Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Fever: An Interview with Megan Abbott


Interview:

1.    I write because...
I can’t stop.
2.    What is your advice for someone just starting out in their writing career?
Read widely and to excess.
3. Name three things on your desk right now.
Scribbled-on post-it notes of various colors, a miniature Sigmund Freud (don’t ask) and a very large bottle of seltzer.
4. Do you listen to music when you write?
Mostly, no. Sometimes during revising, but lyrics can really distract me.
5. If I were your favorite cookie, I would be a...
Macaroon (and now I’m hungry).
6. Heels or flats?
If I’m honest, flats. (In my dreams, always heels.)
7. Name the best place you've traveled to.
Oxford, Mississippi. If you’ve been there, you know why.
8. What are you currently working on?
Revisions for my next novel, You Will Know Me, about a family with a child prodigy. And something bad happens.
9. Plotter or pantster?
A little of both.
10. What is your typical day like?
Coffee, stare at computer screen, poke out a few words, check email, poke out a few more words. More coffee. Repeat. (Not a pretty picture, is it?)



Named one of Entertainment Weekly's 2014 "14 Reads That Are Worth The Wait" and called "a mesmerizing modern portrait of teenage life today" by Gillian Flynn, THE FEVER has received rave reviews from Booklist ("a powerful portrait of community, with interesting echoes of The Crucible"), Publishers Weekly ("thrilling...gripping...razor-sharp"), and Kirkus ("stunning"). 

Loosely inspired by the nationally reported story of the purported "mass hysteria" outbreak in Le Roy, NY in 2012, THE FEVER is a haunting, thought-provoking page-turner that examines the powers of desire, guilt, secrets, and fear. It's at once entrancing and disturbing, and readers will not be able to put it down until the very last page.

Megan Abbott wrote one of the most memorable and beloved books of 2012. Called "deft, intelligent, and enthralling" by Kate Atkinson and "spectacular" by Chelsea Cain in the New York Times Book Review, her novel Dare Me--a chilling story of backstabbing cheerleaders and adolescent rivalries--was nominated for Anthony and Steel Dagger awards, was Gillian Flynn's Holiday Book Picks selection for NBC's Today show, and made many Best Books of 2012 lists. 


EARLY PRAISE FOR THE FEVER:
"An unforgettable inquiry into the emotional lives of young people... It's also a powerful portrait of community, with interesting echoes of The Crucible...Abbott may be on her way to becoming a major writer."--Booklist, Starred Review

"Thrilling...a gripping story fueled by razor-sharp treachery, jealousy, hormones, and the insecurities of teenage girls."--Publishers Weekly

"The book to beat... in the "Is it the next 'Gone Girl'?" sweepstakes."--Janet Maslin, New York Times 

"The lives of teenage girls are dangerous, beautiful things in Abbott's stunning novel... Abbott expertly ratchet[s] up the suspense...nothing should be taken at fact value." --Kirkus, Starred Review

"THE FEVER is deliciously, page-turningly 'no, no, leave me alone, I'm almost done!' Abbott nails both the reality of being a teenage girl and the hyper-reality of memory." --BookRiot

"No one understands the social dynamics of teenage girls better than Megan Abbott...settling into THE FEVER, one realizes that Abbott is setting a rhythm, one that's measured and paced with the brilliance of one of the best living mystery writers." --Grantland

ABOUT THE BOOK:
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

In the idyllic community of Dryden, Tom Nash is a popular high school teacher and the father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and Deenie, a diligent student with a close-knit group of friends-who are all horrified one day in class when Deenie's best friend, Lise, is struck by a terrifying, brutal, and unexplained seizure. As Lise clings to life in the hospital, the seizures systematically infect more teenage girls, one by one, sending the entire town into terrified, questioning chaos. Is there a dangerous virus at work? Is it something in the school itself? Are the girls faking it? Who or what is to blame-and who will be next?

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.




Excerpt: Copyright Megan Abbott, courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

 THE FEVER

Before

The first time, you can’t believe how much it hurts.”
Deenie’s legs are shaking, but she tries to hide it, pushing her knees together, her hands hot on her thighs.
Six other girls are waiting. A few have done it before, but most are like Deenie.
“I heard you might want to throw up even,” one says. “I knew a girl who passed out. They had to stop in the middle.”
“It just kind of burns,” says another. “You’re sore for a few days. They say by the third time, you don’t even feel it.”
I’m next, Deenie thinks, a few minutes and it’ll be me.
If only she’d gotten it over with a year ago. But she’d heard about how much it hurt and no one else had done it yet, at least not anyone she knew.
Now she’s one of the last ones.
When Lise comes out, her face puckered, holding on to her stomach, she won’t say a word, just sits there with her hand over her mouth.
“It’s nothing to be scared of,” Gabby says, looking at Deenie. “I’m not afraid.”
And she takes Deenie’s hand and grips it, fingers digging into palm, their clasped hands pressing down so Deenie’s legs stop shaking, so she feels okay.
“We’re in it together,” Gabby adds, making Deenie look in her eyes, black and unflinching.
“Right,” Deenie says, nodding. “How bad can it be?”
The door opens.
“Deenie Nash,” a voice calls out.
Four minutes later, her thigh stinging, she’s done. It’s over.
Walking back out, shoes catching on the carpet, legs heavy as iron, she feels light-headed, a little drunk.
All the girls look at her, Gabby’s face grave and expectant.
“It’s nothing,” Deenie says, grinning. “It’s just . . . nothing.

1

T U E S D A Y

At first, Lise’s desk chair just seemed to be rocking. Deenie’s eyes were on it, watching the motion. The rocking of it made her feel a little sick. It reminded her of something.
She wondered if Lise was nervous about the quiz.
The night before, Deenie had prepared a long time, bringing her laptop under her covers, lying there for hours, staring at equations.
She wasn’t sure it was studying, exactly, but it made her feel better, her eyes dry from screen glare, fingers tapping her lower lip. There was an uncomfortable smell from somewhere in her clothes, musky and foreign. She wanted to shower, but her dad might hear and wonder.
Two hours before, she’d been at work, dropping dough balls in a machine and punching them out into square pans slick with oil. Lise and Gabby had come by and ordered the fat pizza sticks, even though Deenie warned them not to. Showed them the plastic tub of melted butter that sat all day by the hot ovens. Showed them how the oven workers stroked the sticks with the butter from that tub and how it looked like soap or old cheese.
As they left, oil-bottomed paper sacks in their hands, she wished she were going with them, wherever they were going. She was glad to see them together. Gabby and Lise were Deenie’s best friends but never really seemed easy with just each other.
By the ovens, Sean Lurie clocked in late. Wielding his long iron grippers like swords, he started teasing her. About the fancy-girl arc of her hand when she’d grab a dough ball, like she was holding a kitten. The way, he said, her tongue stuck out slightly when she stretched the dough.
“Like my little sister,” he teased, “with her Play-Doh.”
He was a senior at Star-of-the-Sea, shaggy black hair, very tall. He never wore his hat, much less the hairnet, and he had a way of smiling lopsided that made her tie her apron strings tighter, made her adjust her cap.
She didn’t even mind all the sweat. The sweat was part of it.
Like her brother after hockey, his dark hair wet and face sheened over—she’d tease him about it, but it was a look of aliveness you wanted to be around.
The heat from the ovens made his skin glow.
How it happened that two hours later she was in Sean Lurie’s car, and a half hour after that they were parked on Montrose, deep in Binnorie Woods, she couldn’t say for sure.
She always heard you looked different, after.
But only the first time, said Gabby, who’d done it just twice herself. To make you remember it, I guess. Deenie had wondered how you could ever forget.
You look in the mirror after, Gabby said, and it’s not even you.
Except Deenie had never really believed it. It seemed like one of those things they told you to make you wait forever for something everyone else was doing anyway. They didn’t want you to be part of the club.
And yet, looking in the bathroom mirror after she got home, she’d realized Gabby was right.
It was partly the eyes—something narrow there, something less bright—but mostly it was the mouth, which looked tender, bruised, and now forever open.
Her hands hooked on the sink ledge, her eyes resting on her dad’s aftershave in the deep green bottle, the same kind he’d used all her life. He’d been on a date too, she realized.
Then, remembering: she hadn’t really been on a date.

Now, in class, all these thoughts thudding around, it was hard to concentrate, and even harder given the rocking in Lise’s chair, her whole desk vibrating.
“Lise,” Mrs. Chalmers called out. “You’re bothering everyone else.”
“It’s happening, it’s happening” came a low snarl from Lise’s delicate pink mouth. “Uh-uh-uh.”
Her hands flying up, she grabbed her throat, her body jolting to one side.
Then, in one swoop—as if one of the football players had taken his meaty forearm and hurled it—her desk overturned, clattering to the floor.
And with it Lise. Her head twisting, slamming into the tiles, her bright red face turned up, mouth teeming with froth.
“Lise,” sighed Mrs. Chalmers, too far in front to see. “What is your problem?”

* * *

Standing at his locker, late for class, Eli Nash looked at the text for a long time, and at the photo that had come with it. A girl’s bare midriff.
Eli, for you xxxx!
He didn’t recognize the number.
It wasn’t the first time he’d gotten one of these, but they always surprised him. He tried to imagine what she was thinking, this faceless girl. Purple nails touching the tops of her panties, purple too, with large white polka dots.
He had no idea who it was.
Did she want him to text her back, invite her over? To sneak her into his bedroom and nudge her shaky, pliant legs apart until he was through?
A few times he’d done just that. Told them to come by, smuggled them to his room. The last one, a sophomore everyone called Shawty, cried after.
She admitted to drinking four beers before she came on account of nervousness, and even still, had she put her legs where she should? Should she have made more noise? Secretly, he’d wished she’d made less noise. Since then, he could only ever think about his sister, one wall away. And how he hoped Deenie never did things like this. With guys like him.
So now, when he got these texts, he didn’t reply.
Except sometimes he felt kind of lonely.
The night before, his friends at a party, he’d stayed home. He imagined maybe a family night of bad TV and board games moldy from the basement. But Deenie wasn’t around, and his dad had his own plans.
“Who is she?” he’d asked, seeing his father wearing his date sweater, the charcoal V-neck of a serious man.
“A nice woman, very smart,” he said. “I hope I can keep up.”
“You will,” Eli said. His dad was the smartest teacher in the school and the smartest guy Eli knew.
After one of those times sneaking a girl out of his room, Eli had gotten caught, sort of. In the upstairs hallway, his dad nearly bumped into her as she hitched her tank-top strap up her shoulder. He’d looked at Eli and then at the girl and she’d looked at him and smiled like the prom queen she was.
“Hey, Mr. Nash,” she cheeped. “Guess what? I got an eighty-five in Chem Two this year.”
“Great, Britt,” he said, his eyes not focusing on hers. “I always knew you could do better. Glad to hear you’re doing me proud.”
After, Eli shut his door and turned his music as loud as he could and hoped his dad wouldn’t come talk to him.
He never did.

* * *

Dryden was the cloudiest city in the state, the sky white for much of the year and the rest of the time a kind of molten gray broken up by bright bolts of mysterious sun.
Tom Nash had lived here for twenty years, had moved with Georgia the summer after they’d finished their teaching certificates, and she’d gotten a job starting up the district’s new special-education office.
Like many long-term transplants, he had the uncomplicated pride of a self-proclaimed native, but with the renewing wonder a native never has.
In the deep white empty of February when his students would get that morose look, their faces slightly green like the moss that lined all their basements, he’d tell them that Dryden was special. That he had grown up in Yuma, Arizona, the sunniest city in the United States, and that he’d never really looked up until he went away to summer camp and realized the sky was there after all and filled with mystery.
For Dryden kids, of course, there was no mystery to any of it. They didn’t realize how much it had shaped them, how it had let them retain, long past childhood fairy tales, the opportunity to experience forces beyond their understanding. The way weather tumbled through the town, striking it with hail, lightning, sudden bursts of both clouds and sun, like no other place Tom had ever been. Some days, the winter wind moving fast across the lake’s warm waters, the sun unaccountably piercing everything, students came to school, faces slicked in ice, looking stunned and radiant. As if saying: I’m sixteen and bored and indifferent to life, but my eyes are
suddenly open, for a second, to this.
The first year he and Georgia lived here, Dryden had been this puzzle to them both. Coming home at night, the haze of the streetlamps, shaking off the damp, they would look around, their once-copper skin gleaming white, and marvel over it.
Pregnant with Eli and her body changing already, giving her this unearthly beauty, Georgia decided Dryden wasn’t a real place at all but some misty idea of a town. A suburban Brigadoon, she called it.
Eventually—though it felt like suddenly to him—something changed.
One afternoon two years ago, he came home and found her at the dining-room table drinking scotch from a jam jar.
Living here, she said, is like living at the bottom of an old man’s shoe. Then she looked at him as if hoping he could say something to make it not feel true.
But he couldn’t think of a thing to say.
It wasn’t long after that he found out about the affair, a year along by then, and that she was pregnant. She miscarried three days later and he took her to the hospital, the blood slipping down her leg, her hands tight on him.
Now he saw her maybe four times a year. She’d moved all the way to Merrivale, where Eli and Deenie spent one weekend a month and a full ten days each summer, after which they came back tan and blooming and consumed by guilt the moment they saw him.
In his middle-of-the-night bad thoughts, he now felt sure he’d never really understood his wife, or any woman maybe.
Whenever he thought he understood Deenie, she seemed to change.
Dad, I don’t listen to that kind of music.
Dad, I never go to the mall anymore.
Lately, even her face looked different, her baby-doll mouth gone. The daddy’s girl who used to climb his leg, face turned up to his. Who sat in his leather reading chair for hours, head bent over his own childhood books on Greek mythology, then Tudor
kings, anything.
“I’m taking the bus,” she’d said that very morning, halfway out the door, those spindle legs of hers swiveling in her sneakers.
“I can drive you,” he’d said. “You’re so early.”
Deenie hadn’t beaten him to breakfast since she was ten, back when she was trying to be grown-up and would make him toaster waffles, with extra syrup he’d be tugging from the roof of his mouth all day.
Eli off to hockey practice at six a.m., Tom liked these drives alone with Deenie, the only time he could peek into the murky teen-girl-ness in her head. And get occasional smiles from her, make bad jokes about her music.
A few times, after dates like the one he’d had the night before— a substitute teacher divorced three months who’d spent most of dinner talking about her dying cat—driving to school with Deenie was the thing that roused him from bed in the morning.
But not this morning.
“I have a test to study for,” she’d said, not even turning her head as she pushed through the door.
Sometimes, during those same bleak middle-of-the-nights, he held secret fears he never said aloud. Demons had come in the dark, come with the famous Dryden fog that rolled through the town, and taken possession of his lovely, smart, kindhearted wife. And next they’d come for his daughter too.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Megan Abbott is the Edgar Award-winning author of six previous novels. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer, Los Angeles Review of Books, Detroit Noir and Queens Noir among other places. She received her PhD in literature from New York University. She lives in New York and recently served as the John Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Currently, she is working on the screenplay for her novel, Dare Me, soon to be a major motion picture.

THE FEVER BOOK TOUR:
June 17, 7:00pm ET | Book Court | Brooklyn, NY 
June 18, 7:00pm ET | WORD with Julia Fiero | Brooklyn, NY 
June 20, 7:00pm ET |Brookline Booksmith with Stona Fitch | Brookline, MA 
June 22, 3:00pm ET | Nicola's Books | Ann Arbor, MI 
June 23, 7:00pm ET | Barnes and Noble | Troy, MI 
June 24, 5:00pm ET | Square Books | Oxford, MS 
June 25, 6:30pm CT | Murder by the Book | Houston, TX 
June 26, 7:00pm CT | Book People | Austin, TX 
July 1, 7:00pm MT | Poisoned Pen with Jeff Abbott | Phoenix, AZ

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fae





Meet Robin Goodfellow as you’ve never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get 
swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for 
certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales. Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant 
creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. Fae is full of 
stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles 
to computer technologies and modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis. Fae covers a vast swath 
of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and 
complex characters. Enjoy the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale alongside urban fantasy 
and horror with a fae twist.

With an introduction by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, and new stories from Sidney Blaylock 
Jr., Amanda Block, Kari Castor, Beth Cato, Liz Colter, Rhonda Eikamp, Lor Graham, Alexis 
A. Hunter, L.S. Johnson, Jon Arthur Kitson, Adria Laycraft, Lauren Liebowitz, Christine 
Morgan, Shannon Phillips, Sara Puls, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.

Fae will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo.com, 
and other online retailers. You can also find Fae on Goodreads.

Anthologist Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and 
editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and 
is the editor of the benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been 
included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from 
Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, 
is at rhondaparrish.com.

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing 
quality works. We believe in great storytelling.
Publication Date: July 22, 2014 • Fantasy / Horror Anthology

Guest Post: Kristina Wojtaszek

Solomon's Friend is actually my own very personal story of raising a son with Asperger's.  Kadie, the mother in the story, has all the doubts about herself that I have, and Solly, her son, shares many unique viewpoints with my own son.  Hobby, the cranky old hob who narrates much of the story, came from an often-ignored voice of my own-- a well of common sense and courage that I found within.  Instead of seeing my son as having a problem (which, let's face it, is still predominantly how society looks upon children who have any form of social or emotional "disorder") I took a new perspective, seeing him as whole and perfect in his own right, just the way Hobby sees Solly in the story.  Children with Asperger's often have high IQs and tend to think more in depth about little things most of us simply take for granted, a quality that makes them well suited for future jobs in science, engineering, medicine, and technology.  These are great qualities that offset their social rigidity and high levels of anxiety.  Other traits, like finding it easier to spy on people rather than interacting with them, and taking things perfectly literally, jive well with the kinds of personality traits we see in fairy creatures all across the literary world.  It only makes sense that fae would have a greater fascination with the world, and a greater respect for the rules of nature, than we humans do, and yet, just as a child on the spectrum would, I imagine them to find it difficult at times to identify with the rest of us oddly social humans.  Thus evolved the deep understanding between Solly and his friend, the hob.  I also think that parents of those on the spectrum carry a lot of guilt and self-blame for things that simply aren't in their control.  I created Hobby in an effort to help me correct that.  I wrote Solomon's Friend as a reminder to myself that I am making some of the right connections with my child, that I am loving him every moment of every day, and that there is still a bit of magic left in the world, especially in the curious and cautious mind of my child.  And maybe there's even a little left in me.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Happy Pants Cafe


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Three randomly drawn commenters will each received a prize pack of eight autographed paperbacks. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Do YOU Believe in the Pants?

Each summer, thousands secretly flock to a tiny yet charming hole-in-the-wall known as The Happy Pants Café. And what are they searching for? It’s not coffee. And it’s not pants. It’s true love, and they find it!

So what’s with the quirky name and what, exactly, is the café’s big secret? Harper Branton, a columnist for the San Francisco Tribune, who’d sooner believe in unicorns than in true love, is about to find out. And it’s the perfect story to save her train wreck of a career.

Too bad she’s got competition. He’s sexy, he’s arrogant, and he thinks she’s crazy. What kind of person doesn’t believe in love? And this coming from a dude!

When these two rivals go head to head, it's more like a WWF smackdown. A shared history binds them in wonderful, terrible ways quickly making their duel about more than just a news story. Will they tear each other apart for the win or end up as two new satisfied Happy Pants customers?

For an excerpt, as well as a look at the characters and places from the story, visit the author's website.

About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author, Host of The Man Candy Show

When San Francisco native, Mimi Jean, went on an adventure as an exchange student to Mexico City, she never imagined the journey would lead to writing Romance. But one Mexican MBA, one sexy Mexican husband, and two rowdy kids later, Mimi would trade in corporate life for vampires, deities, and snarky humor. She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most. She also enjoys interacting with her fans (especially if they’re batshit crazy). You can always find her chatting away on Facebook, Twitter, or saying many naughty words on her show MAN CANDY on Radioslot.com.

www.MimiJean.net
http://radioslot.com/
https://twitter.com/MimiJeanRomance
https://www.facebook.com/MimiJeanPamfiloff

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Dreams of Perfection


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rebecca will be awarding an author-graphed ebook to two randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What if perfection isn’t truly perfect?

Best-selling romance writer, Darcy Butler, is holding out for perfection in the form of her own carefully-crafted heroes. Once blissfully engaged to be married, Darcy’s post-traumatic commitment phobia is depriving her of the very thing she wants most: her very own happily-ever-after. Now, here she is just six months shy of her thirtieth birthday, and not a Prince Charming in sight.

Successful lawyer, Josh Ryan, is the boy-next-door with a soft spot for the less fortunate, and Darcy’s best friend without benefits. Darcy often comes to him lamenting her love-life, or the lack thereof, whereupon Josh patiently doles out his sage advice. Problem is Josh is in love with Darcy.

But when Darcy finds herself looking into the handsome face of the man who graces the cover of her soon-to-be-released novel, she’s convinced her dreams of perfection have come true. Or have they?

About the Author:
Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women's fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.

Awards:

2013 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Winner (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award of Merit (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Georgia Romance Writers Published Maggie Finalist (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Shooting Star Award (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers' Awards Finalist (The Promise of Change)
2011 Royal Palm Literary Awards Finalist (The Promise of Change)

Website: http://www.rebeccaheflin.com/wordpress/
Blog: http://www.rebeccaheflin.com/wordpress/blog/
Twitter: @RebeccaHeflin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaHeflinBooks

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Four Leaf Clover


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charmaine will be awarding a copy of the book to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A sexy, sugar-laden David vs Goliath story about a local bakery, a national chain, and what really matters.

Clover Loveday has worked hard to get her café Four-Leaf Clover up and running, her ticket out of an increasingly alarming financial situation and her dream come true. When she literally falls off her ladder into the arms of national bakery chain Upper Crust owner, sexy-as-sin Liam Sinclair, who owns the new bakery being built just across the road, she decides that no matter how nauseated she is about the idea, it is best keep your enemy close, rather than leave things to fate.

Liam has never put too much thought into the competition when he opens a new outlet, other than taking their customers and strengthening the Upper Crust brand. But here in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, Clover Loveday’s cafe is a little too close for comfort, and Clover Loveday a little too good-looking. So Liam asks his PA to put together a Fact Sheet about his new competition. He has a business to run, a father to please, and hundreds of people to keep in jobs. Surely information can keep an unwanted strong sexual pull at bay…

A sexy, caffeinated, satisfying story about unexpected temptations, forgiveness, and putting love before money.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She could barely recognise the sound that escaped her mouth as hers. It was a sound from the back of her throat. Breathy and gravelly and potently full of wanton desire. But this was what she felt. This was what she wanted. Sensation raced through her body and pooled between her thighs.

She relaxed her legs, unable to retain any strength in them. The slow build of passion now quickly firing to a feverish need that demanded to be eased. A tremor of hunger raced through her as his hand rested on her thigh.

His fingers slipped beneath her hem, rising ever so slowly up her leg. She relaxed her legs, opening them enough for him, inviting him to touch her, appease her. Her body trembled, never having felt so alive as it did now.

His hand brushed her intimacy. She cried out, jerking at his first wonderful touch. The pad of his thumb traced the curve of her body and soon she was panting, skin heated with perspiration, heady with a blinding need, her underwear now a too-thick barrier.

His mouth left her breast. She cracked open hazy eyes to see him above her, watching her with savage hunger in his eyes. ‘I want you.’ His voice was rough and low and set her insides tumbling.

She sat, fingers working at his shirt. Her fingers trembled too much to undo the last buttons, so she slipped them inside the material, his heated skin scorching hers. Her fingers found his shoulders, caressing, probing, laving attention to the dips and undulations of skin above rock solid muscle.

He lifted his shirt over his head, throwing it to the floor and her fingers went immediately back to their ministrations. She saw his jaw clenching and unclenching and she wondered at the control it took for him to sit there and let her explore.

Her fingers slipped beneath the waist of his pants, his erection clearly evident, pushing against the material. His eyes closed and he tipped his head back as she slid her fingers over his groin, rubbing the tip of his penis through the material. She undid his belt, then the top button at the waist. His hand clenched around her wrist, and she looked up at him, their gazes locked.

There was a sheen of perspiration on his face, his features strained and serious, but she was drawn to the fierce burning in their depths. ‘I won’t go on until I know you want me too.’

‘Yes. Go on! God, I want you to go on.’


About the Author:
I live in Upwey, a very leafy suburb of outer Melbourne. I can hear most Melbournians say, ‘Where?’ Think Puffing Billy, the hills and inexcusably steep driveways and you're there. We have a house with room for the kids to play in the backyard, the cat to sleep wherever and the husband to lounge on a bean-bag in front of the telly. I love romance because it adds so much to the story. Everyone needs a little love to take them away.

Facebook Learn more about Charmaine Ross at www.CharmaineRoss.com. a Rafflecopter giveaway If you cannot embed the code, please use this HTML link: Enter to win a copy of Four-Leaf Clover - a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bad Luck Girl: Sarah Zettel


« “Callie and Zettel bring this stellar trilogy to a satisfyingly sentimental conclusion.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Zettel brings the street life, locales, and culture of jazz-age Chicago into the imagery of her fantasy, packing the story with incident, adventure, and even, on the sidelines, information.” —The Horn Book
By Sarah Zettel

 
BAD LUCK GIRL


The American Fairy Trilogy
Book Three

Historical fiction fans will be drawn into the rich blend of historical fiction and fantasy in Sarah Zettel’s BAD LUCK GIRL (Random House Books for Young Readers / On sale May 27, 2014 / Ages 12 up). Fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners will love the blend of fantasy and twentieth-century history in the exciting conclusion to the stylish American Fairy Trilogy.

After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. By accident, she discovers that fairies aren’t the only magical creatures in the world. There’s also Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half other—half paper, half steel girder, half electric spark. As the war heats up, Callie’s world falls apart. And even though she’s the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. Bad Luck Girl, they call Callie, and she’s starting to believe them.

Extraordinarily detailed research about 1930s America and Chicago’s crime-ridden cityscape shines through in BAD LUCK GIRL. Die-hard historical fiction fans will be drawn into the fantasy realm, and fantasy readers will find themselves caught up in the vivid history of this story.

SARAH ZETTEL is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. She has written eighteen novels and multiple short stories over the past seventeen years, in addition to practicing tai chi, learning to fiddle, marrying a rocket scientist, and raising a rapidly growing son. The American Fairy Trilogy is her first series for teens. You can visit her online at SarahZettel.com.

BAD LUCK GIRL by Sarah Zettel
Random House Books for Young Readers On sale May 27, 2014 Ages 12 up

Hardcover: 978-0-375-86940-2 $17.99 US/$19.99 Can. 368 pages Ebook 978-0-375-98320-7 $10.99 US/$11.99 Can.






THE PERSISTENCE OF FAIRY TALES
            First of all, thanks to Book Girl Knitting for letting me stop by today.
            When I started writing Callie’s story, I knew I was going to be writing a fairy tale in the most literal sense.  It is a story with fairies in it.  Every culture in the world has stories of magic, and magical creatures and the humans — heroes, fools, and villains — who encounter them.  They may get derided.  People say, “oh, that’s just a fairy tale.”  But the stories themselves never quite go away.  That’s because the elements of the classic fairy tale never stop being important.
            There’s a saying about fairy tales I dearly love.  This is a paraphrase, but it’s the gist of it:  fairy tales do not teach children monsters exist.  Children know monsters exist.  They teach children monsters can be defeated.
            And it’s not just for children, and the monster is not the only central point of a fairy tale.  In all fairy stories, there’s some sort of bargain made.  That bargain can be a quest or task with the promise of reward (or simple survival) at the end.  It can be a bet, or a granted wish that comes with a price or a condition to be met.  All these bargains are made with some figure power, a king or a goddess, an old woman in a hut or a small man who lives underneath a stone, it doesn’t matter.   Once the bargain is set, the story is in motion.  The power, the magic, will see that the bargain is kept.
            That’s when we’re really off to the races.  Because as soon as the heroine or hero has made the bargain (or had it forced on them), then they get to make the important choices.  Will they do right?  That is, will they keep their word, honor the bet, endure the hardship and respect the power?  Or will they try to cheat?  Will they ignore power and bargain and promise and take what they were given without paying for it.
            In fairy tales, this second choice generally does not go well.
           There’s a moment in BAD LUCK GIRL when Callie, who has just begun learning how powerful she really is, absolutely loses it.  Anger completely takes over and she lashes out with her power without thinking, and in that moment, without caring.  I wasn’t really planning this moment when I started the story, but when it showed up, I knew it was a necessary part of the story, because it was the moment that illustrated almost more than any other in the book the importance of that choice.  That what’s important in a fairy tale is not just about the discovery of power but how is that power ultimately used.
            I think this is the real reason why fairy tales never go away.  Because they are about this central choice of doing right or doing wrong.  Of remaining courageous enough to never forget you’re part of a larger, the human family, even when things are at their most difficult for you.  In fairy tales, it is remembering to be your best at your worst, that wins the day, because this is what brings the heroine or hero the help and advice she needs to defeat the monster and keep the bargain. 
            Does it always work that way in real life?  Of course not.  Fairy tales are not real life.  They are reminders to ourselves of the choices we face and of the fact that monsters are most surely defeated without losing ourselves to what makes them monsters — anger, isolation, greed, envy, power without control or consideration.   This fight is always at the heart of the fairy tale.

            Even the ones where there aren’t actual fairies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Taming Fate



“TAMING FATE” / AMALIA DILLIN



Praise for Forged by Fate (“Fate of the Gods” Book 1):

“You won’t be able to deny that Miss Dillin is a genius … This story was absolutely amazing. It’s like 
nothing I’ve read before … a complete game changer.” 
— Parajunkee 

“An amazing fantasy world which succeeds in cleverly incorporating history, mythology and biblical 
figures. The seamless integration of Norse and Greek gods was inspired and I can’t wait to see 
where this series heads next.” 
— Book Chick City 

“One of the more fascinating and haunting books I’ve read in quite some time.” 
— JC Andrijeski, Allie’s War 

“A beautiful, sweeping story that puts on display the power of every interpretation of love, and the 
truth of what can be accomplished when people choose peace over strife. I couldn’t put it out of my 
mind for days.” 
— Trisha Leigh, The Last Year 



For the first time in her many lives, Eve would rather be anywhere but home. In 15th Century France,
Eve would have burned as a witch if it hadn’t been for the too-timely arrival of the Marquis DeLeon to
save her skin. But Eve didn’t ask to be rescued, and their hasty marriage is off to anything but a smooth
start. As tensions in the town grow and plague threatens, Ryam DeLeon knows if he and Eve cannot find
common ground, their first Christmas may be their last.

Taming Fate will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com,
Kobo.com, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also find Taming Fate
on Goodreads.

About the author:

Amalia Dillin began as a Biology major before taking Latin and
falling in love with old heroes and older gods. After that, she couldn't
stop writing about them, with the occasional break for more
contemporary subjects. Her short stories have been published by Daily
Science Fiction and Birdville magazine, and she's also the author of the
“Fate of the Gods” series and Honor Among Orcs, the first book in the
Orc Saga. Amalia lives in upstate New York with her husband, and
dreams of the day when she will own goats — to pull her chariot
through the sky, of course.

About the pubisher:

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing
quality works. We believe in great storytelling.


Publication Date: June 24 •


The Stories That Don’t Quite Fit, But Still Need Telling

The best part about writing novellas for the Fate of the Gods series, is that I’m able to flesh out some of the stories that don’t fit into the overarching narrative of the trilogy. In TEMPTING FATE, for instance, I got to explore Mia’s character and her relationships with both Adam and Eve. Now, in TAMING FATE, I get to delve a little bit more deeply into the story of Eve’s marriage to the Marquis DeLeon.

This story in particular felt like a necessary addition to the series, even though I knew early on that not much of it would fit into the novels themselves. We get so many hints of it in FORGED BY FATE and FATE FORGOTTEN, and there are so many references to this particular marriage in Eve’s very many lives, that I would have felt as though the books were incomplete if I didn’t address it more fully somehow.

Fortunately for me, my editor was just as curious about this lifetime as I was, so I knew we’d find a way. A novella seemed like a perfect compromise – it offered enough space to address the challenges of Eve and Ryam’s relationship, but in a way that complemented the series on the whole, rather than taking focus away from the major narratives presented in the trilogy. It’s a glimpse of the kind of trouble that Eve faced in even the best of her lives, and the lengths she was willing to go to protect the people she loved, and the family she founded.

But not only that, we also get an idea of exactly who this Marquis DeLeon was, and how his ideas and relationship with Eve shaped the House of Lions. It wasn’t enough, in my opinion, to hear Garrit talk about him in Eve’s present, or for Eve to dwell on him, even curse him for keeping his secrets. I wanted to see it – and I wanted readers to have a fully realized understanding of his character! And the best way to go about it, it seemed to me, was to give you all a peek at the world he lived in, and the struggles he faced both in marrying Eve, and at her side.

I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Ryam DeLeon as much as I enjoyed writing him!