Friday, September 21, 2018

#FallinginLove: A Clean Romance Event

  Turtle Soup by Danielle Thorne
 Sea turtles may be endangered but after an encounter with marine biologist, Jack Brandon, nothing will stop Sara Hart from naming her deli, Turtle Soup.
When Jack takes a job at the Georgia Aquarium, Sara finds the environmental poster boy at her door, hungry and carrying a chip on his shoulder.
Neither thinks the other has what it takes, until a scuba class reveals what lies beneath the surface.
Get your copy on AMAZON

 "You really think you're too good for anyone, don't you?" Sara's voice shook. "That you're some kind of celebrity because National Geographic made you their cover boy? Well let me tell you something, Jack. I don't need a world seal of approval to help me sleep at night. I don't need looks or money to buy me a circle of friends, and I don't need some beach bum telling me what I am."
Looking embarrassed, Jack dropped her hands. In a low voice, he said, "If that's who you think I am than you can leave."
"Thank you," Sara shouted, "I will!" She flung the door open on the way.
The planner was still in the middle of the hallway, a few pages hanging out of it. She gave it a vicious kick, and it smacked into the wall. "That's what I think about you and your stupid foundation," she shouted over her shoulder. She kicked it again and again until pages scattered everywhere.
He was still watching from his office door, looking like he wanted to shove a sock in her mouth. All around the office, people sidled into range to see more. Satisfied she'd humiliated him, she took the stairs to the ground floor. She wanted to be exhausted when she walked out of the place. She wanted to feel so tired, she would never have the energy to come back.

 “Turtle Soup is a wonderful sweet romance full of humor and heartbreak, not to mention descriptions so vivid you can almost smell the soup…” E.A. West
 “Clean romance, great stories, real people who you can relate to. Real problems. Real and raw emotions. I would recommend this book.”
 “…Sweet and sassy romance. The characters were richly developed…”
Author Danielle Thorne
 Danielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, antiques, cats, dogs, and long naps. She does not like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of Ricks College and BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and... you get the idea. Besides writing, she's edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author, copywriter, and editor, while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next historical romance is coming soon.  

  Giveaway Details Ends 10/8/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Obake Neko (Ghost Cat): A Pacific Tale

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Mystery/Historical Fiction
Date Published: May 31, 2018

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It begins with a disappearance… In the waning days of World War II, the Obake Neko is the last surviving Sen-Toku—a huge secret aircraft-carrier submarine created by the Imperial Japanese Navy. As the war comes to an end, the Obake Neko sets sail back to Japan with a cargo of unimaginable value. In the chaos of Japanese surrender, the clandestine vessel and its crew vanish in the seas of the South Pacific.

Fifty-five years after the war’s end, former U.S. Navy pilot, Bud Brennan breaks into Pearl Harbor’s submarine museum in Hawaii. Bud’s son, Mike, is still raw from the death of his wife and grappling with a new career but still jumps in to help his dad. But when Bud’s antics garner the attention of the Navy’s JAG, Mike realizes his father may possess knowledge about the near-mythical Obake Neko and its fabled cargo—knowledge that is also of great value to the Japanese Yakuza. Now, Mike must scramble to learn the whole truth of his father’s decades-old connection with the legendary Japanese submarine and fight to defend his father from relentless military authorities and deadly Yakuza operatives. Even decades later, the Obake Neko and its legendary cargo are still worth killing over.

Can Mike discover the truth and protect his dad before deadly assailants succeed in silencing Bud forever?

Excerpt :

ike jogged to his car and sped out of the parking garage, fuming about the confrontation with his uncle. He shook his head—some confrontation. Heavy traffic on Nimitz Highway forced him to slow down. Honolulu has some of the worst rush-hour traffic in the nation, he thought. He either had to take the stop-and-go roads around the shoreline or line up bumper to bumper on the freeway.
As Mike drove to Pearl Harbor, he checked himself in the rear-view mirror at the first stoplight. His curly, coal-black hair had a few uneven patches. Under a wide forehead, his chocolate-colored eyes and long eyelashes gave him bedroom eyes that some women admired. He’d let his facial hair grow out to a stubble, trimming it once every few days. Mike still maintained his swimmer’s build, broad shoulders and a narrow waist. The rowing machine at home kept him in shape, along with his bird-like appetite that used to drive Spit crazy.
Turning left inside the Pearl Harbor Halawa Gate, the sentry ordered him to pull into the parking lot next to the base’s security office. He walked up a ramp and stepped inside, spotting his father sitting on a bench on the left. His seventy-eight-year-old father’s boyish good looks let him get away with a lot, but not today.
A petite warrant officer banged away on an old typewriter atop a worn desk on the other side of a long Formica counter that ran the length of the compact office. Bud was calm—too calm. Normally, he was outgoing and chatting up anyone around him, always flashing a smile and giving a wink, but not today. He was quiet and ignored Mike as soon as he strolled in.
Bud stood up, spread his arms out, and shouted over the counter, “Am I good to go now, Officer?”
“Sure, Mr. Brennan. Just need your son to sign off on the release forms. Then you’re good.”
Mike smiled. His dad glared at him. “You find something amusing about this situation, young man? You think this is funny?”
Mike held Bud in a steady gaze. “No, there’s nothing funny about breaking into a federal building and removing and destroying classified documents.”
His dad stood and smirked. “Allegedly broke into the building. They won’t find my fingerprints anywhere. And those papers were hardly classified.”
Mike opened his mouth to reply, but the warrant officer had stopped typing and stared at the two of them. Mike reached for the clipboard she offered and signed where she pointed, returned it with a “thank you,” before pivoting and heading toward the door.
“Let’s get out of here, Dad. We can discuss this later.”
Bud cut in front of him. “There’s nothing to discuss,” he said as he bolted out of the room.
Bud waited as Mike unlocked his car and they both jumped in. Neither made any attempt at conversation. On the way home, Mike almost turned up the road to their old house in Aiea. Bud had chosen that house when they first moved to Hawaii because it overlooked Pearl Harbor. The view from the house’s lanai sighted straight in line with the Ford Island Airport runway that sat in the middle of the harbor.
Bud then sold that home and got together with Mike’s father-in-law to build a two-story duplex at the top of Alewa Heights in Kalihi. Both dads split the purchase and construction costs, giving the ownership as a wedding present to their children. The new unit—a white with black trim house—offered a two-hundred-seventy-degree panoramic view from Diamond Head to the plains of west Oahu. It was so high up you could see inside Punchbowl Crater, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. His mother lay buried there and his dad would join her after he passed.
They pulled off the freeway in Kalihi and drove up the four-mile meandering climb to the top of Alewa Heights. It was an old ’50s neighborhood with narrow roads not meant for parking, and odd-angled street intersections that made it difficult to recall which way to turn.
Halfway up, at one stop sign, you mounted a small steep hill. It forced you to trust that anyone driving up on the other side stayed in their lane. Mike remembered how Spit liked to recreate the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Indy steps out on the invisible ledge to find the chalice across the abyss. Every time, Spit would place her right hand over her heart as they hit the peak, like Indy in the movie, before having a fit of giggles. He couldn’t help but smile every time he drove this way, even now that she was gone.
The Alewa house contained three residences. Mike lived on the bottom level. The upper level held two separate apartments; one for his father and one for Spit’s dad, along with a generous communal area and a compact kitchen shared by both.
Mike parked in the carport. Bud jumped out and climbed up the stairs to the entrance to the second-level apartments he shared with Spit’s father, Tadashi Fujimoto. Tadashi ranked as a seventh dan black belt in aikido, a martial art where the movements are designed around a total defensive strategy. Everyone addressed him as Sensei.
Early in Mike’s relationship with Spit, she had told him her dad had been a judo instructor in Japan to Imperial Japanese Navy officer cadets during WWII. He’d lost most of the vision in his left eye in a training mishap, which kept him from frontline battle. After the war, he became absorbed in aikido in the late 1940s, admiring its smooth defensive movements. He wound up devoting five years to mastering aikido. In 1955, he’d gained employment at the Osaka Police Department to teach aikido’s opponent-controlling tactics to new recruits.
Four years later, Sensei got an opportunity, while on a Japan-sponsored goodwill trip to Honolulu, to demonstrate his martial art skills to the island police departments. He caught the attention of several top officers, who realized his value and offered him employment in their cadet training school. Sensei had jumped at the chance and moved to Hawaii. Over time, he picked up the basics of English and, with the help of the police department, became a US citizen.
As he stepped out of the car, Mike heard Sensei calling him from the curb. To keep in shape, Sensei often took walks up and down Alewa Heights’ steep hills. Sensei was short, balding, and slightly stooped, with his head constantly moving to give his good eye the best view. Mike always marveled at how much Sensei resembled Shintaro Katsu, the Japanese actor who played the long-standing role of the fictional character, Zatoichi, a blind masseur, and secret swordsman during Japan’s feudal period. His three daughters affectionately called him “Z.”
Sensei marched up to Mike and put his right hand on his shoulder. “Your dad no come home last night. Any problems?”
“Yes, he’s got problems.” Mike hesitated, then asked, “Can you call my cell phone if he’s not in by midnight next time, please? Just for the next couple of nights? I’m worried about him.”
His father-in-law nodded yes, and Mike appreciated that he asked no details. There’d be another time to ask for advice, which he always gave without judgment. Turning toward the house, Mike bounced up the stairs ahead of Sensei and stepped inside the communal area. He walked to his father’s door and lightly knocked.
“Come on in,” his father mumbled. Bud’s apartment was a two-room suite with a full bath. Sensei’s setup was the same on the opposite side of the house. Mike strode through the navy-blue painted living room, which contained an old, dirty-brown La-Z-Boy facing a twenty-five-inch TV on a flimsy stand. In the center of the room stood a bulky antique dining table that Bud used to work on the museum plans. Behind it, a one-of-a-kind rolltop desk sat pushed up against the outside wall, across from the entry. The Hickam Air Force Base carpenters had built the beast in the 1940s. Made of solid koa wood, it weighed a ton and was worth its weight in gold. Bud had his connections.
As Mike stepped into the bedroom, he looked at his dad lying in bed on his back, staring at the ceiling. At six feet, two inches, Bud seemed to smother his queen-size bed. He still had a decent physique for his age, but hip problems slowed him down. Bud didn’t turn to look at Mike. Bright fluorescent lights flooded the room. A faded mahogany bedroom set—a wedding gift from his mother’s parents—was the only furniture. Two low nightstands, a highboy dresser, and a four-poster bed.
Whenever he entered Bud’s room, Mike’s eyes always gravitated to his parents’ wedding picture, on the dresser in the far corner. They had been married three weeks after Lieutenant Brennan returned from the Pacific War theater. Mom had worn a simple off-white dress with a wide square neck, large buttons down the middle of the front, and delicate lace draping off her shoulders. The photographer had positioned the newlyweds looking to the left. Their life together had barely begun.
After the war, Bud used the GI Bill to enter an Ivy League school—Bucknell University. Because he didn’t come from a well-bred family, Bucknell wouldn’t have touched him before the war, but post-war, the government made them take him. In three years he’d earned his electrical engineering degree and gotten a job at the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company, where he worked until he moved with Mike to Hawaii, two years after his mom had passed away.
Mike’s thoughts returned to the present, and he observed his father exhale loudly and keep shaking his head.
“I screwed up royally. All these years. I thought it would never come up. I’m lost about what to do, really lost.” Bud looked like he might cry.
“Well, things may not be too bad,” Mike said. He was uncomfortable with his father’s outburst. They had developed a long-standing unspoken agreement on dealing with emotions. Both kept their own council. This is what it had evolved into over the last twenty-plus years since his mom passed. Small talk only, don’t bring up heavy stuff, and no venting of feelings. Mom had been their heart, their glue, but she was gone.
“Not today’s shit,” Bud said. He paused and closed his eyes and whispered, “I thought I’d never again have to deal with that damn black cat sub.”
Mike leaned over his dad. “What are you talking about? What sub? The sub that rescued you in the Pacific at the end of the war?”
“No, not that one. The first one that saved me.”
His dad rolled over onto his side, away from him. “Never mind. I’m tired and need to sleep. We’ll talk later.”
Mike blinked twice, then roughly ran his fingers through his hair. He stood there, unsure of what to say or do next. Within a few minutes he heard Bud’s heavy breathing, so he switched off the overhead lights, closed the bedroom door, and wandered into the communal area. Sensei sat on the sofa waiting for him.
“Sensei, I need to go back to work. I hope we can talk later.”
“Sure thing, Mike. When you ready.”

About the Author

David Gillespie moved to Hawaii as a teenager, where he attended public schools and graduated with a BBA and MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Gillespie has had a varied career in Hawaii’s business community. As a consultant with a University of Hawaii program, he traveled to many Pacific Island nations. His experiences in these exotic locales, along with his keen interest and research about the Sen-Toku Japanese submarines, inform and enhance his writing.

Gillespie is retired and has taken up home improvement projects, earned a private pilot license, and works on writing historical adventure novels. He continues to enjoy life in Hawaii, his home, with his family and a tuxedo cat named Tick Tock.

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Take Me, I’m Yours by Lizzie Lamb

India Buchanan plans to set up an English-Style bed and breakfast establishment in her great-aunt’s home, MacFarlane’s Landing, Wisconsin. But she’s reckoned without opposition from Logan MacFarlane whose family once owned her aunt’s house and now want it back. MacFarlane is in no mood to be denied. His grandfather’s living on borrowed time and Logan has vowed to ensure the old man sees out his days in their former home. India’s great-aunt has other ideas and has threatened to burn the house to the ground before she lets a MacFarlane set foot in it. There’s a story here. One the family elders aren’t prepared to share. When India finds herself in Logan’s debt, her feelings towards him change. However, the past casts a long shadow and events conspire to deny them the love and happiness they both deserve. Can India and Logan’s love overcome all odds? Or is history about to repeat itself?

For the duration of the blog tour - Take Me, I'm Yours will be downloadable for 99p

Context: The antagonism between India and MacFarlane stems from the fact that India’s aunt (and, by association, her) won’t sell MacFarlane’s ancestral home back to him in spite of his and his grandfather’s entreaties. What starts off as a wrangle over the house changes into something deeper and more fundamental as unresolved sexual tension flares between Logan and India. Although both are at great pains to deny it.
India makes plain her animosity towards him and this draws Logan in even deeper. He’s never met a woman he couldn’t have. Looks like that’s about to change . . .

‘Think you’re pretty damned cute, don’t you Mizz Buchanan. No doubt you’re used to getting your own way. I’m betting you only date men you can wrap round your little finger. Any man who stood up to you wouldn’t get a second glance, let alone a second date. Correct me if I’m wrong.’

               That assessment was too close for comfort as, unbidden, Tom Harvey’s aggrieved face swam before her. And standing right behind him, like a guard of honour were her disappointed parents.
               ‘Only a second-rate lawyer like you MacFarlane would stoop so low as to speculate on the personal life of . . .’
               MacFarlane didn’t give her the chance to finish her sentence, he caught hold of her hand and pulled her towards him. The movement was so unexpected that she lost her balance and teetered on her heels.
            ‘There’s nothing second rate about me, Mizz Buchanan. As a lawyer; or as a man. And I’ve never had to buy what has always been given freely. Want me to demonstrate?’
               With deliberate calculation he slid his hands down the length of her body, caught her by the hips and pulled her into his pelvis. The rough movement was intended to shock and punish. In spite of her earlier resolution, India gave a responsive shiver. MacFarlane caught the slight frisson. The angry spark in his eyes died, replaced by something warmer, smokier. In that instant their animosity was forgotten, supplanted by a sexual attraction so potent that it took them both by surprise.
               MacFarlane pulled India closer into his body and she burned with a heat that owed nothing to the fierce afternoon sun, but everything to the way his firmly muscled body seemed to fit naturally into her softer, feminine curves. One of his hands fanned out across the dip in her back above her buttocks; the other touched the sensitive hollow between her shoulder blades.
               The music changed from the waltz to a smoochy ballad and they moved in time to it. It would, India thought dazedly, have been the most natural thing in the world for her to lay her head on his shoulder. To surrender to the feeling of floating dreamlike in his arms. To link her arms around his neck and curl her fingers into his thick, dark hair. But sixth sense warned her that she couldn’t afford to drop her guard for one second. MacFarlane was at his most dangerous when he was being charming. She simply couldn’t afford to take the risk.
               Sighing, India glanced up at him through her lashes. What was he feeling? What was he thinking?
               Her hands were pressed flat on his chest, as though keeping him at bay, and she could feel the rise and fall of his rib cage. His swift, shallow breathing showed that he, too, was sexually aroused. She looked up and caught his glance; he gave her a look that made her mouth go dry and her heart beat faster.
               For one terrible, delicious, light headed moment India thought that he was going to kiss her.

After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride. She went on to publish Scotch on the Rocks, which achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon and her next novel, Girl in the Castle, reached #3 in the Amazon charts. 
Lizzie is a founder member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press, and has co-hosted author events at Aspinall, St Pancras and Waterstones, Kensington, talking about the research which underpins her novels. Lizzie latest romance Take Me, I’m Yours is set in Wisconsin, a part of the USA which she adores. She has further Scottish-themed romances planned and has just returned from a tour of the Scottish Highlands in her caravan researching men in kilts. What’s not to like? 
As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste. She is building a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing, and how to plan, write, and publish a debut novel. Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband, David.

She loves to hear from readers, so do get in touch . . .
Lizzie’s Links

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide

Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.

There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.

Purchase Link -

Whenever I sat down to enjoy another visit to France via this book I made myself comfortable because I didn't want to put it down. I didn't want it to end, so I took my time.
I laughed my way through Megan's adventures. Yes, losing a grandparent is sad, especially one who raised you. Having to leave when your closest friend is about to give birth is sad, but Stephanie Dagg made us laugh through it!
Being the next victim of a psychopath is scary! and still, we are able to laugh and look forward to reading more.
Fast paced and funny - I loved this and am happy there will be more.

Oh- I also loved the alternate title this could have been called

Author Bio –
I'm an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than 'belonging' to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it's been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at
I'm married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.    
I'm a traditionally-published author of many children's books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at The rest of the time I'm running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal's poop.  

Social Media Links – @llamamum