Friday Friends: Cee Streetlights & Black Sheep Rising

img_5493Friday Friends: Cee Streetlights

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img_5495After writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her memoir, Tea and Madness, won honorable mention for memoir in the Los Angeles Book Fair (2016) and is available for purchase on Amazon.

C. Streetlights is represented by Lisa Hagan Books and published by Shadow Teams NYC. For all press interviews and other inquiries, please contact Ms. Hagan directly.

You can connect with C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon Author Central, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

 

 

 

Friday Friends: Elizabeth Barone and Just One More Minute

Happy Friday, Friends!  I am delighted to feature author Elizabeth Barone and her new release Just One More Minute today!  I’m so excited because I pre-ordered my copy and it just came out today. Read on for a sneak peek!

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Just One More Minute is now available!

A down-on-her-luck waitress inherits a bakery with the man who stole her dream job—and broke her heart.

Visit http://books2read.com/justonemoreminute to purchase your copy.

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Title: Just One More Minute
Series: Not Just Any Love, Book 1 (Duology)
Author: Elizabeth Barone

A down-on-her-luck waitress inherits a bakery with the man who stole her dream job—and broke her heart.

Rowan left Connecticut to escape her indifferent family the second she graduated high school, but when her loving aunt dies, she drops everything to return for the funeral. All Rowan wants is to say her goodbyes and get back to her life—until her aunt’s lawyer tells her that she’s inherited Elli’s Bakery, the last straw that sent her running to New Jersey.

Even worse, her brand new business partner is Matt—the guy who stole her dream job at Elli’s and crushed her heart. Is she really supposed to just forgive him and run Elli’s by his side?

For Matt, Elli’s has been a safe haven, a way to take care of his heartsick mom and fatherless little brother. When the woman who took him in passes away, Matt has no idea what he’s going to do next. Until Rowan returns to their small town and becomes his new business partner. But after everything that went down between them, it’s clear that Rowan resents him.

Digging up the past will only be painful, and Matt needs to keep the bakery in business. Can Matt convince Rowan to stick around long enough to work things out between them?

Just One More Minute is a standalone small town bakery romance.

EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Rowan peered into the oven, her hand guarded by a thick oven mitt. The scent of chocolate wafted toward her. Though the brownies smelled done, the slightly chocolate-coated toothpick in her free hand told her otherwise. “Just one more minute,” she decided. Pushing the pan back inside, she closed the door.

Brownies were hardly a healthy dinner, but she’d had a long night at work. Usually she didn’t mind her job waitressing tables at the diner. Sean’s regular crowd gently teased her but left generous tips. But Sean’s was also right off the highway, and every once in a while they got drunk strangers. Her soiled clothing was currently cycling through its second run in her old washing machine. After being vomited on, anyone would need a good dose of chocolate.

And wine.

Maybe it was a sign that she needed to get out of waitressing. The problem was, she had no idea what she should do instead. She’d finished her A.S. in May. Given her experience, she could apply for a management position at a restaurant. The pay would be decent, but she just wasn’t sure that she wanted to work holidays and weekends for the rest of her life.

Sighing, she turned away from the oven and grabbed her notepad. With a swipe of her pen, she adjusted the time on the recipe that she was working on. In the three years since she’d started her blog, she had yet to post a recipe for brownies. She was about to remedy that.

Her blog was also an option. Because of it, she earned a pretty decent side income. Between affiliate sales and paid product reviews, she was able to pay her rent, and her waitressing income took care of her bills and other expenses. Now that she was out of school, if she quit her job and focused on her blog full-time, she could easily turn that income into a living. The idea of sitting in her kitchen all day didn’t really appeal to her, though. She liked bantering with her customers at Sean’s. Though her readers left great comments and busted her balls just fine, it wasn’t the same as face to face interaction.

She had no idea what she wanted.

The timer on her oven went off. Her minute was up. She pulled the pan of brownies out of the oven and set it on top of the burners of the stove. Immediately she turned the oven off. Despite the sun having set hours ago, the temperature outside hovered in the upper eighties. It was going to be a brutal summer.

Her father would tell her that she was crazy for baking in eighty-degree weather—and that she needed to add something special to those brownies. She rolled her eyes at the thought,

then frowned, pushing away the memories of her childhood. She’d moved to New Jersey almost the second she graduated high school, and she’d never looked back. She was over it and her parents. Mostly.

The brownies had to cool before she could cut them, so she left the oven and ambled into her living room area. As she crossed the small studio, she glanced at a photo on the wall of her aunt Katherine. Her heart twisted. She hadn’t seen her aunt in two years. They talked on the phone occasionally, but things weren’t the same. Too much was unspoken between them.

Closer to the air conditioner, she felt the sweat on her face drying. She sat down on her futon, tucking her legs underneath her. She drummed her fingers on her thigh. She didn’t have cable, and opening up her laptop and surfing YouTube would only make her feel guilty that she wasn’t working on her blog post instead. She bit her lip. Maybe it was time to get cable.

Her phone vibrated against the worn coffee table. Frowning, Rowan leaned forward for it. It was almost midnight. She didn’t recognize the number. Silencing the phone, she figured someone had probably dialed wrong—it happened.

Almost a minute later, a notification flashed across the screen. One new voicemail. Her frown deepened. She’d had enough of drunks for one night. Reaching for the phone, she plucked it off the table. Without listening to the voicemail, she deleted it.

The brownies had cooled for long enough. Hopping off the futon, she returned to the oven. Knife in hand, she brushed a strand of mousy brown hair from her face and began slicing the brownies free. She stifled a yawn. She’d better wrap up her brownie fix soon. She had a morning shift at the diner.

Balancing a plate of square brownies in one hand, she trotted to the refrigerator. She set the plate down and poured herself a glass of milk. She plucked three brownies from the plate and carried her feast back to the futon.

It didn’t take long for her to eat them. With a sigh, she brought her dishes to the sink. Then she opened up the futon. Stripping down to just her tank top and panties, she lay down. She stared into the darkness for a long time before sleep came.

It was Friday night.

* * *

When Rowan woke early the next morning, she had another voicemail from the same number. She stared at the screen of her phone for a long moment. The number had a Connecticut area code. While that didn’t necessarily mean anything—she’d bought her phone when she was still living in her home state—she couldn’t ignore the alarm bells going off in her head. Still, she didn’t have time. It was going to have to wait.

She dressed quickly and, on her way out, grabbed a brownie for breakfast. She arrived at Sean’s just as her boss of the same name was unlocking the door.

“Morning,” she greeted him.

He gave her a half grunt, half sigh in response, then a crooked smile. Pushing the door open, he motioned for her to go first. As she passed him, she couldn’t help but notice that his eyes were underlined by dark circles. His long hours at the diner were taking their toll. He’d never been a morning person, but she knew he’d stayed long after they closed the night before, prepping for the next day.

As far as she knew, she was the only server he’d scheduled for the morning. Usually, she appreciated the gesture. Though she knew it was really because he knew his sunrise customers preferred her to the other servers, it was nice to be valued. But early Saturday mornings were always slow. There was no one on their way to work. The sleepy little town caught up on rest and yard work on weekends.

With a sigh, she tied on her apron and prepared for the long day ahead. Even though she and Sean would be the only ones drinking it for the better part of the morning, she made coffee. She set tables with paper placemats and rolled silverware. When she was finished, she brought her boss a cup of coffee and perched on the counter next to him. They sat in silence for several long minutes. While she watched him prepare the register and type up the specials for the day, her thoughts again turned to her impending future. She loved the diner, but it wasn’t exactly a career.

Just before he flipped the sign to open for the day, Sean gave her shoulder a squeeze. “Everything okay, kiddo?”

“Man, I must look bad.” Though Rowan often suspected that he considered her like a daughter, he rarely asked about her personal life. She never asked about his, either, though. She knew he’d come to New Jersey a stray, too, but didn’t know the circumstances.

“You look like you’re in deep thought.” He gave her a smile, the crow’s feet at the corners of his eyes crinkling.

She bit her lip. He was the closest thing she had to a father figure. Maybe he could give her advice. Taking a sip of her coffee, she watched as he sank into a chair at one of the tables. “How did you decide that you wanted to run a diner for the rest of your life?”

His eyebrows rose. “The rest of my life? Are you trying to punish me?”

“Well, you know what I mean.” Her stomach rumbled. Suddenly she regretted having eaten nothing but brownies in the last twenty-four hours.

One of his eyebrows twitched. “I didn’t really know,” he hedged, hitting the print button on his laptop. Underneath the counter, the printer coughed and spurted. The sheets that would become table tents for the day’s specials spewed onto the tray.

“You ended up here somehow,” she persisted. “What did you decide to do after finishing high school?”

Sean collected the pile of copies and began assembling them. “I didn’t.”

“You didn’t finish high school?” she teased.

“No.” His brown eyes met hers.

Feeling her cheeks flush, she managed a small “Oh.”

“Rowan, those were different days. My grades weren’t the best, and I was always getting into trouble for minor things. They didn’t really know what to do with me, to tell you the truth. So I left one day and never went back.” He finished putting together the table tents and began dispersing them to the tables.

She sighed. “I just don’t know what to do,” she said.

“Well, you graduated high school and college, so you’re two steps ahead of me.” His eyes twinkled.

The door opened and the white-haired Mr. and Mrs. Kostenko shuffled in for their morning coffee fix. Rowan grinned at them in greeting and grabbed two mugs. Her day had begun.

* * *

Halfway through her shift, she paused for a short break. As she passed Sean at the grill, he handed her a plate of food. “Eat.”

With a nod, she carried her meal to a table tucked into a dim corner of the diner. Lifting her fork, she also slid her phone out of her apron. It was the weekend and she was officially done with school. She shouldn’t spend it alone.

She meant to text a friend from the community college she’d attended, but froze. There were two more voicemails from the Connecticut number. Dread pitted in her stomach. One or two calls she could write off as a wrong number. Four were a whole other story.

Someone was trying to get ahold of her.

Glancing at Sean’s back, she lifted the phone to her ear. “Hello, this is Attorney Damien Ward again,” the voicemail began. “I’m looking for Ms. Rowan Ellis. It is extremely important that you contact me as soon as possible regarding an urgent family matter.” He left his phone number and encouraged her to call him back immediately.

She bit her lip. It sounded important, but she couldn’t discern the nature of the call from his voice. He seemed calm and collected, not the bearer of bad news. And though his Connecticut area code made her inclined to take him seriously, there was a part of her that realized he could be a scam artist.

But scam artists didn’t call repeatedly in the same day, at least not in her experience. Usually they waited twenty-four hours, or called from different numbers without leaving voicemails.

Maybe it wasn’t anything to worry about. If something had happened to her parents or siblings, one of her family members would have called. Not some lawyer. At least, she thought so. Sometimes her family acted so indifferent toward her, she supposed it was possible that they would alert her passively.

The lawyer had said “urgent family matter.” Maybe her parents were getting divorced. But they wouldn’t need her approval for that.

Her brow furrowed. There was that time her father had a questionable relationship with one of his students. A professor at Naugatuck Valley in Waterbury, he’d been spending a lot of time with an eighteen-year-old in one of his philosophy classes. Though rumors flying around said they were having sex in his office, the investigation had been dropped and he’d been cleared. At the time, Rowan’s mother hadn’t even been jealous. She suspected her parents had somewhat of an open marriage. Maybe something like that was going on again, and her father had to go to court.

She wanted nothing to do with it.

Picking up her fork again, she decided not to call Ward back.

* * *

Her shift at Sean’s ended at one in the afternoon. She escaped into the steamy summer air and headed toward her car. With the rest of the day wide open, she should hit the beach or do something equally relaxing. Every bone in her body ached for a nap, though. She’d only slept four hours the night before.

She slid into her car and gingerly touched the steering wheel. Grimacing, she pulled her hand away. She turned the key in the ignition and blasted the air conditioning. It didn’t take long for cold air to come out, but it would take a few minutes until the steering wheel was cool enough to touch. She pulled her phone out of the back pocket of her pants and reached for the cord that connected her phone to the stereo. The screen of the phone lit up, the familiar Connecticut number flashing.

Rowan sighed. As much as she didn’t want to get involved with her family’s affairs, she felt bad for wasting the lawyer’s time. It wasn’t his fault that her family was a train wreck. She pressed the phone to her ear. “Hello?”

“Oh!” He sounded surprised. “I was going to leave you another voicemail.” He chuckled. “My name is Attorney Damien Ward. I’ve been trying to get in touch with you.”

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’ve been working.” Testing the steering wheel, she deemed it cool enough to grip. Holding the phone to her ear with one hand, she used her other hand to guide the car out of Sean’s parking lot. Though it was illegal to drive in New Jersey while using a phone without a hands-free earpiece, she’d mastered the art of dropping her phone at the first sight of a patrol car.

“Are you working now?” the lawyer asked in his smooth baritone.

“No.” She turned onto the street and headed toward her apartment.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news.” He hesitated for a moment.

Rowan’s heart pounded in her chest. Suddenly she wasn’t so sure that it had anything to do with her family’s antics. Something awful had happened.

“I’m your aunt Katherine’s attorney. I handle her business affairs, and her estate,” he continued.

Rowan’s heart dropped into her stomach. She swerved onto the shoulder of the road, throwing the car into park.

“Your aunt wanted me to notify you immediately, should anything happen to her. I’m so sorry, Ms. Ellis. Katherine passed away last night.” His voice, filled with regret, was suddenly drowned out by a high pitched ringing in her ears.

A sob escaped her lips. Not Katherine. Though they had their problems, she loved her aunt. Katherine had been the only member of her family to treat her like a normal person. It couldn’t be true. “How?” she gasped.

The attorney sighed. “Cancer,” he said, voice breaking. “She didn’t want anyone to know.”

Tears gushed down her cheeks. She sat numbly, the engine still running. Cold air blasted against her face, but she didn’t feel it.

“The wake is tomorrow night,” Damien Ward said. “I’ve made all of the arrangements according to her final wishes. I’m so sorry, Ms. Ellis.”

Rowan suppressed the urge to scream. This couldn’t be real. Instead, she slammed her fist on the steering wheel. Pain jolted through her arm, but it was nothing compared to the ache in her heart. She would never get the chance to make up with her aunt. Suddenly she felt childish for running away. At the time, she’d felt double-crossed. That job at her aunt’s bakery was supposed to be hers. It was the whole reason she’d gone to a technical high school and studied culinary arts. But her aunt had given it to someone else instead, and Rowan had decided to move on, out of state. She’d barely spoken to Katherine over the last two years. Now she would never make amends. Her shoulders slumped. She’d been so, so stupid.

“Ms. Ellis?” The lawyer’s tone was gentle. “Your aunt wanted to make sure that you were taken care of in her absence. She’s left her house to you. I can meet you before the wake tomorrow to give you the keys.”

She barely heard him. It was all too much. She didn’t want the house. She wanted Katherine.

“I’m so sorry,” he said again. “I know this is a lot to absorb. But she made it very clear that I was to tell you about the house right away, so that you wouldn’t have to stay with your parents.”

She almost laughed. Even in the afterlife, her aunt was still her ally. Guilt roiled through her stomach. She’d been a stupid teenager. And now she would never be able to fix things.

BUY LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M4M0NK7
iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/just-one-more-minute/id1167832445?mt=11
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-one-more-minute-elizabeth-barone/1124933505?ean=2940153508993
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/just-one-more-minute
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=lzJMDQAAQBAJ
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/673877
More: http://books2read.com/justonemoreminute

img_5429ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Barone is an American novelist who writes contemporary New Adult romance and suspense, starring sassy belles who chose a different path in life. Her debut novel, Sade on the Wall (writing as Kaylene Campbell), was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books.

When not writing, Elizabeth is very busy getting her latest fix of Yankee Candle, spicy Doritos chips, or whatever TV show she’s currently binging.

Elizabeth lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, a feisty little cat, and too many books.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Website: http://elizabethbarone.net
Blog: http://thecrazychronicles.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/elizabethbarone
Facebook: http://facebook.com/elizabethbaronebooks

Instagram: http://instagram.com/elizabethbarone

 

 

 

Guest Post: Love Literary Style by Karin Gillespie

Happy Friday, Friends!  I love to spotlight authors and bloggers and readers on Fridays!  Today I am featuring Love Literary Style by Karin Gillespie. Read on for her Guest Post below! I particularly appreciate her reference to reviews and chicken pox.  I’m downloading this book today!  Are you? 


love-literary-style-book-tour-bannerLove Literary Style Book Tour
By author Karin Gillespie
Tour Date: November 1st-8th, 2016

Blurb:

Low brow meets high brow in a literary love story.

Can an emotionally-stunted literary novelist and a vivacious romance writer find their happily-ever after? Even when she becomes more successful than he? Love Literary Style spoofs romantic comedy tropes, winks at literary pretensions and pokes fun at book publishing.

Like Legally Blonde only in the literary world.

Inspired by the author’s New York Times article “Masters in Chick Lit.” A sparkling romantic comedy for fans of the Rosie Project.

Buy the Book:

AmazonUS
AmazonUK

About the Author:

2c93bc_f568288f57544254b991cfe17add7d80-mv2Karin Gillespie

Bio:

Karin Gillespie is the author of the national bestselling Bottom Dollar Girls series, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year, Co-author for Jill Connor Browne’s novel Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big Ass Novel. Her latest novel Love Literary Style was inspired by a New York Times article called “Masters in Chick Lit” that went viral and was shared by literary luminaries like Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Rice. She’s written for the Washington Post and Writer Magazine and is book columnist and humor columnist for the Augusta Chronicle and Augusta Magazine respectively. She received a Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2016

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

Visit All the Stops:

November 1st

Romantic Reads and Such – Book Excerpt
Hello…Chick Lit – Book Promo/Excerpt

November 2nd

Bookish Lifestyle – Book Promo
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A
Steamy Book Momma – Book Promo

November 3rd

Jena Books – Book Review/Promo
Emmathelittlebookworm – Book Promo

November 4th

Live Laugh & Love Books – Book Review
Key of Dee – Author Guest Post

November 5th

Bookaholic Babe – Book Promo
Book Lover in Florida – Book Excerpt/Promo
Anonymisses – Book Review

November 6th

The Belgian Reviewer – Author Guest Post
The Writing Garnet – Book Review
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post

November 7th

Novelgossip– Book Review/Promo
Chick Lit Central – Book Promo

November 8th

Elysium Bibliotheque – Book Promo
ItaPixie’s Book Corner – Book Review/Excerpt

Tour Arranged by:

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Coping with Crappy Reviews

 By Karin Gillespie

I’ll never forget it so long as I live. I was about to embark on my very first ten-city book tour when I went to Amazon and, lying in wait like a black widow spider, was my first customer review.
“Karin Gillespie should be boiled in oil for writing such a terrible book. I will NEVER get back the four precious hours of my life I spend slogging through her deathless prose. Was her publisher on crack? Burning’s not good enough for this book. I want to tear it to pieces, page by abysmal page, and then feed it to an alligator.”
Perhaps I exaggerate. The review wasn’t quite that scathing but it was bad enough that I wanted to call in sick for my book tour, fearing I’d be met by torch-carrying, pitchfork waving, angry mobs. Obviously I’d managed to write the world’s worst book.
Never mind that I’d gotten a starred Kirkus just a few weeks earlier. Clearly my crack-crazed publisher had bribed the reviewer. All of the praise and kudos I’d received up until then had been expunged from my mind. All I cared about was what Edna Cranky from Backwater N.C. had to say about my book, and Edna, bless her pea-picking heart, hated it.
How to Man Up
That was almost ten years ago. Ten years ago and a slew of bad reviews later, I’m actually grateful to dear old Edna. If I ever ran into her, instead of wringing her neck, I might actually hug it. Looking back on it, I actually appreciated a little skin-thickening right out of the gate. Bad reviews are like chicken pox: Best to get ‘em over with early in the game less they turn into shingles. I know some writers that published two or three books before they had an encounter with their own Ednas, and it wasn’t pretty.
I’ve never responded to a bad review, much as I’ve been tempted. Nor do I ever read a bad review more than once. (Good reviews, on the other hand, I read hundreds of times and recently had an especially good one tattooed on my bicep.)
I’ve learned to completely ignore the mean-spirited reviews. People who attack the author just aren’t worth spilling tears or swilling whiskey over. I’ve even got to the point where I welcome the occasional poor review so long as the criticism is constructive, and if you believe that I’ve got some swampland I’d like to sell you.
Actually, every bad review stings for a little while but I do occasionally learn from them, and I’m grateful to anyone who has taken the time to read the book and comment on it. Authors might not like bad reviews but there’s something even worse: No reviews whatsoever.

Friday Friends: Dylan Quinn and Origin

Happy Friday, Friends!  On Fridays I like to spotlight authors and bloggers.  It is my way of giving back to the community, which has been so helpful and supportive to me, especially upon my first book launch.  Has it been a year already?    Today I am happy to feature author Dylan Quinn again, on the occasion of her new release:  Origin.   Both Gemini and Origin are on sale for .99 today, Friday, October 28th!  Read on for an exciting excerpt!

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One sacrifice saved humanity.

One kill will change everything.

One secret could destroy them all.

 

Sometimes the most dangerous battle is the war within ourselves.

One sacrifice can save humanity.

So can one heartbeat. One kiss. One touch. I didn’t save my Gemini’s soul the night I rescued him from the dark realm. Cade Adams saved mine.

 

One kill has changed everything.

Since I eradicated the world’s most dangerous demon, the Fallen factions are out for blood, and their target is my family: Genesis—the Origin of humanity. The only way to protect my legacy against an ancient prophecy threatening to take me out is to resume my reign as Chayah, Eternal Mother. But I can’t remember her. My own secrets are buried so deep, even I can’t reach them.

 

One secret could destroy us all.

EXCERPT from Origin:

Thousands of years loving Cade and five lifetimes leading Genesis are lost to me. While I’ve been off fighting to remember my own life, my family’s been fighting each other. Our own demons just may destroy humanity’s only defense against the darkness before the Eternal war has even begun.

 

Sometimes the most dangerous battle is the war within ourselves.

 

“Chayah.”

My official Genesis title resonated through Cade’s bare chest, his voice like silk. Low. Sensual. He’d removed his shirt and shoes, and now stood barefoot behind me, nothing but a pair of tight jeans showing off every asset.

“I’ve missed you,” he whispered. “My body has missed you.”

He left light kisses along my neck, sending goose bumps rising across my sensitive skin.

My pulse sped up, and my body shook.

This is really happening.

“Come.” Cade took my hand and led me back inside, past our bedroom, to an adjoining bathroom. It was the size of Cade’s front room in Chicago. A huge tub stood in the corner.

Cade went to set up the bath, while I leaned against the doorframe, trying to keep my knees from giving out.

“Are you feeling all right?” He returned to me, skimming his hand across my cheek. “Your skin is pale.”

I couldn’t get out any words.

“Chayah.” He brushed my hair over my shoulders and cupped my cheeks. “Don’t be afraid. I promise not to rush you. We have Eternity, love. When you’re ready…”

“Oh, I’m ready,” I mumbled a little louder than I meant to. My eyes grew wide, and I pressed my lips together.

Cade narrowed his eyes, showing off that sexy crooked smile. “There you are.”

“So, there’s like—” My eyes darted through the room. “No time limit for us to, um.” I swallowed. “You know.”

“Not at all. The Ceremony has begun the Convergence, and it cannot be broken. We must merge physically, but we have as long as you need.” He tilted my chin, running his thumb along my bottom lip. “You’ve spent the past three months worrying about me. Tonight is about you, love. Let me care for you.”

The knot in my chest loosened. A little. Nervous energy pushed through each limb of this new body I’d recently inherited.

For the first time in my life, I trusted someone completely.

I trusted Cade with my heart and my soul.

And tonight, with my body.

I was ready to give myself to him, in every way a girl could.

“This may sound weird, since the night hasn’t really started, but—” I bit my lip. “I don’t want it to end.”

Cade’s breathing became heavy as the aura surrounding him fired to life. The corners of his lips curved up, and his gaze burned into me.

“For now, my love, it is the still of night. And night it shall remain. For as long as you wish.”

He tilted my chin, leaving a soft, sensual kiss to my lips.

“Tonight is ours.” He leaned closer, running his thumb across my bottom lip. “And for this night—time stands still.”

 Where you can find Author Dylan Quinn:

DylanQuinn.com ~ FB: Author Dylan Quinn ~ Twitter: @Dylan_Quinn

I am going to purchase and download Origin today! 

Beautiful young woman sitting alone close to window with rain drops. Sexy and sad girl. Concept of loneliness. Black white image

Friday Friends: Booklover Betty Murray

Happy #FridayFriends! I have been spotlighting writers and bloggers on Fridays over the past year. This summer I decided to include readers. Please welcome Betty Murray, a #Humanwholovesbooks. 

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On Reading:

1. Right now, I am reading “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen
It’s a story about a Vietnamese army captain who is a communist sleeper agent in the US after the escape from Saigon

2. Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by N Hogan (Kidnapped by RLS)
Historical fiction story of the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny (1870s-1894) . A really interesting story, set in France, Scotland, Switzerland, California and, finally, in Samoa. As a child, I loved A Child’s Garden of Verses (I still have the 1945 edition, which I think belonged to my sister Pat)…

3. What do I look for in a book? Well, good, interesting writing, for one.
In The Sympathizer, the narrator describes his last night in Saigon, with 2 friends: “we sang with all our hearts, feeling only for the past and turning our gaze to the future, swimmers doing the backstroke toward a waterfall.”
I also love interesting settings – learning about new places and times..
Samoa is the 1890s! England before WW!…Europe.WW2…And, of course, characters that are real.

4. When I was in college, a friend gave me “The Prophet” by Gibran. I read it like my Bible. So many good authors I have read..Marilynn Robinson (Gilead, et al), Wallace Stegner, Annie Proulx, …Dickens, Tolstoy and Hugo. Wintertime is my time for reading old favorites: I just reread W&P (originally recommended to me many, many years ago by your father) and last year Les Miserables. I’ve gone on a Dickens splurge, and Austen…There is a reason why some books are called classics!
Is it time for another go-round with The Forsythe Saga?? My Aunt Alice read it 4x in her long life! I’ve only read it twice.

5. I would say about 2 a month.. maybe more. I used to keep diaries of books read.. but haven’t for a while, so my count is off. I have belonged to a Book Club for about 25 years – mostly teachers from Mills HS. I found that I was only reading mysteries and detective books, and wanted to challenge my brain. I have certainly read a lot of books that I would not have chosen on my own to read

6. For my younger self….??? Perhaps Jane Austen?

7. Disliked?? Can’t think of any…but I am finding that I will put aside any book with too much violence .

8. Book or movie….I prefer to read the book first

9. Favorite genre: Historical fiction

10. One thing!!! I suppose greater understanding/empathy of individuals, points of view and the world

11 Loved, then not…I Loved Ramona as a young girl. Helen H Jackson was an activist for the rights of Native Americans in the 19th C., and she wrote a romanticized, popular story, set in Southern California. I re-read it last year, and , while I enjoyed the story again, I wasn’t as passionate about it. On the other hand, I hated Mill on the Floss (Eliot) and Jude the Obscure (Hardy) when I read them in college…but loved them both on rereading some 30 years later. Went on to read most of Hardy (Tess, Madding Crowd)). Middlemarch and Under the Greenwood Tree are sitting in my Kindle, waiting for some long winter days!

12 In the past couple of years, I find I am reading a lot on Kindle. I can borrow ebooks and read them on Kindle…in bed, when the lights are out and Noel is sleeping! Lots of books written before 1920 or so are available on Kindle for very little. After reading about RLS, I bought his complete works for about $2..I did the same thing with Oscar Wilde, and A.C. Doyle
I do buy books – especially if I think Noel would enjoy reading them And I am a frequent visitor to the Library. I still read my favorite series/mysteries (Isabel Dalhousie, Maisie Dobbs) between more serious books. When I count my blessings, I usually include books and reading.

 

Friday Friends: Jerry Dwyer, Reader

Happy Friday, Friends!  I interview authors, bloggers, and readers on Fridays. We are #humanswholovebooks. Today I am delighted to share a very special interview with you: my own dear father, who instilled in me my love of reading and writing. Welcome, Dad!

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1. What are you reading right now?
Restless Hearts: Walking the Camino de Santiago by Roy Uprichard

2. What did you read last?
Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer (literary fiction I found on Kindle Unlimited)

3. What do you look for in a book?
I like to research before traveling – fiction, history and travel guides. Before going to Barcelona last year I read Barcelona by Robert Hughes, The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series (three books) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The South: A Novel by Colm Toibin, and Rick Steves’ Pocket Barcelona.
See # 12 below for more examples.

4. What book has most influenced you?
I can only narrow it down to three books: one from my youth, one from my middle age, and one from my senior years.
When I was 18 I read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and my love for great literature was kindled.
When I was in my 40s I read Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and my love for western Americana took a big hit.
The most thought-provoking book I read in the 21st century was Atonement by Ian McEwan.

5. How many books did you read in the last 12 months?
41 (I just had to add up the titles on my iPad!)

6. What book would you recommend for your younger self?
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

7. What book have you disliked?
Ian McEwan is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I thoroughly enjoyed Saturday which I read prior to our trip to London in 2013 and since then have read six more of his novels. All of his books are well-written but I did not like some of his surprise endings and one book, The Comfort of Strangers, I didn’t like at all.

8. A popular book is becoming a film. Do you read the book first, or see the movie first?
The book. We usually wait till a movie is on TV. I read Girl on a Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins a couple of months ago and the movie isn’t out yet!

9. What are your favorite travel books?
Rick Steves’ travel guides. We take these along for our walks when we visit places in Europe. Most of the other books I have read lately are ebooks. For our trip to Paris in 2014 we also made good use of a delightful little book called Forever Paris by Christina Henry de Tessan. Its subtitle tells it all: 25 Walks in the Footsteps of Chanel, Hemingway, Picasso, and More.

10. What is one thing you have learned from books?
It’s a great big world out there! I love to read about people traveling somewhere, meeting other people and seeing historical sites and then go there myself.

11. Is there a book that you once loved, but can’t stand anymore?
No.

12. Is there anything you would like to add?
Before our trip to Paris in 2014 I read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough. On our return from Paris I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.
Before, during and after our recent trip to Scotland I read a total of four Isabel Dalhousie mysteries by Alexander McCall Smith.
Before our trip to Italy in 2009 I read A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Michelangelo’s Mountain by Eric Scigliano, and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.
Before our trip to Spain in 2010 I read For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway and Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving.
Rick Steves doesn’t publish guide books on Australia; so in 2011 I read In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson before going to Australia.
Finally, I would like to add that I never travel without a camera and I like to read photography books, too, especially those on the history of photography.

Friday Friends:Eachan Lee, Reader

After interviewing writers and bloggers for almost a year,  I decided it might be fun to interview readers, as well. I find it fascinating to hear what booklovers have to say about their books. Don’t you?  Welcome, Eachan!

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1. What are you reading right now?
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. It’s the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The basis for his characters/story are old black and white photographs that have been rigged to twist the images in some way, like photoshopping back in the days before anyone could buy a camera, much less a digital one. It’s a bit hard to explain but for example there’s a photo that shows a kid apparently lifting a huge boulder, so the corresponding character is a kid with super strength. It’s set around the world wars, so it’s kind of an old timey, kid super hero deal. He’s a relatively new writer and it’s a pretty good effort.
2. What did you read last?
I went back and re-read the Man-Kzin wars series. The universe was created by Larry Niven, who is a big hard science fiction writer. The books themselves consist of short stories written by both established and up and coming writers who are, as he puts it, “in his playground”. It’s mostly good storytelling with differing tones/styles but all in the same setting.
3. What book has most influenced you?
When I was in my teens I read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman as well as Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (very cliché). I wouldn’t say they changed my lives, but some of the themes and concepts related to the human experience and human nature I’ve found true to life even to this day. The original Dune books by Frank Herbert were interesting in a similar way that spoke more collective human nature that also speaks to me.
4. How many books did you read last year?
Who knows? I kill off a book in a matter of days, so maybe 50?
5. What book would you recommend for your younger self?
Oh that’s really hard to say. I’ve been an avid reader ever since I figured out how and I don’t really have any regrets when it comes to how my tastes have evolved. Maybe I’d tell myself to avoid books that later became movies, does that count? Although the cinematic experience is sometimes great, I’ve always felt the storytelling and character development suffer in those conversions.
6. What book have you disliked?
That’s an odd one as even if I don’t particularly like a book, I usually finish it to complete the experience and see where the author is going. There’s really only one book I only managed to get only a few chapters into and that was Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I was always wary of their writing as they opted to pursue prequels to the original Dune books rather than the sequel that was cut off after FH’s death. I tend to look down on sequels in general as it’s often a case of “write the characters before they became the hero/villain” and “match the ending to the beginning of the original books”. It’s honestly very fluffy work in my opinion and had none of the deeper themes or gravitas that underlay his father’s work. The characters were changed drastically in nature and motivation, which was ridiculous considering that they were very well established characters.
7. Do you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction? Do you prefer a genre?
I do enjoy a good history book, but I mostly read fiction. I think the vicarious experience is more complete as a fiction writer can take liberties that need to be treated carefully in non-fiction. I tend to lean towards sci-fi as I do enjoy what some people like to call speculative fiction where they fast forward existing science to create a more plausible world, then use those altered aspects to frame what should still be a human(esque) story. It’s like the difference between the Martian vs Star Wars.
8. Do you prefer fast-paced plot advancement or world building exposition?
I prefer world building over the fast read. As I tend to re-read books quite a bit, I like finding new bits or call backs/forward within a larger narrative universe. Unfortunately those quick moving plots don’t have the same fascination when I go back to them as the payoff is in the ending versus in the build up.
9. Do you prefer to read an actual book, or e-books?
I’ll read an e-book, but I prefer physical books. It just feels more soothing to me than swiping through pages. Also I have a habit of flipping back to look at previous foreshadowing and that’s a huge hassle for e-books.
10. A popular book is becoming a film. Do you read the book first, or see the movie first?
I always see the movie first. I tend to go into those movies annoyed at alterations or things that are flat out cut. There are some good adaptations, but some movies are obviously just taking the name to draw in a guaranteed audience. I Robot and World War Z are two egregious examples that pop into my head.
11. What would be the title of your life story?
Ha! I lead a decidedly mundane existence. It’ll borrow one from the bard and say Much Ado About Nothing
12. What is the ideal environment in which to read a book?
Ideally? On a beach with the breeze and the light just right. But I do a read a lot in bed.
13. Is there anything you would like to add?
Harry Potter and JK Rowling are overrated. They’re tasty bits of pop fiction, but not particularly deep or inventive. If you want your kids to experience a British author that creates interesting world, stories and characters, hand them some Roald Dahl.