Ho ho ho! Merry Giveaways!

Love making lists? So does Oliver! Win his story written by T.M. Franklin in “How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You”.
Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wendell Holmes (Yes, his parents are
just that peculiar, but his brother’s name is Sherlock, so it could have been
worse) knows that he’s different. He’s quirky, awkward, and he’s okay with
that. Oliver also likes making lists—meticulous procedures for achieving his
goals, step-by-step. Whether it’s “How to Get an A in Chemistry” or “How to Get
Accepted to MIT,” he has a process, and it’s worked for him so far. He doesn’t
even care that the popular kids mock him. Oliver’s got his eye on the prize.
So when he decides it’s time to declare his feelings for Ainsley
Bishop, the girl of his dreams, it’s only natural for him to make a list—a
point-by-point strategy to win her heart. He knows it will take a grand gesture
for her to see all he has to offer, and her approaching birthday provides the
ideal opportunity for Oliver to put his plan into action.
Finding
the perfect gift is a challenge Oliver meets with his usual dogged
determination. He’ll need to watch her carefully for clues to pinpoint exactly
what he should give her. And along the way, he might just learn that what
Ainsley really needs is not quite what he expected.

 

About T.M. Franklin
T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a
little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more
fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during
National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE
was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review
Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of
the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s since written three
additional novels and several best-selling short stories…and there’s always
more on the way.
Connect with T.M. Franklin
Email:
TMFranklinAuthor@gmail.com
 
 

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Day 6, and vampires abound!

Hunted
A horrible disease is ravaging the vampire community in New York City’s underworld. The Vampire Council is on a crusade to obliterate those infected. Harrow Gates is sick, alone, and hunted. A bounty hanging over his head, he is in no position to refuse when Pritchard Tack offers him not only a new beginning, but also a chance to rectify the chaos he created in the vampire world. Now the greatest threat Harrow faces is hope.
 
Jordan is a reluctant new vampire and a woman on a mission.  Her only focus is revenge. In her search for vengeance, a stroke of luck leads her to an underground facility. Once inside the bunker, Jordan meets a man who threatens to pull her
heart away from her sworn mission. There is something behind Harrow’s dark lenses that unsettles the hardened female. Is love strong enough to override her thirst for vengeance?
 
About Lorenz Font

Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. She is currently enjoying the buzz from her vampire novels Hunted, Tormented, Ascension and Reckoning, Books
1-4 of The Gates Legacy Series, Feather Light, an erotic romance, Indivisible
Line
, a romance thriller and Pieces of Broken Time, a military romance.
 
Lorenz’s perfect day consists of writing and lounging on her garage couch, aka the office, with a glass of her favorite cabernet while listening to her
ever-growing music collection. She enjoys dabbling in different genres, with an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.
 
Lorenz lives in California with her husband, children, and two demanding dogs. She divides her time between her full-time job and her busy writing schedule.
 

 

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Day 5 of Christmas giveaways!

Lisa’s Christmas Memory
 

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. When I was
a little girl, I loved sitting in front of the tree and picking through the
ornaments, amazed how the lights sparkled. When I was seven or eight, my twin
sister and I wanted a cabbage patch doll. They were the gift to get, but that
also meant they were impossible to find. My mother scoured every toy shop to
find one, but was unable to. She even had people all over the country searching
for them. When I opened my box and saw the little brown haired doll staring up
at me, I was so excited. I cherished that doll, and when I had my daughter,
Lilian became a part of her collection. She still has her to this day.
 

Follow Travis McCoy on his journey back home through four stories.


The Journey Home, Book One:

The Sharks’ star quarterback, Travis
McCoy has it all, until an injury ends his season early. When he receives an
invitation to attend the big homecoming game from his alma mater, Travis
decides it’s time to face his past. The journey home sends Travis down a path
that he never expects. Will he be able to come to grips when everything around
him is spiraling out of control?
The Journey of Champions, Book Two:Travis McCoy thought the journey home would be the hardest choice he ever had
to make. It isn’t until he finds himself walking out the door and leaving his
family behind that he realizes his journey is only just beginning. Now, with
only a handful of weeks until Christmas, Travis tries to find his way back
home. This time, he plans on staying forever.

The Journey to Forever, Book Three:

Finally back in the warm embrace of his family, Travis McCoy relishes every
moment he gets to spend with his wife and son. After almost losing them due to
his own selfishness, he makes the decision to never let go of his family again.
With his plan set in motion, Travis, Penelope, and Max start a new journey, one
that leads them to forever.

The Journey to a New Life, Book Four

Travis McCoy’s journey has led him down a road of changes where he found the
love of his life and their child. Travis, Penelope, and Max have struggled during
their time apart, found their way back home, and finally tied their lives
together as a family. Now, Penelope and Travis find themselves on a new
journey, one that leads them to the greatest gift of all.

 
 
 
About Lisa Bilbery
 
Obsessive, compulsive, slightly crazed, but enough about her
personality. First and foremost, Lisa Bilbrey is a mom to three and a wife to
one. She loves to write, and spends the majority of everyday writing. It’s who
she is, and what she’s meant to be doing. Words are her life, the air she
breathes, and the nutrients of her soul. Finding a love in the written word,
Lisa Bilbrey started writing as a way to express herself and let her voice be
heard. From the first word she wrote, she’d found her heart and soul.

Always willing to learn, she’s spends much of her time trying
to improve as a storyteller.

 
 

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12 Days of Book Nerdiness Day 4! Giveaways, competitions, fantastic books!

Get your choice of stories from M.B. Feeney. Get a sneak peek here.
An anthology of short
stories by M. B. Feeney
The world is filled
with people destined to help and to serve. Doctors, nurses, police, and
firefighters—each and every day, these special people work to help others in
times of need. Often, this means putting their own lives at risk in order to do
their jobs. They give of themselves to benefit society, and they do it without
any expectation of thanks.
And then there is the
military…
These are the men and
women who don’t head home to their families and safe homes to relax at the end
of a shift. They are on the front lines, far from home and often fighting
someone else’s battles because it is the right thing to do. Military families
struggle to cope with the constant worry and the long periods of separation,
staying strong to support those who serve in everything they do, and often are
left to pick up the pieces when the highest price is paid.
Servicemen and women
are heroes in the purest sense of the word. Even when the world’s gone mad and
their hearts are breaking, one thing remains unchanged.
 
 
Excerpt:
Billy Skinner
19 August 2012
London

20123639

Pte Jonno Cooper

Operation HERRICK

BFPO 7721234567

Hey Shit Face,
Jonno, my man! Got a wicked tan yet? Or
is it one of those ‘White Van Man’ tans: face and below the t-shirt sleeves
only? I’m not ashamed to brag; I am golden brown, and it’s driving the ladies
wild! Wild, I tell you! I think I may be getting pretty lucky this summer.
Don’t you just wish you were me? Well, more than usual.
In some ways, I wish we could switch
places. Being a soldier was all I ever wanted to do, and my own body betrayed
me. We were supposed to do the Army thing together, but my bloody asthma soon
put a stop to that. That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of you, ‘cause I am, more
than I’ve ever been proud of anyone. Well, let’s face it; no-one’s ever given
me reason to be. I guess that’s one of the reasons I wanted to sign up. I
wanted people to be proud of me for once.
Crap! Hels warned me that writing this
letter would be like going to see a shrink. She told me that now you aren’t
around to take the piss, it makes it easier to write the words. I swear, if you
take the piss when you get back, I will rearrange your face for you. It’s not
that I’m ashamed to be writing what I just did, I would just rather you didn’t
use it as ammo against me when we’re out on the lash, mate.
Speaking of being out on the town, a
bunch of us, including Stace, were in Leicester Square for Jim’s birthday. The
lads decided that he needed to go on a ‘pull a pig’ night to see how many
mingers he could cop off with. He managed to pull some right howlers, but then
he met Emily. He sat with her all night ignoring the rest of us. They’ve been
inseparable for the last three weeks. I must admit, I felt like an utter shit
after joining in with the lads. I met her yesterday, and she’s alright. I don’t
know how she puts up with him, but to each their own, I guess.
I assume Stacey told you about Suzi’s
birthday being a total wash out. I felt sorry for her; she’d been planning it
for ages. Why she wanted a garden party is beyond me, but it was her day, I
guess. Shame the heavens opened the night before and carried on for three days
straight. We ended up down the pub. I’ve never seen that girl so drunk in my
life. Stacey had to sit up with her all night in case she threw up in her
sleep. She’s a good ‘un, your missus. I promise she’s doing okay, mate.
We were all worried about her at first
but your letters are really helping her and she’s been spending a lot of time
with Suzi, too. As much as the girl bugs me—no, not ‘cause we shagged that one
time—she’s been a good friend for Stace.
It’s too quiet without you, you
loudmouth toerag. I’m still struggling to get used to not calling you when I
see something funny, or you not being with us on a night out. I’m so used to
having you backing me and my mouth up, that I’m getting myself into a bit of
trouble. You need get your arse home so you can start talking me out of shit
again because I refuse to think before I speak. It’s just not my style.

Hurry back. We need to go drinking.

Love you, mate, Billy.

 

Links:

 
 
Disheartened
about not being able to find “Mr. Right” on the London dating scene, best
friends Jodie Lynch and Louise Hewson create a blog to not only document their disastrous
dates with the numerous “Mr. Wrongs” and “Mr. Okay-for-nows” but also to help
those going through the same experiences and to see where they’re going wrong.
How will they deal with everything the dating scene has to throw at them —
planned or otherwise?
 
 
Excerpt:
 
Conversation Two:
Me: *looks at his
sticker* “Hi, John.”
John: *mumbles* “Hi.”
M: “So, tell me about
yourself . . .”
J: “Um . . . I’m
thirty, I work in the city . . .” *takes nervous sip from his bottle of poncy
beer*
M: “That’s . . . er .
. . nice.” *gulp* “So, you live local?”
J: “Not too far. Me
and mum co-own a house about ten minutes away.” *alarm bells*
M: “Oh . . . that’s
great.”
J: “Er . . . so, what
do you do for a living?”
M: “I’m a legal
secretary.” *tumbleweeds*
At this point I’d
given up the will to live and knocked back almost a whole large glass of wine.
We sat in silence until the bell rang again.
Links:
There’s something
about that one person we date in our teens but never become intimate with. Why
does a sexless relationship render us unable to stop carrying that person, the
what if, with us into our adult life?
For Heidi Johnson,
Shane Hughes is her “one that got away.” Through the years, he has stayed in
the back of her mind while she became an adult, a mother, and her own person.
Meanwhile, Shane has lived a life of regret that he let Heidi go for the wrong
reasons: fear and a misguided sense of not wanting to hurt either of them.
When they reconnect
online, the memories they’ve tried to suppress over the years return,
reigniting the feelings never explored ‘back in the day.’ Will a school reunion
in their home town of London, surrounded by old school friends, help the pair
address the questions the years apart left unanswered? Or will they still be
left with wanting more?
 
 
Excerpt:
 
I scrambled to get my
thoughts straight, wishing I’d thought this meeting through better.
“Sorry.” I apologised
again, bringing a small smile to her face. “I thought I had what I wanted to
say clear in my mind, but the moment you walked in, it all went to shit.”
“Don’t worry about it.
This is your rodeo, take your time.” I glanced at my phone. There was still a
decent amount of time to catch my train.
“Thanks.” I took
another deep breath to steady my nerves. “I know we spoke last night, after. .
.” I trailed off, not sure how to phrase my words.
“We had a rampant fuck
in a dark alley?” Heidi supplied, making me laugh.
“If you want to put it
that way, fine by me.” My face began to ache from my grin, but I didn’t care. I
was finally at ease and knew what I wanted to say and how to say it. “I wanted
you to know that I didn’t turn up just looking to get in your knickers last
night. I know I’ve flirted, some of it got pretty hardcore, but I never
expected anything.”
“Look, Shane. Yeah,
the flirting online got pretty intense, but if I hadn’t wanted it to continue,
you know me well enough to know I’d have put a stop to it. I did go to the
reunion with a purpose. I wanted to remind you exactly what you’d let go. It
makes me sound big-headed and full of myself, but it made me feel good. Like
you, I never even considered for one moment that we’d end up in that alley, but
we did.” She paused to take a sip of her coffee.
I watched her
intently, blown away by her frankness. This woman never ceased to amaze me, or
make me regret my rash decision fifteen years prior.
“As I said last night,
it shouldn’t have happened, but I won’t regret it. It made us both feel
fantastic, and if need be, has given us some closure.”
Did I want closure?
I’d told her last night that I left wanted to know how it would feel to make
love to her and I hadn’t lied. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have
thought that us having sex would, as Heidi mentioned, give us a closure on our
unresolved history, but it hadn’t.
“It hasn’t for me.” I
had promised myself to be open and honest with her before we parted ways once
again. She maintained eye contact even though her skin was flushed with a blush
that spread from her throat to her cheeks.
“Me either.”
Links:
Ava Jones has settled
for a life that she’s not sure she wants anymore, but won’t admit it. Her best
friend, Erica Davidson talks her into taking a break on the Isle of Wight. Her
days on the island are spent thinking things through, and arguing with Morgan
whom she hates on principal.
Is it so wrong for her
to want a life that follows the script of a honest to God romance film?
 
Excerpt:
 
We tried for a couple
of years to have children, but it never happened. After many serious
discussions, we decided to give up on the idea altogether. That was when we
bought our first fur baby: a beautiful Collie cross called Rhea. She was our
little girl, and we both doted on her. We assuaged our guilt over our mutual
neglect by caring for Rhea, devoting our attention to another living being
rather than to each other. The puppies, Remus and Romulus, soon joined her, and
our “family” was complete.
For as long as I’d
known him, Marcus had played Sunday League football, which was followed by an
afternoon with his teammates at the very pub I was now approaching. Coupled
with training one evening a week, his evenings out gave me more than enough
time to spend with Erica or at home with the dogs.
“Have you thought any
more about that holiday I mentioned?” Erica asked while we claimed our usual
table. Our customary bottle of red wine was already ready and waiting for us.
“I have . . .” My
words drifted away when I thought back to her idea of a girlie getaway on the
Isle of Wight. Just as its name suggested, the top-class Lakeside Hotel with
attached spa was located right next to a beautiful lake. Bliss.
“And? Why the
hesitation?” Erica pushed like she always did, her blue eyes flashing once more
as she looked into my brown ones.
The idea of a real
getaway caused the blonde hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, but I
tried to rein my excitement in. “I don’t know. It sounds amazing, and Lord
knows I could do with some time away.”
“Do it, then.”
I knew I had enough
holiday time available at work. Screw it.
“Let’s do it.”
Links:
About M.B. Fenney
 
M. B. Feeney is an army brat who finally settled down
in Birmingham, UK with her other half, two kids and a dog. Currently at
university studying for her BA (Hons) in primary teaching, she procrastinates
on her assignments by listening to music of all genres and trying to get ‘just
one more paragraph’ written on whichever WIP is open. She is also a serious
doodler and chocoholic. Writing has been her one true love ever since she could
spell, and publishing is the final culmination of her hard work and ambition.
Her publishing career began with two novellas, and she
currently has multiple projects under way whilst Honour, a compilation of her
own military based shorts, was released in November 2013. Always having
something on the go can often lead to block which eventually gets dissolved by
good music and an even better book. 

Her main reason
for writing is to not only give her readers enjoyment, but also to create a
story and characters that stay with readers long after the book is finished,
and possibly make someone stop and think “what if…”
 
 
 

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More giveaways!

Brooke’s Christmas Memory

One year many years ago, my sister and I made handprint
sweatshirts for our parents as a joke. The joke was on us because we got them
in return from our parents the next year with THEIR giant hand prints on them.
I still have and cherish and wear that shirt!

 

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open
position of morning radio show host at the station where she works. When her
co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of The Bachelor, Renee goes along
with it in order to raise her profile. Upon seeing her bumbling audition, Ben
McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be
placed on the show. But Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee… he gets a
girl who can’t seem to do anything right…and a girl he can’t seem to resist.
About Brooke Williams
 

Brooke Williams is a sleep-deprived stay at home
mom/freelance writer/author who has an unnatural interest in dandelions. She
attributes her humor to her two young girls for keeping her in the lack of
sleep state on a regular basis. She has been married to her husband Sean since
2002. Brooke has a background as a radio announcer and producer and also did a
short stint as a TV traffic reporter. Brooke specializes as a freelance writer
and creates blogs, articles, web content and more for clients all over the
world. She has written a number of novels including: “Someone Always Loved
You,” “Beyond the Bars,” “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Accept this
Dandelion,”  “Mamarazzi,” “Backwards Christmas” and
“Dandelions on the Road.”
 
 
 

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12 Days of Book Nerdiness with your chance to win!

Get Low with Mary Elizabeth’s upcoming release!
 

 

It’s hard living on the wrong side of the tracks.
Lowen Seely has a criminal record to prove it. Determined not to
follow in his father’s footsteps, he fights instinct and tries honesty. But
hunger becomes painful, and bills are due. Forced to choose between what is
right and wrong, the boy from the hood learns abiding by the rules is nearly
impossible when corruption is in your blood. 
Falling for an outlaw has changed everything.
Poesy Ashby is the definition of ride or die, even when it means
turning her back on freedom. The girl from the suburbs gives conformity the
middle finger. Bonnie and Clyde have nothing on her love story. 
On the run with consequences in the rearview mirror, Lowen and
Poesy accept the truth: they are the bad guys. 

But can they get away with their crimes?
 
Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in
chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. 
 
Known
as The Realist, Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife,
mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull
and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction,
new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and
chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and
over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling
accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go
until every story is told. 
 
 
 

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A few words on plotting…

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So I’m motivated to write a short post on plotting, as it’s an issue I’m noticing in some books and, of course, in the TV shows of the moment.

Plotting is important. Of course it is. As a writer, I think it’s beneficial to have a rough idea of plot points before you write anything fictional.

But the plot should never drive the story. It is the characters who should always drive your story, and if that means changing your plot as you write, then so be it.

We’ve all been there. We’re getting into a book, enjoying the characters and then BAM! The characters do something so at odds with their personality that it jolts you right out of the story. As a result, you get a gaping plot hole and the story comes off as contrived and disingenuous.

An example: I was watching Blindspot last week (my favourite new show). The setting is a reclusive, armed community in the US. Our heroes pile out of an SUV to arrest a suspect. It becomes clear the situation is dangerous. But, instead of getting back into the armoured SUV and getting the hell out of dodge, our highly trained FBI agents flee into a house to seek shelter, giving the bad guys time to disable their SUV and STEAL THEIR WEAPONS, so the FBI agents have to enjoy a game of unarmed cat and mouse through the woods to get out of there. Sounds like the actions of highly trained FBI agents to you? I think not. It was a real shame, because it was an easy fix.

It’s obvious the writer wanted a certain plot point to occur, and has twisted the characters to fit. It’s like trying to shove your ass into jeans that are four sizes too small–it ain’t gonna go well, and nobody wants to see that.

When I write by books, my first and only rule is to stay true to my characters. And if that means that I can’t include a certain plot line in the book that I hoped, then I don’t include it. Put simply, if it’s not logical, or against the personality of the character you have so carefully cultivated, don’t do it.

I’ve written seven books and one script so far in my career and not a single one of my stories has ended up where I thought they’d end up before I started writing them. My characters have all taken on their own lives, stories, motivations and goals, and they have driven the stories from there. And every story has become far better for it.