#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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#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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#BookTour “Captivated by His Love” by Chiquita Dennie

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She could choose to walk away, but will her decision lead to heartache or to a happily-ever-after?

Janice is on a new path after graduating college and living her dreams in the corporate world. She’s managed to handle the dating world with no commitments. After her last relationship in college ended abruptly, she wants to focus on herself and build a solid foundation. Unfortunately for her, the return of her ex-boyfriend isn’t getting her any closer to that goal.

When she meets Carlo, a mob boss who’s as sexy as he is deadly, she can’t help but be intrigued. But his lifestyle is at direct odds with what she wants in life and love. Carlo, however, isn’t making things easy for her.

She could choose to walk away, but will her decision lead to heartache or to a happily-ever-after?

Warning: Adult Content, steamy sex scenes, violence, sensitive subjects for some readers cause trigger, Spinoff from Antonio and Sabrina series. Recommended to read the Antonio and Sabrina series first for context. Can be read as a standalone.

EXCERPT

“Janice, what do you think?” Sabrina asked.

“About what, Sabrina?” I turned away from the instructor and placed the small weight down on the floor to wipe the sweat off my face.

“Antonio and I renewing our vows. The miscarriage still runs through my mind, and Antonio’s been nothing but overprotective, not letting me go anywhere or do anything without bodyguards.”

I remembered a week ago, we went to this new club that opened a few months ago, called Bella’s. The hottest nightclub in the City, Antonio began in Sabrina’s honor. After the craziness with Alex, Camille, and the kidnapping, he wanted to do something that would bring the old Sabrina back, the one that spoke her mind, was spontaneous, outgoing and daring. Liz and I tried to get her out of the funk she’s stayed in since everything with becoming the wife of a Mafia Kingpin.

Shifting my feet, I prepared to do cool down stretches. “I think you should do it, but make sure Carlo and I are sitting at different tables. We’ve been doing our best to avoid each other since we split.”

Sabrina waved off the suggestion and rolled her eyes. “Tell me again why you broke up with him.”

“Stay out of grown folks’ business,” I joked.

I glanced down at my vibrating phone.  Blocked number.  It’s either Trevor still trying to get back together or a bill collector. Either way, I have no time to deal with either person.

“Okay, can we do lunch now? We’ve worked up an appetite,” I asked.

Taking a sip of her water and grabbing her yoga mat, Sabrina nodded and followed behind me out of the room. We headed to shower and redress.

“You know he’s dating someone. I like her, Janice.”

“Good for him,” I mumbled underneath my breath, for I didn’t care to hear about Carlo’s latest bimbo he’s parading around the city. Annoyed with the entire conversation, I slammed the locker door, walked into the shower, tested the water and washed up.

“Janice, you’re the last person that should get mad about Carlo dating. Don’t you recall at our wedding how much he stuck to you and declared his love? For someone that stayed in my business about Antonio, you really can’t take your own advice.”

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Janice & Carlo

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about chiquita dennie

Chiquita DennieChiquita is an Author and Entrepreneur. Born in Memphis, TN, and currently a Los Angeles CA native. Her background in film/tv has taught and shaped her passion for writing with her debut romance novel Antonio and Sabrina Struck In Love. Since its debut, fans have embraced the unconventional love story of Sabrina Washington and Antonio De Luca making Antonio and Sabrina Struck In Love an Amazon Best Seller on the charts in Italian Drama, African American Drama. More to come from 304 Publishing Company a brand new home for indie authors.

Also, follow her other Author page, Keke Renee, and catch her latest releases for Erotic, Dark, Paranormal Romance.

 

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#Excerpt3 “Love for Two Lifetimes” by Martina Boone

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

Links

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G I V E A W A Y

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