Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BURN ME by Shelley Watters: Exclusive Excerpt

Shelley Watters is back on the blog this week with an exclusive excerpt from her firefighter romance, BURN ME. It releases today from Swoon Romance. Be sure to grab your copy.
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Burn Me
When Katrina Hale's brother dies in a house fire, she's determined to prove she's stronger than everyone thinks she is. But grief can do strange things to a person and Katrina knows all too well how the death of a loved one can change a person. As the romance in her current relationship fizzles, she focuses on her work and fights the undeniable attraction she has for Greyson Neal.

Firefighter Greyson Neal is the type of guy girls dream about. But Greyson isn't interested in other girls. He wants the one woman he can never have: Katrina. As the two struggle with their feelings, Kat must choose between her career and her heart, and fight to keep them both when an arsonist threatens to take it all away.

“Shut up and sit down.” For such harsh words, his touch was gentle as he lowered her to sit on the bumper. He handed her an oxygen mask, which she pressed against her face and inhaled, effectively camouflaging the hitch in her breath when he shrugged his bunker jacket off his wide shoulders.

She studied his face as he started on removing her bunker jacket. Worry lines etched into his broad forehead, his oh-so-kissable lips stretched tight in a frown. Kat flinched at the direction of her thoughts and averted her gaze. Eric would kick her ass if he knew she was having lusty thoughts about his brother. Hell, she should kick her own ass for thinking of her boyfriend’s brother like that. But it wasn’t her fault the Neal boys had struck the gene pool lottery when it came to looks …

“Seriously, I’m fine.” She tried in vain to stifle the heavy wheeze as she inhaled the pure oxygen. Guilt and unwelcome desire battled deep in her gut as she watched his large, tanned hands deftly unhook her jacket one metal loop at a time. Her eyes traveled up his arms to where his heavily muscled biceps strained at the thin cotton of his Chandler Fire Department t-shirt. His dark brows knitted in concern over his deep brown eyes. She’d never noticed the golden flecks that swirled in their chocolate depths before.

His hands came back up to unzip her jacket. The rip of the metal tines as they released rang in her ears. The air was cool on her overheated skin when the protective jacket fell open. A twinge of self-consciousness made her nipples tighten when the cool air suddenly caressed them through the sweat-soaked cotton of her t-shirt.

Greyson’s hands hesitated for a moment before he shoved the jacket from her shoulders. She rolled her neck as the heavy weight fell away. He finally raised his gaze to hers and something more than concern smoldered in their depths.

About the Author
Shelley Watters grew up in Tucson, Arizona and currently resides Chandler, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a focus on Women’s Health Issues and continued on to get a Master’s certificate in Public Health Epidemiology. After serving many wonderful years in the public health sector as an Epidemiologist, she left the field to raise her family and re-discovered a long-lost passion: writing. While her days are filled with extra-curricular activities, her nights are devoted to slinging words across the page. Her novels sizzle with the heat and passion that only growing up in the southwest can bring.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WHITE HELLEBORE by Nicole Zoltack: Exclusive Excerpt

Writer Wednesday returns with our guest blogger, the fabulous Nicole Zoltack. Celebrating the release of her newest book, the second in the Heroes of Falledge series, she's sharing an exclusive excerpt.
About White Hellebore
After destroying Skull Krusher, Nicholas Adams thinks Falledge is safe and becomes a security guard at the museum, watching a valuable statue. Unfortunately, the Egyptian statue houses the soul of a scorned witch, biding her time to have her revenge on the descendants of her cheating lover.

Kiya the witch isn't the only new foe in town as the drug that created Skull Krusher has now transformed a scientist into yet another monster, forcing Nicholas to don his Black Hellebore mask again and save Falledge.

Nicholas has no help this time as Kiya gains possession of his love Julianna's body and brings the soul of Justina, Nicholas's high school sweetheart and Julianna's twin, with her. Despite himself, Nicholas is torn between the sisters. If he can't stop the fiends from taking over the world and destroying humankind, he'd never be able to find lasting, true love.

"Ready for your present?" His low voice sounded huskier than normal.

Nicholas placed a thin rectangle gift on the table and quickly yanked off the crushed bow. Maybe his super speed had ruined it. At least the present was still wrapped perfectly.

"Never knew you could cut a corner so tight."
"There're a lot of things you don't know about me."
A challenge. She touched her lips with her fingers. "A little mystery suits you. But not too much."
Beneath the wrapper was a decorative box. Inside, rested on a cushion of red, lay a silver pen. Julianna lifted it. It had some weight to it, and engraved on it was "Ace Reporter: Julianna."
"Do you like it? Gavina thought I should have gotten you jewelry, but you hardly ever wear necklaces."
"No." She touched her tiny diamond earrings, a present from her parents after she graduated college, the only piece of jewelry she consistently wore.
"And then she suggested flowers..."
But flowers had always been Justina's thing. Funny that a girl who spent her time running around, chasing cars and stars and dreams, would bother to plant flowers. Not that she stayed still long enough to prune them or tend to them or weed them. Her flowers had been just like her -- wild and free. A small patch of them still bloomed in the springtime every year in a corner of their parent's yard.
"And I know you aren't a reporter--"
"Let alone an ace," she said dryly.
He winked at her, but she could sense his apprehension. He so wanted her to like his gift. "You would have been if you went to school for journalism. Heck, you could quit being sheriff and become a reporter tomorrow. I know you could."
"Why not Julianna Paige?" She traced her finger against the indentations.
"Ah, well... There was a character limit." He chuckled, toying at the collar of his blue golf shirt. He'd left the top three buttons undone, and she could just glimpse the swell of well-formed pecs.
"Um." Julianna grabbed a napkin and wrote, "I love this pen more than you," and slid it across the table.
Now his laugh was carefree. "A pen won't make you coffee in the morning."
"You don't know. You're too busy sleeping after wandering the streets for no reason as Black Hellebore. Plus, we don't live together."
Yet hung in the air.
"Pens can't kiss you," he persisted.
She placed the cold metal against her lips and kissed it.
"Pens can't kiss back," he said hoarsely. He stood, leaned across the table, and lowered her hand. She closed her eyes, ready to accept his kiss, when their waitress cleared her throat.
"Would you like another flask of sake? Are either of you interested in dessert?"
Nicholas looked like he wanted to shove the dessert menu back in her face, and Julianna didn't disagree.
"No thank you," they said together.
About the Author
Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Nest Pitch Hunt is Now On!

Nest Pitch agent round is now on! 

The Slush Bilbies have sorted through the entries to help the Nest Bloggers whittle down the entries. Now the top seventy-two entries have made it through and are waiting for agents to hop on by to make requests.  

Please remember that until the agents have finished making their selections, comments are for agents only. If you want to cheer on your favorite prior to then, you can do it in the comments of this post.  

Between now and 8am April 19th USA EST  

To find out more about the Nest Pitch Easter Pitch Hunt go here and the Rules and Conditions here. You can find the full schedule here and the participating agents here.   

Here are the entries for Team Ninja: 

You can find the rest of the entries snuggled safely in the other bloggers nests: 

Brooke Powell    
Jeffe Kennedy       

Good luck to everyone who has made it to here. May your nest be filled with lots of chocolaty requests. 

Nest Pitch TM8 Why Knot?

Title: WHY KNOT?
Category/Genre: Adult Women's Fiction
Word Count: 95,000

Pitch: Scarred by past abandonment and reeling from a layoff, newlywed Sophia’s distressed when she discovers she’s pregnant. Now she must confront old wounds or risk losing her husband and the baby he’s always wanted.

If the MC was an Easter egg... Sophia is Rocky Road flavored: sweet like chocolate, soft like marshmallows, but hardened like nuts.

Sophia aced most tests she took in her life; but once, just this once, she hoped for a negative result. Drawing in a long breath, she tried to steady her shaking hands as she picked up the pregnancy test from the marble vanity. Like a fortuneteller looking into a crystal ball, she peered through the plastic cover. She grabbed the box and read the instructions: “A (+) sign in the round window indicates a 'pregnant' result. A (–) sign in the round window indicates a 'not pregnant' result.” A huge plus sign stared back at her from the stick, alerting her to the new addition in her body.

Her vision blurred as tears filled her eyes. She wiped them away, opened the plastic bag, and shoved the pregnancy test and empty box into it. As she jammed the bag into the garbage bin underneath the sink, she felt more like a teenager hiding a pregnancy test from her parents than the married woman she’d been for over a year and a half. But she wasn’t ready to tell Terrence. She knew what his reaction would be.

She left the master bathroom, shutting the door firmly behind her as if she could quarantine the newly acquired information. The intense fatigue she had felt over the past few weeks now made sense, and she knew she had to rest before work. Walking to the window in her room, she closed the blinds, blocking out the setting sun. Her king-sized bed had never looked so appealing. She pulled back the black and white embroidered bedspread, and slid underneath it. Shutting her eyes tight, she did what she did best when life was too stressful; she hid.

Usually, just lying in bed and resting every limb of her body helped her escape whatever stress she faced.

Nest Pitch TM7 Writ of Shadows

Category/Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 60,000

Pitch: A thirteen year-old necromancer and her friends search for artifacts controlling the sinister Druidic Council while she struggles to learn the highest form of magic—the spells that would prevent the destruction of her world.

If the MC was an Easter egg... An Easter egg? I guess a crystalized blue sugar shell with anise-lemon ganache inside.

Ennara recoiled from the lifeless pansy on the long stone table. Here in healing class at least, she should be free from the dark magic that flowed uncontrolled from her fingertips. But the flowers weren’t supposed to be dead. Nothing in this class was supposed to be dead, only injured. Resurrection was reserved for upper grades.

She glanced around the classroom. At the end of her bench, Kithe’s mop of black hair quivered as he flicked the petals of a wilted daisy. At least her best friend’s flower wasn’t quite dead. Professor Inunsolus, cloaked in the thick brown robes of the holy druid, hunched over a table at the front of the room. Two daughters of prominent Druidic Council members stood on the opposite side of the bench attentively examining a vibrant rose. A stone healing font, white mottled with black and gray, bubbled lazily in the corner. Water from an ancient spring in the fortress was piped directly into the class for their training. Even though she’d been in Icelan for a year, she still found herself surprised by the strange combination of homey and other-worldly the buildings Icelan contained.

“Miss Gaern, is there a problem?” Professor Inunsolus’ deep voice rumbled from the front of the room, breaking Ennara from her introspection.


Twenty students, children of the ruling classes of Lan, turned to look at her. Inunsolus frowned, his clear eyes darkening under shaggy white eyebrows. He strode to Ennara’s table and peered at the plant before her. He lowered his voice, but not enough to keep nearby students from hearing. “It’s the simplest healing spell I can teach you, but if you aren’t up to it we can start you with blessings—”

Ennara wanted the old man to like her, but something about him seemed hard, shut off.

Nest Pitch TM6 Who Do You Love the MOST?

Title: Who Do You Love the MOST?
Category/Genre: Picture Book
Word Count: 490

Pitch: Siblings one-upping and crazy exaggerations are balanced by the unwavering of Mother’s love in the 490-word PB, Who Do You Love the Most? Laugh and smile along while Aiden and Amy weave their wild tales.

If the MC was an Easter egg... Half pink-strawberry, half blue-blueberry. These two are scrambling for best placement on the egg!


Amy and Aiden flew down the stairs. 
“Mom -” cried Amy.

“Who do you love the most?”  interrupted Aiden.
Mom hugged them close.  “You know my answer.  I love you both the same.”
“You can’t love us EXACTLY the same,” said Amy. 
Aiden agreed.  “We’re too different!” 
“What about all the fun you and I have playing in the park?” said Aiden “We bounce so high on the seesaw that we rearrange the clouds and write our names in the sky.   You don’t do that with Amy!”
 “And I love doing that with you.”
“What about when WE play in the park?” cried Amy.   

Nest Pitch TM5 The Ledge

Category/Genre: MG Adventure
Word Count: 36,000

Pitch: A mountain adventure bonding trip for two brothers results in a tragic climbing accident and a near-death experience for one of them that unravels a lifelong secret kept by their parents.

If the MC was an Easter egg... If my main character were an Easter Egg, he would be MacGyver-flavored because he is clever, calm and brave in dire survival situations.


With wide eyes, Bryce slid feet first like a seal out of the Jeep, and dragged his backpack behind him. He dreaded the week ahead, not because of the challenges of mountain survival, but because he knew he couldn't count on his big brother, Jack.

Dad stuck out his hand to Jack for a goodbye handshake. He winced as Dad pumped their fists together. “Take care of him, you hear?” 

Jack nodded once.

Dad half-hugged Bryce. “Be good, son. Listen to your big brother and stay together no matter what. 

Bryce stiffened. He hated being the little brother. Why do I have to listen to Jack? I'm the one who knows the wilderness, not Jack. I'm the one who knows how to build a fire and set a trap and keep warm in a rainstorm. He also knew that Jack wasn't one to listen to anybody, let alone his little brother.

Back in the Jeep, Dad waved out the window and drove away. Bryce blinked at the tears that threatened to betray his fear of being left alone with Jack.

Jack stood next to him, but it gave Bryce no comfort. He looked up at sixteen-year-old Jack with his broad football shoulders. Bryce was short and lanky, only thirteen, and his feet stuck out too long. Mom had told him not to worry; he was still a kid. She assured him he'd grow, but Bryce wasn't convinced.

As soon as the jeep turned the corner, Jack shoved him. Off balance with his backpack, Bryce teetered over a log, landing smack on his behind in a patch of prickly-pear cactus. He couldn't tell if it was the pain or Jack's laughter that caused his eyes to flood. He scrambled up and lunged at Jack, who jumped out of the way, and Bryce connected with a fist-full of air.