Saturday, December 29, 2018

Blitz: Head Case by Niki Cluff





Niki Cluff lives in Northern Arizona with her husband, three children, and Great Dane who also doubles as a pony. For the last four years, she has worked as a literary intern sorting through queries while writing her own books. When she isn't writing or watching BIGBANG and EXO videos, she's sketching, playing video games (Legend of Zelda is her favorite), crocheting, and cooking. Copycat recipes are her specialty. She's also a massive anime fan (Sailor Moon forever!) and hopes to visit Tokyo some day.


Twitter ~ Blog ~
Amazon ~




Allyson has been in a coma for the last nine months. What’s worse, she can hear everything the doctors say. She knows they’re keeping her in a coma and that she’s at the mercy of the hospital's First-in-Human trial—a VR system implanted in her brain for a second chance at life.

Attached to the VR, Ally discovers worlds unlike home. She can do whatever she wants, but she misses her parents. With help from Harrison, a rabbit-eared boy, they work together to free themselves from Aishwarya, the mad queen of the world. 

But when Harrison wakes up and doesn’t come for Ally, she’ll split her soul to the brink of death to save herself.





Snippet:

Darkness. My eyes are shut. With my eyes closed, I can’t see the doctor or the hospital room. I can’t see my parents’ faces. Nine months that I’ve been confined to the corners of my own mind. When I first came in, I managed to open my eyes long enough to see the sterile white walls, bright lights, and puke-green curtains that divided the room into threes. After that, a cooling sensation flowed through the veins of my left arm and my eyes, heavy with the weight of sleep, closed again. I haven’t been able to open them since. 

“What does this mean?” Dad asks. His voice is tight, a grunt thick with tears. He’s crying too. I swallow back a lump, one of the only movements I can manage. But without an Adam’s apple, no one notices the small shift in the muscles of my throat. They aren’t paying enough attention. The backs of my eyes are on fire, but I know tears won’t come. I’m cried out. 

“It means that until she wakes up, she’s stuck on life support, sort of. She is breathing on her own. Most of the machines are here to monitor her in case she does wake up,” Doctor Zain says. His voice holds a shrug. This is no big deal to him. Why should it be? It’s not his sorry butt lying in a hospital bed day after day. Mom sobs. It’s a howling sound and I imagine her clinging to Dad in a struggle to stay upright. My mind works that way now. Visions of what life must be like instead of what life is. 

Being in a coma is a lot like suffering from sleep paralysis. Sometimes I’m awake and alert. I can hear and see everything in my mind's eye. But I can’t move. I don’t scream even though my voice shouts in my head as loud as my lungs can manage. Every muscle in my body burns as I struggle to make them work, but they’re so heavy. No matter how hard I try, I can’t lift my arms or legs. I can’t even make my fingers work. Not even a pinky. Other days, a wrinkled hag sits in the corner of the room. Her eyes are dark, empty. She’s haggard like death has taken her more than once. Some days she hovers over my bed. She wants me to come with her. Beckons me to follow, but I won’t. I don’t like the idea of where her world ends. It sends a tremor through my entire body and I’m paralyzed with fear as I watch her. Waiting.




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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Blitz: The Billionaire's Blue Christmas by Jennifer Griffith



Jennifer lives in Arizona where she writes escapist fiction she calls "Cotton Candy for the Soul."






He needs this job to honor his late wife.
 She needs to complete her late fiancé’s bucket list to be free.

Former action-movie star Chet has counted the days since he lost his wife last New Year’s Eve almost a year ago. When he’s given a shot at starring in a reboot of her favorite TV show, he jumps at it. But there’s a catch: the producers won’t hire him unless he can prove he’s regained emotional stability—by bringing a steady girlfriend to his five auditions.

Which means: five mandatory dates for this bereft widower.

Social worker Holly lost her fiancé to war. With his good life snuffed out too soon, she feels compelled to finish his bucket list of unselfish deeds. But four years later, several remain, and they’re ridiculously impossible. Until she accomplishes her soldier’s dreams, she can’t even consider moving on with her life.

When they meet on the beach at Getaway Bay, what she doesn’t know is homeless-looking mourner Chet is actually Colt Winchester, screen star and fashion icon. What he doesn’t know is that he’s a means to an end.

When their walls start to crumble on their Christmas season dates, can these two find love again, or will they forever be chasing ghosts?"



Snippet:

The sun dipped behind the horizon, and purple twilight replaced the sunset’s glare.
Holly extended her hand, still confused—until the first stranger lifted his sunglasses. Those green eyes gazed at her.
Chet?
This guy, with the cleaned-up clothes and the nicely trimmed beard—and still those eyes—was the guy from the beach? Holly’s date? His eyes held her captive a moment, their verdant color infusing her.
Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas to me.

“Hi, I’m Holly.” She took the slick guy’s hand, tearing her gaze away from Chet’s green eyes.





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Christmas Blitz: Jacob T Marley by R William Bennett






R. William (Bill) Bennett is the author of Jacob T. Marley, The Christmas Gift, and a new Christmas novel being published by a major publisher for Christmas, 2019



 ~ Website ~
  




"Marley was dead to begin with . . . "

These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. 


But, what about Jacob Marley?  And why hadn't he been given the same final chance of redemption as Ebenezer Scrooge?



Or had he?









Snippet:

-Regarding when Marley began his journey to become the wicked old man.  A teacher had just complimented him on his arithmetic skills: 

“Young Marley,” said the schoolteacher, apparently not having felt he had achieved the desired effect with his compliment, “you are, without a doubt, the single best mathematician I have ever taught.” Of those thirteen words, there was one that held Jacob’s attention. He knew them all and had used the sum of them in sentences for many years. But it was the particular arrangement of the thirteen, specifically in the way this one word would betray the other twelve. The word was best. Marley had been no stranger to compliments, having been a boy of greater than average character. He had shown virtues in many areas, which is not to say he did not suffer at times the foibles of youth. Yet this word, this word! “Best!” Though it seems quite unlikely, Jacob had never thought of his own accomplishments in relation to those of his peers. He had only considered what ought to have been done and whether he did it well. But now he was given a yardstick with which to measure himself against others. And in the first taking of that measure, he was found by this revered teacher to be unequaled. He was the best—and he liked it very much. 





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Christmas Blitz: The Seasons of Bear Lake: Christmas Kisses




Stephanie Worlton is an author, designer, gabber, and sugar addict! She was raised in the suburbs of Salt Lake City where she developed a passion for the creation of space, color, and design. Her love of design drove her to pursue a degree in architecture. Her love of family pulled her home to be a mom.  She enjoys hanging out with her family, reading, writing, making massive project lists, doing remodeling and building projects, playing in the dirt, and snuggling with her dogs. She collects power tools, camera equipment, shoes (though barefoot is always best!), and books.







Ali Cross, the award-winning author of the Desolation Series, has always had a flare for the dramatic. As a child she organized backyard performances of classic plays and musicals and hosted tea parties for invisible friends and pets dressed in doll clothes. Her teens were a haze of boys, drama (of the real life variety), and music. So it really didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the girl her family called a dreamer, ended up writing drama—with angels, demons, and other supernatural creatures thrown in for fun.

After university, Ali traveled from the Great White North to the Utah desert for love and now entertains her devoted husband, almost-grown twin sons and adorable yorkies with her wacky song renditions and random movie lines. As the only female in the house she considers this her right and her duty.

Never one to conform to expectations, Ali enjoys writing in multiple genres:

Ali Cross books for young adult paranormal romance; Ali Banks Cross books for middle grade adventures; and Ali M. Cross for inspirational romance. She promises to entertain you no matter which of her books you pick up.





TARA C. ALLRED
Award-winning Author

I had lots of imaginary friends when I was five years old, and I guess you could say some of those friends never left me. In fact along the way, I picked up some more imaginary friends who have had lots to say.

I love watching stories unfold. And some of those stories seem worth sharing with you.

So, I have written a few books. And have several more in the works.

Meanwhile, some of my books have won some awards. And even more importantly, my books have made friends with some wonderful and supportive readers. I absolutely love it when a reader connects with one of my stories.


Stacy Lynn Carroll has always loved telling stories. She started out at Utah State University where she pursued a degree in English, learned how to western swing, and watched as many of her fellow students became ‘True Aggies’.  She then finished her BA at the University of Utah where she got an emphasis in creative writing.  

After college she worked as an administrative assistant, where she continued to write stories for the amusement of her co-workers. When her first daughter was born, and with the encouragement of a fortune cookie, she quit her job and became a full-time mommy and writer. 

Eight books and four small kids later, Stacy has truly learned the necessary skills of balance and time management. Dr. Pepper and chocolate also help. She and her husband live in Utah with their four children and three dogs. Bear Lake is her favorite place to write.






Are you ready to fall in love? 

Take the chill out of winter with four new multi-genre romances from best-selling and award-winning authors Tara C. Allred, Stacy Lynn Carroll, Ali M. Cross, and Stephanie Connelley Worlton. 

From heart-warming traditions to heart-pounding suspense, this cozy collection of toe-tingling first kisses set in Utah’s North Pole (aka Bear Lake) will leave you feeling cheerful and bright.















Snippet from 
Christmas Kisses, Change of Heart 
by Stephanie Connelley Worlton:



Bailey parked the snowmobile in its spot in the garage then pulled her helmet and gloves off with unhurried precision. Laki relaxed his hold around her, allowing his hands to dust over the tops of her thighs before settling them on top of his own. He felt Bailey’s body stiffen against his chest. Then, as if she were suddenly on fire, she bounced off the seat.
A cold wind rushed through the garage, quickly pushing away the lingering heat left from being near her body.
Her hands firmly planted on her hips as she whipped around to face him. Words started to form on her lips but before she got the chance to release them, her eyes locked on his. Her scowl, adorable as it was, softened then intensified again. A flush touched her cheeks, much deeper than anything caused by the chill outside.
Just let it happen! Laki screamed the words inside his head as he drank in the subtle longing in her eyes. Her lower lip trembled, almost inviting him to kiss it, then, as if reading his mind, she retreated into the cabin.  


Q&A With Stephanie Connelley Worlton:  

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
I love meeting new people but am most comfortable in the company of teenagers and young adults. I like to laugh. A lot. And in my adult-moments, I love to build stuff. Big stuff. My motto is: Dream, believe, work, achieve.

2. What do you love most in the world?

My first and greatest love is my family. I know that sounds cliché, but it is true. Next in line are my loves for designing, building, reading, writing, and sugar.

3. What inspired you to become an Author?

I actually never wanted to be an author. I’m a girl who can’t sit still, so the first time I considered writing a story, I about laughed myself out of my chair. But, when I decide to do something, I do it. I knew my story was one that was meant to be shared and I so I plugged along… and, at the end of the umpteenth draft, I’d discovered a passion for writing that I never knew existed. The actual events behind that initial inspiration are long, and I share them in depth on my website, but the short version is that I had a story that would help people and I needed to share it.

4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition?
New Years stockings - On New Year's Eve, after the celebrating has commenced, we empty any remaining Christmas candy from our stockings and re-hang them on the mantel so Santa's wife, known as Mrs. Claus or Dina, can come refill them with more "sensible" treats like fruit and nuts. She also leaves some of the more "needed" items that Santa tends to look over in favor of toys and fun stuff. For example, she might leave socks, or books, or, umm... headphones that Santa forgot to leave with the iPods. ;-)

I've been told this is a tradition brought by my ancestors from Germany. I can't really verify its origin however (at least through a quick google search). I have found variations of it throughout the world (ie: Lady Long Fingers, Santa Croupee, and Le Petit Bonhomme Javier), but none exactly the same as ours. 


5. What is your trick for getting past writer's block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story?

I work my way through writer’s block… and by work, I mean, I build something or go dirty my hands in the garden. Sometimes when I sit down to write, there is so much chaos in my head that I can’t concentrate. This is when I jot down a few ideas and close my laptop. I know that’s counter to everything “pro” writing coaches tell you to do, but I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum. When my hands are busy with projects, my mind focusses better and the stories come. And then the key is to schedule time to put those clear thoughts down before I forget them.


6. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?

I’ve been working on a book about motherhood, so stories about my children have been heavy on my mind. Here’s a little snippet from my early years as a mom:

It was one of those mornings that seem to come with more frequency once you become a mother. I had a class to be to and nothing had gone right from the time my alarm had gone off.
Short on time, I stripped my 10-month-old down to his nothings and jumped in the shower with him on my hip. I gave him a speed-wash, carefully lifting each of his fat folds to clean under them. A two-second rub down of his thin hair and he was done. I wrapped him in a towel and set him on the carpeted floor just outside of the shower, then pulled the shower curtain closed and lathered shampoo through my own hair.
Two minutes, that’s how much time past before I turned off the water and drew the shower curtain open.
Holy $#*z!
Except, there was nothing holy about it!
It was a sacrilege to the nine-hundredth degree.
Wingnut had pooped in his towel, which in and of itself might have been manageable, if he’d left it alone. But no. Not my kid. My artistic genes clearly got passed on to him. Poop was smeared all over his body.
Six pearly whites smiled up at me with pride. He’d painted himself, head-to-toe. And then, he’d painted the carpeted floor, up the side of the bathtub, and even added his own accents to the floral wall-paper.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… or barf.

I cleaned up Wingnut’s mess, not fully realizing that it would represent the first of many “creative” messes my children would make.






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Christmas Blitz: Love on a Limb by Laurie Lewis





Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Her ninth published novel, her first romance novella, Sweet Water, was inspired by a visit to Oregon’s magnificent coastline, and time spent with Mother Eugenie, upon whom the character Mother Thomasine is based. 

Laurie’s women’s fiction novels include The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), Awakening Avery (2010), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis. 

Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).

She is currently completing a political suspense novel planned for a summer 2017 release, a re -release of a romantic comedy, and she’s working on another historical fiction novel for a 2018 release. She loves to hear from readers.





Matthew Grayken is young, successful, and dying, which is why he’s about to propose to a total stranger. He isn’t interested in love. He needs a caregiver, a companion, and someone to be his legal voice when he can no longer speak for himself.



Lonely, compassionate nurse Mikaela Compton is intrigued by Matt Grayken’s tender request, but when their friendly marriage turns into love, she rejects the inevitability of Matt’s death and prays for a miracle instead.


Mikaela succeeds in reigniting Matt’s will to fight, but his body is losing the battle, and her determination to save him causes her to betray the fundamental promise she made him--to help him die peaceably.


Their last hope at saving Matt's life will require a sacrifice from each of them, and force them to decide how far out on a limb they're willing to go for love.




Snippet:

Mikaela closed the distance and brushed her lips over his. His sensible side told him to push back, but he had no will to send her away again. His battered hands framed her face and pulled her mouth to his. He felt wholly alive for the first time in weeks, not a patient first, but filled with the thoughts and feelings of a man. Of a husband. He tried to raise his arms to wrap her close, but a sharp pain ended the effort as Mikaela pulled back an inch, her smile completely happy and her eyes joyfully bright. 

“I love you, Matt.” The words were spoken in a whisper, so light and airy that they tickled his lips. “Just finally be mine. Give me these arms to hold on to. This shoulder to lay my head on. This mouth that speaks honesty to me and gives me kisses. These are enough until you’re well. Just knowing you love me is enough.”

Each word had been followed by a touch that left him weak in the very best way. It took some doing to position their bodies so Mikaela could rest her head upon his chest without causing him pain, but the sensation of her against him was less painful than her absence. 

He drank in the heady scent of coconut in her hair, and felt life pump through him with the rise and fall of her breaths. He loved the press of her forehead against his throat and knew in that moment that he had been a prideful fool, squandering precious months on the silly notion that he could bar this woman from fully claiming his heart. 

The tree lights’ glow softly burned through the first traces of dusk. Small lights brightening a darkening night. He wondered if that was why Mikaela set the tree up early, to remind him that even when they couldn’t hold back the darkness, they must hold on to the light.







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