Welcome to my place in the blogosphere! Fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and chat awhile!

*A message to my readers and followers*

This is my new blog but it's really just another version of my old one. I had problems with the comments on that one so I've decided to start again.


I'd hate to leave all my followers behind so if you wouldn't mind FOLLOWING ME AGAIN on this blog, (In the sidebar on the right)I'd be eternally grateful. I really apologise for the inconvenience - but blame it all on Google Plus - I don't'want people to have to join that just to be able to comment on my blog. Thanks so much for your patience (If you do follow me and I'm not already following you, leave a comment or drop me a message and I'll be happy to return the favour.)

Monday, 21 April 2014

No Refuge - Anne Nicholls Review and highlight

No Refuge
Known Universe
Book 1
Annie Nicholas

Genre: Space Opera/Science Fiction Romance

Publisher: Lyrical Press/Kensington

Date of Publication:  April 7, 2014

ISBN: 9781616505295

Number of pages: 94
Word Count: 24,000

Cover Artist: Renee Rocco

Book Description:

Hunted to near extinction by an alien race called the Ko, my people have run from Earth and drifted so far among the stars we can’t remember the way back. We live everywhere, but call nowhere home. The Ko want us erased from existence and memory. They don’t even want our DNA in the space dust. Humans disguise themselves as other alien species and hide in plain sight. It’s the only way we can survive.

I believe in the myth of Earth. I’ve even discovered a bona fide book written in the dead language of my people. My man, Brody, dreams of a secret human colony. He’s searched for years, hunting any rumor we’ve run across, and finally he’s made contact. Usually, he’s the one grounding me to station and keeping my head out of the atmosphere. Time for me to return the favor…that is, if I can ditch the Ko who’ve discovered me, thanks to my incessant artifact-hunting. If we don’t make our rendezvous, and the Ko don’t kill me, Brody just might…

CONTENT WARNING: Aliens, cargo ships, and a fast paced race against all odds.

My Review*

As a Science Fiction or 'space opera'  writer and reader, I was looking forward to reading this novella and I was not disappointed.  The action is fast and furious, and the characters are engaging and likeable.

Imagine having to disguise yourself as an alien race and be in fear of your life every day.  This is the way the two main characters, Lucy and 'her man' Brody have to live.  The powerful race of aliens known as the Ko would kill them if they suspected they were actually human. Lucille, like Brady, longs to find Earth and manages to purchase an illicit ancient human story book, featuring humans celebrating Christmas with a Christmas tree.

When Brody tells her he has been has arranged for a meeting with someone who knows the location of a secret human colony, she can hardly believe it.  However, they are to face many perils and unexpected events before the  end of the story, and find friends in unexpected places.  The love between Lucille and Brody is evident, and I liked the way he cared for her, and looked out for her, even though she is, herself, a very strong and capable character. The way these two love each other and the sacrifices they are willing to make, each for the other, is very touching.

There are some fairly steamy scenes, but nothing too explicit and they are in keeping with Brody and Lucille's relationship. I  was rooting for them to succeed in their quest to find the Earth colony and look forward to being able to read Book 2.

About the Author:

Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon’s ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the
restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.

Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.

Website: www.annienicholas.com  

Blog:  www.annienicholas.blogspot.com 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Annie-Nicholas#!/pages/Annie-Nicholas/162716537103705 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annienicholas
 
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3132972.Annie_Nicholas 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/annienicholas/    

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/yt8Kv 



Tour wide giveaway

$50 GC to either Amazon or B&N winner’s choice

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Cover Reveal - When Camels Fly

When Camels Fly by NLB Horton 
Publisher: NLBHorton, via Amazon’s White Glove (May 15, 2014) 
Agent: Mary Keeley at Books & Such Literary Management 
Category: Contemporary suspense, thread of Romance Tour Date: May/June, 2014 Available in: Print & ebook, 370 Pages

A mother’s fatal shot. A daughter’s deadly choice. In Israel, archaeologist Grace Madison shoots her daughter’s abductor. Seconds later, a handsome shepherd drops from the sky to kill a second assassin. Their world changes in two blinks of an eye. Unbeknownst to them, a fiercely ambitious evil is destroying everything in its path—the unconventional path Grace and Maggie take. They struggle to right a wrong as old as time, and discover time is running out in the race for their lives. Family and friends are swept into their vortex, extinguishing old flames while igniting new loves. While the scale tips dangerously toward disaster, millions of lives hang in the balance. And the mother-and-daughter team soon realizes nothing is as it seems. Even each other. Because choosing what’s right is all that’s left.

Advance Praise for 'When Camels Fly':
"When Camels Fly brings an interesting twist to the typical suspense novels that I read. Usually, some man is the main character, who swoops in to rescue the girl, solve the mystery, and set all things right. Not so with this novel. The main character is a delightful woman named Grace, who is a brilliant archaeologist, but definitely no Indiana Jones. More comfortable digging and researching than getting involved in international "incidents," Grace is lured (or dragged, she'd admit) into intrigue and danger when she discovers her daughter, Maggie, has been kidnapped. Like a mama grizzly, Grace heads out to find and rescue her daughter, get the bad guys, and make her daughter comply with her demands (essentially, go home and stay out of trouble). But Maggie has uncovered a disastrous plot that could affect the entire Middle East. And only Maggie (and now Grace) can do something to stop the mayhem and evil.

When Camels Fly, of course, has intrigue and suspense, action-packed scenes, some fun humor, and vivid descriptions of Israel and the Middle East that will make you think you're there in the middle of the action. But its strength really lies in its characters, in particular the mother-daughter relationship with its friendship and tension, which will have you rooting for the dynamic duo. These women are intelligent and strong. No swooning here, readers. And for those readers who still love a bit of romance, this novel provides twists and hints at love blooming. There's married love (the reader watches a "real" marriage between Grace and her husband and how they process the struggles of staying in love after decades), love lost but possibly found (Grace's son and "the one" he let get away, to his great distress, or did he?), and love begun (Maggie meets a potential "one" or two suitors).

The first in a series, you won't want to miss When Camels Fly. It's a fun read-maybe even something you could read with your mom!"-Ginger Kolbaba, author of Desperate Pastors Wives and A Matter of Wife and Death.

"NLB Horton's debut novel, When Camels Fly, incorporates features I have never before encountered in one novel: suspense, science, family, religion, and Middle Eastern intrigue. Middle-aged archaeologist Grace Madison, Ph.D., binds these elements as heroine, and my inner feminist cheered her, and the cast of characters, from the first page through the last.

The Madison women - Grace and daughter Maggie, a hydrologist - are very human and very smart. Their relationship is complex, but loving and insightful, and laced with humor. They wrestle with moral questions in intelligent and intuitive ways, and are unafraid to do the right thing to protect family and produce the greater good. Mark and Jeff Madison, Grace's husband and son, respectively, provide backup while working through a complicated relationship of their own, and attempt to rescue women who are completely capable of rescuing themselves. The characterizations of this mature family are worth the price of the book.

One charming surprise - and there are many in this novel - is Grace's octogenarian seminary professors, former spies for Mossad who converge in Israel and Jordan to assist the family they hold dear. Their espionage skills, masked by the perceived harmlessness of the elderly, allow them to move about undetected, and assist the Madison family in creative and unexpected ways.

Another unique aspect of When Camels Fly is the incorporation of science and history as backdrops for the storyline. Horton's enjoyable and interesting depiction of hydrology and geology are well researched, and give legitimacy not only to herself, but also to her characters. The technical knowledge isn't overwhelming, but provides a solid foundation that increases the story's tension.

From drugged kidnappings and shootings at the Western Wall to a minor-key version of The Commodores' Brick House in Jericho, When Camels Fly empowers women and family in an entertaining adventure. Unstoppable women, well-placed humor, and critical contemporary issues make this book my top read so far in 2014, and I'm watching for news of Horton's second manuscript, scheduled to release later this year."- Leigh Bennett, Reader

"I picked up When Camels Fly, and I couldn't put it down because the dramatic opening hooked me.

Right off the bat, the relationship between Grace Madison and her grown daughter, Maggie, was committed, funny, and endearing - ideal, actually. They're smart, adventurous women stranded in Israel, running for their lives, initially unaware that Grace's husband Mark and son Jeff are in hot pursuit.

Author NLB Horton's vigorous dialogue moved the story along, and portrayed each character as uniquely intriguing. Her descriptions of Israel and Jordan were an enjoyable way to learn more about that part of the world, and it's obvious she's "been there, done that." I felt as if I were in the markets and atop the camels, participating in the story. One of the most interesting aspects of When Camels Fly is that it's contemporary suspense from a woman's viewpoint, set in a part of the world normally filtered through a male lens. And it presents the region in a realistic, approachable way.

I particularly appreciated Horton's strong portrayal of the squadron of elderly intelligence agents. I don't think I've ever encountered a novel in which senior citizens (and I am one) were crafted with such lively respect.

The Madison family is a refreshing, healthy model in the world of contemporary literature, where dysfunctional or overly simplistic family portrayals reign. When I discovered the end of the novel alluded to the story continuing in the next book in the series, I was delighted. I look forward to continuing the adventure begun in When Camels Fly."- Lillian Bohannon, Reader.

About NLB Horton:
After an award-winning detour through journalism and marketing and a graduate degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, NLBHorton returned to writing fiction. She has surveyed Israeli archaeological digs accompanied by artillery rounds from Syria and machine gun fire from Lebanon. Explored Machu Picchu after training with an Incan shaman. And consumed afternoon tea across five continents. When Camels Fly is her first novel. Her second, The Brothers’ Keepers, will be available November 2014. Website: http://www.nlbhorton.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NLB-Horton/289059931145461 Twitter: https://twitter.com/NLBHorton Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nlbhorton/



Monday, 14 April 2014

The winner of my Amazon Gift Certificatefor the MFRW Blog hop is:

***D-r-u-m- R-o-l-l***


Stacey Smith


Congratulations Stacey, your prize is on its way.  

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog, commented and followed. I appreciate each and every one.  I hope you enjoyed the Blog Hop as much as I did and that you'll join me for the next one.

Have a great week and a lovely easter.  I'll be in Wales visiting my family so hoping for good weather!


Friday, 11 April 2014

Hop here for the great MFRW Spring event



Welcome to the MFRW Spring Fever Bloghop! The Next button at the top of your browser is a gateway to some fantastic authors, or you can choose any name from the scrolling list on our banner.

If our navigation bar disappears anywhere, clicking the bloghop banner in the post you're reading or using your browser's back button will bring it back.

Happy hopping!


Welcome to my post for the 
MFRW Spring Fever Blog Hop


Spring is finally sprung! Time flies, we're over a quarter of the way through the year already!

It's been a long winter in the UK. The weather hasn't been too extreme in the area where I live, but it's been wet and miserable - until last week when spring suddenly arrived.   The sun came out and it was really pleasant outdoors.

This picture is of the track down to the bridleway. The farmer has prepared the soil ready for sowing and the cheery daffodils sway their heads in the breeze.












The  crocuses in my garden decided it was safe to show their flowery faces without being soaked with rain or blown to pieces, while the daffodils were actually in bloom for St David's Day this year (March 1st and the birds are building their nests.

I love this time of year, the spring flowers are so fresh and colourful and the hedgerows are beginning to turn green  again and nature is bursting with  new life.


Last week I was able to take the horse's blankets off  and let them feel the sun on their backs for the first time this year. 

It's quite hard to stay indoors when it's so nice outside. Soon it will be warm enough for me to take my laptop into the garden so then I'll have no excuse for not working on my next futuristic romance, which I have a feeling might turn into Steampunk.

Easter is just around the corner, so to finish I thought I'd mention the origins of how we celebrate this Festival. The name Easter actually comes from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess, originally of the dawn. In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor. According to my research:
 
"In primitive agricultural societies natural phenomena, such as rainfall, the fecundity of the earth, and the regeneration of nature were frequently personified.

One of the most important pagan myths was the search of the earth goddess for her lost (or dead) child or lover (e.g., Isis and Osiris, Ishtar and Tammuz, Demeter and Persephone). This myth, symbolizing the birth, death, and reappearance of vegetation, when acted out in a sacred drama, was the fertility rite par excellence."(The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001)

"The name of a feast,
according to the Venerable Bede, comes from Eostre, A Teutonic goddess whose festival was celebrated in the spring. The name was given to the Christian festival in celebration of the resurrected Eostre. It was she who, according to the legend, opened the portals of Valhalla to receive Baldur, called the white god because of his purity and also the sun god because his brow supplied light to mankind. It was Baldur who, after he had been murdered by Loki, the enemy of goodness and truth, spent half the year in Valhalla and the other half with the pale goddess of the lower regions. As the festival of Eostre was a celebration of the renewal of life in the spring it was easy to make it a celebration of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus. There is no doubt that the church in its early days adopted the old pagan customs and gave a Christian meaning to them."


So, like Christmas the early Christians adapted the pagan Festival of Eostre and it became our Easter.  So, technically we should refer to Easter Sunday, as 'Resurrection Sunday' as this would be a truer name for what we are celebrating.

 I'll leave you with a question.  What is your favourite season?  Do you like the cold beauty of a snowy winter and Christmas, the gold and red of autumn glory, Halloween and Thanksgiving, the richness and warmth of summer, Holidays and trips,  or like me the freshness and newness of spring and Easter?

Leave a comment and 'follow' my Blog if you would, and I'll put you in the draw to win a $10.00 Gift Cert) Or the equivalent in pounds if you live in the UK)

 I hope you have a lovely Easter or Resurrection Sunday, and I wish you a beautiful spring.


You can also read a FREE fantasy short story 'A Bargain With Death' on my page at The Wild Rose Press (You'll have to go through the 'checkout' precedure, but don't worry, you won't get charged.)






                        



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Renegades - Review, Giveaway and Guest Post


 Renegades
Sara Mason


Author Bio:

Sara Atherton Mason was raised in Somerville, Massachusetts, with an amazing immediate and extended family. She attended Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, graduating with highest honors in Chemistry. She then graduated from the Florida State University College of Law with high honors. She lives in the Florida with her toy poodle, Melvin, and clerks for a United States District Court Judge. She enjoys coffee, wine, sports, and science fiction television shows. 


Author Links -


Book Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 31, 2013

Buy Link(s):




Book Description:


Elora Pertin spent her life trying to please her father, an esteemed General for the Empire. 

When he convinced her to leave her quiet life as a scientist to advance a secret project for the Emperor, she had no idea what she was getting into. The seemingly innocent projects she engineered were actually being used to develop a genocidal weapon. After uncovering the Emperor’s plot, Elora had no choice but to act. 



Elora finds herself fighting for her life against the Empire she once served, abandoning everything with only a handful of friends and an unlikely ally—the Emperor’s deadliest assassin. Will he prove himself true as her protector, a loyal servant of the Empire, or a romantic distraction? With the law and assassins searching the star system for them, Elora and her team are determined to accomplish their mission . . . or die trying.

My REVIEW

If you enjoy a good adventure SF 'space opera' style story, with good, strong characters and a page turning plot 'Renegades' is for you.  I found S A Mason's debut novel a quick, easy read and the characters were well drawn, varied and likeable. Oh apart from the Emperor Unyasa, of course.  It's difficult to find anything very likeable about him, but then, he is the villain in this story, even if he does believe he is acting to protect the planet. 

Mordecai, on the other hand is something else! At first he seems nothing more than a cold blooded assassin, although the first description of him: "He was tall with shaggy dark hair, slightly curly on the ends. He had a strong jaw, and as she moved up his face, she saw he was looking at her in the mirror. His eyes were dark—almost as black as his clothes." had me intrigued from the start. There is more to Mordecai than is initially apparant and he has reason to be the way he is.

Elora is devoted to her father, and agrees to leave the well paid job she enjoys, on the planet she has grown to love, to participate in a secret project for the Emperor, but she soon realises that if she proceeds with the work it will mean the annihilation of a whole planet. She might be anxious to please her father, but she is far too strong willed to meekly obey without regard to the consequences.

The supporting characters are likeable too.  Nigel her bumbling and slightly gauche colleague is a brilliant computer geek and finds it hard to hide his love for Elora and hopes his affection will eventually be returned. Bylis and Zovani, who own a starship and unintentionally become involved in the plot to thwart the emperor's plans, are brothers who are very different, but also interesting in their own right.

There were a few editing errors here and there,  'crumbled clothes' :) and the odd shift into present tense, but not enough to mar my enjoyment of the story. The story is fast-paced, moving swiftly toward a nail biting climax, and there are a few surprises before the last page is reached; I now anxiously await the author's second book Redemption.

Excerpt :

Back in her room, Elora tried to come up with another plan. If her father couldn’t—or wouldn’t—help, she had to find someone else. Just finishing and going home was not an option. She tried to focus on the weapon, but was preoccupied with thoughts of her father. What was he involved with? How could he involve her in the development of an illegal weapon? He had been her rock and best friend since her mom died when she was so young. If she couldn’t trust her dad, whom could she trust?


She had just closed her eyes to practice the meditative techniques she learned on Naruta when she was suddenly pulled out of bed to her feet. She felt the strong arms of a man on either side of her head. Instinctively, she tried to jerk his arms away because she was sure he was about to break her neck. Her head was pulled so far to one side she could feel the muscles in her neck tearing apart. Then he stopped.


Elora could barely see the mirror in her peripheral. The man’s black monochromatic attire made him hard to see in the dark room, but she could make him out against her body. He was tall with shaggy dark hair, slightly curly on the ends. He had a strong jaw, and as she moved up his face, she saw he was looking at her in the mirror. His eyes were dark—almost as black as his clothes. Just as suddenly as he pulled her out of bed, he released her.






Friday, 4 April 2014

Title: Blackness Awaits (Book #2 of the Blackness Series)
Author: Norma Jeanne Karlsson
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Thriller
Release Date: April 2014
BlacknessAwaits_eBook_Final

Synopsis

As he enters the room looking like death personified, lifeless and haunting, she knows…blackness awaits. Aaron Kavanagh is not to be trifled with. He’s powerful, commanding, fierce and currently homicidal. The only thing that matters in Kavanagh’s world is Shannon Kelly. She’s the beat of his heart (yes he has one) and the peace to the fury that constantly simmers within him. Without her, his life is empty and barren. Someone took what is his and he’ll stop at nothing to get her back.

 Dylan Kellerman is lost. The love of his life has been ripped from him, leaving a tattered tortured shell of a man. On the brink of murderous insanity he must battle to find Shannon, even if she hates him. Dylan has betrayed her and he knows she won’t forgive his indiscretions. None of that matters now. All that matters is finding her. As long as she’s safe Dylan can continue to live a sad wasted existence without her by his side.

Shannon brought Dylan back to life, without her in the world he’ll cease to exist. Shannon Kelly is gone. Stolen from her home and loved ones, she must now fight. Fighting has never been an issue for her, but this is a new opponent that she isn’t prepared for…her past. When every reality she thought she knew is called into question, Shannon learns her life isn’t what she thought it was. With the promise of a future with Dylan stolen from her before her world implodes, Shannon must rely on the family that has protected her for the last thirteen years to come for her. She won’t win this fight on her own…Shannon is going to lose.

Author Bio


Norma Jeanne Blackness Takes Over is Norma Jeanne’s debut novel. What began as an homage to the home town of a homesick Midwestern girl, unfolded a story of love, danger, humor, and trust. She’s currently working on her untitled sophomore effort. We can’t wait to see what thrilling saga she leads us through next! Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Norma Jeanne recently found herself relocating to the United Kingdom. Now living in Belfast, she took hold of the opportunity to kick the 9-5 job for a chance to become an author. The best part: working from her home office, she gets to spend more time with her cast of crazy characters (written and real). In her free time Norma Jeanne is a voracious reader and consumes books as readily as meals. She is a people watcher by nature and uses her experiences in life, observed or otherwise, to build the worlds and characters that thrive in her books. A believer in the strength of the human spirit, Norma Jeanne writes the stories of people that persevere when all appears to be lost. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” –Dylan Thomas

Book #1

BlacknessTakesOver Small

Giveaway

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

His Hometown Girl - Guest post and Giveaway

His Hometown Girl banner

I'm delighted to have Karen Rock as my special guest  on the Flightdeck today,  with her latest book, the heartwarming 'His Hometown Girl.'  Over to you, Karen:

Today is my stop during the blog tour for His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from March 31 till April 13, you can view the whole tour schedule here.

Karen Rock: Caught between a Holstein and a Gander!

Growing up, I looked forward to visiting my grandparents’ Century dairy farm every Sunday. A century farm is a farm that’s been owned, continuously, by the same family for over a hundred years. Mine had raised Holsteins on their land in Malone, New York, for over two hundred plus years. Although Malone is a small, rural town, it’s famous in a way that meant everything to me as a girl. Still does. As a fan of the Little House on the Prairie books, I thrilled at knowing that my family had known the Wilder family and that Almanzo, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband, had grown up in this beautiful countryside. It fired up my imagination to read Farmer Boy and see Malone through Manny’s eyes. Although I loved every book in that series, especially These Happy Golden Years, I reread Farmer Boy the most since it was so close to home.

Like Almanzo, I had my own set of adventures on the farm and though some didn’t end well, as the one I’m about to relate, they’ve all stayed with me and inspired me while writing His Hometown Girl. This particular adventure began while I was spending a summer weekend at my grandparents’ farm house. I loved any excuse to stay there since it meant I got to sleep in the guest room which had cream wallpaper with a pink rosebud pattern, slanted ceilings, a four post bed and a cherry vanity. It made me feel like royalty to stay there, especially since my grandmother always fussed over me and made my favorites like chicken and biscuits and shepherd’s pie.

Best of all, I got to spend time around the farm animals. I helped my Uncle Bob in the barn a bit, though I usually got up too late to do much with the morning milking. Nevertheless, I considered myself good at handling cows and their size and strength had never intimidated me, not with those large brown eyes and docile nature. So when my grandmother told me the goslings were learning to swim in the duck pond, I didn’t think twice about jamming my feet into sneakers and heading for that pasture.
It was a bright summer day, the morning air so crisp I could have taken a bite out of it. I raced down the long driveway shadowed by towering sugar maples and ignored my grandmother’s shout to be careful around the cows. She always said that. I did, however, look for a spot to get through the electric fence where there weren’t any around. I didn’t want them thinking I had carrots in my pockets (which I usually did but forgot in my rush). The black and white Holsteins were a bit of a distance off, their heads lowered as they nibbled at the shorn grass.

I ignored the urge that always had me holding on to electric fences to see how long before I let go, and ducked between the top and middle barbed wires. Immediately, a number of the cows’ heads popped up. I was about thirty feet from the fence before I few started trotting my way. Instead of the friendly lowing I heard whenever I entered the barn, I heard their stomping feet and angry breaths. My heart hammered. Where were the gentle creatures that tickled my fingers with their velvety muzzles? Suddenly the sun felt hot on my neck and a trickle of sweat ran down my back. I eyed the fenced in duck pond area then the electric fence along the driveway. Did I need to make a run for it? If so, the driveway was closer. But through the rushes, I glimpsed a pair of tall Canadian geese and their goslings swimming on the pond. I had to get a closer look.

I raced for the pond and the cows charged. I could hardly believe how aggressive they were. They knew me. And I thought only bulls charged… boy was I wrong! These gals were tough… terrifying actually. I barely made it to the duck pond before the cows stopped short and stared me down across the flimsy divide. My breath couldn’t be caught and it left me as I collapsed to the ground. I was glad to have made it, but frightened about getting back. Would the cows forget about me? Let me sneak away in peace after I got my fill of the adorable baby geese? I hoped so.

I crept to the pond’s edge and sighed in delight as I spotted them. They were so tiny as they paddled after their magnificent parents! As their feathers hadn’t come in, they were still covered with a fuzzy- looking beige and tan down. They kept calling to their mother and the din made me forget, for a little while, about the huffing cows that still hadn’t left the pond’s fence. Lost in that moment, I laid on my stomach and watched the water ripple behind the proud family as they circled the pond. I must have closed my eyes because a loud
squawk made them snap back open. The gander had spotted me and he wasn’t happy to have an intruder near his children. I jumped to my feet, remembering times I’d felt the pinch of a beak on my hand when I’d fed overeager birds. Scrambling backwards as the male goose waddled faster than I could have ever imagined, I slipped and fell hard. His nip on my sneaker had me back on my feet and this time, I all out raced to the fence. Only… the cows that had chased me there hadn’t left. I was literally caught between a protective goose and territorial cows. What to do?

Since we didn’t have cell phones back then, and the farm house was too far away to call for help, I raced around the pond, the gander on my heels, honking all the way. I leaped on top of a small house we’d built for them, out of reach of his snapping beak. Hours passed, or at least it felt that way, as I sat on the roof, my knees clutched to my chest. Eventually, the goose returned to his family, but the cows never wandered far, essentially pinning me down.

At last, I saw one of my uncle’s farm hands driving a tractor up the drive and stood up to flag him down. He waved his hands up and down when he entered the pasture, and the cows shied away from him. I was so relieved that I hugged him when we were out of the pasture. Later, at dinner, he stayed to regal everyone with the tale about how I’d been held hostage by a twenty pound goose and a bunch of cows. It was hard not to laugh along with the story, but I never forgot to have a healthy respect for ‘innocent’ farm animals again!

That's a great story Karen. As a country girl myself, I know how  threatening geese and cows can be, although they're usually just curious. Thanks for sharing this with us.  Now to find out more about your book.


His Hometown Girl
by Karen Rock
Blurb:
He'd always managed to best her…

his hometown girlJodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he's not playing fair.

Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that's always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?

You can add His Hometown Girl to your to-read list on Goodreads.

EXCERPT
At last, off they went with a jerk that made her teeth knock together. 

Wow. The thrum of the machine beneath her and the sense of control as she steered 
filled her with a rush of adrenaline. It’d been such a long time since she’d driven a 
tractor, and the thrill of it returned to her. The wind whipped her hair behind her, carrying 
away her fear. Tyler’s screeching echoed her own elation and the air she breathed smelled 
slightly sweet, like growing things. 

When she looked over her shoulder, Sue waved and Daniel jogged beside them. When 
they rounded the last barn and headed out into lush, open fields, Tyler squealed and she 
wanted to join him. She hadn’t been surrounded by this much unbroken greenery in a 
long time. Even when she spoke with farmers, she met them in their homes, not on their 
fields. Perhaps she should have followed up on Midland’s purchases and seen the 
improvements they’d made as Daniel had suggested. She’d actually missed this. When 
she returned to Aunt Grace’s house, she would set up an appointment with a company 
farm and bring Daniel as promised. 

Daniel disappeared for a moment and she thought they’d left him behind until she felt 
the tractor dip in back and his voice whisper in her ear. 

“So far so good.” 

She shivered in awareness of his proximity as he balanced behind them on the storage 
box. His fingers rested on her shoulders as he stood to his full height. 
Jodi peeked up at him and took in the handsome picture he made. Beltless, low-slung 
jeans rode on his narrow hips and a thin T-shirt stretched across his well-defined chest. 
From this angle, his jaw looked more square than ever, his muscular neck rising from 
broad shoulders. The bright blue sky behind him contrasted with his dark hair and hazel 
eyes. 

Another bone-jarring mud hole made Tyler flap his hands and Jodi return her eyes to 
the straightaway. And that’s when she saw them… 

Strawberries. 

The sun-kissed rows of plants stretched to a distant tree line, the berries so blood-ripe, 
so rich and lovely, that the invitation to pluck and sink her teeth into them was 
irresistible. How long since she’d gathered fruit? Delight filled her. 

“The local schools and families have picked most of the fields, but this section is 
unharvested,” he hollered over the engine’s roar. 

“Okay.” She slowed the machine, feeling shaky but victorious when it rolled to a stop. 
Since her father’s accident, she’d avoided machinery like this. Now she’d conquered it, 
and a feeling of lightness grew within her. 

Daniel jumped off and held out a hand, his eyes dancing. The sun brought out the 
lighter brown in his hair and made the yellow flecks in his eyes shine like gold beneath 
thick lashes. “Ready?” 

More than, she thought, her excitement hard to contain. She wanted to rush through the 
rows of plants, trailing her fingers along the crinkly leaves, inhaling the earthy goodness. 
Her hands fumbled to take out Tyler’s earplugs before she undid the buckle and handed 
him to Daniel. He held the wiggling boy with one hand and extended another to help her 
down. 

“Thank you. Oh.” An idea pulled her up short when her heels sunk into the ground. 
“What will we put the berries in?” 


You can buy His Hometown Girl here:
- Amazon U.K. (Print and Kindle
- B&N
- eHarlequin (Print Book)

About the Author:
karenKaren Rock has adored romance since receiving Harlequin Presents books from her grandmother each summer. She formed her Young Adult writing partnership, J.K. Rock- pseudonym for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, with her sister-in-law and Blaze author, Joanne Rock in 2011. When Karen heard of a call for submissions to Heartwarming, Harlequin’s latest line, she was inspired by the possibilities of writing unforgettable, deeply romantic, tender love stories that mothers would feel comfortable sharing with their daughters. Since then, her first Harlequin, WISH ME TOMORROW came out in September, 2013 and her next novel HIS HOMETOWN GIRL comes out in March, 2014 with three more releases expected this year.

When she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes, hiking the ‘high peaks’, and redesigning her gardens. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love. For more information about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website at http://www.karenrock.com, Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites or follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5 . She’d love to hear from you!

You can find Karen here:
- Website
- Facebook
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- Goodreads
- Pinterest

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of His Hometown Girl. These are the prizes you can win:
- Grand Prize: $50 gift card and a signed copy of Karen Rock her earlier Heartwarming Wish Me Tomorrow and her YA contemporary romance, Camp Boyfriend.
- Two runner-ups both win a 15$ amazon gift card

His Hometown Girl Grand Prize

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