Monday, April 24, 2017

Lisa Harris & Donna Schlachter | New Novel News

by Lisa Harris

Published: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Revell
Purchase: Pursued

Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine--up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing--and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.

Get to know Lisa...

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning?
Brush my teeth. First thing.

What are the names of your pets?
We always have a bit of a zoo at our house, having over the years dogs, cats, hamsters, and rabbits. Right now we have four dogs, Arya, Harley, Tobias (Toby), and Nadia, plus two kittens, Cleo and Jasmine.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to? 
So hard to choose, but I’ll say Venice. Beautiful and so romantic!

Connect with Lisa:

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The Pony Express 
by Donna Schlachter et. al

Published: April 3, 2017
Publisher: Barbour Books
Purchase: The Pony Express Romance Collection

Books centered on the Pony Express, which ran from April 1860 through November 1861. The Pony Express already seems to be a romantic snippet of Americana, and so it seemed to make sense to write a collection of historical romance set on the trail. My story, Echoes of the Heart, features a mail order bride responding under an assumed name, a crippled station master who thinks no woman will want him, and their search for a future—together or separately.

Get to know Donna...

Favorite season?

What's your favorite chore?
Washing dishes.

Would you rather go to the future or go to the past?

To the past. I think I was born about 50 years too late.

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. Her current release, Echoes of the Heart, a 9-in-1 novella collection titled "Pony Express Romance Collection" released April 1. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She will be teaching an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers in June 2017, “Don’t let your subplots sink your story”. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both.

Connect with Donna:

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Patricia Beal {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Patricia...

Patricia Beal has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature and worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Her feature story on a day in the life of “Bad Luck Squad” in Iraq won a Keith L. Ware award in print journalism. She’s an Army wife for life, an Army editor, and forever a ballerina. Patricia writes from El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children. A Season to Dance is her first novel.

Connect with Patricia...

Blog: (group)

Get to know Patricia...

You and Writing

Hi Emilie! Thanks for having me on the blog 😊

The desire to write a novel came thirty years ago, when as a teenage girl back home in Brazil, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist touched my heart. I wanted to do that to people, touch their hearts with a simple story that had something to say about the human condition. But I didn’t have a good idea until much later—2011. That’s when I started working on A Season to Dance.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book....
A Season to Dance is the story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, the two men who love her, and the forbidden kiss that changed everything. But it’s more than big dreams and dreamy suitors. It’s about a young woman trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with misguided career and romantic pursuits.

Here’s the best part: I wasn’t a Christian when I started. The story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and for most of my life I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important. But in the summer of 2012, an early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired and lonely, and I freaked out. Big time. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god, if there was a god at all.

Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn't find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely—and this time surrounded by a darkness and a hopelessness that was brand new and incredibly scary.

Then Jesus passed by, and where I saw the end, He saw the beginning. He fought for me, lifted me out of what had quickly become a murky and joyless existence, and brought me into His perfect light.

I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I canceled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a 14-month rewrite. This book, A Season to Dance, is the book that wrote me. I journeyed with Ana and soon (May 9!) others can journey with us.


Let’s talk about your writing life....

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
If you have a great novel that’s not selling because of the market, write a different novel. If you have a great novel that’s not selling because the writing is not as mature as it needs to be, keep improving the same novel, or you’ll repeat the same mistakes in the next one.

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
Three hundred (in about four years), and I’m shooting low. No wonder I had a breakdown—three hundred rejections will do that to you. Good thing Jesus was there to pick up the pieces.

Are you a Panster or Plotter?

What did you learn along the path to publishing that you’d care to share as encouragement?
I learned a lot along the way. Here are a few things I did right that I highly recommend. I worked with freelance editors and coaches, went to writing conferences, and built an online platform. One of the main reasons my agent offered to represent me was because the manuscript was polished by two people he knows and trusts: Gloria Kempton and Jeff Gerke. I met all the big players in my career (and writing friends!) at conferences. St. Louis 2014 was my first Christian conference and, while there, I met a young woman with a weird dream. She’d just finished a masters in technical writing and was looking for a job editing fiction—her passion in life. Edit away! Have fun! We exchanged cards. Her name? Marisa Deshaies. A year and a half later, I got an email from her saying she’d been working for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and had just been promoted to managing editor of one of their newest imprints. She’d been following me on social media since we’d met, loved everything about my online presence, and was dying to see my proposal. Two weeks later she requested the full manuscript, and in four days my agent had an offer.

Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?

Absolutely! Here are my favorites:

For writing: The First 50 Pages, by Jeff Gerke.
For writing for the right reasons: The Search for Significance, by Robert S. McGee.
For deep POV: Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.
For encouragement: Victim of Grace, by Robin Jones Gunn.
For book proposals: Step by Step Pitches & Proposals, by Chip MacGregor with Holly Lorincz.
And my newest favorite: The Story of With by Allen Arnold. What's the fuss all about? For me, this book gives me permission to be sane when the whole world screams, "do more." I'm sure it's many things to many people. It addresses our addiction to approval, the toxicity of expectations, and the uselessness of pursuing control and even balance. Revolutionary. A must read.


Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
When I write, yes. When I edit, no. I have to organize a playlist for A Season to Dance. From Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev to Blake Shelton, there’s a little bit of everything. Here’s one of my favorite songs from the novel. It’s in Chapter 7 and it’s called “Come Home” by OneRepublic. It touches me every time because the need to come home spiritually is so central to the novel, and after all these years, I’m still so in love with the story, its people, and their brokenness.

What is your favorite season and why?
My favorite season? A Season to Dance! Lol…

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
I like stories that transform me. Books that I will remember forever. The genre is secondary. And I'm a sucker for a good tearjerker. Ah, the power of a good cry…

Thanks for all these fun questions! 😊

Thanks so much Patricia! Fellow readers, check out this awesome giveaway Patricia is offering - a copy of the move Letters to Juliet. Enter below:

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How to Create Memorable Characters (One Quirk at a Time) by Karin Beery | Guest Post

Welcome Karin to the blog, readers! She's got a great guest post lined up for you as we continue our talk about characters and characterization!

* * *

How many people want to hear the story of a pretty, blonde high school cheerleader who’s popular and dating the most popular guy in school? Sounds cliché, doesn’t it?

There are reasons that stereotypes exist (when I visited the Louvre in Paris, I followed a group of Asian tourists through the museum – I now understand why Asian tourists always have cameras with them in movies). Those stereotypes can work for some of your secondary characters, but your main characters have to stand out, otherwise they’ll blend in with all of the other characters people read.

So how do you create characters your readers will remember?

Give your character a quirk. Not a dozen quirks (otherwise your character can become stereotypically quirky), but that one thing that makes him or her memorable. If your character didn’t have that quick, he/she will be just like everyone else.

Consider the high school cheerleader from the introduction – now imagine that she’s a vampire slayer. Suddenly Buffy’s a lot more interesting! (The movie version, not the TV version.) It didn’t take a bucket of quirks to make her memorable; it just took one truly unique characteristic.

Not convinced?

Think about some of fiction’s most memorable characters – what makes them stand out?

Captain Ahab started his career like every other sea captain, but then he lost his leg. Certainly other captains lost limbs and suffered injuries at sea, so what sets Ahab apart? His obsession with getting revenge on Moby Dick. If Ahab wasn’t obsessed, he’d be any other captain.

Harry Potter doesn’t seem like anything special either. He’s a young boy. He’s a wizard. But so are all of the other students at Hogwarts. His quirk? He has a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. In this case, Harry’s quirk was something that happened to him, but the impact is the same. If he didn’t have that scar, he’d be like every other young wizard.

And then there’s Spock (he’s not literary, but the same principle applies). If he were Vulcan or human, he might be like any other Starfleet officer. What makes him unique is his human-Vulcan lineage – the battle between logic and emotions. Straddling the border between two worlds is his struggle and his quirk.

It doesn’t take a lot to make your characters memorable. It just takes that one special trait.

Look at the characters you’ve written. What quirk can you add (or have you added) that makes them unique?


Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery specializes in fiction and professional business copy. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the American Christian Writers Association. A Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network member, she is the Substantive Editing for Fiction instructor for the PEN Institute. Karin is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, Join her at PENCON 2017 May 4-6, 2017 to learn more about creating authentic characters.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Jen Turano, Dana Mentink, and Tamera Lynn Kraft | New Novel News

Behind the Scenes 
by Jen Turano

Published: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Bethany House
Purchase: Behind the Scenes

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn't guaranteed to "take." After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she's finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym "Miss Quill."

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it's simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she's determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she'll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there's more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . .

Get to know Jen...

What actor/actress would play you if your life was a movie?
Since my life isn’t nearly exciting enough to be made into a movie, I’d have to say the only actress who’d sign up to play me would have to be a very obscure actress – one who has no aspirations of making a name for herself on the big screen.

What are you reading right now?
A non-fiction book, “Silhouette in Diamonds – the Life of Mrs. Potter Palmer” by Ishebel Ross. It was written in the 1960’s and gives a fairly nice glimpse into Bertha Palmer’s life. I currently have one of my characters, Miss Temperance Flowerdew, taking an unexpected trip to Chicago, which is why I needed to read up on Bertha. I’m also thinking about doring a book with a heroine being banished to Chicago because of an unwillingness to marry a Duke, so I’m sure I’ll be reading more on that fascinating city throughout the year.

What’s one chore you hate doing?  
Making the beds – mostly because it’s something that has to be done so often, as in every morning.

Connect with Jen:

Enter to win a copy of Behind the Scenes
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Dangerous Testimony
by Dana Mentink

Published: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Love Inspired
Purchase: Dangerous Testimony

Four weeks before she's set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband's memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer.

Get to know Dana...

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning? 
I have to have quiet prayer time before my family and naughty dog wake up. If I don't have this, my whole day is thrown off!

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power? 
The Finder of Lost Things! Seriously! How it is that my teens can't find anything from socks to their car keys?

What actor/actress would play you if your life was a movie? 
Honestly, it would be Lucille Ball. I'm just that much of a cornball!

Connect with Dana:

Enter to win a copy of Dangerous Testimony:

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Alice's Notions
by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Published: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Desert Breeze
Purchase: Alice's Notions

In this quaint mountain town, things aren't always what they seem.

World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn't know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn't know who she can trust.

Get to know Tamera...

If your book became a movie, who would you cast for your main characters?
This one is easy because Alice Brighton, the main character, always thinks of what 1940s movie star each person reminds her of. Her late husband picked the movie star she looked like – Judy Garland. Rick, the male main character would be Cary Grant. Yes, I know they’re no longer alive, but this is my fantasy. If I had to choose someone alive today, Alice would be played by Jennifer Lawrence.

If your main characters were animals, what would they be?
Alice would be a cat. She wants to be independent, but she still needs love. Rick would be a bear. He barks out orders but is still fuzzy and lovable.

Coffee or tea?
Tea. I am a tea snob. In the morning, the first thing I do is make a cup of Teavana tea. My favorites are Black Pearl and Yunnan Puree. In the afternoon, I like Joy, White Earl Gray, or Monkey Picked Oolong. In the evening, I like Sweet Dreams.

That’s all for now. I need a cup of tea.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shannon Taylor Vannatter | Author Chat

It's getting warmer outside so I'll be doing iced coffee with coconut today, but make sure you've got something to sip on as we chat with Shannon Taylor Vannater today. She is...

...a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market.
Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her family, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.

Let's get real...

Would you rather live in a story world you’ve created for a year OR live three days in a story world someone else has created? If second option, which story world?
Mine. That way I’d be sure to get a happy ending.

How many words do you write a day? 
If it’s a bad day – 1,000. If it’s a good day and things are flowing – 2,000 to 2,500. The most words I’ve ever written in a day was 6,500. The story was flying from my fingertips. I wish that would happen more often.

Least favorite food?
Spinach or turnips. Entirely too green. I figure that must be what grass tastes like.

If you were forced to do karaoke what song would you pick?
Amazing Grace. My son has fought sleep since he was three weeks old. I used to rock him to sleep and sing Amazing Grace. It was the only song I knew all words, all the verses, and I could sing over and over. When he was a toddler, he hated the song because he knew it meant sleep. He’s fifteen now and still hates to go to bed, but he is learning to appreciate the power of a good night’s sleep.

If your book became a movie, who would you cast for your main characters? For Landry – Isla Fisher. I used her for inspiration while I wrote the book. For Chase, I don’t know this cowboy’s name. I found him on Pinterest.

What is your favorite mode of transportation: plane, train, or car?
Car. I’ve never flown and don’t plan to. I never liked the idea of it and a plane crash in the Florida everglades several years back cinched it for me. Imagine surviving a crash to be eaten by crocodiles. Shiver. I’ve never rode a train either, but that might not be so bad. I’m not afraid of dying since I know where I’m going. But I’d prefer to go peacefully, not in panic mode.

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning?
Coffee. I can drink it any time, even right before bed, and it doesn’t keep me awake. But it seems to help me wake up in the morning. And I’m so not a morning person.

What does a ‘normal’ day look like for you?
During the school year, I get up at seven, which hurts me since I’m a night owl. I zone out while my son gets ready for school since that’s all I’m capable of at that hour. I hug him before he leaves and my husband takes him to school. My husband is a full-time pastor, so he hangs out at the church or visits people most days. I wear an oversized T shirt and big stretchy shorts or warm ups. I brush my teeth and hair. I’m at the computer by 8:00. I write until 2:00, then get dressed in my public clothes and put my makeup on.

I don’t answer the door before 2:00 unless you’re here to fix my air-conditioning or my internet. Not because it’s my writing time, but because I don’t let anyone other than close family see me unfixed. I’ve always been that way. We pick up our son from school, then we go somewhere or come back home. If home, my husband and I usually work on flea market projects for our booth or some home remodeling project, while our son fishes or hangs with friends. By seven or eight, we’re finished with our projects. We visit or watch movies together until ten or eleven.

In the summer, I get to live my night owl tendencies. I get up at ten, spend most days with my family, then write from ten until two a.m.

Question for Readers: Are you a morning person or night owl? What kind of schedule do you keep?

Connect with Shannon...

Giveaway details: Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Winning Over the Cowboy. Eleven copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from April 3 -20. One winner will receive a fishing themed memory board personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special because my son loves to fish as do the characters in the book. Great for displaying kids or grandkids or as a gift for the little fisherman in your life. Deadline April 27th. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on April 29th. Go to my website and sign up for my newsletter to enter more giveaways and get a free book download.

The Rancher Stakes His Claim

When she inherits half a dude ranch after losing her best friend, Landry Malone is determined to see Eden's legacy flourish. That is if her friend's broad-shouldered cowboy brother will give her the chance. Chase Donovan isn't happy that his sister left their family business to an outsider—and he's determined to test Landry's mettle, hoping she'll give up her claim. Soon Chase is impressed by Landry's ability to rise to every challenge he puts in her way—and worried that his attraction to the perky spitfire seems to know no end. Finally working together to ensure the ranch's future, will their business partnership be the foundation for something more?

Purchase: Winning Over the Cowboy

Monday, April 10, 2017

Irene Hannon & Desiree Williams | New Novel News

Sandpiper Cove
by Irene Hannon

Published: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Revell
Purchase: Sandpiper Cove

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish. Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different—and better—future planned for them than either could imagine.

Get to know Irene...

Favorite season?
Spring. It seems so full of hope.

What's your favorite chore? 
A chore, by definition, is something you’d rather not do. So I have no favorites!

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning? 
A cup of hot chocolate and a piece of my homemade bacon/cheese cornbread.

by Desiree Williams

Published: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Independently Published
Purchase: Illusionary

Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.

Alice fell down a hole.

Wendy flew to Neverland.

Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.

No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.

Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.

Get to know Desiree...

Favorite season? 
Spring! Hands down. I love how the world awakens and brightens after the dreary gray of winter. Everything becomes so vibrant and green, not to mention all the beautiful blooms. *sigh*

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power? 
Hmm. With so many cool powers out there, it’s hard to choose. But for me, I’d love the power of speed. Not only could I run super fast and visit amazing locations, I would be able to tackle and dominate my mountain of a to-do list in record time. Which would, of course, leave more time for reading, eating chocolate, and creating memories.

If you were stranded on an island what are three things you couldn’t live without? 
Necessary items aside (like food, shelter, weapons, etc), I don’t think I could live without lip balm. I can handle having leathery sunbaked skin, but not crunchy lips. Next, I would have to have a hair tie. My curly hair has a mind of its own and requires something to wrangle it in. If hair products aren’t available, a nice strong hair tie would be enough to force it into submission. Lastly, books. Must have them to fully enjoy my tropical environment.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Titanis: A Quiet Professionals Novella by Ronie Kendig | Re:View

Secrets, romance, tension, and heart-pounding action set against the backdrop of a stunning Austrailian landscape. Titanis is a wild and passionate ride you won't soon forget.


Ah, reader friends, I cannot explain to you the depth of my LOVE for this novella! It was soooo wonderful! Coming on the heels of the other full-length, Quiet Professional's novels (Raptor 6, Hawk, and Falcon) this is a wonderful follow up and a look at Titanis and his life.

Set against the stunning and varied landscape of Australia, we get to see this brooding hero on the heels of all that happened in book 3 (which I won't spoil for you here). I loved the look into his life, the amazing setting of his impressive yacht, and the struggles he must overcome to reajust to life after the military.

Enter Ellis and her secrects, the very things that Titanis can't abide. She's sweet, passionate about her work, and more than a little intimidated by Titanis--for good reason. He's earned the name "The Beast of Cape York" and she gets a front row seat to his dogged determination.

I absolutely loved the interplay of these two characters. The tension, romantic and otherwise, is expertly written, drawing you in, and the building anticpation of the plot will make you read straight through to the end. I'm already thinking of when I'll read it again!

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves romantic suspense, romance, or just AWESOME writing. You won't regret getting a copy of Titanis!

My rating: 5*
Purchase: Titanis: A Quiet Professionals Novella

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