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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Savvy Saturday: An Interview with Brantwijn Serrah

Today on Savvy Saturday, we welcome successful author Brantwijn Serrah as she celebrates her new release, Into Nostra, the sequel to her fantasy adventure, The Pact. Hi Brantwijn, and welcome back!

Hello, hello! So happy to be back.

So Brantwijn, I know this book has been knocking around in your creative well for awhile. What made you decide to write the sequel?

Well, when I started this adventure with Serenity Walker, my leading lady, there was never any question that The Pact was going to be a story that stretched across several books. Serenity's tale was always meant to be a journey, an epic quest.

Did you find anything particularly difficult about writing this book?

Actually, Into Nostra was one of the easiest books for me to write. Like The Pact, I wrote this one during National Novel Writing Month, which for those who don't know is a 30-day challenge to write a 50,000-word book. Into Nostra came almost effortlessly. I credit the new characters who are introduced within its pages...I loved them so much and they made me excited to write.

On the flip side, anything that seemed almost too easy to write?

The character of Eliza Rose—probably my favorite—was sometimes a bit too easy to "slip into". Considering the kind of figure she is and what she stands for, that might not be the best sign... I mean, she's dangerously insane.

What would you say is your favorite part of this book?

There's a scene in which Eliza is alone, confronting the many regrets and demons of her past. It's without a doubt my favorite scene.

What idea or scene are you particularly proud of, if not the last the same as the last question, and why?

In another scene, Serenity visits a fortune-teller with questions about her future. Writing something that was essentially 'a prophecy', and slipping in hints of what's to come in future books, was particularly fun for me.

Compared to your steamy, sexy romances, did you like writing this more or less? Was there any difficulties going from one genre to another?

Into Nostra first came to the page in 2007, so chronologically, it came before my erotic novels. At least in terms of the order they were written. It would still be a year before I began work on Lotus Petals, my first dark romance. So I think it was still pretty natural to write a story without a deep focus on romance. It's a bit funny, because now that I'm much more used to writing deeply sensual and sexual entanglements, I have to really watch myself when it comes to books not centered on those themes. I'm hoping to expand my catalogue beyond erotic romance, but I just love writing about sex so much! The Books of the Pact, at least, give me some cred in a non-romance genre...

Who would you recommend this book to? (I.e. readers of other series/books, and general)

This book is great for young adults and adults who enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure. If you like series like The Dresden Files or The Dark Tower, this series is going to be right up your alley.

Do you plan for any more books in this series, or even in the same world as this book?

Right now The Books of the Pact is a seven-book series, with a collection of four shorter side-stories making up an eighth book as well.  There was something magical about the number seven, but the more I think about it, the more I feel there's really no reason to limit myself to seven.  I know where and how the series ends...but the journey getting there could take a few extra twists and turns.

What are you working on next?

As always, I have about a dozen other projects rattling around, fighting for space on my writing desk. I'm trying to focus on Winter Hearts, which will be the third book in the Blood and Fire series, an erotic dark romance featuring my vampire, Rhiannon Donovan. She's competing with a fantasy story I think of as "Conan the Barbarian meets 50 Shades of Grey", and of course there's the third book in my Chronicles of the Four Courts series as well. So, alas... no rest for the wicked.

Well, that’s all the character count we have. Thanks, Brantwijn, for hanging out with us and answering these questions!

Thank you! I always love dropping by to talk shop.

Author Bio & Links:

When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and playing with graphic design. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for five lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours on end sketching characters and scenes in her secret notebooks.





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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Savvy Saturday: Exclusive Excerpt from Upcoming Book, A Guardian's Heart

Hey Savvy Saturday'ers! Check out this super awesome sneak peek we have for you this week from the upcoming paranormal romance, A Guardian's Heart, by Renee Wildes.


Excerpt
Dara trembled, realizing she was sprawled across Loren like some tavern wench. The effort it took to meet his heated gaze… Fine brows slanted over wide leaf-green eyes pupiled like a cat’s, set in a pale aristocratic face. She glanced at his hands gripping her upper arms. Fine artisan’s hands with sword calluses, they held like bands of steel, but so gently ’twas nigh a caress. His body warmth was impossible to ignore. She shifted. Unable to hold his gaze, Dara dropped hers—to his mouth. She blushed.

His lips curved in a wry smile. “Now you become shy?” White teeth flashed. “Your hands have already been all over my body.”

Dara groaned and closed her eyes. Her cheeks flamed.

“Look at me, Dara.” Loren slid his arms around her body.

She tingled at his touch. Restless. Achy. “I can’t.” She hated this breathless dizziness. “Whatever you’re thinking, cease.” He was so warm. She feared making a fool of herself and melting against him. The old wives whispered of faerie enchantments; did that happen here? She felt bespelled. She wasn’t some weak woman to soften over a man, as any villager could lament. “You were much less intimidating flat on your back and weak as a kitten.”

“Intimidating you find me? Prefer me flat on my back in your bed? You have me now.” He brought her braid around to his nose and inhaled. “Sunshine and ferns.”

Self-preservation urged Dara to stop him before he did something neither of them could undo. “Loren—”

“Dara Kahn Androcles, protect me you did with your life’s blood. You are neither indestructible nor immortal. They might have killed you.” His hand, still wrapped with her hair, raised her chin ’til her gaze met his. “You must look at me while I speak these next words.”

Dara couldn’t tear her gaze away. The room spun and receded ’til all her world was Loren. “Don’t look at me like that.” The weight behind his words crawled under her skin, into her mind.

“My life I owe you. Life-debt. I bind myself to you. Whenever, whatever your need, to you I shall come. To you do I answer with sword, bow, or blood. My life for yours. My soul to yours, until our last breath.”

The world shifted. Deep as a prayer, more profound than a spell, his words settled within her. Dara couldn’t look away, couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. Her head buzzed. Her mind tried to wrench itself from the binding, recognizing it for what it was, but the rest of her trembled, in thrall to his eyes, to his voice. She had no idea how to counter him.

Loren’s eyes gleamed at her. “Never again shall you be alone. You are mine, in this lifetime and the next. I shall ever be yours, for always. We are one.” With agonizing slowness, he drew her head down ’til her lips brushed his.

His kiss was shocking in its gentleness. As soft as morning dew, it implied, it coaxed, and she was lost. She melted into his heat and swooned against him. With a sigh, she yielded to his lips and returned the kiss. Warmth filled an emptiness she’d not known ’til now that she possessed. Loren had bound them in spirit; where did she end and he begin? He hovered on the edge of her mind, in her heart, in her blood. A part of her flowed into him, with her surrender, with her every breath.

He broke off the kiss. Dara raised her head to stare down at him. “What’ve you done?”


***

A Guardian's Heart is available for preorder at the Champagne Bookstore

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Excerpt from Consuming the Darkness, A New Beginning

Consuming the Darkness, A New Beginning
Darkness, Book 7
By Shiela Stewart
Paranormal Romance
$ 2.99
Amazon
Kobo
Champagne Books

He needs your heart to survive.

Excerpt:

Daisy barked and growled at something behind them, and Sienna shook her head to clear away the fog from the vision. The sound of footsteps on gravel had her spinning around.

A man stepped out of the shadows. “Behind you! Get down.”

The gun came up in his hand, in the direction of her head. Behind her, she sensed the presence of a vampire. She spun, again, to take the creature down. The gun fired, hitting the vamp in the right shoulder. He jerked back, screeching like a banshee.

“What the hell are you doing?” she yelled at the man with the gun as she ran to the vamp. “Daisy, stay!” Daisy sat as instructed, while Sienna knelt beside the screaming vamp. She pressed her knee to his bleeding shoulder. “You are under arrest for breaking the laws of humans and vampires and will be detained in the local jail while awaiting trial.”

“You’re a cop?” the guy behind her responded.

“Yeah, I’m a cop. Oh, stop your screaming already!” She flipped the vamp onto his belly and pulled his arms to his back, pinning them in one hand while she searched for her handcuffs. “Damn it, why don’t I have my cuffs on me? Wanna tell me why you were about to attack me?”

“I wasn’t, honest. I was only…out for a walk. Yeah, I was walking. I’m gonna sue the cops for harassment. I was minding my own— Fuck, my shoulder’s killing me. Police brutality!” he hollared good and loud.

“Shut the hell up,” Sienna snapped. “No one gives a damn.”

“Here.”

A set of shiny silver handcuffs dangled before her face. She took a moment to survey their owner. He wasn’t bad on the eyes. Though his dark brown hair looked a bit messy, it suited him. And wow, the guy had a hell of a body. Broad shoulders, wide chest, and narrow waist. His face was pretty decent to look at, even with the five o’clock shadow. He had nice eyes, dark brown, with long lashes.

And…he was human. “I’d prefer a regulation set rather than your bondage toys.”

“These are regulation. I’m a detective. Nathan Powers,” he introduced in a deep, throaty voice that sounded as if he’d smoked one too many cigarettes.

With the vamp squirming beneath her, she took the cuffs. Before slapping them on the vamp’s wrists, she made sure they were regulation. Sienna flipped the perp onto his back and pinned him with her knee. “Don’t try anything stupid.”

“Bitch!” the vamp spat.

“What the hell’s with the yellow contacts and fake fangs?”

Sienna glanced over her shoulder as she responded to the detective. “What? You’ve never seen a vampire before?”

“A what?”

“A vampire.”

“I heard you. I thought I’d seen it all, but I guess not. Now we’ve got junkies playing vampires.” The detective chuckled with a shake of his head.

One look at the guy told her he was serious.

“Oh jeez, he’s a virgin,” the vampire on the ground said.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Excerpt from Into Nostra

Into Nostra
By Brantwijn Serrah
Urban Fantasy
$ 3.99
Amazon
Kobo
Champagne Books

They opened the door to an apex predator. Now they are the hunted.

Excerpt:

You have to get up, Serenity.

Her head throbbed. Her hands throbbed. They itched like a thousand tiny insects tickling her fingertips. Serenity moaned. A roaring sound filled her ears, a sound like the rushing, crashing waves of the sea, but without rhythm and coming ever closer. As if a single wave, rolling up from the deepest depths of the ocean, were about to crash over her.

Drown her.

That would be the spectators, you idiot. Now get up!

She opened one heavy eye. Spectators?

She lay facedown, on a bed of hardpacked dirt. Drool pooled in the dust under the corner of her mouth. The hint of vomit still clung in her throat, sour and acrid. The air smelled old in here, musty and full of sweat, and hot and thick enough to taste. Her vision remained bleary, but she could vaguely detect the swimming lights of what had to be more of those enchanted Asdamorian torches—raucous orange, not the patient silver lights she’d admired so much before—lining a high, curved stone wall.

Blinking, she tilted her gaze up: the smooth gray rock rose far overhead. The sound came from up there, and now she began to recognize it: chanting. Hungry, eager chanting from hundreds of throats, and the excited clapping of hands, stomping of feet, pounding of fists. Ice, gilded by resentment, climbed up her spine.

Bigger crowd… But still the same assholes cheering on the whipping of a prisoner in Eclipse.

D’aej raked his claws across her brain, and she yelped.

I said get up! We’re not the only ones in here, Serenity!

She climbed to her feet and blinked again. Finally she could see clearly, and tilting her head up, she beheld the chanting mass of spectators—a sea of men and women peering down at her and shouting with the rabid excitement of a mob. Narrowing her brows, she turned in place, trying to take in the whole scope of the arena around her.

Sitting right at the edge of the walls, over and behind her, were her kidnappers. Bowen, Addison, and that insufferable, two-faced, lying son-of-a-bitch, Whit. They didn’t chant along with the rest of the crowd. They watched her, quietly, with calm interest. Bowen crossed his arms over his chest, sporting his smug grin. Addison, on the other hand, wore a creased look of worry on his face.

Whit looked pointedly elsewhere, as if unaware or unconcerned with the sport everyone else had come to witness.

With a sneer of outrage, Serenity reached out her right hand to curse him. Her fingers were stiff, but free of the metal rings the handler had forced on them.

Wait… why would they disarm me and then turn me loose again?

Well, why don’t you sit there like a complete idiot and think it over for a while? D’aej snapped. They want you to fight, Serenity, and I keep telling you we aren’t the only ones in the ring!

Just as he said it, she sensed it, too: some lithe, sinuous presence, something big—big and hungry. And it felt like…

Like it’s all around you, D’aej supplied. Like it’s already surrounded us.

She dropped her hand and scrutinized the space around her. Unseen, but heavy in the air like a humid fog, it stalked her. Her skin prickled with the sensation of eyes on her. Whatever they’d shut her in with was moving, a languid giant made of scales and coils, some patient constrictor sliding into place to begin its lethal crush. D’aej could even smell it: his senses ran underneath her own, reporting the scent of blood, the pervasive reek of a carnivore on the hunt.

Over there!

She spun. At first she thought D’aej meant to draw her attention to the arena gate, a heavy iron portcullis, and behind it a dimly lit stone hallway. But no, that wasn’t what D’aej wanted her to see. There, barely visible, something prowled near the wall, following the arc of the ring, slinking along and watching her, waiting for her move. Serenity blinked again, but she could make out no more than a taunting ripple of shadow and light.

What… D’aej, what is it?

But before he could answer, a woman flickered into existence. As if stepping out of some eternal veil, she appeared without warning and made straight for Serenity in quick, purposeful strides. The wide, swooping brim of a black cowboy hat hid her eyes; long silver hair streamed out behind her like a pale, gossamer banner. The lithe curves of a predator couldn’t be hidden underneath her black corset and boiled leather leggings—sleek animal fur lined the tops of her boots, tribal moccasins dyed with deep ink and painted with runic markings along the seams.

Serenity managed to identify the symbols as the marks of a killer, but she had no time to move. All along this fighter’s arms danced a swirling dark energy, a kind of magic Serenity had never seen before: the shadowy swarm of a hundred darkling faces, crackling and howling like flames. Her mind flashed in panic back to the fehu tapestry in Eclipse, guarding the weaver’s blackest arts, and just as the woman raised both fists over her head to bring them crashing down on Serenity, D’aej seized control and ducked the body out of the way.

Don’t stare at her like a cow on the train tracks, he shouted across their bond, his anger echoing off the walls of her skull. Get moving! Cast something!

Serenity couldn’t think. She’d caught sight of the warrior’s eyes an instant before the darkling saved her from whatever curse ran up and down the woman’s cold flesh. Those eyes were empty. Black. Eternal.

The soulless, lightless eyes of a demon.

Serenity, you must fight back! This woman is more dangerous than you can possibly know!

The spectre of a giant serpent, deadly and patient, flexed its coils all around them. Its heavy presence contracted, and Serenity felt it slip into her own head, catching D’aej in its grip. The lady with the silver hair peered over her shoulder at them. Serenity grunted as the weight seemed to slip even further into her brain, invading her mind, making D’aej seem small and frail.

Are you afraid of me, little darkling?

The voice—unwelcome, unfamiliar—came like a shadowy wind. A cold, arctic snap through her spine told Serenity D’aej was more than afraid.

Monday, January 8, 2018

New Releases!

Into Nostra
By Brantwijn Serrah
Urban Fantasy
$ 3.99
Amazon
Champagne Books


Deals with the devil always have their price. Problem is, the devil collects with interest.

Serenity Walker thought she had the upper hand when it came to her partnership with a demon. D’aej is dangerous, but he is always on her side. Then an old friend lifts the scales from her eyes, and Serenity sees her contract for what it truly is: imprisonment. Bloodshed. Evil, done by her own hands.

Now Serenity must pay for her ignorance and work harder than ever to fight a demon who can use her body, fool her senses, even twist every thought in her head. Only one sorceress has the power to teach Serenity what she really needs to know…a sorceress possessed by a fiend even bigger and badder than any Serenity has seen before.

Consuming the Darkness, A New Beginning
Darkness, Book 7
By Shiela Stewart
Paranormal Romance
$2.99
Amazon
Champagne Books

In Jacob’s Cove, where death is as common as apple pie due to a large population of vampires, shifters and other creatures that go bump in the night, a serial murderer is a first. Lieutenant Sienna Storm, the town’s newly minted homicide detective, is eager to prove she’s up to the job of tracking down the demon who rips out his victims’ still-beating hearts. Even if it means using her special abilities.

Detective Nathan Powers lost his partner to the aptly named Heartless Killer, and the trail of bodies leads him to Jacob’s Cove, a strange world populated with bloodthirsty demons and run by a vampire. Still, the leggy blonde, Sienna, is a pleasant distraction. Until he discovers she’s after the same killer—and she’s not sharing.

On the hunt, the more they cross paths, the harder it is to stay apart. Together they discover not only clues, but a searing need, one that may be their downfall when the killer targets Nathan, and Sienna must risk everything to get him back.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Savvy Saturday: New Year's Ebook Giveaway

This week on Savvy Saturday we have a bunch of ebooks to giveaway!! Let's see what you can win, and then enter below! One winner per book will be chosen Friday the 12th.

A Sister's Secret


Brooke Rawlings's life is turned upside down after the death of her sister. Brooke's life as a tough investigative reporter hasn't prepared her for the challenge of being the guardian of her teenaged nephew Jeremy. When he withdraws from everyone, Jeremy's oh-so-attractive-but-arrogant teacher, Matthew Grant, is concerned that Jeremy is involved with drugs. While investigating Jeremy's behavior, Brooke and Matthew uncover surprising information about her sister's death and the disappearance of another student. She soon comes to realize there was much more to her sister than met the eye. Can she unravel the web of secrets and lies and find happiness with the man at the top of her suspect list?

Blade Dancer

Emerging from an ancient civil war with only a patchwork of once-powerful technologies, the Qurls are threatened by new weapons in the hands of old enemies. Driven by the guilt of a comrade’s death, Mikial reaches out through her own divided heritage to discover the humans behind the guns. The one enemy she didn’t expect to face was her own people. The one ally she didn’t plan on being saved by was human.

D.I.C.K.s Case One: Holy Murder

Three friends and co-workers stumble upon a murder. They decide to hide the body until they can find their kidnapped Pastor before he meets the same fate. With humor and a little love along the way, the newly formed D.I.C.KS., Dames Investigating Crimes and Killers, stumble upon a prescription drug ring that leads them to break and enter buildings, follow criminals to an adult bookstore, and be betrayed by the most unlikely of suspects.





Dawn of Love

Fiona would sooner risk the wrath of a legendary beast than submit to the brigands who chase her to the walls of Burgis Keep. There, she finds herself under the protection of the most unlikely guardian. When the rumors of a vampire stalking the halls of the crumbling castle prove true, will she have the courage to discover the truth of the curse?

The Beast of Burgis Keep likes his privacy. Cursed by the gods seven hundred years ago, Alasdair is almost a vampire, but fights his ever present hunger with each breath. Until Fiona Buchanan stumbles into his castle. She calls to him like no other woman has, and he is lost when confronted with her subtle beauty and ever-present charm.

A legend exists which speaks of a way free of his bloody curse, but is Alasdair capable of trusting Fiona enough to find the path to love?
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Monday, January 1, 2018

Tattle & Wrye column January 2018 edition

From the desk of ~
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
AND
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH

Greetings,

Picking up from the New Year’s Eve party, Tattle sighs.

“What’s up, post party blues?”  Wrye uses a rake to gather up the streamers.

Tattle uses a brush and trash bin to clear away dishes and glasses. “Just thinking about how fast the years go by.”

“Ahhh, the I’m-getting-old-and-life-is-slipping-away doldrums?”

“Naw, it’s the I-want-to-read-every-single-book the Champagne Books Group puts outs pity-party.”

“Well, that is a very ambitious goal, m’literary bud, and I, too, long for the same thing.  So, let’s make it a goal and start with a Love of Literature Leap Review.”

Blues suddenly vanish as Tattle jumps up.  “Lets go!”


"Snooow... Snoooow...It won't be long until we'll all be there with Snnnoooowww.... Snnnnowww...," Tattle sings, totally off key.

"Right season, wrong area. No snow.... sand and sun."

"Awwww, then we are right in Meg West's LOVE ON LONGBOAT KEY. Yay us! Snow is certainly not Julie's cup of cocoa. Therefore, her visit from frigid Connecticut to sunny Sarasota, Florida is just what she needs."

Wrye strolls behind Tattle in Julie's favorite retreat, MARIE SELBY BONTANICAL GARDEN. "There is a down side to the visit. Her parents won't stop bickering, and her boss Amanda Ford saddled her with work over her vacation. If she doesn’t perform well, she risks a poor end-of-the-performance review. Then there is the circumstance that she is approaching thirty with not a smidgeon of romance on the horizon."

"Enter stage left!" Tattle fans herself with her hand. "Tall, sexy hot and yummy, Thomas, who is also visiting his irritable elderly parents in the penthouse of Julie’s parent's condo."

"Proooblem alert!" Wrye enthuses. "Though there is instant sizzle, Julie soon discovers Thomas' father used to be the CEO of Pilgrim Mutual Insurance. This is the company where both Julie and Thomas work. Even worse is the fact that Thomas was engaged to her boss, Amanda!"

"Once Amanda discovers Thomas and Julie are seeing each other, Julie's life becomes prickly. She questions if Thomas is still interested in Amanda, and gets the feeling that Amanda is still attracted to Thomas."

Wrye comes abreast of Tattle. "Complications come in pairs. Julie begins to realize her parents need a daughter who lives closer, and can be on hand for possible health issues."

"Between her job, that she no longer really enjoys, her confusion over Thomas, and her reluctance to go back to the snowy north, Julie's life feels like one big tidal wave of turmoil. What's a gal to do? Gotta read the book to find out!"

Wrye dons his serious expression. "Meg West has provided a sweet romantic treat with a holiday theme. It is a smooth, flowing, quick read that is as satisfying and absorbing as a Hallmark movie. Her characters are engaging and there is just enough mystery to have the reader wondering how Julie will resolve her dilemmas. It is a cuddle on the couch in front of a fire and sip brandy sort of book. Well done!"

"I disagree! It is a beach chair in front of a whispering ocean, drinking a Sunrise Margarita sort of read!" Tattle pauses and wrinkles up her nose thoughtfully. "I concede, either will work.  Meg's writing fully captures the essence of a sweet romance. I just adored the way the relationship between the characters develops with perfect pacing. I was also very impressed at the very real entanglement of dealing with aging parents. Julie's parents were a hoot, adding just enough humor to lighten a very real and serious situation. Meg's plotline was interesting, her writing style smooth as a windless day on the sea. I would highly recommend this book for a quick, satisfying and easy read. I fully enjoyed it." 

Until next time, keep reading!

Happy New Year!

Dona Penza Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash




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STEEL EMBRACE
BOOK NOOKIE-A LIBRARIAN'S BUIDE TO THE DO-ME DECIMAL SYSTEM
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