Uncover #YA @AuthorEricPrice and his award-winning, UNVEILING THE WIZARDS’ SHROUD #fantasy

Greetings and welcome back. Today we are honored to question chat with the elusive Eric Price, wordsmith behind the award winning, young adult fantasy UNVEILING THE WIZARDS’ SHROUD (CLC’s Best First Novel 2014). We’ve offered him a goblet of mead and our best victuals to help keep him occupied as we endeavor to unravel the mysteries of his mental journeys. Without further ado, I give you Sir Eric Price…

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? 

Annie Wilkes-Why didn’t you like Misery’s Child? 

Hannibal Lecter-Do human brains really taste like chicken?

Marla Singer-Is this my week to go to the brain parasites meeting or yours?

Alex (“Your Humble Narrator” from A Clockwork Orange)-When you’re ready for the old ultra-violence, is it really that horrorshow to make the red red kroovy flow from your droogs?

Michonne (The Walking Dead)-Can you recommend a good swordsmith?

Jack Torrance-Would you like a cocktail?

I thought about inviting Bellatrix Lastrange, but if you consider the movies, I already had one character played by Helena Bonham Carter. I didn’t want to get confused.

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys. Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting). Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? Were you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

In a lot of ways, this is how Yara came to join the cast of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud. I had written the book and submitted it to Muse It Up Publishing. They rejected it but gave me some suggestions to improve upon. If I did, they’d take a second look. Well, in the time since I had written it, I had an idea for a story with Yara that took place in the same world as Unveiling.

I started rewriting Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud taking into account the suggestions and adding a little about Yara so readers would have some introduction to her when I wrote her book. I intended to introduce her in the first chapter and bring her in again at the end of the book; but, as so often happens, especially for those of us who don’t outline every single plot detail, she decided to tag along for the whole book. I’m glad she’s there. She’s one of my favorite characters. Her book, The Squire and the Slave Master, comes out soon.

–Been there, done that, have secondary characters who’ve managed to finagled their way into their very own story to show for it.

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Erotic Romance. I have no interest in reading it, and I believe in reading the same genre(s) I write. I wouldn’t sit down to write a steampunk novel having never read one (though, I intend to read one soon). For the most part, I don’t even like sex scenes in the books I read. I prefer the way Stephen King typically handles the subject: a little foreplay in one paragraph; in the next paragraph everything’s finished and we’ve moved on to bigger and better things. (The pun may or may not have been intended.)

–If I may offer a suggestion for your introduction to Steampunk, consider Jim Butcher’s Cinder Spires.

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

Rewrite don’t revise. It’s a lot of work, but it makes the final manuscript much cleaner than cutting and pasting; plus, it helps weed out wordy sentences. When you’re up late trying to finish a few more pages, you realize a lot of the words you’ve used aren’t needed.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Write your own story. Don’t try to write the next Harry Potter, or Divergent, or whatever. Those stories have already been told. If you’re going to spend the time writing, write something new. Oh, and trust your editor(s). They have the same goal as you, to make your book the best it can be.

–Best advice ever, Eric!

Now, as the blood pudding makes its way into the dining hall, we proceed to our ironshot list. Ready? Aim. Fire…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Blades for the coolness aspect. Though, like Indiana Jones, I’d choose a gun if my opponent has a blade.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Peter Pan. I just read it again a couple weeks ago. Well, I listened to the audio book, but that counts.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

Stephen King’s Revival

Chuck Palahniuk’s Beautiful You

Dmitry Glukhovsky’s Metro 2033

Greatest one liner of all time?

I think the greatest of all time is Tom Cruise’s line from the end of Risky Business, you know, the one about what you’ve got to say sometimes. But since I don’t want to turn off any readers with foul language, I’ll use my second favorite line. This one from The Princess Bride: “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife.”

–For your next visit, we promise no stone throwing will commence if foul language is involved.

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Like I care. Oh, I guess that answers the question.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

The double decker couch from The Lego Movie.

Favorite supernatural creature?

Werewolves—because I’m sick of vampires.

We offer Eric our humble thanks for coming over and sharing. If you’re looking for a wild ride that will make you wish to be younger, check out Eric’s UNVEILING THE WIZARDS’ SHROUD now, so you can pick up his upcoming THE SQUIRE AND THE SLAVE MASTER arriving in September…

Literary Classics International Book Awards - Young Adult Award Winning Book

Literary Classics International Book Awards – Young Adult Award Winning Book

The award winning Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud (CLC’s Best First Novel 2014) chronicled Yara, Owen, and Cedric’s quest to revive King Kendrick from a dark, magical spell. After the adventure to save King Kendrick, for Yara, everyday life has grown monotonous. The dull work of learning her father’s blacksmithing trade, and the pressure from her parents to decide what she plans on doing with her life, has her nerves so stressed she snaps at her father’s slightest teasing.

Lucky for her, a surprise messenger from the castle brings the king’s request for her to join a collaborative mission between the Central and Western Domains of Wittatun to stop a recently discovered slave operation in a land to the west. King Kendrick and Owen want her to accompany the mission as a secret weapon disguised as a squire.

She has to keep secret not only her magical abilities from any possible traitors, but also her gender. The people of the Western Domain have a superstition prohibiting girls from sailing. But a chill wind carries the distinct odor of sabotage. Can one girl survive to destroy an evil rooted much deeper than mere slavery?

EXCERPT:

     Opening the door, she paused to size up the tall, well-built man who stood outside the yard gate. His hair had grown out since she had last seen him, and it looked like he hadn’t shaved for a week. He wore gloves, but she knew underneath, the palm of the right one looked black and charred.

     She sprinted and threw herself into his arms. “Owen! How are you?” She pulled away to look at him. “What’s this on your face? Dirt?”

     “Yeah, it’s dirt. I thought I should match you.”

     Her face grew warm. How much filth must cover her? She hadn’t cared to take time to freshen herself for a messenger, but she would have had she known his identity. It must have something to do with their time apart—they used to spend almost every day together—but as the official heir to the throne, each time she saw him, he somehow looked different in her eyes. More noble. More royal.

     He smiled and wiped at a smudge on her cheek. “Did I hear you say something about getting married?”

     “Oh no! Father loves trying my nerves. I don’t want to talk about it. Why are you here?” And how much of the conversation did you hear?

 

PICK UP YOUR COPY NOW:

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You can find Eric meandering around the following social locations:

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Website          authorericprice.com

Twiter             @AuthorEricPrice

Facebook       Author Eric Price

Goodreads     Eric Price and Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud

When the writing is done, it’s Not The End with Sara Jayne Townsend #editing #writing #mystery

Give a warm welcome to fellow MuseIt Up authoress of mystery, Sara Jayne Townsend.

Not The End

By Sara Jayne Townsend

From the age of ten, I dreamed of being published. It took me nearly 30 years to get a novel contract. In the early days, when it was just a dream, I always imagined it being the acceptance as being the ‘happy ever after’. When the first novel contract finally came – a couple of months before my fortieth birthday – it was, literally, a dream come true. But it didn’t take me long to realise that it was not the end of the story – it was merely the beginning.

Nowadays, finishing writing a novel is not as straightforward as it used to be. Finishing the first draft is still an achievement for me, and something I tend to mark with a celebration, like a nice bottle of wine. But it doesn’t mean the novel is finished. Not by a long way. First there are many other drafts to go – usually at least another two before I’ll even consider giving it to my beta readers. Following their (often brutal, but always fair) criticism, I will pull the manuscript apart and rebuild it, for at least another two or three drafts. Then, finally, it might be ready to submit, and if I’m lucky I find a publisher to take it on.

But that’s still not the end. Most publishers I’ve worked for go through at least three rounds of copy edits, sometimes involving significant plot changes. After that, a couple of rounds of line edits, which generally just pick up typos or grammatical nitpicks.

And then there are the galleys, which is the last chance to proofread the book before publication, and it never fails to astound me how many basic errors get picked up in this final stage, even after several pairs of eyes and at least seven readings. Letters and even words are missing. Punctuation is wrong. On one occasion, I noticed that a character who had gold framed glasses in the first half of the book suddenly had black framed glasses in the second half of the book. Several people had read the manuscript by that point, and no one had picked it up before.

But there comes a point when you have to let go of the book and release it out into the big wide world. I make a point of not reading my own novels once they’ve been published. Firstly, by that stage I’m sick to the back teeth of my own story, having read it far too many times already, and secondly, I’m afraid that I’ll pick up more errors and by that point I won’t be able to do anything about it. Frankly I’d rather not know, once it’s in the public domain, what’s still wrong with the book.

All this demonstrates the importance of editing, and not just of your own manuscript. Self publishing is a viable option these days, but if you go down this route it is essential to invest in a professional editor. No matter how many times you go through your own manuscript, you miss things. Editing services can be expensive, but they are an essential expense for the self-published author. Getting a second opinion is vital, and the very least that is needed. Ideally a third or even a fourth opinion is required as well, but once you’ve gone through the editing process, recruiting a couple of well-read friends to serve as proof readers may suffice.

Once upon a time I thought that the publishing contract would be the end of the story. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s only the beginning.

Brava, Sara Jayne! There is no way to expound enough on the many, many reasons why editors are the superheroes behind writers. I’d be lost without mine! 

All right my loyal followers, ready to unravel a new mystery? Then you don’t want to miss out on Sara Jayne’s DEAD COOL!

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They were dying to be famous. And someone was prepared to kill for it…

Actress Shara Summers has settled in London and is “between jobs” when her Canadian ex-boyfriend David sails back into her life, begging to her to fill the backing singer vacancy in the up and coming band he’s about to go on a European tour with.  Short on funds and auditions Shara reluctantly agrees, but tragedy strikes at the opening night party when the band’s charismatic front man Dallas Cleary Anderson falls to his death from a hotel window.  It soon becomes clear that Dallas did not fall, but was pushed.  His arrogant and confrontational manner means there are no shortage of people who wanted him out of the band permanently – but who would resort to murder?

Click below to pick up your copy of DEAD COOL, Sara Jayne’s follow up to DEATH SCENE at MuseIt Up Publishing or any fine e-book retailers.
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If you want to start at the beginning, don’t forget to check out the first in her amateur sleuth series, DEATH SCENE:

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Sara Townsend (34)

Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror, and someone tends to die a horrible death in all of her stories. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.

She decided she was going to be a published novelist when she was 10 years old and finished her first novel a year later. It took 30 years of submitting, however, to fulfil that dream.

Follow Sara on Amazon or Twitter , and learn more about her writing at her Website and her Blog.

Time to Grill Tierney James and Get Swept Away #RomSus #politicalthriller #newreads

Welcome back everyone! It’s Thursday and we’re going old school style with an author interview. Grab your drink of choice and some Oreos and settle in, as we follow Romantic Suspense wordsmith, Tierney James, into a maze of loyalty versus love and grill her under the searing light of Jami’s inquisition…

Thrillers & Suspense

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

From a very early age I wanted to be a part of the space program at NASA. I was the only little girl sitting in the back of the room with the boys listening to John Glen orbit the earth. Later I was lucky enough to get his autograph as well as several other astronauts of that first seven. I even applied to the astronaut teacher program without success. I attended Space Camp for Educators and later became a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Sometimes I still turn on the NASA channel just to hear the voices at Mission Control talk to the guys on the International Space Station while I’m doing other things. I find it comforting.

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

“Dangerous when activated.” Even some of my female characters are lethal. Maybe their warning could be something like “Every day is the time of the month.”

–*Snort*. 

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I once met Steve Berry, thriller writer, at a writing conference. He was very friendly and approachable. Every time he walked by me and said “hello” I was afraid I’d slip in my drool. I think if I got to meet Brad Thor or James Rollins the reaction would be similar although I have practiced in front of the mirror of what I’d say. Both authors responded to a Facebook post once and I sat in a daze for an hour. I hope I would be dignified and charming at our first meeting. I could always collapse later into a blithering idiot.

–It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one who turns into a staring goober when faced with fantasticness…

 

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

When Winds of Deception was released in June I had an online release party. Some of my guests had very clear ideas of what they wanted my characters to do in book 3 of the series. A few of them even argued about the best way to deal with an element of sexual tension brewing between several of the characters. For a while I wasn’t even part of the conversation. It was hilarious. I realized then that the characters I’d created were as real to them as they were to me.

–And that’s one of the best moments a writer can have, knowing our characters are just as real to our readers as they are to us!

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

I probably will never write Erotica. I’m not saying I haven’t read it. I know authors who are wonderful at creating this. The reason I won’t write it is because so much of what I’ve read or started to read is what I call abuse. I don’t understand the concept and don’t want to. My life is storybook not anything like what their characters demand.

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

Join a writing group. Once I did that many people jumped on board to encourage and support me in my endeavors. They gave me the confidence to experiment, fail, succeed and shine. These are the groups or organizations in which I belong: Ozark Romance Authors, Sleuth’s Ink, Sisters In Crime, Thriller Writers of America.

–I’m with you on this. After spending seven years with a great critique group, I found I needed move into  new group and joined Desert Rose RWA. There’s something about having that connection to others facing the same questions we face every day.

Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?

One of my novels involved a Biblical Archeologist which I thought would play a major role in the story. He did not. However, I was already taking Hebrew lessons to get me in touch with my inner Indiana Jones. I also got my Conceal and Carry license so I would be familiar with guns. That was fun! Of course the instructor thought it ridiculous that I wore hot pink ear protectors and eye protection. My husband was embarrassed.

–*laughs* At least your gun wasn’t pink. I did threatened my Knight in Muddy Armor to go with purple for my chosen firearm. We’re still in discussions.

Now that the tough part is done, on to our bullet round. Three…two…go…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

I will have to say guns and feet. Feet because I used to take karate.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

My favorite fairy tale would be Cinderella. A tough chic makes it on top!

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

Code of Conduct – Brad Thor

The English Spy – Daniel Silva

Rise of ISIS – Jay Sekulow

Greatest one liner of all time?

“I’ll be back!” – The Terminator

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

There was a family in my parents’ hometown in Tennessee who piled everything in their yard and on their porch. So when things got messy around our house or in my room, my mother would say, “Looks like Jett’s back porch.”

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Probably the strangest item would be a child’s rocking chair I keep filled with books to read.

Favorite supernatural creature?

A fire breathing dragon, of course!

Huge hugs and thank you to Tierney for coming over and visiting. You don’t want to miss out on her latest release: WINDS OF DECEPTION, so check it out…

WOD

Tessa Scott believes her encounter with Ex-Delta Force Captain Chase Hunter, a year earlier, can finally remain in the past. After she arrives in Washington DC, Enigma enlists her help when they uncover a plot to assassinate both President Austin and the Prime Minister of Israel. To complicate an already volatile situation a hurricane moves toward the nation’s capital creating the perfect opportunity to stage an attack.

Lines of loyalty begin to blur as Tessa confronts life and death events that could change the course of the United States. Complications arise when Tessa is faced with the knowledge her uncle plans to take revenge for Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty and its lost crew members. No one knows that a powerful member of the government is behind the conspiracy, and Tessa and Captain Hunter join forces to halt the violence against the most powerful men in the world. She must ultimately choose between her love of country or exposing the truth against Israel.

The growing attraction between Tessa and Captain Hunter creates an emotional storm, adding even more dangerous consequences to The Winds of Deception.

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Tierney can be found:  WEBSITE     TWITTER      FACEBOOK   PINTEREST

Tierney has been in education for over thirty years. She recently stopped teaching World Geography for a nearby college to pursue her writing career. Creating a workshop for beginning writers, speaking at schools and serving as an officer in the writing group Sleuths’ Ink, are some of the work she does when not writing. With the creation of Winds of Deception, Tierney is now working with one of the crew members of USS Liberty in hopes of obtaining the Medal of Honor for him.

Besides serving as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and attending Space Camp for Educators, Tierney has traveled across the world. From the Great Wall of China to floating the Okavango Delta of Botswana, Africa, she ties her unique experiences into other writing projects such as the action thriller novel, An Unlikely Hero, the first in the Enigma Series. Winds of Deception is the second in that series. Living on a Native American reservation and in a mining town for many years fuels the kind of characters she never tires of creating.

Besides teaching and writing, Tierney enjoys family, gardening, reading and music. Other pursuits involve learning Hebrew in hopes of incorporating the knowledge in a future Engima Series. She likes to research and sometimes that has involved learning new skills, such as being certified with various weapons.

She has settled in the beautiful Ozarks, but there’s never a dull moment in Tierney’s life. And that is just the way she likes it.

Navigating High School Dilemmas with Mary Waibel’s THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT #YA #YAROM

Everyone settle down! It’s time for class! You, yes you, with the loud music, turn it down and listen up! Today we have the talented and lovely, Mary Waibel, sharing her YA Novella, THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT. Take it away, Mary!

Romance, High School Style
A Guest Post by Mary Waibel
marywaibel.blogpsot.com

 
 

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Jami! Now let’s talk romance-high school style.

High school is a time of great change. You’re moving from a kid to an almost adult, and experiencing all the responsibilities that go along with the change. School, friends, sports, and family and all vying for your attention.

When I look back at it, I don’t know how I managed to fit studying in between sports practices, band rehearsals, church, and family activities.

And, then there’s the dating scene.

I did all my dating in college, but that didn’t mean I sat home every Friday night. Nope, I’d hang out with my friends and watch movies, or wander the mall, or go roller skating. We had always had a blast, but I remember wondering why I had lots of guy friends but no boyfriend.

For some, like me, catching the eye of the guy/girl you like is the hardest thing imaginable. Not knowing what to wear, what to say, or how to act normal around the one you like can become an all consuming fear. And sometimes well meaning friends make the situation worse than it needs to be.

Not to mention, what if the person you like is a good friend? Is it worth risking friendship for the boyfriend/girlfriend thing?

What’s a girl/guy to do?

Questions like these led to the creation of The Boyfriend Project, the first book in The Boyfriend Novella series. Whether it’s being in love with your best friend, or choosing between two guys, or swapping spots with your twin, these tales of teen love, and all it’s angst and craziness, look on the dating scene with a mix of humor and heartfelt emotions.

Sound like your kind of read? Then give The Boyfriend Project a try.

Samantha Jones’ world revolves around her neighbor, Jordan Kingsley. In fact, her boyfriend broke up with her because of the time she spends with Jordan. Sam longs to move their relationship to boyfriend/girlfriend level but there’s a problem. She’s afraid to ask him out because he’s one of her closest friends.

When her BFF, Emery, suggests using advice from her favorite romance novels, Sam reluctantly agrees. But will she find herself worse off than the heroines of her beloved stories?
Available at:
 
 
Watch for a new novella in the series later this year! 
 
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About the Author:
YA author Mary Waibel’s love for fairytales and happy-ever fill the pages of her works. Whether penning stories in a medieval setting or a modern day school, magic and romance weave their way inside every tale. Strong female characters use both brain and brawn to save the day and win the heart of their men. Mary enjoys connecting with her readers through her website: marywaibel.blogspot.com
 

STARDUST DREAMS spans galaxies for @sbredstone #rom #scifi #newrelease

Today we welcome S.B. Redstone and his latest release, STARDUST DREAMS. Check out his book trailer:

If you’re intrigued, here’s a few more tidbits for you:

Stardust Dreams

STARDUST DREAMS

Lance Forrester is a dreamer. After a celebrated career as an astronaut and engineer, he and a friend built a secret spacecraft to seek their destinies in the stars. But, his friend died. Now that Lance has terminal cancer, he hopes to convince Sage who he hasn’t seen since high school, to join him on his quest to reach an advanced alien civilization and immortality.

Sage Saint Charles lived a wild and notorious life in Hollywood before she descended into obscurity as a social recluse. Sage has regrets, more regrets than a person should have. When her drowsy eyes open, in hospice care, an unfamiliar old man is standing at her bedside.

Stardust Dreams is a love story. This unique tale of hope and faith is so realistic you just might feel you’ve gone along on their madcap adventure into the galaxy. Unfortunately, true life is not a child’s fairy tale. If Lance and Sage are to achieve their happiness , they must first overcome the emotional scars of their pasts. With every turn of the page, you’ll delight in the fascination and mystery of unknown worlds and destinies.

STARDUST DREAMS is available at all these fine retailers, so grab your copy!Amazon-Buy-Buttonbarnes-and-nobleSmashwords Buy Button

BOB

You can find S.B. at these locations:

Website            Twitter       Facebook          LinkedIn           Goodreads           Google+

Barbara Ehrentreu Tackles Teen Issues #YAreads #bodyissues #bullying

Today our guest is YA Author, Barbara Ehrentreu, and she’s tackling a tough subject facing today’s teens. Come join us and check out her books “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” and “After“…

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Jami. As you know, I have two books. One is about a girl who doesn’t feel good about her body. The other is about a girl who has a great deal of confidence in her body and its abilities. In If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Carolyn is worried about being bullied by Jennifer Taylor, a mean girl who has been bothering her all through middle school. Jennifer is an aspiring gymnast and Carolyn finds out Jennifer has a terrible secret that no one at school knows. Her problem becomes should she tell Jennifer’s secret to her best friends, who hate Jennifer, or keep the secret and have Jennifer teach her to tumble so she can be a cheerleader and be popular.

Bullying is a big problem that is finally being addressed in many schools. However, there are so many different types of bullying that is not always possible. Emotional bullying is invisible except to the person who is being bullied, like in Carolyn’s case. Bullying creates a constant worry for the person being bullied. Many students who have been bullied don’t have the guts to tell anyone and they try to deal with it themselves. Some are so stressed they take their own lives. Cyber bullying is even worse and has caused the same results. Carolyn has to deal with this problem in her own way and when it comes to a head for her, she even has to deal with blackmail.

Lauren, the main character of After, has a different problem. She wants to get a scholarship to college by playing softball. She is a pitcher and is a really good player. She has a friend, Joey, who has been her best friend since kindergarten. He is the only one she hangs out with and they both love watching the Mets. Lauren doesn’t have a care in the world, and then her father calls while he is having a heart attack. Her story begins after the phone call and everything changes in a moment. Suddenly, Lauren’s world is rocky and she doesn’t feel like anything is the same. Joey, whose mean girlfriend, Amber has been keeping him away from her, is now there and comforting her. Lauren starts feeling more than friendly toward Joey and she realizes she can have another best friend too. While her father is in the hospital to have bypass surgery, Lauren finds her best friend from elementary school, Jenny, is a big help to her as she tries to cope with her new life and her father in the hospital.

The interesting part about writing each of these books is that they are both based on parts of my own life. My first novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is inspired by own daughter who became bulimic in high school. Like Carolyn, she had issues about her body. So, I separated her into two characters. In After, Lauren is a made up character. She is the boy my husband never had or the girl who loved sports that my husband always wanted. The book was started during National Novel Writers Month and at that time my own husband had gone through a heart attack and bypass surgery. He was in the hospital and my whole life had changed. I originally called it When My Life Changed, but both my editor and I decided to change it to After, since it was after the phone call. Big portions of the dialogue in After are taken directly from my own experience. Many scenes are also from my life.

I find taking scenes from my own life is both a blessing and a curse. In order to do some of these scenes I had to use relatives and as a writer, I can tell you that some don’t like this. When I told my daughter about the fact that she was the main character of my first book she was uneasy about this. The good thing is she didn’t really see herself in the character at first. In After, I had my brother-in-law and niece, so I had to tell them and get their permission before the book was published. Sadly, before the book could be published my husband passed away. I spent more time in hospitals then, and the sad truth is, it helped me even more to set those scenes in After.

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After” is a story about the struggles Lauren Walstein, a fifteen-year-old girl, has to go through when her father suddenly has a heart attack and undergoes bypass surgery. In one phone call her life changes completely. Lauren is a character with whom most teens will relate. Her best friend since kindergarten, Joey, is going out with her enemy and they have grown apart. Before the phone call all she thought about was getting a scholarship for softball, and the Mets. Suddenly she must deal with both her father’s illness and being in school. The demands on her from both ends complicate the story. In the middle of all this, she finds she is developing feelings for her best friend that are more than friendly. Is he feeling the same or is he just comforting her? In addition there is Joey’s mean girl friend Amber, who doesn’t appreciate Lauren being in the picture. Will Lauren’s father recover? How will Lauren cope with her new feelings for Joey?

Excerpt for After:

Chapter One

The phone rang as the ball left the pitcher’s glove and I glanced toward the sound. Mom’s tears made me forget all about the game. My life changed while the TV blurred and turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope. That moment has been indelibly pressed into my thoughts.

My sister, Diane, was upstairs hunched over her computer as usual. She’s not a baseball fan at all. But I lived and breathed for the Mets that fall. They had such a great chance of getting the pennant and maybe even winning the World Series. I obsessed about the Mets, and of course, Joey.

Joey, my best friend from kindergarten, was always there for me. It’s hard to imagine a recess without him by my side. He’s bigger than I am and always looked a little older than he was. Mom liked Joey because he reassured her he would obey her rules. Maybe it was his easy smile or his clear, gray eyes.

Lately, though, Joey and I haven’t been so close. It happened during the summer when he was a counselor at this camp and he hooked up with this girl, Amber, who goes to our school. So now he spends a lot of his time with her and we barely see each other. We used to watch the Mets together all the time, too. So I missed him being there with me, and his comments about the players. But all that was before the phone call. Pre-phone call my deepest thoughts centered on the Mets and finding the sweet spot for the ball in my new baseball glove. Pre-phone call, my world was worrying about homework getting done and wondering what lunch would be like on Monday. Oh, and of course, thinking about how to beat the next team we were up against in softball. I’m a starting pitcher this year and I want to show my coach she can believe in me. I’m only a sophomore, but I hope

someday to play college softball. I need to get a scholarship in order to go. My parents have already told me they can’t swing it without one.

After the phone call my life was a ball of twisted emotions and all I could think about was Dad, and how Mom, Diane, and I would get through this night.

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If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor

ICBLJT Cover

Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn’t help. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain. With Carolyn’s crush on Jennifer’s hunky junior quarterback, Brad her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school. When Jennifer is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?

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Excerpt from If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor

Chapter One

I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair. “You always know just what I like.” He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me. The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark- haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.

The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.

I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school—first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn’t. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.

Barbara at Fairfield Bookstore signing headshot

Barbara at Fairfield Bookstore signing headshot

Barbara Ehrentreu grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Queens. She has lived and taught in Long Island, Buffalo, NY and Westchester, NY as well as a year in Los Angeles, CA. She has a Masters Degree in Reading and Writing K-12. She is a member of PEN Letters and SCBWI. Currently she is retired from teaching and living in Stamford, CT with her family. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor won second prize in Preditors & Editors as Best Young Adult Book for 2011. It was inspired by Paula Danziger for her children’s writing workshop at Manhattanville College. Her second book, After, considers what can happen to a teen when her father becomes ill with a heart attack. It is based on her own experiences when her husband had a heart attack and the aftermath of what she and her family experienced. She is preparing the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Barbara also writes poetry and several of her poems are published in the anthologies, Prompted: An International Collection of Poetry, Beyond the Dark RoomStorm Cycle and Backlit Barbell. She has a blog, Barbara’s Meanderings, and she hosts a radio show on Blog Talk Radio, Red River Radio Tales from the Pages, once a month.

Go On A Thrilling #RAMPAGE with Alan Brenham #crimethriller #thriller #mustread

Today our visitor is the thrilling, Alan Brenham, and he’s brought along his crime novel, RAMPAGE, for us to take a peek at.

Gang members in a dark alley

The stakes soar, both professionally and personally, for Austin PD Detective Jason Scarsdale as he finds himself in a race against time to hunt down a vicious gang hell-bent on murder. 

 Realizing that his new partner, the attractive divorcee Tatum Harper, could be trouble in more ways than one, he tries to run her out of Homicide. Will their partnership destroy his romantic relationship with long-time girlfriend Dani Mueller? Will they both survive the harrowing face-off with the increasingly unhinged gang leader?

Want to see what’s waiting for you between the pages? Check out this excerpt from Alan’s RAMPAGE, where Detective Jason Scarsdale discovers he has no safe haven from those who want him dead:

“It was after ten that night when the Dodge sedan stopped next to the curb. Two shadowy figures eyeballed the single-story home and the blue Toyota SUV parked in the driveway.    

            Light shined through slats in the blinds of an enormous picture window about five feet from the front door. To the right of the door were two side-by-side windows, both lit up.

            “Are you sure this is his house? It looks different at night,” the driver said.

            “Damn right, I’m sure.” The passenger laid the rifle barrel on the edge of the window.

            “So now what?”

            “We wait until the son of a bitch walks in front of that window.” The passenger shifted in the seat to get a clear field of fire right at the window. “Then boom. One dead cop.”

            A silhouette grew larger as it moved closer to the window.

            The barrel of the rifle rose off the edge. “Get ready,” the passenger said, easing the finger inside the trigger guard and onto the trigger.

            “Just make sure you kill him. I’ll worry about the car,” snapped the driver.

            “Come closer, Scarsdale. That’s it. C’mon. A little more.”

            The silhouette bent down out of sight.

            “Dammit,’ the passenger said, raising up to see the entire window.

            The driver looked in the outside rear view mirror then the one over the dash. “We can’t sit here all friggin’ night. Next time, take the damn shot.”

            “Don’t worry about it.”

            “If the cops show up, we’ll have a lot to worry about.”

            The silhouette re-appeared.

            The scope’s crosshairs centered on it.

            “Perfect.”

Intrigued, aren’t you? Good. Now you can run out and pick up your copy and indulge in some heart pounding cardio from your chair.

Pick up RAMPAGE by Alan Brenham at these fine bookseller locations:

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Author website: http://www.alanbrenham.comphoto7

Alan Brenham is the pseudonym of Alan Behr, an American author and attorney. He served as a law enforcement officer before earning a law degree from Baylor University and worked as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.

He authored three crime novels – Price of Justice, Cornered, and Rampage.  He is presently working on two more fiction books. Alan and his wife live in the Austin, Texas area.

 

 

Mix a little murder with your romance with @msspencerauthor #mystery #romance

Welcome back my lovely visitors, today we have the talented M.S. Spencer carving out some precious time with us, as she shares her mystery romance, THE PENHALLOW TRAIN INCIDENT, now available from Sweet Cravings Publishing.

man woman bickering

The Penhallow Train Incident, my new mystery romance, is set on the coast of Maine in the fictional town of Penhallow. Midcoast Maine sits right about where the state begins to change from heading due north to “down East.” The land is quite different from the southern beaches or the North Woods. Fronting Penobscot Bay, it is a region of lakes, farms, small villages, and lobstermen. Most people have lived there for generations, and refer to anyone who moves to Maine from elsewhere as “from away.” Our heroine Rachel Tinker and her hero Griffin Tate are both from away, but when a series of murders roils their adopted town, they spring into action.

Although they’ve been bickering like grumpy old farts for years, Griffin and Rachel are secretly attracted to each other. In this excerpt they discover the truth.

ThePenhallowTrainIncident_LRGThe Penhallow Train Incident

In the sleepy coastal Maine town of Penhallow, a stranger dies on a train, drawing Rachel Tinker, director of the Penhallow Historical Society, and Griffin Tate, curmudgeonly retired professor, into a spider’s web of archaeological obsession and greed. The victim’s rival confesses that they were both after a map to the Queen of Sheba’s tomb, and with his help they set out to find it. Their plans are stymied, however, when a tug of war erupts between the sheriff and a state police detective who want to arrest the same man—one for murder and one for bank robbery. It falls to Rachel to solve both crimesand two more murders, if she is to unlock the soft heart that beats under Griffin’s hard crust.

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EXCERPT: The First Time

Rachel tried not to scream. She took a big gulp of air and let the words rush out on the exhale. “It’s the woman. The woman with the deposit slip. She’s dead.”

“I’m coming over.” She heard a click and a buzz.

Fifteen minutes later the screen door slammed and Griffin stalked in without bothering to knock. He went straight to the kitchen, filled two glasses with ice and poured whiskey into both. Carrying them to the living room, he handed one to Rachel without a word. Without a word, she took the remnants of her old drink and poured them into the new one. She set it down. For a second she stared at it, then reached out to pick it up again, but Griffin gently moved the glass away and took her in his arms.

She’d thought she was fine until then.

The tears flowed and she hiccupped and gurgled about life and death while he muttered unintelligible words into her hair. When what had been a mild need for a tissue grew too urgent to ignore, she left his shoulder. A couple of wipes and a swig of bourbon and she could look Griffin in the eye. He dabbed ineffectually at his soaked shirt with a dirty handkerchief. “Better?”

“Yes, thanks. It’s just…I feel so responsible.

His eyebrows rose. “Responsible? Why?”

“She came to me. She gave the purse to me. She wanted me to help her. And for that she was murdered.”

“We don’t know anything of the sort. What did they say on the news?”

“Only that her body was found in the Passagassawaukeag.”

“She could have fallen in. She could have committed suicide. From what you told me she was very upset.”

Rachel recalled the young woman’s face. “Not upset. Frightened.”

“But not of the man she was with?”

“N…no. I don’t know how to describe it. She seemed…hunted. But determined.” She took another sip of bourbon and settled back on the cushion. So what if Griffin’s arm happens to be resting on the back?. “Griffin,” she turned to find his face inches from hers, “we’ve got to find out who she—they—were. And what she was afraid of.”

He gazed into her eyes, his own inscrutable, then faced the television. “No. You have to let the police handle it.”

Rachel, who had forgotten what they were talking about in the overwhelming desire to kiss the man next to her, couldn’t think of anything to say.

Finally, he mumbled, “Turn it up—it looks like they’re talking about her.”

She did as she was told.

….

The camera trained on a reporter. Short and stumpy, he tugged at his wrinkled polo before attempting to smooth his waning hair. “That was Sheriff Quimby of the Penhallow police, Andrew. It looks like we won’t get any more information tonight, but he’s scheduled a press conference for tomorrow at noon.”

“Is he going to discuss the first murder—the train incident, Lou?”

“Hopefully, although he didn’t mention it tonight.”

“Did anyone ask if the two deaths are related?”

“The sheriff only said that, so far, there’s no indication of either foul play, or of a connection between the two deaths.”

The anchor turned to his partner. “So, Bambi—”

Griffin jerked upright. “Bambi?”

“—are we looking at a rash of thrill crimes down there in the hitherto bucolic town of Penhallow?”

Bambi shook out her hair and touched her ruby lips before facing the camera. “I certainly hope not, Andrew. My grammy lives in Penhallow.”

Andrew stared at her for a long moment before turning to the camera. “Thank you, Lou. Keep us posted.”

Rachel muted the volume. “What should I do?”

Griffin patted her shoulder. “There’s nothing we can do tonight. Toby knows about your encounter with the woman, right?”

“Yes.”

“So he’ll probably want to see you tomorrow.”

“Maybe. I wish we could have found something on the bank. It’s very frustrating.”

….

Her companion bent forward and pinched her chin between his thumb and forefinger. “There’s…nothing…we…can…do…tonight.”

“Nothing?”

For answer he let go of her face, drew her into his arms and kissed her. The kiss was tentative. She kissed him back, tentatively. “I…”

“Shut up.” This time they didn’t come up for air for a while. When they did, they stared at each other as if seeing one another for the first time. He said, “I…uh…didn’t mean to do that. I…”

She rose. “Oh, I see.” She picked up Spot and nuzzled him, hoping Griffin couldn’t see her tears well up. “I guess you’d better go then.”

He stood. “Okay. But…um, actually…what I meant to say is…I’ve been meaning to do that for a while. But I wasn’t sure… I didn’t know…I didn’t think…” He trailed off.

The bewildered look in his cerulean eyes as he shifted his weight from foot to foot reminded her of a kindly giant bobbling a baby bunny. She went up on tiptoe and touched her lips to his cheek.

The response was immediate. Griffin swept her up off the floor and charged through the kitchen door. Confronted with the refrigerator, he stopped, turned, and plunged in the opposite direction. Ending up where they’d started, he bellowed, “Where the hell’s your bedroom?”

She pointed at the ceiling. “Upstairs.”

Without another word he leapt up the steps, only banging her head once on the banisters, and dropped her on the bed. Then he stood, legs set wide like a latter-day Paul Bunyan, and folded his arms.

She lay where he’d dropped her, panting. “Now what?”

“You tell me.”

Oh for heaven’s sake. “Come here, you great gob of indecision.”

Those seemed to be the words he was looking for, since for the rest of the evening he proved to her just how decisive he could be.

BUY LINKS:

Sweet Cravings      Amazon         B&N         Kobo       ARe       Scribd      Inktera      Bookstrand    Versent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

CONTACTS:
Blog         Facebook       Twitter       GoodReads         Pinterest       About.me       Tsu.co      Linked In

AUTHOR PAGES:

Secret Cravings Publishing           Romance Books 4 Us            Amazon Author Page

OTHER BOOKS BY M. S. SPENCER 

Romantic suspense and mystery, they are available in ebook and print from Secret Cravings Publishing and all fine on-line book stores. For more information, visit http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html:

Whirlwind Romance

The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)

Lapses of Memory

Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance)

Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders (an Old Town Romance)

Triptych

Losers Keepers

Talking Romance and Animal Rescues with @lisaricardclaro #romance #animalrescue #newrelease

Welcome one and all, today our guest is the marvelous Lisa Ricard Claro.

Lisa Ricard Claro pic 2

She is an award-winning author and Pushcart prize nominee, with articles and stories spanning multiple media. She resides in Georgia, but dreams of living at the beach. Lisa’s novel, Love Built to Last, is the first book in the Fireflies series. Watch for book 2, Love to Believe, in the fall of 2015, and book 3, Love to Win, in early 2016, all from Black Opal Books.

Without further ado, I turn the campfire over to Lisa!

Romance & Rescues

First, a big thanks to Jami for inviting me to guest post here on her blog. I’m excited to be here!

As a guest, I like to keep my post within the scope of interest of my blog host, and at first blush, I thought that might be tough to do here since I write contemporary romance, not fantasy/paranormal. But, then I realized that Jami and I have something major in common besides our love of the written word: our dogs!

As a reader of Jami’s blog, you’re aware of the recent additions to her abode. But take a look at a pic of Jami’s fur monsters (top) compared to mine (bottom). Mine are like the older version of hers:

Lola and Angelphoto (26)

(Holy moly, Lisa, they are twinsFUR DOPPLEGANGERS unite!)

Yep, my furry kids are going gray, rather like their mistress, though, thanks to L’Oreal 6G you’ll never know it until you catch me in my skunk stripe phase prior to coloring the roots. I try to ensure this doesn’t happen, but some things are just a fact of life—like our true colors revealing themselves in spite of our effort to cover them up.

My true colors, gray roots aside, include a heart for animal rescue. But after being told by an editor that no publisher would allow me to include a rescued pet in every story, I dumped virtual hair dye over the notion and set my passion for rescues aside. You can guess how that turned out, right? Those rescue-roots grew out and I’d cover them up again. Except you know what? Embracing them turned out to be a better bet. Here’s why:

Unlike gray hair, our passions originate in our heart, not our head. And in our heart is where our true colors reside.

I tasked myself with allowing my passion for animal rescue to take its natural course within my novels despite what I had been told. The result was a three book publishing contract, with rescued pets in every book. No, my novels aren’t about animal rescue. They are contemporary romance novels where a rescued pet might play a major role in the plot, as does the three-legged mutt, Pirate, in the first book in the Fireflies series, Love Built to Last, (just released June 20th), or a minor role, like the 90-pound Lab, Belle, in book 2, Love to Believe, (to be released fall 2015), or even a bit part, as with the noisy cat, Pavarotti, in book three, Love to Win (watch for it in early 2016).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00067]

I can’t speak for other authors, but for myself, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that through my work I’m letting my true colors shine through. I love sharing my passion for both Romance and Rescues. And honestly, as a reader, isn’t that what you want from a book? To feel the passion in the pages? Even when it is subtly rendered. (I’m subtle with the Rescue component, not so subtle with the Romance.)

True passion for Romance and Rescues. You’ll find both in my books.

And a skunk stripe on my head every 4-5 weeks. But let’s not talk about that.

(With my white streak in red, we could almost pull off of a punk band!)

Please leave a comment and tell me about your passion. What fires burn in your heart? What true colors do you have that will always shine through?

Thanks for hanging with me –

Lisa

Want to contact Lisa? You’ll find her hanging at any of the following:

Website: www.LisaRicardClaro.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lisaricardclaroauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/lisaricardclaro

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/lisaricardclaro

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Ricard-Claro/e/B00MUYB8IW

E-mail: lisa@lisaricardclaro.com

Check out MY BEST FRIEND’S EX coming from @AuthorTinaGayle #romance #controm #newrelease

Today we welcome Tina Gayle and her upcoming release, MY BEST FRIEND’S EX. Check out the excerpt, then go get your pre-order on!

Blurb for My Best Friend’s Ex-husband
She loved him first, but her best friend married him. Now, divorced Brooke must choose between her best friend and the man of her dreams.
Brooke Janson has loved Garrett Sawyer since she met him on her first day of high school. Now, he’s free to love her too.  Except, his ex-wife happens to be her best friend.
How can Brooke choose between a friend she’s known since kindergarten and the man her heart wants?
Excerpt:
“Hello, Brooke.”
Ignoring the sudden butterflies in her stomach, she waved a casual hand. “Hi, Garrett. It’s been awhile.”
 “I believe it was just before Janet moved out, almost a year.”
“Janet told me about the divorce. I debated whether to call, but, well…I didn’t know what to say.” To cover her awkwardness, Brooke allowed the words to flow from her mouth as if she had vocal diarrhea. “I always considered you, my friend, too. We had such fun together.  I wanted to see if I could do anything for you, but I…”
Embarrassed by her rambling, she stared at the stuff in her cart; lettuce, fruit, protein bars, each one good for her.
Man, I need to pick up a box of cookies.
Forcing back the urge to binge on any tasty treat available, she recalled how his face lit up when he was excited, his deep belly laughter, and his willingness to listen when she had a problem.
Damn it, she didn’t blame him for the breakup. Well, maybe for not listening to her warning. She had told him that her friend had a natural tendency to throw responsibility to the wind. Still, Brook hadn’t wanted to take sides. Because it was incredibly hard to choose between two people she cared about, one a friend since kindergarten and the other the man of her dreams. Guilt sparked inside her.
Why? Did she still want more than just to be his friend? Was this her chance? 
“Don’t worry, I’m over it now. I bought a house, which requires most of my time. I spent last weekend putting in a new hot-water heater. The old one leaked.” Garrett brushed a hand through his dark, curly hair. The silky strands fell back into place without distracting from the perfect picture he represented.
Sexy, hot, and totally off limits.
Available for pre-order at amazon – Release Date June 16 #Free on KU
Bio:
Tina Gayle grew up a dreamer and loved to escape into the world of books.After years of working in the business world doing a variety of jobs, she decided to try her hand at writing and hope to incorporate the joy of being a mother into her books.
Currently working on a series about four executive wives, she is excited about combining elements of women fiction with the passion of romance. The  first  three books, “Marketing Exec’s Widow”, “IT Exec’s Baby” and now “CFO’s Affair” have all been released. The last one will be out next year.Married twenty-five years, she and her husband love to travel and play golf.  She can’t wait for Mike to retire so they can do more of both.
Read the first chapter of any of her books by visiting her website.

Find Tina Gayle everywhere

Home – www.tinagayle.net

Blog – www.tinagayle.blogspot.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorTinaGayle

Goodread – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1641826.Tina_Gayle

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/tina.gayle

Google + – https://plus.google.com

Linkin – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tina-gayle/11/689/759

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/AuthorTinaGayle/