Interview: Amber Hart, author of WICKED CHARM

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Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Many frequent trips to the library as a kid, where I would tuck myself into a corner nook and disappear between the pages. I read for hours on end. It was my second home.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

Storytelling has been passed down through generations, and I think there’s something magical about that, the ability for a story to stand the test of time. It’s how we know about different time periods and myths and mysteries. It’s how we uphold cultures and traditions. I hope it never ends.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The storyline for Wicked Charm was completely stripped and started anew. The characters stayed the same. The setting, too. A few murders. Many secrets. But beyond that, I had to start over, which was definitely the hardest…and most rewarding…aspect.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love, love, love that the swampy setting is nearly a character of its own. A living, breathing thing. The southern accents, cadence, and shadowy woods. The romance, mystery, and intrigue in such an eerie setting makes for an interesting read.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them.

All of my novels feature diversity. The hero and his twin are Filipino. The heroine’s best friend is creole and African American. I think it’s incredibly important to feature minorities in novels. Everyone deserves to see themselves in books.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful thing I learned is how not to hold too tightly to first drafts. They are raw and messy and unrealistic. There’s always room for growth. Many times, the outcome is merely the bones of an original story.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Yes! I was a waitress throughout college and in my first book, the hero worked in a restaurant. I also used to pet sit, which helped my love of animals transfer to the page in my second series. I think real life influences and experiences often times make their way into an author’s stories.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read broadly. Picture books through adult novels. I tend to lean towards young adult because I love the freshness of firsts—first romance, first friendships, first hardships—and adult because I love the complexity of characters and families. Also, I will never say no to a great fantasy book. Or a book with a brooding hero.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m currently in the middle of writing a novel set in a small town where nothing is as it seems and secrets are the most guarded possessions. There’s a troublemaker, a rule follower, and a past that could ruin them both.

What do your plans for future projects include?

An adult suspense set in the mountains where running from the past only lasts for so long and romance sizzles.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Ha! Actually, I do get many ideas in the shower. It’s the one place I can escape to in my house where no one can follow, and I can’t get distracted with a million things going on around me, and the sound of rushing water drowns out everything but my thoughts.

What book do you wish you could have written?

The Harry Potter series. Hands down. But, let’s be honest, I’d never due it justice. I don’t have the talent to invent entire magical worlds. I’m glad someone did.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Invisibility. The things I could do and see. Plus I could open a book and begin reading, and no one could bother me or find me for hours.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Ireland. I grew up on my great grandma’s stories of the countryside, cobbled paths, and adventure. Plus, there’s something magical about the place, like maybe the enchanted myths aren’t so far-fetched.    

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

Oh! What a neat question. I adore British and Scottish accents. I’m incredibly terrible at mimicking them, and embarrass myself horribly each time I try, but it’s so fun!

Thanks for the great interview, and I hope readers enjoy Wicked Charm!

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Nothing good comes from living in the Devil’s swamp.

Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn’t half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.

Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.

Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell—the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town. 

But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there’s something else that draws Willow to him. 

When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they’re leading to her own death.


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Amber Hart

Amber Hart resides on the Florida coastline with family and a plethora of animals she affectionately refers to as her urban farm. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of several novels for teens and adults, including Wicked Charm, the Before and After series for teens, and the Untamed series for adults.


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Excerpt: FOUND by Claudia Burgoa

FOUND by Claudia Burgoa is now LIVE!



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All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to choose me. My mother didn’t. My father didn’t. The beautiful boy next door, who grew up to marry me, didn’t. Neither did the next man with whom I thought my heart was safe.

Back in the Bay area, three thousand miles from New York City, I can start fresh. Become one with the sea again, rise or fall on the tide of my own choices. But on the first day of my bright new life, the darkest shadows of my past follow me through my office door. The two men whose names are definitely not on my five-year plan.

If I let it consume me—my need for one man, my love for the other—the darkness will swallow me whole. I can’t let that happen. Not again. This time, the waves of emotion crashing against my heart won’t drown me. This time, I get to choose my happy ending.






It’s time to get back to the hotel. Fitz and I have been helping Hazel set up her apartment. Installing the sound system was the last thing on her list, and I’m almost done. But I don’t want this day to end. Not yet.

I don’t want to leave her.

I want to bask in the light of the infectiously cute smile she wears everywhere she goes.

I want to stay with her for the rest of the night.

Forever—if she allows it.

Hazel Beesley has been warming my cold soul since the moment I met her. She isn’t like any women I’ve come across. I met her the summer she came to live with her grandfather.

Everything about Hazel captured my heart from the beginning. Her big eyes, long braids, wicked smile and a smart mouth. Her luscious, full lips. The eagerness to learn and help people. Behind the professional hard shell she shows to the world, there’s a smart, sensitive, caring woman. She adores her family and helps everyone around her.

My relationship with her has been by stages. The big crush happened when I met her. Slowly, I fell in love with her, and one day, we kissed. In that instant, her air became mine, and my soul was branded with her name. Her presence calms the demons inside my head. She knows most of my secrets and my fears. Hazel held my hand while we face my most significant challenges.

My phone buzzes. It’s a text from Harrison, my oldest brother.

Harrison: Where are you?

Scott: San Francisco.

Harrison: Why am I not surprised? Are you and Hazel getting back together?

I snort. That’s the plan, but there’s a complication.

Scott: I’m working on it.

Harrison: If I could, I’d talk some reason into her, but … you fucked up, and I can’t help you.

No one can help me. I let out a long, frustrated breath. Harrison is her best friend. They are so similar. According to him, I have a hefty price to pay before she forgives me. Then, I must grovel, and maybe we will salvage something. At least, that’s what he said after Christmas.

Scott: It’s back to square one. I have to remind her how great we are together.

Harrison: That puzzles me. That the two of you fit just right. You are so different. And yet, you stayed together for a long time.

He’s right. On the surface, we don’t look compatible. However, deep down we fit perfectly. Like a key in its lock, I belong to her. It’s in the way she makes me feel. The yearning when she’s away. The joy I experience when she’s steps away from me. She holds the power in our relationship, not me.

Scott: I regret being a coward, and letting her slip out of my hands knowing that this day would come. The day she’d move back to San Francisco and see the boy she fell in love with since they were kids.

Harrison: Well, you better apply yourself before she sees him.  

Jesus, I rub the back of my neck. What am I doing here?

Scott: This might be a lost battle. She already saw him.  


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Special sale price is 99 cents! 


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Claudia is an award-winning, international bestselling author. She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. And a wonderful husband who shares her love for all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.


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Interview: Gina Hooten Popp, author of UP NEAR DALLAS

BNR Up Near Dallas JPG

Winds of Change — Book III

  Genre:  Texas Historical Fiction / Romance
Date of Publication: November 12, 2017
Number of Pages: 307

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The year is 1934. Economic turbulence rocks the country. And record drought dries up crops, along with the spirits of every farmer south of the Mason-Dixon. Yet for sixteen-year-old Mick McLaren, life is good as he takes to the open road to chase his dream of being a musician. Riding boxcars, hitchhiking, walking and driving his way across Depression Era Texas, he finds not only himself, but the love of a girl from Dallas named Margaret. Along the way, they befriend Cowboy Larson, a Delta Blues guitarist. Together the three teens, from three very different worlds, come-of-age as their life-changing journey carries them through killer dust storms, extreme poverty, and the unprecedented gangster activity of the Dirty Thirties.

Amazon ▪ Barnes & Noble ▪ iBooks ▪ Kobo

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How has Texas influenced your writing?

For starters, all my books are set in Texas. This was not a conscious decision on my part, it just happened that way. I think it may be because there are so many good stories to tell about this area of the country. Take for example my latest book, Up Near Dallas, set in 1934. The characters roam all over the state hopping boxcars but end up back in Dallas where the music scene was hot at the time. Texas has always had a lot of musicians and artists on the forefront of things—from Austin to San Antonio to Dallas and more—Texans have paved the way into new creative territory. I’ve always thought that this is because Texas is a little untamed and not too fast to tell others what they can and cannot do. Therefore, if a guy plants Cadillacs upright in a row or starts a new style of country music, then good for him because there are all kinds of people around the state and the country that will more than appreciate it.

Why did you choose to write historical books?

I’ve always had a love for history and literary books, so it was only natural for me to write what I love to read. My sister got me hooked on historical fiction novels. So, you’d have to blame her, I guess.

Where did your love of storytelling come from?

My grandmother was a great storyteller. From a young age, I would ask for a story and she’d just make one up out of thin air, and it would be interesting. In fact, she could even make a story about going to the grocery store or the gas station tense and exciting. Nothing in her life was ever mundane. And, as the old saying goes, the nut doesn’t fall for from the tree. In fact, you’ll see a lot of her colorful sayings in my stories. I think she’d be proud.   

How long have you been writing?

I have a long history of creativity and writing. In school, I always did well in literature classes and art classes. When I graduated from Texas A&M/Commerce, I went into advertising. First, I started as an art director. Then I kept writing behind the scenes on ads, menus, and brochures. After I’d collected enough awards for writing, my boss at The Richards Group (Stan Richards) let me work as a writer/art director. I’m forever grateful to him because it made for a great career as I moved from agency to agency as well as worked on my own as a freelancer. So, I’d been professionally writing for about fifteen to twenty years when I decided to start writing novels. About ten years ago, I took a class at Texas A&M/Canyon in West Texas and got involved with the West Texas Writers’ Academy, hosted by New York Times bestselling author, Jodi Thomas. I would suggest that anyone wanting to write books seriously consider this week-long summer camp. It’s a game changer for making it in the world of writing.

How does your book relate to your faith?

Before I do any creative project, I always pray God will allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me influencing my work. Yes, I’ve always done this whether I’m working on websites and brochures for an airline, tech company, or restaurant, or whether I’m writing a novel about a hurricane, drug dealer, or fighter pilot. I see myself as a vessel through which creativity flows.  

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I write in a simple conversational style that moves fast for the reader.

What is your favorite quote?

I have two favorite quotes at the moment:

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”        —Mother Teresa   

“Be kind to one another.” —Ellen DeGeneres


A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Along with writing novels, Gina has enjoyed a long career as a professional writer in advertising. Her debut novel THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, and her just-released book CHICO BOY: A NOVEL was a 2016 Medalist Winner in the New Apple Annual Book Awards. Recently, her novel LUCKY’S WAY, about a young fighter pilot from Houston, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission. 

December 5-December 13, 2017
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Author Spotlight: Margaret Brownley – CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS

BNR Christmas in a Cowboy's Arms JPG.jpg 
with stories by
  Genre: Romance Anthology / Western / Historical
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 512

Scroll down for the giveaway!

cover lo res Christmas in a Cowboy's Arms
 The Beating Heart of Christmas
In the wild and untamed West, it takes a cowboy’s embrace to see you through a long winter’s night. Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales from these bestselling authors.
Whether it’s a lonely spinster finding passion at last…an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole…a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places…a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman…two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice…or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes…a Christmas spent in a cowboy’s arms is full of hope, laughter, and―most of all―love.
*Chick-a-Dee Christmas by Rosanne Bittner * The Christmas Stranger by Linda Broday * A Texas Ranger for Christmas by Margaret Brownley * Father Christmas by Leigh Greenwood * A Christmas Baby by Anna Schmidt * A Christmas Reunion by Amy Sandas*

“An emotional powerhouse! This classic historical western is destined for the “keeper” shelf.” RT Book Reviews, Top Pick for Rosanne Bittner

“Fun and sensual…great for fans of history, romance, and some good old Texas grit.” Kirkus for Linda Broday

“A great story by a wonderful author.” ― #1 New York Times bestselling author DEBBIE MACOMBER for Margaret Brownley

“Greenwood is a master at westerns.” RT Book Reviews for Leigh Greenwood

“The perfect read.” RT Book Reviews for Anna Schmidt

“A genuine page-turner…electric and absorbing.” Kirkus for Amy Sandas
author story spotlight


Included in Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms Anthology

About A Texas Ranger for Christmas:

Texas Ranger Cole Bradshaw would gladly risk it all for the woman he loves. If only he could gain her trust…
Sadie: Anyone I should notify? A wife?”

Cole: (recovering from a bullet wound) “Not married.”

Sadie: “If you’re smart, mister, you’ll keep it that way.”

                                      – A Texas Ranger for Christmas/”Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms”




Why did you choose to write romance?

I love writing romance novels because every theme known to mankind can be explored through the action of two people falling in love. I also like that romance lends itself to every possible sub-genre from paranormal to thrillers, and many of my western romances include mysteries.  I also love writing happy endings and what’s a romance without a “happily ever after”?


What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I like to tackle serious themes with humor.  A Texas Ranger for Christmas is about learning to trust again after devastating loss.


How has Texas influenced your writing?

Everything about Texas is big and bold and that’s how it must be written.  Just using the Lone Star state as a setting makes me want to write characters that are big and bold, too.


Where did your love of reading come from?

I grew up in the dark ages without computers, cell phones or video games.  Our main entertainment was books.  My late-night habit of reading under the covers with a flashlight caused me to fall asleep in school. This made teachers wonder about my health. I didn’t know it at the time, but all that reading taught me the elements of good storytelling and helped me to better understand human nature.


What cultural value do you see in books?

Readers are exposed to many different viewpoints, cultures and ideas. I’m convinced that is the best way to learn tolerance.  Unfortunately, screen time has replaced reading and I believe that’s one of the reasons free speech is now in danger.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the willingness to listen to each other has declined in recent years along with book sales.  Books have a way of teaching us to be more open-minded, and they do it in the most delightful way.


What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?

My perfect writing spot would be an office smack dab in the middle of a beach.  My actual writing spot is in my Monet purple office, surrounded by research books and seated on a balance ball chair.  This way I can convince myself that I’m actually exercising while I write.

From my window I can see the Santa Susanna mountains where many old-time westerns were filmed, including Duel in the Sun, Bonanza and The Lone Ranger.  I swear that sometimes when the light is right, you can see a cowboy riding off into the sunset.  It’s a relief to know that according to a University of Minnesota study, a chaotic work space encourages originality and thinking outside the box.  I can now happily forget about cleaning my office.  

What projects are you working on at present?

Right now, I’m working on a new series, “Haywire Brides.” Cowboy Charm School is the first book and it will be out in the summer of 2018.




New York Times bestselling author MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty novels and novellas. Margaret is a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap.  She is currently working on a new series.  Not bad for someone who flunked eighth-grade English.  Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

Rosanne Bittner
Linda Broday

Website * Facebook *  Twitter * Goodreads

Margaret Brownley

Website * Facebook *  Twitter * Goodreads

Anna Schmidt

Website * Pinterest *  Twitter * Goodreads

Amy Sandas

Website * Facebook  *  Twitter * Goodreads

Leigh Greenwood

Website * Goodreads



December 1-December 10, 2017
Four Winners will each get a prize pack which includes Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms + another book(s) by one of the authors.  Three of the packs will also include a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
(U.S. Only)

12/1/17 Christmas Memories Hall Ways Blog
12/2/17 Review Books in the Garden
12/3/17 Spotlight on Amy Syd Savvy
12/4/17 Review Bibliotica
12/5/17 Spotlight on Anna Missus Gonzo
12/6/17 Spotlight on Linda Margie’s Must Reads
12/7/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
12/8/17 Spotlight on Margaret The Librarian Talks
12/9/17 Spotlight on Rosanne Tangled in Text
12/10/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
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Review: TOO FAR DOWN by Mary Connealy {giveaway}

 BNR 2 Too Far Down JPG

Cimarron Legacy Book 3

  Genre: Western Historical Christian Romance
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 322

Scroll down for the giveaway!

With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.
When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?
“Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end.” Publishers Weekly 
“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast, smart historical-set suspense.” RT Book Reviews

A fine blend of suspense, action and romance, all wrapped up in classic Western fashion.

Cole Boden might have been raised on the Cimarron Ranch, but he left that behind for Harvard and a refined life on the East Coast.  Family duty has begrudgingly brought him back home to the New Mexico Territory and his new endeavor owning and running the gold mines on the family property.  Until he spends time with Mel, that is…Melanie Blake is the daughter of successful ranch owner, and a lifelong friend to the Boden family.  She’s 100 percent cowgirl, but finds herself falling for “city boy”, Cole.
The Boden family is fighting to save their ranch, and their lives from an outside threat.  Mel is determined to help Cole save his family, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way.
Another hit by Mary Connealy.  The story has the perfect amount of action and suspense to keep the pages turning. The story picks up after the Boden family has been targeted by kidnappers and several members of the family shot, in multiple attempts at their lives.  Cole is trying to make his way in back home by running the mine when the “bad guys” blow it up and try to shut it down.  The romance picks up naturally and develops as the two characters work together to find out who is fixed on ruining the Boden family and taking Cimarron Ranch.
I enjoyed getting to know the Boden family, and the romance between the main characters.  I did feel a little lost at the beginning, not having read the first two books, since I didn’t know much about what transpired previously or about the other Boden family members.  I’d suggest grabbing the first two books, because it looks like I missed some good stuff there!
I highly recommend TOO FAR DOWN to lovers of great Western romances.  You’ll be flipping those pages faster than a prairie fire with a tail wind!

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.



November 27-December 3, 2017
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Rejection and My Road to Publication

When looking at an authors published book, its easy to only see what they accomplished and to forget that there were likely many failures before publication. I only know of a few authors who enjoyed success straight off with the first book they wrote. Those rare, fortunate birds are the exception to the rule. Most of the time, the road to publication is a long, bumpy one, with plenty of stops and starts. My journey was like this, complete with crushing disappointments and hundreds of rejections. I wouldnt change a single thing about it.

No one will ever read my first book. It was a dreadful adult paranormal romance with a vampire and C4 explosives and a weirdly awkward love scene that told me very clearly: you are not an adult romance writer. Message received, but not after a few more failed attempts. My first young adult novel, on the other hand, was the first manuscript I wrote where I felt like my writing, storytelling and voice, all leveled up. My critique partners loved the book. My mom loved the book. I started querying. Rejections came, but so did requests for the full, and then came a delightful little thing in publishing called a revise and resubmit. It was an edit letter, essentially, which if you make the suggested changes, the agent will consider your manuscript again. I dug in and revised the crap out of that manuscript. That agent passed, but the revisions paid off when another agent offered and I signed with her. At that point, I was so naive, I thought for sure the book would sell. I mean, the agent wouldnt have signed me if it wasnt a sure thing, right?

The book did not sell. It came close three times, but didnt make it through the acquisition meetings. This was the first time I felt the rejection as more than brief, generalized disappointment. My mistake was thinking this whole process was easier than it was. Let me back up a moment and explain my thing with rejection letters: They are form letters sent from a person who doesnt know you, essentially telling you that your book isnt what theyre looking for. Ive never taken this personally because there is nothing remotely personal about them. I have known writers who do take them to heart and it seems like a terrific expenditure of energy. Maybe I was sleep deprived, or maybe Im missing a brain component, but either way, when rejection letters came, I checked off that agent and went back to work.

Several books later, a manuscript did sell, but I wasnt out of the rejection waters yet. My hardest trial was to come several months later when the publisher closed its U.S. division, orphaning over fifty projects and five debut novels, including mine. Not long afterward, I began to realize that my agent and I werent the perfect fit any longer. After another failed submission on a new project, my agent and I parted ways on good terms and I took the first break from writing I had since Id begun writing in earnest, five years earlier. This was the first and only time I felt defeated. Maybe Id made a mistake, thinking I could do this. Maybe I should find something more productive to do with my time. I took up soap making as a hobbywhy, I dont know. I think I made about fifty pounds of soap, but while weighing out oils and water and lye, my brain started incubating a new story idea. Not long after that, I was back at the computer, doing what I loved most (although, I DO miss smelling like sandalwood and lavender).

The summer after my Soap Adventure, I received an offer on the orphaned book AND signed with a new agent. That book is my debut, Black Bird of the Gallows, and when I hold it, I feel my whole history as a writer under my fingers. Its all therethe triumphs and the disappointments; the hope and the anxiety. All the rejected manuscripts that perished in order to push me to write better, plot better, tell the story better, served a purpose. Im sure I havent seen my last rejection letter. Im not so naive anymore, and I am still not the writer I know I can be. Rejection can be a crushing blow, or it can steel your resolve. You really do have a choice in the matter. Then again, no one has ever rejected a pleasantly scented bar of handmade soap.





Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.

Author Links: 

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Entangled Publishing




Black Bird of the Gallows 

Young Adult Romantic Fantasy/Entangled Teen – Entangled Publishing


A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. 

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.



Interview with Dawn Ryder, Romance Author

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

This is becoming a lost art. There is too much tech in the hands of children now. They aren’t learning how to use their imaginations. Books make you use that brain to envision the setting. This might be in fiction but when a child grows up, the adult will remember how to think outside the box and that’s how the next generation of new things and ideas will be born.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Realism. I want there to be a foundation of , it really could happen. Twists and turns are important to me. I want the reader to stick with the pages, knowing they will miss something if they skim.

How was writing this book different than your other books?

In the Unbroken Heroes, I’ve introduced my Shadow ops. They are an elite unit that works off grid. This book, Take it to the Limit, is where I illuminate what I’ve only talked about in the other books….the reality of one of their cases following them home. It’s why they live off grid. I didn’t want to just talk about it, I wanted to write one story where the reader sees it first hand as it unfolds.

What makes this book stand out from your other work?

Each Unbroken Heroes book is a challenge for me. I’ve been writing historical romance for a few years and this set of books just begged for a slot on my calendar.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Not killing my main villain…he really needs killing…

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Okay, the Grandpa. He was a hoot to write and weave into the story line.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve always been a story girl. Back when my Mom was telling me only one hour of television a day, she was a good mom for saying that, well, that wasn’t enough story time for me. My first real love of a book set was the ‘Little House’ books and it wasn’t too long after that I discovered romance. It was an era of no iPods and if you were lucky you had the radio to listen to. Books were my mental playground. It was also the way we entertained ourselves on camping trips. I’d tell stories to my younger siblings, we’d make up stories together…

A mom who had a firm one hour a night television rule….so if you wanted more entertainment, better crack a book. I did.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Historical romance and Contemporary. I’ve dabbled in paranormal too. In fact, my first published book was a paranormal.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Most useful was my mom taking me to the library. It wasn’t a choice. We went and stayed for hours. Like any kid, I thought books were boring but the truth was, my reading scores were low, so my mom made me read and I got those scores up to grade level. I used this same approach with my own boys.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Names are very important and I like them to reflect the culture I’m writing in. I’ve taken some hard comments over it in the past but I try to find unique names that fit what era I’m setting the story in….Sorry but Petunia was a very popular name at one time.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

Full time writer…weekends…holidays….

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Marital arts Instructor/ Master. training in this art has helped tremendously with fight scenes. It’s also really funny when my sons and I are at the movies, we are all advanced black belts, and we watch the fight scenes…

What do you like to read in your free time?

A little of everything. Last year I was re-reading the classics and discovering why I love Romance so much.

What projects are you working on at the present?

This week I am finishing up a Highlander romance that will release under my Mary Wine name and then I am going to head straight into the challenge of writing the last book in my Unbroken Heroes. It will be about Thais Sinclair.

What do your plans for future projects include?

After that, I will be submitting a new project to my editor in the hopes it is contracted. It’s a scary and exciting time for an author as a contact ends and you hope to gain a new one.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Yes. When I’m stuck, I will work on quilt blocks. Just piece them and for some reason this works. I can’t sew a costume piece, because I’m thinking about the construction of the garment. No, just piecing quilt squares. It results in boxes of half made quilts that drive my husband batty.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Complex story lines. I like there to be twists and turns and real reasons for my characters to be where they are.


What would your tombstone say?

No tombstone…no grave…. scatter my ashes at sea and I will be on to the next adventure. Leave the Earth for the next generation.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Healing. I’d love to be able to kill cancer and regrow healthy cells….

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?


If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A Harpy Eagle. They are huge.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Hit the New York Times list.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?


How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

I’ve been on a no carbs diet for a month now….I’m giving this question the stink eye look…..

How violently do you have to fight the urge to scream when you hear the ice cream truck coming?

That truck hasn’t come back since the day I had the Bankside sword group over and they charged after him with their rapiers and long swords….It was an honest mistake.

Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

Right now, I will run you down…enjoy seeing my step count increase and make you take them with you!

Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention What do you think cats dream about?

Training humans. And that they will probably kill us in the morning.


This or That?

Dogs or Cats?


Tea or Coffee?


Winter or Summer?

Winter in the Caribbean and summer in Alaska!

TexMex or Italian?


Vintage or New?

Both…but in clothing, Vintage wins.


I am a fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo. It’s the first rank where you are called ‘Master’. I started classes with my boys, to set a good example by not being a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ sort of person and I was there with them at the studio…I never thought I’d stick with it this long or break bricks!




Take to the Limit cover.jpg

A hardened military machine, Bram Magnus is a tough, combat-ready, all-American hero who never surrenders. But the one thing he can’t fight? His smoldering, intense attraction to his girlfriend’s younger sister… He’s always kept his feelings locked deeply down but when his girlfriend betrays him the night before he ships off to Afghanistan, Bram has one chance to show the woman he’s resisted for years that he wants her as fiercely as the first day he saw her.

Ever since her older sister first brought home the soldier with steely hard muscles and piercing eyes, Jaelyn has wanted Bram, and when her sister casts him aside the night before he leaves, Jaelyn can’t resist one steamy hot kiss with him. But danger is not far behind, and even as a deadly enemy hunts them, their relationship only grows more explosive. It’s all Bram can do to keep Jaelyn safe, but with a threat this powerful, will they pay the ultimate price for their passion?





Dawn Ryder

Dawn Ryder is the contemporary romance pen name of a bestselling author of historical romances. Her official naughty inner child. She is commercially published in mass market and trade paper, and digi-first published with trade paper releases. She is hugely committed to her career as an author, as well as to other authors and to her readership. She resides in Southern California. Dawn’s Unbroken Heroes novels include Dangerous to Know and Dare You to Run.


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Interview with SD Grimm, YA Author of SUMMONER

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? I’m a geek to the core. I have fandoms. I have made a few costumes that I’ve worn to conferences. I have always loved Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I still believe that unicorns could possibly exist. Fantasy and Science Fiction are my jam. I watch, read, write, and breathe these genres.

How long have you been writing? I started writing in grade school—a story about a lost sock that was actually an adventure story about a sock looking for his family. Since then, I really loved writing. But I started writing with the goal of getting published eight years ago.

What kind(s) of writing do you do? I write mostly fiction. I have written some articles, but by love and focus in writing is young adult fantasy and sci-fi. Mostly novels, because then I get to spend more time with my characters. But I have done a number of short stories and even flash fiction pieces.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  To be honest, it was digging into my own emotional experiences that coincided with some of my characters’ experiences to get some raw, honest scenes. Yeah, the whole thing about writers pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into their work, it’s real. J

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? The characters. I LOVE Allie and Cody. I love their story. It was so much fun to write.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them. Yeah. Cody, my main hero, is someone with a disability. It doesn’t define him, but it’s part of who he is. I got to talk to and learn from some amazing people while researching Cody’s specific disability, and one thing I took away from their openness and honesty that I wanted to make sure came through was that there’s no reason why he can’t. Yeah. Some things are harder. Some things are different. But a hero with a disability? Why not?

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing? Maggie Stiefvater for one. I love her characters. There’s something lyrical in the way she writes. The feels. OMGsh the feels. Reading her stuff made me want to create amazing characters and emotions people could remember after closing the books. As a kid the Chronicles of Narnia by C.C. Lewis made me want to be a writer. I loved the imagination. The way he could whisk me into another world and open my eyes to things I’d never imagined existed. I wanted to be able to draw readers in like a partially opened wardrobe beckons adventurers.

What do you like to read in your free time? YA and adult fantasy and sci-fi. And I also love a good mystery as well as some horror and thrillers. I read more than one book at a time so I can pick and choose depending on my mood. I also read non-fiction if it has to do with personality psychology or animal behavior.

What projects are you working on at the present? Oooh. So many. I have two books coming out in the beginning of 2018 (book two in my Children of the Blood Moon YA fantasy series and the first book in a new YA urban fantasy trilogy). I just started plotting the start to a new magical realism series with some Greek mythology elements. I am putting finishing touches on my YA sci-fi. And I have a fairy tale retelling I’m delving into edits for. So a lot. lol

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? If it’s strange to write out things on paper to involve one creative area of my brain, make lists of scenes and characters, etc., to involve another, and then put those lists and notes into two other programs (aside from the physical notebook) so that I can organize it different ways, then yes. I do.

What book do you wish you could have written? The Scorpio Races. I love mythological beasts and connections to animals.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters? I’d pick Anna Sophia Robb for Allie and Zach Roerig for Cody.

If you had a superpower, what would it be? Reading people’s minds and emotional states.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? So many! I want to go to Greece and Rome and the UK and Egypt.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? The red panda. Little, hides from view, cuddly-looking, but actually has really sharp teeth.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Irish or Scottish. Probably because I write out and think words like dinna and couldna but am always afraid of how they’ll sound if I were to actually say them.




S.D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast.She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency, her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog, and you can learn more about her upcoming novels at

Author Links: Website |  Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | Entangled Publishing



When Allie’s best friend dares their group to play a game in a cemetery—something she calls “witching”—Allie never expects what it might mean for her. When she plays, she doesn’t just find bodies, she summons their souls. But one soul wants more than Allie is willing to give.

And the boy next door could be the key to saving her.

Cody Burkhart. Straight from Montana, cowboy hat wearing, and smoking hot, he’s just the thing to help Allie become “normal” again after the death of her mother. And as her newly appointed Guardian, he’s also just the thing to help Allie ward off the vengeful spirit who’s after her soul. Except Cody has his own demons to slay that keep him closed off. But as the full moon approaches, so does their only chance to break the curse, and Cody will have to make the biggest sacrifice of all.


Excerpt: THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE by Mariah Stewart



11th in The Chesapeake Diaries series

by: Mariah Stewart

Published by: Pocket Books

Release Date: August 29, 2017

ISBN 9781501154355; $7.99



I love the changing of the seasons—and I think summer into fall might be a favorite, being as how I relate to the whole “autumn of my years” thing. That’s how I see myself, anyway. If sixty is the new forty, I believe seventy must be the new fifty, eighty the new sixty, and so on. Therefore, I fall into that third quadrant. Don’t try to change my mind or confuse me with facts.

One of the reasons I love this time of the year: the steady influx of tourists into St. Dennis begins to wane. Not that I don’t love our visitors. Why, without them, St. Dennis would have continued to languish and would never have become the Eastern Shore mecca it now is. But there’s something sweet about having your hometown belong to you and yours again, even if it’s just for a while. I know soon enough the holidays will be upon us and many will flock to town for all the beautiful festivities—the Christmas House Tour, the weekend of caroling, the tree lighting at the square on Old St. Mary’s Church Road, Christmas at the Inn (a favorite of mine), and, oh, yes, the shopping! But this little respite between the beginning of September, when the families leave to return their offspring to school, and the holiday madness belongs to us, we old St. Dennis folk who like a little downtime.

Not to say there’s nothing going on here! There are new babies to celebrate and a special wedding on the horizon, one that makes me especially weepy. My dear nephew, Alec, will be marrying his lovely Lisbeth in an event that will be the talk of both St. Dennis and Cannonball Island for a long time to come. I’m not privy to all the details, mind you, but since my daughter, Lucy, is planning the wedding, I’ve heard bits and squeaks of what she has in mind, and it will, no doubt, be perfectly wonderful.

When we were children, Mama told us that when good folks passed, they earned a star in the heavens where they could sit and shine down on all the goings-on here on earth. Our brothers scoffed, but we girls believed her, and so it is that I know my beloved sister, Carole, will be watching happily from her star as her son marries his bride out on the point in just a few more weeks.

Thinking about the point makes me think of all the changes that are coming to Cannonball Island soon. So much, it could make your head spin! For the first time in roughly two hundred years, new dwellings will be going up on what had once been barren land. I heard from one in the know that some of the older homesteads—mostly those that have fallen into ruin or have been abandoned—will be replaced with new versions more suitable to modern living. Some are up in arms about this, but frankly, it’s about time. Those dilapidated old shells offer no shelter and, if anything, detract from the beauty of the island. My good friend Ruby Carter—the island’s matriarch—has given her blessing, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, Alec will be serving as the environmental consultant, so I feel confident that all will be well. The new homes are being designed with the island’s history in mind, so the legacy of those early settlers will be well protected. The architect is a lovely young woman who is serious about this project, so I know, eventually, all will be well.

Of course I do.

I know, too, that a certain islander with a “rolling stone” reputation will be finding his rolling days coming to a halt


before too long. It will be amusing, to say the least, to see him meet his match. Will he be bested?

The smart money’s on the new girl. That’s all I have to say about that.

And so much excitement over all the goings-on at the mouth of the river on the other side of Cannonball Island! Who knew such mysteries lay beneath the water, waiting to be discovered—and now that they have been, well, the flurry of activity these days has my poor old head spinning like an old-fashioned top. I cannot wait to see what they find, and I’m more than happy that one of the principal players is staying at the inn. Not that I’d pry, but if one overhears a snippet of conversation now and then . . . well, let’s just say it’s good to keep informed. Now, how all this is going to affect the construction that was slated to begin in November, well, I suppose everyone will have to wait and see. Could be there will be delays, which will keep the new girl around for a while longer and will keep the rolling stone on his toes.

My, what fun this will be~

Grace ~


Praise for The Chesapeake Bride, Book 11 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“Stewart succeeds in giving both Owen and Cass a smooth blend of strength and vulnerability, and the setting of this heartwarming romance will draw readers in with its island-life charm.”— Publishers Weekly

Strengths: Noteworthy historical content; Engaging characters; Strong Romance; HEA…Measure of Love: Teaspoon…Mood: Poignant and lighthearted…Why You Should Read this: Definitely will appeal to readers wanting a strong romance. And the genealogy and historical aspects are a perfect addition to a pleasing story!”— Heroes and Heartbreakers Women’s Fiction Best Bet for August 2017

“The Chesapeake Bride is a small-town romance which will leave readers wanting more of the charming characters and unforgettable story. I enjoyed this book so much that I am still running some of the scenes through my head, which shows how fantastic the story is. Another great read by an outstanding author. A Recommended Read!”— Romance Junkies, Five Heart Review

“The romance is slow and sweet…the lack of unnecessary melodrama, angst, and over-the-top gestures makes this a refreshing contemporary romance between two adults who act as such.”— Kirkus Reviews 

Praise for Driftwood Point, Book 10 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“This second-chance-at-love romance is gentle and sweet…The colorful friendship between the family matriarchs…charms. Stewart seamlessly checks in with former series protagonists and introduces future romantic pairings without stealing attention from Lisbeth and Alec.”

—RT Book Reviews 

Praise for That Chesapeake Summer, Book 9 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“[That Chesapeake Summer] deftly uses the tools of the genre to explore issues of identity, truth, and smalltown kinship…Stewart offers a strong statement on the power of love and trust, a fitting theme for this big-hearted small town romance.” — Publishers Weekly

“A touching story of self-discovery and homecoming that is sure to warm readers’ hearts…fans are sure to feel right at home in Stewart’s idyllic seaside setting and follow this emotional journey with avid interest.” — RT Book Reviews

 Praise for The Last Chance Matinee, Book One in The Hudson Sisters Series:

“The popcorn, the red velvet seats, the glittering Hollywood stars on-screen…I’ve enjoyed all aspects of going to the movies since I was a kid…so when I saw a vintage theater on the cover of this book, I quickly swiped it up…The tale was a sweet reminder of the importance of family. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!” — First for Women magazine, July 2017

“[This] lively, warmhearted series starter will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.” — Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance.” — Library Journal




New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis withTHE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (Pocket Books; August 29, 2017; $7.99), the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.





Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.

Upcoming store event with Mariah:

Thursday, August 31st, 6:30 pm (Note: This event was rescheduled due to the storm.)

Bethany Beach Books

99 Garfield Parkway

P.O. Box 904

Bethany Beach, DE 19930



Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018!



We’re celebrating The Chesapeake Bride and Summer 2017 with one giveaway for Driftwood Point, 10th  in The Chesapeake Diaries Series by Mariah Stewart! The last day for entries will be Friday, September 22nd (the official last day of summer!) The winner will receive one copy of Driftwood Point. U.S. only, please. You can enter at the participating blogs listed below – but you can only win once!

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Guest Post: Five Tips for Taming Your Muse by Kat Colmer


Five Tips for Taming Your Muse

One question frequently asked of authors is “Where do you get your inspiration?” For me, that spark of “what if?” can come at any time and from anywhere: an overheard conversation in a café, a news headline, an image on a billboard, a line in a book. Getting inspiration is the easy part. The hard part is kicking your muse into gear to do something with that initial kernel of inspiration, and if your muse is anything like mine, you’re tearing your—and possibly her—hair out almost every day to get her to cooperate.

My muse is called Mildred. Don’t let the mild mannered name fool you; she is an obstinate, fickle, and self-serving creature who, more often than not, deserts me at the drop of a hat. So I’ve come up with five strategies to keep her in line.

  • Exercise

Our characters might be rushing around in their story worlds, fighting monsters, slaying demons, or just running for a cab, but a writer’s job involves a lot of bums on seats. Well, at least your own bum on your own seat. Our work is very sedentary and Mildred is one of those twitchy, flighty, can’t sit still kind of muses. Taking her for a walk, jog, or a gym session, is a good way to help her regain focus. Even a twenty-minute stroll around the block can be enough to help her sit still and focus on the story.

  • Music

Once you’ve got your muse in her chair, a good way to channel her thoughts into a creative direction is to play her some music. Choosing something that reflects the mood of the scene you’re writing is best, otherwise you might end up with a too soppy fight scene or too aggressive dialogue during what was meant to be a romantic exchange. I listened to Two Steps From Hell—a movie trailer music production duo—while writing my debut YA paranormal romance, as it gave me a nice mix between epic, fast paced pieces and reflective, romantic tracks. Check out their music here:

  • Reading

This is a crucial point. To keep your muse at the top of her game, she needs to see what other muses are helping their authors create. An innately proud animal, this will have her sitting up straight and pointing to the keyboard, urging you to put words on the page, so that she can show off the awesome stories she’s helped create.

  • Time with other muses

Just like it’s crucial to read other writing that inspires, it’s also good to get together with other like-minded authors. This way your muses can hang out together at the bar and bounce ideas off one another while sipping away at something bubbly. Mildred would never admit it, but she has my critique partners’ muses to thank for many of the ideas she claims as her own.

  • Chocolate

Chocolate is an excellent muse incentive! Mildred will happily help me dig myself out of a plot hole or provide an idea for a story twist if I dangle the prospect of some chocolate in front of her. Note: it’s a good idea to combine point five with point one, for obvious reasons.

If none of the above work and your muse still refuses to cooperate, tie the little blighter to a chair and force her to inspire words onto the page. After all, she lives in your head—so no one will hear her furious complaining but you!





Love curses don’t exist. At least that’s what Jonas, master of the meaningless hookup, tells himself when a letter warns him he’s an Eros Guardian cursed to endure a test of true love or forever be alone. His levelheaded longtime friend Cora figures it’s a revenge prank by an ex. The way Jonas stamps each girlfriend with a weeklong use-by date, it serves him right.

But when an impulsive kiss between the two friends reveals potential for more, Cora becomes the target of the Groth Maar: demons sent to wipe out the Eros Guardian line. And suddenly the curse becomes dangerously real.

Breaking the curse means Jonas’s biggest challenge yet. Failure guarantees Cora’s death. But success may cost him his own life…and the loss of his carefully guarded heart to the one girl far too sensible to fall for him.

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Kat Colmer is a Sydney-based Young and New Adult author who writes coming-of-age stories with humor and heart. The recipient of several writing awards, she has won the Romance Writers of Australia First Kiss contest, as well as the Romance Writers of America On the Far Side contest for her debut Young Adult Paranormal Romance.

Kat has a Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship and loves working with teens and young adults. When not writing, teaching, or reading the latest in YA fiction, Kat spends time with her husband and two children.

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