Category Archives: Friday Feature

Friday Feature, Guest Post & Giveaway: Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane

“What piece of research that made you really happy didn’t make it into the story?”

I recently had a bit of a brain freeze about blogging, so put an appeal out to pals along the lines of, “What should I blog about?” I got several really good suggestions which I’ve squirreled away, but this one – from my old pal Elin Gregory – seemed perfect for the Count the Shells tour.  She asked, “What piece of research that made you really happy didn’t make it into the story?”

Where do I start? I do a load of research about the early twentieth century. Okay, in the interests of absolute honesty, I don’t actually do much research (I tend to restrict that to checking specific facts), but I do enjoy an awful lot of things that might count as research. I read no end of stories written in that era, pore over biographies of people who lived then, visit sites of significance from the time, etc. I also really enjoy reading non-fiction that takes a particular slant on that bit of the historical timeline; almost anything that combines rugby and WWI is a must-buy for me, as are quirky books like “Weird World War One”. There was plenty in that book that would never get into one of my novels because it would beggar the readers’ belief. Truth is indeed so often odder than fiction.

So, in no particular order, here are some favourite things I’ve turned up and not used:

  • The first floodlit rugby match was in 1878. Doesn’t seem possible to have been that long ago.
  • JM Barrie had his own cricket team, which was full of well known authors. Incidentally, EW Horning’s famous character Raffles, whose relationship with his fictional pal Bunny is slashy in the extreme, was probably based on a fellow player in that team, one who was himself – what a surprise – gay.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle took one first class wicket, that of the great WG Grace. (That won’t mean a lot unless you love both Sherlock Holmes and cricket, and then you’ll go ‘Wow!’.) Grace’s death was possibly brought on by fright at Zeppelin raids over London.

But perhaps the most poignant thing I’ve come across is in “The Greater Game” by Clive Harris and Julian Whippy, and it’s a quote from an army chaplain, Dick Dugdale, about the rugby player Ronnie Poulton Palmer, who died in action in 1915. “You know I loved him more than anyone else…each year passing merely means one year less to wait for Ronald.” Those quotes make me really happy and I shall never use them, even if they inspire me to write more novels like Count the Shells.


Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.


Title: Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane
Porthkennack Universe Book Six
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Historical, Gay, Romance
Length: 246 pages/Word Count: 66,000

Summary:

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.

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Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing


About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex BeecroftJoanna ChambersCharlie CochraneGarrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack


Author Bio

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Author Links: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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Friday Feature, Excerpt & Giveaway: Defending Hearts by Rebecca Crowley

Title: Defending Hearts by Rebecca Crowley
Atlanta Skyline Series Book Two
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 236 pages

Summary:

WHEN THE PITCH GETS PERSONAL

Atlanta Skyline’s star Swedish wingback Oz Terim—or as the fans call him, the Wizard—has an airtight plan for his life, his career, even his meticulously renovated house, but he barely gives a thought to the Islamic faith he inherited from his Turkish parents. So no one’s more surprised than he is when he’s the victim of anti-Muslim hate crime. Refusing to take the threat seriously, he resists the security detail Skyline insists on . . . until he meets Kate Mitchell. There’s no room for her in his plan and she’s the exact opposite of what he wants. Then why can’t he keep his hands off her?

After ten years in the military—and getting fired from her first post-Army job in Saudi Arabia—Kate Mitchell has slunk home to her Georgia roots. Private security isn’t the career she dreamed of, nor is she thrilled to work with an uptight professional athlete who plays a sport she has no interest in. She never expected to be attracted to him—or for him to fall for her, too. As their opposite lives tangle up—and the threat against Oz grows more serious—Kate has to decide who she wants to be in life and in love.

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Excerpt

Her hand hovered over the button to shoot but suddenly the screen froze. The bare trees on the horizon became odd-looking stalks of pixels and she turned to Oz with a frown.

“Is it broken?”

He shook his head. “I paused it.”

“Why? I was about to kick some sniper ass.”

He turned to her with a concerned expression. “I think I should kiss you.”

Her jaw practically hit her lap. After a second or two of stunned silence she managed to yank it back up, realign her teeth and force her mouth to form words.

“What did you say?”

“Spoiler alert.” He raised an apologetic hand. “There’s some pretty serious fighting up ahead and I don’t want either of us to be distracted.”

“So you want to—”

“Kiss you.” He smiled and, hot damn, he was delicious. “Maybe I’m wrong, but I think we’re both wondering if it’s going to happen, when it will happen, should it happen… It’s drawing attention away from this mission, which is, frankly, pretty important to the eventual victory of the Allies over the German military forces.”

“You want to kiss me,” she repeated dumbly, struggling to wade through the shock and disbelief muddying her mind.

“It’s up to you. I’m just saying, there are ten million Soviet lives at stake.” He shrugged.

“Okay,” some distant, detached part of her responded.

And then it happened. He put two fingers beneath her chin, tilted her face toward his and pressed his lips against hers.

She stiffened, her mind and heart vying for the fastest pace.

She shouldn’t do this. Getting involved with anyone was the last thing she needed right now, not to mention a client—oh, shit, was this a violation of her terms of employment? Had she even signed terms of employment?

Her boss wouldn’t care, surely. She saw Rich, his crew-cut, his oversized belt buckle, his habit of spinning a tobacco tin in his hands during meetings. Would he fire her? Not if her sales figures were good. That’s all he cared about. But if they slipped, she bet he wouldn’t hesitate to…

Mentally she slapped herself. You’re making out with a guy you really like—the first time you’ve gotten any action in years. Stop thinking about your job. Stop thinking about the bigger picture. Enjoy the goddamn moment for once.

She wrenched her awareness out of her brain and shoved it into her body, forcing herself to be present, to experience his touch.

God, he tastes good.


Author Bio

Rebecca Crowley inherited her love of romance from her mom, who taught her to at least partially judge a book by the steaminess of its cover. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense with smart heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, and never tires of the happily-ever-after. Having pulled up her Kansas roots to live in New York City and London, Rebecca currently resides in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Giveaway

To enter today’s contest for all a DIGITAL copy of , fill out the form below. PLEASE NOTE: The contest winner will receive a redemption code from Ms. Crowley to claim their book through Enthrill. Contest ends 5 PM mountain time Monday October 16th.

Follow the rest of the tour HERE.

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Friday Feature: Wicked Choice by Sawyer Bennett (Cover Reveal)

Available January 2, 2018

Title: Wicked Choice by Sawyer Bennett
Wicked Horse Vegas Series Book Four
Publisher: Big Dog Books, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 223 pages

Summary:

Life as a mercenary is a solitary one, but the team at The Jameson Group is content with letting loose at their favorite sex club, The Wicked Horse. For two of its members, dirty days lead to wicked nights, and the team morale is better for it.

Sawyer Bennett’s Wicked Horse Vegas series can be read together or separately. A full synopsis for this title will be prior to release.

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Pre-Order Links: B&N * Google Play * iTunes * Kobo

KINDLE USERS: To receive an email notification when Wicked Choice is available for preorder on Amazon, please sign up here: http://sawyerbennett.com/signup/


Author Bio

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both.

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.

Author Links: Newsletter* Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

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Friday Feature & Giveaway: The Winter Wedding Plan by Olivia Miles

Title:The Winter Wedding Plan by Olivia Miles
Misty Point Series Book Two
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages

Summary:

All she wants for Christmas is a second chance . . . 

Charlotte Daniels has made her share of mistakes, but now that she’s a single mom, she vows to do better–and that starts with a new career. Working at her sister’s event-planning company is just the fresh start she needs.

Kate Daniels has finally forgiven Charlotte for her betrayal, but forgetting it is harder. But as the holidays approach and Kate has her own wedding to plan, she has no choice but to turn to Charlotte for help to throw a high-profile client the holiday party of the season.

Charlotte leaps at the chance to redeem herself . . . until this irresistible client asks her to pretend to be his fiancée for the party. She knows their charade won’t come without consequences–not just for her fresh start with Kate, but also for her own daughter.

As Kate’s wedding draws near and Charlotte’s fake romance starts to feel more and more real, will she fall back into the mistakes of her past, or finally prove herself to Kate once and for all?

In the vein of New York Times bestselling authors Susan Mallery, Robyn Carr, and Elin Hilderbrand, comes the second in a women’s fiction series about the complicated ties of sisterhood that bind us together and sometimes tear us apart.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Google Play * iTunes * Kobo

THE MISTY POINT SERIES

ONE WEEK TO THE WEDDING, #1
THE WINTER WEDDING PLAN, #2

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Excerpt

She pointed out the double set of French doors against the far wall, where a view of a snow-covered stone terrace shone in the moonlight. “Look at that. It’s a winter wonderland out there. It’s the perfect night for a holiday movie.”

He didn’t look convinced. “If you say so.”

“I do.” Charlotte settled back against a pillow. “Besides, this one is really terrific—”

“Wait. You’ve seen it before?”

“At least a dozen times! We watch it every Christmas. It’s sort of a family tradition.”

Greg’s brow furrowed. “That sounds nice.”

Charlotte grinned, imagining how wonderful it would be when Audrey was old enough to partake in the event. “Usually we make a big bowl of popcorn, have some hot chocolate. We can recite all the lines, of course, but that’s just part of the fun. Whenever I think of this movie, well, it just feels like coming home.”

Greg glanced at her. “I can make some popcorn if you’d like.”

Charlotte considered the holiday dress she’d hoped to squeeze herself into for the party, and then decided the diet could wait. She grinned. “I’ll pause it. You don’t want to miss the opening scene.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t want to do that,” Greg teased, but she could sense that he was pleased.

Charlotte couldn’t wipe the smile from her face as she snuggled deeper under the chenille blanket and waited for Greg to return with the popcorn. Despite the size of the house, she could soon make out the sound of popping—she glanced sharply at the baby monitor, silently willing Audrey to be unaware of the noise. She was enjoying herself, maybe more than she should, and she wasn’t ready to be on mom duty again just yet. For just a few moments she wanted to just be Charlotte.

And somehow, with Greg, she was. Greg, who didn’t know her past. Greg, who had no hold on her future. Greg, who knew her just as she was. Today. Present moment only. No mistakes. No slip-ups.

She stared at the frozen television screen. A year ago she had watched this movie alone, with tears streaming down her face as she worked her way through a family-sized bag of potato chips, wondering if her sister and parents were watching it together, if they were happy she wasn’t with them.

Little did she know at the time just how different this year would be. Better. Or at least on the up-and-up.

Greg came into the room with a bowl of popcorn, his grin sheepish. “I won’t lie. It’s microwaved.”

“The best kind,” Charlotte remarked. Her eyes widened slightly as he slid onto the couch beside her again. Was it just her imagination, or was he coming a little closer this time?

She looked to her right. There wasn’t much more space left for her to move. “Ready to start the movie?” she asked, gripping the remote.

He passed her the bowl of popcorn, and she helped herself to a few kernels. “This isn’t one of those feel-good movies, is it?”

She raised an eyebrow. “It’s a holiday movie. What do you think?”

He shook his head, but she could tell by his faint smile that he liked her response. “Oh, boy. Let’s get it over with then.”

“I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy it. Trust me.”

He gave her a strange look. “I do trust you.”

She rearranged herself on the couch, unsure of what to make of that remark, and fighting back the strange feeling that she just might be able to trust him, too. If she let herself.

The fell into silence as the movie started, and a few glances at Greg told her that he was fully engrossed within minutes. She smiled in satisfaction, and decided to enjoy herself and put her troubles from her mind for a bit. But the next thing she knew the television screen was quiet. There was popcorn sprinkled all over the leather couch, and  the baby monitor crackled somewhere behind her.

She tried to remember the last scene in the movie she’d watched, and realized with a sinking feeling that she’d fallen asleep well over an hour ago. Her eyes sprung open. She wasn’t in her bedroom, and the pillow under her cheek wasn’t a pillow at all. It was a chest. A very hard, very sturdy, very manly chest. She blinked in panic as her heart began to race. Staying as still as she could under the tense circumstances, she listened to the steady drum of Greg’s pulse though his sweater, felt the rhythm of his breath as his chest moved softly up and down, moving her with it, almost lulling her into a state of tranquility.

He was asleep. And so help her, she intended for him to remain that way.

Inch by inch, she eased herself off the couch, grabbed the baby monitor by the handle, and made her way to the half-open French doors.

“Hey.”

She winced, and closed her eyes before turning to face the owner of the smooth, groggy voice that was much too deep and husky for her own good. “I think we fell asleep.”

She didn’t bother mentioning just what position they’d ended up in, or how that might have happened. She felt the blood drain from her cheeks when she considered that while she had dozed off somewhere around the scene where the young boy goes to the mall with his wish list, meaning somewhere in the first third of the movie, it was entirely possible that Greg hadn’t nodded off until a few minutes ago.

“Too bad. That was a pretty good movie.”

She nudged him with her elbow. “Told you so.”

He arched an eyebrow. “Rain check then?”

That sounded an awful lot like an invitation she should probably resist, but with that friendly grin and those warm eyes, really, what was a girl to do? “Can’t wait.”

And she realized as she turned from the room and hurried back upstairs that she couldn’t wait. And that was really quite a problem.


Author Bio

o milesOlivia Miles writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. A city girl with a fondness for small town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories. She lives just outside Chicago with her husband, young daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.

When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small-town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Giveaway

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Friday Feature & Giveaway: Bad Boy’s Bard by E. J. Russell

Title: Bad Boy’s Bard by E. J. Russell
Fae Out of Water Series Book Three
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Gay, Romance
Length: 264 pages/Word Count: 70,000

Summary:

As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

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Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing


About the Fae Out of Water Series

Once upon a time, there were three brothers, nobles of the Seelie Court of Faerie, who set out to seek their fortunes. The eldest—

Scratch that. Rrrrrewind.

Nowadays, when tales are told in 140 character bursts on tiny LED screens, rather than spun out by the glow of a midnight campfire, even Faerie’s elite have to get with the program.

The Kendrick brothers have traded longbow for briefcase, battle steed for Harley, and enchanted harp for electric guitar. But while they’re finding their feet in the modern world, instead of finding their fortunes, they stumble straight into love.

#faeoutofwater

Check out the Fae Out of Water series! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/fae-out-water


Author Bio

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Author Links: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of all three books in the Fae Out of Water series, one lucky winner across all three tours will receive a GRAND PRIZE of a $50 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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Friday Feature: Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

Title: Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble
Rock Harbor Series Book Six
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Length: 334 pages

Summary:

Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

Read my review HERE.

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Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * BAM!


Author Bio

USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Follow the rest of the tour HERE.

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