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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Saunders’ Choice

by

Gina Briganti

Saunders’ Choice is a standalone novella in the enchanting Natural Gifts fantasy romance series. If you like irresistible attraction, mystery, and love against the odds, then you will adore Gina Briganti’s tale of the deep.

She lives life below the waves. What will a man sacrifice to discover it’s not a dream?
Mermaid Velvet has always had a special fascination with the World. And studying its two-legged humans has given the aspiring comedian unique skills to make her audiences laugh. But when she saves a human who believes he’s drowning; she’s stunned by the magic that flows between them.

Saunders is trapped between two realities with no memory of his past. Lost in a strange, underwater domain, he comes face-to-face with an alluring goddess of the sea. When he disappears from her realm, he’s desperate to reunite with the entrancing beauty.

As Velvet continues to bring Saunders out of the darkness, her love for him grows along with her fear that his next disappearance might be his last. And as his memories slowly return, Saunders must decide if he is willing to leave the World permanently for a chance to be with the mermaid he desires.

Can Velvet and Saunders overcome his terrible fate and sink into each other’s perfect arms?

Buy Saunders’ Choice to dive into an ocean of passion today!

EXCERPT
Swimming along, Velvet continued to send a friendly wave to every creature she saw. She rounded the corner of a huge coral reef and saw a murky, shaded part of the coral ahead. If she had a middle name, it would be Curious. Velvet thought nothing of swimming into the darkened water.

A naked man was swimming furiously to the surface, struggling and thrashing in a panic.

He thinks he’s drowning.

If his panic didn’t give him away as a visitor to the Dreaming, his energy did. She didn’t know many visitors, but she had met more than anyone else she knew. Why did she find visitors so compelling? She often wondered about that.

Once, she had shared a romance with a visitor. His name was Joe, and he was sixteen years old at the time. For one whole summer, that was what he called it, they spent all of his time in the Dreaming together. Then Joe admitted to her that he felt weird about having an invisible girlfriend, and they stopped seeing one another in that way. They were friends now. He’d long since grown up and was happily married to a new visitor to the Dreaming. A woman named Dana.

Velvet stopped her reverie and flashed into action, quickly pushing the stranger to what would appear to be a surface to him. She held him while he gulped air, and spurted water from his mouth at the same time.

The stranger turned wild eyes to Velvet. He scanned her from head to tail, and then started racing away from her.

Velvet called out sarcastically, “Was it something I said? Most people have to know me awhile before they swim away at high speed.” As soon as she said it, she felt terrible and her compassion kicked her butt. She called out, “I’m sorry. I hope you’re okay.”

The visitor never looked back.

AMAZON BUY LINKS


A few days ago Gina Briganti had a poll website asking which of four tattoos readers thought this lovely mermaid would wear. Here’s the winner.


Gina Briganti writes fantasy and sci-fi romance in north Texas. She also writes holistic health non-fiction because real life can be magic, too. Her credentials in holistic health include certification as a Reiki Master Practitioner and teacher, certification as a nutrition consultant, and a degree in holistic nutrition.

When she’s not writing, eating delicious healthy food, reading, or making videos, she is spending time with family and friends. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a lab and chow mix.

Connect with Gina on Facebook, & her Amazon Author Page, & YouTube channel, & Instagram, & Twitter, & Bookbub, and on Goodreads. There are exclusives announcements that she shares only in her newsletter, which you can sign up for right here.

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Friday Features

NEW RELEASE

A Chance of Rayne

by

Suzanne G. Rogers

A Chance of Rayne, Book Four of The Mannequin Series is sure to become a favorite with all Victorian Historical Romance readers.

Although the Harrison daughters look almost like twins, one was born on the right side of the blanket while the other was not. Rayne is tasked with drawing in a suitable husband for her sister, Garnet, but soon discovers her quarry is a kindred spirit from her past. When Rayne refuses to deceive Lord Finch any longer, her father makes good his threat to exile her overseas, to New York City. Although Rayne is determined to survive, she is quickly ensnared in a web of vice. Without friends or resources, she is slated to be auctioned to the highest bidder at one of the most elite brothels in Manhattan. Can Lord Finch rescue his beloved before it’s too late?

Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She’s owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about Suzanne G. Rogers on her historical romance blog and her fantasy blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The emotion of writing from Marci Bolden who brings us her insightful thoughts.

For authors, our books are like our children and we aren’t supposed to pick favorites. Apparently I’m a terrible book mama because I absolutely have a favorite, and it was released August 13. I don’t even feel ashamed saying that.

A Life Without Water is easily the most emotional book I’ve ever written. Despite all the re-reads, re-writes, and rounds of editing, I still cry reading this heartfelt story. This is women’s fiction, a break from my usual genre of romance, and I poured my entire heart and soul into the journey these characters take.

We all have ghosts in our past that we have to face eventually. Whether we face them on our own or stare down that one person who we feel betrayed us, we have to deal with past pain in order to truly forgive and move forward.

That reckoning of the past is what this book is about and it is definitely a roller coaster ride.

Carol Denman divorced her husband over twenty years ago and has never looked back. But on the day before their daughter’s thirtieth birthday, John barges back into Carol’s life with a request that threatens the fragile stability she has built.

John Bowman is sick. Very sick. While he still can, he has some amends to make and some promises to fulfill. But to do that, he not only needs his ex-wife’s agreement…he needs her.

With the past hovering between them like a ghost, Carol and John embark on a decades-overdue road trip. Together they plunge back into a life without water…but which may ultimately set them free.

EXCERPT
Carol Denman blinked. The long and slow kind that gave the brain a moment to process unexpected information. When she lifted her lids, her assistant still stood on the other side of her desk. Tiana’s near-black eyes filled with a million questions. The rich umber skin above her nose crinkled as she drew her brows together.

The words she’d spoken lingered in the air between them.

There was a man standing outside Carol’s office asking to see her. Not just any man. Her ex-husband.

“You were married before Tobias?”

Tiana’s voice was low enough that no one outside the office could possibly hear, but to Carol’s ears, the words sounded as if they had been announced through a bullhorn. The question spun her tightly held emotions out of control. The skin above her brow prickled with the first signs of nervous sweat. Clenching her fists, digging white acrylic tips into her palm, she took a breath to calm herself before the telltale sign of anxiety—bright red creeping up her pale neck until it settled over her face—could start.

She blinked again. This time the rapid, mind-clearing kind. She dislodged the knot in her throat before finding her voice. “Yes. A long time ago.” A lifetime ago. “Did he say what he wants?”

“No.” Confusion faded to what appeared to be concern. “He looks nervous. Should I tell him to leave or…I can call security.”

Security was a seventy-three-year-old overweight retired police officer who was far more invested in completing the Houston Chronicle’s crossword puzzle than he ever was in doing his job. Carol suspected even if she did need help, old Charlie Turner would call 911 and offer crowd control long before he’d intervene with some kind of physical altercation in her office. Not that she was worried about what her ex would do to her.

Just the opposite.

She was more concerned she’d grab the sterling silver scissors from her desk drawer and shove them repeatedly into his chest.

Outside her window, early summer sunlight reflected in a blinding starburst off the man-made pond where geese liked to gather as they migrated. This time of year the water was smooth. Still. Deceptively calm. As she stared at the water, memories of her life with John flashed through her mind like an old 8-mm film on a loop.

Laughter, singing, playing.

Screaming. Crying. Begging.

Tiana’s quiet voice cut into Carol’s thoughts. “Should I tell him to leave?”

“Um… No.” God, I’m going to regret this. “It’s fine. Show him in.”

Purchase A Life Without Water here.


Netgalley Reviews
This story will push your emotions to the limit, make you realize how much damage you do to yourself by holding onto anger and refusing to let go and help you to walk through the process of learning who you really are and what life has done to make you that person. – cindy r.

This book was everything. It made me FEEL so much. I cried so very much at times. Beautifully and realistically written. Life is fickle and here and gone in a minute. Learn to forgive and remember to live! –Dineen M.

This book – A Life Without Water – basically ripped my heart out – smashed it into a million pieces and put it back together again. – Beth S.

As a teen, Marci Bolden skipped over young adult books and jumped right into reading romance novels. She never left.

Marci lives in the Midwest with her husband, two teenaged kiddos, and numerous rescue pets. If she had an ounce of will power, Marci would embrace healthy living but until cupcakes and wine are no longer available at the local grocery store, she’ll put that ambition on hold and appease her guilt by reading self-help books and promising to join a gym “soon.”

Learn more about Marci Bolden on her website. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines on the book

The Elusive Mr. Velucci a passionate love story that will have you rooting for the hero and heroine to succeed while they fight against all odds. In paperback or e-book, this is the ideal gift for those that truly love a good romance. Or maybe get it for yourself?

Sadie was twenty-one years old when she met the very handsome and charming Enrico Velucci. Even though they were both aware that he would only be in New York for a few months, they ended up falling deeply in love. When it was time for him to board the enormous ship back to Italy, they were sobbing while uttering their final goodbyes. We
ll keep in touch every single day! they agreed as one heartbreaking voice. The passionate promise lingered in the air like a delicate mist while the large vessel sailed away from American soil.

Since that fateful day, life had become tattered with many surprises and unexpected complications. Sadly, it was enough to keep the young couple separated for much longer than they had hoped. And after not speaking for a little more than twenty years, Enrico was shocked to find himself standing face-to-face with Sadie Adams the mother of the girl who his son wanted to marry.

How could Sadie tell Enrico that he is the father of her daughter? Because she still loved him, she knew she had to, and it needed to be done as soon as possible.

AMAZON BUY LINKS E-BOOK PAPERBACK

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A new release by Carol Browne in her Elwardain Chronicles

Epic fantasy is a passion with Carol Browne and no one writes it better. Her new release is a story deep-seeded in folklore, mysterious creatures, and fantastical beings where elves were just the tip of the sword. The Gateway to Elvendom takes Godwin on a new adventure into the world long forgotten by humans… The Elwardain Chronicles is a series you do not want to miss.

Godwin’s adventures in Elvendom left him a changed man, and now bereavement has darkened his world.

In another dimension, a new Elvendom is threatened by the ambitions of a monstrous enemy. Who—or what—is the Dark Lady of Bletchberm?

And what has become of Elgiva?

Reeling from the loss of their Elwardain, the elves ask Godwin for help.
Transported into a strange world of time travel and outlandish creatures, will he succeed in his quest against impossible odds, or will the Dark Lady destroy everything the Elwardain fought to preserve?

EXCERPT

His heart thumping in his throat, Godwin took in all the details of the goblin’s appearance. The creature was probably four feet tall at most and was wearing a sleeveless leather tunic and short leggings over his skinny frame. His arms and legs were hard with thin bands of muscle; sinews moved like taut wires beneath the scant flesh. Godwin fancied that the goblin’s skin had a sickly, greenish tint, but in the firelight it was impossible to be sure.

The goblin moved in an awkward manner, not upright like a man or an elf, but slightly stooped and with bent knees, as though on the verge of pouncing. The dome of his head was as bald and smooth as a pebble, and his very long, pointed ears were attached on either side like those of a lynx. His large eyes glittered like wet malachite and between them a long, sharp nose protruded with all the aesthetic attributes of a small parsnip.

The goblin’s large eyes widened as they swivelled in Godwin’s direction, making his stomach curdle in fear and revulsion.

“Only two of you, then?” said the goblin with a smirk. “Not much of a challenge, is it?” He beckoned with his sword and others of his kind began to creep into the circle.

Godwin glanced around. There were six more of them, each carrying a sword of a curious design, the blade like a thin, metal spiral with a very sharp point. A visceral fear welled up inside him at the sight of these weapons, but he didn’t know why.

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Being Krystyna, published by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016, is her first non-fiction book.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

If sweet romance is your thing then this book is for you. Marci Boudreaux deals with real problems that people over twenty-five encounter and turns those situations into beautiful love stories. She is a writer you definitely want to read. Here’s a brief intro to her newest book.

Reporter Andrea Davidson isn’t running from her mistakes. There’s no escaping the career-ending mess she fell into back home. But she is moving forward, and is halfway to a new life in California when someone breaks into her motel room. She’s lost her computer and her dignity, but that’s only the beginning of her newest problem: local news editor Graham Bradley.

Graham Bradley doesn’t know a thing about the newspaper business. A widower with a promise to keep, he’s got more than just his own personal welfare riding on this small-town paper. The last thing he needs is a pushy woman with a secret in her past and a vicious red pen throwing all his mistakes and insecurities front and center on his desk. Faced with an impossible choice, Graham hires Andi, but hopes she’s not just the last-and maybe worst-in a long line of bad decisions.

Saving the small-town Gazette is the second chance both Andi and Graham need. But with bill collectors calling, Andi’s past catching up fast, and the chemistry between them making work next to impossible, will Andi and Graham get the second chance they both desperately need? Or will their demise be the next big headline?

As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She’s never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. She is a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines as well as a contest editor. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Released March 5 from

Chris Pavesic,

the author of Starter Zone: The Revelation Chronicles, the first book in a new steampunk mystery series. Looks like another best seller for this fine author. But you be the judge.

When the Temples north of Chiaroscuro are burned and followers of the Sun Goddess are murdered, Catherine, a bard of the Ealdoth Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed.

So saddle up your clockwork mount, buckle on your electro-dagger, and join Catherine as she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogue members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead.

In Chiaroscuro it’s important to keep the faith.

EXCERPT
Services were scheduled to commence in an hour, and Ernest needed to be ready. He struck a match and lit the first gaslight, watching the flame take hold and flare up. The light pushed back the shadows so parishioners were able to find their way to the pews without stumbling. He would extinguish the artificial lights right before the service so the effect of the sunlight illuminating the darkness hit with maximum impact as it flooded through the skylights.

The parishioners would marvel at how the Temple filled with the Goddess’s Holy Light just in time for the service. Ernest would marvel at the fact that none of them were smart enough to realize he flipped a switch on back of the altar to swing open mechanical shutters.

There was a religious stirring in Grand Marsh more powerful than anything Ernest had experienced in his ten years as a Sacerd. The services at dawn, noon, and sundown were packed. Few of the farmers went out to the fields. They worked in town on community projects or sat drinking at the tavern. Their wives remained in the town square, full of chatter, instead of staying on their farmsteads. Their thin voices filled the air. The youngest children were kept close while the teens clustered in protective packs far enough away to keep their discussions out of reach of their parents’ ears. But close enough to be in sight at all times. None of them wandered off.

Three times a day they filled the Temple, ready to hear his words. Faces tilted up to him. Man and woman, young and old. And none of his parishioners would confess why they were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they were neglecting their farms. They were afraid of speaking blasphemy. But he knew the reason, and it caused a lift in his heart that was not due to religious inspiration. They were scared, plain and simple, and it gave him hope.

Since being assigned to the far parish almost five years ago, a posting he saw as an end to the upward progress of his career in the Temple, he struggled daily to swallow his disappointment. It wouldn’t leave, and it was bitter. Bitter.

In this remote village, far from the bustle and industry of Chiaroscuro, the quality of his life, the texture of his life, changed. He longed for life in the city. The world seemed to have shifted into two zones. The pace of life for the city dwellers increased while people living in the countryside were being left behind.

Time’s arrow struck fastest through the densest populations. Sacerds assigned to any of the major cities made more connections and accumulated more power in a single week than he did in a year. Exerting influence was impossible when the spheres of power were spinning outside of his reach, moving too fast for him to see, let alone have an impact.

The wound to his pride stung the most. The elders had hurt his feelings. To be dismissed so easily, passed along so casually—it was like the swatting of an annoying insect. The Temple elders did not treat him as if he mattered, as if his family ties were consequential. True he was a third son, but of a noble line. And they assigned him to a rustic Temple to attend to common folk far below his station.

Very little was required of him here. Or, more precisely, very little of what he did here interested him. He burned to return to the central Temple and to be part of the intrigues and power shifts. This attracted him more than caring for the simple souls of farmers and shopkeepers. Power was why he joined the Temple, and what he was now denied.

But not for long. The thought clanged in his mind with undeniable rightness. Not righteousness. It was an important distinction. Would the Goddess sanction his actions? Probably not, but he was past caring about her approval. During all of the ceremonies, all of the prayer and introspection, he had never felt any divine presence. He had never witnessed any miracles, and doubted their existence.

But power, oh he had seen the existence of power. Political. Social. Religious. Whatever you called it really didn’t matter. Get enough people to follow you. Enough people to believe in what you were selling. This was the belief that could move the world.

There was only one woman in his life he needed to please now, and she held no divinity. Merci had offered him a way out of this rural purgatory, and he had accepted. Truth be told, he had grabbed at it like a castaway might grab at a line from a passing airship. If the price were the damnation of his soul, so be it.

He glanced out the window at the transport coming down the lane. A high quality clockwork carriage with the Temple’s Crest stamped on the doors rattled over the boards strewn across the irrigation ditch and stopped, parking in the speckled light cast by the ornament trees planted along the lane. The carriage blocked traffic, but the driver did not seem to care. Elder members of the clergy, Hlytere, and above, felt they had the right of way. Others had to go around.

A pale, dark-haired woman emerged and stood for a moment looking around. She pulled the hood of her dark cloak over her hair and walked through the yard toward the Temple. Ernest’s gaze followed her, trying to imagine who this stranger was.

Her footsteps sounded in the aisle and, when he turned from window, she was almost upon him. Her speed startled him. When he saw her face to face he realized she was younger than he had supposed. Too young to be a Hlytere, but her use of the carriage meant she was favored by the Temple elders. The seed of jealousy radiated through him. He felt it in his chest and the pit of his stomach. He struggled to keep the emotion off his face.

“Greetings.” He shook her hand with a firm grasp. Her hands were small and smooth and white. “Will you come in for a moment?” He led her to the small reception room off the main area that contained a round table and several wooden chairs. He lit a cheroot, offered her one, which she declined, and they sat down.

“Please forgive me for calling on you so close to mid-day Services, Sacerd Ernest.” She paused. “You are Sacerd Ernest, correct? It’s not like me to presume.”

“Of course. I’m glad you came. I watched you drive up, you know, and I wondered who you were. We don’t get many visitors from the Temple here.”

“I’m surprised you don’t recognize me, cousin. Of course, I didn’t recognize you. So perhaps it’s not so surprising.”

“I’m sorry. I …”

“I’m from the cadet line of our family tree. My father is the elder son of the younger son of our line.”

His brow creased in thought. “Grace?”

“Yes,” she said with a smile, reaching out to touch his hand. Her fingers rested there for a moment too long. Lingered. And then she leaned back in the chair and crossed her legs, which were slim and bare beneath her robe.

Sacerd Ernest regarded his guest, wondering that her physical presence should suddenly dawn upon him so. She was more beautiful than he had thought at first. Her skin was clear and lovely, and her eyes and mouth were made up carefully and well.

What’s her game? He licked at the perspiration that appeared upon his upper lip.

“I would like your help in a small matter. And of course I wanted to meet you.”

“You did?”

“Our sponsor has spoken of you with such affection.”

“Our superior?” He used the wrong word to see if she would correct him.

“Technically, I suppose, she may be yours. I’ve never thought much of the rules of hierarchy in the Temple.” She cocked her head, listening to noises from the other room. Some of his parishioners had started to file in for the service. “It’s such a mercy, isn’t it?’

Ah, code words.

She must think she’s being clever, although he had no idea who could possibly overhear their conversation. It was only just dawning on him why she must be here. In his town. In his Temple. But he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was get out of Grand Marsh. Get back to Chiaroscuro. It didn’t bother him that people, his parishioners, may die, or suffer a fate worse than death. He just wanted to get out.

It’s not my fault if I’m following orders.

But that was a poor excuse, wasn’t it? Guilt flared, hot and strong.

Do you want to stay in Grand Marsh forever? Ministering to the townsfolk? Do you?

No … but he didn’t want to hurt people. Those conflicting thoughts pulled at him. There was the question of right and wrong. What was right for him might go wrong for others. But that was the way it had to be.

Thus he banished the guilt. When something inside of him tried to protest again, tried to tell him to think before he did this, he smothered it.

“When?” He didn’t have any time for nonsense. The quicker it occurred, the quicker he resumed his rightful place.

“In two days. I have some items in my transport that need to be set up in the Temple, but kept out of view.” She smiled and spoke a little louder so that the earliest arrivals overheard her. “I wish I could stay to help with the Mass, but I am needed back in Chiaroscuro.” She lowered her voice. “Officially I never left the city.”

“Of course.” He guessed that she had no desire to partake in the service. “I will help you with whatever you need.” Whatever may come of it, he had gone too far to stop now.

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

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