October Releases

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Release Event - Spotlight + Interview: Lane Changes (PI Cassie Cruise #1) by S.L. Ellis

Author: S. L. Ellis
Series: PI Cassie Cruise
Number in Series: 1
Release Date: December 20, 2014
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Women Sleuths
Presented byRock Star Lit

Synopsis from S. L. Ellis

CASSIE CRUISE wants her life back as a kick-ass P. I.
Trouble is, she has zero credibility since bungling a case on reality TV. After a public tantrum, she slinks off to bury her head in the sandy beaches of Southwest Florida.
Just as she starts over as the owner of The Big Prick tattoo shop, a body is discovered in the trunk of her burning car. Cassie’s aware there are those who’d get in line for their turn to torch her car. But murder?
You don’t have to like her, but you damn well better respect her. And get out of her way—this is one case she intends to solve, with or without an audience.

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How did you come up with the idea for this story? 
When we moved to Florida, we stayed for a time in a subdivision full of retirees. The neighbor across the way, however, was in her 30’s, blond, slim, and attractive. She just didn’t fit, which got me thinking about why she would move to a neighborhood of older people. Was she hiding from something or someone? And, well, you get the picture…

Where do you find your inspiration? 
I am inspired to write when I read. The better the book, the more I’m inspired and eager to write.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
I am easily distracted. Any shiny thing will get me going into another direction and I have to dig deep to find the will power to keep going and finish the story before beginning another.

What are your current projects? 
I am working on the next in the Cassie Cruise, Private Investigator series, and I’m 30,000 words into a historical (late 1880’s – early 1900’s) novel with a strong, female protagonist. She has visions of gloom and doom and, as you might imagine, isn’t the most popular person in the village when her visions come true.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Just that people aren’t always what they seem to be. They aren’t always what they present to the world.

Does music play any type of role in your writing? 
Music is an important part of my writing. I like to remind myself how few words make up the lyrics to most of the songs that I love. They tell a story and convey emotion in under 200 words. I strive to keep my writing tight while still telling the story.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life? 
Experiences are things (conversations, emotions, adventures, work) you’ve participated in and felt internally.

What books have influenced your life most? 
I loved and learned so much from a handful of biographies found in school libraries, but beyond those, any book written by Catherine Cookson, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart began my love of reading genre fiction.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest? 
It’s best to say “newly discovered authors” because my TBR pile/list is huge and an author may have been published for years before I get around to reading them. Authors who’ve recently caught my interest and have become an obsession are Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Hand, Ariana Franklin, Gil Adamson, and William Gay.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
I welcome all reviews. How else will I learn and grow as a writer if I don’t listen to my readers? I say all, but there is the one I’m not looking forward to reading. I recently gave a memoir writer (who I’ll not name), an honest two star review and she wrote a response comment blaming it on a “tussle” we had in a forum. I’m not looking forward to her “revenge” review only because I won’t allow myself to respond to it. I have so many clever and snarky things to say to her, but won’t give her any more of my time and attention.

How can readers discover more about you and your work? 
I have an author page on Facebook ( and my website is The blog posts on the website are written in Cassie Cruise’s voice, but I write the book reviews that you’ll see on that site.

Do you have a special time to write? How is your day structured writing-wise? 
I write wherever and whenever I get a chance. Sometimes it’s only a sentence or two, so my progress on most projects is at a snail’s pace.

Why did you choose to write [genre] stories? 
Genre stories are typically about characters and their actions, reactions, thoughts and behaviors. That’s what interests me and that’s what I write.

What is for you the perfect book hero? 
A flawed, tough-minded, person who’ll always stand on their own, but isn’t afraid to show their loyalty to their loved ones.

When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively? 
I’m not a plotter. I have key points written, but everything else occurs organically during the writing.

When and why did you begin writing? 
In 1996, I began my attempts at writing as a way to understand everything I was feeling when a family member was convicted of a very serious crime. The story was a failure as far as the writing, but I did come to terms with my feelings regarding the conviction.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? 
I needed (and still need) validation, so I didn’t really believe in my writing until I won a contest for a short story and it was published in an anthology.

List three books you have recently read and would recommend.
1. Two Guys Detective Agency, Stephanie Bond
2. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent
3. The Impossible Wish, Christine Nolfi

Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do. 
Most people would be surprised to know I was afraid of driving an automobile and avoided getting a license for a long time, but purchased and taught myself to drive a motorcycle in a matter of days.

Will you write more about these characters? 
Lane Changes is the first in the Cassie Cruise, Private Investigator series. My hope is to write about Cassie, Janice, RJ, and Brick for a long time.


About S. L. Ellis

S.L. Ellis came from a small town in Michigan, and after a few decades of winter she was ready for a fresh start. A move to Florida and a few days on the beach improved her disposition a hundred-fold, and it was here that writing became more than a thought. Classes were taken, workshops worked, and a few books written. 

Ellis's short story "A Brush With Death" was published in Vol. 12 DARK TALES, a UK magazine and reviewed by: Vince A. Liaguno, Dark Scribe Magazine, Anthology Reviews: "A Brush with Death is a solid, at times poignant, chiller in which a dying woman--who knows death well after a lifetime of obsession--makes a deal with the Grim Reaper. Ellis's keen observations on aging and death are spot-on." Her short story "If the Shoe Fits" was accepted for publication in HARDLUCK STORIES for its final issue. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and ITW.

Connect with S. L. Ellis here:
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Marked Blog Tour - Spotlight + Excerpt + $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: Marked (Dark Protectors #7) by Rebecca Zanetti

Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors
Number in Series: 7
Expected Release Date: December 22, 2014
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis from Rebecca Zanetti
Janie Kayrs has known Zane almost her whole life. He was her friend in the dream world. She trusted him. But that was before he kidnapped her, spiriting her away to an isolated cabin to learn what her dreams never told her. Like how dangerous he looks. How he got on the wrong side of the negotiating table. And how much sexier he is in real life…

Zane is a battle-hardened warrior, used to command and solitude. But Janie has drawn him from the minute they met. His need for her could destroy everything he’s worked for, but the risk is too sweet not to take it. They call her the Chosen One. But when it comes down to the questions of peace or war, life or death, safety or passion, it will be Janie who makes the choice…

RT Book Review:
“Marked is a fast-paced, excitement-filled explosion of action that will not disappoint. Zanetti brings the heat with the story of two people who are supposed to be enemies, but have a bond so strong that it cannot be broken. The characters’ inner and outer struggles and how it affects their families, as well as their people, defines the strength in them. Zanetti keeps getting better.”– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars Top Pick

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The dream world environment matched Janie’s mood. Gray, wet, and stormy. She stood beneath a sheltering pine, her gaze on the ocean. Rain splattered against rocks, competing with the spraying waves. She shivered, even in the dream world.
He didn’t keep her waiting.
Zane walked across the sand, combat boots leaving large indents. Rain beat against his dark T-shirt, outlining ripped muscles in an impressive chest. Cargo pants covered his powerful legs as they ate up the distance between them. Even through the rain, his green eyes sizzled in a masculine face. Soon, he reached her, his expression guarded.
So many questions whirled through her that her mind blanked. “Why?” she whispered.
Something flashed in his eyes, and those generous lips smirked. “Why what?”
That easily, that quickly, she roared from sad to furious. In one smooth, well-trained motion, she slid back a foot, pivoted, and nailed him in the cheek with a right cross. The hit shocked her probably more than him.
Zane’s head jerked back.
Pain ripped from her wrist to her shoulder. His jaw was made of granite.
Thunder split the imaginary sky in waves of blue and red.
He pivoted back toward her, danger cascading off him.
Her wrist aching, she punched again.
This time he blocked her, easily capturing her fist in one broad palm. “No fighting in dream worlds, remember?” he rumbled, closing his hand over hers in warning. The thunder clapped again as if in agreement, a deadly reminder of when Zane and Kalin had come to blows in a dream world that had nearly exploded.
Violence wouldn’t be tolerated in the dream worlds, and Janie tried to pull herself back to reality. To start thinking and stop feeling.
Too late. Regret, pain, sorrow—every emotion slamming through her ripped to the surface, and all she could do was fight. She slammed a fist into his gut and then pivoted to nail him in the thigh.
With a low growl, he took her down.
Her butt hit the sand first, followed by her head. Zane sprawled over her, one hand manacling her wrists above her head, his jeans soaking hers.
Fire lanced through her so quickly her breath heated. Well over two hundred pounds of hard-muscled warrior pressed her into the soft sand, making it nearly impossible to gain purchase and fight. Air panted out of her lungs, rubbing her breasts against him.
Desire flared her nerves awake, multiplied to the nth power by the fury consuming her. She struggled futilely against him, her hips bucking. This was her dream world, and she’d change it.
Sucking in air, she tried to concentrate.
Stop.” Zane gripped her hip, yanking her closer.
The world stilled as his groin met hers. An erection harder than steel pressed against her. Heat pooled at the apex of her legs, stunning her with need, and lava unleashed through her body with an intensity unmatched by any other feeling. Ever.
He groaned. “Don’t try to leave the world. We’re not done yet.” His hold tightened.
She bit back a whimper at the unreal thirst, fighting the very real urge to pin him with her thighs and rub against him to find relief. Any relief from the fierce demand gripping her body.
His hardness shut down her brain, and she needed to think. To focus and plan. “Let go of me,” she breathed out.
No.” He lifted his head to pin her with a hungry gaze. “I hadn’t wanted to talk this way, but here we are.”
Oh yeah? She blinked and tried to wake up in Oregon. Frustration welled through her when she remained in place. Worse yet, a horrible relief loosened her muscles as her body remained enveloped by his.
I have as much power as you here since I took your blood.” Pure fact and no triumph colored his words. “And you’re going to goddamn stay here and talk this out whether you like it or not.”
Okay. A bit of a vampiric ego there.


About Rebecca Zanetti

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and contemporary romances. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. Her current publishers are Kensington, Grand Central, and Entangled. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Her current series are: The Dark Protectors, The Maverick Montana Cowboys, and the Sin Brothers series. Upcoming series are: The Realm Enforcers and The Scorpius Syndrome.

Connect with Rebecca Zanetti here:
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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Mesmerized Blog Tour - Guest Post + Review + Giveaway: The Mesmerized by Rhiannon Frater

Author: Rhiannon Frater
Format: Mobi
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Pages: 244
Publisher: Permuted Press
Genre: Horror/Post-Apocalyptic/Science Fiction

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Synopsis from Goodreads
It is silence, not screams of terror, which proclaims the end of the world… 
Minji Nordim is vacationing in Las Vegas with her small family when she witnesses the beginning of a terrifying apocalypse. When humanity is transformed into mindless drones by a terrifying supernatural event only Minji appears to be immune.
Thousands die instantly, but the other affected people are drawn to the Nevada desert. Nothing stands in the way of the mesmerized. Not fire, not heights, not rubble. As the bodies pile in the streets and the relentless wave of the mesmerized plods into the deadly desert, Minji is trapped in a burning city attempting to rescue her affected family.Can one woman save her family and the world? 



Apocalyptic Inspirations
Rhiannon Frater

I’m a child of the 1970s. I grew up terrified of Jaws, fascinated by Star Wars, enraptured by Close Encounters of the Third Kind and frightened of disasters, natural and otherwise (Towering Inferno, Earthquake, etc). I’m also a child of the Cold War, and in the 1980s a nuclear apocalypse felt very tangible and real. The television movie The Day After solidified my fears of nuclear war. It seemed inevitable that the human race was destined to be eradicated. In both fiction and real life, humans appeared very talented in imagining a variety ways to bring on apocalyptic destruction. My childhood dreams were filled with mushroom clouds and nuclear winter.

It wasn’t until I saw Night of the Living Dead that I discovered the thrill of an apocalypse that had no chance of happening. Therefore, the movie was fun and scary. It was then I realized I like my apocalyptic scenarios to be rooted in make believe, not reality. Since zombies, Godzilla, Xenomorphs (Alien films) and pod people are the stuff of fantasy, it allows me to be scared, question myself on what I would do, and enjoy the adventure aspect of a story without the nagging real life fear of nuclear winter, pandemics, natural disasters, etc.

Writing about fantastical apocalyptic events allows me to explore human behavior in a “safe” environment.

In The Mesmerized, a supernatural event takes over the world bit by bit and only a few are immune to its power. The minds of those affected are completely subsumed, making them nothing more than puppets with the loss of free will and awareness. This is terrifying to those few survivors who aren’t affected since there is no way to stop the mesmerized from self-destruction. Once an area falls under the event’s power, the mesmerized began a long trek toward the epicenter and nothing (including the Grand Canyon) deters them.

My main character, Minji, is faced with trying to save her husband and two small children. The stakes are high for her and she spends a lot of time trying to rescue them on her own. I wanted to explore motherhood, loyalty, and love against the framework of an apocalyptic event where the mother is the only one who might possibly save her children. How far will she go? What is she willing to do? How can she handle not only the emotional burden, but the physical one of trying to get her family to safety?

These are all questions that can be asked of any person surviving a real life disaster, but placing it against the backdrop of a supernatural apocalypse allows both me and the reader to enjoy the adventure aspect of the story, too.


    The Mesmerized is a story about a woman named Minji who is on vacation with her family. They are enjoying themselves in the city of Las Vegas. Things are going great when out of nowhere, an attack happens. Everyone is frozen by a massive headache and some people die instantly. No one knows what is going on, but it keeps happening and it is spreading. People are being controlled by something that is moving them in one direction. Minji's husband and daughter are among them. She must do anything to save them. Minji seems to be the only one that can since she is immune. That immunity, however, means more than she realizes.

     Woooooow!!! Now this is sci-fi horror. Oh my goodness, if this isn't turned into a movie, I have officially lost all faith in Hollywood (whatever is left anyway). I loved Minji in this book. Her strength is so immense. She is a regular woman who has been set on such a seemingly impossible path. I loved that she didn't crumble and lose it even when she wanted to. Her family means everything to her and she will do anything to protect them. She is more lucky than most and she knows it.

     I also enjoyed most of the side characters. Simone was a godsend. She is a business woman who also has a husband and kids. But she is far away from her family. I love that she jumps on in to help Minji with her baby, Bailey, and Ava who is affected. Jesse and Alec were great especially Alec. He is quite interesting. Things really pick up when he shows up. Then we have Arthur. Arthur is the guy you would want to avoid. If there is an apocalypse, he is the guy you never  have at your back because he will only watch his own. He drove me nuts. There are times when you feel sorry for him. You do understand his frustration. However, I get the feeling, apocalypse or not, he was always an a**hole. He was just a terrible excuse of a human being most of the time.

     The story was incredible. I loved the mystery. The idea that people are so mesmerized by something they can't see is so interesting. People are walking and they don't care how. They drop from buildings, walk straight into lakes, walk until their injuries or the environment kills them. They are essentially zombies. They don't eat people though. They just walk to their deaths. I loved where the mystery of this outbreak went. Uncovering it all was such a captivating experience. Frater didn't hold anything back. She has once again delivered a story that was easy to get lost in.

    Overall, this is one hell of a story. The build up may be slow for some people. I loved it though. The pacing added extra suspense for me. Frater really makes sure that you know her characters and what they are about. It is one of many things I love about her work. You get very emotionally attached to her characters very quickly. Her books have made me tear up in the past and this was no exception. The connection to Minji was so strong. You can't help but think about what you would do in her shoes. We also get a couple of chapters where we see other people going through the same thing as Minji. They were a bit random, but you will understand why they are there. Again, may be strange for some. Nonetheless, this was one of a terrifying story. Once you start it, you won't be able to stop. There is still some mystery left with this story and it would be great to get more. However, given how this ended, it would beyond insane. Not sure if I could handle that. This book is a must-read. Frater is one of my favorites and this is one of the reasons why. Highly recommended. 


*This book belongs to the following challenges*
The Book Vixen's 2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge


About Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater was born and raised a Texan. Though she has lived in various towns all over the state, she finally settled in Austin, Texas where she met her husband and worked as a governmental consultant. 
During her travels for her job, she was inspired to write the story of two women fleeing into the Texas Hill Country in an attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse. Originally published as a serial online under the title AS THE WORLD DIES, she later self-published the series in three novels to satisfy the many fans of the story. The first novel in the series, THE FIRST DAYS, won the 2008 Dead Letter Award for Best Book (Fiction). The second book, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE won the 2009 Dead Letter Award in the same category. 

The AS THE WORLD DIES books were purchased by Tor in 2010.The first book, THE FIRST DAYS, was released in July 2011 and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The second, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, was released on November 8, 2011. The third book, SIEGE, will be released in April 2012. 

She is also the author of THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS, PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES: A Vampire Novel and two novels in the Vampire Bride Series (THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE and THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE). All her works have been optioned for either TV or film.

Rhiannon continues to live in Austin, Texas with her husband and is now a full-time writer.
She is represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry Literary + Media agency. 

Follow Rhiannon Frater Here: 
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The Mesmerized Blog Tour Schedule