Monday, May 30, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: Pork by Rosemary Anthony


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author 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.

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High school is torture for Steven Walthurst, and home isn’t a whole lot better. The only place that offers respite is an abandoned tree house at the edge of town. But something lurks in the nearby woods, and the long line of elm trees has a clear message for Steven: keep out.

Then one day, Steven finds a little girl lying unconscious, perilously close to the woods. As the two get to know one another, Steven experiences real friendship for the first time—and gets closer than ever to knowing the darkness that skulks between the trees.

He dedicates himself to keeping his new friend safe, but the tranquility of their fragile hidden world doesn’t last long. When an act of cruelty pushes Steven to his limits, his secrets—and those of the dark woods—come close to unraveling, threatening to destroy the one thing making his teenage life bearable. Can Steven save everything he’s built from crumbling under the pressure?

READ AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT


Feeling a bit more courageous, Steven rolled her skinny body to face the sky, and her right hand flopped to the ground next to his knee. He brushed the hair off her face, revealing her pink little lips. Her skin looked pale against the dark soil. An idea occurred to him, and he ran back to the tree house.

When he returned five minutes later, he was holding a tarp and a cloth. He dropped the tarp on the ground, dipped the cloth in the stream, and gently wiped her face clean. The girl had the face of a baby; Steven guessed she was no more than six. Tucking the corner of the damp cloth into his pocket, he unfolded the silver tarp and spread it on the ground. He rolled the girl onto the tarp and pulled it toward the base of his tree house.

Fifteen yards on, the tarp lacked tension and weighed little more than the shirt on his back. Steven turned around to find the girl curled on the ground, still unconscious, while his hand gripped the empty tarp. He let go of the corner he was holding and rolled her back onto the tarp before pulling it again. Finally he reached the tree, his breath quick and uneven. He was sweating again.

“Hey,” he said, tapping her face. He checked her breathing once again before sitting down on a protruding oak root. Wiping the sweat off his brow with a forearm, he reached for the damp cloth tucked in his pocket and wiped her hands and legs. He ran to the creek twice to wash the cloth, and every time he did, he wondered if what had happened to the little girl would happen to him if he ever decided to cross to the other side. As he gave the cloth a final rinse, he looked up at the woods and watched the maple and elm branches as they swayed in the wind.

There were no open wounds or blood on any part of her body, just a few scratches on her hands and blisters on her feet, probably from crossing the creek. She could have been running away from something in the thicket beyond the creek. Something or someone could have chased her in there. Steven shook his head and blocked his mind from thinking about it, at least for now.

When he finally sat on the root again to rest, sharp pangs of hunger struck him, so he ran up the ladder to retrieve his chicken sandwiches and a bottle of water. He perched the container on his knees and ate two of the five sandwiches he had brought. He drank some water, and when the girl still didn’t wake up after five more minutes, he sat watching her.

MEET THE AUTHOR


Rosemary Anthony writes suspense fiction with a twist. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Management from the University of Science Malaysia and recently made the jump from writing official documents to writing fiction novels. Blessed with 17 nephews and nieces, she finds the world of young adults to be a thrilling source of inspiration for her books.

Rosemary lives in a small town in Malaysia and travels as often as possible to broaden her cultural horizon. You can find out more about her books, giveaways, and new releases on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rsanthony.author/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/r.s.anthony
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosebudmary
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15142449.R_S_Anthony

Her debut fiction Pork can be found at Amazon.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: Carolyn Arnold


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carolyn Arnold 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. #LiveForward

READ THE INTERVIEW


Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

10 words? How about 27?

FBI Agent Brandon Fisher sets out to prove the innocence of a fellow agent suspected of murder and finds himself on the hunt for a serial killer.

What are you reading right now?

Stolen by Daniel Palmer.

Do you have any bad book habits?

When I’m reading a print book, I love to sniff the pages. (Not the glue, all right! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

E-Reader or print? and why?

E-reader for fiction and print for non-fiction. I love having a hard copy for non-fiction so that I can outline and easily refer back to it if I need to. My Kindle allows me to read in limited lighting, for example, in front of the TV at night.

One book at a time or multiples?

Multiple. Usually 1 fiction and a couple non-fiction.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

Bookmark.

When do you do most of your reading?

Non-fiction in the morning or on Sunday. Fiction most evenings.

Re-reader or not?

I usually only read a book once, expect for my own for obvious reasons.

READ THE BLURB


Sometimes the past should stay there…

The murder is one of the most heinous Brandon Fisher has ever seen, but that’s not why it has his and his colleagues’ attention. The FBI’s interested because the prime suspect is one of their own, Paige Dawson.

But Paige didn’t go to Valencia, California to kill anyone. She had set out on “vacation”—her new lover in tow—only to confront the man who had raped her friend twenty-some years ago. While the hands of the law are tied, she wants him to face the fact that he destroyed a young woman’s life and know that, as an FBI agent, she’ll be watching his every move. But instead of accomplishing her goal, she wound up in the back of a police cruiser.

Now Paige must face off with a hard-nosed detective determined to stick a murder charge to a fed. But with the trained eyes of the FBI on the case, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the evidence lends itself to a serial killing, not an isolated incident. And as long as the local authorities are focused on Paige, the real murderer is still out there, possibly waiting to strike again…

READ AN EXCERPT


Paige blinked the tears from her eyes. It couldn’t be. She wiped her wet eyes, her gaze not leaving the necklace in her hand. The chain was a common style, but the heart pendant and the letter N…

Still, it didn’t mean this one had been Natasha’s…

Paige swallowed. But she remembered when Natasha had realized she’d lost it. She had dropped on the end of the hotel bed as if all the weight of the world were piled on her shoulders. It was the morning after the rape.

Tears now fell freely down Paige’s cheeks. There was no doubt in her mind that the necklace she now held had been Natasha’s.

Paige cried as the past washed over her and continued to do so until rage replaced her sadness.

Somehow, she would make this son of a bitch pay for what he had done. She was past the point of keeping within the shades of the law and would circumvent legal means if that’s what it took to hold him responsible.

She clasped the necklace around her neck. Had Ferris kept it as some sort of sick notch in his bedpost? If so, that showed a psychology to him that confirmed he was a repeat offender. And if that was his mentality, prison wouldn’t have rehabilitated him, and that meant there were likely date-rape drugs here to prove it.

She stormed from the bedroom and toward the bathroom.

Beyond the point of caring anymore if she left her fingerprints behind, she emptied the contents of the medicine cabinet, and his toiletries now filled the sink.

Nothing.

She rushed back to his bedroom and tore it apart. The drugs were here somewhere. A man like Ferris wouldn’t stop raping…

Several minutes passed as she searched, and when she was finished, his bedroom looked like a tornado had struck. But still no pills.

Maybe she was being ridiculous, hoping to find something where there was nothing. And even if she found the drugs, what did she hope to accomplish? While possession of date-rape drugs was illegal, her means of getting them would make them inadmissible in any court. But she couldn’t stop. All she could see was her friend’s body in that casket—the way her face, even in death, showed her tortured existence.

She hurried downstairs to the kitchen. There was no way she was stopping now.

She searched each cupboard and drawer, pulling out items and rooting to the back. She had one place left to look, and as she opened it, she saw that it was a catchall drawer. Stuffed with anything and everything from a meat thermometer, to sandwich bags, to tin foil, to… She pulled out a sleeve of pills. She flipped them and read the stamp on the silver backing. Allergy pills.

She continued working through the contents of the drawer until she reached the last item. It was an Aleve bottle. That was an inconvenient place to keep a pain reliever… She opened it and looked inside. It was only the medication. She was still holding the bottle in her hand when she recalled the one on the counter. She exchanged one for the other, not about to give up. Just because the bottle was labeled one way… She twisted the lid.

Police sirens wailed somewhere nearby, and she paused. Her instinct told her to leave this alone and get out of his house immediately. But it was too late, the whooping sirens were on top of her now, and then the patio door slid open on the other side of the dining room. Two police officers entered the house, guns drawn.

“Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department! Put your hands on your head!”

“What’s—” The strength drained from her legs, and her head spun. She was under arrest?

Oh God. That woman must have called the police.

“I said, put your hands on your head!” the same officer shouted.

Another officer went around behind her, stripped her of her gun, passed it off to the second officer, and proceeded to cuff her. “You have the right to remain silent—”

“This isn’t what it looks like.”

“It looks like you’re ransacking the house of a dead man.”

A dead man?

“I’m an FBI agent. I can explain—”

“You can do that down at the station.”

MEET THE AUTHOR


CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and beagle. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website - http://carolynarnold.net/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: Sarah Mandell



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sarah Mandell will be awarding 5 of her handmade laser etched wooden pendants that she is launching as a new collection in conjunction with the release of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

READ THE INTERVIEW


What is your favorite book today?

My favorite book today, and every day for the last 6 or 7 years, is The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall. The story follows one character, Cy Parks, from his childhood on the coast of England through his career as a sign painter and eventually as a tattoo artist on Coney Island at the turn of the 20th century. The author gives such descriptive detail, you feel like you’ve been there with Cy Parks, watching him his whole life.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Well, the title alone is 8 words, so this is a tough one!

A quirky coming-of-age story about new-found independence.

What are you reading right now?

I just started the Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson.

E-Reader or print? and why?

First choice is actually audio books, because I can read while I’m working in my studio, or out for a jog. I’d say 75% of the books I read each year are audio books. About 20% are good ol’ fashioned printed books, and only 5% are ebooks. This strong preference all comes down to convenience of format. Audio books are on my phone, and therefore always on hand, so they’re by far my top choice. Printed books (especially used ones) are next on my list because they’re easy to toss in a bag and take with you, plus they’re really affordable. Ebooks are still fairly new to me, but I’m getting used to them.

One book at a time or multiples?

I usually have 3 books going at a time. One audio book, one printed book, and one ebook.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

I’m a bookmark person, although any old piece of paper counts as a bookmark to me. I use business cards, receipts, old shopping lists, sketches…you name it!

Favorite book you've read this year?

The Blue Moon Circus by Michael Raleigh. I have a thing for old timey circus life, and this was one of the best I’ve read so far on the subject. It was such a good read I had to limit myself to only reading 2 or 3 chapters a day because I didn’t want to finish it too quickly. I still laugh when I picture the scene when they’re training the cats for the spec (house cats, that is, not your typical circus cats like lions or tigers). This particular circus is somewhat slapped together, which is both hilarious and endearing, so they had to work with whatever they could get their hands on, including uncooperative tabby cats!

Favorite genre?

Contemporary YA, hands down.

Favorite book to recommend?

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. I had never really thought much about what life might be like for immigrants (both legal and illegal), or how hard it is to find normalcy here in the US, prior to reading this book. There are so many negative associations, and serious economic & social problems I have no idea how to address, but this book gave me a glimpse into their lives, as regular people struggling for a better life far from home, and it really made me stop and think. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a fictional book before that softened my opinion like this, and I think those are the kind of surprise books that are worth recommending.

Re-reader or not?

Yes, but it’s somewhat rare. I’ve re-read Sarah Hall’s The Electric Michelangelo several times, as well as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, but each time on a different format (print, audio, and ebook).

What would make you not finish a book?

Pure boredom. I have never stopped reading a book because it offended me, or because I didn’t like a character or scene, but I have given up on books that are just downright too slow. Something interesting has to happen in each chapter! Too much backstory, or too many mundane details, can bog things down.

Keep books or give them away?

Both! If it was a really good book, and I know I’ll re-read it, I hold onto them. If the book was just okay, I’ll take it to my favorite used book store here in Greenville, Mr. K’s, and get some store credit to use on a new book. It’s a pretty great system and it keeps me well stocked with new books to read.

READ THE BLURB


The McElroy brothers find trouble easily. Dylan plunges headfirst into it, while Daniel cleans up behind him. That’s the way it’s always been, ever since their mother left them to be bounced around the foster system, causing trouble wherever they went. The soon-to-be euthanized giraffe they just stole from the Northside Animal Park may be their biggest predicament yet, in more ways than one, but there's no undoing what's been done.

Lost in Nebraska without a plan, clueless how to care for the ornery old beast in the back of the trailer, the well-meaning brothers stop to rest at an abandoned-looking barn. A pretty redhead with a snappy temperament and a shotgun discovers the boys and their sixteen-foot stowaway. Her name is Josephine, she lives on this farm with her father who is spoken of, but never seen, and her root cellar has more locks than a bank vault. She’s got a way with animals and plenty of secrets, not to mention the interest of two brothers who swore they’d never let some girl come between them.

READ AN EXCERPT


Daniel and Dylan McElroy snapped their eyes open only to be blinded by a billion-watt flashlight aimed in their faces. It might as well have been the sun. They scrambled to their feet, unable to see who or what was behind that blazing white light. They shielded their faces, begging for mercy.

A female voice came from behind the painful brightness. She managed to get out, “What in the hell…” before the beam of light shifted upward, illuminating Millie’s unimpressed face. The giraffe’s long eyelashes blinked downward, inspecting the people below. Her nubby horns cast strange shadows on the ceiling of the barn.

While the beam of light from the girl’s torch shown upward still, locking Millie in the spotlight, Daniel got a good look at the person holding it. She was a teenager with fiery red hair all mussed up from sleep that fell well below her shoulder blades. Her eyes were pale in color, but he couldn’t be sure if they were blue or hazel in this severe lighting. She had delicate features, a snobby little nose, and a pair of pink lips parted in astonishment as she gazed upward at the out-of-place creature. This girl, a member of the Larsen family perhaps, was a pretty thing, but she was not in good spirits being woken in the middle of the night only to find two strange young men and a reticulated giraffe in her family’s barn. She had a shotgun at her side, which she now raised up and aimed at Dylan.

Daniel cleared his throat, ready to say just the right words to save young Dylan from certain death. Again. “We didn’t mean to cause no trouble,” Daniel explained, palms open with vulnerability. Daniel had always been the spokesperson when trouble found them, or more likely, when Dylan found trouble. He was the explainer of the mischievous pair.

“Am I hallucinating, or is that a giraffe?” the girl demanded to know.

“That?” Daniel asked, glancing upward in hopes she was referring to something else. “Uh. Yeah. That would be Millie. Millie the giraffe.”

MEET THE AUTHOR


Sarah Mandell is a professionally trained artist with a background in commercial interior design. She's also the brains and busy hands behind a thriving indie craft business called Once Again Sam in Greenville, SC. Even with an ever-expanding collection of creative outlets, she's truly the happiest when she's writing. Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe is Sarah’s second novel. Her debut novel was Celia on the Run (Untreed Reads, 2012).

WEBSITE: http://www.sarahmandell.com
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/theshyauthor
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/authorsarahmandell
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/authorsarahmandell
NEWSLETTER: http://www.sarahmandell.com/newsletter

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Young Vampire's Survival Guide by Lucy Eldritch


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lucy Eldritch will be awarding a $15 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.

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Within a month of being bitten, it cost the life of Robert James' best friend. Within a year, hundreds had died. All because of him.

Until he was bitten, Robert James was a regular college student. Now he seems to be the reluctant future of vampire kind and his world has been turned upside down. Pursued by the Dawn Warriors - a group dedicated to cleansing the world of evil - Robert's survival is at stake. Literally.

READ AN EXCERPT


My eyes narrowed and I hissed, "How did you know about the note, Pixie?" My voice was low and menacing. I didn't even look at her, just dug my fingers into the upholstery of the seat to keep the boiling rage inside me from spilling over.

"Galloway," she answered. "When he...he....in that dungeon...when..." She was shaking now.

I reacted without thinking. Reaching across, I placed a hand on her arm. "It's OK," I said, "it's OK. I believe you. I'm sorry."

Pixie inhaled deeply and let out a slow, steady breath. When she spoke again, she was back in control of her emotions. I wished I could have said the same thing.

"They hadn't felt that half-vampires were any threat until you came along. But now," she said, "they've realised their mistake. I overheard Tarrie telling someone your mother should be the first to die as that would send the strongest message."

As we pulled up opposite the house, I could see my mum talking to Mrs Harewood from next door, who was busy pruning the hedge that divided their properties. My heart leapt.

I hurled a twenty pound note at the taxi driver, half-dragged Pixie out of the car and tore across the road. My mother broke into a beaming smile when she saw me and opened her arms to greet me.

At that moment, I thought we'd made it in time. We hadn't.

MEET THE AUTHOR


I’m Lucy Eldritch and I write paranormal-horror-urban-fantasy-vampire fiction set mainly in Manchester (the one in the UK, not the one in New Hampshire) and London. I also love red wine, but I suspect that’s not really something I should mention. Not professional. Something like that. So, consider it un-mentioned.

WEBSITE: http://www.vampirebookseries.com
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/lucyeldritch.com

Buy the book at Kobo, Amazon, or iBooks.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Straight Reading from the Library: Danube in Candlelight by Stephanie Burkhart


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie Burkhart will be awarding a $10 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.

READ THE BLURB


Morgan Duma has always known she's different. Her eyes have unusual gold rings around her irises, a trait she's inherited from her father. She's faster and stronger than most. Her endurance and stamina allow her to complete tasks in a quick and efficient fashion. Since she was a little girl, she knew there was only one man for her -- Adam Varga.

Morgan learned to dance in Adam's arms. They grew up playing the piano together. Adam's calm, soothing presence was the perfect compliment to her restless soul. Not only that, he shared her differences down to his feral eyes.

Enter Zoltan Kristos, Hungary's Minister of Reconstruction. He shares those same golden eyes that Morgan possesses. After Zoltan carries her mother out of a blazing fire, Morgan's life takes a turn she doesn't expect. She discovers the reasons for her differences, and questions her very identity. Is Adam strong enough to be the man she needs him to be?

READ THE REVIEW


As always, author Stephanie Burkhart hits a home run with this book.

I've read some, but not all, of the books in this series so I have an acquaintance with most of these characters but it's been a while since I read them, and I didn't feel lost even though the previous stories were a bit fuzzy. Likely, a reader's greatest enjoyment of the book, though would be found if they had read the other books.

Ms. Burkhart's strength is her ability to describe ... everything. The characters, the setting, etc., are all so clear and unique. I feel as if I've visited Budapest, and that I know these people and become completely invested in them. It keeps me turning pages.

I really enjoyed watching Morgan and Adam realize they were becoming more than lifelong friends. There were times I wanted to bang their heads together and make them just TALK, but mostly the romance was sweet and touching.

I didn't know how to feel about Zoltan. Sometimes, he felt purely awful, but others he was quite heroic. I didn't feel as if he was right for Morgan, but I would love to read his own story.

The story wasn't always action-packed, but I never wanted to stop reading and I look forward to reading more in the series. 4 stars.

READ AN EXCERPT


She smiled. "The view alone is worth renting the apartment."

"So you approve?" He leaned closer, catching the faintest whiff of her lavender perfume, but sadly, it was mostly covered by the medical scents from the hospital.

"I adore the view." She turned to face him. Their eyes met. He raked a heated gaze over her figure. She worried her lower lip and demurely turned back to face the window.

"I adore the view, too." Adam reached out and cupped her chin. An intense physical awareness flared between them.

She hesitated. "Adam--"

"You want this."

"This... what?"

"You want me to kiss you."

"You're pretty certain of that."

"I just know what you want."

"You are infuriating. How could you possibly know what I want?" "Because it's in your eyes."

She placed her hands on his chest and admitted as much. Heat flared between them, actually making the space between them warm. His pulse spiked. Blood rushed to his manhood. He took her lips, savoring her taste. Her mouth hinted of tokaji. Sweet. Honeyed. They drank each other in. He curved his hand around the nape of her neck and pulled her closer. God, her mouth was so velvety and smooth.

Her body pressed against the length of him, her curves hugging his muscles. His manhood pressed against her thigh. She arched closer to him. How responsive she was. She placed her hands on his shoulders and deepened the kiss.

MEET THE AUTHOR


Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.

WEBSITE: http://www.stephanieburkhart.com
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor
GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart
YOU TUBE CHANNEL: http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee
PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/

Buy the book at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance eBooks.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: Take Me to the Willow by Shelly Brimley


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

READ THE INTERVIEW


What are your favorite TV shows?

- Seinfeld, Cosby show, Dick Van Dyke show, Alias, Blue Bloods, Elementary, The Grinder, Law and Order, Call the Midwife, Downton Abby, Larkrise to Candleford, Doc Martin.

What is your favorite meal?

- I love good seafood!... shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, clam chowder… I’m drooling just thinking about it!

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

- I think it would be rewarding to write a series about kids who have been trafficked into the USA. While they certainly share some common themes, each story is unique. I’d like to write it as historical fiction rather than documentary style.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

- Idolize is a bit strong, but I really like Nancy Turner, Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, Caleb Carr, and Camron Wright, just to name a few.

How did you come up for the title of this book?

- I actually changed the title at the last minute. I wanted the willow tree to be highlighted, but not for what might seem like the obvious reason with reference to the associated tragedy. The willow tree means different things to different characters throughout the entirety of the story. Take Me to the Willow can imply wanting to return to fond childhood memories, or it could suggest a desire to confront the heartache that took place there. I wanted it to be open to interpretation depending on whose perspective is being considered at any given time.

READ THE BLURB


In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered.

When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized - to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.

READ AN EXCERPT


I’ve only been in this cell for three days, but it feels like a might lot longer than that. I know what I did wasn’t considered proper by most folks down here in the South, but I don’t regret doin’ it. And I’d do it again, if I had the chance. Charlie never did anything wrong. He’s just colored. Not much he can do about that, and even if he could, I suppose he wouldn’t want to anyhow. I didn’t feel it right that Charlie be ignored when all he came to do was buy feed and tools like the rest of us. So when Eli Carver said he don’t take no “colored” money, I thought it best to point out that he must be blind as a bat since Charlie’s dollar and my dollar are both the same shade of green. And when I held the two right in front of Mr. Carver’s face and politely asked him to show me the difference, he later told Sheriff Coleman I was threatenin’ and causin’ a disturbance. When I heard that, it just made my blood boil, and I decided Eli Carver needed to be taught a lesson. I went back to that store, although Charlie tried to get me to leave it be, but the next thing I knew, I was holdin’ Eli a foot off the ground against the door to his very own supply store. If Sheriff Coleman hadn’t been right there, I might have been able to argue my side, but there’s no point arguin’ against proof and common sense. Besides that, Sherriff Coleman is known for his feelin’s about colored people, so I knew I was beat before I started. I suppose I just didn’t care.

MEET THE AUTHOR


Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.

Website: http://www.shellybrimley.com
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shellybrimleyauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28183223-take-me-to-the-willow

On sale for only $0.99 until May 22 on Amazon.

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Straight Browsing from the Library: The Secret Door by Stephanie Burkhart


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie will be awarding a $15 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.


READ THE BLURB


It's 1927 and Lord Zoltan Kristos, Hungary's Minister of the Interior, takes great pains to hide the fact he's a werewolf from the world. Despite his efforts, he's recognized when he goes to the Austrian-Hungarian border to inspect the area for damage from a recent rare earthquake.

Zoltan is accused of stealing Kurt Meklau's witch, Inna, and is recklessly followed to Volturn Manor, a residence belonging to another werewolf family, the Vargas. After a fight with Meklau, Zoltan barely escapes and his adversary is found dead.

Sophia Varga and Tomas Martin find Zoltan. Sophia is determine to attend to Zoltan's injuries and protect her home, but when Kurt's father, Marcus, comes seeking revenge, Sophia is tested like never before. As Zoltan and Sophia work together, attraction and desire flame between them.

Will the secrets Volturn Manor harbors offer Zoltan and Sophia the clues they need to defeat Marcus and give them the opportunity to explore their feelings for one another?

READ AN EXCERPT


He looked her over seductively. His heart skipped a beat with desire. She rubbed the lotion into her hands and placed them on his stomach. He groaned, reaching out with his left hand and threading his fingers into her hair, jerking her head back so they were eye-to-eye. She set her jaw. His pulse pounded. Something intense flared between them, yet she kept her hands on his abdomen. Encouraged, Zoltan tugged her toward him, pressing her chest against his. Her nostrils flared and her brow furrowed in confusion.

He stopped, reminding himself he needed to offer a choice. "Do you want me to kiss you?"

"No." The sound of her denial was weak. He held her close.

"Do you want me to release you?"

"No."

"How should I solve my predicament?"

"I don't know."

"I do." He leaned close, her sweet fruity scent sending his senses into overdrive. He placed his lips on her jaw and kissed her.

MEET THE AUTHOR


Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.


WEBSITE: http://www.stephanieburkhart.com
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor
GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart
YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee
PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart

Buy the book at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance eBooks.

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