Blog Tour & Giveaway: Punk by Lex J. Grootelaar

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Punk
by Lex Grootelaar
Genre: Coming of Age
Short and entertaining, “Punk” pushes both the rules of writing and the
dominant ideas and expectations of our society. Thrown into the world
of punk rock in the early 1990s, this novel follows the intertwining
lives of a wandering reject and the people he meets as he learns of
his fathers’ unexpected death. It explores themes of social
structure and religious indifference through the eyes of this
disenfranchised man living from one high to the next. The story takes
place over a few hot summer days in Edmonton, Alberta.


Thiscoming-of-age story, although set in the 90’s, is still very relevant
to today. It explores a quest for God without religion. Written with
bursts of stream-of-consciousness and first-person narrative, “Punk”
is simultaneously an urban existential fiction and a mystery novel.
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CHAPTER 1

I awoke cold on the shoulder of a highway. I had no idea how I got there. As the song goes, I found my mind in a brown paper bag—only this wasn’t the sixties, and the bag was clear, not brown. My life felt like a cliché as I found myself in this shoulder—this ditch. I slowly stood up. A semi-truck whirled by sending up a dirt cloud. I choked. To complete the cliché, I held out a thumb: the one that had been broken the year before when I fell out of a bar. The cars flew by and filled the air with exhaust. I smiled beside myself. Beside my life. I smiled at all the self-destruction, the missed opportunities, the lust, and the indulgences… All the indulgences. The thought carried as the wind blew. Finding my sunglasses in the high grass, I put them on hiding my bloodshot eyes and, hopefully, the haggard sketchiness that those eyes contained. As I looked at the empty eyes of drivers

passingng me on their way to work, my sympathy was with them. What day was this? What month? What year? When did the bender start? When would it finish? Finally, a car slowed as I gazed up at the sun just showing itself.

Running to the car on the shoulder, I attempted to piece together what happened the night before. Did my run-in with the Afeller boys go amiss? Their punk rock band was becoming so big—and with it, lots of new characters were on the scene. Did I offend some white-top? Something about his mother, I’m sure. The car put on its hazards as the driver opened his window and gestured me over. I ran my hands over my patched black jeans. I guess they didn’t offend; nor did my red and blond Mohawk that I never wore up.

I opened the door and peered in. The man was fortyish. He looked like a family man in his suit and tie. I smiled, knowing I was everything he wouldn’t want his children to become. And yet he offered me a ride.

“Hey there. You from the city, or some drifter?”

“Neither. I’m not from this city, nor a drifter. I’m a man of the land with nothing but my good sense to guide me through waters deep and quick.”

“Son, I’m not some girl at the bar, I’m the man driving you back to the city. So save the bullshit. Do you want some coffee? I have a thermos. You must drink coffee?” The man smiled as he passed over a thermos and a small brown disposable cup.

“Thanks. I know you’re not a girl at the bar, so I will put away my charm—and yes, I drink coffee, but only when I smoke. And I seem to be out,” I said as I lazily checked my black leather jacket and found nothing but an empty pack.

“You’re a drifter then; smoking’s a dying pastime. A losing battle.”

“Then you don’t partake?”

“Lucky for you, son, I’m also a dying breed.” He pulled out a silver case full of long cigarettes.

“Thanks,” I said as he passed me the case.

“You have a name? A real name? I offered you my smokes and my coffee; least you can do is give me a name.” I lit the cigarette and sipped the coffee.

“A real name, eh?” I took a long drag. “Clark. Clark Kent,” I smiled at him.

“Superman, eh? Fully able to fly, but stuck in an ‘85 Toyota, smoking my cigarettes, drinking my coffee and dressed in a fashion that I take it Lois Lane picked out?”

“Yeah, she’s a great dame.” I kept trying to remember what had happened last night.

“Humph. Where in the city are you going? Or should I just shoot for the downtown homeless shelter?”

“Mid-city would be good. I just need to get to my bike. It’s in a garage I rent with the money I make saving the world and all.”

“What were you doing on the side of the road? Good old Lex Luthor leave you high and dry?”

“If you must know, he attacked me with kryptonite and took my cape. I wouldn’t need the lift if I had the cape. You should know that.”

“Good point. Have some more coffee. A bike guy, eh?”

“Harley guy. It was my father’s,” I replied.

“A gift for your law school graduation?”

“Stolen.”

I could see the city approaching, the skyscrapers visible with an early morning summer haze around them.

“And what do you do for work there, Clark?”

“Me? The usual philanthropy, human projects, building churches, and feeding the poor.”

“Ah, a fine job for Superman.”

“Fine job for any man. You wouldn’t happen to have anything… I could put in this coffee?” I asked.

“I’m a family man myself—but like I said, a dying breed. Look inside the glove compartment.”

I opened it, and inside was a small bottle of bourbon. This was a man after my own heart. I poured a healthy amount into my mug.

“And for you?”

“No thanks; not before lunch.” As he shoulder-checked, I slipped the bottle into my inside jacket pocket.

“Let me guess,” I said. “You were a ‘60s hippy into the drug scene who got some flower child knocked up and started looking at things seriously. Your college degree wouldn’t get you far, so you got into sales. You don’t work in the office, hence the road drinks and the engraved cigarette holder: a gift for being with the company maybe fifteen years. You have children in their teens and you wish for nothing more than for them to go to college, get good jobs, and become nothing like you used to be—and definitely nothing like me.”

He laughed. “The world is a cruel place and not for the faint. Don’t doubt that you’re heading down a bad path: one where your super powers won’t be enough to save you. One day you’ll need redemption, but no one will show you any mercy. You’ll cry out, and no one will answer.” He stared at me, no longer watching the road. I looked back at him.

“Let me tell you something, man. I’ve cried out already. I’ve cried to the world, and you know what the world said back? It said no, just like you’re saying it would. But you know why that makes me better than a day driver—a day salesman whose life lost its lustre over the years?” I pulled the bottle out of my jacket and took a long swig, looking at him as I did. “The world has also cried out to me. And I was the one saying no, just the same. I fight the good fight and walk down the road walked by so many others, but I will never falter. I will never cave. I will seek out a life all want, but none have the courage to live.”

“Keep the bottle, then, and let your destruction swallow you whole. And if you come out alive, the tie and jacket will welcome you on the other side—and there will be someone like me, bailing you out.”

We drove into the city.

“Drop me off by Manulife Place.” I was feeling the kind of clarity the drink will give, as I put my hangover aside. “Alright.” He slowed. The sun was just barely up; it must have been about 6 in the morning when we reached the mall’s entrance. I opened the door.

“I never got your name, oh wise one,” I said as I stepped onto the sidewalk.

“Why do you care? You’ll forget me as soon as you light another smoke.” He handed me another one. “The name is… Ivan. Ivan the terrible.”

“Ha. Good day, sir. Watch out for that looming mid-life crisis,” I said as I closed the door.

 

Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Last Semester by Corine Mekaouche

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Last Semester
by Corine Mekaouche
Genre: Comedy, New Adult, Romance
College. Party. Drama. Life.
When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan
University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last
semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While
dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels
trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely
engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at
all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters
with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn’t
always easy and it’s up to her to learn how to survive the remainder
of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for
her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school
tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on
by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the
average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college
while planning for life after graduation?
Navigating through college isn’t easy especially when you don’t know what
the future holds, but Jo is determined to conquer her present even if
it means figuring out what being an adult is all about. With
graduation around the corner, Jo and her roommates have some growing
up to do and the last semester is all they have.
College is complicated.
Partying is a necessity.
Drama is guaranteed.
Life is just beginning.
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 x“Breathe, Rob! Just breathe!” I demand in a panicky voice from the back seat as we swiftly pull up to the entrance of the hospital. Clutching his chest in pain next to me, he heaves out a few spouts of air, but it’s not enough to help him.

Shit!

I watch my roommate Rob’s cheeks turn from a shade of deep pink to a dark crimson red. “A.J.! He’s getting worse!” I yell to my other roommate in the driver’s seat. He rolls his eyes then turns around.

“Calm down, Jo!” he exclaims. “I can’t think when you’re yelling like this!”

Drew, our other roommate, and usually the voice of reason, says nothing as he quickly jumps out of the Range Rover and runs into the hospital entrance.

“Can’t. Breathe,” Rob manages to force out of his mouth, then before I know it, his body falls limp and his head somehow ends up on my lap. His eyes roll to the back of his head.

“I think he’s dying!” I whine and suddenly I’m losing my breath.

Releasing a loud groan, A.J. climbs out of the SUV and casually walks into the hospital as if nothing is wrong.

Why is he so calm and I’m flipping the hell out?

I begin to shake Rob’s shoulders but he doesn’t respond and I’m almost positive that he’s not breathing at all now.

It’s official.

I killed my roommate.

Okay, maybe he’s not dead yet, but if death was a road, he just made a left turn for the worse then ran over a few annoying potholes and some week old roadkill…and probably drove off a cliff or something…

Ugh! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore! I feel guilty for doing this to him and I feel even more guilty because I kinda hate his arrogant, smug ass, but just because someone is an asshole doesn’t mean that they deserve to die, does it?

The back door opens and I see A.J. and Drew standing outside with a wheelchair. A.J. roughly wraps his arms around Rob’s body and begins to pull him out of the car. “Fuck! He’s like the size of an ogre,” he complains as he struggles to get Rob into the wheelchair. The fact that Rob is as useless as a wet noodle right now makes it difficult for A.J. to adjust Rob’s body in the chair. I cringe just watching it.

“I knew this was going to happen one day,” Drew says shaking his head. “The inevitable always happens.”

Shooting Drew a snarling glare, A.J. grits his teeth. “Just roll the goddamn chair into the hospital,” he instructs. Drew turns the chair around and begins to jog into the emergency room with Rob’s body leaning to one side. A.J. looks at me in the SUV, annoyed. “Well, are you coming?” he asks and I just freeze.

Do I stay? Do I go? I don’t know what to do with myself!

Taking a quick yet deep breath, I climb out of the SUV, shut the door and join A.J. on the other side of the vehicle.

“I’m horrible,” I blurt out and I can feel wetness welling in my eyes. “I’m a horrible person.”

“Dammit, Jo! I hate it when girls cry,” he complains as he shuts the other back door and begins to walk into the hospital. He pauses in his tracks when he notices that I’m not following him.

I’m frozen.

Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Tracking You by Kelly Moran

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TRACKING YOU
by Kelly Moran
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 5/23/17
Love isn’t always loud. Sometimes it’s silent.
Gabby Cosette has always been dubbed
the good girl of quaint Redwood Ridge, Oregon, and being permanently
put in the friend zone has left her dating life stagnant. With no
prospects in sight, she clings to her friends and resolves to not let
loneliness drag her under. So when the town Battleaxes set their
matchmaking sights on her, she figures it can’t hurt. Yet the guy
they think is perfect for her just happens to be not only her boss at
the veterinarian clinic, but her best friend. Sure, Flynn O’Grady is
attractive and the nicest guy around, but going there with him would
topple both of their carefully constructed worlds and there would be
no going back. Even if he is starting to make her girly parts zing.
Having been born deaf, Flynn has
already felt like an outsider most of his life. Aside from his
brothers, Gabby is about the only person who’s gone out of her way to
treat him as more than a handicap. Which is exactly why he’s banked
his secret attraction for his sweet, beautiful vet tech. Except his
meddling family is trying to play Cupid and ruin the best thing to
ever happen to him. Without Gabby, his work as a veterinarian, never
mind his personal life, wouldn’t flow. Determined to ignore the
antics, he’s secure in the knowledge she’s not interested in him
romantically. But then a kiss changes everything . . . and he’s
wondering if taking the ultimate shot at love might be worth the
risk.
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            Gabby Cosette smoothed her hand down the simple baby blue sundress she meticulously picked out for this evening and tried not to look too eager. Or throw up. That wouldn’t do either.

From a back booth, she glanced around the only Italian restaurant in Redwood Ridge, comforted by the fact it was still early yet for the dinner rush. The place was a good choice. Right? Not as casual as Shooters—the bar she and her friends frequented—but not as formal as one of the seafood restaurants that dotted their Oregon coastal town. A step above grabbing coffee or a beer, yet it didn’t scream desperation.

Was a booth in the back too obvious? Had she overdone it with her makeup? Maybe she should’ve put her hair up instead of down?

No, no. She went for light and natural on purpose. The patrons of Redwood Ridge had known her all her life. It wasn’t far out of the realm of ordinary for her to wear a dress and light cosmetics. She was being a basket case.

It’s just… Well, she hadn’t had a date in a year. A year!

To calm her nerves, she drew in a deep breath and focused on the red checkered tablecloth. A votive candle flickered on the windowsill to her right, the flame reflecting off the tinted glass. The parking lot stretched beyond, where her date’s car was not in one of the available spots.

It was silly to get this worked up over a first date, especially with Tom.

She’d gone to elementary and high school with him. His parents still lived down the street from hers. Strange how he’d never shown any interest in her romantically, yet out of the blue, he’d asked her out this week. Continue reading

Blog Tour: Desert Melody by Laura Evans Serna

 

Title: DESERT MELODY
Author: Laura Evans Serna
Publisher: New Land Publishing
Pages: 219
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

For generations the Ahn, Voyan, and Humans have thrived living side by side. The ambitious Ahn need solitude.  The communal Voyan thought share and hear the voices of the sacred dead around them.  Now Humans are becoming more like the Ahn, and the Voyan are struggling.

Teagan is a single Voyan mother and wet nurse. She lost the ability to thought share.  Though she spends hours walking in the desert searching for the voices she once heard, she embraces her new found intellectual focus and is drawn into the Human world of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Teagan plans to go into hiding to avoid being forced back to a Voyan community where her daughter would be an outcast. However she meets Josh, a generous and handsome man who understands her better than anyone.  She loves him, and Josh takes an active role in parenting Teagan’s daughter.

Teagan discovers that her behavior is more Human than Voyan because she has been unknowingly medicated.  She is part of a secret and manipulative eugenics program designed by Josh’s best friend. Teagan questions her faith in Josh while needing him in her life more than ever. Once off the medication, Teagan loses her focus, and her dream of helping her people through research slips away.

Teagan is kidnapped by the Voyan and put into a lucid trance for months.  During this time she feels the desperation of her people.  But Teagan hears the call of the Kokopelli’s flute. She knows she is called for a purpose, and she escapes back to Human society.  At this point, though, Teagan can no longer speak verbally.  She asks the Ahn to continue providing her the medication so she can live as a Human and stay with her daughter and Josh.  She knows she is called to help her people.

Desert Melody is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

 Excerpt

I lay in bed, enjoying the morning quiet as I watched my sleeping daughter. Her jet-black hair fanned out across our pillow. Thin white drapes over the window swelled gently as the cool morning air washed over us.

I traced the scars up and down my arms and chest, my hand stopping as usual on the jagged scar across my lower back. Would I ever forget? Did I want to? Thankfully, my Brianna stirred just then, bringing me back to the present. She opened her chocolate-brown eyes and melted my heart with her smile. I sent her off into the kitchen with my aunt Eva so that I could begin my morning ritual. I pulled out my electric breast pump and set it on the dresser.

My milk has Factor K, a protein known to significantly improve survivability for weak Voyan newborns. Only about 10 percent of Voyan women produce Factor K. Even without this protein, though, Voyan milk is invaluable because many postpartum Voyan have found they can no longer produce milk. Despite the efforts of a handful of dedicated Human biochemists, no suitable formula has been developed for Voyan babies. Donors save babies from starvation.

The buzz in my head grew stronger. Unintelligible whispers sneaked in to taunt me, to remind me of my damaged state. I could no longer pick up the thoughts of my family, and they couldn’t pick up mine.

I stepped into the shower, letting the thrum of water on my head chase the mumblings away. As I got dressed, Eva peeked her head in. In the light of the morning sun, the delicate scars across her chest looked like fine lace.

“Teagan, I made cinnamon rolls. Brianna’s favorite.” Her voice was slow and sweet.

“Everyone’s favorite,” I said, winking at Eva. She turned to go but remembered something.

“Going out?”

Eva couldn’t understand my desire to get away from my Voyan family. With the Voyan, I was deaf and mute. I was disabled. Out in the city, I could pretend to be Human.

“I was, unless you need me here.”

“Just a few moments?” she asked nervously. I knew exactly what she meant. Eva wanted me to spend time with our ancestors. Picking up Brianna, I headed to the tiny golden room behind the kitchen.

Brianna was mesmerized by the candles that lit up the small ancestor room. A few silver and gold urns sat together in a corner. I could tell that at one time the urns had engraved designs, but now they were worn from years of being touched and rubbed. They held the ashes of my ancestors as well as those of many other Voyan my family happened to meet.

I closed my eyes, listening for something I knew I could no longer hear. The air was thick, and not just from smoke. I could almost feel the voices of the dead around me, but not quite. And the more I tried to feel them, the harder it was.

 

About the Author

Laura Evans Serna grew up in Albuquerque wandering the Sandia mountains and enjoying magnificent sunsets each night. She was spoiled by the mountain and desert wilderness and the freedom it offered. Now that she’s lived in Oxford, Washington, DC, and Tokyo, she knows how rare and precious that kind of experience is.

As a teenager Laura would lie on her concrete driveway with her siblings and friends, watching Hale Bopp slowly cross the sky. She discussed science and theology with no reservation. What are the laws of physics, and where did they come from? What do they mean? Where do humans fit into all of this? What binds society together? Laura believes that these are the questions that make us human. They don’t belong to the scientists, philosophers, or theologians. Everyone has a right to make them their own.

 

Laura started her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of New Mexico. At the time, she was tired of Albuquerque. Until she left she didn’t appreciate the unique mix of cultures or the abundance of intellectual activity of her home town. She married a man in the Air Force and followed him to Colorado, where she spent her time teaching English with Catholic Charities and finishing up a degree in math at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Next Laura moved to the UK where she had the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford. She earned an MSc in Mathematical Modelling while pregnant and experiencing motherhood for the first time. (It was a struggle, to be sure!) Laura found Oxford to be a fantastic, walkable city perfect for pushing a newborn around in a pram. Although they only spent three years in Oxford, she will always feel as if it is a home of sorts for them.

Laura spent periods of time teaching math and doing technical editing, but motherhood suits her more than any other hat she’s worn. Her three daughters are a constant joy. She has come to the conclusion that the world over needs more, not less, of the maternal touch, and she wants to write stories featuring strong, intelligent mothers.

You can visit her website at www.lauraevansserna.com or connect with her on Facebook.

 

 

The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 2 Escape.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Snowman by Yolanda Renée

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renée’s THE SNOWMAN Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.◊ THE SNOWMAN
◊ by Yolanda Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: TRACE Enterprises
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mystery
◊ Novella
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Contains explicit sex & violence
Amazon

 

This is a prequel to the author’s Detective Steven Quaid Mysteries. This story tells of Steven’s first case as a rookie detective. It takes place 10 years before the events in MURDER, MADNESS & LOVE, the first book in the series.

The author is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring both print and eBook copies from her series. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

 

It takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium.

 

          Stowy Jenkins, aka, Stone, and as Alaskans refer to him, the Snowman, is a true artist. His muse, Gigi, is the ultimate inspiration for his painting. Her rejection inspires him to use a very unusual medium…blood.

          While art may be his passion, the taste for blood is his obsession, and multiple murders, the result.

          Rookie, Detective Steven Quaid, is no fan of the Snowman’s murderous exhibitions. A twisted and deadly relationship bond the two men and neither knows who will come out of it alive.

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Excerpt

A heavy snow is falling, exciting his murderous passion. With trembling fingers, Stone prepares for his greatest work of art. He tears open a package of duct tape, caressing the dull, gray roll before placing it onto the clean, white towels. A leather sports bag lies open. “Just a few more necessary items,” he mutters as he steps over to a rack on the wall.

After selecting three razor sharp knives, he unlocks the closet door. He gathers three syringes, and a vial of anesthetic, carefully wrapping them in a soft cloth. He places each one into the inside pocket of the bag.

A coil of twisted rope is snatched from the floor. Stone carefully measures and cuts the cord exactly fifteen inches. One by one he places each item into the bag. “Excellent…now for the final piece.”

Housed in a leather case, he lovingly places his new Nikon camera on top of the other items. “Now we are ready—so ready.”

This is a prequel to the author Yolanda Renée’s Detective Quaid Mysteries. This story tells of Steven’s first case as a rookie detective. It takes place 10 years before the events in MURDER, MADNESS & LOVE, the first book in the series.

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About the Author

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

 

You can connect with me here:

Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest     *     Email Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Wilde Horses by Jannine Gallant

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Wilde Horses
by Jannine Gallant
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: May 23, 2017
The Wilde brothers may be attracted
to all things fast and furious. But their spirited sister can’t be
tamed when it comes to matters of the heart . . .
The beautiful vistas and peace and
quiet on her family’s Wyoming ranch are a balm for Eden Wilde’s
soul—and inspire a gentle touch when it comes to breaking the wild
horses she loves. Though there’s no hope on the breathtaking
horizon for her love life. Until her sanctuary is invaded by a movie
studio shooting their latest blockbuster starring Hollywood’s man
of the moment.
After a personal tragedy plays out in
his real life, movie star Blake Benedict finds himself falling for
the wide-open spaces and easy going pace of Wyoming—and for Eden.
Around her, he feels safe shedding his public persona and letting
down his guard. But then accidents begin to happen on set, mishaps
that could end Blake’s career—or his life. And Eden will be
forced out of her comfort zone to save the Hollywood hero from an
enemy he never saw coming . . .
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 “You’re kidding, right?” Eden Wilde dropped her fork on her plate and glanced around the dinner table. Had her parents lost their collective minds? “I’m afraid not.” Her father’s determined blue gaze, a mirror image of her own, met hers. “We signed the agreement this afternoon.”
Her mother reached over to pat her arm. “Think of it as an adventure.”
More like a nightmare.
“Grandpa, I can’t believe you agreed to this insanity?”
Jasper Wilde shrugged then dug into the pile of mashed potatoes on his plate. When he glanced up, his gray eyes twinkled beneath a thatch of snow-white hair. “Your dad says the ranch needs the income, and I think filming a movie here will be quite an experience. Maybe we’ll all get to be extras. Wouldn’t that be a kick?”
“Fun? Really?” Eden snorted. “From what you’ve told me, this isn’t some little documentary. It’s a major motion picture. Our lives will be in complete chaos for… How long?”
Her father laid down his steak knife as a frown knit his forehead. “The producer told me they hope to finish in four weeks. A huge chunk of the action is set outdoors, and the majority of those scenes will be  shot on the ranch.”
She gripped the edge of the table. “A month?” The reality was worse than she’d imagined. “And you waited until now to tell me because…”
Her mom let out a worried sigh. “Nothing was finalized until today since the production company was considering several different ranches here in Wyoming, as well as a couple in Montana. There was no point in upsetting you if the deal for our property fell through.”
“So, you knew I wouldn’t be on board with the plan, but you still went ahead with such a major decision without discussing it with me?” Eden’s voice rose. “What am I, a child to be placated? I can’t believe this.”

“Honey, we aren’t ganging up on you. We’re just doing what needs to be done.” Her grandpa cleared his throat. “Boyd, what did that producer say he’d pay us?”

“Fifty grand.” Her dad took a swallow of his iced tea. “After two years of severe drought, we’ve dug into our reserves for cattle feed. The barn needs a coat of paint and there are a lot of costs associated with throwing a double wedding for your brothers. That check is going to help me sleep nights.” Eden opened her mouth then closed it. She didn’t have a reasonable counterargument that didn’t make her sound petty and selfish. She let out a slow breath. “I didn’t know the ranch was having cash flow problems.

I’m sure Griff and Sawyer would be happy to chip in for wedding expenses if they knew.”

“Your brothers already have.” Her mother tucked a strand of short brown hair behind one ear. “But we’d like to lay down new gravel on the driveway and put in an irrigation system for the back lawn where the ceremony will take place so the grass will be nice and green.” She waved a hand. “Generally spruce the place up so the ranch looks its best in June.” “Dahlia’s right.” Her grandpa forked up another bite of potatoes. “We

want to impress the future in-laws.”

“Not to mention the barn is so faded it’s closer to pink than red.” Her dad winced. “We’ll have to paint it before they start shooting the movie. Our vintage barn is one of the main reasons the producers went with our spread.”

Eden let out a sigh as resignation set in. “Why’s that?”

Her grandpa reached for a roll from the basket in the center of the table. “Settlers painted their barns red, and this movie is an old-fashioned Western.” His smile stretched. “You know, the type John Wayne used to star in with cowboys and Indians.”

“Native Americans, Grandpa, not Indians.” When her parents exchanged a long moment of wordless communication, tension banded across Eden’s chest and squeezed. “Oh, now I get it. They want my wild horses.”

“They intend to use them in background shots.” Her father leaned forward to plant his elbows on the table. “I made sure the contract stipulates you have final say over anything to do with your horses.”

“Well, thank God for that.” “Within reason.”

She scowled. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Continue reading

Blog Tour: Dreams, Goals and Adventure by Michael D. Ditton

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Author Michael D. Ditton makes a stop here today as part of his Dreams, Goals, and Adventure Blog Tour through MC Book Tours.
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Dreams, Goals and Adventure is a series of personal stories, the ups and downs of someone who inspires to reach all of the dreams set forth and how sometime a life event creates a situation requiring a major adjustment. It is stories others will be able to relate to with the life adventures each and every one of them have experienced, both good and challenging
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DREAMS, GOALS AND ADVENTURE by Michael D. Ditton
◊ Paperback: 148 pages
◊ Genre: Self-Help, Motivational
◊ Publisher: BalboaPress (October 19, 2015)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1504335880
◊ ISBN13: 978-1504335881
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From broke to retired in ten years . . .
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Returning home from Desert Storm, I found myself mentally and financially bankrupt. Newly divorced, I had no job, no help, and no hope. My reasons to live were gone. At the lowest point in my life, I fell back on simple truths from my childhood: hard work gets results, and it’s okay to dream. And dream I did, setting goals that launched me from poverty to a life I could not have imagined. And you can do it, too.
          Dreams, Goals, and Adventure will inspire you to dream big, work toward your goals, and live your life as an adventure every day.
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* Don’t be afraid to dream.
* Don’t accept “no” as an answer.
* Remove “can’t” from your vocabulary.
* Small goals are stepping stones to much larger goals.
* Learn how to spring forward from failure.
* Know you will have to adjust.
* Live life as an adventure.
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“Your experiences are so extra-ordinary and you’re fascinating
to listen to. Your speaking style is humble and respectful of both your role as a speaker and of your audience, as one would expect after hearing of what you were trained to do. If others would open their lives to adventure as you have they would love their life even more.”
~Jim Cathcart, author of the bestsellers: The Acorn Principle and Relationship Selling. CEO of Cathcart.com 
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Michael Ditton is an entrepreneur, personal development coach, and student of life. In addition to helping others realize their dreams, he can be found sailing or traveling in search of new adventures.

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“When met by unexpected challenges, embrace them wholeheartedly as opportunities for adventure and education.”
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I developed Goal-Setting Basics to help others interested in learning how to set goals. In my twenties, I had to gather these valuable bits of information a piece at a time. This site offers you an array of information, tools, and resources to help you in identifying, setting, and accomplishing your goals, whatever they might be. In these tools are free worksheets and examples to help you succeed. You will find Goal-Setting Basics is your single source for all of your goal-setting needs.
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Financial Independence means having control over your time
without worrying about the ability to pay your bills” … So many think they have to be as wealthy as Bill Gates to live a rich life, that is so far from the truth … Let me show you how.
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Excerpt

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Chapter One

An Entrepreneur Is Born

 All children have dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. What were yours? Perhaps you wanted to be a firefighter, astronaut, dentist, or doctor. Along the way those dreams evolved, or in some cases might have disappeared altogether. At some point you might have woken up and believed your dream was just a fantasy. Or was it?

 As we grow older we yearn to turn our dreams into something tangible. With yearning comes passion. With passion we begin to set goals and develop a plan to turn those dreams and goals into reality.

When I was eight years old I had dreams, just like other kids. What I did not realize, until later in life, was that I also had goals.

Like most kids back then I received an allowance for the menial chores I did around the house. There were some jobs I didn’t mind doing, and others my folks had to keep reminding me about. Feeding and walking our dog, Nanny, was an easy task; she was a great dog and a wonderful companion. On the other hand, there was cleaning up after her. Let’s just say that I had to be asked several times to complete that chore. A Newfoundland, one of the largest breeds, Nanny required an extra-large pooper scooper. Looking back, I realize that I was greatly underpaid for that particular job.

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I was a dreamer from an early age. To this day I believe anyone can do whatever they choose to put their mind to.
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I didn’t go from eight years old to semi-retired in the length of one sentence. Nor was it easy. But I did follow a simple, time-honored process.
I was in my twenties before I fully understood the true importance of goal setting. After that, I was able to be more focused, see where I wanted to be, how I was going to get there, notice when I needed to make adjustments, and had the satisfaction of reaching goals. I enjoyed the benefits of reaching a goal and putting a big, fat check mark on my list.
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Here’s how those goals paid off:
At 8, sold vegetables door to door from my little red wagon
Age 13, supervisor, World’s Fare Hamburgers
Age 15, assistant manager trainee, Pizza Hut
Age 16, assistant manager, Round Table Pizza
Age 18, began a 20-year commitment with the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, retiring in 2005 as a staff sergeant and Desert Storm veteran. Over my service career I became a leader and was recognized and awarded for my achievements and outstanding service.
Age 20, found my true calling as a sales professional
Age 31, began a successful career in real estate and real estate investments
Age 36, semi-retired
Age 37, owned and operated several companies
Age 41, semi-retired, sold everything and sailed south on his 45’ sailboat
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Although I found success at a very early age, I became painfully aware of how quickly it can all be taken away. In 1991, after I returned from Desert Storm, I found myself bankrupt, mentally, physically and financially and divorced.
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It was the lowest point in my life. Four years later, I had clawed my way back to even, and started to build from there. Two years after that, following my roadmap of goals, I reached my first level of financial independence. The rest is history.
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For more on Michael, you can connect with him at the following sites:
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For those following his tour, Michael is offering a special price on the Kindle eBook format of Dreams, Goals and Adventure at a reduced cost of just 99 cents! Readers can also get a FREE copy of Michael’s GOAL SETTING BASICS in the eBook format. For one or both of these special offers just CLICK HERE!
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Thanks for visiting during Michael’s tour stop. Are you following your dreams?
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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Positively Pippa by Sarah Hegger

 


From author Sarah Hegger comes an exciting new series set in small-town Utah, where secrets don’t keep for long—and love turns up in the most unexpected places.

For Pippa Turner there’s only one place to go when her life self-destructs on national TV—home to Ghost Falls, and her heavily perfumed, overly dramatic, but supremely loving grandmother, Philomene. If anyone will understand how Pippa’s hit makeover show was sabotaged by her vengeful ex, it’s Phi. But she’s not the only one who’s happy to see her—and Pippa can’t help but wonder if Matt Evans, her gorgeous high-school crush turned Phi’s contractor, is game for a steamy close-up…

Matt owes his whole career to Phi and her constant demands to embellish the gothically ridiculous house he built for her. Getting to see red-headed, red-hot Pippa is a bonus, especially now that she’s no longer the troublesome teenager he remembers. He’s willing to stay behind the scenes while she gives her own life a much-needed makeover, but not forever. As far as he’s concerned, their connection is too electric to ignore. And the chance to build something lasting between them—before she can high-tail it back to Hollywood—is going to the top of his to-do list.

Buy Links:

Amazon * iBooks * Nook *  Kobo

Goodreads

About the Author

Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.

She currently lives in Colorado with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.

Sarah is the recipient of the 2015 EPIC Award for Historical Romance.

She is represented my Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates.

 

Sarah Hegger Social Media Links:

Website: http://sarahhegger.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/sarahheggerauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahHegger

Google+: https://plus.google.com/100057781039257025684

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8202895.Sarah_Hegger

Tumblr: http://sarahhegger.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahhegger7/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/sarahheggerauthor/

 

Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Rising by Sonya Weiss

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RISING

by Sonya Weiss
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi Supernatural Romance
Pub Date: May 9, 2017
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When sparks fly between a human and a Supernatural, the entire planet
could be at stake.
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It’s been ten years since the Great Extinction, when Supernaturals
threatened to destroy humanity. Now, in the sleepy town of Wayside,
Nevada, seventeen-year-old Cassie Grant’s life couldn’t be more
ordinary. Determined to get into an Ivy League college, her focus is
squarely on her studies. But suddenly everything changes when she
witnesses Jason Taylor, a cute and quiet loner, mysteriously save a
young boy from falling to his death.
Although the Supernaturals ultimately retreated to their planet, three
families were left behind—including Jason’s. So far, they’ve
been successfully hiding in plain sight. But Jason knows that if
Cassie exposes him, all their lives will be in peril—especially
since Cassie’s father is the head of the Alien Eradication and
Defense Department. At first, befriending Cassie is Jason’s
survival tactic. But as they spend more time together, they begin to
fall in love. With the authorities closing in and a hidden threat
that could tear the very Earth apart, can Cassie and Jason keep each
other safe—or will their star-crossed romance start another
war?…
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CASSIE

I wiped off the mess I’d made of my makeup for the second time, and stared at the pallor of my skin in the mirror. The scar high on my cheekbone wasn’t as bad as the ones on my back, but it was a visible reminder of the attack that gave me nightmares. Each time I’d jerk myself out of sleep, I’d fallen right back into the disturbing images again. No high IQ needed to guess why. At dinner Dad had talked in detail about the destructive nature of aliens. As if I needed to be told.

His stories and warnings alone weren’t the reason I didn’t like aliens. I knew firsthand that they killed, that they left humans scarred. I didn’t blame my father for my injuries, but my mother did. I pushed away the memory of what happened during that awful camping trip in New Mexico. That night had forever changed all of us and made me look at aliens differently.

Aliens were mysterious, powerful beings who were hunted by the government but more often than not, we humans were the prey. While there were a lot of pro-alien groups around that spouted on websites and to anyone who’d listen that we had nothing to fear from these “visiting creatures,” the scars on my body were living proof that was a lie.

A strange premonition swept over me and I shivered, then tried again to reapply my makeup fast so I wouldn’t be late for school. One more year, and then I was through.

I couldn’t wait to get out of Wayside, Nevada, far away from my father, and his job as lead agent at the Alien Eradication and Defense Department. I didn’t want to live with the reminder of aliens at every conversation. I needed a clean slate, a place where I could build good memories. I wished we could go back to our lives before the Great Extinction.

That war between the humans and aliens sucked the laughter out of our family like a tornado had spun through. Aliens had killed my uncle during one of the battles. My father hadn’t been the same since his brother’s death but he’d tried hard to keep himself together. But then after me nearly dying during that camping trip because of an alien attack, my father had unraveled in ways that baffled and sometimes even scared me.

I finished applying my makeup, checked my arms and back in the mirror to make sure my scars were hidden, and gave my face one final glance. Good enough. Grabbing my backpack, I made my way down the stairs to the living room where Mom lay curled on the sofa beneath a blanket. She had the same shoulder-length black hair and brown eyes I did, but where she was cover-model confident, not even photoshopping could erase my self-consciousness. I was a little on the nerdy side so I’d never been that confident, but after I was scarred, it had only gotten worse. I didn’t wear sleeveless shirts anymore and I wouldn’t dream of ever wearing a bikini again.

With a frustrated sigh, Mom sat up and muted the television, silencing the anchor mid-report on the frequent earthquakes striking our area. I stood behind the sofa and lip-read the closed captioning for a few seconds.

“Anything new, or are they rehashing yesterday’s news?” Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Eight Days in the Sun by MK Schiller

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EIGHT DAYS IN THE SUN
by MK Schiller
Pub. Date: 5/2/2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Love needs only one chance to shine . . .
He followed in his family’s footsteps and just graduated Marine boot camp. Now
Mason Cutler’s personal mission is to get plenty of sun, surf, and
no-strings romance in his favorite laid-back Florida beach town
before shipping out. But a chance encounter with reserved Kiran
Shenoy becomes a golden day of conversation, connection—and an
intense attraction Mason can’t walk away from. They make an
agreement—eight sensuous days together without regrets or promises.
Yet soon Mason is longing to convince the spirited woman behind
Kiran’s sad beautiful eyes to take a chance on even more . . .
All Kiran dared hope for was a chance to heal after a tragic accident and a
devastating loss. Mason’s freewheeling energy and head-on courage
warms her scarred body and soul—and ignites her heart. But with
their lives going in different directions, the only commitment they
can make is a pact to meet again. Can what they feel survive Mason’s
military duty, and Kiran’s second chance to restart her life? And
can a desire sparked one summer night be enough for forever?
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MK Schiller is a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. In the dark of
night, she sits by the warm glow of her computer monitor, reading or
writing, usually with some tasty Italian…the food that is! She
started imagining stories in her head at a very young age. In fact,
she got so good at it that friends asked her to create plots
featuring them as the heroine and the object of their affection as
the hero. She hopes you enjoy her stories and find The Happily Ever
After in every endeavor. M.K. Schiller loves hearing from readers.
 
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Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and giveaway!
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The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 2 Escape.