Book tour & giveaway – Funny Fairy Tales Series by Reut Barak

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Funny Fairy Tales Series

by Reut Barak

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GENRE: Short Stories, Fairy Tales, Humor

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BLURBS

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You know this story… or do you?

How about a little twist?

Read the story of Snow White as never told before!

With the vicious queen Anagrola, the confused and sarcastic mirror Shraga, and the most gifted seven men you’ve ever met.

Let the tale begin!

BUY LINKS:

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble

CoverCinderella

You know this story… or do you?

How about a little twist?

Read the story of Cinderella as never told before!

With the mysterious blue fairy godmother, the cunning step-sisters, and a woman, who for the life of her, just can’t stop cleaning!

Let the tale begin!

BUY LINKS:

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble

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You know this story… or do you?

How about a little twist?

Read the story of Red Riding Hood as never told before!

With the hood that leads to fame and fortune, the mysterious wild wolf, and a grandmother so evil, she could rewrite the history of sin. Red’s not little anymore!

Let the tale begin!

BUY LINKS:

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble

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EXCERPTS

To see a sample of the book, check out the Amazon page

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GUEST POST

Interview with one of the characters
 – Shraga, the sarcastic mirror from Funny Fairy Tales 1 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

– Can you introduce yourself to everybody?

Hi everyone, I’m Shraga. I’m a magical mirror.

 – Wow, that’s really wonderful. Where do you come from, Shraga?

I come from a land called Funny Fairy Tales. I used to live with a kind old magician, on a beautiful, magical hilltop. That was so great.

– What happened?

(silence. No reply)

– Shraga, what happened?

I miss him. It’s awful here!

– What happened? Where do you live now?

I’m locked up in a castle. There’s a crazy witch queen, who keeps asking me the same question every night. Never tires of it!

– What question?

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

– Every night?

Yes.

What do you tell her?

“My dearest queen, you won’t delight, to find you are not fairer than Snow White!” Snow White is the King’s ugly daughter from his first marriage.

– Snow White is ugly?

Yes, but she’s super smart and everybody likes her. Except for the queen, of course.

– Tell us more about this magical kingdom you live in.

Well, there are a lot of special folk here. I once met a girl who can talk to wolves. The castle is very old and has emerald ornaments from the time of the great magical storm. There is gold and silver everywhere. They got a lot of good food. The queen gets a new gown every day. The gardens have a large maze and there are red roses in the spring. There are balls and late dinner parties. The richest lords and ladies always come here. They get flown in with expensive magic carpets.

– Sounds lovely. Do you like the castle?

I want to go home.

– Tell us a secret.

I want to kill the queen.

– How about something else? Can you tell us something about you that we don’t read in the book?

I used to be a shoe.

– Really? A shoe?

Yes. A glass shoe. I was broken by an evil stepmother and then the magician saved me and turned me into a mirror.

– That was very kind of him. So what do you think is going to happen to Snow White and the Queen? Do you think the queen is dangerous?

Yes, I think she’s going to kill Snow White. I hope she fails. I like Snow White. She’s a good kid.

– Well, we’ll have to wait and see what happens when Snow White grows up. That’s it for today, thank you for being with us.

No, wait! Don’t leave me here!

Meet Shraga in person

Funny Fairy Tales 1 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Funny Fairy Tales are a new type of book – It works like an app and feels like someone is telling you a story. They are also a very quick read, a bit like a snack, something fun you read on the plane or waiting for the train.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Reut Barak is a freelance journalist, previously published in National Geographic online. She has an MBA from the University of Oxford, and has worked and traveled internationally. This is her first book series.

Well, no not really… The true story is:

Reut was born in Camelot in the year 1201, following the famous explosion of the northern dragon tower.

She has a degree in fantasy and science fiction from the University of Atlantis and this record can be found in the central library, now twenty thousand leagues under the sea.

She likes phoenix riding, dragon fighting and painting the roses red.

More here: www.funnyfairytales.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReutBarak

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorReutBarak/

Teaser Trailer: https://youtu.be/T1swZS2k4-s

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GIVEAWAY 

Reut will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

goddess

Blurb blitz & giveaway – Ahe’ey by Jamie Le Fay

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Ahe’ey

by Jamie Le Fay

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GENRE: Epic Fantasy Romance

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BLURB:

Morgan’s feminist books didn’t prepare her to deal with the dashing Gabriel and the land of Ahe’ey . . .

Morgan is a dreamer, change maker and art lover. She is a feisty, slightly preachy, romantic feminist full of contradictions and insecurities. Morgan uncovers a world where women have the power, and where magic is no longer just a figment of her wild imagination. Sounds like a dream, but it may, in fact, turn into a nightmare.

The world of the Ahe’ey challenges and subverts her views about gender, genes, and nature versus nurture.

The strong and uninvited chemistry between her and the dashing Gabriel makes matters even more complicated. His stunning looks keep short-circuiting her rational mind.

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EXCERPT

Before she could process her actions, Morgan found herself walking towards the door, signalling the guards to follow her. Outside, the strange woman shouted.

“Where are the Ma’asai?”

“At the venue, in the Great Lawn in Central Park. We enclosed the perimeter and created some security checkpoints,” said the blonde man.

“You betrayed my direct orders, Bastian.”

“I received no such order my Sky. Please! We are already here. It’s just for a few hours. We don’t want another incident like the Met where he disclosed his skills to protect her. Let me prevent further—” The blonde man stopped talking as he saw Morgan and the security guards approach.

The woman wrapped her cinnamon-coloured cape around her body, fully covering her weapons and her unusual outfit.

How odd. They look like they belong in a sci-fi TV series, thought Morgan.

“Good afternoon,” Morgan said loudly. She flashed a theatrical smile, trying to defuse the situation. “Hey, nice outfits. Is this Comic-con weekend? I love Comic-con. Which character are you?” She looked up to meet the eyes of the imposing Amazon. The woman looked at Morgan with an expression of cold indifference.

For one moment, Morgan felt like she was looking into a mirror. She recognised the texture and the fire of that hair. How strange.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.

Links to all Book Sellers 

Website 

Goodreads 

Twitter 

Facebook

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EDITORIAL REVIEWS

“In this romantic tale, a champion of women’s empowerment stumbles on a hidden–and seemingly perfect–society. A bracing mix of emotionally and intellectually honest fantasy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A compelling and creative work of paranormal romance. Le Fey takes her characters to places seldomly seen in fantasy fiction that readers will find empowering and prescient. Ahe’ey is a fairly polarizing book. As an example of feminist fantasy fiction, you won’t find much better than this. Ahe’ey is an impressively thought-out story, with many original touches and a fairy-like romance that will deeply satisfy readers of the genre.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★

“This book is a thoughtful look at empowerment for women. At the same time, it’s a rollicking trip into a fantasy world complete with dragons, love and strength, and ideas that really get you thinking. This book is highly recommended for all ages.” – HUGEOrange

“They’re flawed, real, and honest characters that can be easily related to. Ahe’ey is the kind of novel society needs to read, to create inspiration and to make people think. Ahe’ey is daring, complex, and honest. A must-read novel that tackles heavy and real topics with a mix of serious and humorous, charm and tragedy.” – Reader’s Favorite – ★★★★★

“Ahe’ey contains a richly imagined world that raises complicated and timely questions about our own. Jamie Le Fay’s Ahe’ey is an action-packed love story that puts forth a nuanced vision of gender stereotypes, body politics, and the dark side of seeking perfection.” – Foreword Clarion – ★★★★

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OTHER PRAISE

“Jamie is a fine writer with a rich imagination and is able to convey her strong feelings about women’s rights, feminism, gender equality and other important matters of injustice, primarily because she keeps us involved with the characters of her strong story.” – Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Top 100 Reviewer, Vine Voice – ★★★★★

“As a liberal and committed feminist who is increasingly frustrated by the simplistic self-righteousness of my own side, and the belief that all that is needed is for a few smart people to start a revolution, I found “Ahe’ey” to be refreshingly multi-sided, while also maintaining its core beliefs.” – E.P. Clark, Author – ★★★★

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GIVEAWAY 

Jamie will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $40 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

goddess

Book tour & giveaway – A Stranger She Can Trust by Regan Black

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A Stranger She Can Trust

by Regan Black

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GENRE: Romantic suspense

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BLURB:

Outside a busy Philadelphia nightclub, a woman stumbles from her taxi. Beaten and bruised, she is an amnesiac who must rely on a handsome stranger to help her uncover her identity. Carson Lane—a paramedic with his own dark history—can’t help but bring this beautiful, vulnerable woman under his wing. As they begin unraveling who she really is, he realizes falling in love could be the biggest risk of all.

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EXCERPT:

“Would you like us to take you home or call a friend or family member for you?” Grant asked.

A fresh bolt of panic shot through her like white-hot lightning streaking through a dark sky. The sensation left her gasping. She knew what they were asking. She knew what it meant to call someone. She just couldn’t remember the numbers or names that would connect her to someone familiar. The concept of family made her feel marginally better and a thousand times worse, though the word didn’t induce quite as much dread as friend did. Alexander was the name on the matchbook, and Grant and Carson were here and had been kind to her. Those three names were the extent of her world.

She wanted answers as much as the men asking the questions.

“No. I guess not.” She studied the man named Grant sitting behind his desk. The hard jaw and thick build gave off an air of no-nonsense toughness, but his warm brown gaze didn’t induce any fear, and the gray hair salting his temples added a trust factor.

“I can’t tell you where I live. I mean, I don’t know the answer.” She fisted her hands in frustration, and her short fingernails bit into her palms. “I don’t know who to call. The names…” Her breath rattled in and out of her chest. How could her head feel so full and empty at the same time? “The names are just gone,” she finished in a hoarse whisper.

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GUEST POST

Regan Black: Top Ten List

Thanks so much for having me here today and helping me celebrate the release of A Stranger She Can Trust!

If people follow me on twitter or Facebook, they’ll see #happiness almost every day. Having been around long enough to realize life loves to throw curve balls, I believe happiness is more about our attitude than circumstances.

So here is my Top Ten List of Things That Make Me Happy (in no particular order):

  1. Great books that sweep me away as a reader and shut down my internal editor. Most recently that list includes books by Laura Florand, Lisa Kleypas, and Clive Cussler.
  1. Our greyhound Bandit. He’s the biggest greyhound we’ve ever adopted and yet he is the sweetest writing assistant. Plus he makes sure I get my daily dose of sunshine with romping time each morning.
  1. Surprises from ornery or gritty characters while I’m writing the story. Sometimes my imaginary friends can be so stubborn.
  1. Living in South Carolina. We have the coast, the mountains, the lush greenery and something blooming almost every month of the year.
  1. Fantastic movies that draw me in. From Skyfall to Enchanted, John Wick to The Man From Snowy River, my preferences are eclectic but I enjoy them all.
  1. Revising a writing project to make it a delightful experience for readers. I used to dread editing, now I embrace it as the opportunity it is.
  1. Snuggles from our rather odd and demanding cats. We have two, brothers rescued several years ago during my husband’s first overseas deployment.
  1. Our two children. They’re growing into lovely people and it’s a joy to watch them strive for their goals. (Plus they’re no longer embarrassed that their mom is a romance author).
  1. Wind in the trees in our backyard. The sound relaxes and rejuvenates me.
  1. My amazing husband of 26+ years. He’s my personal hero who laughs with me, soothes me, or throws chocolate – according to the current deadline situation.

Live the adventure!

Regan

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Regan Black, a USA Today bestselling author, writes award-winning, action-packed romantic suspense and paranormal romance novels featuring daring heroines and sexy heroes. Raised in the Midwest and California, she and her family, along with their adopted greyhound and two arrogant cats, reside in the South Carolina Lowcountry where the rich blend of legend, romance, and history fuels her imagination.

 

Website: http://www.ReganBlack.com

Newsletter: http://www.ReganBlack.com/perks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReganBlack

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReganBlack.fans

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/reganbauthor/

A Stranger She Can Trust on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Trust-Escape-Club-Heroes-ebook/dp/B01LX03GF1

A Stranger She Can Trust on BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-stranger-she-can-trust-regan-black/1124690528

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GIVEAWAY

Regan Black will be awarding a $50 Amazo/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Blurb blitz & giveaway – A Suitable Affair by Erica Taylor

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A Suitable Affair

by Erica Taylor

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GENRE: Regency Romance

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BLURB:

Lady Susanna McCalister is young and beautiful, but her marriage prospects thus far have been rather lacking. Rather than living a life of spinsterhood, she decides a loveless marriage, to the dull and unromantic Lord Riverton, is better than none at all. One day while strolling through Hyde Park with her suitor, she is almost trampled to death by a rambunctious rider, Lord Westcott. Little does she know that this earl, who is as handsome as he is arrogant, would weasel his way into her heart. But the earl has demons of his own that threaten to complicate their secret romance, as he blames Lord Riverton for his sister’s death. Can Susanna tame this tormented earl and help save herself and other women from a deadly fate?

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EXCERPT:

“Susanna we have to stop,” he breathed heavily as he tore himself away from her lips.

“Why is it you can kiss me when you’re foxed, but I can’t kiss you when I’m foxed?” she asked, watching the passion and torment raging war in his uniquely-colored eyes. “Your eyes are the color of a tempest, by the way.”

He laughed and kissed her again before setting her away from him, wiping his kiss off her lips with his thumb. “I am much better at handling myself while severely impaired.”

“I only had three glasses of champagne, Westcott,” Susanna said, slipping her hand into his evening jacket, and running her fingertips over his chest. “I’m not severely impaired.” He closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation.

“Apparently you are,” he said, pulling her hand down. “Three glasses of champagne and you’re drunk. Duly noted.”

“I’m not drunk,” Susanna said. “I’m merely . . . free.”

She gazed at him, thinking of his kisses, of his kindness and his jokes. He leaned down and kissed her again, long and drugging, enough to fill her senses.

“You are much too tempting for your own good, Susanna,” he whispered huskily against her lips.

“Then let me tempt you, Westcott,” she replied.

“Why will you not call me Ian?” he asked, softly, capturing her face in his hand, rubbing the pad of his thumb over her soft skin of her cheek. “You did so the other day.”

“When you are Westcott, you are detached from me, I have no claim on you,” she explained thickly, looking at him through her dark lashes. “When you are Ian, you are mine. And because you will not let me have you, it is too painful to call you Ian. Even though that is who you are to me.”

With a feral sounding growl he captured her mouth with his, pushing her back into the wall, completely hiding her from view. Her hands wound around him, lacing her fingers through his hair, pulling him closer, pulling him to her. His mouth was hot, and his roaming hands left a path of fire as he trailed them down her breasts and to her waist, cupping her bottom and pulling her against the hard bulge in his trousers. Moving on wanton need, she slowly lifted up and down on her toes, rubbing her body against his, the spot at the apex of her thighs burning as she pulsed against his erection. Susanna was lost, the heat of his mouth on hers, and his body so close, it drove her mad, stirring a desire deep within her she hadn’t known could exist. She was no longer in control of her actions, her hands, body and mouth moving on primal instinct as she returned his kisses, feeling freedom from the propriety that held her in check so often. True, she pushed the limits of what was acceptable, but she was fairly certain that wantonly kissing an earl who was not her husband was not socially acceptable. If someone found them…

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Erica Taylor is a mother of two and military wife married to her high school sweetheart. Raised in the mountains of Colorado, she holds a BA in History from the University of Colorado. Erica has been writing stories since she can remember. She picked up her first romance novel while on a beach vacation as a teenager, and fell in love with falling in love, sexy heroes, and the feisty women who challenge their lives. A self-confessed geek, Erica loves anything Harry Potter, Doctor Who or Star Wars, can spend hours in Target with a Starbucks, and truly believes a cat makes a home. Currently living in South Africa, Erica can often be found writing during soccer practice or piano lessons and is not afraid to let dinner burn if it means getting the story out of her head.

Website 

Twitter 

Facebook 

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

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GIVEAWAY

Erica Taylor will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

goddess

Blurb blitz & giveaway – Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin

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Among the Branded

by Linda Smolkin

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GENRE: Contemporary Fiction

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BLURB:

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with elements of suspense, Among the Branded explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood, or our beliefs.

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EXCERPT

It all started with the Moo Shoo Chicken, wreaking havoc on one of the moms in the upstairs bathroom. I felt for Jane, but had no desire to wear the shaggy costume meant for her. Svetlana stood next to me while the kids ran around, some playing tag, others spilling punch on the kitchen floor.

“Hey, guys,” she said, “put down the juice boxes, or somebody’s going to get hurt.”

She grabbed a sponge and bent down to clean up the mess.

“Rockin’ party,” I joked.

“More like raucous. Put a bunch of four-year-olds together, and I’m having a love fest with the linoleum.”

Sveta, as I’d called her for years, stood up and gave me a mischievous look, as if she was about to share some juicy gossip about a neighbor on her cul-de-sac. Instead, she asked me to take Jane’s place and dress up as Ripsie the Retriever. She asked twice then begged. It brought me back to when we first met, and she insisted I tag along for a Thursday-night Happy Hour.

“Why can’t you wear it?”

“Because I’m reading the book. And you’re taller—it’ll fit better.”

I washed my hands and reached for some pretzels. “Uh-huh, great excuse.”

There wasn’t enough birthday cake to make me agree. I’m claustrophobic, I could say. I’m allergic to dogs, crossed my mind, even though I had my own version at home, a German Shepherd named Ginger. But the more I thought about it, I couldn’t disappoint Sveta’s grandson, Evan, on his fourth birthday. So on a Sunday afternoon, I became Ripsie.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an advertising agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s the author of the novels Among the Branded (May 2017) and The Arrival of Elsa (March 2018). When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog.  She grew up on the East Coast and currently calls Virginia home.

Twitter

Website

Among the Branded on Amazon

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GIVEAWAY  

Linda will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

goddess

Blurb blitz & giveaway – Sharing Rachel by SS Hampton, Sr.

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Sharing Rachel

by SS Hampton, Sr.

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GENRE:   Erotic Romance

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BLURB:

Burt and Rachel Markham are ordinary small business owners of a seed & feed store in a small Kansas farming and ranching community. Many years before, as young university graduates eagerly anticipating exciting overseas employment, a lifetime in Kansas was the furthest thing from their minds, particularly Rachel who was raised overseas and dreamed of going back. By July 2013 their twin 18-year old daughters, having graduated high school several months before, go east to attend a university. Burt and Rachel settle into their new life of an empty house and a predictable and unchanging routine that threatens to stretch far into the future. One summer evening Burt has an idea—but will Rachel accept the idea? If she does, will the idea add new excitement to their marriage, or destroy it?

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EXCERPT:

 The storms passed and the humid summer heat returned. The feed store remained busy. The trains rumbled past Four Corners, past their home, as they had done for the past two decades. Burt always thought that the late night train whistle that echoed across the moonlit prairie was one of the loneliest sounds he ever heard…

…Rachel announced she was going for a swim. She poured a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for herself and picked up a CD player. She usually listened to classical music, waltzes, and operas when floating in the pool. There was a chakra wind chime hanging near the pool for the times when she felt like floating in near silence except for the chimes and the sound of the prairie wind.

A few moments later Burt followed with beer in hand. Maggie trotted behind him, rawhide bone in her jaws. Classical music floated through the night; fireflies played hide and seek among the neatly trimmed hedges along the perimeter of the yard. Others drifted in and out of the nearby cornfield, while the insects of the night droned on in disharmony…

A thought was born.

A surprising thought…

“Dammit,” Burt whispered to himself in disbelief…disbelief and excitement. And trepidation. What would her reaction be? What would she say? Could he even find a way to suggest it?

“Burt?”

He returned to the poolside. Her eyes were open. Moonlit water droplets on her beautiful face sparkled like tiny diamonds.

The thought wouldn’t let go. It took root…

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 grandchildren, and a published author, photographer and photojournalist. He retired in 2013 from the Nevada Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army, and the Army Individual Ready Reserve (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War). He enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom, with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a multi-media exhibit. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. He has been studying at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas with in a double major in Art and English. However, he is presently spending a cold, rainy Spring 2017 semester studying at a university in southwestern France in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains.

But, after 16 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.

Hampton can be found at:

Barnes and Noble

Dark Opus Press

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing

Melange Books

MuseItUp Publishing

Amazon.com Author Page

Amazon.com. UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook Author Page

The book will be on sale for $0.99.

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GIVEAWAY

SS Hampton Sr will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

goddess

Book tour & giveaway – Running Wild Anthology of Stories: Volume 1 by Various Authors

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Running Wild Anthology of Stories: Volume 1

By Various Authors:  Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges and Gary Zenker

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GENRE: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry (narrative)

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BLURB:

This gripping collection of stories – fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poem – will make your imagination run wild! Featuring stories by Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges, Gary Zenker. You will travel alternative planets, run away away like teens in search of adventure, solve a murderous mystery, come to grips with your fears, and much more.

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EXCERPT:

“Susan winks at me as she says to her mother, “We’re going to the playground. We’ll be back in a couple of hours.” “Don’t be too late. It looks like rain. Come home at the first sign of drops, OK my girls?” Her mother gathers us in an embrace. Her mother is tall and massive. I’ve heard people call her “zaftig.” Her many folds of skin almost choke me as she puts her fat over my face. I kiss her face as soon as I can breathe again. I look at Susan, her blue eyes shine, her mouth pursed in a conspiratorial smile. Her copper red hair bounces as she shakes her head, and puts her finger to her lips. She cocks her head into her mother’s plump side as she mouths, “don’t tell.” Susan’s my friend, my best friend. I know she’s lying to her mother, yet I say nothing. I believe we’re going to the playground like I believe I’ll be 6’ 5” when I grow up. At 12 years old and 4’10”, with parents who barely top 5’1”, the answer is the same, fat chance.”

From Ann Stolinsky’s “Don’t Tell”

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SPECIAL EXCERPT from Exodus by Keith R. Fentonmiller

Amparo

You feel so cool on my fingertips this afternoon, Papacito. Do not fret. The sky is clear, and the sun has risen high. You will be warm soon. The carrots are nearly in. Another week, I think. The beans look good, too. But I must ask you about the okra. They are pale and small. Are you not tending them? Have you grown tired? Have you lost hope? Do not despair. I am still here. Soledad is still here. She has grown so much since you left. Even from this distance, you can see how big she’s gotten. She rides that old Kelvinator box like a toboggan. She has her mamacita’s smile, her papacito’s curly hair. Oh mi. She should slow down. There is so much twisted metal and splintered wood at the bottom of the hill, ever since the bulldozers trampled the soft sage and the chapparal that we used to run through barefoot. Out of my way, Ferdinando. I cannot see Soledad. Cabra estúpida! Oh Ferdinando, you are skin and bones. Why am I surprised? The bulldozers have trampled the grasses too. Forgive me, stupid goat. Come. I’ll dig out a carrot. It is not yet ripe, but what do you care? Good. Eat. One less vegetable for Papacito to tend. Now go away.

Who is that on the dirt road between Soledad and the junk pile? A man. He does not see her, and she cannot control her cardboard sled. He carries a briefcase. He wears a suit. His skin is white, whiter than mine. I know, Papacito. This is still a sore subject for you, but can you not let it go? You are a hero. You gave yourself to that faraway place with the strange name—Guadalcanal. No matter they didn’t let you lie in Arlington because your skin was too dark, your name too Mexican. So your ashes rest here in the dirt, feeding the earth that feeds me. I often wish you had not been so much a hero. If you had been a little more of a coward, you might be here, really be here, with me. You would call me me pocha and güera, teasing me about my fair skin and perfect English. I cannot deny these things. That is how my father wanted it, and his father before him: marry the lightest person who’ll have you; learn to speak like Abraham Lincoln, not Emiliano Zapata. But you know all this, Papacito. My forefathers were shallow, shallower than the LA River in mid-summer. I just thank Jesus my Spanish was good enough to talk to the handsome chico pruning the hedges at the Armory. You were skin and bones then, having just arrived from the other side. No, Ferdinando. I am not talking to you. Go away before I swat you with my cane. You were skinny, Papacito, but not everywhere. Your forearms were strong and thick. Shoulders wide, face full of kindness. I would marry this man, I told myself. Father said that marrying a moreno was marrying down. To hell with my father.

You gave me Rafael and Romeo. I was happy. I thought you were happy too, but you itched for more. I heard what my father told you. “A real man doesn’t trim the Navy’s hedges. He fights in the Navy.” His words stuck in your belly like a grain of sand in a clam shell. For years, they poked and prodded and tickled at your insides. They spilled out in your dreams, anguished mumbles soaking into your pillow. While awake, you tried singing over those words, drowning them out with our lovemaking. But the words did not quiet. You mulled them over and over in your gut, until they filled you, until they came to define you as the pearl defines the clam. You put down the hedge trimmers and enlisted. How handsome you and your dark skin were in the white uniform. You promised to come back, and you did, but transformed. Of little use, except in the garden. No, say nothing, Papacito. I am not crying. Please. Just tend to the okra.

Look! Soledad has collided with the yankee. He has fallen into the dirt, and Soledad falls on top of him. They do not move. Are they dead? No. She rises, then he. He dusts the knees and elbows of his dark suit. He pulls a piece of sagebrush from her hair. He picks up his briefcase. He is saying something to Soledad. She points in my direction. The yankee nods a thank you. He is coming our way. I must get to my feet. Where is my cane? Did that stupid goat walk off with it? Ah, here. Help me up, cane.

What does the yankee want with us? The city men stopped coming long ago. I wouldn’t sell, not for any price. They made me sell anyway. But I didn’t sign anything, like you told me, Papacito. The sheriff says it doesn’t matter that I didn’t sign. Eminent domain, he called it, when he delivered the eviction papers. They’ll have drag me out of the house in handcuffs, I told him. Do not worry, Papacito. It will not be today. This yankee is no sheriff or deputy. He is wearing a baseball cap. You heard me right. A baseball cap with a suit. He is lost, that one. What, Papacito? No, it is not too early for a smoke. Do not worry. My head will stay clear, clear enough to dispense with this lost yankee. You certainly have become a nag in your old age. The okra is calling. Leave me be. He is here.

The yankee says hello. I say nothing. He asks if I am Amparo Puga. Si. He says his name. Howard Lederman. Lederman. Why does that name sound familiar? How could it? He is a Hebrew. I am a Mexican. He hands me a business card. He is a lawyer. He works for Señor O’Malley, the yankee who steals our land for his baseball team. I slip up and call Señor Howard a yankee. Maybe the smoke has clouded my head a bit. Señor Howard smiles and says he is not a yankee but a “Dodger.” He points to the “B” on his baseball cap and laughs. I do not understand his joke. My bones ache. I must sit. I invite Señor Howard inside for tea and piloncillo bread. He takes my elbow and opens the door for me. While the poleo tea steeps, he notices the garlic hanging over the kitchen sink. He asks if it’s Rocambole. I say it’s whatever we’ve grown here for a hundred years. It is not like anything he could buy in a store because it grows only in our soil, fed by the flesh and ashes of our people. He asks about the poppy pods dangling next to the garlic. He asks if it is Elephant Garlic and if it would taste in a good in a brisket. What is a brisket? Something his grandmother used to make. I remind him of her, he says. I have the same walk. “Maybe we’re related,” I joke. He doesn’t laugh. I shrug and tell him to sit at the marble table. I relight my pipe and join him with the cups of tea and the basket of bread.

Señor Howard places a paper next to my tea cup. Señor O’Malley is offering me $15,000. This is twice what the city paid. I tell him the house is already sold, but he knows this. He misspoke, he says. The $15,000 is for “moving expenses,” as long as I leave Chavez Ravine on my own. After that, the sheriff will return and arrest me for trespassing. My face will be splashed across the newspapers, and I will get nothing. Señor Howard says it is better for everyone if I sign the paper and take the money. I do not sign. I offer him the bread, but he declines. It is Passover, he says. I ask him to explain. His enslaved Hebrew ancestors left Egypt so quickly, there wasn’t time to let the bread rise. I say I’d happily give up bread forever to stay in my home. He says nothing. I tell him that my ancestors were the first to settle Chavez Ravine. Their children and their children’s children were all born here. Their umbilical cords are buried in the garden that grows the garlic and the herbs that he is drinking. Señor Howard coughs and then sets down his cup. I tell him my husband died in the Pacific Ocean and my Rafael died in Korea defending the soil in that garden. The “Elephant Garlic” pipe smoke drifts into his face. He coughs again. I tell him he, a member of the Hebrew tribe, should understand our connection to land, that the only price for a true home is blood and sweat. Tierra y Lybertad! He is thinking of something, or someone.

I look at the business card. I am certain I know that name. Lederman. He has been in this home before. We have shared tea. Many times. But it is not possible. Ah, my head has gotten so cloudy. Si, si, Papacito. Your warned me. There. I’ve set the spent pipe on the marble table top. Are you happy? Ah, the pipe made a loud clinking sound. That sound is trying to tell us something. Señor Howard says he’s from New York. He is very sad about the Dodgers moving off their land in Brooklyn. But, in a way, the situation has brought Señor Howard home. His ancestor, Joseph Lederman, was a leather worker in Germany. He settled somewhere in Los Angeles. He raised cows and made belts and chaps for the rancheros while his children went to school and became professionals. One child, Señor Howard’s great-grandfather, took the railroad east.

That is it! We know Joseph Lederman. Shush. My head is clear on this point. Joseph Lederman has been at this very table. Ah, you made me spill my tea. It is soaking into the tablecloth. I’ll have to fetch a fresh one. There he is! Joseph Lederman. The etched letters are faded and worn, but “Jo…Leder…” is still readable. I remember now, Papacito. You found the stone buried under the hedge at the Armory. You brought it home, thinking it was an old boundary marker. You said it would make a fine table. For years, we took our tea and drank our tequila from this gravestone. No wonder Jesus took you and Rafael so soon. No wonder the yankees take our land. You brought death into this house.

Señor Howard traces the letters with his fingertips. I tell him that his very people once lived and died on this land. He touches the proof. But he says it is a coincidence, that the stone spells a different name—John Lederson, maybe—or even if it is Joseph Lederman, it belonged to a different person with the same name. But I think he knows otherwise. I think he feels the chill of death. His family lives in the soil, just like you, Papacito. He knows that he cannot evict these spirits any more than he can evict himself, not even for $15,000 in moving expenses. He excuses himself. He stands and looks out the window. He looks at his wristwatch. I have seen that look before, Papacito. In my own face, reflected back at me on the night that the Navy men were walking toward our house. The look that said, “I thought I’d have more time.”

Señor Howard takes off his ball cap and scratches his head. He must go. He is not feeling well. I go to the kitchen and pull down four bulbs. I tell him to dump the seeds and grind the skins up good and then smoke them or infuse them into a tea. That will make him feel better. It will make him feel at home. He says he didn’t know you could smoke Elephant Garlic. This Elephant Garlic, you can, I say. I laugh a little. He laughs a little. Finally, we both find the same thing funny. He puts the bulbs in his pocket and heads out the door. He walks up the snaking road leading out of the ravine. He tosses his ball cap on the junk heap. Ferdinando sniffs the hat and then makes a feast of it.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

https://www.facebook.com/runningwildpress/

Elaine Crauder’s fiction is also in Cooweescoowee, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Eastern Iowa Review , and Penumbra. Another story received the Westmoreland Short Story Award. Eleven of her short stories have been finalists or semi-finalists in contests, including finalists in the Tobias Wolff and Mark Twain House contests. ”The Price Of A Pony,” under the title”Christmas the Hard Way,” was a semi-finalist for both Ruminate Magazine’s  short story prize and for the Salem College Center for Women Writers Reynolds Price short fiction award.

Richard D. “Ky” Owen is a lawyer with Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP, in Charleston, West Virginia. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University in 1981 and a J.D. from Hamline University in 1984. Coming from a family of writers, he considers himself a “writer by birth.” He is the author of

None Call Me Dad and he blogs about parenting and Michigan State sports on his website, http://www.nonecallmedad.com.

Keith R. Fentonmiller is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His Pushcart-nominated short story was recently published in the Stonecoast Review. His debut novel, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, will be published March 20, 2017 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Based in Southern California, Dr. Lisa Montagne currently divides her time between writing poetry and prose, teaching writing to (mostly) willing college students, and overseeing educational technology projects and support at Fullerton College. She is also a Swing, Blues, and Argentine Tango dancer, host, DJ, and instructor. She likes to drink Champagne in as many places as she can, including Europe; to read poetry aloud to anybody who will listen; to cook for anybody who is willing to sit down long enough to enjoy her food; to dabble in drawing, painting, and photography; and to read anything plopped in front of her, ranging from D.H. Lawrence to Vogue magazine. She also likes to watch television and movies, and to imagine how much better she would have produced them herself. She lived in Las Vegas at one time, so she likes to tell people that she was a stripper there. She was really just a graduate student and high school teacher, but it’s more fun to let people wonder. Although rumored to be a direct descendent of Oompa Loompas, Lisa is actually the offspring of a college professor and a circus dwarf. You can find some more of her writing at archive405.com and lisamontagne.com, and see evidence of her adventures @lisamlore on Instagram.

Ann Stolinsky is a Pennsylvania-based word and game expert. She is the founder and owner of Gontza Games, an independent board and card game company, and three of her games are currently in the marketplace:

“MINDFIELD, The Game of United States Military Trivia”; “Pass the Grogger!”; and “Christmas Cards.”

Check out her website at http://www.gontzagames.com. She is also a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Visit http://www.geminiwordsmiths.com for more information and testimonials. Ann reviews books for Amazing Stories Magazine, an online sci-fi magazine which can be found at http://www.amazingstoriesmag.com, and is an Assistant Editor for Red Sun Magazine, http://www.redsunmagazine.com. Her most recent publishing credit is a poem in the Fall 2015 issue of Space and Time Magazine. She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class.

Lisa Diane Kastner is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery. She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award. Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously engage in little sparks of anarchy.

Aimee LaBrie works as a communications director at Rutgers University. She earned her MFA in fiction from Penn State, and her MLA from University of Pennsylvania. Her short story collection, Wonderful Girl, was awarded the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and published by the University of North Texas Press in 2007. Her second collection of stories, A Good Thing, placed as a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Contest. Her short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Pleiades, Minnesota Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Permafrost, and other literary journals. In 2012, she won first place in Zoetrope’s All-Story Fiction contest. You can read her blog at http://www.butcallmebetsy.blogspot.com.

Kristan Campbell is a short story writer born in Washington, D.C. but has only visited her grandmother there during some of the summers of her childhood. She’s more familiar with Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris than her native city and aims to weave her experiences in those places into tales based on places and people that are out of the ordinary. She studied Journalism at Temple University (what seemed like a practical approach to writing at the time) and Comparative Literature at Hunter College (which seemed like a fun idea at the time) before accepting that she should have been an English major all along. Kristan completed her B.A. in English at Temple University in 2010 and an MFA in Fiction at Fairfield

University in 2016. She’s currently attempting to eke out a living doing freelance editing with the help of her cat, Fishy, who manages her desktop printer with enthusiasm.

Bill Ed Scruggs spent his younger years meeting the Southern mountain countryside and exploring the people, taking time out as needed for work in various occupations. He lives (temporarily) in Connecticut and has one child, a psychiatrist. Presently he is reconstructing his memories and imaginings in a series of novels and short stories (Facebook page Foothills Fiction – Bill Ed Scruggs) Warrensburg is a fictional photo of a country village in the illumination of fireflies.

Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest.

Gary Zenker is a marketing professional whose days are filled with creating business and marketing plans, and writing ad copy and media content. By night, he applies his imagination to flash fiction tales that cross genre and focus on revealing various facets of human nature. He is the author of Meetup Leader, a book on running successful groups; is editor and publisher of 19 books in the rock & roll Archives series; and co-author of Says Seth, a humorous collection written with his then six-year-old son. His work has earned a dozen marketing awards and placed in four writers’ contests, including a first place recognition from Oxford University Press. He founded and continues to lead two writers groups in southeastern PA, assisting others to develop their skills and achieve their writing goals. http://www.zenkermarketing.com

ONLY THE E-BOOK IS $0.99 DURING THE TOUR

Amazon eBook

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GIVEAWAY

The authors will be awarding three individual prizes, a $10, a $25 and a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $50, $25, or $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book tour & giveaway – Behind the Mask by Kelly Link, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Cat Rambo, Lavie Tidhar and others

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Behind the Mask

by Kelly Link, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Cat Rambo, Lavie Tidhar and others

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GENRE:

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

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BLURB:

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

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EXCERPT from “The Fall of the Jade Sword” by Stephanie Lai

The eucalyptus is old, and it takes her weight with ease. Mok-Seung crosses into its branches, and after carefully closing her window and peering through the branches onto the street below, she scales its trunk to the top and onto the roof, disappearing into the dark.

Clad in loose ku, her traditional pants, with a green band across her brow, she runs over the rooftops lining Little Bourke; she stretches herself to leap out over Exhibition Street and keeps running. Mok-Seung nearly misses a couple of jumps, but she’s getting better, and she makes it across town without too many mishaps.

From atop the roof, she sights one of the new augmented bikes leaning against a terraced house. She jumps down to the road and drops to the ground inside the house’s high front gate. The generators beside the house are working overtime, pressing steam into the sky, so the house is still awake. She hopes they won’t notice that she longs for this contraption, sleeker than the new steam carriages with their gears and the constant need for fire, ceaseless in comparison with horses, which plod and clop through the streets. This one has red and white streamers tied to the handlebars and around the pipes. She wonders if, perhaps, that’s less than wise, but she wraps the streamers around her hand and admires them all the same.

Mok-Seung sits on the bike, imagines cycling it through Little Bourke, imagines its potential when coupled with the airship technology.

She blinks, suddenly awash in bright light. “Get off!” she hears. “Jeremy, there’s a Chinese on your bike!” She looks up in confusion, and the woman at the door screams. Mok-Seung reaches for the fence, balances on its pointiest peak as she reaches for the balcony of the townhouse, and then pulls herself onto the roof. She feels a scratch against her ankle, but doesn’t pause as she starts to run.

She sprints across the roofs, hears a clatter as she jumps onto the English-style tiles. She curses them for their difference and keeps running, her footsteps not as light as she might hope. She sees the curve of an airship rising to her left and turns suddenly, making a leap like the photo captured by the local newspapers.

The skin of the balloon is too smooth beneath her hand, and she loses her grip. She scrabbles for purchase but it’s to no avail—she loses her hold and starts to free fall off the side of the airship, bounces on its edge, and brushes past the edge of another roof. Mok-Seung continues to plummet and panics, looking for anything to break her fall, when she is stopped, suddenly, a hand grasped fast around her wrist. She looks up and meets bright brown eyes and an unrelenting stare under a green band. The real Jade Sword!

“Pay attention,” says the familiar voice, not unkindly. “You need to know where to throw your weight.” She flicks her wrist and the figure releases her, letting her drop painfully the final few feet to the ground. Mok-Seung pauses, her hand resting on an augmented bicycle; she lets herself breathe for a moment, the shame of being caught out curling in her gut. She admires the lean build and smooth pipes of the bicycle. One day she’ll have one.

A shout behind her spurs her back into action. Ahead, “Yong’s Chinese Laundry” is monogrammed in red above a brick building. She speeds up, darts through the red door, past the uncle at the counter and into the steam of the pressing room. The auntie emits a yell, “Out, out!” as another clasps her heart. “Jade Sword!” the second auntie yells, in what Mok-Seung hopes is awe and pride, even though she’s not who they think she is.

“Sorry,” she says as she trips over a steamer. “Sorry, sorry.” She bows to each auntie as she passes them and heads straight for the back window she knows opens onto a narrow laneway. At the last auntie, she pauses. “Lou Yap,” she says. “Your pau at festival last week was the greatest I have ever eaten.”

As she climbs through the back window, there is silence in the usually chatty laundry, broken only by the hiss of the press. She peers back through as the front door clangs open. Suddenly, the laundry swings back into action, and a number of large trolleys are completely accidentally wheeled into position between the door and the window. Lou Yap waves cheerily, and Mok-Seung ducks out of sight, running down the alley.

She leaps up onto a roof, delightfully low placed. She puts some distance between herself and her pursuers, until all she can hear is the city settling down.

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Guest Blog

Stephanie Lai: Why I write what I write

I love being Chinese-Australian, but it’s so frustrating to spend all this time looking at myself, what it means to be Chinese and Australian and from Malaysia, to be first generation in a country, and to know that all the media I have access to doesn’t look at that. So much western SFF takes our cultural trappings and uses them to signify the other. There’s lanterns and chopsticks and random Chinese swearing to indicate so many far flung futures, but there’s no Chinese people. There’s robot geishas and no Japanese people.

It’s this fun challenge to interact with science fiction and fantasy tropes and apply my own cultural background and history to it, especially because it gives me a chance to complain about science fiction and fantasy. A large part of the reason I enjoy steampunk is because it’s fun to reimagine our past with steamships and airships, but steampunk is so often rooted in colonialism and Victoriana and the precedence of Western things. That’s not what my steampunk past would have looked like.

As a first generation Chinese-Australian migrant, it’d look a little bit more like this: the use of wuxia, itself often a signifier of the fantastical in Western fantasy (think about the use of wuxia in the Matrix), when in Chinese texts it’s just another day to day thing, never the most fantastical element at all; Chinese communities; being ignored by the Australian press except when it suits them; and laundries, of course. You can’t escape it for a reason. It might involve less steam: being Australia, the ease with which water is accessed and turned into steam might be radically different; but then, being so colonial and so heavily obsessed with Mother England, Australia might have thrown itself into steam-power and said to hell with the upriver areas.

In my story, The Fall of the Jade Sword, I’ve chosen to look at the day to day life of a superhero who isn’t quite a superhero. Mok-Seung is still working out where she fits, and what best suits her, and how to navigate the racism and complexities of being Chinese-Australian in Melbourne. She’s looking at how to fit her culture into the injustices she sees around herself, and how to fit herself into her culture. She’s coveting a steam-powered bike, because I would want one, too. (Several of my protagonists ride bikes; it’s the transport of our oncoming climate change dystopia.)

My stories explore three main themes: climate change; being Chinese-Australian, specifically from Malaysia; and the tension between the emphasis on the individual which is so prominent in Australia with the need to look after community and kin. Most of my stories feature Chinese-Australian protagonists: I’m not yet so well-published that it’s oppressive or overt, and though I imagine each story fitting into a world spanning generations, no protagonist is yet repeated.

And I love what I write. Writing feels like an extension of my day job (climate change adaptation) which feels like an extension of my activism (environmental justice) which feels like an extension of my interest in SFF (where we go to from here). And it’s fun!

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Featured author bio:

 Stephanie LaiStephanie Lai is a Chinese-Australian writer and occasional translator. She has published long meandering thinkpieces in Peril Magazine, the Toast, the Lifted Brow and Overland. Of recent, her short fiction has appeared in the Review of Australian Fiction, Cranky Ladies of History, and the In Your Face Anthology. Despite loathing time travel, her defence of Dr Who companion Perpugilliam Brown can be found in Companion Piece (2015). She is an amateur infrastructure nerd and a professional climate change adaptation educator (she’s helping you survive our oncoming climate change dystopia). You can find her on twitter @yiduiqie, at stephanielai.net, or talking about pop culture and drop bears at no-award.net.

All other author bios:

Kelly Link is the author of four short story collections: Get in Trouble, a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners, and Stranger Things Happen. She lives with her husband and daughter in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Seanan McGuire lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest, in a large, creaky house with a questionable past.  She shares her home with two enormous blue cats, a querulous calico, the world’s most hostile iguana, and an assortment of other oddities, including more horror movies than any one person has any business owning.  It is her life goal to write for the X-Men, and she gets a little closer every day.

Seanan is the author of the October Daye and InCryptid urban fantasy series, both from DAW Books, and the Newsflesh and Parasitology trilogies, both from Orbit (published under the name “Mira Grant”).  She writes a distressing amount of short fiction, and has released three collections set in her superhero universe, starring Velma “Velveteen” Martinez and her allies.  Seanan usually needs a nap.  Keep up with her at http://www.seananmcguire.com, or on Twitter at @seananmcguire.

Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty, who hosts a talk radio show for the supernaturally disadvantaged, the fourteenth installment of which is Kitty Saves the World.  She’s written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upwards of 80 short stories.  She’s a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado. Visit her at www.carrievaughn.com.

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches atop a hill in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Her second novel, Hearts of Tabat, appears in early 2017 from Wordfire Press. She is the current President of the Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of America. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see http://www.kittywumpus.net

Lavie Tidhar is the author of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winning and Premio Roma nominee A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), the World Fantasy Award winning Osama (2011) and of the critically-acclaimed The Violent Century (2013). His latest novel is Central Station (2016). He is the author of many other novels, novellas and short stories

Kate Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and several small agents of chaos disguised as a dog, cat, and child. She works as a cover designer and video game writer. Her fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres, and other venues, and her YA survival thriller I Am Still Alive is forthcoming from Viking. You can find her online at katemarshallwrites.com.

Chris Large writes regularly for Aurealis Magazine and has had fiction published in Australian speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. He’s a single parent who enjoys writing stories for middle-graders and young adults, and about family life in all its forms. He lives in Tasmania, a small island at the bottom of Australia, where everyone rides Kangaroos and says ‘G’day mate!’ to utter strangers.

Stuart Suffel’s body of work includes stories published by Jurassic London, Evil Girlfriend Media, Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, Kraxon Magazine, and Aurora Wolf among others.  He exists in Ireland, lives in the Twilight Zone, and will work for Chocolate Sambuca Ice cream. Twitter: @suffelstuart

Michael Milne is a writer and teacher originally from Canada, who lived in Korea and China, and is now in Switzerland. Not being from anywhere anymore really helps when writing science fiction. His work has been published in The Sockdolager, Imminent Quarterly, and anthologies on Meerkat Press and Gray Whisper.

Adam R. Shannon is a career firefighter/paramedic, as well as a fiction writer, hiker, and cook. His work has been shortlisted for an Aeon award and appeared in Morpheus Tales and the SFFWorld anthology You Are Here: Tales of Cryptographic Wonders. He and his wife live in Virginia, where they care for an affable German Shepherd, occasional foster dogs, a free-range toad, and a colony of snails who live in an old apothecary jar. His website and blog are at AdamRShannon.com.

Jennifer Pullen received her doctorate from Ohio University and her MFA from Eastern Washington University. She originally hails from Washington State. Her fiction and poetry have appeared or are upcoming in journals including: Going Down Swinging (AU), Cleaver, Off the Coast, Phantom Drift Limited, and Clockhouse.

Aimee Ogden is a former biologist, science teacher, and software tester. Now she writes stories about sad astronauts and angry princesses. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Baen.com, Persistent Visions, and The Sockdolager.

Nathan Crowder is a Seattle-based fan of little known musicians, unpopular candy, and just happens to write fantasy, horror, and superheroes. His other works include the fantasy novel Ink Calls to Ink, short fiction in anthologies such as Selfies from the End of the World, and Cthulhurotica, and his numerous Cobalt City superhero stories and novels. He is still processing the death of David Bowie.

Sarah Pinsker is the author of the 2015 Nebula Award winning novelette “Our Lady of the Open Road.” Her novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind” was the 2014 Sturgeon Award winner and a 2013 Nebula finalist. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Uncanny, among others, and numerous anthologies. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Galician. She is also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various independent labels and a fourth forthcoming. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her wife and dog. She can be found online at sarahpinsker.com and twitter.com/sarahpinsker.

Keith Frady writes weird short stories in a cluttered apartment in Atlanta. His work has appeared in Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology, Literally Stories, The Yellow Chair Review, and The Breakroom Stories.

Ziggy Schutz is a young queer writer living on the west coast of Canada. She’s been a fan of superheroes almost as long as she’s been writing, so she’s very excited this is the form her first published work took. When not writing, she can often be found stage managing local musicals and mouthing the words to all the songs. Ziggy can be found at @ziggytschutz, where she’s probably ranting about representation in fiction.

Matt Mikalatos is the author of four novels, the most recent of which is Capeville: Death of the Black Vulture, a YA superhero novel. You can connect with him online at Capeville.net or Facebook.com/mikalatosbooks.

Patrick Flanagan – For security reasons, Patrick Flanagan writes from one of several undisclosed locations; either—

1) A Top Secret-classified government laboratory which studies genetic aberrations and unexplained phenomena;

2) A sophisticated compound hidden in plain sight behind an electromagnetic cloaking shield;

3) A decaying Victorian mansion, long plagued by reports of terrifying paranormal activity; or

4) The subterranean ruins of a once-proud empire which ruled the Earth before recorded history, and whose inbred descendants linger on in clans of cannibalistic rabble

— all of which are conveniently accessible from exits 106 or 108 of the Garden State Parkway. Our intelligence reports that his paranoid ravings have been previously documented by Grand Mal Press, Evil Jester Press, and Sam’s Dot Publishing. In our assessment he should be taken seriously, but not literally. (Note: Do NOT make any sudden movements within a 50′ radius.)

Keith Rosson is the author of the novels THE MERCY OF THE TIDE (2017, Meerkat) and SMOKE CITY (2018, Meerkat). His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at keithrosson.com.

LINKS:

Book Page: http://meerkatpress.com/books/behind-the-mask-a-superhero-anthology/#mbt-book-purchase-anchor

Publisher: http://www.meerkatpress.com

BUY LINKS:

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble 

Powell’s 

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NOTE:

THE PUBLISHER IS OFFERING A SPECIAL CONTEST – ONE COPY OF THE BOOK (CHOICE OF Epub or Mobi) WILL BE GIVEN AWAY TO A RANDOMLY DRAWN COMMENTER AT EVERY STOP (Drawing will be held 5 days after the stop’s date and is separate from the rafflecopter drawing – to enter, the entrant must leave a comment at the stop).  Thanks!

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GIVEAWAY:

The authors will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Book blast & giveaway – THE DEVIL ORDERS TAKEOUT by Bill A. Brier

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THE DEVIL ORDERS TAKEOUT

by Bill A. Brier

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GENRE: Mystery/Thriller

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BLURB:

A tax attorney with integrity…a powerful mobster determined to bend his will…

Grayson Bolt isn’t about to compromise his integrity to help a notorious crime boss escape the cross-hairs of the IRS. But there’s a steep price to pay for defying The Man–Grayson’s beloved wife and older son.

There’s only one way for Grayson to prevent his younger son, Jim, an innocent golf prodigy, from also being taken out: play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. And what will Jim be forced to do when the woman he loves gets ensnarled in a web of betrayal and deceit?

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EXCERPT:

“I’m afraid you’re going to get it hard, Mr. Bolt.” Costanzo had that fatherly tone of this will hurt me more than you. “Did you ever stop to think that there’s only one way of being dead, but many ways of dying?”

Grayson felt something cold touch his spine, all the way down. “I don’t follow.”

“Take your man Stockard. He killed two of your beloved family members, wife and eldest son. Isn’t that right?”

A strangling tightness gripped Grayson’s throat. “That— that’s right.”

“Wouldn’t you say a part of you died too?”

“What’s your point?” Grayson’s voice erupted in suppressed panic.

“You don’t have to die to feel dead. I’m going to kill your other son. That’ll be your punishment.”

The blood drained from Grayson’s face. Just like that. Most people held the basic principle that no man should be punished for the deed of another. Costanzo was not one of them. Grayson would be cut right to the bone, and his son would be the sharpest knife Costanzo could use. Costanzo had spelled out the thought in invisible brushstrokes. It was there and Grayson had tried not to see it.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Bill grew up in California and went to Hollywood High School, then served in the Air Force as a combat cameraman.

After hiring on at Disney Studios as a film loader, he soon advanced and moved on to other film studios.

He earned a master’s degree in psychology. A big help when working with Trumpish Hollywood producers. You’re fired!

During his more than twenty-five years in the movie business as a cameraman, film editor, and general manager, Bill worked on everything from the hilarious, The Love Bug, to the creepy, The Exorcist, to the far out, Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica.

Eight years ago, Bill switched from reading scripts to writing thriller/mysteries and driving racecars. After completing three award-winning novels, he signed with Black Opal Books. His first novel, The Devil Orders Takeout, is about a devoted father and husband who makes a deal with a real-life devil to protect his golf-prodigy son after his wife and older son are killed in a mysterious accident — and pays hell for it.

Bill’s second mystery, The Killer Who Hated Soup, is Book One in the 1950s The Killer Who series, and it launches this Summer. The Internet? Never heard of it. Smart phones? Who you kiddin’?

Energetic and eager to make his mark on what Time magazine called the next great boom town, Bucky Ontario leaves his daddy and little sister in Louisiana and rides a bus to Defiance, Oklahoma, a town not particularly adverse to murders, just the embarrassment of them when committed by high officials.

Book Two, The Killer who Wasn’t There, will be on bookshelves this fall.

Bill writes every day and golfs infrequently (that damn right knee!). His five children and eight grandchildren keep him busy going to birthday parties, and he never misses a one!

The Brier Patch is Bill’s wildly entertaining blog about his shameless early days in Hollywood. It’s on his website, billbrier.com, along with a contest linked to The Devil Orders Takeout, which will award the grand prizewinner $1,000.

Bill is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Bill’s USA Today revealing interview

Bill’s website with blog

Goodreads

Facebook 

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GIVEAWAY

The author is awarding a randomly drawn commenter a $25 Amazon/BN GC:

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Special Giveaway Graphic.jpg

 

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Book blast & giveaway – The Call House by C.P. Stiles

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The Call House

by C.P. Stiles

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GENRE:  Historical Fiction

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BLURB:

A war on vice In Washington, DC—a city constantly awash in scandals? Hard to believe, but it really happened.  Only not exactly the way it’s told here.

All Mattie Simon knows is that she wants adventure and her hometown doesn’t have any. She wants independence, maybe some romance.

All Andrew Stevens wants is to do his job as a newly-elected congressman.

But Washington has a way of changing people—even when they get what they want.

Fast-paced and funny, The Call House takes you back to a time of relative innocence, when people flocked to the nation’s capital to do good works and instead got caught up in sex, money, and politics. What else would you expect?

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EXCERPT:

IN the mornings, the bathroom was crowded with the sweet smells of lavender soap, gardenia perfume, and lilac dusting powder, with the bright colors of pink-red lipsticks and near-orange rouge, with drying stockings and still damp lingerie. With five women in one apartment, even an apartment as grand as Flo’s on the top floor of the building on Connecticut Avenue, mornings were hectic.

Awake early but unsure what to do, Mattie ended up being last in line for the bathroom. She wasn’t used to waiting.

She’d grown up with only her mother; her father had been wounded in the last war, his lungs badly damaged by gas. She barely remembered the man who died when she was four, but his absence lingered in the white clapboard house. Upstairs, her mother kept always to one side of the bed and lived so quietly, Mattie almost felt as if she’d grown up on her own.

A tall girl, with soft ash-blond curls, walked past Mattie waiting in the hall.

“You’ll have to learn to be pretty fast around here if you want to get in the shower while we’ve still got hot water.”

“That’s all right,” Mattie said. She’d never showered in hot water back home. Her momma hadn’t wanted to trouble anyone to fix the water heater after it broke. She didn’t like troubling anyone for anything, so when something broke, and it couldn’t be fixed by prayer, it stayed broken. Mattie thought her momma’s whole life stayed broken after her daddy died.

“I’ll show you how it’s done,” the tall girl said.

She banged on the bathroom door. “Vera, there’s exactly one of those jelly donuts left. If you want it, you’d better come grab it fast.” She had to step back, the door opened so quickly.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

C.P. Stiles is a fiction writer living in Washington, DC. This is her first novel.

From the Author

I’ve been writing all my life.

When I first heard the story about the best-known, high-priced call house on the East Coast located right in the middle of a nice residential neighborhood – I was intrigued. I’m still not sure why. Even after spending a few years researching and many more years writing. Maybe it’s the idea of having something sort of shady going on right down the street and none of the neighbors had the faintest idea. (Warning: No sex or even steamy scenes)

Websites

C.P. Stiles

The Call House

Twitter

Kindle buy link

Bacon Press Books

Website 

Blog  

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GIVEAWAY

The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 
Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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