Monday, September 25, 2017

Christmas at the Lake {+ Giveaway}


Christmas at the Lake
Charlotte Blake
(Great Escapes, #2)
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Sometimes love gets forgotten …
Hugely successful Lexi Stuart is used to guys pursuing her, but for all the wrong reasons. Sure, she’s beautiful and rich, but the men in her life never seem to want anything more serious than just sex. It’s a stark reality she’s become used to.
As a code writer in Silicon Vally, Adam Hunt doesn’t have to worry about money. And as a heartthrob in general, he doesn’t need to worry about attracting women, either. But when he meets Lexi during a Christmas holiday in Lake Tahoe, he’s floored that she won’t give him the time of day after one wild night together.
Now, this sports bum is about to take Lexi on the ride of her life. All she needs to do is hang on!
18+
NOTE: This STAND-ALONE romance contains very steamy love scenes. All of the books in the Great Escapes series can be read in any order.
EXCERPT:
She knew she should have waited to drive over the pass to Lake Tahoe, but she just didn’t have that sort of patience. The snow was practically a blizzard now, and she pulled off to the side of the road where men waited to put on chains for motorists. She rolled down the window of her Tesla SUV, the crack just wide enough to slip the man a couple of bills.
“Chains are in the back.”
She rolled the window up again, wiping the snowflakes off her leather seats.
She was so ready for a break that she’d ignored the weather warnings and driven up on her own, purposely leaving her laptop at home. Now, if she didn’t get over the pass soon, she’d be sleeping in the car.
The hatch opened, and two men took out the boxes of chains she had stashed there. It was illegal to travel up this road without them; her brother, Jack, had reminded her of this, and she’d sent her assistant out to purchase a pair for the trip.
A frigid breeze blew through the car as the men closed the hatch, making her shiver a little. She pulled out a scarf from her bag and, wrapping it around herself, cranked up the heat.
The men finished quickly with the chains, but the rest of the drive was not quick at all. She had been listening to Christmas music, trying to get into the mood of the holiday. But as the storm increased in intensity, she switched over to the channel broadcasting road conditions.
“Highway 50 is open for the time being, but is expected to close within the hour. Blizzard conditions are expected to worsen for the next twenty-four hours. Motorists are advised to exit off the pass as soon as safely possible to allow snow clearing crews to plow the roads.”
Her wheels had more traction with the chains, but the going was slow, and the whole car vibrated from the rough mountain road.
She tapped her fingernails against the steering wheel, a nervous habit she had when she was stressed. Now she could only see a few feet in front of her. She knew that just off to her right was a deadly drop-off. She squinted at the windshield, trying desperately to keep her eyes on the tire tracks and red lights of the cars ahead.
She drove like this for over an hour. Shoulders hunched. Neck tight. The radio silent now.
Finally, the road started to descend from the mountain, and, just visible below, the lights of South Lake Tahoe came into view.
She drove through the town, signs for ski and snowmobile rentals winking down at her. Finally, the sign she’d been looking for popped out.
Black Bear Lodge
She held her breath as she turned down the uncleared lane, hoping that the SUV would be able to make it to the other side of the narrow drive.
The chains were what saved her. The car plowed through the snow, which accumulated along the front bumper and blew across the windshield. But the chains held traction all the way to the lodge. She pulled the car into the small parking lot, where just four others were parked, each made nearly unrecognizable by the snow piled on the roofs.
She parked, but left the car, and the heat, running. She pulled off her knee-high boots and replaced them with the snow boots she had bought at the last minute. Then came a puffy, silver jacket, which she zipped all the way to the top.
She looked around. No bellhop.
Sighing, she shut off the car and opened the door. The snow was so deep that it went above her protective boots. She trudged along to the back and retrieved her two large suitcases. Trying to roll the bags through the snow was nearly impossible, so she resorted to simply dragging them along. She was lucky; they were both light, one with clothing, one with gifts for her family. Gift cards and candles could only weigh so much.
As she passed through the lot, she saw that none of the cars were those of her family. They must have not made it over the mountain yet. They wouldn’t have unless they’d been right behind her on the drive. The news had told her that the pass was closed now.
She struggled with the suitcases up the steps to the main entrance of the building, spitting out the snowflakes that landed on her lips. By the time she got up the small flight of stairs, she was covered head to foot in heavy white flakes.
Even though she hurried to get inside, it was impossible not to notice that the lodge was spectacular. Long wood beams jutted upward, supporting the great vaulted ceiling. It was a large home, really, run by an older couple as a bed and breakfast. There were only a few rooms, and it was this privacy her dad had wanted when he’d had her book the vacation for everyone. In a day or two, when the storm ebbed, she would be joined by him, her two brothers, their wives, and one niece.
Secretly, she was happy to have a little time on her own before family descended upon her. They always had more questions than she felt like answering.
When was she going to settle down?
Has she been dating?
Work wasn’t everything, you know …
She sighed, her breath blowing out of her mouth like smoke from a cigarette.
Every light in the place was lit, casting a warm glow over the snowy landscape. She didn’t knock, and instead walked right in. Immediately, a gust of warm air washed over her.
“Hello?” she called.
She hadn’t seen them, but two men sat in front of a huge fireplace at the far end of the room. They turned at her voice.
“Hi,” one of them said, getting up and walking toward her.
“Hi,” she said. “Am I in the right place? Black Bear, right?”
“This is it.” He opened his arms.
The front room was huge, even bigger than it looked from outside. A staircase descended from the second floor, curving down toward a ten-foot-tall Christmas tree, its star soaring high above. It was decorated with what looked like family heirloom ornaments. Her own mother had built a collection over the years, and it looked like the owners here had done the same. The tree was a sparkling wonder that seemed to never end. Its scent filled the room, and she took a deep breath in.
“It’s wonderful, isn’t it?” the man said.
“Mmm. How do I check in?” she asked, stomping the snow off her boots onto the mat.
“That’ll be Mary and Edward. They’re the ones who run this place. But I think they might’ve gone to bed already. It’s pretty late.”
She hadn’t noticed the time. It was already past ten.
“Mary left a note for you on the table. Can I help you with your bags?”
“Sure,” she said, leaving them where they stood.
She walked over to the entry table and picked up the note.
Ms. Stewart-
Sorry we haven’t been able to stay up to meet you. Your family’s rooms are in the east wing of the house. Please feel free to choose from the four of them. If you’d like wine or hot cocoa, there is a table close to the fire. Breakfast starts at seven and runs until ten. If you’re an early riser, you’ll also find coffee available at six.
Your father called to let us know that they have been unable to make it over the pass into Lake Tahoe. The roads have been closed, and it may be a couple of days before they reopen.
We look forward to meeting you in the morning.
Mary and Edward Holden
She sighed. “Can you help me upstairs, too?”
“Sure.” He outstretched one hand. “My name’s Adam. Over there is my brother Jake.”
Jake sent a wave in her direction.
She took Adam’s hand. “Lexi. Thanks for your help.”
“Anytime.”
For the first time, she got a good look at him. He was tall and broad, his brown hair cut short. Green eyes, too; her favorite. To her, he looked like he might be good for a fun night. Or maybe a few fun nights.
Yum.


Author Bio:
I am happy to call the San Francisco Bay Area home, where I lives with my husband, two kids, one dog and three cats. I started writing at an early age, but have only been writing novels for the past five years. I love the idea of love conquering all, and that is what drove me to begin the Great Escapes series, where the reader follows couples meeting up in exotic locations around the world. In this series, each book is a stand-alone, and each can be read in any order.
But readers, be forewarned, there is a healthy amount of steam in these books!
Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy Great Escapes!

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Friday, September 22, 2017

All In {+ Giveaway}


ALL IN by Matthew West
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Label: Sparrow (SPR)
Copyright: © 2017 Sparrow Records
Total Length: 49:20
Genres: Christian
ASIN: BO74BQC49J

SYNOPSIS:

Matthew’s heart behind the album:
Matthew wrote his new album All In with the goal of encouraging himself and others to get up off the sidelines of their faith and really live it out – to go all in in your time with God, all in with your family, all in with your community, and all in battling your fears that may hold you back from becoming who God made you to be.
Along that same theme, Matthew launched a six-week All in Challenge on his social media starting 9/18, and each week Matthew will be challenging his fans to go all in in a different part of their lives. What does it look like when a heart that knows Jesus takes a step and holds nothing back? How can we go All In in the places that mean the most?


It’s moving, inspiring, and motivating. That’s the easiest way I can describe singer Matthew West’s new album release, ALL IN.

The album contains 14 faith-based songs. The melodies range from slow ballad-style songs to fast beat rock sounding tunes that make you want to get up and move to the music. The harmony quickly pulls you in and you’re humming along or tapping your toes.

As you listen, the words will inspire and touch your heart. If you want to sing along, the lyrics are included in a small booklet in the CD case.

This album is filled with delightful music you’ll want to listen to over and over again.

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“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

EXTRAS:

You can view the Broken Things music video HERE and watch the ALL IN lyric video HERE.

You can purchase ALL IN by following this LINK.


Thanks to the wonderful folks at FlyBy, I have a copy of ALL IN to giveaway to one lucky visitor. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and the giveaway deadline is 12 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, Sept. 28.

To enter, just leave a comment below and tell me you’d like to win a copy of this CD. Be sure to include your email address with your comment if you’re entering.

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you listen to music more at home or in your car?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Flame Series Special {+ Giveaway}

 
Caris Roane's September $.99 Flame Series
BLOOD FLAME and AMETHYST FLAME  
The Flame Series, Books #1 and #2
Caris is giving away Red Wire-Wrapped PNR Bracelet (International Winner Receives Gift Card) and A $25 Amazon Gift Card to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here
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The “Wow” Prize:
Just leave a comment for a chance to win!
Caris Roane here and I'm so glad you're touring with me. As a bonus, I’m giving away a Reader Care Package to one lucky winner just for leaving a comment on any or all of the blogs on my tour. What’s in the Reader Care Package: Truffles, Ghiradelli Chocolate, print copy of GATES OF RAPTURE, scented lotion and soap, a journal and other goodies! Be sure to visit as many blogs on my tour as you can. The more blogs you comment on, the greater your chances of winning. The Reader Care Package is US only, but an international winner will receive a gift card. How I choose the winner: I will choose the winning blog then choose the winning comment sometime after midnight, October 5th, Arizona time. I will use Random dot org to make the selection. Good luck!
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About the Books:
BLOOD FLAME, Book #1 of the Flame Series:
Vampire Officer Connor of the Crescent Border Patrol tries to suppress his desire for the powerful witch, Iris Meldeere. Because the woman possesses the ability to kill him with the tips of her fingers, how can he possibly fall in love with her? When a double homicide throws them together, he soon finds his deepest fantasies fulfilled as Iris succumbs to his seductions. But as they battle together to stay alive, and love begins to consume them both, will the witch be able to forgive the dark secrets of his past …
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AMETHYST FLAME, Book #2 of the Flame Series
Hunky Nathan Vaughn, six-six, and one muscled vampire warrior, has had a lot of trouble in his life and needs a good woman to help even things out. Vaughn and Emma met once in the past, the night they rescued three teenage girls from a kidnapping ring. But a vampire and a witch can’t have a relationship in Five Bridges. So, they parted, determined never to see each other again. Emma was desolate, then the phone rang. Vaughn called and kept calling and she kept answering. But the rescue they shared turned out to piss off one very bad wizard who decided they both needed to die. Now they’re in it, fighting to stay alive and working oh-so-hard NOT to fall in love. Will they survive when so much is against them?
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Books in the Flame Series:
Book 1: Blood Flame
Book 2: Amethyst Flame
Book 3: Dark Flame
Book 4: Amber Flame
Holiday Novella: Christmas Flame
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Excerpt from AMETHYST FLAME:
From Chapter One ~ Vaughn and Emma have been called to the homicide of three teenage girls. Emma, an alter witch, has helped the girls to leave their bodies and they’ve been talking with Emma. When they start shrieking, Emma doesn’t know what’s wrong. But Vaughn assesses the situation and takes action.
Vaughn had never felt so much power emanate from Emma before as though she’d opened the floodgates. Maybe she had. He had an impression of the three ghosts but nothing more than that, though a bad feeling crawled through him like a snake. Something wasn’t right.
Emma was bent over as if in pain, her hands held to her ears.
He felt a strange sensation on his face, like soft fingers dragging over his skin. Had to be the ghosts attempting to communicate with him. The message felt like a warning.
He turned to glance back up at the top of the ditch, wondering if the Elegance officers intended to fire on them. “Shit.” There were no longer seven but at least twelve Elegance witches and warlocks staring down at him, all members of the territory’s Border Patrol.
The fingers on his face moved swiftly now and his instincts vibrated heavily, sending warning after warning through his mind.
A second passed.
Then another.
But the moment he watched all those Border Patrol hands move in the direction of their firearms, he reacted swiftly. He didn’t have time to warn Emma. Instead, he grabbed her around the waist and as fast as he could, he hauled her straight up into the night sky.
The firing began at almost the same time.
He whipped through the air and kept flying. He didn’t shift course either, just headed higher and higher out of the line of what became a barrage of pistol fire.
He only slowed down when he couldn’t hear a single distant pop.
Hovering in the air, he reached for Emma telepathically. Emma! Are you okay? Are you hit?
I don’t know. I don’t think so. But I can hardly breathe. I think you might be holding me too tight.
Sorry. He released his death grip on her waist, though he still kept her pressed firmly against him. He doubted she could levitate. Some of the more powerful witches and warlocks could. But until tonight, Emma had kept the brakes on her power, so she probably couldn’t.
“We’re pretty high up, aren’t we?”
He cleared his mind and became aware she was shaking head to foot. She’d only flown one time before with him, but that had been two months ago.
Still holding her in a firm clasp, he told her to plant her feet on his right boot. He eased her down a little until she connected. When she did, he felt her relax right away.
“That helps so much.” As she slid an arm around his neck, she glanced around. “How high would you say we are?”
“About half a mile.”
“Oh, my God. But what happened? What was that back there and how did you think to move us so fast?”
Vaughn told her the exact sequence. “When you were doubled over, I felt fingers on my face. It was the girls, right?”
“Yes, they’d just left their bodies. They were flying around us, shrieking so loud I could hardly stand it. Didn’t you hear them?”
“No, but I could sense a warning in their touch. That’s when I gabbed you.”
“The gunfire was deafening. I take it all seven officers were firing.”
“Not seven. There were at least twelve.”
Emma groaned. “Then Loghry really wanted us dead…”
I hope you found yourself caught up in this excerpt from Chapter One of AMETHYST FLAME. o Read More and For Buy Links…
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About Caris:
Author Caris Roane
Caris Roane is the NY Times Bestselling author of Paranormal Romance. She began her career with Kensington Publishing and for eighteen years wrote Regency Romance as Valerie King. In 2005, Romantic Times Magazine honored her with a career achievement award for her Regency Romance work. To-date, she has published eighty-nine books. Thirty-nine of those are paranormal romances. Most of her paranormal stories are self-published while several in the early days were penned for St. Martin's Press.
Though her stories conjure up hunky PNR warriors, like vampires and wolf-shifters, the romance is everything, including a satisfying Happily Ever After. Her hope is that the reader will come away engrossed in the lives of her tortured heroes and her worthy women as they wage war, as they make love, and as they face the tough issues of life and relationships!  Caris lives in the Phoenix area, in a growing town called Buckeye. When not writing, she’s a real homebody. She loves gardening, sewing, and cooking. She also enjoys creating jewelry and offers her handcrafted, PNR bracelet giveaways to her newsletter and blog subscribers. Her motto? Live the fang! If you want to know more about Caris, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Tale of Two Kitties {+ Giveaway}


A TALE OF TWO KITTIES by Sofie Kelly
◊ Series: A Magical Cats Mystery, Book 9
◊ Hardcover: 336 pages
◊ Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
◊ Publisher: Berkley (September 5, 2017)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 0399584579
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0399584572

SYNOPSIS:

In this charming mystery from the bestselling author of Paws and Effect, two magical cats have powers of detection that prove indispensable to librarian Kathleen Paulson…
 
With a well-placed paw on a keyboard or a pointed stare, Kathleen’s two cats, Hercules and Owen, have helped her to solve cases in the past—so she has learned to trust their instincts. But she will need to rely on them more than ever when a twenty-year-old scandal leads to murder…
The arrival of the Janes brothers has the little town of Mayville Heights buzzing. Everyone of a certain age remembers when Victor had an affair with Leo’s wife, who then died in a car accident.
Now it seems the brothers are trying to reconcile, until Kathleen finds Leo dead. The police set their sights on Leo’s son and Kathleen’s good friend Simon, who doesn’t have much of an alibi. To prove her friend innocent, Kathleen will have to dig deep into the town's history—and into her sardine cracker supply, because Owen and Hercules don't work for free...


The allure of a library and two mysterious and magical cats will quickly draw readers into A TALE OF TWO KITTIES.

Author Sofie Kelly has created a mesmerizing atmosphere in the form of Mayville Heights with its quaint shops and zany residents. Protagonist Kathleen Paulson is a delight and her two mischievous cats, Hercules and Owen, are a fun addition.

The story moves at a good pace and holds your interest from beginning to end. The tantalizing mystery will keep you on your toes as you wonder what to expect next from the darling cat duo. The small-town setting enhances the story.

Returning fans of the series will enjoy catching up with Kathleen and the gang. New readers won’t be left in the dark if this is their first visit to Mayville Heights.

This is an amusing and fascinating murder mystery that will be hard to put down, plus you get a Magical Cats Mysteries short story, THE CAT BURGLAR, as the end.

A Tale of Two Kitties, A Magical Cats Mystery (Book #9), Berkley, @2017, ISBN: 978-0399584572, Hardcover, 336 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


Thanks to the wonderful folks at Penguin Random House, I have a print copy of A TALE OF TWO KITTIES by Sofie Kelly to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Monday, Sept. 25.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Don’t those two adorable kittens on the cover look like they would be full of mischief?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Swan Song


It’s a pleasure to welcome author Charlotte Wilson here today to tell us about her new release, SWAN SONG, which is out today!

LOVE AND LONGING IN THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF LONDON

When iconic ballerina Beatrice Duvall died, a nation mourned – and a legacy was born. Sixteen years later, her daughter Ava comes to London to take part in a high-profile tribute to Beatrice, and to learn about the mother she never knew.
There’s just one snag: the tribute is a ballet, Swan Lake. Which is infinitely painful for Ava, because she can’t dance. Won’t dance. Not since she quit the Royal Ballet School last year and walked away from everything that defined her.
But this is London, colourful and crazy, and with actor Seb at her side, there’s so much to discover. Like Theatreland razzmatazz and rooftop picnics and flamingo parties. And a whole load of truths Ava never knew about her mother – and herself.
When the time comes to take the stage, will Ava step out of the shadow cast by her mother’s pedestal? And who will be waiting for her there, in the bright lights?

A coming-of-age novel about family and first love, in the city of hopes and dreams.

Here’s an excerpt from SWAN SONG for your reading pleasure.

The Tube from Turnham Green is quiet, until we reach Earl’s Court, where it starts filling up. By the time we get to Victoria I’m in a scrum spilling out onto the platform. I find the Victoria Line platform and shoe-horn myself into a carriage; Seb would be proud of my elbow action.
At Oxford Circus I’m carried by a sea of shoppers up the escalators, across the foyer and up some steps to the street level. I’ve managed to come out the right exit, opposite the flagship Topshop. The massive store calls to me. Now that’s where to buy a dress for the tribute. Simple and trendy. I dread to think what Thisbe’s wardrobe department contact is going to make me. Something showbiz, I guess: long and loud and sparkly. Ugh.
But I don’t want to offend Thisbe, who’s called in a favour, apparently, to get me a dress sewn so quickly. So, with a sigh, I turn my back on Topshop and trudge down Argyll Street. When I see the Palladium, like a classical temple with massive columns, my mood lifts. At least I’m getting to visit one of London’s most historic theatres, where anyone who’s anyone has performed over the years, from Elvis Presley to Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald, Elton to Adele – even The Muppets have taken to this stage. I wonder: will I get to stand on the stage?
Nope, is the answer. I don’t even see the auditorium. A security guard shows me from the foyer down into the underbelly of the theatre, to a small, windowless room made even smaller by its many contents: two dressmaker’s dummies, a hanging rail of costumes, shelves of fabric and haberdashery, and a desk for the sewing machine. I barely have time to make a mental comparison of this room and the wardrobe department at the Royal Opera House – in a big room overlooking the Piazza and flooded with light – before a girl springs out from behind one of the dummies and hugs me.
Hugs me?
Thankfully, it’s brief. She steps back and beams. I smile back automatically, and in a second I take her in: round, rosy face, electric-blue eyes, dark wavy hair. She’s a little older than me, maybe twenty, and wearing stylish jeans and a really unusual shirt covered with little embroidered seahorses.
“You’re Cara Cavendish?” I say, daring to hope that maybe my dress won’t end up being horrendously glitzy after all.
“The one and only,” she says cheerfully. “And you’re Ava-who-needs-a-dress. Thisbe explained. Sit, sit…” She pulls out a little stool from under the desk and I perch on it.
Cara walks around me in a circle, eying me up and down. “Easy-peasy,” she declares. “Dancers’ forms are so simple to dress.”
“Oh,” I say. “I’m not a dancer.”
She completes her circuit and leans on the desk, looking curiously at me. “But you’re Beatrice Duvall’s daughter,” she says.
The name gives me a jolt, but I manage to reply evenly: “That doesn’t make me a dancer.”
“’Course not,” says Cara. “I mean, my mum was an architect, and look at me! But I heard you were training to be a dancer like your mother. With the Royal Ballet.”
“I was. I… stopped.”
“Oh. Why was that then?”
I frown at Cara. She smiles back at me.
“Did Thisbe put you up to this?” I ask.
           “Up to what?”
“All the questions.”
“Oh, no. That’s just me. My brother’s always telling me I’m blunt, because I don’t go in for all that evasive British crap – ignoring the elephant in the room. Better to lay it all out there and say, ‘My mum’s dead, and it sucks.’ You know?”
“Not really,” I reply honestly. I’ve never said those words in my life.
Cara nods like I’ve said something profound. Then, to my relief, she claps her hands and says, “Let’s talk dresses.”
After a quick-fire round of questions designed to establish my style, Cara hands me a scrapbook in which she’s pasted cuttings, photos and drawings of formal dresses, and she talks me through cuts, lengths, necks, sleeves and fabrics. Somewhere around the midi dress page I begin to come undone.
“What is it?” she says.
           “Nothing,” I say.
“Something,” she says. “You look like you’re about to have a panic attack. Is it claustrophobia? This room is a little dinky.”
“It’s not that. It’s...”
She waits expectantly. I gesture to the scrapbook.
“It’s just all a bit real, suddenly, looking at these dresses. I mean, I’ve got to wear one and stand on a stage at the Royal Opera House in front of people. Lots of people.”
“Ah,” she says. “Yeah, I’d be a wreck doing that. But you’ve performed on stage before, right?”
“Sure. Plenty of times. But this isn’t a performance. I have to be myself. I mean…”
“You mean you have to be your mother’s daughter. And your mother was the legendary Beatrice Duvall.”
Startled, I nod. She gets it. I don’t even know this girl, but she gets it.
“So,” Cara says, plucking the scrapbook off my lap and leafing through the pages, “what you need, besides the strength to get on that stage, is a really kick-ass dress. A dress that makes you feel tall and powerful and goddam beautiful, like nothing can touch you while you’re wearing it. Ah-ha. Here. This one. What do you think?”
The dress illustration jumps right off the page. It’s bold, it’s simple, it’s glamorous, it shouts “designer”: a strapless bodice with criss-crossing satin ribbons and a flowing skirt with chiffon overskirt ending just on the knee.
“Wow,” I say. “You can make that? In time?”
She grins. “Hell yeah.”
“And you think I can pull that off?”
          Her grin widens. “Hell yeah.”

Please join me in welcoming Charlotte as she answers a few questions about her story. Welcome, Charlotte. 

What is the inspiration for the story?

Charlotte:
A kaleidoscope of ideas… Memories of performing on stage. The years I lived in Kensington, London. The many shows I’ve seen in the West End. A backstage tour of the Royal Opera House. The public reaction to Princess Diana’s death. My own experience of losing my mother.

What draws you to this genre?

Charlotte:
Young adult: the time of life that most signifies discovery and sensation and freedom. Dreaming big; confronting reality. Being trendy; being quirky and out of step. Messing up gloriously; succeeding epically. First crush, first kiss, first love. Making memories that will last a lifetime.

Why do you write?

Charlotte:
Because writing makes the blood sing in my veins; it makes me feel alive; it defines me. Because I’m a bibliophile, and the only thing better than having a book in my hand is having my own book in my hand. Because I want to entertain, inspire – and leave a legacy for my children.

Charlotte, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into your story. I love why you write.

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Charlotte, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Charlotte Wilson
Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess. ‘Write, Charlotte,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Charlotte writes the kind of books she loves to read: romances. She lives in a village of Greater Manchester with her husband and two children, and when she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, baking up a storm or embarking on a DIY project. She recently achieved a lifetime ambition of creating a home library for her ever-increasing collection of books. She pretends not to notice that the shelves are rather wonky.

For more on Charlotte and her writing, check out the links below: 

Thanks for stopping by today during Charlotte’s visit. I hope everyone is safe and healthy from this last round of storms. As I’m writing this, we were getting hammered with strong winds and bouts of rain.

The cover of Charlotte’s book just draws me in. What about you? Do you find it a bit alluring?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Whispers of Warning


I have a delightful story to tell you about today. It’s author Jessica Estevao’s latest Change of Fortune mystery, WHISPERS OF WARNING. I had hoped to have a review for you today but unfortunately, I’m running a bit behind…review to come later.

WHISPERS OF WARNING is the second tale of fearless clairvoyant Ruby Proulx, the sequel to series debut Whispers Beyond the Veil. Jessica’s historical mysteries are perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Anna Lee Huber.

WHISPERS OF WARNING by Jessica Estevao
◊ Series: A Change of Fortune Mystery, Book 2
◊ Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Berkley (September 19, 2017)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 0425281612
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0425281611

Ruby Proulx, Estevao’s approachable yet gutsy protagonist, has taken up residence at her aunt’s seaside hotel, where she acts as a medium.

Free from the clutches of her con artist father, Ruby Proulx is starting to settle in at the Belden, her aunt Honoria’s seaside hotel. She loves finally being rooted in one place and also feels a sense of purpose as she helps Honoria keep her business afloat by acting as a psychic medium for the hotel’s metaphysically inclined guests.
          When one of the guests, renowned Spiritualist and outspoken suffragist Sophronia Foster Eldridge, checks into the hotel for a monthlong stay, Ruby finds her sense of purpose expands outside the confines of home and family. Sophronia takes Ruby under her wing and mentors her in the mediumistic abilities, encouraging her to fight for women’s rights.
          But not everyone is as happy with Sophronia’s appearance in Old Orchard. When a dangerous act of sabotage is carried out and a body is found floating in the pool of a local bathhouse, Ruby takes it upon herself to find answers— and in the process learns that her new friend has been hiding some deadly secrets of her own…


Jessica Estevao is the author of the debut novel in the Change of Fortune Mysteries, Whispers Beyond the Veil. She loves the beach, mysterious happenings, and all things good-naturedly paranormal.

While she lives for most of the year in New Hampshire, with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children, she delights in spending her summers on the coast of Maine where she keeps an eye out for sea monsters and mermaids. As Jessie Crockett, she writes the Sugar Grove Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.

Thanks for stopping by today. As I mentioned earlier, I hope to have a review of this fascinating story for you soon. Is there something so mysterious and intriguing about those covers?