HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY @LH_Writes REALITY WEDDING!

Tags

,

This series is SO fun, and Laura is probably one of the sweetest writers I’ve met, no exaggeration. Ok, so we may have bonded arguing over a MS in Pitchwars behind the scenes, but seriously. Check it out!

Lights? Camera? Action! In this irresistible final installment of the Reality Star Series, one woman’s dream wedding may be about to turn into a reality nightmare…

 

 

Synopsis

SAY ‘I DO’—OR ELSE

When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met, had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.

Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .

 

Praise for Reality Wedding:

“The third book in Heffernan’s Reality Star series is such a fun and entertaining read, as Justin and Jen – and all the drama that seems to follow them everywhere – are back. Will they get married is the big question here, and will reality TV have any part. Heffernan will keep readers guessing, as the story has some twists to it. With lots of drama, a bit of humor and a sweet romance, this series is as addicting as reality TV. Fans of Sophie Kinsella might want to give this series a try.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars 

Available now from all major retailers. Order today!

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play iBooks

 

 

Excerpt:

 

 

“Justin, I can’t hear you. Where are you?”

“Airport…on.”

I fought the urge to chuck my useless phone across the room. “What? Justin, I can’t understand anything you’re saying. We’ve got a terrible connection.”

The phone went dead. I called him back immediately, but nothing happened. The several voicemails he’d left shed no additional light on anything: a lot of static, a couple of broken airline announcements in the background, crowd noise, and one that sounded like a butt dial from the men’s room. Awesome. My concern grew with each uninformative message. All the texts were variations of “Please call me ASAP.”

Heart pounding, I dialed Sarah’s number. The call went straight to voicemail. She should be on a plane, not at the bakery, but I dialed the landline, anyway. The phone at Sweet Reality rang and rang until the line started buzzing. Since the shop should be open, getting no answer made me even more nervous.

I was still standing in the kitchen, staring out over the pool, when Rachel entered wearing her swimsuit. “You okay? One of the producers said they heard yelling.”

“Yes. No. I don’t know.”

“Well, that clears things right up.” She tilted her head at me, eyes full of concern. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. Justin called, but the reception was all wonky, and it sounded like there was some issue with his sister. I tried to call Sarah, too, but her phone’s off. I hope she’s okay.”

“Hold on a sec. He said there’s a problem with Sarah?”

“Yeah.”

“When are they supposed to be flying in?” Rachel pulled out her phone and started tapping. “Do you have the flight number?”

“He was supposed to fly out of Florida a few hours ago. When he called, I thought his flight landed early, but he was apologizing and sounding stressed. It doesn’t sound like they were on the plane. Should I go to the airport, just in case?”

Rachel kept tapping, a grim look on her face. Then she held her phone out to me. “No, Jen, I don’t think you should.”

I snatched her phone out of her hand. Then all the wind rushed out of me. She’d pulled up a news site. HURRICANE CARA STRANDS THOUSANDS. Below the headline, a picture showed a Florida airport, absolutely packed with people.

He said Cara, not Sarah.

“I’m sorry, Jen,” Rachel said, “but I don’t think Justin’s flying in tonight. According to this site, he might not be able to get a flight for days.”

“What about Atlanta? Can he drive to Atlanta? My family’s flying through there.”

She tapped a few more times, biting her lip. I found the answer on my phone right when a low murmur told me Rachel saw it, too.

All flights canceled. My entire family stranded.

 

 

My heart sank. Just when things finally started to go right, when I started to think the whole wedding might not be a complete disaster, my groom wasn’t even coming.

 

 


Be Sure to Check Out the First Two Books in the Reality Star series!

 

 

 

AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR

 

Millennial Jen auditioned for a reality show hoping to win the $250,000 cash prize.  With puzzles, games, and more, this show is right up her alley. But when she meets co-contestant Justin, she finds herself questioning what really matters. Can she trust that his feelings for her are real? Or is it all a showmance put on for the viewers?

 

 

 

 


 

SWEET REALITY 

After her brief brush with fame, Jen’s ready to start a new life: New location, new roommate, new boyfriend, new business. But when a killer competitor threatens to put her new bakery out of business before the grand opening, Jen steps back into the spotlight to snag a show-stopping recipe. Can she save her bakery without destroying her relationship? 

 

 

Praise for the Reality Star series:

America’s Next Reality Star is one sweet, sexy brain-candy read! You won’t be sorry you indulged.” —Leah Marie Brown, USA Today bestselling Author 

 

“Smart, witty, and really freaking good, America’s Next Reality Star is a fun read that has you cheering from the first paragraph through the last page. Laura Heffernan spins an entertaining tale, expertly mixing the main character’s real life events with the reality show’s challenges. With enough drama to not only satisfy fans of reality TV shows, but readers who thrive on a good story with humor and romance, this book is a perfect read.” —Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

“Reality TV fans, this is your book! Laura Heffernan captures all the drama and over-the-top craziness in this fun and flirty romance.” —Amy E. Reichert, author of Love, Luck, and Lemon Pie

“If you like sweet contemporary romances with a reality show theme, then you are going to enjoy Heffernan’s Reality Star series. Her second book, Sweet Reality, takes place about 16 months after the first and features the same great couple, Justin and Jen. These two are likeable and relatable characters and there is more romance in this one than there was in the first. There is also an interesting cast of secondary characters. Heffernan does a wonderful job with character development and painting vivid scenes. There are also some cute and funny moments that makes this book a worthwhile and entertaining read. If reality shows are your guilty pleasure, give Heffernan’s Sweet Reality a try.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 

 

 


 

About the Author:

Laura is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys board games, travel, board games, baking, and board games. She lives in the northeast, where she spends far too much time tweeting about reality TV and Canadian chocolate.

 

 

Connect with Laura:

Advertisements

A Long Overdue Personal Post

So some of you may have heard me mention some life changes in social media over the last few months. I needed some emotional distance before I went into it. If you’re just here for the writing advice, feel free to skip this. It gets a bit long. Also, the words I’m sorry are stupid and please, save yourself the comment.

So Nanowrimo and I have a long history. I’ve failed more nanos than most people have even tried. I’ve been doing it annually to the point where it’s more of a tradition to me than Thanksgiving. I was ~3k out from the end at Thanksgiving, and closing in on the end when I get a message from one of my best local friends, C. We work together, he was literally the only person I knew in Philly when we moved here, and he’s become basically like my slightly younger brother over the years.

His fiance, A, partner for the last several years, was in the ER, with what was intially thought of as a Problem but not a Crisis related to a genetic liver issue he’d had diagnosed a couple years ago, but the effects stretch back to his young adult life even. Then the MICU. On life support.

And then I was there when A died.

Throughout the weeks that led to A’s death, there were ups where we thought he’d make it, and downswings where death seemed imminent. It was a roller coaster, and A’s family completely checked out, leaving the entire burden of decision on C’s shoulders, even at the last hours. I couldn’t let him face it on his own, so Owen and I made sure to do whatever we could to help. A handful of other friends did as well, but it’s so small vs what A meant to him, that I still don’t know to answer when people ask me how he is. They were as close as Owen and I are, and that mirroring is painful.

I warned my dayjob boss that with all this, I was likely to be short on patience and needing a bit more tolerance and patience with, as customer service calls it, soft skills. For those lucky enough to avoid working any customer service jobs, soft skills are things like word choice (Don’t say the wierd way they’re claiming their medical insurance works is unusual, just ask “what do you mean by that, because “they might feel judged”), tone (which is mostly sexist bullshit. I can say the exact same words as the guy next to me and be judged more harshly because if I have any inflection in my tone, it’s considered a flaw, not a feature), and other emotional markers which are, as a whole, biased towards the straight, white, male expression. My dayjob has a known issue (someday I’ll link you to their glassdoor reviews) with this. They give a lot of lip service towards transparancy, accommodation, and wanting people to succeed. It’s not reflected in their actions, with me or others.

Any death is going to shake you. Watching someone die, even in a controlled medicalized environment, is an experience I both wouldn’t wish on anyone but one I’m grateful I was there for. I can’t take solace in faith. I wasn’t raised with much of one, I consider myself agnostic pagan at best. But my mind inventoried so many details. The way the hospital staff acted before, during, and after. The way the body slowly turned cold and turgid. The way the equipment was handled. Despite asking for a priest or chaplain or other clergy of the appropriate faith, because of the time and day, no religious official was able to attend, and my friend was faced with losing the love of his life, the first really stable relationship he’d ever found. And I know it’s cheesy, but they were an amazing pair. They had what Owen and I have, that utter trust and reliance. And then, it wasn’t there.

A few days before A’s death, C moved into my office. It was intended as a stopgap. They were living out about an hour away in a New Jersey suburb apartment. Their lease was almost up and they would normally have been looking for a new apartment anyway. It made sense given that A would, at best, be in the hospital in Philly for a while and then maybe in a rehab and then maybe requiring frequent specialist visits, for C and A to move in with us. And mind you, this is a couple that, in retrospect, I would have been happy to have as roommates, especially knowing what I learned after the fact about how much A’s liver issues were impacting the day to day household stuff for them. Part of me regrets not having asked and pushed more, but C and A are both very private people, and so I also can’t blame myself, because they’d always only said what was relevant to situations at hand.

Now, it’s for the foreseeable future. Because of C’s health issues, he isn’t comfortable living alone. And frankly, right now?? I wouldn’t want him to. He’s, as you’d expect, devestated. They had wedding plans, even a finalized guest list. There are few things more tragic than what might have been, and never will be. There are so many things that, in the aftermath, I’ve gone, well damnit, why didn’t I know? And I know that part of grief is anger. The anger at what could have been and never was. Knowing things intellectually doesn’t make it less sucktastic in the meantime.

All this led to my examining my life, as death often does. And I realized, I have been on cruise control over the last few years, and not really working on building my life into what I want. I want to be a full time editor, and I’ve spent the last, oh, 15 years, forcing myself into the customer service role that chafes badly. I am not someone who can obsequeiese to nonsense. I had a woman tell me recently that “A doctor batman, it’s short for something but if you google dr batman and dehydration it comes up…. says that disabilities are caused by dehydration and my son is autistic and getting him to drink more water may cure him.” …Yeah, that abelist crap is utterly unscientific and moronic.

So I’m doing a few things. First, I’ve got a doctors appointment later this month to do the overdue health checkup on me and to also attempt to document the ADHD that I’ve suspected for a long time I’ve had but was never diagnosed when I was younger because I’m also high IQ (the two are actually linked, but back when I was originally evaluated, having a high IQ gave you a pass for ADHD, because the interaction of the two was not understood). Once that’s officially stated in paperwork form, I can get this PA form of medicaid called MAWD, and then I don’t need to have the dayjob to maintain health insurance. So I can, in theory, quit the dayjob, and have medical insurance covered. I am in a fortunate position where, if I ask them to, Owen and C can take on a lot of the day to day expenses. And I can focus on growing my business for 3-6 months, based on what I have saved and the effects of marketing when I have tried.

TL;DR: If you’ve thought about hiring a freelance editor, or me specifically, now is the time. Once I start doing the marketing, I plan to book in 2-3 clients per week, and while I always try to give existing clients priority, I can’t promise I’ll have the exact spot you want. I’ve dreamed for a long time about being able to hang this shingle without the limitations of a dayjob. I’m very much in favor of referrals, if you know someone who might want my editing services, please point them my way! I have a rare chance here to chase my dreams, and I’m going to do so while it’s available to me. In the long run, gods only know what will happen. But real talk, I’ve never been more ready, and it’s worth a try. I might fail, but I might fly, and worst case scenario, I get another dayjob.

Happy Book Birthday to the FANTASTIC @BRENDADRAKE and ASSASSIN OF TRUTH!! <3<3<3

Many years ago now, KT and I were talking, and she mentioned this Brenda she’d been chatting with. KT and I have been friends long enough even then to know that we generally end up liking the same kinds of people, so I started chattering with Brenda too. She was, at the time, working on the draft of the first one of this series, iirc, and so I critiqued it for her. It was really good, and I could see a lot of ways to develop it. We hit it off as crit partners and friends immediately, and I blame her (Ok, thank her, lol) for giving me the confidence to really attempt this crazy publishing journey. She was directly responsible for getting me one of my internships, and drafting me into Pitchwars, and encouraged me to set up Chimera. She does SO much for other writers, and hates asking anyone for anything in return. So hey, writing community? Send some love her way, and if you like the series, make sure to review it places!

Assassin of Truth_500

Assassin of Truth (Library Jumper’s #3)
Brenda Drake
Published by: Entangled Teen
Publication date: February 6th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Romance

The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.

And it’s not your normal bump-in-the- night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.

Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.

The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

I didn’t want to kill the girl, so I hesitated to throw another globe at her. Squaring my shoulders, I got ready for her attack. When the girl got close enough, I threw a kick to her gut and slammed my fist against her jaw. She stumbled back against the frozen railing. It broke free, and she fell over the side, landing on a table below. Her body was half on and half off the table, her neck bent at an odd angle and the bones underneath pushed against her skin.

Is she dead?

A shimmery light left the girl’s body and flew to me, smacking my chest. I took a step back, expecting to turn into a human Popsicle, but nothing happened, only a chill that rushed across my skin and quickly ended.

“You killed her,” Veronique yelled as she stepped up on a chair and onto a table. She charged the length of it, heading for me.

I dropped to my knees and flipped through the pages of the gateway book. My heart galloped like a thousand racehorses on steroids. I needed to escape.

Where do I go? I can’t lead her to the others. I stopped on the photograph of the Boston Athenæum. Home? To Nana. Afton. No. Veronique knew where Nana Kearns lived. I couldn’t risk going there. I tossed over more pages.

Just then, Veronique pulled herself up onto the balcony and let loose another fire globe. The flames licked the air and smoke trailed it like a comet. The fire grazed my cheek, pulling a sharp gasp from my chest.

Her breaths were loud—panting. The sound of a siren drew nearer. We’d have company soon.

A feral look on her face, Veronique plucked a dagger from her shoulder sheath. A velvet bag, weighed down by something heavy inside, was tied around her waist.

The other Chiavi? I had to get them. I grasped the strap of my messenger bag.

“You can’t win, Gia. You’re weak. Unskilled. A sniveling child.”

“I beat your ass, and I took care of your friends.” Meaning the three Sentinels lying dead on the floor below us. I forced my eyes to stay on hers, acting brave, though their deaths were like an overweight barbell on my conscience.

Her step forward caused me to step back. “That was dumb luck,” she said. “This will take skill.”

She ran for me. I drew my sword and swung at her. She ducked, the blade barely missing her. Before I could get another swing in, she tackled me, our bodies smacking into the bookcase, my sword knocked from my hand.

A satisfied look crossed Veronique’s face right before she stabbed my upper arm with her dagger, her blade cutting across my cheek. A horrified scream rattled my throat. My knees buckled and thudded against the floor.

“Shit!” The pain shocked me. I wanted to roll into a ball on the floor, to have this end.

She’s going to kill me. I’m going to die.

Fear gripped me.

Then anger.

Fight, Gia! The voice in my head was strong and forceful. It pushed me. Pushed me to my feet.

Pushed me to take action.

Author Bio:

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

AssasinofTruthDate

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to #Pitchwars Mentor @maryannmarlowe!!! <3

Tags

,

This looks SO fun! I’ve gotta grab this for my holiday relaxing, because I dunno about you, but whenever I’m stuck on a plane or have extra time off,  I go on a book binge! I anticipate I’ll be reading this, oh, somewhere over Kansas in my holiday travels! (I’m going to Hawaii over the christmas and new years holiday, and it’s going to be AMAZING. Planes result in me reading about a book/2 hrs, which is a GOOD problem to have!)

Release Date November 28, 2017

 

Synopsis

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

“The perfect romantic comedy.” —RT Book Reviews

“Another sizzling, glitterati-filled story.” Booklist Online

“If you like wonderfully written, light, fast paced, swoon worthy moments, and chemistry so strong it jumps off the page, then this is the book for you.” Wit & Wonder Books

 

Available November 28, 2017 from Kensington. Pre-Order at all digital retailers:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads | BAM! | Audible

a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c766fbcd3/?

Author Bio:

Mary Ann lives in central Virginia where she works as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel.

Connect with Mary Ann

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Newsletter Signup

Sneak Peak: A Crazy Kind of Love by #Pitchwars Mentor @maryannmarlowe

Tags

This looks like such a fabulous take on the rockstar romance trope! And given how much fun her Some Kind of Magic was, well, we all know this is turning into one of my beach reads this winter. (What? I’m going to Hawaii this winter! It’s going to be AWESOME!)

 

Release Date November 28, 2017

Synopsis

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

Praise for Mary Ann Marlowe’s Some Kind of Magic

“Marlowe makes a name for herself in this hilarious and sexy debut.”
Booklist

“Frisky, Flirty Fun!”
–Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author of The Total Package

 

Available November 28, 2017 from Kensington. Pre-Order at all digital retailers:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads | BAM!

 

Excerpt

More people rolled in, either on foot or via personal motorcade. The feeding frenzy intensified as the level of fame increased. Some celebrities disappeared as quickly as possible. Others walked the runway, stopping to give the photographers ample time to capture them, only answering questions about whichever project they wanted to publicize.

By the time Micah Sinclair emerged from a black sedan, tall and confident, voices had reached fever pitch.

Micah, over here!

As his car drove away, Micah stood a moment to take in the scene. Rather than escape the fishbowl or pose for publicity shots, he shook hands with one of the reporters and chatted for a few seconds before he came my way. He tilted his head back, and his face lit up.

“Wally!” He crossed over, hand outstretched. “Haven’t seen you around in a while. I hope everything’s good at home.”

Wally actually put his camera down to shake Micah’s hand. I glanced around. Nobody was taking pictures. Was there something inherently un-newsworthy about a guy talking to the media? I lifted my camera and started shooting. The whirr of my camera caught Micah’s attention, and he turned away from Wally with a wide-eyed look of recognition.

He put his hand up against the flash and peered around his fingers. “Jo-Josie from Georgia! I didn’t expect to see you again so soon.”

Since he was facing me, I kept snapping pictures. Knowing that Andy would want me to at least get a comment if I could, I blurted out, “Hey, Micah. Are you here alone tonight?”

I knew I should have asked him something more specific, but he was smiling that cocky-bratty grin, and it was messing with my killer instinct. If I had a killer instinct.

“I am. Or at least I came here alone.” The cameras around us began to flash, but Micah kept his cool, eyes on me, as if we were still standing on the sidewalk in Park Slope, all alone. His lip curled up on one side, like he was gearing up for a challenge. “How’d you like to be my date?”

Now I dropped my camera, and it slammed into my gut. Oof. Damn if Andy hadn’t called it. I still couldn’t process the invitation. “Sorry, what?”

He gestured with his head toward the steps. “Come on. You’ll get better pictures inside.”

I threw a glance at Wally who looked as envious as Charlie Bucket when the last golden ticket was found. He nodded me forward. Now that fantasy had turned into reality, I realized I wasn’t remotely prepared to rub elbows with the same people I needed to exploit. “Sure. But are you sure it’s okay? Nobody will mind?”

“Eden will, but I owe you one. And besides I have an in with the guy throwing the party.” He offered me his elbow. “Come on. Don’t be shy. You might get that Pulitzer prize shot.”

I gathered my gear together. Micah stopped and looked down at me while I threw my camera bag and backpack over my shoulder and straightened up. At my full height, he only had a couple of inches on me. I put my hand around his proffered bicep, completely aware of the feel of his skin on my fingertips. He turned his blue eyes on me, and I forgot how to breathe.

The smile dropped from his face for a second, and he asked, “Everything okay?”

I sucked in a lungful of air and laughed off my nerves. “Entering enemy territory for the first time.”

His confident, charming smile returned, and he led me up the steps into the brownstone—my own personal Trojan horse.

Micah nodded at the burly man inside the door as we passed. “This is Jo. She’s with me.”

The bouncer shot me a look of grudging respect. “Good luck.”

As Micah pulled me along, I looked back, unsure what the bouncer meant by that, but he’d already turned his attention away, so I faced forward, glancing around wildly for any A-list celebrities.

And it hit me for real. I was on the inside.

Author Bio:

maryannmarlowe

Mary Ann lives in central Virginia where she works as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel.

Connect with Mary Ann

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Newsletter Signup

Cover Reveal: Asleep From Day by #Pitchwars Mentor @damiella

Tags

 Just chiming in to say this book sounds like the kind of dark, twisty things I adore. Definitely putting on the high priority To Be Read list! ❤ -JamiAFD cover teaser

A Note from the Author:

Hi there! I’m super-excited to share the cover reveal of my debut novel, Asleep from Day. Before we get to the main event, I wanted to share a little about what inspired this book:

 

Back in the ‘90s, I came across this human interest news story that stuck with me ever since. A guy met a woman on a bus in Boston, they chatted for a few minutes, and the woman left before he could get her number. The guy was so taken with her and eager to find her, he plastered fliers all over the city with details of their brief chat (which, at one point, mentioned Kevin Bacon—insert Six Degrees joke here). Remember, this was in the 1990’s, back before Missed Connections and social media. He didn’t have online tools to help him find the woman. The fliers got so much attention, news outlets picked up the story and the guy ended up on TV talking about his search for this woman. I don’t remember if he ever tracked her down, but I was fascinated by the lengths this man went to for a woman he met for only a few minutes. It was romantic, sure, but also a little crazy and strange.

 

Many years later, the seeds of that story took root and grew into something different as I found my premise: What if a girl met a guy and spent a seemingly perfect day with him, then got hit by a car the next day and completely forgot him? What if, as she started to remember, she wondered if those memories were real? What if she had strange dreams and surreal experiences that made her worry she might be making him up and question her sense of reality? Add a 1990’s Boston setting and Asleep from Day was born.

 

It had to be the ‘90s, because technology makes it easier to find people and back then, it was easier to lose track of someone. It had to be Boston because I lived there during my college years and wanted this book to be my love poem to that city.

 

In terms of genre, here’s the thing: I like stories that aren’t one thing. I get more excited when a book or movie or show has layers of different genres. And I got more excited about this story when adding layers to it; I wanted it to be realistic yet surreal, romantic but twisted, with darkness and uncertainty to balance out the sweetness. It’s not psychological suspense or romance or mystery, but it has elements of all of those.

 

For the cover of Asleep from Day, I was hoping for something dreamy and a little strange, but still beautiful. I love the final design Terry Montimore came up with.

 

 

 

About the Author

MM author photo looking down

Margarita Montimore received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. She has blogged for Marvel, Google, Quirk Books, and XOJane.com. When not writing, she freelances as a book coach and editor. She grew up in Brooklyn but currently lives in a different part of the Northeast with her husband and dog.

 

Newsletter Signup, Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram.

 ASLEEP FROM DAY_COVER_1600x2400 FINAL

About The Book:

 

Astrid can’t remember the best day of her life: yesterday.

 

A traumatic car accident erases Astrid’s memories of September 9th, the day she spent with an oddly charming stranger named Theo. Ever since, she’s been haunted by surreal dreams and an urgent sense that she’s forgotten something important. One night, she gets a mysterious call from Oliver, who knows more about her than he should and claims he can help her remember. She accepts his help, even as she questions his motives and fights a strange attraction to him.

 

In order to find Theo and piece together that lost day in September, Astrid must navigate a maze of eccentric Boston nightlife, from the seedy corners of Chinatown to a           drug-fueled Alice-in-Wonderland-themed party to a club where everyone dresses like the dead. In between headaches and nightmares, she struggles to differentiate between memory, fantasy, and reality, and starts to wonder if Theo really exists. Eventually, she’ll need to choose between continuing her search for him or following her growing feelings for Oliver. Astrid might go to extreme lengths to find what she’s lost . . . or might lose even more in her pursuit to remember (like her sanity).

 

Asleep from Day will be released in paperback and ebook on January 10, 2018. Pre-order it here and be sure to add it to Goodreads.

 

 

HAPPY (Belated) BOOK BIRTHDAY BROKEN CHORDS BY @JBaylissWrites

Tags

Sorry for the day’s delay, blame #Pitchwars brain.

 

BC Cover FINAL - Drop ShadowThey rip, they tear, they feed, and you never come back again.

Here’s how last year’s Gypsy Cob Music Festival should have gone. Lenora “Lenny” Ragno was supposed to rock her duet with her long-time crush, Jeb, during the open-mic competition. Then, swept up in the glow of success, he’d finally kiss her. Instead, Lenny choked on stage and spent the whole year dodging him online. And avoiding playing her fiddle in public. She thought her worst nightmare was behind her, but she was way wrong.

Now, she’s back at Gypsy Cob where avoiding a public performance is about as impossible as hiding from Jeb. She thinks facing him will be the scariest part of the festival, but when one of their friends talks everyone into trying astral projection, Lenny catches the eye of a demonic entity that marks her as its own.

Whenever it wants, the demon can pluck Lenny from her reality and transport her to a hellish between-world, haunted by its countless, gruesome victims. If she doesn’t want to become one of them, she must discover the nature of the demon’s hold on her and remove it. But how can she defeat a literal demon when she can’t even get over her personal ones?

 

GIVEAWAY: see below in this document for link and embed code

 

BOOK Q&A:

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

The inspiration really came because I had to pee in the middle of the night. Not what you were expecting, right? So, there I was, camping on Martha’s Vineyard with my husband, and I had to pee in the middle of the night. For anyone who’s ever camped, you know that the bathrooms are never conveniently located. To reach it, I had a bit of a walk, and the fastest route was through a playground. So, there I am, wee hours of the night (no pun intended), and it’s all cold and misty. And I’m in this playground, and I think: If those swings start moving right now, I’m so out of here.

Lucky for me, that didn’t happen, but once I was safely back in my tent, I decided I’d write a story about a haunted playground someday. The other major inspiration is a blue grass festival we like to attend. The layout, the campgrounds, the pirate truck, even the creek behind the clearing in the woods—it’s all inspired by that festival.

As for the astral projection, that came from the fact that I read and enjoyed a YA about astral projection back in my teen-aged days. I often start my books with the question: what would I want to read? (Or, what did I like to read back in the day?)

Put that all together, add in a little romance, and you’ve got BROKEN CHORDS.

What about your musical inspiration?

Ah, yes. Many bands show up in BROKEN CHORDS, including some of my favorites: The Greencards, Nikel Creek, and Crooked Still. Fans of these folks will definitely pick up on some references in the book. One traditional folk song, in particular, was a huge inspiration. It’s called Wind and Rain. I did some research on this song, and it turns out, there have been versions of this—in song and in poem form—for hundreds of years. It dates back to mid-seventeenth century and its origins are the UK. It’s had different names, including The Two Sisters and Twa Sisters, but every version includes the story about how one sister killed the other. In most versions, including the one in my book, the older sister kills her younger and yellow-haired sister out of jealousy over her having landed beau. Creepy for sure. And, in all versions—creepiest of all—the murdered sister’s body is turned into a fiddle! I can’t remember if I decided to use this song first OR if I decided Lenny was a fiddle player first, but needless to say, it all came together so beautifully (or, perhaps the best words is horrifyingly).

Why horror?

That’s one of those questions I can’t exactly answer. I just love it. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been totally fascinated by scary stuff. I do believe that my very first short story was about a haunted house. I wrote that in 2nd grade for a classroom assignment. Needless to say, my mother received a call. My relationship with the frightening, creepy, and macabre was quite love-hate in those early days. In other words, I was a chicken. I’d read scary stories (SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK comes to mind), but I was totally afraid to watch scary movies until I was around twelve. But, once I did, I was hooked.

And paranormal horror is my favorite. I like to describe BROKEN CHORDS as POLTERGEIST meets INSIDIOUS at a music festival. Maybe that comes from some of the ghost stories told by members of my family (I still have nightmares about my grandmother’s attic and that house has been out of the family for seven years).

How do you meld the supernatural with the human?

Lenny’s story is not only one of surviving a paranormal/demonic attack, it’s also about facing fear and trust and so many other things?

Ah, yes. But that’s what I love the most about really good horror, fantasy too. These kinds of books allow us to explore all sorts of things but under the guise of other. I will be honest, I’m not much of a drama fan. Partly, that’s because my work as a psychologist is drama enough, but also because it’s just too much in your face. But, when you throw in horror or a speculative element, now I can go to those deep emotional places without feeling swamped. It’s like how I hide my dog’s pill in some sliced turkey. You can hide the tough human experiences within stories with speculative elements.

In BROKEN CHORDS, we get to see Lenny face all sorts of things: fear and phobia (like, legit stage fright), she learns how to trust others, and, perhaps her biggest journey, she learns to trust herself.

 

 

Jeb’s voice ebbed and flowed, his fear growing and sending out seedlings of dread to take root in my own chest. He must have woken the entire camp by now. I fumbled open my tent flap, stumbled outside, and zipped the flap shut with trembling hands. When I turned around, I knew immediately why no one put a stop to Jeb’s calls.

 

He wasn’t in the normal world anymore.

 

Neither was I.

 

Despite not asking for it, something twisted and bitter in this universe had bestowed it anyway. We’d been transported to the astral plane.

 

The world was bathed in dark beauty, like velvety gauze or some tranquil digital camera filter, making everything hazy and wavery with dim blue-white light. I could actually see the air – or matter or ether or whatever it was – that made up the world around me. When I waved my hand, contrails showed its swishing progress long after I’d ceased movement. Like, whatever I was made of in this form could interact with the very construction material holding this universe together. Or, maybe whatever I was made of in this form was the very construction material of this universe.

 

“Oh God,” I whispered.

 

That meant, behind me, within the tent I’d just fled, my body lay prone. Not in sleep, and not a trance. Not dead, but not really alive either.

 

An empty shell.

 

I stared at the dark green vinyl before finally getting up the nerve to look inside. My body lay on my air mattress, curled up as if I were merely sleeping. My chest rose and fell as my organs responded to signals from the most primitive part of my brain, which kept the basic functions of human life online even though the system user had abandoned the controls.

 

I breathed in time with my body. I wasn’t sure if I was really moving air around in my spectral form, but the reflex to carry out the action was strong, and it still felt soothing when I blew what might be nothing out of lungs that probably weren’t there anyway. I took another deep, fake breath and closed my eyes. My brain attempted to point out the ridiculousness of this – how I still felt normal even though I was nothing but a ghost now. A spasm of laughter escaped my throat, but I swallowed it down. If I let my mind think too hard about things like where? and what? and how?, I’d crack. Game over.

 

Instead, I chanted Jeb’s mantra: “Just go with it.” Then I turned to face the astral plane.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

 

Jessica Bayliss is a clinical psychologist by day and a writer all the time. She has been a lover ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers. She also loves to eat, cook, and exercise—in that order—and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place.

Look for her upcoming release, TEN AFTER CLOSING (Sky Pony Press, spring 2018). For more information about Jessica and about PsychWRITE, her series of courses and workshops for writers, visit: http://www.JessicaBaylissWrites.com.

 

Website

PsychWRITE resources, workshops, and coaching for writers

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

Amazon

Sign up for Jessica’s Newsletter (all subscribers get automatically entered for a monthly drawing to win a free first chapter critique)

 

GIVEAWAY: One free copy of BROKEN CHORDS

LINK: http://bit.ly/2fLlWAY

EMBED CODE: <a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/645db6506/&#8221; rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”645db6506″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_dtbfyvuc”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 

SHARE LINK FOR THE MEDIA KIT ON GOOGLE DRIVE: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1ONPUG9I8Y1Y2VKT0pua0NTSms?usp=sharing

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to the Fabulous THUNDERSTRUCK by @BrendaDrake

Tags

You know by now that I love Brenda’s books. This one surpasses even my usual adoration though. I read it in a single night, the pages flying by. Stevie is a geeky girl after my own heart, and Blake is DELICIOUS! The tension between them is awesome, and I’m so excited this one is out for you to all enjoy! (In fairness, I read the draft of this one, and then reread the ARC because it’s just that freaking GOOD!)


Thunderstruck
Brenda Drake
Published by: Entangled Crave
Publication date: September 11th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Mythology, Romance

Stevie Moon is famous…at least to the subscribers on her comic review vlog. At school, she’s as plain as the gray painted walls in the cafeteria. So when Blake, the hot new guy at school, shows an interest in her, she knows trouble when she sees it. Been there. And never doing it again.

As the son of the god Thor, Blake Foster’s been given an important mission—to recover the Norse god Heimdall’s sacred and powerful horn before someone uses it to herald in the destruction of the entire universe. But while Blake is great in a fight, the battlefield that is a high school’s social scene is another matter.

Blake knows his only choice is to team up with the adorable Stevie, but she’s not willing to give him even the time of day. He’ll need to woo the girl and find the horn if he hopes to win this war. Who better to tackle Stevie’s defenses than the demi-god of thunder?

“Every page brims with captivating Norse mythology and deliciously creative worldbuilding.” Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

After disposing of the troll, Blake rushed to May’s house and showered. His thoughts kept going to Stevie. After hearing what Jörd said to him, he wanted to see her. The pull to go to her was too strong. He had no choice but to give in to it.

He climbed the tree outside Stevie’s room and sat on the branch. A blue light blinked on and off inside the room. He lightly tapped on the window. Muffled voices from within the room hummed against the glassed pane.

The curtain pushed aside. Amira was close to Stevie’s back when the curtain slid to the side. Stevie said something to Amira that Blake couldn’t hear through the thick glass. Amira turned away and dropped onto the bed. Stevie flipped the locks and opened the window.

“You scared the shit out of us,” Stevie snapped.

Amira crossed her arms. “Yeah, we’re watching scary movies here.”

Blake tried not to laugh, but he couldn’t hold it in. “My apologies. Can I have a moment alone with you, Stevie?”

“With me?” She glanced back.

“No.” Amira heaved a sigh. “With the other Stevie in the room.”

“Where do you want to go?”

He reached his hand out to her. “Out here is fine.”

She narrowed her gaze on him. “I don’t think so.”

“Come on,” he said. “It’s perfectly safe. This branch is thick. Trust me.”

“Stop being a chicken and go already. I have to pee.” Amira shuffled off.

Stevie hesitated before grabbing his hand and letting him guide her out the window and onto the branch. “This is crazy, you know that?”

“If you never throw caution to the wind, you’ll never be rewarded.” He sat on the branch and held her hand as she came down beside him. Her hand was warm and soft in his, and he wanted to hold it forever.

The loose pajama bottoms she wore had cats on them. Her pink tank top rode up a little and exposed a bit of her midriff. Her light-brown hair, the color of the acorns he’d gathered with his grandmother when he was a boy, rose in the wind behind her. Wide, dark eyes met his, her full lips parted in a smile.

“What did you want?” She glanced at the ground. “Wow, this is pretty high.”

“Don’t worry. I won’t let you fall.” He slid his hand across her lower back and held her waist. She shivered. “Are you cold?”

“A little,” she said.

“Hold on.” He let her go, shrugged off his hoodie, and draped it around her shoulders.

“Thank you.”

She held it closed at the zipper. He returned his arm around her, grasping her waist. She shuddered, and he smiled at her response to his touch.

“You didn’t answer me,” she said. “What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Actually, I’m not here to talk,” he said. “Have you ever had an urge to do something, and once it’s in your head, you can’t sleep or think until you do the thing?”

“I guess.” When she looked over at him, they locked eyes and an intensity passed between them like the energy he felt in the handle of his hammer after catching lightning with it. He noticed a faint scar just above her cupid’s bow.

“How did you get the scar?” he asked.

“Scar?” She glanced down at her chest.

“Not there,” he whispered, lifting her chin to look into her eyes. “On your lip.”

She touched it. “Oh this? It’s an embarrassing story. Let’s just say, I learned to watch where I’m walking, especially when poles are around.”

He chuckled. “I can imagine what happened.”

She lowered her head again, her feet kicking back and forth.

He decided to take his chance and cupped her face in his hands, bringing her face to his and kissing her. It was a gentle, wanting kiss. Her lips were soft and warm against his. She tasted like May’s brownies. When Stevie hadn’t responded to his kiss, he was about to release her, but then her lips began moving with his. He cradled her in his arms and they balanced together on the branch.

Author Bio:

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Happy book birthday Sweet Reality by #Pitchwars mentor @LH_Writes!!!!!

Tags

This book looks like SO much fun! You know, if you’ve followed me for long, that I adore steamy romances, but this is the rare sweeter romance that I like. Not too sweet, not too steamy, but a good mix of both. And it’s out today, so instead of listening to me chatter, give it a look!

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis

SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success. That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

Goodreads

Giveaway

$20 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1257f8d143/?

About the Author

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

Connect with Laura

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/2tXagfL

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2s3Cq7J

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2sySwcP

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2tCbFsT

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2wEDilT

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2sJNQz8

BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2umbMwF

Post #Pitchwars Postmortem

So now that revisions are firmly under way and I’ve caught back up on the housework, a few thoughts for you.

  1. Most importantly, why did we pick the one we did? A couple reasons.
    1. A strong romance element, like we asked for. Many got eliminated because the romance element wasn’t clearly present or wasn’t prominent enough. There were several we requested that just didn’t have the romance featuring as much as we wanted, and it could only be developed further by changing more of the core of the story than we’re comfortable with suggesting. One thing I advise to all writers, is to know what the core of your story is, and what you’re willing to change. Keep that core,
    2. Jessie’s MS is an Ownvoices trans story, and my SO is trans, though they’re heading opposite directions. I saw immediately areas to improve in the MS, while I was also enjoying it enough to really want to go through it a few more times. This is the kind of project I realllllly want to see in the world, because it’s not about the character being trans. It’s about her falling in love, and has a fabulous thriller angle that reminded me of Lisa Jackson.
    3. The marketability was the strongest out of the bunch.
  2. We will be sending feedback to some of the ones we requested, at least the ones that we feel our feedback would be useful on.  Those that will be getting feedback should have it this month. If you don’t get any feedback by then, we probably didn’t get far enough in to end up with much for you to work from. Some requests had the misfortune to be read after Jessie’s, at which point we read just enough to decide we weren’t going to pick it, and that doesn’t necessarily give you anything useful to work from. The time crunch was serious, and while I’d gladly edit many of the projects as part of Chimera, I don’t have time to do much feedback from the contest aside from that and my other commitments. I’ve got a lot on my plate this month, so don’t read anything into it if I can’t get to you.
  3. What about those we didn’t request? Why didn’t we? There were a few others who caught our attention and had really good writing, but just weren’t as marketable as the ones we requested from. Some, the writing wasn’t quite there, or we didn’t feel the concept was something we really wanted to work with. Like, there was this REALLY cool sounding one. The head hopping perspective would have driven me up the wall in short order, and that’s super subjective. Not really something I’d thought to add to the wishlist as something I didn’t want. (It will make the list next year, along with Historical set stuff if paired with KT. We get too hung up on the details on those). There were a LOT of projects I think we could help, if they were Chimera projects, but pitchwars mentoring is very different. We have such a limited time to make the changes, and we do try to pick something the agents involved in the contest are likely to take at least some interest in.

I’m really thrilled with both Jessie’s story and how amazingly we’ve hit it off. We have an amazing amount in common, and we’re having a lot of fun digging into her story to make it even better. There’s only one gif that fits this:

tenor