Monday, July 22, 2013

Deception of Devin Miller-- Kelly Martin

Welcome back, Kelly Martin. She'd like to tell you a little about her new book.

 Today is the release day for mynew book THE DECEPTION OF DEVIN MILLER! I’d love for you to check it out. It’s only 99 cents until Saturday as an early bird special and also as a thank you. On Saturday, it’ll go to its regular price, $2.99. Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors about Devin. Thanks for having me here on release day! Enjoy the excerpt from chapter one.

Who would you trust if you didn’t know anybody, but they all knew you?

Chapter One

I heard the voices but couldn't place them in the darkness.
Your prom dress is in! You'll look fab when your bruises disappear.
Cooper feels really bad, you know? Wake up so he can stop moping.
What were you thinking?
Come on, Sweetie. Open your eyes for me.
You got what you deserved. You get that, right?
I hate being here. Seriously? You couldn't have waited for my side of the story? Of all the people to be stuck with…
I couldn't move, couldn't answer any of them. I tried but everything felt so strange like I was at the bottom of a pool after diving from the board. Voices were muffled and came in and out. I didn't know how long I'd been in the darkness, but I knew I wanted out.
One day, the dark water started swirling around me. Like coming up after a dive, the current roared in my ears. Rising to the surface, I opened my eyes and gasped for air that didn't immediately come.
Everything was blurry. I had no idea where I was. All I knew was there was something shoved down my throat keeping me from breathing, and I fought to jerk it out. How in the world could I breathe better beneath the surface than I could with my head above water?
"Hey, calm down. Stop pulling it," a distorted male voice echoed in my ears. I felt pressure on my arms as if something was holding me down. Terrified that this thing was going to hurt me, I fought harder.
"Stop," the voice ordered more firmly. "Quit! Ugh… I'll go get the doctor."
Nothing made sense after that. People ran in with distorted eyes telling me not to freak out. They didn't look human with their twisted faces and larger than average foreheads. I'd been abducted by aliens?
"We're going to get this out of you, okay?" someone said, a man by the sound of his deep, raspy voice, while standing over me and holding the tube coming from my throat. It was uncomfortable to say the least, and I gagged as it slid out of my mouth. Thankfully once it was gone, I could breathe again. The weight lifted from my chest and my lungs filled with the air I put into them.
As I calmed down a bit, the people began taking more of a normal shape. I noticed they didn't have gigantic heads, and they were, in fact, dressed like medical personnel. I scanned the room and assumed from the dull walls, pain chart hanging across from me, and the wide door to my right that I was in the hospital, which made sense with the all the beeping and tubes.
What I didn't know at the moment was how I got there.
"And she just woke up?" A man with a graying beard and blue scrubs asked the young guy in black standing next to him.
"Yeah, just like that. Scared me to death — relatively speaking of course."
I remembered that voice. I'd heard it in the darkness. Not the scary voice that was too whispered to recognize. The unhappy one.
"Okay, you stay here and sit with her while I call her parents."
"Sit with her? Me? Why? I have other patients to see."
"You go to school with her, right?"
"Well, yeah, but…"
"Then the others can wait." The man in blue smacked the other guy on the back. "Don't look so sad. Maybe you'll even make a friend." I heard laughter in the man's voice as he left the room, leaving me there with this guy I didn't know at all though he told the doctor he knew me.
"Do you need anything? Anything at all," a female nurse, I guess it was a nurse, asked from my right side. I followed the sound of her voice until I saw her face then kept going until I saw a tall pole with a line coming out of it. Presumably my IV.
What in the world was I doing in the hospital?
I shook my head as an answer because my throat felt raw from the miserable tube that had been so rudely shoved down in it. The nurse lady patted me on the shoulder — they liked to pat here — and told the other guy she'd be back in a few minutes and to try to get me talking. What if I didn't want to talk? Did I want to talk? Talking seemed painful, and what in the world would I talk about to a stranger?
She handed me the nurse call button and left. The chaos had died down, and it was just me and the strange guy.
He seemed irritated and a little nervous as he pulled one of the little blue, uncomfortable-looking hospital chairs closer to my bed, but not close enough to touch which I appreciated. I clung to the nurse call button as tightly as I could just in case he started freaking me out.
As he sat there like a lump, I studied him. He seemed familiar and I felt like I should know him from somewhere, but I didn't. He had jet, more than likely unnaturally, black hair, cut short around his ears and longer and floppier on top. It was fixed with some sort of styling gel or maybe it just laid like that on its own. How he styled his hair wasn't exactly important in the scheme of things.
He had big beautiful blue eyes, the kind of blue that were so light you couldn't look away if you tried. The blue popped thanks to a trace amount of black liner around his eyes. It wasn't an ungodly amount: no raccoon eyes by any means. But it was enough make them stand out. I really liked it. It suited him. His nose was on the bigger side and had a rounder appearance, but he definitely wasn't unattractive. On the side of his neck, I saw something that looked like a hickey. Seemed a bit inappropriate to wear a hickey to a hospital.
 By the way his plump lips fell in a straight, stern line I could tell he definitely wasn't happy. I didn't know if it was me personally he wasn't happy with or the situation in general. It couldn't have been me. I didn't know him.
"Welcome back to the land of the living," he said finally with a hint of agitation in his voice. Was he always so bitter? "We were — they were worried about you."
What was I supposed to say to that? Um… "Thanks." My voice came out harsh and not feminine at all. It made me a bit embarrassed that this not so bad-looking guy had to hear me sound like a thirty year smoker, but it wasn't like I could help it. I didn't put the stupid tube down my own throat.
"I guess I should say that you gave everyone quite a scare." He leaned his elbows on his knees and stared at me. It wasn't a happy stare.
"Sorry about that." And I was. I just wished I knew who everyone was or why I scared them.
His eyes squinted, and I felt my face flush. Why was he looking at me like that? He took a l-o-n-g deep breath before speaking again. When he did, he didn't sound as angry. "Are you okay?"

Author Bio: Kelly Martin a southern girl who writes... a lot. She is the author of SAINT SLOAN and Grace Award winning, CROSSING THE DEEP. By day, she is a teacher. By night, she has her hair in a bun and her fingers on a keyboard. She loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep. Kelly loves a good mystery and believes in Sherlock Holmes.
You can find her at
She's also on twitter:
And on facebook:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guest reviewer: Danielle-- The Wrap-Up List by Steve Arntson

The Wrap-Up List
By Steven Arntson
236 pages

Gabriela Rivera is a modern sixteen-year-old girl living in contemporary America. But there are two very different things that separate her world from ours.

The first is that she lives in a country on the brink of war. Many of her fellow classmates have already been called in for the draft.

The second is that, in her reality, there are beings called Deaths – strange, tall, supernatural creatures – who come for members of the population at random for departure to the afterlife, and account for one percent of all fatalities.

            Unfortunately, this is where Gabriela’s story begins.

            Opening her mailbox one day, Gabriela finds a Death Letter addressed to her. These departures are much like having cancer; you are given a small amount of time to get your affairs in order, make peace with loved ones, and write a Wrap-Up List. This list contains things that you would like to see happen in your life before you die. You send it back to your Death, and they use what influence they have over the workings of the universe to make them happen as best they can.

            Departures are also like cancer in respect to the fact that they come like a hard, unexpected slap to the face.

            But there is always a small glimmer of hope for those who are taken before their natural time. Every Death has a Noble Weakness – something that, if guessed correctly and performed, will grant you a Pardon. That Pardon means that you get your life back.

            Gabriela has one week to make sure everything on her Wrap-Up List happens, and to guess the Noble Weakness of her Death, Hercule. Otherwise, there will be no turning back.

            I have to say, this book went pretty fast. I managed to finish the better part of it within a day. Perhaps it was the style in which it was written, because the subject matter certainly wasn’t lighthearted (although there were some very funny moments). At the same time, it wasn’t dark, either.

            At first, I actually thought the odd alternate America where Deaths existed was a rather unattractively created world, and was a bit repulsed by it. After a while, however, it and its almost bureaucratic structure grew on me. The world crafted by Arntson is nothing intricate or over the top, but it gets the job done.

            The characters are nothing to write home about, either. They are neither awful, nor amazing. I did quite appreciate Hercule. He was very real in a way an eight foot tall gray man probably shouldn’t have been. I also liked his sense of humor.

            What made this book for me were the brief, scattered moments of poignant clarity and realization that Gabriela had once she saw her time was coming to a close. They allow her the privilege of looking at the world through eyes that pierce beneath the surface of everything, and take in and appreciate details that most of us would never notice, or simply take for granted.

            While there was some Deep And Meaningful going on, I wasn’t too overly impressed or blown away. The Wrap-Up List is decent light reading, but don’t exert yourself fighting someone for the last copy of it at the book store.

            I give it 3/5 stars.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jay Mims-- The Softer Approach-- Dan Landis series.

Hey again, everyone. Please welcome for the first time to Read Between the Lines, Jay Mims, author of Five Santas and The Cult of Koo Kway.

If you love detective stories with a quirky detective, be sure to check out the series!

The Softer Approach

Hello Gentle Readers,
I really appreciate Jessie allowing me to stop by the blog and chat for a bit. See, I’m doing this blog hop I’m calling “Christmas in July”. It’s been a lot of fun, and today we’re on the Seventh Day of Mimsey. And I’d like to talk to you about taking the soft approach to murder.
See, I write murder mysteries about a cynical, sarcastic, womanizing private investigator named Dan Landis. And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke. But there’s someplace that he’d rather be. Wait, no that’s “Piano Man”.
My point is, I have a classic hardboiled detective. But, I write cozy mysteries, which are more along the lines of Agatha Christie or Murder, She Wrote.
It’s an unusual take, I realize, to marry the fluffy with the hard, sweet and sour. But, I think what works for this type of storytelling is that you understand why your character is who he is. See, Dan Landis lost his partner Maggie to a mugging gone wrong, and he’s been heartbroken ever since. It’s actually one of the main themes of the story, Dan’s unwillingness to let go of Maggie, and inability to let others in.
And along comes Abbey. She’s a bright ray of sunshine in Dan’s life, and through the course of the first two books becomes Dan’s partner. She puts a soft touch around his harder edges, and I think the readers will enjoy seeing the gradual growth of Dan from hard cynic to sincere guy.
Plus, HK Savage says “Sincere Dan is a panty-dropper.”
So, you’ve got that to look forward to as well.

Here’s the blurb for the books.
The Five Santas
Dan Landis is slumming it as a security guard at a department store. The money’s nice, but he also made sure Abbey has a job in the gift wrapping department. Dan chases a thief into the alleyway, only to discover the body of Santa Claus stuffed behind a dumpster. One body leads to another, and pretty soon Dan’s up to his ears in Yule Tide murder. He’s hired to protect the department store Santa, who appears to be more then meets the eye, but as the bodies keep piling up, Dan begins to smell something rotten in Denmark. Abbey being arrested might have something to do with that.

Open Book Society says “The author, Jay Mims, offers the reader a charming protagonist, whose wittiness defends against the violence surrounding him.”
Author Elizabeth Seckman says, “If you miss Moonlighting with Bruce Willis, you'll want to meet Dan Landis.”
And Jean The Book Nerd says, “Mims has provided us a great holiday/murder mystery story that is surely appreciated.”

Cult of Koo Kway
Dan Landis is back! There’s a body in the kitchen, someone trying to kill him, and a blonde about to be mugged. Picking up where The Five Santas left off, Dan and company are in hot pursuit of a six foot tall cowboy named Tex. But, things get complicated when Mama Landis’ favorite son discovers the body of his best friend in his kitchen. The mysterious Cult of Koo Kway is out to get Dan, and it’s up to everyone’s favorite detective and his new partner Abbey to save the day.
Jean The Book Nerd calls Cult of Koo Kway “An amazing fast-paced mystery book that will have readers on the edge of their seats..”

Author Donna Milward says “The action never seems to stop. How can you go wrong when you start with fuzzy handcuffs?  “
And Author Elizabeth Seckman says, “I love Dan. He's a little bit rotten, but a whole lot adorable.

And stay tuned for the excitement of The Gray Ghost Inn due out October 15th, 2013.
Dan, Abbey and their friend Professor Leroy “Doc” Brown are off to Warrenton, Virginia, where they are going to visit the bed and breakfast The Gray Ghost Inn. But, wherever Dan and Abbey go, trouble isn’t too far behind. There’s a body in the library, a house full of suspects, and only one reluctant detective who can solve the case before the killer strikes again.
Want to read Jay Mims’ books? You’re in luck, because we’re giving away presents this Christmas in July! Enter to win one of five FABULOUS PRIZES!

Jay Mims can sing all the lyrics to “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, and has never learned to play the piano. He lives with a passive-aggressive Dalek named Steve, a lizard named Bob, and is regularly visited by a cat he calls Eartha Kitty. He writes books and is far funnier on Facebook then in real life. He is terrible at Twitter. His next book "The Gray Ghost Inn" is due out October 15, 2013. Feel free to email him here. For a regular dose of Mimsey, check out his blog.
Barnes and Noble:
Twitter: @JayMimsey

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Enchanted-- By Elaine Cantrell

The Enchanted
By Elaine Cantrell

Forced by his father into a marriage he didn’t want, Prince Alan soon finds that his bride isn’t the sweet, submissive creature he expected. Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she isn’t thrilled about the marriage either. When black treachery threatens the kingdom, Morgane and Alan embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death for them and all their people.
Morgane advanced on her enemy with deadly purpose.

"No!" Alan roared. "She has a knife."

Morgane tried to retreat, but it was too late. Aili's knife caught her in her thigh. Blood spurted as if from a fountain. Renweard was closer to her than Alan. His sword rose. Aili breathed her last as Morgane swayed and slipped to the floor.

Alan ran across the room and cradled her in his arms. In seconds he was coated with blood. "ʺWe must stop the bleeding!" he cried. "Where are the healers?"

ʺI will find one." Renweard left the room at a run with King Bowdyn right behind him.

Morgane's eyes fluttered open. "Your arms around me. No heaven can compare.ʺ

Alan pressed a kiss to her hair. "I love you, my brave Morgane."

Morgane sighed. "I could not let you face this battle alone.ʺ
Author’s Note:
After spending most of the last ten years writing contemporary romance, I decided it was time for a change. So in the spring of 2012 I wrote my first romantic fantasy, The Enchanted. Several challenges immediately presented themselves. First, I knew that I didn't want the fantasy to overpower the romance which meant I'd have to balance my world building details with the romantic elements.

Challenge two was finding characters who'd fit into my newly created world. I didn't want plastic, stereotypical characters. I wanted real people with warts and human imperfections, people whose lives and problems would draw you in and make you care about them.

My third challenge was to craft a plot that included fantasy elements, yet at the same time allowed my characters to be in charge of their own destiny and in the process grow and change.

I'm pleased with the way it turned out. I enjoyed the experience so much I have another fantasy/sci fi romance in the wings waiting for December and its turn at publication. Given my new love affair with fantasy romance, will I write contemporary romance again? I sure will. I'm working on one right now, and I just love it. It will be my first full length romantic comedy.
Author Links:
The Enchanted is sold at most online retail outlets.

A sweet story, easy read, fairytale/fantasy/romance 5 stars. 
Teresa Cypher on Amazon
A wonderful story that has swept into my heart. I will be remembering this one for a long time and reading it again.
                                                   Tifferz Book Reviews on Goodreads

Monday, July 1, 2013

AT WHAT COST Pay It Forward Challenge

Hey, Peeps! I've got a challenge for you. Normally when I do contests or give aways, you readers are the beneficiaries. This time, you get to help me give stuff away and benefit a great cause! 

When I was writing AT WHAT COST, I had to do a lot of research on the topic of teen pregnancy and abortion. The local women's services center helped me a lot with that. They set up interviews with post abortive women, and they gave me pamphlets and websites and all sorts of great research and information that made AWC what it is today: a two time award winning finalist! 

Women's Services of Jamestown is a great resource for pregnant women in our community, but they do so much more. They have options counseling, free pregnancy testing, Wait Training education, emergency hotlines, and support groups to name a few. 
They have a FB page too!

As a little thank you for all they do for our community, I'd like to donate books back to them to give to the women who will be gracing their doors. So for every 5 books purchased between now and August 31, I will personally donate one book to the Women's Services of Chautauqua County. 

Here's how you can help:
1. Purchase the book and tell all your friends to purchase the book.
2. When you get a confirmation letter (The page that comes up right after you purchase from Amazon or B&N), copy the URL (That address thingy at the top of your page) and post it on my Facebook page or Tag me on Twitter: 



While you're there, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I'd love to connect with awesome readers like you! At the end of August, I'll post how many books have been donated. 

Like the idea? Wanna help donate to a great cause? Then hop on over to AmazonB&N or Astraea Press to get your own copy of AT WHAT COST. 

Ready, Set, GO!