Monday, December 15, 2014

It's a ‪#‎NAChristmas!

Thanks for joining us as we celebrate the holidays with thirteen New Adult authors. Check out every stop leading up to December 24 to get excerpts, exclusive content, and hopefully a cutie under the mistletoe! Be sure to enter the rafflecopter to win a grand prize pack of an ebook from every author!

Dark Paradise Series Bonus Scene takes place after DARK REDEMPTION and introduces DARK EMBRACE, releasing July 7, 2015.


Landry’s firm grip on my hand keeps me from being swept up in the thick crowd of jostling college students packing the entrance of the Blue Diamond Saloon. I’ll never get used to being surrounded by so many people, both living and dead.

I press closer to Landry, almost stepping on his heels.

He turns sideways, putting my back to the wall. “You doing okay, Mala?”

“Just a bit of a headache,” I yell, trying to be heard over the Zydeco music playing over the loudspeakers. “I’ll be fine.”

His black eyebrows dip into a frown.

At the back of the room, a stage is being set up for the New Year’s Eve live show by my favorite group—Phantom Cat. Hot damn. We’re partying—Creole style.

Reminded of why I came tonight, I rise on tiptoe so I’m closer to Landry’s ear. This, of course, puts me within nipping distance of temptation. I can’t help myself, so I cave and take a nibble on his delicious earlobe before saying, “Thanks again for the best Christmas gift ever!”

My lips move from his ear to the side of his neck. God, he tastes good.

Smells heavenly too. He’s wearing the cologne I bought him. We’d spent Christmas Eve at the hospital with my cousin Dena, opening presents and playing a prank on her doctor. Dr. Alonso Estrada’s still on my shit list after he blindsided me with his decision to take my cousin off life support. The pictures we got of him at the hospital Christmas party, hammered on spiked hooch and dirty dancing with a blow-up doll, ensures he’s blackmailable. So I didn’t hesitate to spring Dena from the hospital. A night out with friends and music will help her mood. She’s been really depressed being stuck alone in a hospital room for the holidays. 

Dena passes her ticket to the bouncer. Tommy and Maggie also make it past the gatekeeper and join us. It’s been months since I’ve seen the newlyweds. They’re living the married life and attending college. As much as marriage scares the stuffing out of me, I’m kind of envious of the happy couple.

I glance down at my engagement ring and smile. It sure is pretty under the strobe lights.

Dena nudges my side, and I lean in to hear her. “So, have you settled on a wedding date?”

 I shake my head. “Not yet.”

 Her crystal blue eyes darken. “Life’s short, you know. Don’t screw around for a someday that may never come. If you love each other, why wait?”

My mouth opens then snaps shut. Really? What can I say? She’s right. 

Landry’s cool about tying the knot. I’m the one who wants to wait. And for what? It’s stupid, really. 
“T-Dog, let’s get some refreshments while the ladies find a table,” Landry tells Tommy.

I reluctantly release Landry’s hand and latch onto Maggie and Dena instead. We thread through the crowd and find a booth close to the stage. 
“Phantom Cat isn’t supposed to play for a couple of hours,” I yell to Dena. “Are you excited?”

She grins and does a happy dance. The satiny fabric of her short, cobalt-blue dress spins around her legs. She gets some appreciative glances from a group of college guys sitting at the table across from us. When she notices, heat floods her cheeks, but she gives them a saucy smile and receives whistles and a “Hey baby, you’re so fine” in return. I’m thrilled by her reaction. It’s like a heavy weight lifts off her shoulders. I haven’t seen her this happy in months.

Dena slides into the booth and drums her fingers on the table. “I can’t wait.”

“Me either.” I reach across the table to take her hands in mine. She still seems so fragile. “Sure you’re feeling okay? If this is too much—”
“Hell no!” She squeezes my hand. “I’d have to fall back into a coma to miss the band. Stop worrying. Tonight’s all about ringing in the New Year. All the bad stuff that happened is behind us.”

Saints, I hope that’s true. “Yeah, cheers to a new year.”

Landry lightly touches my back, and I slide across the seat so he’ll have room. He sets a glass full of a lime green liquid on the table and two glasses of iced tea in front of me and Dena.
“What’s this?” I tap his glass with a finger.
“Midori Sour. Do you want to taste it?”
I stare at a drink so green it reminds me of liquid luck. I consider taking a sip, but memories of helping Mama off the bathroom floor after puking out all but her soul keeps my fingers folded on my lap. “Nah, I’m the designated driver, remember?”
“One little sip.” He lays his arm across the back of the booth. “Maybe it’ll loosen you up. You’ve been wound up tighter than a spring since coming home from work.”
“It’s this new homicide I’m consulting on for the sheriff’s office.” I lean closer so only he can hear. Nobody else at the table knows my secret. I’m a ghost-whisperer—the seventh daughter in a line of witches stretching all the way back to Africa. “A guy was burned to death. Bessie asked if I could contact his spirit to find out what happened.”
“Did you?” He brushes my curls over my shoulder and massages the nape of my neck.

“No, I couldn’t sense him.” My muscles go gooey from his touch. “He must’ve passed over to the other side. The strange part was the residual taint over the crime scene. It reminded me of how it felt on White Oak Island. And if that’s the case, then this is bad, Landry. Real bad.” A chill runs down my spine.

Landry catches my shiver and pulls me into his arms. I lay my head on his broad shoulder and soak up his warmth. God, I love this man so much. Why am I stressing over a murder when I should be enjoying being with my family and friends? Like Dena said, life’s short. And in two hours, it’ll be a whole new year.  

“To hell with it, let’s dance.” I slide from the booth and hold out my hand. “Come on. But watch those big feet. I need my toes.”
Landry laughs as he takes my hand and leads me beneath the strobe lights. The crowd shifts to allow us entrance, and we weave through the gyrating bodies to reach the middle of the dance floor. The music stirs a primitive part of my soul, overwhelming conscious thought. My body pulses with the rhythm of the drums and the trumpets’ soulful beat.

A hand runs down my swiveling hips, pulling me against familiar chiseled abs. I wrap my arms around Landry’s neck and hold him tight. My eyes close, and I relax into his arms. We sway slowly to the music, not even following the throbbing rhythm. Landry rests his chin on top of my head. His breaths brush across my hair, and his hands rest on my hips. Time passes in slow motion. The crowd around us ebbs and flows. Neither of us notices until a form moves directly into my line of sight.

 Lieutenant Bessie Caine gestures from the side of the dance floor. She’s dressed in her uniform, which means she’s here on official business. I meet her worried gaze and stop dead in the middle of the dance floor. A chill of premonition fills me. “Something’s wrong.”

Landry’s arms tighten. “You’re gonna miss Phantom Cat.”
“I’m sorry.” Regret tinges my voice.

Landry doesn’t say another word. He leads me through the crowd. Each step toward Bessie feels like walking through molasses. Dread presses heavier and heavier upon my chest. By the time we reach her side, my legs tremble with the weight of remaining upright.

Bessie nods to Landry, then turns to me. “We’ve got another one.”

She means a murder victim.

Landry pulls me into his arms. “Since you won’t be here …” His mouth steals my whispered apology, and I melt against his chest. He kisses me breathless, then pulls back to press one last goodbye kiss on the tip of my nose. “Happy New Year. Be safe. And kick ass.”
“Always. Love you.” 

 He walks off, leaving me alone with Bessie and the news I don’t want to hear, but have to know to do my job. Time freezes. A million scenarios of what happened and the possible outcomes race through my mind as I ask the next question. “Did the vic burn like the last guy?”
DARK PARADISE (Dark Paradise, #1)


“A vivid and entertaining storyteller, Sandro is an exciting new writer to watch." —J.A. Redmerksi, New York Times bestselling author


Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of “witch women,” she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She’s haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.

DEADLY SECRETSLandry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he starts to wonder if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister’s killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything—their families, their love, and even their lives.

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Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen.

Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father's family in Louisiana inspired this story. Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador.



Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Interview with L. K. Bellow author of HELLISH HAVEN

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing L.K. Belows author of the dystopian romance HELLISH HAVEN that was released last month.

First here’s a quick blurb for HELLISH HAVEN.

Two lives. Two realities. But only one truth.

The Senator reigns all-powerful in a manifested picture-perfect world. No worries. No wars. Only the unspoken threat of oblivion if you step a toe out of line. On the other side of the divide, the rebels face a debilitating war against an invulnerable robotic army. Every day is a struggle to earn back their freedoms. Freedom to feel. Freedom of speech. Freedom of thought.

Sergeant Grant Baker is pivotal to the war effort. But ever since his wife’s abduction, he’s been walking around in as much of a daze as the Senator’s brainwashed citizens. Then Eva reappears—without memories of him or their son. And he’s willing to do anything to keep her. Even if it means jeopardizing the war.

Eva doesn’t know which side to believe. Her predictable life as a single nurse, or the man claiming to be her husband. All she knows is she needs to discover how to end the war, quickly. If she doesn’t choose sides soon, she may lose the man—and the life—she never knew she wanted.

PAT: First I’d love to know a little about the path you took to becoming a published writer. What was the first story you ever wrote? Did it teach you anything relevant to your writing today?

L.K.: The first story I wrote, for that school project in third grade, was about a pet dinosaur named Kooky who I lost and later found in my sock drawer. At that time, my friend had challenged me to write the most pages, a challenge which I lost. But I also continued the story past the natural stopping point. If I had ended the story upon finding Kooky the first time, I would have had a full-fledged short story with a beginning, middle, climax, and ending. Instead, I forced more story out and the story ended up being worse than it could have been if I wasn’t simply trying to write pages.

It was an important lesson for me. Not every story will be as complex as a full-length book. I write a lot of novellas now, not only because I love reading them (they’re easy to fit into my busy schedule) but because I don’t force a story past its natural stopping point, no matter what the length happens to be.

PAT: That's a wonderful point. I have a tough time writing short fiction because my plots tend to be super complex. Did other teachers or people influence your writing?

L.K.: While I was in high school, around the time I started writing seriously, I had several wonderful people who encouraged me to write. My parents were one, though my mom didn’t like fantasy and my dad didn’t like romance. My English teacher, who founded a writing club in the school with me, also contributed to my love of books and of writing. Last but certainly not least, my best friend from high school was a bookworm just like me and read everything I wrote, though she herself never wrote a book past its prologue. I remember once writing a book and handing it to the boy I liked to read, who also loved books. Support systems are essential, and I had ample encouragement and motivation to continue in those days, which was vital to spurring me on to this path.

PAT: What happened after high school that set you on the route to becoming a published?

L.K.: In high school, the only thing I could think about doing was writing. I had books in me and they had to come out. I’m also a practical person, and upon graduating high school, when I didn’t have the money up front to go back to school, I opted not to put myself in debt. While I worked, saving money, I also wrote. I read books, and got positive responses to my own work. I decided I wanted more people to read it. I want to keep writing, and my dream job was to be able to do only that, writing. So I took the plunge, and here I am.

PAT: How do you find the time to write?

L.K.: I don’t find time. I make the time. Days can get incredibly busy, especially if working a day job. I take a few moments for myself in the morning before my day begins, in order to write. On days I have “off,” I usually devote to writing as well.

PAT:  I love that you make rather find time to write.  That’s what I do as well.  Over the years what was one of the biggest obstacle you had to overcome in your career?

L.K.: My biggest obstacle was a lack of support at home. My late husband didn’t approve -- and went out of his way to actively discourage my writing. For the two years prior to his death, I wrote in secret for fear he would find out, and didn’t end up writing much at all.

PAT: What inspired you to write Hellish Haven?

L.K.: One of my favorite classic books is Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Something about the dystopia, the worst case scenario, called to me. I wanted to write a book about a family, a husband and wife already on the page and a child as well. When I started, I realized that the best way to express Eva’s story would be in a world slightly different from our own. I borrowed many of Orwell’s themes, twisting them to suit the story and the world. The result is what I consider to be my best book yet, though I am biased, of course. :)

PAT: What’s next for you?

L.K.: One thing you’ll notice if you read my books is that I like to write in a wide range of subgenres. I follow where the characters lead. I recently finished a historical romance with a spunky protagonist and I’m working on a romantic suspense at the time of writing this. The best way to know what I have next on the radar is to check my website or follow me on Twitter @LBelowtheauthor.

Thanks for stopping by Lindsay. It was great to learn more about you and your writing!

 If you'd like to order HELLISH HAVEN, you can order it from Kensington Books or Amazon

ALSO, congratulations to Sheri Green. You've won the $10 iTunes giveaway from last week interview!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Interview: Jaye Robin Brown author of NO PLACE TO FALL and $10 iTunes giveaway

I’m so excited to have Jaye Robin Brown on the blog today. Her debut novel, NO PLACE TO FALL, is coming out next week!! I had the pleasure of reading early drafts of this book and it’s just amazing. I want to get right to the interview, but first here’s an official blurb for this highly anticipated novel:

Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

Pat: I understand you’ve been to a lot of live music events. Can you tell us about the most exciting or frightening moment you had at a one of these events? Bonus points if you were a teen or if the event influenced a scene in NO PLACE TO FALL.

Jaye: Ha! I have both of these stories actually.

First is scary. I went to go see Dwight Yoakam and Clint Black (mainly Dwight) at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. It’s a gorgeous venue, old elegant architecture, stars on the ceiling, not a typical country music venue. We had seats upstairs in the balcony and the crowd was fairly sedate. Though I would have loved to be up on my feet dancing, no one else was, so I sat. But…this group of four people, four well-fed people, stood to whoop and holler about five rows in front of us. Did I also mention they were wasted? People around us started yelling at them to sit down. Well, right when one of those glazed-eyed women turned around to see who was dissing them, I happened to be making a hand motion of “sit down.” She freaking chucked her beer at me! And made contact!

I was so pissed I didn’t think about what I was doing and I’m pretty sure I jet packed down to their row to yell about how I hadn’t yelled at them and who did she think she was chucking her beer at me (plastic cup draft, thank god not a bottle!). Then suddenly, I looked at them, I mean really looked at them. And they all had drunk zombie eyes and they were all (2 girls and 2 guys) way bigger than me, and I had this epiphany of “Oh my god. I’m the yipping Chihuahua and they’re a pack of Rottweilers!” My mouth stopped mid-sentence and I high tailed it back to my seat. Fortunately, the bouncers arrived about then to tell them to sit or leave. If they hadn’t I might not be here to tell the tale.

Okay next is the inspiration story. When I was in college, there was this dive bar in Mobile, Alabama called Poor Richard’s. Tons of local indie bands passed through to play. I was on staff of this alternate newspaper called The Harbinger and I would often write articles about music and the various bands. I forget the band’s name, but they invited me back to their van for libations during a set break. So I’m sitting in this van being naughty when I hear my good friend, Caroline, yelling for me in the parking lot. One of the guys cracked the door and waved her over. She looked in and asked what was going on and I can’t remember who said it, her or me, but the response was “Your mother’s worst nightmare.” That line is in the scene where Will takes Amber over the mountain to see his band friends. Caroline and I still think it’s one of the most classic of our many, many stories and it definitely deserved to be in a book.

Pat: That line is amazing and I love how it ended up in the novel. Now, to get a bit more serious, what scene or emotion in the NO PLACE TO FALL was the most difficult for you to write?

Jaye: There’s a scene near the beginning when Amber’s been given a ride home after a football game. Her brother-in-law, Sammy, who she once worshipped but now despises, greets her and it’s obvious he’s been drinking. They have a confrontation on the lawn and when she finally escapes him to get to the door, she steps inside to find her parents are fighting about money and the phone’s been cut off. What she’d hoped was her father to send him away with a shotgun warning and get him out of their lives. But instead, her sister, Whitney, sees Sammy and rushes out the front door, oblivious to the fact he just manhandled Amber and threatened her. With her parents screaming at each other in the kitchen, and her sister falling back into the arms of a drug dealer, it’s a real low point for Amber. She takes her nephew and escapes to her room where she wonders how she’ll ever get out from the weight of her family.

For some reason anytime I worked on this scene, I could feel her heaviness and the press of the mountains rising up around her. It got me emotionally every time.

Pat: I can see how that would be a tough scene to write. But it’s the emotional power of your writing that hooked me. Speaking of hooked, Will is my favorite character in NO PLACE TO FALL. Can you give me a quick look inside his head and tell me how he feels about his younger brother—like deep inside, the stuff he’d never say out loud.

Jaye: Though not official just yet, there will be a whole lot more of inside Will’s head in the months ahead and a lot dealing with that brother to brother relationship. In short, Will would fight dragons to defend Devon. Though he doesn’t really understand (or want to understand) the mechanics of Devon’s same sex relationships, he decided from the minute Devon came out that he was going to be his right hand man. And for as much as Will is there to defend Devon in the case of bullies, Devon is kind of Will’s solid rock. Without his brother, Will’s not sure how he could have ever dealt with their family’s move to Sevenmile. They’re tight.

Pat: Will’s point of view—okay, I’m really looking forward to that.  I know you read a lot of YA books. In general, what do you feel there is a lack of?

Jaye: I think there’s so much awesome going in YA right now. Strong girls, the rise and clamor for diverse characters, LGBT books that aren’t just about coming out or pain. It’s a great time for young adult literature and I’d have a hard time pointing out what’s not there. That said, I always love strong character driven voicey stories set in the South.

Pat: NO PLACE TO FALL’s release party is going to be on December 9th at Malaprop's Bookstore Asheville, NC. Did the town of Asheville appear, influence or does it play a role in your novel?  

Jaye: You know, I don’t think there are any Asheville scenes in No Place To Fall. Of course, Amber’s been there a time or two, but her family is far more likely to head over the mountain to shop in Johnson City, TN than they are to head down to Asheville. It’s just a little too on the edge of funk to make Mama and Daddy Vaughn comfortable. But me, the author? I like it just fine. J Bring on the funk!

Pat: Okay, one more Asheville question just for fun. If Amber Vaughn could go into any store in Asheville and get one item for free—what would she choose?

Jaye: Amber is a selfless girl so I’m pretty certain she’d pick something for her nephew Coby, or maybe one of those professional grade KitchenAid mixers for her mama to use in the kitchen. But if I could pull strings, I’d send her to this awesome little clothing boutique on Lexington Ave, Hip Replacements, to pick out an on-stage dress. Something with a pin-up girl flare to accentuate her curves!

Thank you so much, Jaye! And since we can’t all be in Asheville for your release party, here’s a link for anyone who wants to order a signed copy of NO PLACE TO FALL. Malaprops Bookstore

 To learn more about Jaye and NO PLACE TO FALL check out her website.

For a chance to win a $10 iTune Card leave a comment or question for Jaye below this post. Drawing will end at midnight on December 9th.