Friday, May 22, 2015

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Romantic Road by Blair McDowell

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Romantic Road by Blair McDowell.  Please leave a comment or question for Blair to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway, for a $15 Amazon/B&N GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the stops on Blair’s tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  Please check back this weekend for my review of Romantic Road

What is the Appeal of Romantic Suspense? By Blair McDowell

Romance has the largest market of all books published in English in the United States.  And of all books classified as “Romance” the most popular are Historical and Suspense. This is an indisputable fact.

That being so, why is it? What makes Romantic Suspense so appealing to readers?

Generally speaking, the plot of any romance novel is about a man, a woman, (or any combination of romantic partners) and a problem or problems they must resolve before they can live happily ever after.

Romantic suspense takes that basic recipe and adds one important element to it—danger. All pervasive, life threatening danger.

The source of this danger may be unclear to the characters and thus to the reader, until late in the book. There may be ambiguity as to who the villain is, or even why the hero and heroine are in trouble or are being threatened and/or pursued. Chills and thrills are what make a good romantic suspense.

A fan of my books recently said to me after reading Romantic Road, “I kept thinking I was at the climax of the book and then something else happened!”

I was delighted. That’s what we aim for in Romantic Suspense, cliff-hanging chapter endings, unexpected plot twists, characters who are not always as they seem, and above all, pacing -- fast, spinning-out-of-control pacing.

And yet, the relationship between the two central characters must grow and develop in a credible way through-out the rollercoaster ride of Romantic Suspense. The “romance” in Romantic Suspense is just as important as the “suspense”. This is not easy from a writer’s perspective. How do we make time for love in the midst of chase scenes and abductions and car explosions and other such adventures? It isn’t enough to have the two simply fall into each other’s’ arms as the curtain falls. A love story has somehow to be woven into the fabric of the story, as the two race across continents, evade villains, and save whatever it is they’re trying to save.

Another aspect to consider when writing Romantic Suspense is research. While research is important when writing in any genre, it brings a set of highly specific problems when writing suspense. What is police procedure, in France or Italy or Germany? How do paramedics behave when they first enter an accident scene in Amsterdam? What’s the weather like in Rothenberg in October? Where is the hospital on the Greek island of Crete?

Research is vital to writing any novel, but it is of particular importance when writing romantic suspense. It all goes to the point of believability, or more accurately, to the suspension of disbelief in the reader. Thorough research makes this easier to achieve.

I’m a great believer in on-site research. Google may be great, but when I set my book in Salzburg, I’ve been to Salzburg. When I describe a hotel on the Romantische Strasse, I’ve stayed there, and when I describe the taste of apple fritters in Germany, I’ve eaten them. And, yes, I’ve been in the hospital on Crete, although I don’t necessarily recommend going to that extreme!

The point is, all my stories are set in places I know and love. I think this gives them a certain credibility they might not otherwise have.

I love writing romantic suspense. I love the mental gymnastics of plot construction and the fun of it when a new possibility suddenly occurs to me as I’m writing.  

In all, romantic suspense is my favorite genre in which either to read or to write. 
Romantic Road
By Blair McDowell

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: January 23, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 290 Pages
ISBN:  978-1628307276

Buy Links:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | B-A-M | All Romance | Publisher


About the book:

When Lacy Telchev buries her husband she finds herself in treacherous waters. Igor, much older than Lacy, had secrets. Suddenly Lacy is being chased across Europe by men who believe she can lead them to those secrets. Evading her pursuers with the aid of a chance acquaintance, the handsome and mysterious Max Petersen, Lacy travels across Germany, Austria and Hungary, to a shattering discovery in Budapest.

Along the way, she meets three women from Igor's past. As Igor's story unfolds through them, Lacy is less and less certain who her husband really was. Who can Lacy trust? Will she survive to find out?


They were leaving the hotel when Lacy grabbed Max’s arm. “Stop!”

“What’s wrong?”

“There’s a man waiting at the station.”

Max looked at him. “The one in the raincoat?” “He’s one of the men who threatened me back in the Berkshires that night. And then again in Wurzburg.”

“Are you sure?”

“What’s he doing here?” Lacy’s voice rose on a note of hysteria. “How did they find me? Why are they doing this to me?”

As Max studied him, the man was joined by his partner.

“You’re with me, Lacy. I won’t let anything bad happen to you. You must believe me. These people have no authority here. Now, let’s just go take the train down the mountain. We’ll lose them when we get off, I promise you.”

“Didn’t you say it was possible to hike down?” “Yes, but…”

“Please, Max. I don’t want to be anywhere near them. I don’t want them to see me.”

 AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and has never ceased writing since, although only recently has she been able to return to her first love, writing fiction.  During her early years, she taught in universities in the United States, Canada and Australia, and wrote several highly successful books in her field.

Her research has taken her to many interesting places.  She has lived in Europe, Australia, the United States and the Caribbean and Canada, and spent considerable time in still other places, Iceland, the Far East, and the Torres Strait Islands off the coast of New Guinea. Now she travels for pleasure. Portugal, Greece and Italy are favorite haunts.

Her books are set in places she knows and loves and are peopled with characters drawn from her experiences of those places.  The Memory of Roses takes readers to the Greek Island of Corfu, where a young woman finds her future while searching for her father's past.  In Delighting in Your Company, the reader is transported to a small island in the Caribbean, with a heroine who finds herself in the unenviable position of falling in love with a ghost.  The setting for Sonata is the city of Vancouver, with its vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life, and the heroine is a musician who finds herself in unexpected danger.

In her most recent release, Romantic Road, Lacy Telchev, is pursued along Germany’s famous Romantische Strausse as she follows clues left by her late husband in order to solve a mystery that she doesn’t understand, while being chased by dangerous and cunning adversaries.

She hopes her readers will enjoy reading these books as much as she enjoyed writing them.

Blair is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America (Greater Vancouver Chapter),  the Romance Writers of America (Women's Fiction), and The Writers’ Union of Canada.

Contact, Website, etc.

Visit me at  Twitter:
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for The Bleikovat Event by Hawk MacKinney

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for The Bleikovat Event – The Cairns of Sainctuarie by Hawk MacKinney.  Please leave a comment or question for Hawk to let him know you stopped by.  You can enter his tour wide giveaway, for a $25 Amazon/B&N GC, by filling out the rafflecopter form below.  You can follow all of the stops on Hawk’s tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 

The Cairns of Sainctuarie
by Hawk MacKinney
The Bleikovat Event, Volume 1

Publisher:  Sage Words Publishing
Release Date:  November 11, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction/Military
Length:  246 Pages
Format: Print/eBook
ISBN:  978-0985918521

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the book:  

Among the close-kin clans of western rural Malfesian Murians, farming and gelf ranches are long held traditions.  Times are good…full barns, fat gelf calves and large families thrive among the sprawling grain fields and hamlets and the river from which they derive their name—the Feldon.  Word comes with the trade caravans that times are not so good in the regions far to the east of the Feldon River:  tumultuous changes stir among the remote province of Bleikovia.  Old timer Feldovats shrug it off as one more squabble between clans over boundaries or water rights…too distant to affect the Feldovats.

The western clans learn too late, however, it is no local squabble.  Outnumbered and unprepared, Feldovats resist a hoard bent on plunder and conquest.  Days of battle along the Feldon River stain the riverbanks in green Murian blood.  In the finals days of exhausted fighting, Judikar Klarvko Celo, leader of the Clan Klarvkon and the Feldovats, is fatally stabbed with the slow-acting sevon poison.  The Judikar’s consort, Etikaa Klarvkaa, becomes Regentkaa, and with Celovat Field Commander Korvo Celo serving as her advisor, she leads the demoralized Feldovat survivors on a gruesome ill-prepared winter trek through high mountain passes of ice and blizzard snow in an attempt to elude the Green Dragon forces of the Bleikovats.

Etkaa’s only son, Klarvko Celo II, helps spirit Feldovat young across a remote mountain exodus to the west toward Eedov Province. The battered, starving Feldovats reach the Malfesian coast at Eedov City only to be confronted with their implacable enemy determined to destroy the remaining Klarvkon rabble.  Taking passage on crowded lumbering Maalonovion freighters, Feldovats and Malfesian refugees set sail.  On arrival in Maalon City they are welcomed among their Maalon hosts, and settle into a new life.

But famine and a pandemic pestilence stir old hates and nurse former ambitions.  The enraged Overseers of Bleikovia move against the Klarvkons, this time bringing bloodshed to Maalonovia.  The exiles from the Feldon must fight once again, but starvation and plague across the Planete Myr make it a different war from the battles along the Feldon…a na’ä blikovat…the Bleikovvat Phenomenon…an event with unexpected consequences and outcomes none could have foreseen.

Before the vendetta killing is exhausted, the Regentkaa Klarvkaa and her son are swept onto the Maalon throne, setting the Klarvkon Dynasty and the Murians toward an intergalactic golden age, and a star-flung destiny the once-agrarian Feldovats could never have envisaged.

There had been warnings; far from the Feldon River, across the flat prairies and far-flung farming settlements, in the grain fields and remote gelf ranches of the far-west reaches of Feldon provinces. Most dismissed them, “…idle gossip from those with too little to do.”

The onslaught struck late and faraway during the last harvesting moons of the growing season, and once again unsettled whispers passed. Among the markets and along trade routes far from the fields and farms of the Feldovat fiefdoms the word spread.

That was before dispatch riders and message runners on ponderous muscled claks brought more disturbing news: Heavy raids and ambushes all along the hinterlands this side of the Bleikov-Bormeikovat frontiers.

One grizzled Murian farmer’s slit-pupils narrowed to thin slivers. Gently tightened the reins, hooked to the plough. The lumbering gelf plodded to a stop. He laid the planed-wood handles of the plough sidewise onto the fresh furrow. Without moving from the trenched rows the gelf reached its thick neck to nibble the green tufts around its feet. The weathered work-aged farmer carefully slipped the reins off his shoulder. Fingered the split creeping along one sweat-stained handle, muttered, “…get this to the woodworker before spring ploughing times. Get it braced before I have to barter for a new plough handle.” Pulled off his wide-brim woven hat; wiped his forehead. Uncorked his gelf-leather water pouch; took long slow swallows. Spit a bitter-chewed slurry of brown chakklu; scowled,"…ill-tempered uplander Bleikovats." After another long swallow he re-plugged the pouch. Bit off another twist of dried chakklu.

Coming up the next furrow behind him, his nephew pulled the harrow to a stop across from his uncle. Kicked loose a couple of big weeded clods wedged under the harrow frame and brushed dirt off the mottled green scab on the back of his hand he had cut yestermorn while sharpening the plough. Reached for his water bag. "Bleikovats are sure stirring a big fuss.” Put down his water bag to help stack the shocks; hefted another bound sheaf.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.

Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention. 

Walking the Pet is Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series. The first book in another mystery-thriller series is scheduled for release in 2015. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012. Its sequel, The Missing Planets, has just been released.


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Virtual Book Tour for Loss Angeles by Mathieu Cailler

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour, presented by Pump Up Your Book, for Loss Angeles by Mathieu Cailler.  Please leave a comment or question for Mathieu to let him know you stopped by.  You can follow all of the stops on Mathieu’s tour by clicking on the banner above.

Loss Angeles
by Mathieu Cailler

Publisher: Short Story America Press
Release Date:  March 15, 2015
Genre: Short Stories
Length:  217 Pages
Format: Hardcover

About the book: 

Set in the glamorous city of Los Angeles, California, LOSS ANGELES skips the shine and celebrity the city is known for and instead dives deeply into the lives of ordinary Angelenos. In each of the fifteen stories in this collection, author Mathieu Cailler examines the private lives of a diverse mix of characters. This collection of stories showcases the rawness of real life, the complexity of navigating personal challenges and internal conflicts, and the ever present possibility of encountering unexpected compassion and empathy.

The stories in LOSS ANGELES uncover the reality that the interiors of people’s lives often have huge holes in them. In the collection, a quiet divorced man, who is still deeply in love with his ex-wife, finally speaks up when his son’s soon-to-be stepfather becomes enraged over a broken birthday gift. A young man visiting his parents for the first time in nine years delays his presence at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner to see an old friend who was influential in his early life. Cailler also goes beyond loss and grief to reveal hidden human kindness in the stories of a widower, who steps out of his melancholy to save the life of a stranger, and an aging bachelor, who becomes a father figure for a wayward young woman.\

In “Over the Bridge,” Ella is a teenager learning to manage her grief over the death of her mother and the new life she and her seven-year-old brother have with their father, with whom the children have not lived with since their parents’ divorce. While Ella is receiving weekly counseling at school, she continues to struggle with the changes in her life. When the counselor instructs Ella to write a letter to her father explaining the uncertainty and distance she feels in regard to her relationship with him, Ella complies and writes with the type of honesty that one allows when there is no plan to share what is written. But when Ella finds herself in a frightening situation with a boy at a party after consuming drugs and alcohol, the letter becomes the catalyst for a change in perspective for her father.

“Hit and Stay” is the story of a young married man making the long drive home from an out-of-town business trip. Penn is troubled as he drives his SUV through back roads to avoid the highway traffic. The quiet drive in the warm cocoon of the truck affords Penn the opportunity to reflect on the one-night stand he had with a new employee. As he contemplates how or if he will confess his mistake to his wife, Kimberly, Penn reviews his life with the woman he was once passionately in love with who has grown distant since the death of her mother. During the drive, Penn has an unfortunate accident that breaks the delicate hold he has on his volatile emotional state.

The conflict between familial violence and love is the foundation of “Dark Timber.” Clevie and his older brother, Roy, reluctantly accompany their father on a hunting expedition. Their father, an alcoholic recently released from prison after serving time for beating the boys’ mother, is determined to teach his sons how to hunt for their own food.

The relationship between father and sons is strained. Roy has personal experience with his father’s violent temper, but young Clevie remains hopeful that life with their father will improve. Neither boy is interested in hunting. Clevie is the most reluctant to fire on innocent animals. However, when their father comes face-to-face with a menacing predator, both boys instinctively respond to his pleas for help.

“LOSS ANGELES is a throwback to eclectic short story collections of past years and is only bound by the theme of loss in a very general sense,” Cailler says. “The stories are by turns fragile, tender, and always memorable. The characters in this book are as diverse as the city itself… they all have a story to share, and it was my job to do just that. I don’t believe in being predestined while writing; therefore, some of the stories end with a bit of hope while others reach their coda in a disconcerting fashion.”

Exposing emotions was Cailler’s focus when writing the collection. “I want the reader to relate to the feelings and sentiments expressed in the book. I think loss is the greatest bond we possess as humans, and there isn’t a single person around who hasn’t experienced it. We’ve all lost something dear to us, something profound,” the author says. “I think if a reader comes away from LOSS ANGELES feeling more connected to others and/or him or herself, I’ll have done my job. Whenever I write, I think of Plato’s words: ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.’ That’s something that I hope will resonate with the reader.”

For More Information

Penn continued to drive through the night. Snow and gales of wind assailed his SUV as he barreled towards home, his foot steady on the gas, his hands positioned firmly at ten and two. Heat billowed from the vents on the dashboard and moved loose strands of hair on his face. He didn’t want to replay the scenario—the quiet L.A. hotel room, the closed drapes, the underwear on the floor, the moaning, the taste of her lips—but the SUV’s quiet cabin was a hotbed for reflection.

His headlights brushed a green highway sign, indicating that there were eighty-nine miles left on his journey home to Lake Tahoe. With the winter weather, it might take Penn more than two hours, but that was all right. How would he look at Kimberly after what he’d done?

“Don’t marry young,” people had told him a few years ago when he’d passed around the idea of proposing. “You haven’t tested the waters.” Cliché after cliché came at him, and while the marriage advice was stale and up there with “enjoy each day like it’s your last” and “don’t let anyone tell you something’s impossible,” it wasn’t amiss.

Becky had been with the company for a couple months now; there’d been some mild flirting, but Penn just thought that was the way she was, and he flirted back from time to time, knowing that it was just a game. Becky saw the wedding band on his finger; she could put two and two together.

But on this recent trip, Penn and Becky had found themselves at the hotel bar, overlooking the glimmering L.A skyline. There was a meeting early in the morning, and most of the company’s employees had gone to bed. She approached Penn and slid onto the chair next to his. They drank, and their eyes held one another in the empty bar. The piano man played his versions of “So What” and “Stardust,” songs that made people more attractive and made conversations more interesting. The right strap of Becky’s blue dress kept slipping off her freckled shoulder, and she left her smooth skin exposed longer than normal before bringing the strap back up. Her breasts were pressed up and together, and when she crossed her legs, one of her black heels dangled a few inches from her foot, making it seem as though she was already undressing. Penn remembered the way she reached over and touched his right hand.

The worst part was that Penn had only slept with Becky because of the confidence Kimberly had given him. Many times she’d reaffirmed his self-esteem, telling him he was worthy of love, that he was better-looking than he imagined, and that he deserved the best.

Penn believed the burden would be lightened if he told Kimberly, but at the same time, he thought the words might destroy her, and that’s not what he wanted. It’d taken cheating for him to know how much he loved her, but who would believe a line like that?

The tapping of a snare drum leaked out from the speakers, accompanied by the beat of an upright bass and the trill of a clarinet. He lowered the window and let the cold air flow into the sweltering cabin.

Was there a perfect scenario? Penn thought. He let his mind wander. When he got home maybe Kimberly would be crying.

What’s wrong? Penn would say.

I did something terrible, Kimberly would answer.

Kimberly would go on to tell Penn that she’d slept with someone else, that she was sorry, and that it didn’t mean anything. After that, he’d say the same thing. Two wrongs, one right. But even thinking about her sleeping with someone else made him sick. That wasn’t at all what he wanted.

High school sweethearts turned lovers turned husband and wife turned roommates—that’s what they were. Penn found it more and more difficult to make her laugh. Where there’d been kisses, there were now smiles. Where there’d been heat, there was now platitude. Where there’d been love, there was now familiarity.

 About the Author

Mathieu Cailler is a writer of prose and poetry. His work has been widely published in national and international literary journals. Before becoming a full-time writer, Cailler was an elementary school teacher in inner-city Los Angeles. “I came to writing in a rather circuitous way. I always penned jokes for stand-up comedy appearances but later realized it wasn’t just comedy that applealed to me, but all writing.” A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, Cailler was awarded the Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction and a Shakespeare Award for Poetry. His chapbook, Clotheslines, was recently published by Red Bird Press. LOSS ANGELES is Cailler’s first full-length book.

For More Information
Connect with Mathieu on Facebook and Twitter.
Find out more about Mathieu at Goodreads.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Permanent Spring Showers by Scott D. Southard

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Permanent Spring Showers by Scott D. Southard.   Please leave a comment or question for Scott to let him know you stopped by.  You can enter his tour wide giveaway, for a 10 Amazon/B&N GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of his tour by clicking on the tour banner above, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.

Artists, Sex, and Inspiration: The Importance of Passion in Permanent Spring Showers by Scott D. Southard

Vince is a charismatic young painter. He can lose days lost in inspiration. His hands are usually covered in paint or clay, and his clothes may be stained with work and sweat. And yet, even then he still looks good, because of the charisma and passion and inspiration propelling him forward. Vince has an energy most of us can only dream of.

Vince lives each day to the fullest. Carpe diem has nothing on Vince. Life is almost as much a work of art as the creations that drive him. A day with Vince is a day lost in ideas, theories, deep conversations, and art. It could almost be considered a mini-vacation from the stress of everyday life.

Vince is sexy, with his intense eyes and unwavering convection on everything. Many women in the new novel Permanent Spring Showers are fascinated with him (as well as one of the men). Some act on it, some regret that they acted on it, and others won’t even admit to dreaming about him. Still it is there.

For Vince, sex and love is a tool. It is another device in his toolbox to bring out the inspiration in his own work. As Vince says to one woman obsessed with him (Viv) in the book:

“I’m unpredictable, I shout, I expect things at all hours. You can forget about respect, nothing will be equal, I’ll order you around. I’m like a baby that has to be monitored. I’ll have no courtesy for anything you may want or need. And when I’m done with you—and mark my words someday I will be done—it will be like you no longer exist for me. I will throw you out, and it could happen anywhere, in front of anyone. I will treat you, oh, so bad, Viv.”

That is Vince and he is trouble.

(Oh, and did I mention he is pretending to be British? Because he is.)


Romance is never clean. 

While books and movies may like to present everything as a yes/no situation, in real life it is more like a scale, and no one is ever on the same spot on it.

When I decided to create the novel Permanent Spring Showers I wanted to deal with this reality, giving as many different aspects of relationships as I could through my cast. And all of the extremes are there from a marriage of convenience to a character so blind in love that he would change his personality for his obsession. That last character is named Marty and his love life is falling apart. His girlfriend is Viv, the very one that Vince talked to in the above quote.

Yes, love in Permanent Spring Showers (like in the real world) is never clean.


Permanent Spring Showers begins with an affair. Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson’s husband admitted to having an affair… and it was with one of her own college students.

Blame it on a desire for revenge (or way too much alcohol), she then has had one of her own. Unfortunately for her, her affair was with Vince, one of the great upcoming painters of his generation. The ramifications of that one torrid evening will not only be felt across her life but over the entire art world, because that night will inspire one of the greatest works of contemporary art. The novel follows three months in the lives of everyone associated with that painting.

This is a novel with lies and betrayals and surprises. One of the things I adore about the book is that one character may say something and it might mean something different to everyone else in the same room. That is Permanent Spring Showers.


Vince is not the only artist in the novel. There is also a struggling author (Jenn); she is in the process of creating her own literary genre, which works out of outright manipulation. She has no problem playing with a person’s emotions, as long as it helps her story.

While I would hate for anyone to think that I am judging or saying something about all artists in the characters of Vince and Jenn, I am saying something about passion. And passion—be it in love or in lust or in art—can drive us to some drastic decisions. It can make an artist (like Vince with his paintings) or it can break one. Of course, to see how all that turns out you will need to check out the book.

I hope you enjoy Permanent Spring Showers.

Permanent Spring Showers
By Scott D. Southard

Publisher:  5 Prince Publishing and Books, LLC
Release date:  February 4, 2015
Genre:  Romantic Comedy
Length:  472 Pages
ISBN:  978-1631120817

About the book:

Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson is having a very bad season.  The ramifications of one torrid evening with one of the great upcoming painters of his generation, will not only be felt across her life but over the entire art world.

Sexy, funny, and very surprising, Permanent Spring Showers is the tale of one very memorable springtime and how it impacts a group of unique artists and dreamers.

From the the hopeful Olympian with the failing marriage to the writer who is creating a new literary movement (through outright manipulation) to the romantic wondering what he did wrong to drive away the love of his life, each tale walks the line between reality and fantasy. And waiting at the end of the line is a very important painting... and possibly the revolver used in the Lincoln Assassination.


Yes, for the first time Marty was embarrassed that she was his sibling; a weird change he had to take note of. “But we all agreed with the story, Mary. You were the only one, the only one. The Benedict Arnold.”

Mary shrugged her shoulders, not hurt at all by the pronouncement. “You know I was right to do it.”
“No, you weren’t right.” Marty quickly walked over to stand in front of her, the size of Gordon almost blocking Marty’s view now of the cottage. “We all agreed. You nodded your head too.”

“It was a fake nod,” she said defiantly, as they began to once again argue like children.
“You can’t fake a nod.”
“I did.” Mary said, letting go of Gordon and walking towards Marty, not giving an inch.          
“Look, I can do it now.” She nodded. “And here’s another.” She did it again. “I could go all day.”
“How can any of our friends trust you, trust me anymore?”
“Because of my nod?”

“Your nod of lies, yes. I’m guilty by association with your nod.”
She pointed at herself. “I own my nod.”
“If that was only true. Your nod affects all of us. It is the plague of nods.”
“Marty,” a voice said simply to their left, interrupting their argument. They both turned together, perfectly in unison to face Jenn. She did not look at all happy to be seeing them, and in her black with the rain and the clouds of smoke in the distance, she almost looked like a specter of death.  

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Scott D. Southard is the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors, Megan, 3 Days in Rome and Me Stuff in addition to his latest release, Permanent Spring Showers. His eclectic writing has also found its way into radio, as Scott was the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master's in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard" where he writes on topics ranging from writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site. His blog can be found at Scott is also the fiction book reviewer for WKAR's daily radio show Current State.

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Virtual Book Tour for To Wed An Heiress by Rosanne E. Lortz

02_To Wed an Heiress
 To Wed An Heiress
By Rosanne E. Lortz

Publisher:  Madison Street Publishing
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense
Length:  253 Pages
ISBN: 978-0996264808


About the book:

Haro Emison, thrust into his new role as Earl of Anglesford, discovers that his late father has left the family teetering on the edge of financial ruin. Intent on rescuing the estate, Haro abandons his long-held interest in his cousin Eda and searches instead for a wealthy heiress. But when pride and jealousy cause his plan to spiral out of control, he begins to wonder if he has made a dreadful mistake….

Eda Swanycke is enjoying her first season in London when her debut comes to a crashing halt. Jilted by her cousin, she suffers the indignity of watching Haro’s new intended lay claim to his person and position. But when a brutal murder upends the household with Haro as chief suspect, Eda must put her wounded pride aside, match wits with the investigator from London, and try, at all costs, to save Haro Emison’s neck from the gallows….

About the Author

03_Author Rosanne E. Lortz

Rosanne E. Lortz ("Rose") is a history lover, a book addict, a mom to four boys, and a native of Portland, Oregon. When she's not writing, she teaches Latin and English composition and works as an editor at Madison Street Publishing. For more information visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

During the Regency period in England, one of the worst things a man could do to his family was to leave his financial affairs in disarray and place his wife and children in danger of not only losing their social position but of also losing their home.  If the family was lucky, and they had a sought after title, and the oldest child was of age to “marry up”, they could save their family from ruin with an arranged marriage.  Such is the sad and perilous situation that Harold Emison finds himself thrust into in To Wed an Heiress by Rosanne E. Lortz.  Filled with colorful characters, a solid murder mystery and plenty of suspense and drama, this enjoyable story could easily be transformed into a BBC production for fans of period mystery pieces such as Death Comes to Pemberley, a miniseries I recently had the pleasure of watching.

Already saddened over the death of his father, Harold “Haro” Emison, the new Earl of Anglesford, is distraught to discover his father’s excessive gambling has placed their family in a perilous financial situation.  Forced to think of his family’s future, instead of his heart’s desire, Haro is forced to begin searching for a rich wife.  Fortunately for Haro, Arabella Hasting, the daughter of a rich and successful cotton industrialist, is looking for a titled husband.  Quickly becoming engaged to marry Arabella, Haro’s plans are ruined when Arabella is killed and he finds himself as “the usual suspect”.  Forced to rely on help from Eda Swanycke, his cousin and the woman he really loves, Haro and Eda will have to solve Arabella’s murder in order to keep Haro’s neck away from the gallows noose.

Ms. Lortz does a good job developing the characters in her story and I easily connected with both Haro and Eda, two young would be lovers who are being forced apart by a father’s bad money management.  A man devoted to his family, Haro was willing to sacrifice his own happiness, and the happiness of his cousin, in order to save his family’s financial future.  I also easily connected with Eda, while hurt and angry over being pushed aside for a rich heiress, who was practical overall and willing to help Haro when she could have turned her back on him.  While I wanted to dislike Arabella, I found it impossible to do so.  She was only a daughter helping her father achieve his dream of changing their family’s social status from its position in the “middle class” to becoming a member of the nobility. 

The secondary characters are also well developed and I especially liked Haro’s family; his mother Lady Edith and his younger brother Torin, were supportive and understood the sacrifice he was making for all of their futures.  I also enjoyed getting to know Inspector Pevensie, the man assigned to investigate Arabella’s murder and whose hobby of sketching played a part in the book.  The murder mystery itself was well handled and took several interesting twists and turns, and of course the villain was easily to hate.

Will Haro and Eda prove who the real killer is?  Will the love they feel for each other have a chance to grow and lead to their marriage or will the financial situation Haro is in keep him from the woman he loves?  You’ll have to read To Wed an Heiress to find out I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Ms. Lortz’s work.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns

To Wed an Heiress Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 18
Excerpt & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Tuesday, May 19
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, May 20
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let them Read Books

Thursday, May 21
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, May 22
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Spotlight & Giveaway at View from the Birdhouse

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FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review.  I received no additional payment for my opinion of the reading material provided.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Sedona Sunset by Tanya Stowe

Welcome to my stop on the Blurb Blitz Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Sedona Sunset by Tanya Stowe.  Please leave a comment or question for Tanya to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway, for a $10 Amazon or B&N GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of the stops on her tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  My review is running a day late but will be posted tomorrow separately.  

Sedona Sunset
By Tanya Stowe

Publisher: White Rose Publishing (An Imprint of Pelican Ventures Book Group)
Release Date: April 10, 2015
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Length:  204 Pages
ISBN: 978-1611164206

Buy Links:  Pelican | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

About the book:

After an auto accident leaves her crippled and takes her mother’s life, Lara Fallon completes her mother’s dream of opening a school and offering scholarships to promising young artists. 

Although Lara is struggling with survivor’s guilt, she is thrilled that Alexander Summers, world-renown Flamenco player and professor of art, will perform at the grand opening of The Fallon School of Art. But Alex has a secret. He investigates art theft for UNESCO, and when pieces of Chaco pottery suddenly appear on the black market, Alex is certain The Fallon School of Art is a cover for this illegal operation. He’s determined to uncover the link...even if it means romantically pursuing the lovely Lara Fallon. 

Alex’s investigation leads him on collision course with Lara’s inner struggle to cope with her mother’s death and her own wavering faith in God. Now, Lara’s school and her heart are in danger. But is her life as well?


“La Guitarra is magic,” Alex said, his voice soft. “It reaches out to some people. Not everyone feels compelled to touch it as you just did.”

“I know the value of rare antiques. It doesn’t mean I’m hopelessly romantic.”

He smiled. “Romantic? Perhaps not. Passionate? Definitely.”

Lara laughed. “Now, there you are most definitely wrong.”

“Am I?”His serious tone made the laughter die inside her. With his chin, he nodded toward the center of the house where most of the guests were gathered. “This house is full of charming people. Inside are incredible jewels, gowns women would kill for, and if your interests are as true as you say, antiquities to rival any collection. And yet, here you are, alone, on a balcony, watching one of nature’s most spectacular creations. A sunset.” He shook his head. “Trust me. I know true passion when I see it.” 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge. She fills her stories with the unusual…gifts of the spirit and miracles, mysteries and exotic travel, even an angel or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a journey to the Old West or to contemporary adventures in foreign lands…be prepared for the extraordinary.

Twitter: @TanyaStowe1

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