Friday Fragment Contest – #Giveaway #FunGame #BookLovers – April 28, 2017

fri-fragments-and-spotalie

Happy Friday and welcome to my LAST week for this contest –

Guess the fragment, and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!!

Below you will find three different books, by three different authors, and beneath each, you will find three different short excerpts. Only one excerpt is from the listed book. Using the form at the bottom of the post, enter your guesses as to which excerpt is correct for each book. Once a month, I will draw a name from all those who attempt a guess on this game, AND on my Facebook SpotaLie game (check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAliciaDean/) The winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. (Final Winner to be drawn Monday, May 1st – Good luck!)

Each week, the first person to guess all 3 correctly receives an additional entry. (TIP: Click on each link and read the blurbs for a better chance at guessing correctly) – Remember, you get an entry just for guessing!

In addition to filling out the contact form, we’d also love it if you would comment, whether it is about your guesses, the books, the authors, etc. 

Have fun!

NOTE – This is the last Friday Fragement spot. There will be one more SpotaLie spot on my Facebook page this Sunday, and I will draw my final winner on Monday, May 1st —– Beginning in May, rather than these two regular postings, I will have random games and give various prizes, rather than one monthly prize. Sometimes it will be a 5 or 10 dollar gift card, sometimes other items. This way, more participants have a chance of winning. Thank you to all the authors and readers who have played along with these fun games. Check my Alicia Dean Friends and Fan Club group for info and the new games.

Terms and Conditions: No purchase necessary to win. There is no limit on how many times one entrant can win. You do not have to guess correctly to be entered in the monthly drawing.

*** This game runs from the day it’s posted through Sunday, April 30th at midnight, so feel free to send your guesses in and comment any time. 

Book 1:

Book Title Catch Me If I Fall (The Kim Brothers Book 1) by Kay Blake

Find Kay Here: http://www.twitter.com/authorkayblake

 

Snippet A:

We were quiet as we made it back to the elevator. I wiped a tear from my face which he saw but didn’t remark. Once he reached it, he leaned against the wall. “You did great today. Thanks so much for helping out today,” he said. “Thanks. Uh, it was a bit difficult, but overall it was nice.” “I could tell it was a bit hard. You confirmed it once you wiped that tear from your face,” “Yeah sorry about that.” “Don’t apologize for it. We’re human. We all have emotions and we are all allowed to express them.”

Snippet B:

He cleared his throat. It pulled me away from studying him. His blue eyes were questioning. The small space that separated us suddenly felt oppressive. If I had it my way I would say my goodbyes to Sam and head back to sunny California, without laying out any skeletons. As I stood in front of him, I knew he wouldn’t allow that. It wasn’t Liam’s style. His gaze told me he understood what couldn’t be said. Not here. Not now. But soon. His fingers closed around my elbow, and a jolt of hot, potent electricity shot up my arm.

Snippet C:

Taking a few sips of my latte, I looked around. Bingo, there he was. My inspiration for the day. He had an intense look on his face, which was odd since it appeared that he was only skimming through the pages of a book. His skin was olive and his strong jaw gave me visions of him whispering commands that I would be all too keen on obeying. Picking up my pencil, I opened to a clean page in my book and started sketching his face. I noticed the light stubble on his chin.

Book 2: 

The Lady of the Forest by Barbara Bettis

Find Barbara Here: http://www.facebook.com/BarbaraBettisAuthor

Snippet A:

[She] turned to [him], uncertainty a sharp claw in her stomach. His fierce glare stopped her. For an instant she stood transfixed by his glower; an odd warmth joined the uncertainty prickling beneath her skin. He nodded. Then Sam’l and Oscar each grabbed an arm to help him. Good Lord, his large body filled the small space. How had she ever had the nerve to leap onto his back and wrestle him from his horse? A flash of self-preservation made her raise her chin. It was his own fault for having such wide shoulders. They made a perfect landing spot.

Snippet B:

There you are,” his voice boomed. “Let me see my bride!” He reached in,… lifted her to the ground. He frowned. He squeezed her waist. He growled. His big hands shoved to her hips… “What’s this? Your brother promised me a plain and sturdy bride. Not some frail beauty.” He stepped back to look her up and down… “I expected a woman with some flesh to her. By God, you’d best be breeding in a fortnight, or I’ll send you back. Wait.” His wild gray brows lifted. “You are Lady Emelin, aren’t you? Sir Humphrey, did you bring the right female?”

Snippet C:

He must cure [her] of her youthful hero worship, for her own good. He scrubbed a palm against his aching chest. There would never be another woman for him. Ever. Especially one whose smiles could light up a man’s heart. If only he possessed one.

Book 3:

Without Mercy by Alicia Dean

Snippet A:

Ivy tapped her foot as she waited. What had she been thinking? Where she came up with that line, she had no idea. It had just occurred to her out of the blue. The likelihood of Grant Crawford being enticed by such a sentiment was doubtful. He was a practical, down to Earth man with no time for love, let alone flights of fancy.

That’s why her chin almost hit the ground when Grant Crawford came through the door from the restaurant into the foyer. If she thought he looked good from the clouds, oh my. He wore black slacks and a dove gray shirt and black tie without a jacket. His eyes were even darker brown up close. Her stomach quivered, and her fingers went numb.

Snippet B:

China’s fingers could barely function as she punched in Miles’ number. Before she completed the digits, the phone shrilled in her hand. She jumped and almost dropped it.

The caller ID showed her home number. Dear God. Who was at her house?

She jammed the answer button with her thumb. “Hello?”

“Miss Beckett.”

“Who is this?”

“You do not know me.” The voice was deep, heavily accented. Austrian? German? Swedish? “Emma is here with me. You must please come home now.”

Snippet C:

“I googled the island before I came. I read that a large number of people are killed or go missing from here. Is that true?”

He shrugged and glanced at her in the mirror again. “Not really. Just rumors that circulate because so many people who visit our island decide to stay. They never go back home.”

“But wouldn’t their families know that? They wouldn’t be missing then. And it seems to me the island would become overpopulated very quickly.”

Another shrug. “You know how rumors go. Urban legends and the like.”

His explanation was less than satisfactory. Too vague. Something in his tone made her feel he wasn’t being completely honest. I guess that makes two of us.

 

The correct answers from last week: (No one guessed correctly, I’m afraid. :()

Book 1 – B

Book 2 – C

Book 3 – A

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Author Interview with Linda O’Connor ~ New Release: Perfectly Honest (Book 1, Perfectly Series) #Giveaway

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Linda O’Connor…

Why do you write romance novels? I’m a physician and I started writing because I wanted to find a fun way to disseminate medical information and to educate and empower readers to take ownership of their health. Targeting a female audience with romance novels seemed like a good idea because women are usually the ones who see a doctor. (Males typically wait until a girlfriend/partner/spouse/mom encourages them. :D) I write romantic comedies because I love being in a fun headspace when I’m writing. I think laughter is essential to great health! 

Where did you get the idea for your book? In Perfectly Honest, Dr. Mikaela Finn helps deliver a baby in the middle of a hotel foyer. I had this idea because, as a physician, I’ve helped sick patients on an airplane, in church, at the beach, – medicine is rarely nine to five. I also delivered my nephew – unexpectedly, but luckily at a hospital when the obstetrician didn’t show up on time. It was a fast delivery. My nephew is kind, smart, friendly, outgoing – he’s wonderful really – and I take credit. It’s all in the delivery, right? 😀

What is your favorite quote? “It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains.” Alice Caldwell Rice

So simple, but excellent advice for all those worrywarts – don’t be worrying about something that may not happen!

What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with? I’d like to be stranded with James Corden. He’s so funny and an amazing singer – I’d be able to laugh and have music! Have you seen his Crosswalk Musical: Beauty and the Beast? It’s really good.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write? I think it’d be fun to write a cozy mystery series.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book was made into a movie? I’d like to have Matt Bomer as the hero. I’d love to meet him. He played such a cool character on White Collar, and when I’ve heard him in interviews he gives intelligent, articulate answers and always praises his co-workers. For the heroine, I’d like Hilarie Burton. Can you tell I love White Collar? Haha. She has a smooth voice and great chemistry with Matt Bomer.

Thank you, Linda. I enjoyed getting to know you. I’ve never seen White Collar, but I’m definitely in for Matt Bomer as the hero. Sigh…

 

Perfectly Honest (Book 1, Perfectly Series)

You never know where your words will take you…

When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should’ve told him that she’s a doctor. Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down.  But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted.

Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!

Enjoy an excerpt from Perfectly Honest ~

Mikaela woke with a start to the sound of voices. Disoriented, in unfamiliar surroundings, she looked down at her short shorts and loose shirt covered with spatters of paint. Painting, of course. She must have fallen asleep in the chair, and checking her watch, she saw that it was two o’clock in the morning. Shit. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. Pulling herself out of the chair, she listened to the voices. One voice was female, sounding impatient and unhappy and one male, sounding apologetic and resigned.

“I know it’s not ideal, Sophia, but it’s what I want. I’m tired of the large city, the tertiary care center, and all the politics. I’m tired of all the meetings and all the committees. I want a smaller hospital in a smaller city. I want a life.”

“Nonsense, Sam,” the woman shot back. “You don’t know what you want or what’s good for you. You need to pay your dues now to reap the benefits later.”

“Look, I don’t expect you to understand. I’m grateful you’ve agreed to help me out, but . . . ”

Mikaela wandered into the hallway and stopped when she saw the two of them at the front door. The woman had unbuttoned her coat, and as she put her hands on her hips, there was a flash of the red cocktail dress she wore underneath. The man was a foot taller and wearing a suit. A very nice fitting suit, Mikaela mused, as she came up behind him.

The woman noticed Mikaela first, and her startled gasp had the man looking over his shoulder. Mikaela wasn’t sure who looked more shocked, the man, who moved to shield the woman, or the woman, who raked her gaze over Mikaela from head to toe. As Mikaela fought the urge to straighten her shirt and fix her hair, she decided, definitely, the woman.

The woman’s eyes narrowed, the hands on her hips became clenched at her sides, and her face flushed red. Mikaela held her breath.

The woman pushed at the man’s shoulder and spun him around to face her. “Why you! You! ‘I can’t invite you in, the house is being painted,’” she mimicked. “Is that the new code word for ‘mistress?’ You could have just told me we were through. Well, I’m done. This is the last straw. You pig!” The woman spun on her heel and wrenched the door open.

“Sophia, wait!”

“No, wait,” Mikaela added. She lurched forward, now wide-awake.

The woman stormed out and slammed the door.
The man turned to Mikaela. “Who the hell are you?”

Buy link: http://amzn.com/B00S77IW9O

Meet Linda O’Connor ~ Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at the local home décor store. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories 😀 ). She hangs out at http://www.lindaoconnor.net.

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Linda loves to connect with readers ~

Website:  http://www.lindaoconnor.net

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LindaOConnor98

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA

 I’d love to give away an e-copy of one of the Perfectly Series books to a lucky reader. Just leave a comment!

 

 

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Author Interview with Gary Guinn ~ New Release: Sacrificial Lam

Please help me welcome Gary Guinn who is sharing a little about himself and about his new release, a thriller mystery that sounds like my kind of read!

 

  1. Where did you get the idea for Sacrificial Lam? Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

Fairly early in my career teaching at the university, a disturbing incident occurred. Three of my colleagues at the university, who were all liberal, progressive professors like myself, received anonymous threats couched in violent terms. The university was a small, conservative, southern place, and liberal professors like ourselves were in a real minority and sometimes found teaching there an uncomfortable fit. At the same time, we felt a sense of purpose in being the source of divergent, more open, views in the areas of politics, social issues, and religion. The threats created a tense environment, and though nothing could be proved, there was a pretty strong suspicion of who was responsible. As it happens, the threats stopped, and nothing further came of them, but that situation became the kernel for developing the series of mystery/thrillers featuring English professor Lam Corso, a liberal who teaches at a small, conservative southern college. Sacrificial Lam is the first in the series. The second, which I am about halfway through, has the working title A Lam to Slaughter.

  1. Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?

All my previous writing had been literary fiction, usually historical. But my writing had begun to feel stale, and I found myself doing a lot of revising of older work rather than creating new work. So I decided to break out of the mold altogether and do something totally different. I’ve always loved reading mystery/thrillers, but didn’t think I could pull one off. National Novel Writing Month was just around the corner, so I spent a couple of weeks outlining the story and then cranked out fifty-five thousand words in November. It was great fun and really seemed to open my creative juices again and let them flow. After a year of revising with my writing group and editing with my publisher, it was ready to go.

  1. What was the most difficult thing about this novel in particular?

Probably the most difficult thing about writing this particular novel was that I was using a setting that all my friends were familiar with, and I was basing some of the characters in the novel on people who would be recognizable. I had to make the place and the characters believable as fictional characters in spite of the fact that they would be recognizable to many readers. I wanted readers to read the story, not think about the biographical background and connections.

  1. What book have you read that you wish you had written?

Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich. When I read that novel, I fell in love—with the book and with Louise Erdrich. The sense of mystery, bordering on magical realism, and the rich characters made me want to cry half the time. And her beautiful treatment of the Native American culture in the novel was just delicious. There’s no other way to describe it. Delicious. And the novel was full of surprises. A really engaging narrative. Erdrich’s language just overwhelmed me at times, like music, like the language of love. I’ve read the book again and loved it as much the second time—a sure sign that it’s true love.

A close second in answer to this question would be The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss. That is the only novel I have ever finished reading and then gone right back to page 1 and started reading again. Loved it. I think I’m seeing a pattern here—Love Medicine, The History of Love.

  1. What do you want readers to come away with after they read Sacrificial Lam?

Sacrificial Lam pits liberal, progressive, humanistic ideas against radical, fundamentalist, religious/political/social ideas. But it doesn’t preach a particular ideology. In fact, the sympathetic characters have to confront their cherished beliefs in light of the immediate threat of violence and death. The novel presents the very real complexity of what it means to believe, to have real commitments, passions, that are challenged by reality.

I want readers to come away with a sense of the problem of extremism, of radical belief that drives us to put the lives of, the dignity of, other human beings at minimal value. That puts theology of any kind above the humane treatment of people.

  1. Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

The bane of most writers is marketing and promotion. We love to write. We love our books. But we hate to spend a huge chunk of our lives marketing. But it is marketing that we have to do. And one of the most important promotional tools is the book review—lots and lots of book reviews! When I first started learning how to promote my books, like most people I thought, “Good reviews, good. Bad reviews, bad.” So I might have answered the question then as I’d rather have no reviews than a bad review. But I’ve learned that even bad reviews bring attention to your book. And more importantly, they bring balance to all those 5-Star reviews that your friends and family write. If you have fifty reviews, and they are all 5-Star, a smart reader will be a little suspicious. But if the average of your reviews is 4.5 Stars, then a reader will think that you have received a few negative responses but that the great majority of people loved the book.

  1. Your favorite…

Movie: Smoke Signals, based on a short story by Sherman Alexie titled “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” A wonderfully quirky and funny movie that will make you cry for the compassionate treatment of the main characters.

Music: Well, I love Bluegrass. And I love 1940’s Big Band. And I love Classical Guitar. But if I had to name an artist that I want to sit down and drink brandy or beer and listen to all night, it would be Norah Jones. Tom Waits would be a close second. Paul Simon a close third.

Place you’ve visited: The village of Chamonix at the base of Mont Blanc in the French Alps. My wife and I spent our 25th anniversary there, hiking in the mountains, having dinner at sidewalk cafes, watching the moon set over the mountain from bed, with a glass of wine.

Place you’d like to visit: Machu Picchu in Peru. I’ve been to some beautiful Mayan ruins in Central America, but those sky-high ruins above the clouds at Machu Picchu just seem like the ultimate Mayan experience.

TV show from childhood: Gunsmoke. Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty and Chester and Doc. What could possibly be better?

TV show from adulthood: Humans, Jack Taylor, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders.

Food: Italian Chicken Spaghetti with red wine.

Loved your answers, Gary…interesting! Very wise words on the review situations.

Blurb:

When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off.  A liberal activist at a small Southern conservative college, he’s used to stirring up controversy on campus.  It’s just part of the give and take of life.  Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it must be a mistake.  He can’t imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs.

When his home is broken into and his wife’s business vandalized, Lam is forced to face the truth. His wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. The police can’t find a single lead. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan are forced to examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by his own set of beliefs.

What will it cost to survive?

Excerpt:

In the silence immediately after Susan screamed, Simon’s high wail came from upstairs. Billy’s voice broke through, “Mom? What happened, Mom?” His voiced moved to the top of the stairs. “Mama, I’m scared. Where are you?” Simon was sobbing.

Susan grabbed the flashlight and scrambled to her feet. The darkness of the room pressed in on her, weighted with threat, the silence in the downstairs smothering her voice. She shined the flashlight toward the stairway, heading that way, and yelled, “Boys, can you see the light from the flashlight?”

She flicked the light around the room, and seeing nobody, she yelled again, with less panic this time, “Nothing to be afraid of, Billy. I’m sorry I scared you. You and Simon come on downstairs right now.” She shined the light on the stairway steps, fear crawling up her spine from the darkness behind her.

Buy Links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Sacrificial-Lam-Gary-Guinn/dp/1509213058/

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sacrificial-lam-gary-guinn/1125460487?ean=2940157292218

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/sacrificial-lam

TWRP http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4887-sacrificial-lam.html

 

Bio:

Gary Guinn lives in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, with his wife, Mary Ann, and their lab mix, Seamus, and their Corgi mix, Peanut. He writes both literary and mystery/thriller fiction. His first novel, A Late Flooding Thaw, was published by Moon Lake Publishing in 2005. His poetry and fiction have appeared in a variety of magazines, and his short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, the latest being Yonder Mountain, from the University of Arkansas Press. His mystery/thriller novel Sacrificial Lam, released by The Wild Rose Press March 3rd, is set on a small Southern college campus. His favorite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling, and brewing beer (and of course, drinking it).

Contact Links:

Website https://garyguinn.com

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/garyguinnwriter/

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Gary-Guinn/e/B01N4GPT7P

Goodreads author page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/585203.Gary_Guinn

Twitter https://twitter.com/@gmguinn

Email gary.guinn@gmail.com

 

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A Look Inside Private Eyes by Diane Burton ~ New Release: The Case of the Meddling Mama

Happy World Book Day!! What a perfect day to host my friend and fellow author Diane Burton. Diane is sharing an article about Private Eyes AND her fabulous new release!

 

Private Eyes

When I started writing the Alex O’Hara mystery series, I pictured my heroine as a grownup Nancy Drew. Alex (short for Alexandra) got into the investigation business through her father. He and his business partner started an investigation agency back in the 1960s. Alex went to work for them in high school, doing menial chores first then rising to junior detective and finally promoted to detective. Along the way, she graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice. When her father and his partner decided to retire, they sold the business to her.

Private Eyes appear to have a glamorous profession, at least in movies and on TV. Remember Rockford? In real life, a detective spends most of his/her time on the internet not in the field. That wasn’t the way it was when Allan Pinkerton started up the first detective agency in America.

Allan Pinkerton Photo credit: Library of Congress

Pinkerton got into the detecting business by accident. He’d opened a barrel-making business in 1842. One day while he was scrounging for lumber, he came across a band of counterfeiters. After he set up a surveillance, he helped the police arrest the band. Pretty soon, people were asking him to help the police find and arrest other criminals.

Alex O’Hara is a licensed private investigator. She helped the police arrest an international assassin, a Black Widower gang, and a major drug dealer—all by accident. The assassin underestimated Alex. The Black Widower, who preyed on older women, married them then killed them for their money, didn’t expect his prey to hire Alex to check him out. Alex didn’t set out to find these dastardly villains. She came upon them by accident.

Possibly Kate Warne (holding pole) stands in front of Pinkerton Photo credit: PI Mall

When Allan Pinkerton hired Kate Warne in 1856, she became America’s first female detective. She was able to ferret out secrets that men couldn’t—for example, she became friends of a villain’s wife thereby learning the location of the stolen loot. She even pretended to be a fortune teller and got the criminal to confirm his guilt. Allan Pinkerton claimed Kate was one of his best investigators and had her buried in his family plot.

Even though women have been detectives for over 160 years, the investigation business is still an “old boys club.” Consequently, Alex O’Hara deliberately chose a masculine nickname so as not to be prejudged.

I found several similarities between Allan Pinkerton and Alex O’Hara, after the fact. I didn’t intend for fictional Alex to be like the famous detective. Pinkerton’s agency still does some detecting, though they mostly leave that to the police and the FBI. Today, the agency does risk management assessment along with private security and guard service. Alex hasn’t guarded anyone. Yet.

Interestingly, both the Pinkertons and Alex do employment screening, what Alex calls her bread-and-butter cases. Lately, she’s taking her agency in a new direction—checking out potential mates found on the internet.

Private investigation hasn’t gone too far from its roots, over 160 years ago. Like the Pinkerton Agency, Alex has to be flexible, to see opportunities, like online dating, and move with the times.

In the third book in the Alex O’Hara Novels, Alex is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex put a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.

Here’s an excerpt:

When two women entered the exclusive dress shop, Ellie left to greet them while her assistant chivvied me to put on the shoes. White socks, black strappy heels, and the gorgeous emerald green bridesmaid dress—I made such a fashion statement as I stood on the platform. Call Vogue.

I so didn’t want to be there, especially when I recognized one of the women. I’d been the bearer of bad news to Nora Finley last week—her Mr. Perfect turned out to be a Black Widower. He and his cohorts had the perfect plan, a plan I thwarted just in time.

“Oh, you’re here,” Nora cried out when she spotted me and tugged on her companion’s wrist, practically dragging her over. “Ginnie, this is the PI that saved my life, Alex O’Hara!”

I cringed while heat bloomed in my cheeks.

Nora looked up at me. “I’ve been telling Ginnie here that she absolutely must hire you to check out her boyfriend—she met him on one of those online dating sites.”

Ginnie winced, like she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her. I knew the feeling.

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Smashwords

About the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online

Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor

Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

 

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IN THOSE FIRST BRIGHT DAYS OF ELVIS by Josephine Rascoe Keenan

I’m sure those who know me can imagine how excited I am about today’s guest…I admit, I haven’t read the book yet, but with a title like that, you can bet I’m going to. Please help me welcome Josephine, with an intriguing book and a truly fascinating interview….

One trivial decision can change a whole life.

In Those First Bright Days of Elvis, Book I of the YA series, The Days of Elvis. 

When fifteen-year-old Julie Morgan makes a casual decision to attend a concert at the football stadium of her Arkansas hometown her life is irreparably changed. At the concert she encounters three strangers: a lookalike, who could pass for her twin; a college boy, who will be the love of her life; and Elvis Presley, with whom she forms an unlikely friendship as his “good luck charm,” before his meteoric rise to fame. Julie, a small-town girl bound by the social code of the 1950s, makes a serious mistake in in her attempts to cope with her broken home and bolster her damaged self-esteem. One misstep leads to another, and another, and yet another, ultimately catapulting her into a terrible dilemma with no apparent way out.

In Those First Bright Days of Elvis weaves a story of human anguish and betrayal, love and loss, recrimination and regret, and shows how choices, once made, can change one’s life forever. The book meticulously recreates the “golden days” of drive-in movies, screen wire petticoats, and flashy American cars, when the world seemed brighter and more innocent than today. But was it?

After working many years in theatre and film as a director and as a professional actress, Josephine Rascoe Keenan retired to focus on writing novels and short stories for young people.  In May of 2016 Pen-L Publishing launched her debut novel, In Those First Bright Days of Elvis, Book I of a series entitled The Days of Elvis, about a young girl with an absentee father.  Book II, In Those Dazzling Days of Elvis, launches in June of 2017. Two of Josephine’s stories have appeared in the teen magazine, Cricket, and her poem, A Ride on Grandpa’s Foot appeared in Modern Maturity magazine. Her plays have toured with Artreach Touring Theatre; and one was chosen as a winner of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati’s New Play Contest.

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I was born and raised in Arkansas’s oil patch, El Dorado, city of “black gold,” where In Those First Bright Days of Elvis is set. We make it more southern and call it El Duh ray duh. I now live in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband Frank and two feline princesses, Katie Katherine Kalico and Molly Underfoot.

Where did you get the idea for In Those First Bright Days of Elvis?

I have always preferred historical fiction to dull history books we studied in the classroom. I wanted to give young people of today a glimpse of what life was like in the middle of the 20th century—how it was similar, and how it was different.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

The most difficult thing for me was finding information about how to actually write a book. I wrote two other books, yet unpublished, before writing In Those First Bright Days of Elvis. Just because you may be good at English grammar and love to read, doesn’t mean you have the know-how to construct a plot and create characters your readers will love. The first thing I learned about writing novels was that without trouble for the main character, a book is not interesting. This led me to the next step, the creation of a compelling plot and characters that people could relate to. I strongly believe that my work in theatre has helped me to write convincing dialogue for my books.

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

With regard to this book, the most difficult part was doing the volumes of research necessary to give authenticity to a work of historical fiction, even though the story stems principally from the imagination.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

The only real person in the books is Elvis Presley, and his dialogue and letters are fictional. All of Elvis Presley’s concerts, recording dates, and appearances used in the book were thoroughly researched. The Hillbilly Amateur Show, which occurs in Chapter One of In Those First Bright Days of Elvis really did take place on October 17, 1955, at the War Memorial Stadium in El Dorado, Arkansas. According to eye witnesses who attended the concert, he wore the clothes described in my book.

All other events and characters, no matter how much they may remind you of someone you know or knew, are totally fictional. Naturally a writer draws on human characteristics to create a credible character, but it is more fun, in my opinion, to make up a character than to describe someone real.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

In those days there was no Drivers Ed in the schools; parents taught kids to drive. The first thing I learned about driving was to back down the driveway. The idea was if you could back up, it was a piece of cake to go forward. In the small town of El Dorado we got our learner’s permits as young as age 12. By age 14 we were fully licensed to drive, when and if our folks would let us have the car.

The only drugs we knew of were prescriptions from the doctor, or aspirin for headaches, and coke syrup for upset stomachs. Our teachers could give us a hug to show they valued us and a whipping if we didn’t “sit down and shut up” when told.  It went without saying that if you got a whipping in school, you got another one when you got home. Parents backed the teachers and Principal. In spite of threats, few kids were ever whipped in school. The presence of the wooden paddle with holes in it lying on the teacher’s desk was enough to deter most misbehavior. We were full of energy and found it difficult to sit still and study all day, but we did so, rather than take the consequences. School was interesting and fun, once you bit the bullet and realized you had no choice except to knuckle down.

When I grew up, there were no cell phones, no computers, and few families had televisions. I was fourteen years old before we got a TV in our home. Kids today don’t know how lucky they are not to have to sit at home and wait for their boyfriends or girlfriends to call. Another tidbit: Girls did not call boys in those days. They had to wait for the boy to call them.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

I would have to say A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck—a brilliant writer. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, as well as the two companion books, A Long Way from Chicago, and A Time of Giving. All three books will touch your deepest emotions, bringing tears as well as side-splitting laughter. These books, though written for kids, must surely attract a huge crossover readership, for they so accurately and humorously reveal human nature and devoted family life.

What is your favorite book of all time? What is your favorite childhood book?

My favorite book of all time must be Gone with the Wind, although I have read and delighted in many books. To name a few: Anya Seton’s Katherine; Mary Stewart’s  Merlin Trilogy (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment); Désirée by Annemarie Selinko. I’ve enjoyed many classics, including Eliot’s Silas Marner, Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I adore Gary Schmidt’s middle-grade books, especially Okay For Now and The Wednesday Wars, and how could I omit the great Harry Potter series?

My favorite childhood books were the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. When needing comfort, I still turn to Laura’s stories.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I have had many jobs in my life, for acting and directing theatrical productions do not provide steady work. In New York, I worked for Goodson-Todman Television Productions on To Tell The Truth (daytime), a game show. I taught speech and drama for three years in the D. C. area, and I have worked with temporary employment services, such as Kelly Girl. For many years I supplemented my work in the entertainment industry as a realtor. But I always knew in the back of my mind that someday I would focus entirely on writing. In 2006 that day came. Somewhat regretfully, I abandoned my lifelong career in theatre and film to write fulltime for young people. Regretfully because I adored being in the world of entertainment and played some intriguing roles that brought me enormous gratification, as well as awards for excellence in both acting and directing.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

The most famous person I have ever met was Johnny Cash. We met when I was fortunate enough to be chosen for a feature role in his movie, The Pride of Jesse Hallum. During breaks when the film crew was busy lighting our stand-ins, Johnny and I sat on a log and talked about Arkansas, where we both hailed from. He was a truly admirable person. Over the course of my years in theatre, I’ve had the priviledge of working with many famous people. To name a few: Karen Grassle (known for Caroline Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie television series) in As You Like It at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Daniel Davis (known for The Hunt for Red October and the sitcom The Nanny) in the Cincinnati Playhouse production of Hamlet; Robert Townsend (known for The Five Heartbeats) in the PBS Ket television series Another Page; major league Cincinnati Reds baseball star Johnny Bench in a Fifth Third Bank TV commercial; Patricia Neal narrated a PBS special I appeared in for KET called This Other Eden; Soupy Sales (known for What’s My Line and other TV game shows) in Tomboy Productions film This Train.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want readers get in touch with their emotions as they read not only this first book in The Days of Elvis series, but also the next two, In Those Dazzling Days of Elvis, (coming out in June 2017), and In Those Glory Days of Elvis, (coming out in the spring of 2018.) I hope that they will laugh, cry, and relate to the characters. I hope the book will stir their emotions and touch their lives in such a way that they will see that people are pretty much the same today as they were in that historic time period known as the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Most of all I hope they will find answers to their own problems through the characters and their choices.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

This is the most fun question of all, because I look forward to the three books in The Days of Elvis series being made into a movie. (I believe if you believe it will, it has a much greater chance of happening.)

I would invite the following actors to audition. In my own directing of theatrical works, I never precast a show. It is so important to evaluate how actors sound and look together as an ensemble.

For the following roles:

Julie/Carmen – Emma Stone and Rooney Mara

Mama – Amy Adams, Julia Roberts, and Julianne Moore

Claudia – Cameron Diaz and Kara Sedgwick

Scott (the father) – Matt Damon and Russell Crowe

Farrel – Sterling Knight and Shia La Beouf

Engene Hoffmeyer – Jamie Bell and Rupert Grint

Maylene – Jennifer Lawrence

Frances Latimer – Hollan Roden and Blake Lively

Mamaw (in book III) – ME! (-:

Papaw – Billy Bob Thornton

What is your favorite:

Movie – Pretty Woman

Music – Classical and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Place you’ve visited – the American west

Place you’d like to visit – DeSmet, SD

TV show from childhood – As the World Turns

TV show from adulthood – The Duchess of Duke Street

Food – Hot Water Cornbread and turnip greens

Sports team – The Arkansas Razorbacks

I prefer television to board/card games

What is your favorite quote?

“Of all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’” John Greenleaf Whittier

Thank you, Alicia, for your support and thanks to your readers.

Follow me on Facebook: Josephine.Keenan1

and Twitter: FJKeenan1

Visit me at www.KeenanNovels.com, and sign up for my blog.

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, Elvis Presley, New Release, Uncategorized

Friday Fragment Contest – #Giveaway #FunGame #BookLovers – April 21, 2017

fri-fragments-and-spotalie

Happy Friday and welcome to my weekly contest –

Guess the fragment, and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, given away monthly!!!

Below you will find three different books, by three different authors, and beneath each, you will find three different short excerpts. Only one excerpt is from the listed book. Using the form at the bottom of the post, enter your guesses as to which excerpt is correct for each book. Once a month, I will draw a name from all those who attempt a guess on this game, AND on my Facebook SpotaLie game (check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAliciaDean/) The winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

Each week, the first person to guess all 3 correctly receives an additional entry. (TIP: Click on each link and read the blurbs for a better chance at guessing correctly) – Remember, you get an entry just for guessing!

In addition to filling out the contact form, we’d also love it if you would comment, whether it is about your guesses, the books, the authors, etc. 

Have fun!

NOTE – I am discontinuing the weekly Friday Fragment contest and SpotaLie Facebook Contest after April. Beginning in May, rather than these two regular postings, I will have random games and prizes where I do more frequently and give various prizes, rather than one monthly prize. Sometimes it will be a 5 or 10 dollar gift card, sometimes other items. This way, more participants have a chance of winning. Thank you to all the authors and readers who have played along with these fun games. Check my Alicia Dean Friends and Fan Club group for info and the new games.

Terms and Conditions: No purchase necessary to win. There is no limit on how many times one entrant can win. You do not have to guess correctly to be entered in the monthly drawing.

*** The game runs from the day it’s posted through the following Friday morning when the next post goes up, so feel free to send your guesses in and comment any time during that week. In order to stay up to date on each post, follow my blog by signing up in the column to the right. 

Book 1:

My Lord Ghost by Meredith Bond

Find Meredith here: http://www.meredithbond.com

Snippet A:

Oh, but his old bones ached. His whole body trembled with the cold as he galloped across a bare countryside soaked in the pale gray shadows of moonlight. Why hadn’t he taken a carriage? He could have been warm and snug inside with a hot brick at his feet. Thank goodness it wouldn’t be much longer. He hated being old almost as much as he hated this infernal cycle of life in which he was trapped. The standing stones appeared in the distance, beckoning to him. As always, they stood waiting to welcome him home.

Snippet B:

I got up. Grateful for the moonlight, I managed to find and light my bedside candle. Donning my robe, I crept to the connecting door. Putting my ear to the door, I listened closely. Alternate moans and sobs mixed with wails of pure despair. Gooseflesh covered my arms.
Very slowly, I turned the handle. The door wasn’t locked. Taking a deep but quiet breath in, I tiptoed toward the bed. My hand hesitated at the curtain’s edge. Slowly I grasped hold of the heavy fabric and began to inch it open, trying to peer
inside.
“NO!” the man’s voice yelled…
Snippet C:

Rose turned back to the gentlemen and said with an apologetic smile and a shrug, “mia kaké arché kánei éna kakó télos ”

“I beg your pardon!” the duke sputtered. “Perhaps the reason why your aunt hasn’t introduced you is because you have never been taught how to behave in public.”

“I beg your pardon, sir,” her father started, his eyes narrowing with anger. Rose put a hand on his arm.

“She is nattering on in some strange, unknown language,” the man said, scowling down at her. “Either that, or she’s lost her mind and is speaking gibberish!” 

“My Lord Duke, I believe the young lady was speaking Greek,” a younger gentleman said. He was quite a sight.

Book 2:

Nothing Stays the Same by Catherine Chant

Find Catherine here: http://www.CatherineChant.com

Snippet A:

Despite her best efforts, tears seeped from Sable’s eyes as she dutifully followed her mother away from the grave. She didn’t dare try to wipe at them or call attention to herself in any way. “Don’t embarrass me” had been her mother’s motto for as long as Sable could remember. Falling apart and making scenes was not allowed in good families like theirs. Sable marched stiffly toward the long, black car waiting to take her family back to their house for the repast. She’d never understood the practice. Eating and socializing was the last thing on her mind.

Snippet B:

Callie couldn’t put the album down. She traced her finger across the name, then flipped it over to read the back. “Nana, who’s Joey Tempo?” Kind of a corny name, really. Probably a novelty record. It would make a nice addition to her vintage album collection, though, even if it weren’t right for the party. “A singer from the 50’s,” her grandmother answered without pausing in her work. “Like Elvis Presley.” Like Elvis? “Yeah, but I’ve heard of Elvis. How come I’ve never heard of this Joey guy? Was his music any good?”

Snippet C:

Brennan sat forward and rubbed a rough hand across his face, massaged his temples. What the hell happened today? One minute he’d been listening to some old tape of his father’s, the next he’d woken up on a studio lot in 1973. And then…his father. Of all the people to suddenly come face-to-face with. Now, Leah. Leah. He fell back against the cushions again with a long, drawn-out sigh. Why did the best moments of his life always seem to piggyback on the worst? Like that day in the record store. He’d been about to ask Leah out and bam! His father’s dead.

Book 3:

The Pleasure Device (Harwell Heirs Book 1) by Regina Kammer

 

Find Regina here: http://kammerotica.com/

Snippet A:

“Sophie, you’re looking radiant. And Helena, all grown up.” The familiar voice filled her with a glow of joy. “Uncle Arthur!” Uncle Arthur, ever so dapper in his evening attire, stood next to a column with his arms open wide waiting for her to hug him. Helena knew she had to restrain herself in such a public place. Still, he was her favorite uncle, and she, his favorite niece, a private joke since neither had any more of such relations. He wrapped his arms around her and patted her politely, then turned to Mama and kissed her on both cheeks.

Snippet B:

She loved Arthur, she really did. He was the best brother in the world. Why, at that very moment he danced with his fiancée Henrietta—Henny—her full skirts swinging like a bell in perfect rhythm to his lead, their faces flushed and smiling. His countenance reflected the swell of pride he felt toward Henny, hers how absolutely besotted she was with him. They were a perfect couple and Sophia did not wish them ill will in the slightest, but she did take umbrage over the fact that Arthur was allowed to marry for love and she was not.

Snippet C:

She jumped at Arthur’s hiss, tumbling backward to the carpet. He grabbed her around the waist, lifting her quite readily, hauling her down the corridor. His anger was palpable, his fingers digging into her side, the knuckles of his other hand white as he clutched a book. He slammed her against the wainscoting of a recessed doorway, threw the book to the floor and dug the heels of his palms painfully into her shoulders. “What the hell do you think you were doing?” His breath fanned hot on her lips, the hint of tobacco and brandy flaring her nostrils.

 

 

The correct answers from last week: (No one guessed correctly, I’m afraid. :()

Book 1 – B

Book 2 – C

Book 3 – C

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Fiction: Research to add authenticity and color by Min Edwards

Please help me welcome Min Edwards with an informative article and a few of her wonderful books…

Good morning, Min. I appreciate you joining us and sharing your knowledge.

Thanks so much for having me here today, Alicia.

Fiction: Research to add authenticity and color

Hi, my name is Min Edwards. Actually, it’s Pam Headrick, but I write under a nom de plume for several reasons. The most important one though is that I want to separate my author persona from my business persona. As Pam Headrick I’m a book designer, A Thirsty Mind Book Design, and have been for almost seven years. And as an author I want to be known as Min Edwards, an homage to my mother, Minnie Larna Edwards Headrick, a life-long reader who read even when she could no longer remember what she read.

Today I want to talk for a bit about research for fiction writing. I’m an expert at academic research as I wrote papers, articles, theses for years as a professional archaeologist. But that kind of research is exacting and very structured. For the last few years that I’ve been writing novels, I haven’t felt the need to research anything except perhaps a specific kind of helicopter, what those plastic police cuffs are called, the most popular gun used in the drug trade. Things like that. But a few months ago I decided to write a women’s historical fiction. What was I thinking?

The Russian Phoenix (coming soon) was born while I was writing my latest novel, Precious Stone, the last book in my High Tide Suspense series. The heroine was the great-granddaughter of a Russian woman who arrived in Maine in 1930. She died before my character’s birth and Colleen, the great-granddaughter never knew her. But when men threatened her about a so-called treasure that her ancestor Natasha ‘stole’ from Russia in 1913, she began wondering about great-gran.

And now I’m mired in research as I write Natasha’s story. What was St. Petersburg, Russia like in 1913, the Romanov Jubilee year? What did the living quarters look like for families like Natasha’s, a distant cousin of the Tsarina, in the Alexander Palace? Were there trains conveniently located between cities and smaller towns? If you were leaving Russia, how did you get to the western border? And who’s border was it at the time, the year before the Great War began? Trains… were they the same in all countries in Europe (and I found that no… they weren’t.) You’ve of course heard of narrow-gauge tracks. We have those in various places in the US mostly for sight-seeing trains like the one out of Durango, Colorado. But in Europe the width of the rails was even more diverse. There’s standard gauge in most of Europe (4’ 8.5”). Then there’s the Iberian Gauge in Spain and the Russian Gauge in parts of the old Soviet Union… and the Irish Gauge. It’s suggested that the reason for the differences in gauge was for protection… keeping unwanted armies from invading your country by rail. I don’t know why the Irish thought they needed a different rail size to protect them from invaders though. Who in their right mind would ferry a train across the Irish Sea. Trivia… don’t you love it?

My story has moved from Russia and Germany and now I’m researching Scotland in the 1920s. What was life like on an estate? What kinds of crops were grown? What did the interiors look like? Plumbing… was there any in those old manses?

Next, I’m having Natasha travel to America in 1930. What was her passenger ship like? How long did it take her to get from her home on Loch Lomond to the nearest port and then ‘across the pond’? So many questions, so little time before publication date.

The internet is my only source since I live in a tiny coastal town and no longer have the huge libraries of The University of Texas system in Austin where I lived before moving to Maine. Gosh I miss the Perry-Castañeda stacks at UT… and the Geology and Classics libraries as well. Besides that, can you really believe information on the internet? Wikipedia often isn’t accurate, but you can get some nice color from it… like cruise ships on the Rhine in 1913, the Rhine Gorge and Lorelei Rock. But try finding an accurate… and accurately annotated map of Edinburgh for 1913. I found Princes Street thankfully so I just had my characters living and working there. I might change that before publication, but for right now I know where they are. I won’t lose them and they won’t lose themselves.

The next phase of research concerns Maine in the 1930s and 40s. For that I’ll go to the source… the remembrances of the older townsfolk of my tiny coastal village. I’ve heard some of the stories such as the year the bays froze over; the tales of children walking five to ten miles to school in the snow; the frequent loss of fishermen in the treacherous waters off the coast or in the bay. I guess I need to get onto my online community bulletin board and troll for informants. Time’s a wastin’. This kind of research I’m looking forward to. Talking to folks, especially after I just spent more than four months as a hermit, something I seem to do every winter. Before too long I’m afraid people will be sending my son condolences on the death—or disappearance of his mother! But the news will be untimely as I’ve been sitting in my kitchen window writing since Thanksgiving.

I’ve enjoyed these searches for trivia and even though it slows my writing down considerably, I think I might pen another historical soon. Perhaps one of Texas in the 1840s. The frontier has always appealed to me. In fact, my Master’s Thesis for The University of Texas at Austin was on the prehistoric and historic use of a clay dune system along the Gulf of Mexico… a mouthful but I discovered so much trivia that wasn’t appropriate for a scholarly thesis although would certainly be right at home in a novel. So, stay tuned… another historical might be in the wings.

The Russian Phoenix

Follow me on Amazon for the publication date:

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2bHJ1kb

Precious Stone

Available now at Amazon and other online bookstores

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fM6a85

ePub Readers: https://www.books2read.com/u/bP1Gk7

 

Min Edwards

I wear many hats… author, book designer, archaeologist, and citizen of the edge of America… Lubec, Maine, the most eastern town in the U.S. I’m a life-long reader, but I don’t chain myself to only one genre. I love, almost equally, romance, suspense, thrillers, sci-fi. And if a book takes me someplace I’ve never been with a story that makes my heart beat with excitement, then I consider that an excellent book. I strive for the same excellence in my own stories.

My first novel, STONE BAY, a Contemporary Romance, was published in March of 2014. It was followed by a new Romantic Suspense series, Hide Tide Suspense, bringing danger to the small village of Stone Bay, Maine. Out now in the series are STONE COLD, STONE HEART, STONE FALL and PRECIOUS STONE. Finally for the conclusion of the series, THE RUSSIAN PHOENIX, a women’s fiction historical and the prequel to PRECIOUS STONE is coming soon. These books can be found on my Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bHJ1kb

You may also find all of my published books at sites such as iBooks, B&N and Kobo through Books2Read.com

Stone Bay: https://books2read.com/u/bw8gDG

Stone Cold: https://books2read.com/u/49x5y8

Stone Heart: https://books2read.com/u/b6QP9J

Stone Fall: https://books2read.com/u/mgK8V6

Precious Stone: https://www.books2read.com/u/bP1Gk7

And follow me on my website blog page for my writing thoughts:

www.MinEdwards.com

Twitter @MEdwardsAuthor

twitter.com/MEdwardsAuthor

My Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/AuthorMinEdwards

My Personal Pinterest:

www.pinterest.com/athirstymind

And my Author Pinterest Page:

www.pinterest.com/minedwards

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