Friday, October 31, 2014

2 Secrets of Lunar Falls Guest Post and Giveaway

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Secrets of Lunar Falls
Author Lashell Collins
Genre: Paranormal/Romantic Suspense/Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: October 31, 2014

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When veterinarian, Dr. Carly Tipton, takes a new job in the tiny farming community of Lunar Falls, she expects to build a new life for herself. She expects to meet new people and have new experiences. Maybe she’s even expecting a little adventure. But what she’s not expecting is to fall head over heels in love – not with the town, and certainly not with its ruggedly sexy sheriff, Gabriel Masters. She’s also not expecting all the secrets Lunar Falls is hiding. Secrets that could destroy everything she ever believed was true about her own heritage and the family she left back home.

Gabe isn’t ready for Carly when she blows into town. That woman has the power to bring him – a man born and raised to be a GrandAlpha – to his knees, and she’s human! That simple fact alone makes her dangerous to Gabe’s position within the pack. But the fact that he can’t seem to stay away from her tells him that this woman is the one. Human or not … she’s his mate. And now Gabe has to find a way to make their bonding complete without sparking a civil war among his people.

Secrets of Lunar Falls is book one of an adult, sexy shifter romance trilogy.

Why Werewolves?

First, I want to say thanks for hosting me today. I’ve been thinking a lot about werewolves lately, for obvious reasons, and I’ve been trying to understand what it is exactly that makes me love them so much. I’ve always been fascinated by them; they make the perfect alpha hero - strong, protective, possessive. Whenever I’m watching a monster movie there is no question who I’m rooting for. But what is it about them that makes me swoon?

Not quite sure how to answer that. I suppose it could be the canine factor. I mean, I’ve always been a huge dog-lover. I worked in the pet care industry, first as a kennel attendant and then as a licensed veterinary technician, for close to thirteen years, so maybe that love of dogs is to blame. Come to think of it, my love of dogs is also how I met my husband, but that’s a whole other story!

As an animal lover in general though, wolves have always been one of my favorites, I think they’re amazing animals! So beautiful and captivating. I love reading about or watching anything that has to do with them, like documentaries on the reintroduction of the gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Perhaps that fascination with wolves translates into a minor obsession with werewolves? I don’t know.

Maybe it’s something more complicated, like I was a werewolf in another life. Or maybe … maybe there really are werewolves living in packs in small towns throughout Ohio, and my hometown sits right next to one of them! Pick up a copy of my new release, Secrets of Lunar Falls, and decide for yourself. And check out the Lunar Falls website for more information on the story, the characters, and the real werewolf sightings going on in Ohio.

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Barnes & Noble:



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Hidden in the dense brush, he watched as the hybrid ran toward her and followed her back into the house. Then he stayed close by until he felt her fear dissipating. He hadn’t meant to frighten her. He hadn’t meant for her to sense him at all, he only wanted to check on her, make sure she was okay, just as he had done each night from the moment they’d met. And being completely honest with himself, he knew that he’d just wanted to see her. If only for a moment.

He rose from his crouching position and stood on two legs, sniffing the air and catching her delicious scent. Then he drew in a deep breath and let it out in a frustrated huff that sounded more like a growl than a sigh.

Inside the house Carly attempted to let the strange sensation go as she readied herself for bed, but when she slipped between the sheets she had difficulty falling asleep. She tossed and turned for nearly half an hour before finally drifting off. But the memory of her sensual experience in the garden lingered, even in her dreams, and Carly soon found herself in the woods at Wolf Creek, running.

She was wearing a knee-length billowy night gown and running barefoot among the trees, a smile on her face as she relished the tingle on her skin. She looked up at the bright, shining moon as she ran through the woods, and she laughed. The sound echoed all around them.


She wasn’t alone. She smiled at the wolves running all around her, running with her. She was one of them, wild and free, and they ran and ran for what seemed like hours.

Then she was standing in a clearing of the forest, her canine companions milling about around her. One of them, a large black wolf with glowing gray eyes, stepped out from among the others and walked toward her. She reached out to him, staring into his smoky eyes, and suddenly he wasn’t a wolf anymore. He was a man, crouched down before her. She smiled as Gabe Masters slowly stood, completely naked, looming tall and imposing as he stared down into her eyes. She felt his hands running along her now naked body, heating her still tingling skin. Then his hands were in her hair as he gently pulled her head back. He leaned in close, his lips and his nose lightly brushing over her skin as he sniffed her neck, inhaling deeply. An act that caused her body to shiver. Then his tongue retraced the path his nose had just taken, running from the base of her neck all the way up to the back of her ear, and she moaned loudly.

She woke with a start at the sound of her own voice, and she looked around the bedroom in a heated frenzy. Her cotton nightshirt was drenched with sweat and totally plastered to her damp skin, and she sat up wiping the thin sheen of perspiration from her forehead as she softly panted. She’d never had such a vivid erotic dream before, and never about someone she actually knew. A singer or two. Maybe the latest Hollywood hunk, but Sheriff Masters? She’d only met him a few days before, and granted the man was sexy as hell, but why was he starring in her very real, very wet dream? An erotic dream about wolves, no less.

“Shit. What is wrong with me?” she mumbled to herself.

Throwing back the covers, she got out of the bed and pulled her nightshirt over her head, stripping naked, save for the tiger’s eye necklace she rarely took off. She walked over to the armoire and opened the door of the wardrobe and took out a fresh nightgown, slipping it over her head. Then she tossed the damp one into the hamper on her way out of the room.

She walked through the dark house to the kitchen and opened the freezer, reaching in to grab a single cube of ice. Then she ran the frozen sliver of relief across her chest in an effort to cool off as she tried to push the enticing image of Gabe Masters licking her neck from her mind.

Outside, not twenty feet away, he sat at her back door, feeling her nearness. Smelling her arousal as it mingled with her mouth-watering scent and wafted through the open kitchen window. And as he sat there reveling in the essence of her, he wondered what it would feel like to really run his tongue along her beautiful neck.

Secrets of Lunar Falls Website:

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Lashell Collins is an American author of romantic suspense, contemporary and paranormal romance. She spent the last twenty years of her life working in veterinary clinics and garden centers in her home state of Ohio, and is now living her dream of writing full-time. When she's not busy tapping away on her laptop and living vicariously through her characters, she can usually be found watching TV, rocking out to Slash, stuffing her face full of Chinese food, or riding on the back of her husband's Harley-Davidson. Give her a shout, she loves to hear from readers!




Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads Page:

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2 New Release: An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston

Thanks so much for hosting me! It's my pleasure to get to share my latest release today: An Absence of Light. I've always described this book as Buffy meets the X-Files, and I really hope that you get a chance to check it out!

Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever. 

Check it out on Amazon: Barnes and Noble: Evernight Teen: Goodreads.

Did you ever watch either Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or The X-Files? Any favorite episodes? :)

Check out any of these books here!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

0 Freebie Alert: Walking in the Shadows will be free Oct. 31- Nov. 1

Walking in the Shadows
Genre: YA Romantic Thriller

Seconds seem like a lifetime when the life you lived is slowly drained out of you by those who care not what you felt, hoped, or dreamed. When the darkness comes it is all-consuming, there is no light and there is no pain. It is the never-ending loss of hope that now consumes me as I die in his arms.

This is Abigail Martin’s nightmare. 
After her parents become the first victims of a serial killer obsessed with the vampire saga Crimson Reign, Abigail does the only thing that she thinks will save her from her parent’s fate–she becomes some one else. As Vera MacIntrye she falls in love with the very handsome Tad Knightley, and then walks into her first day at her new school to see him standing at the front of the classroom. He’s every teenage girl’s fantasy and he’s Vera’s gone completely wrong as he writes “Mr. Knightley: AP British Literature” across the white board. The one person who filled the gaping hole in her heart will soon rip it wide open again. Vera struggles to adjust to being a ‘normal’ teenager with very adult responsibilities like paying the rent, buying groceries and making sure that lights stay on, while being drawn time and time again back to her off-limits teacher. What’s worse is he is drawn to her too, and their world’s can’t stay apart when Tad finds Vera screaming in terror in the parking lot after the winter formal. The murderer has struck again and is getting closer to its next target–Vera. Tad will do whatever he can to save her, even if it means losing his dream job, but will it be enough when the murderer is closer than anyone ever thought?

2 Review: First Impressions by Charlie Lovett

Title: First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen
Author: Charlie Lovett
Publisher: Viking
Published: October 16, 2014
Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-42724-7
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fiction
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:
Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice—and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life.

In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth—while choosing between two suitors—and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.

My Thoughts:
Charles Lovett had me at the mention of Jane Austen. Of course the fact that I really liked his previous book, The Bookman's Tale, helped as well. For the most part, I liked this book a lot, not as much as The Bookman's Tale, but still a great deal. Though it did make me cringe once or twice. But before I get to that let's talk about the book as a whole for a second.

Lovett has a way of intertwining the past with the present that's fascinating. He also knows how to engage his readers with a good mystery involving well-loved authors such as William Shakespeare and, now, Jane Austen. This book switches from past to present introducing you to new characters. Let's start with the past: Jane Austen forms a friendship with Richard Mansfield.  (Does that name ring a bell?) To her surprise and delight they form a close friendship, and Richard becomes her sounding board. 

Fast forward to the present day. We meet Sophie Collingwood--a bibliophile. She's someone that I think most readers could relate to. Though she's kinda an oddball in her family; the only person who understands her love for books is her uncle. A couple of things happen to set this story in motion. First, Sophie's uncle dies. Second, she moves to London and gets a job at a local bookshop. Third, she gets a request to find an obscure book by two different people back to back. And one of the customers becomes a bit hostile and threatens Sophie if she doesn't find the book.

So what do these two story lines have in common? Well, I'm not going to tell you because it would ruin the book for you. Half the fun is connecting the dots! Anyway, Lovett does a spectacular job weaving it together. 

Now to the parts that made me cringe. I didn't like either of Sophie's love interests. One was a little stalkerish and the other was entirely too charming. So charming that you know he was up to something. And even though I like Sophie, I thought she was too smart of a girl to throw her common sense out the window for sex. But she wouldn't be the first girl to do that. Lastly, I felt the ending was a bit rushed. After the climax of the story everything was rushed and wrapped up in a few pages. 

For the most part, I did like this book. For better or worse it held my attention to the very end. I enjoy Lovett's writing style and I would be interested in reading more books by him.  

*If you're interested in reading this book for a book club, Viking has a book club kit just for you!

My Rating:
I would give this book 3 1/2 willies, so I'm rounding it to 4 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

0 Review: Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore

Title: Gracelin O'Malley (#1)
Author: Ann Moore
Publisher: Open Road Media Romance
Published: September 30, 2014
Ebook, ARC
ISBN13: 978145327293
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:
Gracelin’s father, Patrick, named her for the light of the sea that shone in her eyes. But joy and laughter leave the O’Malley clan when Gracelin is six-and-a-half and tragedy befalls the family. Less than a decade later, Gracelin must put her romantic dreams aside and marry a local landowner, the son of an English lord, to save her loved ones from financial ruin. Although she is a dutiful wife to capricious Bram Donnelly, Gracelin takes dangerous risks. With political violence sweeping through Ireland and the potato blight destroying lives, she secretly sides with the Young Irelanders, among them her brilliant brother, Sean, and the rebel leader Morgan McDonagh.

Set against the rise of the Irish rebellion, with a cast of unforgettable characters led by the indomitable eponymous heroine, Gracelin O’Malley weaves a spellbinding story of courage, hope, and passion.

My Thoughts:
I don't know how to describe this book. It was heartbreakingly sad, but also completely riveting, I couldn't put it down. Gracelin O'Malley is a woman who is a survivor. After losing her mother when she was just a child, Gracelin becomes the caretaker of the O'Malley's modest home. When she's old enough to marry, she's married to a wealthy landowner. Reluctant at first, she knows this marriage will help her family in a way that nothing else could. But this isn't a fairy tale. It's a nightmare. Her husband is a cruel man and Grace suffers abuse under his hand. However, Grace is determined to help her family at any cost. 

Grecelin O'Malley takes place in the 1800's in Ireland before, during, and after The Great Potato Famine. Moore doesn't gloss over the details of the devastating effect this had on the country. Your heart will break for those who suffer. Your anger will rise at the injustices laid at the feet of this helpless nation. But you will also be encouraged by their will to survive. The courage that the people faced to overthrow tyranny. And the passion for their native land.

Garcelin O'Malley is the first book in the trilogy. I was at the edge of my seat for most of the novel. I was completely captivated by the beauty and tragedy of this story. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction novels. I am certainly going to continue with this series. How could I not? Gracelin's story is not over and I won't be able to rest until I know how it ends. The next book in this series is Leaving Ireland, and I can't wait to read it!

My Rating:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

0 KissCon anyone?

I have some very exciting news to share with you on behalf of Avon: Avon will be hosting a series of fan fests, called “KissCon,” starting with two consecutive events in San Rafael, CA on 11/22, and Seattle, on 11/23. What does KissCon entail? A group of *amazing* Avon authors will be doing a signing, a Q&A, and fun, interactive events with the audience. There will be prizes, raffles, and so much more in the way of romancey goodness! Authors attending each event will vary slightly (full list below), but they will include Ilona Andrews, Sarah MacLean, Lori Wilde, Cathy Maxwell, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Kaye, and many more! Attendance is free, unless you spring for a VIP ticket—which gets you in to an exclusive reception with the authors, as well as one of the featured authors’ books.

KissCon Seattle (at Copperfield’s Books in San Rafael, CA, Saturday, 11/22):
Avon Books and Copperfield's San Rafael are joining forces to bring romance readers the very first KissCon (an Avon Affair!) on November 22, 2014.  There will be a special limited-attendance VIP event, and a larger public event.  We are encouraging readers to reserve tickets for both!
Featured authors include: Ilona Andrews, Elizabeth Boyle, Rachel Gibson, Laura Kaye, TJ Kline, Julie Anne Long, Sarah MacLean, Cathy Maxwell,Jennifer Ryan and Lori Wilde.

KissCon Seattle (at University Bookstore, Sunday, 11/23) :
Avon Books and University Book Store are teaming up to bring Seattle area romance readers the city's first-ever multi-author KissCon (an Avon Affair!) on November 23, 2014.  There will be a special limited-attendance VIP event, followed by a larger public event.  We are encouraging readers to reserve tickets for both!
The star-studded author line-up includes: Ilona AndrewsJennifer BernardElizabeth BoyleJulie Brannagh, Rachel Gibson,  Lorraine HeathLaura KayeSophie Jordan, Sarah MacLeanCathy Maxwell, Darlene PanzeraJulia Quinn and Lori Wilde.

0 Review: Night of a Thousand Stars

Title: Night of a Thousand Stars
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Mira Books
Published: January 1, 2014
Ebook, ARC
ISBN13: 9781322008646
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:
On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat's wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing--she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father's quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than there seems.
With only her feisty lady's maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita--east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan--one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.

My Thoughts: 
Deanna Raybourn is best known for her Lady Julia series. I confess I have not read these, but they are in my tbr pile. I have read one of her other novels, The Dead Travel Fast. It's been some time since I've read it, but I remember liking Raybourn's writing style. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to read Night of A Thousand Stars. And believe me when I say I was not disappointed.

I immediately fell in love with the main character, Poppy Hammond. She's utterly charming and enchanting. She defies tradition at every turn. And that's the kind of heroine I can get behind. After leaving her fiance at the alter, Poppy runs to the one person who she hopes she can count on--her father. She enlists the help of curate to make her escape.  Once safe and sound at her father's house, she can't forget the kindness of the curate. When she pops by his church unexpectedly, she learns that the curate might be in danger. What's a girl to do? Go gallivanting across seas and deserts to save him of course!  

This book entails everything I love mystery, history, and romance! I quickly found myself engrossed in Poppy's world, and I didn't want to leave. I love the characters--both good and bad--in this book. Poppy and her maid make quite a team like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I will definitely be moving the Lady Julia books closer to the top of my tbr pile. 

My rating:

About the author: 
A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel. After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.
Deanna Raybourn is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Lady Julia series, as well as, The Dead Travel Fast, A Spear of Summer Grass, and City of Jasmine.
For more information please visit Deanna Raybourn’s website and blog. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Night of a Thousand Stars Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 29
Review & Giveaway at Bookish
Tuesday, September 30
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 1
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, October 2
Review at Ramblings From This Chick
Friday, October 3
Review at Book Babe
Monday, October 6
Review at Unabridged Chick
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Tuesday, October 7
Review at Candace’s Book Blog
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, October 8
Review at Good Books and Good Wine
Thursday, October 9
Excerpt at A Book Geek
Guest Post & Giveaway at Good Books and Good Wine
Friday, October 10
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, October 13
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, October 14
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 15
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Thursday, October 16
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, October 17
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Monday, October 20
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Excerpt at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, October 21
Review & Giveaway at Bookshelf Fantasies
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing
Wednesday, October 22
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, October 23
Review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, October 24
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Monday, October 27
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, October 28
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Wednesday, October 29
Review & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, October 30
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Monday, October 27, 2014

0 Interview with Christopher Mannino

Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who subjugate a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.

As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn't an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she's been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

1. Your novel, School of Deaths, came out in May of this year. Please tell our readers a little bit about your book.

School of Deaths is a story about overcoming bullying and isolation. It was inspired by a trip I took to Tintagel, in Cornwall, while studying at Oxford University. I became stranded in Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. After a sleepless night above a noisy pub, I climbed onto a rocky peninsula overlooking the Irish Sea at dawn. There were sheer cliffs on all sides, and no rails, or other people. I was completely alone, being struck by fierce winds which threatened to blow me into the icy water below. I envisioned a character completely alone, attacked by bullies and teachers.

This novel is the first novel in the trilogy "The Scythe Wielder's Secret".  School of Deaths is currently available as an ebook, and releases in print this winter. The sequel "Sword of Deaths" releases this coming spring.  

2. Where does your fascination with the Grim Reaper come from?
I think Death is a misunderstood figure. We're so terrified of dying that we associate Reapers with fear, but being a Death would be a job, just like any other job. The idea of a single Death taking every soul that dies is even less believable to me than Santa Claus, so I pictured an entire world filled with many Deaths.  

3. Suzie is training to be the next Grim Reaper. What are some of the pros/cons of the job?

Suzie's biggest obstacle is not that she's going to be a Death, but that she's the only female in their entire world. She suspects that her sudden appearance, after a million years without a female Death, isn't coincidence, and this starts her down a new and dangerous path, while she tries to uncover the truth. 

When she begins to Reap, Suzie faces some serious cons. She has to see the last moments of a person's life, and feels deep empathy for the souls she transports. The world has some interesting pros, such as the ability to use a scythe, a tool able to slice through space and dimensions. 

4. You have a background in theater. How has that inspired you?

My greatest strength as a writer is probably my ability to envision a story playing out in front of me. Before becoming a theatre teacher, I spent a number of years in theatrical design. The ability to picture images and abstract situations strongly helps me write memorable locations and settings. I also understand dialogue well because of my experiences as an actor and playwright. 

Perhaps my biggest strength from theatre is the ability to start and stop the creative process mid-stream. During the school year, I have no set writing schedule, but am able to pick up and start a draft at will. I believe this comes from years of rehearsing scenes out of order, having to pick up a story in the middle and still have full characterization. 

5. When can we expect the sequel to School of Deaths?

Sword of Deaths will be released by MuseItUp Publishing in Spring 2015.  

Check out these sites to find out more about Christopher Mannino:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

0 Leaving Amarillo Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Some promises are made to be broken...
Music is my everything.
After my parents died when I was a kid, moving into my grandparents’ ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo seemed like a nightmare. Until I stumbled upon my grandfather’s shed full of instruments. My soul lives between the strings of Oz, my secondhand fiddle, and it soars when I play.
In Houston, I'm a typical college student on my way to becoming a classically trained violinist headed straight for the orchestra pit. But on the road with my band, Leaving Amarillo, I'm free.
 We have one shot to make it, and I have one shot to live the life I was meant to. Leaving Amarillo got into Austin Music Fest and everything is riding on this next week. This is our moment.
There’s only one problem. I have a secret...One that could destroy everyone I care about.
His name is Gavin Garrison and he's our drummer. He's also my brother's best friend, the one who promised he'd never lay a hand on me. He’s the one person I can’t have, and yet he’s the only one I want.
One week.
One hotel room.
I don't know if I can do this.
I just know that I have to.


For a long time I knew he only saw me as Dallas’s little sister. I used to have frizzy hair and knobby knees and a chest as flat as both boys. But somewhere along the way, I changed. I’m having a hard time convincing myself that he really sees me for who I am now. Maybe he still sees knobby knees, frizzy hair, and freckles on my shoulders.
His eyes narrow and he shakes his head. No. “Don’t. Don’t do that to me. I just told you. You know why.”
I frown involuntarily while swallowing the knot of emotion that’s rising steadily in my throat. “How could I possibly know? You treat me like we’re related most of the time. You put your hands on random waitresses right in front of me. You sleep with anything that moves. Except me. I tell you how I feel and you can’t get rid of me fast enough.”
Suddenly Gavin is a burning man, coming toward me with angry gleaming eyes. He steps into the room, forcing me back against the wall. The door slams heavily behind him, and he braces his arms on either side of my head. I’ve only seen him this worked up when playing his drums. My heart morphs into a hummingbird inside my ribcage. It’s trapped and wants to escape. Desperately.
His words come out with force that would shove me backward if there were anywhere for me to go. “As flattering as your honest opinion of me is, how about you just tell me what the hell you want from me so we can both get on with our lives. You want to hold hands and go steady, Bluebird? Because I gotta say, you’re not as smart as I thought you were if you’re looking for that from me.”
I jerk my chin upward, faking a confidence I don’t have but refusing to let him intimidate me. “Did you sleep with that waitress? I want to know.”
He snorts out a harsh humorless laugh. “No you don’t.”
“I do. Tell me the truth.” I look up into his eyes, praying the answer is no. Something about that specific waitress is really bothering me. Maybe because I saw their initial flirtation or maybe because of what she said to me in the ladies room. I don’t know. I’m well aware of the fact that he’s been with countless women, but somehow this one feels different. More personal. Because this time, he knew how I felt and if he slept with her anyways, then he actively chose her over me. “Please,” I add to my already pathetic plea.
He releases me from my forearm prison and throws both of his hands into his hair. I inhale a much-needed breath and relax just a little. Until he slams a palm against the wall. I flinch, only because it startled me, but I can see in his wounded expression that he believes he scared me. As if I could ever be afraid of him.
“No, okay? No I didn’t sleep with her. There, you happy now?”
“Well you’re obviously not. If you were going to be so upset about it, why didn’t you just go ahead and do her?”
“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” he says, raising his voice a few decibels shy of shouting. “Which is it? You want me to have screwed her or not?”
I’m all wound up, like the toys from my childhood. The ones with the knobs you turn and turn, winding so tight the spinny thing breaks and falls off. I’m confused and hurt and angry and turned the hell on in a way I can’t even process. The combination is more than I can handle rationally. I take a page from his broody book and let my palm smack the wall behind me. It stings so I clench it shut. The pain distracts me and I blurt out the truth.
“No, I don’t want you to have screwed her. I don’t want you to screw anyone!”
His reaction is wide-eyed shock and disbelief. “Anyone? Christ, you want me to be celibate? Do you hate me or something?”
Licking my lips, I take several deep breaths in an attempt to calm down. It almost works. “I want you,” I begin slowly before taking another deep breath. “To not engage in foreplay in front of my face.”
He opens his mouth to respond—most likely to deny that he did that tonight—but I place my trembling fingers against his lips, firmly breaking our ten-year unspoken no-touching rule. I’d like to take a moment to enjoy the soft, full, sensuously masculine mouth of his, but there isn’t time. I need to focus all cylinders of my brain on what I’m trying to say.
“I told you how I feel, what I want. And I get it. You don’t feel the same way. Or you won’t act on your feelings. But that doesn’t mean I can switch mine right off for your convenience. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not jealous, not hurt, and that I don’t hate, hate, being in the presence of any woman who is going to have you in a way that I never will.”
I’m breathing hard, tasting his anxiety and frustration in the air between us. Removing my fingers from his mouth and placing them on mine, I watch him go to war with himself.
He neck loosens, allowing his head to fall forward. Remaining completely still while he inhales the length of my neck, I swallow hard.
“Tell me I’ll never have you that way. Tell me to move on and let this go,” I whisper, needing to hear him say it and terrified that he actually will in equal measure.
“You’re my best friend. Growing up, you were my safe place,” he tells me on a ragged breath that seems to pull the life completely out of both of us. “I don’t want to ruin you, Bluebird.”

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