing up on Christmas Eve. Despite an instant attraction,

Starfish Beach is a tourist town, and Clare has learned to be wary. How can she tempt Garrett, a

university professor, to move to her small town when all she can offer are cupcakes?

Christmas+SparkA Christmas Spark by Ciara Knight

Sara Foster blames herself for her failed marriage. On Christmas Eve, she hides away in the family cabin,

the same place her father abandoned her twenty years ago. Dalton Scot is unable to face the family

holiday after his divorce and discovering he can never have children of his own, so he chooses Christmas

Eve to fix his buddy’s cabin. Both search for a secluded spot to mourn their Christmas pasts, but instead

are snowed in at the cabin for the holiday where they discover the power of the Christmas spark.

Cookies decorated with pink and blue snowflakesSweet Blizzard by Milou


He’s an ex-con, she’s a socialite. He saves her life when a blizzard strands them together, but she could

make or break his. Will love make it all right in time for Christmas?


All 19 authors in this boxed set write sweet/wholesome romances and are members

of Sweet Romance Reads, a group of authors whose books contain no sex,

violence, or strong language. While the emotional stakes are high as the characters’ relationships grow,

lovemaking is not described in these stories. Think movies rated G or PG. Therefore, Sweet Christmas

Kisses 2 can be enjoyed by romance readers of any age.

Pull up a chair by a cozy fire, pour a cup of hot chocolate and allow these bestselling and award-winning

authors to bring the holiday season alive as they warm your heart.

Purchase the book at your favorite online retailer:






Connect with the Authors at Sweet Romance Reads:






Or connect with each of the Sweet Romance Reads Authors individually:

A tireless traveler, New York Times and USA

Today bestselling author, Mona Risk, writes contemporary

romance, medical romance, and romantic suspense novels, all simmering with emotion, sprinkled with a

good dose of humor and set in the fascinating places she visited— or in Florida, her paradise on Earth.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter


Beate Boeker is a USA Today bestselling author with a

passion for books that brim over with mischief & humor. She writes sweet sophisticated romantic

fiction and mysteries, many of them set in beautiful Italy. While ‘Boeker’ means ‘books’ in a German

dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’,

what else could she do but write novels with happy endings?

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter


Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today bestselling author. She writes

the Harmony Valley series of sweet, light-hearted romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line.

Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”.

Melinda also writes the sweet romantic comedy Bridesmaid series, and fun, traditional romances. Jayne

Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “…Wonderfully entertaining.”

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter


Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author of

romantic comedy and she also writes inspirational fiction. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at

thirteen and has been writing ever since. She writes about true love, happy endings and stories that

touch your heart.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Raine

English writes sweet small-town contemporary romances, as well as hotter paranormal

and Gothic romantic suspense. She lives in New England with her family and her French bulldog, Bailey.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter


USA Today bestselling author Aileen Fish is an avid

quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren’t enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with

her “to do” list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others.

Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Patricia Forsythe grew up in a small copper mining town in Arizona where she

had the opportunity to observe a great many interesting people who have since turned up in her books.

She has written many romances for Harlequin books (as Patricia Knoll), as well as indie-published books

and enjoys creating the kinds of stories she hopes people want to read.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Grace Greene writes novels of romance, mystery and suspense. A Virginia

native, Grace has family ties to North Carolina. She writes books set in both locations. The Emerald Isle,

NC Stories series is set in North Carolina where “It’s always a good time for a love story and a trip to the

beach.” Or travel down Virginia Country Roads and “Take a trip to love, mystery and suspense.”

Website | Facebook | Twitter


USA Today bestselling

author Roxanne Rustand is the author of thirty-five traditionally

published novels, plus four indie novels. She was a Golden Heart finalist twice, and a Golden Heart

winner in 1995. She has won two RT Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and was nominated for an RT

Magazine Career Achievement Award. Her earlier books were secular, but she now writes sweet indie

romance, and inspirational romance for Love Inspired.

Website Newsletter | Facebook Twitter


USA Today bestselling author Magdalena Scott writes

sweet romance and women’s fiction with small town settings. She invites readers into her world to find

out what’s hidden just below the surface of those tiny dots you can barely see on the map—mystery,

romance, and the occasional unexplained occurrence.

Website | Newsletter Facebook | Twitter


Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of

inspirational, contemporary and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith.” Her

popular series include the Covington Falls Chronicles and Shellwater Key Tales.

Website Facebook | Twitter


Christine Bush is an award winning author of many sweet romances, mysteries,

and novellas. When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching Psychology at a local college, working

as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or (mostly) spending time with her twelve


Website | Facebook | Twitter


Lois Greiman is an award winning author who has penned more than 50 heart-

warming, laugh out loud novels. She currently lives on a small farm in Minnesota with her best friends,

some of whom are human.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic Shanna

Hatfield is out to make it happen one story at a time. Her bestselling sweet historical

and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem

incredibly real.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter


Susan R Hughes writes contemporary and historical romance novels set in

Canada. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and three children.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook Twitter


Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of sweet and inspirational romance.

She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched, but these days she lives in

a not-so-big city with her husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter


Shaleen Kapil is new and upcoming author. Her first book, None

But You, debuted in 2014. Her latest stories are built around the Emerald Coast of Florida, a

favorite vacation spot. She created the Starfish Beach series to allow readers to enjoy a taste of romance

in a laid-back beach setting.

Website | Facebook Twitter


Ciara Knight writes ‘a little bit of edge and a lot of heart’ with her bestselling

sweet romance and young adult stories that have topped the Amazon charts. When not writing, Ciara

enjoys her own happily ever after with her husband and three sons living in suburbia, GA.

Website Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter


Milou Koenings writes heartwarming romance novels because she believes

sweet stories with happy endings are like chocolate – they bring joy to the world and so make it a better

place. She’s lived all over the world, working as an editor and newspaper columnist, but loves staying

home with her family most of all.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Out of Time by Shona Husk

Out of Time by Shona Husk


Buy Links:


The fabulous New Adult series from Shona Husk continues: he wants to shut out the world; she wants

to invite it in…

Mike Peterson has learned the hard way that the good really do die young. He and his mum only

have each other, and now she’s losing her second battle with cancer. He wants to stay with her; she

wants him to keep following his dreams. He doesn’t have long to decide and the rest of the band is

waiting on him. Whatever choice he makes, he will lose.

Living at home has become impossible for Ava Brand. Her very religious, very traditional

grandmother would like to see her married off to a nice Indian boy. But Ava wants to make her own

choices. Meeting Mike gives her a chance to rebel.

What starts off as easy rapidly becomes complicated, as their problems expand and emotions bubble

to the surface. Neither has time for complicated, as Ava’s family discovers her extra-curricular

activities and Mike has to make incredibly hard choices. But love never waits for the perfect time,

and Mike and Ava are going to have to decide if they’re playing for fun, or playing for keeps.

‘I don’t know why I texted you.’ Her lips curved into a small smile before she pinched

her lower lip between her teeth, as if to stop it from spreading. ‘I just wanted to get out and

thought that if you were close by …’

‘And here I am.’ This wasn’t awkward at all. What were they doing?

She nodded and her gaze skimmed over him. ‘And here you are.’ She took a step


He could reach out and touch her, yet he didn’t. He hadn’t been this hesitant in a

very long time. But Ava wasn’t some random chick whose name he didn’t know or couldn’t

remember. Her name was etched inside his skull. ‘Did you want to go for a walk?’

‘Why not.’ She flicked him another little smile.

Why not indeed, he wasn’t sure what else they were going to do. This was outside

their usual activities. They walked down the road a bit toward the foreshore. He was aware

of her arm when it brushed his. And while they had sat close after a ride, this felt different.

How different did he want it?

He wasn’t sure. He liked what they had and that they could talk and there were no

complications. But his fingers brushed her hand and then her fingers were linking with his

and then they were holding hands before they reached the grassed foreshore.

Around them people moved, walking from wherever they’d parked their car or

jumped off the bus. She wouldn’t want to be down here when the show started, not when

she could be watching from her balcony with her friends, plus they’d wonder where she

was. He glanced back up the road toward the hotel.

‘Guess I should go back.’ She didn’t sound entirely convinced.

‘I’ll walk you.’ He didn’t care if he missed the whole thing. They went back the way

they’d come.

They were almost there when she stopped. In that heartbeat, he knew this was

about to get complicated and he wasn’t going to do a damn thing to stop it. He’d wanted

her the first time he’d seen her. The heat of the evening was on his skin and her touch was

under his skin.

If she invited him up, he’d follow.

Fuck. He had no condoms.

Maybe she did … but the thought brought him up short. He liked her. He didn’t just

want to sleep with her. If he did that, then what happened next? Did they go back to just

being friends … is that what had been happening, or had she wanted more from the start?

It was complicated already. He’d been pretending otherwise because Ava was a very

pretty distraction.

A quick screw never brought this headache, neither had making love with a

girlfriend. He wasn’t sure he remembered how to do that. It had been too long.

She looked up at him and stepped closer. ‘I remembered why I texted you.’

‘Uh-huh.’ He’d kind of got that. He was sure his heart was about to self-destruct in a

frenzy of lust and anticipation.

He put his hand on her waist. He knew she was all lithe muscle. Her riding gear had

given him plenty to think about in the shower. She probably wouldn’t find that flattering.

After giving her a moment to pull away—she didn’t—he drew her a fraction closer.

Neither of them moved. Her lips were tilted up, and her fingers were locked around

his. He drew in a breath. If he crossed the line, he wouldn’t be able to uncross it. He didn’t

need this. His life was a mess that he couldn’t afford to screw up further. His dick pulsed. It

had only been a month, not even a full month. It wasn’t going to drop off if it didn’t get


‘Kiss me,’ she whispered.

Any resistance he’d had was shattered by those two words. He leaned down and

brushed his lips over hers. All other thoughts melting away.

She wanted him and he needed her. But he didn’t rush the kiss and neither did she.

It slowly deepened from first kiss to more. Her free hand slid over his chest to land on his

shoulder. He closed the last few centimetres between them.

Still she didn’t pull away.

There were too many people around to do more here. But he moved against her,

leaving no doubt about what he was thinking. She gasped then swayed her hips.

He wanted to pick her up and have her against the nearest wall—which had been his

first thought the first time he’d seen her. Her hotel was only metres away. He was pathetic,

drawing boundaries, only to ignore them when he changed his mind.

Her tongue found his ring. Then her teeth gave it a gentle tug. She gave a little laugh

as he growled.

‘You like that one?’

‘Mmm. Do you have any more?’

No, he didn’t, and this is where things usually took a dive. But he wasn’t drunk and

neither was she. And they weren’t strangers. But he didn’t want to give up all his secrets too

soon. ‘Maybe, maybe not.’

She was still pressed against him. Her body moulding to his. She reached up and took

another kiss. ‘Guess I’ll have to wait to find out.’

Her fingers slid free from his and then she was drifting out of reach. She took a

couple more steps back, her eyes still on him.

He covered the distance in a few quick strides. Kissed her again. Harder this time;

then drew back, knowing there wasn’t going to be anymore tonight. It was better this way.

No sex to make a mess of things. It was fairly obvious that it was on both their minds. ‘Enjoy

the fireworks.’


Author Bio:

Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively

imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered

romance novels and hasn’t looked back.

With over forty published stories, ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary,

paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance. Her latest release is Out of Time, a Fremantle set rock

star story.

Crafting a romance

I’ve been published for five years now. In that time the publishing industry has changed so much.

However one thing hasn’t changed and that is that readers want a great story. That hasn’t changed

for thousands of years and will probably never change.

What makes a great story depends on what the reader is looking for. Some days I feel like a thriller

other times I want a contemporary romance or a fantasy novel that will suck me into another world.

At the heart of every book though are the characters. For romance there are usually 2, although

sometimes more (wow does it get tricky when writing a romance between 3 or 4 people, all those

emotions as not everyone is in the same emotional place at the same time!).

When I have an idea I like to spend some time getting to know my characters and plotting. I have to

know a bit about them before I can work out their story. I need to know their hopes and fears, their

most secret desires, or secrets they’d never tell anyone. Of course they will have to face their fears

and reveal their secrets before the story is over. They also need a partner who will challenge them

and complement them.

By the end of the romance both characters should be better people so they have earned their HEA.

Reading a lot can help an author, but studying the craft and structure of fiction and applying it can

elevate the story further. I am always looking at craft books and pulling books apart to find out why

they work.

Even though I write romance different genres have different things to offer. How does horror create

those chills down a reader’s spine? How to thrillers wind up the tension?

I also like to pick apart movies for exactly the same reason. Was that a turning point? Notice how the

film’s opening and closing form a nice bracket? Symbology is also easy to spot in a film and a film can

be watched in a much shorter time than reading a book so you can get a better overview of the plot.

I am always revising my plotting methods and looking for ways to improve. I try new things and

dabble in new sub genres to see if I can.

That was how the Face the Music series started. Out of Rhythm was a piece I wrote for me to see if I

could write a contemporary romance about an up and coming band—I didn’t want to write about

successful rock stars because there are plenty of people doing that already plus the interesting bit

for me is the time before they make it big.

Finding the story that you want to tell, need to tell, is what makes your story come alive.

Here are some of my favorite craft books to get you started:

The Key by James N Frey

Passionate Ink by Angela Knight

GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon

The Virgin’s Promise by Kim Hudson

Out of Time

The fabulous New Adult series from Shona Husk continues: he wants to shut out the world; she wants

to invite it in…

Mike Peterson has learned the hard way that the good really do die young. He and his mum only

have each other, and now she’s losing her second battle with cancer. He wants to stay with her; she

wants him to keep following his dreams. He doesn’t have long to decide and the rest of the band is

waiting on him. Whatever choice he makes, he will lose.

Living at home has become impossible for Ava Brand. Her very religious, very traditional

grandmother would like to see her married off to a nice Indian boy. But Ava wants to make her own

choices. Meeting Mike gives her a chance to rebel.

What starts off as easy rapidly becomes complicated, as their problems expand and emotions bubble

to the surface. Neither has time for complicated, as Ava’s family discovers her extra-curricular

activities and Mike has to make incredibly hard choices. But love never waits for the perfect time,

and Mike and Ava are going to have to decide if they’re playing for fun, or playing for keeps.

Buy Links:

You can find out more at



Fall Again:Beginnings by Donna Figueroa


Fall Again: Beginnings

By Donna Figueroa


What if you were to meet the perfect person – your best friend, soul mate and the great love of your life –

but at the wrong time? That question is at the heart of Fall Again, a contemporary romantic series about

two working actors set against the backdrop of New York, Los Angeles and points in-between.

In Beginnings you’ll meet Marc & Lauren in the optimistic New York City of the late 1980’s. Marc and

Lauren meet when they are very young and building careers as professional actors in New York. Despite

an obvious attraction, decorum dictates that their relationship remain platonic.

Over time Marc and Lauren find themselves struggling to maintain the façade of being just friends to

those around them, as well as to each other. Regardless of their best efforts to remain friends Marc and

Lauren fall in love.


He heard her quick light footsteps coming up the three flights of stairs before she finally came

into view on the landing at the bottom of last flight of stairs.

As Lauren Phillips turned the corner she looked up at Marc and stopped, seeming surprised.


Marc responded as he took notice of the striking woman at the bottom of the stairs. “Yeah.”

An expression of pleasant recognition crossed her face. “Oh my God… Marc Guiro! I didn’t

realize that Mel’s friend Marc… was you!” She confidently bounded up the last flight of stairs seeming

very happy to see him.

But Marc was confused.  This girl appeared to know him, but as far as he knew he had never laid

eyes on her.

Lauren quickly realized this. “I’m Lauren Phillips. I went to NYU and we lived in Weisman Hall

at the same time the last two years you were in school.  We were in different towers but I saw you in the

cafeteria and in the laundry room from time to time.  You were two years ahead of me… but we were in a

dance class together one semester.”

Marc looked at her closely. “I only took two dance classes while I was at NYU.” He continued to

look at her blankly.

Lauren tried not to take this personally and attempted to play off the situation with humor.  “Well

whichever class you’re thinking of now… I was probably in the other one.”

Lauren flashed a cool controlled smile at Marc as Mel came into the hallway.

“Lauren…you made it!”

Lauren ran to her roommate giving her a big hug. “Thank you for today!  It was wonderful!”

Mel didn’t want to take credit for booking Lauren on her show.  Casting liked her look and

personality.  All she had done was to deliver Lauren’s photograph and resume to the Clayton’s Crossing’s

casting department. “No, Lauren that was all you.  I just gave casting your photograph.  Once they called

you in for your interview I was out of it.”

Lauren was suddenly aware that she was ignoring Marc and looked back towards him.

“Mel got me a day of background work on Clayton’s Crossing today!” Her excitement was

getting the best of her.

“So I’ve heard.  That’s great!  Why don’t you both come inside?”

Marc ushered them both into the apartment while still questioning himself.  Had he ever met this

girl?  He would have remembered.

Lauren was attractive.  She had deep set dark brown eyes and dark hair which she was wearing

pulled back into a perfect lose ponytail.  He could see that she was wearing a lot of makeup, but she

would be after a day on set. The makeup only enhanced her high cheekbones and smooth skin.  She was

dressed nicely in a gauzy long Indian skirt and blouse that she wore belted which showed off a tiny waist.

She was slender.  Over her shoulder she carried a large tobacco colored leather satchel.

But Marc found himself looking beyond her physical appearance.  She had what some might call

a sparkling personality, not to mention a bright and wonderful smile. Lauren’s energy was contagious.

When she came up the last flight of steps toward him, it was as if someone had turned on an incredibly

bright light.



Donna Figueroa is an actor and writer living and working in Los Angeles CA.  She has worked on stage

and on the big and small screens. Her credits include appearances on several daytime dramas,

voiceovers for animation, commercials and industrial projects, and several television commercials.

She is a producer and storyteller at The Story Salon, Los Angeles’s longest running storytelling venue

where she has written, performed and developed 3 one person shows.

Donna considers herself an athletic shopper always in search of the ultimate bargain.

She lives in Hollywood with her husband writer/comedian Tony Figueroa, and their three neurotic cats.


Lessons Learned

May 28, 2015 Late Afternoon

I had been nervously sitting at my laptop for what seemed like hours contemplating an action

that I thought could be life changing.  I finally began to feel foolish and decided I couldn’t

postpone the inevitable any longer. I took a deep breath, and clicked. And just like that, I

published my first novel.

In retrospect, this was a fairly anticlimactic moment as things in my life pretty much remained

the same. And now I was no longer simply a writer, I was now the one person marketing team

for my novel as I entered a new world full of uncertainties, contradictions and every once in a

while, victories- and I’ve learned to celebrate even the smallest victories.

As I’m approaching the publication of my second novel in my series, Fall Again: Lost Boy, I’ve

had time to reflect on lessons learned and am looking forward to my next book’s publication

with confidence and excitement instead of trepidation and anxiety.

I’d like to pass on a few realities to new authors.

Mentors Rock. I was grateful to have two published authors (one in my genre) as mentors who

led me through the publishing process and holding my hand when necessary. These people had

been where I was and understood everything I was going through artistically, emotionally and


Have a marketing plan. Do your research and have a plan. There are so many aspects of

publishing (traditional & self -publishing) that are beyond your control. Having a good

marketing plan will help you maintain some amount of control and sanity. There is a plethora of

free information online. (The Create Space Community & a

Yahoo group, have been invaluable resources.

What works for one author won’t necessarily work for another. Marketing is a tricky

endeavor. Trust that you’ll find your audience.

Don’t expect your closest friends and family to read or review your book. This was hard for

me since I just assumed that those who had cheered me on during the writing process would be

my first readers. Once I published some people never mentioned my book, while others avoided

me! (Envy?) Don’t ruin relationships, and thank those who read and especially those who post


Remember, you have a life beyond your book. Don’t forget your spouse, children and pets.

Remember to eat right, exercise and sleep. You and those around you will be happier!

Enjoy the ride! Publishing a book is a major accomplishment that many only dream and talk

about…but you actual did it! Congratulations!!!

As I wrote Fall Again, I honestly never thought about publishing, marketing or sales. I only

wanted to create a story and characters that people would enjoy. Last week I received a note via

my website:

i have fallen in love with the characters in this novel and anxiously waiting for Lost Boy. Any

idea when it might be released? Absolutely beautiful novel!!

I couldn’t be happier!

Write well!


Erotic Destinations book 1 & 2 by Ember Leigh

Carlos & Casey and When in Rome


Ember Leigh


We are touring with Books 1 and 2 of the series, but there is also a sneak peek at book 3!!


Join two ex-lovers, four years after their last romp. When a work trip brings Casey back into Carlos’

territory, she knows she’d have him right there in the airport parking lot. But Carlos doesn’t seem so

eager. Unsure of herself post-divorce, Casey knows only one thing: she wants this man as much as

she did the last time she saw him. And she’s more than ready to relive every saucy adventure they

had together. Can the sparks be salvaged, or has time left them behind?









Her breath caught as she followed him up the staircase, tucked to the far side of the

house. Carlos had always been fit enough, but it looked like he’d taken up some new form of

exercise in the past four years. He was beefier, yet still lean. His ass moved round and tight in

front of her as they climbed the stairs. At the landing, he gestured in front of them.

“This is my studio, but it’s all yours for tonight.”

It was a rec room that took up the whole second floor, and far more standard male

than the ground floor alluded to. Movie posters, gaming systems, books scattered on floors

and coffee tables, and, off to one side, the trumpet, asleep in a bed of sheet music. In the

corner there was an overstuffed couch just about as wide as she was long – it would be great

to sleep on, even better if he could bend her over that armrest and fuck her until dinner was


She cleared her throat, deciding adult friendships could be fun, even after four

questionable years. “I thought I’d be sharing a bed with you?” She tried to keep her tone

playful as she sauntered toward the couch. She tossed him a smile and she caught a glimpse

of him looking very stricken. Shit. Too far. Things are too different now. Abort!

Maybe too much time had passed in general. Maybe he was courting a girl and

wanted to take it slow with her. Maybe he no longer found her attractive, four years

becoming the dagger in the heart. Maybe he’d become celibate, or found her life too normal

and boring. There was a whole list of reasons why she shouldn’t make the first move.

“I was just joking,” she said after a moment, rolling her eyes. “Come on, lighten up.”

He exhaled slowly, looking down at the ground as his tongue found the corner of his

mouth. “I know it was a joke, Case.”

“In case you forgot, we used to share a bed.” She looked at him pointedly, already

horrified that the words were coming from her lips. What was she getting at? Who had

authorized this dialogue?

He squeezed his eyes shut and laughed softly. “Oh, I remember.”



“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”…right? Alexandra is a travel junkie and foreign air aficionado.

When she finally decides to do Rome, she never thought it would involve a hot Italian, too. What’s a

girl to do when a desire to see the world and instant lust collide in the middle of one of the most

popular touristic destinations in the world? Just DO the Roman!








He pulls me toward the inner rail, and points to the upper rim of the Coliseum. The heat

of his palm against my low back sends shivers through me. A lip of arches is topped with a

low wall, dotted with boxy windows. In one section, the wall has crumbled away. The clear

blue Roman sky breaks through. “Now that is where, honest to God, they installed a …what

do you call it? The device to listen to conversations about the dissolution of the Roman


I snort. “Wiretaps in the 1500’s. I totally believe that.”

“Hey, I’m Italian.” He flashes a cheesy grin. “You have to believe me. It’s my country.”

“You should work as a tour guide.” I poke his belly, pleased by the hardness beneath his

thin t-shirt. “I would pay good money to hear your bullshit.”

“Luckily, you don’t have to pay. Today. But tomorrow, full price.”

“Oh, you’ll be here tomorrow? I could call upon your Bullshit Guide Services again?”

He grins, dimples flashing. My knees weaken and I want to take that grinning face into

my hands and kiss him until my lips hurt. And then he grabs my hand as we walk, and

squeezes it. A gush of moisture releases between my legs and I know this is serious. Really


We watch each other as we walk. His hand is warm and a little moist, but not the weird

moist. Just-right moist. I imagine the warmth traveling through my body like a snake,

seeking out the farthest extremities and then circling back again to settle conveniently in my

vaginal area.

About a minute later, he stops and pulls me into a dark corner of the corridor, behind a

large stone pillar. His body connects roughly with mine as he pushes me against the wall, my

chest heaving as I appraise the situation. I am startled and insanely aroused, like a woman

caught masturbating in the shower by her sexy gardener. The parts of his body that connect

with mine are like lightning, causing hot zips of painful pleasure right beneath the surface.

“Can I kiss you?”

I nod, and he presses his lips to mine. My eyes flutter shut and his scent consumes me, a

mixture of aftershave and heady male. Our second kiss is deeper, and the third mind-

boggling. The smooth texture of the stone pillar is cold through my t-shirt. He cups my

cheek, fingertips connecting hot with my jawline.

We break apart. My mind is spinning like I just took a flying leap off a bridge. Was this

actually real? I swear to God, thirty seconds ago I was just walking around the Coliseum like

any regular person, mapping my trek through the anatomical eyeball. Then, this guy comes

along and pins me to the wall and has his way with me. And I am notcomplaining. Maybe

there’s something to the idea that if you want something hard enough, it will come. It seems

that the past twelve hours imagining sex with this guy has paid off.

He smiles, his face so close to mine that his breath comes out hot against my cheek. It

does not smell like olive oil, as I once callously suggested all Italians might.

“That was nice,” I say.

He nods, and kisses me again. His tongue meets mine hesitantly, and then we begin a

round of sloppy, desperate kisses that could probably qualify for the lamest of chick flicks. I

moan and then quiet myself, not wanting to tip off tourists or security guards. He tenses and

breaks the kiss, peering around the pillar at something. I shift against him, and I swear his

cock is hard as a rock against my hip. I glance down, trying to discern if it’s that or

something else, like a belt buckle.

No belt on. That’s a good sign.




All the female staffers go wild for Kadir when he arrives in the USA to compete in a reality dance

competition. A Turkish soap opera star with eyes that could melt snow, he’s got the women clawing

for his attention— except Jenna. She wants no part of the hullabaloo. Though she can’t help

wondering if tasting this sexy Turkish Delight might be worth bending the rules a little…


Kadir emerged from behind the curtain of his dressing room in a skintight black suit with a

startling array of bright blue sequins. It was like a futuristic space suit mated with the gaudiest of

show tunes. He grimaced as her gaze fell on his costume.

“I can’t wear this on stage,” he said, sneaking a glance in the mirror. “I’ve never worn

something so overtly gay.”

Jenna bit her lip as she looked him up and down. He was right, the costume was laughable.

Though it might look spectacular under the lights and grandeur of the stage, up close it was a

hilarious mess.

But it wasn’t all bad. Kadir was sculpted, a fact that wouldn’t go away no matter how much

she tried to dodge the issue. And it seemed every way she turned, his biceps or an errant brush of

his hands was waiting for her, tugging at her resolve.

It didn’t help that his cock was perfectly showcased in this get-up, caressed by the strange

black satin in a way that made it impossible to look away. She cleared her throat, working hard to

keep her face neutral and breathing even. He must be huge under there. Probably bigger than her

favorite vibrator, the one she’d been using over the past few days as she entertained lurid fantasies

about him.

“It’ll look great for the cameras,” was all she said. And every woman in America will be dying

to put your dick in their mouths.

He watched her, a strange smile on his face. Without a word, he kicked the door closed

behind her. “Can you help me out of it?” His dark eyes gleamed with mischief.

She jerked her head into a nod. “Of course. That’s what I’m here for.” And if you need me to

touch any parts of your body, or use my lips in any fashion, please let me know.

He turned around. The wide expanse of his back still commanded her attention despite the

glittering array of sequins. She reached for the zipper, tugged it down the length of his back. It

stopped just above his ass, and the unexpected glimpse of his ass crack made her heart flutter. No

underwear. None at all. His butt looked smooth, unexpectedly white, and even more round and

firm-looking from inches away than all the distant gazing of recent times had suggested.

He faced her, grinning like a devil. He pulled his arms out of the costume, revealing a wide,

fair chest dotted with dark hair. Her gaze followed the fabric as he removed the clothes— two dime-

sized nipples, a pleasant convergence of chest hair into a happy trail, washboard abs.

Kadir paused when the costume was at his hips. “I can keep going, if you’d like.”

The moment hung heavy and confused before clarity burst through like sun after a

rainstorm. “Yes. Please.”



Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of

northern Ohio, she currently resides in South America with her Argentinean partner, a detail she

uses to justify her Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Literature. In addition to romance novels, she

also writes travel articles, maintains three blogs, and continually attempts to complete a mildly-

gripping short story. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, travels the world, and eats lots of



Twitter: @EmberLeighAuth

Instagram: @EmberLeighAuthor


Write What You Know? What about ‘Write What You Relate To’?

“Write what you know”. One of the most debated, agreed upon, ripped apart, speculated-for-hours,

solid pieces of writing advice known to mankind. Articles espousing all angles—from the Atlantic’s

“Don’t Write What You Know” (

what-you-know/308576/) to “Write What You Know—Because You Know More Than You Think!”

( –show that we authors are interpreting this

along a wide spectrum of viewpoints and experience.

And that the jury might be out for a long time. Perhaps eternity.

Let’s use these articles as a reference point. The first article (for those who haven’t read it yet) states

that ‘writing what you know’ can ultimately hold a young writer prisoner to their own experience.

That trying to recreate what we’ve actually lived prevents us from creating a self-informed work of

fiction, one that exists unto itself, and takes its own path different from what the young author has

lived themselves.

The second article starts by saying that ‘writing what you now’ is the most misleading advice any

writer can receive. If we haven’t lived in space or fought in alien battles, how could a human ever

conceive of a saga like Star Wars? It’s only because, as human beings, we do know the depth and

breadth of universal experiences—like fear, or the feel of the sun on our shoulders. We notice (and

therefore know) the personality quirks of our friends and loved ones, like how “Harry has this

nervous habit of tapping a pencil against his teeth while he thinks”. People around us and our own

personal emotional history inform aspects of our writing, even if our direct experiences don’t mimic

what we write about.

Two articles pushing for opposite actions, yet the end goal is the same. And as an author myself, I

like what both of these articles are saying, even though the titles can be immensely confusing to a

new writer doing frantic Google searches at night.

In my most recent release, When In Rome, my main character Alexandra travels to Rome to begin a

backpacking trip through Europe. She meets a sexy guy at her hostel named Alessandro—two

Alexes, technically, didja catch that?—and they bump into each other at the Coliseum the next day.

One thing leads to another, and pretty soon they’re screwing in the ruins in the middle of the day.

Now, if writing what you know meant I had to mimic my personal experience…well, you’d all be

reading a pretty tasty piece of my personal history!

But the truth is, that’s not my personal history. Not exactly. I did go to Rome, and I did sneak into the

Coliseum as my main character also did. But I didn’t meet a sexy guy name Alessandro; nor did I

have public sex near one of the world’s most famous cultural sites. Hell, even the hostel Alexandra

stays at is completely fake, though cobbled together from my own ample history with backpacking

and staying at hostels.

That’s just the point. Our stories are not direct mimicry of a live well (or poorly) lived; but rather, a

cobbling-together of places, moments, people, and experiences at the author’s discretion. And in the

uniting of these disparate elements, a new story is created that exists beyond the author’s

association with any one of those details.

I can’t tell you how much of me is in Alexandra, or how much of my ideal sexy man is in Alessandro;

but I CAN tell you that when I write what I know, it varies wildly between emotional details and

physical details. “What I know” is comprised of fleeting glimpses of humanity coupled with the

lingering sensation of an evening in Rome; an actual, singular event pushed up against the

personality of an acquaintance; the feel of a first kiss, blended into the background of a country

where I spent a few magical days.

The bottom line is that we all know plenty to write from…but maybe we should change the advice

from ‘What What You Know’ to ‘Write What You Can Relate To’. Because the magic of emotional

connection in literature all stems from that small kernel of ‘I’ve been there, I’ve felt that’.

Whether you relate to it because you’ve been to the Coliseum, or have launched an open-ended

backpacking trip, or can remember the magical thrill of an elicit encounter in public doesn’t matter

exactly. What matters instead is that some kernel speaks to you.

That’s the only sign that the author has written what they know, and well.

17 Marigold Lane by RM Gilmore with giveaway






New from RM Gilmore, creator of the bestselling Dylan Hart series.

17 Marigold Lane (a Prudence Penderhaus novel)

Prudence Penderhaus was just an ordinary weirdo until the day one word changed the course of her life forever.

Giving up on life, a risky move turns her world upside down and uncovers an odd boy no one knew existed. 

Trying to cope with her life at it stands, Prudence juggles her own emotions as she peels back layers of small-town secrecy that have been hiding right under her nose.

With a newfound purpose, she and her odd boy turn the town of Flintlock on its butt in the pursuit of truth. Uncovering more than she bargained for. Murder.

“My name is Prudence Penderhaus. I’ve never done anything remarkable. Never even bothered to look up. Until the day I realized I was dying.”


Book Cover

      Amazon           Nook          Google            Kobo

An excerpt from the story:

“You mean… she might have to lose her arm?” Mom’s voice was shrill with tears on the verge of spilling.

“We’re not even considering that at this point, so please don’t worry.” She looked at me and changed the subject. “How’s your pain? I see you’re guarding that arm.”

“Your nurse wrenched it and damn near killed me.” I had no patience for anything at that moment and wanted nothing more than to be at school with Cassius. “I’ll be fine. I just want to go to school. Can we go now?”

“You’re still in school? Excellent. That’s what we like to hear. Just be sure you take it easy, get plenty of sleep and don’t forget to eat. You’d be surprised how quickly your body can turn against you when you’re neglectful to it.” She smiled, charming and radiant; it was no wonder she went into medicine, she certainly had excellent bedside manner. “Have a boyfriend waiting to hear the good news?”

“He’s not my boyfriend.” I said too quickly. “I mean, he’s a boy and he’s my friend, but he’s not my boyfriend. He’s just a good friend that needs me.”

“That’s good you’ve got someone you’re close to. Just make sure he’s giving back what he’s taking. You’ll be needing him soon too. Someone has to grab you frappuccinos and hold your books open for you.” Her smile practically lit up the room.

“He’s not really the take-care-of-others type.”

She pulled her eyebrows in. “That’s too bad. You’ll have to show him how it’s done.”

“He’s a boy with Asperger’s. He’s not a boyfriend and he’s not a caretaker.”

She sat quiet for a long minute. Tilting her head to one side, she looked at me sympathetically. “That boy has all the potential in the world to be both of those things, and better than most boys out there, if you give him a chance.”

I hadn’t considered Cassius a boyfriend because in my head, he didn’t have the capacity. In my head, he was innocent like a child and would never have those types of needs or wants. He could hardly take care of himself, let alone me.

Grab your copy now!

Want a signed paperback? Easy!

Snag yours here.


What are they saying about 17 Marigold Lane?

“If you love a smartass, caring, take no crap, odd teenager, you will love this book. ” – Tonya, Abibliophobia Anonymous

Loved the characters, the plot. Loved everything about it.” Nicki Scalice, author Revenants in Pergatory

“I don’t usually do young adult novels, but this one was amazing!.” – Tara Dawn, author Sojourn


Hey look, giveaways!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

17 Marigold Lane by R.M. Gilmore

17 Marigold Lane

by R.M. Gilmore

Giveaway ends September 08, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.


Win 1 of 4 signed paperbacks!

Enter Giveaway

Don’t miss a thing!

Give this bad boy a click and drop your email address.

RM Gilmore

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The Day Before by Liana Brooks


The Day Before

by Liana Brooks
Buy & Social Links

HarperCollins –

Amazon –



Barnes and Noble –


iTunes –

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GoodReads –




Newsletter: http://lianabrooks.us4.list-



A body is found in the Alabama wilderness. The question is:

Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property?

Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of

Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her

the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There’s a snag, though: the body is a clone, and

technically that means it’s not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only

for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.

The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing

about Mac is what it seems, either.

This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.

A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and

questioning what it means to be human.


Author Bio

Liana Brooks once read the book GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and noted that

both their biographies invited readers to send money (or banana daiquiris). That seems to have worked

well for them. Liana prefers strawberry daiquiris (virgin!) and will never say no to large amounts of cash in

unmarked bills.

Her books are sweet and humorous with just enough edge to keep you reading past your bedtime.

Liana was born in San Diego after bouncing around the country she’s settled (temporarily) in the great

wilderness of Alaska. She can be found on Twitter (@LianaBrooks), on FaceBook, and on the web at


Friday May 17th, 2069

Alabama District 3

Commonwealth of North America

With an asthmatic wheeze the engine died. It figured. Stuck in a man’s craw, it did. This

truck had been his daddy’s and his pappy’s, and before the Commonwealth government forced

him to replace the diesel engine with the newfangled water doohickey, he was certain he’d pass

the truck onto his son.

He’d been playing under the hood of trucks since he was six and now he was stranded.

Embarrassing, that’s what it was. He climbed out of the cab to check the engine out of habit. The

ice blue block of modern fuel efficiency stared back. Three hundred bucks it’d cost him, straight

from his pocket.

Oh, there was a government subsidy, all right. A priority list. Major Population Centers, they

said. Unite the countries of the Commonwealth on a timeline, they said. And what did all that


It meant the damn Yankees got upgraded cities and free cars before the ink was dry on the

Constitution and what about the little man? Nobody thought about the working class. No one

cared about a man covered in oil and grease anymore.

He thumbed his cellphone on. No reception. Figured.

So much for the era of new prosperity. He’d hoof it. There was a little town about five miles

down the road where he could call Ricky to bring a tow truck. It would have been cheaper to pay

the diesel fines than get all this fixed.

Off schedule. Over budget. Son of a –

He stared at the distant trees. Well, it wasn’t going to get any cooler.

He grabbed his wallet and keys from the cab of his truck. The tree line looked like a good

spot to answer a call from nature, then he’d see if there weren’t a shortcut through to town. A

meadowlark sang. Not a bad day for a hike. Would’ve been better if it weren’t so dammed hot,

but at least the humidity was low. He wouldn’t like to walk in a summer monsoon, not at his age

with arthritis playing up.

Under a sprawling oak he unzipped his pants. As an afterthought, he glanced down to make

sure he wouldn’t stir up a hill of fire ants.

A hand lay next to his boots.

He blinked, zipped his pants slowly, and turned around. “Hello?”

Cicadas chirped in answer.

“Are you drunk?” The quiet field that looked so peaceful only moments before was now

eerily sinister. He nudged the hand with his foot. It was swollen and pale and crusted with blood,

just like a prop out of a horror movie.

Maybe it was a good idea to run to the next town.

Guest Post

Finding A Balance Between Books

And Reality

Books have always been my primary obsession. Even before I knew what a fandom was I

knew My People were the ones who would read for hours and loved books. A young start as

a reader led me down the perilous path of writing. At first it was simple storytelling, rewriting

the ending of a book so my favorite characters would survive. It was fanfiction before

fanfiction and the internet were a Thing. Those simple stories tempted me to create my own

worlds… and that’s where I got lost.

It’s easy to wander into the worlds of fiction and not want to come back.

Reality means school, work, bills, walking the dog, washing the dishes, feeding the kids,

and pretending you want to talk about anything other than your newest Favorite Author or

your One True Pair. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who can pay all the bills with your

storytelling there is a need for balance.

Actually, strike that, reverse it…. Even if you are one of the lucky ones who can pay all

the bills with your storytelling it is ESSENTIAL that you find balance.

There’s a romanticized notion of the starving artist locking themselves away, shivering

and starving, as they use the last of their money to create their masterpiece. It’s a poignant

image perfectly suited for an indie film that will win critical acclaim at Sundance, but it’s no

way to live. As Amanda Palmer said, “We are artists, not art factories. The money we need to

live is often indistinguishable from the money we need to make art.”

In other words: Do Not Let The Books Control Your Life.

Adapted for your situation a writer’s schedule should look something like this…


 This should be done 5-6 days a week with the majority of the time spent on the

 Writing should happen when you are most creative (try writing at different times

 A few minutes each day should be spent reviewing outlines and checking progress

project with the nearest deadline.

of the day to find out when this is). If this isn’t possible because of work or school

schedule a regular writing time where you can. A page a day is still a novel at the

end of the year, so make the minutes count.

to make sure you are on track.

 If you have a new idea appear pin it down. Write a quick outline and save it in

your writing folder. No matter how much you swear you’ll remember everything

you can’t. Write it down and you’ll always have it for later.


 Marketing is a reality no matter how you publish. Know your audience and how they

respond. If you don’t know what advertising works best for your genre stalk (safely,

cordially, and on social media only – this doesn’t need to be creepy) other authors in

your genre and see what they’re doing.

 Set aside 15 minutes a day for marketing things. This includes: answering emails,

sending out review copies, writing guest blogs, scheduling tweets/tumblrs/Facebook

posts, sending winner’s prizes, ect.

 Make sure you have a strong social media presence and that it is social. A feed full of

ads is always ineffective.


 One day of the week should be designated as a No Writing Day. Take the day off

from the computer if you can.

 No working on your WIP on this day. Your brain needs a break.

 Take your day off to check your health and tend to self-care. Read, take a bubble bath,

go get some sunshine. Relax.

 Never neglect your health. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep that you don’t wake

up tired. You can run on fumes for weeks at a time but it isn’t healthy and it won’t

make your writing better. Even on a deadline – especially on a deadline – make the

time to take care of you.

 If you work from home make sure you set a quitting time each day. It’s easy to fall

into the trap of writing until midnight because the computer is right there and the

words need to happen. Don’t do this. Set an alarm for quitting time and obey the

alarm. When it goes off you hit save and turn the computer off.

 Take time to refill your creative well. Find other hobbies you love. Create other art.

Explore the world. Everything you do will improve your writing.


 According to Jim Butcher an author needs to have five books on the shelf to make a

comfortable living. That’s five books per person. You do the math.

 Get a good education and fight for a good job. The market sucks, but that’s just


 When you’re at work, WORK.

 Remember that a novel can be written in a few minutes a day. The words add up, so

don’t fret if you don’t get to spend the whole day at home writing. Most authors who

do have all day to sit at home and write only spend a few hours of each day actually

writing. The hard work is plotting out the scenes, and you can do that sitting on the

bus to work.


 If you have the significant other/spouse/roommate/kids/parents equation in your life

make sure to carve out a day just for them. For us Saturdays are Family Only time.

We plan trips a week in advance and spend the whole day together.

 Make time for your friends. Set aside a monthly get together, or a weekly dinner


 Plan daily rituals with the people around you. Whether it’s spending thirty minutes

walking your dog or sit down to dinner with the family every night. Schedule a game

night with your roomie and smash them in Mario Kart. We need time with other

humans to remember how to be human. Neglecting this will only hurt your art.

 Shy? Introverted? Stranded in a new town with nobody you know? I hate to say it, but

you still need to spend a few hours a week with people. Other humans are story

fodder. If nothing else go grab a hot cocoa at the bookstore and people watch for an

hour a week. The books will be there to back you up and, who knows, you might find

a fellow fan of your favorite series.

What do you do to keep the balance?


Game Changer by Rene Folsom book blast with giveaway

Game Changer (Playing Games #1) by Rene Folsom
Publication Date: December 15th, 2014
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Maci strives for one thing in life—anonymity. With her writing career in full bloom, all she wants is to work in peace while concealing her true identity from the public. Though readers love the science fiction worlds she creates, Maci knows that gender stereotypes could damage her career if she is exposed as a woman.

Liam is the envy of all gamers as the lead developer for nZone Studios. Over time, he builds walls around himself, keeping people at arm’s length who only gravitate to him for his material possessions rather than who he is as a person.

With thick barriers around their hearts and their past looming in the shadows, Liam and Maci challenge each other by slowly peeling away their protective layers and seeing each other for who they really are. It doesn’t take long after their chance meeting at a coffee shop for them to become one another’s game changer.

Note: If a strong, quirky heroine makes you roll your eyes, If you hate sexy heroes who would rather lose a game than the woman of their dreams, if fast-moving relationships and hot sex aren’t your thing, if you can’t stand when humor is used to cover up life’s awkward moments, if cliffhangers anger you beyond comprehension… this series is not your cup of tea. This contemporary romance novel is the first book in the Playing Games series and contains adult situations meant for ages 18+.

Purchase Links





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Maci strives for one thing in life—anonymity. With her writing career in full bloom, all she wants is to

work in peace while concealing her true identity from the public. Though readers love the science fiction

worlds she creates, Maci knows that gender stereotypes could damage her career if she is exposed as a


Liam is the envy of all gamers as the lead developer for nZone Studios.  Over time, he builds walls

around himself, keeping people at arm’s length who only gravitate to him for his material possessions

rather than who he is as a person.

With thick barriers around their hearts and their past looming in the shadows, Liam and Maci challenge

each other by slowly peeling away their protective layers and seeing each other for who they really are. It

doesn’t take long after their chance meeting at a coffee shop for them to become one another’s game


Note: If a strong, quirky heroine makes you roll your eyes, If you hate sexy heroes who would rather lose

a game than the woman of their dreams, if fast-moving relationships and hot sex aren’t your thing, if you

can’t stand when humor is used to cover up life’s awkward moments, if cliffhangers anger you beyond

comprehension… this series is not your cup of tea. This contemporary romance novel is the first book in

the Playing Games series and contains adult situations meant for ages 18+.

Author Bio:
Rene Folsom, author of contemporary and paranormal, lives in Florida with her husband and three kids. She has officially diagnosed herself with creative ADD and often has a million and one writing projects going at once. In addition to writing, she is also a graphic artist who enjoys creating custom book covers for indie authors. She is definitely an artist at heart and would love nothing more than to be elbow deep in clay during her waking hours.

Rene believes that all fiction is based on some form of reality—otherwise we would never have the inspiration or knowledge to dream up the realistic situations we portray with our words. She is proud to say that her personal experiences have been inspirational, though perhaps not always identical to that of her fictional characters. Where reality and fantasy diverge, however, must remain her little secret… 

Author Links:
1. What was the first thing that inspired the idea for Game Changer?

It’s come to my attention that too many authors fall back on the safe

character build because they have been told time and time again that a

dominant, alpha-male is what women want.  So, I took a step back and

thought about the things I like in a man.  While my husband may be a

sports-loving beast of muscle, I decided to put aside his appearance and

think of his other qualities.  In steps Liam.  Instead of sports, Liam loves

games, and I know for a fact there are a lot of female gamers out there who

would love to get their hands on a Liam.  😉

2. From the dedication I’m guessing you’re not a gamer. Were you at all

nervous to write about one?

Actually, no.  I wasn’t necessarily nervous to write about gamers.  However,

I was very cautious about keeping my facts straight when it came to a

gamer’s life as well as how they would converse, which is why I asked for

help from a friend, who just so happened to be invaluable to me while

writing this series.

3. You’ve got a lot of fun graphic t-shirts going on in this story. Did you make

them up or did you find them online?

They are fun, huh?  Some I found online, and some my gamer buddy came

up with for me based on his own wardrobe.

4. Which graphic t-shirt was your favorite?

Ooh, that’s a hard one!  But I think it would have to be one Maci wore that

said “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them.”  Here’s a little snippet…

“Nice shirt,” he said, managing to spit out the words between chuckles. His

laughter died down a bit, but he still had a hard time keeping a straight

face, those beautiful dimples peeking through the scruff on his face.

Looking down, I reminded myself of the shirt I chose today, and laughter

bubbled up in my throat as I realized the perfection of it.

Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them was written in kid-like letters across

my chest, a stick figure of a boy getting pummeled with rocks finishing off

the masterpiece.

“Wore it just for you,” I said, lying through my teeth. I honestly didn’t mean

to wear it, just tossing a random shirt on as I left in a hurry this morning.

But it was a bit too flawless to not take the blame.

5. What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s another hard one, but I think the first one that popped into my head

would be the scene where Maci kicks Liam’s ass in Mortal Kombat.  I really

enjoy this scene because it shows just how Maci won’t take any shit from

anyone, no matter how she feels about the man.    Here’s an excerpt…

He wasn’t kidding when he said the gamers at the university considered him

a deity of sorts. Hell, they were damn near ready to roll out the red carpet

for us once they saw him walk through the doors of the arcade lounge.

Once the gamer geeks left us alone, Liam eyed me sideways and smiled at

me in a way I could only describe as deceptive and evil—in a very playful

Liam sort of way.

“What?” I asked, backing up a few steps and feigning fear.

“You up for a challenge?” Just as the words spilled from his lips, his eyes

darted toward a wall of classic arcade games.

“Oh, hell yeah,” I breathed, leading the way toward the wooden box with

the words Mortal Kombat splayed along the top. The vintage cabinet was

beautiful, and I couldn’t help but touch my fingers against the large, yellow

dragon adorning the sides. “Won’t be much of a challenge though. I’ll kick

your pansy ass in this game,” I nearly whispered.

Biting my lip to hide my smile, I watched with unabashed interest as Liam’s

long fingers slid a few coins into the slots and began a game. “Ladies first,”

he said, gesturing toward the controls. It didn’t take me long to choose

Scorpion so I could lasso his ass for the undeniable fatalities that were in his

near future.

“Not gonna go with Sonya, huh?” he blurted out as he did the predictable

and chose Sub-Zero.

Rolling my eyes, I didn’t look at him as I spoke with a bit of a bite in my tone

and said, “Why, so you can stare at her tits while you attempt to kick her

ass? Plus, why do I automatically have to be the girl? Is it because I should

like the pretty green color of her too-tight outfit?”

“No reason. I just wasn’t expecting you to choose Scorpion is all,” he said

with a shrug as the game began.

Jerking my body as I dodged his first freeze blast, I said, “You better learn

really quick that I don’t care for gender stereotypes, Liam.”

Failing at dodging my kunai, he sighed and laughed. “Point taken.”

It didn’t take long before the command to finish him blasted through the

speakers, and I ripped his spinal cord clean through his frigid body.

“Fuck,” he cursed under his breath, and I couldn’t hold back my laughter


“You totally deserved that.”

Without saying another word, I continued to show him who was boss. After

the third round and another epic fatality, he threw his hands up and said,

“Okay, Maci. You done showing off?”

Crossing my arms over my chest, I gave him an I-told-you-so smile and

nodded. However, it was then that I realized we’d attracted an audience.

I was suddenly worried he’d be pissed that I showed him up in what was

supposed to be his territory. These kids looked up to him, and there I stood,

holding his balls in a metaphorical vice. The smirk that tilted up on half his

face told me he wasn’t mad… at least not horribly upset with me.

Leaning close, a little too close, he whispered in my ear. “I think these guys

like watching you from behind while you play.” Before I could respond, Liam

grabbed my ass, squeezed once, and winked before offering me his hand

and adding, “Let’s go.”

As soon as we made it into the hall, out of geekdom earshot, I laid into him.

“Did you seriously just grab my ass?”

“I had to even the score somehow and also show them all you were off

limits. Their gawking was very distracting,” he said with a shrug, never

letting go of my hand as I tried to tug it free.

“Well, you don’t get to grope me just to prove a point, Liam.” I wasn’t really

as upset as I was sounding. Having his hand on me was exciting. But a habit

like that could give him the wrong impression, and I’d be damned if I let a

guy get away with pawing me in public like I was some piece of ass he had

to stake claim to.

Using my hand, he pulled me closer and threw his arm around my shoulder

like it was second nature for us to be connected. “I know, and I’m sorry.

Their eyes were practically glued to your ass though. I was just giving them

something to look at,” he said with a holier-than-thou smirk. “Hell, even the

one chick there was nearly undressing you with her stare.”

Smacking his chest, I pushed him away and said, “Next time, grab yourself.

I’m sure they’ll get an eyeful then.” But the smile on my face betrayed me

and turned into a full-blown laugh that echoed off the marbled floors as we

made our way toward the stairs leading to the theater.

6. How many books are you planning for the Playing Games series?

At the moment, I have three novels and two novellas planned for Liam and

Maci.  Here is the tentative series order and titles:

* Game Changer – Book One (LIVE)

* The Wager – A Game Changer companion novella (LIVE)

* Game On – Book Two (LIVE)

* The Break – A Game On companion novella (LIVE)

* End Game – Book Three (coming before the end of fall 2015)

7. Do you have a playlist for Game Changer?

I’m actually one of the few authors who doesn’t create playlists for books.

However, I do have a certain Pandora station I listen to fairly regularly while

writing that is based off the artist Snow Patrol.  It plays music from Kings of

Leon, Muse, Coldplay, The Fray, Lifehouse, and more.

8. Do you have a dream cast for any of the characters?

Since my characters actually have their own personalities and appearances

in my head, I haven’t been able to think of actors that might fit in their

roles.  However, I would love to hear what readers think.  If anyone has an

idea of who should be cast as Maci and/or Liam, comment here and let us

know!  I can’t wait to hear your ideas.  If I like some of them, I might just

post them on my blog.  😉

9. How long does it take for you to write a novel?

It all depends on the process and how many other projects I have going on

at the same time.  If I plot out each chapter ahead of time, it can take me

anywhere between one and three months to complete a novel.  Game

Changer took me three months, but the second book, Game On, only took

me a little over one month.

10.  Which character was your favorite to write about?

I had quite a bit of fun with the banter between Liam and Thad — Thad was

a really fun character to play around with.  I’m actually hoping he’ll get his

own book one day soon.  However, the first spin-off novel will be about

Sofie (an awesome character introduced in Game On) and will hopefully

release within the next few months.  If Sofie’s story is well received among

Playing Games readers, Thad, Sky, and other characters might also have

their own stories to be told.

11.  If you could write with any author, who would that be?

Laura Kaye, hands down.  I’ve always admired her and her writing.  It’d be

nothing short of an honor to write alongside such an amazing author.

12.  What is your favorite trait about Maci?

Her strength and moxie.

13.  Maci writes science fiction, is that one of your favorite genres to read?

I don’t mind reading SciFi, but it’s not necessarily my favorite unless it’s

heavily riddled with romance.  I actually chose her to be a SciFi author

because I wanted that to be something else her and Liam would have in

common.  I went to my gamer buddy for advice and asked him what kind of

female author he’d go gaga over.  He didn’t hesitate with his answer, which,

in turn, solidified my decision in her genre.

14.  Maci has a lot of opinions about stereotyping, what gave you the idea for

that theme?

I see a lot of gender stereotyping happening in this industry, especially when

it comes to the specific genres.  Female SciFi or Horror authors tend to get

pushed aside.  Male romance authors get the same treatment.  Very rarely

are they given a chance beyond their gender.  Granted, there are a few

exceptions, but most of the time, those exceptions are first born because of

pen names where the readers are unsure of the author’s specific gender to

begin with.  After speaking to a male author about a romance idea he

had—a very good romance idea—I realized just how discouraged he was to

even attempt to write it due to the growing stereotypes with male romance

authors this day in age.  Of course, all fiction is based on some form of

reality and I had to put my opinions down on paper to share with the world


15.  Do you have any other genres you’d like to try your hand at?

I currently write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, new adult,

paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and I have a futuristic romance in the

works (which is SciFi with heavy romance influences).  I also want to delve

into the western romance sub-genre at some point soon.

16.  Do you have any favorite authors in Contemporary Romance? Or ones

that have influenced you more than others?

Laura Kaye, Juli Valenti, Stacey Kennedy, Maya Banks, etc.  I could go on

and on.  LOL

17.  What about writing life/being an author took you by surprise?

I would have to say the difficulty in marketing and promotion really took me

by surprise.  It is so tough to get my name out there.  Trying to promote

books has been the most challenging part of being independently published.

18.  Any tips for aspiring authors?

While self-publishing might not be the easy way to go, it’s definitely the best

way to go.  Embrace the freedom and never give up.  Save your money to

hire a reputable editor and cover designer.  Make contacts, find beta

readers, and promote the crap out of yourself.  Above all else, keep writing!

Volume equals sales.  I’m always willing to help anyone who needs advice.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me through my

website or email.  ☺

19.  Are you working on anything else besides the Playing Game series?

Yep!  I am working on a new Roommate Romance novella and Juli Valenti

and I are also working on another Favorite Things short.

20.  Do you have any hobbies?

Since I majored in sculpture in college, I love nothing more than to be

elbow-deep in clay as often as possible.  It’s difficult to find time and

location for this hobby, since pottery is pretty messy, but I absolutely love it.

21.  You’re a huge cliffhanger lover. Why do you love to put them in your


I love reading them, and I love to write what I read.  When I read a book

that has me on the edge of my seat, leaves me breathless and in need of

more, makes me want to pay anything just so I can continue the story, then

I know the author did their job.

22.  Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you to everyone for reading this interview and my books.  I hope you

enjoyed it.  If you haven’t tried Game Changer, it’s currently free on all

major retailers, so give it a try!  

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