Saturday, September 30, 2017

And A Sixpence For Luck by LILAC MILLS


Chick Lit
Date Published: 9/30/2017

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Curl up in front of the fire, with this fun, festive read.

Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.

A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother's loved-up, newly-wed status and brand-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects, isn't what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas, is just around the corner!

Daisy, bless her, thinks things can't possibly get any worse, but when her ancient great-grandmother persuades her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck, Daisy is about to discover that they most definitely can.



About the Author



Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!
She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…
When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing (she meant to say “borrowing”) her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

ROMANCE BETWEE THE PAGES PODCAST - DANIELLE STEWART


Ever wondered about the personalities behind your favorite books? Victoria Danann's new podcast with Riley J. Ford has an incredible lineup of authors booked through the spring. No question is out of bounds. Check it out!

THIS WEEK'S BEST SELLING AUTHOR...
DANIELLE STEWART!

Danielle Stewart is a USA Today Best Selling Author of over twenty books. Her series include The Piper Anderson Series, The Edenville Series, The Clover Series, The Piper Anderson Legacy Mystery Series, The Rough Waters Series & The Barrington Billionaire's Series. She has had more the 2.5 million books downloaded and held the number one book rank on iBooks, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Danielle currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and six year old son. She works hard to perfect the ability to write in a noisy house and create story lines while folding laundry. She loves hearing from readers so please find her on social media!

LEAN INTO RELATIONSHIPS by RISHABH JHOL

About the Book:
Doubt has pivoted many a relationship across the centuries. Whether it is Othello suspicious of Desdemona or through the rise of paranoia as a trope in twentieth century writings. While paranoia naturally suggests the vulnerability of individual mind to social rhetoric, it is also the space for deep interrogation of the individual that renders him/her to paranoia. This novel presents that doubt has the potential to be a space of liberation.

Madeeha works in Jordan to rehabilitate Syrian refugees. Zehen, a political analyst from India, meets her in the US during their social impact program. He is intrigued and charmed by her, and falls deeply in love. But the world political climate, with its accompanying cultural narratives about terror and pain, infects Zehen’s mind. Zehen begins to suspect Madeeha as a possible mujahid. Will he find his truth?

Fear doesn’t devastate; it stirs the inner pot. It is a tender love story that triumphs heartbreaks and sets the foundation of deep lasting future relationships - a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.



Read an Excerpt:

Zehen was experiencing sweet joy in his heart. Memories bustled in the head.

When did he first see her? Zehen searched his head madly. Orientation session? Corridor to the classroom? However, he tried, he couldn’t pinpoint the moment. A whirr of images, of moments, yet-to-be collaged. And a heart that already had a narrative, waiting to be inset.

We imagine that all romantic stories will have a sigh-worthy romantic beginning. But beginnings are when the heart awakens, when the soul remembers. A presence stills and emerges from the shadows of time.

His first memory was when she introduced herself in the class. They had gathered at Presidium University for a one-year course on Social Impact Leadership. Outside, the white fringe tree was laden with its grape-like fruits. The pine, oak and spruce waited for winter to tell the world how unchangeable they were. And the old Redwood stood proud like the institution itself. Inside, in the warm classroom, students from various cultures across the world had gathered. Icebreaker session was on and the usual round of introductions.

Introduction is a ritual. A cumbersome ritual. How does one reduce the tapestry of one’s entire existence, the colors, and the many weaves into a single palatable thread?


The Book is Free on Amazon on 29th & 30th September. Grab it here: Amazon

Anecdote

I published my first book in 2015 and my second book in early 2016. I was single at the time and using dating apps to meet other single people. I met a girl in mid-2016 who took fancy to my dating profile, especially that I am an author. After a couple of meetings, She demanded that I write about her. I jokingly told her that I am a Phoenix writer, i.e., I fall in love, get dumped, and write about my failed relationship. She broke-up with me, and still invariably pings whether I am including ‘her and our relationship’ in my upcoming book(s).

———————-

The genesis of this book came about while I was on a cross-country train ride in the US. I met Mark who had been a successful marketing professional with considerable international marketing experience. He had travelled to all of Asia and understood the regional peculiarities.
He was later diagnosed with lung cancer. By the time, it was detected, it was stage 3. He was put under radiation and intensive chemotherapy. He went in for three other opinions. All of them agreed that the cancer was aggressive and spreading fast. He searched for the latest treatments and sought to enter clinical trials. The process lasted for two years.

In the meantime, the cancer advanced. The doctors said the cancer was incurable and he didn’t have long to live. It took him weeks of denial to come around to the truth – he didn’t have long to live.

He returned home from a long walk one evening and asked himself a crucial question: “If I am going to die, then I might as well die straight away. What is point of waiting for death to show up?”

That evening he ate well, watched a movie with his girlfriend, poured himself a rare scotch and sat at his study. It was time. He wrote out his letter – love and wishes to his family, loved ones and friends, his last wishes about funeral, information on his will, and a general note thanking all. He placed it in an envelope. He planned to kill himself early morning. He finished his scotch, brushed and went to bed.

In the middle of night, he woke up to a noise. The light was on in the study and he could hear sniffles. He walked cautiously up and there in the study, his girlfriend was holding his suicide letter and crying. He watched her as her body crumpled and sink into chair. Her face contorted in agony. In her face, he saw what was the consequence of his action. The penny dropped.

I paled and listened in horror. Mark continued, “I realized that our life is never ours. We are nothing but a bundle of emotions for the people who love us and the people we love. The meaning of life is to optimize for the happiness of such people. There’s nothing more to living.
That day on, I have been living for maximizing the happiness of my loved ones”

That’s how I stumbled on lean in to relationships; it has become my life philosophy.


About the Author 

I was born into poverty. At the time of my birth, my parents shared a one -room hut with six other family members in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi.

It was a hot day in the month of March 1995. I was in standard 4th and had an examination the following day. As was regular in that locality, we didn't have electricity that day. I couldn't study or sleep properly. One of the watershed moments happened when I came back from school the next day. We had an inverter installed at home. I knew we couldn't afford an inverter. But my dad was always convinced that the way out of poverty for our family is through education. 

Despite an interest in creative writing, I chose to study a subject that society values more – Finance.  Later, I got into one of the top colleges for finance in the country. My first salary out of college (in 2007, when I was 20 years old) was higher than that of my dad's salary at the time.

When I was 24 years old, I had everything that makes one happy – loving parents, great partner, close-knit group of friends, and career path that exceeded every goal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad either; but it never felt like my life. I had carefully and meticulously built that life though. Contextually, it was the safe thing to do.

Following year though, I had to deal with the loss of my 7 year old relationship and of my 5 year old job. My identity was crushed. My biggest lesson was that you can fail at what you don't want, and what you consider safe; you might as well take a chance at what you truly want.
Next year, I got my ‘ideal’ job but walked away from it. Failure had taught me to be more ambitious and audacious. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted my work to have more meaning; and to stand for something more important than myself.

I started a political consulting company to maneuver social ascendance of marginalized communities by equalizing access to political capital.  I primarily did topical research for MPs for their debates in the parliament and on TV shows.  Partial project list includes:

1.   Providing 108 rape survivors with medical, legal, financial, and social support over six months through one of my client's NGO
2.   Getting amendments passed in the communal violence bill that tackle systemic bias towards Muslims
3.   Helping three social entrepreneurs raise a combined total of INR 43 lakhs from their MP for community initiatives

Along with running my own company, I focused on my passion for writing and traveling as well.  I solo travelled to all seven wonders of the world, and did two-cross country trips by train in India and in the US.  I have also written and published three fiction novels.






Summer Prescott Books Giveaway

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BookBrag.com $100 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway



3 ebook giveaway from Summer Prescott Books Publisher. 

Those books include:


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A Ryli Sinclair Mystery, Book 1
By Jenna St. James
Published: August 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery


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By Summer Prescott
Published: April 2017
Genre: Thriller


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By Alex Jameson
Published: February 2017
Genre: Horror






Thursday, September 28, 2017

Clown Moon by Alex Jameson

 


Horror
Date Published: February 2017

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Former Marine sniper Sam Asher enjoys his casual civilian life. He’s content with his mundane job, steady girlfriend, and halfway decent apartment, until tragedy strikes too close to home, in a manner that appears to be related to a nationwide epidemic of creepy clown sightings.

Bent on vengeance, Sam hits the road to track down a deranged killer. Accompanied by his brother Jake, and pursued by an overly ambitious Homeland Security Agent, Sam will need to use every resource, every skill, and every friend he’s ever had to find the madman.

As the “clown crisis” ramps up, receiving constant coverage from the media and keeping regular folks hiding in their homes, a rash of murders takes Sam halfway across the country on his quest for justice. The battle-tested Marine will be sucked into a vortex of madness at the hands of a psychopath, engaging in a battle of will and wits that will test his heart, mind and loyalty.

About the Author


Alex Jameson is a regular guy who happens to love scaring his audience and inspiring nightmares. His fantastic debut novel, Clown Moon, has been followed by a darkly humorous series, The 100 Deaths of Lucas Graves.

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$.99 Sale through September 30th.


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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bear's Edge by Christina Lynn Lambert



Stranger Creatures, Book 2
Paranormal Romance
Date Published: September 2017
Publisher: LooseID

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After sexy bear shifter Grant lost his girlfriend and three best friends in a fire, he decided he was done with love, done with people, done with pretty much everything. One woman has him rethinking his whole strategy.

As his boss, Shayla is off-limits, so Grant keeps his feelings for her under wraps until...the attraction doesn't seem so one-sided. Grant takes a risk and lays a piece of his heart on the line. When things get hotter than he could have imagined, Grant wonders--will some of his darker desires be too much for Shayla or will she embrace the needs he's kept hidden for so long?

A reporter who covered the bombing Shayla survived three years before is convinced the only reason Shayla survived is because she's some type of bionic medical experiment or superhuman freak. When the reporter ropes Shayla's angry ex, Hunter into the mix, Shayla's business and her life are on the line. Can she and Grant trust in each other and find a way to slay all the obstacles that stand in their way?


Other Books in the Stranger Creatures Series:

Wolf's Challenge
Stranger Creatures, Book 1
Release Date: September 2016
Taking risks, especially risks of the handsome male variety, is currently out of the question for Sydney Reid. She will make no exceptions for tall, gorgeous Derrick Porter. Never date a player--it’s rule number one in Sydney’s book, and the charming lawyer constantly devouring her with his eyes is every inch the reason. Despite her best efforts to keep Derrick in the friend zone, sparks fly between the two of them, and Sydney isn’t entirely sure she wants to throw water on the flames.
Can Derrick convince the shy, sexy Sydney to give him a chance, something more than her elusive “maybe”? More importantly, should he? Derrick has a few secrets, the least shocking secret being that he can transform at will into a powerful wolf. He's still trying to forgive himself for being at the wheel during the accident that killed his son. Losing Sydney when she learns the truth might break him, but he's pretty sure not having her would be just as bad.
And with an obsessed stalker on their tails, more than their hearts are at issue.


Excerpt

Grant the mystery man—a delicious mystery Shayla would like to unravel, piece by piece, layer by layer. Ah, but I can’t. I’m his boss. In a different lifetime, if we didn’t have the whole boss-employee obstacle going on… No harm in looking, though, just a little, since he sat so close. She promised herself to keep her thoughts G-rated—okay, maybe PG-13. Grant had a talent with numbers and paid attention to detail. Also, he was a little shy and standoffish to a lot of people when it came to anything other than work. Shayla wondered where he sometimes went in his head, because, every now and then, his smile wiped from his face, just for a second, before being replaced with one a little harder. None of my business, she reminded herself.
Shayla had really wanted to hug Grant that morning after seeing him look so frustrated but decided that it might be wiser and more appropriate to show him that there were a few people on his side. Watching him break things and try to be all strong and humorous about it made Shayla want to unravel the Grant mystery even more. It kind of hurt to watch Grant pretending to be fine, but all Shayla could offer him was lunch and good conversation. Hopefully Mr. Strong and Silent—Sydney called him that sometimes, although never to his face—knew Shayla and Sydney cared. Shayla cared. Because he’s a friend. Just a friend.
Grant raised his soda in a toast. “To things not being worse,” he announced with a rueful half smile. “And, uh”—he cleared his throat—“to good company.” He nodded at Sydney, and when he met Shayla’s gaze, he held it. In Grant’s dark eyes she saw hunger, wide-open desire, and about a million other things she couldn’t puzzle out. They both looked away. Grant looked at her that way sometimes, and Shayla did her best to ignore it. Grant might have a small crush on her, or he could have a thing for petite, small-breasted girls possessing a great fashion sense.
Sydney broke the silence. “To good food and even better friends.” She clinked Grant’s glass, and Shayla came back to reality and smiled, pretending she wasn’t experiencing several different kinds of inappropriate thoughts and feelings for a sexy, complicated man who was her employee and also her friend. She needed to remember that things could never go any further than a panty-melting look, and behave.

About the Author


A few years ago, I read my first romance novel and I was hooked, so much so that I decided to give the idea of writing a story a chance. Love, courage, hope, and second chances are a few of my favorite themes. When I'm not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family, usually hiking or swimming or finding a new place to explore. While I love the great outdoors, I will not hesitate to kill a spider.

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♡♡ROMANCE Back 2 School♡♡


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Exchange at the Border by Alexandra Goodwin




Historical Fantasy
Date Published: November 10, 2016

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A BORDER CROSSING INTO UNMAPPED TERRITORY

Mexican agave farm worker Porro Camorra never meant to do anything wrong. He is in love with his girlfriend but when she becomes pregnant, his life is in danger. Fleeing the vindictive wrath of her enraged brothers who have sworn to kill him, Porro runs for the border. But when he reaches the barrier between Mexico and the United States, he finds more than the safety he seeks. As he is thrust into a mystical realm, he must agree to a fascinating and dangerous bargain in order to reclaim his place in the world. Vivid, inventive and suspenseful, Exchange at the Border is a thrilling and colorful exploration of the timeless battle between good and evil with a story and characters that will keep you spellbound.

Excerpt
Chapter 5

It was close to noon, and the sun beat down on the desert. Despite the warnings, nothing could have prepared them for the merciless heat that awaited them. Some of them weren’t even aware of the thorns that stuck to their shoes and pants. Those wearing shorts got stung and had to stop occasionally to pull out the thorns.
One snagged Porro’s wounded leg, making the gash deeper and painful. Still, the group was upbeat. They were on their way to a better life, and all they had to do was plug along, one step at a time, each passing day bringing them closer to their dream.
Mecha and Gordo were sitting around a creosote bush, with a few acacia trees and tarbush providing a makeshift shelter. They began to weave dreams about El Norte. Lucas, their son, was well behaved. At some point, he wandered off into the brush to explore the surroundings. He imagined being the Lone Ranger on the lookout for Indians as he had seen so many times on TV. He ventured out a little bit more. Mecha took out some apples from her backpack.
“Why don’t you invite those two boys over, mi amor?” she asked Gordo. “I’ll check on Lucas in the meantime.”
“Sure.”
She disappeared behind some bushes while Gordo walked over to Porro and Marco who were sitting a few feet to the right. “You wanna join us?” he asked.
Marco smiled. Porro hesitated a little before getting up.
“I am Marco,” he said.
“And I am Porro.”
“Nice to meet you both,” he said. “You can sit with us if you’d like. We can eat together.”
Soon they were all catching up on their stories.
“I have a sister in Phoenix, Arizona,” Gordo started. “She went ten years ago, and she’s doing very well. She works for a wealthy family as a housekeeper, and she told us that her employers could use more help. The cook got married, and they asked my sister if she knew anybody that could replace her. She immediately wrote to us. We’ll have a place to stay as soon as we get there. I will take care of the yard and household maintenance, and our son will go to school with the gringos. He will be the first one in our family to get an education. He wants to be a doctor.” Gordo smiled at the thought.
Porro was about to say something when he spotted Coyote in between some branches in the brush. He got up and snuck toward the bushes. Gordo didn’t seem to notice. As he walked over to the spot, Porro heard the stir of leaves and then a muffled whimper. He tiptoed in the direction of the sounds. A few feet from where he was standing, Coyote was forcing himself on Mecha. She struggled, her body pinned to the ground while he thrust with force. Porro thought about his options. If he interfered and tried to save her, he would have to fight Coyote, and he was already a target thanks to Marco. Porro couldn’t afford to let anything or anybody get in the way of his reaching America. He needed to stay alive, and going forward toward Hope was his only option.
Mecha groaned, and Porro imagined if that were Azucena, he would want somebody to come to her rescue. He walked slowly toward Coyote, but Coyote sensed his presence behind him. Just as Porro reached to grab him, Coyote jumped away from her. He pushed Porro, causing

About the Author

Alexandra Goodwin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and came to the United States as a student. Now that her children are grown and seeking their own futures, she pursues her passion for writing under her mango tree surrounded by blue jays and red robins that come to nest every spring.
She escapes the Florida heat by immersing herself in the cool waters of her imagination, and creates worlds she hopes to share with her readers as they come to life. She lives with her husband Craig and their two white poodles in Coral Springs, Florida. This is her first novel.

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ALTERED & TOUCHED 2 Independent Books by Amy Stearman

ALTERED & TOUCHED
2 Independent Books
by Amy Stearman

Monday, September 25, 2017

Black Words-White Pages: AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Jenny's Review

Black Words-White Pages: AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Jenny's Review: Welcome back to our final week with M.C.V. Egan. I have had the opportunity to read and review this author's books and I am goin...

MUST LOVE FASHION by Deborah Garland




Contemporary Romance
Date Published: August 7, 2017
Publisher: Roane Publishing

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Set in the exciting world of Prada about a former male model turned brand manager and the beautiful small town public relations specialist he doesn’t think he needs.

Go behind the scenes in the fashion industry as Gwendolyn Mallory sets out to prove that she has what it takes to promote a prestigious brand like Prada. Andrew Morgan is already struggling to accept that his PR responsibilities have been taken away from him, but the intense attraction he has for Gwen, is just plain getting in the way of rational thinking—sleeping with a co-worker has always been on his to-don’t list. Follow the sparkling fuse slowly burning with sexual tension as Gwen brings to life a sexy devil…who just happens to wear Prada. Andrew has to have the woman he never knew he needed.


Excerpt

“Gwen?”
Her eyes lit up. “Andrew!”
She twirled in an emerald green full length gown that cinched at her waist. Her body filled out the bodice perfectly and the upper swells of her full breasts peeked through the asymmetrical cutouts in the neckline. “Isn't this the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen?”
Yes. But he wasn't thinking of the dress. “Salvatore. You've outdone yourself. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but why isn't something as beautiful as this in the show?”
The designer rubbed a chin that hadn’t seen a razor in a couple of days. “Do you know one of our models who could fill out a dress like this as well as our Gwen?”
Our Gwen?
“Salvatore, thank you.” The gown gave way at the slit, showing a firm thigh as Gwen stepped toward the designer to hug him.
Andrew’s blood boiled when Salvatore's scandalous hands sat on her waist. She was not his. The tentative hesitation in her hug however, cooled his fever. And the smile on her lips as she bounded in his direction reminded him of the woman she really was. Not all made up in a gown. As if Salvatore was trying to make her one of his models. A doll he could play dress-up with.
“Did you need something, Andrew?”
“Actually…,” he He could use a set of defibrillator paddles., “I have a gift for you too.” He swayed further into the room, his confidence returning with every step. From a linen sack, he removed a shoebox. “She should be in Prada from head to toe, should she not, Salvatore?”
The designer grumbled, appearing to regret he hadn’t thought of the obvious accessory.
“Andrew, what have you done?” Gwen asked resting her hands on round curvy hips.
“Come here, Gwen,” he commanded and pointed to her suite’s desk chair. “Sit.”
At the chair, she swept aside the long skirt made of raw silk and sat with her knees pinned together. Andrew’s jaw trembled as he sank to one knee. The shoe he removed from the box was not an original new design he could have swiped from the sample floor before they left. It was one of his favorites, a classic that had been around for years. The deep black suede gladiator sandal with satin nickel studs suited Gwen’s edgy personality. It was also the perfect complement to an elegant full length gown. The moderate heel would also cushion her ankles as she moved through the show tomorrow.
Andrew unfolded the soft tissue paper and held the shoe in front of Gwen.
“The Filettra sandal?” She looked at him, stunned.
“You know the name of this shoe?” Salvatore asked.
But before she could answer, Andrew turned to the designer. “She obviously did her homework on our products.”
“You boys really know how to make a girl feel like Cinderella!” She slipped her foot into the insole while it was still in Andrew’s hand. He leaned forward to buckle the small strap around her ankle, his chest leaning against her knee. After he repeated the same for the other foot, she stood. He’d worked for Prada long enough to know when a woman was comfortable in one of their shoes. Her toes sat perfectly against the vamp without looking crushed.
He had a feeling Gwen had stopped breathing. Andrew lifted his chin slowly. On her face was a look of controlled satisfaction.
Like maybe she would wait to show how much this really meant to her until they were alone.


About the Author


Deborah Garland is a versatile author of women’s fiction, contemporary and paranormal romances. Her books are about love and the struggles of complicated relationships, whether set in the music industry, the fashion industry or the world of academics. The heroines are strong and witty and the heroes fall hard for them. She lives on the North Shore of Long Island with her husband and their two pugs, Zoe and Harley.

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#FANTASY BACK 2 SCHOOL


Saturday, September 23, 2017

JG Sumner - Web of Lies


Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Limitless Publishing

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My perfect life is falling apart.  My wife is leaving me, and I’m fighting for our marriage, our kids—for her. Then she walks through the door, and everything changes. Beautiful, sweet Beth. She’s much too young, but I can’t stay away.  Despite our secrecy, someone knows. They’re using the information to destroy me. It’s not a matter of if my marriage will survive, or if I’ll be able to find happiness with my new love…it’s a matter surviving at all. I have to unravel this web of lies before it’s too late.

About the Author


J.G. is a Registered Nurse who went rogue. As good as she was at starting IV's, she enjoys writing the down the stories in her head even more. Most of the time the characters won't stop pestering her until she has them down on paper.  J.G. can often be found with a glass of red wine or prosecco in front of her computer. She has a very dry sense of humor, and should never be taken too seriously. She loves to hear from her fans, and even those who aren't especially fond of her work.  J.G. writes romantic suspense/thrillers including: A Shot in the Dark, Into the Light, The Surrender Trilogy including Surrender, Shattered, and Saved, Web of Lies and Wrecked.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

J.G McKenney - The Book Knights


YA Fantasy
Date Published: July 5, 2017

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When her parents are condemned to death by Morgan Fay for the crime of reading, Arti Penderhagen becomes a fugitive. Hunted by Mordred, the sadistic police captain who recites poetry to enhance his physical strength, Arti escapes to the Isle of Avalon, a sanctuary for outlaws. There she meets an old librarian named Merl who tells her about the Grail Tome, an ancient book in Morgan Fay's possession that can alter the course of history. Can Arti steal the book in time to save her family?


Excerpt

The fire crept across the floor, devouring paper and carpet, gaining momentum as it spread. A thick, black smoke filled the room, rolling over itself like a storm cloud, ravenous flames growling hungrily as they climbed. A moment later, there was another sound: a deep, drum-like thudding, barely audible above the burning tempest. A lower section of the shelf separated from the wall, and a row of hard covers slapped the floor. More books cascaded to the carpet, and a groping hand emerged.
The girl coughed violently, retching as she labored to breath amid the thickening blanket of smoke. She squeezed out from behind the book case, reaching back to pull a duffel bag from the cavity, pushing aside the dish, cup, and utensils her father had cast into the void in the rush to hide her. The bag held provisions, preparations made for a day they prayed would never come.
Making sure her vidlink was in her pocket, she lifted the hood of her sweatshirt and with eyes clenched shut, crawled across the floor, dragging the duffel bag. Scalding heat seared her throat as she gasped for air, her face and hands feeling like they were on fire. Gulping a mouthful of acrid smoke, an intense wave of nausea washed over the girl, and she fell against the wall of books. She was helpless now, certain she was going to die.
As the firestorm raged, her mind floated away from the horror. She was a young child again, sitting on her father’s lap, following his finger as it traced words on the page. She giggled and squirmed with excitement as the story unfolded, peeking ahead, eager to find out how the tale would end. Her mother leaned toward her from the adjacent chair, her smiling face awash in the light of the reading lamp. This is our secret, Arti. You can’t tell anyone. She could hear herself answer, I promise.
When the story was done, she reached across with her tiny hand and closed the book’s cover. She smiled up at her parents expectantly, waiting to say the ritual words together. And they lived happily ever after.
From somewhere in the cloud of her delirium, Arti Penderhagen heard the books on the shelves call to her, drawing her back to the present. Words echoed from their pages, guiding her hand along their bindings, showing her the way out.


About the Author


J.G. (John) McKenney is a writer and teacher. His first novel, EON'S DOOR, received the 2012 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award, and was also a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award.

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