Friday, July 22, 2016

Writing to Inspire - Erica Tucci




I love to write, but of course, you would expect that from an author! I started writing seriously when I was a teenager during the summer months of my 16th year. An 18-year old university student of my mom (who is a college professor) and I spent the summer together at my home while my parents were out of town. She and I filled notebook upon notebook with poems and quotes and stories. God only knows where all those notebooks ended up. But that was my first foray into the writing world.

Little did I know that writing would become a lifelong passion that has carried me through different rites of passages in my life:

       Moms and Their Young Spirited Boys - having children
       Anything is Possible - true love
       Zesty Womanhood at 40 and Beyond - middle age
       Radiant Survivor - facing life challenges
       And finally Sarah’s Gift - returning to childhood

What all my books have in common is that they all have a message or messages for the appropriate audience, both non-fiction and fiction. I like to write books to inspire others, whether it’s to help a mom dealing with the masculine energy of her young male charges or to help a woman see love, with its many obstacles, as a transformative journey or to help someone survive and thrive after going through a life-altering experience.

As you might surmise, my books are based on my own life experiences. I feel that I, and every other author who writes from the heart, have something to share with others who may be going through similar circumstances and may be seeking some guidance along the way. I may not be a trained psychologist or therapist, but to me, having similar life experiences can be just as effective in helping others break down the barriers that may be keeping them from being all that they can be, no matter what the circumstances.

This is what I strive for myself as an author, and what I strive for in relating my stories to others through the written word. As I say on my Erica Tucci website at www.ericatucci.com/being-a-woman/: “I believe sharing who I am allows other women to feel liberated in sharing who they are and recognizing how closely we connect at the heart. I am you and you are me!”


This can be just as true for all humans. As we all begin to connect more closely in the world, separation and the associated fear gives way to union and love. And isn’t that a better place to be?


Believing In the Magic
Sarah’s Gift
Book Two
Erica Tucci

Genre: Children’s fiction, paranormal, social issues

Publisher: Publish it Write

Date of Publication: July 18, 2016

Word Count: 12,391

Cover Artist: Nada Serafimovic

Book Description:

Sarah is a fifth grader who has psychic abilities - she can see spirits. At school she meets Leila , a fourth grader and finds out that Leila also has psychic abilities. She uses telekinesis to make things happen, but she uses them to get back at kids in school who taunt her. Knowing how it is to be taunted by her peers, Sarah befriends Leila and helps her learn how to use her powers in a good way. In the end, Leila encounters a situation in which her powers “save the day”.



About the Series:

Sarah’s Gift is a series of chapter books for 7-12 year olds about a young girl with psychic abilities, who uses them to harmlessly deal with different life situations. Standing Up for Yourself is about how Sarah deals with a school bully. Believing In the Magic is about how Sarah helps a girl with telekinetic abilities use them in a good way. There will be a book coming out every two months, with several of them being co-authored by youngsters, the third one being one of them.


 “Standing Up for Yourself is a gift that many parents will welcome. It helps parents encourage a child's gift of second sight perception that is all too often written off as ‘just your imagination’. Through the story telling Ms. Tucci provides support for children for their intuitive and psychic gifts. I've noticed how many more children these days are being acknowledged rather than shamed for their capacities to see, hear, and feel those ordinarily non-visible beings that make their appearance known. Both you and your child will thoroughly enjoy this story!” — Dr. Steven Farmer, author of Animal Spirit Guides, Earth Magic, and the Children's Spirit Animal Cards

"I am raving about the second book Believing in the Magic in the Sarah's Book Series by author Erica Tucci. As soon as I started reading the first few pages I couldn't put the book down. As a young child I remember magical moments in my life. I had great intuition and was always helping and healing friends and the creatures that God created. Sarah's story took me back in time to my childhood. Each of us have magical gifts that can be used for the goodness of life just like Sarah...The mindset of positive thinking and using your gifts for the greater good as Sarah brought out helping her friend Leila, are belief systems we all can learn from. In this story the messages are we are our own magic and believe in the power of thought for the greater good...This is a book to read to your children and discuss with them...It's a story of a compassionate friendship with a binding of acceptance in unconditional love."— Cindy Hively, Intuitive Healing Catalyst for Women



Excerpt: Introduction Believing In the Magic

Sarah lay in bed. She had just started reading The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. Her digital clock on her nightstand read 8:30. Stifling a yawn, she turned the page to keep reading; she was engrossed in the book and finding out more about Katie.
“Just for the fun of it, Katie had shifted the air current then so that the pollen drifted under his nose; when he sneezed, Pastor Grooten had to grab for his sermon pages before they sailed off the lecturn.”
Wow! Sarah thought. To be able to move things by just thinking about it. How does Katie do it? But then she thought about what she was able to do. I can talk to ghosts. I wonder if there are others out there who have psychic abilities. I can’t be the only one! Katie was different, like her, just in a different way. Wouldn’t it be nice to meet someone else who was different. There have to be others like her somewhere. Sarah wished she could meet Katie. They could be best friends!
She delved into the book, reading passage after passage of Katie’s harmless pranks: making her horrible babysitter tremble at the sight of a floating fork and creating a gust of wind that caused a door to slam into her pesky neighbor’s face.
Sarah understood Katie’s predicament. Katie had silver eyes and was odd to people around her. Sarah felt the same way. Most people shied away from her because they thought she was “cursed.”
She was so enamored by the book that she read until her eyes became very heavy. She remembered when she was younger how her dad would say “Your eyes are getting heavy; you are getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepy” when he was trying to put her to sleep. How she missed her dad. She knew that he was okay on the other side since her grandmother who had come to her one day told her so. She wondered if he would come to her directly someday. It would be so nice to see him and talk to him, even if he was in spirit and not on the earthly plane anymore.
Turning off her bed lamp and laying her book on her nightstand, Sarah snuggled under her duvet and fell fast asleep. She had no problem falling asleep; in fact, she would fall into such a deep sleep, she would have the most vivid dreams. And that night was no different.
She was sitting in the back seat of her mom’s car peering out the window. The crow came up to her window and started tapping on it with his beak. He started talking to her telepathically. “Pay attention to the magic in the world,” he chirped. “You can create anything you like through magic. Your thoughts are powerful!”

Sarah woke up the next morning thinking about the dream and how she felt that crow was trying to tell her something, but what? She had to put it out of her mind for now since she had to get ready for school. She would ponder over it when she got home in the afternoon.

About the Author:

Erica Tucci had a full life as a corporate manager of a Fortune 500 company, a healing arts business owner and an author. It all came to a screeching halt in June 2011 when she had a stroke. During her recovery, she gained much wisdom about what’s really important in life. Although she was a Reiki master, massage therapist and life coach as well as a corporate cog, she realized that her passion was her books. Her hope now is that the messages of her books will be an inspiration for others, young and old. Her most recent venture has been her Sarah’s Gift series, chapter books for 7-12 year olds about a young girl with psychic abilities, which speak to the children with special gifts, helping them deal with different life situations. Her other books include Moms and Their Young Spirited Boys (1998), Anything is Possible, a novel based on a true love story (2011), Zesty Womanhood at 40 and Beyond (2011), Radiant Survivor (2013 - Amazon bestseller), and most recently the first book of the Sarah’s Gift series Standing Up for Yourself (2016 - Amazon bestseller). The second book Believing In the Magic will be available for pre-order June 30 and is being released July 18.

For more information, visit








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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Giveaway and Sale The After Effect by Rose Shababy








I’m very excited about the release of my latest novel, The After Effect. You’ll find people with incredible powers, intrigue, romance, an awesome battle, all the pieces integral to any good superhero story. I love my superheroes, the idea of amazing people with extraordinary abilities.

So, in honor of that great love, I thought I’d share my top ten favorite superheroes from television or movies. 

1. Jessica Jones (Netflix series, 2015) – All I can say is, if you haven’t watched this awesome series on Netflix, you need to get on it right away. Jessica is everything I love in a hero. Tragic and flawed, tough as nails, but deep down she possesses a tenderness of heart that moves me to tears. This series is almost perfect in every way.

2. Professor Xavier from X-Men (movie, 2000) – Okay, so this one is partly because the incomparable Sir Patrick Stewart plays the role of Professor Xavier. Sir Patrick happens to be the great love of my life, although he doesn’t know it… yet. My love of the character started well over twenty years ago with the comics and cartoon series from the 90’s, but came to fruition with this movie. Sir Patrick also played my favorite fictional character, Captain Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, so this one may be a little biased. Still, he brings a dignity and class to any role he plays, something few actors can accomplish.


3. Rogue from X-Men (animated series, 1992-1997) – Speaking of the animated series, we come to my next favorite character. Despite her clich├ęd accent, Rogue is a tragic character. Unable to touch another human being but longing for a great love, she is left on the fringe of society and even the X-Men themselves. A beautiful and complicated character, she tugs at my heartstrings every time. 

4. Deadpool (movie, 2016) – I hate to jump on the bandwagon here, especially when it comes to a character I wasn’t super familiar with prior to the movie coming out, but this movie and the character were ridiculously fun to watch. Crass, violent and hilarious, every second of this movie was worth watching, and Deadpool himself was a strangely likable character.


5. Ralph Hinkley from The Greatest American Hero (TV, 1981-1986) – I absolutely loved this guy. If I suddenly gained amazing strength and speed, I’d be just as much a bumbling fool as this guy. He makes me feel like ordinary people can still be awesome heroes.

6. The Tick (TV, 2001) – It pisses me off that this awesome series was only on for one season. Patrick Warburton was the perfect actor to play the titular character. Every second of this superhero parody cracked me up, and with one liners like “gravity is a harsh mistress,” and “don’t be an Adolph Quitler,” or dialogue like “Death. The eternal blink. The capricious dance of Now Ya Stop Movin' Forever. Well contrary to popular belief, death isn't just for dead people. It can happen to anyone. I know, it's news to me too. And it's not just people either, it's all kinds of stuff. Horses, fiddler crabs. Did you know that even a potato... can die?” It’s no wonder each moment The Tick is on the screen is a gem.


7. Wonder Woman (TV, 1975-1979) – Watching this as a young girl, it was the first time I considered that women could be powerful, heroic figures just as much as men. The diminutive Lynda Carter plays the Amazon princess Diana, which shouldn’t have worked but somehow did, kicking ass and taking names. Beautiful and independent, I wanted to grow up to be her. 

8. Nick Knight from Forever Knight (TV, 1992-1996) – This one is a little bit of a stretch, as Nick Knight isn’t technically a superhero, rather an 800 year old vampire working as a homicide detective on the graveyard shift. This Canadian series follows him through the gritty underbelly of Toronto as he tries to redeem himself through his work while attempting to regain his humanity. As far as I’m concerned, he every bit the tragic hero, plus this series possesses a depth and nuance that sucked me in the first time I watched it.

9. Flash Gordon (movie, 1980) – Oh, my goodness, this movie is filled with so much campy goodness, I don’t know where to start. Flash might not be a superhero in possession of awesome powers, but his character was birthed from the age of the great American athlete and scholar, when men were men and the lines between good and evil were clearly delineated. Plus, any movie that can get Freddy Mercury and Queen to write the soundtrack is a win in my book.

10. Marv - Sin City (movie, 2005) – Easily my favorite character from this graphic novel movie, Marv is a great hulking powerhouse of a man. Make that a battering ram. Again, not a true superhero, especially in light of his penchant for breaking necks and tearing out eyeballs, but somehow he still possesses a certain nobility. We see it in his devotion Nancy, which is really just a metaphor for his desire to protect the innocent. How could you not like a guy like that? 

The After Effect
Renegade Heroes Series
Book Two
Rose Shababy

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Sci-fi

Publisher: Super Sheroes LLC

Date of Publication: July 19th, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9904620-3-3
ASIN: B01GSMOAE0

Number of pages: 228 approx.
Word Count: 72,757

Cover Artist: Regina Wamba

Maximum Ride meets Sin City in the Renegade Heroes series!

Kasey and his friends are fringe heroes. They use their abilities to protect society, until their last battle leaves Kasey almost dead. Disillusioned, they leave the city in search of peace.

But peace is the last thing they’ll find. Ever since Kasey escaped the cold fingers of death, his powers have been running wild. It doesn’t take long for his girlfriend, Blue, and the others to notice.

In the lush forests of northern Idaho they meet a brand new hero whose shocking revelation sheds new light on Kasey’s strange behavior.

And with her revelation comes a terrible solution none of them can accept.

Worse still, Kasey soon comes face to face with the nightmares of his past.

Will the heroes find the strength to face the consequences of their mistakes? Or will Kasey be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice?

 On Sale .99

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The Blue Effect
Renegade Heroes
Book One
Rose Shababy
                       
Blue Brennan is jaded and bitter despite her pinup girl looks and quick wit. Night after night, she scours the Seattle club scene looking for someone or something to fill the emptiness inside.

When she meets the mysterious Kasey, her world stops… literally. He claims she has the ability to control time and stuns her even further when he reveals his own gifts.
Blue is inexplicably drawn to Kasey and reluctantly enters his world filled with a new breed of humanity. They’re misfits like her, blessed or cursed with powerful abilities, struggling to hide their differences from the rest of society.

Then the group discovers a nameless, faceless sociopath with nightmarish powers; and he’s coming for Blue. She’s left reeling when they discover her gifts are the key to defeating his terrible evil and saving them all.


Now she must race against the clock to harness her own powers and save her new friends. Can she be more than a renegade? Can she be a hero too?



Excerpt:

After the events of the morning, everyone seemed to need some private time, especially Blue. She went to our room and crawled back into bed, claiming to still be tired from the night before. Esme and Avery retreated outside, while Val and Ash went to town to go bowling with the couple they met the night before.
I sat by myself in the living room, remote in hand and flipping mindlessly through channels. With no one in close vicinity, I didn’t have to work to block out random thoughts and impressions. I stretched out on the couch and let myself relax completely, a rarity for me. No walls in my mind, no struggle for control, no confusion as I tried to sort out all the voices.
I came across the movie Casablanca as I scrolled through channels, and stopped. Something about the movie spoke to me, reminded me of me and Blue. I wondered if it was the depth of Rick and Ilsa’s love for each other that mirrored mine and Blue’s.
Maybe it’s the hopelessness of it, the voice inside me mocked. She has to give him up to do the right thing, and he has to push her to do it. Just as you’ll have to push Blue. There’s nothing you can do to change it. At least she’ll have Avery to comfort her after you’re gone.
Once again, the foreign anger inside me growled to life.
In defiance I pushed the channel up button on the remote, flipping through channels until I found one playing music videos and a close up of a woman’s face filled the screen.
Zelda, I thought as I studied her features. Despite Blue’s denial, I could still see a resemblance between the two of them. Zelda wore heavy makeup so it was hard to tell, and she seemed taller, leaner, and had longer features, but the similarities were there.
Her brow wrinkled as she sang, and the sadness in her eyes seemed to seep through the screen.
Stuck inside a life of maybe
Finding bliss in erratic shifts
I watch you avoiding me
Sin-free and quietly

Keep your hands clean
Keep your mind free
Never touch me
Forget to love me

We can be pure
so we can be godly
We can be meek
so we can be lonely

Open your eyes
Free from the guise
No longer hypnotized
Breaking out

Searching for a beautiful life
Somebody else’s life
Can I start over this life?
Breaking out

Something about her singing made me uneasy as I stared at her. The song was a kind of ballad, but still possessed an edge, an undeniable hardness. The mournful expression of earlier now seemed like a persona, fake sorrow. I turned the television off and laid back, closing my eyes, trying to quell the uneasiness.
I pushed the song from my mind, thinking about the events of the previous night, as well as this morning. I wondered if Rayne’s solution was truly the only way to fix things, but it was the image of Blue’s tear-stained face that haunted me as I fell asleep.
***
Home, I realized. I was home. I looked around the small room as I pulled the nightshirt in my hands over my head. The water closet, the old bed with the rusted frame, the bare wooden floor slats. I looked down at my hands and realized they were those of a child.
Suddenly, a gunshot rang out from the other room, and I dropped to the floor behind the bed as angry voices barked orders through the wall.
The door burst open and I scurried under the bed as a man dressed in camouflage and carrying a rifle marched in, dragging my sister Zoya by her hair. She screamed and I clamped a hand over my mouth to keep from screaming as well.
My father rushed into the room, yelling at the man until another soldier came up from behind and struck him on the back of the head with the butt of his own rifle.
Zoya screamed as our father crumpled to the ground, blood gushing from the wound at the back of his head. From under the bed, I watched it pool beneath him before one of the soldier’s dragged him from the room, the blood streaking across the floor in a gruesome smear. The first soldier shut the door behind him.
I watched as Zoya twisted herself around the soldier’s leg, biting him hard on the calf. The man backhanded her with a force that knocked her to the floor.
She lay still for a moment, facing the bed, until her eyes landed on me. Her voice filled my mind. Do not move, brother. Do not make a sound.
The soldier heaved her off the floor and threw her on the bed. The bedsprings flexed above me, and I flattened myself against the wooden slats of the floor to avoid being crushed.
The sound of Zoya crying filled my ears, and I squeezed my eyes shut as if I doing so could block out the noise. A wave of nausea hit me and suddenly, I found myself staring up at the soldier as he ripped the clothes off my body. In the same moment, I realized I was also staring down at Zoya as I shredded her clothes with strong, unfamiliar hands. 
I felt the screams tearing out of my throat as mad panic overwhelmed my senses, barely able to separate the image of the soldier above me and Zoya below.
A second later, the maniacal glee of the soldier ripped through me, and I couldn’t hold back my screams any longer.
I screamed until my throat was hoarse, until the screams turned to great heaving sobs. Only then did I hear the voice calling my name.
“Kasimir,” the voice soothed. “Shh. Open your eyes, little one.”
Peeking through my eyelids, I saw Zoya’s face peering at me under the bed. She reached out a hand.
“Come, little one, you are safe.”
“But you’re dead,” I breathed as I put my hand in hers and she helped me from under the bed. I looked around in wonder.
The walls had fallen away, and the bedroom sat in the middle of a clearing, a lush forest surrounding it on all sides as the sun shone down on us.
I looked at our joined hands and realized the hand that held hers belonged to an adult. The childish persona I had adopted in the dream had disappeared.
“That’s right,” I said aloud. “This is a dream.”
“Are you certain?” Zoya asked with a smile. “Just because you are not awake does not mean you are dreaming. I have been trying to communicate with you for a long time, but it was not until you understood what was happening that I was able to break through.”
“If this isn’t a dream, then what is it?”
“You are between,” she said. 
“Between what?”
“Between spaces. Between worlds.” She pointed toward the woods. “Look, there. Do you see it?”
I stared in the direction she pointed, and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the woods, I began to see a black void deep in the trees. At first I thought it was just the darkness of the woods itself, but after a moment I could see the outline of the void. The edges writhed and seethed as if alive, and the entire void blurred and shimmered like a puddle of oil.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It is the other side.” She lifted her hand again, this time pointing in the opposite direction. “And there. That is the world you know.”
I looked, this time shocked to see a ghost image of me sleeping on the couch projected against the trees.
Zoya continued, pointed at the ground beneath us. “This space is the crack between worlds. This is what you created when you died and went back. This is you.”
I nodded. “I understand. I just don’t know how to fix it.”
Zoya gave me a sad smile. “Yes, you do. Look again,” she said as she pointed back to the void.
I looked again, and suddenly I could see long, tentacle-like strands from the void snaking across the clearing, their thin fingers wrapped around me.
I cried out and tried to shake them off, but they moved and slid over my skin like oily, black mercury.
 “Just as you are attached to the world you know, you are now attached to the other side,” Zoya told me. “As long as you are attached to both worlds, they will continue to merge.”
“What will happen if the worlds merge?” I asked.
Her smiled disappeared. “Ultimate chaos. Both worlds will be lost.” Her voice took on a tone of urgency. “You must seal the rift before it is too late. If you do not, everything you love will be destroyed.”
I thought of Blue and realized that if I had to die, I couldn’t think of a better reason.
I looked at Zoya. “How do I fix it?”
 “You must go back. The pieces of that world you see attached to you will follow you back in, and the rift will seal itself.”
“Is there any way I can seal it and stay with Blue?” I asked.
Zoya frowned. “As long as you are attached to the other side, you cannot stay with her.”
“She won’t let go easily,” I told her.
“No,” my sister agreed. “She loves you as deeply as any person has ever loved another. I am glad you found such a love, little one, even if only for a short while.”
I stared at her, as if realizing for the first time who I was talking to, and I reached for her hand again. “I wish you could meet her. I miss you, sister.”
She pulled me into an embrace. “I have been with you since the rift was opened,” she whispered against my ear. “Fighting to protect you. I will stay with you as long as I can.”
I pulled away and looked at her worried face. “What do you mean?”
She glanced toward the void. “There are others who are not so benevolent. I fight them as much as I can, but I cannot fight them all. Your mind is too open. The barriers are down, and the others are trying to use you to gain access to the other side. If they overwhelm you, you will be lost forever and the side you know, her world,” she said pointedly, and I knew she meant Blue, “will be lost along with you.”
I nodded, tears filling my eyes as I looked at my sister. “Is it terrible, Zoya? The other side?”
“No,” she smiled. “Those of the light, stay within the light, and those of the dark, stay within the dark. I existed in place of pure joy. The two sides have begun to merge only since the rift was created. If you repair it, all will be as it was.” 
Zoya glanced at the void again, before looking back at me with fearful eyes. “It is time for you to wake up, little one, but before I go, one last warning. The past may be gone, but it is not dead. Very soon you will come face to face with your nightmares.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
The void emitted a strange mix of moaning and hissing, and Zoya’s frantic eyes darted to the abyss. “No time,” she whispered. “Wake up!”
***
I gasped for air as I woke, rolling off the couch in my panic. I hit the floor with a heavy thud.
As my breathing calmed, I replayed the dream in my mind. Not a dream, I reminded myself. It may have started out just like my nightmares, but it definitely hadn’t ended like one.
I warmed as I thought of Zoya. Ever since I lost my family, I’d tried to put it in the past and forget what happened. I’d told myself to look to the future and focus on becoming the person I wanted to be.
Now I realized the past stayed with us no matter how much we tried to ignore it. By trying to ignore it, I had dishonored the memory of my family. I had dishonored Zoya.
“I will do better,” I said aloud. “I promise you, Zoya, I will make things right.”



About the Author:

Rose Shababy and her family reside in eastern Washington State. Rose grew up in the Northwest but swears she’s going to move to warmer climates someday. She’s claimed this for over 20 years, however, and has yet to move more than 75 miles away from her mother.

Rose has a deep love of all things Star Trek and yearns to travel the heavens, as well as an intense desire to be bitten by a radioactive spider. Unfortunately she sucks at science and math so she hasn’t been able bring her dreams to life, instead living vicariously through books, comics, television and film. She hopes to someday make a million dollars so she can afford to buy her way to the international space station, but she’d settle for being able to fly around the world and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Rose also loves to cook and worked for years in a gourmet Italian grocery and deli where she learned to hone her skills. She prepares culinary masterpieces for her family, but fervently wishes the dishes would wash themselves. Especially now that her dishwashers/children are nearly grown and only one still lives at home.

Rose likes to use her free time wisely. For instance, she likes to daydream, will often read for hours until she falls asleep on the couch with an electric blanket and a warm tabby cat curled up on her hip, as well as spending cozy weekend days watching Syfy movies like Sharknado and Mega Piranha with her husband.

If Rose were a cartoon animal, she’d prefer to be a wise old owl or a sleek and sexy jaguar, but in reality she’d probably be a myopic mole with coke-bottle glasses.







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Out of the Frying Pan by Julia Talbot





Out of the Frying Pan
Fearless 7
Julia Talbot

Genre: Gay romance, action adventure

Publisher: All Romance

Date of Publication:  July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945193-22-4

Word Count: 20000

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill

Book Description:

Trust comes at a price.

Jenson Parkinson can't believe it when Sloane Marlen shows up at his Colorado mountain fire station. They were lovers years ago, until Sloane broke Jenson's trust, and his heart.

Sloane knows he's not guilty of the misdeeds Jenson believes he committed, but he never figured out how to convince Jenson. Or how to get over him. Can Sloane grab this second chance with both hands and teach Jenson he's worthy of trust... and love?



Excerpt:

“The training session will start tomorrow morning at nine AM.” Jenson looked at his guys, some of them volunteer, a few career, and gave them the stern eye. “I know we all have jobs to do, but they’re expecting a wildfire season like no other this year thanks to the drought, and the Forestry Service wants all able bodied personnel to be able to dig firelines, offer support to hot shots and smokejumpers, and know how not to die.”

They all murmured, but no one argued. Carroll, Colorado was big enough to have a permanent fire crew only because of the ski areas that surrounded it, the population transient but relatively wealthy. Their very existence in this Rocky Mountain paradise was predicated on the fact that people had expensive homes and vacation rentals which they’d never let burn down. Jenson frickin’ loved his life. He didn’t want to have to move back to Denver or Boulder or someplace.

“They’re sending several scientists who should help map possible fire routing and containment, as well as two of their lead trainers in hot shots and smokejumping. In addition to our regular duties, we’ll be giving full attention and support to the training team so that we can deploy and offer assistance during the wildfire season. Clear?”

His men and women all nodded, and Jenson gave them all a tight smile. “Good deal. Assignments have been posted for the new shifts. See Josh for all the deets.” Jenson left the meeting room, ready to get on with his day as best he could. He had to get the station ready for the influx of personnel he was about to have, not just the trainers but the firefighters from other small towns around the area. He knew it was a coup for the mayor that Carroll was chosen for this big get together of high mucky mucks, but really, all he knew was he was going to be handing out coffee and doughnuts to a bunch of assholes who did a lot of dick measuring and making a mess in his territory.

“You ready for this, Cap?” Carson Diets asked. Carson was a Forestry guy, and he worked closely with the Carroll department to keep their area clear and keep the campers educated.

“No.” He winked, though, trying for light and happy. “If I get through this without losing my shit we’ll all be grateful. It’s good for the guys, though, right? Trading ideas and shit.”

“Yep.” Carson stepped close and lowered his voice. “There are a couple of real big names in the biz coming, Jenson. Just be diplomatic, huh?”

“Don’t make you look bad, is that what you’re saying?” He grimaced. “Come on, man, I got your back. You know that.”

“I do know that.” Carson clapped him on the back. “I also know you have a reputation for ruling this place with an iron fist and being pissy when someone invades your territory.”

“Well, I’ll try to be all sweetness and light. I don’t suppose you have a roster of who’s coming so I can prepare myself?”


“I do.” Carson pulled out his phone. “I’ll email it to you.”

“Great. Thanks.” His head started to throb, his temples tight and his neck freezing up. Lord. He needed more coffee before he could deal with this shit. His phone chimed, an email popping up from Carson when he looked at his notifications. Jenson walked into his office and set up his K-Cup coffee maker for a hazelnut cream latte. That was his one luxury, because he was from Boulder, dammit. He loathed the Folgers sludge the other guys seemed to adore so much.

He sat at his desk and opened the email, a forward of an interdepartmental memo. When he read the list of presenters, Jenson’s eyes widened. Oh, Jesus fuck. No way. He tried to blink away the name he’d just read, but when he opened his eyes it was still there.

Sloane Marlen.

Jenson leaned back in his chair, letting his head thunk against the backrest. He hadn’t seen Sloane since they were probies, and he really never wanted to see the bastard again.


There wasn’t enough coffee on earth to make this shitty day better now. Jenson was never gonna make it through tomorrow.

About the Author:

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Samhain Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, All Romance eBooks and Changeling Press. She believes in stories that leave a mark, and that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter.

For more information on other books by Julia, please visit her official website:




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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Guest Blog - Release Day Blitz Highland Yearning by Dawn Ireland




When Meggan Connor and I decided to each contribute a story to our Highland Sons Anthology, we hadn’t anticipated we’d be drawn into the world of the Mackays. It wasn’t enough to say we were going to write about this very special clan. We needed a theme, so this legend was born:

The Legend of the Ring of Belief

Forged in a castle out of time and place,
the Ring of Belief brings prosperity and love to those it chooses.
Bequeathed to Clan MacKay for defending natural magic
its bearer is presented with a chance to believe.
Each descendant’s choice will determine their ultimate happiness or despair.


The Ring of Belief has a variety of powers that are controlled by the witches who created the ring. They have been watching over the Mackays for centuries, helping the clan survive because of a past service done for them by Laird Mackay.

One of the ring’s powers is time travel. In my new release, Highland Yearning, Elspbeth, a Ring of Belief witch gives the dog in the story (Scruffy) a choice. He can choose to go back in time with the heroine or remain in our century. Of course, this bit of information can’t be in the book, because dogs can’t talk. But, as an author, I’m privy to the ‘inside scoop.’
Our valiant little Scruffy knows Ariel needs him, so he agrees to go back with her. Of course, he didn’t know he’d have to contend with wildcats, or villains, or the Mackay. Of the three, you can guess who makes him the angriest.

I hope my readers will find humor, mystery, romance and magic in Highland Yearning. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story. You can contact me at Dawn@dawn-ireland.com or go to my website www.Dawn-Ireland.com .   



Highland Yearning
The Mackay Saga
Dawn Ireland

Genre: Highland Time Travel (set in 1775)

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication: July 20th

ASIN: B01FMX5KXG

Number of pages: 249 (pdf)
Word Count: 70,000

Cover Artist: Fiona

Book Description:

Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alone marry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman Caden’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own? 

Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century? 


Excerpt:

“Are we done, lassie?” Caden’s voice sounded tight. Almost as if he were speaking through his teeth.
“I guess so.” She turned and leaned back against the rough stone. “We’ve searched all the rooms in this part of the tower.”
“And thanks to you, every person we came across thinks I’m bedding you.”
“Would you rather I let them know we were searching for what they consider to be an imaginary ring?” She inclined her head. “I had to come up with some reason for us to be alone in the upstairs bedrooms.”
“They’ll never truly believe I’d bed a Sutherland.”
Ariel reined in her anger. “Yes, they will. After all, your brother is about to marry a Sutherland.”
He came to within a foot of her. “Nay, he will not.” His tone softened. “Don’t you ken what other men will think of you, lassie?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“They’ll believe they can take liberties, and you’ve no one to protect you.”
“You’re worried about my safety?”
“Aye.”
When was the last time someone worried about her? Her heart did a little twist. “That’s sweet, but I can take care of myself.”
“But your reputation—”
“Isn’t a problem. After all, I’m not staying. If anything, you need to worry about your reputation.” She bit her lip to keep from laughing at the mixture of frustration and confusion on his face.
She shook her head. “We left some of those rooms in five or ten minutes. Word could get around that you are . . . shall we say, less than adequate.”

He smiled, amusement crinkling the corners of his eyes. “Then I’d have to prove otherwise to every lassie who questioned it.” His voice lowered and he studied her face. “Would you be wondering about my capabilities?” 

About the Author

“Once Upon a Time” are four of Dawn’s favorite words, because she never knows where they will lead. She writes stories to remind herself that even though things may seem bleak, there is always the possibility of a “Happily Ever After.” If along the way she makes readers smile, cry or see the magic in their everyday lives, then she’s done her job.

Dawn’s written several award-winning novels set in Georgian England and the Highlands – an era filled with rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy “Society” as they pursue love, run away, pursue, run away – well, you get the idea.  
Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. What other profession encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?

When she’s not writing, Dawn may be found singing, gardening, learning to play the harp or wood carving. She lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband and very independent cats.

Dawn hopes you’ll read her books, and together you’ll bring to life characters that aren’t perfect, but have a story to tell.







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