Cover Reveal: Chasing the Star Garden, by Melanie Karsak

Chasing the Star Garden_Melanie Karsak_D3

Chasing the Star Garden
The Airship Racing Chronicles

An opium-addicted beauty.

An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.

An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.

Melanie Karsak’s Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a novel best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.

It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium.

Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.

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Chapter 1

I was going to lose-again. I gripped the brass handles on the wheel and turned the airship sharply port. The tiller vibrated in protest making the wheel shake and my wrist bones ache. Bracing my knees against the spokes, I tore off my brown leather gloves to get a better feel. The metal handgrips were smooth and cold. My fingers tingled from the chill.

“Easy,” I whispered to the Stargazer. I looked up from my position at the wheelstand, past the ropes, burner basket, and balloon, toward the clouds. They were drifting slowly left in a periwinkle blue sky. There’d be an updraft as we passed over the green-brown waters of the canal near Buckingham House. I locked the wheel and jumped from the wheelstand onto the deck of the gondola and looked over the rail. The canal waters were a hundred feet away. I ran back to the wheel and steadied the ship. If I caught the updraft, it would propel me up and forward and give me an edge.

“Cutter caught it, Lily,” Jessup yelled down from the burner basket below the balloon opening. “Up he goes,” he added, looking out through his spyglass. The gold polish on the spyglass reflected the fire from the burner.

“Dammit!” I snapped down my binocular lense. I saw Hank Cutter’s red-and-white striped balloon rise upward. At the top, he pitched forward with great momentum, catching a horizontal wind. I could just make out Cutter at the wheel. His blond hair blew wildly around him. He turned and waved to me. Wanker.

I was not as lucky. Just as the bow of the Stargazer reached the water, a stray wind came in and blew us leeward. The balloon jiggled violently in the turbulent air. I missed the air pocket altogether.

“No! No, no, no!” I cursed and steadied the ship. I had chased Cutter from Edinburgh across the Scottish and English countryside. He had been off his game all day. I’d had him by half a mile the entire race. With the bottom feeders lingering somewhere in the distance behind us, I’d thought the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix would be mine. That was until St. Albans, where Cutter caught a random breeze that pushed him slightly in front of me. Cutter had a knack for catching favorable winds; it was not a talent I shared.

“We’re coming up on Westminster,” Jessup yelled down from the basket. “Lily, drop altitude. Cutter is too high. Come in low and fast, and you might overtake him.”

The airship towers sat at the pier near the Palace of Westminster along the Thames. A carnival atmosphere had overtaken the city as it always does on race day. Colorful tents were set up everywhere. Vendors hawked their wares to excited Londoners and international visitors. I could hear the merchants barking from their tents even from this far above. I fancied I could smell roasted peanuts in the wind.

I jumped down from the wheelstand, ran across the deck, and pulled the valve cord, opening the flap at the top of the balloon. Hot air released with a hiss. I kept one eye on the balloon and another eye on Tinkers’ Tower. At this time of day, the heat coming off of the Palace of Westminster and Tinkers’ Tower would give us a bump. I looked up. Cutter had started preparing his descent. It would be close.

I ran back to the wheel.

“Angus, I need more speed,” I yelled down to the gear galley, rapping on the wooden hatch that led to the rods, belts, and propeller parts below.
Angus slapped open the hatch and stuck out his bald head. His face was covered in grease, and his blue-lense monocle glimmered in the sunlight. He looked up at the clouds and back at me.

“Let’s giddyup,” I called to him.

“You trying the Tower sling?” he yelled back.

“You got it.”

He laughed wildly. “That’s my lassie,” he yelled and dropped back down, pulling the wood hatch closed with a clap. I heard the gears grind, and the propeller, which had been turning nice and steady, began to hum loudly. The ship pitched forward. Within moments, we were coming up on Tinkers’ Tower. The airship towers were just a stone’s throw away.

I aimed the ship directly toward Tinkers’ Tower. Just as the bowsprit neared the clock, I yanked the wheel. The warm air caught us.

“Whoa!” Jessup yelled as the balloon moved within arm’s length of the tower.

The sound of “Ohhs!” echoed from the crowd below.

A mix of warm air and propulsion gave us some go, and seconds later we were slingshotting around Tinkers’ Tower toward the airship platforms. Gliding in on warm air and momentum, we flew fast and low.

Cutter had kept it high, but now he was dropping like a stone toward his own tower. Damned American. I didn’t blame him; I would have used the same move. His balloon was releasing so much air that I wondered if he would be able to slow down in time, not that I would have minded seeing him smash to the ground in a million pieces.

“It’s going to be close,” Jessup yelled as he adjusted the heat pan.

I guided the helm. The Stargazer was temperamental, but we understood one another. A shake of the wheel warned me I was pushing too hard. “Almost there,” I whispered to the ship.

The Grand Prix Marshalls were standing on the platform. Cutter and I had the end towers. I was going to make it.

“Cut propulsion,” I yelled toward the gear galley. On the floor near the wheelstand, a rope led to a bell in the galley. I rang it twice. The propeller switched off.

A soft, sweet wind blew in from the port side. It ruffled my hair around my shoulders. I closed my eyes and turned the wheel slightly starboard, guiding the ship in. Moments later, I heard a jubilant cheer erupt from the American side and an explosion from the firework cannon signaling the winner had been declared. My eyes popped open. I tore off my goggles and looked starboard. Cutter’s balloon was docked. I threw the goggles onto the deck and set my forehead against the wheel.

The Stargazer settled into her dock. Jessup set the balloon on hover and, grabbing a rope, swung down to the deck. He then threw the lead lines and anchors onto the platform. The beautifully dressed crowd, gentlemen in suits and top hats and fancy ladies in a rainbow of satin gowns carrying parasols, rushed toward the American end of the platform to congratulate the winner.

I was, once again, a national disgrace. Lily the loser. Lily second place. Perhaps I would never be anything more than a ferrywoman, a cheap air jockey.

“Good job, Lily. Second place!” Jessup said joining me. He patted me on the shoulder.

I sighed deeply and unbuttoned my vest. The tension had me sweating; I could feel it dripping down from my neck, between my breasts, into my corset.

“You did great,” I told Jessup. “Sorry I let you down.”

“Ah, Lily,” he sighed.

Angus emerged from below wiping sweat from his head with a greasy rag. He pulled off his monocle. He frowned toward the American side. “Well, we beat the French,” he said with a shrug and kissed me on the cheek, smearing grease on me.

“Good job, Angus. Thank you,” I said, taking him by the chin and giving him a little shake as I wrinkled my nose and smiled at him.
Angus laughed and dropped his arm around Jessup’s shoulders. They grinned happily at one another.

“You stink, brother,” Jessup told him.

“It’s a wee bit toasty down there. Besides, I pedaled this ship across the entire fucking country while you were up here looking at the birds. That, my friend, is the smell of success.”

I laughed.

“You pedaled the ship?” Jessup asked mockingly. “Like Lil and I were just up here playing cards? If I didn’t keep the balloon aloft, your ass would be kissing the ground.”

“Now wait a minute. Are you saying your job is more important that mine?” Angus retorted.

I could see where this was going. “Gents.”

“More important? Now why would I say that? Just because I’m the one . . .” Jessup started and then his mouth ran.

“Gents.”

“ . . . and another thing . . .” Jessup went on.

“Gentlemen! Our audience awaits,” I said cutting them both off, motioning to the well-shod crowd who waited for us on the loading platform outside the Stargazer.

I grinned at my crew. “Come on. Let’s go.”

I patted the rail of the Stargazer. “Thanks,” I whispered to her, and we exited onto the platform.

A reporter from the London Times and several race officials stood waiting for me.

“Well done, Lily! Well done!” the British race official congratulated me with a pat on the back. “Second place! King George will be so proud. One of these days you’ll have it, by God.”

I was pretty sure that the last thing I needed was the attention of George IV, the extravagant, unpopular lush. But I bit my tongue and smiled politely.

“Lily, how did Cutter beat you? You led the entire race,” the reporter asked. She was a round woman wearing a very thick black lace collar that looked like it was choking her. Her heavy purple walking dress looked hot under the late afternoon summer sun, and the brim of her black satin cap barely shaded her nose. I noticed, however, that she had a small clockwork fan pin attached to her chest. The fan wagged cool air toward her face.

I pulled off my cap, mopped my forehead, and thought about the question. “Luck,” I replied.

“Lily, that was some move around Tinkers’ Tower. How did you learn to do that?” another reporter asked.

“My father,” I lied.

“Make way, make way,” one of the race officials called, ushering a Marshall forward.

The Marshall looked like someone who lingered an hour too long at supper. The gold buttons on his satin, marigold colored vest would take an eye out if they popped. His overly tall top hat was adorned with a ring of flowers that matched his striking orange colored dress coat.

“Miss Stargazer, congratulations,” he said, shaking my hand. “The Spanish airship is coming in now. Will you please join Mr. Cutter at the winners’ podium?” he asked politely as he guided me forward by the hand.

From below there was a commotion. A man dressed in an unusual costume rushed up the stairs. The London constables, a full squadron of the Bow Street Runners, chased him. When he got to the loading platform, the man pushed through a crowd of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen, many of whom were gentry. It was then I could see he was dressed as a harlequin. He wore the traditional red and black checked outfit and a black mask. He scanned the towers until he caught sight of me. He jumped, landing on the tower railing, and ran toward me. A woman in the crowd screamed. Moments later the constables appeared on the platform. The race Marshalls pointed toward the harlequin who was making a beeline for me.

I let go of the Marshall’s hand and stepped back toward the ship.

“Lily,” Jessup warned, moving protectively toward me.

Angus reached over the deck of the Stargazer and grabbed a very large wrench.

Was it an assassin? Christ, would someone murder me for winning second place? I turned and ran toward the Stargazer. A moment later, the harlequin flipped from the rail, grabbed one of the Stargazer’s ropes, and swinging over the others, landed on the platform directly in front of me. Any second now, I would be dead.

He panted and muttered “Lily?” from behind the mask.

“Stop that man! Stop him!” a constable yelled.

“Get out of my way!” Angus roared at the crowd that had thronged in between us.

The masked man grabbed me, tugged on the front of my trousers, and leaned into my ear. The long nose of the mask tickled the side of my face. “Go to Venice,” he whispered as he stuffed something down the front of my pants.

“We got you now,” a constable said, grabbing him, raising his club.

The man shook him off, took two steps backward, and with a jump, leapt off the tower.

Several people in the crowd screamed.

I rushed to the side of the tower to see the harlequin lying at its base. His body was twisted, and his arms and legs bent oddly, contorted into three distinct points. Blood began pooling around him.

“Miss Stargazer, are you all right?” a constable asked.

“A man just killed himself in front of me. No, I am not all right.”

“I mean, are you harmed? Did he hurt you?”

I shook my head and looked down at the mangled body which lay in the shape of a three-sided triskelion. It was the same symbol that was painted on the balloon of the Stargazer.

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About the Author

Melanie Karsak Author Pic by Orange Moon Studios

Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there was an abysmal lack of entertainment, so she turned to reading and hiking. Apparently, rambling around the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, the author now resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Melanie is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Blog: http://www.melaniekarsak.blogspot.com

Twitter: twitter.com/MelanieKarsak

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieKarsak

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/melaniekarsak/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6539577.Melanie_Karsak

Haunted Open House Blog Hop! (Why I love writing about a ghost)

Hi, everyone! Welcome to this stop on the Haunted Open House Blog Hop. Before you go, be sure to sign up for the giveaway copy of Waking Up Dead. And then, after you read this post, be sure to HOP! over to another blog. Check them all out!

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Why I Love Writing about a Ghost

When I was working on Waking Up Dead, someone asked me why I would want to limit my protagonist by making her a ghost, unable to easily interact with the world around her.

I didn’t have a good answer then, but I’ve thought about it a lot since.

And here’s the deal: I love writing about Callie and her limitations. Because ultimately, that’s what many books are about, right? The limitations we face when interacting with the world around us. Callie’s limitations are just more immediate and obvious. She has to really work to have an impact on the world, and that’s something we can all sympathize with. Who hasn’t had days when getting anything done felt like swimming through peanut butter? When, try as we might, we can’t seem to communicate with the people surrounding us. When our attempts to move people or things fall flat and we have to start working on new ways to try to be seen and heard.

For Callie, these obstacles are instantly recognizable, but her attempts to make connections echo the attempts in our own lives. So why would I want to limit my protagonist by making her a ghost? Because sometimes, we’re all ghosts. But if we keep at it, we can overcome that little problem.

Keep reading for the scene from Waking Up Dead when Callie finally finds someone who does see her.

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3D Waking up Dead

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?

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Excerpt

“Hey,” I said, hurrying after the woman. “Wait up.”

“I know you’re not talking to me,” she said. She stared straight ahead and pushed her cart down the middle of the aisle toward housewares.
“I am talking to you. Look. I know this is really weird, but I need your help.”

“Well, I’m not talking to you. I don’t know what your problem is, but you can take it somewhere else.”

I wanted to reach out and grab her cart, to make her stop and talk to me, but of course I couldn’t. Which gave me an idea.

I scurried out in front of her, planting myself in her path.

“Move,” she said.

“Not until you hear me out. Please?”

She moved her cart to the left. I stepped out to intercept her. She moved to the right. So did I.

“You got some kind of death wish or something?” she asked.

I laughed and shook my head. “If only you knew.”

“I’ve got no time for this,” she said. And she slammed into me with her shopping cart.

At least, that’s what she planned to do.

The shopping cart, however, slid right through me. When it stopped, the basket had sliced cleanly through my midsection. The bottom rack merged with my ankles. From my perspective, it looked like two perfectly solid objects–me and the shopping cart–had melted together. I don’t know what she saw.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t good.

The woman’s eyes widened, then rolled up into her head as she slumped to the ground in a dead faint.

I bent down to try to wake her up, but no matter how hard I concentrated on making contact, I couldn’t even touch her.

I hate being a ghost.

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Enter the giveaway for Waking Up Dead:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Nancy Gideon's 3rd Annual Haunted Open House

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Strings of Glass by Emily Kimelman

Strings-Of-Glass-digital-cover

STRINGS OF GLASS is the fourth novel in Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye Series of dark murder mystery novels. This series features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Sydney Rye is hanging out in India with her boyfriend, Dan, reading paperbacks and sipping beer. No violence and no reminders of her past. But when she and Blue, are attacked by a pack of wild dogs, Sydney starts to feel that old itch again; to do good by being bad.

Trouble finds Rye when she stops the attempted rape and murder of Anita, a reporter working on a story of corruption and human trafficking. The atrocities Anita describes send Sydney, Blue and Dan on a quest that takes them across India after a dangerous and, up until now, untouchable, figure. While Sydney struggles to accept her true nature she realizes that it is the only way to end decades of abuse and exploitation. But Rye fears that she will lose herself, becoming no better than the monster she fights against.

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Excerpt

I took off down a dirt ridge that ran along a culvert which brought water out of the town. The stench of sewer was ripe as we roared through the open space. When we reached the river the woman said, “That way, towards the highway.” I turned the bike at the top of the hill, my bare leg glowing in their headlights. On my thigh the thick ridge of a scar from the last time I got shot stood out puckered and pink.

Two scooters left, one with two guys on it. I wanted to send them into the sewage that sulked by but there was no way… unless I got off the bike and faced these ignorant fucks right there. I revved the engine watching their approach.

“What are you doing? We need to go!” the woman on the back of my bike said, squeezing me around the belly.

“Do they have guns?” I asked.

“Yes!” she squealed. “Come on.” She pushed on me. “What are you doing?”

I revved the engine and this time let it catch sending us shooting along the dirt road past the neatly lined crops. I sped up headed for the tree line, my engine roaring. We hit a bump and got some air; I felt the breath rock in my lungs, my heart jump in my throat.

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Author Bio

Emily (author photo)

Emily Kimelman lives on a boat in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Sean and their dog Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone). Kimelman has a passion for traveling and spends as much time as possible in the pursuit of adventure.

Her “Sydney Rye Series” are dark murder mystery novels which features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. This series is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

The first three books in Kimelman’s series, UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, and INSATIABLE are available in the Kindle store individually and in a box set. The fourth book in the Sydney Rye series STRINGS OF GLASS is due out Mid-Summer 2013.

If you’ve read Emily’s work, and enjoyed it, please let Emily know. You can reach her via email ejkimelman@gmail.com

I took off down a dirt ridge that ran along a culvert which brought water out of the town. The stench of sewer was ripe as we roared through the open space. When we reached the river the woman said, “That way, towards the highway.” I turned the bike at the top of the hill, my bare leg glowing in their headlights. On my thigh the thick ridge of a scar from the last time I got shot stood out puckered and pink.

Two scooters left, one with two guys on it. I wanted to send them into the sewage that sulked by but there was no way… unless I got off the bike and faced these ignorant fucks right there. I revved the engine watching their approach.

“What are you doing? We need to go!” the woman on the back of my bike said, squeezing me around the belly.

“Do they have guns?” I asked.

“Yes!” she squealed. “Come on.” She pushed on me. “What are you doing?”

I revved the engine and this time let it catch sending us shooting along the dirt road past the neatly lined crops. I sped up headed for the tree line, my engine roaring. We hit a bump and got some air; I felt the breath rock in my lungs, my heart jump in my throat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Links

http://emilykimelman.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKimelman

@ejkimelman

Buy links for all books at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Emily-Kimelman/e/B004YG4PPC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/emily-kimelman

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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SBB_StringsOfGlass_Banner

Release Event: Ninety Eight by Shannon Mayer

NinetyEight_ebook

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Release: October 17, 2013

New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance

Speed Limits

Lottery Tickets

Elevator Buttons
Numbers are everywhere—they play such a vital role in our everyday lives. But what would happen if we measured love with equations just as we do our morning cup of coffee? My nana had many recipes in her cupboards, but it was her calculations for love that she insisted I live my life by; and I’ve followed her rules all these years.

One Animal

One Moment

One Critical Impact

That’s all it took for the numbers to start flying in a jumbled mess through my brain as I stared into the violet eyes that would forever make me question my choices. In a split second, the possibilities and reality of true love are revealed and I’m questioning all I’ve ever known.

A Tree

White Fences

Stolen Moments

I can’t ignore the storm brewing around—and within—me. Everything I am is confronted by these new numbers, and all they represent. My past, present and future will all be determined by the gambles I make right here, right now. Again, it’s all about the numbers.

And what I’m learning is, one plus one doesn’t always equal two and sometimes three times isn’t always the charm.

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About the Author

Shannon Mayer lives in the southwestern tip of Canada with her husband, dog, cats, horse, and cows. When not writing she spends her time staring at immense amounts of rain, herding old people (similar to herding cats) and attempting to stay out of trouble. Especially that last is difficult for her.

She is the author of the The Nevermore Trilogy; a romantic suspense series, The Rylee Adamson Novels; a paranormal urban fantasy romance series, A Celtic Legacy; an urban fantasy romance series and High Risk Love; the first new adult romance novel in The Risk Series. Her newest romance, Ninety Eight; a contemporary new adult romance, is scheduled for release in October of 2013.

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Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Character Interview

Brielle

I work with Dr. Winston, he’s a crotchety old veterinarian who seems to tolerate me better than anyone. I love my job, I work with horses every day, and even though it can be dangerous, I can’t really see myself doing anything else. I know that my life looks boring from the outside, that I look like a ‘beige’ kind of girl. But that isn’t an accident. This is what I’ve been aiming for as long as I can remember. A life of safety, security and predictability.

I know that stepping outside the box only gets you hurt, that taking chances is what brings ruin and pain into your life. I know this . . . . yet with one encounter my whole world turned inside out.

All the rules flew out the window and I could no longer see the lines of black and white they faded into a smoky grey that swallowed me whole.
I want to shake myself, point out that the path I’m taking was exactly what I’d been warned about, that my heart will be broken into a thousand tiny pieces with no chance of putting it back together . . . yet I can’t seem to stay away from him . . . I can’t seem to breathe without him at my side.
That is what scares me the most. How much he completes me, how he pulls me out of my world of ‘beige’ and the world around me explodes in a kaleidoscope of colors I’d never seen before. Feelings I’ve never experienced.

And a love I never even dared dream of.

But only if I dare to step outside the rules, if I dare to face my fears and reach for the one thing I want more than anything else.

Him.

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AToMRTours_mdm

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Spotlight On: Ninety Eight by Shannon Mayer

Celebrating the release of her newest contemporary romance, Ninety Eight, Shannon Mayer is hosting a fun week long event, ‘Crawl Between the Sheets’! But first, check out Ninety Eight and don’t forget to enter our blog giveaway to win your own copy!

NinetyEight_ebook

Release: October 17, 2013

Publisher: HiJinks Ink Publishing Ltd.

New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance

Goodreads | Amazon

For a limited time, Ninety Eight will be priced at JUST $0.99!

Shannon’s other contemporary romance, High Risk Love, has also been reduced to $0.99 during the release event for Ninety Eight!

Goodreads | Amazon

Speed Limits

Lottery Tickets

Elevator Buttons

Numbers are everywhere—they play such a vital role in our everyday lives. But what would happen if we measured love with equations just as we do our morning cup of coffee? My nana had many recipes in her cupboards, but it was her calculations for love that she insisted I live my life by; and I’ve followed her rules all these years.

 

One Animal

One Moment

One Critical Impact

That’s all it took for the numbers to start flying in a jumbled mess through my brain as I stared into the violet eyes that would forever make me question my choices. In a split second, the possibilities and reality of true love are revealed and I’m questioning all I’ve ever known.

 

A Tree

White Fences

Stolen Moments

I can’t ignore the storm brewing around—and within—me. Everything I am is confronted by these new numbers, and all they represent. My past, present and future will all be determined by the gambles I make right here, right now. Again, it’s all about the numbers.

And what I’m learning is, one plus one doesn’t always equal two and sometimes three times isn’t always the charm.

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Crawl Between the Sheets

Welcome to “Crawl Between the Sheets 2013”!

This event is a web crawl scavenger hunt and you are ALL invited! Each day, different blogs will have different events for you to crawl around the web and enter the hunt.

  • GRAND PRIZE: IPAD MINI or $350 Amazon Gift Card (all Amazon territories included) winners choice.
  • RUNNER-UP PRIZE: $150 Amazon Gift Card (all Amazon territories included)

Today’s Web Crawl Events

To participate in today’s web crawl events, follow the directions below to receive your daily points. Once you have completed one of the 2-3 daily events, please return to Shannon’s website at http://www.shannonmayer.com/crawl-between-the-sheets-2013/ and enter your submissions in the Rafflecopter found there!

3pts. Go to Denise Grover Swanks website at: http://denisegroverswank.com/. Find out which one of her books has been optioned for a movie and who is tagged to play the main character? Submit your answer as your entry at http://www.shannonmayer.com/crawl-between-the-sheets-2013/ .

5pts. TWEET THIS: @DeniseMSwank I now follow Denise Grover Swank bcuz she supports other authors like @TheShannonMayer. Which is just very cool! (You MUST tag both Denise Grover Swank and Shannon Mayer). Submit the link to your tweet as your entry at http://www.shannonmayer.com/crawl-between-the-sheets-2013/ .

OR

ON FACEBOOK: Go to Denise Grover Swanks Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/DeniseGroverSwank.

• LIKE her page AND

• Enter this comment: I liked @Author Denise Grover Swank’s Facebook page because not only is she an amazing writer, but she supports other authors like @Author Shannon Mayer. Which is just very cool. (You MUST tag both Denise Grover Swank and Shannon Mayer)

Submit the link to your post as your entry at http://www.shannonmayer.com/crawl-between-the-sheets-2013/ .

10 pts. Go to Denise Grover Swank’s website at: http://denisegroverswank.com/. Sign up for her newsletter. Submit the email address you signed up with as your entry at http://www.shannonmayer.com/crawl-between-the-sheets-2013/ .

 

 

 

ALSO, every day during this event you may do the following to earn EXTRA points:

If you share this link: http://www.shannonmayer.com/crawl-between-the-sheets-2013/ on Facebook or Twitter, you can enter the URL link to your post/tweet to gain an extra point for the day. Even if you complete the other tasks for the day, you can STILL do this as well up to once a day! 🙂

To see other blogs and the rest of the week’s events, visit Shannon’s site and check out her News Blog!

(http://www.shannonmayer.com/)

About the Author

Shannon Mayer lives in the southwestern tip of Canada with her husband, dog, cats, horse, and cows. When not writing she spends her time staring at immense amounts of rain, herding old people (similar to herding cats) and attempting to stay out of trouble. Especially that last is difficult for her.

She is the author of the The Rylee Adamson Novels, The Nevermore Trilogy, A Celtic Legacy series and several contemporary romances. Please visit her website at http://www.shannonmayer.com for more information on her novels.

 

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Spotlight On: Full Moon on the Rise, by Natalie Carlisle

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Full Moon on the Rise
By: Natalie Carlisle

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Blurb
Someone in Emerson Fox Academy is determined to kill him, and Kale Rollins doesn’t know how much more he can take. And on top of everything, his adopted mom has “disappeared” and his real brother, Trey, is leaving just when Kale needs him the most. Not to mention, Miller and Kit are getting too close for his comfort and there is nothing he can do about it.

Frustrated, scared, and struggling for “control” Kale doesn’t trust himself at all. With the full moon on the rise, Kale soon realizes he isn’t the only one who might die.

What he wouldn’t do to be normal these days…

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Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Natalie-Carlisle/e/B00DQDBLN8

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/09/now-booking-tasty-blurb-tour-tasty.html

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Author Info
Natalie

Natalie Carlisle currently lives with her husband and two dogs in New Jersey but misses the mountains of her hometown in PA every day. When not writing, Natalie can be found reading, drawing, painting, watching chick flicks, taking pictures of nature, running (when her knee is being cooperative)and hiking. She loves being active though lately most of her time is spent in front of a computer working on her next novel.

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Author Links
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6555319.Natalie_Carlisle
http://nataliecarlisle.blogspot.com/
http://www.tell-talepublishing.com/natalie-carlisle.html
https://www.facebook.com/natalie.carlisle.71

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Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Set of THE SHIFTED and FULL MOON ON THE RISE or $10.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card)
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Excerpt

“Please pick up… come on, pick up.” Kale’s fingers worried the cord of the library’s phone for the second time that day. And just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that… there was still no answer. “Come on.”

Another ring passed loudly in his ear. Two more and he knew the answering machine would pick up. Again. He held his breath.

One…

Come on.

Two…

“Hi! You reached the Rollins’ residence. We can’t come to the phone right now—”

“Damn it!” Deep inhale. He slammed the receiver. Heads turned toward the noise to stare at him. It took everything in him not to snap at them. Bending over he snatched his book bag off the floor and swung it hastily over his shoulder. Ignore them. They don’t get it. Their lives are normal.

What he wouldn’t do to be normal these days.

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Full Moon On The Rise Natalie Carlisle Blurb

Author Interview: Kyra Halland

Welcome today to Kyra Halland, author of Urdaisunia and Chosen of Azara, who has graciously agreed to stop by for an interview!

1. What do you write about? Tell us a little about your previously published works.

I write epic fantasy romance; that is, novels set in a fantasy world with solid fantasy plotlines that also involve a romance between the two main characters as an integral part of the plot.

My first published novel, Urdaisunia, is set in a desert land that is facing challenges of drought, famine, disease, conquest, and internal betrayal. The gods have been neglecting the land while they argue over whether the native Urdai, the conquering Sazars, or someone else should be allowed to rule. The main characters are Rashali, a widowed Urdai rebel, and Eruz, the heir to the Sazar throne. Both of them want what’s best for the land and its people, even though they have different ideas about what that is and how to go about it, and they have to fight against those who want to exploint Urdaisunia for their own purposes. The gods take an interest in Eruz and Rashali’s unlikely relationship and make a bet on the outcome of it, on which hangs the fate of the land and even the eventual destiny of the gods.

My most recent novel, Chosen of Azara, is an intergenerational tale of the destruction of the magical land Savaru and the quest to restore it to life. Juzeva is a Savarunan princess who is married off to an enemy prince as part of a peace treaty. Before her marriage she was entrusted with a magical secret that would allow the land of Savaru to be regenerated should it ever be destroyed. After her marriage, she’s betrayed and disappears with her secret. Sevry, Juzeva’s nephew, the last king of Savaru, learns of Juzeva’s secret and through magical means spends centuries hunting for her or one of her female descendants who can use the magic to bring Savaru back to life. Lucie is a sheltered young noblewoman who is unaware that she has inherited this secret, until Sevry tracks her down. She is faced with a difficult choice between what she wants, what her family wants for her, and what she knows is the right thing to do, but finally she realizes that she needs to follow her heart, regardless of what anyone else says.

2. Tell us a little about your work in progress.

The Lost Book of Anggird is the next novel I’ll be releasing, later in October! A staid and stodgy professor of magical theory and his sexy assistant, who completely rocks his world, embark on a quest to discover why the magic of their world is deteriorating and to do something about it. They discover that everything that’s been taught about magic is a lie, and find themselves digging into the roots of a shocking, centuries-old conspiracy as well as having to face the demons of their own pasts. It’s a fun book, with lots of adventure and magic, and I love the interplay between the lead characters.

I’m also working on a novel called Sarya’s Song, which is set in a world where magic is worked through music, and a 6-book fantasy-western series, Daughter of the Wildings. The setting is inspired by the American Old West of the later 19th century, but it’s also very much a fantasy world.

3. Any advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Write as often and as regularly as you can. Don’t get hung up on all the “rules” of writing; write in a way that most clearly expresses what you want to say in the way you want to say it. Write what your heart and mind are demanding that you write. Learn to finish what you start: As you write your first drafts, don’t worry about if it’s any good; you can fix pretty much anything in revisions, so don’t quit if you think it’s bad. Also don’t quit if the story gets hard to write in the middle, or seems boring, or you think of a new and more interesting idea. This is very normal and happens to many if not most authors on many if not most of their books. Just keep going; it gets easier, and it’s an incredible feeling when you reach “The End.”

4. What is your personal writing process?

I usually start with an image of some characters in a specific situation. These just kind of come into my mind out of nowhere. I work out who the characters are, and what’s going on, and why. I figure out their goals, what they want, what challenges and conflicts they face, and more or less how I want the book to end. From this I make an outline and also work out the background, the worldbuilding and the “why” and “how” of everything. Then I start writing the draft. As I write, things change with the outline, so it’s always growing and evolving. I write in scenes, in a program called Liquid Story Binder, which is great for planning and organizing, and also makes it easy to move/add/delete scenes in the manuscript. When I’m done, I print out the manuscript and let it rest for a while. Then I do one deep, thorough revision, send it out to my test readers, do a second revision based on their feedback, then a revision to polish things like description and dialogue, followed by a line edit and a few copyedit/proofreading rounds. I believe it’s important not to over-revise, because this can take away everything that’s interesting and unique about your book.

5. Who are a few authors you look up to?

I adore Carol Berg’s books. Her stories, her characters, her worlds and magic, her writing – rich and smooth, like really good dark chocolate. I would love to be able to write like her.

6. What book are you reading now?

I’ve been doing a lot of read and reviews for my Goodreads group. For my “recreational” reading, I’m reading The Master of Heathcrest Hall, the third book in the Magicians and Mrs. Quent series, by Galen Beckett.

7. What inspired you to write your first book?

I’ve always loved fantasy, and I’ve also always loved a good love story, but I had trouble finding the two combined in a way I found satisfying. After I finished grad school (Master’s in Music History) and transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom with my first son, I wanted a new intellectual challenge, so I decided to try writing the kinds of romantic fantasy novels I wanted to read. Twenty-four years later, that first novel is still in a folder on my computer, and I’m going to take it out sometime and revise it and set it loose into the world.

8. If there was one message you could send to everybody who reads your books, what would it be?

Thank you for giving my books a try! I hope my books have made your life a little brighter, whether by giving you a few hours of entertainment or providing some enjoyment and uplift during a difficult time. Thank you for your support 🙂

9. Have you ever used characteristics from someone you know in one of your books?

lol, my husband eats everything with a knife and fork. Even “finger foods” like pizza and bacon. Professor Rossony, in The Lost Book of Anggird, has very fastidious table manners, and he does the same thing.

10. What inspires you to write?

My characters. These fascinating people just show up in my head, demanding that I tell their stories. And I can’t rest until I get them told, and let the characters come to life in my books.

11. Where can readers find you and your work?
My website is http://www.kyrahalland.com
I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KyraHalland
and Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6950045.Kyra_Halland
My work is available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Kyra-Halland/e/B00BG2R6XK), Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kyrahalland), Barnes & Noble, the iTunes store, Sony, Kobo, and All-Romance ebooks. Buy links for individual books and sites are easy to find on my website.

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Excerpt: Chosen of Azara

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Lucie broke the stems of the herbs she had found, taking care to leave the roots and lower shoots intact and to not shake the seed-heads. As she gently laid the herbs in her wide, shallow basket, the stillness and heaviness in the woods took on an additional tension, as though the air itself was waiting for something to happen. Lucie also fell still. A warmth, almost as of something living, seemed to radiate from her crystal pendant. She had felt this sense of expectancy and that strange warmth from her pendant four times before in her life, near this very spot, this place where the herbs grew more abundantly and more potent than anywhere else. She stood, turned, and looked up the path.

The man faded into sight. When she was a child he had frightened her, though she was also curious about him. But as she got older, she had become confident enough in her instincts to know that he wasn’t a threat to her.

He stood there, on the path but not on it, seemingly just beyond her arm’s reach. He wore only a loincloth, and was bone-thin except for the stringy muscles of his arms and legs. His black hair hung lank and tangled around his unshaven face. He wasn’t handsome, not in the strong, hearty Ceryrian manner, but there was something about him that made Lucie think of faraway places and long-ago times of tragedy and heroism. Pain and weariness were worn deep into his face, though he was far from being an old man. Scars crisscrossed his chest and lower legs. His ankles and wrists were also scarred, as though from being bound in ropes or manacles for a long time. Not for the first time, Lucie wondered about the meaning of all those scars. What sort of life had he lived, to be so harshly marked by it? Who was he, and why did he appear on this path from time to time?

The gaze of his dark eyes was fixed just below her face, on her crystal pendant. Her mother, Rinata, who had been given the necklace by her own step-grandfather, had given it to Lucie for her fifth birthday. Lucie’s Grandmama Lillia had been furious. Lucie had listened to the heated discussion, carried out in whispers as though her mother and grandmother thought that would keep her from overhearing them.
“You know how I feel about that nonsense being passed down,” Grandmama had said.

“It’s her birthright, Mother, and I want her to have it and to know where it came from before it’s too late for me to pass it on,” Lucie’s mother had replied just as firmly.

Lucie hadn’t understood what the quarrel was about, but she had understood when her mother told her the necklace was an ancient treasure from a faraway land that had belonged to great-grandmother Varena, and that she must treasure it and take the very best care of it. Lucie had done so, all the more since her mother’s death nine years ago; it was one of the things that linked her most closely to her mother. Now, Lucie wondered what interest the man could possibly have in her necklace or if, after all, he was only staring at her breasts.

All at once, a flare of life and hope transformed the man’s face into something unexpectedly, heartbreakingly beautiful. He took a step forward. Startled, Lucie jerked back, but in that instant he disappeared. The path was empty again. The woods were still as warm and drowsy as before, but the tension was gone from the air.

What did you see? she wanted to call out to him, but he was gone.

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About the Author

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Beginning with the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander and the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Leguin, Kyra Halland has always loved fantasy. She has also always loved a good love story. In 1990, as a new stay-at-home mom with a young baby, she finally decided to combine those two loves – like chocolate and peanut butter! – by writing the kinds of romantic fantasy novels she wanted to read.

Courageous and complicated heroes, strong, smart, and sweet heroines, magic, romance, adventure, heroism, excursions into the dark corners of life and human nature, and a dash of offbeat humor – all of these make up Kyra Halland’s worlds. She is excited to share those worlds with readers, and hopes that others will enjoy her worlds and stories and characters as much as she does.

Kyra Halland lives in southern Arizona. She has a very patient husband, two less-patient cats, and two young adult sons. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking and anime, and she wants to be a crazy cat lady when she grows up.

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Chosen of Azara

Juzeva: Born a princess of the beautiful land of Savaru, dedicated to the service of the magical Source Azara, she is forced to marry a man she doesn’t know for the sake of her country’s survival, and finds herself trapped in a web of evil and betrayal…

Sevry: The last king of the war-ravaged land of Savaru, he is tasked by Azara with finding the secret that his aunt Juzeva carried with her when she disappeared – the secret that will bring Savaru back to life – and finds himself hounded by evil men who want to use that secret for their own terrible purposes…

Lucie: The cherished only daughter of a Ceryrian baron, haunted by visions of a desperate man, she is unaware of her true heritage and the power she holds to restore life to a long-dead land…

Then Sevry, Savaru’s past, and Juzeva’s secret catch up with Lucie, leading her to adventure, danger, and a love that will forever change her life and the lost land of Savaru.

Buy links:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DJBK3UE
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DJBK3UE
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00DJBK3UE
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328639
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chosen-of-azara-kyra-halland/1115864727?ean=2940044607682
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/chosen-of-azara/id667809307?mt=11
http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Chosen-of-Azara/book-ZTouKIZJIUmt3XZluT80CA/page1.html?s=3CH_KZ2VuU6W2zz9_E3aMQ&r=1
https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/kyra-halland/chosen-of-azara/_/R-400000000000001077006
https://www.createspace.com/4334309
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-chosenofazara-1224886-143.html

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Revelations Coming, by Glory Rabenaugh

Revelations Coming front cover

Revelations Coming (A Dark Truth Novel Series, #1)
Glory Rabenaugh

A teen who has seen and experienced too much for her years, Venus is thrown into the dark and seedy underworld of the Vampyre Nation. Shocking revelations about the truth of Christianity, coupled with her coming of age romances aid Venus to discover more about her past and ultimately reveal what is to become of her future. Revelations Coming, the first installation in The Dark Truth Novel series, will terrify you with the sadistic nature of both Vampyres and Angels and entice you with the not-so-innocent and increasingly passionate sexual encounters Venus endures.

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Excerpt

“Arias is here my lord,” Corbin spit out breathlessly.

“Come Venus,” Riken said already starting for the door.

She didn’t hesitate and all but plastered herself against him. Venus knew to be frightened from Riken’s earlier description of the other Dark Prince. He was enormous, dangerous, cruel. The embodiment of Satan himself. He led a bloodline full of sadist, bloodthirsty vampires and this was the one searching for her. She didn’t want to meet this creature. They rushed out of the office, down a back staircase and towards a back entrance. Venus slammed into Riken when he stopped abruptly. She peered around him to see what was going on and Venus swallowed hard as a warrior filled her vision…one that could only be Arias Hassan.

She gasped, robbed of any breath. Lord, he was beautiful. Tattoos covered his massive arms and bare chest, his head was shaved bald. He was the color of chocolate sand and he emanated power and a call so strong and deep within her, her knees weakened immediately. He had nearly black eyes that started to swirl and twist like a turbulent ocean as soon as he saw her. His guards almost equally massive fanned out around him. It was clear that Riken and his crew were no match for these warriors.

“Come to me,” Arias growled to her.

Venus’ eyes widened as her body listened without hesitation. His command was like a direct line of energy to her chest, pulling her towards him. Riken pulled her against him creating havoc within her. Both of their blood was calling to her but Arias’ was stronger.

He was older than Riken, by nearly three hundred years. Venus unconsciously struggled against Riken’s hold.

“No Venus, don’t leave me.” Riken pleaded.

“Come to me little one,” Arias purred again.

Venus started forward again when she heard the click of a safety being thrown off. She turned her head to the side and watched horrified as Corbin palmed an enormous gun in his hand and fired at Arias.

“No!” she screamed, her power billowing out of her.

Her entire focus was on the path of that bullet. If she failed that bullet would find its way into the Prince’s temple and while it wouldn’t kill him, it would incapacitate him enough for Riken and his men to destroy him by severing his head. She refused to let that happen, no matter how bad that man was in front of her. The bullet dropped to the floor feet from Arias. Venus was breathing hard from the mental exertion that she hadn’t used in over ten years, disbelief and relief flooding her body. Arias’ jaw dropped slightly and his lips parted. He raised his hand to beckon her to him again. But Venus realized too late that it wasn’t to beckon her to him, it was to stop her. Guns exploded around her from both sides, Venus trapped in the middle. She heard Arias’ roar and she heard Riken’s roar. Stop! She screamed in her head, thrusting her arms out. Her mental power that she had hidden and been ashamed of for so long, flooded out of her body, billowing her hair about her head.

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About the Author

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Glory Rabenaugh is a mother of two wonderful children, a soccer coach, an entrepreneur, and a business woman. She can easily read two hundred books in a matter of months, whip up traditional Japanese stir fry while listening to “Holy Grail” by Justin Timberlake/Jay Z, run around with the youngsters for two hours at soccer practice, and still manage to take an hour out for herself each week to get her lashes done. Glory was born, raised, and currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri. She has a bachelors degree in Business Administration and works in the healthcare industry.

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You can find Glory online

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Available for Purchase
Amazon
OmniLit
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Scribd
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
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Solstice Publishing Halloween Scavenger Hunt & Other Cool Stuff

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to my entry for this year’s Solstice Publishing Scavenger Hunt!

Here’s the riddle: What happens when a ghost gets lost in the fog?

Think you know the answer? Use it to win! Make a note of the answer. Then follow the links to all the other riddles and jokes. Answer them all correctly and you could win 50 (fifty!!!) e-books from Solstice Publishing. Second place wins 5 free books; third place wins 3.

From here, hop to the Solstice Publishing blog: http://store.solsticepublishing.com/halloween-scavenger-hunt/

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Also, be sure to follow the Waking Up Dead Blog Tour this month: http://www.enchantedbookpromotions.com/tour-schedule-waking-up-dead/

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Pride and Prep School

Pride and Prep School Cover v2

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Pride And Prep School (Snark And Circumstance #3)

Publication date: October 15, 2013

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Stephanie Wardrop

Georgia can’t figure out why the burden of a Y chromosome seems to make guys so hard to understand. First, there’s the handsome but slippery Jeremy Wrentham. After Georgia shared some pretty devastating kisses with him, she found her way home and he found her sister!

And then there’s Michael Endicott, who never fails to let her know that her family’s quirkiness lies too far outside the pale for this preppie townie. But if he really feels that way, why is he in Georgia’s kitchen, asking her out? And why don’t boys come with instruction manuals?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Wardrop

Stephanie Wardrop grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania where she started writing stories when she ran out of books to read. She’s always wanted to be a writer, except during the brief period of her childhood in which piracy seemed like the most enticing career option—and if she had known then that there actually were “girl” pirates way back when, things might have turned out very differently. She currently teaches writing and literature at Western New England University and lives in a town not unlike the setting of Snark and Circumstance with her husband, two kids, and five cats. With a book out—finally—she might be hitting the high seas any day now.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Review:

In my day job, I’m a college English professor, and my specialization was in eighteenth-century British literature–specifically, what specialists call the “long eighteenth century,” a designation that I’m pretty sure was created to allow us to claim Aphra Behn on one end and Jane Austen on the other. (Okay. It’s really based on who ruled England, but I always liked the Behn-to-Austen idea.)

All of that is to say that I love Jane Austen. LOVE. With a giant capital L. And I also love remakes of her work. I think Bridget Jones rocks. Clueless is hysterical. I watched the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice until first my VCR tapes of it died, then my DVDs gave up. I’m thankful for streaming video in ways I can’t explain.

So I was already predisposed to like Pride and Prep School. But, as with all new creations based on old, deep loves, I was also prepared to loathe it.

Lucky for me, Wardrop has done a lovely job with this funny new take on the Austen classic. I love the characters and the new setting. I found myself eagerly looking for the references to the original book, and Wardrop didn’t let me down. I cracked up when I read the line “I don’t want to live in the eighteenth century” and when I discovered that this book had a sister whose excessive “virtue” was displayed through a purity ring. The parallels are lightly but deftly drawn.

If you know the original, you know the basics–but the basics aren’t enough; this is a remake worth reading! I know I’m going to be reading the entire Snark and Circumstance series.

Score: 5 stars

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Enter to Win the Giveaway:

Two (2) sets of the full trilogy – one in Kindle Format, one in Nook Format: (INT)

o Snark and Circumstance

o Charm and Consequence

o Pride and Prep School

One (1) DVD copy of EMMA, starring Gwyneth Paltrow (US Only)

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Snark and Circumstance

Pride and Prep School Cover v2

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Charm and Consequence