Excerpt, Giveaways, Guest Blog

Guest Blog featuring Lisa Zajkowski’s Soul Reader w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #paranormalromance #guestblog #debutauthor

Soul Reader

by Lisa Zajkowski 

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GENRE: Paranormal Romance

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BLURB:

When skeptic Marvin meets artistic Natalie in a coffee shop on a cold October morning, the two fall fast in love, but nothing is ever as easy as it feels.

Natalie believes that a divine something is guiding her life for her greater good, and it seems to be true. She lands her dream job and she and Marvin marry at a beachside castle. However, the ease and flow of their lives start to change. At the same time that Natalie becomes pregnant, Marvin experiences strange symptoms and visits his doctor.

When faced with a diagnosis that changes everything and odd dreams of the child that hasn’t yet been born, will Marvin let go of his skepticism or will he miss out on a lifetime with his loving family?

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Excerpt Two:

Marvin heads into his oversized master bath to start the shower. He is sensitive when it comes to nature, so he has a top of the line water purification system that allows him to use the ocean water in his home. It siphons water from the ocean, removes the salt and impurities, and leaves him with the smoothest, cleanest water in town. He is hopeful that the city will one day take advantage of such a resourceful product, but he isn’t surprised that they haven’t. The water is silky and hot as it rains down on his body. His showerhead is automated with voice command, so he can tell it if he wants jet stream, raindrops, massage or pulsating. Marvin’s home may be more modest than most in the area, but he never held back on the luxuries of things he liked. He turns the steam feature on as he shuts the water off and grabs his towel. He loves standing in the steam, with it smelling the way only steam in a clean shower can smell. He has always been very in touch with his senses and felt them all deeply: touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision, and the unspoken sixth sense. He is unconsciously aware of his intuition because his analytical mind has yet to bring it forth; however, it will happen when the timing is right. He steps out of his steamy fortress, his hair awry, and drapes his towel over the shower door. As he steps in front of the mirror, admiring his sculpted body, he wonders if Talie might be up, if she was even awake.

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Figuring out What to Eat

Why is it so hard to figure out what to eat?  I know that I’m not the only person who has a problem with this.  It’s so hard for me to decide what I want to eat for lunch or dinner.  Breakfast is pretty easy because it’s been frozen waffles or those frozen croissant sandwiches with my protein shake.  Sometimes toast is a nice alternative, but to be honest, I’m getting burnt-out on all the above. Also, taking something for lunch when I work in a fast-paced seems to be a challenge.  I used to meal prep and that worked great because I ate the same thing for about nine months. Now I can’t stand what I used to eat, which was chicken that I slow-cooked in Worcestershire sauce with other seasonings (I would stir in mayonnaise on the day of my meal) with red potatoes as a side dish.  Before that nine month stint it was something else and so on. Now I’m lucky if I can get down a peanut butter sandwich which I switched to a Fluffer-nutter because the peanut butter got old very quickly. I would still meal prep, but I’ve hit a wall and have no idea what to even prep. And dinner, omg, it goes along like this… Me: “What do you want?”  Spouse: “I don’t know, what do you want?” Me: “I don’t know because I’m not really craving anything?”….. and so it goes. I know my meal is not reliant on anyone else, but it does help if my spouse has a craving because that way I’ll just eat that. I feel like the foods I used to eat really don’t fulfill me in the capacity in which they used to. My go to cook up a box of pasta (I keep it fresh by alternating the pasta shape) and keep that in the fridge for the week.  It’s quick and easy because I just heat up my portion of pasta in the microwave and dump cold sauce onto it and bang, my meal is served. Even the take-out restaurants don’t have the same oomf that they used to. I think the answer must be to get a private chef and have meals prepared for me daily. However, that is not going to happen until I sell many more books or until I get a movie deal. So, in the interim, I am struggling with this. Perhaps I’ll just go back to the frozen food meals that I would pop in the microwave, but I have a feeling that their pizazz has been lost as well.  My best friend recently gave me a cookbook for runners and I did make a meal from it. The pulled pork was pretty delicious, but it’s crazy how much it costs to make just one dish. Then there’s a recipe for these awesome muffins that she says is a must, yet again the ingredients list and cost seem to outweigh my desire to make them when I can just by them from my grocery store. I think my answer to my struggle lies within this paragraph and it is, to meal prep because that is where I had the most success and consistency with food. I am hopeful to add variety so I get different nutrients and don’t get burnt out within the next nine months.  If burnout happens, I’m afraid that eventually I won’t want to eat anything but bread. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lisa M. Zajkowski has an exhilaration for life while exploring all areas from the ethereal to the ordinary, and she appreciates learning something from every aspect. Her main theme in life is fun, as she indulges in laughter and looks for the positive in every situation. She also thrives on pushing the boundaries of the body while enduring in the sport of Triathlon, having completed a Half Ironman. However, it’s her first love of running that brings her an immense sense of liberation and connectedness with the beauty of the world. Lisa loves connecting with people, and being a massage therapist allows her to do this as she enjoys helping people facilitate healing within their innate body systems. She is comforted in the softer side of life while cuddling with her dogs and cat, and desires to own a horse ranch. Lisa revels in the freedom of being fluid in her writing, taking pleasure in all genres of authoring. She is currently working on Drama, Sci-Fi, and Horror novels. 

http://lisazajkowski.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Reader-Lisa-Zajkowski/dp/1733593934/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1556567737&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt, Giveaways, Guest Blog, Reviews

Guest Post and #Review of Keeping a Warrior (Loving a Warrior #2) by Melanie Hansen w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #contemporaryromance @MelJoyAZ @carinapress

Keeping a Warrior

by Melanie Hansen

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

Devon Lowe is a survivor.

A survivor of war. Of combat. And of a betrayal by men she considered her brothers-in-arms. But her trailblazing work as a Cultural Support Team member working alongside the Navy SEALs is too important for her to back down now.

Fresh off a painful break-up, Air Force pararescueman Rhys Halloran recognizes Devon’s trauma for what it is—something that’s left her isolated, but far from irreparably damaged.

With Devon’s trust still lying shattered back in Afghanistan, putting her faith in a man who’s nursing a broken heart isn’t easy. But she’s tired of people making her feel weak, and Rhys makes her feel anything but, sparking a heated attraction that was never part of the plan.

With all eyes on Devon to prove herself in a brutal man’s world, having it all will mean putting her heart on the line like never before. But when it comes to Rhys, it’s an uphill battle she’s ready to fight.

Publisher’s Note: Keeping a Warrior deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including past sexual assault.

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Excerpt One:

The night before, for the first time since he could remember, Rhys had fallen asleep with another woman on his mind.

The same woman now sitting and staring pensively at the plane. After a moment’s hesitation, Rhys gathered his courage and approached her, not sure of his welcome.

“Mind some company?”

Devon glanced up with what looked like a genuine smile. “Not at all.”

Rhys lowered himself to sitting and drew his knees up, ankles crossed, loosely draping his arms around them. “You okay?”

With a shrug, Devon mirrored his pose and nodded at the plane. “Just sitting here trying to analyze my feelings.”

“About going back?”

“Mmm.”

“I can imagine those are some pretty complicated feelings,” Rhys said gently.

“Yeah, well, I’m in a totally different place now, at least. Back then I was so idealistic, so trusting, so goddamn stupid.”

Rhys didn’t say anything, just let her talk.

“I thought that bad things couldn’t happen to me, or if they did, it’d be something heroic, you know? Not—” She shook her head. “And now all I want to do is reclaim that part of myself that someone else took from me.”

A lump rose into Rhys’s throat at the slight quaver in her voice.

“Well, this time around you have me,” he said fiercely. “You have the guys.” He nodded his head toward Matt and Shane, who were leaning against a nearby wall, arms crossed, each with one booted foot propped against it, heads close together.

Devon smiled when she saw them. “Think they worked everything out?”

Rhys was about to say he hoped so when Matt pushed off the wall. As he did, Shane snaked his hand behind him and gave his ass a firm pinch, followed by a discreet pat. Matt elbowed him, hard, but he was smiling while he sauntered away.

“Um, I think that’s a pretty safe bet.”

He and Devon snickered together, and she bumped him with her shoulder. “You’re right. It’s gonna be different this time, for lots of different reasons.”

I love talking about my research because I love to do it! Researching a topic is my favorite part of writing a book. The first thing I do when I decide on a subject to write about is open a draft email. That’s where I keep links to articles that I find, or ideas that pop into my head, or even snippets of dialogue. I like draft emails because then it’s available to me across all my devices—from my work computer to my phone to my iPad. It’s always at my fingertips to add to because I never know when inspiration will strike. A lot of times the best dialogue comes to me when I’m driving and listening to music. The minute I stop at a light, I can whip my phone out and jot it down in my draft email in a few seconds.

Another thing I love to do is read non-fiction books or blogs authored by people in the profession I’m writing about, or who have directly experienced the topic of my story. That way I can get a feel for the vocabulary used in the job, the culture around it, and some of the things they experience or feel while performing it. An example of this is the military. I read military non-fiction voraciously, especially since I’ve never served and never will. Because of my reading, I have a good feel for that way of life. I do try to stay away from military fiction, especially romance, because I don’t want another author’s writing to influence mine.

The last—and best!—thing I do for research is listen to podcasts hosted by people in my characters’ professions. There’s nothing like hearing about it in someone’s own words, from their own mouths and in their own voice. The perfect example of this is with Navy SEALs. There are some excellent podcasts hosted by ex-SEALs, and I learn so much about the culture from them. They share anecdotes, and use their internal terminology, and all of that really helps me add authenticity to my stories. Not to mention, they’re just fun to listen to!

So that’s a little bit about my research! Thanks so much for hosting me today!

This is my first book by Ms. Hansen and I was very impressed.  I will admit that went to Amazon and read some of the reviews on her other books.  And no, I didn’t cheat and read the reviews for this book.  I wanted to be surprised and Ms. Hansen did surprise me.  First with her writing.  It is smooth, she has certainly done her research and she takes her time with her characters and their development.  Her characters are some of the more fleshed out that I’ve read in a long time.  Devon and Rhys could be your next-door neighbors.  I love how Ms. Hansen let them get to know each other first, become friends and then lovers.  She took her time with them and let me tell their story.  Even Shane and Matt were well-drawn secondary characters.  And yes, their story is the first book in the series.

I will have to say that what Devon went through, off the page, is something that needs to be talked about and sadly it’s not.  The military is still a boys club and women shouldn’t have to put up with that at all.  How Devon coped with it and ultimately dealt with it was great.  It didn’t define her and when she realized that not military men are pigs, she developed real relationships with them.  Also, Rhys was there for her as a friend and comrade to help her through her self doubt at times.  Oh, she can totally take care of herself.  Just wait and read.  That’s what makes the romance work in the book.  Rhys had enough to deal with concerning his ex and didn’t know what to think of the feelings that he was developing for Devon.  Devon was very upfront with him from the beginning and it just worked.

Some of the other content is set in a combat zone and Ms. Hansen doesn’t sugarcoat it.  While this is a military book, she doesn’t use it as a backdrop for the characters and the relationships formed from it.  Again, I can not talk enough about the characters in this book.  I wish they were my friends in real life.  They genuinely care about each other and not just when they are on a mission.  I read a lot of military romance books and Ms. Hansen has really nailed the genre with just this one book that I have read.  I don’t need to know all the “secrets” that the military does but a general understanding is good and that’s what Ms. Hansen will give you.  Her characters and their stories are more important.

I just fell in love with Rhys and Devon.  Their romance is slow, sweet and bit sexy.  I appreciate the fact that they took their time before hitting the sheets and let their relationship take its time.  Also, Matt and Shane took a piece of my heart, too.  And yes, I bought the book.  I just have to know the backstory and those two.  Do yourself a favor and read this book.  You will believe in the power of healing yourself and letting love in to help you heal, too.  Most importantly, did I mention that Rhys is a redhead?

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Melanie Hansen doesn’t get nearly enough sleep. She loves all things coffee-related, including collecting mugs from every place she’s visited. After spending eighteen years as a military spouse, Melanie definitely considers herself a moving expert. She has lived and worked all over the country, and hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to the love stories she gets up in the wee hours to write. On her off-time, you can find Melanie watching baseball, reading or spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Warrior-Loving-Book-ebook/dp/B07J3CW95D/

Social Media:

https://melaniehansenbooks.com

https://twitter.com/MelJoyAZ

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009084006829

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13505006.Melanie_Hansen

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Melanie Hansen will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt, Giveaways, Guest Blog, Reviews

#Review and Guest Blog featuring A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @RachelBrimble #historicalromance #historicalfiction

A Rebel at Pennington’s

by Rachel Brimble

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GENRE:   Historical romance/saga

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BLURB:

1911 Bath. Banished from her ancestral home, passionate suffrage campaigner, Esther Stanbury works as a window dresser in Pennington’s Department Store. She has hopes and dreams for women’s progression and will do anything to help secure the vote. 
Owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel, Lawrence Culford has what most would view as a successful life. But Lawrence is harbouring shame, resentment and an anger that threatens his future happiness.

When Esther and Lawrence meet their mutual understanding of life’s challenges unites them and they are drawn to the possibility of a life of love that neither thought existed. 
With the Coronation of King-Emperor George V looming, the atmosphere in Bath is building to fever pitch, as is the suffragists’ determination to secure the vote.

Will Esther’s rebellious nature lead her to ruin or can they overcome their pasts and look to build a future together?

Women’s Suffrage & A Rebel At Pennington’s

When I was around the age of thirteen or fourteen, my school did a project on women’s suffrage and their fight to win the vote. I can still remember how quickly the topic took hold of me and the passion I felt from the injustice towards other women.

I handed in my project and was awarded an A.

Something inside of me shifted. A belief and need to know more about the women who sacrificed so much of themselves, their occupations and home lives in order to right what was a clear wrong. Little did I know that my interest in women’s suffrage would never wane as I grew older.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write a novel where women’s fight for the vote played a big part in the book. A Rebel At Pennington’s is my twenty-first published novel and it was only when I was writing the previous book in the series (The Mistress of Pennington’s) that a secondary character came onstage as a suffragist.

I’d finally found the heroine who would star in my first venture into writing a story involving the Cause.

I cannot tell you how excited I was to start my research! I bought books, visited websites, spoke to the archivist at our local history centre and attended two talks from historians marking the centenary of the vote being obtained.

It was the choice of being a suffragist (peaceful) and suffragette (militant) that ultimately prevailed in the issue with which I wanted my heroine, Esther Stanbury, to struggle. I can imagine the growing frustrations of the women campaigners and how their constant rebuttals and failures to be heard provoked an increasing and ardent need to ‘do whatever was necessary.’ Yet, the more I read, the more the question of whether or not their actions were, in fact, acts of terrorism began to emerge in my mind.

Throughout my research, my emotions ranged from pride, to shock, to indignation to jubilation and it was these emotions that I used to power the book and, ultimately, Esther. She is a combination of a few real-life suffragists and suffragettes who came up in my research and fascinated and/or resonated with me.

I am not, and will never claim to be, a historian in any shape of form, but I am a novelist and that means my job is to entertain. To write a story that will interest and inspire my readers. Leave them with a something to think about, something to feel or about which to form their own opinion. I absolutely loved researching this significant time in women’s history and loved writing A Rebel At Pennington’s.

Fingers crossed, my passion for women’s suffrage and the women who paved the way for the rest of us comes across in my latest novel.

Long live the vote!

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Excerpt Two:

She looked towards Lawrence.

He softly studied her, and her cheeks warmed. The way he looked at her inferred he was equally moved by Mrs Hadley’s sadness. Esther looked away. He, too, was widowed. Had he and his wife once shared the same love that Grace Hadley spoke of?

Shamed by the jolt of jealousy that shot through her, Esther walked to stand behind a pillar that blocked Lawrence’s sight of her but gave her full view of Mrs Hadley. A familiar sense of unworthiness knotted Esther’s stomach. If Lawrence understood Grace Hadley’s words and sorrow, then, he too, must have known deep and meaningful love.

She would never be enough to compete with such a ghost. Would never be enough to be with a man who bore such longing for a person he’d lost. If she listened to her body and how it so treacherously reacted to Lawrence, her attraction to him would only end badly when the moment came that she’d inevitably held something of herself back.

She could not forgo everything she had built. Somehow, she had to find the strength to fight the temptation of Lawrence’s gaze and quash the yearning to see him again…to see his children again. The emotions he’d evoked in her proved her capable of feeling. Something she had doubted for so very long. Her meeting him had been worth that, at least.

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My lovely English Rose has done it again.  But I say that every time I read a book of hers.  She’s one of those authors that I just adore and actually learn a few things from.  I admit that I’m not educated on the right to vote by women.  It was glossed over in my history class but it was interesting learning about it from Ms. Brimble’s perspective.  She’s a Brit and I’m an American.  As women today, we don’t think about how women weren’t allowed to do anything outside the home without the consent of a man.  Grrrr… Or the government.  But I digress.  Like Ms. Brimble said above, she’s not a history teacher but that’s why I love this series.  She made me think.  Made me look up stuff on the computer and go to the library.

One thing that Ms. Brimble does so brilliantly, is to create fascinating characters that you really care about.  In all of her books, she has the crazy ability to build families around her characters that aren’t blood-related.  Not everyone has a great relationship or their families might not be around much, but Ms. Brimble makes sure that her characters have people that they can count on and rely on.  She also brings a contemporary tone to her story that doesn’t treat the subject matter like it has been half researched.  In all of her books, her characters become the setting, the place, the time.  I don’t need the fluff.  I have Ms. Brimble showing me that through her characters.

Esther is a bad*s* in a different time and place.  But she also a woman that has desires, too.  She didn’t want to even think about falling for Lawrence and his children but she did.  They are more alike than they realize and it was a joy to see them build a relationship with each other.  Lawrence is a great character and person, regardless of what he thinks of himself.  You have to remember that the time frame of this book is still in the early years of the 20th century.  King George is about to be crowned, the first World War is on the horizon and things were done a certain way.  Again, this is what I love about Ms. Brimble’s books.  No matter what setting she is using, Victorian, contemporary, or Edwardian, she transports you and you become part of the story.  At least for me.  Its like watching the movie Wonder Woman.  The scenes in England were just… I can’t explain it, really.

I can’t wait to see where Ms. Brimble takes us next in this series.  We get to see Elizabeth and Joseph again.  While secondary characters in this one, they are still well rounded and its fun to get to know them a bit more now that they are married and her dad has retired.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book from Ms. Brimble.  Hell, any one of her books.  She immerses you into a time and a place that is romantic thought-provoking and just may see things a bit differently than before.  I like when an author does that.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018 with book two coming February 2019.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers from all over the world. To sign up for her quarterly and new release newsletter, click here to go to her website: https://rachelbrimble.com/

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Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

Bookbub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rachel-brimble

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

 

Rachel Brimble will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway