Friday, August 30, 2013

Find strength and hope from bellydancing author Katherine Varn in 'Ameera Unveiled'

Author Katherine Varn took some precious time to talk to us about beautiful women and the power of bellydancing and being free, as well as being a writer. Please feel free to leave her a comment or ask her more questions below!

What was the inspiration behind 'Ameera Unveiled'?
I was blessed to retire from a twenty-three year career working for an attorney and started to make a bucket list of things to do. Also, since my re-marriage, I was relieved of more and more responsibility that allowed me to pursue things I had ‘wanted’ to do but had to shelve as a mom and sole supporter of my household. Ameera Unveiled is the story of an empty nester’s desire to pursue a forbidden zone—dance. I’m a huge advocate for anyone identifying fears or weaknesses and conquering them. From my own experiences, a sense of humor is a must when extracting splinters from life’s blunders.

In addition, I love the strength of women but also the softer, glittery side as well. I am not against equality or the feminist movement, but I love the bonds of women. I think it was vital for survival in tribes and pre-industrial society. So, I wanted to explore Ameera’s longing to dance and belong to a tribe.
How much do you have Kat, the main character, have in common?
I suspect most of my novel’s story draws from a wealth of life experience from being part of a military family. I was blessed to be raised among Baby Boomers with lots of imagination, a degree of innocence and all experiencing huge cultural changes. I’ll admit that most of my character can be reflective of my own decision to chase a childhood dream to dance. Kat/Ameera’s marital relationship is a reflection of my soul mate and me that I hope tells anyone that desires to find a deep friendship with a mate—it can happen. But, it is also crucial to know and love one’s self in order to not take too much from a relationship.

Like my character, Kat, my faith is a very sensitive and prized influence for my own moral compass. Although I profess Christianity, I am fascinated with messages from the universe, delivered in ways and places you’d never expect to find them. So, a lot of my belief system can manifest in the character.
What message do you hope readers take from this book?
I hope that readers resonate to one or more of the characters and how they found their voices or backbones. Life doesn’t come with a script and sometimes choices give unanticipated results. Women have an amazing ability to form bonds and lifelong friendships through a large variety of common grounds. Dancing, bridge clubs and art, to name a few. Unfortunately, reality television tends to spin or edit housewives or bad girls as the normal stereotype. And, I love resilient and solution minded problem solvers. It’s all about taking a misadventure and turning it into an adventure.
This is obviously a book geared toward women. What could men learn by reading your book?
Sometimes I think men miss how much women need a variety of emotional attachments because of the multi-tasking exercised through all the plates we juggle. In general, women have an innate need to please that can easily be taken advantage of. Ameera Unveiled shows the importance of males to support females, whether they’re mates, daughters or sisters. Women need to refresh themselves appropriately through various stages of life. I’ve watched insensitive men oppress and suppress the need to nurture the little girl that resides in all of women.

My husband is currently reading my book and I asked him your question. His response was it is a humorous story of a character facing her fears and making friendships along the way like women have a special way of doing. He came from a family with four sisters, so he may have a slight advantage regarding being around girls.
I have heard of belly dancing many times as a method for women to break out of themselves, no matter their body type. What is so freeing about this dance form?
That is such a great question because it will be subjective to any wanna-be-dancer that falls in love with belly dancing. I chose it because most other dance forms required a partner and this was a journey all about me. Most of my life there was very little “me.” In my 20s and 30s, I yielded to supporting and promoting of those in my charge. In my late 40s, the glitter at the end of the dance class lured me to seek a happy, safe place to explore finding my neglected inner goddess.

Somewhere back in time, the goddess/priestess was extracted from spiritual traditions. Belly dance was a cultural and impactful dance for women about women. It was about expulsion and disciplinary isolations that benefited in child birth, celebratory breaks from mundane chores and the joy of older women instructing the younger generations. To some degree, Americans have lost ceremonial dance practices.

My dance troupe (Palmetto Oasis Middle Eastern Dance Troupe) makes me laugh as we stumble into our synchronized dance spots or miss counts and drop minor profanities as we start over to get it together. It helps me put down my list of things I have to get done and escape into a happy place with other women joined by a hip scarf. Personally, I love the costume but fight to embrace performance spotlights.

It’s absolutely true that belly dancing isn’t about size, shape or looks. It is about learning to be a free spirit and retaining your inner child with other women intent on capturing the same jewel. As I found my way to my first class, I followed my inner voice and hooked up with the wonderful group of women that accepted me at my level of experience. It was like Richard Gere’s film…. “Shall we Dance?”
How do you convince women to take the plunge and become involved in belly dancing?
I think that is a very complex and layered question. Not all women are called to the platform of dancing. BUT, if you are… keep testing the water of belly dance to find your own love. Belly dancing has many expressions. Egyptian, Turkish, ATS, Southern Fusion or Tribal. There are so many amazing workshops out there. I’ve taken with Suhaila and Jamilla Salimpour in Albany, CA. I attended Ansuya’s workshop in Athens, GA. My troupe supports and attends classes promoted through other dance groups in South Carolina.

I’ve accepted and rejected certain dance interpretations. It is about what makes your joy meter soar. I’m happy to trade in my calico apron for a noisy pink coin scarf.
Kat is seeking fulfillment by being part of a group of women. Why do women need to have a core group in their lives?
In my first marriage, I was involved in a lot of marriage counseling and Christian couples workshops. Some males will never understand the need for women to have a bond with something outside of the ‘spouse.’ Men tend to make relationships through work—hunting and gathering. She is tending the fire, raising the children, managing the finances and sometimes providing a side income. Sometimes that crusader, sailor or salesman didn’t make it home… and there was no internet or forensic channel! Women needed to know how to find Plan B.

There is nothing wrong with asking the valuable opinion of the women who forged ahead of you. Find and embrace their footprints in the sand. My favorite word for most of the women I know?

How does writing fulfill you as a person?
Because I fell in love with words and the stories that took me outside of my very responsible role as the oldest daughter/sister, I think it drew me to journal. As I journaled, short stories found their way to my portfolio. I released many hurts, triumphs and growth spurts.

Fonts are my friend… unless I hit Writer’s Block! To me, writing leaves a trail that hopefully speaks to generations behind me when I fulfill my destiny.
On what other projects are you currently working?
Between juggling social media and Ameera chores, I try and research for my next idea. I’ve had a few readers ask if there could be a sequel. I didn’t think there was a way to accomplish it until a recent pitch by one of my troupe members. In addition, while attending Faulkner’s Words & Music Festival, an agent suggested another idea because of my childhood being heavily influenced by the family’s military career. Unfortunately, there is so much time trying to promote Ameera Unveiled that hunks of writing time are not as available.
You love to travel. What has been one of your grandest adventures?
My husband and I are scuba divers. We were fortunate to be invited to join our dive shop owners’ trip to Truk Lagoon in Micronesia. The wrecks on the bottom were as a result of Operation Hailstorm in retaliation of Pearl Harbor. The ships have become homes to indigenous sea life but are eerily haunting in that they were watery graves for the Japanese soldiers. Again, because of my fathers’ Naval careers, it had a little more meaning for me.

I find world travels to be amazing and hard to label one grander. While attending a family wedding in New Zealand, we fell in love with the Kiwi lifestyle and communities. It was as if we had gone back in time to our childhoods in 1970s. There are so many amazing countries we’ve been blessed to meet locals – Fiji, Italy, Ireland. My husband insisted on a trip to Alaska. I was not particularly excited until we arrived and started exploring. The environment and wildlife was spectacular. Not only do I get fodder for writing, my Canon Rebel preserves vistas and moments that I can go back and capture in stories.
What is something readers may be surprised to find out about you?
I am not as confident as many people think I am. Being naturally shy and a lover of being in the background can be a lonely place. I’ve embraced pushing myself to the extrovert side of life as much as possible. It is so much more fun to embrace serendipity. I don’t like sweets or coffee. I own two horses, a dog and a crazy cat—and I’m allergic to all of them!
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for considering me for your website. I am surrounded by so many amazing professionals—i.e. BQB Publishing and Shari Stauch of WhereWritersWin. I’ve had wonderful feedback from readers that Ameera Unveiled was more than a humorous story about crazy belly dancing women. Many resonated with different characters for various personal reasons and I pray the book sends a message of hope and strength.
Thank you so much for your time!

'John Smith' by Roland Hughes

John Smith - PROMO Blitz
By Roland Hughes

Dystopian / Sy Fy
Date Published: 5/3/2013

What if the Mayans got the start of the end correct because they had survived it once before? What if our written history was just as accurate as the old tale about three blind men describing an elephant? What if classic science fiction writing and television shows each got a piece of it correct, would you know which ones? If your eyes can only see a tiny portion of a collage do you know it is a collage?

Fans of Babylon 5, Star Trek TNG, Battle Star Galactica (the new one) and classic science fiction writing will enjoy the bountiful Easter Egg hunt contained within. When you were a child you learned to connect paper clips or thread beads together to make a necklace. Sit back and watch the beads you’ve had all your life form the picture you could not see. Consider for one second the possibility of the story, then hang onto your mind with both hands while you take the ride.

Meet author and book blogger extraordinaire, Phaedra Seabolt

Spend some time with one of my favorite fellow bloggers, who is also a paranormal author. Meet Phaedra Seabolt, and her debut book 'Imperfection.'

What was the inspiration behind 'Imperfection'?
The primary inspiration came from Stephanie Nelson’s Taming the Wolf. After reading it, I had dreams about werewolves that made me think that perhaps I could write my own story. With a lot of encouragement from other writers and friends, I decided to come up with my own unique story. I woke up in the middle of the night with what I thought was a unique plot so away I went writing.
This book is the first in a series. How many more do you anticipate? When can we expect the next installment?
I had originally planned for four books, but I am not sure that’s all I will be writing now. It’s looking more like five or six now. As for the next book, it is written. I sent it off to the editor not that long ago, but she has a lot on her plate right now. I am not sure how long it will take for it to be released, but I am confident it will be within the next year.
What makes Maera such an desirable character?
I tried to make Meara unique from other female lead werewolves. She is a normal college girl on a campus of hotties, but that doesn’t matter to her because she is completely absorbed in her schoolwork and doing what her parents tell her to do. She decides one night to go out on the town with her friends, resulting in a one night stand. This is where she is so unique. She gets pregnant, has her son, and then is turned into a werewolf. Most werewolves end up having to give up their previous lives, but Meara doesn’t have that option. She has no family to give her son to so she can disappear. She has to learn to raise a human baby among werewolves.
Which other character(s) were the most fun to write?
I really enjoyed writing about Raechel. I actually enjoyed it so much that the second book is from her perspective.
Which scene is your favorite?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Gem City Gypsy' by Kristin Kuhns Alexandre FB Event 8/30 With Release Day Diva

A Gypsy girl, two hot guys, a “little bit of magic,” and the leader of the Ku Klux Klan on her heels. What’s a Gypsy girl to do? If her name is Neci Stans, she will fight back. Colorful, vivid, and passionate, 19-year-old Neci Stans wants nothing more than to belong to Dayton, Ohio’s high society set and marry the man of her dreams, Ezra Crawford. But there's some big problems: his racist father, the Ku Klux Klan, a woman who claims Ezra as her own, and a vindictive but sexy Englishman who wants Neci for his own. And of course, the biggest problem of all is her gypsy heritage and her “little bit” of magic. For 1900s Americans, life was changing, and Neci will make you cheer for the changes and cry for the heartbreaks.

Only .99 on Amazon!!!!

Join us Friday, August 30th from 3-6 EST for a fun and "mysterious" event. I have a ton of fun games planned and there are some really cool prizes for you all to win. Plus Kristin will be on hand to answer all of your questions!

About the author:

Kristin Kuhns Alexandre is an author, publicist and Executive Film Producer.

This author has always wanted to share the story of her hometown and its unique history. As a child she met the legendary Charles Kettering (trick or treating his home).

She is the author of "Gem City Gypsy" (Sisterhood Publications), her debut novel about a gypsy teenager in 1917. At the heart of the story is Neci Stans, a 19 year old from Dayton, Ohio who has survived the sinking of the Lusitania only to face down a band of German killers as they murder her mentor in Kinsale, Ireland.

Kristin was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio where she worked as a newspaper columnist for The Dayton Journal Herald.

After Sweet Briar College, Kristin worked as a newscaster for Channel 13 and Channel 5 News in NYC and for House Beautiful Magazine and the Economic Development Administration of Puerto Rico. She also worked as a Publicist for Ammirati, Puris Advertising and hosted a luncheon series for celebrities at The New York Yacht Club for many years.

Richard Hacker on writing and 'Dirty Water'

Welcome author Richard Hacker to the blog today!

What was the inspiration behind 'Dirty Water'?
All of the Nick Sibelius crime novels are set in Austin, Texas and I’ve had an environmental thread throughout. Toxic Relationship centered around toxic waste dumping. Dirty Water focuses on an issue Texas and all of the Southwest struggles with--water. As I wrote Dirty Water, another cycle of drought hit the state. And as we speak, the state is still in the grasp of drought with lake levels way down and crops parched. Water is gold in Texas.
How much do you have in common with the main character, PI Nick Sibelius?
Nick and I both appreciate a good bourbon (although I can’t seem to get him to stop drinking Jack Daniels), TexMex, a cold beer on a hot day, smoked Texas brisket, and a love of Texas. We part ways with women (I’m married to my high school sweetheart, he’s divorced and now perpetually single), children (I have a daughter, Nick doesn’t have kids), criminals (I don’t have any violent criminal friends, Nick has quite a few), and guns (I shoot at targets, he shoots at bad guys on a regular basis.
Which character was the most fun to write?
For Dirty Water it’s a tough call between the eco-terrorist Charity and the developer Dan Hoyt. But I’ll go with Charity. She’s a tall, athletic cyclist eco-terrorist who has it in for ‘carbon spewers’ and anyone who might want to run her off the road. She’s crazy, but extremely passionate about her cause. A conversation with her would be fascinating, hearing the story of what drives her and why she traveled from Australia to the States. I’m also pretty clear that Charity is not someone you want for a friend. She’s certifiable. A sociopath with anger issues. Hanging around Charity guarantees jail time, injury, or more likely, both.
Which scene is your favorite?
Tough questions!! I’ll go with the first one that comes to mind. Dan Hoyt hires Nick because he’s convinced someone is trying to scare him, possibly even kill him. He wakes up late one night with a lobster firmly affixed to his foot with one of its claws. Then he sees the other two. Convinced he’s being attacked by hit lobsters a bit of slapstick ensues involving a baseball bat and a pari of pliers. I’ll leave it to your imagination so I don’t spoil it for you. It’s one of those scenes I had to take laugh breaks while I wrote.
What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
Are you kidding? A Nick Sibelius novel requires meticulous research involving eating lots of TexMex, BBQ and beer. But seriously, I go to Austin often to visit family and friends. I’ll drive around, looking for locations like I’m shooting a movie. For example, in Dirty Water, the antagonist, Izzy Zydeco’s office happens to be the building just west of the Loop 360 bridge on Lake Austin. I scoped out some murder locations, imagining where the action would take place and where to hide the bodies. In the previous novel, Toxic Relationship, I took pictures of the overpass in Pflugerville I used for a shooting. I do have to be careful. Imagine a police officer stopping by wondering why I’m loitering under a bridge or by a dumpster and I unthinkingly say something like, “Oh, I’m planning a murder.”
Will we ever see these characters again?
The next book, Chain Reaction, which is tentatively scheduled for release in March, 2014 brings Nick, Theresa, and Gov. Francis Adamson back in full-force. I’m also pleased to say my transgendered character, Alice, returns from her Jamaican love retreat and plays a more active role.
Please tell us more about your other published books.
Toxic Relationship was my first novel, published in 2012 by Champagne Books. You don’t need to read the Sibelius series in order, but Toxic Relationship introduces you to Nick and the piece of Texas he calls home. After young couple disappears and a bass fisherman turns up dead, his investigation leads him to his past. He discovers the felon who killed his partner in Houston has joined forces with Barry, a sociopathic dentist turned illegal toxic waste and methamphetamine entrepreneur with visions of grandeur, Nick must not only stop the toxic waste dumping while finding his client's missing daughter, but keep from being killed in the process.
On what other projects are you currently working?

Happy Release Day! 'Crossing Paths' by Melanie Stinnett



The crossing paths of friendship, family, love, and loss are often complicated.

June Deckert and Caroline Smith sparked a friendship in college that carried them through graduation. Although they are complete opposites in every way, they have spent the last four years inseparable.

That is, until now.

June finds herself falling for a man who seems unattainable. As she works side by side with him on a new media campaign, their feelings for each other come alive. But when his actions start to speak louder than words, she wonders if she’s missing something.

Meanwhile, Caroline is fighting against her feelings for a recent acquaintance, and she decides to keep her new love interest a secret from June. Overwhelmed by these new emotions, her moods change swiftly, swinging up and down like a yo-yo.

While June and Caroline try to maneuver their way through new relationships, Caroline starts lying to June to protect her from a truth that threatens to break her heart and tear them apart.

In the end, Caroline’s deceit will test their friendship, and June will have to decide if her chance at love is worth putting her heart on the line.


I’m not sure why I did it, but I got up two hours early, took an extra long shower, made sure my hair cooperated, and put on my good makeup. Okay, that’s a lie. I know exactly why I put so much effort into getting ready. Today, I am supposed to see Cohen. Not only am I supposed to see Cohen, but we also have plans to go out to dinner. Once again, I’m unsure about what he wants to discuss, but this time, I’m trying not to make any assumptions. Also on the agenda, I hope to not injure him or myself while we’re spending time together.

I walk into the office with my chin up and a big smile on my face. If he is already here, I want to look like I’ve been fine. I sure as hell don’t want him thinking that I’ve been moping around and pining away for him since last Friday morning. Making my way through the maze of cubicles toward my office, I see no sign of him. I let out a sigh as I step through my door. I place my workbag next to the desk, and I turn to glance at the clock.

Something moves in my peripheral vision. It scares me enough to make me jump back, causing me to fall into my large potted plant-tree-thing in the corner. To avoid hitting the ground, I sit cockeyed in the pot. My face is covered in limbs and large green leaves. Peeking through the human-eating plant, I can see Cohen sitting on the comfortable sofa with one hand held over his mouth. I don’t hear any sounds, but from the looks of it, he’s laughing. For some reason, my usual standoffish self takes a holiday. I launch myself up from my seat in the pot holding the plant, and I take brisk steps toward him.

“What are you doing in my office? Do you enjoy scaring the crap out of women and causing near catastrophes? Or is it just when you see me?”

His eyes grow wide, and those sexy wrinkles beside his eyes fade. Thank God. I don’t think I could hold on to my angry attitude if he kept smiling.

“Mr. Hargrove wanted me to tell you that we’ll be meeting in the conference room at eight thirty. I have to leave by the end of the week, so we need to get started on the rest of our project. I came to tell you, but you weren’t here yet, so I made myself comfortable. I’m sorry if I scared you.”

“Right. Okay. Well, you can go now. I’ll see you at the meeting,” I say, turning toward my desk.

With my shoulders back and head held high, I walk over to my desk chair and sit. Looking back at Cohen, I give him the meanest stare I can muster.

“See you there.” He stands to leave, but then hesitates as if he wants to say something else. His mouth is open, but then he bites down on his bottom lip, holding back.

“Did you need something else?”

“Actually, I was just going to tell you that unless you enjoy the feel of sitting on bark, you should probably find a mirror and wipe off your skirt.”

You have got to be kidding me!

He walks out of the office with the wrinkles by his eyes reappearing.

Now available on Amazon

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Author Bio:

I have enjoyed reading and writing since I was very young. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of spending time with my mom or grandma reading a good book. Over the years, it never crossed my mind that writing my own novel would be an attainable goal. After reading several independently published novels by Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover and others, I decided I needed to give that dream a chance.
When I’m not reading and writing, I enjoy spending time with my three favorite guys: my husband and my two little boys.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Meet Joyce Proell, author of 'A Deadly Truth'

Please give a warm welcome to author Joyce Proell today! Remember to leave her a comment or to ask her more questions below!
Andi, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today.
Which character in 'A Deadly Truth' was the most fun to write?
Cady Delafield. She’s feisty and compassionate, prone to be impulsive and a little opinionated, but always kind and well-intentioned.
Are any of the characters based on people you know in real life?
Well, I wish I knew somebody as compelling and handsome as Doyle Flanagan, but sad to say, he’s but a creature of my imagination.
How did you choose the setting?
Of all the historical romances I’ve read, and I’ve read plenty, I recall only one occurring in Chicago. I thought it was about time the Windy City got its due.
What is the appeal of historical romance, specifically the Victorian era, to you as a writer?
I don’t know whether the possibility of past lives truly exists, but if it does, I’d swear I was a young woman in the 1880’s. An illogical connection seems to resonate around the Victorian period for me. It’s as if I’ve walked the streets of Paris or New York, trussed up in a tight corset, ruffles and lace cascading down to my feet and a little decorative hat perched on my head. Oh, and I can’t forget the bustle.
Why do readers like to revisit the past by reading historical romances?
Years ago, a co-worker handed me a book and said, “Read this. I think you’ll like it.” The book was Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. It was the first romance I ever read and the sweeping historical hooked me. Historical romances, more so than a contemporary, are sheer escapism to a different time and place. If you want to get away from the stresses of everyday life, a great historical romance can’t be beat.
How do you make yourself stand out in this competitive genre?
Besides Chicago as a unique setting, A Deadly Truth is a romance with a strong mystery element. Although the book can be read as a stand alone title, the characters of Cady and Doyle will continue their love story in A Burning Truth available in December, 2013.
Would you ever consider trying to write in a different genre?
Of course. I have a completed manuscript set in 1979, which believe it or not, is considered a contemporary. I’ve also plotted a contemporary cozy romance mystery which I hope to start writing soon.
What drives you as a writer?
Sheer nuttiness. Really, it’s hard to say. I love words. People and their stories fascinate me. If I watch a program on TV or hear a good story, I can’t help but tweak the ending and characters and make it turn out differently. I love to plot and fantasize cry at the outcome of a happy ending.
What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
Keep writing and stay objective and willing to learn.
What do you like to do when you aren't busy writing?
In addition to writing, I read, read, read. I also walk daily, bird watch and I find baking very relaxing.
What message do you have for readers today?
Keep reading.
Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you. It was a pleasure being here today.

Joyce Proell grew up in Minnesota and attended college and grad school in Chicago. After working in mental health, she retired at a young age to write full-time. Her first book, Eliza, was published in 2012. When she isn’t writing mysteries or historical romances, she loves to travel, walk, read, and do crossword puzzles. She and her husband make their home in rural Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie.

Visit her website:

A Deadly Truth


Joyce Proell

Tainted in the eyes of Victorian society by his wife’s suicide, Doyle Flanagan turns a deaf ear to the baseless gossip and harsh rebukes. Ignoring his shattered reputation, he goes about his business, making
money and enemies, and doing good works whenever his conscience gets the best of him. Arrested for murder, he is forced to rely on a feisty school administrator to solve the puzzle. As he struggles to prove his innocence, he realizes gaining the trust and loyalty of Cady Delafield may be more important than his freedom.

On a quest to locate a missing student, school matron Cady Delafield enters a stranger’s house and discovers the woman murdered. Driven to see the murderer brought to justice, she is determined to prevent any further tragedy even if it means joining forces with the very man accused of the atrocity. Against the wishes of her powerful family, she risks her job and reputation to learn the truth. But will the truth, once revealed, drive her away from the man she has come to love?

Passion and murder collide in 1880’s Chicago as they race to keep one step ahead of the police who want Doyle to pay for his crime. As the attraction between Cady and Doyle sizzles, they battle suspicions, lies and lethal actions to uncover the murderer before he destroys them both.

Joyce will be awarding a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

'The Cadence of Gypsies' by Barbara Casey



Barbara Casey

Three high-spirited 17 year olds, with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina's purpose in planning the trip is to remove her gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can't cause any more problems ("expressions of creativity") for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and search how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted – a search that will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Read an excerpt
The slight voice tremor was all that was needed, but the deep, audible sigh confirmed what Carolina suspected: that she was in for another real ass-chewing. This would be the eighth time getting called into the headmaster's office in the same number of months she had been teaching at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Each time it had been because her girls had committed a serious infraction of rules or behaved in some inappropriate way that was unacceptable within the stone walls of Wood Rose.

Her girls, the ones she had been given total responsibility for, called themselves Females of Intellectual Genius, or FIGs. Everyone else, however, called them strange. Never before in the history of Wood Rose had a student even come close to approaching genius status. Certainly not in the time that Dr. Harcourt had been headmaster. Then, within the short span of one week, two seven-year-old children- -Dara Roux and Mackenzie Yarborough--were admitted, each from a different family, a different background, and a different part of the country, but each with an intelligence quotient well within the range of genius. Amazingly, several years later, a third student--Jennifer Torres--was enrolled, whose age and scores were comparable to those of the original FIGs. What Wood Rose could do for these gifted girls was now coming to a close, much to the relief of the administration, faculty, and staff alike. This would be their final year at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, for in June-- less than six weeks away--they would graduate.

Carolina was still in bed, deep in thought as she usually was whenever she had a quiet moment to herself, when the telephone rang. For several days she had been struggling with how best to approach the headmaster. Ever since being put in charge of the FIGs shortly after getting hired at Wood Rose, she had been trying to come up with innovative ways in which she could somehow excite her girls, challenge their intellect, and, most of all, keep them out of trouble. The inherent problems of being different extended beyond their prickly relationship with Wood Rose staff members. The multi-faceted difficulties in teaching the FIGs frequently left the faculty with feelings of inferiority and impotency at the very least. None of the other residents wanted to be around them either, with the exception of the youngest residents who didn't yet comprehend the difference between being brilliant and normal, which brought about additional struggles of an inner psychological nature. Carolina had tried a variety of things, but, obviously, what she had been doing wasn't working. What had stimulated her when she was their age? What mysteries of the universe had intrigued her?

Then she had remembered.

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. Since that time her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in several publications including the AMERICAN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, the SPARROWGRASS POETRY FORUM, THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF POETRY (Editor’s Choice Award), the NORTH CAROLINA CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE MAGAZINE, THE NEW EAST MAGAZINE, the RALEIGH (NC) NEWS AND OBSERVER, the ROCKY MOUNT (NC) SUNDAY TELEGRAM, DOG FANCY, BYLINE, TRUE STORY and THE CHRISTIAN RECORD. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Casey's award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in THE COSMIC UNICORN and CROSS TIME short story anthologies. Her essays, also written for adults, appear in THE CHRYSALIS READER, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, and A CUP OF COMFORT ANTHOLOGY by the Adams Media Corporation.

Her two middle-grade/young adult novels, LEILANI ZAN and GRANDMA JOCK AND CHRISTABELLE (James C. Winston Publishing Co.) were nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award. SHYLA'S INITIATIVE (Crossquarter Publishing Group, 2002), a contemporary adult novel of fiction, received the 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and received special recognition for literary merit by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. Ms. Casey’s novel THE COACH’S WIFE (ArcheBooks Publishing), a contemporary mystery, was listed as a Publisher’s Best Seller and was semifinalist of the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel. In 2007 her novel, THE HOUSE OF KANE (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a contemporary mystery, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and in December 2009 her novel, JUST LIKE FAMILY (Wandering Sage Publications), was launched by the 7-Eleven stores in St. Louis, Missouri. Her young adult novel, THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES (Gauthier Publications), was released in March 2011 and considered for the Smithsonian’s Most Notable 2011 Books. It has also been selected by Amazon for its 2013 List of Best Books. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY (Strategic Media Books), a novel for adults, was released in March 2013 and received an IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. It has also been listed as a “2013 Best Summer Read” by Conversations Live Radio and has been placed in nomination for a Pulitzer Award.

Ms. Casey is a frequent guest speaker at writers’ conferences and universities throughout the United States. She is former director, guest author, and panelist of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida; and for thirteen years she served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Florida. She held the position of Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 to 2003.

Ms. Casey is president of the Barbara Casey Agency. She represents clients nationally and internationally in fiction and nonfiction for adults. Her past and present professional associations are numerous and include being editorial consultant for The Jamaican Writers Circle in affiliation with the University of West Indies and Mico Teachers College in Kingston. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.


Barbara will be awarding a $25 Amazon or gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'A Kiss to Die For' by Gail Barrett

A Kiss to Die For
by Gail Barrett


Homeless Army veteran Sullivan Turner is nobody's hero.  His failure to save his fallen comrades proved that.  So when a gutsy social worker gets caught in a drug gang's crosshairs, he knows he's the last man who can safeguard her and the pregnant teenagers she's trying to protect. 

Former debutant Haley Barnes learned the hard way how to survive.  After witnessing a cold-blooded murder, the terrified teenaged runaway changed her identity and hid to save her life.  But when the killer tracks her down and attacks the girls in the homeless shelter she now runs, Haley knows the time has come to stand and fight.  But to bring down the powerful killer she must confront her high-society family's darkest secrets -- and convince wounded warrior Sully Turner he's the hero she believes.

Read an excerpt:
“I nearly got you killed tonight.”

“That wasn't your fault.  You didn't bring the gang to the house.”

“But I wasn't there to protect you when they showed up.”

“You were there when it counted.”

“But what if I hadn't been?”  Raw fear rang in his voice, his eyes so bleak that a heavy lump wedged in her throat.

And suddenly, she realized he wasn't talking only about her.  His fears went beyond the gang, beyond the danger shadowing their heels, to whatever had caused those flashbacks that plagued his nights.  He believed that he'd failed someone.  This courageous man was tortured by guilt.

But she knew him.  Maybe she didn't know much about his childhood or family.  Maybe he hadn't shared many details about his past.  But she knew the essence of who he was.

And she'd bet her life on one immutable fact.  Sully would fight to the death to protect the people he loved.  He would never willingly give up.  Whatever had happened in Afghanistan wasn't his fault.  How could he ever have doubts about that?

Unable to resist him, she tossed off her blankets and cupped his jaw with her hand, willing him to understand.  “Sully...  You've saved me so many times.  Even when you didn't know me, you risked your life for mine.  You've come through for me time after time.  And you're the bravest man I've ever met.”

“You're wrong.  I'm not who you think I am.”

“You're exactly who I think you are.” 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Gail Barrett is the award-winning author of thirteen romantic suspense novels.  A former RITA® and Daphne finalist, Gail has received the Book Buyer's Best Award, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best, The National Readers' Choice Award, and numerous other awards.  She lives with her husband in Western Maryland.  For more information, visit her

Gail will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift certificate and either a signed print copy (US ONLY) or an electronic copy of Fatal Exposure (Buried Secrets book one) to one randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her other Super Book Blast on August  21st. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Cover Reveal! 'Incomplete' by Lindy Zart

By- Lindy Zart
Expected Publication Date-September 6th, 2013

There are three absolute truths in Grayson Lee’s life:
1. His existence was a mistake.
2. No one is good enough for his best friend, Lily Jacobs, especially not him.
3. He loves her anyway.

Monday, August 26, 2013

'The Search (Descendant Vampire Series #2)' by Kelley Grealis FB Event 8/27

Allison Carmichael is thirsty for blood and hungry for answers.

Lured away from her illicit extracurricular activities by news about her kidnapped husband, Allison rejoins her adopted family that’s promised to help her find him. Allison's search is detoured, however, by sinister vampire politics, the seeming good will of her fanged family, and the return of her nemesis.  Circumstances unfold that shatter the foundation of her world.

In order to successfully play the game she has been thrust into, Allison must battle loss and betrayal and accept unexpected love.

THE SEARCH is on for answers,but when answers are found, will they be what Allison was looking for?

Join us Tuesday, August 27th from 5-9 EST. We have some really fun games and prizes. Plus Kelley will answer all of your questions!!


 Hope to see you all there!!

Brought to you by the Release Day Diva


A sneak peek into the life of Helen Harper, author of the Blood Destiny series

Please welcome author Helen Harper to Andi's Book Reviews, as she gives us a sneak peek into her life.

Do you have any phobias?
I’m a bit claustrophobic. Not so that it affects my daily life, but it can occasionally spring up on me and make me panic. The worst time was probably several years ago at a fairground in Japan. Of course, the Japanese are well known for their love of all things horror, and when it comes to fairground rides they are no different. A group of friends and I ended up inside a pitch black room. We had to get inside ‘coffins’, and then actors wandered around making spooky noises and pretending to spit at us. It sounds kind of cheesy and daft, but it was genuinely terrifying and I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to get out of somewhere in my life.
Ever broken any bones?
Nope. I tend to live in fairly rude health to be honest. There was a part of me that wanted to break an arm or a leg when I was kid – it seemed like a lot fun, with the option of potentially getting out of Physical Education if it was a lower limb, or maybe even out of having to write if it was a higher one. And, of course, the joy of getting friends to scribble over the cast appeared endless.

Naturally, I’m now thrilled that I’ve never broken anything! I have pulled muscles a couple of times in my back: once memorably even fainting whilst at teaching at school because the pain was so extreme. To my eternal embarrassment, the local firefighters were in attendance as they were teaching a group of kids about fire safety, so they carried me through the school playground at break time on a chair. I was much heavier then than I am now, and I don’t think it was particularly easy for them. It was definitely mortifying for me. Now I’m very, very careful with my back and immediately find I have to stop and rest if I get just a little twinge. I’ve discovered that if I keep going then I end up just exacerbating old injuries and walking as if I’m in my nineties rather than my thirties.
What is your favorite quote and why?
I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Yeats – when I was younger, I loved “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold”. At the time it seemed to reflect how life was continually throwing me curveballs until it felt almost as if I was crumbling away at the centre. Gradually, optimism re-asserted itself inside me and my favourite quote became, “Tread softly for you tread on my dreams”. It seemed particularly apt when I began teaching and a very helpful aphorism to live by. However, just very recently, I read Wonder by RJ Palacio and it was jam-packed full of quotes that had me using my Kindle highlighter. My favourite is, “Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.” It’s been running through my head ever since, and I think I’ve done a few things differently because of it – and that can only be a good thing.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Helen Harper is an English teacher currently living abroad in Malaysia. As a long time reader of urban fantasy, she finally bit the bullet and began to develop her own series of novels.Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland. "I always loved the escapism provided by those genres," states Helen. "No matter how bad life gets, you can always find a route out, even if only temporarily, in the pages of a good book."The growth of urban fantasy fascinated her - the mix of reality and fantasy along with strong heroic female characters appealed from the very beginning, and inspired her to write her own.

Facebook Author page:

Twitter: HarperFire

by Helen Harper




Mackenzie Smith has always known that she was different. Growing up as the only human in a pack of rural shapeshifters will do that to you, but then couple it with some mean fighting skills and a fiery temper and you end up with a woman that few will dare to cross. However, when the only father figure in her life is brutally murdered, and the dangerous Brethren with their predatory Lord Alpha come to investigate, Mack has to not only ensure the physical safety of her adopted family by hiding her apparent humanity, she also has to seek the blood-soaked vengeance that she craves.


After escaping the claws of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the Brethren, Mack is trying to lead a quiet lonely life in Inverness in rural Scotland, away from anyone who might happen to be a shapeshifter. However, when she lands a job at an old bookstore owned by a mysterious elderly woman who not only has a familiar passion for herbal lore but also seems to know more than she should, Mack ends up caught in a maelstrom between the Ministry of Mages, the Fae and the Brethren. Now she has to decide between staying hidden and facing the music, as well as confronting her real feelings for the green eyed power of Corrigan himself.


Mack begins her training at the mages' academy in the hope that, by complying, the stasis spell will be lifted from her old friend, Mrs. Alcoon. However, once there, she finds herself surrounded by unfriendly adults and petulant teenagers, the majority of whom seem determined to see her fail. Feeling attacked on all fronts, Mack finds it harder and harder to keep a rein on her temper. Forced to attend anger management classes and deal with the predatory attentions of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the shapeshifter world, her emotions start to unravel. But when she comes across a familiar text within the walls of the mages' library, which might just provide the clues she needs to unlock the secrets of her background and her dragon blood, she realises that her problems are only just beginning...


EXCERPT from Bloodfire:
I scanned the bookshelves again, looking for something that might help and was about to pull down a precious gems and magical objects encyclopaedia when I suddenly heard voices and the slamming of doors from outside. Bugger it. Quickly closing down the computer, I stepped back into the outer office. I was just in time because Staines came suddenly striding in with the Lord Alpha. They were in mid conversation and didn’t see me at first.

“My lord, we need to focus on the magic trail before anything else,” Staines was saying.

The Alpha growled. “The mage can do that better than us. It’s the tree markings that interest…” his voice trailed off as he saw me and his green eyes narrowed.

“Hi!” I said brightly. “Found it!” I held up my mug for display.

They both just stared at me silently. I cleared my throat. “Well, I’ll get out your way then.” I moved towards the door but the Alpha was blocking it. I looked up at him, waiting for him to move out my way. He folded his arms and continued to stare.

I felt a flicker of irritation from my bloodfire. This was my keep, not his. I moved to brush past him, registering the hard steely curve of his muscles as my arm touched his. He moved further back, blocking the doorway completely.

“Miss Mackenzie,” he drawled softly.

Buy all 3 books on Amazon:

Bloodfire \ Bloodmagic \ Bloodrage 

Helen will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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