Into the Dreaming Imaginative Fiction from Author, Editor, and Writing Coach Christine Amsden

Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

Excerpt + Giveaway: Mermen

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BLURB:

From New York Times Bestseller Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

These Mermen Don’t Have Tails, They’re Deadly as Hell, and They’ve Got Something He Wants…

INFAMOUS BACHELOR and SELF-MADE BILLIONAIRE ROEN DORAN IS A BASTARD. Yes, he knows it. And no, he doesn’t care. He’s got money and power, and he depends on no one. But when his estranged father dies, willing him a secret island, Roen will come face to face with an even bigger secret: its occupants. And these savage, sea-obsessed warriors are quick to make their position clear: Leave now or die.

There’s only one problem. Nobody tells Roen what to do. Ever. Oh, and one other thing. He’s just met the island’s other new “guest” and something about her brings out his possessive side.

SOLE SHIPWRECK SURVIVOR LIV STRATTON had been adrift at sea for ten grueling days when salvation miraculously appeared: an uncharted island. Only, the deceivingly beautiful men who live there aren’t interested in saving her. No, not at all. Because they somehow believe she is their property, a gift from the ocean to do with as they please. This is not good.

Her only hope? Billionaire Roen Doran, of all people. A man who’s said to care for nothing and no one. But if he’s so heartless, then why is he about to risk everything to help her?

~ ~ ~

NOTE FROM MIMI ABOUT MERMEN: Anyone who has read the Accidental Series or King knows I love to flip things on their heads. Mermen is no exception. THIS IS NOT A FLUFFY STORY ABOUT men with fins and tails who sweep ladies off their feet and make them long to be mermaids. Uh-uh. This is NOT that kind of story. Nobody in their right mind would want to hang out with these very beautiful yet dangerous men (who don’t actually have tails, fins, or gills, by the way) NOR would anyone want to be their mates. Well, at least, not me! Run. Away!!

Hope you enjoy the ride. – MIMI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt 

Two large hands popped from the water and gripped the side of the raft. If she’d had the strength to gasp, she would’ve. The man’s face appeared just inches from hers, and it was exquisite—short black beard and dark-green eyes surrounded by long lashes. Ropes of wet black hair snaked down his deeply bronzed, powerful-looking shoulders.

“How the fuck did you get here, woman?” he growled while studying her, his thick lips lacking any sign of warmth or reassurance.

Of course, she didn’t have the mental clarity to respond.

“Well,” he said, “if you live, maybe you’ll save me from the Collection—waste of fucking time.”

Liv now had no doubt in her mind that she was still hallucinating. Large, beautiful men didn’t paddle around in the middle of the ocean and strike up random conversations.

Bump.

The man’s body jerked to one side. He winced and then glanced over his shoulder before being yanked beneath the surface.

Oh shit. Oh shit. The shark. She used her last ounce of energy to flip to her stomach. There was no sign of her manly hallucination, but red liquid clouded the water, encircling the raft. She wanted to scream, but she could barely swallow let alone make a sound.

Large bubbles surfaced next to her, and then the man’s head reappeared.

He half-gasped half-growled. “Fucking shark. Bit my ankle.” He swung his arm and flung a large gray mass right into her raft.

Whatthefuck? The shark flopped around, the lower half of its jaw missing and gushing blood.

Liv stared, unable to believe there was a ten-foot shark bleeding out in her raft.

“And now we’ve got dinner.” The man smiled at her, but it was a cold, calculating sort of smile that didn’t touch his eyes. “By the way, welcome to El Corazón.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Remy PamfiloffNew York Times and USA Today bestselling Romance author, host of the radio talk show, Man Candy, on Radioslot.com.

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 MBA, one sexy 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 !

Find out more about Mimi and upcoming books at www.mimijean.net.

BUY Links:

Book is priced at $0.99

http://www.amazon.com/MERMEN-Mermen-Trilogy-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00TYNANIS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430433097&sr=8-1&keywords=mermen+mimi+jean+pamfiloff

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mermen-mimi-jean-pamfiloff/1121333650?ean=2940151313155

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The author is giving away the following 10 prizes:
PRIZE #1:Mermen Pillow + Signed Mermen
PRIZE #2: Mug + Signed Mermen
PRIZES #3-7: Tote + Signed Mermen
PRIZES #8-9: Signed Set of KING Trilogy + Signed Mermen #1&2
PRIZE #10: KING TRILOGY Audiobooks on CD + Signed Mermen #1&2

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Clare’s Song

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BLURB:

Clara was born with a veil, and the ability to see into the future. This much she knows. What she doesn’t know is what other gifts will be revealed when she turns eighteen in a few months. While her grandmother has been diligent in her efforts to prepare her for the inevitable changes to come, Clara can focus on precious little besides the devilishly handsome man she met at her coming out ball. Secure in the knowledge that she has a bright future ahead of her, the future Clara discovers is one that she could never have conjured in her wildest dreams.

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

Charleston, SC

August, 1861

By midnight at Hibernian Hall Clara had danced six dances. Joseph Gibbs had tripped on the hem of her skirt, bless his heart, and ended up on his knees as if seeking divine intervention for just one night of social grace. Leland Montague had simply atrocious breath; evidently he had an unseen rotting tooth, making her continuously look the other way for a breath of fresh air. Walter Wragg didn’t speak a word during the entire dance, blushing profusely when she so much as looked him directly in the eye. Albert Tradd held her entirely too close, causing her father to intervene and have a few choice words with the young dandy on the balcony. Ashby Calhoun, her last dance partner, had bragged incessantly of his family’s wealth, his travels abroad, and what a great catch he would be for any of Charleston’s Southern belles.

Her coming out ball certainly was not turning out as planned.

Clara shuddered at the mere thought of being trapped in a loveless marriage with the offerings thus far. Spinsterhood had never looked more tempting.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ClarasSongKitty Margo was a former hairstylist, human resource assistant and phlebotomist before venturing into the ranks of the self employed with a commercial cleaning company. This allowed her the free time to pursue writing. She has seven books available now and is close to finishing her eighth.

She is a Twilight fanatic who frequently dreams of being bitten by Edward Cullen. Hey, he’s a vampire so the 30 year age difference doesn’t matter!

Visit her at www.kittymargo.com or on her Facebook page. Emails can be sent to kittymargo@hotmail.com.

Website www.kittymargo.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kitty-Margo/605060432867441?ref=bookmarks

Twitter @kittymargo

 

 

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Forsaken Excerpt + $50 Gift Card Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sarah will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please click the banner to see a list of other stops on the tour.

Her past is back to haunt her—and this time, it’s got a gun.

When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot to death on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage’s ex-lover, Riley Beckett. The only gun in town that fires a bullet of that caliber belongs to her.

Certain the shooting is payback for his part in the loss of her parents, he abandons his promise to stay out of her life and confronts her, his rage backed up with a revolver. Yet when she steps through the door, all thoughts of revenge burn to ashes.

A year after Riley unwillingly walked away from Gage, she enters her home to find him sitting in the dark, gun pointed at her head. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes reminds her how wrong she was to let him go. But now there’s more standing between them than their heated past.

A twist of fate—and a hail of sniper bullets—puts them in the cross hairs of a killer, leaving Riley with just two slim options: trust her greatest betrayer, or face a murderer alone.

This book has been previously published.

Warning: Prepare to get caught in a crossfire of profanity, danger, and desire. Intense violence may trigger the desire to wear body armor…and take it off. Very, very slowly.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

The evidence had been right in front of him. He didn’t want to believe it, but he couldn’t deny it either. Not until he saw her reaction for himself, and he wasn’t going to do that unarmed. He reached for her, feeling the charge of their connection long before his fingers grazed her skin. A hint of blue peering from beneath her thick lashes caught his attention. She was watching him.

Frozen by her beauty—by all she meant to him and everything he tried to tell himself she didn’t—his thoughts left him. He fell closer, his hand dipping to her jaw line. Tracing the familiar contours of her face with a fingertip came as naturally as breathing.

“Riley…” The tangle of emotions in his chest loosened. The evidence was unmistakable, but she couldn’t have done it. Not the Riley he knew.

Contentment drifted behind those thick lashes. For a single moment the last twelve months of hell wasted away, and she was his again. His name spilled from her lips, soft and sweet, like no time had passed. God help him, he wanted it to be true. He’d give anything to go back to the day he lost her and change it all.

She reached for him, and when she drew him in he didn’t—couldn’t—resist. Her arms circled his neck, her fingers tangling in the hair she always said was too long, and every bit of the fight fled his traitorous heart. He forgot the cold, hard floor. He forgot why he had waited in her living room, untouched whiskey taunting him, tempering his rage.

He forgot murder.

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids.) When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or in search of that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her. To learn more about her work in contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense, please stalk accordingly.

Website: http://www.sarahballance.com/

Blog: http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarah.ballance.author.news

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBallance

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SarahBallance34/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103362.Sarah_Ballance

Buy Links:

Samhain Publishing – http://store.samhainpublishing.com/forsaken-p-73612.html

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Forsaken-Sarah-Balance-ebook/dp/B00K7YXB4Q

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forsaken-sarah-ballance/1119867315?ean=9781619222625

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/forsaken-25

iTunes/iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/forsaken/id878566015?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Google Books – http://books.google.com/books?id=F5OSAwAAQBAJ&dq

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forsaken-Sarah-Ballance-ebook/dp/B00K7YXB4Q/

Amazon CA – http://www.amazon.ca/Forsaken-Sarah-Ballance-ebook/dp/B00K7YXB4Q/

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Guest Blogger Aaron Paul Lazar – “I Do Believe in Spooks!”

Aaron Paul LazarI Do Believe in Spooks!

by Aaron Paul Lazar

Living in an antique home has its problems, especially when you’re not a handyman. My father taught me all sorts of wonderful things when he was alive, including passion for the arts, gardening, nature, gourmet cooking, and a good mystery. But he didn’t know much about mechanical, plumbing, electrical, or woodworking skills. Though I’ve tried to learn over the years with self-help books and advice from friends, I remain singularly unhandy, perpetually bowing with an unholy need to the whims of the local plumber and electrician.

Take, for example, the twenty-six windows that are crumbling as we speak. The six by nine inch panes are coming loose from their wooden mullions with alarming frequency. Or the floorboards in our bedroom, a lovely old yellow pine, that poke up like teepees when it’s hot and muggy. Yeah, they need to be treated with poly something-or-other, but for now, the moisture makes them swell. Consider the two wells that sometimes work in concert, except for the hundred times a year I have to run down to the cobwebbed cellar and reset the breakers or tap on the pump to make it work.

The disadvantages are many.

But, there are also benefits, such as the three working fireplaces. Or the soil that surrounds the property, rich and black, untouched by bulldozers. It’s not like the hard packed fill they put in new housing tracts. I don’t need amend this soil. I just need to keep up with the produce and flowers.

Most intriguing of all, however, is the rich history.

Our house was built in 1811 by Dr. John Hunt. I admit, compared to many homes in Europe it’s just an infant. But in terms of our country and its young age, 1811 isn’t exactly contemporary. Think about it. This house was built and lived in over fifty years before the civil war!

Imagine the births, deaths, dramas, romances, and heartaches that occurred within these rooms. Did the inhabitants suffer from small pox? Starvation? Were they affluent? How many horses or cows did they own? And how many ghosts linger in these plaster and lathe walls?

Let’s examine the past 100 years. We live on Hunts Corners, named for the original owner of our home. My daughter Allison and I have found his grave and that of his descendants in an ancient cemetery on a nearby hill.

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According to an elderly neighbor, over seven people have died on Hunts Corners. Traffic accidents. Drivers not stopping for the all-way stop signs, or sliding on ice, or drunk drivers plowing right into the telephone pole. Sad to think about. Makes you wonder about their spirits. Did they ascend to Heaven? Or do a few guilty souls remain in the area, confused and wandering, seeking the path to redemption?

Recently, I began to ponder another death disclosed to me by a neighbor. We began to correspond after he read a few of my books. He’s a bright and entertaining young fellow who happens to be a voracious reader. We clicked. And we chat back and forth about books and life and sometimes about the history of our area.

It seems Hunts Corners has a mystery all its own, stemming from the early 1900s. As the story goes, my young neighbor’s great grandmother noticed something odd one day. (I’ll invent names to protect the innocent or guilty as the case may be.) While going about her daily chores, Mabel McAvey realized she hadn’t seen the young girl who lived next door in a long time. Anna no longer attended school, and rarely made an appearance outside the home. When she finally caught a glimpse of the girl, Mabel noticed a thickening in her middle, well-wrapped by heavy garments. She suspected the girl was with child. In that era, a pregnancy out of wedlock was unthinkable. Shameful. A sin. The family would endure public humiliation if news got out. So Anna was sequestered for nine long months as Mabel spied on her and watched the child grow in her belly.

When the time came for the baby to be born, there was no activity in the house. No child was seen. No doctor arrived. All was quiet.

Speculation grew. Was the child stillborn? Or worse, was she murdered by a family cloaked in shame? Rumors were that the little baby was buried behind Anna’s house.

Since then, there have been reports of children pointing behind the house, exclaiming about the “little girl in the weeds.” My neighbor’s six-year-old daughter “saw” her, with no prompting.

Daddy? Who’s that little girl in the weeds? Can I play with her?”

My friend saw no one, and this happened many times. His daughter clearly saw someone out there.

So, although no adults have seen her, I think I might have, last winter.

I rose early to photograph our Christmas lights. They were unusually festive last year, better than all past years. We’d added a few light-up deer to graze in splendor on the snowy lawn, and I was bound and determined to capture the scene during the blackest of night.

It was a clear, chill morning. Five A.M. Not a breeze stirred. Most households were fast asleep. Few cars passed by.

I brought my trusty Canon Powershot outdoors and took dozens of photos. Later, when I viewed them on my PC, I saw the ghost. There she was, looking straight at me with wide open eyes. Filmy, transparent, but with a clear face and body. Only two shots revealed her, although I took dozens that morning.

These photos are untouched, straight from the camera card. And yes, I know there’s probably a scientific explanation. Maybe the light from the flash illuminated ice crystals in the air, causing a momentary illusion. Maybe it reflected off my frozen breath that puffed into the night. Maybe – who knows? She sure looked real. Can you see her? In the first photo, she has a long neck like ET and looks rather surprised. In the second, her Casper-like face is hovering over the car. See it?

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Last night I woke to a tapping sound. Usually it’s Balto in his bed, scratching an itch and thumping up against the wall. I rose to check, but he lay still, mouth open, breathing evenly.

Could it be my grandson knocking on the door? I looked. No little boy stood silhouetted in the dark. All was quiet.

I tumbled back to bed, ready to snuggle in and resume the great dream I’d been having that took me away to exotic colorful locales and luscious meals.

The tapping resumed.

I rose up and stared outside. Headlights flashed by, briefly pouring cones of light into the darkness. Was that a flash of white? A face? Or simply a reflection on the rain-soaked street?

The tapping returned. Rhythmic. Evenly spaced. Over and over again.

Something was outside my window. On the second floor. Twenty feet above the ground.

Could it be the little girl, needing to connect with me and spill her story?

Icy fingers tap-danced down my spine. I burrowed beneath the covers and closed my eyes tight.

I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do believe in spooks. 

 

And now the latest from Aaron Paul Lazar…

 

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Finn McGraw disagrees.

He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him, just before being sent to boarding school. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.

Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family at the same time it takes the lives of the few people he has left.

Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.

And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away.

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.

 
Buy The Seacrest at Amazon

Guest Blogger Scott Eder on Urban Fantasy vs Contemporary Fantasy

 Genre Confusion (Doh!) – Urban VS. Contemporary Fantasy

By Scott Eder

Hello. My name is Scott, and I write Urban Fantasy. Wait, no, that’s what I did a few weeks ago, before the revelation, before DragonCon. Today, in my post-DC era, I write Contemporary Fantasy. And the funny thing is that I haven’t changed a thing. I still write the same novels, but my genre perception has shifted thanks to the wisdom presented at Dragon*Con.

I’ve heard the advice not to worry about genre. Let an agent or editor figure out into which Fantasy subgenre the book should fall since the writer is not typically the best judge. That’s all well and good after the fact, once the book is sold and the decisions on how to market it are made. What about when a writer is discussing his work with publishing professionals or other authors?

When talking about my book, framing it in terms of genre is a natural thing. It’s meant to set a certain expectation or set of rules in which the plot unfolds and the characters develop. So, when talking about my book, Knight of Flame, I start off by telling people it’s Urban Fantasy with strong romantic elements. Here’s the kicker…I was wrong.

But, Scott, say it aint so. I wish I could. I feel kinda silly about it, actually. Thank goodness I came to the realization myself instead of having someone have to point it out to me. I don’t claim to know a lot about this industry into which I’m trying hard to break into. In fact, I know fairly little. That’s why I keep asking questions, hanging with those who do know about this crazy business, and attending different cons and seminars. Look out World Fantasy, you’re next.

I got my first inkling of my genre faux pas early on. I’d been trying to identify my niche, my stand-out factor. What made my Urban Fantasy novel unique? I realized that one of the differences is POV. My novel has multiple POVs. I haven’t seen that much in UF. Most UF stories turn upon the axis of a single driving character—typically a badass detective or bounty hunter protecting their slice of the world from the nefarious creatures of the night.

I was good with the multiple POV thing. I started talking that up and building my case on how my book differed from the others. That went well until I started asking questions of NYT bestselling UF authors about it and got some strange looks. Perhaps there’s a reason there isn’t much multiple POV in UF.

It seems that the general consensus about UF is that the pacing is very fast. That single POV ass-kicker drives through the story at a very fast pace. The characters don’t typically amble about smelling the flowers. They find and fight the badies threatening their town. The tone is dark and gritty, like the dirty streets and water of the cityscape in which they prowl. UF is the noire of the Fantasy genre.

And that’s where it all went crazy. Yeah, I see the dark and the grit and the detective aspect of UF stories. Mine decidedly did not have those elements. I realized the only things my novel and UF had in common was that it occurred in a city (for a little while) and brought magical elements into a real-world setting.

Sorry, but that’s just not enough. So, Knight of Flame is not Urban Fantasy. It’s Contemporary or Modern Fantasy. It doesn’t have the grit and dark tones of a Faith Hunter, Jim Butcher, or Kim Harrison novel. It’s more like the sense of wonder and camaraderie of the Companions of the Hall from R.A. Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms books. I loved the interplay between Drizzt, King Bruenor, Wulfgar, Regis, and Cattie-brie. They fed off each other while they saved the world from utter destruction time and again. I wanted to make sure that my characters had that type of relationship and wrote that in from the beginning. Duh. I should have realized.

The book held true to genre, but the writer got lost somewhere along the way.

That’s not the only place I got lost. This being my first trip to Dragon*Con, I spent a fair amount of time wandering the floors of the Hyatt and the Marriott. When I did find the right room at the right time, I learned and I’ll be passing some of those other lessons on in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Have fun,
Scott

Against the Shadow, burns a noble light.

Author Bio:

Since he was a kid, Scott wanted to be an author. Through the years, fantastic tales of nobility and strife, honor and chaos dominated his thoughts. After twenty years mired in the corporate machine, he broke free to bring those stories to life.

Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.

Knight of Flame

Knight of Flame

Fire. The most chaotic of the primal elements. When wielded properly by the Knight of Flame, it burns like the sun. Otherwise, it slowly consumes the Knight, burning away his control, driving him towards dark deeds.

Stationed in Tampa, FL, Develor Quinteele, sixth Knight of Flame, waits impatiently for the predicted emergence of the last Gray Lord, his Order’s ancient enemy. Hampered by a centuries-old tragedy, Dev knows of only one way to control his elemental power—rage. It broils just below his surface, waiting for the slightest provocation to set it alight.

After a brutal attack by the Gray Lord’s minions for which Dev is blamed, he’s stripped of his freedom until he learns to control his violent impulses. With the help of his fellow Knights, can he balance his rage and unlock his true elemental potential to prevent Tampa’s devastation?

“In Knight of Flame Scott re-imagines traditional fantasy and forges something new from old metal—a fast-paced thriller that delivers a healthy dose of wonder. As enjoyable as it is engrossing.” ~ David Farland, International Best-Selling Author

Link to First Five Chapters:

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Twitter: @Scotteder

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