Thursday, May 26, 2016

Virtual Book Tour: Fire Up My Heart

Please welcome my good friend and fellow author, Nicki Markus, here to talk about her new release, Fire Up My Heart! And she fearlessly agreed to answer my questions!

The Questions
1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

The Doctor and the Tardis!

2)      Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?

Gosh, that's a hard one. I love so many shows and characters. Plus I need to make sure I pick one that doesn't make me seem like a psychopath.... I think the title character in the Austrian musical Elisabeth. If you don't know it, find it and watch it—it's awesome.

3)      Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scene using them:  hammer, saucer, traffic lights

The kids screamed and shrieked in the backseat. This racket was the last thing she needed after a long day at the shops. Her concentration lapsed and she nearly failed to stop at the traffic lights. She slammed on the brakes, but the car skidded and hurtled toward a worksite. One builder dropped his hammer and dove to safety; the second stood frozen in place, a teacup half-raised to his lips and the saucer in his other hand. Luckily, she came to a halt just meters from him. The kids were now silent.

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why?

Oh no, more choices! How about a threesome... or a fivesome? Okay, I'll be good and try to stick to one. Let me see. It's tough, but I think it will have to be Valmont from Les Liaisons Dangereuses, because there's a man with the right skill set. I do note you said 'first', so after Valmont, I'll move on to Loki (Marvel), Mr. Rochester, Mr. Darcy, Enjolras (Les Misérables) *continues ad nauseam* Hmm. Having not wanted to appear like a psychopath in question two, I fear I've now come across as a nymphomaniac in this one. Ah well, what can you do?

5)      What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

Dinner and theatre. I'm a classical girl at heart. Can't beat the good old standards.

6)      When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?

Honestly, it depends. I have worked both ways. Sometimes a story idea comes and the characters follow; other times a character talks to me and a story takes shape from there.

7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?

Kate Winslet would be my first choice. Or else Kirsten Dunst.

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

Not sure if this will really count as horror (I don't watch a lot of pure horror), but if you allow thrillers, I'd say Hannibal Lecter. He's always appealed to me. He's cultured and debonair and would be the perfect companion on the dinner and theatre date I mentioned earlier. Sure, there is the chance he plans to eat you afterwards; however, you can survive if you hold his interest, so I think it will work out.

9)      Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?

Oh dear, I have several. I guess my top three are Major John André, Maxim de Robespierre, and Percy Grainger.

10)   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

                Absolutely. I can't give you an example off the top of my head, but I do get ideas from time to time that I know I'd never be able to sell to a publisher for one reason or another.  However, I can sometimes take elements from them and turn them into something else that is later accepted and acceptable. As a writer, you want to be true to your ideas, but you do need to consider the market and the current socio-political climate too.



Fire Up My Heart
Asta Idonea
25 May 2016
Dreamspinner Press
Novella - MM Sci-Fi Romance
Heat Level: 2

London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life 
forever.

It was raining cats and dogs when Fane Maddox left the club and made his way through Soho’s neon-lit streets. His shift at Spunk, London’s rundown retro gay bar, had finished at 2:00 a.m., and his weary feet ached as he commenced the long walk back to his flat in Finsbury Park.
On foot, it was a journey of a good hour and a half, but it wasn’t as if he had any other options. The first tube service on a Sunday morning didn’t begin until gone seven, and since a lack of customers, combined with a recent petrol shortage, had led to the cancellation of all London’s night buses, it was a case of walking or taking a taxi. Thanks to the fuel hike, the cost of a black cab was extortionate these days, and the trip home in one would use up all his tips for the night. Therefore, he had no choice but to rely on his own two feet. At least the long walks kept him fit.
He would have passed the alley without a second glance. However, at that moment, the neon sign that wrapped around the corner of the building flickered, drawing his gaze. He started to turn away, then looked back, convinced he must be seeing things. Either he was losing his mind, or there were a pair of legs dangling over the side of the huge garbage bin at the entrance to the alleyway.
Fane dithered. He was tired and sopping wet. The last thing he wanted was to be responsible for finding a dead body. He’d have to call the cops, and who knew how long it would take them to show. If they turned up at all. In the meantime he’d be left standing in this downpour and, knowing his luck, would probably catch pneumonia. Then again, maybe the guy was merely drunk or injured and in need of assistance. Could Fane live with himself if he walked on by?
Heaving a sigh, Fane shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans and crossed the street. Once he reached the alley, he glanced left and right. Then, seeing no one around, he boosted himself up and into the dumpster.
The bags of rubbish crunched and shifted beneath him. He lost his balance and shot out a hand, grabbing hold of the rim of the bin to steady himself. One of the bags must have split under his weight, because a foul smell wafted through the air. Fane screwed up his nose. Determined to make a speedy exit, he scrambled two steps forward to reach the body.

Even in the dim, stuttering neon glow, it only took him a second to realize his mistake. This wasn’t a body. At least not a human one.




Audio Excerpt: https://soundcloud.com/nickijmarkus/audio-excerpt-fire-up-my-heart

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7763
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fireupmyheart-2035490-145.html
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Up-Heart-Asta-Idonea-ebook/dp/B01F9A00QY
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fire-Up-Heart-Asta-Idonea-ebook/dp/B01F9A00QY



Author Bio & Links
Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!
As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.
Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO


Virtual Book Tour: The Trouble With Misbehaving

Please welcome author Victoria Hanlen, who is here to tell us about her new release, The Trouble With Misbehaving. Victoria will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the rest of the stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.


The Trouble with Misbehaving
by Victoria Hanlen

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GENRE: Historical Romance

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BLURB:

Love, Betrayal and Redemption

Calista ‘CC’ Collins is used to being the talk of the town. With her scandalous past she’s learnt the hard way that a woman needs to be strong to get what she wants in a man’s world. And what she wants is the infamous Captain Beauford Tollier—roguish son of an earl, notorious blockade-runner and all-round knave of the seas.

However, Captain Beau is not one to be cajoled—he is done with the dangerous sea life and ready to follow the life of the straight and narrow. But with many powerful forces circling around him, Beau doesn’t stand a chance…


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:


“Since you burned my letters we still have much to discuss.”

He squared his shoulders. “I think not. Our brief association is at an end. I do not wish to be a part of your mad games. After the night before last—”

“After the night before last?”

“It seems best to allow you your distance.”

He heard a quick intake of breath and a rustle of silk. Her voice seemed to rise in pitch, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone what you almost did with crazy ol’ Miss Collins. But then you have lots of secrets, do you not, Captain Tollier? What’s one more?”

“I don’t know what you mean, nor do I care.” He started walking again.

“Looking at all these…lovely portraits, I can see why people whisper you’re the family’s cuckoo.”

Lurching around, he clenched his fists in an effort to control his temper. Not only did the insult shock, it cut into one of his earliest, deepest insecurities. He lowered his voice to a dangerous calm. “You are fortunate to be a woman, madam. Were you a man, such an insult might force me to call you out.”

She stood and gave him a look so sultry it almost begged him to teach her lessons of a different sort.

“Ah yes, call me out. And what should I call you?”

He turned to leave, hoping to prevent saying or doing something he’d regret. Before he’d taken two steps, C.C. said in a voice full of authority, “Mr. Wainwright. Perhaps Captain Scott? Or would it be Cornelius Dolan?”

The hairs on his neck stood straight out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Award winning, historical romance author, VICTORIA HANLEN, has worked at a wide range of jobs, from fashion, to corporate business, to treading the boards of stage and professional opera. A lifelong writer, she once put her skills to use in PR and advertising. But her favorite form of writing is happily-ever-afters spiced with a dash of wit and a page-turning mystery. Victoria and her husband live in rural New England surrounded by a host of wildlife.
She enjoys hearing from readers at:
http://www.victoriahanlen.com
https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaHanlen
https://www.twitter.com/VictoriaHanlen

Newsletter? Sign up today!  https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/websitesignupform0218201694902am

Mills & Boon: https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/p46539/the-trouble-with-misbehaving.htm
Amazon  US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0175WV0AE
Amazon   UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trouble-Misbehaving-Victoria-Hanlen-ebook/dp/B0175WV0AE
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/victoria+hanlen
Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Trouble_With_Misbehaving.html?id=1c_PCgAAQBAJ
Kobo books: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-trouble-with-misbehaving
BAM!: http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=5529803929861&query=VICTORIA+HANLEN&where=eBooks




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  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brand new release: Bad Dogs and Drag Queens

I'm excited to announce that the first book in my new Rose and Thorne series with Dreamspinner - Bad Dogs and Drag Queens comes out today!




Isn't that a great cover? Paul Richmond did that, and he's so talented! I especially love Vinnie's eyes. And isn't Benny (the Peke) cute?

So I want to tell you something about my guys. Vinnie and Ethan are federal undercover cops, and they're not only partners on the job but off. They've been together almost five years now, and life is great. Having said that, I must warn you, Vinnie can be a diva at times. and he's often down on himself, but he's a great guy and I love him. And he loves Ethan very much! The stories are all told in Vinnie's POV, so be prepared for a lot of sarcasm. But it's all good!

I hope you enjoy the first book and I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Blurb:

Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne are partners—on and off the clock. Federal undercover detectives, they’re part of a covert task force designed to promote goodwill between the feds and local authorities. They lend an unobtrusive helping hand wherever it’s needed. No credit required.

Vinnie and Ethan work primarily in the Southeast region of the United States and live together in Richmond, Virginia. A mugger problem brings them to Roanoke, where Vinnie is thrown out as bait to catch the man who’s been snatching purses in a city park, but they end up with more than they bargained for. Why is Vinnie always the one who has to wear the dress? Ethan says it’s because Vinnie looks much prettier in a skirt. How can he argue with that?

Expecting to return to Richmond afterward, Vinnie and Ethan find themselves assigned a new case instead. They are to go undercover at The Stroll, one of the biggest gay nightclubs in Roanoke. Someone is terrorizing both the customers and the performers. Could they be dealing with a hate crime? Someone has to protect the drag queens of Roanoke, so it’s Vinnie and Ethan to the rescue!

The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit nokidhungry.org for more information about this organization.

Excerpt:
“Remind me again whose stupid idea this lipstick was,” I huffed beneath my breath. Without thinking, I licked my lips. They felt greasy, and tasted even worse. I forced myself not to grimace, afraid it might crack the foundation I’d slathered on my face.
“Mine, you sexy beast,” came the smart-ass reply in my ear. “I think you got purty lips, mmhmmm.”
“Fuck you,” I growled. “You should be doing this, not me, and you know it. I did it last time.”
And the time before that. And the time before that. Wait, did I detect a pattern here?
“What I know is you look better in a skirt than I do. And you look damn good out of it, too.”
My cheeks suffused with heat at Ethan’s words. Luckily the darkness hid a multitude of sins, my embarrassment being the least of them. Hopefully, no one else was listening—I knew I’d never hear the end of it. Just what I needed—to be the object of ridicule of the Roanoke PD.
I pulled a compact from the purple paisley cloth purse slung over my shoulder and flipped open the mirror so I could assess my surroundings. I couldn’t see a damn thing. I growled again. I’d have to move closer to the half-assed excuse for a light this park possessed if I wanted to scope out the situation. The city fathers had been too cheap to install proper lighting, which is why they had this mugging problem to begin with.
“What’s wrong, Vinnie?” Ethan’s concern came through my earpiece loud and clear. He might aggravate me some of the time—or most of the time—but he always had my back.
“Nothing,” I muttered as I wobbled toward the light. These heels were ridiculous. How did women do it? I’d just gained an all-new respect for the fairer sex. They made it seem so effortless, while I possessed all of the grace of a wounded water buffalo. I’d tried opting for flats, but Ethan had nixed the idea. Said they wouldn’t go with the skirt. Plus he said the heels made my legs look longer.
Pervert.


Here is a list of the stops on the tour, check them out and don't forget to sign up for the giveaway on the Rafflecopter!

Tour Dates & Stops:
9-Jun: Unquietly Me
10-Jun: BFD Book Blog
14-Jun: Molly Lolly
15-Jun: Love Bytes
16-Jun: Havan Fellows

Wednesday Briefs: Moving Forward #36 (8.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, from 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts!

This week, fun in the sun continues in Moving Forward, with Marshall and Lee taking an island cruise. So far, Dustin hasn't caused any trouble. Let's hope that continues. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Moving Forward #36 (8.4)


Marshall, Lee, and Roger weren’t the only ones heading down to the main deck. Everyone had gathered together, interested in seeing what there was to see beneath the sea. The whole bottom of the ship was now transparent, and people ringed the viewing port, watching the fascinating tableau below.

Being taller, Marshall and Lee stood behind the others, rather than obstruct the sight of those who were shorter. They still had a somewhat decent view of what was going on.

 Schools of bright orange and purple fish swam in synchronized grace about the delicate coral reef which stretched below them.  The turquoise water was so crystal clear and unpolluted that they had no trouble seeing everything. Everyone oohed and aahed when a large turtle swam by, oblivious to their presence.

“He looks big enough to ride!” someone exclaimed and everyone laughed.

“Can we go swimming here?” a teenaged boy asked.

“No, not here, but we’ll be stopping at the beach next, and you can swim there,” the tour guide explained.

Marshall thought that sounded great, but he was really looking forward to the private beach Lee had mentioned. Making love with Lee outdoors was always amazing; he couldn’t wait to try it under Caribbean skies.

As Marshall watched, the fish suddenly darted away, out of view. The reason became evident moments later when a shark swam beneath them, evoking exclamations of both surprise and alarm from the observers on the boat. Some edged away from the viewing port, as if they were afraid the shark might attack them.

“Do not be alarmed,” the guide hastened to assure them. “He has no way of joining us.”

The tourists laughed and relaxed a little.

“I wonder what kind of fish those are,” Marshall speculated. They were pretty, but not near big enough to catch and eat. Assuming anyone would want to eat something so pretty. Much as he enjoyed fishing, he’d rather look at these than try to hook them.

“No clue,” Lee said, “but they sure look nice.” He put his arm around Marshall’s waist. Marshall stepped closer to his warmth, never losing track of what was going on just below them.

They kept the viewport open for awhile, and Marshall saw a few animals he couldn’t even name, as well as more fish. A couple of jelly fish glided by, their translucent bodies expanding and contracting as they moved. None of the denizens of the deep seemed to mind the presence of the humans, going about their business as if the boat was a normal part of their world.

All too soon, they closed the viewing port and continued. The guide announced they would be at Honeymoon  Beach shortly, so Marshall and Lee didn’t bother to head back up top.  The passengers were all let off at the dock, and the guide said they would return for them in an hour to an hour and a half. “Don’t forget to have fun!” were his parting words.

The day was bright and sunny, the sand was warm, and although they were far from alone, Marshall thought it could have been worse. They bought fruity drinks at a concession stand, and something to eat, and found a spot to call their own on the beach.

“You going to make me wait half an hour to swim?” Marshall asked mischievously as he finished off his loaded hot dog and licked the spicy sauce from his fingers.

“I should, but then you’d miss all the fun,” Lee teased. “You’re a grown man. I think you can handle it.”

“What about you?”

“What about me?” Lee asked.

“I mean, you wanna come swimming with me?”

“I kinda thought I might.” Lee grinned. “Unless you think I’m getting too old for that?” As he spoke, Lee stood and toed off his beach sandals, then began to remove his clothes. He slid his jeans slowly down his legs, his swim suit visible beneath that.  Then he took off his shirt and placed his garments in the bag they’d brought with them.

Marshall whistled at the sight. No one could ever call Lee old. He had a fantastic body, well-defined without being overly sculpted. Hard in all the right places, and yet silky soft in others. He had plenty of hair without being a grizzly bear. And he was all Marshall’s.

In response, Marshall stood and stripped down to his own low-cut blue swim suit, which he knew showed off his own figure pretty well. He was no slouch in the body department, and he knew it, but he hoped he’d look half as good as Lee when he was Lee’s age.

They’d both forgotten Roger, who was sitting with them, finishing his own meal.

“You two belong on the cover of a magazine,” he complimented them. He quickly stripped down to his own swim suit. “You guys can stand there and look pretty, I’m getting wet.” Without looking back, he threw up his arms, gave a wild cry, and raced toward the ocean.

Marshall and Lee looked at one another and began to laugh, just before they followed him into the water.

to be continued

Now see what the other Briefers are up to!






Monday, May 23, 2016

Virtual Book Blast: Wanderlust

Please welcome author Bernadette Marie, who is here to tell us about her new release, Wanderlust. Bernadette will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find a list of the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!


Wanderlust
by Bernadette Marie

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

Gia Gallow has traveled the world. Her wanderlust landed her in Georgia where she has created a life for herself away from the petty differences of relatives and domineering ex-lovers. Having settled in America, she has a successful business and dear friends—and the attention of both Dane and Russell Walker. Due to her own family's dramas over dueling hearts, she might have to forget about her feelings for Dane to keep peace within the Walker family, but sometimes even running thousands of miles away can't keep a heart from going after what the heart wants. And Gia's heart wants Dane.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:



Dane awoke in his childhood bedroom with a start. As he sat there, a bead of sweat rolling
down his forehead, he realized it wasn't that he'd heard anything to wake him—in fact, it had been too quiet.

The sun was up and warm as it filtered through the window and onto his skin.

He wiped his brow with the back of his hand and then tucked it under his head. He closed his
eyes and thought about the room.

It was his and Gerald's room. Oh, if the walls could talk, he amused himself with the thought. They'd lived too far from town to have girls climbing in the windows, but they'd climbed out a few times. But once again, they'd lived too far from town to sneak out without being noticed.

They'd done things such as walk down to the river and fish by a full moon. There had been an
enormous tree outside the window and during a storm it could be menacing and scary. But on a
warm summer night, it was a refuge as the big branch came right to their window like a bridge to the outdoors.

There had always been two beds in the room. Sometimes they'd be pushed together for comfort, especially when that tree outside swayed in the wind. They'd also been the walls to some of the greatest forts ever built with blankets and sheets.

Long talks were had in that room. Some of those talks went well into early morning. They'd
debated over Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. There were some very serious discussions over Super Bowl XXXIII. Atlanta's new team had gone to the big game under the coaching of Dan Reeves, and they had to play his old team, the Denver Broncos. It seemed unfair to Gerald, but Dane thought it was just. He'd been a fan of John Elway his whole life. If he thought back hard enough, he was fairly sure that when he'd taunted Gerald with Elway's win, he'd gotten a black eye. The thought of it had him chuckling to himself in the quiet.

Talks about football and fishing soon gave to girls and talks about birds and bees. He was grateful that walls couldn't actually talk.

No longer were there posters and drawings on the walls. His mother had redesigned the room,
he knew, for future grandchildren. The room was clean of everything but a dresser and a rocking chair. The closet door, another menacing nightmare maker, was cracked open as the door was too warped to stay closed.

Some poor grandchild would be as afraid of the abyss of the closet as he and Gerald had been.

It wasn't long before the sound of the cattle caught his attention. He'd have to admit it was a
much better sound than early morning traffic. Then he heard the roaring of the first pickup truck engine. Surely he'd actually slept through the first. The sun was up after all, and he knew his father and brothers were up before the sun.

Dane rolled to his side and pulled the blanket up to his ear. This was why it was good to be
visiting. No one had awakened him and made him help out with the early morning chores. Suckers!




~~~~~~~~~~~~~




AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends. Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter. At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years.

In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children –
Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published. That year she wrote 12
books. In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born. In
2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince
Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and has begun the process of taking on other authors in other genres.

Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events. She is also an accomplished martial artist, working her way to her second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.  An avid reader she loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.

Bernadete Marie

Website: http://www.bernadettemarie.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/writesromance
Blog: http://www.authorbernadettemarie.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Bernadette-Marie/e/B003M75S8W


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Enter to win a $20 Amazon GC - a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Virtual Book Tour: North to Zombieville






Author Name: Meg Bawden

Book Name: North to Zombieville
Series: Zombieville
Book: One


Release Date: May 18, 2016
Blurb:

The year is 2028, and Dallas and Raleigh Jenson are torn apart when a worldwide zombie apocalypse ravages their home of Townsville, Australia. After a year of searching, Dallas, a former Australian army rifleman, finally reunites with Raleigh, but it’s not like old times. Not only do they have zombies to contend with, but also other humans, changed by desperation and willing to do anything to survive.
Dallas and Raleigh have changed too. So much so, that Dallas struggles with the idea that Raleigh no longer needs or wants his protection. But they will need to rely on each other and find strength in their love as they are forced to evade zombies and watch their friends die. As they fight for their lives in a brutal landscape where every supply and every step toward a potential cure is a battle to the death, only their trust in each other can keep them from perishing.


Pages or Words: 67,114 words

Categories: Horror, M/M Romance, Science Fiction

Excerpt:
A loud crash and screams from downstairs made them pull away. The diners on the top floor were glancing around worriedly, some of the men showing caution as they stood, but making no move to head downstairs and see what was happening.
Raleigh frowned toward the stairs. “What was that?”
Dallas narrowed his eyes and stood, taking Raleigh with him. The screams were filled with pure fear. It wasn’t just downstairs, though. Distant shrieks echoed through the street as well, but when Dallas glanced over the balcony railing, he couldn’t see anything odd. A crowd had formed on the sidewalk and they were peering around the street in confusion. Glass shattered, and then a rush of people scrambled out of the Strand Delight. One lady fell on top of the glass, her legs dragging over the shards, but whatever scared her was more important than the pain she obviously felt from the glass, because she kicked off her high heels and got to her feet to run again.
Car horns and crunching noises similar to pieces of metal colliding with each other filled the air. A car accident, maybe? But there was more than the sound of one accident. It put Dallas on high alert.
“Raleigh, stay here.” Dallas moved toward the stairs.
“Dallas, I’m coming with you.” Raleigh started to follow him.
“No! I said stay here, and I mean it.” It came out as an angry growl. He hadn’t meant to snap, but if something was going on downstairs, he didn’t want Raleigh in the middle of danger. He had defense training; his husband didn’t. “Please, baby, stay here,” he said, softer than before.
Raleigh hesitated and then nodded. He took a step back toward his seat. Dallas felt eyes on his back as he descended the stairs.
The sight he found nearly made him retreat. Tables were upturned, the glassware and utensils scattered over the floor. Bodies lay on top of each other, blood oozing from holes and torn skin. An older lady’s body was askew in the middle of the room, covering a young boy who couldn’t have been older than ten. His body was twitching, but his neck was in pieces, chunks of meat torn from his jugular. The people left standing were screaming or running toward the exit.
The people who had fallen didn’t look right. Their faces had deep gashes, with blood gushing from their cheeks and down their chins. With some, their mouths drooped on one side, their gums dark and bloody. Their eyes were lifeless, as though they were dead on the inside.
People on the streets ran into the restaurant, pausing as they saw the bodies on the floor start to move and shift as though they were puppets on a string, only missing their master. Upon taking in the scene, they’d run out again.
It all seemed absurd, like a B grade movie that didn’t even make it to the cinemas. Dallas frowned, taking a step up on one of the stairs, farther away from the scene. He stared at one of the women, who rose, her face scratched up badly.
“Ma’am, are you all right?”
She didn’t respond, only groaned in an animalistic way. She started to stumble toward Dallas, her left leg dragging behind her. Her foot was bent backward and she was putting all her weight on her very twisted and broken ankle.
“Ma’am, are you all right?” Dallas repeated, but she ignored him, continuing her walk toward him.
Diners from upstairs came rushing past him, shoving him roughly out of the way.
“No! Don’t go out there!” But it was too late. They weren’t listening to him—fear controlled their every movement.
This had to be a nightmare. It was the night before their anniversary and he was still in bed, he had to be.
He wasn’t watching the lady, and she managed to catch him off guard and shove him to the ground. She slammed herself on top of him, her teeth bared as she dived toward his neck. He raised his elbow, slamming it into her face. She let out a pained squeal and her head jerked back, making her neck crack loudly. But that still didn’t deter her. This time, she went for his arm.
Over the lady’s shoulder, Dallas saw a man clambering out of a door. The man paused, glancing around the room, obviously searching for something. Survivors. Dallas opened his mouth to ask for help at the same time the woman grabbed a piece of wood from a broken table and slammed it against his forehead. Dallas’s head smashed hard against the floor, and his vision flickered for a moment.
By the time he looked again, the man was gone. Dallas would have to deal with the woman on his own. Using all his strength, he shoved at her twitching body, and she went flying backward into a broken chair. She shrieked as Dallas struggled to stand. His legs felt like jelly beneath him.
He stared at her in confusion. How did she keep getting up? It was impossible. But this entire thing was impossible.
“Dallas!”
Raleigh’s voice. He had to get back to his husband. He spun on his heel, but before he could get anywhere, a hand grabbed his ankle and he fell forward.
“Dallas, where are you?” Raleigh’s voice was on the verge of desperation. “Dal!”
“Raleigh!” Dallas called back, but the sound of a car horn close by drowned it out.
As he opened his mouth to call out again, whatever had grabbed him clawed up his trousers. He twisted and stopped in shock. A man this time, but he looked worse than the lady. He was older, with a receding hairline, but his forehead was peeling and blood was cascading down the side of his head. Only part of his teeth remained in his mouth, and even those were halfway out of his gums. To top it off, he only had half a body. From the waist down, there was nothing but his insides dragging behind him.
“No, no, no. I don’t want to go!” Raleigh’s voice sounded distant among the screams from outside. “He’s alive! No. He’s alive!”
“Raleigh!” Dallas shouted again, but as before, his voice was lost in all the other noise.
Anger and anxiousness welled in his chest, and he let the emotions take over. He kicked at the man holding him, slamming his boot into his face. The man squealed as his skull shattered under the force of Dallas’s kick. His body went limp and he released Dallas.
Rising, Dallas quickly retreated back upstairs to Raleigh and made his way toward the balcony. He paused when he found it empty.
Fear curled in his belly, his skin tingling. “Raleigh?”
He was met with silence.
Raleigh?”
But still he got no answer. He spun around, surveying the dining room.
“Leigh, where are you?” He looked out toward the street. More and more people ran out of the restaurants along the Strand, and very quickly the streets filled with running, screaming people. He had no fucking idea what was happening.
Dallas ran to the railing, looking over the balcony. It was then that he realized there was a ladder leaning toward the railing. Raleigh must have climbed down it.
Dallas took two steps at a time. His feet hit the ground and he desperately scanned his surroundings. He pulled out his phone and rang Raleigh. It went straight to message bank. He angrily pressed the End Call button.
“Raleigh!”
The scared crowd ignored him for the most part, though a couple shoved him hard as they ran past. Some tried to get into their cars, but with too many people in the streets, they couldn’t go far. A couple of drivers tried to nudge people with their vehicles, but it only had negative effects. Some of the people in the streets were just like the woman in the Strand Delight. Their eyes were dead, their faces and any other exposed skin bloody and scratched.
One of the men nudged with a car spun around, eyes flashing a dark red as he slammed his hands on the hood. The hood made a crunching sound, and the man screamed, spit flying from his mouth as he pounced on the crumpled hood. The woman in the car shrieked and jumped out, kicking off her heels and running down the street with the mobs. But the man obviously wasn’t going to allow that. He ran after her. He wasn’t fast, but he was fast enough to catch her. He grabbed her by the hair, jerking her backward. She screamed again, but he threw her on the ground and tore at her neck like a starving cannibal.
Dallas made to move toward them, but the woman’s scream turned into a gurgle and then nothing. It was too late. Dallas could have saved her life, but he hadn’t. He couldn’t. He needed to find Raleigh. He needed to protect his husband.
“Raleigh?” His voice cracked under the strength of his roar. Yet it was barely audible over the cries of fear filling the street.
The woman from the restaurant dragged herself out of the Strand Delight. She stretched out toward Dallas, a stupid grin on her face that caught bloody teeth flashing at him.
Dallas acted on adrenaline. He ducked beneath her arms, spinning until he was standing at her back, then grabbed her head, twisting it hard and quick until her neck snapped and she fell to the ground, lifeless.
He dropped to his knees, his stomach churning in fear and desperation as the need to vomit slammed into him. But he held it in.
“Raleigh….” he whispered, biting his lip hard. He needed to find his husband.
Something shone in his eyes from under the lamplight and he immediately zeroed in on Raleigh’s phone. He grabbed it, tapping it desperately, but it was dead. “Dammit!” he growled. “Raleigh, where are you?”




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Meet the author:

Meg Bawden was born and raised in North Queensland, Australia. She’s loved stories since before she can remember and has always enjoyed creating characters of her own, even if it did begin with drawing faces on toilet rolls and giving them names. Wiring has always been a passion of hers and she’s loved the M/M genre since 2004, the first book she read being Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez.
Writing M/M since 2007, Meg has never had the confidence to attempt publishing her own stories, but in 2015, she decided that it was all about to change thanks to the amazing friends she’s made in the M/M genre and their support and encouragement. So watch out world, Meg Bawden is coming out to have some fun!

Where to find the author:

Twitter: @megbawden

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Tour Dates & Stops:
25-May: BFD Book Blog


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