September 22, 2014

Grandma's Brownie Recipe in Bake, Love, Write

When Lois Winston invited a bunch of us other authors to contribute to her dessert cookbook, the first thing that hit my mind was that I should share my grandma's family recipe for brownies.

Now, I don't want you to worry that this is Kat's disastrous recipe from Over the Edge (I wouldn't do that to you). It's the real deal. Decadent old-fashioned chocolate brownies.

Oh, and if you're hoping for a low-calorie version, this tip  is a must: cut them into tiny pieces. Hee-hee!

This photo is of brownies my husband made. He added raisins instead of nuts. I'm eating one right now. Yum!



Don't you just want to bake some, too? :) The recipe is in here:


Buy links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes

~ ~ ~

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Happy reading! :)

September 04, 2014

Release Day! A Gift for Chloe

This just never gets old: Woo-hoo, it's another release day! Yep, little wee A Gift for Chloe is out in the world for real. I'm so proud. Can you tell?

If you haven't heard yet, this is a super-short, shorty-short story. Like, 5 pages. Seriously, you could finish it off on your coffee break at work. And it's free. (Really. I wouldn't kid about that.) So for those of you who like happy endings, may I present to you...


Press Release
For
A Gift for Chloe
Susan Lohrer


Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 4, 2014
Digital ISBN-10:1631120662 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-066-4-ONLY Perma FREE
Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html

A Gift for Chloe

Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…

Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.

Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.

Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.

This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.

About me (in case you were wondering):
Susan Lohrer grew up in more towns in western Canada than she has fingers to count them on. She currently lives in southern BC with her husband of more than two decades, their two teenagers who are still at home, three dogs, and far more aquariums than a reasonable household should contain. She believes life is always better with a healthy dose of humor.

~ ~ ~

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Happy reading! :)

August 28, 2014

Penelope: a Contemporary Romance by Bernadette Marie

What an exciting day for my dear friend Bernadette Marie...

Penelope is here!

I just bought my copy and sent it to my Kindle, where it'll join Amelia. I'm in for a weekend of great reading. :)

There's a taste of Penelope below. I bet if you read it, you'll want to grab a copy, too.



Press Release
For
Penelope
The Three Mrs. Monroes
Bernadette Marie



Some men keep secrets…Adam Monroe kept three.


Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com books@5princebooks.com
Genre Contemporary Romance:
Penelope Book two of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120409 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-040-4
Print ISBN-10: 1631120417 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-041-1
Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html


From loss breeds new life.

Penelope Monroe married on impulse and her heart had been broken by Adam Monroe’s lies. Pregnant she wonders how she will survive, alone, with her baby.

Brock Romero held Adam Monroe when he died in combat. Now released from the Army he makes it his priority to find Adam’s wife and share with her his last words.

On the verge of making the same mistake twice, Penelope must trust her heart—especially when new lies are uncovered.


About the Author:

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.

When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.

How to reach Bernadette Marie

www.bernadettemarie.com
www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie
www.authorbernadettemarie.blogspot.com
@writesromance on Twitter
info@bernadettemarie.com


Excerpt of Penelope:

Chapter One


God she was miserable.

Heat waves rose off the pavement and the air was thick and still. Penelope Monroe sat on the front porch in one kitchen chair with her feet up on another. With gentle strokes, she rubbed her pregnant belly. She simply couldn’t believe how uncomfortable she was.

The smell of paint from inside the house wafted out and she tried not to let it make her stomach churn. She’d been appointed to oversee the two men putting in the new front window. That wasn’t much fun at all.

Both of their butt cracks stuck out of their pants and every time they talked they cursed then looked at her and apologized. She wasn’t a prude—well not really. She’d heard those words before, even if she didn’t use them.

Penelope closed her eyes and wished for a slight breeze. Her head was buzzing with paint fumes, curse words, and the events of the past few months.

It had all started when she’d married Adam Monroe.

His image formed in her head and she let out a small sigh.

Those blue eyes and that blonde hair, he was like a god, she thought. One she’d read about in books. He was a Marine, so his body was chiseled hard and he carried himself—well, like a god.

He’d been a player. She’d known that. The night she’d first laid eyes on him, he’d taken her friend home from the bar. At least he’d had the sense to offer her a ride home before he drove off with Christina—her ex-friend. There were explicit details from Christina she could do with forgetting.

That should have been her clue to never even talk to the man again. Easy sex from women you picked up in bars wasn’t her style. She’d been a virgin, after all. She’d been saving herself for her husband. It had been Christina who thought differently of that. Christina liked the loud music, the dancing, the beer, and the men. Usually she was considerate of Penelope’s feelings when they went out. But that night Christina had gotten caught up in Adam’s blue eyes, his hair, his body, and his voice delivering all the right lines.

Penelope figured she was most mad about the evening because she’d been having feelings she’d never had before. She thought, briefly, that had she been given the chance to go home with Adam she’d have done it. She knew she’d have chickened out, but he’d had a way with turning her heart to mush.

But it had been Christina he’d taken back to his place and—well, again, she’d just like to forget that she knew every detail of that night.

She couldn’t have imagined that a few nights later, when Christina had abandoned her at the bar for another one night stand, that Adam would walk in and change her life.

The words he used were different than the ones he’d used on Christina. His moves were gentle and that hadn’t been a word Christina had used when she’d given Penelope all of her details.

He was a gentleman.

They talked, walked, and dated a few nights. He was sweet when she told him she was a virgin and she was saving herself for her husband. Not once did he make a move or cross a line. Then he said he loved her and that had changed everything.

When he’d asked her to marry him, there had been no hesitation. They’d gotten married and, that night, she gave herself to him.

Penelope let out a breath and opened her eyes. Everything changed in that one night.

She ran her hand over her growing stomach. A small part of Adam grew inside of her, even though he was gone.

The day she’d come to Parson’s Gulch was the day they’d buried Adam—the day she’d met one of his other wives and seen the other with his children. She was only one of three Mrs. Monroes. One of three Adam had lied to. One of three who now fought to move past him.

The very thought of Adam’s lies still made her sick.

But just because she now detested her husband of only a few months, she couldn’t hate the life that grew inside of her. This child was hers and in a few days she’d see the baby for the first time. Adam’s other wives would be there too.

She let out a small chuckle which had the window installers looking over at her. Kindly, she gave them a smile and closed her eyes again.

Amelia Monroe, Adam’s second wife, had taken her in. She was kind though Penelope was sure she wasn’t used to being so kind But she’d given her a place to stay and had just friended her when she’d needed someone to care.

Vivian, on the other hand, had taken a little longer to warm up to. But when she had, they’d bonded. Though Vivian wasn’t more than ten years older than Penelope, she thought of her as a mother figure, where Amelia was more of a big sister.

Adam’s lies had entangled them.

Adam’s death had brought them together.

Adam’s life grew inside of her.

Penelope opened her eyes and rubbed her aching side.

In just the past week, her stomach had grown so much bigger. It stretched and Vivian was relentless with the cocoa butter routine. She had stretch marks from Adam’s other two children and she was going to make sure Penelope didn’t suffer the same fate.

More than just her stomach had changed though. A week ago, the entire town changed in fifteen seconds when a tornado ripped through the sky. There had only been a few injuries and no one had died—thank God!

Vivian’s home had been totaled and the front window of the century-old house on Main and Pine had blown in. Penelope’s car had also been totaled, but she thought she’d faired pretty well in that deal. Her beat up old car, which didn’t always run well, had been replaced by her late husband’s vintage Mustang.

Penelope had never been one for flashy, vintage cars, but she couldn’t help herself—she loved this one. It sat against the curb within view. Oh, she might look sexy in it now, from the neck up. But no one would ever give her a second look when they saw a baby seat in the back in a few months.

Sam Jackson, Adam’s lawyer, her boss, and now Amelia’s fiancĂ©, pulled tree branches around the side of the house and stacked them near the porch.

“I have the misting fan set up in the kitchen. Maybe you should go inside,” he called to her.

“Too much paint.”

He nodded as he took his cellphone out of his pocket. He looked at it, smiled, and walked toward her giving the front window a glance first. “Why don’t you go in, get yourself a cold bottle of water, and walk upstairs.”

Penelope frowned. She knew it was much hotter upstairs.

Sam climbed the steps of the porch and held his hand out to her. “C’mon. Amelia is up there. She just texted me. She has something to show you.”

Penelope planted her feet on the floor, took Sam’s hand, and stood with an umph.

“You start up,” he said placing his hand on her back and walking her toward the door. “I’ll get you a bottle of water and meet you up there.”

Penelope shifted him a glance and walked inside the house.

The heat was nearly unbearable, but she walked toward the stairs and started up them.

Sam had redone every tread and in time, when she wasn’t around, they would stain them and the rest of the floors in the century-old house, which they were turning into a daycare center.

Adam’s father had donated the house to them. It was a kind gesture, she thought as she neared the top step. He’d been gracious when they’d needed it.

Amelia had come up with the great idea that they take what Adam had and turn it into a business to take care of his children. Amelia hadn’t asked for anything in return. But when pushed, she’d mentioned she’d like a gym in the basement.

So far she hadn’t stumbled across the secret project Penelope and Vivian had been working on. She seemed to be preoccupied with what she was calling her office upstairs.

Penelope hadn’t been upstairs in weeks. It wasn’t worth the climb. And now that she was at the top of the stairs and the air was thick and horribly hot, she knew she’d been right to stay downstairs.

Sam was right behind her with a cold bottle of water. He handed it to her.

“C’mon, go in,” he said.

“She’s been behind those doors for a week. I don’t want to be the one who goes in unannounced.”

“You’re chicken.”

“Yeah. You go first. She loves you.”

Sam scowled and stepped forward. “Yeah, and I’m the one she punched in the gut when I startled her too. I’m walking with heavy footsteps.”

He twisted the knob of one of the closed bedroom doors and pushed it open. Sticking his head around the corner, he pushed it open just a bit more.

“She’s afraid to come in. You’re not going to throw anything are you?”

Penelope heard Amelia grunt and then the door swung open hard. “Get in here.”

Penelope walked through the thick air toward the room and gasped when she walked in.

Amelia, Vivian, and Vivian’s daughters were standing in the room with enormous grins on their faces. “Well, what do you think?”

Penelope looked around at the transformed area. They had taken the two bedrooms, which shared a Jack and Jill bathroom, and completely renovated them.

The room she stood in was painted a very soothing shade of pale green. There was a wrought iron bed with a lacy white spread. Over the bed, was a painting that she knew Vivian had found in the basement. An antique dresser and mirror sat against the wall and they’d also added a beautiful armoire.

“This is magnificent,” she said with her breath wheezing out. “This is what you’ve been working on?”

“Yes. You needed a place to stay,” Vivian said. “Amelia did almost all of it.”

“For me?”

“You and the baby. This is your home now—when the fumes are all gone.”

She felt the tears sting, but she tried to hold them back.

“I did that.” Emma, Vivian’s four year old daughter said as she pointed to the rocking chair. “The Teddy bear. I made it at Build-a-Bear.”

Penelope covered her mouth and tears quickly rolled down her cheeks.

“You’re such a girl,” Amelia teased as she put her arm around Penelope’s shoulders. “C’mon, there’s more. Try not to cry too much or you won’t be able to see anything.”

She walked her to the bathroom that joined the two rooms. It was painted a soft brown and all the fixtures had been replaced with modern replicas of older ones.

“This is gorgeous. I can’t believe I didn’t know you were doing this.”

“That would have ruined the surprise. Okay, now you can cry your eyes out,” Amelia said as she opened the door that led into the next bedroom.”

When Penelope saw it, she did cry harder. The pastel yellow room with handmade curtains depicting tumbling teddy bears hung from the window. Matching bumpers adorned a crib against the wall. There was a matching rocking chair in this room with a teddy bear on the seat.

Ava, Vivian’s two-year-old, tugged on Penelope’s shirt. “I made that.”

Penelope batted her eyes and ran her hand over Ava’s braids and smiled. Never in her life could she have expected such love. And to think, these women and children had been jaded by Adam’s lies too. But they were there for her and her baby. They embraced her. They loved her.

“I can’t…I don’t…Oh…” she sobbed.

Vivian moved to Penelope and wrapped her arms around her. “Quit crying. You’re going to make me cry.”

“I don’t deserve this,” Penelope said.

“Sure you do,” Amelia added.

Penelope looked up to see her standing with her arms crossed over her chest and Sam next to her with his arm around her shoulders. They made a beautiful picture, she thought. Amelia was very lucky to have fallen in love with him.

“You’ve all been so nice to me…”

“And we’re going to keep being nice.” Amelia walked toward her and whispered, “Adam brought us together. We are all family now.” She took Penelope’s hands in hers. “This is the least he could do to take care of you and your baby.”

Again, Amelia was being sweet and that nearly made Penelope want to laugh. But she’d learned this side of Amelia was as genuine as the side that liked to kick men’s butts.

As Ava and Emma showed Penelope all the parts to their baby’s room, the doorbell rang.

They all exchanged glances and Vivian shook her head. “I’ll get it. It’s probably those boobs putting in the window.”

Penelope watched her walk out of the room and then, hand in hand, Sam and Amelia walked out too. She looked down at the sisters of her baby and smiled. She’d be okay without Adam there or any other man for that matter. She and her baby were loved. That’s all that mattered.



~ ~ ~

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Happy reading! :)

August 23, 2014

Free e-Book! Preorder A Gift for Chloe

Woo-hoo! A #free #ebook for you!

A Gift for Chloe will be officially released September 4, but you can preorder it now (just so you know, it's a short story). 

And did I mention it's free?

Handy-dandy preorder links:




Susan Lohrer brings readers a poignantly humorous story about family, love, and the questionable perks of aging.

Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…

Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.

Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.

Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.

This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.

Here are those preorder links again:


~ ~ ~

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Happy reading! :)

August 21, 2014

Release Day for Bridge of Hope by Lisa J. Hobman

Hey, all. :) Remember Greg (you know, #Don'tSingAlong and #lovemesomGreg)? I may have mentioned already that I'm the luckiest girl ever, because I got to edit Greg's very own story... well, really, Lisa J. Hobman wrote his story, but you know what I mean.

If you liked Greg in Bridge Over the Atlantic, you'll love him in Bridge of Hope...




Press Release
For
Bridge of Hope
Lisa J. Hobman

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com books@5princebooks.com
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: August 21, 2014
Digital ISBN 10:163112062X ISBN 13:978-1-63112-062-6
Print ISBN-10:1631120638 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-063-3
Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html
Lisa's Twitter: @LisaJHobmanAuth


Love is like a snowflake; beautiful but fleeting in its presence…

I’ve been in love. But I’ve also been lied to, betrayed by those closest to me and I’ve suffered loss. Sadly it’s those last three things that stick with me the most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon; my guitar.

But things changed when she walked into my place of work. All blue eyes, curves and a warmth that could melt even my hardened heart. I was taken over by feelings that I didn’t expect so soon. Guilt plagued me and I took my anger out on her.

On Mallory.

But I fell fast and hard and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When she too became the victim of heartbreak I was the only one who understood her pain but I was the last person she wanted help from.

Would I ever convince her that we could be friends? And would I ever accept that she couldn’t love me back?

About Lisa J. Hobman:
Lisa is a happily married mum of one with two crazy dogs and a passion for writing. After relocating to Scotland from England and writing her first novel she gave up on running a craft business to do what she loves full time and is now putting the finishing touches to books four and five so watch this space.


~ ~ ~

Want to be notified about my new releases? Sign up for my newsletter (it's short and sweet and comes out about twice a year).

Happy reading! :)

August 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: A Gift for Chloe by Susan Lohrer

Woo-hoo! Finally I can show you the cover for A Gift for Chloe, a short story I’ve been getting pretty excited about. :)

A while back, someone commented that it would be super romantic if, for once, a guy would buy a woman a book rather than a drink… and thus a sweet little romance was born.

Can you tell there's going to be a baby?

Also: what do you think of this gorgeous cover created by the one and only Viola Estrella? (I bet you can guess how much I love it!)


Cover Reveal
For
A Gift for Chloe
Susan Lohrer



Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 4, 2014
Digital ISBN-10:1631120662 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-066-4

A Gift for Chloe (a short story)

Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…

Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.

Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.

Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing. This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.

~ ~ ~

Want to be notified about my new releases? Sign up for my newsletter (it's short and sweet and comes out about twice a year).

Happy reading! :)

July 28, 2014

Penelope: Book 2 of The Three Mrs. Monroes Series by Bernadette Marie



Just a few more days until Amelia arrives! And here's a peek at Penelope...

Cover Reveal Launch Kit
For
Penelope
The Three Mrs. Monroes
Bernadette Marie

Some men keep secrets…Adam Monroe kept three.




Genre Contemporary Romance:
Penelope Book two of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120409 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-040-4
Print ISBN-10: 1631120417 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-041-1


From loss breeds new life.

Penelope Monroe married on impulse and her heart had been broken by Adam Monroe’s lies. Pregnant, she wonders how she will survive, alone, with her baby.

Brock Romero held Adam Monroe when he died in combat. Now released from the Army he makes it his priority to find Adam’s wife and share with her his last words.

On the verge of making the same mistake twice, Penelope must trust her heart—especially when new lies are uncovered.

~ ~ ~

Want to be notified about my new releases? Sign up for my newsletter (it's short and sweet and comes out about twice a year).

Happy reading! :)

July 25, 2014

Short Contemporary Romance: A Gift for Chloe

Whoopee! I’m excited to announce I just signed a contract with my publisher, 5 Prince Publishing, for a romantic short story, “A Gift for Chloe.”

The release date will be around the beginning of this September, and the very talented Viola Estrella (who can read my mind across hundreds of miles and pull out exactly what I was picturing) is doing the cover.

Here’s a little bit about it:

Her carefully ordered world is turning upside down…

Linda is the one who holds her family together. She’s an absolute rock—at least, she was until her daughter announced her pregnancy (wait, isn’t 40 way too young to become a grandmother?) and delivered the news that the baby has Down syndrome.

Now she finds herself standing in the middle of a bookstore, floundering to regain her equilibrium as her carefully ordered world tumbles willy-nilly around her. Instead of making a relatively simple decision about which book to buy, she’s spent an hour waffling between two titles and trying (and failing) to come to grips with this new reality she hasn’t had nearly enough chance to prepare for. It’s not that she hasn’t already fallen head over heels in love with baby Chloe, but this is something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.

Her friends and the medical professionals blithely insist she’ll forget all about special needs the moment she sees her grandchild for the first time. Even the too-good-to-be-true, optimistic fellow customer she encounters in the aisle of the bookstore seems to think she’s worried over nothing.

This handsome stranger is obviously compassionate and knows a lot about Downs, but Linda is in no way interested in striking up a conversation with him, let alone a friendship, no matter how intriguing he is… until he performs a random act of kindness she can’t ignore.

~ ~ ~

Want to be notified about my new releases? Sign up for my newsletter (it's short and sweet and comes out about twice a year).

Happy reading! :)

July 21, 2014

Cover Reveal for Bridge of Hope by Lisa J. Hobman

You're in for a visual treat today. Yep, it's Greg. And no, you still can't sing along. :)

Finally I get to share the cover of Lisa J. Hobman's Bridge of Hope. This is the first book of Lisa's that I had the privilege of editing, and I still can't get over how incredibly emotional it is. For those of you who read Bridge over the Atlantic, Bridge of Hope is the much-anticipated tale from Greg's perspective—and once you get inside this troubled Scotsman's head, you'll never want to leave. Well, I don't want to. ;)

So. Here's the cover, and then a little something from Greg himself...


Cover Reveal
For
Bridge of Hope
Lisa J Hobman


Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: August 21, 2014
Digital ISBN 10:163112062X ISBN 13:978-1-63112-062-6
Print ISBN-10:1631120638 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-063-3

Love is like a snowflake; beautiful but fleeting in its presence…

I’ve been in love. But I’ve also been lied to, betrayed by those closest to me and I’ve suffered loss. Sadly it’s those last three things that stick with me the most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon; my guitar.

But things changed when she walked into my place of work. All blue eyes, curves and a warmth that could melt even my hardened heart. I was taken over by feelings that I didn’t expect so soon. Guilt plagued me and I took my anger out on her.

On Mallory.

But I fell fast and hard and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When she too became the victim of heartbreak I was the only one who understood her pain but I was the last person she wanted help from.

Would I ever convince her that we could be friends? And would I ever accept that she couldn’t love me back?

~ ~ ~
Want an e-mail alert about my new releases? Sign up for my newsletter (it's short and sweet and comes out once or twice a year). Happy reading! :)

July 02, 2014

Cover Reveal for Amelia, Book 1 of The Three Mrs. Monroes Trilogy by Bernadette Marie

I'm looking forward to this series so much that I'm already stalking the first book on Amazon. But since it's not there yet (argh), let's do a cover reveal, shall we?


Some men keep secrets…Adam Monroe kept three.


Genre Contemporary Romance:
Amelia Book one of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120387 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-038-1
Print ISBN-10: 1631120395 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-039-8

From loss breeds new opportunity.
Amelia Monroe had felt the sharp pain from the loss of a soldier before—Adam Monroe’s death didn’t have that same effect.

Sam Jackson had one job—deliver Adam Monroe’s revised will. Even he couldn’t have anticipated that he’d be entangled in the web of lies his client had woven.

Doing what is right had been inbred in Amelia. She’d planned to say her goodbyes and start fresh. Staying in Adam’s small town with his other lies, that wasn’t part of her plan.




~ ~ ~
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June 10, 2014

Kicsi: You Were a Great Dog

Kicsi


Last weekend I said good-bye to a great friend who was part of my family for 11 years.

The moment I pulled up in the driveway, she galloped around the perimeter of our yard, barking her head off to show what an excellent protector she was.

When I took my coffee out on the deck, she came and sat with me and quietly enjoyed the day with me.

When our Yorkie got lost in the forest, Kicsi tracked her and found her.

When it got difficult for her to go up the stairs, she tried anyway. And when she couldn't do it on her own, she still tried, even though she ended up needing to be carried.

She was always here. Physically and emotionally. No matter what, she always made her very best effort. She wasn't just a good dog, she was a great dog. And she's deeply missed.

~ ~ ~

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June 04, 2014

How to Find Straight Quotes and Apostrophes in Word 2010

Did you ever wish you could hunt down those pesky straight quotation marks and apostrophes in a Word document without using AutoFormat (whose "smart quotes" feature sometimes curls the marks the wrong direction)?

Did you try looking for them using Unicode values, only to discover the Find tool in Word 2010 doesn't recognize Unicode? Frustrating, right?

But don't worry, you can find straight quotes and apostrophes in Word 2010 if you use ASCII codes in the "Find what" field in the Find dialog box. It works in the Navigation Pane, too.

Here's how to find the ASCII codes:
  1. Open the Insert Symbol dialog box. Select the symbol you want to find (in the picture below, you can see that I've selected the straight apostrophe, which is in my list of recently used symbols).
  2. In the "from" box, choose "ASCII (decimal)"; this is where the right-hand red arrow is pointing.
  3. In the "Character code" you'll see a code; this is where the left-hand arrow is pointing.
  4. In either the Navigation Pane or the Find dialog box, type a caret (this is a caret: ^). Then type the ASCII code for your character.
For example, to find straight apostrophes in Word, you'd type: ^39

(Period omitted from the previous sentence for clarity.)

Yes, it's as quick and easy as that! You use ^34 to find straight double quotes.



Additional references:
Word Banter forum post on finding unicode/ASCII characters in Word
Graham Mayor on using wildcards in Word (not necessary to find straight apostrophes/quotes but fascinating nonetheless)
~ ~ ~

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June 01, 2014

Is Facebook Underreporting Reach?

Is it possible Facebook is underreporting the number of people who see your posts? Or do you think this screenshot is an anomaly?

FYI, I checked half an hour after the comment was made, and it still said nobody had seen the post.


"Weird or what?"— William Shatner

~ ~ ~
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May 29, 2014

Aspen Creek Boxed Set I: Contemporary Romance by Bernadette Marie

Woo-hoo! The yummy Aspen Creek books in a boxed set! If you've been waiting to buy these books, now's the time.




Aspen Creek Boxed Set 1
Just $9.99 Wow! What a Deal!


Available from 5 PrincePublishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Release Date: May 29, 2014
Digital ONLY 
ISBN: 13:978-1-63112-057-2
ISBN: 10:1631120573





Aspen Creek Boxed Set 1
Aspen Creek, Colorado is a small town full of big stories. Find out why those who grew up here come home and why celebrities find it the perfect place to have private lives away from the limelight.

May 20, 2014

2 Ways to Make the Amazon Associates Program Terminate Your Account

Do you understand the user agreements when you click "I agree"? Well, it turns out a lot of people don't, and that can get them in trouble. Or at least it can cause their accounts to be terminated. Here's what I've learned about the Amazon Associates program (which uses some unnecessarily vague terms).

Taken from Associates Program Participation Requirements:

This Associates Program Participation Requirements page is part of the Operating Agreement...

6. You will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities on behalf of us or our affiliates, or in connection with the Amazon Site or the Program, that are not expressly permitted under the Operating Agreement. For example, you will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Content, or any Special Link in connection with an offline promotion or in any other offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation). Upon our request, you will provide us with written certification that you have complied with this Section 6. We will specify the form of, and content required in, that certification in our request. Any failure by you to provide the certification in accordance with our request will constitute a material breach of this Operating Agreement.

What this means in plain English:

March 12, 2014

99c Sale: Rocky Road, a Romantic Comedy (updated with iTunes link)

My tremendously cute romantic comedy novel, Rocky Road, is on sale for $.99. Please tell a friend. :)

You can also get Rocky Road on sale at Kobo (Chapters/Indigo) and at Barnes & Noble. And (finally) on iTunes.

If you shop at Amazon, choose the link you like best:
US
UK
Canada
France
Germany
Spain
Italy
Japan
Brazil
Mexico
Australia
India

Go ahead. Tell a friend.

*flappy blinky eyelashes*

~ ~ ~

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March 07, 2014

Big Honking Diamond Ring

Imagine my surprise when my husband walked through the door and handed me this!


No, it's not a real diamond. :) It's a funny little gift from a friend who saw it and thought of the cover of Rocky Road. How cute!

See the resemblance?

~ ~ ~

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February 21, 2014

Good Morning and a Teaser for Wooing Cupid

This was my view this morning, and it's so pretty, I had to share it with you.

I added a snippet from Wooing Cupid to make it extra special!


~ ~ ~

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February 19, 2014

Why I Love My Small Publisher

I blog a lot (OK, relatively speaking) about various aspects of book publishing, because I’ve worked in the publishing industry for practically forever, and because I’m an author who has traditionally published books and self-published books. Not that I know everything there is to know about publishing. But I’ve been places and seen stuff, and I like to share it with you.

So how about we talk about going with a small publisher instead of a massive one?

Recently I self-published a fantasy romance with a contemporary setting and a lighter tone than my usual fantasy voice. So, more like my contemporary/romcom stuff, but with a fantasy element. I figured it was a fun little story for Valentine’s, and it will be fun to add to that series every year.

Anyway, I did one of those promotional things where the book is free on Amazon for a few days (if you missed out on that, you can still get Wooing Cupid for $0.99). Then, with all those copies on Kindles all over the world, it occurred to me that hey, once people start reading Wooing Cupid, wouldn’t it be nice if one of my traditionally published books were on sale to tempt them a little more (of course those books are listed in the self-published one, because I was using my thinking cap).

So I asked my publisher whether it would be possible to do a sale for Rocky Road. And within minutes, I heard back: absolutely!

I left the sale and the timing of it in my publisher's hands, but I know it'll happen at the right time and at the right price.

If I had a big-time agent and a New York publisher, I bet that discussion would’ve been much slower and probably would’ve ended with a no.

So there you have one reason to consider going with a small publisher. If it’s the right publisher, the cooperation and mutual support can be fabulous. It sure is in my case.

If you’re wondering: my fab publisher is 5 Prince Publishing.


~ ~ ~

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February 12, 2014

New Release: Wooing Cupid

I'm ecstatic to share with you my new release available exclusively on Amazon, a romantic novella called Wooing Cupid!

It's a magical tale of trust and betrayal...


Excerpt:

A frigid February wind blasted the streets of Cupid’s Hollow and hurried Valentine Arciere’s steps as she and her grandmother arrived at Valentine Sports. Val unlocked the door. The buildings on either side of the store stood dark and empty, snowdrifts banked against their entrances. The desolation painted a grim contrast to the bright, bold posters that decorated every window on Main Street advertising the Valentine’s Day Gala just two weeks from today.

She sucked in a deep breath and raised her chin as she pushed open the door, the brass bell tinkling overhead to announce her arrival. She’d hung that bell the day she signed her name on the deed beside Gram’s. The bell’s tone sang out the sound of hope, the sound of independence, every time the shop door opened. Which, lately, wasn’t often enough.

She flicked on the light and saw a crudely lettered warning lying on the floor. Again. She stooped to pick it up before her grandmother, who was right behind her, could see the lettering. But Gram plucked the paper from her hand. The wrinkles around her mouth puckered.

“Sell now or you’ll be sorry?” Gram blinked up at her, her eyes magnified comically behind her new bifocals. The paper rustled in her hands. “Valentine, what is this? Who’s threatening us?”

“It’s nothing, Gram.” Val plucked up the paper, wadded it, and tossed it into the recycling bin behind the counter.

“Maybe we should lease out the store,” Gram whispered. “I could retire. You could travel. It might not be such a bad thing to find out what else life might hold in store for you.” If Gram believed that, why did she sound so devastated—like she’d given up? But Val noticed Gram hadn’t gone so far as to suggest actually selling out. The family business still meant everything to her, just as it did to Val.
On the wall above the counter, a photo of her parents showed them laughing in the sun on their sailboat, Salacia, somewhere in the Mediterranean. They’d e-mailed the shot a day before a storm sank their boat. That photo, and the sports shop her parents had named after her, were all she had of them. All Gram had of her daughter.

“This store is my life, Gram. I don’t need to travel to find out what’s important to me.”

Gram’s mouth bunched in a soft smile. “I know, little Valentine. Your mom and dad would be very proud of what you’ve done with the store—and with your life—and so am I. I’ll be in the back if you need me, making a paper airplane from that offer we got from Jupitropolis.”

Val laughed. But after Gram trundled into the office at the back of the store, she braced her hands on the glass top of the counter and breathed deeply. Gram had never said anything about retiring before, so this was the first time Val had thought of her grandmother as anything but a sprightly older lady, the one person in her life who would always be there. But Gram was getting older.

Every business on Main Street except theirs had eventually sold out when Jupitropolis offered sums that to the small-town shop owners seemed outrageously generous. Jupiter’s megastore was offering jobs, pensions, even a modest health care plan. When the first letter arrived offering to buy the sports shop, standing her ground had seemed like the only sensible idea. It was a matter of principle. A principle, it seemed, that only Valentine believed in anymore.

If she gave in, Cupid’s Hollow would become just one more community powered by the gaudy plastic heart of Jupitropolis.

If she refused to sell, she would be singlehandedly responsible for destroying the economy of Cupid’s Hollow.

Buy Wooing Cupid at Amazon.

~ ~ ~

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February 07, 2014

Amusing Book Pirate

Some people believe book pirates are wicked creatures that should be punished long and painfully; others believe book pirates would never have paid for books in the first place and so aren't impacting sales; a third group believes few pirates would exist if book publishers would lift all geographic restrictions on their e-books.

I'm sort of with that third group, if you're wondering. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about a fan-freaking-tastic description of Rocky Road... spotted on a pirate site. I used Google Translate to so we can fully enjoy it.

Without further ado [with my responses in brackets]:

This ebook returns as # 1 bestseller The New York Times [Zowie! I wrote a New York Times best seller! And apparently the book has returned from... somewhere].
ebook liberating and totally addictive [Just like the ice cream.], recently appeared on the market in this edition ebook here [Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood book pirates.].
The ebook, which is filled with energy and good humor. The book, which reminds us that in life, anything can happen and you can never give up [Actually, they have this part right. Even pirates can be insightful]. The book, for all the pleasant evening in your favorite chair [A favorite chair is an excellent furniture choice for reading].

Comments on the ebook:
-I have read and I am very? S impressed ...

He reads quickly, but more importantly, there are many images. [He does, eh? And actually there are many images, because between scenes there's a cute little image of a diamond engagement ring. What an observant book pirate.]

I suppose it would be wrong to start billing myself as a New York Times best-selling author. :-P

~ ~ ~

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February 06, 2014

Sony Reader Store Folds in US and Canada

From Sony Reader Store in US and Canada:

Dear Reader Store customer:

As you know, our customers always come first, which is why we want to give you the news firsthand about an announcement made today from Sony regarding its plan to close Reader Store in the U.S. and Canada.

Although we're sorry to say goodbye to the Reader Store, we're also glad to share with you the new, exciting future for our readers: Reader Store will transfer customers to Toronto-based eReading company, Kobo—an admired eBook seller with a passionate reading community. We strongly believe that this transition will allow you to enjoy a continued high-quality e-reading experience. As a result of this change, we will close Reader Store in the U.S. and Canada on March 20, 2014 at 6 p.m. (EST).

So, what's next?

You don't have to do anything right now, and you'll be able to re-download your previously purchased eBooks for a limited time. In late March, you will receive a notification from us with a link that will allow you to transfer your library to Kobo. Whether you are new to Kobo or already have an account, you'll be able to transfer your Reader Store eBooks to your Kobo account so you'll continue to have access to them in the future. Plus, any existing Reader Store credits you might still have in your account will transfer to your Kobo account to use at the Kobo Store. And of course, you can continue to use your Sony Reader to read eBooks from Kobo.

We are fully committed to helping you through this exciting transition to Kobo. With the Kobo Store, you'll have access to more than 4 million of the world's best books, magazines, comics and kids' titles, all at your fingertips.

We want to thank you for being such loyal customers, a part of our reading family, and for your continued support as we work to complete this transition. It has been a pleasure reading with you!

Sincerely,

The Reader Store Team


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January 30, 2014

The Girl Before Eve by Lisa J. Hobman

One of my fave new authors, Lisa J. Hobman has a new romance that'll be released on my birthday. Is that a sign that I need this book or what? I know what present I'll be buying for myself this month! :) If Lisa's first two books are any indication, I'll be alternately chuckling and weeping my way through The Girl Before Eve.


Press Release Launch Kit
For
The Girl Before Eve
Lisa J. Hobman


Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Contemporary
Release Date: January 30, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-95-0   ISBN 10: 1-939217-95-4
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-96-7     ISBN 10: 1-939217-96-2


Unrequited love is the biggest heartache…
Lily and Adam have been best friends since the dawn of time.  Well, the dawn of their time.  Okay…since primary school actually.  Everyone accepted them as best friends.  Until one day, aged 18, Lily made a fateful discovery.  She was head over heels in love.
With Adam.

Her unrequited feelings are hard to deal with initially but become even harder when Lily inadvertently introduces him to the love of his life.  It all started as a bit of a joke thanks to the other woman's name.

Eve.

Many years later and Adam is once again single and heartbroken and Lily is there to help him pick up the pieces.  Her methods are sometimes a little unorthodox and lead to ridiculous consequences. 

Can Lily help Adam move on and find happiness again?  And can either of the friends recover from losing the love of their lives?

Sometimes the one thing you want is way out of reach.



Author Bio:
Lisa is a happily married mum of one with two crazy dogs and a passion for writing.  After relocating to Scotland from England and writing her first novel she gave up on running a craft business to do what she loves full time and is now putting the finishing touches to books four and five so watch this space.


Public contact information
Twitter: @LivingScottishD
Web: www.lisajhobman.co.uk


Excerpt of The Girl Before Eve:
Friends Will Be Friends (Queen)
The Beginning of Lily and Adam - Primary School 1986
“She is my friend, Stewart Campbell, and if I see you pinch anything from her ever, ever again or try to push her over, I will punch you on the nose, and then I’ll tell Mrs. Craven and she’ll tell your mum, and then you’ll be grounded…forever!” Adam yelled as he towered over the snivelling little blonde-haired boy whose T-shirt he was grasping.
“I’m going to tell my dad on you, and he’ll come to your house and kick your dad’s arse, and he’s lots bigger than your dad, you smelly pig!” Stewart retorted through his tears and threw the packet of crisps on the playground, the contents spilling out. He stamped on the crisps, crumbling them under his feet.
Adam laughed in the other boy’s face. “Oh no, he isn’t, and now I’m going to tell Mrs. Craven that you said a swear word! Don’t you ever hurt her again, do you hear me? She’s a girl and you should never, ever hit girls or pinch their snack. And now you’ve dropped it on the floor and she hasn’t got one. You’re just mean and nasty, Stewart Campbell. And that’s why nobody likes you!” Adam released the blonde boy’s T-shirt and pushed him away. The boy ran off to the other side of the playground just as the lunchtime supervisor came around the corner. She must have noticed the gathered crowd of children.
“Everything alright over here, Adam?” the tall, red-haired lady asked with a sour look on her face.
“Yes, Mrs. Craven. Stewart Campbell said a rude word though, so I told him off and said I was going to tell.”
“Oh did he now? That boy needs to learn some manners. I think I’ll tell his teacher. Perhaps a quick call home might be in order.” Mrs. Craven glanced toward Adam’s friend just as Lily wiped the tears from her eyes and pushed the mass of wild, dark curls from her damp face. “Lily? Have you been crying?”
Lily nodded.
“What happened?” Mrs. Craven asked, narrowing her eyes.
Lily worriedly looked to Adam.
“It’s okay, Mrs. Craven. Stewart was being mean and he took her snack and threw it on the floor and stamped on it. But I told him off for that, too.”
Mrs. Craven smiled and ruffled Adam’s scruffy, dark hair. “Eeeh, for nothing but a six-year-old boy you do look after her well, don’t you, son? You keep that up.” She patted his head lightly and then turned to walk over to where Stewart had run off to sulk.
Once Mrs. Craven was out of sight and the crowd of children had dispersed, Adam turned to Lily. “Here, you can have the rest of my crisps if you like.” He held out the blue crinkly packet to her.
“Thank you, Adders,” she croaked, almost in a whisper. “Youre my bestest friend.”
“Aye, I know that and you’re my bestest friend too, Lil, and Stewart Campbell is just a big meanie. You need to stay away from him. I’ll make sure he isn’t nasty to you again though. Don’t worry.” The two children walked over to the grass and sat down side by side.
“Are you coming to my house for tea on Saturday? My papa says we can have the paddling pool out if it’s sunny?” Lily asked munching on the salt and vinegar crisps.
Adam nodded. “Yep…I can’t wait. I’ve got one of those big water pistols that soak you through, so you’d better watch out.” He nudged her with a wide grin fixed in place.
She giggled. “Yeah, well I’m going to make sure I get my big sand castle bucket out then, and it holds about ten gallons of water, so you’d better watch out.” She nudged him back.
He snorted. “It does not! And anyway I’m a faster runner than you, so you’d better watch out.” He chuckled.
“It does, too! And you’re not faster than me…you run like a girl!” Lily jumped to her feet and set off at a sprint, her musical laughter echoing behind her.
“I’ll get you Lily Macrae! Just you wait!” Adam laughed heartily as he sprang up from the grass and set off in pursuit.
And there began the soundtrack to Adam and Lily’s lives…

~ ~ ~
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January 25, 2014

Solved: SyncUp Folder Not Found

If you have a Dell computer and your backups fail every single time because some files weren't found and backed up (it's always the dratted c:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\syncup folder that wasn't found), and you're obsessive enough that you have to go in there and click on it to make sure that's the folder and not a folder that's important to you, then this post is for you. :)

Solving tech issues isn't my usual subject matter, but this one has been bugging me for a couple of years. And I fixed it by myself. Woo-hoo!

I should note that the root of the problem is the complete and utter inability to uninstall SyncUp from a Dell computer without downloading software and digging into the registry and other stuff that would end up in seriously FUBARing most people's computers because most people don't have the tech know-how to do said stuff. Seriously, SyncUp is so hard to get rid of that it's practically malware. Uninstall doesn't work on it at all. Boo.

But my Band-Aid solution works like a charm.

Again: Woo-hoo!

Here's how it works:

"Computer," I said, "your backups are failing because you can't find that silly old SyncUp folder? Well, let's just give you a SyncUp folder, then." So I did. I went to c:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\ and I created a new folder in there, and I named it "SyncUp." Then I ran my backup. And it didn't fail!

I know a proper solution would strip out all traces of the offending software. I know my computer is now backing up an empty folder. But I'm OK with that because I made the error message go away, and I'm happy, and my life is sparkly, and I can go back to writing romance novels.

One last time: Woo-hoo!

~ ~ ~

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January 23, 2014

Courting Darkness by Melynda Price

If you like paranormal romance...

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction / Romance/ Paranormal
Release Date: January 23, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-91-2  
           ISBN 10: 1-939217-91-1
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-92-9    
        ISBN 10: 1-939217-92-X

She’s captured the hearts of Heaven and Hell…

Betrayed by her true love, Olivia cannot let go of the angel her mind doesn’t remember, and her heart refuses to forget. In an attempt to reclaim her broken life, she is determined to unearth her past, but some secrets are better left buried.

To save her life, he sacrificed everything. Universal Law was broken when Liam violated Olivia’s free will. His guardianship has been revoked, and the pain of letting her go is nothing compared to the torture of enduring their shattered bond. He can no longer sense her, no longer feel her, and the enemy he risked it all to save her from, now has free reign to claim her for his own. To get her back, Liam must turn away from all he is, all he was, for the one thing he may have already lost forever—Olivia’s love.

Haden will stop at nothing to possess Immanuel’s Stone, and locked away in Olivia’s memories is the key he needs to find it. But in his quest for vengeance, he never expected to lose his heart to the enchanting green-eyed beauty. Forced to choose between love and revenge, Haden becomes captivated by a woman who will never be his…or will she?


Melynda Price:
An avid lover of paranormal romance, Melynda was inspired to write the Redemption Series after reading the Book of Enoch. She’s always had a fascination with stories about angels, and the role they’ve played in the history of our multi-dimensional world.

She attended Bethel University in Minnesota holding AA, ASN and BSN degrees, but her true love is creative writing and story-telling.

She lives in Northern Minnesota where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua, and a hot cup of coffee, to write. She’s blessed with two amazing children, and a wonderful husband of nineteen years.

Redemption Series:
“Writing the Redemption Series has been a fantastic adventure, culminating a world of mystery, suspense, love and deception. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to see beyond our dimension? Step into Olivia Norton’s world, where nothing is quite as it seems, and evil lurks where she least expects it.”
Visit Melynda at www.MelyndaPrice.com


Public contact information


Excerpt of Courting Darkness:
Guardian? Olivia’s pulse kicked in her throat, choking off her air in a startled gasp. At the last moment, she jerked her hand back before Tate could make contact. Oh shit, this guy was crazier than she was. Stumbling away from her “guardian,” her retreat was halted when she collided with the wall, smacking the back of her head.
Tate winced with a that-must-have-hurt grimace as the bang echoed throughout the elevator.
It did. A lot.
“Actually, I’m your new guardian.”
She reached up to rub away the sting, scowling at the stranger as if this was his fault. Two thoughts crossed Olivia’s mind. One, you’re about to become a skin suit. And two, play along with this nut job until the elevator stops, then run like hell.
Swallowing back the panic, she forced a negligent shrug. “New guardian, huh? What happened to my old one? He get fired or something?”
At her sarcastic bark of laughter, the stranger gave her a disapproving scowl and grumbled, “Something like that. And he’s not too happy about it, either.”
Could this elevator go any slower? Looking at the very large, very attractive man, no one in their right mind would ever suspect he was bat-shit crazy. Perhaps that was how he lured unsuspecting women into his web of death—right before he Ted Bundyed them.
Humoring the guy and yes, stalling while this elevator took the painfully slow journey from the sixth floor to the lobby, she asked, “So, what did he do to uhh… get fired?”
“The fact that you don’t know is precisely the reason.”
Well, that’s…cryptic.
The elevator suddenly came to a jarring halt between floors, pitching Olivia forward. Her hands shot out, bracing for a fall, palms planting solidly against his chest. The rich scent of muted spices enveloped her, reminding Olivia of…nothing. Dammit, another black hole.
Trying to play it cool, she hastened an apology and quickly retreated to her respective corner of the elevator. Pinching the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger, she closed her eyes and drew a deep breath that failed to calm her jangled nerves. “I’m trying to follow you here, I really am. But I don’t see what my having amnesia has to do with you or my so-called ‘guardian.’”
“You don’t have amnesia.”
A cynical bark of unladylike laughter tore from her throat. “Well, that’s good to know. But I’ve got about twenty-thousand dollars worth of medical bills that beg to differ with your diagnosis, Dr. Tate.”
She reached over and slammed her palm against the “emergency” button on the control panel, sending a shrill alarm up the elevator shaft.
Tate scowled, making no attempt to disguise his irritation as he reached in front of her and very pointedly hit the button again. The sharp ringing abruptly ceased. “Look, Olivia, your free will has been violated, and it’s imperative that I speak with you about this. I— Why are you looking at me like that?” he snapped impatiently.
“Because I never told you my name. How do you know me?”
“I already told you. I’m your guardian. I assure you, I have no intention of harming you, Olivia.”
“Guardian of what?” she challenged. “Because you certainly don’t look like an angel to me.” Just how naive did this guy think she was? What kind of a creep would hang out at a psychiatrist’s office and prey on emotionally damaged women? Did this guy really have nothing better to do with his time?
He exhaled an exasperated breath, muttering something about stubborn women and never wanting this job in the first place. When he looked back at her, he seemed to have rallied a measure of patience. “Exactly what is it we’re supposed to look like, Olivia?”
Well, for starters, how about not huge, hot, and terrifying?
“Am I to have a halo over my head, wear a white flowing dress, and sprinkle fairy dust about wherever I go?”
The sudden arch of his dark brow suggested he was poking fun at her. She was having none of it. “Well, that would help,” she quipped back with equal snark to his sarcasm.
“Sorry… I’m not that kind of an angel.”
An angel! Seriously…? He wasn’t even denying it!
Suddenly, as if a light clicked on, it all made sense to her. This guy must be one of Dr. Shriner’s patients. He had to have been in the office and overheard the secretary calling her name—that’s how he knew her. Oh shit…then this guy really was crazy, which was a hell of a lot more terrifying than hypothetical nuts.
Her hands swung up to back him off. “Look, Tate, maybe you don’t mean to scare me, but you are. Honestly, you’re really freaking me out right now. If you truly believe that you’re my guardian angel, then you need some serious help. Perhaps you should talk to Dr. Shriner about this God complex you seem to have. I’m sure she can help you, but please, leave me alone.”
At her request, the elevator jerked and continued its descent. His furrowed brows were a combination of frustrated and pissed off, and neither look said “hey, you can trust me not to kill you.”
As the elevator chimed, announcing they’d reached the lobby, Olivia made a final attempt to diffuse the situation. “I thank you for your concern, but I don’t want a guardian and I don’t need a guardian.” As the metal prison doors slowly slid open, she bolted for the exit, slipping out sideways before they could even open all the way.
“You’re wrong, Olivia. You need me,” Tate called after her. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.”
At this taunting reply, she glanced over her shoulder, making sure he wasn’t following her. With each hurried step, her sandals clapped briskly against the gray tile floor. When the elevator doors slid closed, she caught a glimpse of Tate dragging his hand through his hair, growling what she could only imagine was a very unangel-like curse.
Olivia exhaled a sigh of relief to be away from the nut job and hastened her steps. The moment she was safely locked inside her car, she’d call up to Dr. Shriner’s office and report this Tate, whatever his last name was. Someone definitely needed to adjust that guy’s meds.
Rushing out the glass doors, her poorly anchored sandals slapped against the marble steps with rapid-fire clap, clap, clap. She was nearly to the sidewalk, her black Camaro in sight, when the stranger suddenly materialized out of thin air.
Olivia let out a startled yelp. Headed right for him, she put on the brakes, but the laws of physics were not in her favor. Momentum pitched her forward, her foot slipping off the step and hitting the one below. White-hot pain exploded in her ankle as it rolled beneath her. Her knee buckled under the duress and she reached for the iron railing, trying to catch herself before face-planting into the now scowling man.
He looked as if he wanted to come to her aid, but wisely stayed back. “Are you all right?” he asked, sounding genuinely concerned.
She wasn’t buyin’ it. He was probably worried she’d scuff her knees and damage his skin suit.
“Are you all right, dear?” an elderly woman asked, hobbling over to her. The well-meaning geriatric looked like she needed more help than Olivia did, but she was limited on her choice of saviors, so granny was gonna have to do.
“No. I’m not all right,” Olivia replied, unable to keep the panic from edging into her voice. Lifting an accusing finger, she directed it at the stranger and accused, “This man is harassing me.”
Following the direction of Olivia’s outstretched arm, the old woman’s cataract-grayed eyes squinted to the bottom of the marble steps. After a moment of hard looking, she readjusted her glasses and gave it another try. “Dear, there’s no one there.”
“Oh Lord, I really am crazy,” she murmured.
Grandma laid a sympathetic hand on Olivia’s arm and gave it a patronizing pat.
“You’re not crazy,” the figment of her imagination piped in.
“Let me get someone to help you,” sweet granny offered. “Here, take my cane and sit on the bench.” She gestured to the vacant wrought iron bench on the sidewalk, precisely four feet from Olivia’s very large, very muscular illusion.
“She can’t see me,” he explained, taking a step up the marble stairs. “Let me help you, Olivia.”
The familiarity in the way he used her name added insult to injury. Ignoring his offer, she tested the strength of her ankle. When it refused to hold her weight, she begrudgingly accepted the old woman’s cane. “Thank you. I just need to sit for a minute. I’m sure my ankle will be all right.”
“I’ll get you some help.”
Before Olivia could protest, the Good Samaritan hobbled away, leaning heavily on the railing as she snail-paced it up the stairs.
“Are you always this stubborn?” her illusion asked, folding his arms across his wide chest. He followed a few steps behind as she gimped to the bench. On the plus side, if she was going to start imagining guys, at least she made them hot.
“Ignoring me won’t make me any less real,” he persisted.
Then Plan A was a bust, because that was exactly what she’d intended to do. “Will it make you go away?” she snapped.
“No. Not until I tell you what I came here to say.”
Somehow, Olivia wasn’t so sure that even then, he would leave her alone. But the way she saw it, she had two things going for her. One, if Tate was a figment of her imagination, then at least he couldn’t kill her. Two, if by some unexplainable phenomena he really did exist, then it was doubtful he’d whack her right here in public. So either way, it was unlikely death was imminent. Besides, Grandma was going for help, albeit not as quickly as Olivia would have liked, but help was on its way.
“All right then, talk,” she snapped impatiently, looking down at her watch. Shit…she was going to be late. “Tell me whatever it is you have to say and then go.”
He stood before her, dark brows scrunching in displeasure. Clearly, he didn’t appreciate her candidness—or perhaps being told what to do. This guy looked like he was more used to giving orders than taking them. She had to admit, for a figment of her imagination, his commanding presence felt pretty damn intimidating.
He watched her a moment in contemplative silence. Then, as if deciding on something, knelt on the sidewalk before her. “Let me see your ankle.”
She didn’t miss the note of impatience in his voice. Before she could refuse, he reached out and gently but firmly grasped her foot, slipping off her sandal.
His touch sent a jolt of awareness flooding her veins. “You are real,” she gasped, unable to deny the power coursing through his hands and seeping into her ankle. Liquid heat spread up her leg as the throbbing pain steadily diminished. “Why can I see you but that woman couldn’t?”
Tate stopped the assessment of her injury and glanced up at her with a dark violet gaze that made her heart ache with unexplainable loss. She didn’t like the way he made her feel. The emotions he stirred to life were painful and confusing. As a surge of overwhelming grief knifed into her heart, she suddenly found herself fighting back the urge to start sobbing.
“That old woman couldn’t see me because I wasn’t in corporeal form. You can see me because you have the gift of Sight, Olivia. Your eyesight can transcend dimensions, which means you possess the ability to see angels and demons. I can block your sight, demons cannot, which is why you’re in danger. You are a threat to the Dark Court because you can expose them. They want you dead. My job is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Your job is to let me do my job, and so far you haven’t been cooperating very well.”
He focused his attention back on her ankle, and Olivia winced when his fingers found a particularly tender spot. His grimace looked genuinely remorseful. Maybe, just maybe, he was telling her the truth. And if he was…God help her.
“Back in the elevator, you said you were my new guardian. What happened to my old one and why can’t I remember him? What was his name?”
Seeming overly focused on his task, he looked reluctant to answer, his dark brows furrowing in contemplation. “Look, Olivia, I’m not even supposed to be here, and I’m sure as hell not supposed to be telling you this. But the way I see it, you haven’t given me any other choice. Your life is at stake—”
“Tell me his name,” she pressed, believing Tate more and more with each passing second. Something told her he spoke the truth. The comforting heat infusing her ankle warred with the dread churning in her gut. Could it be possible that this…angel held the answers she’d spent the last eight weeks seeing a shrink to get? After two months of therapy, she wasn’t any closer to the truth now than before. “Tate…”
He gave a pensive sigh and met her stare. “His name is Liam.”
Her heart hammered against her chest at hearing the same name her mother had spoken the night she’d picked Olivia up from that hospital in Duluth. She hadn’t uttered it since, and wouldn’t talk of it now, even when Olivia had pressed her for answers. Her mother claimed she didn’t know anything. The only thing she could tell her was that Liam was an “old boyfriend” from several years ago. Minutes before she was to walk down the aisle and marry Mitch, he’d snuck into the church and abducted her. Kim didn’t know anything beyond that, other than there had been an accident. She’d been in a coma for days before Liam had called her mother and father to come and get her. By the time Olivia had awoken, he was gone, and so was her memory.
“There were rumors…that he loved you. That he…” Tate cleared his throat, seeming uncomfortable to continue. Casting his gaze to the ground he murmured, “That he…crossed boundaries of an intimate nature with you.”
Oh Lord…had he? Did they? She couldn’t remember.
“I should say, in his defense, that these allegations were never proven in court. But ultimately, he lost his guardianship of you because he violated Universal Law. Even though his bond to you has been severed, and he can no longer feel your emotions, I believe your connection to him remains. Although you can no longer remember him, I think you’re still in love with him, Olivia. And as long as you are, I cannot bond to you. Without that bond, I can’t sense you. I cannot tell when you’re in danger so I can’t keep you safe.”
Tate’s hands left her ankle to grasp one of hers—pleadingly. Were someone to see them across the street, one might think he was proposing to her. His grip was strong, surprisingly gentle. It seemed crazy, but she’d swear she felt his energy coursing through her veins as he looked up at her, imploring, “Olivia, you have to let him go. If you don’t, I can’t protect you and you will surely die.”
“This is crazy. How can you expect me to stop loving someone I can’t even remember? And what exactly does that mean? Violating Universal Law?” Her mind was reeling, trying to absorb the information he’d just dumped on her. She was still stuck back in the conversation where her guardian was in love with her. And she loved him, too? Really? Was that why her heart ached so? Why she felt like a part of her was missing?
“Universal Law demands that at all costs, a human’s free will must be honored—even unto death. You don’t have amnesia, Olivia. Liam stole your memory—”
“There you are, dear,” an aged voice called from the stairs.
She swung her head to look over her shoulder. A security officer was escorting the hobbling old woman toward Olivia. The warm hands that held hers disappeared, and when she glanced back, Tate was gone.

~ ~ ~
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