Saturday, August 17, 2019

Book Tour and Giveaway: After She Became a Lady by Wareeze Woodson

Title: After She Became a Lady
Author: Wareeze Woodson
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: September 25th 2016
Genre: Historical Regency Romantic Suspense 
~
Laurel Collingsworth, seventeen and deeply in love, expects to marry her hero and live in wedded bliss forever after. Instead, with the ink barely dry on the marriage lines, Lord Robert Laningham is called away to Spain and the war. With a heavy heart, she sends her husband off with a kiss and a prayer for his safe return.

Now alone in her new role of Lady Laningham, she faces a series of terrifying events, shadowy intruders, missing jewelry, and mysterious footfalls in the night. Added to her alarms, she must fight her hostile sister-in-law for the reins of her husband’s establishment.

When Lord Robert Laningham returns, can she convince him danger stalks the halls of the ancient mansion? In his wounded state, will he listen, or must she protect her child, her recovering husband, and her household by herself?

My dearest cousin, Adron,

When you receive this writ, I shall be married. Coward I may be, but I have yet to inform my sister. I shall do so with all haste—just as soon as I have fathomed the best way of doing so. Dastardly, you would say were you present, but that is my decision.

After all the young ladies paraded before me at the marriage mart, I’ve finally found the one. Not at Almack’s, as one would suppose, but at a small house party given by the Matthews. I’ve never experienced such attraction to a young lady before. I can’t deny my caring, my strong desire for her. In my mind’s eye, I can see you smiling with your mouth lifted on one side and thinking ‘how revolting’.

I admit I do have a silly grin on my face. At this moment, I am the happiest man on earth. Call me daft, but Laurel is the most wonderful girl, beautiful in face and form. I can’t sing her praises enough. Just thinking of her with her lovely blonde hair curling down her back, and her eyes of azure blue staring up at me, melts my insides. She’s kind and sweet, which only adds to her loveliness. I only wish you could be here when we marry.

Her aunt gave us permission. She entered into Laurel’s voiced sentiments on the depth of her devotion. Being of a kind disposition, she didn’t want to break Laurel’s heart with a rejection of my suit. As I am to soon rejoin my regiment in the Peninsular, we shall marry by special license two days hence.

I cannot credit that the day has come when I am most heartily grateful for the endless, reproachful tirades and tears with which Rhonda so ardently protested the worth of any of the ladies I once thought to court. Unlikely as it sounds, she saved me, Adron. Had it not been for her melodramatics, I may have married for necessity instead of want.

Even so, there shall be tears this time, too. A veritable river of the bloody things, I suspect for she shall detest being replaced as mistress of my estate. I’ll have a battle royal on my hands.

He pleated his brows and rolled the quill between his fingers before applying ink to the paper again.

Perhaps I should allow her to remain in charge of the household until Laurel finds the way of it. After all, Laurel is young and doesn’t have the necessary experience to handle such an undertaking without my guidance.

Yes. I’ve hit on the perfect notion. If I present Rhonda with a young sister-in-law to train, that should restore her shattered self-esteem. That’s what I shall do. I will present her with my wife, not merely a betrothed. Hopefully, she may manage to contain her emotions as proper manners dictate. In any event, I shall deal with the situation when the occasion arises.

With any luck, we’ll kick the little general’s troops back to France in a matter of a few months. Laurel shall be mine, and I can face anything to return to her. Wish me well. I’ll be with you anon.

Your Friend and Cousin,
Robert Laningham
I write historical romance fiction novels set in the 1800s forward with a twist of suspense. All of my characters and stories that are portrayed in my books are fictitious. I am a native of Texas, but I have traveled through out America and beyond. As a dreamer, I love to visit new places where I can imagine a heroine meeting a hero in a special way. I'm an avid reader of (all sorts) and I love to write.

I married my high school sweat-heart and after having raised three sons plus one daughter, our love for each other remains unshaken. Now we enjoy our eight grandchildren. We can send them home, but we're always happy for their return.

Outside of my family activities, I sing with the Silver Belles at my church and hate to miss even one practice. The local chapter of RWA is also at the top of my list of pleasures. It keeps me grounded with craft and connected with other writers.

Most of all, I enjoy going fishing with my husband. Give me a pole and leave me alone to bask in the sun, listening to water gurgle along the riverbanks while allowing my mind to float away to some distance place. Ah! Perfect.

Inspiration for writing my book
Hello Friends,

Thank you for sharing your valuable time with me today. Allow me to introduce myself. My pen name is Wareeze Woodson. I write historical romance with a twist of suspense both Regency and Victorian. Perhaps as readers, you would enjoy a glimpse behind the curtain of writing a novel.
~
I would say there are several factors at work when contemplating writing a book. First thing, decide what genre you like the best. What genre do you read?

Personally, I like historical settings, with knights in castles before coping with more modern times such as the Regency period flowing into the next century. All historical romance is perfect for me. Although I like sys-fi and fantasy as long as those stories are filled with romance, I prefer make-believe without vampires, fairies and such to draw me into a story.

America has cowboys and Indians (which I adore) while England has its own story of Dukes, Viscounts, even Earls in the Ton along with colorful link boys and street urchins. The proper ladies and young misses along with tea and crumpets intrigue me. I rather like the gowns, the mannerisms of polite society when I read. I love to enter another century along with another country as well. Thus, After She Became a Lady.

Certainly it isn’t that simple. I wanted a heroine that would stand for her child, no matter what, loyal and caring. A heroine placed in a situation where she would find it necessary to use all within her to accomplish her goals to protect and nurture her child. Many women had to use cunning and courage to even survive.

In After She Became a Lady the heroine uses her brain to outwit criminals, to recognize the true worth of the hero in spite of his great flaws, her courage to face the hero down along with outwitting the killer and her caring to win the man of her heart while she protects her child. Lady Laurel Laningham is just such a heroine. Even with her faults, she is the perfect heroine for After She Became a Lady. That is what I aimed for, and I found it, my inspiration.

Respectfully,
Wareeze Woodson
Win a $15 Amazon gift card!
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Audiobook Blog Tour: Kissing Magic (Portals to Whyland Book 2) by Day Leitao


Audiobook Blog Tour: Kissing Magic by Day Leitao
Title: Kissing Magic
Series: Portals to Whyland Book 2
Author: Day Leitao
Narrator: Winona Owen
Length: 12 hours and 22 minutes
Publisher: Sparkly Wave
Released: Jun. 14, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
~

Kiss him. Don't fall in love.

Break a spell with a kiss. Karina has heard and seen enough weird stuff for this request to sound legit.

At 16, Karina has a shot at adventure--and an odd first kiss - when she's called to Whyland, a kingdom in another dimension, to save a guy she barely knows. Why her? No clue, but she's happy to help, and kissing Sian isn't torture, even if he isn't to be trusted. Karina's smart enough not to fall in love - or at least to tell herself not to.

Once in Whyland, she realizes that risking a broken heart is the smallest of her problems. When truths are unraveled, Karina will need to stand between an ancient darkness and the kingdom. But what hope does she have against mysterious powers when she can't even control her own heart?

If you like fantasy and adventure with a dash of romance, give Kissing Magic a try. This novel is recommended for listeners 13 and older. This is book two in Portals to Whyland series but you can jump straight into it without listening to book one.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Audible
Originally from Brazil, Day Leitao lives in Montreal, Canada. She likes stories with action, humor, and heart.

For more information, for a free novella, and to get news and updates, check out Day's website.
WebsiteFacebookGoodreadsInstagram
Q&A with Narrator Winona Owen
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • I think it has always been a part of me, because I have enjoyed reading aloud ever since I was in elementary school as a child. Every week during the Summer, I would ride my bike to the local library and check out books that I would read aloud outside to my Mom as she was sunbathing. She really enjoyed it and I loved having an audience with her. It later progressed to me reading aloud to my husband when we would go on road trips when we first got married. But it wasn’t until I discovered audiobooks through amazon prime myself last year after I was out of work for 8 weeks recovering from surgery. I was hooked as a listener and wanted to find out how I could do this myself.
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • Very similar to the above question, I fell in love with listening to audiobooks while I recovered from surgery last year in 2018. My husband has been a voice actor for over 3 years and has a recording studio in our home. He has mentioned to me for years that I should do voice overs as well. It wasn’t until I discovered audible that I knew it was something I wanted to do professionally. My husband took time to train me with the software and techniques, and I found ACX online to get me started with audiobooks narration.
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • I did not find it hard to break into audiobook narration and I firmly believe a few things helped me with this. Listening to audiobooks, especially ones narrated by females gave me a very good understanding of what an amazing audiobook is like, with different characters and inflections. Having a high quality recording studio in my home all ready to go was a huge blessing, along with my husband being able to guide me through any technical issues.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I think it certainly helps, being able to have that background as padding but I do not feel it is necessary to be successful. If you have an amazing reading voice, are able to communicate well with your author and/or publisher, and are comfortable reading for a long period of time, I believe you can do it! Personally, I want to learn even more with theatrics than I already do, to add to my set of skills with narration. I love learning and growing with what I am passionate about.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • Balancing your life will seriously take a life time to master, but I am doing my best to make sure that I have family time and fun, mixed in with my day job and my career of voice narration. I plan out my time in the studio and make sure I take breaks in between recordings and editing.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? 
    • Yes! I love audiobooks and there is something about listening to a good book, that makes the story come even more to life than just reading it. I subscribe to audible and every month I get new books to enjoy! I also consider it course work to study those who record as well.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • My favorite parts of narrating an audiobook would be to bring the story to life with my voice. To create a real voice for the characters and get lost in the story as I record. I truly feel like I become a character and am lost in that story while in the studio. It’s awesome! My least favorite part of recording would be when there are many typos and grammatical errors, resulting in re-recording the sentence and more work on my part. It is very frustrating when a part of the writing makes absolutely no sense due to a lack of good editing.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • Yes! I was recording one night when a thunderstorm had started. I didn’t realize it until I was almost done. When I listened to that take of the recording, there was a perfectly timed sound of thunder roll across. Oh how I wanted to keep it in the audio, but didn’t.
    • I would also say, that my 3 cats like to come downstairs to our studio and at times meow and paw at the door. Of course I have to pause my session, but it’s so cute.
    • And never record when you are hungry, because the mic will pick up those lovely rumbles in the audio lol!


Aug. 13th:

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

Country Road Reviews

Aug. 14th:

T's Stuff

One Last Page Book Blog

Aug. 15th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Aug. 16th:

Readeropolis

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Aug. 17th:

Momma Says To Read or Not to Read

All the Ups and Downs

Aug. 18th:

My Creatively Random Life

Jazzy Book Reviews

Turning Another Page

Aug. 19th:

Teatime and Books

The Book Addict's Reviews

Nesie's Place



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Friday, August 16, 2019

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Jade Hunters (Sinner's Grove Suspense #3) by A.B. Michaels

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Jade Hunters by A.B. Michaels. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt for you as well as a guest post about crime! There's also a tour wide giveaway! Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more excerpts, guest posts, interviews, reviews, and more. Enjoy!
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Title: The Jade Hunters
Series: Sinner’s Grove Suspense, #3
Author: A.B. Michaels
Publication Date: June 22nd 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
~
A Fortune in Stolen Jewels, a Centuries-old Vendetta: Let the Shell Game Begin.

Award-winning jewelry designer Regina Firestone is proud to exhibit her famous grandmother’s multi-million dollar “bauble” collection at the grand re-opening of The Grove Center for American Art, known among the locals as “Sinner’s Grove.”

The fact that she’s considering modeling the jewels in the nude like her grandmother did infuriates photographer Walker Banks, a co-owner of The Grove who’s in charge of the exhibit. Neither is willing to admit the real reason for the sparks between them.

Their spat takes a back seat when Reggie discovers that one of the most compelling pieces in the collection is not at all what it seems. Tracking down the truth will take the couple into the dark heart of a quest that’s lasted more than a century, one in which destroying human lives—including Reggie’s and Walker’s—means nothing in the pursuit of a twisted sense of justice.

The Jade Hunters is Book Three of Michaels’ contemporary series, Sinner’s Grove Suspense.” The series follows the descendants of characters introduced in Michaels’ historical fiction series, The Golden City.”

The Golden City: The Art of Love, The Depth of Beauty, The Promise, The Price of Compassion, and Josephine’s Daughter.

Sinner’s Grove Suspense: Sinner’s Grove, The Lair, and The Jade Hunters.

Note: All of A.B. Michaels’ novels are stand-alone reads. For more information, please visit abmichaels.com.


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EXCERPT:
“With what you went through today, are you okay now with getting the authorities to step in on this? Nothing is worth getting hurt over.” Walker gently tipped her chin up. “Nothing.”

She took a breath, knowing he was only trying to emphasize a point, but feeling that pull all the same. Professional. Keep it professional. “I suppose you’re right—”

At that moment the satchel she’d dropped on the dining room table began to buzz.

“That’s probably my Aunt Beth. She’s been trying to reach me off and on today, but she’s a talker, and I just don’t have the energy, so I haven’t returned the call.”

Walker dropped his hand but didn’t move. “Best to check,” he said.

She leaned over him to pull the phone out. “Oh, it’s my cousin Ava,” she said. “Let me get it.”

It took less than a minute for Reggie to feel the earth drop underneath her.

“Oh my God,” she cried.

“What?” Walker touched her again. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t believe it. No, it can’t be. Are you sure?”

On the other end of the line, Ava didn’t sugar coat it. “They found him stabbed to death in the Tenderloin along with some call girl, Chandra somebody. Just thought you ought to know.”

“Th ... thanks. I’ll get back to you.” Stunned, Reggie ended the call.

“For God’s sake, tell me what happened,” Walker demanded.

“It’s Uncle Allen,” she said, tears beginning to fall. “He’s been murdered.”
---

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A native of California, A.B. Michaels holds masters’ degrees in history (UCLA) and broadcasting (San Francisco State University). After working for many years as a promotional writer and editor, she turned to writing fiction, which is the hardest thing she's ever done besides raise two boys. She lives with her husband and two spoiled dogs in in Boise, Idaho, where she is often distracted by kayaking, playing bocce, and trying to hit a golf ball more than fifty yards. Her historical fiction series, “The Golden City,” explores America’s Gilded Age and its effect on characters, both real and fictional, while her contemporary series, “Sinner’s Grove Suspense,” follows descendants of The Golden City as they navigate today’s equally treacherous waters.

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GUEST POST:
My Short-lived Brush with Crime
by A.B. Michaels
I’ve written eight books and none of them could be classified as “crime fiction.” Yet it occurred to me recently that every story contains an element of wrongdoing, ranging from fraud, theft, and vandalism to assault, kidnapping and even murder. And now I’m researching material for a new mystery series that will no doubt contain lots of illegal behavior.

Why this fascination with wrongdoing? Could it be that perhaps I possess a criminal mind?

I do have a short but intense history of lawlessness that has stayed in my memory to this day.

I was seven.

I grew up in a small town in northern California during an idyllic time when most parents weren’t afraid to let their children out of the yard. A few blocks away from our house (the first tract home in town, by the way), was a “smoke shop.” My crime spree began there, with the theft of a piece of candy off the shelf.

Emboldened, I followed up with other small thefts, leading to something I truly coveted: a new Barbie doll head. In those days if you had a brunette Barbie and you wanted a redhead, you could buy just her head. In retrospect it seems gruesome but I suspect the practice petered out only because there was less profit in selling just body parts. (btw, I checked online and you can still buy heads on eBay!)

Stealing the redheaded head might have been the gateway to more horrific crimes except that eventually I got caught—and in the most embarrassing way possible.

One day my mother took my brother and me to a nearby town for his dental appointment. While he suffered under the drill, I wandered over to the Ben Franklin five and dime store next door. There I spied a pen refill—a pen refill!!—and stuck it in my pocket. Keep in mind, I have no idea why I chose that item to steal. I didn’t even use pens at the time, much less refills—I was only seven, remember. Regardless, the manager caught me red-handed.

“Where is your mother?” he demanded as I quaked in my metaphorical boots.

“Next door,” I managed.

“I’ll tell you what,” he said, “You promise to go get your mother and bring her back, and I’ll let you go.”

“Okay,” I stammered.

Looking back on that scene, of course the wisest move would have been to run out that door and never look back. That’s what a true criminal would have done. But no. In fear for my life, I ran to the dentist’s office, got my mom, and brought her back to the store so the manager could tell her what I’d done.

I can picture, even now, sitting in the back seat of the car on the way home and my mother’s piercing glare from the rearview mirror as she said, “I am so disappointed in you.”

That was the extent of my punishment, but it was enough. The shame I felt for letting my mother down was palpable. From that point on, I worked to rehabilitate myself and never again used my light-fingered prowess to take something I hadn’t paid for.

It’s been a long time since those crime-ridden days, and even though I’m a do-gooder today, I still wonder what “might have been.” It’s a good thing I can put such reckless law-breaking on paper and call it a day!
GIVEAWAY:
A.B. Michaels will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter after the tour.
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Book Review: Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden

Title: Small Spaces
Series: Small Spaces #1
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 25th 2018
Genre: Middle Grade Horror
~
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn't think--she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with "the smiling man," a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn't have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: "Best get moving. At nightfall they'll come for the rest of you." Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie's previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver's warning. As the trio head out into the woods--bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them--the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: "Avoid large places. Keep to small."

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

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MY REVIEW:
I love creepy books, so when I came across Small Spaces by Katherine Arden, it immediately caught my attention. I don't normally read middle grade fiction, but I do make an exception for middle grade horror, and I'm really glad I had the chance to read Small Spaces.

Olivia, or Ollie as she prefers, is in middle school. She loves reading and books, so when she comes across a sobbing lady getting ready to throw a book in a river, she steals it before the woman has a chance to do so. Ollie thinks the book she stole is just a creepy ghost story, but she soon realizes it is anything but fiction! When her class goes on a field trip to a farm, Ollie realizes just how true the book is. When the field trip bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Ollie and two friends decided to leave the bus fearing that they may be in even worse danger if they stay on the bus. With the help of her broken watch from her deceased mother, Ollie must be very careful if she wants to return home unscathed.

I did enjoy the plot of Small Spaces. I felt like I was reading a R.L. Stine novel! Katherine Arden did such a fantastic job with this story in keeping it interesting. There were a few times were the story felt a little disjointed with what was going on as it sometimes seemed as if Small Spaces wanted to be more of a ghost story other than what it actually was. However, it was still a great plot! There was one plot twist I didn't see coming which I thought was great considering I'm an adult, and this is a middle grade story. Usually I can figure out the plot twists, but not this time! One thing that got me wondering is how all these 11 and 12 year old kids each had their own cell phone. I know it's not impossible for a whole class of junior high children to have a cell phone, but it just seems improbable. While most of my questions were answered, I was left pondering over the ending as to why more questions weren't asked by the police or the parents. Another question I had, I won't go into detail because of spoilers, but it pertained to the kids and the water. I'll just leave it at that. Although Small Spaces is a series, it can be read as a standalone as there is no cliff hanger ending.

The pacing for Small Spaces starts out a bit slow, but it picks up quickly to a fantastic pace a few chapters in. It stays at a decent pace for the majority of the book until it slows a little bit towards the ending. I wouldn't say the pacing lets the book down in any way though.

I felt all the characters in Small Spaces were written very well especially as the main characters were written as middle schoolers. I felt every character was solid. I didn't really care for Ollie's personality though. For the first half of the book, especially, she came across as a bully. As this book is aimed towards kids that are impressionable, it kind of irked me that the main character was a little mean to others. I liked Brian. I thought he seemed like he'd be a great kid in real life. I admire how he wasn't ashamed to show his emotions at certain times. My favorite character was Coco. Coco had just moved from the city to Ollie's middle school. She seemed really vulnerable, yet Ollie was mean to her a lot of the time. I just wanted to hug and protect Coco. She was such a sweet girl to everyone unlike Ollie. Coco came across as a happy go lucky girl.

Trigger warnings in Small Spaces besides being a scary story include death, minor violence, a minor profanity (one of the characters says hell), ghosts, and bullying.

All in all, Small Spaces is a fantastic scary read despite some minor flaws. It's got such a great spooky plot and characters that feel realistic. I would definitely recommend Small Spaces by Katherine Arden to everyone aged 10+ who love to be spooked! R.L. Stine better watch out; Katherine Arden could give him a run for his money judging by this book! Even though Small Spaces can stand on its own, I will definitely be reading the next book in the Small Spaces series.
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(Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an eBook of Small Spaces by Katherine Arden in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Fear Justice (The Fear Chronicles Book One) by C.C. Bolick

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Fear Justice by C.C. Bolick. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have a great excerpt for you as well as an author interview. There's also a tour wide giveaway! Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more excerpts, interviews, reviews, and more. Enjoy!
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Title: Fear Justice
Series: The Fear Chronicles Book One
Author: C.C. Bolick
Publisher: Dirt Road Books
Publication Date: April 25th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
~
Seventeen-year-old Rena Mason counts the days until she can leave for college. Every night her father drinks himself to sleep, leaving her to care for her younger brother. When her father is kidnapped by terrorists, her dreams of freedom become a nightmare.

Stunned that her father has a history with these terrorists, Rena knows she must run or be their next victim. She learns the tough guy at school has a reason to look after her - he's working for a government agency with the same goal as the terrorists: find a woman who disappeared eighteen years ago. Time is running out since only this woman's special gift can save the world from a looming nuclear attack.

Rena can't trust anyone, especially not the stone-cold agent she's falling for. Can they save the world before Rena's feelings trap her in an agent's fight for justice?

Fear Justice contains elements of fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal, with a clean romance. It's the first book in an exciting new series called The Fear Chronicles.

**The eBook will be on sale for $0.99 during this tour!**

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EXCERPT:
“Rena,” Dad said. “Are you okay?”

I turned to where he stood, a few feet from the camper’s door. “It’s nothing. Thought I heard a noise in the woods.”

He walked to the edge of trees and peered into the darkness beyond. In his right hand, he held a bottle of water. His left hand, bent and scarred making his fingers barely able to move, hung at his side. “There’s nothing here but a squirrel. Surely you’re not afraid of a squirrel.”

“I’m not afraid of anything,” I said.

Dad smiled and walked toward the water’s edge. “I believe you on that one.”

I moved to stand by his side. “Did you fix the pool?”

“Good as new or until someone else loses a retainer and stops it up. Are you thinking of going swimming?”

“Not tonight.”

“What are you thinking of, Rena?”

“Where did Coach Andrews find you?”

“Sleeping off a hangover in the back room of a bar down on Railroad Street. Jacob told me you were worried, and with good reason. I promise not to let that happen again.”

“I thought something might have happened to you. I should have called you when—”

Dad put an arm around my shoulders. “No, I should have called. I let my demons take over and I wasn’t here to look after you and Alfie.”

“We were fine.”

“Because of you. I never imagined you growing up without your mother. I always knew the day would come when you realized what I really am inside. Your brother still has a way to go.” He looked down at me. “Thank you for not making him hate me yet.”

“No one hates you, Dad. We just want you to be here. Really here, with us all the time, not out drinking.”

“I deserved that.” Pulling away, Dad moved closer to the water. “You’re strong, Rena, like your mother. And smart. Thank goodness you didn’t turn out like me.”

“I’ve been applying for scholarships. My counselor thinks I’ve got a good shot at getting money for school. I’ve kept a 4.0 in every class and I want to get into a school that teaches aerospace engineering.”

“You want to be an engineer?” His eyes stayed on the water. “That would make your mother proud.”

“What about you?”

“Everything you do makes me proud.”

“I want out of this town,” I said, barely above a whisper. “I don’t want to live like this.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

C.C. Bolick grew up in south Alabama, where she’s happy to still reside. She’s an engineer by day and a writer by night—too bad she could never do one without the other.

Camping, fishing… she loves the outdoors and the warm Alabama weather. For years she thought up stories to write and finally started putting them on paper back in 2006. If you hear her talking with no one to answer, don’t think she’s crazy. Since talking through her stories works best, a library is her worst place to write… even though it’s her favorite!

C.C. loves to mix sci-fi and paranormal—throw in a little romance and adventure and you’ve got her kind of story. She’s written nine books including the Leftover Girl series, The Agency series, and The Fear Chronicles.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW:
- Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
I dream up stories while trying to keep others from thinking I’m crazy. Maybe that’s no so weird. I’m OCD in ways that I try to hide except when I’m alone. I write notes on the back of receipts and even my hand if there’s nothing else to write on. My time with my friends and family belongs to them. My time to myself belongs to creating stories. When I’m not writing, I’m always reading at least a half-dozen books.

- What is your favorite quote and why?
If it weren’t for the bad times, the good times wouldn’t look so good. Got to have balance in life. If you need more of an explanation, watch The Matrix and listen as the agent explains how whole crops of people were lost when they couldn’t accept their programmed paradise as the real deal.

- Who is your favorite author and why? 
Stephen King, but not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. I’ve read several of his books, but my favorite is his memoir On Writing. I bought this book on a whim at a bookstore in Canada – figured I’d have some light reading on the plane back to Atlanta. No other book has transformed my view of writing and life so drastically.

- What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
The story has to draw me in. Since I like reading dialogue most, that’s what I spend the bulk of my time writing. I don’t incorporate long passages of details into my writing. And I know that’s not for everyone. As a reader, I sometimes skip long passages and go straight to the dialogue. I’ll re-read the other parts if vital to the story. I like fast-paced stories where I’m frequently required to use my imagination.

- Where did you get the idea for this book?
The character, Rena, came to me in a dream. Here was this fearless seventeen-year-old arguing with a government agent and falling for him at the same time. The young agent couldn’t touch her no matter how much he wanted to.
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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Midnight by J.V. Speyer


Title: Midnight
Author: J.V. Speyer
Publication Date: August 14th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
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Brandon loved Adrian, so when Adrian abruptly moved out of their apartment Brandon was devastated. Six weeks later Brandon is ready to start to ease his way back into life again, but a chance encounter leaves him questioning everything he thought he knew – about Adrian, their relationship, and himself.

His friends are there to see him through it, especially his best friend Greg. Greg wants what’s best for Brandon. He’s always wanted what’s best for Brandon, even when it’s not necessarily what’s best for Greg. As Adrian’s true nature is revealed, Greg starts to wonder if maybe what’s best for both of them wouldn’t be each other.

EXCERPT:
Brandon sat down on one of the chairs. “Yeah. I mean I know he had to hide. I knew that going in. A lot of guys had to do that. Most of them figure it out. And I’m not mad at him or anything. I just want to move on.” He frowned. ”What are you trying to get at here, Greg? Why does Adrian have anything to do with tonight’s party?”

Greg inclined his head down, toward the spot on the street that he hadn’t been able to tear his eyes from. “Because he’s been here this whole time.”

Brandon choked on his gin and tonic. “What?”

“He’s been sitting outside the condo, watching the building, this whole time. I mean, I get it.”

“I don’t!” Brendon declared, standing up again. He clutched his drink in his hand and couldn’t decide if he wanted to hurl it at the ex standing on the ground or if he wanted to go inside and hide. Throwing the glass would be wrong. It would be irresponsible; it would get people hurt. He didn’t want to hurt Adrian, even if this latest stunt was creepy and stalker-ish. “He’s the one who walked away. Why is he hanging around outside my building like some kind of lonely ghost?”

“He wanted your attention. He didn’t know how to get it, and his ploy backfired spectacularly. I think he regrets what he did.” Greg sighed. “I’ve been watching him all night, trying to figure out what to do. I was thinking about bringing him in.”

Brandon spun, bringing himself face to face with his best friend. “Why would you do that?”

“Because you love him, Bran!”

“So what? I’m moving on, trying to rebuild my life. Something you have not been shy about encouraging, I’ll point out. And you want to just… what, drag him back in here? What could that possibly accomplish?” He pulled at his hair.

“I thought it might give you guys a second chance.” Now it was Greg’s turn to sit down, flopping into one of the other patio chairs like it was the only thing holding him up. “I want to see you happy, Bran. I keep hopping this fence – I know you weren’t with the people who made you happy, but you seemed so perfect for each other. And I desperately want you to be happy.” He sighed heavily, gesturing back in Adrian’s general direction. “But I didn’t do it. The guy’s in his thirties. If he wanted to come up he could ring the doorbell like an adult.”

Brandon shook his head and rubbed Greg’s shoulders. “I knew I could trust you.” Greg leaned into the touch, just a little bit, and Brandon grinned. “I thought we established that Adrian can’t make me happy at this point. We’re not right for each other, even if we thought we were.”

“I know. I just don’t know what to do here.” He leaned back. “I mean, this is kind of creepy. He’s just out there, watching. If I’m not going to invite him inside, I probably ought to call the cops.”

Technically, Greg was right. Brandon probably ought to call the police, because no good ever came from one ex staking out the other’s home like this. “Do you think he’s dangerous?” Brandon hedged. “Seriously, has he said anything that’s struck you as dangerous?”

“Other than creepily hanging around outside your house? Nah. Not that he’d say anything to me, you know?” Greg snorted. “I’m pretty much the last person he’s talking to right now, except maybe you.”

“What do you mean?” Brandon’s arms froze on his friend’s shoulders.

“He’s all pissy because I lit into him about stalking you through the rally.” Greg waved a calloused hand in dismissal. “Like okay, fine, he wants to be with someone new. Okay. And so what if the guy’s an undergrad – it’s a little weird, he’s a little young for a midlife crisis but who am I to judge? But that whole thing – like anyone didn’t know what he was up to.” He shook his head again, and Brandon could feel his shoulders tensing up again underneath his hands. “I wasn’t going to just sit there and not say anything.”

Brandon let his hands fall. “Oh, Greg. I’m so sorry.”

“What the hell for?”

“I never wanted to come between the two of you. You’re friends. You should be doing friend things, not arguing over me.” He turned away, clutching at his drink so he could do something with his hands.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before settling in the greater Boston area. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem. (No, really. John Adams complained about it. A lot.)

When not writing, J. V. enjoys watching baseball and seeking out all of New England’s creepiest spots. Her Spawn has turned her into a hockey enthusiast. She can be bribed with gin, tequila, and cats.

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