Hearts Unloched by Claire Gem
Ghost #BookHugs #supernatural #romanticsuspense
Winner 2016 New York Book Festival
Finalist 2017 RONE Awards
Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1T8Vzzz
Buy Link: http://amzn.to/2st37H6
A psychic interior designer reluctantly agrees to renovate a sexy investor's abandoned hotel on Loch Sheldrake, a lake rumored to have once been the mob's body dumping ground.
Interior designer Kate Bardach loves her single girl's lifestyle, living in Manhattan and spending weekends at her lake house. She's passionate about her career, too--reinventing old buildings. But there are some projects she can't take on because of the spirits trapped inside. Kate is psychic--she sees dead people.
Marco Lareci is one of Wall Street's most successful investment brokers who's achieved all of his life's goals--except for finding his soulmate. His latest project, an abandoned resort on Loch Sheldrake, needs a savvy designer to transform the crumbling complex into a boutique hotel. When Marco meets Kate, he can't believe his luck. She's the perfect match for his business and his heart.
Marco's body excites Kate even more than does his renovation project. But he wants more than a casual relationship, and she's not willing to give up her freedom. Plus, the haunting at Marco's resort, a bonafide poltergeist, affects her on an intensely personal level. Kate's aunt disappeared from the place fifty years ago.
Will the spirit doom Kate and Marco's love, or drive them closer together?
A whirling dizziness overtook Kate, and suddenly, she was inside the building, standing in the lobby directly beneath the chandelier. Moonlight twinkled on its crystals in the darkness—a darkness thicker and deeper than ebony velvet. And the flashes of light dancing over her face and arms and all around her feet on the diamond-patterned carpet challenged her equilibrium, and she staggered.
But there was nothing to grab on to. She was lucky she didn’t topple to the floor. She recovered, though shakily, as the sparks of light began to organize and whirl around her, like a cyclone whose eye was her. The ringing in her ears grew louder, almost painful.
A sound behind her, coming from the direction of the ballroom, was like the hissing of a hoarse whisper. She turned as if in slow motion, dream-like and unafraid. Somehow she knew, felt deep in her heart, whatever was here wouldn’t harm her.
But the entity definitely wanted something. Wanted to share their pain with her. That’s why it had blasted her with its agony the first day she’d stepped over the threshold. How long, she wondered, had it been since this spirit could unload some of its misery on a living being? Kate often became their conduit: the only release for the suffering so many trapped souls endured, endlessly through time.
The definition of Hell.
In the blackness, she could barely distinguish the arched entryway to the ballroom. Peering across the empty space and through the far wall of glass, she could see the lake, lights glowing on the opposite shore and dancing in long streaks on the surface of the water. She didn’t make out the shape, silhouetted by the oval arch, right away. Her sight had blurred, and she lifted her hands to rub at her eyes. When they blinked open again, it was there.
Her breath caught in her throat as she realized it was large, at least in breadth, its surface thick and fuzzy. Her first thought was bear. But then a dripping sound filled her head, and she imagined more than saw something—what? Water? Blood?—streaming down off the apparition’s surface in dull, thudding thwops on the carpet. The sickening sound grew louder and louder, hurting her ears, and panic began to take hold.
Her own heart raced, and she was gasping for breath, as if she’d run a mile in heavy gear. Sparkles again filled her vision, but not from the flashes of light snapping wildly off the chandelier over her head.
Kate slapped both hands over her ears and screamed.
Yet, easily overriding her own horrified voice, two words resounded in her head. The same way as they had the night in her apartment. Echoing, pitiful. As though the voice emanated from down the other end of an underwater drainage pipe.
Find me. Find me. Find me.
Her breath hitched, and she gave in to the terror. All sounds silenced, and everything around her went black.
About The Author:
Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of five titles in the genres of contemporary romance, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books, and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.
Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival. Her women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, was a finalist in the National Reader's Choice Awards, and her contemporary romance, A Taming Season, was a Literary Award of Merit finalist in the HOLT Medallion Awards.
Creating cross-genre fiction she calls "supernatural suspense," Claire loves exploring the paranormal and the unexplained, and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from the Rhine Research Center of Duke University.
A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.
Claire is available for seminars & media interviews, & loves to travel for book promotional events.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2nabvbm
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO-vB7WDZhEQ8U4YpC937ng
As a general rule, I'm ambivalent regarding contests. That probably comes because I seldom, if ever, win. I consider myself a damned good writer. Not the best, certainly, but not the worst by far. Therefore, I dislike putting my work up for subjective judgment and and paying for the privilege.
But, because I'm either an incurable optimist or stupid beyond belief, I entered another contest and paid for the privilege of being judged. Screencraft announced a cinematic short story contest seeking prose, not screenplays. I scratched my head and quickly reviewed my published work and decided I had an entry that fit the contest parameters. I also thought the story would make for a really cool movie, assuming liberal application of CGI special effects. Screencraft will announce the finalists on March 14, 2017. Fingers are crossed.
Hey, if the story wins and it's picked up by a movie studio and adapted to a screenplay, then I know whom to recommend for the lead male protagonist. Unfortunately, I can't recommend myself for the lead female protagonist because (1) I can't act and (2) the lead actor is young enough to be my son, so that would be really creepy.
Speaking of creepy, I find myself feeling that way more and more as beefcake cover art populates my social media news feed. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate these handsome, buff young men who bare nearly everything for the photographer. I'm just old enough to be their mother and ogling those pictures makes me feel like the feminine version of a dirty old man. Perhaps that's one reason why my own covers seldom feature such provocative cover art. Our house guest who's twenty years old likes to roam around without a shirt, which also gets a little discomfiting. Put a shirt on, boy.
At least he doesn't parade about in his underwear like my own sons do. Boys have no couth.
Speaking of those sons, I've been toying with the idea of using the elder as a cover model. Clothed, of course. Gawking at my own boy without a shirt... ewwww. But he's a handsome young man, if I do say so myself. Of course, using the on-property scenery will require that the story take place in a rural community. Maybe with a horse, like the lovely Lady Anastasia, a Morgan who looks absolutely phenomenal for being above ground at the advanced age of 32. Well, considering that I don't have an active manuscript with the rural background of my little farm, I suppose that idea will have to linger on shelf for a good while longer.
Further speaking of sons, I'll be headed to San Antonio this week to attend the younger's graduation from military basic training. Therefore, I won't be posting my usual blog next week, which will be spent playing "catch-up" in resuming work for clients. I do intend, however, on putting in a few hours on the manuscripts in progress. I've still got that December 31 deadline for the sequel to Daughter of the Twin Moons, tentatively titled Witchbreed Fire.
And for those who are looking for something entertaining to read and a good bargain, too, Rowan: Branch 1 of the Tree of Life is on sale November 1 through 7. Download the ebook for only $0.99 on Amazon. Rowan is my first e-book and remains a favorite of mine. The heroine's sardonic nature masks a pragmatism and strength of will that recognizes when to stand firm and when to bend. No over-the-top stubbornness to the point of terminal stupidity here. The heroes--yes, more than one--bring their own motives, personalities, strengths, and flaws, sometimes in competition with one another.
Steamy Paranormal Romance
By Lyndi Lamont
Lyndi is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the blog post for three chances to win!
New: Tova’s Dragon Ghost #Bookhugs by @LyndiLamont
Lyndi Lamont’s inspirational message: I believe love is a powerful force in this world. It brings lovers together, creates families and lives on after death in the hearts of those left behind. It may not make the world go 'round, but love makes the world a better place.
Steamy Paranormal Romance
By Lyndi Lamont
Seek help of the Lord of Drakkenberg. Only he can aid you. You must fly with the dragon.
Tova Svensdottir, an earth mage, is on a mission to save her homeland, the Kingdom of Velosia from the evil wizard Bruno of Grimmdorn. Her grandmother tells her to seek help of the Lord of Drakkenberg, but the old lord is dead. In his castle, high on a mountaintop, she instead encounters his son, the Outlaw Kane.
Kane fled Velosia after a futile attempt to rescue his father and his mate from Bruno's cruel prison, killing the head guard in the process. Now that Bruno has been banished, Kane has returned to clear his name, but his purpose changes when he meets Tova. Tova's warmth stirs his passions and her courage touches his heart, but he dreads telling her of his true nature, certain she will recoil. But Tova is made of sterner stuff.
Together, Kane and Tova have the power to save Velosia. If they survive the coming battle. But can an earth mage find happiness with a dragonshifter?
Available at Amazon for pre-order:
Seek help of the Lord of Drakkenberg. Only he can aid you. You must fly with the dragon.
Her grandmother’s words rang in Tova’s head as she climbed the path into the mountains. Why had Mutti Zee sent her out of her way on a fool’s errand? Everyone knew the dragonfolk had fled Velosia years ago, driven away by Bruno of Grimmdorn’s crusade against them. Until he’d been driven from power. Now Bruno had returned at the head of a mercenary army, if Mutti Zee’s vision could be believed. And Tova had no doubts. She’d felt the vibrations in the earth.
And somehow she was supposed to save the kingdom?
She raised her gaze to the sky and asked, “Why me? I’m no hero.” The heavens gave no answer, though she saw clouds form to her left. She shook her head. Now she was talking to herself, like mad Magnus, the village idiot.
She stopped to catch her breath and rest her tired legs in a level area. The path ahead grew steeper and narrower the higher it wound into the mountains. She groaned. After walking all day, her legs ached. She was glad she’d worn men’s breeches and a tunic with her sturdy boots. A gown and petticoats would be but a hindrance.
After a deep breath, she started to climb again. Dusk came early in autumn, and she needed to find shelter before dark. Castle Drakkenberg, abandoned and forlorn, perched high above on a cliff, its turrets silhouetted against the leaden sky. Almost as if mocking her with its remoteness. Too much was at stake and her chances of reaching the capital in time to warn the king were slim at best. Even without this detour, she estimated the journey to Castle Novita would take three days or more.
For centuries, the dragon lords had resided in the castle, ruling the isolated mountain communities. People in this area were known as dragonfolk, though Tova knew not why. A great puzzle, but one she had no time to ponder. With luck, she had but to find the dragonlord, and he would take charge of the quest.
A shadow blocked the sun, and she looked up at an enormous bird silhouetted against the sky. Goddess, she’d never seen such a large raptor. It turned and the sun’s rays glinted on its shiny red-gold wings and barbed tail. She stopped and stared after it, shaken to the core of her being.
No, impossible. Dragons didn’t exist. They couldn’t.
Amazon pre-order links:
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07635W1SR or short link: Link: http://a.co/iYJcdeF
AU: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07635W1SR/ or http://a.co/1Lqtbo4
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07635W1SR/ or http://a.co/7I5GLe3
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07635W1SR/ or http://amzn.eu/5j6oPEA
To celebrate the release of Tova's Dragon, I'm doing a Rafflecopter giveaway, starting today and ending October 30. There are three ways to enter:
1. Like my Lyndi Lamont Facebook page
2. Subscribe to my mailing list and upcoming newsletter
3. Subscribe to my blog (on right sidebar or scroll to bottom of the page)
Between Despair and Ecstasy by Daryl Devoré #BookHugs #hot #romance
The finale of Erika and Darien's epic rollercoaster romance.
Tag - How can Erika prove to herself and Darien that she loves and trusts him? Simple. All she has to do is jump out of a plane.
Concerned for his fiancée, Erika Bailey’s safety, rock star Darien Scott races to Bangkok to protect her, only to discover his brother is missing. Fearing the worse, he contacts his nemesis, Gan, and makes a repulsive deal that will free his brother and protect Erika’s club, The Pink Flamingo. Or so he thought. When a python and Gan are involved, things go sour, and Darien sinks into a deep depression.
Erika is disheartened by the betrayal of her parents. Her father's destruction of her club, and the humiliation of her mother’s drunken behavior have her feeling down, but those are the least of her worries. She has a wedding to plan, but won’t. Having been betrayed too often, she’s scared to trust Darien.
How can Erika prove to herself and Darien that she loves and trusts him? Simple. All she has to do is jump out of a plane.
At - eXtasybooks
Sweat streamed off Darien’s brow. Some dripped into his eyes. It stung. His heart throbbed against his ribs. Fire inched down his throat. Every muscle in his body ached. His head pounded from the pandemonium. The explosions. The screams. The pain threatening to split his skull. Dropping his head back, he closed his eyes. His chest heaved as he gulped air. He needed a moment. Get some strength back.
The screams grew louder.
He inhaled and released a long breath.
They wanted him. He had to continue. To perform. Like a trained monkey. Do people even do that anymore? Train monkeys? He peeled his eyes open. The glare of the overhead lights blazed down at him. He lifted his head. The screams grew louder.
“Oh. So, you want more?”
But what if I don’t have any more? What if I just can’t continue? Twelve weeks. Four shows a week. I’m beat.
The roar from eighty thousand Parisians was tumultuous. Fans yelled at the top of their lungs. They pounded their feet on the floor, raising their hands in the air, clapping. Glow sticks, cell phones, and lighters swayed like flowers in a breeze.
He grinned. Eighty thousand Parisians and one fiancée. He glanced to his left. Seated on the top stage step was Erika. She’d arrived just minutes before the show started. Just enough time for a passionate, but quick, hello kiss. He needed more. He needed her, and he knew it. She smiled at him. He loved that smile. He could stare at it all day. The way her soft lips curved up. A hint of sassiness in her expression.
Just finish the show. Grab Erika and run. Dodge the fans. Just get out of here.
He looked out over the crowd. “But what if I’m too tired to continue?”
“No,” the crowd wailed.
He grinned. “Well, maybe I could go on if you told me you loved me.”
The cacophony of sounds was deafening. “Je t’aime. Love you.”
He lifted his hands. “Do you love me?”
He ripped his black t-shirt over his head and threw it into the fans. “Do. You. Love. Me?” He yelled out as he glanced at Erika.
She jumped up and down, screaming with the crowd.
“I can’t hear you.”
The building shook with the fans’ frenzy.
“Five. Six. Five. Six. Seven. Eight.”
Fireworks exploded. Lasers shot around the stadium. Cass, the drummer, crashed the symbols as Darien spun, posed then inhaled a deep breath and opened his mouth to sing.
About the Author
Daryl Devoré lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a black cat named Licorice and some house ghosts. Daryl loves to take long walks up her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She's touched a moon rock, a mammoth and a meteorite. She's been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life's an adventure and Daryl's having fun living it.
Where to find Daryl Devoré
Blog - Romance Sweet to Heat
An Inspirational Thought
Friendships are important. How do they start? CS Lewis knows
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…"
If you're like me, then you take 5-star ratings with that proverbial grain of salt. After all, how many times have you seen gushing reviews that give no details as to why the reviewer liked the book, product, or service? How often have you suspected that reviewers were paid or doing a favor for a friend or family member? So, if you're like me, you pay attention first to the critical and even negative reviews.
No one selling anything wants negative reviews. Even critical reviews can be perceived as the negative reviews of dissatisfied customers. It's kind of a catch-22, as coined and immortalized in Joseph Heller's book.
Then, of course, one hopes to consider the source of the review. I came across this comment in a critical review of "By Water Reborn" in Goodreads: "I have some issues with the Fae of the modern literature. The whole 'sexy, but deadly and weird' thing is getting really old, to be honest. I seem to see it everywhere!" That, of course, makes me wonder why that reader bothered to download the story in the first place. After all, if you're tired of the genre (or sub-genre), then read something else.
Of course, when it comes to service reviews, one cannot necessarily consider the source. I recently received a review of less than five stars and asked the client what I could have done to have merited a 5-star rating. His response was that it was his first time using the service and that he wanted an aspect of service he hadn't bothered to identify. Since I don't read minds, I didn't know he wanted advice that I normally don't provide. Of course, the platform used doesn't notify vendors, "Hey, this is a first-time buyer." The client did change his review to the desired five stars, but the experience underscores the unreliability of such reviews.
The subjectivity of rating systems leaves much to interpretation. I still give credence to the more critical reviews, if only because they tend to be more detailed as to why the buyer wasn't completely satisfied or wowed by the product or service. When reviewing a book, if it's well written, engaging, cleanly edited, and generally excellent, it will receive a 4-star review. If the book just makes my heart go pitter-patter and wows me, then it gets a 5-star review. Those books are few and far between. If I dislike a book for whatever reason, but it's well written and well edited, then it will get at least a 2-star review, because technical competence deserves at least one full star. Technical incompetence will eliminate a full star. Yes, folks, I place at least a full 20 percent of the review of a book on the author's craftsmanship. Writing is first and foremost a craft.
The subjectivity of rating systems has been lamented for years. Anyone selling anything needs positive reviews; because, who buys anything that hasn't already satisfied other customers? It's a referral system gone amuck. We trust the opinions of complete strangers to persuade other complete strangers to buy our products and services. How crazy is that?
However, the review system is here to stay. If you buy something or a service, leave a candid review. The vendor will appreciate it. Whether the review receives a posted response depends upon the business. Some industry niches take advantage of reviews to show that, yes, they really do listen to their customers and want to please them. Other industry niches know better, because responding to reviews inevitably leads to involvement in petty drama.
You win some, you lose some.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
For more information:
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