Wednesday, February 18, 2015

You died in April 1965, a month before your fifth birthday. Guilt by Joan Ellis Book Tour & Giveaway

http://www.fireandicebooktours.com/psychological-thriller-book-tour-giveaway-guilt-by-joan-ellis-21615-31615/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 2/16/15 – 3/16/15
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Crime
Tour Promo Price: 99p (UK) 1.49 (US Dollars) 1.99 (Canadian Dollars)
Free with Kindle Unlimited!




Blurb:
'You died in April 1965, a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before Mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.'
Seven year old Susan is alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose. The guilt informs the rest of her life. When it threatens to destroy not only her but her relationship with her baby, she must revisit her past to discover the truth. The outcome is as wonderful as it is horrific.


Excerpt:
Don’t, Mark,’ I said as you grabbed Mum’s bottle of ‘sweets’, but you weren’t used to doing as you were told. She let you do whatever you wanted. Besides, you were too busy to listen to me. When you couldn’t unscrew the lid, you wrapped a tea-towel round it just like you had seen her do countless times before. I’ll never forget the look of triumph on your face when you finally got the top off.
Mum will be angry,’ I warned.
Don’t tell. Cross your heart and hope to die,’ you said. You were concentrating hard on removing the cotton wool stopper and tipping the pills into your hand. Too many for you to hold, you dropped some and watched as they skittered across the floor.
Damn!’
Ssch! That’s a bad word, Mark.’
Daddy says it,’ you replied, showing me your treasure. The sweets looked lemony, like they might taste of sherbet. Where was the harm? After all, Mum took them all the time and she was fine, sort of. Perhaps she said they’d make you ill because she wanted to keep them all for herself. I reached out to take one, my fingertips just brushing the smooth surface.
Dare you, Susan.’
No,’ I told you, standing back, knowing how cross Mum would be when she found out. ‘I’m not playing.’
I’d like to tell you what happened next but I can’t, Mark. Whatever it was, is hidden, masked by too many memories. It’s the reason I’m talking to you; I need you to help me discover what went on.
As I waited for Dad to come home, the only sound was the ticking of the clock, its black hands unstoppable, moving unstintingly around its hard, miserable face. I will never forget the exact moment he got home. The little hand was on the eight and the big hand just past the nine when I heard his key in the lock. Then I saw his face, which was one enormous gaping mouth when he spotted you on the floor and me curled up next to you, like a dog.
Mark’s asleep and he won’t wake up.’
What happened?’ he yelled from the hole in his face.
I wanted to tell him, I really did but the words were stuck. I pointed to Mum’s ‘sweets’ scattered across the scratched Linoleum like yellow polka dots. Fists clenched into weapons, eyes wild, Dad stood in the doorway, staring down at you. I had seen him angry many times but never like this. He ran over to you, looked like he was going to kneel down but then walked away. He paced the room, his eyes on you the whole time. I started crying, begging him to do something to wake you up.
Shut-up!’ he cried dashing into the hall. I thought he was phoning for help but I didn’t hear him speak to anyone. After what felt like forever, he came back and flung himself down beside you, forcing his fingers into your mouth. When he brought them out they were covered in slime. He wiped the stuff on his trousers, then pinched your tiny nose between his thumb and forefinger and put his mouth over yours, like he was about to give you a kiss. You still didn’t wake up and I watched in horror as he placed his massive hands on you, completely covering your chest, pushing down gently at first but when you didn’t open your eyes, pumping harder and harder, faster and faster.
Don’t!’ I screamed running over to try to pull him off you. ‘You’ll hurt him.’
He swatted me away and put his ear to your chest. Nothing. Silence. More silence than I had ever heard.


Buy Links:

Kindle
Amazon UK
Amazon 

Paperback
Amazon UK
Amazon



About the Author:
Advertising copywriter, comedy writer, performer, lecturer – Joan Ellis has been them all. With a full-time job in a top London advertising agency and a new baby, she did what any right-minded woman would’ve done and set up a comedy club. She even appeared on the same bill as Jo Brand. Once.
A career highlight was casting a black and white moggie as Humphrey Bogart for her award-winning cat food commercial. Other great performers who brought her words to life include Penelope Keith and Harry Enfield.
As a lecturer, Joan taught comedian Noel Fielding all he knows about advertising before encouraging him to showcase his creative talents on a wider stage.
Working for The Press Association, she tutored Wordsworth’s great-grandson in the art of copywriting: Buy a host of golden daffodils and get a blue one, free!
Suffering from swine flu and sweating like a pig, she moved from London to the Isle of Wight where she lives on cream teas with her beloved husband, daughter and two cats.

Connect With The Author:
Website 

Giveaway:
Win one of five copies of The Killing of Mummy’s Boy (pdf) or a $12 Amazon gift card! Six winners. Open WW. Enter 2/16/15 – 3/16/15.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Guest Post: D. U. Okonkwo Talks Publishing on the Rise Book Tour and Giveaway

Guest Post:

Getting published was a gradual process for me. After Rise had undergone various rounds of revisions, including having a professional freelance editor take it apart,  I did what first time writers do: sought to get Rise traditionally published. Even though the book industry was changing drastically and more authors were empowering themselves by publishing themselves, I had my head buried way too deeply in the old system to fully understand the new changes taking place!
 
After about four years of revising the book, sending it out to agents and publishers and getting close but not close enough to land a publishing deal, I finally…finally started to research into what was really happening within the industry. I soon learned that more and more readers are buying books online, that bookstore shelves are dwindling; holding more cuddly toys and board games than books. I also discovered that readers aren’t concerned with who a  book is published by, what they want is a good quality book reasonably priced, and so that was what I aimed for.  
 
In this new digital age, it  is very easy for authors to publish themselves, retain the licensing rights to their work. This means retaining control of their work. This is huge. I believe that authors generations past would have jumped at this opportunity that we authors now have at our disposable.
 
A literary agent was considering Rise for representation at the time I decided to self-publish, and so I emailed her and withdraw Rise from submission I then set up my own publishing company, then set about putting my publishing together. I’m subscribed to several great industry blogs such as The Book Designer, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing,, Book Marketing Tools, and The Creative Penn, just to name a few. All of the sites offer great information on how to self-publish the right way.
 
My publishing team includes: an editor, cover designer, and a formatter. All of these came recommended from either the blogs I mentioned above, or by other authors. I paid for these services only once, and I found great deals which made the whole process very affordable.
 
Next I ordered ISBN numbers from the UK ISBN agency. Again this was very simple to do, and the ISBNs, which you fill out a form to receive, landed in my inbox a few days after submitting the ISBN application.  I was issued with ten ISBNs, and I used three of those ISBNs for Rise: one for my paperback version, another for my eBook version, and will use a third for the audiobook of RISE. It means I have seven ISBNs left to use on forthcoming novels.
 
Publishing on online retailers such as Amazon is as easy as filling out a form and attaching a file. For readers who don’t own a Kindle as an ereading device, I partnered with Draft2Digital to reach them. It’s amazing that in this day and age, an author has the same reach as a large publisher, as publishers also upload their authors books to these same online retailers.
 
When I first heard of self/indie publishing, it seemed overwhelming, but I have to admit I’ve really enjoyed the business side of getting my book to market. I didn’t think I would, but I love the sense of empowerment that being in control of your own creative work gives. I decide where and how I publish my book, and when. I decide on how I want my cover to look, and I decide which companies I distribute Rise through. Beautiful.
 
Some authors don’t enjoy the business side of publishing. Truth is though, in every job there are aspects that we may not enjoy. But I think that sometimes we have to either learn to like it or just suck it up and get our heads down and get those aspects done. The alternative is to give someone else the power to make money on your behalf. In this case, you have to pray that the people or company that you’ve given control of your book to makes the right business decisions on your behalf, and pays you fairly.  
 
I have fully embraced the digital age. I’m grateful that I was born at such  a time as this. More importantly, I give thanks every day that I decided to learn more about what was happening in the industry so I could make an informed business decision that works for me.  
 
 
D. U. Okonkwo
 

http://www.fireandicebooktours.com/coming-of-age-book-tour-giveaway-rise-a-novel-rejection-is-a-lie-by-d-u-okonkwo-12615-22315/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 1/26/15 – 2/23/15
Genres: Mainstream, Literary, Spirituality, Coming of Age







Blurb: Riana “Ria” Ofor is a gifted sculptress whose beautiful creations could draw crowds. But due to the childhood accident that left her facially scarred, she avoids selling her work publicly, instead scraping a living through online sales. However, when a home repossession notice arrives, both her love of sculpting, as well as her home, suddenly come under threat.

Now she is forced to step out of her comfort zone and enter the very public world of gallery showings. When she does land a gallery contract, she then finds herself the target of a rival artist after the very same contract. Using malicious lies about Ria, he intends to make her regret taking what should have been his. Now, Ria must look to find a truth that conquers all lies.

Excerpt:
Chapter one.
Ria appreciated the beauty of the headless female sculpture standing before her. A sculpture without its head has its own particular beauty. Strong sculpted legs, intricately crafted torso and powerful shoulders – the beauty of creation.
She squatted in front of the sculpture and ran a slender hand over its flanks. The modeling clay she had chosen had done its job; its durability ensuring the legs of the sculpture came out strong and smooth, the hips gently curved. Seven weeks into the making, this piece would be larger than any piece she had previously sculpted, and certainly more challenging.
Here in her art studio, which spanned the basement of her small house in London’s Island Gardens, clay statues of ancient kings and queens graced the long wooden shelves resting against ivory walls. A small sink sat at the far right end against the wall beside a large white storage cupboard, snug beside a two-seater. A small stereo, which she only turned on when sketching, rested on the table beside it.
Time to begin the head, she decided, as she rose gracefully to her feet. Creating the head was her favorite part. If the legs, shoulders, and torso possessed their own particular beauty, then how she created a sculpture’s head showcased its personality – laughing eyes, a slanted mouth, and a molded chin. These will bring out the figure’s humorous manner.
Ria got to her feet. A slim young woman with close-cropped, tightly-curled black hair; she had a dewy, dark chocolate complexion. And with a delicate oval face, even the faded pink burn scars that ran from the apples of her cheekbones down to her collarbone, her classic beauty couldn’t be marred. 
She reached for her apron and tied it around her long-sleeved white t-shirt and soft faded blue jeans. Sculpting was arduous and messy work, but one of the perks of being a full-time sculptress was that she went to work in her most comfortable clothes.
She moved to where the armature waited atop the worktable. Shaped like an egg, an armature’s rigid metal framework ensured effective structuring of a sculpture’s head.
Collecting an armful of old newspapers from the storage cupboard in the corner, she rolled the papers into balls then began to fill the armature with them. Once thoroughly packed, she secured the head in place with a small plastic bag. Now for the clay. She took a moment to relish the solid, yet light weight of it in her hand. Then, detail by detail, piece by piece, she began adding more and more clay to the stuffed plastic bag, melding and smoothing it against the bag’s slippery surface. She hummed as she worked, following the measurements she had set out when the idea had first came into her head. Her deft and skilful fingers, armed with her trusted sculpting chisel, manipulated the clay.
The sharp slap of the letter box upstairs stopped her. She stretched her arms high over her head, working out the stiffness in her shoulders caused by bending over the armature. She crossed to the sink and washed her hands, then proceeded to leave the studio, heading up pink carpeted stairs to the ground floor.
She plucked the white envelope lying on the doormat. Early morning sunlight shone through the glass panel in the front door, and the click of women’s heels sounded on the pavement outside as they carried a neighbour to work. Once the morning rush was over as everyone had either left for work or school, she would go for her daily morning walk and then fuel up with a green juice.
She broke the seal of the envelope and pulled out the letter. 
Dear Ms. Ofor,
Account No: 17032007-55GM Property: 55 Garden Mews
 Please be informed that payment due on the above-referenced account has not been made. We have made several unsuccessful attempts to contact you. Our records show that your account is in arrears by £11,509.
 Please make arrangements to clear the outstanding amount within 28 days, otherwise the case will be escalated to our solicitors, whereupon they may be forced to take legal action resulting in the repossession of the property.
 If you have since made arrangements to clear the aforementioned amount, please ignore this letter.
 Ria’s stomach dropped somewhere below ground level, and the noose of the repossession notice only tightened further around her neck, almost choking her.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Apple iBooks
Google Play
Kobo
Nook 





 

About the Author:
D. U. Okonkwo was born and raised in London. An avid reader from childhood, she began writing her own stories at the age of ten. She holds a BSc Hons degree in Business with Spanish, and is currently working on her second novel.

Connect With The Author:
Facebook
Twitter 

Giveaway:
Win a $25 Amazon gift card on the Rise: A Novel – Rejection is a lie… by D.U. Okonkwo book tour! Open WW. Enter 1/26/15 – 2/23/15.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Arabesque: Dancing on the Edge in Los Angeles by Cherie Magnus

http://www.fireandicebooktours.com/memoir-book-tour-arabesque-dancing-on-the-edge-in-los-angeles-by-cherie-magnus/


Arabesque: Dancing on the Edge in Los Angeles by Cherie Magnus

A prequel to the award-winning memoir, The Church of Tango.

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 1/12/15 to 1/19/15
Genres: Personal Memoir, YA, University, Personal Relationships, Dance
Sale Price: $2.99







Blurb:
It’s 1960 in Los Angeles. Cherie is 17 and on the threshold of change, even as the world awaits the cataclysmic turbulence that soon comes. Cherie is a dancer, a student at UCLA, and in love with a handsome, troubled graduate student who wants her to give up her career plans. The havoc sets her off-balance and into a nightmare world far from her dreams.


See the book trailer on Youtube


Excerpt:
ARABESQUE: DANCING ON THE EDGE IN LOS ANGELES
PREFACE
Wings of Mercury
Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels, And fly like thought from them to me again. 
Shakespeare, “King John”
Six months before my sixteenth birthday, my father bought me a 1957 shiny black Mercury Montclair convertible, a ragtop. It escaped me at the time, because unlike him I never had the hots for vehicles, but it must have been nifty, real neat, or as my best friend’s boyfriend Scooter said when he saw it, “Bitchin’!”
Dad often gave me things he wanted for himself—like an accordion for Christmas when I was ten, a poodle puppy for Valentine’s Day, and a movie camera for high school graduation. Whether Daddy used me as an excuse to buy a hip car or not, the Merc came in so handy and made my life easier, better, and more grounded. It had a sharp black and yellow interior, automatic transmission, radio, heater, and electric top retraction, but it didn’t matter to me if it was cool or fancy, only that it started up and took me wherever I wanted to go. I could depend on my car and myself. My Merc was always where I left it, waiting for me.
Dad installed a wolf-whistle as a surprise and, as was the custom for cool cars in the fifties, painted a name, “Mme. Cherie,” in fancy pinstriped script on the rear fender, which caused me no end of embarrassment. Madame?
One of my high school boyfriends had a souped up ’49 Ford named a discreet “Fabulous Fooler.” Outside, it was stock, but under the hood there was enough power to catch unsuspecting drag racers off guard with the Fooler’s fast get up and go. Speed was vital to “Bubblehead” Barry, but reliability was what was important to me.
Having my own transportation meant I could stay in the same high school until graduation. My parents moved house frequently, and throughout my childhood and adolescence I changed schools every few months, which flipped me out. Until my Merc I depended on my mom to drive me to school and my dance lessons. But with wheels, it didn’t matter that we shifted from one rented house to another all over the San Fernando Valley. At last, I was able to keep my ties to school, friends and dancing.
For the first time in my life, I felt liberated. Alone in my car, I could go anywhere I wanted, with whomever I wanted, at any time I wanted, so long as I had a dollar to buy three gallons of gas. I was in control of my own destiny. Now that I was behind the wheel, a car to me meant the Land of the Free and my Mercury was a ticket to fly there.
When ultimately, at seventeen, I drove over the hill to Westwood to attend UCLA, the air was cool and fresh from the Santa Monica sea breezes, the Village was old and quaint, and the University had history, tradition and knowledge along with the biggest library I had ever seen. I was so glad to leave the Valley behind and to begin the life I felt was rightfully mine. It was 1960 and my world—the whole world—was about to change forever. I couldn’t wait.


Buy Links:
Amazon.com Paperback
Amazon.com Kindle
Amazon.co.uk Paperback
Amazon.co.uk Kindle





About the Author:
Cherie Magnus, born and raised in Los Angeles, was a dance research librarian in the L.A. Central Library and a dance critic for local newspapers before moving to France, Mexico, and finally Argentina in 2003. Many of her articles on dance, travel and international culture have been published in magazines, professional journals, and several anthologies, such as Solamente en San Miguel, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life. She wrote a tango blog from 2006-2014. A Finalist in the Buenos Aires Tango Championships in 2006, she has appeared in two video documentaries. She now lives in Los Angeles.


Connect With The Author:
Website
Blog
Facebook

Monday, January 5, 2015

Contemporary Romance Spotlight & Giveaway: Rescue My Heart by Jean C. Joachim

http://www.fireandicebooktours.com/contemporary-romance-tour-giveaway-rescue-my-heart-by-jean-c-joachim/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 1/6/15 – 2/3/15
Genres: Contemporary Romance








This pug picture was graciously provided by the author.



Blurb:


*Pug rescue is  a recurring theme in The Manhattan Dinner Club series. The author’s experience as a volunteer convinced her of the importance of saving dogs. To promote this cause, she has included website addresses for about 80 pug rescues across the country in the back of each book.*
While walking her pug in Central Park, Rory Sampson is run down by a bike. She presses charges against arrogant biker, Dr. Hack Roberts, veterinarian. Horrified at the surprising sentence from the judge, Hack plans revenge, only to find himself attracted to the sharp-tongued, soft-hearted writer, who rescues pugs. Will he ignore a previous commitment and go with his true feelings or will he guard his heart?
The judge turned the tables on Rory, thrusting the unwanted, smug Dr. Roberts into her life. Wary after a breakup, she protects her wounded heart from the handsome doctor with a barrage sarcastic come-backs, designed to keep him at arm’s length. Does she remain aloof or will loneliness force her to give in to her desires?
Meet the members of the Manhattan Dinner Club, four women, all pug owners, who meet for dinner once a week. This is the first book in the series.
Excerpt:
“Baxter! Stop!” Rory screamed. Shoving Bruce aside, she raced full speed after the pug. In her mad dash, she didn’t see the bicycle traffic whipping around a curve and speeding down the hill. She pounced on the dog right before a bike crashed into her, sending her and Baxter flying.
Rory landed hard on her arm. Pain shot through her body, freezing her. A loud yelp told her Baxter was injured as well. She tried to catch her breath, her gaze searching for her pet. She spied him nearby, spread out flat on the pavement. He was still breathing. “Baxter,” she called.
A crowd began to gather. A pair of concerned, dark brown, male eyes stared into hers. “Are you hurt?” he asked.
“No, idiot brain. I’m fine. Does it look like I’m fine?” Attempting to push to her knees from the pavement, she grimaced and let out a moan. A long scrape on her leg was bleeding, her shoulder ached, and gravel was embedded in her thigh. Tears clouded her eyes.
Bruce raced over. “Rory, you okay?”
“Baxter looks like he’s hurt worse than I am.”
A patrolman appeared and asked Rory if she needed an ambulance.
“I already called,” Bruce piped up. The wail of a siren in the distance drew closer.
“This numbskull was doing sixty, I swear,” she said, pointing to the tall, brown-eyed man.
“That’s ridiculous. I wasn’t doing sixty.”
The policeman turned to him. “Sir, can you confirm your speed?”
“There’s no posted speed limit for bikes. I did kind of lose control around that curve.”
“Kinda?” Rory muttered. She lay back down on the ground.
“I.D., please.” The officer put out his hand. The man handed over his driver’s license.
“Dr. Hanson Roberts,” the cop said, writing in his pad. “A member of the real estate Roberts family?” He looked up at the doctor.
“Yeah. A ticket? What for?” Dr. Roberts shifted his weight.
“Reckless biking, speeding, causing bodily injury to this young woman.”
Rory gave a half-smile. “Serves you right. What about my dog?” She turned worried eyes to Baxter, who lay still, whimpering.
“I’ll take him,” the doctor said.
“Over my dead body…which you almost have…”
“I’m a vet…”
“I don’t care if you were in Afghanistan…”
“A veterinarian. Hack Roberts,” he said, extending his hand.
“A vet? Save him.” She ignored his offer to shake.
“Without x-rays, I can’t tell the extent of his injuries, but he’s awake and alert.”
“Dr. Roberts, you’ll have to take some responsibility for this young lady…what’s your name, miss?”
“Aurora Sampson.”
“Aurora? What an odd name,” muttered Hack.
“Oh? Like Hack is normal?” she replied, hostility oozing from every pore. Bruce tried to help her up, but she crumbled under the pain.
“Miss Sampson, I’m giving you his contact information. He’d better make good on these injuries. My card, in case he doesn’t. I’m considering criminal charges, Doc. You can’t speed like that in Central Park. You messed her up.” The patrolman gave Hack a dirty look.
“Officer, would you mind helping with the dog?” Hack asked, looking away.
“Where are you taking him?” Rory asked. When the ambulance drew near, the siren drowned out his words.
He whipped out a business card and handed it to her. “Here’s the address. Call later to find out how he’s doing.”
“She’s going to be in the hospital, you jerk,” Bruce said.
“We’ll keep him until you can get him. Hey, I’m sorry about this.”
“Yeah? Sorry and a Metrocard’ll get me on the subway.” She turned an angry stare toward him. Before she could continue her diatribe, the EMTs approached. She answered their questions, craning her neck around them to watch Hack and the policeman as they picked Baxter up carefully and put him on the patrol car’s backseat. Her eyes, blinking back tears, connected with Hack’s as the car drove away.
“Want me to go with you?” Bruce asked. He combed her hair back from her forehead.
Rory shook her head. I wanted you to love me. But you don’t. Don’t drag this out. One sharp pain, and it’s over.


Buy Links:
Amazon
iTunes
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes and Noble
Secret Cravings Publishing




About the Author:
Jean Joachim is a best-selling romance fiction author, with books hitting the Amazon Top 100 list since 2012. She was chosen Author of the Year in 2012 by the New York City chapter of Romance Writers of America. The Renovated Heart was chosen Best Novel of 2012 by Love Romances Café, Lovers & Liars was a finalist for Best Novel of 2013 by Love Romances Café.
Her series, Hollywood Hearts was a finalist for Best Series of 2013 and Megan Davis and Chaz Duncan (from If I Loved You) finaled as Best Couple, 2013 by Love Romances Café. The Marriage List tied for third place from Gulf Coast RWA Chapter and, most recently, Lovers & Liars was selected as a 2013 Reader’s Crown Finalist in Contemporary Romance by RomCon.
Jean has over 27 works of fiction published. She prefers to write series. Find her books at all retail online sites, read about them on her website: www.jeanjoachimbooks.com.
Married and the mother of two sons, she lives in New York City with her family. Early in the morning, you’ll find her at her computer, writing, with a cup of tea, her rescued pug, Homer, by her side and a secret stash of black licorice. 

Connect With The Author:
Website
Amazon Author Page
Facebook
Twitter 

Giveaway:
Win a $25 Amazon GC on the Rescue My Heart Romance Tour & Giveaway! This giveaway will run 1/6/15 – 2/3/15. Open worldwide.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Featured Book & Tour Stop: THE DREAD OWBA COO-COO by M.C. Norris - A Fictional African-American Lit Must Read

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/the-dread-owba-coo-coo/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/8/14 – 1/5/15
Genres: Horror, Historical, African-American Lit
Release Date: 11/15/14
Available Free With Kindle Unlimited!






Blurb:
It’s a snapshot from the darkest chapter in human history. A crippled slave ship, dismasted in the heart of the Middle Passage, comes to resemble a hellish island where there is no escape from the suffocating heat, from the circling sharks, from each other. But there is something else in their midst. Something ancient. Something evil.
Based on real events from the slave trade era, this intelligent approach to the zombie origin pursues a fly-borne plague to its African roots through a series of letters, log entries and balanced narratives from European and African perspectives, to an ancient pact forged between a dying Vodu witch and Sakpata, the god of disease. The product of the dark bargain is a creature both beautiful and terrifying to behold, relying on bloodsucking insects and a booming slave trade to spread its bloodline overseas to the shores of its new homeland, an island known as Hayiti.

Excerpt:
Vincinte Madeira is escorted down to the Main Deck. They’ve moved a furnace down there, where a heifer is being butchered. Kettles of rendered fat boil and froth over their rims. Kneeling tanners rise and fall upon the hides like Mohammedians, scraping their fleshing blades with the regularity of lapping waves. Sailcloth is spread all around them, beneath heaps of boned flesh and innards. It looks as though a cow has exploded.
Vin-cin-tay!”
Madeira’s gaze climbs the walls to the Quarterdeck, where the gray-green corpses of those three unruly Negroes continue to sway from stretched necks, their bellies distended like wormy pups. They turn on their shoulders with the rhythm of the ship’s lilt and pitch, like a troupe of necrotic dancers depicted on some painting from the black plague era. As the Redlowe crests a wave, all three corpses leap from the wall to kick up their feet and clap their putrid hands.
Vin-ciiiin-taaaay!” High above, Joaquim waves from the Quarterdeck.
Guardsmen seize Madeira by his upper arms and drag him on his heels past the furnace of boiling fat. There, they bind his wrists and ankles to the great stump of their fractured masthead. Joaquim disappears from the sky’s edge. Below, an accordion player picks his way through the piles of boned meat, eyes closed, pumping away at his queer instrument as if he were strolling the starlit boardwalks of some Venetian canal.
For Madeira, the odor of rendered fat is richly nostalgic. The brothel where his mother worked served a chowder of shellfish and beef marrow. On the days the marrow was rendered, the brownish bovine essence would permeate every fiber of his clothing. He would smell it for days after the last bowl had been consumed. It was disconcerting to consider that although the last scrap of the bygone beast had been ingested, its spiritual presence lingered still on the longcoat of the son of a whore.
Joaquim appears atop the ladder, following the Slavemaster, Duarte Davila, down to the Main Deck. Madeira closes his eyes and breathes savory steam in and out through his nose. His heart rate quickens. Spanish spurs ring over the braying accordion, and ever more sharply as the Slaver draws near. The bootsteps stop, a short distance away. Madeira opens his eyes.
Smiling, Joaquim slips through the steam behind Davila. He creeps past the row of bobbing tanners toward the pile of boned meat. The Slaver withdraws a cat-o-nine from his sash. He presses the coils of leather to his nose, inhaling with such ecstatic force as to suggest the braids contained the antidote to a malady with which he was afflicted. The whip’s tails, black as the heart of Africa, glisten in his fist like a nest of vipers. No doubt, he tanned this leather from the hide of some unusual beast, for nothing about this scourge of humanity be affected with the ordinary. Unlike the ephemeral odor of a bull rendered to chowder, the spirit of whatever black-skinned creature was immortalized into the coils of the Slaver’s whip should outlast the remains of its screaming victims. Woven into its oily braids are ivory stars of intricate design, likely whittled from the same bone from which the weapon’s handle was fashioned. ‘Tis about the girth of a human femur.
Davila lowers the writhing leather mass into a kettle of boiling lard. Displaced foam spills over the side. Yellowish ropes of fatty froth hiss and spit as they slither down the scalding metal. Before they ever reach the deck, they have evaporated into pearly trails. Davila lifts the flails from the pot and lowers them to a pile of Guinea salt at his feet. He rolls them back and forth until each sting is wholly encrusted. Davila’s spurs sing with every step. His whip drags behind him like a cord of salted slugs. “There was once a guardsman at Axim who allowed himself to be overtaken by the Negroes, moments before the dungeon was locked-down for the night. I found what was left of him the next morning. What remained of that man had to be collected in a scuttle tub. That was fascinating to me, what enraged men are capable of doing to another with their bare hands. I salted and preserved those discorporate parts for the purpose of making a keen point in the training of that gentleman’s replacement. So, tell me your story, Pirate. How did you manage to survive your night below deck with them?”
Panting as though physically exerted, Madeira maps the barber surgeon’s scarred face. One of Davila’s eyes, he just notices, is distinctly hazel, while the other is a murky green. This is no man standing before him. It cannot be. It is a daemon that barely manages to retain its human form. “They presumed me an officer. I was protected by a few who believed that to save my life would assure their freedom.”
And which charter would that be?”
Sir?”
Which Negro race did shelter you from the rest?”
“’Twas a mixed lot, Sir. Not any one Race that I could tell.”
Davila dipped his chin. “And what of the missing pistol?”
A pistol, Sir?”
Aye. You know of it. Copper fluting with a scrimshaw grip. A finer weapon than I ever did own. Where is it?”
We were separated in the skirmish … it was dark, Sir.”
Davila takes three steps back and turns, all too naturally, into a flogging stance. “Negroes are not subtle creatures, pirate. Whoever stole that pistol would’ve trumpeted it all throughout the hold, leaping about and chanting, he’d have been. Aye, if there’s one thing I know well, pirate, it’s Negroes.”
The Slaver intends to whip him to death. Biting down on the insides of his cheeks, Madeira beseeches the Heavens. Stinging droplets roll into his eyes. “If this is about the journal, then dispose of it. Throw it overboard.”
Eh?”
I know you have it, and you’ve every right to be disappointed with the content. Destroy it. Destroy it and let me work for you, earn my keep. You’re desperate for able hands.”
I’ve no airthly idea what you mean, pirate.” The Slaver grins. “I’ve acquired no journal.” With a delicate flip of his wrist, Davila unfurls nine braids across the timbers.
 
Buy Link:
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About the Author:
M.C. Norris is an Active HWA member, whose first four novels, all published by Severed Press, are slated for release in fall of 2014: Deep Devotion (09/01/14), Krengel & the Krampusz (11/01/14), The Dread Owba Coo-Coo (11/15/14), and Nod (TBA).  His nineteen short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines and e-zines, including: Withersin, Wrong World DVD, Brainharvest Magazine, Pseudopod, Malicious Deviance, and Dead Bait.  M.C. Norris also won 5th in Chizine/Leisure Books 13th Annual Short Story Contest.

Connect With The Author:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

Giveaway:
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Open WW, 12/8/14 – 1/5/15. Enter through Rafflecopter.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Romance Blog Tour + Giveaway: Need You Now (Martha's Way Series, #2) by Mika Jolie

http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/need-you-now/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/3/14 – 12/31/14
Genres: Multicultural Contemporary Romance







Blurb:
Elementary school teacher Liliana Serrano has never been one to let others determine her future. Whether it’s her pack of three overly protective brothers or her Puerto-Rican, American heritage, she stands on her own. Which is exactly how she entered her arrangement with Adam Aquilani. The hot formula one driver is aloof, detached and not interested in relationship. After a cheating fiancé, no strings attached sex was just what she needed.
Except one year later, they’re still hooking up and things aren’t so clear cut anymore. Especially when a surprise pregnancy enters the picture.
Adam is determined to marry Lily and raise their child as a family. But Lily refuses to settle for anything less than love.
As the two go on a journey of discovering, secrets are revealed, testing the strength of their connection.
Can they learn not to give the past the power to define their future?
Need You Now is book two of the Martha’s Way Series.




Excerpt:
Lily reached the doorway when Adam caught her hands. The whole thing happened too fast. His fingers laced in hers, chests pressing against one another. With his weight he directed her to the wall, raised her arms up over her head, and caged her in. Not one to cower, she looked straight into his eyes.

“You don’t love me,” she whispered.
His jaw tightened, but he made no attempt to dispute otherwise. Her heart scattered in tiny little pieces. She hadn’t expected a declaration of undying love, but the reality still stung.
“I need love, Adam. That mad, passionate love. It should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.” She examined his stoic expression, and her posture sagged. The fact she was forever bonded to a man who didn’t love her smacked her in the face. It shouldn’t. She already knew that. But…still, reality sucked. “That’s not who we are.”


Buy Links:
Secret Cravings Publishing
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About the Author:
Author of contemporary sensual, empowered romance, with fun relatable characters. Member of Secret Cravings Publishing. I live in New Jersey with what I often refer to as my Happy Chaos or my three men, which comprise of my husband and our two energizer bunnies. When I do have time to breathe, I like to run, hike with my camera at hand, and work on my gardening and knitting skills.
For latest news on my current WIP, interviews with fellow authors, or just to see what I’m up to, check out my blog: http://mikajolie.com/ While there, sign up for my newsletter for latest news and giveaways. No spamming. 

I’m also on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8294433
Mika_Jolie Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikaJolie1
Email: Mikajolie2@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikajolie.author?ref=hl
Join me in my journey.

Books I’ve written:
Martha’s Way Series
The Scale – Book One
Need You Now – Book Two
 

Giveaway:
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card and an autographed print copy of The Scale by Mika Jolie (one winner)! Open worldwide, this giveaway will run 12/3/14 – 12/31/14. Enter through Rafflecopter.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The I Truly Lament by Mathias B. Freese Blog Book Tour & Giveaway

https://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/holocaust-fiction-book-tour-giveaway-i-truly-lament-by-mathias-b-freese-12314-123114/


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/3/14 – 12/31/14
Genres: Literary Fiction, Holocaust Fiction, Short Stories










Blurb:
“…Freese’s haunting lament might best be explained (at least to me) by something Nathaniel Hawthorn wrote about Herman Melville’s endless search for answers to questions that perplexed him all his adult life. Melville was incessantly obsessed with what one might call the why of it all — life, death, metaphysical mysteries. Similar to Freese, Melville was repeatedly afflicted with a dark and depressive state of mind.” –Duff Brenna, Professor Emeritus, CSU, San Marcos

Praise for I Truly Lament:
I have read many books about the Holocaust as I find the subject very interesting from a psychological standpoint. I have to say though, that Mr. Freese has placed an entirely new twist on the subject. I will admit to being perplexed at first, having expected something a bit different. As the collection unfolded, I was drawn into the raw emotion. I particularly enjoyed the story, “Cantor Matyas Balogh.” Matyas found love so late in life, only to have it ripped from him. Freese does not just tell a tale, he creates a basis for reflection. I believe that he is completely correct when he states that someone can never truly understand the Holocaust. We can write about it, but the lasting impact on the people that survived can never be put into words. I Truly Lament is a remarkable collection that will leave the reader speechless. – Heather Osborne for Readers’ Favorite


Excerpt:
At a social distance from me now, as exact and
regulatory as a geometric theorem, I see the Jew as a
thing rather than entity. He is foreign to me.

The Disenchanted Golem

IN MY LATEST INCARNATION I was a golem for a few months in
Poland. Invoked by the mumbo-jumbo Kabalistic rites of a Hasidic
tzaddik, I was raised from nothing. Of course, Jews have no idea where
I come from or how I exist when not on call. They know nothing
of the fabric of my being. They believe, or at least this Hasid did,
that prayer—and demands—bring me forth. Rubbish! My directive
comes from a different source and one that’s not accountable to me.
I cannot explain my existence. I’m in the dark much like the rabbi.
And when I wake to a call and go about my tasks, which are often to
tear out legs and arms of Poles, in this instance, I find it a necessary
evil of which I’m a significant part. I’d rather rest in soil from which
I come, or at least that is the matter that forms my lumpish shape.
Going way back to 1492, Señor Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor
who was of Jewish descent, cursed me for dismembering a fellow
priest whom I’d beaten with a candelabrum until he curled up in a ball
and died. Spry Torquemada fled from my presence and I lumbered
after him, finally grabbing the wily old bastard by his caftan. I can’t
speak, which is problematic, for I’ve seen or experienced so much
about death and dying that I’ve a lot to say. Sometimes I would like
interrogate the victim to see how he responds not only to his imminent
death but to my physical presence: which is more terrifying?
Anyway, I scared the shit out of the Grand Inquisitor but let him
live. I really don’t know why. Before I left his home I peed in his
private chapel, the piss laced with mud and twigs, an earthy aroma
to it, like asparagus, essentially all the parts of my makeup. Basically
I am mud.
I like to do a good job. Different golems act differently. We’re all
of the same construction. Quite simply, as a golem I need no compass
for finding a malicious Gentile. I just know his whereabouts and I
intuitively seek him out—unnerving, if you’re a Gentile. Jews mistakenly
think I act for them; well, yes and no, basically more no than yes.
I’m an independent slayer, like the angel of death. I definitely don’t
act out of religious reasons or because Jews need me at this time or
another. It’s all so complicated as to my origins and purposes.

Buy Links:
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About the Author:
MATHIAS B. FREESE is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist. His recent collection of essays, This Mobius Strip of Ifs, was the winner of the National Indie Excellence Award of 2012 in general non-fiction and a 2012 Global Ebook Award finalist. His I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust was one of three finalists chosen in the 2012 Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest out of 424 submissions.

Connect With The Author:
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Giveaway:
Win a print copy of I Truly Lament by Mathias B. Freese on the tour and giveaway! This giveaway will run – 1/1/15. Open to residents of Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and the USA. Enter at Goodreads