Audiobook Readers’ Edge Update

What is Audiobook Edge for Readers?

·         A short, vetted list of clean indie audiobooks I recommend every month. I’ll try to give you a clear rating system in terms of curses, adult content, and the like. The first Sunday to be precise. By “clean” I mean the book has minimal curse words and adult content. (There will also be Matchmaker, which has some stuff I will not post to the main list – email me to get on that list.)

What do you get?

·         Free audiobooks. (The author emails of those willing to share audible gift codes or directly gift you the book you’ve select.)
·         News of any audiobook price drops, giveaways, and cool contests put on by the lovely authors on the list.

What’s the “catch”?

I run by the principle: “If you like it, then you shoulda put a review on it.” (And if you don’t like it, let the author know privately.)

These authors and their narrators have put hours upon hours into creating an entertaining or informative show for you. Listening and enjoying their hard work is one step, but it costs you about five minutes of your time to thank them with a review. It also helps other readers find and enjoy things you love.

Details:

By “vetted” I mean I’ve either read the book or know the author and the quality of their work personally. (I will be gathering a small team of audiobook readers I trust to make such decisions, but right now, it’s just me.) My reading tastes tend very strongly toward mystery, thriller, and science fiction with a smidgen of fantasy and a few other genres. Therefore, you can expect the list to lean heavily toward these genres. Also, I write (and therefore tend to read) squeaky clean stuff. I’m not saying there won’t be curse words here and there as it fits the story, but these will be the works you wouldn’t mind if your grandmother caught you reading it.

I’m just the middleman here as it were. I’ll show you thing I’ve enjoyed or am excited to try out. It’s up to you to contact the authors who are kind enough to offer some free codes.

Reviews:

Eventually, I’ll be posting the lists to my wordpress blog. After they’re up and running, I’ll send you a link to the recent post(s) at the bottom of the weekly newsletter.

If that sounds like a good deal to you, please sign up below. As a bonus, I’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of 5 ebook, audiobook, and paperback bundles of any of my applicable works. (Clarification: It has to be a title that has an audiobook, ebook, and paperback version.)

Update as of 8/12/17: I also have a matchmaker list of things rejected from the normal list due to excessive curses, too many adult scenes or gory descriptions.

Questions can be directed to: devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces)

Ready to get your Audiobook Edge?

Join up here.

 

If 1-2 free books ain’t enough, check out Audible’s paid programs.

The first two books are free through the link below.

*Bonus: I also have free codes for all my audiobooks and if you join Audiobook Edge and email me the title of one of my books you’d like to review, I will send you a code to purchase it. See my Amazon page for a list of my books. (Eligible titles: Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, Varick’s Quest, The Collins Case, The Kiverson Case, The Dark Side of Science, Awakening.)

*Double Bonus: If you buy one of my books as your very first Audible.com account purchase (needs to be a paid account), I’ll give you a $10 gift card/code to Amazon.com (please note, you have to be able to buy from the US site.) Also, this is only doable because of Audible’s bounty program, you’ll need to prove the purchase and wait until the bounty clears on my end.

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London Visit – Summer 2017 Part 9: Westminster Abbey, Namco Funscape, Churchill War Rooms

Left to Right: Westminster Abbey; A Letter from King George to Winston Churchill asking him not to go to the staging grounds of D-Day.

Last Day to Play: Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Westminster Abbey

Found my way to the right station no problem, but got turned around and couldn’t actually find the abbey for a few minutes. That takes some serious talent. I mean the building’s huge. This is another place that I might not have gone inside if I didn’t already sort of pay for it by buying the London Pass. It was definitely cool with yet another neat audio tour, but 22 pounds would probably have turned off the cheapskate in me. Can’t take pictures in there either. I think it’s because they want you to buy officially sanctioned postcards.

Gift shop:

Yes, I’m pretty sure I bought a postcard or two. I know I bought chocolate. Who knows, perhaps tourist chocolate is better than grocery story chocolate.

Lunch at a Random Noodle Joint

Okay, so I hate to admit it, but we were looking for the McDonalds and couldn’t find it. We walked over Westminster bridge on the right side if you’re facing away from the side that has Westminster Pier. By the time we crossed the street we were on a part of the walkway that didn’t have the steps down so we walked around the whole building. Pit stop at a noodle joint. It was all right. Looked it up. Place is called Ned’s Noodle Bar. If I was rating the restaurant, I’d give it 3 of 5 stars.

Food was decent but nothing to write home and rave about. Maybe I just chose something too mild. Their system isn’t that smooth. It wasn’t that busy but I wasn’t sure where to go to pick up the food. I can see them placing random boxes on the top of the counter getting kind of confusing. Heck, even McDonalds had a more efficient system with order numbers displayed above and somebody there who shouted out the number that was ready. If you read the google ratings, they’re basically split down the middle. Kind of pricey for what you get. Each box is about eight pounds.

Arcade – Namco Funscape

Took me a little while to understand the place. The London Pass came with three free tokens here, but they’re not useful for most things, just the video games. I bought the further deal which was buy five tokens and get five free. Oh well, we had fun blowing up bad guys and robots. There was a crane game with Star Wars character plushies in it. Being Star Wars nuts, naturally my friend and I tried for one. Every crane game try cost thirty pence, which is actually much cheaper than the arcades I’ve seen in the states.

After a few tries, we quite that and played some of the ticket games. My friend did amazing at this game where you drop random balls and it trickles down and lands in various fish bowls. Each of those turns was ten pence. I had fun with a different game where you try to time a token sliding down a ramp into the back to get the game to drop more tokens that you want to slide off the platform.

Eventually, we spent some of the tickets on a mug and a collectable Star Wars piggy bank style tin. It’s currently holding one pound, but if I ever want that back, I’ll need to break in with a can opener. Literally. That’s the instructions on the bottom of the container.

Conquering the Crane Game

Anyway, back to that darn crane game. It was mocking us. We had to try again. My friend tried once or twice more. I turned a cute little five pound note into coins and fed three of them to the machine, giving me ten turns. On the third of these, I picked BB-8’s behind up for the umpteenth time and miracles happened. By that, I mean the crane didn’t drop him until it was over the prize box. Success! Had a few tries left so blew them trying for a Kylo Ren, but he’s too darn skinny for that crane thing to pick him up.

Ice Cream and the Great Sweatshirt Hunt

I’m relatively easy to please with few wants. One of those wants was a London sweatshirt. Didn’t find too many without hoods,but finally got one. It’s a tad small but it was the last one they had and five pounds cheaper than the other place across the bridge. This stall was almost identical to the other just on the Westminster Pier side. Saved a fiver, so I spent it almost immediately on ice cream of all things. The soft ice cream with flake was a bit softer than it ought to be but that just meant we had to eat it quicker and use more napkins in the fallout.

Churchill War Rooms

For an underground bunker of sorts, the place is quite extensive. Once again, you wind your way down some stairs, buy a ticket, and head in with your audio tour looped around your neck. The Imperial War Museum people know how to create a nice exhibit. There’s a large room where you can explore the different phases of Churchill’s life, but most of the tour focuses on the various rooms that make up the bunker. Some of them have audio clips from people who worked for Churchill or the other important leaders of the day. Hearing the voices of people who lived and worked back then was great.

Gift shop:

Nope, didn’t buy a postcard, but I did make a purchase here. Would have bought a DVD too if it was compatible with US players. Pretty sure it wasn’t.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed the arcade. Learning the history in the Churchill War rooms was cool too. Westminster Abbey was beautiful, as expected, but I’d already seen much the same type of thing at St. George’s Cathedral in Windsor Castle.

Need to Catch Up?

Part 1: Preparation, Planning, Cost

Part 2: Arrival and First Day in the City (The London Museum)

Part 3: Getting into Tourist Mode (British Museum)

Part 4: Windsor Castle

Part 5: Buckingham Palace and More Museums (Natural History and Science Museums)

Part 6: Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, Shakespeare’s Globe

Part 7: City Cruises, Greenwich, and Church

Part 8: Kensington Palace, Curzon Bloomsbury, and a Pub

Had enough Reading? Check out some Video Games


London Visit – Summer 2017 Part 6: Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, Shakespeare’s Globe

Left to Right: The view from inside Tower Bridge; the view of Tower Bridge from the walkway up to the HMS Belfast; the view of the HMS Belfast from a City Cruises boat

Tower Bridge Exhibition

By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I figured out that I ought to do some of the paid stuff on my own before meeting my friend. My plan involved seeing the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which I did, but it didn’t take as long as I expected it might. The tourist trap, I mean shop, there provided the perfect opportunity to get some other odds and ends for various people. When I got done, I was on the far side of the bridge, near the Belfast. Since I still had time before meeting my friend I decided to check it out.

H.M.S. Belfast

Besides doing a lot of walking, I wouldn’t call any previous part of the trip strenuous and would recommend everything to all ages. The Belfast, however, is a different story. It’s amazing and totally worth doing, but it’s also tight. I don’t mean that like slang for cool. I mean literally tight. Nine some odd floors of up and down ladders and walking through very narrow spaces. Not sure how sailors spent months at sea here.

The free audio tour with your entry fee is lovely. I took a lot longer than expected exploring even though I don’t think I got to everything. Pretty sure I managed to get lost a few times. They had a really cool exhibit area that walked you through the history. The Belfast saw action during WWII and patrolled both the Arctic and the Pacific during its career.

*One of the highlights of my trip. If you’re not up for climbing and squeezing and ducking though, you might want to skip this.

Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition

I’m glad I did it, but I don’t think I would have done it if the London Pass didn’t already pay for it. Also, it was definitely better to go with a friend who appreciates Shakespeare more than I do. Shakespeare’s okay. I know that’s like blasphemy to a lot of literature nuts, but I’m a simple murder mystery kind of girl. I love the stories but not necessarily the old-school, hard to muddle through language.

The guy who ran the tour new his stuff, and we got to see part of the upcoming show. I think I’d rather pay five pounds and see one of the shows instead though. In the gift shop, I almost bought a mug with the tube map, but I refrained.

Aside: It seemed every mug in that city was super tiny.

Random Fact: This is the 3rd globe theater as I think they managed to burn down the second one a few hundred years ago.

Need to Catch Up?

Part 1: Preparation, Planning, Cost

Part 2: Arrival and First Day in the City

Part 3: Getting into Tourist Mode

Part 4: Windsor Castle

Part 5: Buckingham Palace and More Museums

Want to Build Tower Bridge?


Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Stars Mercy’s Prince by Katy Huth Jones

Summary:

Prince Valerian, second son of Lavathia’s king and queen, suddenly finds himself Crown Prince. Thus, he’s thrust into a role he hadn’t trained for during a time of war. Mercy too finds herself in a position she’s not prepared for.

Additional Comments:

– For a fantasy romance book, there’s absolutely no interaction between the leading lady and the handsome prince for the first 1/3 of the book. I listened to the audiobook and it was well over 6 hours (of 15-ish) before they even met.

– The overarching plot’s not particularly unique, but the book’s awesome. (Second son finds himself the Crown Prince and has to grow into the role.)

– The author has done a nice job creating characters you can care about.

– I will admit I found the description of Mercy’s home life tedious after a while. The Brethren come across as a creepy little backwards cult. (i.e. arranging the marriage of a 14-year-old girl to the leader. Not teaching girls to read and so forth.)

– I would have prefer Mercy be slightly older, especially given where the book took the characters in the end. (She’s 14.) Even for a fantasy world, that’s really young. I do love her healing gift though. I enjoyed how her character developed throughout the course of the story.

– The side characters were reasonably fleshed out. I love Kieran. Love the name, but the character’s great too. He’s very loyal but also believable.

– The section with the dragons was surprisingly very quick.

– The bad guy’s a tad overdone, but he fits the role of loath-able villain well.

– Love the narrator.

– The climax happened an hour before the conclusion. That’s a really, really long denouement.

 

Conclusion:

It’s long but it’s great.

 

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

For Authors/Narrators: Audiobook Paperback Giveaway – Sept 2017

What’s an “Audiobook Paperback Giveaway”?

It’s a giveaway of paperback books that have been made-or soon will be made-into audiobooks. The original intent was to be just books featured on Audiobook Edge, but I’m not sure I’ll have enough that way. So, I’m opening it up to any audiobook with a tasteful cover.

Fine Print: It also can’t be hard core horror or erotica. Audiobook Edge is aimed at clean mystery, thriller, scifi, and fantasy, but I’m willing to expand to most genres. (Tasteful romance, historical fiction, YA, children’s, etc. are all welcome. When in doubt, ask first.)

What I intend to do:

I’ll make up prize boxes containing 5-10 books in a similar genre. I.e. mystery/thriller/adventure; scifi/fantasy/paranormal; YA; MG/children’s; romance; clean romance

I’ll set up a Kingsumo giveaway for all the featured boxes. The number of boxes there are will determine the # of winners.

Purpose: To celebrate paperbacks that are also audiobooks.

To advertise Audiobook Edge.

Great, but how do I get in on this?

Details/Rules:

– Mail 1-3 paperback books (can be 1 title or multiple) per author. Books must be received by August 7, 2017. (P.O. Box is in New Jersey, USA.)

– You may include a personal note to the winner.

– Each book can have a bookmark or postcard.

– You may include up to 10 bookmarks or business cards for inclusion in other boxes/prize packs.

– Fill out Google form. (I must know genre and weight to make up the prize boxes properly. It’s to your benefit to be in a box that goes to a person who wants that genre.) https://goo.gl/forms/2vgEwey51ExnlNEK2

– Send suggested entry fee $3-5 (as a friend! Paypal info in Google form) to cover mailing costs and prizes.

– You’ll need to give me your email address and promise to help promote the giveaway.

Audiobook Reviews: Dragon’s Future by Kandi J. Wyatt

Introduction:

I’ve probably read 5 stories that have dragons in them in my life. Conclusion = dragons are cool.

Summary:

This is a story about dragons and the people who ride them. The dragon population is dwindling. If nothing’s done, the entire colony could cease to exist.

 

Additional Comments:

– It took me a while to get into the story, but the end fits well and is awesome. There’s a lot of setup that needs to happen.

– The names were a tad difficult to follow in audio format. Ruskya and Duskya, Kyn, Wynn (spelling??), etc. It was hard to keep straight who was a dragon and who was a human. I feel like seeing the words would have made that easier somehow. At least there was also a Carol.

  • It’s a series, so I think some of this will be explained in future books.

– The performance was okay. The narrator was good but didn’t have a great range of characters so it was difficult to delineate who was speaking based on voice alone.

– Duskya could have had more page time, but for the most part, there’s decent balance between who gets to be in what scene.

Pros:

– There are a lot of things to love in here: dragons!, the ability to ride them, mental connections, twin bonds, bad guys, and a ton of great characters. (Yes, distinguishing could be difficult, but there were a ton of people who were so down to earth. You just want to spend an afternoon getting to know them.)

– I think the story’s aimed at the middle grade audience, so even though there’s violence you’ll find it scrubbed fairly well.

 

Conclusion:

This is the type of story that would be good on a long car ride. It’s something to share with younger children. If you love dragons, you won’t want to miss Dragon’s Future.

 

Special Treat:

Please note that this book is permafree. You can grab a copy for FREE. Add the audio version at a discount after that. If you want the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured on the weekly list, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

How to Get a Narrator You Love

Introduction:

You’ve worked really hard to get your book ready to good, and now you want to take the next step. There’s something highly gratifying about hearing a talented actor/actress bring the words to life. A few people have the time, talent, and recording devices necessary for doing this themselves. I admire these people, but I’m definitely not one of them. This article is directed to the majority of people who need to search up a narrator. Also, I don’t know much about the traditional publishing world of audiobook creation. I’m going to be speaking about using Audiobook Creation Exchange.

I’ve talked to several authors in various Facebook groups who wonder things like:

  • How do I get a great narrator?
  • How long should I wait once I get a few auditions?

So, how do you find and hire a narrator you’ll love?

The first time I sort of got lucky. The first or second person who posted an audition fit my idea of the character voices perfectly. In hindsight, I might have found somebody even more fitting if I’d gone through the process I’m going to describe below, but I still enjoy the work done with Kristin Condon.

Here’s how I did got the perfect narrator the other 3 times:

  1. I selected the characteristics I was looking for on ACX’s search section. First major choice is male/female. Other things you should consider is budget (more on that later),  style, and accents.
  2. I listened to random samples from people who matched my search parameters. More on pricing later, but I would probably go with people who are in the price bracket above what you think you can afford.
  3. Once I had a list of 10-15ish people I really loved, I wrote a general letter then adapted it for each person. I sent these narrators an invitation to audition for my book. Generally, if you contact 15 people, most will get back to you, a few will be too busy or not interested because of the price you’re offering, but the others will thank you for the invite and post an audition in about a week’s time.
  4. Set a timeframe like 1-2 weeks for when you’ll close auditions. Once everybody who promised an audition comes through, listen to the auditions carefully and choose your favorite.
  5. Privately message everybody as you get auditions to keep them updated on the status of their audition. If you don’t intend to hire somebody, thank them for taking the time to audition and let them know that. Be up front and honest. These people are auditioning for a lot of projects because it’s a tough way to make a living.
  6. Offer a contract to your top choice, but don’t burn bridges with your second and third choice because your top choice might not accept the contract.

Pricing Notes:

Some people have a large budget to put behind the audiobook venture. Others are popular enough to attract a stipend from ACX which will definitely increase the number of auditions you receive. But for the rest of us price is going to be an issue.

Reality – It can easily take about 4-6 (or even more) hours of work to get a finished hour of audiobook ready to go. The narrator needs to read the story, prep the voices, record the chapters, edit, and then re-edit to fix up any mistakes. Keep that in mind moving forward.

Royalty Share: This is the best deal for authors because you’re not taking any of the financial risk. You’re narrator creates the book for you, you approve it, and then once it’s on sale you split any royalties with the narrator.

If you can only do RS, that’s fine, but keep in mind this will likely limit you to those who are just starting out or doing it as a hobby. Most of the people with experience will stick to pfh because of the tremendous amount of work it will take to create the audiobook.

I prefer to put $50 pfh on the table, that’s the lowest paid per finished hour you can use. Most of the really talented people have $100-200 pfh. I privately let people know that I fully intend to give them a private bonus once the project goes live. ACX’s messaging system is pretty clunky but you can get their email addresses and discuss the project privately.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email: devyaschildren @ gmail.com

 

Introducing Audiobook Authors/Narrators Edge

What is Audiobook Edge?

·         A feature in my targeted email list for thriller, mystery, and spec fic audiobook fans. (I’m going to limit the slots to b/t 3 and 10 per letter, so you should get high visibility.) I will occasionally branch out to other clean works that aren’t in those categories, but the genres listed are the focus. Will also post ebook links, but focus is audiobooks.
·         A chance to use some of those audible book codes burning a hole in your pocket.
·         A chance to connect with other authors who write similar works to you.
·         A chance to get your book some visibility and gain some new fans.
·         Eventually, we can band together and run a FB party or something to better connect with the readers.

Update as of 8/12/17 – AE will come out the first Sunday of every month. I’d originally planned for once a week, but the amount of books I have and the time constraints involved in setting this up means something’s gotta give.

What’s the “catch”?
You will need to either gift me your book or give me an audible code to hear your book. (Don’t send it quite yet, please.) You will also need to share this page with your readers because collective bargaining power is sort of the idea behind this. One last thing, since the vetting team is me, myself, I, and a handful of trusted friends), please be patient with that process. I will try to keep you updated but I can only listen so fast. I can guarantee that if I personally enjoy your work, you will get reviews at both Amazon and audible.

You’ll have a better shot of making the list and getting fans if you offer up a few free codes. I will be strongly encouraging the readers to review things they like, but I can’t guarantee you’re a) going to get results or b) going to get results that you like.

Questions can be directed to: devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces)

Sneak Peak: Love’s Promise by Melissa Storm

Last chance at the $0.99 sale.
What’s gone on before…
So, this book will be dropping on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.
It will also be on sale up through Sunday, so if you get it early, you get it for $0.99. It looks like it’s going to be a sweet story. Check it out.

Excerpt from Chapter 2:

Everything felt heavy when Kristina first awoke from the anesthesia. Her eyelashes almost seemed as if they’d been weighted down or glued to her cheeks. Her limbs were thick and prickled with numbness. Even breathing felt more laborious than it once had. Wasn’t this surgery supposed to have the opposite effect?

She struggled against the fatigue and opened her eyes, one after the other, in a slow, careful squint. She wanted to sit up but didn’t quite feel strong enough to do so. Maybe if she pushed down with her arms…

The movement tugged at the IV protruding silently from her arm. It didn’t hurt, but it felt icky nonetheless.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” a nearby nurse said. “I was just coming in to check on you. How do you feel?”

Heavy didn’t seem like the right response here, so Kristina murmured “groggy” instead.

The nurse chuckled and put a heartrate monitor on Kristina Rose’s fingertip. “Heart rate is good. How do you feel besides groggy? Any pain?”

Pain? Oh, yes. Surgery was supposed to hurt. But… Kristina felt absolutely fine. “I think maybe I’m too tired to hurt,” she guessed aloud.

“On a scale of one to ten?”

“Maybe two. A little like I’m hungry from not having eating all day, but nothing unbearable. I thought it would be a lot worse.”

“Well, now, why did you think that? Dr. Daniels is very good at what he does. In fact, you’ll hardly have any scars to show for it. That’s the power of laparoscopic these days. Anyway, your vitals all look great. Would you like me to invite your friends in? They’ve been waiting very patiently to see you.”

Friends? Kristina Rose had only been aware of Elise staking out the waiting room for her. Who else had come to see her? Maisie? Jennifer? Summer, maybe? She nodded, and the nurse left with her chart.

A moment later, Elise burst into the room holding tight to the string of a big, happy “It’s a Girl” balloon. “I’m so glad you’re finally up!” she said, bending down to hug her friend and taking the pain from a two straight to a four. “Oh, I hurt you, didn’t I? I’m so sorry. It’s just I’m very glad to see you. I—”

“You were worried I wouldn’t wake up.”

“I knew you were safe in the Lord’s hands, but I still worried. What would I do without you, Kris?” She shook her head and chuckled morosely.

“Is that for me?” Kristina pointed toward the pink Mylar balloon floating near the ceiling. “You know I didn’t have a baby, right?”

“I know, I know, but I had to get you something, and there weren’t an awful lot of choices in the hospital gift shop. I figured the balloon is light and pretty. It floats, which is kind of like flying, right? And, well, you’re about to take off in this new life and get a lot lighter, too, if I understand it right. So… yeah. Here.” She tied the string of the balloon to the side of Kristina’s bed.

“You were waiting for me to wake up for how long, and that was the best you could do?” Kristina laughed. “But thank you. It’s perfect.”

“Hi, Kristina Rose,” a third person said almost shyly. It was a voice she knew well, but not one she had expected to hear so soon after waking.

“Jeffrey, hi. Thank you so much for coming!” She tried to adjust herself in bed to at least find a more flattering position, but doing so tugged at the IV line again and sent her pain back up to a three after it had only just settled down from the hug with Elise.

Jeffrey came to her bedside and gave her a very light and gentle embrace, then handed her a popsicle still in its shiny, white wrapper. “The nurse wanted me to bring you this,” he explained. “It’s sugar free and will keep your throat from getting too dry.”

“I’m not really hungry,” she confessed.

But then Elise was all over her. “Missy, you better do what the nurse says if you want to get better soon. Need me to unwrap it for you?”

Kristina Rose rolled her eyes. “I think I can manage.” As instructed, she unwrapped the popsicle, which was grape, her favorite flavor since childhood. She took a tentative suck and smiled. “Thank you for bringing this, Jeffrey. It’s so refreshing right now and the sugar’s helping to wake me up a little more.”

“It’s sugar free, but you’re welcome.” He smiled, too.

Elise looked from Kristina to Jeffrey then back again, but said nothing.

“I’m happy you’re okay,” Jeffrey said, ignoring Elise’s quizzical glance. “I prayed for you all day. In fact, I was so distracted at            work that I even burned the toast. Mabel sent me here, said a cook who couldn’t even make toast was no good to her anyway.”

Kristina laughed. Had he really been so worried about her? She hated to cause him concern, but she also loved that he’d been thinking of her, that he was here.

“Do you mind if I just say a little prayer with you?” he asked. “It only feels right since I spent the whole day begging God to keep you safe. And he did, so now I need to say thank you.”

“I’ll just… go for a lap around the hall,” Elise announced, slipping out of the room.

“Can I?” Jeffrey asked again, his honey eyes appeared even brighter, his brown complexion even darker underneath the fluorescent lighting. Kristina nodded, and he lowered his lean, muscular frame down onto the edge of her bed then reached for her hands. Their hands and skin often brushed whenever she grabbed a plate of fresh cooked food to serve to their mutual customers or when they were working together to refill ketchup bottles or stock napkins. But all those brushes were casual, unintended, part of a day’s work. As his hands cupped around hers, she felt a small jolt as if her whole body was just now coming to life and shaking off the heaviness of the anesthesia. Like Elise’s balloon, she’d become light, was flying.

“Dear Lord…” Jeffrey began, but honestly, Kristina didn’t even hear the rest.

Check out the FB Party going on all week:

Meet the Author:

Melissa S Square.png

Magical March Giveaway

Join the Magical March Giveaway. Enter to win ~15 ish lovely fantasy stories … oh, and a magic wand. Who doesn’t love a magic wand. Your life would not be complete without it!

Check out some of the stories you could win:

The Beltane Escape by Ariella Moon (Favorite cover award from me)

Lady Fenella, Thaness of Thorburn, has no idea her fate will be shackled to a powerful sorceress. She believes Gran’s warnings about Fairy are superstition, Fairy was invented to make children behave, and Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are myths. Then, from a distant past when the rule of magic is threatened, a spell cast forward to sixteenth century Scotland finds Fenella. The incantation sets in motion a series of events that leave her branded, stolen, and betrothed. Traumatized, and separated from her clan, the Highland heiress finds an unexpected ally in Edward, her kidnapper’s son. But their fragile alliance is gravely tested when he enables Fenella’s young cousin to visit, and the Lady of the Lake seizes her opportunity and lures the reckless lad into Fairy. Fenella has seconds to decide. Should she remain with Edward, her best chance at saving herself and protecting her people? Or should she dive into Fairy to rescue her beloved cousin, endangering her clan, and abandoning Edward to his ruthless father, Lord Argonshire? Weakened, spellbound, and torn by conflicting loyalties and love, Fenella is pulled toward her fate — unaware, The Most Powerful Wizard stands in her way.

The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue (Sweet title award from me)

The Firethorn Crown (Firethorn Chronicles Book 1) by [Doué, Lea]

The crown is her strength. The crown is her weakness.

Princess Lily, the eldest of twelve sisters and heir to a mighty kingdom, desperately seeks a break from her mother’s matchmaking. Tradition forbids marriage with the man Lily loves, so she would rather rule alone than marry someone who only wants the crown.

Fleeing an overzealous suitor, Lily stumbles into a secret underground kingdom where she and her sisters encounter a mysterious sorcerer-prince and become entangled in a curse that threatens the safety of her family and her people. Lily can free them, but the price for freedom may be more than she’s willing to pay.

The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, is the first novel in The Firethorn Chronicles, a series inspired by fairy tales and other classic stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.

Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones (Wins the I’ve-actually-read-and-approve award)

Leandra's Enchanted Flute (Tales of Finian Jahndra Book 1) by [Jones, Katy Huth]

Fourteen-year-old flutist Lee Ann Graves is a survivor–she has beaten cancer. But her greatest battle is yet to come.

The Carolina wren who has sung outside her window during the long weeks of chemotherapy reveals himself as Songcatcher. He knows Lee Ann’s real name is Leandra, and he transports her and her flute to a magical world that is dying because of a growing world-wide “canker.”

Leandra is restored to health and her flute transformed by what magic is left in the world. But as she searches for the source of the canker, the malignant forces take their toll, not only on the land, but on Leandra’s physical and mental well-being.

With the help of Songcatcher, other bird friends, and a very human prince, Leandra must find a way to heal the land she has learned to love before it is too late.

Here’s a link to every book in the collection.

Giveaway runs from March 2-17. The winner will be notified by email on March 18. [FoF reserves the right to substitute the custom wand with something of equal value for anyone outside the US or Canada.]

Email me any time (Devyaschildren @ gmail.com)

Visit my website and join the mailing list. I’ll be revamping that very soon to include more contests, giveaways, etc.

Best of luck.

Link to rafflecopter