Monday, July 31, 2017

0 Agatha Christie, Rebel in the Rye, and A Dream Library: Last Week in Review (57)



Agatha Christie fans, hold on to your knickers because Amazon has scored a deal to make Ordeal By Innocence. There's no set release date yet, but filming has already begun in the UK. The three episode series has a talented cast: Bill Nighy,  Alice Eve, Ella Purnell, Matthew Goode, and Ed Westwick, plus many more! 

According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life imprisonment. But when Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives with the proof that confirms Jacko’s innocence, it is too late—Jacko died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor’s revelations reopen old wounds in the family, increasing the likelihood that the real murderer will strike again.




Rebel in the Rye has a new trailer. The movie is based on the creation of the classic The Catcher and the Rye. It stars Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, and Zoey Deutch. Release date is September 5, 2017.



After more than thirty years, Michiko Kakutani, the award-winning literary critic, has announced her retirement. Her name has even become the verb:to be Kakutanied. I think some authors might have exhaled in relief at the announcement. Regardless, she has helped launch the careers of several authors. Her voice will be missed.



Have you ever thought about designing your own library? Well now you can, sort of. Bookstr will let you virtually design your dream library and will rate the level of your bookishness. Click here to get started. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

2 Feature: Paradise Cove Audio Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Hooked On You

Author: Patrice Wilton

Narrator: Cynthia Vail

Length: 7h 53m

Publisher: Patrice Wilton

Series: Paradise Cove, Book 1

Genre: Contemporary Romance


A new series by Patrice Wilton, NEW YORK TIMES and USTA TODAY best selling author. This new heart-warming contemporary romance takes place in the Florida Keys and promises romance/passion, family values, and plenty of adventure.
Cardiac surgeon Sean Flannigan lost his daughter to a rare form of leukemia; he can mend broken hearts, but his is beyond repair. Kayla Holmes, along with her sisters, inherited guest cottages in the Keys after their stepfather died. Their high spirits and positive energy are a beacon of light that directs Sean's sailboat into Paradise Cove. Can Kayla's compassion find a crack in Sean's armor? Sometimes love isn’t enough to heal a wounded heart.








Audio Excerpt



Patrice Wilton knew from the age of twelve that she wanted to write books that would take the reader to faraway places. She was born in Vancouver, Canada, and had a great need to see the world that she had read about.
Patrice became a flight attendant for seventeen years and traveled the world. At the age of forty she sat down to write her first book—in longhand! Her interests include tennis, golf, and writing stories for women of all ages.
She is a mother of two, has four lovely grand-daughters and one grandson, and a wonderful man at her side. They live in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he teaches her golf, and she teaches him patience.
She has twenty-five books published on Amazon, and is a NY Times and USA Today best selling author.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterestAmazon
Narrator Bio

Cynthia Vail is a fulltime professional voice actor with more than a dozen years of experience and national clients such as McDonalds and Starwood.













Jul. 29th: Spunky 'N Sassy

Jul. 30th: CGB Blog Tours







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Thursday, July 27, 2017

0 Sync's Summer Of Free Audiobooks For Teens Is On The Move


Just a few short weeks left of Sync's summer audiobook program. It's week 14, and this week AudioFile and Sync bring you two new titles. Remember these audiobooks are only available: 07/27- 08/03. You can download the audiobooks by clicking here: http://www.audiobooksync.com/ ←←← All you need to download them is the Overdrive app which is also free on the website.





AudiobookSYNC participants with a yen for fantasy with historical twists are in for a treat with this week’s free audiobook downloads. This pair offers some steampunk, some alternative history, and a pair of protagonists who are clever and brave.


Full Cast Audio’s AIRBORN, by Kenneth Oppel, is narrated by David Kelly and other actors who make this tale of derring-do spring to life. In an alternative to our history of aircraft development, hot air balloons are the height of aviation splendor. There are also air pirates, fierce weather, and a strong-willed young woman out to save her dead grandfather’s reputation. In the tradition of Full Cast Audio, the novel retains every word in its performance as an audio drama, offering inspiration to student thespians seeking ideas for unique audition material.

Paired with this steampunk tale is Zoe Marriott’s genre blending SHADOWS ON THE MOON, performed for Brilliance Audio by Amy Rubinate. Cinderella meets feudal Japan in this fantasy world. A young woman becomes an expert shadow weaver, a skill that allows her to change her appearance and thus escape a cruel household and go in search of a way to wreak vengeance on those who have pressed her into servitude. Marriott stirs together romance, a fully formed mythology with accurate cultural detail, and plenty of action both magical and otherwise. Rubinate’s performance sounds credibly young and moves smoothly among English, Japanese, and invented words as the story builds.


This week’s pair of audiobooks is high-spirited and entertaining, and both beg to be heard more than just one time. Happily for SYNC participants, that’s no problem, as SYNC audiobooks are yours to keep forever after you download them each week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

0 Dan Gutman, Three Books, And A Q&A

Dan Gutman has been a family favorite for years. My children love his sense of humor. I love that while they are having a great time reading the books, they're also learning cool facts. Even though they are a little older now, Gutman will always hold a special place in our bookish hearts.

I'm thrilled to share with you three new books from this fantastic author, along with a Q&A.


Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School!

Did you know that the word “independence” never appears in the Declaration of Independence? Did you know that soldiers in World War I collected thousands of glowworms in jars to help them see at night?!

Learn more weird-but-true U.S. history facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations.

Whether you're a kid who wants to learn more about our country's history or simply someone who wants to know how many Americans are involved in toilet-related injuries each year, this is the book for you!

With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!





Did you know that the planet Jupiter has at least fifty moons? Did you know that Albert Einstein’s brain was stolen after he died?!
Learn more weird-but-true science facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations.
Whether you’re a kid who wants to learn more about science or simply someone who wants to know how many million times the earth could fit into the sun, this is the book for you!
With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!





In this eighth book in the new My Weirdest School series, it s Grandparents Day at Ella Mentry School! Alexia s grandmother Mrs. Master makes weird inventions for a living, but A.J. and the gang come up with the weirdest invention of all. And they re going to make a bazillion dollars from it! Will they succeed? Or will their great big idea be flushed down the drain?

Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang!






Q&A




1. The first book in The Weird School series, Miss Daisy is Crazy, came out in 2004. Where did the idea for this series come from?

It was 2003.  My daughter Emma was in second grade.  Up until that point, my books had all been for older kids.  I was doing a lot of school visits, and I didn’t have much to say to the little ones.  So I thought I should try something for a younger audience.  Emma was reading Junie B Jones at the time, and I thought there should be something like that told by a boy.  So I wrote “Miss Daisy Is Crazy!” and dedicated it (of course) to Emma.  That was the start of My Weird School.  We’re past sixty books now, and it has by far been the most successful thing I ever wrote.  And Emma is almost finished with college.

2. My Weirdest School launched in 2015. What's new for fans of A.J. and is gang?

Big plans!  First of all, My Weirdest School will continue with #9 ("Miss Tracy Is Spacey!), #10 ("Miss Newman Isn't Human!"), #11 ("Mr. Will Needs To Chill!), and #12, which isn't named yet.  After that, I'm starting a NEW series, which will be called "My Weird School Year."  In addition, My Weird School has been spun off into a non-fiction series called "My Weird School Fast Facts," in which A.J. and Andrea argue with each other about topics such as sports, geography, U.S. History, Science, and Animals.  Not only that (!), but we've started an "I Can Read" series of My Weird School books for kids who are just learning how to read.  And finally (if that's not enough), there will be more My Weird School specials, about summer, President's Day, and a book filled with puzzles, games, and jokes.  That oughta hold 'em for awhile!

3. My eldest child was a reluctant reader, but he loved The Weird School series. How did you find that perfect balance of education and humor that draws kids in? 

Wait.  What?  Did you say education?  There's no education in My Weird School!  These books are just for fun.  My goal is to make stories that are so captivating that a boy or girl will look up after an hour and say, "Wow!  That didn't even feel like I was reading.  It seemed like I was watching a movie in my head!" 

4. What books/authors inspired you growing up?

None!  I hated to read when I was a kid.  I thought reading was boring and hard to do.  I guess that's why I relate well to reluctant readers.  Because I WAS one.  But I'll tell you what DID inspire me growing up.  The Beatles.  Mad Magazine.  Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in.  Get Smart.  National Lampoon.  Monty Python.  Saturday Night Live.

5. What do you do when you're not writing?

I love to ride my bike, throw a Frisbee, watch TV, read the newspaper, get together with friends, listen to music, go to movies, plays, comedy clubs, and explore New York City, where I live. 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Gutman may be weird, but he is also beloved by kids, parents, and teachers across the country. His books include the My Weird School series (more than 12 million copies sold), the Baseball Card Adventures (more than 1.5 million copies sold) and the New York Times bestselling The Genius Files. We also publish his spoofy picture book, Casey Back at Bat, and one of Dan’s favorites, Johnny Hangtime. Dan lives in New York (a very weird place), with his weird wife, Nina. You can visit him on Facebook or at his weird website: www.dangutman.com.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Jim Paillot lives in Arizona (another weird place) with his weird wife and two weird children. You can visit him on his weird website: www.jimpaillot.com.

Monday, July 24, 2017

0 Jane Austen, Comic Con, and Harry Potter: Last Week in Review (56)



Let's get to it! Last week is was hot, record-setting-temperatures hot. And when it's that hot the only thing to do is stay inside with the a/c and read a good book. Unless you have access to a pool, but I don't. Staying inside was my only option. Even my flowers look horrible. I've tried to keep them watered but the heat has taken its toll. Relief seems to be days away, so maybe we can get back to the oppressive summer temperatures that we're used to.


On July 18, 2017, readers celebrated the 200 anniversary of Jane Austen's death. I know it sounds morbid to celebrate a death, but really, it's celebrating a life. Readers across the internet expressed their love for Austen and what her book have meant to them. And Signature (part of Penguin/Random House) has put out an Essential to Jane Austen Guide. And it's free to download!  All you need to do is go to: http://www.signature-reads.com/download/the-essential-guide-to-jane-austen/ and enter your email address. It's super easy. 



Another year has passed and another Comic Con has came and went. And once again, I didn't attend. Not that I didn't want to, because I totally did. But for those of you that did attend, thanks for posting your pictures and telling the world about your experience. That may sound sarcastic, but it's not. I've enjoyed reading the posts and living vicariously through you. One day I will attend, but it will be sometime in the far off future. 



The fans of Harry Potter have two more reasons to rejoice! It was announced last week that J.K. Rowling will be releasing two new books and we can't wait!



Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the official book of the exhibition, a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the brilliant curators of the British Library. It promises to take readers on a fascinating journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – from Alchemy and Potions classes through to Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures.

Each chapter showcases a treasure trove of artefacts from the British Library and other collections around the world, beside exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive. There's also a specially commissioned essay for each subject area by an expert, writer or cultural commentator, inspired by the contents of the exhibition – absorbing, insightful and unexpected contributions from Steve Backshall, the Reverend Richard Coles, Owen Davies, Julia Eccleshare, Roger Highfield, Steve Kloves, Lucy Mangan, Anna Pavord and Tim Peake, who offer a personal perspective on their magical theme.

Readers will be able to pore over ancient spell books, amazing illuminated scrolls that reveal the secret of the Elixir of Life, vials of dragon's blood, mandrake roots, painted centaurs and a genuine witch's broomstick, in a book that shows J.K. Rowling's magical inventions alongside their cultural and historical forebears.

This is the ultimate gift for Harry Potter fans, curious minds, big imaginations, bibliophiles and readers around the world who missed out on the chance to see the exhibition in person.




An irresistible romp through the history of magic, from alchemy to unicorns, ancient witchcraft to Harry's Hogwarts – packed with unseen sketches and manuscript pages from J.K. Rowling, magical illustrations from Jim Kay and weird, wonderful and inspiring artefacts that have been magically released from the archives at the British Library. 

This spellbinding book takes readers on a journey through the Hogwarts curriculum, including Herbology, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, Divination and more. Discover the truth behind making the Philosopher's Stone, create your very own potion and uncover the secret of invisible ink. Learn all about the history of mandrake roots and dragons, discover what witches really used their brooms for, pore over incredible images of actual mermaids and read about real-life potions, astronomers and alchemists. 

The perfect gift for aspiring witches and wizards and any Harry Potter fan. Celebrating twenty years of Harry Potter magic, and produced in association with the British Library to support their major exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic.




Friday, July 21, 2017

0 Excerpt Reveal for THE BEAUTY OF US by Kristen Proby @Handbagjunkie @InkSlingerPR


 

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes a sexy, new standalone contemporary romance in her Fusion Series, THE BEAUTY OF US, releasing August 22, 2017! Check out the chapter below and get to know Trevor and Riley!

 


About THE BEAUTY OF US:

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.

Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?




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Add to your Goodreads




And Don’t Miss the First Three Novels in the Fusion Series, LISTEN TO ME, CLOSE TO YOU, and BLUSH FOR ME!











Chapter 2

~Trevor~

I didn’t sleep worth shit last night. I waited for a response to my e-mail from Riley for a while; I’m not exactly sure why. I just don’t like the thought of her being embarrassed.

Because she has no reason to be. She didn’t know who I was, and it was closing time. She was venting to her friends.

It’s really no big deal.

But I could see the mortification in her big blue eyes when she realized who I was, and that doesn’t sit well with me.

When no response came, and for all I know she hasn’t even read the e-mail yet, I sat down for a game on the PS4. I don’t travel anywhere without it. Some people read to unwind. Some go to the gym, and there are times I do the same. But to truly relax, I enjoy gaming. I have since I was a kid.

So I settled in the apartment the network has rented for me this month and played online with my friends, talking about our days and shooting the enemy.

We played well past midnight, and I usually would have gone right to bed afterward, but my mind was still turning, making falling asleep impossible. The restaurant is better than I imagined through my research on their website and customer reviews. It’s visually stunning, the food is fantastic, and they’ve hit the mark on the sexy factor.

But added to that, the five women who own the place are all beautiful, smart, and will make for great TV. Viewers will eat this show up, pun intended.

I lean over the sink and wash my face, not bothering to shave today, and as I dry off, I reach for my phone.

I have several new e-mails.

The most recent is from Riley Gibson.

Trevor,

Thank you for your kind email. I apologize again for the conversation last night. I would like to promise that we don’t always talk like that at work, but that would be a lie. At least we keep it to closing time over a glass of wine.

Enjoy Portland,

Riley

I grin and sling the towel over my bare shoulders. Riley isn’t what I had pictured in my head before I got here. I knew that she was pretty because their photos are on their website, but she’s much prettier in person.

And animated.

Working with her will be fun.

And a test to my libido. Because Riley is fucking sexy. I’ve never mixed business and sex before, and I don’t plan to start now, but keeping my hands off her will be a test of wills.

And that too should be fun.

After my run this morning, I stopped by a bagel place to eat and read a newspaper, came back to the apartment for a shower, and I think I’ll go to Seduction for lunch. I hadn’t planned to go back there until my meeting with Riley tomorrow, but I also haven’t had lunch there yet.

I dress quickly in jeans and a red T-shirt and walk the six or so blocks to the restaurant.

They’ve just opened, so they’re not busy yet. The atmosphere is calm, the lighting a bit brighter than last night, making it a fun spot to meet with colleagues or friends for lunch.

I’m seated on the far side of the restaurant, where it meets the bar, and I can see Riley and the other women sitting around a high table, talking.

Loud enough for me to hear.

“So, he’ll be here tomorrow. Filming doesn’t start for another week, unless the timetable has been moved up,” Riley says, studying her iPad and checking things off a list. “It would be great if we could watch our language.”

“Right,” Mia says, rolling her eyes. “Because that’s gonna happen.”

“Just watch the F-bombs then,” Riley says with a grin. “And I’ll do my best not to vent to him about my horrible dating experiences. Not that I’ll be having any more of those.”

“I wish I’d been here for that,” Addie says with a smile. “It’s hilarious.”

“No, it’s not,” Riley says, but smiles and covers her lips with her fingers. “Okay, it’s a little funny. I’ll be working from home today.”

“Why?” The blonde speaking, I presume Cami, asks.

“Because I have a roofer coming today,” Riley says. “But if you need me, just call. I can come back after he leaves.”

“Go.” Mia waves her off. “We’ve got this.”

The girls all stand, about to go their own ways to get their day started. They’re clearly good friends, which will come across well on film.

Riley walks out of the bar and glances up, spotting me.

“Hi.” I offer her a smile and motion for her to join me. She sits, sets her iPad aside, and squares her shoulders.

I love a woman with grit.

“Why are you here?” she asks.

“I’m having lunch,” I reply, and gesture to the salad sitting in front of me. “It’s delicious. Adding the brussels sprouts is smart.”

“I’ll pass that along to Mia,” she says, and then laughs. “I guess you heard the part where I asked the girls to not swear.”

“I did,” I reply, and patiently butter a piece of warm bread. “Don’t worry about that stuff. They’re adults.”

“With potty mouths,” she says.

“And we can bleep stuff out, or ask them to rephrase. You’ve already got the gig, Riley. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. This isn’t an audition.”

“I know.” She sighs and reaches over to take a piece of my bread, surprising and delighting me. “I just want things to go smoothly.”

“Perhaps you should order lunch too.”

“I don’t have time,” she says, and then her blue eyes widen as she realizes what she just did. “I’m so sorry. I eat when I’m stressed out, and I didn’t—”

“No.” I hold my hand up to stop her. “It’s fine. I like that you’re relaxed with me. I think you need to relax more often.”

“What are you, my life coach now?”

“If you like. Did you cancel those dating sites like I suggested?”

She bites her lip and looks to the side, then nods. “I did.”

“Good.” I take a bite of salad and nod. “Are you sure you don’t want some food?”

“I rarely have time to eat,” Riley says, and checks the time on her phone. “In fact, I should go. I have to meet the roofer at my house.”

“What’s wrong with your roof?”

“It’s old,” she says with a shrug. “That’s what happens when you buy an old house. I’m fixing it up a little at a time.”

I nod, and find that I don’t want her to go quite yet. I want to talk more, to learn more about her.

“Why don’t you come to my apartment tonight and I’ll cook you dinner?”

She pauses and stares at me for a moment. “Why?”

I laugh and set my fork down. “Because I asked you to. We’re going to be working closely over the next few weeks, we might as well get to know each other a little better. Also, we can discuss my new duties as your life coach.”

“Well.” Her lips twitch as she thinks it over for a moment, a myriad of emotions moving across her beautiful face, and finally she says, “Okay. Do you mind texting me the address and the time?”

“Not at all,” I reply, and immediately pass her my phone. “Plug in your number and I’ll text you this afternoon.”

She complies, passes it back, and smiles. “Okay, see you later.”

And with that, she’s off. Her ass swaying enticingly in her tight skirt, calves flexing from the height of her heels, and the food I’m currently chewing immediately tastes like cardboard.

Jesus.

And I just voluntarily offered to spend time with her. Alone.

I’m a fucking glutton for punishment.

[no ornament]

“I’m starving,” Riley immediately says as I open the door. She’s in jeans and a well-loved University of Oregon sweatshirt, her hair is pulled up in a ponytail, and she looks like she could be a co-ed herself. “I forgot to eat today.”

“Does that happen every day?” I ask as I gesture for her to come inside and close the door behind her.

“Most days,” she admits. “Is this one of those bad choices that you’re gonna coach me through?”

“Yes,” I reply, and lead her into the kitchen. “You have to eat.”

“I know, I just get focused on other things, and the next thing I know, the day is gone and I’m starving.” She passes me two bottles of wine. “I didn’t know what we were having, so I brought red and white.”

“Thanks.” I grin and set them both on the counter. “I made salmon and asparagus with baby red potatoes. What goes best with that?”

Her eyes light up. “The white. Holy shit, are you a chef yourself?”

“I went to culinary school,” I reply, and squeeze some lemon on the salmon before plating it. “But I discovered I was better at a desk job.”

“That’s unusual,” she says, her head tilted to the side as she listens. “Most people fight to get out of a desk job.”

“Not me. I have a ton of respect for Mia, because being a chef isn’t easy, and pleasing people sucks.”

“True.” Riley nods. “She doesn’t get many plates sent back to her, but there are a few. Can I pour you a glass?”

“No thanks,” I reply, and reach in the fridge for a bottle of water. “I don’t drink alcohol.”

“Oh.” She frowns. “I’m sorry. I can drink water too.”

“It’s fine,” I reply, and pat her shoulder. “I don’t mind if you drink. I just don’t.”

“But last night, you were drinking Jack and Coke.”

“Nope, just Coke.”

She sits at the table, still frowning. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.” I set our plates down. “I’ve been sober for ten years. I’m not the kind of alcoholic who can’t be around others having a drink. It was never that bad for me. I’m just a better person if I don’t drink.”

“Good for you for knowing that,” she says, holding her glass out to clink against my water. “This looks delicious.”

“You sound surprised.”

“I expected pizza or Chinese takeout,” she says. “Honestly, that’s probably what you would have gotten from me. I’m also surprised that you’re not staying in a hotel.”

“I’m here long enough that the network sprung for the apartment. They usually do when I’m somewhere longer than a week or so.”

“You must travel a lot for this job,” she says, eating her food like a starving child. I don’t know if she even tastes it, she’s eating so fast.

“I travel often,” I reply, and grin when she takes the last bite. “Are you going to lick the plate?”

“Maybe,” she says with a grin. “I’m not even embarrassed that I ate that so fast. It was delicious.”

“I’m glad you liked it. There’s more.”

“No, I’m good,” she says, and reaches in her bag, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. “You can eat while I interview you.”

“For what?”

“For the position of life coach,” she says with a sassy grin. I want to kiss that grin right off her face, but instead I take a bite of potato and gesture for her to begin.

“Okay, first question: What qualifications do you have that make you a good fit for this position?”

“Well, I have a few years on you, so I would say wisdom with age.”

She tilts her head to the side, the way she does when she’s turning something over in her head. “You can’t be that much older than me.”

“I’m thirty-seven.”

“Seven years,” she says, rolling her eyes.

“A lot can happen in seven years,” I reply, and sip my water.

“Okay, I’ll give you that.” She checks something off on her paper.

“Did you really write down questions?”

“Of course. I’m the queen of lists and the roofer was at my house forever.” She bites her lip as she looks at her list. “How many women have you life-coached in the past?”

“Well, I didn’t have an official job title, but I have two younger sisters, and an ex-wife, so I would say three.”

“But the wife is an ex, so maybe that did go well?” Riley asks. “And are your sisters productive members of society?”

“As opposed to being in jail?” I ask, laughing. “You’re hilarious, Riley.”

“You didn’t answer the question.”

“My sisters are great. The older one is married, a stay-at-home mom with two kids, and the younger one is a waitress.”

“But the ex-wife thing didn’t work out.”

“She’s not a mess, we just both decided that she shouldn’t be my wife anymore.”

“Why?”

I sit back in my chair and wipe my mouth on my napkin. “Because she thought it was a good idea to have sex with other men.”

Her eyebrows climb on her forehead and she blinks twice. “That’s a good reason.”

“I thought so.”

“Okay, next question.” She checks something on her paper and looks up at me with a smile. “How do you intend to be compensated for your work?”

“I’m working pro bono,” I reply with a wink.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to be here anyway, and why not.” I shrug and finish the food on my plate. “What else do you want to know?”

“Is my coming to a virtual stranger’s apartment by myself one of the bad decisions you should have coached me on?”

I smile and set my plate aside so I can lean on the table. “Did the girls tell you that coming here by yourself was a bad idea?”

“I only talked to Cami and she thought I should come. Plus, I have a concealed carry, so I feel pretty confident that I’m safe.”

I raise a brow and cross my arms over my chest. “You carry a gun with you?”

“Hell to the yes,” she replies, and offers me a sweet smile. “I’ve been meeting strange men on the Internet. You bet your ass I’ve been armed.”

“Good idea,” I reply with a nod. “There are a lot of crazies out there.”

“Yes. But I think that if you’re gonna meet a crazy, it could be anywhere. Online, in a bar, at the gas station. They’re everywhere.”

“That’s true too,” I reply, and nod. “Well, I’m glad you’re being cautious.”

“I’m nobody’s victim,” she says, as casually as if she’s telling me her shoe size.

That’s fucking sexy.

“Do you have any other questions?”

“Not really,” she says, and shrugs. “I didn’t really write anything down. But it was fun to interrogate you a bit.”

“Now I have questions,” I reply, and smile when she cocks her head and purses her lips. “Do you really think you need a life coach?”

“No, I have my shit together,” she says with a grin.

“Why were you really on all of those sites?”

She shrugs. “Because it’s not easy meeting people. And sometimes a girl wants to go out on a date.”

“You don’t need me,” I reply, and smile. “But I’ll be around for a while, just in case.”

“Just in case I slip and fall back into the online dating?”

“That, or if you just want to have dinner, or chat. And I think we should watch a marathon of Star Wars. Your lack of knowledge is cause for concern.”

“It’s kind of a guy thing,” she says.

“I know many women who like Star Wars.”

“Well, I would watch one or two.”

“You need to see them all to understand what’s happening.”

“That’s a lot of hours of my life that I’ll never get back,” she says with a frown. “Aren’t there CliffsNotes somewhere? A speedy way to get caught up?”

“No,” I reply, and fist my hands in my lap so I don’t reach out and tuck her hair behind her ear.

Or yank her against me so I can kiss the fuck out of her.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

“Are you always this observant?”

“I’m an overthinker,” she says. “So yeah, I’m an observer.”

“I’ve been labeled an overthinker too,” I say with a grin.

“Would you say it’s an accurate assessment?”

“Oh yeah,” I say with a nod, and stand to clear our plates away. She stands to help. “I’ve got this.”

“No way, you cooked, so I’ll help clean.”

She walks ahead of me, her empty glass in one hand and her plate in the other. “Do you use the dishwasher, or do you wash by hand?”

“There are people who still wash by hand?”

“I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen them in the wild,” she says, and smiles up at me when I join her. “So I guess that means we use the dishwasher?”

“Yes.” She rinses and I load, and a few short minutes later, we’re done.

“Well, I suppose I should go,” she says, and checks the time on her phone. “Oh, Cami texted. I guess I should reply so she doesn’t think you killed me after the entrée.”

She smirks and types on her phone, then turns it off and looks up at me.

“Thanks for dinner.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

Unfortunately, it won’t be in my bed.

“You will.”

“Okay.” She gathers her bag, notepad and pen, and walks to the door. “Sleep well tonight.”

I grin and congratulate myself for not dragging my fingertips down her cheek.

You sleep well tonight, Riley.”

“Okay. Bye.”

She leaves and I close the door, letting out a slow breath. Jesus, she’s sexy and funny and smart as fuck.

And I’m not going to touch her while I’m here.

How the fuck am I going to do that?


Don’t miss the first chapter of THE BEAUTY OF US! You can read it here!





About Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.



Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.




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Thursday, July 20, 2017

0 Q&A With Chris Stead



The Wild Imagination of Willy Nilly is a children's picture book series with an art style that sits somewhere between Western video games and Eastern anime TV shows. It covers the ordinary everyday activities of a little boy called Willy Nilly, which spiral into epic adventures as the real world, and the world powered by his imagination, merge into one.

In his first adventure, The Little Green Boat, a trip to the beach takes an interesting turn when Willy discovers an abandoned boat in the sand. He jumps in, only to be washed out to sea by a giant wave. He must enlist the help of some dolphins, who take him to a tropical island where Willy must survive monkeys, bats, crocodiles and more if he is to find the secret treasure chest and a way home.

1. In 2013 you left a career as an editor of a game magazine to start your own company, Old Mate Media. What were your motivations behind the move?

In many ways I had reached a ceiling in terms of career progression. I had run one of the biggest publications in the world, won awards and learned how to do all the jobs in the production process. I had been working in the media for 17-years at that point. But more importantly, I was getting tired of doing everything and not owning any of it. There’s so much imagination and personality that goes into creating content, and I wanted to own it moving forward rather than pressing the send button and turning my back on it. Looking way down the track, I also want to have something – a family business – I can pass onto my children should they have similar interests to my own.

Funnily enough, after forming Old Mate Media and going down the path of creating my own magazines, books and websites, many of my existing media relationships reappeared with opportunities. I still provide content for a host of big name brands, but it’s all on my own terms now. And it fits around my priorities of being a dad and creating my own projects a lot easier. 

2. How did your work as a journalist help/hurt when it came to starting your own company?

I learnt my entire trade on the job. At university I was actually training to be a geneticist if you can believe that (!!), but had started writing on the side for magazines. I love writing – that is when I am happiest. By the time I finished my degree, I had been hired as staff writer for the launch of a major new magazine for Australia’s biggest media company.  

So with no formal training as a youngster, I had to learn everything in the moment and under the pressure of getting results. As well as the raw skills of the entire production process – which is vital to what we do at Old Mate Media - I believe this taught me that there is always a solution. That you can get things done. You can teach yourself new tricks. And that quality can always be achieved. It also made me feel like I had to always deliver content better than anyone else, because I was an imposter and someone might find out I wasn’t a “real” journalist, or a “real” editor.

3. Where does your inspiration come from? 

If I could write and create every book that pops into my mind during the course of any given day I’d have hundreds of books out. I have no idea where it comes from; sometimes a concept is just so far out of left field I can’t bridge any connection to what I am doing in that moment. I’m just happy that the ideas keep coming; even though it is frustrating to know that so many that I think are great will never come to fruition for simple lack of time.

Once I have the idea, however, the idea’s shape - presentation, language choice, story particulars, etc. - are more heavily inspired by life experiences. Most notably with the children’s books, just watching the way my own kids interact with their imaginations. Watching quietly as they play, you learn so much about the way they see the world and apply what’s in their mind’s eye to it. I always feed my books through that perspective as they spill out of me.

I also heavily engage with my own memories and emotional reactions to text to see what milks the best response. It doesn’t matter if it is rose-tinted or one-sided; it just matters if you can discover the root of what makes you feel that way, and then expose it in your words in such a fashion that the reader can feel it too.

4. Tell us a little bit about Willy Nilly. What will audiences love about him?

Willy Nilly is a good kid: perhaps a classic Australian child. He loves his family, he loves the outdoors and he has a healthy sense of adventure, driven by endless curiosity. He is also very engaged with his imagination, and this is where the trouble begins. Willy isn’t a naughty or even reckless child, but he’s a dreamer. He gets carried away in his own thoughts and as a result, what would otherwise be a normal situation – like going to the beach, or feeding bread to the ducks - can spiral slowly into an epic, over-the-top quest. Invariably this is to the irritation of his parents and amusement of his sister, but at the end of the day, everyone is smiling and enjoying life.

Willy is heavily inspired by my son and who I understand him to be. But I was also conscious to make sure he wasn’t a conduit for moralising life as so many children’s book characters are these days. This is about a kid being a kid, and celebrating what the world looks like through his unADULTerated eyes.

5. What's your best elevator pitch for The Little Green Boat ?

An old-school adventure tale for children who would walk over the top of a huge sand dune just because there might be something cool and fun on the other side. (hint: there is!)    


Links:


Book links:

Spanish version: http://geni.us/WN1Spanish

 

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