An adventure in Greece: Affair in Athens by Matina Nicholas

athens_front_cover

I am so proud of my dear friend Matina, whose book was released on April 1, 2014. I have read Affair in Athens at least five times, if not more. Not only does Matina take you on a wonderful adventure in Greece, but she also describes many Greek dishes, so your mouth is watering by the time you’ve read half the book.

It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the publisher’s website, and anywhere books are sold.

About the book

Affair in Athens is a story of international intrigue and romance that chronicles a woman’s journey of self-discovery and transformation. Athena Vallas travels to Greece to research her grandfather’s heroic role as an Orthodox priest during the Resistance and discovers a part of her family she didn’t know existed. She meets dangerously charismatic shipping magnate Luke Lambros, who involves her in a tangled web of an inept Greek government, a band of Roma gypsies, and a kidnapping. Her attraction to Luke and his extravagant lifestyle is intense until she discovers he plays a high stakes game of illegal pursuits. When she attempts to distance herself, Luke refuses to relinquish his plan to make her his perfect wife. Ruthlessly, he keeps his eye on the prize–Athena–who won’t compromise love for wealth or fidelity for lifestyle.

Reviews

I usually try to identify how the title fits into a story. There is the obvious one, of course. But as Athena herself describes it, “she’d had an affair in Athens all right – an affair with history, her heritage, happiness and sadness.” And that pretty much sums up the book.–from the Library of Clean Reads

The author takes you on a rapturous journey filled with history, romance, mystery, and . . . with the descriptions, smells, foods, plot twists and voices and omens from another world, the story blossoms to the point that you have to force yourself to put it down. How will it end? A must read. –Amazon review

Results: Writing for Publication Workshop

The workshop I led at the North Palm Beach Library was a great success. On the first day, we had six people, which was nice because everyone got a chance to share their work. Over eleven people showed up on the second day, and we all learned a lot. In the future, I’ll be planning workshops that focus on various stages of writing and publishing, such as penning your own blurb and synopsis, as well as working to market your work after its been published. Stay tuned.

Writers gather for the first day of the workshop.

Writers gather for the first day of the workshop.

Feeling rejuvenated

Last week, I had a dream about someone I’d never met. The very next day, I met the person in real life. My dreams have been very powerful, prophetic, and telling lately, providing insight, ideas for stories, and even brief escapes from reality. The nightmares haven’t ended, of course, but I’m grateful for even a short reprieve from those.

I’m filled with creative energy, bursting at the seams, and when I was able to change my perspective about the novel I’m currently working on, a few pieces fell into place, and I realized where I’d gone wrong. I ended up deleting at least three chapters, and removing the entire first section.

As I drove home in the pouring rain, I felt as if my father was sitting in the seat behind me, guiding me.

And I began a steady mantra to myself, a soft whisper in the back of my mind:

I will get an agent. I will sell a book to a big publisher. I will do it.

Because half the battle is the mindset. I’ve known this for many years, but it’s taken all that time to break out of the mold created for me when I was little, to shed the negative thinking I was brought up with.

I see where I made my mistake. I made my mistake when I believed the Voices I heard as a child, the ones that said I would never succeed. I made my mistake when I believed the people who scoffed at my dreams, crushing them like smoldering cigarette butts under their shoes. I see where I made my mistake.

Now I’m going to correct it.

New York Times Best Seller list, here I come.

Two Oceans

Two Oceans

Monday morning success story

I applied for a job editing children’s books, but I didn’t get it. However, I was one of fifty-seven applicants, and I made it to the top five. My editing sample was well-received!

This tells me that my work is paying off. I wanted to share that success story with my readers today. I hope everyone has an equally successful week.

Happy Monday!

Votes for Vixens

Review coming soon!

Elizabeth is a small-town Kansas girl who has grown up under her domineering father’s shadow. When she finds out that her father has denied her hand in marriage to the town’s most eligible bachelor–a man she’s long secretly desired–she snaps. Her father punches her for the last time. She realizes she has no future and with stories of suffragettes, women’s rights, and voting in her head, vows to be free.

She escapes to New York City where she meets Margaret. Margaret believes in the right to vote for women and engages Elizabeth to join in the National Women’s Party activities.

Operation: Opera House is underway. In a month’s time, President Wilson is due at the Metropolitan Opera House to give a speech. The NWP hopes that a peaceful protest will convince the president to gather congress in order to ratify the 19th Amendment.

As they prepare and plan, Margaret shows Elizabeth how to live and love. Under Margaret’s sensual touch, Elizabeth begins to heal from numerous emotional wounds. But on March 4th, 1919, their “peaceful protest” becomes a riot on the streets of New York.

A riot ensues in Elizabeth’s heart as well when her former flame shows up in the city.

About the Author

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.

Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn’t allowed to be unleashed until the last year.

While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website, or their Facebook page.

Buy Votes for Vixens on Amazon today. This book is wonderful! There will be a review posted soon– keep checking back!

Hacienda Moon by KaSonndra Leigh

Review coming soon!

Love, obsession, and betrayal, the most powerful human emotions, are spun together in this gothic novel.

Tandie Harrison is a police medium who has just suffered a divorce after losing both her psychic visions and her daughter in a car accident. When she leaves New York City to start a new life near her hometown, she moves into the alluring plantation house, Chelby Rose, and falls for its charismatic caretaker, Eric Fontalvo. Their burgeoning affair ignites a centuries old curse, ensnaring them in a web of danger, deceit, and intrigue. Soon Tandie learns that in placid Bolivia, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected.

Hacienda Moon is a seductive tale of one woman’s journey to confront the demons of her past and find the courage to face her future. It is a mesmerizing novel that explores the deepest depths of human nature, and the characters will hold and haunt you long after you have read the final chapter.

About the Author

KaSonndra Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She now lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. Her two sons, aka the X-Men, have made her promise to write a boy book next.

She holds the MFA in creative writing, and loves to play CLUE, Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora’s Box (good writer’s block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies, Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.

Visit KaSonndra:

Her website | Facebook | Twitter | Get Hacienda Moon on Amazon and through other booksellers

Who is the Dark Seraphine?

“Mom always says the angels walk among us. She forgot to tell me that sometimes they’re not all fluffy and nice.”

Seventeen-year-old Caleb Wood has seen people he calls the walkers since he was a baby. It didn’t take long for him to realize something…no one can see these strangers but him. They never stuck around or tried to touch him. And they never said a word. That was until one day on the first day of class in his senior year when an incredibly gorgeous girl strolls into his life…and things are never the same again.

Soon Caleb realizes he has stepped into the middle of a growing conflict between two celestial races. And his ability to see the invisible ones, the half-breeds that want to modify the human race, just might be the only hope both he and the mysterious, but infuriating Gia have of making it out alive.

There was no one in the classroom besides the two of us. To admit this girl made me feel a little shaky sounded weak. I put on a manly face, squared my shoulders, and sat in the desk behind her. The little kid in me still wanted to run away like a baby, though.

And then she laughed.

It was a high-pitched giggle, a normal girl’s sound. That wasn’t right. I don’t remember any of the other spirits laughing before.

“So you wanna run from me, huh? Go ahead. I’ll just find you like I always do, Caleb,” she said, still facing the chalk board in the front of the classroom. Her voice was smooth like a musical instrument, maybe a flute. Nah. It was more like a harp. I could listen to it all day.

But even her sexy pipes didn’t change the fact that she just read my mind. How did she do that?

“Are you going to run, or stay? I need a quick answer, because I have a lot to do today.” She turned her head to the side a bit.

“I don’t run from anything,” I said, trying to ignore the prickle in my underarms. Good thing I used my dad’s deodorant this morning. That old-timers stuff was strong enough to knock out anything.

She didn’t scare me as much as some of the other walkers, my nickname for them. But I wasn’t ready to get her digits either. As a baby, I remembered talking to a few of them. That ability disappeared sometime around my thirteenth birthday. This was the first time I spoke to one in four years.

“What are you people: angels, ghosts, or zombies?” I asked, my voice squeaking on the last syllable. What a dork.

“Can’t you be a little more creative?” She turned around in her seat to face me, an amused expression on her ridiculously gorgeous face. I sucked my breath. Her strange amber-hazel eyes pierced through me. The word beautiful didn’t do enough for this walker-girl.

“I thought I was pretty creative,” I said.

“Nope. Your ideas suck,” she said with a smug face.

“Nice. Thanks,” I said, getting annoyed.

“And I don’t sparkle in the sun, either. So scratch that one off your list too.”

I frowned. “Then tell me the right answer. And you can go ahead and explain how I won the honor of being stalked?”

“I’m a creative mix of many things. Feel better now?” She tilted her head. Blue-black hair flowed around her face as if it were made of silky thread. “So others have come before me?” She seemed to be talking to herself rather than asking me.

“Maybe,” I said. Why should I tell her everything? One thing I did know. At this rate, I was probably going to be committed to the loony ward on the first day of school.

“I’m going to need your help soon, Caleb. You have to be ready,” she whispered, her face suddenly serious. Right then, I knew my world was about to change . . . forever.

About the Author

KaSonndra Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She now lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. Her two sons, aka the X-Men, have made her promise to write a boy book next.

She holds the MFA in creative writing, and loves to play CLUE, Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora’s Box (good writer’s block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies, Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.

Visit KaSonndra Leigh:

Website | Facebook

Author Andrew P. Weston: If you had the power to make a difference . . . would you?

In a series of terrifying events, otherworldly beings intervene to save innocent lives. The world community reacts with relief as they realize that angels may in fact exist, and they are diligently protecting us.

But there are those who would seek to stop what they feel is a threat against their livelihoods. How far will some go to battle the Guardians? Is the fairy tale over before it even begins?

Guardian Angels is a powerful and compelling story about the catalyst that has the power to unite society in the hope for a better future. The spark of hope is fragile—can it last?

Welcome, Andy! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in a little town called Bearwood in the UK. As the name suggests, it was an area of forests and woodlands and was all that remained of the once huge Forest of Arden of Middle-Ages fame. (Part of THAT was Nottingham Forest) . . . and we all knew who lived there. Ha-ha.

My family was 5th generation military– Royal Navy –and with that kind of heritage, it was a foregone conclusion which way my life would unfold. Despite being an avid sportsperson and also quite academic, I joined the Royal Marines. Life was “interesting” to say the least and I ended up serving in a number of specialist units. Just under nine years later, I joined the Police Service in the South West of the UK, and went on to serve in such diverse roles as a high speed pursuit driver, motorcyclist, and then later within Crime Intelligence.

Despite my gruff exterior, I love poetry, dancing and go all gooey with animals– but especially cats. An accident at work ended my career a little earlier than intended, but that gave me time to devote myself to the writing I’d wanted to do for quite a number of years.

Your background is really impressive! I’m sure you get a lot of ideas from it. What was the main inspiration behind Guardian Angels?

Bitter life experience. During my time in the military and my twenty-three years in the Police Service, I lost count of the incidents I had to deal with where someone’s life was changed forever by unexpected tragedy! Life is a very fragile thing, and “out of the blue” such things can strike when people least expect it, bringing untold calamity and suffering.

Attending those incidents often made me think, “What would have happened if we had got here sooner? Or if we had the resources or training to undo all this suffering and damage?”

That’s how the Guardian concept was born. The one accident that inspired me to actually put my thoughts together into a more structured form involved the death of a young boy on his way home at the end of a school day. Rush hour traffic is dangerous at the best of times. The scene was horrendous, as were the terrible sobs of the woman driving the vehicle he ran in front of. She was a mother herself, and her anguish was heart wrenching, even though there was nothing she could have done to avoid him. That’s why the opening chapter of Guardian Angels involves a young boy stepping out into the path of a truck. It describes what ALL the Emergency Service personnel there that day wish could have happened, had someone like a Guardian Angel been there to help. It describes what we’ve ALWAYS yearned to see for the people we serve. Can you imagine what it would be like if they were real?

What genre do you most enjoy writing?

I’ve always loved science fiction. I could read by the age of four and used to devour all the science fiction books in the library, so it’s inevitable I would gravitate towards that. However, now I’m getting my toe in the door, I’m discovering a bit of a “nose” for paranormal action / thrillers.

What is the easiest and most difficult thing about your genre? The easiest thing about those genres is the fact my warped and fragile mind is overflowing with ideas I want to get down in writing. The most difficult thing is to keep those ideas fresh. There’s a lot out there. I’m determined to make my stories different and appealing.

Who is your favorite character in your book, and what do you like most about him or her?

Commander Yasin. She’s based on my lovely wife. No-nonsense, stern, but with a quirky sense of humor. AT LAST I can get to tell her what to do! (Oooh, I’m gonna get it now!)

Do you get many of your ideas from your own life, or is your work mostly fictional?

While the concepts might be fictional– or a weird application of what I’ve experienced –I try to put as much of myself and what I know into the stories to add that anchor of realism. If it’s believable, people tend to relate to it more.

The science fiction of today is very often the science fact of tomorrow.

That is so true! How did you get started in publishing?

It took six months of research and preparation to get ready to start writing. Once I’d done it, I polished it, tweaked it– got it nearer to what you see now, and then submitted it to three publishers who didn’t mind multiple submissions. I got accepted almost instantly by two.

That’s a rare thing– congratulations! If you could share a tip for my readers about writing or publishing, what would it be?

Work with your editors closely! We are all influenced by life experience and can pick up habits that have become ingrained in us over the years. Our editors are there to take our little parcels of magic, and refine them into something cosmic. I have a tendency to wax lyrical. Thankfully, my editors have slapped my wrists and helped me begin to cut out the crap! I’m improving and so has the standard of my work. That can only benefit me and my stories in the future.

Thank you for visiting my blog, Andy!

Guardian Angels is available wherever books are sold, in both paperback and digital format. Buy direct from the publisher, or check it out on Amazon! It is a wonderful read.

Visit Andrew P Weston:

Website | Facebook | Blog

Maiden Behind the Mask: Every Hero Starts as a Victim

When Catalina Rodriguez is attacked by a would-be rapist and rescued by the dashing Ricardo Garcia, she not only becomes more aware of the handsome man, but also vows that she’ll never be a damsel in distress again. Using the timeless method of blackmail, she convinces her uncle to teach her to fight and becomes a masked crusader in the night, saving other damsels from robbers and rough handling.

However, scandalous rumors and dwindling funds force Ricardo and Catalina to marry. Not immune to each other’s charms, their marriage starts fiery, but when one of Catalina’s nightly escapades results in dire consequences, she is forced to spurn her husband’s amorous advances . . . or reveal a secret that could turn him away from her forever.

Enjoy a short excerpt . . .

Ricardo’s not a man to be cuckolded or left in the dark. Is his wife having an affair with El Capitan, the masked savior? If so . . . they will both pay.

She tore her gaze away from the mare and said firmly, “Cinco pesos. And only because this yegua has fire, not because of your terms. Selena, pay him.”

Selena’s hand shook, but the pesos were transferred to the dirty palm. The man laughed with glee, the crowd dispersed, and Catalina was left with a dirty, starving horse.

“We shall get you fed and cleaned up.” She patted the mare’s neck. A cloud of dirt rose in the air, and Catalina struggled not to cough. “I shall call you La Reina, because once in my establo, I shall treat you like a queen. Your body may be beaten, but your spirit is not broken.”

“Catalina?” Her maid’s voice was tentative as it interrupted her quiet chattering. “Whatever possessed you—”

“Fetch me a mozo,” Catalina interrupted her. “Take the remaining pesos and fetch me a groom. La Reina is going to her castle.” She wasn’t offering more explanation than that. She didn’t owe anyone an explanation. She’d done what was right.

As her maid turned to comply, heading toward the livery, a loud pffffht rent the air. Catalina stared at her new acquisition in surprise.

Selena froze and swung around to admonish her charge. “Señorita! Your behavior has been questionable enough this day. Mind yourself.” She shook her head and her finger both before turning back to the task at hand.

Catalina heard her muttering as she sashayed away. She was too surprised and too tired to defend herself, but the breeze picked up, and a waft of foul air assaulted her. Catalina immediately tugged a delicate, lace handkerchief from her sleeve and placed it over her nose as she glared at the horse.

La Reina snorted and pawed the ground. Catalina could swear the mare was laughing at her. She merely shook her head. “Dios mío, and you let me take the blame for that?”
Pffffhht. Pfffht.

La Reina whinnied and bared her teeth as though she were smiling.

About the Author

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.

Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn’t allowed to be unleashed until the last year. While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website.

Tara’s website | Tara’s Facebook page

If You Follow Me

Hoping to outpace her grief in the wake of her father’s suicide, Marina has come to the small, rural Japanese town of Shika to teach English for a year. But in Japan, as she soon discovers, you can never really throw away your past . . . or anything else, for that matter.

If You Follow Me is at once a fish-out-of-water tale, a dark comedy of manners, and a strange kind of love story. Alive with vibrant and unforgettable characters—from an ambitious town matchmaker to a high school student-cum-rap artist wannabe with an addiction to self-tanning lotion—it guides readers over cultural bridges even as it celebrates the awkward, unlikely triumph of the human spirit.

This is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. I found it on the shelf at the library and could hardly put it down. Malena Watrous weaves a tale that we can all relate to. I was extremely touched by Marina’s journey after the death of her father, and her attempts to deal with her grief.

Divine messages come from the most unlikely of places. I often find that when I am dealing with something particularly trying, I happen upon a book that leaves me speechless and helps me to deal with whatever I am going through. If You Follow Me was one such book.

This past February, my father died. I am much too young to have lost my father. Although Marina lost her father to suicide, the death of one’s parent is still traumatic . . . especially since I only had three years to get to know my father. In many ways, Marina’s journey was my own. I am still dealing with the grief, and there are times when I break down.

I know my dad is here, watching out for me. In If You Follow Me, Marina sees her father in the strangest of places:

I don’t know how long I’ve been staring at the swarm of blue and white dots on the TV screen before they rearrange themselves into my father’s face, only that I’m not surprised when it happens. It’s like I’ve been waiting for this. “How did you find me?” I whisper, and the image flickers, disappears, then reappears.

Malena Watrous writes with a beautiful simplicity. Her writing found its way easily into my heart, reminding me of my own struggles. It’s funny how things come to us when we need them the most. In this case, it was this book. As a fiction writer, I know that I often wonder if anyone really “gets” anything meaningful out of my books. The thing is, you never really know when the words you write will be the words that someone else needs to hear. Thank you, Malena, for writing such a lovely book.