Aug 25, 2014

Cover Reveal–Blocked by Jennifer Lane

COVER REVEAL

BLOCKED

By Jennifer Lane
 
 
New Adult Contemporary/Sports Romance

Releasing October 21, 2014

College freshman Lucia Ramirez has a secret crush on Dane Monroe. He’s a tall drink of water — blond, brash, and one hell of a volleyball player. Hijole. Lucia hopes her volleyball scholarship to his school will make him notice her.

Too bad what’s noticeable is Dane’s obvious hatred for Lucia. Her family’s politics contradict everything he stands for. And politics are front and center in both their families. Dane’s mother is about to face Lucia’s father in the race for US President.

When Secret Service throws them together, Dane can’t deny his frustrating attraction to Lucia’s athletic curves and sweet faith in the world. Amid the intense pressure of college athletics and presidential politics, can opposites not just attract, but overcome overwhelming odds to be together? Or do their differences block their match from the start?

 
 
If you would like to participate in the Release Event and/or Request to Review BLOCKED, you can find out more information HERE.


GIVEAWAY

Jennifer Lane is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card and an Advanced Reader Copy of BLOCKED on her Facebook page! You can enter HERE.

 
About the Author

Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she witnesses growth in her psychotherapy clients, and by night she wrangles misbehaving fictional characters as she writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She can’t decide which is more fun.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen wove some of her own experiences into Streamline—a military mystery about swimmers. And readers can dip their toes into Jen’s world of swimming romance by sampling her free New Adult novella Swim Recruit. (optional link to include: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/swim-recruit-jennifer-lane/1113038601?ean=2940044896642)

College volleyball romance Blocked is Jen’s newest release, launching 10-21-14. Peek inside big-time college sports and even bigger national politics when the offspring of two presidential candidates find out whether opposites really do attract, or their match is blocked from the start.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry.

In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, hanging out with her plus-size, “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned” Izzie cat, and visiting her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.


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Aug 16, 2014

Work In Progress #WIP Blog Tour

 

I’ve been tagged by Jennifer Lane for the #WIP Blog Tour. The way it works:

Provide the link back to the post by the person who nominated you. Write a little about and give the first sentences of the first three chapters of your current WIP, then nominate four other writers to do the same.

Jennifer Lane is a wonderful talent. Her writing covers everything from suspense and romance to heart wrenching insight of the human condition. If you haven’t come across her before, I would recommend you give her a try. Her next release, Blocked, will be available 21st October. 

Start at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

              ~The King to the White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland

As for my WIP, I wasn’t sure which one to use today because I don’t tend to follow the above advice. Technically I have three WIPs on the go. I’ve been working on Atlantis Rising, which is the third books in the Shades series. But saying the chapters I have written are the first three is a loose interpretation. I tend to write chapters out of order and stitch them together.

My second WIP is at editing stage and is due for release early 2015. You’ll be hearing a lot about this in the near future. Something Wicked is a vampire novel set in 19th and 20th century:

What if Jack the Ripper was a vampire?

Could a monster be trusted to save humanity from a terrible fate? 

Infected by the vampire virus on the streets of Dublin in 1886, the search for a cure brought Henry Clayton to London and to the brink of madness. Salvation and friendship arrived in the form of Dougal, an immortal Highlander with a devilish sense of humor and a love of life.

Amidst turmoil in vampire society, Henry returns to modern day Dublin. The Circle, a cult determined to awaken their Celtic blood god, the first vampire, is once again active.

When Henry meets a young American woman who sees past his human pretense, he fears exposure. However, his fear is overshadowed by curiosity. What is the source of the strange energy between them? Why are vampires stalking her? Determined to find answers, he takes Ari into his home and under his protection.

As their connection grows, Henry begins to suspect Ari isn’t what she claims to be. Their shared history may hold the answers to his uncontrollable bouts of rage and thirst. Perhaps, even a cure for his wicked blood.

***

My third WIP, is related to the second. Something Wicked is a stand alone novel. For me, Dougal is an interesting character to write, but he doesn’t easily share his past. He’s sort of an onward and upward kind of guy. So, I have all these notes about him and how he came to be which aren’t included. I’ve jotted down some scenes in my notebook that will either become Extras to post on my blog, or possibly a companion novella.  To say they are rough is being generous. They are little more that dialogue right now.

So I suppose we should probably go for door number two, Something Wicked, remembering that these are subject to change right up to the end of the editing process.

    The sound of music floated through the warm, late evening air in Temple Bar as the bustling Dublin city center area transitioned from evening to night.

    I had been living a short distance north of the city for three months, in the same Georgian townhouse I had once shared with my family.

    My entire body felt as if my skin was being flayed slowly and tortuously, leaving every nerve exposed and raw.

I nominate:

Cherie Colyer

Joshua David Bellin

Rumer Haven

Kym Brunner

Tag, you’re it!  

Aug 13, 2014

Seven For A Secret

 

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? And a historical, supernatural, ghost story. It’s sure to be something special. Congratulations to Rumer Haven on the release of her debut novel.

It’s the year 2000, and twenty-four-year-old Kate moves into a new apartment to find a new state of independence in a new millennium. Almost immediately, she starts crushing on a hot guy who lives in her building. Deciding to take a break from her boyfriend Dexter, Kate believes the only thing now separating her from the fresh object of her sexual fantasies is the thin wall between their neighboring apartments.
A former 1920s hotel, Camden Court has housed many lonely lives over the decades—and is where a number of them have come to die. They're not all resting in peace, however, including ninety-year-old Olive, who dropped dead in Kate’s apartment and continues to make her presence known.
For Olive has a secret she’s dying to tell. One linking her to the sex, scandal, and sacrifice of a young dreamer named Lon. As the past haunts the present, Kate’s romantic notion that the thrill-of-the-chase beats the reality-after-the-catch unexpectedly entwines her modern-day love life with Lon’s Jazz Age tragedy.
With a little supernatural and a lotta' razzle-dazzle, Seven for a Secret is where historical fiction meets contemporary rom-com—from the Roaring Twenties when the “New Woman” was born, to the modern Noughties when she really came of age.

About the Author

Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. Seven for a Secret is her debut novel, scheduled for release in 2014 by Omnific Publishing.

Learn more at : http://www.rumerhaven.com

Jul 18, 2014

The Mountain of the Witch

 

I was distressed recently when vandals took to The Hill of Tara recently and threw paint over Lia Fáil, an iconic 5,000 year old standing stone. Sometimes referred to an The Stone of Destiny, it played a significant role in Shades of Atlantis. I can’t even contemplate what kind of a person would do such a thing. Certainly someone with no respect for the people of history of the island.

Picture from Independent.ie

Over the years I’ve spent quite a bit of time on The Hill of Tara. Although there’s been significant restoration and excavation, it’s a peaceful place. There are other places like Newgrange and Knowth, where folks have been maybe a little over enthusiastic in their attempts to establish their ideal of what these places were. They are stunning no doubt and soaked in heritage but have been altered in such a way it’s difficult to get a real sense of the rawness of the site. At Tara, the history seems to radiate from the very ground you walk on, despite this.

Another place where the rawness has been persevered is Loughcrew, Sliabh na Caillighe – The Mountain of the Witch, alternatively sometimes called The Hill of the Witch or The Mountain of The Hag is one of a collection of peaks in the hills of County Meath. Although in this case it’s with significant disruption to the site over the natural passage of time and land clearance during 19th century. It’s thought many internal stones and kerbstones were used in the building of walls nearby. The traces of quartz once there are gone. Quartz(sun stone) is not natural to the area and most likely came from Wicklow like the quartz at Newgrange.

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Like Tara, the energy of this site(Carnbane East) seems to radiate from somewhere below. Unlike Tara, I personally found it almost overpowering, and came away feeling unwell, although felt the views were worth it.

2014-07-15 14.27.472014-07-15 13.58.13

 

 

 

 

There are traces of 25 passage tombs at Loughcrew over 4 peaks, although it’s thought there were as many as twice or three times that many once. We call them passage tombs, but the truth is we don’t really know if that’s what they were. We know from excavation that teeth and bones were found at thes2014-07-15 14.14.54e sites, although it’s possible these places also functioned at land markers, focal points for the people who built them, storage, ritual, and very possibly astrology since like other passage tombs, Loughcrew’s craved stones show symbols and formations thought to chart the skies or seasons. At the equinox, the sun lights the internal chamber of Cairn T(above and right) and travels across the internal carvings of the chamber. Another possibility given their location the the view across the 18 of the 32 counties of the island is that some of the wall carvings are early maps. 2014-07-15 14.03.41

 

 

 

 

 

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What we do know for certain is even 5,000 years ago and very likely longer, the builders at Loughcrew knew what they were about. The dome is corbaled. Slabs of stones are layered, each layer inching inward to form a dome. There is also a tilt to the stones, visible but not immediately obvious that allows for any liquid run off. Most are cruciform, three 

2014-07-15 14.20.20

 

Carnbane East is a steep climb up a grassy slope where sheep potter, not paying much attention to visitors. At the top, with good visibility, a good deal of the island is on display in every direction. This is Cairn V, looking in the direction of The Hill of Tara.

I approached the site with a sense of elation, somewhat expecting the same positive energy as Tara, or other sites I’ve visited. As I said above, this was not the case. At a couple of points during my time there I felt a mildly nauseated, which was easy enough to ignore. By leaving, I felt unwell. I’m not at all sure how to account for this, although it’s by no means a unique experience. The Loughcrew site, along with Knocknarea(Queen Maeve’s grave), Carrowmore, Tara, and the Hill of Howth sits on a ley line across Ireland. This is a mystical energy line. Many cultures subscribe to their existence and uses although it comes under some criticism as being new age nonsense. I’ve felt it, but I don’t claim to know what it is or why only some people do. I don’t think it’s a possibility that should put anyone off visiting.

Sliabh na Caillighe’s name can be attributed to The Cailleach. This is a female figure from Celtic folklore, Irish and Scottish. As a people, both Irish and Scottish have a rich history of storytelling and is an art form in itself. Verbal as it is, there will always be inconsistencies in the folklore. The Cailleach is a witch, a wise woman, a great beauty, or a hag, depending on the story and the location. Very possibly there was many more than one who claimed or was cured with the title, and many locations named in The Cailleach’s honour. Sliabh na Caillighe, Ceann Caillí(The hag’s head) at the Cliffs of Moher, Glen Cailleach in Pertshire, Scotland, and Beinn na Caillich on the Isle of Skye are just some.

I said cursed because The Cailleach was said to be a destroyer figure. That’s not to say evil. She was said to have described herself as ancient, was responsible for storms and for winter weather and often cut a lonely, disgruntled figure who was either regenerated or reborn on a regular basis, so that she outlived her husband. Although honoured and revered, perhaps more so from fear of her power than love, she was depicted at a crone, a villain. This left her envious of other women. She cried stones and left mountains and lakes in her wake as she crossed the landscape on her pony(alternatively a large dog). She was also capable of bringing life and fertility to land usually as her younger count2014-07-15 13.56.16erpart.

One story says she set out to carry stones in her skirts across Ireland. If she succeeded, she was to be rewarded with a great power. When she reached Loughcrew she left cairns on two peaks where her stones fell and dropped one stone on another peak. Outside Cairn T is a 6 foot kerbstone called ‘The Hag’s Chair’ or sometimes ‘The Witch’s Chair’. This is where the Cailleach sat and watched the night sky.

From here she leapt to the hill at Patrickstown where she fell down dead, either by accident or having failed her task.

Jul 1, 2014

Unbreakable by Elisa Dane - Review

Summary

Perception is everything to sixteen-year-old Olivia Brown. With her freakishly hot boyfriend, volunteer work at the local animal shelter, successful beauty channel on YouTube, and well-earned spot on X Factor Cheer's elite level five Diamond Girl team, Livvie's the girl every other girl wants to be. At least, that's the illusion she's aiming for.
But Livvie's seemingly perfect life is anything but. Lying about the bruises her boyfriend gives her, and cowering beneath his raging temper becomes a regular way of life until she unwittingly witnesses her drunken neighbor beating his step-son, the town bad boy, Reid Tate.
For Reid, vulnerability is the enemy. Opening up, and letting people in gives them the power to disappoint. Growing up with a co-dependent mother and an abusive alcoholic father, Reid has endured all the disappointment he can stomach.
But when his pretty, do-good neighbor witnesses his step-dad beat him to within an inch of his life, and not only call the cops, but keeps quiet at school about what she saw, Reid wonders if maybe, just maybe, he's found someone he can finally trust.

Review

This is the second book in a series, but it could absolutely be read as a stand alone without losing anything.

I knew going in that I’d enjoy it. I loved the first book in the series so much and from the summary, I expected this one to be equally as good. To be honest, it might have been even better. That’s saying something since I rated Ex-Factor as a 5 star read. I started Unbreakable in the evening and literally could not put it out of my hand until I was finished.

Almost from the first pages Unbreakable jumps right into the hard stuff, when Livvie’s is faced with witnessing the violent domestic abuse in house next door. The opening was harrowing.

Sadly, even this doesn’t make Livvie see the simmering dysfunction in her own relationship. Like most victims of abuse, Livvie is being so slowly stripped of her identity and self-worth she doesn’t see it coming when things step up a notch, but Reid Tate, the bad boy next door, does. He’s spent his life up close with an abuser and when he and Livvie are throw together on a school assignment, he wastes no time in telling her so. But is he already too late to help her, and has she left it too late to become the friend to the little boy she saw through the fence on moving day years before?

The author knows her stuff when it comes to cheer and teen girls. It’s easy to see she has plenty of experience with both. She doesn’t shy away from the reality, temptations, and dangers of highschool. Livvie is a nice girl, maybe too nice, because she got in over her head. I was glad to see some of her spirit return, even if she still didn’t recognize how much danger she was in.

This isn’t necessarily a bad boy comes to the rescue story. Reid Tate has so much more to him. There are all sorts of heroes in this book, from the single mom doing her best, the best friend who tries to talk sense, to the girl who finally made the call for someone who couldn’t. I saw a different strength in all of them.

Seriously, you need this book. I can’t wait for more from the diamond girls.

Jun 28, 2014

Ex-Factor Blog Tour

Ex-Factor-Elisa-Dane

I finished the second in this series, UNBREAKABLE, a couple of days ago. Read it in one sitting and couldn’t put it out of my hands. I’ll be posting a full review in the near future. You can check out my review of Ex-Factor here. This book series is one you will not want to miss.

But for today I have an excerpt and a giveaway to present to you.

Summary  

Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.
So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it.
But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died.
Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

Excerpt

“Ahh... Mr. Scott!” My gaze automatically swept to the front of the classroom, Keltar’s loud, obnoxious voice almost impossible to ignore. “So good of you to grace us with your presence today. I trust you’ve learned something during your time away from school? Violence is never the answer, young man.” Frowning, the surly Santa wannabe begrudgingly swept a pink slip of paper from a tall, muscular boy dressed in dark clothing.

My heart jumped a little in my chest as I surveyed the colossal mass of male student at the front of the class. What the hell were the people of Indigo Falls feeding their sons? Some type of über growth hormone? Over half the guys in the school looked as though they belonged on the cover of a weightlifting magazine—chiseled, as if cut from granite. And what was that about violence, and time away from school? Had he gotten into a fight? From his size, he looked like someone who could deliver massive amounts of pain with ease.

The new guy stood in complete silence as Keltar continued on, delivering the same tired speech he’d given me upon entering the room. The same nervous feeling that had plagued me when I entered the school just a short time ago returned with a vengeance, and I caught myself struggling to breathe. What the hell? The new guy, whoever he was, had a bizarre effect on me, and to be honest, it was freaking me out a little. I mean, hell... I hadn’t even seen his face and I had butterflies whirling in my stomach. How was that possible? What kind of person had that type of effect on people?

He turned around then, and the answers to my unspoken questions all but slapped me upside the face.

Holy Mary, Mother of Pearl...

If boys were classified into two shades: light and dark, my Paper Thief, Eli would hover somewhere in the realm of ivory or beige. But this new guy was dark. We’re talking black down to the very pit of his soul type dark.

Ebony eyes void of emotion swept over the room before finally settling on his seat: the empty chair next to Erin. Short, dark hair hugged his skull, bringing attention to the chiseled line of his jaw. His features were strong, hard, and entirely masculine—beautiful. No joke, he looked like an avenging angel hell bent on mayhem and destruction. Bad. The boy was bad to the bone.

Heat scorched my neck and cheeks and my pulse ratcheted up another notch.

Electricity arced through the air as he neared the table, and the oxygen in the room seemed to thin even more. Incapable of speech or movement, I sat open-mouthed, gaping at him like an imbecilic fool. The black T-shirt he wore stretched across his broad chest like a second skin, and revealed a set of arms, one of which sported a wicked tribal tattoo. His gait was confident, yet lazy, and clearly shouted “I don’t give a fuck. I’m only here because I have to be, so stay the hell out of my way.”

Erin cleared her throat and cast me a knowing “Well, well, well. Look who thinks the bad boy is hot” smirk.

The boy’s most stand out feature was a jagged scar which ran from the center of his skull, down along the top of his left ear. It ended just below the left half of his jaw. The skin was thick, raised and silvery pink making it obvious that whatever trauma had placed it there hadn’t happened that long ago.

Heat scored the base of my skull, and I reached, as if on autopilot, for the fat, rigid bump that crawled across my hairline. How had he gotten his scar? A hundred different scenarios played out in my head, none of which included the circumstance that had earned me mine.

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About the author

I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!

I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

Links: 

Twitter: @elisadane

Instagram: authorelisadane

FB: https://www.facebook.com/ElisaDane

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LisaSanchez3

Website: http://www.elisadane.com

Jun 27, 2014

The Haunting of Highdown Hall - Review

 

Summary

"Good morning, Psychic Surveys. How can I help?"
The latest in a long line of psychically-gifted females, Ruby Davis can see through the veil that separates this world and the next, helping grounded souls to move towards the light - or 'home' as Ruby calls it. Not just a job for Ruby, it's a crusade and one she wants to bring to the High Street. Psychic Surveys is born.
Based in Lewes, East Sussex, Ruby and her team of freelance psychics have been kept busy of late. Specialising in domestic cases, their solid reputation is spreading - it's not just the dead that can rest in peace but the living too. All is threatened when Ruby receives a call from the irate new owner of Highdown Hall. Film star Cynthia Hart is still in residence, despite having died in 1958.
Winter deepens and so does the mystery surrounding Cynthia. She insists the devil is blocking her path to the light long after Psychic Surveys have 'disproved' it. Investigating her apparently unblemished background, Ruby is pulled further and further into Cynthia's world and the darkness that now inhabits it.
For the first time in her career, Ruby's deepest beliefs are challenged. Does evil truly exist? And if so, is it the most relentless force of all?

Review

I finished this a few weeks back and took a few days to think about my review. I was sick when reading so felt quite low and sorry for myself. I wanted to wait so I’d know that didn’t color my opinion. The first thing I want to say is don’t you love the cover? It immediately sets up the atmosphere going in. The next thing is that this is a very well written book. The prose, cast of characters, and plot line were all extremely well worked out, with just the right amount of description to sink into every location. This book would make a fabulous movie. I’m not at all surprised THoHH is grabbing rave reviews and climbing the charts.

It wasn’t a completely smooth ride for me. Like Ruby, I found my beliefs challenged on several occasions. If asked I would classify myself as an atheist, although it’s more complicated than that. I believe in a multi-verse and the idea of existence on several levels, that when a person dies, their energy is released. Essentially, I do believe in the spirit world, so much of the story spoke to me in a logical sense. I didn’t think it at all strange that these people ran a company that helped spirits move on, or that places absorbed and held onto residual energy.

I did struggle with the good verses evil part. I struggled with the idea presented in the book that there is no retribution for sins as such, even sins not atoned for in life, only love. I didn’t like it. It’s went against what I absolutely hope to be true and I found myself disliking Ruby’s grandmother, who I am sure was meant to be a sympatric character. Without spoiling, I was angry when another character’s sins were more of less swept under the carpet because he was old. His actions were heinous at best, in my opinion. The idea of his finding no judgement and the acts of small kindness shown to him was genuinely repugnant to me and I felt entirely undeserved.

On going through other reviews, this didn’t seem to be something that bothered other readers, so I’m well aware this was a personal view and reflective of me, not the book. On the contrary, the extreme emotion elicited showed exactly how well this book was written and how deeply involved I was with the storyline and characters. I was completely sucked in. 

I was talking to my kindle through most of it, either annoyed or so touched. Particularly, one young spirit caused me to shed a lot of tears.

This was a wild ride of twists and turns, all sailing toward a chilling climatic confrontation and revelations in the final chapters. I am looking forward to the next in the series and revisiting with the cast. I give this a solid 4 stars.

About Shani Struthers

An avid reader, I'll wade through pretty much anything but hot favourites right now are romance, horror (not gory though, more supernatural) and contemporary. Am discovering some wonderful books through Goodreads and writing circles on Facebook - haven't had to pop into Waterstones for ages! I'm also the author of The Runaway Year, published by Omnific Publishing - a contemporary Cornish romance with a healthy dash of sass. Later this year my second novel will be available - a paranormal mystery this time. Psychic Surveys Book 1: The Haunting of Highdown Hall will be published by Crooked Cat Publishing and is the first in a series which will only get darker.
Read all about it on my website or on my blog. I'm also on twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shani-S....