Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The England Operation by Peter Swarbrick - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: The England Operation
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Author: Peter Swarbrick
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 360 pages
Release Date: May 16, 2012

 In the year 1141, civil war rages in England. Robber barons pillage and loot, while rampaging armies terrorise the countryside. But never fear: the peacekeepers are coming. The Organisation of Nations of the World (known in Latin as ONO) launches the England Operation to sort everything out. In this world-turned-upside-down satirical take on the peacekeeping industry, rich and powerful African businesswomen and politicians collude with Norman overlords to steal England’s most valuable natural resource—sheep—as the hapless international troops who are supposed to stop the war sink ever deeper into the swamp of violence and corruption that is twelfth-century England.


Pump Up Your Book and Peter are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Monday, April 28, 2014

Interview with Katherine Perreth, author of Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope

Making Lemonade with Ben
With deftly wielded humor and heart-wrenching candor, Katherine Perreth vividly recounts the myriad physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repercussions stemming from her son’s massive brain hemorrhage. Seven-year-old Ben suffers numerous disabilities and, later, mental health challenges. Yet, love wins. Making Lemonade With Ben is a compelling Cinderella story tracing sixteen years of Ben’s life. It begins with the night a University of Wisconsin Hospital neurosurgeon saved Ben, and follows Ben through young adulthood. Although he encounters years of substantial obstacles, in 2011 his never-say-die cheery attitude and uber-outgoing ways ultimately carry him to Washington D.C. There he represents the Madison Children’s Museum, his employer, at a national award ceremony. Wearing his ankle-foot-orthosis with a smiley face on the back, Ben juggles one-handed everywhere he goes, accomplishing his life goal: “Make humanity smile.” Universal themes of perseverance and compassion encourage readers to contemplate contemporary issues: mental illness treatment, recovery and stigma, the role of intentional employers in the lives of those with disabilities, and the success that can occur when a community values all of her citizens.

Purchase your copy:


What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I’m 53, and I didn’t think I was going to make it out of my forties. The glorious day I hit 50, I felt I’d really done something – stayed alive long enough to gleefully exit that fifth decade.
Then, at age 51, I reinvented myself by writing Making Lemonade With Ben: The Audacity to Cope (MLWB). New experiences thrill me, and the book has led to a number of oddities: having an Olympic-like medal placed around my neck for “Nonfiction: Inspirational” from an international book award contest I entered, and receiving a standing ovation from over 100 people. The latter occurred after Ben and I delivered the 2014 keynote speech for our local National Alliance on Mental Illness annual banquet.
My uber-outgoing, cheerfully charming 25-year-old son, robbed of various abilities at age seven, and for a time, his speech, also juggled lemons one-handed on stage. (This had a great deal to do with that standing O I’m thinkin’.) You simply cannot stop Ben from communicating with humanity, pursuing his goal to make everyone smile.

I’m passionate about removing stigma from mental illness. The sooner we all understand that mental illness is just like physical illness, the better for everyone. Mental illness is nothing new, nothing to be ashamed about, is a global concern, and can be a killer – just like physical illness. Even if we can’t be “fixed,” the choices we make can either alleviate or exacerbate our illnesses – physical and mental. There is a measure of empowerment in that.
And powerful good can happen when a community values all of her citizens through intentional employers and proper mental illness treatment and support. Ben’s life bears witness to that.
I believe the Clubhouse Model of mental illness treatment, support and recovery is critical. For more information, visit
I’ve also been able to use the book as a fundraiser for Yahara House, our local Clubhouse Model of mental illness treatment, support and recovery, Walbridge, a school that caters to kids with different learning abilities, and Reach A Child, an organization that gets books into the hands of kids in traumatic situations.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My parents always thought I’d be a writer. We were great campers, hikers and backpackers, so they envisioned me writing for National Geographic.
When we weren’t being outdoorsy, they allowed my love of reading to bloom. My parents would express astonishment over my ability to stay put for hours on a recliner, as well as my varied reading positions: legs flipped over the top, head upside down, legs flipped over the side, head off the other side. It didn’t matter, as long as I held the book right side up.
When and why did you begin writing?
To help process emotions and the facts associated with them, allowing my mind and body to release some of them. About eight months after Ben’s emergency craniotomy and coma, the details were still playing pinball in my head. Writing as much minutiae as possible really helped. Then I branched out, thinking and analyzing the nature of grief, suffering, pain, all that good dark stuff. I call this collection of essays my Creative Cathartic Vignettes.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a child, I expressed my emotions, which were many, via writing poetry. While in fourth grade, I wrote a poem about my mother’s current state of pregnancy. During quiet desk time, our teacher screeched my name, causing me to launch out of my seat. I thought I was in trouble, but then I heard her laughing. It was just her shocked reaction to my writing.
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
Pretty much when Johnny Depp hugged me at 4:00 in the morning. I knew I had a story then, and I submitted it to my hometown newspaper. Fans of Johnny, all is revealed in MLWB. (You’re welcome.)
The Depp article started my feature story niche. I love tooting the horns of my hometown folks. Although, I should have known I was a journalist earlier.
As a freshman at UW-Madison decades ago, I took one semester of Ag Journalism, to test the writing waters. (I don’t remember the particulars regarding why it wasn’t straight up Journalism.) For our final project, I didn’t want to write about cows or soybeans, so I did a piece on the newly emerging Punk Rock scene. We had to research what publications might be interested in our stories and submit them. The Capital Times, a Madison, Wisconsin daily, put it on their front page P.M. section, and paid me. Who gets paid at age 19, for her first submission? It took me three more decades to figure out what my parents had always known.
What inspires you to write and why?
As a journalist, I love a story. But I really love a backstory – the how and why of the thing. Recently, I’ve been speechwriting. My standard speech details the bewildering, slightly OCD, creation of Making Lemonade With Ben.
When I write, whether my book, speeches, or feature articles, I must be entertained. I’ve learned if I’m entertained, others are. There has got to be honesty, as well. I’m going to tell it like it is and hopefully, you’ll die laughing.
Or crying. Obviously, there’s much sorrow and pain in life, no laughing matter. Ben’s life underscores that. But if I can inject black humor into my dismal situation, that also aids in expressing troublesome emotions. At least I’ve found that to be true. I say I’m an equal opportunity employer when it comes to humor: white, gray and black, I’ll use ’em all to survive.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Humorous pathos, slices of life. I usually can find a bit of quirky humor in every-day-life.
What inspired you to write your first book?

Ben. And women asked for his story, and mine. Many people followed Ben’s recovery for years after his initial emergency craniotomy. When I would email updates, women invariably responded, “I hope you’re going to put this in your book!”
I thought they were crazy. For well over a decade, I dwelled simply in familial and personal survival – albeit, sometimes it was non-functional survival.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
Probably the billion words I’ve read in a wide range of genres over my lifetime. And my own brand of humor. And my family.
I gave my kids the three censorship options: Trust me, I’m your mother, read the entire manuscript, or read only the sections in which you feature. Ben read it all and offered insights, commentary, and clarifications, making MLWB so much richer. In fact, three of his essays are included, and I gave him the last word. My other two kids chose to read only their appearances, and approved them all – I threatened to stop cooking nightly dinners if they didn’t.
My husband read every draft, adding his voice while encouraging me to keep mine. Whenever I wanted to yank this section or that, because I felt too vulnerable, he talked me out of it every time. I took his advice except for the chapter entitled “A Woman Is A Woman.” He asked if I could at least blow up some shoes. Ain’t gonna happen.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
My perfectionism. And the writing is never going to be perfect. Never. There’s always something to tweak. At some point, I just have to declare “good enough.” Gotta push “send” sometime, and for me that’s when it’s clear, sincere, has a degree of humor, and I’m happy with it. Despite knowing that in a few days I’d be happier with it if I just
That’s why I let it percolate a bit after writing, and then adjust. Repeating as necessary, as long as deadline and sanity allow. (Remaining sane is crucial.)
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
What was it? Just one thing? Sheesh.
The unexpected consequence of having my heart put back together, something I didn’t think was possible. People often muse that writing the book must have been cathartic. Actually, all the writing I did for years before beginning MLWB was cathartic. Telling the story, organizing the writing, weaving in humor and my Creative Cathartic Vignettes, putting all that together into one hefty rectangle, was more than cathartic. It was healing. I often say MLWB is my heart and soul in 3D – it may be a broken heart, but it has been soldered. And if you’d like to know why I chose to offer it to the general public, it’s because I have a social work degree from the UW-Madison, but more importantly, I have a social work heart. (There’s part of the backstory, for you – for free!)
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I’ve patched together a variety of writing gigs that make me very happy.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Yes. Hopefully you’ve figured that out by reading these answers. If you haven’t, I beg your pardon.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
My ability to write in such a way that the reader is there, wherever I put them, the reader is there. This is what people tell me, anyway.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My willingness to be vulnerable.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
My willingness to be vulnerable.
This is a good example of the double-edged swords I talk about in MLWB.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
Again, I’m allowed only one? Tough audience.
This has been my mantra recently, “Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” Danny Kaye
So has, “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” James Michener
Still, I’ve got to go with Ben’s critique of the book that bears his name, “Flawless sprinkled with awesomeness.”
I think you’re smart enough to understand why.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your support!

Discuss all these books in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Katherine PerrethKatherine holds UW-Madison Social Work and Sociology degrees, is a reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Middleton Times Tribune, and conducts a class on reminiscence writing. In addition, in her role as administrative staff with WESLI (an ESL school on Madison’s capitol square), she deals in chalk. And paper. Oodles of paper. She recently took an EmptyNester Victory Tour with her husband of 28 years, but hasn’t yet changed the locks on their home. Their three kids can still get in. Her latest books is Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope Drop by to pay her visit at:

Facebook * Goodreads


Katherine is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • This giveaway begins April 21  and ends on June 27, 2014.
  • Winners will be contacted via email by July 2, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Affair by Lily Maxton and The Duke's Shotgun Wedding by Stacy Reid - Win Prizes!


Title: The Affair
Genre: Romance Novella
Author: Lily Maxton
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Language: English
Pages: 68
Format: Ebook
Amazon -Barnes and Noble - Goodreads

She was his for one week only...

When a beautiful stranger ducks into his bookshop during a rainstorm, Cale Cameron, well-known rake, is instantly attracted to her. Elizabeth, Lady Thornhill, is restless and hungers for something she cannot name. Society would never accept a countess and a mere bookseller, so they agree to a one week affair to indulge their desire.

As their passion ignites and their connection grows, Elizabeth threatens the one thing Cale has protected above all else - his heart. Letting her go is the only solution... and the one thing he is not prepared to do.


Seven Random Facts about The Affair

1. A real life Cale Cameron? My hero starts out with nothing but the clothes on his back and, through ambition and hard work, becomes a wealthy bookseller. When researching Regency bookstores in London, I ran across the Temple of the Muses which was owned by James Lackington. He was a shoemaker’s son who, according to Wikipedia, arrived in London with two shillings and sixpence and went on to become wildly successful.

2. I had originally written a novel-length manuscript with the same characters and a similar storyline, but it was one of my early efforts, and there was a lot of filler. Even though I really liked the characters, I thought the manuscript could be quite a bit better. After I had more experience writing historical romance, I chiseled the story down to its essence, and The Affair was born.

3. No, Cale is not a Regency name. At least not one I’ve ever encountered (but that doesn’t mean it didn’t pop up somewhere, just like weird names of today!). As mentioned above, I originally wrote the character early in my historical romance career, and I hadn’t done a lot of research on Regency names. I thought about changing it to something more standard for the time, but Cale Cameron was pretty deeply ingrained and it just didn’t feel right.

4. Elizabeth’s favorite color is poppy red. During the Regency this shade was called coquelicot (the French word for poppy). It was quite popular, particularly toward the end of the 18th century, but tended to be used more for trimmings than as a main color.

5.  Confessions of a Courtesan, the racy memoir Julia Forsythe is publishing with Cale Cameron, is featured quite prominently in The Wager, the next novella in the Sisters of Scandal series. 

6. Cameron’s Lending Library and Booksellers is on Piccadilly in London. Another famous Regency bookstore in Piccadilly is Hatchard’s, which was founded in 1797 and is still open to the public.

7.  The total amount of time it took me to write The Affair, between starting the first novel-length draft, putting it away, and eventually coming back to write the novella, was about two years!


Lily Maxton grew up in the Midwest, reading, writing, and daydreaming amidst cornfields. After graduating with a degree in English, she decided to put her natural inclinations to good use and embark on a career as a writer.
When she’s not working on a new story, she likes to tour old houses, add to her tea stash, and think of reasons to avoid housework.




Title: The Duke's Shotgun Wedding
Genre: Romance Novella
Author: Stacy Reid
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Language: English
Pages: 89
Format: Ebook
Amazon -Barnes and Noble - Goodreads

Victorian Era England…

As far as rash decisions go, it was formidable. But Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne’s will remains strong. If the only way to save her family’s estate and reputation is by aiming a small pistol at the Duke of Calydon, then so be it. For Lady Jocelyn demands satisfaction—and she will have it at any cost. Even if it means demanding the hand of the intense and foreboding Duke himself..

But she’s made the first move against a very dangerous opponent...

For Sebastian Thornton is no stripling to be trifled with. The lady has played her hand. Now it’s his turn. For Sebastian is in need of a wife. And to find a wife with spirit and fire—even if she means to only marry for his money—would be a great prize indeed. And he intends to thoroughly take his pleasure with her... and demand his own satisfaction in return.



I am an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. I especially love romance and adore writing about people falling in love. I live a lot in the worlds I create and I actively speak to my characters (out loud). I have a warrior way “never give up on my dream.” When I am not writing, I spend a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese anime and playing video games with my love– Dusean Nelson.


Don't miss out on great books from Entangled Publishing - Check out their Steals and Deals! 

Pump Up Your Book, Stacy and Lily are teaming up to give away 2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards, 1 $15 Amazon Gift Card and 1 $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 4 winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 14 and ends on April 25.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 26, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Monday, April 21, 2014

Take a Walk on the Wild Side with authors Heather McCollum and Misty Evans - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


 Untamed Hearts
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Heather McCollum
Publisher: Entangled Edge
Language: English
Pages: 131
Format: Ebook

Will Wyatt has always played the part of pirate, but now he’s a fish out of water in the Highlands of Scotland. With a bounty on his head, he’s laying low by helping his sister and a troop of abandoned children journey to a new home. He didn’t count on a spunky Highland lass stealing his breath after he steals a kiss. Jonet Montgomery has longed for a chivalrous knight her whole young life. Instead she found herself wed to a cheating scoundrel and left a widow. Giving up on love, Jonet turned to helping the orphaned children of her clan, but when a lusty, silver-tongued rogue opens a crack in Jonet’s routine life, she’s tempted by his offer to taste adventure of the most pleasurable kind. Will’s heart of gold shines through despite his infamous past, making Jonet risk her reputation once again. But can she possibly be enough woman to keep this sexy pirate from straying? With her past embarrassment haunting her, she risks more than just her reputation this time. She risks her heart.



 Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination every time she visits. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast. For more information about Ms. McCollum, please visit


Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Hello everyone! I’m Heather McCollum, and I’m so excited to have partnered up with Misty Evans for this joint blog tour to celebrate our two April releases! My novella, UNTAMED HEARTS, is a 16th century romance that follows a pirate into the Scottish Highlands. Misty’s novella, THE PERFECT HOSTAGE, is a romantic suspense story featuring a Spec Ops hero from her Super Agent Series.
One story is obviously historical while the other is contemporary. Most readers have a preference of subgenres, and some will not dare to dangle even a toe into the other genre pond. I, myself, usually pick up a British historical romance before a contemporary military or western romance. I know what to expect in the English and Scottish settings and language, especially when reading my favorite authors. The stories are comfortable and the “ride” I take to reach the end of the journey is as familiar, fun and wonderful as usual.

As Misty and I discussed our two very different novellas, we realized that both involve characters taking a large risk. Our heroines both take a “walk on the wild side” and try something new. And in both cases, the payoff is hugely gratifying. That got us thinking about the benefits of taking risks, stepping out of the box and diving into something completely different.

The following quotes are from The Franklin Institute of Science and discuss our brain health.
“Mental stimulation improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline…”
“Throughout life, your neural networks reorganize and reinforce themselves in response to new stimuli and learning experiences.”

“Consider your brain a muscle, and find opportunities to flex it. ‘Read, read, read,’ says Dr. Amir Soas of Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland.”

The article gives various ways to improve cognitive strength throughout our lives.  It recommends physical activity, learning a new language, as well as using your non-dominant hand for tasks like brushing teeth or moving a computer mouse. Basically doing something new or trying to do something familiar in a different way.

So Misty and I propose – “take a walk on the wild side” and try a new subgenre of romance. All reading stimulates the brain and reading something outside your area of familiarity could add even more stimulus. To prove this we are asking for volunteers. All we ask is for you to let us put electrodes all over your head (we’ll only shave about 6 dime-sized sections) so we can record your brain activity while reading your usual subgenre and then reading something completely different. Anybody? Hello?
<Giggle. Snort.> Okay, even if you did volunteer (curiosity can lead us to do crazy things), Misty and I have decided to just leave our hypothesis out there for a team of scientists to grab and run with while we continue to write amazing stories for you all to read.

But, we are still asking you to take a risk, try something new, and take a walk on the wild side. If you usually read historical romances, try out Misty’s THE PERFECT HOSTAGE. If you normally enjoy contemporary romantic suspense novels, try out UNTAMED HEARTS for a change. Both books are novellas so the time investment and money investment are minimal. And who knows, maybe after wading in the other pond you might decide to plunge into the other subgenre altogether (clothes optional)! Who knows what will happen! But no matter what, your brain will thank you for reading and so will we.

More information about Heather McCollum can be found on her web site: She can also be found on Twitter at @HMcCollumAuthor and on her Facebook author page .

Find out more about USA TODAY bestselling author Misty Evans at She loves to interact with readers on Twitter (@readmistyevans) and on her Facebook Fan Page


Title: The Perfect Hostage
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Misty Evans
Publisher: Entangled Edge
Language: English
Pages: 84
Format: Ebook

Lucie Morgan has finally found a man who doesn’t care she’s the daughter of a famous billionaire. All she needs is one weekend to convince him the crush she’s had since he rescued her from a terrorist has grown into much more. Sergeant John Quick has seen the worst in life, both personally and professionally. He long ago decided loving someone comes at too high a price. But when the woman of his dreams “kidnaps” him for a weekend affair with no strings attached, he can’t resist. The smoking-hot weekend turns deadly when John and Lucie are trapped during a blizzard and discover they’re not alone. Someone from their past has come hunting for revenge. Now John must become the perfect hostage in order to save Lucie’s life.



 USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life. Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter at


Don't miss out on great books from Entangled Publishing - Check out their Steals and Deals! 

Pump Up Your Book, Heather and Misty are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 21 and ends on May 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 3, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Friday, April 18, 2014

I'm Shelf-ish Chats with Glenn Ogura, author of 'Startup'

Glenn Ogura earned a degree in electrical engineering from Queen’s University in Canada. He is currently the executive vice-president for a New Hampshire-based laser micromachining company. Glenn lives with his wife in California.  In addition to his love of writing and talking technology and the study of business ethics, he plays tennis. Startup is his first novel.

Visit his website at

About the Book:

Set in California’s Silicon Valley, STARTUP follows a young idealist/entrepreneur, Zack Penny, as he strives to achieve his dream of creating a new company that will launch an international revolution in technology through the creation of wallpaper-thin displays that will completely surround a viewer. Zack works for a highly successful company called Display Technik, run by CEO Allen Henley, whose vision is based on a success-at-all-costs philosophy.  Zack sees Henley as a mentor, but Zack’s philosophy favors high morals and values over Henley’s ruthless, end-justifies-the-means model of doing business.

Zack’s dream takes root one morning when he discovers an important paper has been taken from his office. Someone has exposed Zack’s secret plan to break away from Display Technik and start his own company. Henley gives Zack another chance to pledge his loyalty to the firm, but Zack resigns instead, more determined than ever to realize his vision. Soon, the optimistic if naive Zack steps into his new facility with high hopes for success. Henley, however, has already launched a plan to destroy Zack, his company, and Zack’s relationship with Henley’s daughter, Mary Anne.

Purchase your copy:


Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I love to enjoy life with my wife. As my parents grew older, I can remember telling my mother, “Keep going to Hawaii because a day will come when you can’t.” To their credit, they went to Hawaii for fifteen straight years. Keeping that life philosophy in mind, my wife and I travel all around the world, go on cruises and we love to sit on the beach and do nothing. We have become experts at doing nothing. It takes practice and I intend to train diligently. And when we aren’t doing nothing, we are busy exercising, biking and playing tennis.
When did you start writing?
I started to write while I was in college studying engineering. I wrote novels, three act plays, poetry, all kinds of stuff. As a kid, I would spend lazy Saturdays drawing comic books even though every figure looked like a pair of chopsticks. What’s ironic is that when I was in high school, I couldn’t stand English class. I loathed English composition. But when I attended Film Study, an obligatory arts class that I took to meet girls, an outpouring of creative compositions came forth. I would call it an awakening except I didn’t sleep much in college.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

To follow up on the previous question, I remember sitting at two o’clock in the morning trying to write my first essay for a college Film Study class. A wine glass in one hand, a blank piece of paper in the other and the clock on my desk telling me the paper was due in eight hours. I had to write an essay on why a particular film that I saw the previous night filled me with wonder and awe. To be frank, the film filled me with indifference, reverence and I was convinced the filmmaker was incompetent. So rather than write an essay on the film, I wrote an essay on why I loved to watch ocean waves crash into the shoreline and linked those images to the land-locked film. I kid you not. I received an A+++ grade and so began my love of writing. 

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

You’d think that I would answer writing the book on a Caribbean beach.  My answer is Foxborough Massachusetts. I am a hard core New England Patriots fan. While on the practice field, I’d like to write the definitive game plan to help the Patriots win the Super Bowl. My wife tells me that she hears me in the shower answering reporter’s questions on how I called the play to score the winning touchdown. She tells me that if I had put as much thought and energy into our household budget, we wouldn’t have three lawnmowers in our garage—of which one doesn’t work and another has a gimpy wheel.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I would spend two extra hours with my wife and two extra hours writing the next book.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Here’s a surprise answer: New England.

Back to your present book, Startup, how did you publish it?
Answer: I published through Penguin Random House-owned iUniverse who self-publish but they abide by a gauntlet of editorial reviews that traditional publishing houses follow. I’ve been fortunate to receive many critical reviews who commented on how well the book was written. I thank the editorial staff for their help.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?
Startup is a business thriller set in California’s Silicon Valley. It is a story about greed and corruption in Silicon Valley. Since I lived in Silicon Valley, my research carried me to the front steps of my house. Every day I saw the horrific antics, betrayals and wrongful dismissals that took place in business practices. Sadly I didn’t have to walk far.

Why was writing Startup so important to you?
There was a story to be told. When people think of the bright shiny products that companies in Silicon Valley produce --or for that matter, in any business park---they see how the product helps their lives. They do not see how what it took to design and build that product. They do not see how people’s lives were changed, some for the better but others for the worse. When you see someone else gaining credit for an idea that they stole from a work colleague, it makes you think of morals and ethics in business and in life. It makes you wonder if morals and ethics are declining as we advance technologically—and become more isolated with the advent of the Internet.

But in addition to being a great story to tell, the facts are deliciously evil, providing the backdrop for an entertaining, fast-paced, rollercoaster thrill ride.  If readers like a David versus Goliath story, to cheer for the underdog who is against all odds or the pursuit for the elusive American dream, then I think they will enjoy Startup.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

My wife asks me how I could possibly interview myself in the shower as I explain for the hundredth time (to myself) the masterful plan to win another Super Bowl for the New England Patriots. At first she wondered how I could possibly make up all those insanely absurd questions and the ten minute long take-no- breath answers. I asked out loud, “Is it an epiphany? Sudden spiritual inspiration that just floats in my brain? Like how I get ideas to write? “No,” my wife replies, “From now on, I think you better stay under an umbrella when you’re on the beach. There’s no floating up there”, she says, pointing to my head. “Poor soul. Your brain is baked.”

Any final words?

I believe that Startup is a unique business thriller. Some of my readers have described it as a new thriller genre. Although the book does address the broader subject of morals and ethics in business and in life, the book is also a fun read, a page-turner with short chapters that take the reader on a roller-coaster thriller ride with a cinematic climax. If you need to overcome boredom on a long plane ride, Startup is the perfect stimulant. 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Contemporary Romance Author Christina Hoffman's Invitation Book Blast!

 We welcome Christina Hoffman, author of the contemporary romance, Invitation today at I'm Shelf-ish!

Title: Invitation
Author: Christina Hoffman
Publisher: Christina Hoffman
Pages: 187
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Format: Paperback/Kindle


Available at Smashwords in epub, mobi, pdf and doc.

Book Summary: 

Madison Spencer is a serious medical student, focused only on work and hiding her beauty and her once-passionate spirit behind a quiet plain-Jane facade. Since she was drugged, stripped, assaulted and photographed by a vengeful ex, she has stayed away from men and kept her heart and body safe.

But when heart-stoppingly gorgeous Dr. Liam Mason walks into her world, she knows she's in trouble. After finding out about her devastating past, Liam offers to bring her back to life with physical passion.
Madison thinks she should be repelled, but she's intrigued and can't turn him away. Together they explore days and nights of pleasure, and slowly develop into something more than bedmates.

Deep inside they each wonder if they've found their perfect match. But with Liam's fear of being dragged down by commitment, and Madison's fear of being hurt by another man threatening to destroy the world they’ve built together, will they each be strong enough and brave enough to risk their hearts to have it all?


I can't even blame it on the booze. There wasn't any, or at least there wasn't any for me. I was with Chloe, my bodyguard. Okay, actually she was my friend, but a really overprotective friend who knew all about what I’d been through and wanted to make sure it never happened again. So, no alcohol.

But, what she and I hadn't counted on was him being there. There I was, minding my own business, putting in my time at the Med School Social, more than ready to head home for some studying, then Chinese food and a movie. And suddenly, him.

I was inhaling when I caught sight of him, but my breath just stopped. It felt like being punched in the chest. I kept telling myself, look away, look away! But it was impossible. I was paralyzed. His beautiful face and magnificent body were magnets, and my eyes were locked on them.

I hadn't felt this kind of physical attraction since, well, ever. I had never felt like that. I had stayed away from men for two years. I was pretty much terrified of them, to tell the truth. But there he was. Unavoidable and irresistible.

I saw him in profile. Oh, that hair. Thick, almost curly, falling into his eyes. The kind of hair you need to gently push off of his face right before you kiss him. Or, the kind of hair you grab really hard right before you're about to...

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The point I'm trying to make is that my mind very clearly recognized all the dangers ahead and was saying, “Turn around, go, get out of here! Before it's too late.” But then he turned around to look right at me. It was already too late.

We held each other's gaze a second longer than politeness required. Something inside me went click, and for the first time in almost two years, I felt young and alive, and really, really turned on. Every part of me suddenly woke up, and all the best parts started to tingle. I was breathing harder. My lips parted slightly, already begging to be kissed.

It was a little overwhelming. I was out of practice. No, actually, I had never had the kind of practice you would need to stay controlled in a situation like that. I think maybe you can have a soul mate for your mind, and also one for your body. And my body was saying “Get me over there right now!”

But I was still too afraid. I smiled a little and turned away.

I had to stay for a while, to look sociable, so I went over to the food table and stared at the snacks, which were already stale. Nothing looked very good, and my throat was too tight to eat anyway.

I was starting to formulate a plan for escaping without the other students or the teachers noticing when I felt the air move behind me, the softest caress against my bare shoulders. Then, a hand on my back, an electric shock to my body, wildly pleasurable. I gasped and spun around. Right into the arms of...

“I'm Liam.”

Liam. Right into the arms of Liam. Oh, he was even more beautiful up close. My hand rose all on its own to push that wonderful floppy hair from his face. I stopped suddenly, embarrassed, but he caught my wrist, and held my palm gently to his face. We looked at each other and knew.

“Wanna get out of here?” he asked, and of course, foolish, foolish woman that I am, I said, “Yes.”

          I saw him my first day at the new hospital. I'm a medical student and had just finished the lecture part of things where we sit around learning about chemical reactions and body parts. That was over, at last, and we were moving on to seeing real live patients in the hospital.

The orientation was step one in getting us ready for our new roles. We each got a short lab coat and a tour of the locker rooms. We received our ID tag photos.

I'm not sure why I first noticed Liam.

Since the bad thing happened, I keep my head down and make eye contact with pretty much nobody. I wear my hair in a tight bun at the nape of my neck and my clothes are dull and loose. On that particular day, I was trying very hard to concentrate. I was excited to be starting work in the hospital, but I was mostly terrified. There was so much to take in and remember. My head was reeling after only two hours. The last thing on my mind was men. So, who knows why I took that second look as he walked by our group.

Well, actually I do know why. He was gorgeous. Ridiculously gorgeous. Dark wavy hair, just slightly overgrown so he looked like a happy surfer who'd tumbled out of bed. Smiling eyes. Sparkling, mischievous, movie star eyes. A little bit of stubble, likely because he had been on call all night. The rest of him looked pretty much immaculate. He wore light wool pants and a sky blue shirt. No tie, but the white lab coat made him look professional enough. 

I was dedicated to maintaining my nun-like lifestyle, but, seriously, it was impossible not to look at him. Even Chloe noticed him. She looked at him, then at me. She shook her head lightly and whispered, “No”. I laughed a little because she sounded like a mom telling a toddler that she couldn't have any candy. Well, that was pretty much what was happening, so I guess Chloe nailed that.

She was absolutely right. I didn't want any trouble. Certainly not that awful, frightening feeling of falling in love. No time-consuming romance. And certainly not all the time I had lost trying to recover from the trauma of what had happened before. Even a plain old tiny heartbreak could set me back, and put me way off course in my career.

No, I didn't have the time or energy for any distractions. Nothing. Just work and school.

So I ignored the stunning resident with the black hair, and tried to focus on the tall blond giving us the orientation spiel. This was much easier because I felt no attraction to him at all. He was really handsome, too. But something about him seemed mean. Or maybe arrogant. It's hard to remember what I thought of him that first time, because the memory is so clouded with all that came after. I'll just say he was a tall, slim blond who should have caught my eye, but didn't.
About the Author:

Christina Hoffman was born in London, England. She moved with her family throughout Canada and the US, and has finally put down her suitcase, for now, in San Francisco.
She believes that everyone has the right to feel both smart and sexy. We don't have to be one or the other! She writes stories about characters who live in the real world and who, somehow, still believe in love.

She's starting a mini-revolution. She writes sexy stories, but hasn't lost the romance from her Romances. Enough with whips -- back to lips!

She hopes you enjoy her stories and see yourself in her characters. After all, they are based on smart and sexy people, just like you.

Christina’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Invitation.

Visit her website at

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