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P is for Poetry #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

October 19, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 10/19

Definitely a book for my keeper pile. ~ Lisa

An adorable dog, a hot hunky hero, and sexy fun in the great outdoors… ~ Karla

Rescue My Heart

After a tragic stint in the National Guards, Adam Connelly returns to Idaho and to Belle Haven, the animal shelter he owns with his brothers. All Adam wants is to be alone. Then he opens the door to the past—the woman whose heart he once broke. Still gorgeous, still tough-as-nails, but this time, unusually vulnerable.

Holly Reid learned the hard way to never depend on a man for anything. Now, of all men, it’s the last one she wants to see, and the only one she needs. Her father has gone missing in the Bitterroot Mountains and she could use someone with tracking skills to help find him.

For Holly and Adam, each with their ghosts, a trek this desperate, this unpredictable, and this intimate, will have its share of risks—including opening their hearts one more time.

$1.99 at Amazon and B&N

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Series Saturday: Spellman Files

by Donna Huber

Every blogger experiences at some point - blogger burnout. I felt myself heading for it and took action to stave it off. I started reading for fun; books I wanted to read and have no pressure to review. Now that I've spent the summer relaxing I think I'm feeling a little more refreshed. I caught up on a couple of series that I had some how missed.

The Last Word
My friend and author JB Lynn recommended the Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. The latest book in the series - The Last Word - was released this summer. As the title suggests this may be the last book in the series. The description at Goodreads, however, refers to it as "the latest installments". The ending left open the possibility of a spin off. For me, though, this is going to be my last book in the series.

Let me start at the beginning with The Spellman Files. It is a quirky read featuring a dysfunctional family of private investigators. Since I was looking for fun reads, I couldn't ask for anything better. The main character Isabel is struggling with growing up. She has misadventures at work and relationships.

I quickly moved on to the second book in the series - Curse of the Spellmans. Again, it filled my need for fun, fluffy read. I could relate to Isabel's struggles. Her family on the other hand, I found slightly annoying. When she wanted to stop being a PI her parents would bug her to come back. When she decided she would be a PI, they did everything to force her out.

I was still enjoying the series with book three - Revenge of the Spellmans. I enjoyed the characters; they were fully developed - even the minor characters. I was reading this series during the summer and it was the perfect light-hearted read. I think it was in this book that the parents really started to get on my nerves. Isabel is sorting through things in her own life, but I'm not sure her family is very supportive.

The struggle over whether to be a PI or not to be is answered in The Spellmans Strike Again. Isabel takes on arch-nemesis, ex-cop and rival PI Rick Harkey. Though Isabel is starting to show adult tendancies, she still not succeeding. And with the parents she has it's no wonder. While trying to right wrongs, Isabel finds herself on the wrong side of the law on a few occasions. We do get introduced to Morty, Isabel's geriatric attorney. With him and detective Henry Stone in her life, Isabel might find the right path - if she would listen to them.

This series is a quick read. I usually read through a book in a few of days, maybe less if it was the weekend. In the beginning, I couldn't wait to get to the next one. But there's a reason why books in a series are spaced out. The whole saying - 'distance makes the heart grow fonder' - applies to books. It wasn't that I wasn't enjoying the series, it was just getting a little, um, stale (?). My annoyance at Isabel's parents hit an all time high in The Trail of the Spellmans. How do they expect Isabel to grow up when they are her role models? The dysfunction running amok was starting to grate on my nerves. I still found myself rooting for Isabel to get her life together and I really thought things were looking up when she accepted Henry's advances.

I finished The Trail of the Spellmans just days after the release of The Last Word. My library is notoriously slow in getting new books into the system, but at the same time I wasn't in a real hurry to get this book. I really felt that the series had run its course. I wanted to read The Last Word just to finish the series. While I was reading through the other books quickly, it took me almost he full two weeks I had the book to finish it. It just wouldn't hold my attention.

Unfortunately, the ending wasn't very satisfying either. I have often wondered what it would be like for a chick-lit novel if it didn't end with the girl getting the guy. I got a glimpse of with The Spellman Files. I think I would have been okay with Isabel not getting the guy (though I still wanted her to be with Henry), if the other pieces of her life had fallen into place. By the end of the series Isabel is my age and maybe I had too much self-identification going on to be satisfied.

The change in narrator at the end may indicate we will get glimpses of Isabel in a spin-off series, but for now I'm finished with the Spellman family.

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links above. 

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October 18, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 10/18

...a fabulous foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes from a new and unexpected direction. ~ Kirsten Lenius

...a fascinating and compelling story... ~ Sarah

The Devil's Grin

In Victorian London's cesspool of crime and disease, a series of murders remains undiscovered until a cholera victim is found floating in the city's drinking water supply. Dr Anton Kronberg, England's best bacteriologist, is called upon to investigate and finds evidence of abduction and medical maltreatment. While Scotland Yard has little interest in pursuing the case, Kronberg pushes on and crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes. The detective immediately discovers Kronberg's secret - a woman masquerading as a man in order to practice medicine - a criminal deed that could land her in prison for years to come. But both must join forces to stop a crime so monstrous, it outshines Jack the Ripper's deeds in brutality and cold-bloodedness.

Warning: This book contains foul language, non-explicit sex-scenes, explicit dissection scenes, violence, and considerable female power.

FREE at Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N

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Friday Fun with Katherine Lowry Logan

Interview with Meredith Montgomery, President of Montgomery Winery in Napa, California.

Welcome Meredith. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and the part you play in Katherine Lowry Logan’s contemporary romance The Last MacKlenna.

When Katherine told me she wanted to include me in her story, I said no thank you. Although I do live in a glass house, I’m a very private person. From a very young age, my father told me that everything I did reflected on the family winery. I had to excel in the classroom, score the most goals, and run the fastest. I had to be the best. And when I dressed up for functions at the winery, I was expected to look glamorous and hold my own in conversations with vintners, politicians, and movie stars.

I bet that was a lot of pressure. How did you handle it at such a young age?

As a teenager, I rebelled and showed up at a cocktail party in ripped jeans and a t-shirt. I wasn’t rude to anyone, but I didn’t go out of my way to be pleasant either. My father didn’t say anything, and he didn’t punish me. He didn’t have to because the winery employees I had known all my life showed their disappointment in a myriad of ways. They left the room when I walked in. They didn’t invite me to join them for lunch. They ignored my birthday. Needless to say, I toed the line from that point on.

What about your mother. Were you close to her?

The Last MacKlennaShe died when I was born. I was an only child and didn’t have any aunts or grandparents. The closest to a mother figure in my life was dad’s secretary. We were close enough that I could ask her questions that young girls ask their mothers.

Tell us about your education. I assume it’s wine related?

I have a Masters of Business Administration and Bachelors of Science degree from UCLA. Although my background is finance, I found my niche in marketing. I spent ten years directing the winery’s marketing efforts. When my father died, I moved into the president’s office.

Buy The Last MacKlenna at Amazon

That must have been a hard transition to make.

It hasn’t been easy. There has been a male Montgomery at the helm since the winery was founded in 1853. It’s not that the employees object to having me as their boss, it’s my own feelings of inadequacy. Now that we’re about to launch my legacy wine, I’m scared to death. What if it’s not well-received? I review the financials daily. I know what lackluster sales could mean for the company. We’ve invested four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and development. If the wine is not a success, we’ll have to sell off part of the company.

Wow. I can see why you’re scared. How do you handle your stress?

I’m forty-two, a widow, and I’ve never had children. My life is the business. I live it and breathe it. And I run. I’m currently training for a Boston Marathon qualifying race. If I can stay healthy, I should meet the 3:45 qualifying time for my age group. For me, the term “staying healthy” has two meanings. Staying healthy to run and staying healthy to live. You see, I’m a breast cancer survivor.

I didn’t know. I’m sorry to hear you had to go through that. How long ago was it? 

It’s been five years. I had a mastectomy. The disease didn’t spread to the lymph nodes so I didn’t have chemo or radiation. I got lucky. I do regular breast self-exams and have annual mammograms. Everything’s been good so far.

You mentioned that you’re a widow. You’re a beautiful woman. I’m sure you get asked out all the time. Are you dating anyone now?

My husband died two years ago. I’ve had a few dinner dates, but I don’t have time for men. And to be honest, the men I’ve met are intimidated by a wealthy, successful woman. And the wealthy, successful men want women much younger than I am.

If you met someone who wasn’t intimidated by your wealth and success would you consider a relationship?

No. Yes. Maybe. Let me just say the man would have to be extraordinary, and I’m not sure there are many men out there who would meet my criteria for a boyfriend.

Oh, you have a list. Tell us about your perfect man?

He has to love wine and horses and annual trips to Scotland. He has to be passionate about what he does, whatever that is. His balance sheet has to match mine so there’s no fear that he’s dating me for my money. His plane doesn’t have to be bigger but it would be nice if he had one. He has to be physically fit and extra points are given if he’s a runner. Looks are important, but they’re not everything. Generosity, a good heart, a wonderful sense of humor, and a circle of caring friends are “must-haves.”

It looks like you’ve got it covered. Do you think there are any men who can meet your qualifications?

Honestly, no, and I think that’s why my list is so specific. I don’t really want a man in my life right now. I have too much going on and I don’t need the distraction of a relationship. Maybe after I launch my new wine I’ll be more open to the possibility, but not right now.

Are you saying if the perfect man came along you wouldn’t pay any attention to him?

Not at all. If the perfect man came along, I’d probably fall right into his arms.

Do you think Katherine has written a man into your life?

She told me that if she did, he would be the perfect man for me.

A little sneak peek...Shhh! Don't tell Meredith

About the Author

Katherine grew up in Louisville, Kentucky during the tumultuous 1960s. Sit-in’s, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam War were brought vividly to life on the CBS Evening News. While the country seemed to spin out of control, Katherine spun stories in her head.
After graduating from Rowan University in New Jersey where she earned a BA in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice, she attended the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training. She returned to Central Kentucky where she worked as a real estate and tax paralegal.
Her muse simmered on the back burner until her two daughters went off to college. When she finally sat down to write full-time, life, as it often does, brought tragedy and a screeching halt to her writing. Her husband died unexpectedly. Healing was a slow process, but two weddings and five grandchildren have a way of putting life into perspective. Following the birth of her second grandchild, she found her writer’s voice again.
Katherine is a marathoner and avid reader. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky and is blessed with a wonderful and supportive family and circle of friends who have encouraged her and celebrated each and every step of her journey.
website  *  blog  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  LinkedIn  *  Pinterest  *  Shelfari  *  Goodreads  *  Google+

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

October 17, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 10/17

Pulse-pounding and intense, The Seventh Victim is an amazing ride from beginning to end! ~ Romancing the Book

...a very compelling and poignant story... ~ Carla-Book Monster Reviews

The Seventh Victim

It’s been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city. His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a home-sewn white dress. But there was one who miraculously escaped death, just before the Strangler disappeared…

Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last. Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back. And this time, he’s in Austin…

He’s always craved her, even as he killed the others. For so long he’s been waiting to unleash the beast within. And this time, he’ll prove he holds her life in his hands—right before he ends it forever…

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. Summary and cover are from Prices are subject to change without notice, please verify price before purchasing. Want to have your bargain, discounted, or free ebook featured? Fill out this form.

5 Tips for Proofreading Your Own Posts

There's nothing worse than writing up a post and getting the formatting just right only to discover moments after pressing publish that there is a typo. I hate typos, particularly (maybe even more so) in my own writing. However, each week I still find typos once my post goes live.

Today's tip is a bit more 'do as I say, not as I do'. While it is always best if you have someone else read through your post, it isn't always possible. By taking a few extra minutes you can eliminate those pesky typos on your own.

Tip 1 - Read it later

Write your post and then set it aside for a little bit. It is best if you can wait 24 hours, but even 30 minutes will give you "new eyes". Often we can't see the typos because we are too close to our writing. We know what it is suppose to say and, therefore, see it correctly when in fact it is not correct. My typos are blatantly obvious when I review the post the next morning.

I know finding time to write posts can be tricky. I'm writing this post at 7:00 pm on Wednesday night. I also know from past experience (when I was really disciplined to get my posts written on Saturdays and Sundays) that I had way fewer typos when I was able to review my post a day or so later.

Tip 2 - Read it backwards

A few years ago, I took a proofreading course at work. One of the tips I took away from the course was to read the document backwards. Again, this helps with how you see the words on the page. By reading your post one sentence at a time, starting at the end, it will re-wire your brain to not see the post as a whole but as individual sentences and words. It also slows your reading down so you are more likely to read each word in the sentence instead of glossing over them as our mind is apt to do.

Tip 3 - Read it out loud

Wrong word choices can be eliminated by reading your post out loud. I have a horrible time with homophones. You may be thinking how does reading it out loud help with correcting a word that sounds like the correct one. But there is a connection in the brain that makes you stop to think when verbalizing words. This slowing down gives you a chance to see the wrong spelling is used. Reading it out loud will also help you hear missing words - the, a, and other articles that are often left out - and duplicate words.

Tip 4 - Re-read it for specific words

Common mistakes are made with "it, in, is" as well as "the, to, too". These words won't be picked up by spell check. Focus on each use of these words in your post to make sure you are using the correct word.

Tip 5 - Read it and leave out words

I have a "that" problem. Many people do. Also there is the "just" problem. The problem occurs when we add extraneous words to our sentences. I want to put "that" in almost every sentence. However, 99% of the time it is not needed. (Ooh, I just used "just" and had to delete it - it is appropriate in this sentence, but not needed in the previous sentence). A way to know if you can eliminate the word is to read the sentence without the word. If it still makes prefect sense, then you don't need it. Eliminating these extra words will tighten up your writing.

Following these tips will help you clean up your post and make your writing more clear. However, remember you are human and people aren't perfect. Thankfully in the digital world, you can pretty easily correct your own posts on your own site even after it is published.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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October 16, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 10/16

Beautiful, heart wrenching, poetic, inspiring... ~ Rie Conley, Mission to Read 

Everybody, everybody should go read this book. ~ Becky 22

The Darkest Mind

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

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JB Lynn: A TV Series?!?!?!

When I first began writing CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN I was afraid no one would ever want to read it. After all, it’s not like bookshelves are overflowing with novels about bumbling, reluctant hitwomen who can talk to animals. 

Then my awesome agent, Victoria Marini and my lovely editor, Lucia Macro, of Avon books, decided to champion the book. But I was still afraid no one else would like Maggie’s misadventures and eccentric family members.

I was wrong. 

People, lots of people, love Maggie, her murder mentor (and hot cop) Patrick Mulligan, and her snarky, talking lizard, God. 

So, I wrote a sequel and then another, and another, and now I’m working on book six in the series.

AND something really amazing happened between book three, THE HITWOMAN GETS LUCKY and book four, THE HITWOMAN AND THE FAMILY JEWELS: a television writer/producer contacted my agent about the possibility of turning my books into a television series.

Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman
My first telephone conversation with him had to be one of the most surreal in my life. I sort of felt like Sally Field with her, “You like me. You really like me.” moment, as he talked about adapting my work for the screen.

Needless to say, it’s been a very exciting time as he created and honed the pitch he’s using to try to convince different TV networks to buy the series. 

Not to mention the creative jolt I received hearing how another creative person views the characters and world I’ve created.

But what’s been the most fun, is talking to readers of the series about who THEY would like cast in pivotal roles. Everyone has an opinion, ranging from who should play Maggie, to who would be perfect as her semi-psychic friend, Armani, to who should be cast as the three witches (also known as Maggie’s aunts).

We’re still waiting to hear if anyone picks up the series, but I’ve already fantasized about set visits, how to sound clever in interviews, and who I’ll wear to the Emmy’s (If I have to climb a flight of stairs in front of millions of people there’s no way I’m going to attempt it in a ball gown.) I may be getting a bit ahead of myself, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, is there? 

Buy Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman at Amazon

Tell me, what book or book series would YOU like to see on television? And if you’ve read the Hitwoman series, who would YOU cast in the roles?

One lucky commenter will win an ebook copy of ANY of my books. 

Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay up-to-date with what’s going on with the Confessions series.

About the Author

Besides being a writer, JB Lynn is a compulsive reader, a runner (of sorts), an enthusiastic cook (who doesn't get the appeal of the Food Network), and someone who has an irresistible urge to eavesdrop at all times.

website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Series

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October 15, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 10/15

A fun novel , that fans of Janet Evanovich, Lisa Lutz, Kendal Gray and Rose Strickland will enjoy... ~ Paula Phillips

This story had it all: humor, adventure, intrigue, interesting characters, and a dynamic story line. ~ Bookie, The Book Chick

Front Page Fatality

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

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Review: The Scroll by K. B. Hoyle

The Scroll
I'm so not going to be ready when this series ends. I loved book 4 The Enchanted and book 5 The Scroll built on what I loved. I really tried not to rush through this book, but it just wasn't possible. I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn't put the book down.

Darcy's connection to Alitheia seems stronger. Now that she realizes her love for Tellius she doesn't want to be parted from him. It's not like she can write to him or call him on the phone. However, she does have a connection to that world. Through the compact mirror she can look upon her friends in Alitheia, but not everything is as it should be. Deception runs deep in The Scroll as time to save both Alitheia and her own world runs short.

Have you been following The Gateway Chronicles? If not, you should probably read the other four books before continuing with the is review as there may be series spoilers.

Read my reviews:
The Six (buy at Amazon)
The Oracle (buy at Amazon)
The Enchanted (buy at Amazon)
My niece's thoughts on The Gateway Chronicles

K. B. lets us in a little on the space-time continuum that is spanned or broken or something every time the six goes through the gateway. We know that they return to the exact moment when they come back. But does time just stand still at Cedar Cove while they are in Alitheia? Or is everyone reliving the year?

I cannot believe there is only one more book in this series. It is so good; I want it to go on forever.

If you have been following this series, you are probably like me and were looking forward Darcy and Tellius being together in this book. However, Tellius isn't seen much in The Scroll. But it's okay because the scene at the end has him being the perfect romantic hero without being cheesy. Totally swoon worthy (if I was a teenager of course). The six are growing up, their relationships with one another are changing. At the same time, they seem to coming together better than ever before.

The Gateway Chronicles is a series that can be enjoyed by the entire family. And I think it would make a great family activity to encourage everyone to read more. This series has something for everyone. K. B. Hoyle is an awesome storyteller and, if possible, her writing is even better in The Scroll.

You NEED to read this series!

Buy The Scroll at Amazon

Book Info:
ebook & paperback (375 pages)
Published October 2013 by TWCS Publishing House
Source: Netgalley
Read: August 2013

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free ebook was provided by the source.

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October 14, 2013

Blog Tour: Sorrow's Point

Tour Schedule

Oct. 15 Tyrneathem Excerpt
Oct. 16 fuonlyknew Review & Character Guest Post
Oct. 17 Sarah Aisling Character Guest Post
Oct. 18 Doing Some Reading Review
Oct. 19 What Shall We Blog About Today? Excerpt
Oct. 20 Girl Who Reads Author Interview
Oct. 21 1 Book Lovers Opinion Character Guest Post
Oct. 23 Cabin Goddess Review & Top Ten List

About the Book

Not all exorcists are created equal- especially those that are “marked”.
When defrocked ex-priest, Jimmy Holiday, agrees to help an old friend’s sick daughter, Lucy, he unearths unexpected horrors. Blackmoor, his friend’s new residence, has a dark history that makes it appear almost alive. Jimmy must decide if Lucy is only ill, or if the haunting of the house and her apparent possession are real.
After the house begins affecting him as well; seeing colors of magic and his voice taking on an unusual power, Jimmy discovers that he is apparently “marked”. Whatever being “marked” means, Jimmy doesn’t care. He wants to help Lucy. Helping Lucy means performing the exorcism.
Jimmy knows the ceremony, but it's belief that matters. And if a demon is using a little girl as a meatsuit, his faith had better be strong enough to kick it back to Hell. Otherwise, he might damn them both.

Buy Sorrow's Point at Amazon

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A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by the author. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. 
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Afternoon eBook Deal 10/14

...this one really blew me away! ~Jessica, Confessions of a Bookaholic 

"fantabulous" ~Giselle

Brightest Kind of Darkness

Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.

Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.

FREE at Amazon and B&N

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Dianne Harman: A Writer's Journey

One of the wonderful things about getting a bit older is finally having the time to do what you want. I’d always wanted to write – in fact when I was around ten I wrote a book about a little girl who goes to China. China? Where did that come from? Who knows?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading, usually several books at once. If it wasn’t a book, it was whatever was in front of me. I was an English Literature major in college. My first semester was not a spectacular success, because I had discovered Ayn Rand during final time. Not a good idea. The final exam studies languished while I became thoroughly engrossed in her books. It was a bit difficult to explain that to my parents!

I kept reading and always harbored a secret desire to write, but like so many, I was of the opinion that you had to attend numerous writing conferences, join writing groups, and have a lot to say about something that would really interesting to a lot of people. I didn’t think I did, so the secret desire stayed secret for many years. About two years ago my husband read an article in The Week magazine about a book that Stephen King had written, On Writing, and suggested I read it. It was a pivotal moment for me. Stephen said I didn’t need to do all of things I thought I needed to do. In the words of Nike – Just Do It! Now what to write?

Blue Coyote Motel was born in Palm Spring, California a couple of weeks later. We were at a small boutique hotel which had recently been renovated. Our son was the best man in the upcoming wedding. The wedding party had taken over the hotel and it was 106 degrees outside. To this day I will never know what prompted me to turn to my husband and say, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone piped a feel-good drug into the air-conditioner and everyone felt wonderful all the time?” He looked at me and said, “There’s your book.” At dinner that night a large Irish priest sat at the table next to us wearing a huge cross. He became a character. At the wedding dinner I was seated next to a couple from Brazil who owned gold mines. They became characters. The other three – a Native American pediatrician, a wealthy widow, and a down-and-out salesman – soon followed. We had lunch at a restaurant named “The Blue Coyote” restaurant. That seemed to be a natural as well.

My husband backed in the door of politics due to a vacancy on our City Council, then went on to become a California State Assemblyman and Senator. During those years we had a home in Sacramento where we entertained Governors, Congressmen, lobbyists and politicians of all persuasions. One night at a reception I met a very prejudiced politician. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. I happened to be seated next to him at a dinner the following evening and had to listen to the same bigoted diatribe. The next morning my satirical California political novel, Tea Party Teddy, was born. The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent!

Buy Coyote in Provence at Amazon

The sequel to Blue Coyote Motel, Coyote in Provence, is on Amazon in print and will be on Kindle shortly. I’m in the process of editing book three in the Coyote series and the sequel to Teddy. I’m also writing a suspense about baby boomers at a spa where a facial becomes a nightmare – or at least that’s what I had in mind when I started, but I’ve found characters have minds of their own and my main job is to listen to them tell me what’s going to happen.

In between writing and editing books – I watch just-hatched hummingbirds, cocoons turning into monarch butterflies, play with my 90 pound boxer, and make cookies for the grandchildren. It’s a good life!

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October 13, 2013

Sunday Sale Page 10/13

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Book Blast: It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy

Jazzy secretly wants to get back together with her ex boyfriend, Curtis, so when he calls and reveals that he’s got something important to tell her, she’s got no idea that he’s about to propose—to her first cousin and bitter rival, Mercedes.  The annual family dinner is coming up, and fearing that she will spend the evening seething while Mercedes flaunts her four-carat engagement ring in her face, Jazzy asks Reggie, an Adonis she met at the mall, to accompany her. As fate would have it, not only did Reggie and Mercedes used to date; that backstabbing, leopard print wearing cow is still carrying a torch for him! Revenge. It has never been so sweet.   But falling for Reggie? Holy crap! That wasn’t part of the plan! She has enough on her plate as it is with a mother who spies on the neighbors and a sister and best friend with men problems that could land them on Jerry Springer.  So when Curtis comes sniffing around again—this time, with an accusation that sends her blood pressure shooting through the roof—the one good nerve that Jazzy’s got left has just about run its course. 
Quanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. 

She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering new authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). 

She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. 
She loves writing humorous stories about strong willed, sassy women who can’t keep themselves out of trouble. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and is currently, as always, working on another novel. 
To find out more about Quanie and her works in progress visit
I parked on the street and realized that my palms were sweaty, so I wiped them on the seat and took three deep breaths. When I got out of the car, I tried to remain calm, but by the time, I reached the door, the butterflies in my stomach had turned into bats. I knocked. A few seconds later Curtis answered, and I stood there, shocked.

He looked so damn good I had to stop myself from taking a flying leap and wrapping both my legs around his waist.

He had a beard (he was always clean-shaven when we were together) and was actually dressed….well….nicely! He was wearing a white button down shirt with khakis instead of those blue jogging pants with the yellow paint stains and the white muscle shirt with the holes in it. And for once, he smelled like he hadn't bought his cologne from some guy in a beanie on a street corner.

He even had the nerve to look like he’d been hitting the weight room, which shocked me because the whole time we were together, the only exercise this man got was running from bill collectors. Before I knew it, I felt a tingle in the part of my body that’s off limits to everyone except my gynecologist. Then, I got pissed. How dare he open the door looking like a chocolate wet dream? I, the dragon slayer, did not get slayed. I did the slaying. I regained my composure.

“How are you, Curtis?

“Fine, Jazzy. You look good.”

I wanted to say, “Chile, this girdle is cuttin’ off my circulation like you wouldn't believe.” But instead, I smiled and said, “Thank you. So do you.” We walked inside the beautiful foyer and, as always, the winding staircase took my breath away. I followed Curtis into the living room and immediately noticed that it had been remodeled. The carpet had been replaced with hardwood floors, the walls painted a deep red, thick curtains were draped over heavy rods, an oil painting hung over the mantel piece, and a glass coffee table stood between two full-length leather sofas. I was so busy marveling at the decorating that it took me a while before I noticed the atmosphere in the room: cake, balloons, and all the children doing cartwheels. For a second, I thought I heard some of the kids singing, “Ding dong the wicked witch is dead.”

The adults seemed happy (but maybe the cocktails had something to do with that), and no one, except for me, was wearing black. It didn’t seem like a re-pass  It seemed more like a celebration.

I said, “They seem to be taking it well.”

He shrugged. “I think they’re grieving on the inside. Do you want something to drink?”

“Do you have lemonade?”


I didn’t want any alcohol. When I got even just a little bit tipsy, for whatever reason, I became a rock star in my head. The last time, at karaoke night at some dive bar, I really got down with my bad self. I ended up on stage singing “Shoop” by Salt-n-Pepa. The next day, to my horror, it ended up on YouTube.

For weeks, people walked by me singing that damn song and laughing and pointing at me. It even ended up on the six o’clock news in the segment: “Local woman gets down with her bad self”. I was humiliated (they still play it sometimes in a segment called “Dopey clips you might have missed”).

Curtis brought me a glass of lemonade and said, “Let’s go somewhere we can talk.”

We went to the sitting room where a huge picture of Grandma Laney and her shotgun looked down at us. Curtis cleared his throat. “As I told you on the phone, there’s something very important I need to talk to you about.”


He looked me right in the eyes. “I’ve done a lot of growing since we broke up. I finally know what I want to do with my life, and I’m on my way to financial stability for the very first time. I’ve changed, Jazzy.”


“And, well, there’s something I need to ask you.”

At this moment, his mother, Ms. Kay, stuck her head in the room. She was a triathlete and had a body like Angela Basset when she’d done What’s Love Got to Do With It. I knew that even in her fifties, I’d be eating her dust in a footrace. She smiled when she saw me and I hopped up to give her a hug. “Ms. Kay! How are you?”

“I’m fine. Thanks for coming.” She nodded to Curtis. “Can I see you for a second?” They left the room and I walked around looking at all the pictures of Grandma Laney. She was frowning in every single one. Even in her wedding picture where she wore a long, black dress and scowled with a cigar in one hand. I shuddered, thinking what that honeymoon night must have been like for the poor groom. I sat back down and noticed that underneath a lamp sat a light blue box that looked like it might be carrying a set of earrings. Curious, I opened it and was shocked to discover a diamond engagement ring. I sniffed it. Holy shit, a real diamond! It must have been at least four carats! I sat the box back then stood nonchalantly as I heard Curtis saying something to a relative as he walked back towards the room. When he got back inside he said, “Sorry about that.”

“That’s okay. Curtis, what’s this about?” I gasped because it hit me: something to ask me, him looking good enough to eat, and the ring. Sweet Jesus, this man was about to propose! I hopped on a chair and threw my hands in the air.


He looked confused.


“You have to ask me something very important right?”


“And this could affect both of our lives forever?”


Dragon slayer my ass. I was getting married! “Hold that thought.” I hopped off the chair and ran to the bathroom because I wanted to make sure my breath wasn't funky and that I looked as stunning as I did when I had left the house. Who’d have thunk it? Me, getting married! How unexpected! I knew that we shared a bond and that there was something still lingering between us, but I had no idea he was thinking about making me his wife! I was proud of myself. All of that tough love I gave him, telling him he needed to get his finances together, refusing to loan him money, drafting a one year plan so that he could get caught up on his student loans; and now, he was financially stable and wanted to thank the woman who had made it all possible. I got teary eyed thinking about how I almost gave up on him. I checked myself one more time, and when I realized that I wasn't going to get any more stunning, I headed back to the sitting room.

I walked over to Curtis and said like a sweet little angel, “Please. Go on.”

He took a deep breath. “I just wanted to be the first to tell you that I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life.”

Enough with the small talk, buddy. Gimme the ring already.

“And well…” He wiped his forehead. “This is harder than I thought!”

I grabbed his hand. “You can tell me anything.” Now stop your yappin’ and give me the damn ring!

Suddenly, I heard the clicking of heels on the wooden floor. Curtis looked up at the same time that I did, and there she was. Decked head to toe in a leopard print dress and donning a hat that you would expect someone to wear to the Kentucky Derby. She was cradling her black Chihuahua, Kee-Kee, and dabbing her eyes with a Kleenex. She sobbed. “Oh, Curtis!” It was my cousin, Mercedes (or, as I sometimes liked to call her behind her back, Broke Ass Pinto).

When she finally noticed me she turned up her nose. “Oh. It’s you.”

“Yes. It’s me. And hello to you too, Daihatsu.”

She sat Kee-Kee down and frowned at me. “Now is not the time for your antics, Jasmine. A woman has died and I will not stoop to your level of commonness. Have you learned nothing since you crawled barefoot out of the bayou and slithered here on your pudgy little belly?”

I scoffed. “There is nothing pudgy about my belly. And don’t act like we’re not from the same place just because you have some job doing…oh, never mind. I forgot; your ass ain’t got no job.”

She took one of those handheld fans out of her purse (with her picture on it) and fanned herself. “I just so happen to be on sabbatical.”

“From what? Finding sugar daddies?”

“Just because a man wants to wine and dine me does not mean he’s a sugar daddy. Can I help it that they just so happen to want to take me to five star restaurants while your dating life consists of sitting across from some gold-toothed fool while scarfing down biscuits at Jack in The Box? Don’t hate the player, honey.”

“First of all, I have never dated a man with a gold tooth. Except for that one time in high school. And second of all, I happen to love Jack in The Box—especially their biscuits. And third, shouldn't you be somewhere, sleeping upside down in a cave or something?”

Kee-Kee became antsy, so Mercedes stooped down and picked her up. Mercedes rubbed noses with her. “Don’t worry. The lady is just being mean to mommy because she’s fat.”

Before I could reach over Curtis’ head and grab her by that goofy looking hat (or trip her while she was walking so that she would go sprawling headfirst into a plant), Curtis said to her, “I didn’t expect you until eight.”

“Should I leave?” She looked at me with more disdain than normal, and then it hit me; what the hell what she doing there? While Curtis and I dated she wouldn't even acknowledge him as my boyfriend. She called him that poor guy Jazzy put roots on.

I said, “What are you even doing here anyway?”

“I’m here for Curtis, you moron.”

“I mean why. Since when are you two friends?”

“Who I’m friends with is none of your business.”

Curtis turned to me. “Jazzy, I hadn’t planned on doing this in front of you. But I want to let you know that our relationship is one of the main reasons I had to take a good look in the mirror and say, ‘Curtis, it’s time to grow up.’ And because of you, I was able to find the love of my life, and I just want to say thank you.” He grabbed the blue box and turned to Mercedes. He got on one knee and grabbed her by the hand. “You are the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met and it would make me the happiest man alive if you were my wife. Mercedes, will you marry me?”

She tossed poor Kee-Kee (who yelped) onto the sofa and put a hand on her chest. Then, she covered her mouth and shot one hand in the air and screamed, “Yes! Yes! Eat your heart out, Jazzy!” He put the ring on her finger as tears rushed from her eyes. She waved the ring in my face, then ran out of the room holding her hand in the air and screaming, “Suck it, Peacock!”

Slowly, before my blood pressure spiked any further, I said to Curtis, “Is this why you asked me over here?”

“I didn’t plan for it to happen like this; I just wanted to tell you in person before you heard it from anyone else.”

“When did you start seeing Mercedes?”

“Right before we broke up.” He shook his head. “I mean right after.” He said something else, but in my mind, he sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Jazzy, um, you know, whaa-whaa-whaa-whaa-whaa.” I felt my head nodding even though I wasn’t comprehending a thing he was saying.

I think I blacked out because one moment, I’m in the sitting room with my hands wrapped around Curtis’ neck as Mercedes and Ms. Kay tried to pry my fingers loose, and the next moment, Curtis was running down the street, and I was chasing behind him with a heavy, cast iron skillet in my hand.
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