Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews, Teaser Excerpts

Interview of Kristie Booker, author of Blooming into Life w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @kristiebooker #womensfiction

Blooming into Life

by Kristie Booker

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GENRE: Women’s Fiction

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BLURB:

Growing up on a farm in Brockville, Illinois, did not prepare Colleen O’Brien Adler to be the wife of a wealthy entertainment lawyer living in Chicago. It certainly didn’t prepare her to be Dinah Adler’s daughter-in-law. The stay-at-home mother of two has more than she’s ever wanted—a personal stylist, a prestigious country club membership, a multimillion-dollar home—but she finds herself not only struggling with depression and body image but also failing as a parent and fearing for her marriage. Her life is about to change when an invitation to a wellness meeting arrives in her inbox. With some coaxing from personal coach Kory Stone, she commits to a new beginning. But will she be able to overcome the things that are holding her back?

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Excerpt Two:

“After several weeks on the medication, some weight loss is expected,” Dr. Bradley had assured her. She had weighed herself that morning. After she removed all of her clothing, emptied her bladder, removed her ponytail holder, blew her nose, emptied her bladder again, spit until she had nothing left to spit, she finally stepped on her brand-new Weight Gurus smart body fat scale. The digital number was as hateful as it had been a week earlier. Dr. Bradley told her to be patient. Colleen felt she was running out of time.

She unzipped the beige garment bag that held her social future. The hand-stitched embroidered silver stars exploded against the dark silk fabric. The two-toned navy silk gave the illusion of wide stripes draping down the skirt of the dress.

“The A-line cut and the tonal stripes create a wonderful slimming effect,” the sales associate had told her. If Colleen could jam herself into the reserve Raina Rose, she was going to stand out. For once, she would be better dressed than Ashley Barr and Victoria Heller. That night, Fourth of July would be the day of reckoning. She would let Jay and Dinah and the entire club see how beautiful she looked. She would finally be socially accepted within the country club circle, and then she would confront Jay about the woman in Los Angeles. Dinah would think twice about sending Colleen’s invitation late next year.

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Welcome, Kristie Booker! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.

 

I’m a wellness coach that also loves to write fun women’s fiction. I love coaching and inspiring women through my writing as well as through my coaching practice. I live in Chicago with my husband and two teenage sons. When I’m not writing or coaching, I spend a lot my time driving my boys to their various sporting activities. I enjoy quiet dinners at home or at one of our neighborhood restaurants. I begin every day with a great cup of coffee and let the day unfold the way it needs to. 

Is Blooming Into Life a single title, or part of a series?

 

Blooming Into Life is a single title. I have considered using the wellness coach in another story but haven’t made up my mind. 

What were your inspirations for the story?

 

My work as a wellness coach inspired my story. I began noticing how many women (myself included) measure their self-worth by the number on the scales, the price tag of their clothing, and the status of the social group they belong to. I realized this was all in the name of acceptance. So, I decided to write a story about a woman searching for acceptance.



Please share your setting for Blooming Into Life. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?

 

The two places that the story takes place are both places I have lived. I currently live in Chicago. Brockville is a fictional town that is similar to my hometown of Chrisman, IL. The thing I like most about Chicago is exploring the various neighborhoods. Each one has something different to offer. If Brockville was real, I would really enjoy sitting on front porch of Farm Five Thirty Five.

When did the writing bug first bite?

 

After I graduated college, I began reading a lot of women’s fiction and slowly developed an interest in writing. Once I quit working to be a stay-at-home mom, my interest in writing lead me to take a writing workshop. I loved it and was thrilled when my instructor liked my writing. 

Who are your favorite authors, book/series?

 

Some of my favorite authors include Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver, Elizabeth Berg, Elizabeth Gilbert, Barbara Delinsky, Judy Bloom, Jennifer Weiner, Liane Moriarty, Fannie Flagg, Kristin Hannah, John Grisham, John Irving, and Stephen King. I have so many favorite books. Most recent favorites are The Nest, Commonwealth, State of Wonder and Nightingale.

If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?

 

Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Sue Monk Kidd and Elizabeth Gilbert. I understand that Stephen and Barbara are friends and used to play in a band together. I would like to hear more about that and their friendship. Sue Monk Kidd would bring a lot of depth to the conversation and Liz Gilbert would keep things entertaining.

Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?

 

I love to be outdoors. I walk outside every day (as long as it is above 20 and not raining). I enjoy planting flowers and growing vegetables in containers on my patio. I also enjoy listening to music while cooking and sipping on a nice glass of wine. And, of course, reading. I love reading great stories.



What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?

Put money aside for good editors. Whether they decide to traditionally publish or self-publish, they will need to pay for their own editing before submitting. Writing a book isn’t cheap, but writing a book takes a while so put money away to prepare for when you’re finished.  


 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Kristie Booker is the author of Blooming Into Life, a blogger and a Wellness Coach. She enjoys coaching and inspiring women through her writing as well as in person. Kristie is a wife and mother of two sons. She grew up in rural Illinois, but now lives in Chicago.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079T5LMYV?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

https://www.instagram.com/kristiebooker/

https://www.pinterest.com/kristiebooker/

https://www.facebook.com/Kristie-Booker-151006384978340/

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Kristie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews

Author Interview of Samie Sands featuring Lottie Loves! w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @SammieSands

Lottie Loves

by Samie Sands

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GENRE:   Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

“Will you marry me?”

Four words I’ve waited my whole life to hear. Four words I was sure would change my life forever…and they did. Just not in the way I expected.

Finding out my extremely gorgeous rock star boyfriend was about to propose had the complete opposite effect I thought it would. Rather than catapult me into a future I’ve always wanted, it plunged me back to a past I tried to forget.

Now I can’t get him out of my head. I can’t help but wonder what could have been, how our lives would have ended up if he didn’t leave me behind, a shattered mess.

All these memories are dangerous. They’re bringing my past back to ruin my future. And worst of all, they’re taking me right back to him, my childhood sweetheart, my first love…my biggest regret.

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Excerpt One:

“Will you marry me?”

They were the words I’d wanted to hear my entire life. Didn’t every girl fantasize over the perfect man buying the perfect ring and getting down on one knee in the most romantic way possible, before telling them they loved them so much they wanted to spend the rest of their life with them? 

I knew I certainly had. 

Me and my best friend Cici used to talk about it all the time. We used to plan our dresses, the music, the flowers—every part of the ceremony down to the very last detail. Of course, the man didn’t really matter. We were young enough and naïve enough to believe we would magically meet the perfect man without even trying. 

And I really thought I had. I really, truly believed my dream had come true. 

Me and Danny had begun our love story in a very typical fashion—our eyes had met across a bar, where we’d had long, lingering eye contact, sparking all kinds of emotions within me. The only difference between my story, and that of every other rom-com ever, was that Danny was a genuine up-and-coming rock star, playing on a fairly big stage, and I was a fan who already felt a lot of love for this man. I’d been admiring him from afar ever since I first heard their album a year or so before. 

I certainly hadn’t expected it to ever go any further than that moment, so when he came and joined me at the bar later on for a drink, despite being mobbed by other members of the audience, I felt like my entire life had been leading me up to that moment. I felt like everything I’d experienced had drawn me closer to Danny, the love of my life. Here was a gorgeous man who was destined to be famous, and who could have any girl in the world hanging off of his arm, talking to me, asking me questions, and actually showing me interest. 

It seemed like a dream—one I was terrified to wake up from. 

As he flicked his wavy auburn hair from his warm, chocolaty eyes, and he gave me that smile that had already melted the hearts of the nation, I thought for a dreaded, wonderful second that he was going to kiss me in front of all of those people. But after a few beats of pure terror, he didn’t. Instead he handed me his phone number, and he asked if I would like to go on a date with him. 

Me—boring old Charlotte aka Lottie Jones—on a date with Danny Boreom, drummer of the now very famous band Jax. It didn’t seem real. 

Yet, it was real, and it did happen. 

It was the start of my real life. 

After a night out on the town where he well and truly wined and dined me, he walked me home to my tiny flat, which must have looked ridiculous compared to the mansion I now know he lived in with the rest of the band at the time, and he finally kissed me. As his lips met mine, I felt myself flying on top of the world—he was an amazing kisser, and there seemed to be an endless chemistry between us. One I never wanted to end. 

Breathless and turned on by the power of his mouth, I invited him inside. Although he coolly and calmly turned me down, it was still the best night of my entire life, made even better by a phone call the next day to say that he only didn’t come inside with me because he wanted to be something real. He didn’t want our love to end with a one-night stand, he actually wanted us to develop, and for him to become my boyfriend. 

Fast forward three and a half years and we were blissfully living together, grazing by every day happily and easily. Although he was away for a lot of the year touring, it didn’t seem to bother us. We were so strong and so solid with what we had, nothing would get in our way. 

It was perfect, still a dream come true, and that intense chemistry hadn’t burned down one bit. 

Which made it even weirder that my reaction to Cici telling me that Baz—another member of the band—had just told her that he’d been engagement ring shopping with Danny, wasn’t one of pure joy. 

“What…what do you mean?” I asked, my heart racing frantically in my chest. I could tell that my voice was breathless and kind of terrified, but my mind was spinning too fast for me to be able to do anything about it. 

“Aren’t you happy?” She giggled. “I thought you’d be over the moon to finally be Mrs. Boreom.” 

“No, no, I am,” I half lied. The idea had always been at the edge of my thoughts. I knew Danny was the one for me, and despite all the car crash relationships around us, we’d even managed to survive the fallout of him becoming mega famous. It helped that I had no interest in the spotlight and I did everything I could to avoid it, but even despite all of that, I felt like it proved we could go the distance, and be together forever. So why wasn’t I excited for us to take the next step? “It’s just a bit of a shock, that’s all.” 

But that was normal, right? Everyone freaked out at first when they learned they were going to become someone’s wife…didn’t they? 

Of course, I already knew that wasn’t true. I’d already been proposed to once in my life before, and that time, I didn’t hesitate one bit. Panic didn’t even come into the equation, I was happy, over the moon at the thought of becoming his wife. This was nothing like that had been. I felt completely different. 

For the first time in a very long time, I allowed myself to think about Joe again, and almost the second I allowed that vault to open in my mind, I felt myself fall into a tailspin. As his face filled my brain once more, it was almost as if the last five years hadn’t happened at all, and I was still his proud girlfriend, waiting to be his wife. 

As the wound reopened, I could barely hear what Cici was saying. I felt like I was gaping, exposed, and extremely vulnerable all over again, and I did what I’d always done when I was younger when things got too difficult for me. I started to talk to Joe in my mind. 

Where are you now? What became of you? What happened to your life? 

It was so strange to have gone from the closest people in the world, to absolutely nothing, and I struggled to imagine that he’d changed one bit. Of course I had, my life was completely different, but I couldn’t think of Joe without viewing him as the other half of me. The boy that I’d adored, and the one I never thought would leave my side. 

“I…I’ve got to go,” I finally announced to my friend. “I’ll speak to you later, okay?” And then I hung up the phone, without even waiting for her to answer. I knew I was being rude, acting more than a little strange, but I needed some time. I needed to be alone with my thoughts to try and process all of this. 

So how I found myself sitting at my computer with my fingers running along the keys, I wasn’t quite sure. 

Don’t press anything, I willed myself. As soon as you do, everything will change. 

Since we had gone our separate ways, I hadn’t contacted Joe once, and with the rising of social media, I hadn’t looked him up either. I just couldn’t face it. He was like an imaginary fantasy in my mind now, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to ruin that with reality. What if he was married now? Or into drugs or something? His life could have gone in any direction, and I wasn’t sure I really wanted to find out which one. 

Plus, my life really was amazing now. Why would I want to even consider risking that? I had a gorgeous, passionate man who actually wanted to be with me forever, even though he was about ten leagues above me. I had a teaching job I loved, and friends that would do anything for me. That was a hell of a lot more than most people had! 

In the end I forced myself to stand up and to move away from the computer screen before it lured me in. I couldn’t do it; I just wasn’t willing to take that step into the unknown. It terrified me far too much. But as I wandered aimlessly from room to room, I realised I couldn’t just do nothing, either. I needed to calm this beast within me, which meant delving into my past whether I liked it or not. 

I stood at the bottom of the attic ladder, wondering what awaited me up there. When me and Danny decided to buy a place together—well, he put the most money in, of course, but we still classed it as ‘ours’—I shoved everything related to my old life away, not wanting to even consider it. But it was always a comfort, knowing it was there, knowing I could access it at any moment if I really wanted to. 

And I could feel myself finally taking that step. 

I creaked up the ladder, feeling my heart thump and my palms sweat with nerves. This was a mistake, I knew it was, but at the same time I couldn’t stop. 

There would be no way for me to get married without taking this step anyway. Right now, things were comfortable, but if I was ever going to have a future with Danny, I needed to confront my past first. At least, that was my excuse and I was sticking to it. 

Danny knew about Joe anyway. Well, he’d been told some of it, the very basics, so I supposed I was probably going to have to confess all before we finally took the plunge. With that thought in mind, I tore open the first box I stumbled across, and I ended up looking at the few photographs I had of me and Joe when we were very young, when we first met… 

Welcome Samie, Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.

 

Thank you very much for having me! I love your blog. I’m a UK based author who is actually more known for writing horror books, so this is all very new to me. I have a zombie book series that’s been out for a while now, and short stories in the best-selling 13 series. This is my first published romance novel. Before Lottie Loves, I kept my romance books on Wattpad. I have some avid readers there who have loved my books, which gave me the confidence to get this one published.

Is Lottie Loves a single title, or part of a series?

 

Lottie Loves is a standalone novel, there isn’t a series around it, but there is a secret end chapter that you can access once you’ve read the book in eBook form which gives you a bit more insight into the main character’s life once the story has ended.

What were your inspirations for the story?

 

The story starts with Lottie finding out that her rockstar boyfriend, Danny, is about to propose to her. She know she should be happy about this amazing news, but instead it sets her thinking about Joe, her childhood sweetheart and the ‘one who got away’. Once you find out the reason that these two were torn apart it becomes obvious why Lottie can’t let go.

 

The inspiration for this came from the idea that we’ve all got things from our past that we wish we could change or do again, and the plot follows Lottie as she attempts to work out what would be different in her present if her past hadn’t got messed up in the way that it did.

When did the writing bug first bite?

 

My first book in my zombie book series, Lockdown, is the first thing I wrote ever, and to be honest I did it more for myself than with the idea of it getting published. I wanted to create a zombie novel with a bit of a difference, using a main character who definitely doesn’t have the skills needed to survive. I always feel like the weaker, average person gets forgotten about in the apocalypse, so I wanted to shine a light on that. I wrote the book I wanted to read.

Who are you favorite authors, book/series?

 

In the romance genre, I love Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella, and Giovanna Fletcher. I like the way that they write flawed, humorous characters, who don’t always act in the way that the reader thinks they should.

What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?

Just do it! You’ll never know if you don’t try. And also, don’t take everyone’s opinion to heart because you cannot write something that everyone will like, and that goes for publishing companies and readers alike. Just because one person doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same.

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Samie Sands is the author of the AM13 Outbreak series, published by Limitless Publishing. She’s also had short stories included inAmazon best selling anthologies and work featured on Wattpad. Lottie Loves is her first book in the contemporary romance genre.

To find out more, please check out samiesands.com.

Links:

Website – samiesands.com

Facebook – /SamieSandsLockdown

Twitter – @SamieSands

Blog – https://zombiesinside.wordpress.com/

Wattpad – http://wattpad.com/samiesands

Lottie Loves US – http://amzn.to/2ywXvw2

Lottie Loves UK – http://amzn.to/2yyUPzY

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lottie-Loves-Samie-Sands-ebook/dp/B076CRYS47

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

 

Samie Sands will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews

Author Interview featuring Christina Elliot’s In the Heat of the Tropics w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @ChristinaHoag #RomanticSupsense

In the Heat of the Tropics

by Christina Elliott

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GENRE: Romantic suspense

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BLURB:

Amid a sweltering Miami summer, a serial killer is haunting the city. Reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned the story and her primary source is brusque detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair clash, but sparks of passion ignite. They risk their jobs to give in to their desire, but mistrust of each other’s career motives wedges them apart. Then Ingrid gets a tip that leads her into the killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between saving themselves or rescuing their love.

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Excerpt Three:

She arrived before the police had erected a tent around the victim, and even standing at the mouth of the alley, she could see the silhouette of a man reclining at an odd angle in the driver’s seat of a minivan.

A man murdered in his car. Just like the John Killings. Could the John Killer have returned to mark the year anniversary of his last murder? She tried to control her excitement. If it was the serial killer, this would be a huge story. And she just happened to be working that night.

Then that detective had shown up, wrenching her incredibly good luck to incredibly bad inside two minutes. She still didn’t even know the guy’s name. But maybe he wouldn’t be working the case. Maybe he was just on duty and got the callout, and maybe it wouldn’t matter if he was on the case. Her primary contact at the P.D. was media relations. Still, it was a bad break. Developing a personal relationship with detectives was the way to scoops. She didn’t need him possibly poisoning other cops against her.  

The coroner’s tech was photographing the body and the car. Detective Asshole was standing with folded arms, watching. Every now and then, he turned in her direction—checking on her. With her initial excitement fading to disillusion, a wave of tiredness overcame her. She wiped her forehead with her forearm. The air had cooled at this time of night, but it was still muggy. She trudged back to her car, posted a two-sentence brief online about a suspicious death in an alley north of downtown from her phone and headed home.

As she raced down the normally traffic-choked U.S. 1, she recalled that whole embarrassing video incident.  As Mel had predicted, she’d been hauled into Marlena’s office the next day to give her side of the story. Thankfully, Marlena had concluded that it wasn’t Ingrid’s fault. Why would an undercover operative be so reckless as to show up at a media conference? Still, Ingrid had been nervous that it would be held against her when she applied for the police beat, but it hadn’t. Neither did it seem to matter to Major Montoya when Ingrid had gone to the station to introduce herself as the new Star reporter. The only person who held the grudge was the detective, although he seemed to have landed pretty well if he was investigating homicides.

Despite being an asshole, he was cute, hot actually. But being an arrogant jerk seemed to be the required personality trait of good-looking men, as if they knew handsome guys were in short supply and acted accordingly. Still, Ingrid wondered whether something could’ve developed between them if the video thing hadn’t happened.

She had felt a frisson of … what exactly, attraction? … in that look they’d shared, and he must’ve rushed to get to the door before she left the press conference for a reason. She stopped herself. What-ifs were nothing but a trap of despair.  They didn’t bear thinking about.

She pulled into the driveway, tires crunching over the carpet of red berries fallen from the palm trees in her front yard. She was due back at work in a few hours for her regular day shift. She’d get some sleep and head back to follow up the homicide. If she could break the story that the John Killer had returned, and stay ahead on the story after that, maybe she could nab a promotion to a coveted slot on the investigative team. Then she’d never have to worry about running into Detective Asshole again.

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Welcome, Christina Elliott! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.

I’m a former newspaper reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent. I live in Los Angeles, where I’ve lived the past ten years and I’ve been working on my fiction all that time. I’ve gotten used to walls shaking now and then with earthquakes. My laptop will be the first thing I save.


Is In the Heat of the Tropics a single title, or part of a series?

It’s a single title, but I’ve plenty more where that came from! I prefer reading standalones so that’s what I write.

What were your inspirations for the story?

I love both gritty crime fiction and romances so to me romantic suspense is a great genre that combines both elements. I was a newspaper reporter in Miami so that was my obvious lead character, Ingrid, and knowing that reporters often clash with cops over big stories, that formed the basis for the romantic and mystery plot. I also think cops make great alpha heroes. Who doesn’t like a man in uniform?

Please share your setting for In the Heat of the Tropics. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?

The book is set in Miami, which is a sexy city. I lived there for five years so I know it pretty well.   I also set it during the summer, which is a brutal season in Miami – six straight months of 95-degree heat with 80-85% humidity. Lots of bad hair days! The best thing about Miami is the winter when the weather is about the most perfect you’ll find. I also sorely miss the Cuban coffee and the bathtub-temperature of the sea. Sigh!

When did the writing bug first bite?

When I was about five, I won a prize for “writing interesting stories.” I have no idea what I wrote at that early age. They must have been very simple stories with one-syllable words but they obviously impressed the teacher! Where this gene came from, I have no idea since neither of my parents are writers although I have always been keen readers and the library was a constant in my childhood. I’ve always been a voracious reader and that made me want to write books since I was little. In high school, I wrote my first formal short story and that made it into the school literary magazine. I then became a journalist. So really I have been writing my whole life.


What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

I’d be a comedic actor. I took some acting classes and not only found them hugely therapeutic but also found I have a knack for comedy. I find being zany and way out a huge release. It’s weird because I love reading, writing and watching drama, but when I act, it’s comedy all the way!


Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?

My passion, other than books, is traveling. I’ve traveled to about sixty-five countries, the more remote and exotic the better. I love other experiencing other cultures and languages, delving into the unknown of a foreign place.  I think travel is a great experience for a novelist. You pick up so many bits and pieces that you can incorporate into plot, setting or character to make your book unique.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve had happen with this book?

Here’s kind of a weird moment. I was working as a reporter in Los Angeles, and I got to do a tour one day with a police sergeant named Rick of his particular area of the city. As we’re driving around, I suddenly realized I was actually living a scene from my book, when my detective character Rick takes Ingrid out on a tour of the serial killer sites! I excitedly told the sergeant, but he didn’t fully appreciate the meaning of it. I think he thought I was hitting on him!


What is the one thing that you would tell an aspiring writer to do?

Persevere. Don’t give up in the face of rejection. Dig deep within yourself to find the wherewithal to keep going, and don’t listen to naysayers! Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Writing is a hard and largely solo journey so get rid of any baggage that is weighing you down! Believe me, you don’t need it!


What would you want to be engraved on your headstone?

Something simple: “An observer and chronicler of life,” that would do nicely.

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

 

http://www.christinaelliottauthor.com/

http://www.twitter.com/ChristinaHoag

https://facebook.com/ChristinaHoagAuthor

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/759330

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/in-the-heat-of-the-tropics

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-heat-of-the-tropics-christina-elliott/1127471542

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077GZPBQW/

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Christina Elliott will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway