Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

A Life for a Life Tour BannerA

A Life for a Life

A Mystery Novel

by Lynda McDaniel

on Tour October 15 - December 15, 2016


A Life for a Life by Lynda McDanielWhen a young woman is found dead in the North Carolina mountains, the county sheriff says suicide. Della Kincaid disagrees. A former reporter in Washington, D.C., she knows how to hunt down the real story. But she's now living in Laurel Falls, N.C., creating a new life for herself. Without her usual sources, she turns to an unlikely cast of characters—friends, customers, ex-husband, and forger. With their help, she uncovers how unbridled greed has spawned a series of crimes and sorrows. Along the way, Kincaid discovers what the Appalachian landscape and people mean to her.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Lynda McDaniel Books
Publication Date: 09/2016
Number of Pages: 337
ISBN: 978-0-9977808-0-2
Series: This is the 1st Book in a new series.
Purchase Links: Amazon or Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

My life was saved by a murder. At the time, of course, I didn’t understand that. I just knew I was having the best year of my life. Given all the terrible things that happened, I should be ashamed to say it, but that year was a blessing for me.
I’d just turned fifteen when Della Kincaid bought Daddy’s store. At first nothing much changed. Daddy was still round a lot, getting odd jobs as a handyman and farming enough to sell what Mama couldn’t put by. And we still lived in the house next door, though Mama banned me from going inside the store. She said she didn’t want me to be a nuisance, but I think she was jealous of “that woman from Washington, D.C.”
So I just sat out front like I always did when Daddy owned it, killing time, chatting with a few friendly customers or other bench-sitters like me. I never wanted to go inside while Daddy had the store, not because he might have asked me to help, but because he thought I couldn’t help. Oh sure, I’d go in for a Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper, but, for the most part, I just sat there, reared back with my chair resting against the outside wall, my legs dangling. Just like my life.
I’ve never forgotten how crazy it all played out. I had forgotten about the two diaries I’d kept that year. I discovered them while cleaning out our home after Mama died in April. (Daddy had passed two year earlier, to the day.) They weren’t like a girl’s diary (at least that’s what I told myself, when I worried about such things). They were notes I’d imagined a reporter like Della or her ex-husband would make, capturing the times.
I’d already cleaned out most of the house, saving my room for last. I boxed up my hubcaps, picking out my favorites from the ones still hanging on my bedroom walls. (We’d long ago sold the collection in the barn.) I tackled the shelves with all my odd keepsakes: a deer jaw, two dusty geodes, other rocks I’d found that caught my eye, like the heart-shaped reddish one—too good not to keep. When I gathered a shelf-full of books in my arms, I saw the battered shoebox where I’d stashed those diaries tucked behind the books. I sat on my old bed, the plaid spread dusty and faded, untouched in a couple of decades, and started to read. The pages had yellowed, but they stirred up fresh memories, all the same. That’s when I called Della (I still looked for any excuse to talk with her), and we arranged a couple of afternoons to go over the diaries together.
We sat at her kitchen table, where she’d placed a pot of tea and a plate of homemade cookies, and talked. And talked. After a time or two recollecting over the diaries, I told Della I wanted to write a book about that year. She agreed. We were both a little surprised that, even after all these years, we didn’t have any trouble recalling that spring.
APRIL 1985
Four cop cars blocked our driveway.
I thought I might’ve dreamed it, since I’d fallen asleep on the couch, watching TV. But after I rubbed my eyes, all four cars were still there. Seeing four black-and-whites in a town with only one could throw you.
All I could think was what did I do wrong? I ran through my day real quick-like, and I couldn’t come up with anything that would get me more than a backhand from Daddy.
I watched a cop walking in front of the store next door, which we shared a driveway with. As long as I could remember, that store hadn’t never had four cars out front at the same time, let alone four cop cars. I stepped outside, quietly closing our front door. The sun was getting low, and I hoped Mama wadnt about to call me to supper.
I headed down our stone steps to see for myself. Our house sat on a hill above the store, which made it close enough that Daddy, when he still owned the store, could run down the steps (twenty of ‘em, mossy and slick after a rain) if, say, a customer drove up while he was home having his midday dinner. But of an evening, those same steps seemed to keep people from pestering him to open up, as Daddy put it, “to sell some fool thing they could live without ‘til the next morning.”
I was just about halfway down when the cop looked my way. “Don’t trouble yourself over this, Abit. Nothing to see here.” That was Lonnie Parker, the county’s deputy sheriff.
“What do you mean nothing to see here? I ain’t seen four cop cars all in one place in my whole life.”
“You don’t need to worry about this.”
“I’m not worried,” I said. “I’m curious.”
“You’re curious all right.” He turned and spat something dark onto the dirt drive, a mix of tobacco and hate.
That’s how it always went. People talked to me like I was an idiot. Okay, I knew that I wadnt as smart as others. Something happened when Mama had me (she was pretty old by then), and I had trouble making my words just right sometimes. But inside, I worked better than most people thought. I used to go to school, but I had trouble keeping up, and that made Daddy feel bad. I wadnt sure if he felt bad for me or him. Anyway, they took me out of school when I was twelve, which meant I spent my days watching TV and hanging out. And being bored. I could read, but it took me a while. The bookmobile swung by every few weeks, and I’d get a new book each time. And I watched the news and stuff like that to try to learn.
I was named after Daddy – Vester Bradshaw Jr. – but everyone called me Abit. I heard the name Abbott mentioned on the TV and asked Mama if that was the same as mine. She said it were different but pronounced about the same. She wouldn’t call me that, but Daddy was fine with it. A few year ago, I overheard him explaining how I got that name.
“I didn’t want him called the same as me,” Daddy told a group of men killing time outside the store. He was a good storyteller, and he was enjoying the attention. “He’s a retard. When he come home from the hospital, and people asked how he was doing, I’d tell ‘em,‘he’s a bit slow.’ I wanted to just say it outright to cut out all the gossip. I told that story enough that someone started calling him Abit, and it stuck.”
Some jerk then asked if my middle name were “Slow,” and everybody laughed. That hurt me at the time, but with the choice between Abit and Vester, I reckoned my name weren’t so bad, after all. Daddy could have his stupid name.
Anyway, I wadnt going to have Lonnie Parker run me off my own property (or near abouts my property), so I folded my arms and leaned against the rock wall.
I grabbed a long blade of grass and chewed. While I waited, I checked out the hubcaps on the cars—nothing exciting, just the routine sort of government caps. Too bad, ‘cause a black-and-white would’ve looked really cool with Mercury chrome hubcaps. I had one in my collection in the barn back of the house, so I knew what I was talking about.
I heard some loud voices coming from upstairs, the apartment above the store, where Della lived with Jake, some kind of mixed hound who came to live with her when she lived in Washington, D.C. I couldn’t imagine what Della had done wrong. She was about the nicest person I’d ever met. I loved Mama, but Della was easier to be round. She just let me be.
Ever since Daddy sold the store, Mama wouldn’t let me go inside it anymore. I knew she was jealous of Della. To be honest, I thought a lot of people were jealous a lot of the time and that was why they did so many stupid things. I saw it all the time. Sitting out front of the store most days, I’d hear them gossiping or even making stuff up about people. I bet they said things about me, too, when I wadnt there, off having my dinner or taking a nap.
But lately, something else was going on with Mama. Oncet I turned fifteen year old, she started snooping and worrying. I’d seen something about that on TV, so I knew it was true: People thought that any guy who was kinda slow was a sex maniac. They figured since we weren’t one-hundred percent “normal,” we walked round with boners all the time and couldn’t control ourselves. I couldn’t speak for others, but that just weren’t true for me. I remembered the first one I got, and it sure surprised me. But I’d done my experimenting, and I knew it wouldn’t lead to no harm. Mama had nothin’ to worry about, but still, she kept a close eye on me.
Of course, it was true that Della was real nice looking—tall and not skinny or fat. She had a way about her—smart but not stuck up. And her hair was real pretty—kinda curly and reddish gold, cut just below her ears. But she coulda been my mother, for heaven’s sake.
After a while, Gregg and the sheriff, along with some other cops, started making their way down Della’s steps to their cars.
“Abit, you get on home, son.” Sheriff Brower said. “Don’t go bothering Ms. Kincaid right now.”
“Go to hell, Brower. I don’t need your stupid advice.” Okay, that was just what I wanted to say; what I really said was, “I don’t plan on bothering Della.” I used her first name to piss him off; young people were supposed to use grownups’ last names. Besides, she’d asked me to call her Della. Then I added, “And I don’t bother her. She likes me.”
But he was already churning dust in the driveway, speeding onto the road.
I heard Jake whimpering as I sank into the couch. I’d closed him in the bedroom while the sheriff and his gang of four were here. Jake kept bringing toys over for them to throw, and I could see how irritated they were getting. I didn’t want to give them reason to be more unpleasant than they already were.
“Hi there, boy,” I said as I opened the door. “Sorry about that, buddy.” He sprang from the room and grabbed his stuffed rabbit. I scratched his ears and threw the toy, then reclaimed the couch. “Why didn’t we stay in today, like I wanted?”
Earlier, I’d thought about skipping our usual hike. It was my only day off, and I wanted to read last Sunday’s Washington Post. (I was always a week behind since I had to have the papers mailed to me.) But Jake sat by the door and whined softly, and I sensed how cooped up he’d been with all the early spring rains.
Besides, those walks did me more good than Jake. When I first moved to Laurel Falls, the natural world frightened me. Growing up in Washington, D.C., hadn’t prepared me for that kind of wild. But gradually, I got more comfortable and started to recognize some of the birds and trees and especially the wildflowers. Something about their delicate beauty made the woods more welcoming. Trilliums, pink lady’s slippers, and fringed phacelia beckoned me to, encouraging me to venture deeper.
Of course, it didn’t help that my neighbors and customers carried on about the perils of taking long hikes by myself. “You could be murdered,” they cried. “At the very least you could be raped,” warned Abit’s mother, Mildred Bradshaw, normally a quiet, prim woman. “And what about perverts?” she’d add, exasperated that I wasn’t listening to her.
Sometimes Mildred’s chant “You’re so alone out there” nagged at me in a reactive loop as Jake and I walked in the woods. But that was one of the reasons I moved here. I wanted to be alone. I longed to get away from deadlines and noise and people. And memories. Besides, I argued with myself, hadn’t I lived safely in D.C. for years? I’d walked dark streets, sat face-to-face with felons, been robbed at gunpoint, but I still went out whenever I wanted, at least before midnight. You couldn’t live there and worry too much about crime, be it violent, white-collar, or political; that city would grind to a halt if people thought that way.
As Jake and I wound our way, the bright green tree buds and wildflowers soothed my dark thoughts. I breathed in that intoxicating smell of spring: not one thing in particular, but rather a mix of fragrances floating on soft breezes, signaling winter’s retreat. The birds were louder too, chittering and chattering in the warmer temperatures. I was lost in my reverie when Jake stopped so fast I almost tripped over him. He stood still, ears alert.
“What is it, boy?” He looked up at me, then resumed his exploration of rotten squirrels and decaying stumps.
I didn’t just love that dog, I admired him. He was unafraid of his surroundings, plowing through tall fields of hay or dense forests without any idea where he was headed, not the least bit perturbed by bugs flying into his eyes or seeds up his nose. He’d just sneeze and keep going.
We walked a while longer and came to a favorite lunch spot. I nestled against a broad beech tree, its smooth bark gentler against my back than the alligator bark of red oak or locust. Jake fixated on a line of ants carrying off remnants from a picnic earlier that day, rooting under leaves and exploring new smells since his last visit. But mostly he slept. In a sunspot, he made a nest thick with leaves, turning round and round until everything was just right.
Jake came to live with me a year and a half ago when a neighbor committed suicide, a few months before I moved south. We both struggled at first, but when we settled here, the past for him seemed forgotten. Sure, he still ran in circles when I brushed against his old leash hanging in the coat closet, but otherwise he was officially a mountain dog. I was the one still working on leaving the past behind.
I’d bought the store on a whim after a week’s stay in a log cabin in the Black Mountains. To prolong the trip, I took backroads home. As I drove through Laurel Falls, I spotted the boarded-up store sporting a For Sale sign. I stopped, jotted down the listed phone number, and called. Within a week, I owned it. The store was in shambles, both physically and financially, but something about its bones had appealed to me. And I could afford the extensive remodeling it needed because the asking price was so low.
Back in my D.C. condo, I realized how much I wanted a change in my life. I had no family to miss. I was an only child, and my parents had died in an alcoholic daze when their car wrapped around a tree, not long after I left for college. And all those editors and deadlines, big city hassles, and a failed marriage? I was eager to trade them in for a tiny town and a dilapidated store called Coburn’s General Store. (Nobody knew who Coburn was—that was just what it had always been called, though most of the time it was simply Coburn’s. Even if I’d renamed it, no one would have used the new name.)
In addition to the store, the deal included an apartment upstairs that, during its ninety-year history, had likely housed more critters than humans, plus a vintage 1950 Ford pickup truck with wraparound rear windows. And a bonus I didn’t know about when I signed the papers: a living, breathing griffon to guard me and the store—Abit.
I’d lived there almost a year, and I treasured my days away from the store, especially once it was spring again. Some folks complained that I wasn’t open Sundays (blue laws a distant memory, even though they were repealed only a few years earlier), but I couldn’t work every day, and I couldn’t afford to hire help, except now and again.
While Jake and I sat under that tree, the sun broke through the canopy and warmed my face and shoulders. I watched Jake’s muzzle twitch (he was already lost in a dream), and chuckled when he sprang to life at the first crinkle of wax paper. I shooed him away as I unwrapped my lunch. On his way back to his nest, he stopped and stared down the dell, his back hairs spiking into a Mohawk.
“Get over it, boy. I don’t need you scaring me as bad as Mildred. Settle down now,” I gently scolded as I laid out a chunk of Gruyere I’d whittled the hard edges off, an almost-out-of-date salami, and a sourdough roll I’d rescued from the store. I’d been called a food snob, but these sad leftovers from a struggling store sure couldn’t support that claim. Besides, out here the food didn’t matter so much. It was all about the pileated woodpecker trumpeting its jungle call or the tiny golden-crowned kinglet flitting from branch to branch. And the falls in the distance, playing its soothing continuo, day and night. These walks kept me sane. The giant trees reminded me I was just a player in a much bigger game, a willing refugee from a crowded, over-planned life.
I crumpled the lunch wrappings, threw Jake a piece of roll, and found a better sunspot. I hadn’t closed my eyes for a minute when Jake gave another low growl. He was sitting upright, nose twitching, looking at me for advice.
“Sorry, pal; you started it. I don’t hear anything,” I told him. He gave another face-saving low growl and put his head back down.
“You crazy old hound.” I patted his warm, golden fur. Early on, I wondered what kind of mix he was—maybe some retriever and beagle, bringing his size down to medium. I’d asked the vet to hazard a guess. He wouldn’t. Or couldn’t. It didn’t matter.
I poured myself a cup of hot coffee, white with steamed milk, appreciating the magic of a thermos, even if the contents always tasted vaguely of vegetable soup. That aroma took me back to the woods of my childhood, just two vacant lots really, a few blocks from my home in D.C.’s Cleveland Park. I played there for hours, stocked with sandwiches and a thermos of hot chocolate. I guess that’s where I first thought of becoming a reporter; I sat in the cold and wrote up everything that passed by—from birds and salamanders to postmen and high schoolers sneaking out for a smoke.
A deeper growl from Jake pulled me back. As I turned to share his view, I saw a man running toward us. “Dammit, Mildred,” I swore, as though the intruder were her fault. The man looked angry, pushing branches out of his way as he came toward us. Jake barked furiously, but I grabbed his collar and held tight.
Even though the scene was unfolding just as my neighbor had warned, I wasn’t afraid. Maybe it was the Madras sport shirt, so out of place on a man with a bushy beard and long ponytail. For God’s sake, I thought, how could anyone set out in the morning dressed like that and plan to do harm? A hint of a tattoo—a Celtic cross?—peeked below his shirt sleeve, adding to his unlikely appearance.
As he neared, I could see his face wasn’t so much angry as pained, drained of color.
“There’s some … one,” his voice cracked. He put his hands on his thighs and tried to catch his breath. As he did, his graying ponytail fell across his chest.
“What? Who?”
“A body. Somebody over there,” he said, pointing toward the creek. “Not far, it’s …” he stopped again to breathe.
“I don’t know. Cross … creek.” He started to run.
“Wait! Don’t go!” I shouted, but all I could see was the back of his shirt as he ran away from us. “Hey! At least call for help. There’s an emergency call box down that road, at the car park. Call Gregg O’Donnell at the Forest Service. I’ll go see if there’s anything I can do.”
He shouted, “There nothing you can do,” as he ran away.
Jake led the way as we crashed through the forest, branches whipping our faces. I felt the creek’s icy chill, in defiance of the day’s warmth, as I missed the smaller stepping stones and soaked my feet. Why didn’t I ask the stranger more details, or have him show me where to find the person? And what did “across the creek” mean in an eleven thousand-acre wilderness area? When I stopped to get my bearings, I began to shiver, my feet numb. Jake stopped with me, sensing the seriousness of our romp in the woods; he even ignored a squirrel.
We were a pack of two, running together, the forest silent except for our heavy breathing and the rustle we made crossing the decaying carpet beneath our feet. Jake barked at something, startling me, but it was just the crack of a branch I’d broken to clear the way. We were both spooked.
I stopped to rest on a fallen tree as Jake ran ahead, then back and to the right. Confused, he stopped and looked at me.
“I don’t know which way either, boy.” We were just responding to a deep, instinctual urge to help. “You go on, Jake. You’ll find it before I will.”
And he did.

Author Bio:

Lynda McDanielMy writing career began more than 30 years ago. Over the years, I've written more than 1,200 articles for major magazines, hundreds of newsletters, and dozens of blogs. I'm proudest of the 15 books I’ve written, including "A Life for a Life." The way I see it, books are to writers what pentathlons are to athletes: Endurance. And I've got it!
My other books include "Words at Work," which I wrote straight from my heart, a much-needed response to all the questions and concerns people have about writing today. (It won top honors from the National Best Books Awards.) That same year, I wrote "Contemporary Hawai’i Woodworkers: the Wood, the Art, the Aloha," a coffee-table art book featuring 35 artists; it won several awards, too, and sold out quickly. Since then, I’ve written two Amazon Bestselling Books: "How Not to Sound Stupid When You Write" and "Write Your Book Now!" (with Virginia McCullough). In 2015, I wrote "Aloha Expressionism by Contemporary Hawai'i Artists" featuring 50 more artists living on those beautiful islands.
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but I've lived all over this country—from the Midwest to the Deep South to Appalachia to the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest. Whew! I finally settled in Sebastopol, California, a place that reflects the values I learned while living in the mountains of North Carolina, all those years ago.
What's next? I'm busy with the sequel to "A Life for a Life" so I get to enjoy Abit's, er, I mean V.J.'s company again.

Catch Up with Lynda McDaniel on her 's Website, Twitter, or Facebook.

My Review:
This is a really interesting read. The characters are quirky and each have their own personality. Abit was a great character because he was more observant and knowing of the town than Della. I also liked that Della moved to this new setting, rather than just visiting. She gave of her old life of murder, accidents, and politics. Only to find herself in the thick of it. She can not help herself as she gets more involved in the investigation. I thought that the shifting of narrators was an added benefit to the reader, because they got two different outlooks. The ending was unexpected, and emotional. I am giving this book a 4/5. All opinions are my own.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Lynda McDaniel. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel. The giveaway begins on September 29th and runs through December 3rd, 2016.
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Fast-Pitch Love by Clay Cormany Giveaway

Fast-Pitch Love
Clay Cormany
Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Clean Reads


What does a high school boy do if he thinks the girl of his dreams will be an assistant for the softball team his mother coaches? Easy! He volunteers to be an assistant, too. That's what Jace Waldron does in 
Fast-Pitch Love. It might be his only chance to make a move on Stephanie Thornapple while her boyfriend is away. But Jace's plans go awry, and soon he faces the double challenge of coaching a team of mischievous preteen girls and learning there is more to romance than physical attraction.

Buy Links:


"The books has some unexpected twists and turns as the likeable but somewhat hapless Jace grows into a young man who takes responsibility for his life and his choices. Softball aficionados will have a particular affinity for this book because its game descriptions are extensive and detailed. Those who don't know softball will come to like and admire the young protagonist." Gretchen Hirsch, author and book doctor

"I enjoyed this young adult novel by Clay Cormany. The story told from a guy's perspective made it especially interesting. I think a lot of young women would enjoy seeing romance from a guy's point of view. I also liked that the novel was innocent without gratuitous sex or swear words." Paulita Kincer, author of The Summer of France and Trail Mix

"Like the spin on a fastball, Fast-Pitch Love puts a new spin on the age old boy meets girl phenomenon. And what a wonderful spin it is. Clay Cormany weaves together the twin themes of teenage infatuation and a girls’ softball team. Along the way he does a wonderful job of mixing the excitement of youth sports with the impending showdown between two suitors of the same pretty girl."

The Dane

"Fast-Pitch Love is an unusual coming-of-age story since it's told from the guy's point of view. The characters are likeable and believable; the action well paced. You don't need to be a softball player, or even an athlete, to thoroughly enjoy Fast-Pitch Love." Louise

About the Author

Before writing Fast-Pitch Love, Clay Cormany spent over 20 years as a writer and editor for Ohio's State Board of Education. His creative work has appeared in numerous central Ohio publications, including the Columbus Dispatch and Spring Street, Columbus State Community College's literary magazine. He has also edited numerous books, including a three-volume biography of Christopher Columbus and A Death Prolonged by Dr. Jeff Gordon, which received coverage in the New York Times and on PBS. Fast-Pitch Love reflects the two years Cormany spent interacting with softball players and coaches both in practice and competition. He contributes the earnings from sale of the book to girls softball programs in central Ohio and elsewhere.

Author Links:

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dragon's Soul (The Dragon's Fay Saga, #2) by Michelle Rabe Teaser & Giveaway

blog tour

Book Title: Dragon's Soul (The Dragon's Fay Saga, #2) Author: Michelle Rabe Genre: Fantasy Romance Release Date: October 22, 2016 Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

book blurb
Crown Prince Killian Rhys's life has been defined by duty for as long as he can recall. Duty ties him to a wife he does not love. Duty separates him from the woman he loves, a woman once believed to be beneath him. Duty holds him to the people he will one day rule. Can Killian break free of duty's chains before his wife binds him with more than vows? Will he find a path to his true love, or will duty wrap him in inescapable shackles?
meet the author
A lifelong California girl, Michelle Rabe tried the Hollywood thing but decided she preferred an author's den to the actor's trailer. She now lives in the Phoenix Arizona area with her unhelpful author cat. Michelle is the author of the Morgan Blackstone Vampires series and The Dragon Fey Saga.
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Impulse by C.J. Lake Excerpt & Interview

C.J. Lake

Genre: New Adult Romance

Date of Publication: 10/5/16

Number of pages: 360
Word Count: 86K

Book Description:

**Standalone novel, NO cliffhanger. Contains explicit/steamy content intended for mature readers.**

I couldn't believe my luck, seeing Cady Killoren at the bar and finding out she no longer had a boyfriend. Then ending up at her place later that night... She had her guard up, but there was no denying what was happening between us. I wasn't sure how to play this, I hadn't exactly been honest with her. I only knew I wanted more of her...and then things got complicated.

It was one impulsive night--totally unlike me! I can't even blame it on the drinks. That night with Mick was pure chemistry. I never would've guessed that the next time we met it would be in a crowded restaurant, being introduced by my dad! And I would find out that everything I thought I knew about Mick was a lie. There are a lot of reasons why I need to resist Mick Croft... Easier said than done.


“So where does that leave us?”
“Wh—us?” she repeated stupidly.
“You and me,” he said softly and inched even closer—which only reminded her how good he smelled.
“N-nowhere,” she managed to eke out. Remember your resolve, she told herself. Distance, not flirtation.
“C'mon, Cady,” Mick murmured, “that's it?” For a moment, she just looked up at him. “Don’t we deserve another night?” The husky strum of Mick’s voice nearly sent shivers through her. “We could even make it ‘no strings’ since that’s what you’re into?” he suggested playfully.

About the Author:

C.J. Lake is a storyteller who is passionate about art, surfing, and skiing/snowboarding. She is the author of Constructing Us, A Hot Winter, Sky High, and Impulse.  Residing near the coast of Massachusetts, C.J. is currently working on a new book. 


Where are you from?
Originally from NJ--traveled around before winding up back on the east coast, currently splitting my time between Mass. & SC.

Tell us your latest news?
Very excited to have my fourth book out!  My last novel, Sky High, was released  in May 2015, so Impulse has been in the works for a while.  I don't ever want to rush a story, though, and need to get it absolutely right before I can call it done.
Like my Attraction Series, Impulse was amazingly fun to write!  Cady and Mick had a great vibe.  There is a sarcastic kind of banter that just flows between them—and, of course, is a cover for their intense attraction to each other.  I got so lost in their love story, and especially in Cady's journey from a total cynic in the beginning of the book, to a genuinely optimistic romantic by the end.  I hope readers love this one!

When and why did you begin writing?
I had the bolt of inspiration for my debut, Constructing Us, in 2014.  I had already been toying with the idea of a roommates-falling-in-love story, but, believe it or not, much of the story took shape during a horrible migraine.  I will never forget... I was lying in a dark room with a cold washcloth on my head (feeling sorry for myself, of course) when, unexpectedly, I started thinking in immense detail about the characters, their names, their struggles, even imagining the quirks of Tragan's friends--who consistently made me laugh when I was writing. 

I have thought about that migraine many times since, wondering why my brain was able to be so creative when it was in such distress, and it's still a mystery to me.  But the following morning, I began writing Constructing Us.  I definitely think the success of that book helped motivate me and inspired me to keep turning my ideas into actual pages.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Honestly, I think of myself more as a storyteller.  My friends have always said that of me, and that is what I'm trying to do most of all—create a compelling story that will absorb readers so much, they genuinely forget their stresses for a little while. 

What inspired you to write your first book?
See above – my migraine story :)

Do you have a specific writing style?
Well, I outline everything first, but the outline changes many times as I go.  I have to have a plan, though.  I envy writers who can just sit and write with no conscious idea of where they are going, but it's just not me.  Every time I've tried that (and believe me I have tried it many times!), I end up staring at a blinking cursor, adjusting my margins, getting coffee refills and daydreaming...

How did you come up with the title?
Impulse was originally titled The Allnighter, which fit the beginning of the story very well, but as I got deeper into the journey of Cady and Mick, I realized that the concept of “impulse” was a consistent theme throughout—and not just with Cady and Mick, but with their parents, too.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Just that while falling in love can be tumultuous, it should also be sweet, endearing, uplifting, and absolutely hot as hell.

How much of the book is realistic?
What’s realistic in all my books (I think): The casual sarcasm among friends, the flirtatious vibe that builds between a man and a woman, the undercurrent of sweetness and affection between two people getting closer to each other, and the sex.  Readers have told me that my love scenes are hot/scorching/very passionate (one even told me that it made her sweat a lot :)  And this makes me happy, because with the right person, sex should be scorching—hot but romantic.
Now what’s probably not too realistic: My characters spend virtually no time on social media.  Also, they treat their cell phones more as accessories than vital appendages.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not specifically, though some of my male characters are similar to my guy friends and my heroes always remind me of my love.

What book are you reading now?
Timeline by Michael Crichton.  It's one of the MANY used books that fill my house!  I have mismatched bookcases all over the place, most of them overflowing with novels.

What are your current projects?
Currently working on my next New Adult romance, Let It Burn, which features Cady's best friend, Torie, and will pick up shortly after they graduate from college.  When you read Impulse, I think you will love Torie and want to know more about her.

What would you like my readers to know?
Like my characters, I live most of my life off-line, so you probably won't see me on social media much.  I'm more of an outdoors person (love surfing when I'm able to do it, but also love the snow).  That said, readers can always reach me by email (writercjlake@gmail[dot]com). 

Also, I hope you will check out Impulse as well as my Attraction Series, which is comprised of 3 standalone novels, starting with Constructing Us.  Thanks so much & happy holidays!!  

Readers can get in touch via email

Bigger and Badder by Jackson Kane Excerpt & Teaser

Bigger and Badder by Jackson Kane

Genre: Contemporary Romance Publication Date: October 25, 2016 BUY NOW LINKS COMING SOON!

The media calls me the Grim Reaper of Wall street.
I became the youngest billionaire in history because I'm ruthless—Bigger and Badder than my competition. That's also why I know investing in this small town's football stadium is a waste of my time.
What I didn't know was that she was living here.
Judy is the girl that got away. I've thought about her for years; the night when we danced together... how she felt in my arms.
Now, I finally have a chance to make her mine. But doing so means going all in on an investment that's doomed to fail.
And I never, ever fail.
Will she be the first person to make me?
This second chance love story has everything from a secret baby to a bad boy football player turned billionaire-bad-a*s. This full length standalone has absolutely NO cheating and comes with a sexy, heart-wrenching HEA. Looking for more hot billionaire action? At the end of Bigger and Badder is the standalone prequel- Billionaire Takes All- which includes a brand new sexy as sin epilogue that'll rock your world.