Always a Booklover

The magic of books just enchants me. I love reading, what more can I say?

Blog Tour: Her Game, His Rules by Piper Shelly - Excerpt

Hey guys! Welcome to today's blog tour! Her Game, His Rules is a paranormal romance, upper YA. It is published by Black Opal Books and is 306 pages long.

Her Game, His Rules

She’s seventeen. She’s snarky. She’s trouble…

It wasn’t nicking an expressive watch or diamond bracelet that landed Jona Montiniere in the clutches of the police. It was just a darn sweater. After a spectacular, failed escapade, she is forced to return to a mother who spurned her. Jona is furious about the judge’s decision—until she meets her mother’s companion. Gorgeous, provocative, and mysterious, Julian is everything her lonely heart desires. But then he awakens her mother from the dead with a simple touch.
Hunting for the truth in a strange new home, Jona unearths broken promises and bitter secrets. Soon she realizes she’ll once again lose someone she loves…unless she gives him a reason to stay. But how the hell do you keep an angel earthbound?

Watch the book trailer here!

Piper Shelly

Did you know that this word scares me more than anything? About… Wherever you go, people want you to tell what a cool life you lead just because you’re an author. But really, there’s nothing special to say about me, except maybe that I write a little more than others normally do. I married my teenage-love, we do our best to raise our ten-year-old to a kind and caring young man, and my cat loves to sleep in my bed, forcing me to bend to the strangest positions at night, just so she can sprawl comfortably on the blanket. I like pizza. And occasionally I talk to angels, but seriously, in these times, who doesn’t…?

So all in all, I dare say I’m leading a pretty normal life.

Of course it will all change the day my book follows the act of Harry Potter, and I’ll become richer than the Queen. I swear I’ll never again clean my windows myself then. Yeah, one day, ha ha…

Time for a short excerpt!

He was so infuriating, and I was absolutely not charmed…okay, maybe just a little…

“Hi,” he said with a compassionate look that made me wish the traitor, Quinn, had taken off those damn handcuffs so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot.
Lips pressed together, my fingers waggled in a feeble greeting. The mere sight of him sent a quiver of excitement to my stomach.
He nodded his chin at my tied hands. “They seem rather uncomfortable.”
And they bloody well were, but I shrugged it off like it was nothing unusual. “The latest fashion. You heard the judge, I wear them quite often.”
A teasing smile played around his lips that spiked my blood pressure. “Shall we take them off?” he said.
He must be kidding. “Unless you’ve got teeth like a hacksaw, I don’t see how that would work.”
Grin widening, he pulled out a key-ring from his pocket. He squatted, leveled his eyes with mine, and shook the ring in front of my face. The friendly jingle of metal filled the high hallway.
My mouth sagged open. “Where did you get these from?”
“Chief Madison.”
“You stole them from Quinn?” I pulled my hands reflexively out of his reach.
“Of course not.” The blond god gave me a pointed look. “I asked for them.”
“Quinn wouldn’t unshackle me when I asked him to.”
His intense blue eyes locked with mine. “I had to solemnly swear to keep an eye on you. Now hold still.” Cool fingers curled around my wrist to fix my hand while he unlocked the first cuff. Sparks tingled on my skin, my hand trembled slightly.
With a click, the other cuff came off. I flexed my hands and rubbed my burning wrists.
“Better?” He tilted his head and arched one beautiful brow.
My head bobbed, but I found no breath to answer.
“Okay then.” He used my knees to push himself up and stretched to his full height.
He probably expected a thanks following his selflessness. My gaze focused on the ripped hems of his jeans, my lips remained sealed.
When he turned on his heel and marched off to the left, I glanced up. “And now you’re going where?” The words shot out before I could stop myself.
“Bathroom break.” His arched brows dared me to object.
My lower lip threatened to pop from between my teeth as I chewed on it. Don’t speak! “But you’re supposed to keep an eye on me.”
After studying me for a couple of seconds, his expression softened even more. “You’re not going to get me into trouble.”
I let him take another stride away from me. Two. Three. Four. “How can you be so sure?” Shut the hell up, Jona. “After everything you know about me, I’ll probably be gone when you get back.”
A shrug of one shoulder and his beguiling smile struck me silent. “I trust you.”

So yep, that's about it for today! Thanks for visiting!

Blog Tour: Only In Her Dreams by Christina McKnight - Guest Blog + Excerpt

Hey guys! Welcome to today's blog tour! Today's book is a certainly very interesting one. It is Book One of the Oneiroi Series and the blurb is simply fascinating! Without further ado, let's begin!

Only In Her Dreams

When Lucessa Sarcona awakes from a recurring dream, she has no idea her life is about to be turned upside down. A stranger, familiar to her dreams, shows up in the flesh, and Lucessa knows she’s either crazy or experiencing something not of this world.

A war ensues between three demigod brothers. One, trained to rule Erebos, is violently replaced. One forced to return to his homeland and lead the dream-gods of the Oneiroi. And one is charged with the impossible task of protecting Lucessa. How is she linked to the Oneiroi? Why do two brothers seek to keep her hidden and protected? And how does another plan to use her against the two demigods who love her?

Will Lucessa’s dream man have the courage to claim her as his own or will he bow to the command of another, forsaking the one he loves?

Only in Her Dreams is a modern spin on a Greek legend--the new direction of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, moving from angels, demons, vampires, and witches and toward the realm of demigods.

Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

In college, Christina took many courses to help develop and enhance her writing skills. She completed a seventy-page dissertation on the need for community policing in American society. Now, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance. Her debut Urban Fantasy novel, Only in Her Dreams, will be released on September 1, 2012.

Christina lives in Northern California with her husband, daughter, two boxers, two cats, and a Beta fish named Marmaduke. If she’s not behind a computer screen or book, she’s busy leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. She is very active in several writing groups and a local book group.

Time for a short excerpt!

Lucessa stared at her bed. It was time to sleep again, but it was getting harder to succumb to it. She started to think the day would never come when she could abandon herself to sleep without the feeling of being watched. He was always there--haunting her dreams. Her dreams hadn’t been her own in such a long time.
He was always there. Never talking but always watching. Intently. As if he knew her. Security, even in sleep, eluded her.
She’d lost her father and her husband. Her mother was slipping away, battling a memory loss that was progressing daily. Her dreams were the only place she could remember a family, someone who cared. But he insisted on intruding. Every happy memory and every nightmare included his presence. Why did he always show up? How could she get rid of him?
Lucessa tried for the millionth time to find a solution as she climbed under the covers. Who am I kidding? There was nothing she could do. He was a dream! A figment of her imagination. She sighed and resigned herself to another restless night.

Lucessa was a child again. The cold, pine-scented wind tangled her hair as she descended the mountain path in front of her parents. Her family’s annual summer camping trip to Yosemite National Park was in its third day, and that meant they’d conquered Half Dome for the third year straight. Ever since her parents deemed her old and skilled enough for the challenge, they hiked it together. As a family.
She looked back at her smiling parents as they held hands and strolled down the path after her. Her mother, Marie, looked casual in her jeans and the blue “Keep Lake Tahoe Blue” shirt that hugged her frame. Her father wore a San Francisco Giants baseball cap, a wisp of salt and pepper hair showing through. They looked like a couple out of the travel magazine that Lucessa had seen in her father’s study weeks ago.
“Dear, watch where you’re going!”
Lucessa turned back to the trail, nearly colliding with a man lounging against a tree just off the path. Dressed in a thigh-hugging pair of dark pants and a billowy tunic that had to be from at least a century ago, he pushed off the tree trunk and tipped his hat. His blue eyes sparkled with mischief in the evening twilight, letting off a faint glow. The man looked eerily recognizable.
She looked back to reassure her mother that she was okay. Lucessa scanned the woods behind her.
But they were gone. Only the familiar stranger remained.

And now, let's welcome Christina to the blog with a very interesting guest post about dating ;)!

Top 5 Signs You’re Dating a Guy NOT of this World

5. He arrives with ZERO baggage
Come on! If he shows up sans crazy ex-girlfriends and luggage the chances he’s been in physical contact with the human world is slim. How to proceed? Be his first girlfriend…and get the guy some pajamas! Next, remove said pajamas from your HOT new boyfriend.

4. He has nothing better to do than watch you while you work
Unless you’re a stripper…this is NOT good. But this can turn into something amazing! Hear me out here, ladies! Even doing dishes is exciting for him because he’s never done it before. Enjoy it while it lasts…and stay off the pole!

3. He disappears into thin air and his eyes glow in the dark
Okay, the glowing eyes are a bit of a no brainer…if his eyes turn an iridescent blue at night YOU have a big problem on your hands. Now, the disappearing into thin air is a little trickier. I’m not talking about going out for milk and returning three days later…this guy just has commitment issues and probably another girlfriend tucked away. I’m talking about he’s there, in the flesh, next to you and then he’s gone…poof! Word of advice: locking your doors and windows will NOT be enough to keep him out when he needs to come back.

2. He doesn’t drink coffee
Be still my HEART! I know, who doesn’t drink coffee? Starbucks, 7-Eleven, Peet’s, or Dunkin Donuts…pick your poison! And he wants TEA, really? Okay, DON’T panic. This is a blessing in disguise. Look in your kitchen…see the 12 cup coffee pot? You never have to share it and chances are he will become an expert coffee maker just for you!

1. The only place you’ve ever seen him is in your dreams!
You thought the last one was the most obvious sign he’s not of this world…so did I! But no…it gets MORE obvious than that! First you must admit to yourself that you’ve seen him before…if ONLY IN YOUR DREAMS. I can’t stress this enough, if your dream guy shows up in the flesh it doesn’t matter if he’s not of this world! You can explain to your family his lack of a past, why they next see him after dark (tell them he’s a vampire…that may be awkward but more believable than the truth), and why he rebuffs your grandmother’s prized Brazilian coffee. Only question left is…what if your family already knows?

So yep, that's about it for today! Thanks for visiting! :)

Blog Tour: I Am Just Junco Series by J.A. Huss - Guest Post + Giveaway

Hey guys! Welcome to today's blog tour! So today, J.A. Huss is joining us with her 3 books from the I Am Just Junco Series. Currently, there are 3 books, but a total of 5 books will be coming out. Clutch is the first book in the series, followed by Fledge, then Flight. Range is the fourth and will be coming out on the 1st of April, 2013 with the series conclusion, Return, coming out on the 1st of October, 2013.


In 2152 the avian race is on Earth looking for something stolen from them decades ago – their genetics. At the center of the search lies the Rural Republic; a small backwards farming country with high hopes of military domination and a penchant for illegal bioengineering.

19 year old Junco Coot is the daughter of the Rural Republic’s ranking commander. She’s the most foul-mouthed, wildly unpredictable and ruthless sniper the Rural Republic has ever trained. But when her father’s death sparks a trip into forbidden places, she triggers events that will change everything she knows to be true.

As an elite avian military officer, Tier’s mission is to destroy the bioengineering projects, kill Commander Coot’s daughter, and return home immediately. There’s just one problem. Junco isn’t who she claims to be.

With no one to trust, not even herself, Junco must confront the secrets of her past and accept her place in the future, or risk losing herself completely.

Check out the book trailer here | Goodreads


Junco Coot can’t even remember her trip off Earth; she was too busy being morphed into her new avian body. But reality hits her hard when she wakes up to find her new life is not what she expected. Not even close. Tier is on trial for disobeying his commander’s kill order and only Junco seems to care.

In most places the avian coming-of-age Fledge ritual would be nothing more than mass murder, but here in the capital city of Amelia, it’s called growing up. Junco has no choice; either fight to the death to prove her worth or get sent back to Earth in the hands of her enemies.

Her new military team is hostile, her body is being taken over by an illicit artificial intelligence, the avian president wants her dead, and her only friend is a ten-year old throwaway boy.

On a foreign habitat, in a foreign culture, and surrounded by people she can’t trust or count on, Junco must find a way to save herself and Tier without losing her immortal soul in the process.

Check out the book trailer here | Goodreads


Escape from Earth. Check.

Morph into an avian body. Check.

Survive Fledge and Deliverance, soul intact. Check.

Bring her Siblings back to Amelia and restore the avian race? Not so fast, darlin’.

There’s a new twist on an old prophecy and this one brings the End of Days. Junco must make a choice, but the choices all confirm her only worth is tied up in killing.

Lucan has secrets. Secrets that will make the Stag Camp look like playschool. And the lies are flowing like a mountain river during spring thaw. But he needs Junco to cooperate just a little bit longer or it all falls apart.

The Siblings on Earth are waiting for the Seventh to return and pull their clutch together. But Earth has secrets too -- secrets that change everything.

Junco has survived against impossible odds, but the cost of survival is higher than she ever imagined. Luck is about to catch up with Junco Coot and her debt must be paid.

Check out the book on Goodreads

J.A. Huss

J. A. Huss never took a creative writing class in her life. Some would say it shows. Others might cut her some slack. She did however, get educated and graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Equine Science. She had grand dreams of getting a Ph.D. but while she loves science, she hated academia and settled for a M.S. in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida.

She went on to write science curriculum for homeschoolers and now runs a successful home business that creates and offers online science unit studies. When she’s not writing science curriculum or fiction, she works as a farm inspector, traveling the Eastern Plains of Colorado in variety of environmentally friendly vehicles that never have four-wheel drive, so when she gets stuck in the mud in said vehicles, she has to beg for assistance from anyone who will help her. She is not bitter about that at all.

She’s always packing heat and she is owned by two donkeys, five dogs, more chickens and ducks than she can count, and of course, the real filthy animals, her kids. The I Am Just Junco series was born after falling in love with the ugliest part of Colorado and the Rural Republic is based on the area of the state she currently resides in, minus the mutants, of course.

And now, let's welcome J.A. to the blog!

Who is Us and Who is Them?

It’s a good question and when you’re being heralded as the savior of at least two races of sentient beings, it’s down-right critical for success.

Unfortunately for Junco Coot, the heroine in my new I Am Just Junco series, she has no answer for this question. She has no idea who is us and who is them. In fact, she starts asking this question in the beginning of the first book, Clutch, and is still asking it as I write book four, Range. :)

One theme running through all my stories is trust. Junco definitely has trust issues so lots of easy things turn into major conflicts because she can’t accept anything at face value. Don’t get me wrong, she’s right not to trust them because everyone around her has an agenda and no one seems to truly have her best interests at heart.

In Clutch, Junco is on the run. The only problem with this scenario is that she’s just not sure who or what she’s running from. Or to? Everyone seems interested in having access to her; some even want to keep her against her will.

But in the end it comes down to one question.

What does Junco want?

Ha! If only it were that easy!

Wanting and getting are two completely different things. Wanting implies passive dreams, while getting implies deliberate actions. And in each book in the series, Junco has a choice. Each decision leads her a little farther down her want path. Each deliberate action gets her one step closer to her final destination.

But even though she tries hard and we root for her, she’s not perfect. She makes a lot of mistakes, she hurts a lot of people, and she has trouble accepting herself because not only does she not trust the people around her, but she lacks faith in herself as well.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Junco turns to her religion, but she mostly does this as a last desperate attempt to change her fate or the fate of others. She thinks she has faith, but her doubts creep in just as she’s about to take a side - just as she’s about to finally choose who is us and who is them that age old battle between good and evil sneaks up on her to swing it out in her mind.

But as the author, if I could tell Junco just one thing, I’d tell her, “Hang in there, Snowbird. You’re doing good. No one’s perfect, hold your head up, and keep marching forward. You’ll figure it out eventually because we’ve only got five books in the series!”

Junco’s journey encompasses a twisty plot, dubious characters, escalating stakes, and an uncertain outcome. Clutch is the first book in a five book series and in this book we find Junco on the cusp of discovering the truth about who and what she really is.

What you don’t get in the first book is the true nature of the problem she’s facing, but since we’re sharing I’ll let you in on a secret…

The End of Days are coming and Junco’s blowing the trumpets.

Welcome to the angel apocalypse. Welcome to I Am Just Junco. Get the first three books at Amazon today and experience the end of the world through the eyes of Junco, the reluctant savior.

Great news! The first book of the series, Clutch is free to anyone who signs up for the JA Huss newsletter!

Enter the giveaway here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting! :)

Blog Tour: Not Long Ago by Susan Royal - Guest Post + Excerpt

Not Long Ago

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times-- somewhere around 600 years.
Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something’s not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.
Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire. She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty. Yet, she must deny her feelings. Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home. But, Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.

Check it out at Amazon | Goodreads | Museitup

Susan Royal

Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan makes her home in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town that comes with a ghost who has been known to harmonize with her son whenever he plays guitar. She’s married, with three children and four grandchildren.
She comes from a family rich with characters, both past and present. She spent her childhood listening to her grandmother’s stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory with three sisters and three brothers and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. Her father shared stories of growing up in San Antonio during the depression, and through her mother’s eyes she experienced how it felt to be a teenager during WWII.
Yesterday, the first piece she ever submitted, won author Cody James Wolfe’s Flash Fiction Newsletter Contest and that started it all. Her entry, Lost Souls, won 2nd place in the 2009 short story contest of the Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization and My Father’s House won 3rd place in the 2010 competition. Not Long Ago is a time travel adventure/romance, available through MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. She is currently working on a sequel, because the Erin and Griffin’s story wasn’t finished. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance, due out May, 2013.

Time for a short excerpt!

I saw him the other day. It happened when I cut across Market Street and passed in front of the fancy new coffee shop. On the other side of spotless glass, waitresses in crisp black uniforms served expensive coffee in fancy cups and saucers. One man sat alone at a table by the window. No one I knew, just a handsome stranger who glanced up as I passed. Our eyes met and I froze in the middle of a busy sidewalk crowded with impatient people. Annoyed, they parted, sweeping past me like water rushing downstream.
What I saw left me reeling, as though someone had knocked the wind out of me. My glimpse deep inside the man’s essence unnerved me, but I couldn’t look away. Who was he? The waitress stopped at his table. He turned, lowering his cup into its saucer and shook his head, his mouth curving into a familiar smile that made my heart lurch.
After she left, his eyes returned to mine. A moment before, I thought they’d held a spark of recognition. Now, I saw nothing. I felt cold, as though he’d slammed a door in my face and left me standing outside in the rain.
I had no other choice but to move on.
It wasn’t just recognition—I knew things about him too. Things I had no reason to know. An image flashed in my mind: the curl of hair at the nape of his neck; a scar snaking down his arm. I’d put it there, after all.
I knew the man before me was an excellent horseman, accomplished swordsman, and an honorable man. Beyond the shadow of a doubt. How could I be so certain?
There was something else. A chilling realization crept up my spine. He didn’t belong in my world. Not in the coffee shop, not in the city. Not anywhere. None of this should have happened. We should have been no more than casual observers sharing a moment before going our separate ways. But something went wrong.

And now, let's welcome Susan to the blog!

On Friday, October 19th, I had the pleasure of traveling to the Austin area to do a presentation on writing to my granddaughter’s 5th grade class. This is the first time I’ve done any speaking about writing to a group that age, so I was a little nervous about making the experience beneficial to both of us.

I needn’t have worried. The class had written some excellent questions to ask me about writing. Several of them were reading Hunger Games. It didn’t hurt a bit for them to know I’d read the books and enjoyed them. We had a lively discussion about the characters, which of them were their favorites and what draws you to them. We discussed action and plot and what makes a story good.

Doing promo work for Not Long Ago has been a lot more fun than I expected. I get to talk to people about something I love to do – spin a tale. I am able to relive the excitement of signing my first contract, seeing my cover for the first time and all the ups and downs in between. It gets me excited about my current projects all over again.

It’s encouraging to see there are readers who love to get lost in another world just like I do – especially the young ones.

Not Long Ago is a time travel novel with action and romance that takes place in a medieval world. There’s something for everyone. If you want a sneak peak of what it’s all about, go here.

A little about Not Long Ago: Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times-- somewhere around 600 years.

Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something is not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire. She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty. Yet, she must deny her feelings. Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home. But Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.

So yep, that's about it for today! Thanks for visiting!

Blog Tour: Dudes Down Under by Suzannah Burke - Excerpt

Dudes Down Under
Dudes Series Book One

Suzannah Burke


Genre: Romantic Comedy

Publisher: Taylor Street Books


ISBN: 1475220715


Number of pages: 286

Word Count: 90,000




Book Description:

Dudes Down Under, the most luxurious resort ever built. It sits on a privately owned Island on the Great Barrier Reef, off the northernmost region of Australia.

No cell-phones, no computers, no paparrazi.

The Menu:

The world's most famous talk show hostess and the owner of the island sign a deal, the result; Hollywood's 'A' listers all vying for a chance to be the first guests.

The Method:

They pay half a million dollars for the privilege of being randomly chosen from a barrel of names on her programme.

The Ingredients:

The winners, include Hollywood's foremost golden couple.  His very unforgiving ex-wife.  

The young hotel heiress with a habit of driving whilst drunk and little else to commend her.  Blend in a couple of famous expatriate actors

Add the tower owning king of power with an unfortunate hairstyle and attitude.

The television hostess and her film crew.

Add to the mixture:

The most politically incorrect bunch of Australian staff you are likely to meet, anywhere.

The dessert:

Cyril, who has impeccable dress sense, adores Al Pacino and Marlon Brando, drinks to excess, and has a fascinating attitude about well—everything! Well ... yes--he is a Crocodile, but he's family.

Blend the ingredients carefully then stand well back!

'Dudes Down Under' is waiting for you to arrive.

About the Author:

Authors are meant to enjoy talking about themselves, right? Wrong! It is so difficult to blow your own trumpet without sounding big-headed or apologetic or both at once … "I do apologize for sounding big-headed." You get my drift? I can do this straight up or in my normal (Occasionally) manner.

So here we go…I have had the privilege of having 3 books published by Taylor Street Publishing. Books one and two are biographical and written under my pen name of Stacey Danson. 'Empty Chairs' and its sequel 'Faint Echoes of Laughter' have been well received and for that I will always be so very grateful. They are difficult books to read, dealing as they do with the explosive topic of Child abuse in its most horrific of forms. When I was writing Empty Chairs I badly needed a release of some sort; somewhere I could focus my mind apart from the memories I had to relive. 'Dudes Down Under' is the result.

The book is Romantic and dare I say it very funny in an over the top, off the wall, 'what the hell did she just say?' way. The characters I loved writing. They became my friends. They gave me an avenue to explore strong women, vulnerable men, and love with all its faults and foibles. They also allowed me to explore comedic writing to its fullest extent.

Reviewers tell me they cried laughing at the comedy … and at times simply cried. I have a sequel (Dudes Does Hollywood) in the planning stages.

I have also recently completed a psychological thriller…phew! Challenges are something I never avoid. Only time will tell if my exploration of different genres will be successful.

Read an excerpt here!

Chapter 1 Dudes Down Under.

The dream becomes reality.



Lucy shook back her waist length hair; it clung in wet strands to her olive-skinned shoulders as she emerged from the lagoon.  This was her island, her home. Twenty-four hours from now people ready to criticize and find fault with everything and anything would invade it.


Her stomach clenched in a tight knot.  Nerves were her biggest enemy. They often blew the hell out of her attempts to present herself as cool, collected, and unaffected.  Well, daddy, wherever you are…this is it. I have done what I promised you I would do.  I've built it.  It's real daddy, I can see it from here.  I wish you could see it. Can you?  I hope so. It was your dream and mine, I hope to hell it works.


She gave herself a quick brush down, gently flicking the silver sand onto the pathway leading through the rainforest to her private dwelling.


Tomorrow was D Day…Dudes Day.  Today was the last chance to change anything.


Lucy looked out from her wide verandah at the sparkling newness of the resort.

Dudes down Under  curved around the lagoon seeming to blend into the crystal water. The separate bungalows at varying levels half hidden from view by the rain forest nestled around them. It was her baby, her pride in it a tangible thing. She had poured her heart and her entire inheritance into her dream, her father's dream. Daddy was gone, their dream resort was here, real at last and waiting.


Every bungalow was individually created to reflect a part of her Australia. The Great Barrier Reef lent itself to every imaginable color combination. The feeling of being in the water  heightened by the floor to ceiling aquariums in every bungalow, leading through corridors of terrariums  and out to a private pool and spa ceilinged with rain forest vines, and a glass archway that could be soundlessly closed over by remote control.


The pool in each began inside the lower level of the bungalow, the guests could swim from the wet bar area inside and arrive outside without leaving the water. Surround sound systems unobtrusively allowed music of the guests choice to be played in any of the 8 rooms decorated to the absolute comfort of any individual.


Quality not quantity was apparent in every room.


Furnishings lovingly hand crafted by the best of the best…every accessory original and exquisite.


Lucy hugged herself and smiled as the memory of her father and his laughter at her youthful exuberance invaded again. This dream had begun with him. She had been raised with his vision of a classic place where people could come and find nirvana…piece of mind in absolute luxury.  Each bungalow was unique. Beautiful stationery lay on the desks inside the library off the master bedroom. Handwritten letters replacing the urgency of email. Time was in abundance here. The urgency of the world outside would disappear for the duration of the stay.


Lucy took a last glance down at 'Dudes'.   She dressed in a white cotton sarong, wound her ebony mass of hair into a chignon, and headed down to the main reception area.


Skeet was having a quiet smoke and coffee, he sat perched on a fallen tree.  The air was still damp and cool in these moments just after sunrise.  He caught sight of Lucy walking down the winding pathway through the vines and ferns.  She looked wonderful as always.  He gave himself a shake; Steady on stupid! Lucy is way outta your league.  The voice on his other shoulder was shouting—'Shut up angel puss…go for it boyo, what have ya got to lose?' He told both voices to shut their cake-holes.


Lucy smiled with relief when she spotted Skeet, he was her friend, and absolutely the most dedicated employee anyone could wish for.  He stood up to welcome her and she glanced at his 6 ft 3 inch frame, as a friend he was the best, as a man…whoo-ee!  The nicest thing was he had no idea just how devastating he was to look at. Dark curls above a pair of deep blue eyes, and a killer smile. The most wonderful thing about Skeet was just … Skeet.

"G'mornin', me lovely.  Did ya get any sleep?" he asked.

"Not much, but it's okay, I was kind of expecting to toss and turn a bit."

"Ya wanna have a coffee before we do the meeting thing?"

"Yes, oh yes please, Skeet. Even my butterflies have butterflies."

"She'll be right, mate.  Can't do a thing about it now anyway.  So relax a bit, enjoy a coffee and a smoke. What time do ya want me to call 'em in for the session?"

"Half an hour?"

"Yeah sounds good.  Sit yourself down; you're as twitchy as a cow in a bull yard."

"That bad huh?"


"Make it a bloody strong coffee."

"You got it."

They relaxed together, sipping on hot coffee and smoking. Each aware of how very important the next Twenty-four hours would be.

Lucy flicked a look at her Rolex, gave Skeet a nod, and they both headed into the Grand ballroom to ready themselves for the staff meeting.



"Testing --testing, 1-2-3—Attention, attention.  All staff-- there will be a full staff meeting in ten minutes in the grand ballroom.  Bluey!  That means you too, mate.  So put ya smoke out—drink down ya coffee, and get your arse in here quick smart, ya drongo!"

"Is that what ya wanted, darlin'?"  Skeet asked, as he turned from the public address system.

"Thanks, I wouldn't know what to do without you, you're wonderful!"  Lucy reached across the desk and gave him a quick hug.

"Geez, mate, knock off the flattery, you'll give me a swelled bloody head."

"Skeet, can you please, please--stop calling me mate!  I feel like a man every time you say it."

"Well, now, Lucy, me little darlin', you don't know how often I wished to hear you say that!  But you're the boss and I'm just a Croc handler.  Sad, isn't it?

"Well — no. I …  I don't mean I feel like a man; well I do, but not like really feel, aw hell!  You, cheeky bugger, you know what I mean!"

"Wouldn't have a clue, ma … er, chooky!  No bloody idea.  If ya believe that malarkey, I got an island ya might be interested in buyin'!  Strewth, you're a real corker, when ya go that blood red color, Lucy."

"What?  Oh, um, thanks, Skeet, I think?"

"Look, Lucy, I've known ya since you started this project, and I admire you a lot, you know that.  But, mate, bloody hell, are ya sure it's a smart move--not tellin' the others that you own this joint?"

"I don't know for sure if it's smart or not.  But, it's the way I want it.  These people are a good bunch.  You and I both know just how damned hard they've worked to have this place ready in time.  I don't want to have them watching their manners with me.  I'll get to hear a lot more about, well--everything, if they think I'm just working here as the manager. Please, Skeet."

"Yep, all right.  I understand, mum's the word."

Lucy leaned over and gave her friend another kiss on the cheek, "Thanks, Skeet.  Oh, and, Skeet, that's a nice color red on you too!"

"Females.  Bloody—females."  Skeet headed in to the grand ballroom with a huge smile on his handsome face.  Lucy was a real little corker.  Her dad would be so proud of her.  Bloody shame he had to go and get himself eaten …!  Bloody Crocs are such unpredictable bastards.  Well--except for Cyril--but Cyril was family.


The staff gathered in the Grand Ballroom waiting for Lucy to come in.  She glanced around and noted without surprise that Bluey was not amongst them.  She looked across at Skeet; he hurried off to the P.A system.

"Bluey! Ya, lazy bastard--smoko's finished.  Get ya arse in here now or you will be in deep shit mate.  Now, Bluey!"

Everyone was laughing when Skeet returned; and he gave them a shrug and rolled his eyes.

Bluey wandered in, swaggering as always.  His tall lean frame and his shock of red-hair came as an unusually attractive package.  Not freckled like many redheads, his skin was clear and his eyes an electric green.

"Thanks for gracing us with your presence, Bluey," said Lucy.

"Anything for you, Lucy, anything at all."

Lucy ignored the comment. Bluey was a problem, she kept hoping he would pick up his act and pull his weight. No luck so far. She dreaded having to fire anyone; but he was a definite liability at the moment. She ignored that thought for now, needing to focus clearly on the meeting.


"Okay everyone." She said and clapped her hands together, "One more day till the opening.  I want to run through everything once more.  Not as formally as we usually do.  We have a hectic and nerve racking time ahead of us.  Our first and most important guests will be here in just under twenty-four hours.  I want to thank all of you for the amazing amount of work and dedication you have shown.  I have been advised that each and every staff member will be receiving a bonus in their next pay."


This announcement was greeted with cheers all round.  The electricity and collective nerves were very apparent.


"When do we find out who won the draw, Lucy?  It's so exciting."  Ginny spoke up with her eyes glittering feverishly. Lucy looked at her fondly, Ginny was her friend, and an employee, yet there was no denying that to every male with a pulse who didn't know her well it appeared that her twenty-year-old body was built for sex.  Her mind was built some time later.  Sadly, she was also a natural blonde, which sure as hell didn't help her in the, we-believe-you-are-intelligent-truly-we-do, stakes! Lucy was very protective of the youngster, and it showed.


"Miss Peters is doing the draw on her talk show."  Lucy continued with a huge grin at Ginny's excitement.  "The list will be sent immediately, along with any special dietary needs, and the numbers of staff accompanying those chosen.  I have been told to restrict their staff to two.  Due to the fame of most of the people in the draw, they will be listed under pseudonyms.  We want them to have a holiday--paparazzi free.  That is a huge part of what has attracted them here, these people want to be treated just like everyone else.  Or at least they think they do!"


"She, gets to come no matter what--doesn't she?"  Ginny was almost squeaking she was so excited.  Yet still managing to say 'She' with dignified non-blasphemous restraint.


"Yes, Ginny.  Miss Peters is the reason all the other beautiful people want to come.  They all want to be the first of the big names on the 'A' list to check us out and hopefully give us the thumbs up!"


The entire room turned as one when Cyril made his regular morning entrance and headed for his favorite area near the floor to ceiling windows.  He liked looking out over the beautiful lagoon.


"Jeez, is it that late?  Sorry, Cyril me old mate, I lost track of the time." Skeet stood as he spoke.


Well I am so touched that you forgot me!  Am I that unnecessary!  What would it take for me to be more memorable?  Hmm?  I am twenty-eight feet long.  I wear my own little collection of designer t/shirts and sun hats.  My sun glasses are Gucci, and yet I'm forgettable.  Sigh!  Life is so unjust.


Skeet hurried out to the kitchen,  returning  with Cyril's breakfast.  He threw the live chickens one by one, and Cyril did his usual appreciative, snap--crackle and slobber routine.  He then lay quietly drinking his gallon of beer.  Being a 28 ft long Crocodile had distinct advantages.  Cyril smiled his crocodile smile and belched loudly.


Well that is much better.  You lot are my family you know.  Odd—granted, you certainly are.  Yet I love you all, in my own way.  I mean I haven't eaten any of you—have I?  Just isn't done.  Life is good, and the women in this place…mmmm, makes me wish I were a frog, one kiss, and whoo-eeee!  I wonder how many of my little family know just how cute they are.


Cyril, having drawn only the briefest acknowledgment at his presence; contented himself by farting and snoring in harmony and stink.  Life at 'Dudes' was—so—normal.


"Lucy, they already know about the restrictions—no cell phones, no faxes?  No television, all that sort of stuff?"  Asked, Didi with a grin on her face.


"Yep, they do."


"So I had better be prepared for a lot of withdrawal symptoms, hey, Lucy?" Said Doc.


"Probably, Doc."


"When we are all relaxed and comfortable, I'm going to open up a general question time.  Anything—anything at all that might have crossed your minds; things that we haven't covered or you're unsure about, please feel free to ask--anything! If you just want to confirm something we've already covered, or have a gripe about something, now is the time to do it. Once our guests arrive I will have little or no time for a one-on-one with any of you. So people, ask away."


"So, beautiful—what are you doing after work?"  Bluey, asked.


"Anything I like, Bluey boy!  But I don't date outside my species!"  Lucy smiled sweetly at him, daring him with a look to say more.






That shut him up--temporarily.


Cyril belched again. That mongrel, Bluey, better keep his hands of Lucy.  I wouldn't need a whole lot of reasons to eat that bastard.


"So, Lucy" Bluey said with his hands on his hips, " Lemme get this straight all right? This bunch of spoiled-arse whatever's;  are paying half-a-million bucks per couple, plus the same again for each staff member they bring with them.  All for the privilege of being normal human beings for one month?"  Bluey was clearly unimpressed at this brand of stupidity. "Don't make any damned sense to me at all. Bunch of wimps if you ask me."


"Bluey … these people have so many restrictions in their lives. They can't do normal things that we all take for granted without a dozen camera's following them every inch of the way. So please lose the attitude. Okay. They are simply here for a holiday. One we need to help them enjoy … got that?"


"Yeah, yeah whatever."


Lucy chose to ignore his muttered agreement. She turned instead and directed herself to the remaining staff.


"Okay people. So long as we are clear on one very important point. These folks want the freedom of going anywhere they want, without question—or paparazzi.  They have gone to a great deal of trouble to ensure the press doesn't know where they are."  Lucy looked at the assembled faces and continued,


"The names you will be instructed to call them are up to them.  Should they decide that they wish to be referred to as … um… 'Hey You!'  We will do it.  Is that very clearly understood, everyone?"


Mutterings of, "Yeah--no problem … gotcha, right, and … whatever!"  All wafted through the air at once.

"Uh-huh—perfect—their jaded palates and boringly perfect lives are about to get sat on their heads—I think they might just find Australia—unforgettable."


Blog Tour: Forged by Greed by Angela Orlowski Peart - Guest Post

Hey guys! Welcome to today's post! Sorry its late, I was out the whole day! Enjoy:)

 Forged by Greed
by Angela Orlowski Peart

Their choice had been taken away long before they were born.


Two Seattle 16-year-old Shape Shifters, Jatred and Jasmira, are torn between following their hearts and protecting the order of the world. The path of the star-crossed lovers leads only to destruction.

The ancient Shape Shifter Races—the Winter wolves and the Summer leopards— live among humans and fit perfectly into modern life, while keeping secret societies with their own laws and traditions.

Two Goddesses, Crystal and Amber command their respective Races. One is on a quest to tilt the scale of power to her side. The other will never let it happen, even if it means sacrificing Jatred and Jasmira’s love.

The Amulet commissioned to bring stability into the world remains hidden and concealed with the help of advanced technology. Jatred is the guardian of the Amulet and key to the Goddesses’ conflict.

When the forces of nature are disrupted, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions rake the world.  The Goddesses go to war and summon all their Shifters to join in the conflict. Jatred and Jasmira must fight not only for their love but to protect the future of both Races and humankind.

About the Author:

Angela Orlowski-Peart was born and raised in Poland. She describes herself as “European born, American by choice”. She was just seven-years-old when she decided to learn English to translate her favorite Polish fairytales.

Angela is a Young Adult fiction writer. She completed her first YA paranormal romance novel, Forged by Greed, which is scheduled for publication on September 20, 2012. It is the first book in The Forged Series. Angela writes in multiple genres, including paranormal, fantasy, urban fiction, sci-fi, and short stories. She is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Western Washington Chapter (, and several authors’ and readers’ networking groups on Linkedin and Goodreads. 

Angela loves reading good books almost as much as writing them. She can’t decide which is her favorite season—summer or fall. She speaks with Polish accent, but loves listening to the Southern drawl.

She is passionate about watercolor painting, fashion—especially stilettos, rock climbing, environment, and organic food and gardening. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, two children, and a very independent and chronically curious cat.

Angela can be found on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin and Goodreads.

And now, let's welcome Angela to the blog!

A Good Book Makes a Wonderful Gift

Although Christmas is a few weeks away, I know plenty of people who already make their holiday shopping lists and decide on what gifts to buy for their friends and relatives. After all, it’s never too early to start planning!
Books make great gifts and not only for the holiday season, but for the occasions like birthdays, graduation, or when we want to express a special “thank you” to someone.

Books have always been an important part of my life. I appreciate a good book as a gift. My bookcases house many genres in fiction and nonfiction. There are new and old books; hardcovers and paperbacks; thin and thick volumes. I also download a lot of books to my Kindle—my faithful travel companion.

About a year ago I have read Jody Hedlund’s post about the idea of a free book. She asked a curious question, “Does giving away all those free books really work {for authors}? Does it help an author’s sales on their current release?” Visit Jody’s blog to read more—her reasoning is logical and also ties with the subject of this post. Book-giving is a great answer to such question. Supporting your favorite authors and, at the same time, introducing their books to your family and friends really makes a lot of sense. And what would make a better gift than an interesting book?

Fiesta del Libro
About the same time as Jody Hedlund’s post mentioned above, Rachelle Gardner wrote a blog post, encouraging us to consider books or book gift certificates for the friends and family as Christmas gifts. I think coworkers would appreciate a great book much more than that white elephant gift. Another great idea for the Holidays is to donate books to a favorite charity, church, or a local school. My children’s school has a great donation program—a child celebrating birthday is encouraged to donate a book to the school library. This simple act of giving (and not just receiving) teaches children to share and give, even on their own birthdays.

I volunteer in my parish library and often see a lot of books donated there. Most of them are used, but there are some brand new ones too.

Your local public library might also be a great place to donate new books. The library might even have a list of suggested books for a donation.

There are still plenty of places in our world where a book, especially a new one, is a real luxury. I have a list of a few non-profit organizations that distribute books to underserved communities:

Illumination Publishers International—sends Christian literature to missionaries, as well as Christians in third world countries.

Judith’s Reading Room—creates mobile libraries for VA hospitals, war zone areas for active military, pediatric emergency rooms, and underserved communities.

Christian Library International—supplies Christian literature to prisoners.

Christian Resources International—sends donated books to missionaries and pastors worldwide.

Another possibility is to check Donation Town—an online directory for local charities accepting book donations for adult literacy programs, hospice reading to patients programs, and small libraries with a limited budget.

Not sure what book to give to your family member, friend, or a coworker this holiday season? Get them a gift certificate instead. Barnes and Noble or Amazon are really easy to find something interesting for every, even most sophisticated, taste.

Below are a few of my favorite book quotes:

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.”-Mark Twain

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
Groucho Marx

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Jorge Luis Borges

“You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”
Paul Sweeney

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
― Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

“I cannot live without books.”
Thomas Jefferson

“There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.”
Bertrand Russell

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
William Styron

And my absolutely favorite one: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
Toni Morrison

What are your favorite books of all times? What book would you like to receive this Holiday season? Do you like receiving and/or giving books and/or book gift certificates as gifts?


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