Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Blog Tour & Guest Post: Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen

Please help me welcome Sarah Allen

In writing Breathing Underwater, I pulled a lot from my own experience. Things like sister relationships and the joy of road trips! I remember going on road trips with my family when I was a kid, all of us piled into our big white twelve-passenger van. (Once in an RV!) But not all the parts of the story came that easily. While I was fascinated by a lot of the things that are a part of Breathing Underwater, there were three major areas where I needed to build up the writing with lots and lots of research.

The first thing I needed to research was photography. Like Olivia, I’d spent many years as a kid reading National Geographic and dreaming of becoming a wildlife photographer. Even though I shared that interest with Olivia, I needed to learn a lot more about the technical side of things. I had to learn about f-stops and apertures, lenses and shutter speeds. I was incredibly lucky because one of my best friends teaches high school photography, and she pointed me in the right direction many times! She gave me mini-lessons in both these technical aspects, and also the more artistic side of things, like lighting and composition. Plus it was really fun to research 70s music to pair Olivia’s photos with a matching song from Ruth’s playlist!

The second area I needed to research was SCUBA diving. I’d been diving once before in an indoor pool as a teenager, but I needed a lot more background information. I had to learn at what age people can be certified, and the different pieces of equipment needed. I also watched lots and lots of YouTube videos shot by people diving at Wreck Alley, and now doing it myself is high up on my bucket list!

The final and most important thing I needed to research was mental health, specifically depression. Even in the years since I began working on this story, our understanding of the neuroscience behind depression and other mental illnesses has grown and grown. While I have my own neuroatypicalities and mental health challenges, clinical depression is not one of them, and I knew it was vital for me to represent this as tenderly, generously, accurately, and harmlessly as possible. I had many people helping me in this effort along the way, including two amazing sensitivity readers. These people, and this research, were key to unlocking many parts of this story.

This research was so much fun for me to work at as I completed this story, and I hope it’s fun for you to read. I hope you enjoy going on Ruth and Olivia’s journey with them!

Breathing Underwater
Sarah Allen
(Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR))
Publication date: March 31st 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Middle-Grade

Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.

Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way.

All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it’s enough.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

Author Bio:

Sarah Allen has been published in The Evansville Review, Allegory, and on WritersDigest. She has an MFA from Brigham Young University. Like Libby in her novel What Stars are Made Of, Allen was born with Turner Syndrome.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Quick Chat with Jennifer Wick Contemporary Romance Author

I'm excited to have Jennifer Wick with me today. Jennifer writes contemporary romance with spunky heroines and strong heroes with just a touch of vulnerability. A Reckless Heart releases March 29th. Don't miss the excerpt below!

Can you tell us three things we’d find if we looked under your heroine’s bed?

Meg has been moving around a lot, for reasons the reader will learn as she reads the story. Therefore, under her bed you’d find her suitcase. She’s always prepared to leave quickly, as much as she’d love to stay where she is. Inside the suitcase is her bank book, which lists exactly how much money she has, as well as the amount she needs to pay back so she can finally be free. The third thing, also in her suitcase, is an old gossip magazine. It’s there to remind her about her past life, what she lost, and why she’ll never go back to that life again.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I absolutely love reading historical romance. The clothes, the houses, the different customs. They all transport me away from the world today and provide me with an escape.

Where were you born/grew up?

I was born in New York City, but have lived in New Jersey all of my life, except for college, when I was in St. Louis, MO. College in the Midwest taught me to lose my accent (except when I’m emotional), and opened my eyes to a different way of life—a little slower, a little friendlier, and absolutely no bagels. J As much as I loved my time there, I found work in New York, so I returned to New Jersey to live. My husband followed me and we’ve lived here, raising our daughters, ever since.

A Reckless Heart
Releases March 29th
Genre: Contemporary romance
Heat level: Spicy/Steamy


Meg Thurgood, former society girl, took the blame for her friend and paid a steep price. Now all she wants is solitude and a chance to rebuild her life. She thinks she's found that in an isolated house she rents from a mysterious stranger.

Simon McAlter has hidden in his house on the coast of Maine since a fire left him scarred. A successful landscape architect who conducts his business and teaches his classes remotely, he's lost his inspiration and is trying to pretend he's not lonely.

Simon's new neighbor is more than he bargained for. When he learns Meg's secret, will he retreat into the shadows or will he learn to see past the surface and trust in Meg's love?

Buy links:

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Apple   |   Goodreads   |   BookBub



Nervous laughter bubbled in her chest. They’d been close before and held hands. Granted, he’d covered hers on the ladder, but still. It wasn’t the first time they touched. Why was this different? She remembered the sensations when he’d covered her hand on the roof— warmth and roughness and safety. And she wanted it. She bumped her hand against his, on purpose, to feel his skin. It wasn’t smooth like hers. Its texture, unique to him, fascinated her. A moment later, he rubbed his arm against her.

Was it accidental, too? She snuck a glance at his profile. Although his hair blocked most of his face, she’d swear when the wind blew it, a ghost of a smile hovered, like they shared a private joke. Her belly warmed, and the air between their knuckles, where they almost touched, crackled with electricity.

The next time their bodies touched, she slipped her hand through his elbow. His body jolted before he pressed her arm against his side, and they walked to the curve of the shore connected.

When they stopped, they watched the waves lap over the rocks, their froth sputtering into the cracks.

“This is the only place I’ve ever not felt alone,” he whispered.

“How long have you been alone?”

“Too long,” he replied.
“This is the only place I’ve ever felt seen.”

“I can’t imagine you invisible,” he said.

“When “It Girls” and camera bulbs surround you, it’s easy to fade into the background.”

The sky and water darkened as the light faded, and she shivered in the chill air. Her hand grew icy as he pulled away from her. As she was about to complain, a weight landed on her shoulders. His arm drew her close. He remained still, as if he waited to see if she’d object. Instead, she leaned against his side. Heat emanated from him, and tingles ran through her body. A desire to turn into him, to press her body against his, to kiss him, overwhelmed her. He positioned her in front of him and rested his chin on the top of her head. His heart beat against her back. A soft moan escaped her lips, and they both froze. All of a sudden, she was aware of how close she was. His jacket was warm from his body and smelled like him.

About the author: 
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate. 

She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Connect with Jennifer Wick:
Website   |   Facebook   |   Newsletter   |   Twitter   |   Instagram   |   BookBub

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Release Party: Rival by Jennifer Lane

Title: Rivals
Author: Jennifer Lane
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: March 19, 2021
Cover Design: Dan Irons, Designs by Irons

“I embrace my rival. But only to strangle him.”
~Jean Racine

After landing her dream job as head volleyball coach at Ohio State University, Lauren Chase’s career has become a nightmare. Her only hope of saving her job is to recruit a star player to her team. Too bad the player’s twin has signed a football scholarship for OSU’s chief rival, Michigan. And too bad Michigan coach, Jeremy Trent, sends sparks through Lauren every time they cross paths. But no way will she pursue an attraction to a man who represents the university she hates.

Jeremy detests his boss, and he hopes that signing the nation’s #1 recruit is the ticket he needs to become a head coach himself one day. Lauren Chase is already a head coach, and Jeremy has to admit that she intrigues the hell out of him. He wants to know why her performance has tanked after winning a national championship. He wants to see beneath Lauren’s fast pace and dirty mouth. But he can’t get with a Buckeye, right?

Maybe rivals don’t have to remain enemies. Maybe they can learn to appreciate their opponent’s strengths. And, if they’re lucky—if they excel at the game—maybe rivals can bring out the very best in each other.

"Absolutely loved this book. The rivalry was spot on. This book has it all, humor, love and sports." ~Michelle from Besties & Books
"The uncanny portrayal of recruiting high-profile athletes in Rivals completely transported me into the story. I became so invested in Lauren Chase's success! When Coach Chase met Coach Trent, the chance of finding love on the recruiting trail turned into such a charming contest--a game more meaningful than they could ever imagine on the court or field." ~Gwynn Harrison, Head Swim Coach, Bridgewater College
"Fun read that captures the best of the greatest sports rivalry in the midst of a smoldering romance."~Kevin Kropf

Psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane invites you to her world of sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist!

Jen fell in love with sports at a young age and competed in swimming and volleyball in college. She went on to become the Honda Award Winner for Division III Athlete of the Year. She still gets high from the smell of chlorine and the satisfaction of smashing a beautiful volleyball set.

Jen’s latest novel is Rivals, a romance between coaches from rival universities. Her Blocked trilogy also explores the transformation from hate to love. Particularly in this time of division, Jen’s favorite theme is finding common ground.

A romantic suspense trilogy (The Conduct Series) and a psychological thriller (Twin Sacrifice) complete Jen’s collection of stories. She calls Ohio home and shares writing space with her two trusted feline collaborators: Tuxedo and Tessa.

Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time, she likes to exercise and visit her amazing sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Electric Girl Book Blitz

The Electric Girl
Christine Hart
Publication date: March 15th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Polly Michaels is trying to forget that her mom has cancer. She keeps busy at school and plods through a normal social life. Until a freak electrical storm and a unicorn appear in the orchard next to her house.

Sy’kai wakes on an orchard floor to the smell of rotting cherries and wet earth. She doesn’t know where she is—or what she is—but she knows something is hunting her.

Polly recruits her friends to find the mysterious creature she saw from her window while Sy’kai, a confused shape-shifting endling from another dimension tries to piece her mind back together. Once the human girls find Sy’kai (whom they nickname Psyche) the mystery unravels and the danger facing all of them comes into focus.

A gritty struggle ranges throughout the girls’ rural hometown and in the wild terrain around it. All while two questions hang over their heads. Can an alien deliver a miracle for a human mother? Can a group of teens defeat an interdimensional demon?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


End of Chapter 1

Polly crept softly downstairs and into the vaulted kitchen. In the window behind the double sink, her mom’s stained-glass butterfly reflected a glint of moonlight. Her gaze darted from the window to the sliding glass doors across the room, behind a small round oak table. A greasy takeout box and two plates of chicken bones on the counter—her mom’s only half-eaten—glistened in the faint light. She paused next to the table, gripped the padded back of a dining chair, and leaned toward the glass door. She peered out, across the backyard and into the orchard.

A large beacon of light flickered in the trees. It moved, as if floating. No, not floating—walking. The intense glow, marked by dark strips of trunk and branch, moved at a measured pace. She squinted, trying to make out an outline of . . . whatever it was that meandered through the trees.

It’s an animal. It has to be!

She lifted the latch on the sliding glass door and gently opened it. Chilly night air rushed in, smelling of ozone and the earth. Her flannel nightgown billowed in the breeze. She placed a bare foot on the smooth concrete of the patio. The cold was sharp and shot straight through Polly, causing her to gasp, but she forced herself to keep moving. She stepped all the way out and slid the door back into place, almost closing it but not quite.

The roving light in the orchard had grown larger. It was weaving between the dark rows of trees in the distance. The undulating pace of it . . . it wasn’t human. Whatever it was, it was moving—walking, she thought, but not on two legs.

Polly put one foot in front of the other, compelled by her need to know. She crossed the backyard, reaching the bumpy bare earth of the orchard floor. She steadied herself against a tree trunk as adrenaline raced through her veins. She leaned into the tree, hoping to conceal her figure without losing sight of the creature, whatever it was.

She waited, watching in both awe and terror as the glowing animal came closer. The creature made no sound at all. Polly watched, eyes trained on the glow itself, until finally she could make out a shape—a long, muscular torso flexed above four knobby legs. Pointed ears flickered.

It’s a horse! A white mare! Oh my god, she’s so bright.

The horse turned its head, flashing a spiraled horn—unmistakable against the dark branches around them.


“Polly? Are you out there?” she heard her mom call. She turned to see her mom’s silhouette standing in the kitchen. Her mom flicked on a light, spilling yellow across the yard. Polly whipped around to see the unicorn again, but the orchard had grown dark, full of silent indigo trees.

The glowing animal was gone.

Author Bio:

Award-winning author Christine Hart lives on BC's beautiful West Coast. She loves writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.

Christine has an undergraduate degree in writing and literature, along with a professional background in communications and design. She is a member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.

When not writing, she breaks stuff and makes stuff - in that order - for the Etsy shop Sleepless Storyteller.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A Quick Chat with author Robert Herold

Please help me welcome Robert Herold, author of Moonlight Becomes You and the Eldola Project to my blog.  

What inspired you to write this book?
As noted in my bio, I’ve thought werewolves were cool ever since I was a pup. Creating a novel around one was the next best thing to my childhood dream of becoming one! I also remember reading a piece in the Horror Writers of America handbook on writing horror, that there hasn’t been a definitive werewolf novel. I thought I’d take a stab, er, sink my teeth into the challenge as it were. I would very much like to make a significant contribution to the canon of horror writing.

What are you reading?
I’m rereading a horror novel that I first read many years ago, The Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber. There is a witch in my Eidola Project novels and I wanted to reacquaint myself with some of the best books in the witch genre. BTW, it’s a great novel!

Tell us something unique/quirky about yourself.
I collect Mexican Lobby Cards for famous horror movies. I have about a dozen, some of which are autographed by famous writers (Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, and Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend). Why Mexican? They are much cheaper than their English language counterparts!

Thanks, Robert, for stopping! 

Moonlight Becomes You
by Robert Herold
Genre: Supernatural Horror
Heat level: R


The Eidola Project travels to Petersburg, Virginia, to investigate a series of murders in the Black community—rumored to be caused by a werewolf. Once there, danger comes from all quarters. Not only do they face threats from the supernatural, the KKK objects to the team's activities, and the group is falling apart. Can they overcome their human frailties to defeat the evil that surrounds them?

Moonlight Becomes You earned two first place wins from the Southeastern Writers Association, including Best Novel!

Buy Links


         Doc Curtis fought for every reserve of strength and managed to quicken his pace. He could hear them shouting behind him and dared not look back, fearing it might slow him just that much more.

         He made it through the field and emerged onto a rough access road running between the cultivated land on one side and the woods on the other. The doctor dashed across the dirt road and through the weeds and scrub bordering its opposite side. The trees stood twenty yards ahead. He would make it, find a thick trunk to hide behind, and fire a warning shot. If he could drive them off, it would be best. If not, he would do what needed to be done. Life had reduced itself to its most basic terms: kill or be killed.

         Just five yards from the trees, a gigantic black beast bounded from the woods and landed before him. The doctor skittered to a stop, and his feet went out from beneath him. The creature stepped closer, looming. Its eyes glowed red, and the skin around its muzzle drew back, revealing a mouthful of sharp canine teeth.

         The Klan had come at him in two directions, the doctor realized.

         He raised his pistol and fired into the snarling face above him.

Don't miss Eldola Project

About the author:

The supernatural has always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since my mother refused to allow me, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved-in. (Well, not literally!)

As a child, fresh snow provided me the opportunity to walk out onto neighbor’s lawns halfway and make paw prints with my fingers as far as I could stretch. I would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn! (They were skeptical.)

I have pursued many interests over the years, but the supernatural always called to me. You could say that I was haunted.  Finally, following the siren’s call, I wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea I had as a teenager.

Ultimately, I hope my books give you the creeps, and I mean that in the best way possible!

Connect with author Robert Herold

Website     Facebook     Twitter    Instagram

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Shake off Winter Doldrums Book Festival

 Are you suffering from the winter doldrums? I’ve discovered the cure at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Shake Off Winter Doldrums Book Festival. 28 books featured plus a chance to win one of the following:

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) Gift Card

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) Gift Card

Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) Gift Card

Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) Gift Card

Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) Gift Card


I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, Damned When I Didn't, was featured on March 10, 2021. Wait until you read my cure for winter doldrums. You won’t want to miss it.

Bookmark this festival and tell your friends:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Quick Chat with Author Julie Howard

I'm thrilled to be chatting with Julie Howard, author of the Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. Plus, she shared an excerpt from Spirit in Time, the third book in the Spirited Quest mysteries. So without further ado...

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

Spirit in Time is set in 1872 Sacramento, California, a city where I lived for about ten years. I’m a fifth generation Californian (although I now live in Idaho), and have always been intrigued by the state’s history. What a dynamic place! Sacramento saw gold miners, railroad barons, brothel madams, and immigrant workers – all elements that come to play in this new novel. The main character, Jillian Winchester, is a ghost hunter who is kidnapped back in time by a mysterious spirit. She not only has to find her way back to her own time, but also must uncover the mystery of who a man in a famous painting really is. Many of the places in the novel are inspired by real locations and a few famous names pop up. Anyone familiar with California will recognize a few of the places, which is part of the fun.

What are you reading?

I’m rereading The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd in preparation to reading its sequel The Rebels of Ireland. I read this first book years ago and am not sure why I didn’t read the second book then. The beauty of these two books is, firstly, they are each 800 pages, so I know I have weeks of reading time secured. Second of all, Rutherfurd is a wonderful author who brings the past alive in his historical fiction. I’ve read everything else written by him.

Tell us something about yourself and how you became an author.

Like many authors, writing books is something I’ve always wanted to do. I started writing fiction about ten years ago, poorly at first, but I took a couple of classes, attended seminars, read books on craft, and slowly gained some skills. I had a headstart because I worked as a journalist and already knew how to write and capture good quotes/dialogue. Fiction, however, is a different beast and I still needed to learn about plot, story arcs, internal and external conflicts, and so many other pieces to fiction writing. Spirit in Time is my seventh published book and I’m nearly done with the next one. I still feel like I’m learning, and likely always will, but it’s certainly more fun now.

Spirit in Time is the third in the Spirited Quest mysteries. The first two books, Spirited Quest and House of Seven Spirits, are on sale for 99 cents this week.

Spirit in Time
Genre: Historical time travel


Time travel isn't real. It can't be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding.

Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler?

Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift.

But will time be her friend or foe?

Buy links

Amazon   |   iBooks   |   Barnes and Noble   |   Bookbub   |   Goodreads


“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity. 

The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still. 

The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight. 

The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt. 

“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?” 

“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.” 

Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes.

About the author

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write.

Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Instagram
Goodreads   |   Amazon   |   Bookbub

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

It's a Birthday Celebration

Hi, and thanks for stopping by!

March is my birthday month, and I thought it would be fun if I did the giving. But first, let me share a fun fact about myself and my family. I’m not much of a cake person, and interestingly enough neither is my husband, and our boys stopped eating cake when they got older. But we each have a favorite treat. For me, it’s banana cream pie. When forced to, I'll even share. (I really shouldn't eat the entire pie by myself.) Do you like cake, or are you like my family and have a different favorite treat?

Onto the fun! For my birthday, one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of one of my young adult novels (winner's choice). The winner will be randomly selected on March 15th. Plus I will be randomly selecting at least 3 additional names from Rafflecopter entries to win eBooks (mobi or epub)  (also winners' choice).

Due to postage cost, the autographed copy is restricted to U.S. residents only.
No restrictions on eBooks.

The winners are...

Desiree K. - Autographed book
Catrina P. - eBook
Jessica G. - eBook
C.B. - eBook
B.N. - eBook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading!!