Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Heart of the Hunter Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to The Heart of the Hunter scavenger hunt sponsored by Juniper Grover Book Soulutions! Here's how to play :) Just read through the excerpt below and about this great new book by Natalie-Nicole Bates. There are several words missing from the passage and it's up to you to hunt them down!  At the bottom of the post is a list of blogs that have the rest of the words for the excerpt. You'll find the special words somewhere in the posts of each blog highlighted in green. Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter for great prizes too! 
  • Grand Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card 
  • Two Runner Ups: $5 Amazon Gift Card

Title:  The Heart of the Hunter 
Author: Natalie-Nicole Bates 
Published: December 2013
Publisher: Gypsy Angel Books
Word Count: 54,000
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Content Warning: Contains heavy adult situations and themes. 
Recommended Age:  18+

Synopsis: After a devastating accident, Barret Atkins has accepted a quiet, solitary existence. His life is turned upside down, when he finds the badly injured Kansas Smith, left for dead in a case of mistaken identity. As Kansas begins to recover, Barret must face some deep scars of his own. When the couple begins to fall for each other, their lives spin into a revival of past hurts, jealousies, and betrayals, causing Barret to put a halt to their budding relationship. Barret’s hesitation causes his best friend-turned vicious rival, Duncan Craig, to pursue a friendship with Kansas. Where will this leave Barret? Can they all hold on long enough to escape Kansas’s attacker, and will they ever conquer their own inner demons intent on keeping them apart?

~ About the Author ~ 

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.   Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her  uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.  She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos. 

Excerpt from The Heart of the Hunter by Natalie-Nicole Bates: 
“So, what’s it like to be married to a rock star?” 
Kansas heard this question so many times during her ten year marriage to Quinn that it now caused her head to ache. She didn’t want to talk about her ex-husband with Barret. Still, she knew a lot of people were _______ about marriage to a celebrity. 
“Ex, Barret, ex. Quinn isn’t my husband any longer. But to answer your question, Barret, I’ve known Quinn since I was ten years old. When he was Sean Marshall, an ________ person, long before he ever became Quinn Michaels.” 
The resentment was evident in her voice. She didn’t want him to think she lived some fairy tale existence with Quinn. In the end, Quinn was just a man with many foibles who was admired by millions _______ of a pretty face and a beautiful voice. Attributes that Quinn took full _________ of. 
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry. It’s justI’ve wondered why…” he hesitated. 
She knew what he was getting at. “______ not prying, Barret. If you want to know why Quinn and I are no longer married, just ask.” 
“Kansas,” he touched her cheek, “you are the sweetest, most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, and after his ________ visit here, I can tell Quinn still loves you.” 
There was such a soft look in his blue eyes, and once again, Kansas couldn’t __________ why Barret thought nothing more of her than just a surrogate little sister. Didn’t he realize how good they could be together? 
“Be that as it may, Barret, Quinn and I will never again be a couple,” she said firmly. “Once a cheater, always a cheater. I __________ the articles in the weekly rags, and the chatter on the internet for a very long time. But when Lynsey Reznor came into his life, I knew I had to get out with what little dignity I still had.” 
He cocked his head. “Lynsey Reznor? That name is so familiar.” 
“She’s a very __________ true-crime writer from Miami. You can’t walk past a bookstore or watch the Crime Central channel without seeing her.” 
Barret averted his eyes. “Oh, that Lynsey Reznor.” 
“I can’t hate her too much, though. Apparently she was as ________ to my existence, as I was to hers. She dumped Quinn when she _____ out he was married.” 
He shook his head. “Men like your ex-husband give all men a bad name. If we were married, you never would have to worry that I would give a woman a ______ look. I’m loyal to a fault.” 
If only, she thought. 
“Well, if anything came out of it, you must be pretty well financially set after your divorce.” 
For a ______, she considered lying to him, pretend to be a broken little divorcee. But in an instant, she knew she wanted to keep her relationship with Barret honest. 
“My financial settlement with Quinn is public knowledge. For ten years, I receive a certain percentage of his previous year’s earnings. If I remarry, all financial support ends.” 
Barret let out a low whistle _____ his breath. “I guess you won’t be getting remarried anytime soon—not for the next years, at least.” 
Anger sparked inside her. “Do you really think I’m that shallow? That all I’m _________ with is a never ending tap of cash?” she snapped. “Contrary to your belief, I look _______ to marrying a man who doesn’t need mass love to feed his enormous ego. I want a home in the suburbs and a garden full of children. 
_______, even if I was all about the money, one of these days Quinn will fall out of favor with his fans, and the money will dry up.” 
She felt the need to not mention that even if she never saw another penny from Quinn, she would never be poor. 
Kansas didn’t want to talk any more about money. To her, it didn’t matter what either of them had, if they were only ________. Even though his kisses were frequent, and his touches lingered longer on her skin, it was becoming clearer to Kansas with each passing day that she was deluding herself with the belief that she and Barret would have a _______ ever after together. Still, she would stubbornly cling to the small ____ until Barret once and for all, told her to her face that there would never be anything more between them than good friends. 

To continue your hunt to fill in the blanks go here: HUNT BEGINS HERE For more blogs with those green key words. Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and happy hunting! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Life Renewed Not just a story, it's her story, Lisa Andrews Guests on Gladiator's Pen

Author Lisa Andrews guests today to tell us a bit about her inspiring true life story A Life Renewed. 

An Introduction of "A Life Renewed" 
by Lisa Andrews

Lisa Andrews and her husband
A highly-achieving student and athlete, Lisa was in sixth grade when she was diagnosed with AML leukemia. The news shocked her and her family, along with her entire small-town community. Over the next six months, Lisa and her mom basically lived at the hospital. When she wasn’t receiving chemotherapy, Lisa was hospitalized for transfusions or for antibiotics to fight serious infections. She went through a lot of changes. On the outside, most noticeably was her bald head! On the inside, her faith was being challenged as she tried to make sense of her experiences.

Once Lisa completed chemotherapy, she re-entered junior high school. One month into seventh grade, Lisa’s leukemia returned, and after a few more months of chemo she received a bone marrow transplant. After the transplant, Lisa was in remission but continued to face other health challenges, most of them side-effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Almost a year after her bone marrow transplant, a man at Lisa’s hometown church said to her, “You should write a book so that other people can read about all that you have been through.” At the time, Lisa had a very negative reaction to this advice, wanting nothing to do with her story. She wanted to forget about everything and continue on with her life. She had a lot of anger and bitterness that she didn’t want to tell others about. And though her small-town community had offered much support and love, she wanted everyone to forget that she was “the girl that had leukemia.”  

It wasn’t until her freshman year of college in 2002, almost six years later, that Lisa was ready to accept
her illness as an important part of her past and to deal with the bitterness and anger head-on. The process involved a lot of journaling and some counseling with a friend. Those journaled thoughts compose much of this book. After receiving healing, she felt comfortable talking about being a cancer survivor and answering people’s questions about what she had been through. Lisa also felt it was time to do as that man had suggested years before: write a book so that others can read about it.

A Life Renewed is suitable for ages 12+ and has three purposes. The first is to give a raw, firsthand perspective from a preteen dealing with cancer. Lisa’s hope that family members and friends might know how to better understand and relate to their sick loved one. Secondly, this book asks hard questions about faith, and it documents Lisa’s own personal journey with God and her attempts to make sense of her experiences. And thirdly, A Life Renewed is meant to inspire readers to realize the value and importance of their own stories and to encourage them to share their journey with others.

Whether stories of greatness, of failure, of love or disappointment, your story is one of the most important and powerful things that you own. There is no story like yours, and no one can take it from you. We must share our stories with one another! 

Get your print or ebook copy of  A Life Renewed on 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Goals: A map out of bat country

2014 started off with a bang but there’s a lot to juggle and things can get off track and out of control fast without a clear marked map of where we’re going. That’s where goals come in.

Without a map we’re just driving down a desert highway from point to point. Sure, that gets us where we need to go eventually, but takes a lot longer to get there and it takes us through “bat country.” Where life becomes chaotic like that scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. “Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, and a voice was screaming.”

We’re busy swatting bats so we can see the road. Until we set goals. Look, there’s a guy standing on the side of the road thumbing a ride. “What? No. We can't stop here. This is bat country.”

Yes, we can stop, we should stop. Why? Because that hitchhiking goal can get us out of bat country and back on the right road to the Vegas strip of success. Making a solid achievable goal gives us a point on the horizon to drive toward. At the same time helping us map our way there away from too many bats, flat tires, or roadside souvenir shop distractions. Okay, maybe a couple of those souvenir shops, you can find some really cool stuff in those places. But then right back on the road!

Sure, we still might get lost in bat country once in a while, but, having a goal to in the backseat reading the map helps us get back on the right roads to achievement and success.

ROW80 Quarter 1-2014 Goals:

Big goal:
Getting a book completed ready to publish

Weekly goals:
Write daily, 1000 words minimum.
Write 3 blog posts weekly
Write 1 article a week
Get out and take photos once a week

That’s my map for this quarter. Now hopefully it will keep me out of bat country!

What are your goals? Do you have a map or set of plans to get you to success?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hunted author Ruby Fielding is in the ludis for a chat

Author Ruby Fielding has dropped into the ladies for a chat about her latest book, Hunted to be released on January 16th. So pour a cuppa and get comfortable as she tells us a bit about Hunted and Ruby.

Tell us 3 little known facts about Ruby Fielding.
My favorite season is winter, although this one has been a bit extreme even for me! I’m currently living in a cabin in the heart of a New England forest – up in the White Mountains in New Hampshire and baby it’s cold out there!

I’ve travelled a lot, and lived in some fabulous places, but I never really ventured far beyond the UK until my mid-twenties, when I suddenly realized life was passing me by.

The closest thing I have to a day job is ghost-writing books for minor celebrities - all covered by non-disclosure agreements before you ask! I’m pretty scrupulous about those NDAs, so most of my family and friends probably just assume I write that Fifty Shades stuff all the time.

We’re here to celebrate the upcoming release of your next novel Hunted. Can you tell us what this segment of the Shifter’s World Series is about?
Hunted started off as a short story (published as Lone Wolf). The setting and the characters took a powerful hold on my imagination and pretty soon I’d written three more stories in the series. Rather than just collect the four stories together, I rewrote them into a single narrative, which became Hunted. It was important for me to do this extra work, as it gave me the opportunity to tighten the writing and expand on some parts, and to remove the inevitable repetition you need in separate stories as each reintroduces the world and characters.

Here’s the cover description:

Should she struggle to survive alone or give in to desire and risk the - perhaps deadly - company of others?

In a world where plague has swept civilization away like leaves in a storm, where viruses that cause people to shift and change have altered what it is, for most, to be human, a few survivors hold out in a desperate attempt to save the human race. Selene lives alone in the forest, protecting herself from human and shifter alike until one day a stranger turns up: a young man called Skinner, out on a quest to hunt down and destroy any shifter he can find. Torn between desire and fear, Selene must confront her true nature and make some impossible choices if she is to survive this harsh, post-apocalyptic future.

Hunted: a Shifters' World novella - a shapeshifter erotic romance of survival and desire in a deadly future from the co-author of Seduced by Moonlight and The Touch.

Why shifters? What draws you to write about them?
I love that extra frisson of danger and risk: if a story doesn’t have that, then it’s just a romance. This is fine
Shifter's World Book 1
I’m a sucker for a good romance – but I want my paranormal romances to get under the skin. There should be thrills, risks: genuine tension that heightens the romance, and makes any happy ever after hard-earned.

It’s an animal thing, too. It’s about those raw, intense passions and needs. You don’t get much more alpha-male than a shifter hero, a man who can just sweep you off your feet and possess you. As a writer it lets me explore intense attraction and giving yourself up to desire. It’s fascinating, and damn me, but it’s hot.

Did you always want to be an author or what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve always written, and I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer of some kind. At school I wrote stories that featured my friends and made fun of the teachers – it was how I tried to be cool. Someone really should have told me there were easier ways to be cool.

At university I worked on my college newspaper, and I went into journalism and advertising copywriting. I still do bits and pieces of all kinds of writing, but on my own terms: I have the luxury of variety and being able to pick and choose and somehow being able to get by.

When writing Hunted did you have a favorite part you would like to share?
The cage was not high enough for her to stand, so she sat in the middle, her knees drawn up to her chin, as if huddling into a fetal ball might somehow protect her.
At first there was no sign of them, but eventually they came. As the shadows grew longer and the sun fell below the tops of the trees, they came.
First, a man. Naked, his body scrawny and white, almost luminously so in the growing twilight. Dark hair matted his chest, and the silvered hair on his head was long and his beard thick and unkempt.
He came to stand by the bars of her cage, making no attempt to cover himself so that inevitably her eyes were drawn to that thick knot of hair at his crotch and the semi-hard shaft of his manhood.
“Please...” she said softly, eyeing the cage’s bars warily. “Please don’t...”
She started to rock back and forth and all the time the man just stood there, studying her.
So close, his scent was almost overpowering, an intense, sweaty musk. An animal scent, one that reached deep inside her and started to wake something primal.
“No, please don’t.” She shut her eyes tight, fighting the thing, the beast within.
After a long silence, she hoped that he had retreated. When she opened her eyes she saw a beast, fully in wolf-form, charging towards her, and then throwing itself at the cage. The impact was like an explosion. The bars clanged and groaned, and for a moment she thought the cage was going to topple over or collapse under the onslaught, and then the beast fell back with a yowl of frustration.
What did you find most difficult when writing this story?
Conflicting priorities. Because my professional life is packed, I rarely get a good stretch of time where I can concentrate on a single project. That’s why I wrote Hunted as four separate stories to start with, just to break it down a bit. I like those stories, but I think it works best as a single narrative.

What character in the Shifter’s World Series would you like to bring out of their book for a day? How would you spend that day?
Selene in Hunted fascinates me. She’s packed full of determination and spirit, surviving on her own in the wilds, but also she’s lost: her memories are vague; just as she gets insight into her past that memory is snatched away. So frustrating for her! And she’s clearly special: not only a survivor, but someone who has a past, and someone who is different now. I’d chill with her, maybe take her to a spa – her life is tough, so she deserves a bit of  pampering. And maybe that would help her to start to unravel her memories: I’m really keen to find out more about her past and why she’s so special and a day at the spa would be a lot easier than writing her story to find out!

Tell us about your writing routine/ rituals. Do you have a certain place or time of day that helps you write best?
For many, writing is a solitary activity, but I love the buzz of everyday life around me. So wherever I happen to be living, you're likely to find me at the nearest wifi hot spot with my laptop and a large mug of coffee.

What’s next for Ruby Fielding? Is there another Shifter’s World novel on its way?
Definitely! I’m hooked. I haven’t started it yet, as I’m focusing on another book project, among other things, but I’m hoping to get back into Shifter’s World soon. I’m torn about what to tackle next: although Hunted ends at a definite resolution, Selene’s story needs to be continued – I want to see where she goes next. Alternatively, I could pick some other characters in this setting and follow their story; I have a few ideas for that.

Where can we find Ruby? 
All the latest news on my writing and publishing can be found on my website and on my Amazon author page; also, why not join my mailing list for news and offers, or hook up with me on Facebook?

Is there something you would like to say to readers or fellow writers?  
Writing, publishing and reading are far more connected these days, and readers can make a real difference. If you like an author or a book, it’s usually very easy to find them on the web or social media, and most authors love to hear from enthusiastic readers. Equally, leaving a rating or review at Amazon or other booksellers, or on sites like Goodreads, can be really helpful – not only does the author get feedback, it helps other readers find books they might like. So please don’t be shy and retiring: we love to hear from you!

Hunted: a Shifters' World novella is currently available from:
Thank you for stoping by the ludis Ruby. You're welcome back any time, especially with a handsome shifter. :) Hunted will be available starting January 16th for an introductory price of $.99. 

Don't forget to leave a little comment luv! Have you read any Shifter's World Novels? What do you like most about shifter/were characters?