An Apple For The Teacher

Ever been tempted to stay behind after class? You might be, once you’ve read the stories in Teacher’s Pet 2, the second volume of stories that bring a new meaning to “adult education”.

My contribution to the anthology is Finding The Words, in which a college professor who’s been become a virtual recluse following a devastating personal tragedy rediscovers the joys of love and learning when he takes on a new student. But the authors here have taken teaching to mean more than just academia, so you’ll also find a hot personal trainer in Danielle Wayland’s Shedding Doubt, a yoga instructor in Elna Holst’s The Silent Treatment, and more than one sorcerer dealing with an unruly pupil in the tales of magical instruction from Lee Welch’s A Spell For Master Vervain and Morwen Navarre’s The Sidhe’s Apprentice.

Teacher’s Pet 2 is available to pre-order now – find out more at the NineStar Press bookstore.

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Guest Interview: E.M. Hamill

My guest today is E.M. Hamill, currently on a blog tour with her tale of an ordinary woman thrown into a world of gods and monsters, Nectar And Ambrosia. She’s sharing some of her secrets and offering a chance to win a copy of Nectar And Ambrosia with a great Rafflecopter giveaway. Welcome to the Naughty Corner, E.M.!

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Two half-empty gallons of milk, a huge carton of eggs, homemade refrigerator pickles, an obscene amount of shredded cheese, and bratwurst.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I’d want healing powers, to heal myself and others.

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

I’d change places with Callie for a shift at the bar in Nectar and Ambrosia, just to watch the clientele. Probably on Sidhe night, though. I’m not sure I could handle a Tuesday night.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

A cabin in the mountains, with a clear, fast flowing stream of ice-cold water behind the back porch, the scent of pine trees, and a fireplace to light at night.

What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

My family. Beyond that, indoor plumbing.

What internet site do you surf to the most?

Twitter and Facebook.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

Neil Gaiman, because I love his articulate way of expressing things, his sense of humor, and adore his writing.  His wife Amanda Palmer, because of her music, writing and her activism.  Finally, Stephen King, because he is the Master.

When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

The first person I probably told was my husband. I’m sure there was dancing involved on my part.

 

Title: Nectar and Ambrosia

Series: Amaranthine Inheritance #1

Author: E.M. Hamill

Publisher: Star Bard Books

Release Date: June 30, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male

Length: 81576

Genre: Fantasy, urban/mythical

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40548935-nectar-and-ambrosia

Summary:

Callie, a Classics major, flees home to protect her family from a monster straight out of mythology. Visions lead her to Nectar and Ambrosia: the weirdest pub on Earth, where inter-dimensional travelers with attention seeking issues get drunk in between the A-list celebrity lives they create. They can’t pretend to be gods anymore—not since a treaty with the current Supreme Deity promising they won’t intervene in human affairs.

The Doorkeeper of this threshold, Florian, rides herd on the rowdy Amaranthine and offers her shelter and a job. Callie likes the lonely, mysterious bartender more than she should. For Florian, her presence is a ray of light in the gray monotony of his sentence behind the bar, but he keeps a cautious distance—the truth of how he became Doorkeeper could change Callie’s perception of him forever.

When angels show up for a war council over Zeus’s irrational mutters about a comeback, Callie has uncontrolled visions of an apocalypse. Ex-gods realize she’s the first Oracle Priestess in generations. All Callie wanted was keep her parents safe, and now it seems she must sacrifice her future to keep the rest of humanity safe, too. Ambrosia could be the key to harnessing her visions— or it could cost her life.

War is coming. The threshold between worlds has never been more fragile. Callie must discover who is pulling Zeus’s strings and avert the final battle—before the immortal vying to become the next Supreme Deity kills her first.

Excerpt:

Callie turned away, trying to decide if Florian and all his clientele were delusional or if it was some kind of big role-playing game for rich people. Folks could have a thing about dressing up in furry animal costumes. She supposed they could pretend to be gods and goddesses too. If it was a mythology RPG, they weren’t concerned with the classical part, except for the guy she saw yesterday afternoon. She was relieved to have a rational explanation for the horns.

Something moved outside the glass front door. Her heart seized in momentary panic. What if the monster still lurked out there?

Strange, visible turbulence seemed to ripple the panes. Callie squeezed her eyes shut to clear her sight and prayed it wasn’t the aura of an oncoming seizure. Cool relief extinguished the rising sparks of panic as the effect dissipated.

The door opened and revealed a spiky-haired, punk rock kid years too young to be in any bar. Callie was forced to squint in order see him clearly as he strode in, his outlines strangely blurred and soft. Sullen teenaged fluidity rolled in every line of his body. He surveyed the bar, narrow kohl-ringed eyes settling on the heavily intoxicated Zeus. A sneer comprised of equal parts contempt and satisfaction flickered over his mouth.

“There he is, the great king of the gods,” he muttered. He moved toward the bar, a glare of disdain sweeping over the other patrons. His eyes widened in appreciation as they passed over Callie, a little smirk growing as his gaze lingered too long on the front of her college t-shirt.

Despite her confusion on how he’d arrived, she gave him a thin smile and a cool nod, crossing her arms over her chest. He stopped short, an expression of shock on his face. Then a quick, sunny grin took over. His blurry outlines sharpened as he drew closer and she relaxed her squinted eyes, no longer struggling to focus on him. She decided it was a trick of the neon-tinted lights hanging in garish advertisement on the walls of the bar.

“My, my, my. Who have we here?” His voice, thick with Cockney vowels, dipped to an intimate tone as he approached. His body language changed to something more unsettlingly mature. He was older than he appeared. “Who do you belong to?”

“I’m Callie. I don’t belong to anybody, but I work for Florian,” she corrected him politely. “Can I get you something?”

“Well, for starters, tequila.” He smirked suggestively. “And your undivided attention.”

Callie resisted the urge to roll her eyes. No matter where she worked, the pickup lines were the same.

“I’m sorry, I’m busy working. I’ll ask Florian for your tequila. On the rocks, or a shot?”

“On the rocks, love.”

“I’ll need to see some ID first.”

“You are new here, aren’t you?” He flipped two fingers out, a driver’s license between them. She took it. No stranger to fake ID’s, this one appeared to be real, and passed him as twenty-one. Still…

“John Smith, huh?”

He captured Callie’s fingers as she returned the license and kissed the back of her hand in old-fashioned courtliness, sea-colored eyes glinting in mischief. An odd, visceral twinge from her early warning system made her startle as his lips touched her skin. Goose bumps flecked her arms. A totally alien sensation overwhelmed her senses: it was as if something crawled off her skin toward his mouth. She shivered in response and tried to pull her hand away. His grin widened as he tightened his grip, apparently delighted by her discomfiture.

“Oh, ho. That’s a lovely surprise. Don’t mind me. I’m incorrigible. Call me Puck.” He scribed an expansive circular gesture with his free hand. “Welcome to the watering hole of the damned bored.”

Callie forced a smile. “Thank you. Now, if you’ll let go of my hand, I’ll get your drink.”

Puck made a mocking bow over her hand and released it, smirking again as he backed away, still admiring her in undisguised interest. Between them, a well-dressed man stepped directly into Callie’s path. He swerved with a graceful spin and apologized as Callie’s sneakers squeaked to an abrupt halt on the concrete floor.

“Sorry, hon. Good evening, gods and goddesses!”

“Herm!” came a shouted group greeting from the room at large.

“And fairies,” the man belatedly added, nodding at the punk rocker.

Puck offered him an extended middle finger and a dangerous smile. Callie’s mouth fell open, recognizing the Armani-suited guy from the previous afternoon.

“Jeeze, homophobic much?” she muttered.

“Trust me love, I am all fairy and he is far from homophobic. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with him being a prick.” Puck glared at the man’s back with undisguised hatred before another lightning-quick mood change and a devilish grin took over. “Make that tequila a double.” He winked at her, eyes making another head to toe rake of her body before he disappeared into the clump of huge Scandinavian-looking, Corona-swilling dart players.

Callie’s hair still prickled on the back of her neck even after Puck left, and she rubbed it, troubled. She turned back to the room, stopped short, and stared. More customers sat at tables and in the shadows of the booths, each group just a little stranger than the last. None of them used the door.

And the Armani guy—he’d stepped into her path. Right out of the air.

Something intensely freaky was happening that she couldn’t rationalize away, no matter how hard she tried.

Was Florian telling the truth?

Instead of fear, a deep, visceral excitement flip-flopped in her abdomen, butterflies on steroids.

She never pinpointed exactly when wonder began to crowd out her reservations. Rushing between the cooler and the tables, she caught snatches of conversation and shouted greetings when others appeared. Having to bite back questions when she delivered their beverages replaced the urge to roll her eyes. She fought to keep a professional demeanor rather than fangirl all over herself when Florian introduced the Armani guy to her as Hermes. Hermes! One of her favorite characters in Greek mythology.

Three hours into the shift, she took a quick bathroom break. Her back against the door, Callie put her hands over her mouth and muffled something that sounded suspiciously like a shriek. Whether it was fear or excitement, she couldn’t quite say. Her breath came fast and short until she got dizzy. She spun the tap on the sink and the shock of cold water on her face helped bring her back down.

“What the hell, Callie? Are you really going to believe this?” she muttered to herself in the mirror. She grabbed a paper towel to blot the moisture away and waded back out into the crowded bar.

Purchase Links:

Star Bard Books | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback |Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author:

Elisabeth “E.M.” Hamill is a nurse by day, unabashed geek, chocoholic, sci fi and fantasy novelist by nights, weekends, and wherever she can steal quality time with her laptop. She lives with her family, a dog, and a cat in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.

Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule

7/10 The Blogger Girls

7/11 My Fiction Nook

7/12 Love Bytes

7/13 The Novel Approach

7/14 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

7/14 The (Really) Naughty Corner

Giveaway:

You can win one of five ebook copies of Nectar And Ambrosia – simply visit the Rafflecopter site by clicking here. Good luck!

This blog tour was organised by IndioGo Marketing & Design

Tirgearr Smashwords Summer Sale

Is it really July already? Seems like only five minutes ago I was watching Rotherham play Northampton in sub-zero temperatures, and now it’s the height of summer. And that means the annual Tirgearr Summer Sale at Smashwords.

From now until the end of the month, all Tirgearr titles are half-price at Smashwords, including the whole City Nights series. That means you can get my steamy romantic suspense novella, One Night In Brussels, for £1.50. This lovely graphic below will tell you more:

You can also visit the One Night In Brussels page at Smashwords by following this link. Or click here to see the whole City Nights range.

And keep watching this space for news of a hot new twist on the City Nights series and a story I had a whole lot of fun writing…

Book Review – Secrets And Spies By Ellie Barker

Nikolas Jinsen works to bring down bad guys, hunting for those who steal classified information and sell it on. When he meets Sky, what starts as lust at first sight swiftly becomes something more complicated. Not only is blue-haired Sky a skilful thief, she’s also transgender, something the bisexual Nikolas hadn’t bargained for but certainly has no objections to. A hot night of sex has him coming back for more, but in this game of spy versus spy, who can he trust and who is using who?

Secrets And Spies is narrated from Nikolas’ point of view, and Ellie Barker gives him a blokey, laconic tone of voice and the air of a man who’s seen it all before, even though it soon becomes clear events are spiralling out of his control, both in and out of bed. As well as his sizzling-hot entanglement with Sky, he is also up against the Queen, a dominant baddie who demands pleasure from all her “subjects,” including Nikolas. The plot moves fast, even though there’s barely a page goes by in which Nikolas isn’t involved in some kind of sexy shenanigans, and it doesn’t fall prey to some of the usual clichés about hacking and computer espionage.

Sky herself is a well-rounded anti-heroine, secure in her gender identity and forthright about her needs and desires, and as such she’s a great foil for Nikolas. She’s involved in a brief (but necessary to the plot) scene of dubious consent with one of the Queen’s henchmen, but apart from that all the sex in the novella – and I may have mentioned there’s a lot of it – is enjoyed willingly and enthusiastically. Mild spanking play, exhibitionism, oral worship – it’s all there, and the two scheduled sequels to Secrets And Spies promise even more thrills to come.

If you’re looking for a straightforward romance, Secrets And Spies isn’t for you. This is a quick, quirky and satisfying read that proves blue-haired gals have more fun…

Secrets And Spies, Book One in the Undercover Lovers series, is published by Sinful Press. It’s available from Amazon, and you can find out more about the book at Goodreads.

I was given a copy of the book by Lucy Felthouse at Writer Marketing Services in return for an honest review.

The Big City Nights Sale Is On!

Love to dream about travelling? Love to read hot romances that take place in cities around the world, where anything can happen on one special night? Well, if you aren’t aware of Tirgearr’s City Nights series, which is designed to scratch both of those itches, the Big City Nights Sale is the perfect introduction. Throughout the month of May, the 30-plus titles in the series are being showcased in a special sale across all of Amazon’s Kindle stores.

From today until Tuesday 15th May, my novella One Night In Brussels is part of the sale, along with the City Nights books set in Biarritz, Chicago, Barcelona, Pamplona, Daytona Beach and Cleveland. Here’s the blurb for the novella, to whet your appetite:

Saskia van Gaal works as a translator for the European Commission, dreaming of a life filled with excitement and hot sex. When she bumps into suave, sexy Englishman, Dominic May, and offers to be his tour guide in the beautiful city of Brussels, she doesn’t realise she’s about to embark on the wildest night of her life.

You can pick up One Night in Brussels at the sale price of 99p/99c from Amazon UK and Amazon US, and find out more about the sale at eBook Discovery. Click on the graphic below to go to the eBook Discovery site and enjoy some unforgettable, hot nights of fiction…

Tirgearr At The Romance Book Cloud

If you think of ways to read as much fiction as you want for a set subscription price, then Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited would most likely be your first choice. However, if you’re into romance fiction, then a new service might be of interest to you. Romance Book Cloud is different from Kindle in that it’s targeted at lending libraries. The ebooks can only be read online, rather than being downloaded, which means there’s almost no chance they can be pirated (which is good news for any author who’s tired of seeing their books being offered for free on nefarious websites). For the reader, it means that unlike a traditional library, you don’t have to wait until a book you’re looking for is back in stock – it’s always available to read.

Romance Book Cloud currently has around 1800 titles in its catalogue, from publishers including Wild Rose Press, Vinspire Books, Belle Books, Bold Stroke Books, and Tirgearr Publishing. Among the Tirgearr selection is the whole City Nights range, including my novella One Night In Brussels. It’s a great way to try books by authors you’ve never read before, catch up on a backlist and sample something that catches your eye.

Due to its nature, Romance Book Cloud is pretty much only available to readers who are members of a US library, but if it catches on (and there are already other branches of the service aimed at readers of YA fiction and audiobooks) it could be the start of a whole new way of enjoying fiction.

You can find out more at the Romance Book Cloud website.

Book Review – The California Dashwoods By Lisa Henry

The Dashwood children – Elliott, Marianne and Greta – have lived a happy and privileged life in the comfortable setting of their family home, Norland Park. That changes with the death of their father, Henry. They’re thrown out of the house and forced to relocate to the small California town of Barton Lake, where they have to cope with a vastly diminished income. If that’s not enough upheaval, Elliott’s life is further complicated by his sudden and unexpected attraction to Ned Ferrars, the younger brother of Henry Dashwood’s first wife. Try as he might to tell himself it’s just a fling, Elliott is soon in much deeper than he ever dreamed…

Modern retellings of classic novels always run the risk of being nothing more than a lazy piggybacking off a previously established plot and characters. When they’re done right, though, as in The California Dashwoods, they can breathe new life into a well-loved story. It’s roughly a thousand years since I read Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility, the novel on which this book is based, so I didn’t have a mental checklist of all the plot beats The California Dashwoods should hit. However, I think those who cherish the original, and who are fans of M/M romance, won’t be disappointed with the way Lisa Henry tackles the material. And it’s also very easy to come to this book knowing nothing about Sense And Sensibility and enjoy every moment of the tale it tells.

The author has obviously had a lot of fun gender-flipping various characters while retaining the basic premise of two siblings, one quiet and sensible and the other wild and impulsive, negotiating the tricky waters of love and relationships. Elliott, the responsible one, is keen to hold things together for his mother’s sake, while Marianne plunges headlong into a whirlwind romance with a man who might not be the best choice. Much of the social minefield and layers of status that informed Jane Austen’s Regency romances no longer applies in the Twenty-first century – yes, the Colonel Brandon character is older than the person they’re attracted to, but that doesn’t make them a figure of fun in the love and marriage stakes any more. Indeed, Brandon is a nuanced and sympathetic character, as is everyone here but the rich and snobby side of the Dashwood family, who need to be out-and-out villains for the story to work. But there is still plenty for Lisa Henry to explore in the subject of losing a loved one and readjusting to a new way of life, and Elliot’s vulnerability and grief is very nicely handled. He and Ned have chemistry from their first meeting, and their suitability for each other is emphasised with small moments, such as Ned being the only person to tell Elliott he’s sorry for his loss, rather than with over-the-top romantic gestures.

If you’re looking for erotic content you’ll find the book on the light side (one scene involving paint and a canvas in Henry Dashwood’s old studio aside), but that fits the tone of the story. Overall, The California Dashwoods is a funny and charming read that respects Sense And Sensibility while giving it a thoroughly modern makeover.

 The California Dashwoods will be published on May 1st and is available for preorder here. Find out more about Lisa Henry at her website.

I received a copy of The California Dashwoods from Indigo Marketing and Design in return for an honest review.