May I introduce - Aussie Author LILY MALONE

It's an absolute delight to welcome Lily Malone to my blog today.

I've only recently read her book "The Goodbye Ride" and can honestly say it's been one of the best reads this year. It tackles issues of today's society with subtlety and wit, without losing the sincerity of her words. And yes, I have learnt a bit more Aussie slang!

PS - And doesn't she look great with that pink beanie !

Casual comment cuts too close to the bone

A few weeks ago in Australia there was an outcry over an alleged comment made by a 13-year-old girl to one of our country’s star Australian Rules’ football players, Adam Goodes, during a game between Sydney Swans and Colllingwood. The girl was in the crowd. The news stories I’ve seen reported that she called Goodes an ‘Ape’...

Adam Goodes is an Indigenous (Aboriginal) player, and one of the most decorated footballers in the history of the game, winning two Brownlow medals. (For any international readers, it is the equivalent of being named MVP in the National Basketball League...)

This incident has been on my mind in recent weeks because of the term that arose out of it: ‘Casual Racism’, and because of a scene in my new novella, The Goodbye Ride.

As I understand it, ‘casual racism’ infers: that people have grown so accustomed to racist/discriminatory language in everyday life; at school, at barbecues, in shopping centres, on sporting grounds, in our homes; that they no longer consider the use of these words as being actively racist (or sexist or whatever). People using these terms don’t consider them to be deliberately offensive, and/or don’t recognise how hurtful they are to the marginalised people/person.

You might remember a few years back, when golden girl swimmer, Stephanie Rice, sent a tweet after a winning Wallabies’ rugby game along the line of “suck on that faggots”. That caused similar outrage at the time.

Why do I raise this on Iris Blobel’s blog? (You won’t ask me back again will you Iris!?)

Well... Iris invited me to write about my new novella The Goodbye Ride, and, seeing as Iris is one of my football-loving writer mates (have you been following her AFL TuesdayTales?) it seemed like a great opportunity to kick this thought around (pardon the pun).

The Goodbye Ride has a scene where a secondary character (Mark) is watching an AFL game on football. Like thousands of AFL fans, Mark gets rather passionate watching his team, and when his team is losing, he also gets abusive.

My husband said to me (after he read The Goodbye Ride) “I don’t sound like that when I’m watching the Adelaide Crows, do I?”

“No dear...” I fobbed him off... but the truth is - yes - my hubby does yell at the television during football games, when the Crows play badly he’s like a bear with a sore head. I don’t think he’d use the term ‘playing like a bunch of faggots’ but he might say “you’re tackling like a girl”... which in its own way is just as bad! Give me long enough to dwell on that and I might get offended...

This is an excerpt:

“Aw fuck, Crows!” The shout erupted from the hall, making Liv jump. The football game volume cranked up a notch.
Owen’s gaze never wavered from hers. “Sorry about Mark. He’s a mad Crows’ fan. You were saying?”
“The day my brother died–”
“Christ! Tackle like you mean it Crows. You’re playing like a bunch of faggots!” Mark roared.
Liv pushed her plate across the table hard enough to make Owen thrust out his hand to stop it bull-dozing his juice. Her half-eaten sandwich bumped and skidded off the plate and she was on her feet, hands balled into fists.
From the hall, the television coverage cut to the upbeat jingle of a burger chain advert.
“I hate the word faggots,” she said.
“Mark doesn’t mean anything by it.”
Liv’s chin came up. “The minority get heard when the majority stay silent, Owen. It happens all over the world. It happens every second of every day.”
And this is another side to ‘casual racism’. People are so accustomed to the use of this language, they excuse those who use it (like Owen does in The Goodbye Ride) with “he didn’t mean anything by it.”

I didn’t mean to make the character of Mark deliberately sexist or racist. I did set out to make him a typical 20-something country Aussie bloke in a football-mad part of Australia... and I used him to counterpoint a more sensitive side to Owen.

But Mark was so easy for me to write! What does that say about me and the people I hang out with? Is it characterisation by osmosis?

In the book, Olivia reacts to Mark’s use of the word ‘faggot’ and calls him out. Would I do that? Would you?

Since the football incident, I’ve felt like there’s a social comment in The Goodbye Ride that I never intended to make. A casual social comment if you like.

Have you had a writing moment like that?


You can find out more about Lily Malone on her Facebook page,

or at her blog,

Or at twitter, @lily_lilymalone

The Goodbye Ride is available exclusively at Amazon


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This week's Book Choice - Elaine Cantrell "The Enchanted"

~~ The Enchanted~~
By Elaine Cantrell



Forced by his father into a marriage he didn’t want, Prince Alan soon finds that his bride isn’t the sweet, submissive creature he expected. Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she isn’t thrilled about the marriage either. When black treachery threatens the kingdom, Morgane and Alan embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death for them and all their people.

Morgane advanced on her enemy with deadly purpose.
"No!" Alan roared. "She has a knife."
Morgane tried to retreat, but it was too late. Aili's knife caught her in her thigh. Blood spurted as if from a fountain. Renweard was closer to her than Alan. His sword rose. Aili breathed her last as Morgane swayed and slipped to the floor.
Alan ran across the room and cradled her in his arms. In seconds he was coated with blood. "ʺWe must stop the bleeding!" he cried. "Where are the healers?"
ʺI will find one." Renweard left the room at a run with King Bowdyn right behind him.
Morgane's eyes fluttered open. "Your arms around me. No heaven can compare.ʺ
Alan pressed a kiss to her hair. "I love you, my brave Morgane."
Morgane sighed. "I could not let you face this battle alone.ʺ

Author’s Note:
After spending most of the last ten years writing contemporary romance, I decided it was time for a change. So in the spring of 2012 I wrote my first romantic fantasy, The Enchanted. Several challenges immediately presented themselves. First, I knew that I didn't want the fantasy to overpower the romance which meant I'd have to balance my world building details with the romantic elements.
Challenge two was finding characters who'd fit into my newly created world. I didn't want plastic, stereotypical characters. I wanted real people with warts and human imperfections, people whose lives and problems would draw you in and make you care about them.
My third challenge was to craft a plot that included fantasy elements, yet at the same time allowed my characters to be in charge of their own destiny and in the process grow and change.
I'm pleased with the way it turned out. I enjoyed the experience so much I have another fantasy/sci fi romance in the wings waiting for December and its turn at publication. Given my new love affair with fantasy romance, will I write contemporary romance again? I sure will. I'm working on one right now, and I just love it. It will be my first full length romantic comedy.

Author Links:

The Enchanted is sold at most online retail outlets.

A sweet story, easy read, fairytale/fantasy/romance 5 stars. 
Teresa Cypher on Amazon

A wonderful story that has swept into my heart. I will be remembering this one for a long time and reading it again.
                                                   Tifferz Book Reviews on Goodreads

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This week's Book Choice - Lynn Spangler "Love Flourishes"

Love Flourishes
by Lyn Spangler

Can he show her the world like she’d never seen it before? Melinda ‘Mindy’ Caldwell had everything she could want. Nice house, high-end clothes. The only thing she doesn’t have is a life…outside her house that is. An incident when she was four left her an agoraphobic-a prisoner within the sanctuary of her home. Besides her sister, she finds companionship in the form of handsome delivery man Jack Eberley. Jack Eberley’s woman of his dreams won’t even leave her house. That does little to tamper his feelings toward her. He finds himself wanting to deliver more packages to her house and help her breakdown the walls she’s built around herself. One night will change each of their lives. Will they find love in the first blooms of spring or will they let their love slip away?

“You have a...” he paused for a moment as if searching for the right word, “liking for the man.”
"No. Yes. Maybe,” she replied reluctantly.
“Which is it?” His gentle tone did little to ease the churning in her stomach. If she wasn’t careful, she’d give herself an ulcer. Mindy curled a leg underneath her on the buttery soft leather loveseat, tucked long strands of hair behind her ears, and then nervously wrung her fingers together. No sense in hiding what was so obvious. Dr. Stamko’s face reflected infinite patience. He wouldn’t rush Mindy and would give her time to think the question through.
“Yes,” she finally stated. Once the word left her mouth, a torrent followed. “I don’t know what to do. He’s so vibrant, so full of life. Jack deserves a woman who is equally spirited as himself. What am I?” She forged on, not giving Dr. Stamko time to answer. “I’ll tell you what I am. I’m broken.” Her hands lifted into the air and dropped again. “I’m defeated.”
“No, you aren’t. One can’t be defeated before they’ve even tried. This gentleman might be what you need to draw you out. You need to give him the chance.”
“What could I offer?” Pain etched her voice, making it break slightly. Tears burned and stung the back of her eyes. She fought valiantly against the torrent threatening to unleash itself.
“Why are you fighting it?” His still gentle tone broke the dam. The first streams of wetness fell from her eyes. With hands covering her face, she shook with body racking sobs. After what seemed like an eternity later, she wiped the last of the tears away and raised her head. Dr. Stamko was smiling.
“Feel better?” he asked.
“I’m... I’m not sure. I just had a near nervous breakdown and you’re smiling.”
“You didn’t break, Melinda. You merely chipped. You see your tears as a form of weakness?”
“Why yes. Don’t you?”
"No. Trapped emotions eat away at you. They can make you physically ill. Everybody has a different way of releasing those pent up feelings. Some can go through their whole life without shedding an emotional tear. Others find tears are their only course of action. You’re good at holding in the tenseness and stress. But you aren’t totally immune. Honestly, do you feel better?”
The question gave Mindy pause. Never would she have guessed bawling her eyes out would leave her feeling cleansed, renewed, and invigorated. She smiled because she indeed did feel better.
“I do. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m no closer to solving my dilemma but I feel lighter.”
“Good. Now we need to figure out what you intend to do about Jack.” Dr. Stamko sat back in the wing chair and crossed one leg over the other.

Author Bio:
I live in South Central Pennsylvania with my wonderful, loving husband and my beautiful daughter. I also have a son who is currently serving in the U.S. Navy. I have a cat named Kolzig and a dog named Cede who allow us to live with them. I love to write and read. I also make jewelry when the mood strikes. I'm a huge sports fan. I love football, NASCAR, and hockey. I'm also a bit of a game show freak. I love old game shows from the 70's and 80's like Match Game and $25,000 Pyramid. Television shows like Criminal Minds and The Voice are also favorites of mine.

Buy Links: Astraea Press Amazon Barnes and Noble

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Astraea Pres Fan Fest - Win a Kindle and so much more!

Over 40 authors from Astraea Press authors have organised a Fan Fest ... A BIG ONE !!

The event will run on the 16 July from 9am to 9pm (USA - EST) with over 50 freebies and giveaways up for grabs. AS WELL A KINDLE FIRE. You can chat with authors and win prizes. But you don't have to wait a month to enter for the grand prize. 

Enter below using the Rafflecopter.

In the meantime, you can keep up with the news and events about the Fan Fest at the Facebook Page or on Twitter.


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This week's Book Choice - Jessie Anderson "At What Cost"

During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side. While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.

*Young Adult RONE finalist award and the USA Best Book Award finalist in Youth Issues *

Special Note: At What Cost can be purchased for 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for this week only!
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Astraea Press | Kobo | Smashwords | Audible

Maggie pulled out her calendar, and flipped past July and August, which were filled with her work schedule and penciled-in date nights with Justin. “No,” she whispered, turning to the month of September. “No, no, no, no, no.” The blood drained from her face, and she sucked in a deep breath, trying not to pass out. “No, it can’t be,” she whispered again. Count again. “Mags, what’s wrong?” Lauren Weaver, her best friend, leaned over from her seat with a look of concern on her face. Maggie glanced at Lauren, and shooed her away with her hand. She flicked her eyes back to her calendar, flipped to the month of August and counted the days from the little ”X” she’d made at the beginning of the month. Lauren interrupted her deep concentration. “Maggie,” she whispered, smacking her gum. A bead of sweat trickled down Maggie’s hairline. Finally, she looked straight at her friend, whose eyes squinted in confusion. “What’s wrong?” “Oh, nothing.” Slapping her notebook closed, she packed up her books long before class was over. “Nothing, I’m fine.” But she wasn’t. “Ms. O’Donnell, I’m not feeling well,” she said as she gathered her books and dashed to the nearest bathroom down the hall, where she locked herself in the handicapped stall and sat on the toilet trying to suck in a full breath. It wasn’t possible. The calendar she’d just used moments before stared at her from the top of her pile of books, but she ignored it for a while longer, choosing instead to read the graffiti on the walls. Jenna & Cade 4ever. Mr. Brackenrich bites! Not very creative. Staring at the puffy lettering scratched on the wall, her vision grew fuzzy until her brain pulled her into the present again. She had probably counted wrong. Yeah, that was it. Grabbing the little book, she looked for the mark telling her what day she’d started last month. Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty…forty-one…forty-one...forty-one. Numbness spread through her limbs and mind as she sat on the toilet. Her arms slack at her side, she didn’t have the strength even to close the notebook, which still lay open on her lap. She was late. Two weeks late. She’d been late before, but only a couple of days, never two weeks. Forty-one days. No, that couldn’t be right. One more time. Count one more time. But it was no use. All six times, she came up with the same number. She was late. Late enough to be— Without warning, her stomach heaved, and the acid rose.

Author Info: Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band. You can find information about her books at her website, and you can follow her blogs at her personal blog and her book blog. You can also follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Cover Reveal - Kelly Martin "The Deception of Devin Miller"

Cover Reveal for:

Kelly Martin's new release is self-published and after her success with Astraea Press books CROSSING THE DEEP and SAINT SLOAN, the obvious question would be why.

Self publishing isn't something I ever saw myself doing. I've thought about it for awhile and thought I'd give it a shot. I'm all about trying it all and finding my nitche. I have nothing against publishers. In fact, I'm querying now. My goal is to have 1 book published then use those royalties to have one self published. I'd like to do both if I'm able, at least, that's the plan right now. It can always change :)
Back Cover Blurb:
One month ago, seventeen year old Devin Miller wrecked while intoxicated—or so she’s told by the very aggravated blue-eyed boy when she wakes up from a coma. The only thing Devin remembers is the darkness holding her down and the voices-- some happy, some upset, and one very agitated. She can't remember her name, her age, where she lives, or who in the world the blue-eyed boy is. But he knows who she is, and against her better judgment, she offers to pay him for his memories so she can trick the ones closest to her into thinking she's fine. That is her first mistake. When Devin gets home, things start to spin out of control. People she doesn't know keep talking to her. Trey--the blue -eyed boy-- doesn't show up like he's supposed too. And the police want to talk to her about her involvement in car accident. Plus she keeps seeing flashes of the crash, but none of them make sense. What would a red plastic cup have to do with anything? And why doesn't she have any feelings for her 'boyfriend', Cooper? Facing DUI charges for a wreck she can't recall, Devin struggles to remember exactly what happened the night of the crash: something the real driver wants her to keep buried.

And to conquer the market with a BIG BANG, Kelly's giving away 5 free ARCs (PDF) on July 1st.

 Rafflecopter giveaway.

Author Bio:

Kelly Martin is a southern mama who writes... a lot. She has two books out through Astraea Press: SAINT SLOAN and Grace Award winning, CROSSING THE DEEP. Her fourth book, B.I.G. IS BEAUTIFUL will be out Sept. 3rd, 2013. By day, she is a special education preschool teacher. By night, you can find her with her hair in a bun and her fingers on a keyboard. She loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep. She loves a good mystery and believes in Sherlock Holmes.

Where to find Kelly:
Amazon Author Page:

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Call me Irresistable

Publisher: Avon

ISBN:  978-006-135152-5

My rating: 3/5

Lucy Jorik is the daughter of the former President of the United States.
Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.
One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas.
The other is not happy about it. Not happy at all....

My thoughts

I'm a bit torn with this story.

This is the "pre-Great Escape" story - Lucy Jorik leaves Ted Beaudine at the altar and all of Wynette blames her best friend Meg Koranda.

As much as I liked the coming together of "old" and dearly missed characters like Cornelia Litchfield Case and Mat Jorik, Lady Emma and Kenny Traveller, Francesca Day and Dallie Boudine and and and - the story didn't really do it for me.

I couldn't really warm up to Ted and his odd behaviour. Even though it made sense when explained at the very end, for me it was too late. I really liked Meg and her "growing up" and taking her life into her own hands, but the idea of them both hooking up "just for sex"  didn't work for me, it felt like a desperate plot solution because nothing else would've worked.

Not my favourite SEP read, but not a bad one either. Personally, I reckon it does help to know the above stories to understand the background of some of the characters.

This week's Book Choice - Joselyn Vaughn "Climbing Heartbreak Hill"


Please check out Jocelyn's latest release ....

A portion of my proceeds from Climbing Heartbreak Hill will be donated to the One Fund Boston to help those injured at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Professional runner, Ryan Grant, blows out his knee training for another attempt at the Boston marathon and the dreaded Heartbreak Hill. Ryan retreats home, not looking for anything more than a fast recovery, but he finds solace in the arms of his tax preparer, Tara Mansfield.
Tara’s cheerleading career ended abruptly and she faces an upward climb beating the stereotype as dumb blonde in her new calling as an accountant. Framed with defrauding the IRS during the last weeks of the tax season, Tara’s tentative confidence is shaken, but Ryan coaches her in ensnaring the true perpetrator. She cheers him on in discovering his identity as a coach rather than an athlete.
With the help of the junkyard king and a mechanical bull, can Tara and Ryan find the courage to climb Heartbreak Hill together?
Contact Links:
Twitter: @joselynvaughn

I live in the Great Lakes state with my husband, three rambunctious children and two barking Beagles (I suppose that is redundant.) When not suffering the woes of potty training three toddler/preschoolers, I enjoy reading, running (sometimes it's fleeing the craziness at home), reconstructing clothing, thrift store shopping and surfing (I spend way too much time there and am getting all kinds of exciting ideas for projects for my husband to do. He is less than thrilled by this.)
I love writing romance because I enjoy stories where everything works out all right in the end and the main characters have a happily ever after. My stories are set in small towns with quirky characters that take on a life of their own.

A lanky, sandy haired man on crutches elbowed his way
through the door, alternating between pushing the glass door open
and inching his crutches forward. He wore a red windbreaker with
Lakeshore Track Club embroidered on the chest. Clutched between
his left hand and the handle of his crutch was a wad of papers. It
wasn’t the worst presentation of receipts she’d seen in the last three
months, but it would make the top ten.
She experienced a brief wave of déjà vu. A flash of his face
laughing in the dark. Had she seen him before somewhere? His
physique didn’t match any of the football players she had been in
contact with. Surely the strange bend in his nose would stand out
enough in her memory. It gave him a reckless air she found
“Let me help you with that.” She hurried over to the door
and kicked the stopper down to hold it open while she relieved him
of the fistful of paper. A quick scan of the parking lot told her
Mark’s truck hadn’t arrived yet. “Do you have an appointment?”
“Your sign said walk--‐‑ins were welcome.” His voice had a
pleasant timbre. Tara didn’t miss the once--‐‑over he gave her. She
was used to those. It was one of the side--‐‑effects of having breast
implants not written in the tri--‐‑fold brochure from the plastic
surgeon: every male and one in three females will stare at your
chest. At times, Tara wanted to wear a name--‐‑tag that said ‘and yes,
they are fake'ʹ under her name.
“Walk--‐‑ins are always welcome. We have a small break in the
rush right now, so why don’t you have a seat by my desk?” Tara
released the door then made her way around her desk and righted
her chair.
The man put the two crutches together and gingerly lowered
himself into the seat. He kept his left leg extended, and Tara could
see the outline of a brace around his knee through his warm--‐‑up
pants. She dropped the pile of receipts into the middle of her desk
and opened a new client file on her computer.
“Have you been here before?” When he answered in the
negative, Tara said, “Okay. Then we’ll need to go through the
basics first. I’ll need all your vital stats.”
“Excuse me?”
“Name, address, phone number, etc.”
“Oh, I thought you meant age, weight, heart rate, and blood
pressure. Guess I’ve been to too many doctors lately. Ryan Grant.”
He rattled off an address she recognized as one of the Ladies Night
Out members. Had Yvonne been holding out on her? They owed
her a favor after she had helped them get Leslie and Mark together.
The last names matched so he must be family. Perhaps Yvonne’s

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