Showing posts with label Guest Posts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Posts. Show all posts

Dec 16, 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway: From Shattered Pieces by Traci Jo Stotts

About Traci Jo Stotts

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Always one to daydream, I’m often teased for the many bits and pieces of paper with notes and ideas for different books littering my desk. After spending most of my life in rural Nevada, I’ve recently moved to Washington. 

To my husband and sons…I finished!

Why book covers are so important

I really didn’t have any visions of what the cover for From Shattered Pieces would look like. I purposely ignored that part of the process. I filled out the cover worksheet and daydreamed about how I was going to feel when I saw it. Once I knew it was on its way, I was giddy with excitement. 

The e-mail came with cover art in the subject line. I knew this was too important to open on my phone so I powered up my laptop and sat, anxiously waiting. I clicked the attachment and that feeling I was anticipating wasn’t there. The cover was beautiful. I loved the font and the shattered pieces flying this way and that. The model on the cover just didn’t reflect the story. Ian, the main character in FSP, is a tomboy and the model was pretty glamorous. It was almost too beautiful.

This being my first experience, I wasn’t sure how to voice my concerns. The artists have a worksheet with limited information to go by. I am sure it’s not a dig at the artist’s work to say it’s too beautiful, but it was hard to speak up nevertheless. 

I asked for something a little different (with not a moment to spare), and was lucky enough to be able to look for an image that better reflected the overall feel of Ian’s story. 

Again, I pushed away any images that tried to creep into my mind. I knew the cover artist was more than capable of delivering a fabulous cover, and boy, did she ever! The moment I opened the second attachment, I felt it. “THIS IS IT! THIS IS HER! THIS IS IAN’S STORY!” I couldn’t stop staring at it! 

I’m in love with the artwork for From Shattered Pieces and I’m so thankful to have worked with such an amazing artist! It was important for me to love the cover. It’s the first connection reader’s have with the story. So, I disagree with the old saying Don’t judge a book by its cover. For me, it’s the first impression and when I look at the cover of From Shattered Pieces… I’m impressed! 


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Ian had no intention of running away. She lived with her abusive parents for sixteen years, so surely she could endure two more. But something changed the night she fought back.

Leaving home was one thing but being on the streets of Reno brings scary to a whole new level. A chance run-in with Jubal proves to be both a blessing and a curse.

Now, Ian must come to terms with who she is and what she must do to survive.


One very lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Good luck!

Dec 12, 2015

Australia Days Guest Post, Book Review & Giveaway: The Near Miss by Fran Cusworth

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Guest post
Fran Cusworth

Thanks for inviting me!

Why write? This is a question I ask myself sometimes, and I thought I’d write about it here. People talk about having a book inside them that they have to get out – I have always felt like this, at some stages of my life more than others. From childhood, writing for me was an itch that needed scratching, and I always kept journals. As I grew older and became an avid reader of novels, literature became like part of conversation where I had listened to other people for long enough, and I was bursting to have my own say. As a young adult who was not always articulate or confident enough to verbally express myself, writing became another, better way to get things out. As a new mother, writing novels took on a sudden urgency – I could keenly sense time passing, and felt that if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it. Writing time became ‘me’ time; thinking and dreaming, non-baby time. 

After my first novel was published, I hit a bit of a wall – the dream had always been to Publish A Novel. Now that was done, why was I writing? I had not spent 35 years dreaming of Publishing A Second Novel ... this didn’t have half the weight of motivation behind it. However, as I, my husband and two small sons had just moved to a mining town in the heart of the mining boom, my motivation grew to capture the crazy uniqueness of a modern boomtown; the relationships between the wives of the workers, and the old-town/new-town people, the pressures of international monetary forces on this small and beautiful place. After this came a third novel written within a PhD, and some of the motivations for that one sat a little uncomfortably with me; writing to fulfil the requirements of a scholarship. As much as I could I wrote to capture women’s lives and realities, as I always have done.

Along the way, I accepted I probably won’t make fame nor fortune out of writing, but I have loved the act of writing, and I love it when individuals make contact to tell them a book moved them, or meant something to them. The Near Miss, my recent novel, was really written from a place of fun and pleasure, having discarded ‘great expectations’, and it is telling that it is my favourite of all four novels. I will probably always write to make sense of the world I live in – it’s as good a way as any to do so.

Review by Suze

When Grace's daughter Lotte walks onto the street in front of a car she's being saved by Melody. Melody has a son, Skip, who's Lotte's age. Because she's so relieved Grace invites both Melody and the driver of the car, Eddy, for dinner. Grace and her husband are both hardworking people who don't like their jobs, but they are slaving away to be able to afford their mortgage. Melody is a hippy, a single mother who has just left a community. Eddy's a risk analyst who only has one goal in life and that is to marry his girlfriend Romy. She's unfaithful to him and isn't very keen. Because of the accident the paths of Grace, Melody and Eddy cross and then things start evolving and there's no turning back...

Grace, Melody and Eddy are all very different, but friendships are being formed. That is something I loved about The Near Miss. They're all struggling. Grace because her husband wants to be an inventor. He has done it before and wants to quit his job again to works on projects he loves. Only Grace is afraid that won't pay the bills. Skip and Lotte become good friends, they're an unlikely duo, but they get along wonderfully. Melody's main worry is money. How will she be able to pay the rent and where will the food on her table come from? Eddy is unlucky in love. He wants to keep Romy whatever it takes, but she doesn't want to be kept. All of these stories work. They're interesting, they're fascinating and moving from time to time as well. I couldn't put this book down and loved it from the first page.

A Near Miss is a story with several main characters. I liked that angle. They all have good and bad sides and Fran Cusworth is not afraid of showing them. I think that's a huge strength. It made me love this story even more. It's honest and it's realistic while it's also clearly fiction at the same time, a good combination. Especially since Fran Cusworth knows how to keep her balance. The story is wonderfully chaotic and so much is happening that it sometimes made my head spin, which is something I loved. It's fast-paced, but the story is also easy to follow. I can't express how much I enjoyed reading The Near Miss. it's absolutely brilliant.


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a kindle copy of The Near Miss. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Dec 10, 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway: Emerald Bound by Teresa Richards

About Teresa Richards

Teresa Richards writes YA, but loves anything that can be given a unique twist. Her zombie stories 'Are You My Mombie?' and 'The Zombie Code' can be found in Z Tales: Stories from the Zombieverse by The Fairfield Scribes. When Teresa’s not writing, she can be found either chasing after one of her five kids, or hiding someplace in the house with a treat her children overlooked. Emerald Bound is her debut novel. 

You can connect with her on twitter @BYUtm33 or at

Guest Post

Finding Your Creative Outlet

I believe every human being was hard-wired with an innate desire to create. The act of creation makes us happy, whether that creation takes the form of writing a story, coaxing a flower out of the ground, or color-coding the shoes in our closet (ie, creating order). We are just creative beings and when we don’t create, something inside us starts to die. 

My favorite creative outlet is writing. But writing is not the only creative thing I’ve ever done and it’s not the only outlet I have. There are phases in life when your capacity to create is huge and other times when that capacity dwindles. When life steps in and cuts down the time or energy you have to devote to creation, the trick is to find something, however small, that can fill that innate creative need. 

For example, “creating” essays and science projects while in college didn’t quite fill my need. But I was so busy with school that I just couldn’t add anything more. So during that time, I’d often take my piano books to a practice room on campus and create music for a half hour or so whenever I felt myself shriveling up inside. 

Harder still were the years I spent “creating” little human beings. Spending my days trying to create order out of chaos didn’t quite fill my creative cup. But during that time I took up scrapbooking with a vengeance, hashing out my creative urges with scalloped scissors and patterned paper while the baby napped and the toddler watched cartoons. (And, okay, sometimes while the toddler clawed at my legs, trying to get me to give into whatever happened to be the two-year-old whim of the day.) 

It wasn’t until my kids got a little older that I finally had time to devote myself to creating stories. And, oh, it filled my cup to overflowing. I couldn’t get enough of it. I still can’t. I just love writing. I love the process of seeing the tiniest spark of an idea grow and develop into a mammoth of a story. In my mind, there is just nothing better. 

How about you? What is your creative outlet of choice for the phase of life you’re in?

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Emerald Bound

A princess, a pea, and a tower of mattresses. This is the sliver that survives of a story more nightmare than fairytale... 

Maggie Rhodes, high school junior and semi-reformed stalker, learns the tale’s true roots after a spying attempt goes awry and her best friend Kate ends up as the victim of an ancient curse. At the center of the curse lies an enchanted emerald that has been residing quietly in a museum for the past fifty years. Admirers of the gem have no idea that it feeds on life. Or that it’s found its next victim in Kate. 

Enter Lindy, a school acquaintance who knows more than she’s letting on, and Garon, a handsome stranger claiming he knows how to help, and Maggie is left wondering who to trust and how to save her best friend before it’s too late. 

If only Maggie knew her connection to the fairy tale was rooted far deeper than an endangered best friend.


One very lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Emerald Bound. Good luck!

Dec 4, 2015

Agi and Suze's Christmas Countdown: Interview with Isabelle + Giveaway

About Isabelle

I'm Isabelle. I'm a student in communication and languages, living in Belgium and i'm a native french speaker.

Reading is my passion, in english as well as in french, and it's the reason I've started my blog. My preferred genres are paranormal romance, fantasy, YA, urban fantasy, sci-fi and i'm open to discovering more. I also like mangas and roleplaying game ( pathfinder etc).


1) What's your best Christmas memory?

When i was little perhaps 5, We had the tradition to spend Christmas eve at my Godmother house. That year we had a car accident on the way there because of the snow and ice on the road, a repairman came to our help and drove us there since it was the nearest destination. We knew we couldn't go home before the next day when we would be able to be driven safely. No one of us was hurt it was just metal but for the little me it was shoking and even more because it was Christmas. If i wasn't at home how Santa would find me?
Adults conforted me but they weren't at ease... they were stuck inside as well so they couldn't do anything about it. We ate, watched Tv.. but i wasn't in the mood at all.. at midnight when we were all in the salon the doorbell rang. I remember all the aldults jumping by surprise... my Godmother went to open the door and i still don't know why i went with her.. nobody was there but on the doorstep was a Santa Plush with my name on it .. it was so magical that it's still tearing about it as the mystery is still complete.

2) What are your 3 favourite Christmas reads?

Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham
Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne Johnson
The Magical Christmas Cat anthology with nalini singh

3) If you could choose one person, dead or alive, to celebrate a one time special Christmas with, who would you choose and why?

My father, i miss him dearly and with the problems we have now i would love to hear his advices but at the same time i don't think it would be a good idea because i'm not sure i could let his spirit leaves me once again, time would be too short for sure.

4) What are your thoughts about Santa?

Some mysteries are never explained so i do believe he has its own magic even if it not needed most of the time.

5) What are your best and worst Christmas gifts and why?

My best christmas gifts were those i received last year from blogger friends...for the first time i wasn't forgotten and all were picked with me in mind which made them so special, there were books of course ( what a treasure) but also other little something showing me how they thought of me when mking their choice. Fabulous!

Worst christmas gift.... a oil lamp/ candle gifted by my aunt. As always she didn't care and picked the first very cheap thing she could find... it's not the price the problem it's the lack of thought which once again resulted in a disaster. You see she is doing that nearly each time so we are used to it and learned not to use what she give us. Unfortunately this time, my cat made the lamp fall and it broke... it STANK!, an horror! it took us one week with windows open to get the smell out of the house so i 'm glad it happened in summer but really i don't want to imagine what would have been the result if it had be burned like it was supposed to.

6) Your favourite Christmas song? 

Holy Night

7) Your favourite Christmas movie?

Miracle on the 34th street

8) Top 3 books that you're giving as Christmas presents?
Suzanne Johnson 's books: the sentinels of New Orleans series
books by Nalini Singh
or a mystery one from the receiver wishlist

9) Most favourite and least favourite part of Christmas?

most favourite: the magical feeling, the fact that everyone try to be kinder . and i love spreading the joy

least favourite: the commercial part... having decorations put in the shops early november... it's just too early and steal the magic.

10) I must ask, sorry - the best Christmas food is...?

La Bûche de noël (the one in ice cream)


One very lucky reader of our blogs will receive a handmade prize from Isabelle. Below I've attached an example of a bookmark she's made, but it can also be a keychain or a scarf, depending on the wishes of the winner.

Good luck!

Guest Post & Giveaway: That Night by Lisa McManus

Dreams, Goals and Aspirations:

What Would Lisa Do?

I’ve been writing for too many years to count – would be too revealing of my age – but I stopped for a while when my kids were babies and my brain cells were all-consumed by sleepless nights, countless feedings and dirty diapers. But as they grew older I ventured back into the creative world that began when I was a kid sitting on the back porch surrounded by Nancy Drew mysteries and Sweetdream teen romances. I wrote my first story – a ‘thriller’ - about an acid-spewing spider and then a poem riddled with teen angst which won me awards in high school. 

My writing career grew along with my ever-growing kids. Just as they learned about life and how to be their true selves in it, I learned, too. Not only was I learning about motherhood, but I was learning how to juggle motherhood with an outside-the-home job along with a slowly blooming writing career. I learned when to give and when to take, and to always do what is best for ME and my family. I learned to do what ‘Lisa would do’ in certain situations: staying to true to myself, to not ‘go with the flow,’ and to keep perspective. Priorities would change and so would I.

And I learned I had to do all this while keeping my dreams, goals and aspirations in focus.

Phew – not easy.

As years went by and my kids got older, I was able to write more – ever-able to juggle and keep goals in focus – however there were always new challenges in family life that sometimes kept me away from my writing. But as I got older, my juggling skills strengthened, as did my perspective on things; on what’s important, on quickly passing time, and realizing I am the one responsible for achieving or not achieving my goals. But still, despite everyone getting older and more independent, I struggle with doing things FOR me – achieving my goals – and with the guilt of pursuing my goals and the time doing so can take away from family. 

In my young adult book, THAT NIGHT (Evernight Teen, November 2015), Luke Hannon has a goal of becoming a mechanic. But when social perceptions fueled by gossip and misunderstanding threaten his goals, he has to clear his name and get to the bottom of what happened to his girlfriend, Jessica, ‘that night.’ But during his anxious quest to unravel the truth, he struggles with feelings of gulit and disloyalty, as if being so focused on clearing his name is disloyal to Jessica, especially given when she has gone through. He worries that protecting his goals and dreams is wrong and selfish. 

But I think loyalty to someone else and loyalty to ourselves goes hand in hand. We have to stay loyal to our true selves – our dreams, goals and aspirations – if we can honestly maintain loyalty to anyone else. For me it’s setting an example to my kids of attaining goals while keeping perspective. For Luke it was being able to turn getting to the bottom of what happened that night not only to clear his name, but for the sake of Jessica, as well. There is nothing wrong with looking out for your own needs, I say, as long as you don’t fully lose perspective of what it’s important. Like Luke, I struggle with doing anything that fosters my dreams and goals that might take away from my family, just like he felt guilty about focusing on himself to preserve his goals and future. 

It’s all part of growing up, both as a teen boy like Luke, or a (ahem) forty-something mother like me. Juggling and maintaining balance, perspective, learning how to win and lose, and staying true to yourself is constant. This little thing we call life is a never-ending cycle of learning and growing, and learning from growing. Just as Luke learned about ‘what would Luke do’ and staying true to himself in the book, I, too, am constantly defining and redefining ‘what would Lisa do’ in real life. Luke learned that honouring his true self only helped Jessica more than he realized. 

And like Luke, I have found ways to stay true to myself in keeping perspective of what’s important to me – my family – all while keeping focus on and achieving my goals.

Every written word of the way.

Thank you for having me and thank you to your readers for stopping by!

Lisa xo

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Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of That Night. Good luck!

Dec 1, 2015

Australia Days Guest Post: Lady Godiva: Superhero by Eliza Redgold! & Giveaway

Lady Godiva: Superhero

This post comes to us from Eliza Redgold, author, academic and unashamed romantic. Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released by St Martin’s Press, New York in 2015.

Hawk high I lifted my head. No shame now. Only pride in being the lady of such a people. My Saxon people, who loved justice, had observed a greater law. Not a law handed down from above but a law risen up from their hearts.

Another gust of wind lifted the veil of my hair. This time no fear pricked my skin, no trepidation trickled down my spine … In a surge of elation I lifted my arms into wings, my hair a banner unfurled.

Quote from NAKED

Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman. We might think superheroes are a recent invention. Long before Batman donned his mask, Superman took to the skies, or Wonder Woman put us all in a spin there was: Godiva.

The legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry covered only by her long, flowing hair, has lasted for centuries. But does she make superhero status?

Hold on to your cape. All (and I mean all) shall be revealed.

Godiva: Daring Do-Gooder

Lady Godiva was an eleventh century do-gooder of the most daring kind. So the story goes, she begged her husband, Lord Leofric of Mercia, to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if they were forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. 

Some historians call the ride a myth, but there’s no doubt that Lady Godiva was a real person called Countess Godgyfu who lived in eleventh-century England. Ancient records also reveal Godiva was a genuine philanthropist. She supported monasteries, built abbeys and churches, and aided the poor. The original cathedral in Coventry was founded by Lady Godiva.

Godiva’s Secret Super-Powers

Do you remember where Wonder Woman came from? She hails from Paradise Island, inhabited by ageless Amazons. The Amazon Princess Diana visits earth and become Diana Prince. When danger or injustice threatens, Diana releases her super powers. In a swirl she becomes Wonder Woman, with magical skills of strength, protection and insight, provided by her golden belt, bullet-deflecting bracelets and golden lasso. In the original TV transformation sequence, the camera focuses on Diana Prince’s hair falling loose as she transitions to Wonder Woman.

Similar mythology swirls around Godiva. Just like superheroes Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) Superman (Clark Kent) and Batman (Bruce Wayne) Godiva’s true identity acquired an earthly counterpart. In ancient history Godiva’s tale was connected to Greek and Celtic myths, including myth surrounding a goddess known as Goda. As her story gained vogue in the Middle Ages Goda’s tale became intertwined with the real and genuinely philanthropic Countess Godgyfu. 

Godiva’s story also became linked to St Agnes. The beautiful Agnes was forced to walk naked through the town as a punishment for refusing to give up her faith. Agnes’s hair miraculously grew long enough to cover her, and such a bright angelic light surrounded her that no man could see her. The stories of Goda, St Agnes and Godiva are clearly of the same supernatural family.

Godiva: The Original Caped Crusader

Forget Batman’s hood, Superman’s cape or Wonder Woman’s leotard. Forget having to find the Batcave or a phone box. With only a living cape of supernaturally long locks to cover her, Godiva must take the prize for most awesome adventurer’s attire. 
While riding nude is something many 21st century women might baulk at, even for charity - calendar girls aside, Lady Godiva certainly deserves credit as a heroine. In a single leap, Godiva’s ride takes her into a higher dimension. Her courage continues to inspire, her tale to be told, even after a thousand years.

We Need another Superhero 

The legend of Lady Godiva has stood the test of time. Larger than life, she meets the essential elements of superhero-status as a do-gooder, supernaturally connected, and a crusader. 
Godiva is more than a naked lady. Like the best superheroes, Godiva has always answered our call, and rides again.

Eliza Redgold’s NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva reclaims Godiva as a heroine for today. In her academic work as Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd she has researched Lady Godiva in history and popularculture.

NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva is available in all good bookstores and online.

Follow Eliza Redgold on 

Twitter: @ElizaRedgold 

or subscribe to her newsletter at

Eliza Redgold: Biography

ELIZA REDGOLD is an author, academic and unashamed romantic. She writes historical fiction (St Martin’s Press) and romance (Harlequin).

NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released internationally by St Martin’s Press


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a paperback copy of Naked via The Bookdepository. Good luck!

Nov 30, 2015

Australia Weeks Guest Post: Heart of my Heart Thoughts of Australia by Maggie Bolitho! + Giveaway

Kennett River Victoria

Heart of my heart, thoughts of Australia

Last year at this time my husband and I were planning a trip back to Australia. We allowed five months. Two months allowed us to catch up with friends and family. Three months let us explore the parts of the country we’d never seen.

Ceduna SA

Our route took us from east to west, south to north, and then across the Outback to Sydney for the flight home. Because we were travelling in autumn-winter in the Southern Hemisphere, we needed warm layers for the high country (the Snowy Mountains). Rainproof jackets for Melbourne and Adelaide. By the time we drove out of Perth, headed for the top end, we were down to shorts and sandals. Once in the red centre, broad brimmed hats and lightweight clothing were essential.

Before we’d even landed, I reverted to the Australian idiom: high country, top end, red centre. The words were as natural to me as if I’d known them my entire life, not just the twenty years I lived Down Under. When we stepped out of the Sydney International Airport, into that blinding Australian sunshine, my bones shifted. I was home.

Dargo High Plains Victoria

We navigated the new labyrinth of city roads, and headed to the Northern Beaches without taking a single wrong turn. Within days, more of the local words seeped into my vocabulary again: toasties, sunnies, cozzies, tradies, grommets, spruikers, utes. The five months passed in the blink of an eye. As I look at our photos, I realise how inadequate words are to describe Australia. It has postcard beauty: stunning beaches and coastlines, lush tropical forests, and flora and fauna stranger than fiction. Urbanites can enjoy the vibrant cities that reverberate with culture, fashion and fine dining. Ocean lovers can sail, swim, and surf the fabulous seas. 

Head of Bight SA

Broome sunset WA

Cape Schanck Lighthouse Victoria

Beneath all this is a wilful lavish land, a phrase coined by Dorothea Mackellar in her poem My Country. During our first week back, a major storm hit Sydney. We were in a small RV in the Blue Mountains and had to bail to a motel for three nights. The ensuing floods killed four people and left whole communities cut off without power and water for days. In every state, we drove through vast areas burnt to the ground by bushfires. Outback highways were littered with hundreds of corpses of kangaroos and cattle.

Tunnel Creek WA

Prison Tree - a boab- outside Derby WA

Freshwater crocodiles at Windjana Gorge WA

Admirals Arch Kangaroo Island SA

We returned our RV in Sydney, twenty-five thousand kilometres later. Then we made a last round of good-byes to dear friends and old haunts. Now that I’m back home on my small island in the Pacific Northwest, I relive the trip every day. The rich experience is mine for a lifetime. If you’ve been there, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, I hope you will get there some day.

About Maggie Bolitho

A free range child, I grew up on an island in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. I spent my formative years flying under the radar, building alternative universes, and longing to be somewhere far, far away.

Shortly after my 17th birthday I set out to see the world, or at least large parts of Canada. I lived in four of Canada’s major cities before eventually moving to Australia where I married the love of my life.

While living Down Under, I explored the Outback and started writing fiction. Some of my adult short stories have been included in different anthologies in Australia, the US, and Canada. My poetry has been published in Quills Canadian Poetry magazine. 

In 2007 my husband and I returned to Canada. We settled in a leafy suburb on the island where I grew up. We divide our time between Victoria and Salt Spring Island where we enjoy forest hikes and walks along rocky beaches. We no longer wish to be anywhere else, except when memories of Australia's golden shores and beautiful bushland rise in our hearts.

November 2015 my adult novel, Outback Promise, will be released by HarperCollins Australia.

In 2014 my debut novel, Lockdown, was released by Great Plains Teen Fiction.

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One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a kindle copy of the beautiful Outback Promse by Maggie Bolitho. If the winner is from the UK or Canada an Amazon gift card will be sent instead. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Nov 27, 2015

Australia Days Guest Post: What was your reason for writing Gallipoli Street? by Mary-Anne O'Connor

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What was your reason for writing Gallipoli Street? What was your vision?

I am the granddaughter of an Anzac. 

Even though I never met my grandfather James Dennis Clancy he was somehow very close to me. Being the youngest girl out of twenty-six grandchildren, the experiences he went through during the war reverberated in waves, down through his children and onto our shores. War is like that. Those that survive have more than physical scars. It affects every significant and seemingly insignificant act and thought, because, even though the killing is over, the memories cannot be so easily buried.

As a child I was fascinated by my grandfather’s story: a seventeen year old boy who went to war then came home to raise a large family during the Depression. My Nana was very close to us, spending her final years in our home. I only wish there was a larger word for generosity but it will have to suffice in my description of her. And she was so incredibly selfless I can understand why my grandfather loved her so much. Enough to fight his memory demons of Gallipoli and the Somme. Enough to keep moving forward to find peace within after war. 

She spoke of him sometimes, when pressed (usually by me), but I think it hurt her too much and she would shrug with a tear and say ‘…anyway. Things were different back then.’ 

They were different. Like many returned soldiers he struggled to find work and there was no treatment for PSD…not even a term for it. My mother watched their pain as they tried to make ends meet, then the unspeakable cruelty of watching their sons, her brothers, go to yet another brutal war. 

And then there was the death of my Uncle Wally, leaving my Aunty Iris a pregnant widow at seventeen. Mum talks often, even now, of the fear of a telegram. She is 81.

Their story was deeply embedded inside me, perhaps because I knew my grandfather dreamed of being a writer - he even had some small works of fiction published - but opportunity was not something that came easily his way. Not when you left school at ten and shot your first man seven years later. 

So if you ask me what my ‘vision’ was in writing this novel I would answer it was more of a calling. Someone’s life I had to bring back and lay on paper. Of course my character Jack is fictional and I’ve made up another world and another story, but the essence is there of James. Stories passed down through my family. Little things Nana said, memories my mother, father, aunts and uncles shared. The ‘outcome’ has been incredible fulfilment and humbling honour, highlighted when Iris went to the book launch and lit a candle for Wally. She passed away recently, laying with him in rest at last, seventy-one years later.

Gallipoli Street is just a story but it holds true emotions and true people in its heart. I hope that it tells of the true cost of war, shows the depth that love and courage can attain and sends out to all who read it a message of peace.

Lest we forget.

James Clancy, 1915

Nov 12, 2015

The Rest of My Life Giveaway

The Rest of My life, recommended by the WHSmith Travel Fiction Buyer and recently at #2 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid Women’s Romance Fiction Best Sellers List, has been shortlisted for the Love Stories Awards 2015!

To celebrate, Sheryl is sharing a little Christmas cheer early by giving away a beautiful love bird key pendant and a FREE e-copy of any one of her other books. To be in with a chance of grabbing your prize, check out the #restofmylife Rafflecopter comp below.

As a special pre-Christmas treat, anyone leaving a review for the The Rest of My Life on Amazon is also welcome to choose an extra FREE e-copy of one of Sheryl’s other books. Simply message her on Twitter @sherylbrowne or Facebook with the Amazon link.

**Rafflecopter runs from November 11 to November 25. Please note: books to choose from are Somebody to Love, Warrant for Love, A Little Bit of Madness and Learning to Love. Sheryl’s Thrillers, The Edge of Sanity and Death Sentence, are available in exchange for an honest review**

The Rest of My Life

“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…

Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.

And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

A little message from Sheryl:

As some of you may know, I’ve had a bit of stressful year this year with my partner’s health issues. I would just like to say a HUGE thank you all those lovely people who have supported me and made my writing journey so worthwhile.

I hope all is well in your world.

GOOD LUCK and keep safe everyone!

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has seven books published, two shorts in Birmingham City University anthologies, and a further short published in ‘Let’s Hear it For the Boys’ – all proceeds to Movember raising funds for men’s health awareness.

Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

Nov 11, 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway: Beached by Brenda Beem

Guest post

I am so happy to be here today. Thanks for inviting me.

My favorite novels have always been stories where kids outsmart adults. Think Harry Potter, Ender’s Game, and Hunger Games. It wasn’t a far stretch for me to write about teens surviving a world disaster on a sailboat. I’ve sailed the Pacific Northwest for years. And I live in Seattle, U.S.A., in the shadow of two giant volcanoes. I used to imagine how I'd save my family if an earthquake or an invasion stuck our area. Now I write about it.

The number of survival sites I’ve found while doing research for my novels is incredible. Yes, there are people out there even more obsessed than me. Bet you didn’t know that seaweed is packed full of vitamins. You can make penicillin out of citrus rinds and those tiny little pills you put in fish tanks when your fish get sick? Well, they’re penicillin too. (Not that I recommend you take them. See a doctor if you need meds.) And don’t get me started on Duct tape. It even comes in patterns.

But a good novel is really about the characters. The pre-dystopian world I created is only the back drop for the drama of the characters in the books. How they react during a crisis is so telling. One of my favorite characters is a girl named Zoe. She is very ditzy. She falls apart if a finger-nail breaks. But during a crisis, she becomes the medic. And my main character, Toni, who has grown strong and has become a leader, is extremely jealous and insecure when her boyfriend befriends a beautiful girl they meet on the island.

In my novels, romances blossom, friendships are tested, and yes, lives are lost. But still the characters endure and carry on their search for their families and a safe harbor.

I’ve loved creating this world where teens out maneuver and survive in a world that is changing so fast, adults can’t cope. I hope you love it too.

I’ve had a great time. Thanks again for having me.

Brenda Beem

Amazon USA Amazon UK


Toni and the young crew of the sailboat, Whistler, have just found a safe harbor. Or so they thought... 

They may have survived a tsunami, but they’re racing ahead of an ice age as they continue the frantic search for their families. 

The island they’ve anchored near is anything but safe. Dangerous men lurk nearby—along with snakes, stingrays, and sharks. An island girl threatens to destroy Toni and her boyfriend’s relationship, the youngest member of the crew gets lost in a narrow dark cave, and Zoë is more annoying than ever. 

Will Toni and her crew survive the island and its treacherous waters?


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Good luck!

Oct 31, 2015

Halloween Guest Post: Where Is The Costume Spirit by Bridie Blake

Where Is The Costume Spirit?
by Bridie Blake

Violet Hayes loves Halloween. It reminds her of happier times in her childhood when she and Rose would get dressed up together and go trick or treating around the neighbourhood. It reminds her of a time when her parents were still together and she wasn’t the one holding the family together. But she also loves it because she can don a costume and transform into someone else. A character. She gets a night off from being who she is. A sad, lonely, lost girl. And a costume does that. You can wear it like a mask; a shield. Behind the costume and makeup the real you is hidden. If only for a few hours.

That got me thinking about writers and the characters we create. Do we use them as our costumes? 
Do we try and hide behind them? And then I realized that was going into territory that’s far too deep 
for me. I can only do deep after a few glasses of wine! So I went back to thinking about costumes. I love them. Throw a costume party, and I’m there. Unfortunately for me, not everyone else is as costume mad as me.

I went to a cocktail party the other week and it was superhero themed. Pretty cool, right? Wrong. Do you know how hard it is to find a cool female superhero costume in Australia? And one that doesn’t cost a fortune? Near impossible. Unless you want to go as Batgirl, Wonder Woman or Supergirl. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be the only one in my costume of choice. I looked online, searching through dozens of websites that all sold the same costumes, just at different prices and sometimes different materials. Money was a bit tight at the time so in the end I gave up, caved and went as Batgirl; pulling together things from my wardrobe and borrowing what I didn’t have. 
Luckily for me a friend made me a couple of bat logos covered in glitter and if there’s glitter, all is 
right in the world. So, happy with my costume, I went to the party only to find that less than half the people there were in costume. And of those, most were just in a superhero t-shirt. Disappointing!

A few years ago I threw a ‘come as your favourite character’ party. Great idea I thought. The scope 
was huge. You could literally come as anyone from a book, movie, TV show. The world was your oyster. I, being a major Gleek at the time, went as Rachel Berry. I went all out with the outfit, even 
styling my bangs just like her and I expected everyone else to do the same. Most did. Two turned up 
wearing a sign that said ‘Extra’. True story.

Where’s the costume spirit? Where’s everyone’s inner child? Where’s everyone’s inner Violet?

Author Bio

Bridie lives, daydreams and writes in Melbourne, Australia. She’s happiest at her computer, coffee in hand, Tim Tams on standby and her furry companion Poppy at her feet. When not writing she’s usually found with a book in her hand or playing with her tribe of nieces and nephews Discover more about her at, or @BridieBlake on Twitter!


Win a $25 Amazon gift card

Oct 21, 2015

Guest Post: Beating Writer's Bottom! by Jackie Kabler

Beating Writer's Bottom!

The author Jane Wenham-Jones coined the term "writer's bottom" in her book "Wannabe a Writer?". It's brilliant - the perfect way to refer to that lardy, out of shape bum we writers can easily get it we're not careful, simply because we spend so much time sitting on it while working on our latest project. 

I've always been an exercise fan, but when I started writing, I suddenly found my workout time severely curtailed. I work full time in London, a five hour round trip from my home in Gloucestershire, so I was already spending a lot of time sitting down in my car. Then I signed a three-book deal with Accent Press for a series of chicklit/crime novels, with my debut The Dead Dog Day still unfinished. Hence, on my days off, instead of getting active I was again having to spend a lot of time on my bottom, working on my book. 

I work in TV as a presenter, and looking as good as you can is part of the job, so writer's bottom was something I wanted to avoid, if at all possible! So my solution was to take on a physical challenge that would FORCE me to exercise, even when I felt I didn't really have time to. I decided to gather a team of workmates together to enter the London Moonwalk, a power walking event held every year, when thousands of people walk a marathon through London overnight to raise money for breast cancer charities. The training programme required at least three or four power walking sessions a week, sometimes up to 16 or 20 miles at a time. Taking this on when I was trying to meet the deadline for my first novel seemed a little crazy at times, but I simply got up earlier and did my training walks at 6 or 7am, which still left me plenty of time for writing later in the day.

The Moonwalk was an amazing experience - so much so that next year, when I'll be working on my second novel, I'm planning to take on another, even tougher challenge. It's a 100km power walk - basically two and a half marathons, non-stop, starting on a Saturday morning and going right through the day and night into the Sunday. Again, it's to raise money for charity, but it will also get me off my bottom and out into the fresh air. I also find that walking gives me time to think, and often come back with plot niggles sorted out and new ideas for story lines. So two birds, one stone - and no writer's bottom. Phew! 


Jackie Kabler worked as a newspaper reporter and then in television news for twenty years, including nearly a decade on GMTV. She later appeared on BBC and ITV news, presented a property show for Sky, hosted sports shows on Setanta Sports News and worked as a media trainer for the Armed Forces. She is now a presenter on shopping channel QVC and her first novel, The Dead Dog Day, is now available for pre-order on Amazon ahead of its release on 22nd October. 

Find Jackie on Facebook 

And on Twitter  

And on her website 

Sep 15, 2015

Guest post: Memorable Birthdays by Krysten Lindsay Hager + Giveaway

Memorable Birthdays by Krysten Lindsay Hager

I’m very honored to be part of the celebration of Librarian Lavender’s birthday. Growing up I had a lot of fun birthday parties as a kid and teenager, but one birthday memory stands out in particular. One year I had gotten third degree burns in the spring (and unpleasant accident involving boiling water, chicken soup that never got eaten, and me having to wear a pair of teeny tiny jean shorts to the ER in March). By the summer the pain had gotten worse and I couldn’t figure out why I was hurting so much. I woke up on my birthday that year and realized I needed to go to the doctor so I called to make an appointment. The nurse told me the doctor was leaving for a vacation the next day and they had no openings. However, they were familiar with my situation, so he made an exception and let me come in since he was going to be gone for a few weeks. Seeing as they were fitting me in last minute that meant I would be the last appointment of the day. I knew I could be at the dr’s office until the evening, so I called my friends and told them we would have to cancel our plans to celebrate.

 My dad went with me to the dr. and I found out that I was dealing with nerve regeneration and not only was it going to get worse—it was going to last for months. It was pretty startling news to hear and not how I wanted to celebrate my birthday. To make matters worse, since they had fit me in, that meant I had to wait for the last appointment of the day and by the time I left the office, it was well after 6:30 pm. It was too late to call anyone to see if they were free for a last minute dinner or movie and I wasn’t going to be good company anyway. Instead, my dad suggested I pick a movie at the theater that I wanted to go see and we could go together. He said, “Any movie you want. Your choice.” He was really taking a chance there because I do like girly movies. However, one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was playing and I had wanted to see it and I knew it would appeal to my dad, too, so I suggested that one. We drove to the theater and after the movie, Dad said we should go for ice cream to celebrate. We went to my favorite ice cream place and got dessert and then, on the way home, he said he needed to stop and pick something out. I waited as he picked out…my birthday cake! We went home and had cake with the rest of my family and it turned out to be a really nice birthday after all.

This year was my first birthday without my dad. To be honest, I thought I would have years and years of birthdays with my father and this year…well, I didn’t feel like celebrating much. However, remembering that one birthday that started out not-so-great and ended with my dad trying to make it up to me so I could enjoy my special day, makes me realize how lucky I was to have such a great Dad.

In honor of Suze’s birthday (and my birthday last month) I want to do a giveaway of my new book, Next Door to a Star.

Background info

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, and Next Door to a Star and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
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