Monday, February 28, 2011

Pump Up Your Book! Announces March ‘11 Authors on Virtual Book Tours


Join a talented and diverse group of 26 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours during the month of March 2011.

Follow these authors as they travel the blogosphere from March 1st through March 25th to discuss their books. You’ll find everything from memoirs to business books, historical novels to thrillers, children’s books to young adult novels and more!

The month of March is filled with returning authors. Lisa Gardner is back to promote her latest Detective D.D. Warren novel, “Love You More.” Also returning is Lou Aronica and his fantasy novel, “Blue,” Dr. Jennifer Freed with “Lessons from Stanley the Cat,” Diana Gabaldon with her historical romance sci-fi adventure novel, “Outlander,” Cynthia Kocialski’s business book, “Start Up from the Ground Up,” James LePore’s thriller, “Anyone Can Die,” and Allan Leverone and his thriller, “Final Vector.”

Pamela Samuels Young continues her virtual book tour for the legal thriller, “Murder on the Down Low,” and coming back for her eighth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! is F.M. Meredith. She’ll be promoting the latest book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series, “Angel Lost.” Kath Russell is back to promote her coming of age historical, “Deed So.” Elle Newmark is back with a new book, “The Sandalwood Tree.” Sheila Hendrix also returns with her YA paranormal, “The Betrayal.”
Memoirs come to you from Barry Fixler and Megan van Eyck, while historical novels are being promoted by John Milton Langdon and Paula McLain. Other fiction titles come to you from Laurel Dewey, Emily Sue Harvey, and Laina Turner-Molaski. Also on tour is Kristina McMorris and her women’s fiction novel, “Letters from Home.”

Barbara Barnett tours with “Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.,” while Caitlin Rother promotes her true crime book, “Dead Reckoning.” Also on tour in March are Borneo Tom McLaughlin, Emma K. Piers, and Hayley Rose. Turner-Molaski will also tour during the second half of the month with, “The MS Project: Orange is the New Pink”, her MS awareness anthology. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the MS Society.

Visit Pump Up Your Book! on YouTube at  to view a video trailer introducing our authors on tour in March.

Pump Up Your Book! is a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at

Contact Information:

Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague, Virginia 23336

Saturday, February 26, 2011

March Releases from MuseItHot Publishing

When demon Derek Blain and his partner, Max, are sent to hunt down a vampire notorious for killing for fun, the last thing Derek expects to find is a vampire set on killing herself. Even worse, he feels a duty to save her. But there’s something about the beautiful woman who looks so tormented that pulls at his very soul.
Turned against her will and forced to kill, Caroline Montgomery has decided the only way to end her torment, and save the lives of innocent people, is to take her own. Only the pleading of a handsome stranger changes her mind. Now, Caroline is learning how to live without killing and, thanks to sexy Derek Blaine, is loving every minute of it!
When Caroline discovers the rogue Derek is hunting is her maker, she decides to help bring the monster down, whether Derek likes it or not.

But what neither of them knows is that the rogue vampire has set his sights on her for his mate…and he’s coming after her.

Can Derek take down the murderous rogue, and claim Caroline as his own before it is too late?
Pages: 57

ISBN: 978-1-926931-41-8
Price: $2.50

Warning: This story may contain material not suited for readers under the age of 18, including graphic sex, language and violence.

When you wake up in a strange room, that's bad, but when you wake up in a strange body, time, and everyone hates you, that's REALLY bad...and terrifying.
What do you do when your last memory is being skewered to death and your next is waking up in the body of another, thousands of years in the future?

You set out to be yourself and win over these future beings of course, because for some reason, the gods of your time have decided this is where you are supposed to live out the rest of your life.

Follow Siri as she belly dances, laughs, and teases her way through the distrust of the woman whose body she now inhabits, turning an entire household of haters into her staunchest fans...except for him. Can she win him over, or is he determined to only see the shell of who she used to be?

Genre: Time Travel Fantasy Romance Erotica

Pages: 59

ISBN: 978-1-926931-40-1

Price: $3.50

Warning: Adult Content


Friday, February 25, 2011

March Releases from MuseItUp Publishing!

Captain Temple leads a mission to K22 and finds a beautiful planet with magnificent shining cities. It appears to be a lucrative new market for the Merchants Guild.

There’s just one problem: the cities are mysteriously empty. He can’t find even one survivor, which means the planet is off-limits to commercial exploitation and cannot be used to achieve financial profits in any way.

Soon Temple discovers an even greater problem, one that is strange and ominous and threatens his crew’s very survival.

Not only that, it is an incredible cosmic mind-stretcher that strains sanity to the breaking point, not just the characters' sanity but the readers' as well.

Genre: Sci-fi

Pages: 28

ISBN: 978-1-926931-35-7

E-book price: $2.50

Warning: Limited violence, sexual content, or language

For princess-turned-mercenary Mina, wearing a crown had never been easy. But who knew rescuing an obstinate prince would be even more difficult?

After winning his kingdom in a legendary poker game twenty years ago, Princess Mina’s father loses the kingdom just as easily. Now alone and penniless, Mina must rely on her sword to support them both.

When the princess-turned-mercenary is offered a contract to save a prince that will pay enough to keep her father laid up in luxury for yet another year, she and her business partner snap up the deal. Dragons and all.

But when she’s faced with a seedy mage and a prince who doesn’t want any woman to rescue him, Mina quickly learns the so-far-unseen dragon is the least of her worries.

Genre:  Fantasy

Our shortcomings don't define who we are, unless we let them. Cindy Johnson needs to learn that. Born with one leg shorter than the other, she has no self-esteem because of the cruel comments and cold stares she receives from her classmates. When Cory Neil, the football quarterback asks her to Homecoming, she's quite sure he's asked her on a dare and refuses. It takes more than just her mother's assurances that Cindy's beautiful before she realizes she may have made a mistake in turning him down.

Genre: Young Adult

Pages: 133

ISBN: 978-1-926931-38-8

E-book price: $5.50

Imagine the worst possible time, the interregnum while rebelling magic forces slowly kill the reigning Drogar. Prince Egon has to take up the succession as the new sorcerer-king of Rast, and admit the deadly magic into himself in a manner he can control.

Yet Offrangs arrive on the coast, imperialists whose power comes from steam and iron, and who disbelieve in magic. Commander Antar seeks to conquer Rast. Egon has no time for caution, he must act at once.

He also has to help Jady, Guardian of the Silent Forest, escape from the evil Deepning Pools whose resurgence she has thwarted. Even more troubling, he must send his sweetheart away, for she is not from the magic lineage who can bear him an heir. She goes to meet the Princess destined to supplant her, with anger in her heart.

The oracle given by the Pythian, living beneath the Palace of Rast, predicts the crisis can only be resolved by everyone’s efforts – even the actions of enemies – until the Prince is established securely and able to turn the magic’s fury upon itself.

Conflict between materialists and a magic based society; between love and ambition; between magic forces residing within the world itself and the one man destined to control them. Rast leads fantasy into new dimensions.

Genre: High Fantasy

Pages: 269

ISBN: 978-1-926931-43-2

E-book price: $5.95

With each download purchase you recieve the Rast Guidebook for FREE

Warning: Limited violence, sexual content, or language

Always ready for adventure, Amy and Susan, friends and neighbors in an idyllic university town, find more mayhem than they bargained for.

While scouring the sky for flying saucers, Amy and Susan find a naked man, unresponsive, on the grounds of the museum/asylum. So begins the trouble. As the women delve into the bohemian art scene at Foothills, they end up haplessly trying to solve the mystery of the bodies that seem to appear wherever they are. Soon, not only their friendship, but also their reputations and lives are at stake. Still, their zany spirit prevails despite pratfalls and miscalculations.

This quirky mystery is as humorous as it is intriguing. The tortured corridors of the museum are nothing compared to the strange art and artists who inhabit this world.
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery

E-book price: $5.95
Warning: limited violence, sexual content or language

Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard? Jim and Gloria Hart are snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and golf with friends in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to get together with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed.

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Horror

Pages: 63

ISBN: 978-1-926931-32-6

E-book price: $3.50

Warning: limited violence, sexual content or language

Author, Jordan Blake lives in a house along Lake Erie. She’s a recluse and likes it that way. No interruptions while she’s writing. At least not until that day in October when an early lake storm brews up. Not that she minds snowstorms. Far from it. She loves them. While she’s on her deck securing chair cushions and chairs, something along the rocky shoreline catches her eye. A body? Hard to tell from where she stood. Not being one to ignore someone in need, she rushes across the yard. It’s a body all right–a male’s body. Thank God he was alive, but unfortunately unconscious. After much pulling, rolling and pushing, Jordan manages to get him to her house and finally inside.

Both of them are soaked down to their skin. Jordan can’t leave him in his wet clothes, so sets about removing them. The stranger sparks something in her she thought was long dead. Trying to ignore her feelings, she dresses him in an old bathrobe from her ex-husband. Unfortunately when he comes to, the attraction grows. Jordan tries to ignore what she feels toward the stranger, but his kisses awaken something in her. Something she’d rather wasn’t aroused. To make matters worse, the stranger doesn’t have any idea who he is. For all she knows he might be a mass murderer.

Genre: Sweet Romance

Pages: 27

ISBN: 978-1-926931-39-5

Price: $2.50

When you are Zeus’ immortal son, you know you can get away with mostly anything. Bringing back the dead is not one of those things. Yet this is what Polydeukes does when his mortal twin, Kastor, dies. According to the dark deal he strikes with one of the gods, the brothers must alternate days in the land of the living, and Kastor cannot be told, or the deal is off. On top of that, If Hades were to find out, all hell would break loose. Literally.

But Kastor begins to put two and two together, and keeping the secret becomes difficult for Polydeukes. Will Kastor break his brother’s deal and save Polydeukes from an eternity of punishment in Tartarus, or will Polydeukes find a way to save them both?

Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Pages: 59

ISBN: 978-1-926931-31-9

E-book price: $3.50
Warning: Limited violence, sexual content, or language


Reminder: Facebook Party Starts Tonight at 9 PM Eastern!


Pump Up Your Book will be hosting the February 2011 Authors on Tour on Friday February 25, 2011 at 9 – 11 p.m. (eastern time – adjust to your time zone). Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with their favorite authors BUT…


The participating authors and their giveaways include:

Rose Valenta is giving away a paperback copy of her humor book, Sitting on Cold Porcelain.

Allan Leverone is giving away an e-copy of his thriller, Final Vector, and 6 e-copies of Postcards from the Apocalypse.

Frank Edwards is giving away a paperback copy of his medical thriller, Final Mercy and a paperback copy of his poetry and short story book, It’ll Ease the Pain.

Pamela Samuels Young will be giving away a paperback copy of her legal thriller, Murder on the Down Low, and a copy of her audio CD, How to Write a Novel Despite Your Day Job.

Sheila Hendrix will be giving away both a paperback copy and e-book copy of her YA paranormal, The Betrayal.

Cynthia Kocialski will be giving away a paperback copy of her startup business book, Startup from the Ground Up.

C.W. Gortner will be giving away a paperback copy of his historical mystery, The Tudor Secret.

Vincent Zandri will be giving away 2 autographed copies of his thriller, Moonlight Falls & 2 autographed copies of his thriller, The Remains!

Jeanne C. Davis will be giving away a paperback copy of her psychological mystery, Sheetrock Angel!

Frank Scully will be giving away an e-copy of his mystery novel, Resurrection Garden!

Pump Up Your Book will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!!!

To find out the details, visit our Facebook Party page here! Be sure to join the link a few days ahead of time so that you can be approved before the party starts.

February Romance Novel Event: Stranger on the Shore by Roseanne Dowell

Author, Jordan Blake lives in a house along Lake Erie. She’s a recluse and likes it that way. No interruptions while she’s writing. At least not until that day in October when an early Lake Effect Snow storm brews up. Not that she minds snowstorms. Far from it. She loves them. While she’s on her deck securing chair cushions and chairs, something along the rocky shoreline catches her eye. A body? Hard to tell from where she stood. Not being one to ignore someone in need, she rushes across the yard. It’s a body all right–a male’s body. Thank God he was alive, but unfortunately unconscious. After much pulling, rolling and pushing, Jordan manages to get him to her house and finally inside, undressed and into something dry. Jordan finds herself strangely attracted to the man.

More than a storm rages inside and out.

Read an excerpt!

“Darn, it’s getting cold.” Jordan shivered and zipped her sweat shirt. She hated storms, hated thunder and lightning most of all. Grabbing at some papers that flew across the deck as the wind picked up, a movement caught the corner of her eye. Something washed up on the shore. Something big. A body?

Jordan jumped off the deck and raced toward the craggy shoreline. Dark clouds hovered across the lake. Cold water splashed against her as waves crashed against the rocks like angry arms hurling water at an invisible enemy. The crash of thunder echoed across the lake. Ducking her head as lightening streaked across the sky and the air crackled with electricity, she thought she must be nuts. Probably just a bunch of old clothes washed up. Still, she had to see for herself.

Surely, no one in their right mind would be in the water this time of year? There had been storm warnings on the radio all morning. No one would be stupid enough to ignore the forecast. Would they? Heavy rain and strong winds then turning to snow, with a drastic drop in temperature, and blizzard-like conditions weren’t anything to ignore. Jordan winced as lightning flashed again, back-lighting the dark clouds. Darn it, she wanted to be inside cuddling by the fire not out here in a storm. For two cents, she’d turn around and go back. But something drew her forward.

A man’s body against the rocks.

Oh, Lord, please don’t let him be dead. She had planned for a quiet weekend, writing. A weekend with a corpse wasn’t on her list of quiet. But she couldn’t leave him out here either.

Jordan came closer and stooped down next to him. Lifting his head out of the water, above the crashing waves, she felt for a pulse. Thank God, he’s alive. Now how to get him out of here? She grabbed his arm, rolled him over and tried to pull him from the fury of the lake. Wave after wave pounced on him, their foamy peaks trying to reclaim him. Lord, if she ever needed help, now was the time. Struggling to roll him to higher ground, she lost her breath. His long, muscular frame outweighed her slender five foot two body and felt like dead weight.

“You’re going to have to help me.” Jordan grunted and gasped for breath when the full force of icy waves pulled her down and washed over both of them.

No response.

“Damn it. I can’t do this alone.”

Still no response.

Great, how was she going to pull him to safety? “I hate to do this, but I see no alternative.” Jordan took a deep breath and pushed him over, rolling him like a barrel and trying to avoid cutting him on the sharp rocks. It wasn’t easy, but at least he moved.

“Come on!” Jordan tried to encourage some life from his limp body. Once he was far enough away from the waves, she stared at him for a moment, before leaning down to give him mouth to mouth. His long straight nose, eyes set wide with bushy eyebrows and the grin on his lips, even in his unconscious state, sent a ripple of excitement through her body.

Not a handsome man, but something about him caused heat deep inside her. Shrugging off the urge to run her fingers through his curly black hair, she began mouth to mouth. When her mouth touched his lips, opened them slightly, something familiar tugged on her heart. She hadn’t touched a man's lips in, what, three years. This wasn’t exactly the way she imagined touching them again. Not that she ever imagined it. Never even thought about it. She’d had enough of men to last her a lifetime.


Roseanne Dowell is married with six grown children, fourteen grandchildren and a great-grandchild. She has had over 10 stories and more than 30 articles published, several at the LongRidge Writers Group website along with The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Good Old Days, Nostalgia, and Ohio Writer Magazines. She also wrote a monthly column for a website and was senior editor of an e-zine. Satin Sheets, her first novel, sold over 35,000 copies.

Roseanne taught two classes on writing at Cuyahoga Community College and now teaches several courses at Long Story Short School of Writing. You can check them out at

Visit Roseanne online at:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: The Innocent by Vincent Zandri

For a masterfully told thriller, look no further than The Innocent by Vincent Zandri. 

The last year has been tough for Jack "Keeper" Marconi. His wife was killed, and since then, he's been slipping up at his job as warden of Green Haven Prison. He's so distracted, he didn't even see the lies and deceit that are about to tear his life apart.

When a convicted cop-killer escapes with help from the inside, Marconi discovers he's been set up to take the fall. He sets out on a journey to uncover the truth, and his world is turned upside down as friends become enemies, and the truth is even worse than the nightmares of Attica that fill his mind.

Life behind bars may never before have been depicted with such realism as in Zandri's The Innocent. Readers are quickly transported to Green Haven Prison in 1997, the year marked by crazy weather and behavior. Beatings, ODs, a hanging, drugs and VD marked that insane year when Keeper Marconi found himself knee deep in a problem he never could have anticipated.  From the moment the reader enters Marconi's world, she is gripped by an intriguing story, superbly written, and exciting until the very end. With twists and turns at every corner, Marconi uncovers the clues that lead him to the ugly truth; a truth you'll eagerly wish to discover right along with him.

If you enjoy thrillers that include an excellent plot, well-developed characters, and a storyline that never lets you go, then pick up a copy of The Innocent by Vincent Zandri. This book is currently available for only 99 cents for Kindle.

Title:  The Innocent
Author:  Vincent Zandri
Publisher:  StoneGate Ink
ASIN: B00452V7TM

Book Giveaway: Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family

Visit Turning the Clock Back for this Book Giveaway: Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family. If you've ever wanted to be a family that survives and thrives on one income, this sounds like a good way to get started.

Deadline to enter is March 11th.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Linda Weaver Clarke: Interview and Giveaway with Author Kitty Gogins

Linda Weaver Clarke: Interview with Author Kitty Gogins: "Book Give-Away February 21 - 28: To win My Flag Grew Stars, leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. U.S. and Canada.

Author Spotlight: Pairs by D.W. Richards

Pairs is the story of Kayley and Adam, a single mom who makes her living writing greeting cards and a young carpenter; and Alexandra and Henry, a former stripper with dual identities and a math teacher with some unusual gender issues. The couples are connected through Henry and Adam, who are cousins, and through Kayley’s friend Helen, who is also Henry’s step-sister. As each couple builds a connection, the joint friendship turns into family. Kayley’s daughter, Terra, becomes a central focus of both relationships; she is loved and nurtured by the village that the couples create.

With the tightening of the bond between the couples, the mission for the pairs—which begins and ends with Kayley—turns to parenthood for Henry and Alexandra. The story weaves the elements of past sexual abuse, sexual dysfunction, problem pregnancies, and absolute devotion to family into a plot that draws the reader into the lives of these very unconventional characters.

Read an excerpt!

After hanging up the phone, Kayley lay in bed reflecting on her grandmother’s news. Fondness and guilt, both half-forgotten, lined the passage back to her university days with Gavin. She couldn’t recall if she had ever known his name, she only remembered him as Spaz.

Through the close-knit channels found only in small towns, her grandmother had been informed that there was something for Kayley in Gavin’s will. However, there would be a delay as his estate had been frozen. Her anticipation about the possibilities churned feelings more associated with an impending exam than with curiosity over an expected gift. Perhaps because that was usually the form in which his gifts had tended to be delivered.

Gavin had encouraged her writing and had introduced her to the great women of literature. He had his favourites. There was Sappho the romantic poet, whom he would quote from time to time. And, of course, there was Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. He saw her recurring theme, of women turning to other women as a result of the pain in loving men, as gender neutral. In the larger picture, she wrote of a universal abyss of conflicting desires.

Kayley wondered if Gavin would be disappointed in her, given that her literary career was stalled at writing greeting cards, and hoped he would understand that life had simply gotten in the way.


Summoned by a firm knock, Kayley stood in the foyer of her townhouse chastising herself while unlocking the deadbolt. She had forgotten that the carpenter was coming that morning. Her four-year-old daughter, Terra, upset by the fog, remained very close.

It had been a morning of mayhem. Starting with the call from her grandmother, their normal routine had entirely unravelled. She hadn’t had time to get dressed or pull up her hair or even check her appearance in a mirror. Before opening the door, she reviewed the first impression she was about to present. Dirty housecoat, serpentine springs of blond hair, morning breath, and likely, she suspected, a new big and sore- looking zit, one befitting her morning, somewhere very obvious.

When she finally opened the door, the surprise of the moment left her temporarily speechless. Adam had come at the recommendation of her friend Helen. Kayley couldn’t recall his exact relation to Helen, a family friend or cousin of some sort. She had agreed to meet him as a favour, or so she had thought. Upon beholding him, Kayley reconsidered her original take on the arrangement. It was definitely Helen that had done the favour for her.

Kayley had on more than one occasion, but only after splitting a bottle of wine, shared with Helen her penchant for red-headed men and nicely cropped beards. And there he was, delivered to her doorstep: her own fit and trim Highlander.

She speculated that Adam was likely in his mid-twenties and therefore thought him a little too young for her to seriously consider as dating material, but she allowed herself the acknowledgement that he would definitely be a nice distraction while he was around. She had to laugh at herself for wondering if he worked with his shirt off. But as Kayley soaked in her first impression of him, the guilty pleasure of her tiny infatuation suddenly, agonizingly, crashed into the recalled calamity of her own appearance. She could hear the bagpipes wheeze to silence.

“Kayley?” he asked.

“You must be Adam,” she replied, unsure of whether she had been gawking.

“That I must.” “Come in.”

Kayley stepped back to the foot of the stairs leading to the second floor, making room for Adam in the tight foyer. After entering, he extended his hand in greeting and breathed in the aroma of coffee coming from the kitchen.

“I’m a little sticky,” she responded, while assessing the tackiness of her fingers and glancing down to Terra. “We had a bit of a juice incident.”

Adam smiled and looked down toward Terra, who partially hid behind her mother, but pushed aside her ringlets of red hair for a clearer view. He crouched to her eye level, and Terra moved a little further back. Adam stroked his hand apologetically along his beard as a speculated explanation.

“No. No,” Kayley said. “It’s not you. Waking up to fog has thrown her off. Normally, Terra would be doing laps and offering to give a tour of her playroom.”

“The fog?” he asked Kayley, before repeating his question to Terra. “The fog?”

Terra didn’t initially respond, but with gentle encouragement from her mother, stepped into view, nodded, then retreated.

“The fog makes her anxious,” Kayley explained. “Our doctor figures that it is along the same lines as being afraid of the dark. She believes that Terra will probably grow out of it.”

“Fog,” Adam said to Terra, “that’s just a grownup way of saying the clouds have come to visit.” With the encouragement of Terra’s sudden interest, he continued. “They see us all the time, but from far away. They’re curious and sometimes come down for a closer look, and to play.”

Holding her mother’s hand, Terra stepped out in full view and thought about this surprisingly reasonable explanation. Her confirming glance alternated between Adam and her mother. Terra liked clouds. Assured by their expressions, Terra concluded that it made perfect sense and repeated Adam’s insights to her mother, as if Kayley had just arrived and missed this important piece of information. When Terra was done, a light went on for her and she gave Kayley a befuddled look, which Kayley interpreted as either Why didn’t you tell me? or Shouldn’t you already know this stuff by now? A laugh bounced from Kayley as she nodded at her daughter. Although triggered by her daughter’s behaviour, her joy in the moment lay not only in the humour she had found in the childlike easiness of Adam’s solution, but also in the release of a long- standing concern.

“Adam is right,” Kayley said.

He was right, Kayley thought when she looked at him. Fog was just a grownup way of saying that the clouds have landed. It was that simple. He seemed a little older to her than her initial mid-twenties guess. Kayley caught herself in content admiration, then soberly wondered how long she’d been smiling.

“Sorry to have to ask this,” she managed, “but do you mind if we just finish off with breakfast? We’re running a little behind.”

“Sure. No rush.”

Adam enjoyed the idea of extending their time together. After removing his boots, he followed Kayley’s waved invitation to join them. Within the small confines of the available floor space, he could have almost reached out from the foyer and grabbed the chair at the head of the table without ever moving.

“Coffee?” Kayley asked, while assisting Terra into her chair. “Sure,” Adam replied as he sat down.

“I’ll just get Terra settled.”

The glass table and four chairs were all that could fit between the window wall at the front of the townhouse and the short jut of lower cabinets that denoted the threshold of the kitchen. Although Adam sensed a definite vibe of spent anarchy, he felt a personal serenity as he observed the interaction between mother and daughter.

He watched Kayley while she went to the kitchen and rinsed her hands before mixing water from the kettle into a bowl of dry oatmeal. After adding a touch of milk, she poured a glass of juice and returned to the table with her daughter’s breakfast. A faint aroma of cinnamon trailed behind her, settling around the bowl when it was placed on the table. Extrapolating, Adam wondered about the kind of person she was. It was a question that caused a rewind to his initial surprise when he had opened the high wooden gate leading into her front yard.

Cement patio stones leading up to the entry were grey-black with age and speckled by mould. With the passage of time they had shifted slightly out of level alignment. Midway up the path was a concrete bench, which had settled into a fixture. The fog added a weight of antiquity, an illusion of ruins. In that setting, the sorry condition of the stunted vines and drooping stocks had created a vision of a bygone glory, a secret garden left unattended due to a change in fortune.

“If you don’t mind me asking? What happened to your garden?”

“I am what happened to my garden,” Kayley replied, with a tone of defeated acceptance. She spoke to Adam from the opposite end of the kitchen, with her back to him, as she poured his coffee.

“Cream and sugar?” she asked. “Black is good.”

Adam stood up and remained by the short run of cabinets beside the table, waiting for the hand-off from Kayley. During the exchange, they both became very conscious of their close proximity. A moment made awkward because Adam had assumed that Kayley would be returning to the kitchen, but in fact she was on her way to join them. She peered up to him, relaying her intent immediately.

“Sorry. Yes. Of course,” he said, feeling like a hapless barricade. Adam went back to his chair and Kayley sat across from her

daughter, happy to see her settled down.

“You’re what happened to your garden?” he asked.

“Take a look around,” she replied. “Not a houseplant in sight. I gave up a long time ago. Yet every year, Helen goads me into trying my hand at growing vegetables, and every year, I wipe out a wheelbarrow load of plantings. The tomatoes never had a chance.”

“She can be very convincing,” Adam said. “Hence the career in pharmaceutical sales.”

“You’re going to grow lots and lots of tomatoes,” Terra said between spoonfuls of oatmeal.

“Thank you for your encouragement, Mouse,” Kayley replied.

Helen had provided Adam with mere snippets of Kayley’s story but they had been enough for him to agree to her request to donate his labour, to do the work at cost, and to never let Kayley know. What Helen had not prepared him for was Kayley’s attractiveness. Blue-grey eyes, wavy blond hair currently in the cutest case of bed-head he had ever seen, and evidently, even through her bathrobe, she was pleasantly zaftig.

Adam assumed Kayley to be a contemporary of Helen’s, given that they knew each other from university, and therefore would place her in her mid-thirties, but to him she appeared younger. However, he had long ago given up on guessing the age of a woman based her appearance, preferring to reserve judgement until he heard the woman talk, listening for what she had to say and how she said it.

“Thanks for your patience,” Kayley noted, appreciatively. “Actually, this is nice,” he replied. “A slow ease into the day.” Kayley reached to her daughter and softly stroked her cheek. “Yes,”

she agreed, “it is nice to ease into the day slowly.”

“How do you know Helen?” she asked.

“Three degrees of separation, sort of. Well, two degrees anyway. Helen is the stepsister of my cousin Henry. Her mother married his father. They were both in their early twenties when it happened, so they’re not really that close. No animosity or anything, they’re just not tight. Anyway, he was a math major and during his studies he met a woman named Daleesha who was doubling in physics and biochemistry. Uber-brain.”

“I know,” Kayley said. “I’ve met her.” “Really?”

“Kind of a three amigas thing with Helen, Daleesha, and myself.” “No shit,” Adam said, then glanced at Terra and winced in apology.


“That’s a bad word,” Terra noted.

“Terra, he apologized,” Kayley pointed out, and she smiled at Adam. “So, you were saying.”

“Henry and Daleesha lost touch after graduation,” he continued. “Totally unrelated, Helen got to know Daleesha later on through her job in the pharmaceutical industry. At one point Helen was a kind of liaison with the universities.”

“I know,” Kayley reminded him, through a subtle grin. “Right. Three amigas.”

“Sorry,” she said buoyantly, then briefly glanced at her daughter. “We won’t interrupt anymore.”

“In a nutshell,” Adam summarized, “when Daleesha decided to give it all up to open a daycare, she was in the market for a contractor to do some renovation work. In passing, Helen mentioned it to Henry who immediately thought of me. I told my boss and, well, you know the rest.”

“You do big jobs like that and you took on my basement?”

“That wasn’t a big job. And that was my boss. I’m kind of her site-manager slash foreman. This is a little side-project for me. I take them on if things are slow.”

Adam never liked to lie, even halfway. He tended to blush. Yet this time was different. Although he had told a bit of a fib, he didn’t feel the least bit dishonest.

Read the reviews!

“Pairs is a great read, transporting me from daily life into this witty, sexy, and romantic tale that had me rooting for the happiness of the characters I was falling in love with. This is a romance for grown-ups. It shows how love and friendship can bring out the very best and the very worst in us. And it does it so charmingly that I had a hard time putting down the book.”

– Karen Opas, Saturday Night Magazine, the Globe & Mail, and “C” Magazine.

"...a hilarious, sexy, thought-provoking, sweet diversion..."

--Autumn Baker, Amazon reviewer

"Pairs is a story that not only shakes up ideas about gender, love, and sex, it also challenges the traditional concept of family. I highly recommend it."

--Melissa Brown Levine, Independent Professional Book Reviewers

D.W. Richards is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and beyond being a novelist he is also a script-doctor and freelance writer. An excerpt from Pairs will appear in the October 2010 issue of the international literary PDF quarterly Cantarville as a standalone fiction piece. In addition to creative writing, D.W. Richards has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Carleton University and is a Certified General Accountant. He divides his time between Venice, Italy and Ottawa, Canada.

Visit his website at  or connect with him on Twitter at

Also available in a Kindle edition!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pump Up Your Book's Feb 2011 Facebook Party!


Pump Up Your Book will be hosting the February 2011 Authors on Tour on Friday February 25, 2011 at 9 – 11 p.m. (eastern time – adjust to your time zone). Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with their favorite authors BUT…


The participating authors and their giveaways include:

Rose Valenta is giving away a paperback copy of her humor book, Sitting on Cold Porcelain.

Allan Leverone is giving away an e-copy of his thriller, Final Vector, and 6 e-copies of Postcards from the Apocalypse.

Frank Edwards is giving away a paperback copy of his medical thriller, Final Mercy and a paperback copy of his poetry and short story book, It’ll Ease the Pain.

Pamela Samuels Young will be giving away a paperback copy of her legal thriller, Murder on the Down Low, and a copy of her audio CD, How to Write a Novel Despite Your Day Job.

Sheila Hendrix will be giving away both a paperback copy and e-book copy of her YA paranormal, The Betrayal.

Cynthia Kocialski will be giving away a paperback copy of her startup business book, Startup from the Ground Up.

C.W. Gortner will be giving away a paperback copy of his historical mystery, The Tudor Secret.

Vincent Zandri will be giving away 2 autographed copies of his thriller, Moonlight Falls & 2 autographed copies of his thriller, The Remains!

Jeanne C. Davis will be giving away a paperback copy of her psychological mystery, Sheetrock Angel!

Frank Scully will be giving away an e-copy of his mystery novel, Resurrection Garden!

Pump Up Your Book will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!!!

To find out the details, visit our Facebook Party page here! Be sure to join the link a few days ahead of time so that you can be approved before the party starts.

Movie Review: Eloise at the Plaza

This 2003 TV movie is based upon the Eloise books by Kay Thompson and includes some of the drawings by Hilary Knight.

Eloise, played by Sofia Vassilieva (now seen on Medium), is an imp of a girl, living in New York's Plaza Hotel, along with Nanny, played by the talented and lovely Julie Andrews. Her mother is currently in Paris, so she pretty much has the run of the hotel, which creates many headaches for Mr. Salomone (Jeffery Tambor). While driving her tutor to distraction and running up ridiculously high tabs at the hotel, Eloise is determined to find the Prince of Kushin, so she can ask him to take her to the debutante ball.

I have to admit, despite Eloise's often annoying behavior, I enjoyed this movie. She lives her life the way she sees fit; she doesn't let rules get in her way; and through her innocent look at the world, manages to help the lonely prince, a boy she knows only as Leon (Kintaro Akiyama), cope with the loss of his mother and bring him closer to his estranged father. And if that's not enough for one little girl, she also plays matchmaker for Molly Daniels and Nanny.

I would hope that children wouldn't try half of Eloise's antics, as they wouldn't be appreciated by the adults in their lives, but Eloise says some very profound things, like when she tells Leon he must tell his father how he feels about being sent away to boarding school.

After watching Eloise at the Plaza, I am eager to see Eloise at Christmastime, which brings back much of the cast from this movie and adds in some new characters.

Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD, NTSC
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
Number of discs: 1
Rated: G
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2003
Run Time: 89 minutes

This DVD is from our family collection. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Spare Time Hobbies--Cross-stitch

My mémère (grandmother) introduced me to cross-stitch when I was around ten years old. Over the years I have completed numerous cross-stitch projects. When I first began, I used stamped cross-stitch projects, where the image was stamped--usually in blue ink--onto the fabric, and I simply had to use needle and embroidery floss to cover the stamp, ending up with a beautiful picture.

For many years now, I have preferred counted cross-stitch, which is where you purchase a kit or just the supplies--hoop, floss, Aida cloth, and needle--and create an image using a pattern. Craft stores, such as JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores, sell these supplies, in addition to many pattern books. We have a JoAnn's close by, and the problem is that when I visit, I usually end up buying more than I went in for.

The nice thing about crafting is that it allows me to spend time with my girls. They enjoy cross-stitch, plastic canvas, painting, and drawing.

What are some of your spare time hobbies? Do you work together on projects with other family members?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

James Cameron's Autograph--Almost by Graham Parke, Author of No Hope for Gomez!

I almost met James Cameron today!

Just to be clear, it wasn't that the Avatar 3D director and I just missed each other, it was just that it was almost him, but slightly, just slightly mind you, someone else. I hate when that happens. You get so close, then, nothing…

But this incident started me thinking. This kind of thing has been happening to me a lot lately. And not only with celebrities. Just the other day, I almost ran into Garry, a friend of mine. From a distance, at an angle, it looked exactly like him. A dead-ringer. Could have fooled his own mother. It wasn't until I came closer, and he turned his head a few degrees to the left, that he revealed himself to be just a little bit someone else. The thing was, when I walked passed him, he gave me a long, thoughtful look. He looked me over, then shook his head and turned away. But I knew what it meant. I knew exactly what he was thinking. He had almost recognized me back!

Now, almost-Garry almost recognizing me back made the whole situation much more complicated. My mind went haywire, trying to understand this, trying to figure out the underlying meaning. Was it possible for someone who was almost Garry but not quite, to recognize me but only slightly? Was it? And, if so, what was I to him exactly? Was I someone who looked like someone he knew? It was hard to say, but it was unlikely. All I knew for a fact was that I was someone who was known by someone he looked like, but who wasn't him. And, in fact, to be fair, he probably didn't even realize that he was almost Garry but not quite.

Are you still following me?

Probably not. Probably your brain isn't defective to the point of reasoning this way. Good for you. You're better off for it. So, let's back-track a little. Let's just assume that the easiest explanation is the correct one. It usually is. And if it isn't, it should be. Really. Life is hard enough already.

So, I almost recognized Garry, and almost-Garry almost recognized me (that look was unmistakable). This must mean that there is another Graham-and-Gary combo out there. This almost-Gary actually knows an almost-Graham. And this idea has big implications. As you know, and understand inherently in the core of your being, the universe is nothing if not a little fractally-inclined. Recursion-mad. If there are two sets, there must be more. There are probably thousands. Thousands of Graham-and-Gary combos. And this, of course, is upsetting. Because the first question that comes to my mind is, what if some of them are better at being a Graham and Gary combo? In fact; what if most of them are better? What if my friend Gary and I are in fact the worst of the bunch?

So, to summarize, I did ask almost-James Cameron for his autograph. Of course I did. I'm no fool. So, if you're interested in almost-autographs, check out my store on eBay. You won't be disappointed!

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

No Hope for Gomez! is his fiction debut:

Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.
Follow Graham's blog here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

$50 Walmart Card & Lawhorn's Signature Seasonings Giveaway!

Please visit Ellen at Confessions of an Overworked Mom to take advantage of these great giveaway that's going on until February 24th.

$50 Walmart Card & Lawhorn's Signature Seasonings Giveaway!

Author Spotlight: Respect the Jux by Frank C. Matthews

In Jamaica, “Cat” learned the art of the “jux”: robbing people by studying their everyday movements. By the age of eight, Cat was shoplifting and purse-snatching. By ten, he had his first gun. At fifteen, he committed his first murder.

In New York City . . . he created The Order: a secret society of thieves who played by Cat’s rules. He taught his crew how to pull off the perfect jux. Made them swear on a bible and a bullet. Robbed dealers, pushers, thugs. And raked in millions. Then Cat was betrayed—by one of his own men.

In Miami . . . he set up a new operation. Bigger game, bigger stakes. The targets are prime—athletes, politicians, drug lords, celebrities—and the payoff is huge. But the party scene is as dangerous as the ladies are beautiful. Cat has to watch his back and remember the rules: Never trust a thief. Never get caught. And always . . .RESPECT THE JUX.

Read the reviews!

“It’s an unapologetic look into the dangerous minds of the modern criminal. It’s gritty, seductive, and horrifying, all at the same time,” exclaimed Gray, whose credits include box office hits Law Abiding Citizen, Friday, Set it Off, The Negotiator, and The Italian Job. Known for his all-star casts, Gray’s films feature seasoned thespians, including Ice Cube, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, Edward Norton, and Mark Wahlberg, as well as Academy Award winners Charlize Theron, and Kevin Spacey. “Frank’s gripping writing style pulls you into the depths of this shadowy underworld, providing an addictive… yet frighteningly educational read.”

– Gary Gray, Film Director

Watch the trailer!

Prodigious and profound author Frank C. Matthews’ triumphant transformation from inmate to novelist has established him as a leading force in the world of urban literature. Armed with his mastery of the written word, Matthews has achieved feats that are only reserved for the most seasoned of writers, selling an unprecedented amount of books as a first-time author and self-publisher. When it comes to putting the urban voice – the human voice – on the page, Matthews has no peer. His unprecedented journey demonstrates that even when confronted with a web of trials and tribulations, creativity has the ability to flourish. As a New York City native, Matthews grew up with aspirations of one day becoming a household name as an NBA Superstar. His dream took a detour, but his resilience and determination allowed him to persevere.

The lure of the streets and its fast money took Matthews away from hoops and into another game – the drug trade – where he found instant success. But a deal gone bad eventually landed him behind bars. Once incarcerated, Matthews had few options of how to spend his seemingly unending time in what felt like a black hole drawing at all happiness. Taking advantage of the still and silent nights, Matthews spent hours plunged into two of the world’s most renowned, contemporary African-American storytellers, Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.

The books empowered the now bright-eyed and enthusiastic Matthews and awakened a creative bug to tell the stories locked inside im. “Incarceration transformed me,” said Matthews. “I went from a young, frustrated, and confused boy to a mature, humble, and pensive man.” Much the way Malcolm X used the power of words to transform himself in prison, Matthews used the power of the pen to write his way to freedom, real freedom. While the calamities of his past may have blackened his vision they did not still his pen. He found his purpose. He would write his stories in notebooks, on torn-open envelopes, and anything he could get his hands on and would pass them around through the system. While some traded cigarettes, Matthews traded his highly demanded stories, which inmates clung to like emotional life rafts.

Matthews delved into the business of publishing, an industry he now planned to one day master. He found his style of writing to be unique, labeling it as “true fiction,” an alternate take on real events he had witnessed firsthand. He honed his craft and further developed a distinctive writing style that was uninhibited, dramatic yet cinematic as his readers traveled to adventurous sonic territory. He had a burning desire to share his rare experiences in the underworld of crime with anyone who would listen. Matthews’ drive and passion was reinvigorated. He would be relentless in his pursuit to share with the masses his tales of underworld crime, drama, brotherhood and love.

Upon his rebirth in 2005, Matthews discovered that he could put his past behind him and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and unwavering determination. The resilient author took his astounding gift of writing “true fiction,” coupled with his compulsion for words and decided to pursue his passion. Even after numerous failed attempts at landing a publishing deal, Matthews did what he learned to do best – create opportunities for himself. He knew that there was an untapped niche audience eager to hear his voice, and he was steadfast in his desire to supplant the current favorites in the urban lit arena.

Matthews self-published one of his first novels, Respect the Jux, and it caught fire, selling over 20,000 thousand copies. The book catapulted Matthews into the sphere typically reserved for seasoned literary greats while capturing the attention of everyone from rappers Jay-Z, Ghostface Killer, and 50 Cent (who rapped on Lloyd Banks’s single, “Hands up, if you want to party with crooks you have to learn to Respect the Jux!”) to literary powerhouses like bestselling author and publisher Karen Hunter.

The gripping tale borrows from Matthews’ recollection of urban legends through the saga of Cat, who journeyed from Jamaica to the United States as a teenager. After a stint in the military, Cat returned with newfound skills and a desire for his own version of the American Dream—by any means necessary.

Using his extensive military background in weapons and intelligence, Cat formed “The Order,” a band of thieves that specialized in pulling off juxes, which Matthews defines as emulating and acquiring another’s style, intellect, or swagger for personal advancement.

Captivating, intriguing, mesmerizing – all words that describe Frank Matthews’ uncanny ability to bring readers into the worlds that he creates. His first auspicious debut Respect the Jux, a dynamic tale of brotherhood, greed, and power, hits the shelves nationwide in September, the style made famous by Slim and Goines will be revived…with a 21st century twist!

Visit his website at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Romance Novel Event: Big Girls Don't Cry Wolf by Kay Dee Royal

After the tragic loss of her twin sister, Brea works hard to prove herself worthy of her adoptive parent’s extra attention. She focuses on the success of the rustic resort her parents deeded to her.

Priorities change when sexy twin wolves in human form walk into Brea’s life.

A dangerous rogue abducts her, but whom, if anyone comes to her rescue?

WARNING: Sexual content 18 and over

Read an excerpt!

Brea watched Grey’s truck drive down the dirt path until she couldn’t see it through the trees. She shivered, instantly missing the warmth of Grey’s body next to hers. She looked one more time down the path in case Grey changed his mind about leaving her.

Did I misread Grey’s intentions? Gads, I threw myself at him. Maybe he isn’t into oversized women after all. I’m such an idiot!

Brea stepped through the door of her little stone cottage. She’d never questioned her size before, always fit her just fine. Not questioning it now either. Right now she needed cozy. As crappy as she felt over Grey’s quick departure, her head throbbed like the residual effects of a hangover, but it didn’t hinder her from throwing a few logs into the fireplace. Once a nice flame got going, she absorbed the comfort of its warmth. She lay back on her divan in front of the beautiful stone hearth.

Brea pulled her favorite blanket with images of howling wolves over her and laid her head on a matching throw pillow. Her whole room reflected her love of wolves, through pictures, statues, lamp shades, and her shelves full of books about them. She needed their comfort right now to take away Grey’s rejection of her.

Brea closed her eyes for a moment, fighting an overpowering sadness.

Exhaustion finally pulled her into sleep.

* * * *

A haunting wolf howl crept into Brea’s dream. It wouldn’t stop; it was so loud…until Brea snapped awake. She sat up in darkness, not even embers glowed inside the hearth, moonlight streamed in through her sliding glass door with enough light to help her maneuver through the room. She went to the glass door to draw the curtains closed, but instead she was drawn to what lay beyond her porch.

Brea opened the door, stepped out, and walked over to the railing of her ground-level deck. She saw the light of the moon cut a path across the calm lake water to the sandy shoreline fifty feet away. Chilled damp air settled over her bare arms.

She glanced to the south tree line leading into miles of forest. Something shifted the shadows of the trees, maybe an animal hiding. She didn’t hear the rustle of dry leaves that usually accompanies animal movement in the forest.

A wolf howled a short distance from Brea. Its sound reverberated against the stone cottage wall behind her, sending a shiver from her skin into her bones. She knew wolves had been sighted a few miles away, but never at the resort. For as long as she’d lived in Northern Michigan, she’d never actually seen one. Now, she was about to have a very personal experience with one.

Brea had studied them enough to know not to move or she’d spook it. She heard it breathing and slowly turned to look. Wet, warm moisture carried on the slight breeze, settling on, around, and inside her.

The moon and all its light vanished behind an ominous cloud. Two glowing green orbs appeared to float in front of her. Somewhere in her consciousness she recognized the green eyes and the assailing breath.

A direct order, something she must do, jogged her memory, compelling her. She couldn’t look away. Her body became weightless, fluid and she wanted to follow. She moved forward, off the deck, following…following something that called her. She heard it and knew she must hurry.

Suddenly hands gripped her from behind, stopping her progress.

Another warm moist breath infiltrated her senses with the scent of pine, musk, and cloves. Her need to follow disintegrated like the ash of a spent campfire. Brea came awake in the middle of the forest. Strong arms wrapped around her waist.

“It’s alright, Brea. I think you were walking in your sleep.” Grey’s voice whispered through the layers of fog that began to break apart in her mind. “Brea, take a deep breath.”

Brea turned to face Grey.

“What…I’m…it’s night.” She couldn’t seem to grasp a total thought, other than being in the middle of the forest and in Grey’s arms. What was she doing here? What was he doing here?

Grey picked her up and carried her. She heard a wolf howl, so did Grey. He stopped and raised his face. Brea watched him sniff the air. She shrugged it off, her mind in no condition to make a judgment call of what he was doing, especially for something as strange as Grey sniffing the air.
The muscles in his arms tightened, squeezing her closer to him. He ran. How he could navigate through the trees in the darkness and carry her weight, Brea couldn’t fathom, but then her brain didn’t seem to be functioning with all lobes either. She closed her eyes and tucked her head into his shoulder, like a child in his arms, safe and loved.

Loved? Where did that come from?

Grey stepped onto Brea’s deck, walking through the open sliding glass door into her cottage.

“Gads, I left my door open?”

“Like I told you, I think you were walking in your sleep. Have you ever done that before?” Grey set Brea down on the divan and went back to the door to slide it closed. He switched on a small lamp in the corner and proceeded to re-build the fire in the hearth.

“I’ve never walked in my sleep that I’m aware of. I mean I’ve never woke up in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night. I guess I’m lucky you were there. Why were you there?”

Brea watched Grey’s sleek animal-like movements, stealthy, sure-footed, with muscles rippling. Again she saw him lift his head and sniff the air. His eyes glowed silver, reminding her of other glowing eyes and a shudder quaked down her body.


Kay Dee Royal loves writing paranormal fantasy romance, maybe because she loves to read them. Wild, rugged heroes and strong, intelligent heroines, both with a few shadowy secrets, make it intriguing and fun. She resides in Southern Michigan.

You can visit her online at

Please check out the Muse It Hot Readers Yahoo Group -  on 2/16 for Kay Dee Royal's contest. She will be giving away a free copy of her book, Big Girls Don't Cry Wolf. Also, check the reader site out for all the special contests running throughout the month of February.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Author Spotlight: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Read an excerpt!

Jamie made a fire in a sheltered spot, and sat down next to it. The rain had eased to a faint drizzle that misted the air and spangled my eyelashes with rainbows when I looked at the flames.

He sat staring into the fire for a long time. Finally he looked up at me, hands clasped around his knees.
"I said before that I'd not ask ye things ye had no wish to tell me. And I'd not ask ye now; but I must know, for your safety as well as mine." He paused, hesitating.
"Claire, if you've never been honest wi' me, be so now, for I must know the truth. Claire, are ye a witch?"

I gaped at him. "A witch? You—you can really ask that?" I thought he must be joking. He wasn't.

He took me by the shoulders and gripped me hard, staring into my eyes as though willing me to answer him.
"I must ask it, Claire! And you must tell me!"

"And if I were?" I asked through dry lips. "If you had thought I were a witch? Would you still have fought for me?"

"I would have gone to the stake with you!" he said violently. "And to hell beyond, if I must. But may the Lord Jesus have mercy on my soul and on yours, tell me the truth!"

The strain of it all caught up with me. I tore myself out of his grasp and ran across the clearing. Not far, only to the edge of the trees; I could not bear the exposure of the open space. I clutched a tree; put my arms around it and dug my fingers hard into the bark, pressed my face to it and shrieked with hysterical laughter.

Jamie's face, white and shocked, loomed up on the other side of the tree. With the dim realization that what I was doing must sound unnervingly like cackling, I made a terrific effort and stopped. Panting, I stared at him for a moment.

"Yes," I said, backing away, still heaving with gasps of unhinged laughter. "Yes, I am a witch! To you, I must be. I've never had smallpox, but I can walk through a room full of dying men and never catch it. I can nurse the sick and breathe their air and touch their bodies, and the sickness can't touch me. I can't catch cholera, either, or lockjaw, or the morbid sore throat. And you must think it's an enchantment, because you've never heard of vaccine, and there's no other way you can explain it."

"The things I know—" I stopped backing away and stood still, breathing heavily, trying to control myself. "I know about Jonathan Randall because I was told about him. I know when he was born and when he'll die, I know about what he's done and what he'll do, I know about Sandringham because ... because Frank told me. He knew about Randall because he ... he ... oh, God!" I felt as though I might be sick, and closed my eyes to shut out the spinning stars overhead.

"And Colum ... he thinks I'm a witch, because I know Hamish isn't his own son. I know ... he can't sire children. But he thought I knew who Hamish's father is ... I thought maybe it was you, but then I knew it couldn't be, and..." I was talking faster and faster, trying to keep the vertigo at bay with the sound of my own voice.

"Everything I've ever told you about myself was true," I said, nodding madly as though to reassure myself. "Everything. I haven't any people, I haven't any history, because I haven't happened yet.

"Do you know when I was born?" I asked, looking up. I knew my hair was wild and my eyes staring, and I didn't care. "On the twentieth of October, in the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen. Do you hear me?" I demanded, for he was blinking at me unmoving, as though paying no attention to a word I said. "I said nineteen eighteen! Nearly two hundred years from now! Do you hear?"

I was shouting now, and he nodded slowly.

"I hear," he said softly.

"Yes, you hear!" I blazed. "And you think I'm raving mad. Don't you? Admit it! That's what you think. You have to think so, there isn't any other way you can explain me to yourself. You can't believe me, you can't dare to. Oh, Jamie..." I felt my face start to crumple. All this time spent hiding the truth, realizing that I could never tell anyone, and now I realized that I could tell Jamie, my beloved husband, the man I trusted beyond all others, and he wouldn't—he couldn't believe me either.

"It was the rocks—the fairy hill. The standing stones. Merlin's stones. That's where I came through." I was gasping, half-sobbing, becoming less coherent by the second. "Once upon a time, but it's really two hundred years. It's always two hundred years, in the stories. ... But in the stories, the people always get back. I couldn't get back." I turned away, staggering, grasping for support. I sank down on a rock, shoulders slumped, and put my head in my hands. There was a long silence in the wood. It went on long enough for the small night birds to recover their courage and start their noises once again, calling to each other with a thin, high zeek! as they hawked for the last insects of the summer.

I looked up at last, thinking that perhaps he had simply risen and left me, overcome by my revelations. He was still there, though, still sitting, hands braced on his knees, head bowed as though in thought.

The hairs on his arms shone stiff as copper wires in the firelight, though, and I realized that they stood erect, like the bristles on a dog. He was afraid of me.

"Jamie," I said, feeling my heart break with absolute loneliness. "Oh, Jamie."

I sat down and curled myself into a ball, trying to roll myself around the core of my pain. Nothing mattered any longer, and I sobbed my heart out.

His hands on my shoulders raised me, enough to see his face. Through the haze of tears, I saw the look he wore in battle, of struggle that had passed the point of strain and become calm certainty.

"I believe you," he said firmly. "I dinna understand it a bit—not yet—but I believe you. Claire, I believe you! Listen to me! There's the truth between us, you and I, and whatever ye tell me, I shall believe it." He gave me a gentle shake.

"It doesna matter what it is. You've told me. That's enough for now. Be still, mo duinne. Lay your head and rest. You'll tell me the rest of it later. And I'll believe you."

I was still sobbing, unable to grasp what he was telling me. I struggled, trying to pull away, but he gathered me up and held me tightly against himself, pushing my head into the folds of his plaid, and repeating over and over again, "I believe you."

At last, from sheer exhaustion, I grew calm enough to look up and say, "But you can't believe me."
He smiled down at me. His mouth trembled slightly, but he smiled.

"Ye'll no tell me what I canna do, Sassenach." He paused a moment. ... A long time later, he spoke.

"All right. Tell me now."

I told him. Told him everything, haltingly but coherently. I felt numb from exhaustion, but content, like a rabbit that has outrun a fox, and found temporary shelter under a log. It isn't sanctuary, but at least it is respite. And I told him about Frank.
"Frank," he said softly. "Then he isna dead, after all."

"He isn't born." I felt another small wave of hysteria break against my ribs, but managed to keep myself under control. "Neither am I."

He stroked and patted me back into silence, making his small murmuring Gaelic sounds.

"When I took ye from Randall at Fort William," he said suddenly, "you were trying to get back. Back to the stones. And ... Frank. That's why ye left the grove."

"And I beat you for it." His voice was soft with regret.

"You couldn't know. I couldn't tell you." I was beginning to feel very drowsy indeed.

"No, I dinna suppose ye could." He pulled the plaid closer around me, tucking it gently around my shoulders. "Do ye sleep now, mo duinne. No one shall harm ye; I'm here."

I burrowed into the warm curve of his shoulder, letting my tired mind fall through the layers of oblivion. I forced myself to the surface long enough to ask, "Do you really believe me, Jamie?"
He sighed, and smiled ruefully down at me.

"Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha' been a good deal easier if you'd only been a witch."

Excerpted from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon Copyright © 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. Excerpted by permission of Dell, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Read the reviews!

“Absorbing and heartwarming…lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland.”

—Publishers Weekly


—Los Angeles Daily News

“It is a large canvas that Gabaldon paints, filled with strong passions and derring-do. Strong willed and sensual, Claire is an engaging modern heroine plopped down in a simpler, more primitive time…. Great fun …marvelous and fantastic adventures, romance, sex …perfect escape reading!”

—San Francisco Chronicle


Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels, described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting “Scrooge McDuck” comics.”

The adventure began in 1991 with the classic OUTLANDER (“historical fiction with a Moebius twist”), has continued through six more New York Times-bestselling novels–DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, VOYAGER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, THE FIERY CROSS, A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, and AN ECHO IN THE BONE, with nineteen million copies in print worldwide.

The series is published in 26 countries and 23 languages, and includes a nonfiction (well, relatively) companion volume, THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, which provides details on the settings, background, characters, research, and writing of the novels. Gabaldon (it’s pronounced “GAA-bull-dohn”—rhymes with “stone”) has also written several books in a sub-series featuring Lord John Grey (a major minor character from the main series): LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER, LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE, and LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS. Another Lord John book, LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, will probably be published in 2011).

Returning to her comic-book roots, she has also written a graphic novel titled THE EXILE (set within the OUTLANDER universe and featuring the main characters from OUTLANDER), but told from the viewpoint of Jamie Fraser and his godfather, Murtagh. The graphic novel is illustrated by Hoang Nguyen, published by Del-Rey.

Gabaldon is presently working on the third Lord John novel (LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER), and the eighth book in the OUTLANDER series. In addition, she is working on a contemporary mystery series, set in Phoenix, and has written Highly Scholarly Introductions (with masses of footnotes) to recent Modern Library editions of Sir Walter Scott’s IVANHOE and Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE.

Dr. Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, (plus an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters, which entitles her to be “Diana Gabaldon, Ph.D., D.H.L.” She supposes this is better than “Diana Gabaldon, Phd.X,”) and spent a dozen years as a university professor with an expertise in scientific computation before beginning to write fiction. She has written scientific articles and textbooks, worked as a contributing editor on the MacMillan ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMPUTERS, founded the scientific-computation journal SCIENCE SOFTWARE QUARTERLY, and has written numerous comic-book scripts for Walt Disney. None of this has anything whatever to do with her novels, but there it is.

She and her husband, Douglas Watkins, have three adult children and live mostly in Scottsdale, Arizona.

You can visit Diana online at

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winners of a Free Bar of Happy Goats Soap!

Our congratulations go out to:



and noteasytobegreen, all winners of a free bar of Happy Goats Soap.

I'll be contacting the winners in the morning. They will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information. If I don't hear from them within that time frame, I will select a new winner/winners.

Thanks to all who participated.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coming Soon: Shortcomings by Ginger Simpson!

Our shortcomings don't define who we are, unless we let them. Cindy Johnson needs to learn that. Born with one leg shorter than the other, she has no self-esteem because of the cruel comments and cold stares she receives from her classmates.  When Cory Neil, the football quarterback asks her to Homecoming, she's quite sure he's asked her on a dare and refuses.  It takes more than just her mother's assurances that Cindy's beautiful before she realizes she may have made a mistake in turning him down.

Read an excerpt!

Cindy paused outside the door to her Math class and took a deep breath. So far, she’d avoided an encounter with Cory or Sally, and now she’d have to face them both. Surely Sally would make sure Cindy heard all about the dance and her fabulous date. She’d never cut class before, but the thought crossed her mind. Instead, she pushed through her anxiety and limped inside.

Head down, she made her way to her desk beneath the burning weight of everyone‘s stares. She slid into her seat, wishing she could turn invisible, but knowing she eventually had to face the music.
“Welcome back, Miss Johnson,” the teacher called out. “We’re happy you’ve made such a rapid recovery. We only just learned on Friday about your accident.”

Cindy plastered a smile on her face. “Thank you, Mr. Hansen. It’s good to be back.” Had she really said that? She dared a glance at Sally and curled her lip at the pep captain’s conceited smirk. With Cory behind her, seeing his reaction was impossible. She dared not make an obvious turn in her seat.
Mr. Hansen fished through papers on his desk then looked up. “See me after class about your missed homework. I have the assignments listed for you.” He picked up a textbook from his desk. “If everyone will turn to page one hundred fifty, we’ll get started.”

She retrieved her book from her backpack and flipped to the correct section. Following the droning voice of the instructor, she felt a tickling sensation along her side. Lifting her arm, she found Cory had tucked a note there. Before removing it, she glanced up at the teacher. Sweet relief, his back was turned to the class as he focused on the blackboard. She hid the missive in the open pages of her book and read. “I missed you while you were gone, and I’m glad you weren’t badly hurt. Did you get my card?”

With her jaw tensed over that blasted non-emotion revealing card, she took pencil in hand and jotted her response on the back of his note: Yes, I got your card and I thank you for thinking of me, especially on a weekend when I know you must have been very busy.

She stared at the last remark and grimaced. Was it too catty? No, he deserved it. She quickly folded the paper in half, and while eyeing Mr. Hansen, did a half-swivel in her seat and pushed the note across Cory’s desk. She straightened, faced forward and enjoyed feeling rather vindicated. She dipped her chin and tuned into the teacher’s voice as he explained the formula on the board.

“Misterrrr Neal.” At the teacher’s voice, her gaze popped up. “Would you care to share with the class what you’re reading? I assume from your latest test grade, it isn’t your lesson!”

She could only imagine the horrified look on Cory’s face at the moment, and she cringed, awaiting his response. From the corner of her eye, she saw Sally’s smug smile.

“I’d prefer not to share, sir.” His voice sounded steady and in control, quite unlike her nerves.

“Then please pass the note in your hand forward and I’ll be happy to read it aloud.” Mr. Hansen’s gaze bored past her.

Cindy’s stomach roiled. If Cory got into trouble he could lose his place on the football team, and the season wasn’t over yet. Cindy slid from beneath her desk and stood. “Mr. Hansen.” Her voice trembled in rhythm to her knees. “It’s my fault. Cory sent me a get well card and I passed a thank you note to him. I apologize for disrupting the class.”

Mr. Hansen’s dark brow furrowed as he eyed her. “Well, Miss Johnson, because you’ve already suffered a great deal recently, I’ll let this pass, but…” His gaze scanned the entire class. “I will not tolerate any further note passing by anyone.”


Ginger Simpson retired from the University of California in 2003 in order to devote more time to her writing. She’s multi-published with several small houses and has decided to bloom where she’s planted rather than seeking a contract with a bigger house. Her grandson, Spencer, is autistic, and has been the biggest inspiration in her life. Watching him develop and improve has shone her that with perseverance, most hurdles aren’t all that tall.

Visit Ginger online at: