Monday, July 30, 2012

Please Welcome Author Diane Burton

I'm thrilled to feature fellow Michigander Diane Burton today. I first met Diane when I attended a meeting of the Mid-Michigan Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Diane was chapter president at the time. Her first romance, Switched, was first published by imajin books in paperback form, but is now available as an ebook. The story of Jessie and Marcus, both victims of an evil scientist's "experiment" was a joy to read so I got the sequel as soon as it was available.
Switched Too is the story of Jessie's twin, Veronese, and Marcus's twin, Scott. This story is equally entertaining. I enjoyed the television show Star Trek, though I don't consider myself a Trekkie. I don't read or watch much sci-fi. But Diane's stories are first and foremost about relationships – the love story between the protagonists, the loyalty between the captain and his crew, and the pain of betrayal. Reading Diane's series, I didn't feel entangled in a bunch of technical jargon. I found the plot to be totally believable, and fun to read.

Here's the blurb:

Be careful what you wish might get it.

Scott Cherella's lifelong dream to go into space quickly becomes a nightmare. Veronese Qilana must protect him, a Terran masquerading as a starship captain. When sabotage erupts, they must work together to get the crew safely home. In doing so, they discover opposites really do attract.

Diane is sharing an exerpt with us too. Enjoy:

Scott had no choice but to use the computer now. Before tackling it for the first time, he'd hoped for the privacy of his quarters—and Veronese Qilana's help. His reluctant co-conspirator ditched him as soon as they came aboard. He mentally kicked himself for his selfishness. They were in the middle of a crisis. She had her duties. He had his.
Damn. He didn't want to tackle the computer. Suck it up, Ace. You can do this. You wanted adventure. You wanted to explore space. You got it. Now, man up.
He sat in the captain's chair. Automatically, an instrument panel on the right swung up and in front of him. A hit in the solar plexus might have been easier to take. Symbols and shapes he'd never seen before covered the segmented screen. It might as well be filled with ancient Sanskrit. Panic shot through him. He couldn't read.

Switched and Switched Too are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

You can find Diane at her blog
            On Facebook
            On Twitter: @dmburton72

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Please Welcome Author J. Andersen

J. Andersen is another author new to Astraea Press. She's a young mom of three who lives in western New York. Her young adult novel, titled At What Cost, is a recent release, and deals with the issue of teen pregnancy. It's garnered some great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Here's what the story is about:
During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.

Here's an excerpt from At What Cost:

Lauren stared at Maggie with wide eyes. “Pregnant? You’re flipping pregnant?” Apparently, the word “flipping” was supposed to convey the substantial amount of shock Lauren had for the bomb Maggie had dropped. It worked. Maggie wished she had such a word to use herself. But she needed something stronger.
“No. I’m late.” Maggie tried to convince herself it was just a fluke. That she was late due to the stress her mother continually heaped on her or the new year of school starting, but the possibility she might be pregnant scared her to death. Still, she tried to keep her head.
Lauren wriggled like a worm on a hook. Being calm was not her forte. “Holy pig snot! That first day of school!” her voice trailed off.
“When you were looking at your calendar and got all weird and sick looking.”
“Yeah, so?”
“That’s when you figured it out, isn’t it?”
The thought sucked Maggie back into that disgusting, dirty bathroom where she counted and recounted the days on her calendar realizing she had skipped her period that month.
“Yeah, but I could just be late,” she said hopefully. “The stress of school starting and all. I’m just late.” More than anything, she wanted this to be true, but the view of the calendar in her mind grated on her stability until it was a flaky pile, blown away with one wisp of breath.
“You trying to convince me or you?”
Maggie shot Lauren a narrow-eyed glare.
“Well, did you and Mr. Justin Davis use… you know,” Lauren asked, tucking her arms across her chest.
She hated when Lauren called him that.
She leaned in and whispered it like a dirty word. “Protection?”
Thinking back, Maggie couldn’t remember. Playing that night over in her head a thousand times made the details a little fuzzy. “Yeah. I think so.”
“You think so, meaning you may not have?”
Maggie leaned back against the bed. She shook her head. “No, I’m sure we did. I made sure.”
“Mags! If you were drunk, how would you know? You were drunk, right? Please tell me you were drunk.”
“Not every time. I’d know, right? I’m sure we did. We had to.” They had used something, hadn’t they? Suddenly the purple butterflies clinging to Lauren’s walls flew at her as the room spun. Maggie choked down the bile rising in her throat and breathed deeply to steady the quivering of her lips.
“Well, if you did, it didn’t work, and if you didn’t, you’re an idiot.” Lauren slapped a hand over her own mouth. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that.”

         You can find J Andersen in the following places:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Please Welcome Author Sherry Gloag

Since I started writing regularly, I haven't read as much as I did before. But part of being a good writer is knowing what others are putting forth, so for 2012, one of my goals was to read and review fifty books. Astraea Press recently initiated a book club, making available one book per month ABSOLUTELY FREE! All you need to do is request the book within the first two weeks of the month and it's emailed to you. You're encouraged to post your thoughts on the book somewhere (Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, etc) and then join the author for a facebook chat at the end of the month.

This month's Book Club selection is His Chosen Bride by British author Sherry Gloag. This is the second in a series about four brothers, all members of a royal family. Prince Liam's story was told in From Now Until Forever, which I read earlier this year. Book One is a wonderful, fast-paced adventure, so I was eager to read about Liam's elder brother, Henri. I wasn't disappointed. 
Henri is the crown prince, and he takes his duties seriously – so seriously that his father, the king, orders him to take a vacation. When he does, he visits his brother in Scotland where he is put in close contact with a woman who has haunted his dreams since the day he saw her at his brother's wedding. He doesn't like the way he reacts whenever he's near, and he blames her for his forced break from his duties. 
Monica is busy with her equine therapy school and doesn't have time for Henri's seemlingly hot-and-cold attitude toward her. But because he's her best friend and partner's brother-in-law, she tolerates him, as well as her own blazing reaction to the handsome prince. Another source of conflict is her special gift, which causes her much grief as many don't accept or understand it, but which Henri eventually comes to appreciate. 
This is a quick read, and though some reviewers describe it as a paranormal romance, I didn't really see it that way. It's all about the love story, and the instantaneous attraction that becomes true love. I would have liked to see a little more development of that love – other than the physical attraction, what did they see in each other? This is book two of a four book series, so I'm sure Monica and Henri will be back. If you haven't already joined the Astraea Press Book Club, click HERE and then follow the directions to receive your free copy. But hurry – the free copies will only be available for a few more days!

To further entice you, Sherry has provided a short excerpt:

She lost track of time until the flames caught her attention once more. They flickered from orange to gold, to silver, to white.
A flurry of snowflakes masked the flames and for a second Monica watched the most beautiful, pristine snow-scene she’d ever seen. Her lips curved in longing. How she’d love to get a toboggan and slide down that slope. She knew where it was, and had done just that many times in her childhood, first with her parents and then, in clandestine manner, with her brother. Sneaking an old tin tray from the back of her mother’s walk-in pantry, she’d then grabbed Billy’s hand and they’d rushed out the back gate, heading for the lakeside track that led up into the hills.
Darkness, dense and thick with grief dropped over the scene. Startled and disconcerted by the strength of emotion emanating from the vision Monica shifted to her knees, ready to stand, when a voice, a deep male voice, sharp with fear called out her name.
She knew she’d never heard the voice before, and yet—it was as familiar to her as the image she saw in her mirror each morning.
"Help me, Monica.”
Desperate for more clues, she searched the darkness within the flames until it sputtered and faded. With a curse she jumped up and ran for the phone. With her outstretched hand hovering over it she halted and let her hand drop to her side once more. What could she say? What would the police or rescue team think of her if she called them and told them she’d seen a vision of a man in distress?
They’d laugh in her face and classify her as a lunatic. Well, maybe not. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d contacted them with positive information but something—an instinctive gut reaction told her what she’d seen this time hadn’t happened yet.

Contact Sherry at her WEBSITE

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Please Welcome Author Tracy Krauss

Tracy Krauss has a new release at Astraea Press, but she's not new to writing! She's a playwright, with several stage plays in print, and three books published through Strategic Book Publishing. She lives in British Columbia, Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children.
Tracy is here today to tell us about her new book, Wind Over Marshdale. Here's the blurb:
Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens. A perfect place to start over…or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?            
Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.
            Doesn't this sound fascinating? To read an excerpt from Wind over Marshdale, click HERE:

Wind Over Marshdale is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, to name a few outlets. Click on each company name to get to the buy page.
You can follow Tracy by visiting her WEBSITE:
Or her BLOG:
Or her FACEBOOK page:
Or Twitter: @TracyKrausswrtr