Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lash by L.G. Castillo Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Lash by L.G. Castillo
Series: Broken Angel #1
Publication date: May 6th, 2013
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Decades after being banished from Heaven for saving a life he shouldn’t have, Lash is given a chance to redeem himself. His mission: protect Naomi Duran, a young woman who has lost her faith. The assignment proves to be anything but simple when his superiors, the Archangels, withhold key information about Naomi and refuse to restore Lash’s powers. When an unexpected source reveals centuries-old secrets, his trust is shaken to the core, and he begins to doubt those whom he had once considered to be his greatest allies.

Determined to avoid anything that would risk his chances of returning to Heaven, Lash struggles with the greatest obstacle of all—his growing feelings for Naomi. But when her life is threatened by an unknown source, Lash questions the wisdom of the Archangels and his ability to keep her safe.

Soon, Lash will have to choose where to place his faith—in the home he has fought so hard to regain or in the forbidden love he can’t bear to lose.


L.G. (Linda) Castillo wrote her first story when she was ten and has been writing ever since. She took a break from writing fiction and poetry to focus on obtaining her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She is now a licensed psychologist and currently works as a professor at a Texas university. Although she has published her psychological research in several professional journals and books, her dream has always been to publish a novel. Lash is her debut novel and was written during the 2012 National Novel Writing Month event.

Author Links:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Screaming Spires Excerpt & Guest Blog!

Title: Screaming Spires
Series: The Cavaliers #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Vampire
Publisher: self-published
Format: Ebook, Paperback
Length: approx 100 000 words
Publication Date: April 12th 2013

Book Description:

A Tale of the Posh, the Privileged and the Paranormal...

The Cavaliers are the most elite society at Oxford University - rich, powerful, and beautiful. No one realises that they are no ordinary students, but a group of aristocratic vampires from the English Civil War. For four hundred years they have groomed the most promising students to run the government, police, and finance in the way the vampires wish, granting them eternal life in return for absolute obedience.

In her first year at Oxford University, Harriet French became inextricably tied to the Cavaliers. Now Harriet’s back at Oxford for her second year. Armed with a vampire boyfriend, some great friends and the truth, she’s expecting an easier time.  She’s wrong.  Her best friend is now a vampire and the Cavalier who turned her to save her life is facing death for the one good deed he’s ever done. Just when it seems that things can’t get any worse, the Cavaliers’ ancient enemies decide to strike at the heart of the society and they’ve got Harriet in their sights. 

Screaming Spires continues the story of an ancient vampire conspiracy and the ordinary girl caught in its web begun in Oxford Blood.

“Dance with me,” someone said suddenly, taking hold of her hands in a way that left no room for argument.

With a sinking feeling, Harriet recognised George’s voice. She forced herself to stay calm as she looked up at him, pristine in his tailcoat and Cavalier bowtie.

“Dance with you? Are you insane? You killed my cousin. You kept my necklace hidden for weeks. You mesmerised me whilst they drained Caroline. If I had the strength, I’d kill you.”

George smiled and shook his head. “No you wouldn’t,” he said firmly, leading her onto the dancefloor.

Before Harriet had a chance to take stock of the situation, they were in the middle of the marquee. She moved to the music as though she had no control over her body, allowing herself to be alternately spun around by George and pulled into him.

“So don’t I get a thank you then?” he whispered after a particularly vigorous twirl.

“I don’t know how you have the nerve even to speak to me, never mind to ask for my thanks.”

“I gave you what you wanted,” he said, pulling her closer. “I gave you your best friend back. If I’d asked you beforehand, what would you have said? Let her die or change her?”

Harriet was finding it difficult to concentrate on the conversation. The marquee was hot and full of people; the music was loud; the dancing was too vigorous. She needed to sit somewhere cool by herself and get her thoughts in order. Instead, George’s deep green eyes were boring into her, his cool hands were gripping hers, and it was becoming harder by the minute to remember all the terrible things he’d done. Harder still to push him away.

Read additional excerpts and Georgiana's take on bad boys
Believe me, I’m not the sort to give into peer pressure, even coming from someone like you.”

 With a smile, he ordered one double G+T, and mercifully, one plain tonic water. He passed her the latter with a flourish and gestured towards a relatively quiet corner of the heaving bar. Harriet finally managed to spot her group. Olamide and Josh raised their eyebrows but gestured for her to go.

 “So, what exactly is, ‘someone like me?’” he asked, once they’d wedged themselves into a quiet part of the back bar. His voice was extremely posh, even by the standard of some of the people she’d met over the last few days. 

“As if you don’t know. The sort who firmly believes no girl will say no. To a drink or to anything else.” 

“Oh indeed. I’m a walking stereotype. Entitled. Arrogant. Think I’m God’s gift to women.”

“Your self-knowledge is outstanding,” she said sarcastically. 

“Well, I find it easier to mock my faults than do anything about them,” he said with a grin. 

Harriet felt once more that uncomfortable combination of revulsion and desire. She took a sip of her drink to try to keep calm.

Ah, bad boys. Show me anyone who likes romantic fiction of any sub-genre, and nine times out of ten, I’ll show you someone who has a soft spot for the arrogant, wild, womanising characters. Time after time, I’ve seen lists of people’s favourite romantic heroes, and it really does seem like the nice guy finishes last. 

I was reading an amusing article on a book blog over the weekend, and it listed some spoof titles the blogger would like to see. The one that really made me laugh was “"A group of Debut Young Adult authors get trapped in their own books. Is that psychopathic boyfriend sexy now?" 

I don’t write YA, but it still hit close to home. When you’re creating romantic leads out of nothing, you can make them look and act and be any way you want. If writing doesn’t actually allow you to bring your dream man to life, it’s definitely the next best thing. There are two main romantic interests in The Cavaliers: Tom and George. They are both extremely good looking, rich and intelligent. So far, so much like most people’s real life dream men. 

However, both of them regularly seduce women for a combination of blood and meaningless sex. They are both fantastically arrogant, both about their own charms and about the likelihood of them getting what they want, whether that’s a woman, a sporting prize or a prestigious job.  Tom, the nominal good guy has killed at least one innocent person whilst George has killed hundreds over the centuries. If you met them in real life, knowing all this,  then forget the soft flowing hair, perfectly sculptured cheekbones and aristocratic British accents - the only sensible course of action would be to run. 

Personally though, I love my characters, and I’ve had plenty of reviews from people who feel the same about one or both of them (with George, definitely the worst of the two, winning the battle for readers’ affection by some margin). So what is it that makes characters like this so attractive?

I guess the first thing to say is that most people are able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Yes, you get some people who write love letters to serial killers or stay in horribly abusive relationships, but most of us are able to get a little thrill from reading about a dangerous lover, then have the sense to get together with someone decent. It’s much like reading a spy story - yes, it’s exciting, and yes we might like to daydream about having such an exciting career, but in practise, few of us would actually want a job where the risk of death and torture was a daily problem. 

As far as the thrill goes, reading about a dangerous, unsuitable man is a bit like taking a ride on a rollercoaster or watching a horror film- your body gets all the adrenaline of being in a scary situation without being in any real danger. Or perhaps it’s not so much danger as intensity without emotional risk - think about some of the situations in romantic novels, where either the love interest is veering between love and hate, or he’s utterly infatuated with the heroine, won’t leave her alone, would kill for her. It’s exhilarating to read, but in real life would be quite exhausting. 

I write vampire fiction, and one of the things I love about that genre is that I can forgive fictional vampires a much longer list of sins than fictional humans. Partly, it’s because I think there’s nothing worse than a vampire who’s basically exactly like a human. For me, they have to be a bit amoral, or there’s very little point. Partly though, I think it’s because they are so detached from real life. If a vampire has a string of murders in his past or gives in to his instincts and attacks you the first time he meets you, that’s just his vampiric nature. He’s lovely really. When it’s a human character, I can’t help but think how I’d react if a potential boyfriend mentioned all the people he’s attacked or a date told me how he seduces a different girl each night. Oh yes, I know - extremely negatively! 

I think there’s a sliding scale here, with my tolerance dropping the closer the setting of a book gets to my own life. I love paranormal bad boy characters and can cope with them in historical, fantasy or futuristic novels, but give me the same sort of character in a contemporary novel and I’ll usually end up throwing the book across the room in disgust.
I think this is part of the reason that most contemporary romance novels that play with the bad boy trope tend to have the character in question be rich and/or powerful and/or famous. I think it helps to create that gap between fantasy and reality in much the same way as having them be a vampire.  I’m not sure i’ve ever come across a story with a charming bad boy office worker - for most people, that would be too close to home.

So what traits to bad boys need to make them work? My number one criteria is that there has to be something to love about them below the surface trappings. For me, the test of a character is whether they’d still be interesting to read about and a good match for the heroine if they were average looking with an average income - if they are charming/funny/skilled/intelligent/share lots of interests etc etc then they pass this test. 

I think they also have to have some redeeming qualities and that there’s probably a line they can’t cross - although different people would probably have very different opinions on where that line should be drawn, and my own views on it shift back an forth. Actually, I’d love to know people’s view on where the romantic bad boy/ irredeemably evil villain line lies. 

For me, though, the most important quality of all - even though they may not show it all the time and they may go off with other people - is that they have to really and truly love the heroine. I think that’s actually one of the things that attracts readers to this sort of character - the idea that whilst they see everyone else in the world as someone to either be attacked or cynically seduced, they actually have real feelings for the heroine and see her as a person in their own right. And really, whilst no one should want their lovers to take such a sociopathic view of the rest of the world, I think everyone likes the idea of being the most important person in their partner’s life. 

“You’re not that desperate for my blood. You could have brought any girl and drank as much as you wanted whilst she was neatly hypnotised.” Harriet spoke quietly so as not to draw any further attention to them, but her voice was full of anger. “You just want to impress him, don’t you? Show him how his stepdaughter has fallen for your charms. Well I’m not playing your stupid games.”

“Please Harriet. You know it’s not like that. I’d be lying if I said that sort of thing wasn’t spurring me on a little. But I was attracted to you that night at the club when I didn’t know who you were.”

Harriet glared at him. “Yes, to the extent of wanting to use me as a snack and one night stand.”

“That’s unfair. You’ve been letting Tom give this awful impression of me. Besides, I’ve loved tonight. Since that night on the Steele Walk, I’ve thought endlessly about the taste of your blood and the feel of you. You’re great to talk to, you stand up to me, and you seem more real than most of these pampered princesses.

“I’m standing here now, and I can smell you and feel your pulse and the softness of your neck. Believe me, the last thing I’m thinking about is politics.”

So, how do you feel about bad boys in general? And if you’ve read any of The Cavaliers Series, what do you think about mine? Do you like them better in some genres or setting than in others? And where do you draw the line - are  there any acts that would make you unable to crush on a fictional character however sexy and charming then were?

“This is a beautiful spot,” George said dreamily. “I’m tempted to say something cheesy like ‘nearly as beautiful as you’”

Harriet laughed. “Go ahead. I’m all for cheesy romance. When it’s coming from the right person at least.”

“The right people being arrogant, entitled toffs, clearly.” With that, he drew her even closer and kissed her.

About the Author:

Georgiana Derwent read History at Oxford University. Aside from the vampires, The Cavaliers Series is an exaggerated but fairly accurate portrayal of her time there. She now works in London and lives with her fiancĂ©. He’s been very supportive throughout the writing of her books, mainly because he likes to claim that all the most attractive characters are based on him.
Georgiana fell in love with vampire novels after reading The Vampire Diaries back in 2000. At the time it was a struggle to find any similar paranormal romances, a situation that it’s fair to say seems to have been rectified in the last few years. She now loves paranormal series, fantasy novels, and modern literary works in roughly equal measure.

Ever since her teens, she wanted to write a vampire series. Ever since going to Oxford she wanted to write a book about her experiences there. During a dull few months between finishing university and starting her graduate job, she had the idea of combining the two and The Cavaliers Series was born.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Distraction Tour with Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway!

Years from Home Trilogy, Book One
Tess Oliver

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance- mature YA

ISBN: 978-1481225724


Number of pages: 236

Word Count: 59,363

Cover Artist: Nikki Hensley

Book Description:

As false accusations of witchcraft consume Salem Village, eighteen-year-old Poppy Seabrooke, a true witch, is content to stay away from the hysteria and more importantly from the relentless advances of Angus Wolfe, a powerful warlock masquerading as Salem’s pastor.

When Poppy uses her magic to help a young boy, she is arrested. Angus is the only person who can help her, but, in return, she must promise her hand in marriage. In desperation, Poppy’s grandmother sends her two hundred years into the future to hide. Poppy finds herself years from home in the middle of a strange place called Montana where rooms light up without candles or sorcery, steam puffing dragons roar across fields on tracks, and cows sprout horns as long as tree trunks. And while Poppy hides from the man who turns her heart cold as ice, she discovers the man who can set it on fire.

Cade Tanner has always lived fast and hard, and he prefers it that way. The last thing he needs is a girl to distract him from running the cattle ranch his father left him. But Poppy, the sweetly innocent beauty with the soft smile and dark eyes, who seemingly fell from the sky, is tough to ignore. But Cade soon finds that falling for Poppy comes with a dangerous price.

Short Excerpt
          As I trotted back toward the inner pastures, feminine laughter drifted over the tops of the tall grass. Jackson’s laughter followed, and I trotted River in that direction. Libby’s plan had not been thwarted by my refusal. Jackson leaned his forearm on the pommel of his saddle as he watched Poppy ride circles on our old gelding. I rode up next to him.
          Her long hair had escaped the pins holding it, and it shimmered like gold in the sharp afternoon sunlight. Her sweet bottom was still tucked neatly in a pair of my old denims, and it popped up and down on the seat of the saddle in perfect rhythm with her soft cries of joy.
          Jackson cupped his hand around his mouth. “Sit back, Poppy. You’re leaning too far forward.” He dropped his hand.
          She swept a long strand of hair off her face and sat back.
          “Now that is a picture,” Jackson said.
          My pulse sped up just watching her trot clumsy circles around the pasture. “What that is, Jacks, is a whole lot of trouble wrapped in the prettiest package I’ve ever seen.”
          Jackson’s eyes were wide. “What’s this? Cade Tanner’s confidence finally shattered by a girl? I’ll admit she’s not like any other girl we’ve met, but I’m still surprised.”
          It took all my will to look away from her. I reined River around. “Confidence hasn’t got anything to do with it. I just know trouble when I’m looking at it.” River’s hooves plodded over the drought hardened ground. I wasn’t fifty feet from Jackson when Poppy screamed. I spun River around so fast, the horse nearly fell back on its haunches. Poppy had slipped to the side of the saddle but had righted herself just as I reached her.
          Her smile greeted me, and it was the kind of smile that could make a guy forget his own name. “Red went one way and I went the other,” she said with a laugh. She reached forward and patted the horse’s thick neck. “He slowed down as soon as he knew I was off balance.” Her cinnamon brown eyes lifted and she looked at me. “Forgive me if I startled you. I shouldn’t have screamed like that.”
          “You didn’t startle me.” Of course my heartbeat had a whole different interpretation of it. Jackson rode up next to us. He grinned smugly at me. “Well, Cade, you always were one to ride toward trouble instead of away from it.”

Guest Blog

Historical versus contemporary.

I write both historical and contemporary books. For Distraction, the heroine, Poppy Seabrooke time travels from seventeenth century Salem, Mass.. I could have easily dropped her into the twenty-first century but, instead, I opted for a different historical period, namely nineteenth century, Montana. In book three, she will travel to fifteenth century England.
Anyone who writes historical fiction knows it’s challenging to write in a different period of time. Aside from having to know details of the amenities, fashions, and modes of transportation available in a particular time period, an author has to make the characters act and talk in a manner that fits the time. When I write historical fiction, I spend a huge chunk of time looking up the origin and etymology of words to see if they existed in that time period. It’s grueling and frustrating, particularly when you’re certain you’ve come up with a perfectly sparkling piece of dialogue only to discover the key word is too modern for the period.
So why do I write romances set in historical periods? Well, for one thing, it is the genre I read the most. But there are numerous reasons and to make it easier, I decided to create a top ten list of reasons for writing, reading, and loving historical romances.
1. Men wore their hair long. (Love long-haired men)
2. Horses (Love horses particularly when being ridden by long-haired men)
3. Candle light, gas lamps and fire-filled hearths. (Great ambience for a kiss)
4. Wild carriage rides along dark roads. (Hot setting for a kiss and then some)
5. Black frock coats, top hats, tall black boots (No further elaboration needed)
6. Satiny dresses, petticoats and corsets. (Wouldn’t want to wear them myself, but . . .)
7. Balls . . . for dancing, of course. (We seriously need to bring those back)
8. Calling cards and hand-written letters sealed with wax (less convenient but far more romantic than a text message)
9. Chivalry (Who doesn’t appreciate gentlemanly manners)
10. Sword fights, pistol duels, and running around in armor. (A hero doesn’t get much more bad ass than that)

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About the Author:

Tess Oliver is a teacher and writer who lives in California with her husband, kids, a small pack of pampered dogs, and the recent addition of three ridiculously cute pygmy goats. She loves horses, chocolate and Jane Austen books. She has a BS of Nutrition Science, and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction. She is also an author published by Barron's Educational Publisher.