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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween

I looked up Halloween Trivia for this post and came across some interesting things. But first take this quiz then go to the site for the answers:
1) What was the most popular Halloween candy in 2004?
Choose Your Answer: A: Snickers, B: Candy Corn, C: M&Ms, D: Tootsie Rolls
2) According to superstition, if you stare into a mirror at midnight on Halloween, what will you see?
Choose Your Answer: A: Bloody Mary, B: Your Future Spouse, C: Your Death, D: Dead Ancestors
3) The first Jack-o-Lanterns were made out of what?
Choose Your Answer: A: Watermelons, B: Coconuts, C: Turnips, D: Pumpkins
4) Halloween is generally considered to have evolved from what ancient festival?
Choose Your Answer: A: Lammas, B: Beltane, C: Samhain, D: Ostara
5) What was the most popular Halloween costume in 2004?
Choose Your Answer: A: Spiderman, B: Witch, C: Vampire, D: George W. Bush
6) How much does the world's biggest pumpkin weigh?
Choose Your Answer: A: 245 pounds, B: 485 pounds, C: 685 pounds, D: 1,385 pounds
7) According to legend, a unibrow, tattoos, and a long middle finger are all signs of what Halloween creature?
Choose Your Answer: A: a werewolf, B: a vampire, C: a witch, D: a golem
8) How many pounds of candy did the average American consume in 2002?
Choose Your Answer: A: 6 pounds, B: 12 pounds, C: 24 pounds, D: 48 pounds
9) How many "witches" were burned at the stake in the Salem Witch Trials?
Choose Your Answer: A: Twelve, B: Twenty, C: Thirty-three, D: None
10) What phobia do you suffer from if you have an intense fear of Halloween?
Choose Your Answer: A: Phasmophobia, B: Samhainophobia, C: Wiccaphobia, D: Halloweenophobia


Now for some fun facts-some are outdated but they're still interesting:
 Because the movie Halloween (1978) was on such a tight budget, they had to use the cheapest mask they could find for the character Michael Meyers, which turned out to be a William Shatner Star Trek mask. Shatner initially didn’t know the mask was in his likeness, but when he found out years later, he said he was honored.

“Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes

Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.

Halloween was influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name. Many Halloween customs and games that feature apples (such as bobbing for apples) and nuts date from this time. In fact, in the past, Halloween has been called San-Apple Night and Nutcrack Night.

Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blast: Maggie Jaimeson Celtic Music and Romantic Women's Fiction

About Maggie:

Maggie Jaimeson writes romantic women’s fiction and romantic suspense with a near future twist. She describes herself as a wife, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher and an IT administrator. By day she is “geek girl” – helping colleges to keep up with 21st century technology and provide distance learning options for students in rural areas. By night Maggie turns her thoughts to worlds she can control – worlds where bad guys get their comeuppance, women triumph over tragedy, and love can conquer all.
HEALING NOTES is the second book in the Sweetwater Canyon Series of four books. The final two books will be available in 2013.

Website
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To enter the drawing, you must leave an email address! Maggie will award one autographed cover flat to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, she will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour.

Blurb:

Forgiving yourself is the first step, but helping others forgive may be just too hard.

Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess.

A year of trying to prove to herself that she's woman enough for any man, and then a vicious rape while on tour with the band, leaves Rachel reeling. When she meets Noel Kershaw, an English teacher who is poetry in motion, she is definitely attracted. But he has a young child and he's suffering from his own divorce. The last thing Rachel needs in life is more baggage.

First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted.

Excerpt:
As she reached for the handle, the door opened and a little girl rushed out, maybe six or seven years old, with beautiful long blond hair caught up in a blue denim bow. She ran to a light blue sedan next to Rachel’s and giggled as she skipped through puddles circling the car. Rachel couldn’t help but smile at the child’s carefree innocence.

After three circles, the girl stopped at the back end of the car, cocked her head and waved two fingers at her. “Hi.”

“Um, hi.” Rachel raised her hand and waved back. “Did you forget somebody? Your mommy maybe?”

“Claire, I told you to stay close.”

At the sound of the tenor voice beside her, Rachel started. A man three to four inches taller than her had stepped out. In one hand he held several colorful ribbons attached to a bright pink, heart-shaped helium balloon that read Happy Birthday. He looked toward the car where the child was still giggling.

The little girl raced back. Skidding to a stop in front of Rachel, they bumped and Rachel teetered slightly toward the wall.

“Careful there.” A weathered hand reached toward her and wrapped around her elbow. His touch was softer than she expected, but her knees still locked, ready to spring if she needed to move fast. He held her up with one hand. Deep brown eyes, emphasized by his full head of short, wavy blonde hair, looked at her then turned toward the girl.”

“Apologize, Claire. You almost knocked her over.”

“I’m sorry.” A small hand lifted to touch her other arm.

“That’s okay. Really. I should have been paying more attention.” Rachel smiled and pointed to the balloon. “Latha breith.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, I…” She had lapsed into Gaelic. Something she hadn’t done in public since Kavan left her almost three years ago. “I said ‘Happy Birthday.’”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Liz Crowe and Microbrewing

Who is Liz Crowe?


Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town.  Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance author. 

When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications. 

Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)

Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices.  Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.

 



BLURB:  

A brutal attack left Lori Brockton convinced she was damaged goods. By the time she emerges from hiding two years later, ready to run her family's famous brewery, she's determined to be independent--never rely on anyone ever again. Nearly a year of working in every corner of Brockton Brewing Company, from warehouse to pub, front office to kitchen, teaches her all she needs to know about the business.
Then, she comes face-to-face with masculine perfection in a suit and her world is rocked in more ways than one. Garret Hunter is the new Brockton business manager who takes one look at the beautiful, sad young woman and his entire existence coalesces around winning her heart. 
But standing between Garrett and what he believes is his true love, is a six-feet six-inch blond-haired bad boy brewer.
Eli Buchannan is a craft beer rock star, recently hired by Brockton to drag the company into the 21st century. He brings innovation and attitude plus a prima donna ladies man reputation.  But he's sworn off anything resembling commitment, personal or professional, after getting burned at his last job on both fronts. 
Garret Hunter is “The Perfect Man” -- handsome, successful, stable, eager to settle down. Eli Buchannan... is not.  Compelling, smoking hot, creative and elusive, he represents everything Lori Brockton should avoid.  But just as she makes a difficult choice, a drastic life-changing shift occurs, and nothing is ever the same again.
 Excerpt:


Lori wrestled open the back brewery door, ears already ringing from the curses that echoed through the large, brightly lit room. The brewery boys, and three second brewers stood in a line, like they were in a marine barracks all looking as nervous as mice observed by a very hungry cat.

“And who the fuck,” boomed a voice, “might you be? No one told me there was a girl brewer in this place.”

As a reflex, Lori looked around, seeking out the girl who’d pissed off the faceless angry voice that must belong to Eli Buchanan their new master brewer. She’d been instrumental in convincing her father to hire the guy. He was a brewing celebrity, a genius, temperamental and prone to quit perfectly good breweries if the mood suited him. He was exactly what Brockton needed. They had to to get past their staid, complacent attitude in a rapidly changing craft beer environment.

“Yeah, I’m talking to you. The one who showed up fifteen minutes late for my morning staff meeting.” She flushed, frowning at the line of men, many of whom had worked for her father for years as they shuffled their feet and wouldn’t meet her eyes.  “Who the hell are you, and why are you on my brewery floor?”

She cleared her throat, squared her shoulders and channeled the anger building in her chest. “I’m Lori. Lori Brockton. This is the first day of my brewery rotation.” She hated how thin her voice sounded.

“Your brewery rotation eh?” She stepped back at the vision that emerged from between towering stainless steel fermentation vessels.  “What is this? Brewing Day Camp? I’m supposed to babysit the Brockton kids?” He glared at her, making her blink in the glare of his bright, steely blue gaze. Eli Buchanan was larger than life. At least six foot five, with long blonde hair held back by a small piece of leather. Clad in light blue jeans and a Brockton Brewing grey t-shirt, the span of his shoulders and definition of his torso forced an exhale from Lori’s lips. He kept quiet as her eyes took him in, from rubber boot clad feet to the light red hair covering his jaw. “Well? See anything you like?”

“Uh, no, I mean, it’s not camp. I mean, you are…I’m…” she stuttered, then stopped. The man stood stock still, glaring as if challenging her. She stood up straighter. “I’m here for the next six months to learn this part of the business. You know, so I can be your boss someday.” The man frowned at her. She frowned back.

Then he tilted his head back and laughed, stepped into her personal space and smacked her ass so hard she yelped. “I look forward to that day girl Brockton. Yes, I do.” A couple of the men started forward as if to protect her but she waved them back. This asshole had another thing coming if he thought she’d be intimidated by him. As much as she might have been at one point, something about him was as non-threatening as Garrett, but in a different way—a much more spine-tingling way.

The following ten hours of back breaking work nearly made her throw in the towel. But after an hour scraping out the last of a twenty barrel’s worth of wet, heavy spent mash—the leftover grains from a batch of beer made on their smaller system, she felt sore as hell, but invigorated. The smells, sounds and sights of this place, the heartbeat of the entire operation, the reason all three hundred of her father’s employees came to work every day, this she loved.

“Brockton!” An angry voice behind her made her jump and turn. Wet, sticky malt grains dripped from her face where she’d accidently splashed some onto herself as she cleaned out the large vessel. She swiped at them, smearing even more of the mess across her cheeks. Without warning, Eli wiped her face with a clean white towel, his touch surprisingly tender, lingering longer than necessary. But his frown stayed stuck in place.  She stepped away from him even though her body reacted, compelling her to move closer.

“Some guy in a tie is looking for you,” he jerked a thumb over his shoulder but didn’t move. Lori had no experience with hypnosis, but she’d swear at that moment he’d done it to her. They locked eyes, then the sound of harder heeled shoes on the concrete floor forced her look past him. Garrett’s bright smile was familiar, yet strange in the highly charged environment.

“I’m actually here to see you, Eli.” Garrett stuck out a hand and the other man looked at it, glancing over to Lori then back over before gripping it without a smile. “Glad to have you on board.”

Eli took his hand back, and swiped at it with the towel he’d used on her face. If he noticed the rude gesture, Garrett didn’t indicate it in the slightest. Impressed, Lori moved a step closer to him and glared at the tall, blonde man.

Eli shot her an unfathomable look, but spoke to Garrett. “Sorry, but no suits in the brewery. Wouldn’t want to get you messy.” He walked away, waving over his shoulder. “Glad to be on board, boss, thanks.” The sarcasm dripped from his words like venom. Garrett turned to her, his handsome face calm, as if the odd exchange with the rude employee had never happened.

ARC reviews for Paradise Hops:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blast: PM Kavanaugh, romantic suspense, and stuff!

A writer of thrillers spiked with romance, PM Kavanaugh has always loved intrigue, danger and adventure, especially when observed at a safe distance from her own life. She shares her home, dreams and some of her plotting dilemmas with her clever-enough-to-be-a-spy husband and her talkative office cat, Max.

PM Kavanaugh will be awarding a 1st prize of a $20 Amazon GC and a 2nd prize of a $15 Amazon GC to randomly drawn commenters during the tour.



DIE RUN HIDE By PM Kavanaugh


Follow orders or die. Anika Washington knows the rules laid down by the counterterrorist agency that owns her. When she aborts a mission in order to spare a young girl, she’s given an ultimatum: take on a new mission that requires betraying her fellow operative, and lover, or forfeit her own life.


After discovering that her lover, Gianni, has chosen another, Anika accepts the mission. In the aftermath, she learns that Gianni was faithful to her and she’d been tricked into thinking otherwise. The knowledge comes too late and she’s almost killed in an agency double-cross.


Now she must run—battling time, former enemies and the agency itself to stay alive and save the man she loves.

Excerpt:
“All accounted for.” Gianni’s faint northern Italian accent threaded through his words.


It startled Anika, how the timbre of his voice reverberated through her body. It was as if he were lying right beside her instead of sitting in the transport vehicle two blocks away. Lying here, with his lips pressed to her ear, like when they were… but no, they hadn’t been together like that in ages.

She jerked her mind back to the mission. Told herself that her elevated heart rate wasn’t caused by the sound of his voice, but by its message. “Go time” was fast approaching.

She flexed her toe against the endorphin patch in the inner sole of her boot. After one slow breath she was calmer, like a warm wave had rolled through her. The effect wouldn’t last long, just a few minutes, just until she needed adrenaline back in her system to rev her through the mission.

The bomber guards trained their eyes on the surveillance monitors. The visual sweeps displayed only what U.N.I.T., the global counterterrorist organization that she worked for, wanted them to see—a closed building and lightly-trafficked streets. The alley where Anika lay in her container appeared empty except for recycling bins.

She studied her target, the guard on the right. Taking him out would trigger the other bodyguard. The resulting blast would look like an accident by one of their own.

“Deactivating entry point,” Gianni said. The blue beams preventing access into the museum flickered and disappeared. “Begin weapon prep.” His voice had evened out, the accent almost undetectable.

Had he used his endorphin patch, too? Anika smiled. Unlikely.

Amazon Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Review: We're Done

BLURB:


What if it turns out that YOU'RE the bully - and you didn't know it?

Up until now, life has been good for 13-year-old Luke. He's good at sports, attractive, and he's a big wheel at Heyworth Academy, his private school. He likes to tease, and poke fun at the other kids, but that's just because he likes having fun. But things start to fall apart, six weeks into eighth grade, when Luke commits an act of 'goofing around' that ends up costing him his best friend and his beloved private school.

After he's expelled, Luke transfers to his local school, Carlyle. Now, he's on the outside looking in. His looks, and background (not to mention his Heyworth hoodie), make him stand out, and the tough guys zero in on him right away.

The upside-down world that Luke finds himself in at Carlyle gives him a whole new way of looking at things. Can he recover from losing his school, and his best friend, and find new friends and a way to fit in at Carlyle?

Amazon


Judy Irwin writes books about kids dealing with everyday stuff, like parents and divorce, friendships and bullies, and figuring out how to handle different situations and circumstances. So far, she's written two books: We're Done, and What Did You Say? We're Done is about 13-year-old Luke and how he figures out what went wrong when he's kicked out of school for a bullying incident. In What Did You Say?, 12-year-old Tash tries to figure out what life will be like following her parents' divorce. In this book, which takes place at a trailer park up north, Tash first meets Luke, Jon and Polly.

Judy lives in Toronto, Canada, with a dog, a cat, and two hamsters, plus her husband and two children, ages 10 and 13. She studied English Literature at the University of Toronto. She always wanted to be a writer. She wrote her first book in fourth grade - it was about a boy called Japan, who lived in Japan. In addition to writing books, Judy is a freelance business writer.

Judy will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Judy Irwin
Amazon Author Page
We’re Done by Judy Irwin

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