Monday, August 31, 2020

OUT NOW—Search and Rescue (The Dreadnoughts Book One) by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #reverseharem #romance




Blurb:

Kim Medhurst is an ex-British military intelligence officer turned scientist and climate activist. A thrilling, potentially world-changing discovery leads her to a cave on a remote island off the Scottish coast. But before she can return to the mainland, a natural disaster traps her in the cave with limited food and water. Fortunately, she is an intelligent and resourceful woman who made a backup plan even before she stepped out of her own front door.
Enter Jason Chastain—owner and operator of a private security firm—and his friends Aidan Smith and twins Taylor and Joshua Greig. The foursome are also ex-military, so rescuing Kim should be a walk in the park for them. However, her discovery is so top secret she hasn’t even told Chastain and his buddies precisely what their mission is—instead relying on money and intrigue to get them to do the job. It works, until a series of events turn the rescue mission into an escape mission. Throw in a further revelation that will change all of their lives irrevocably and Kim begins to wonder if she’s bitten off more than she can chew.
Should she have left things well alone, or can this colossal mess be turned into something positive? This is about so much more than just five human beings, after all.
PLEASE NOTE: Search and Rescue has a cliffhanger ending.

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Excerpt:
Jason Chastain
Jason gripped tightly onto the controls of the rigid inflatable boat—otherwise known as a RIB—as it bounced on the relentless, white-capped waves of the Atlantic Ocean. According to the GPS, they were closing in on their destination. And thank God for GPS; simply looking for their target was futile—it was pitch black, and the remote Scottish island they were headed for was uninhabited, so there were no lights to help guide them. Not even a bloody lighthouse. To make things worse, they didn’t know exactly what—or who—they were going to find when they landed, so they were in stealth mode, meaning no lights on their boat, either. When they got close enough, they’d have to kill the engine, too, so as not to be heard by anyone who might be waiting for them.
He hunched his shoulders against the biting wind which still managed to worm its way in through his layers of technical gear and muttered to himself. Complaining out loud was pointless—the waves and wind would stop the others from being able to hear a word he said, anyway.
Besides, he was really in no position to complain, since it was his fault the four of them were here in the first place.
The job offer had come in via the contact form on his security firm’s website—all mysterious and anonymous, and on the first read he’d almost dismissed it out of hand, his finger hovering over the ‘delete’ button even before he’d read the final line. It was so vague he’d thought it was spam, or someone pissing about—even organisations who wanted to employ him for highly classified missions usually gave more information than that. Not to mention more notice. But something, the merest grain of intrigue, had made him read the message through again and absorb it fully. Despite all the cloak and dagger, it seemed legit.
And when his phone pinged with an alert, prompting him to check his business bank account and find the promised amount just sitting there, all nonchalant-like, the grain of intrigue had turned into the Sahara Desert’s worth. Particularly since the amount in question was just a deposit to help with expenses and getting the mission off the ground. What would have happened if he’d refused the mission? Did he get to keep the money anyway? By this point, that wasn’t really an issue, anyway, since there were a hell of a lot more zeroes at play if he and the three buddies he had in mind to come with him managed to pull this off—a ridiculous sum, even when split four ways and taking costs into consideration.
Whoever the client was, they were extremely important, or insanely rich. Maybe both.
In other words, a good person to get on side. If he played his cards right, this mysterious client could keep him in work for a long time to come—if not personally, then by way of sharing contacts and word of mouth. Either way was good, as far as he was concerned.
Despite the secretive nature of this mission, it would certainly beat some of the two-bit jobs he’d taken on out of necessity in the past few months. Unfortunately, the need to eat and the requirement to pay bills didn’t go away just because the exciting work had dried up.
But this job could be the turning point. The one that launched him from dull bodyguarding of ‘celebrities’—some of those fuckers have been so Z-list that even Google doesn’t know who they are—and protecting sensitive goods to actually making a difference, like he used to do back in the military. Helping people. Taking bad people off the streets.
It could also be the job that launched him into the Atlantic Ocean—not for the first, but possibly for the final time. The RIB lurched violently, and Jason heard the rest of the crew swearing and exclaiming even over the roar of the elements. And these were guys who weren’t afraid of anything. He risked a quick glance over his shoulder and counted three large figures. They were all still there, and for now, that would have to do. There was no time to check in—according to the GPS, the shore was coming up fast, and he’d need all his concentration, skill, and brass fucking balls to land them on the beach in one piece. More importantly, the boat needed to be in one piece, since that was their way out, once they’d secured their target. Without it, they were royally fucked. Unlike in the military, they had no one to call, no backup, no rescue teams.
They were it.
He shook his head, wondering for the umpteenth time who the hell threw so much cash around in order to hire a four-man team to take on a monumental, potentially very dangerous task, knowing perfectly well that if it went tits up, there was no second chance? No clean up team?
The best he’d been able to come up with was: Someone desperate, with a need for secrecy.
So exactly who was desperate, secretive, and filthy rich?
It’s only a matter of time before we find out. If we ever make it onto this bloody beach, that is. He took a deep breath and squinted into the darkness, willing his eyes to pick up something useful. Normally he’d have donned his night-vision goggles, but the rain and the sea spray would splatter constantly onto the lenses, rendering them useless. All he could do was keep flicking his gaze between the GPS and the landscape in front of the boat and hope for the best. He wasn’t a religious man, but he mumbled some random words of prayer to the heavens anyway, just in case. Couldn’t hurt to try, and it certainly wouldn’t make things worse.
Finally, his vision and the gadget seemed to agree the beach was imminent. With another deep breath, Jason killed the engine and mentally crossed his fingers and toes they were close enough that the waves would wash the boat up onto the shore, rather than dragging it back out to sea. He’d researched tide times and planned accordingly, but he knew better than most that things didn’t always go to plan. Especially when it came to Mother Nature. She could be a sadistic bitch at times. But then, given the way the human race treated her, he could hardly blame her for lashing out from time to time.
Thankfully, after what felt like an interminable amount of time, but was actually only a few minutes, the equally terrifying and relief-inducing sound of the boat scraping on to dry land rang out—audible even over the wind and waves. Jason maintained a fierce, knuckle-whitening grip on the controls as the boat lurched, more to keep himself steady and to take out his nervousness on the rigid material beneath his fingers than anything—after all, the steering had lost most of its effectiveness the minute he’d switched off the engine. He’d never admit it to the guys, not in a million years, but his heart was in his mouth. These boats were built to be sturdy, designed to carry out exactly this kind of mission, but it wasn’t impossible that a particularly sharp rock or even something manmade that had been left or washed up onto the beach could puncture it.
He released a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding when the boat came to a surprisingly gentle stop on the sand. He let go of the controls and gingerly relaxed his fingers and hands, then flexed them, wincing a little as the muscles, joints and tendons protested. Immediately, he dropped into a defensive crouch and began readying himself to disembark—they weren’t out of the woods yet. Far from it. For all they knew, there could be a hostile force lying in wait for them.
Once he was ready, he turned to the rest of the team, barely able to make out who was who in the darkness. He shuffled closer to ensure they could hear him. “All right, lads, this is it. Stay alert. We might be on dry land now, but it doesn’t mean we’re safe. I have literally no idea what we could be walking into here, so be prepared for anything. Comms check.”
They ran through the necessary, removed their lifejackets and stashed them in a heavy-duty container, and ensured they had all their gear. That done, Jason took the lead and carefully leapt off the boat, knowing the others would be right behind him. The four of them had always had each other’s backs, and that wasn’t about to change now. Especially not when the stakes were so high.
He dropped back into a crouch immediately after landing on the sand, and paused momentarily to flip his night-vision goggles—usable now they were off the ocean and in a more sheltered spot—into place before setting off to find a route off the beach. He turned his head from side to side, examining his surroundings. It was clear this was no sunbather’s beach, not even in the height of summer—such as it was in this part of the world. He reckoned he’d be more likely to bump into a smuggler here than a sunbather or a swimmer. The sand ran right up to the base of some inhospitable cliffs, craggy and steep.
Shit. I knew this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I didn’t think we’d fall at the first fucking hurdle. Even smugglers wouldn’t be so daft as to end up here.

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Author Bio:




Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Apophis – Into the Folds of Darkness by Raj Anand #SciFi #Giveaway @GoddessFish



Apophis – Into the Folds of Darkness
by Raj Anand


BLURB:

January, 2022: A dark monstrous twin-headed apparition – Apophis – feverishly races past the expanse of the Milky Way galaxy and bolts to the edge of the solar system. Recklessly accelerating, the sinister rock-dyad enters the gravitational keyhole of the blue planet and continues its resolute inebriated journey – to soon arrive with an apocalyptic impact on Earth.

December, 2012: Five sentient beings born in different cities – New York, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Azores Islands and Istanbul, discover amongst haunting memories of their phantasmal past lives, that it is their destiny to save humanity from the evil forces unleashed by the alien fiends – the Skyllats.

And now, the reincarnated 9-year-olds must rely on their shared, ancient wisdom to prepare humanity for the war across the galaxy that is imminent.



Excerpt Three:

30.45506N, 130.48804E
Isso Town, Yakushima Island, Japan
January 19, 2022 (0700 hours)

“Peter, what is their present position?” the 1.7-meter-tall Claire with a sharp nose and radiant blue eyes inquired, “Quelque chose d’autre a signaler – do you have anything else to report?” She adjusted her glasses, pushing back her long brown hair.

“Herodotus has crossed into the belt, and is travelling at a speed of 346,000 kilometers per hour,” Peter replied, seated next to the astrophysicist, “I am amazed, Claire, how well the mission has progressed so far.”

Their Command and Control Centre located in a narrow peninsula, beyond Mount Yahazudake on Yakushima Island was housed several floors below an old island home that camouflaged its true purpose.

 “You really doubted them? Incroyable!” smiled Claire, when she was interrupted by her secretary with an urgent message.

“It is my job to question and doubt,” grinned Peter and turned around. But Claire had already stepped into a high-speed elevator, climbing seven levels up.

A stoic Colonel Yoshimoto dressed in a dark gray suit and a black tie, stood inside a glass partitioned conference room, studying a large photograph of a Mongolian shaman staring ardently at the moon. The rustic house with rice paper screen walls or shoji, that separated the inner office from the outer living area, was capped with a gray shingled sloping roof supported by polished wooden trusses.

Colonel Yoshimoto bowed when Claire entered and addressed him, “How are you, Koki San? I don’t believe we had a meeting scheduled. In fact, I was about to leave for a connecting flight to New York from Kagoshima.”

“We are aware of your flight to New York, Claire San.” Colonel Yoshimoto spoke apprehensively. “So, I shall be brief. About two days ago we received an unexpected signal from the Sentinel Observatory. We have modelled it several times and have arrived at conclusions…that we frankly find deeply disturbing.”

“Koki San, as you are aware, besides Neerja and I there is no one else at Isso, who knows about our Sentinel project in collaboration with JAXA. I am disappointed that our agreed protocol to…”

“The Sentinel Space Telescope detected a new asteroid two days ago, specifically a binary Atira S-type asteroid which appeared suddenly…”

“Sentinel has identified more than three hundred new asteroids in the past two years. Most of them beyond 0.5 AU orbital distance from earth,” frowned Claire. “Which we have quietly added to the list of Interior Earth Objects or IEO’s, collated by the Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts in the United States. I have a lot on my plate today, so if you will excuse me…” she made a motion to leave.

“Given the Potentially Hazardous Asteroid’s or PHA’s shape, size, mass, rotation dynamics, and an absolute magnitude H of 21.4, we have modeled its ‘Intersection Course’ and ‘Risk Corridor’ across the surface of the earth, as well as simulated the asteroid’s Potential Impact Zone!”

“A Risk Corridor? Potential Impact Zone?” A startled Claire muttered and sat down. “What is the timeline before it hits the earth’s potential keyhole pass… and the asteroid impact?”

“I am afraid it has already entered the earth’s gravitational keyhole. We believe the impact is about ten days from today, give or take a few hours. That is not enough time for…any successful counter measures to be deployed, or even to undertake a comprehensive mitigation damage assessment. But we are certain that the impact will be a cataclysmic event.”

“What is the size and weight of the binary Atira S-type asteroid?” a stunned Claire inquired.

“Since the Sentinel telescope is facing away from the sun, we have been able to map the PHA quite accurately. The primary asteroid has a diameter of 1.45 kilometers, orbited by a minor planet-moon that measures about 0.36 kilometers across. Its combined weight, we estimate, is more than 360,000 metric tons,” explained a troubled Colonel Yoshimoto.

“Are you sure? Have you run the Monte Carlo simulations?”

“Yes, several times! And we have analyzed it on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale as well, I am afraid it currently reads at 2.”

“That is absurd, no asteroid has ever been measured at 2 on the Palermo scale,” blurted a fearful Claire and mumbled, “And the Potential Impact Zone?”

“We believe that the binary asteroid is headed for impact around Washington DC on January 28, 2022 – that is nine days from today. Given its size, mass, and other parameters, we fear that the Eastern Seaboard of the United States may be completely wiped out!”

“The Americans? Do they know? Have you informed the Planetary Defense Coordination office or PDCO and NASA?”

“Yes, we thought about that, but…given the technical and research facilities the Americans have at their disposal, including the PAN-STARR Telescope at Maui, the NEOWISE Space Telescope, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, the ATLAS program in Hawaii, as well as several others…we are honestly puzzled? Why have the Americans remained obliviously silent?”

“We need to inform them as soon as possible. The only reason that I can think of…” a dazed Claire broke off mid-sentence.

“…is that they already know!” Koki San, finished her thought.

“The Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART, that the Americans have been planning for several years? Could it be launched in such a short time?” Claire inquired, almost afraid to ask.

“DART has been delayed for more than a year due to technical and funding issues. Our sources confirmed that it was finally finished three months ago. Yesterday it was transferred with an undisclosed additional payload to their launch facilities at the Vandenberg Air Force base, where a SpaceX - Falcon 9 rocket is being prepared for launch.”

“But if they are planning to send DART to intercept the asteroid, then as per the Outer Space Treaty or OST, they have to inform the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group or SMPAG in Germany. The OST rules are very clear; if anything goes wrong the Americans would have ABSOLUTE LIABILITY! If the asteroid landed in some other part of the world, rather than…”

“We have run simulations of the DART program, Claire San. We do not believe that the Delta V applied by the Kinetic Impact Technique will be powerful enough to put 99069 Apophis Interior 21 into a deflected trajectory, away from its life-threatening present course. But if they add a sizable thermonuclear payload, then they may be able to destroy or re-direct it…”

“Re-direct it to where? Wait, you have already given the binary asteroid a formal name?”

“Yes, we named it after the first 99942 Apophis Asteroid, which was discovered in 2004 and caused a brief flutter, given its hazard level of 1.12 on the Palermo scale, before it was downgraded. Apophis, as you are aware, is the Greek name for the Egyptian God of Chaos.”

Claire asked again urgently, “Re-direct Apophis to where?”

“The Americans may be able to nudge it with a thermonuclear blast, towards either south-western China or close to the border of India and Pakistan.”

Claire stood in silence, afraid to calculate the fatalities and the damage, although she had already done the calculations. “A binary asteroid of that size, would make the 20-meter wide Chelyabinsk Meteor of 2013 with an energy of 470 kilotons, look like a minor accident. Apophis could release 2300 to 2700 megatons of energy and create a crater at least 30 to 40 kilometers in diameter. If it strikes China or India, the devastation, the earthquakes, and the resultant fatalities could cross 400 million people, if not more…”

“Compared to the Hiroshima bomb that measured at a mere 15 kilotons, and still cost so many lives, including those of my grandparents…” A mournful Colonel Yoshimoto looked away. “The American President held a meeting late last night in the situation room.

“Present were the heads of Planetary Science Division, Planetary Defense Coordination Office, Office of Science and Technology, Planetary Impact Emergency Response Working Group, as well as the head of their military space division. The President took a decision to go ahead with the DART mission with an added thermonuclear payload, which is probably an advanced version of their W80 warhead, with a five-megaton capacity. Their armed forces have been alerted to expect trouble from China or India, or both together…”

“I…I must talk to Lazarok,” an overwhelmed Claire replied. “I will get back to you, on our agreed communication protocol, the moment I reach New York. Koki San, but hypothetically if it is a ‘near-miss’ scenario, what would the asteroid’s orbital period be around the sun?”

Colonel Yoshimoto shook his head, “99069 Apophis Interior 21 is not on course for a ‘close shave’ event, given its extremely unusual speed and orbital plane.”

“I…What…The speed? Yes, I should have asked about that first? Why didn’t we notice Apophis earlier? Sentinel, since it faces the earth and therefore avoids any light interference from the sun, should have picked up the PHA weeks or perhaps months ago?” A delirious Claire tried to make sense of things before she gave up. “Okay, what is its speed?”

“It is 45 kilometers per second!”

Claire attempted a horror-stricken laugh, “That is impossible! No asteroid in the Interior-Earth Orbit or IEO has been recorded with a speed of more than 17 kilometers per second. The only possible reason that an asteroid would have such a speed…is if…”

“If it arrived from beyond our solar system, similar to the Ouamuamua Asteroid in 2017, which weeks later exited our solar system from below the plane of the ecliptic. And the only possible reason that Apophis could suddenly appear, and then head directly towards earth; is because it is…”

“An alien spaceship…” A suddenly queasy Claire whispered, and lowered her head.

“The Americans may be unaware that they are about to engage with an unknown alien civilization…”

“The Chinese? Do they know?”

“Yes! They have enough resources to locate the asteroid. There are frantic meetings on-going at present in Beijing, but I cannot be certain of the outcome until later. Already, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has been put on TCPLA 2, across all their theatres of operation, which is the American equivalent of DEFCON 2 – just below an absolute nuclear emergency and a full-scale war.”

“And the Europeans?”

“The Europeans are buying the story being put out by their ‘American friends’. Their resources are at present limited, especially when it comes to ‘sun-side asteroids’. Also, their new ‘Fly-Eye’ telescopes are not fully deployed across the world, yet. Nor have the Americans apprised the anglophile-intelligence-gathering group of nations; that includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and England.”

“And the Indians?”

“The Japanese government has a…shall we say an arrangement with India, which was signed several years ago – given the aggressive Chinese expansion in the region. The Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO, picked up Apophis yesterday. From the unusual data they collected from their Aditya-L1 satellite, which is in a halo orbit around Lagrangian point 1.”

“Merde! This is headed towards a very dangerous situation. I imagine several existing alignments across the world are about to come undone,” an edgy Claire sighed.

“…and new alignments formed, Claire San. Since the Americans have not felt it necessary to inform us either, our government feels that we should – given the urgency of the situation – re-align with our geographical neighbors. We may have had our differences in the past, but this is a cataclysmic event. For all we know the Americans may change their mind, and ensure that the Asteroid Impact avoids India and China. And…”

“And re-directs the asteroid towards Japan…lesser number of people killed with an expansive sea all around it. And a smaller military force compared to that of China.” Claire inferred.

Colonel Yoshimoto nodded, “Our fear was confirmed about the Americans’ intentions when they suddenly began to vacate their 7th fleet stationed at Okinawa yesterday. Initial consultative meetings between Japan, India, and China have already begun, although preliminary, and only between the heads of the three Asian nations.”

“And how do you know all of this, Koki San?” a nervous Claire inquired.

“It was my team that discovered 99069 Apophis Interior 21. Unlike the rigid hierarchal structure that Japan is infamous for, we still have some back channels, at least within the government. Yesterday, I personally apprised the Prime Minister of the precarious situation. And the rest…well…I am a very good chess player, Claire San.” Colonel Yoshimoto smiled, sadly. “I could fill in the blanks between what little the Prime Minister shared.”

“And now you have committed treason by telling me, Koki San?”

“No, that is not possible. I come to you as a representative of the Prime Minister of Japan, under his direct orders.” Colonel Yoshimoto spoke solemnly. “Given JAXA’s long relationship with your company, especially the secret Sentinel Space Telescope program, the Prime Minister believes that Lazarok San could be helpful at present. Because diplomacy may be the only way to stop the situation from reaching a dangerous inflection point.”





AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Savinder Raj Anand is an architect and has been teaching Architecture & Design at various Universities in India for more than 12 years. A long-distance runner with a wanderlust to explore the world, and write stories that traverse across diverse cultures. He lives in Goa with his daughter, a dog, and two cats.

Inspired by his then 18-month-old daughter – when she quoted Socrates – while they together sat in a children’s bookstore in Bangalore (LIGHTROOM) in early January of 2015, he has completed this – his first book – as she turns 7 years old.

The book is $0.99 During the Tour





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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER 

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 24, 2020

Blackhorse Road by Merida Johns #Romance #Giveaway and an Author Interview @GoddessFish



Blackhorse Road
by Merida Johns


BLURB:

Under another hand, Blackhorse Road could all too easily have been a singular romance. Johns provides more as she follows Luci down the rabbit hole and out the other side of life experience, bringing readers into a world where . . . transgression changes everything and challenges carefully-constructed foundations of belief and values. As Luci lets go of her lifesavers and navigates obstacles to happiness, her story becomes a vivid portrait of hope and self-examination which ultimately moves into unexpected territory. Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road's ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way. - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

It’s the turbulent mid-1960s, and Luci, an eighteen-year-old Southern California girl, is on the quest for self-determination and new beginnings. Three powerful forces influence her values: the grit of her Irish great-grandmother, Lucinda McCormick; the philosophy of choice of her father, Sam; and the 1960s ideals of equity and altruism. But potent foes thwart Luci at every turn. Her budding romance with a handsome United States Air Force Academy cadet sets the stage for conflict and deception that last for two decades. When Luci discovers how her autonomy and her love affair were hijacked, she struggles with anger and bitterness. But from a surprising source, she finds a forgiveness path that restores her well-being and hope and, in the end, faith in herself.



Excerpt 

Barry put his arm around Luci’s shoulder, pulling her closer. He felt like beating his chest and announcing to the world he had the most beautiful girl in his arms. The lengths of their bodies touched each other, and Barry took in Luci’s scent. No girl had ever had such a powerful effect over him. In the past, emotion and sex had fueled his excitement. Now, those feelings mingled with wanting mutual fulfillment and creating an enduring relationship filled with love, joy, hope, amusement, inspiration, and even awe.

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


Author Interview
How did you choose the genre you write in?

There’s an interesting backstory about what propelled me to take an offramp from writing nonfiction, mostly textbooks, to authoring women’s fiction.
After I retired from academia, I started my practice as a leadership coach to focus on helping women break the glass ceiling and fulfill their leadership and economic potential. During the past ten years, I transitioned from writing textbooks to motivational books on creating environments where people flourish through better leadership.
About three years ago, I was on a conference call with fellow life coaches, and we were discussing concepts of what makes a fulfilling life.  Bang! Like a thunderclap, I had an insight. What would it be like to help people understand the concepts of a flourishing life in a story instead of through a motivational book or text? After all, I thought, storytelling has been the most compelling form of communication for thousands of years. As far as I could recall, none of the great prophets fed up learning objectives and multiple-choice questions to their followers.  No!  They got their message across through stories.
To be honest, I was tired of writing motivational books and textbooks that give frameworks, theories, and ideas but don’t immerse readers in the human experience.  Since I was ten-years-old, I had wanted to write fiction, but my professional career steered me in another direction.   Now, I saw an opportunity to follow the dream I had had as a child.
Writing women’s fiction—stories about a woman’s journey to a fulfilled life—in keeping with my life’s purpose in helping others achieve a fulfilled life.  Now, instead of writing textbooks or motivational books, I’m using my strengths of curiosity and creativity and hopefully writing stories that transport readers to the most unexpected places within themselves.   

Where do you get your ideas?

When I started writing fiction, I took two pieces of advice before pounding the keyboard—write about what you know and know what you write.  Blackhorse Road blossoms from my imagination and is influenced by my experience, perspectives, and observations to give the story authenticity and sensitivity, helping readers connect with the characters and feel their joy, disappointment, sorrow, and happiness. 
But Blackhorse Road is enriched by the backstories that set the context for the characters and events in the story—historical incidents, politics, economics, philosophy, religion, and psychology that influence the values of the characters and ultimately the consequences of their actions.  I uncover these backstories from usual fact-checking and readily available historical references to know about what I write.  The sources that I like best, though, to enhance the pallet of my novel are diaries and letters and mementos from special events such as graduations, weddings, funerals. These provide a personal perspective to the context that help form a relationship with the reader.   This is how I stumbled upon Arthur.
Chapter 17, titled “Arthur,” was inspired by a packet of yellowed love letters held together with a gold ribbon. The chapter begins in 1966 on a Canadian summer afternoon, where octogenarian Geneviève and her eighteen-year-old granddaughter are sitting together on the front porch sharing the intimacies of their first loves.
. . . “Reviving the intensity of her romances, Geneviève felt a closeness to her granddaughter, believing that Luci, too, would understand the passion she experienced as a young woman. She scooted her rocking chair closer to Luci, longing to confide stories of her youthful affaires de coeur, as she delicately called them.
“Oh, my dear, I’m reliving my old romances vicariously through you,” Geneviève said in a breathy voice . . . Grinning, Geneviève crept her hand into the pocket of her shirtwaist dress and pulled out what looked like letters, tied neatly together with a gold ribbon. Luci’s heart flipped, looking at the packet.
“See here, Luci,” Geneviève whispered, patting the bundle as lovingly as she would a kitten. “These are some of the letters from my dear Arthur.” She paused, meeting Luci’s eyes. “What do you think? Do you want to read them with me?”
Taken off guard, Luci’s hand flew up to cover her mouth as her grandmother untied the ribbon as if it were pure gold. Clasping the notes between her hands, Geneviève caressed the cherished mementos with her thumbs as though rubbing them would resurrect Arthur’s spirit . . .


Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

There are two characters that I would like to spin off stories about from Blackhorse Road.  The first is Marie, Luci’s mother.  Marie is a troubled and complex character, and she remains an enigma until the end of the story.  I’d like to delve deeper into Marie, find out what made her tick and try to untangle the mystery of her character.  Here is a quote from Chapter 15 that provides a peek into Marie’s character.
“To describe her mother as a two-faced personality would be the most straightforward response. But instinctively, Luci knew better. She had overheard Sam telling Adele one time, ‘Your mother is a complex and troubled woman.’ Those words stuck in Luci’s mind and begged the question, Why is she troubled? Untangling the web of Marie’s behavior, however, was not easy for her eighteen-year-old daughter.”
Somehow I believe at the end of her life there is a good possibility that Marie finally finds herself—at least I hope that is the case.
The second character I’d love to write more about is Geneviève, Luci’s grandmother.  She is a woman of substance, a model of strength and wisdom, and an example of a woman who bucked societal norms to achieve autonomy. She also has a great wit.  But there is a mystery surrounding her that is never resolved, and she deserves a sequel.   Here’s a passage from Chapter 19 that illustrates her character.   
“But Grand-mère, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a banned book.”
Geneviève shook her finger at Luci. “All the more reason to read it!”
Luci turned her head, unable to look at her grandmother in the eye.
“Ma Bichette, please don’t act so stunned! My attitude and actions have nothing to do with youthful rebellion; they are grounded in a belief of personal freedom. Because some group or government bans a book doesn’t mean its material has nothing valuable to teach us. Make no mistake, Ma Bichette, governments and narrow-minded groups ban books because they challenge and teach people something important. Banned books are bold and provocative and confront issues that certain segments of the population want to sweep under the carpet.”

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

In my career before fiction writing, I had written several college textbooks and lots of what fiction writers might term boring articles about health information systems. 

When it came to fiction writing, I was familiar with the publication process and the roles of the production team, such as developmental editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, and how a book moves from a concept to a  finished product.

But, writing fiction is a different ballgame than writing nonfiction—it’s like taking the rules from basketball and trying to apply them to football—and that’s what’s called the devil in the details!  I had to learn an entirely new way of writing for Blackhorse Road.  Instead of presenting and describing facts and concepts, I had to learn how to show, not tell, readers about emotions. I had to learn how to connect readers to the characters and use language in a different way so that readers could become one with the story.  In short, I had to learn how to entertain, not educate and inform.

Fortunately, two of my strengths are curiosity and creativity, and I’m happiest when using my right as opposed to my left brain.  So, you could say that I’m a story of a woman who has come full-circle herself and achieved the dream of a ten-year-old girl who wanted to write fiction.      

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I would like to share a couple of “ah-ha” moments I have had since Blackhorse Road launched.
Blackhorse Road as a work of women’s fiction—a story of a woman protagonist’s journey toward a fulfilled self. Because of its genre, I believed that the story would appeal primarily to women age thirty and older. But since launching the book, I have had a couple of “Ah-ha” moments that have changed my perspective. 

The first came during a virtual launch party for Blackhorse Road, an audience member asked the beta readers if the book would be appropriate for younger readers.  What prompted that question was the beta readers’ observation about how the lines of communication between Luci (the protagonist) and her father play a critical role in the formation of Luci’s values and belief system, and her grit to achieve autonomy.  In response to the question, one of the beta readers said that she had given the book to her seventeen-year-old granddaughter so that the two of them could read it together, and another beta reader shared that she was reading the book with her fourteen-year-old daughter.  The consensus among the beta readers was that the book was appropriate for teens fifteen and older.

The second ah-ha moment came from a text I received from a middle-aged man who had just finished reading Blackhorse Road.  “Just finished Blackhorse Road.  WOW!  Very powerful.  Made me cry!  Great job.  Let me know when you have a book signing event in my area.”





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Merida Johns takes her experience as an educator, consultant, and businesswoman and writes about the human experience. In 2018 Merida took an unlikely off-ramp from writing textbooks and motivational books to authoring women’s fiction. Her stories are learning lessons where awareness and curiosity transport readers to the most unexpected places within themselves.  Merida hails from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, grew up in Southern California and has lived from coast-to-coast in the United States.  Besides writing, she enjoys fabric arts, including weaving and knitting. She makes her home in the serene Midwest countryside that gives her the inspiration and space for storytelling.




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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER 

Merida Johns will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


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Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Promise Kept by Maggie Mae Gallagher #Romance #Giveaway @GoddessFish





This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie Mae Gallagher will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



Cybil Roe gave her heart away thirteen years ago only to have it wind up shattered. With painstaking determination, she has rebuilt her life into something to be proud of today. Yet all her future plans are upended when the only man she has ever loved returns to Echo Springs. Nor does it help that he seems bound and determined to draw her back into his life. Cybil vows to stay away from him, no matter what seeing him all the time does to her resolve.



Miles Keaton wiped the dust of his hometown off his shoes years ago, never expecting that life would lead him back to the place where he had begun. Coming home to Echo Springs, to Cybil, to start a new law practice and a new life is a risk he never thought he'd take. She hates him – with good reason. Years ago, he walked away when she needed him the most. But now is he back, and intends to argue the case of his life, one more important than any he has debated in a courtroom, because she is the one woman he cannot live without.



Can Miles convince Cybil to take a second chance on him, or will a secret she has kept all these years destroy any future they might have?


Read an Excerpt



Echo Springs had grown a bit throughout the years Cybil had lived there. There were new fast food restaurants offering burgers and tacos, and new shops along Main Street with an eye toward luring tourists. New homes and subdivisions had been built as the township expanded, and another bank had opened off Main Street. But there was also a persistent resistance to change here in Echo Springs. It took time for anything new to take hold, if it took hold at all.



It was part of the town’s charm that she had grown to love over the years.



Once upon a time, she’d hated how stagnant—and, at times, how archaic—this town could be, with its entrenched traditions and beliefs. Families had lived here for generations. The biggest source of revenue were the tourism dollars. Most of the businesses that had developed and thrived catered more to out of town guests just passing through than to yearlong residents—with exceptions of course, like Fitzgerald’s Grocery Store and the post office. Many of the festivals and events had been designed with the intent of skimming some of the tourists’ cash before they made it to their final vacation destinations at the ski resorts, or camping in one of the nearby national parks.



But Cybil no longer considered Echo Springs as a mere stopover in her life. It was home. She might want to visit all fifty states, tour Europe, stand on the Great Wall in China, and touch the sky at Machu Picchu, but this was the place where she would always return. Now, as she neared her thirty-first birthday, she saw her hometown as a steady comfort instead of a prison.



Wrapping her arms in front of her chest to ward off the cold, she trudged the short distance from her duplex to her yoga studio.



A bright yellow school bus rumbled down the street, making its rounds to pick up kids and ferry them to class. She loved the sounds of the world waking up: the birds chirping as they scouted their morning meals; a dog barking from behind a privacy fence she passed. Lights were on in the windows of the Victorian style homes as people started their day.



She yawned and muttered a curse under her breath. Today was going to be a long day. She had picked up an extra shift at Smitty’s last night, and had worked until one. Smitty’s Bar and Grill was one of the local hotspots for the over-twenty-one crowd. They had a thriving business, mainly because most people didn’t like to drink alone. The job paid well in tips, even though the occasional dumbass tried to cop a feel on occasion. After being a waitress at Smitty’s for almost a decade, Cybil knew how to handle men who figured it was their god given right to grab things that didn’t belong to them. She had attended high school with the current owner, Burke Smitt, who’d inherited the bar and grill from his uncle Tim a few years back when he’d passed. Burke was a good boss. They were friends and had even dated for a time, until they realized they were better friends than anything else.



If there was anything wrong with Echo Springs, it was the lack of available, eligible dating material. Hence her fantasy man, Pablo with the great hands. Rarely did anyone new move to Echo Springs. Not on purpose, at least—with the exception of her newest friend, Abby, who had recently moved here from New Jersey and wound up falling madly in love with the town’s sexy sheriff, Nate Barnes. Pure circumstance had brought Abby to their town, as her great-aunt, Evie Callier, had willed her big old Victorian house to Abby. Falling for her neighbor, the town sheriff, had been a stroke of luck.



Cybil was thrilled for Abby, really, she was, but it had been longer than she cared to admit since she’d gotten horizontal—or anything else—with a guy. Her girly bits felt sorely neglected and downright testy lately. It was probably because Cybil knew Abby was getting all the sex—nightly, judging by the satisfied glimmer that seemed to glow from her friend, stating quite clearly for all and sundry to see that she was enjoying every blessed minute with Sheriff Stud Muffin.



Cybil wasn’t jealous—at least, not very.



The tiny smattering of jealousy made her feel a wee bit bitchy, as well as a side heaping of self-pity that there was no one special in her life who looked at her the way the sheriff did Abby.



Cybil’s pity party, table for one, could be the reason why she had lost her effing mind and signed herself up for the hottest new dating website, Matchmakers.com, a week ago. She was bound and determined to find someone to date. She missed male companionship, and sex. Maybe she wouldn’t find the love of her life or a keeper, but it would be nice to get taken out to meal she didn’t have to buy herself. And perhaps, if she was really lucky, she might experience a few good orgasms that weren’t of the solo-expedition variety.



She wasn’t desperate, by any means, but there were times, like now, when she felt lonely. When she would love to have someone to lean on, and not have to worry about every blessed thing, all the damn time.



After week one, the dating app hadn’t produced any winners—not that she’d expected a crown prince when she’d made the decision to join after a night of wine and a pint of her favorite ice cream, but she had hoped to find at least one guy with a little substance whose profile picture didn’t resemble a mugshot. She might be crazy but she didn’t think finding a halfway decent guy who was appealing to the eyes, gainfully employed, not an asshole, and didn’t live with his mother should be on the same level as the quest for the Holy Grail.

About the Author:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.




Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers (http://www.anyasummers.com. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the United States Midwest with her two furry felines.



Website: https://www.maggiemaegallagher.com

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/magmaegallagher

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7846308.Maggie_Mae_Gallagher

Twitter: https://twitter.com/magmaegallagher?lang=en

Amazon Author Page US https://www.amazon.com/author/maggiegallagher

Amazon Author Page UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maggie-Mae-Gallagher/e/B00JG1IIVC/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maggie-mae-gallagher

Newsletter: https://www.maggiemaegallagher.com/newsletter/



Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UbMvQE

Nook: https://bit.ly/3dyNhyN

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3dHWzYE

iBooks: https://apple.co/2XwRPQI



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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Out Now—SUMMER LIGHTNING by Saskia Walker: An extra steamy beach story for your summer reading! @saskiawalker #eroticromance




BLURB

A steamy, heart-warming summer romance…
Molly Delavine thinks she's in heaven spending an idyllic summer getaway on a secluded cove on the English coast, and when she spots a gorgeous Adonis walking naked on the beach, she knows she is. But what is this gorgeous guy doing on her private beach?

Coastal Ranger Julian Keswick is on conservation duty when he finds a woman shacked up in his favorite cove. He’s fuming, and confronts her, but his natural instinct to protect comes to the forefront during an incoming storm.

As the wild summer storm brings these two opposites together, the natural elements take charge of their mutual destinies. But Molly has to return to her business world in London, and her wild holiday romance with a ranger is soon to become a memory. Opposites attract, but for two people so very different, is destiny one week, or forever?


BUY LINKS
And in print from Amazon worldwide

EXCERPT:
Molly hadn’t seen another soul on the beach during the whole time she’d been there. The cottage had been advertised as having a private beach, and –so far—that’s exactly what it had been. Who the hell was he?
Annoyed, she reached for her T-shirt and held it against her boobs, still lying close against the ground. The clumps of beach grass lining the top of the dunes gave her cover, but she wanted her T-shirt to hand in case she needed it.
It really was a man, and he seemed to be alone.
A very attractive man.
He was tall and well built, with closely shorn hair, left longer on top. He wore loud shorts and a threadbare, faded T-shirt. He had the look of a beachcomber, but this was England and the only beachcombers Molly had ever seen were on TV, on Australian soap operas. His legs were corded with strong muscles, and she eyed them as an artist, and more, as a woman—a woman subconsciously hungry for such a sight.
Perhaps she’d been away from people too long. A few trips to the local village for supplies obviously wasn’t enough to keep her in touch with the real world.
Torn between the urge to march over there and ask what the bloody hell he was doing on her beach, and the equally compelling urge to continue secretly observing him, she tried to figure out what to do.
Glued to the spot, the desire to continue observing took the lead.
As the moments passed she noticed again how supremely well built and attractive he was. She smiled to herself, watching as he kicked off his sports shoes and walked barefoot toward the edge of the shore.
As she watched, he walked into the water and dipped a long plastic tube into the surf. He lifted it and looked at it in the light, then sealed it with a plastic cap. She wondered what he was doing. He walked back to where he’d left his shoes and deposited the tube.
She could hardly drag her attention away, but it was her beach, it said so in the advert. Private, secluded beach, the perfect getaway. So what was he doing here? Who did he think he was? She had to remind herself she was from a city and things were different here. Along the wild coast in Northumberland roaming beachcomber types might be the norm. She was enjoying the privacy of the place though, and felt provoked to defend it.
Then he began to strip off.
Molly’s eyebrows lifted, astonished as she was by his actions.
He pulled his T-shirt over his head, giving her a look at his perfectly shaped torso as he did so.
“Wow,” she whispered approvingly.
If she was looking for inspiration, she’d surely found it today. He was a handsome specimen all right, gorgeous looking, and with a very impressive physique. The guy worked out, that much was obvious. He had amazing, powerful shoulders and a six-pack to match. He stood on the edge of the surf as if he owned it—it was as if Neptune himself had just walked out of the waves.
Molly’s eyebrows shot up when she realized he wasn’t stopping at the T-shirt.
He was busy undoing the tie at his waistband and was about to drop his shorts.
She glanced around, half expecting to see somebody else running over to accompany him. But, no, he appeared to be alone. And she was trapped there, clutching her T-shirt to her chest as she observed him, unseen…

AUTHOR BIO
Saskia walker is a British author of erotic romance, an award winning writer and a USA Today bestseller. Saskia's short stories and novellas have appeared in over one hundred international anthologies and magazines including COSMO, PENTHOUSE and BUST.

After writing shorts for several years Saskia moved into novel-length projects. Fascinated with seduction, Saskia loves to explore how and why we get from saying "hello" to sharing our most intimate selves in moments of extreme passion. Her novels DOUBLE DARE and RAMPANT both won Passionate Plume awards and her writing has twice been nominated for a Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers' Choice Award. She has lots more stories in the pipeline! Saskia lives in the north of England, close to the beautiful Yorkshire moors, with her partner, Mark, and a houseful of felines. Visit her website for more info: www.saskiawalker.com

SOCIAL LINKS
Twitter: @saskiawalker

EARLIER REVIEWS OF SUMMER LIGHTNING
“a highly entertaining and delightfully steamy tale of a lusty holiday romance… opposites can attract and electrically so! 5 Angels and a Recommended Read! Fallen Angel Reviews.

“SUMMER LIGHTNING is an excellent book that takes readers away to their own deserted island. The love scenes are sensual, passionate and readers will find themselves glued to the pages. SUMMER LIGHTNING is the first story that I have read by Saskia Walker, but I can definitely say that I will be on the lookout for more of her work in the future.” 4.5 blue ribbon rating. Angel, Romance Junkies.

“I really recommend this book if you like steamy scenes and romance thrown into the mix. I can’t wait for the next one.” Fresh Fiction.

“a heat rating out the charts.” 4.5 star rating. Fantastic keeper. A top pick at Romantic Times Magazine.


Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.