Category Archives: Fiction

The Green Memory of Fear by B.A. Chepaitis

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Join B.A. Chepaitis, author of The Green Memory of Fear as she virtually tours the blogosphere in 2012 on her third tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About B.A. Chepaitis

barbaraBARBARA CHEPAITIS is author of 8 published novels, including the critically acclaimed Feeding Christine and These Dreams, as well as the sci-fi series featuring Jaguar Addams. The fourth novel in that series, A Lunatic Fear was a nominee for a Romantic Times Bookclub award.

Her scripts have placed semifinalist with Niccholl’s Fellowship and finalist with Sundance Screenwriter’s award.

She is founder and director of the storytelling trio The Snickering Witches, host of WAMC Writer’s Forum, a Teaching Artist with the Lincoln Center-based Aesthetic education program, and concentration direction in fiction at Western State College of Colorado’s graduate program in creative writing.

You can visit her website at Wild Reads and her blog at M&C Literary Lunch

You can also follower her on Twitter and Facebook

About The Green Memory of Fear

Green Memory of Fear by BA Chepaitis On Prison Planetoid Three, Jaguar Addams uses her empathic gifts to make criminals face the fears that drive their heinous acts. Very few escape the telepathic web she weaves around them. . . . until now.

When Jaguar takes on an assignment investigating a psychiatrist on trial for abuse of a little boy, she finds a killer unlike any she’s faced before. Dr. Senci’s psi skills are a match for her own, and unless she consents to do as he wants, he’ll use them to kill everyone she loves.

Once she realizes who and what he really is, she leaves the Planetoid to go after him. But Supervisor Alex Dzarny isn’t about to let her go it alone, even if it means losing his own life to save hers.

What Reviewers Are Saying

…this is SF at its realistic best.

~Harriet Klausner

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Tour Schedule

Monday, March 5
Guest Post at Alchemy of Scrawl

Tuesday, March 6
Guest Post at The Book Bin

Wednesday, March 7
Guest Post at Inkyblots

Thursday, March 8
Guest Post at Coffee and a Keyboard

Friday, March 9
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, March 12
Guest Post at

Wednesday, March 14
Guest Post at Literarily Speaking

Thursday, March 15
Live interview at A Book and a Chat

Monday, March 19
Guest Post at Writing and Other Ways…

Wednesday, March 21
Interview at American Chronicle

Friday, March 23
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, March 26
Guest Post at Pump Up Your Book

Tuesday, March 27
Interview at Broowaha
Guest Post at Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Thursday, March 29
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, March 30
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, April 2
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, April 3
Character Interview at The Plot

Thursday, April 5
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 6
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, April 9
Guest Post at The Top Shelf

Wednesday, April 11
Guest Post at The Book Vortex

Thursday, April 12
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 13
Review at Minding Spot

Saturday, April 14
Review at Minding Spot

Sunday, April 15
Review at The Minding Spot

Monday, April 16
Review at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, April 17
Interview at The Examiner

Thursday, April 19
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 20
Excerpt at Between the Covers

Monday, April 23
Guest Post at Between the Covers

Tuesday, April 24
Guest Post at TBF Reviews

Thursday, April 26
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 27
Guest Post & Giveaway at Darlene’s Book Nook

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B.A. Chepaitis’ THE GREEN MEMORY OF FEAR ONLINE BOOK TOUR 2012 will officially begin March 2nd and end April 27th. Thank you for your support!


Blood: The New Red by David S. Grant

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Join David S. Grant, author of the literary novel Blood: The New Red (Offense Mechanisms, an imprint of Silverthought Press, November 2011), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in March on his fourth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

David Grant photo

About David S. Grant

David S. Grant is the author of ten books including Corporate Porn, Bleach|Blackout, Hollywood Ending, and Rock Stars.  His latest novel, Blood: The New Red, is now available.  David lives and writes his weekly rock, travel, and NBA columns from New York City.  For more information go to Twitter: @david_s_grant

About Blood: The New Red

Blood: The New Red begins at an after party where Mickey, and ex-adult movie star turned supermodel, is aligning himself with one of the top Designers of Seventh Avenue. While trying to land a job on the runway Mickey is thrown into the center of a scene where sex is often the motivation, the wine is served by year, and cocaine is back in full force. Juanita, Mickey’s girlfriend is having difficulties staying sober, fully clothed, and off of her famous boyfriend.Blood The New Red cover

Mickey goes to work for Fashion icon Paul Johnson, one of the two top Designers in NYC. The other is Sandy Johnson, another Designer who will stop at nothing including murder to guarantee victory. A runway exhibition has been scheduled for the two to compete in and find out who truly is the best Johnson. Mickey will be Paul’s top model, and Sandy has found a homeless person nicknamed Kung Fu Master to show his line.

In addition to getting his new line in place, Paul Johnson is also buying chain saws, the louder the better, to put the special in this special event.

Did you know that you can’t be sentenced to prison if actively seeking help at a mental facility? Paul Johnson knows this.

Somewhere between the girls, counting Vicodin pills, and show preparation Mickey has grown a conscience and no longer likes what he sees. He believes (and his psychiatrist agrees) that he has the power to change what’s happening around him.



Blood: The New Red Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 5th

Interviewed and giveaway at Café of Dreams

Tuesday, March 6th

Interview at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, March 7th

Guest blogging at Hollywood Daze

Thursday, March 8th

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Friday, March 9th

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Monday, March 12th

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Tuesday, March 13th

Interviewed at Examiner

Wednesday, March 14th

Guest blogging at Acting Balanced

Guest blogging at Hollywood Gossip

Thursday, March 15th

Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Friday, March 16th

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, March 19th

Guest blogging at Review from Here

Tuesday, March 20th

Book spotlighted at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, March 21st

Book spotlighted at Broowaha

Thursday, March 22nd

Guest blogging at Literary Backstories

Friday, March 23rd

Interviewed at The Book Connection

Thursday, April 19th

Podcast interview at A Book and A Chat with Storyheart 6:30 PM Eastern


David Grant’s BLOOD: THE NEW RED VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR will officially begin on March 5 and end on March 23, 2012. Please contact Cheryl Malandrinos at ccmal(at)charter(dot)net if you are interested in hosting and/or reviewing his book. Thank you!

The Canker Death by James R. Bottino


Join James Bottino, author of the fantasy and science fiction novel The Canker Death as he virtually tours the blogosphere in February 2012 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About James Bottino

James R. Bottino’s life-long interests mix esoteric and disparate fields of study. By day, his foremost influences have been the study of literature and the art of writing. Following these pursuits led him to read anything he could in these areas and to complete every under-graduate and graduate course available to him in the field of creative writing. Following this line, he taught high school English throughout the 1990’s, focusing on the teaching of writing.

By night, when no one was looking, he studied computer systems / networks, computer languages, and operating systems, learning anything he could in these areas, first as a hobby, and, finally, as a career. This mixture of literature and technology served as the inspiration for the The Canker Death’s protagonist, Petor.

James currently lives in a suburb of Chicago, with his wife, daughter, two Australian cattle dogs and far, far too many books and abstruse computers.

You can visit his website at

About The Canker Death

The Canker Death by James R. BottinoWhen the reclusive, cynical systems administrator, Petor Fidelistro, discovers that one of his own servers has been cracked late one night, he makes it his personal business to track down the perpetrator. What his search uncovers thrusts him, unaware, into a mad shifting between worlds, time and alien minds.

Fighting to keep his grip on reality, and forcing him to cope with his past, Petor finds himself uncontrollably transitioning between sentient minds that range from semi-conscious to dominant, from beings whose bodies and identities he can control, to those who control him so fully as to be unaware of his presence.

As the story unfolds, Petor gathers clues in a twisting mystery that sends him shifting between the mourning child Nanzicwital; the golem giant Faskin; the lascivious, female ambassador Desidia; and Nokinis, an insane prisoner with whom Petor battles for mastery of his own memories. As he struggles to make sense of what is happening to him, Petor finds himself embroiled in the tumultuous upheaval of a ubiquitous society that transcends life, itself.

What Reviewers Are Saying

5.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger after cliffhanger! I couldn’t put it down!, September 3, 2011

This review is from: The Canker Death (Kindle Edition)

The Canker Death by James R. Bottino is a mystery, a spiritual awakening, a suspenseful and funny book with complex characters and worlds. This book reminds me a bit of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series and also reminds me that good ideas are still out there amidst the plethora of over-worked, tired concepts prevalent in our world today.

How did the author slip in symbolism and deep themes all the while entertaining us with the “full monty” of sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and stuff that explodes? I’m not sure, but by the time I’d finished The Canker Death, it made me laugh, cry, hang on by the seat of my pants, and shout “SEQUEL!!!” (although the book does stand well on its own.)

Also, while reading, I found the Vitruvian Man map full of symbols, character names and concepts to be a provocative and neat little extra feature. I highly recommend this original tome!

– Amazon Reviewer RIBH

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The Canker Death Tour Schedule

Monday, February 6
Interview at Book Marketing Buzz

Tuesday, February 7
Guest Post at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, February 8
Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, February 9
Guest Post at The Book Connection

Friday, February 10
Interview at Paperback Writer

Monday, February 13
Guest Post at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, February 14
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book

Thursday, February 16
Spotlight at The Plot

Friday, February 17
Character Interview at The Plot

Monday, February 20
Interview at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, February 21
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, February 22
Spotlight at Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Thursday, February 23
Review at Martha’s Bookshelf

Friday, February 24
Guest Post at Everyday Adventure

Monday, February 27
Spotlight at Blurbs N’ Bytes

Wednesday, February 29
Guest Post at InkyBlots

March Coming Soon!

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James Bottino’s THE CANKER DEATH ONLINE BOOK TOUR 2012 will officially begin February 6th and end March 23rd. Thank you for your support!

Fresh Heir by Michael Reilly

Fresh Heir

Join Michael Reilly, author of the literary fiction novel, Fresh Heir (Michael Reilly), as he virtually tours the blogosphere September 5 -30 2011 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Michael Reilly

Michael ReillyMichael Reilly is a writer and entrepreneur. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. His first published novel, Fresh Heir, was released in May 2011. He is also founder and chief executive officer of FitDivs Inc, a company that promotes and rewards healthy living. Michael resides with his wife and four children in Charlottesville, VA.

You can visit his website at or connect with him on Facebook at


About Fresh Heir

Fresh HeirJamie is a twelve-year-old who has been labeled highly gifted. Good news, right? Except with it comes a cross-county car trip…with his ultra-obsessed dad…his annoying little sister…and a wacky educational consultant his dad has hired. Jamie could suggest better ways to spend his summer, and to live his life, if only someone would listen.

But his dad, Doug, can’t hear above the loud voices demanding nothing but the best for his son. Doug will do anything to give Jamie the leg up he needs to compete in a vicious world and get into an Ivy League school.

Michael Reilly’s hysterical road-trip in search of achievement is a wide-eyed satire on the pressures of modern parenthood. As they set out on the trip to San Francisco, where Jamie will attend a summer program for gifted youth, Doug’s enthusiasm and hyperkinetic desire to enrich Jamie at every turn leads to hilarious complications and enlightening predicaments.

A riotous portrayal of a father desperate to have the promise of his youth fulfilled through the life of his son, Doug’s journey is not unlike that of many parents in modern-day America. With good grades, extracurricular activities, and solid SATs no longer the benchmark for entrance into top colleges, the pressure and stress of giving children the best opportunities for success can often lead to misplaced motivations. Accurately depicting the push-pull of parenthood and childhood and the need for adults to understand the voices of their children, Fresh Heir is a laugh-out-loud journey of self-discovery.

Book Excerpt:

I believe my dad decided to go on this trip the day I was born. That was nearly twelve and a half years ago. Not that he’s farsighted. If anything, he admits, he likes to focus only on the present under the belief that everything in his future will somehow find a way on its own to slip down the wrong road. But when it comes to the road down my future life, he seems to be the grand wizard of great expectations. You know that soft part on top of a baby’s head? I think they call it the fontanel. Yes, I think they do. Well, I’ve had this recurrent dream where I’m an infant and my fontanel throbs like a nervous heart while I sit alone propped in a rocking chair as race cars roar through our backyard and my dad stands naked on our roof shouting: “Slow down! Listen up! My kid’s a prodigy! My kid’s a prodigy!”
I guess all dreams are just a twist on reality for good or for bad. And the reality is, I’ve heard versions of these cheers from my dad ever since I can remember. Fortunately, in real life he’s always had his clothes on. Unfortunately, he’s taken no care to temper these cheers in front of my friends, which lately is a source of wicked embarrassment—for me and my friends. But give the guy credit. So what if he gushes excitement over my future, often at the expense of his own.
Sometimes they call that selflessness. I guess. At least he’s not like a lot of my friends’ parents who call their kids spoiled, lazy, and ungrateful. Or worse. Like my friend Zach’s dad, who calls him spoiled, lazy and ungrateful, while driving him to hockey tournaments all over God’s creation with pledges that one day Zach’s going to make it to the Big Time. Zach has learned to despise hockey and has confided to me that he’s going to do everything in his power not to make it to the Big Time, so his dad will never be the next famous father of an unfulfilled superstar. OK, so maybe I put words in his mouth, but the point is, Zach really resents his dad these days. It’s scary.
I don’t resent mine. Mostly I feel sorry for him. Just look at him now, bobbing and weaving his head on his chicken neck to the sound of Steely Dan he’s cranked up way too loud in the car so we can’t hear the honking outside. It’s a pathetic obsession for New Yorkers to honk madly on the Long Island Expressway in dead-still traffic, as if it might miraculously launch everyone into motion again. A kooky woman in a little red car next to us isn’t honking, but tilting over her steering wheel with the sneer of someone who has a better solution in mind. Like maybe the exaggerated slant of her body toward her destination might get her there quicker, despite the five thousand cars ahead of her not going more than two miles per hour. Who knows, maybe it does work, that tilting thing. It does for those ski jumpers in the Olympics when they soar through the air. They’re mostly Scandinavians, aren’t they? Ingrid over there next to us has soared past at least forty times already in the span of fifty yards. Twice she’s picked her nose. I’m sick of seeing her. And I begin to conclude this is going to be one long trip.
“This will break up soon, kiddos,” my dad pledges feverishly. He’s peering at us with forced glee through the reflective tint of his sunglasses, and I just grit my teeth waiting for my little sister to fart again in the seat next to me. “You doing all right, Jame?” he asks me, as if the Shrek-like pallor of my skin might be indicating otherwise. I nod my head, not too vigorously or it might foment the nausea. I try to steer my gaze away from the bumper sticker on a Hummer the color of bile plodding past on the left for the gazillionth time. There are 3 kinds of people: Those who can count and those who can’t, the sticker says. Now that’s pretty funny, Einstein, but it doesn’t atone for your driving that hunk of bile. Einstein’s tailed by a BMW that’s driving like it’s on a yo-yo string: jerking forward, drifting back, jerking forward, drifting back. I can’t tell who’s driving the BMW since the windows are tinted, just like the Hummer’s. My dad would argue it’s definitely a woman because they all drive like, well, yo-yos. The tinted windows all around send me into a trance as they repulse the pearly rays lancing through the thick air of an early summer heat wave that seems to carry with it the perpetual hum of cicadas, even though I really can’t hear a darn thing above all the honking. And my dad’s jarring recital of “Dirty Work.”
I began to feel the nausea the moment we descended the driveway under the lurching birch tree, and my dad swerved to miss the speeding UPS truck. It wouldn’t have happened if we’d left in the morning, when UPS never makes deliveries. Nine o’clock was our target departure time, but my dad usually operates off a clock that’s about five hours behind the rest of the world. So we set off at 2:10, and I was ready to puke at 2:15. It’s now 3:15, and we’re probably no more than two miles from home. Just think, only 4,600 miles left until San Francisco, when you include all the planned diversions. I told my dad this was a bad idea.
It’d help my stomach if I could ride shotgun, but it’s been poached by some lady I’d never in my life seen before this morning. Now apparently I will be spending the entire summer in close quarters with her.
she sounds wacky. That’s an e-mail I get from my friend Jessica when I describe the lady to her. Jessica’s sharp and let’s me be myself. That’s why I like her. Not like her, like her. But like her as a friend. Although I can’t help noticing Jessica’s chest going nuts these days, and this kid Frank who lives down my street says she’s going to be some snatch when she gets older. Frank’s going into tenth grade. He smokes pot. And he likes to play ring-and-run at two in the morning. My dad says next time he does it he’s going to squash the kid. Like a gnat. Which is perfect because that’s what Jessica says Frank looks like. She makes me laugh. And, lately, cry a lot when she talks about that thing with her mother.
now i think i know wat the lady smells like, I type back on my smartphone. We stick to e-mail because her mom won’t let her do Facebook. And texting is out of the question. Texting, her mom says, promotes salaciousness. OK. Whatever.
cat litter n anchovies, I continue to type. Chastely.
haha…sounds yummy. just like when my dad makes dinner. Jessica totally adores her dad. To this I can relate. But her mom too? I can’t deny this double dose of devotion sometimes makes me envious deep down. That’s alliteration.
i hate this trip already, I write back.
miss u already 🙂 I leave her hanging. I’m sure she doesn’t like that, but I refuse to engage in girly talk.
“Oh, thaaaaaat’s it, moron! Cut in front of me like it’s going to get you anywhere in this godforsaken traffic!” That’s my dad. The thing about his cheerful disposition is it’s brittle, like the shell of a candy apple when you first bite it. Other drivers definitely like to bite my dad, which might explain the race cars in my dream. He despises drivers of all sorts, mostly the ones that drive like he does. Which might explain why slowpokes piss him off the most. I’ll never forget the time he flipped off the old lady crawling along in front of us who just happened at that time to be my third grade teacher, Mrs. Hanley. She failed me on my next spelling test—not because the words were spelled wrong, but because my writing was “too sloppy,” which I found dubious. But I’d rather a failing grade than a shotgun blast to the head from some freak slightly miffed by my dad’s impatience on the road. He finds some way to get irked by just about every driver he encounters, which isn’t a good habit in New York, or if you’re driving across country. By my calculation we may encounter about 5,544,631 cars between New York and California, so I’ve braced myself for lots of hell-raising from the driver’s seat. Yes, this is definitely going to be a long trip. Unless we get shot first.

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Fresh Heir Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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books kkMonday, September 5

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

“Perhaps more than managing your time (which sounds so “corporate”), is learning to “go with the flow.” (No, I’m not ready to talk about toilets yet.) Unless you learn to go with the flow, weeks…months…years will pass you by and your page will still be blank…your story left untold.”

Tuesday, September 6

Guest blogging at Writing Daze

“There are probably enough “Seven Wonders” lists out there to satisfy even the most provincial zealots. The Seven Wonders of Wichita? Really? A far cry from the Great Pyramids, but I suppose we all have places that are special to us.”

Wednesday, September 7

Interviewed at Broowaha

“Write what’s in your heart, not someone else’s. When you’ve never published anything, I know there’s a strong temptation to try to follow the pack…to write what’s popular. But I really think we have enough vampire books. I struggled with this problem, then just decided I wanted to write about the thoughts, ideas and stories I had inside of me, not worrying too much about whether it was blockbuster material or not.”

Thursday, September 8

Guest blogging at Book Reviews by Molly

“An underlying theme of my book is that children usually have as much to teach parents as parents have to teach their children.”

Friday, September 9

Guest blogging at The Book Bin

“Publishing my new novel Fresh Heir this past spring was actually a very smooth process. If you don’t count the blood, sweat, and tears in the seven years that preceded it.”

Monday, September 12

Book reviewed at I’d Rather Be Reading

“I even caught myself laughing out loud a few times. I loved the relationship Jamie had with his grandfather.”

Tuesday, September 13

Guest blogging at Beyond the Books

“Humor is always dangerous. Whether you are attempting it in a social setting or through writing, or acting, or whatever, it has a high risk of failure. Like the health care plan: a high risk of failure (that’s not supposed to be funny).”

Wednesday, September 14

Guest blogging at Words by Webb

“Parents stink. I mean that literally. For anyone who has children still at home you know how difficult it can sometimes be to squeeze in a shower. I was reminded of this on Labor Day, a rainy mess with the kids stuck mostly indoors.”

Thursday, September 15

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

“I think what makes Fresh Heir so special is that it fundamentally achieves the same message in Crazy U and other non-fiction portrayals of modern day parenting, but it does so within the framework of a story that hopefully the reader finds just plain fun.”

Friday, September 16

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

“I guess I have been doing quite a bit of blogging lately. That seems to be the trend for sure. Some of my blogging has to do with my writing career, but it also involves my other career as an entrepreneur.”

Monday, September 19

Book reviewed at Bookspark

Tuesday, September 20

Guest blogging at The Book Faerie Reviews

Wednesday, September 21

Interviewed at The Book Connection

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, September 22

Interviewed at American Chronicle

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Friday, September 23

Guest blogging at The Plot

Monday, September 26

Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz

Tuesday, September 27

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Wednesday, September 28

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Thursday, September 29

Book reviewed at Book & Movie Dimension

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Friday, September 30

Chat with Michael at Pump Up Your Book Live!  September Chat/Book Giveaway!  (link coming soon)


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The Full Moon Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

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Join Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Full Moon Bride as she virtually tours the blogosphere in September 2011 on her fifth tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan HeadshotShobhan Bantwal calls her writing Bollywood in a Book, romantic, colorful, action-packed tales, rich with elements of her own Indian culture, stories that entertain and educate.

Shobhan writes for a variety of publications including The Writer magazine, India Abroad, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, and New Woman India. Her short stories have won honors/awards in contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines.

Visit her website at

About The Full Moon Bride

Full Moon BrideWhat makes a marriage-love or compatibility? Passion or pragmatism? Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel explores the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition…

To Soorya Giri, arranged marriages have always seemed absurd. But while her career as an environmental lawyer has flourished, Soorya is still a virgin, living with her parents in suburban New Jersey. She wants to be married. And she is finally ready to do the unthinkable…

Soorya’s first bridal viewings are as awkward as she anticipated. But then she’s introduced to Roger Vadepalli. Self-possessed, intelligent, and charming, Roger is clearly interested in marriage and seems eager to clinch the deal. Attracted to him in spite of her mistrust, Soorya is also drawn into a flirtation with Lou, a widowed colleague who is far from her family’s idea of an acceptable husband.

In choosing between two very different men, Soorya must reconcile her burgeoning independence and her conservative background. And she must decide what matters most to her-not just in a husband, but in a family, a culture, and a life…

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1Like most second-generation Indian-Americans, I’d dismissed arranged marriage as a ridiculous and antiquated custom. Tying oneself to a man one hardly knew, and pledging life-long love and fidelity on top of that?

“For a modern woman it’s nothing short of insanity,” I’d mocked many a time.

But after reaching adulthood and realizing that everybody in my big South Indian Telugu family was married in that fashion and looked utterly content, except for my uncle Srinath, whose wife was suspected of being a hermaphrodite, the concept didn’t seem so absurd. I figured I’d even give arranged marriage a try. That is, if I could find a man to marry me—and it was a huge if.

So far, I’d acquired an Ivy League education and moderate success as a big-city attorney, but I’d come up empty in the marriage department, perhaps because I’d distanced myself from the madness of the dating scene.

If it weren’t for the fact that I really and truly wanted to get married, I wouldn’t have ventured into the old-fashioned Indian form of torment called bride viewing. Fortunately it wasn’t as bad as it was in India, where girls were often put on display and expected to tolerate their potential in-laws’ scrutiny like cows at a cattle auction.

Here in the U.S. it was just a matter of boy meeting girl and family meeting family in an informal setting. There was generally no undue pressure exerted on either party to marry. But convention required them to be polite and respectful of each other. However, the system was biased in our male-worshipping culture. The respect shown by the girl and her parents to the boy and his family often bordered on sycophantic.

At the moment, standing before the oval mirror in my elegant bedroom with its honey oak and pastel furnishings, I gave myself a once over. In spite of the clever use of cosmetics, the face staring back at me seemed rather plain—ordinary nose, full mouth, curious eyes fringed by dark lashes, tweezed eyebrows. Nothing beyond plain Miss Soorya Giri.

Being the potential bride in yet another bride viewing was hardly pleasant. The mild fluttering in my tummy was gradually escalating into an anxiety attack at the thought of meeting one more eligible man.

With a damp palm pressed against my belly, I waited for my bachelor and his family to arrive. I stood in my bride viewing finery—the whole nine yards—or in this case, six. The sari happened to be six diaphanous yards of silk—soft, glossy, South Indian silk.

My suitor and his family were coming all the way from Kansas City, making the occasion all the more unnerving. Looking outside the picture window, I contemplated if I should make a quick and silent escape into the backyard.

What Reviewers Are Saying

Bantwal has created credible characters, with all their vulnerabilities, flaws, quirks, virtues and vices. The characters were so true to life that I found that I missed them a lot when I finished reading The Full Moon Bride . . . This one is a real page turner, don’t miss it!

Book Pleasures

I loved the reality of this book. Children of immigrants often feel torn between who they want to be and who their culture dictates they be. This story deals with this complex issue with honesty and heart. We feel for Soorya as she must decide for herself what is right and we see how torn she is about making a choice.

Eye on Romance

The Full Moon Bride Tour Schedule

Monday, September 5
Guest Post at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at The Hot Author Report

Wednesday, September 7
Review at My Reading Room

Thursday, September 8
Guest Post at The Book Connection

Friday, September 9
Review at 2 Kids and Tired Books

Monday, September 12
Guest Post at One Day at a Time

Tuesday, September 13
Review at One Day at a Time

Wednesday, September 14
Interview and Review at The Cottage Bookshelf

Thursday, September 15
Interview at Literarily Speaking

Friday, September 16
Review at Just Another Book Addict

Monday, September 19
Review at Day by Day in Our World
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, September 20
Character Interview at The Plot

Wednesday, September 21
Guest Post at Life in Review

Thursday, September 22
Review at Life in Review

Friday, September 23
Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Monday, September 26
Spotlight at Books, Products and More
Guest Post and Review at The Bookish Dame

Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book

Wednesday, September 28
Review at My Random Acts of Reading

Thursday, September 29
Guest Post at A Journey Into Reading

Friday, September 30
Review at A Journey Into Reading
Review at Library of Clean Reads

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Shobhan Bantwal’s THE FULL MOON BRIDE SEPTEMBER 2011 will officially begin September 5th and end September 30th. Thank you for your support!

On the Choptank Shores by Smoky Trudeau Zeidel

Smoky Trudeau Zeidel is the author of two novels, On the Choptank Shores (formerly titled Redeeming Grace) and The Cabin; a recently-released collection of stories,Short Story Collection Vol. 1; and two nonfiction books on writing which have recently been combined into one book, Smoky’s Writers Workshop Combo Set. She is the author of Observations of an Earth Mage, an enchanting collection of prose, poetry, and photographs celebrating the beauty and splendor of the natural world. All her books are published by Vanilla Heart Publishing.

Smoky lives her life honoring Mother Earth through her writing, visual art, and spiritual practice. She lives in California with her husband Scott (a college music professor and classical guitarist), her daughter (a college student and actress), and a menagerie of animals, both domestic and wild, in a ramshackle cottage in the woods overlooking the San Gabriel Valley and Mountains beyond. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time hiking in the mountains and deserts, splashing in tidepools, and resisting the urge to speak in haiku.

You can find Smoky on the Internet at the following places:

Facebook Fan Page:       
Amazon Author Page:    
Goodreads Author Page:
Smashwords Author Page:
All Romance Author Page:
Twitter User Name:                  @SmokyZeidel

About On the Choptank Shores

The tragic deaths of her mother and two younger siblings have left Grace Harmon responsible for raising her sister Miriam and protecting her from their abusive father, Luther, a zealot preacher with a penchant for speaking in Biblical verse who is on a downward spiral toward insanity. Otto Singer charms Grace with his gentle courtship and devotion to his brother, Henry. But after their marriage, Otto is unable to share with Grace the terrible secret he has kept more than twenty years. Otto believes he is responsible for a tragic accident that claimed the life of a young woman and left Henry severely brain damaged.

Luther’s insane ravings and increasingly violent behavior force Grace to question and reassess the patriarchal religious beliefs of her childhood. Then tragedy strikes just when Otto’s secret is uncovered, unleashing demons that threaten to destroy the entire family. Can Grace find the strength her sister … her husband… them all?

Read an Excerpt

[Luther] was mucking out the stalls when Grace found him in the barn.

“You will never, ever, hit Miriam again, or lock her in that frightful closet, do you hear me, Papa?” she said, never raising her voice yet nonetheless unnerving Luther with her cold tone.

Luther put down his shovel and picked up a pitchfork. “‘Whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.’” He tossed a forkful of straw into the stall. “‘He that spareth his rod hateth his…’”

“Stop it, Papa. I’ve heard the speech before, and I’m tired of it. There is no excuse—none, do you hear me?—for beating Miriam until she’s a bloody mess.”

Luther continued pitching straw to the horses, not bothering to look up at his daughter. “ ‘Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.’”

Grace yanked the pitchfork out of his hands and sent it flying across the barn. “What have you taught Miriam other than to be afraid of you?” She spat the words at Luther as though they were bits of rotten meat in her mouth.

“What I am teaching her is to respect the authority of her father, something you attempt to thwart at every opportunity.” Wiping a trickle of sweat from his brow, Luther brushed past his daughter and headed for the barn door.

Who does she think she is, talking to me like that? His mind raced, a jumble of thoughts pounding him as unmercifully as floodwaters pound a dam. She is my daughter. I am the head of this household. I am the authority. I make the rules. I enforce God’s laws. I am the authority. I… am… the… authority…

He stopped cold in his tracks. Shaking with anger, he turned back to face Grace. The dam burst, unleashing a rage he had never known.

“Perhaps the problem here is that I spared you a few too many whippings for your own good, you impudent wretch,” Luther roared, lunging toward his daughter.

The first blow to her face sent her reeling backwards, and she hit the side of the stall with such force the horses reared up in fear. Luther grabbed her by the wrists, yanked her to him and struck her again. The awareness that Miriam had come into the barn and was now standing in the doorway, screaming, enraged him even more, and he raised his arm again.

This time, it was Luther who went reeling. A force stronger than his own grabbed his upraised arm, jerked it painfully behind him, then slammed him into the wall. His spectacles slid from their perch and shattered, piercing his left cheek with shards of broken glass.

“Take your filthy, pious hands off of my wife.”

“She’s not your wife. She’s my daughter. And if beating her is the only way to knock sense into her, that’s my right and holy duty.” Luther winced, as Otto tightened his grip and gave his arm a sharp twist.

“She’s not my wife at the moment.” Otto leaned heavily into Luther, his breath hot in Luther’s ear. “But she will be by sundown, if she’ll have me that soon. I came here today to ask for your consent, but I’ve reconsidered that idea. You’re not fit to ask. And judging from what I’m seeing here, I don’t think there’s any question she’ll come with me right now, do you, brother Luther?”

“Take your hands off of me. Grace will not consider going anywhere with you without my blessing.”

“Oh yes I will.” Grace struggled unsteadily to her feet; Otto loosened his hold on Luther to assist her. “I’ve already consented to be his wife. Furthermore,” she glared at Luther, the red handprint on her cheek glowing like a flame, “we’re taking Miriam with us. That’s what I came out here to tell you—you will never lay one hand on her again because she’s coming with me, with us.” She turned her attention to the sobbing child, pulling her into the protection of her arms.

“Fine. Go on then,” he snarled, picking a shard of broken glass from his cheek and hurling it to the barn floor. “You’re no daughter of mine; you’re the spawn of Satan himself. But Miriam stays, you hear me? Miriam stays right here where she belongs.”

He redirected his verbal barrage toward Otto. “Mark my words, Otto, you’ll regret this some day. ‘A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.’ That’s from Proverbs, Chapter Fi…”

“‘A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.’ I can quote scripture too, Luther.” Otto helped Grace to her feet, never taking his eyes off Luther. “Go pack a bag, and one for Miriam, too, Grace.”

“Not the little one. Miriam stays.” Luther made a lunge toward Miriam, but Otto was quicker, stepping between Luther and his daughters.

“I don’t think you want to do that, Luther.” Otto slammed him against the wall a second time. “Go on Grace. I’ll be right behind you.”

Luther watched as Grace shepherded Miriam out of the barn, murmuring soft words he couldn’t quite make out as they disappeared into the bright sunshine.

“Don’t you move from that spot until we are packed and away from here, do you understand me, Luther?” Luther nodded, understanding the implied threat in Otto’s words. “Good. We’ll be out of you way shortly. Good day, brother Luther.”

Ten minutes later, Luther heard the pickup truck doors slam, then the crank of the engine. He stood in the barn door and watched until the truck disappeared down the dusty road.

They hadn’t even said goodbye.

Under a Fairy Moon by T.M. Wallace

Under a Fairy Moon

Join T.M. Wallace, author of the YA fantasy novel, Under a Fairy Moon (Brownridge Publishing), as she virtually tours the blogosphere August 1 – September 30 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About T.M. Wallace

T.M. WallaceT. M. Wallace lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and four children. At eight years old, she won a short story contest and was published in a local newspaper. She wrote her first book at ten years old called “The Adventures of Pinkstar,” about a stuffed rabbit who magically comes to life. T. M. Wallace received her Master’s degree in English Literature from Carleton University and a degree in Education from the University of Ottawa. In 2010 her latest book, Under A Fairy Moon, was a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel awards. Under A Fairy Moon will be published by Brownridge Publishing in June, 2011.

You can visit her website at


Under a Fairy MoonAbout Under a Fairy Moon

If you have been longing for an adventure and your family moves next-door to a beautiful garden full of lush plants and ancient stone, wouldn’t you sneak over to have a look at it – even if it was owned by the neighborhood witch?

Fourteen-year old Addy Marten doesn’t need to think twice: It is only a matter of time before she sets out to explore the garden’s winding paths and especially, the ring of mysterious stone statues that she has glimpsed through her bedroom window. Instead of the enticing hideaway she has imagined, however, she finds herself trapped in another world where she is challenged a game of Fairy Chess – played by real fairy creatures. She must use all her courage and wits to win the game and free herself from these malevolent creatures and their twisted fairy-tale world.

Book Excerpt

The Garden glared at her, green-eyed, from its dark places. Improbable shadows appeared, angular and barbed, in the rocky areas where plants never grew. Even as she dared creep out from behind the living screen of ferns and bramble bushes, Addy knew she wasn’t safe. A part of her still wanted to bolt as fast as she could in the other direction. Instead she stood transfixed, listening to the buzzing of the dragonflies and the steady gushing of the creek over smooth stones.
Addy had never dared to venture this far into the garden before. She found it strangely intoxicating. If she listened closely enough, the sounds of the birds and the creek were underscored by the true voice of the Garden: a deep-water stillness that numbed her fear and lulled her into submission. Draped in the thick foliage, she inched closer to her objective: several rows of stone statues nearly swallowed by ivy and moss. Then, a twig snapped and Addy whirled around suddenly, her skirt flaring out from around her scraped and dirty knees.
For a moment she crouched stone-still in the speckled shadows, her heart pounding, desperately willing herself to become nothing but rock and tree and cold bare earth. Then, only when she had convinced herself that Mrs. Tavish wasn’t lurking nearby, ready to pounce, Addy released her strained muscles and thanked Heaven that she hadn’t been turned into a toad or made into a minced pie – or whatever it was that witches did to fourteen-year old girls who dared trespass in their garden.
Addy relaxed a little, allowing the garden to work its magic. She had only to breathe its heady aromas of jasmine, mint and thyme to be carried away to a different world altogether. The garden might belong to her neighbour, Mrs. Tavish, but it was Addy’s own secret place, a hidden passageway into the fantastic kingdoms she had often read and dreamed about.
Here, she was free to be her own person, without her parents watching and wondering why she wasn’t out trying to make friends, or obsessed about stupid things like hair and make-up and clothes. Here she no longer cared that she was, yet again, the new girl in town. She could forget about that school where she had been Addy-the-Gifted, feeling lonely and awkward. In this magical place, she was whatever she wanted to be. In a beautiful place like this she could be wherever and whatever she imagined.
Today she was Nebetia the Enlightened, Egyptian princess, entering the Hall of Kings after a long absence. Rows of cypress trees became green-cloaked sentries ready to escort her through flower-bed courtyards. Stone statues and topiary, her willing subjects, awaited her wise command. Today she had walked straight-backed through arched trellises dripping in wild grapes and Virginia Creepers to claim her right to the throne.
Yet the long shadows made Addy uneasy, reminding her that this ethereal kingdom was not hers alone. For one thing: the garden was wild – untamed and untameable. The tangled and creeping masses on the fringes loomed up and over the neat little hedgerows like a storm threatening to upturn a village. These dark, secret places lured her with their promise of hidden mysteries, then surprised and wounded her with the prick of stinging nettle claws and barberry teeth.
There was also the problem of Mrs. Tavish, who was a witch. Addy didn’t really believe she was a witch, but she had recently heard a girl call her that: she had been talking to her brother, passing by the garden on the street-side and close enough for Addy to overhear.
“That’s where the witch lives,” said the girl to her pudgy little brother. He had his face full of ice-cream, but he still marked carefully the place where she pointed with his large round eyes.
“You be careful when you walk by here, Justin,” the girl had warned, pulling him away by the collar. “That place is scary. I bet she eats little boys like you for breakfast.”
Addy remembered people talking about another strange old lady in Port Perry where she had lived when she was ten. She had a house full of cats and grew herbs, and some of the kids thought she might be a witch. Was Mrs. Tavish a witch? Addy had often seen her tramping ungracefully around her kingdom of azaleas and primroses in her cotton flowered dresses and oversized black boots. However, Addy didn’t think she looked so much scary as ridiculous. She wondered if a witch would wear a wide-brimmed sun-hat trailing ribbons and lace.
She remembered her mother talking about Mrs. Tavish. She had seemed a little nervous about her, and Addy wasn’t sure she was telling everything she knew about their strange new neighbour.
“I was in town this morning, and the postmaster mentioned we should be very careful not to upset our new neighbour,” her mom had said to her dad a few days after they had moved in to the new house. “She’s a bit eccentric, apparently, and there’s some scandal there, though he didn’t go into details. Something about a lost child – maybe her own. Anyway, she likes to be left alone, so we’ll have to be careful not to bother her.”
Addy had wanted to ask her more about Mrs. Tavish, but she was too comfortable in her place behind the heavy living-room drapes, feeling the cold smoothness of the tiled floor and imagining she was exploring the dark patches in the forest she saw through the sliding glass door. Her father was partly responsible for her day-dreaming. He was playing the piano softly in the background and the music was carrying her thoughts away as it always did, to uncharted lands.
“Hmm … ,” said her father, his practised hands never missing a note, “I like that in a neighbour. People in these country towns can be a bit nosy.”
Just then there had been a knock at the door by the man from the telephone company and there was no more talk about neighbours that day. But Addy’s curiosity about her neighbour’s garden grew steadily stronger and she spent the last of her precious summer days staring longingly out her bedroom window, dreaming about exploring its tangled majesty. Or, if she was outside, she would hang around the edge of their property that bordered Mrs. Tavish’s yard, gathering up her courage to enter the Garden.
Now, having finally stepped inside the Garden’s vast perimeter, Addy brushed these thoughts aside with impatience. She couldn’t let anything distract her from fulfilling her quest. The time had come for Princess Nebetia to lay claim to her kingdom. She walked, poised and alert, past the winding creek, past columns of cedar and willow and through grasping green tunnels of underbrush until she entered the courtyard of statues.
Having made it this far, Addy stretched her arms out wide to the sky, claiming the space as her own. She trembled inside with the thrill of her secret triumph. Then her gaze fell upon her prize: rows of statues half-buried by moss and vines. Greek gods and various mythical creatures stared sternly down at her, their great hulking forms filling much of the sky. The granite statues were of two different colours; some were ash-grey, so dark as to be almost black, others were a brilliant white, sparkling in the sunlight. She noted the giant arms with green-draped sleeves, hands reaching, and fear poked at Addy with long adrenaline fingers.
She stood still for the longest time, aware of the staccato rhythms of her own breath and heartbeat. Then she noticed the white centaur at her elbow, set apart from the others in the shadow of an old oak. She could have sworn he had not been there a moment before. He was made of stone, but Addy thought his eyes looked as soft and real as her own … and they were pleading with her.
She reached out timidly, running her hand over the carved stone. The stone was unyielding and lifeless and reassured her that the horse-man was not real. Her gaze avoided the dark eyes and focused on the fine lines of the horse-hide cut into stone.
“Where did you come from?” she asked softly.
“Enitua-a-a-a” sighed a voice like the wind and the rustling leaves.
“Enitua, Enitua, Enitua-a-a!” echoed the voice as subtle as the shadows.
Addy stared at the centaur, her throat constricting with fear. That disembodied voice … it was impossible, she knew it was, and yet … she could have sworn that the voice was coming from the stone centaur. In fact, as she stared at it, it was seeming more and more real. Did she see those dark eyes move to focus on her? A moment ago, she could have sworn its arms had rested down at its side. Why was one arm now outstretched toward her?
All rational thought left her mind and it was replaced by a paralyzing fear. The world seemed to implode around her. Her fear took on the form of the branches and tangled vines, sprouting grasping hands that pressed in on her head and lungs. Addy collapsed face-down in the soft grass, taking shallow little breaths. As the world slowly returned to normal, Addy tried to tell herself she was simply the victim of an overactive imagination.
“It’s okay: it was only the wind,” she said to herself, hugging her knees and rocking back and forth. That was how she had always calmed herself since she was very little. She would rock back and forth through the long stormy nights, too proud to call out to Mom or Dad and admit she was frightened of anything so silly as a thunderstorm.
It calmed her now, too, but she was still frightened. The voice from the shadows was real, whatever she might tell herself. It was real, and she couldn’t explain it. She had to escape.
The Garden had suddenly become a hostile place, windless and stifling. Addy scrambled to her feet and ran as fast as she could in the direction of her home. When she reached the back door she was relieved, but not nearly as relieved as she should have been. She took a deep steadying breath.
“Get a hold of yourself, Addy,” she said through gritted teeth. The ground began to spin underneath her and she stumbled a bit as she mounted the first step to the screened door.
“Addy? Everything okay?” asked her mother coming up from behind her, gardening tools in hand.
Addy teetered then grabbed for the door handle. “Oh, hi, Mom,” she said, breathless. “You startled me.”
Her mother laughed. “I can tell. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Addy couldn’t answer. Her mother had no idea how close that came to the truth.
“I just finished planting the rosebushes back by the tool-shed. Wanna see?”
Addy shook her head slowly. Ordinarily she would have loved to help with the garden, carefully arranging the interesting new annuals her mother had a knack for finding. “I’d really like to Mom, but I think I need to lie down. I – I’ve got a headache.”
Her mother looked concerned. “Again? You’ve been getting a lot of headaches lately. I hope this move hasn’t been too stressful on you, Addy.”
“No, Mom. I’m fine.”
Her mother gave her a hard look, as though she sensed something was wrong. She came up and put her arms around her daughter, giving her a playful squeeze. Addy smelled the scent of lavender that she always associated with her mother.
“I know it’s hard to adjust to a new place, honey, but I think you’ll find that it suits you. Just give it a chance, okay?”
Addy took a breath and smiled weakly. “Okay,” she said, hoping her smile was convincing. Sometimes she felt like her mother could open her mind, dissect her thoughts and lay them out under a microscope. She desperately hoped this was not one of those times.
Addy held the screened door as tightly as she would a life preserver in a stormy ocean. She wanted to be alone, to deal with this in her own way. She knew very well it wasn’t the new place that was tugging at her insides and making her feel sicker by the minute. It was the wild places in Mrs. Tavish’s garden.
When Addy woke up the next day, the word “Enitua” was still sliding around in her brain in time with her father’s rendition of the Midnight Sonata. Had she imagined the voice from the shadows? Now that she was some hours away from it, she was not so sure. Yet, that word – how could she have made it up? Where did it come from? She had certainly never heard it before.
Slipping out of bed, she pressed her nose up against the window pane. Mrs. Tavish was there again, talking to her flowers. It was too far away to see her in much detail, but Addy saw the blazing red pattern of her dress and a bright blue bonnet waving this way and that as she attended to her flower-beds. The sky was threatening rain, and Addy shivered involuntarily. She should not like to visit the Garden in a thunderstorm, that was for sure.
Suddenly Mrs. Tavish did a very strange thing: she stopped talking to her flowers for a moment, straightened up and waved in Addy’s direction. Addy ducked down behind her curtains. Surely Mrs. Tavish couldn’t see her, could she? After a minute she leaned forward every so slightly toward the window to take another peek. She saw with relief that Mrs. Tavish had not been waving to her at all – she was talking to someone – a red-haired boy with moonish glasses and a yellow raincoat.
Addy was once again consumed with curiosity. Mrs. Tavish didn’t like people, yet here she was talking to someone. Quite amiably, too, by the looks of it. She seemed to be showing the boy different plants and he was nodding his head agreeably. Addy stared at them for two whole minutes before they moved off into a shrouded area of the garden.
Addy did not stop to think twice: after she got dressed, she raced downstairs and pulled on her coat and boots and flew out the door. There was a strange boy in her Garden, her own fairy kingdom: what was he doing here, anyway? This foreigner in the hall of kings stoked the anger of the Egyptian princess: a frightening prospect for all involved. Princess Nebetia was prepared to march fearlessly to the heart of the Garden, the very last place Addy wanted to be this early in the morning under threatening skies.
There was a bicycle parked on the edge of Mrs. Tavish’s property that Addy had to assume belonged to the strange boy. She strode past it, wrapping her coat around her like a cape and brandishing a hastily chosen walking-stick. She forgot she was supposed to be afraid of voices from the shadows, or witches in flower-print dresses.
Nebetia’s royal blood raged, and she walked boldly through wooden trellis archways batting away the hanging vines with their little red grapes. She half-tripped over several dozen miscellaneous roots and rocks, but it did not faze her in the least. She was taking a stand: she would not be bullied into submission. She would confront the red-haired interloper and banish him from her kingdom.
Her bravado was short-lived, however, because in the next moment all her thoughts were drowned out by a terrifying sound: a shrill, inhuman scream.

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Under a Fairy Moon Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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books kkMonday, August 1

Read the first chapter at Literarily Speaking

“The Garden glared at her, green-eyed, from its dark places. Improbable shadows appeared, angular and barbed, in the rocky areas where plants never grew. Even as she dared creep out from behind the living screen of ferns and bramble bushes, Addy knew she wasn’t safe. A part of her still wanted to bolt as fast as she could in the other direction. Instead she stood transfixed, listening to the buzzing of the dragonflies and the steady gushing of the creek over smooth stones….”


Tuesday, August 2

Book reviewed at Lisa’s Bookworm

“I enjoyed reading this book. It is well written and has vivid imagery. T.M. Wallace was able to capture fairies as the trickster and not always benevolent beings that I like.”

Wednesday, August 3

Interviewed at Examiner

“I did some research on fairy tales around the world (there is a surprising variety of them!) and on the game of chess: I’m just a novice, but my husband plays very well. I also had to research the many kinds of plants that grow in Mrs. Tavish’s garden so that I could describe them in detail. I’m not a very good gardener myself, but maybe someday I’ll be able to grow a beautiful garden like Mrs. Tavish’s, who knows?”

Thursday, August 4

Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama

“I deal with dragons a lot in my writing. Why is the image of the dragon so captivating? There’s a certain mystique about the beast that defies explanation. There are legends about dragons in every culture, so it would seem their appeal is universal. In the bible, of course, the dragon signifies evil. There is even a saint, St. George, who is supposed to have fought and killed a dragon. Was this a metaphoric slaying? A confrontation and victory over evil? Who can be certain?”

Friday, August 5

Guest blogging at Dear Teen Me

“I admire your courage. I still feel the power of your pure faith. When you had your tonsils out — at sixteen — you hemorrhaged and it looked very bad. “Am I going to die?” you asked the nurse in a small voice. Yet, you were prepared for that, in a way that I could not be today. Your trust, even though you were afraid, was complete and born of innocence. How I wish I had that again … !”


Tuesday, August 9

Book reviewed at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

“This was a delightful story that I think will appeal to older middle grade readers and up.  T.M. Wallace has created a story chock full of characters that kids can relate to.  They are well written and quite believable in their actions and dialogue.”

Thursday, August 11

Book reviewed at YzhaBella’s Bookshelf

“Over all, I truly enjoyed this adventure as T.M. Wallace presents a magic filled tale with very thorough descriptions of both characters and settings.”

Friday, August 12

Book reviewed at A Word’s Worth

“Not only is the cover beautiful, but the story is engrossing and unpredictable.”

Monday, August 15

Interviewed at Blogcritics

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi – These words are a challenge to the writer in me. A writer often writes the world the way he/she sees it. I would like to write it not as it is, but as it can be: full of beauty and goodness and innocence, even in the face of great evil.”

Tuesday, August 16

Book reviewed at Bluerose’s Heart

“This was just a fun story! It really reminded me of the Goosebumps series from when I was a kid.”

Wednesday, August 17

Book reviewed at Taking Time for Mommy

This is a great middle grade book. It definitely has a Harry Potter / Secret garden feel to it. Perfect for your junior high or young high schooler. Under a Fairy Moon is very beautifully written with characters your children will be drawn to.”

Friday, August 19

Guest participant at Literarily Speaking August Book Panel

Monday, August 22

Book reviewed at Book Twirps

Wednesday, August 24

Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, August 25

Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams

Friday, August 26

Chat with T.M. at Pump Up Your Book Live! Chat Party/Book Giveaway!

Monday, September 5

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Tuesday, September 6

Guest blogging at The Plot

Wednesday, September 7

Guest blogging at The Book Bin

Thursday, September 8

Interviewed at Review From Here

Friday, September 9

Book reviewed at Eccentric Eclectic Woman

Monday, September 12

Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, September 13

Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams

Wednesday, September 14

Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama

Thursday, September 15

Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama

Friday, September 16

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Monday, September 19

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Tuesday, September 20

Book reviewed at Reviews From the Heart

Wednesday, September 21

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, September 22

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Monday, September 26

Book reviewed at Ellis Reviews & Life

Tuesday, September 27

Guest blogging at The Book Faery Reviews

Wednesday, September 28

Book reviewed at The Book Faery Reviews

Thursday, September 29

Guest participant at Literarily Speaking’s September Book Panel

Friday, September 30

Chat with T.M. at Pump Up Your Book Live! September Chat / Book  Giveaway Party!  (link coming soon)

My Dearest Friend by Hazel Statham

Hazel read her first Regency Romance, Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, when she was seventeen and knew that at last she had found her era.Hazel photo

She had been writing since she was fifteen and had mainly been influenced by authors like Austen, the Brontes and Sabatini, but Georgette Heyer opened up the romance and elegance of the eighteen and nineteenth century and she fell head over heels in love with it.

She devoured her books in very quick succession and wanted nothing more than to recreate her own Regency world. History had always been her favorite subject at school and it was just one small step to portray it in her work.

However, despite today’s trend to produce ‘hotter’ novels, she writes ‘traditional’ Regency Romance and closes the door on her characters when they retire. So much emotion can be conveyed by a mere glance or a single word that she doesn’t feel it necessary to leave the metaphorical door open to convey the emotions of the moment. The merest hint is often sufficient to stimulate the reader’s imagination and to go into detail is totally unnecessary.

Hazel has been married to her husband since 1969 and they share their home with a lovely Labrador named Mollie. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, Hazel’s other ruling passion is animals and, until recently, she was treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities.

Hazel loves to hear from her readers and promises to answer all mail. My Dearest Friend is one of two books Hazel is touring with this month.

Visit her online at

MDFAbout My Dearest Friend

Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is a man of intense emotions who loves deeply and protects fiercely. Devastated and wracked with guilt by the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War, he readily agrees to aid Jane Chandler to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal.

Much against Jane’s wishes, he decides to accompany her and together they embark on the hazardous mission to retrieve the young soldier. However, the journey holds many revelations, not least of all the abiding friendship and growing love between the two travelers.

That special love is put severely to the test by the treachery that awaits them upon their return to England, when a tenant of Jane’s former home invades their lives, maliciously creating jealousy and misunderstandings for his own nefarious reasons.

Can their friendship and love conquer the emotions that threaten to tear them asunder?

Read an Excerpt!

Their arrival at the inn that night went quite unnoticed, the sound of the horses’ hooves clattering over the cobbled yard exciting no more interest than had done their predecessors’ during the day. Once they were halted, the duke hurried Hannah and the sleeping Sophie from the vehicle and into the private parlor. He had hoped to find Jane within, but the room was deserted and he knew a moment’s disappointment. Just as he was about to go in search of her, Eaves pushed open the door and stopped in some surprise.

“Your grace,” he beamed coming into the room. “We had given up hope of you arriving today.”

“Where is Miss Chandler?” the duke demanded, making toward the door.

Eave’s countenance sobered. “She’s with the major, sir. I am afraid he took a turn this morning and she has not left his side since. The doctor has been called and says that despite it being but a momentary setback we must delay our return journey for a few days. Shall I fetch her for you, sir?”

“No need, I will go to her directly,” the duke said. “However, I would be grateful if you would arrange suitable accommodation for my ward and her nurse and make sure they are well nourished before they retire. It has been a very long and tiring day.”

With that, he strode from the room and took the stairs two at a time to the second landing. Eagerly pacing its length, he came to a sudden halt just as Jane stepped out of Harry’s room and quietly closed the door behind her. In the dimness of the corridor, she did not immediately perceive him standing but a short distance away, awaiting her notice, and was startled when he softly called her name from the shadows.

“Robert,” she cried, involuntarily pressing her hand to her throat, unable to move, as a new shyness overcame her.

For an instant, they stood thus until the duke moved forward into the pool of moonlight that filtered through a small window and slowly opened his arms to her. She did not hesitate but ran to him and buried her face in his neck. Words were not necessary for the moment as they both rejoiced in their reunion. Indeed, if she had tried to speak she would have found her words crushed into oblivion as, bending his head, he fiercely kissed her, demanding a response.

Finding in herself no resistance to his embrace, she welcomed it as if to be loved by him was the most natural occurrence in the world.

Eventually pulling apart and capturing her hands in his the duke gave a low chuckle, “I see you have missed me as much as I have you, my love.”

“That is unkind of you, sir,” she replied dropping her eyes before his fiery scrutiny, thankful that the shadows hid the warm glow his embrace brought to her cheeks.

“But oh, how I have longed for you, my dear friend.”

He smiled mischievously, once more drawing her to him, the better to study her features. “So, you will still insist on calling me your dear friend, sweetheart. I had hoped for something more.”

“You will always be my dearest friend,” she replied meeting his gaze openly. “Whatever else you may become, you will still be my friend.”

“Tell me then, my little friend, do friends marry?”

“Of course they do,” she replied without hesitation.

“Who else would tend me when I am nauseous and become a burden?”

He laughed, his green eyes dancing with delight, his face transformed. “If that is to be my role in life, then I must bear it with what fortitude I can muster, imp. Then sobering slightly, “Does it matter to you that we have known each other so short a time, for to me it seems an

“Not a whit,” she replied cradling his hand against her cheek. “For me the seed was set when you so obstinately refused to desert me to my fates on The Mistral. It showed an unparalleled fortitude and a kindness I will never forget.”

“I wish you would, my dear,” he said, attempting to hide his smile, “for I can see you regaling our grandchildren with it in years to come and it will do nothing to enhance the superior image that I would cultivate.”

“I assure you your image is quite safe, sir, for will I not tell them what a true and faithful friend you are and how I have come to love you?”

He would have taken her in his arms once more but the sound of a door opening at the further end of the corridor drove them guiltily apart and instead, he clasped her fingers securely in his and led her to the stairs.

“In my eagerness I have become remiss in my duties,” he said. “You are no doubt impatient to know the results of my journey and to see the babe, and you must tell me of Harry and what is to be done. We have so much to arrange. I must warn you, however, that we are increased in numbers. When we set out on the journey we were two, anticipated four, and now we become six. We will present quite a cavalcade on our return.”

She smiled, returning the pressure of his fingers. “I care not however many we become as long as I have my dear friend, for without him I am disconsolate.”

This did not go unrewarded and having achieved the first landing, he found it necessary to quickly catch her to him.

“My love, I can see you will be an enchanting wife,” he chuckled before briefly kissing her upturned face.

Read the Reviews!

“My Dearest Friend is an historic romance in an unusual but undoubtedly moving style…”

–The Long and The Short of It

“My Dearest Friend is a very tender love story about two people who are dearest friends first before marriage. The characters are likeable and their expressions almost dance across the pages. The reader cannot help but be caught up in their life. Ms. Statham blends all the right elements that breathe life into this well-written classic that I recommend.”

–Cherokee, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

“My Dearest Friend is an intricately woven tapestry of life and death and shows us the inner workings of the nobility. The story starts off well and continues to build momentum to the last page.”

– Robyn Once Upon a Romance

My Dearest Friend Tour Schedule

Monday, August 15th

Book spotlighted at Books, Products and More!

Tuesday, August 16th

Guest blogging at The Hot Author Report

Wednesday, August 17th

Interviewed at Examiner

Interviewed at Blogcriticsbooks

Thursday, August 18th

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Friday, August 19th

Character interviewed at The Plot

Book spotlighted at Broowaha

Monday, August 22nd

Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag

Tuesday, August 23rd

Book reviewed at The Book Connection

Wednesday, August 24th

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Thursday, August 25th

Book reviewed at A Book Lover Forever

Friday, August 26th

Book reviewed at The Hot Author Report

Black & Orange by Benjamin Kane Ethridge

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Join Benjamin Kane Ethridge, author of the award-winning dark fantasy horror Black & Orange as he virtually tours the blogosphere in August & September 2011 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Benjamin Kane Ethridge

BKE author photoBenjamin Kane Ethridge’s fiction has appeared in Doorways Magazine, Dark Recesses, FearZone, and others. His dark fantasy novel BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel. Beyond that he’s written several collaborations with Michael Louis Calvillo, one of which is a novella called UGLY SPIRIT, available in 2011. He also wrote a master’s thesis entitled, “CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film.” Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter, both lovely and both worthy of better. When he isn’t writing, reading, videogaming, he’s defending California’s waterways and sewers from pollution.

You can visit his website at

Say hi and drop a line at

About Black & Orange

black&orange_high_resForget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently. This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it.

Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive.

But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most… because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.

Read an Excerpt

October 31st of Last YearWhere was Tony Nguyen? Where was the Heart of the Harvest?

Martin couldn’t answer that. He’d lost his gun, his mind could not conjure another mantle– he was powerless. The answers he desperately needed escaped him. He just ran. Teresa wove through a field of tall grass and he followed. The brittle blades swept across his face, snapping and hissing as they went. The children flooded into the field, their dark orange jaws snapping in concert with the disruption in the grass. Martin could hear Teresa wheezing. Her pace slowed. He had to match it; she wouldn’t be left behind, not like–

Where was Tony?

Thousand of little fiends chomped hollowly, hungry to fill that hollowness– instinctively Martin attempted to throw a mantle and dissect the crowd, but his brain had gone completely dry; he’d overdone it. There was no mental power left. He’d failed Tony. They both had. Now the Church of Midnight would have their sacrifice. The same realization flooded into Teresa’s cold face as she sprinted through the darkness ahead. He’d wasted his power, she was ill and the Church was too damned powerful now.

Chaplain Cloth was too damned powerful. And he took Tony. Somewhere along the line Martin and Teresa had lost the Heart of the Harvest, Tony Nguyen, that single soul that was theirs to protect from sacrifice.

The nightscape sloped. One of the children clamped onto Teresa’s leg with its serrated teeth and twisted its head to rip at the tendons there. Martin brought down a boot on its pumpkin shaped skull. The head trauma forced the jaws open. Martin jumped forward to crush it. The thing growled and jumped to meet him. Teresa swung around and stopped the creature mid-flight with the butt of her handgun. Her frayed jeans grew dark with blood but she ran on. The other children gained. Colorless trees flooded past, the open field turning into dense forest.

Maybe Tony had gotten away somehow. They couldn’t lose another Heart of the Harvest. The gateway grew too wide already– another sacrifice would bring the other world too close to theirs. Goddamnit, where was Tony Nguyen? Did he trip and fall somewhere? Martin’s foot hit a root. He tumbled sideways, landed on his elbow in a wet bed of leaves. Teresa took his hand and ripped him to his feet. But it wasn’t Teresa. This person wore a new face and new eyes.

Martin twisted away from the old monster. The shark-belly skin, the night black suit and orange tie. Trees exploded behind Martin in a rush of splintery debris. He found his strength, forced on a path of adrenaline, and brought up a mantle that moment. The invisible shield wrapped around his body and deflected the attack. Martin’s heel caught mud and he slid fast into a black ravine. He lost hold of the mantle when he splashed down. His protection vanished. Where was Teresa? Where was Tony? Martin was alone.

His legs slopped through a waist-high stream. Chaplain Cloth hadn’t come down after him and as much as that might have been a relief, it meant his direction had turned elsewhere. Martin couldn’t let that happen, not to Tony, not to Teresa. He charged hard through the cold stream and broke out of the arresting water onto a steep embankment. The memory of Cloth’s face burned in his mind: needles of pitchy hair swinging over one black eye, and the orange eye engulfed in hate. His teeth were raw pink like flayed muscle, colored from past harvests, colored with those Hearts that never saw another November.

Screams echoed from a bubble of light somewhere north. Martin’s legs burned red-hot. Can’t stop. He focused to build another mantle. The cold spot in his brain, where mantles were drawn, bloomed with power. The light in the forest intensified. Shadows became more distinct. A voice yelled for him.

“Martin! Here!” Teresa peered out between some stunted trees. Her face was streaked in dirt and dried blood. “Get over here.”

He dove into the hiding place and sidled up next to her. Her words came out between gulps of air. Her wheeze sounded dry, but he knew it’d get worse soon in this dampness. “We have to get back to the van. We’ve lost him Martin. They have Tony. Tony’s gone! Let’s go.”

“How do you know? Did–?”

She guided his face over, leaving dank mud on his chin. In his confusion he’d overlooked a nearby ledge over a washout. Pine trees wreathed the area in a nighttime vertigo. At the other side of the washout stood an old brick structure, a primary school left to ruin. A gaping mouth opened through the bricks. The gateway leading to the Old Domain stretched forth impatiently, power-starved. At the other side of the bilious corridor, human arms pushed and pulled and wrenched to open a fist-sized hole separating the worlds. The arms withdrew a moment and a woman’s face filled the hole. Smiling. It was a lovely face with corpse cold eyes.

They shrunk back as Chaplain Cloth strode from the gathering of trees adjoining the school. Tony Nguyen’s furrowed body hung limp in Cloth’s arms. He was alive, but Martin knew that wouldn’t last long.

“We have to do something,” he whispered.

“You know there’s nothing we can do now,” said Teresa. “We can only hope it gateway will shut again. This was bound to happen again.”

“We can try–”

“No,” she said, firmly, “I’m calling this one.”

Tony wasn’t scared, although the abrasions from Cloth’s children had almost bled him out. So very brave– thought Martin. How had they let this happen? They were too slow.

Without warning, the boy’s torso twisted back; the spine snapped in three places. The Chaplain rested his hand on the damp white shirt and it jumped apart at the poisonous touch. Through Tony’s abdomen, the ribcage surfaced through the skin like the hull of a sunken ship. Once each bone was exposed, they shattered in succession. Cloth blinked back at the chalky discharges. Strands of muscle and skin ignited and burst into tiny organic filaments. Cloth worked a pale finger around the dense muscle in the cavity. Pulled the heart free from Tony’s chest.

The Heart of the Harvest didn’t glow, or shimmer, or change colors. It looked like a human heart, like any mammal heart, a tough piece of bloody flesh. But then Martin saw– everything for miles around had been deprived of color. Teresa’s face looked gray beside him. Even Cloth’s black and orange eyes were two smoky discs. Yet the heart had a burgundy hue so ferocious it looked like something from a surreal dream, an apple galvanized with cinnamon steel.

Tony’s jaw clicked as his body met the forest’s carpet of twigs and leaves. He was carrion now because of them. This kid, this great kid that once explained in detail how he planned to code videogames after college, and once he mastered that, wanted a large family– he wasn’t one of those guys who hated the idea. Becoming a good father someday was his ultimate goal, because his own father left so much to be desired. Tony had wanted to have a life after this Halloween. And now he would be fertilizer for the forest. Dust.

The heart was placed outside the gateway. The arms inside thrashed frantically as the brilliant red lump boiled. A swarm of children attacked the organ, taking measured bites of the fruit. Their bulbous bodies fled inside, charged with radiant power. Hundreds detonated. Through the eclipses of darkness and light, layers of the hole collapsed into soot. The opening widened and a slender arm, the woman’s arm, came through with her head. She moved quickly through, for the gateway would repair and soon.

“They’re coming through.” Teresa swallowed the words.

“I don’t think it will stay open forever,” Martin told her. They’d lost Hearts before, but he still wasn’t sure.

Laughter scaled the peaks of the hovering pines. More Church members clamored through the forest toward the new arrivals.

Teresa tugged at him, but Martin couldn’t move. All he could do was think about the end. His body came off the ground with a surge of strength. “This is done, Martin. We have to go!”

Thousands of demented orange faces exploded around them. Teresa flung a mantle and it powered through the children like a cannon ball. Martin followed her through the maze of twisting trees, trusting her to lead them to the van.

Chaplain Cloth’s laughter followed them all the way back.

Black & Orange Tour Schedule

Monday, August 1
Interview at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, August 2
Guest Post at The Hot Author Report

Wednesday, August 3
5 Things Guest Post at The Hot Author Report
Guest Post at The Book Connection

Thursday, August 4
Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Friday, August 5
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book

Monday, August 8
Interview at The Examiner

Tuesday, August 9
Interview at The Writers Life

Wednesday, August 10
Guest Post at Pitching Pencils

Thursday, August 11
Guest Post at Fluidity of Time

Friday, August 12
Review at Fluidity of Time

Monday, August 15
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, August 16
Character Interview at The Plot

Wednesday, August 17
Guest Post at Inkyblots

Thursday, August 18
Interview at BlogCritics

Friday, August 19
Book Panel at Literarily Speaking

Monday, August 22
Guest Post at Books, Products and More

Tuesday, August 23
Interview at Broowaha

Wednesday, August 24
Review at The Phantom Photographer

Thursday, August 25
Review at Bookish Ardour

Friday, August 26
Interview at Book Marketing Buzz
Video at If Books Could Talk

September Schedule coming soon!

Consequence by Hazel Statham

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Join Hazel Statham, author of the Regency romance novel, Consequence (Avalon Books), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in August on her fifth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

About Hazel

Hazel read her first Regency Romance, Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, when she was seventeen and knew that at last she had found her era.Hazel photo

She had been writing since she was fifteen and had mainly been influenced by authors like Austen, the Brontes and Sabatini, but Georgette Heyer opened up the romance and elegance of the eighteen and nineteenth century and she fell head over heels in love with it.

She devoured her books in very quick succession and wanted nothing more than to recreate her own Regency world. History had always been her favorite subject at school and it was just one small step to portray it in her work.

However, despite today’s trend to produce ‘hotter’ novels, she writes ‘traditional’ Regency Romance and closes the door on her characters when they retire. So much emotion can be conveyed by a mere glance or a single word that she doesn’t feel it necessary to leave the metaphorical door open to convey the emotions of the moment. The merest hint is often sufficient to stimulate the reader’s imagination and to go into detail is totally unnecessary.

Hazel has been married to her husband since 1969 and they share their home with a lovely Labrador named Mollie. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, Hazel’s other ruling passion is animals and, until recently, she was treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities.

Hazel loves to hear from her readers and promises to answer all mail. Consequence is her latest release.

Visit her online at

Consequence jpgAbout Consequence

In the wake of a duel, Marcel Blake, the Duke of Lear, an infamous rake and gamester, leaves London to visit his cousin in Paris. Here he meets and falls in love with Julie, the British ambassador’s daughter. Thinking she would be horrified if she learned of his reputation, Marcel fights the attraction; but when he is wounded while saving her from the unwanted advances of a less-than-desirable would-be suitor, Marcel finds that she returns his affections.

Ultimately, vengeance conspires against them; at their wedding reception, Julie is maliciously informed of Marcel’s previous life of misdeeds, and she’s led to believe that he only married her to please the king. With this insurmountable gulf suddenly between them, will Marcel prove his reformation, woo his wife, and find happiness with her, or is the sudden desolation in Julie’s heart impossible to overcome? Have Marcel’s games finally caught up to him for good?

Read an Excerpt!

Everyone had gone to the hunt excepting Julie, who had pleaded a headache, Lady Markham who never rode to hounds and his grace who did not think fox hunting in France held any interest.

It was about half an hour before mid-day when his grace, about to enter the library, heard a scuffle and a muffled cry come from the drawing room, and vaguely interested in its source, languidly opened the drawing room door. The scene that met his gaze however, cast aside all languor. Julie was found to be struggling in Coustellet passionate embrace, most obviously repulsed by his amorous attentions and vainly attempting to free herself from his hold. Coustellet having his back to the door neither saw nor heard the duke’s entrance, and it was with no mild surprise that he felt his collar taken in a strangling grip and himself thrown bodily to the floor.

After briefly asserting that Julie was unhurt, Marcel wrenched a bemused Coustellet to his feet and drove his fist into his jaw. Staggering back, Coustellet shook his head before rushing forward like an enraged bull. Throwing a wild right he caught the point of the duke’s jaw but a follow up to this move was confused by his grace serving him a heavy blow to the chest, which felled him to the ground. Again Coustellet was on his feet and this time was favored with a lucky punch that drew a spattering of blood from the duke’s nose. The thrashing that his grace then administered to the unfortunate gallant was suddenly cut short by Coustellet who, finding himself once more companion to the floor, in desperation, grabbed a nearby foot-stool and, quickly rising, dealt his grace a foul blow to the side of his head.

Marcel sank semi-conscious to his knees while Coustellet, taking full advantage of the situation, ran to the open casement by which he had entered and beat a hasty retreat in the direction of the stables.

Julie ran stumbling forward to help the duke whom, having risen rather shakily to his feet, was gingerly feeling the swelling that was fast forming over his left temple. However he managed to execute a graceful if somewhat short bow. “You must forgive me, my dear,” he said succumbing to Julie’s ministrations and sitting in a large chair. “It was not my wish that you should be witness to such a vulgar turn of fisticuffs, especially one in which I should suffer the indignity of being defeated by a foot stool!”

There had been a light of amusement in the duke’s eye as he spoke these last few words and Julie could not help but give a reluctant chuckle. “It was neat was it not?” she agreed. “If only Bertram could have seen you he would have been your eternal friend. There’s nothing he likes better than a mill.”

“In that case perhaps I should repeat the whole performance for his edification,” said the duke, with an attempt at levity. Seeing that her hand trembled, he took her fingers in his warm clasp, his gaze intent on her face. “Did he hurt you?” he asked quietly.
“Apart from a few cracked ribs, I think not,” she said in an attempt to mirror his flippancy. She tentatively raised her finger to the bruise that was spreading at his temple. “It is you who are hurt, sir, and all for my sake. I do beg your pardon. Coustellet entered unannounced and took me by surprise. I had thought him at the hunt with the others but, upon finding me absent, he came back to Sefron supposing me to be alone.” Julie’s eyes fell before the duke’s fiery scrutiny, “and – and then he tried to force his attentions on me,” she stammered, unable to hide her distress at the situation, and whispered with a catch in her voice, “I don’t know what I would have done if you had not intervened.”

“Probably used the footstool on him,” replied the duke with a lightness he was far from feeling. Then unable to disguise his anger any longer, “I shall find it necessary to pay our amorous friend a visit in the very near future, so if you would be so kind as to furnish me with his direction…”

“No!” she cried hotly, then, as the duke looked sharply at her, she said a little more calmly, “I will not allow you to be put out on my account, sir.”

“I think Coustellet has already put me out as you term it,” purred the duke at his most unpleasant. “There is now an issue between us that must be settled. His actions toward you cannot be allowed to go unpunished.”

“But it must go no further,” she persisted. “No one must know, not even my father who holds Coustellet in strong aversion. It would be said that I encouraged him by staying away from the hunt, apparently alone.” Her gaze swept his face and as if suddenly becoming aware that his fingers still held hers, she pulled her hand away, saying “Where are my senses, your head must ache terribly and there is a very large bruise fast appearing.”

“You need not worry,” said the duke, making to rise.

Julie gently but firmly pressed him back into the chair. “I will get you something for the swelling,” she said, and without waiting for an answer hurried from the room.

His grace was not very much hurt, but of a sudden had taken a liking to being pampered and allowed Julie, when she returned, to bathe his temple with a cooling lotion. She perched herself on the arm of his chair requiring him to hold a small china bowl wherein reposed the soothing liquid and gently bathed the offending lump.

The duke, deeming it prudent not to mention Coustellet, in an attempt to divert her thoughts asked lightly, “Did you enjoy your season in London?”
Julie smiled ruefully, thankful for the diversion. “I’m afraid my aunt who was to have brought me out suffered a seizure just before the season began and so my debut had to be postponed. However, Papa has promised that I will have a season next year.”

“No doubt your debut will be a great success, my dear,” he said, smiling. Indeed, it is an event I shall look forward to with great anticipation.”

As Julie gently smiled in response, he involuntarily became fascinated by the turn of her delicate cheek, and for the moment, imagined his lips resting there. Mentally taking himself to task, he attempted to banish such errant thoughts but against his will, the fascination remained. When, inadvertently spilling some of the liquid on his coat, Julie leaned closer to his profile in an attempt to dab away the offending liquid, he found the temptation impossible to resist. Without conscious thought, he gently tilted up her chin and tenderly kissed the sweet roundness of her face.

For a moment she gazed blankly at him, and then with a sudden cry, ran from the room and up to her apartments, locking her door against all intruders and there spent the remainder of the day.

The Duke of Lear, cursing himself for being every type of fool reflected that he had treated her hardly better than Coustellet by taking advantage of her trusting innocence. It had however, taken him completely by surprise that he could feel so tenderly toward her, for he had thought himself impervious to her charms and it was in some consternation that he also retired to his room.

Consequence Tour Schedule


Monday, August 1st

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Tuesday, August 2nd

Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bagbooks

Wednesday, August 3rd

Book reviewed at Broken Teepee

Thursday, August 4th

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Interviewed at One Writer’s Journey

Friday, August 5th

Character interviewed at The Plot

Book reviewed at Words I Write Crazy

Monday, August 8th

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Tuesday, August 9th

Book reviewed at Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, August 10th

Book reviewed at A Book Lover Forever

Thursday, August 11th

Interviewed at Paperback Writer

Book reviewed at The Hot Author Report

Friday, August 12th

Book reviewed at Life in Review

Hazel Statham’s CONSEQUENCE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR will officially begin on August 1st and end on August 12th, 2011. This tour is now filled. Thank you for your interest.