Sunday, 30 June 2013

Guest post by Aria Kane + Giveaway


Thanks to Stella for having me today to talk about my zombie retelling of Hansel & Gretel, Once Upon a Darkness! While my main character Gretchen has a pretty kickass team backing her up with Hank, Clint, and Erik, I thought I’d talk a little about who I’d pick to be on my team for the zombie apocalypse.

1) This twelve-year-old girl in Ethiopa, who was saved from her abductors by three Ethiopian lions. I don’t care what the “experts” say, I’m pretty sure she’s the Beastmaster reincarnate and communication with and control over animals is going to come in handy when we’re wandering the country, trying to avoid zombie hordes and survive.

2) Bear Grylls. You want this guy backing you up. First, his sister gave him the nickname “Bear” when he was ONE WEEK old. He can sail, do karate, mountain climb, speak three languages, navigate, hunt, field dress a camel carcass and drink water from it – you name it. He’s not just a Boy Scout, he’s the freaking Chief Scout.

Nur Suryani Mohammed Tabi
3) Nur Suryani Mohammed Taibi competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London for Malaysia. In rifle shooting. While eight months pregnant. Against the advice of her male coach and husband. She said: "Anything I want to do, I will do." She can shoot a rifle like crazy and doesn't let anything get in her way. She's on my team.

Now, The Company runs four-man teams, but I'm thinking I'm going to need one more. Because, let's face it, I'm not going to be too much help. And I need a bad-ass fighter to round out the mix.

4) Roger Huerta is a mixed martial artist, who's now pursuing an acting career. He once beat the crap out of a former Longhorns linebacker because the guy knocked a girl he didn't even know out in a bar fight. OK, so maybe he has a bit of a temper, but his manager said "It's in his nature to be very protective of women." And he's not too bad to look at either...


About the Author

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. She lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he's a chihuahua. She is the author of ONCE UPON A DARKNESS and A TITAN FOR CHRISTMAS. You can learn more about her at 



Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time.

Clint's only skill is war, but he's weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen's team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better.
On Clint's second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area. Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure.

When Hank is taken, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Goodreads


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Aria is giving away a Kobo/android ereader and some Entranced ebooks! 

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 14 July 2013!

Good luck!

Guest post by Sara Fawkes + Giveaway

Today I have a very special and unusual post: erotica authors tend to be rather mysterious and keep the details of their personal lives and themselves well.. to themselves. But not today. Today, successful erotica author Sara Fawkes is here to share with you 5 tidbits that people don't know about her, so if you are curious to learn more about her take a seat, read on and you could even win a copy of her latest release: FLING: a BDSM Erotica Anthology!

5 Things Most People Don't Know About Me
by Sara Fawkes

I'll admit to being a bit, hm, lax in posting personal information online. I suppose it's a throwback to the early interwebz where everyone cautioned you to keep yourself "safe". These days with Facebook and Twitter and blogs, many people are putting their real selves out there in a much more public and widespread way. I still like to hold a few things back though; some may call this "keeping the mystery", I just say it's because I'm boring.

Then again, I've always been my own worst critic.

So, in the spirit of sharing, I thought I'd give a few tidbits into the life at Casa de Fawkes and let you judge for yourself: am I a boring old writer?

1.) I love to write.

This one's a no-brainer given my current profession, but it really hit home recently just how much I love this when my aunt uncovered some of my first "books". They were small stapled paper and crayon creations; I must have been in preschool, but that didn't mean I couldn't write. Dinosaurs, unicorns and horses were apparently my favorite subjects back in those days, given the subject matter on these books. In middle school, I typed out two books on the school library computers about telepathic animals, one a tiger and another a horse; I think it would be a hoot to read them today but alas they've been lost in time. On weekends, I used to love being dropped off at the public library; I'd take my notebook and, if I couldn't find a book to read, I'd write my own stories. My parents still have some of those notebooks hidden away - that would be a fun memory lane to travel down.

2.) I heart motorcycles.

I blame the Dude, who taught me how to ride: it's such a freeing feeling being on the road, focusing on nothing else than the bike, keeping an eye on cars that might pull out and try to kill you. A lot of riders talk about a zen state while on their bikes; even if you have a jumble in your head and a mess in your life, when you get on that bike it's all you can focus on. It's soothing, even if you just take a ride around town. For this ADD chica, that's a blessing sometimes! Right now I have five bikes - at what point do you call this an addiction?

3.) I love to travel.

The Berlin Wall
This one I blame on my parents, but it's a good thing. I was born in Germany and lived there for six years of my childhood. We went EVERYWHERE, saw everything. On our last trip to East Berlin, we happened upon it right as the wall was falling; the guards who had always seemed so stern when we passed Checkpoint Charlie were now smiling and posing together for the cameras. People stood atop the Berlin Wall and the whole scene was a mad, glad pandemonium. Even though we moved back to the States, I never could get that travel bug out of my head. That's probably why in my books, I love going off to exotic locales and "seeing" foreign lands. Everywhere I write about are places I want to eventually visit, or have seen already and want to go again.

4.) I am a California girl.

I've seen and lived in a lot of places in the US, from the Pacific Northwet to the Deep South to the Midwest. I've lived and experienced a lot of states, and states of mind. But always, ALWAYS, I come back to California. I won't preach its merits - it's expensive, the politics are laughable sometimes, we have interesting governors and legislation, etc - but even though I'll go see some of the wonders of the world, I'm always so happy to come home. Many people think the place they come from is the best and, while I don't necessarily think what I love is for everyone, it sure works for me. ;)

5.) I'm a redhead.

I'm shy about posting pictures of me online, but I have mentioned it now and again on my blog. Being a redhead has made life interesting to be sure; people seem to think we gingers have superpowers or something. I've had my hair color blamed for my picking up motorcycles, being so outspoken, being so creative, etc etc. People also think that it makes me a total sexpot, like the old adage "Red in the head, fire in the hole." … yeah, that's really sexy there guys. But, let's be honest, the Dude ain't complaining. ;)

So, what other questions about me do you want answered? I’d love to know what’s on your mind!

FLING: A BDSM Eroticy Anthology by Sara Fawkes, Cathryn Fox and Lauren Hawkeye

Andy Devine is advertising for a wife on a utility pole, and interviewing him is the last thing TV reporter Julie Knott needs. Especially after her cheating fiancé just tweeted their disengagement. Now she has got to choose: get the story—or become it?

Welcome to Fetish Week.

Unleash your kinky side with three tales of BDSM romance in an exclusive Mediterranean sex resort from three hot erotica writers, including New York Times bestselling author, Sara Fawkes.

TAKE ME by Sara Fawkes

The minute sexy hotel manager Alexander Stavros spots shy, sweet Kate Swansea at the Mancusi resort, he can tell she’s begging for release. This Dom is the perfect man to help her… if she’s willing to let go of her inhibitions and enjoy the ride.

TEACH ME by Cathryn Fox

There’s nothing Luca Mancusi loves more than lingerie. So much so, he’s made it his business. Fashion design intern Josie Pelletier is supposed to be negotiating a deal with him, but as talks heat up, he can’t wait to teach her the ways of business…and BDSM.

TAME ME by Lauren Hawkeye

CEO Marco Kennedy can’t help being drawn to Ariel Monroe. When he follows the pop star abroad to the Mancusi resort, she agrees to a deal: He’ll win her as a sub through pleasure…or he’ll disappear from her life. Ariel’s game…just as long as she doesn’t lose her heart too.

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Author Rescue has generously offered an ebook copy of FLING: a BDSM Erotica Anthology to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave a question for Sara in a comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 8 July 2013!

Good luck!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Guest post by Theresa Rizzo + Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome to Theresa Rizzo, who is here to tell you about the inspiration behind her new release, He Belongs to Me! There is also a giveaway waiting for you at the end. ;-)

Getting’ Your Married On
by Theresa Rizzo

If you grow up in a less than a Leave-it-to Beaver home environment like Catherine and Thomas did without good role models, there are bound to be some adjustment issues. Heck even with good role models, there will be growing pains.

Living and melding your life with another person’s is hard—then when you add in the complications of old emotional baggage on either, or both sides, it can really be really challenging and one has to keep a sense of humor and perspective to survive those early years where a couple is feeling their way around, trying to create their own rhythm—hmmm no sexual puns intended.

But now that you went there . . . sex does serve to complicate things. Just sayin’.

Anyhow, sex aside, trying to live with another person and be a good, roommate, companion, confidant, support, lover, etc. takes work, as Catherine and Thomas found out. And there are bound to be a bunch of missteps—like Catherine making Thomas enough breakfast for four men, and the eggs that could be used as hockey pucks that Thomas gamely tried to choke them down, while trying not to look at his watch ‘cause he never ate breakfast and taking the time to do so is going to get him stuck in traffic and make him late for work.

Catherine tries again and again to connect with Thomas, without actually coming out and telling him what she’s doing or why. She reads magazines about how to please your man and follows that advice, but it doesn’t work out so well for her.

Even couples from functional families (is there really such a thing?) have their initial missteps and awkwardness in learning the marriage ropes. We all do silly things when first married in effort to be the perfect spouse.

What silly newlywed thing did you do in an effort to please your new spouse? What awkward/funny incident will you never live down?


Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Find Theresa on the web at her website - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads


He Belongs to Me is a love story ... a tale of betrayal and deception and of a young mother's determination to recover what belongs to her.

Forced to leave her baby and tricked into relinquishing her parental rights, four years later Catherine Boyd is back and she'll do anything to regain custody of her son--even reconcile with the husband falsely accused of killing their son's twin.

All in the name of love for a little boy, generations of pain and tragedy are exposed in a courtroom drama.


Excerpt

Set up is that Thomas has agreed to pretend to be happily married with the wife he hasn’t seen in four years in order to regain custody of their six-year-old son that Catherine’s parents have custody of. They’ve moved in together and are getting used to living as a “normal” married couple, but it’s awkward between them. Catherine still secretly loves her husband, but she’s accepted that their painful past will never allow a real reunion, but she’s hoping for some peace and friendship with her son’s father.

All her research said that guys loved it when their ladies drank beer with them and watched sports. Check. They also claimed to love a good, long, relaxing foot massage. Catherine looked at Thomas’s big feet.

She was the one with ticklish feet, so no worries there, but would he really enjoy that? She seemed to recall him liking his shoulders rubbed. She used to rub his shoulders and then slide her hands down over his taught chest and nuzzle that sweet spot behind his ear and then he’d flip her over his shoulder onto his lap and they’d make out for . . . She drew in a deep breath to calm her pounding heart. Nope. Better stick with the feet.

Forums claimed that guys loved it. Well, what did she have to lose?

She slid down on the floor and with her back to the couch, she watched the game and stared at his feet for fifteen solid minutes while gathering her courage. Should she ask him, or just do it? When she was sure his attention was glued to the TV, she edged closer. She put her hand flat on the floor, inching it over until it rested next to his bare foot.

Taking a deep breath, she pursed her lips and reached out and grabbed his foot and started massaging the top of it.

“Wha—” He yanked his foot back. She held on and lifted his foot shoulder high so she could get to the bottom, tipping him backwards. If he’d just relax, this would be a whole lot simpler. She pressed her thumbs deep into the arch of his foot.

He tugged on his leg. “Hey. What are you doing?”

She tightened her grip and doggedly rubbed. “Hold still.” She pulled his foot closer.

“Let go.”

“Hold. Still.” She got a better grip on his foot, then resumed rubbing. “You’ll like this!”

“Are you crazy? Let go!” He pulled back harder.

“I’m,” Catherine pursed her lips and tugged on his foot, “giving,” she crawled closer on her knees, “you,” pant, pant, “a foot,” she raised his foot so she could get to the heel, “massage.”

Thomas jerked his foot loose, vaulted to his feet. “Are you crazy? What the fuck’s the matter with you?”

Catherine blew the hair from her face and sat back on her heels. “Guys like foot massages. I’m being nice.”

Hands planted on his hips, he leaned toward her. “You’re being a whack job. What the hell is wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you? You act like you’ll catch cooties from my touch.” She gestured at the bowl. “Accidentally bump my hand and you’d think I’d poured hydrochloric acid on you.”

“Why were you touching my foot?”

“I was giving you a foot massage,” she corrected.

“Why?”

“Because I was being nice.” Exasperation crept into her tone.

“Why?”

“Why was I being nice?” Her eyes widened at the stupid question. Who doesn’t like to be treated nicely?

“Yeah. What do you want?” His eyes narrowed. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed it all. Making my bed, the coffee, cleaning up after me, cooking, cleaning,—” Touching. “You can just stop.”

She frowned, hurt that he’d think she had some ulterior motive. All she wanted was to make it easier. To make them easier. To go back to the time when they’d had fun together and he’d loved her. “Why? Why should I stop being nice? Afraid you’ll have to stop hating me then?”

“I don’t hate you.”

“I’m not denying that you’ve got reason to hate me, but I’m trying. I’m trying, and you’re not helping any.” She got off her knees and stood. “I know this, this pretend reconciliation is weird, but you’re not the only one who made sacrifices. I turned my life topsy-turvy too.

“I had a life in California. Good friends. A darling home on the beach. A job I loved. I gave up a lot too, to rectify this mess.” She threw up a hand for forestall his potential argument. “And I know it’s my screwup, but I’m trying.” She paused. “What do I want?” She shrugged. “I want you to like me.”



GIVEAWAY RULES:

Theresa has generously offered an ebook copy of He Belongs to Me to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just leave a comment and answer Theres's question: What silly newlywed thing did you do in an effort to please your new spouse? What awkward/funny incident will you never live down?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 14 July 2013!

Good luck!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Interview with Laura Bickle + Giveaway

I am very happy to welcome back once again to Ex Libris one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, the lovely Laura Bickle! You might remember Laura and her books since I seem to be yapping nonstop about them, but what can I say, I just loved her Anya Kalinczyk and Oracle series and if you haven't read her work yet, what are you waiting for?! What I love about Laura's writing is that besides the gripping, nail-bitingly exciting storylines not only does she bring us wonderfully layered and interesting characters, but her writing is simply captivating and beautifully lyrical. So please give Laura a warm welcome as I got to ask her some questions about her Anya Kalinczyk series and there are some terrific giveaways at the end waiting for you. ;-)


Stella: Hi Laura, welcome back to Ex Libris! :-) Can you please tell us a bit about yourself for those readers to whom you’re a new author? What you have been up to since you were last here?

Laura: Hi, Stella! Thanks so much for the chance to visit with you again! :-)

I write YA and urban fantasy. My background is in criminology and library science, and I’m owned by six cats. They like to help with the writing process by walking all over my keyboard. We have nicknamed one of them “ERF” because that was the first word she typed. Her real name is Luna, and I’ve included a picture of her happy self at work, critiquing my latest manuscript.

My latest release is a YA thriller, THE HALLOWED ONES. Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the outside world. But the outside world comes to her when a helicopter falls out of the sky near her house. Katie must confront not only a massive disaster unfolding in the world outside her community, but also the threat of darkness in her own increasingly fragile society.

The sequel, THE OUTSIDE, is coming out this September.

Stella: Your debut novel was Embers, the first book in the Anya Kalinczyk series, which I loved (take a look at my review)! Can you tell readers what they can expect of the Anya Kalinczyk series?

Laura: By day, Anya Kalinczyk is an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department. By night, she’s the rarest kind of spiritual medium, a Lantern. While other mediums allow spirits to use their hands and voices to communicate, Anya devours and incinerates them. With the help of her fire salamander familiar, Sparky, and an eccentric group of ghost hunters, Anya chases down unseen threats to her city.

My favorite line is the first line of EMBERS: “Truth burned.” I have an excerpt of the first chapter available here.

Stella: So far there are two books in the series: Embers and its sequel Sparks, have you planned more books in the series or is Anya’s story concluded in Sparks?

Laura: I would love to do additional books! My contract on those two is finished, but fingers crossed that this can happen someday.

Stella: Fingers crossed then! Could you introduce the heroine and some of the main characters of the Anya Kalinczyk series?

Laura: Let’s do this personal-ad style!

Anya: I see ghosts. You will, too. Arson investigator seeks supernaturally-friendly companion. Friends first. Must love pets. Ideal companion will take things slow and not mind salamander sleeping in bed.

Sparky
Sparky: Elemental familiar wants warm bed with Glo-Worm toy for plenty of snuggles. Cats okay. Must have grounding outlets for electrical appliances and not be too attached to cell phone.

Brian: Geeky guy looking for red-hot lurv. Let me reformat your hard drive, but don’t ask where I got that spectrometer. You don’t really want to know about my day job.

Drake: Looking for that forever relationship? Disillusioned humanitarian with emotional baggage seeks dragon to wreak vengeance and burn city that turned its back on him. The more ancient, the better. Smokers okay.

Stella: If the Anya Kalinczyk series were made into a TV series, and you could have your dream cast, who would play them?

Alyson Hannigan as Anya
Laura: I never picture real actors when I’m writing a book, but I think that Anya could be played by someone like Alyson Hannigan. I could also see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brian.

Sparky would have to be CGI, but I would love for him to have some of the look of Toothless in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. Unless any of Godzilla’s children are free, or someone has a trained komodo dragon that would be really tolerant of stage makeup. In any event, I imagine that he looks something like this:

Stella: Could you please summarize the Anya Kalinczyk series for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?

Laura: “Ghostbusters in Detroit with dragons and arson.”

Stella: It sounds kickass! :-D (And Readers let me tell you it is that and even more! :-) Do you still remember what inspired the Anya Kalinczyk series? Was there a specific moment/event that sparked the idea for the story?

Laura: I’d been having a weird series of dreams about devouring ghosts. They were sort of disturbing…and possibly connected to eating too much pizza too late at night. But I began to wonder how I could work those pizza-ghosts into a story, because the whole experience felt so vivid and real. I wondered if it would translate to the page, since dreams rarely make narrative sense in the waking world. But I think it worked.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia connected to the writing of either Embers or Sparks (a scene/character that did not end up in the final version, a real person inspiring a character, scene, etc.)?

Laura: Anya’s rubber duck collection was inspired by my own rubber duck collection. They line a small shelf in a bathroom I call “The Quackarium.”

Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule?

Laura: The sequel to THE HALLOWED ONES, THE OUTSIDE, will be released September 3. As the title suggests, Katie has to confront the devastation in the world beyond her community. Her chief challenge will be protecting those she loves and her own survival in a very dangerous new landscape.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Laura: Hee. Well, I just started karate lessons. I took karate when I was a teenager, and promptly forgot all about it. But I’ve started up again. And my sensei is so patient to suffer through my lack of coordination. Picture a duck trying to do karate, and that’s pretty much what I look like. But I’m determined to learn!

Thank you so much for hosting me today! It’s so nice to chat with you again. :-D

Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy nov-els for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, connect with her at


Embers by Laura Bickle

Book #1 in the Anya Kalinczyk series

Truth burns. Unemployment, despair, anger—visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya—who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern—suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya—with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team—can stop it.

Anya’s accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.

Sparks by Laura Bickle

Book #2 in the Anya Kalinczyk series

Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

There are several great giveaways going on, where you could win several of Laura's novels, so just enter them by filling out the Rafflecopter forms below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaways end on 21 July 2013!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Guest post by Wendy Soliman + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming back to Ex Libris the lovely Wendy Soliman, who is celebrating the release of Beguiling the Barrister, the second book in her Forsters historical romance series, a book I have been impatiently waiting for since I loved the first novel, Compromising the Marquess! So join us as Wendy tells us more about Beguiling the Barrister and even shares an excerpt with us, and you could win either the new book, or in case you haven't read this series yet, you can start with the first book!


Beguiling the Barrister is the second book in my Regency series featuring the Forster Dynasty headed by Hal, Marquess of Denby. Hal’s sister, Lady Felicity, less formally known as Flick, decided at the age of twelve she would marry her handsome neighbor, Darius Grantley. As well as owning a modest estate, Darius also works as a barrister at the famous Old Bailey courthouse in London, looking out for the welfare of the underprivileged. Unfortu-nately having a conscience doesn’t pay the rent and Darius knows he’ll never be able to keep Flick in the standard to which she’s become accustomed. Better to forget his aspirations in that respect.

Flick has other ideas and refuses several advantageous offers of marriage, still holding out hope that she will somehow attract Darius. When the object of her affections is offered the opportunity to defend two young aristocrats accused of highway robbery, Darius can’t refuse, even though he disapproves of his clients and thinks them almost certainly guilty of crimes they had no need to commit.

Flick, aware that the case will see Darius appointed King’s Counsel, with the huge increase in recognition and income that position will afford him, dislikes seeing her beloved com-promise his standards. This is how Darius explains his position to her:

“Flick.” Darius stood as she entered. “This is a pleasant surprise.”

“Is it true?” she demanded aggressively. “Are you representing Cuthbert?”

“Ah, so you’ve heard.” He cupped his chin in his hand. “I was hoping I’d have an opportunity to tell you myself.”

All the air seemed to leave Flick’s lungs in an extravagant whoosh, and she fell into the chair Darius held out for her just seconds before her legs gave out. “I didn’t believe it when Rob told me. I was sure he must have got it wrong.” Distress and disappointment whipped through her but she tamped down her emotions and met his gaze, reminding her-self that he deserved the opportunity to explain.

“No, he didn’t get it wrong,” Darius said softly.

“Why?” she asked, feeling ridiculously close to tears of disappointment.

He didn’t seem able to meet her gaze and stood to stare out of the window. “You don’t understand how these things work,” he said, turning his back to her and clasping his hands behind it.

His attitude infuriated her. He had never patronized her in the past and she was in no mood to put up with it now. “Then perhaps if you use very short words you can make me understand,” she said with a sarcastic smile. “I’ve been your most loyal supporter all these years, encouraging you to continue down the path you chose even when you hit oppo-sition and derision. You owe me the opportunity to understand why you’ve changed direc-tion.”

“Then understand that I have to make a living.” He ran a hand through his hair, still with his back to her. Why was he afraid to look at her? “Fighting for the rights of the less privileged is all well and good but it isn’t enough to support me.”

Flick wrinkled her brow. “But Brightstone Manor? I assumed your estate provided you with a good enough living to underwrite your efforts here.”

Now he did turn to look at her, a bitter smile playing about his lips. “Have you ever really thought about it?” He waved a hand to stop her from answering. “Not that I would have expected you to. It’s really not your concern.”

“But I want it to—”

“My estate now turns a modest profit. It has taken me a while to turn matters round since my father almost destroyed the place with his determination to gamble away every penny he made, and many more that he didn’t have.”

Flick nodded, her temper cooling slightly. “That must have been very difficult for you. No wonder you’re so opposed to gambling.”

“Whatever profit I make is ploughed straight back into the estate. What I make here in London as a barrister is what I must live on, pay my clerk’s wages, the rent on these chambers and ancillary expenses.” He shrugged, looking uncomfortable to be discussing such matters but clearly feeling the need to justify his actions. “My estate is tiny compared to the Hall and I can’t rely on it to fund my career.”

Flick felt terrible for not having considered the matter in that light. “I had no idea,” she said softly.

“There isn’t any reason why you should have.”

There was an air of charged expectancy between them. The atmosphere was brittle with tension, even though Darius still appeared to have trouble meeting her eyes. She could tell he wasn’t happy about the actions he’d taken. It must have trequired a lot of soul searching to abandon his principles. She’d made matters worse by charging in here, hurling accusations at him, when she hadn’t even stopped to consider that he might be acting out of financial necessity. It was kind of Darius not to point out that she’d never had to think about money in her entire life.

“If I do this, if I can somehow pull it off,” Darius said, “it will be the making of my career.”

“You have been made promises?”

“I could become King’s Counsel,” he said with becoming modestly.

Flick’s dwindling anger gave way to a burst of pride. “But you deserve that honour anyway, given the way you’ve devoted yourself to the cause of justice.”

He flashed an engaging smile. “You’re biased,” he said tenderly. “Most people don’t see it that way.”

“Then they are very short sighted indeed.”

They had both run out of things to say. All the words Flick had practised in the car-riage coming over here seemed inappropriate now and, unsettled by her selfishness, she didn’t voice them.

“What are you really doing here, Flick?” he asked.

She lifted her eyes to his face and held his gaze. “I’m tired of playing games, Darius.

All well and good, but there are powerful people out to stop Darius for reasons of their own. They will do whatever it takes, including threatening Darius’s property and Flick’s life…

Thanks for having me here,
Wendy

Wendy Soliman was brought up on the Isle of Wight in Southern England but now divides her time between Andorra and West Florida. She lives with her husband Andre and a rescued dog of indeterminate pedigree named Jake Bentley.

The Isle of Wight is full of historic buildings, which is where she acquired her love of history, absorbing it like osmosis. She is the author of nine single-title Regency romances and is excited about her up-coming series charting the fortunes of the Forster dynasty.

When not writing she enjoys reading other people’s books, walking miles with her dog whilst plotting her next scene, and is on a one-woman mission to save the wine industry from the economic slump. Well, someone’s got to do it!


Connect with Wendy at her website - blog - FacebookTwitter.

Beguiling the Barrister by Wendy Soliman

Book #2 in the Forsters series 

England, 1814

Flick--more properly known as Lady Felicity Forster--was twelve when she decided she was going to marry her handsome neighbor Darius Grantley. Now, embarking on her second season, she's no nearer to that lofty ambition. She commits to making Darius fall in love with her, if only he'd take a break from pleading the case of the common criminal as a barrister at the Old Bailey.

Darius adores the lovely, high-spirited younger sister of the Marquess of Denby, but he's all too aware that Flick is far above him in social status, not to mention fortune. Winning the high-profile Cuthbert case will earn him a promised appointment to King's Counsel and just enough income to provide a home for his well-born lady.

But the cards are stacked against him. Not only do the newspapers trumpet his clients' guilt, but a powerful peer bribes the witnesses and threatens Flick unless Darius sabotages his own case...


GIVEAWAY RULES:

One randomly drawn commenter will win an ebook copy of Compromising the Marquess or Beguiling the Barrister by Wendy Soliman!


To be entered just leave a comment and tell us what you enjoy the most about historical romances.

Giveaway is open tworldwide and ends on 5 July 2013!

For more chances to win, follow the tour HERE.

Good luck!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Guest post by Jess Haines + Giveaway

Please join me in welcoming back to Ex Libris the wonderful Jess Haines , who is once again celebrating the release od her latest novel in the H&W Investigations series: Forsaken by the Others! Jess once again doesn't come alone, she brings with herself an array of characters from the H&W series, so please give them a warm welcome and don't forget to enter the terrific giveaways at eth end! ;-) 


FORSAKEN BY THE OTHERS BLOG TOUR

Stop 13: Do Vampires and Werewolves Have to Deal With Pests?
by Jess Haines and E. Blix

Hello there! Jess Haines here. I’m the author of the H&W Investigations series—urban fantasy novels about Shiarra Waynest, a human private investigator in an alternate, present-day New York. Somehow she keeps getting pulled into supernatural troubles way above her pay grade…

Today my SILENT CRAVINGS co-author is here to help wrangle a few of our characters into explaining what kinds of pests vampires and werewolves have to deal with. Shiarra, the main character from the H&W Investigations series, is here with a few of her friends to discuss it. Take it away, guys!

________________

Analie: Like Mothers Against Others or ticks? Because both are a problem.

Shiarra: Ew, ticks and fleas?

Royce: I do wish whoever kept booking these ridiculous interviews would give us a topic that, if not stimulating, was at least coherent.

Shiarra: Hey, I’m curious over here. You guys get fleas? Seriously?

Christoph: No, not fleas. We’re not furry 24/7 and we take showers. But ticks are a problem to anyone who runs around in the woods.

Analie: The anti-Other groups aren’t really a huge problem. They do make it a little uncomfortable for us sometimes, like when they wave signs around that say things like, “bad dog, go home.”

Christoph: Or when the really crazy ones attack you with silver. Check out this scar.

Royce: I won’t incriminate myself by giving any details about what happened the last time a hunter attacked me, but I can assure you it wasn’t pleasant.

Shiarra: Awesome. Never sleeping again, thanks.

Analie: Hey, we can’t go around murdering people willy-nilly, you know. We’re sort of trying to be accept- Christoph, put your pants on. I thought the scar was on your arm.

Christoph: No, that’s the one that crazy bitch left when she tried to exorcise the wolf-demon from within. The big one is up on my leg, near the hip. See?

Analie: Uh…yeah. That’s…

Royce: Public indecency. We’re not in the club.

Shiarra: I don’t mind.

Royce: Oh, really now?

Shiarra: Err… Actually, never mind. Clothes, dude. You’re a person, not a—well, hell. There’s no way I can finish that sentence without sounding ten kinds of wrong.

Christoph: Oh, fine.

Analie: Anyway, everyone’s got pests even if they’re not the blood-sucking type—

Christoph: Um—

Royce: That’s not—

Analie: I didn’t mean that! When I said blood-sucking I mean, like, ticks! Not, you know—‘cause I have no problem with vampires, I mean, I live with vampires, I know a lot of really nice vampires—

Christoph: Shhh, you’re trying too hard.

Shiarra: You’re turning as red as my hair. Yeesh.

Royce: It’s fine. Nothing I haven’t heard before. We’re often compared to leeches, ticks, and other blood-sucking pests.

Analie: But do you ever… you know… have to deal with ticks or anything like that?

Royce: No. Ticks and mosquitoes have no taste for vampiric flesh. Perhaps the way we metabolize the blood bears too similar a resemblance and they see us as one of their own.

Shiarra: Maybe, but no mosquito has ever charmed the pants off someone.

Royce: Well, I’ve had practice.

Analie: Am I old enough to be hearing about this?

Shiarra: Probably not. But that’s—never mind! Royce, what the hell?

Royce: Ms. Waynest, I know you have your moments of naiveté, but don’t tell me you expect that I’ve remained chaste in the few thousand years of my existence.

Shiarra: No, but I thought you had more tact than to trumpet your conquests in public, mister “Oooh, I’ve been alive for thousands of years, I know better than you.”

Christoph: Eh, you’ll forgive him the next time he charms the pants off you.

Analie: Oh. Um. I should probably do homework. Now.

Christoph: Just sayin’.

Shiarra: I… wish I could argue that.

Royce: You know I am not thoughtless when and where it counts.

Shiarra: Yeah, yeah. Rub it in.

Christoph: That’s what she said.

____________________

Vampires and werewolves. Living together. Mass hysteria!

Ahem. I hope you enjoyed this taste of the characters you’ll meet in my books! For the next stop on the blog tour, be sure to visit the official FORSAKEN BY THE OTHERS blog tour calendar!
You can also visit me on the web:


Thanks again for having me, Stella!

Forsaken by the Others by Jess Haines

Book #5 in the H&W Investigations series

The Others–vampires, werewolves, things that go chomp in the night–don’t just live in nightmares anymore. They’ve joined with the mortal world. And for private investigator Shiarra Waynest, that means mayhem…

Have a one night stand with a vampire, and you can end up paying for it for eternity. P.I. Shiarra Waynest, an expert on the Others, knows that better than most. Yet here she is, waking up beside charismatic vamp Alec Royce with an aching head…and neck. Luckily, Shia has the perfect excuse for getting out of town–namely, a couple of irate East Coast werewolf packs who’d like to turn her into a chew toy.

On Royce’s suggestion, Shia temporarily relocates to Los Angeles. But something is rotten–literally–in the state of California, where local vampires are being attacked by zombies. Who could be powerful enough to control them–and reckless enough to target the immortal? Following the trail will lead Shia to a terrifying truth, and to an ancient enemy with a personal grudge…

Buy at


Read my reviews of the series:



GIVEAWAY RULES:

There are TWO giveaways, one for US and one for international readers! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form suited for you:

US giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

International giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The giveaways end on 2 August 2013!

Good luck!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Guest post by Seleste Delaney + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming to Ex Libris Selese deLaney, who is celebrating the release of her first Entangled release, Gaming for Keeps, a "geeky" romantic suspense novel centered around you guessed it video games! So please give Seleste a warm welcome and read on to see what inspired Gaming for Keeps and you could even win a copy of the book!


A long time ago, in a world not so very unlike this one lived Elves and Ogres, Humans and Trolls, Dwarves and Frogloks…Vah Shir…and Iksar? Yes, back in the day, I was addicted to EverCrack (EverQuest or EQ for the non-initiated).

Oddly enough, I came to the game grudgingly. My husband played and was spending far too much of his time in this world I had no part of. So he roped me in. I spent the first few weeks thinking it was the stupidest waste of time ever. Then I started talking to people. It was, I’m embarrassed to say, my first time talking to strangers on the Internet. I became hooked.

For a while, I guild hopped as I tried to find my place in the magical realms of Norrath. But eventually, I was adopted by a group who called themselves “The Fourth Wall.” They weren’t all about the leveling and the uber-mobs. They liked to screw around as much as I did. It was a perfect fit, and I became a bigger EQ junkie than my husband had been.

Sadly, as happens with games, people moved on. To WoW and EQ2 and I don’t even know where else. I’m pretty sure there’s still a Waller presence most of those places, but it’s small. Instead we’ve become a group that mainly just says hi to each other on Facebook, but we still talk. We’re still, after all this time, Wallers at heart, and I’m pretty sure we could stir up some of our old trouble-making ways if someone really wanted to, and maybe someday we will.

For myself, after the Everquest team disbanded, I didn’t want to start over. I tried with EQ2, but I couldn’t find that same magic bullet again. And I didn’t want anything less. So I left gaming behind me, but I held on to the joy of my time with the Fourth Wall and kept wishing I had a way to show my appreciation for them in my work.

I toyed with a few sf/f ideas, but they all felt cliché, and I knew if I spent the time on that story, it’d be relegated to just something to share with my group of friends. And, to be honest, if I wanted to make a career of this writing gig, I didn’t have time to write just for friends. It made me sad, but I shelved the idea, knowing that when the time was right, I’d find the story.

Then Entangled put out the call for “Geek” novellas. I spent a lot of time going back to the website and looking at the submission call. (Really, it was pretty ridiculous how many hits that page got from my IP.) In the interim, I found out I was finally going to get to meet one of my in-game “boyfriends” at a convention in LA. I remember sitting at my computer and reading the email, and suddenly pieces just started to click into place.

What if we’d never seen each other? What if I hadn’t known his real name? And then we’d randomly met instead. (Of course, in this thought process, we were both single, but I was plotting a story, not my life.) From that simple beginning, Gaming for Keeps was born. And I knew as I wrote, that the Fourth Wall had to be included, at least tangentially. Because without them—their wild ways and ridiculous fun and their way of making a ragtag group of strangers feel like a family—there wouldn’t have been a book at all.

So when interviews ask if I was ever a gamer, I say yes, but what I want to say is, “No. I didn’t game. I spent time with my family.”

Gaming for Keeps by Seleste deLaney

Pen Holloway’s done with men—in real life. Guys in game are so much less drama. But when her partner from Heroes of Fallen Gods invites her to the convention of the year, she panics. What if he’s another jerk? What if he’s not?

Cal Burrows is living his dream of being a spy. One of TRAIT’s misfit spies, but still a spy. It’s the perfect job… until an arms dealer with a taste for blood invades his not-so-secret geek haven. All Cal wanted from ConDamned was to meet his on-line girl. Now, with the threat of mass murder looming, he’s forced to choose between keeping his mission a secret and protecting the girl of his dreams.Despite their attraction, Pen can’t help but suspect Cal’s hiding something. She also can’t shake the feeling he’s not as much of a stranger as he seems. Read an excerpt

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Kobo - iTunes

Seleste started on her career path as a young child. Stories of talking animals soon gave way to a love of superheroes and science fiction. Her first foray into the world of romance came at age twelve when she envisioned a sweeping epic love story of two people thrust together and torn apart again and again by fate. As she recalls, the plan was for them to admit their love on his deathbed. But, as is often the case with pre-teen girls, a story of that depth gave way to other pursuits, and sadly it is completely lost other than vague memories.

After that, she occupied herself with short stories for a while, and then poetry until after she had earned a degree in chemistry, spent time as a high school teacher, and became a mother of two. Then she delved into writing fiction once more.

She never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.
You can find Seleste on her websiteGoodreads and Twitter.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Entangled Publishing has generously offered an ebook copy of Gaming for Keeps to a lucky commenter!


To be entered to win this swag pack just leave a comment and tell us: Do you or any of your loved ones play online/video games? Which one is your favourite? If you do not playwhy not?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 July 2013!

Good luck!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Guest post by Jennifer Faye + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to debut author Jennifer Faye, who is celebrating the release of her first Harlequin novel, Rancher to the Rescue, a delicious jilted at the altar-cowboy romance! So please give Jennifer a warm welcome, read on to discover more about the story and for a chance to win a copy of Rancher to the Rescue, just answer Jennifer's question in a comment! :-)

Jilted At The Altar…then what? 
by Jennifer Faye

First, I’d like to give Stella a BIG thank you for having me here to kick-off my debut blog tour. This is such an exciting time for me—the fulfillment of a dream. :-) And I’m thrilled to share it with you.

Do you remember watching RUNAWAY BRIDE starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? I’ll admit that it ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite Rom Com’s. It makes me wonder what could possibly happen at the very last moment, after the dress clothes are donned, the guests are seated and the bridal march is playing, to make the bride to do the 50-yard dash.

After I thankfully had a wonderful but intimate wedding…except for the soaring temperatures and the outside venue, I began to wonder how a woman would end up in such a predicament. What circumstances would lead her down the aisle only to have things go so terribly wrong?

I pondered the various scenarios for quite a while before writing my debut, RANCHER TO THE RESCUE. When did things go wrong? What caused things to go awry? Who wanted to call off the nuptials? Both the bride and groom? Just one of them?

In the movie, RUNAWAY BRIDE, it was definitely the bride who donned the track shoes and headed for the hills. But what if the bride wasn’t given a choice? What if she learns something devastating at the very last moment? It could be something she witnesses say between the groom and a bridesmaid? Or perhaps she overhears something that shatters her rosy world?

It doesn’t help matters that my heroine, Meghan, is a celebrity chef, standing in front of a church crammed full of family, friends…and paparazzi. Television cameras are focused directly on her, recording the event to broadcast to the world. Of all time for life to take an unexpected hairpin turn, this was hands down the worst.

I’ll be honest and admit that the church scene isn’t in the book, but I did write it for myself. I wanted to stand in the heroine’s shoes and feel what she felt. It was a truly awful position for her to be in. My sympathies went out to Meghan.

In that moment when her carefully laid plans have blown up in her face she must decide what to do next. Face the guests…the cameras and what…explain…when she hasn’t even had a chance to make sense of the situation herself?

With an underlying secret she is not prepared to divulge to the waiting paparazzi, she does the first thing that comes to mind—she hikes up her skirt and finds the nearest getaway vehicle. Of course, it just so happens it’s a sexy rodeo champion’s pickup and he’s none too happy about driving her getaway vehicle.

How about you? Do you love watching romantic comedies, both new and old? If so, what’s your favorite?


Damsel in a wedding dress!

Jilted at the altar, celebrity chef Meghan Finnegan flees the scene--and the baying press--only to run straight into the muscled torso of Cash Sullivan.

The former rodeo champion knows what it’s like to have your life crumble in the spotlight, so he offers Meghan a place to lie low at his ranch.

Fresh air, no paparazzi and the brooding rancher's lazy smile are making Meghan not want to leave her sanctuary. But she and her unborn baby can't stay here forever...can they?


Pre-order at Amazon - KindleB&N - Harlequin

Jennifer Faye has spent most of her life with her nose in one book or another. It was only natural that she dreamed of becoming a romance writer and spinning the tales of the imaginary people running around in her mind. But first life took her on a couple of detours. Refusing to give up on her dreams, she finally succeeded in getting her name on a book cover. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her very, very patient husband, one amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter has flown the coop to chase her own dreams) and two spoiled rotten cats. When she’s not glued to her laptop writing another contemporary romance (which isn’t often) or enjoying some family time, she loves to get lost in a good book, cross-stitch, embroider, quilt, knit, watch hockey (go Pittsburgh Penguins!), and garden.

You can find Jennifer on 
her websiteFacebookGoodreads and Twitter.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Jennifer has generously offered a signed copy of Rancher to the Rescue plus a swag pack to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just leave a comment and answer Jennifer's question: Do you love watching romantic comedies, both new and old? If so, what’s your favorite?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 July 2013!

Good luck!

Related Posts with Thumbnails