Guest Author - Natalie Wright - EMILY'S HOUSE


I'm excited to welcome Natalie Wright back to my cyber-home today! Natalie and I have cross-promoted for each other several times, and it's always so rewarding to work with a fellow author!

Natalie's here to talk about her book EMILY'S HEART, book 3 in her Akasha Chronicles series. This series of books is set in a dangerous and frightening Apocalyptic America, and yet... there is love even in the middle of the apocalypse!

Here's what Natalie has to say about EMILY'S HEART:

“Amidst chaos and ruin, can love blossom in Emily's Heart?" 

That was the story question I had as I began writing Emily's Heart. What a challenge! On the one hand, I had to create a believable Apocalyptic world in contemporary America. On the other hand, I had to write a love story. It's hard for a character to feel romantic when a simple trip to the grocery store can result in death! 

When developing my Apocalyptic World, sadly the real-world daily news provided plenty of inspiration. Some of my “Apocalyptic World” chapters are pulled from bits and pieces of news stories I had read. My goal was to create a world that felt so real to readers that they'd put the book down, go outside and worry that they were going to be taken by the “Dark Mob.” Good people gone bad and bad people gone worse. 

Yet amidst all of the muggings, robberies, kidnapping and killings, I had to find a way for Emily's love story to emerge. Sometimes hard times can bring people closer.

Check out the trailer for EMILY'S HEART:




Take a look at TWO amazing excerpts... and check back TOMORROW for a third excerpt!


Excerpt 1: This excerpt is the introduction to the book and is my first published original poem J I think it sets the stage for how things are looking in the first part of the book.

Welcome to the Apocalypse

You shut the door
and dare not look.
You hide from the shadow
that lurks there.

Galloping wildly
in the crevasses of your mind,
it takes up residence
in your grey matter,
content to live
amongst your fears.

Did you see it there,
skulking behind the door?
Did you feel it stalk as
you step into the obsidian night?

Try as you might
to resist its call,
it pulls at you,
both night and day,
like the tide
eating the shore.

Your hope,
like grains of sand.
Pulled inexorably
into the dark sea.

Excerpt 2:

We had a few minutes until class – or longer if our prof never showed up. We were shootin’ the shit about sports when I felt my phone, tucked inside my bag, wedged between the pages of my notebook, vibrate.
I dug the phone out and checked the caller ID. ‘Gabriella Hoffman.’ I didn’t know any Gabriella. But Hoffman. Could it be?
“You going to answer that?” Tristan asked.
“I’m not sure who it is.”
“They can’t beat you up over the phone, man. Answer it.”
I hesitated another second, but when it rang again, I hit the answer button.
“Hello?”
“Jake?”
“Yeah. Who’s this?”
“It’s Greta.”
Silence.
“Greta Hoffman.”
Hearing that name was like a punch in my gut. I was suddenly clammy, and my stomach seized into a knot.
“Jake, are you there?”
I tried to respond, to tell her ‘yeah, I’m here’, but my mouth was full of cotton. I hadn’t seen Greta for almost a year. The last time I saw her, she was walking down that hill in the cemetery, going her way, and I went mine. None of what happened was Greta’s fault, but she’d been there. She was a part of the nightmare I’d tried so hard to forget. When I heard her voice, it was like a rush of horrific images flooded my mind. It made me want to puke out my French toast.
“Jake?”
I finally managed to squeak out, “I’m here.”
“Phew, I thought you’d fainted or something for a minute there. I’m glad you picked up. I need to talk to you.”
“Why? You haven’t ever needed to talk to me, Greta. Not BA, and not for the past year.”
“I think it’s pretty obvious why.”
“No. No, it’s not obvious.”
“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there’s a friggin’ Apocalypse going on out there. That’s why.”
“Yeah, I noticed.” I touched my still-sore ribs, all the reminder I needed. I doubted perfect, pretty, rich and mighty Greta Hoffman had a set of broken bones or bruises to match mine.
“Well? Don’t you want to do something about it?”
“I’m pretty busy trying to stay alive. Besides, why are you calling me? I’d suggest you contact the redhead with the magic arm bracelet.”
“I have talked to her.”
She had talked to Emily? Greta Hoffman had voluntarily talked to Emily Adams? That was even more improbable than the God of Dark Energy taking over our planet. It made me instantly nervous.
“And?”
“And she has agreed to join with me to recruit people to fight the Dark Energy followers.”
Silence.
“Jake? You still there?”
“Yup. Let me get this straight. You and the witch want to create some little band of light knights or something?”
“Ooh, I like that. Light Knights! Or maybe Lucent Knights. What do you think?”
“I think you’re nuts.”
I looked over at Tristan and mimed a ‘she’s crazy’ motion with my hand around my head. He smiled at me and went back to whatever it was he was doing with his phone.
“Why am I nuts for wanting to fight back?”
“Haven’t you noticed that you can’t fight against this darkness? Oh, you probably haven’t noticed anything. Your daddy probably has a driver take you to school and pick you up and shelter you from all the shit going down.”
“How dare you! You don’t know anything about what I’ve gone through. I was there, or have you forgotten that?”
“I’ve tried to forget it all, but so far haven’t been able to expunge you and her and the whole damned circus from my mind. Well, Miss Hoffman, because you were there, you’ll remember that Ciardha single-handedly took down a Goddess with nearly infinite power. So I’m thinking you, me and the redheaded witch don’t stand much of a chance.”
“So you’ve given up? I always thought you were a nerd, but I never thought you were a loser.”
“Loser. That the best you can come up with?”
That one did sort of sting, though. Was Greta right? Had I become a loser?
“Childish.”
“Whatever. Look, class is getting ready to start, so I’ve gotta go. So fabulous catching up with you Miss Hoffman. Take care of yourself.”
“Jake – wait! Don’t hang up yet.”
Desperation in her voice. Interesting.
“What, Greta?”
“Before you say no, just come meet with me. One time. Meet with me and hear me out, then you can say no and good-bye and never have to see me or talk to me again. I swear if you meet with me one time and say no, I’ll never hound you again.”
“And if I don’t meet with you?”
“I’ll be like wet toilet paper stuck to your shoe.”
Lovely thought. I knew Greta. She was totally capable of being wet toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
“Okay, fine. I’ll see you. Once.”
“Great. You name the time and place.”
“My last class is over at 3:00, and I have to be at work by six. So meet me here, Wheaton Community College, room 21-A at 3:15. I don’t have much time, so don’t be late.”
“I’ll be there.”
I pushed the red ‘End Call’ button with relief that it was over. For now.
“What was that all about?” Tristan asked.
“Old business.”
He raised his eyebrows at me. “You need my help?”
“Nah, not yet anyway.”
“You need me, holler.”
“Thanks, man,” I said. He put his hand out, and we fist bumped.
It was just a meeting with Greta. I was pretty sure I could handle that. I’d meet with her, tell her to hit the pavement, then get back to my routine of avoiding human contact like it was the plague, ’cause it pretty much was.




Author Bio:

Natalie is the author of The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult paranormal fantasy trilogy. When not writing, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Wattpadding or eating chocolate, Natalie nurtures her young daughter, plays with her two young cats, and feeds her dog too many treats.

Natalie enjoys walking in the high desert, snorkeling in warm waters, travel, and excellent food shared with family and friends. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, now lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise.

Natalie enjoys chatting with readers, so stop by and say hi:




#NewRelease ASHER'S MARK #NewAdult #Romance



RELEASE DAY!


I’m so excited to announce to the world that ASHER’S MARK is now available for immediate download at all major online retailers… Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, & Smashwords! You can also order the print version from either Amazon or B&N.

ASHER’S MARK, a New Adult Contemporary Romance, is the story of Asher & Grace, who fell in love in high school, but were separated by circumstances and differeing life paths. Two years later, a family tragedy brings them back together, and they find that their love is as strong as ever. But a lot happened in the two years they were apart, and crossing that divide won’t be easy.

I LOVE these characters. They are so close to my heart. I hope you’ll take a chance on Asher Howell and Grace Ballard, and find out for yourself that love that begins young can indeed be true and lasting!

Happy reading & writing!

Suzanne Lilly - GOLD RUSH DELUGE


NEW RELEASE - GOLD RUSH DELUGE by Suzanne Lilly

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of GOLD RUSH DELUGE from the fabulous Suzanne Lilly. I'm thrilled to welcome her here today and help promote the book, which is a BRAND NEW release! For anyone who loves adventure, romance, and history, GOLD RUSH DELUGE is a 5-Star read! Click HERE to read my review!

Publication Date: August 23, 2014



When Lucinda Martin York and George Arnold leave Diggers Flat during a rainstorm, the Sacramento and American rivers crest, causing a deluge of epic proportions that engulfs the town of Sacramento. While Lucinda uses her medical skills to help save the citizens, George proposes a plan to stop the floodwaters and save the town.
Lucinda holds fast to her dream of becoming a doctor and apprentices to Dr. Mitchell Kersey. She falls under his spell, and too late she realizes Kersey has a dark and murderous past that has followed him to California. The danger she finds herself enmeshed in may end her dreams before they have even begun.
Based on historical events of 1850 Sacramento, Gold Rush Deluge is riveting and romantic.

About Suzanne Lilly
Suzanne Lilly is a teacher and a writer who occasionally takes time off to zipline in Alaska, teach in China, and traipse around Rome. She writes sweet stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending.
Sign up for her email newsletter to find out about upcoming books before anyone else. You’ll also get exclusive bonus materials and contests just for subscribers. One subscriber is chosen to win a $25 gift card each time the newsletter comes out. Sign up for my occasional newsletter
What reviewers are saying about Suzanne Lilly’s books
Gold Rush Girl is good, clean, and well written historical read. I can easily see this story being made into a mini series. ~~~Book Preview Review
Untellable is a delightful mix of mystery, suspense, and love. Lilly creates characters that are warm and memorable. ~~~Brenda Maxfield, author of The Edgemont Collection
Sweet, touching, a bit scary and nerve-wracking, and ultimately satisfying. ~~~Books in the Hall
Find Suzanne Lilly online at these sites:
Twitter: @suzannelilly
Buy links: Amazon     iBooks     Smashwords     Barnes and Noble     Kobo Books      Google Play Books 
Excerpts from Gold Rush Deluge
Excerpt # 1
October 1848, New York


Dr. Mitchell Kersey brushed a piece of dead grass off his wool coat sleeve as he watched the two oilcloth-wrapped bundles sink under the still surface of the millpond. He tossed the key to his house into its murky depths. A sigh of relief escaped his lips. Soon, the cold winter temperatures would ice over the millpond and bury it in deep snow, snow that would bury his cold secret. He felt a sense of satisfaction at a clean job well done, with a minimum of blood, mess, and fuss. However, his satisfaction was tinged with disappointment that he would never be able to share this particular accomplishment with anyone.
Nonetheless, he hummed an energetic tune, the “Radetzky Marsch” by Johann Strauss, as he walked to the crossroad where he would catch a hansom cab to New York City. It was marching music, a triumphant little tune, in direct correlation to his demeanor. He stepped sprightly, his head held high and his shoulders back, with the lightness that comes with the release of a heavy burden. The burden being his wife, holding him to this place where he had no future. He wanted to move to Alta California where he could make a name for himself instead of being just another doctor. But she had been afraid to leave her family. Kersey could not tolerate fear. He told her if she wouldn’t come with him, she and the baby could stay here.
And so it was.

In the morning, Kersey would embark on the newly commissioned steamship SS California bound for San Francisco. The SS California would take Kersey to Rio de Janeiro, through the Straits of Magellan, docking in Valparaiso and Panama to pick up more passengers before heading to the territory of Alta California. In October of 1848, Kersey had not yet heard of the California gold rush and the ensuing feverish migration to the Sierras. His reason for making an escape to the western edge of the continent was purely selfish. Once he put his life in Amherst behind him, he would begin a new life. A life unencumbered, a life in which he had only to look out for himself. A life in which his past did not matter, only the future he planned to create.

Excerpt # 2
The silken finery and feathery cap preceded the countenance of Helen McPhail as a young porter escorted her from the steamship to dry ground.
George groaned. Helen. What is she doing here?
Victoria Arnold walked behind Helen. She tipped onto her toes, peering over Helen’s shoulder and waving a gloved hand at her son.
George smoothed the curl of hair that always fell over his forehead and smiled at his mother. He stepped past Helen and took his mother’s small carpetbag. He gave her his hand to help her step to the dock.
"George, darling!" She reached up and hugged him around his neck before slathering a kiss on his cheek. She lowered her hands and held him out at arm’s length while she examined him. "It’s so wonderful to see you again. I was so worried about you all those months you were gone. You look healthy and well fed. And just as handsome as ever."
"Like I told you in my letter, Mother, I needed some time to find my own way." He continued holding her hand, surprised at how emotional he felt at seeing her once again. While he'd been in the foothills, he'd been too busy with mining and surviving to miss his family, but now, this rush of sentiment surprised him. Perhaps it was the near brush with losing his father that made him more appreciative of his family. Or perhaps it was the influence of Lucinda and the thought of bringing her into his family.
"What about me, George?" Helen cocked her head coquettishly. The feather in her velvet hat bounced in the breeze. "Did you miss me?"
George turned away from his mother to the woman now smiling at him, a woman who loved herself far more than she could ever love anyone else.
"Of course I missed you, Helen. Every day, I thought about how quiet it was to hear the songbirds unaccompanied by your unique voice." He raised her gloved hand to his lips and kissed it.
Helen considered his comment, her eyes unsure. “If I didn’t know better, George, I would think you just insulted me. But you would never do that, would you?”
George bowed his head and forced his lips to resist turning up at the edges. From the corner of his eye, he saw the look of approval on his mother's face. Helen and her mother wanted this relationship so badly, wanted him to propose marriage, but it was all wrong. It was wrong in so many ways. They were going to be very disappointed.

Excerpt # 3
“Pinch your cheeks,” Nurse Maggie whispered.
“Right.” Lucinda pinched her cheeks to make them rosy and walked out to greet George. He stood just inside the doorway, holding his hat in his hand in front of him. His hair was combed, and she smelled the cologne from his fresh shave. Lucinda admired his strong jaw and broad shoulders. He chatted with a man sitting on the bench and even coerced a laugh out of the ailing miner.
“Good morning, George.” He turned to her, she saw his face light up, and he smiled that glorious smile she had fallen in love with the night she met him. She stepped forward.
“To what do I owe this pleasure?”
He took a deep bow and handed a bouquet he’d been holding behind his back to Lucinda. “I was out picking weeds and thought you might fancy a bunch for your hospital.”
She pressed her face to the flowers and inhaled deeply of the lavender scent. It was one of her favorite flowers. Golden poppies surrounded the purple blooms. “It’s not every day a man honors me with weeds.”
She walked to the kitchen and grabbed a glass jar off the shelf. She dipped it in the water barrel and held the jar up to the light, inspecting the water. It looked clear. She placed the flowers in the jar of water and set them on the table near the entrance door.
“Did you come to butter me up and ask me if you can help me in the hospital today, Mr. Arnold? If so, the answer is an unequivocal yes.”
George pretended to consider her offer. “Hmm . . .” He tapped his chin. “No. That’s not the reason for my visit.” He took her elbow and turned her toward the open front doors. He pointed outside where a horse grazed on the new, tender shoots of greenery pushing up from the ground. “I came to invite you on a picnic to enjoy this glorious day. I have the horse ready, and as you can see, she’s already started her own picnic.”

Buy links for Gold Rush Deluge
Available now in print and eBook formats.