Open Door to Love by Amber Cross  ~ #Giveaway #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Amber Cross…

**Giveaway: A copy of the first book in this series-Precedent for Passion

A name will be drawn from all those who comment

~*~

Amber Cross is from Northern New England, still lives in the same town she grew up in with her husband, two dogs, and two teens.

I was always meant to write David’s story; the handsome Chinese American who goes from being an only child to being the middle child in a blended, interracial family, and he is the quintessential middle child. His brilliant siblings come to him whenever they need “grounding.”

Jonnie has been “speaking” to me for some time. She’s an impulsive, colorful, affectionate sensory-seeker. I knew she would be an unusual heroine and wanted desperately to find love for her; I just didn’t know David would be her man!

The book’s title was easy. America tried for decades to find an “open door” to China, and Jonnie is trying to find an opening into David’s heart.

Writing the book was not as easy. I kept re-writing, revising, and rearranging the early chapters. David and Jonnie met three years ago, and I wasn’t sure if I should start then, or use flashbacks. In the end, I chose flashbacks.

It’s always a challenge to write about characters you’re emotionally invested in, and I wanted so much to give you, the reader, a love story. Not a book about ethnicity that also has romantic elements, but a romance about two people who just happen to be from different ethnic backgrounds. As David likes to say, “It’s that simple.”

A hot chef in a cold climate makes this wild woman want to settle down

Blurb:

Jonnie Moulton’s chance for a fresh start as Somerset’s marketing consultant might be over before it begins unless she can convince David Wang she knows what she’s doing and isn’t the desperate woman he met three years ago.

This confident new Jonnie makes David’s blood sizzle. He plans to keep her close and not just because she’s living in one of his resort cabins.

He “gets” her like no one else.

She excites him more every day.

But is this simply passion, or have they found an open door to love?

Excerpt:

They couldn’t run in the morning. Much as he wanted to spend time with her, the temperature had risen so much over the last two days the trail wasn’t safe. A thick layer of mud covered still-frozen ground. One misplaced foot could result in an injury.

“Makes sense,” she said when he explained this at the gazebo, the disappointment in her tone gratifying.

“You can always use the gym.” He wanted her to. Wanted to know she worked out one floor below his bedroom.

“Hmm. Thank you. And I will,” she hurried to add, as if he might not believe her. “It’s just that I need an aerobic workout in the morning, and being outside gives me a rush nothing else can match.”

David looked out over the hill, at the lake shrouded in fog and the white steepled church in the distance. He didn’t trust himself to look at her because he wanted to give her a rush, and he was afraid she’d see that on his face. She might find him attractive, but she hadn’t given him a green light, and he didn’t want to scare her off.

“Maybe I’ll just take a walk around the common.”

Under control once more, he met her gaze. She would never be content with a gentle stroll or simply stretching her legs for a few minutes. “How many times around?”

She grinned, and he couldn’t help smiling with her. “A few.”

Buy link(s):

https://www.amazon.com/Open-Door-Love-Kingdom-Book-ebook/dp/B0918VPNVX/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Amber+Cross&qid=1617752204&s=books&sr=1-2

https://books.apple.com/mt/book/open-door-to-love/id1561488551

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/open-door-to-love-amber-cross/1139174487?ean=2940162252184

Bio

Amber Cross was raised on a family farm in New England, one of a dozen siblings, each one inspiring her writing in some way. She still lives in that same small town with her husband and the youngest of their five children. She loves spending time in the woods, in the water, and watching people because every one of them has a unique and fascinating story to tell.

 ~*~

Find Amber online at: https://www.amber-cross.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ann.ruby.96

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Shadows of Doubt: Patricia McAlexander’s New Thriller-Romance & Author Interview ~ #AHAgrp #Blog #WRPbks

Please help me welcome today’s guest, author Patricia McAlexander…

 

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

I’m from Johnstown, New York, a town of about 11,000 in the foothills of the Adirondacks, where Sir William Johnson, British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies, built a home in 1763. In the nineteenth- and much of the twentieth century, it was a center of the glove-making industry; I worked in a glove factory myself for two summers during college. I now live in Athens, Georgia, where I went with my husband when he took a position in the University of Georgia’s English Department. I also taught English there, in UGA’s Division of Academic Enhancement. I have one grown-up son who lives and works in Atlanta.

Why did you choose thriller/suspense-romance (is it something you’ve written in before)?

I like romance but also like to spice it up with external conflict or drama. My first Wild Rose novel, Stranger in the Storm, was in this genre. This second novel was at first more straight romance, but my editor suggested adding more “thrill,” and my sister then suggested doing so by making its male protagonist a former student drug dealer threatened by his old supplier. That’s how it, too, turned also into a thriller.

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

What directly inspired me was an early version of this novel, written in the 1980s when I’d taken a year off from teaching. I meant it to be a YA and so the main characters were in high school. But I went back to teaching, and not until I retired did I pull out the old, yellowed, literally cut-and-pasted-on typescript. I reread it and thought it had possibilities. I rewrote the novel, making the main characters college students and, as I said, adding the drug dealer elements for stronger drama.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

I find the most difficult thing about writing a book is being sure you are accurate in what you portray. For this one, I had to do research about the youth drug culture—reading books, googling, clipping newspaper articles, interviewing people.

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

I’m now retired, but I taught literature and writing at the college level—first as an instructor at the University of Colorado, then as teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, and finally as a professor going through the tenure and promotion process at The University of Georgia. In all these places, one thing stayed the same: I loved working with the students.

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

As an English PhD and as an undergraduate Latin minor, I love good grammar and mechanics in writing. Some people might think a focus on good grammar hampers free expression. But bad grammar can hamper communication. An ambiguous pronoun can be confusing. (“Bob told Tom he had great talent.” Who has the talent—Bob or Tom?). A misplaced or missing comma can result in something you don’t mean (“Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog”). Unless used in dialogue to reveal character, the wrong pronoun case (“Me and my husband live in Texas”) or verb form (he laid on the bed) can be like—as someone on a Facebook writers’ page said—fingernails scraping on a blackboard.

What was your first job?

My first full-time job was in one of Johnstown’s glove factories during the first two summers that I was in college. I did what was called “blackedging.” I sat at a table with several other women, and with small brushes we painted the white seams along the edges of black leather gloves black. While we did this, we talked—and I learned a lot about life from my wise older co-workers.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

After reading the first draft of Shadows of Doubt, my Wild Rose editor said that although it had promise, it did not have a strong enough conflict.  This was tough criticism, and at first I couldn’t think of what to do other than set the novel aside, but then (thanks to my sister’s suggestion) I added the plot element of Jeff, the romantic hero, being a reformed drug dealer threatened by his old colleagues unless he rejoined the ring. This added more drama and conflict to the plot, and the novel was accepted. 

A favorite compliment was in an Amazon review of my first novel, Stranger in the Storm: “The novel takes on the qualities of a Hitchcockian psychological thriller [with] its intensity, its intricate plot, and its ominous, compelling style.” 

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

My characters are in part based on real people—including myself. Sandy, the protagonist of Shadows of Doubt, has some of my traits: I like photography and an alternate career for me would have been as a journalist. I admired a family who owned an upstate New York dairy farm near my parents’ lake house—an intelligent, strong, practical father and his sons. I am sure I based Jeff and his uncle at least in part on them. And Sandy’s mother is based in part on my teacher mother, who turned for support to my sister and me when our father died—and who sometimes did not approve of our boyfriends. 

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

I have to say they are my fans. My sister has always been always one of the first readers of my fiction—and likes it even as she gives me helpful suggestions. My husband, now retired, was a tough American lit professor. He says he is not afraid to be “mean” and would only tell the truth about my writing. He has, too, given good, constructive criticism. But I loved it when I walked in on him while he was reading the final scenes of Shadows and he didn’t even look up he was so engrossed.

How did your interest in writing originate? 

I think writing was in my genes. It began as soon as I could literally hold a pencil. After reading the Dick and Jane books in first grade, I wrote my own series, Jean and Jerry. In later grades my father let me use his typewriter to write stories on—and he never got it back. In high school my friends and my sister’s friends would read my “novels” (one-spaced typed pages stapled together). I wrote two endings to one and had them vote on the one they preferred. Sometimes artistic readers would create illustrations for the novel.

Despite warnings, should she take a chance on him?

 Blurb

 

Former grade school bully and, later, amateur drug dealer Jeff Hudson turns his life around and is pursuing a degree in agriculture. His future, as well as a budding relationship with fellow student Sandy Harris, is threatened when a former dealer threatens to expose Jeff’s past to university authorities if he doesn’t rejoin the ring.

Realizing that Jeff is no longer an angry, misunderstood boy, Sandy must take a stand against her family and friends who swear he is no good and will only cause her unhappiness. Together, can they escape the past in order to forge a future?

Excerpt

“Sandy—I need to tell you something about him.”

“I don’t want to hear it. You’d better take me home.”

Bill abruptly turned around in a parking lot he was passing and headed back toward her house. His expression was grim, almost angry. “I’d be better for you, Sandy. Your mother thinks so, too.”

Anger replaced her anxiety. “How do you know what my mother thinks? I hope you and she didn’t discuss this!”

“Just a little, last night before you came downstairs. She didn’t say much, but I could tell how she felt.” He pulled up in front of her house. “We both worry about you with Jeff. It’s not just that we think this won’t last…”

“Why else should you worry?”

Bill hesitated. “For one thing, he has a temper. He may physically hurt you. Remember how he was even as a kid.”

Her anger notched up higher. He was sounding just like her mother, expressing unfounded, outdated fears. “It was years ago that he got in those fights. He’s not like that now. I’m sorry, Bill, but I think it would be better if you and I don’t see each other for a while.” She got out of the car and slammed the door.

Bill started to pull away, then stopped, lowered the window, and called out to her. “Just remember, if you ever need me, I’ll be here.”

 Buy link(s):

Amazon kindle:  

Amazon: paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Doubt-Patricia-McAlexander/dp/1509235426/ref

Nook:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-of-doubt-patricia-mcalexander/

Barnes and Noble paperback:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-of-doubt-patricia-mcalexander/1138919956 

i-books: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781509235438

Bio:

Patricia McAlexander earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of New York at Albany, a master’s from Columbia University, and a doctorate from The University of Wisconsin, Madison, all in English. After moving with her husband to Athens, Georgia, she taught composition and literature at The University of Georgia. Now retired, she has edited local newsletters and enjoys hiking, travel (when possible), and photography. But most of all she enjoys writing novels. Her first thriller-romance, Stranger in the Storm, was released by Wild Rose in June 2020. Shadows of Doubt was released on April 5, 2021.

Website: https://patriciamcalexander.weebly.com 

Email: mcalexanderpatricia@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/patriciamcalexanderwriter/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PatMcAlexWriter

Instagram: www.instagram.com/patriciamcalexander/

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#CrimeTime ~ On the Case with Paula Zahn ~ “Little Lamb” – #AHAgrp #Blog

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

 

On the Case with Paula Zahn, Season 20, Episode 5,  “Little Lamb”

Port Arthur, Texas, May 2010

On the night of May 4, 2010, in Port Arthur, Texas, a couple found the SUV belonging to their neighbor, Allison Clark, on the side of the highway with its hazard lights flashing. They approached and found her slumped over the wheel, covered in blood. They were horrified to discover her three-year-old daughter, Cadence, asleep in her car seat in the back seat. They picked up the child and called police.

The child was uninjured. Police found a bullet hole in the driver’s side window. The twenty-four year old mother of two was shot once in the chest. The bullet was found lodged in the driver’s seat, and investigators concluded it was fired from a Glock.

They determined robbery was not the likely motive. Her purse was found in the floorboard and, next to it, was a ten dollar bill with a drop of blood on it. Her cell phone was on the floor as well. It seemed clear she was trying to call for help while she was dying.   

They found no DNA or fingerprints at the scene, very little evidence at all. 

It appeared she was driving when she was shot. She was able to stop, park and put on hazard lights, most likely for the sake of her child. Even while she was dying, she had the mindset to protect her child. The police were especially affected by the tragedy of this young mother’s death and were determined to find her killer.

Her family said she was a wonderful mom. Her three and one year old children were her world. She planned to go back to school to be a teacher. And she and her husband wanted another child.   

In the examination of her body, stippling was found on her shoulder. That indicated the shooting was from up close, which ruled out their theory that she was shot by a stray bullet from someone target practicing. It left investigators with one conclusion—Allison was the target. A vehicle had to have pulled up close to her window and shot her.

Police turn their attention to her husband, Josh Clark. His demeanor raised their suspicions. He was emotionally detached. He told them his wife was headed to the store and that she only took the oldest child. When asked if someone could verify his whereabouts, Josh said he was at home and his brother was there. But the brother stated he was in the room watching a movie with the volume up so he couldn’t know whether Josh left the house.

On the night of the murder, it took a while to reach Josh. He didn’t answer any of the calls her family made to him. He claimed he had logged onto a computer game and had headphones on. He saw a call from his brother-in-law but ignored it. When another call came in, he decided to answer. That was when he learned Allison has been murdered. About forty minutes elapsed that he couldn’t account for.

They brought him in for questioning. A detective asked if he was right or left handed. He replied, “I’m right handed but I shoot a gun left handed.” This struck the investigators because no one had mentioned a gun.

The detective asked if Josh had killed Allison, what would he have done with the murder weapon. He said, “On the way back to the house, I would have thrown it in the canal.” They found this odd. Most people wouldn’t answer like that, they would just emphatically deny they’d killed their wife.

They asked him to take a polygraph and he agreed. It was inconclusive. He showed deception on one question, “Do you know who killed Allison?”

Josh was interviewed on the show. He said the detective told him, “I think you did it. You’re the one who did it.” They were firing questions at him, such as, “Where do you think would be a good place to drop weapon?” He told them probably the canal. The police dragged the canal but came up empty. 

Josh’s explanation for the issue on the polygraph was that the exact question they asked was “Do you know who killed her?” He was thinking that gang members did it, but all he could answer was yes or no. He couldn’t tell them what he was thinking. They gave a second poly and changed the question to “Did you kill Allison?” This time, he passed and they were able to clear him.

A witness came forward who saw someone in a gray pick up fifteen minutes before Allison was shot and about four miles away. The person was firing a gun out the vehicle window. The officers went to a nearby gas station and saw a gray F150 in the video surveillance. They were unable to make out the license plate.

They put out an alert and made traffic stops but there were 450 Gray Ford F150s in that county alone. The investigation stalled. While it disappeared from the media, the detective said it never disappeared for them.

Six years later, an informant heard two individuals talking about the West Port Arthur murder. The two men, Sabino Orlando Martinez and Ozzie Nelson Ibarra were known to police. In Ozzie Ibarra’s rap sheet, they found a possible connection to Allison’s murder.  He’d been arrested for robbery a month after the killing and he drove a gray truck. They were able to track down the truck. It had been sold, and the new owner allowed them to search it. The owner’s wife made an offhand remark that caught their attention. She said that her husband had cleaned the truck when they bought it. He found a shell casing and had kept it. They were able to match the shell casing to the bullet that killed Allison.

Police learned that Ibarra and Martinez had been terrorizing and robbing women for years. They targeted women who were along and referred to them as ‘little lambs.’

All the police had was circumstantial evidence and it was not enough for an arrest. Then, investigators got an unexpected break when Ibarra’s girlfriend Jessica Bellas was arrested on an unrelated charge.

She told police she had been behind the wheel on a dark Friday night. She said, “Pino was in the passenger seat. I’m driving, I hear pow, and the window is down. I remember seeing a young girl. A young female. Pino shot that girl on West Port Arthur Road.” After the shot was fired, she was told to turn around. She pulled behind the SUV which had drifted to a stop with hazard lights on. They looked inside the window. Then walked around to passenger side of car. She said Pino said something about a baby in the back.

She gave other critical details only someone involved could know. She told how they pulled up to the vehicle, side by side. And were close when Pino shot the woman. They interviewed Ibarra, who claimed they didn’t plan to kill her. They wanted to scare her so she would pull over and they could rob her. He said when he found out there was a baby in the car, he was furious with Martinez.

The prosecutor was worried the testimony wouldn’t be enough, so she offered them a deal. Ibarra took the deal and was sentenced to thirty-five years. Martinez sent word that he wouldn’t accept anything with a ‘three’ in front. So they went to trial.

Assistant attorney Leslie Woods found a unique path to justice. She discovered a law that allowed her to combine Allison’s murder with the other robberies .

During the trial, Martinez labeled Jessica a snitch. They ended up using that against him. The prosecutor said, “Would you agree that only guilty people have snitches?” He said yes and then realized he’d made a huge mistake. But it was too late to take it back.

He never showed any remorse. He was sentenced to eighty years in prison. I am sure he now wishes he’d accepted something with a ‘three’ in front of it. 😊

The prosecutor said she cried for two hours. She said she’s never taken a case that personally.

Allison’s husband, Josh, is raising their two girls and keeping their mother’s memory alive. He holds no grudges against law enforcement for suspecting him. He knows they were just doing their job, trying to find his wife’s killer. 

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Author Interview with Gabbi Grey & New Release: If Only for Today (Deerbourne Inn) ~ #AHAgrp #Blog #WRPbks

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Gabbi Grey…

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

I’m a happy Canadian woman enjoying mid-life in beautiful British Columbia.  I live with a five-year-old bubbly happy Chinpoo named Ally, and a seventeen-year-old blind cantankerous Himalayan cat named Lady Arabella de Bergerac (better known as Bella).

Where did you get the idea for If Only for Today?  

The Deerbourne Inn series by The Wild Rose Press had piqued my interest a couple of years ago.  I wrote a book for the series, My Past, Your Future, which is a gay paranormal romance.  I encountered the character of the inn clerk Jared, and I just knew I had to tell his story.  That he deserved a happy ending.  I had to convince the publisher I could tell his story with heart and joy.  The book is a sweet gay romance, and I have to say I’m really proud of it.

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand? 

Coffee.  Hands-down.  So many people love it and I can’t stand it.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time? 

I would answer flippantly that my day job would need to go.  Truth is, I love my job and helping people every day gives me purpose.  So if I could give up my addition to cable news, that would free up more time for writing.

What do you want readers to come away with after they If Only for Today

I know it sounds cheesy, but I’m hoping readers will come away seeing that love is love.  If a reader has never tried a gay romance, I encourage them to try this one.  The book is a sweet story about two men falling in love.  To be clear – there are high emotional stakes.  I don’t let my characters off easy.  That being said, the book ends in a true happy ending.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

Tough question.  I appreciate when readers take the time to let me know how they feel about a book.  That being said, a bad review can be tough to deal with.  You tell yourself that it’s just one person’s opinion, but it can hurt.

If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please 🙂 

I would love to spend the day with Jared in Willow Springs, Vermont.  I’ve had the pleasure of writing about the town twice now, but I’ve never been to Vermont.  And if you’re going to get a tour, why not with one of the most well-loved members of the community.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? 

The toughest criticism is always the first round of edits when the manuscript comes back with so much red ink.  I like to believe I’m good with grammar – my editor will attest I need more work.  The best compliment came from a reader who had never read a gay romance before and she loved my book.  The book resonated with her, and her comment was along the lines of love being love.

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

I’ve been known to warn friends that they might turn up in one of my books.  Do I ever base a character solely on someone I know?  Rarely.  My characters are composites of the people in my sphere.

What do your friends and family think of your writing? 

Most of my friends and extended family are extremely supportive.  They ask how the writing is going, and they follow each new release.  My parents, unfortunately, do not support or understand my writing.  They don’t understand the compulsion to write and the need to tell stories.  Needless to say, I stick to my supporters.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met? 

I don’t run in celebrity circles, but I did have lunch with Diana Gabaldon and I admit to being a little star-struck.

 Your favorite…

Movie – Grosse Pointe Blank

Music – Hamilton Soundtrack

Place you’ve visited – Nova Scotia

Place you’d like to visit – Scotland

Food – Mac & Cheese

Sports team – Toronto Blue Jays

Which do you prefer: Board games or television?  Trivia.  I love trivia.

 

Thank you, Gabbi. I enjoyed getting to know you. And, you’re right about coffee…I don’t get why you don’t like it. I’m drinking it as we speak. 😀 – And I love that you’re a baseball fan, but my team is the Cincinnati, Reds. I like the Blue Jays though! Now, please tell us about your book…

 

He came looking for solitude. He might leave after finding love

Blurb

Jared Langford is a happy man. The desk clerk at the Deerbourne Inn knows everyone in his cozy town in Vermont. He is accepted and loved by the community, but he’s missing someone special in his life.

Devastating news has brought journalist Xander Fortier to Willow Springs for some much-needed rest. He’s photographed every major conflict in the world for the last ten years, but being stateside has forced him to reassess the solitary life he’s been living.

Something in Xander’s gruff demeanor calls to Jared’s caring nature. Soon the men are spending time together, but Jared’s kisses might not be enough to keep Xander from leaving. Can the men find a happily ever after if they only have today?

 

Exclusive Excerpt

  1. Fortier.

The name was familiar, but Jared couldn’t place it. A former guest? Oh, maybe someone famous. That’d happened a few times in town, and although he played it cool, celebrity spotting was fun.

He was switching over to People Will Say We’re in Love when the door opened. He exited the backroom and stopped short.

Holy hell.

Playing it cool was going to be a bit of a challenge. This was Xander Fortier. The Xander Fortier. The photojournalist. The winner of the Prix Bayeux-Calvados two years in a row. The man who’d been shot in Syria and, if rumors were correct, had stitched himself up and kept searching for the perfect shot to show the horrors of war.

That Xander Fortier.

A throat clearing brought Jared back from his hero-worshipping ruminations. He indicated Mr. Fortier should approach the counter. Should he acknowledge knowing who the man was, or pretend to be ignorant?

“I’m here to check in.”

The deeply resonant voice hit Jared square in the chest. His fantasies occasionally featured a deep voice. The reality was so much sexier. “Of course.” Did he just stammer? Damn.

“I know I’m early, but I’m hoping it might be all right—”

“It’s fine.” Jared ran a hand through his hair. “Uh, the room is empty, so once I confirm your information, you’re free to go up and have a shower. Or a nap. Or whatever it is you’re going to do.” Ramble much?

Bio

Gabbi lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.

Links:

Amazon US:  https://amzn.to/3fOsviy

Amazon CA:  https://amzn.to/31LG1LP

KOBO:  https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/if-only-for-today

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-only-for-today-gabbi-grey/1138919955

iBooks:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/if-only-for-today/id1556170342

Publisher:  https://www.thewildrosepress.com/book-post/if-only-for-today

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57730616-if-only-for-today

 

Personal links:

Website: https://gabbigrey.com/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/gabbi-grey

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15456297.Gabbi_Grey

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Gabbi-Grey/e/B07SJVFX1M

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorgabbigrey/

Facebook (page): https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGabbiGrey

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GabbiGrey

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Gemini Rising by Bianca Swan ~ #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Bianca Swan…

 

St. Michael’s Mount is a tidal island in Mount’s Bay in Cornwall, U.K. I was lucky enough to visit the Karrak Loos yn Koos,  Cornish for “hoar rock in woodland”, on my honeymoon back before recorded time. Seriously, it was last century. I immediately fell in love with this small island accessible only by a manmade causeway, passable only between mid-tide and low tide. This causeway is made of granite setts. Two types of granite are indigenous on the Mount.  These are a tourmaline muscovile and a biotite muscovite. I’m not a geologist. Wiki, my friends. The island is a civil parish and linked by the causeway to the town of Marazion.

While the National Trust now guarantees the preservation and conservation of the Mount, the St Aubyn family continue to live on and manage the island, as they have done since the middle of the 17th century.

St Aubyn Estates has been part of the West Cornwall landscape. Today, it is a modern, family-owned enterprise spanning 5,000 acres with a diverse portfolio of businesses, including land and property management, tourism and hospitality, building and farming. James and Mary St Levan live on St Michael’s Mount.

In WWII, the Mount was fortified  during the invasion crisis of 1940–41. Three pillboxes can be seen to this day.

I  hope you have enjoyed this quick tour of the island.  If I’d had more space, I’d have gone into the history but I wanted to tie in my book, you see.  The Keep in Gemini Rising, where the twins are raised, and Alain later becomes Lord of the island, was inspired by that long-ago trip to St. Michael’’s Mount. You never know what will stick in your subconscious and surface years later.  I never forgot the Mount.

~*~

Gemini Rising by Bianca Swan was published by Black Lotus Books:

This book is not for the faint of heart. It pushes all the taboos, and because it does Amazon has so far refused to carry it.  It can only be purchased through the publisher’s website. One reviewer said: “Yes, it does push boundaries, but it also holds surprises that make it more than it appears to be and definitely an interesting and entertaining read.”

Science said male/female identical twins were impossible until the Alastair twins were born. Were Alina and Alain genetically encoded or did growing up in an isolated island castle determine they walk the forbidden trails?

Blurb:

The Alastair twins are a scientific impossibility. To parents who’ve tried every way to have a child, their male and female identical twins are a miracle.

Isolated in their island castle, the Alastair twins Alain and Alina turn to each other for friendship and love. But when their love shifts from fraternal to frighteningly deep, they’ll each dance with their lust in their own way.

A dark fantasy of forbidden longings and midnight pledges, spoken only to be broken or kept. How can these phenomenal twins possibly unleash their innermost desires? The answer will shock you.

Excerpt:

Rory rushed him, grabbing his shirtfront, his fist drawn back to strike. Alain raised a defense. The horses snorted, hooves scrambling on cobbles. Aiden Alastair strode into the barn hall, assessing the situation at a glance.

“By all that’s holy!” Father’s hands fisted. “Have you both taken leave of your senses?”

Rory freed Alain with a shove. “I’m rearranging your son’s pretty face. You’ve said yourself that Alain’s too pretty for his own good.” The old, familiar humiliation and pain twisted in Alain, but he squared his shoulders, and with blood on his mouth, faced his father. His brother-in-law’s lips curled in a mocking smile. “I was just trying to help you out, Lord Alastair.” He put hateful emphasis on the title.

Alastair crossed his arms, glaring at his son-in-law. “You’re my daughter’s husband and as such this is your home, but I won’t tolerate fighting beneath my roof.”

Rory hung his head, staring at the cobbles, said nothing. His stiff posture sagged.

Father’s eyes found Alain. His expression altered from angry to hurt. “I would have expected more of you. Did you start this?”

Of course, he’d jumped to the conclusion Alain was to blame. He was always ready to believe the worst of his only son. He could tune them out, suppress his feelings and stoically endure. But not this time. Damage, like love and hate, came in degrees. All his life Alain had suffered at this man’s clumsy hand. He arched an eyebrow.

Rory’s gaze lifted to Alain’s face. He gasped, “Don’t.”

~*~

About Bianca:

Bianca lives in the Lone Star State with her baby grand piano and is very fond of her snazzy convertible whose name is Zippy Z. She enjoys reading, horses, symphony, theater, and writing. She still believes in the power of love—and the power of lust—and enjoys delving into the soul of both the L-Words, bringing to life hot, passionate men and the lucky, passionate women who love them.

You can find Bianca at:

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/bianca.swan.589

Web Site:  https://www.biancaswan.com/

Blog:            https://biancaswanblog.wordpress.com/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4573416.Bianca_Swan

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April Featured Books – Find New & Amazing Authors!!! #AHAgrp #BookWorm #AmReading #Ebooks

Looking for something new and fabulous to read? Try these…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Veterinarian Henrietta Manville answered a call for a coroner more than once and this time Ranger Tanner would be her guide. She was attracted to the man—who wouldn’t be? But they both had a job to do and then never see one another again. Keep it business was her motto in life and it had kept her safe so far.

 

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Rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina to lick his wounds and take over running the family ranch, the Lazy M, unaware danger awaits. Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. Needing time away, she agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at her ranch. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships before giving in to their desire. Danger lurks after Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch. And when a body is found, Dillon is determined to discover who wants the McCoy land bad enough to commit murder. Can he and Diana elude the killer while the sparks of their newfound love grow?

 

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When celebrated international purse designer, Katherine Watson, hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: ‘Murder at the Gala Premiere.’ But after a dead body is found during the event, that’s exactly what happened.

Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner, Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When a tyrant in stilettos replaces her beloved boss, and her ex snags her coveted job, teacher Dana Narvana discovers there are worse things than getting dumped on Facebook. Time for the BFF advice squad, starting with Dana’s staunchest ally, Alex—hunky colleague, quipster, and cooking pal extraordinaire. But when the after hours smooching goes nowhere, she wonders why this grown man won’t make up his mind.

Alex Bethany’s new lifestyle gives him the confidence to try online dating. What he craves is a family of his own until a life-altering surprise rocks his world. He knows he’s sending Dana mixed messages. Alex panics when he thinks he’s blown his chance with his special person. From appetizers to the main course will these two cooking buddies make it to dessert?

Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After one concussion too many, Ben Leit is done as the NFL’s golden boy quarterback. Then his father, who was about to expose a bombshell sports scandal, is murdered.

Mimi Fitzroy, CIO for Rex Sports International, panics as she discovers thousands of stolen emails that prove Rex is breaking federal laws—big time. As Ben and Mimi work together to find a killer, they also find a connection they weren’t expecting and didn’t want.

They are headed for an explosive showdown in Seattle…and not everyone will walk away.

 

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Happy Re-Release Day to Me!! Soul Seducer ~ #AHAgrp #WRPbks #ParanormalRomance

 

Audra Grayson became a nurse in order to help save lives. But one night after a brutal beating, she almost loses her own. The near-death experience opens a door between the world of the living and the world beyond. Two Grim Reapers invade her life. One is charming, with the angelic blonde looks of a saint and the black soul of a psychopath. The other is dark, dangerously attractive and, in spite of her distaste for his reaper duties, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him.

When Audra’s patients begin to die unexpectedly and her loved ones are threatened, she will risk her life—even her soul—to save them. But can she risk her heart to an inhuman being whose very purpose is to take those she is trying to save?

Excerpt

Audra whirled. Dimitri stood a few feet behind her. He once more wore the leather jacket. His brow was drawn into a frown.

“Dimitri. You came.”

“What’s wrong?”

He moved closer, lowering his head to stare into her face. Her breath caught when the electric spark reached out to her.

“I didn’t know how it worked,” she murmured, her mouth suddenly dry. “I wasn’t sure you’d hear me.”

“Of course I heard you. You were yelling loud enough to wake the dead. No pun intended.”

She didn’t smile. “Gaylen. Do you know where he is?”

He shook his head. “Not at the moment. Did something happen?”

“Yes,” she whispered. “My patient. Mr. Neufeld. I think Gaylen…killed him.”

Dimitri reached a hand out as if to take hold of her arm. Although he couldn’t physically touch her, somehow it seemed as though he did. His hand hovered near her elbow, and she let him lead her to one of the visitor’s chairs. When she was seated, he took the other chair. Leaning forward, he rested his clasped hands between his knees.

“Tell me what happened.” His voice was low, mesmerizing…soothing. Not what one would expect from a dealer of death.

“Mr. Neufeld was scheduled for gall bladder surgery tomorrow. Nothing life threatening. I was with him only moments before, and he was fine. Then…” She looked down to where her hands rubbed back and forth over her thighs. “I saw Gaylen. Outside my patient’s room. He went in. Walked right through the door. By the time I got to him…”

“The man was dead.”

She lifted her head and nodded. “Gaylen was standing there, looking…satisfied, happy even. He killed him, didn’t he?”

Dimitri sighed and unclasped his hands. Resting an elbow on the arm of the chair, he rubbed his temple. “It seems so. I should have been there. I didn’t know.”

“You could have stopped him if you’d been there?” He nodded. “Then why weren’t you? Can’t you just follow him around? Make sure he doesn’t do things like this?”

He grinned, dimples appearing briefly. “I can’t just follow him around. For one, I have duties to perform. For another, I don’t always know when he’s up to his…shenanigans. Occasionally, I get a feeling…a premonition of sorts. Sometimes, I arrive just a few seconds behind, like at the mall, too late to stop him. There are times when I arrive ahead of him. In that case, he can’t do anything, because another reaper is already there. But it’s all just random and luck and timing. No pattern, no rules to follow, nothing I can do to ensure he doesn’t continue taking souls before their time.”

She wasn’t entirely convinced he spoke the truth. Dimitri was a reaper, too. He took lives, just like Gaylen. But there was something different about Gaylen. He seemed to delight in what he did. Then again, maybe Dimitri did, too, but he was just better at hiding it.

 

https://www.bookbub.com/books/soul-seducer-by-alicia-dean

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How to Catch An Editor’s Eye, or Ear, or Heart by Editor Kaycee John ~ #AHAgrp #Blog

How to Catch An Editor’s Eye, or Ear, or Heart

Writing is difficult, and rewarding. It is lonely, and feeds the creative urge we were all born with. For some it looks easy, effortless. For others, writing is like pregnancy: never ending in the duration and brutally painful in the delivery. In the end it is the best feeling in the world when you hold your ‘baby’ in your hands.

Presenter Bio:

Published author and editor Kaycee John honed her presentation skills the same way she learned most of life’s lessons–the hard way.

As the director of a victim advocacy agency she often found herself standing at the front of classrooms filled with raw police recruits, women’s studies and criminal justice majors, and emergency medicine providers, dispelling the myths that surround sex crimes and teaching effective techniques for dealing with victims of violence. Then came press conferences, op ed pieces for the local papers and news bites on the nightly news. All this while raising three terrific kids and working weekends as a nursing supervisor.

These days she speaks from a different POV: as a once fledgling author who survived the trenches of rejection and learned how to turn her stories into award winners. She knows the pain of less than encouraging comments from contest judges and acquiring editors so is determined to pay it forward and help others turn so-so submissions into contract offers.

  1. Follow the rules of the publisher you are submitting to. If they ask for a double space partial, one inch margins on all four sides, written in Courier or Times New Roman font, do it. If they don’t publish inspirational or erotica, do not submit the hottest, sexiest thing ever to come down the pike because it’s the best thing you’ve ever written and all your pals think it’s the bomb. If the publisher asks for a partial [usually the first three chapters not to exceed fifty pages], send the first three chapters and don’t go over fifty pages. Trying an end-run doesn’t work.
  1. Great characters are unique and believable, right down to the warts on their big toes. They hang with interesting people and live in cool places–real or invented. And while we’re talking about where a character lives, treat the setting as another character in the book. For each lead, use their choices in food, movies/TV, reading for pleasure, sports heroes [or anti-sports] and style of underwear as a way to flesh them out. Don’t be afraid to take risks. A woman who routinely dresses in severe dark colored suits, ankle breaker heels and pristine white blouses paints a picture of a no-nonsense ball-buster career woman. What if she wears sheer lingerie underneath the suit, or maybe none at all. What if that same no-nonsense professional is drawn to a man in hip-hugging jeans, wrinkled flannel shirt over a ratty t-shirt and muddy boots? To me, her tastes in men make her a three dimensional character over a woman who plays it safe by sticking to her side of the professional fence. Trust me, opposites do attract in real life and in fiction.
  1. Keep things, like the setting, simple. Draw yourself a map if you like and refer to it as often as you need in order to keep characters’ actions logical and purposeful. On this map, mark in the churches, schools, laundromat, bars, post office and grocery stores. Have a working knowledge of what the area is like during each season. There’s nothing worse than an author who has her characters taking a quick dip in the outdoor pool in the middle of May in Western New York. As a long-term resident of Western New York, NO ONE deliberately swims in an outdoor pool at this time of year–unless they certifiable or card carrying members of the local Polar Bear club.
  1. Pay attention to the voices of each character, both primary and secondary. A person with little formal education or who is still in their teens is not often going to use multi-syllabic words–unless they possess an off the scale IQ. As an editor I don’t need to be reaching for a dictionary because I don’t know what a word means. Likewise, don’t have each character use the same vernacular. For example, the word “Aye-yuh” is a commonly used phrase in Central New York where I was raised. Perhaps in reality every adult in the small town of Fabius NY says “Aye-yuh” when trying to convey they agree or understand what the speaker is saying. As much as I don’t like reaching for a dictionary; I don’t like needing a score card in order to keep characters straight.
  1. Build the story around characters who have well-defined Goals, Motivation and Conflict. If a character doesn’t have a logical and realistic goal, with logical and realistic motivation, I don’t want to read about them. If a story doesn’t have conflict, internal and external, don’t send it my way. To simplify: Hannah Heroine wants ____ [goal] because ______ [motivation] but ______ is preventing her from achieving or attaining that goal [conflict]. It works really well if Henry the Hero has goals and motivation which are in direct conflict with what Hannah wants.
  1. I’d like to talk a bit about sexual tension. If you plan a romance or perhaps a romantic suspense, carefully and slowly work the attraction into the story. Personal interest is one thing–and is important to mention by the time page 20 has rolled around. Don’t have your characters, especially those who just met five minutes ago, be thinking about what the other looks like naked. Too Much Too Soon.
  1. Show don’t tell. Don’t tell me Allison, age fifty, is exhausted and leave it there. Show me her pale, pinched features; the slow drag in her gait and slumped posture. Don’t tell me the meal Hannah and Henry shared was delicious. Show me the juices seeping from the cut of steak, the steam rising from Henry’s baked potato, the burst of tart cranberries filling Hannah’s mouth with the first bite of a fresh from the oven muffin. It might be cold as a witch’s butt in Western New York in February. Show me the frost on the windows, the impassable roads and bitter bone-wracking chills that make sleep impossible.
  1. Point of View. On a personal level, I prefer reading third person POV. As an editor, first person makes me sigh and ask ‘why did the author do this?’. Omniscient POV–like some unseen, all knowing being floats over the action, telling the reader what each characters thinks and feels, gnashes my molars into dust. And head hopping makes me nuts. Some NYT’s multi-published authors pull it off–and do it well. When you’re first starting out, keep it simple. Stay in one character’s head. It’s safer for all concerned.
  1. Passive Voice. In the words of Stephen King: adverbs are not our friends. Please don’t have a character ‘jokingly ask’ or ‘laughingly remark’. Let them joke–straight out. Have them laugh, long, loud and deep. Keep the adverbs in the desk drawer where they belong. Make your sentences strong and active. Keep ‘was’ ‘were’ ‘could’ ‘would’ out of your prose.

Examples: Jane could hear the fear in Dick’s voice. BETTER: Jane heard fear in her lover’s voice, saw angst in his furrowed brow and hunched shoulders.

Dick was standing there, waiting impassively for the train to arrive. BETTER: Frozen in place,  Dick waited in line with the rest of the late evening commuters for the last train to arrive.

  1. Please, please, please remember: evaluation of any submission is one person’s opinion. Before I am an editor, I am a reader. If a story doesn’t grab me, I’m likely not going to offer a contract. Following the Wild Rose Press philosophy, as well as my own, it’s my job to tell a reader why the story doesn’t ‘work’ for me. It’s not personal. But . . . if different people, such as critique partners or other editors are saying the same thing about your writing, pay attention to it. As one person, my opinion might be off the wall; three people who make the same observation make a difference. Listen.

Lastly, here are two excellent references for authors, new and maybe not so new:

Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell

Fire Up Your Fiction by Jodie Renner.  Both are excellent sources.

 

Thanks for letting me run my mouth, Alicia. It’s been great.

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Author Interview with Zeppy Cheng & New Release: The Lesser One, #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Zeppy Cheng…

Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I live alone in Wisconsin. I have no pets but desperately want a guinea pig. I grew up in So Cal.

Where did you get the idea for the title for The Lesser One?  

The title of my book is a direct reference to how my main character starts in the story. I enjoy mixing fantasy and modern themes. The story was inspired by WuXia novels and comics from China—at least, the magic system was.

What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?

The most difficult thing about writing a book is keeping at it and not giving up. This book had a lot of characters that I had to keep track of.

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

Ender’s Game, or maybe The Lord of the Rings. Both are seminal works that I really enjoy.

Do you collect anything?

I collect Magic: The Gathering cards.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why?  

I love the Eragon series, unironically, because it is a story of someone young being successful despite their situation.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book?

The moral that you don’t have to start powerful to do great things.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

No review.

What is your favorite quote?

Deep Thought answering “42” to the question of “what is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?

At least ten.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I was scathingly reviewed for my bad editing practices in my first review. The best was when my story was called “A beautiful display of possibilities.”

How did your interest in writing originate?

My mom wanted me to do something besides play video games. So I chose to write.

Blurb:

Forty years ago portals opened all around the world, leading to dungeons with dangerous monsters inside, monsters that can escape into the real world and do incredible damage. At the same time, people began manifesting spirits that allowed them to fight back.

Markus Red just manifested his spirit and it’s a weak one, the weakest one there is. But he squeezes into the position of Adventurer and is sent to Ixtham Academy, where he’ll learn to fight those monsters and destroy the dungeons invading New York City. He is on the lowest rung, but he soon finds an ally in Dr. Barrimore, an eccentric scientist with views that no one else seems to take seriously.

Together the two of them work on a project that will change everything Markus is. But will surviving at the bottom give him the power and courage he’ll need to make it to the top?

Dungeons and Dragons meets Harry Potter in this new, imaginative urban fantasy that will keep you turning pages long into the night!

Excerpt:

I stand before a judge. His sweeping, long hair is tied back in a ponytail that sticks up above his skull like a rocket engine. His eyes burn into my soul, and the souls of the ten initiates beside me.

Today is my discovery ceremony. The skyline of New York towers outside the window of the penthouse temple.

To the judge, today is another day like any other. But to me, this is all that fifteen years of life has been leading to. I hope that I will be special.

The judge takes off his cloak, holding his arms together.

“I am about to activate my companion spirit,” he says, his eyes level. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to see.”

A low rumble grows from the floor and circles the judge’s podium. The lights in the room darken, as if a curtain has been cast over them. The sunlight coming through the window suddenly appears sickly and dangerous.

A powerful light emerges from the judge’s body. The image of a wolverine, eyes blazing red, leaps out of the judge’s back. Wind circulates through the room. The chandelier tinkles as it rotates back and forth. My clothes ripple in the moving air.

Several of the initiates take a step back, afraid. I am not. I stand where I am, facing the monster before me.

The judge opens his arms and a ball of crystal light floats out from the podium.

“You,” he says, pointing to the girl who stands at the left-most of the lineup. “Place your palm against the sphere.”

The girl steps up. She is hesitant. With a cautious motion, she touches the sphere with her hand.

A small flicker of light dances through her hair. The ball lights up, slightly.

“A computer mouse. Household object.” The judge appears satisfied. He flicks his fingers and a piece of paper appears where there was none before. “Here is your job assignment.”

The judge moves to the next initiate, a boy with curly red hair, wearing a windbreaker. The boy approaches the ball. He does not need to be told.

When he touches the ball, a burst of sparks pops out of its surface. His hair sticks up on end. The image of an electrical socket floats above his head.

“Electrical socket. Household object.” The judge hands the boy the same piece of paper.

The judge continues.

Yellow beams of light. “Banana. Lesser food object.”

A red circle that spins quickly. “Gear assembly type two. Minor mechanical system.”

A spout of water, steaming hot. “Teapot. Household object.”

The judge turns to me. “Step up,” he says.

I step up. Touching the ball, I wait for something to happen.

Nothing happens. The judge appears confused. He checks his tablet. “Markus Red. It says here you awakened your spirit potential a week ago.”

I nod.

“Touch the ball again,” he says.

I touch it. The ball changes color almost imperceptibly.

The judge sighs. “Anima.”

I tilt my head. “Anima?” I say.

The judge nods. He seems to think for a moment, and then flicks his fingers. A piece of paper is handed to me.

The words read: Adventurer. The judge sighs. “I know I’m  going to get flak for this decision, but we just don’t have enough manpower.” It appears he is explaining things to himself rather than me.

“Manpower?” I say.

The judge nods, his eyes already turning to the next initiate. “Touch the ball …”

Later, on the subway heading back home, I take another look at the paper that was handed to me.

It’s actually an envelope. The job assignment is written on its face. I tear the envelope open and a plastic card drops out. It has my picture on it and all my physical information. At the bottom, it says, in small red letters:

Companion spirit: Blue Anima.

I don’t know what that means.

Along with the card is a couple of pieces of paper with instructions.

I must report to the New York Adventurer’s Association within two days of receiving my companion spirit.

A small voice echoes in my mind. I have not heard it before.

Hello … Hello …

I do my best to ignore it. Something about the voice makes me feel uncomfortable. Does it have to do with my companion spirit? I don’t know. All I know is that I now am among the few in this world who have awakened their spirit potential.

I decide to report to the Association now. I don’t have anything to do, after all. Today is a Sunday. I don’t have any homework, and I have no friends to hang out with.

I ride the subway to the stop closest to the Adventurer’s Association. Passing by my favorite dollar-slice pizza store, I approach the Association’s building. It is a gigantic tower, at least seventy stories tall, the entire thing dedicated to the New York Adventurer’s Association.

I approach the entrance. A security guard stops me.

“Your reason for visiting?”

I hand him the piece of paper that came with the envelope I just opened. The guard looks it over. “Right this way,” he says. I follow him into the building’s grand entrance.

Marble pillars march towards a far-away row of elevators. A waterfall coats the atmosphere in a thin covering of mist. Exotic plants line the walls. Several sitting rooms, tucked quietly away in the corners, host chatting adventurers.

I can tell because of their armor. Bright metal, dark cloaks, studded leather. The gear of an adventurer.

It finally hits me—I’m going to be an adventurer! Protecting the world from dungeon portals! I’m going to be famous!

That thought is put out of my mind by my meeting with the receptionist. She looks at my ID card and frowns.

“Who did your awakening?” she says, sliding the card underneath a reader.

“Er, um, judge Erin.”

The receptionist sighs. “I trust his judgement, but I don’t understand his thinking.”

“Why?” I say.

The receptionist shakes her head. “Don’t worry about it. The decision has been made.” She hands me the card back, pointing to a bank of elevators. “You’ll have your meeting with the coordinator in room 1204.” She turns away to answer a phone. I stand there, stupidly, for another fifteen seconds, before turning towards the elevators.

Room 1204 … That means it would be on floor twelve. Probably. I wait for the elevator to arrive.

When it does, two armed adventurers walk out. I recognize one of them.

“Fast T!” I say, without thinking.

The adventurer, a thin, lanky man with small armor plates all over his body, looks at me with disinterest.

The lady beside him elbows him. “You have a fan.”

Fast T sighs, visibly irritated. He looks at me. “What, you want an autograph?”

I shake my head. “No. I, uh, I just became an adventurer.”

“What’s your familiar spirit?” says Fast T.

“Er, Blue Anima,” I say.

Fast T sighs again. “Yeah, don’t get your hopes up, kid,” he says. He turns away.

The woman touches his shoulder. “Come on, tell him something supportive,” she says.

Fast T pauses. He turns to me. “Be careful out there.” It appears he is forcing it. Then he turns away.

As they leave, I hear the woman say: “You could have been nicer …”

Even though the encounter didn’t go like I had imagined it many times before, I had still met Fast T, one of my favorite adventurers.

**************************

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Lesser-One-Zeppy-Cheng-ebook/dp/B08ZMBNP74/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Lesser+One&qid=1618060064&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

About the Author:

 Zeppy Cheng lives in Wisconsin, where it is very cold in the winters. He enjoys anime, writing books, and Magic: The Gathering.

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Author Kara O’Neal ~ New Release: Destiny’s Secrets – #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, author friend, Kara O’Neal….

I’m so excited to introduce you to Andrew and Ben, mischief-making twins, who are private investigators and catch the case of their life. They must reunite sisters who were kidnapped and torn apart at ages 3 and 2.

I have to tell you that my fingers flew over the buttons of my laptop on this one. There was so much to write, so many characters to flesh out. And I absolutely adore that steadier, calmer, and quieter Andrew gets trail-blazing, pants-wearing, veterinarian, Jo Tatum as his lady love, while fun-loving, never serious, mischievous Ben ends up with Charlotte Ryan, a math wizard who has more courage in her pinky than you can shake a stick at.

These sisters don’t know each other, and Andrew and Ben must bring them together. It’s a story filled with joy, sorrow and bravery. I loved writing every word of it.

 

A long-ago murder, sisters separated as children, and two brothers, private investigators, who have caught the job of their lives…

Pike’s Run, Texas, 1882

Andrew and Ben Lonnigan, brothers and private investigators, have accepted an important case—to reunite the long-lost DuBois daughters with their rightful inheritance. Abducted from their childhood home in New Orleans when they were three and two-years-old, Jo and Charlotte were adopted by separate families.

Andrew heads north to find Josephine Tatum—a pants-wearing, spitfire veterinarian who challenges his mind and captures his heart. Ben travels south to find Charlotte Ryan—the financial mind behind her father’s ranch, with a sweet disposition and, unfortunately, a fiancé.

As the sisters journey toward destiny, Charlotte must guard her heart against Ben, a man too daring to ever return her love. And Andrew must hide his feelings from Jo, a woman determined to carve her own path. While the foursome battle feelings, they must also war with a villain from the sisters’ past, one with the will and the means to destroy everything the DuBois daughters hold dear.

Excerpt

“You aren’t gonna talk just because I won’t sleep in the tent with you?” Andrew asked.

Jo took a deep breath and glared at him, trying to rein in her temper.

“That’s more of a punishment for you than me,” he went on. “I’m not much for conversation. My brother is better at it. I prefer silence, but you sure seem ready to explode with things to say.”

He looked at her with such ease that her good sense left her. “I think it’s rude of you to tell me outright that you find me ugly.”

“When did I say that?” he replied.

“When you told me you weren’t going to sleep in the tent with me.”

He made a face. “No, I don’t think I said that.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. You implied it.”

“No, you inferred it. I implied something altogether different.”

She sat ramrod straight. “What do you mean? What else could you have meant?”

He shrugged. “Maybe I can’t share that cramped space with you because I find you too damned attractive.”

She reared back.

“Maybe I’m trying to protect you from my inability to leave you be and not touch you.” He watched her carefully, his gaze direct and intent.

Her breath came more quickly. “Do you mean to tell me…that you…you find me desirable?”

“I do.”

She almost declared the ridiculousness of the statement. But it wasn’t. Not at all. It shouldn’t be. What was absurd was his honesty. And even more unbelievable…she tried the control of someone as disciplined as he.

Pleasure burst through her. She couldn’t help but grin at him.

He cursed.

The heat in his gaze made her pulse race, and she stood.

He shot to his feet.

And now she picked up on his nervousness. It was subtle, but she could tell he considered running away. He’d given her a powerful piece of information, and he didn’t even know if she found him attractive.

She walked the ten paces necessary to get to him.

He didn’t back away, but she could sense he steeled himself against whatever she planned.

“You can sleep in the tent with me. I’d like that very much.” She heard the husky note in her voice.

His brown eyes went warm, and her body melted. She refrained from leaning into him.

“We probably ought not to,” he ground out.

“Why?” she murmured, stepping even closer. Her breasts almost pressed against his chest. “I won’t tell anyone.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Have you done this before?”

“What?”

“Seduced a man.”

“Is that what I’m doing?”

“Yes,” he clipped.

 

  Buy link: https://books2read.com/u/bzeoKE

Bio  

Born and raised in Texas, I had to make the state the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

 

Website –  http://www.karaoneal.com

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Blog — http://www.karaoneal.com/blog

Blog – The Story Continues — http://www.karaoneal.com/the-story-continues

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