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ImageMar Preston is the author of two mystery novels set in Santa Monica, California, featuring Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department. His girlfriend is a community activist, liberal in bent, which clashes with Mason’s traditional cop views. A third novel, set in a California mountain village features a County Sheriff’s Detective and an injured former Detective working as a patrol officer.

Thanks for this interview, Mar! When did your passion for crime and detective fiction begin?

Not until my forties until life settled down−and mostly importantly, after I wrote four unpublished literary fiction novels. I thought, well, mysteries can’t be as hard as literary fiction.  Silly me.

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

When I felt comfortable that I could think up and tell a good story.

Tell us about your latest novel, Rip-Off.

High-tech burglary and murder are bad for business in the upscale, tourist-destination beach city of Santa Monica with its leftist politics, rich homeowners, its entertainment mega-businesses, and huge homeless population. Bad for Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department. 

A deadbeat burglar is found in the beach condo of a playboy studio exec. The dead body must link up with a string of high-tech burglaries, and the Chechens Mason keeps meeting must link up with each other somehow, but how?

The investigation involves Mason in the dark world of embezzlement and an explosion that almost kills him. The stakes rise when the investigation leads him to the Hollywood Russian community and he ignores a warning by the FBI and Homeland Security.

How long does it usually take you to write a novel?

Years.

Are you disciplined?

No, life is too interesting. Maybe that’s why it takes me years.

Describe a typical writing day for you.

ImageOne cup of coffee playing Spider Solitaire to warm up. Long sigh, then get at it. The first draft is agony. I love rewriting and making the story better.

I hear you’re quite inventive when marketing your books. Can you tell us about your latest marketing event?

Sell, pawn, mortgage all your possessions and hire a publicist. Few writers are good self-promoters. I comment on interesting blogs, praise and review other writers, search for opportunities to guest blog, publish short stories, support Sisters-in-Crime, arrange house readings, and spend a limited time on Facebook and Twitter. I wish I had a clone.

What are the three main ingredients of a good mystery?

An absorbing plot that keeps you turning pages, engaging characters, and a twist on the usual rules of crime fiction.

What is the most difficult part of writing crime fiction?

The reason why it’s so hard to get a cop to read a mystery is clichéd plots and characters. Authors really need to work to make a story realistic and founded in fact.  Cops consider CSI a comedy show.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

Holding a book that you’re proud of in your hand. Then it’s like childbirth. You forget all the agony that went into making that book and you foolishly start another.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Write in whatever genre people are willing to read while you get the craft of writing polished to a high lustre.

What’s on the horizon for Mar Preston?

A New Adventure. I’m moving home to Canada after a 30-year vacation in California.

Connect with Mar Preston:

Author’s website: http://marpreston.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mar-Preston/136299239777273

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/YesMarPreston

RIP-OFF available on Kindle and print: http://www.amazon.com/Rip-Off-ebook/dp/B007WTYGI4

 

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ImageHi all,
 
Leticia Gomez, CEO and Founder of Savvy Literary Services, is a literary agent specializing in the Latino/Hispanic book market. She only has 5 more days to become eligible for a $250,000 grant from CHASE. This grant would really help her expand her business and assist Latino authors who live all over the world get their works published.
 
Please take a moment and vote for Savvy Literary Services!
 
All you need to do is login HERE with your Facebook ‘login’ and vote for ‘Savvy Literary Services’.
 
Deadline to vote is June 30, 2012!
 
Please help me spread the word by sharing this on Facebook and Twitter!
 
Thanks!
Mayra (aka Dark Phantom)

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ImageTitle: Eversworn

Author: Hailey Edwards

Series Title: Daughters of Askara

Release Day: June 26, 2012

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance 

Buy Links 

Amazon            B&N 

Blurb 

Steal the salt. Bind the grimoire. Escape the male. 

Daughters of Askara, Book 3 

When an exchange of stolen goods in the Feriana marketplace turns sour, Isabeau stumbles from the encounter bruised and laden with new orders to complete an even larger heist. With her child’s life at stake, there’s no room for error—or allies. 

Armed with a lethal book of spells, she strikes a dangerous bargain with Roland Bernhard. Steal a shipment of salt from the Feriana colony, and she’ll have her freedom—and her daughter. It’s all she’s ever wanted. At least it was…until she runs into Dillon Preston. 

Dillon is out of commission after a mine explosion, and itching for a distraction. He gets it when the female who saved his leg arrives at the colony with nothing but flimsy excuses and even flimsier attire. She’s after something, but is it him—or the salt? 

Trapped in a desperate bid to gain true freedom, Isabeau is willing to sacrifice her life for her daughter’s, but Dillon has other plans. He wants a package deal, and he’s not willing to lose either female, even if it means the future king of Sere’s head will roll. 

Warning: This title contains a heroine desperate to save her daughter and a hero determined to make them a family. It also includes wings, horns and other assorted appendages.  

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Realm of Askara, City of Feriana

Runes burned hot across my wrists where slave bands were inked into my skin. Inhaling the rich mélange that was Feriana on market day, I wished I was anywhere other than here, anyone other than me. Shifting my bag, I patted the bulge weighting its bottom. Good. It was still there.

As it had been the last five times I’d checked.

Guilt flavored each swallow to wet my throat. Remain calm. Impossible when my tattoos stung persistent warning. You have what he wants. All will be well.

I choked on a dry laugh. All was never well. Those who penned fairytales should be stabbed through the heart with their quill.

Pretending interest in the fresh produce, I surveyed the crowd. He was here, but where?

“Isabeau?” A firm hand tugged at my sleeve. “I asked what you thought of these dates.”

I spared them half a glance, then continued skimming the crowd. “You’ve chosen well.”

Lindsay’s smile lit the corner of my eye, and regret tugged at my conscience. She deserved more attention than I could afford to give her. I’d make it up to her later, assuming I had the chance. Procuring supplies wasn’t a priority for me, though I knew it should be. Right now, other worries occupied my mind. Such things as how willing I was to use defensive glamour if I must.

As the telltale burn of building magic scalded my palms, I supposed I’d made my choice.

Another tug at my arm swiveled my head toward Lindsay.

“I’d like to search the scarves, if I may. I had hoped to purchase a mating gift for Emma.”

Emma. What would she think if she knew my reason for being here?

Tugging at my collar, I swallowed past the sensation of her strong fingers wrapped about my throat. As acting consul of Askara, she’d wring my neck for this betrayal, and I would deserve it.

Living at the consulate with her, putting my healing craft to good use, helping ex-slaves begin new lives in either the city ofFerianaor its colony…I loved that life. And it was all a lie.

Glamour crackled over my skin, but the only things I concealed were the black spell-crafting runes inked from my forearms to my fingertips. Still, the static shock of power coating my skin led others to believe my concealment was more than cosmetic, a misconception I let flourish.

Given my consulate position, most assumed I was a female Evanti hiding in plain sight.

They were wrong.

“Go.” I indicated my favorite stall. “Enjoy yourself.”

“I will.” Swiping flaxen hair from her eyes, Lindsay cast me a broad grin. Despite being a halfling, she resembled the Askaran side of her parentage more than the human. “I promise I won’t touch anything I don’t intend to buy, and I won’t break anything.” She rushed to add, “If something happened, by accident, I’d pay the damages from my wages.”

“You’re fine.” I shooed her. “I trust you.”

Trust was a broad word. Lindsay wouldn’t break any of the wares on purpose, but she was a halfling mastering self-control late in life. Enslaved in an outland mining camp since birth, she’d had no need for learning social graces, only the art of survival. Relying on the brute strength that characterized her breed saved her from playing the role of camp whore. Now she wanted more, better, and as someone familiar with the other half of the equation, I wanted that for her as well.

Hissing as my skin throbbed with renewed heat, I gasped as the impression of male lips and teeth left their damp sting on my bare neck. Roland. Sultry whispers caressed my ears, beckoned come unto your master, and I was helpless not to obey his summons. Pressure from his phantom fingers compelled me toward a figure coalescing in the shade of a billowing tent. Swirling tendrils of power cloaked him from passersby and elicited a shiver of recognition from me. Inclining his head, he acknowledged me, and his smile made my pulse race with the stirrings of genuine fear.

Fighting the urge to check my bag, I dove into the crush of bodies, and they engulfed me.

When I reached the spot where Roland had stood, he was gone.

“You kept me waiting.” Hot breath hit my nape before he shoved me against a sandstone wall. My shoulder bounced as Roland pressed into me. His hand snaked around my waist, teased the underside of my breasts, squeezing before slipping under the flap of my bag. “Is this all?”

“It’s what we agreed upon.” I winced. “Where is my proof?”

“Are you so eager to be rid of me?” He pressed a string of kisses down my throat. “Well?”

Yes. My voice was a husky rasp. “Is bedding you a requirement for obtaining my proof?”

His chuckle caused my gut to clench. Nothing good came of his laughter.

“I prefer my partners willing.” A lie wrapped in a pretty half-truth. He was accomplished in magic, as all those trained by Sereian priests were. Glamour, the root of his power, twisted minds to suit his whims. I knew, because mine bore the spiral imprint of his amusement. “Here is the proof I promised you.” He slid an envelope in my bag and waited. “Aren’t you going to open it?”

I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of witnessing my reaction. “I trust you.”

Trust was a broad word indeed.

“This is exquisite,” Roland murmured. I glanced over my shoulder in time to see him hold his prize aloft. A fist-sized chunk of embolite sat heavy across his palm. “You did well, but this is no longer enough.”

Stomach roiling, I pushed from the wall and said again, “It’s what we agreed upon.”

“We agreed once I had control of the mine, your services would no longer be required.” His grip on the sample whitened his knuckles. “The entire point of freeing you to work for Emmaline was to monitor the Feriana colony’s mining operation and the Evanti controlling its distribution.” He struck before I saw him swing. Jagged rock hit my cheek and sliced it open. “Such an arrangement no longer benefits me since Emmaline has mated the Evanti in charge and is more protective of Harper than ever. Since he won’t negotiate for exclusive rights to the mine, alternate means of procurement are required.” His gaze met mine. “Wouldn’t you agree?”

I swallowed past the pain. “What do you have in mind?”

“We are eager today, aren’t we?” He pocketed the embolite. “Somewhere you’d rather be?”

Anywhere other than here. “No.”

“Good,” he said, smiling, “because you’re going on a trip.”

“I am?” I glided a wary step back.

“How is that Evanti you tended?” He appeared thoughtful. “I believe he’s called…Dillon.”

My pulse spiked at the mention of his name. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen him in weeks.”

He measured me for a moment longer, and I wondered why he had mentioned Dillon at all. The wounded Evanti demon had spent weeks under my care at the consulate before returning to the freemen colony on the outskirts of Feriana.

Withdrawing a handkerchief from his pocket, Roland dabbed my split cheek. “During those weeks, nothing happened between you?”

I sensed a trap but was unable to locate its mechanism. I stilled myself against the urge to strike his hand. My blood allowed his glamour to work on me no matter what our proximity. A single drop, a murmured spell, and he could find me, taunt me, anywhere. His illusionary kiss was benign compared to the power blood sparked in our connection. But why ask if something happened between Dillon and me…?

Mortification tightened my chest. “You’re a bastard.”

Of course he would spy on me, and my behavior around Dillon made heat creep up my neck.

“I assure you, I’m not. Bastards can’t become kings. You’re Sereian.” He stalked me until I backed into the wall. “You’d do well to remember Askara’s antislavery laws don’t apply to you.”

As if he ever let me forget.

When his gaze fixated on my mouth, I reminded him, “You cast me aside years ago.”

“Still bitter are we? I’m in the market for a wife.” He cupped my cheek. “And you,” he said, so near his lips brushed mine, “are a whore.” His thumb swiped over the fresh wound he’d given me, and my wince resulted in a low growl of approval from him. “Albeit, you’re a talented one.”

“You have what you came for.” I gritted my teeth as he pressed on the cut. “Leave me.”

“Not quite and not yet.” He painted my lips with blood, its copper tang curling my tongue. “As I said, the terms of our agreement must be altered. As a token of appreciation for pleasure you once gave me, for the loyalties I still enjoy, I’m offering you a chance at earning freedom.”

I gave the ringing in my ears a chance to subside. “What are your terms?”

“I want a full shipment of salt delivered to my estate.” He patted the pocket where his core sample resided. “I don’t mean this. I have no use for embolite in the rough. I want the processed salt.” He waved a dismissive hand. “The silver portion of the shipment is unimportant. Keep it if you wish. Use it to finance your new life.” His sigh rang with displeasure. “It will mean showing restraint, but it will suffice. I must have the salt. Do you understand? It’s of critical importance.”

I blinked. “Are you mad? I’d have to steal direct from the colony, and there’s an enormous difference between me pocketing core samples after they’ve been tested and hijacking an entire caravan.” I leaned into the wall for support. “The former goes unnoticed, the latter is…suicide.”

One life exchanged for the good of many. It was Harper’s credo, and I was not of the many.

“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” he murmured. “I heard Emma and Harper are visiting their siblings, on Earth.” I gave him no confirmation. He had no way of knowing where they had gone, and I wasn’t about to tell him. “They’re no doubt spreading their happy news.” His motive became clearer. “That leaves your patient in charge of the colony in Harper’s absence. I’m sure two such friends can find understanding. After all, he owes you for saving his leg, doesn’t he?”

What he implied made my cheeks burn. Of course he would spend me so cheaply.

Still, despair and hope warred within me. “And if I manage this feat…”

He tapped my wrists, and fresh pain flared. “Then you will be freed.”

I lifted my chin. “My freedom is not the only price I require.”

“So I assumed.” His pause left me breathless. “Deliver the salt, and the girl is also yours.”

A pent-up breath whistled between my lips. “Give me your word, and it’s done.”

Words held power. Breaking his promise would weaken that power. Roland wouldn’t risk it.

Not around me.

“My word is given.” He turned and black mist shrouded him. Then he was gone.

As the sting in my slave bands lessened to a dull throb, I sagged against the wall. The girl is yours. With trembling fingers, I reached into my bag and withdrew the envelope. Tucked into the crease was a lock of auburn hair with a slight curl at the end. Fishing into a different pocket, I withdrew a similar strand and compared the lengths. One hung slightly longer than the other. I held it to my nose and inhaled the violet-scented strands until hot, useless tears pricked my eyes.

I knew this was a disaster in the making, but he’d baited his trap too well for me to resist.

Footsteps warned me in time to hide my bribe. Past the wall, I spotted Lindsay barreling toward me, scanning the area where Roland had stood seconds earlier. She ducked past the tent.

“Are you all right?” She grabbed my chin and tipped my head back. “What happened?” Her voice took on a dangerous edge. “Your poor face.” She noticed my bag. “Who did this? A thief?”

“Yes.” In a manner of speaking, he was. I choked on the insane urge to laugh, to scream that freedom was within my reach, but I tamped it down. “The thief took something dear from me.” I wiped away my tears. “Don’t worry. I will get it back.” Taking her arm, I led her from the alley into the sun. I basked in its heat. Let it chase the chill of Roland’s presence. “Are you finished?”

“I—” She frowned at my eager tone. “Yes. I suppose I am.”

“Good.” I compensated for the slip with a wobbling smile. “Let’s go home.”

I had plans to make.

 

 

Different worlds, different colonies, but still the same damn meetings.

Responsibility weighted the air on this side of the desk. Each inhale settled heavily in Dillon’s lungs. He’d much rather occupy his usual spot by the tent flap, his gaze trained on the dunes beyond than wear the mantle of interim colony leader. Harper hadn’t done Dillon any favors by yoking him to the colony bandwagon, asking him to lead with fanfare in his absence.

Rolling his shoulders, he cast aside the niggling suspicion Harper had made the appointment out of pity. Another time he might have gloated when Harper brought in two males a quarter of his age as his replacements. Instead, it made him feel every day of his ninety-eight years. No dancing around it. He was getting old, even by their race’s standards. He should be finding a female, settling down, doing his duty to pump fresh blood, pure blood, into their dwindling race.

His leg twinged when he shifted in his seat, a reminder of how he ended up paper-pushing in the first place. Pinning his shoulders to the back of his chair kept him from leaning down and rubbing the dull ache in his calf, or where his calf used to be. His jaw tightened. No need to go there. Not now. Not while two fresh faces were staring him down, looking for signs of weakness.

While drumming his fingers on his knee, he inspected the two newest transplants from Earth. Two young males eager to taste what Askara had to offer, curious to see if their memories of enslavement held up against the new reality of this being a kingdom of freemen. Their optimism made him cringe. Then again, he’d seen the files the freeborn legion had kept on them.

They had both belonged to the sthudal slave caste, and slaves with that designation recalled their time spent in labor camps with fewer nightmares than those who wore the title of sthudai.

Dillon knew which life he would have chosen.

Better to break his back in a mine, die of hunger or thirst, than live on the end of a chain like a f**king animal, fed and watered only when his performance merited such a reward. Bile rose in his throat. He swallowed hard and ground his heel into the packed sand floor. Ruined muscle screamed in protest, but the burst of agony was his reward, his reprieve from the memories always a stray thought away from choking him. Yeah, he would have loved to have been sthudal.

Figuring he’d kept the pair waiting long enough, Dillon asked, “You two have any questions?” He lifted a cup and swallowed its tepid contents down to the grit in the bottom. His teeth crunched when he set his jaw. Damn, he’d be glad when the new aqueduct was completed.

“Yeah.” Church eyed the tent flap warily. “Is there anything out here besides sand?”

“Sure there is.” Dillon suppressed a grin when Church’s shoulders relaxed. “Didn’t you see all the tents? That’s why the colonists call this place tent city. The only buildings with walls are the clinic and the stable. You’ll get acquainted with those soon enough.” Harper would strangle him for adding, “You two arrived just in time for the winter sandstorm season. When they hit, all we can do is pack ourselves like sardines into those buildings and pray the spell crafting holds.”

Church cast one more glance past the flap to the desert beyond. “Great.” He twisted in his seat and eyed the male beside him. “Russ, you got any last requests before we’re blown away?”

Russ’s smile was faint. “What are our duties while Harper’s away?”

Scratching his cheek, Dillon admitted he wasn’t sure what to do with the pair. Until his leg mended, he was on light duty, in theory. These two had prior experience, as most legionaries did, so they knew the basics of guard duty. The rest, training them as bodyguards, hinged on Harper and Emma’s return since Dillon was a big believer in learning in the field. Sink or swim.

Until that happened… “You’ve got two choices. Our courier is swamped. One of you can train with Mason. He deserves the break.” He paused in consideration. “The other can train with Uriah, our silversmith. He oversees the extraction of silver and salt from the embolite we mine.”

At their blank expressions, Dillon exhaled on a curse. Their files expounded the fieldwork each had done for the freeborn legion, and each had service records spotless enough he felt Harper would be safe with them, but his decision to skim their locational information had just jumped up and bit him on the ass. “Where were you two working when the legion found you?”

“The outlands,” they replied in unison.

Okay, so maybe he had read their information right. “Were you in the mines?”

“No.” Church frowned. “I was a brickmaker by trade. I still am, or was, on Earth.”

Ah. That explained why Harper had picked him. As the colony expanded, so did the need for structures beyond tents they used for, well, everything. Dillon sized up Russ. “How about you?”

Russ held up ink-smudged fingers. “I was a scribe employed by an exiled noble.”

A scribe was, well, less useful. Dillon asked, “Do either of you know what progesaline is?”

“Females need it during pregnancy.” Church shrugged, signaling the end of his contribution.

Russ appeared to consider his answer. “Progesaline is a supplement females of some demon breeds require during pregnancy. Without it, they become anemic. They might die before or during childbirth, as could the children, unless they consume enough to maintain healthy levels.”

Dillon blinked. Maybe having a scribe around wasn’t such a bad idea.

“It’s found in rare salt veins,” Russ continued. “While I’ve never heard of it being found in veins of embolite, it’s certainly possible. I’d think the problem would be extraction.” He paused at Church’s scowl. “Embolite is a mineral containing both salt and silver in their natural forms.”

“Someone did his research.” Otherwise, he wouldn’t have guessed embolite over chlorargyrite. Dillon gave Russ a slow second glance. There was something familiar about him.

Russ frowned. “I’d hardly accept the position otherwise.”

“So what gives?” Church twisted in his seat. “How did Harper get such a sweet deal?”

“I’ll hazard a guess the queen’s advisors signed over this tract of land for two reasons.” Russ waited until Dillon nodded. “First, it shares a city with the vernal castle, which means it’s near enough forFirst Courtto monitor and close enough for the queen’s troops to attack if necessary.”

“Go on.” Dillon caught himself leaning forward.

“Second, the mine had potential, enoughFirst Court’s gift appealed to Harper and their offer wasn’t insulting. Though I bet they assumed even if he was foolhardy enough to work the mine, he wouldn’t figure out how to process the embolite and separate the silver and the salt from the core mineral. Yet he did, and he likely doubled his profits.” Russ smiled slowly. “Am I right?”

“Damn.” Church whistled. “That explains the raiders, plus the bounty on Harper’s head.”

“Right on both counts,” Dillon said, forcing his attention from Russ.

He was right, though Dillon and Harper were just drawing the same conclusions. They had guessed the only reason the queen’s advisors had given consent for Harper to take over the mine was they were certain there was nothing here worth mining. Now that Harper had proven them wrong? Yeah, they were pissed and wanted a share. Damn if Dillon didn’t find that a little bit funny.

“This colony pays its bills with the mine, and, as Russ said, we mine embolite.” No two ways about it, Harper must have told Russ. “It’s damn hard work and not worth much in the rough, if anything at all. Then Uriah works his magic and we get pure silver and pure salt. Six times more silver than salt, but silver has its uses and our salt, well, it’s almost pure progesaline.”

Russ murmured something Dillon didn’t catch because Church stood with a grunt.

“So do we pick now or what?” His back popped as he stretched. “Mason or Uriah, right?”

Good to know Dillon wasn’t the only one bored by meetings. “Yeah, have at it.”

Church didn’t miss a beat. “I’ll take Uriah.”

Dillon almost felt sorry for him. While they were the obvious match, Uriah burned through apprentices faster than he could match faces to names. Not that he tried too hard. Mostly he called them all the same thing, dier hest eirdth or eirdth for short, which was the Demonish equivalent of dirt. Those under his tutelage chose to believe he meant they were clay and he was molding them into…whatever struck their fancy. Dillon suspected Uriah meant the more literal translation of ground beneath my feet. His attitude explained why even his ex-masters had given him a wide berth. The male was a god at his forge, and he knew it. The fact a story was floating around about him flinging molten silver in the face of an Askaran noble had cemented his reputation as a bastard. Something Dillon could respect. So long as Uriah did his job, Dillon didn’t care.

“That leaves me with Mason.” Russ slanted a look toward Church that punctured his mood. “If I’m playing courier, then I guess I’ll find out if there’s any life beyond those dunes after all.”

“Now that we have that settled,” Dillon said, giving Church time to school his glower, “you’ll each pull border patrol and sentry duty. That won’t change even after Harper gets back.”

Russ frowned. “We won’t alternate day and night shifts?”

Church stilled. “Harper needs someone watching his back at night too.”

“He has someone.” Dillon stood, Church’s restlessness feeding his own. “Her name’s Emma.” Before they earned enough rope to hang themselves, he silenced their protests. “One of you will remain on perimeter duty after dayshift ends. That means frequent passes by their tent. The trick is being close enough you can keep an eye on Harper—and Emma—while giving them the illusion of privacy.” He admitted grudgingly, “No one’s more invested in Harper’s wellbeing, and few are more capable of ensuring his safety. Plus few realize what she is before it’s too late.”

Once they moved past the honeymoon period in their relationship, Harper might not need a guard beyond his mate. Emma was a halfling, stronger than most full demon males, and Harper had trained her to protect her sister, Askara’s Princess Ascendant Madelyn DeGray, since they were children. If it meant protecting Harper and Maddie, there was nothing Emma wouldn’t do.

Dillon ignored the tightness in his chest and sharpened his scowl. He wasn’t jealous.

“Fair enough.” Russ pushed from his seat. “Where do you want us?”

“Head back to your tents for now. I’m handling border patrol tonight.” No reason not to while Harper wasn’t here to bench him. “I expect to see both of you here at six.”

Russ’s gaze dipped toward Dillon’s leg, his brow furrowing, but he kept his mouth shut. Good. He just might make it here after all.

“The faster you learn your way around, the better.” Dillon crossed the tent and brushed aside the flap. “I want you two broken in by the time Harper and Emma get back.”

His first step outside blinded him. Hot air rushed into his lungs, baking them, and his tongue dried in the time it took for his mouth to open long enough to say, “Welcome to Askara, boys.”

Author Bio 

Hailey is a wife turned mother turned writer, who loves her husband, her daughter and alone time with her computer. Whenever southern living strikes her as too ordinary, she can be found squinting at her monitor as she writes her next happily-ever-after or with her nose glued to her Kindle’s screen. Wings and/or cupcakes are usually involved… 

She loves to hear from readers. Drop her a line here

You can also swing by her blog or subscribe to her newsletter for all her latest news. 

Author Links 

Website: http://haileyedwards.net/ 

Blog: http://haileyedwards.net/blog/ 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorhaileyedwards 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/HaileyEdwards

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ImageLinda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel, Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.

Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.

Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of novels. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.

You can visit her website at www.artistsandthieves.com.

What was your inspiration for Artists & Thieves?

            I was enrolled several years ago in a class at UCSD on how to write a mystery novel. I didn’t want to do “detective” fiction in which a crime is committed by someone “bad” and then solved by someone “good.” I was fascinated by art and art theft and wanted to explore why someone with good intensions might steal art. So I created a heroine who is an artist who must steal an ancient Chinese bronze bowl because it belonged to her ancestor in China and she must return it. She is artist and thief at the same time. To fill her world I created an art collector, an art critic, a flamboyant “best friend” artist, art looters and smugglers, all involved in the theft of the same bronze bowl. Hence, Artists & Thieves. It won the San Diego Book Awards in the action/suspense category.

Tell us something about your hero and/or heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

            Mai Ling is beautiful, clever, skilled in martial arts. She dresses in Chinese silk and lives her life as if she is splashing wild colors on a fast moving canvas.

Is there a villain in your story? Tell us about him/her.

            The villain and killer is an employee of an import firm. He smuggles objects looted from digs around the world. He is the kind of handsome man who actually looks perfect up close, like a Milan model. He dresses in while linen suits.

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Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

            Mai is my favorite but to portray her well I paired her with Angelo. Mai is competent, skilled in martial arts, compassionate, a winner with positive qualities.  Angelo is arrogant, conceited, emotional.  His impulsive nature gets him into destructive relationships. Mai and Angelo are different sides of the same coin.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

            My favorite scene is the build up to the plot’s climax. I had to increase the speed of the story, put obstacles in the way of Mai’s success, and isolate her from anyone’s help.  I let the physical setting reflect her frustration:  “The streets at the west end of Golden Gate Park were shrouded in fog and darkness. Mai couldn’t see the white center line on the road or the one at the edge marking the bicycle lane, couldn’t keep the Jaguar in her lane. She was racing to find Toni, getting nowhere, the hands on the dashboard clock sweeping away minutes.”

What do you love most about being an author?

            I like having a written story, a product for someone to read and enjoy. The process of writing is work, listening to critiques on what needs to be fixed is painful, but storytelling is an art that requires both craft and viewers as much as any painting does.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

            Thanks to you and your readers for being interested in the bits and pieces of books.

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Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, Barry left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA. Under the name “Storyheart,” Barry is better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book “Stories from the Heart“. His first YA novel “Across the Pond” proved extremely popular with over 120 reviews on Amazon.  Now he is going back to his romantic roots with the first of a series of books “The Bathroom Book of Romance”.

Barry’s whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee. He is also host of the popular radio show “A Book and a Chat” with over 450 shows under his belt.

 

Web Site: http://romance2read.com

About the Book:

The Bathroom Book of Romance – Book 1 “ is the first in a series of books with short stories, is short enough to read over a cup of tea or coffee, or whenever you have some time to yourself, yet long enough to bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face. In fact some people call them “bathroom stories” as that might be the only place you get five minutes peace and quiet to yourself.

Thanks for this interview, Barry! What was your inspiration for The Bathroom Book of Romance ?

The title of the book comes from when I first started writing these short stories many years ago, originally is was that  you could read the stories whenever you had five minutes peace and quiet. One reader (the stories used to be produced online) that with three young children the only time she got peace and quiet was if she locker herself away in the bathroom, so the stories became “bathroom stories”.

Tell us something about your hero and/or heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

Being numerous short stories there are many different types of characters, hero’s, ages and relationships. Over this book and the next two I have tried to cover every form of romance I can think of. There are always twists and turns and I try to fool the reader whenever I can, in fact I actually take great pleasure in being told… “You did it to me again, I thought it was such and such an ending…”

What is your favorite story in the book?

This is the first of a series of books with the stories written for not only book two but a Christmas Special. I have many stories I really like, I used to have my own local TV station where I used to come on like Mr Rogers, and narrate a story or two to the camera. Hardest part of that is looking up at the camra and then down at the story I was reading without losing my place. But you asked about my favorite stories. The first four in the book “The Radio Show”, Love of an Angel”, Emerald Eyes” and “Why?” are ones I like though there are many more that have their own special spots.

What do you love most about being an author?

I always bulk at being called an author, though with my YA book “Across the Pond” having over 120 reviews on Amazon I guess I can call myself that, though I prefer to be called a “story teller”. My English is not brilliant; I do not have authors names dropping from my tongue like so many authors, and as for my spelling… thank goodness for spell-check. I love chatting to authors though which can be seen from the popularity of my radio show “A Book and a Chat” which now numbers around 470 shows, and not just authors I am a huge fan of bloggers and try to get them on the show when possible.

A Short story from book two… “The Rose”

Night stirred its inky finger at the ending of the day, the office lights breaking through the windows into the dark night. Desks emptied as people sort to get an early start to the weekend.

She completed the last letter she had to send that day, filled in the final figures on the day’s spreadsheet, and was just about to close down her PC when a message popped up saying she had a new email. She was going to open the email to check what it was when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning round, she looked into the sparkling eyes that belonged to Andy, her boss, which as normal, set her heart racing.

“Still here?” he said with a smile. “Nothing to go home too?”

She smiled back.  “Nothing much.”

Not as if you were there she thought, then scolded herself in case she let her secret feeling for Andy show.

Andy smiled once more. “Well, see you on Monday” And with that, left her to her thoughts.

He was so good looking, she thought to herself, as she watched his rear disappearing out the door.

With a sigh, she shut of her computer, letting the email wait until Monday, and slowly made her way to the lift. She had nothing to go home to except an empty and lonely house. Her husband was a long gone, and good riddance. Her son was at college far away, and all that was there for her, was another lonely night.

She reached the exit of the building. There, waiting for her was Mike, the security guard. Mike always there with a smile that seemed just for her, understanding her moods and problems sometimes before she herself knew them. Mike, whom she could tell anything to, knowing it would go no further and that he would never judge her. As normal, he held open the door, his arm almost but not quite touching her as she went by.

“Night Mable, have a good one,” he said to her with a smile.

“Night Mike.” she answered back over her shoulder as she walked to where she had parked her car. “And thank you.” She blew him a kiss as normal.

She walked down the now empty parking spaces to where hers was parked, and opened to door to get in the car, when she noticed something on the front window. Moving round, she realized it was a rose, a single red rose placed under one of her wiper blades. Taking it carefully in her hands, she looked for a note or something to say whom the rose had been from, but there was nothing.

She drove home trying to work out in her mind that might have left her the flower. Could it have been Andy, guessing her feeling for him, and letting her know that he felt the same? Perhaps it was Mike, just showing her that he cared?

Her mind went through all the other possible people, but kept coming back to Andy and Mike. The weekend seemed to fly by, with her thoughts always turning to the rose that took pride of place on her table in the small glass vase. Was it Andy, or was it Mike? She had to wait until Monday to find out.

At last Monday came, she parked her car as normal and found Mike waiting for her with an open door. She flashed a special smile his way eager to thank him if indeed the rose had been from him.

“Thank you so much,” she said, lingering for a few moments before walking through the door, as if waiting for him to reply. But Mike did not say anything about flowers or her, so she hurriedly made her way to her desk.

Andy. Andy. It had to be Andy. After all this time at last he was showing her that he felt the same way as she did.

She waited for Andy to come in, her heart racing at the thought of him leaving a rose for her.

While she waited, she checked her mail, the first message being the one that she left on Friday, it was from her son.

“Hi Mum.” it read “I was just passing through on my way to a friend’s house, from where I am sending you this email. I did not really have time to stop, just thought I’d let you know how much I love you. I hope you enjoy the rose. Love, Don

With a sigh, the dream bubble burst. Oh well, she thought, at least her son loved her.

*****

Author’s twitter: storyheart52

Author’s facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/storyheart 

Link to purchase page: http://romance2read.com

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A burglar is found dead in an upscale condo in the beautiful beach city of Santa Monica. The murder seems to be linked to a series of high-tech murders that have been taking place in the area. Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police department is called to the case. Soon, he suspects that the Chechens are connected to the murders, but how? While investigating in the Hollywood Russian community, he’s thrown into a vortex of dark suspects, embezzlement, explosions and FBI agents.  When Dave and his department are blamed for a take-down gone wrong, it’s up to him to solve the case and restore their reputation, while at the same time trying to salvage his relationship with his girlfriend. 

Mar Preston delivers yet another exciting whodunit mystery in this, her second book in her Dave Mason series. The prose is crisp, the dialogue gritty. The author doesn’t waste time with unnecessary description or backstory in this little page-turner that will keep readers guessing for the culprits. She also does an excellent job in bringing upscale Santa Monica and its people to life, with its luxurious condos and leftist politics. The characters are interesting, each distinct with their own quirks. Dave Mason is a likable protagonist with both flaws and good qualities. Rip-Off is a well-written mystery with a well thought-out plot that will be enjoyed by fans of the genre. Recommended!

RIP-OFF available on Kindle and print: http://www.amazon.com/Rip-Off-ebook/dp/B007WTYGI4 

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-rip-off-by-mar/#ixzz1y9s6qI9u

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ImageAlabaster Black is hiding from the United States Government. Over the past two years she’s had different identities. As a forensic accountant, she does forensic investigations of people’s finances in order to protect the country’s internal financial system and stop dangerous greed. But her latest report to secret organization Rendition ends badly and so now she’s on the run in Italy under yet another fictitious name: Bianca. 

In beautiful, historical Rome, she meets government investigator and amateur archaeologist Dante, member of Roma Underground, and soon their relationship takes her on an adventure underneath the city itself. Before long, however, she’s being followed, Italian artifacts start disappearing, and the two of them set out to trap the guilty parties. 

This was an enjoyable read! Conspiracy, double identities, car chases and espionage, all against the backdrop of magical Rome, with its great food and marvelous art history, make this an entertaining, intriguing read. Indeed, the setting is one of the most engaging aspects of the novel. The author describes the foods and locations in vivid detail, bringing the story to life. I liked the heroine. She’s strong, smart, and pragmatic, kind of like a female James Bond. At times the pace drags a bit but on the whole this in a well written and suspenseful novel with a strong heroine that will be enjoyed by fans of the genre. 

Website: http://gabrielswharf.wordpress.com/

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Roma-Underground-Gabriel-Valjan/dp/0983676488/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Roma-Underground-ebook/dp/B007EF8XE4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330448149&sr=8-2

Barnes and Noble paperback and Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/roma-underground-gabriel-valjan/1108929219?ean=9780983676485&itm=1&usri=roma%2c+underground

 

 

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