Monday, December 31, 2012

Cephrael's Hand by Melissa McPhail (Excerpt)

Please enjoy this excerpt from Cephrael's Hand, a spellbinding epic fantasy by Melissa McPhail. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this Novel Publicity blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Ean hugged the shadows as he tried to find his way back to le Comte’s estates. He feared they’d hurt his head worse than he thought, for the twisting alleys of the city disoriented him now. He was sure he’d passed the last street corner already once, and he had the uneasy feeling that he was walking in circles.

Trying to break the cycle, he turned into a long and shadowed alley, spotting a streetlamp at the other end. Abruptly a form reared out of the shadows. Ean reached for his sword—


The prince halted with his hand around the hilt. “Fynn?”

“Balls of Belloth!” Fynnlar crossed the distance in a rush and grabbed him by both shoulders, giving him a shake. “What are you doing out here, you wool-brained fool?”

“I might ask the same of you, cousin.” Pushing a hand to his throbbing head, Ean closed his eyes. He’d seen so much death since the last moon…so many lives lost, and for what? He couldn’t fathom the events that spun violently around him, only knowing they somehow had him caught in the whirlwind.

“Ean, are you unwell?”

“Hit my head pretty hard,” the prince murmured, lifting tired eyes to refocus on his cousin. “I’ll be all right.”

“Come on. We’d best keep moving.”

The prince shook off the numbness edging his thoughts and followed his cousin. Fog was rising from the river as they headed back toward le Comte’s villa, fat fingers sliding through the streets to leach the color from the night. They reached a corner, and Fynn paused and looked warily around.

“Fynn, what are we waiting fo—”

But the words stuck on Ean’s tongue, for he heard it then: a strange whispering, the whisk of silk across the rough edge of glass. The sound had prickly tentacles that pierced into the soft flesh of Ean’s inner ear and twisted there, making him cringe.

Something flew out of the shadows and Ean swung his head after it, straining to make out what he’d seen. “What in Tiern’aval was that?”

Grimly, Fynn held his sword before him. “A Wildling—a Whisper Lord.”

The whispering continued, tormenting, growing soundlessly louder until it shrieked inside Ean’s skull, shattering any hope of focus.

The Wildling shot out of the shadows again, and Ean forced his eyes to follow, to find him in the shadows where he hid.


He saw him lurking against the wall, smiling around big white teeth. His leathery skin was pitch black , and his eyes were golden like the desert sands. The man locked gazes with him, and—

Suddenly they were nose to nose. Ean felt the heat of his breath in the same moment that the fiery sting of steel pierced his flesh.

Shade and darkness!

“Ean, he cut you!”

“I’m all right.” But Ean grimaced as he gingerly probed the wound. “Shadow take the abominable creature.” Fynn gave him a long look. “Be ready,” and he rushed to meet the Wildling.

The fight turned instantly vicious. Whisper Lord fought with long, stiletto daggers that speared like claws out of his gloves. His hands crisscrossed with amazing speed, never failing to find their mark on Fynn’s person, while his body twisted and spun. Fynn’s thrusts in turn only seemed to meet with the slashed silk of his garments. So fast did the Whisper Lord dart and cavort that Ean at first felt helpless to join in, for he could barely see the Wildling move until after it had happened, as if the sight had to bounce off the back of his eyes…as if he could only see the man’s reflection.

Then Ean found his focus and rushed to help Fynn.

The Whisper Lord marked him before he even got his blade around, a long swipe at the joining of neck and shoulder that burned bitterly. Ean realized that trying to use his sword alone would get him killed, so he pulled his dagger and dove in again. The Whisper Lord dodged like a jumping spider and managed in the same maneuver to slash a deep cut across Ean’s thigh, his daggers flashing first with the silver of steel and then dark with blood. Ean snarled a curse and staggered into the wall, teeth clenched against the pain, for the wound was angry and deep.

Abruptly Fynn threw himself backwards, himself narrowly avoiding a deadly thrust to his gut. Those spine-like blades sliced a chunk of flesh out of his side instead. The royal cousin clenched his teeth and held one hand to his midriff, using the other to pull himself out of reach.

Ean dove at the creature with renewed determination, his battered head forgotten in his haste to keep the man away from Fynn. He wore a malicious grin as they battled, and his golden gaze was flecked and sparkling against his face of leathery pitch. As Ean’s strength failed, the Wildling grinned even broader and began to chant in a voice like sand, “Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal! Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal!” Over and over while he pressed Ean on the retreat; gleefully, like a madman.

And then he made a sudden thrust, and Ean jumped to avoid the slashing daggers that barely missed his throat. He came down unevenly on his bad leg, and his knee buckled. Stumbling, he hissed a curse and the man bore down on him. A swipe of his hand, and three spiny daggers cut deeply across Ean’s back with their sharp fire. The Wildling’s other hand darted for his throat again, but the prince veered and twisted so the blades caught his chin and cheek instead. Ean rolled and thrust upward, but the Wildling merely laughed and arched out of his way; the weapon met only the whisper of silk.

Ean lay panting. His dagger seemed lost along with his will, and desperation could no longer drive him on.

The Whisper Lord advanced slowly wearing a grim smile. With the shrieking noise still accosting his skull and the loss of blood and nausea in his stomach, Ean felt only numb acceptance. Shaking, he lowered his head—

A tall form pushed past him, knocking Ean aside as it rushed to engage the Whisper Lord, driving the Wildling back and away, taking the battle out of Ean’s hands.

Ean fell onto his back, gasping as the last of his strength bled out of him, and lay watching his rescuer take offensive control.

The woman’s brown half-cloak floated behind her as she advanced with long, fast strides, forcing the Whisper Lord on the retreat beneath two short swords wielded in a flashing figure-eight.

The Wildling smiled no longer. Every thrust and swipe of his daggers was blocked by the woman’s whirling black blades. She matched him stride for stride, spinning when he spun, darting as he did, dodging as he lunged. They performed a ferocious, twisting dance of death where both knew the steps intimately and took them with ease.

As Ean watched, the Wildling slashed his daggered gloves in a motion that should’ve gutted the woman, but she flipped out of his reach, thrusting long as she landed. Her sword met with the flesh of his side, drawing a hiss as he jumped back. He glared malevolently at her and pressed one palm to his side.

“Merdanti,” he snarled, his golden eyes hot as they assessed her black blades.

Arching brows with a predatory smile, she twirled her blades and lunged for him again, and once more the dance began, the meeting of their deadly weapons a rhythmic beating that seemed in time with Ean’s still-racing heart.

And then—

Ean thought he must’ve dreamed it, his tortured mind inventing an impression for what clearly defied explanation. The woman and the Wildling seemed to shift and slow, their cloaks floating as if suspended on the wind. Then the woman launched out of her turn so quickly that Ean lost sight of her, only to spot her again as she stood squarely before her opponent, blades crossed. With naught but a grimace of effort, she chopped her short swords crosswise through the Wildling’s neck, removing his head completely. His body toppled to the stones at her feet, paying respects to her skill.

Silence hung in the street, a palpable blanket sewn of incredulity fringed with pain.

The woman lowered her dripping blades and leveled tawny eyes on the prince...

Cephrael Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Cephrael's Hand eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Cephrael's Hand for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About Cephrael's Hand: Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive... A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming... A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within... And all across the land, magic is dying.Cephrael's Hand is the first novel in the award-winning series A Pattern of Shadow and Light. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. Visit Melissa on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

OTL: Fashion Fun with No nonsense Leggings & Tights

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of No nonsense for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am not generally interested in the latest fashions and styles. I live in jeans and t-shirts or sweatshirts depending on the weather. I'm home alone with two small kids most days and no one sees me so I don't feel the need to dress up (or even put on makeup) most of the time. So when No nonsese offered to send me a pair of tights and a pair of leggings to try I really wondered what I was going to do with them. Could I actually come up with an oufit for each of them that would look good? Well, I'll show you what I came up with and you can be the judge.

No nonsense Dark Denim LeggingsI received Dark Denim leggings (size Small) and had a lot of fun playing with different looks. These actually look exactly like jeans. In fact, I wish I could find jeans that looked like this with the dark, solid color instead of the two-tone washed out jeans that are so common right now. These denim leggings paired well with almost anything. I decided that I did like the slightly longer shirtts with them because they didn't fit perfectly at the top for me. I'm also on the short side so I had trouble with the leggings bunching up a bit at the bottom because they were too long. In this photo, I paired the leggings with a top my mom gave me for Christmas. I like this look because it is more dressed up than I usually am but still very comfortable. These also looked great with a black turtleneck and purple sweater but those photos didn't turn out well at all.

The tights I received were Black Rose Floral (size S/M). These fit really well but I was a little afraid I was going to rip the beautiful lace work when I was putting them on. I think these dress up this jean dress more than plain nylons or tights. These would have been great to wear with a holiday party dress if I had gone to any dress up parties this year.

No nonsense has partnered with Jill Martin, New York Correspondant for Access Hollywood, to get the word out about these leggings and tights. Jill is a fashion expert who likes to show off the latest looks without breaking the bank. She will be active on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, providing fashion tips and ideas on incorporating the leggings and tights in to any wardrobe.

No nonsense leggings and tights are affordable and easy to find at large retailers and food and drug stores. Find out where you can get No nonsense tights and leggings

Visit Sponsor's Site
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sugarplum Dreams (The Candy Collection) Excerpt

Sugarplum Dreams

Title: Sugarplum Dreams Book Four of The Candy Collection
Authors: Michele Richard, Lisa Bilbrey, M.E. Feeney, R. E. Hargrave
Publication Date: December 2012
Publisher:  Renaissance Romance Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
Blog Tour: Jitterbug PR

The Stories:

Broken Roads & Dusty Dreams

Riley Farris and Natalie Sloane were the best of friends who spent every summer together on the sandy beach of Mustang Island. Then, just when Riley’s getting set to spend another summer with Natalie, she disappears. As the years pass, he struggles to understand what happened to the girl he knew. Until, one night while walking on the beach, he stumbles upon a woman who is broken and lost.

Right Click, Love

Disheartened about not being able to find “Mr. Right” on the London dating scene, best friends Jodie Lynch and Louise Hewson create a blog to not only document their disastrous dates with the numerous “Mr. Wrongs” and “Mr. Okay-for-nows” but also to help those going through the same experiences and to see where they’re going wrong. How will they deal with everything the dating scene has to throw at them — planned or otherwise?

Sugar & Spice

Lacey Harrison has been dealt an unexpected hand in life: being a single mom. With her father's help and that of the residents at Royal Hills Nursing Home, she thrives and goes on to become a successful baker. She is content with her life but knows that she and her daughter Candy are missing something. Will things change for the better when Trent Childress moves into town and adds some spice to her sugar?

The Roommates

Spring break changes everything for Daphne Hobbs. A one-night stand leaves her pregnant and alone. She soon discovers that the father is an identical twin, and she's unsure of which one turned her world upside down. She’ll be forced to share her apartment with them until she can discover the truth. Julius and Jordan Sweet share everything in their lives — almost to the point of living one life. Will Daphne uncover who’s the daddy?

Excerpt from Sugar & Spice

Running down my ingredient list in my mind, I pushed the grocery cart towards the back section of the store to where the eggs were kept. I needed five dozen; then I could be on my way back to the bakery up the street. Sugar and Spice was small, but it was mine — all that I had besides my daughter Candace, who would be ten in August.

Her father had been my first, and last, crush. A dashing senior, Mark Reynolds had been the star quarterback at Union High School. I became smitten with him when I was a sixteen-year-old junior. I’d been entranced by his bright blue eyes and easy smile, which were always framed by his shaggy brown hair, and his carefree approach to life — it seemed when he smiled, things fell into place for him. Case in point: when he showed signs of struggling in History, a smile was all it took for me to offer my help. Over time, those study sessions drifted into make out sessions, and then more.

He'd seemed so sweet to my naïve self. I never questioned it when he suggested that we meet at the old library downtown — I thought he had an honest concern about the noise volume. I understood when he had practice or a game and didn't have time for “real” dates. It was exciting when he'd drive me home from the library, taking the long route through the park. In the back of my mind, I'd known his touches should not have been so exploratory, but they made me feel alive. Or so I'd thought at the time.

Our so-called relationship had continued, with secret touches in the hallways and stolen kisses under the bleachers in the spare moments before practice — kisses that always had me melting under his spell and left me blind to his rough dismissals when he'd tell me I would distract him if I stayed to watch. That spell had been shattered when I started experiencing flu symptoms that wouldn't go away, and my father took me to the doctor. Imagine both of our surprise when the doctor had come in with the news that I was going to be a mommy.

At first, my father had been crushed, thinking he had failed in raising me on his own. He berated himself, his ramblings of self-loathing revealed to me the true story behind my mother’s absence. In her opinion, she had been too young. She hadn't thought motherhood was for her – a decision she'd made in the middle of the night when I was four months old. That was the last time we'd seen or heard from her. However, once he'd had a couple of days to calm down, my father was prepared to stand at my side and help me get through it — starting with the visit to let Mark know he was going to be a daddy.

The Authors:

Lisa Bilbrey is a mom of three and has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1996. Finding a love in the written word, she started writing as a way to express herself. From the first word she wrote, she'd found her heart and soul. Always willing to learn, she's spends much of her time trying to improve as a storyteller. She's been blessed to find Michele Richard and Laura Braley, both of whom she spends hours every day writing with.

Connect with Lisa Bilbrey: Blog * Facebook * Goodreads * Twitter

M. B. Feeney is an army brat who finally settled down in Birmingham, UK with her other half, 2 kids and a dog. She's also a student teacher, a doodler and a chocoholic. Writing has been her one true love since she could spell, and publishing is the culmination of her hard work and ambition.

Connect with M. B. Feeney: Blog * Facebook * Goodreads * Twitter

Michele Richard created the Mocked series. From Mocked by Destiny to the trilogy Mocked by Faith, she writes what comes from the heart. A wife and the mother of two preteen girls, she spends her days spinning tales about what happens when what you believe in mocks your every turn.

When she’s not writing, her days are filled with her family, her bunny Geneva, and friends. Her greatest passions are learning new languages and traveling. She currently resides in the Northeastern part of the United States however; her family members live down the east coast as far as North Carolina.

She’s currently learning French and Spanish, and one day hopes to be fluent in both. Learning new things is always something she enjoys.

Connect with Michele Richard: Blog * Facebook * Goodreads * Twitter

R.E. Hargrave is a fledgling author who has always been a lover of books and now looks forward to the chance to give something back to the literary community. She lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX with her husband and three children.

Connect with R. E. Hargrave: Website * Facebook * Goodreads * Twitter

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Author Kimberly Richardson reviews The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan (Guest Post)

Today I'm pleased to have author Kimberly Richardson visit the blog as part of her virtual tour with First Rule PR. She is sharing her review for The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan. Keep reading to find out more about Kimberly and her books.

Ian McEwan, The Daydreamer

Author Ian McEwan is my literary idol when it comes to reading great works. In fact, he is one of my inspirations for becoming a novelist. I call him the God of Literature on occasion and named one of the characters in my new novel, The Decembrists, after him. Although I have not read his newest novel, Sweet Tooth, I know that once I began reading it, it will be a page-turner for me. Here is a review of one of his other wonderful novels entitled The Daydreamer. Enjoy!

Meet Peter. Peter is a young boy with a sister and parents who live in England but the realm of normalcy stops right there, for he lives purely within his vivid and wildly colourful imagination. Author Ian McEwan does a spectacular job of creating the ultimate daydreamer in his book The Daydreamer, in which the whole novel is broken down into “stories” of Peter’s adventures within his own mind and the end result of coming back to reality. None of the daydreams are dark and unpleasant but rather wistful and adventurous. His adventures range from doing battle with a mangled doll over his new bedroom, changing places with the family cat, setting up traps for burglars in his house, overcoming a bully with only his mind, discovering vanishing cream, exploring the world of his aunt’s baby and finally understanding what it truly means to be a grownup. Each story blends into the next with an ease that only McEwan can handle and with each story the readers gets a better and more developed picture of Peter’s life. He does no harm to anyone, loves his parents and sister (although barely at times) and has a better grasp of the world than most of the adults living in it. When he finally daydreams of himself being an adult, one must wonder if in fact he was dreaming at all and in fact the reverse: that Peter, as a man, was dreaming of his life as a child. That answer shall be left up to the readers for there is no right answer, only one’s own.

Although this is a book mostly intended for children, McEwan’s highly prolific style is still apparent and one can see the similarities between this novel and his more serious works such as Atonement, Enduring Love and Saturday. Even though this is a novel for children, this is a novel for children written by Ian McEwan. No other author rivals his usage and command of the English language. When I read this book, I thought of my own childhood and the times when I used to daydream about anything and everything under the sun. My mind wandered to all corners of the planet and when it finally came back home to my body, the results were rewarding. How many of us daydream now or have we lost it in exchange for adulthood? How many of us now take the time to stare at clouds in the sky, or watch an art crawl along the ground, or even stare out at a body of water and wonder what might live under there? And, my final question to you: what’s stopping you now?

About the Books:

Title: Mabon and Pomegranate
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Mabon:  What would you do if you discovered that your dreams were real? Monica had no idea that moving to the small town of Mabon would be the answer to her prayers, and yet so much more...

Pomegranate: Alexandra has it all: a great job, a wonderful husband, and very few worries in the world. Yet, when a black clad stranger enters her life, she is suddenly thrust into a world of myths and legends all contained in the skin of an infamous fruit.

Title: The Decembrists
Publication Date: October 2012
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Sophie Joyce, a young writer, soon becomes a part of best selling author Hilliard Ravensdale's elitist world. Yet, what she desperately wants comes at a terrible price, revealing a secret from Hilliard's past that will threaten to destroy them both. Award-winning author Kimberly Richardson turns her literary eye to the world of sex, control, uprisings, secrets, and lies, all wrapped within a story worthy to be called modern Gothic.

About the Author:

After found as an infant crawling among books in an abandoned library, Kimberly Richardson grew up to become an eccentric woman with a taste for jazz, drinking tea, reading books, speaking French and Japanese, playing her violin and writing stories that cause people to make the strangest faces. Her first book, Tales From a Goth Librarian, was published through Kerlak Publishing and named a Finalist in both the USA Book News Awards for Fiction: Short Story for 2009 and the International Book Awards for Fiction: Short Story in 2010. Ms. Richardson is also the Editor of the award winning Steampunk anthology Dreams of Steam, the award winning sequel, Dreams of Steam II: Of Brass and Bolts, and the upcoming Dreams of Steam III, all published through Kerlak Publishing. Other short stories and poetry by Ms. Richardson have been published through Sam’s Dot Publishing, Midnight Screaming and FootHills Publishing. Her first full-length novel, The Decembrists (Kerlak Publishing), will be out in 2012. Her other book, Mabon and Pomegranate (Kerlak Publishing), will be out in 2012 as well.

Connect with the Author:
Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

OTL: Help Skyo Help the Thirst Project with a Click #WRSkyoThirst

A hot shower is one of those things that I take for granted, forgetting that it would be a luxury to some people. Running water to wash dishes, filtered water from the refrigerator for drinking, and using the bathroom indoors are other important ways we are able to use clean water. I have a friend in Alaska who lives in a cabin with no running water but she has access to purchase clean water for their home.

According to The Thirst Project, almost one billion people do not have access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation. 4,400 children die every year from diseases caused by contaminated water and 80% of global diseases are water-borne. So what is the solution to this global problem? Providing communities with safe, clean drinking water by building community wells for as little as $5000 each.

Skyo is an online textbook company who is stepping up to help out. Right now you can contribute to The Thirst Project simply by liking Skyo on Facebook and following @GoSkyo on Twitter. For each like or follow Skyo receives in the month of December they will give $1 to The Thirst Project, up to $25000.

I love being able to support companies who give back and support the world community through these types of projects. Please check out Skyo on Facebook and Twitter and help them give the gift of clean water through The Thirst Project.

This is not a sponsored post. I'm just helping spread the word about an easy way to help a great cause!

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

French Illusions by Linda Kovic-Skow (Guest Post)

Title: French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley
Author: Linda Kovic-Skow
Publication Date: October 2012
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
Blog Tour: Pump Up Your Book

Description: In the summer of 1979, twenty-one-year-old Linda Kovic contracts to become an au pair for an wealthy French family in the Loire Valley. To secure the position, she pretends to speak the language, fully aware her deception will be discovered once she arrives at her destination. Based on the author’s diary, French Illusions captures Linda’s fascinating and often challenging real-life story inside and outside the Château de Montclair. The over-bearing, Madame Dubois, her accommodating husband, Monsieur Dubois, and their two children are highlighted as Linda struggles to adapt to her new environment. Continually battling the language barrier, she signs up and attends classes at the local university in the nearby town of Tours, broadening her range of experiences. When she encounters, Adam, a handsome young student, her life with the Dubois family becomes more complicated, adding fuel to her internal battle for independence.

The Book Editing Process - Sometimes It's a Bumpy Ride 

Choosing an editor for French Illusions wasn't easy. As a matter of fact, it was downright difficult. I searched the web for many months, pouring through blogs and editors guilds until I found three candidates who looked promising. I asked for references, contacted all them and received good feedback. Now what, I thought. How will I choose? The answer seemed simple. I would ask each of them to perform an edit on my first chapter. They all agreed, and over the next few weeks, I received their samples. With a critical eye, I spread them out on my office floor and carefully compared their work. Each editor offered something, but none of their edits felt like a perfect fit. Reluctantly, I tossed all of them aside.

I continued to search the web until I stumbled across my first editor. She grew up in the Loire Valley and spoke fluent French. A match made in heaven, I thought. Actually, no. Admittedly, she helped me with translations and corrected several cultural issues, but let's just say, she identified a little too closely with my antagonist. In the end, I asked her to return my manuscript knowing full well it would need additional line editing. What now, I thought.

Disheartened, I took another look at the three candidates who had provided me with sample edits early on. One of them stood out and I chose her as my second editor. She was a pleasure to work with and she ironed out some important kinks in my book. Her positive feedback healed my wounds. Definitely, a match made in heaven this time. Almost.

After I received my fully edited manuscript, I sent an excerpt from French Illusions to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book. She found a punctuation error in the first few sentences. I found a whole lot more on my own. Arghhh. I immediately asked Dorothy if she had a reference for a line editor and she referred me to my third editor. Thankfully, she corrected the remaining errors throughout my book.

As you can see, my editing process was indeed a bumpy ride. I will admit that my book was a highly complicated edit given the foreign setting and French translations. Maybe I was too hard on my first two editors. Maybe it took all three of them to get it right.

About the Author:

Linda Kovic-Skow resides in Kirkland, Washington. She earned an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting in 1978 from North Seattle Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Seattle University in 1985. She has been married for 27 years and has two daughters. An enthusiastic traveler, Linda also enjoys boating, gardening and socializing with friends. French Illusions, her debut memoir, is the culmination of a three-year project.

You can visit her website at

The Giveaway:

This giveaway is sponsored by the author and Pump Up Your Book. Library Girl Reads & Reviews is not responsible for selecting winners or awarding prizes.

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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Holly and Ivy by Selah Janel

Title: Holly and Ivy
Author: Selah Janel
Publication Date: November 30, 2012
Publisher: Mocha Memoirs Press
Format: eBook
Blog Tour: Jitterbug PR

Description: After losing her job and her boyfriend, Holly returns to her parents’ farm. Embarrassed and hopeless, she doesn’t expect to bump into a forgotten childhood friend that wasn’t supposed to exist. Ivy is not only a dryad, but she lives in the pine trees Holly’s family grows to sell at Christmas. As the old friends reconnect, Ivy not only shares her strong opinions, but gives Holly a charm that will change both their lives. As days melt into weeks and the seasons change, Holly’s life magically turns around. Christmas not only brings surprises, but a choice for the human woman. What’s more important: stability, success, and love, or keeping a promise to an old friend?


“What do I do with it?” I asked. I told myself I was just playing along, suspending reality to make Ivy feel better. Although if that was the case then perhaps I should have really examined the fact that Ivy was real and not me suspending reality to make myself feel better.

“You hold it now until it gets to know you. You keep it safe in your possession and it shall bring you ease and grace,” the tree sprite giggled.

“And that really works?” No matter how I tried I couldn’t hide my skepticism.

She turned up her pointed nose. “How else would I have survived so well with murderers on the loose? It’s worked for a good long while.” I raised an eyebrow as a sly grin spread just a little too far across her face to make the smile look human. “Do you remember when I snuck to school with that sapling you took for show and tell?”

The next smile didn’t hurt quite as much as I traced the delicate edge of the tiny plant with the pad of a finger. The petaled head shivered and softly brushed against my calluses. “I thought everyone was going to have a heart attack when you burst out of the thing and started singing to everyone! Mrs. Robinson finally played it off as the whole class playing a trick on her. We had to go without milk time for a week.” I’d gotten in so much trouble with my parents for lying in school and saying that I had a magic plant. Given that I was adamant that I’d been telling the truth, it was a hell of an ordeal for a six-year-old.

“’Twas so much fun!” Ivy paused mid-pirouette. It was downright disgusting that she could hold the arabesque for so long and not even wobble or suffer a leg cramp. “Though I would not want to live in such cold halls all the time.” She paused and took a long breath, much longer than I or any other human could possibly inhale. Before my eyes her skin became greener, infused by the crisp clean air. “You need to be in the trees, Holly. Mortals refuse to understand that they must live where things grow. Now that you’re home, let’s play!” She leapt over my head and landed effortlessly beside her home tree, staring at me expectantly.

Maybe it was being back home or maybe it was just being back in the good fresh air, but her suggestion made me giddy. It suddenly sounded like the exact prescription I needed, the one thing I’d been missing through all those frustrating years. My fragile mind and heart demanded an escape. They couldn’t take any more disappointment, any more expectations or responsibility, and they especially couldn’t take any more reality. I nodded and tucked the strange clover deep in my pocket. The breeze had dried my tears and the heavenly scent of grass and pine put the sudden urge to run in my feet. Suddenly the heavy air and the blazing sun didn’t matter so much and my anxieties were willing to take a momentary backseat to the chance to goof off for an afternoon. “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” I hesitated, hand still at my pocket.

Ivy flashed a bold grin and stretched up on her toes; her fingers wiggled over her head, making her resemble an odd, scrawny plant. “With you here? Of course! Just remember to come look after my tree when the murderers come around the winter harvest time. You can even help me choose which tree will be my final home so you’ll know where I’ll be.” The words were no sooner out of her mouth when she tore off, dodging branches and bark as quick and swift as a deer. I groaned as I pulled myself to my feet and tumbled after her, muscles screaming at the sudden exercise. Still, I found myself laughing the entire time.

About the Author:

Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Her appreciation for a good story was enhanced by a love of reading, the many talented storytellers that surrounded her, and a healthy curiosity for everything. A talent for warping everything she learned didn’t hurt, either. She gravitates to writing fantasy and horror, but can be convinced to pursue any genre if the idea is good enough. Often her stories feature the unknown creeping into the “real” world and she loves to find the magical in the mundane.

She has four e-books with No Boundaries Press, including the historical vampire story ‘Mooner’ and the contemporary short ‘The Other Man’. Her work has also been included in ‘The MacGuffin’, ‘The Realm Beyond’, ‘Stories for Children Magazine’, and the upcoming Wicked East Press anthology ‘Bedtime Stories for Girls’. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.

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