Tuesday, July 30, 2019

May and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt

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Rachel Connor is a brilliant 34-year old writer with an optimistic attitude about life. She loses her job, lives with a port wine birthmark on her face and has a pile of manuscript rejection slips on her desk. Still she hopes for better times. An opportunity to write the biography of a rich software entrepreneur appears to change her love life and fortunes around but Rachel doesn’t see the storm coming and finds herself in a no-win situation. The coin of luck falls into her hands and a very quiet man steps in to turn the tide. But can she trust him anymore than the last man who did her wrong?

This is the fifth book in Vi Zetterwall's feel-good Single Heart Series. It is a stand-alone story independent of previous or later stories in the series.

Excerpt:

Several hours later, Rachel reached her arms up above her head, stretching both her back and her neck at the same time. The article was finished. Somehow, the article had gone from what gave her hope to what caused people to spend money buying lottery tickets and back to her again. She mused that hope was far too complicated to explain in one 800 word column. But she knew her boss, Nick, wouldn’t care about limitations like that so she did it anyway. She was about to attach it and send it on to him but decided it would be more prudent to read through one more time.

She leaned back in her chair and read silently to herself.



ON THE NATURE OF HOPE

By Rachel Connor

The mailman flashed a smile at me as I approached him in the lobby. I opened my box and pulled out a handful of envelopes. Two bills, three advertisements and one letter from a publisher. I tore open the last one and read the same words I have read so often: ‘We regret to inform you that we are unable to accept your manuscript for publication at this time.’

I’m never surprised when I read that sentence. Over the last eight years I have read that same line too many times to count. Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No. What truly surprises me is how rapidly my hope that the next publisher will shower me with money and fame, is reignited. Hundreds of consecutive rejections and yet, before I am up the stairs to my apartment, I am already mentally spending my earnings that I will make when the first publisher says YES.

So, what is up with this thing called Hope? From where does it sprout? How can it be slayed on the business field so many times and yet rise again stronger than ever? What does this Hope eat for breakfast? And how do I get my hands on that?

Last week, the Powerball lotto rose to over $200 million. The little mom and pop convenience store near my apartment had lines out the door at 5 o’clock. I am happy for them because I know they make a nickel off of each sale. And more importantly, if someone wins on a ticket bought at their store, they get a split of the winnings—really big bucks! Hey, what’s going on here? I’m hoping they win. Am I wasting some of my own hope on the other guys? On a longshot? What if I have a finite amount of hope left in me? Now, I’ve just spent some of it on someone else. Yikes, I better rethink this.

Last week, I could look out of my corner window and see the lines of ticket buyers at the store. People like you and me, lined up in the drizzle, suffering the Seattle weather’s version of raining on their parade. ‘So you want to win the big one, huh? Well, try a little of this liquid sunshine.’ The Seattle weather gods seem to take peculiar delight in punishing those who eagerly spend their hope on a 250-million-to-one longshot. They lose, of course. Every one of them. No one from Seattle has ever won a Powerball drawing. The odds are enormously stacked against every person standing in line in the rain and yet they do it gleefully.

Why? What power is so mighty that nearly certain defeat does not dissuade millions of people from trying anyway? What marketing wizardry drives people to hand over their cash for a ticket destined for the waste bin? What supernatural force compels sane, rational beings to smile as they wait in long lines for one modest snowball of a chance?

Joseph Addison said, “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”

Humans need something to hope for. All those people braving the rain as they stand in line are there to buy a little piece of hope. If you don’t play, you can’t win. So they play and then they imagine a life of riches and mentally they spend it all between that purchase and the day of the drawing. I know, because I do it too. Sometimes with a lotto ticket, more often with my publishing submissions. And I find that when I imagine myself as a winner, I become a better person. I’m more giving, I’m more generous, I judge less and I laugh more. I become the person that I hope I can be. Without a financial care in the world, I morph into the person I know I should be anyway.

And in my quiet moments, I muse about hope and its nature. And I know in my heart that without hope, I would be rudderless, impotent, powerless to see a sunrise and smile, or view a sunset and marvel. Tomorrow is another day and I trust that resilient hope will swell in me again one more time, yet I worry that each person only has a limited amount of hope to expend. I can’t help but wonder if some day my spirit will be crushed as no new hope arises. Someone said that hope springs eternal. I hope that is true. But for now, I’ll go on hoping for the mom and pop store, or for my brother or for my mom or for all those people standing in line in the rain. I don’t know if hope is truly infinite, so all I can do is try to believe that I will continue to hope. After all, the mailman comes again tomorrow.



Not my best work, but waxing philosophical has never been my strong point, she thought. Joseph Addison, whoever he was, was correct. People need something to do. I write. It may not be what I want to write at this particular moment in time, but I’m still writing.








Monday, July 29, 2019

The Key: Project Enterprise Book 1 by Pauline Baird Jones

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She’s a stranded soldier. He’s an alien castaway. Can their love save a galaxy torn apart by war? 
Sara Donovan knew her top-secret expedition would be dangerous. But she never imagined she’d end up separated from her crew and stranded on an alien planet. When the smoke from her crash landing clears, she’s surprised to find a marooned resistance fighter ready to lend a hand. In a war-torn galaxy, Sara refuses to give her trust lightly… especially when she risks exposing the strange abilities she’s kept hidden since childhood.

Kiernan Fyn survives day by day on the hopes of exacting revenge on the warlord who murdered his wife. Sara is his ticket off the desolate rock to a new better future…until she’s targeted by hostile forces who thinks she holds the key to a long-lost civilization. In a fight for their lives, sparks fly as Sara and Fyn attempt to decipher their hidden connection with the powerful key before their ruthless enemies distort its power for galactic domination.

The Key is the first novel in the phenomenal Project Enterprise sci-fi romance saga. If you like interstellar chemistry, fast-paced action, and sprawling space operas, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ award-winning epic.

Buy The Key to unlock a rollicking romantic adventure today!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

April and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

April McKenzie has a serious problem: she needs to be needed. She needs to be needed so badly that she’s becoming a regular attraction at all the bars within stumbling distance—everybody knows April and her short skirts and easy demeanor. Sadly, the men she’s been going home with seem to only need her for one thing—and after that, they don’t need her at all.

With the help of her best friend Gail, April sets out to find the answer: what will finally fulfill that never-ending need to be needed? In perhaps the naughtiest book in the Single Heart series, our daytime nurse and nighttime bar-hopper, April sets out on her own course, trying to find answers. Along the way, she comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love and she adjusts her plans. Will good fortune smile upon her or will she be forever doomed to futilely wander the Seattle bar scene?

This fourth romantic novella in Vi Zetterwall’s Single Heart series explores the very nature of a woman and a man’s relationship. Each book is a stand-alone story—a short novel that pays homage to the verbal foreplay that goes on early in a relationship. Vi’s novels feature unique characters facing everyday problems—and sometimes, not-so-everyday. Although the characters and plotlines are all different, there is a connecting thread: In each book, the leading lady comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love. In ways, sometimes small, sometimes great, the coin affects her actions and all subsequent events.

In your life, you have probably experienced an event that seemed inconsequential at the time but had far-reaching results. Vi’s books explore the magic that occurs when serendipity strikes and some chance meeting, a misunderstanding, an unexpected job offer or missing a bus leads to two people finding each other and falling in love. Vi writes about relationships and the drama that comes from every conversation. The steam that rises from her books is not due to an abundance of love scenes. You don’t normally see many phrases discussing the male anatomy or torrid moments in the bedroom, however the April book is a bit of an exception. And, as always you will feel your blood pressure rise during the dialogue-heavy scenes between potential lovers. Your heart will ache when the leading lady’s does and you will gain the same insights about life and love as she has.

Follow the travels of one coin and the lives it touches. As each book concludes, the protagonist passes on the Coin of Luck to another random woman—sort of a sneak preview to the next tale in the series. And everything seems to change after that. Is the coin magic or is it merely a catalyst that pushes love in the right direction? Every reader will have to decide for themselves. Vi Zetterwall weaves feel-good stories of love, suspense, mystery, and always a twist or two at the end. She loves a happy ending and never fails to deliver.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Relatively Risky by Pauline Baird Jones

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When an aspiring illustrator attracts the attention of a New Orleans mob family, and secrets long hidden are unearthed from the past, a handsome homicide detective may be her only chance of surviving the Big Easy.

The oldest of thirteen, Alex Baker does two things: he solves murders and avoids children. Until the day Nell Whitby foils a carjacking, knocks Alex off his feet and turns his life upside down.

When the shots start flying and every rock he turns over reveals another wise guy, Alex decides he needs to stick close to the quirky yet captivating children’s book author while he discovers who is behind a series of mob hits. But can he resist the urge to kiss the kid magnet now in the crosshairs?

A relative newcomer to New Orleans—with no family but her college friend—Nell spends her days in seeming obscurity, sketching tourists in the French Quarter and serving canapés for her friend’s catering business. When a chance encounter makes Nell the target of a mob hit, the only silver lining is meeting the cute cop who is determined to protect her.

But when she finds herself at the head of a second line made up of goons and gangsters, and secrets start bubbling up out of her own past, Nell must figure out what she's made of so she can live long enough to kiss the cop again…

Stay tuned for FAMILY TREED: The Big Uneasy 1.5, coming the fall of 2013. It's an amuse-bouche (An amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre), though in this case it's a single "bite" in the series. The short story will feature Nell and Alex and some more of her truly awful new relations.

We left New Orleans ten years ago - two years later Katrina struck — after 18 years of learning how to love living there. (Grew up in WY, the polar opposite of New Orleans!) I wasn’t sure we’d back, but I knew we’d never be the same.

I returned a couple of times, and each time I did, the city began to feel more and more like itself — though many of the places we loved are gone forever. It’s a city that has had to learn to reinvent itself over and over.

When I decided to return to writing romantic suspense, a friend reminded me of a fragment of a story that I’d sent her some years back. I opened the file, started reading, and the memories came flooding back. I thought it might be hard to write about the Big Easy after being gone so long, but the Big Easy is, well, easy.

Except when it isn’t.

But even when it isn’t easy, it’s always quirky and fun and funny — and the perfect place for fictional mayhem. There is something about a hot sultry night filled with lots of exotic smells that brings out the best — and the worst — in people.

And then there is the food.

I got so hungry and so homesick writing this book. And I still miss that spicy scent that is SO New Orleans. One of the hardest moments for me, my first visit back after Katrina, was walking off the plane and NOT smelling New Orleans. I used to love that “our” airport didn’t smell or sound like anyone else’s. There was only one working terminal. Too few people. No jazz being piped in. And no spicy smells. It broke my heart.

Happily for Orleanians — and the people who love to visit — the smells, the sights and the sounds are back. But for those of you who can’t visit, I hope you get a glimpse of the “city that care forgot” while reading this book.

If you love exploring New Orleans in this book, be sure to check out Do Wah Diddy Die, Mystery Collection, and A Dangerous Dance (releasing fall, 2013).

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Brady’s Hellion by Linda Wisdom

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Mercenary Brady Hayes hated it when debts were collected. Especially when he was called to the Underworld. But when Lord Shar called him in asking him to protect his sister, Raven, he had no choice but to agree.

What he didn’t know was that Raven would be a gorgeous bundle of demon easy to fall for or that her ex-boyfriend would want to make trouble.

But then, Brady wasn’t known to back down from danger or abandon a beautiful woman, even if she was from the Underworld.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Read an Excerpt From March and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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LIFE AT THE INTERSECTION OF LUCK AND LOVE

In a downtrodden and forgotten section of Seattle, Marci Ramirez labors daily toward her secret goal. She has a burden and a pain she carries inside her but she promised herself that nothing will get in the way of achieving her dream; not her crippled leg, not the local gang who threatens her, not the unrequited love she holds for the boy she grew up beside. But promises are sometimes broken and just as a bloody end looms as inescapable, a stranger passes the Coin of Luck her way. Too bad she doesn’t really believe in luck …

This is the third book in Vi Zetterwall's feel-good Single Heart Series. It is a stand-alone story independent of previous or later stories in the series.

Excerpt:

A flashback that Marci Ramirez, the lead character, has about a day seven years ago:

They left the park and walked south back to Rose Street, taking a left when they got there. As they walked, they talked about school and had some good laughs about some of the crazy things they had done or seen there. When they reached halfway past Tenth, Marci pointed out her house. “We live there. The white house with the cyclone fence around it.” They both stopped at the gate. Something special was happening between them. She had never had a one-on-one conversation with a boy this long before. There was something deliciously exciting about it.
Kyle fidgeted a bit. It didn’t seem like there was much more to say. But then he said those simple words that filled her heart with a joy she had never experienced before. Looking back at it, they really weren’t that special, but at that moment, they were a wonderment. “Hey, I didn’t show you my house. C’mon, you got time? I live just over on Elmgrove.”
Yes, yes! I have time. I’d like to know where the future cancer specialist grew up.” She elbowed him playfully in the side. “Then I can tell people I knew you when you were just fourteen like me.”
Kyle laughed. “Actually I’m fifteen. So I am way, way, way older than you.”
Right! She elbowed him again.
Doesn’t matter,” Kyle said, “you’re probably the coolest fourteen year old girl I know.”
Marci laughed, “Just because I can swing the bat, right?” She accepted the additional compliment greedily. Her failure on the diamond was already a distant memory. Now this was the new moment she wanted to live in forever.
Elmgrove was only two blocks north and they were there in no time. They walked half way up the street and there, on the north side, was his home. A very fine two story house, painted yellow, with a wrought iron fence in the front encompassing a small but finely groomed yard with a tree for shade. On the roof were solar panels. Compared to Marci’s house, it looked beautiful. Most of the houses in this neighborhood were run down a bit, but Kyle’s stood out. She complimented him on his abode and tried to suppress the envy she felt. She loved the feelings she had and nothing was going to ruin it for her.
They took the opportunity to sit on a bench on the front porch and talk some more. The fact that he wanted to talk to her more was what excited her the most. She was not a popular person at school. She had no real friends, just acquaintances that were better at tolerating her than others. They talked for forty more minutes about the neighborhood, school and the future. She had never talked to anyone about her own future before and it was exhilarating.
Finally, they both grew a bit quiet and Marci knew the moment was all but over. She stood up and said, “Well, I’d better get back. It must be late and I’m supposed to fix dinner tonight.” Barrio
Kyle, with all his manners, stood as well and said, “Well, it’s been really nice talking to you. You can play on my team anytime. You really can hit the ball!”
Marci beamed. Is that a metaphor? Play on my team anytime? I don’t know, but I like the sound of it.
Thanks, Kyle. I enjoyed talking to you too. Maybe I’ll see you at the park tomorrow…or sometime.”
OK. Or maybe I’ll just come by your house and see if you want to go walking around again.”
Did he just say that? Like a date? Are you kidding me?
Her stomach was churning but she composed herself and simply replied, “Cool. That’d be fun.”
As she turned to leave his porch, he asked one more question. “Marci, you never told me. What happened to your leg?”
No one had ever asked her that before. It seemed most kids pretended not to notice. Usually they pretended so hard that she became uncomfortable around them. But Kyle seemed very different. She liked that he put it right out there.
Oh, I had a bad fall when I was a kid. About four. It didn’t heal right and I had to start wearing a brace to give my leg enough strength to help hold me up. “
Wow. Does it hurt?”
Every minute of every day.
She shook her head. “Nah. I’ve gotten used to it. My mom bought me a new brace last year and it fits better and doesn’t hurt as much as the other two did. I guess I’ll have to get maybe one more and then I probably won’t outgrow the next one. It’s no big deal, really.”
Kyle smiled that great smile of his. “That’s good. I mean, it wouldn’t be good to go walking if every step hurt.”
Marci smiled back. “It doesn’t hurt at all,” she lied again.
I’ll go anywhere with you.




Monday, July 22, 2019

Maestra Rising: Project Enterprise 8 by Pauline Baird Jones

$6.99

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She’s a gifted scientist. He’s a robot with a human mind. Can they save their lost ship to find love among the stars?

Nivi awakes from cryosleep plagued by guilt. The scientific genius had hoped her people would avoid war if she went into cold sleep, but she learns her sacrifice was in vain. And now a vicious enemy approaches a stranded Earth spaceship. Desperate to reactivate the technology she needs for the rescue, Nivi enlists the help of an attractive robot with a human consciousness and wisdom beyond his years…

Moose survived slavery but never forgot the feeling of worthlessness it forced upon him. After living in the body of a robot for years, he sees an opportunity to help the brilliant Nivi if he becomes human once again. In a new body with new dangers, he worries that the genius scientist will never see him as more than the robot he once was. 

Outnumbered by a relentless foe, Nivi and Moose attempt to put their desires on hold to ensure humanity’s survival. 

With time running out, can they defeat the enemy and enjoy a future filled with love?
Maestra Rising is the eighth novel in the epic Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like gripping adventures, captivating characters, and emotional out-of-this-world encounters, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ thrilling saga.

Buy Maestra Rising to take an interstellar adventure today!

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