Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Excerpt + Giveaway: Dark Sun, Bright Moon by Oliver Sparrow

Dark Sun, Bright Moon, by Oliver Sparrow, was published in July 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon in both paperback and ebook.

“Dark Sun, Bright Moon describes people isolated in the Andes, without the least notion of outsiders. They evolve an understanding of the universe that is complementary to our own but a great deal wider. The book explores events of a thousand years ago, events which fit with what we know of the region's history,” says Sparrow.

In the Andes of a thousand years ago, the Huari empire is sick. Its communities are being eaten from within by a plague, a contagion that is not of the body but of something far deeper, a plague that has taken their collective spirit. Rooting out this parasite is a task that is laid upon Q’ilyasisa, a young woman from an obscure little village on the forgotten borders of the Huari empire.

This impossible mission is imposed on her by a vast mind, a sentience that has ambitions to shape all human life. Her response to this entails confrontations on sacrificial pyramids, long journeys through the Amazonian jungle and the establishment of not just one but two new empires. Her legacy shapes future Andean civilization for the next four hundred years, until the arrival of the Spanish.

Dark Sun, Bright Moon takes the reader on a fascinating adventure that includes human sacrifice, communities eaten from within, a vast mind blazing under the mud of Lake Titicaca, and the rise and fall of empires cruel and kind.


Chapter 1
A Small Sacrifice at Pachacamac

A priest knelt before her, a feather from his head-dress tickling her face. His musky odour of old incense and stale blood was rank, even here on the windy summit of the pyramid. Four other priests held her body tipped slightly forwards, and the pressure that this put on her tired old joints hurt far more than the fine, cold bite of the knife at her neck. Quick blood ran thick down her chin and splashed into the waiting bowl. Then the flow weakened, the strength went out of her and she died, content.

Seven elderly pilgrims had set out for Pachacamac, following their familiar river down to the coast and then trudging North through the desert sands. Two of the very oldest of them needed to be carried in litters, but most were able to walk with no more than a stick to help them in the sand. Lesser members of the community had been delegated to carry what was necessary. These would return home. The elderly would not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spotlight + Giveaway: To Wed an Heiress by Rosanne E. Lortz

Publication Date: April 30, 2015
Madison Street Publishing
Paperback; 300 pages
Genre: Historical/Romantic Suspense

Haro Emison, thrust into his new role as Earl of Anglesford, discovers that his late father has left the family teetering on the edge of financial ruin. Intent on rescuing the estate, Haro abandons his long-held interest in his cousin Eda and searches instead for a wealthy heiress. But when pride and jealousy cause his plan to spiral out of control, he begins to wonder if he has made a dreadful mistake….

Eda Swanycke is enjoying her first season in London when her debut comes to a crashing halt. Jilted by her cousin, she suffers the indignity of watching Haro’s new intended lay claim to his person and position. But when a brutal murder upends the household with Haro as chief suspect, Eda must put her wounded pride aside, match wits with the investigator from London, and try, at all costs, to save Haro Emison’s neck from the gallows…


Monday, May 18, 2015

Blog Tour Excerpt + Giveaway: A Match for Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

Duty compels her to turn her back on marriage. Fate drives him to protect her come what may. Then love takes a hand in this battle of yearning hearts, stubborn wills, and a match too powerful to deny. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to rugged Scotland with a dramatic tale of passionate desire and unwavering devotion.

Restless and impatient, Marcus Cynster waits for Fate to come calling. He knows his destiny lies in the lands surrounding his family home, but what will his future be and with whom will he share it?

Of one fact he feels certain: his fated bride will not be Niniver Carrick. His elusive neighbor attracts him mightily, yet he feels compelled to protect her—even from himself. Fickle Fate, he’s sure, would never be so kind as to decree that Niniver should be his. The best he can do for them both is to avoid her.

Niniver has vowed to return her clan to prosperity. The epitome of fragile femininity, her delicate and ethereal exterior cloaks a stubborn will and an unflinching devotion to the people in her care. She accepts that she cannot risk marrying and losing her grip on the clan’s reins to an inevitably controlling husband. Unfortunately, many local men see her as their opportunity.

Soon, she’s forced to seek help to get rid of her unwelcome suitors. Powerful and dangerous, Marcus Cynster is perfect for the task. Suppressing her wariness over tangling with a gentleman who so excites her passions, she appeals to him for assistance with her peculiar problem.

Although at first he resists, Marcus discovers that, contrary to his expectations, his fated role is to stand by Niniver’s side and, ultimately, to claim her hand. Yet in order to convince her to be his bride, they must plunge headlong into a journey full of challenges, unforeseen dangers, passion, and yearning, until Niniver grasps the essential truth—that she is indeed a match for Marcus Cynster.


Catriona broke it. “That last fact—that Nolan loved Nigel—and yet, when it was clear there was a real risk of Lucilla seeing Manachan, realizing he was being poisoned, and raising the alarm, Nolan had to sacrifice Nigel to give the authorities and society a villain they would be content with…Having killed the one person he actually loved would account for Nolan’s descent into madness.”
Lucilla shivered. “Indeed.”
“If I may make so bold,” Phelps said, “if Nolan had intended to keep Nigel alive—to let Nigel be the laird, but for him, Nolan, to be the clever one managing the estate, and all else, from Nigel’s shadow—if that’s what Nolan had wanted, but then he was forced to kill Nigel to protect himself, that would also make sense of the blatherings Sean’s been hearing for months. Aye, and what all of us heard today up on that ledge.”
“It also explains,” Ferguson said, “why, having Nigel’s body close by, Nolan went to the ledge to talk to him—to still be close to him.”
Thomas stirred. His expression stony, he said, “I agree. If we accept that Nolan wanted revenge on Manachan, and that Nolan effectively controlled Nigel, then killing Manachan and having Nigel become laird…That might well have been the sum of Nolan’s intentions. He wouldn’t have had to shoulder any responsibility—no matter what happened, all blame would fall on Nigel’s shoulders. I can see that as being a nice revenge for Nolan. He would get to pull the strings Manachan had intended to be in Nigel’s hands, and any failures would be sheeted home to Nigel.”
They revisited various matters, recasting conclusions in the light of what they now understood, but it was clear that no doubt lingered in anyone’s mind as to the truth of what had occurred in the months leading to Manachan’s death.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blog Tour Q&A with Julia London, Author of The Scoundrel and the Debutante

New York Times bestselling author
Julia London

Harlequin; May 1, 2015
352 pages; $7.99 US/$8.99 CAN

The dust of the Cabot sisters' shocking plans to rescue their family from certain ruin may have settled, but Prudence Cabot is left standing in the rubble of scandal. Now regarded as an unsuitable bride, she's tainted among the ton. Yet this unwilling wallflower is ripe for her own adventure. And when an irresistibly sexy American stranger on a desperate mission enlists her help, she simply can't deny the temptation. 

The fate of Roan Matheson's family depends on how quickly he can find his runaway sister and persuade her to return to her betrothed. Scouring the rustic English countryside with the sensually wicked Prudence at his side—and in his bed—he's out of his element. But once Roan has a taste of the sizzling passion that can lead to forever, he must choose between his heart's and its forbidden desires.

Welcome, Julia!

Did you have any influence on the cover art for this novel?

Harlequin has such a great art department that they don’t really need my input. What I offer is limited, although I feel that the publisher welcomes any input I have. It’s just that I’ve discovered over the years that my talents are not in cover design, LOL. That being said, I generally provide ideas for looks I think would work, and the art department uses that as a jumping-off point. They try to incorporate my thoughts to the extent possible. For this series, we all agreed that the close-in crop of the couples was a great look, but they are the ones who came up with the poses and colors. I love them.

You worked in the White House for some time. Did you have any experiences there that made for great stories?

I had experiences that make for great dinner party stories, but that’s about it. I have never found anything from that time in my life that translated easily into a book. Except for perhaps some colorful secondary characters. Mostly the crazy ones.

Are you doing any book signings or attending any writers conferences in the near future?

I will be at Book Expo at the end of May. My writing schedule is so tight this year that I won’t have time to attend my usual haunts.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spotlight: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber

In THE PROMISE, critically acclaimed and award-winning novelist Ann Weisgarber returns with a deeply moving story about the Galveston, Texas, 1900 Storm, the worst natural disaster in the United States in the twentieth century. While there are accounts of what happened to the city of Galveston and its residents, little has been written about what happened to the families on the rural, isolated end of the island, something Weisgarber sought to remedy.

Young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio, in the wake of a terrible scandal. Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams. In desperation, she agrees to marry him, but when Catherine travels to Oscar’s farm on Galveston Island, Texas—a thousand miles from home—she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her. The island is remote, the weather sweltering, and Oscar’s little boy Andre is grieving hard for his lost mother. And though Oscar tries to please his new wife, the secrets of the past sit uncomfortably between them.

Meanwhile, for Nan Ogden, Oscar’s housekeeper, Catherine’s sudden arrival has come as a great shock. For not only did she promise Oscar’s first wife that she would be the one to take care of little Andre, but she has feelings for Oscar that she is struggling to suppress. And when the worst storm in a generation descends, the women will find themselves tested as never before.

The Promise, now available in paperback, received rave reviews from critics and captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Against the backdrop of the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900, Ann Weisgarber tells a heartbreaking story with two unforgettable voices.

Paperback Edition on sale May 5th
Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN 9781629142364

THE PROMISE continues to earn kudos, most recently being selected in January by The Pulpwood Queen's Book Club as their Bonus Book of the Year. In addition to many great reviews, the novel already has earned the following honors:

  • A WNBA Great Group Read Selection, 2014
  • The Pulpwood Queens Pick for October 2014          
  • Finalist, The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction (Weisgarber was the first American to be shortlisted for this UK prize)
  • Finalist,  Spur Award for Best Western Historical Fiction
  • Finalist, The Ohioana Book Award for Fiction