Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spotlight + Giveaway: Osteoblasts to the Rescue by Heather Manley

osteoblasts tour

Osteoblasts cover
Osteoblasts to the Rescue  
Merrin and Pearl are at it again! This time these two young Human Body Detectives are exploring the skeletal system. With the ability to jump in and examine the various systems in the body, Merrin and Pearl’s adventures are fun stories and helpful tools to educate children. In Osteoblasts to the Rescue, Merrin and Pearl navigate their friend, Lily’s, broken arm and learn all about bones. As the fourth in The Human Body Detectives series, Osteoblasts to the Rescue can also stand alone as a book that’s sure to inform, engage, and inspire readers of all ages.  
heather m
    Author Heather Manley, N.D.
 I have always been passionate about healthy foods and exercising. Growing up in Toronto, Canada I would exhaust my allowance at the health food store and write school papers on spices and herbs. It was no wonder I found myself studying biology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. I loved animals as well so I initially focused on wildlife conservation and animal biology, however, with some exposure to naturopathic medicine, this health care philosophy rang true for me. I switched to pre-med and I graduated in 1993. I earned my doctorate at the from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon before moving with my family to Hawaii where I became licensed and continue to practice today. Everything I learned in medschool came into fruition when my children were born. I realized the importance of teaching them, by example, about healthy food and lifestyle. Telling them what to eat was not enough, so I created and wrote educational adventure stories that explain the physiological systems in the body. Not only did my kids love the engaging and interactive stories but so did their friends. I love seeing kids have fun learning to understand their bodies and how food helps them run faster and be smarter. My focus is on preventative health. I am passionate about encouraging families to seek the value of a simple lifestyle and offering tools to assist them at being proactive and confident in their daily living. I am constantly inspired seeing people make positive changes in their lives. With my website, I am excited to reach more families in a way that will manifest healthy living.

Merrin and Pearl are at it again! This time these two young Human Body Detectives are exploring the skeletal system.

With the ability to jump in and examine the various systems in the body, Merrin and Pearl’s adventures are fun stories and helpful tools to educate children.

In Osteoblasts to the Rescue, Merrin and Pearl navigate their friend, Lily’s, broken arm and learn all about bones.

As the fourth in The Human Body Detectives series, Osteoblasts to the Rescue can also stand alone as a book that’s sure to inform, engage, and inspire readers of all ages.

We do have the gift of going into other people’s bodies to help them feel better, but being a Human Body Detective is a big responsibility and no one seems to need help right now, Merrin thought.

They landed on a hard smooth surface. Happily, they were still together. As their eyes opened, Pearl looked around and Merrin gasped, "Pearl, where are we?"

Pearl leaned over to Merrin and felt along her spine. Merrin shivered a bit. "Those bones you feel when I touch your back are the spinal processes."

"We need to get to Lily’s left arm, the one that is broken. I want to see the break and understand how the body will fix it. We might be in for a journey, Merrin! Most of the vertebrae have these spinal processes and if we climb up toward her head, we’ll find Lily’s left clavicle, which will lead us to her left arm."
Oh my, Merrin thought.

Merrin realized Pearl’s shoelace was untied and bellowed out, "Pearl slow down and tie your shoelace!" But she was too late. Pearl tripped and then… She tumbled.
She landed on her stomach, her feet dangling off the rib.

They both looked up and noticed the sternum bone was completely vertical. They would need rock climbing gear to have any chance of getting to the top.

They both looked at each other and wondered if they were brave enough to do it. Who knew where they would land, let alone if they fell off the bone?

At that moment, osteoblasts came storming out from everywhere! They were all over the place. Merrin and Pearl tried to jump out of their way, but the osteoblasts were on a mission and didn’t even notice them.

"Well, I hope Lily is eating enough foods with calcium and
phosphorus. Actually, what food does she need to eat to get more of these nutrients?" Merrin asked.

More About the Skeletal System goes into more depth of the skeletal system.

Pearl was intrigued by the skeletal system. She learned some fun facts along the way and wanted to share them with you.
did you know that... “osteo” is the Greek word for bone?

The Human Body Detectives know that the bones are living and need exercise as much as the heart does. Along with a healthy diet, physical activity is crucial for strong bones.

The Human Body Detectives love a great case, but they also love a funny joke! Here are some of Merrin and Pearl’s favorites!

What do you call a skeleton who doesn't like to get up in the morning?
Lazy Bones.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fun Facts + Giveaway: Paris Love Match by Nigel Blackwell

Title: Paris Love Match
Author: Nigel Blackwell
Publisher: Bandit Publishing
Release date: May 2, 2013
Genre: Romance humorous
Age Group: New Adult
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

Book Description:
Getting a taxi in Paris can be hell.

Piers Chapman expected a boring business trip to Paris. 
What he didn't expect was to fight over a cab with a beautiful girl.

After a bad meeting, Sidney Roux just wanted to hail a cab, go home, and have a glass of wine.
She didn't expect to fight over a cab with some pompous British tourist.

Neither of them expected another man to jump in their cab.
Or to be involved in a gun fight.
Or a car chase through the streets of Paris.
Or for the man to die.

But they're thrust together when the mob demands they return what the dead man stole.

Will Piers and Sidney work together?
Will they find what he had stolen?
Will they stay alive?

And will they do the last thing they expected?
Will they fall in love?

Facts about PARIS LOVE MATCH: What are 5 interesting or noteworthy facts about the book and/or characters? This doesn’t need to be narrative. It can be bullet points.

1) Sidney’s character is partly based on the minions from Despicable Me. They’re a fun bunch. They do awful things to each other and laugh about it. They not mean and don’t get angry, they’re always content, and always looking to out-do their friends.

2) The dubious cafĂ©, Terry’s All Time, was an actual greasy spoon from my past. It was in Leeds in the north of England, not in Paris, but it did have a door that didn’t fit and an owner that no one could understand (but that may have been because I only went there after the pubs closed!)

3) My life is imitating art. Piers winds up with a dog with an endless enthusiasm for walks at one stage. Strangely enough, we’ve also recently gained a dog (Sidnei) with an endless enthusiasm for walks.

4) Piers’s mum was modelled on the Hyacinth Bucket, the snob from a British sitcom called Keeping Up Appearances (often on PBS). As Hyacinth will tell you, it’s not pronounced Bucket, it’s “Bouquet.” Like Piers’s mum, she often talks to her son on the phone and would have nothing to do with sending text messages.

5) My publisher, Jillian Dodd, found a great picture of a guy and a girl in Paris for the cover of the book. When I made the book trailer I found the same two models in a series of other Paris related images, which was great for the video Since I used them so much, Piers and Sidney’s appearances were updated to reflect the models!

6 - bonus fact :) Piers get sage advice from a nightclub owner. When I was looking to name the owner, I remembered a friend of mine who lives in the idyllic Loire valley. He doesn’t own a club, but he’s knowledgeable on everything, hence the club owner was named Bernard, after him.

To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpt click here

About the Author

Nigel Blackwell was born in rural Oxfordshire in England. He has a love of books, a PhD in Physical Chemistry, and a black belt in pointing out the obvious. As a teenager he toured Europe and loved seeing the wonders of the world and the people in it. Since then he has been fortunate enough to travel across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Japan, and hasn't been anywhere that doesn't have the potential for a story.
He now lives in Texas with his wife and daughter, where they enjoy the sunshine and listen to the coyotes howl at night.

Author social media links:


Tour Giveaway:

(2) signed Paperback copies of Paris Love Match – US Only
(3) eBook copies of Paris Love Match - International


OR link to the giveaway here


OR link to the giveaway here

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Read and Win: John William and the Bandits of Basswood by Elizabeth Parkinsons-Bellows



John William and the Bandits of Basswood

We already know Alexander Drake’s story. His father, John William started it all years before when he entered Azra’s Pith. This is his story. John William was born an explorer; just like his dad before him. His adventure really began with the worst year of his life. He lived everyday in misery until his twelfth birthday. He set out to turn things around and find his smile again. A new friend gave him an invitation he could not turn down… follow me and change your destiny. He never imagined being captured by bandits and taken to a ship riddled with river rats was part of his fate. Not just any bandits – the Bandits of Basswood; known to be a ruthless and wild crew of thieves. Trying to escape would be a ridiculous idea. No one has ever escaped and lived to tell about it. Someone should have mentioned that to John William before he snuck off the ship. The chase out of Basswood was on. He took a chance to change his destiny and ended up on a wild ride to save his life.



lizzieAuthor Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat. Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

Website * Twitter * Facebook


Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/10/13
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
  Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Coupon in exchange for sharing Winter Queen's release. Pretty good deal, right? :) by Amber Argyle

It's Winter Queen's release day! The journey for this book began years ago--it was actually the fifth book I ever wrote, right after Witch Song.

I've included the first chapter below as well as a coupon as a way of saying thank you for your continued support and friendship.

In exchange, I ask that you share something about Winter Queen on social media (blog, facebook, twitter--the more the better!) on it's book birthday.

Subscribe here for 20% off.

I could also use some more reviews, especially on Amazon (I'd like to see at least 20, and one-liners totally count!). 

The reviews are coming in, and they're overwhelmingly positive!
Amber Argyle

1. Clan Mistress

Ilyenna’s horse danced nervously beneath her, the animal’s hooves clicking against the snow-covered stones that coated the land like dragon eggs. Reaching down, she patted her mare’s golden neck. “Easy, Myst. What’s the matter, girl?”
“There.” Her father pointed at the base of a forested hillock not fifty paces beyond the road. Ilyenna saw the shadowed form of a large animal.
Bratton soundlessly pulled an arrow from his quiver and nocked it. “Bear?” He directed the question at their father.
The word stirred currents of tension in Ilyenna’s body. The cold stung her cheeks and formed a vapor no matter how shallowly she breathed. As she glanced up and down the road, her hand gripped the knife belted around her bulky wool coat.
“I think it’s a horse,” Bratton finally said.
Ilyenna eased her mare forward for a better look. It was a horse—a bay. “Then where is his rider—” The words died in her throat when she spotted a motionless gray lump at the horse’s feet. Without thought, she rammed her heels into her mare’s ribs.
“Stop!” her father cried at the same time Bratton called, “Ilyenna!”
But the healer in her couldn’t be denied. In three of the horse’s strides, she was in the forest. She pressed herself flush against Myst’s muscular neck. Still, larch trees managed to slap her, leaving the sharp scent of their needles in her hair and clothes. Clumps of snow shook loose from their sagging boughs, falling across her horse’s mane and into her face. Yet Ilyenna barely registered the icy shock.
The other horse shied away. Myst tossed her head and balked, but Ilyenna didn’t have time to hesitate. She jumped from the saddle, and her heavy boots sank into drifts up to her thighs. Grateful for her riding leggings, she struggled toward the man, whose face was blue with cold.
Her heavy riding skirt spread around her as she knelt beside him. Strangely, even in this frigid weather, he wore no coat. Beneath him, the white snow was stained crimson. An arrow shaft stuck out of his left side, and his mouth was coated with bloody foam.
A quick assessment revealed the arrow head had passed completely through his chest, but the shaft was still lodged inside him. Ilyenna couldn’t imagine riding in that kind of pain. Each of the horse’s strides would’ve reopened the wound and spilled more blood.
Fear rose in Ilyenna’s gut, and she wondered what had driven this man to ride himself so close to death. The lump rose higher when she recognized the knots in the stranger’s clan belt. “An Argon,” she announced as her brother and her father reined in behind her. Instantly, her mind went to the Argon clan, and her brother’s best friend, Rone.
At the mere thought of the boy from her childhood, a hundred memories came unbidden. Memories she wished to banish forever. But over the last six years, that had proven impossible. She bit the inside of her cheek, forcing herself to concentrate as she pulled her sheepskin-lined mittens from her hands and probed the man for additional wounds.
“You can’t just run off,” her brother growled as he dropped beside her. “What if his attacker was still here?”
Ilyenna kept her expression neutral. Even though she was seventeen, her brother would never see her as anything but a child—one incapable of caring for herself, let alone their clan. Thankfully, the calm sureness that always accompanied her healing steeled her voice. “He’s not breathing well. Get him on your knees.”
Despite his obvious annoyance, Bratton quickly obeyed.
“Why would an Argon appear in Shyle lands with an arrow in his side?” she murmured as she worked to stop the bleeding.
Bratton’s grip tightened around his axe hilt as his gaze probed the forest. “Only Raiders would attack the clans.”
Ilyenna suppressed a shudder at the mention of the Raiders, men who survived by pillaging and enslaving those they conquered.
“Raiders don’t come this far inland,” her father said. He handed his coat to Ilyenna, who draped it over the man. Her father pointed to the arrow that rose and fell with each of the Argon’s labored breaths. “Besides, I saw a Raider’s arrow as a boy. This isn’t one.”
“Then whose arrow is it?” Bratton asked.
Ilyenna eyed her brother carefully. There was something odd about his expression, as if he suspected more than he was saying.
Her father frowned. “It looks clan made.”
Neither Ilyenna nor Bratton had a response for that. It was an impossible thought. The Clans didn’t fight among themselves; they banded together to fight against outsiders. Pressing her ear to the injured man’s chest, she listened to a sound like the gurgling of a gentle stream. She sat back on her heels. “His lungs have filled with blood. He’s drowning.”
Even as she said it, the urge to fight against death pulled at her, though she knew all too well how useless fighting it was. All things served the Balance. Life and death were no different. Though Ilyenna’s calling was to battle for life, without death, there would be no birth.
Her father bent down and gently shook the man’s shoulder. He moaned softly before settling back to his labored breathing. The death rattle. Her father looked at her questioningly. “Should we take him to the clan house?”
She shook her head. “You know he won’t make it.”
With grim determination, her father leaned over the man and shook harder.
Had something happened to the Argons? To Rone? Ilyenna had to know. She applied pressure where the wounded man’s thumb met his palm. His lids fluttered, revealing the whites of his eyes. She pinched harder. His eyes opened wide.
“Who did this to you?” Ilyenna’s father asked.
The Argon’s gaze focused on his face. It was clear he didn’t understand.
Ilyenna brought her face so close she could smell the blood on his breath. She gently brushed his hair from his forehead. “You’re in Shyle lands.”
The man snatched her hand, his icy grip surprisingly strong. “I didn’t fail?”
Ilyenna wasn’t sure what he meant, but she shook her head anyway. “No. You didn’t fail.”
He guided her hand to his pocket. She reached inside and pulled out a piece of rolled vellum. Her hands shaking, she slid off the leather band and unrolled it. The dying man echoed the words she read, “The Tyrans attacked us during the night . . . Clan Chief Seneth sent me to call for aid.” The man seemed to be fighting to keep his eyes from rolling back. “So much dying . . .” The words strangled from his lungs with his last breath.
Death had claimed another. Somewhere, a child filled its lungs for its first squall. Ilyenna handed the vellum to her father, then closed the fallen man’s eyes and rested his hand on his axe hilt. “So passes a warrior,” she said.
“So passes an Argon,” her brother and father replied in unison.
After gently laying the man’s head back on the snow, Bratton leaned toward her father and read the note with him. A plea for aid that was written in Seneth’s own hand. It affirmed the truthfulness of the dead man’s words.
The Tyrans had attacked the Argon clan.
Bratton shook his head. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Ilyenna couldn’t understand either. Undon, the Tyran clan chief, might be renowned among the clans as a dangerous man with a short temper, but this was far beyond killing a man in a drunken brawl. This treachery made him and his Tyrans even worse than Raiders.
She studied her father and brother, like twin images in a mirror. The only real difference was their age. Both men had the clan’s typical blond hair and blue eyes. They even had the same braying laugh.
Ilyenna had inherited all of her mother’s foreignness, right down to her dark brown eyes and black hair. Tears pricked the back of her throat. Her mother—the other half of her mirror—was dead, and it was her fault.
Her father gently retrieved his coat, then hauled himself into his saddle. Bratton wasn’t far behind.
“Hurry, Ilyenna. We’re near the border. It’s not safe.”
She heard the warning in her father’s words. If the Argons had been attacked, the Shyle could be next. Even now, the killers could be close. But her eyes stayed fastened to the dead man. One death, one moment, and the peace of decades had been shattered. “We should take his body.”
“We’ll come back if we can,” her father said sternly.
She squeezed her eyes shut. Her father was right. But the man had died trying to find help. He deserved better than for the wolves to pick him apart. “I’m sorry,” she mouthed, hoping his ghost would hear and understand, that he wouldn’t come for revenge against her family for this insult.
“Ilyenna!” Bratton snarled.
She turned and shoved her foot into the stirrup, then pulled herself into the saddle. Myst pranced impatiently. Ilyenna leaned low over the mare’s neck to shield herself from the wind that whipped away warmth and breath.
This deep into winter, the only passable path to the village was an ancient, snow-packed road that cut through the heart of the Shyle. They galloped along it, only pausing to maneuver through herds of sheep—their dense wool proof of the high mountain’s harsh winters—or to send other men off to warn people living deeper in the canyons and along the mountain bases.
Why had the Tyrans attacked the Argons? Ilyenna thought again. What if Rone was already dead? She’d hardly seen more than a passing glance of him in years, but for some reason she feared his death the most. Other Argon faces flashed in her mind—people she’d met over years of feast days and hunts. A growing sense of fear settled over her like a cold, wet blanket.
She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw their small village, nearly fifty homes built beside the river. Behind Shyleholm, the rolling valley floor gave way to massive mountains. Village lore said the mountains were actually the last of the rock trolls—creatures who had died gripping their legs, their snow-mantled heads and shoulders rising above the tree line.
The village houses were made of river stones made shiny from generations of hands. Chimneys on the split-shingle roofs exhaled wisps of smoke, and the acrid scent mingled with the smells of cattle and sheep.
The Shyle survive, Ilyenna thought. Whether it be Raiders or border disputes or disease, they survived and would continue to survive long after death had claimed her.
The sheepdogs heard the riders first. The dogs ran out of barns and yards, yapping shrilly. Just before the clan house, Ilyenna’s father grabbed the warning bell’s rope and gave it a mighty pull. Men hefted their axes, grabbed their shields, and started running. Women, their blond hair pulled back into tight braids, left their carding and spinning, picked up a child and their skirts, and hurried after the men.
With the clang of the bell still ringing in Ilyenna’s ears, her father cried, “On our border we found an Argon near death. He carried a message signed by Clan Chief Seneth’s own hand. The Tyrans attacked them in the night.”
The women gasped and the men exchanged hard looks.
Ilyenna felt the same apprehension. While individual clans ruled themselves, they followed the verdict of the clan chiefs that made up the Council when conflicts arose between clans. This act by the Tyrans could spark a war.
“What is the Shyle’s answer?” her father went on. “Will we allow Clan Chief Undon and his clanmen to kill our closest neighbors and friends—clanmen who’ve provided us succor in hard winters? Clanmen who saved us from the Raider invasion of my boyhood?”
Pride swelled in Ilyenna at the sight of her father, still so strong and capable, though well into his middling years. The clan loved him dearly, for he had loved them first, never asking for more than he was willing to give.
“No,” came the men’s response.
He nodded grimly to her brother. Bratton nodded back. Tradition dictated they both turn to her. “Clan mistress?”
Ilyenna felt nearly seven hundred pairs of eyes turn to her. Wishing her great-aunt Enrid hadn’t recently passed the full duties of the clan mistress to her, Ilyenna folded her arms across her middle to keep them from shaking. Her fingertips traced the embroidered knots on her leather clan belt. One knot for herself, one for every member of her family, and one for her clan. Each built upon the one before in a long, sinuous line, with no beginning and no end. Life perfectly balanced. “We will hold the lands until your return.”
The saying was more a custom than a reality. The women hadn’t needed to fight for their lands since Ilyenna’s grandmother’s time, when all the men were away at war and a party of Raiders had invaded their valley. But the words still rang true. Each woman carried a knife and knew how to use it. If it came to it, they would fight.
And Ilyenna would lead them.
Her father hefted his axe, pointing it skyward. “Then the Shyle rides!” With a shout, the men ran to prepare for battle, leaving Ilyenna to give the orders to those who remained, as a proper clan mistress should.
She nervously faced the women, children, and crippled men. Every face was tight with fear. Winter was a difficult time for fighting. If the men survived the battle, they still faced hunger and exposure.
“Sound it, even if you don’t feel it.” That’s what Ilyenna’s mother had always said.
Ilyenna threw her shoulders back. “Clanwomen! Food must be packed, and flint and tinder, and blankets and spare clothing. Boys, saddle the men’s horses. Any extra, load with packsaddles. Girls, go into the woods and find roots, moss, and bark for poultices. Prepare bandages and slings. Dig in the mud around the river to see if you can find some leeches. And keep your knives with you.” She added extra emphasis on the last. “Off with you. Be quick.”
The women snatched the youngest children and raced for their homes, while their daughters took to the forests. The boys headed for the barns, their eyes gleaming with excitement. Ilyenna let out a breath of relief and almost managed a smile. Her mother had been right. Sound like a clan mistress, and the clan will treat you like one.
Otrok scrambled through the crowd toward her. He was her tiam, in principle little better than a slave, but she treated him like a brother. Dancing from one foot to the next, he said, “Mistress, you want to send the horses?”
She leaned down and spoke low, “Bring me two with packsaddles. Give three more to anyone who really needs a horse.” She glanced at Larina Bend, whose family always demanded more than they ever needed, and back at Otrok. He was a smart boy. He’d know what she meant. With a grave nod, he raced toward their barn.
Ilyenna turned toward the clan house. It was easily four times the size of any other home in the village. The clan house was a place for feasting and upholding the law, but it was also Ilyenna’s home. She went past the hall’s entrance to the smaller kitchen door. Great-aunt Enrid was hauling supplies from the cellar to the rough wooden table that was older than Ilyenna’s great-grandfather.
“The Argon you found, was he someone we knew?” Enrid asked, her expression tight with worry. She was trying to knot a cloth over handfuls of dried meat, but her gnarled fingers weren’t cooperating.
Ilyenna gently took the bundle and tied the cloth. “I think I recognized him, but I couldn’t remember his name.”
Enrid moved to wrapping loaves of bread in cheesecloth.
When they had almost finished, Otrok poked his head through the kitchen door.
“Larina give you any trouble?” Ilyenna asked.
He came inside. “Some, but I told her you’d already promised the horses to the Hiders and my father.”
That would leave her twelve horses in case she had to evacuate. She ruffled his shoulder-length hair. “Good boy.” Otrok moved to help them scoop up armfuls of supplies, haul them outside, and stuff them in the pack saddles. But his face remained troubled.

“Ilyenna, I don’t understand,” he finally said. “You told me the clans are like a family, each clan brother to the next. Why would one clan attack another?”
How could she explain war to one so young? She shot a pleading look at Enrid. But months ago, her great-aunt had claimed she was too old for clan-mistress duties. She simply nodded toward the boy with her customary “You’re the clan mistress now—you handle it” glance.
Holding back a sigh, Ilyenna heaved some rolled blankets onto the back of a saddle and used the straps to tie them on. “Otrok, sometimes people do bad things.”
His brow furrowed. He was no more than ten, but his soul often seemed much older. “But why would the Tyrans attack their brothers?”
This time, Ilyenna let her sigh escape. She bent next to Otrok and put her hands on his shoulders. “You remember what we talked about . . . with your father.” Otrok’s expression turned wary. She continued carefully, “Sometimes people hurt each other—even people who should be family—and there’s never a good reason for it.”
Otrok pursed his lips and nodded. He would understand that all too well. It had taken Ilyenna weeks to nurse him back to health after the last beating his father had given him.
She looked up to see Otrok’s older brother run toward her through snow dusted with hearth-fire ash. He wasn’t old enough to trim a beard—not yet old enough to fight, and yet too young to leave behind.
She looked past him, searching for the boys’ father. As usual, Dobber was drunk. She’d had him at the beating pole not two weeks past for altering some sheep’s earmarks to look like they were his. Perhaps he’d manage to kill her horse, giving her an excuse to take his other son as her tiam as well.
Without a word, she handed Otrok’s older brother the horses’ lead ropes. “Be careful.”
He grinned in response and led the horses to a group of boys clustered beside the packhorses. She bit the inside of her cheek. The men might use the boys in the fight, but only if no other choice remained. Ilyenna hoped it never came to that.
She felt a strong hand on her shoulder. “Remember, Ilyenna, the Shyle are strong as stone—”
“And supple as a sapling,” she finished for her father. Had it really only been a few hours since they’d left the dead Argon? Ilyenna hated the tears that threatened to reveal just how frightened she was. Clan mistresses weren’t supposed to be frightened. “Let me go with you. You’ll need a healer.”
He withdrew his hand. “You’re our clan mistress, as was your mother once. Your place is here.” He stepped closer and whispered, “And clan mistresses don’t ask for things they shouldn’t.”
It was a soft rebuke, but one that stung anyway. Glad she could blame her reddened face on the cold, she tried to memorize his features, the smell of him—pipe smoke, horses, and leather—and the rough texture of his hands.
He mounted Konj. “Send any straggling warriors that come from the outlying homes after us.”
Most of the Shyle moved into town for the winter. Only the poor risked the isolation of a harsh winter alone.
His eyes searching, Bratton absently nodded his goodbye and took off. Ilyenna could only guess he was going to say goodbye to Lanna. If their budding romance continued, Ilyenna suspected they’d be married by summer.
Her father sent the scouts out and motioned for the bulk of the men to follow him. The boys brought up the rear, bringing the packhorses and acting as errand boys and healers.
Nearly four hundred of them and not one looked back.
In utter silence, Ilyenna and the women watched the Balance leave the village with the men. Men and women were on opposing sides of the Balance. When they came together, they connected both ends of the Balance in a perfect circle. The Link. Now, every male out of boyhood and beneath old age had left.
The Balance would be off. Bad things happened when the Balance was off.
Ilyenna shook her head. She needed to keep the clan busy, keep their fears buried under a heavy load of work and exhaustion. “You’ve poultices to make, food to prepare, carding and spinning to do.” None of the women seemed to hear her as they stared after their men. “Move to it!” she shouted.
That brought a satisfying round of jumps and purposeful strides. As Otrok passed her, Ilyenna caught his arm. “Round up two other boys. Use some of the horses we have left. Take turns watching the road at the mouth of the canyon. If you even think you see a Tyran, ride here and don’t stop for anything.”
She hated to ask sentinel duty of one so young that even the men had left him behind. But Otrok’s small size would give him many advantages. If he had to run for it, his horse wouldn’t tire so quickly, and even the clumsiest Shyle boy was quieter than a deer and left fewer tracks. Besides, he was the closest thing to a warrior she had left.
Otrok’s big eyes opened wider. He wet his lips with the tip of his tongue and squeaked, “Yes, Clan Mistress.”
It was a risk she had to take, for until the men returned, the safety of the Shyle rested in her hands.
Copyright © Amber Argyle Starling Publishing, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cover Unveiled: Blood Entangled by Amber Belldene


KOS MARAS’s orderly life is in shambles—he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night he watches over a temptingly beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. He is convinced love cannot last a vampire-long lifetime and an entanglement will only cause them grief, but he doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

From a long line of blood servants, LENA ISAAKSON is destined to serve a vampire, but a string of humiliating rejections thwarts her pleasure. When Kos shows her kindness, she hopes he will claim her. Instead he proves himself a coward in the face of love and sends her to serve another.

Will the dark seduction of a rakish new vampire finally bring Lena the pleasure she desires or deliver her into the hands of Hunters who want to destroy everything the Maras family has worked for?

Author: Amber Belldene
Title: Blood Entangled
Expected publication: July 23rd 2013 by Omnific Publishing 
Series: Blood Vine #2


Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book.  As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.

Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion.  She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths.  Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.  

Interview + Giveaway: Animate Me by Ruth Clampett

Title: Animate Me
Author: Ruth Clampett
Publisher: Clampett Studio (self-pub)
Release date: May 1, 2013
Age Group: New Adult/Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours


Book Description:

Animate Me is a fun and sexy contemporary romance.

Love struck animator, Nathan, has set his sights on Brooke, the Director of Development at their animation studio. 
He has worshipped her from afar for years and even created a comic book heroine named B-Girl in her likeness. When their paths cross he seizes the opportunity to make a good impression. As they grow closer a serious hindrance looms…her dwindling romance with Arnauld, head of the animation studio.
When Arnauld realizes that Nathan is threatening his relationship with Brooke, he goes after him and it sparks an outrageous uprising at the studio. Havoc ensues from antics only a building full of creative cartoon people can create. In the midst of the drama Brooke has to decide whether to follow her heart or risk her impressive career, while Nathan pulls out all the stops to “woo” his girl.
The conclusion has you cheering for our unlikely hero to capture his B-Girl’s heart…while he wins our hearts as well.

Interview with Author Ruth Clampett
Today, I'm honored to have Ms. Ruth Clampett, author of Animate Me visit Bookshelf Confessions. SIt back and enjoy the interview :)

Q: What was the most difficult part for you when writing ANIMATE ME?

It’s a unique kind of challenge to write a romance novel from a male point of view, so the most difficult part of writing Animate Me was keeping Nathan’s voice authentic to who he is. He is an interesting mix of sweet yet tenacious, shy but unrelenting, a sensitive artist but still very much a guy. It was important that the writing reflect all the different sides to him and it was something I put a lot of thought and effort into.

Q: What was the easiest part?

The most delightful, and thus easiest part of me of writing Animate Me was capturing the love and devotion the characters had for animation and the comic world. I have lived in that world my entire life and I have the greatest admiration for these artists who discovered their passion in their childhood and have devoted their careers to that passion. Having worked around them I also am very aware of their disillusionment with the business and industry animation and comics have become and the frustration that arises with the executives that rule the empire. This conflict created a compelling undertone to the story’s plot and conflict.

Q: What is your favorite scene or was your favorite to write? Don’t forget to tell us why.

I have two favorites for different reasons. I loved writing when Brooke shows up at Nathan’s angry after he has texted her all day. His reaction to her fury was so Nathan and I just fell in love with him again as he led me through writing that scene. It was special too because it takes us to their huge moment on his bed when she shows him the note of his she found. Swoon.

My other favorite is when Nathan is called into Arnauld’s office for the surprise meeting with the lawyers. I’ve never wrote a scene more quickly or effortlessly. I could physically feel every reaction he had to his entire world suddenly shifting. I love that readers do not see that scene coming at all.

Q: Do you have any superstitions, ‘rituals’ you go through, or food/drink items you ‘have’ to have while writing?

I am happy to report that I have no superstitious rituals, although since I often write late at night I sometimes need a boost of caffeine. The other thing about me that is good and bad, is that I write in fragments: I’ll write a bit, then look at an email, write more, then go on twitter for a few minutes, then back to writing, and so on…The good part of that is that I am flexible and can write anywhere, even with distractions. The bad part is that I’d write a lot faster if I just stayed focused on the task at hand.

Q: What authors or books have influenced you as a reader and/or a writer?

When I was young and first got interested in writing I fell in love with Anne Tyler and her quirky characters. I am drawn to people with really unique personalities in real life, so it makes sense that I am drawn to similar types in my writing. Recently I’ve been very impressed with John Green for his beautiful writing, and taking on some difficult subjects in his stories in such an honest and sincere way. And finally I’ve been inspired by Stephanie Meyers because there’s something very humble in how got started writing and publishing that gave me the courage to put my work out in the world too.

Q: What’s next for you writing wise that you can share with us?

I’m working on two projects. The first is a novella called Mr. 365 that was inspired by an usual news clip I saw on youtube. I’m already in love with the couple from this story. My second project is a re-write of a story about a complicated, passionate artist. It’s very different than Animate Me but equally close to my heart.

Thank you so much for the terrific questions…I am very excited to be a guest on your terrific blog.

Thank you so much too Ms. Clampett :)

To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpt click here or the tour button below.

About the Author

Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director, Bob Clampett, has spent a lifetime surrounded by art and animation. Graduating from Art Center College of Design with a BFA in photography, Ruth opened her own Design/Photography studio and also taught photography at UCLA. In 1993 she joined Warner Bros. almost fifty years after her father left the studio and worked her way up to VP of Design for the WB Studio Stores. Now operating her own studio as the fine art publisher for Warner Bros. she has had the opportunity to know and work with many of the greatest artists in the world of animation and comics.

After telling stories visually her entire life and a fan-girl at heart, Ruth was introduced to the on-line world of fan-fiction and started writing stories inspired by the colorful people and events in her life. Over two million hits, and thousands of reviews later, Ruth is publishing her first novel, Animate Me, a contemporary romance set in the animation world. She lives in Los Angeles and is heavily supervised by her teenage daughter, lovingly referred to as Snarky, who plans the summer around their yearly sojourn to Comic Con.

Author Social Media Links:

Tour Giveaway:

(1) Prize Pack: a Print Copy of Animate Me, an Animate Me Travel Mug, and a print (small poster) of ‘B-Girl’ signed by Ruth Clampett and the artist Juan Ortiz. – US/Canada
(3) Print copies - US/Canada
(5) eBook copies gifted from Amazon - International countries that can accept Amazon gifted books

OR the link to the giveaway here

Monday, June 17, 2013

Read and Win Rift Healer by Diane M. Haynes

Rift Healer Tour  

rift healerRift Healer

Rift Healer is the first installment of the 'Forest Magic' series, a Young Adult Fantasy/Romance set in Central and Western Massachusetts. After a minor earthquake, the enchanted forest in Bidwell, MA, is infested with monster-spewing rifts. Gisele Westerfield's great nephew, the gifted Micah, and his distant cousin, Selena, arrive to assist. Together with Gisele's summer students, twins Haley and Lacey, they will try to heal the magical forest. Much to the consternation of the beautiful Selena, Micah identifies Haley as The One whom he'll share his future. But after witnessing a terrifying display of Micah's Gift, Haley cools to his advances and unexpectedly discovers her own Gift-- she can heal the earth. Monsters, mayhem, and teenage angst follow the small group as they confront evil in the forest and a dangerous prediction that 'one will fall'. Will they heal the rifts in time? Can they save the unicorns? And is Haley really destined to be with Micah?

Author Diane M. Haynes

Diane has lived in Massachusetts all her life where early on, her artistic talents were fostered, though her skills as an "excellent report writer" were often noted in previous employment. On her brother Rick's birthday, November 16, 2004, seven months after his death, she woke from an amazing dream which would not fade. She outlined the dream, made a few quick notes and days later produced a 12 page short story. After deciding her story was interesting but incomplete, she began writing her first novel, using her dream as its climax. She now believes the dream to be a 'Spirit Gift,' sent by her brother. Diane continues to reside in Central MA with her husband and a very naughty Basset Hound named Basil and his new adopted sister-Basset, Ruby, both of whom cleverly wreak havoc on the Haynes' formerly well-ordered lives. She spends her time writing, reading books about writing, talking about writing, painting with watercolors, antiqueing and attempting to train a very reluctant Basil and a willing, but highly comedic Ruby.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guest Post + Giveaway: The Do Over by A.L. Zaun

The Do Over 
Life doesn’t look like it’s supposed to for Dani Ruiz, a hopeless romantic. After a painful and sudden break-up with Rick Marin, Dani hides away from reality, retreating to a world of fiction where she prefers book boyfriends over the hassles of a relationship.

Almost two years later, Dani’s friends are tired of watching her in a holding pattern, so they stage an intervention, forcing her back into the real world of dating.

Unexpectedly, Dani meets Liam Lucas, a down-to-earth firefighter. He might be the person to show her she’s still worth something. Dani’s hesitant to trust her heart with another man, but their instant and electric chemistry is something she can’t deny.

As Dani starts to believe that she’s found her real-life book boyfriend, Rick decides that he’ll go to any lengths to get her back. Seeing Rick as a changed man makes Dani question everything.

Can Dani trust her patched-up heart with Liam?
Or has Rick transformed into the man she’s always wanted?

Written from various points of views, The Do Over is a story of second chances and new beginnings

Author’s Favorite Quotes from The Do Over Part 1
By A.L. Zaun

It’s time to move on. You don’t need a book boyfriend. You need a real boyfriend. You need some real sex. I don’t mean to be harsh or anything, but Professor whatever-his-name-is that you picture as Henry Cavill is not real.”

I thought about attending some twelve-step program where I’d introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Dani. I’m a Kindleholic, and I hoard eBooks.”

Zaun: I think that the first two quotes are obvious. =)

Bending over, he leaned in close to my ear. As his unshaven face brushed against my neck, he whispered, “I’m a jealous fool, and I don’t share. Do you mind putting it away?”

Zaun: Sigh, this was Liam's first introduction and I think he melted my heart.

Dani, you had me at standards and then lost me when you mentioned your book boyfriend. Girl, he’s not real.” Macy laughed into her drink. “I feel like I’m Woody telling Buzz that he’s a toy.”

Zaun: True to life.

About the Author
A.L. Zaun graduated from Florida International University with a degree in English Literature a long time ago. A degree she didn’t use at all in her professional endeavors. She loves to read, write and take pictures. She walks around with her camera, and most importantly she has her e-reader available at all times. Healthcare Management by day, Mommy in the evening and most nights, you can find her sitting in front of her laptop with a bottle of Diet Pepsi, bringing the voices in her head to life on the pages of her debut novel, The Do Over.


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