Sunday, May 26, 2013

@OBBookTours - Rick Johnson – Why I Write Fantasy for Young People

Why I Write Fantasy for Young People
by Rick Johnson
One of the attractions of writing fantasy for children is that it forces us to experiment with “beyond the box” thinking. We cannot make easy sense of a fantasy story if we cling to our usual common-sense understanding of reality. Fantasy requires us to imagine how the impossible could possibly be true. I believe that this effort at “sense-making,” which is at the heart of enjoying a good fantasy story, is one of the simple ways we “play with reality” and, thereby, encourage our minds to remain supple.
Readers sometimes ask me, “How could a cow possibly use a tool?” or “How could animals of such different sizes and lifestyles interact?” Those questions really do not have single answers. The answers lie in each reader’s own effort at sense-making in a situation that goes counter to basic expectations about what “ought” to be. Our sense-making efforts may be quite conscious—spending considerable time in thoughtful reflection as we try to imagine the ways a cow could use a tool. We may also simply ignore the incongruity and move on. At times, the incongruity may continue to play at the back of our minds for a long while, before we at last surprise ourselves with an answer that satisfies our curiosity, at least for the moment.
How many once-certain “impossibilities” are now so commonplace as to have entered our “common sense” understanding of reality! At some point, supple minds played wildly with what was essentially fantasy, and used creative efforts at sense-making to redefine what was possible. This is the power of imaginative sense-making. We discourage this power, or bind it hand-to-foot in the closed world of prejudices and iron-clad assumptions, at our own peril.
A natural relative of fantasy, and close collaborator, is the sense of humor and need to play that are part of human nature. Humor often playfully sets up situations that strike us as absurd or unexpected. In this way, humor, like fantasy, encourages flexibility of mind. As we set up situations that are incongruous in light of the “givens” in our experience, we both laugh and have the opportunity to see things in fresh perspective.
Essentially, humor is a matter of how we look, and re-look, at things we normally take for granted. When something we “know” is shown from an absurd angle, we find it funny. In my own writing, I use humor to poke holes in the expectations that “keep things in their place.”
All of the problems that haunt us today were created by people with a passionate desire to live in the world as they know it oughtbe. In such a world, some laughter and fantasy may help us be a little less certain about what we know and want others to think. Simply put, Wood Cows think differently. For me, it takes more of a leap of faith to believe that our current society of “boxes” is healthy and serves us well, than to believe that cows can think and talk. That is why I write.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Fantasy / Middle Grade
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Rick Johnson on Facebook & Twitter

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2nd June – Book Review at Haunted Orchid
9th June – Book Review at A Book Lover’s Library
10th June -  Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours

Friday, May 24, 2013

@OBBookTours - Rebecca Ethington - Eyes of Ember

How to Make Your Characters Believable
by Rebecca Ethington
Have you ever sat in a coffee shop, a restaurant, or even at the mall and watched people? I do it all the time and it drives my family crazy, but there is one reason I do. I love watching people. I love to dissect their actions, the inflictions of their voice. I watch the way he holds his cups, the way she no longer wears a wedding ring, the way the child shies away from her brother. Each of these people, are just that, people. And in the way they hold cups, kiss lovers, and beat up their brothers tells a story about who they are, and why they do what they do.
They have pasts, and stories, and emotions that dictate each of their actions and their thoughts. And, what’s great about it is that everyone is different, and they do things for different reasons.
The same is true for characters in a story. They speak different, think different, and move different. They have different pasts, and futures, and moods, and shadows. And by bringing all of these together you are creating an amazing unique character they people can relate to.
The cornerstone to any good book is its characters. If all the characters are the same, or if a characters actions don’t properly reflect that characters personality, chances are high that your reader will quickly lose interest in your story. Readers want to read about characters they can relate to – be honest you know you do.
I love to create these characters.
Years of people watching and onstage performances have given me a gambit of characters to choose from, or to blend together into a person that is truly believable.
But before I even start to write about these characters, I construct a very in depth character study. This is something that is very common in theatre, as a way for actors to be able to understand the person they are about to play, and they are actually quite simple to do. I start by writing every visible fact about a character, their hair and eye color, height, full name, birthday. That’s the simple stuff. After that I write an abbreviated history. I want to know where the character has come from, how different histories have made them feel, and affected them, and by writing their history I don’t only get to know who they were, but also who they have become. I get to see what motivates them, and drives them.
Next, I write a current scenario. What they hate, like, love and why. And last, with all of this information in mind, I write a plot of the book in their eyes. I go through each plot point from their point of view (even if the book isn’t told that way) and dig into how each thing makes them feel.
Now, you are probably wondering why I go through all of that. Well, the truth is, I love to do it. It helps me crawl inside my characters and feel who they are, and best of all sometimes doing that helps me to develop plot twists that you wouldn’t see coming even if you tired.
I bet there is a few in Eyes of Ember that will catch you off guard.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA Paranormal
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Rebecca Ethington on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads

Follow the Tour
25th May – Book Review at Tangled in Pages
26th May – Tweet Me A Storm with OB Book Tours

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kiss Me, Curse Me Promotion and Giveaway

Kiss Me, Curse Me by Kate Shay

Release date: March 6, 2013

Genre: Paranormal/Historical Fiction

Age Group: Young Adult

This is a story of a kiss--a simple kiss. . . and a boy. . . and a girl.

It's the Great Depression, but you would barely know it in Dam Town. The building of the great Carnee Dam has brought money, men, and mischief into an otherwise seemingly quiet desert

Ahanu is an outcast, born into a culture that despises him. He is Native American, of the land, a free spirit. If he wasn't in love with a girl that was already taken, maybe he could spend his days in the forest just as he pleases, but life isn't that simple.

Coreen is on a path to nowhere, dating the typical boy, and doing as her father always asks, or that's how it appears. On one moonlit night, her fate becomes entwined in an old curse unlocked by the boy of her dreams--true love--Ahanu.
This curse is old and it will have its way, it will do its damage.


FREE eBook copy of KISS ME, CURSE ME from Amazon to one random commenter on this promotion post. Please leave email or some other way to contact you. Giveaway ends May 27th.

About the Author

Kate Shay was born in Scotland under a full moon amongst the misty moors. Her homeland calls to her still, but now she basks in the Seattle rains and visits the Isle only in her dreams.

She took creative writing in college for two years and has been writing for the last five years. She keeps a diary with her sad and romantic poems for when she's in the mood: usually it's after watching The English Patient--her favorite all-time movie.


Hank stood tall and slender where she had been sitting; he leaned down and picked up her shoe.

“Coreen?” His voice was lost on the water echoing across to the other bank. “Coreen!”

After waiting and calling until he was certain she wasn’t around, he continued up the river’s edge along the wilderness and away from people. Surely, she hasn’t ventured out too far, he thought.

Coreen hung back. She had a deep cut on her bare, white leg, and she didn’t want to move. The pain told her how bad it really was. She watched it bleed, watched a red puddle form on the earth and seep into it, the blood feeding the earth as it did her.

My life is fleeting.

It was the first time she had realized it to be the truth, and as this epiphany came, so did the wolf.

The deep, throaty growl filled Coreen with dread. She froze at first but mustered enough will to back herself up against the tall, strong pine. It was all she could do; she’d rather face the wild animal than go to Hank, so she sat, and it growled, and its eyes flashed an intense yellow as they caught the glow from mother moon.

“Go for it,” she whispered. “I’d rather die here and now than go back to a life that I’ll hate.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dilly Dally PR

We want to thank everyone for the positive feedback we have been receiving as it really is shocking how much support we have managed to maintain in such a short amount of time that's why we thought it'd be a good time to do a giveaway. 

Fill in the instructions on the rafflecopters and good-luck! :)
Up for grabs is:

A £7 Amazon Gift Certificate
Open to: anyone who can receive an gift certificate.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Castles on the Sand by E.M. Tippetts AToMR Tours

Castles on the Sand (Shattered Castles, #1) by E.M. Tippetts

Release date: August 20, 2012

Genre: Contemporary Romance/coming of age

Age Group: Young Adult

Find the book: Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Goodreads

"A fast-paced blend of high-stakes drama and average teenage concerns (sex, appearance, friends), capped with a welcome message of hope." ~Kirkus Reviews

If there’s one thing Madison Lukas understands, it’s pain. The pain she feels when her mother ignores her completely. The pain her best friend endures as her parents starve her as punishment. 
The pain of a dangerous boy whose mother has to be carried away by law enforcement on a regular basis. 
She gets it. She feels the pain of others as if it were her own. 
But when a mysterious man claiming to be her long lost brother appears with promises of relieving her suffering, trusting him could reveal more truths than Madison is ready for. 
Because the truth can hurt, too.

About the Author: Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance under the name E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy under the name Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. Before she was a published author, she was an attorney who specialized in real estate, contracts, and estate planning, especially literary estate planning.

Find the author: - -

Giveaway: (1) eBook copy or (1) Print copy of CASTLES ON THE SAND. Open international. Please comment below with your email for the chance to win. If you like E.M. Tippetts on Facebook, you get an extra entry, just make sure you tell me your facebook name so we can confirm.

ENDS MAY 23 @ 12:00 PM EST

Excerpt: Several hours later, as I'm drying my hair, the doorbell rings, or I think it does. I turn off the hairdryer and listen. Sure enough, it rings again. I put my hair up in a ponytail.

When I go to answer the door, I find those same two Mormon missionaries from the other day on my doorstep. “Madison, right?” he says the blond one. His name tag says he is Elder Britton.

Kailie must've told him my name.

“Madison... Udall?”

Udall is Mom's last name, and the way Elder Britton breaks off lets me know that he saw my reaction. “No,” I say.

“Madison...” He frowns, deep in thought. “Lukas?”

Now I just stare. How on Earth would he know my last name?

At that, the missionary's eyes moisten with barely contained tears. “Listen. My name's John Britton, and I'm your brother.”

For what feels like eternity, Elder Britton and I just stare at each other. Then he presses his palms together in front of his face and shakes his head slowly. “I don't know what to say right now, other than sorry. I know I scared you yesterday. I wasn't thinking. One minute I'm just out tracting and the next, there you are, plain as day. I've been looking for you for fifteen years.”

“Elder Britton,” says the other missionary. “You sure?”

“Your name is Madison Lukas,” he recites, “and your mother, our mother, is named Sharon Udall. She used to be Sharon Britton. She's got dark blond hair, about this color-” he points to his own head “-and you'd be sixteen years old, as of last April twenty-seventh. Mom would have turned forty on December fourth.”

I can only stare. All the facts are right, but the situation feels all wrong. For my entire life, it's been just me and Mom. Every time I asked about my father, she'd say, “He's long gone, so it doesn't matter.” She never mentioned being married before or having other kids, and that seems like the sort of thing you'd bring up now and then.

He looks around at the large pot that doubles as an umbrella stand just inside the door, the wall hangings with glazed clay scales that overlap like fish scales, the potshard wind chime on the front porch, and the enormous planters on either side of the front door. “I'm gonna to out on a limb and guess that she still makes pottery.”


“And I have no idea what to say now. Or do.”

“Hey,” says the other missionary, “you'll be released from your mission in less than a week. Figure it out then? Maybe we call the mission president now just to let him know?”

“Yeah, good point. Listen, Madison, we're not supposed to have contact with our families outside of letters or emails while we're on our missions. I'll get in touch with you the moment I finish mine, all right?”

“Um...” That's about all I can say. I try to force my thoughts into some kind of order.

“Mom was Mormon?”

“She didn't tell you about that?”

“She never told me about you.”

“Really? At all?”

I shake my head.

“Then this has to be really, really strange for you. She mention Lance and Logan?”

“Who are they?”

His eyebrows shoot up. “The twins? They're our oldest brothers.”

The world shifts under my feet and I grab the doorframe to steady myself. From the way both missionaries look at me, I can tell it wasn't an earthquake. It was my knees starting to buckle.

The guy who claims to be my brother radiates sympathy and concern, and now that I take a good look at him, I have to admit, he does look like Mom. Same shape to the eyes. Same stance, one shoulder forward. Same way of pursing his lips.

I picture Mom, back in the shed, oblivious to all of this, and wonder if I should mention she's only about thirty feet away. She does not tolerate interruptions while throwing pots, but this is the most extreme circumstance I can think of.

“Okay,” says the other missionary. “We need to call the mission president. Madison, Elder Britton, write down your email addresses. We'll figure out what to do once we talk to our priesthood leaders.”

“Yeah, okay,” says my alleged brother. “Right. Sure.” He pulls a pad of paper out of his breast pocket and starts to write. After he rips the page off like a doctor tearing off a prescription, he hands it to me.

With shaking fingers, I write down my email address, while a little voice at the back of my mind babbles that I shouldn't give this info out to a stranger. What if, it babbles, this missionary is a stalker? What if he's wearing a disguise? Maybe he looked up all this information on me, put on a suit, got a name tag, and this is all part of some elaborate ruse?

I should take him back to see Mom. I should stop right here, right now, and take control of this situation.

I finish writing and hand the pad of paper back. He takes it, tucks it in his pocket, looks into my eyes, and says, “I'll talk to you soon. Any questions you have, ask, okay?” He hands me his email address and I fold it over and over again.

The other missionary guides him away from our door with a hand on his shoulder and pulls a cellphone out of his pocket. “...figure this out...” I hear him say.

I make myself step back and shut the door, then lean my forehead against it. Talk to Mom, I think. She'll clear this up. I stuff the missionary's email into the pocket of my jacket on the way past. That's where I keep every slip of paper, receipt, tissue, and used tissue I accumulate. It's a bad habit. Right now I couldn't care less.

Mom, I know, is going to ream me out for interrupting her work. She's an artist through and through. She lives to make pottery and if she doesn't get to make enough of it in one day, she makes sure to spread the misery around. “Interrupting my pottery making is like choking me,” she's said before. “You don't like it if someone interrupts your breathing.” And true to analogy, she'll push every interruption away, no matter who they are or what it is they might want to tell her.

Today, however, I'll risk it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

@OBBookTours Excerpt - Marla Martenson

I’ve taken off my Jimmy Choo eight-strap platform pumps that originally cost seven hundred dollars—and that I bought online for only a hundred fifteen bucks after I got my signing advance on my first book—and put on my walking shoes from Target. I’m just about to shut the computer off when my email chime sounds. Why do I even bother looking in my inbox at this hour?
Hi Marla, Scott here.
I’m still waiting for the 10+ lovelies you promised.
Dear Scott,
Our 10+ young women are very popular and booked well in advance, or they often date one client steadily—which is what we want for you too, right? I’m sure I can have a name for you by tomorrow though.
There’s a second email. It’s cc’d to me, but primarily addressed to Gary.
Gary and Marla,
None of the twenty-three women I’ve dated through your service are up to my standards. I demand that you cancel my contract and give me my money back immediately or I’ll see you in court.
OgodOgodOgodOgod. I blow my breath out about a dozen times. I know Gary will handle this if it gets really ugly, but I’ll have to try to talk the guy out of it first. Shit!
Dear Nathan,
Picture if you will the jurors listening to you plead your case: six horny guys slobbering over the gorgeous women you turned down, and six women who must be restrained from forming a lynching party. See what I’m saying, Nathan?
I start to write a foray into an amicable resolution, but you know what? I can’t deal with this tonight. Nathan will just have to wait. I shut down the computer, turn off the lights, and lock up.
Do I really need this job? I ask myself as I head up Rodeo Drive toward Wilshire. Enough to put up with all the crap?
I hated being a waitress. I made a solemn vow to myself that I would not still be waitressing at forty. My thirty-five-year-old self would think I was so dang successful now, I should stand up and cheer. I make good money and have sold two books. The first one is just about to be released, so it hasn’t earned enough yet to allow me to focus on writing full time.
Is Bobbie right? Is my soul limping? Right now, I’m fondly remembering my waitressing days in Chicago, where I had more time for creative pursuits before and after work. Or are my Oak-leys too rose-tinted as I glance into the past?
Wow! Isn’t that Reese Witherspoon in that Rolls driving by? I walk a little faster and almost catch up at the light at Wilshire. The Rolls turns and I follow. I can see it turn again onto North Canon. I bet she’s going to Spago. I walk a little faster and am half a block away when I see a swarm of photogs, their cameras flashing like firecrackers. I can see a blonde making it inside the restaurant before being totally mauled.
I have to smile as I head back to Rodeo. She’s living the life I was pursuing. At the age of twenty, I left Washington and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams of an acting career—along with thousands of Kelly McGillis wannabes and Don Johnson posers. People used to mistake me for Molly Ringwald and even ask me for my autograph. I would walk down the street and hear, “Hey, Molly!” I’d wave and blow kisses. When I was waiting tables, a few customers thought I was Molly. I went along with it at first and signed their napkins. Finally, I asked the obvious. “Why in the heck would Molly Ringwald be waiting tables in West Hollywood?”
I have pictures of me playing up the Molly look, but I also loved Madonna. The photos of me dressed in her “like a virgin” days: hilarious! None of this got me anywhere in show biz, however. So to pay the bills, I moved on to waitressing along with the rest of the dreamers—just until I landed a part in some big movie that would make me famous. And rich. And allow me to live in Beverly Hills.
Not that doing anything in Beverly Hills isn’t a trip, if you know what I mean. In one of the first of my many stellar jobs, which was just across the street from where I’m right now, fogging up a window—sighing over a red Louis Vuitton handbag that I’ve already priced at $1,110—I often worked the busy Saturday lunch shift where I lost some of my naiveté very quickly. Ron, the manager-host, told us to seat the “beautiful people” outside on the patio so that passers-by could see them frequenting his dining establishment. The “less attractive” tourists were seated inside upfront, and the uglier ones, as he called them, were “positioned in the back.” I felt sorry for those poor schmucks— because they also got the slowest service. And the smaller portions. Sometimes they even got the least appealing or slowest selling food items. “What do you recommend on the menu?” the ugly folks would ask in good faith. “Oh, the dirt sandwich with onions and sauerkraut is my favorite. You’ll enjoy it.”
I begged to wait on the outdoor diners—celebrities, the rich and famous, the spoiled patrons juggling Chanel, Gucci, and Armani shopping bags. I was a bit jealous, of course, of all these privileged people, shopping and dining in Beverly Hills while I worked my ass down to a size zero at two restaurant jobs just to get by. I was waiting on Joan Collins, who came to the restaurant with a party of six. Dynasty was a top-rated TV show, and I did my best to please its star villainess, pouring more of this, fetching anotherthat. And then disaster struck. She called me over to her table. Her fork was missing. “This is an outrage!” she barked.
For all my work, she left me a $2 tip on a $120 tab. The woman was clearly typecast as Alexis, right?
My dream of getting work as an actress got squeezed into the crannies as the years flew by, and I accepted—but never liked—the restaurant work. I mean should be the one wearing fabulous designer suits at power lunches and dripping with bling at dinner—not serving these hoity-toities. I mostly just got lonelier and felt worse about myself. By age twenty-seven, I was still living alone, away from my family, and struggling financially.
But I was about to ride off into the smoggy sunset with Mr. Fabulous who would, I hoped, save me from the drudgery of two jobs so I could return to acting. I was working in a French restaurant in West Hollywood. Neither Tom Cruise nor Rob Lowe had taken notice of the adorable cashier at Le Bistro Brasserie, so I flirted with Bruno, the cute French sous chef who didn’t speak much English. I spoke French, so he chatted me up tout suite. I let him talk me into letting him crash at my place a few times— he lived forty-five minutes away and knew I walked to work from my little apartment. Success story that he was, he had no car and spent a fortune on taxi fares at night after work.
I must confess that I suffer from RAA syndrome, Rescues Abandoned Animals, and so I helped the guy out. Like, four times a week. He camped on my sofa. You can see where this is going. I mean a bed is so much more comfy than a lumpy couch. Bruno soon had an epiphany: Marriage would save us money. Somehow, it sounded sexy in French. Deep down I knew that he was using me, but I was so lonely. I said, oui.
What was I thinking?
A few years later, Bruno had a chance to work with two brothers who were opening a restaurant in Chicago. He asked me if I wanted to move so far away from sunny California. The only thing I knew about Chicago was that Oprah and Phil Donahue were there, and as one of my guy waiter friends who had visited many times told me, “It’s colder than a witch’s tit.” I had also heard that there was acting work available. I was sick of L.A. and said ouionce more.
I loved the Windy City and made some good friends, but the restaurant partners turned out to be very bad people, so, after a year and a half, we broke off our association with them. Bruno decided to take a job in Beverly Hills and move back to L.A. We didn’t have enough money to pay a moving company, so he went ahead of me; I stayed the summer, working two jobs waitressing in order to save enough for the move. I was so exhausted from waiting on tables day and night that when I came home, I often collapsed on the floor in tears, my three-and-a-half-pound Yorkshire terrier, Daphne, my only comfort. But at least I looked good. According to my friends, the fifteen pounds I dropped gave me a “gaunt catwalk allure.”
I finally made it back out to L.A. to be with Bruno, who had by then found his true passion in life: playing poker with the guys. I hardly ever saw him. I should have thought, Yay! I was so depressed, though, I thought I might have a nervous breakdown. I told Bruno that it looked like our marriage was falling apart and that maybe we should just end it. He said that would be just fine with him, since he wasn’t all that attracted to me in the first place.Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! I hated L.A., I couldn’t find a job, and I missed Chicago and my friends. I spent a lot of time crying my eyes out. On top of that, I just never got picked out of the studio cattle calls. I felt like I was nothing. After ten months back in the City of Angels—from hell—I decided to go back to Chicago and start a fresh life. This should have been a “woo-hoo moment,” but I was still a mess. Scars? It’s a wonder my heart still worked. I still have nightmares about those times.
After seven years of marriage, I filed for divorce, packed two suitcases, and put Daphne in my roomy Gucci knock-off handbag. My dad was living nearby in Anaheim with his second wife—my parents having divorced when I was about twenty-seven. He drove me to the airport. Waterworks gushing, I nodded as my dad kept pointing out that this was the best thing I could have done for myself. He was right. My outlook and therefore my luck was about to change.
Oh. My. God. I smell Italian food, and it draws me right out of my memory of those moronic times with Bruno. I’ve wandered along, enjoying the profusion of flowers blossoming along the center divide of Rodeo Drive. The pleasant summer evening is still light at almost eight. Most of the shops have closed, so I have the place virtually to myself. The flowers perfume the streets, but my nose also detects . . . money. No kidding. The air smells like new cars and aroma therapies and salons and perfume and leather goods.Eau de Moolah—that’s the scent along this street. I’ve reached the Rodeo Collection, small, yet the most expensive shopping turf on the planet. You can’t really tell from the outside though. Part of it is sunken with all this ivy cascading over the brick walls and marble columns. There’s an open courtyard three levels down with trees and a small waterfall. The pizza smell that is making my stomach growl is wafting up from a new upscale restaurant.
I love Italian food, but somehow I managed not to bulk up on it back in Chicago, where I worked in an Italian restaurant for the steady income. It was the first time I actually took charge of my life, and I began making a good deal of money doing TV commercials and getting small parts in films and print modeling work. I even had a couple of lines in the Mel Gibson film, What Women Want. Mel was very nice. I got to stand just a few feet from where he was doing his scene. I was so surprised to see what a heavy smoker he was. He would stand in front of the camera, puffing on a cigarette, and then when it was time to do his scene, he threw the lit cigarette on the floor in front of him. After his scene, he would pick it back up and start smoking again. Cig addictions—don’t even get me started.
I was happy there for five years. Chicago holds a special place in my heart—but life was about to call me back to California. I was home for Christmas at my mom’s house in Federal Way when the call came that my father was in the hospital with cancer. I called the airlines, got a ticket, and jumped on the next plane to Los Angeles, crying the whole way down and as I walked into the hospital. I looked at him lying in his bed, knowing that the time had come for us to pay the ultimate price for those damn cigarettes. The hold that cigarettes get on people is like a vise around the throat. Okay, I didn’t mean to go there, but knowing that he was going to suffer just about killed me.
The doctor came into the room and coldly announced that the diagnosis was terminal and that Dad had six months to live, at the most. Then he just turned around and walked out the door.
Neither of us could look at each other.
Then Dad said, “You think it’s too late for me to start eating that tofu and carrot juice you’re always trying to foist off on me?” We laughed and I hugged him.
Back in Chicago, it took me only five days to pack everything, close bank accounts, tell my boss I was leaving, say good-bye to dear friends like Rita—who would take care of Daphne for me— and hire a moving company. When I got back to California, Dad was no longer in the hospital. He had deteriorated so much that he was put into a nursing home. I spent days and nights at his side, crying and praying for help getting through this.
Mercifully he died a few days later. I was living at my aunt’s house, waiting for my things to cross the country from Chicago on a moving truck. The second hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do in my life was to drive over to the cremation place and pick up my dad’s ashes. I paid the four hundred dollars and was handed a cardboard box that weighed about ten pounds. I hid it in the back of the closet of the guest room that I was staying in.
That night, lying on the inflated mattress that was my bed for the next two months, I felt and heard a buzzing sound in my left ear. Then I heard the words in my dad’s voice, “We did okay, didn’t we? I love you.”
“I love you too,” I said.
I always feel Dad at my side in stressful times. Like right now.
I think he’s telling me to do what makes me happy. I feel in my heart that he helped me right after I moved back to L.A., back to Hollywood.
I planned on getting an agent and a job—in any line of work except waitressing—and start auditioning again. I finally found a cute little studio apartment in Hollywood that accepted dogs, a small miracle, and Daphne and I moved in. Decorating the place helped me cope with the loss of my dad, but I still felt very lost and lonely.
I did some French translation work and was also cast in bit parts as an actress. I began doing “audience work.” Yep, they actually pay people to sit in the audience at tapings of game shows and late-night talk shows. I had no idea “audience work” existed as a profession until my girlfriend, Anouchka, introduced me to it. It paid a pittance—six dollars per hour cash, sometimes more—but it was interesting. Getting on the Judge Judy show, for instance, paid a whole $40 for just sitting on your butt, staying awake, and looking interested while people bickered, ranted, and endured magisterial sarcasm.
One evening, I walked to a pharmacy up on Sunset Boulevard to get some vitamins. There I met an adorable little Polish woman from New York who also lived in the neighborhood. Sabrina and I became solid friends. We went to plays and comedy clubs together—it was a lot of fun. She introduced me to one of her girlfriends who was an agent. She signed me right away. In the meantime, Sabrina was always talking about a guy who lived in her building. She told me he was dating a gal, but it wasn’t serious.
I didn’t really care to hear about a guy who was “in a relationship,” but every time I saw Sabrina, she kept talking about this guy. She told me that he played piano at a place in Playa Del Rey. I can’t explain this, but I felt like my dad was nudging me. I was just kind of glowing with expectation the night I decided to go to the piano bar with Sabrina to secretly check him out.
I liked his music, the way he played the piano, and just . . . the way he looked: Latin, handsome, with a warm smile. He came over and sat with us during his break. When he was done for the evening, we all went over to Sabrina’s apartment and had a drink. We sat next to each other on her couch, and our lips, I don’t know . . . they just . . . somehow . . . locked like magnets.
I will receive a belated tip from an old actress for $62.37 (adjusting for inflation and interest accrual).
My happy clients shower me with appreciation.
My Dad watches over me.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Marla Martenson on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the tour:

10th May – Book Review at Devoted Mommy of 3
11th May - Orangeberry Book of the Day
12th May – Tweet Me A Storm with OB Book Tours
13th May – Author Interview at Richard Stephenson‘s blog
7th October – Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

@OBBookTours - Guest Post - LDC Fitzgerald

The JFK Conspiracy
by LDC Fitzgerald
Welcome! Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m author L.D.C. Fitzgerald, and I’m delighted to be your guest blogger today. My novel, SAVING JACKIE K, is a thrilling adventure to rescue the First Lady!
The story begins in present day, in a world where fifty years ago Soviet assassins missed President Kennedy, killing his wife Jackie by mistake. The death of Jackie K engenders a chronic devastating war with Russia, the country purportedly responsible for the attack. In 2013, a team of renegades accidentally discovers time travel and decides to return to 1963 to save the First Lady.
I’m often asked about the JFK assassination, and the conspiracy to cover it up. It’s a touchy subject; many people are passionate about their own particular views on who was responsible and what role Lee Harvey Oswald played. But it’s an enormously fun issue to debate!
Half a century ago, President Kennedy was touring five Texas cities, trying to garner support for the 1964 presidential election. On November 22, 1963, JFK landed in Dallas, and boarded an open limousine to embark on a motorcade parade through the city streets.
At 12:30 pm, sniper bullets struck down JFK as he rode through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Hundreds of horrified spectators heard the staccato gunfire, and witnessed the fatal headshot that spattered his Lincoln convertible with bloody tissue.
Eighty minutes later, Lee Harvey Oswald—an employee of the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza—was arrested for murdering dedicated Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit. While in custody, Oswald was accused of the presidential assassination as well. He had allegedly fired his bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at JFK from a window on the sixth floor of the book warehouse.
Despite the charges, Oswald never faced trial. Two days later, burlesque club owner Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald in the basement of police headquarters, as lawmen prepared to transfer the suspect to the county jail. The violence shocked an already grieving nation, when network television cameras inadvertently broadcast the execution on live television.
Kennedy’s successor, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to chair a committee tasked with investigating Kennedy’s assassination. After ten months of testimony and hearings, the Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted as the lone gunman.
Enter the most contentious controversy of the twentieth century. Was Lee Harvey Oswald a lone nut who assassinated the 35th US president? Or was Kennedy the victim of a conspiracy plot?
Subsequent to the Warren Commission report, official investigations corroborated the their findings, until the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was formed in 1976. Their report in 1979 confirmed Oswald’s three shots from the Texas School Book Depository, the third of which proved fatal to President Kennedy.
However, the HSCA also stated that “Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy,” and that “Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” Despite these conclusions, “The committee was unable to identify the other gunmen or the extent of the conspiracy.”
Five decades after the shocking assassination, most Americans agree that a conspiracy struck down the president, and suspect a massive cover-up of the truth. Why?
Oswald himself said, “I’m just a Patsy!” A man who previously defected to Communist Russia, was he set up by domestic or foreign agencies? The fact that Jack Ruby silenced Oswald two days later fuels this argument. There is speculation as to whether he even owned the rifle. His palm print was discovered, yet later mysteriously disappeared. And, Oswald hotly contended that photos of him with the rifle were doctored.
The number of shots has been disputed. The Warren Commission alleges three shots, two of which hit the president, including the “magic bullet” that went through JFK and landed in Governor Connally. And the fact that amateur video shows Kennedy’s head being blasted back and to the left leads viewers to the conclusion that the fatal shot was fired from the Grassy Knoll.
If a conspiracy struck down the 35th president, who was responsible?
The US was in the height of the Cold War with the USSR, and had recently squared off with Russia over the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet Union had planted nukes on Cuban soil, within range of the US. Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba which prevented nuclear war. So, the Russians clearly had motive. As did Fidel Castro of Cuba. Not only did Kennedy quarantine Cuba during the crisis, he also authorized a CIA-led attack on Cuba during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, a failed attempt to overthrow Castro.
Domestically, the CIA has been implicated. The Bay of Pigs mission failed in part when Kennedy scaled back air support. JFK fired the CIA director afterward, nonetheless. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, also sparred with the FBI over their lack of success in defeating the Mafia. And the fact that Robert waged war against the Mob makes them suspect as well.
Scores of other individuals and organizations have been implicated in the conspiracy. However, to date, no one has proposed a widely accepted answer to who conspired to kill Kennedy. Citizens of the world may well be left to wonder for decades to come.
For a thrilling fictional answer to the most notorious conspiracy of the twentieth century, I invite you to read my novel, Saving Jackie K.
Thanks for joining me today!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with LDC Fitzgerald on Facebook & Twitter

Follow the Tour
9th May – Author Interview, Guest Post & Book Feature at Talisman Book Publishing
1st June – Guest Post & Book Feature at Deal Sharing Aunt
23rd June – Orangeberry Book of the Day

Paris Love Match by Nigel Blackwell Release

Publisher: Bandit Publishing

Release date: May 2, 2013

Genre: Romance humorous

Age Group: New Adult

Paris Love Match

Getting a taxi in Paris can be hell.
Piers Chapman expected a boring business trip to Paris.
What he didn't expect was to fight over a cab with a beautiful girl.
After a bad meeting, Sidney Roux just wanted to hail a cab, go home, and have a glass of wine.
She didn't expect to fight over a cab with some pompous British tourist.
Neither of them expected another man to jump in their cab.
Or to be involved in a gun fight.
Or a car chase through the streets of Paris.
Or for the man to die.
But they're thrust together when the mob demands they return what the dead man stole.Will Piers and Sidney work together?
Will they find what he had stolen?
Will they stay alive?
And will they do the last thing they expected?
Will they fall in love?


(1) e-copy of PARIS LOVE MATCH. Books will be gifted from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Open International. Comment on this post about what you think about the book or my blog to enter. Leave your email address. One winner will be chosen on May 13.

About the Author

Nigel Blackwell was born in rural Oxfordshire in England. He has a love of books, a PhD in
Physical Chemistry, and a black belt in pointing out the obvious. As a teenager he toured Europe
and loved seeing the wonders of the world and the people in it. Since then he has been fortunate
enough to travel across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Japan, and hasn't been
anywhere that doesn't have the potential for a story.

He now lives in Texas with his wife and daughter, where they enjoy the sunshine and listen to the coyotes howl at night.


Piers slammed the taxi door and sank into a seat that had long since given up any effort to support its occupants. “Hotel Lafayette, si vous—“

The opposite rear door whipped open. Piers’ mouth froze half-open with his tongue poking out. His forehead wrinkled and his eyebrows inched closer together. The face of an angel stared at him and he glimpsed the mesmerizing curve of a tight-fitting skirt and long legs as she bounded into the taxi. The angel leaned back in the seat and undid the top button of a business suit. His thoughts danced uncomfortably between modesty and wanting to look at her cleavage.

She ran a hand through her long, jet-black hair, flipped one side over her ear, and turned to look at him with deep mocha eyes. She smiled, big and broad, intense and confident, a full thousand watts. Her high cheekbones and soft lips underlined her angelic presence. Tiny dimples rippled as she opened her mouth to speak.

Piers held his breath as the sight of her paralyzed his voice.

“Get out,” she said.

Piers blinked in shock. “What?”

“Get the fuck out.”

“What?” The wattage had gone from her smile, but Piers still feared his heart might stop as he looked at her. “But I—“

She leaned across him and yanked at the door handle on his side. “Go on, get out.”

The sounds of Paris wafted in through the open door, a hundred languages, all spoken at once.

“I beg your pardon, but I was here first.”


“Well, doesn’t that mean it’s my taxi?”

The voices outside turned to shouts.

She shook her head.

Piers sighed. “I hate to be rude, but I was seated before you arrived, and I was giving the driver the address when you got in.”

She huffed. “You are being rude. In Paris there is a certain etiquette regarding taxis.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Etiquette?”

She gave a patronizing smile. “I started for the taxi before you. That means it’s my taxi.”

The driver leaned back over his seat. “Will one of you tell me where we’re going?”

Her eyes remained locked on Piers. “I saw it first. And you’re just some tourist. Get out. I live here. I need a taxi.”

“Please. One of you tell me where we’re going,” the driver said, agitated.

Piers glanced at the driver. “Hotel La—“

She waved her hand in front of his face. “Non, non. Rue de—“

There was more shouting outside the cab then a large, wet man dived headlong through the open door and across the rear seat. The man rolled around, his elbows and knees digging into Piers. The girl lurched away from them.

Piers opened his mouth, but his throat closed up at the sight of a gun in the man’s hand. His heart thumped hard against his ribs. His arms locked solid and his legs felt like lead. He tried to swallow, but his mouth was dry.

The man waved the gun at the driver. “Vite, vite! Drive! Go!”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

@OBBookTours - Elle Campbell Guest Post

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
by Elle Campbell
Have you ever felt like you cannot do justice to all your thoughts? Have you ever felt that you need to learn to express yourself better? Have you ever read something you wrote and felt like it could be improved? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you have come to the right place. A writer is an artist who can make something come alive just by weaving a scene with words. It is not only about imagination. It calls for an uncanny ability to express what you feel, see and think. Still, developing your writing skills can be done by showing a little perseverance and determination. Here are some tips that will definitely help you become a better writer.
1)      Really look around- The key to becoming a good writer is to really observe what is happening around you. Search for inspiration in really mundane objects. Look around you and see what goes on. Clear your mind and you will see everything better and from a different perspective. Learn to see the beauty and raw nature of everything. Sit silently in a place that can really stir your imagination. It can be a crowded place or even a quiet corner of your garden. Pick a place and indulge your senses in everything that unfurls before you. Really see and listen.
2)      Read, read and read- Reading helps develop your brain and tickle your thought processes. You will learn different manners of saying the same thing. The various alluring ways in which authors present their thoughts and ideas will inspire you to develop your own unique style. Also, sentence formation and expression can be learnt by reading a lot of books. Amalgamation of opposites, blending incoherent ideas, mixing up the plot and adding some hint of mystery and uniqueness can all be derived from reading books. Books will help you have an active imagination and create a world of your own.
3)      Indulge your senses- Sight, hearing, smell, taste, etc all constitute important parts of describing something. In order to really describe something, feel it deeply. Think about how it will feel when placed on you, tasted by you or smelled by you. Do not be afraid to get your feet wet. Go and experiment if you have to. Close your eyes and think about what you are hearing. Focus on any one sense at a time to glean knowledge about the object. Change the angle in which you are viewing the object. Change your manner of viewing or hearing to know more.
4)      Passion- Have you ever noticed how nicely you can talk about something that inspires you or something that you are passionate about? The key to becoming a good writer is to be truly passionate about the subject you are writing about. Be sure to know the difference between passion and fanaticism. Venture out of your comfort zone and come up with new ideas that truly motivate you.
5)      Notes- Make a note of everything you feel, hear, see and think. In this manner, you will get into the habit of expressing yourself well. Also, your thoughts and ideas will inspire you later to delve deeper into a subject that you find interesting. Carry a notepad with you wherever you go. Know that each little thought passing through your head has the ability to manifest into something more. Give it the opportunity that it deserves.
6)      Interact with people- Interacting with people will definitely help you broaden your outlook. Knowing what their life’s story is, their trials and tribulations will help you see things happenings around you in a better light. You will be able to analyze more and you are bound to be more knowledgeable about human nature and psychology.
7)      Travel- Seeing all there is to see on this earth will help you gain knowledge and exploit innovative ideas. Also, travelling will help you describe things better. Be sure to mingle with the local people and be a commoner when you decide to see a new place.
8)      Go the extra mile- develop your language and vocabulary. Take a class if you have to. Learn the basic grammar and manners of expression. Consolidate you knowledge of the language in which you are attempting to write something.
9)      Use your imagination- A colorful imagination can come in handy when you are looking to improve your writing skills. View everything in a new light by adding some element of your imagination. Add depth to your thoughts by painting pictures of the words and scenes that you think about. Choose to look at everything that may or may not be happening through your mind’s eye.
10)   Write, write and write- Developing your skills will only be possible if you devote some time everyday to writing down what you think. Re- read what you have written and think about how it could be better. Make someone read what you have written and take their criticism positively. Maintain a journal and jot down what you feel and daily occurrences. Develop the habit of writing by putting aside some time specifically for this purpose.
Becoming better at something is only possible if you have the right amount of dedication and are willing to work hard. Becoming a good writer is no exception to this rule.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – NonFiction / Beauty & Fashion
Rating – PG
More details about the book
Connect with Elle Campbell on Twitter & GoodReads

Follow the Tour
7th May – Book Review at Book Lover’s Dream
8th May – Author Interview, Book Feature & Guest Post atTalisman Book Publishing
8th May – Twitter View with OB Book Tours
9th May – Book Review at Devoted Mommy of 3
9th May – Book Feature at Pages to Chapters
11th May – Guest Post at Richard Stephenson‘s blog