Guest Post and Giveaway: We Go Together by Carla de Guzman

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We Go Together
by Carla de Guzman
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release date: January 19, 2015

Links:
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amazon UK

Four Bad Writing Habits (And Why They’re Really Good) 

What kind of love would it be if it crumbled to pieces over one accusation_ If it doesn't endure, then what's the point_.png

Writing an outline then throwing it out the window

I always write outlines. I love them, I love plotting them and adding little notes to include my research and lines and ideas that I may get randomly. But then when I actually get to the business of writing the story, part or most of the outline goes out the window—sometimes because it no longer makes sense in the story or it feels redundant. That’s not a bad thing. I think when your writing deviates from your outline it’s more organic and logical to you. But I still refer to the outline to help me see where I wanted things to end. So if my deviation is too far from that, then I can change it in the manuscript.

Listening to music while writing

This is only a bad habit when you’re me, specifically. It’s really helpful until a good song comes on and, and I cannot. help. but. sing. I sing like Beyonce on tour when I’m alone, and it’s a great way to kill my groove and ground my writing to a halt. But listening to the right songs when you’re writing sets the mood sometimes. When I’m writing particularly sad scenes, the appropriate song can help me get into the right mindset.

Researching on the fly

I like a lot of descriptive specifics in my writing, and most of the time I only think of them when I’m actually writing the manuscript. So when I want to write a line like ‘the Sculpture Garden on the National Mall has opened up as an ice skating rink in the winter since it opened in 1999,’ I Google to back that up after I already wrote it. Then I fall into a research rabbit hole. It’s a great way to build worlds and find out more about the places and the things you’re writing about.

Using Facebook while writing

This is the ultimate death for my productivity. When I’m opening and closing different social media sites while writing, it means I’m stuck and I don’t know what to write next. When I notice that happening, I know it’s time for me to step back from my writing a little. I do the same when I paint, I walk away from it, clear my head a bit and come back.

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SYNOPSIS:

What happened to Beatrice and Benedick? They used to be in love. They used to be together. But something got in the way and its turned them into angry, bitter rivals that can’t get along, much less work together on a project that could change everything for Bea and Claudia’s little paper company.

Bea isn’t going to let Ben ruin her mood. Ben isn’t backing down from Bea’s barbs without a fight. But why is Claudia telling Hiro that Bea is head-over-heels in love with Ben? Why is Hiro convinced that Ben is in love with Bea?

Set in Washington DC, this book is a modern adaptation of WIlliam Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

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GIVEAWAY: 

Join the giveaway for a chance to win by clicking the image below. Good luck! ❤

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author, occasional illustrator, full-time traveler.

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Blog Tour ~ Interview and Giveaway: Underneath It All by Ysa Arcangel

Hello, Ysa! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “Underneath It All.”

1. Would you please tell us about your book Underneath It All. How long did you write this?

Underneath It All is a story forgiveness, love and the courage to follow your heart’s desires. It’s a story about a graduating college student Agata Ferrero and the newly appointed young dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Reeve Gates.

This story not only focuses on two people fighting for their taboo love, but about love fighting the dark eyes of hatred and crashing a heart of stone. A kind of love that endures pain and forgives sins that brings the family back together.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

As cliche as it may sound, when I haven’t read what I really wanted to read.

I’m an avid reader and an active member of the read/write site called Wattpad. You  think you have read it all but there’s more! I aspired to be one of those writers I look up to. My aspirations became a dream and that dream is now a reality.

3. Ms. Ysa, you’ve got a ‘day job’, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How does that work? Do you have a daily word count goal?

I don’t just have a ‘day job’ but also a perpetual job.I’m a mother of three and a wife of very grumpy hubby who hates to see me up until the wee hours writing like crazy.

At work during down time, I write.  On the train, on my way to work, I write on my phone. I writer wherever I can. I don’t have a daily word count goal but I see to it to write at least 1k whenever I can.

4. What is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I consider myself a half-blood pantser. I need a plan, a general idea. I write a rough outline of  the beginning, middle and end then pants all the way through.

5. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Along the way, I have learned a few hard and soft lessons in creating my books one of which is not to expect every reader will love your book.  As the old adage goes, you cannot please everybody. I just continue creating quality stories and branch out to different genres to broaden my audience and sharpen my writing skills.

6. What do you think makes a good story?

I think for me, when I think about a ‘good story’ I think about the actual construction of sentences, how the author put words together, creates well-developed and multi-dimensional characters, draws the readers in and the overall organization of the story. That’s the technical part of it.

But I think that the best indicator of a ‘good story’ is if it touches your readers in some way. That your readers might be able to completely put themselves in the shoes of your heroine.

Funny thing, one person’s trash-read is another person’s great-read. I do believe that just because you have a great story doesn’t mean you write well and the same is true in reverse.

7. Do you have other works in progress?

I have two paranormal/urban fantasy WIPs.

8. Your tips for aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring writers, just write it! You’ll never know how long it’ll take you to write a story unless you begin writing. Go ahead, make that first step. Do not be afraid to share your work to the world. Criticism may break you but it will always sharpen your skill. Your work may not see the light of the day in an actual published book but at least you enjoy the journey regardless.

Build your author platform and fanbase before you take advantage of all the publishing path and tools available for you. Write as much as you can and when you get published, publish more books. Especially, do not give up on what makes you happy.

UNDERNEATH IT ALL

 

A senior at Gates University, Agata Ferrero knows without a doubt that Reeve Gates is off limits…

Students can’t date faculty, and Reeve has been appointed by his father as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. But when a near accident with the front end of Reeve’s sleek sports car brings her in close contact with him, Agata can’t deny the flash of desire that consumes her.

Reeve Gates is a man hell-bent on revenge…

Abandoned in the care of his step-mother as a child, Reeve accepts the position at Gates University for the sole purpose of ruining his father’s career. What he didn’t expect was to be sidetracked by the sultry eyes of a student.

Resisting temptation is even harder than it looks…

When a sorority pledging incident leaves Agata stranded on campus in the middle of a treacherous storm, her better judgment falters and she accepts help from the young Dean she can’t get out of her head. Certain there is a beating heart underneath his stone-cold exterior, she escapes with Reeve on a romantic retreat away from prying eyes.

 

Blinded by retaliation…

Reeve manipulates his dying father into handing over control of the university—and immediately threatens to shut down the school as a form of cruel payback. His scheme sparks a campus-wide protest that leaves one of Agata’s professors dead and her future hanging in the balance.

Agata must fight to convince Reeve he is capable of forgiveness, and their taboo love is worth more than revenge.

But is there really a bright future awaiting…

Underneath It All

 

 

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Forever Night Stand: https://amzn.com/B019NK762C

Snippets of Memories: A Forever Night Stand Bonus Book (99 CENTS) https://amzn.com/B01ASFS4Q8

 

Ysa Arcangel is a Filipino author based in Manila. She works as a Spanish-English GDS Helpdesk by day and a writer by night. She is a loving partner to a chef and a mom to three amazing kids.
She enjoys creative writing and uses her obsessive nature by writing contemporary paranormal and romance fiction with lots of laughs, tears and sighs showcasing sweet, funny and badass female leads with raunchy and hot male love interests whether human or supernatural.
She’s a lover of coffee, tattoos, and giant dogs. She is also an extreme sports enthusiast. When she’s not writing, you can see her spending time with her family, reading, or having TV series marathons.

 

–– FOLLOW YSA ––

Blog Tour ~ Excerpt and Giveaway: Underneath It All by Ysa Arcangel

UNDERNEATH IT ALL
A senior at Gates University, Agata Ferrero knows without a doubt that Reeve Gates is off limits…
 

Students can’t date faculty, and Reeve has been appointed by his father as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. But when a near accident with the front end of Reeve’s sleek sports car brings her in close contact with him, Agata can’t deny the flash of desire that consumes her. 

Reeve Gates is a man hell-bent on revenge…

Abandoned in the care of his step-mother as a child, Reeve accepts the position at Gates University for the sole purpose of ruining his father’s career. What he didn’t expect was to be sidetracked by the sultry eyes of a student.

Resisting temptation is even harder than it looks… 

When a sorority pledging incident leaves Agata stranded on campus in the middle of a treacherous storm, her better judgment falters and she accepts help from the young Dean she can’t get out of her head. Certain there is a beating heart underneath his stone-cold exterior, she escapes with Reeve on a romantic retreat away from prying eyes.
 

 Blinded by retaliation… 

 Reeve manipulates his dying father into handing over control of the university—and immediately threatens to shut down the school as a form of cruel payback. His scheme sparks a campus-wide protest that leaves one of Agata’s professors dead and her future hanging in the balance. 

 Agata must fight to convince Reeve he is capable of forgiveness, and their taboo love is worth more than revenge. 

 But is there really a bright future awaiting… 

 Underneath It All

 

 

 

EXCERPT #2:
EXCERPT 2:
He walked up to the counter and prepared a glass of orange juice. He grabbed a bowl and poured butternut squash soup into it. He prepared a cup of coffee and reheated a box of pizza and a bowl of spaghetti.
“Let’s eat.” He ordered and sat across from me. He stirred his coffee without taking his eyes off me.
“Thank you. It smells really good.” I gave him a grateful smile. Knowing he cooked for me, intentionally, on a day that meant nothing to the rest of the world, meant everything to me.
“Are you feeling better now?” he asked and shoved a spoonful of spaghetti in his mouth.
“Yeah, thank you.”
“If you were wondering if I was the one who changed your clothes, no. It wasn’t me, Tatiana did that; she was here earlier.”
“Oh, I see.” I nodded and began to sip my soup. I felt the liquid pour down my throat. The warmth of the soup enveloped my lungs and felt so good. “You shouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of bringing me here. You could have dropped me off at my dorm and left me there.”
“If I want to fucking spend time with you, I will, okay? I wanted to make sure you’re fine.”
There he went again changing moods. I swear there had to be something mentally wrong with this guy. No other person in my life frustrated me as much as he.
“Well, aren’t you sweet?” I smirked.
“So you want to tell me what happened this afternoon? What were you doing out in the storm, Agata? Are you trying to kill yourself?”
One quick bite then he got down to business.
My breath caught in my throat. I really didn’t want to
tell him.
“I was…” I paused and bit my lip. I wasn’t sure how to phrase it, “…finishing a task.”
Reeve paused with a fork halfway to his mouth. “Task?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. I didn’t answer.
“Sorority task?”
I mentally face palmed and nodded in confirmation.
“How long did I stay out there? You think I lasted thirty minutes out there?”
“I knew it,” he stated, shaking his head. “Agata, I don’t give a damn if you finished that fucking task or not. You scared the shit out of me; don’t you know that? You’re not joining the sorority.”
“I have the right reasons for joining.” I bit my lip.
“Reasons?” He gave me a confused look.
“The sisterhood is important to me.” I thought of giving him some lame excuse.
The room grew still. He stared at me, his face blank, and I couldn’t move.
“Are you kidding me?” His gaze was unyielding. “You think the sorority will save you from dying out there? They don’t give a damn, Agata!”
“It’s part of the process,” I reasoned out.
“That’s ridiculous.”
“You should have known it. You’re part of the organization.”
 “That’s why I don’t want you in!” He threw his napkin on his plate and shot up to his feet. I
remained silent and gazed at my food. “Agata, what’s gotten into you?” His words almost forced me to look at him.
“I’m leaving.” I stood from my chair but he grabbed my hand and pinned me to the wall. “For once, I wanted to do something for myself without thinking of whatever people might say,” I spat.
He released a heavy sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. “Agata, after three and a half years you thought of joining a sorority? For what?”
My chest rose and fell erratically as I met his eyes. “Once I finish my task and pass the initiation, I’ll be one of them. By that time, I can tell if this guy who keeps giving me mixed signals really feels
something for me. They say he
only dates sorority girls. If he will not date me, then it’s confirmed—he’s only messing around with me.”
I didn’t move a muscle as his eyes burned back into mine. A shaky gasp escaped from my lips and I flinched as he reached for my face. After pausing momentarily to observe my reaction, he went on to gingerly brush my tangled hair from my face.
“Agata, you’re not the type I want to date.”
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. His words grated against my ears and it hurt like a bitch.
“You’re not someone I want to take out for dinner, walk home, kiss goodnight, nor say goodbye.”
He didn’t stop tearing with the knife, and pierced through the walls of my heart.
“Because you know what, Agata? I don’t want to just date you and walk you home. You’re someone I want to come home to, someone I want to cook dinner with, to sleep with, to kiss hard, and fuck harder.”
The words snapped out of his mouth quick enough to petrify me. I looked up at him; his plump lips were pursed into a stern frown. His eyes were darkened, no time for bullshit. I bit my lip, and with every
second that I didn’t reply his face grew more and more serious.
A small smile crept upon my lips and I looked away to hide my flushed cheeks. I couldn’t contain my happiness. I wondered how my mood had changed so drastically in this conversation.
He smiled, bringing his thumb up to graze my cheek. “You’re blushing.”
I reached up and quickly wiped my cheeks.
“Now, are you still joining the sorority?”
He came closer. Our noses were almost touching, his eyes never leaving mine. I held my breath.
I closed my eyes. He was going to kiss me. I could almost feel the touch of his lips on mine, his breath in my lungs. He leaned down, then I heard my stomach growl in hunger, which caused Reeve to chuckle.
“Hungry? Come on, let’s continue to eat.”
 

 

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Forever Night Stand: https://amzn.com/B019NK762C

 Snippets of Memories: A Forever Night Stand Bonus Book (99 CENTS) https://amzn.com/B01ASFS4Q8
Ysa Arcangel is a Filipino author based in Manila. She works as a Spanish-English GDS Helpdesk by day and a writer by night. She is a loving partner to a chef and a mom to three amazing kids. 
 She enjoys creative writing and uses her obsessive nature by writing contemporary paranormal and romance fiction with lots of laughs, tears and sighs showcasing sweet, funny and badass female leads with raunchy and hot male love interests whether human or supernatural.
 She’s a lover of coffee, tattoos, and giant dogs. She is also an extreme sports enthusiast. When she’s not writing, you can see her spending time with her family, reading, or having TV series marathons.
–– FOLLOW YSA ––

Guest Post by AF Henley: Wolf, en Garde ~ Blog Tour and Giveaway

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In my limited experience with during blog tours, one thing stands out more than the rest: it gets harder and harder to think of something even mildly amusing or semi-entertaining to put at the beginning of them. My life, no word of a lie, is just not that interesting and I shudder to think of that moment when someone ends up leaving the comment, “you’ve said that before.” Or, as my mind will hear it, “Yes, yes; you’ve already told us that story five hundred times.”

So while I may have mentioned this already in my Road Trip blog tour (honestly, I can’t remember if I did), it is applicable so I will use it and I ask you to pretend you haven’t read it if you have…

I haven’t done a lot of travelling, but of the few places that I’ve driven through there were two that gave me the creeps: Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. I like to tell people that I’m sensitive to certain things (mostly I just watch too many movies), and I can say without doubt that those two cities pinged all kinds of “stay the f*ck away” bells. With Baltimore I guess I can understand. They’ve got one of the highest ranking violent crime rates in the country, and I have to imagine that if there is a cloud of presence that amasses above certain places, it must be a particularly nasty one over that stretch of land. As for Washington, though, I don’t quite get my oogie-boogieness over that one. It’s a beautiful city, with a lot of history, character, and monuments. Regardless, I always get all kinds of creepy-crawlies from the city and I avoid it completely whenever I can.

So, it made sense for me to make it the setting for Wolf, en Garde, and not just because that’s where Randy’s family lived. In my next post I’ll tell you about one of the creepier locations in the novel, but for this teaser I wanted to show you Washington as Lyle experiences it, alongside one of the locals.

Just a reminder, be sure to read through to the end of the post to find out how you could win your very own signed, print copy of Wolf en Garde, a sterling silver (nickel and lead-free) Howling Wolf Bangle, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market!

Tiny Teaser: Introducing – Washington, D.C.

They ran until Lyle’s legs were exhausted and trembling—down alleys and up staircases, over rooftops and across yards. They watched the fog crawl over the city and sat in silence as wanderers made cautious quick steps along sidewalks and walkways. Lyle was introduced to views that transported him back to time before industry and then in the next instant, at a turn of a corner or a shift in direction, had him staring in awe at just how far man had come and all that could be done with tools and equipment and engineering. It was a remarkable city; that Lyle had already known from his earlier trip out with the family. To see it at night, though—while streetlights cast halos through the fog, and headlights bore all but useless slivers of luminance into the darkness—was magical. Ethereal, even.

For a time, real life ceased to exist and Lyle became part of the fairytale. They were the villains of the brother Grimms’ pens, the dark shadows that children whispered breathlessly about, and no one was huffing for Lyle to stay away or hulk back, or admonishing him for his vile existence. With Arius, he belonged on the streets. They were the masters of the dark and the princes of nightmares, complete with Arius’s windblown hair, his own ruffled fur, and their shared grins over the tension in the shoulders and mumbles of the few that unknowingly passed them by. For though he and Arius weren’t seen, they were felt—Lyle could sense it in everything from scent to expression.

They ended their journey by the small plaza where they’d met, but it wasn’t the surface of the park that Arius led Lyle to. Instead, they began to descend into the underpass that had caught Lyle’s attention that first night he’d been out. The light inside the underpass was a sickly, jaundiced yellow. The smell of gasoline and diesel emanated from the open mouth of the entrance and lingered on all the surfaces—roadway, walkway, walls and ceiling. Rainbow remnants of oil slithered and pooled between the white lines of the asphalt. Though the city kept the structure sound and (Lyle had to assume) safe, there was an atmosphere to the underpass that made Lyle’s skin shiver under his fur. Without realizing he was doing it, Lyle tucked his head and pricked his ears up and forward.

Wolf, en Garde Excerpt
© AF Henley, 2016

Blurb

Wolf, en Garde

Three years ago Lyle made a mistake that cost him his freedom, and almost his life. Now, sick to death of watching his father love the man that Lyle wanted, Lyle accepts an offer to leave Wolf, WY behind and see what life in Washington, D.C. can do for him instead.

When Lyle comes across a seductive, attractive stranger with a fascinating yet terrifying view of humanity, he’s more than intrigued. It doesn’t take Lyle long to realize that Arius isn’t just playing games, though, and when Lyle runs across a secret in Arius’ lair he has no choice but to flee, even knowing his actions will enrage Arius.

On the run, with only a psychic’s second sight and his own instinct to help him, Lyle has nowhere to go but home. The only question is, will they have him when he shows up.

Genre: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Notes: Wolf, WY contains some explicit and violent content
Book 2 in the Wolf series

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Purchasing Link – save 15% by preordering your copy today! Discount available until May 17th

The Giveaway

Wolf en Garde Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a sterling silver (nickel and lead-free) Howling Wolf charm bangle, a $20 Gift Certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market (free books!), and a signed, print copy of Wolf, WY.

For all the terms and conditions, please check out the t’s and c’s posted on the Rafflecopter.

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

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A great big thank you, as always, to Cinderella Stories for having me back as a guest. It’s an honour and a pleasure to be here, and I can’t thank you enough for all that you do, as I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without you. 🙂

And another huge thank you to you, my friends, for reading and joining me. Best of luck with the giveaway and I hope you enjoyed the post!

Until next time,

AF Henley ❤

About the Author

AF Henley_Avatar croppedHenley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.

For more information, please stop by for a visit at afhenley.com.

Guest Post and Giveaway – Earthquakes: A New Amsterdam Story by Kelly Wyre

Earthquakes Blog Tour Banner

Hi there! I’m so excited to be here today on Cinderella Stories to talk about my new novel, Earthquakes: A New Amsterdam Story. It’s the next installment in the New Amsterdam series, and it involves guns and ballet, two of my favorite things.

To celebrate the release, I’m doing a blog tour, and no tour is complete without prizes, amirite? I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, a lovely necklace with a quote from Sinatra’s, Strangers in the Night – “Love was just a glance away, a warm embracing dance away” – and a free ebook copy of the book!

Earthquakes Prize Pack

How to enter? That’s easy… See the Rafflecopter Info below for all the ways to win!

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Winner will be selected at random after the contest closes on the 18th of March.

Meanwhile, I think I’d like to chat a bit about the characters in this world. It’s quite the web they weave. See?

New Amsterdam Character Web

CHECK OUT THE MASSIVE VERSION OF THE CHARACTER WEB RIGHT ‘CHERE.

I know that thing makes MY eyes cross, so let’s break it down.

Today? We’re going to talk about Tim Akkard

Dear Tim might be the only straight man left in New Amsterdam. He certainly feels that way sometimes.

Tim is rather non-descript; brown hair and eyes with a nice smile. He’s about Clark’s height – 6’1” or so – and a tad older than Clark (which puts Tim around Daniel’s age; early 40s). He’s naturally slim and stays that way because he often forgets to eat.

About a year and a half ago, or so, Tim lost his wife, Dana, to cancer. He still grieves her, and he is quite convinced there is no one else for him, now. They were perfect for one another. They were kink-compatible, for one thing. Tim’s a Dom-Daddy sort who builds S&M furniture as a side job to his career, which is in architecture.

Or he used to, until Dana got sick.

Tim’s a partner in an architectural firm, and it was that firm which built Bliss & Break. He’s also a 1/4 owner of those clubs. He handles the security, now, and rarely goes to the clubs at all. He rarely goes out, period, really, other than to work and occasionally to Lucian’s house.

Tim met everybody when Clark joined a support group for vets with PTSD after he was discharged from the services (and before he opened Glow or found his various other callings in life). Tim helped Clark organize a group for gay vets that works in conjunction with the various Rainbow Centers around New Amsterdam.

Tim does know about and occasionally support/participate in the activities of the Merry Band of Vigilantes (the nickname Clark gave to himself, Lucian, Chance, and all the rest of the men trying to take down crime in the City). He has no moral qualms about it, that’s for sure; anything to help out the common people he supports.

So that’s Tim. Even though he gets very little “screen time,” he’s one of the characters I get asked about the most regarding when we get his story. Believe me, I’d love to see this guy happy, so as soon as he lets me know what’s up? I’ll let you know. 🙂

As always, if you happen to have questions for this character, please feel free to ask ‘em in the comments! Follow the BLOG TOUR to learn more about the characters of New Amsterdam.

And to win prizes.

‘Cause PRIZES, y’all. They rock.

Thanks for reading!
Xxoo
Kelly

Want to Know More?

Check out the World of New Amsterdam

Peruse the Free Reads

See the Fan Art & Cool Stuff

And definitely catch up with Ellis and Bryn in Earthquakes, the latest installment of the New Amsterdam series. Need a taste? How ‘bout an excerpt?

PS – It’s better to read it with the SOUNDTRACK.

EARTHQUAKES: A New Amsterdam Story

Ellis had been close to martial artists when they were training. He’d sparred with Clark. He’d seen Kris and Daniel and all his friends shoot at the range. There was an economy of motion that the athletically and lethally inclined all shared. Ellis admired it, strived for it, and knew he’d never get there. He was a workhorse, not a prince of motion.

And as he watched Bryn begin to move – not merely stretch or contort but move – Ellis thought of churches and gods and houses of worship.

Bryn’s feet bent in ways Ellis had never seen. Bryn could balance perfectly on one foot or even a single toe. When Bryn shed his pants after a moment or two and took the first few steps in only a pair of snug briefs, Ellis wasn’t hit with a wave of arousal. He was struck dumb with awe. Every line of Bryn was defined. Even the lift of one arm and the point of his fingers were deliberate and beautiful. Ellis stood completely still and held his breath. He was in the presence of some sort of everyday magic and calling attention to himself might break the spell.

The concentration on Bryn’s face was unlike anything Ellis had ever witnessed. He didn’t exist for Bryn. Nothing did except the music, the motion, and whatever spirit had come alive in Bryn to make Bryn…shine. There was no other word for it. The light played through the windows and infused Bryn with incandescence.

And when Bryn started to dance, really dance, he outshone the sun. A turn here, a pointed foot there, a twist and a glide and… God, Ellis didn’t know what Bryn was doing. But he felt it. The music was hopeful and yet haunting, and Bryn’s dance tugged at every ache both old and new in Ellis’s body. Bryn’s face portrayed almost no emotion, but with every dart of his hand, every slice of his leg through the air, with every crumble, fall, and rise, Ellis was struck over and over.

I will try, said Bryn’s reach toward God and Heaven and all things on high.

Though I know I will fail, said the drop of Bryn’s arm.

I will carry on, said the sweep of his leg.

But I’ll lose, said an arch of his back.

I will fight, said a twisting leap.

I will fall, said the thuds of Bryn’s feet on the floor.

I want to love, said the open reach of Bryn’s fingers.

Please, said Bryn’s clutched fist.

Bryn’s expanse of chest, his shut eyes, and his rise onto his curled toes snapped something in Ellis, and as the music faded, Ellis couldn’t take it anymore. He shut off the music, strode to Bryn, and caught Bryn up in his arms. Bryn was sweaty and warm and breathing hard. Ellis couldn’t stop kissing him. Bryn melted against Ellis, resting heavily against him. Ellis ran a hand through Bryn’s hair.

“I see you,” Ellis whispered. “I see you.”

 ~*~

KellyWyre_Amsterdam_Earthquakes

Earthquakes: A New Amsterdam Story
Ellis Parker is a lucky man: he escaped his persecuting family, survived his tour of duty, and met Maxwell Clark in the city of New Amsterdam. Clark showed Ellis more than the ropes: Clark helped Ellis figure out who he is – a gay submissive with a massive fixation on a beautiful, mysterious ballet dancer named Bryn Rothe. Ellis knows a Good Man when he sees one, and he wants nothing more than to score a first date with Bryn.

Little does Ellis know that Bryn has a violent past that is crawling out of shallow graves to haunt him. Even his hectic schedule and beloved stage aren’t enough to distract him. It’s impossible for Bryn to figure out how he feels about Ellis with his demons between them, but when Ellis saves Bryn not once but twice, Bryn is forced to admit that there’s something about Ellis that Bryn might not merely want but need.

Together, they journey to the scene of Bryn’s original crime – Charles Towne, South Carolina. There they will dig up secrets that might explain Bryn’s tortured life but might also be his – and Ellis’s – undoing.

Own a Piece of the City – Get your copy of Earthquakes: A New Amsterdam Story, Today!

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Contest Fine Print:
This giveaway will run throughout the blog tour, and finish at midnight on March 18. Winner must be of legal age, and legally able to accept the prizes as awarded. By entering this giveaway, you are confirming your eligibility. Void where prohibited by law. Entries will be collected by Rafflecopter on each tour stop and via my blog post. No purchase necessary to win. Odds of winning are determined solely by the number of eligible entries.

Winner must respond within seventy-two hours of the congratulatory email and post. Posts will be made on my social media platforms. Winner may or may not be announced on the blog sites, in accordance with that site’s preference. It is the responsibility of the winner to watch for the announcement. A new winner will be redrawn otherwise. Shipping costs will be to the expense of Kelly Wyre, and can be shipped worldwide, where legally permitted. This contest is not sponsored by Blogger, Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Tumblr, or any of the sites wherewith the giveaway has been posted. By entering this giveaway you agree to hold Kelly Wyre and designates harmless should something go awry with either contest or the prizes awarded.

 

Giveaway Winner of Minsan Pa by Jessica E. Larsen

WINNER OF THE INTL GIVEAWAY

And the winner of a $5 Amazon GC and an ebook copy of Minsan Pa is:

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winner

Congratulations, Irah! 🙂

~BLURB~

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Drama
Word count:
37,300 words

28485178Natutong mahalin ni Neena si Yuusuke noong teenagers pa lamang sila. Subalit sobra siyang nasaktan sa bigla nitong pagkawala ng walang paalam. Sa paglipas ng mga taon wala siyang naging balita rito maliban sa mga scandal nitong nababasa niya sa mga magazines. But after eleven years, Yuusuke’s back as her boss at muling pinalalambot ang puso niyang akala niya ay naging bato na pagdating sa pag-ibig.

~ ~ ~Book Excerpt~ ~ ~

“Yuusuke!” sigaw ni Neena nang lampasan siya ng lalaki na tila ni hindi man lamang siya nakilala.Lumingon ito at tulad niya ay tila hindi rin ito makapaniwala.

“Neena, is that—”Hindi na natapos pa ni Yuusuke tanong, sinugod na niya ito ng tadyak sa sikmura. Pumaibabaw siya sa binata nang mawalan ito ng balanse at inumangan ito ng suntok sa mukha.

“Miss Salcedo, ano’ng ginagawa mo?” singhal ni Mr. Canlas bago pa man niya nasuntok ang mukha ng gulat na gulat na binata. “Hindi mo ba alam na anak ‘yan ng boss mo?”

“Ano?” hindi makapaniwalang sambit ni Neena. Tumingin siya kay Yuto Satuo na nakangiti lang na nakatingin din sa kanya. Ibig ba nitong sabihin, pamilya ni Yuusuke ang may-ari ng kompanyang pinapasukan niya? Akala niya noon ng mag-apply siya ay walang kinalaman ang apelyido ni Yuusuke sa pangalan ng Satou Airlines Corp pero ngayon—umalis siya sa ibabaw ni Yuusuke na kalamado namang tumayo.

Noon lang niya naisipang ilibot ang paningin sa mga co-workers niyang nakasaksi sa kanyang ginawa. Umiwas ng tingin sa kanya ang marami, halatang ayaw madamay sa gulo. Ang mga kalalakihan na nakaupo malapit sa kanila ay iba’t iba ang naging reaksyon, may nakanganga at napahinto sa akmang pagsubo, may isa pa ngang naibuga ang kapeng iniinom sa mukha ng kaharap.

Samantalang lumapit naman sa tabi niya si Miya at inakbayan siya, yumukod ito hawak ang kanyang ulo na iniyuko rin sa harapan ni Yuusuke sabay hingi ng paumanhin. “Sir, inihihingi ko po ng tawad itong kaibigan ko. Masyado lang po kasi siyang naasar sa napag-usapan namin kanina bago kayo pumasok,” sabi ni Miya, bagay na hindi niya sinang-ayunan.

Inalis niya ang ulo mula sa pagkakahawak nito at taas noong sinulyapan si Yuusuke bago hinarap si Alfredo Canlas. “Sir, papayag po akong mapatalsik sa aking trabaho kung ang lalaking ito lang naman pala ang magiging boss ko,” wika niyang nakaturo kay Yuusuke.

“Neena!” sita ni Miya.

Nilingon niya ito at pinukol ng masamang tingin. “Stay out of this, Miya.”

“Fine, you’re fired!” ani naman ni Alfredo.

“Salamat, Sir. I’ll pack up my things and go.”

“No!” umalingawngaw ang tinig ni Yuusuke sa apat na sulok ng canteen nang tumalikod na siya. Napatingin dito ang lahat.

~ ~ ~Links: Goodreads | Smashwords | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

About the Author

Jessica E. Larsen is an author of contemporary romance, YA, NA and Paranormal stories. She writes in both English and Taglish/Filipino language. Jessica’s not hundred percent sure what her characters are thinking, but most of the heroine in her stories love to bite her head off and fall for the guy they dislike, then blame her for their misery. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her reading or creating digital art. Jessica doesn’t like doing housework, but love hearing from her readers. She might be late at times, but she always takes the time to reply to comments and messages.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Book Review and Giveaway: Don’t Forget the Parsley by Marie Claire Lim Moore

My Review
Warning: Contains Spoilers
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 5 stars

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Marie Claire Lim Moore, a Filipina-Canadian-American author of Don’t Forget the Soap (And Other Reminders from My Fabulous Filipina Mother) is back with her new book titled Don’t Forget the Parsley (And More from My Positively Filipino Family).

Both books talk about Claire and her family’s inspiring stories and fond memories they created together as their family embark on their own version of this journey called life.

There are plenty of reasons why I love this book. One, it is packed with life lessons. Two, it is entertaining. Three, its tone—witty and sincere—is aligned with what the book is trying to impart and that is when readers knew the stories in the book are genuine. Four, it showcases a lot of values: resilience, creativity, ingenuity, always being thankful, religious, friendly, always happy, humility, helpful, diligence, conservative, respectful (made me wonder if Claire and Justin practice pagmamano or if they’re fluent in Tagalog), accommodating, how Claire’s mom searches for a silver lining in every cloud, and most of all: love for family and friends.

Okay so there is probably a lot more but I just learned from Claire’s mom that if we spend so much time agonizing over something trying to make it perfect we’ll never be able to finish it. Lol. 🙂 Word of the wise. Obviously that part of the book is one of my favorites. I’m writing my memoir as well and I’ve rewritten it three times. By the time I was on the third version I have no idea whether I was crying due to my exasperation at my inability to finish the book or because I am still heartbroken over the people I loved and lost. So I’m thankful for that advice and I’ll try to live by that from now on because it is essential to me that I finish my books.

Anyway, I also loved the story of how Claire’s parents met and how her dad had to make up some non-existent party just so they’d get to see each other again (the next day and then the day after that). Lol. I found that part endearing although I had mixed reactions upon reading that Claire’s mom had to ask permission from her aunt in order to attend said party (In the end, Tita Lenore was given the approval but she had to go with her brother). I mean she was twenty six so a part of me was amazed while the other part was exasperated (Don’t get me wrong; in the end I do know asking for permission is a form of respect, too; and in some ways we’re merely informing our elders that we need to go someplace else).

I shouldn’t have been surprised though, that’s how it is with our culture: the elders will always be protective of their young ones. No sleepovers (my niece’s friends can come sleepover at our house but not her, never her); we have curfews even when we are over thirty; no “camping” (my nephew wanted to go “camping” but my sister-in-law Ate Thess refused. This was a huge deal because my nephew wanted to go but Ate Thess was adamant about her decision. I already lost your dad; I can’t lose you, too, she reasoned. At the time, my brother-in-law Kuya Jojo just died.

No one can argue with her after that. But I mean, for all the violent reactions you would think we were sending my nephew to Mindanao. But the “camping” in question was just an overnight stay at school with his classmates, supervised by their teachers (I think Rad was in junior or senior year, I forgot. That seemed a lifetime away now), even I did that when I was seven during star scout and my maternal grandma had her own issues (I wasn’t allowed to leave the house unless it’s for school, church, or an errand (this I understood) but my teachers were informed beforehand I wasn’t to be sent out of town for quiz contests (this one I didn’t get. Then again, my grandma lost four of her seven children including my mom so maybe that had something to do with this.)]

Don’t Forget the Parsley (And More from My Positively Filipino Family) made me ponder over some things. How much is too much for example. At which point do we loosen or let go of our protective hold over our kids?

Now that Ate Thess is dead and her kids are turning to me and my husband for our permission and advice, it’s so easy to tighten that hold and say no. The first time Rad asked us to sign a waiver for his school trip, he told us: I don’t want to ask grandma and grandpa to sign this. You know what they’ll say.

I did know. They already permitted him to go but if they had to sign something they might change their mind.

But then when I was already reading the document, I suddenly found myself feeling horrified. It was a field trip liability waiver. Meaning that we cannot hold the school liable should there be any untoward accident. I knew about this and I had known beforehand what it would say. It was a standard document signed by parents every day (but then put that way, if it’s so unimportant why make the parents sign it?) but I must admit that made me pause and think but goodness, he was just going to participate to a contest in Makati (their school is in Pasay, for goodness’ sake. It was only an hour away from there!). It was not the end of the world.

Nothing is going to happen, I told myself and I am all for broadening one’s horizon so I signed the blasted document with my eyes closed.

Needless to say I prayed hard after that. Lord, please always keep them safe.

Like me, until both his parents passed away he never got to do these things. Put that way though, I’d rather my grandparents and both Ate Thess and my brother-in-law Kuya Jojo were still alive. I wouldn’t trade a trip to a Science or a writing conference someplace else for them and I’m sure my niece and nephew both felt the same but that’s life for you.

At the same time I didn’t want to be that ridiculous paranoid person who holds the kids back from realizing their full potential, no. So we say yes every goddamned time and I was even surprised when he recently turned down a student congress event in Davao. I would have wanted him to go but at the same time I didn’t want to push. I want the kids to go out there and see the world. In fact when Rad was in his senior year I suggested to Mama that he apply for scholarships abroad for college. But if the camping didn’t go so well, you can just imagine how that suggestion was received.

Anyway, my second favorite part of the book is about the smile/happy thing, that certainly made me laugh out loud. Filipinos are inherently happy and they try to smile even in the middle of a tragedy. Case in point, years ago I was walking toward the QA department when I met an officemate in the hallway. Condolence, she said, I heard your father just passed away. Touched, I smiled at her but then she was like, Why are you smiling? Your father just died! And I was like, Oh, but I can’t say thank you in return. I lost someone therefore I can’t thank you for offering me comfort so I smiled my appreciation instead. Did that make sense?

My third favorite part is the sex education thing. Tita Lulu responded in true Filipino fashion which had me laughing out loud. She’s probably endangered species these days but yeah, any talk related to sex is considered taboo in Filipino culture. This has its pros and cons. Some Pinoys are so conservative they become nuns and priests while some end up with a dozen of kids because they have no idea there’s such a thing as birth control; worse, HIV cases is on the rise.

There’s a lot more that I like about this book such as the lesson in patience (no, you cannot write a book overnight, Jho, you need to sleep) or how Claire admitted she forgets the soap sometimes but I’m going to stop right here. Lol. I’ll leave it to the other readers to find out for themselves why this book is worth their time.

Thank you for reading this review and thank you also to Claire and her family for sharing such wonderful anecdotes.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Note: I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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SYNOPSIS:

Marie Claire Lim Moore builds on her first memoir, Don’t Forget the Soap, offering more entertaining stories about her family in this follow up. Like her first book, Don’t Forget the Parsley is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from her second-generation immigrant childhood in Vancouver and New York City mix with recent expat experiences in Singapore and Hong Kong where she balances multiple roles as wife and mother, corporate executive and author. Her positively Filipino parents continue to have a big influence on her whether it comes to managing family and career, meeting heads of state and world leaders or simply making new friends.

From stray observations (everything is funnier at church) and midnight anxieties (if Jessica Simpson gets to go to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, why shouldn’t I?) to life mantras (don’t let perfection hold you back) and litmus tests (would you serve drinks at my mother’s art show?), Claire’s warm and honest storytelling will resonate with readers and leave them smiling.

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GIVEAWAY:
Join the giveaway for a chance to win one of the five Amazon GCs at $10. Click on the Rafflecopter image below. Good luck!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don’t Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos, Isabel, and Sofia, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia.

Claire is regularly ranked among leaders in the Asian-American professional community and her experiences have been written about in The New York Times, USA Today, Smart Parenting, Good Housekeeping and People Asia. She enjoys juggling her thriving career and growing family, fundraising for Filipino community events and promoting work-family balance for women through her talks as well as her writing. Previous speaking engagements have been hosted by Standard Chartered Bank, The Financial Women’s Association of Singapore, and MasterCard Asia.

In 2014, Claire received the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Award™ (Global FWN100™) that recognizes Filipina women who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace, having reached status for outstanding work in their respective fields, and who are recognized for their leadership, achievement and contributions to society, female mentorship and legacy. Claire is also featured in women’s empowerment expert Claudia Chan’s Remarkable Women Series along with female role models Arianna Huffington, Tory Burch and Zainab Salbi.