Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Interview! Mark McCullough, author of Vienna's Will

Mark McCullough is the author of the true story, VIENNA’S WILL. He began writing his story over twenty years ago and was encouraged by family and friends to complete the book. “Since its release, I have bonded with others who have had similar experiences and have found that the concept of perhaps helping someone else is not only an amazing feeling, it has helped with my own growth and understanding of what is truly important as well.”
Mark worked in the pool and spa industry for eighteen years then turned to his true passion of helping others. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys spending time with his dog and going to the movies or the local pizza joint with his daughter, Vienna.


Mark has joined us today for a Q&A session!



1. How did I become a writer?

I became a writer as a way of expression. I have always found it to be easier to say what I’m feeling or thinking through written word. Also, I truly enjoy it and see it as an art form in the same way as a painter or a musician. 

2. How was I able to write a book like this without being overcome with emotions and unable to put my thoughts down to tell my story?
That was very hard. Probably the hardest part about writing the book because it’s a memoir so I wasn’t working off of imagination but rather through events that have occurred in my life. Some of which were quite painful to re-visit. However, I knew it was important to get things out of my head and onto paper where I could see it all and make sense of it. I knew there was no way I could grow as a person unless I faced up to the past regardless of how painful I knew it was going to be.

3. How did I get past this roadblock?
I actually wrote a letter to myself before I started the book. It was basically just a list of things affirming why I was writing the book and why it was important. If I ever found myself doubting the process or pondering giving up I would look at it for inspiration.

4. Who are my fave authors?
I have a few. Elmore Leonard is the first to come to mind. Followed closely by Carl Hiassen, James Lee Burke and John Sanford. 

5.  Did I ever plan to be a writer before my life took the turn it did?
I think I would have been a writer on some level regardless of the events in my life. I have always enjoyed reading so I think writing would have been in the picture at some point.

6. What do I want my readers to walk away with after reading VIENNA'S WILL? 
As corny and over spoken as it sounds, that it’s never too late to start over and life is never as bad as we think it is. I know for me, I never thought I would ever get passed some of the moments and events in my life but I have. I want others to realize they can as well if only they would chose to do so. Also, the power of love is the great equalizer for anything that has happened in life. I almost learned that lesson to late but now all I want to do is shout it from the rooftops.

7. What did I learn about myself once I wrote my book?
I learned that I am a lot stronger mentally and emotionally than I ever gave myself credit for. I thought I would get to a certain part in the book and chicken out or at least hold back but I didn’t. That’s what I had done in the past when I started writing it but this time I followed through. I am very proud of that.

8. Am I self-critical of my work as an author?
For sure. I always wonder if I’m truly getting my point across or expressing what I’m thinking. I’m even more critical now because I’m through the first draft of my next book and it’s a fictional piece. At least with Vienna’s Will I had my past memories for guidance, with the current book that I’m working on it’s all coming from imagination.

9.  What is my one major struggle as a writer?
Confidence. What makes me think I can actually do this is something I ask myself often but I enjoy it so much that I just keep going.

10. The one single thing I want my readers to know about me is?
That Vienna’s Will is meant to help others who have struggled down the same path(s) as me. Originally, I was only going to show the book to family but I was encouraged to share it with others. The statement “if it helps even one person” is a daily mantra I say to myself every day.

11. What other titles did I consider before choosing Vienna’s Will?
The starting title was Field #5. So much of who I am and who I was growing up was because of an event that took place at a baseball field near my house growing up. I was afraid that people would mistake it for a sports book so I changed it. I changed it because without my daughters ‘will’ to keep me going I probably wouldn’t be here right now.

12. What frustrates me the most about being a self-published author?
I thought writing the book would be the hard part. It turns out trying to share it with others is far more difficult. 

13. What are my goals for 2016?
I have two. One is to finish my next novel. The second is to start the Vienna’s Will Foundation. Its message will be twofold. First, it will help people who have been sexually abused feel comfortable seeking help for the depression it inevitably brings. And second, I want to be an advocate for suicide awareness and prevention. Too many people young and old are turning to this ultimate decision and it’s my belief that it’s because of the stigma that comes attached to it. They are too afraid or ashamed to ask for help so they see it as their only way out.

14. How do I plan to fund the Foundation?
That’s a tough task for sure. I have been reaching out to other similar organizations for guidance on how they got started and I’m setting aside 25% of the proceeds from Vienna’s Will towards the cause.

15. Last question, how does my daughter Vienna, the inspiration for the book feel after reading it?
I think it really affected her. I kept so much of my past from her. She really had no idea what had happened. I think waiting for her to finish it was the most nerve wracking experience in my life. She could only read a chapter or so at a time because it was very upsetting and emotional for her. It seemed to take forever but I can honestly say that although we were already close before the book, we are much closer and much more open about our lives and what’s going on day to day. I am so grateful to have her in my life and so conscious of the fact that she has gotten me through some of the most difficult times in my life without her even being aware she was doing so. I am truly blessed to call her my daughter.

Title: Vienna’s Will
Author: Mark McCullough
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 254
Genre: Memoir
New author, Mark McCullough, shares his inspirational journey through chronic depression and addiction in VIENNA’S WILL (www.viennaswill.com). After struggling for years to control the negative thoughts that he attempted to quiet with drugs and alcohol, Mark’s life changes when he finds the unconditional love of a little girl and her mother.
In April of 1992, Mark McCullough’s distraught parents delivered their twenty-five-year-old son to Butner Federal Prison after he committed a bank robbery. The court had arranged for the prison to complete a psychiatric evaluation of the troubled young man. Mark had intended for the crime to result in his death.
The author explores a lifetime battle with depression that was a result of sexual abuse by men he trusted and cared for as a child. At ten years old, Mark was obsessed with playing baseball and greatly admired his coach, who treated him like a son. The young boy’s first experience with betrayal came one afternoon when the coach molested him. Mark held the secret of the abuse inside, and it fed his depression for years to come. Later, when Mark was attending a Catholic high school, a priest befriended him and soon revealed his true intentions for forming the relationship.
The anguish of abuse and depression that Mark suffered drove him deeper into a life of drug and alcohol dependency. When Mark moved to Boston to attend college, he dropped out of school after attending one class. Thereafter, Mark spent his time seeking his next high and a place to sleep at night. He sold drugs to support his habit, until one day a friend persuaded him to return home before his addiction killed him.
After returning home, the drug use continued and Mark became suicidal. The plan he conceived that was supposed to lead to his death landed him in prison instead. During the time that Mark spent in prison, he faced anxiety and violence, but he also found companionship, as well as support from the psychiatrist responsible for his evaluation.
Mark continued to struggle with his addiction and depression for several years after his release from prison. Then he met the woman who would become his wife and her then four-year-old daughter, Vienna. Mark credits them with changing his life. The love of his daughter, Vienna, pulled Mark from the darkness and renewed his gratitude for his life and his family.
Mark’s decision to share his story of addiction, abuse, and mental illness came after many years of keeping secrets from his family and loved ones. “Some of the experiences I speak of in the book, some of the things I thought would stay hidden within me forever, needed to be spoken about and explained to people in my life who care about me and love me.”
The author hopes that VIENNA’S WILL will shed light on sexual abuse, addiction, and depression and help other people to face these issues in their lives and in the lives of others. Mark says, “So much of what happens in the book has, in some way, affected a great deal of people in our society, but they feel resistant to express it or discuss it. Whether it’s them personally, a friend, a family member, or even a coworker, if the book inspires them to help themselves or others, it will have served its true purpose.”
In VIENNA’S WILL, Mark reveals that the love and support of his family, especially from his daughter, Vienna, has been a powerful catalyst in his recovery and his decision to embrace life after so many years of enduring emotional hardship. The author states that he often “smiles at the thought of a child and her unconditional love being strong enough to overcome all the events of the past.”

For More Information

Book Excerpt:
We approached a series of doors, then descended down a long set of steps and walked through a maze of never ending corridors. It felt as if we were plunging into the dark depths of hell, like we were headed to someplace that once you entered, you would never find your way back. A one way ticket to nowhere. Everything was concrete and steel. The light was bright in my eyes and showed every stain and blemish that had accumulated over the years. It all seemed unfit for an animal, never mind anything associated with the human race. The guard grabbed my arm and finally spoke. “Stop right here.”
I turned to face a door with a single keyhole and a small, narrow slit. It was marred with deep scratches and riddled with dents. I knew for sure that I didn’t want to know how any of it got there, nor the likely aggression needed to make its presence known.
I’m gonna take these cuffs off. No funny business, hear?”
He started to loosen the cuffs.
How long do you have son?”
I’m not sure. I’m here on an evaluation.”
He paused with the key still in the cuffs then said, “Opened ended, pending?”
Yes, sir.”
He whistled and I could see him shaking his head from the corner of my eye. He keyed the cuffs, then the door, then he spun me toward him. I can’t imagine that was protocol but I’m sure in his eyes, I didn’t present much of a danger.
What’d you do?”
Robbed a bank.”
He paused.
Armed?”
Yes.”
Gun?”
I took a deep breath and exhaled.
Yes.”
And you’re here on evaluation?”
Yes, sir.”
Bank robbery with a gun and you’re here on evaluation?”
He shook his head, and sighed quietly.
Things didn’t go quite as planned.” I said.
What’s that mean?”
I didn’t answer.
Damn shame. It’d be better to have 5-10, at least then you’d know where you stand.”
He led me inside and closed the door behind me. As he did he said, “Look through the slot son. Down here.”
I knelt down and listened as he spoke through the opening that I would later learn is how my meals would be dispersed to me.
I’m gonna give you some advice whether you want it or not. Understand?”
Yes, sir.”
Tell the docs’ you want to do your time down here, got me?”
Why?”
Have you ever been in prison son? In any jail of any kind?”
No, sir.”
Then believe me when I tell you this, anything down here is better than everything up there. Understand?”
No sir, I don’t.”
Just trust me. I don’t understand why you’re here, and I don’t much care to understand it. That’s not for me to judge. That’s not the man I am, but listen…. the yard is no place for someone like you. Good luck son, and God bless you.”
I heard his steps grow softer as he left me alone with his words. I knew what he meant but tried not to allow myself to process its true meaning. I turned to face my surroundings. My new home was approximately eight feet by ten feet. The bed was on my right and appeared to be molded straight into the wall. The mattress was thin and coated with stains. A stainless steel toilet sat to my left. I wasn’t certain, but it appeared that some type of satanic emblem was etched into the floor directly beneath my feet. I could hear screaming and pounding from somewhere down the hall and a guard screaming back telling whoever it was to shut the fuck up. I slid down the wall and slumped to the floor and for the first time realized my shoes were two different sizes. One a nine, the other an eleven. I looked back up at the setting before me and leaned back on the door and thought that I could actually hear my heart pounding. I was sure it was going to burst.




Friday, 18 December 2015

Spotlight! The Imparting - Heather Letto


Imparting
Heather Letto
(Ascension #3)
Publication date: December 15th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia
The clock is ticking.
Chan has been chosen to deliver the good news and healing antidote… If his body doesn’t reject the antibodies.
Pete, who has been imprisoned and tortured by the Council, has been selected by Retter to be ambassador to the residents. But, does he possess the authority needed to persuade an entire city of skeptics?
And, while in the Open Air, Fran struggles with her own failures questioning whether she’ll always be an outcast living on the fringe of society.
In this final installment of The Ascension Series, love, sacrifice, and forgiveness go head to head with evil in an effort to save a city.
And a girl.


Previous books in the series:

20986914 25355679


Ascension Series Book Trailer:



EXCERPT:

She smiled.
Although she couldn’t kill an inanimate object, Fran knew she could easily take out a small lens. She glanced around, hoping to distinguish the Graphie in front her from his life-giving light source. Because of the darkened backdrop, for the first time, Fran was easily able to follow one of his beams to a nearby potted palm. She hurried to the plant and squatted low, feeling around for anything plastic or metal. Her fingers lit under a green-tinged beam, and she moved her hand along the surface. When she felt the nub, Fran smiled and stood. With the toe of her hard boot, she kicked the lens until she felt it shatter. Fran shot a glance over her shoulder to check on the guard, thrilled to see he had taken on a strange, two-dimensional shape. She scanned the area for another beam.
The gaming board.
Fran hurried to the board and ran her hand along the pole that it sat upon. With her arm fully extended overhead, she felt the nub. Too high to kick. She looked around for something to hit it with when an idea struck her. After running back to the plant, she grabbed a handful of glass stones from the pot and pulled the sling from her side. Load, swing, and release.
Although Fran couldn’t hear the whistle of the stone over the Agora’s white noise, the undeniable crack of the lens reached her ears as bits of plastic flew from the pole. She whipped around to face the Graphie again, but now only a single red beam of light pulsed where he had stood. She followed the red beam to the leg of a nearby bench and laughed out loud as she wound up and launched her stone. The last ray died out and as the area darkened, Fran could hear a chatter rise from the small crowd of residents now released from the Graphie’s hold.




Heather Letto was born in the hills of Ohio and raised in the 'burbs of Chicago yet fancies herself a stranger in a stranger world. She wears her creativity like a second skin and is immensely grateful to her heavenly Father who gives good gifts. Her debut novel, Impervious, is the first book of The Ascension series, a trilogy written for young adults.






XBT250

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Book Trailer! Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette - L. Davis Munro




About the book

Title: Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette
Author: L. Davis Munro
Genre: Historical Fiction
Being an independent woman in 1913 London is certainly empowering, but Emmy Nation is tired of the inescapable damp seeping through her worn shoes and the hopeless grumblings of her stomach.
When she receives an offer from Scotland Yard to boost her typist income by spying on the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), Emmy jumps at the chance. But as she grows closer to the WSPU women the lines begin to blur, and when a painful part of her past resurfaces Emmy begins to question her choices.
How far are you willing to go to secure your equality?


Author Bio

L. Davis Munro holds a master’s degree with a focus on women’s suffrage theatre and works in theatre and dance. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with her husband and her dog.







Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Giveaway! Author Mia Darien Prize Packs!

Mia Darien is giving away free stuff!


The Prizes

One (1) Adelheid Prize Pack
One (1) Here, Kitty Kitty Prize Pack
One (1) Bellator Prize Pack
One (1) Amor Vincit Omnia Prize Pack
One (1) International/Digital Prize Pack

Restrictions

All of the physical prize packs are restricted to US/Canada mailing addresses, but there is an international prize pack with a bunch of ebooks and a gift card to Amazon. Every physical prize pack will have a physical copy of the book, signed bookmark, and a collection of book-related items.

The Giveaway


About Mia

Born a Connecticut Yankee in nobody's court, Mia Darien grew up to brave snow and talk fast. She started reading when she was three and never looked back, soon frequently falling asleep with a book under her cheek. (Something she still does, though these days it’s her Nook as often as a paperback.) 

At eleven, she discovered Night Mare by Piers Anthony and entered the world of grown-up fantasy fiction and it was all over from there. She started writing at fourteen, then met vampires as a teenager and the concept for what would become Adelheid was soon born. Epic fantasy remains her first love, but she enjoys writing whatever stories come to mind in any genre. 

Now she loves both writing and helping her indie community with her freelancing. A geek till the end, she enjoys role-play by email games and World of Warcraft when she has the time. Married to her very own Named Man of the North, she lives with him, their mini-tank (also known as their son) and pets, who usually act more childish than the child.

She is the author of the urban fantasy series Adelheid, and several anthologies for charity. You can find her at her website, or the following social media.

  

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Interview! Mark McCullough, author of Vienna’s Will

Mark McCullough is the author of the true story, VIENNA’S WILL. He began writing his story over twenty years ago and was encouraged by family and friends to complete the book. “Since its release, I have bonded with others who have had similar experiences and have found that the concept of perhaps helping someone else is not only an amazing feeling, it has helped with my own growth and understanding of what is truly important as well.”
Mark worked in the pool and spa industry for eighteen years then turned to his true passion of helping others. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys spending time with his dog and going to the movies or the local pizza joint with his daughter, Vienna.


Mark has joined us today for a Q&A session!



1. How did I become a writer?
I became a writer as a way of expression. I have always found it to be easier to say what I’m feeling or thinking through written word. Also, I truly enjoy it and see it as an art form in the same way as a painter or a musician. 

2. How was I able to write a book like this without being overcome with emotions and unable to put my thoughts down to tell my story?
That was very hard. Probably the hardest part about writing the book because it’s a memoir so I wasn’t working off of imagination but rather through events that have occurred in my life. Some of which were quite painful to re-visit. However, I knew it was important to get things out of my head and onto paper where I could see it all and make sense of it. I knew there was no way I could grow as a person unless I faced up to the past regardless of how painful I knew it was going to be.

3. How did I get past this roadblock?
I actually wrote a letter to myself before I started the book. It was basically just a list of things affirming why I was writing the book and why it was important. If I ever found myself doubting the process or pondering giving up I would look at it for inspiration.

4. Who are my fave authors?
I have a few. Elmore Leonard is the first to come to mind. Followed closely by Carl Hiassen, James Lee Burke and John Sanford. 

5.  Did I ever plan to be a writer before my life took the turn it did?
I think I would have been a writer on some level regardless of the events in my life. I have always enjoyed reading so I think writing would have been in the picture at some point.

6. What do I want my readers to walk away with after reading VIENNA'S WILL? 
As corny and over spoken as it sounds, that it’s never too late to start over and life is never as bad as we think it is. I know for me, I never thought I would ever get passed some of the moments and events in my life but I have. I want others to realize they can as well if only they would chose to do so. Also, the power of love is the great equalizer for anything that has happened in life. I almost learned that lesson to late but now all I want to do is shout it from the rooftops.

7. What did I learn about myself once I wrote my book?
I learned that I am a lot stronger mentally and emotionally than I ever gave myself credit for. I thought I would get to a certain part in the book and chicken out or at least hold back but I didn’t. That’s what I had done in the past when I started writing it but this time I followed through. I am very proud of that.

8. Am I self-critical of my work as an author?
For sure. I always wonder if I’m truly getting my point across or expressing what I’m thinking. I’m even more critical now because I’m through the first draft of my next book and it’s a fictional piece. At least with Vienna’s Will I had my past memories for guidance, with the current book that I’m working on it’s all coming from imagination.

9.  What is my one major struggle as a writer?
Confidence. What makes me think I can actually do this is something I ask myself often but I enjoy it so much that I just keep going.

10. The one single thing I want my readers to know about me is?
That Vienna’s Will is meant to help others who have struggled down the same path(s) as me. Originally, I was only going to show the book to family but I was encouraged to share it with others. The statement “if it helps even one person” is a daily mantra I say to myself every day.

11. What other titles did I consider before choosing Vienna’s Will?
The starting title was Field #5. So much of who I am and who I was growing up was because of an event that took place at a baseball field near my house growing up. I was afraid that people would mistake it for a sports book so I changed it. I changed it because without my daughters ‘will’ to keep me going I probably wouldn’t be here right now.

12. What frustrates me the most about being a self-published author?
I thought writing the book would be the hard part. It turns out trying to share it with others is far more difficult. 

13. What are my goals for 2016?
I have two. One is to finish my next novel. The second is to start the Vienna’s Will Foundation. Its message will be twofold. First, it will help people who have been sexually abused feel comfortable seeking help for the depression it inevitably brings. And second, I want to be an advocate for suicide awareness and prevention. Too many people young and old are turning to this ultimate decision and it’s my belief that it’s because of the stigma that comes attached to it. They are too afraid or ashamed to ask for help so they see it as their only way out.

14. How do I plan to fund the Foundation?
That’s a tough task for sure. I have been reaching out to other similar organizations for guidance on how they got started and I’m setting aside 25% of the proceeds from Vienna’s Will towards the cause.

15. Last question, how does my daughter Vienna, the inspiration for the book feel after reading it?
I think it really affected her. I kept so much of my past from her. She really had no idea what had happened. I think waiting for her to finish it was the most nerve wracking experience in my life. She could only read a chapter or so at a time because it was very upsetting and emotional for her. It seemed to take forever but I can honestly say that although we were already close before the book, we are much closer and much more open about our lives and what’s going on day to day. I am so grateful to have her in my life and so conscious of the fact that she has gotten me through some of the most difficult times in my life without her even being aware she was doing so. I am truly blessed to call her my daughter.

Title: Vienna’s Will
Author: Mark McCullough
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 254
Genre: Memoir
New author, Mark McCullough, shares his inspirational journey through chronic depression and addiction in VIENNA’S WILL (www.viennaswill.com). After struggling for years to control the negative thoughts that he attempted to quiet with drugs and alcohol, Mark’s life changes when he finds the unconditional love of a little girl and her mother.
In April of 1992, Mark McCullough’s distraught parents delivered their twenty-five-year-old son to Butner Federal Prison after he committed a bank robbery. The court had arranged for the prison to complete a psychiatric evaluation of the troubled young man. Mark had intended for the crime to result in his death.
The author explores a lifetime battle with depression that was a result of sexual abuse by men he trusted and cared for as a child. At ten years old, Mark was obsessed with playing baseball and greatly admired his coach, who treated him like a son. The young boy’s first experience with betrayal came one afternoon when the coach molested him. Mark held the secret of the abuse inside, and it fed his depression for years to come. Later, when Mark was attending a Catholic high school, a priest befriended him and soon revealed his true intentions for forming the relationship.
The anguish of abuse and depression that Mark suffered drove him deeper into a life of drug and alcohol dependency. When Mark moved to Boston to attend college, he dropped out of school after attending one class. Thereafter, Mark spent his time seeking his next high and a place to sleep at night. He sold drugs to support his habit, until one day a friend persuaded him to return home before his addiction killed him.
After returning home, the drug use continued and Mark became suicidal. The plan he conceived that was supposed to lead to his death landed him in prison instead. During the time that Mark spent in prison, he faced anxiety and violence, but he also found companionship, as well as support from the psychiatrist responsible for his evaluation.
Mark continued to struggle with his addiction and depression for several years after his release from prison. Then he met the woman who would become his wife and her then four-year-old daughter, Vienna. Mark credits them with changing his life. The love of his daughter, Vienna, pulled Mark from the darkness and renewed his gratitude for his life and his family.
Mark’s decision to share his story of addiction, abuse, and mental illness came after many years of keeping secrets from his family and loved ones. “Some of the experiences I speak of in the book, some of the things I thought would stay hidden within me forever, needed to be spoken about and explained to people in my life who care about me and love me.”
The author hopes that VIENNA’S WILL will shed light on sexual abuse, addiction, and depression and help other people to face these issues in their lives and in the lives of others. Mark says, “So much of what happens in the book has, in some way, affected a great deal of people in our society, but they feel resistant to express it or discuss it. Whether it’s them personally, a friend, a family member, or even a coworker, if the book inspires them to help themselves or others, it will have served its true purpose.”
In VIENNA’S WILL, Mark reveals that the love and support of his family, especially from his daughter, Vienna, has been a powerful catalyst in his recovery and his decision to embrace life after so many years of enduring emotional hardship. The author states that he often “smiles at the thought of a child and her unconditional love being strong enough to overcome all the events of the past.”

For More Information

Book Excerpt:
We approached a series of doors, then descended down a long set of steps and walked through a maze of never ending corridors. It felt as if we were plunging into the dark depths of hell, like we were headed to someplace that once you entered, you would never find your way back. A one way ticket to nowhere. Everything was concrete and steel. The light was bright in my eyes and showed every stain and blemish that had accumulated over the years. It all seemed unfit for an animal, never mind anything associated with the human race. The guard grabbed my arm and finally spoke. “Stop right here.”
I turned to face a door with a single keyhole and a small, narrow slit. It was marred with deep scratches and riddled with dents. I knew for sure that I didn’t want to know how any of it got there, nor the likely aggression needed to make its presence known.
I’m gonna take these cuffs off. No funny business, hear?”
He started to loosen the cuffs.
How long do you have son?”
I’m not sure. I’m here on an evaluation.”
He paused with the key still in the cuffs then said, “Opened ended, pending?”
Yes, sir.”
He whistled and I could see him shaking his head from the corner of my eye. He keyed the cuffs, then the door, then he spun me toward him. I can’t imagine that was protocol but I’m sure in his eyes, I didn’t present much of a danger.
What’d you do?”
Robbed a bank.”
He paused.
Armed?”
Yes.”
Gun?”
I took a deep breath and exhaled.
Yes.”
And you’re here on evaluation?”
Yes, sir.”
Bank robbery with a gun and you’re here on evaluation?”
He shook his head, and sighed quietly.
Things didn’t go quite as planned.” I said.
What’s that mean?”
I didn’t answer.
Damn shame. It’d be better to have 5-10, at least then you’d know where you stand.”
He led me inside and closed the door behind me. As he did he said, “Look through the slot son. Down here.”
I knelt down and listened as he spoke through the opening that I would later learn is how my meals would be dispersed to me.
I’m gonna give you some advice whether you want it or not. Understand?”
Yes, sir.”
Tell the docs’ you want to do your time down here, got me?”
Why?”
Have you ever been in prison son? In any jail of any kind?”
No, sir.”
Then believe me when I tell you this, anything down here is better than everything up there. Understand?”
No sir, I don’t.”
Just trust me. I don’t understand why you’re here, and I don’t much care to understand it. That’s not for me to judge. That’s not the man I am, but listen…. the yard is no place for someone like you. Good luck son, and God bless you.”
I heard his steps grow softer as he left me alone with his words. I knew what he meant but tried not to allow myself to process its true meaning. I turned to face my surroundings. My new home was approximately eight feet by ten feet. The bed was on my right and appeared to be molded straight into the wall. The mattress was thin and coated with stains. A stainless steel toilet sat to my left. I wasn’t certain, but it appeared that some type of satanic emblem was etched into the floor directly beneath my feet. I could hear screaming and pounding from somewhere down the hall and a guard screaming back telling whoever it was to shut the fuck up. I slid down the wall and slumped to the floor and for the first time realized my shoes were two different sizes. One a nine, the other an eleven. I looked back up at the setting before me and leaned back on the door and thought that I could actually hear my heart pounding. I was sure it was going to burst.




Monday, 14 December 2015

Spotlight! Society’s Most Scandalous Viscount - Annabelle Bryant


Title: Society’s Most Scandalous Viscount
Author: Annabelle Bryant
Genre: Historical Romance

When rules are made to be broken…
Viscount Kellaway may sound like a gentleman, but he doesn’t act like one. As far as Kell is concerned, drink, women and the wrong side of the law are much more attractive indulgences than could be found in polite society – much to the scandal of the ton.
With all of Brighton’s women to choose from, Kell has never settled for one – and his devilish good looks have meant he’s never had to. But when he spies Angelica Curtis walking on the beach by moonlight, the living vision of a familiar dream, all that changes.
Suddenly, Kell finds himself craving the touch of a single woman…and it just so happens that the woman in question won’t have him! But if Kell’s bad ways have taught him anything, it’s that nothing is truly out of bounds…


Author Bio
Anabelle began reading at age three and never stopped.  Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born.  Happy to grab a suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel, especially imaginary jaunts into Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey.  Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn't want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl?
Though teaching keeps her grounded, photography, running and writing, counterbalance her wanderlust.  Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle earned her Master's Degree and is completing her Doctorate Degree in education.  Thrilled to be an author for Harlequin's Carina line, Anabelle's historical romances are character driven.  She strives to provide a heartfelt connection between her hero, heroine, and the reader, believing the emotional journey on the path to true love is the most important bond.  Clever secondary characters and lively conversation keep the pages turning.
Anabelle knows sometimes life doesn't provide a happily ever after, but her novels always do.  She enjoys talking with her fans.  Follow her on Facebook for the latest news concerning her upcoming novels. Visit AnabelleBryant.com to join her newsletter and follow at Twitter and Pinterest.


Links




Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Spotlight! House of Royals - Keary Taylor


House of Royals
Keary Taylor
(House of Royals, #1)
Publication date: June 21st 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal
If you loved BRANDED, you won’t want to miss HOUSE OF ROYALS, Keary Taylor’s newest dark, romantic read.
Every town has its history and skeletons, but Silent Bend, Mississippi’s are darker than most. Ruled from the shadows by the House—the immortal Born and their aging, enslaved Bitten—everyone knows not to go out after dark and that the police will never look into crimes involving blood.
Alivia Ryan didn’t know the man who claims to be her father through a will even existed until she inherits the Conrath plantation. Instead of the sleepy house she expects, she finds a mansion and a staff who look at her with fear in their eyes.
Ian Ward tried to kill Alivia the first time they met, and then insisted he train her to defend herself against the House, who he claims will try to manipulate and take her in for their own political reasons. And the growing attraction between them will threaten their lives—Ian is a sworn enemy of the House.
In Silent Bend, people disappear, the threat of a demented King and the legend of his resurrecting Queen hang over everyone’s heads, and proving loyalty means far more than blood. You’d better watch who you trust in this town…

EXCERPT:
“What are you doing here?” he hisses, pulling me close. His lips tickle my ear. His hand on my waist slips low and his fingers dig into my skin just a little.
The breath catches in my chest and every nerve ending in my body goes crazy. The music surges, and this night suddenly feels too big for me to breathe.
“I’m not lying down and taking a fate I didn’t ask for,” I manage. My fingers cling hard to Ian’s shoulder. I can feel the muscles beneath his clothes tense and tighten. And suddenly, I’m back to the days at his cabin, when he’d come walking out of the shower with only a towel and I pretended not to look. I know what his bare skin looks like, and I’m craving another glimpse.
“They won’t care about a show of good faith,” he says. “Do you have any idea what this party is even for?”
My silence is his answer.
“They throw this party once a year and offer massive amounts of alcohol so that people won’t remember the blackouts that come from being fed on.”
My eyes dart to that door at the back of the room. The blood on the woman’s shoulder. The blood in the corner of the man’s mouth.
“They’re feeding on the party attendees,” I say.
Ian nods. His scratchy cheek brushes mine. “The bite numbs and makes you forget, but people tend to realize they blacked out. A party like this with this much booze, you brush it off. It’s the one time a year they feed freely upon the townspeople. It’s the only way to keep people from asking too many questions.”
It’s terrifying and horrifying, and I’m suddenly wondering if the man was asking me to dance as my turn to be fed upon.
“It’s bad, but I have to do something, Ian,” I breathe.
“Walking into the fire isn’t the way to do it,” he whispers into my ear.




Keary Taylor grew up along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she started creating imaginary worlds and daring characters who always fell in love. She now resides on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two young children. She continues to have an overactive imagination that frequently keeps her up at night. She is the author of THE EDEN TRILOGY, the FALL OF ANGELS trilogy, and WHAT I DIDN'T SAY. To learn more about Keary and her writing process, please visit www.KearyTaylor.com.





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Monday, 7 December 2015

Spotlight! Wicked Beautiful - J.T. Geissinger


Wicked Beautiful
J.T. Geissinger
Publication date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
Life coach and best-selling author Victoria Price has it all: a successful career, fabulous friends, a fantastic penthouse in Manhattan. What she doesn’t have—and doesn’t want—is a husband. Fifteen years ago her high school flame broke her heart so badly she swore she’d never love again. Now she makes millions teaching other women how to be just like her: a ruthless bitch.
Drop-dead sexy restauranteur and infamous playboy Parker Maxwell has only three rules for the women he dates: no questions about his past, no expectations for the future, and no spending the night. When he meets Victoria, however, he’s willing to break his own rules if it means sating the explosive desire she arouses in him. What he doesn’t know is that the alluring Victoria Price used to be the mousy Isabel Diaz, the girl he deflowered and dumped long ago.
Presented with a perfect opportunity for revenge, Victoria decides the game is on. But when her connection with Parker proves more than just skin deep, she has to make a choice: continue with her plan for payback, or risk her career, her reputation, and her heart by taking a second chance on love?

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Author Bio:
J.T. Geissinger is an award winning and #1 internationally best-selling author of smart, sexy romance.
She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and was a finalist for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers' Best, National Readers' Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.
Cat lover, wine enthusiast, and nap connoisseur, she lives in California with her husband, on whom all her heroes are based.
To receive notification of new releases, sign up for her newsletter at www.jtgeissinger.com




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Friday, 4 December 2015

Spotlight! Beautifully Shattered - Courtney Kristel

What would you do if your world fell apart right before your eyes? If everything you held dear was stolen before you had a chance to say goodbye, would you give up or keep fighting? Adalynn Maxwell didn’t decide to give up. She was robbed of her choice.

After years of therapy, Adalynn finally wants to move on and her brother’s sexy best friend Jax lures her further out of her shell. But she doesn’t understand his game and he changes the rules at every turn, making her fall into the waiting arms of the mysterious Doctor Kohen Daniels, whom she can’t seem to avoid. She’s terrified of trusting him, but something about him makes her want to bare her soul.

Adalynn is desperate for that all-consuming love she reads about, but doesn’t believe she deserves it. Her desperation to prove to Jax that she isn’t a little girl anymore may ruin her forever. One wrong decision can change her entire future. She has one last choice to make, but will it be ripped away from her like everything else? Will she pay the ultimate price?




Courtney Kristel graduated from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, but she couldn’t shake her true passion for writing. She’s currently working on the second novel of the Beautifully Series, Beautifully Mended. When she isn’t creating stories to share with the world, Courtney usually has a book in her hands or is searching for new music to add to her writing playlist.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Beautifully Shattered.






Visit Courtney Kristel’s website.
Connect with Courtney on Facebook and Twitter.
Find out more about Courtney at Goodreads.
Visit Courtney’s blog.




Friday, 27 November 2015

Blade's Edge - Virginia McClain

Mishi and Taka--childhood friends from a Japanese orphanage--each hold a secret power. They are torn apart before they hit double digit "cycles" and are trained in their respective strengths. Ultimately, they are reunited to fight an evil regime/force using their honed powers.

I enjoyed the book and the concept. I also liked a theme that empowered young women in a male-dominated society (hello, whole wide world).

What I didn't particularly enjoy was the repetitive nature of certain descriptions/measurements/etc--intended to be lyrical--but after reading them the first couple of times, they became *slightly* annoying each time afterwards. I also must agree with another reviewer (different site) who mentioned the simplicity of the climax and things coming a tad too easily once folks discovered the truth.

All in all, an enjoyable read. Highly likeable characters that you root for throughout, in magnificent settings captured by the author's detailed narrative. Well written and very well done for a debut, full length novel!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

FOUR STARS

Amazon Link: Blade's Edge





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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Valley of Amazement - Amy Tan

I am at a loss as to why there are so many negative reviews on this magnificent piece of work. I have long been a Tan fan, and this novel in no way diminished my regard. It took me only two and a half days to gobble up 613 pages because I could not [despite my husband begging] put it down.

For those who don't closely follow her work, "The Valley of Amazement" is the follow up to Tan's short story "Rules for Virgins". I read the latter in 2011 and a soft spot for Magic Gourd was secured in my heart two full years before reading this novel.

I won't go into a long synopsis since you can read that in the book description yourself. What I will say is that both Violet and Lucia become likeable characters, although they hardly are at first. They grow on you very quickly in the read when you begin to empathize with their horrible situations and all that led them there. It ends brilliantly, with hope and reflection, from a journey only a writer as penetrative as Amy Tan can produce.

Very, very, very well done.

FIVE STARS

Amazon link: The Valley of Amazement

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.