Saturday, April 12, 2014

Blog Tour: The Uncovering by Jes Young - Excerpt

The Uncovering
Underneath & Inbetween Book One

Jes Young

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
MP Publishing

Amazon * B&N * Kobo

At the start of this fantastical romance, Tabitha Bennett is a young woman who has her life all figured out; she’s got a steady job at the local bank, a darkly handsome fiancé she’s known since childhood, and her own cottage on the edge of the family estate. Then she starts to have chillingly graphic visions of her sisters’ deaths.

Someone is picking off members of the Bennett household one by one, and Tab is next. In order to survive, she must come to terms with her true heritage. Tab is actually an Elvish princess, heir to the throne of the Inbetween, the realm of the Light Elves, and the product of the Dark King’s rape of the Queen of the Light. These sordid origins do nothing to convince the Elven Court that she’s the woman for the job, and they have everything to do with the plot to kill her.

Her fiancé Robbin is soon usurped by a gorgeous stranger named Alexander, to whom she’s been betrothed since her birth. The magic that binds them is strong and sensual. He guides her in her journey of self-discovery, helping to awaken the Elven gifts that ultimately keep her alive in the final battle with the agents of the Dark. She is betrayed by both her close childhood friend and by the Elven warrior who captains the Light army, but she survives by virtue of her fiery tenacity.

The Uncovering, first in a trilogy, is a fast-paced adventure, full of sensuality, suspense and surprise.



     While my sister Rivers was dying, I was planting crocus bulbs in my front yard.
     While she was fighting for life, I was thinking about how pretty the purple and yellow flowers would look poking up through the snow when the spring came. While she was gasping for air, I was singing along with the radio to some stupid Top Forty song I’d be embarrassed to admit I knew. I was tired and achy. I saw the dirt under my nails and then I knew. There was dirt under her nails too.
     I could see her struggling in a small dark place. I could feel her panic as the air ran out. Her fingernails snagged and broke on rocks and roots as she clawed at the soil settling above her.
     The earth closed in all around until there was no light and no air and no sound. There was nothing but the quiet, airy emptiness you hear inside a seashell.
     Rivers was gone and I was kneeling in the cold, wet grass with a pounding headache and a bloody knee.        The vision ended as abruptly as it had begun.
     Some black birds lifted from their roost in the trees just as Francis came running from the other side of the house.
     “What is it? Are you hurt?” he yelled as he ran toward me. “Are you hurt?”
     I struggled to my feet, took one lurching step, and passed out before I hit the dirt.

* * * * * 
     It was dark and quiet when I woke up.
     I didn’t have to lift my head or open my eyes to know where I was. I recognized the lumps in the cushions and the smell of the afghan draped over me. I heard the comforting rumble of men’s voices in a nearby room and knew that I was home, safe and cared for on the couch in the downstairs sitting room at Witchwood Manor. The tapping of a size twelve work boot against the floor told me that my fiancé Robbin was there waiting for me to wake up, watching over me until I did. For the first time ever I found his restless, relentless tap, tap, tapping comforting. It told my heart what to do. Beat, beat, beat, it said. It reminded my lungs to fill and empty and fill again.

     He was the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes. He was leaning against the doorframe, still in his work clothes, looking angry and sad and, of course, beautiful. He just couldn’t help that—even when tragedy really called for him to be less sensational-looking. He was tall and muscular with a strong chin and a soft, sweet mouth. His eyes were the color of the ocean on a sunny day and his short hair was a sandy blond. I sighed, wishing I were waking up with him under happier circumstances.

About the Author

Jes Young holds a BFA in creative writing from Emerson College.  She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal romance because, in spite of a complete lack of supporting evidence, Jes still believes in fairy tales, happy endings, and true love.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Blog Tour: Reap the Whirlwind by Robert Sells - Excerpt & Giveaway

Reap the Whirlwind

Robert Sells

Mystery Suspense
Martin Sisters Publishing
July 2013


Whit Emerson had a beautiful girlfriend, great friends, the respect of his peers, and more than enough money. Until he discovered his bank account has been depleted. A day later he's fired from his job. Friends die, disappear, or disown him. Everywhere he goes, he is watched by security cameras. Something is definitely wrong with his world, but Whit doesn't know who or why. Then he is accused of a crime he didn't commit. That's when his life got worse. Much worse. Whit seeks help from a stuttering computer nerd, his attractive sister, a bank robber and a rogue detective all hiding from the government for different reasons. Together they search for a legendary computer expert known as Little Lion. Eleven years before Little Lion created a super computer for the military, a super computer which is now being used to take over the internet. Little Lion mysteriously disappeared but left strange clues behind to help Whit and his friends. When the clues are unraveled, an even worse threat faces the friends. They are determined to stop a nightmare scenario if they can live long enough. Please be advised, the story is fictional, but the 'nightmare scenario' is inevitable, if it hasn't already happened.



     Whit Emerson looked out his wide living room window. Lake Ontario was often beautiful, sometimes soothing, and, every now and again frightfully powerful. He could stare at it for minutes at a time. Not today, though. His eyes immediately pulled back to computer printouts strewn in front of him. The sheet he picked up was usually innocuous and always annoying. But never gut wrenching.
     Whit scanned down his most recent bank statement. Florist, yeah, flowers for Elizabeth. Grocery bills, a bit high, but he liked good food. Gas station. All normal, within reason. He stopped on the line tagged at seven thousand dollars. Classy Girls? A porn site most likely. The amount was not presented by a photocopy of a normal check. Apparently it was an electronic check. But, he had never signed up for the electronic check service.
     Whit ‘googled’ the company and called the one contact number. His eyes popped wide open when his call was answered with a silky voice on only the second ring.
     “Look, I don’t know anything about your company. I never had any transactions with you guys. There’s an error somewhere and it has to be rectified before I go to the police.”
     “Sir, we can discontinue service. But I’m afraid we can’t give you back money for the months already purchased.”
     He looked angrily at the offending phone. “Months? This is the first time I’ve seen you on a bank statement and I didn’t buy anything from you!”
     Silence. He nodded his head up and down, a smile grew on his face. She had finally listened. He looked back at the smooth blue sheet of water which seemed to extend to infinity. A minute later, a deep male voice brought him back to the phone.
     “This is the manager. We have recordings…”
     For the next few minutes Whit listened to his voice, definitely his voice, as he ordered one “premium” item after another.
     Titles like Tammy’s Hard Time and Bathtime 2.
     “Is that your voice, sir?”
     “Yes. Well, a bit like my voice. But, it wasn’t me. It couldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have the time to watch one tenth of seven thousand dollars of porn!”
     “So, you admit that you watched some.”
     Whit yelled into the phone. “No! I didn’t order the damn videos or watch them.”
     “Is your phone number 585-555-2794?”
     “Yes…” Whit answered cautiously.
     “That is the phone number on record for these calls.”
     Whit was quiet for a few seconds. His cell phone number! How?
     “I’m… I’m still here. What time were these alleged calls made?”
     “Hmm… ahh… it seems nearly all were made between noon and 1 o’clock. Let’s see… always on Tuesday and Thursday.”
     Whit’s breathing was his final response. That was when he was at the gym. Every Tuesday and Thursday during his lunch hour.
     He habitually carried his cell phone in his front short pocket in case he got any calls from the office. It was never out of his possession.
     He hung up and tapped a few icons on his cell phone screen. His call history appeared. He scrolled down and counted eighteen calls to the same 800 number. Calls he never made. Or did he?
     He bailed out his college roommate, Mark, one cold Sunday morning from an even colder county jail. The police had caught him running through the campus totally nude. Mark had blacked out and never did remember his au naturel frolicking. Could
     I have blacked out during my exercise sessions and made those calls?
     Whit shook his head and turned back to his computer. If I ordered this crap, it should have been downloaded to my computer. After a minute of searching, he found the video files. Whit opened one and watched the video. Pornography. Two naked women making out in a bathtub. He clicked on another one. A foreign movie popped up. He didn’t understand the title, but after watching for a few minutes, two men and a woman had taken off their clothes and were rolling and groping on a king-sized bed.
     There were hundreds of files in the folder. But, how did they get there? This laptop was with him from morning till night, it was his main workstation. When he visited the gym it had always been locked up in his office. Then he heard the door click open and a voice reached him from the foyer.
     “Honey, I’m home.”
     Liz! Crap, if she sees me with these files…. In a moment his computer screen was back to normal. Whit grabbed his bank statement and shoved it in drawer. His girlfriend, a slim woman, with short, well-coiffed blond hair click-clacked across the tiles into the study. She leaned down and kissed him on the neck.
     “Missed you.”
     He smiled up at her.
     “You getting some work done?” She pointed to the computer screen which showed his desktop.
     “Yeah. About to write a bit.”
     She gave an exaggerated frown.
     “You work too much, dear.”
     The woman jiggled a Victoria Secret’s bag.
     “Got a surprise for you. Don’t go away.”
     She kicked off her high heels, smiled over her shoulder and walked quickly into the adjacent bedroom.
Whit looked out the window again. Distracted by his problem, he realized the sun had set and the water looked sinister, an oily black had replaced the shimmering blue. Though it was comfortably warm in the condominium, he shivered. What was going on? He never ordered any pictures or videos. But it sounded like his voice making the orders on his phone. And the files were on his computer.
     He heard the bedroom door open and turned toward the hallway. Liz softly padded into his study and leaned against the door frame. Clad in a diaphanous light blue nightgown barely reaching to mid-thigh, she watched him for a moment, her breathing heavy as though she had just finished a run. Whit had already decided not to tell her about his financial problem. Anytime there were difficulties with money, hers or his, she went ballistic. Throw in the pornography angle and he could probably kiss this relationship goodbye.
     “Working hard, honey?” she asked in a husky voice.
     Whit smiled at her and rose from the chair, more than willing to succumb to the distraction. “Not working anymore.”
     The love making proceeded quickly and he forgot about his problems. In a few minutes, after Liz enjoyed a shuttering climax on top of him, she rolled away and lay beside him. Whit turned to stroke her gently, an offering of affection. Elizabeth did not return his soft caresses. She never did. After she controlled her breathing, Liz spoke intelligible words which contrasted with her grunts a minute before.
     “I was at the hairdressers this morning and opened up Vogue and saw an article on how to choose a computer just for you…”
     He winced. A free-lance writer, he recently wrote an article titled A Computer Just for You. He didn’t think it would ever get published and he had not told her about it.
     “You got into Vogue, and didn’t tell me!”
     Though she smiled when she playfully rubbed his tousled brown hair, he detected irritation. Whit knew the subject did not interest her, but she liked to paint herself as his intellectual confidant. Even to her hairdresser, apparently.
     “It wasn’t an article I was really proud of. But, I did mention it to you a few weeks ago.” He looked at her nervously, hoping she would accept the excuse.
     “No, dear, whenever you talk about computers you always complain about not getting it into print.”
Whit knew full well which article she was referring to. It was a thought-provoking essay on the world’s, the country’s, even his own, over-reliance on computers. If it could just get printed he knew it would be a centerpiece article. Whit had even submitted the article to the New York Times magazine section. Their editors loved it, but for some reason did not pick it up.
     With his own paper, the article was shuttled all the way to the CEO and he received a flattering note from that worthy man. But the clever and insightful essay never made its way to the pages of any newspaper or magazine.
     “Yeah, well, I do talk a bit about that one, but I meant when I discussed with you about how you might pick a computer…”
    Elizabeth rose without speaking and walked to the bathroom. Whit stayed down. His problem returned like an angry ghost in a haunted house. It must be some horrible fraud scheme, he decided. His voice could have been spliced in and his cell phone records manipulated. As much as he was on the Internet, it would not have been difficult to surreptitiously insert the files onto his computer. That had to be what happened. Might be hard to track, let alone prove. But when the perpetrators wrote the electronic check into his bank account they made a big mistake. He had never signed on for online checking. First stop tomorrow, the bank.

About the Author

I attended college at Ohio Wesleyan where I struggled with physics. Having made so many mistakes in college with physics, there weren’t too many left to make and I did quite well at graduate school at Purdue.   

I worked for twenty years at Choate Rosemary Hall, an exclusive boarding school in the heart of Connecticut. More often than not, students arrived in limousines. There was a wooded area by the upper athletic fields where I would take my children for a walk. There, under a large oak tree, stories about the elves would be weaved into the surrounding forest.

Returning to my home town to help with a father struggling with Alzheimer’s, the only job open was at a prison. There I taught an entirely different clientele whose only interaction with limousines was stealing them. A year later Alfred State College hired me to teach physics. I happily taught there for over ten years.  A rural, low income high school needed a physics teacher and the superintendent, a friend, begged me to help out.  So, I am finishing my teaching career in a most fulfilling way… helping kids who would otherwise not have access to a qualified physics (and math) teacher.

My wife pestered me about putting to “pen” some of the stories which I had created for my children and kids. I started thinking about a young boy and a white deer, connected, yet apart. Ideas were shuffled together, characters created and the result was the Return of the White Deer. This book was published by the Martin Sisters.

Years ago I gave a lecture on evolution. What, I wondered, would be the next step? Right away I realized that silicon ‘life’ had considerable advantages over mortal man. Later this idea emerged as the exciting and disturbing story called Reap the Whirlwind, my most recent novel.

I have many other stories inside my mind, fermenting, patiently waiting for the pen to give them breath. Perhaps someday I will even write about those elves which still inhabit the woods in the heart of Connecticut.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Blast: Hawthorne by Sarah Ballance - Excerpt & Giveaway


Sarah Ballance

After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it takes ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home. She seeks peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she finds is an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she can right. Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett has never forgotten about Emma Grace. In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents reveals a truth that can cost him everything. What he finds gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?

Praise for Hawthorne

"This is a marvelous ghost story. The mystery, the suspense, the eeriness - all collaborate to weave a spell-binding tale... The story seamlessly flows to a shocking ending that is utterly brilliant." -- Coffee Time Romance

"When I finished it, honestly, all I could do was sit there - a little awestruck." -- Kick Back & Review

Hawthorne will be FREE on Amazon from April 10th to 14th

Excerpt from Hawthorne

Noah closed in on the convertible, giving the nearby grounds a cursory look. The lawn was meticulous, the beds overflowing with sprays of purple garden phlox which trailed around the bend in the road and disappeared. A riot of white and rust-red irises backed the smaller purple flowers, their leaves deep green and glossy. Overhead, Spanish moss swayed only occasionally atop a maze of live oak, more likely a result of a passing swarm of insects than an actual air current. The land was still. If there were tourists snapping photos of the historic plantation — or doing anything else — he didn't see them.

But someone had been there. The car was certainly real, even if that too-familiar scream had been a figment of his imagination. Wasn’t it always? Resigned to another night alone with his memories, Noah pivoted. And found himself nose to nose with Emma Grace. Astounded, he opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to reach for her, but his arms refused the notion; they hung uselessly by his sides, the effort futile. His mouth wasn't much on cooperation, either. Finally, he found his tongue.

"Em—" Her expression cut him off.

Green eyes wide, skin pale, her small frame shaking, she spoke. "I saw her, Noah. She's back."

The words, nearly soundless, seemed to catch in the thick air. Lingering. Threatening. And ripping the heart from his chest.

sarahAuthor Sarah Ballance

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her. She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance.

BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Cover Reveal: Missing Lily by Annette K. Larsen

Coming May 15th

missing lily

Missing Lily 

Annette K. Larsen

“You don’t know who I am,” I whispered. He didn’t move—either away from me, or closer—and after an interminable moment, I stepped back and hurried out of the house. He didn’t follow me as I fled into the night.
Lylin was not used to being alone—much less alone, hurt, and lost. So when she is separated from her guard and forced to abandon her horse, she counts herself lucky to stumble upon a manor house. Still frightened by those who chased her into the night, she keeps her identity a secret, calling herself Lily as she accepts the help of kind servants, and the compassion of Lord Fallon. When they fall into an easy friendship, she wonders if her secrecy was too hasty. However, as she gets to know the manor and its residents, Lylin discovers that she’s not the only one hiding secrets, and it may be a very good thing that her host doesn’t know her true identity as a member of the royal family.

add to goodreads 

AnnetteAuthor Annette K. Larsen

I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.

I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cover Reveal: Nice Work if You Can Get It by Linda Morris


By Linda Morris

Adult Romance

Release August 2014

Published by Swoon Romance

Andrew Sheffield and Ally Arietta meet in paradise: Playa del Carmen, Mexico. They have nothing in common: He's a workaholic CEO, embittered after the failure of his first marriage. She's been caring for her ailing Sicilian grandmother who's just passed away, and now she's ready to put herself first for a change. The sparks fly, but Andrew is no easy guy to get along with. His workaholic ways have them bickering from the start, but Ally decides that doesn't matter: It's just a fling.

But when Ally nearly dies during a para sailing accident, Andrew realizes she means much more to him than casual sex. The accident causes Ally to run scared: She's vowed to put herself first after years of self-sacrifice. She breaks it off and returns to Chicago to resume the life she interrupted to care for her grandmother, but she hasn't seen the last of Andrew, who is determined not to let her walk away.

About the Author

Linda Morris is a writer of contemporary romance. She writes stories with heart and heat, along with a joke or two thrown in. Her book Melting the Millionaire’s Heart was an Amazon Top 100 Series Romance bestseller. Its sequel, The Mason Dixon Line, was published in Feb. 2014. Her vacation fling romance, Nice Work if You Can Get It, will be published by Swoon Romance in Aug. 2014. A Sedona-set spa story, Just a Touch, is coming from Samhain in Dec. 2014.

When she’s not writing, working as a freelance editor, or mommying, she’s doing yoga, reading, working in her flower garden, or baking delicious things she probably shouldn’t eat. She believes that there are two kinds of people: pie people and cake people, and she is definitely one of the former. Her years of Cubs fandom prove she has a soft spot for a lost cause. A beat-up old copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Ashes in the Wind was her gateway drug into the world of romance novels, and she’s never looked back.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Release Blitz: The Romeo Club by Rebekah L. Purdy - Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway

The Romeo Club
Rebekah L. Purdy

Release Date: 04/08/14

Summary from Goodreads:

THE ROMEO CLUB is Hitch meets The Secret of My Success.

What happens when you agree to help your brother “de-nerdify” so he can catch the attention of the popular Chloe Anders, and to everyone's surprise, he actually lands her?

And what if his equally geeky friends come running with girl wish lists of their own, offering money for your services?

Well, if you’re sixteen-year-old, Delyla Denson, then you start The Romeo Club. A secret club where she’ll teach these guys how talk, act, and be cool around girls. It’s a win-win situation.

She’ll get enough money for the awesome prom dress she’s had her eye on, and the guys, well, they’ll get dates and maybe learn how to do something other than beat the next level on their video games.

There are only two problems with this plan. One, her quarterback/track star boyfriend is getting jealous of how much time she’s spending away from him and decides to try and figure out what’s going on. And two, Delyla is kind of falling for her brother’s BFF, Trey who she’s been hanging out with a lot more. And who thanks to her help, has caught the attention of the beautiful, perfect, and popular, Portia Rickard. With Portia and Trey heating up, Delyla realizes that maybe the person she’s meant to be with has been in front of her all this time.

But falling for Trey means she’ll have to take drastic measures including sabotage, with a capital S.

Available from:

Guest Post by Rebekah Purdy

A Few Nerdy/Fun Things You Might Not Know About Me:
So I thought it might be fun to share a few facts about me that some people might know.

1)      I’m a girl gamer. Yep, that’s right, I LOVE video games. Some of my favorites are Dragon Age (1 & 2—totally geeked for 3 to come out this fall on XBOX 360), Fable III, Champions of Norrath (for PS2), and Baldur’s Gate (also PS2), I really like Beyond Two Souls (for PS3), and I play Minecraft with my kids (who got me addicted to it).

2)      My all-time favorite movies are Star Wars IV, V, VI. All the Lord of the Rings movies (including the Hobbit), The Goonies, Labyrinth, A walk to Remember, The Hunger Games, and Pitch Perfect.

3)      My first crush was Luke Skywalker from Star Wars (Don’t judge me, I was young. And besides, the dude carried a lightsaber).

4)      I collect Star Wars stuff—like mugs, stuffed toys, candy dishes, stickers, the Millennium Falcon toy, Star Wars action figures, pics, and books.

5)      My  husband and I once turned our house into a “boys vs girls” warzone—complete with makeshift forts, overturned furniture, and Nerf Guns (we also used to play capture the flag in the dark when we had all 6 kids at home—SO FUN). And can’t forget “Forced Family Fun Night” where we stay up until all hours of the night playing board games!

6)      I used to write for my school newspaper and was assigned to co-write the advice column!

And now, I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom (and an awesome Star Wars pic of me and the hubby—LOL): ALWAYS LET YOUR NERD SHOW! And in the wise words of Yoda (who is awesome): "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."


A few minutes later we arrived at Bogarty’s. We went inside and found Kevin working the counter.
“Hey,” he said. “I thought you had a date tonight?”
“I do. But I wanted to treat Del out for helping me.” Trey took some cash from his pocket. “Can we get two chocolate vanilla swirl ice creams?”
Warmth spread through my chest. He remembered my favorite flavor. How is it he knew more about me than my boyfriend?
“Coming right up.” Kevin took his money then gave him the change. He waved me closer to the counter then leaned forward. “Melanie’s working tonight.” He nodded to a petite girl making milkshakes. She had black hair with a shock of electric blue highlights. Her ears had numerous piercings, and she wore dark eyeliner. She had the whole rocker chick thing going on.
“She’s pretty,” I said. And to say I was surprised was an understatement. She didn’t seem like his type, but then again, who was I to judge.
He grinned. “Yeah. She is.” He handed us our ice cream. “I’ll see you guys later.”
I licked the side of my cone to keep the chocolate from dripping. Trey and I sat down in a corner booth and devoured our food. When I finished, I wiped my mouth with a napkin. My eyes shifted to the window. No way. Did he have GPS attached to me or something?
I shot to my feet. “Crap.”
“What’s wrong?”
“Rex is here with his friends. I told him I was having a Science Club meeting today.”
Trey followed my gaze. “They’re coming in.”
We rushed toward the counter. Maybe there was a back way out. “Kevin. We need to hide.”
“Rex.” I nodded over my shoulder. “Please, Kev. There’s gotta be a back way out.”
“I can’t let you go through the kitchen. I’ll get fired.” He glanced behind him.
“Ah, I’m so dead.”
“Wait, I have an idea. Hey, Melanie can you watch the register for a second?”
She looked up. “Sure. But hurry.”
“Thanks.” He came around the counter. “Quick, follow me.” He led us down a narrow hall toward the bathrooms. But before we got there, he opened a door and pulled out two costumes.
“Oh brother. I’m not gonna like this, am I?” Trey took a giant ice cream cone costume from him.
“Nope. In fact, you’ll probably hate it. But it’s the only thing I got.” He handed me a Poppy the Popsicle costume.
I groaned. “This day just keeps getting better and better.”
“Hurry up, he’s coming in.” Kevin shoved the giant popsicle over my head.
I put my arms in, while he tugged it down. He then put big rubber shoes on me. I attempted to adjust the top so I could see out the eyeholes. Next to me I saw Trey and giggled. His head looked like a giant vanilla swirl ice cream. The cone part came down to his ankles so he had to waddle while he walked.
Kevin, shut the closet. “Just go out in the lobby area and dance around or something. When he leaves, you can get out of here.”
“You owe me big,” Trey said from beside me.
Just then a group of elementary kids saw us. “Look it’s Poppy the Popsicle and Icy the Ice Cream.”
In that moment, I wanted to die. Kids screeched at our legs. I hopped around in circles, giving them high fives. I attempted a booty shake dance and nearly toppled over, right into Rex’s lap.
“Hey, Rex. Looks like Poppy has a thing for track stars.” Bart laughed and slapped his back. “If you want to dance with the popsicle, I won’t tell Delyla.”
Rex grinned, grabbed my giant rubber hands and twirled me around. “Hey, can I get my picture taken with you?”
Holy balls. This wasn’t good. “Sure,” I said in a high-pitched Minnie Mouse type voice. He held up his phone and leaned in close. Wow, this would be one for the memory books.
“I think the popsicle is melting at your touch,” Bart said. “Maybe you should go for the ice cream cone instead.”
If he made one more popsicle comment, I was gonna shove my stick somewhere where the sun didn’t shine. Behind me, I heard Trey mutter something about a jack ass.
At last, Kevin called them up to the counter for their order.
“See you, Poppy.” Rex patted my back.
“Yeah, see you,” I said in the same high-pitched voice from before.
When they left, Trey and I raced to take the costumes off.
“Remind me never to come to the ice cream shop with you again,” Trey said. “I swear, if one more kid hit me in the crotch, I was gonna shove them in a trash can.”
“At least you didn’t have to deal with my boyfriend.” I laughed.
“Yeah, there’s that. But I think I’m ready to go now.”
He didn’t have to tell me twice. Goodbye ice cream, hello world.

About the Author
Rebekah Purdy grew up in Michigan, where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. When not hiding at her computer and getting lost in her stories, she enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games and hanging out with her kids. She loves the unexplainable like Bigfoot, the Dogman, and the Loch Ness Monster (lots of good story material)! She admits to still having all the books she bought throughout her childhood and teen years, and she may or may not have an obsession with anything chocolate…
Author Links:
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Book Review: Running into the Darkness by D.A. Bale

Running into the Darkness

D.A. Bale

November 2011

FREE at Amazon * B&N * Smashwords

Goodreads synopsis:

Death follows Dr. Samantha Bartlett throughout her life until it claims everyone close to her. There's one powerful man responsible on whom Samantha sets her sights for revenge. The price is her soul. For centuries, sex has been the weapon of it's her turn.

“I never intended to kill the President. As a doctor, I swore an oath to protect life – not take it. But that was before...”

Second year resident, Dr. Samantha Bartlett, is swept from the frigid New York winter to once again confront the sting of death back home – and face those she left behind. But she’s not alone. A strange man she dubs Shades haunts her every step as she seeks answers to the inferno which claimed her grandmother, an eerie reminder of her parents’ deaths. The secrets Samantha uncovers forever changes her image of those she only thought she knew.

Confronted by Shades, Samantha joins a secret underworld known only as the Elite, where a web of power and control is woven deep within governments worldwide. Their sights are set on the power structure of the United States, and Samantha becomes the unlikely key to infiltrating the White House at its most intimate levels.

The quest for blood threatens to destroy Samantha. From the darkness there is no escape.

My Review

Running into the Darkness contains nonstop action which creates a page-turner that's hard to put down. Every scene drives the reader to the next, as more of the mystery is laid out. I'm on the fence with this one. I really liked the plot, it was intriguing and suspenseful. On the other hand, I didn't connect with the main character much at all, so didn't feel the stakes like I should.

Samantha has been through life-changing  tragedy. To escape her past, she flees to medical school and a residency in New York, rarely going home to see her Gramm, the only family she has left. When her grandmother dies, she returns to her hometown and is swept up in a shady organization. She handled being kidnapped (for the most part) to be turned into some sort of super spy quite well. So well in fact that the emotion was somewhat lacking. She was dealt surprise after surprise which would be enough to drive a normal person crazy. Yet, she manages to soldier on.

I loved the pacing of this novel. Ms. Bale draws the reader in from the beginning and doesn't let go. In fact, I'm not sure if I even took a breath until about a quarter of the way through. The plot was intricate and interesting: espionage, politics, etc. The lines between good guys and bad guys were so blurred, I'm still not sure if there even were any good guys.

This is not my normal read. It's gritty, in your face, and unapologetic. Things aren't sugar-coated. Some of the scenes may offend some readers. I just about dropped the book at the first mention on incest. Yuck. But it's all part of the plot in a world of corrupt politics and power struggles. The ending was rather surprising. I really didn't see it coming at all. If you like thrilling, action-packed suspense, add Running into the Darkness to your TBR list.

About the Author

Sometimes life emulates fiction.

Life is filled with tragedy and Ms. Bale's writing reflects this reality. However, there is always a silver lining...even if one must spend their entire life searching for it. In her previous career, Ms. Bale traveled the United States as a Government Relations Liaison, working closely with Congressional offices and various government agencies. This experience afforded her a glimpse into the sometimes "not so pretty" reality of the political sphere. Much of this reality and various locations throughout her travels make it into her writing.

She dreams of the day she can return to visit Alaska.

Links: Blog:  DA Bale Publishing
Twitter:  @DABale1
Facebook:  D-A-Bale

Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Spotlight: Accused by Yasmin Shiraz - Guest Post

A Retaliation Novel #2

Yasmin Shiraz

YA/NA Real Life Fiction
Rolling Hills Press
January 2014


An easier and more peaceful life seemed to be destined for Ahmed and Tashera when they left Washington, DC and entered Georgia Atlantic University. But when Ahmed is accused of a crime that he didn't commit and begins to be tried in the media, his popularity plummets, his self-esteem suffers, and his dreams of playing college basketball disappear.

Meanwhile, there is a serial rapist on campus who has been attacking freshman girls at record numbers and forcing them to keep silent. As Tashera learns about the girls, she begins to close in on the rapist. But is the attacker too crafty to be caught? Will the state prosecutor ignore key evidence to instead focus on the fame that comes with convicting a high profile basketball star?

Tashera is beyond stressed as she divides her time between trying to find enough evidence to clear Ahmed while at the same time stopping the rapist who roams the campus of Georgia Atlantic. Ahmed and Tashera's journey into a new life away from home is more challenging than they ever thought that it would be.

About Accused

ACCUSED is real life fiction and follows the main characters as they deal with an incident involving sexual assaults on college campuses with one character being falsely accused of a crime.

Accused is the 2nd book in the Retaliation young adult series. The first book, Retaliation, was selected as a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers by the American Library Association's YALSA division.


AN AMAZON TOP 500 BOOK REVIEWER had this to say about Accused:"I recommend it for teen readers... Shiraz has a knack for writing in the voice of teen characters without having to resort to obscenities. It's an important and worthwhile YA novel."


"Retaliation is a vital book that will fly off the shelves in any "urban" library and your problem will be how to find more books for your young people who want to read…"

Guest Post 

The Main Character from Accused by Yasmin Shiraz
My name is Tashera...

My name is Tashera Odom. I'm a freshman at Georgia Atlantic University.  During my last year in high school, I was attacked by three girls that I didn't know. I was in the hospital and everything. It was the ABSOLUTE worst! There was press coverage, some of it was put in the book, Retaliation. But anyway, I got over it. I don't know how really. I guess my boyfriend, Ahmed, helped me. Well, after going through that, I decided that I wanted to leave Washington, DC. That's where I grew up. So, my boyfriend and I both got accepted into this school in Georgia and now we're here as freshman.

Everything seemed fine, until I joined this young women's support group. See, since I was attacked, sometimes, I get angry, and frustrated. People say that I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don't know about that. I just walk around pissed off sometimes. Well, anyway, since joining this group, I've noticed that a lot girls on campus have been getting drugged and sexually assaulted. I thought getting jumped was bad but I think this is worse.  The girls can't remember what happened to them. It's like somebody wiped away their memory or something. Some real 'caught up in the Matrix' type stuff.

I don't like that this is happening.  I've joined a self-defense class and coupled with this women's support group, I'm going to do something about the person or persons who are attacking my fellow women students on campus. I'm not a detective, but I'm no longer a victim either. All I know is, this stuff isn't right and I'm going to do something about it. 

If I were to tell you something about myself, I would say these three things:

1. When someone takes something away from you, it changes you.  In my case, I was beat up for no reason and it forced me to see people differently. There are real cold people in this world.

2. I don't believe that any ONE person wears a cape. I believe we all wear capes. When I was beaten last year, no one came to that empty lot to save me.  And, because of that I know that I want to do more to wear a cape for myself and help others find their capes.

3. I believe everyone must try harder. If you don't like a situation or circumstance, you gotta find a way to change it. I made the mistake of thinking that my mom could solve all my problems, but you know what? I had to learn to solve some of my problems for myself. So, I now consider myself a problem solver.

Now, you know something about me.


To learn more about the book Accused, visit the author's website:
Find her on twitter @yasminshiraz

About the Author

Yasmin Shiraz is the author of the Retaliation series of YA novels. The first novel in the series, Retaliation, won a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers Award from the American Library Association. She is also the author of the best selling Tisha Ariel Nikkole series which includes the novels Exclusive & Privacy. Shiraz is also a filmmaker--having wrote, directed and produced the documentary girl fight film, Can She Be Saved? and the teen suicide prevention webseries, Sources.