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The MirrorMasters is in the InD'Tale Magazine Creme De La Cover Contest! Your Vote is Needed!

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 20 April 2017 · 44 views

Hi, all! I'm so excited to announce that The MirrorMasters cover by the amazing Cora Bignardi of Cora Graphics is in InD'tale Creme De La Cover contest! I just got the email today, and I'd love it if you'd take a moment to vote to help it win! Thanks, guys, for your vote! You're all awesome :)

http://indtale.com/polls/creme-de-la-cover-contest





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Spotlight: Interview with Sara R. Turnquist, Author of Hope In Cripple Creek

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 27 February 2017 · 102 views

Today I'm thrilled to welcome on my blog fellow Clean Reads Author, the amazing Sara R. Turnquist, with a super fun interview and the scoop on her latest novel, Hope in Cripple Creek. I hope you all enjoy this spotlight!



1. Tell us a little something interesting about yourself :). Well, I have a great many interests...I have a degree in Biology/Chemistry (focusing on Pre-Med), and though I worked in a hospital for a while, my science career was mostly in zoos and museums teaching about animals and science. That was my true passion for quite some time. I love sharing about wildlife and wild places and how the decisions we make can impact them in positive ways. I have worked for several zoos, including Disney's Animal Kingdom.

2. How long have you been writing?  I've always been a strong writer as far as essays and whatnot. And I've always written short stories and fan fiction, but when I was a child, I wanted to be a doctor, a vet…or an actress. I know, I know…those are very similar goals. When I started playing with a fan fiction challenge that blossomed into the idea for my first book, I became more serious. I continued to work on the book for years (I was pursuing the Pre-Med degree at the time, so time was limited) and finally completed it. Then I was inspired to write another. And my interest in writing grew from there. But I would call myself a “closet writer”. I had completed four novels before I began querying to get the first one published.

3. What is your most recent novel, Hope in Cripple Creek, about, and what inspired you to write it? During the last great gold rush in Colorado (in the 1890s), a schoolteacher is caught between marrying the many who may have caused her best friend’s death or letting two orphaned children be separated and sent away. What is a girl to do? She feels a particular responsibility for these children because of a connection with their mother. This is her story amidst a town gone haywire because of the true historical events of the fall out of this gold rush.

I was inspired by stories set in this time period and similar locales. I had the set up for the love triangle in mind and I wanted to place the story in Colorado. My husband had visited Cripple Creek and we began researching the history. This amazing story of this strike fell into my lap.

4. What is your writing process like - are you a plotter or a pantser? I am a pantser at heart. And my published novels are all written with very little planning or outlining. I have, after more training in craft, become more of a "plantser", where I do more plotting on the onset on my characters before pantsing my way through the story. But my plotting is primarily on character development. Though it is incredibly deeper than what I ever did before.

5. Where is your favorite place to write? I have several places I write: my office, a local coffee shop, the back deck...my favorite place would probably be the coffee shop. I have three children who are still quite young. So, getting out of the house, away from the mayhem and the piles of "to do's" is a must! But I have to have to have to share the day's scenes with my husband when finished. I just need the sounding board and instant feedback.

6. Do you have advice to share with aspiring authors? Two suggests: Have determination and believe in yourself. You have to be your number one advocate and cheerleader. I have a wonderfully supportive husband who spurs me on, but I have to have faith in my own work. It feeds my determination. And that determination is what gets me up and writing on those days I don't feel like it. Because some days you don't. But I have found that if I will only be faithful to sit down and start going at it, the ideas and juices will start flowing. It only takes that initial determination to get started.

7. If you could choose any fictional character to meet for a day, who would it be and why? I have thought about this question quite a bit. And I'm going to go with my first instinct...Elizabeth Bennet. She is such an intriguing character. I've always thought she and I would have rather interesting conversations. And I'd like to hear her thoughts on some of this modern day craziness :-)


8. Anything else you'd like to share that I didn't already ask? I always like talking about what's next. I am getting ready to submit the sequel to my first novel (The Lady Bornekova) and I have three other novels in various states of editing. (Yes, I am rather prolific.) And I have been invited to teach at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. The faculty will include bestselling authors Brandilyn Collins and Cara Putman, among others. If you are anywhere within reach of this conference, it is going to be a good one!




Author: Sara R. Turnquist

Title: Hope In Cripple Creek

Publisher: Clean Reads

How to reach me:


Author Bio:

Sara is originally from Middle Tennessee. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Middle Tennessee where they currently reside. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. She enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write clean Historical Romance. Sara has made several trips to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also the author of The General’s Wife, Off to War, and Hope in Cripple Creek and a member of ACFW.


Blurb:

Tragedy strikes Katherine Matthews and the small town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. An epidemic teams her with an old enemy, Wyatt Sullivan, the town’s doctor. In the midst of desperation and death, Katherine has decisions to make. But she has no idea to what extent they will affect her daily life and livelihood.

The town is turned upside-down when the gold miners go on strike. The owners bring in outside reinforcements, ready to break the resolve of the Western Federation of Miners. Everything in an upheaval, Katherine faces a crisis of faith and hard choices. Will life ever be normal again?


Buy Links:






Enjoy a Cute Meme:




Excerpt:

Chapter One
The stagecoach moved along, bumping and rocking as it went. Trees and other green scenery whisked by the window. Views of mountains and open plains were visible from the seat of the coach, vistas familiar to its occupant. Katherine Matthews was coming home. She returned to Cripple Creek, no longer the scared, unsure teenager who had left to further her education so many years ago with hopes and dreams of a new life in a new place. No, she had matured into a confident young woman who had grown in stature and in beauty. Her hair was no longer the mousy color she always hated, for it had deepened into the same beautiful chestnut brown she had always admired in her mother’s appearance. She’d grown out of her awkward teenage features, and was now well regarded among her peers as a rather handsome woman.
Returning to Cripple Creek brought many rather-mixed emotions to the surface. Imagine, one of her first postings would be at the same schoolhouse where she received her educational start. When her mother wrote to her of the interim need, she was glad to help out. What an odd coincidence that the letter would find her, too, in transition. Would this turn into a permanent placement? Did she want it to?
The mountain scenery became more recognizable, and she thought back on her childhood. There were so many happy times here. Unbidden, her mind wandered to the day of the great tragedy that had marred her spirit—the day Ellie Mae died.
Even all these years later, she carried the scar in her heart. The events of that day had left her broken. Why must thoughts of Ellie Mae plague her so? And all the more as her return became imminent? She shivered as the images from her nightmares the previous evening flitted across her mind. They would not stop.
These same visions visited her in sleep night after night. All the more frequently these last weeks.
Closing her eyes, the hazy images took form and became memory. It was as if no time had passed. She and Ellie, walking through the schoolyard just as they did every other day . . .
Hooking arms with Ellie Mae, Katherine stepped out of the schoolhouse and into the yard. A rather large group of students gathered off to the right near the old tree. It didn’t bother Katherine. She turned her attention toward the path that would lead home.
“What do you think they’re up to?” Ellie Mae whispered.
Katherine glanced in that direction and noticed Betsy Callaway at the center, flapping her jaws. Why would anyone listen to anything she said? But they did. The class at large seemed to adore Betsy. It didn’t make sense.
Clenching her teeth, Katherine grabbed for Ellie Mae’s hand. “Whatever it is, we don’t want to be involved.” She pulled Ellie Mae along as she walked on, trying to pass the gathering.
“I know Miss Matthews couldn’t do it,” Betsy said loudly.
Katherine froze in her tracks. What had she just said?

The crowd of students parted and glared at Katherine and Ellie Mae.

“Let’s keep going,” Ellie Mae pleaded, tugging on Katherine’s hand.

She should listen to Ellie Mae and not become a part of whatever game Betsy played. But she could not let Betsy get the best of her. What would everyone think of her?
So, she turned to face her accuser. There stood Betsy with Wyatt Sullivan, the most popular boy in school, right beside her. Betsy’s blonde pigtails, tied back with perfect pink ribbons, shone in the sun. Her dress was no less perfect, pink with just the right amount of lace and even a slight puff to the sleeves.
“Do what, pray tell?” Katherine shot back. Her heart beat furiously in her chest.
“Go down through the mine shaft.” Betsy folded her arms in front of her chest and raised an eyebrow.
Katherine’s heart skipped a beat then, but she tried not to show her fear.

Ellie Mae’s grip tightened on her hand.

“I assure you, Miss Callaway, it’s not that I can’t do it. It’s simply that I have better things to do than to be traipsing about a mine shaft.” She turned to leave and hoped that would be enough to silence Betsy.
“Prove it.” Betsy’s voice rang out after her.
Katherine’s eyes slid closed. Was there any way around this? “I have nothing to prove to you,” she called back over her shoulder.
“Fraidycat!” Betsy laughed.

The other students joined in.
Katherine’s face burned. A fire had been lit within her. She was not afraid of anything! Releasing Ellie Mae’s hand, she then whirled around. “I am not afraid!”
“There’s only one way we’ll believe that.” Betsy’s hands moved from her chest to her hips.
There was no way this would be a one-way challenge. “Are you going?” Katherine poked her chin out, putting her own hands on her hips, attempting to puff up her chest as much as she could.
“Of course,” Betsy said, though her voice caught.
“Then, let’s go.” Katherine grabbed after Ellie Mae’s hand and headed out in the direction of the old mine shaft. She hoped Ellie Mae didn’t feel how her palms had started to sweat. Perspiration covered her whole body. How was she to keep up this façade?
The group of students followed, a din of voices behind. As they neared the cavernous opening, they became quiet as they halted several feet short of the forbidden place.
Wyatt pushed through the crowd once they had stopped. “Now, girls, this is foolishness. Talking about it is one thing, but you’re not actually going down there, are you?”
Katherine glanced at the mine opening. It looked dark and ominous. Not what she wanted to see. Then she eyed Betsy. She had everything— the popularity, the most handsome boy in school ... But she would not have Katherine’s pride, too. “I am.”
“Then I am, too.” Betsy stared at Katherine, matching her glare through slitted eyes.
“Kath-rine,” Ellie whispered, tugging on her hand.
Katherine looked over at her friend.
Ellie’s eyes begged her not to go.
Katherine wondered again at the danger. Her friend had every right to be concerned, she supposed. But it would not last. Betsy would go but a few steps in and give up. Katherine was sure of it. So, she would not be dissuaded.
Wyatt’s eyes moved from one girl to the other. A couple of years older than the girls at their thirteen years, he stood a good head taller than Katherine. At last, he threw his hands up in the air. “Then I’m going too.”
“And so am I,” came Ellie Mae’s quiet response.
Katherine leaned toward her friend. “Ellie, you don’t have to go.” Her eyes held Ellie’s. What was she going to do? She couldn’t take Ellie into that place. But something had eased in her when Ellie Mae volunteered to go. Was it selfish of her to want her friend to accompany her?
“Yes, I do.” Her voice was firm, though her chin quivered. “I’m sticking with you.”
A bump in the trail jolted Katherine from her reverie. The scenery outside became blurred. Or was it her? Touching her face, she felt moisture. She wiped at the tears. This would not do! Whatever happened when she returned, Katherine was determined she would face it with as much bravery she could muster.
Not for the first time, she wondered what had become of Wyatt Sullivan and Betsy Calloway. She had avoided this subject in her correspondence with her parents over the last few years. Knowing Wyatt, he had gone on to bigger and better things and gotten himself out of Cripple Creek. And Betsy had probably caught the first stagecoach that took her wherever Wyatt went. So that was that.
The coach slowed and the town she knew so well appeared in the distance. In a matter of moments, she would be home. What a state this trip had left her in! With gloved hands, she smoothed over her dress and straightened her jacket. Her fingers worked to once again secure the pins that held her hat in place as the coach turned. Then they trotted down the main stretch into town.
Some of the changes her parents had written her about became visible. Cripple Creek had become a mining town. When Ol’ Bob Womack filed his claim, which he’d named the El Paso Lode, he’d started another gold rush, this one in Cripple Creek. She remembered the old man. Everyone thought he was crazy and at first no one paid attention to Ol’ Bob until a mining man formed the Cripple Creek Mining District, bringing in thousands of miners and prospectors within weeks. And then a stranger to their town, a Mr. Winfield Stratton, struck gold as well. Not just a little bit of gold, but such a lode that he became the first millionaire to grace this part of Colorado. That did nothing to deter interest. Some of these things were part of her memories, some her parents had told her through letters, but the events blurred between the two.
The stagecoach came to a slow stop, and the door opened. Katherine coughed at the burst of dust that flew into the coach. Once that settled, she was thankful for the fresh air. She gathered her things and stepped out of the coach.
Taking in the sights around her, she was struck at the amount of activity that filled the main thoroughfare. The main street appeared quite different with tents, makeshift cabins, and lean-tos set up all along the way. At the same time, it amazed her how little Cripple Creek had changed. As she gazed down the street, she spotted the bank, the church, the General Store... Katherine could almost see Ellie Mae standing there at the corner of the street, waiting for her so that they could walk the rest of the way to school. Blinking back tears,


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Cover Reveal! Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 05 January 2017 · 54 views



Today I'd like to welcome fellow Clean Reads author Mallory McCartney with a cover reveal of her upcoming release, BLACK DAWN. Isn't the cover gorgeous? The book will be available 2.14.17!


Here's a brief blurb of the story: 

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life that is until two mysterious, and dare I say handsome soldiers show up at her apartment doorstep and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Coming from the magical and ravaged world of Kiero, Emory is brought back not realizing that both men are darkly woven in her past. Discovering she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line Emory is thrown into Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.  With both lives clashing Emory uncovers hidden secrets from her past, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
Some things are better left in the shadows.



Tag Line: “The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen.”




Author Bio: Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

Connect with Mallory on her Social Media links:


Twitter: @MalMcCartney 
Instagram: @authormalmccartney 



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Spotlight: Eli Celata's High Summons Blog Tour

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 02 January 2017 · 47 views

Hey, all! Today I'm excited to host Eli Celata during the blog tour by Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours to spotlight her new paranormal fantasy, High Summons.



Title: High Summons
Author: Eli Celata
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

Check out the cover. Isn't it gorgeous?


Blurb:


Jon Blythe is sick of waiting for his Yoda. After years of hiding his magic, he's ready to retire from his mortal life, drop out of college, and jump into the world of demon hunters. He just didn't really expect a bleach blond bookstore clerk with light up toys for weapons. Unfortunately, Jordan is Jon's only hope. When rogue magic users come to Rochester with a malicious plan, the odd couple strikes out to save the day. Jordan might not be what Jon expected, but between demons and Econ homework, the demons win every time. Wild nights drag Jon further from normal into the world where his father vanished. Maybe he's becoming an addict. Maybe magic just comes with a price. Either way, he’s hooked.


  • Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/EliCelata/

Author Bio:


Eli Celata was born in Rochester and is currently attending Binghamton University as a doctoral student.


Author’s Social Media Links:
  • Twitter: @Celata_E
  • Website: elicelata.wordpress.com
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/EliCelata/
Buy Links for Book:
Amazon:  https://goo.gl/PQ7lzh
Kobe: https://goo.gl/4ZrKVs
Smashwords: https://goo.gl/eYuVNU
iTunes: https://itun.es/us/MEqCdb.l













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Blog Tour: YA Paranormal Paranormal Romance THE DECISION (Everlasting Trilogy, Book #2)

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 20 October 2016 · 96 views

Title: The Decision
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Author: L.K. Kuhl
The Decision is the second book in The Everlasting Trilogy

Tag Line: The Decision’s made. The choice is simple. Or is it?

Back Cover Blurb:
The guests are invited. The cake is all set. In just a few short hours Sophia Bandell will be saying “I do” to a guy she isn’t sure she loves. But where does she go from here? She feels her life is headed in a downhill spiral. Her first and real true love, Tate Forester, is a ghost. But he’s the man she wants to be with…the one she can’t live without. Sophia is faced with the toughest decision of her life. Does she forget about Tate and marry the egotistical lawyer, Aaron Stuart? Or does she take the plunge and join Tate to be with him for eternity?

Excerpt:
Sometime through the night, Tate’s kisses woke me. They landed on my cheek like a soft sigh. He began on my cheek and traveled down my neck, resting delicately on my shoulder. But each one felt like he was snuffing out a candle flame. I knew that this would be the last time I’d ever feel him again. He was telling me goodbye in the gentlest way he knew.
I held in my sobs but couldn’t stop the silent tears from sliding down my cheeks. They spilled to my neck and pooled there in the deep, hollowed indent above my clavicle. Tate kissed them away, and wiped a wet strand of hair from my face.
“Don’t cry. I was hoping I could slip away without waking you. I need to go. Aaron will be home soon.”
My throat ached. I grimaced and tried to swallow away the soreness, but it had its claws dug in too deep. There was no way to release it, to ease this massive tumor that kept growing inside of me each time it was time to say goodbye.
“This is the end, isn’t it? Your kisses told me everything you can’t say. So do your eyes.”
“It has to be. It’s time.”

Buy Links:
Amazon:  
Barnes & Noble:
Kobo:  
iTunes:
SmashWords:  
Amazon CA:

Author Bio:
L.K. Kuhl is the author of the Young Adult Paranormal Romance Series, The Everlasting Trilogy. The Decision is book two of this trilogy. She has also penned Chasm, a Romantic Suspense novel. Chasm was released in May of 2016.
L.K. lives in Nebraska with her husband Gene of twenty-nine years, young son, Nathan, and Greg and Will, their furry dog kids. She has two older daughters, Morgan and Brittani and son-in-law, Trevor. L.K. has been writing for over twenty years. She first began writing children’s books and poetry, moved on to writing music, and is now writing Young Adult and Adult novels. She loves spending time with her family, vacationing, writing, reading, and taking long walks. It’s the characters who write their own stories in her novels, and she is just their messenger, sharing it with the world.


Author Links:
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kuhlreads
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01BXDJGIY    




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SPOTLIGHT: The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 13 October 2016 · 85 views


Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon


Genre: Young Adult Sweet Paranormal Romance




Praise for The Teen Wytche Saga:


“Spell Check is a great story for the young adult or the young at heart. I enjoyed the vicarious experience of falling in love, dealing with secrets, and working out best friend issues.” ~ Long and Short Reviews


"A fantastic YA paranormal read, reminiscent of the film "Practical Magic"! Spell Struck combines quirky but fun teen characters dealing with new schools, romance, and family problems, with magic, and more serious topics like suicide and kidnapping."
~InD’tale Magazine, Crowned Heart review


“Edge of your seat? Check. Magic around every corner? Check. Teen angst? Check. Unputdownable? Definitely. Quick tip-make sure you read the first three books before starting Spell for Sophia. They provide a ton of great backstory and will make everything a lot more understandable, and without a doubt enhance your enjoyment of this book as well as the entire series.”
~Carra at Making It Happen blog


The Teen Wytche Saga Books by Ariella Moon:


Book One: Spell Check
Book Two: Spell Struck
Book Three: Spell Fire
Book Four: Spell For Sophia


Where friendship, first love, and magic collide.  


Series Summary
The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon


Think magic will solve your problems?
Bring you love? Cure you? Protect you? Help you find someone who is lost?
Think again.


In The Teen Wytche Saga, a shape-shifting spell book upends the life of each girl who possesses it. Passed among a group of disparate teens, the rebellious book morphs into a new system of magic as it aligns or opposes the girl entrusted to safeguard it. The girls soon discover…


Magic tests friendships.
It hisses, chirps, stinks up the room, backfires, and explodes! Magic forces you to make tough decisions. Shatter limitations. Discover your true self.
And you thought navigating high school was tough.


Read how it all began…
Spell Check (The Teen Wytche Saga #1)


Two girls, one guy, and a spell book — what could possibly go wrong?


Blurb
Bullies. A secret crush. A traitorous friend.


First year of high school isn’t supposed to be an emotional minefield. A photojournalist father isn’t supposed to die in war, and no one should cast a binding love spell on her best friend’s secret crush. And yet…


Halloween looms and so does the anniversary of Evie’s father’s death. She needs to pull herself together or she’ll lose her position as Yearbook Photo Editor. Even worse, Evie will lose Jordan, her secret crush, if she can’t stop her friend Parvani from casting a love spell on him. Despite a falling out, Evie never forgot Jordan. Now they are lab partners and the chemistry between them definitely sparks. Parvani possesses a brimstone-hissing spell book and plans to cast the spell by Halloween. To save Jordan, Evie must join forces with Salem, the school goth.


The clock is ticking. Can Evie get her mojo back in time to check this spell?


Excerpt
About ten minutes into class, while Mr. Esenberg wrote on the board, I heard Jordan slide his feet under my desk. My breath wedged in my throat as the tips of his size nine high-performance sneakers nudged the heels of my shoes. Could the girl in front of me hear my heart thudding? Should I move my feet forward?
My feet tingled and refused to move. A blush blazed across my cheeks. I struggled to pay attention to Mr. Esenberg without making eye contact. Forty minutes passed, the bell blared, and I had no idea what had transpired. Hopefully, my notes will make sense. I think I took notes.
Jordan slid his feet back and thudded his book closed. We both bent down and reached for our backpacks. His leaned against mine. Our hands brushed and our heads were so close I could smell his herbal shampoo.
Students walked past us. I’m sure some of them were talking to each other or flipping open their cell phones. But it all faded away along with the smell of chalk, highlighters, and sweat. Everything receded except the warmth of Jordan’s skin, his cinnamon gum-scented breath, and the heart-stopping rush sprinting up my arm.
“Evie?”
We jerked apart. Seeing Parvani in the doorway looking hurt and shocked snapped my senses into hyper focus. Conversations sounded extra loud. Colors seemed too bright. It felt like a movie had started, full blast, in a hushed theater.
For more excerpts, or to purchase books in The Teen Wytche Saga:












About the Author:
Ariella Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. The Teen Wytche Saga is a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances. Her Two Realms Trilogy is a medieval Scotland and Fairy fantasy adventure series.
Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety and taller students that mistook her for a leaning post marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and a media-shy dragon.


Ariella loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at:
http://www.pinterest.com/ariellamoon/

And now, Ariella Moon has also graciously provided us with her reflections for this upcoming Halloween:

As Halloween nears, the veil between worlds thins. Loved ones from the Other Side slip into our thoughts. For me, beloved pets that have passed on visit me in my dreams. And my stepfather, who in life was a prankster, used to return in his ghostly form and wrestle my bracelet off my wrist, and throw it across the room.

I am a shaman and medium, as well as an author. During October, strangers stop me on the sidewalk or in airplanes, and tell me about a loved one who has died. Their stories always end with, “I don’t know why I am telling you this.” I explain that their Beloved Dead placed them in my path because they want to convey a message. If the person’s energy is bad, or the message from the departed is hostile (which is very rare), I say nothing. Otherwise, I flip on the psychic switch and act as a bridge between this world and the next.

Some people prefer to experience the paranormal through books. So I channel my magical knowledge and experiences into my Young Adult fiction. THE BELTANE ESCAPE kicks off my medieval Scotland and Fairy trilogy. My contemporary series, The Teen Wytche Saga, starts with SPELL CHECK, in which Halloween proves to be a ticking clock portending possible heartache and disaster.

Halloween is nearly upon us. Light a candle for your Beloved Dead so they will know you remember them. And watch out for flying jewelry.


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Release Day Blog Tour: Empower

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 06 October 2016 · 78 views



















Title


Empower


Genre


urban fantasy, suspense, new adult/adult


Back cover blurb


Over a month has gone by since Melina won her internal battle between good and evil. She and the elders have been vigilantly waiting for Maura and Adelia to enact their plan, but there have been no signs of them anywhere. Then one day, Melina sees a Noxin demon lurking behind an old building. As more and more demons start to appear around town, she begins to worry that their plan may have already been put into play.


While Melina tries to figure out what the demons are up to, she starts to notice a sudden increase in her negative emotions, which in turn seem to be amplifying her powers. At first, she likes how strong it makes her feel. But when she realizes that her newly acquired demon powers are the cause of her sense of empowerment, she wants nothing to do with it. Even though she has reversed her demon powers to do good, she still sees them as coming from an evil source and fears that by using them the evil she fought so hard to overcome will rise up in her again.


But as the demon activity increases, and the people in her town, including all the people she cares about the most, start to display strange and violent behavior, Melina finally understands that if she wants to stop the demons and help her friends, she must embrace not only the good in her but also the bad. Because the only way to truly empower herself is by finding a way to use them together.


Tag line


You have to have the dark to see the light.


Excerpt


She turned to look at the front of her store and saw that the huge front window had been completely busted in, allowing the chilly winter air to blow right through the room. The rest of the store wasn’t in any better shape. Broken glass, splintered wood, and burnt, ripped up books and paper covered the entire floor. She felt like she should be having déjà vu, seeing as how her store had been destroyed by Noxin demons before, but there was a difference this time. She didn’t have her friends to help her pick up the pieces.
Before she was able to get teary-eyed again, she heard footsteps coming from behind her. She turned around and saw that Walter was back, and he had Phinneas, Cecil, and Helene with him. They all nodded at Henry, who nodded back at them, and then they all returned their focus to Melina.
“Hi,” Melina said as she gave them all a slightly confused look. “What are you all doing here?”
“I thought it was necessary to tell them what’s happening with you,” Walter said.
Melina pulled her robe a little tighter around her and turned her gaze down to the floor. She wondered if they were disappointed in her for not telling any of them sooner.
“Melina,” Phinneas said as he took a step toward her. “None of us blame you for feeling the way you do. The fear you have of your anger and of your demon powers is completely valid. But it’s nothing to be afraid of, or ashamed of. I’ve told you before, not everyone is all good or all bad. We all have good and evil in us.”
“Yes,” Melina said as she nodded her head. “I remember you saying that. But then you also said that we just have to choose which one is going to win, and I chose good.”
“And I’m so glad you did,” Phinneas said. “But just because you chose good and were able to reverse the demon powers to use them for good, doesn’t mean that the bad aspects of the demon powers aren’t still a part of you, too.”
“Melina,” Walter said as he took a step toward her. “To truly embrace all of your powers, you must accept not only the good aspects of them but also the bad. I can only imagine how strong it must make you feel when your emotions amplify your powers, but instead of fighting them and trying to stop them, feel all of those emotions and use them in a good way. Use them to empower yourself.” He paused for effect and then continued. “You have become a force to be reckoned with. You just need to learn to accept them and then control them.”
Melina’s eyes were filled with tears again. His words reminded her of what Lee had told her—that she needed to accept all of herself. She knew they were both right, but she still couldn’t let go of her hesitation and fear.
“But what if it makes me susceptible to being taken over by evil again?” She bit down on her lip as she stared over at Walter with eyes full of distress.
He gave her a reassuring smile. “I know you’re scared, but I also think that you know, deep down, that you’re not going to be taken over by evil again. This is just how the demon powers are going to work in you. We all experience negative emotions, Melina. But it's what we do after the emotions arise that matters. We can act upon those negative feelings and let them control us, or we can feel them, acknowledge them, but then choose not to act on them. And instead of letting them control us, use them as motivation for something good.” He was silent for a moment then said, “You have to have the dark to see the light.”
Melina sat quietly as his last words sunk in. She had never thought of it that way, but he was right. She had both light and dark in her, just like everyone else, but she just needed to make sure that her light always shone brighter.


About the author


Ashley Stambaugh grew up in a small town in Illinois where she and her two siblings created some of the best memories playing on their family’s farm. She stayed in the southern region of the state to attend college where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and also met her husband.


Now, she and her husband live in central Illinois and spend their time creating new memories with their two rambunctious boys. She also enjoys reading, taking long walks, and finding great bargains. When her sons are a little bit older, she has a great desire to travel with her family. Oh, and she also has a slight obsession with chocolate.


When she’s not busy chasing after her two young children or losing herself in a good book, you can find her curled up on her couch with her laptop, writing.


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Release Day Blog Tour: Two Graves by Zoe Kalo

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 01 October 2016 · 78 views



Title: Two Graves (Retribution Series #1)
Author: Zoe Kalo
Genre: Dark Psychological Suspense
Audience: New Adult/Adult
Word count: 18,000 words – 70 pages (short novella)
Launch date: October 1st 2016

About the Book
A Dante-ish descent through a sinister world of decadent shadows and woeful souls…
Seven years ago, he shattered her life. The town eventually forgot the headlines and the nightmares. But 23-year old music student Angelica hasn’t forgotten.
For the past seven years, she’s contemplated payback with as much intensity and unwavering faith as she puts into her violin playing. Finally, all the pieces are in place. Over the course of one night, disguised for a masquerade ball, Angelica orchestrates a journey of revenge.
About Author Zoe Kalo
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir. She is the author of the YA fantasy series CULT OF THE CAT.
Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web:


My thoughts so far:
I'm about 50 % through reading Two Graves, and I'm blown away by this spellbinding tale. The language is gorgeous, sensuous, vivid. After I'm finished, I will post my review on Goodreads and Amazon, so look for that soon. In the meantime, pick up your copy!


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Bleeding Hearts Blog Tour!

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 31 August 2016 · 102 views

Today, I'm thrilled to host my fellow Clean Reads author Dana Provo, with her new release, Bleeding Hearts!


Author- Dana Louise Provo
Title: Bleeding Hearts
Genre: New adult, romantic suspense
Blurb: Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.
Red roses, a reminder of her parents' killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.
Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?
Author Bio: Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to Adult Historical Romances. She is the author of the Romantic Suspense novel Bleeding Hearts. When she's not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.
Excerpt:
My arm trembles as I grip the cool handle of my pistol, keeping a firm grasp to ensure it doesn’t slip out of my sweaty hand. It usually stands sentry in my left nightstand to scare the nightmares away. But this isn’t a dream. The room is dark and hides the face of the man whose intent is to kill me. But I know who he is. A metallic taste fills my mouth; I want to gag. My blood drips off the blade in his hand in slow, steady beats on the carpet. My arms shake as I lift the barrel and point it in his direction. He doesn't move. His heavy breaths alert me to the meager distance between us.
We’re at a stalemate.
A soft glow from the lamppost just outside my window casts a sliver of light on his face. His dark, beady eyes that I have grown to know rake over my body like I'm another one of his many victims. He lifts the edges of his mouth into a smile. My heart plunges into my stomach. I know what that sinister expression means, and I think back to all the times he had looked at me like that before. I had been so blind.
Before I react he lunges at me, grabbing onto my waist and twisting me to the ground. I shriek as my head slams against the bed frame. Black spots flood my vision. I squeeze my hand only to find it empty. My gun is gone. The sound of the knife clattering on the floor gives me slight hope. Not much though. He climbs up my body trying to pin my arms to the floor. I thrash my fists around, desperate to knock him off.
“Get off!” I scream, pulling on his shirt and kicking him off balance. Wrapping his hands around my arms, my attacker cuts off the circulation of blood. Rug burns flare across my skin as he drags me across the carpet. He closes his hands around my neck, shutting off my air supply. I pull at his hands but it's no use; he has always been stronger than me. My pulse drums a frantic beat in my ears. The air slowly leaks out from my lungs, killing any hope I may have left. I search for the gun around the room; it may be my only savior now.
"Why are you doing this?" I struggle to get the words out. He squints his dark eyes. I'm wondering if there might be a chance that he will stop this madness. I am wrong.
"It'll be over soon, sweetheart." His hands again tighten around my neck, blocking the air from entering my lungs.

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Cover Reveal: IN THE BEGINNING Month9Books Charity Anthology

  Posted by Lora Palmer , 25 August 2016 · 104 views

You guys, I'm so excited to bring you the cover reveal for Month9Book's IN THE BEGINNING Charity Anthology. My short story, First Wife, the story of Leah, Jacob, and Rachel, is one of the stories included. Mark your calendars for October 25th, because you'll want to pick up a copy of this anthology--and the proceeds go to a great cause! In the meantime, check out this post for some amazing excerpts. Oh,  and enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of three egalleys of the book.




Today Month9Books is revealing the cover
and some excerpts for their Charity Anthology IN THE BEGINNING! Which releases October
25, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers
to receive an eGalley!!

On to the reveal!





Title: IN THE BEGINNING: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales

Editors: Laureen P. Cantwell and Georgia McBride

Author: Stephen Clements, Nicole Crucial, Mike Hays, Sharon
Hughson, Marti Johnson, Elle O'Neill, Lora Palmer, & Christina Raus

Pub. Date: October 25, 2016

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback & eBook

Find it: Amazon

In the Beginning (Oct. 25, 2016) –Eight authors
come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories
inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament
and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored,
and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.

IN THE BEGINNING, edited by Laureen
Cantwell and Georgia McBride



Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements

A troubled orphan named Habakkuk
dutifully follows his master, the prophet Daniel, into temples of blood-thirsty
demon-gods, battles with unspeakable horrors, and bears witnesses to
mind-breaking evil until his master's zealous defiance of the king's law seals
their fate.


Babylon by Nicole Crucial

Far above the earth, in Second Eden,
where moments and eternities all blur together, young Babylon befriends Sefer,
the Book of Life. As Babylon awaits the moment she'll fulfill her destiny, she
and Sefer try to understand the world in which they live.


Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays

A homeless young boy, Baz, bears the
weight of humanity on his shoulders and upon his body. When dark forces test a
new-found friendship, Baz’s willingness to bear the ugliness of their world
will be shaken. 



The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson

Based on the story of the
demon-possessed boy healed by Jesus, this tale provides a glimpse into a
post-apocalyptic world where a teenage boy seeks to journey to a better land
and yearns to discover the kind of man he's meant to be, only to be hijacked by
an evil spirit intent upon chipping away at the hope, faith, and resilience of
its host.



The Deluge by Marti Johnson

A non-believer shares the story of
Noah’s ark-building and the deadly downpour that follows. Fear, faithlessness,
and the fallibility of mankind collide in a community where second chances
aren’t unlimited and a better-late-than-never attitude just might be your doom.



Condemned by Elle O'Neill

Just sixteen-years-old, Barabbas finds
himself pulled out of Routlege Academy and into a reality show
competition—against Jesus himself—where the reward for the winner is life.



First Wife by Lora Palmer

In a first-person retelling of the saga
of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, themes of family, deception, guilt, and heartache
emerge amidst the first days of Leah’s marriage to Jacob—a marriage mired in
trickery a mere week before Jacob was to marry Leah's sister Rachel.



Emmaculate by Christina Raus

Based on the story of Mary's Immaculate
Conception, we enter the troubled mind of Emma, who finds herself torn between
her religious upbringing and the purity ring that binds her to her boyfriend
and the pregnancy that results from her relationship with another boy.



Anthology Excerpts:



From THE DEMON WAS ME, by Sharon Hughson:


The ghastly black fog overtook me.
Icicles pierced my back. Every muscle in my body spasmed. I plunged face-first
against the ground. Something sharp gouged my cheek. Shivery tingles pervaded
my insides. A vile presence pressed against my mind.


“Get out!” I rolled to my back, arms
outstretched. I wanted to fight, throw the intruder off me. But how can you
resist something as ethereal as air?
           
Laughter rang in my ears. Sinister.
It shuddered against my soul. Terror and hopelessness collided in my chest. A
foreign power clutched at my mind.           

I screamed. I rolled to my side and
squeezed my eyes shut. If only I could disappear.            

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