Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blog Tour: Too Dark to Sleep by Dianne Gallagher @Dianne_Writes @MkgConnections #Giveaway

Too Dark to Sleep
Dianne Gallagher
ISBN 978-0-985954-109
Brayer Publishing, LLC
November 19, 2012

Maggie Quinn was the top homicide detective in Chicago’s Area One before she suffered a devastating loss. Now struggling to face each day, Quinn becomes obsessed with solving her last case for the department that now bars her from wearing a badge. But is she targeting the right person or is Quinn’s tormented mind pushing her to ruin the life of an innocent man?

Avid readers of crime fiction, noir or psychological thrillers will find Too Dark to Sleep a fresh take on their favorite genre. This is the first book in a gripping new series and introduces the wholly unique antihero, Maggie Quinn.

Readers agree Too Dark to Sleep is not to be missed.

“Too Dark to Sleep is a brilliant, well-written novel... Maggie Quinn is an incredible main character, multifaceted and strong despite setback after setback… This riveting story tells of Maggie's battles with a brilliant "bad guy" and with the darkness that threatens her after her breakdown. The suspense in this story is first-rate from its opening pages to the story's conclusion and makes Too Dark to Sleep a spine-tingling book that readers everywhere will adore.” – Alice DiNizo, Readers Favorite (5 Stars)

“In the vein of Jeffrey Deaver thrillers, Dianne Gallagher’s Maggie Quinn will draw you in and have you following her every move as she desperately battles her own demons while trying to outmaneuver a mind-game-playing killer.”

“Good, gritty fun… A smart story and thoroughly enjoyable read that grabs you from the get-go and doesn’t let go.”
“Looking forward to the next. I’m anxious to see where the author takes Maggie.”

Guest Post: 

Character is everything.

I really can’t even think of starting a project without a protagonist I can connect to. Now, that’s not saying I can’t write a word until I have a complete character. It takes a lot of time to layer and create someone who’s not only interesting, but unique. Maggie Quinn wasn’t complete for a long time. I walked around with her and kept trying to jam her into stories that just weren’t a good fit. I tried the crime genre and things fell into place.

Female characters in crime novels have a history of either being described by their lingerie and lipstick, being drawn as hyper-masculine… basically a guy in a dress… or being one of many incarnations of stereotypical living furniture.

In Too Dark to Sleep, I was trying to create a unique female character who had a balance of what are traditionally considered female and male trait. She needed to be as complex and complete as any guy in crime fiction. I found the real key to this was not writing Quinn as a woman, but as a person. That simple. She is defined by her abilities, her intellect and her… well, intestinal fortitude. Not by her love life. Not by her face or her body. A lot of readers I’ve talked to ask what Quinn looks like. I purposely don’t describe her physical appearance much. It isn’t important. As readers, you know what you need to know and you fill in the rest. Some see Quinn as short and blonde. Others as tall and dark-haired. And you know what? That’s okay. It doesn’t matter . I describe the way she dresses because it ties to a lot of psychological elements. It’s important for the reader to know that she wears long sleeves and that her clothes are baggy… and why. We don’t know if she’s tall or short, but we do know she’s not who she used to be. So when she decides to tear into her ex-husband or a suspect… or a burly prison inmate, there’s a risk she won’t come out on top. 

If you want to survive, you have to evolve.

I’m not a fast writer. Okay, not exactly true. I can put out a first draft fairly quickly, but I love rewriting. To me that’s where the real craft comes in and where the characters find themselves. They gain layers over time and those layers make them complete, dimensional individuals. Quinn didn’t start out with her fear of the dark, but adding that element really twisted things in a very interesting way… and gave me a new character. The dark, itself. Also, the gum snapping. Something as small as that made a huge difference in the cadence of the character. It became a way for Quinn to punctuate thought without having to slow the pace. It’s those details, those layers, which make characters live and breathe and make pages write themselves. 

Late arrivals are often the most fun.

Sometimes other major and minor characters emerge as the protagonist develops. Rainey grew closely alongside Quinn. As her character morphed, his responded. Other times, the best people appear in a late rewrite or just kind of pop up when I need another body to move things forward. Harley wasn’t in the first few drafts of the manuscript, but as I got more familiar with Quinn and the plot pushed forward… well, I needed someone she could more easily connect with and who would be an unquestioning ally. He came late to the game, but was great fun to write and I look forward to bringing him back later in the series.

Most writer loves crafting those complex, leading characters. But I’ll tell you, minor characters with no huge arc are the most fun to write. There’s so much freedom because you know they won’t be there for the whole book or the entire series. It’s not that they’re disposable… they’re just low maintenance. Like a good friend you know you can count on and who never really demands much from you, but is still a whole lot of fun. 

Not everyone gets invited to the party and, sometimes, those you invite don’t show up.

It’s true. There are those characters you sweat and toil over, only to realize they are in the wrong place or maybe in the right place at the wrong time. I’ve got a file filled with scenes containing characters I hope will fit in somewhere down the road either in Quinn’s series or in another. It’s tough to cut them out, but it always makes the manuscript better. On the flip side, some characters just fight you the whole way. I’ve been rewriting Indigo, the first book of a second series, for well over a year… and I just now looped into the protagonist. Since my writing is character-driven, that translates into a whole chunk of time floundering with someone who just wasn’t who they needed to be. Luckily, a little walking around and ruminated allowed the right character to finally emerge and, hopefully, the manuscript will be done later this spring.

It’s not always easy, but once you craft the right character, everything just seems to fall into line and the pages write themselves. I always know when I’ve got the person I need because I can put him or her anywhere and the words just flow and the plot moves. That’s the power of really strong characters. They work for you . They make you a better writer. And that’s how I feel about Too Dark to Sleep’s Maggie Quinn. She makes the work very easy.

Author Bio:

Life is Never a Straight Line

Growing up in rural Minnesota, Dianne attended the University of Minnesota where she got a BFA in Theatre. Although her initial interest was in performance, Dianne eventually focused on playwriting and had competition-winning scripts performed at that school.

After moving to Los Angeles so her husband could attend film school, Dianne switched focus to screenplays. While writing her own spec material, Dianne formatted, edited, critiqued and wrote independent scripts. While in Los Angeles, she was approached by writer Karen Hall and asked to edit and mentor a young writer Hall discovered while doing research on death row inmates. The professional relationship which lasted several years gave Dianne a unique look into the prison system and into the individuals sitting on death row.

A move to the Chicago area translated into a new focus on novels as well as a love for the big-shouldered city. Dianne edited, critiqued and ghosted a variety of fiction and nonfiction pieces while having great fun with her family. As projects she worked on were placed with agencies like Writers House, Dianne decided to start writing for herself. The result is the debut novel, Too Dark to Sleep,


Paperback of Too Dark to Sleep:

Book Blitz: Senior Year Bites (The Clanless #1) by J.A. Campbell @untoldpress @JACampbellAuth @NereydaG1003 #YABOUNDBOOKTOURS #Giveaway

Senior Year Bites (The Clanless #1)
Release Date: 07/07/14
Untold Press

Summary from Goodreads:
Senior year is supposed to be fun: boys, dances and graduation. It's significantly harder to enjoy it when you're dead.

Thanks to an innocent game of Truth or Dare, I wound up sleeping in a graveyard. Probably not the brightest thing I've ever done, but thanks to a couple of well-placed fangs, I'm here to tell the tale.

Vampires might stalk pop culture, but they're just myths, right? Yeah. Not so much…

Everything seems a lot more difficult when you're a nocturnal creature of the night, especially school. I was managing, but couldn't keep it hidden from my friends. Steph decided that we should be cool, like superheroes, and fight crime.

I'm a vampire, not a hero. Living in a sleepy New England town, crime is a little harder to come by. At least it is until a serial killer moves into the area. He's got the authorities stumped, but then again, the cops don't have a teenage, blood-sucking, non-hero on their team. It doesn't take long for me to discover the world is full of monsters. I may be one of them…but will I turn out to be the hero, or the killer everyone is looking for.

Buy Links:

Excerpt: Chapter 1

I had plans for my last year of college. I was going to find a boyfriend, go to a few dances, and though I hadn't told my mom yet, take some beginning paramedic courses in the spring. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do with my life-wasn't that what college was for?-but I liked the idea of being a hero, like my dad, saving lives every day. That had been the plan anyway, but a sleepover and a late-night dare had changed everything.

A lot.

"Megan, time for school," Mom called up the stairs.

I peeked out the window, squinting at the sunlight glinting off the windshield of my Jeep. It was too damn sunny for me to get from my house to the Jeep without third degree burns-or worse.


My newly sensitive ears could hear the soft brush of her socks on the carpet as she walked up the stairs. I crawled back into bed and did my best to look tired and sick. It wasn't hard with my pale skin, and I hadn't been eating well. If I didn't let her get a good look at me, she might buy that I had a cold or something. Another thought tickled at the back of my mind. I could make her think I was sick. I shoved the thought away in disgust. I wasn't going to use mind control on someone I loved.

The door creaked open, and Mom walked in. My heart would have been racing-if it still could. "Megan?" Mom's voice sounded full of concern.

I groaned and pulled the covers down off my head. "Mmmm?"

"It's time for school. You didn't come down for breakfast." Her flat tone covered her worry with annoyance.

"I don't feel well."


"I don't." I tried to make myself sound hoarse.

"You've been eating so poorly. Try to eat, and then go to school. I'll write a note for you."

I faked a cough.

Mom sighed. "You've been sick so much recently. Maybe you should go to the doctor."

"No, it's just a cold." I hadn't been "sick" that much. We rarely saw the sun this time of year.

As long as I wore sunglasses, a hat, and long sleeves, I didn't burn. It was simply really uncomfortable. I felt horrible for the deception, but what could I do?

"It's beautiful outside for a change. Go outside and get some fresh air."

I panicked at the thought. "No, I just want to sleep." And I did. So very much.

It was hard enough to be awake at all on cloudy days; sunny ones were pure torture.


My stomach sank at the worry in Mom's voice, but I couldn't tell her what was wrong. Not only wouldn't she understand, but I didn't want to end up in the freaking loony bin when I claimed I was something that didn't really exist.

"All right, honey. Sleep well. I'll call in sick for you."

"Thanks." I mentally shrank away from her concern and fought tears of frustration. I didn't want my life to be full of lies, which put distance between us. We had to take care of each other, but I could only hide from her.

She shut my door and left, quiet footsteps strangely loud in my ears. I sighed and pulled the blanket over my head again.

My life changed several weeks earlier at my best friend's ill-fated birthday party. Well, ill-fated for me, anyway. Steph had a great time.

Truth or dare, a stupid game everyone I knew played at least once in their lives. Afraid of the truth, I had chosen the dare-spend the rest of the night in the graveyard near Steph's house. Easy enough, right? Well, it had been up until the point where I was attacked and killed. It wasn't something you normally walked away from, but for better or for worse, I had.

Vampires were in books, movies, and on TV, but I'd never believed they were real. Still, it hadn't been hard to figure out what had happened to me. Dealing with it was another story. It had taken several almost disastrous mishaps-going for a walk in the bright sunshine had been particularly painful-to convince me. Now, the cloudy New England days that had been the bane of my existence provided my only semblance of a normal life.

About the Author
Julie has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She's worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she's been a writer and when she's not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog Kira, her new horse and Traveler-in training, Triska, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories and the young adult Tales of the Travelers fantasy series. She's the editor for Steampunk Trails and a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Dog Writers Association.

Author Links:
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Blog Tour: Partners in Crime By Downey Greene @DowneyGreene @GHBTours #Giveaway

Partners in Crime
By- Downey Greene
Genre- Romantic Suspense
Publisher- Staccato Publishing
Publication Date- April 29th, 2014

Gun, badge... and a swear jar?

Detective Faye Kane is a good cop. So when she smells a rat in her city she follows the facts no matter where they lead even if it's right to Philadelphia's own philanthropist and hopeful new mayor, Martino "Millie" Maliano. But after a rough day, sometimes even a cop needs to feel like a woman.

Enter Ian "Griff" McManus, rumored lead problem solver in Millie's organization. After one hot night with a sexy stranger, he's given a new target his boss needs quieted: Detective Faye Kane.

Dirty cops, loyalty, betrayal, even love. Detective Kane needs to sift through the ashes of her beloved city after it all comes down to find the one thing that matters, if she's still standing.

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Blog Tour: Chasing Ravens By Jessica E. Paige @jessicaepaige @GHBTours #Giveaway

Chasing Ravens
Book # 1
By- Jessica E. Paige
Genre- YA Fairy Tale/Folklore

Orphaned at a young age, 15-year old Anouk's punishment for being too outspoken is an arranged marriage worse than any she could imagine. Fleeing on horseback, yet without a sense of where to turn, she stumbles upon an idyllic village where she finds safe haven. Could this be home?

Ultimately, it will lead her to confront the very face of death, yet amidst the danger and darkness, she meets a handsome woodsman and finds a glowing blue flower with power beyond her wildest dreams.

Inspired by Russian fairy tales and steeped in ancient folklore, Paige's novel is ripe with fantasy, love, and courage.


Book Blitz: The Token 9: Chet Sinclair (The Token #9) by Marata Eros @MarataEros @XpressoReads #XpressoBookTours #Giveaway

The Token 9: Chet Sinclair by Marata Eros
(The Token #9)
Publication date: February 27th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance


An Addiction.

Kiki is desperate to stop the twisted relationship she shares with Chet Sinclair, but finds that she can’t. He is too vital, too potent… like a magnet, she cleaves to him. Desperate to break the pattern, she goes into hiding to escape her feelings and a ghost from her past comes back to haunt her.

The Consumption.

Needy and unnerved, Kiki turns to the one person that offered her solace from the past. Can Damon Axton erase what’s begun? Will he be the one to break the cycle of sexual intensity and obsession that Chet uses to imprison her, body and soul?

A Recompense of Love.

When Sinclair discovers where Kiki is hiding, their passion explodes once again. Can either admit their true feelings for each other? Or will sensual enslavement destroy their dark love before it has begun?


SALE NOTE: Token # 4-8 are on sale today through the release of Token #9 on a KCD 99 cent countdown. It's a savings over regular price of $10.

Earlier books in the series on Amazon can be found here: 


“No.” I stare down at Ax from where's he perched on the beat-up futon—my bed. “We're not a team until we get some shit straight.”

Ax's jet black eyebrow hops to his hairline. “Baby—”

“No,” I say, waving a palm in his face like a railroad arm coming down over a track. “Don't you baby me.” My eyes shoot sparks, and he leans back with a grunt.

“You clobbered Chet.” I cross my arms.

“Yeah-huh.” He gives his short hair a rough scrub. “And Chump was deserving, Kik.”

I stomp my high heel. “Maybe!” I stab the air with my finger. “But you nailed him from behind, and now he's, I don't know, dead or broken somewhere.”

Ax shakes his head. “I've looked into Chet-buddy, and his rich ass can take care of its own self.” He wags a finger and leans back again.

I pace as if the energy is pouring off me. I whirl and point at him.
His eyes narrow on my hot pink nail tip.

“You have a closet full of chick’s clothing,” I say.

Ax shrugs, giving my once-pristine outfit an eye rake. “I see you made use of it.”

“Why, Ax?”

His expression is unreadable, not the open face I remember so well. “The Crawl isn't my only business, Kik. I have some others.”

“What do you mean?” I search his face, and a flicker skates across his dark gaze. “Don't bullshit me, Ax. It won't work. I'm a fucking hard-charging broad. You know this.”

He grins, white teeth slashing across his face. “Oh, I know. Damn, girl, do I know.” He chuckles. “This isn't where I normally hang. In fact, this is just a little lily pad I hop on to sleep over once in a while. Sometimes employees from my other businesses need somewhere to crash, and I give them a boost.”

“How much of a boost?” I'm aware my voice has just dipped into suspicion.

“Kik…” His eyes meet mine, and they're not remotely soft, but hard as flint. “Why do I feel you're coming down hard on me when I've been doing nothing but helping you? Let me count the ways of my awesome.” He winks, ticking off his great points on his fingers. “I took you in when Chump was admiring his own dick.” I roll my eyes, and he continues. “I haven't put the moves on your hotness.”


Guest Post:

Colorblind and Loving It

What race are you?

Amazon has begun adding categories I couldn't have dreamed up if my life depended on it. Yes, on goes my obsession with categories, which I've touched on before (give me as many subs as you can!).

This is where it gets good. Now, I have a spot for my men and women of color.

That's right.

Non-caucasian people want love, hot sex and all the other trappings of being human! Who knew? This is such an obvious thing, saying it feels like putting on a pair of shoes that fit badly. Why do we even need categories for such things? Because most of the literature does not speak to the racial diversity that is exploding across America (I'll stay to that country because that's where I live). 

Do I plug certain characters into my books to be diverse?

Hell no.

The characters are in charge guys, I couldn't any more force my muse to do what I want than become a man.

The character is who they are and it predicates race. And honestly, lots of my MCs are mixed anyway. I just SEE them that way. My first book had MCs that were black, Asian and the ambiguous race of other. You know what that is? Anything that is several things mixed together.

Now it seems as if writing mixed-race fiction is becoming the flavor of the month. (My vote is to make it the flavor of forever.)

Amazon's noticed, adding interracial romance and erotica to its sub-genres. Well goody gumdrop, because those authors who enjoy writing a mixed bag which include different ethnicities are digging putting our stuff where it belongs. And where our readers of color can find it. And all our readers.
My current work that just wrapped is about a Haitian guy that locks horns with the French mob.  See how my muse slid that in there? Is he “black?” Not really, he's Haitian, and speaks French... but not Parisian, not that city stuff, but raw and unfiltered creole style. Yeah... that was fun. Who's his love interest? Well a really cool caucasian girl... but that's not all she is.

Ohh la la!

I'm loving that the further we go, the less we see. Amazon's colorblind, and many writers are seeing the need to expose our unique cross-section of domestic humanity right here in the little US of A. For me, writing about different cultures and races feels right. Keeps things fresh... doesn't allow for as much regurgitation of the same old thing.

What race are you?

Ultimately, does it matter... if you're a woman—you want love. To be loved; erotically, passionately, unconditionally. I haven't found color makes that different.

Color really is all the same.

AUTHOR BIO:                                                             

Marata Eros (a pen name for Tamara Rose Blodgett), is the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author of A Terrible Love. Marata has more than thirty-five titles in multiple genres including Dark Fantasy, Dark Romance as well as her highly successful Dark Erotica series.

Marata lives in South Dakota with her husband, children and fur kids. She is an ardent reader of many genres. Tamara enjoys interacting with her readers via Twitter, blog and newsletter as often as possible. Please stop by and say hi :)


Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL) 

Signed paperback of The Token 9: Chet Sinclair

Book Blitz Organzied By

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Cover Reveal: Drawn by Chris Ledbetter @Chris_Ledbetter @evernightteen @NereydaG1003 #YABOUNDBOOKTOURS #Giveaway

Release Date: 06/08/15
Evernight Teen
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Summary from Goodreads:
Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah's life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah's father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron's convinced there's more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah's now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life's soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.

About the Author
Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly "walked-on" to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He's worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.

He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

Author Links:
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Release Blitz: Redemption by S. Nelson @HotTreePromos #Giveaway

How do you protect someone from the darkness when that's all you know?

Title: Redemption
Author: S. Nelson
Genre: Fictional Romance
Release Date: February 25, 2015
Cover Designer: CT Cover Creations
Editor: Hot Tree Editing


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Blurb Blitz: Ultimate Prey (Ultimate CORE Book 3) by Kristine Mason @KristineMason7 @GoddessFish #Giveaway

Ultimate Prey 
Ultimate CORE Book 3
by Kristine Mason


When the hunter becomes the hunted…who will become the ultimate prey?

CORE agent Lola Tam has two things on her mind, quitting her job as a criminal investigator and baking a frozen pie for Thanksgiving dinner without burning it. But a midnight call forces a change of plans. Her boss and future stepfather, Ian Scott, has been kidnapped from his Florida vacation rental—along with her mother. The kidnapper’s plan? Drop Ian and her mom in the Everglades and hunt them like animals. Terrified for her mom, Lola takes the bait and travels to Everglade City, Florida where she’s determined to end the hunt before it begins.

Ryan Monahan, former Navy SEAL turned airboat captain is used to taking tourists through the Everglades, not guiding a sexy agent on a rescue mission. After spending years dealing with a past filled with guilt and regret, he needs a little action and adventure in his life—he needs to prove he could still be a hero. What he doesn’t need? Falling for a woman he has no business wanting, especially when the hunt takes a deadly turn…


From Lola’s point of view:

Lola stopped and looked toward Ryan, who pulled off his pack as he jumped to the last root. His easy smile had disappeared. His face had grown tense, his eyes filled with alarm.

Terrified by his sudden change, she swallowed hard and glanced down at her boots, expecting a python or gator to be inches from her feet. When she didn’t see anything but vines, dead leaves and dirt, she decided she’d rather be closer to Ryan, than whatever might be behind her. Gaze on him, she took a step forward.

“No,” he yelled, and rushed forward in a leap, just as her boot snagged against a thin, wire.

She landed on her back, Ryan’s arms cushioning her fall. She squeezed her eyes tight and burrowed against his hard body, fisting his shirt and waiting for the inevitable. Seconds passed. His heart pounded against her chest and his breath came in ragged bursts along the side of her face.
He raised his head, but kept his body flush to hers and held her tight. “Are you okay?”

She met Ryan’s gaze, saw the concern in his eyes, then quickly let go of his shirt and wrapped her arms around his broad back. She might not know this man but she didn’t want anything to happen to him. He’d assumed the worst and selflessly shielded her body. That he would give his life to save hers amazed and humbled her.

He hugged her back. His warm breath caressed her ear as he let out a sigh. “Promise me the next time I tell you not to move, you’ll listen?”

She let out a shaky chuckle. “I promise.”

He lifted his head, then used his arm to brace himself above her. The sunlight haloed his dark blond head, and with the way the shadows played across his face, his eyes took on a gunmetal shade of gray. He moved his hand from beneath her, then smoothed the hair that had escaped from her ponytail away from her cheek. “I’m going to blame every new gray hair on you,” he said with a grin.

He dipped his head, and for a split second she thought he might kiss her. But then he simply pressed his forehead against hers. She might have met him less than six hours ago, but she would have welcomed a kiss. She wanted to be reminded that she was alive. That she wasn’t living a nightmare alone.

AUTHOR Bio:                                                   

Kristine Mason is the bestselling author of the popular romantic suspense trilogies C.O.R.E. Shadow and Ultimate C.O.R.E. She is currently working on her next trilogy, C.O.R.E Above the Law, along with a series of Psychic C.O.R.E. novellas—all to be released in 2015. 

Although Kristine has published a few contemporary romance novels, she focuses most of her energy on her romantic suspense stories, which she loves for their blend of dark mystery/suspense and sexy romance. She is fascinated with what makes people afraid, and is famous for her depraved villains whose crimes present massive obstacles for her heroes and heroines to overcome. 

Kristine has a degree in journalism from Ohio State University and lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, four kids, and two dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s chauffeuring kids, gardening, or collecting gnomes. Oh, and she makes a mean chocolate chip cookie! 

Connect with Kristine on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. And be sure to sign up for her newsletter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!


$10 Amazon/BN GC to two randomly drawn winners 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blog Tour: The King's Sword (Erdemen Honor #1) by C.J. Brightley @CJBrightley @MkgConnections #Giveaway

The King's Sword 
Erdemen Honor #1
by C.J. Brightley


A disillusioned soldier. A spoiled, untried prince. A coup that threatens the country they both love. When retired soldier Kemen finds the young prince Hakan fleeing an attempted assassination, he reluctantly takes the role of mentor and guardian. Keeping the prince alive is challenging enough. Making him a man is harder.

As usurper Vidar tightens his grip on power, Kemen wrestles with questions of duty and honor. What if the prince isn't the best ruler after all?

Invasion looms, and Kemen's decisions will shape the fate of a nation. What will he sacrifice for friendship and honor?

                                     Add to Goodreads!


Chapter 1:

I crossed his tracks not far outside of Stonehaven, and I followed them out of curiosity, nothing more. They were uneven, as if he were stumbling. It was bitterly cold, a stiff wind keeping the hilltops mostly free of the snow that formed deep drifts in every depression. By the irregularity of his trail, I imagined he was some foolish city boy caught out in the cold and that he might want some help.

It was the winter of 368, a few weeks before the new year. I was on my way to the garrison at Kesterlin just north of the capital, but I was in no hurry. I had a little money in my pack and I was happy enough alone.

In less than a league, I found him lying facedown in the snow. I nudged him with my toe before I knelt to turn him over, but he didn’t respond. He was young, and something about him seemed oddly familiar. He wasn’t hurt, at least not in a way I could see, but he was nearly frozen. He wore a thin shirt, well-made breeches, and expensive boots, but nothing else. He had no sword, no tunic over his shirt, no cloak, no horse. I had no horse because I didn’t have the gold for one, but judging by his boots he could have bought one easily. There was a bag of coins inside his shirt, but I didn’t investigate that further. His breathing was slow, his hands icy. It was death to be out in such weather so unprepared.

He was either a fool or he was running from something, but in either case I couldn’t let him freeze. I strode to the top of the hill to look for pursuit. A group of riders was moving away to the south, but I couldn’t identify them. Anyway, they wouldn’t cross his path going that direction.

I wrapped him in my cloak and hoisted him over my shoulder. The forest wasn’t too far away and it would provide shelter and firewood. I wore a shirt and a thick winter tunic over it, but even so, I was shivering badly by the time we made it to the trees. The wind was bitter cold, and I sweated enough carrying him to chill myself thoroughly. I built a fire in front of a rock face that would reflect the heat back upon us. I let myself warm a little before opening my pack and pulling out some carrots and a little dried venison to make a late lunch.

I rubbed the boy’s hands so he wouldn’t lose his fingers. His boots were wet, so I pulled them off and set them close to the fire. There was a knife in his right boot, and I slipped it out to examine it. You can tell a lot about a man by the weapons he carries. His had a good blade, though it was a bit small. The hilt was finished with a green gemstone, smoothly polished and beautiful. Around it was a thin gold band, and ribbons of gold were inlaid in the polished bone hilt. It was a fine piece that hadn’t seen much use, obviously made for a nobleman. I kept the knife well out of his reach while I warmed my cold feet. If he panicked when he woke, I wanted him unarmed.

I felt his eyes on me not long before the soup was ready. He’d be frightened of me, no doubt, so for several minutes I pretended I hadn’t noticed he was awake to give him time to study me. I’m a Dari, and there are so few of us in Erdem that most people fear me at first.

“I believe that’s mine.” His voice had a distinct tremor, and he must have realized it because he lifted his chin a little defiantly, eyes wide.

I handed the knife back to him hilt-first. “It is. It’s nicely made.”

He took it cautiously, as if he wasn’t sure I was really going to give it back to him. He shivered and pulled my cloak closer around his shoulders, keeping the knife in hand.

“Here. Can you eat this?”

He reached for the bowl with one hand, and seemed to debate a moment before resting the knife on the ground by his knee. “Thank you.” He kept his eyes on me as he dug in.

I chewed on a bit of dried meat as I watched him. He looked better with some warm food in him and the heat of the fire on his face. “Do you want another bowl?”

“If there’s enough.” He smiled cautiously.

We studied each other while the soup cooked. He was maybe seventeen or so, much younger than I. Slim, pretty, with a pink mouth like a girl’s. Typical Tuyet coloring; blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin. Slender hands like an artist or scribe.

“Thank you.” He smiled again, nervous but gaining confidence. He did look familiar, especially in his nose and the line of his cheekbones. I tried to place him among the young nobles I’d seen last time I’d visited Stonehaven.

“What’s your name?”

“Hak-” he stopped and his eyes widened. “Mikar. My name is Mikar.”


Hakan Ithel. The prince.

He looked a bit like his father the king. It wasn’t hard to guess why he was fleeing out into the winter snow. Rumors of Nekane Vidar’s intent to seize power had been making their way through the army and the mercenary groups for some months.

“You’re Hakan Ithel, aren’t you?”

His shoulders slumped a little. He looked at the ground and nodded slightly.

He had no real reason to trust me. Vidar’s men would be on his trail soon enough. No wonder he was frightened.

“My name is Kemen Sendoa. Call me Kemen.” I stood to bow formally to him. “I’m honored to make your acquaintance. Is anyone following you?”

His eyes widened even more. “I don’t know. Probably.”

“Then we’d best cover your tracks. Are you going anywhere in particular?”


I stamped out the fire and kicked a bit of snow over it. Of course, anyone could find it easily enough, but I’d cover our trail better once we were on our way. A quick wipe with some snow cleaned the bowl and it went back in my pack.

He stood wrapped in my cloak, looking very young, and I felt a little sorry for him.

“Right then. Follow me.” I slung my pack over my shoulder and started off. I set a pace quick enough to keep myself from freezing and he followed, stumbling sometimes in the thick snow. The wind wasn’t quite as strong in the trees, though the air was quite cold.

I took him west to the Purling River as if we were heading for the Ralksin Ferry. The walk took a few hours; the boy was slow, partly because he was weak and pampered and partly because I don’t think he understood the danger. At any moment I expected to hear hounds singing on our trail, but we reached the bank of the Purling with no sign of pursuit.

“Give me your knife.”

He gave it to me without protest. He was pale and shivering, holding my cloak close to his chest. I waded into the water up to my ankles and walked downstream, then threw the knife a bit further downstream where it clattered onto the rocks lining the bank. Whoever pursued him would know or guess it was his, and though the dogs would lose his trail in the water, they might continue downstream west toward the Ferry.

“Walk in the water. Keep the cloak dry and don’t touch dry ground.”

“Why?” His voice wavered a bit, almost a whine.

I felt my jaw tighten in irritation. “In case they use dogs.” I wondered whether I was being absurdly cautious, whether they would bother to use dogs at all.

He still looked confused, dazed, and I pushed him into the water ahead of me. I kept one hand firm on his shoulder and steered him up the river. Ankle-deep, the water was painfully cold as it seeped through the seams in my boots. The boy stumbled several times and would have stopped, but I pushed him on.

We’d gone perhaps half a league upriver when I heard the first faint bay of hounds. They were behind us, already approaching the riverbank, and the baying rapidly grew louder. I took my hand from the boy’s shoulder to curl my fingers around the hilt of my sword. As if my sword would do much. If they wanted him dead, they’d have archers. I was turning our few options over in my mind and trying to determine whether the hounds had turned upriver or were merely spreading out along the bank, when the boy stopped abruptly.


“Keep walking.”

He shook his head. “They’re my dogs. They won’t hurt me.”

I grabbed the collar of his shirt and shoved him forward, hissing into his ear, “Fear the hunters, not the dogs! You’re the fox. Don’t forget that.”

Author Bio:

I live in Northern Virginia just outside Washington, DC, with my husband, young children, and our sheltie mix. They keep me pretty busy, but in my free time I write, read, teach karate, make jewelry, and bake. I love the smell of snow but I hate being cold. I once hugged a tiger. I love hearing from readers, so please get in touch!


Signed copy of The King’s Sword