Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews

Author Interview featuring Annette Oppenlander’s Escape from the Past: The Kid, book 2 w/a rafflecopter giveaway!



Escape from the Past: The Kid

by Annette Oppenlander




GENRE:   YA historical/sci-fi






Time-traveling gamer, Max, embarks on a harrowing journey through the Wild West of 1881! After a huge fight with his parents, Max tries to return to his love and his best friend, Bero, in medieval Germany. Instead he lands in 1881 New Mexico. Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game misleading him, he runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn’t at all the ruthless killer history made him out to be. Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister, Ela, escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid’s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine. This is book 2 in the Escape from the Past trilogy.





Excerpt One:


My chest began to throb without warning, then tighten. Had it been this painful last time? Ten months had passed since I’d last played. I smiled despite the pain. I couldn’t wait to sneak up on Bero. Hug Juliana. The pressure on my body increased. She’d be mad, of course, but then she’d kiss me. Maybe we could sneak into the barn tonight.


The weight on my lungs grew. Breathing stopped. My vision filled with the red haze of oxygen deprivation. I tried to gulp, but my ribs were glued to my sides. I was stuck…and terrified. The fog turned gray…then black. Like last time, I managed to stand, but my legs and feet stood rooted like the giant oaks in Hanstein’s forest.


My heart pounded in my neck, the only sign I was still alive. The fog deepened. Why was this taking so long? Still the pressure held as if I’d been thrown under a boulder. I was dying.


I’d made a huge mistake.


It’s easy to forget fear. Stuff happens and you get distracted. After a while all you remember are the good things. Now that I was unable to move, unable to do anything, I remembered the way I’d felt the first time I landed in the game. I’d felt terror.


And terror was back now in full force, squeezing my middle and poking at my heart. As the pressure lifted and the fog cleared, the sense of impending doom gripped me with such force that I fell forward. I’d made a horrible mistake.


Stumbling, I stubbed my toes and suppressing a shout. In the near darkness, a rock or cliff rose wide as a house and three stories high. I only saw its outline, a black edge against the starry sky above.


The whistling I’d heard earlier definitely came from between the giant rocks. The air was filled with the scent of grasses, grit and something like sage. Had I returned in the summer?


Behind me the area appeared more open. Maybe I was down near the river and Luanda’s house. Should I move in the dark or wait? I’d get lost, wandering off in the wrong direction.
A cold wind dug under my shirt and nipped at my skin. I tugged my sweater closer around me when I saw something glowing on the ground like a huge red eye.


“Not a move, Boy,” the voice hissed. “Or I’ll blow a hole through your gut.”



Welcome Annette Oppenlander! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Solingen, Germany, a city known for its cutlery and sharp kitchen knives. After completing a business degree at the University of Cologne, I moved to the U.S. for a one-year work assignment. Instead, I met my future husband at a super bowl party and got married a year later. That was in 1987. I’ve been living in different parts of the U.S. ever since.
I’ve been married for 28 years and have fraternal twins (24) and a son (27). My roommate is an old mutt, Mocha, a pooch we adopted from the Humane Society 11 years ago.

Is “Escape from the Past: The Kid” a single title, or part of a series?

“The Kid” is book two in the “Escape from the Past” trilogy about a nerdy gamer who mistakenly time-travels through an experimental computer game and lands in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico.

What were your inspirations for the story?
In “The Kid,” book two in the “Escape from the Past” trilogy, time-traveling gamer, Max, intends to return to his friends in medieval Germany, but mistakenly lands in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico where he must overcome many horrific challenges.


Growing up in Germany, I’ve always been fascinated with the Wild West. I remember watching westerns with my father and reading books about pioneers, Native Americans and the gold rush. After I moved to the U.S. I continued reading historical fiction set in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds.


I chose Billy the Kid because I see him as a tragic character who encountered a string of bad luck and was basically set up to fail. He isn’t much older than Max and you can easily see how any young man could’ve had Billy’s fate. The second important character is Chief Nana, A Warm Springs Apache warrior, who in the summer of 1881 rode a 3,000 mile vengeance war against the U.S. Army. He was never caught nor were his fifteen or so warriors. The amazing thing about him was his age. He was around eighty years old then and had a bad leg.

Please share your setting for “Escape from the Past: The Kid.” Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?

“The Kid” is set in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico. It starts somewhere east of Fort Sumner where Billy the Kid was hiding during that summer and continues west and southwest to the Black Range in the Gila Wilderness.


In April 2015 I went on two-week research trip to follow in the footsteps of Max, my protagonist. Modern Fort Sumner is in a different spot from the original fort, but I was able to walk the land, visit Billy’s grave, see the Pecos River and study a lot of artifacts in the museums, including Billy’s letters to Governor Wallace. I then drove west across the Rio Grande into the mountains, off-roaded through some pretty rough terrain to get a feel for the land in the Black Mountains. I also visited the old mining town, Chloride, Silver City and Lincoln where Billy used to hang out.


To me the wide-open land is the most amazing. The sky seems to go on forever and the landscape is so wild and massive even today.

When did the writing bug first bite?

Becoming a writer/author was a process that took several years. In the beginning–the late 90s–I wrote children’s stories for early readers. I didn’t know anything about writing for children, the market nor the submission process, so this went nowhere. In 2002 I interviewed my parents about their lives during WW2 in Germany which led to a number of short stories. I didn’t really imagine writing a novel, let alone several, I merely wanted to preserve the memories for my family.


But I grew aware how much I enjoy the writing process. How I felt while I did it. I worked for a PR agency and did lots of business-related writing. I’d go home at night and write some more, spent my weekends writing fiction. I grew more and more invested, took classes, read books on craft, attended conferences and joined a critique group. In 2009 I attended a short story class at Indiana University and that’s when the light bulb turned on fully. I’ve known ever since that writing is my passion and I must do it even if publication is light years away. I finished the first manuscript in 2010. The first two books were published in 2015.

Who are your favorite authors, book/series?

Some of my favorites are J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, of course, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, James Alexander Thom’s historical books often set in the Wild West and among Native Americans. I also like Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games and a whole slew of lesser known authors, mostly writing historical fiction.

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

The people I just mentioned would make a nice group. Plus I’d invite Stephen King and Donald Maass to talk about writing craft.

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

I’m truly bilingual, speaking/writing English and German and having lived in both countries for twenty plus years. I’m a decent fly-fisher woman and on occasion out-fish men. I’m a chocoholic and can sniff out chocolate wherever I go. Just kidding on the last part.
What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?
I’d tell an aspiring author to be patient and set aside doubt. I think all writers, even the most gifted ones, have doubts whether their stories are any good. But while we may struggle with doubt about our ability to craft a compelling tale, in the end, we must continue writing. Many people give up too early because doubt overtakes them. Believe in your work and put in the time and energy, read, go to conferences, participate in critique groups, confident you’ll succeed in the end. Follow your passion.

Thank you very much for having me!


AUTHOR Bio and Links:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_EscapeFromThePastTheKid


Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”


Social Media Links

Website: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27180530-escape-from-the-past

Twitter: @aoppenlander


Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Past-Kid-book-2/dp/178535213X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1447856090&sr=8-2&keywords=escape+from+the+past+the+kid


Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/escape-from-the-past-annette-oppenlander/1122768791?ean=9781785352133


IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781785352133






Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


 Rafflecopter Link


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Excerpt, Giveaways, Spotlight

Book Blitz featuring Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion #1) by Martine Carlsson w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

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Rising From Dust
by Martine Carlsson
Light from Aphelion #1
Publication Date: January 8, 2016
Genres: Historical, Fantasy

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PURCHASE: Amazon (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited)


War is raging in the kingdom of Trevalden. Up north in the Frozen Mountains, the amnesic hermit Selen survives as the pariah in his community. Drawn by a mysterious call, he travels to Trevalden and meets Louis, an enigmatic archivist. Together, as Selen remembers his past, they face the desolation of war with a group of misfits. For the sake of the people, they fight back the king’s armies, prepared to meet death…or a new dawn. As Selen and Louis understand that their feelings for each other may be their undoing, they are torn between their emotions and the greater good. But in the end, what is the greater good?

While they try to find their place in an unknown world, they carry a secret that will shatter the society and make them realize that the hardest fights are not against dragons but within oneself.

Rising from Dust is an epic journey where gritty fantasy and history cross paths. A graphic story of loyalty, violence, magic, court plots, and unwavering love where no one is what they seem.

Please note: This book contains graphic scenes and is an M/M story intended for adult readers.


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“Whatever I am looking for, it’s hidden here,” Louis said and looked at the sign of the Wounded Owl Inn. It was time he arrived. His heart inflamed his lungs. His hands in his gloves were moist, and his vision had blurred a few times.

The place was built with white stone, and judging by the thickness of the ivy that grew on the north wall, it had probably stood there for a hundred years. The inn was big, with a long red tile roof and half-timbered walls. Louis looked at the stained-glass windows of different colors. Only rich taverns in cities could afford such luxury. To be so impressive, this place was probably the only resting spot on the main road for miles. He walked towards the porch. Like a moat around a castle, the inn was circled by a stream, which also could have been waste waters. A stone bridge connected the alley to the entrance gate.

A young lad in dusty outfits approached him. “Should I take care of your horse, my lord?”

“I’m no lord, but yes, you can,” Louis answered. As he dismounted, his head spun. He closed his eyes a few seconds. “How big is this place?”

“You have the stables at your right, over there. On the left is the inn. Though, I think the inn is full for the night. There is an inner garden that you can reach from the west side of the main room. This gate is the only entrance,” the lad explained.

So, that door would be the only exit should he meet someone nasty inside the inn. Louis was not reassured at all. “Thank you. That will be all.” Louis gave the lad a coin, handed him his horse’s bridle, and headed to the inn’s main door across the inner yard.

As Louis pushed the door, the smell of tobacco and cabbage fried in grease with onions welcomed him. He put a hand on his mouth. The tavern was crowded with all kinds of folk, each more suspicious and shabby looking than the other. The customers’ loud chatting covered the distant sound of a bard’s lute. His eyes narrowed when he stared at the faces. Under his cloak, Louis reached for the pommel of his sword. No eyes crossed his. No one reacted to his presence. Still, it was here, somewhere.

The heat in his chest was suffocating. He pushed his hood back. The terrible smell made his stomach contract again. In search for some fresh air, he noticed the open door on the other side, the one that led to the inner garden. He took a few unsteady steps towards the doorframe and leaned against it. The cold air of the evening felt wonderful on his face. The garden was full of colorful flowers. This enchanting place was a stark contrast to the main room of the tavern. Someone sat in the alley.

The pain in his heart stopped. The nausea left him. Could the something he was after be a someone? Louis approached with his hand on his sword. “Whoever you are, turn around and show yourself,” Louis commanded.

The person in front of him rose slowly and turned, pushing his hood back. The pain Louis had felt in his heart came back stronger than ever, but it was another kind of pain this time. The man had long hair the color of lilacs cascading down his back to his thighs. His face had the most delicate features Louis had ever seen. But above all, it was the man’s eyes that caught his attention. He had eyes of the purest green, expressing the most infinite kindness. Louis was drawn out of his amazement when the man opened his plump, curved mouth.

“My name is Selen. I’ve been waiting for you,” the man said with a smile and a hint of a blush.


Martine Carlsson

Martine Carlsson lives in the middle of the Swedish forest. She is French, educated librarian, and studied history at the University of Liege. She takes her inspiration from the nature around her, from her roots in Brittany, and from fascinating parts from the European history. Therefore, it is not uncommon to read in her stories about forest creatures meeting peculiar characters in a detailed, historical-based background. She enjoys writing fantasy, especially a mix between harsh realism and magical wonders. Rising from Dust is her first novel and the first volume of the series Light from Aphelion.

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Excerpt, Reviews, Uncategorized

Review of Entranced (The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice #1) by Maddie James


Entranced by Maddie James

The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice, Book One

Time Travel | Paranormal | Romance | Suspense


Can souls touch through time and hold on when all odds are against them?


Claire Winslow vacations on an East Coast barrier island, content with her life and her potential future—until the illusion of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then one kiss—a beautiful, soulful, stolen kiss in the night—and her life changes forever.


Nearly 300 years past, Jack Porter is in hot pursuit of his kidnapped wife. Not an easy feat considering the year is 1718 and the kidnapper is the notorious pirate Blackbeard aka Edward Teach. Determined to rescue his wife and take the pirate’s head in the process, Jack steals aboard the pirate’s ship to save her.


Entranced sends Jack and Claire on a wild search through time, not only for the resolution to a powerful attraction between them, but also for a historical artifact that holds the key to their future happiness—the coveted silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard’s skull.



Release Date: March 20, 2014

Category: Fiction > Romance > Paranormal > Time Travel

Heat Level: Sizzle

Length: Novel, @88,800 words

Series: The Legend of Blackbeards Chalice, Book One

Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press

ISBN: 978-1-62237-283-6


An Excerpt…

Claire stared at the man staring back at her through the night mist. She blinked and then focused her gaze once more.

He was still there.

Her pulse quickened. Her heart hammered in her chest. Slowly, she stepped around the wooden rocker and silently crossed the porch to the entrance. Just to the right of the steps she stopped, placed her hand around the carved porch post and leaned into it, her cheek resting against its smooth and cool painted exterior. Her gaze never left his, and his followed hers as she moved. Inhaling deeply, the misty air hung heavy in her throat. Claire held her breath for a moment and then slowly and silently let it out, trying to clear her mind of the haze.

The nearly full moon provided a shaft of light, perfectly illuminating the man. Waves beat steadily against the shore behind him, an ever-present drone in her ears.

Funny, she thought. The sound used to drive her crazy, now it was barely noticeable. The wind pushed cloud cover in front of the moon’s beam and again she searched the night for a glimpse of him.

There! He’s closer. Definitely closer.

She jumped and fought panic. Her heart skipped a beat. The first night he had stood at the foot of the lighthouse, barely a specter against the illuminated white. The next night he’d ventured nearer, away from the lighthouse.

Now he stood barely twenty yards away, slowly walking toward her on the boarded walkway leading to the steps of her porch. An image of a man. A hologram of sorts.

A ghost? Her imagination run amok?

He fascinated her. Too far away—always too far away to see his eyes—but she knew they were black as pitch, rimmed with clear bright whites.

He stood tall, with his fists placed on either hip. His broad stance was solid, roped with muscle. His hair was long, silky, and as black as his eyes.

She could feel the texture on her fingertips.

How? She didn’t even know what, or who, this man was. But she knew these things about him. Somehow.

He stepped forward. The night breeze ruffled his loose, white shirt, opened halfway down his chest. The wind lifted and swirled her silk nightgown around her legs, and she wondered if the sight of it aroused him, as the glimpse of his bare chest aroused her. She hugged the porch post as he took a step closer.

And then another.

Her spine prickled with fear as well as curiosity and anticipation.

Oh, God. He’s coming closer.

Claire locked her gaze with his, stepping away from the post and backing across the porch until her rear bumped into the screen door. He stopped and stared. Mesmerized by his gaze, she felt a mystical pull, some sort of power emanating from him, propelling her closer. That push-pull rivaled the fear she felt in her heart.

He took another step forward. With each step his body became more solid. More real.

Claire shifted sideways and grasped the cold doorknob behind her.

Too close.

A soft ocean breeze blew a dark strand of hair across the man’s face, and suddenly she felt compelled to stroke it from his eyes. She wanted to reach forward, caress his temple, peer into those dark eyes…. She released the doorknob and took a half step forward.

He stood still.

She stepped forward once more— But before she could continue, clouds passed in front of the moon, leaving her in total darkness.

She stood, waiting, the connection broken. Her chest heaved in anticipation. Her pulse raced. Her breathing came in short, shallow gulps. She waited, but when the wind-whipped clouds passed out of the moon-glow’s path, she saw that he had vanished. Nothing but empty black night filled the open space between her cottage and the lighthouse.

Had he ever really been there?

Claire shook her head and blinked. Without fear, and with her heart beating a rapid tattoo, she rushed off the porch steps, turning in circles, her eyes straining through the night, searching.

“Come back here!” she yelled. “Who are you?”

But the night swallowed her plea. Only the ocean winds heard her call.



Surprised that I read a Historical/Contemporary/Time Travel/Suspense book that has 5 books to it?  You shouldn’t be.  I love Time Travel books.  Love.them.  Especially when they are as well written as this one.  Trust me, you don’t stay in the same time period for too long in the book.  There is so much going on that you must pay attention.

Ms. James has written a gritty, sexy, terrifying at times, historical rich story about destiny, soul mates and true love.  I adored Claire.  OMG, when she went back in time with Jack, I was laughing out loud.  She had so much to teach Jack about the “modern” woman and their dialogue reflected that and more.  Of course, when he went to the future, again I was rolling.  Jack and underwear.  Yes, its pretty funny.  He did take it all in stride though, for Claire’s sake.

I won’t go much into the details of the book because there are so many but I will break it down like this:

1.  Secondary characters:  Vicki, Jeremiah, Claire’s mom and even Rick (villain) are richly drawn out.  Rick is one sick person.  I can see why Claire had major second doubts about him.  My heart ached for the friendship between Vicki and Claire.  Talk about a true friend.  The scenes at the farm with Claire and her mom were awesome.  DO.NOT.SKIP.THEM.  It explains so much that I actually gasped.

2.  Redbeard himself:  Truly vile and evil.  The things that were done on the ship with both Hannah and Claire are not for the faint of heart.  Unfortunately, that’s what pirates did to women when they were kidnapped.  Of course, this is a fiction novel but you can tell that Ms. James did her homework when it came to the historical details, settings and dialogue of the 18th century with pirates.  And yes, for some reason in my mind I was picturing Geoffrey Rush.  I know, I know.  Too much Pirates of the Caribean.  But in this book, he is truly disgusting and vile.

3.  Smexy times:  There are a lot in the beginning.  Nothing that your mom/grandmother/aunt couldn’t handle.  It made sense because Jack and Claire (Hannah) had found each other again.  Oh and Hannah was NEVER has uninhibited at Claire.  *giggles*

4. The mystery/action/adventure in the book are top notch.  Ms. James does a great job of making me hold my breath throughout the book.  😉  Also, the paranormal elements in the book are subtle so pay attention.

Overall, I loved the book and there are threads that are left wide open for the other books to explore.  Is there a HEA?  Read it and find out.  You won’t be disappointed at all.

5harliesrecommend-harlies- new


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Whether writing traditional contemporary romance or building paranormal worlds, bestselling romance author, Maddie James, pens stories that frequently cross a variety of romantic sub-genres. Sweet or spicy, suspense or comedy, western or time-travel, her heroes and heroines always chase one thing—the happily-ever-after—whether they realize it or not!

A Food Network junkie who plots the way she cooks—by the seat of her pants—Maddie always has a delicious end product in mind (and she always follows a secret recipe!).

Her first book, THE WILD WEST, a Kensington Precious Gems romance, received a Calico Trails Cameo Award. RED: A SEDUCTION TALE, claimed first place as the Romance Book Scene’s favorite novella of the year. A four time nominee for a CAPA/Psyche Award from The Romance Studio, Maddie’s books have received numerous 5 Star and Top Pick reviews. Her books have landed on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo top-selling lists, and she is frequently listed as a Top 100 Most Popular Contemporary Romance Author at Amazon.

Maddie is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and its Published Author Network (PAN), Louisville Romance Writers (LRWA), Novelists Inc. (NINC), Kentuckiana Authors, and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).

Visit Maddie’s website: www.maddiejames.com

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