Brandy Ackerley has a new book out soon, and she’s sharing her absolutely gorgeous cover with me a little bit early so that we can drool and admire! Check out the blurb, below, and her links for more info.
Kuzunoha is running out of options. In just a month she’ll be an adult but as the illegitimate younger daughter of a rich noble she can only see two possible futures. Both leave her a pawn in her elder sister’s game as family matriarch, a future as unacceptable to Kuzunoha as it is unavoidable.
That changes when Kuzunoha saves the life of a stranger. In return for her help, the stranger offers her a way to have a future that doesn’t tie her to her family. He’s heard of a forgotten treasure nearby and needs a guide to help him search for it. Her family and friends don’t trust this dangerous man’s offer, but Kuzunoha accepts, knowing that she can’t live the life her sister wants for her anymore.
Will she succeed in proving she can have a life outside of her sister’s shadow? Or will it all fall to pieces around her?
Bold Strokes Books has put a ton (and I mean a TON) of their books on sale, including all three of mine. There are so many fabulous books! Check them all out here, or check out mine directly by clicking on the cover:
Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (January 29, 2019)
From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II.
One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.
Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.
Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.
New York, 1946
If not for the second worst mistake of Grace Healey’s life, she never would have found the suitcase.
At nine twenty on a Tuesday morning, Grace should have been headed south on the first of two buses she took to get downtown, commuting from the rooming house in Hell’s Kitchen to the Lower East Side office where she worked. And she was on her way to work. But she was nowhere near the neighborhood she had come to call home. Instead, she was racing south on Madison Avenue, corralling her corkscrew hair into a low knot and taking off her mint green cardigan despite the chill so that Frankie wouldn’t notice it was the exact same one she had been wearing at work the previous day and question the unthinkable: whether she had gone home at all.
Grace paused to study herself in the window of a five-and-dime. She wished the store was open so she could buy some powder to hide the marks on her neck and sample a bit of perfume to conceal the stench of day-old brandy mixed with that delicious-but-wrong smell of Mark’s aftershave which made her dizzy and ashamed with every inhale. A wino sat on the corner, moaning to himself in sleep. Looking at his gray, lifeless pallor, Grace felt a certain solidarity. From the adjacent alley came the banging on a trash can, a sound marching in time with the thudding in her own head. The whole city of New York seemed green and hungover. Or perhaps she was confusing it for herself.
Sharp gusts of February wind cut across Madison, causing the flags that hung from the skyscrapers above to whip furiously. An old crumpled newspaper danced along the gutter. Hearing the bells of Saint Agnes’s toll half past nine, Grace pressed on, her skin growing moist under her collar as she neared a run. Grand Central Terminal loomed hulking ahead. Just a bit farther and she could turn left on Forty-Second Street and catch an express bus downtown on Lexington.
But as she neared the intersection at Forty-Third, the street ahead was blocked. Police cars sat three across, cordoning off Madison and preventing anyone from going farther south. A car accident, Grace suspected at first, noting the black Studebaker, which sat jackknifed across the street, steam billowing from the hood. More cars clogged the Midtown streets than ever these days, jockeying for space with the buses and taxis and trucks making deliveries. There did not appear to be another vehicle involved, though. A lone ambulance sat at the corner. The medics did not rush about urgently, but stood leaning against the vehicle, smoking.
Grace started toward a policeman, whose paunchy face pushed up from the high collar of his uniform, navy with gold buttons. “Excuse me. Will the street be closed for long? I’m late for work.”
He looked out at her disdainfully from under the brim of his hat, as if despite all of the women working dutifully in the factories to take the place of the men who had enlisted and gone overseas during the war, the notion of a woman holding a job was still laughable. “You can’t go this way,” he replied officiously. “And you won’t be able to any time soon.”
“What happened?” she asked, but the policeman turned away. Grace took a step forward, craning to see.
“A woman was hit by a car and died,” a man in a flat wool cap beside her said.
Taking in the shattered windshield of the Studebaker, Grace suddenly felt sick. “Such a shame,” she managed finally.
“I didn’t see it,” the man replied. “But someone said she was killed instantly. At least she didn’t suffer.”
At least. That was the phrase Grace heard too often after Tom had died. At least she was still young. At least there had not been children—as if that made it somehow easier to bear. (Children, she sometimes thought, would not have been a burden, but a bit of him left behind forever.)
“You just never know where it will all end,” mused the flat-capped man beside her. Grace did not answer. Tom’s death had been unexpected, too, an overturned jeep on the way from the army base to the train station in Georgia, headed to New York to see her before he’d deployed. They called him a casualty of war, but in fact it had been just another accident that might have happened anywhere.
A flashbulb from a reporter’s camera popped, causing her to blink. Grace shielded her eyes then backed away blindly through the crowd that had formed, seeking air amidst the cigarette smoke and sweat and perfume.
Away from the police barricade now, Grace looked over her shoulder. Forty-Third Street was blocked to the west as well, preventing her from cutting across. To go back up Madison and around the other side of the station would take at least another half an hour, making her even later for work than she already was. Again, she cursed the night before. If it weren’t for Mark, she wouldn’t be standing here, faced with no other choice to cut through Grand Central—the one place she had sworn to never go again.
Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.
“Sylvia, my brightest star, my desire. My lust, my soul.
“She was Lia to her co-workers at the bookstore, Sylvia to her mother, who clicked her tongue disapprovingly at her bright blue and hair and her Monroe stud. But to me, she was simply Vee.”
In Alex’s notebooks, the story of Vee unfolds, from their first kiss, their first date, and the moments in between. It’s a May-December romance between a former punk girl gone conservative, and a gamine young woman in combat boots and fishnets, finding each other on the streets of New York City.
This is the second volume of a short collection of stories, two of which have appeared in anthologies, and others on my website. The short “White Dress” is brand new and previously unreleased.
Vee rolls her eyes. “Brothers.” She grasps my hand. “C’mon, I’ll show you my childhood.” We scoop up our bags and she takes me down the hallway to a door that’s been painted black with pink panels.
“I can’t believe they let you do that,” I say.
Vee shrugs. “Yeah, well, as long as I kept my mess to my room, they weren’t too concerned.”
Inside, her room is tidier than I’d expected, and I’m relieved. Posters of rock stars paper the walls, and I spot a few of Debbie Harry, Marianne Faithfull, and even David Bowie peering down at us from the myriad of images. The bed is a double, covered in a plain black coverlet. White towels are folded at the foot of the bed. Vee drops her backpack and plops onto the bed with a sigh. I set my bag beside hers and take a few moments to look around.
The bureau is covered in stickers, and I can see black paint beneath. The window is covered by a venetian blind, over which is draped a Union Jack. A bookshelf holds a stack of old Rolling Stone magazines, and a rather diverse selection of books.
“What do you think?” Vee sounds almost nervous, and I turn to glance at her.
“It’s just how I wished my room might be when I was growing up,” I say truthfully. My mother would never have stood for it, but I always wished.
“The bed’s comfy too,” Vee says, arching a brow at me, then winking. She holds out a hand. “Come try.”
I settle on the bed next to her, taking her hand, and she tugs me to her. “I always wanted to kiss you here.” Her lips brush mine, sending a tremor through me.
“But your parents,” I protest, halfheartedly.
“Don’t care,” Vee says between kisses. We sink down into the bed, our legs dangling over the side, entangled, sandwiched together as if we could become one person.
M. Jane Colette has a steamy (very steamy) rom-com releasing just in time for the holidays! To celebrate, she’s sharing with us a short video, your choice of an NSFW (so dirty) or Cleanish (it is M. Jane Colette, so it’s as clean as she could manage–it was hard) excerpt, and a chance to win a PRINT copy of Text Me, Cupid. Check it out:
Text Me, Cupid
a (slightly) dirty love story for 21st century adults who don’t believe in true love… but want it anyway
MEET FLORENCE: I’ve done this before, looking for a partner or soul mate or someone-to-grow-to-love, and you know what? I’m done with that. Honestly. I’m just looking for some casual sex. All I’m interested in is a one-night stand, or several—not all of them with you. Just making it clear that I’m interested in playing with multiple partners. I don’t want to get attached and I don’t want you to get attached.
MEET WILL: I’m reeling from a recent divorce and incapable of having a meaningful relationship, possibly even a meaningful conversation. The only upside to my situation is that after fifteen years of monogamy I get to chase all the strange I want.
He’s freshly divorced and in denial. She’s twice-burnt and prickly. They’re a terrible idea. They know this. But every time their eyes meet, their clothes come off. Still—they’re not going to fall in love. They are not.
Not even if this one night stand has 365 days.
WANT A TASTE?
Here’s M. Jane Colette reading a semi-steamy (but still safe for YouTube and Facebook) excerpt from Text Me, Cupid:
M. Jane Colette writes tragedy for those who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for people who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres. Her novels include Tell Me, Consequences (of defensive adultery), and the award-winning rom-com Cherry Pie Cure.
“I couldn’t stop reading this! The waiting, the need, the want, the desire… the story is a rollercoaster and I love it. Will and Florence are so vivid on the page, I was in agony with them from the start.” Alyssa Linn Palmer, author of Midnight at the Orpheus and Le Chat Rouge series
“No one does angst, family drama, hilarity, joy and eroticism better than M. Jane Colette!” DIANA SOBOLEWSKI, author of The Desire & Luxury Wine Series, (on Messy Christmas, Episode 1 of Text Me, Cupid)
“Text Me, Cupid was the first story I’d read by M. Jane Colette, and I love her fresh, taut style. Every word, every sentence counts. It’s smart and sexy. I can’t wait to read the rest!” Michelle Orloff, GoodReads + Amazon.com ARC Review of Delayed Valentine, Episode 2 of Text Me, Cupid
“M. Jane Colette writes complicated relationship dynamics into story lines that keep you off balance but leave you smiling in the end.” Amazon.ca Verified Purchase Review, Delayed Valentine, Episode 2 of Text Me, Cupid
“She spotlights those less than perfect relationships; often the source of hilarity in this author’s work. M. Jane Colette has a unique writing style. At least it’s unique to me. She believes in short sentences and sparse dialogue. Don’t worry, you will not be short changed in any respect. You’ll visualize and experience everything you’re meant to, including the angst, the joy, the funny bits and all of the eroticism. This author doesn’t succeed despite her minimalist approach. She succeeds because of it. M. Jane Colette has mastered doing more with less.” Amazon.ca Verified Purchase Review, (on Messy Christmas, Episode 1 of Text Me, Cupid)
“M. Jane Colette knows how to write characters.” Caught Between The Pages (on Consequences)
“I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a sexy, intelligent, complicated, and fascinating read about relationships that are as complex and difficult and wonderful and confusing as most relationships usually are.” Grey Matter (on Tell Me)
“This book is a cure for divorce, depression, loneliness, boredom, you name it. Laugh-out-loud funny from the first page!” Holly Owen, Alberta Romance Writers’ Association (on Cherry Pie Cure)
“Warning: You may breakout in spontaneous laughter, develop cravings for baked goods and become a life-long devotee of the author!” Carrie Austin Reviews (on Cherry Pie Cure)
WANT TO HEAT UP YOUR HOLIDAYS?
Price: $3.99 US (ebook), $14.99 US (paperback), $9.99-$19.99 (audiobook)
Madonna is turning 60 this year (Aug 16th). And there have been lots of articles about her, written by those who know her and those who didn’t, and it’s been reminding me of how I became a fan when I was a lot younger.
I was three years old when I bopped along to Lucky Star in my car seat (or so I’ve been told– I can’t say I actually remember that.) I’m not even truly sure when I first really became a conscious fan of hers. Her music seemed to be everywhere; albums like True Blue and Like a Virgin were at the top of the charts. I can still easily sing along to most everything of her 80s work, with very few slip-ups.
But I think it was Like a Prayer that really got me into her work. At least, it was the first Madonna album where I was quite aware of it being released, and aware of the controversies around it, and around the video(s).
A black saint. Her dancing in front of burning crosses. That Pepsi commercial.
In trying to pin down exactly what 10-year-old me liked about Madonna, what comes to mind is that she was powerful. She was doing what she wanted, and she got attention, and she didn’t seem to care if anyone criticized what she was doing. A lot of it went over my head (and a lot of it I actually wasn’t allowed to watch given my age; I only just a few years ago finally watched Truth or Dare), but she was a compelling figure. I know at least part of that admiration stemmed from the fact that I was still a kid, and still didn’t have a whole lot of say about what went on in my life, what I could wear, and what I could do. And as someone who has always been pretty introverted (and at that time, quite shy as well), I admired that she could put it all out there.
I began to lose interest with Music; something about that newer dance music didn’t do much for me. But the 80s and 90s albums were seminal records for me. Madonna, Like a Virgin, True Blue, Like a Prayer, Erotica, Bedtime Stories (not so much) and Ray of Light, You Can Dance, and The Immaculate Collection. I still have favourite songs (Lucky Star, Into the Groove, Live to Tell, Like a Prayer, Express Yourself, Oh Father, Love Song, In This Life), and occasionally will listen to her on my iPod, but my fandom is not as strong as it once was.
Even still, it’s easy to think back to my childhood and early adolescence and think of one of her songs, or one of her albums, which provided the soundtrack to my early life. (From about age 14-15, it started to become about David Bowie as the soundtrack!)
The Calgary Stampede for this year may be over, but the 7 books by the 7 authors of the Women of Stampede series are still in your local bookstore, and available to devour, one right after the other!
I had a great time with the Women of Stampede and our series of books. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, with promotional events at Fort Calgary for the Stampede Invitational BBQ, and the pre-parade Stampede breakfast, the launch of the series at Owl’s Nest Books, and signings at various Chapters/Indigo locations in the Calgary area.
Will there be other books in the series? We haven’t decided yet. It might be fun to keep this up! But in the meantime, check out the Women of Stampede Facebook group and the Women of Stampede website for more information. All the books are available online (Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, etc.) and also at Alberta Chapters/Indigo stores in paperback!
Olivia Tate doesn’t want anyone knowing about her secret passion, especially her parents, who have always had their own strict ideas about her future and career. Not even her best friend knows how much she wants to chuck it all in and become a touring musician. She’s never played guitar for an audience, but it’s not entirely stage fright holding her back. Her parents have done everything for her, and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. But the need can’t be denied, and when she meets a familiar biker guy during the rush of Stampede, a guy with similar passions to her own, she knows it’s only a matter of time.
Will Fraser has never expected happily ever after. Being in foster care had taken that out of him right quick, and his few attempts at relationships…the less said the better. But when he sees his old high school crush at a Stampede pancake breakfast, all those feelings flood back and he realizes how much he wants that chance.
Do you believe in true love? Til death do us part, sticky-SWEET love?
How about… hot, sweaty, SULTRY love?
… especially when it takes place between the pages of a book?
Well, have we got a party for you!
Come down to Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary) between 12-4pm on Sunday June 24th! It’s FREE!
Get your summer off to a HOT start by diving into sultry and sweet love stories with Calgary’s first romance reader festival! Come celebrate the romance novel and get up close and personal with some of the steamiest (and sweetest) local authors in the genre!
author sightings and signings ENTERTAINMENT prizes GAMES books FAB PERFORMERS including NAKED GIRLS READING (but they’ll be clothed)
the sensational spoken word poet MEL VEE DANIELLE FRENCH performing from Miss Scarlett and the Madmen (REALLY!!)
“she’s a night on the town you’ll never forget” MANHATTAN WILDE did we mention BOOKS also SURPRISES
Featured local authors include B.C. Deeks, Nancy M. Bell, Bernice Bohnet, Victoria Chatham, M. Jane Colette, Shaa Dickson, Amy Jo Fleming, Tina Griffith, Rayanne Haines, Jenna Howard, Jilly Jaxx, Shelley Kassian, Elizabeth Kelly, Gwen Knight, Kymber Morgan, Jan O’Hara, Katie O’Connor, Alyssa Linn Palmer, Jude Pittman, Mahrie G. Reid, Brenda Sinclair, Melanie Standford, Suzanne Stengl, Billie Turner, A. M. Westerling, and Sasha White.