Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday's Special is...Cut Short!

CUT SHORT by Leigh Russell

You have been warned.
Don’t go near the park.

When a frenzied killer begins slaying young women in parkland in the sleepy town of Woolsmarsh, newly promoted Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel knows it is only a matter of time before the gruesome discovery of another naked corpse.

What began as a straightforward murder investigation is now a desperate hunt for a serial attacker whose bloodlust is spiraling out of control.

But Steel is already battling demons of her own. Her relocation to Woolsmarsh isn’t going as planned, her relationship with her boyfriend is in tatters, and now threatening messages suggest an old adversary is back to settle a score.

As the park monster continues to strike, the grisly trail begins to take some unexpected turns and Steel is drawn deeper into a deadly game of cat and mouse and a horrifying realization that she might be the predator’s ultimate kill.

To buy Cut Short from No Exit Press, CLICK HERE

Click to visit, Leigh's blog.

Excerpt from CUT SHORT

That afternoon, the DCI decided to bring John Drew in and ‘have another go,’ as Peterson put it. Pleased to leave her desk, Geraldine led the way up the stale smelling concrete stairs. This time they didn’t find the suspect alone. He peered round the door wearing nothing but a crumpled Tshirt and boxers and protested loudly when they pushed past him to see the dark-haired girl from the flower shop lying sleepy-eyed on the sofa, naked above the waist, her short denim skirt hitched up her thighs. Angela Waters’ boyfriend hadn’t wasted any time finding comfort in his loss.

‘What do you want?’ he growled.

‘Get dressed, Mr Drew,’ Peterson replied. ‘We’re taking a trip to the station. We’d like to ask you a few more questions.’ The girl rose unsteadily to her feet, tugging at her skirt. She yanked a dirty T-shirt over her head.

‘You arresting me?’ Johnny Drew demanded.

‘You arresting him or what?’ the girl repeated sullenly. Her speech was slurred.

‘Shut it, Millie,’ Drew snarled. She hung her head, glaring up at the detectives through her dark fringe.

‘You arresting me then or what?’ He struck a defiant pose, legs apart, hands on hips.

‘We’ll arrest you for wasting our time, if you don’t get dressed now,’ the DS answered.

‘Beat it, Millie,’ Drew shouted over his shoulder as he disappeared into the bedroom, muttering about privacy, Peterson on his heels. The girl slammed the front door so hard the windows shook.

The suspect sulked in the car all the way to the station.

In the interview room, Peterson went in hard. ‘You like beating up girls, don’t you? It gives you a kick. That’s right, isn’t it? Makes you feel powerful.’

Drew wasn’t cowed. ‘What’s it to you?’ he countered, gazing levelly at the DS. ‘None of your fucking business, that’s what. I want a lawyer.’ He leaned back in his chair, folded his arms and stared at Peterson. They left him to kick his heels while they sorted out a brief. Once they reassembled, Peterson resumed. Geraldine felt confident that if Drew was guilty the sergeant would crack him, but she wasn’t convinced they had the right man.


Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of CUT SHORT. Or, pop in and chat with Leigh!!
What kind of interrogation tactics would you use on Johnny Drew?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday's Special is...Cynthia's Attic: The Magician's Castle!

CYNTHIA'S ATTIC: THE MAGICIAN'S CASTLE (Book Four!) by Mary Cunningham

Imagine the fun of meeting your twelve-year-old grandmother! Cynthia's Attic Series offers young readers an adventurous glimpse into the lives of Cynthia and Augusta Lee "Gus" as they travel through time from a magic trunk in Cynthia's Attic.

(From Gus’s perspective)

Maybe I should introduce myself. My real name's Augusta Lee, but if you're not looking for a kick in the shins, just call me Gus. I’m twelve years old (almost thirteen!) and the *star* of the series, “Cynthia’s Attic.” My best friend, Cynthia and I have traveled through time in three books so far, and have been real busy flying off to some scary castles in Europe for book four, Cynthia's Attic: The Magician’s Castle. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to give you a sneak peek! I’ve just returned from a finding Cynthia’s great-granddaddy, Beau Connor in Louisiana, and did I get a surprise! Someone, other than Cynthia, returned home with me.

To buy The Magician's Castle or another book in the Cynthia’s Attic series, CLICK HERE

Click to visit, Mary’s blog.


Cynthia had an attic. Not just an ordinary attic. Cynthia's attic was magic.

Cynthia and I came into the world just three months apart. We grew up on the same quiet, sycamore-lined street, our friendship as close as our houses. Fifty years earlier, our grandmothers were best friends. However, we didn't realize the extent of their friendship until after our experience in Cynthia's attic. This is the story of one of our great adventures...the way I remember it.

1864: The young woman paced. Be patient, Kathryn. He will get the letter and he will find you. It must happen quickly. Forces beyond her control were working to keep her there…keep her from her one, true love. Sebastien. Please, hurry!

Footsteps approached. She grabbed the book and flew up the basement steps of the castle.


Chapter One:

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah. She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah…

"An-neeee!" I reached Cynthia's bedroom moments after the Beatles record began blaring.

"This is just like the gramophone I saw at the circus, Gus, only you don't have to crank it! What's it called?" Her face was lit up like a Christmas tree.

Gramophone? She sounds like my grandmother. "It's called a record player, Annie, but, you're making too much noise! We can't let anyone know you're here. Not yet." I shut off the record. Too late.

"Who are you?" Suzette, arms folded, foot tapping stood in the doorway.

"She's with me, Suzette." This was bad. The last person I wanted to see was Cynthia's cranky older sister. "Her family is just visiting and, uh…Cynthia and I said she could hang around with us since she doesn't know…anyone…" My voice cracked.

Fortunately, Suzette didn't care enough to stick around and ask more questions. "Whoever you are…no more noise! I'm trying to practice." She stormed out of the room. "Pests."

I slumped onto the bed, head in hands. This is just a preview. How was I going to explain-away Annie's appearance? Or…disappearance. Now, where did she go?

"Wow, Gus! Look at all these clothes!" Annie flew from the closet, arms loaded dresses.

Oh, no. Cynthia will have a fit when…if she gets back from 1914. "Please put those back, Annie. Cynthia never lets anyone touch her clothes." I had to get through to her. "One day I got soaked in a rainstorm. Would she let me borrow a shirt and a pair of shorts? Nooo. I had to sit by the heat vent until I dried!"

Annie looked unimpressed with my lecture, but I continued, anyway.

"Cynthia could show up any minute and I, for one, don't want to hear her scream at the sight of wrinkles in her "precious wardrobe." I knew that my friend’s imminent return was wishful thinking because Annie had to get back to Beau's 1914 farm, before Cynthia could hope to travel home.

I unfolded the note that had appeared in the trunk moments after my return to the attic from my last trip through time.

Gabriella is sending the medallion so Annie can use it to travel back. Keep her hidden until it gets there. I'll see you soon, if I don't get food poisoning from Grandma Sam's dumplings. Ha!
Your friend, Cynthia.


Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of the second book in the Cynthia’s Attic series: THE MAGIC MEDALLION. Or, pop in and chat with Mary!!
Where and when could Gus and Cynthia pop in to create the most chaos?

Author, Mary Cunningham, makes her home in the beautiful mountains of West Georgia with her husband. They are parents of three creative children, and a delightfully witty sixteen-year-old granddaughter.

She got the idea for her children’s mystery series, Cynthia's Attic, through a recurring dream. After realizing the dream was set in the attic of her childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began. She has completed three books in the series and is working on a fourth, Cynthia’s Attic: The Magician’s Castle, due for release Dec. 2009.

Co-writer of a women's humorous lifestyle book titled, Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF), she’s a member of SCBWI (Southern Breeze Chapter), The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Creative Writers Club.

In between editing and getting her twelve-year-old characters, Cynthia and Gus in and out of trouble, the author enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's Special is...Chasin' Mason!

CHASIN’ MASON by Stacey Joy Netzel

When his father announced his engagement to a gold-digger with a lying, scheming fourteen-year old daughter, seventeen-year old Tripp Warner left Warner Ridge Ranch and never looked back. Until the day he got the phone call that his father had died unexpectedly.

Reggie Reed lives with her guilt every day but can't quite work up the courage to track down the son of the man who raised her as his own. When Tripp shows up at his father’s funeral eleven years later--and a hell of a man to be reckoned with--he has no interest in her too-late apology. Worse, they’ve inherited half shares of the family ranch—but only if they work together to catch Mason’s Gold, the stallion a young Reggie let escape and made sure Tripp took the blame for.

Tripp proposes a secret competition to the beautiful witch who stole his life: whoever catches the stallion first gets the ranch all to themselves. It sounds simple, but once they’re out on the range, tempers and passions flare in the Texas heat and nothing goes as either of them expects.

To buy Chasin’ Mason from The Wild Rose Press, CLICK HERE

Click to visit, Stacey's website.

Excerpt from CHASIN’ MASON

“I expected you hours ago,” she said, exasperation heavy in her tone.

“Sorry to disappoint you.”

“Hardly,” she said with a delicate snort.

Yet her eyelids lowered as her gaze swept down and up, taking stock of the comfortable tee shirt and jeans he’d worn for the long drive from Galveston. Something flickered in her eyes; something hot he instinctively recognized as more dangerous than a rattle snake. She shut it down quick and lifted her chin so her cute little nose stuck in the air.

“And now that I can see there’s no danger to Grandma, I’ll see you in the morning.”

Her bare feet whispered across the floor toward the stairs. He opened his mouth, then closed it. Shut up. Don’t go there. Don’t—

Her right foot hit the bottom stair, her nightgown swaying with the enticing movement of her hips.

“What about you?”

She paused and turned. “What?”

Hooking one thumb in the front pocket of his jeans, he took slow, measured steps across the floor. Tension spread through him like the flush sweeping across her pale skin. Her fingers tangled in the material of her gown, tugging the hem lower as he came to a stop in front of her. Unfortunately, she also succeeded in lowering the neckline. The thud of his bag dropping to the floor made her flinch.

Tripp lowered his tone. “You said there’s no danger to Nana, but what about you?”


Her voice cracked and her throat muscles worked fast. He dropped his gaze to the rapid pulse beating at the base of her neck.

“I’m f-fine.”

He lifted a hand to the rosy skin of her neck; felt her life beat beneath his finger tip. Anticipation hummed along his nerve endings, making him excruciatingly aware of every shallow breath she took. “Fine doesn’t begin to cover it, Princess.”

When he slid his fingers into her silky hair to rub the back of her neck, her eyelids lowered, then closed. Her hands rose to press against his chest. God, he was pretty sure he hated her, and yet he damn sure wanted her. It was the craziest thing. He shifted closer, slid his other hand over the curve of her hip to press against the small of her back, leaned in to inhale the evocative scent of peaches. The heat of her skin burned through the thin, satiny material of her nightgown to warm his hand where it rested along her spine.

His mouth hovered above her moist lips, his unsteady breath mingling with hers. He started to close the distance.

“You hate me,” she whispered, her hands fisting in his shirt.

“Such a strong word—hate,” he murmured, even though he’d just thought it.

Forgoing her mouth, he lightly brushed his lips over her smooth cheek with its charming freckles. It wasn’t enough. With the hand buried in her hair, he angled her head to give him access to the delicate column of her neck. He pressed his tongue to her pulse, licked, then sucked gently. She made a small noise deep in her throat. His body throbbed in response as his arm curled tighter around her waist.

“You…d-don’t like me, then.”

Stubborn witch wouldn’t let it go. That hadn’t changed. He worked his way back to her mouth. “Do you like me?”

Her violet eyes opened and locked with his, making his heart thump hard.

“Don’t mess with me, Tripp. Please.” The sincerity in her voice was astounding.

“Who’s messing?” he asked, making light of her plea while brushing his thumb over her lower lip. He wanted to taste her so bad, and she just wouldn’t shut up.

“You’re going to take the ranch from me—this isn’t playing fair.”

The reminder of what was at stake in this game was just what he needed. He lowered his head to whisper against her mouth. “Like you played fair all those years ago?”

In a heartbeat, she stiffened and shoved against his chest to be free. Tripp held on; let her see who held the control now.


Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of CHASIN’ MASON. Or, pop in and chat with Stacey!!
What’s the next move in this chess match?

Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her it seemed only natural to graduate to writing them. A member of RWA and WisRWA, she credits not only her parents for encouraging her dreams of becoming a published author, but also the very talented friends she’s made in WisRWA since joining in 2004. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids, a couple of horses, and three barn cats. When not writing and living life in general, she loves to read and watch movies—Happily Ever After’s a must.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cliffs Notes-They're Not Just for College Anymore...

From the desk of Ms. Sally Spitfire...

My dearest Suzy-Q,

Suzy, you know that one of the main reasons that I decided to work in publishing is that I've always loved to read. Really loved to read. Do you remember middle school when you sat me down to let me know that reading during recess was a sure way to miss out on a lot of new friends? Then in high school, you would try to keep me from bringing a book to football games...

Well, I got my wish. I have a job for which I am actually required to read. All the time. Not only do I need to be "well-read" in terms of current popular authors and best-sellers, but I also have to read all of the books for which I am doing the marketing. And Suzy, let me tell you, it is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I simply adore the fact that the "work" I often take home is reading. How many people can say, "Yeah, I'm reading a historical romance about the St. Valentine's Day Massacre... it's for work..." The flip side is that a great deal of what I read is either a) not good (especially when I'm asked to give an opinion on unpublished manuscripts and proposals) or b) not the genres of literature that I enjoy. There are days when all I really want to do is sit down with the new John Green young adult novel or a classic that I've still yet to read like The Confederacy of Dunces but instead I have something for work that--like it or not (and more often not)--I have to read by Monday...

Poor, poor me.

Sorry for the short letter, Suzy, but this week I have five things I have to read for work and I didn't crack a single one over the weekend... time to start playing catch-up...

Lots of love,

(Ms.) Sally S.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview with John Grisham

For your weekend entertainment, the Book Roast team has uncovered an interview with John Grisham. International reporter and ace detective, "ril," is said to be behind this. For now, its origin is a mystery waiting to be uncovered. Much like the remains of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony in Egypt.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Truth or Dare: The Most Evil. The Most Fun!

Happy Anniversary, Dearest Evil!

The last round. Well, it does have to be more challenging...


EE, no choices this time. We are in the final round.


* Karoeke, please. Sing it. Post it.

Dearest Evil, You've been a terrific sport!!! Thank You (for everything!)


Truth or Dare: Even More Evil. Even More Fun!

Happy Anniversary, Dearest Evil!

If you are just joining us, this is part 3 of 4 of our internet version of Truth or Dare. Please join us in having fun, and celebrating EE's third year in the blogosphere!

EE, Please select one question or one dare.


* Have you ever been arrested?

* Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?

* In what ways is your dog better than the White House dog?


* Join and dedicate a song to the minions. (Post the details in the comments)

* Post a picture on your blog of your dog posing with one of the books in your library.

* Write a haiku about your waist.

Ready? You have three hours until the final installment of Truth or Dare.

Truth or Dare: More Evil. More Fun...

Happy Anniversary, Dearest Evil!

We hope you are having as much fun as we are!


Now, on to your next set of questions and dares. Please select either one question or one dare.


* How many degrees do you have?

* What sport, if any, did you play in high school?

* What is the best advice you've given Evil Junior?


* Post a picture (on your blog) of you measuring your waist.

* Go over to the Query Shark blog and make corrections to Janet's corrections on one of the last five queries, then come back over here and let us know which one you did.

* Write a 100 word superhero story, starring yourself.
Ready? You have three hours until your next Truth or Dare assignment...

Truth or Dare: More Evil. More Fun.

Happy Anniversary, Dearest Evil!!

The only way you will ever get to buy THIS! and buy it NOW!

(Or, if you want a nicer cover, like the one below, double the amount and send it to ri--- err, anon.)

When you're finished buying a copy for yourself and copies for all your friends (hey, a friend bought one for me, and I CAN'T WAIT to read it!), grab yourself a snack and get ready for our internet version of

Truth or Dare!

This is how the game will work. Every three hours, a new post will go up, with some juicy questions and dares. Evil Editor will select a question, or a dare, and we will sit back and laugh.

Please post jokes, well-wishes, recipes, questions, and anything humorous in the comments section. Be polite, but don't be boring. Be sensitive and kind, but not dopey. Be sizzling and sparkling (wait, that's my dinner and wine!)...

EE, are you still there? Don't go hiding at/in/on your blog. We have ways of fetching you back here.

EE, please select one question or one dare. You have our complete attention...


* Have you ever met a minion in person?

* Do your friends in publishing know that you have a thriving business in self-published books?

* What is the first initial of your dog's name?
* Have you ever harbored an erotic fantasy while trimming your muttonchops? If so, please describe.

* Make up an entry for Wikipedia about were-dingoes.

* Reveal your waist measurement.

* Have Evil Junior come over and say hi in the comments.

Ready? You have three hours until your next Truth/Dare session begins. Extra credit here may mean leniency in later posts...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wednesday's Special Is...The Privateer!

THE PRIVATEER by Danielle Thorn

The reign of piracy is over in the Caribbean, or so it’s believed until diamonds are discovered in Brazil. Despite the cover-up, Captain Julius Bertrand begins to hear whispers. The Spanish guardacostas are dumping log books, and a new French pirate is on the prowl. Distracted by an avaricious woman he could never love, and the beautiful Kate O’Connell who doesn’t need him, he tries to untangle the web of mysterious cargo someone in the New World wants kept secret. When Bertrand’s pirating past returns with the explosive force of a sweeping broadside, he finds he must sacrifice everything his respectable life has brought him, in order to save what matters most.


Visit Danielle Thorne

Excerpt from THE PRIVATEER:

"You were saying? Lyne?"

"Yes, this Lyne fellow. Repugnant. Murdered every captain he captured."

"Dreadful," Kate encouraged, wondering what this had to do with Captain Bertrand.

"He had a hand in that, he did," Moore said.

"Bertrand sailed with such a man?" asked Kate, her eyes large.

"Oh no," the surgeon assured her. "He made possible the capture, you see. Provided information that did the fellow in."

"And he’s a merchant?"

"Ah, yes," said Moore. "He ships sugar and brings in other commodities we could not do without."

"I see. So he is not a pirate or anything like that?"

Moore’s glance told her she had used up his patience. "No, but he has connections and has sailed in these waters all his life."

"But no sinister connections," Kate finished dully, but here Moore’s eyes gleamed and he gave a furtive glance through the louvers. "No one quite knows," he whispered.

Answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of THE PRIVATEER, or stop by and chat!

Say something in pirate talk. Arrrgg!

Tuesday's Special Is...Some Girls Bite!

SOME GIRLS BITE by Chloe Neill

SOME GIRLS BITE is the first book in a brand new series about a Chicago graduate student’s introduction to a society of vampires.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker—and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.

Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude— and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.

Excerpt from SOME GIRLS BITE:

I nearly lost my breath from the sudden race of fire through my limbs, and had to grip the back of the love seat to stay upright. My stomach clenched, pain radiating in waves through my abdomen. I went light-headed, and as I touched my tongue to the tip of an eyetooth, I could feel the sharp bite of fang. I swallowed instinctively. I needed blood. Now.

“Ethan.” Luc said his name, and I heard rustling behind me. A hand gripped my arm, and I snapped my head to look. Ethan stood next to me, green eyes wide.

“First Hunger,” he announced.

But the words meant nothing. I looked down at his long fingers on my arm, and felt the warm rush of fire again. I curled my toes against it, reveled in the heat of it. This meant something. The feeling, the need, the thirst. I looked up at Ethan, dragging my gaze past the triangle of skin that showed through the top, unfastened button of his shirt, then the column of his neck, the strong line of his jaw, and the sensuous curves of his lips.

I wanted blood, and I wanted it from him.

“Ethan,” I whispered in a voice so husky I barely recognized it. Ethan’s lips parted, and I saw the flash of silver in his eyes. But it was gone in an instant, replaced by smoky green. I edged closer to his body, wet my lips, and then, without a single thought as to the consequences or what the act admitted, pressed them to his throat. He smelled so good—clean, soapy, everything male and masculine. He tasted so good—of power and man. The ends of his hair brushed my cheek as I kissed the long line of his neck.

“Ethan,” I whispered again, his name an invitation. A promise.


Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of SOME GIRLS BITE. Or, drop by and talk about vampires!!

The "walking undead" may be used to describe a typical graduate student. What else can the "walking undead" describe?

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Bound "Gal"ley? Not a Damsel in Distress...

From the desk of Ms. Sally Spitfire...

Dear Suzy,

Missing you loads and hope that you'll come visit soon now that the sun is putting in an appearance here in NYC. This past weekend I walked (walked!) to Coney Island from my apt and waved my toes at the surf although it was too cold to actually go in...

In this package, I am sending you a couple of ARCs for books that I think you'll enjoy. Although the words "galley" and "ARC" are usually used interchangeably, there's actually a difference between the two when one is being precise. I thought I'd take a moment to give you a breakdown of the the different terms we use for the printed copies of a book that the marketing department makes and gives out BEFORE the real printed book goes on sale in stores. Here they are:

Bound manuscript: This is when you literally print out the manuscript, as a word document, on 8.5X11 paper and bind it together (usually spiral) so that it can be read ASAP. Since these are unweildy and not much better than just printing the manuscript out on the printer, we rarely make them unless we need to give a manuscript to someone really important and we want to look more professional (and less sloppy).

Bound galley: This is when the print has been typeset (looks on the inside like the real book will look) but there’s no artwork for the cover and usually it has not been proofread or corrected yet, so there still may be mistakes. It looks like a book in that it’s book sized (unlike bound manuscript) but it has a plain blue paper cover with just the title and author's name in regular font on the front and no other adornments. These are usually made so that we can collect blurbs (quotes about the book) from famous/influential/well known people which we will then put on the ARC (see below.) Bound galleys are rather rare (and usually denote a book we're really going all out on) since each bound manuscript costs about $10--which is a lot of marketing dollars to spend on one book and at such an early stage.

Early Designed Galley: An early designed galley--like a bound galley--looks like the real book on the inside but--unlike the bound galley or the ARC--has neither a plain blue cover or the actual book cover art. Instead, it has some sort of "designed" cover that the art department has spent time on--with either a picture, a photo, or fancy text--so it resembles a real book jacket. These are also quite unusual because they're only made when it's important to get ARCs in for a special promotion or person (e.g. we couldn't wait on the ARCs, which take a bit longer to produce and ship). Depending on how many we order, these can cost between $3 and $5 dollars apiece.

ARC (advanced reader’s edition): This is the official pre-version of the book—it has (usually) the same art that will be on the cover of the real book, but the back features early quotes (blurbs) and usually the marketing plan or other details that we want to share about the book in a publicity/marketing way. This is sent to bloggers, magazines, anyone who is going to review the book or maybe early readers/book clubs when we’re doing special projects. These are the most frequently created marketing piece since--in most cases--the best way to get people excited about a book before it hits bookstores is to have them read it! ARCs cost between $2 and $3 dollars to produce.

So there you have it! After that, the final incarnation of the manuscript is--ta da!--the finished book.

Make sense? (Now, mind you, the prices I gave above depends greatly on the quantity ordered--because we generally order in the hundreds, the prices are lower, if one wanted to order only 10 or even 100--those $ would shoot up significantly. This means that we only do ARCs for books that we have a lot of faith in and want to get a lot of people to read!)

Okay Suzy, I've gotta run but hope you're well and do write soon!

(Ms.) Sally S.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday's Special is: Cold in the Light

Cold in the Light by Charles Gramlich

Where the beings known as the "Whoun" came from, only a few know.

What they're going to do next is anyone's guess.

But in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where a decades old conspiracy has started to unravel, a small handful of reluctant heroes are about to find out. Against an enemy from their nightmares, the group will have to fight, to save the life of an unborn child who isn't human, a child that will change their world forever.

In the brooding forest, they'll learn what it means to fear the dark.

And the light.


Tru Maclang followed Highway 265 up past Stone Hill, driving slowly with his window down and his lights off. He'd seen no sign of the black Toyota and was about ready to head home for the night. A closed gas station at the top of the hill offered the deputy a place to turn around, and he pulled into its graveled lot and brought his cruiser to a stop. That’s when his ears caught the faint impression of a shout.

Tru turned off his engine, waited to hear if the sound repeated. It didn’t. But as he sat in the quiet an impression of fear crawled up on his shoulder and began to whisper in his ear. That fear came out of many things, the metronomic ticking of his engine cooling, the blackness of a night where the moon's light seemed swallowed, the sudden stillness of the world around, like spoiled butter melting on a plate.

There should have been a wind to stir the odors of pavement and grass. But the wind had died. There should have been an orchestra of crickets and frogs. They were silent. There should have been a comfort in being cocooned inside his car with a gun strapped to his hip. He didn't feel any comfort. He felt like something wrong was happening here. Not just bad, but wrong.

Feeling halfway foolish and halfway scared, he reached a hand for the car's ignition, and stopped as a fleeting shadow caught the corner of one eye. It was coming his way, coming fast, straight toward the police cruiser from across Old Man Fowler's meadow. The hair stitched itself to Tru's scalp in a cold wave. His right hand dipped for the service revolver at his belt; his left grabbed the door latch, snapped it open. The back of the car rocked as the shadow struck it.

Tru heard broken taillight glass tinkle on gravels, and by then he was out of the cruiser, knees locked in a defensive crouch and pistol thrust out before him. Whatever had hit the car had been knocked down by the impact, was momentarily hidden by the bumper. Tru saw a hand come up and slap on top of the trunk. He heard a faint screech as the nails of that hand slid on the metal, but there was still enough strength in the hand to pull the body up behind it. Neither the hand nor the body were human.

For the first time in his seven years as a deputy, Tru Maclang almost fired his revolver in the line of duty. His finger had taken up the last of the trigger's slack when it froze on the weapon. The same hand that had scraped paint from the car had moved to rest on a belly that was ripe and swollen with late-term pregnancy.


Question - as suggested by Charles (that's him in the pic - ladies, as you can see, he could teach us a lot about accessorizing):

So who is the father of this pregnancy? And what is Charles's top baby
care tip?


Publisher: Invisible College Press

Barnes & Noble


Amazon UK

Visit Charles to discuss alien pregnancies at his blog

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday's special is...The Surest Poison

The Surest Poison by Chester D Campbell

Three seemingly unrelated murders crop up during the investigation of a decade-old chemical dump that plagues a rural community west of Nashville. PI Sid Chance, a former National Parks ranger whose career as a small town police chief was cut short by malicious accusations of bribery, pursues the case after being coaxed out of self-imposed exile by Jaz LeMieux, a wealthy ex-cop. He soon finds himself tailed and threatened.

When Jaz offers her help, she is awakened by an explosion behind her mansion. Is it related to the abduction of her housekeeper’s grandson, or Sid’s case? As the tension mounts, Sid finds himself confronting the unsavory people responsible for his past troubles.


Sid smiled. There was no way around it. Jaz LeMieux was one helluva woman. She had the looks and the brains to be whatever she wanted, and she had the money and the contacts to pull it off. But it hadn’t come easy. Mike Rich told him about the struggles she’d faced after making an impetuous decision to leave college and go her own way. He admired what she had done, but he had too many issues of his own to go beyond that.

She cocked her head to the side. “Okay, Sid. What did Arnie have to say?”

“He wants me to find everything there’s to know about the polluter. It was a company named Auto Parts Rehabbers.”

He told her about his visit to Ashland City.

“And the company simply disappeared?” she said.

“Maybe not so simply, but it hardly left a trace. I’ll see if the old Chamber of Commerce guy can give me something to get a grip on. I plan to check with him in the morning.”

“Are you going to see Harrington tomorrow?”

“After I talk to Murray Estes.”

“Do a good job on this, Sid. Arnie can throw you plenty of business.”

He leaned back and tapped his fingertips. “You remember how reluctant I was to look into your employee problem.”

“Sure.” She waved a hand. “I had to twist your arm a bit. But you did a whale of job with it. You got a faithful employee reinstated and a crooked manager fired.”

“But after that I intended to head back to the cabin. You kept pushing me into the PI business. Why didn’t you let it go?”

She gave him an impish smile. “It was your scintillating personality.”


“Okay, I’ll admit, there’s more. You know I was once a Nashville cop.”

“Right. Mike told me a bit about your wayward career.”

“I guess it’s still in my blood. I’m taking part vicariously in something I can’t afford to do on my own. I have too much responsibility with the business. But I’d love to help you out on a case if there’s something I could do.”

“You’re serious.”


“You’d need a PI license to stay out of trouble.”

“I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve already put in for it and taken the test. I should be getting my license any day now.”

He leaned forward in his chair. “I’ll let you in on a little secret, Jaz. From what I’ve seen of this case so far, I may need a whole lot of help.”



What, in your opinion, really is the surest poison? (Literal or figurative.)

Find out more about Chester and order his books here:

Chester Campbell
The Marathon Murders (2008) The Surest Poison (2009)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday's Special Is...It's Elementary, My Dear Winifred


Schoolmarm Winifred Merryweather guards her identity as the daughter of one of London's most notorious villains. To separate her life from his, she spends her lonely existence with her cat, Theodore, and meets twice monthly at the estate of Lord Nelson Chatham. Losing herself in the pages of a mystery story shivers Winifred's spine -- until the day that she’s forced to live through one. Kidnapped and thrown together into a chaotic adventure, newspaper reporter Remington Hawthorne’s flirtatious charm thaws Winifred’s icy reserve. But can they uncover the meaning of the clues and survive before the tale reaches the page that reads, The End?

Visit Miss Mae


“Consider what we escaped from. But—” He hesitated, as though he rethought his words. “Did we escape? That wall shut off the one passage, but opened another. It more or less prodded us in the way we were supposed to go. I can’t help but get the uncanny feeling we’re being led on a chase designed for us.”

“And if so, then that dictates a designer?”“

Naturally. And look where we are.” He held the lantern high, its light revealing a line of symmetrical bare stones on either side. “We are in the lower parts of whatever building we’ve been brought to. And now knowing what I do about your Angus Duncan, I believe we must be inside Castle Cillen.”

“Whisked away to Wales?” She gasped, wondering if what he suspected could be true.

“As Mr. Upjohn would say, indeed. After all, Wales is next door to England, not a great distance to keep us drugged to sleep while we were transported.”

He halted, his hand clutching hers again, his fingers digging into her flesh. “What’s that noise?”

She tensed, straining to hear. From behind them a cacophony of clicks and scrapes echoed in the darkness. Remington’s alert expression changed to alarm. “Hounds!”

As one, they fled down the hallway. Remington’s grip on her hand never slackened as he propelled her down one darkened corridor to another. The flame of the swinging lantern burned low, its light a mere glimmer in the vast murkiness. Snarling barks rumbled from the advancing canines, their paws pounding the floor like galloping racehorses. Sheer terror froze the air in Winifred’s lungs. With her heart hammering in her ears, she panted. “A room! We must hide!”

Remington whipped a look across his shoulder. “There!” Sprinting around a corner, he threw himself against a door recessed in the shadowy wall. He burst through and twisted back to reach for Winifred. In her haste, she stumbled, tripping over the threshold and falling to her knees.

From the corner of her eye she caught a flash of bared fangs. Screaming, she kicked out, crawling backwards on her hands. Before the drooling mouth could sink its teeth into her leg, Remington pushed her out of the way, coming between her and the charging animal. It sprang, Remington’s upraised arm blocking its massive jaws aimed for his jugular. Staggering under the beast’s weight, he maneuvered their bodies, shielding Winifred from the snapping growls of the second large hound that clawed to squeeze past. His free hand clenching the brute’s throat, Remington wrestled off its body, hurling it in the direction of its mate. In one fluid motion, he heeled around, grasped Winifred about her waist and shoved her into the room. A moment before the door slammed on the fearsome creatures, one regained its footing and lunged. Remington, his ankle snared by the giant dog, dropped to the floor.

Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of IT'S ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR WINIFRED, or drop by and chat!!

Besides being trapped in a castle, what are some other must-do's while in England?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Holidays to All from Ms. Spitfire!

Hi All,

Ms. Spitfire is still in celebration mode, going from Passover to Easter to...

Nathan's Query Fest!
This is where all the cool kids will be today! Hope to see some familiar faces!
Ms. Spitfire will return next week. Thanks!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday's Special Is...Dilemma of the Heart


Order here.

Visit Cindy's website.

Cassandra Huddleston has a dilemma. Her heart still resides with her sweetheart, Frederick Adair, reported as killed in action at the close of the Civil War. Now she has a new suitor, Emerson Bryce, powerful, attractive, and dominant; he usually gets what he wants. Cassandra must decide if she can forget the man of her heart and learn to love the man offering her a future.

As she struggles with her feelings, Cassandra is faced with the possibility that Frederick’s death might have been greatly exaggerated. If that is true, will Emerson be willing to let her go?

Cindy was born in California but now resides in North Carolina with her husband and two young sons. Growing up, she loved reading and writing, but her heart always lay in teaching. After graduating from college with a degree in history, Cindy taught Jr. High for four years in just about every subject. After the birth of her second child, she was able to stay home and focus on her writing as well as homeschool her children. In her spare time, she loves reading, photography, scrapbooking, Period Dramas, and spending time with family. Cindy writes Inspirational, Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult, Fantasy and Historical.


"Cass, what are you doing here?" Frederick said quite casually, breaking the silence between them. He set the comb in his hand down on a bench and then tousled a hand through his sun-lightened brown hair. Though his eyes revealed no displeasure at her sudden appearance, he seemed unsure of her intent. At this point, she wasn't sure what she was doing there either. Her stalwart resolutions back at home seemed to be disappearing into the inky dark night. If he had come home hoping to marry her as they had promised, then he sure wasn't trying very hard to see that come to fruition.

"I...I'm not sure why I'm here."

A slight smile curved in the corner of his mouth, the type of playful expression which commonly appeared on his features when they were younger. "It's not like you to be indecisive, Miss Huddleston." He said her name with a smirk as he leaned against a stall and crossed his arms.

Cassandra closed her eyes and tightly grasped the sides of her dress, trying to maintain her temper. "Will you please cease with the Miss Huddleston. It is becoming quite tedious, Mr. Adair." She uttered his proper name with as much derision as she could muster.

He began to move toward her, his strides determined and sleek. "And how shall I address you when you’re married?" His voice drawled into a low and provocative tone, making her heart give a little leap.

She made the mistake of gazing into those deep, wonderful eyes of his and forgot to breathe as his eyes, no longer playful, seared into her, down to her beating heart. When she was finally able to gulp some air, her lungs began to pump again. "You may call me Cassandra as you always have...I hope." Her voice came out breathy and weak.

"Oh, no, I don’t believe that would be proper." He stepped right in front of her face and touched his forehead to hers. In that moment, it felt as if a dozen butterflies had been released inside her stomach. He grabbed her around the waist, but before he had the chance to kiss her, she returned to her senses. Pushing off from his chest, she moved down toward the stalls, keeping her back to him as she held a hand over her galloping heart.


Ready to compete for a free copy of DILEMMA OF THE HEART?? Answer the following question and wow Cindy. If you just want to hang out and chat, that's cool too!

What is the most embarrassing manner in which your death has been greatly exaggerated?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday's Special Is...Rowan of the Wood!

ROWAN OF THE WOOD by Christine Rose

Buy the paper back here or the Kindle version here.

Visit Christine's website.

Follow Christine on Twitter.

After a millennium of imprisonment in his magic wand, an ancient wizard possesses the young boy who released him. When danger is nigh, he emerges from the frightened child to set things right. Both he and the boy try to grasp what has happened to them only to discover a deeper problem. Somehow the wizard’s bride from the ancient past has survived and become something evil. (National Best Books 2008 Awards Finalist.)

Christine Rose…. author, artist, filmmaker, gypsy, dreamer, & feral hippie… is an entrepreneur at heart. Often described as a “free spirit” she is believed to have gypsy blood running through her veins, which explains why she moves around so much. (Although some claim that she has ants in her pants.)

Christine produced two documentary films and has credits on The first film enjoyed a theatrical premiere in Paris and a considerable amount of international press. She also planned and executed a 40-US city promotional tour for it. She has had articles appear in several magazines, including MovieMaker Magazine and IndieSlate Magazine discussing her career as an independent filmmaker.

Excerpt from ROWAN OF THE WOOD:

Cullen's eyes filled with tears. He covered his mouth to stop himself from crying out. He flattened himself up against the wall of the stall and pinched his eyes shut tight. He heard a scream and he crouched down, grasping his ears, trying not to hear the ordeal outside the stall.

"Oh, the wittle giwl is scared!" Rex chided. He jerked her up roughly then grabbed her cane from her and began tapping her with it from behind. She turned toward each tap until she looked like a dog chasing his own tail. They taunted her, laughing and passing the cane around. Fred turned the water on in the nearest sink and began throwing it at her, splashing her. Each time she tried to run, they pushed her back into the center of their gibes.

Cullen trembled, crouched in the back corner of the stall between the toilet and the wall—terrified; and he hated himself for it. Dangerous brutes tormented his best friend in the world, and he had precious few friends, but he lacked the courage to help her. What of all those glorious dreams where he, as her noble knight, rescued her from goblins and demons to earn her undying gratitude? Some knight he turned out to be, cowering in the corner of a toilet. Ms. MacFey would be so disappointed in him. He hated himself and cried. His fear felt as if it would burst through his skin, and then the nausea came.

A sharp pain filled his chest, and he couldn't catch his breath. At first, he thought it was the pain of his heart breaking, but as he grabbed at it, a light began to shine forth from under his shirt and between his fingers. He fell back against the toilet in pain, yelling and ripping his shirt open. The tree on his sternum glowed brightly.

Rex froze at the commotion from within the stall. His cronies stopped as well.

"What the...? Who's there?"

They heard agonizing sounds of pain emerge from the closed stall door. Beams of light emanated from under and around the door in rays of brilliance.

Rex started to get nervous at the strange sight and sounds. He turned back to his followers and said, "C'mon, let's go."

The walls of the stall began to vibrate and then to shake violently. The bullies began to back slowly towards the door, unable to tear their eyes from the trembling walls. The stall door burst open. Rex and his companions gaped dumbly as a grown man of about forty stepped out. He held a knobby wand in his hand. He stood six feet tall, dressed in a deep forest-green ceremonial robe. His blue eyes gleamed in anger at what the boys had done to April. His hair was red, not a suggestion of red like Todd’s buzz cut, but a full-blown, deep red. A short beard hugged his chiseled jaw, taut with rage. He stood in front of the decimated stall door, taking in the scene before him.

When Rex saw the wizard, he burst out in fake laughter, trying to salvage his courage with false bravado.

"Dude, the D&D convention was so last decade," Rex mocked with a flap of his wrist. Turning back to the boys he said, "Take care of this fag."

Fred and Todd hesitantly moved toward the man, while Rex and Scott turned once again to April. Scott grabbed her again to continue their torment. Both of their backs were to the wizard.

"Luchan!" breathed the man and gave a swipe of his wand. Fred and Todd unexpectedly found themselves much smaller and furrier, with a strange desire for cheese.

Ready to compete for a free copy of ROWAN OF THE WOOD?? Answer the following question and wow Christine. If you just want to hang out and chat, that's cool too!

You're about to be mugged. Give us your best Dungeons & Dragons inspired line to scare off your attacker.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'll Have a Latte, an African Mosquito Net, and Two of Those Titles. Please.

From the desk of Ms. Sally Spitfire...

My dearest Suzy-kins,

Sales conference was mostly a smashing success, thank you for asking. And now that we've survived another year, I have a bit more time to explain how it all works...

The goal of sales conference is, in short, to tell the whole sales force (60-70 sales people) about the entire upcoming list (remember, list=all the books to be published in a specific season) so that, within a handful of days, they can begin selling the books to their "accounts," i.e. bookstores and stores that sell books (not always the same thing, of course.)

Sounds like a simple task, correct? To tell the sales force everything they need to know about 250+ books--in a day and a half!--so they can go forth and do battle... ahem... sell the books into stores.

Sounds crazy now, right? Well, I guess there's a little more that goes on behind-the-scenes than just that. To break it down quickly--here's how it's done:

Weeks before sales conference, we, the marketing managers, begin feeding the sales force with information about the "big titles"--the ones that we expect to sell very well and hope will hit the bestseller lists. We might feed them basic information about the book, for example: "Hey guys, just thought you might want to know that we're publishing MADONNA'S tell-all book about her SECRET LIFE-LONG AFFAIR with OJ SIMPSON! This is going to be big! Already PEOPLE magazine has promised to do a 10-page feature story...".

And other times we actually try to get them to read an excerpt, a handful of chapters, or even a whole book early... "All, this brand new book by first time author X is like nothing we've read in our lives. It's everything you never knew you wanted from a book about the life of a African mosquito lost in the wilds of New York. Please read at once. Oh, and please enjoy this complimentary gift of a mosquito net to drape over yourself as you read." (Yes, occasionally we bribe them with little gifts... who doesn't want a book AND a present?)

So, by sales conference, many on the sales force are aleady familiar with the "lead" or "key" (i.e. big) titles on the list. Also, BEFORE sales conference, each sales person gets our catalogue which--as you've already guessed--is simply a big catalogue with all the pertinent information about each and every book: titles, cover, price, author bio, summary, marketing plan, picture of the cover, and sometimes early quotes. One could argue that this is the single most important thing (jointly) created by the marketing and creative services teams since it is the single tool every sales person uses every single time they meet with an account (remember? account=bookstore or store selling books) to sell in our titles.

Between being force-fed info about the big titles and reviewing the catalogue, the sales team should already be relatively familiar with the list by conference. Conference really just serves as our one chance to really talk about the books to a captive (sales) audience... "This isn't just your average baby-name book--this is the NEW, DEFINITIVE BOOK on how to choose a GREEN name for your precious, earth-conscious baby! It's exciting! It's innovative! We love it and your should too!"

To move things along, the marketing team puts together a powerpoint presentation that incorporates each and every book on the list. For the most part, it's just a slide show of the covers--but the key titles may have extra slides to explain stuff that couldn't fit into the catalogue. For each book, one person (either the editor-in-cheif, the marketing manager or the publisher) has 30 second-3 minutes to talk about the book.

Whew! And there you have it. Sales conference. Perhaps I've spent a long time talking about what is, at heart, a day and a half of talking about books. But please realize, Suzy-dear, that it is of utmost importance in the publishing cycle. It may seem like the most important "sale" is the one that happens at the cash register in a bookstore. But just think, if we don't "sell" the books to the sales force first... how will the books ever make it into the stores?

I hope you're doing well. We're finally getting buds on the trees, daffodils in yards, and winter coats are being hung in the backs of closets. Please do share what's new down your way? I haven't heard any good stories from home in what seems like forever...

Much love,

(Ms.) Sally S.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday's Special is Welcome to Redemption

Welcome to Redemption by Stacey Joy Netzel

Buy from Wild Rose Press

Stacey's Website

Second chances don't always come easy, but in the small town of Redemption, if you're willing to try, anything is possible. From a single mother struggling to make it on her own, to an EMT drowning in the guilt of his past...four couples, eight journeys, one place they all call home. Nestled in the heart of Northeast Wisconsin, Redemption offers these lost souls not only a second chance in life, but in love, too.

Please read the following excerpt and answer the question at the end for a chance to win a free copy of WELCOME TO REDEMPTION! Or just pop in and say hi to Stacey!

Excerpt from Welcome to Redemption

Charlie Russell scowled at the bright afternoon sun and wished he hadn't had so much to drink at Rowdy's last night. That, and Sugar's hell-bent-for-leather path down the sidewalk, intensified the headache pounding at his temples. Most days he could keep the ten-month-old Great Dane in check, but today she was like a souped up Harley on nitro.

At least she pulled him in the right direction—straight to Carrie's Coffee to Chai For on Salvation Street. In front of the shop's window, he lifted his sunglasses and squinted inside to see Carrie wiping down the half-dozen or so tables. He raised his hand to knock on the glass, only Sugar jerked his arm, and tugged him toward the door as it opened with the tinkling of a bell.

"Sugar, no. Come here, girl," he admonished, catching his balance after stumbling a step. He managed to stop the dog seconds before she accosted the woman walking out with two iced coffees in her hands. "Sorry."

"No problem."

The woman looked up from Sugar to him with a smile, and Charlie blinked when he saw her startling light green eyes. Long blonde curls rioted about her face and shoulders, and she wore a white sleeveless blouse with a frilly collar and a pair of tan pants. Dropping his sunglasses back into place to cover his bloodshot eyes, he tried not to stare, but found the combination of wild curls and sophisticated clothes on a beautiful woman impossible to resist.

She sidestepped in her strappy high heels and walked toward a metallic green Toyota Hybrid parked in front of the shop, her gaze sweeping over him before her smile faded. He ran a self-conscious hand through his dark hair that needed a trim, wishing he'd showered and combed it before taking Sugar for a walk. Maybe worn something other than a ratty tee shirt, cutoff jeans and holey tennis shoes. Yeah, so what, he'd brushed his teeth, but he should've shaved, too. Not that she'd look twice at him anyway, but still.

He turned back to the coffee shop and saw Carrie hold up a hand to let him know she'd be out in a minute. Anticipation for the reviving cup of French Roast she'd bring out made his mouth water.

"Excuse me?"

Charlie heard the feminine voice and turned to see the beautiful blonde standing by her car. She lifted the iced coffees, and with another smile, asked, "Would you mind getting my door?"

His heart skipped a beat. "Of course."

He took a quick step forward, then, too late, realized Sugar came with him. She rushed forward and shoved her large black nose under the woman's hands in an excited demand for attention. With a gasp of surprise, the woman's fingers clenched on the plastic cups, popping both clear tops off. Charlie pulled on the leash, but watched helplessly as one cup dumped down the front of her shirt and the other spilled along the length of her right thigh.


Question: Would you like Sugar with your coffee? (Come on, you had to see that coming!)