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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PROMO Blitz: After the Fire by @maryjwilliams05 #excerpt


Contemporary Romance
Date Published: June 22, 2016

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A STAND-ALONE NOVEL

In his lifetime, Gaige Benson has dreamed of only two things. Playing football and Violet Reed.

WELCOME TO THE NFL

The Seattle Knights have the hottest players in the game. On and off the field.

Second Chances. First Love.

Gaige Benson is the NFL's golden boy. He's done it all. Won every award. Except that elusive Super Bowl ring. This year he is hanging up his cleats and he plans on going out a winner.

Even a golden boy has secrets. Will Gaige's past be the one thing that derails his future?

Violet Reed almost lost it all. Her sight, her dreams of becoming a doctor, and the only man she ever loved. A miracle saved the first two. Sixteen years later she is getting her second chance at love.

Secrets kept them apart. Will the truth separate them forever?

Get your copy of the stand-alone sports romance readers are calling an emotional, page-turning thrill-ride.




Each book in the series is a stand alone novel. Other books in this series are:


After the Rain

After All These Years
EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

SHE HAD ONCE asked him if he believed in a higher power.
God? Buddha? Fairies dancing around a blazing fire late at night? Something. Anything bigger than us.
Gaige Benson hadn't known what to say. Not then. But as he stood in the empty open-air stadium—the stars lighting the evening sky—he knew the answer.
Football was his religion. The field he played on and the building surrounding it, his cathedral. If a higher power had a hand in it, then his answer was yes.
He believed.
Walking to the center of the field, Gaige took it all in. He found football at the age of thirteen. A boy who saw his future mapped out. Working in a factory. Drinking away his salary. Divorce. Doling out child support without maintaining a relationship with his children. A weekend father, who half the time didn't bother to show up.
The first time Gaige picked up a football, he felt a connection. The first time he threw it, it wobbled with the grace of a drunk leaving his favorite watering hole on a Saturday night. But it didn't matter. He threw the ball again. And again. Until he taught himself to make it spin in a perfect spiral.
At the time, Gaige didn't know his talent could be useful. Where he came from, Brooklyn kids didn't dream of bigger or better. Most of them didn't dream at all. Gaige was no different.
One day he was passing a playground when a football landed at his feet. The boys on the field yelled for him to toss it back. Without thinking, Gaige sent it sailing, a perfect strike. Then kept walking. He was wary of the man who ran after him. Strangers were the enemy—according to his father. They either wanted money or accused you of something you hadn't done.
Gaige took everything his father said with a big grain of salt. Don Benson didn't have a dime to his name. Why would anyone expect to get money from him? And if a man accused his father of something, chances were he was guilty.
But Gaige was a cautious boy. He fought when necessary and ran when he had no choice. The man trying to get his attention was big. His dark complexion didn't worry Gaige. In his experience, a man was either good or bad. The color of his skin had nothing to do with it.
It turned out that this man wasn't simply good. He was the best thing that ever happened to Gaige.
Terrance Aldridge coached the local Pop Warner football team. A boy with an arm like Gaige's shouldn't let his talent go to waste. Gaige listened. Play football? On a field? With other boys? Was such a thing possible? He didn't know if it were a scam—nor did he care. If there were the slightest chance, he would take it.
The only obstacle was getting a parent's permission. Terrance gave him the papers to be signed, telling Gaige to have his folks call him if they had any questions. Gaige didn't laugh aloud, but he wanted to. His mother never asked questions. Unless they were directed at his father. Wynona Benson hadn't made a move in fifteen years unless she received permission first.
His father was another matter. His word was law. Don Benson could do no wrong. If he drank too much and staggered home two days late, it was his right. If he backhanded his wife—just because—whose business was it? He earned the money. He made the rules. End of discussion.
Gaige hadn't asked his father because he knew what the answer would be. No! Not because he thought there was anything wrong with football. He watched it every Sunday—after laying down a bet that he never won. No, he wouldn't let Gaige play because he was a mean bastard who wanted everyone to be as miserable as he was.
Gaige got around it easily enough. He forged his father's signature. It wasn't the first time and it wouldn't be the last. There was no reason to think anyone would find out. His parents didn't care how he spent his days as long as the police didn't come knocking on the door.
He could steal. Lie. Cheat. Hell, his father wouldn't bat an eye at murder. Do what you want as long as you don't get caught. The mantra at the Benson house. 
Gaige had no intention of his father finding out. He tried out for the team and made it. The money for equipment was another matter. Gaige didn't steal. Or cheat. Lying was a necessary evil. He would have done almost anything to play but it looked like his first and only dream would die before it had a chance.
Luckily, Terrance was able to dip into a discretionary fund to help boys like Gaige. It rankled to take charity. Especially when the other boys on the team had families to pay their way.
"Don't let it stop you, Gaige," Terrance told him. "Remember. And one day, when you have the means, pay it forward, son."
Twenty-five years later, Gaige hadn't forgotten that kindness and generosity. When he saw someone in need, he did something about it. Over the years, the Gaige Benson Foundation paid out millions of dollars to charities and individuals. He had filled the board with people he trusted and could count on to distribute the funds judiciously and without prejudice. The first man he had recruited was the man to whom Gaige owed everything—Terrance Aldridge. Friend. Father figure. Teacher.
"Hey, Gaige." Logan Price called out from high in the stands. "You coming? The guys are waiting to go to dinner."
"Five minutes."
Closing his eyes, Gaige breathed in the air. February in Texas. Tomorrow he would play in his first—and last Super Bowl. Win or lose, he was hanging up his cleats. He was thirty-eight years old. He had more money than he would ever need. He had won every award from Rookie of the Year to league MVP—four times.
This season he put everything on the line to get here—including the possibility that he had lost the only woman he had ever loved.
Gaige Benson was known for his razor-sharp focus. Any distractions off the field were left there as soon as the first whistle blew. It wouldn't be any different tomorrow. Nothing would get in the way.
His gaze drifted to the section where she would be sitting. If she showed up. Gaige planned on going out a winner. But what about the day after? Or the day after that? His future stretched out in front of him. He had plans in place. There were hundreds of options for him to consider.
Do you believe in a higher power?
Her voice and that question had haunted Gaige for almost sixteen years. If there were a God, he prayed the woman he loved would find it in her heart to forgive him. He had a lot of years left. He didn't want to spend them alone.
In his lifetime, Gaige Benson had dreamt of only two things. Playing football. And loving Violet Reed.



Mary J. Williams is an author from Washington State who went to school in a small town on the Columbia River. She loves writing, reading, and football.  She always wanted to write a novel and she always knew it would be a romance novel. But it wasn’t until her favorite football team lost the Super Bowl on the last play with an interception, that this dream began to come to fruition. She was so depressed that she tuned out all the media. Without television, internet, or newspapers, she had nothing else to do, so she sat down and started writing. Her first romance series, Harper Falls contains four books. Mary has released two new series in 2016, Hollywood Legends and One Pass Away (which combines her love of football with her love of romance).

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

PROMO Blitz: Scared Witchless by Amy Boyles #excerpt

Mystery, Cozy Mystery 
Date Published:  June 28, 2016

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A witch. A murder. A wedding dress?

Dylan Apel is having one heck of a summer. She knows her hand-made clothing is special, but magical? Discovering that she's a witch is bad enough, but when Dylan realizes there are folks who’ll kill to possess her witchy powers— that’s enough to make a girl want to hide out in the back of her boutique. Only problem is, Queen Witch is in town, itchin’ to make sure Dylan learns to cast spells, and this witch won’t take no for an answer.

Dylan must learn fast—someone just killed her best client with a poisoned gown meant for Dylan. Was it the tall, mysterious hottie in black, who's suddenly everywhere she goes? After all, the first thing Roman Bane says is he doesn't like witches. Is he here to save her, or kill her?

Dylan is barely getting a handle on her new powers when she finds herself surrounded by witches bossing her this way and that, local police nosing about, and wary clients—death by clothing is not good for business. And the solstice is coming … a time when witch powers are at their peak. Can Dylan survive the chaos long enough to figure out her new life?




EXCERPT


CHAPTER ONE

"If that ain't the other side of stupid, I don't know what is."
Reagan Eckhart, all platinum-blonde ninety-eight pounds of her, shoved a newspaper in my face. I winced, barely avoiding a massive paper cut to the nose.
"Those idiots put you in Arts and Leisure. You should have been on the front page of the Birmingham News." She tapped the newspaper with a single red fingernail. "With as much business as you do, Dylan Apel, you should have been the main story of the day."
"Don't you think technically they should have put me in the business section?" I said.
Reagan fluffed the foot of hair teased up at her crown. At least it looked like a foot. Okay, it wasn't a foot—only six inches. But those were a tall six inches. Big enough to practically be their own person. "Whatever," she mumbled.
The debutante was in rare form today. Reagan was dressed to the nines in a black halter top and pants that resembled Spandex. Personally, I was waiting for her to break out into the chorus of “You're the One That I Want,” √† la Olivia Newton-John. Harry Shaw, her fianc√©—a smallish, bald financial advisor—definitely wouldn't join her if she did. His idea of playing John Travolta probably resembled hot-and-heavy talk about how gross grease and lightning were and why would you want to put the two together?
I grabbed the paper and scrutinized the picture of me and my sisters, Seraphina and Reid. Bright, beaming smiles on our faces, we stood in front of our side-by-side stores—Perfect Fit and Sinless Confections. Seraphina, tall and slender, her hair shimmering like glass in the sunlight, looked absolutely perfect. Even Reid, my eighteen-year-old baby sis, looked cherubic and innocent, her doe eyes and cheeky smile radiating youthful exuberance.
Then there was me. I sighed. It had taken two hours to smooth my hair, and it had still frizzed on the edges. I wasn't as tall or slender as Seraphina. But what I lacked in athletic build, I made up for in curves. Good for me. I might not look statuesque and perfect, but I could put on a slutty dress and have enough T and A to get noticed.
Was that a zit on my cheek?
"When I realized you had this store, Dylan," Reagan said, "and I saw how beautiful the dresses were, I told Harry—I said, 'Harry, that's who's going to design my wedding dress.' Didn't I, hon?"
Harry, nose-deep in the business section, remained silent.
Reagan kicked him.
"Ow!" Harry rubbed his ankle. "What'd you do that for?"
"Didn't I, Harry? Didn't I say that?"
Harry shrank a little, his bald pate looking even balder under the fluorescents. "Yes, of course you did, dear."
Poor guy. He probably wouldn't last a year in the marriage. He'd be whipped, beaten down and likely castrated after two months. 
Did I say that out loud?
"Anyway," Reagan continued, flitting about the room. "I told Harry, Dylan Apel and I were best friends in high school—"
"Mortal enemies," I corrected.
"—and of course she's going to be the one to design my dress." Girlfriend didn't miss one beat. I don't think Reagan listened to what people said. Did she even hear them when they talked?
From the corner my assistant, Carrie Dogwood, snickered. I shot her a look of warning. She turned a deep shade of red and pretended to straighten a rack of sequined gowns.
"Reagan, do you want to see your dress again?" I asked.
"Of course," she squealed. "I can't get enough of it."
Carrie crossed to me. She leaned over, kept her voice low. "Wonder what she'll complain about this time."
I turned away from Reagan. "Hopefully nothing," I whispered. "Can you grab the dress?"
"Sure thing."
An unfinished blue gown caught my attention. The color of a robin's egg, the dress would be the envy of the Silver Springs solstice banquet, what with its deep vee neckline and overlay of chiffon. I needed to finish it before the dance, which was barely two weeks away.
I sighed. I'd been working a lot lately, thanks to Reagan's never-ending changes to her gown. There was less than a week until the wedding, and after that I'd have plenty of time to work on my own dress. That is, if I survived Reagan for a few more days.
I stared vacantly at the gown until a bodiless hand thrust the newspaper into my face once more. Reagan popped up in front of me and wiggled the now crumpled article. "But this reporter nails it. She absolutely gets it right. I could have gone anywhere for my dress, but there's just something about your gowns and your sister's food. It's like I'm transported to another place. I don't know how to describe it."
I had heard the same mantra over and over from clients. There's something about your clothes that I can't put my finger on. It's almost like they're magical.
Yeah. Right. Not that I didn't appreciate the compliment. Believe me, I did. So did Sera. If it weren't for the folks in our lakeside community of Silver Springs, Alabama, we'd be beggars. Hoboes maybe. Vagabonds most likely. And not the good kind. Not the sexy kind you see on the covers of romance novels.
Wait. There weren't hoboes on those. Well, anyway, we'd be dirty, covered in rags that smelled of oil and sweat, with grit under our fingernails that not even the best manicure technician could lift.
"Here's the dress," Carrie said.
Reagan's smile vanished. "Oh."
My dreams, my hopes, my wishes for a beautiful future crashed and exploded like a car careening off a cliff in a 1970s B movie. What could possibly be wrong this time—the hundredth time? I swear, every occasion this girl saw her dress, she found something to criticize. It was a wonder I hadn't strangled her before now.
I smoothed the lines of frustration that were forming on my forehead. "What's the problem?"
Reagan wrinkled her nose. "It's just…well…that's a lot of sequins."
I took a deep, cleansing breath and thought happy thoughts. "Last week you wanted more sequins. You said it didn't have enough bling."
Carrie bit back a giggle.
I flashed her a seething look. I mean, seriously. I knew it was funny, but it was only good service not to laugh at the customer while she's standing right in front of you. At least wait until the door hits her backside as she's leaving.
"Well," Reagan said, "last week there weren't any sequins. What were there? Like five on the whole thing?"
I steepled my fingers beneath my chin. "There were two hundred."
"Oh. How many are there now?"
"Five hundred."
"It's too many. Listen, Dylan, just because we were best friends in high school—"
"Mortal enemies," I said.
"—doesn't mean you can take advantage of me. If this dress isn't to perfection by Saturday, then I'm getting it for free. Right?"
Whoa, Nelly. "I'm sorry?"
Reagan batted her fake eyelashes. "That's just plain old good business. The customer is always right. I mean, we go way back. Too far back to let a little disagreement over some sequins ruin what we had."
I poked the air with my index finger. "Once again, we were mortal enemies. Reagan, you have brain damage when it comes to what high school was like."
A tittering laugh escaped her throat. It sounded like a thousand butterflies taking flight. That was right before I lifted my imaginary rocket launcher, aimed high and fired, sending the beauties crashing to the ground in a blazing explosion.
"You're so melodramatic, Dylan. We had a little disagreement about prom; that was all." 
I crossed my arms. "Reagan, let me remind you of exactly what happened in high school."
"Why don't you do that, since you're so convinced we had nothing to do with each other." Reagan pulled one of her eyelashes. Ouch. Didn't that hurt?
I shook my head and said, "You had Colten Blacklock ask me to prom for the sole purpose of standing me up the night of." I pointed to her and then to me. "You and I—we were never friends, and I'm not giving you this dress for free. We've done a dozen fittings, and you've found something wrong with each and every one. You can either take it or leave it."
Reagan's mouth fell. She swung to Harry. "Are you going to let her talk to me like that?"
Harry squashed the grin on his face and cleared his throat. "Ahem. Well. You have tried the dress on a lot, and Miss Apel has been more than accommodating."
Reagan stomped her foot. "You," she said, wagging a finger at him. "You wait until we get home."
Oh no. I didn't want Harry to be in the dog house because of me. I reached out and rubbed Reagan's arm, trying to soothe the savage bridezilla. "Reagan, I'll lose some of the sequins. Stop by tomorrow and see what you think."
She flashed a tight, bitter smile. "What you have better be good, or I'm taking my business elsewhere. And that means your sister won't be doing the catering, either." She squared her shoulders, swiveled on her heel and stormed out of the shop. Harry gave me an apologetic smile and followed. The little bell above the door tinkled as they left.
"Do you think she'll back out?" Carrie asked.
I shook my head. "Of course not. Not unless she wants a dress off the rack and a cake from Walmart."
Carrie laughed. "She's something else, isn't she?"
"She's certainly something.” I rubbed my neck. Tension latched to the cords of muscle. I'd have a headache pretty soon if I didn't take an ibuprofen. Extending my palm, I gestured for Carrie to hand me the wedding gown. "I guess I'll alter her dress."
Carrie stuffed the layers of silk in my hands and nodded to the blue cross-necked dress. "But when are you going to finish that one?"
I peeked out from behind the mass. "I don't know. We have, what? Two weeks until the summer solstice? I'll work on it soon."
The bell above the door tinkled. Seraphina crashed in, a whirlwind of flour following her. Her blue eyes sparkled with delight. How I envied those eyes. Mine were poo brown. Some said chocolate, but I knew better. Those folks were just being Southern polite.
"Oh my God! Did y'all see the article?" She waved the paper like a flag of surrender.
"I did!"
"It's incredible. The reporter went so far as to say our work is, and I quote…" She scanned the article. "Where is it? Where did that passage go? Oh, here it is." She jabbed it. "She said our work is 'inspired by the gods themselves.' Ha! You couldn't pay for better advertising."
"You probably could," I said.
Carrie flipped the ends of her chestnut hair. "Listen, y'all, I just got this new gel manicure machine in the mail. Do you mind if I go freshen up these bad boys?" She wiggled her perfect coral nails. To my eyes, they needed no refreshing. But hey, every girl has some sort of vice. Carrie's happened to be that she was ADD about her nails. In the three years she'd worked for me, I'd never seen one chip. Ever. Mine, on the other hand, looked like Godzilla had tried to paint them—there were broken wedges of color that Carrie would have deemed unforgivable.
"Go ahead. We'll be here," I said. She picked up a shipping box and exited to the back.
I hung Reagan's wedding dress on a rack and brushed my hands of any rogue sequins that hadn't been sewn on properly, which was actually impossible since I'd done the work myself. But my grandmother had always taught me to be humble, so that was my attempt.
Sera chewed her bottom lip. "The reporter says, 'Dylan Apel's dresses will transport you to another time and place. A claim I can attest to personally, for I experienced this peculiar phenomenon first-hand when I tried on one of her gowns. When I saw my reflection in the mirror, for a split second I was taken back to the cotillion ball where I met my husband thirty years ago. If that wasn’t enough to put a spring in my step, one bite of Seraphina's baked treats and I was back in my grandmother’s kitchen as she created confections on the stove. Truly a magical experience.'" Sera paused, looked up at me. "Seriously. That's some good stuff."
"Yeah, it’s good,” I said. But the reporter’s description about trying on my clothes bothered me. I shrugged off the uncomfortable feeling and smiled. "Though I have been accused on occasion of drugging my clothes."
Sera frowned. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
The bell tinkled. I stepped forward, my most welcoming smile on my face.
My sister glanced at me. "You look like a piranha. Tone it down."
I settled into a half smile. "Good morning! Welcome to Perfect Fit."
A towering redhead sauntered into the store. Bangles covered both her arms, clinking pleasantly as she walked. Emerald-green eyes fixed on me and Sera. I squirmed. Couldn't help it. At five-five I wasn't short. Not by any means. But this was a tall woman. Five-ten easy. And all that hair. A cloud of silky crimson and honey curls cascaded down her back. I don't even think she had any product in it. It was a totally natural head of hair.
I hated her.
Kidding. But envy did surface.
She smiled brightly. My envy turned into instant like. "Mornin'. I wanted to try on some clothes," she said in a throaty voice, the kind that drove men mad. I'd never seen her before, and Silver Springs was a minuscule town. From the look of interest on Sera's face, I guess she hadn't seen this woman before, either.
I stepped forward. "Absolutely. What are you looking for?"
"Just some regular day-wear stuff."
My time had arrived. I had a knack, a sixth sense really, about clothes and people. In one try I could create an entire body-fitting wardrobe and not even know the size of the person. What can I say? It came naturally to me.
"Are you looking for sportswear or business?"
"Both."
Cha-ching! "Let me pull a few items and see what you think."
"I'm gonna head back," Sera said. "I'm sure there's something I need to make."
I waved. "Bye."
She waved back and left, leaving me to focus on my client. Five minutes later I had two armfuls of pants, jackets, and blouses. "Let me get you in a dressing room. After you're done, come out and see what you think in the three-way mirror."
None of my dressing rooms had mirrors. People thought it weird, but I wanted to be around when my clients saw themselves in my clothing for the first time.
The woman disappeared behind the door, a roomful of clothes at the ready. Two minutes later she reappeared in a pair of jeans and a loose blouse.
"Take a look."
She stepped forward. The air contracted as if the very atmosphere had been sucked away. The mirror shimmered, and the woman's image bowed and straightened. It happened fast, so fast no one ever noticed. No one except for me.
So, this is where I tell you what that's all about. I would if I could. The easiest explanation is that my clothes make people feel great. From what Sera's told me, putting on one of my garments reminds you of an amazing time in your life. For instance—you're a fifty-year-old woman buying a dress for your daughter's wedding. You try something on and poof, you're transported back to the wondrous feeling you experienced at senior prom. Of course, that would be you, not me. My prom stank thanks to Reagan Eckhart.
At least, that’s what I’d always thought. It’s also why the reporter’s story bothered me. She saw her younger self in that mirror. That had never happened before—at least not that I knew of. My clothes blanketed clients in a wondrous feeling. They didn't make anyone see visions.  
Sera's baked goods do something similar. Every time I eat something she's made, I feel amazing, like I could take on the world. One bite of a buttery croissant and I'm totally superwoman. Minus the red cape. And the tights. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't be caught dead in that outfit.
But why are we like that? We're gifted; that's what our grandmother always called it. We have a gift.
"What do you think?" I asked.
She stared at her image. After a long moment her lips curlicued into a smile. She licked the bottom one, her eyes shining.
"Your clothes are breathtaking."
Thirty minutes and three hundred dollars later, I placed the last package in the redhead's hands.
"How'd you hear about us?" I asked.
"I saw the article in the paper."
I clicked my tongue. "Wow. News travels fast." Sweet. Today might be a crazy, busy day.
She smiled, her eyes glittering. "You don't even know the half of it."
"Oh?"
She pinched her brows together, giving her a dark, ominous expression. "In one week I guarantee you won't recognize your life."
An awkward laugh escaped my lips. "Oh. Ha-ha. I hope it's all good."
She shook her head. "That little article that came out about you? The one that was supposed to help your business? Well, you just did the opposite. You stirred up a bed of fire ants." She leaned forward and gave me a stern look. "And in case you need remindin', the sting from a fire ant lasts a long time. Take this as your warnin'."
I was so confused. "What do you mean, a warning?"
"Watch your back."
With that she left, her cloud of hair billowing behind her. I stood stone still. Numb shock tingled over my body, filtering down into my fingers and toes.
What the heck just happened?





After living in Chicago, Louisville and New York, Amy Boyles finally settled in North Alabama with her husband.

Along with writing, she has a passion for cooking ridiculously fattening food and complaining about weight gain. She loves to connect with readers.


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Monday, July 25, 2016

Tour Kick Off: Body of the Crime by @JChaseNovelist




Crime / Thriller
Date Published: 5/20/2016
Publisher: JEC Press

From the multiple award-winning author of the Emily Stone Series, comes a new kind of forensic hero: 

Three grisly murders linked to five old cold cases, dubbed the Flower Girl Murders, pushes detectives to their limit to find a clever and extremely brutal serial killer, leaving a California town demanding justice. The District Attorney’s Serial Special Task Force retains the help of the reclusive Dr. Chip Palmer, a forensic expert and criminal profiler, to steer them in the right direction. 

Palmer is known for his astute academic interpretations of serial and predatory crimes, along with his unconventional tactics that goes against general police procedures. He is partnered with the tough and beautiful D.A. Inspector Kate Rawlins, a homicide detective transplanted from Phoenix, and the chemistry ignites between the team—passionate and deadly. 

The Flower Girl Murders leaves three homicides, five cold cases, two seasoned detectives, three suspects, and one serial killer calling all the shots. The investigation must rely on one eccentric forensic scientist to unravel the clues to solve the case. But at what cost?





Jennifer Chase is an award-winning author and consulting criminologist.  She has authored six crime fiction novels, including the award-winning Emily Stone thriller series along with a screenwriting workbook.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor degree in police forensics and a Master's degree in criminology.  These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

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July 25 - Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours - Kick Off
July 26 - Mama Knows Books
July 27 - Natural Bri
July 30 - Book Junkie Mom
August 1 - Texas Book Nook
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August 4 - On a Reading Bender
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Tour Kick Off: Hello Again by @stanschatt #giveaway




Paranormal Mystery
Date Published: May 22, 2016


Hello Again is a psychological mystery, a roller coaster of emotions that incorporates elements of the paranormal and the techno-thriller. Bill Eisner meets the most beautiful woman he has ever seen; waiters stop in mid-sentence when Amber Love passes them. Is Bill’s bond with her so close that it extends beyond life? What can he do when he begins to receive text messages from her after her death? A detective who believes only in science and a reporter with psychic abilities that frighten him team up to try to unravel the mystery before a shadowy figure claims another victim.




Stan Schatt, author of forty books, is a futurist, a technologist, a novelist, and a person curious about many things. His novels range from paranormal mysteries that include the Frankie and Josh series to science fiction and young adult mysteries. His non-fiction books include studies of writers Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Connelly, and Daniel Silva. 



Twitter:@stanschatt



July 25 - Authors That Rock 
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Sale Blitz: Keeping Score by @JamiDeise #excerpt

Women's Fiction


On Sale - Only $.99 July 25-31

Recipient of the Crowned Heart Award from In'Dtale Magazine! 

When her 9-year-old son wanted to play summer travel baseball, Shannon had no idea the toughest competition was off the field…. When her son Sam asks to try out for a travel baseball team, divorced mom Shannon Stevens thinks it’ll be a fun and active way to spend the summer. Boy, is she wrong! From the very first practice, Shannon and Sam get sucked into a mad world of rigged try-outs, professional coaches, and personal hitting instructors. But it’s the crazy, competitive parents who really make Shannon’s life miserable. Their sons are all the second coming of Babe Ruth, and Sam isn’t fit to fetch their foul balls. Even worse, Shannon’s best friend Jennifer catches the baseball fever. She schemes behind the scenes to get her son Matthew on the town’s best baseball team, the Saints. As for Sam? Sorry, there’s no room for him! Sam winds up on the worst team in town, and every week they find new and humiliating ways to lose to the Saints.

And the action off the field is just as hot. Shannon finds herself falling for the Saints’ coach, Kevin. But how can she date a man who didn’t think her son was good enough for his team … especially when the whole baseball world is gossiping about them? Even Shannon’s ex-husband David gets pulled into the mess when a randy baseball mom goes after him. As Sam works to make friends, win games and become a better baseball player, Shannon struggles not to become one of those crazy baseball parents herself. In this world, it’s not about whether you win, lose, or how you play the game… it’s all about KEEPING SCORE.


Praise for Keeping Score:

"I really enjoyed Keeping Score... If you are ready for a fun read, and want to know who comes out on top (will it be Team Shannon or Team Jennifer?),  give this book a read." - Chick Lit Central

"KEEPING SCORE is a great read--one I didn't want to put down. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a fun take on life, love, and kids." - Caroline Fardig, bestselling author of "It's Just a Little Crush"

"All in all this was a fun read that keeps the story going and will have your mouth dropping open at certain points... Grab this book and sit down for a fun, light read!" -- Joe Cool Review

"A must-read for any sports or contemporary lovers..." five stars! - InD'tale Magazine

"Keeping Score by Jami Deise is a wonderful novel, a story of love, despair, desire, and hope all mixed into one." Anne Marie Reynolds for Reader's Favorite




EXCERPT

 Sam grabbed his baseball bag out of my trunk and ran down the hill to the softball field, where the try-out was taking place. I was still in my work shoes, so I followed slowly behind.
 When the field was in sight, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A huge banner proclaiming “SAINTS BASEBALL” was strung across the backstop. There were nearly seventy nine-year-old boys, all wearing their baseball uniforms. The single set of bleachers overflowed with parents, who were also standing behind the backstop and near the baselines. Even Saints founder Patrick O’Connor had made an appearance. He seemed very pleased every time some star-struck dad asked for an autograph. 
When I got closer, I could hear the parents’ anxious, boastful chatter.
 “Saints assured us that the try-out’s just a formality for Trevor. They’ve been trying to get him to play select since he was six, but we didn’t think that was fair to the other kids, having to be on a team with someone so much younger and so much better.”
 “I thought it was too soon, but Kyle’s pitching coach wanted to get a number. He’s already throwing seventy miles an hour. The coach thinks he’ll be at ninety five in high school.” 
 “Jeremy isn’t going to be able to blossom to his full development in a cold-weather state. We’ll be moving to Florida in the fall so he can play year-round. The Florida State coach said he’d sign him right now if he could.”
 That gnawing feeling that showed up every time Sam was at bat took up residence in my stomach. What if David were right? What if all these kids threw sixty miles an hour, made plays that made Derek Jeter look klutzy, and hit the ball into Virginia?
 Then I remembered what Mike had said: That based on what he’d seen, Sam should have no problem making the Saints team. I took a deep breath and told myself that all this bragging was just that, and if I wanted to, I could sit down and babble about how two select teams were fighting over Sam, and which one should we chose?
 A tall man wearing a Saints jersey that said "Coach Kevin" pinned the number 55 on Sam’s back, and pointed for him to join other kids warming up in the outfield. Sam ran out there, his belly jiggling ever so slightly. The coach jotted something down on a clipboard. He was about my age, with an athletic build, curly brown hair underneath his baseball cap, a tanned face, and a cleft chin. His butt wasn’t bad, either. 
I reminded myself that I wasn’t here to ogle coaches. 
 Sam started throwing, but the balls weren’t coming back to him with any sort of regularity. I couldn’t see who his partner was, just the kid’s back -- Sam was playing with number 1. 
 I looked for a place to sit on the bleachers. And that’s when I saw her. Jennifer. She was covering her face with a paperback, obviously hiding from me. As if I wouldn’t recognize my own best friend from the neck down.
 Now I understood that look between Jennifer and Scott Sunday night, when I said I didn’t even know summer teams existed. It wasn’t, “Why didn’t Mike ask Matthew to play on his team.” It was, “Let’s hope Shannon doesn’t find out about the Saints try-out.”
 Someone who avoided confrontation might sit on the other side of the bleachers and pretend not to see her backstabbing best friend. But that someone wasn’t me. I climbed over a few people and squeezed in right next to Jennifer. 
 “Didn’t we read that in book club last year?” I asked. 
 She put the book down and painted on a big phony smile. “I never got around to finishing it. Shannon, I thought you already decided Sam was going to play for Mike this summer.” 
 “He can’t. His league won’t take Saints kids.”
 “Oh. Because, that’s the only reason we didn’t mention the try-out to you.” 
 “Really? So when exactly were you going to tell me? Because two days ago, I didn’t know anything about this.” 
 On the field, the kids finished their warm-up throws and got into lines at shortstop, second and first base. Now I could see that number 1 was Matthew. He got into the shortstop line, while Sam was directed to first. 
 A different coach walked up to home plate, struggling with a heavy bucket of balls and a metal bat under his arm. My stomach flipped as the true depth of the betrayal hit me. That coach was Scott. Obviously he had moved up in the coaching world, a promotion if you would, from rec to select coach. 
 And he never bothered to say a damn thing about it. Not to Sam or any of the kids on the Rockets. 
 I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. 
 Jennifer sighed, blowing her bangs up off of her forehead. Not a guilt sigh, but something more akin to righteous annoyance. 
 “Here’s the thing. The boys all do everything together. They’re interchangeable. Same classes, even though Matthew should be in the G&T program. Same teams. Same people, over and over again. Scott and I felt that Matthew really needed an activity that was his and his alone. So he could start to figure out who he was as a person.” 
 So Matthew was having an existential crisis. Nine years old seemed a little young for that, but everyone was an overachiever here in Persimmon.  
 Who was this person? Who was this woman, whom I’d called my best friend for years? How could she do this to us? 
 “And when Patrick told Scott he needed another coach for the U10 team, it just seemed obvious.”
 Patrick. As in Patrick O’Connor, the “Saint” of Saints Baseball, who was sitting three rows above us and to the left. Of course. Scott knew him through his work with the Orioles foundation. He’d only mentioned it a few hundred times. 
 Scott was hitting ground balls to the kids at short and second. They fielded them, and then threw to the kids at first. 
 Matthew and Sam came up at the same time. Scott hit a soft grounder to Matthew, so soft it barely came off the bat. Even so, it went through Matthew’s legs. Scott grimaced, then hit him another one. This one bounced off of Matthew’s knee. He dropped his glove on it, then picked up the ball and threw it to Sam. 
 The ball was nowhere near first base. Sam jumped into the base line, made the grab, then stretched his foot out to snag the bag. 
 Jennifer bit her lip. “He just really needs an activity that’s his and his alone,” she repeated. “Where he can shine, without all the pressure of performing for his friends. Can’t you understand?”
 “Of course,” I said, as another ball went through Matthew’s legs. 
 I patted Jennifer on the back. “But maybe you should have picked an activity that Matthew’s actually good at.” 
 I didn’t mean the words to sound as cruel as they did. But Jennifer’s face turned red, and her smile disappeared. “We’re supposed to be best friends,” she hissed. “But you’re so damned competitive where Sam and sports are concerned. I get it; he’s good. But you don’t have to make everyone else feel so terrible.”  
 She grabbed her book and stomped off loudly down the bleachers, joining the other parents behind the backstop. 





A baseball mom since 1999, Jami Deise wrote her first novel, KEEPING SCORE, about crazy travel ball parents, in 2013. Her second novel, THE TIES THAT BLEED, is about a vampire assassin for the FBI, although she personally has little experience slaying vampires. Jami is an associate reviewer at www.chicklitcentral.com and blogs at www.jamideise.blogspot.com. She currently lives (and sells real estate) in St. Pete Beach, Florida, with her husband Tom and dog Lady. Her college-aged son still plays baseball.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Tour Kick Off: Blood Kiss by @KTjebbenAuthor




Psychological Romantic/Suspense
Date Published: June 2016

Alisha Woods knew she was in trouble. The situation was progressing. The harmless flirtation had long past intriguing and now bordered on terrifying. She had to take action, go on the offensive against her stalker. As she opened the door of Young Guns, she promised herself that she’d be ready when he came for her. She would survive. 
Mike Lewis lived each day knowing that life could evaporate in a moment. Ghosts followed him, haunting his soul. He craved redemption, a chance to right the wrongs of his past. And when Alisha walked in, he recognized his chance at redemption. He would save her. 
After everything Mike had done to prepare her, she thought she was ready. But as the blood spilled from her lips, Alisha’s mind raced for what she could have done differently… 
She should have listened to Mike. 




Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique creatures that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters' eyes.


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