Spellbindings: Rebecca Ryals Russell

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Black Moon The Moonlight Trilogy


A classic fantasy with something for everyone. Those who crave intense adventure, magic, and romance won’t be able to put this book down. A cross between Gregory Maguire’s Wicked and the dark spunk of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, the much- anticipated sequel to Blood Moon is a must-read. Simon Howard accidentally killed three people. Months later, the nightmares won’t stop. Willa Fairfield, his girlfriend, his soul mate, wants nothing more than to help him move on. But guilt isn’t the only thing in Simon’s way. When unexplained earthquakes hit the small town of Twelve Acres and dozens of people go missing, the Light witches discover their most feared enemy, Archard, is still alive. As the Light Covenant fumbles to defend against Archard’s sadistic intentions, Simon’s magic grows inexplicably more powerful—even dangerous. Willa throws all her efforts into solving the mystery of Simon’s transformation, but when the events of the past storm into the present, the couple’s future changes forever.

• “Engrossing, unexpected, enchanting. I loved the characters and how true the story stayed to actual history. This is a series I will put at the top of my must read list.” —J. Scott Savage, author, Farworld and Case File 13.
• “Teri Harman has set up a whirlwind plot with a magical, flying fireball war zone . . . Willa and Simon’s noble and magical love is a firm foundation for a compelling, suspenseful and action-packed novel.” —Deseret News
• Much-anticipated second installment in the Moonlight Trilogy.
• Strong, fierce characters give the novel an appealing edge, while still being appropriate for YA readers.
• Story brings dark magic into the modern age, making it emotional and relatable.
• Crosses multiple genres to reach a wide audience.

About the Author 
TERI HARMAN has believed in all things wondrous and haunting since her childhood days of sitting in the highest tree branches reading Roald Dahl and running in the rain imagining stories of danger and romance. Currently, her bookshelf is overflowing, her laundry unfolded, and her three small children running mad while she pens bewitching novels. She also writes a bi-weekly book column for ksl.com, Utah's #1 news site and hosts a monthly television segment for Studio 5, Utah's #1 lifestyle show. Teri Harman lives in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Strength of Ballerinas--a novel by Nancy Lorenz

About the Book

All Kendra wants to do is dance for Manhattan Dance Company.  So, when her family’s forced to move to California, her dreams of becoming an apprentice are shattered.  Still determined to dance, Kendra faces social isolation and family pressures in her new home.  When she’s diagnosed with a serious illness, however, Kendra must decide which dreams are really worth fighting for.  What would you do if your dreams might never come true?

Nancy Lorenz currently teaches as an English adjunct at several colleges. She has worked in publishing, public relations, and network television.  She studied ballet at numerous studios, including American Ballet Theater’s open classes, and continues to study for the sheer love of it.  She studied acting in New York as well.  Nancy recommends that you love what you do, but also to branch out to the many subjects out there yet to discover.  The more you learn, the more you can bring back into your art.

Making it in the performing arts is always difficult, regardless of the type of art - music, acting, singing, or dance.  It takes talent, but also determination.  How many talented performers have given up before their big break?  Determination is one of the major elements that makes main character, Kendra Sutton, in my YA novel, The Strength of Ballerinas.
 It takes perseverance, and grit to keep going despite any obstacles.  It’s hard enough to try to get to the top, but when a debilitating illness is added to the equation, determination and the will to go on, can falter. 
Here’s an excerpt from the book where determination and will is tested to the extreme.


When we got home from the doctor’s, I jumped out of Dad’s car and right into mine.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and took off in my white Honda.  I drove away as fast as I could. but saw Dad in the side mirror, waving frantically for me to come back. 
Turning onto the freeway, I got into a crowded lane, and just drove and drove.  I didn’t care where.  I then saw a sign that said, San Francisco, and followed the line of cars. 
Pushing the gas pedal I vented my emotion into the drive.   Changing lanes, I almost bumped into another car, and it scared me, so slowed down a little. 
I don’t remember what I saw or how many miles I drove.  I put in a CD and listened to the music, but it was ballet music.   Most of my CD’s were ballet music.  There was no getting away from it, but the background noise made me feel some kind of normal. 
          But my thoughts still swirled around my head like a tornado in a bottle, and even though I tried not to think about the doctor’s office, I couldn’t help it.  My mind was in overdrive.   I wanted to cry, but terror of the freeway caused me to grip the steering wheel like a vice, and I felt every muscle in my body tense.
A large truck roared, as it drove by me in the next lane.  The oversized vehicle went on and on like a dragon that never ended.  It stressed me out, until finally, it passed.  A car, playing loud salsa music drowned out my ballet score, and whizzed by too. 
          Nevertheless, I continued to drive.  My disease loomed much larger on my mind than the accident or the oversized Mac truck.
          “How could I have M.S.?”  I spoke it aloud.  The ballet music on my player crescendoed at that moment, and a clash of cymbals highlighted the Swan Lake music by Tchaikovsky.  It was dramatic music.  Ballet always had dramatic music.  If you didn’t know it was made for ballet, you might think it was music for a horror movie, except when the music was sweet and carried you away….
          “What if I can't dance?  What if…..”  As I listened to the music, my breathing became rapid.  I felt like I was going to faint.  I slammed the button on the CD player, and the disc popped out. Grabbing it in one hand, I tossed it on the seat.  I then opened the window, and threw it out into the noisy air of the freeway.  I needed to get rid of it.  Get it out of my mind.  But it didn't stop.  The familiar music played in my mind over and over, making me think of the mess my life was in.  The MRI, the company audition… My mind became a collage of everything that went wrong ever since I came to California.  And what if I couldn't dance?  That’s all I could think of over and over   My chest heaved with anxiety.  It wasn’t fair.  I just wanted to die.
          Driving for what seemed like days, I looked for the sign that led to San Francisco, but I couldn’t find it.  I noticed that the landscape had changed from boring freeway with grapes and houses. There were no more vineyards or farmland; there was nothing but scrub brush and dirt, and in the distance, an expanse of ocean scenery.  I realized I was on the coast, somewhere.
 I think I got lost.
There were big mountains ahead and tourist spots.  I saw families; camping out nearby, people swimming and even surfers catching a wave out in the water.  I never saw surfers in person before.  I just had to see them up close. 
The blue of the water was the bluest I’d ever seen, like a picture of Hawaii, and it was surrounded by jagged rock cliffs.  It was beautiful.    A car horn honked at me, and my attention went back to the road.   I saw a parking area, and decided to exit the freeway.
There was a small hamburger stand and restrooms at the bottom of the exit ramp, and so many families milling around, that I knew it was safe to stop.    
Many people hiked on a smaller mountain, and some of the tourists stood overlooking the top of a cliff.  It must be a spectacular view, I thought.  Something drew me to the top.  I just had to see it.
The danger of being on the cliff didn’t even bother me, as I climbed the short distance up its hill behind another family group.  After all, I could become disabled someday, or even tomorrow…   At least I could always say I climbed a mountain, even if it was a small one. 
          Signs posted on the trail warned of dangerous terrain at the top.  Kids were discouraged from going further.  I wondered whether I should continue up the scrub-covered hill, myself, but pressed on, even though many tourists now turned back.  Besides, what did it even matter?  
The whole Multiple Sclerosis thing was a nightmare.  I just wanted to forget it. 
I’d pretend that I never heard the doctor, that I never heard of M.S., that I’d be on my way to New York in March for the company audition….  but my pretending didn’t work this time.  It depressed me further, so I continued climbing the more difficult slope.
Reaching the top, the last of the tourists moved on, and I was alone.  I moved out toward the edge to look over and gasped.  The short mountain was short on one side, but on the other side, the cliff overhung an abyss, where the rock face fell to a much lower depth than the hike promised.  As I looked over the cliff’s edge, the strains of Swan Lake returned to haunt me.
I had to make a decision.

I imagined my future career, disintegrating in front of my eyes.  Dancing in the company, onstage,  The lights! …a blur of white costumes passing by,  Floating like a swan above the stage, a crescendo!  Plummeting to the floor… falling,  falling....

Isn’t that what a dying swan is supposed to do?

I stared out again at the water below, and watched, as the waves crashed, like the cataclysmic crescendo of the dying swan’s last moments.  White foam swirled in the water like Cygnus feathers awash in a whirlpool of frenzy, appearing at times more like the drool from a mad dog than a graceful swan demise.   I could hear the strains of Swan Lake’s dramatic music in my head, as the water hit the rocks with such force that it seemed like the world was about to come to an end. 
My world.
I stood near the edge of the jagged cliff, and looked up into the sky.  The waning light of dusk matched my gloom.  The wind then whispered to me.  
“You may never dance.”
The cliff was high.  The water with the rocks below seemed like a mile down.  I had to make a decision.   What would I do if it I couldn’t dance?
Dad ripped my being apart, moving me to California, with me gripping onto the 59th Street Bridge in Manhattan, and him pulling me to the Golden Gate.  Feeling stretched across the country like a rubber band, I tried to adjust.
“Dad, I really tried. “ My cry pierced the darkness.   “I tried, but I still want to dance!”  My voice reverberated around the cliff.
“Never!”  The breeze answered.
I threw my arms up in port de bras and struck a pose in defiance.  A lone figure at the top of the mountain, I rose up onto my toes in my sneakers.  “I can do it,” I thought, but then I faltered.  The millisecond of swan joy turned to tragic irony, as I felt the weakness return in my left leg.  The M.S. mocked me, and at that moment, I hated the world.  Everything had been taken from me.  I sat down on a rock.
Could I do it anyway?  Could I prove the doctor wrong?  Dad?  Could I prove it
 To myself?  I needed strength, but did I have any left?  Maybe the illness wasn’t the test after all.  Perhaps the test was yet to come…. yet to come….
“There is always hope in possibility,” I whispered.  The wind blew a heavy gust, and I braced myself.  “There is always hope in possibility.”  I screamed back in anger to the water in front of me.   
          The wind then unbalanced me, and I almost went over accidently.  Backing up with caution, I then broke into a run, away from the windy cliff, before the chasm swallowed me up.
Racing toward my car, I locked myself inside my car, and just sat there shivering, not from the cold, but from fear.
            Looking at myself in the rear view mirror, I saw reflected there in the rectangular piece of glass, a girl who was going to live to fight, and fight with all her heart, to dance.
I let out a huge sigh, and leaned back to rest a moment right there in the car.  
             As the orange purple dusk turned into a starry night, I thought back to New York City, where my life did a one eighty turn, and how I was going to fix it all.

So, how hard would you fight?  What would you do if your dreams might never come true?

Nancy Lorenz
The Strength of Ballerinas

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1) $25 Amazon gift card and... 

2) Copy of the book, The Strength of Ballerinas 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dreams in Green A Scottish Love Story

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Title:  Dreams in Green
Author:   K. D. Fisk
Published:  March 2012
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:   54,000
Genre:  Historical Romance
Content Warning:  PG-13
With the death of her father, Lenna Keith is trapped between a king’s command and a land hungry guardian. Her luck improves none as she flees and winds up at the mercy of the Gunns, the very clan seeking to destroy her family, but, looking into the eyes of their Laird, her heart rebels at the thought that this man is her adversary.
Alax Gunn is intrigued by this spirited woman but mostly by the fact that she mirrors someone who has haunted him since youth. Curiosity and mistrust turn to attraction and desire, but swiftly she becomes so much more to him. What all will he sacrifice to keep Lenna safe and in his arms? Will a love between two destined enemies bring an end to a feud or to two ancient clans of Scotland?
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Excerpt from Dreams in Green by K. D. Fisk
She let out what may have been meant to be a harsh laugh. “I should have taken you up on your offer of whiskey.” A tense, tight pain lodged in his chest. “It’s an open offer, lass. Take some now.” She shook her head. “After. Please. The water.” He secured the basin in her unsteady hands. She poured slowly over the wound. Old blood washed away and new came in its place. She set the water aside then bent her knee. A sharp cry escaped. He pressed the fresh bandages into her hand, and with eyes tightly shut, she began to wrap. Around and around she wrapped until no new blood showed through. Finally, she tied it off and collapsed back down on the bed. Eventually, a relieved smile blessed her pale, tense features. Streaks from tears ran down her cheeks. When had they fallen? Alax hadn’t seen her shed a one. She looked like an exhausted angel, one who’d taken a long tumble. He picked up the basin and knife, setting them aside. He reached to get a spare scrap she’d not used. Her soft hand stopped atop his. “Thank you.” He froze, not daring to move. “For what?” She slowly scooted down more until her head touched the pillow. “For helping me.” He covered her hand with his other. “Lass, an errand boy could have done what I did. " She carefully shook her head. “No, only you.” He watched her eyes begin to close. Her breathing slowed. A worry suddenly shivered through him. He caressed her knuckles then laid that hand on her chest. “Lenna?” Her name rolled off his tongue like song. Her eyes fluttered open. “Aye?” Her silky voice was just above a whisper. Alax cleared his throat. “No matter what you’re running from, you’re safe with me.” That soft smile started then she gave a slight nod, her eyelids lowering again. Her mouth began moving and he leaned closer to hear her whispered words. “…live to see the day, a Gunn could be so kind.” He felt the corners of his mouth turn up. Cheeky lass, even bone weary and half asleep, she sassed. His lips flattened and he sat back straight. Could that saucy tongue be why she’d been beaten? He knew women could be killed for less. The thought of how she’d gotten her bruises, the marks on her arm ran his blood cold. He was drawn to wipe loose strands of hair from her face. “You’re safe here, Hellenna inghean William, but who are you hiding from?”
 A Few Words From the Author, K. D. Fisk

Why have we as Americans forgotten our roots? Why are people proud of the fact that they don't cook? They brag on having never sewn a button on. They've never been around a live chicken or cow. They've never grown or even tasted a fresh tomato, peach or strawberry. Are we irreparably distancing ourselves from being self sufficient?  Is it simple laziness? Is it too hard to do something that involves more than hitting keys on a keyboard or grabbing something off a shelf? Will the next generation simply have memories of nothing more than nuking a pizza in the microwave or watching streaming videos?

Something is lost in humanity when we lose touch with nature. I grew up around cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, tomatoes, pecans, crawfish, deer, and corn stalks that towered over me. Sure, I remember Saturday morning cartoons and how exciting every new electronic device became. My fondest memories, though, are of my mom teaching me how to cook or my dad letting me help in the garden. I laugh remembering my older sister leading an escaped cow home with a bucket of oats or discovering that a 300lb pig will do about anything for a handful of dogfood. A rural life isn't for everyone, but you don't need acres of land to grow a window garden or learn to bake a cake from scratch. We as a nation need to remember what it's like to do things for ourselves. We are statistically far more obese, lazy and disconnected to our everyday needs than any generation before us. I'm not saying Destroy Technology!  I enjoy my devices, but I allow them to help me, not control me. My kids will be raised knowing where their food comes from, knowing how to cook, sew, spin thread, hunt, and respect the past as well as embrace the future. I hope others will remember the important lessons of having a connection with being self sufficient and enjoying the bounty nature has to offer.

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About the Author:
Dreams in Green is my first published novel. I’ve always loved the written word, stories and history. I live in Missouri with my soulmate, two overgrown puppies, two insane cats, and a small herd of guinea pigs. My writing has only just begun; the adventure of stories is my never ending addiction.
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • Three lucky winners will each receive one eBook from Champagne Book Group, publisher’s choice.
Giveaway is International.
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