Blue Dahlia by Vivian Winslow | Release Day Blitz and Giveaway – 1 of 4 $10 Amazon Gift Card

Blue Dahlia

Vivian Winslow

Genre: Erotica

Release Date: October 16, 2014

Purchase: Amazon US 

Blue Dahlia is the first book in the second trilogy of Vivian Winslow’s Gilded Flower series, featuring Lily Baron’s free-spirited twin sister, Dahlia.

New York socialite Dahlia Baron is falling for her Latin lover, Rodrigo Cruz, the scion of the Mama Linda Latin foods empire, and hopes to take the relationship to the next level. But there’s is a dark secret that she must deal with first in order to truly give her heart to him. When Dahlia visits the man from her past, will the undercurrents of her emotions let her go to Rodrigo or will they pull her back to the one person who stands between them?

Mature readers only. 18+

Excerpt

“Baby, you okay?” Rodrigo asks, tucking a stray strand of blond hair behind Dahlia’s ear.

She nods.

“You’ve been quiet since lunch.”

Dahlia stares vacantly at the painting in front of her. A Woman in the Sun—one of her personal favorites by Edward Hopper. She remembers taking a private tour of the Whitney Museum with her mother and sister Lily when she was six years old, and falling in love with his works. Something about the subject’s gaze filled her with a sense of curiosity. A desire to know the world through the artist’s eyes. That day, she picked up a sketchpad and didn’t put it down . . . until seven years ago.

Rodrigo runs his fingers down her cheek and gently lifts her chin to draw her gaze to him.

“Is it what your mom said?”

Dahlia shrugs.

“We don’t need your mother’s blessing. I thought it would be nice for her to get to know me, but in the end what she thinks doesn’t matter, does it?”

Dahlia shakes her head and smiles at Rodrigo. Any other man would’ve been intimidated by her mother or run off by her comments about Dahlia’s commitment issues. Ironic since it was her mother who brought them out in her. Besides, since meeting Rodrigo that day on Miami Beach, she knew in her heart he was the one for her. She firmly believed he was her second chance at love.

“You’re right, it doesn’t,” Dahlia says emphatically. She reaches up and caresses Rodrigo’s stubble that inevitably grows in every afternoon. Her heart skips a beat as she gazes into his dark eyes, and her desire begins to pool in her core. She stopped looking for her mother’s approval a long time ago. No reason why she should care now.

Grabbing his hand, she says, “Come with me.”

About the author

Vivian Winslow was born and raised in Southern California. Before becoming a writer, she made a career out of moving around the world every couple of years thanks to her husband’s job. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two elementary school age children, and is grateful to finally have a place to call home for more than two years. New York is the perfect city to indulge her love of shopping, the arts and especially food.

If she’s not at home writing or running around the city with her kids, you’ll most likely find her indulging in pizza on the Lower East Side or having a cocktail at her favorite bar in Alphabet City. That said, she’s still a California girl at heart and would gladly trade in her heels for a pair of flip-flops to catch a sunset on the beach.
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The Fall by Stephen Cost | Blog Tour and Giveaway – $50 Amazon Gift Card

“…forced to live a life filled with human emotions and moral judgments, but also forced to take lives to feed our undying hunger…”



THE FALL
By: Stephen Cost
Pages: 314
Genre: Thriller/Fiction/Mystery

 

For thousands of years, Death walked behind the dark veil of the living, waiting to ferry the dead. That is, until the day that Death took a life for pleasure rather than duty. On that day, the first Reaper fell to Earth. Now, Reapers live among us, craving the taste of death, forcing them to kill to satisfy their immortal hunger.


Giles Reid fell more than 300 years ago starving for the taste of death, only to find himself drowning in a sea of the living and blinded by a hunger that forces him to kill. In the centuries since his fall he has tried to be more human, desperate to live a life that makes up for what he is and the wrong he has done. Driven by his guilt over killing, he has chosen to feed only on evil; humans that have never been a threat to him but who are always a danger to others. That is, until the day he tries to feed on a human as strong, fast and cunning as himself; a human who, it turns out, has been hunting him. Now he is being pursued by the very evil he has fed on for centuries, embroiled in a deadly cat-and-mouse game, where friends and other Reapers connected to him are simply pawns on a chessboard waiting to be sacrificed. Giles is left with a choice, save the life of the women he loves, the daughter of his mentor, or betrays her for his own survival.

 

To save the woman he loves, Giles will have to be the monster he is.

The author has lowered the price of the book just for the tour! If you like a paranormal novel full of suspense with demons and a twist of thriller, grab your copy and make sure you let your friends know too! With a proof of purchase, you will also get 10 extra entries in the Rafflecopter.

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By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” The day that is the basis for The Fourth Commandment. (Genesis 2:2-3) 
The following text was provide passage for his Children of Earth to his Kingdom of Heaven.  This, he completed before the setting of the sun on the seventh day and so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on this day He celebrated his creation of life and Death, He rested from all provide passage for his Children of Earth to his Kingdom of Heaven.  This, he completed before the setting of the sun on the seventh day and so He rested from all His work. 

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on this day He celebrated his creation of life and Death, He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.  (Geniza fragments, found Cairo, Egypt, 1947)


“Death is the beginning of immortality” -Maximilien Robespierre, July 26, 1794
1
Martins
People say they love the smell of fresh cut daisies, but I far prefer the scent of what pushes them up, the dead. You see, death has a scent all to itself, slightly tangy and bitter, pleasing and calming on the palate. Sure there are other aromas I love too, not just that of death, which can chase the chill from my heart, or would, if I had a heart; at least one that could beat and warm the night’s cold from my blood.

Every day I crave the smell of death and evil, I have since my birth. But living in a sea of flesh and blood, I have developed an appreciation for other human and earthly scents; Like the ocean, its sea salt assaulting my senses with a clean, pure bouquet, quite unmatched by anything manufactured. Or the first morning smell of fresh-cut, wet grass and, of course, women. Women smell so much sweeter than men. They, over the millenniums, have refined their scents out of necessity as much as pleasure, each expertly adapting their sultry, seductive and secret combinations of body lotions and perfumes. Honing this craft throughout the ages, to tempt and seduce men out of their minds.

But these are not the only olfactory delights to curl my toes and tickle my senses. For nothing—not the tangy stench of death, nor the sweet scent of a woman—compares to the most inspired aroma of all. Coffee. Nothing in my three-hundred-plus years of experience has compared. Sure, coffee itself has evolved, from non-filtered to filtered, from espresso to cappuccinos, and now from mocha’s to Frappuccinos, but the essence is the same. The intoxicating sweetness, the mild-to-bitter flavors that leave you wanting more—needing more. 

You see, that’s my drug. Some people need cocaine, others heroin, and some crave cigars or alcohol. I, on the other hand, have the most
decadent, refined and expensive vice of all. And it’s because of this little addiction—or weakness—that I can be found most nights here, sitting on the dimly-lit, damp, covered balcony of Martin’s Books and Coffee.

I sip my overpriced drug while the not-so-distant smell of the ocean creeps its way through the maze and tangled web of Seattle’s wet streets. The cars filing by below enhance the scent of the ocean sitting not too far from here, as the sound of their tires splashing through wet, potholed roads echoes that of the rush of a wave over a rock and the sound of ocean spray.

On most days, Martin’s tends to be a good place to relax. One of the few independently-owned book stores left in Seattle, the atmosphere here is calming and the lighting muted. Not so dark that you cannot read a book and enjoy your coffee, but just dim enough so that someone of my, let us say fair complexion, can go unnoticed by the everyday person stopping by for a fix and a good book. 

The décor is modern contemporary, although the designer clearly relied far too much on his collection of old IKEA catalogs, with a thousand shades of tans and browns with brushed steel accents scattered throughout, for effect. I do think that they might have gone a little overboard with the alternating redwood and pine floor boards. The effect is still pleasantly calming if not somewhat dull.

So, why so critical, you may ask? It’s an occupational hazard, I’m afraid. We all, Reapers and humans alike, must have a day job and mine happens to be that of a wine critic. The crème de la crème of critics, although, truth-be-told, I’m not a big fan of wine. However, I have been gifted with a palate most French chefs would give their sous chefs right hand for. Not their own hand, of course. No French chef I have ever met, and I have met more than my fair share, would ever think of giving that much for their craft.

“Mr. Reid, would you like another?”

The sound of her sing-song voice pulls me back to the moment, temporarily suspending my hazy, drug-induced stupor.

The question comes from Sarah, one of my favorite wait-persons here at Martin’s. Yes, I said wait-persons. Living—if you can call what I
do living—in a world of political correctness, I’ve learned it is no longer appropriate to refer to someone as a ‘waitress’. That would be such denigration. Sarah is just the typical twenty-something coffee house wait-person who can be seen in any of the hundred or so coffee houses that pepper the Seattle Landscape—not Sarah herself, of course, but the type. Tall, but not too tall, with long blonde hair. A lightly tanned complexion and the body, a perfectly sculpted masterpiece. I’m not sure about the other Sarah’s out there, but my Sarah has one defining attribute that I find hard to resist, her smell. The bouquet that wafts around her is subtle and ambiguous, what is that? Lavender with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon, perhaps?

I shift my head to look up at her. She really is a beautiful girl and I can tell I make her a little uncomfortable, but I’m used to that. Being a Reaper does have certain perks after all and it isn’t all about death and feeding, we have our needs, too. And women, well, they always find us Reapers attractive, mysterious and alluring. If they only knew the truth. 

Sarah’s question hangs suspended in the air a few seconds, patiently awaiting my response.

“Do I want another?  How many is that tonight, Sarah?” I ask.

She gives me a seductive little side grin. You know the kind; the grin that accomplished women practice in the mirror at night, trying to hone their craft to better seduce their prey.

“You’ve only had two tonight,” she replies.

Two is not entirely true. I have only had one and a half so far. Let’s not cheat me out of my other half cup.

Most nights at Martin’s are about the coffee, but not tonight. Tonight is not about my vices. Tonight is about my needs. My vices will have to wait.
“No more tonight. I’ll just be finishing off what I have left, Sarah.”
With that, she gives me another of her little sultry side grins, flips her hair over her left shoulder and strolls back to the bar. My eyes cannot help but follow her. She really does have a certain something about her walk. Perhaps it’s been too long since I let a woman seduce me. But tonight cannot be about that; tonight I have other needs that must be attended to.

I glance down at my watch to check the time, enjoying the novelty of it.
I find wearing a watch is such a novelty here in the twenty-first century. No one wears watches anymore. All around me I see people texting, playing games and talking in quiet whispers to unknown others on their cell phones. A cell phone may be the one-stop shop of entertainment and information overload, but it is also the tool slowly killing the faithful and dependable wrist watch. Progress be damned, I still love my watch. This is reinforced by the fact that I hate cell phones. They are the digital leash of the twenty-first century and unless it’s leather, I’m not wearing it around my neck or anything else for that matter.

My watch reads 9:45 p.m. 

Soon, very soon.

Two weeks ago there had been a new addition to Martin’s. A customer, but not just any customer: This one had a certain scent about him, if you will. The sweet nectar of evil; I could smell it, I could feel it. It was palatable in the air, like an early morning mist hovering over the shore, waiting for the early entrance of sunlight to wash over it and chase it away. 

I know evil. And yes, I suppose it does take evil to know it. But what is evil? 

Is it the monster who kills? Or the monster who kills the killer?

This man’s evil was distinctive. He had killed and not out of necessity or duty. Those who have killed in that way had a different essence. But this man murdered for pleasure; he lusted for it. Ecstasies of power drive him to kill, control his actions and decide for him who is to be next, and when.

Not long to wait now. Soon. It will be very soon. 

I can feel my hunger building; excitement, I suppose. 

It has been almost three weeks since my last snack, a 42-year-old CEO who used his position to sexually abuse and harass those in his employ. Not as tasty or satisfying as a kill-happy psychopath or the hidden sociopath next door, but a tasty morsel nonetheless.

I crane my neck to the left a little, stretching to release the building tension. 
Over my shoulder I can see the bestsellers rack and the number one book for this week; another vampire novel. How original.

Vampires. If only the world knew the truth. 

People have told old-wives tales about vampires for centuries, desperately trying to explain what they could not understand. Very human, I suppose, but oh-so wrong. Vampires, werewolves, goblins, ghouls and banshees, oh my. All fictional creatures and all created in a desperate attempt to explain the inexpiable

To grasp understanding of the supernatural. To try to embrace the unbelievable. Although, truth-be-told, misinformation can be a useful distraction for humans, when the truth lies far beyond the boundaries of their comprehension. 
I’m fascinated by humans obsessions with the supernatural, especially in the Twenty-First Century. The stories have been so sensationalized over the ages that these romanticized creatures have had humanity grafted into their lore and being.

Really, humans should rethink their reality. Do you romanticize about a warm steak, or a perfectly cooked duck breast before you eat it? No, I don’t think you do, and neither do we.

I suppose it’s not hard to see how, at one time or another in history, one of my brethren may have been seen as one of those monsters. After all, every urban legend has its basis in truth. I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime in the past, someone looked at one of the smaller members of our group and the emergence of little gray aliens came to be. As I said, we do look a little pasty in the skin. In some lighting, you might even say, light grey. 

This thought always brings a smile to my face. I mean really, what sorry excuse for a Reaper was ever mistaken for a four-foot, big-headed, skinny alien? And if it was one of us, what’s with the anal probing? Feed—Yes. Catch and release—sure. Fishermen weren’t the first to coin that phrase. Play with our food—we’re all children at heart. But anal probing? Well the Devil only knows where that may have originated.


What you have to understand is that, as Reapers, we have our proclivities to perversion in one form or another. I mean, you can only live for a few centuries before normal becomes boring and a little bit of deviancy spices up your day.

The sound of heavy footsteps atop the redwood floors capture my attention. I know those footsteps. I’ve been waiting for those footsteps. 

9:55 p.m. exactly. 

Predictable and punctual; always a nice trait to find in a fellow monster. I mean, really, could I ask for more? I suppose he could come on over, take a seat and let me kill him right here and now. But where’s the fun in that?
I track his steps as he stops at the counter to place his order.

What will it be tonight?

I feel like a kid in a candy store, waiting to see what delicious delicacy Mother has picked out for me. Of course, I have my preference: coffee, thank you. What could be better than a late snack and a cappuccino-flavored dessert? At this thought, I wipe away the smallest sliver of saliva that crests the corner of my mouth.

“Large coffee, black, to go,” he says smiling broadly.

Coffee, black. What, no cinnamon coffee cake? It’s excellent this time of year, I hear, and the sweet aftertaste of cinnamon. It’s divine.

My mouth starts to moisten and I have to swallow so as not to drool. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Stephen Cost was born in Wexford Ireland and raised in a small seaside town not far from Dublin.  From a young age he would spin dark tales and write them down for his own amusement.  At the age of 13 he moved from his home in Ireland to America and his love of dark American cinema took root.
He passes his free time, when not writing, by reading horror and fantasy genre novels in addition to watching science fiction and horror movies.
He graduated from University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.  A computer engineer by trade, he specializes in integrated system services and uses the knowledge gained from his degree to write emotionally captivating urban fiction.

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‘The Demon Stone’ by Christopher Datta | Guest Post and Giveaway – Kindle Fire, $50 gift card Amazon or B&N, Signed Paperback of ‘The Demon Stone’

Today I’m excited to bring you a Guest Post and Kind Fire Giveaway from Chris Datta. His first Novel Touched with Fire was a number one best-seller in the Historical Fiction category, and this supernatural thriller lives up to the high expectations readers have for this talented author.

The Demon Stone by Christoper Datta

demonstone1
The Demon Stone is a powerful supernatural thriller that leads you from the killing fields of Africa to the quiet Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. In braided narratives, Datta spins a terrifying story about the spiritual forces—both real and supernatural—that incite the basest, bloodiest and most frightening of human behaviors.
“Reading Chris Datta is like riding a rollercoaster. It’s a fast ride filled with twists and turns. His Demon Stone is scary fun. Stephen King, watch your back!”
-Richard Rashke, author of The Killing of Karen Silkwood
Amazon.comBarnes & Noble

Guest Post by Chris Datta

We’re coming up on Halloween and this is the book you need to read to get ready for the scare! But don’t take my word for it.
“Don’t read this one before you go to bed. And if you do, leave the lights on.”
—Hill Rag Magazine, Washington DC
The Demon Stone is a powerful supernatural thriller that leads you from the killing fields of Africa to the quiet Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. In braided narratives, I spin a terrifying story about the spiritual forces—both real and supernatural—that incite the basest, bloodiest and most frightening of human behaviors.
When Kevin volunteered to travel to a war-ravaged country in Africa to help out his childhood buddy, Bill, now a physician with Doctors Without Borders, he knew he might face danger. But he could not have envisioned the brief, nightmare encounter that would rob him of his friend, his principles, and quite possibly his sanity. When he returns to his family in the United States, he carries with him not only survivors’ guilt, but, according to a grizzled old juju man in the service of a warlord, a powerful demon.
Liz cannot understand why, precisely, she agreed to go camping with her old college friend Kevin and his sullen teenage daughter, but it was clear that in the wake of his sudden divorce and a horrific family tragedy, Kevin needed someone to lean on. The canoeing trip in the Boundary Waters was supposed to be an escape, an opportunity to bring back the old Kevin. But once in the forests, Kevin’s behavior grows increasingly off-kilter, and Liz feels a growing sense of unease, one that ripens into fear. As the trio glide further into the wilderness, it becomes clear that someone, or something, is stalking them.
I have been a civil conflict specialist with the U.S. State Department, last serving in the newly established embassy in South Sudan. In the course of a long and distinguished career, I have gone into places best known for genocide and bloody conflagration. This novel, which grows out of my experience in the field, is a provocative meditation on the nature of evil.

Giveaway

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About the Author

Chris1Debut author CHRISTOPHER DATTA is no stranger to civil conflict or the still-extant scourge of slavery. Most recently the acting ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan where he helped end a war in April of 2012, he has spent a distinguished career moving from one strife-torn country to another, including Lebanon, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. A lifelong student of the American Civil War, his research for Touched with Fire is exacting and based in part on a true story.

Interview with Chris Datta author of ‘The Demon Stone’ with Giveaway – Kindle Fire, $50 gift card to Amazon or B&N, or Signed Paperback of ‘The Demon Stone’

Today I’m excited to bring you a Guest Post and Kind Fire Giveaway from Chris Datta. His first Novel Touched with Fire was a number one best-seller in the Historical Fiction category, and this supernatural thriller lives up to the high expectations readers have for this talented author.

The Demon Stone by Christoper Datta

demonstone1
The Demon Stone is a powerful supernatural thriller that leads you from the killing fields of Africa to the quiet Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. In braided narratives, Datta spins a terrifying story about the spiritual forces—both real and supernatural—that incite the basest, bloodiest and most frightening of human behaviors.
“Reading Chris Datta is like riding a rollercoaster. It’s a fast ride filled with twists and turns. His Demon Stone is scary fun. Stephen King, watch your back!”
-Richard Rashke, author of The Killing of Karen Silkwood
Amazon.comBarnes & Noble

Interview with Chris Datta

Novel Publicity: What drew you to writing about spiritual forces, and could you explain how spiritual forces can be both real and supernatural?

Christopher Datta: I want to write books that matter and do more than tell a story, although I think that telling a good story is critically important. What could be more significant than exploring our spiritual lives and to look for purpose beyond unexamined living and consuming day to day? I want to ask questions and lead the reader on a journey so that by the end of the book he or she hopefully comes to a new understanding about life.
I read a great deal about new advances in theoretical physics. It is a fascinating field that increasingly shows us that the more we know, the more we come to see how little we really grasp about the mysteries of the Universe. There are things about the cosmos and our place in it that we may never fully understand; that are, in fact, beyond our ability as human beings to fully comprehend. In Demon Stone, I symbolically represent those mysteries through the supernatural.
NP: The two geographic locations in the book are very distant from each other. How did Africa & Minnesota become part of the setting for The Demon Stone?
CD: I lived for many years in Minnesota (I went to high school with Jessie Ventura!) and I loved camping in the isolated Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. The wilderness is both a thrilling and at the same time dangerous and even alien environment, which again serves as a metaphor in the story for life. There is an incident with a black bear in the book that is close to something that really happened to me.
My career as an American diplomat took me to many places in Africa. The original inspiration for the book occurred when I was traveling through rural Uganda. I came across a hut with a hand painted sign advertising the services of a local shaman. Intrigued, I stopped and met the old man, who offered to cast a curse on any enemies I wanted eliminated. That got me thinking about what it would be like to have that kind of power, and what the unintended consequences of using it might be. The record of the human use of unbridled power is not very good. In my travels through many war zones I have seen incredible beauty and sacrifice as well as the most horrible and brutal acts of cruelty.
NP: Did you have to do a lot of research into different cultures and religions to write this book, and can we expect to delve into the differences between cultures throughout the book?
CD: I have lived and worked for many years in several African countries. I also studied the belief in demons in Africa, and Agbadofrom my story is a demon well known in Sierra Leone. My son is an adopted war orphan from Sierra Leone who has been with me since he was 14 years old and he was a big help with some portions of the book. Religion and culture play a big role in the story.
NP: How much of the book was inspired by your work overseas?
CD: I saw the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda, was in Sierra Leone at the end of the brutal civil war in that country, was the acting Ambassador to Liberia when the capitol was attacked by two rebel armies in a war that I helped to end and I was again the acting Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan when war broke out between that nation and Sudan. Again, I played a major role in helping to end that conflict. I have brought two African war criminals to justice and was active in a program to try to end the reign of terror led by Joseph Koney, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the most brutal and deadly terrorist groups in Africa. General Mosquito in my book is based on a real warlord in Sierra Leone. I actually played a role in bringing him to justice. I have had to deal first hand with the bane of child soldiers and modern slavery in Africa.
NP: The Demon Stone seems to have everything from love & tragedy to religion and supernatural beasts. Can you expand a bit on your writing process, and how you were able to bring the characters together across vast distances and very different settings?
CD: That’s complicated! Many of the characters in the story are based on real people I have known. General Mosquito, for instance. Gem and Hampton, the two dogs in the story, are dogs I have known and loved very much. Basically, I took experiences and people from my life in America and in Africa, put them in an environment of my creation, and let them weave the story together. My books never turn out the way I think they will at the beginning of writing them. The characters at some point take over and they tell the story. Sometimes, in my experience, all a good writer has to do is listen carefully to what the people he creates are telling him. That certainly happened in Demon Stone. But that shouldn’t be surprising. If you are really on a spiritual journey in telling a story, and you do a good job of it, you should expect to wind up in unexpected places.
NP: Who were the easiest and toughest characters to write and why?
CD: The toughest character to write was Morgan. She is one of the main antagonists of the book, but I didn’t want her to be a caricature and there was a real risk of her being a two dimensional archetype instead of a real flesh and blood person. On some level, for an antagonist to work well in a story, the reader needs to identify or on some level sympathize with that person. Morgan does terrible things, but terrible things have happened to her. I hope that comes across in the story.
The easiest character to write was Hampton. He’s a dog, a very loveable, dopey and fearless dog. I enjoyed writing about him.
NP: People often talk about feeling like they’re being followed, especially if they have to walk through a secluded area by themselves. What gave you the idea to play on people’s fear of being stalked for this book?
CD: All the time I spent in the isolated Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. I love it, but there is nothing that will give you the heebie-jeebies faster than being alone in the middle of the deep forest in the middle of the night. I suspect thousands of years of human evolution dealing with the risks of being secluded in the dark in a wilderness just naturally puts the fear in us. We somehow intuitively feel the threat of being hunted.
NP: Demons are part of many religions and cultures myths. Was there a particular reason you decided to write about demons?
CD: We create demons, and we have always created demons. They symbolically represent the forces in life that we fear. A spiritual journey, which I hope readers of Demon Stone find the book to be, needs to confront those demons and the dark side of our natures.
NP: Symbolism plays a large part in The Demon Stone. The Demon within can sometimes be as scary as a supernatural being seems. Do you think that talking about human behavior through the use of symbolism makes talking about tragedies like murder easier or harder?
CD: The most frightening sections of Demon Stone are not encounters with the demon, but the real and terrifying things people do to each other, sections of the book based on real events. The demon Agbado is a symbol of that dark nature that haunts us, that leads some of us to rationalize the most horrible of acts andrepresents the loss of empathy that permits people to commit such unspeakable crimes as genocide, which I have personally witnessed. To me, the most terrifying story in the book is the tale of the child soldier Muctar. This story is based on a real child. The demon within is the real monster of the book. But yes, I felt the use of symbolism made talking about these horrors easier, just as Halloween or The Day of the Dead in Mexico make dealing with monsters and death easier for us to confront.
NP: This is a two part question. The cover of The Demon Stone is very unique and doesn’t focus on any particular character, rather an object. Who did you choose to do the cover art and why? How hard was it to settle on the cover, or was it love at first sight?
CD: The mask on the cover of Demon Stone is from my personal collection. I bought it in Rwanda when I was there helping to reopen our embassy directly following the genocide in that country. It was always in the back of my mind to use it as the cover for this book (and yes, I started this book that long ago). Finding that mask in Rwanda at that particular moment, and the way it looked, just made it seem right to me for this book.
This type of mask is actually from the Congo, and is used in coming of age ceremonies for young men. A good friend of mine, Don Hurlbert, is a photographer for the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, and he took the photo. Mallory Rock designed the cover. She is a terrific graphic designer I know and I use her for all the covers on my books.
NP: Civil conflict and slavery were both a focus in your working life. Do you find that your writing reflects this in The Demon Stone?
CD: Absolutely. It is a major part of what this book is about, and not just in The Demon Stone. I also have published Touched with Fire, a novel set in the American Civil War inspired by the true story of a slave woman who escapes by posing as a man. She later joins the Union army disguised as a man so she can fight her way South to free her husband. That story is turning into a trilogy, and book two, Fire and Dust, will be out in November. It also extensively addresses the issue of slavery in America before and during the Civil War, but is told exclusively from the Confederate side of the war. Book three will be set in the Reconstruction period of American history and the characters from the first two books will meet.
NP: Survivors’ guilt can be devastating to many people who work in war torn countries and come back home to a peaceful life. Having worked overseas, and in war torn countries, do you have any advice for others. Would you say writing The Demon Stone has been a cathartic experience for you?
CD: I have been in some very tough situations involving life and death issues for sometimes thousands of people, as well as having been under fire myself. Sometimes I saved people, sometimes I couldn’t.
I have had to deal with instances of PTSD. It was never easy, and there were times I had to step away from Demon Stone because it was getting too deep into places I was not, at the time, ready to go to for the sake of my own well being.
What helps? Giving yourself permission to take the time to heal and being able to confront the demons with good friends are both important. Know and accept that you are not Superman, and don’t expect yourself to be. That’s not healthy. In the end, writing Demon Stone was cathartic, but there were times it was right for me to keep away from it until I was ready.

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About the Author

Chris1Debut author CHRISTOPHER DATTA is no stranger to civil conflict or the still-extant scourge of slavery. Most recently the acting ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan where he helped end a war in April of 2012, he has spent a distinguished career moving from one strife-torn country to another, including Lebanon, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. A lifelong student of the American Civil War, his research for Touched with Fire is exacting and based in part on a true story.

The Governess Club: Louisa & Sara by Ellie Macdonald | Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway – Two Digital Sets of The Governess Club Books One and Two: CLAIRE & BONNIE

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The Governess Club: Sara &The Governess Club: Louisa

The Governess Club book 3 and 4

By: Ellie MacDonald

Releasing September 2nd, 2014 and October 7th, 2014

Avon Impulse

Sara

SYNOPSIS (Sara)

Sweet Sara Collins is one of the founding members of the governess club. But she has a secret… She doesn’t love teaching. She’d much prefer to be a vicar’s wife and help the local community. But this quiet mouse doesn’t want to upset her friends, and she resolves to help in whatever ways she can.

Nathan Grant is the embodiment of everything that frightens Sara. Which is why she can’t understand why the handsome but reclusive and gruff man is so fascinating to her. When Sara decides it’s time to take a chance and experience all that life has to offer, Nathan is the first person she thinks of.

Will Sara’s walk on the wild side ruin her chances at a simple, happy life? Or has she just opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime chance of passion?

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Louisa

 SYNOPSIS (Louisa)

Louisa Brockhurst is on the run – from her friends, from her family, even from her dream of independence through The Governess Club. But sometimes it’s easier for her to hide from those she loves in order to escape the secrets of her past.

Handsome but menacing John Taylor is a former prize-fighter turned inn-keeper who is trying to make his way in society. When Louisa shows up at his doorstep he’s quick to accept her offer to help – at a price. He knows that she’s hiding something and he can’t help his protective instincts around the beautiful woman.

Their attraction grows, but will headstrong, fiery Louisa ever trust the surprisingly kind John enough to tell him the dangerous secrets from her past that keep her running? Or will the power of her feelings scare her into running yet again?

 

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EXCERPT

Sara turned her attention back to the boys, ignoring Mrs. Glendoe’s gaping mouth. “Come gentlemen, shall we continue? You have yet to select any of the sweet cakes.” The boys followed her, their grips continuing to cling to her skirts. She studiously kept her gaze away from the woman, even when she heard the huff and swish of skirts as she stalked away. Good heavens. Where had that come from? Sara’s head buzzed and she barely registered the boys continuing their quest. Had that even been her who said such things? The ants had disappeared so quickly when that anger bubbled up. She was not accustomed to speaking to others, particularly her elders, in such a manner; only Nathan had ever provoked such a response from her. Her eyes careened over the crowd. Had anyone seen the encounter? Seen her disrespect Mrs. Glendoe? But everyone was dancing and laughing and chatting; no one acted as though anything was amiss.

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EllieEllie Macdonald has held several jobs beginning with the letter t: taxi-driver, telemarketer and most recently, teacher. She is thankful her interests have shifted to writing instead of taxidermy or tornado chasing. Having travelled to five different continents, she has swum with elephants, scuba dived coral mazes, visited a leper colony and climbed waterfalls and windmills, but her favorite place remains Regency England. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada. The Governess Club series is her first published work.

 

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Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Two Digital Sets of The Governess Club Books One and Two: CLAIRE & BONNIE

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The Night Belongs To Fireman by Jennifer Bernard | Tasty Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway – Three Winners to receive Print Copies of The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel Series Books 1-3, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME, HOT FOR FIREMAN and SEX AND THE SINGLE FIREMAN

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CoverThe Night Belongs To Fireman by Jennifer Bernard

Releasing September 30, 2014

Avon Romance

SYNOPSIS

Daring . . . Sexy . . . Irresistible . . .
They’re the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel

When fireman Fred Breen rescues a bachelorette party after a construction crane collapses onto their limo, the media labels him the “Bachelor Hero.” But all Fred can think about is the petite brunette with the sexy mane of dark curls who bolted away from him faster than a wildfire after he carried her to safety. And when he discovers she’s none other than Rachel Kessler, the daughter of a tech billionaire, the girl whose kidnapping riveted the nation, he intends to learn every intimate detail about this intriguing woman who sets his pulse on fire.

Rachel can’t deny the lean-muscled firefighter is smokin’ hot. But after having one too many drinks at the bar where she first meets him, Rachel knows she’s made a fool of herself. Yet when he rescues her from the limo, she feels safe for the first time since she was held for ransom as a child. Then her overprotective father insists Fred be her bodyguard—and his close presence kindles a burning desire that only he can extinguish.

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EXCERPT

Fred, watching their antics, heaved a sigh, which hurt his ribs. He was too sore for this. But he’d been carrying that trophy and he knew how cheaply it was constructed. He knew what would happen next. He rose to his feet, wincing all the way, and stationed himself strategically behind the girl in the veil. Sure enough, the thing flew apart, the statuette in the hands of Hot Pink, its base in the hands of Bridal Veil.

Rachel stumbled backward, right into Fred’s arms. He absorbed the impact of her petite body and sputtered against a mouthful of bridal veil.

“Oops! I’m so sorry!” The girl righted herself, pushing away from him. Suddenly his arms held no silky, warm presence. He swiped the veil out of his vision and found himself looking into wide, concerned eyes of an unusual deep indigo color. Two spots of pink burned in her cheeks. “Are you okay?” she asked him. “Did I hurt you? You look like you’re in pain.”

“I’m fine,” croaked Fred, whose ribs were throbbing. “Are you okay?”

“Just embarrassed.” She leaned toward him intimately, a little wobbly. He caught that fresh fragrance again, like morning rain in a rose garden. “I really shouldn’t ever, ever drink. And usually I don’t. But it’s a special occasion, you know. And Cindy made me wear the veil, which means I have to do what she says. According to her rules. ‘Cuz she’s the bride.”

Mulligan came over and clapped a hand on Fred’s shoulder, harder than he had to. “Freddie can take it. He’s a stud. That’s what we call him, actually. Stud. Not just any guy can win this.” He hoisted the trophy high in the air. “Champion in the Betty Crocker Bake-off.”

Fred shot him a baleful look.

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Jennifer Bernard is a graduate of Harvard and a former news promo producer. The child of academics, she confounded her family by preferring romance novels to … well, any other books. She left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She’s no stranger to book success, as she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name not to be mentioned at family gatherings.

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Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Three Winners to receive Print Copies of The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel Series Books 1-3, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME, HOT FOR FIREMAN and SEX AND THE SINGLE FIREMAN

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