Spotlight On: Render (a Recompense Novel)

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Excerpt

Please enjoy this fun, playful excerpt from Render by Stephanie Fleshman. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

Render: An Excerpt

 

I spin around and pull her to me, sighing as her arms lock around my neck. I lower my face to her hair, turning it into the curve of her neck to breathe her in.

Her body molds to mine, lithe and boneless, and my arms swallow her as I tighten my hold. It softens all the hard points, the tension I’d been holding onto, smoothing the muscles in my shoulders and back.

“You have great problem-solving skills, by the way,” I tell her softly in her ear.

Keeping her arms around me, she leans back against the wall to look at me, a baffled expression on her face, whether in relation to the compliment or the unexpected direction in conversation, I don’t know.

“Do I?” Her voice lifts in a flirtatious pitch.

“Mmm. It’s why I asked you out,” I tease. “You solved most of my problems just by agreeing.” Looking back, I realize just how true this is, though I doubt she’ll take me seriously.

Her lips curl in an obliging smile, and her eyes say it all, disbelieving in their beauty, corroborating what I already knew. But she’s still smiling, and I alone am responsible for that.

She curls her hand around the side of my neck, and I feel her thumb glide over the scar behind my earlobe, one I incurred at fourteen, when Lukas slammed my head into the bathroom mirror. Then I broke his collarbone. Both of us ended up in the emergency room that morning, an incident that resulted in our father leaving for work a half hour later. It’s always quieter when our father is home.

“How are you doing?” she asks, looking up to search my eyes.

I slide my hands from the small of her back to her waist, as my gaze sweeps from shoulder to shoulder. I can already feel the ground of normalcy beneath me, her presence holding the pieces of my life together, when it seems everything can come apart at any moment. “Good now that you’re here.”

This seems to make her both happy and sad. A look of gloom passes over her face even as a small smile touches her lips. Then her eyes trail down the front of my body, taking in my suit jacket and pants. “You look like a lawyer,” she comments. “Straight from the courtroom.”

I can’t remember a time when she’s ever seen me in a suit. The closest is the tux I wore to her senior prom two months ago, which is not much different than what I wear now.

“It suits you.”

I raise my eyebrows in doubt. “What? Looking like a lawyer?”

“Not just a lawyer. You look…professional.” Then, with a full smile, she adds, “I like it.”

“Ah,” I say, mirroring her smile as I grasp her meaning. “I like that you’re my biggest fan.”

Her teeth shine bright against her tan skin. She drops her arms to her sides, and I lace my fingers through hers. She smells of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lavender all at once, with soft underlying notes I can’t name, a scent that swirls inside me, tantalizing every cell in my body.

I lean forward, canting my head slightly to fit my lips to hers. I have to fight to keep the rhythm slow, to savor every second. But when her mouth opens, urgency builds within me, and I press farther. Too soon, though, she’s pulling away, leaving my blood pumping in a hot stream and my heart pounding against my chest. I place a hand on the wall behind her and lean forward, closing the narrow space she’s put between us.

“I wasn’t finished,” I say.

I’m already tilting my head to kiss her again when she stops me with one word. “Wait.”

“Wait?” I mutter against her lips.

I feel her palms on my chest, easing me back. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but touching her, but I slowly resign myself to the conversation that is apparently inevitable, when my only instinct is to kiss her. I straighten and meet her eyes, which does nothing to tame my thoughts.

“I got your note,” she says.

When I started mowing Mrs. Whitney’s lawn, Elizabeth gave me a key, so I could let myself in when they weren’t home. In the beginning, I would leave Raya notes on her dresser, not knowing at the time that she’d actually keep them. When she showed me every note I’d ever written her, my first instinct was to laugh, because it seemed senseless. But then I saw how impressed she was and felt empowered that I could make her so happy. She probably has a shoebox full of notes by now.

I back her against the wall until we’re touching from hips to shoulders. Her eyes, as warm and green as summer leaves, meet mine. She’s looking at me as if I did something amazing, but just in case, I ask, “Is that all? Or is there something else you want to add, because I’d really like to kiss you right now?”

Her eyes dip momentarily to my mouth. “I was going to thank you for the note, but you distracted me.”

“You don’t need words for that.”

 
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Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.
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About the Author

Stephanie Fleshman

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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Review: Soul in Present Condition by Mary E. Merrell

The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series
By Mary E. Merrell

Publisher: Morningglory

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Review

In book three of the Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series, real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes faces a number of daunting tasks: she must serve her vampire master Marcus; lay to rest Benny, a ghost with a dangerous history; arrange the sale of a house to Marcus’ maker Lucila; and work to keep her day job going. In addition, she is trying to maintain her connection to her boyfriend Frank and show properties to an elderly Hispanic couple whose son may or may not actually be willing to buy the home he’s promised them.

This third book draws fairly heavily on the first two installments of the series — readers unfamiliar with Rosemary might want to start with House Haunting and Curve Appeal in order to keep up with all of the characters’ histories. However, even those readers who haven’t encountered Rosemary before will be charmed by the way Merrell weaves together the threads of the story; the author gives enough back-story to explain most (if not all) of the connections. The characters are, for the most part, nicely rounded, and the plot comes to a satisfying conclusion.

The text itself is occasionally marred by the sorts of errors that can jar a reader out of the world the author builds and that a careful proofreading should have caught (“their” in place of “they’re,” for example), along with a narrative tendency to over-explain information previously given in dialogue. However, Merrell’s entertaining take on what happens when the daytime world of real estate collides with the nighttime world of vampires is enough to make up for these kinds of problems — this is another enjoyable entry in an engaging series.

Score: 8/10 (4 stars)

~Margo Bond Collins

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Book One: House Haunting

Rosemary Fernandes is a divorced, naïve woman, determined to make it in the tough world of real estate. Keith Laumer is a ghost, eager to leave his earthly haunt. As a real estate agent and a womanizer in life, Keith is the perfect partner to teach Rosemary the ins and outs of the real estate business, and he’s perfectly willing to teach her anything else she wants to know.

Frank Perez is a tough guy tattoo artist with ah-so-wide shoulders, and a chest Rosemary can’t wait to get her hands on. He thinks she’s a tease, jerking him around with this ghost story. And it won’t bother the ghost if the tattoo artist just disappears.

Can there be a love triangle between a goodie two-shoes, a tough guy, and a ghost? And how long will Rosemary remain naïve and alive when her less-than-subtle sleuthing drops her and her friends into a sinister years-old plot?

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Book Two: Curve Appeal

Vampires are creatures of legend.

That’s what real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes thought until the day she started hearing them…the voices of lost souls. When Rosemary encounters the ghost of a murdered stripper, she feels compelled to help, but what happens when the ghost’s secret brings Rosemary to the attention of a serial killer?

The dead are drawn to Rosemary like magnets, but must it attract all the kooks as well? Marcus Lyon’s thinks he’s a vampire, and he wants Rosemary to be his personal assistant, his human servant. Rosemary ignores his crazy proposition until Marcus gives her an offer she can’t refuse. Can she work her business, run errands for the vampire and help the lost souls while staying ahead of a killer out for revenge?

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Book Three: Soul in Present Condition

Divorced. Check. Ghost Whisperer. Check. Human Servant. Check. Great. Check.

Real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes never expected to inherit the ability to communicate with spirits, and she certainly didn’t expect her gift to attract the undead as well. Now Rosemary finds herself ghost whisperer to the lost souls stuck at their haunts and human servant to a gorgeous but aloof vampire Marcus Lyons.

Benito Cruz died with a dangerous secret, a secret that connects the ghost to Rosemary. Can Rosemary send the spirit to his final resting place before his past catches up with them, and can she convince the vampire helping spirits like Benito is her destiny?

When real estate and the supernatural come together it is murder.

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About the Author
Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book might have been, “The Haunted Sofa.”

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Her Young Adult series, Affinity, is also humorous but deals with very real life themes. A reviewer said, “Love it. So different. A fun read.”

Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer.

Links
Twitter: @MaryMerrell7
Website: Mary E. Merrell

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Spotlight On: DJ Swykert, Author of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude

Welcome to today’s guest author, DJ Swykert. Be sure to check out the excerpt from The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, below!

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Like my character, Jack, I have always been attracted to the great mysteries of life. While Quantum Mechanics continues to search for a Theory of Everything, so have I. And I can write with authority about addiction, rehabilitation and jail. If you add the desire for a real and loving relationship into the equation you come up with the story of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. Though it is fiction, it’s perhaps the most cathartic piece of writing I have ever produced. Not only does Jack discover anomalies to the large physical world we exist in, but also poignant truths about his own personal little universe.

In his search for the God particle Jack Joseph has lost control of the most important particle of existence, himself. Jack’s intellect may have expanded at the speed of light, but his emotional development is mired in the darkness of addiction. Without change Jack is accelerating towards a personal collision that would render his interest in the cosmic one irrelevant.

Jack is a drop-out physicist cleaning swimming pools to support a lifestyle of addiction and detachment. He has a wife divorcing him, a wealthy woman seducing him and the justice system convicting him. Jack’s personal cosmos is spiraling out of control. When he met Sarah his universe further expanded. The Gravitational Constant he studied at university lacked the velocity with which their galaxies rushed toward one another. It was a life-changing Big Bang. A new and brighter Jack was created and he found his supreme happiness. But there was a lot of space junk in the form of addiction and legal consequences standing in the way of his pool-boy quest toward bliss.

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Pool Boy

Excerpt

I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time.

And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

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The Pool Boy’s Beatitude can be ordered at bookstores or purchased directly from:
http://rebelepublishers.com/
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.magicmasterminds.com

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About the Author

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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: http://www.magicmasterminds.com. He is a wolf expert.

Spotlight On: John Smith – Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars, by Roland Hughes

John Smith -Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars
by Roland Hughes

John Smith Last Known cover

Dystopian – SyFy

Synopsis:

What if the Mayans got the start of the end correct because they had survived it once before? What if our written history was just as accurate as the old tale about three blind men describing an elephant? What if classic science fiction writing and television shows each got a piece of it correct, would you know which ones? If your eyes can only see a tiny portion of a collage do you know it is a collage?

Fans of Babylon 5, Star Trek TNG, Battle Star Galactica (the new one) and classic science fiction writing will enjoy the bountiful Easter Egg hunt contained within. When you were a child you learned to connect paper clips or thread beads together to make a necklace. Sit back and watch the beads you’ve had all your life form the picture you could not see. Consider for one second the possibility of the story, then hang onto your mind with both hands while you take the ride.

Roland Hughes’ Author Bio:
Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in VMS platforms. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems originally created by Digital Equipment Corporation (now owned by Hewlett-Packard).

With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author’s experience is focused on OpenVMS systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author’s unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of OpenVMS in industry.

To read Roland’s non-fiction books, please visit http://www.TheMinimumYouNeedtoKnow.com

To read Roland’s blog, please visit http://www.logikalblog.com

Website: http://johnsmith-book.com/