Cover Reveal: Bound by Jen Colly #Paranormal #Romance

Hello, blogging buddies! In case you’ve noticed I’ve been low-profile over the last week or so, I’ve been on vacation and only online sporadically. I’m now back in the swing of things, and have a cover reveal to share with you today. My Lyrical Press sister, Jen Colly, is making the rounds with her upcoming release, BOUND, book 2 in THE CITIES BELOW series. You can pre-order from Amazon and add to your Goodreads list. If you like paranormal romance, this one should grab your fancy! 🙂


Bound
Jen Colly
(The Cities Below, #2)
Published by: Lyrical Press
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance

The streets are a battleground for humans, vampires, and demons alike—where survival is a skill, love is a weapon, and the most dangerous act is to care for another . . .

 

Keir is an assassin devoted to Lady Arianne, the last of her royal bloodline. He is sworn to protect her, and that means eliminating any threat to her life. But while on a mission, he is set upon by a pack of demons, barely escaping with his life.

Cleopatra lives by a set of rules so rigid she no longer knows her true self. But her kind and loving nature resurfaces when she finds a man, bloodied and dying. Moved to help him, she risks her future and her life to save a stranger far below her aristocratic station.

Their attraction to each other is as powerful as it is forbidden. But even as their love grows, Keir keeps his true identity a secret—and this lie is not the only threat to their love . . . or their lives.

Goodreads / Amazon

Sequel to:
23290569

 

Author Bio:

Jen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series: The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires. She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one big fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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I Remember the Mystery Machine by Mae Clair

In the world of blogging you make a lot of great friends. I am truly thankful for all of them and the support they have shown me. Today, I am super excited to be a guest on the blog of my friend, Daisy Banks. Daisy is a gal who makes her home across the pond in the U.K.  She lives in a converted Chapel in Shropshire, England (how ridiculously cool is that?) and has a gorgeous garden. At least I’m convinced she does, because she blogs about flower folklore—among other things. Daisy writes in a multiple of genres including fantasy romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and sc-fi.

A picture of the Mystery Machine (from Scooby-Doo) from a car showI invite you to pop over to her blog today where I’m sharing a post about—would you believe, Scooby-Doo and the uber-cool Mystery Machine? I hope you’ll drop in to see what it’s all about! 

In addition, I’m also at C. A. Milson’s blog as part of my Pump Up Your Book blog tour, put together by Lyrical Press. I’m doing a Q&A interview there. It’s a good thing I don’t mind an occasionally hectic pace 🙂

Happy Hump Day!

Book Tour Kicks off Today: Myth and Magic by Mae Clair

It doesn’t seem like I’ll get many Mythical Mondays done this month (and I have so many good topics lined up!) because I’ve got other news to share.

I have two blog tours running through June into early July—yes, two. The first was put together by my wonderful publisher, Lyrical Press, and kicks off today. Check out this cool banner Pump Up Your Book blog tours made for MYTH AND MAGIC, my new romantic suspense/mystery novel.

Myth-and-Magic-Banner

Nice, huh?

My second tour kicks off next week. It’s one I arranged through the wonderful people at Goddess Fish book tours. I had such a great experience with them touring ECLIPSE LAKE, I decided to use them again. More on that when the tour kicks off.

Today, I invite you to join me at the blog of 3 Partners in Shopping. Although my Mythical Mondays are undergoing a temporary hiatus until I wrap up touring MYTH AND MAGIC, they will definitely be back in July. I hope you will “stay tuned” for upcoming posts on hairy monsters, UFOs, and strange urban legends and folklore.

To see the complete list of tour stops Lyrical Press and Pump Up Your Book blog tours put together for me, see below.

Happy (Mythical) Monday! 🙂

PUYB Tour Schedule A

June 15

Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping

June 16

Book featured at A Little Bit of R&R

June 17

Interviewed at C.A. Milson

June 18

Guest blogging at Gothic Moms

June 19

Interviewed at The ToiBox of Words

June 22

Guest blogging at Mythical Books

June 23

Interviewed at Review From Here

June 24

Book featured at RhiReading

June 25

Interviewed at Shameless Book Club

June 26

Book featured at The Dark Phantom

June 29

Book reviewed at Literary Addicts

June 30

Guest blogging at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

July 1

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

July 2

Book featured at The Literary Nook

July 3

Interviewed at Toot’s Book Reviews

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Mae Clair

I’ve been meaning to do a number of blog posts for weeks now some time eons, but those fickle hours just keep slipping away. So here I am, determined to share my latest news with you. Welcome to “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” a new monthly feature on my blog.

THE GOOD

Close up of woman screaming in excitmentI started a newsletter 🙂
It’s only been on my to-do list for eight months. Okay, so the actual newsletter hasn’t happened yet, but the sign-up has.

See that little box on the right side beneath the header “Want the Scoop”? You can click there to sign up, or just follow this link. I only plan on doing four newsletters a year, so I promise not to bombard your inbox. And in celebration of finally reaching this *ahem* milestone, I’ll be giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon to one randomly drawn winner. I’m planning early July, so hop over and sign up. To quote another Eastwood movie: “Go ahead, make my day.”

Two of my back titles are now available in print 🙂
Woo-hoo! You can snatch WEATHERING ROCK from Amazon or Books-A-Million. The same is true of TWELTH SUN. Find it on Amazon or Books-A-Million. Naturally, I had to grab copies of each. I’m really pleased with the way Kensington Publishing made my name stand out on the printed copy of WEATHERING ROCK. It’s a little lost on the Kindle version.

My publisher started a new sub-imprint 🙂
Actually two. The Lyrical Press imprint of Kensington Publishing now has Lyrical Shine (contemporary romance) and Lyrical Underground (thriller, suspense, horror) imprints. I’m pretty jazzed about the latter, because I think it’s a good fit for my Point Pleasant series. *fingers crossed*

I’m researching and plotting 🙂
I generally wing my books, but now that I’ve made a firm commitment to write a mystery/suspense series (The Point Pleasant series), I find that plotting is more essential. I’ve got a notebook filled with scribblings and scene outlines for A COLD TOMORROW, book two in the series. It’s a learning experience, figuring all these details out in advance, but I’m enjoying it. And it gives me an excuse to read more about the Mothman, UFOs, and Men-in-Black (as if I needed a reason)!

THE BAD

Close up of woman looking wide-eyed and dazedI’m not writing as much as I should 😦
I took a break from my regular Sunday routine and spent the day researching and outlining instead of writing. Ok, so I made notes poolside, then did my plotting floating around on a raft or bobbing on those noodle thingies. I’m trying to convince myself it still counts as author stuff.

Still no word on A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS 😦
Book one in my Point Pleasant series, a.k.a. “the Mothman story,” is still with my publisher for consideration. I think it would be a good fit for the new Lyrical Unground sub-imprint, but it’s an odd story set in the 1980s so who knows if it will fly. One editor has given me the green light on it, but I’m still waiting on the second, senior editor, to reply. Hopefully, I’ll have news by the end of the month or early July. It’s the waiting, you know?

THE UGLY

Very angry woman screaming with hair flying in the airFacebook 😦 😦 😦
This is SOOOO ugly I’m not even going to include any other uggies. My failure to be part of the Facebook crowd has been hanging over my head like a guillotine for months now. I am *thisclose* to killing my account.

The problem is I don’t like Facebook. I never have. But back when Lyrical Press was a small stand-alone publisher, authors were expected to have an FB page. So I created one, and I do occasionally look at it. I worry that it does me more harm than good since I don’t update it regularly.  I worry that if I kill the account all that work I did to get 496 likes (okay, it’s not Pluto, but it’s something), will have been in vain. I worry that I should keep it active and pay to promote posts to get word of my new releases out. Even if I’m not on Facebook, all of my friends are (and most of the social-media-consuming-world). Maybe if my newsletter takes off I’ll be able to ditch it and stop worrying about it. Right now it’s the King of Uglies!

So there you have my monthly wrap up of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll wait until early July to see what June brings.

Any good, bad, or uglies you’d like to share? We’re all in this writer’s world together, you know. Spill what’s new with you! 🙂

Mae Clair Presents: Blood Stitches by Erin Fanning #giveaway

Today, I’m happy to welcome Erin Fanning back to my blog with her new release, BLOOD STITCHES. You might recall this fabulous cover being splashed on my blog before, but now the book has officially been released, and Erin has dropped by to answer a few questions. Whether you’re a writer, reader or both, I think you’ll find her post interesting.

She’s also got a giveaway going on for a $20 Amazon gift card, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter link at the bottom!

BloodStitchesCover

~ooOOoo~

From Erin:

Over the past several months, I’ve received lots questions from friends and family about my novella Blood Stitches. It seems like the top three are always the same, sort of universal questions about writing:

How do you come up with your ideas?

I spend a lot of time outdoors–biking, hiking, skiing, and kayaking–so I’m heavily influenced by nature. Current events and everyday encounters often get stuck in my imagination. Turkey vultures perched along the road look like a coven of witches or an ordinary tapestry resembles an opening to another world.

These story ideas churn around in my brain for days, months, sometimes years, until they practically force their way out through my fingertips. Next I jot down several paragraphs or pages, whatever I can. Then I take a breath and make a rough outline of the plot and characters, filling in the blanks, and reworking it as I go.

When do you find time to write?

I’m lucky in the sense that my “regular” job as an online editor for a global information provider, searching the web for international financial news, allows me to work from home. So I often find time to write during the morning, but even though my schedule has more flexibility than most people, I still have to be disciplined. I’m the Queen of Procrastination and Distraction!

How long did it take you to write Blood Stitches?

Along with being the Queen of Procrastination and Distraction, I’m also possibly the slowest writer on the planet. I’m in awe of authors that seem to whip out two books each year. I started writing Blood Stitches several years ago and then put it aside. About two years ago, I picked it up again and finally finished it.

~ooOOoo~

I love Erin’s take on where she gets her ideas from. That’s definitely a writer’s mind at work. And although she may consider her writing turnaround on the slow side, I’ve no doubt the results are well worth waiting for. See for yourself:

Blurb for Blood Stitches:

Love and danger intertwine…

It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.

View the book trailer here

Purchase Blood Stitches from:
Kensington/Lyrical Press

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Google
Itunes 

Author, Erin FanningAbout the author:
Erin Fanning spends her summers on a northern Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes. She’s the author of a mountain biking guidebook, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories.

Find Erin at the Following Haunts: 
Website 
Goodreads 
Twitter @WriterErin
Amazon

Rafflecopter Giveway Alert!
Enter to win a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mae Clair Presents: Marked for Magic by Daisy Banks

Today, I’m happy to share in the celebration excitement for my friend and sister author, Daisy Banks. She has a new release, MARKED FOR MAGIC, which she’s dropped by to tell us about. Take it away, Daisy  . . . 🙂

~ooOOoo~

Thank you so much, Mae, for helping me celebrate the release of my latest book, Marked for Magic, published by Lyrical Press, a Kensington Imprint, on the 28th of April 2015.  

I decided that as palmistry was the initial inspiration for this fantasy romance I’d offer you and the readers a little something on palmistry marks.

This image is of the main lines most people have on their palm:

Photo of palm with the main lines used in palmistry readings highlighted in red

1: Life line – 2: Head line – 3: Heart line – 4: Girdle of Venus – 5: Sun line – 6: Mercury line – 7: Fate line

These main lines above and their meanings are fairly well known, but the lesser lines are not quite so well understood and it was these I was studying when I got the idea for Marked for Magic.

For this post I have chosen the teacher’s square. You will find this on the Jupiter mount, the pad of flesh beneath your forefinger, or Jupiter finger. This is the sign of someone who is a teacher, it may not be a school teacher but anyone who tutors, or imparts and shares knowledge on any subject.

Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to know if any of you discover a teacher’s square in your hand. Let me know.

Book cover Marked for Magic by Daisy Banks depicts a woman wearing a flowing red gown in a dark forestBlurb:
The witch mark on Nin’s hand is a curse. She has no magic powers, whatever the lore says. But the village believes. The old crone’s wisdom is to see her banished. Ragged and hungry, she must serve the Mage. Alone in his tower, she is his chattel. But Mage Thabit is not what Nin expected—the bright green eyes and supple form under his cloak are not the stuff of nightmares, and kindness hides in his brusque heart. Thabit senses that Nin is more than she seems, too. When true nightmares haunt the land, it is precisely her elusive powers that might deliver them…

Excerpt:
“After we eat, I will find you something clean to wear. The gown you have on is less than pleasant. What is your favorite color?”

She sat opposite him. “Red.” She picked up the spoon.

“A bold choice.” He placed the porridge in front of her.

This should be easy. His charm on the cloth would show him how susceptible she might be to all manner of magic. While she ate, he went up to his room where he sorted out a long sleeved, knee length tunic he’d worn in his youth. One of the last his mother had made. A good quality cloth, decorated with a little embroidery at the collar. The only patches were on the elbows of each sleeve. Perhaps the tunic would be long enough to gown her small frame. He returned with it tucked under his arm.

She had eaten and sat worrying at the bandage.

“Here, Nin, as fine a red as you will ever see. You can wear this while you wash the dirty gown.”

Her brows drew together. A little wrinkle appeared on the bridge of her nose. She raised a questioning glance as she took the tunic.

Interesting.

“Thabit?” The soft whisper came again along with the down-swept lashes.

Things would be far easier had they not made her so afraid. He picked up the spoon, intrigued by her thoughtful expression. “Yes.”

“This isn’t red. It’s very nicely made, but this is blue. Is it what you meant me to have?”

He dropped the spoon in the bowl. Unless his skills had slipped, his little sparrow had seen through one of his simplest but most effective glamours. “By the gods of the waters, Nin, you may have a talent after all. I know the tunic is blue, but it should fit you well. You put it on.”

Purchase MARKED FOR MAGIC from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble 

itunes 
Kobo 

About the Author:
Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy romance in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. She is an obsessive writer and her focus is to offer the best tale she can to readers. Daisy is married with two grown up sons. She lives in a converted chapel in Shropshire, England. Antiques and collecting entertain Daisy when she isn’t writing and she occasionally makes a meal that doesn’t stick to the pan.

Connect with Daisy at the following haunts:
Blog 
Website 
Twitter @DaisyBanks16
Facebook  
Pinterest 
Tsu 
Amazon 

Mae Clair Presents: Blood Stitches by Erin Fanning #CoverReveal

I love cover reveals, so I’m happy to participate in this one for my Lyrical Press sister, Erin Fanning. Talk about a stunning cover! And I think you’ll find the blurb and excerpt just as intriguing, too. Read on!

Blood Stitches
By Erin Fanning
Coming May 12, 2015 from Lyrical Press

BloodStitchesCover

Love and danger intertwine…

Blurb:
It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.

Excerpt:
A gust of wind scattered leaves across the University of Seattle campus. My hair tangled over my face. New contacts tortured my eyes, and books weighed down my backpack. It didn’t matter. A tornado could have snatched me up. As long as it carried me home and put an end to the anniversary of the worst day of my life.

“Watch out, Gabby.” My best friend Frank thrust his hands deep into the pockets of his pinstriped suit. “We’re being followed by a giant candy corn.”

“Giant candy corn? Yeah, right.” If I turned around, Frank would laugh and say, “Gotcha”, or some other dorky thing. The mind-numbing boredom of Calculus I, our last class of the day, always set Frank off, making him zanier than usual.

“I mean it. We’ve got a candy corn on our tail.” Frank whistled a Lester Ruben song as he sauntered ahead.

“Okay, okay. Let me see this Halloween wonder.” If I didn’t give in, Frank would never leave me alone. I whirled, ready to hear Frank’s laugh, and almost ran into a man. His face glowed orange, like someone who’d spent too much time in a tanning booth, and he wore a white cap pulled down to his ears. A yellow scarf hid his neck and chin. For once, Frank wasn’t kidding. The man resembled a giant candy corn.

Shredded paper and a postage stamp poked out of his scarf, and a moon decorated an edge of the knitting, like one of my older sister Esperanza’s creations. It didn’t seem possible, but no one else I knew added garbage and a signature moon to their knitting. A wool coat covered the rest of him, except his face and steel-tipped boots.

“Sorry.” I jumped back.

Frank’s chuckles mixed with squirrels chattering in a nearby tree. Drizzle moistened my forehead, and a cold dampness seeped into my bones. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, like watching Esperanza unravel her knitting one stitch at a time to fix a mistake.

About the author:
Erin Fanning spends her summers on a northern Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes. She’s the author of Mountain Biking Michigan, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories.

Connect with Erin Fanning at the following haunts:
Website 

Amazon 
Goodreads 
Lyrical  

BloodStitchesBanner

Mae Clair Presents: Editor, Corinne DeMaagd, of Kensington Publishing with a Submission Call and Tips

Stack of typing paper tied up with red ribbon, the word Manuscript in bold across the first pageToday is a special day on The Pen of Mae Clair, as I’ve invited, Corinne DeMaagd, my wonderful editor from Kensington Publishing to drop by to share a few tips about submitting to an editor. The timing was idea, as Corinne had just released a submission call for Lyrical Press, Kensington’s main digital imprint. If you’re finishing up a WIP, or will be in a few months, you may find an ideal fit with one of her acquisition needs below.

Please welcome, Corinne!

~ooOOoo~

Part of my role with Lyrical Press, the main digital imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp, is looking out for new acquisitions.

The good news is this year Lyrical is expanding to take on more than just romance. It is still our main genre, but we are looking to include non-romance titles into our catalog, as well.

As of right now, Kensington are looking for the following for Lyrical:

  • Romantic Suspense
  • Straight Suspense
  • Historical Romance

But saying that, Kensington are open to anything that is awesome. So I’m going to stretch those wants a bit farther. I’d love to also see the following:

  • Young Adult historical romance
  • Young Adult dystopian romance
  • Non-romance Young Adult (and subgenre but no angst please)
  • New Adult – the sexier the better
  • Stories set in non-US locations – from Ireland to the Ukraine to Bangladesh (but please, only stories where the author either has intimate knowledge of these locations or has done some hefty research. I can always tell when a writer is fluffing their setting, and setting is key to good storytelling)
  • Romance with the heroines in a high-stress position such as fighter pilot, helicopter pilot, ship captain, surgeon or nontraditional, male-dominated roles, such as construction, mining, space travel, firefighter, camel trainer – you get the idea. Or maybe even if they just have a quirky position in life that others would find interesting because it’s SO different.
  • Pure fantasy romance. Not UF, but pure worldbuilding fantasy with everything from dragons to warlocks to elves. Higher heat level preferred.
  • Romance that includes current events or problems that we face in our society
  • LGBT but with a strong suspense, thriller or otherwise dynamic plot, not just a characterization plot.

*Please email query, manuscript, and synopsis to: cdemaagd@gmail.com and cc: Martin Biro – mbiro@kensingtonbooks.com

Please allow me a couple months to get back to you, depending on the response from the sub call*

*This Sub Call is good for three months from today.*

Check out the website for info on what Lyrical offers. http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/LYRICALPRESS  

Any book over 60K will be released simultaneously in digital and print!  

Since Mae is one of my roster authors with Kensington, I was happy to pop on by and post my sub call on her blog. You can also see what I am up to at www.cmdediting.com. Mae asked me to mention a few things that I love and hate when I read submissions.

  1. I love a great pace with not too much introspection to bog the story down. Much of what the characters are thinking and feeling can be seen through dialogue and action. There are times where we want a bit of it, but not too much, and never repeat anything that we’ve heard before.
  2. I personally hate action eyes and eyebrows. There’s too much in romance, and in years past, authors have relied heavily on both to relay how a character is feeling. A character has an entire body to express an opinion, and even more so when they use the environment around them. The setting or inanimate objects – anything! So get rid of the furrowed brows and the anguished eyes. Take a seat and observe two people in discussion. Note their actions and see if you can decipher by their body language what they are feeling. How often when you talk to your partner or your kids or your boss or a friend do you recognize what is going on in their eyes and eyebrows?

Happy Writing!
Corinne DeMaagd – Editor

Mae Clair Presents: Twice in a Blue Moon by Cate Masters

Don’t you love that title? 🙂

Today, I’m happy to share in the  excitement over Cate Master’s latest novella, a contemporary release from Kensington Publishing. Check it out!

Twice In A Blue Moon
by Cate Masters

TwiceInABlueMoon-MD

Contemporary romance novella
Publish Date: 1/19/2015
About 48,000 words
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kensington

Blurb
Can true love strike twice?

After the death of her first love, Melanie Michaels buries her grief in the risky demands of a reality show, where her extreme stunts leave her teetering on the edge of danger. That’s exactly where she wants to be—until she arranges for her crew to traverse the Swedish Lapland in the dead of winter. It’s the one place she shouldn’t go, on the one day she should avoid—her would-be wedding anniversary.

Instead of romantic nights spent in the Ice Hotel or under the Northern Lights, Melanie is stuck with Joe “Buck” Wright, a snarky loner tour guide who loves his sled dogs and nothing and no one else. But Buck is also trying to numb a painful past. Can two people skilled at pushing others away find warmth at the edge of the Arctic?

About the Author
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Connect with Cate at the following haunts:
Website 

Email: cate.masters@gmail.com 
Facebook 
Twitter: @CateMasters 

Book video

Advance reviews for TWICE IN A BLUE MOON

“…a great read. It is fun, it is romantic, it is moving.” – Dan Curnett, 5 stars

“…a quick romance read that will undoubtedly leave them wanting more” – Maria, 4 stars

“… a satisfying and enjoyable read” – Jennifer Schultheis, 4 stars

“I really liked this book! It had a unique setting and a hero with a lot of baggage” – JoMarie DeGioia, 4 stars

Excerpt
Buck tried not to drool. “Perfect.” He loved making new friends, especially of the female variety. So long as they didn’t complain about his modus operandus: all fun, zero ties. Repeats happened if the girl abided the rules. And if he didn’t get too attached. Such foolishness led to all manner of drama and heartache. He’d had enough of both. His life had become about survival, and he’d taught himself not to let anyone get close. Not to make himself vulnerable to pain. To live alone and like it.

Klaus set two mugs in front of them and deftly removed a bill from the stack Buck had left on the bar.

Something made him glance up at the television. Maybe Kenny had implanted a subliminal suggestion during their conversation. Damn if the name at the bottom of the screen didn’t read Melanie Michaels. A man spoke into a microphone, then stepped closer to hold it near her.

“No way. That’s her?” He waved at the bartender. “Turn up the volume, will you please, Klaus?”

The camera zoomed in on her face. Features delicate but strong, beautiful but serious. God, that mouth—lips full and wide, and the way they moved as she spoke, he could hardly tear away his gaze. Her large eyes, dark and luminous in the way that had always struck him to the bone. Just like Poppy. She’d turned out to be anything but sweet. More like poisonous, the opium behind the flowery facade an instant addiction that took him years to overcome. He still carried the scars from her acid nectar. Anything and anyone reminding him of his former lover ranked the lowest of low on his shit list.

Melanie Michaels just claimed that spot.

And now he’d have to deal with her every day for almost a week. “Oh man, it’s going to be a grueling six days.” Five, technically. Tomorrow’s meet-and-greet was strictly a formality, though the preliminaries helped him size up his guests so he could better prepare.

Klaus glanced from Buck to the screen and back again. “She’s taking your tour? You lucky bastard.”

Lucky? No. Bastard? Yes, according to some. “Oh yeah. Skol.” He raised his mug and gulped. And gulped.

The blonde assessed him. “You’re a wilderness guide? For which company?”

He tried to sound proud and manly as he said, “Arctic Adventures.”

“I’ve heard about them.” An arch of her brows, and her demeanor turned glacier-cold.

He could only imagine what, exactly, she’d heard. Kenny insisted they stretch their expenses as far as possible. Translation: second-rate accommodations. And hey, it wasn’t his fault if the sled dogs took a dislike to certain clients. They should know better than to leave unpackaged foods unprotected and stow their backpacks away from the team. The dogs had few enough trees upon which to relieve themselves, and he didn’t blame them one bit.

Klaus shot the blonde a dubious, don’t-make-trouble look.

“What? They’ll be famous.” She hid a laugh behind her hand. “No Boundaries will make you a star in America.”

“America.” Ah, hell. Why hadn’t it occurred to him? His family would see him, the friends he’d left behind. And Poppy. Shit. Short of them traveling to Sweden, there’d been no way for any of them to bust him on the lie he’d told. Now they’d know he didn’t work for the prestigious National Geographic tours, but a crap company based in Kiruna. In his last email, he’d boasted of almost having saved enough money to build a log resort better than the world-famous Wilderness Lodge. Fat chance, on his salary.

Me, a star? More like an outcast. Buck heaved a sigh. “I’ve suddenly lost my appetite.” For drinking or anything else.

He grabbed the cash from the bar, left a generous tip, and nodded goodbye to Klaus. He strode to the exit, ignoring the blonde’s taunting calls to come back. The laughter in her lilting tone churned his gut.

Whether he returned to the job at all depended on how badly Melanie Michaels and crew shamed him on video. He’d spend the next six days avoiding the camera, and afterward, crawl into some isolated igloo a dismal failure. He might stay there until global warming melted away the polar ice cap.

Purchase TWICE IN A BLUE MOON from:
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Book Spotlight: Minstrel’s Serenade by Aubrie Dionne #romance #fantasy

CoverMinstrel’s Serenade
By Aubrie Dionne
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing Corp.
Length: 257
Book 1 in the Chronicles of Ebonvale

BLURB:
He’s sworn to protect her, but can he save her from himself?

Danika Rubystone has hated the minstrels ever since her mother ran away with one. As Princess, she’s duty bound to marry Valorian, a minstrel from the House of Song. But problems in the kingdom are mounting. With her father dead she’s the sole heir to an imperiled throne, and wyverns attack Ebonvale’s southern shores. But after Danika finds a lone survivor of a wyvern’s attack who holds the key to protecting the kingdom and she finally meets the enchantingly sly Valorian, everything changes.

As Ebonvale’s Royal Guard sails with the minstrels to smite the uprising of wyverns, Danika dances a line between sticking by duty like her father, or following her wild heart like her mother.

Purchase from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Aubrie DionneAuthor Bio:
Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her books have received the highest ratings from Romance Times Magazine and BTS Magazine, as well as Night Owl Reviews and Two Lips Reviews. She has guest blogged on the USA Today Happy Ever After Blog and the Dear Teen Me blog and signed books at the Boston Book Festival, Barnes and Noble, and the Romance Writers of America conference. Her books are published by HarperImpulse, Entangled Publishing, Astraea Press, Spencer Hill Press, Inkspell Publishing, and Lyrical Press. When she’s not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras.

Connect with Aubrie Dionne at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter:  @authoraubrie