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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Excerpt from Love on Lido Key

Love on Lido Key
The Keys to His Heart, Book 2
By Meg West
Contemporary Romance
$ 2.99
Amazon:
Kobo:
Champagne Books: http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php?id_product=721&controller=product

A young widow has to fight off a host of naysayers to win the heart of a handsome Greek.


Excerpt:

Every night Janie Alexander drove to south Lido Beach to watch the sunset. Some nights it was a bust. But most of the time the she was treated to a spectacular show, with the sky bursting into every color of the palette.

She hoisted her red sand chair out of her Fiesta and padded in her flip-flops through the sea grapes and thick grass. The dunes were studded with burrs, so she didn’t kick off her sandals until she was on the beach proper.

Tonight the tide was low, the wind was still, and waves lapped at the shore. She unfolded her chair halfway between the dunes and the water’s edge, covered it with a striped towel, then waited for the show to begin.

She wasn’t completely alone. A trio of solitary regulars kept her company. First came an older man passing a metal detector over the sand. Janie didn’t know what he hoped to discover—a gold watch, a diamond ring?—but he never seemed to find anything. Another barefoot guy, dressed in dirty Hawaiian shorts and torn white T-shirt, brought bread crusts to feed first the seagulls and then an enormous raccoon that waddled out of the sand dunes, sending the gulls into a frenzy of flight over the water.

Lastly, on the tip of the island, always stood a salty old fisherman wearing a khaki cap and rolled waders, casting his line to catch the leaping mullet.

These were the single men who surrounded Janie. They nodded at her; she nodded at them. But they never waved or said hello. She watched them go about their business in the fading light, the way she used to when Matt had sat beside her in his matching chair. Then the sun swelled to a fiery circle that hung in the red and orange sky before it dropped to the horizon as quickly as a tennis ball released from God’s hand.

Janie pulled down her floppy hat to shield her eyes. Tonight the sun seemed especially bright as it sank. Then she realized why. Somewhere on the dunes, maybe when she bent to pluck a burr off her ankle, she had lost the tortoiseshell sunglasses Matt had given her on her last birthday.

Panic rolled through her. Everything she saw in the world, from the abandoned pillows on his side of the bed down to every grain of sand below her feet, reminded her of Matt. But those Wayfarer sunglasses were her last link to him. He had picked them out of a catalog and had them delivered to the nurses’ station on the fourth floor of Sarasota Memorial.

“Happy birthday, Janie,” he told her. “Take these to the beach and watch the sunset for me every night you have the chance.”

“It won’t be the same without you,” she said.

“I’ll be there even if I’m not there. And then, don’t worry, there’ll be somebody else.”

“I don’t want anyone else.”

“You’ll find him. I know it.”

It had been almost a year, but seemed like yesterday that Matt sat next to her in his matching chair, handing her another bottle of beer and telling her, “Let’s stay a little longer and watch the stars.”

The pink sky dimmed and blossomed into a blue and purple bruise. Janie gripped the arms of her chair, ready to leap up and search for her dead husband’s last gift to her, when a voice behind her asked, “These your sunglasses?”

Matt had been tall, thin, and pale, and his light brown hair bordered on blond. This guy was dark-skinned and dark-haired, with a roughness about his face that told Janie that no matter how closely he shaved, within half an hour he was going to look unshaven again. He had on olive-green surfer shorts and rubber fisherman’s sandals. She tried hard not to stare at his muscled bare chest as he stood over her.



Monday, April 16, 2018

New Release!


Love on Lido Key
The Keys to His Heart, Book 2
By Meg West
Contemporary Romance
$ 2.99
Amazon:

Janie Alexander never expected to find herself widowed at age twenty-seven, nor did she ever dream she might find her second husband by fulfilling her promise to her first husband to watch the sunset every night on Lido Key.

Nick Costas is the opposite of Janie’s first love. He’s dark-haired, muscled, unreserved, openhearted, and a quintessentially working-class Greek. At their initial meeting, Janie is drawn to his good looks, but also his kindness. Nick recently lost his mother and sympathizes with Janie’s descriptions of watching her husband succumb to cancer. He alone of all her friends seems to understand grief.

Janie and Nick’s budding romance; however, isn’t looked upon kindly by Janie’s uptight former in-laws nor by Nick’s old-world family—in particular, his superstitious father and trio of sisters Nick dubbed “The Furies.” Janie has three strikes against her: she’s been married before, she isn’t Greek, and she isn’t Nick’s former girlfriend, Daphne.

As the anniversary of her first husband’s death approaches, can Janie find the strength to beat off these naysayers and to hold the heart of Nick?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Savvy Saturday: An Interview with Meg West, Author of Love on Lido Key

Love on Lido Key is available for preorder on Kobo and at the Champagne Bookstore!

Meg West is author of the soon-to-be released Love on Lido Key, a romantic comedy that leads up to a spectacular Fourth of July celebration. Today we talk to Meg about love, death, and some of the other unexpected fireworks found in her novel and in ordinary life.

Tell us a little bit about Love on Lido Key.

Lido Key begins with a young widow, Janie Alexander, fulfilling her promise to her late husband to watch the sunset every night on the beach. It leads to a chance encounter with a man who's just the opposite of her first love. Nick Costas is unreserved, openhearted, and the only son in a large, loud, and quarrelsome Greek family. One of the themes of the novel is that you never know what kind of curveballs life will throw at you--so this initial chance encounter is followed by a number of other coincidental meetings and accidents that bring Janie and Nick together but also threaten to keep them apart.

Love on Lido Key has a large cast of supporting characters that act as obstacles to Janie and Nick's happiness. Tell us a little bit about their role in the novel and how you integrated them into the plot.

Although Love on Lido Key deals with a tragic situation--a young woman who ends up widowed at age twenty-seven--it's essentially a romantic comedy. Literary critic Northrup Frye defines the pattern of comedy as follows:

a. a young man wants a young woman

b. his desire is thwarted by opposition (usually paternal)

c. through a twist in the plot, the hero secures his love

d. a new society is formed around the hero and heroine, which is celebrated in a festive ritual (usually a wedding)

In Love on Lido Key, the heroine and the hero's desire to get together is thwarted by the uptight parents of Janie's first husband, Peg-n-Ed Alexander, who live upstairs from her and who insist on having stodgy dinner parties with her every Thursday. On the opposite side, Nick's grouchy old father and fearsome trio of real-estate mogul sisters want him to marry a Greek girl--specifically, his old girlfriend Daphne. All of the opposing characters do their best to stand in the way of Janie and Nick's happiness. The novel ends not with a wedding, but a Fourth of July dinner cruise on a boat full of Bingo-crazy senior citizens.

Why did you choose to set the novel during the weeks leading up to Fourth of July?

Janie meets Nick as she approaches the first anniversary of her husband's death on July 3. I included the death scene in the novel because I wanted to show how shocking and traumatic it would be for a young woman to lose her husband as the rest of the world blithely celebrated Independence Day with barbecues, beach picnics, and sparklers. I ended the novel on the Fourth of July to show how far Janie had come in one year, and to bookend the story with a natural display of beauty--the sunset--and a manmade display, fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico.

Did you have an ideal reader in mind when you wrote this novel?

Yes! She--and he--are readers who love to experience the up-and-down seesaw motion of everyday life--in which we laugh one minute and cry the next. I hope readers will get a kick out of watching Janie and Nick fight off their respective families as they work their way toward happiness, and that they will be touched by the emotional trials of finding love so soon after tragic loss.

Love on Lido Key is the second in your trilogy of novels set on the barrier islands off Sarasota. Tell us about the first and third books.


This trilogy is loosely linked by place and doesn't have recurring characters, so the novels can be read in any order. Love on Longboat Key, published in 2017, is a heartwarming romance about a young woman who dreads spending Christmas in Florida with her cranky elderly parents. Yet that changes when she arrives at Sun Tower and meets the eligible bachelor whose equally quarrelsome parents have just moved into the penthouse. Love on the Links, forthcoming from Champagne Books, is a comic novel about a young woman who is forced to learn golf in order to be accepted by her future in-laws--but who comes dangerously close to losing everything when she falls for her handsome golf pro instructor. Although the novels are billed as beach reads, I also want to pitch them as great "snow reads," as they give readers a chance to travel to Florida and experience love and sunshine even in the dead of winter.

About the Author:

Meg West lives on the west coast of Florida with her husband and their two golden retrievers. Visit her website www.megwestnovelist.com and follow her on Twitter @megwestnovelist.

Love on Lido Key is available for preorder on Kobo and at the Champagne Bookstore!


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Savvy Saturday: Break Out the Summer Books!

Hi everyone! We have some books coming out this summer, and we wanted to let you know so you prep your e-readers for the pool, the beach, or your own backyard. Take a look, and keep an eye on our website for preorders!

Book 1 in the Imagine Series
Heritage by Jenna Greene
Book Three in the Imagine series

Becky, back home on Earth, struggles to adapt to her new situation. A blank memory only makes this adjustment more difficult. Where was she? What happened to her? Meanwhile, Kat and the other Elementals must face the Coalition, an anti-magic that has grown in power and has sunk its teeth into the roots of Areth, imprisoning Eston - the heir to the throne.











Book 1 in the Unbalanced Series
The Deep by Amy McKinley
Book Two in the Unbalanced Series

Fate will not be denied. Nerissa thinks she’s safe from the gods and elders that rule her village. She’s wrong. It’s only a matter of time before she is chosen to pay the ultimate price—her life. 

For decades, the gods have protected the small seaside village where she lives. But that’s about to end. Fishermen return with empty nets, trees cease to bear fruit, and the winds whisper of an ancient curse. There’s still hope that the offering of an unmarried woman will return the god’s favor. 

As the maiden sacrifice nears Nerissa takes matters into her hands. All she needs is a husband to escape the terms of the offering. When she meets Zeer, a visiting fisherman, he sweeps her off her feet. 

But are her prayers truly answered? 

Everyone around her is keeping their own secrets, their own agendas, and there is no one left to rely on but herself. As the night ushers in a violent storm that echoes the god’s anger, she realizes the worst is yet to come. When the first rays of dawn arrive, a knock sounds at her door and she knows her entire world is about to turn upside down.


Other books to watch for:
The Reluctant Empress - Fantasy
Surviving the Darkness - Paranormal Romance
Camouflage - Scifi Thriller
No Heros Here - Fiction
Crossroads - New Adult Fantasy Romance




Sunday, April 1, 2018

Tattle & Wrye Column April 2018 edition


FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
AND
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH

April 2018

Greetings,

"Are you ready?" Tattle inquires as she enters the office, preening prettily in her Easter finery.

"For the Easter Champagne Books Hunt?" Wrye grabs his cane and top hat.

"Better than a hunt for eggs."

The dashing duo immediately dive into their Love of Literature Leap."

STORM CHILD by K. M. Tolan - A sci-fi fantasy Novel


Wrye peers into the story, grinning as he plops into a red velvet train seat.  "Whoo hoo, trains are where it's at, and this book is the place to read." He clears his throats and reveals, "Red rides the living rails in Hobohemia with her trusted friend, Glory.  Is she an elderly hobo, a deranged eccentric, a bombastic traveller or a weary sales person?  Nooooo. Red is a steam child, a whisper of smoke, a puff of fog, a swirling mist, who only on a whim will nearly solidify. Her red stockings being the first thing that immediately catches the attention of all.  Red and those like her keep the living rails alive, fuelling locomotives with their energy. 


Tattle adjusts her bonnet and winks at the steam child rushing past her train window. "Red was once a mortal child, whose severely ill mother sent her to an orphanage." Pouting and patting tear-filled eyes, she continues. "Rage suppresses the raw pain of what she believed a betrayal. While physically being transported with other orphans on a train, Red fled the orphans' heartless and cruel keepers.  She soon became one of the living spirit children under the protection and tutelage of Midtown, her steam mother."

"Red's young little life had held too much pain, and rather than experiencing the fun-seeking joy of most steam children, fury roils within Red, altering what should have been a carefree existence." Wrye sighs at the injustice of it all. "She persuades Glory to accompany her on a quest to find a bell, made from what was left of a famous trumpet player's (Satchmo) horn. Flapjack told her the story of how the bell rings such a beautiful chime it makes all the bad things go away. Red so wants all her troubles to flee, and sets off to find that bell."

"Along the way, Red and Glory meet a menagerie of unique characters. Some good... some oooohhh evil... some... well, just strange.  A few try to help, but regarrrrdless, they all seem to provoke either challenges or hindrances. To complicate everything..." Tattle offers a heavenly eye roll. "...a Gypsy blessing, that seems more the curse, empowers Red to a tumultuous degree. As she continues to seek the bell, her very existence is held in the balance."

Tipping his top hat back off his forehead, Wrye, praises K. M. Tolan. "Tolan wrote another winner! He has recreated the universe of TRACKS in a unique and wonderful way. The land of Hobohemia is captivating and intriguing. You find yourself being seeped in the uniqueness of the land. Each character is memorable and there is a layering of personality that makes them all memorable. Yoweeee! I read TRACKS more than once, and I know I'll be reading STORM CHILD yet again."

"The energy of the story hits full force from page one." Tattle jumps up with enthusiasm as if to demonstrate her wording. "Tolan has written a fascinating, complex and delightfully magical tale. I adore the connection between the characters and the way they interact.  They are well-rounded and dynamic. The world building is incredibly awesome. The writing, as usual, was smooth, clean and laced with action. The plot flowed with just enough complications to keep the pages turning.  It is definitely worth not just one read, but as Wrye said, at least two. Get it! Own it! Enjoy it!"


Hope you took pleasure in this month’s review. More to come in May!

Happy Spring!
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat

Created and written by:  Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by: Angelica Hart and Zi
KILLER DOLLS ~ SNAKE DANCE ~
CHASING YESTERDAY ~ CHRISTMAS EVE...VIL
Books by: Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
STEEL EMBRACE
BOOK NOOKIE-A LIBRARIAN'S BUIDE TO THE DO-ME DECIMAL SYSTEM
angelicahartandzi.com

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Savvy Saturday: An Interview with Tiffany Sherman

Tiffany Sherman is the author of soon-to-be-released Sun Catch Her, a fantasy with a twist. Sun Catch Her is available for pre-order on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and at the Champagne Bookstore. We thought it would be fun to let you get to know a little more about her here on Savvy Saturday, so without further ado, here's Tiffany!


When and why did you begin writing?

I began actively writing in 2006. Funny thing, it was a way for me to avoid the stress of planning our wedding. I would never consider myself a “runaway bride,” but I would frequently “escape in my head” to a place where I wasn’t choosing which flavor of wedding cake to order. (Oreo! Our cake had Oreo filling).

Tell us your latest news.

I’m throwing an online Book Release Giveaway Party and ya’ll are invited! With the release of a debut there is so much to celebrate. I’d like to show my gratitude to the readers by giving away a little something to every person who buys Sun Catch Her from March 1 to May 31, 2018, plus give everyone a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, a 1 lb. Amethyst gemstone cluster, and more! Visit threeriversdeep.com for all of the details!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?


Ever since my first crayon, I have been an artist. Writing came to me later, as freshman in high school. Crafting stories became an extension of the artist I already was. Creating visuals using words as the medium is as artistically satisfying as slapping paint on a wall mural.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing has been described as “painterly.” I very much admire Kim Harrison’s writing style. She’s always able to draw the reader into the story’s setting, so that you can smell the wet pavement on a rainy day and hear the popping of gravel under car tires. I strive for similar “environmental richness” in my own stories.

How did you come up with the title?

My titles always seem to come to me during sleep-related circumstances, haha! The series title “THREE RIVERS DEEP” found its way into a dream during a fitful nap in a hot car. Similarly, I was nearly comatose with the need to sleep when book one’s title “SUN CATCH HER” popped into my head. Again, I was in the car, parking it this time. As the equation seems to go: Sleep (or lack thereof) + Car = Badass Title

Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

Surround yourself with people who will support and build you up, who cheer you on to your goals, and HAVE GOALS. Strive to give yourself purpose beyond your immediate social circle and/or significant other. Developing your personal strengths and living a well rounded life can only benefit those you love, as you then in turn will have the strength of character to support and uplift them.

In book one, as Aurora begins to encircle herself with people who will play key parts in her life, she still embraces/works at the things that are important to her: finishing school, drawing/art, her family’s business. We will see her taking on a bigger role in her mother’s company in book two. Sure she is young and falling in love, breathtakingly so, and she’s exploring herself and discovering who she is as she transitions into adulthood. So there are moments for Three River Deep’s spunky protagonist to be serious, studious, and endeavoring, which then in turn are balanced with friendship, fun-loving, and sexy-time. (I know, I know. Can we just get to the sexy-time already? Haha).

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Getting started. I can best describe it as stage fright, standing frozen offstage in the shadows behind the red curtain, staring at center stage, the floorboards there spotlight bright. Once I walk out to stand in that light, writing (oftentimes) comes with ease. It’s just taking that first step, letting the rest of the world (loved ones, chores, the need to eat) hang out back behind the dividing curtain as I stare up into that white-hot void and simply write. One of my creative super power: Endurance - working non-stop for 5 hour intervals.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Getting past the realization that whole sections of the draft have to be torn down and reconstructed. You literally bawl like your heart has been ripped out, but then you sucker punch despair in the face, take back your heart, stuff it in your chest and make plans to move forward. As long as I have a plan on how to fix things I bounce back just fine. In the long run, it strengthens you as a writer and your story can only benefit. But you know the heartache of rewriting is still real as you sit at a red traffic light, dramatically crying your eyes out so that the driver next to you thinks that all of your puppies have died in some tragic, puppy-killing helicopter crash.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Get into the chopper!”

Me: “No, puppies! For kibble’s sake, don’t do it!”

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I became aware of my interest in writing during a seventh grade English assignment. I wrote a short story about a young woman emerging from a sparkling sea, and my teacher, Mrs. Dollar, was absolutely stunned by it. Her reaction struck a spark in me, a flame for “creating with words” that was then stoked to become a considerable fire by my tenth and eleventh grade English teachers (Mrs. Bell and Mr. Dandoy). By the time I got to college, my English professors there were highly enthused with my writing assignments. One professor asked permission to incorporate a few of them into his teaching curriculum.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I have more of a twisted sense of humor than I realized! LOL. I also like to infuse humor quite frequently throughout my writing. THREE RIVERS DEEP’s protagonist Aurora is a sassy, stubborn little firecracker! A lot of my female characters tend to be firecrackers each in their own way; some will harmlessly pop, snap and glitter, while others will blow your entire arm off. ☺ I spent my teenage years as a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Xena Warrior Princess” diehard, and my tendency for “spunky female characters” tends to reflect that. My storytelling’s sense of humor is very Buffy. I also like to blossom female characters into strong individuals (if they don’t already start out strong from the get-go).

Do you have any advice for other writers?

~ READ. Read the works of authors who bolster your own inner author. I draw courage from regularly digesting Kim Harrison and Anne Rice, among others.

~ Be patient with yourself, your journey and the process. I admit I am working on this. Impatience creates unnecessary anxiety and kills productivity.

~ Don’t turn a blind eye to social media and platform building. You can have the best story/invention/idea in the world, but that will matter little if nobody knows about it. Advertising/ promotions are key.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

It is my hope that Three Rivers Deep embraces you, lifts you above your everyday circumstances. I hope Aurora and the gang can help you escape boredom, anxiety, hurt, loss. Whatever your situation, whatever your reason for reading, allow me to take you away from it all for a little while. And when you’re finished reading, head over to threeriversdeep.com for music! Continue that post-story afterglow with the Three Rivers Deep playlist and music videos.

What inspired you to write your first book?

As an artist, I felt the need to create something more than visual, something that captured people’s imagination longer than the mere seconds attention is paid to a drawing or graphic composition. Thus a book was born. What started out as a coming of age story with a nature/elemental theme that had wit, action, romance, and centered around a snappy, fresh-faced female protagonist (something I wanted to read and I just couldn’t find) has become a literary piece that I hope readers can settle into for an hour at a time and be transported beyond the wear-and-tear grind of everyday life.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?


Petroleum Valley is real, yo! The industrial valley that Aurora moves to, located west of the Appalachians in Pennsylvania, exists, and I live there. From the golden smokestacks, to the orange halogen lights at night, many of the elements making up the setting in book one are taken and shaped from real life. Even the sequence where Aurora is on the wrong side of the fence and is looking for a way out of the factory, I know the ins and outs of said industrial maze very well, as I worked there summers during college cutting grass. I drove Agitator Road through the oil refinery daily!

Other true to life places include the Emlenton Plaza, the blue bridge and historical “cliff” that George Washington once stood on (really just a huge, pompous rock that was dropped on the hill next the river during the last Ice Age), Reese’s house and Aurora’s twin houses (although these have been torn down by the factories whose land they once occupied). I cut the grass at Aurora’s houses, haha! 

On a more sober note, the hydrogen plant sitting above the oil refinery, positioned on the hillside opposite the twin houses, is the real deal. The control room and break rooms there are heavily constructed cement bunkers and, rumor has it, if something ever serious went boom there, a fifty-mile crater isn’t out of the question.

About Tiffany

I’m Tiffany J. Sherman and I am an author, artist, and cat wrangler. I grew up (and still live) in the valleys of western Pennsylvania.

A lot of my female characters tend to be firecrackers each in their own way; some harmlessly pop, snap and glitter, while others will blow your entire arm off! I spent my teenage years as a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Xena Warrior Princess” diehard, and my tendency for writing spunky, cheeky young women tends to reflect that.

It is my hope that THREE RIVERS DEEP embraces you, brings you joy, and
uplifts you above your everyday circumstances. I hope Aurora and the gang can
help you escape boredom, anxiety, hurt, loss. Whatever your situation, whatever
your reason for reading, allow me to whisk you away!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Savvy Saturday: Five Amazing Covers (As Chosen by our Social Media Coordinator's Roommate)

So, our Social Media Coordinator asked her roommate to pick a few covers that she thought looked cool for our post today. Said cover-picker hasn't really looked at any of our books before, so with fresh eyes she selected five that met her standard of approval, and here they are.


Imagine
Roommate Says: I like the silhouette, it's really pretty.

The realm of Oren is about to change. Can two girls from Earth stop the rise of evil before it’s too late?

Available on Amazon, Kobo, at Barnes & Noble, and the Champagne Bookstore.










Heart of the Holiday
Roommate Says: I liked the simplicity of this cover, it left more to my imagination.

Five heartwarming tales of the season.

Available on Amazon, Kobo, at Barnes & Noble, and the Champagne Bookstore.


Alex in Wanderland
Roommate Says: This just looked like a really cool adventure book.

A strange new toy leads a married couple to an alternate universe and an ancient prophecy.

Available on Amazon, Kobo, at Barnes & Noble, and the Champagne Bookstore.
The Killing Hour
Roommate Says: I like the drama of this cover.

Midnight. A time for magic and a time for murder.

Available on Amazon, Kobo, and at the Champagne Bookstore.











The Piano Room
Roommate Says: I liked the piano and the butterfly. It looks different from other books I saw and I gravitate towards that.

A lovely co-ed is dragged into a police investigation of the ‘Vlad the Impaler’ serial killings. But even after a public arrest, Vlad is still out there and he has her in his sights.

Available on Amazon, Kobo, at Barnes & Noble, and the Champagne Bookstore.