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Release Blitz: Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr

Ferris wakes on the Sea Queen, an enchanted cruise ship sailing on a chocolate sea. He has no idea how he got here, but he desperately wants to go home to his boyfriend.

The alchemist is the only person who can help Ferris, but he’s been kidnapped. The ransom is high tea with scones and jam.

Meanwhile, the passengers are gearing up for the Winter Masquerade, a ball where love and magic reign.

With a murderous musician, an absent boyfriend, and a mystical party, Ferris soon learns that Wednesday is not the day to fall in love.

Available at: Amazon

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Honorary Blogger Taylin Clavelli: Taylin’s Writing Process + Excerpt & Giveaway!


Taylin’s Writing Process

by Taylin Clavelli

Over the years, I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I got into writing or when I realized that I wanted to be a writer? All my life, I’ve been an avid reader, and to be honest, I can’t say that I ever consciously wanted to be a writer, I kind of fell into it and it snowballed. My cousin Simon is a writer and his brothers are all artistic, but I never thought the creative gene was within me.

To date, I’ve written three novels and six anthology stories. None of my books have conformed to the norm. They’ve either spanned genre’s or have been written in a voice not consistent with the era. What can I say – I like to be a bit different. My novels include:-

Dakota Skies 🡪 a western set in 1875, written with a more modern voice.

Secret of the Manor 🡪 a contemporary romance with a little sword and sorcery.

Hathonatum is my current novel. It is a love story that spans time, dimension, universe and death.

Hathonatum is also the first novel which is part of a series. The Pelethus series. But, it can be read as a standalone. Initially, I intended for Hathonatum to be a one-off. However, some characters appear later in the story, which my pre-readers insisted have a story to tell.

For me, there is no average time for writing a story. Every novel has been different in duration. The defining factor has been inspiration. I’ve tried to force it, only to write a chapter that seemed contrived and unnatural. I don’t aim to write a certain number of words a day, either, because family, work and life in general usually interrupt. Just because I’m not actively writing words doesn’t mean I’m not working on the story. I’m often running through an idea in my head – a little bit here, a little bit there. I’ve usually got a notebook close by for that idea I don’t want to forget.

Ideas for a story can come from anywhere and in that respect, I prefer writing novels because I can get totally vested in the characters and their lives. Inspiration for all my books or scenes within them came from different places.  They vary between music, art, personal experience, tales from friends or a combination of things that can be totally unrelated.

Once I have an idea, I put bullet points in a document, which I frequently rearrange. I don’t use it as a story plan but as a reminder. Then as I write, the ideas get used up – not necessarily in their original order. The first few chapters are the most challenging to write because, if a reader’s attention isn’t grabbed in those opening pages, no matter how good it gets later, a bad review usually follows. A bad finish can get the same result. Readers like to have completion and feel satisfied that the people who they have hopefully come to love, get the ending right for them.

Finding a good, comfortable place to write is essential. I write, either in my bedroom or in company with my noise-cancelling headphones on. It allows me to get into the headspace of the character and to think more about their actions, reactions and speech patterns.

In Hathonatum, the speech of Ben is like that of a regular Brit, cutting corners and shortening words. Hathonatum’s is more precise suggesting English was not his native language. When developing a character, I have a general physical outline. E.g. Hathonatum was always going to be the tall, dark and mysterious one. Therefore, it fits that his personality was more held back and guarded. Whereas, with Ben, I had a little more leeway. He could be more open and freer with his thoughts. One thing I never do is base a complete character on a person that I know. I take a characteristic from here, another from there, then add something unique for them.

Writer’s block can be a pain. When it happens, I usually step away from the story for a while. If I force a scene, it never comes outright. Using personal experiences helps minimize writer’s block. In Hathonatum, Egyptian history has been a long-term hobby, and I have been to Cairo, seen the pyramids and taken a trip down the Nile. When using experiences, it is easier to describe the emotions that accompany a scene.

At the end of the day, writing is only one part of producing a story. Having a tough pre-reader and a damned good editor are worth their weight in gold. These talented people read a story cold, and don’t add in any assumed aspects. They help make a story the best it can be.

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International Banker, Beach Boy by Mia Terry: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from International Banker, Beach Boy

by Mia Terry

They walked up to where they had dumped their towels near the sand dunes and almost simultaneously pulled off their confining rash shirts.

With the ease of long practice, Rhys gathered his towel and shook out the sand without putting down his board, and Ollie mimicked his actions.

They were lucky enough to have a cold-water shower at this beach so getting the salt off both themselves, and their boards, wasn’t a hard task. Rhys knew he wasn’t supposed to concentrate on the way the water ran down Ollie’s very-well-formed chest and abdomen, but when the man closed his eyes against the flow of water, Rhys could no more look away in that moment than he could fly. Fine wet bodies were surely a gift from the universe, and only the ungrateful would refuse to enjoy this particular offering.

Ten minutes later, with the boards stowed in his truck and their shorts half-dry, they were standing outside the very successful coffee truck, drinking a flat white which wouldn’t be out of place in a cool inner-city cafe.

“Was it being in the water that made it more delicious or was that just a really fabulous cup of coffee?” asked Ollie, appreciatively.

“I should say being in the water made in better, but I’ve had enough shitty coffees after a surf to know that’s probably false. Nah, it’s a good cup,”

Coffees in hand, they went and leant on the fence that had been erected to protect the delicate eco-system of the bushes clinging to the dunes.

“It’s a pretty good morning routine,” Ollie observed. “Do you do it on the regular with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or just your clients?”

Yeah, the boy was too confident to bother trying for subtlety. Rhys respected his approach enough to go for a straightforward answer. “No boyfriend since I got back to Byron. So mainly just me and my clients, unless I can convince my dad or one of my mates to join me down here for a surf.”

Ollie had started smiling at his answer. “In that case we’re here for the week. Do you want to have dinner with me?”

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Damaged Hearts by Jan St. Marcus: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Damaged Hearts

by Jan St. Marcus


He’s silent for a long moment, then, “Leo was such a happy kid. When we were fifteen, he met this girl, this beautiful girl that was totally into that Goth style—black hair, black clothes, black nails and this really dark music. One day, he comes home and starts playing this song over and over and over again and he was so—down. I had never heard it before, you know, so I was kind of shocked. It was so not his kind of music.” He takes a long sip of his beer. “He was in love with her. I knew this, of course. Twin-sense—it’s really a thing. I knew. He kept this song from me. But he played it all the time for like three weeks before he told me that she had moved away. This was their song.”

I look at him and catch him looking away. “Damn. You want me to change it?”

“No. Start it over. Please.”

“Okay,” I stammer. I pick up the iPad and start the song over.

“Have you listened to the words?” he asks.

“Not really. I kind of know them, but not really.”

He shocks me when he starts to sing along to the song. “When you were here before; I couldn’t look you in the eye. You’re just like an angel; your skin makes me cry. You float like a feather; in the beautiful world. I wish I was special. You’re so fucking special. But I’m a creep. I’m a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.” My mouth hangs open. He is perfectly on key and has this voice that’s so pure and a little raspy . . . it’s awesome. Wait. Awesome doesn’t cover it. He could be a rock star. No shit. He’s started swaying with the music as he goes on.

“I don’t care if it hurts; I want to have control. I want a perfect body; I want a perfect soul. I want you to notice; when I’m not around. You’re so fucking special. I wish I was special.” I join in for the chorus—not nearly as good as he is, but I’m kind of loud. So it’s kind of like this weird, cool, crazy karaoke duet.

“But I’m a creep. I’m a weirdo.” We’re both facing each other and kind of screaming in each other’s face now. “What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.” I’m staring into his eyes and they suddenly change. It’s like he’s looking through me. If you’ve ever heard the song, this is where the lead singer goes into the upper register and Michelangelo is hitting the notes perfectly. I shut the hell up, stare into his eyes, and listen. As he sings, his face twists into this ball of . . . I can’t describe it. “Oooh! Ooooh!”

“She’s running out the door.” It’s like he’s found this place so deep in his soul that it hasn’t seen daylight in centuries and now that it’s out, it’s got hundreds of years of anguish that’s been dying to get out and had no outlet. He goes on singing and I’m mesmerized. “She’s running out. She run, run, run, run!” And then, like a switch has been flipped, he starts crying. The last “run” is at once the most pain-filled, powerful, anguished, and beautiful sound I have ever heard in my whole life. Oh my God, I can literally feel something inside me break. I hold my breath. I feel like all the skin has been peeled off my body, and I’m standing there in his living room completely exposed down to my muscles, tendons, and bones. I’m skinless.

Then as the song gets quiet for the last few bars, he straightens up and whisper-sings to the window. “Whatever makes you happy. Whatever you want. You’re so fucking special. I wish I was special. But I’m a creep. I’m a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here?” A single tear streams from his eyes as he sings the last line so softly that if I wasn’t standing next to him, I wouldn’t have heard it. “I don’t belong here.” His voice cracks for the first time. “I don’t belong here.” Now I’m crying. I have no idea why. There was just something so damn powerful about the way he sang that song—the emotions, the pain, the beauty. I’m breathless. Speechless. Skinless.

I’m still in awe as he takes a sip of his beer as he looks out over the ocean. He has no idea what he’s just done to me. My knees are weak and my breathing labored. Can he hear me trying to breathe? What the fuck just happened to me? I’ve heard that song a thousand times before, but . . . wait . . . he called this a love song. I never knew the first words of that song. I just liked the way it sounded. Listening to him sing it, with all that emotion and feeling. Is that what love is? How can that be? I just thought it was a catchy song about this guy coming to grips with the fact that he’s a creep with a girl who is obviously out of his league. But, oh my God, the way Michelangelo sang it with that unbelievable voice! It’s so much more than that. He looks at me, and I can tell he’s back from wherever he went. He smiles and catches my eyes, and then looks away like he’s embarrassed. He looks back at me and smiles.

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Cover Reveal: A Summer of Smoke and Sin by TJ Nichols + Excerpt!

A Summer of Smoke and Sin

by TJ Nichols

Nathanial Bayard wants nothing more than to find the nobleman creating snuff pornography. If he fails, his career in the recently formed nobility task force will be over and as the youngest son he’ll be forced to obey his father and join the church. But a life of celibacy doesn’t appeal. Nathanial has never even kissed another man, fearing for his soul and his reputation.

Jericho Fulbright has never lived a wholesome life. After behavior unbecoming he was discharged from the army and sent home in disgrace. His inventor and nouveau riche father refused to have anything to do with him, so Jericho turned to what he knew best: opium, gambling and sex. 

As the owner of the Jericho Rose, a club for gentlemen who like men, he enjoys a certain notoriety. Some would say he has a golden tongue, but the truth is a succubus lives within him feeding on souls. Once he needed her help, now she is a burden that keeps him from getting close to anyone. 

After the unfortunate death of a young nobleman in Jericho’s bed, Nathanial is sent to investigate. He is scandalized and intrigued by Jericho, but soon realizes that Jericho could be exactly who he needs to help break the snuff case. Together they are drawn into a web of lies that will result in Jericho facing prison unless Nathanial can unmask the real creator of the snuff, a man with rank and privileges that reaches almost to the King.

A Summer of Smoke and Sin is scheduled to release on February 28th, 2020. Pre-order a copy today on Amazon!


And the moment you’ve been waiting for! The A Summer of Smoke and Sin cover reveal… Continue reading

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Release Blitz: The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh & Giveaway!

The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh 

Shay Maloney is living his dream—on tour with his pirate/folk-rock band. But you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’re from, and that’s where moody filmmaker and researcher Ollie Pietruska comes in.

The band’s management persuades Shay to let a television company film a documentary about his roots beyond his adoptive Irish family, and Ollie comes into his life knowing more about Shay than Shay’s ever known about himself.

But while Ollie holds the key to Shay’s past, he’s also hiding deep scars. Even as the hardships of the tour bring them closer, Ollie’s demons threaten the blossoming romance. They might both reach the breaking point before Ollie realises he’s been standing on the edge of the world for too long, and it’s Shay who holds the key to his future.

A friends-to-lovers, rock star, road-tripping romance, with a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

Available at: Amazon

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His Fake Prison Daddy by Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from His Fake Prison Daddy

by Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht

Elias sat on his bunk, deciding he should at least try to seem relaxed. “Guess that’s why they put me with you. We’re both readers.”

“Oh no, Mr. Stuyvesant. That’s not why they put you with me.” The smile vanished, leaving scars and those intense, charred-ember eyes gleaming in the cramped shadows of the small cell. His brow quirked, and he whispered almost flirtatiously, “You match my ‘victim profile’ beautifully. Someone up there doesn’t like you very much, little hacker.”

Elias dropped the book on his lap in shock at the sudden mood shift. Victim profile was hardly what anyone wanted to hear, but especially not in a tiny cell.

“Oh.” Keep it together.

Breath became scarce. Elias’s fingers tingled as adrenaline rose and his vision narrowed.

He’d known his sentence was unusually punitive. He’d assumed that was because the juvie warden had put him in such a privileged position, handling much of the IT and paperwork at the detention center.

Simple revenge for what the warden had called a betrayal.

What Elias hadn’t considered was that someone might want him dead.

Suddenly, he couldn’t breathe.

Was there poison on the book? What was happening to him?

As Elias struggled, Hughes swooped in and dropped to a crouch in front of him, hands hovering just above Elias’s body, not quite touching, as he looked up into his face. If Elias didn’t know better, he’d think Hughes was worried.

When he spoke, it was low and soothing, almost paternal. “Breathe with me, Stuyvesant. In two-three-four-five. Out…” Hughes modeled the breathing, coaxing Elias to mimic him.

Should he do it? Maybe this was all part of the scheme.

Terror spiked adrenaline in Elias’s veins, and he leaned against the wall, slowly sliding down onto his side.

What was the point of fighting? If Hughes wanted him dead like apparently the system did, what could Elias possibly do about it?

Elias closed his eyes. He could barely see anything anymore anyway. He breathed as Hughes instructed, curled up on his side in the fetal position. To his great surprise, he started to feel better.

Hughes came no closer, but he kept counting off Elias’s breaths, steady and slow and oddly comforting. “There you are, little hacker. You’re pulling through. A panic attack, I think. Hm.”

Sounding thoughtful, Hughes shifted away, still counting, and a moment later, what had to be Hughes’s own blanket settled over Elias. It smelled like clean soap and spice with a hint of acrid bleach, a weird mixture of industrial and personal.

Elias clutched the blanket and the book to him as he continued to take the long, slow breaths, watching Hughes more directly than he might’ve dared before.

A panic attack? He’d never had one before, but he supposed the situation could merit such a reaction. As Elias caught his breath, he felt able to speak again.

“Thought I was dying. Don’t eat me, not dead yet.” He tried a weak smile to show he was joking, but he was exhausted now.

Had he really been sent to this cell to die? That guard—Garcia?—had to have known.

But why? Was a little hacking really that bad?

“Mm I lack the facilities to properly prepare your flesh. I wouldn’t waste you that way.” Hughes’s expression might’ve been a smirk.

Then he pulled away and stood, walking around the tiny cell with the air of a king surveying his castle. “You’ll discover time moves differently with no natural light. You’ll sleep more than you ever imagined, and your dreams will feel more real than this cell. The emotions you once felt will slip away, replaced by a different sense of yourself.”

He seemed lost in thought for a moment, faraway. Then he looked back toward Elias. “Are you an introvert or an extrovert, Mr. Stuyvesant?”

Elias squirmed forward so he could more easily watch Hughes from his bottom bunk. Weirdly, he felt comforted that Hughes had said he wouldn’t waste Elias.

“Introvert, I guess. Being in juvie, I had to figure out how to deal with people around so much. Guess I’ve always become what I needed to be in the moment.”

“A chameleon then.” Hughes sounded like he approved. He gestured toward himself and said, “I am much the same. Please do honor my desire for quiet and solitude when I’m…in a mood, and I will attempt to make suitable conversation when you’re of a mind to.”

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Unexpected by K.M. Neuhold: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Unexpected

by K.M. Neuhold

Maverick looks at Kyle, relief shining in his eyes. “Okay, yeah, let’s go home.”

I move my arm so it’s around Mav’s shoulder, and to my surprise, he holds his hand out toward Kyle. Kyle stares at the outstretched hand for several seconds before he finally grabs onto it. I watch with my heart in my throat as they lace their fingers together. A careful smile tilts the corners of Kyle’s lips, making him look even more beautiful.

Maverick tugs on his hand, pulling him closer, and I’m sure all three of us are holding our breath as he drags Kyle into his arms. With Maverick still tucked against me, I can see the surprise and excitement shining in Kyle’s eyes as he tilts his face up to meet Maverick’s eyes. His pink tongue darts out to wet his full, gorgeous lips. I could swear they’re moving in slow motion as Maverick angles his head, both of their eyes drifting closed, still not a single breath being drawn between the three of us, the moment heavy with the weight of anticipation. Even without my lips involved, it feels like I’m having my own first kiss.

Their mouths finally meet, and a muffled sound escapes Kyle’s throat; it sounds like it’s halfway between a moan and a whimper, going straight to my cock and making me hard as steel. Maverick leans into me, finding a way to include me in the moment they’re sharing. I appreciate it, but it’s unnecessary. This is their moment, and I’m more than happy to let them have it.

The kiss is chaste, their lips gently exploring each other, moving together in a dance they seem to be learning as they go. Kyle’s body sways closer to Maverick, his free hand landing on Mav’s chest.

When the kiss finally ends, I’m as breathless as they are, my heart thundering in my chest. Continue reading

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Rules to Obey by Susan Hawke: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Rules to Obey

by Susan Hawke

Jeffy smiled shyly. “Okay… Daddy.”

After that, I pretty much floated into the kitchen. I took my time making a simple lunch of sandwiches. I cut his into four diagonal pieces and removed the crusts before putting them on the divided toddler plate I’d bought for today. I hadn’t been able to find Transformers, so I’d settled for robots. The other compartments got filled with orange segments and sliced, peeled cucumbers covered in a light vinaigrette. My own sandwich was paired with an almost boring side salad. I filled a matching robot sippy cup with apple juice and got the table set before calling him in.

“Jeffy, it’s time to wash your hands for lunch. You can finish coloring after we eat.”

He hesitated for a moment, chewing his lip as if he were deciding whether or not to obey. I never doubted him but still smiled proudly when he set his crayon down and dutifully came into the kitchen.

“Good boy. Come join me at the sink, please.” His cheeks flushed bright red as he came and stood beside me. I matter-of-factly took foaming hand soap and made a game out of washing his hands. When Jeffy leaned forward and blew a puff of suds off the back of his hand with a quiet giggle, I knew we were on the right path. I made quick work of rinsing and drying his hands before nodding toward the table. “Good job. Now let’s have some lunch. I forgot to ask what you like, so I hope this will work.”

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Honorary Blogger Gail Z. Martin: Making the Supernatural Believable + Excerpt & Giveaway!


Making the Supernatural Believable

by Gail Z. Martin

Inheritance, which is part of my Deadly Curiosities series, has ghosts, curses, demons, witches, supernatural creatures and haunted objects. I love writing about spooky stuff, and I do my best to make the paranormal elements believable so that readers get an exciting thrill ride of a book.

For me, the first step in making the supernatural believable is to research the lore, urban legends and ghost stories of an area. My urban fantasy books are set in real cities, most of which have a long, reputedly haunted past. Those stories arise from an area’s history and the people who came to live there, so understanding the history of a place is also important. 

My goal is to make the location of a book so much a part of the plot that the story couldn’t happen in the same way anywhere else. That requires research into the culture, and how the people who live there see themselves and their heritage. Of course, those elements wind back to the supernatural, because people tell stories about their ancestors, the people who settled the area before them, the rogues, scoundrels and criminals, the people most likely to have their spirits stay behind when their lives end.

Magic is always a part of my urban fantasy books, and to make magic believable, it has to have rules and come at a cost. People with magical abilities need to have limits, or they become super-powered and so there’s no suspense. Rules are important so that magic doesn’t just conveniently solve all problems. Also, since I draw from real-world belief systems around the practice of magic, I do my best to be faithful and respectful to those traditions and represent them and their practitioners accurately. 

I research the urban legends and ghost stories of a place because those are rooted in the area’s unique history, the people who settled there, and the physical nature of the location. The real legends provide wonderful plot bunnies for ways to incorporate some of those old stories and elements into my new stories, so that the tale feels organic, arising from its location.

The other key element is consistency, which comes back to rules. If creatures act a certain way in one book, or magic has certain abilities or limits, then that has to remain consistent throughout unless you provide a very good reason. That also helps with believability, because the supernatural elements shouldn’t solve every problem easily so they don’t feel like a cheat to get the characters out of tight situations.

I love writing spooky stories and weaving in supernatural elements—and I’m thrilled that readers like to read about ghosts, magic and haunted places. For me, getting to research and write paranormal plots is the best job ever! Continue reading

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