Category Archives: Susan’s Book Talk

Featured New Book Update! Blood of Cayn

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When I first posted the original Featured New Book Spotlight, Jason realized he hadn’t explained the WHY behind the song he’d picked. (I may have to tweak the form, no?)

So he sent an explanation:

We chose the song Face Everything and Rise because it resonated with our book. Specifically, and Papa Roach did this with the title of their album, the definition of the acronym F.E.A.R is Face Everything and Rise. It can also be Forget Everything and Run (expletive optional). Grendel, Xandor, Chert, Jasper, Yana, and Sehraine did not do that. They faced their fears and rose above them.

Need to see the whole thing, update and all? Go here and you can.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Blood of Cayn by McDonald, Isom, and McDonald

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Been awhile, huh? I’ve been SUPER busy with edits and haven’t been able to remind authors to stop in. So if you are reading this, remind your author friends to stop in! It’s one question!

Today, we have McDonald, Isom, and McDonald back again, with McDonald representing the writing trio. Jason McDonald, that is, who’s an upstanding dude, so I encourage all you guys to check out this trilogy. And sadly, Blood of Cayn is the last book in the trilogy! If you’ve missed the first two, go chase them down. (Here’s the Amazon link to the first, and yes, sorry, but it’s exclusive to the Big A.)

So. Book Three. Blood of Cayn. (Man, I hope these guys have more in the pipeline. I’ve got to remember to ask.)

Jason, what song makes you guys think of your book?

Face Everything And Rise – Papa Roach

We chose the song Face Everything and Rise because it resonated with our book. Specifically, and Papa Roach did this with the title of their album, the definition of the acronym F.E.A.R is Face Everything and Rise. It can also be Forget Everything and Run (expletive optional). Grendel, Xandor, Chert, Jasper, Yana, and Sehraine did not do that. They faced their fears and rose above them.

Ready for the back cover? Here you go:

Chernigov – once a shining hub of prosperity joining two nations, now a dark, smoke-shrouded hive of dangerous humanoids ruled by the ruthless hand of Bregu Kraagor – harbors a deadly secret. Somewhere in its depths, the villainous knight, Marko Madasgorski, and the body snatching mage, Gregori, have hidden a cache of plague-ridden soap that could spell the doom of the human kingdoms of Parlatheas.

After battling their way across half the continent, Xandor, Chert, Jasper, and Grendel have followed their quarry into the orc city in a desperate attempt to save the city of Pazard’zhik and everything they hold dear. Meanwhile, across the White River, Yana and Sehraine have joined forces with the Iron Tower to rescue their friends.

With only the dubious guidance of the disgraced Baroness Alexandra “Sacha” Madasgorski, the adventurers must plunge into the depths to find the plague’s cure and stop Marko and Gregori before it’s too late. But the dark god, Sutekh, doesn’t give up his pawns easily. While Sacha sets her own plans into motion, the sentient Veritas autem Sutekh whispers dark promises to Jasper, teasing him with hints of the answers they need and the promise of power – if he will swear his soul to Sutekh.

Will they find the cure? Can they escape the bowels of Chernigov to save their world? Find out in this thrilling conclusion to the Cayn Trilogy!

Seriously. If fantasy and D&D and all that is your thing, do NOT miss this series. It’s fresh, it’s innovative, and it’s fun. And, of course, once you read it, remember to leave a review! Reviews help books be more easily discovered… or to warn off readers if there’s a valid reason to do that.

Pick up your copy here: Like I said, it’s Amazon only.

And connect with our creative authors!

Website
Facebook
Goodreads

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore by Lynn Hallbrooks

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Well, this is a LONG time coming for this post, and let’s start off with a HUGE apology to Lynn. First her mail to me wound up in my spam folder. Then it got buried in an avalanche I had at the start of the month. And then it took four tries to dig it out of that mess.

But we’re here, and Lynn’s here, and it’s all good, right? Let’s talk about her new book, Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore.

Lynn! Yay! We’ve connected! Tell us what song makes you think of your book.

The Unicorn Song.

There are mythical beings including Irish ones. Plus there are animals with attitude as well as plenty of gratitude.

Holy smoke. Have you guys heard this song? I swear I used to know a version of this when I was little. I SWEAR IT.

Wow.

How cool.

So what’s the book about?

A clean, cozy short story collection that includes fantasy stories that will be great for the young ones in your life. There are also what some consider Chick Lit. A quick read with something for almost everyone.

I know… short stories… a lot of people don’t like them. But can I tell you a secret? They’re AWESOME, especially if you have young people around you. You may not have time for one more chapter, but it’s pretty easy to squeeze in a short story between the kids’ needs. I speak from experience here.

So grab a copy. There’s only one review up at Amazon, and I KNOW you want to fix that, right?

Amazon US

Universal Book Links
Amazon Global

Multiple vendors via Books2Read

And connect with Lynn! Take advantage of this social media world we live in and learn more about her and her work.

Book and business website

Author and Reader website

Twitter

Goodreads:

Pinterest

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Featured New Book: Amnesia by Jaimie Roberts

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Featured New Book Spotlight

What a way to start 2019 — with more new books to feature! You guys know I love to do this, so keep sending your submissions in.

Let’s get right to today’s friend. It’s Jaimie Roberts, and what a delight to see her here! She’s written a LOT of books, so hopefully she’ll stop back and tell us about some of the others, too. Why not, right? “New” only means it has to be new to me and you. No one ever said it had to be a recent release!

So Jaimie, what song makes you think of your latest release, Amnesia?

Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, simply because the heroine of the book has been hiding herself for years for fear of people judging her. The hero is someone she eventually gets close to – opens herself up to. She decides to trust him even when the world around her seems to be falling apart. He is where she calls home. Her light in the dark. She wants him to see the real her.

Ooh, I LOVE this song. Always have.

But… there’s more to this, right? It’s not merely a romance?

Check out the description. It’s a romantic suspense!

I don’t use the term “bully” lightly. However, I have no qualms about using it when it comes to Max Cooper.

Arrogant.
Aggravating.
Annoying.

Those are just a few of the names I have for him that start with the letter A. I haven’t gotten through the rest of the alphabet … yet.

From the moment I met Max three years ago, he was nothing but an arsehole. The only reason we put up with each other is because we share the same best friend.

Then, everything suddenly changes when Max is involved in a horrific accident that sets him back three years. He remembers his friends, but here’s the real kicker: He doesn’t remember … me.

At first, I think it must be a cruel joke, but then I see how serious he is. Over time, I get to know the real Max Cooper. The one who can be sweet, funny, and kind. The one who shows me he’s not such an arsehole after all.

Then, the inevitable happens. I fall for him.

Just as things between us begin to balance out, I lose my own equilibrium, and I don’t know why.
But, despite all of this, no one is prepared for the real terror that’s about to unfold.

Whoa! You romantic suspense lovers are going to love this one. Heck, I’m curious and giving evil side eyes to the TBR mountains around here that I promised myself I’d make a dent in during 2019.

If you’re ready to chuck that resolution or never had it in the first place, here are your buy links. Amazon-only, sorry to say.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU

And connect with Jaimie. Her website’s under design as we speak, but you can find her here:
Goodreads
Twitter

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Featured New Book: City of Cayn (Cayn Trilogy Book 2) by C Jason McDonald, Alan Isom, Stormy McDonald

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Let’s welcome my friend Jason McDonald back to West of Mars! If you recall, in September, the first book in this fun trilogy came out, and now Jason’s back to tell us about the second. I totally agreed with his pick for the first book, so let’s see what he’s got for the second, shall we?

Jason, what song makes you think of your book?

I was so looking forward to this question with this next book.

There’s a scene in my head where Jasper, my rotund mage, walks down a busy street wearing a disguise. In the background is the outer wall of the palace compound and the first chords of the song strike up. Tears come to my eyes every time.

The song has to be “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” by Aerosmith.

I remember this scene, and once again, YES. This is THE PERFECT song for that scene!

I can’t even begin to tell you guys about it. Seriously. Get the book — start with the first — and see what’s up. It’s fabulous.

Here’s the description for the second book in the Cayn Trilogy, which I still maintain is one you gotta read!

The people of Pazard’zhik are dying in droves due to the mysterious plague, and the only organization that might be able to help—the White Circle, the local guild of human mages—has been unable to find a cure.

Even Marcus, the leader of the Kral’s security forces, is sick and dying, but the team he recruited to investigate the disease, a ranger, a dwarf, a mage, and a half-orc gladiator, remains on the case. Not everyone is who they seem to be, though, and spies and traitors to the Kral abound, looking to aid in the team’s downfall.

Hunted by the local militia and the White Circle mages, as well as their true enemy, the team must race against time to locate the last wagonload of soap and solve the mystery of the Blood of Cayn before the citizens of Pazard’zhik perish.

Everything points to the city of Chernigov, but it is held by the orcs, their mortal enemies. Will the team be able to sneak in and find the answers they need to save Pazard’zhik, or will their capture and execution end all hope?

Sadly, this is Amazon-only. But it’s totally worth picking up in print and sharing with your friends. How often do I say THAT?

Connect with Jason, Alan, and Stormy!
Website
Facebook
Instagram
GoodReads

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Featured New Book Spotlight: For the Sake of Honor (Seekers of the Past Book 2) by Amy Valentini

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Let’s welcome Amy Valentini to West of Mars!

She’s got a new book out, the second in a series, and it’s one of those series that continues the main characters’ timeline, instead of focusing on supplemental characters. So if continuing stories are your thing (I’m glad to read ’em!), listen up. If not, well… check out the first! Either way, you’ll want to investigate the first.

So, Amy, what song makes you think of your book?

MAGIC by Pilot
Many would recognize it from the chorus, “Ho, ho, ho – It’s magic you know – Never believe, it’s not so – It’s magic, you know – Never believe, it’s not so.
Emma and Sam’s journey to where the Past meets the Present and Love Lives Forever is magical. A series that’s based in contemporary but takes the reader on adventures into the colonial era past as Emma and Sam seek answers connecting them to a couple from the past. Does love live forever, reborn again, and again?

Wow! When was the last time I heard this song? Amy, you ROCK for finding such a great old gem. I may need to add this to my main, crazy Spotify playlist.

So, after THAT bit of fun (I may or may not still be dancing around my office… does anyone remember how to do the Hustle? Can you do it to this song? Why would I want to?), let’s get back to the book itself. Because really, as much as we’re here for the music, we’re here for the books, too.

Ready for what it’s about? I am!

The Seekers of the Past series continues as Emma and Sam seek answers to a growing number of questions. The discovery of gold on the family farm has left them wondering about the world, time, and love. If love conquers all, can love prove greater than even time?

Emma discovers a journal written by the youngest member of the Embry family. The author of the journal is her look alike from the past. She begins reading the story of Anna Pelt and Joshua Embry. His return from England with a future bride has left Anna questioning her place in his world. Having loved him all of her life, she feels betrayed and discarded. When he claims to love her but honor is forcing him to marry the woman chosen by his parents, Anna believes it is because he thinks her too far beneath him—only a servant, and not good enough to be his wife. Can love prove stronger than honor?

Can the journey to find the answers Emma and Sam seek about the past uncover more about their mysterious connection to the couple in the portrait?

COOL.

Definitely pick up the first in this series. And remember to leave a review once you read the book — reviews are SO helpful to authors, and it’s such an easy way to give back. (Remember, if you are struggling to write a review, drop me a note and I’ll help. Super cheap!)

Here’s where:

Amazon (Print and Kindle)
Smashwords (all other formats) *This is a referral link, so if you use it — and you should! — I’ll get a small cut.

Connect with Amy!

Facebook
Twitter
BookBub
Goodreads
Amazon Author Page
Google+
website
review blog

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Georgia Pine: Southern Promises Book 3 by KG Fletcher

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Featured New Book Spotlight Let’s welcome KG Fletcher to West of Mars!

KG’s got the third book in a series to share with us today, released just last week. And you know how early sales (and reviews! Don’t forget the reviews) help a book’s overall success. Which means you need to get those One Click fingers busy. And no, NOT like that! Sheesh. Focus on the BOOKS, people. Of course, with a cover like this…

So, KG, what song makes you think of your book?

Rewrite the Stars – Zac Efron, Zendaya – from The Greatest Showman

The lyrics in the song are hopeful and sad at the same time. In my release, GEORGIA PINE, my main characters, Jessica and Tim, are hiding their relationship from the world. They want to be together, but unless Tim comes clean with who he really is, they can’t publicly love one another. If only they could “Rewrite the Stars”, nothing could keep them apart. The gut-wrenching lyric in the song, “Say that it’s possible” is that glimmer of hope. Will they end up together? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Yes, the video has subtitles in a different language. But this video had a lot of views, so that’s the one we went with.

Now, THAT song is enough to make me grab the book. How about you?

Here’s the official description:

The agony of defeat never felt so real.

Never in a million years did Jessica Kaufman think she would be divorced from her real-estate mogul husband and left to raise four young daughters on her own in an affluent Atlanta subdivision. The very last thing she expects is an encounter with her gorgeous gardener who looks more like a sexy beast from her daughters’ favorite Disney movie. She is smitten with his evergreen eyes, wild mane of hair and impressive stature.

Tim McGill is in hiding – his reputation and celebrated career on the West Coast left in shambles. He moves far away to distance himself from his downfall and inconspicuously tends the upper-class landscapes to keep his renowned identity a secret. Unlike his typical wealthy clients, Jessica doesn’t seem to mind that he’s a gardener. One spark between them is all it takes to ignite a fiery passion that could explode if Tim’s identity is revealed. He must earn Jessica’s trust and finally come to terms with what he has lost.

Can Tim open his heart wide enough to let in a beautiful mother and her four little girls? Or will his Southern Belle turn her back on him and walk away from their happily-ever-after?

Get your copy! Yep, Amazon only. Lots of authors find this is the best solution for their books.

Connect with KG, too! It’s always fun to connect with an author.
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Amazon
Pinterest
Goodreads
Georgia Pine Spotify Playlist
YouTube Channel
Original Song recorded for the series!

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Son of Cayn by C Jason McDonald, Alan Isom, and Stormy McDonald

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Featured New Book SpotlightWOOT. I have been waiting for a LONG time to be able to tell you guys about this one!

C Jason McDonald, Alan Isom, and Stormy McDonald have collaborated on a fantastic tale that has stuck in my brain for years. YEARS. Do you hear me? I’m so glad Jason was willing to stop in and talk to you guys about this book, Son of Cayn.

Jason, what song makes you think of Son of Cayn?

Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry

This may be a surprise to a lot of people but it was the only song that kept running through my head every time I wrote about the baroness.

I knew this; Jason and I had discussed it at some point in the past, and let me tell you: he’s RUINED the song for me because HE’S RIGHT. This is the anthem of the baroness.

Bad Jason, ruining songs!

Good Jason, for picking such a perfect song.

Seriously, you guys. It fits.

Have I sold it hard enough to you yet? Well, here’s the description:

It was supposed to be a simple assignment—look into a caravan destined for the White River. But when Marcus, the leader of the Kral’s security forces, dug deeper, he knew something was amiss. Not only was it the teamsters’ third trip east of the Wall, a no-man’s land haunted by the dead, but their cargo was one of the least profitable—soap.

All was not as it seemed, so Marcus hired outsiders, a team not tied to his organization of spies, to find out what was really happening. A ranger, a dwarf, a mage, and a half-orc gladiator; they had the tools and experience to infiltrate the caravan and get the answers he needed.

Until the appearance of a strange knight sets in motion a chain of horrible events.

Time grows short as the people of Pazard’zhik begin dying—including Marcus. The healers can’t understand why, just that the deaths are somehow tied to the caravan. Can the investigators solve the mystery of the caravan in time to save the Kral’s kingdom, or will the Blood of Cayn claim the land?

Get your copy now. Unfortunately, it’s Amazon-only and that sucks, but this one’s worth asking your library to get their hands on if you’re not an Amazon shopper.

Connect with Jason, Alan, and Stormy, of course.
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon Author Central

And remember: leaving a review is always a great way to thank an author for putting in the years, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the harsh editorial letters, the ruined Buckcherry songs, and the vision to bring you a book. If you read it and this isn’t your thing? That’s fine. A constructive, thoughtful review about why is also very helpful.

As always, if you are struggling to get a good review down, drop me a note. I offer a super-cheap service to help you perfect your book reviews. THAT’s how important they are.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Witching Well by SD Hintz

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Let’s welcome SD Hintz back to West of Mars! SD was last here in January, with Vigilance and Vengeance, and now he’s back with a new one, called Witching Well.

SD’s not long on chatter, so you always have to listen to his song choices to understand how they tie into the book. This time, it’s Somebody’s Watching Me, that classic ’80s song by Rockwell.

I’m curious. Are you?

Here’s the book description:

It’s the end of the world…

…as Murray Macabe knows it. The security of his home life has been ripped out from under him when his mother was brutally murdered. Rejected by his aunt, Murray only has one place left to go, and that’s to live the rest of his life with a woman he barely knows.

To Grandmother’s House He Goes

At first, life with his grandmother doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that bad, but Murray soon learns his grandmother harbors dark secrets.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble; Fire Burn and Caldron Bubble

As bad as Grandma’s secrets might be, they are nothing compared to the secrets held by the neighbors, three elderly women who have set their sights on Murray for their own dastardly purposes. Soon Murray finds himself fighting for his very life, and there’s no one to turn to for help because everyone knows there’s no such thing as witches.

I have to say, this sounds like so much fun, I’m sorry I didn’t get to work on it in my usual guise as a freelance editor. This sounds right up my alley. So you know I’ll be adding it to my wishlist to pick up when I have some spare cash and time.

Here’s the link. It’s Amazon only, unfortunately for those of you who like to support independents or other retailers.
And, hey! Want it in print? Here’s the link for that. If there are other retailers you like to use for print, ask them to order it. Independent bookstores, in particular, love to order books for patrons!

Want to connect with SD? Sure you do! Here’s how:
Twitter
Facebook

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Summer’s On at Smashwords! #SummerSale

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Trevor’s SongTrevor’s Song is part of the Smashwords Summer Sale.

It’s July, so that means one thing: the Smashwords Summer (winter for you Down Under) Sale!

As always, my books are free for you, so help yourself. Pick up one of my past titles, enjoy Trevor and the Trevolution. Let me know if you want to see a third Trevor novel or a fifth Demo Tapes compilation — or even a complete set, with each and every story in chronological order. I can and will do any or all of these for you.

But this year, I’m going to lay down a challenge for you. On August 2, 2019 (so, a year and a month) from now, my daughter is headed to Yellowstone National Park with the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. They picked 13 of their ZooU students for this trip, which is run through Ecology Project International. They’ll be doing a week’s worth of research, conservation work, and more. They’ll be camping in the back country, bear spray at the ready. It’s a nine-day trip, the longest she’ll have been away from me. And she’ll be doing something I’ve dreamed about! Talk about adding insult to injury…

So. What’s the challenge I’m handing down to you?

It’s this: If you decide to pay full price for any of my books at Smashwords during the month of July, when they are on sale and you could have them for free, I’ll put 100% of my royalties to the cost of her trip. It’s not a cheap trip, and she needs some gear before she goes, too. Thankfully, because we are a Scouting family, we have some of it. But she still needs some.

Want to donate directly to her and skip the books, since you’ve already read and loved them? You can do that. She and I would both love that.

Regardless of what you choose to do (if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!), take some time and wander through the Smashwords Summer Sale. Find some good deals.

And no matter what, remember to leave a review! Nothing helps an author more — except telling your friends about something you’ve read — than leaving a review. Even if it’s as short as “I liked this because…”

Negative reviews may prick an author’s pride, but when written constructively, they are helpful to both the author and future readers. I encourage you to think long and hard, but not to shy away from a negative review.

And, as always, if you need help writing a review, holler. I offer a steep discount on review help. That’s how important they are to me.

Happy Smashwords searching! And if you haven’t joined the Trevolution yet, why not? It’s FREE.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Chevalier by Bree M Lewandowski

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Let’s welcome Bree M Lewandowski to West of Mars!

Her newest book is called Chevalier, and isn’t that cover intriguing? I really dig it.

Let’s get right to it: What song makes you think of your book, Bree?

How will Fate dictate this adventure between lovers?

Nightcore’s version of Legendary Lovers.

Hmm. That doesn’t tell us a lot about the book, does it? Are you intrigued? I am. I’d like to know more. So here we are:

Linah Morane, a well-known woman of Meridionalis has been scorned and taunted her entire life due to her abnormalities. After the humiliation of being abandoned at the altar, she humbly accepts the unexpected marriage proposal to the King’s Vizier, Kohl. Her heart still fluttered each time she fondly remembered their first and only dance together.

The depth in her eyes was emphasized by the rare hue of cerulean that peered into his soul. Those eyes had stopped the very beating of Kohl’s heart. He had fallen in love with her that very moment. Over the years, her poise and grace to overcome the whisperings were admirable on a royal level. Then fate arrived and Kohl lept at the opportunity to have Linah as his bride.

Seeking safety for his wife after learning of impending war, they journey through the forests and mountain caves until Kohl is mortally wounded. Linah turns to the Nightingale Queen and her gift of healing for help, but is unaware of the damaged past the Nightingale Queen and her husband share.

Secrets are exposed and loyalties shift in this thrilling tale of love and war!

Yeah, this one’s got SERIOUS potential. Pick up a copy!
Amazon
iTunes
Barnes and Noble

And connect with Bree, too. It’s always fun to connect with authors (especially when you like their books and leave them reviews. Not that I’m hinting; I’m coming out and telling you do it!)

Facebook

And what’s this I hear? More coming from Bree? Check out her page, get in touch, read her book, leave reviews. You guys know the drill. Help support authors of all kinds; it’s good for all of us.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Naval Maneuvers by Dee S Knight

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Let’s welcome Dee S Knight to West of Mars! She and I got to chatting via Twitter one day and the next thing you know, my inbox was full of a Featured New Book Spotlight that I’m thrilled to bring you guys today.

Do you guys like military fiction? I have to confess I like what I’ve read, but I don’t rabidly seek it out. Still, this is one that’ll probably show up on my GoodReads page sooner or later… it really sounds good!

But before we get to what the book’s about, let’s talk about music. Because that’s the fun of the Featured New Book Spotlight: the music. Dee, what song makes you think of your book?

“Blue, Navy Blue” by Diana Renay.

I like it for my book Naval Maneuvers because it’s kind of bittersweet. Men and women who choose the Navy to serve the country leave family and loved ones behind during long tours at sea. Of course, the song also mentions the happy homecoming, which is often filled with lots of kissing and loving behind closed doors (except those doors aren’t closed in my book! ;)) Naval Maneuvers is composed of three novellas: love denied because of childhood memories, love found and then lost because of military regulations, and love found for a second time after years of lies. All have HEAs, humor, and strong men and women.

An oldie! Oh, I love this song. I’d never heard it before, but it makes me think of a more innocent time. And Henry Winkler. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a compliment.

Now I need to read this book! But wait! It’s actually a three-in-one volume — and not novels, either, if you’re worried about time commitment. Nope. These are short stories. Even better.

Here’s what it’s about:

Men and women of the armed forces experience desire and love pretty much like everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of “duty, honor, service” as a man might apply them to a woman’s pleasure. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which you’d better be armed, whether weighing anchor and moving forward into desire, dropping anchor and staying put for passion, or setting a course for renewed love with anchor home.

Weighing Anchor (allowing a ship to move forward by retrieving the anchor): A professional woman sworn to avoiding all things military finds herself in love with a lieutenant commander in the Navy. Love won’t conquer all if she allows her childhood memories to eclipse future happiness.

Dropping Anchor (securing movement by dropping the anchor): Two people find (surprisingly) that they are both in the Navy and love their chosen professions—until one turns out to be an officer but not a gentleman and the other is a gentleman but not an officer.

Anchor Home (safe, smooth sailing): When two former lovers find each other after more than a decade, will a long-hidden secret threaten the course of a rekindled romance or be the cause of it?

So. Grab your copy, and be sure to leave a review — they help readers find books!
Amazon
Smashwords (affiliate link)
Book Nook
Kobo

And connect with Dee, too.
Website
Blog
Twitter
Good Reads
Amazon

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Featured New Book: Harmon General by Kimberly Fish

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Woot! Let’s welcome Kimberly Fish to West of Mars!

Kimberly’s got a new book coming out, so let’s take a minute and talk to her about what song makes her think of it.

I’ll Be Seeing You–the scratchy record version sung by Bing Crosby. I’ll Be Seeing You is an iconic song made famous by a rule-breaking woman–Billie Holliday. Rule-breaking women are my favorite characters to read about and write about. These particular lyrics reflect the main character–Lane Mercer– and her feelings of lost love and longing for the men who defined her career. Plus–and this may be my favorite aspect–the song is a little ironic for a spy novel. My two female characters have carried out difficult missions for the U.S. government through the espionage agency, the OSS. As spies, their primary goal is to remain undetected. So, a love song about “seeing” someone in familiar places means the spies are not doing their job. To be clear, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco are very good at their jobs–too good.

Ooh, this is good stuff. I definitely want to read this one! It comes out in mid-June, so mark your calendars, add Kimberly’s blog to your reader, and stay informed.

Ready for the official description? Here you go:

In 1943, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco had nothing in common. Well, nothing stronger than a town neither of them chose and careers they couldn’t advertise as agents within the Office of Strategic Services. During the days of Longview, Texas’ Friendly Trek Homecoming Parade, Lane was gearing up for the grand opening of a bookshop that also disguised an espionage safe house, and Emmie was chasing a criminal with evil intent through the US Army’s new medical facility treating diseased and amputated soldiers, Harmon General Hospital. Emmie ropes Lane into international threats at Harmon General, making it increasingly hard for the two spies to navigate the Junior Service League, church life, or anything else that might be considered normal for a town sizzling with oil boom wealth. A friend from Lane’s past arrives and pushes against the fiction she’s created to distance her spy history from the wedding bells ringing her future. Emmie flirts with the idea of finding a life outside of the OSS, but justifies the danger as a way to make amends for those she’s betrayed. Connecting the two women, to their surprise, is a rogue agent who targets them for crimes he believes they created. For better, or worse, they have to put aside their differences to share responsibility for stopping “The Grasshopper” before he blows apart the Big Inch Pipeline project, and Harmon General Hospital. The hope of malaria treatments for US soldiers depends on it, and justice of the heart demands it.

Buy links aren’t up yet, but since this is a sequel to Kimberly’s novel, The Big Inch. So be sure to get that one now so you’re all caught up and ready for Harmon General’s release. Y’all see the link in that previous sentence, right?

Of course you do. You guys aren’t dummies.

Which means you’re going to connect with Kimberly, too, right? Of course! She just might have written the best “connect with me” link posts ever. At least of those I’ve seen submitted here at West of Mars, which for me counts as ever. Pooh on you if you don’t agree.

I like to blog about the writing process
I have one social media app on my iPhone and it’s Instagram–so follow here to see my spontaneous photos

I’m also on GoodReads learning about new books in the market and talking to readers

I do keep a Kimberly Fish, author page on Facebook and love to announce bookish news, events, awards, and connect with readers.

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Featured New Story: Visiting Friends by Rebecca House

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Let’s welcome another new writer friend of mine to West of Mars!

The best part of this anthology may not be the stories themselves, but the people and their fascinating lives and the personal tales they tell, beyond their fiction. That said, the fiction’s pretty damn good, too, so don’t miss out on it — and remember to leave your reviews. Reviews help more readers discover a book, and even if you list your favorite story titles and say nothing else, that’s a helpful review.

Okay, off my soapbox and back to the story at hand. Today’s focus is on Rebecca and her story, Visiting Friends. Which means we gotta ask that one famous question: Rebecca, what song makes you think of your book?

As soon as you asked this question the song that came to mind was, People Are Strange by The Doors. It’s an eerie song that I think aligns itself well with my short story, “Visiting Friends” in the Running Wild Press Anthology of Short Stories Volume 2. The main takeaway from the song and I think “Visiting Friends” is that things are not always as they appear. The song also lends itself to the darker components that tend to creep into most of my fiction writing.

Ooh, I love me some dark fiction!

Want to know more about the story? Here you go:

In the short story “Visiting Friends,” Bram Samper is thrust into Tarriton, a small Upper State New York town to attend his best friend’s wedding. While he is trying to navigate his own torments, Bram meets a strange couple, the Bakers and is taken to the bride’s family home, the Van Meertan mansion. A lavish party is being held where he meets his friends and soon-to-be married couple, Jeff and Maryke. As the night before the wedding continues, a brewing storm and strange occurances eventually draw Bram into a precarious situation. This eerie short story with a supernatural twist asks the one simple question, are things always what they appear to be?

Pick up your copy of the anthology today!
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iTunes

And connect with Rebecca, too.
You can find out where to find Rebecca’s other published short stories at www.smalltowngal.com. You can also find her all over social media at Twitter (@rhhouse), Instagram @rhousewriter) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/smalltowngalwriting/)

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Featured New Short Story: Dawning by Suzanne Grieco Mattaboni

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Featured New Book SpotlightMy friend Suzanne Grieco Mattaboni steps into the spotlight this week!

To be honest, we weren’t even casual acquaintances before the Running Wild Anthology of Stories came out, but now that we’ve been working together for a couple of months, let me tell you what a cool woman Suzanne is. You’ll want to check out her story, Dawning, and then connect with her.

So, Suzanne, what song makes you think of your story?

This sounds fatalistic, but “It’s The End of the World As We Know It” by R.E.M. makes me think of my story, “Dawning,” which appears in the “Running Wild Anthology of Stories” (Volume 2). First off, the song dates to the late ’80s, which zaps me back to when the confusion of navigating an adult world first hit me. Like a frying pan to the head.

Second, the chaos of the song itself reflects the inner turmoil of being on this confounding yet exciting precipice between the world of carefree college parties; and the workaday, gritty reality of starting a career from scratch in an unforgiving city. The lyrics are random and harsh and rambling:

“That’s great, it starts with an earthquake/Birds and snakes, and aeroplanes …
… Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn …
… Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom … Right? Right!”

Yet even in the midst of incoherent disaster, the narrator of the song finds a sense of redemption that sews-up the narrative:

“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel l fine … I feel fine …”

I heard the producers of “Friends” wanted to use this song as the opening theme but couldn’t afford it. They wanted it because it embodies that point when life first spits you onto the pavement of the grown-up world, left to find your way in the midst of what seems like the insurmountable insanity of adulthood. Yet you have to give in to it, realizing you’re destined to become another person soon, someone who might even have a better, more drama-free existence and professional life ahead of her. Eventually. If you can tough it out.

“Dawning” drops us into that moment. Throw in a Manhattan Christmas party, the 7 train to Queens, 15 helium balloons, illegal substances, and a best friend who doesn’t understand the word NO, and you’ve got the picture.

Give the story a read!

Pick up your own copy of this incredible anthology. The more I investigate it, the more I love it and am proud to be one of its contributors.
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And connect with Suzanne!
My website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Huff Post blog

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Featured New Book: Her Real Man by Natalina Reis

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Featured New Book SpotlightThere’s a Reis Run Road not too far from West of Mars. Think the person that road was named for is any relation to Natalina Reis?

I know… who cares? But it’s fun to make those small connections, especially now that we’re welcoming Natalina to the West of Mars family. She’s got a new book out, called Her Real Man, Book 0 in the Rescue Me Collection.

How can it be Book 0? Well, think of it as Ground Zero: where it all begins.

The book is called Her Real Man, and the song that makes Natalina think of it is…

Ed Sheeran’s Perfect

An awkward writer and a scarred firefighter. As imperfect as Ana and Gavin were, they were perfect in each other’s eyes.

I know a LOT of writers who would describe themselves that way… but I’m hopeful that for Natalina, this isn’t a case of Write What You Know.

Anyway, I love that very simple description. Don’t you? It’s so pure and trusting… Oh, that gives even the most jaded among us (and you all point to me, I know) hope.

Want more? Here’s the official description:

An imperfect firefighter defined by his past.

A determined author on a mission for the truth.

When Ana Mathews searches for book-boyfriend inspiration, she gets more than she expected from Gavin McLeod. Her quest to find imperfection could be the spark that brings to life their chance at happiness, or the burn that could destroy it all.

I LOVE that. “When Ana Mathews searches for book-boyfriend inspiration…” I have clients who do this! I have friends who do this!

(I do not. See above about being jaded.)

And suddenly, the title makes a LOT more sense. In fact, it’s really darn clever and I appreciate the sly nod here.

Grab a copy. You know I did.

Please provide buy links
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Amazon CA
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And connect with Natalina!
Instagram
FB
BookBub
Amazon
Newsletter
Twitter:
Goodreads:
Blog

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Susan Sets up Shop in Littsburgh!

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West of Mars logoWhat’s this Littsburgh stuff? You all thought I was West of Mars!

Well, I am BOTH. Littsburgh is the literary hub for us publishing folk in the city of Pittsburgh and maybe you missed it, but West of Mars definitely refers to the only city or town of Mars in the United States. The question I usually won’t answer is how far west of Mars I am, but that’s because I hate it when people show up on my doorstep. Of course, showing up on my back deck is even worse, so don’t do that, either. And before you go, “A-ha! I’ll use the garage,” know that’s where the boy’s bows are stored. Just sayin’.

So because I’m both West of Mars and a proud part of the Littsburgh community, Nick and Rachel and Katie were more than glad to feature me with a quick four-question interview about my story, “Undaunted,” in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories.

I know I’ve done other interviews and stuff about it already, but somehow, seeing myself up on Littsburgh, being an active part of the writerly community… it’s darn cool.

Check it out. If you haven’t picked up a copy for yourself, what are you waiting for?

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Featured New Short Story: Life After Breath by Tori M Eldridge

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Featured New Book SpotlightLet’s welcome Tori M Eldridge to West of Mars!

Tori isn’t just another contributor to the anthology that my short story, Undaunted, is in. Nope. She’s the lead named author, which means that she’s got some serious literary clout. Just that reason alone should be enough for you to pick up a copy of the anthology and start reading, but in case it’s not, let’s ask her what song makes her think of her story.

“Hurt” by Christina Aguilera: The anguish conveyed through this evocative melody, poignant lyrics, and–of course–Ms. Aguilera’s astounding voice resonates with the grief and despair that drives my character into the ocean when a fast-moving fog swallows the coast. “Hurt” strikes that painful chord of longing, guilt, and a struggle to find a reason to live.

Now, you may not know this, but Christina grew up near West of Mars. She’s a graduate of the school my kids go to. So this connection may or may not count for Pittsburgh Geography, that game where it all links back to Da Burgh, but… maybe it does. I vote yes, anyway.

So what’s the story about? In case Tori’s explanation above wasn’t enough for you, here’s more:

“Life After Breath” is a poignant underwater ghost story about grief and redemption, set along the foggy Malibu coast.

Grab your copy! Not all the stories have to deal with death and grief, I promise.
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Remember, too, to leave a review once you’re done. It’s the best way to say thanks to an author for putting in the time to compose a literary gem (or turd, but let’s face it: in this anthology, they’re all gems), and then to have the courage to submit it. That’s some scary stuff, folks, submitting a story!

Be sure, as well, to connect with Tori:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest

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Featured New Story: Justice by Julie Doherty

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Let’s all welcome Julie Doherty to West of Mars!

I met Julie via the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2, and she’s pretty awesome. And her story? LOVED it. Voice, detail… this is the kind of fiction I adore and, oddly, have been reading a lot of lately.

So let’s get to it. Julie, what song makes you think of “Justice”

“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. Part of the lyrics go “I am unwritten, can’t read my mind,
I’m undefined. I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, Ending unplanned.”

Readers have called my novels “romance with teeth,” so I’m no stranger to dark, edgy writing. However, producing “Justice” for this anthology gave me a chance to skip past the smooches and straight into disturbing. What a rewarding challenge!

I love that! “Skip past the smoochees and straight into disturbing.”

Pick up your copy of the anthology — and be sure to leave a review! Reviews help other readers find great new reads.
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And connect with Julie, too.
SITE
FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
TWITTER
BOOK TRAILER #1
BOOK TRAILER #2

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Lines of Distinction: Playing the Pauses by Michelle Hazen

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WOOT! New Michelle Hazen!

How do you not love her writing? I am such a fan of her lyrical prose, I can’t tell you.

If you haven’t checked out her books yet, what’s keeping you?

 

 

Here’s the latest:

Hot. Hawt. And more than a little yummy.

Pick up a copy!

Amazon: https://goo.gl/zisbeL
Barnes and Noble: https://goo.gl/JToFvr
Kobo: https://goo.gl/qdo3vs
ITunes: https://goo.gl/BSvTLpGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37309060

 

 

Connect with Michelle, too!

Website: http://michellehazenbooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellehazen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleHazenAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellehazenauthor/
Newsletter sign up: http://michellehazenbooks.com/newsletter/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6559289.Michelle_Hazen
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/michellehazenbo/
Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michelle-hazen
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