Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Struck by Clarissa Johal

by Clarissa Johal
Dark Fantasy

The shadows hadn't been waiting.
The shadows had been invited.

After a painful breakup, Gwynneth Reese moves in with her best friend and takes a job at a retirement home. She grows especially close to one resident, who dies alone the night of a terrific storm. On the way home from paying her last respects, Gwynneth is caught in another storm and is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of being rescued by a mysterious stranger. Following her release from the hospital, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift--one that will stay the hands of death. Gwynneth is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something more sinister... for as he shares more and more of this gift, his price becomes more and more deadly.

A loud ‘crack’ sounded and an iridescent white light surrounded her. Two things registered: a searing pain that ripped down her back and the ground which seemed to be pulled away from her at an alarming speed.

* * * *

Pain shot through the back of Gwynneth’s head as she opened her eyes. Somebody was standing over her. She tried to focus on the face, but it hurt too much. A cool hand slid across her forehead. She opened her eyes again.

Pale, almost white eyes. High cheekbones, aquiline nose, and a well-shaped mouth. Long, white hair. Ageless. Beautiful, like a Michelangelo. All of those details registered with clarity before agony ripped through her body. She arched her back and cried out. The man murmured something into her ear which she couldn’t understand. She could feel the vibration of his voice and his breath on her neck as he gathered her in his arms. She opened her eyes and saw lightning fork to the ground silently behind him. She blacked out again.

Excerpt Link on Author Blog:

Buy Links:    Amazon    Musa Publishing    Barnes and Noble

About the Author: Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Website: http://clarissajohal.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarissa.johal.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClarissaJohal
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4502113.Clarissa_Johal
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Clarissa-Johal/e/B003KVTMPK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1389927184&sr=1-2

The author is giving away an ecopy of STRUCK to three random commenters. The more you comment, the better your chance to win! Here's a link to the other tour hosts:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Stronger Than This by David-Matthew Barnes

Stronger Than This
by David-Matthew Barnes

Charlene’s soul mate, Samantha, has been killed in a car accident. Daniel’s partner, Martin, has been murdered in a robbery gone wrong. Seeking comfort, Charlene and Daniel attend a support group where they meet for the first time.

Emotionally devastated and discarded by their loved ones’ conservative families, Charlene and Daniel feel an immediate connection. Rather than reveal their pain to a room full of strangers, they decide to see each other through their shared anguish.

As a beautiful friendship emerges from grief, slivers of new hope are found.


An Unspoken Eulogy

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Daniel Pryor. We are here today to celebrate the life of Martin Thalberg.
Martin was many things to many people, but to me, he was my partner. My soul mate. The absolute love of my life.
I think it’s strange. I’m a man who writes words for a living. I can come up with a winning campaign slogan. I can create the best ad copy in the industry. I can convince you in the shortest amount of time possible to buy a product you don’t even need. But to describe Martin Felix Thalberg to you? To do this wonderful man justice and speak the perfect words to tell you about our love, our beautiful life together, the luminescence of his very magical soul? It is impossible. Words have failed me. And in this time of the greatest sorrow of my life, so has love.
What I can tell you is this: Martin was the kindest man I ever knew. He loved people. He loved life. He loved me. And for that, I am eternally grateful. When I met Martin Thalberg, he was a junior in college. He was twenty-one. He already knew who he was. He was an artist. He was a photographer. He was a gay man. He was the son of a very important woman who was ashamed of him. He tried to keep to himself—he was always sort of an under-the-radar kind of guy—but he was too handsome to go unnoticed. Everyone wanted to know Martin. They wanted to be in his presence. Especially me. From the very moment I laid eyes on him.
I was clueless and fumbling. I had just turned twenty-eight. My life was shit. I was flunking out of grad school and finally coming to terms with the death of my parents. I was accepting the fact I’d turned out to be a major disappointment to anyone I’d ever met. Pure and simple, I was a screw-up. I’d blown shot after shot, chance after chance. I’d depleted every ounce of luck. It was to the point I’d thought about running away somewhere that summer. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. Europe. Alaska. Jupiter. As far away from my loneliness as I could possibly get.
Before I met Martin in that university library on that fateful spring day in May, I’d given up on many things. I’d resigned to the fact that true love would always elude me. I would never find someone—a man—who would be satisfied to love me, and only me. It seemed every man I met suffered from the same disease—infidelity. I would never have the type of storybook love my parents had. I would be miserable and unhappy, just like my sister Julie. She just knows how to fake it a lot better than I do. I would forever be the guy everyone felt sorry for, the poor pitiful man who sat alone at dinner parties, who always stayed longer than he was supposed to, the one who just needed to meet the right guy. I’d sworn off blind dates and online hook-ups. Both left me exhausted and angry. Why didn’t I have the same thing everyone else did? Where was my shot?
Lucky for me, love was sitting all alone. As if he was waiting for me to show up. I found him sitting at a table not far from the German philosophy section. His eyes were cast downward, staring intently at the photograph of a painting in a book. It was Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, I believe. One of his favorites. And he looked up at me and said, “Isn’t it beautiful?” And I thought he was talking about the instant connection between us. Because it was there and it was intense and I know we both felt it. So I sat down beside him. I looked at the painting. I looked at his hands. And then into his eyes. Deeply. And I knew.
How can I put into words the beauty of his smile? The gentleness of his touch? The incredible sound of his laughter? How can I stand here and describe to you the way Martin made me feel? The way he made everyone feel? He was an artist who possessed the beautiful ability to capture the poetry and humanity in the world around him through his exquisite photographs. I just hope that today we can do the same for him. Yet I fear it will not happen. We cannot do him justice. No matter who stands up here and speaks to you, we cannot convey the true essence of his being.
Sure, we can try to summarize him in the simplest terms. Martin was a man who loved his friends, his dog, his art, this world, his life.
For the rest of mine, I will never be able to make sense of what happened to Martin on that night in that store. Do the men who murdered him know that the second they decided to pull their triggers, none of our lives would ever be the same? Now we must try to fathom a world without Martin in it. I, for one, find that unbearable to do.
When I leave this church, I will go home. Back to the apartment we shared. Back to our dog Luther, who has no idea when his other father is coming home but for whom he’s patiently waiting. Back to Martin’s clothes that still smell like him. His pillow. His toothbrush. His razor. His favorite cologne. Those black-and-white photographs that were an extension of his brilliant mind. The half-empty yellow cup of peppermint tea he left sitting on the kitchen counter. To all of these things I will return. But I do so alone. Without him. Without the man I’ve woken up next to every morning for the last six years of my life. I go home to silence. To an empty chair where my best friend used to sit. To no laughter. To no touch. To the absence of love. I return to the state I was before the very second I met Martin.
Again, I will become nothing. For without him, that is all that I am.

Buy Links - Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Books-A-Million

About the Author: 

David-Matthew Barnes is the bestselling author of ten novels, including the young adult novels Swimming to Chicago and Wonderland, which were nominated by the American Library Association for their annual Rainbow Books, a list of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content for children and teens.

He is also the author of a collection of short stories, Boys Like Me, and two collections of poetry, Roadside Attractions and Souvenir Boys. He has written over forty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in eight countries. Collections of his theatrical works include Deuces: Stage Plays for Two Actors, Monologues That Kick Ass, You Think You Know Us: Stage Plays for Teen Actors, and more. He is the writer and director of the feature film Frozen Stars and the dramatic short film Threnody.

His literary work has been featured in over one hundred publications including The Best Stage Scenes, The Best Men's Stage Monologues, The Best Women's Stage Monologues, The Comstock Review, and The Southeast Review. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina.

He teaches college courses in writing, literature, and the arts.

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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Prayer, A Love Story by Jacqueline von Zwehl

The Prayer, A Love Story
by Jacqueline von Zwehl
Spirituality, Inspirational

Do you Believe in Miracles?

Do you Believe in Eternal Love?

Do you Believe in Answered Prayers?


The Prayer, A Love Story is the inspirational true story of one woman who discovers the secret to living a life filled with miracles, unconditional love and answered prayers.

The journey begins with a divine promise, continues with unforeseen life challenges, and eventually leads to Jerusalem. Inside the Old City, a prayer will unlock the key to a life of miracles. This journey is proof heaven is real and its gifts are available to you now. Whether you have stopped believing in God or not, God believes in you.

The journey holds a promise for everyone. No matter how much darkness exists in your life, it cannot diminish the flicker of even the tiniest light. That light will lead you to your destiny and it will change your life forever.


Wedding Day

I often wonder about the idea of a miracle. Is it something you feel? Can you see it? Or is it some- thing you just know? Miracle is a very big word, perhaps best saved for big events like the birth of a baby or the first man walking on the moon.

As I ponder this thought, I’m surrounded by lovely, fresh-cut flowers. Isn’t the blossoming of these flowers a miracle? A tiny little seed in the ground, nurtured with rich soil, water, and light, grows to reveal its unique beauty. When we look at the seed, we can’t see the miracle. It’s only later, after its potential has been manifested, we realize what that seed carried all along. Isn’t that how we all are? On the journey of our destiny in this life, all of us start as seeds. Some of us are still in  the  ground, waiting  to  grow. Some  of us have sprouted a few leaves, and some of us have fully blossomed. Is the miracle the blossoming of the flower, or is the miracle knowing with certainty that everything is already in the seed? Yes, for me it always comes down to certainty. When all I can see is a seed in the ground, the miracle is certainty in my knowl- edge of what the seed is destined to become.

These were the thoughts I recorded in my journal on the morning of our wedding. I have heard that most brides wake up jittery and full of excitement, perhaps thinking about their hair and make-up, the excitement of the day ahead, and how the weather will hold up. I woke up and started writing.

‘What is a miracle? Today I will get married. I will marry the man who makes my heart sing and who was sent as the answer to my prayer. A man who calls me his miracle. Today is our seed, the first day of our journey as husband and wife.We don’t know how our seed will grow. We don’t know how many leaves will bloom or what its flower will look like. We don’t know what storms we’ll face. We do know with certainty that this seed is our destiny. It is our miracle.’

We were all ready. The driver took my hand and escorted me to my seat in the limo.

Buy Links:    Amazon Paperback    Amazon Kindle

About the Author: Jacqueline von Zwehl is a faith based relationship expert. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging singles on the path to finding their soul mates. She has appeared on Nite Line, The Harvest Show, EWTN, TCT TV, Victory TV, CatholicTV, Telecare, Changing Lives, CatholicLife, That's the Spirit, The Church, The Cardinal and You, NPR, and more. Jacqueline lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband Christopher, their two daughters and dog. The Prayer, A Love Story is her debut book. Jacqueline von Zwehl, is a faith based relationship expert. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging singles on the path to finding their soul mates. She has appeared on Nite Line, The Harvest Show, EWTN, TCT TV, Victory TV, CatholicTV, Telecare, Changing Lives, CatholicLife, That's the Spirit, The Church, The Cardinal and You, NPR, and more. Jacqueline lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband Christopher, their two daughters and dog. The Prayer, A Love Story is her debut book.

Read Jacqueline's Blog at www.jackievonzwehl.com
Become a Fan: www.facebook.com/JackieVonZwehl
Follow: www.twitter.com/JackieVonZwehl
Author Profile: www.goodreads.com/jackievonzwehl

Giveaway: The author is giving away a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly chosen commenter. The more blogs you comment on, the better your chances of winning. Here's the link to the other tour stops:

Sunday, 9 February 2014

My Heartache Cowboy by Z. A. Maxfield

My Heartache Cowboy
by Z. A. Maxfield
Contemporary, Gay Romance

Can love conquer all?

Jimmy Rafferty and Eddie Molina go way back at the J-Bar ranch. They’ve worked together, bunked together, camped out, and drank together. So how has Jimmy failed to notice that Eddie is gay? Eddie has not failed to notice that his friend has a serious drinking problem, and he’s determined to help Jimmy kick the booze cold turkey.

Taking him up to a snowbound cabin to detox, Eddie is confronted with Jimmy’s fierce denial. But the pains of withdrawal are nothing for Jimmy compared with the heartache of denying his true feelings and his deep longing…for the one man who cares for him more than anyone else on earth.

When I woke, I was alone and the truck wasn’t moving.
Who the hell did Eddie think he was, leaving me asleep by myself in a truck outside in the freezing cold? My pa and my older brother, Jonas, used to do that. We’d be on the road, and when I fell asleep, they’d leave me in the parking lot of some dive bar or motel—just leave me asleep outside in the dark. I’d wake up with no clue where I was, no idea if they were coming back or if I should go in and try to find them.
My first useful thought was to look for the keys, because I hadn’t forgotten what Eddie said. I hadn’t forgotten the plans him and boss Malloy made for me behind my back. It would serve them right if I up and hightailed it back to the J-Bar with Eddie’s truck and no Eddie.
No keys.
Not like that was going to stop me. Where the hell did Eddie get the idea I’d go quietly? I slid over and tore the wiring out from under the dash. Found what I needed without hardly even looking.
I hated waking up alone like that. Unwanted. Abandoned.
One twist. Two. Touch the wires together and the engine should . . .
What the hell? I checked I got the proper color-coated strands and tried again. I was frowning down at the mess of tangled wire when someone tapped on the window behind me. I glanced up and saw Eddie frowning down, no doubt pissed at what I’d done to his truck. Serves you right for leaving me like that, you prick.
“You need a working engine for that,” he told me as he opened the door. “One that has a battery.”
“Fuck you.” I spilled out of the car ready for a fistfight.
“What?” Eddie jumped back.
“Why did you have to leave me like that? What did I ever do to you?”
Eddie shook his head at me. “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. You were sound asleep and I thought maybe you needed it.”
I took a swing at him. “I hate waking up alone in a car like that.”
Ed plucked my fist from the air and peered at me like he was trying to see through my skin. “I didn’t know.”
“I hate that. Left behind in the car like a damn dog. Like a fucking duffel bag. You can’t be bothered to even wake me up and take me in out of the fucking snow.”
Now Eddie frowned like he was thinking about it. Now, after the fact. “I’m sorry, Jimmy. I didn’t think how you’d feel waking up alone like that. I won’t do it again.”
“Would have served you right if I took your truck and left you up here to walk back to civilization, wherever the hell that is. Would have served you right if I’d died out here.”
“All right, all right. Simmer down now.”
I glared at him. “Fuck you.”
“It’s pretty civilized inside. How about you come in with me.”
“How about you suck my fucking—”
“That’s enough.” He turned and headed toward the cabin’s welcoming front door. “I almost didn’t bother to disable the damn thing, but I thought on the off chance you knew what you were doing and could—”
“Which I did,” I pointed out.
“Come inside.” He jerked his chin toward the cabin like I was a dog and I was supposed to just follow along and yip around at his heels.
I debated making a run at him, but frankly, Eddie was a tough buzzard. He wasn’t too much older than me, just forty-two compared to my thirty-eight. But I was a lover, not a fighter, or at least that’s how I thought of myself. Back there on the road, Eddie had proved he wasn’t above using violence to get his way in this, so I went along.
You’re going to have to sleep sometime.
Eddie led me into a rustic-looking cabin that seemed awful nice for the middle of nowhere. There was a place for us to hang our hats just inside the door, over a table with a passel of pictures on it. There were old time black-and-whites of families and framed pictures of a good-looking man, a pretty woman, and some kids. There were some of the kids alone, and holy cow, there were probably a dozen pictures of Ed. He looked so young in a couple of them, they must have been from before we met.
One of Ed and the unknown man caught my eye. Something about the difference in height, the casual way they leaned together, the way they looked at each other, made me think this was Ed’s friend from the road, Don. Even though they’d both aged some since it was taken, I was almost sure of it.
No knobby hands, no weathered angel, this Don was good looking, without a doubt. He was lanky and chiseled. He had an intelligent face and a smile that drew the eye. He seemed sure of himself and charming. Whatever I’d seen in the darkness outside the car had to be a trick of the light.
Ed looked so young and earnest next to him it took my breath away. Brawny and tan, he wore a yoked Western shirt with the sleeves rolled up past well-muscled forearms and he eyed Don like he would follow him anywhere.
And that Don, he looked like he could appreciate a guy like Ed, as well.
Hadn’t I seen firsthand how much he did appreciate him?

Buy Links:    Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Kobo    iBooks

About the Author: Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back.  Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends.  If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Her published books include Crossing Borders, Drawn Together, and the St. Nacho’s and Brothers Grime series from Loose Id, ePistols at Dawn and The Pharaoh’s Concubine from Samhain Publishing, and Notturno, Vigil, Stirring Up Trouble, and All Stirred Up from MLR Press.

Website/Blog: http://zamaxfield.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZAMaxfield
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ZAMaxfield/165809416786338
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2738500.Z_A_Maxfield

Giveaway:  A $50 Amazon Gift Card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

See the other tour stops here:

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Blood and Gold by Hawk MacKinney

Blood and Gold
Book 3 in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series
by Hawk MacKinney


Blurb ₪ Blood and Gold, the third book in The Craige Ingram Mystery Series, once again tests the instincts and skills of retired Navy SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram. Lust, greed, body parts and unrestrained wild sex parties are what await Craige Ingram when he leaves the comforts of his South Carolina home to visit his former SEAL buddy, Detective Spinner Krespinak. Set in the Colorado underbelly of a sordid sable and faux glitz ski mecca, Detective Spinner Krespinak suspects drugs have made their way to the snowy playground that is Aspen. An Olympic ski hopeful is brutally murdered, Spinner vanishes, and Craige Ingram is shot as events spin out of control with a Catch-22 no one anticipates.

Excerpt ₪ Wilhelm Hans “Ski” Janoski lived fast.  His reckless ice-blue wildfire eyes ready for any thrill…snow-covered mountain, sunny beach, his latest bedmate, or two or three.  So many bodies, so little time.  He pointed his ski pole up toward the high peaks they'd traversed, “That portion across the ridge drifted more than I thought.”

She licked his neck and ears; gave him a wicked purring simper.  Christy liked the fast lane; hunted any novel untried thrill…fast living…faster men.  She loved the wild streak in Ski…the wilder the better.  “It wouldn't have taken much for those cornices to break loose.”

“You knew those upper slopes were closed before we took those trails.”

“Sure I did.”  He coughed; spit.  “Why let virgin deep powder go to waste just because some college jock puts on a ski patrol parka; marks boundaries he don’t know shit about?  Not the kind of skiing this Olympic gold medalist likes.  Ski boundaries and groomed slopes are for weekender fat cats who sit by the fire; guzzle martinis and margaritas; fat-up on chips and guacamole dip.”  Peacock bluster...Ski Janoski’s trademark.  Guffed, “All their BS about avalanches…gimme a break!  Even a half-assed skier can outrun an avalanche.  Avalanches are nothing but big balls of snow.  “No mountain ever bested hot-dogger Janoski.” Ski howled his challenge at Mother Nature.  “…no mountain ever will!”

Buy Links ₪ Amazon: Blood and Gold by Hawk MacKinney
Barnes and Noble ₪ Hawk MacKinney - Blood and Gold

"Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy--these are the things that take Hawk's main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation's capital and across Europe and the Middle East."
Barbara Casey ₪ President
Barbara Casey Literary Agency

About the Author ₪ With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.
Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention.  Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.


Giveaway: Hawk is awarding $25 to spend at Amazon to one lucky person who comments during the tour. The more you comment the better your chances to win. Visit more blogs for more chances.