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#Excerpt3 “Love for Two Lifetimes” by Martina Boone

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Love for Two Lifetimes cover

Title: Love for Two Lifetimes

Author: Martina Boone

Genre: Coming of Age / Young Adult

 Two generations, two great loves, one devastating lie . . . 

When Izzy unexpectedly loses her mother in a car accident, her world shatters. Their relationship has always been so close that Izzy can’t imagine life without her. Nor can she begin to understand when she finds a secret box of love letters that her mother wrote but never sent. The idea of her mother hiding such intense feelings for more than twenty years without so much as a hint makes Izzy question everything she thought she knew–including the identity of her father.

Following a trail of clues overseas, Izzy steps into a world of glamour and English royalty, one which years ago forced her mother to choose between her obligation to her musical gift and her lover’s obligations to his family, title, and estate. It’s a world of secrets and masquerades, of heartache and betrayal. And in the midst of this world, Izzy finds a young man who feels as broken as she does herself. The two are drawn to each other–only to find that their parents’ lies may present an insurmountable obstacle between them.

Thrown together on a coming of age journey of discovery that spans two lifetimes and takes them from a grand estate in the Cotswolds to a hospital bedside in India and ultimately to the Taj Mahal, Izzy and Malcolm try desperately not to fall in love. But some things are impossible…

And some loves are worth any sacrifice… 

Uplifting, funny, tragic, and unforgettably, luminously romantic, Love for Two Lifetimes is a tale of two generations of love, a lifetime of friendship, a history of sacrifice, and one last, heartbreaking and hopeful choice revealed in prose, texts, and love letters. Written for young adults and grown-up romantics, if you love the romance of the royal weddings or any story by Nicholas Sparks, Love for Two Lifetimes will have you turning pages late into the night.

“Heartwarming, lyrical, soulful, and with just the right amount of humor: this book sparkles with authentic, layered characters and beautiful, thoughtful prose.” — Jodi Meadows, NYT bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane

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Book Excerpts

Excerpt Three:

“Do you want to read the letters for yourself?” I blurt out, and his face goes all hard and distant. “No, really. I think they—this whole thing—it’s like those roses Joran Masterson held up in the workshop. You can’t know what you aren’t seeing until you see it, if that makes any sense. I don’t know if it would change how you feel, but I think you should read the letters.”

“I don’t bloody want to read them.” Malcolm rubs a hand across the back of his neck.

“What about your father?”

“I don’t know.” Malcolm snaps off the ignition and shifts around in his seat to face me. “Part of me thinks that after all the pain he inflicted on my mum, he deserves any amount of pain the letters would cause him. But he hasn’t been the same since he read that your mother died. He still goes to the surgery every day, sees patients, runs the estate, but he’s only going through the motions, as if nothing really matters. At night he shuts himself in the reading room and doesn’t come back out. Then he rang out of the blue and asked me to come home this weekend because he needed to go to London. He refused to say how long for, and no one here knows anything except that he’s arranged a locum doctor to stand in for him at the practice for as long as needed.”

“And that isn’t normal?”

“Far from it.”

Malcolm’s trying so hard to sound like he doesn’t care that it makes my chest hurt to hear him. I hate that I came here and added to his worries. And I don’t know how to get myself out of this.

Love for Two Lifetimes cover“Well, I hope he—” What? What am I supposed to say? “Grief is hard,” I manage, which is entirely feeble and obvious and lame. “Look, thanks for driving me back. And sorry I bothered you with all this. It was nice to meet you. So um. Yeah. Bye. Thanks again.” I smile too brightly. I’m babbling, so I just have to stop. I need to go.

Snatching up my purse, I jump out of the car without looking at Malcolm, and I rush up the path. The entrance is set beyond a low wall bordered by the kind of perfect English perennial garden that looks as if it happened by accident but that—like everything else around here—probably took a hundred careful years of weeding and breeding to grow just right.

Malcolm jumps out of the car and comes after me. His legs are longer than mine, so he catches me in just a couple strides. “Don’t do that. Don’t get cold and polite on me. Don’t leave.”

He catches my hand and tugs me to a stop, and I feel every ounce of my body heat pooling in my fingers. I want to die of mortification so I don’t turn around.

“All right, yes,” he says. “Yes, I want to read the letters. Which is to say, I know I’ll regret it if I don’t read them. Also, I meant what I said earlier about you coming to stay at the Hall. Dad would have my head on a platter if he found out I’d left you here on your own.”

I turn then, needing to see if he’s serious. He gives me another one of those smiles, and it’s the rose phenomenon all over again. Having seen the way his face can light up, I know this smile isn’t completely real. I flail for a word to explain the absence of something special, but there isn’t one. How can there not be one?

Well, heck, if Horace Walpole can invent “serendipity,” I can come up with something.

A·splen·dor·i·a (Noun): Perfectly executed but devoid of brilliance or genius. “The film’s asplendoria made it enjoyable but unremarkable.”

Malcolm’s smile, this smile, is asplendorious compared to his usual one.

And I did that to him.

 

Excerpt Four:

I think of Ian collecting reminders of the honeymoon he and my mother never had, and my chest hurts as if every tear I’ve cried since Mom died has been pumped back into my lungs. At the same time, I want to run to her and bury my face in my mother’s shoulder.

Sitting in his chair reading, Malcolm looks so much more together than I am. But living with this collection, all these Taj Mahals, knowing what they represented, had to have been hard for him. Especially knowing that his mother knew.

The black hole of missingness Mom left in my life hasn’t gotten any smaller in the months since she died. Was it like that for Malcolm, too? It had to have been worse. He was so little. And all these years, he’s been stuck here watching Ian grieve the loss of my mother instead of his own.

The truth is, he has every right to hate my mother. If I hadn’t known the magical, flawed, struggling, human Marcella Cavalera, how would I be seeing her now? I suppose genius always requires selfishness, sacrifice, and collateral damage to the people around you, but that doesn’t make it any easier to live with.

And Ian? Do I hate him?

I’m not sure I can hate someone who loved Mom that much.

To keep from staring at Malcolm while he reads, I wander over to a desk that’s filled with photos in silver frames. The pictures are all of Malcolm at various ages. When he’s very small, there’s a little girl with him, and they look a lot alike. Sometimes, there’s the two of them with their mother, who was very elegant. In other photos, Malcolm’s older, wearing a school tie and blazer and looking rebellious and lost. There are shots of him with other boys playing soccer and graduating in a cap and gown. But there isn’t a single photo of Malcolm with his father. No photos of Ian at all.

I turn to one of the bookshelves, running my fingers idly along the spines as I circumnavigate Love for Two Lifetimes coverthe room. Almost immediately, I find old friends: Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer, Goethe, Keats, Byron. Then I discover an ancient edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray and an even older copy of some of Oscar Wilde’s correspondence. It’s like finding a box of my favorite chocolates—I don’t know which to sample first. I plop back down on the sofa, but instead of reading, I find myself watching Malcolm. Two envelopes lie on the table beside him and he holds a third in one hand while he reads the corresponding letter.

His eyes are the clearest I’ve ever seen, so clear it feels like I can see right into him. Reactions chase each other through them as he reads. Anger. Rejection. Surprise.

I wonder if reading the letters will change anything for him, alter the narrative of his childhood the way they’ve turned the wheel on the kaleidoscope of mine. Every new fact makes me see my mother and my life a little differently.

But the letters aren’t proof in themselves. They’re only twenty years of Mom thinking on paper. Talking to herself and pretending to talk to Ian.

~~~

Links

Goodreads

Love for Two Lifetimes is available now in hardcover, trade paperback, and digital. There’s a special early order campaign with exclusive goodies for anyone who orders the book before November 1st. Additional incentives are available if you order from One More Page Books.

See here for details

Or order from your favorite retailer:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

~~~

Author Bio

Martina Boone is the award-winning author of Love for Two Lifetimes and the romantic Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island series, including CompulsionPersuasion, and Illusion for young adults from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse as well as romantic fiction for adult readers in the Celtic Legends Collection starting with Lake of DestinyShe’s also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a three-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers Site. She’s dedicated to encouraging literacy and reader engagement through a celebration of literature, and she’s on the Board of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and runs the CompulsionForReading.com program to distribute books to underfunded schools and libraries.

She lives in Virginia with her husband, children, Shetland Sheepdog, and a lopsided cat, and she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she loves to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate-flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Goodreads

Cover link 

~~~

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#BookTour “Love for Two Lifetimes” by Martina Boone

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~~~
Love for Two Lifetimes cover

Title: Love for Two Lifetimes

Author: Martina Boone

Genre: Coming of Age / Young Adult

 Two generations, two great loves, one devastating lie . . . 

When Izzy unexpectedly loses her mother in a car accident, her world shatters. Their relationship has always been so close that Izzy can’t imagine life without her. Nor can she begin to understand when she finds a secret box of love letters that her mother wrote but never sent. The idea of her mother hiding such intense feelings for more than twenty years without so much as a hint makes Izzy question everything she thought she knew–including the identity of her father.

Following a trail of clues overseas, Izzy steps into a world of glamour and English royalty, one which years ago forced her mother to choose between her obligation to her musical gift and her lover’s obligations to his family, title, and estate. It’s a world of secrets and masquerades, of heartache and betrayal. And in the midst of this world, Izzy finds a young man who feels as broken as she does herself. The two are drawn to each other–only to find that their parents’ lies may present an insurmountable obstacle between them.

Thrown together on a coming of age journey of discovery that spans two lifetimes and takes them from a grand estate in the Cotswolds to a hospital bedside in India and ultimately to the Taj Mahal, Izzy and Malcolm try desperately not to fall in love. But some things are impossible…

And some loves are worth any sacrifice… 

Uplifting, funny, tragic, and unforgettably, luminously romantic, Love for Two Lifetimes is a tale of two generations of love, a lifetime of friendship, a history of sacrifice, and one last, heartbreaking and hopeful choice revealed in prose, texts, and love letters. Written for young adults and grown-up romantics, if you love the romance of the royal weddings or any story by Nicholas Sparks, Love for Two Lifetimes will have you turning pages late into the night.

“Heartwarming, lyrical, soulful, and with just the right amount of humor: this book sparkles with authentic, layered characters and beautiful, thoughtful prose.” — Jodi Meadows, NYT bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane

~~~

Book Excerpts

Excerpt One: 

Izzy: The End

This isn’t a story about death or grief. It’s about grabbing love while you can.Love for Two Lifetimes cover

Malcolm and I are in the hospital corridor in front of the cardiac care unit, and the too-familiar alarms, hurrying feet, and acrid scents of disease melt away around us. There are only the answers we don’t have. And the possibility that loving him may, with the speaking of a single word, turn out to be biblically, terrifyingly wrong.

His hands shake on my arms. His knees bend so we can look straight at each other. I love the sea-ice green of his eyes beneath the dark swoops of brow, the dimple in his chin, the way he concentrates.

We’re pulled together, our bodies tipping closer, millimeter by millimeter, my skin alive beneath his fingers, our heartbeats echoes of one another.

In German, there’s a word for a kiss that makes up for kisses that never happened. In case there can never be more between us, that’s exactly what I need: one last kiss to hold all the kisses that might have been, not only mine and Malcolm’s, but all those that were missing from my mother’s life.

 

Excerpt Two:

He looks down at our hands. He’s still holding mine, and I wonder if I should pull away. I definitely should.

I don’t, though, and he doesn’t, either.

“Coming here to Halford, that was your unfinished business, wasn’t it?” he asks me.

“I suppose. Not that it’s finished anything so far. Did I upset your father? Is that what’s wrong?”

“If you did upset him, it’s far less than I have. Not that he didn’t deserve it, but I did the same thing I’ve always done—shut him out without giving him a fair hearing.”

“I’m sure it’s not too late.”

He turns to me, looking broken. “You don’t need to listen to all this. It’s the middle of the night.”

“Not where I’m from. But maybe we should both go.”

“Don’t.”

Love for Two Lifetimes cover“Why?” The word comes out hoarse, and I start to pull my hand away.

His fingers tighten on mine, certain and electric. “I’ve no idea,” he says quietly, and I say, “Then we shouldn’t stay,” and the distance between us gets smaller all by itself, or maybe I’m just leaning in and Malcolm’s leaning down and it’s inevitable.

He’s going to kiss me. We’re going to kiss each other. There’s only an instant for the thought to register, for me to notice the little concentration line between his eyebrows and a tiny scar above the corner of his mouth. It’s an instant that fills every cell in my body with awareness, and our lips meet halfway, as if they have no other choice, as if a kiss was always going to define the space between us.

I’ve been kissed before.

It didn’t feel like this.

~~~

Links

Goodreads

Love for Two Lifetimes is available now in hardcover, trade paperback, and digital. There’s a special early order campaign with exclusive goodies for anyone who orders the book before November 1st. Additional incentives are available if you order from One More Page Books.

See here for details

Or order from your favorite retailer:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

~~~

Author Bio

Martina Boone is the award-winning author of Love for Two Lifetimes and the romantic Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island series, including CompulsionPersuasion, and Illusion for young adults from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse as well as romantic fiction for adult readers in the Celtic Legends Collection starting with Lake of DestinyShe’s also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a three-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers Site. She’s dedicated to encouraging literacy and reader engagement through a celebration of literature, and she’s on the Board of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and runs the CompulsionForReading.com program to distribute books to underfunded schools and libraries.

She lives in Virginia with her husband, children, Shetland Sheepdog, and a lopsided cat, and she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she loves to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate-flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Goodreads

Cover link 

~~~

 

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#Excerpt3 “Curse of the Sea: Book One of The Admiralty Archives” by Joni Parker

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Curse of the Sea 3DTitle: Curse of the Sea

Author: Joni Parker

Genre: Urban Fantasy

A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior, Lady Alexin, is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.

~~~

EXCERPT

Chapter 6:

The next morning, the sailors stood in ranks on the dock near the little red ship. They wore the uniforms of their home countries—the United States, Great Britain, France, Canada, and Italy. Alex came up from behind with the Commandant, Lord Odin, Colonel Jeffrey, Prince Darin, and the Elf healer, Canfis. She wore her brown uniform as she would have worn if she were reporting to her foster father, Colonel Penser. This was official business. Her brown cloak fluttered in the breeze as the group converged at the ship. Ecstasy stepped out on deck.

Captain Jonas stepped forward. “Ecstasy, we’re ready to begin. Are you?”

“Yes, sir!” He saluted and stomped his foot. “How do you want to do this?”

Lord Odin went up to him. “We’ll bring ten people on board at a time and administer the potion. Once that group is finished, the next ten will board. Alex, pay attention. You’ll have to do this on the other end.”

“Yes, Grandfather.”

The first ten people filed onto the ship with Lord Odin, Alex, and Canfis. They gave each person a cup of water with the shrinking potion. Once they shrank in size, Alex and Canfis placed them in a bin. The next group came in and the same procedure was followed until the final group. One last cup of water remained and Captain Jonas stood beside it.

“I want to monitor the situation, so I’d like to remain as I am. I’d be more than happy to administer the counter-potion.”

“Alex will do it, Captain. There’s no need to worry,” Lord Odin said.

“May I ask, why send your granddaughter?”

“As I told you before, Alex has experience doing this. Well, if you wish to remain as you are, I believe the ship can handle the extra weight.” Lord Odin turned to Alex and held her in his arms. “Have a safe trip and come back right away. You have several more trips to make.” He released her and stepped back. “Oh, give me your weapons, Alex. You’d better not take them.”

Alex took off her sword belt and wrapped it around her sword. Then she undid the buckles that held her Elfin Blade in place on her right thigh, removed a knife blade from each boot, and gave him the cuffs around her wrists that held her assassin’s blades in place. “I’ll probably need my eating knife.” She patted the knife on her belt. “I think that’s all. What about the keys?”

“I’ll hold them until you get back. Canfis, give me a hand with this.” Lord Odin handed him some of her weapons and took the leather pouch with the keys.

Captain Jonas bit his lip as he watched her remove her weapons. She’d been armed all this time with several hidden weapons. What else could she be carrying that no one could see? What about that blue light?

~~~

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Amazon CA   |   Amazon AU

~~~

Joni ParkerAuthor Bio

Fantasy novels are Joni Parker’s writing passion. Thus far, she’s written two series—“The Seaward Isle Saga,” a trilogy, and “The Chronicles of Eledon,” the award-winning four-book series. Her latest project, “Curse of the Sea” is her eighth book and begins a new trilogy. Her work extends beyond novels into short stories with two appearing in an anthology, “Tucson and Beyond” by the Tucson Science Fiction Fantasy writers’ group. Joni’s retired from military and federal government service and devotes her time to writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Links

Twitter  |   Facebook  |   Website/Blog

~~~

G I V E A W A Y

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#Excerpt2 “Curse of the Sea: Book One of The Admiralty Archives” by Joni Parker

banner

~~~

Curse of the Sea 3DTitle: Curse of the Sea

Author: Joni Parker

Genre: Urban Fantasy

A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior, Lady Alexin, is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.

~~~

EXCERPT

Chapter 4:

Alex continued with the introductions. “This is Captain Jonas. He’s the captain of one of those gray ships, the HMS Camelot. This is Ecstasy. He’s the wizard who came from the mortal world in this ship.”

Captain Jonas stared at him suspiciously. “How is that possible? How did you come here on this ship? It’s made of wood.”

“Yes, she’s my pride and joy—isn’t she lovely?” Ecstasy clutched his hands together. “If I’m not mistaken, you’re wearing the uniform of the British Royal Navy, am I correct, Captain, sir?” He snapped to attention and saluted like a Brit.

“Yes, do I detect a London accent?” The Captain returned his salute.

“Yes, Captain, sir, I’ve lived in London for many years. I still have a flat in Piccadilly.”

“How did you get here? What route did you take?”

“I flew up to the moon and took a left. There’s this round thingie in the sky and my ship flew through it.” Ecstasy made a circle with his hands.

“Thingie?”

“It’s like a ring of white light.”

“A portal?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“How many passengers can you take?”

“Ten. More than that, she doesn’t fly right. I once had a party with fifteen–”

“We have over seven hundred. It’ll take forever, but it’s a start. You can take us back to London. How long does it take?”

“About twenty-four hours. But I haven’t said I’d do it.”

“You will do it by order of His Majesty’s Royal Navy, Wizard or I’ll cut you down myself!” Captain Jonas glared at him. “Do I make myself perfectly clear?”

“Aye, aye, sir!” Ecstasy saluted again and stomped his right foot.

Captain Jonas nodded. “Very well. That settles that.” The Captain turned to Lord Odin. “Once our men have been returned, Ecstasy can continue to shuttle others back to Earth.”

“May I recommend the use of a shrinking potion so more people can be taken on each trip?” Lord Odin raised his eyebrows.

“How many people can we get on this ship if we used this shrinking potion?”

Lord Odin pursed his lips. “I’d estimate a hundred passengers could safely travel in that manner. I can send Alex to administer the counter-potion. It’s very safe, but we don’t have any here. I can have some delivered in a few days.”

Chapter 5:

After more greetings and introductions, Lord Odin took a white ceramic bottle from Canfis. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the shrinking potion. I’ll administer it to Colonel Jeffrey so you can see it’s completely safe.” He took a glass tube from Canfis. “All you need is one drop in a glass of water. This phase will take about five minutes. Colonel Jeffrey?”

Jeffrey stepped forward and drank the water. Then he lay down on the floor on a blanket. Within seconds, his eyes were closed and he was sleeping soundly.

One of the sailors stretched out a tape measure. “He’s six-foot-two. That’s one hundred and eighty-eight centimeters for our metric friends.” Then he gasped as Jeffrey’s body shrank and checked the tape measure again. “Twelve inches? No shit! Thirty point five centimeters, folks.” He picked up the little body. “He’s light, around ten pounds, maybe five kilos.”

Captain Jonas knelt next to Jeffrey and put his head down close to his face. He touched his neck lightly. “He’s breathing and has a heartbeat.”

The crowd fell silent for a few moments before a nervous buzz arose.

After thirty minutes, Lord Odin stepped forward. “Alex, it’s time to give the counter-potion.”

Alex took the blue bottle and a glass tube from Canfis. Kneeling next to Jeffrey, she removed the stopper and slid the glass tube inside. She covered the end with her finger and carefully opened his mouth to place a drop on his teeth. She backed away, waiting and watching, as Colonel Jeffrey returned to full size.

The crowd gasped and covered their mouths.

The sailor measured him again. “Six-foot-two, back to normal.” He pushed a button on the case, retracting the metal tape with a snap.

Captain Jonas came over and extended his hand to Colonel Jeffrey, helping him up. “How do you feel, Colonel?”

“Fine, like I took a nap. Did I really shrink down?”

“Yes, you were about a foot long. We measured you.” He held his hands a foot apart to show him. “Do you feel dizzy or nauseated?”

“No, I’m fine.” Jeffrey shrugged. “It really does work.”

“Walk around.”

Jeffrey took a short stroll around the room.

Lord Odin rose from his chair. “As you can see, there are no ill effects from this potion; you’ll be completely safe. It’s the best and fastest way to get you home.”

~~~

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Amazon CA   |   Amazon AU

~~~

Joni ParkerAuthor Bio

Fantasy novels are Joni Parker’s writing passion. Thus far, she’s written two series—“The Seaward Isle Saga,” a trilogy, and “The Chronicles of Eledon,” the award-winning four-book series. Her latest project, “Curse of the Sea” is her eighth book and begins a new trilogy. Her work extends beyond novels into short stories with two appearing in an anthology, “Tucson and Beyond” by the Tucson Science Fiction Fantasy writers’ group. Joni’s retired from military and federal government service and devotes her time to writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Links

Twitter  |   Facebook  |   Website/Blog

~~~

G I V E A W A Y

Win a print copy of “Curse of the Sea”!

Curse of the Sea 3D

E N T E R

~~~

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#BlogTour “Pictures in the Sky” by Amanda Paull

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Pictures in the Sky cover

She gave up on romance years ago. He’s going through the motions. Their lives change forever when he makes contact out of the blue.

With her daughter leaving the nest, Michelle Cameron would rather spend her time with good friends, a glass of fizzy and a box set, than with another idiot bloke chipping away at her self-esteem. But when childhood friend Daniel Helmsley gets back in touch, the years roll away on a tide of laughter and friendship, which soon gives way to another roller coaster of love, excitement and panic. Can Michelle let herself trust again? What if Dan is just another idiot bloke, disillusioned with the present and nostalgic for the past?

If you like cosy romance that makes you laugh as well as cry, then you’ll love this feel-good tale of past disappointment, renewed friendship and finding true love.
Download Amanda Paull’s Pictures in the Sky today to discover if Michelle dares to love again.

‘Your lively style and humour are exactly right for this genre.’ Susan Davis.

~~~

EXCERPT

Extract 3

Michelle Cameron, the main character in my debut novel, Pictures in the Sky, has always been a bit of a goody-two-shoes. She lives her life influenced by a combination of nature, nurture and a harsh grammar school environment. This, combined with the sound of ‘What will people think?’ echoing around in her head, ensured that she never stepped out of line. There were lots of lines back in the day. So, she’s certainly not the type to ever put a foot wrong at work – even when provoked. I contemplated cutting this extract from Pictures because the novel is a little too long. However, I couldn’t because I love it…

 

This follows on from a previous misdemeanour involving Peppa Pig, and shows Michelle accidently doing something else she would never ever, in her right mind, choose to do…

 

Michelle gasped. ‘Peppa Pig…’ She stepped back and banged her leg against the edge of the desk.

‘Do you like it?’ Bea said, smiling with pride. She looked at Michelle and frowned. ‘Are you alright? You look a bit peaky today. Maybe you should have taken more time off.’

Michelle peered back into the box that Bea was holding out to her. A huge blue eye stared up at her. Her heart pounded as the memory of her last Peppa Pig encounter flashed into her mind. ‘No, I’m fine.’

‘You should have seen it before we cut into it. Huge. I got the recipe off the internet. Try a piece of the snout, it’s got extra butter icing in it – green.’ She poked it with the cake knife so that a dollop squirted out. ‘Looks grotesque, but the kids loved it.’ Bea had made the cake for her niece’s birthday. ‘A couple were sick though. The bouncing after all that food was too much for them.’ Apparently trampoline parties were all the rage for six-year-olds.

Michelle winced as she recalled her jumping accident at Judy’s club. She agreed to take a slice but refused the nose. Before she’d had a chance to choose a less threatening piece of what was left of Peppa’s face, the eye was niftily carved out and delivered to her on a paper hand towel. Bea laughed. ‘I’ll give the rest of the snout to Phil.’ Then she disappeared out of the office, dropping crumbs from the knife in her wake.

Peppa’s icing-sugar eye stared up at her as an embarrassing reminder of the car park incident. Whenever she did something stupid, Michelle’s mind would dig up a selection of other mortifying times, as if to take advantage of the opportunity to make her feel as shite as possible. She was instantly transported back to Tuesday evening, standing in her lounge, practically begging Dan not to leave, as he turned her down and made his hasty escape. Her stomach contracted in humiliation, and then in pain as, yet again, she was overwhelmed by the same devastating loss that had robbed her of sleep every night since then.

This morning the alarm seemed to go off five minutes after she had finally dozed off and she had to force herself out of bed and to work. Hungover with grief and nausea, she had dragged herself over from the carpark on her fatigued legs. As if on cue, her tinnitus notched right up to the point where every little sound hurt, making her want to scream at strangers to shut up.

The incoming email alert clanged through the speaker, still on maximum from listening to the snoring on the study she’d just analysed. Had her leg not been too heavy to lift, she would have put her foot through the computer screen. Instead, she violently clicked on the email. It was a ‘Dear both’ message, addressed to herself and Phil.

‘Vindictive effing Moron.’ A familiar pain seared up through Michelle’s back teeth and into her jaw. Taking her fury out on the keyboard, she emailed Phil by forwarding the original message.

Can you believe this? Three stinking phone calls we haven’t logged. I see there’s no thanks for the fifteen we did manage. Didn’t have the decency to ask whether there might be a problem with finding the actual time to log them on that stupid half-cocked, inconceivably complicated system! Maybe he could come and treat the patients, so we can sit on our backsides logging bleeding phone-calls… What an absolute arsehole! P.S. please delete this email and empty your trash folder afterwards. Thanks.

An almighty thud against the office door coincided with the trill of the office phone, making Michelle jump up from her seat, unsure where to look. Placing the handset to her ear, she turned to see a shocked-looking Phil bound into the room, glasses askew, and his red face glowing under a layer of perspiration.

‘You clicked “reply to all”,’ he announced at the same time as Michelle greeted the person on the other end of the line.

Panicked, she checked the name flashing on the handset screen, and recoiled in horror as soon as she saw the V. Michelle attempted to force the phone onto Phil, who flung his hands in the air, mouthed a cartoon-type ‘Oooh,’ and fled.

~~~

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Amanda PaullAuthor Bio  

Amanda Paull is a writer of humorous romantic fiction. She lives in the North East of England with her husband and works in the public sector. The inspiration for her stories comes from real life, which she tries to show the funnier side of by embellishing to the hilt.

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#Excerpt1 “Curse of the Sea: Book One of The Admiralty Archives” by Joni Parker

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Curse of the Sea 3DTitle: Curse of the Sea

Author: Joni Parker

Genre: Urban Fantasy

A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior, Lady Alexin, is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.

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EXCERPT

Chapter 2:

A short while later, Captain Jonas returned, accompanied by a middle-aged woman and a group of young sailors, male and female. The woman wore a mottled blue camouflage uniform and her blond hair was tucked under a dark blue cap with a brim and the name USS Lonestar emblazoned in gold.

“Alex, this is Captain Williams. She’ll take over…this place.” He grimaced as he looked around. “Captain Williams, I’ll check in later.” He nodded to her and marched out.

“Nice to meet you, Miss.” Captain Williams held out her hand.

Alex shook her hand and noticed the eagle pins on her collar. She was the same rank as Captain Jonas, equivalent to a Colonel, the rank of her foster father, Colonel Penser. “My name’s Alex. They allow women to be in charge of ships?”

The Captain’s smile grew. “Yep, sure do. Half my crew is female.” She winked. “The Captain disapproves.”

“I get the same reaction. Are you an American?” Alex’s smile broadened.

“Yes, ma’am, from Houston, Texas. Where’re you from?”

“I was born here, but my foster father’s from Texas. He’s a colonel and in charge of the Nyla Army Garrison. I thought I recognized your accent.”

“How long has he been here?”

“A long time. He said he was in a place called ‘Nam before.”

“You mean Vietnam?” The Captain rubbed her chin. “That was about sixty years ago.”

“Oh, he hasn’t been here that long.”

The woman paused, uncertain how to react and pressed her lips together. She turned to monitor the cleaning crew. “When was the last time this hospital was used?”

“We call it a healing house. I was here about three or four years ago. I guess no one’s needed it since.”

“What kind of equipment do you have? An X-ray machine?” She took notice of the bare walls. “What about electrical outlets? Running water?”

Alex shook her head. “We don’t have outlets for anything, but you can get water from the pump outside. We don’t have any kind of X equipment.”

“Uh, where exactly are we?”

“Seaward Isle. It’s part of Eledon, the Elf world. We haven’t had a shipwreck here in years and we just fixed the Elf grid to keep this from happening.”

 

Chapter 3:

On Earth, over the Atlantic Ocean, four helos from the aircraft carrier swept the sea, looking for survivors or debris and found nothing. Jets flew overhead for another look from the air and a second submarine surfaced in the area where the ships were last reported. No success. Other ships were diverted for search-and-rescue operations, to no avail.

Admiral Teller had no choice but to inform NATO headquarters. His mouth went dry and his chest burned; he took two antacid pills, but they didn’t help. The ship connected to headquarters via satellite phone and the Admiral picked up the receiver. At first, his voice faltered, but he cleared his throat and reported the loss. Once he hung up, tears rolled down his cheeks and he pressed his lips together to keep from sobbing. He’d never lost a ship before.

The British Royal Navy had been honored to lead this exercise, but with over seven hundred sailors and five ships missing, the Admiral prepared himself for the inevitable. He’d be relieved of command and forced to retire. There might even be a court-martial. His return to London would mark the end of his career, especially when he would debrief Admiral Sir Neville Chestermann, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff. Teller hung his head.

An hour later, Captain Delacruz knocked on the Admiral’s cabin door. “Admiral, I hate to bother you at this time, but the press corps on the ship is asking questions. We need to tell them something.”

The Admiral sighed. “You’re right, Captain. Set up a press conference in the briefing room. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

“Yes, Admiral.” The Captain left.

The Admiral rubbed his temples. He’d forgotten about the pool of journalists they’d taken on board to cover the exercise. Fortunately, none of them had been deployed to the five ships now missing. He took a deep breath. “Honesty is the best policy.” He wiped his face of sweat with a towel and went to the briefing room.

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Joni ParkerAuthor Bio

Fantasy novels are Joni Parker’s writing passion. Thus far, she’s written two series—“The Seaward Isle Saga,” a trilogy, and “The Chronicles of Eledon,” the award-winning four-book series. Her latest project, “Curse of the Sea” is her eighth book and begins a new trilogy. Her work extends beyond novels into short stories with two appearing in an anthology, “Tucson and Beyond” by the Tucson Science Fiction Fantasy writers’ group. Joni’s retired from military and federal government service and devotes her time to writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

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#Excerpt “The McKenzie Files” by Barry K. Nelson

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McKenzie Files coverTitle: The McKenzie Files

Author: Barry K. Nelson

Genre: Science Fiction,Fantasy, Superhero

The United Protectorate is under attack by the Brelac, a bloodthirsty reptilian alien race bent on destroying humanity. A dark alliance between the Brelac and the Vendetta, a separatist organization, looms over the Protectorate. The Brelac’s onslaught brings forth the creation of the genetically engineered humanoid weapons called Reploids. Reploids are identical copies of real humans captured, killed, cloned, embedded with powerful psionic abilities, and programmed to serve the Brelac. They are untraceable and blend into human society so believably, the Reploids themselves do not know they are clones.

Colin McKenzie, part of a military team sent to a remote planet to investigate and capture a downed Brelac ship, turns on his commanding officer in an attempt to protect a shipwrecked band of Brelac soldiers. But he is captured and reprogrammed – along with two other arrested Reploids – to serve the government they were originally created to destroy.

The balance is upset when a weapon powerful enough to bring the Protectorate to its knees is about to be unleashed – and the Protectorate’s only hope of stopping it is the three Reploids.

EXCERPT

For a moment the Brelac standing before Fenlow remained silent. Fenlow’s skin twitched, apprehensive as to what would happen next. He had limited personal involvement with these creatures, but knew that they were as unpredictable as they were vicious. He eyed the rows of long teeth under the curled lips and suppressed a shudder.

The Brelac uttered a deep growl to slowly form a single name. “Fenlow. So, you’re the Great Doctor Fenlow. One of the first traitors in the brief history of this war. We finally meet.”

“I find the word traitor to be a little too malignant to suit my purpose,” Fenlow said quickly. “I’d like to think of myself as an entrepreneur.”

The Brelac growled again. Showing more of his sharp teeth. “Traitor, entrepreneur. It’s all the same to me. The point is that you’re here. The question is, why?”

“I’m here to speak to Bane Mariner. I have a proposition for him.”

“You are addressing Governor General Bane Mariner. Supreme Commander of the Brelac Empire. And I hope that your proposition is worth my time.”

“It is,” Fenlow assured him. “What I’m about to propose will greatly benefit both you and my company.”

“Carp Technologies,” Mariner leaned back on his heels, his tail stretching out to counterbalance his shifting weight. “I admire your company. Playing both sides of the war for their own benefit. All the while maintaining the facade of a benevolent corporation serving your little corner of the universe. I wonder, what your people would say if they knew that you and your company were working with us to create the Reploid menace?”

“I’m…I’m afraid that the Reploid program has been discontinued for the present time. More especially the advanced Reploids. En-route to Helios on the planet Meridan one of your shuttles carrying several Reploid units was shot down by Protectorate forces. Three Reploids were captured by the military. Carp considered this to be a threat to company security and decided to halt the project.”

Fenlow withheld the fact that he himself had recommended halting the project. Aided by Carp’s resources, Fenlow produced the Reploids in a laboratory within a company research vessel stationed at a secret location in space. Fenlow notified his Brelac contact on a secured channel when each shipment of Reploids would be due for delivery, and would then meet a Brelac transport shuttle at a designated rendezvous point.

Curious about the Brelac’s vision without the use of physical eyes, Fenlow had asked to examine their psionic implants. After months of extensive research he’d been able to create a more advanced version of the implants, and promised to deliver dozens of Reploids armed with the implants to help the Brelac achieve a swifter victory. Highly treasonous acts that would certainly earn Fenlow and others within Carp Technologies a swift death sentence.

“Those Reploids in the hands of your military could pose a problem,” Mariner stated, cracking his knuckles.

“They’re no threat. There are only three of them. The military will make limited use of their abilities, and I’ve already taken steps to diminish their effectiveness,” Fenlow paused. “Carp’s board of directors has decided to move forward with Operation Broad Axe. I have to do what I can to insure that the plan is successful. This means that I have to begin some of the more advanced projects that I’ve been working on.”

“And you need my help to pull all this off,” Mariner added. He went silent, his eyeless face studying Fenlow. “Let him go,” he growled.

Both guards raised their left hands to their heads in a familiar military salute and exited the hall with haste.

Fenlow thought that it was curious how the two Brelac saluted in such a fashion. As if they were mimicking human troopers. He suspected that he would learn a great deal about these creatures by working closely among them in the days ahead.

“Fix this man a seat next to mine,” Mariner blared out. “He’s my guest of honor.”

The attendants serving food and drink quickly provided a place at the table on Mariner’s right side, and Fenlow sat as instructed, his hands slightly shaking in his lap. Using a long, two-pronged fork an attendant quickly loaded his plate with three long sections of the pale snake-like meats and two of the centipedes, steam rising from their cooked flesh.

Fenlow stared at his plate. The appearance of the food before him was nauseating enough, but it’s oily smell combined with a sour milk odor left him near paralyzed. Mariner silently faced him, and a thin stream of saliva dripped out of the right side of his mouth. Fenlow shuddered, slightly spooked in the close sight of Mariner’s scaled face and the long pointed teeth in the constant grin.

Fenlow nervously cleared his throat. “I suppose you’re not serving any salads.”

A faint, hoarse growl came from Mariner’s throat. “Nothing so elaborate here.”

“I see.”

Fenlow looked to the left and right side of his plate and saw no silverware. He quietly groaned in frustration. It was evident that the Brelac were eating with their hands, and Fenlow desired to blend in with his hosts. He gingerly picked up a centipede. It was warm and soft to the touch. He held it up to his face and managed not to flinch away. At least he was able to distinguish which item smelled like sour milk.

A deep grunt came from Mariner. “You look like you were just kissed by Pandora. Don’t worry, Doctor. It won’t bite you back.”

Kissed by Pandora. A strange terminology to use. Perhaps an example of their alien culture?

But the name, Pandora, stuck in Fenlow’s mind. There was something familiar about it. He thought that this would be the perfect time to get a little more background on his allies. He laid his centipede back down on his plate but kept his fingers on it.

“So, I’ve done a little research and found that you Brelac are Reploids yourselves,” he said.

“To a degree we are all the same,” Mariner sluggishly droned out, grabbing his own centipede and downing it in one loud gulp. “Our race needed a technological means to insure its continuation.”

“A technological means,” Fenlow repeated. “And what of your females? I noticed that through all the grunting and growling you all sound male.”

“As I have already explained, we are all the same,” Mariner said. “We have created the means of producing the perfect military force. Our soldiers originate from templates that are devoid of fear, unhindered by compassionate doubts, and minds that are not mired by the frivolous aberrations that obstruct you humans.”

“What about these original templates that you mentioned? I’m assuming that it’s some sort of original genetic stock.”

“Our original source is centuries old and continues to endure. But its history is not important.” He waved a clawed hand. “All that matters is that it serves us as we produce our numbers en-masse in order to achieve our objective.”

“And that objective would be?” Fenlow asked, suspecting he already knew the answer.

“Our objective is to spread ourselves across this universe and administer retribution to any and all opposition. Then we will become the only supreme power.  That is our mission passed down to us through generations. This is what we will achieve. And you, Doctor Fenlow, will help us.”

Fenlow pondered Mariner’s words, fingertips stroking the soft white flesh of the centipede on his plate.  He was still dreading the notion of being forced to eat this thing.

The Brelac mission of conquest and retribution. A chilling thought.

But Fenlow’s job was to find a way to work Carp Technologies’ interests into the mission so that their own plans could materialize unscathed. And with the Brelac’s help his job would be much easier.

“I’ll help you,” Fenlow told him, nodding.

He took a long look at the centipede he was holding. He picked it up and slowly raised it to his face, holding his breath against the smell. He opened his mouth.

 

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Author BioBarry K. Nelson

A Pennsylvania native, Barry K. Nelson has attended college and has worked at a variety of jobs, including retail and the corporate environment. Barry enjoys reading and gardening and is a fan of science fiction and horror movies, Marvel comic collecting, and the X-box gaming.

Barry has written several short stories, and his first book in the science fiction series, The McKenzie Files, followed by the sequels, Assassination Anxiety, Obliteration, and Maximum Deevor.

Barry is a member of Ning and Goodreads, can be found on Facebook, and can also be reached through Dreaming Big Publications..

 

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