Sunday, October 27, 2013

Autumn Spotlights - Seduction of Esther

SEDUCTION OF ESTHER




Samara Goldberg has a problem even the most beautiful singing voice can’t fix. She’s a walking disaster, especially when she’s around handsome men. To make matters worse, she’s in desperate need of someone to play the character of Mordecai for the Purim spiel she’s producing and the new congregant, Nathaniel Abramson, is a perfect fit. Nathaniel is a divorced dad who’s recovering from the biggest public scandal of his life. The last thing he needs is a relationship with the choir director at his new synagogue, who also happens to be playing the lead female role of Esther in the very play he’s been coerced into joining.


Woven around the Jewish holiday of Purim, The Seduction of Esther is a story of two people whose lives mirror the plot of the Purim story. Like Esther, who had to hide her Jewish identity from the King of Persia, Samara and Nathaniel are hiding key pieces of themselves. Evil Haman wanted to destroy the Jews, and the nasty Josh will do anything to keep Samara and Nathaniel apart. Will their love survive, like the Jewish people in Shushan, Persia, or will their fear keep them apart?

About the Author
.... JENNIFER WILCK ....


When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).

One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary). Since then, I’ve published two contemporary romances with Whiskey Creek Press. The Seduction of Esther is my first book with Rebel Ink Press, and I’m excited to be part of their team.

In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board and volunteer for way more things than I have time to do. I also write freelance articles for magazines and newspapers, and edit newsletters.

When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life.


....EXCERPT OF SEDUCTION OF ESTHER....

            Nathaniel logged out of Facebook and leaned back in his desk chair. It squeaked in protest. The application had suggested a number of potential “friends” for him and as usual, he’d ignored them. But this time, the names filled him with a twinge of unease. Both names had been from his old synagogue. Both people knew of his past. The past he’d do anything not to repeat. Which is why today’s time with Samara puzzled him.
            He couldn’t deny his attraction to her. The past few weeks he’d tried to deny it and it hadn’t gotten him anywhere. Her appearance at the Met had surprised him, although he wasn’t sure why. He was bound to run into people he knew in the city—it was big, but crossing paths wasn’t unheard of or unexpected.
            His heart beat faster as he remembered the warmth of her hand in his, the syncopation of their steps as they meandered through the galleries, the mutual looks they’d exchanged at a comment of Zoe’s. She was real, natural and warm. She made him feel things he didn’t want to feel, wasn’t ready to feel, but couldn’t deny. When they were together, electricity filled the air. His senses went on hyper-alert. The scent of her perfume filled his nostrils and he longed for more—and he didn’t even like perfume. His skin tingled at her nearness, every hair on his arm and neck stood on end and it was as if he could determine her exact position in the room in relation to himself like a compass. He could stare at her for hours, read every emotion on her expressive face, gaze into the endless pools of brown liquid as she looked back at him. He knew her emotions from the tone of her voice and her singing made him forget who and where he was. His mouth went dry at the thought of kissing her, tasting her skin. He shook his head to clear it. At this rate, he’d never get any sleep tonight. As he rose and went to bed, the only thing he could think of was Samara.

KEEP IN CONTACT WITH JENNIFER AND GET YOUR HANDS ON SEDUCTION OF ESTHER:



Other works written by Jennifer Wilck:


Monday, October 21, 2013

Autumn Spotlight - Mahogany Sin

Mahogany Sin



Synopsis:


Valerie Chambers is a feisty and beautiful young woman, climbing the corporate ladder at an astounding pace. She has a clear life plan and is well on her way to achieving her goals. That is, until one night she meets a strikingly handsome and intriguing man who sets her entire body on fire with just one glance. She falls in love so fast and gets in so deep that when her world begins to crumble – it’s almost beyond her control.

Edric is the quintessential, handsome and successful bachelor that every woman wants on her arm, except this bachelor has a dangerous twist. He lives in a world that normal people only see in scary movies or read about in horror books. Edric has been hired to find a woman, a job he’s done a million times before. But this woman is anything but ordinary; she captures his heart and imprisons his soul, changing his life forever.

Just as Valerie and Edric have found each other, they soon discover a woman bent on causing her demise, is stalking Valerie. When Edric is faced with the possibility of losing the love of his life, he quickly has to find a way to save her – before time runs out.



Exerpt:


Edric lived exactly two blocks from Mahogany Sin in a high rise that was thirty floors. I was standing on top of a roof surrounded by the most amazing view of the Chicago skyline I had ever seen. I stood there with my hands on the railing in complete awe of my city. New York’s skyline has absolutely nothing on this breathtaking view.  The roof had a pool surrounded by pool chairs and a small Jacuzzi just to the right. As I walked around the side of the building, I noticed a small greenhouse enclosed by glass walls. The roof was a lot more lavish than what I had expected. I walked to the edge of the balcony to further enjoy the view, as well as calm my nerves a bit.  “Isn’t this amazing?” his voice reflected a small measure of the awe I felt at the moment. “It’s magnificent, thank you for bringing me here. This is a view I wouldn’t want to miss.” “You’re welcome. Thank you for agreeing to come. Would you like a glass of wine?” “Sure,” I replied, grateful for the liquid courage. He walked towards one of the tables and I followed him. We sat down on one of the soft cushioned chairs next to each other and he poured us both a glass of wine. “So Valerie, tell me about yourself. What do you like to do other than keep track of people’s money?” he asked with that sexy smirk I’d seen entirely too much of tonight. How much of that was a girl supposed to be able to handle before giving in to her basic instincts?! I took a sip of my wine, “I like to read and I enjoy cooking.” Then I fired a question at him. “How many clubs did you say you own?” “I don’t think I did say, but including Mahogany Sin I own four. What type of books do you like?” He quickly turned the conversation back to me. “I usually read paranormal books.” As soon as I answered he released a short chuckle and then quickly cleared his throat, attempting to mask it. Instead of responding to his obvious amusement at my preference in books, I just fired another question right back at him, “Where are you from?” “Originally I’m from London but I’ve bounced around quite a bit. I’ve lived in the U.S. for the past ten years.”  “Oh really? Do you get back to London often?” I was intrigued. I hadn’t noticed an accent.  “Not so much. All of my family has passed away or moved to different cities or countries.” “Oh, that must be rough,” I said sympathetically. I understood not having much family around. It’s been just my mom and I for as long as I can remember. My father died when I was only two years old, my mom was an only child and I don’t have any siblings.   “Not really.” He was short with his response and didn’t bother to say anything else about it so I moved on to a different topic. We talked for a little while longer, sharing superficial facts about ourselves, not really getting into anything too personal. Two glasses of wine later, he looked down at his watch, “There was another reason I brought you up here.” He stood up and held his hand out for me to take. I was relaxed with the wine coursing through my body and took his hand without any hesitation, letting him lead me to the railing. He pointed up towards the left and I turned my head in that direction. He stepped closer to me so that he was right behind my shoulder, close enough that I could feel the warmth from his body radiate against mine. I kept my eyes to the sky and was rewarded when the fireworks began. It was a gorgeous display of multi-colored lights shooting through the air and exploding, raining down bright yellows, reds, blues and every color in between.   As we stood there watching the fireworks I felt butterflies in my stomach, but I also felt a strange familiarity with him in that moment that I couldn’t really explain. He made me feel a little unsettled all evening but right now I felt drawn to him and comfortable around him. His warmth against my back grew from warm to scorching as he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “Valerie, I hope I’m not being too forward… but would you mind if I kissed you?” Now the butterflies really began to flutter, and I turned around to face him. Even though I barely knew him and he’d made me feel like I couldn’t even remember my last name, the need to kiss him was overwhelming. That desire overrode my gut instinct that was telling me he was a player and that he’d probably kissed a thousand women with those succulent lips. Nevertheless, I could give a damn about that as they were focused on me right now. I looked him in those hypnotizing eyes and nodded my head in consent. He leaned down towards me and softly pressed his lips to mine. I felt my whole body go from toasty warm to scorching hot the instant our lips made contact. He pressed his lips firmly to mine and gently cupped my face with his large hands. My body sparked to life in my most intimate places as he opened his mouth slightly to deepen the kiss. I melted into liquid fire as his tongue entered my mouth and tasted me. His kiss was so devastating that it sent me spiraling out of my body and the only thing that existed was his tongue in my mouth, his hand sliding down my body and his steel erection pressing into my stomach. I was engulfed in his kiss and his touch and didn’t care if I ever came back up for air. The feeling was unreal, it was almost as if he ignited something inside of me that I had no idea existed. I somehow managed to snap back into my body and pull away from the kiss before things went too far. “Stop… We need… to stop.” I said quietly between shallow breaths. I refuse to sleep with this man after knowing him for barely five hours! My days of one night stands were long behind me and I will not let this man take me there again, no matter how he made me feel. He looked at me with those bedroom eyes filled with lust, “Why do we need to stop? I wouldn’t think less of you if we didn’t.” “Whether that’s true or not, I’d think less of me.” I paused, “Maybe I’d better get going.” I was firm with my response. “Okay,” he reluctantly conceded, “let me walk you to your car.”  He opened my car door for me and before saying goodnight, offered me an apology, “I’m sorry if you felt like I was pressuring you. I just got caught up in the moment and didn’t want to end our kiss. Please don’t think less of me.” “Don’t worry about it. I appreciate the apology though.” I was genuinely thankful for his apologetic gesture. “Can I have your phone number? I’d really like to see you again.” There was that unbelievably sexy smile again, how could a girl say no to that?! “Sure,” I replied with a big grin on my face as I rattled off my phone number to him. He put my number into his phone and sent me a quick text message so that I’d have his as well. He leaned down and gave me a quick peck on the cheek before I got in the car and drove away. 



Review


Deliciously Unexpected!

Mahogany Sin is a deliciously unexpected paranormal thrill ride. In the first book of its series, debut author Kellee Gilmore introduces us to Valerie Chambers, a self-sufficient woman who is working her way to the top of her accounting firm. She is focused and determined to succeed, and has tossed aside her bad girl ways, much to the chagrin of her best friend Jordan who is still thoroughly enjoying the wild life. One evening Jordan convinces Valerie to come out for a night on the town and of course, this is the night that Valerie's life is thrown off its rails.
The paranormal twist to this story is one that is completely unanticipated and is very well done. All the while you are reading this book, you are waiting for it. You know it's coming (after all, it is paranormal fiction) and when it is finally revealed it is both devastating and enticing, and done in such a way that you find yourself lost inside the pages all over again.
Mahogany Sin is Chicago author Kellee Gilmore's first book. The story combines her love for her city, horror movies, and paranormal fiction into one tempting story that will leave readers begging for more.

The Author: Kellee Gilmore



Kellee A. Gilmore was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she currently resides with her husband and two sons. As a young girl, Kellee was captivated by horror movies and R.L. Stine novels. Her love of books began at a very early age thanks to the children’s book clubs her mother enrolled her in every year. Whenever the briefcase shaped boxes that contained her new books arrived at her doorstep, she opened them immediately filled with joy and anticipation.
Kellee’s love of books naturally shaped her passion for writing. She has been creating short stories and poems since the age of eleven. Although she’s written romance stories and dabbled in fan fiction, her favorite genre to both read and write is paranormal romance. At the age of thirty-one, she began writing her first paranormal romance novel, embarking on the journey of living out her dream.
Get to know more about Kellee and follow her journey:


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Autumn Spotlight : Jared's Island

Jared's Island




Description:
     Jared is an 11 year old boy who has bounced around between foster homes his whole life. After his current fosters abandon him, he decides to set out on the adventure of a lifetime and see where he ends up. He borrows a small boat and ends up on a mysterious island with a caretaker who has many secrets. Jared has to deal with much more than rough seas while getting to the island. Once he arrives he is confronted with puzzling questions that the man will not answer.  As the story unfolds, much more is discovered about Sam, the caretaker. His past is full of secrets and regrets.  While he and Jared are forming a tenuous friendship, others who are not on the island are putting clues together and looking for Jared.  They find him as Sam's past catches up with him and all of this creates an explosive ending.

Meet the Author: 
John Thayer





     I have always loved to write but could never think of much to write about. When my son, Jared, was born he found his topic. I would tell Jared a bedtime story each night, making up stories, each one having a boy named Jared as the main character at his request. Some of the stories were short and sweet, and others would cause my wife, Judy, to come in and ask what was taking so long to put him to bed.
One day in 2009 I decided I wanted to write Jared a story that he could always have as a reminder of our special time together. Three months after I started it, the first draft of a 200 page book was done. Two more edits came after that, and finally, on his 10th birthday, Jared was presented with Jared's Island, a book written just for him.
     My newest book, The Jared Lagdon Files: Dr Rayther's Game, is due out in November.  It's about a different character named Jared, who, along with his two best friends, enters a cloak and daggar world filled with spies, twists, turns, and an evil scientist who is trying to take over the world.  I hope you'll check it out!

Keep up with John and Find out more about Jared's Island:


Friday, October 4, 2013

Autumn Spotlight : Crystal Smith-Connelly

Get to know Crystal Smith-Connelly






Crystal Smith-Connelly is the author of For I Am Zeus: A Collection of  Plays About Greek Mythology and Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays.
She has written more than fifty plays, some of which have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Maryland, and France. Known for her twisted sense of humor, she counts Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Conan O’Brien, Sarah Silverman, Steve Martin, and Tina Fey among her influences and hopes that someday Will Ferrell will star as Zeus in one of her plays.  Crystal lives with her husband and two hamsters (Bret and Jemaine) in Charleston, SC and would be delighted to hear from you at  www.facebook.com/crystalsmithconnelly or crystalsmithconnelly@yahoo.com.  


 Q&A with Crystal 

Q1. Where do you find inspiration for your work? 
Some of my work is inspired by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and sometimes I'll see some live theatre or a great comedian, and that will inspire me (for example, I started a new play the day after seeing Steve Martin, who just so happens to be my favorite playwright).  I'm usually inspired by comedy since that's what I write, but right now I'm working on a play inspired by Breaking Bad, so that's not always the case.
Q2. You have some pretty touchy topics in your work, do you ever get nervous about what you write?
No, my motto is "Never play it safe."  Maybe it comes from the fact that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are my main role models, but I've never cared whether people are offended by what I write; there are many people who are too easily offended by things that don't really matter in the long run (like getting offended by a play or book when they should be more upset about the horrible things that are happening in the real world), and since I don't get offended by anything, I can't even fathom what it's like to live like that.  Overall people seem fine with what I write...I remember one review where the reviewer said he was going to "pray for my vile soul," but I can't remember any other times someone was offended by my writing.
Q3. It seems your works has traveled all over the world, does that give you a surreal feeling? Does it affect the way write or the way you target you audience?
It's a little surreal to see people dressed as my characters saying words that I wrote and to hear the audience laughing (best feeling in the world!), and it would've been very surreal if I had been able to see my plays in France because they were in another language, and I would've felt totally lost even though I wrote them!  That hasn't changed the way I write though...I just write what I think is funny.
Q4. Your sense of humor is in fact a bit twisted, how do you prepare your audience for the shock value? Or do you prefer to just let them dive in unaware?
I like the element of surprise.  I also enjoy the fact that anyone who looks at the author photo on the back of my books is going to be caught completely off-guard when they start reading the twisted stuff I write.  Anyone who sees me looking like a Southern belle (my author photo is my wedding portrait because no one is going to take a better picture of me than that) is probably more likely to expect a nice romance novel than a book about Zeus trying to sleep with everyone (including his sisters). ; )




Satan is sure that his overachieving son will run Hell someday, but his wife has a secret that may change everything. Jesus wants to quit his job to start a Christian metal band, and now it's up to God to find a new Messiah...but the person he has in mind doesn't want the job. Will God be able to find a suitable Messiah? Will Christian metal be as terrible as it sounds, or will Jesus take the music business by storm? Will Satan and Angel's relationship survive Angel's betrayal? You'll find answers to these questions and more (How did Judas end up with a courtroom TV show?) in Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays.

This book is dedicated to Catherine Hicks and Tasha Lucia, two wonderful women who were taken from us too soon. One dollar from every copy of this book sold will be donated to the SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in their honor.


Excerpt:

Never Trust an Angel

Setting: Hell, Satan and Angel’s kitchen.

At rise: ANGEL, a blonde woman dressed all in white, places a basket of muffins on a table set for three. SATAN enters, wearing a black suit with a red shirt and carrying a briefcase. Satan sets the briefcase down and kisses Angel on the cheek.


SATAN
Good morning, Angel!

ANGEL
Good morning! Have some breakfast-I made your favorite.

SATAN
Blueberry muffins?

ANGEL
Yep-and this time I used an extra-special ingredient…

SATAN
Love?

(Satan grabs a muffin and takes a big bite of it.)

ANGEL
You can’t put love in muffins, silly!

SATAN
It’s not worms again, is it?

ANGEL
No, I used cinnamon! Can you believe Hitler finally gave me his secret recipe?

SATAN
Do you really think you should be taking suggestions from Hitler? He’s the worst person here!

ANGEL
Oh, lighten up! He really mellowed out after he killed himself. Besides, it’s not like I got the recipe from Jeffrey Dahmer.

SATAN
I guess I should be thankful for that.

ANGEL
Although those chicken fingers he made were pretty good…

SATAN
That wasn’t chicken-didn’t you see the fingernails?

ANGEL
That’s funny, it tasted like chicken.
(looking at the remaining muffin half on Satan’s plate)
Aren’t you going to finish your muffin?

SATAN
I’m not really hungry.

(Satan pushes his plate away.)

SATAN
Shouldn’t Johnny be up by now?

ANGEL
He’s just working on his homework. He’ll be down soon.

SATAN
Johnny never waits until the last minute to finish his homework. Is he okay?

ANGEL
It’s next week’s homework.

SATAN
I should’ve known…

ANGEL
Oh, before I forget, would you mind giving Johnny a ride to the high school Saturday morning? He’s retaking the SATs.

SATAN
Didn’t he get a 1590 the first time?

ANGEL
You know our Johnny won’t be happy with anything less than a perfect score. He really wants to get into a good college.

SATAN
But he’s going to Hell University-I built that school just so he would be able to continue his education close to home.

ANGEL
(hesitantly)
Actually, I get the feeling that he wants to go to H.I.T.

SATAN
The Heavenly Institute of Technology? Where did you get that idea?

ANGEL
He told me.

SATAN
Well, it’s a good thing he’ll never get accepted because I do not want my son going to that college!

ANGEL
Look, I know you have your issues with God, but your son’s future is more important than some silly fight!

SATAN
Silly? He kicked me out of Heaven!

ANGEL
Well, you did lead a revolt against him…

SATAN
It was justified! That guy is a jerk!

ANGEL
You’re overreacting. If he were really that bad, would millions of people worship him?

SATAN
Hitler was pure evil and look how many idiots worshipped him!

ANGEL
You’re not comparing God to Hitler again, are you?

SATAN
Have you ever seen the two of them in the same place?

ANGEL
No.

SATAN
I’m just saying, for all we know, they could be the same person.

ANGEL
That’s ridiculous!

SATAN
Is it? God can take any form he wants…why not Hitler?

ANGEL
There’s no way Hitler is actually God…although his blueberry muffin recipe is quite heavenly.

SATAN
(laughing sarcastically)
Can we please focus?

ANGEL
(sighing)
I’m focusing.

SATAN
After what God did to me, do you really think I would let Johnny go to college in Heaven? And do you really think that God would let my son in that school in the first place?

ANGEL
It’s possible.

SATAN
I don’t want Johnny learning from my mortal enemy!

ANGEL
There are worse people he could be learning from.

SATAN
I don’t want to hear it!

ANGEL
Wouldn’t you rather have him learn from someone like God instead of the murderers and pedophiles that teach at Hell University?

SATAN
How dare you! Ted Bundy is a damn fine professor!

ANGEL
Of course he is-he teaches Mass Murder 101!

SATAN
Hey, that’s not fair! He also teaches history!

ANGEL
The history of serial killers!

SATAN
So? You teach what you know!

ANGEL
I don’t want our son learning how to properly disembowel a body or take advantage of innocent children.

SATAN
I would never let him learn about taking advantage of children…who wants a bunch of kids hanging around all the time?

ANGEL
(exasperated)
I want Johnny to learn how to live a pure life and be the kind of man that others can look up to.

SATAN
No son of mine is going to grow up to be a God-loving role model! I will not have him disgrace the family!

Keep up with Crystal