Monday, October 31, 2022

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Rock Gods & Messy Monsters by Diane Hatz

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for Rock Gods & Messy Monsters by Diane Hatz. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as an awesome guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Rock Gods & Messy Monsters
Author: Diane Hatz
Publication Date: September 1st 2022
Print Length: 213 pages
Genre: Contemporary Humorous Satire Fiction
Rock Gods & Messy Monsters is one woman's search for herself among the blood-soaked walls, dangling body parts, and alien-hatched explosions inside Acht Records.

It’s the 1990s. Alex arrives to work at Acht, her improbable blonde hair streaked stress magenta and anger black. Her first duty is to wipe blood off her boss’s walls, to clean up his blood vessel explosion. It goes downhill from there.

On the surface, Rock Gods & Messy Monsters is a story about life inside an entertainment company. A cast of comedic characters exemplifies the inner workings of Acht, where power and greed mask incompetence.

A series of escapades involve Alex, a hard-working, lower-level employee desperately trying to get promoted. When she does, she realizes her dream is a nightmare. Corporate executives are busy working with aliens to manufacture a half-human, half-robot superstar. At the same time, one of the doubly-named Senior Senior Executive Presidents attempts to overthrow the Deity in charge.

Underneath and between the lines of exploding body parts and brain extractions, Rock Gods & Messy Monsters is a cautionary tale. It reminds us that our dreams can be illusions, and learning who we really are takes courage and a commitment to self-love.

The blood didn't bother Alex but cleaning it up made her angry.

"Damn it," she cursed aloud as she surveyed the red stained walls and coagulated mounds of Langley ooze around her boss' corner office.

Alex returned to her desk, her wildly improbable blonde hair already streaked stress magenta and anger black. It was coming to an end; Alex had to get out of her job. But with the worldwide recession and lines of job applicants she saw every day on her way into the building, she was lucky to have a job, especially in a major record company.

Alex put her backpack on the floor and unzipped the side of her head. She reached in and pulled out her brain, placing the throbbing gray matter in the customized, faux crystal cerebrum urn Acht Records had supplied her with her first day at the company. She had fought the procedure at first, refused to sign the Cerebrum Extraction Release form, but with times being as hard as they were, and with the knowledge that she had spent over six months unemployed before being offered this job, Alex knew she had no choice.

And after wandering through the homogenous maze of Acht, up and down forty floors of identical gray hallways and glaring fluorescent lights, she had realized she would be better off if she removed all traces of thought and intelligence before commencing employment at the company.
Diane Hatz worked at major and indie record companies, managed a band, and freelanced as a music publicist. She is co-founder of The Relay, a fanzine on The Who, which is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She’s attended thousands of concerts.

Diane has a Masters in Creative Writing and is currently focused on writing fiction. Her book Rock Gods & Messy Monsters is currently available from most online retailers. Her substack “Next Draft with Diane Hatz” is a newsletter for creatives looking inward. And some writing stuff.

During her sometimes-surreal career, Diane founded the nonprofit Change Food, worked to shut down factory farms, organized & spoke at major TED/TEDx events, and executive produced The Meatrix, a Webby Award winner. She has studied with many spiritual teachers, including The Dalai Lama.

In late 2020, after 30 years living in downtown Manhattan and the East Village, Diane moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. When not at her computer creating, you can find her hiking, road tripping, or breathing in all the beauty the Southwest has to offer.

- Are any of your characters based on anyone you know in real life?

The characters in Rock Gods & Messy Monsters are fictional, but they're a mashup of people I've known, along with my creative mind. If I had to choose one character who most resembled a person, I would choose Alex. She's based on me.

I published a fanzine on the rock band The Who for over a decade in the 1980s. I managed a band from my hometown for a couple years. And I attended thousands of concerts, from my local bar to large outdoor music festivals.

After moving to New York City in 1990, I landed a great job at Island Records, which lasted only a year. I then worked for an indie label for a couple years, and I ended up in corporate music at a major record company.

When I started employment at the large record company, I was shocked at how uncreative it was. I also had the misfortune of having a bit-of-a-lunatic boss. If I think about it, I've had a few, and as a way to deal with the abuse I endured, I started writing Rock Gods & Messy Monsters.

There are parts of the story that are obviously fictional. If you read the book, the scenes with Derby didn't happen, and my boss didn't explode the blood vessels on his neck as Langley does. And I didn't have to sew them up! Alex creatively shows what I went through while working in corporate music.

I had a boss who would call me in his office and scream at me. I went on interview after interview to get out of the job. After forty-four attempts to leave, I discovered he wasn't letting others hire me away from him. He would occasionally fire me but then give me work to do when I asked him for the termination in writing, as human resources required.

As my boss would yell at me, I would watch a vein in his forehead pulsate. One day, I imagined it exploded. It was a surreal experience and influenced how the book was written. And that's why Alex has to sew up his blood vessel explosions.

The other characters are more caricatures and combinations of people I knew. I've been told it's an imaginatively funny book that's surreal and relatable at the same time.
Diane Hatz will be awarding a $20 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 and the author assume all responsibility for this giveaway.)

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Book Blast and Giveaway: Black Magic Murder (Melting Pot Café #6) by Polly Holmes

Welcome to my stop on the book blast for Black Magic Murder by Polly Holmes. This book blast was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book. There's also the blast wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the book blast for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Black Magic Murder
Series: Melting Pot Café #6
Author: Polly Holmes
Publisher: Gumnut Press
Publication Date: October 31st 2022
Print Length: 285 pages
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Careful what you wish for!

Graduating to a fully-fledged witch on my upcoming birthday should be a momentous occasion, but when a local hairdresser turns up dead, I know it’s going to be one hell of a week.

Saltwater Cove’s resident infuriating fae looks like a good suspect for the murder, but insists she’s innocent and reveals a huge secret too amazing to be a lie. But if she didn’t do it… then who did?

The murder triggers the return of a dark force… dark enough to send even the most experienced witches into panic mode. Harriet, Jordi and Tyler join me as I try to find the culprit, putting my magical abilities to the ultimate test.

When the killer strikes even closer to home, I need to up my game if I’m going to keep evil at bay.…or have I finally met my supernatural match?

“I cannot believe you’re not going to have a birthday party!” Harriet said, dropping on the edge of my bed, disgruntled. “It’s not every day you turn twenty-five and become a full-fledged witch. Why would you not want to have a party? It’s a milestone to celebrate.”

“Parties are over-rated,” I blurted, holding a pink and black blouse against my chest and checking out the vintage look in the full-length mirror in the corner.

Not bad, if I say so myself. Lookout, Tyler, here I come.

“Harriet’s right.” Jordi joined her on the bed. Both my best friends stared blankly at me. These two women meant the world to me, and that was precisely why I was not having a party.

“I’m sure lover boy has a great night planned this evening, but what about the rest of us?” Harriet giggled. “How are we going to celebrate your birthday?”

I bit the inside of my cheek, choosing my words carefully. “Do you remember what happened when we hosted our last party at The Melting Pot?”

They glanced sideways at each other, and then Harriet piped up, “Please don’t tell me it was New Year’s Eve?”

My forehead tightened. “It certainly was.”

A grimace turned Jordi’s expression upside down. “I remember. Prudence McAvoy turned up dead in your pond. But when you think about it, that’s no great loss.”

“Jordi!” I said, three octaves higher. “That is a terrible thing to say.”

She shrugged. “Sorry, but we all know she was not at the top of my Christmas Card list. She made my life hell at school and after. She made my life hell…period.”
Polly Holmes is the cheeky, sassy alter ego of Amazon best-selling author, P.L. Harris. When she's not writing her next romantic suspense novel as P.L. Harris, she is planning the next murder in one of Polly’s cozy mysteries. She pens food-themed and paranormal cozy mysteries and publishes her books solely with Gumnut Press.

As Polly Holmes, Cupcakes and Corpses was a finalist in the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America’s 2019 IDA International Digital Awards, short suspense category. Cupcakes and Curses claimed second place and Cupcakes and Cyanide gained third place making it a clean sweep in the category.

She won silver in the 2020 ROAR! National Business Awards in the Writer/Blogger/Author category and for the second year in a row, she was a finalist in the 2021 ROAR! National Business Awards winning bronze in the Writer/Blogger/Author category with Gumnut Press taking out the gold in the Hustle and Heart category.

2022 saw Polly Holmes’ books Muffins & Magic and Mistletoe, Murder & Mayhem long-listed in the Davitt Awards, a prestigious award run by the Sisters of Crime, Australia. Muffins & Magic also placed in the finals of the cozy mystery category in the Nashville Silver Falchion Awards. She lives in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, with her Bichon Frise, Bella.

Polly Holmes will be awarding a $15 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 and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Temporarily In Love (MacGregor Brothers Brewing Company #3) by Danica Flynn

Title: Temporarily In Love
Series: MacGregor Brothers Brewing Company #3
Author: Danica Flynn
Publication Date: October 31st 2022
Print Length: 227 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance

I’ve never loved someone quite like my high school sweetheart. But she shattered my heart to pieces when she moved to California for college and never came back.

Now she’s back in Drakesville and for the first time in sixteen years, I’ve come face-to-face with the only woman I’ve ever loved. Kissing her was a bad idea. Spending countless nights tangled in my sheets was an even worse idea.

She’s only here long enough to make sure her parents’ bar stays afloat. I can’t get attached, when I know she’s just going to leave again.

And I know I’m not reason enough to make her stay. 

Temporarily In Love is a small-town second chance autumn-themed romance book. If you love fall and Halloween, you’ll love this book.

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Look who it is!” a big, booming voice said behind me.

I spun on my heel and came face-to-face with Nolan MacGregor.

He looked older than I remembered. He still had that big bushy beard, and coupled with his red plaid shirt, he looked like a burly lumberjack—like a husky Brawny Man. I scanned him, then narrowed my eyes when I noticed the baby strapped to his chest. The last I heard, Nolan and his wife divorced a couple of years ago. But maybe she had a change of heart, and that was a rumor.

“Hi, Nolan,” I sighed.

“He’s not around. He’s doing spreadsheets,” he said, fixing me with a warning glare. “And you better stay away.”

“Excuse me?”

This wasn’t the first time Nolan told me to piss off. The last time I saw him, I ran into him the next town over at the super grocery store, and he told me not to bother Declan while I was in town. Nolan was nothing if not fiercely protective of his little brother.

“You heard me, Lila. Stay away from my brother. He doesn’t need you opening up that old wound again.”

I couldn’t ask Nolan what he meant because the baby on his chest started to cry. Nolan’s scowl increased, but he took her out of the sling and rocked her. Watching the big bear of a man gently soothe his daughter was cute.

“Oh, there you are.” A dark-haired petite woman with curves came up behind Nolan. She took the baby from his arms. “Aw, Peanut, be good for Daddy.”

Okay, he definitely didn’t have a baby with his ex-wife Kath. I didn’t recognize the woman beside him, but she might not be a townie. She noticed me for the first time and gave me a sheepish look as she put the baby on her hip. “I’m sorry. Where are my manners? I’m Avery MacGregor. I don’t think we’ve been introduced.”

She held out her hand to me and we shook hands. “Lila Sullivan.”

Her blue eyes lit up. “Oh! You’re Kelsey’s sister. We teach at the high school together.” Avery saw me staring at her baby. “Do you want to hold her?”

“Oh. Can I?”

She nodded. “But fair warning, she likes to pull hair.”

“And beards,” Nolan muttered.

I smiled at that. It was good to know the more things changed in this town, the more they stayed the same, like Nolan MacGregor being a grump. Avery put the baby in my arms, who immediately tried to pull on my hair. I laughed and shook my long chestnut locks out of the way.

Avery chuckled. “Do you have kids? Seems like you have practice with this.”

I shook my head as I held her baby, and my heart did a somersault at how she laid her little head on my chest and curled up into me.

“What’s her name?” I asked.

“Norah,” Nolan grunted.

“Oh,” I sighed, and my heart panged at the memory of Norah MacGregor. “Oh, Nol, you’re such a softie.”

Avery beamed. “Yeah, he is.”

Nolan scowled, but when Avery reached up on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss, a smile spread across his face. Kath never made him smile like that. I don’t remember the last time I saw Nolan MacGregor smile. I could tell he loved his wife something fierce. And he had a baby. He looked so happy, and I never thought the grouch of a man would look like that.

“I can’t believe you have a baby,” I said.

Avery took Norah out of my arms as she started to fuss.

“I can’t believe you showed your face in town again,” Nolan shot back.

Avery arched an eyebrow at her husband. I wasn’t about to tell her that her husband hated me because of what I did to his brother.

“Lila!” my sister called out to me, distracting me from the conversation. She walked over to me with a plastic cup of beer in her hand. “Here, have a beer,” she said and handed it to me.

I wrinkled my nose. “No, thanks.”

“It’s a pumpkin beer. You love pumpkin,” said a voice from behind me. A deep manly voice that I was hoping I’d never hear ever again.

Crap. This was why I never came home.
Danica Flynn is a marketer by day, and a writer by nights and weekends. AKA she doesn't sleep! She is a rabid hockey fan of both The Philadelphia Flyers and the Metropolitan Riveters. When not writing, she can be found hanging with her partner, playing video games, and reading a ton of books.

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Win an eBook of Temporarily In Love by Danica Flynn!

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

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Sunday, October 30, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Hate, Rinse, Repeat (A Gamble on Love Mom-Com #3) by Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers

Title: Hate, Rinse, Repeat
Series: A Gamble on Love Mom-Com #2
Authors: Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers
Publisher: 22 Partners & Indigo Group
Publication Date: October 28th 2022
Print Length: 301 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Christmas is a time for hate…

Maisy Moore is not looking forward to the holiday season. As owner of the only hair salon in Gamble, Alaska, she’ll be run off her feet helping her clients get dolled up for Christmas and New Years Eve parties. Parties she’ll never be invited to.

But that’s not the worst of it. As a single mom, she knows she still won’t be able to give her seven-year-old son, Jack, the kind of magical Christmas his classmates get. Telling him how much she loves him will only get a kid that age so far. If only she could give him what he really wants—to know who his dad is.

The last thing Maisy needs is for NHL star Chase Evans to come waltzing back into town like he’s God’s gift to women. But that’s exactly what Chase does.

After a taking a crosscheck from behind, Chase’s season is over. Instead of scoring goals, he’s recovering from shoulder surgery, and according to his mother, there’s no better place to recover than home. Because let’s face it, basking in the glow of local adoration won’t be too bad. There are no fans quite like hometown fans.

The last thing Chase expects is to find Maisy Moore still single. He decides to see if maybe they could rekindle their brief romance that occurred the night of their ten-year high school reunion. But when he tries to talk to her, he discovers Maisy’s feelings of lust have turned to loathing. And he’s determined to find out why.

Will Maisy manage to keep the identity of her son a secret? Will there be a holiday miracle that will reunite two hard-headed lovers? Will the BOGO special on shampoo and conditioner be a hit?

Find out in the deliciously funny and ridiculously romantic final installment of A Gamble on Love Mom-Com Series.

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“I miss Grandma’s French toast,” Jack complains, while stabbing his fork into my lame attempt at his favorite breakfast.

“Me, too, buddy,” I assure him. “Me, too.”

He screws up his adorable elfin face and asks, “What are the black spots? Did you put pepper in the eggs?”

Pepper is probably preferable to what it really is, which, now that I look at it, I think might be part of the coating on the Teflon pan. Grabbing the plate away from him, I suggest, “How about a Pop-Tart? There’s nothing like a nice, fruity pastry, full of sugar to start the day.”

Jack leans his chin on his hands and moans, “I really want Grandma to come back.”

Emotion fills my eyes until it’s on the precipice of breaking the dam of my composure. “Life plain sucks sometimes, Jack. I wish you didn’t have to learn that so young, but there it is. What do you say you and I go out for supper tonight? We can hit The Diner and see if we can find some comfort in a heaping plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes?”

“Mom, I’m six not sixty. I’ll have a burger and mashed potatoes.”

Ruffling his adorable dark brown hair, I tell him, “You’re on. Now go load your backpack with your lunch and water bottle so you don’t miss the bus.” As he walks away, I have a sudden horrible premonition of standing in this exact same spot the day Jack leaves for college. I’m going to blink and he’s going to walk out of my life to pursue bigger and better things.

Of course, I won’t be standing in this exact spot because we won’t be living here much longer. Dammit, Mom, what did you do with all the money you got from the house? And who did you sell the house to?

Pulling on my ski jacket, I take my son’s hand and walk him out the front door to the end of the driveway. “Please don’t cut the cheese in class if you can help it,” I instruct him. “Quit telling kids that your dad is Thor, and stop licking that new girl, Sarah Jacobs. You gotta trust me kid, no six-year-old girl likes having her hands licked. It’s gross.”

“Sarah’s seven,” he tells me, like that makes all the difference.

“Jack.” I tap him on the top of his head until he looks up at me. “Who loves you more than bologna?”

He rolls his eyes before saying, “Honey.” Honey is the neighbor’s dog, and she loves Jack with every curly patch on her chubby body.

“Correct,” I tell him. “And goldendoodles rarely love anything more than bologna. Who loves you more than crepes?”

“Grandma loved me more than crepes,” he says sadly.

“She still does. Just because she’s not here with us doesn’t mean she stopped existing.” I turn him around and pull him into my arms. “Now, who loves you more than six hot fudge sundaes with whipped cream, nuts, and twelve cherries?”

I feel his forehead press into my stomach. “You do, Mom.”

“That’s right, buddy, I do. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.”

With a sigh, he starts to play along. “Would you climb to the top of a mountain in your swimming suit while carrying a goat?”

“In a heartbeat!” I tell him enthusiastically.

“Would you swim across a volcano with hot rollers in your hair?”

“I already did that this morning!”

“Would you tell me who my dad is?”

Son of … My plan was to tell Jack that his dad and I were happily married before the tragic accident that took his father’s life. Of course, I couldn’t do that because this whole town knows I wasn’t married, and someone would have blown my cover.

My mom was relentless that I owed Jack the truth about Chase, but how could I tell my kid that his dad was my childhood tormentor? How would I explain why Chase never came by to see him?

One stupid, drunken night—where I may or may not have told that loser I wanted to ride him like a water buffalo—and boom! Life as I knew it changed forever. For the better, but not without its challenges.

The bus pulls up, saving me from having to answer Jack’s last question. The driver gives a little toot before he opens the door. “Jack, my man. How’s it hanging, bae?” Nathan’s a nice kid, but seriously, his wanna-be hipster ways are a little disconcerting for a school bus driver.

“Hanging loose, Nate,” my son says as he climbs aboard. He turns around and waves at me before running to the back to sit with one of his friends.

I watch until the bus pulls so far down the road I can barely see it. When I go back into the house, I grab my keys and my purse and I head out to my car, a sporty-yet-practical eight-year-old red Honda Civic. Time to go to work.

I opened the Rinse ’N’ Repeat when I was twenty years old and fresh out of beauty school. Every penny I made went into paying rent and utilities on the room I rented out of the back of the liquor store. While that may sound questionable to some, this is Gamble, Alaska, not some fancy city like New York. I can say for a fact that several of my clients appreciated the convenience of being able to get their hair set at the same place they could buy a box of wine.

Eight years ago, my clientele grew to the point where I needed to hire on more staff and move into a bigger location. That meant more rent and overhead, but I also made a lot more. I could have bought my own place, but living with my mom made more sense. Besides, when it was only the two of us, it was kind of nice to have company.

When Jack arrived, Mom jumped in and did everything for him that I would have done had I not had a full-time job. Being that I made more money than she did, she retired five years ahead of schedule, so I didn’t have to send Jack to daycare. She made great use of their time together by teaching him to do all kinds of crazy things like burping the alphabet, crocheting his own shoelaces, and singing German drinking songs. God, I miss her.

Tonya Grimm, one of the three hairdressers who works for me, waves her hand as I walk through the front door. “You are NEVER going to guess who’s coming back to town!”

Hanging my purse and coat on a hook on the wall, I say, “Graham Finkle.”

Her face contorts into a look of confusion. “Who’s that?”

“My ninth-grade science teacher. He left Gamble in a cloud of Paco Rabanne and shame.” I explain, “He got caught messing around with Ashleigh Barker. She was a senior and eighteen, but the whole thing still reeked of jail time.”

“Yeah, so no,” Tonya says. “Who’s coming that I would know?”

“Oh, my God, is Brett Kennedy coming to try to win Harper back? Good luck to him! Harper and Digger McKenzie are married now. Brett missed the boat.”

“I’m not enjoying playing this game with you.” Tonya takes the lid off the comb cleaner and puts in another comb. “I’m just going to come out and tell you.”

Putting on my beautician’s apron, I say, “Fine, tell me.”

“Chase Evans!” she shouts. “Can you believe it?"

Son of a ....
Whitney Dineen loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat French fries -- not always in that order.

Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.

She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.

Gold Medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017

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Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.

Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.

In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for 'K' Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn't require makeup and/or nylons).

Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken 'from above'. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something--more like just staying until they turn the lights off.

She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.

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Win a $25 Amazon gift card - two winners!

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

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Revenge Honeymoon by K.J. Gillenwater

Title: Revenge Honeymoon
Author: K.J. Gillenwater
Publication Date: October 30th 2022
Print Length: 292 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

What happens in the Caribbean, stays in the Caribbean…

Emily Small has a big heart, a loud mouth, and a terrible taste in men. She’s used to living in her perfect best friend Ruby’s shadow – but when Ruby is left devastated at the altar, Emily becomes desperate to save her friend from heartache… and salvage their non-refundable cruise!

Emily hatches an ingenious plan to soothe Ruby’s broken heart by island-hopping together as an act of revenge. There’s only one teensy problem: the cruise is for newlyweds only. Naturally, they have a solution. They’ll pretend to be a married couple!

But their ten days of fun are about to spiral into a crazy, messy adventure that risks leaving a few hearts broken along the way – because when Emily bumps into the ship’s hot photographer, Max Keeling, she begins to wish she could rethink their arrangement. If her deception gets discovered, would they boot her off the boat? But Emily can’t keep her hands to herself, and her cruise fling could bring everything crashing down.

How can she support her best friend at the worst moment in her life while pursuing an out-of-her-league guy in the Caribbean? And can she somehow find a way to have the best of both worlds?

As a hilarious, sexy, and heartwarming read that strikes the perfect balance between feel-good emotions and laugh-out-loud humor, Revenge Honeymoon is a fun and memorable romantic comedy that you won’t be able to put down. Grab your copy today!

Note: This book was originally released on Kindle Vella in serialized format. This version has been edited with an additional epilogue added.

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“It’s not that bad,” said Ruby as they approached Gorgeous Max who tinkered with the unruly lights.

“It feels pretty bad.” Emily tugged on the skirt and had the strange sensation the slit in the skirt had reached half way up her ass.

“It’s not that bad,” her friend repeated. “Just a few photos. It’s only going to be from the front. Nobody will see. I promise.”

This was not how Emily imagined her first meeting with Maxwell the Perfect—stuffed into a too-small dress with her very unsexy, very matronly underwear on display.

“I want to go back to the room,” she whispered. Her armpits were damp. Her heartbeat sped up to the pace of a racehorse on his last stretch of the Kentucky Derby. She was about to meet the sexiest man alive,, it wasn’t going to be like this.

Was it?

“Number, please?” Maxwell said with a masculine rumble that nearly shook her ovaries loose.

He barely looked at them as he attended to the light stands, readjusting them, while mumbling, “It will be only a week, he said. Great money, he said.”

“Excuse me?” Beautiful, innocent, vulnerable Ruby asked.

Why did she let Man Magnet Ruby have the first words? The story of her life. Ruby took a single step, and men fell all over her. Emily exposed her ass to the whole room, and it was as if nothing happened.

Maxwell brought his gaze up from his work. His green—yes, they were green!—eyes caught the dazzling lights and glowed as if they were on fire. Green gorgeous fire from the depths of some Irish fairy tale come to life. Were there Irish fairy tales? Was Maxwell even Irish? Did she care?

“Oh,” his voice caught in his throat.

His gaze stuck to Ruby like glue.

Yeah, the usual. Emily’s fate as cruise third wheel had begun. But maybe it was for the best. She kept her backside facing the wall behind them—the only safe angle. If she moved too much to the right, the rest of the newlyweds waiting in line would figure out that Kim Kardashian’s Skims line really did work miracles. If she moved too much to the left, well, Maxwell might have to hold back a laugh...and Emily wanted to avoid that humiliation as much as possible.

“Miss, your dress.” Maxwell picked up a suit jacket he’d laid across the back of a chair near his equipment and handed it to Emily. “You might want to put this on.”

What? He’d noticed her and handed her a jacket that smelled like manliness and muscles and sandalwood?

She must be dreaming.

“My dress?” Oh, God, did his jacket smell incredible. Was she clutching it too closely to her nose? Was that weird?

“The rip?” He gestured at the wall behind her.

“What?” She looked over her shoulder. A full-length mirror stood leaning against the wall. The giant rip that had created a fault line the length of Florida up the back of her skirt assaulted her eyes. “Crap.” She slipped into the jacket smelling of gorgeous man and attempted to laugh off the humiliation. “I had no idea,” she said.

Yet she had every idea. And so did Ruby. But Emily wouldn’t let on. No, she wasn’t about to admit that she’d continued to stroll about the room knowingly in such a state. That any number of Moscowitzes and whoever the hell else stood in line for their oh-so-important free honeymoon portrait got a good look at her unmentionables and that they weren’t even newlyweds and this whole idea had been stupid, stupid, stupid from the very beginning.

“That actually looks really good on you,” Mr. Beautiful said. “Somehow it works.”

Ruby took a step back. “He’s right.”

“It does?” The sleeves hung down below her wrists, and the shoulders sagged on her narrower frame. But she was willing to believe anything that came out of the sexy mouth of their photographer. Two perfect lips accentuated by the dark bristly shadow of his beard.

“You just need to zhuszh it a little bit.” Ruby pushed the sleeves up to her elbows. “See?”

Ruby spun her friend around so she could view the transformation in the evil mirror that had exposed her Skims-encased rear to the perfect Maxwell. He nodded his approval. “It gives your photo a little more of that ‘bride and groom’ aspect.” He sucked in his breath. “Was that offensive? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with two brides.”

And everything that Emily had been building up inside her head crumbled at that very moment.

Right. The lesbian newlyweds.
K. J. Gillenwater has a B.A. in English and Spanish from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. She worked as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Navy, spending time at the National Security Agency doing secret things. After six years of service, she ended up as a technical writer in the software industry. She has lived all over the U.S. and currently resides in Wyoming with her family where she runs her own business writing government proposals and squeezes in fiction writing when she can. In the winter she likes to ski and snowshoe; in the summer she likes to garden with her husband, take walks with her dog, and explore the Big Horn Mountains. She has written multiple books and plans on writing more.

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