#ExcerptReveal “Hook Shot” by Kennedy Ryan

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Hook Shot cover

Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan

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Exclusive Reveal

The summer of my rookie season, I came to Harlem for the pro league tournament at Rucker Park, the most famous basketball court in the world. If you want street cred, you earn it here. It’s your pilgrimage to Mecca.

On the surface, it’s unassuming. There’s no glamour to the outdoor court with two hoops and five rows of bleachers, but legends were made here. Dr. J got his namehere before anyone really even knew who he was. The summer he played, people crowded the rooftop of the school across the street, climbed, and watched from trees, and pressed their noses to the fence for a glimpse of this kid who flew through the air with unparalleled grace, and rocked the rim with more force than they’d ever seen. It was the crowds at the Rucker who first chanted “Dr. J.” They christened him, and it stuck. He played for Philadelphia, my hometown, and he changed the game. So every time I come to the Rucker, it’s special, but today I feel the excitement even more.

And it has nothing to do with the dunking contest I’m here to judge for charity.

With the contest over, the other celebrity judges and I have taken photos with the winners, and now the autographs have begun. The whole time I’m signing hats, slips of paper, shoes, and whatever else people have, I’m scanning the crowd for one woman. Lotus never texted me back, so I don’t even know if she’s coming. Chances are she’s not, but that doesn’t stop me from checking compulsively every few minutes.

“How you liking New York, Glad?” Ben Mason, a point guard who came into the NBA the same year I did, asks. We’re signing autographs back-to-back, encircled by a crowd of kids.

“It’s okay.” I smile at a little girl who hands me a T-shirt to sign. “My kid lives here now, so I’m glad to have some of the off-season with her.”

“I did hear Bridge was moving to New York,” Ben says. “She’s on that new basketball wives’ reality show, right?”

Ben, like everyone else in the sports world, knows my business almost before I do.

“Yeah, she’s here,” I mutter.

“Did your divorce finally come through?”

“Yeah, it’s quits. Thank God.”

“Man, she did you dirty.”

Really, Ben? Sure, why not chat about my most painful, humiliating experiences while signing autographs for a hundred screaming kids? Perfect timing.

“It’s behind us now,” I say aloud instead. “We’re just trying to figure out how to co-parent my daughter well.”

“You a better man than me,” Ben continues. “If that had been me—”

“But it wasn’t.” I turn around to face him, not even trying to hide my irritation anymore.

“Sorry, Glad,” Ben rushes to say. “Man, I’m tripping. I know that was a tough time. I didn’t mean to bring it up.”

“And yet you’re still talking.” I turn back around and resume signing items and taking photos with fans.

My frustration isn’t actually about him, though. I’m disappointed Lotus didn’t show. I hadn’t admitted to myself how much I hoped she would. I did act like an asshole in the stairwell. I thought I fixed it, but maybe not.

“Over here, Glad!” a kid yells, holding up his phone to take a picture. When I look in his direction, a flash of color catches my eye. A small gap in the crowd reveals silk the color of butter spread on sun-toasted skin. A woman wears a backless yellow jumper that clings to her ass. What looks like an intricate zipper with tiny flowers instead of teeth is tattooed up her naked spine. A huge cloud of golden–brown hair with curls and waves on the loose fans out and around her neck and the curve of her shoulders.

“Lotus?”

It comes out as a question, but I know it’s her. I’m not the only one noticing every detail of her appearance. The crowd parts like the Red Sea and heads turn as she walks through. She seems oblivious to the lust she’s inspiring as she makes her way out of the dense crowd.

Away from me.

There are too many people separating us and I’d have to rudely push through a lot of teenage bodies fast to catch her at this point, but there’s no way she’s getting out of here without seeing me.

“Hey, PYT!” I yell through cupped hands in the direction I saw her take. She’s so short, I can’t even find the top of her head anymore.

For a second I think I’ve lost her, but that ray of sunshine she’s wearing flaunts her presence again several yards away. She’s turned to face me now, one hand on her hip and amusement on her face. I grin, fully prepared to be railed for calling her out.

“Where do you think you’re going?” I ask loudly enough for her and anyone between us to hear.

“I’m for sure not standing around all day waiting for you,” she yells back, her lips fighting the smile in her eyes.

“Well, you heard her guys.” I sign another hat and sigh. “I gotta shut it down. She’s leaving me.”

“I’d shut shit down, too, for that,” a guy standing halfway between Lotus and me says, eyes crawling over every inch of her exposed skin. I want to get her out of here.

“Excuse me,” I say, pushing through the crowd after I sign one last autograph. She could meet me halfway, but does she? No, just stands still in the crowd like a daffodil planted in the middle of a traffic jam, waiting for me to reach her. Once I do, I step as close as I possibly can without touching her so she has to tip her head all the way back to meet my eyes. Our gazes lock and don’t let go. The steam rising between us has nothing to do with the ninety-five-degree weather. I draw a shallow, Lotus-scented breath.

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Hook Shot – Coming March 28

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Hook Shot teaser

“In ‘Hook Shot’ Kennedy Ryan does something I wish more romance writers would do. She allows the reader to experience the slow burn of growing attraction, and the often disorienting new-relationship-energy between a couple getting to know, like and eventually love each other… Kennedy Ryan gave me the perfect balance of ‘the real’ with ‘the romance.’ I highly recommend it.

– Nia Forrester, author of Commitment and Afterwards

A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion.

Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.

Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.

My perfect life blew up in my face and I’m still picking up the pieces.

The last thing I need is her.

A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can’t resist.

Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans

from the moment our eyes meet.

I promised myself I wouldn’t trust a woman again,

but I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want Lo.

She’s not the plan I made, but she’s the risk I have to take.

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Hook Shot teaser

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A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.

Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met.

The last thing I need is him.

I’m working on me. Facing my pain and conquering my demons.

I’ve seen what trusting a man gets you.

I. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This.

But he just keeps coming for me.

Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses

one by one.

He never gives up, and now…I’m not sure I want him to.

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KRABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

A Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

#Excerpt3 “The Sanctity of Sloth (Seven Deadly Sins Book 3)” by Greta Boris

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Title: The Sanctity of SlothSloth cover

Author: Greta Boris

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

Series: The Seven Deadly Sins

There’s one thing more dangerous than testifying to a crime—staying silent.
Locked in the ruins of a California Mission, Abby Travers watches helplessly as a girl dies outside her window. As she struggles between her moral obligation to come forward as a witness, and her commitment to a Medieval religious practice that requires her to retreat from the world, the situation spins out of control.

Abby’s hesitation starts a series of catastrophes. She finds herself at the center of a deadly cover up where every minute counts and indecision could be fatal. She questions all her beliefs and everyone she knows becomes suspect. To save herself and those she loves, she must break free from her self-imposed prisons of stone and fear.

The Sanctity of Sloth is a taut, psychological thriller that answers the question: What happens when a good woman does nothing? Fans of Paula Hawkins and A.J. Finn will enjoy this third book in Greta Boris’s Seven Deadly Sins Series.

 

Purchase

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Excerpts 3 & 4

The irony of her position struck her. She had willingly

shut herself into a room with much the same dimensions

as this one. It had only one small window, like this one. It

had no door, however. But even without a door, sheʹd

had freedom.

The anchorites of old willingly consigned themselves to

a cell which would eventually become their grave. They

had a funeral service before they entered. Yet, they were

freer than Abby was now, because it was their choice.

Would this room become her grave?

Autonomy. Sheʹd never realized before how beautiful

that word was. When one was stripped of the ability to

rule themselves, to determine their own fate, didnʹt they

cease to exist in some way?

Sunlight streaked the gray floor with gold. By its

slant, she guessed it was at least 1:30.

She still had one hour of freedom, one hour to be Abby. She wanted to

experience every moment she had left. When the sun

reached her and warmed her skin, that would signal the

end of her time in this new anchorhold. But she couldnʹt

bear to watch the minutes move across the floor. She

closed her eyes.

Excerpt: 4

Abby shook her head. She no longer believed her

premise—that separating oneself from the world was

what led to true objectivity. It wasnʹt until sheʹd left the

anchorhold and engaged in the battle that sheʹd gained

understanding. Although in some ways she was still

recovering from her ordeal, sheʹd never had more clarity

of mind.

Sheʹd fought for her life, for Carlosʹs life, for her

fatherʹs life, and in the fighting found strength. Sheʹd

looked death in the face and life had fallen into

perspective. She no longer feared becoming like her

mother. She no longer cared what others thought about

her, at least not much. She no longer felt guilt for Scottieʹs

accident. Life and death werenʹt in her hands, and it was

pretty presumptuous for her to have thought they were.

ʺI have a new idea,ʺ she said.

Sylla arched an eyebrow. ʺI hope this one doesnʹt

include lawbreaking.ʺ

Abby laughed. ʺNo, officer. Iʹm reformed. Believe

me.ʺ

 

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Great BorisAuthor Bio

Greta Boris was raised in Greenwich Village, New York by an opera singing, piano playing, voice coach and a magazine publisher. Her original life plan was to be a famous Broadway actor, singer, and dancer, but when she moved to Laguna Beach, California, she changed her plans due to the commute. Today she writes to inspire, entertain, motivate, and so she can afford nice wine.

Links

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Twitter

Website

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

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#Excerpt2 “Decanted Truths: An Irish-American Novel” by Melanie Forde

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cover Title: Decanted Truths
Author: Melanie Forde
Genre: Literary / Women’s Fiction / Family Saga

For Irish immigrant families like the Harrigans and Gavagans, struggle has been the name of the game since they arrived in Boston in the nineteenth century. For twice-orphaned Leah Gavagan, who comes of age in the Depression, the struggle is compounded by bizarre visions that disrupt her daily life — and sometimes come true. She has difficulty fitting in with her surroundings: whether the lace-curtain Dorchester apartment overseen by her judgmental Aunt Margaret or the wild Manomet bluff shared with her no-nonsense Aunt Theo and brain-damaged Uncle Liam. A death in the family disrupts the tepid life path chosen for Leah and sets her on a journey of discovery. That journey goes back to the misadventures shaping the earlier generation, eager to prove its hard-won American credentials in the Alaskan gold rush, the Spanish-American War, and The Great War. She learns of the secrets that have bound Theo and Margaret together. Ultimately, Leah learns she is not who she thought she was. Her new truth both blinds and dazzles her, much like the Waterford decanter at the center of her oldest dreams — an artifact linking three Irish-American families stumbling after the American Dream.

Amazon US

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Amazon AU

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EXCERPTS #2

Testing, one last time, the security of the replacement shingles he had just applied, [Paulie] made note of where his toolbox and bucket of tar lay. He didn’t want to trip when rising… Peering above the roof ridge, Paulie’s eyes promptly watered from the brilliance of the sunlight bedazzling the water under an azure sky. From this perspective, as he knelt on the landward side of the roof, the water didn’t appear below him so much as in front of him, as if it were spreading out to infinity in mid-air.

Is that dot on the right Race Point Light? That’s twenty miles away as the gull flies!

                What’s more, he thought he could see the open ocean beyond Provincetown, plus the earth’s curve limiting this otherwise endless horizon. On this phenomenally crisp afternoon, Paulie fantasized he might even be able to see his homeland. Not just the Azores, but Portugal!

Only half-rising, he clambered higher for a better look… Monitoring his foot placement, he suddenly chided himself for classifying those two landmasses across the vast blue sea as home.

Both my parents were born in Massachusetts, for Chrissakes!

                As he straightened up, he was glad for indulging his irrational urge and understood Theo’s fondness for this view, probably worth all the gales in Christendom.

Just shy of the roof ridge, he spread his feet to shoulder width and raised a palm to test for breezes. The air was remarkably still. Nevertheless, the arm movement muddled his equilibrium. Or maybe the blame lay with those perspective-distorting whitecap whorls dancing before him, instead of below him (or so it seemed). Both arms rocketed out to restore his balance. Relaxing into his new position, Paulie felt as confident as a mountain goat—even though he stood atop a two-and-a-half-story clapboard house perched on a cliff one hundred feet above the churning bay…

Confidently braced at the roof ridge, Paulie spread out his arms. Not for balance, but to embrace the view, the sun, the water, life. He tossed his head back and gulped in the clean, salt air while he maintained that open-hearted posture… Feeling the sun on his upturned palms, he realized he looked very much like the statue of Christ the Redeemer, now nearing completion in Rio de Janeiro. He had marveled at the newsreel footage of that hundred-foot work of art, dramatically sited on a mountaintop overlooking the city. And now here he was, looking out, arms spread above Cape Cod Bay, just as the Nazarene carpenter held all of Guanabara Bay in his embrace.

The Manomet workman wondered if Jesus had ever felt similarly invulnerable in a lifespan that ended only a few years beyond Paulie’s current age. Had the Redeemer known what it was to feel this alive, this sun-kissed, this synchronized with every heartbeat on the planet?

Excerpt #3

Perception competes with reality in any immigrant’s assessment of life in America. For millions of Irish who crossed the Atlantic in the nineteenth century, perception was paramount—not because they experienced hardship or success to any greater degree than their counterparts from Germany or Italy, but because the Irish had a lively disregard for reality. For eight centuries, they had denied their mortality by charging into one hopeless rising after another. Even a well-educated Irishman acknowledged the geomantic pull of the Four Green Fields, with their earth and water spirits, their sacred wells, and their enchanted crossroads. And whenever reality intruded too roughly, the Irish were adept at numbing themselves with alcohol.

Perception of the great American melting pot varied from Irishman to Irishman. Many willingly lived in wretchedly overcrowded conditions in Boston’s Fort Hill ghetto or the North End, overpowered by the stench of open sewers. They were in constant danger of contracting typhoid fever and consumption or asphyxiating in a tenement or factory fire. For some, the bitter reality of American cities was worse than the life they’d escaped on the other side of the Atlantic. The psychological challenges were equally daunting, especially in Boston, arguably the most hostile city an Irishman could encounter in the United States. Its entrenched, homogeneous Yankee class had inherited the Puritans’ loathing for the lesser races and religions afflicting the British Isles. Yet Irish transplants insisted on sinking their roots in Cotton Mather’s hometown, even after the signs went up everywhere, snarling, “No Irish Need Apply.”

Many immigrants refused to focus on the direness of their circumstances because their faith in a glorious future was unshakable. Everything would work out for them next year or in the next decade. And if it didn’t, well, their children would be the ones to realize the American Dream. Everyone knew of at least one Corkonian who had metamorphosed from an ignorant, disenfranchised starveling into a well-fed, educated, politically empowered American. In the United States, anything was possible. In America, the direction was always up.

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Author BioMelanie Forde

Raised in a Boston Irish family, Melanie Forde knew her life was infinitely easier than that of her ancestors, refugees from the Potato Famine. The storytelling skills of her elders kept ancestral triumphs and tragedies alive, so that the Potato Famine and the Easter Rebellion felt as real as the Cold War. Inheriting the storyteller gene, Ms. Forde is the author of three earlier novels, her Hillwilla trilogy. She now lives far from her roots, on a West Virginia farm. She still maintains a potato patch—just in case.

Links

Website

Amazon page  

Author’s Facebook page

Goodreads profile

Instagram profile

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#Excerpt1 “Decanted Truths: An Irish-American Novel” by Melanie Forde

tour banner

~~~

cover Title: Decanted Truths
Author: Melanie Forde
Genre: Literary / Women’s Fiction / Family Saga

For Irish immigrant families like the Harrigans and Gavagans, struggle has been the name of the game since they arrived in Boston in the nineteenth century. For twice-orphaned Leah Gavagan, who comes of age in the Depression, the struggle is compounded by bizarre visions that disrupt her daily life — and sometimes come true. She has difficulty fitting in with her surroundings: whether the lace-curtain Dorchester apartment overseen by her judgmental Aunt Margaret or the wild Manomet bluff shared with her no-nonsense Aunt Theo and brain-damaged Uncle Liam. A death in the family disrupts the tepid life path chosen for Leah and sets her on a journey of discovery. That journey goes back to the misadventures shaping the earlier generation, eager to prove its hard-won American credentials in the Alaskan gold rush, the Spanish-American War, and The Great War. She learns of the secrets that have bound Theo and Margaret together. Ultimately, Leah learns she is not who she thought she was. Her new truth both blinds and dazzles her, much like the Waterford decanter at the center of her oldest dreams — an artifact linking three Irish-American families stumbling after the American Dream.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

~~~

EXCERPT #1

With The Dream’s first visit, [Leah] had no tools of interpretation. A toddler … has no way of understanding the sensory input from deep within a sailing vessel. It took years of dreaming, reading, and schooling to identify the venue, to understand that great linen sails would snap in the wind, that the wind itself often assumed a tormented human voice, that a wooden hull would creak in protest against a rolling, pitching sea.

The Dream didn’t have much of a plot but offered vignettes of life in steerage, from the perspective of one specific passenger. Through his eyes, Leah saw care-worn faces of all ages. The bodies supporting those faces were generally far too thin and covered in shabby, soiled clothing. The garments suggested a different era. Leah witnessed snippets of diverse human dramas: incipient love affairs, marriages fraying under the stress of the ocean odyssey, the imminence of death for some…

The passenger sharing visions with the dreamer would retreat to a recess tucked behind a hanging lantern. Leah eventually realized her guide was a boy. She never saw his face, any more than she could see her own face without benefit of a mirror. But she could see his short, thin limbs. Moreover, that recess appeared too restricted to accommodate an adult. And from the dreamer’s early twentieth-century perspective, the passenger’s odd-looking pants were a reliable indicator of a male body underneath the cloth. Nor could Leah imagine any female, even the most impoverished, putting up with such spectacularly ugly shoes. In the privacy of his hidey hole, the boy would invariably remove his boots briefly and rub his feet as if in pain. Naked, the right foot twisted horribly inward. The deformity so repelled the young dreamer that she sometimes would shake herself awake.

Eventually, she realized the scary sight was worth tolerating. After the boy finished rubbing his feet, his grubby fingers would reach for a burlap bag tucked even more deeply into the recess. His hands would then extract something swathed in oilcloth. Once unwrapped, the contents exploded with shards of lantern light in a dizzying array of colors. Looking down at the object in the boy’s lap, Leah could see his chest and belly expand briefly. Then those small hands would rewrap the light-filled wonder in the filthy oilcloth and return it to the burlap sack. With a shove from his good foot, he would push the bag deeper into the ship’s cavity.

The hidden object filled the darkest corners of the dreamer’s soul with light. With beauty. With hope. It stirred every corpuscle in her blood.

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Author BioMelanie Forde

Raised in a Boston Irish family, Melanie Forde knew her life was infinitely easier than that of her ancestors, refugees from the Potato Famine. The storytelling skills of her elders kept ancestral triumphs and tragedies alive, so that the Potato Famine and the Easter Rebellion felt as real as the Cold War. Inheriting the storyteller gene, Ms. Forde is the author of three earlier novels, her Hillwilla trilogy. She now lives far from her roots, on a West Virginia farm. She still maintains a potato patch—just in case.

Links

Website

Amazon page  

Author’s Facebook page

Goodreads profile

Instagram profile

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#Excerpt “The Convalescent Corpse” by Nicola Slade

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A story of Family, Rationing and Inconvenient Corpses.

Life in 1918 has brought loss and grief and hardship to the three Fyttleton sisters. Helped only by their grandmother (a failed society belle and expert poacher) and hindered by a difficult suffragette mother, as well as an unruly chicken-stealing dog and a house full of paying-guests, they now have to deal with the worrying news that their late – and unlamented – father may not be dead after all.  And on top of that, there’s a body in the ha-ha.

EXCERPT

Writers in the family & precarious family finances

Margaret Fyttleton aka Mother, who writes dull books about heroines of women’s suffrage, as well as far more profitable sentimental romances about hard-up young women who invariably marry into the peerage. Margaret is reclusive and the family prefer to keep it that way.

 I forged a letter from Mother to the bank, and Granny and I arranged for the lodgers’ potential rent money to be paid into an account we had already set up in Granny’s name, when Papa died. Mother has no interest in money apart from its power to buy books, so a sum each month goes into her own account and the rest of it, including her writing income, goes into what we privately call the Family Fighting Fund. Mother rarely engages with the outside world as she lives on a higher plane than the rest of us, which suits us very well. She has no common sense when it comes to money so God forbid she should ever find out what we’re up to!

Granny has a small private income, her sole inheritance from her parents, and twenty pounds a year that was all Grandpapa was able to leave her. That goes into the pot and I contribute as well with our latest source of income, the money I earn from writing adventure serials for boys’ magazines and annuals. This is a deadly secret known only to my sisters and grandmother.

It came about like this. When Bertie was at boarding-school he and I used to send each other parodies of Boys’ Own adventure stories, but a year or so ago I decided to submit them to a magazine. I rewrote them as yarns that might appeal to boys and young men at the Front and was delighted when they paid me. Wondering whether I could find a second income for my stories I contacted Mother’s publisher, using her name; we’re all expert forgers, the Fyttleton girls. Writing as Mother, I explained that Lt Jasper Crombie was a young relative, and would her publisher consider reissuing the stories as books? Happily, her publisher snapped up the stories and the first of Lt Crombie’s efforts had already come out as a short novel last October. The second one, serialised last summer, was due out at the end of April, and I was now three-quarters of the way through the third, which was being serialised as I wrote.

I felt under no compulsion to inform the magazine editor or Mother’s publisher that Jasper and Crombie were two of our hens. They had been named after gamekeepers at our grandmother’s childhood home, a crumbling castle not far from the northern coast of Aberdeenshire. So far, the hens have never complained about their masculine names and Granny had fond memories of the keepers who had taught her the excellent poaching skills that provide us with meat and keep down the rabbits in the park at the Hall. (She had acquired the skills deemed essential for a daughter of the nobility from her mother’s elderly governess who, crippled with rheumatism, had been pensioned off to live at the castle. Sadly, Granny’s shyness was a hindrance in Polite Society so her poaching skills have proved far more useful in our straitened circumstances.)

As soon as Granny and I had the family finances completely under our control, we knew where we stood, and very worrying it was too. It was a good job we had no idea that our lives were soon to be further complicated by murder.

 

‘I love it. A delightfully unusual mystery with wonderful characterisation and historical detail.’ – LESLEY COOKMAN BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE LIBBY SARJEANT MYSTERY SERIES

 

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Nicola SladeAuthor Bio

Nicola Slade lives in Hampshire where she writes historical and contemporary mysteries and women’s fiction. While her three children were growing up she wrote stories for children and for women’s magazines before her first novel, Scuba Dancing, was published in 2005. Among other jobs, Nicola has been an antiques dealer and a Brown Owl! She loves travelling and at one time, lived in Egypt for a year. The Convalescent Corpse is Nicola’s 9th novel. Nicola is also a member of a crime writers’ panel, The Deadly Dames https://www.facebook.com/DeadlyDames/

Social Media Links – www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com   www.nicolaslade.com

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

https://www.facebook.com/nicolasladeuk/  https://www.pinterest.co.uk/nicola8703 (I have a board for each book)

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Giveaway

Win a paperback copy of The House of Ladywell

(Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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#Excerpts “The Monster of Selkirk Book 1: The Duality of Nature” by C.E. Clayton

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Title: The Monster of Selkirk Book 1: The Duality of NatureMOS cover

Author: C.E. Clayton

Genre: Fantasy

Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.

As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends. But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.

EXCERPTS

Excerpt 2:

Tallis should have been more attentive to watch for birds or deer, but she could not help but brood and be distracted by her own thoughts and worries. Thankfully, Donovan could not sleep, either.

Joining his cousin, he gently bumped her shoulder as a way of greeting.

Tallis glanced at him. “It’s not fair, cousin.”

Donovan nodded. “No, it’s not.”

“I thought that coming out here … I thought I’d finally have answers and figure out who I was. But now I don’t think I want to know. I don’t think I’m going to like what we find. I just want to go home and pretend like none of this happened. I’d even marry Henrik if it meant we could all just go back to the way it was.”

“Oh, come now, you’d be bored stiff if you married Henrik and stayed in Kincardine.”

“Maybe, but I didn’t want this.”

“I know, Tally. But the world is not obligated to care about what you or I want. I’m sorry it happened to you, but, well, if it helps, I think you’ll be able to handle it. Whatever it is.”

“But I don’t want to handle it. I just want to be normal.”

“Aye, but being normal is so dull.”

“So what? I’d rather be boring than hated and feared and treated as an outcast.”

“But this way, we’ll get to be a hero, Tallis. People would kill for the opportunity to save their country.”

“I don’t want to be their hero. I don’t want to be anyone’s hero. I just wanted the chance to be like everyone else. I wanted someone to protect me just this once. I don’t need someone to shelter me, but it’d be nice to be protected all the same. Don’t I deserve it? Strong or not, I want someone to hold me and tell me it will be all right.”

Donovan draped his arm around his cousin’s shoulder and gave her a gentle hug. “I know, Tally. And maybe one day you’ll find someone who will be able to hold you and make you feel safe and secure no matter what. But for now we have to keep going. We have to keep fighting.”

Tallis gritted her teeth. “Aye, you’re right. Thank you, Donovan. What would I do without you?”

Donovan chuckled. “Curl in a ball and try and hide, most likely.”

Tallis rolled her eyes. “Oh, right, I forgot all about running and hiding. Is that still an option?” They laughed together and passed the rest of the night in silence.

 

Excerpt 3

Tallis realized almost too late that she had completely outrun Donovan, as her top speed was much faster than that of any normal person. She found herself standing alone at the end of the street as it opened up to show the monastery under siege.

Tallis saw herself reflected in the bright, evil eyes of the elves as they turned to regard her: outlined by the burning homes behind her, with her matching trident-shaped daggers in her hands. Her white blonde hair, flowing lightly in the hot breeze, appeared as if it were made of liquid fire itself. Her eyes like gems that held the ocean within their depths. In that still heartbeat, Tallis shuddered. She looked like a beautiful terror, and only Rosslyn and Tomas would be able to tell that she was their salvation and not the cause of their worst nightmares come to life.

As the elves broke from their momentary stupor, they ceased their attempts to enter the monastery. Hissing in unison they said, “Tallissssss,” as they pointed their sharp talons in her direction.

She could hear the faint gasp of the survivors in the monastery tower as understanding dawned upon them that this was the girl that was making history: the girl who caused the entire elven race to rise up and riot across all of Selkirk.

 

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C.E. ClaytonAuthor Bio

E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where she attended the University of Southern California (Fight On!) for both her Bachelors and Masters, and then worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts ranging from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love—writing—and hasn’t stopped. She is now the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter, can be found on her website.

 

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#Excerpt “Inside the Chinese Wine Industry” by Loren Mayshark

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EXCERPT

CHAPTER I: Introduction

Few things signal civilization and sophistication more than enjoying a fine wine with an excellent meal. Itwine teaser 1 may be asserted that China is the world’s oldest continuous civilization. One of the features of its culture is that Chinese cuisine serves up superb meals. Until recently, however, fine wines have been absent there, at least wine made from the noble grape.

In many ways, we live in a golden age for wine. The wine world has many exciting new wrinkles from fancy new mobile applications to devices that allow us to extract a glass of wine from a bottle and then return it to the cellar to rest for a couple of years without changing the character of the wine. With all the current trends and innovations, it is the best time to enjoy wine. This is certainly a special age, in the words of renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson: “The irony is that just as the difference in price between the best and worst wines is greater than it has ever been, the difference in quality is narrower than ever before.”[1] Perhaps one of the most pervasive reasons for this truism, which Robinson so eloquently captured, is the globalization of the wine industry. One cannot fully understand the global wine industry of today without developing a deeper understanding of its largest and fastest growing player: China.

Though starting relatively late historically with grape wine production and consumption, China has been catching up quickly. China’s role in the global wine industry continues to grow at an astonishing pace. Wine consumption in China doubled between 2008 and 2013 when China became the fifth largest consumer of wine in the world. At the end of 2013, China became the world’s largest market for red wine, and China is projected to become the second most valuable market for wine in the world by 2020 (behind the U.S.), which will have a profound impact on various aspects of the global wine industry.[2] These are significant statistics for anyone who has a serious interest in the global wine industry.

wine teaser 8To feed the rapidly rising consumption, the domestic production in China has also increased at an amazing rate. China now has more than seven hundred vineyards, compared to 240 in 1995.[3] As of 2018, China is projected to have the second largest area of wine grapes planted in the world and to be the seventh largest producer of wine.[4]

While wine has deep roots in Western culture, China has a rich history of wine production which dates back to millennia before Christ. However, it must be stressed that this tradition is almost exclusively rice wine. The production and mass consumption of grape wine is a recent phenomenon in China. A 2015 poll found that 96 percent of young adults in China select wine as their favored alcoholic beverage.[5] This book examines the development of the Chinese wine industry in a historical context and explains how the Chinese grape wine industry has exploded in the last two decades. We will explore the fascination with European Grapes in China and the explosion of the import and consumption of Vitis vinifera (the most important wine-grape species in the world) in China and the historical precedent for that. We will attempt to answer burning questions such as: What changed to make China wine-crazy? How can a tourist enjoy unique wine experiences in China? Why is mass wine production and consumption a modern phenomenon? Why are there not a lot of Chinese wines exported to the United States and Europe?

[1] Quoted in George M. Taber, A Toast to Bargain Wines: How Innovators, Iconoclasts, and Winemaking Revolutionaries Are Changing the Way the World Drinks, 1st Scribner ed (New York: Scribner, 2011), 1.

[2] Vinexpo Newsroom, “China Is a Leading Wine Market of the Future,” Vinexpo Newsroom – Wine & Spirits News by Vinexpo (blog), April 4, 2017, https://www.vinexpo-newsroom.com/china-is-a-leading-wine-market-of-the-future/.

[3] Suzanne Mustacich, Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines, First edition (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015), 56.

[4] “State of the Vitiviniculture World Market” (International Organisation of Wine and Vine (OIV), April 2018), http://www.oiv.int/public/medias/5958/oiv-state-of-the-vitiviniculture-world-market-april-2018.pdf.

[5] Can Akalin and Lawrence Lazar, Wine in China: Insights on a Burgeoning Industry in an e/m Commerce Context, 2 edition, Kindle Edition, (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015), Location 89.

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coverTitle: Inside the Chinese Wine Industry

Author: Loren Mayshark

Genre: Nonfiction

The wine business is one of the world’s most fascinating industries and China is considered the rising star. A hidden secret, the Chinese wine industry continues to grow at an amazing pace and is projected to soon enter the top five producing nations, supplanting long established countries such as Australia. Inside the Chinese Wine Industry: The Past, Present, and Future of Wine in China takes you through the growing Chinese wine scene.

Wine has had a meteoric rise in China over the past two decades. The nation is projected to become the second most valuable market for wine in the world by 2020. One recent study concluded that 96% of young Chinese adults consider wine their alcoholic drink of choice. Not only does Inside the Chinese Wine Industry explore current expansion and business models, it journeys back to the past to see where it all began.

There are more than seven hundred wineries in China today. Although it’s bit of an oversimplification, the vast majority of the wineries fit into one of two categories: the larger established producers who churn out mostly plonk to meet the growing demand for inexpensive wine and the newer wineries that try to cater to the tastes of the wealthy Chinese with money to spend on luxury goods like fine wine. In the words of wine guru Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, “The cheap wines from the very large producers have mostly verged on dismal.” However, this should not be considered a blanket statement regarding every wine from large producers. Also, she has positive reflections regarding the level of wine produced by “cutting-edge wineries” which she finds “far better.” How good are they? MacNeil asserts: “Some of these wines are so good they could easily pass for a California or Bordeaux wine in a blind tasting.”

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Author BioLoren Mayshark

Loren Mayshark studied Chinese art, religion, philosophy, and history while earning a B.A. in history from Manhattanville College in New York.  After graduation, he attended The Gotham Writers Workshop and the prestigious New York Writers Workshop. He has written about the Chinese wine industry for The Jovial Journey and Sublime China.

After college, he supported his itinerant lifestyle by working dozens of jobs, including golf caddy, travel writer, construction worker, fireworks salesman, substitute teacher, and vineyard laborer. Predominantly his jobs have been in the restaurant industry. He cut his teeth as a server, maître d’, and bartender at San Francisco’s historic Fisherman’s Grotto #9, the original restaurant on the Fisherman’s Wharf. While working with a colorful crew of primarily Mexican and Chinese co-workers.

He spent much of his young adult life exploring the wine industry from Sonoma Valley to the North Fork of Long Island, immersing himself in vineyards and learning valuable lessons. He has traveled extensively in South America, Europe, and Asia.  He presently splits his time between Western New York and Sweden.

His first book, Death: An Exploration, won the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award in the category of Death and Dying and was a finalist for book of the year in the 2016 Foreword INDIES Awards in the category of Grief/Grieving (Adult Nonfiction). Inside the Chinese Wine Industry is his third book.

 

For more information visit his website: lorenmayshark.com.

Keep up with him on Twitter: @LorenMayshark

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