26 Jun 2016

A love that Disturbs by Medeia Sharif

A love that Disturbs by Medeia Sharif
Evernight Teen Publishing/60k words

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.
Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.
Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
Evernight Teen

At least Rafe wouldn’t bother her for a few hours. He knew it was her first day in a new school. Haydee blew her nose, wiped her eyes, and left the bathroom. She walked into first period English and handed the teacher the pass. Students stared. A few had tattoos peeking from the edges of sleeves and shorts, but nothing like what she had. She felt like The Tattooed Woman and avoided staring back at them. She wasn’t in alternative school anymore, where most students had a nasty attitude about anything related to academics. The students in front of her had their books open and had been reading and writing before she walked in. They weren’t looking to fight her and she wasn’t going to fight them.
“Let me write your name down,” the teacher said. “I’ll make a folder for your work. How do you say your name? Heidi?”
“No, it’s Hay-dee,” she corrected Ms. Tookes. “Haydee Gomez.”
Ms. Tookes wrote her name on a notepad and nodded toward an empty desk, so Haydee sat down in a seat in the back with a textbook. The assignment was on the board, but Haydee had trouble seeing. She had lost or broken so many of her eyeglasses in the past that she stopped wearing them. She was slightly nearsighted and lived with her blurry vision just fine. Tomorrow she’d come to class on time and get a seat in the front.
She continued to receive some stares, but then students went back to work.
Feeling like she was on display, Haydee twirled the drawstrings of her hoodie, chewed the inside of her mouth, and smoothed down the baby hairs on her forehead. The door opened and she was grateful for another distraction. It was Maysa, her pink-and-green silk scarf glistening under the fluorescent lights. Haydee’s vision sharpened, as if she could see Maysa clearly, while everything around her was fuzzy. Maysa caught Haydee’s gaze and smiled before turning to Ms. Tookes. “May I take a few pictures of the students working?”
The teacher smiled back. “Take all the pictures you want.”
Maysa had a sunny, innocent demeanor. Haydee wondered what it would be like to have her life. She must have two parents taking care of her. She probably had brothers and sisters who were as nice as she was. Her parents were strict, if she had to cover her head like that, but they most likely were loving. Haydee’s curiosity intensified. She needed to know more about Maysa, who was walking to the back of the room where she was.
“Can I take a picture of you reading the textbook?” Maysa asked.
“Sure,” Haydee said. Anything. She wanted to please this girl. Haydee opened to a random page. It was a Shakespearean sonnet, which was like another language to her. Haydee liked to read, but not classic works. She enjoyed romance books and read any that she could get her hands on. They helped her escape from her own reality by taking her someplace else for a few hours.
Flashes sparked as Maysa took a few shots of Haydee. “You’re very photogenic.”
“Really?” Haydee looked up. “Let me see.”
Maysa neared her and held the back of the camera to Haydee’s face. Looking at the screen, Haydee saw she didn’t look too bad. Her bun was messy in a stylish way, and her head was tilted down to her book. Her cheekbones were sharp, and her right side was on display—not the left one with the black eye. “It’s a nice shot.”
Maysa smiled, and Haydee blinked, not knowing what else to say or do. She wanted to keep Maysa talking so that she wouldn’t leave right away. Because of the picture taking, a few other students had started talking and sneaked looks at the two of them. Haydee knew they must seem like an odd pair interacting with each other. Maysa showed her the next few pictures, at different angles. “I have to go now and get to the next classroom,” she said.
“Oh, all right.” Her gaze was riveted to Maysa’s slender form as she walked out the door.
Haydee’s phone vibrated again. When the teacher wasn’t looking, she slid it out of her pocket.
Got a nice dress for you tonight
Come to my place later so you can try it on
Red, your perfect color
And just like that, the moment was ruined. She shoved her phone back into her pocket. Like she needed another reminder of everything that was wrong in her life. She gritted her teeth and made fists, then forced herself to loosen her hands. She didn’t want to think about Rafe anymore, but how could she not? He was like a virus in her system and she couldn’t get rid of him. She admitted that he took care of her: he beat up johns who mistreated her, handed over any money he promised her, and challenged anyone who bothered her on the rough streets of Miami.
If it hadn’t been for Rafe, she might have been dead at one point, because one of the johns locked her in a bathroom, threatening to kill her later, and he took care of the situation. There were the existing issues of earning money and a degree of safety, but surely she could find another line of work. How would she tell Rafe that she wanted out without having his temper explode? She had seen him cut a man’s face with a razor. Would he do the same to her?

Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and presently calls Miami her home. She received her master's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Published through various presses, she writes middle grade and young adult short stories and novels. In addition to being a writer, she's a public school teacher.

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25 Jun 2016

Author Interview with Wendy Saunders

Hi Wendy! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book is called Crossroads, it’s the third book of the Mercy series I can’t really say too much without giving away the plot.

What inspired you to write it?
My inspiration for the whole Mercy series came from my love of magic, witchcraft and mythology. I’ve found that by setting my stories in the Supernatural genre it gives you such a lot of different ideas to play with.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I knew I wasn’t going to be any good at designing a cover and I didn’t really have a clue what I wanted, so I used 99designs.com and that’s how I met my designer Tim, he owns and runs Novel Design Studio. I gave him the basic premise of the story and some of the character’s backgrounds and the second I saw his design I knew it was perfect and that it would work as a continuing theme for the rest of the books in the series. I now go to him for all my design work.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I guess I see it as more of a TV series than a movie, a bit like True Blood, but if I had to choose some of the main characters I would have Genevieve Padalecki as Olivia and her husband Jared as Theo, Julie Walters would be Fiona, Jake would be played by Theo James and Ash would be Ian Somerhalder.

Is it part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
Mercy is the first book of a series, it’s a bit of a labor of love as it will be a very long running series. The first series which begins with Mercy will have five books which includes, Bk1 Mercy, Bk2 The Ferryman, Bk 3 Crossroads, Bk 4 Witchfinder and Bk 5 Infernum. The First series deals with an ancient and powerful book which contains all the magic and secrets of Hell. I’m intending there to be five series in total each made up of five books and each series dealing with another book. So Series 2 will be The Book of the Heavens, Series 3 The Book of Purgatory etc…so overall there will probably be 25 books, I must be mad…

Where is the novel set and why did you choose to set it there?

Pretty much the whole story is set in and around a fictional town I created called Mercy which is located close to Salem in Massachusetts. I chose to set it there because I have always loved the East Coast and particularly the New England/Massachusetts area. There’s so much history and magic associated with this area as it is where the original 13 colonies where.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?

I’ve always loved magic; it’s like having a whole smorgasbord of treats to dip into. It gives you such a lot of scope to let your imagination run wild and lots of fresh ideas, especially if you are working on a long running series.

What made you want to become an author?

I’ve always lived inside my head, even as a child I was always labelled a dreamer. It certainly sharpened my imagination and when I finally put pen to paper as a seventeen-year-old I realised I was a writer; it wasn’t so much a conscious choice I think so much as a realisation. It was one of those comfortable moments when you sit back and think, ah yes this was what I was meant to be doing. Of course I still had a long way to go to gain the life experience and skills necessary to write a decent story, some of my earlier stuff was just cringe worthy.

How do you come up with character names?
Sometimes the names are just there in my head, sometimes I have to go looking for them. I keep a handy supply of baby name books on my bookshelf and the internet has been invaluable when I want to find more obscure names, such as Celtic or Ancient Greek names.

Do you struggle to come up with book titles? Do they come before, during or after you've written your book?
So far the book names have come before I’ve written the books, but that may or may not change as I go along.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Alice in Wonderland.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Lots of different things, sometimes it can be as simple as a single name, or a place or an idea that inspires me. I draw a lot of inspiration from folk tales and mythology as well. For example, I love the Three Fates from Greek Mythology I’d love to write a story about them set in the present day. I have a huge notebook which I scribble down all the things that inspire me.

Where is your favourite place to write?
My Nana’s room. My grandmother lived with me and my husband and children for eight years, I took care of her but when she passed away last year I made her room into my writer’s cave. It’s nice, it feels like she’s sitting in here with me most of the time.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Ooh that’s a tough one, there have been a lot of great movies based on book adaptations but I think if I had to nail it down it would be Lord of the Rings, see? Magic again…

Name two of your favourite authors.
David Eddings and Nora Roberts.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I never finish a whole cup of tea, I only ever drink half, drives my husband nuts.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
I have no idea, seriously…I’ve been pondering this question for a while and I’m still coming up with nothing. I guess I find it hard to picture anyone else being me, I’m just a regular person.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
There really isn’t anything interesting about where I live, it’s probably one of the most boring towns in the known world perhaps that’s why I love magic and writing so much, it’s a way to escape mundane reality.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
Oh I have lots of plans, apart from the Mercy series, I’ll be releasing a non-magical thriller later on this year called Tangled Web about a young woman who’s looking for her sister who disappeared the night her father died. I am also planning to release a standalone novel next year call The Cliff House, which deals with reincarnation, it’s a sticky love triangle that spans two lifetimes when everything ended in murder the first time around they have to make it right in the present day.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Visiting Salem Massachusetts.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
I love the Little Mermaid, although the original version and not the Disney one is pretty harsh.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I went through all the usual stuff, I remember wanting to be a nurse, then an astronaut, I even wanted to join the Navy at one point but I don’t have the discipline for it and I hate being told what to do. I’m lucky that I realised early on that I wanted to be a writer.

Wendy Saunders is the author of The Guardian series, which includes Book 1 Mercy, Book 2 The Ferryman and Book 3 Crossroads with book 4, Witchfinder and Book 5 Infernum to be released later this year. For more information please visit Wendy's website and her Facebook page.
Wendy has a deep abiding love of all things supernatural as well as ancient history, folktales, urban myths and lore, but at heart she's a romantic, she does love an epic love story! She also loves writing stories with big plot twists and OMG! moments and has a deep seated love of long running series although she will be writing some stand alone novels as well.
She lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and three children. Wendy is currently working on the continuation of the Guardians series but also she is also writing the first book of a new Trilogy called The Carter Legacy, the first book of which is Tangled Web and is a fast paced non magic thriller.
Get Crossroads on Amazon UK

24 Jun 2016

Close Contact by Megan Mitcham

Swindled, Negotiations, Red
Megan Mitcham
(Close Contact #1-3)
Publication date: June 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance
These 5,000 word short stories are the perfect serving of sizzle before bed.
Swindled – Releases June 14
Close Contact Volume 1
Newbie detective Harper Lang baits international thief Magnus Declan with her best assets and discovers she’s not the only one with tempting snares.
Negotiations – Releases June 21
Close Contact Volume 2
When Detroit’s lead negotiator Paige Cline and Special Response Team captain Donovan Wolfe go head to head, they negotiate a fiery response.
Red – Releases June 28
Close Contact Volume 3
After losing a patient, famed neurosurgeon Alexis McCrae needs an escape and her pilot Captain Warren knows just the right spot.

EXCERPT – Swindled

Determined to search the kitchen and back rooms before heading home, Harper flushed. The door opened and a giggle accompanied two sets of shoes. Reaching for her matching lace thong, she continued righting herself.
“But someone’s in here,” a woman whispered.
Harper hurried to smooth her dress and split before the chick pulled out a bag of smack. There was only one person worth arresting tonight, and his voice was deeper than that.
“I know,” rumbled the voice she’d swear her mind conjured.
She’d listened to that gooey caramel tone for hours on end. Following along with the translations hadn’t diminished its panty-dropping effect. But that couldn’t be Declan. Not after the stunt he’d pulled.
A throaty moan split the air. Harper flushed rooftop-in-July-hot and clamped a hand over her own mouth. She didn’t want to get caught in the middle of a fuck-fest, unless she was center stage. If it was in fact Magnus Declan, she had to know. Yet, she couldn’t risk chasing him away by barging out of the stall unprepared.
“Ooohhh yes,” the woman groaned, “right there.”
Curse her body to hell and back. Harper’s lady boner swelled to life as though it garnered the attention being awarded another. Releasing her mouth, she inhaled a deep quiet breath and steadied one hand on the metal wall. With the other, she grabbed her clutch from the top of the paper dispenser. One more fortifying breath and she leaned toward the gap between the door and stall.

USA Today bestselling author Megan Mitcham was born and raised among the live oaks and shrimp boats of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where her enormous family still calls home. She attended college at the University of Southern Mississippi where she received a bachelor's degree in curriculum, instruction, and special education. For several years Megan worked as a teacher in Mississippi. She married and moved to South Carolina and worked for an international non-profit organization as an instructor and co-director.
In 2009 Megan fell in love with books. Until then, books had been a source for research or the topic of tests. But one day she read Mercy by Julie Garwood. And Oh Mercy, she was hooked!
Megan lives in Southern Arkansas where she pens sizzling suspense novels. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Goodreads. For news, giveaways, and exclusive offers sign up for her newsletter at www.meganmitcham.com!

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Review: Storm Child by Sharon Sant

Earlier this week, I featured Storm Child on Fiction Dreams - an excerpt and an author interview with Sharon Sant. Today, I'd like to share my review of the book, which I completed this morning.

My Review

Firstly, I'd like to mention how beautifully written this story is. I was enthralled with the author's writing from the very first page. Sharon Sant certainly is a talented one!
The actual story was something that really piqued my interest. I do love stories that are set in the Victorian era and for the life of me, cannot understand why I don't read more of them! I'm also a lover of books aimed at young adults so this one certainly held my fascination. Oh and of course there's magic. I'm a sucker for books containing magic ;)
The moment I started reading, I was eager to learn more about the child found on the heathland in the middle of a cold, stormy night. )What a wonderful beginning, right?) And I was never disappointed at any stage during the story - in fact I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout.
I particularly loved the banter between Isaac and Polly - and could quite easily picture them teasing one another in this era. They were written so well - I'd love to read more about their story, what happens to them after Storm Child, for example? I'm also eager to find out what happens to Charlotte and her family after this book too. I wonder if the author has any plans for a sequel? Or perhaps a spin-off? I cetainly hope so! All in all, a wonderful read.

In a Victorian era where the industrial revolution has been replaced by superstition and magic, Britain is a place where wolves roam freely and children with magic are snatched from the streets. This is home for thirteen-year-old witch, Annie and her baby sister, Georgina. When their mother dies, Annie and Georgina find themselves saved from the workhouse by the mysterious Ernesto Black. But Black’s motives are far from pure and soon Annie faces new, even more dangerous threats. What does Ernesto want from Georgina? And can Annie trust the other teenagers living with Ernesto: Polly, who has her eye fixed firmly on inheriting Ernesto’s fortune and will do anything to make sure she gets it, and the charming Isaac, who would do anything to win Polly’s affections – legal or not.
Fearing for Georgina’s safety, Annie is faced with a terrible choice: she can try to guard her sister from the ever-present threat of Ernesto, or she can leave the child out in the wilds of the New Forest in the hope she’ll be found and taken in by a new family, ignorant of her powers. Annie chooses to leave Georgina’s future to chance and steals her away from Ernesto’s house in the dead of night.
But Annie’s troubles are far from over as her actions set in motion a chain of events that will take her and Georgina into danger she could never imagine. This danger drags country girl, Charlotte Harding into the fray and threatens every one of the teenagers, and it leads them right into the heart of the powerful organisation responsible for the assassination of Queen Victoria, an organisation that wants only one thing: Hell on Earth – quite literally…
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Sharon Sant was born in Dorset but now lives in Staffordshire. Aged eight she wrote a poem about ET, which received the ultimate praise of being pinned onto the classroom wall, and from that moment on she knew she'd never stop writing. She graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing. She currently works part time as a freelance editor and continues to write her own stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles.
Young adult novels Sky Song, The Young Moon and Not of Our Sky (the Sky Song trilogy), The Memory Game and Runners were all released in 2013 to glowing reviews. Dead Girl Walking followed in 2015 and she has a new trilogy planned for 2016, the first book of which, Storm Child, is due for release in April.
Sharon also writes children's fiction under the name of Summer Hopkiss.
To find out more you can follow her on twitter where she's always happy to chat.
Goodreads Author Page

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Mr. Romantic by J.A. Huss

Mr. Romantic
J.A. Huss
(Mister #2)
Publication date: June 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Charm is the key to the world.
Charisma, magnetism, sex appeal—that ‘it’ factor that can’t be described.
Nolan Delaney has it is spades.
The infamous Mr. Romantic.
And maybe he is out of my league… But I’m going to give it the old college try anyway. Because I didn’t travel two thousand miles for a job interview at his request just to be put out like trash.
Don’t underestimate me, Mr. Delaney.
I’m really not as innocent as I look.
Mr. Perfect
Mr. Romantic
Mr. Corporate (Releases 8-17-16)
Mr. Mysterious (Releases 10-12-16)
Mr. Match (Releases 12-7-16)
While you’re at it, grab your copy of Mr. Perfect!
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You can also pre-order Mr. Corporate today!
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“What do you think so far? Do I live up to the hype?”
“Not really.”
“No?” He chuckles as we walk past the pool. “Why not?”
The whole thing becomes surreal for me in that moment. The emptiness of the resort. The heat and the sun. I am two thousand miles from home and I’m clutching Mr. Romantic’s elbow like we are lovers taking an evening stroll.
“You’re a little bit quiet so far.”
“Is that right?”
“Your sister is the bigger personality. I’m surprised she wasn’t accused of something inappropriate in college. I think she has it in her.”
Nolan laughs. “That’s kind of true. She’s a handful to most, but she’s been good to me. She’s very protective.”
“She called you dangerous.”
“What?” He stops walking and looks down at me. “When?”
“Today. She told me to stay away from you. Didn’t you know that?”
“What exactly did she tell you?” His mood has changed. Not a lot, but there’s an edge to his words.
“She said something like…” I struggle to remember her exact words, but can’t. I shouldn’t have said anything. He’ll probably confront her and use me as an example.
“Like?” Nolan pushes.
“You’re not romantic. Something like that. They called you Mr. Romantic when all that stuff happened because it was a joke.”
“And the dangerous part?” His words are low and when I look up at him, the easygoing expression has changed into something else.
“I don’t know why she said it. She was telling me to stay away from you all day. And I was angry that she was so dismissive of me. She said I was here by mistake. So I told her I was going to do my best to get the job anyway. And while I agree those men you hired are far more qualified, it was not fair of her to dismiss me so quickly. I’m not as innocent and inexperienced as I look, Mr. Delaney. I have ideas and I’m smart. Hiring everyone in the applicant pool but me was about the most humiliating thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Nolan continues our walk, silent for a few seconds. “You’re lucky.”
“I am?” I ask, a small laugh escaping. “How so?”
“You’re lucky that you’ve never been humiliated the way I have.”
Oh, shit. Way to go, Ivy.
“Do you think I’m dangerous?” Nolan asks, staring down at me in that way he does.
It makes me uneasy. “Maybe.”
“You’re willing to take that chance?”
“Well, good,” Nolan says. “Let’s have a nice dinner and I’ll tell you why I sent Claudette away and kept you here against her wishes.”
He did what?
My heart starts to beat faster. Why would he do that? Maybe Claudette was right to warn me? There’s hardly anyone here at the resort. Especially now that all the construction people have left for the day. The main pool is empty when we pass, and even the desk clerks are missing when we enter the lobby.
The dining room has two couples eating dinner and Nolan greets them by name as he leads me to the rear part of the restaurant. Back into a dimly lit room with a single table, white linen tablecloth flowing over the sides. Candle glowing in the center. Set for two.
“This is… unexpected.” My mind is filled with possibilities. And even though I came here with the intention of getting his full attention, possibly losing my virginity to him—and even though I’ve talked myself into feeling ready to take on a man like him, both professionally and personally—I am not excited. I am suddenly scared.
There’s not enough people. There’s not enough noise. There’s not enough of anything to make me forget just who I’m having dinner with.
Mr. Romantic. A man accused of raping a woman ten years ago. A man who was not prosecuted for that crime because the woman died before she could testify. A man who might be guilty.
Nolan pulls out a chair and waits for me to sit, sliding it in perfectly the way a gentleman does, before taking his seat across from me. “I like the unexpected, Miss Rockwell. Get used to it.”
I am in way over my head.


JA Huss is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.
You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her blog, New Adult Addiction (www.jahuss.com).
If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.


23 Jun 2016

Cover Reveal: Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision

Fall of Thrones and Thorns
Jennifer Ellision
(Threats of Sky and Sea #3)
Publication date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
War hurtles in, a typhoon over the sea.
After Bree’s life was torn apart, Nereidium had represented a haven to her. A place that—if she could save it—was beyond the King’s reach.
And, at last, she’s arrived upon its shores. But things in Nereidium are not what they should be.
The land is plagued by a rash of mysterious earthquakes, the likes of which it’s never known. The governors are distracted by old traditions, while Bree and her friends grapple with changing identities and the sense that the longer they wait to take action… the greater the danger from Egria grows.
Bree is tired of living under the shadow of King Langdon’s power. And she’s tired of waiting for him to be the first to act.
In this final chapter of the Threats of Sky and Sea series, it all comes down to Nereidium or Egria. To Bree or the King. It’s kill… or be killed.
And not everyone will escape the battle unscathed.
Previous books in the series

20498423 Beautiful woman with katana isolated on the white background

Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn't find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit


The Secret of Hillcrest House by Melanie Robertson-King

Title: The Secret of Hillcrest house by Melanie Robertson-King
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 16, 2016
Publisher: King Park Press

Sometimes there’s more to a house than bricks and mortar.
Hillcrest House is one such place. Perched on a cliff in the picturesque town of Angel Falls, there is more to this Victorian mansion than meets the eye. When referring to the house, the locals use the word haunted on a regular basis. Strange visions appear in the windows, especially the second-floor ones over the side porch. Even stranger events take place within its four walls.
Rumour has it, the original owners, Asher and Maggie Hargrave, never left their beloved home. They claim the couple and their family are responsible for driving people away. Over the years, Hillcrest House has changed hands numerous times. No one stays long. Renovations begin then stop and the house is once more abandoned. The latest in this long line of owners is Jessica Maitland.
Will Jessica be the next one to succumb or will she unravel The Secret of Hillcrest House?
Melanie Robertson-King's latest novel serves up a delightful blend of the supernatural and spicy romance, Lynn L. Clark, author of The Home Child, and Fire Whisperer & Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural, & The Accusers
Intrigue, dark buried secrets, hot romance and a neat twist in the tale make this riveting reading, Sheryl Browne, MA Creative Writing, Choc Lit Author
A fun read that keeps you guessing right up to the surprise ending, Dayna Leigh Cheser, Author of Janelle's Time, Moria's Time, Adelle's Time, & Logan's Time.
Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

The wind picked up making it difficult for Jessica to return the contents to the pouch. As she turned to place them in her purse, a face and hands appeared in the window over the side porch. “There’s someone in there,” she gasped, pointing to the location.
“Keys. I’ll need them unless you want me to break in.”
Transfixed by the image, Jessica couldn’t look away. She extended her arm and dropped her ring holding her house and car keys into his hand.
“You stay here,” he ordered before sprinting to the front of the house.
The face appeared to be that of a young child. After a few minutes, the image faded. She blinked thinking it vanished because she’d stared at it for so long, but even that didn’t help.
Frightened by the disappearance, she dashed after the officer.
When she stepped through the door, the pungent smells of damp and stale assailed her nostrils. Out of habit, Jessica reached for the light switch. She discovered an old-fashioned push button one indicative of knob and tube wiring. That was another expense she wasn’t prepared for.
At one time, the dark wainscoting in the foyer shone. Now it was dull, dingy and covered with dust. The paint above it and on the ceiling had peeled and curled. Flakes littered the floor and stairs. She grabbed a loose piece of paint from the wall and gave it a tug. It pulled away with little resistance.
Two large rooms stood on either side of the main hall. Jessica entered the one to her left. Pocket doors, off their tracks, cut off part of the large doorway. Yellowed wall and ceiling paper hung from crazy angles. The plaster it once covered now exposed. Sheets covered the furniture. At one time, they had been white but now, layered with dust. Jessica thumped her hand down on the back of a sofa forcing a cloud of the grubby powder into the air. Choking, she scurried out and into the room across the corridor.
It, too, was in the same state but in here, boards didn’t cover the windows. Sun shone through grimy panes of glass, and dust particles floated in the air trapped by the beams of light.
The sound of footfalls on the stairs echoed through the house. Jessica turned. She gasped and clapped her hand over her mouth. On the back of a sheet-covered sofa, lay a pristine, long-stemmed red rose.
The officer stepped into the room, securing his truncheon to his belt. “I thought I told you to stay outside.”
She didn’t reply. Stood shaking and pointing at the flower. Tried to speak but no sound came out. The room started swimming in front of her eyes. Her mouth went dry. She felt cold and clammy.
Jessica came to outside on the verandah with no idea how she got there or what happened.
“You fainted,” the cop said. “I caught you before you fell and brought you out into the fresh air.”
She stared at him and nodded only half understanding what he told her.
“By the way, I’m Alain Fournier.” He flashed a smile revealing brilliant white, perfect teeth. “And you are?”
“J-Jessica Maitland.”
“There was no one anywhere in the house. I’ve checked it from top to bottom.”
“But …,” she sagged against his shoulder.
How could that be? She saw the face in the window and the hands pressed against the glass. If no one had been inside the house, how did that rose get there? It was fresh. Not wilted. It made no sense. Her mind had to be playing tricks on her. Tired from the long drive and concentrating on the GPS directions, all she wanted was sleep.

Hi Melanie! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
The Secret of Hillcrest House is a paranormal romantic suspense. Recently divorced, Jessica Maitland wants to make a clean break from her past. Police Constable, Alain Fournier still mourns the death of his wife. And then there’s the house and the supernatural occurrences that take place within its four walls.

What inspired you to write it?
The house. From the time I first saw it in 1993 when I went as a chaperone on my son’s school trip, it spoke to me. Back then, I wasn’t sure what the story about the house would be, just that there would be one.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I used my own photograph and layered it with a cloudy sky and full moon. My picture was in colour but I wanted to make the place look mysterious and scary, so black and white was the way to go. Julie Jordan took my photo and created the rest of the cover. There’s a link between the colour of the text on the front cover and an event in the book. *that’s all I’m saying… don’t want to include any spoilers*. ☺

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?

Definitely, Jason Statham in the role of Alain Fournier. I envisioned Charlotte Coleman (Scarlett in Four Weddings and a Funeral) when I wrote the book and it wasn’t until I went looking for a photo of her to show someone who I was talking about because she couldn’t put the name and face together that I discovered Charlotte had died of an asthma attack in 2001.

Is it part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
This one is definitely a stand-alone, but that doesn’t mean I won’t write another one in the same genre.

Where is the novel set and why did you choose to set it there?
The novel is set in the Canadian province of Quebec, where the real house is located, in my fictional town of Angel Falls. *The names have been changed to protect the innocent … or should that be guilty?* ☺

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
Growing up, I read mysteries and ghost stories. I remember some of the first books I borrowed from the local library being Alfred Hitchcock. Also, a couple of my cousins and I took turns telling ghost stories each of us trying to outdo and scare the daylights out of the others. Sometimes, it worked, especially when we sat in the dark in the woodshed at my grandmother’s house.
The house I live in is over 125 years old. I’ve always been fascinated with hauntings (real or fictional) and have experienced a few odd occurrences in my house like seeing someone standing outside the bedroom door at night and hearing footsteps when I’m the only one in the house. Older houses have character and maybe even a few characters that have refused to leave.

What made you want to become an author?
Glutton for punishment? Haha! Seriously, since I was young, I either had my face stuck in a book or spending my time writing stories of my own.

How do you come up with character names?
For this book, since it’s set in Quebec, I wanted a French name for my male lead. It took some time but I decided he would be Alain Fournier. For the female lead, I’ve always liked the name Jessica. Maitland is a village not far from where I live. Since she’s originally from north of Toronto, that name worked for her.
I have a writing program called Writer’s CafĂ©. I don’t use a lot of it but it has a name generator which I’ve used to come up with the combination of first name and last name depending on the gender. Or you can choose from the list of names it contains. It’s a good thing the program was free because that’s the only feature I’ve ever used in it.

Do you struggle to come up with book titles? Do they come before, during or after you've written your book?
Absolutely! I find coming up with the right title for the book harder than writing 100,000 or so words.
Rarely does a title idea come to me ahead of time. In my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past, the title is a phrase in the book. I liked that it worked so for the (unpublished but completed) sequel, Shadows From Her Past, I used the same idea.
For The Secret of Hillcrest House, I couldn’t come up with a title for the life of me. Since my case of ‘title block’ was so severe, I decided to run a contest on my blog. It was a lot of fun and I got a huge response and some great ideas for more titles.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Hmm… you ask some tough questions. I’ve read and loved so many books, it’s hard to single out just one. Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride. I love the fact it’s set in Aberdeen and I’ve been there so when he mentions various locations in the city, I recognize them.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Places and/or events. The tagline on my website is “where fact and fiction meet”.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I used to write at the kitchen table, or with my laptop in the living room. But, distractions don’t bode well anymore so I now have a spare room/writing room. A small desk, comfy office chair, shelves and my ‘inspiration’ board. When I wrote The Secret of Hillcrest House, I had all the photos I’d taken of the house printed and pinned up. Now I have the pictures for the Christmas novella up there. And I share a couch with some of my stuffed animals.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Normally, I don’t like screen adaptations of books. They’re never as good as the book where you can use your imagination. That being said, the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim has to be the best. But only the B&W version. I always envisioned the bed curtains being a rich red almost burgundy. And what did they do? They made them green!

Name two of your favourite authors.Diana Gabaldon (love the Outlander series) and since I love crime fiction, Chris Longmuir (author of the Dundee Crime Series).

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I’m a rock hound. Over the years, I’ve amassed quite the collection. I’ve got one from the stone circle in my debut novel, one from the ruins of my paternal grandmother’s house in Scotland. One of the ones I have on my desk came from Slains Castle in Scotland. The other one that I share my writing space with came from Northern Quebec. It’s hard to describe other than it has pink, white and black in it… and it’s heavy so it also doubles as a door stop.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
A movie about me? Egad. I didn’t think I’ve done anything to warrant a movie being made about me. *blushes* Shirley Henderson who starred in the TV series, Hamish MacBeth with Robert Carlyle and in the movies Trainspotting and Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Hmm… she’s about the right height for Jessica in my book, so with red hair, she could play her if the Secret of Hillcrest House was made into a movie.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
My house is haunted? Okay, I’ll make it a bit broader. If I go out my front door to the sidewalk (about 10 steps) and turn right, I can see the St Lawrence River. So the standing joke is, I have a river view.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’m currently working on a Christmas novella. It’s really hard since we’ve just got over winter. I want to enjoy summer and not think of snow. However, it is set in a romantic location. Think Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle.
I also want to get the book that I have completely plotted and partially written finished and out into the real world.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
I want to travel by train over the Forth Bridge. That means another trip to Scotland but in the grand scheme of things, it’s always on my places to go list.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Sleeping Beauty. I remember having a Little Golden Book hardcover copy of it as a little girl.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
An accountant. I sort of fulfilled my wannabe when I was a kid. I do payroll at the company where I work.

While I'm not usually a reader of romantic suspense stories, I did find this a very easy read. Short and succint, I started and finished it within a few hours. The Secret of Hillcrest House had me thinking of Hallmark movies, I could quite easily see this story on screen.
I must say that I was quite surprised how quickly and easily the main character accepted some really ghastly occurrences in her new house though, and would therefore have preferred the book to have been a little longer so the process could have been a bit more believable. Having said that, everything was summed up rather well - the ending actually had me chuckle. But I found myself more intrigued by the house and it's former inhabitants than I was the main characters - I would have liked to have understood more about the ghostly goings-on though. Perhaps a follow-up novella, perhaps!?
* I received a copy of The Secret of Hillcrest House to review from the author

Melanie Robertson-King has always been a fan of the written word. Growing up as an only child, her face was almost always buried in a book from the time she could read. Her father was one of the thousands of Home Children sent to Canada through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland, and she has been fortunate to be able to visit her father’s homeland many times and even met the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) at the orphanage where he was raised.
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