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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 13, 2013

Weekly Short: Cupid On Deck

I really enjoy Nancy Scofano's stories. There is something comforting about her writing. You may recall I compared her novel True Love Way to comfort food mac 'n' cheese. Cupid on Deck was another fun read. And as a short story, it is perfect for a Saturday afternoon pick me up.

Louise is alone on Valentine's Day and agrees to a "blind date" of sorts. Her friends have booked a 1920s themed dinner cruise and she thinks she's there with Nate, until he shows up with a date of his own.

As a single gal myself I could just feel the despondency of Lou, but I was also a bit jealous of the party she was attending.

If being stood up on Valentine's Day isn't bad enough, Lou is a bit of a klutz. However, it might just be the thing lands her in the arms of Landon. Is it just a chance encounter that will have them going in separate directions when the boat docks?

There is a lot packed into this short story and it will have to running a full gamut of emotions. For those who still want to believe in fairytale romance, then pick up Cupid on Deck by Nancy Scrofano.

Buy the book at Amazon

Book Info:
Cupid on Deck by Nancy Scrofano, ebook, published February 2013 by Bloomwood Books
Read: March 2013
Source: author

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the above links. A free book was provided by the source mentioned in order to provide an honest review.

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April 12, 2013

Excerpt: Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy

"What happened?" Eva asked.

"We were attacked by shriekers," I said. "Dozens of them."

"That's not good," Eva said. "Their bite is poisonous. How many hours has it been?"

"Yesterday at sundown," I said.

Suddenly Aquinas was by our side. "It may already be too late," she said. She produced a vial of blue liquid from a pouch on her side and poured it into Daniel's mouth. He sputtered and coughed the liquid back up. "A thin hope. Take him up into the Templar Tree. Hurry now. Every second matters."

We did as she told us and carried him as quickly as we could to the tree and up the stairs. Aquinas sped ahead of us and was busy in her laboratory when we arrived. Daniel clawed at the air in front of him, swatting away imaginary enemies.

"No...leave me...get them off me..." he shouted.

"Help him!" T-Rex called out to Aquinas.

Eva put a hand on T-Rex's shoulder to calm him. I turned to Aquinas. "What do you want us to do?”

Aquinas walked over, mixing a glass jar of glowing green fluid. "Hold him. The poison inside his body wants to turn him into a Creach. It does not want to be cured and will try to reject this medicine."

Eva and I each grabbed an arm and Will and T-Rex took hold of a leg. Daniel moaned softly, teetering on the edge of consciousness. Aquinas leaned in with the medicine. "Easy, now. Easy does it," she said.

Just as the jar touched his lips, Daniel's eyes opened. He glanced at each of us holding him down, the look in his eyes full of pure hatred. "No!" he shouted. He kicked his leg and T-Rex went flying across the room. With a savage growl, Daniel kicked across at Will and tagged him with a brutal uppercut.

"Hold him!" Aquinas shouted.

Will jumped onto Daniel's legs, wrapping his arms around them in a bear hug. Daniel bucked and kicked his body, trying his best to wrench his hands free, clawing at us like a wild animal. Aquinas tried unsuccessfully to pour the medicine into his mouth.

"Daniel!" she cried, her voice booming in the small room. "I command you to be still!"

It seemed like she had gotten through to him. The convulsions stopped and he looked at her as if recognizing her for the first time. I weakened my grip slightly. Big mistake.

A split second later, Daniel tore his hand away and shoved Aquinas. He punched at Eva who, unwilling to let go of Daniel's other hand, took the blows to her forearm and shoulder. Daniel snarled, his mouth foaming.

"Let go of me," he roared. "You'll never be able to—"


A potted plant smashed into Daniel's head, dirt and leaves flying wildly into the air. His eyes rolled back in his head and he fell back onto the cot.

We all looked back behind us where the potted plant had come from. T-Rex stood there, probably even more surprised than the rest of us over what he had just done. "I didn't kill him, did I?" T-Rex asked sheepishly.

Aquinas put her hand behind Daniel's neck and lifted his head. She poured the green glowing medicine down his throat and then carefully laid him back down.

"No," Aquinas said. "You may have just saved his life."

About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Middle Grade/YA series The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. Jeff is also the co-CEO of College Works Painting, a national company with over 4,000 employees that has been featured in national media for its unique opportunity for college students to learn entrepreneurial skills.  He is the author of the motivational career guides No Parachute Required (Hyperion) and Wake Up Call (Seven Guns Press). After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland by trying to constantly keep up with his kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the CIty Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.
website  *  book site  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads

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Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the links above. Jeff Gunhus is a client of GWR Publicity.
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April 10, 2013

Paul Landes: Faction - the New Fiction

One of the things I’ve personally enjoyed about reading fiction is to see the different ways certain authors had taken real events and neatly woven them into a tale of fiction. When I stared out writing Wings to Redemption I wanted every single event to rest comfortably on a factual premise. This is what I refer to as “Faction.”

I went to painstaking lengths to make sure Wings to Redemption met the true definition of Faction. Every location in the book was either visited by me or I had lengthy discussions with people who were intimately familiar with the location. I relied very heavily on one friend, Dr. Murray Gardner from UC Davis, who helped me create a genetically engineered virus that is not quite feasible today, but it definitely borders on the edge of reality. This was all fairly complex stuff and the challenge was to be able to write and describe the development of this virus in such a way that it was technically correct, but understandable by the lay person. I think I achieved that based on the feedback I have received so far.

In my earlier research I came upon a government agency called DARPA, which stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It’s part of the U.S. Department of Defense and I refer to it in my story as the Defense Department’s intellectual sandbox for depraved minds. It’s an agency with little or no project oversight so it made sense to use DARPA as the creator of the virus. It’s not unheard of for research to go off stream and end up with an entirely different result and that’s what happens here. In this case, DARPA was undertaking research to control the flight of mosquitoes so they could use them as the vector to deliver vaccines, or more likely something far more heinous. DARPA is actually doing that research today, but I took it further and used the mosquitoes to deliver a genetically engineered virus that could target a specific class of people. It turns out the people behind all this actually had even more sinister uses in mind for the virus, but that’s all a part of the story so I can’t reveal that here.

The sequel to Wings to Redemption will be out this summer and the research that has gone into this yet unnamed book has been voluminous. I’ve always been intrigued by Antarctica, but not for the reasons most would suspect. It’s cold, it’s dry and it has the highest average elevation out of the seven continents. But, the lore surrounding the many hidden secrets of this continent have, as yet, neither been proven nor disproven. It’s an untapped resource for factional writers. Did you know there’s a theory that both the North and South Poles have a ‘polar hole ’where zero gravity exists? Imagine the possibilities this could have for the rapidly expanding field of Epigenetics!

About the Author:

Father of two, husband to one and the proud half-owner of three loyal dogs.​

I have traveled and maneuvered through the corporate world as an executive, real estate developer and consultant. Along the way I encountered some successes and some failures, but all-in-all, I have gained life experiences that serve me well today. I guess I became a full-time author in August, 2011. I was searching for something meaningful to do when I re-opened the story that Kristen and I started together so many years ago. Since then, I have been writing, writing and writing.​

I have always been and will continue to be a true adventurer, seeking new ideas, new places to visit and new goals to conquer. I can be spotted swimming in lakes and rivers and I am usually accompanied by my faithful Ridgeback when hiking the mountains or fishing its streams.​

I am now spending my time secluded in a house on the North Coast writing the second novel in the Alex Boudreau Adventure Series.
 website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads

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Girl Who Reads is a an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the links above. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

Sacrifice Tour Giveaway

Chat with Stacey Rourke
author of Amazon Bestselling Children's Action & Adventure novel

April 10 at 10:30 am ET
(it's easy to join the conversation using

Celeste Garrett has finally found a happy balance in her life as the Chosen One, thanks in large part to a certain hunky Irishman. But if there’s any lesson she should heed since receiving her calling it’s that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Soon a terrible new threat, unlike anything she’s ever encountered, causes her to make a gut-wrenching choice that will strip her of someone she holds dear.

As much as she’d like to have a pity party for one, there’s no time for that now because wedding bells are ringing in Gainesboro! In between dress fittings and rehearsal dinners Celeste will have to fend off attacking demons and leering pirates. As if the Dark Army wasn’t scary enough our heroine is faced with the horrifying trauma of attending a bachelorette party with her mom and watching Grams do Jello shots. Is a walk down the aisle even possible for a member of the Garrett family when the Dark Army is out to destroy them? More importantly, will the Dark Army Glee Club sing at the reception?

Raise your glass to the happy couple, and get ready for a wedding…Conduit-style.
Buy the books for 99 cents each!

Be sure to follow the full tour for reviews, interviews, excerpts, and the inside scoop on Stacey Rourke and the Gryphon series. To celebrate the third book in the Gryphon series, Stacey Rourke is offering one lucky fan an awesome prize pack. Enter below.

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A GWR Publicity promotional tour paid for by the author. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made via the above links. Rose Petals background is a public domain image courtesy of Виталий Смолыгин.
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April 9, 2013

Bloggers Wanted for New Adult Romance Book Blast Giveaway

New opportunity for you to gain fans and offer your readers some great prizes!

Yes, you read that right: PRIZES

3 Amazon $10 Gift Cards
5 ebooks of By My Side

Sign up below for the By My Side Book Blast Giveaway
on April 19

By My Side by Stephanie Witter
Lily Saunders sees her family falling apart. Her father is deserting her, and her mother is drinking more and more. Even sarcasm can't help Lily. When she thinks her best friend, Andy Green, will help her, she discovers how his blinding jealousy will mess everything up.

And then Gabe Green comes back home. She thinks it'll be like always between them—sarcasms and curses thrown at each other—but she's mistaken. He's different, and understands right away the problems she's trying to keep for herself.

But even if he's there for her, making her fall hard, they both know it'll end soon. Because at their age, you can't expect forever. Right?

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by Anchor Group Publishing. Giveaway is sponsored by the author.

April 8, 2013

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro: When and How I First Found Out I am Psychic

Like Miriam Kaminsky, my heroine in Kaylee’s Ghost (RJS Books, 2012), I am a phone psychic. Everyone is always asking, “When and how did you find out you are psychic?”

My sharpest memory is when I was four years old and I just knew that the phone was about to ring and that it would be my mother’s English cousin, Bertie, calling to say that he was coming. I heard the whole conversation between him and my mother in my head, never mind that the last time Bertie came, I had only been one-year-old and couldn’t possibly have remembered him.  

“Ello, Duckie, the Queen Mary has just docked in New York and I need you to come round to collect me.” 

As I was telling this to my parents at the kitchen table, even imitating Bertie’s cockney accent, the old-time black dial phone rang. When my mother picked it up and listened, her eyes began to flick side to side like the eyes of our Felix the Cat wall clock. After she got off the phone, she looked at me with her plucked brows raised.”You must have your grandmother’s gift,” she said.  

My father’s mother, my Russian grandma, Bubbie, with her long white hair coiled high on her head like a crown, her creased neck powdered with lavender-scented talc, could look into a person’s eyes and tell if he was ill or into a woman’s eyes and tell if she was pregnant, even before she suspected it herself. She knew if someone would be moving soon or losing a job or getting a new one. Not only did she make predictions for our family and the whole neighborhood, but potions, too. She concocted salves, cough syrups, eye drops, cures for dyspepsia, dysmenorrhea, and even despair.

“If she has Mama’s gift,” my father said, “why didn’t she tell us before that your cousin was coming? Then at least I could have sent him a telegram that said, ‘Stay the heck home!”

My mother was too busy looking for her car keys to fight with Dad. After she left, as my father muttered under his breath about Moms’ “freeloading relatives,” I got a vision. My father was already so aggravated that young as I was, I knew I shouldn’t say another word. But it was as if there was pepper on my tongue and it would burn up if I didn’t open my mouth. What flew out was, “A yellow-haired lady is coming with Bertie.”
“If you’re right,” my father said, “the two of them don’t need to unpack because I’m sending them right back where they came from.” 

 What probably was at least three hours later, my mother came in and shut the door behind her. Her cheeks looked red even though she hadn’t put on rouge. “Bertie got married,” she announced. 

“And, of course, he had the nerve not only to bring himself here without warning, without but his wife too?” my father yelled.

There was wailing and my mother flung open the door. Bertie and his blonde wife stood there, wicker suitcases at their feet, a wailing baby that I hadn’t foreseen in her arms. Now how could my father turn them away? They stayed the whole summer. More than once they took so much time in the bathroom that I had to do my business in a pail on our second story porch.

My insights weren’t treated warmly within the family and certainly not outside it. Mrs. O’Hagen told my mother to wash my mouth out with soap when I told her that her that in my mind I saw that her husband had kissed Mrs. Shutz. When I got to kindergarten and told Miss Gomberg that she was never going to get married, she burst into tears and called me a brat.

But the day that my bubbie leaned down, cradled my face in her hands, and said to me, “You have my gift,” everything felt worth it. 

About the Author:
Articles have been written about Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s psychic gift in such places as Redbook, The Jerusalem Post, the Dutch Magazine, TV GID, and the Long Island section of the New York Times. She’s chronicled her own psychic experiences in Newsweek (My Turn), and The New York Times (Lives) which can be read on her website at

Her first novel, Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster) was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award. Besides her psychic practice, Shapiro teaches writing at UCLA Extension.
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Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.
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April 7, 2013

Blog Tour: Sacrifice by Stacey Rourke

A Gryphon Series Novel

Tour Schedule
April 10 
Book Blast & Twitter Party - 10:30 am ET #Sacrifice

April 11
Redheaded Bookworm Review & Celeste Guest Post
The Journey Continues Review & Interview with Grams

April 12 
Books, Reviews, Wine and Cheese Excerpt

April 13 
Fab fun and tantalizing reads Review & Gabe Guest Post

April 14 
Lindsay and Jane's Views and Reviews Review & Kendall Guest Post

April 15 
Paperrdolls Excerpt
The Curiosity Key Review

April 16
Full Moon Bites Review & Author Interview

April 17 
Phenomenal Reviews Review & Grams Guest Post

April 18
R&M Fab Book Reviews Review & Finding Inspiration
Butterfly on a Broomstick Interview with Caleb

April 19
Ohana Day Academy Review & Excerpt
Escaping Life's Craziness With Books Review & Excerpt

April 20 
lagniappebooks Review & Author Interview

April 21 
Book Reviews by Lynn Excerpt

April 22
Stacie Wilson - Young Adult and Paranormal Romance Writer Top Ten Gryphon Series Quotes
Cu's e-Book Giveaways Excerpt

April 23
Lubs Book Chatter Review & Interview with Celeste

April 24
Give it to Cupcake Review & Rowan Guest Post

April 25
Airicka Phoenix Author Guest Post
Karen Pokras Toz Author Spotlight

April 26  
Book Lovin' Mamas Review & Caleb Guest Post

April 27  
Rayborn Rambles Review

April 28
Java John Z's Top Ten List
Paranormal Tendencies Excerpt

April 29
My Family's Heart Book Reviews Review & Author Guest Post

April 30
The Artistic Persuasion Review & Alaina Guest post

Buy the whole series:  
The Conduit, Embrace, and now Sacrifice
Also available at Smashwords

Giveaway (begins April 10)

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A GWR Publicity promotional tour paid for by the author. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made via the above links. Rose Petals background is a public domain image courtesy of Виталий Смолыгин.

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