To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell – Excerpt and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours promo blitz for To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell.

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Published 24th March 2014.

“Cathy is riding high in her brand-new job at a (surprisingly bitchy) top London advertising agency working with best friend Rosa. But when Rosa’s pregnancy goes amiss and enemies sabotage her new career, she finds herself leading a chaotic double life of lies and deception, hiding a shameful secret from all, especially husband Declan who appears in the throes of a nervous breakdown.  

Meanwhile she’s agreed to unmask the notorious Crouch End Creeper, a burglar terrorizing their neighbourhood. Little does she know that her meddling, assisted by fellow mothers (the Wednesday Once Weeklies) and the Neighbourhood Watch, will lead their dangerous opponent to murder.  And that it’s not only the tall elegant transvestite who is placing herself at risk…”

BUY LINKS

Amazon UKAmazon US

EXCERPT

‘It must have been horrendously frightening, Cathy,’ Holly Willoughby’s sparkling white teeth are shining directly into my eyes causing me to spontaneously blink, ‘finding yourself stalked and then almost strangled to death.’

‘Oh yes,’ I nod and refill my water glass. ‘Terrifying.’

Although, I squirm as three huge cameras circle closer like a cackle of hyenas moving in for the kill, nowhere near as terrifying as being on live TV. All through the interview I keep getting these uncanny impulses to indulge in a touch of Tourette’s, spouting obscenities while intermittently flashing a nipple.

‘And then not only did you capture the culprit but you managed to turn the situation round and through it launched the most talked about advertising campaign this decade.’

‘Not just me…’ I grin bashfully as Camera One’s red light gives a little wink in my direction.

‘So as a woman who’s spent the last eight years as a mother and housewife,’ Holly continues brightly, ‘how are you finding it being back out in the workplace?’

How am I finding it? Fantastic. Sodding-bloody-fantastic, I want to reply but for some reason, ever since the camera did that little wink, my throat simply refuses to co-operate.

‘It’s a…a…’ I cough and reach for the water, ‘case of…’

‘And balancing this brand new exciting career with taking care of two primary-school age children?’ prompts her co-presenter nicely. ‘You must be very organised…’

‘Well, Joseph… I mean Jason… I mean…’

And that’s it. My mouth freezes while I rifle through my memory bank trying to recall his name. Jason or Joseph… But no, it can’t be either. Joseph was the biblical character that this guy portrayed at a West End theatre and Jason…he was the ex-Neighbours actor who also played Joseph as well as dating Kylie Minogue and picking David Guest’s nose on some reality show. So this guy, the one sitting in front of me, all mike-ed up, awaiting an answer while millions look on… God, who is he? Sweat pools under the armpits of my new Vivienne Westwood polka-dot dress with the waist-cinching corset as I scan and rescan his grey speckled hair and cute baby face. ‘The thing is…’

A reassuring hand rests on my arm. For the fifth time this morning, Rosa steps in to save me.

‘Oh she is, Phillip,’ she laughs lightly. ‘Super-organised, that’s our Cath. Packed lunches prepared night before. Uniforms folded neatly on chairs. Dishwasher and washing machine fully loaded. Plants watered. Fish fed. Wonderwoman has nothing on her.’
She slaps me on the back, just as I take another gulp of water. Instead of drowning the giant South American toad now living in my larynx, a fountain shoots out from my mouth and nose.

Holly smiles once more as she smoothly links back to the weather, before the cameras wheel away, allowing her to dab at her water-spotted jacket and mercifully ending the second most scary moment of my entire life.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell who collaborate across the mighty Atlantic from their respective homes in Surrey, England and Colorado, USA, finding writing together a great excuse for endless phone conversations.   Together they have written three previous novels How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad and Looking For La La.   They love any chance to connect with their readers.

Pam and Lorraine 3 and 5 biggerLORRAINE AND PAM SIX AND EIGHT

Ellie Campbell is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency (www.hardmanswainson.com). For further information and to get in contact with them please visit their website: http://www.chicklitsisters.com.

AUTHOR LINKS

FacebookTwitter: @ecampbellbooksGoodreads | Pinterest

CHECK OUT LOOKING FOR LA LA

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“In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticised and constantly tired.

Cathy is no exception. Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily lipsticked postcard addressed to husband, Declan. Who is the mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And is Cathy actually being stalked?

Whatever – it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s ‘Mothers Restaurant Research’ group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine. But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.

With a possible murderer on the scene, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and all her friends hiding secrets, it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant, the stress of organising the school Save The Toilet’s dance and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, possibly deadly, revelations.”

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

GIVEAWAY

Ellie Campbell is generously offering a giveaway of a paperback copy of To Catch a Creeper PLUS £5/$10 Amazon Gift Card. This giveaway is open Internationally.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OFFERS

The authors have kindly set up two offers to coincide with launch week:

Looking for La La is discounted to 99cents/99pence from Monday 24th to 30th March

US  http://www.amazon.com/Looking-for-La-ebook/dp/B00BJH29QQ

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Looking-for-La-ebook/dp/B00BJH29QQ

How to Survive Your Sisters will be free Wednesday 26th to 30th March – US only

http://www.amazon.com/How-Survive-Your-Sisters-ebook/dp/B00BJH2D2G

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Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis – Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours cover reveal blitz for Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis.

And what a gorgeous cover it is!

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Coming in 2014 – Publisher Soul Mate.

“Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer…Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer.  

The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry—Kylie’s ideal man. A hot, fun ginger boy would be worth breaking all the rules for, of course.  And Kylie is sure Harry just needs the right, centering woman to settle him down.  But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option.

Or does it?

Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger boy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to take a chance, to face her fears, and live in the present?  And could this stranger be the Prince Harry she has been waiting for? Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this chance encounter, and she knows her life will never be the same because of it…”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author PhotoAven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night.  Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

AUTHOR LINKS

Connect with me on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AvenEllis1 

Talk to me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AvenEllis 

Visit me on the web:

http://www.avenellis.com/index.html 

Check out my pins on Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/avenellis/

Check out Connectivity, Aven Ellis’ debut novel:

Connectivity

“Overachiever Mary-Kate Grant (who is indeed named after an Olsen Twin) has followed every rule to the letter to pursue her dream of working in TV programming. Ripping a page from the “hard work pays off” playbook, she takes an assistant level job at a Chicago sports network to break into the industry.

MK has no time or desire for a relationship right now—she is totally focused on her career and being independent, unlike the other women in her family.

But MK’s plans are run through the shredder when she finds herself working for William Cumberland, a British media mogul who made his fortune with Connectivity, a social media site. William blows into Chicago just like the winds off Lake Michigan and purchases the group of networks MK works for—and makes her his personal assistant in the process.

Suddenly MK finds her career plans in jeopardy. William makes her question everything she has ever thought and has the uncanny ability to see right through her. And for the first time in her life, MK finds herself not only questioning what she wants for her career but for her personal life as well…”

AMAZON | GOODREADS

Aven Ellis has featured twice before on Me, My Books and I – read her author interview here and read my review of Connectivity here.

GIVEAWAY

The giveaway on this blitz is 1 x ecopy of Waiting for Prince Harry (when it is published) and 1 x ecopy of Connectivity.  Open Internationally. Click the link below and follow the instructions to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Murder on a Summer’s Day – Frances Brody – Cover Reveal Blitz and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours cover reveal blitz for Murder on a Summer’s Day by Frances Brody.

And here it is:

Cover Murder on a Summer's Day

Publisher: Piatkus (3 Oct 2013)
416 pages
ISBN-10: 034940058X
ISBN-13: 978-0349400587

Murder on a Summer’s Day is the fifth novel in the Kate Shackleton Mystery Series set in 1920s Yorkshire.

“A Maharajah on the Moors

When the India Office seek help in finding Maharajah Narayan, last seen hunting on the Bolton Abbey estate, they call upon the expertise of renowned amateur detective Kate Shackleton to investigate.

A Priceless Jewel

But soon a missing person’s case turns to murder. Shot through the heart, it’s clear to Kate that Narayan’s body has not been in the woods overnight. Who brought it here, and from where? And what has happened to the hugely valuable diamond that was in the Maharajah’s possession?

An inexplicable murder . . .

As Kate digs deeper, she soon discovers that vengeance takes many forms. Was the Maharajah’s sacrilegious act of shooting a white doe to blame? Or are growing rumours of a political motive too powerful for Kate to discount?

One thing Kate is sure of: her own skills and insights. Qualities that she is sure will help her unravel a mysterious murder on that fateful summer’s day . . .”

To purchase Murder on a Summer’s Day click on the following links:

Amazon UK Kindle Edition | Amazon UK Paperback | Amazon US Kindle Edition

EXCERPT

Kate Shackleton receives a dawn telephone call from her cousin James, a civil servant in the India Office. James tells Kate that a visiting Indian prince has gone missing from the Duke of Devonshire’s Yorkshire estate, leaving behind his female companion, a former Folies Bergere dancer. James asks Kate to investigate. Housekeeper Mrs Sugden offers her usual sterling support.

James’s briefing had left me feeling less than well-armed for the task ahead. What was a maharajah of Gattiawan doing in Yorkshire? Why was he visiting Bolton Abbey before the start of the shooting season? Today was Saturday, 2 August, so open season, but with ten days to go before grouse-shooting began, on the Glorious Twelfth.
James had not even told me when the maharajah and his companion arrived in Yorkshire.
I checked my watch. Ten minutes to six.
Mrs Sugden called from the doorway. ‘I’ve found summat about maharajahs.’
‘I’ll be there in a tick.’
Fortunately, Mrs Sugden is a fast reader and The Times Court Circulars have the virtue of brevity. She placed the relevant pages on the piano stool, drawing it up to the chaise longue.
We sat side by side as she tapped the page with her ridged fingernail and read, ‘The Maharajah of Kapurthala is the first Indian Prince to visit the British Empire Exhibition. He expressed his satisfaction with the Punjab Court exhibit. He has now returned to Paris, but will be back.’
‘What about Gattiawan?’
Mrs Sugden is nothing if not thorough. ‘Aga Khan … Maharajah of Rajpipla at the Savoy Hotel … Maharajah of Nawanger … They’ll all know each other. Probably rivals, and one of them has done away with another, perhaps sent an assassin. It’s like Shakespeare. Ah, here he is. The Maharajah of Gattiawan arrived at Marseilles yesterday in the SS Malwa on his way to London.’
I looked at the item, dated 26 April. It gave no indication whether the maharajah was travelling overland, or stopping on the way. ‘Nothing else since then?’
She shook her head. ‘Nowt else in Court Circulars, only an article about the good command of English among educated Indians, from the Special Correspondent in Bombay.’
There was nothing for it but to set off, feeling less than well-prepared.
I shrugged into my motoring coat.
Mrs Sugden followed me along the garden path. ‘You don’t have much luggage. Have you packed an evening dress?’
‘The Delphos robe.’ I opened the car door and got in quickly, before she had time for more questions.
She frowned at my choice of evening wear. ‘I suppose that Delphos gown doesn’t betray its age. But I can pack another bag for you.’
I started the motor. ‘If I need anything else, I’ll send you a telegram.’ My mind already raced ahead. Prince Narayan of Gattiawan, where are you?
Mrs Sugden waved, folding her other arm around herself against the morning chill.
A sudden thought propelled her through the gate. She leaned into the motor. ‘Be careful. They all carry daggers, and they’re very good at strangling.’
‘I’ll try to stay in one piece, throat intact.’
As I drove away I heard her call something about the black hole of Calcutta, but my thoughts were already on the missing man, the lovers’ tiff, and the mysterious Miss Metcalfe who had hooked herself an Indian prince.
James wanted to rule out theft and foul play. The Yorkshire Dales has its sprinkling of poachers. But jewel thieves, murderers? Surely not.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frances BrodyFrances Brody writes the highly acclaimed mystery series set in 1920s Yorkshire, featuring First World War widow turned sleuth, Kate Shackleton; twice nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library. As Frances McNeil, she has written for radio, theatre and television and published sagas, winning the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award for the most regionally evocative debut saga of the millennium.

Visit Frances online at

www.frances-brody.com on Facebook Http://Facebook.com/FrancesBrody , Twitter @FrancesBrody, or on Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY

There are 2 x signed copies of Murder on a Summer’s Day up for grabs (UK only), just follow the link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Woman Walks into a Bar – Rowan Coleman – Help raise £10,000 for Refuge!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tour promo blitz for Woman Walks into a Bar by Rowan Coleman.

Help Rowan Coleman raise £10,000 for Refuge

On September 10th Rowan is publishing her novella Woman Walks into a Bar as an ebook for the first time. And 100% of her proceeds will be donated to Refuge.

Her goal is to raise £10,000 and you can help. All you have to do is buy a book, or two, and get your friends to buy one too. You’ll get a funny, romantic and touching summer read and you’ll be helping women you’ve never even met at the same time and all for the price of £1.59!

The story behind the story

Every book Rowan have ever written has meant a lot to her, but with her latest book ‘Dearest Rose,’ something really special happened when the real world and the fiction she loves to write collided.  It changed her as a person and a writer, forever.

She was getting ready to research her tenth novel, which with the help of her Facebook readers she decided should pivot around the theme of domestic abuse. It was a subject she’d touched on briefly once before, when she wrote a short novella as one of the first Quick Reads called Woman Walks into a Bar, which to this day remains one of the pieces of work of which she is most proud.

So she posted on her Facebook page asking if anyone had any personal experiences of domestic abuse, and any stories they might share with her in confidence.

She was shocked and amazed by the response; there were more than 200 emails waiting in her inbox the next day. Each story she read was horrific and frightening in its own way, giving her an insight into the secret lives of many women; lives that all too often remain hidden. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone – well educated wealthy women are just as likely to suffer as women from a working class background – but the one thing all those women had in common was that they were survivors. After years of being mentally and physically beaten down, they had managed to find the emotional strength, somehow, to break free and start again.

Now Rowan wants to do something that will help other women find that inner courage, and change their lives.

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 ‘Woman Walks into a Bar’ is the story of 28-year-old single mother Sam spends her days working in the local supermarket and her Friday nights out with her friends letting her hair down at the White Horse. Life hasn’t been easy for Sam and her daughter, Beth (who always looks on the bright side) but she’s always hoped that one day she’ll break free from her past and meet The One.

But after a series of terrible dates with men she’s met through an internet dating site, that have all been as awful as her daughter’s terrible jokes, she’s starting to lose heart – until her friends tell her they’ve set her up on a blind date. Sam’s horrified but finally she agrees to go. After all you never know when you might meet the man of your dreams; maybe Sam’s happy ending is just about to begin….

£1.59 Amazon Kindle

So, come on and join Rowan, and help to #supportafriend on September 10th. Every time you buy or pre-order ‘Woman Walks into a Bar’ you’ll be entered into a prize draw for fabulous prizes every week, while the #supportafriend #womanwalks campaign is running. On 10th September, tweet Rowan photos of you and your friends, tell her your ideas to support a friend, and why your friends mean so much to you.

You can be a best friend to someone you have never even met. You can help someone out there find the support they need to change their lives.

If you are a blogger or tweeter, spread the word using #supportafriend #womawalks. If you are a company who could offer a prize to drive book sales and thereby money for Refuge, please get in touch. If you are a woman in an abusive relationship, or if you have a friend about whom you are worried, please get in touch with Refuge and ask for help today.

About Rowan

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Rowan Coleman grew up in Hertfordshire secretly longing to be a writer despite battling with dyslexia.  After graduating from university she worked in bookselling and publishing for seven years before winning Company Magazine Young Writer of the Year in 2001.  Her first novel ‘Growing Up Twice’ was published in 2002.
Rowan has gone on to write eight novels for women including the bestseller ‘The Accidental Mother, The Baby Group’ and ‘The Accidental Wife‘ and eight novels for children and teens including the paranormal adventure novels Nearly Departed and Immortal Remains under the name Rook Hasting. Her books are published around the world. She now lives in Hertfordshire with her family.

Find out more:

Woman Walks into a Bar websiteRowan’s websiteTwitter @rowancolemanRowan’s Facebook Author Page |Rowan’s Amazon Author PageRowan’s Goodreads Author Page

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Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective – Christine Amsden – Promo Blitz

Today I’m excited to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours promo blitz for Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective.

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Print Length: 260 pages

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-275-7

eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-274-0

Publication Date: May 15, 2013

“Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.”

GUEST POST – EVAN BLACKWOOD CHARACTER INTERVIEW

My name is Christine Amsden, author of the new urban fantasy novel Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. This first volume in a (completed) four-part series introduces us to Cassie, the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers. Amidst mystery, romance, and family feuds, this “new adult” series shows us that there are many types of strength, and many ways to be a hero.

With me today is a more traditional hero from the novel. It is my great pleasure to welcome Evan Blackwood, a young sorcerer with a great deal of talent and potential. Plus, he’s really good looking, even if I did create him myself! 🙂

The 21-year-old Evan hails from Eagle Rock, MO, where the existence of magic is accepted, if not exactly understood. Evan, like most sorcerers in the area, is tight-lipped when it comes to what he can do and how powerful he is, but he graciously agreed to talk to me as long as I don’t try to pry into his family secrets.

Christine: Evan, thank you for being here. I understand you’ve known our heroine, Cassie, for a long time. How did you two meet?

Evan: Cassie and I met in the first grade. I had never been to school or spent much time around other kids, and I made a fool of myself. She helped me out. Took me on as a project, you could say. That’s sort of her style.

Christine: Did you know at the time that your fathers were enemies?

Evan: No. I was six, and I don’t think I was that aware of what my father did unless it had something to do with me. He told me later in the year, but by then it was way too late.

Christine: So you and Cassie have remained friends this whole time?

Evan: Sort of. Things got a little awkward after I accidentally sent Paul Ellerson to the hospital. She never said so, but I think she was a little afraid of me after that. She was hardly alone. She got over it, but between that and some rumors that started flying around about me, we weren’t quite as close in high school as we were before.

Christine: Are you talking about the rumors that you cast love spells?

Evan: (Glares) Yes. Those rumors.

Christine: Sorry. Sore spot. I assume they weren’t true?

Evan: Do you have any other question?

Christine: Where have you been for the past three years? After high school, you kind of fell off the map.

Evan: Magical apprenticeship. Henry Wolf took me on.

Christine: Henry Wolf? Isn’t he a little crazy? Lives in a cabin in the woods with no running water or electricity?

Evan: He’s brilliant. He just thinks modern gizmos interfere with magic.

Christine: Is that true?

Evan: The first thing I’m going to do when I finish my apprenticeship is buy a cell phone. Then watch movies, starting with the Star Wars trilogy. The original trilogy, not the prequels.

Christine: Why do you like Star Wars so much?

Evan: It’s a great fantasy. Good on one side. Evil on the other. I wish the real world was so easy to figure out.

Christine: Is there anything in particular you’re trying to figure out?

Evan: Lost of things. But mostly, I worry because of the way my father and Cassie’s father hate one another. They both think they’re right and the other is wrong. I suppose I should side with my family and I do, but I wish I didn’t have to pick a side at all.

Christine: Because you’re in love with Cassie?

Evan: I didn’t say that.

Christine: No, of course not. So, what are your future plans? After you watch Star Wars, that is?

Evan: I want to do some good in the world. I’ve got a few ideas, but nothing concrete yet. There are a few things I need to work out first.

Christine: And those few things are…?

Evan: Private.

Christine: I see. And I will leave you to that privacy, but first I have one last question. Is there any advice you would be willing to give us about how to deal with sorcerers?

Evan: Don’t.

Christine: What if we can’t avoid it?

Evan: (Pauses) Ivy. Plant some ivy to protect your home. And don’t leave any blood lying around.

Christine: Those sound like good tips. Thank you for sharing your secrets.

Evan: They aren’t secrets. You can learn some basic magical self-protection on the Internet. Although there’s a lot of crazy stuff, too.

Christine: Any way to know the difference?

Evan: For the average person? Not really. But the average person probably isn’t going to be in danger. It’s far worse if you have a tiny bit of talent you don’t know what to do with.

Christine: That sounds like something we should talk about when the next book comes out. I hope we’ll see you back then.

Evan: Wait. What happens in the next book?

Christine: Don’t worry about it. You’ve got to survive the first book first.

Evan: My grandmother is a seer, you know.

Christine: I know. I created her, too. But there are so many possible futures, I don’t know how much she’ll be able to help you. I did rewrite the series several times, after all.

Evan: (Glares again) I got to go. Master Wolf is calling me.

Christine: Well then, you’d better go. Thank you so much for being here with me today.

Evan: You aren’t going to hurt Cassie, are you?

Christine: Henry Wolf is calling you.

Evan: All right, but for the record, we’re not done.

Christine: Absolutely not.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 5

Belinda’s collection of potions was extensive and many of her customers believed in the power of her brews. They were probably crap, especially those offering up money and wishes, because if she really could brew them, why would she need to sell them? Others, such as those offering weight loss or hair regrowth, might have been legitimate–I had no real way of knowing.

Then my eyes fell on a tiny vial with the word “MAGIC” on the label. I picked it up and turned it over to read the details: “Tap into magical energies you never knew were there. You’ll be able to cast spells and brew potions. Curse your neighbors and find true love. $15.95”

“Impossible,” I muttered. Surely, if such a thing could be, my parents would have fed it to me years ago.

“That stuff is crap,” Evan said.

I jumped. I had almost forgotten he was there. He stood by a bulletin board, where he had been staring at pictures of Belinda, her friends, and her family. “Belinda mostly knows how to brew love potions, and even then she keeps the strongest ones to herself…the ones that truly ensnare the mind and heart.”

I replaced the vial of MAGIC, with just a tiny twinge of regret, and moved on to Belinda’s love potions. She had one full shelf dedicated to love, decorated with pink hearts and red roses. A lot of these potions were in the form of perfumes, creams, shampoos, and most especially–chocolates. The bottom third of the shelf was dedicated to boxes of chocolate candy in different flavors and potencies.
While a strong love potion will ensnare the mind and the heart, most of the weaker love potions are what you might call suggestive magic. They could cause you to feel affection, adoration, or arousal, but they typically left the higher brain functions intact.

At random, I picked up a bottle of perfume from the top shelf and read: “Induces powerful lust. Spray on your intended and make sure you are the first person they see. Lasts about an hour.”

The thing you have to understand about any magic is that there are good ways to use it, and bad ways to use it. The concept of black magic is a hotly debated topic among sorcerers. Even death, in self defense, is a shade of gray. As I stood there, reading the functions of the various love potions, I thought of all the innocent and harmful ways they could be used. A couple in a committed relationship might have a lot of fun with a spray of lust. On the other hand, using it on an unwilling victim…

I shuddered as I replaced the bottle and accidentally knocked one of the neighboring bottles of perfume to the ground. It shattered, splashing perfume all over my open-toed sandals.

“Crap.”

“What happened?” Evan asked, his voice hard and alert. I could hear him moving closer.

“Stop! I don’t want to see you right now.”

“Which potion was that?” Evan asked, still in that hard-edged voice of command.

I pointed to the row of similar bottles on the top shelf. “Lust.”

One of the little bottles floated away from the shelf, but I did not turn around to see what Evan was doing with it. Instead, I started looking through my purse for a pack of tissues to clean the mess off my feet.

“Cassie, I have some bad news for you.”

“Worse, you mean?”

“This potion doesn’t take affect until you actually look at someone. Your hour starts then.”

“Crap. I don’t suppose there’s an antidote?”

“Sure,, but it will take me about three days to brew, once the moon is full.”

“Okay.” I considered my options as I wiped the mess off my foot and started gathering the tiny shards of glass. “Well, I guess I could-” I stopped, I had nothing to put at the end of that sentence. I kind of hoped Evan would have a suggestion, but to my surprise, he started laughing at me. “This isn’t funny.”

“Come on, it is a little funny.”

Maybe it would be funny in a few days, if I didn’t die of embarrassment first. “I suppose I could call my boyfriend.” I didn’t want to explain any of this to him, and though I trusted him, I didn’t really want him to become the object of my uncontrolled lust for an hour. I just didn’t know what else to do.

“Who are you seeing?” Evan asked, all traces of amusement gone.

“Braden,” I said.

“Who?”

“Braden Walker. He was a year ahead of us in school. He was on the football team.”

“Oh. I think I remember him.” Evan paused for a long moment. “You know you could do better, right?”

“It’s none of your business.” I had to fight the urge to glare at him when I said that. He barely knew Braden, so what made him think he could make any judgments? Besides, I didn’t know why he thought I could do better, when I had done very little dating in high school. I hadn’t known if my family name scared people off, or if there was something fundamentally wrong with me, but Braden had at least restored my confidence that the latter was not true.

“Listen,” Evan said. “I need to do another spell. It’ll just be a few minutes. We’ll figure something out after, just don’t look at me until I’m done.”

“I get that.” I sounded more annoyed at the admonition than I should have, because his quip about Braden still stung.

Within seconds, I smelled candles and incense, and heard Evan muttering under his breath. I found a trash can by a nearby desk, and tossed the damp tissues inside. Then I spotted a black day planner on top of the desk. It was the sort of thing that ancient relatives used to buy me for school, but I never used. Belinda seemed to have liked it, though. Nearly every page through the end of July was covered in notes and reminders.

Over the weekend, she wrote, she had rented a cabin in the woods by the lake. She should have been back, though, because in about half an hour, she had a dinner date at Hodge Mill with Sheriff Adams. I blinked and re-read the name several times to be sure I had seen it correctly, but unfortunately, I had. My old boss and friend had been acting a little strangely that afternoon, but I hadn’t guessed he might be under the influence of a love spell.

“Finished,” Evan said. I heard him gathering up his supplies. “This isn’t good. I suspected it this afternoon, but now I’m sure–there’s no threshold on this home. Which either means Belinda has permanently moved, or else she’s dead.”

“Do you think she had something to do with your cousin’s murder?” I asked.

“I don’t know what to think. I can’t come up with a reason she’d do it, but then again, where is she?”

“I found her day planner,” I said, holding it up over my shoulder so Evan could see. “She was supposed to go to the lake this weekend, and she’s got a date tonight at Hodge Mill. You’ll never guess who it’s with.”

“Who?”

“The sheriff.”

“Huh.”

“I know it’s a long shot, but I figure we should go to Hodge Mill and see if she shows up–or if the sheriff does. After that–”

“Cassie,” Evan interrupted.

“Yeah?”

“How much do you trust me?”

“Er-Why?”

“Turn around,” he said.

“Did you figure something out?” I said, my heart beating a little faster. “Some way to stop the potion?”

“Yes.”

“But you said-” I never got a chance to finish, because just then, Evan moved into my field of vision and I turned to stare at him properly.

In all the years I had known him, I had somehow missed the fact that Evan has the most incredible blue eyes. They sparkle like diamonds when he laughs, and darken like the sea when he’s angry. At that moment, I thought I could swim in those eyes. I had never spent much time looking at his lips before, but I suddenly became aware of just how kissable they were. I started towards him, my focus set on those beautiful, kissable lips.

I couldn’t move. Something was forcing my body absolutely still.

“Sorry about that,” Evan said, not sounding sorry at all. He swung a satchel over his shoulder and started out the door. I found myself following behind him, but I wasn’t the one moving my legs. “Nothing to do but let it run its course. If you want to hate me in an hour, I’ll understand.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorChristine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Twitter | Email: christine.amsden@yahoo.com

BUYING LINKS

Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble

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The Cordello Quest – Joanna Gawn and Ron Dickerson – Promo Blitz and Giveaway

Today I’m excited to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours promo blitz for The Cordello Quest which I read and reviewed here.  I thought it was an imaginative read interspersed with spirituality and thought-provoking ideas!

The Cordello Quest

“What would you do if you found yourself in another world? If you were told you had a key role to play in the lives of a people you never knew existed? That you had been a part of their legend for centuries? Who would you rely on? The Cordello Quest is a tale of hope, trust and faith. It is a tale of magic and mystery … of making the most of your inner knowing. It is a tale of doing the right thing … wherever you are. It is a tale of tuning in to your most aware self. Most of all, it is a tale of the power of love and light.”

AN EXTRACT FROM THE CORDELLO QUEST

Charls walked towards me, his hand concealing the object that he’d removed from the table drawer.

“Keira, I believe this will help you in your time here; I am sure that it will give you guidance on how to use your energy to its best advantage.”

He handed the object to me. It was a small, thin book, about the size of a postcard, and I guessed it contained no more than forty to fifty pages.

“It is my great–grandmother’s journal. She entrusted it to me when she moved on to her new life.”

I was puzzled. “Sorry, Charls; I don’t understand. Where did she go?”

“Ah. ‘Move on’ is the term we use when someone dies. We consider the process to be a transition to another place just as ‘real’ as this one.”

“Oh! I see.” Well, I thought I did. I waited for Charls to continue.

“This treasured little book has the capacity to teach you about lovelight, positive thinking, the power of prayer, belief, love and co–operation, and will help you to understand how best to develop your skills so that you can assist us.”

I took the book as gently as I could. Feeling a reverence that I had not felt before, I carefully lifted the cover, faded now to a soft dove grey, and examined the first written page. The writing was clear and firm, despite its age. I read: “This journal belongs to Aida Charlotte Evangeline, Lady of Cordello.”

As I read her name, a jolt of electricity pulsed through me. I felt the strangest, strongest connection with Aida, simply by touching her book and reading her words. Charls noticed my reaction. “Keira? Is everything okay?”

A little shaken, I nodded my head. “I just had what felt like an electric shock. And I don’t think it’s static from your carpet,” I joked. I stroked the aged paper and received a muted version of the same sensation. “It’s like there’s some sort of power in the book, which I access when I touch it.” I looked up at Charls, wondering what his response would be. He had tears filming his eyes.

“Oh Keira . . . you are picking up Lady Aida’s energetic vibration through your hands. You must have a natural affinity and skill for reading energy from objects. You could be more valuable to us in our mission than we first thought possible. At present, there is no–one in Cordello with this ability. This must be why my inner guidance prompted me to give you her book.”

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHARACTER LADY AIDA

Joanna: Hello, Lady Aida, thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions.
Lady Aida: I’m pleased to be here, Joanna and Ron. Thank you for having me.
Joanna: First of all, what’s it like being an Ascended Reikan?
Lady Aida: It’s extremely rewarding. My assignment has been interesting, to say the least. Being able to offer guidance to awakening humans is a joy.

Ron: Lady Aida, when you were writing in your journal – the one used by Keira when she was in Cordello – did you have any idea that it would become so important?
Lady Aida: No, not at all. Writing the journal was simply my way of making sense of my learning, and tracking my own development in the use of crystals, lovelight and intuition. I was heartened to see that Keira gained so much from my own experiences.

Joanna: When you were working with crystals, did you ever have a favourite?
Lady Aida: I would not have been able to choose, my dear. Their frequencies are different, and each has its own value. It would be like asking me to choose a favourite niece or nephew. I do have a fondness for the quartz crystals, however, and appreciated the warm tones and shades of the Tiger’s Eye.

Ron: Of all the places you’ve seen, do you have a favourite?
Lady Aida: Cordello, without a doubt. True, I have travelled to many worlds, seen many wonderful things. And I was very fond of Reika, of course. But . . . Cordello is home, and I am always glad to return to its green valleys and to my own people.

Joanna: What is your favourite colour?
Lady Aida: I have no favourite, dear. All colour is light, and to choose from among the light is not possible.

Ron: If you could be any animal, what would you choose?
Lady Aida: I believe I would choose to be an eagle. Soaring high, with wide perspectives and clear sight. I am fond of flying, as you know.

Joanna: A final question for you, Lady Aida. Do you have a favourite word?
Lady Aida: Oh yes, dear. It is Love.
Joanna: I should have known you’d say that! Thank for your time, Lady Aida.
Lady Aida: It’s been a pleasure. Goodbye.

GIVEAWAY

You also have the opportunity to win your own e-copy of The Cordello Quest (mobi, epub or pdf)

Follow this link to enter the International giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

CREATIONS

THREE MATCHES

MATCHES

Joanna’s short tale ~

“You only have three matches,” the man announced. “Use them wisely.” He turned the key in the lock behind him as he left. The light was snapped off, leaving me marooned in the blackness. Heart plummeting, legs weak, I sank into the chair. Trapped. The only person who could get me out of this was me.

I lit the first match, a quivering glow of light leaping around the small room’s walls. It wasn’t long before the flame burned my fingers, the match dropping uselessly to the tiled floor. The darkness seemed even deeper than before.

I willed myself to sit in the darkness for a while, to let it become my friend rather than my enemy. I could see nothing – but that didn’t mean I needed to be scared, did it? It was just like closing my eyes; the room was still there, unchanged. Only my perception was different.
In response, my hearing sharpened. There was a scuffling in the corner. Rats?

When I could bear it no longer, I ignited the second match and peered towards the noise. Small black shapes milled around, tumbling over each other with fluid grace. A gap appeared; I could see the hole they were using to bring nesting material inside.

“Ouch!” I cried, the flame singeing my fingertips. The spent match slipped from my hand, darkness wrapping around me once again. I took a deep breath. Only one match left. Carefully, I moved towards the rats. My timing would have to be perfect. I struck the match, and the animals fled with high squeals. Grabbing the bundle of straw they’d been using, I set it aflame. Holding it high above me, I blew on the blazing straw, fanning the flames wider and higher, sending smoke billowing throughout the room.

The smoke alarm pealed and the door was flung open. Crouching low to the floor, below the smoke, I scrambled out, straight into the man’s legs. He grabbed my arms, lifting me upright.  He smiled his approval.

“Well done,” he grinned. “You passed that challenge with flying colours. Are you ready for the next one?”

“Bring it on!” I replied.

Ron’s poem ~

The fire from the past still remains
Though darker and dimmed by the year
It guides, it answers and misleads
As memories mix and appear

The flame of today burns so bright
As source is consumed in its path
The flicker shows end is in sight
Rejoice in the light and the warmth

Don’t rush to the future bemused
In time the glow will all catch
Keep safe, keep dry, keep unused
The potent from belief will sure match

These short pieces were first published in Edition #3 of Creations, the Lazuli Portals Newsletter. Click here to sign up for free. http://www.lazuli-portals.com/

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Joanna Gawn is an author, energy-healing practitioner and wife. She loves writing, reading, spreadsheets, National Trust gardens, and inspiring scenery. Dartmoor and Brittany are two of her favourite places. She and her husband are owned by two cats. Joanna is a chocoholic, and is also partial to cake.

Ron Dickerson is a Cornishman with a background in rugby, business and Round Table/Rotary; perhaps not the expected connections for writing spiritual adventure novels! He has a deep love of books and superb writing. He is an intuitive natural healer. He and his wife also have two cats.
Joanna and Ron are currently writing the sequel to The Cordello Quest, entitled Mosaic of Light. They also write short stories (published as ebooks), flash fiction and poetry.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS, AND WHERE TO FIND THEIR BOOKS

Amazon     http://viewAuthor.at/JoannaGawn
Blog           http://lazuliportalswriting.wordpress.com/
Website     http://www.lazuli-portals.com/
Twitter        https://twitter.com/lazuliportals
Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/lazuliportalstrilogy
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/lazuliportals

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