I, Mary 2Title: I, Mary
Author: Mike Hartner
Publisher: Eternity 4 Popsickle Publishing
Pages: 266
Genre: Historical Romance

Mary Crofter’s first trip on the water was just after her first birthday, when her parents came from her birthplace in Kilwa to Portsmouth. She’s been on several trips from Portsmouth to London and other places since. She loves the water and the water seems to love her. Can she survive on the water? Will people ever take seriously a GIRL as a sailor? Will she ever come off the water? If she does, will the lure of the ocean draw her back?

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First Chapter

I looked upon the gray waters that surrounded me. To the west it was dark and cloudy, the wind blustering. But as I braced myself against the gale hitting full force against my peacoat, I smiled.

It was fitting that I was here, and nothing could ever convince me otherwise. I’d been birthed on land but it wasn’t long afterward that I was on the water—and acquiring my sea legs. From the time I could walk, I learned to balance myself on the uneven deck. And later to climb the gnarly spars and ultimately the sayles. My parents taught me my numbers and to read and write as well. Numbers, well, was my best subject, and I was good at that. But my time at sea was what I loved the most. In truth, the only fun I remember in my childhood was when they took me on our merchant ship from our home in Portsmouth to London or to Bristol. It wasn’t the location that I liked or the end of the journey; no, for me it was the sayling, standing on the deck, listening to the wind, watching the ocean and the clouds and . . . late at night . . . the stars. I wanted to be on the sea forever, and I knew this from my very first time aboard ship.

I remember very well every one of those trips, because during each voyage I would close my eyes and concentrate, and it was as if I were talking to the water. And through a combination of waves and the ship’s motion, it felt as if the sea was in turn communicating with me.

I recall all of the journeys with my father and his good friend, Captain Jose. The saylors on those ships were always good to me, and I came to respect all of them. They taught me sayling while they went about their own jobs. Even as a little kid I was taught how to tie knots. And when I was eleven they instructed me on how to throw knives and swing a cutlass. Soon afterward I was taught how to prime, load, and shoot a musket. But I turned up my nose at the musket, even the smaller flintlock pistols. To me, there was no honor in this sort of fight. No great talent was needed to shoot somebody. Any idiot could pull a trigger. In my mind, it required real skill to defeat a man, or woman for that matter, with a cutlass. And, yes, I will take up swords against a woman. Because, you see, I am one also.

Captain Jose had been a friend of the family since before I was born. He’d sayled with my father, James, and my mother, Rosalind. I heard the stories of the trip from Kilwa, where I was born, and then to Portsmouth, where we now live. I don’t know how they originally met because I haven’t been told that yet, but Captain Jose is so close to the family that I’ve always called him Uncle Jose or Uncle for short.

Currently, I am not quite twelve years old, thin as a rail, a little over eleven hands high, and maybe weighing four stone soaking wet. My hair is long enough to wear tied behind so it looks like the tail on a pony, but many men wear their hair the same way, so no one would know I was a girl just by looking at me.

I was in the office of Crofter Shipping Yards one day when Uncle Jose called me to him said, “Come over here and sit down.” He was always so nice to me that I never hesitated at any request of his, so I took a seat next to him. He gave me a funny look, kind of sly but not really since he smiled right away. “I’ve already talked to your parents, and both James and Rosalind agree with me.”

I looked at him and fidgeted, not having a clue what he was going to say next.

“You’ve sayled with your father and me all your life. We brought you to Portsmouth on a carrack many years ago. You’ve been on the caravel we sayled to Le Havre and on a special boat too, a cog—the one with just one sayle—when we sayled to London.”

I nodded at him, but I was confused. Had I done something wrong?

“Mary, there is a caravel that will be leaving these shipping yards in a little over a week. It’s headed to the north of Scotland. Seldom do pirates sayle these waters, so other than weather it will be relatively safe and . . .” My eyes widened. Was I getting the right message? Was he really doing this? Was he really going to make my dream come true? “If you should be interested, I can schedule you to take your sayling tests in the next few days so you can be on that caravel and start out as part of the crew on this trip. This way, you can see if sayling is really what you want to do.”

I threw myself at Uncle Jose. “Yes, yes. Please, yes.”

He laughed. “Then let’s go get you some sayling clothes and set you up to crew on your very first ship. Then I’ll introduce you to the captain.” I jumped up from my chair but Uncle Jose pointed to me so I’d retake my seat. His face turned solemn, almost to a frown. “There’s something we need to discuss, and this won’t be easy to talk about. I brought this up this with your parents, and they told me to go ahead and tell you.”

Uncle Jose’s change of attitude was so great that I was startled. “I don’t understand.”

“I’ve already spoken to the captain, since I assumed you’d say yes. And he assured me that his main crew will respect you as a girl and also as a Crofter. But there are always new men brought on board. And even though the regular crew is honorable as far as this captain knows, they are still men of the sea. Mary, do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

“Your crew was always wonderful to me.” As soon as I said this I started to think back to all the times the men had helped me.

“You were a young girl who was the daughter of the owner of the ship, and I was the captain who knew each man well. If anyone had stepped out of line, he would have been run through or thrown overboard. This will be different, and you must understand that you are older now, almost a woman if you aren’t already. I don’t know how else to put it, but to say you will have to be on your guard at all times. The captain will have a couple of his most trusted men watching over you, but even a caravel is a big enough boat that . . . well, no person can be looked after day and night.”

I hadn’t given what Uncle Jose was talking about a single thought, but I wasn’t scared. “I’m not saying I can take down a saylor, but I know how to defend myself, and Mother has taught me how to hurt a man where it hurts the most.”

Uncle Jose let out a muffled laugh that might’ve been a groan. “Always know who’s around you, and be aware that you’re going to constantly have to prove yourself.”

“Because I’m a girl?” I snapped, mad that I’d done so at Uncle Jose.

“Yes,” he came back just as fast, but then he smiled and showed his big teeth. “Just be aware that nothing I have said was with the intent of trying to talk you off the boat. I just don’t want you—”

“Uncle Jose, I’ve heard the men talk on the boats since I was first able to walk the decks. Sometimes I’d hear things that I know I wasn’t supposed to, and as I got older many saylors didn’t even think I was not one of them, so I’m not unaware that men are going to be men at times. I can handle myself, I promise.”

“Let us hope you don’t have to.” He stared hard at me. “At least with the crew.”

We’re thrilled to be hosting Martina McAtee’s CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS Book Blast today!

Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Pages: 450
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.

They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

For More Information

  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.”

She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response.

She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.

Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”

There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed.

He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin.

She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first.

They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too?

She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.

She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own.

“What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?”

He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?”

She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.”

Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.”

He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.

“We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other.”

Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.

She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.

He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.

He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”

He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch, “You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”

She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”

She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.

She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.

But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do?

Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.

“What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.

He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”

“Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.

“Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.

“Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”

He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.

She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”

He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.

“Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”

He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.

“I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”

He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”

He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”

Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.

“Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.

He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”

Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”

“I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.

She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.

“I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.

She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.

She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say.

About the Author

Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she’s reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.

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Heartbound Book Blast!

Heartbound Book Blitz Banner 2

We’re happy to be hosting P.I. Alltraine and her HEARTBOUND Book Blitz today!

About the Book:


Title: Heartbound
Author: P.I. Alltraine
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Pages: 177
Genre: YA fantasy romance

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

For More Information

  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

I defied my fate the moment I leapt out of my apartment’s third-story window. I landed on the pavement without a sound. In the same instant, my feet blended into the measured pace in which humans carried themselves.

Gazing up at the sky, I tried to find something to remind me of my home, of my duty. The future leader of a realm in peril cannot be overcome by irrational desires, I thought.

Thick smoke obscured the heavens so much even the brightest stars were dull and barely visible. A reminder I was trapped in this city, in this realm. Too far away from everything I knew, too restrained, too human.

Through the chaos in my mind, I captured the image of the girl with brown and dark-auburn tones in her hair, the shine that bounced from her loose curls, the depth in her hazel eyes, and even the awkward half-smile when she caught me looking at her. But the memory wasn’t enough. I needed to see her again.

I kept walking until I reached the riverbank in the heart of London. The water rippled with a disheveled mesh of gold and red, reflecting a large architectural structure. My gaze lingered on the clock tower adjacent to the building, gauging its height. A temptation to feel even a fraction of my true nature became a need in every fiber in my body. No longer able to rationalize, my muscles coiled, and I let go. Wind enveloped me with its familiar warmth as I sprang across the River Thames. I aimed to land on the lower portion of the tower, to indulge in the pleasure of my ascent. Though too fast for human eyes, each maneuver, each somersault, each back flip was slow enough for me to savor every moment of my liberation.

On a part of the roof concealed from the passersby below, I was closer to the heavens than I’d been since arriving in the city. Still, I didn’t belong here. Hundreds of lights sparkled below me, each representing a life I didn’t comprehend. Allowing myself to break free from my human façade had made me a liability to the others. For a few moments of freedom, I let myself forget the importance of my purpose here—the lives that depended on it.

Somehow, having the girl’s image in my mind brought calmness within me. One that felt permanent. One that extinguished the sense of entrapment, despite the thick layer of smoke that was still very visible to me. I held on to the calmness as I regained the confidence to face the others.

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About the Author

P.I. Alltraine

P.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

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A First Love. A Second Chance. 

A young widow travels to New York on business a few days before Christmas. She has reluctantly made a date with a lover she hasn’t seen in 20 years, and she is nervous and apprehensive. Twenty years before, she made a difficult decision that has both troubled and haunted her ever since. She knows she’s about to come face-to-face with her past and she’s hoping for some redemption and resolution. She also wonders if she can somehow pick up where she left off 20 years ago and start again. 
An exciting chance encounter changes everything. Now, not only will she face the past with hope to rekindle an old romance, but there is the possibility that this chance meeting will bring her love and happiness she never thought possible. 

Once again, she will have to choose. She will have to make the right decision. She will have to believe that Christmas miracles can still happen. 



Andrew was seated on a comfortable stool at the busy restaurant bar, sipping a vodka martini. It was a classic, dark wood bar, with back lighting, glowing liquor bottles, brocade mirrors and plenty of wealthy regulars, chatting with the black-vested, paunchy, middle-aged bartender.

Westie had said she’d meet him there at 6:45pm. She was running late. Andrew was surprisingly skittish—uncharacteristically so. He was not the type. Nothing much shook him anymore. He’d traveled the world, met all types and all cultures: politicians, billionaires, film directors, generals, you name it.

Yep, he’d met them all. He’d been in meetings with venture capitalists, kicking around million dollar deals, and he’d sat in two meetings with the Vice President of the United States. He’d felt nervous, yes, but not the churning-in-the-stomach unease he was feeling now, knowing Westie was on her way. Westie—his first love—his only true love.

The booze began to blur and relax his anxiety. He chewed on an olive and frequently twisted around to see if she’d arrived. Andrew wore a hand-made, classic, navy blue striped wool business suit, costing almost three thousand dollars. His sky blue shirt was set off by a bronze silk tie and a matching scarf, artfully blooming from his lapel pocket. His haircut was three days old and, though he was losing hair, it still wasn’t that obvious. But he didn’t have the mane he’d had the last time Westie saw him. He kept it short on the sides with a bit of length on the top, but combed back from his broad forehead.

He checked himself in the brocade mirror once more, frowning, as the dim lighting made him look older. Was he still “rough-around-the-edges handsome?” Well, younger women still found him attractive.  He had affairs now and then, though nothing serious. Andrew was not interested in serious anymore.  But with Westie, that could all change.

Andrew turned to see Westie standing by the hostess station. He stood, then froze. bHe breathed out a jet of air, his pulse drumming in his ears. She searched for him, until the tall African American hostess indicated toward the bar. Westie turned.

Andrew’s and Westie’s eyes met—timid, nervous, hopeful.

His first impression of her was that of a tall, classy woman, possessing a supreme elegance and beautiful face. No longer was she a tall, gangling girl of 19 with mismatched clothes, blue fingernails and dark eye shadow. This Westie—this Olivia—had the alluring mystery and the supreme class of a Jackie Kennedy.  She instantly intimidated him.

Olivia saw a mature, attractive man, a bit overweight, with streaks of gray at his temples. His face was square, his dark eyes watchful, his stance secure and confident. He smiled warmly, showing teeth. She did not sense or see the old swagger, or the raw, animal sexuality she had known as a girl.

Andrew drew in a breath and started over to her as she approached him. They gently embraced, like strangers.

Then they took a step back and Andrew wished he’d finished his martini. He felt a storm of emotions inside. “Hello, Westie,” he said, largely.

Olivia was still reeling from her time with Brett. The entire day had taken on an urgent, dream-like quality, as she’d fallen into girlish memories and swelling emotions. Now, as she stared into Andrew’s face, the moment seemed nebulous and out of focus, as if they were framed in an impressionistic painting hanging on a museum wall, and she was watching the entire scene as a spectator. She felt suspended there, and absent from feeling.

Andrew smiled, his eyes glittering.  “There you are.  The girl I always wanted.”

Olivia was a conflicted mess. “You always did know what you wanted,” she said, her voice low and breathy.

“I always knew I wanted you. Wanted us. Yes. That hasn’t changed. Twenty years hasn’t changed anything for me. I’m still the same guy you knew all those years ago. The same guy who fell in love with you on the Bow Bridge.”

His words hung in the air, waiting.

The Author
Elyse’s  Website / Twitter /  Facebook  / Goodreads Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Columbia University.  She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a  speech-language pathologist.  She and her husband, Douglas Pennington, have completed five novels: The Astrologer’s Daughter, Christmas for Juliet, Wanting Rita, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town and The Christmas Diary.

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For immediate release                                     
Contact: Lida Quillen
(423) 323-0183
(September 25, 2015, Kingsport, TN)
Wisdom and Inspiration from Latina Authors in New Compilation
Latina Authors and Their Muses features advice from 40 women writers
As the Hispanic American population of the U.S. increases, with influences ranging from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean, so does interest in literature inspired by those cultures. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by delving into Latina Authors and Their Muses.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has now edited a collection of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the U.S. and writing in English.Latina Authors and Their Muses is an inspirational and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, one that provides aspiring writers with the nuts and bolts of the business.
I had the opportunity to meet Carmen Dolores Hernandez,  the book review editor at El Nuevo Día newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when she visited me in Brussels,says Calvani. Shed published some of my short stories and novel excerpts inRevista Domingo in the past, and I deeply admired her wisdom as a writer and woman of letters.
She mentioned the anthology she had put together back in 1997, Puerto Rican Voices in English. I ordered a copy and became absorbed by the candor and insight of the authors as they talked about their backgrounds, books, and writing, Calvani continues.
Wouldnt it be perfect to put together a similar anthology showcasing Latina authors writing in English in the United States? This book would not only showcase prominent figures but emerging voices as well, writers working on a wide range of genres from the literary to the commercial.
The result of several years of research and interviews is Latina Authors and Their Muses. Writing in genres ranging from the literary to childrens picture books to fantasy novels to chick lit, and more, this remarkable group of talented authors shares their passion and commitment to their craft and to sharing their stories with the world in spite of the odds.
Latina Authors and Their Muses is a celebration of creativity, the writers life, and the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom.
About the editor:
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. Shes had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.
Discount price of 99 cents from Sept. 25th to Oct. 5th!
Get your copy today from Amazon or OmniLit
Book info
Title: Latina Authors and Their Muses
Author: Mayra Calvani, Editor
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Genre: Reference/Writing Skills
*Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-063-0
    Format: 6×9 trade paperback; 340 pages; $19.95 USD
Distributors: Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Follett, etc.
*eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-062-3; $6.50 USD
    Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc.
Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; BN.com Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit; OverDrive, etc.
Release date: September 25, 2015 ebook; December 15, 2015 print
LCCN: 2015952662
Chapter excerpt:

The Murder Road by Stephen Booth

The Murder RoadTitle:
 The Murder Road
Author: Stephen Booth
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Hardcover,Paperback, Ecopy

For fans of Broadchurch, Louise Penny, and Peter Robinson comes a spellbinding new novel from internationally bestselling author Stephen BoothWelcome to the picturesque English village of Shawhead, where there’s one road in and one road out. And on that road this morning is an abandoned vehicle…with an ominous bloodstain inside.

It’s a mystery. It could be a murder. Where—and who—is the driver? Whose blood has been discovered? Why are the people of Shawhead so hostile toward Detective Ben Cooper, sent in to take charge of the investigation?

As Cooper peels back layers of lies and exposes dark secrets to the light, he draws ever closer to a killer hiding in plain sight. Packed with atmosphere, suspense, and surprises, The Murder Road is Stephen Booth’s most unforgettable novel yet.





Stephen Booth

A newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine mill town of Burnley. He was brought up on the Lancashire coast at Blackpool, where he attended Arnold School. He began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine, and wrote his first novel at the age of 12.

After graduating from City of Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University), Stephen moved to Manchester to train as a teacher, but escaped from the profession after a terrifying spell as a trainee teacher in a big city comprehensive school.

Starting work on his first newspaper in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in 1974, Stephen was a specialist rugby union reporter, as well as working night shifts as a sub-editor on the Daily Express and The Guardian. This was followed by periods with local newspapers in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. He was at various times Production Editor of the Farming Guardian magazine, Regional Secretary of the British Guild of Editors, and one of the UK’s first qualified assessors for the NVQ in Production Journalism.

Freelance work began with rugby reports for national newspapers and local radio stations. Stephen has also had articles and photographs published in a wide range of specialist magazines, from Scottish Memories to Countrylovers Magazine, from Cat World to Canal and Riverboat, and one short story broadcast on BBC radio. In 1999, his writing career changed direction when, in rapid succession, he was shortlisted for the Dundee Book Prize and the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger competition for new writers, then won the £5,000 Lichfield Prize for his unpublished novel The Only Dead Thing, and signed a two-book contract with HarperCollins for a series of crime novels.

In 2000, Stephen’s first published novel, Black Dog, marked the arrival in print of his best known creations – two young Derbyshire police detectives, DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry. Black Dog was the named by the London Evening Standard as one of the six best crime novels of the year – the only book on their list written by a British author. In the USA, it won the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel and was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Mystery. The second Cooper & Fry novel, Dancing with the Virgins, was shortlisted for the UK’s top crime writing award, the Gold Dagger, and went on to win Stephen a Barry Award for the second year running.

In 2003, Detective Constable Ben Cooper was a finalist for the Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British author, thanks to his exploits in the third book of the series, Blood on the Tongue. The publication of Blind to the Bones that year resulted in Stephen winning the Crime Writers’ Association’s ‘Dagger in the Library’ Award, presented to the author whose books have given readers most pleasure. The same book was nominated for the Theakston’s UK Crime Novel of the Year award in 2005. Subsequent titles have been One Last Breath, The Dead Place (both finalists for the UK Crime Novel of the Year in 2006 and 2007), Scared to Live, Dying to Sin, The Kill Call, Lost River, The Devil’s Edge, Dead and Buried and Already Dead. The 14th Cooper & Fry novel, The Corpse Bridge, was published in the UK in June 2014 and will be followed by The Murder Road in 2015. A special Ben Cooper story, Claws, was released in 2007 to launch the new ‘Crime Express’ imprint, and was re-issued in April 2011.

All the books are set in England’s beautiful and atmospheric Peak District. At the end of 2006, the Peak District National Park Authority featured locations from the Cooper & Fry series in their new Peak Experience visitors’ guides, recognising the interest in the area inspired by the books.

The Cooper & Fry series is now published by Little, Brown in the UK and by the Witness Impulse imprint of HarperCollins in the USA. In addition to publication in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, translation rights in the series have so far been sold in fifteen languages – French, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian and Japanese.

While living on a smallholding in Yorkshire, Stephen began breeding pedigree dairy goats as a hobby (and as an extreme contrast to working in busy news rooms!). He later served on the British Goat Society’s governing body and judged at shows all over Britain. He has been chairman of several clubs, including the charity fund-raising Just Kidding Goat Society, and probably his most unusual role was as a director of an artificial insemination company. Specialist publications he’s been responsible for include a book on one of the country’s oldest goat breeds, The Toggenburg. He is a former President of the Toggenburg Breeders Society.

Stephen left journalism in 2001 to write novels full time. He and his wife Lesley live in a village in rural Nottinghamshire, England (home of Robin Hood and the Pilgrim Fathers). They have three cats.

In recent years, Stephen Booth has become a Library Champion in support of the UK’s ‘Love Libraries’ campaign, and a Reading Champion to support the National Year of Reading. He has also represented British literature at the Helsinki Book Fair in Finland, filmed a documentary for 20th Century Fox on the French detective Vidocq, taken part in online chats for World Book Day, and given talks at many conferences, conventions, libraries, bookshops and festivals around the world.

For More Information

Visit Stephen’s website.


To Win Her LoveTitle: To Win Her Love
Author: Mackenzie Crowne
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

To win the game, they’ll have to risk losing their hearts…

When a bizarre child custody stipulation pits popular sports blogger Gracie Gable against football superstar Jake Malone, losing the battle for her twin nieces isn’t the only thing Gracie has to worry about. Forced to live for three months under the same roof as the sexy tight end, will she fall prey to his flirtatious pursuit? Or worse, will the skeletons in her closet destroy her chance for the love and family she so desperately wants?

Neglected by his parents as a boy, Jake doesn’t believe in happily ever after. Yet living with Gracie and the twins might be enough to change his mind—and his womanizing ways. But when the press unearths a scandal from Gracie’s past, will he lose the one woman he was ready to open his heart to?

To Win Her Love is available for order at  
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Wife, mother and really young grandmother, Mackenzie Crowne shares her home with her high school sweetheart husband, a neurotic Pomeranian, and a blind cat. She calls Arizona home because the southwest feeds her soul. Her love of the romance genre has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened her resolve to see her stories shared with others. Today, she’s a seven-year survivor, living the dream. Her friends call her Mac. She hopes you will too.
Visit her website at mackenziecrowne.com, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/MacCrowne.

For More Information

Visit Mackenzie’s website.
Connect with Mackenzie

SexSecretsandHappilyEverAftersTitle: Sex, Secrets, & Happily Ever Afters
Author: Deb Julienne
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Angel Talbot is anything but pure—in fact some might even consider her a bit wicked. How else would you describe the manager of an ‘adults only’ store that specializes in helping ladies find that special O. But Angel could use a hand herself. Or two. That is until she stumbles into sexy businessman Travis Wellington.

When the Wellington Family had a problem, they sent Travis to fix it. Being the CEO of his family’s multi-million dollar enterprise means Travis is used to getting his hands dirty. But the pressure of looking out for the company, along with his family’s well-being was beginning to take its toll . . . until he found his Angel…

Sex, Secrets, & Happily Ever Afters is available for order at  
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Deb JulienneWhile some say truth is stranger than fiction, Deb Julienne’s experience runs more along the lines of a slap-stick comedy. When life tosses you lemons the only thing to do is to turn it into Limoncello.

​After writing for almost 20 years, she’s about to be an overnight success. Her life, like her comedies, has been one big fat romantic comedy…or errors. It’s not a matter of “if” it can go wrong, but how bad when it does happen, and make no mistake…it will. Survival with a sense of humor is the goal.

Joking aside, Deb’s dream of being published came true with the release of her first book, Sex, Lies and Beauty Aids, which was released March 2014. Since then she’s added to more to her collection of tales. Sex, Secrets, & Happily Ever Afters, and A Splash of Romance in the Crashing into Love Anthology.

As a long time member of both Romance Writers of America (RWA) and her local RWA Chapter, the Sacramento Valley Roses, she fills the hours she’s not writing romantic comedy and romantic suspense with her day job at a Silicon Valley Corporation, playing in the kitchen concocting her award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, and sauces (with alcohol of course).

​Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in the Tahoe National Forest Basin, her own little bit of heaven on Earth, with her husband of 34 years, their three sons and one daughter, and two very precocious grand kids, with a third on the way.

For More Information

Visit Deb’s website.
Connect with Deb

Lucky for YouTitle: Lucky For You
Author: Jayne Denker
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

It’s where everyone remembers your name—and your mistakes. But the quaint Catskills town of Marsden has a way of inspiring the unlikeliest reunions, flipping the script on the best laid plans, and opening even the most stubborn hearts…

Jordan Leigh’s always had a reputation for being bad news. So she figured it was only a matter of time before she got into serious trouble. But serving house arrest in her hometown of Marsden is truly cruel and unusual punishment. Plus she’s under police officer Will Nash’s up-close-and-all-too-personal supervision…which could make things worse—or more fun.

To make amends, Jordan throws herself into making nice with her neighbors, taking in stray animals, and helping teenage girls get back on track. But what she really wants is to get on the right track with Will. To do that, she’ll have to show him she’s grown up. And if that means making him break his own rules and face down his own fears, she’s up for the challenge …

Lucky For You is available for order at  
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Hi and thanks for visiting my blog! I’m glad you stopped by! Hoping to have new posts up frequently, but…well…you know how it is. But I’ll do my best!

Important professional stuff: I’ve been a writer all my life, even—gasp!—getting paid for it, sometimes even—double gasp!—in full-time jobs. I’ve also worked as an editor and proofreader, which makes my novels, if nothing else, very clean. Of course, in publishing terms that means very few grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, but it is tempting to legally change my name to Paul’s Grandfather. (Obscure reference clarification here.)

After I quit my last full-time job about five years ago to stay home and raise my son, my husband said I should “knock out a few dozen romance novels over a couple of weekends” to get filthy rich. Hah! He’s a funny guy. In a misguided kind of way. Still, the idea of getting back to writing fiction after many years in the nonfiction biz was intriguing, so I joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and jumped right in. Overnight success took three and a half years.

And of course I’ve got no guarantee of that success thing, overnight or not. My first contemporary romance, By Design,was published (e-book) by Kensington in May and my second, Unscripted, in August, and my third, Down on Love, in November. My fourth, a followup to Down on Love, will be published in July.

Important personal stuff: I live in a small village in western New York with my husband, son, and a very sweet senior-citizen basement kitteh who loves nothing more than going outside, where she sits on the front walk and wonders why she begged to go outside. I’d post a picture, but she always looks stoned. Too much ‘nip, perhaps? When I’m not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when I should be hard at work on another novel), I can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time on Facebook. Check in with me there (“Jayne Denker Author”) or on Twitter (@JDenkerAuthor). You can also drop me an e-mail (Jayne.Denker@gmail.com) anytime—I’d love to hear from you. And stop by and say hey on my Goodreads page!

For More Information

Visit Jayne’s website.
Connect with Jayne

Starting Over FINAL_hi res jpgTitle: Starting Over
Author: Stacy Finz
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

The mountain town of Nugget, California, may be tiny, but with its breathtaking scenery, fresh air, and lovable locals, it has everything. Not to mention it’s the perfect setting for firsts—and seconds—of all kinds…

On the day of her glitzy New York City wedding, society girl Samantha Dunsbury ditches her Wall Street groom, and hops in her convertible. Her only plan is to head west. But when a pit stop lands her at a lovely Victorian inn in Nugget, she doesn’t want to leave. And when the innkeeper needs someone to fill in, Sam is thrilled to take the job—her first! For once, she’s going to do what makes her happy. She just has to figure out what happy looks like. She never expects it to look like her surly new boss…

The last thing Nate Breyer needs is a debutante dilettante mucking up his business. How his sister—and
co-owner—could’ve hired Sam is beyond him. Nate’s known women like Sam before—he was engaged to one once. With no options, he’ll just have to keep his eye on her while also keeping his distance. But to his surprise it turns out Sam’s got a knack for the job, and for putting folks at ease—including Nate. As business—and pleasure—heat up their relationship, Nate finds himself ready to do anything to persuade the runaway-bride to stay permanently gone…

Starting Over is available for order at




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Stacy Finz is an award-winning journalist. After more than seventeen years covering notorious serial killers, naked-tractor-driving farmers, fanatical foodies, aging rock stars and weird Western towns for the San Francisco Chronicle, she figured she finally had enough material to launch a career writingfiction. In 2012 she won the Daphne du Maurier Award for unpublished single-title mystery/suspense. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband.

For More Information
Visit Stacy’s website.




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