Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Midlife Witch Unexpected (+ Giveaway)

 


Midlife Witch Unexpected
By Melle Amade
(Cougar Creek Coven, #1)
Publication date: November 23rd, 2021
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Women’s Fiction

Middle-aged and starting over is the last thing I ever wanted on my bucket list. But since my husband announced he was gay and my daughter left for college, I don’t really have a choice.

If I’m going to get my “Happily Ever After” I have to start making new choices, starting with picking guys who like women rather than women’s makeup would be a good start.

Next!

I’m way past the point of caring what other people think. I’m 49, about to turn 50 and I’m pretty sure I’m entering the prime years of my life. It’s time to make my mark and do things the way I want to do them.

Like move.

I am sooooooo leaving the city that has sucked me dry with the commute and the executive position. There’s no way I’m doing that anymore. I have enough money from the divorce to buy a house, almost any house, outside of California. I take one suitcase and my jeep, and I leave town, not stopping until I get to Cougar Creek, which is so small I think it’s barely a town, but I’m all about it. This is where I will get my fresh start.

I inherited my Aunt’s home here years ago and never even visited, but the renters just moved out and I might as well make it my home.

For now.

But Cougar Creek has a lot more in store for me than I ever imagined. There is a load of eligible young men from the local ranches, a couple of new BFFs in similar situations, and a strange invitation to a local secret society who think I’m the new high priestess of their local coven. I didn’t stop laughing until I realized they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They have a massive problem in the cemetery and they expect me to solve it.

But I didn’t trade in one life of rules for another one, so if they want me to be high priestess, they’re going to have to accept that I make the rules.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“That’s her?” A deep voice came from the front door.

“See anyone else around here, Branson?” Bianca swiveled away from me and spoke to the golden man who stood by the front door.

His laughter reverberated from his throat and all the way to my thighs. My eyes opened wide as I looked him over. Thankfully he was staring down at his phone, his golden eyes almost hidden by his blond locks falling forward over his tan skin. He wore a plaid red, white, and blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He was broad, lean, and muscular, and way too young for me.

“Who the heck is that?” I asked.

“Your caretaker,” Bianca raised an eyebrow at me.

“My caretaker?” I asked.

“The caretaker of The Estate,” Bianca explained it slowly as if she was talking to an ignoramus, which at the moment I actually felt like.

“The Estate,” I repeated like a parrot. Then suddenly snapped out of it. “Aunt Emma’s estate! Okay! Got it.”

“Round here we all just call it The Estate,” Bianca said with a shrug.

“And that’s the caretaker?” I whispered to Bianca, my voice catching in my throat.

“Every last inch of him,” she nodded, stealing a covert glance at the tall, broad man who dwarfed the front office space of the Cougar Creek cop shop.

“Lord have mercy,” I said under my breath.

Branson went straight to the sign-in sheet as if this wasn’t his first time here. But his handsome features scowled as he looked over at me. I stared back as he stepped across the sheriff’s office to tower above me, his arms folded over his chest.

“Well, that’s not intimidating at all.” I craned my neck to look up at him.

He started as if he hadn’t been aware of himself, took a step back, and unfolded his arms. “You’re Mae.” He stated the obvious. “I’m here to drive you home.”

“That’s a long way to drive.” My mind suddenly thought of a long leisurely drive back to L.A. with my caretaker, Branson.

“Pardon?” Branson looked at me a bit confused.

“Never mind.” I stood up turning to Bianca. “Do you need anything else from me tonight? It’s late and I’m exhausted. You are remanding me into Branson’s custody?”

“My custody? I’m just giving you a ride home.” Branson held up his hands in protest.

“Sheriff said you’re to verify who she is, take her home, and bring her back tomorrow to get her jeep,” Bianca confirmed for Branson.

I covertly looked him over thinking I wouldn’t mind being in his very good hands. But instantly my heart squeezed. Men weren’t safe; not at all. As I poured back through the years of lies, I realized there was probably not one single moment of truth in my relationship with my ex-gay husband. How was I ever going to trust any man ever again? Clearly, I was an idiot; a vulnerable, gullible idiot who believed anything anybody said to me.

“Are you sure he’s safe to take me to my house?” I asked Bianca.

“I have a police tracker on,” Branson wiggled his leg.

“Seriously?” I took a step back.

Bianca and Branson burst out laughing. “No not seriously,” Bianca said. “There’s only one person around here on the radar.”

“And it’s not me.” Branson pointed out. “Now come on. I’ve got a poker game waiting for me. Let me get you home and all tucked in.”

I looked over my shoulder at Bianca and we both did a slight giggle at his words, clearly thinking the same thing about being tucked in. It was a relief to feel an instant bond to this other middle-aged divorced woman, even though she’d never left this town. I guess that was nothing to hold against someone.

I shook my head as I trailed behind Branson to the door.

I wasn’t here to make friends. I wasn’t here to have romance. I was here to get some space, clear my head, and more than likely sell a house. My divorce was almost through and then I could start my new life.

Branson held the door open for me. “I’ll take you home, boss, and have you delivered to your jeep in the morning.”

My stomach sank. That’s right. He was my employee.

Well, of the estate, but as I was the sole owner of the estate, he was still my employee.

And a “no fraternizing with the staff” rule went without saying. There was no way to even have a little fling with Mr. Rock Solid Biceps.

He was way off-limits.

Meet the Author: Melle Amade

USA Today Bestselling Author. Farm Girl. Marketing Director.

Since I was eight, I have been writing stories that capture the adventures in my head and the characters strong enough and flawed enough to have them. When I look at an empty field, I see a formidable citadel. When I meet a vulnerable old man, I greet an emeritus warrior. When I walk through city streets, I feel dimensions hiding around every turn. It has been my lifelong passion to explore these worlds that reveal the pain of loneliness, the joy or self-actualization, and the hope of magic.

I grew up in a place called Potter Valley where the Milky Way is held aloft by a circle of mountains and the central business district consists of a bait store and a saloon. At 19 I moved alone to London and spent the next ten years exploring the world, even becoming an Australian citizen, before I returned to California and found a new home in Los Angeles. My world revolves around my two wee children, storytelling, and my love of travel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Starting over can be rough at any age but turning 50 is rough enough on it's own. Doesn't this sounds like an intriguing story?

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Warming My Winter Heart (+ Giveaway)

Warming My Winter Heart
By Michelle Cornish
Publication date: November 22nd, 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

You can’t run from love forever . . .

When Lexi Blair comes home to Little City from LA for Christmas, she gets the surprise of her life—the ex-fiancĂ© she thought was dead is very much alive and wants her back!

It’s Christmas Eve and Lexi’s seen a ghost. Or . . . she thought he was a ghost until her mom admits to faking his death so Lexi would come home for Christmas.

After a humiliating run-in with her ex—which results in Lexi disowning her mother—she hides out at her best friend’s tree farm, babysitting a nameless puppy while her friend and hubby tend to a family emergency.

But farm life comes with a few perks Lexi isn’t expecting—mainly a hunky farmhand who’s helping Lexi run the place until her friends return.

While Lexi ran from Little City, John ran to it, and she quickly learns he’s healing from past hurts of his own.

Can Lexi and John stop running before it’s too late?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

Before long, Mom has dinner on the table, and when we’re seated, she says grace. Mom’s always loved going to church on Christmas Eve, but after her big fight with Aunt Flora, she started going every Sunday and doing things like saying grace.

Dad gives me a fully loaded, sideways look that says, “Yeah, your mother still hasn’t talked to your aunt and we still do these things to make it okay in her eyes.” I give him a nod. Does he know what they fought about that Christmas? He took a misdirected punch while he and Ian pulled Mom and her sister apart. That was before Ian became the biggest boob on the planet. Ugh.

“Oh, Lexi, I almost forgot.” Mom draws my attention back to the present. She grabs a box from the kitchen. “I got Christmas crackers.” Ooh. Seems hardly worth it for the three of us, but I do love Christmas crackers. Their gold and silver foil shines as Mom hands one to Dad and me then places one next to her own plate.

I look inside the cracker for the pull tab and grip it firmly then cross my arms, offering the Christmas cracker to Mom on my right and reaching for Dad’s cracker with my right hand.

“Ready?” Mom says. I’m transported back in time as I nod then Mom issues her standard Christmas cracker instructions. “On three. One . . . two . . . three!”

We all pull hard on our crackers against each other and our three little crackers pop and snap while bits of ripped paper scatter across the table. If Mom and Dad had a cat, it would have run for cover.

“Ooh, look,” Mom says. “I got a magnifying glass.” An urge to make a snarky comment about Mom’s eyesight and “how did the Christmas elves know?” pops into my head, but I let it go. I just got here, no need to start a fight just yet.

I check the table for my prize while Dad holds up a giant sparkly paperclip. “Not sure what this is about,” he says.

“It’s a bookmark, dear.” Mom touches Dad’s hand as she says it. She must have splurged on the premium crackers that encourage you to spend more money by showing you on the back of the package what you’ll get.

Something shiny catches my eye on the floor. “Ooh,” I say, leaning over in my chair to pick up my prize. “I got a pen.” I hold it up like it’s some kind of trophy. At least it’s something useful. I place it on the table right next to the fuschia paper crown that also spewed forth from the Christmas cracker.

“Put on your crown.” Mom flutters her hand in my direction. She’s already wearing hers. Dad somehow “accidentally” ripped his, so it won’t stay on his head. Lucky guy. I put on the crown. My cheeks burn a bit, and I feel like I’m ten again—the last year I remember actually liking these silly crowns. I scan the table hoping a bottle of wine has materialized in the last few minutes. Nope.


Meet the Author: Michelle Cornish

Michelle Cornish is a recovering CPA with a passion for stories. Writing mostly romance and women's fiction with strong female heroines, Michelle's books often include nods to her former life as a CPA.

When Michelle’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her two boys and husband in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada.

Newsletter / Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Doesn't that book cover just draw you in and then the synopsis seals the deal for a heart-warming story?

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Friday, October 29, 2021

The Secret of Snow (+ Halloween & More)

It’s a pleasure to tell you about USA Today and internationally bestselling author Viola Shipman's new novel THE SECRET OF SNOW which just hit stores everywhere this week, as well as in my mailbox!

Reading Viola Shipman’s novels is like talking to your best friend and wanting never to hang up the phone.”—Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author

This fascinating new tale comes from the author of The Summer Cottage  

The forecast is calling for a reluctant homecoming and regrettable decisions with a strong chance of romance… 

Sonny Dunes, a SoCal meteorologist who knows only sunshine and seventy-two-degree days, is being replaced by an AI meteorologist, which the youthful station manager reasons “will never age, gain weight, or renegotiate its contract.” The only station willing to give the fifty-year-old another shot is one in a famously non-tropical place—her northern Michigan hometown. 

Unearthing her carefully laid California roots, Sonny returns home and reacclimates to the painfully long, dark winters dominated by a Michigan phenomenon known as lake-effect snow. But beyond the complete physical shock to her system, she’s also forced to confront her past: her new boss, a former journalism classmate and mortal frenemy; more keenly, the death of a younger sister who loved the snow; and the mother who caused Sonny to leave. 

To distract herself from the unwelcome memories, Sonny decides to throw herself headfirst into all things winter to woo viewers and reclaim her success. From sledding and ice fishing to skiing and winter festivals, the merrymaking culminates with the town’s famed Winter Ice Sculpture Contest. Running the events is a widowed father and Chamber of Commerce director, whose genuine love of Michigan, winter, and Sonny just might thaw her heart and restart her life in a way she never could have predicted. 

Meet the Author: Wade Rouse/Viola Shipman

Wade Rouse is a popular award-winning memoirist and internationally bestselling author of twelve books, which have been translated into twenty languages and selected as Today show Must-Reads, Indie Next Picks, and Michigan Notable Books.

Rouse writes fiction under his grandma’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms inspire his writing. Rouse said, “Her heirlooms, life, lessons and love not only inspire my fiction but also inspired me to become a writer and, I hope, the person I am today. She taught me that the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – are truly the grandest gifts. My fiction is meant to honor the elders in our lives whose sacrifices and journeys helped make us who we are today. I couldn’t be prouder of my novels, which I hope reconnect you to your own family’s stories, heirlooms, histories and traditions.”

He lives in Michigan and California, and hosts “Wine & Words with Wade, A Literary Happy Hour,” every Thursday live on the Viola Shipman Facebook page

ON A SIDE NOTE

I want to say thanks to everyone who stops by to read my sporadic posting of late. There’s no excuse other than I’ve just been sidetracked doing other things.

When I look at the calendar today, I realize that Sunday (Oct. 31) is not only Halloween (Happy early Halloween by the way), but also the anniversary of this blog. It’s hard to believe this all started 12 years ago. A lot has changed in 12 years. One of the best things I can say about the ride is that it’s been a wonderful place to “meet” new friends and discover some amazing books to read.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings. I’m not making any promises of posting everyday like I have in the past, but I will try to get back to a schedule of sorts soon. A huge THANK YOU again to everyone. Y’all are awesome. Be safe, have fun if you’re out trick or treating, and take care of yourself.

Now, doesn’t THE SECRET OF SNOW sound intriguing?

 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Music Stalker

Today I’m delighted to share with you the release of THE MUSIC STALKER, the second novel by award-winning author Bruce Berger. The Music Stalker, from Black Rose Press, closely examines how genius and love might survive in a close-knit family torn by trauma, insanity, and jealousy.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Publication date: October 28, 2021
Format: Paperback
Page count: 336
Price: $20.95
ISBN: 978-1-68433-791-0

Two decades after his family suffers trauma, Max, the loving but remorsefully jealous older brother of a musical genius, chronicles the story of his dysfunctional family.

In mid-1970’s New York City, Max’s sister, Kayla, vaulted to fame as a piano prodigy, holding both audiences and her family in awe with her uncanny musical ability and warm smile. But deep within her lie the seeds of destruction: the paranoid fear of being stalked by a murderous fan.

This mystery explores themes of family dysfunction, mental illness, and the long-term effects of family secrets going untold

A trailer of The Music Stalker can be enjoyed here. The Music Stalker is available here.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Bruce, who joins us today to answers some questions about his book and writing. Welcome, Bruce.

What drove you to write about these characters, who also appear in The Flight of the Veil?

Bruce: 

Some of these are characters – Nicky and Adel in particular – are characters that I’ve lived with and been fascinated by since my first published short story in 2009, “Nate and Adel.” They appear in a 16-story sequence of linked stories, many of which were published in literary magazines. They led complicated lives prior to their marriage. Adel – an intelligent girl who abused by her mother, who suffers from schizophrenia, and who struggles to make her way in the world as an orphan. Nicky – a Holocaust survivor who fought against the Germans in Greece during World War II, who immigrated to America, who entered the medical profession and became a psychiatrist, and who never quite dealt with the enormous guilt he feels for his survival. When they marry, how could they not have a fascinating – and deeply troubled – family? 

What drove you to write in such detail about a piano prodigy and about mastering classical music at a professional level?

Bruce:

No surprise, but I started at the piano much as Max does in this story, making it my instrument and beginning lessons at four. I gave Kayla the talent and drive that I didn’t have and wanted to see how she would progress with these attributes. I listened to classical music throughout the drafting of this novel, in its many versions. So, part of me is in Max and part of me is in Kayla. I’m pleased that early readers knowledgeable in music feel that the musical aspects of this novel are right on target.  

Are you continuing to write about these characters? If so, will you ever decide to write about new characters?

Bruce:

Yes, as a sequel to The Flight of the Veil has been begun. Upon completion, it would be the third in chronological time of the trilogy that begins with The Music Stalker. The tentative name of this third book is To See God. 

But yes, I expect in the fullness of time I will write about new characters. There will come a time when Nicky Covo, his daughter Kayla, and all their loved ones will need to exit the stage and go on to live their lives without my intervention.     

Explain how Judaism affects the story, i.e. why this theme of close observance of Judaism is critical to your characters. 

Bruce:

The parents in the Covo family have very strong opinions or beliefs about God. Nicky is a confirmed atheist, which he became as he realized that his family was murdered at Auschwitz. Adel, in part because of her mental illness but also in part because of her author’s devices, is convinced that God is a middle-aged male writer of fiction. Neither of these approaches to God is sufficient for Kayla, who earns for a spiritual world that goes beyond her magnificent ability to make music. When she stumbles upon the Chabad way of life, she finds something that will sustain her when she can no longer pursue her music career. So, the close observance of Judaism is critical to her survival as a functioning human being.  

Bruce, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into your writing.

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Bruce, here’s a bit of background on him

Following a 40-year career as a trial attorney in Washington, DC., Bruce J. Berger turned fulltime to writing, earned a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from American University, and now teaches there.

His first novel, The Flight of the Veil, is a sequel to The Music Stalker and achieved critical success, winning a Bronze Award in General Fiction from Illumination Christian Book Awards.

Kirkus Reviews called The Flight of the Veil “A well-crafted tale about trauma and miracles. Get it.” He has also published more than 50 stories and poems in a wide variety of literary journals.   

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you think being a prodigy would have more cons than pros or would the good outweigh any bad?