Thursday, July 17, 2014

~Book Blitz~ Katrina & The Protectors by Elizabeth Loraine


Title: Katrina: The Beginning (Royal Blood Chronicles)
Author: Elizabeth Loraine
Genre: YA Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours

Blurbs and review bites:

As a vampire being hunted was nothing new, having to protect those hunting her was.
Royal Blood Chronicles tells the story of Katrina from the age of seventeen, when she's chosen to be the leader of the Protectors and the Five. The Five have been chosen to protect all peaceful races, including humans, from evil trying desperately to take over the world of light. While her father prepared her to fight, her friends have only known lives of luxury, cloistered in the royal houses of Europe. Now all their lives have changed forever and they must all be trained in order help Katrina save their world.
It’s an action packed coming of age sage, chronicling the lives of Katrina, the Five and all those that join them as The Protectors.
Royal Blood Chronicles starts here with Katrina, the Beginning. It's full of romance, friendship, adventure and betrayal, in a magical, fantasy world beautifully drawn by author Elizabeth Loraine.

Looking for your next YA Series? You've just found it!
Top Selling author Elizabeth Loraine's Royal Blood Chronicles

Best Vampire Book sense HON series!!, July 5, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Katrina, The Beginning (Book 1) (Royal Blood Chronicles) (Kindle Edition)
This book series needs to become a movie, it got me hooked immediately from the start... can't say enough to say I absolutely love this book and the others so far...

She is a vampire. She is a Royal. Her watchers. What can I say? They sound Devine! She has studied hard with her watchers, she is a great marksman but even better at hand to hand. Her mother is dead. Or is she? Quinn is her love. Or is it just blood lust? Is Damien evil? Or is he her love?

I couldn't read this quick enough! I wanted to devour all it's magic!!

Clearly defined characters with a new take on vampire princesses. Exciting storyline where the heroines of good are vampires it is filled with magic and mystery.

Elizabeth Loraine’s Royal Blood Chronicle series has a developing plot that digs deeper with each additional novel, and her creativity in the design of her characters is astounding. Whether her characters are vampires, humans, wizards or demons, there is always an unexpected plot twist to surprise the reader. The Protectors’ fight to maintain control of the upper world is challenged by unforeseen characters and circumstances throughout the series. There are many authors in the fantasy genre, but Elizabeth Loraine is one of the best. She veers away from the usual supernatural storyline to produce works of remarkable interest to lovers of this genre. Cain is a prime example of her creative mind; he is a thread-climber that is unaware of his full potential as a powerful, magical vampire. Although he has a rather rough beginning, once everything has been righted, Cain becomes a leader no one could hate. His selfless acts and teaching ability are superb and give the reader an insight to his destiny. The same holds true for the other major characters of this series; their intertwined destinies leave the reader wanting more. I applaud Loraine’s creative genius. She takes the myths of old and refurbishes them with pizzazz. I enjoyed reading Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, but I absolutely love Loraine’s Royal Blood Chronicle. Loraine’s plot is much better, and her story-lines are more interesting. Bella’s relationship with Edward is lame compared to the love of Katrina and Quinn, two more protagonists of this series. For fans of the fantasy genre, this series is a must read. I have read hundreds of fantasy novels, and Royal Blood Chronicle ranks in the top five. I recommend this series for anyone that loves unexpected twists, great friendships, and terrific story-lines. This series receives four out of four stars

Buy links for Katrina:


Blurb:
THE PROTECTORS - Book two of Elizabeth Loraine's best selling YA series Royal Blood Chronicles
The Five come into their own as the adventure continues
Exciting author Elizabeth Loraine brings us the second in her series Royal Blood Chronicles which follow Katrina, the Chosen leader of The Five Protectors. it's a swashbuckling, page turning adventure that crosses continents with a writing style which lets you see the action, and breathtaking surroundings with your mind. The Five use their paranormal gifts, lightning speed and razor sharp blades to fight the evil that threatens all the peaceful races of the world including their race- Vampires.
"The Protectors, the second in the continuing saga of Royal Blood Chronicles, is a true example of the continued strong female lead characters in this series. The descriptive writing style of Elizabeth Loraine, combined with the strong story line makes the reader feel as if they were walking beside Katrina and her sisters in their Vampire world." B. Varney, Vampire Professor
But in order to continue to succeed the Five must become the many. Join us



The Protectors buy links:
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/protectors-elizabeth-loraine/1100396405?ean=9781453788110

I grew up in a small northern Minnesotan town married my high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children and as soon as we could we moved to a warmer climate. I have worked with my husband building and decorating custom homes for years. After loving every kind of vampire book, movie and series I decided that I wanted to know more. I can write a book I thought, how hard can that be? Well.... But I stuck to it and finished my first book Royal Blood Chronicles Book One in August 2009. I now have six books in the series and am about to release book two of my new series Phantom Lives. My parents always told me that I could do anything that I wanted, work hard, study and do it right. I believe that and live that way every day.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Lure of the Vampire by Bertena Varney



Title: Lure of the Vampire: A Pop Culture Reference Book
Author: Bertena Varney     
Genre: Non Fiction
Cover Artist: Patti Roberts- https://www.facebook.com/PattiParadox
Publisher: Indie Publishing House. LLC - https://www.facebook.com/IndiePublishingHouse

Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours

Shot Blurb:Lure of the Vampire is a pop culture reference book that takes you on a journey through the mythology and history of the monstrous vampires – through the romantic and, at times, scary vampires in movies, television, and books. Included in this definitive guide are interviews with “real” vampires and an extensive bibliography, lists, and websites for readers to continue their journey long after they have read the book. The author discusses a variety of vampire-related topics, such as why vampires are currently so “gentle”  in movies, such as Twilight, compared to classics such as Dracula, and why women are lured to the “vampire boyfriend” and read every romance book about these bad boys that they can get their hands on.

Lure of the Vampire provides the readers with clear cut sections beginning with the mythology of the vampire and going next to history, literature, movies, recreation, websites, and to modern times where the author interviews real life vampires.

This is the third and final updated edition of this book. The previous editions have won multiple awards including Amazon and Kindle Best Seller in pop culture and reference categories.
Her vampire live action role playing character was used by Elizabeth Loraine in collaboration on a fiction novella, titled Lillian: A Vampire’s Story which is available at the end of this book for free!

Long Blurb: What is Lure of the Vampire?

The Lure of the Vampire is a pop culture reference book for writers, vampire fans, students and teachers who love to study the mysterious creature of the night. This book is for the fanatics who sit up at night and watch reruns of Buffy for the hundredth time, the Twi-hards that line up for hours before the show just to glimpse the newest Twilight movie, the Truebies who all knows that “waiting sucks” between each season of True Blood and for those diehard traditionalist that balk at all of this “new” vampire craze.
The Lure of the Vampire is also for the new writers who love creating their own worlds where the vampires may be aristocratic and romantic or dark and dangerous; the world where there are castles, heaving bosoms, chivalry and danger of loving a vampire, the dreams of so many women in today’s world.
And finally, The Lure of the Vampire is a book for those who love to study all aspects of the vampire in both pop culture and the world. Whether they are the historian who loves tracing the evolution of the vampire or the sociologist who wants to explore the world of those that live the lifestyle, the reader will find resources here to help them in their quest for knowledge of this lifestyle.
The Lure of the Vampire is divided into ten sections beginning with mythology and ending with modern vampires. Within each section there are lists that will help the reader learn basic and fun facts about that section’s topic. Links to websites are provided to ensure that the reader may find more information about that section without having to search for it on the Internet or in other books. To help supplement a particular subject within that topic, there are personal essays or interviews that give the reader a personal look from the author’s perspective. For example, Lure of the Dead Boyfriend provides the reader with a look at why women love vampire romance while exploring the vampire as a soul mate, an erotic lover, and an escape from the real world.
Lure of the Vampire provides unique interviews with vampire authors, role players, and those that live the lifestyle. The reader can delve into the world of a creator of an alternate reality or learn more about those whose lives lead them to embrace vampirism as a way of life.
Lure of the Vampire is a complete pop culture reference book for those who enjoy vampires and their impact on society. It provides an extensive bibliography that will allow the reader the opportunity for additional independent study.


Bertena Varney is a sociology professor at Southcentral KY Community College (SKYCTC)  in Bowling Green, KY. She holds masters’ degrees in sociology, criminology, social science and education. She is from Winchester, KY and attended Morehead State University in KY.
She was named to the Top Women in Horror in 2012 by Venom and Honey and Blaze McRob’s Tales of Terrors in 2014 and has been nicknamed the Vampire Professor.
She is an Amazon and Kindle Bestselling author of Lure of the Vampire and Lure of the Vampire: Revamped. She is also contributor and coeditor for Vampire News: Tasty Bits to Sink Your Fangs Into, Vampire News: The Not So End Times, Vampire News: Really...Vampires Suck!, and contributor to Vampires Romance to Rippers an Anthology of Risque Stories, Vampires Romance to Rippers an Anthology of Tasty Stories, and The Witching Hour and Sirens Compendiums.
She is also the Examiner.com expert on True Blood, vampires, television, movies, and more.
In her free time she does lectures at libraries conventions and conferences. Some of these include the Harry Potter Convention in Salem, Mass., The Sirens Convention in Vail, Colorado, ScareFest Horror Convention in Lexington, as well as smaller events and discussions in New Orleans, Chicago, London, Paris and other fun places.

SPECIAL:
When writing this book it began as a master’s thesis and then was edited and formatted differently so that vampire fans would enjoy the information as well. Over the last 3 years she has been asked by fans to create a course online, like the one she teaches in person, and that class has finally been created and will be ready to begin when the book becomes available for sale hopefully on August 1.

She is enrolling students now as a 50% discount of the normal class tuition. The special included anyone who participates in this tour will receive the class for only $50.00. It is normally $100.00! Once the student pays for the class via PayPal or credit card and purchases the book, they should email the author to get the invite to the class. The class covers each chapter in the book and provides the student with the questions that they must answer, videos for them to watch, an essay for them to write and final: there are also discussion boards that are open for class discussions. Upon completion the student will receive a certificate of completion via email to show that they have completed a course in Vampirology (the study of vampires).

This is a fun course that vampire fans will love. If interested please look at course here - http://mysticalparanormalacademy.ning.com/classesoffered/introduction-to-vampires-class
Then  email her at vampireprofessor@yahoo.com or message on her Facebook profile - https://www.facebook.com/bertena.varney to get payment and registration information for the class.

Places to Find Bertena Varney

Website/Blog – www.bertena.com
Twitter - @tenavarney



Upcoming Events:

  1. Estill County Library, Irvine, KY October 30 - Lecture on Angels and Demons and Vampires

2.            Inner Light Festival, Lexington, KY September 20 and 21 Working with Angels www.innerlightfestivals.com

3.            The ScareFest, Lexington, KY September 12-14 Guest Speaker on Angels and Vampires www.scarefestcon.com

4.            Killer Nashville, August 22-24 Signings of Vampire Books www.killernashville.com

5.            The Mystical Paranormal Fair, Lexington, KY August 8-10 - Workshops on Angels www.mpfair.com

6.            Festival of Healing and Spiritual Awareness, Elizabethtown, KY July 18- 19 - Angel Readings

7.            The Mystical Paranormal Fair, Lexington, KY July 11-13 - Workshops on Angels www.mpfair.com

8.            The Ghost Hunters Shop, Lexington,KY, July 10 - Lecture on Angels

Can anyone guess what her next book is about? Angels!

Soundtrack to the book- This is the music I listen to while working on my books. It’s a folk rock group that happens to be my son’s group. He wrote the music and lyrics as well as plays the guitar and sings. I loved typing away while he would play music and sing, it was so peaceful. The Group is called Approaching the Unreal – Go to the link below to download the songs for FREE. When it asks how much you are willing to pay put in zero dollars or any amount that you wish to pay to help support these young upcoming artists.  https://approachingtheunreal.bandcamp.com/



Reviews 

Layla Cook ~ Fairy Author and Assemblage Artist
Bertena Varney began the journey in creating this book when she was doing her graduate studies. She researched academic databases, interviewed authors, and even did ethnographic research on the subculture of vampires. She is an academic as well as a fan of vampires and has done a great job with blending the two in this book. This is the perfect reference book that is quick grab and covers more than just the typical vampire shows. 

Scarlette D'Noire ~ Vampires: Romance to Rippers
The Vampire Professor is the go-to girl and Lure of the Vampire is the go-to book on all things vampire.

Audrey A’Cladh ~ Vampire Minister and Counselor, Vampires: Romance to Rippers
Bertena gives a fresh and unbiased look at the complex subject of vampires; where most books rehash the same tired notes, she unearths overlooked melodies!

~The Lure of the Dead Boyfriend~
In the beginning was a bald monster with a long face, pointed ears and chin, elongated fingers and sharp talon claws, which lost its humanity and control over its monstrous side. It was lured to a young maiden’s window. All of a sudden, with a sudden rush that could not be foreseen and with a strange howling cry that was enough to awaken the terror in any beast, the figure seized the long tresses of hair. He held her to the bed…she screams…shrieks...and he seizes her neck in his fang like teeth… a gush of blood and a hideous sucking noise follows.
This picture of rape and torture is the bedroom scene of the 1847 penny dreadful, Varney the Vampire: Feast of Blood. The author Thomas Prest painted pictures of the vampire being a sexual monster wanting to devour women, women who were portrayed as being very passive and weak. In these stories the vampire bite was a metaphor for rape and the monster wanted his victim aware of every agonizing violation. This is the vampire that was created when men ruled the horror world: a creature cursed to walk the earth for eternity searching not for love but for food.
Now today, the story reads more like this, “He met my eyes with his penetrating gaze. Suddenly it was hard to breathe. ..My heart pounded in my chest… my knees threatened to buckle. I had never seen such a gorgeous man…something about him felt dark and dangerous and desirable. I lifted my chin to give him better access to my neck. He smiled, showing a hint of fangs.” This excerpt is from Lynda Hilburn’s The Vampire Shrink.  Lynda discussed on her blog that since women have taken over the horror genre the vampire has evolved into a gorgeous, sensuous, sexual, romantic, bad boy of the night.
Even though vampire literature is usually snubbed by many writers and fans, over the last ten years the rise in vampire literature has increased exponentially. Many book reviewers claim that vampire literature displays women as sluts and submissive. This may be true in some series but overall this trend has changed quickly. Many writers such as C.J. Ellisson, author of The Vampire Vacation Series, have developed a strong empowered female character that is a monogamous vampire who loves her human husband. The scenes are hot but very respectful to women and actually show how they may embrace their sexual side without embarrassment.
Many more vampire authors have their female character as empowering and strong. They walk alongside the vampire in their journey rather than being the damsel in distress or the hapless victim of his sexual prowess. The current trend for this new genre of vampire romance literature is one that offers the readers an escape from the pressures of the real world while delivering to them either a soul mate or an erotic lover in the form of a vampire. So, just what is the lure of the dead boyfriend to the modern female reader?

Buy Links for my other books
Romance to Rippers Volume 2 An Anthology of Risque Stories-
Lillian: A Vampire Tale = a novella- Book 1-written by Elizabeth Loraine based on my characters
Lillian 2- The Mask- a novella- Book 2 written by Elizabeth Loraine based on my characters
Lillian 3 to be released in October
Vampire News 2011- Tasty Bits You can Sink Your Fangs Into
Vampire News 2: The Not So End Times
Vampire News 3: Vampires….. They Suck!
To be released July 18 here is the FREE Link - http://bitemereallyhard.com/bite-me-really-hard/download-center/
Special Thanks to Scarlette D’ Noire and Indie House Publishing, LLC for helping me with this final edition of Lure and for putting me in contact with Patti Roberts, the awesome cover artist and BZ Hercules who worked tirelessly editing and formatting the book for us. They are an awesome team to work with and are highly professional and recommended.
Thank you to them for making this possible! They are awesome!

CONTEST: Follow the above and I will pick 5 winners for a Free eBook and 1 Winner of a FREE enrollment in the Vampire Class. Winners announced August 15.
           
Here is the rafflcopter url

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

~Book Blitz~ A Killer Like Me by Lara Henley


Title: A Killer Like Me
Author: Lara Henley           
Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours

Synopsis:

Most people think I am this sweet, innocent head cheer leader of my high school. I put on this facade everyday with the real me itching to get out. You see I belong to an exclusive team that has one specialty, and that specialty is killing. It’s our life’s mission. We were bread from day one to fulfill our destinies, and boy do I love it.”
Trinity didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she took her current job to kill a snitch. She has always loved her job of killing until she was faced with her match. Little does Trinity know that someone has been sent in to stop her.
Zander Matthews has always obeyed his orders like a good little employee. When he is sent in to protect the one Trinity is after, their lives are turned upside down. Will he be able to stop her or will Trinity fulfill her destiny?

Lara Henley was born in the Midwest. She holds a degree in Fashion Marketing and loves all things creative. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her first love is writing and hopes to make it her full-time career.


Buy Links:Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L3LBTZK (US)


I remember being only seven years old when Isaw my parents torture and kill a man. The scene gaveme nightmares for years to come. I tried to push thethoughts out of my mind, but my mother always mademe embrace it. Never did I know they were assassins,hired hit men. I remember the first time my mothermade me hold a knife to someone’s throat and slice it inhalf. Yeah, that was my good ole mom for you. “Trinity, come, darlin',” my mother says holdinga butcher knife in her hand. I didn’t want to go to herbecause the last time I did, she made me cut off a man’sfinger. It was all bloody and gross. She told me the bestwas yet to come. Little did I know at the time it wouldbe just a few short weeks.“Please don’t make me do this again, Mommy,” Isay.“Trinity, this is something you will grow to love, Ipromise you. Now come here.” I walk over to her andshe stands behind me. We stand behind the blondehaired woman tied to a chair in our basement. This iswhere they did most of their torturing for information. My dad had built the room himself, making it soundproof so the neighbors wouldn’t hear the screams myparents inflicted on their victims.“Take the knife, baby, and slit her throat. Slice itnice and evenly where we don’t have a lot of bloodsplatter. Remember how we practiced on the chicken.”She held the knife with me and the woman began tokick and scream. I felt a small high. Is this normal,should I be enjoying this?“See, steady.” We begin to slice and the bloodspatter was minimal as she said. The blonde woman’shead tilts forward. I walk around to see her cold lifelessbody slumped down in the chair and I smile.“That wasn’t so bad, Mommy,” I say, holding theknife with blood dripping from my hands.“I told you it wouldn’t be, darling. Now let’s goget ready for dinner. Your father will be home soon.” My mother smiled at me like this was completelynormal; normal to have your seven year old daughterslicing someone’s throat. My father came home thatnight and we continued on like we hadn’t created an actof sin in the basement. Again my heart raced at thethoughts of maybe killing again. That is when I knewmy life was going to be completely screwed. The following day was the day I met my best friend inthe whole wide world, Teagan. I was standing outsidewaiting for my dad to get home. It was the best part ofthe day because my father was my best friend, my onlyfriend. School was a freaking nightmare for me. All thekids made fun of me due to the fact I had a stutteringproblem. Kids came be so vile, and so when Teaganshowed up on my porch that day, I was delighted tofinally have a companion. She stuck up for me atschool, and on occasion, kicked bitches asses. She wasmy constant, the one I counted on to keep me safe, theone person, no matter what, would be there for me.



Monday, July 7, 2014

~Cover Reveal~ Emanate by Jamie Magee


Title: Emanate
Author: Jamie Magee         
Genre: YA/NA Paranormal Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours


Synopsis:

Return to the world of Insight with EMNATE, the seventh installment of the addictive story that brings you to the forefront of your darkest fears and cradles you in the belief that each of us has our own divine fate. 
Emanate opens days after the final chapter of Enflame. Every trial thus far as left both Willow and Landen tested and exhausted, Jupiter was no different, if anything it was far worse.
Now they not only have to face the influenced of two planets at once in their weakened state, they also have to come head to head with their home dimensions belief system that is dead set on pushing them into an ascension neither of them or ready for.



The fun non boring Bio :)
I'm an obsessive daydreamer. Lover of loud alternative music. Addicted to Red Bull. I love to laugh until it hurts. Fall is my favorite season. Black is my favorite 'shade.' Strong believer in the saying: there is a reason for everything, therefore I search for 'marked moments' every moment of everyday...and I find them. Life is beautiful!
Boring one....
Jamie Magee has always believed that each of us have a defining gift that sets us apart from the rest of the world, she has always envied those who have known from their first breath what their gift was. Not knowing hers, she began a career in the fast paced world of business. Raising a young family, and competing to rise higher in that field would drive some to the point of insanity, but she always found a moment of escape in a passing daydream. Her imagination would take her to places she'd never been, introduce her to people she's never known. Insight, her debuting novel, is a result of that powerful imagination. Today, she is grateful that not knowing what defined her, led her on a path of discovery that would always be a part of her.



Mercifully, I let my lips worship her body at a slow, agonizing pace. I loved the feel of her hands knotting through my hair, the catch of breath I could hear as my hands found a way to follow where my lips once were. The way she moved against me.
She fought for some way to reach more of me, to seduce me with her lips, her hands, but I wanted her to feel more than my physical touch. I wanted her to feel my emotion. I wanted her to feel my hungry energy. I wanted her to feel my soul reaching out once more for hers. This was about her, not me.
Each time she made a sound, my gaze would glance to her stunning face, only to find her eyes closed. Hope was not lost, though. Across her soaked skin, I could see traces of light where I had brought exaltation to her body.
“Let me see you,” my thoughts breathed as I slid her down the shower wall. Slowly, she bared the windows to her soul, revealing shimmering glimpses of blue in the deep sea of emerald. “Beautiful,” I whispered as my hand cupped her face and my thumb urged her mouth to mine. I barely brushed the flesh of her lips as I moved my body and we collided as one.
That stare, that one right there, caused more emotion than this taste of flesh. It was more than when our energy moved into one, it was more because right now it was both. It had never been both before because I had never seen her eyes as blue as they were for that one, transitory moment before the rhythm of passion forced her to close them once more.
She was there, deep inside, daring to surface. For the first time, I really saw her. I have no idea what caused her to come back to me, but I was enthralled with gratitude. It allowed me to feel her body as if it were the first time.




~Cover Reveal~ The Chronicles of Silver & Gold by LL Hunter


Title: The Chronicles of Silver & Gold
Author: LL Hunter   Genre: NA Paranormal Romance/ Urban Fantasy
Designed by: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design and Photography
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Hosted by: 
Lady Amber's Tours

Blurb:

Waking up on her twenty- second birthday alone wasn’t something Scarlett had in mind. Neither had she planned Dyston’s departure from her life so soon.
When she receives a mysterious note from him telling her to track down Rachael, little did she know the journey it would lead her on.
Dyston’s note told her to let Rachael help her reveal things she didn’t know about her origins, but what she sees on her journey through time could change everything, including her fate.
In the thrilling third book of the Legend of the Archangel series, Scarlett learns that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to changing the fate of the world.


L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Garden of Eden. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. 

She has been writing since her teens - everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @llhunterbooks, and her blog - http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au.

Stalk links



Thursday, July 3, 2014

~Release Day Blitz~ Tall, Dark & Supernatural Box Set


Seven novels from some of the hottest names in Paranormal Romance on sale for only 99c! New York Times, USA Today and Amazon Bestselling authors take you on a walk on the wicked side with seven deliciously dangerous heroes sure to set your soul on fire. Regular price is $9.99, so 1-click today! 

Wake Me When the Sun Goes Down (Forged Bloodlines, Book 1) by Lisa Olsen 

When Anja Evans wakes up in the morgue, it takes almost eating her best friend before she figures out she’s a vampire. Anja tries to blend school with her new identity, while searching to find the Viking whose blood gave her the strength of a vampire hundreds of years old. But breeding among vampires is strictly controlled, and her unlicensed status makes her an enemy of The Order. 

A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries, Book 1) by Elizabeth Hunter 

No secret stays hidden forever. Giovanni Vecchio is a 500-year old rare book dealer searching for a lost treasure. Beatrice DeNovo is the young human holding secrets she didn't realize could be the key. Their partnership is unexpected. Their attraction? Impossible. 

Blood Ties by Gina Whitney 

Grace is half witch, and half mortal. James is a powerful warlock. The two share a fierce supernatural attraction that neither can resist. Will their undying love protect her or put her in greater danger? 

Dominion (The Dominion Series, Book 1) by S. E. Lund 

When searching for the vampire who killed her mother, Eve Hayden meets 800-year old identical twin vampire brothers – beautiful, temperamental opposites, who both want her for themselves. Will she be forced to choose between love and revenge? 

Demon at my Door by Michelle A. Valentine 

A woman must fight to win her soul back from the demon that she promised it to when she was only a child to save her mother’s life. 

Broken Promises (The Brianna Lane Series, Book 1) by Belinda Boring 

All Bri wanted was spend her Friday night with the man she loved. Little did she know leaving her home would result in her relationship with Quinn being tested beyond its limits. With the city around her crumbling under a violent charm by invading Fae, Bri must trust her heart as Quinn succumbs to the destructive magic, stripping him of his goodness and leaving a much darker man in its place. 
What would you do if the man you loved became one of your greatest enemies? Would your love be enough to save him? 

Luca's Magic Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans Series) by Kym Grosso 

In the Big Easy, vampire, Luca Macquarie, and witch, Samantha Irving, embark on a spellbinding journey, searching for a mystical relic. With cryptic clues and clandestine allies, they must destroy the dangerous amulet before others acquire it. Will Luca give into his erotic desire for the witch who magically captures heart? 


Buy Links:



Monday, June 30, 2014

A Very Good Life by Lynn Steward


Title:  A Very Good Life
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Author:  Lynn Steward
Website:   www.averygoodlife.com
Publisher:  CreateSpace

About the Book

Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an "it" girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

One Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.


Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. A Very Good Life is the first in the series featuring Dana McGarry.  www.averygoodlife.com




Chapter One

Dana McGarry, her short blond hair stirred by a light gust of wind, stood on Fifth Avenue in front of the display windows of the B. Altman department store on the day after Thanksgiving, November, 1974.  Dana, public relations and special events coordinator for the store, pulled her Brooks Brothers camel hair polo coat tighter around her slim, shapely frame.  Shoppers hurried past her, huddled in overcoats as mild snow flurries coated the streets with a fine white powder.  It was now officially Christmas season, and Dana sensed a pleasant urgency in the air as people rushed to find the perfect gift or simply meet a friend for lunch.  The frenetic pace of life in Manhattan continued to swell the sidewalks, but pedestrians were more inclined to tender a smile instead of a grimace if they bumped into one another.  Dana often told her friends that Christmas was a time when there was a temporary truce between true believers and grinches.  As far as business was concerned, she was pleased to hear the cash registers of B. Altman singing their secular carols inside the store, but she also still believed that the holidays brought magic and balance, however briefly, into a world of routine and ten-hour workdays.   
Balance?  Dana smiled wistfully, for balance was becoming harder to achieve.  She was only twenty-nine, but the pressures of life were already assaulting her mind and spirit in numerous ways.  She tried to please multiple people in B. Altman’s corporate offices on a daily basis, not an easy task given that the seasoned professionals who were grooming her had various agendas, not all of which tallied with each other.  And then there was her marriage to Brett McGarry, a litigator at a Wall Street law firm.  Brett was as busy as she, and simultaneously attending to her career and the needs of her husband was sometimes difficult, if not downright burdensome.  His needs?  Well, “demands” would be a more accurate description of what Dana had to contend with.  Although Brett didn’t overtly order Dana around, he informed her of what he would or would not be able to do with her on any given day.  His growing air of superiority was extremely subtle and couched in affable smiles that most of Dana’s friends could not accurately read.
Dana’s eyes had become unfocused as she stared past the display window, but she quickly snapped her attention back to the present moment.  People, coated with a dusting of light snow, continued to stream through the portico outside B. Altman’s.  Magic and balance still held the better claim on Friday, November 29.  She’d worry about Brett later.
“I think they like it,” commented Andrew Ricci, display director for the store, as he stood to Dana’s left, referring to the happy, animated shoppers. “Good idea, Mark.  Christmas was the right time to bring in live mannequins.”  Andrew, slender and dressed in a gray suit with sweater vest, wiped snowflakes from his salt and pepper hair, wavy and combed straight back.  Even as Andrew said this, a little girl waved both hands, trying to get the attention of one of the Sugar Plum Fairies behind the window, saying over and over, “I saw her blink!  I did! I saw her blink!”

Mark Tepper was the president of the Tepper Display Company, and B. Altman had been a good account for ten years.  “You’re welcome.  I want you guys to look good.  Bloomie’s is just twenty-five blocks away,” said the suave president, dressed in a blue pinstripe suit.  He stood to Dana’s right.  His light brown hair was parted neatly above a broad forehead, and he had intense blue eyes that could capture the slightest nuance.  He was of average height, in good physical shape, and his ideas seemed to emanate from a bottomless reservoir of energy.  “You can’t go wrong with a Nutcracker theme.”  Mark stepped back and surveyed the scene.  “Now if I could only figure out a way to make the live mannequins stop blinking,” he said with a grin.
Dana and Andrew laughed at Mark’s quick wit, the result of keen intelligence combined with a sophisticated playfulness.  He could be highly focused without taking himself too seriously.
Andrew rubbed his hands together and exhaled, his breath drifting away in a small cloud of vapor.  “Say, would you two mind coming inside to look at the blueprints for the cosmetic department? I have to make one change.”
Dana, like all B. Altman employees, was energized by the transformation of her beloved store, and being a close friend of Andrew’s, she knew of changes starting with the planning stage. More than a year ago, when Dana first learned that the cosmetic department would be renovated, she thought it might bode well for her idea to add a teen makeup section.
Inside, the store was glowing from Christmas decorations, chandeliers, and red-capped  mercury lamps illuminating counters that curved and zigzagged across the main floor in every direction.  A decorated tree in the center of the main floor rose fifteen feet into the air, a grand focal point for the holiday atmosphere.  Andrew led the group to one of the counters in the existing cosmetic department and unrolled a set of blueprints he’d stored beneath the glass counter.  The trio would be undisturbed since holiday shoppers were buzzing past them on their way to the gift departments, many to see the new million-dollar menswear section that opened the previous month and extended the entire block along 34th Street.  
“We’re aiming for the new department to open the first week of May,” Andrew said, “followed by a black tie gala.”  He poked his index finger onto the center of the blueprints for emphasis.  He then looked up proudly and pointed to a section of the floor where the new cosmetic department would be installed.
“Good placement,” Mark said.  “And nice layout, too.”  Mark usually spoke rapidly and in short sentences.  Insightful, he sized things up quickly and didn’t waste time.  It was another aspect of his confidence that allowed him to act professionally without losing his innate charm.  He also had a knack for including everyone around him in any discussion.
“So what does the public relations and special events coordinator think?” he asked, pivoting to face Dana, sensing she had something to say.
Dana cocked her head slightly while mischievously narrowing her eyes.  “I think we shouldn’t forget that a teen makeup section is just as important as an updated cosmetic department.  Otherwise, why are we bothering to update it in the first place?  Our demographic is getting younger.  Girls today are wearing makeup by the time they’re fourteen.”
Dana turned to Andrew. “What do you think, Mr. Ricci ?
Andrew chuckled at Dana’s use of his surname, which she occasionally did when talking business with her friend and confidante.  Andrew was the quintessential Renaissance man—artist, craftsman, and cook.  He and Dana attended art lectures at the Met, and he had personally taken Dana under his wing to give her what he called “a gay man’s culinary expertise” when her husband announced they were hosting a dinner party for a few of the firm’s partners.  Andrew was not only Dana’s close friend, but he was also a consummate professional in his capacity as display director.  He was a passionate man, at times almost compulsive, but he commanded respect from the refined corporate culture at B. Altman.
Andrew rolled up the blueprints and sighed.  “Good luck trying to persuade Helen.  She’s done a great job with her department, but she’s from the old school—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Andrew paused.  “But the fact that Helen isn’t on board isn’t going to stop you, is it?”
Helen Kavanagh was the junior buyer at B. Altman.
Dana shook her head and winked.  “Not for a minute.  I’m an optimist, Andrew.  Besides, it’s Christmas.  I’ve been a good girl, and Santa owes me.”
Mark was clearly enjoying the good-natured exchange.  “Santa naturally wasn’t big at Temple when I was growing up.  No stockings hung by the chimney with care—although I remain an ardent fan of stockings.  That having been said,” Mark continued, “I think—”
The conversation was interrupted by a no-nonsense twenty-something secretary, dark brown hair falling to her shoulder.  “Ms. Savino would like to see you in her office as soon as possible, Ms. McGarry,” she said.  The secretary turned on her heels and promptly disappeared into the busy throng of shoppers without waiting for a response from Dana.
Bea Savino was Dana’s boss and the vice president of sales promotion and marketing.
“She’s new,” Dana commented. “Poor girl—she’s scared to death.  We all were when we started.”
“I still am,” Andrew laughed, “and I don’t even report to her.  Bea can kill you with that look. You know, when her eyes tighten and she peers over her reading glasses—ouch!  But give her a martini, and it’s party time.  Bea’s a moveable feast.”
Dana nodded.   “True enough.  I better see what the indomitable Ms. Savino wants.  Gentlemen, it’s always a pleasure.”
Dana headed to the bank of elevators on the far side of the store, passing a dozen lively conversations that blended into what she regarded as a delightful holiday symphony.  People were spending money—and happy to be spending it.  She envisioned a teen makeup section facilitating that same enthusiastic banter at some point in the future.  
“Dana!”
Dana wheeled around to see Mark hurrying past shoppers, his outstretched arm indicating that he wanted her to pause until he could catch up.
“People just can’t get enough of my infectious optimism,” Dana proclaimed.
“You’re cursed with good genes,” Mark said, stopping a foot from Dana.  “Seriously, the teen makeup section is a smart move.  I think you should ask Helen if she’s been following the incredible success of Biba.”
“I think everybody’s eyes are on London.”
“If not, they should be.  Biba just moved to a seven-story building in Kensington, and the store is attracting a million customers a week.  Teen makeup sure seems to be working for the Brits.  The birds, as the English call young girls, are flocking to the store in droves.”  He paused.  “I’m mixing my metaphors—birds, cattle—but you get the gist.”  
` Dana put her hands on her hips and burst into laughter.
“When was the last time you used the word droves, Mark?”
“Hey, I’ve watched cowboys on TV like anybody else,” he replied with mock defensiveness. “Head ‘em up and move ‘em out.  And that’s what Biba is doing.  The customers are in and out, and most of their wallets are quite a bit lighter when they leave.  That’s the idea, right?”

“Absolutely!”  
“Go get ‘em, tiger,” Mark said, touching the side of Dana’s arm right below her shoulder.  He walked away, turned back with a big smile and a thumbs-up, then disappeared.
Mark’s energy and enthusiasm, as well as his one-minute pep talk, were just what Dana needed to boost her confidence and keep her idea alive.
As Dana neared the far side of the store, she and Helen Kavanagh simultaneously  approached the same elevator.
As always, Helen was impeccably dressed, and her carriage bespoke an elegant, stylish demeanor.  She was in the later years of middle age, but she advanced towards the elevator briskly, her blond hair pulled severely back from her face and secured with an ever-present black velvet ribbon.  Her face expressionless, she glanced at Dana, her pace unchanged.  A signal had clearly been given.  In point of fact, Helen truly admired Dana, but the young events coordinator was in her twenties, and there was a protocol in Helen’s universe that she didn’t believe needed to be articulated.  Respect carried the day, with camaraderie offered in moderation, preferably outside of the workplace.  Dana therefore halted just long enough to allow Helen to slip into the elevator before she followed, the doors closing behind her.  The two women were alone as the elevator ascended to the executive suite of offices on the fifth floor.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, Dana thought.  Besides, Mark had literally gone out of his way to suggest that she approach Helen.  Mark, of course, could be aggressive and disarming at the same time, so such a feat would naturally be far easier for him to accomplish.  Still, she was quite aware that Mark had her best interests at heart.  It was worth a try.
“Good morning, Helen.”
Helen nodded and smiled thinly.  “Dana.”
“Helen, I was wondering if you shopped Biba when you were in London last month.  They’re pulling in a million customers a week.  A million!”  Dana raised her eyebrows, her clear blue eyes sparkling even in the dim light of the elevator.
Helen tapped a silver ballpoint pen against the brown leather case holding her yellow legal pad.  “Biba,” she said with frustration.  “Biba is filled with non-paying customers who rush in before work to try on free makeup.  Free, Dana.  Are they running a business or having a party?   Try it before you buy it?  I don’t think so.  They’re crazy.  Excuse me—as the British say, they’re quite mad.  They’ll be out of business in a year.”
Dana’s heart skipped a beat, but she wasn’t going to show any nervousness.  Instead, she laughed. “Well, I’m sure you’re right.  Shows what I know!”
It was a self-effacing remark, but Dana knew when to back down.
Helen, who had been facing forward, turned and looked at Dana squarely.  “And don’t even think of taking this to Bea.”
Dana smiled as the elevator door opened, but she said nothing.  
The two women stepped onto the fifth floor, the rooms of which were a facsimile of the 1916 interiors of Benjamin Altman’s Fifth Avenue home.  Dana and Helen walked through the reception area, which was a replica of Altman’s well-known Renaissance room.  Fine art adorned the wood-paneled walls beyond the anteroom, with elaborately carved woodwork accenting the hallways.  The President’s Room was a reproduction of Altman’s personal library, while the Board Room was a faithful rendering of his dining room.  Oriental carpets lay on the polished parquet floor, and Dana never ceased to marvel at the rich interior of the executive suite and its expensive art collection no matter how many times she entered the area.  It had the ambience of a corporate cathedral, and the first time she stepped onto the floor years earlier, she had unconsciously lifted her right hand for a split second, as if to dip her fingers in a holy water font.
Dana and Helen walked in the same direction for fifteen paces until it became obvious that they were both heading for Bea Savino’s office.
“I was told Bea wanted to see me,” Dana stated.
“I’m sure you were,” Helen said flatly.  “But I need to see her first.  That isn’t a problem, is it?”
“No.  Of course not.”
It was another elevator moment.  Dana gave Helen a politically correct smile and stepped back, allowing her to open Bea’s door and slip into the office.
Dana walked up and down the hall, admiring the landscapes hanging on the dark paneling.  Miniature marble sculptures stood on pedestals and library tables with inlaid mother-of-pearl.  She hoped Helen wouldn’t be long since she wanted to get back home, walk her dog, and double-check arrangements for the annual McGarry Christmas party, now only six days away.  It was one o’clock, but if Bea called a special events meeting, Dana’s afternoon would be lost.  She was overseeing the expansion of the adult programs, known as “department-store culture,” and she and Bea were still working out the details for the rollout in January.  B. Altman was a pioneer for such a program, and Dana would be programming three events a week in the Charleston Garden restaurant that seated two hundred.  A smaller third-floor community room was newly renovated for the expanded sessions that included mini-courses in art appreciation, cooking demonstrations, book signings, self-improvement, and current events.
She reversed direction and walked past Bea’s office, noticing that the door was slightly ajar.  She turned around and decided to wait outside Bea’s inner sanctum to make sure Helen wouldn’t slip out unnoticed.  Heart pounding, she stood near the open door and heard Helen expressing dismay.
“You know how I feel about having shoes in my department, Bea.  Can’t you help me convince them to find somewhere else to put this Pappagallo shop?  Shoes belong with shoes.  It just doesn’t work for me.  I don’t want to see them. Period.”
There was clear exasperation in the junior buyer’s voice.
“But it works for Ira and Dawn,” Bea responded calmly, “and they firmly believe in the merchandising potential for this young market.  “Don’t quote me, but I heard Ira’s daughter will be working in the shop this summer.  You gotta get on board, Helen.  Think young.  Think upbeat.”  Her voice rose with sudden enthusiasm.  “Think Biba!”
“Bea, if I hear that name Biba one more time!” Helen interrupted.
Bea ignored her.  “The kids are all drinking espresso, and I’ll probably go down for a cup in the afternoon.”
“What are you talking about?” Helen asked.  “You’re going to—”
“Helen,” Bea slowly responded, “Pappagallo stores have love seats and espresso machines.  It’s that Southern hospitality.  They were introduced in Atlanta.  Anyway, we have no choice.  Remember, Pappagallo is leasing the space.”
There was a noticeable silence inside Bea’s office.
“Breathe deeply, Helen,” Bea advised with a laugh.  “You’re going to hyperventilate.  It’s
not the end of the world.”
“Espresso machine?” Helen repeated. “Love seats? Taking up selling space.  I’m not putting up with this.  Fine.  Then they’ll just have to give me a larger department.  I’m not giving up without getting something in return.”
Dana smiled.  If Ira Neimark, the executive vice president and general merchandise manager of B. Altman, together with his hand-picked vice president and fashion director, Dawn Mello—Helen’s boss—were looking for ways to bring  young people into the store, maybe the teen makeup department wasn’t a lost cause after all.
Helen came flying out the office, brushing past Dana by mere inches as she talked to herself under her breath.  “B. Altman will be out of business before Biba.  It’s all totally absurd.”  She took no notice of the young events coordinator.
Dana moved forward and stood in the doorway.  “You wanted to see me?” she asked. “Yes, Dana.  Come in.”
Bea Savino was a tiny but feisty Italian woman with snow white hair, a chain-smoker with a no-nonsense approach to life and business.  Bea had married five years ago, at the age of forty, and had no children, but she felt compelled to give her adopted young staff reality therapy every chance she could, believing they were too influenced by the soft dress-for-success career articles in fashion magazines.  With Dana, Bea’s mantra was “Toughen up, for God’s sake!”  When Dana had been passed over for an assignment and complained to her boss, Bea merely said, “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, kiddo.  I didn’t even know you were interested.  Carol was in here every day, begging.  Speak up, Dana.”
Bea lit a cigarette, exhaled a plume of smoke, and laughed.  “I think poor Helen is headed for a stroke.  I saw you standing outside, so I know you heard our exchange.  Ah well.  She’ll get over it.  She’s a tough old broad, God love her.”  Bea shuffled some papers around her desk before finding the folder she was looking for.  Her office was not a model of perfection and order, as were Helen’s and Dana’s.
Dana cringed at the term “broad.”  The expression seemed out of place on the sacrosanct fifth floor, but she merely took a deep breath and remembered that Bea didn’t mince words.  She decided to pitch her idea despite Helen’s warning.
“Bea, since Mr. Neimark and Ms. Mello are interested in the youth market, why can’t we go one step further than the Shop for Pappagallo and add a teen makeup section too?  As I told Helen, Biba is pulling in a million customers a week.”
Bea leaned back in her chair and took another puff of her cigarette.  
“You always tell me to speak up,” Dana said, her voice rising slightly as she shrugged her shoulders.  “So . . . ?”
“It’s not a bad idea,” Bea conceded as she surveyed her cluttered desk, “but it’s not going to happen, at least not now.  One step at a time.  Let Helen adjust to the intrusion of Pappagallo first.  It’s too much at once.”
“But—”
“Go whine to Bob.  I know you two are thick as thieves.  I asked you here to discuss something else.”
Bob Campbell was the store’s vice president and general manager.  He was Dana’s unofficial mentor, a fact that often irritated Bea to no end.  It was she, not Bob, who was the young woman’s immediate boss.
Dana clasped her hands behind her back, squeezing her right fist in frustration.  Was she supposed to toughen up and be vocal or remain silent?  Bea’s mixed messages could be infuriating.  Dana was advocating the same teen strategy that the general merchandise manager and fashion director of the store apparently believed in, and she couldn’t help but think that she was being penalized for her youth.  Or maybe it was because Helen might pitch a fit.  Either way, Andrew had been right: Bea was a moveable feast.
“Bob has chosen the winner for this year’s teen contest.  You’ll announce the results next week at the Sugar Plum Ball.  It’s a favor for a friend of Mr. Campbell.  His friend’s daughter, Kim Sullivan, will be this year’s winner.”  Bea sighed deeply and crushed her cigarette in a large glass ashtray on her desk.  “Have a good weekend, Dana,” Bea said, summarily dismissing the figure standing before her.
Dana was speechless.  The contest involved getting the best and brightest teens to write essays, make brief speeches, and model clothes, and they were down to the five finalists. She’d run the contest for three years, but the idea that the contest was rigged this year—and by Bob Campbell of all people—left Dana dazed and temporarily unable to move.  The Sugar Plum Ball was the annual December benefit for the Children’s Aid Society.  The idea of committing fraud was bad enough, but she would also have to disappoint the girls who would be competing in good faith.  Did such a prestigious charity event have to be marred by dishonesty?
Bea looked up, glasses perched on the end of her nose.  “Is anything the matter, Dana?  You look positively pale.”
“No.  Everything’s fine.” Everything was most decidedly not fine.  Dana had the ear of Bob Campbell, and she would use her access to the general manager to express how odious the idea seemed.  One way or another, she’d find a way to avoid making the contest into a sham.
Feeling manipulated, Dana turned and left Bea’s office.  Her normally fair complexion was red with anger, and her breath came in quick, short bursts.  She marched down to the Writing and Rest Room for Women, a beautifully carpeted room with chairs upholstered in blue velvet.  The mahogany walls and soft lighting made this one of the most elaborate rest areas in any store, and Dana sometimes came here because of the quiet and repose it offered.  Today the room was, not surprisingly, filled with shoppers taking a moment to compose themselves.  She hurried to her office in the General Offices section of the fifth floor, retrieved her purse, and tried to calm down.
Regaining her composure proved impossible, however.  She took a deep breath and decided that she would have no peace for the rest of the day until she spoke with Bob Campbell.  Bea must have been mistaken.  Bob would never rig the yearly teen contest.
Dana got up from her desk, hoping to get a few minutes with the general manager.  She walked back to the executive suite, ready to make her case.