Friday, July 31, 2020

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Hasty (Do-Over Series, #4) by Julia Kent (Adult Contemporary Romance)

Julia Kent
(Do-Over Series, #4)
Publication date: July 28th, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


I never thought my perp walk would lead to true love.

Then again, I never thought I’d be arrested on RICO charges and hauled away in zip ties on camera for the world to see, minutes after closing the most amazing deal of my career.

And all of it in front of my biggest viral, billionaire wunderkind Ian McRory.

I am broke.

I am disgraced.

I am alone.

I am a sucker.

But the worst part? I have to go back to my hometown and live in my bedroom filled with relics from my childhood.

Lisa Frank never made me so mad before.

Just when I needed a rescue, I got one — in the form of help from my biggest rival.

He can’t bring back my money.

He certainly can’t bring back my reputation or my pride.

But there’s one thing he can bring back to me.

A sense of hope.

Maybe even love.

Ian sees something in me no one else does, and he’s relentless about making me see it, too. As we grow closer, I’m starting to see that while my entire life used to be a lie, the truth is staring me in the present — and it’s a truth I like very, very much, hot eyes and gorgeous smile and all.

But I have to be careful.

I can’t be too —

That’s right.


The final book in the USA Today bestselling Do-Over Series (Fluffy, Perky, Feisty), as Mallory’s sister, Hastings “Hasty” Monahan gets her turn at a happily ever after that starts off with an arrest.


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Today is the best day of my life.

I know people say that, and they mean it, but they don’t mean this. My best day is better than anyone else’s. Trust me.

I know.

I’m sitting at a table at Essentialz, a five-star restaurant in San Francisco. Everyone at the table watches me as I tuck the signed paperwork away in my black Bottega Veneta woven leather brief bag.

I, Hastings Monahan, just signed a nine-figure investment deal on behalf of the venture capital firm I work for.

Full partner, here I come.

Of course, lawyers will handle the majority of this. The signatures are symbolic as much as they are legal. But the fellow diners at my carefully crafted table will go back to China with an exciting opportunity for their company, Zhangwa Telecommunications, to enter the North American market with climate-change technology projecting yields that are the best aphrodisiac ever.

As I sip from my glass of Montrachet Grand Cru, I catch the eye of Ming Bannerton, a consultant with Zhangwa whose father is a high-ranking U.S State Department official in China, a woman who has a hunger for financial success that I can spot in anyone in three seconds flat. There’s something special about a fellow hustler–and when I use the word hustler, I don’t mean it pejoratively.

People who hustle get things done.

We connect. We network. We pattern match. We ruthlessly apply what we intuitively feel to what we operationally know in order to produce optimal outcomes.

In short–we hustle.

And we win.

But in competition, there can only be one winner.


Tonight, I’m it.

Her smile mirrors mine, red lips stretched over perfectly white teeth that are as straight as a new picket fence. The smile doesn’t reach her eyes, but an intensity infuses her. She’s about five years younger than me, with a knowing eye that tells me we need to stay in touch. Someday soon, she may shoot past me, and that’s where all the legwork pays off.

In this business, you network down as well as you network up, if you want to get anywhere.

And the manila folder resting in my brief bag, the one that feels like a warm gold ingot pressed against my lips? That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get somewhere.

“Where is Burke?” Mr. Zhao Bai asks, his head at a slight tilt, a gesture of genuine curiosity as his eyes survey me, looking for information that doesn’t come directly from my mouth. He’s the youngest of the four men at the table, a fast talker who looks around the room like he’s a mob boss. Negotiating with him took a steady hand I didn’t know I possessed, but now I understand.

Burke is part of the deal, and I didn’t realize it.

The contracts are signed, though. That makes my husband an off-the-books addendum. No matter what, this is my accomplishment.

My husband, Burke Oonaj, is one of the hottest market makers in finance right now. Even he will have no choice but to be impressed by the deal I’ve just put together.

But the inquiry about my husband makes my uterus fall.

And it’s not like he’s around to catch it.

“Good question,” I say before taking another sip of wine, needing to buy myself a smidgen of space and time. I only need a split second.


For some reason that I can’t explain, my emotions are tangling in my mind, and that’s an unpredictable variable I have to weed out.


My heart feels strangely heavy in my chest, a sense of dread filling me that has no right to be here. This is MY night, I tell that sense of dread. This is MY deal. This is my culmination of six years of careful work, all coming together, right now.

Go away, dread.

But Mr. Zhao’s question is a good one, because Burke isn’t answering any of my texts or emails or phone calls, and hasn’t for the last three days.

My husband has disappeared.

Not literally, of course, because husbands don’t just do that. Business travel can be intense. Plenty of stretches of time have gone by without hearing from him. They involved twenty-four hours or less, though.

Not eighty-one hours and thirteen minutes.

Not that I’m counting.

I can’t admit any of this to anyone at this table, of course, so instead, I give what my pattern-matching brain tells me is the optimal answer, designed to make me look good.

“Burke’s fine,” I say with a grin, the glass of wine still full enough to make more sips look like an appropriate response. “He sends his best regards. He would have been here tonight, but… you know.”

Two of the men share a look I don’t like. It’s a fleeting glance, the type that is practiced and meant to look like nothing. You think I’m paranoid, that I’m inventing it all?


I’m in a state of hyperarousal.

No, not the sexual kind. Haven’t felt that in a long time, at least not with Burke. My hyperarousal is based around the stress hormones pumping through me from the excitement of what I just accomplished.

Me. Myself. Alone.

Independent of Burke.

As workday smiles stretch to become the more casual, intimate grins of people enjoying bottle after bottle of excellent wine, I loosen up. The answer I gave them sufficed. We can move on.

My body feels numb and excited at the same time. I’m on top of the world. The pinnacle.

I am Peak Hastings.

Which is why, when the maître d’ approaches my side, I don’t pick up on the gravity of his whisper. No one would. Because learning that my credit card has been declined for this business dinner is definitely not part of the plan, and the areas of my brain assigned to processing language literally can’t comprehend it.

“It’s what?” I whisper, standing carefully, legs still steady, my alcohol consumption measured, even if my tablemates have made their way through more wine than an entire wedding party back home.

The maître d’, José, gives me a wide-eyed but polite look. “I’m sorry, Ms. Monahan. This has never happened before when you’ve dined with us. But the credit card company was very firm. You cannot use this one.”

Mr. Zhao gives me an inquiring look. My stomach sinks. Did he overhear?

“Will you all excuse me?” I tell them, hating the disruption, my legs turning into two steel beams covered in chilled skin.

“Something must be wrong with the credit card processor,” I snap at the maître d’ as I hurry away from my group. I want to get the taint of this failure out of the way and get back to my stellar success.

Once we’re out of sight of my table, I rifle through my purse and find another business credit card. “Use this one. And let me be very clear, to you and to your boss, that this is absolutely, abjectly unacceptable.”

He inserts the card, chip side in. “I realize this, Ms. Monahan, but we cannot…”


He stares at the credit card terminal.

I read the display upside down. “Declined!” I hiss. “This is impossible! That card has no limit!”

“Perhaps you’ve had your identity stolen, or there are fraud alerts on your account? Perhaps you’re the victim of a financial crime?” José suggests.

“I can’t be the victim of a financial crime!” I snap at him. “I’m a financial expert! This doesn’t happen to people like me. Here!” I shove a third company card at him. This one better work.

I only have one more.

My mind races ahead, conjuring contingency plans, even as my cheeks burn with shame.


Why would I feel shame for someone else’s mistake? And yet, there it is, and I have to override it fast. Because if I don’t, it gets a toehold.

And that is the fastest way to lose your edge.

José closes his eyes and lets out a sigh through his nose, a split second before the display terminal beeps.


“Your computer system is down,” I declare, pulling out the fourth card and my phone, texting my office manager. Maybe something went wrong. Maybe José is right. Maybe we were hacked. But this is surreal enough to let the dread come inside me and have a seat, as it decides whether to become an overnight guest.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m staring at a mid-four-figure bill that I owe, right now, and have no way to settle.

This cannot be happening.

As he runs the fourth card, the main door opens. My spine straightens, calves stretching tall, and not just from the five-inch heels I’m wearing.

I know that man.

I hate that man.

And he’s the last person on Earth I want to see in the middle of this debacle.

Ian McCrory cannot see me like this.

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 19 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing in 2020 and beyond.

From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Book Tour: Do Not Disturb by Kristine Dugger (Contemporary Romance)

 Title: Do Not Disturb
Author: Kristine Dugger
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Cover Designer: Dani Julian Cover Model: Shane MacKinnon Photographer: Wander Aguiar Photography
One look. One drink. A friendly conversation between two strangers.
A divorced mother of two. A younger man married to his job.
A chance meeting at the airport.
What are the odds of them sharing a plane together?
Quite slim.
Fate had another plan for them.
All it took was one more look and their lives were changed without them knowing about it.
A weekend of fun turns into something more than just…
Leave a sign on the door, DO NOT DISTURB.
BookHavenBookBlog - “ Delightfully Relatable!”
Wendy’s Book Blog - “Humorous & heartfelt tale!!”
Cathy Brockman - “Do Not Disturb is a fun, sexy, snarky, romantic, story that would make a great beach read.”
1: Do Not Disturb – Halestorm
2: The Sex is Good - Saving Abel
3: My Song for You – Shooter Jennings
4: Love is Hell - Theory of a Deadmen
5: Hero – Skillet
6: Familiar Taste of Poison – Halestorm
7: Comin in Hot – Hollywood Undead
8: The Dance – Garth Brooks
9: Is This Love - Whitesnake
10: I Do – Paul Brandt
11: Alone – Heart
12: Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Kristine Dugger is a thirty-something mom and wife who enjoys writing romance novels. Kristine resides in the suburb of Omaha, NE (Papillon, NE) where she enjoys spending time with her two amazing girls and wonderful husband playing sports. When Kristine is not writing and has spare time you will find her in the gym or outside doing some sort of exercise.
Before entertaining her dream of becoming a writer, Kristine earned her Master’s degree in Nutrition and Health Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While Kristine loved her job as a Dietitian, she enjoys writing so much more. 
Kristine loves connecting with her readers to talk books and life. You can follow Kristine in the following places.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Hollow Gods (The Chaos Cycle Series, #1) by A.J. Vrana (New Adult Magical Realism Dark Fantasy)

The Hollow Gods
A.J. Vrana
(The Chaos Cycle Series, #1)
Published by: Parliament House
Publication date: July 28th, 2020
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Magical Realism, New Adult

Isolated in the forests of Western Canada, Black Hollow is a town with a dark secret. For centuries, residents have foretold the return of the Dreamwalker—an ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods with the help of wolves, and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is blurred by a troubling statistic: every now and again, women do go missing. And after they return, they almost always end up dead.

When Kai wakes up next to the body of a recently missing girl, his memory blank, he struggles to clear his already threadbare conscience. Miya, a floundering university student, experiences signs that she may be the Dreamwalker’s next victim and finds herself caught between a supernatural kidnapping and a senseless murder. And after the death of a young patient, crestfallen oncologist Mason embarks on a quest to debunk the town’s superstitions, only to find his sanity tested.

Yet a maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Can three unlikely heroes put aside their fears, and unite to confront a centuries old evil? Will they uncover the truth behind the fable, or will the cycle repeat?

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When Miya returned from the dream, her eyes were already open, but she was unable to move—paralyzed even though she was wide awake. Her heart crashed against her ribs, and her breath caught in her throat, every tendon and muscle taut with desperation. She couldn’t open her mouth, scream, or even gasp for air. All she could do was look right in front of her.

The phantom woman from the dream hovered directly above her, her face inches away as she mirrored Miya’s prostrate form. Miya could see the mask clearly now—a hard, bone shell, shaped like a raven’s beak. It extended down her face in a sharp V, past her lips and over the edge of her chin. The mask was decorated with gleaming black and purple that swirled together like oil and water, slick against the smooth, flawless ivory. Her lips—quirked at the edges—descended towards Miya’s.

Miya squeezed her eyes shut, trying to kick and thrash—whatever she could do to get away. Her skin crawled with spiders, invisible parasites burrowing their way inside her until she was unable to fight the fear any longer. Miya implored the spectre, bargaining with the only thing she felt the woman might want.

I’ll go back to the dream, Miya told her. I’ll follow you—wherever you want. I swear. Please, just let me go.

Air rushed down Miya’s throat with such force that her lungs burned when she finally managed to gasp. Her eyes shot open, beads of sweat trickling down her face as she tore over every inch of her room. The apparition was no longer there.

Miya’s hand twitched as she flexed her fingers, testing her ability to move. She breathed in again, this time slower, willing herself to stop shaking but with little success. She’s no longer here, Miya repeated. Her mind was racing, her senses screaming, but she had, somehow, regained control.

Miya sat up, remembering what it was like to be inside her own body. She had the distinct sense of having gone somewhere she shouldn’t have—somewhere she risked never coming back from. A bizarre thought to have about a nightmare, but Miya knew in her bones that this was more than a dream. She’d looked into Medusa’s eyes and barely evaded turning to stone.

For a brief moment, the fog lifted, and she remembered the events of her first dream—the one that came before last night’s. Not only that, her knowledge of the fable had returned. In a frantic tumble, Miya threw herself at the bedside table and reached for her journal. She couldn’t afford to forget again; she had to write it down. She needed to know what came next. But the second the tip of her pen connected with the paper, Miya had no idea what to write. She stared down at the lines, her mind as blank as the page in front of her.

The dreams and the fable were gone.

Author Bio:

A. J. Vrana is a Serbian-Canadian academic and writer currently residing in Toronto, Canada with her two rescue cats, Moonstone and Peanut Butter. Her doctoral research focuses on the supernatural in modern Japanese and former-Yugoslavian literature and its relationship to violence. When not toiling away at caffeine-fueled, scholarly pursuits, she enjoys jewelry-making, cupcakes, and concocting dark tales to unleash upon the world.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Calla (Pixieland Diaries, #2) by Christina Bauer (Young Adult Paranormal Romance)

Christina Bauer
(Pixieland Diaries #2)
Publication date: July 28th, 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Book 2 of the Pixieland Diaries

Big news in Pixieland! The Blue Fairy is sending our fave pixie, Calla, and her crush, Dare, on a mini-quest. Unfortunately it’s an adventure that requires a lot of togetherness. We’re talking tons of touching, people.

Blue believes that since Calla and Dare are just friends, this situation shouldn’t be awkward.

It’s totally awkward.

***A 30,000+ word diary written by Calla***

“I absolutely love Christina Bauer’s style, full of action, intense scenes, and characters that will test one’s imaginations to the max!”Tome Tender Book Blog

1. Pixieland Diaries
2. Calla
3. Dare

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Author Bio:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Stalk Christina On Social Media – She Loves It!

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Friday, July 24, 2020

New Release & Interview with Lee Murray: Grotesque: Monster Stories by Lee Murray (Horror Anthology)

Collection; 261 pages

horror, thriller, adventure, monster, short stories

Things in the Well

ISBN 9798611527153

Three-time Bram Stoker Award® nominee Lee Murray delivers her debut collection, and it is monstrous. Inspired by the mythology of Europe, China, and her beloved Aotearoa-New Zealand, Murray twists and subverts ancient themes, stitching new creatures from blood and bone, hiding them in soft forest mists and dark subterranean prisons. In this volume, construction workers uncover a hidden tunnel, soldiers wander, lost after a skirmish, and a dead girl yearns for company. Featuring eleven uncanny tales of automatons, zombies, golems, and dragons, and including the Taine McKenna adventure Into the Clouded SkyGrotesque: Monster Stories breathes new life into the monster genre.


RIU: Hi, Lee! Welcome to Rising Indies United. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 


Thank you for having me over, Shannon. I’m an award-winning writer and editor from New Zealand. 


RIU: Your new release is Grotesque: Monster Stories. Can you tell us some of the things that influenced you to write these short stories? 


When my publisher at Things in the Well, Australia, first approached me about putting together a collection, I didn’t think I was quite ready. After all, I’d only been writing for a decade. It was way too soon. But later, when the earworm had worked its way into my brain, I sat down and read through some of my favourite stories to see if there were any consistent themes or ideas. And I discovered a lot of monster stories in my backlist. So I chose a range of them, wrote some fresh ones, and brought them together to create Grotesque: Monster Stories. Inspired by places, legends, conversations, some of the tales in this collection are of the ‘humans-as-monsters’ kind, and others are the ‘monsters-as-metaphor’ kind. Some are the slower creeping kind, and others are breakneck and frenetic. Not every story will appeal to all readers, but I hope there is something for everyone in this collection, because horror fiction serves to embody our universal human fears.


RIU: You have quite an extensive library of work. Do you stick mainly with the horror genre, or do you branch out, exploring other genres? 


When it comes to writing, I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. I write what resonates. Stories that sing to me. Sometimes that might be fun children’s fiction, and other times it is a fast-paced action thriller novel, or slow burn suspense story. Occasionally, I dabble in other forms too, like poetry and screenwriting, and I sometimes work collaboratively with other writers. I do feel I tend towards darker themes, perhaps because exploring those issues which incite fear help me to put a lid on them, a way to subdue my anxiety demons. And although I occasionally step through the portal into other worlds, mostly my stories are firmly rooted in the spectacular Aotearoa-New Zealand landscape. One place I’d like to explore more, though, is the space between genres. My work with fellow author Dan Rabarts on the Kiwi-based Path of Ra series, is a mash of genre and approach, a supernatural crime-noir delivered in a he-said she-said narrative with a new pulp vibe. It’s exciting to write at the intersection of genres, and while it can be hit and miss with readers and with book stores (who don’t quite know what to expect, or where to put them on the bookshelves), I find in these dark and uncertain spaces we often discover something quite unique.


RIU: What about horror appeals to you?


I rather like my colleague Mathias Clasen’s answer to this in his book Why Horror Seduces (Oxford University Press, 2017). He writes: “…we have an adaptive need to face the darkness in a safe context. Horror seduces because it so effectively satisfies our appetite for looking into the abyss, for imaginatively facing the very worst that we can conceive.” (p163). And as my friend Dan Rabarts puts it: “What is the point of facing down demons if we can’t hang their corpses from our battlements, so that others know they can be tamed?”


RIU: I read that you write for both children and adults. Is one more difficult than the other for you? 


They’re quite different forms, each with their own challenges. For example, military speculative fiction is challenging because I have no military grounding, so I have to do a lot of research to ensure my characters, and the plots I throw them into, are authentic and plausible (or at least allow the reader to suspend disbelief). Happily, with the McKenna series, I was lucky enough to have an excellent technical advisor, because there is nothing worse than reading a text and being jolted out of the story by a glaring error. This also applies when writing for children. Youth make discerning readers, and they won’t be talked down to, so getting the tone and voice right is essential in a children’s book. However, I think one of the trickiest (and most rewarding) aspects is when you are writing for children and you also layer the story with a subtext that works for adults, making the story suitable for shared reading. I like to imagine mums and dads sitting on beds, reading my books to their kids and (hopefully) being equally entertained.


RIU: When did you first begin writing?  


I have a vague notion that I pulled together my first sentence at age three or four using flashcards that Dad had made from lengths of corrugated carboard with the words stenciled in red marker pen. The word Christmas featured in the sentence. That one was easy because it was the longest word in the set. I must ask Mum exactly what I wrote, I’m pretty sure she’ll know. 


RIU: Where do you find inspiration?  


Let me answer that question with this short extract from the final pages in Grotesque: Monster Stories:

“Where do you get the ideas for your stories? 

It’s a common question asked of authors. At workshops and schools, when children ask me this question, I give them a naughty smile and say, “I steal them”. I explain to them how I steal character traits from people I know, splicing physical appearances and personalities together like Frankenstein to create new characters—some likeable and some not so nice. I steal people’s words, too; I’ll sit at cafés or on the bus, pretending to drink my coffee or look out the window, when in reality I’m eavesdropping on conversations, writing expressions and phrases into my notebook to extrapolate or exaggerate into a story of my own. I pinch mannerisms and points of view. Settings. Themes. If I need names for my characters, I’ll steal them from my friends list then, if it suits me to, I’ll gleefully kill them off. “I’ll steal your heart, your thunder, even the shirt off your back if it serves the story,” I tell my students. Writing is a subversive act and it’s important that children learn this as early as possible.”

RIU: What is the hardest part of writing? What is the best part? 


The hardest part for me is prioritising my own writing. I’m a terrible soft touch. I can’t help getting involved in other writing-related side-angles, like organising literary conferences, mentoring emerging writers, planning speaker events and writing retreats, participating on awards juries, and guest editing magazines and anthologies, for example. I love to support my writing colleagues too; just this week I’ve had five authors ask me to write cover blurbs for their new releases. All of those non-writing writing activities afford me some wonderful sneak peeks at all the fabulous work my friends are producing, which is one of the best things about writing. I’m a kitten chasing after her own tail really: having a lot of fun running in circles, but never quite reaching my goals.


RIU: Who has been your biggest influence?


For writing? My dad. A wonderful oral bard, he filled me with a love of adventure with his zany made-up bedtime stories, so beloved that I went on to tell my own children. Dad already had dementia when a small Kiwi press published my first book for children; he came to the launch anyway. I know he was so proud. As well as instilling me with a passion for story, he also taught me how to swim, how to paint and wallpaper, change a tyre, sail, catalogue seashells, dress a wound, and tie a running knot, a figure eight (and my shoelaces). He taught me that it was important that “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant, and an elephant’s faithful 100%” (Horton the Elephant, Dr Seuss). He made me laugh a lot. He died a few months ago when New Zealand was in lockdown. I miss him every day. 


RIU: What is your writing process? 


I usually start with a general story idea, or perhaps something that’s been suggested by the commissioning editor to fit the theme of an anthology or magazine. I’ll work out the beginning, and then the end, and then I’ll try and figure out how to fill in the murky middle bit. Most of the teeth gnashing happens at that point. I’m very slow, writing just a few hundred words daily, so sometimes I’ll be stuck in that saggy middle for eons. If there’s a deadline, usually my best writing will be done on the last day before the work is due. Because I’m a full-time writer, most days I get up, sit at my desk, and write all day (punctuated with bouts of social media, connecting with friends, which I tell myself is essential marketing and branding work).


RIU: What advice would you give a new writer? 


[She whispers from behind her hand]. Writing is fluid, elastic, adaptable. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Writing is like a piece of clay; you just keep working it, rewriting until you get it into the form you want. Don’t take my word for it; at least half a dozen super famous folk have quoted this in one form or another:


“There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing.” — Robert Graves.

“Good writing is re-writing.” — Truman Capote.

“The best writing is re-writing.” — EB White.

“Good writing is essentially rewriting.” — Roald Dahl.

“The only kind of writing is re-writing.” — Ernest Hemingway.


RIU: If you could have dinner with any writer (dead or alive) who would that be and why? 


Hmm. I’ve been asked this before, but today, I think I’d like to have dinner with Sir Julius Vogel, who was Premier of New Zealand during the 1870s, and after whom New Zealand’s science fiction fantasy and horror awards are named (I have twelve of these). In 1889, Vogel wrote a science fiction novel called Anno Domini 2000 or Woman’s Destiny. The book was set in the future, in the year 2000, where the author postulated that key positions of authority would be held by women. This was highly speculative since women didn’t gain the right to vote until 1893 (New Zealand was the first country to afford women that right). I’d love to have dinner with him and ask him the same questions that you’ve asked me. What was his inspiration for the novel? What was his process? Who influenced him? And I wonder what he’d think to learn that in 2000, the year his story was set,  New Zealand's Head of State, Governor General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Attorney General, and the head of the country’s largest company, were all women as he’d predicted.


RIU: What can we expect from you in the future? 


Thanks so much for asking. On the writing front, on 26 September 2020, Omnium Gatherum will release Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, edited with my Australian colleague Geneve Flynn, an anthology of fourteen wonderfully dark tales by some of my favourite horror writers, all of which reflect on the Southeast Asian experience of ‘otherness’. 

Then on 6 November 2020, Raw Dog Screaming Press will release Blood of the Sun, the third and final book in the Path of Ra series which I co-write with my Wellington colleague Dan Rabarts. There is a short film treatment coming together, and I have a story called The Good Wife, coming out in Weird Tales #364, which is super exciting because it seems I might be the very first New Zealander to appear in that iconic magazine. And finally, my works in progress include a short poetry collection and some new Taine McKenna tales. 


RIU: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. Much continued success! 


Thank you for having me stop by. It’s been a pleasure.

Lee Murray 
is a multi-award-winning writer and editor of science fiction, fantasy, and horror (Sir Julius Vogel, Australian Shadows) and a three-time Bram Stoker Award® nominee. Her works include the Taine McKenna military thrillers (Severed Press, Australia), and Kiwi supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra, co-written with Dan Rabarts (Raw Dog Screaming Press, USA), debut short fiction collection Grotesque: Monster Stories (Things in the Well, Australia), as well as several books for children and youth. She is proud to have edited fourteen speculative works, including award-winning titles Baby Teeth: Bite Sized Tales of Terror and At the Edge (with Dan Rabarts), Te Kōrero Ahi Kā (with Grace Bridges and Aaron Compton) and Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror (Adrenaline Press, USA). She is the co-founder of Young New Zealand Writers, a group established to provide development and publishing opportunity for youth writers, and the Wright-Murray Residency for Speculative Fiction Writers, and she is HWA Mentor of the Year for 2019. In February 2020, Lee was made an Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors Waitangi Day Honours. Lee lives over the hill from Hobbiton in New Zealand’s sunny Bay of Plenty where she dreams up stories from her office overlooking a cow paddock. Read more at @leemurraywriter

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Falling for the Innkeeper by Meghann Whistler (Adult Contemporary Romance)

Falling for the Innkeeper
Meghann Whistler
Published by: Harlequin Love Inspired
Publication date: August 1st, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She’s the home he never expected to find.

A battle for a charming Cape Cod inn…
But what happens when romance checks in?

Single mom Laura Lessoway won’t accept her mother’s plan of selling her late grandmother’s inn without a fight. But when big-city attorney Jonathan Masters arrives to arrange an offer from his client, she’s drawn to him. And working together as he helps with repairs only brings them closer. With his career and her home on the line, can they ever find common ground?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Jonathan Masters pulled up in front of The Sea Glass Inn, turned off his GPS and sighed. How had he gotten himself into this? He really didn’t want to intrude on a single mother and her young daughter right at dinnertime.

A sixth-year associate at Meyers, Suben & Roe, the top corporate law firm in Boston, Jonathan had left work early to drive to the sleepy Cape Cod town of Wychmere Bay to take care of some new business. This little inn wasn’t the new business, of course, but if he could ensure that Carberry Hotels acquired this prime piece of beachfront property, there was a good shot that the luxury hotel chain would hire Jonathan’s firm for all its legal needs.

And if Jonathan wanted to make partner, as his mentor, Mike Roe, had told him just a few nights ago, he needed to prove he was a closer.

“You’re smart, Masters,” Mike had said, “and a hard worker, but frankly, if that’s all you’ve got, you’re a dime a dozen.”

Although Jonathan generally took criticism well, that had hurt. In his experience, hard work always paid off. It’s what had earned him a scholarship to college and what had gotten him into Harvard Law. The idea that it might not be enough to get him a partnership was simply…unacceptable.

So, if Mike wanted him to bring in new business, Jonathan would bring in new business. Maybe he wasn’t particularly slick or practiced at glad-handing, but if that’s what it would take to earn a partnership, he’d learn. He had to.

He stepped out of the car and looked at the little inn. It was two stories high with gray cedar shingles, black window shutters and a hand-painted sign with its name—The Sea Glass Inn—hanging from a wooden post out front. In other words, quintessential Cape Cod.

He adjusted his tie and cuff links, the expensive ones he wore when he wanted to impress. Not that he expected a single mother to even notice his wardrobe. But it was like his battle armor. Look the part, play the part. Get. It. Done.

There were lights on inside the inn, which was a good sign. He left his suitcase in the car, took a deep breath, walked up the brick-lined path to the front door and knocked.

Almost immediately, the door swung open onto a deserted sitting room with a unique sea glass chandelier, and Jonathan was baffled for a split second until he glanced down and saw a dark-haired slip of a girl with a mischievous smile and gigantic green eyes. She was wearing white tights with purple stars, a pink tutu and—of all things—an itty-bitty Red Sox jersey. Plus, she was holding a couple of crumpled twenty-dollar bills in her hand.

Her big eyes went bigger as she focused on his face. “You’re not the pizza man,” she said, her words betraying just a tiny hint of a lisp.

“Nope.” He grinned and crouched down so he was eye level with her. “Not the pizza man.” He peered into the room behind her. “Is your mom around?”

“Emma, honey!” a woman called out, pushing her way through a set of swinging doors into the room. “I told you not to—” She stopped abruptly when she caught sight of Jonathan.

Although he was certain they’d never met—he’d have remembered a face like hers—the sense of familiarity he felt upon looking into her soft green eyes was jarring. Her clear, heart-shaped face was framed by thick dark hair that tumbled over her shoulders and down her back in waves. She was slender and dressed casually in jeans and a Red Sox sweatshirt. Although she had hardly a lick of makeup on her face, he was still almost dazzled by how beautiful she was.

He gave his head a small shake—don’t be an idiot!—straightened up and offered his hand. “Hi, I’m Jonathan Masters with Meyers, Suben & Roe. I spoke with your mother, Eleanor, earlier about staying here for a few days while we work out the terms of the deal.”

“You spoke with my mother…about a deal…?” The green-eyed beauty made no move to come closer and shake his hand.

Oh, man, Jonathan thought ruefully. He’d gotten the sense during his meeting with Eleanor Lessoway, this woman’s mother, that Eleanor might be a little flaky—rich, but flaky—but this was taking flakiness to new heights. He wasn’t just intruding on this woman and her daughter; he was ambushing them.

And he didn’t like it one bit.

Author Bio:

Meghann Whistler writes sweet Christian romance novels that WON'T make your grandmother blush.

A hopeless romantic who met her husband on a blind date, Meghann recently left her marketing career to pursue her lifelong passion of writing sweet, inspirational stories that demonstrate the power of love and grace.

Before settling down with her rocket scientist husband and raising three rambunctious boys, Meghann earned a B.A. in English from Amherst College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College.

She loves to hear from her readers, who can reach her at

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Book Tour & Giveaway: Love in Motion by Angela K. Parker (New Adult Contemporary Romance)

Title: Love in Motion
Author: Angela K. Parker
Genre: Contemporary/NA Romance
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Cover Design: Angela K. Parker
The thing about love…
It’s kind & beautiful, soft & hard, forgiving & emotional, but love can also be blind. Love can twist and turn you into someone unrecognizable.
That’s the way it was for Josie and me. She became my everything. I fell heart over mind, allowing her to take the only thing that I could call my own. The life I envisioned for us was blurred by secrets, hard to overcome. She made me question whether what we had was based on truth or a lie.
Dalton was an obstacle in the way of what I’d always shied away from, and the only way to reach my end was through him. So, I made a choice to get close to him, even when I shouldn’t have. We were never meant to be what we became. I didn’t intend for something forced to turn into something real. In the end, Dalton was so much more than just a means to an end. He held the key to everything, including my heart. It was his to have, to hold, to break, and to mend.
That’s the thing about love…
It can’t be forced. It just happens, and once it’s in motion, it’s impossible to stop.
Wendy’s Book Blog - “Engaging tale!!” Goodreads Review - “Amazing read! I feel like Angela Parker's books are getting better each time i read a new one.” Goodreads Review - “I was so engrossed in this story that was so well written with characters that were so well detailed that as I turned each and every page I felt like Joselyn and Dalton pulled me right into their story as it unfolded!”
Angela K. Parker is a country girl with a big heart. She's a South Carolina native with a passion for writing, reading, music, & math. When she’s not engaged in any of the above, she’s spending time with her family or catching up on the latest movies. She’s always had a very active imagination. Now she’s putting it to good use.