Friday, October 30, 2015

Nobody in a Small Town


  Deep laughter rose above the voices of the other cheerleaders seated around me in the back of the old pick up truck. My heart stuck in my throat as I watched the senior varsity football players shove  the small freshman player back and forth between them. When I dreamed of being a cheerleader, I never visioned this. I always looked up to the older girls who got to ride in the parade with the football players on the night before our big rival game. Little did I know what happened in the middle of the truck, hidden from the view of those on the outside. But not hidden from my cheer-leading coach who acts like she doesn't see the weaker players being shoved, kicked, and punched.

  My stomach rolls with nausea while the football coaches talk among one another as the younger players who practice just as hard as the starters are their target of entertainment and cruelty.

  By the time the parade is over, one of the younger players is dazed. His pupils the size of  dimes. I would later find out that his mom took him to the emergency room with a concussion. Nothing will ever come of it though. It's just his mom and him. She doesn't have a lot of money or hold position in our town. He's not a spectacular player, just a boy who loves football and works hard. They are nobodies in a small town. I turned in my uniform the next day, ashamed to wear it. I'll never cheer for this team or town again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Mountain Man's Redemption

A Mountain Man’s Redemption
by Christi Corbett
                                                Historical Western/Christian Western

Back cover copy:
Eighteen years ago, Philip Grant—overcome with regret for what he couldn’t foresee and memories of what he couldn’t prevent—abandoned all to live the solitary life of a fur trapper. Years spent roaming ridgelines and riverbanks in Montana Territory left his body weary and his confidence weak, so he decides to turn in his last bundle of furs and await the inevitable in a cabin. Alone.
Then a body-shaped lump wrapped in a quilt changes everything.
Philip discovers a battered woman and her infant son, on the run from a ruthless abuser with a penchant for whiskey. Seventy miles of snow-covered mountain peaks and windswept flatlands stand between them and safety—the woman’s aunt’s house.
Can Philip trust in his newfound faith to lead the way?

*Content Warning: Domestic Violence/Abuse*

Excerpt: (Introduction to mountain man, Philip Grant)
Philip sidestepped a slight depression in the needle-covered forest floor, ever alert to the mirage of solid footing created by critters who covered their nests with branches and leaves to fool their predators. Walking through a cluster of ferns, he brushed his fingertips through the jagged blades and enjoyed the soft rustles of the silky fronds settling again after he’d passed.
Solitary life was rife with small pleasures if one knew where to look.
However, he was getting on in age—forty-eight. Too old to be traipsing about the woods and weather for months on end. His back ached from years of carrying furs and outdoor living, and he was eager to put all the wages he’d saved toward a more permanent arrangement. A cabin. Where he could put in some serious front-sittin’ hours. On a porch. With his rump resting in a rocking chair and his fingers wrapped around a mug of tea.
While he’d miss the independence that came with being a free trapper—no work schedule, no boundaries, and above all, no one to report to beside himself— he was eagerly looking forward to what he wouldn’t be doing.
No more spending hours wading along frigid rivers, his fingers fumbling to set steel traps that refused to stay in place. No more fighting to stay upright against currents that appeared calm for the first few steps, but turned swift and hungry once it was too late for man or beast to change course. No more waiting in a cold rain for his empty traps to snatch an inattentive beaver that civilization had long since deemed undesirable. Silk was the latest preference back east and abroad, and had been since before he’d taken a steamboat to Fort Benton.
Abandoning the life of a mountain man would allow his eyes to drift closed whenever he felt like it, instead of always on the alert to danger. Savages—of the two or four-legged variety—killed fur trappers. He had no desire to die in the woods alone, his body withering into oblivion beside a nameless stream. He’d rather die sitting before a roaring fire, surrounded by log walls and a weatherproof roof, having just eaten his fill of a good meal.
He was eager to live out the rest of his life in soft comfort, though he held no hope of attracting soft company. After all, what woman would want him once she learned why he’d abandoned the life he’d once known to live as a fur trapper?
A high-pitched screech sounded from the next hillside.

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About the Author:
Christi Corbett, winner of the 2014 RONE Award for Best American Historical novel and a 2014 Laramie Award, lives in a small town in Oregon with her husband and their twin children. The home's location holds a special place in her writing life; it stands just six hundred feet from the original Applegate Trail and the view from her back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Release of Witch Angel

It is my pleasure to host fellow Clean Reads author Karen King on my blog today. This talented author's new young adult novel Witch Angel is released today. Just in time for Halloween!

                                       Should Aluna betray her father to save the world?

Aluna’s father is the Master Wizard of the Katalan. On her thirteenth birthday she is initiated into the coven and swears allegiance to her clan. Then she has a vision about the mother she has never known and a gold sceptre with an eagle’s head handle.

She discovers that the mysterious new girl, Raffie, who appeared out of nowhere is looking for the same sceptre. Aluna hopes the sceptre will lead her to her mother so swears an oath of friendship with Raffie, pledging to find it together only to discover that Raffie is Angleyt. They are sworn enemies.

Aluna’s father is looking for the sceptre too, as are the evil Bygnorim.  Will Aluna really betray her father? What dreadful secret is he hiding about her mother? Aluna and Raffie face terrible danger in their quest. Are their combined powers strong enough or will Darke Magyck win?

Something caught her eye. A sphere of brilliant light was shooting down through the sky. She stared at it, butterflies of excitement fluttering in her stomach. It must be a shooting star. She could make a wish. Jumbled thoughts of the things she could wish for raced across her mind, but only one stood out. It always did. “I wish I could find my mother,” she whispered.
The glowing star continued plunging, plummeting down towards the bushes just ahead of her. It wasn’t a shooting star. It was a falling star! Aluna ran towards the bushes, eager to get a glimpse of this wonder. What would a star look like? Would she be able to take it back and show the others?
The star disappeared behind the bushes. Panting now, Aluna raced towards it, her feet barely touching the ground beneath her. Thankfully, she had always been nimble-footed. Many a time she had crept softly behind Sariah, the housekeeper, and had made her almost jump out of her skin. Once, Sariah had been so shocked she’d dropped the pie she’d just taken out of the oven. 
Be quick but quiet, she told herself as she ran. Could you scare a star?
She was at the bush. She could still see the light glowing behind it, so bright it dazzled her. Using her hands to shield her eyes from the glow she peered around the bush.
The light was fading. Aluna moved her hands from her eyes so she could see better and pushed her hood back. Where was the star? The light flickered, then a shape started to form in it. She watched, transfixed as the shape turned into a girl about Aluna’s age, slim with long hair tumbling over her shoulders. The girl stretched up her arms as if embracing the heavens. Aluna let out a gasp of astonishment and the girl spun around, her eyes widening with shock as they rested on Aluna. 
For a moment they both stared at each other. The star girl’s eyes locked with Aluna’s, and a lightness filled her mind. It was as if the girl could read her mind, her soul. In a panic, Aluna tore her eyes away, grabbed her basket and fled, muttering the protection spell under her breath.

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Author blurb
Karen King has had over one hundred and twenty children’s books published by mainstream publishers such as Walker, Scholastic, Harper Collins and Macmillan. She’s written for many children's magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books, non-fiction and YA.

Twitter: @karen_king

Author F&Qs
How did you get started writing?
I've always written. I had my first poem published when I was 11. I started my writing career with Jackie magazine, writing articles and photo stories.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
It depends whether I'm writing to a commission or not. If I'm commissioned I have to plot as I have to send a synopsis and the first couple of chapters to my editor. If I'm not writing to a commission I work out the basic outline of my story then write 'by the seat of my pants.'

Are you most productive in the morning or evening?

Morning. Often I get out of bed and start writing straight away. I'm full of ideas in the morning.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Taking A Chance on Love

I'm  pleased to introduce fellow Clean Reads Author Rachel Jones featuring her new release Taking a Chance on Love.


TAGLINE:  A touchdown for the coach when the music teacher accepts his love              

From childhood, Virginia Manning has planned for a career as a concert clarinetist. Blindsided by family circumstances, her plans are interrupted, taking her down a path she would never have chosen. As a music teacher, Virginia’s relationship with the football coach goes from problematic to romantic. After Blake’s brush with death, a scared Virginia runs away looking for the contentment music has always brought to her life.
Because Blake Oliver has experienced disappointment and pain, he opts for a fresh start in a small New England town. Accepting the position of football coach, he isn’t looking for love when it finds him. But when Virginia leaves to pursue a performance career, Blake realizes it’s not where you live but having someone to love that matters. His only problem is making her understand that as well.
She pulled her arms across her chest in an attempt to calm her shivering. Bright lights reflected from her rearview mirror, the only headlights she had seen since she had stopped on the side of the ride. Releasing a sigh of relief, she waited for flashing blue lights to interrupt the blackness surrounding the car. No blue lights. Her heart began racing at hearing a car door slam. She was alone, on a deserted highway. Checking the locks on her doors, she thought about driving away, but how far could she go with a flat tire?
A tap on the passenger window made her jump. “Hey.”
The dark night made it impossible to see the face outside the passenger window. Fear made it impossible to move.
“Come on, Gin. It’s wet out here.”
No one else called her Gin. She hit the automatic button releasing the lock and Blake pulled the door open. Relief flooded her body and was replaced by anger.         
“Blake — you nearly scared me to death.”
“Not the best time for a flat tire. You’re soaked.”
“You’re not so very dry yourself.”
“Where are you headed?”
“I was on my way home. I had an early dinner with my family before they left for the weekend. Staying to play my piano wasn’t a bad idea — I just got caught up in my music.” She loved how her music could take her away from everything, but the downside was eventually she had to come back to reality. “Anyway, I was going through my options when you drove up.”
“Your spare is lying in the mud.”
“I was going to try changing it, but when the lightning started, I chickened out.”
“Well, you can’t drive all the way to Boston soaked to the skin. And I really don’t want to change a tire in this downpour.”
“So what do you suggest I do?”
“Let me take you back to your sister’s house. You can stay the night and deal with the tire in the morning.”
Virginia didn’t respond, didn’t want this moment to end. He was here, beside her and the intensity of how much she had missed him came crashing down upon her like tumultuous waves hitting a jagged rock wall along the seashore.
She looked up. “That sounds good.”
As he leaned over and pulled the keys from the ignition, it took all Virginia’s willpower to keep from pulling him close.

It was thoughts of what she would do after retirement from a twenty-eight-year career in healthcare that spurred Rachel to begin writing her first manuscript in March of 2012. Needing guidance and support with her new endeavor, she joined local and national writing groups.
Rachel signed her first contract in 2013 and her debut novel, To Dance One More Day was released in June of 2014. She is eagerly awaiting retirement to write full time.
A music enthusiast for decades, Rachel resides in Kennesaw, Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years and a spoiled Labrador retriever. She is a member of Georgia Writers Association, Georgia Romance Writers and is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.


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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Author Wendy May Andrews

It is my pleasure to host fellow Clean  Reads  Author, Wendy May Andrews on my blog today. Learn more about her novella, The Governess' Debut. 

The Governess’ Debut
By: Wendy May Andrews
The Governess’ Debut is a 24,000 word Sweet Regency Romance Novella
Can the governess charm both the spoiled child and the haughty earl?
After her parents died in an accident and her brother gambled away her inheritance and dowry, leaving her to fend for herself while he ran off to the colonies, Miss Felicia Scott must find a way to keep a roof over her head. No longer able to enter the Marriage Mart but certainly not of the servant class, the only option is to find a position as governess.
Her luck finally turns when an acquaintance refers her to the haughty widower, Lord Victor Astley, Earl of Standish. His spoiled, seven year old daughter has been through three governesses in the 18 months since her mother died.
The earl is highly doubtful the young, inexperienced Miss Scott could possible manage his irascible daughter but since he is desperate he agrees to give her a chance. Much to the astonishment of the entire household Felicia succeeds beautifully, bringing the little lady under control and brightening the lives of everyone she comes in contact with, including the jaded earl.
Will her joyful spirit be able to finally melt his resistant heart?
About the Author:
Wendy May Andrews has been reading whatever she could get her hands on since the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. Wendy lives in Toronto with her own real-life hero. When not writing or reading, they love to travel wherever the mood takes them. This is Ms. Andrews’ second publication with Clean Reads.
Social Media:
Twitter:  @WendyMayAndrews

Lord Victor Astley, the fifth Earl of Standish, was surprised by his own undisciplined reaction when the young woman was announced. He was always in control of himself and his environment. It was decidedly out of character that he would be unnerved by the presence of a young woman in his library.
Miss Felicia Scott to see you, my lord,Alfred, the earls aging butler, had announced in even tones, not revealing anything about his own reaction to the elegant young woman who had been recommended to fill the post of governess to the earls hoyden of a daughter.
The earl nodded to her from behind his desk, not bothering to come around to bow over her hand.  Thank you, Alfred.  Please see that a tea tray is brought in momentarily.
Miss Scott dipped into a respectful, deep curtsy, forgetting for a moment that her new position in the servant class did not require the varying degrees of courtesy.  When it did cross her mind she dismissed the thought, surmising accurately that the haughty looking earl would consider the extra depth to be his due.
Felicia had made every effort to appear as serious and trustworthy as possible.  Her sober gown of brown worsted material was just perfect for whatever activities she would be involved in while chasing after a seven-year-old child.  Realizing she looked quite young, she had scraped her thick, curling, brown hair into the severest hairstyle she could manage, hoping it lent her an air of maturity.
Of course, in her innocence, she was unaware of the things that were impossible to hide her obvious breeding was evident in her proudly erect carriage.  Intelligence shone from her wide, shining, green eyes as she glanced around the earls handsomely appointed library.
Her own governess had done her best to prepare her but since this was the first time Felicia had applied for a position she was somewhat uncertain as to proper protocol.  The earl was still gazing at her with a rather arrested expression on his severe, but still handsome face, so she surmised that he was waiting for her to say something.
Thank you for agreeing to see me, my lord.
The earl blinked away his momentary inertia.  Despite the glowing recommendations he had received it was obvious to him she would be impossible for the position.  He was uncomfortable with the strange reaction he had felt to her presence, besides she was much too young. There was no way she would be able to control his daughter.  He supposed he still had to interview her.

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