Monday, February 8, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: The Riesa Series by LD Towers


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. LD Towers will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click to win the other stops on the tour.


What are you reading right now?

I’m presently reading that big hit from last year, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I’m absolutely entranced by the American Civil War and I do think that Rhett Butler is very romantic. I found an English copy at the Kaufhaus des Westens when I was there a few months ago. I heard that they are going to turn it into a movie, and I wonder what big American film star will play Rhett!

Least favorite book you've read this year?

I could not stand that F. Scott Fitzgerald book, The Great Gatsby. I am very aware by how terrible some people are, but I just could not connect with the characters at all. They just felt like such terrible, vapid people. I admit that many people are not very nice, but I believe everyone has some spark of divinity within which brings redemption. I was glad it was short. I don’t like to stop reading books.

Dog-ear or bookmark?

Bookmark. I have a lovely set of painted bookmarks of my cousin’s home in Scotland. He painted them himself on leather; scenes of the lochs and ruins on his lands. I always use them. My grandfather, the Pfalzgraf von Steinberg, does not view dog earring very kindly.

One book at a time or multiples?

One book at a time always. I like to immerse myself in a story when I have time to read. I’m very busy now that I’m taking a more active, administrative roll in the family business so I don’t have that much time.

I am studying for the next level of my pilot’s license so I do have to read a lot of technical manuals. Soon I will be able to fly at night! Does that count as reading a second book?

What would make you not finish a book?

It’s very rare that I don’t finish a book. It has to be very terrible because usually my curiosity gets the better of me. I have to know how it ends. I’ve probably only not finished about six books in my lifetime.

Keep books or give them away?

I have a very large library, as does my guardian, Hermann Göring. I keep all my books. I might want to read them again! I also like to look at them on the shelves. Books are such things of beauty.

Re-reader or not?

I am a huge re-reader! I have probably read Little House on the Prairie ten times. I know it’s silly. It’s a girl’s book and I’m grown up, but when I feel sick, it makes me feel so much better. I like to think about what it must have been like to live such a different life than mine. The general manager at our New York offices is under orders to send me the next one as soon as it is published.

Strangely, I read novels mostly in English. I suppose with the bulk of my school holidays being spent in Scotland, I tend to gravitate more to English books. Most of the German literature of the last few years is so heavy. I prefer to be entertained when I read.

What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

My Grandfather read me Simplicius Simplicissimus by von Grimmelshausen. He would read it to me at nights when I came home from boarding school. It was his favourite book as a child as well. I think he wanted to share with me something that he really loved. It’s also on my list of books that I always reread.

Thank you so much!


1938. Germany is moving faster than Standartenführer Hagen Kohl thought possible. Sent down to Vienna to investigate a potential threat to Hitler’s plans for Austria, Hagen is drawn in to an aristocratic world he’s never encountered before. Without Hauptsturmführer Eugen Friesler at his side, Hagen is in more danger than he could have imagined as he hunts for a shadowy organization called the New Austrian Order. Back in Germany, Galiena von Steinberg returns to Riesa and the von Steinberg Gesellschaft, but taking over the reins of her Grandfather’s empire comes with many challenges. Can she protect her family holdings while keeping true to the new sense of self she has worked so hard to find?

Against the politically charged background of Nazi Germany's police state, Standartenführer Doctor Hagen Kohl is trying to carve out a profession for himself in the SS. A middle class intellectual with a doctorate in Literature, Hagen is a an investigator who hunts criminals within the party apparatus itself. Hagen justifies everything by his personal code and patriotism, unable to see the flaws of the regime he serves. When he is ordered to investigate members of the army, he discovers patriotism is entirely a matter of perspective. His eyes are further opened by exposure to Galiena von Steinberg; an aristocrat whose own experiences bring him into the entanglements and intrigues at the highest levels of Third Reich society.


The parade ground was large, and all about there were people. The SS men, in their black uniforms, and the camp guards in their grey seemed drab on the sunny square. There were so many, trailing behind Himmler like a flock of crows. Galiena hated that analogy, but it seemed so appropriate. Here and there she saw people she assumed to be prisoners, in their black and white horizontal striped suits, and grotesquely shaved heads. They almost reminded her of larvae, their scalps so pale in the light. One man turned and stared at her, the bright splash of colour that she was, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes. Then his face dropped back to his toiling in the black earth of the flowerbeds near the Administration building. The place was so dour. So grey. In her scarlet, echoed only in the swastika flag on the flag pole, she must look like a drop of blood on a piece of slate.

Himmler moved to intercept her, his eyes shining with something she couldn’t define. In this place he was a thousand feet tall, and his knowledge of his power emanated from him in waves. The men trailing after him followed his every movement and gesture. When he smiled, so did they, when he laughed, they echoed, and the moment he stopped, there was silence behind him. Galiena had never seen this Himmler. This was the Reichsführer-SS, and his power was consuming. His eyes met hers, as he clicked his heels and bowed his head before her. When the peak of his hat came up again, he was smiling; warmly and broadly. More the man of her acquaintance, but the look in his eyes seemed to mock her. This Himmler was a predator and he was in his lair with all his sycophants around to admire his magnificence.


LD Towers travels the world like a rootless vagabond! A military historian, she searches out places of conflict to find a deeper insight to the things she writes about. Presently enjoying the warm weather and azure seas of Central America, she has lived all over Western Europe, including 5.5 years in the incomparable Berlin.

Primarily working in Historical and Military Fiction, LD sometimes sneaks in the odd Dystopian or Modern Thriller piece. Also look for a series of novellas about the despicable yet intriguing Meinrad von Steinberg from the Riesa Series, coming in fall 2015.

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Buy New Austrian Order at Amazon. Buy Teufel at Amazon.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: Intimate Betrayal by Houston Havens

BBT_IntimateBetrayal_Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Houston Havens will be awarding two winners a choice of one of the first three books in the Psychic Menage series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


MediaKit_BookCover_IntimateBetrayalKindise Wyatt escapes her Star Rider captor and returns to Earth. With the help of a sexy Old World Mole and his mysterious friend, she's determined to uncover the whereabouts of her lover. Instead, she finds nothing but betrayal and her captor in pursuit.

On the lam after betraying his evil ruler, ex-Dirt Dweller and drifter Jaden Valenti confirms his name is on a hit list. Finding what he believes will be safety amongst the Airbornes, he recreates himself and hides his past until trouble walks back into his life in the name of Kindise Wyatt, the woman he was ordered to assassinate and didn't.

Due to the obsessions of a Fae woman Sori gave up his hardearned royal title and left his homeland of Elfame. Love is the furthest thing from his mind until he is sent in Jaden's place to pick-up some cargo...human cargo in the form Kindise Wyatt. He feels the Fae magnetism of his soulmate in her. Problem is; she's in love with someone else.

Will Jaden fulfill his orders to kill Kindise and get his name removed from the list, or will his secret be exposed and betray the friendship he has with Sori? Does Sori help Kindise find her lover, or will a love between them have a chance to flourish before a fatal attraction and a determined captor rip their love asunder? Will Kindise find true love or will betrayals at every turn crush the fight out of her? Can she find her inner strengths to keep fighting and lead The Freedom Fighters to defeat the Dirt Dweller elites, once and for all?


"Are you all right?" There was a keen glint in his Fae friend's eyes as he gauged the amount of remaining whiskey in Jaden's bottle.

"I'm fine." He leaned back into his chair feeling as if he were sitting on a bed of fire ants.

"You sure? That's a nasty bruise on your chin--"

"I said--I'm fine." He was ready to smack the smirk off Sori's face if he didn't stop pointing out how much he was out of his comfort zone. An experience he wasn't used to having. Calculated control was his norm. This? This edginess was extremely out of his usual suave self. "What do we need to talk about?"

His friend's smile widened before fading into peaked brows of obvious confusion. "I assume you'd like to know why Shomar asked for your help."

"I see her."

"Okay, then maybe you'd like to know what she needs help with."

"Isn't that the purpose for why we're sitting here?"

"It is." Sori chuckled. "Seeing you once worked for the Underworld government as a research and file clerk, Shomar felt you'd be the perfect man to help Kindise find her lover."

Lover! She has a lover? In all his surveillance, he'd never seen her display any form of public affection to anyone. His heart stopped for a nanosecond as disappointment rested heavy at the center of his chest. Maybe it was his Dirt Dweller upbringing, but he always fantasized about being her first. He shook off his regret as his dream vanished.


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_IntimateBetrayalErotic romance author Houston Havens, a former successful model enjoying an adventurous jet-set lifestyle, intrigues her readers with a mix of the past, present, and future, and sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, and western romance, always with love everlasting. A tenacious Irish lass filled with passion and mystery hopes her sultry stories will entertain and fascinate those who dare to take the journey. She’s also a social media junkie with an award winning blog.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: Alex Disanti


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Alex Disanti will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

Hello! Thank you so much for having me as your guest! I am Alex Disanti and author of the series A Separate Heaven. Reading and writing are lifelong loves for me. As a child I would write stories about my friends, my grandparents’ farm, and stories about Texas (my home state and where I still reside).

Favorite pastimes include taking drives in the country, browsing “antique” (and I use that word loosely!) stores in small towns, going to Luckenbach and spending the afternoon listening to local bands and storytellers, or just watching one of my favorite television series. (The Affair, The Good Wife)

Coke (real, not diet) and sweet tea are my favorite drinks and jalapeno burgers are in my top ten favorite foods. Prized possessions are three grown children, two daughters and a son. Christmas is my favorite time of year and for me there is no such thing as having too many ornaments or lights. I collect Santas, all kinds. My dream trip is to rent a villa in Italy and spend several weeks there.

Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?

The following scene is from book 3: Today is a day of reckoning for Harold Walenski, a corrupt D.A. in hiding at his remote fishing cabin. Today he will come face to face with Dominic Gianelli, the man he deliberately wronged, the man whose family he endangered, and Gianelli will decide his fate

Dominic hiked a short distance to the opening where the cabin came into view. Walenski was indeed sitting on the porch, just as described, and appeared to be napping. An empty glass, a somehow lonely and appropriate companion to the whiskey bottle, also drained of its contents, sat balanced on the weathered railing.

The steps were splintered and rickety, and creaked beneath his weight. He stood there, looking down at the man who had wrought such foolish and needless misery, effectuating a chain of events that would see its end today.

Walenski stirred, coughed. Noting the arrival of his visitor, he registered no surprise. Raising his head, he squinted, and tried to focus on the massive figure that loomed before him, silhouetted by the setting sun.

“Gianelli,” was all he said.

Walenski did not move but a fetid odor filled the air around them. His breath was foul from hours of drinking...and there was something else...something Dominic recognized...yes, the smell of fear.

In one swift move, he stepped behind the chair and pinned Walenski’s upper body, immobilizing him. At the same time, he grabbed his right hand, still gripping the .38, and wrenched it upward. Pressing it firmly to Walenski’s temple, he pulled the trigger, then immediately released his hold on the gun.

A single shot rang out in the heavy silence of the woods. There was the rustle of wings, as birds disturbed by the sudden noise, took flight. It was dusk, the evening growing hot and muggy, and there was no breeze. Walenski’s body slumped in the oversized chair. The gun fell, striking the toe of his shoe then landed slightly afront of the now lifeless form.

Dominic entered the house and collected the only telling item, the newspaper. Upon leaving, he checked for a pulse, once, twice. There was none. Now it was over.

Where did you come up with the idea for your latest release?

A Separate Heaven is my first novel and was not originally planned as a series. New to the publishing landscape I was unaware that with new authors the majority of the time publishers place a limit on word count and reject anything upward of 120K. When I received this information from a well-respected agent, my word count was at 440K and I knew I had much further to go with my story. Hence the series. There will be a total of seven books. I am currently working on book five. I wish I had some awesome tale of how A Separate Heaven was conceived. The characters and plot simply came to me and developed over a period of months as I was out on daily walks. I’ve never outlined the material, and several months had passed before I decided I had a book and sat down to write it.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on book five of A Separate Heaven.

Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?

I do not have a scheduled writing time at all. Fortunately, laptops are portable so I can write just about anywhere!

Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?

Parts of A Separate Heaven did and do require a lot of research. Occasionally, I enjoy blending fact with my fiction and when I do I want it to be accurate.

Just FYI and an interesting fact: The original Sicilian Mafia (which roughly translates as “swagger”) began in the early 1800s with no crime connotation whatsoever, but as an organization of people and families who were suspicious of the central authority and wanted to carry out their own justice and protection.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?

Anna Quindlen, John Grisham, Pat Conroy, Chaim Potok, Barbara Kingsolver

Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?

I have some ideas for other novels but not a different genre. I do have a collection of short stories I would like to publish.


Step into a world of riveting drama. Enter A Separate Heaven, a story comprised of power, wealth, and romance, multifaceted characters, and complex relationships. A novel by Alex Disanti. From Long Island to the shores of the Mediterranean, this exciting series spanning twenty five years in the lives of the Gianelli and Hamilton families will hold you spellbound.


Around 1:00 A.M. Paige found she couldn’t sleep. As quietly as possible she eased herself from the bed and walked out onto the balcony. The weather was still nice. The breeze from the water was cool and she could see the waves crashing against the sandy beaches. Below her, the pool looked inviting. His soft snoring assured her Dominic was sleeping soundly. Hesitating only a moment, she tiptoed into the bathroom, wrapped herself in a big towel, and made her way down the stairs and outside to the pool.

She dropped the towel and slipped into the warm water that felt like silk on her naked body. Leisurely, she swam back and forth, again and again. This was heaven. It was all heaven. She lay on her back, floating, her eyes closed, replaying in her mind the wedding and all that had happened since.

Finally, she began to tire and, feeling she could sleep again, made one last lap underwater, crawling along the bottom of the pool. As she entered the shallow end, her hands reached for the tiled rim as she emerged, breaking the surface of the water.

Suddenly, something like a steel vise gripped her wrists, jerking her upward, and she was momentarily airborne. Her feet slammed against the concrete, jarring her from head to toe. Now Dominic had her by her shoulders and was shaking her. She knew he was saying something, but she could hear only the roaring in her head. Not six feet from them stood two men with guns. Behind them on the massive walls that surrounded the villa were several more.

About the Author:Alex Disanti lives in the Texas Hill Country. While writing has been a lifelong love for her, A Separate Heaven is her first novel. Early works were mainly poetry and short stories. As A Separate Heaven progressed from thought to paper, friends and family began reading the manuscript. Then, in an effort to test the marketability of the material, she enlisted the aid of what she calls her “test readers.” These readers vary in age, occupation and background. It simply grew from there. Alex’s rich detail brought the characters to life, and the ensuing chapters could not come quickly enough for her readers.

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Buy the books at Amazon: Book One, Book Two, Book Three.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: Cubeball by Michael Leon

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael will award a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


A naturally gifted ex-national champion and a savant with a computer-like mind compete against the world's best in the 22nd century's most popular sport - CUBEBALL - the chess-like, technology-enhanced, snooker of the future where the world stage is dominated by gambling, drugs and massive audiences.


Unlike the real Mars settlement, Mons City was surrounded by a vertical city. Skyscrapers impossible to build on Earth or Mars dwarfed the largest mountain in the solar system. Mons City consisted of two cities, the Left Bank and Right Bank. Each city was built at the base of Olympus Mons, forming the largest boulevard ever digitally designed. Two parallel lines of skyscrapers extended thirty kilometres out from the Martian mountain and five kilometres apart. There was only one way in to Mons City and that was through the boulevard. Hover lines crisscrossed between the two cities making a Tokyo train station look like a country town. Twenty two million gamers (most online from their home) competed in this game. Around fifty thousand actually entered the game from Velvet Underground. Most of them were there to hide from the real world or rest and recover from the demands of the game. About another thousand were like Mickey, looking for someone. It was a melting pot of technology, human energy, drugs and dreams. So much had been won, lost or wasted in this boulevard of broken dreams. Mickey slowed as he entered Mons City.


I worked with national and international organisations as a business analyst in Australia and overseas. I authored many business books analysing the foodservice and food retail industry in Australia, Europe and Asia, as well as agribusiness global trends. I also ran a consultancy business that assisted Australian enterprises to develop new markets in Australia and overseas.

I commenced writing science fiction novels full time in 2009. It was a life-long interest of mine. I have written five novels - all exploring contemporary social issues in future speculative worlds. They are: Shadow Dance; Extinction; Cubeball; Titan Sages and Alive. My novels blend speculative science, new age and poetry. Readers of novels such as Carl Sagan’s Contact would enjoy my novels.

Buy the book at iBooks, Amazon, or BookPOD.


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: Valentine Pets and Kisses by various authors

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Join the authors at the release day party today and say you were sent by Goddess Fish Promotions!


Something for Everyone!

Each story features a sweet romance, tender kisses and hugs, and precocious pets—all brought to you by USA Today bestselling, national/international bestselling, and award winning authors who have crafted heartwarming heroes and heroines that will make you laugh, cry, swoon, and sigh.

Candy and canines. Flowers and felines. Celebrate this Valentine's Day with your sweethearts of the human and fuzzy varieties!

Nothing is more heart-warming than kisses from the pet who adores you and the man who loves you, so snuggle up with VALENTINE PETS & KISSES and strike the perfect mood for moonlit walks and candlelight dinners with your pet and sweetheart.

*Valentine Hound Dog - Rachelle Ayala
Fashion icon Jenna Hart, along with her basset hound puppy, tries to convince a burned former fireman that beauty is never skin deep and love's arrow strikes not only the beautiful, but the bold.

*The Crazy Girl’s Handbook - DelSheree Gladden
Spending the weekend babysitting her two nephews and a puppy was supposed to be fun. Sweating to death at a baseball game while getting gum in her hair, soda down her shirt, and an ice cream pedicure wasn't part of the deal. Neither was finding out the best guy she'd ever missed a blind date with had witnessed it all. Longest. Weekend. Ever.

*The Vet's Valentine Gift - J.L. Campbell
Matthias Laing has snagged the woman of his dreams, but his job as a vet keeps getting him into trouble. The situation is past complicated because of the growing assortment of animals in Toni's house and to top it all, the conflict between Matthias and her ex-husband. Can Matthias and Toni's budding romance survive their challenges and if it doesn't, will Jade, her precocious five-year-old find a way to play Cupid and fix things by Valentine's Day?

*Her Perfect Catch - K.L. Brady
Nerdy, struggling sports writer Melanie Vincent needs a miracle when her dream of running a nationally recognized blog hits a snag due to low readership. After Mel is gifted a pair of Super Bowl tickets for years of faithful dog sitting, she has a chance encounter with her favorite football player that leads to the inside scoop on the biggest story of her career...and maybe the love of a lifetime.

*Inflamed - Jade Kerrion
Debra Martinez doesn’t believe in happy endings, until Sean Orr, Havre de Grace’s newest firefighter, shows her and her son, Aidan, a new and beautiful kind of “normal.” But the happiness can’t last—not for Sean who is on the run from his own past.

*Remember When - Hope Welsh
Laura and Brent really tried to make their marriage work, but in the end, it just wasn't meant to be. Or was it? When they meet to discuss joint custody of their Akita, they discover they have much more to talk about other than the dog.

*Your Biggest Fan? - Sydney Aaliyah Michelle
Noah Patrick, NFL bad boy, has sworn off women, who only seem to want him for his fame and his money. Callie James is such a big Noah Patrick fan, she named her energetic Chihuahua after the man of her dreams. When they find themselves hiding out in the same Brooklyn Brownstone, a crazy blizzard, a never-ending supply of spaghetti, and a dog with identity issues bring them together even though they both have secrets that would tear them apart.

*The Feline Fix - Caroline Bell Foster
Meeting Police Constable Callum Forde on the worse day of her life, makes cat lover and scientist Wendy Wilde question all that she values, her cat’s loyalty and the role science plays in love.

*Trembling Hearts - Suzette Riddick
Recluse Jason Carr is living in rural Virginia after an accident leaves him physically scarred. While taking a stroll and minding his business, the spunky Lezlie Sharpe literally crashes into his life, stealing the heart of his beloved pooch, Trooper. Now, forced to share living quarters, will Lezlie capture Jason’s heart too?

*Valentino, Be Mine - Tina D.C. Hayes
Kaylee Rose is thrilled when a neighbor moving out of the country asks if she'll consider taking in her teacup Yorkie, Valentino, but there are a few strings attached. When she finds out a man she can't stand is the other caretaker, she's forced to deal with the arrogant jerk until they decide who gets the pampered pooch permanently . . . or risk losing the dog to a heartbreaking fate.

*Lost and Found - Jeanne Bannon
Lexie is so distraught after long-time boyfriend, Josh, dumps her, she takes a leave of absence from her teaching job. Josh leaves behind the puppy he bought for her just before things fell apart even though she’s not a dog person. Lexie contemplates giving it away but decides keep the little mischief-maker and get her some training.

While at puppy obedience school, Lexie meets Tommy, the happy-go-lucky type she could give her heart to if only she was ready. But Lexie gives Tommy the brush off and they lose touch. However, a series of events, some unfortunate, bring them together again.

*Surviving San Francisco - Susan Oloier
When 23-year-old Leah Newland accepts a job in San Francisco and runs away from her small-town Illinois life, she expects things to change for the better. What she doesn’t expect is to lose her job, adopt a cat she hit with her car, and fall for a sexy and seemingly unavailable veterinarian. Suddenly, going back to the Midwest seems better than surviving San Francisco.

*19 Ivy Lane - Aubrey Wynne
Eloise Kolby steps off the bus and greets Hollywood with high expectations and a smile. Two months later, she’s broke, hungry and rethinking her dream. An offer to house sit provides her with too much time alone, an adopted family of kittens and a sexy postman waiting at her gate.

Victor Burnham can’t stop thinking of the beautiful, mysterious woman who just moved into his hometown. She meets him each day at the mailbox, waiting for a letter.

When the envelope finally arrives, they both must face decisions that could make their dreams come true or jeopardize their relationship forever.

*Three Plus Three - Cindy Flores Martinez
A year after losing her husband, a grieving widow, Violet, and their beloved bichon frise visit their favorite place the day before Valentine's Day. While they are there, Violet meets a handsome widower who makes her feel alive again.


-- from Trembling Hearts by Suzette Riddick

Restless, Tremaine tossed and turned for hours. Still shaken up over the harsh words hurled back and forth between the two most important men in her universe, sleep eluded her. The ringing doorbell accompanied by the loud knocking hadn’t disturbed her.

She nudged her snoring husband. “Bernard…Bernard…Bernard!”

Startled he jolted from his sleep. “What is it dear?” He sleepily answered as his lids began to close only to be snapped opened by the persistent banging.

“Someone’s at the door.”

The couple stuffed their feet into slippers, quickly grabbing their robes. She followed closely on her husband’s heels. Her fingers fumbled at tying the thin fabric belt around her waist. A sickening feeling formed in the pit of her stomach. Who in the world could be at their door at this hour? And why would they travel so far up the rural road leading to their home?

The sickening feeling dug deeper when Bernard opened the door to find Sheriff Dougherty on the other side. She instinctively reached for her husband’s hand. In the dark, the sorrowful look in the sheriff’s blue eyes was unmistakable.

“Bernard, Tremaine…there’s been an accident. It’s Jason. You folks need to get to the hospital right away.” The sheriff hesitated before adding, “He’s in bad shape.”


Rachelle Ayala: From romantic suspense to sweet contemporaries, I write from my heart and love to include children and pets in my stories.


DelSheree Gladden is a USA Today bestselling young adult and romance author, whose writing includes everything from dystopian and Native American mythology to sweet and funny romances.


J.L. Campbell is an award-winning author who writes sweet romance, romantic suspense, women's fiction, new and young adult novels.


K.L. Brady is a multi-award-winning author of sweet and sexy romantic comedies, young adult romance, and a spy thriller series based on her career in U.S. intelligence.


Jade Kerrion writes frequently award-winning, occasionally best-selling science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance novels.


Sydney Aaliyah MIchelle is a contemporary romance writer, a voracious reader and movie fanatic who hails from Texas.


Caroline Bell Foster writes contemporary women’s fiction with themes of substance that defy convention.


Suzette Riddick is a wife, mother and nurse practitioner who enjoys writing romance novels with a touch of reality.


Tina D.C. Hayes writes romantic suspense and cozy mysteries while her pampered pooches and parrots stand guard against writer's block.


Jeanne Bannon is an international best-selling author of paranormal and romance fiction with twenty-five years of experience in the publishing industry.


Susan Oloier is a mother and educator who writes memoir, as well as adult and young adult contemporary fiction.


Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night.


Cindy Flores Martinez writes sweet romantic comedy and inspirational romance in both English and Spanish.


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Launch Day Party for Valentine Pets and Kisses


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Straight Chatting from the Library: 2 Broads Abroad by Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


By Deborah Serra

When my sister and I found our nests were emptying at the same time we decided to run away from home. We planned an adventure together. We did not set out to write this book, we set out to let go of all the responsibilities that had governed every day of our lives for so many years. It wasn’t until we returned home that we decided we had an amusing story to tell and perhaps a point to make to other women facing that empty nest. It is hard to watch your children leave home – hard to become a visitor in their world – hard to realize being together at the dinner table was no longer the default, but something that needed to be planned. It was hard and heartbreaking. We wanted to runaway.

As soon as we returned home, we put the idea of a book together: sharing our favorite travel moments, suggesting which ones were worth telling, reviewing what we learned and what it meant to face this daunting childless transition. We had chosen a road trip around Ireland because our mother’s grandmother (who lived to 90 and so we vaguely remembered her) had runaway from Ireland as a young girl fleeing an arranged marriage with a much older man. Evidently, we had Ireland and running away in our genes.

Our journey would have been a more elegant experience if we would have planned it with the same thoroughness we planned our kids’ lunch boxes, but then it wouldn’t have been half as funny. There was something to be said for the questionable hotels, the fly-ridden cooking school, the crying ghosts, and driving 100 kph on the wrong side of the road in the land of faeries and leprechauns.

It was impulsive to take this trip together, to leave our husbands, homes, dogs, and responsibilities behind for just a little while. It was a lark to decide to write 2 Broads Abroad: Moms Fly the Coop together. I don’t know how many grown sisters take off on a trip like this, or write a book together, but we highly recommend it. Hitting the road together and then writing this tale was an uncommonly wonderful sister experience. We are looking for another opportunity – perhaps a camel ride in Morocco? Our Facebook page is taking suggestions!


When sisters, Deborah & Nancy, discovered that motherhood was a temp job they decided to run away from home. After packing up that last kid for college, and facing the sad stillness of their suddenly quiet homes, they decided to leave the country. 2 BROADS ABROAD: MOMS FLY THE COOP is a funny, irreverent, occasionally poignant travel tale of their impulsive road trip around Ireland.

In this witty warm-hearted adventure, they experienced some of Ireland’s quirkier history while sharing universally relatable stories of maniacal school coaches, neurotic neighbors, and tiger moms. Having kicked that empty nest into their rearview mirror, the sisters took off careening down the wrong side of the road, making questionable choices, getting trapped in a medieval tower, sneaking Chinese take-out into a famous cooking school, drinking way too much, and gaining a changed perspective on their lives ahead.


“Your youngest is leaving for college? Aw, empty nest?” Then, sappy eyes followed by a plaintive grin and, “What will you do?”

Before my sister and I decided to run away from home we were bothered by that question. There was something minimizing about it, minimizing and not completely untrue. Motherhood had been so deceptive, the greatest paradox in life: every single bleary-eyed day felt a month long, and the years went by in an instant. They flashed by like lightning and left a desiccated scorch mark wearing my clothes. It was disagreeable to imagine what life would be like childless: there would be the family tree, and there would be the mom who’s the center of the family tree, standing leafless, bare (and it has been a while since I looked good bare). There was some solace as I glanced around me to see my younger sister, Nancy, would be standing there bare as well. We were embarking on this progeny-shedding calamity simultaneously as both of our youngest daughters, Nicole and Olivia, were leaving for college the same week.

I knew that Nancy hadn’t really focused on it yet. And then, we met at Fashion Island in Newport Beach near her home to get a birthday gift for our mom. We ran into two of Nancy’s neighbors, Vicki and Susan.

“Nancy,” Vicki asked, “doesn’t Nicole graduate from Corona Del Mar High School this June?”

“Yes,” Nancy said. “She’s going to the University of Washington.”

“Oh,” Susan lifted her eyebrows, “you must be devastated.”

“What?” Nancy looked confused. “No, actually I was happy for her. She worked really hard. It was her first choice school.”

“But so far away!” Susan added in that annoying singsong tone.

Nancy shifted her feet, a move I knew well as her sister. It was something she always did when she was being told something she did not like to hear.

“It’s not that far.” Nancy said.

“It’s a plane ride. You need an airplane to see your daughter.” Susan said loudly.

“Yeah.” Nancy turned to me in an effort to change the subject. “You remember my sister, Deborah?”

“Of course.” Vicki smiled. And we exchanged hellos. Vicki seemed normal, but I had an inkling that I might have to slap Susan.

Susan continued on with her one thought. “With your son gone already, and soon Nicole, well, Nancy, I guess you’re all alone now.”

Nancy shifted her feet again. “I’m still married, Susan.”

“Sure. Sure. Right. So that’s better than nothing, huh?”

Nancy and I both froze. Did she just say that?

“You know,” Vicki tried to cut off Susan, “when Terrie’s youngest left she bought a Chihuahua puppy. Cutest thing you’ve ever seen. And the Walkers gave a room to an exchange student from Sweden,” she explained happily.

Nancy nodded. “That sounds like a good plan.”

Susan opened her mouth to speak again and I wasn’t sure whether I should just smack her now and be done with it, or let her continue. I made the wrong choice.

“Remember Pam Winthrop?” Susan leaned in. “When her son left she started eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every day until she put on 60 pounds. Sad, really, tragic. Even her kneecaps were fat.” Then Susan turned to me, “So, Deborah, isn’t your youngest graduating, too?”

“I’m leaving the country,” I said.

Susan cocked her head. “What?”

“I’m leaving the country,” I repeated matter-of-factly.

“So am I,” Nancy said. I looked at her. I saw the decision in her eyes. “I’m going with Deborah. We’re taking a long trip together – a sisters trip.”

“You are?” Susan sounded a little thwarted, which Nancy found gratifying.

“Yup, in the planning stages.” Nancy smiled at Susan who was clearly disappointed that we were not miserable as anticipated. “Nice to see you though, Susan, Vicki. Got to go. In the middle of booking flights and stuff. So much to do!”

We turned away and strode with purpose toward the door.

I whispered, “Susan’s a real gem.”

“She did me a favor.”


“I’ve been so busy I just wasn’t thinking about it.”

“And I haven’t been able to think about anything else,” I said. “When I’m awake in the middle of the night it runs over and over in my mind.”

Nancy said, “When I heard that crap Susan was dealing, all of a sudden I realized, there’s no way am I plodding into that sunset with fat kneecaps carrying a Chihuahua.”


Deborah Serra has been a sought-after screenwriter for twenty-five years having written for NBC, CBS, Sony, Lifetime, Fox, and others. She was a recipient of the 2012 Hawthornden Literary Fellowship. Her first novel was a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award given by the Faulkner Society in New Orleans, LA.

Nancy is a graduate of San Diego State University. She worked in medical sales before stepping away to raise her two children, at which point she became: Team Mom, Snack Mom, PTA member, Assistance League Volunteer, and the list is never-ending. Nancy was the editor and publisher of the Buffalo Hills Echo newsletter with a circulation of 1400. She also designed and managed her community website.


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Monday, February 1, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: Still Counting by Phil Fragasso

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Phil will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Adam Donatello and Nina Morales share an immediate and powerful attraction, and their future together seems assured. But love is difficult enough without adding complications – real or imagined – to the mix. Nina sees life as a thousand shades of gray, while Adam tends towards black-and-white. He wants to move fast; she needs time. Nina sees her past liaisons with women as immaterial to their relationship, while her disclosure drives Adam to a state of irrational jealousy. He doesn't know how he could compete with a woman; and his suspicions – which Nina views as hypocritical – lead them both to make decisions they may live to regret.


The first time I saw her it was raining.

I was crying. She was laughing.

Actually I heard her before I saw her. I was leaning against the Jeep clutching Casey’s leash and collar. My joyous and beautiful chocolate Lab had come down with cancer of the spleen at the age of seven. She suffered stoically for three months until I realized that keeping her alive any longer was solely for my benefit and not hers. Twenty minutes earlier I had held Casey’s right front paw as Dr. Renee Martin shaved and cleaned a small patch of skin on her left leg. I lay on the floor beside Casey and stroked her velvety smooth ears. Casey’s ears were legendary. Over the years I had come across countless young children who were nervous or frightened around dogs. Casey was a sure-fire cure for their fear. I would have her sit quietly as I held out one of her ears for the child to touch. I demonstrated how to fondle it between thumb and forefinger as though appraising the quality of a fine fabric. I don’t know if dogs have a G-spot, but this was truly the epicenter of pure ecstasy for Casey. Her eyes glazed over and her tongue peeked out ever so slightly from the front of her closed mouth. She would emit whisper-quiet murmurs and push her head tightly against whatever hand was doing the stroking, determined to extract every ounce of pleasure from the moment. I used to call it aural sex.

This time, however, this final time, I don’t think she felt anything but sadness and pain. We locked eyes as we often did, but there was no look of excitement on Casey’s part about an impending walk, a ride in the car, or one of my mom’s homemade dog biscuits. All I could see through my own tearful eyes was a look of resignation. It was time. Casey knew it and I knew it.

“Are you ready, Adam?” asked Renee.

I looked up at her, the only vet Casey or I had ever known, and nodded.

Renee knelt on the floor and offered Casey a treat shaped like a squirrel, but my usually ravenous companion had stopped eating the night before and refused this treat as well.

“You’re doing the right thing,” said Renee.

I placed my hand on Casey’s head when Renee injected the fatal solution. Within seconds Casey’s pain faded away and mine forever heightened.

Since then I’d been standing in the rain not wanting to return to the apartment I shared with Casey but not knowing where else to go.

“You do what you want, but I wouldn’t go out with him in five-and-a-half million years.”

Those were the first words I heard Nina speak.


Phil Fragasso sold his first article at the age of 16. Since then he has written and published a wide variety of books, articles and essays. After many years as a corporate marketer, he left to pursue endeavors that were more fulfilling personally and more contributory on a societal level. Today he focuses his time on writing and teaching. VIDEO:

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