Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Just a Girl in the Whirl by Annie Wood

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Just a Girl in the Whirl by Annie Wood. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as an interesting guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $40 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Just a Girl in the Whirl
Author: Annie Wood
Publisher: Speaking Volumes
Publication Date: May 11th 2021
Print Length: 247 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
A 17 year old girl is overwhelmed with responsibilities trying to keep her messy family together. Everything spins out of control when her addict actor dad who bailed on the family three years ago leaving her with her lovable but bi-polar mom and her two little sisters, comes back into town and wants to reconnect.

Writing poems is her only escape. Just a girl in the is about family, forgiveness, and having enough courage to live your own life, your own way.

“I never know what to say to her.” Matty complains.

“You don’t need to say anything. Just your presence is enough.”

I put Sara’s old baby monitor in Mom’s room so I can hear Matty enter. I imagine Mom is watching TV with it turned off again.

“This is my favorite part.” Mom says.

Matty doesn’t say anything. She’s probably just staring at her. Matty often just stares at her.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Mom says.

After a moment, Matty says, “Did you know that Americans watch two hundred and fifty billion hours of television a year?”

I can hear Mom applauding and then saying softly, “I love you so much, Matty.”

Matty says nothing in response. I could almost hear her heart break into a million little pieces, then I heard footsteps, and then the door closing. Matty comes zooming down the stairs. She pauses and looks out the front window. “Grandma Gayle is here.”

Grandma Gayle is Dad’s mom and when she knocks on the door, it means one thing and one thing only: it’s payday.

I open the door. She stands there, studying me. I know I look like a mess with my wild, unbrushed hair and olive oil stained t-shirt. I’m the polar opposite of this woman who stands before me. Gayle is tall, super thin, and doesn’t look like anybody’s grandma. Not at all. She speaks abruptly, using as few words as possible so she can get to the point quickly. I’m pretty sure she uses less words than the most mortals.
Annie Wood is an Israeli-American, Hollywood native, and a lifelong actress and writer. The web series she created, wrote and stars in, Karma’s a B*tch, was Best of the Web on Virgin America.

Wood was part of the NBC DIVERSITY SHOWCASE with her comedic scene, That’s How They Get You. She’s written 100s of scenes for actors that have been used by Emmy Award-winning TV director, Mary Lou Belli in her UCLA course and casting director, Jeremey Gordon in workshops all around town.

As an author, she has three books out: Dandy Day, Just a Theory: a quantum love adventure, and her first YA novel, Just a Girl in the Whirl (Speaking Volumes Publishing)

Annie’s also an Internationally exhibited mixed-media artist, a produced playwright, and was the third female solo dating game show host in the history of television with the nationally syndicated show, BZZZ! that she also co-produced. (Which just re-ran in 2020 on BUZZRTV!)

Annie writes and creates art daily.

She also runs the Twitter account for the Women of the Writers Guild West.

She is part of the Middle Eastern Committee at WGA and a Dramatist Guild Member and an Authors Guild Member.

- Do you think kids today have too many responsibilities compared to 100 years ago?

It was hard for me to wrap my mind around what life must have been like 100 years ago so I googled some photos of kids back then and wow, It seemed like it was a lot tougher to be a kid a century ago. They didn’t have child labour laws so kids worked, and they worked hard! They worked in factories and often under dangerous conditions. I saw a photo by Lewis Hine of little kids working in the mines and it really makes you think. I mean there’s pluses and minuses for every time in history, I suppose, but I’d say my answer your question is that even though in our current time we all have more social pressure and overwhelming distractions but 100 years ago feels like it was a lot harder to be a human at any age. So, I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to be here now.
Annie Wood will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility for this giveaway.)

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Terra Nova (Terra Nova #1) by M.T.G.

Title: Terra Nova
Series: Terra Nova #1
Author: M.T.G.
Publisher: FriesenPress
Publication Date: July 28th 2020
Print Length: 379 pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

Evangeline is living the life of a normal teenager—going to school and hanging out with friends—until mysterious, severe symptoms begin appearing. After passing out in the middle of a party, life as she knows it spirals beyond her grasp. She is then diagnosed with a rare, genetic blood disorder that causes her body’s white blood cells to kill the red ones. In the delirium of her deteriorating health, a door to a parallel world opens before her; however, once she steps through it, the portal closes, and she is unable to return to Earth.

The place Evangeline now finds herself in is called Terra Nova, a world wherein vampires rule supreme, with no traces of humanity left to speak of. Curious but afraid, she quickly learns that Terra Nova is not the shadow-side of Earth, but rather the tragic result of government experimentation. In order to survive, she must keep her mind open and accept the changes her body is undergoing; soon enough, those who she initially thinks are murderers become her trainers, whose help she must enlist if she ever hopes to return home—and soon enough, a romantic bond begins to bloom.

Meanwhile, Evangeline’s brother and friends back on Earth try to figure out what happened to her, and how the government is involved, and how to bring her home. Unbeknownst to any of them is the mysterious outcast Bambi, whose secrecy disguises her power in making a devastating choice: save one world at the risk of destroying the other.

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Right before sunsrise they heard the creak of the door and Ehvan’s head came sliding through. He looked at the large windows with the curtains pulled open and did not fully enter. Instead, he pushed blankets and pillows through, as far as he could. Then he slid in a massive basin of water, that looked much too large for him to push, yet he seemed to have no trouble with.

“Mother says she is sorry,” Ehvan spoke, “She forgot that regular humans feel cold. The water is for washing. She says she will have a warm bath for you tomorrow...and that big chest there” - he pointed to what looked like a decorated chest in a small enclave in a far corner of the room - “mother says regular humans sometimes need to use that after eating. And these, she says, are for wiping” - he slid a decorated box full of cloth napkins inside the room and scratched his head - “usually the maid brings us things but mother says it’s not safe. She doesn’t trust Laura’s control. Mother was a little embarrassed to bring the wiping cloths but I don’t mind...I am not sure what you wipe with those...”

Ehvan looked from Cynthia to Evangeline as if hoping for an answer, but Evangeline just tried to smile. After some time staring at them with no result he finally shrugged, “The windows are big so you can come out and stretch once the sun rises but mother says to not leave the room because there’s too many shadows everywhere else...I think you are pretty. Mother says not all regular humans are pretty like you. I am happy you came. I hope I don’t eat you.”

With that he closed the door and disappeared.
MTG has worked in numerous positions, mainly in managerial and executive roles. Terra Nova, her first publication, is Book 1 of a series. The series’ concept emerged when she, like the protagonist, was diagnosed with the blood disorder paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), and her then-boyfriend (now husband) joked she was becoming a vampire. She currently works and resides in Canada.

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Two Winners: Paperback of Terra Nova by M.T.G,
Two Winners: $25 Amazon gift card

(Open worldwide.)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Xpresso Book Tours assumes all responsibility with this giveaway.)

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Friday, November 26, 2021

Blurb Blitz and Giveaway: If the Light Escapes by Brenda Marie Smith

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for If the Light Escapes by Brenda Marie Smith. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: If the Light Escapes
Author: Brenda Marie Smith
Publication Date: August 24th 2021
Print Length: 257 pages
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction
A standalone sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

“These northern lights bug the crap out of me,” I tell Alma. “What are they doing here? They’re supposed to be tied to magnetic poles. I saw this show a couple years ago that said the north pole was drifting north, not south. So how did they end up here? The poles can’t drift around randomly. That’s impossible.”

“I don’t know, baby. They worry me, too, but we need to be quiet.”

“They make me feel like something bad is gonna happen. What do you call that? Fore-something.”


“That’s it. I’ll be quiet, now, and just stew in my foreboding.”

“Silly.” Alma reaches up and ruffles my hair.

When we patrol and we can’t cuddle on account of guns, Alma and I could talk all night. It’s not a good idea for us to talk much when we’re patrolling, though. We get all involved and forget to listen for anyone who might be sneaking around, hunting for food or water, or worse: getting ready to kill us for it.

We walk along with our rifles in the night. It’s cool out here, but not cold…

Alma stops and raises her gun.

“Hear that?” she whispers.

“No, what?” I’ve got my gun up, too, and I’m pivoting around, searching. I want to hide Alma, but she would never let me.

“Over there.” She points at the corner by the park. And I hear a jangly noise, like car keys. No one drives cars now, though…
Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

One randomly chosen winner, via Rafflecopter, will win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility.)

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Dating Dracula (Dating Monsters #1) by Kinsley Adams

Title: Dating Dracula
Series: Dating Monsters #1
Author: Kinsley Adams
Publication Date: March 15th 2021
Print Length: 440 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Comedy

The Legend. The Immortal. My… Boyfriend?

You know, I really only had two goals in life:

1) Unearth the truth about vampires and,

2) Become hella famous.

Nowhere on that list did I have “die” or “get turned into a bloodsucker.” But guess what? Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Now, thanks to an unfortunate back-alley encounter, I’m the newest member of the undead country club (fangs, coffin, and all). And my savior? Sire? Whatever…

Freaking. Dracula. Himself.

Even stranger, he claims I’m his mate. Like… eternal love. But come on! I don’t have time for that. Not only do I need to track down my attempted murderer, but I also need to learn how to be a vampire. Falling in love is the last thing on my mind right now.

Too bad Dracula has other plans for me.

**Only $0.99 for a limited time!**

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Reality came crashing down, and I jerked back. I’d just kissed Dracula. Vlad. The Count. Whatever. The man had more names than I did panties at the moment. Which, speaking of, I needed to phone Lucy and ask her to go shopping, since we’d only packed weekend bags.

But that was a different, easily solvable problem. Nothing like this. Kissing Dracula had to rate stupider than busting into a vampire club to expose illegal bloodletting, which turned out not to be illegal. Impulsive, remember?

This right here was proof. Two nights under this man’s roof, and I was making out with him and swapping blood like we were lovers. Gah! I shouldn’t have thought that. I didn’t need the word “lovers” in my head right now. Not with him standing so close, eyes still blazing, and certainly not with my lady bits still waving their pom-poms and cheering me on.

Kissing Dracula was stupid, right?


Who the hell even knew anymore? “I, uh, should go.”

Vlad inched toward me. “Go where? This is your room.”

Right. My room. Because I’d just showered after attacking Harold. And here I was, getting my freak on with the Count himself. If he could just stop watching me like I was the cherry on top of a very delicious strawberry sundae, that would be greatly appreciated. I couldn’t think with him standing there, all smoldering eyes and swollen lips.

The invitation was clear, as were his desires. I wasn’t one of those women who was blind to the opposite sex. If I so much as gave the word, Vlad and I would tumble into that tiny bed next to us.

And damn, I was tempted.

On the one hand, I was a grown-ass woman, allowed to kiss whoever the hell she wanted. But on the other, this man was five hundred years older than me—which, ick—and a vampire. All right, maybe that last one was unfair, considering I was also a vampire. But if he’d never been turned, he would be rotting away in a grave right now. Then again, so would I. Not a very sexy thought. Why focus on the what ifs, though? He had been turned, and instead of a rotting corpse, he was a downright gorgeous beast of a man who I wanted to dry hump like a randy mutt. Decisions, decisions….

“Okay, then you need to go,” I told him. “I, uh, need to be alone. Is that okay? I need to think. And I can’t do that with you here.”

Vlad inclined his head and blinked, the heat fizzling from his gaze. “Very well.”

“Thank you.”

“Of course. I’ll be in my office, should you need anything.”

A shiver rolled through my body. I could think of one thing I needed, but my last impulsive decision had gotten me killed. I really needed to start thinking things through. And since I wasn’t allowed to go to a bar and get wasted—probably wouldn’t even work anyway—there was only one other thing I could think to do and that was call Lucy.

Vlad took my hand and kissed my knuckles before exiting my room. I slumped against the wall and blew out a relieved breath. Man, he knew how to wind me up. And he hadn’t even done anything. Just walked into my room. Was that all it took now to get my engine revving?
Kinsley Adams is a thirty-something-year-old author who stopped counting when she turned twenty-five. When she isn’t writing uproariously hilarious romantic comedies, she’s raising her womb-gremlin with the hopes that he might one day become the world’s first Supreme Leader.

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Win a $50 Amazon gift card!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Xpresso Book Tours assumes all responsibility with this giveaway.)

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Crossroads (Crossroads Saga #1) by Mary Ting

Title: Crossroads
Series: Crossroads Saga #1
Author: Mary Ting
Publication Date: March 2nd 2014
Print Length: 297 pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fiction


Based on dreams the author had in high school-chapter 1 & 2.

Protecting her was his duty.
Falling in love was forbidden.

Loving her was all that mattered, even if it meant he would be exiled for all eternity.

Claudia Emerson’s life is about to change. It seems like a tragic coincidence when her good friend, who shares the same first and last name, dies in a car accident. Grief brings tumultuous dreams—but these are more than simple dreams. In sleep, Claudia travels to another world called Crossroads. There, she meets Michael, a Nephilim–half angel, half human. Meeting him and being there changes her forever. It marks her as special, and that may not be a good thing. Now fallen angels and demons are after her, and it is up to Michael and the other Nephilim to protect her. Her dreams become a nightmare as secrets are revealed about who she really is and the true identities of the people she loves most.

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years.
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Win a $20 Amazon gift card!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Meteors and Menorahs by Nessa Claugh

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Meteors and Menorahs by Nessa Claugh. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a fantastic guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Meteors and Menorahs
Author: Nessa Claugh
Publication Date: November 15th 2021
Print Length: 180 pages
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
'Your dad invited your ex-boyfriend.' Already committed to going home for Hanukkah, Leah panics at her mother’s text and invites her crush to come with her. The catch? They aren’t dating. The other catch? He isn’t Jewish. He isn’t even human.

Knar has been studying the physiology of humans for years in preparation to introduce Earth to the rest of the galaxy and present them as a species that can adapt to change well. Although he believes in his mission, he’s also had his eye on his coworker Leah, and her invitation to come home with her for the holidays is just the opportunity he’s been looking for.

Going home for Hanukkah is normally the least of Leah’s worries until her mom lets it slip that her dad invited her ex-boyfriend. Desperate to keep him at arm’s length, Leah invites her handsome coworker Kenneth Knar to be a buffer against her family. Having to pretend he’s her new boyfriend doesn’t hurt, and if it annoys her parents, all the better.

He just has to find some way to tell her that he’s more than just a gentile. He’s not even from this planet. And Leah hates liars.

The menorah isn’t the only thing getting hot this holiday season…

A man in a freshly pressed shirt and tie bustled into the kitchen, arms out. Before I could say a single word, he pulled Leah out of my arms and into a long hug. “There’s my girl!”

To her credit, Leah was out of the embrace as quickly as she was able to shove her hands up between them. “David! I wasn’t expecting you this early!”

Was that a grimace on her face?

“Well, your dad said you were here, and my last cardiology patient canceled so I figured I’d get over here.”

“Weird flex,” Leah said. “We all know what you do.”

“And who is this?” he said, ignoring the dig.

“This is Kenneth,” Leah said, grabbing my arm. “My boyfriend.”

David looked thunderstruck. “Boyfriend? Why haven’t I heard of this boyfriend?”

“We aren’t friends,” Leah said. “I have no reason to talk to you.”

“Leah, be nice,” her mother chided. The woman was short, but she still managed to move everyone with sheer presence out of the kitchen and into the living room without anyone complaining.

“I’m sorry, I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you all about my nice new very handsome boyfriend,” Leah said, running one palm up over the swell of my arm. I’d been feeling a little underdressed since the ex-boyfriend was in a nice shirt, but if I’d known it meant she’d be touching me skin to skin like this, I would have worn a tank top.
Nessa Claugh grew up thriving on trips to natural history museums and Jurassic Park. Once adulthood was upon her, it was only a matter of time before she discovered dominant aliens and shifter erotica. She enjoys titillating the Triassic and stargazing.

- If you had to host an alien visitor for a week, what Earthly experiences would you want them to have?

If I had an alien visitor, sampling cuisines from different cultures and exploring the wide variety of biomes that Earth has to offer would be at the top of my list of experiences to offer them. If real aliens had planets like what we see in a lot of sci-fi, there are a lot of single-biome worlds. Someone from an ice planet like Hoth (Star Wars) might enjoy seeing the American southwest or the jungles of southeast Asia. A native from Tatooine (Star Wars) or Arrakis (Dune) would probably be blown away by snorkeling the coral reefs we have left or exploring the swamps of Louisiana or Florida in an airboat.

Even just the array might be an unthinkable wonder to someone coming from the more interactive experience of 2181 Despoina from Mass Effect 3. To a native, the comparably dry air of Earth might be painful, but seeing oceans side by side with land could be an incredible sight, especially when a coral reef marks the boundary.

Food availability in space could be something as wondrous as spices and plants and meats from thousands of different worlds, or it might mark the intersection of what a ship can carry that's palatable to every being on board, which might come down to a tasteless gruel of the lowest common denominator. Coming to a planet like Earth which has thousands of different cultures might be a culinary wonderland for an alien. No two cultures prepare something the same way.

Israeli shawarma can be found served in a pita with tahini sauce and not the traditional yogurt sauce because of religious rules, where it might be served with a yogurt sauce elsewhere. British Madras curries are different than ones from Trinidad and Guyana, and those themselves are different than traditional Indian coconut milk curries. Between the varieties on different dishes, surely aliens would be able to find something they would enjoy on the planet we call home.
Nessa Claugh will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibilities for this giveaway.)

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Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The House on Crow Mountain by Rebecca Lee Smith

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The House on Crow Mountain by Rebecca Lee Smith. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as an intriguing guest post about crows from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The House on Crow Mountain
Author: Rebecca Lee Smith
Publication Date: July 14th 2021
Print Length: 221 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
When her aunt suffers a stroke, New York portrait artist Emory Austen returns home to the North Carolina mountains to mend fences and deal with the guilt over her husband’s senseless death. But that won’t be as easy as she hoped.

Someone in the quirky little town doesn’t like Emory. Is it the sexy architect who needs the Austen land to redeem himself? The untrustworthy matriarch? The grudge-bearing local bad boy? Or the teenage bombshell who has raised snooping to an art form? Even the local evangelist has something to hide. Who wrote the cryptic note warning her to “Give it back or you’ll be dead?” And what is ‘it’? As the clues pile up and secrets are exposed, Emory must discover what her family has that someone would kill for.

The piecrust table still sat upside down where it had come sailing through the window the night before. Inside the house, bloodstains from Henry's wounded shoulder streaked across the floor, the oak hall tree lay on its side like a coffin, and one of the oil lamps had been shattered. Everyone said it was a miracle the place hadn't caught fire.

I wrapped my good arm around the wooden porch post and gazed across the meadow at the brilliant azure sky. One lone crow soared overhead. A harbinger of death or a good luck sign? Its glossy black feathers reflected off the sun. The bird dipped across the horizon, leading with its sharp pointed beak, riding the breeze up and down before disappearing behind the woods I had run for my life in the night before. In the morning light, the deadly thistles were invisible, blending in with the tall grass to cunningly disguise their razor-sharp leaves.

James climbed the steps and stood beside me. “Are you ready for this?”

“As I’ll ever be.”

I raked my fingers through my short curls, the same curls he had washed so carefully in the sink at the Thompson Motor Lodge. He held out his bandaged hand, blistered to the bone from holding Daisy's rope, and I took it.

Sheriff Riley rounded the corner of the house. “We've found something.”
Rebecca Lee Smith lives with her husband and a dog named Wilbur in the beautiful, misty mountains of East Tennessee, where the people are charming, soulful, and just a little bit crazy. She's been everything from a tax collector to a stay-at-home-mom to an award winning professional actor and director. She loves to travel the world (pre-pandemic) because it makes coming home so sweet. Her Southern roots and the affectionate appreciation she has for the rural towns she lives near inspire the settings and characters she writes about.

- Which true life mystery do you find the most intriguing and why?

Crows. They are clever and mysterious, soulful and intriguing.

In my newest mystery, The House on Crow Mountain, crows don’t have a leading role. They barely have a walk-on. During the first couple of drafts, the western North Carolina mountain wasn’t called Crow at all, even though the birds are very prevalent in that part of the state. But somehow, those fascinating birds kept showing up, hovering in the background, fighting each other for an abandoned burrito on the ground, cawing and clicking in the trees, flying in circles across the meadow. They seemed to want to be a part of the story, so I took the hint and made them a permanent fixture.

Not everyone is crazy about the shiny blackbirds. Some people think they bring good luck, but others consider them a bad omen. I’ve always thought they were intelligent and dramatic. Not quite as big as ravens or rooks, but the kind of birds who are smart enough to steal sunflower seeds out of a backyard feeder while the blue jays and robins have their backs turned. The kind of birds who will wink and grin when they see you, but won’t take crap off any of their winged brothers and sisters.

I read once that crows can recognize human faces, and when one of their own dies, the others gather around the dead crow to stand silently and pay their respects. They make and use tools, fashioning tiny hooks from flexible twigs to extricate insects from fissures and cracks. Mark Mancini states in his wonderful article “12 Fascinating Facts About Crows” that “the birds use cars like oversized nutcrackers. They have learned to put walnuts—a favorite treat—onto the pavement, then wait for a passing vehicle to smash the nut, after which they will swoop down and eat the delicious interior.”

Then, of course, there’s the fact that three or more crows are called a murder. A murder of crows. How could anyone, especially a mystery writer, not love that?
Rebecca Lee Smith will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility for this giveaway.)

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Blurb Blitz and Giveaway: Promising Love (Rescue Me #3) by Sara Ohlin

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for Promising Love by Sara Ohlin. This blitz was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the blitz wide giveaway for a chance to win a $30 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Promising Love
Series: Rescue Me #3
Author: Sara Ohlin
Publication Date: November 9th 2021
Print Length: 268 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When a glamorous spa owner seduces the grumpy neighborhood bartender, passion smolders…

Ruby Naylor, confident, successful proprietor of Spa La La, has been crushing on Lachlan MacGregory for ages and finally throws herself at the grumpy bartender as he’s helping her tipsy butt home to her apartment above his pub.

Ruby is the only woman Lachlan has ever loved—from afar. When she makes a pass, he finally admits he’s wanted her for a long time. He leaves her that night with three promises—a kiss, a special connection between them and an epic tomorrow.

Unfortunately, when tomorrow arrives and Lachlan is smacked with the knowledge that she’s already in a relationship with two men, he feels he has nothing to offer her.

His day gets worse when his addict father is on his doorstep again, demanding money. The thought that he could end up sick and miserable like his father eats at Lachlan, making him focus on what has never let him down, his successful pub in the burgeoning Corvallis neighborhood.

Learning that Ruby is not taken, Lachlan finally goes all out to win her back. With his heartfelt apology, it’s easy for Ruby to forgive him—she believes in joy, in romance, in happy ever after. What she never expected was how vulnerable Lachlan could make her feel.

Can their love withstand life-shattering events to lead them into a beautiful future?

Ruby turned on the faucet, and a long black figure jumped from above her, streaked through the water and let out a large meow before it flew off the counter and slid down the hall. “Sh*t!” Ruby screamed.

“Ruby?” Lachlan yelled. He rushed into the kitchen and flipped on the light. “You okay?” Lachlan stood in the doorway, sweatpants on and nothing else, holding a skinny black cat. “Scared me.”

“I’m okay, just startled.” It took her a moment to catch her breath. He towered over her, a cat tail swishing over his broad, naked chest. “You have a cat?”

“Baby.” Lachlan scratched behind the cat’s ears. The creature arched under his touch and stared at Ruby. Skinny but healthy, the black cat had two white front paws and bright green eyes.

“You named your cat Baby? That’s what tripped us earlier, when we…when we…” Holy cow. Her cheeks flushed, thinking of how they’d gone at each other earlier, barely inside his house.

Lachlan’s face relaxed into a slow, tempting smile, as if he knew exactly what she was picturing. “Sugar Baby, actually.” He sounded a tiny bit annoyed at the animal but the expression on his face when he stroked his cat and the way the cat rubbed against his hand was pure love. Oh my God.

“Some days she has more salty than sweet in her, so she gets called Baby.” Lachlan smirked at the skinny cat. “She sneaks all over the place, demands food and plays in the water that comes out of the faucet. Goofball. I was too distracted earlier or you wouldn’t have tripped me,” he cooed to his pet. Insulted, or victorious—Ruby couldn’t tell—the cat streaked out of his arms, darted across the floor and disappeared.

She looked up and their eyes met. That zing, that connection buzzed.
Puget Sound based writer, Sara Ohlin is a mom, wannabe photographer, obsessive reader, ridiculous foodie, and the author of the contemporary romance novels, Handling the Rancher, Salvaging Love, Seducing the Dragonfly, Igniting Love, Flirting with Forever, and Promising Love.

She has over sixteen years of creative non-fiction and memoir writing experience, and you can find her essays at Anderbo.com, Feminine Collective, Mothers Always Write, Her View from Home, Under the Gum Tree, and in anthologies such as Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Healthcare in America, Take Care: Tales, Tips, & Love from Women Caregivers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Although she’s the author of many essays about life, grief, motherhood and the connections we make through delicious food and shared meals, Sara loves creating imaginary worlds with tight-knit communities in her romance novels. She credits her mother, Mary, Nora Roberts and Rosamunde Pilcher for her love of romance.

If she’s not reading or writing, you will most likely find her in the kitchen creating scrumptious meals with her two kids and amazing husband, or perhaps cooking up her next love story. She once met a person who both “didn’t read books” and wasn’t “that into food” and it nearly broke her heart.

Sara Ohlin will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility with this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway