Tag: A Cautionary Tale (Virtual Tour)

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What happens when a game of Tag becomes more than just a game?

Tag: A Cautionary Tale

By John Collings

When Tommy knocks Franklin over and cries “You’s it!” he starts a game of Tag to end all games of Tag. Before long, boys gathering to play on Arabella Hill are consumed with the game, picking sides, forging allegiances, and waging all-out war. In the process of the game, rules evolve, constitutions form, and lives are lost.

From the mind of John Collings comes a satirical allegory about the clash of ideologies and what happens if this confrontation is never resolved.

In the battle of the playground, there is only one question that matters—which team, will emerge victorious?

Excerpt

Back then, roads didn’t exist. Big buildings didn’t block out the blue sky. Even the cars didn’t hurry off to the places where cars hurry off to. Tall trees circled the expanse of the field, a few stray trees here and there offering their shade to those in need on sunny days, and shelter to those in need on rainy days. Arbella Hill stood over there, the steep sides of it also covered with trees. On the top of it stood the mightiest of all trees, a proud oak. And, of course, this rock I’m sitting on sat right here.

Back in the day, we didn’t call the hill Arbella; that name came later. We only called the hill, “The Hill”, just as we called the rock, “The Rock” and each individual tree, a tree. We didn’t spend a lot of time naming things back in those days. We had more important things to do. We had a big field.

I couldn’t tell you where everybody came from, but we came, none the less. We all wandered out of the woods and across the horizon, drawn by this majestic mound. It stood above everything else on the plain, rivaled by no other formation in its beauty. On it, assorted fruit trees and tall pines pointed their peaks towards the heavens, wondrous wildflowers blossomed, rearing their heads to the world, animals scurried under the protection of the hill, peeking their happy heads out whenever they saw fit. If they ever noticed us looking at them, they would dart back into the shadows. They didn’t know they had nothing to worry about because we cared about them as much as they cared about us. We had many more exciting things to do, besides.

We ran. Not to or from a specific place—doing something like that didn’t interest us much. We ran more for the why, rather than the where.

What was the why, you ask? Well, why not?

But just imagine a huge field stretched out before you, soft and supple grass growing just tall enough to tickle your toes as the drops of dew dance upon your bare feet, the subtle sun warming you as you wind your way through the maze of dandelions. And if ever its heat gets too hot, the shade of a nearby tree is there to comfort you. If you’d rather continue on your run, the wind is there to blow a refreshing breeze your way. As far as we were concerned, the field had been created for our pleasure, and we took every opportunity to partake in that gift.
As was the case with the hill, the rock, and the trees, we didn’t bother with each other’s names. We didn’t even bother to acknowledge each other’s presence. We weren’t very social at that time—running occupied most of our time.

We didn’t care about speed or direction—some of us sprinted from one end of the field to the other; some of us twirled in circles, arms outstretched; some of us darted this way and that; and some just meandered from place to place, spending more time taking in our surroundings than those who surrounded us. It probably helped to get it all started, I guess.

The first uproar was caused by two kids of opposite natures. I later learned that their names were Tommy and Franklin, but I just knew them as the Fat Kid and the Focused Kid.
Tommy ran with purpose. He focused directly on where he wanted to run and when he got there, he turned right around to focus on getting back.

Franklin didn’t run so much as meander all about the place, his head constantly turning to observe the world around him, darting from place to place, to stoop down to look at a wildflower, or up to the sky to watch an eagle fly. Rarely was his head in what he was supposed to be doing down on the field.

As in all other aspects of life, when you have two opposites such as Tommy and Franklin, they are destined to clash, and clash, they did.

Franklin backed into Tommy one hot Thursday afternoon, too busy watching a wild turkey dart across the field while trying to get out of its way, running backwards, not really looking where he was going. Tommy, on the other hand, was so focused on where his run was taking him that he didn’t see Franklin coming. Franklin weighed more than Tommy, and it was he who took the tumble and landed flat on his butt.

Tommy wasn’t much of an orator at that early age, but of course none of us were. Later, Tommy would become the great speaker you may have heard about, but on that fateful day, he looked at where he’d landed in that big field of grass, and said the only thing he could in that situation: “I’s It.”

Rather, that’s what Franklin thought he’d said, for even though Tommy talked as if he’d marbles in his mouth, he wasn’t one to practice such bad grammar. He also didn’t back away from a confrontation, particularly one spurring from an intrusion concerning his right to run.
Tommy stood up, and walked over to where Franklin was standing. Franklin tried to stammer out an apology, but was unable to articulate the thought before Tommy pushed him, and Franklin landed on his butt.

Franklin could not believe Tommy capable of performing such an act of anger. He looked up at his antagonist, hoping for an apology he knew wouldn’t come. Instead, Tommy responded with a retort that would endure in the cannon of our consciousness for all eternity.

“You’s It!” he said.

Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tag-Cautionary-Tale-John-Collings-ebook/dp/B01GOVCELQ

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/tag/id1121357988?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo : https://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/tag-14

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/John_Collings_Tag?id=IOJLDAAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tag-john-collings/1123892563?ean=9781508040897

Rafflecopter giveaway

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN one of three copies of Tag: A Cautionary Tale

About the Authorjohn-collings-photo-237x300

John Collings has traveled the world and has taken the wisdom he has collected from various cultures and placed it in his novels. He has found that satire is the best way to impart this knowledge due to its lasting effect with the reader. It is his goal to open up discussion about what he perceives is wrong with the world in the hopes that we can come together to fix it. Tag: A Cautionary Tale is the followup to his debut novel, Hell, and God, and Nuns with Rulers.

Follow John Collings

Blog: https://johncollings.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/John-Collings/e/B00XT272WK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/john.collings.33

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jacollings44

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Elli (Virtual Tour)

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ELLI

by Tina DeSalvo

Her life could have been over with her breast cancer diagnosis, but Elli had fought and won. Now she is ready to fight for other women facing the same nightmare, but to do so she is going to need money. And she is going to need it fast.

Fortunately, Elli finds herself with half ownership of a Louisiana plantation. A twisted inheritance has set her up with an interesting future. Unfortunately, Elli no longer believes in planning a future, she just wants to take the money and run.

Ben Bienvenu wants nothing to do with the woman from California who is certain to turn his world upside down. But the conditions of the will that left the property to both of them doesn’t give him much choice. Not if he wants to keep the property that’s been in his family for generations.

A snobby diva rental dog, an impossible will, a nosy Bienvenu family, a distracting Mardi Gras season and a man who thinks he is protecting his son by standing his ground against her… Elli knows that trying to find common ground with this man known as the Cajun Dog Whisperer is going to be an uphill battle.

Two broken people.

Both in need of a Second Chance….

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An Excerpt from Elli

“Out!” Ben stormed into the guest room and closed Elli’s open suitcase, zipping it shut before speaking again. “You’ve got some nerve moving into my home, lady.” Two hours ago, he thought he’d made it clear to her that she was not welcome anywhere on his land. “Either go back to the bunkhouse for the night or find a hotel…preferably in Kansas!”

She lunged for the suitcase and sat on top of it before he could pick it up. “This is my house, too. I can stay here if I want. You can threaten me all you want, but I have rights. I asked my attorney, and she said I had the legal right to domicile on the plantation if I want…and I want.” She folded her arms across her chest as if that made it final. The hell it did.

He gripped the suitcase handle, looking at her a full three seconds to give her ample warning she had better move her West Coast derriere off the suitcase. When she just stared back with that stubborn look he’d seen much too often in the short time he’d known her, he figured they were at an impasse. Again. He shrugged his shoulders and yanked the suitcase off the bed, causing Elli to tumble to the floor. Her little prissy dog, resting on the bed pillow, raised her head and looked at her owner, sniffed, and put her head back down.

About Tina DeSalvo

Throughout her life, Tina DeSalvo has filled many roles – daughter, sister, student, wife, mother, journalist. Then one day she took on one she had not planned – breast cancer patient. In an instant her life changed. But as she had done everything else in her life, Tina threw herself into overcoming this role and becoming a survivor.

AuthorPhoto_ElliIt was during this time of fighting and healing that Elli was born. Tina took all that she learned, many of the people she met during the battle and poured it all into a book full of heart and humor. Elli is the story of getting a second chance at life after breast cancer. It’s not a book about cancer, it’s about a woman who’s had it. It’s a story that will make you laugh and could even bring tears to your eyes and it’s right from Tina’s heart. So much so that she is donating all proceeds from the sale of Elli to help meet the unmet needs of other women who are going through the same fight she did.

Since Elli, Tina has continued her Second Chance series with Jewell. We hope that you will check out Jewell as well and keep an eye out for Abby coming later in 2016.

Now, as we enter October and another Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Tina is reaching out to share her story and share Elli’s story again. There will be Facebook events (https://www.facebook.com/TinaDeSalvoAuthor) and news of other contests and appearances on her website (www.tinadesalvo.com ). And all month long she will be visiting blogs to share her heart and her message. She’s looking to give away Care Packages to ten Centers that work with Breast Cancer patients.  You can nominate a Center or Charity that has worked with you or a friend or family member as they went through treatment for Breast Cancer. From all nominated, ten will be randomly picked and Tina will give away a basket full of goodies in the name of you or your friend or family member. Let’s spread the love in October to those that might need it the most.

Buy the book

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Elli-Second-Chance-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B00JWA30LK/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/elli-tina-desalvo/1119464794

Rafflecopter Giveaways

Tina will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $50 Amazon/BN GC.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Donation for Cancer Center/Charity of your choice – a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Reaper of Stone (Virtual Book Tour)

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A REAPER OF STONE

by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

This book is FREE on Amazon for 5 days beginning September 18th.

A Lady is dead. Her noble line ended. And the King’s Reaper has come to reclaim her land and her home. In the marches of Aedaron, only one thing is for certain. All keeps of the old world must fall.

Elinor struggles to find her place in the new world. She once dreamed of great things. Of becoming a hero in the ways of the old world. But now she is a Reaper. And her duty is clear. Destroy the old. Herald the new.

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An Excerpt from A Reaper of Stone

The girl stared directly into Elinor’s eyes. There was no hysteria, and no more tears. Just sadness matched with a hard, cold determination. “For the murder.”

At the word, Elinor felt a cold inside her that had nothing to do with the chilling rain. “They were attacked by bandits.”

“They were not killed by mere bandits,” she hissed. “My father was a tempered razor of the Aegis School. He was a match for a dozen armed men. Perhaps more. That is no exaggeration.” She stared into Elinor’s eyes with a fierce intensity. “The death of my father and Lady Lliane was no accident. It was an assassination.”

“Stop,” Elinor commanded. She looked around to be sure there were none of Piersym’s razors nearby. Two were outside, but on the far side of the tower. Elinor assumed that over the rain, they wouldn’t have heard what the girl said.

 “You don’t believe me?” Tae asked, the hurt clear in her eyes.

Elinor moved close, until they were almost nose to nose. Her voice was quiet, but carried a sharp edge of intensity. “It is not about belief,” Elinor said, holding the girl with her gaze. “You must be careful what you say. Some things once said, cannot be unsaid.”

Tae looked confused and Elinor continued on. “If you make an accusation, you turn your home into a den of wolves.” She shifted her eyes in the direction of the Hearthfire razors on the far end of the parapet. “And these wolves will not allow you to escape if they believe you threaten them.”

The girl frowned, but shook her head defiantly. “But you said it yourself. You fought every day for what you believed in. How is this any different than the rendworms?”

“Because this is not a fight you can win, Tae,” Elinor said.

About Mark Gelineau & Joe King

Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.

Website: http://www.gelineauandking.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/gelineauandking

Twitter: @gelineauandking.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0145JMBDA

For our latest releases, join our mailing list:  http://eepurl.com/bww_4j

Amazon author pages:

Mark – http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Gelineau/e/B00I6TQUCE

Joe – http://www.amazon.com/Joe-King/e/B01460OK50

Rafflecopter Contest Info

Mark and Joe are giving away a prize to go along with this tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter contest

Hellkat (Virtual Book Tour)

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HELLKAT

by Robyn Roze

Kat James likes her men in suits, not cowboy boots. Is it time for a different kind of man?

 

Saddle up for a story filled with passion, mystery, unrequited love, and family drama. Can Tucker Williams prove he’s the best man for Kat? Or will an old-flame win her back?

 

It won’t matter, if Kat doesn’t survive her family’s dangerous secret.

*Hellkat by Robyn Roze is on sale for $0.99 through today only!*

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An Excerpt From Hellkat

“You don’t remember seein’ me that day before I talked to you at the bar, do you?” Kat thought about it and then shook her head. “I didn’t think so.” Tucker scratched along his jaw, and sighed.

“Well, I saw you. I saw you up the street, runnin’ and dodgin’ people.” He smiled at the memory. “I still don’t understand how you women run in heels.” He shook his head in disbelief, and maybe even a little awe. “Your legs, I noticed immediately. Your umbrella lifted up a few times and I saw your face, stopped my heart for a beat or two. Then I saw where you were headed, knew right then I had to get to the door before you did. Had to find a way to get your attention.” His eyes dropped. “But it didn’t work. You looked right past me, like I wasn’t even there. I heard your name when you checked in, and then I knew I had a decision to make.” He looked down at the coffee mug squeezed between his large hands.

“We can argue all night about me not comin’ clean on who I was. But the truth, for me, is once I knew you didn’t recognize my name, didn’t know I was the one you were waiting for, I decided then and there to be Tucker Williams—the man, not the pompous venture capitalist.” He paused, searched for recognition. She rewarded him with the hint of a grin at the echo of her own words. “I wanted a chance, Kat. I wanted you. I wanted you to flirt with me the way you did that pretty boy behind the bar.”

He chewed at the inside of his cheek and waited. Kat glanced down at her lap, attempted to hide her smile.

“I’m not the sorta guy you usually go for, am I?”

“Not even close.”

“So why did you, Kat?”

(HellKat by Robyn Roze, copyright 2015)

About Robyn Roze

Robyn Roze lives amongst the cornfields of the Midwest and telecommutes as an accountant. Writing was a childhood dream of Robyn’s. She won creative writing awards as a girl and teachers encouraged her to pursue a writing career. But pragmatism won out, and she boxed MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_Hellkatthe dream away on the maybe-someday shelf.

Maybe-someday came for Robyn in 2013 when she published the Keeper Series, a new adult romantic suspense story. Then she shifted gears and decided to pen a novel with a much more mature cast—Chain of Title was born, her bestselling title. Readers have been loud in their demand for a sequel, and Robyn is currently working on the next chapter of Shayna and Sean’s love story. And her latest book, HellKat, released in June 2015. All of Robyn’s stories contain one key element that her readers love: a strong, independent heroine.

When she’s not spending time with her fictional families, she loves to spend time with her real one: her high school sweetheart, their two moody teenagers, and a pampered rescue mutt.

HellKat Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/HellKat-Robyn-Roze-ebook/dp/B00ZB80IYE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439691942&sr=8-1&keywords=hellkat

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Robyn-Roze/e/B00AZXCT5G/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Website: http://www.robynroze.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/robynrozeauthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/robynroze

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobynRozeAuthor

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Robyn Roze will be awarding a $10 Amazon/Barnes&Noble gift card to one randomly drawn commenter.

Enter to win – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Deal Breakers (Virtual Book Tour)

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DEAL BREAKERS

by Laura Lee

How were they supposed to know that one night would change everything?

Devyn has life all mapped out. She just needs to accomplish one more thing before graduating college and becoming a full-fledged adult—lose her virginity. And who better to assist her than her best friend, Riley?

Riley is the self-proclaimed king of fling. His college years have been filled with meaningless hookups until the one night that ruined him for all other women. The one night he spends with his best friend, Devyn. Right before he screws it all up.

Balls to the wall, baby!

Now five years later, Riley is determined to atone for his mistakes and prove that he can be the man that Devyn deserves. Little does he know that Devyn’s been keeping a secret from him all these years. A big secret. Now he has to figure out how to win back the only girl he’s ever loved while navigating the pitfalls of her unexpected revelation.

Deal Breakers is filled with lots of laughs, a sexy romance, and an overflowing swear jar.

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An excerpt from Deal Breakers

“What should we toast to?”

I think about it for a second. “To new friends?”

With an unbelievably sexy grin he asks, “What if I want to explore being more than friends?”

I roll my eyes. “Do you ever give up?”

I find myself staring at his dimples as he replies, “Not when I see something I want.”

About Laura LeeMediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DealBreakers

Laura Lee is the author of the bestselling Karli Lane series as well as the upcoming Dealing With

Love series. She is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America focusing on paranormal, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance.

Laura’s passion has always been storytelling. She spent most of her life with her nose in a book thinking of alternate endings or continuations to the story. She won her first writing contest at the ripe old age of nine, earning a trip to the state capital to showcase her manuscript. Thankfully for her, those early works will never see the light of day again!

Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wonderful husband, two beautiful children, and three of the most poorly behaved cats in existence. She likes her fruit smoothies filled with rum, her cupboards stocked with Cadbury’s chocolate, and her music turned up loud. When she’s not writing or watching HGTV, she’s reading anything she can get her hands on. She’s a sucker for spicy romances, especially those involving vampires or cowboys!

For more information, please visit her website at: www.lauraleebooks.com

Website: www.lauraleebooks.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Lee/e/B007L0AI54/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LANFICTION.LauraLee?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lauraleebooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5723230.Laura_Lee

Blog: http://lanfictionlauralee.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/lauraleebooks/

Email: lauraleebooks@gmail.com

Laura Lee  will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Romance Author Kristina Knight

Today I’m pleased to host romance author Kristina Knight, who’s here to share some insight into her work as well as some info about a great 10-book boxed set, SHADES OF DESIRE, coming out June 8th!

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What drew you to writing romance when you first started out?

I’ve always loved romances. As a kid, I gravitate toward happily-ever afters and then as a teen I found a stash of my grandmother’s Harlequins and devoured them. So it was a natural step to start writing them, too. 

Your tagline is “Contemporary Romance with Sass”. What does this mean to you as an author?

For me, it means a heroine who knows what she wants and, even if what she wants scares her a little bit, is going to go after it. Also, most of my characters (heroes and heroines) are a bit smart-alecky because what’s life without a little snark and sass?

What are your favorite types of heroes and heroines to write about?

The broken ones! The characters who seem to have everything figured out and then…realize they don’t. Those stories are so satisfying as both a reader and a writer. I just love them.

You’ve written for Harlequin, Crimson Romance, and self-published a couple titles. Can you tell us a bit about how those publishing experiences worked for you?

My agent calls me a hybrid and I absolutely love it. My very first book (which became a series) was contracted with Crimson. I learned so much about my crutch words from my editors (thanks, Jennifer and Julie!!). I wrote another series, this time for Harlequin, and learned more about story development from my editor there (thanks, Ann Leslie!). What I like about working with my publishers is the support I get on covers and blurbs, advertising and promotion. Self-publishing is completely different – everything falls to me. Covers, editing, story development, advertising and promotion, and that is envigorating and challenging…for me, hybrid works.

Why did you decide to pursue self-publishing/indie-publishing for two of your titles?

One of my publishers was bought out by another and I didn’t feel the buy-out was in my best interest. So I took back that title. At the same time, I had a book with a publisher that was a bit of a hard sell, and I needed the ability to use pricing strategies and other indie tools to really take advantage of trends. Those two ‘experiments’ have been successful, and I’ll add more self-published titles this year. I’m really excited about it!

Every author has a favorite character. Who’s yours?

Gosh, that is so hard!! I don’t want to make any of my characters mad….let’s just say every one of them has a special spark for me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced on your journey to publication?

Rejection, rejection and rejection. Seriously. Rejection letters hurt. Revise-and-resubmit requests that are summarily rejected hurt. It’s hard to put your heart into a book and then learn no one wants to buy it. The key is to keep moving forward, keep improving on your craft and keep believing in your stories.

What advice would you give to aspiring and new authors?

Don’t give up. Writing is a hard profession and you’ll be told no way more often than you’ll be told yes, but don’t give up. Believe in yourself, believe in your stories and keep writing!

Is there anything you’d like to share about your next writing project?

I’m on deadline with my third book for Harlequin’s Superromance line and I’m so excited about it! At the same time, I’m getting ready to release a new trilogy of sexy romances set in the rock star world…it’s a fun time, for sure!

Tell us a bit about your upcoming release. What do readers have to look forward to in this great 10-book set?

Shades of Desire is such a fun book bundle! You’ve a little bit of everything from spicy contemporary to paranormal, a little suspense, some comedy and, of course!, happily ever afters in each one.

Shades Of Desire

Ten titillating tales from USA Today, bestselling and award-winning authors. Step into the world of some of the freshest voices in romance. From spicy secrets to sweet second chances. Come find your perfect shade of desire.

 

J.A. Coffey – Bestselling Author

LIAR, LIAR

Divorced certified fraud examiner Jessica Barlow catches liars for a living. Sparks fly when she’s assigned to investigate a dating website owned by a man determined to guarantee she finds love, even if he has to pretend to be a client!

Wendy Ely – USA Today Bestselling Author

DANGEROUS FLAMES

Sometimes good men are taught to do evil things and it takes the strength of a sheltered woman to make things right. When Gabi learns of her father, she is asked to leave for her own safety. Fine. She’ll go… but she is taking her secret love with her, even if it’s at gun-point.

Dorothy Callahan – Bestselling Author

A DECADE FOR DARIUS

Jess never forgot her first kiss, especially since it came from the guy who taught her everything she knows about antiques, her livelihood. But if she wins the priceless inheritance, Jess will risk losing Darius Covington all over again.

Diane Escalera – Bestselling Author

STILL HOT FOR YOU

Shay LaCosta screwed up a damn good marriage. Now she’s on a mission to get a little submission, and get her hunky husband back in her bed.

Lena Hart – Bestselling Author

HIS BEDPOST QUEEN

Athena Lewis has a sharp mind and an even sharper attitude. Except when it comes to “Davie,” the only man who’s ever truly made her feel safe. Yet to protect the only family she has left, she must embark on a mission that goes against everything she believes in, and that includes using the last trick she has left. Her body.

Chanta Rand – Bestselling Author and Debut Author of the Year

RESISTING DESTINY

Thrown together for ninety days by a spiteful judge, womanizing attorney, Cayson Sullivan and street-smart hustler, Destiny Jackson find the only thing they can agree on is their red-hot attraction for each other.

Emma Leigh Reed

TRUSTING LOVE

Pregnant and running from her abusive boyfriend, Chloe Wilder takes refuge in the sleepy coastal town of Arden. Police chief, Jayden Peterson, thinks the worst crime that could happen in Arden is jaywalking. Could the real danger be the two of them falling for each other?

Cindy Stark – Bestselling Author

WOUNDED

Battle-worn soldier, Jerry returns home intending to avoid his ex-fiancée. The shrapnel that wounded him pales in comparison to the gash she left in his heart. Kimber lost everything when she broke off her engagement, and she’ll fight to win him back.

Valerie Twombly – Bestselling Author

SPANISH NIGHTS

Armand has lost everything. His magic and his freedom are taken when an evil curse is placed on the Jinn, but a newcomer to town may be his savior. When evil emerges from the shadows, Makayla learns she must choose between her mortality and Armand’s freedom.

Kristina Knight – Bestselling Author

RIGHT NOW

Dumped by her celebrity boyfriend, unlucky-in-love author Casey Cash needs a break. But, between the male escort trying to get into her bed and the tabloid reporter intent on getting her story, Casey might have been smarter to stay in New York…

 

You can follow the Shades of Desire authors on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shadesofdesirebook

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shadesbundle

Handle: @ShadesBundle

Hashtag: #shadesofdesire

 

Shades of Desire Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00VQYVU1M

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shades-of-desire/id983263845?mt=11

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shades-of-desire-2

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shadesofdesire-1777727-166.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121700462?ean=2940152217230

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/J_A_Coffey_Shades_Of_Desire?id=parkBwAAQBAJ&hl=en

Interview with Kerry Lynne, Author of Pirate Captain

Today I have a bit of a treat! Several months ago I had the opportunity to read (and enjoy) Pirate Captain: Chronicles of a Legend by author Kerry Lynne, and she has graciously agreed to let me host a blog interview about the book, her work, and what’s next in the series. If you’re a fan of pirates, you’ll probably want to keep reading.

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Pirate Captain: Chronicles of a Legend by Kerry Lynne

Image used with permission.

Pirate Captain: Chronicles of a Legend is your first novel. What inspired you to begin writing the story?

Like everyone else, I had written a lot in high school. A brutal English instructor in college put an end to it, however. The only thing I wrote for 30+ years after that was cryptic instructions and a few magazine articles. The pirate thing came out of the blue; I owe my husband for that one. He was watching Pirates of the Caribbean on TV for what seemed like forever. Finally, trying to be the good, dutiful wife, I sat down with him and watched. Jack Sparrow won me over; I was gone from there.

That was about the time I discovered there was such a thing as fanfiction (I know, late bloomer). Stories had been rolling around in my head for most of my life, but now I had a place to write, play, and most of all, learn. I was shockingly rusty. I owe my fanfiction friends a ton for a number of things, but getting me on the right path is at the top of the list.

I was merrily writing along for about five years, introducing a lot of new characters (not an easy path in fanfiction). Gradually, I found that I wanted to go places that the canon wouldn’t allow. Jack Sparrow faded into the horizon and Captain Nathanael Blackthorne stepped forward. My life hasn’t been the same since.

On that train of thought, I had my first request from someone wishing to write Pirate Captain fanfiction. The circle is complete!

With the recent popularity of all things pirate, what do you feel Pirate Captain delivers that sets it apart from other high-seas adventures on the market?

It’s not Romance, and it’s not a Treasure Island wannabe. No disrespect to either, but anything that I’ve been able to find currently out there (or from the last decade or so) tends to fall into one of those two categories. Sure, there’s a romance (with two hundred men and one woman aboard, how could you not?) but I’d like to think this book offers a lot more.

The plot of most books centers around the MCs’ quest to gain something. This book is a bit of a reverse. Whether they know it or not, Cate and Nathan start the book with getting what they want most. The story becomes about what they are willing to do to keep it.

So many people are fascinated by the tall ships and sailing, but they are grossly confounded by the lingo. This book is a stepping stone into that world. Patrick O’Brian or C. F. Forrester, for example, are great storytellers, but their books are a tough read for the landlubber. Hopefully, by the time one is done reading it, they feel like they at least know fore from aft and “their butts from a bitt,” as Nathan would say.

The “Hell’s Angels” aspect of pirates bothered me for quite a while, until I started to understand that pirates (a few deviant personalities aside) were just sailors trying to find a way to get through this world. Pirates were the first pure democracy, their captains (and often their officers) being elected. No venture was set upon without the approval of the majority. They were also the first limited corporation, their only pay being a share of the profits (swag or treasure). They were also the first to institute disability insurance, their ship’s codes often allowing extra money for the loss of fingers, eyes or legs.

Your main characters, Nathanael Blackthorne and Catherine Mackenzie, are flawed individuals whose troubled pasts have left them scarred inside and out. When developing your characters, what led to your decision to make them “less than perfect”?

Imperfect is ever so much more interesting, isn’t it? Where’s the interest in reading about perfect people, who have had charmed lives and everything has always gone their way?

I have to say first that my characters tend to develop themselves. First, I figure out what kind of a person I need, and then I work backwards, figuring out what personal traits or experiences would have brought them to be that way. Once I reach childhood, then I have to work forward again, because each trait or experience will have other consequences which I hadn’t planned on, like Cate’s horror of being held down or Nathan’s disinterest in food.

Nathan and Cate come from two diverse paths, and yet they share the same issue: trust, or more specifically, the inability to do so. Cate’s story is one of loss, starting with her mother dying when she was young, to losing her husband, home and life to a war. She doesn’t trust that Providence will ever allow her happiness. Nathan’s story is one of betrayal, starting with a father who never returned. There’s going to be two categories of readers: those who love Nathan and those who hate him.

My characters are forever changing. Perhaps “evolving” might be a better word. They are always surprising me, like Nathan’s sweet tooth. I had no idea, until in one scene he walked to the honey jar and stuck his finger in. There are times when I expect Cate to be a little stronger in the face of some hazard or tribulation, and she falters.

Nathan is an incredibly multifaceted character who takes the popular “Jack Sparrow” pirate captain mold and pretty much smashes it to smithereens. As new readers come to the novel, what do you hope they’ll take way from his characterization?

The comparison to Jack Sparrow is a natural one, since there hasn’t been such a popular pirate since Errol Flynn and Captain Blood. I realize that, as anyone picks up the book, they will be expecting some version of Jack. Hopefully, like you, the reader will soon see the vast difference between Jack and Nathan. As I might have mentioned earlier, I can’t explain where Nathan came from. He just stepped up off the page one day and refused to leave.

My hope is that readers won’t know whether they love him or hate him. I work by the guideline “if you want your characters to seem real then make them like real people.” That means with all the flaws and strengths; likes and dislikes; disappointments and desires; quirks and scars. The more you add, the realer they become. A writer has to be two-thirds people observer and one-third therapist. Diana Gabaldon calls it “cannibalizing,” a gross, but appropriate word, because that’s what a writer does: take in all these observations, chew them up, and then spit out a new character.

Conflict is the key, not only in the plot, but within the characters, as well. As someone once suggested, “What cage has the character put himself in?” is the question to ask yourself as the writer. Add to that the fact that the more you love your characters, the more you disrupt their lives, because you’re anxious to see how they will react and whether or not they will prevail.

Like any person, historical or modern day, Nathan is a product of his time. If life hadn’t taken such violent twists, he might well have been the dashing Errol-Flynn-type sea captain, with the world at his fingertips, and hence a fairly cliché character. But life wasn’t kind, and he’s wound up doing what he had vowed he’d never do. So now, not only is he fighting the enemy (of which he has several), he’s fighting himself. That sets up some great conflicts.

Pirate Captain is set in 1753, and there was a lot going on in the world at that time. Your level of research and dedication to historical accuracy shines through the narrative, but you manage to corral the history into what’s pertinent to the characters aboard the Ciara Morganse. How did you decide which historical elements to include?

Oh, dear! It wasn’t easy. I’m a Virgo, so details are everything. As everyone is probably well aware, after all that hard-earned research, you’re dying to show it all off. Not without a few tears, to be sure, I kept it down to only what I needed to tell the story, but I’d have to add “the way I wanted to tell it.” The minimalists (those who feel you should use only what is directly relevant to the plot, and nothing more) would point to a wad of things as unnecessary. But then, I’m not a minimalist <grin>. I incorporated what I needed to either underpaint a scene or flesh out a character. It helps that I’m not a linear writer; I’m a patchworker. I write whatever comes to mind each day, and then find where it fits into the grand scheme of things. It’s a good way for me to take the best advantage of the creative juices when they are flowing. Heaven knows we don’t want to interfere with that! It means that I’m always working back and forth, which gives me prime opportunities to weave in all those little juicy bits in.

The year 1753 was chosen, because of Cate’s backstory. I needed an event catastrophic enough to wipe away a person’s life: the Jacobite War of ’45 was perfect. That time frame, however, put the story after what is commonly known as the Golden Age of Piracy, so I needed Nathan’s backstory to accommodate that. That also allowed me the freedom to work without the expectations of encountering any of the more famous personalities. I intentionally avoided using real persons, although there are a couple names that slipped in. I preferred to use the time period as a backdrop, rather than a mold into which I had to fit the story.

The ignorant are always there for us writers to use. Using Cate’s POV was advantageous here, too. As she was being educated, so was the reader. At a certain point, however, that ploy becomes too obvious, so I had to find other ways of weaving in information. The nauticalese I incorporated only enough to give it flavor. In the meantime, the nautical purists will rip me open because I haven’t been entirely accurate on a lot of things. But again, it’s a delicate balance, because if I wrote to please them, I would have lost the landlubbers. I really wanted this book to lure the reader into the world at sea, show them that it doesn’t have to be such a confusing and scary place.

Who or what were your real life inspirations for the characters, ships, and locations?

Writing inspiration came from Diana Gabaldon. Whether she knows it or not (I have told her a couple times) she’s responsible. Some say nothing happens without a reason. A friend recommended her books to me. That was the first time I found myself thinking “I want to write like that!” It was several years after before I actually started writing again, but her generosity with those trying to learn and her pragmatic approach was a godsend. She’s also the one who gave me permission to not write linear, as everyone had been telling me I had to do up until then.

What was the most difficult aspect of researching the setting, personalities, and nautical jargon?

I see too many historical fiction writers being handcuffed by history, worried about all the things that has to be. I prefer to look at it as what could be. These were just people, with all the fears, dreams and motivations as people today.

Having sailed for over 30+ years helped; I’m not sure I would have attempted this without. At the risk of stepping on a few toes, I’ve read several attempts by writers who didn’t know anything about ships or sailing and it showed. The same thing goes for pirates: if you’re going to write about them, then you’re obliged to include all the sailing stuff, including the lingo. For men of the sea, ships and sailing is more than just a part of their lives: it’s them. To ignore it is to ignore the core of the character.

My biggest challenge was trying to understand the workings of a square-rigger. Once I figured out what their greatest concerns were at sea (for the most part, getting caught with too much sail aboard or with land in their lee), then I had a fair grasp, although there’s still so much to learn.

My most valuable tool was a gift from a dear friend: the entire audio set of Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series. It was invaluable in getting the ear tuned to the 18th Century way of speaking. Listening helps in ways that reading never can, when it comes to that. The version narrated by Patrick Talb is wonderful, for not only the nautical jargon, but the various English (as in England) dialects.

I tried to incorporate as many of the mariner’s sayings as I could, because these men still live with us today: bone in her teeth, chewing the fat, chocked full, bitter end, let the cat out of the bag, scuttlebutt, slush fund, worth his salt, three squares a day… The list goes on and on. A glossary can be found at the back of the e-book version or at our website www.piratecaptain.net for the print version.

It’s been suggested that I might be channeling people from the past, because there is so much of this book that I have no idea where it came from. There are whole passages that I look back at and wonder who wrote it. I can’t begin to explain Nathan’s turn of the tongue; I rarely know what’s going to fall out of his mouth.

There’s a love story woven into the rich narrative, but Pirate Captain isn’t a traditional romance by any means. What challenges have you faced in writing this book in that regard?

No, it’s most certainly not traditional, but then these aren’t traditional romance characters either. I’ve had several readers comment that the opening scenes of when Cate is first brought aboard the Ciara Morganse made them realize this book was different.

Again, staying mostly in Cate’s POV worked well. If we knew what Nathan was thinking in Chapter 2, there would be no more mystery, would there? The surprise, the tension and everything would be gone. It’s the not knowing that makes the heart flutter. Does he or doesn’t he? Will he or won’t he? If Cate and Nathan were to suddenly drop all their defenses and declare everlasting love and fall into bed together by Chapter 4 it would have been completely out of character. The reader wouldn’t have known either of them enough to care whether they did so or not.

A therapist once told me a person’s strengths are very often their weaknesses. The very things that a person relies upon will also lead to their biggest problems. Cate and Nathan are both survivors, achieved mostly through stubbornness. But it’s also their downfall when it comes to a personal life. Nathan’s ability to hide his thoughts makes him a great captain, but it also makes it impossible for Cate to see inside.

The greatest challenge often comes from within yourself, the writer. In the spirit of doing what the story calls for, you often have to face down your own fears and whatever issues you might have. It’s not always easy. As a historical fiction writer, you also have to get past all your modern day biases and compulsions. No, in the 18thC they didn’t wash their hands before every meal. And no, they didn’t refuse to eat something, because it hadn’t been refrigerated. No, they didn’t send for a doctor if someone broke a leg. If you can’t get yourself past that, then you need to find a different era about which to write, because you’re not going to be able to be truthful with yourself or your readers.

Nor Gold is the next installment in the Pirate Captain series. Can you give us a sneak peak into what’s in store for Nathan and Cate? When is your projected release date?

I’m about half finished with Nor Gold; hopefully it will be out about this time next year.

Without being too spoilerish, Thomas becomes a more central figure. There will be much more of both Cate and Nathan’s backstory, which comes around to haunt them. There will be a bit more in the way mystical, which ties in with Nathan’s backstory. The nautical world is filled with lore and superstition. They were simple people; what phenomena they didn’t understand they attributed to some god or superstition.

More and more, Nathan discovers that what he wants most is going to become more and more impossible to have. Suffice to say, nothing is ever going to go smoothly with these three.

Several hints have been dropped in book one, Nor Silver… the reader just has to find them. <grin>

How many books do you anticipate will become part of the Pirate Captain series?

God be willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’m looking at four or five books right now, but there’s a good chance that will grow. Even if no one is reading, I’ll still be writing, because I can’t imagine leaving Cate and Nathan behind.

The back cover copy of Pirate Captain gives us Nathan’s take on the set up of the story, but most of the narrative is told from Cate’s point of view. Will we get to see more events through Nathan’s eyes in subsequent volumes?

Ugh! Those blurbs always sound so Madison Avenue sales pitch. Instead of the traditional third person impersonal, I used Nathan’s narrative, because I thought it would better represent what the reader could expect: something different.

As for seeing more events through Nathan’s eyes? Oh, dear, yes I’m afraid so. It’s going to be a challenge for both me and the reader. There’s no holding Nathan back once he gets on a tear.

Again, without being too spoilerish, the first part of Nor Gold will be in his POV. There’s a fair-sized stretch at the end that the reader will be in his head. A good portion of the third book will be in his POV as well.

You’ve been receiving great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. How has this feedback helped as you continue with Nathan and Cate’s story?

As a writer, you dream of bunches of great reviews. The irony is when you hear people don’t believe it if it’s all five-star reviews. They think it’s all friends and family. So I guess we need to hope for a few people to rip your work apart. <wry grin>

Like any writer, some positive feedback always fuels the fires to keep going. The Demon Self-Doubt is always firmly entrenched on my shoulder. I would be writing, however, even if no one was reading, because Nathan is jumping up and down for his story to be told, and there’s no putting him off.

A lot of authors are gravitating toward increasingly accessible self-publishing options to get their work in the hands of readers. What led to your decision to self-publish rather than pursue a traditional publishing contract?  What are some of the rewards and challenges of that decision?

Timing was a big thing. Pirates are popular now. Three or four TV channels are planning or already filming pirate series or mini-series. Starz Channel has already signed their mini-series Black Sails for a second season, before the first season has even aired. Spielberg has bought the rights to Crichton’s Pirate Latitudes, and I understand the rights to Pirate Hunter (Captain Kidd’s story) has been purchased as well. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is on deck to start filming this winter, to be released in 2015. Rumor has it that they will be filming 6 at the same time. I didn’t feel as though I had the couple years it takes to work your way from agent to being picked up by a publisher to actually hitting the shelves.

The couple online writing sites that I hang out at did a very fine job of convincing me that I’d never be able to sell a book so large (in the vicinity of 350,000 words). Still, I’m toying with spamming out some query letters and see if anyone will bite.

It’s still early; I have no way of knowing if this book is going to be able to find its audience. The trick is getting it in front of the reader. As you’ve probably heard a kazillion times, it’s really tough for a book to rise above the morass of others and be noticed. Bookstores are really reluctant to pick it up. There is every thing from animosity to contempt for self-pubbing. The attitude is swinging around a bit, but you still have a lot of prejudice to live down.

I have a couple reviews pending that should prove significant (assuming they like it <grin>).

What advice would you give to new authors?

Know yourself and your audience, and write to please them. Write the book you would like to read, because there is a good chance a good many others feel the same way. The more you try to please everyone (which is an impossibility) the more watered down the work becomes.

The online writing and critting sites are fine, but sooner or later you have to take ownership of your work. Don’t be snowed by all the rules. The best “rule” is one Diana Gabaldon uses: “You can do anything, so long as you do it well.”

Think outside the box. Characters and plots become cliché only because they have been done the same way over and over. There’s nothing purely original; finding a different way to present it makes it yours and unique.

If you’re struggling with a scene, chances are it’s because you’re trying to get the characters to do something they don’t want to do. Sit back and ask them; perhaps you don’t know them as well as you think. <g>

Okay, this question’s really just for fun. Some fans have deemed Pirate Captain worthy of a film adaptation. Until Hollywood comes knocking on your door, do you have a “dream cast” in mind?

I’ve had several people suggest that very thing. Judging from what I’ve seen Hollywood usually does to a book, I’d rather not. It would take a lot to get me to hand my characters over to someone else.

I don’t work with specific character pictures, but then I’ve written it as if it was a movie playing in my head.

Of course, everyone thinks Johnny Depp should be Nathan, but that’s probably because there hasn’t been another popular pirate movie since Captain Blood. I’ve had some suggest that Maureen O’Hara would make a great Cate. At one point, I had Catherine Zeta-Jones in mind, mainly because she has a body type more typical of a woman, as opposed to those refugee-from-a-prison-camp types that Hollywood seems to think we should admire. Bo Hoskins would make a good Mr. Kirkland. The crew would be a field day for all those great character actors out there. The more elder Sean Connery would make a great Mr. Pryce. And Thomas? Hmm…. Not sure there.

What takes up your time when you’re not sailing the high seas with Nathan Blackthorne and Company?

I write nearly every day. There are index cards and little scraps of paper everywhere. If I can think clearly enough to write, then I edit.

We spend a month every summer on our sailboat on the Great Lakes. We aren’t saltwater sailors, much to everyone’s surprise. I was an artist and loved doing needlework (crazy quilting mostly) but lost the fine motor skills in my hand, so I’m not able to do any of that. I live in hope it’ll come back one day. Otherwise, I’m out in the garden venting my pent up energy on the weeds.

If readers are interested in learning more about the Age of Piracy, what resources would you recommend?

First of all, I’ve banned Wikipedia from my existence. It’s fine, if you use the footnotes to find primary resources, but as an end-all resource, not so much. I’ve found far too many errors. I also prefer the print version of a book, as opposed to online. There’s nothing like those little treasures you discover as you’re thumbing through the pages!

For Pirates:

David Cordingly is the going expert. His book Under the Black Flag is a great resource.

The Sea Rover’s Practice by Benerson Little is good as well. 

Choundas’ The Pirate Primer is invaluable for pirate-speak (and 18th Century mariners in general)

The Pirate Dictionary by Terry Breverton is just plain fun, with a lot of mariner and pirate-speak.

For ships and sailing,

The Young Sea Officer’s Sheet Anchor

The Seaman’s Friend by Richard Dana (of Two Years Before the Mast fame) 

A Sea of Words by Dean King was written as a lexicon for the Patrick O’Brian series, but has a lot of relevant information.

Seamanship by John Harland

Thanks so much for your time!

It was my pleasure. I’m always dying to talk about this passion and the characters it has brought me.

On a closing note, I’d like to tell everyone that I’d love to hear what you think of the book, good, bad or indifferent. There’s not much that can be done to change this one, but I am working on a second. I’m not setting myself up as an expert, but if anyone has any questions about ships, sailing or pirates, email me at klynne@piratecaptain.net.

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For more information about the Pirate Captain Series, or to commandeer a copy for yourself, visit Kerry and the crew of the Ciara Morganse, visit PirateCaptain.net or check out the Pirate Captain page on Facebook.

Print and e-book versions of Pirate Captain: Chronicles of a Legend are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.