Monday, June 18, 2018

The Fortress by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey - Book Tour and Giveaway

The war has not made much of difference in Alix’s life. Her father has seen to it that she grows up unaware, unworried, but safe in her tiny village under the cliffs of the Vercors. All around her he has built a fortress whose walls are impregnable—until the 27th of April, 1944. That day he makes a stupid mistake up on the cliff, and the walls of the Fortress start crashing down. Reality breaks into Alix’s life with unrelenting violence, unforeseen possibilities. From now on, every decision she makes will mean life or death


“Honey, if anybody’s looking for it up here, it means you’re already dead. So it won’t matter to you. Listen now. People will call you on the other phone, the one downstairs, and give you coded messages. As a rule it will be about movements in our direction, Germans, Militia, or even new recruits for our camps. Remember, the security of Mortval depends on you. Here is a list of codes. You must memorize all of them and get rid of the list.”

She started to read. “The strawberries are in their juice. Your walnuts were wormy. You can’t put rabbit in the cassoulet.” She looked up. “Are they all about food?”

“No. Read the next one.”

“Yvette préfère les grosses carrottes. Well?” 

“Well, it’s not about food.”

“Yvette préfère… Oh. I understand now. Did you come up with that one?” 

“I thought it would be memorable.”

“It’s lovely. I bet the British are impressed.”


What do you think makes a good story?

You have to stay far away from formulas, and trust your instinct and your emotions. Where do you feel good? Share that, and share it with passion. Remember that your characters don’t do what they do so you, the writer, will make money. They don’t care about how many books you’re going to sell, or whether you will be famous. They’re not your puppets, they’re not your slaves. If you want your story to be good, write for the story and not the money. 
Now, at a more practical level, it’s amazing what fifty rounds of editions will do for your story. My first draft was abysmal, although I did not know that, thank God, or I would have never submitted it.

What was the hardest part to write? 

For me, it was technical. I am not a writer, not even a native English speaker. I struggled with the American writing format, POV—French people don’t care about POV, anthropomorphism, and even commas. My agent was very patient with me, and although I stood firm against a few of his recommendations, he is the professional touch behind the project. 

What profession would you choose if you were not a writer?

I don’t identify as a writer. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher. I am Christian, I am a woman—but not a feminist. In fact, I am nothing that ends in ist, unless it’s individualist. My day job is teaching a wonderful bunch of non-verbal high-schoolers, a real challenge for someone who lives to share ideas. The positive side is that I won’t get in trouble with my school district for jumping on my soap box and voicing politically incorrect ideas. I like to work, it provides a wealth of details and ideas I can adapt to my stories, particularly the MS I’m working on now.

Do you have any unusual writing rituals?

Yes, of course. A French notebook—thick, silky paper with special lines, a couple of drinks, and Finnish Death Metal. My favorite are Wolfheart, Insomnium, Ghost Brigade, and Swallow the Sun. Sometimes a little Beethoven.

What’s next for you?

My agent said I should do a sequel, but I think I’ve said everything I had to say on the subject, so I am working on the contemporary tale of a young school teacher who is entrapped in a scheme to cast her as a terrorist. There are strong political and religious themes, as well as a romantic element. I guess you could call it a tale of modern resistance. 

Do you prefer ebook, paperback, or hardcover?

Anything but a ebook. I have lots of shelves at home, and there’s a special pleasure in looking around at millions of pages, knowing they’re part of who you are. 

Any last words?

If my four hundred pages make it to someone’s bookshelves and contribute something positive to who they are, I will be happy.


About the Author

Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey was born in the French Alps, moved to the United States twenty-five years later, and currently lives in the mountains of Virginia with her husband, two daughters, and Mikko.


Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Moments of Disarray by Megan Hart - Book Blitz and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan Hart will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Alex Kennedy knows he's a rascal. A rogue. An arrogant bastard. He wreaked havoc on his best friend's marriage by falling in love with his best friend's wife, and now he's trying to move on. Sex, drugs, booze, boys, girls and toys. He's hell-bent on forgetting the past and running toward a future he doesn't believe he deserves, only to discover the truth in moments of disarray.

Read an Excerpt:

“Hey, man.” Jamie moved as though he meant to hug Alex, but held back at the last second.

Their hands clasped, grasped. Alex tugged. Jamie moved toward him. They hugged, hard, a bro hug for sure, minus the back-slapping. It softened after a few seconds. Jamie buried his face against Alex’s neck.

Alex held him.

Only that, not wanting to let go, not wanting Jamie to let go, either. Dampness on his neck. Jamie’s tears.

Alex clung tighter, a hand stroking over Jamie’s hair, then cupping the back of his neck. He whispered, “don’t, please. Don’t.”

Jamie pulled away to look at him. “I’m sorry, man--”

“Don’t,” Alex said again. “You don’t have to be sorry. Okay?”

“But it’s my fault everything got so messed up,” Jamie insisted. “I should never have asked you to sleep with her —”

Sleep with her. Like that’s all it had been, something base and somehow shameful, something without meaning. It turned Alex’s stomach to think of his time with Anne like that. Meaningless.

“Don’t,” Alex said sharply. Jamie stopped.

Alex couldn’t tell Jamie that he loved her. Jamie had given his permission for it, his blessing, and now he regretted it. But Alex didn’t and never could, because he could never wish away that love. He could pray for it to go away, not that he believed in any kind of god that would grant that request, but he could never wish that he’d never had it.

Jamie kissed him.

About the Author:

Megan Hart writes books. Some of them use a lot of bad words, but most of the other words are okay. She can't live without music, the internet, or the ocean, but she and soda have achieved an amicable uncoupling. She can't stand the feeling of corduroy or velvet, and modern art leaves her cold. She writes a little bit of everything from horror to romance, though she’s best known for writing erotic fiction that sometimes makes you cry. Find out more about her at, or if you really want to get crazy, follow her on Twitter at, Facebook at and Instagram at

Buy link: The book will be on sale for only $0.99.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Labors of an Epic Punk by Mark and Sheri Dursin - Book Tour and Giveaway

Mac is an epic punk. No wonder: after his dad went off to fight in the Trojan War and never came back, Mac spent his childhood evading his mom's scumbag suitors—all one-hundred-and-eight of them. Of course, he turned out this way—a moody, friendless sixteen-year-old who blows off work, alienates everyone at school, and pulls pranks. But when he trains a flock of birds to defecate on the headmaster, Mac (short for Telemachus) goes too far. The administrators give him an ultimatum: prove that he's truly the son of Odysseus by doing something heroic—or get out. A school story that just so happens to take place 3,000 years ago, Labors of an Epic Punk is a tale of friendship and transformation, regret and redemption, and a reminder to us all that even heroes need to survive adolescence.


At that moment, Mac felt a prickling sensation as the hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood on end. Instinctively, he shouted, “Get down!” as he threw himself and Homer into the sand. He looked up to see a single arrow buzz over their heads.

“Homer!” A voice—gruff, but unmistakably female—boomed through the courtyard. “How many times do I have to tell you? Stop following me!”

Mac looked in disbelief down at Homer, pinned underneath him. “I said I knew her,” Homer shrugged. “I didn’t say we were best friends or anything.” As they both stood up, Homer called out to their secret attacker, in a lame attempt to sound chummy, “Hey, Andie! What’s up?”

“How did you find me? Did you follow me? Did my roommate tell you? She told you, didn’t she? I’m gonna kill her!”

Homer glanced nervously at Mac before calling out, “So, what are you doing way out here?”

“Why should I tell you?” the mystery girl shouted back. Meanwhile, Mac’s eyes flew around, trying to determine the source of this shouting. As he squinted, he could make out someone, silhouetted against the sun, half-hiding at the top of one of the stone towers.

“Now, get out of here,” the voice called out. “This is my beach!”

“Well, OK, but first, how ‘bout you come on down?” Homer continued. “My friend and I want to ask you something.”

“You don’t have any friends, you freak!”

“As a matter of fact, I just made one. Come on down, I’ll introduce you.”

Guest Post

Writing tips to new authors 

“Just enough.”

Apparently, that was E. L. Doctorow’s answer whenever anyone asked him how much research he did for his historical novels. And we’d like to pass on that same advice to new authors.

Now, we fully acknowledge that this advice is more than a little infuriating. After all, how do you know what ‘just enough’ research is? In fact, we only “got” what Doctorow meant when we started working on our own mythology-based YA novel, LABORS OF AN EPIC PUNK. Our novel is not historical, by any stretch. But it is indebted to mythology, so the process required a fair bit of research.

For example, the Minotaur features prominently in our novel, so we had to explore all the different legends surrounding that character. We have a chapter involving the Oracle at Delphi, so we had to research how that whole thing worked. We wanted to include some less popular myths, so we dug around until we found the story of Marsyas, a man-goat hybrid who basically challenges Apollo to an ancient “battle of the bands.”

In short, we did a goodly heap of research, but probably only half of it made it into the final draft of the novel. And why? Because it is a NOVEL. We were writing a narrative, not Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. We wanted to avoid long, information-heavy descriptions that could potentially take readers out of the story. If we had unearthed in our research a detail that was really cool but it didn’t service the story—if we realized we put it in there simply because it was cool—we had to cut it.

So how much research did we ultimately include in LABORS OF AN EPIC PUNK? Just enough. 

Writers can actually apply Doctorow’s “just enough” advice to so many aspects of the creative process. World building, for example: yes, you need to give readers a sense of your environment, but pages upon pages just describing the setting gets tedious real fast. Or symbolism: scarlet letters or white whales lose their effectiveness if you come right out and say what they “mean.” Or word count: why say in twelve words what you can in ten? In each of these cases, “just enough” suffices.

We definitely could say a lot more about this topic, but we don’t want to ramble on and lose you. As it turns out, the “just enough” rule also applies to blog posts!

About the Author

For many years Mark, a high school English teacher, and Sheri, a freelance writer and blogger, wrote independently. No matter the writing project—newspaper articles, retreat talks, college recommendation letters, fan-fiction, blog posts on spirituality or 80s pop songs—they tended to work alone. Separate rooms, separate computers. But raising their twin sons helped them discover an important truth: All Good Things Come in Twos.

Mark and Sheri Dursin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway