Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Available Now: One Night in Pamplona by JD Martins

Cover art by Cora Graphics
City Nights, #14
J.D. Martins

ISBN: 9781310692468
ASIN: B00ZMO4226

Length: Novella
Genre: Erotic Romance
Price: $2.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

Jeff has twenty-four hours in Pamplona during his tour of Spain – a well-earned vacation from his busy job as a Boston paralegal. Just enough to experience the first day of the famous San Fermin festivals, to enjoy the celebrations, party all night and, of course, take part in the Running of the Bulls. If he can flirt with an attractive tourists or pretty local, so much the better: he’s a single man and he’s not looking to change that.

Meeting Idoia, he’s taken aback by her looks, and the fact she gives him the time of day. She tells him she’s just practicing her English. He convinces her to join him in the town square for the official start of the festival. In the crush their bodies can’t help but touch the way he’d hoped. Idoia shows Jeff a side of Pamplona he’d never have seen without her, but she’s dismayed at his plan to run with the bulls. Jeff doesn’t want to upset Idoia, but his one night in Pamplona will be incomplete without a bull run. Will their relationship last the entire night, or will Idoia give up on Jeff as an arrogant idiot intent on needlessly endangering himself?

10% of the author's royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.

• • •

He wasn’t sure of his direction, but was content to wander along the sunlit streets, snapping photos of the pretty old buildings, their balconies streaming with red and pink geraniums. He bumped into a few others wearing the “PP Tours” t-shirts, but didn’t bother to stay with them for longer than a quick chat and an indication which direction to take.

When he saw a big, open square up some steps from a junction completely blocked by a brass band and their entourage, he skipped up to it. The sun there was blinding and he wished he had his sunglasses: he’d left them in his luggage, just in case. Perhaps he could buy a cheap pair from one of the guys selling them along with watches and necklaces and hats, and every other kind of crap you could think of.

In the centre of the square stood a bandstand, its round ceiling painted blue and white. Musicians played drums and some clarinet-like instruments he’d never heard before. On one side of the square a concert stage and big screen had been set up, and opposite that was the Café Iruña, where Hemingway drank and wrote, and which was featured in his novel The Sun Also Rises.

Jeff wandered towards it, past groups of people sitting on benches and in circles on the concrete, drinking sangria and beer and God knew what else. He smiled to a few when he heard them speaking English, but passed on without stopping. Between the Café Iruña and the Hotel Perla, beside a strip of grass that looked like it was going to get plenty of use over the next few days, stood an information panel with a picture of Hemingway and an etching of the buildings in the square, detailing which the author had visited or stayed in. Jeff stood beside it and gazed around, taking in the scene. The square was quickly filling with more people. Soon, there would be no more room to sit down.

He turned back to the café, amazed to think that nearly a hundred years ago Ernest Hemingway had stood here, taking in this very scene—or something a little more sedate, Jeff supposed, since that was before the Australians started coming. Most of those were already out of their heads, their clothes stained purple and red from spilt drinks.

His gaze fell upon a girl sitting on the grass verge between him and the café. She was looking at him, but turned back to her friends immediately when he noticed. A slight smile hovered on her mouth, though, and as Jeff stared at her, she glanced back at him, her smile deepening.

Jeff’s gut tightened. Christ, she was beautiful. Really and truly beautiful. Her eyes were pale, dark-rimmed and deep-set in a heart-shaped face, with high cheekbones and a cute, pointy chin. Raven hair, parted in the middle and hanging straight and thick to her shoulders, framed her face. Her skin was deeply tanned and flawless, as far as Jeff could see from her arms and shoulders. Her skin tones contrasted wonderfully with the white t-shirt she wore tight against her breasts, and the white three-quarter-length trousers.

As he stared at the girl, his limbs began to tingle. His heart beat faster than a bullfighter’s when facing the horns. In a city full of pretty girls and handsome women, in a group of five other young ladies who were all very easy on the eye, this girl stood out. Despite the perfection of her face and hair, her skin and peachy breasts, what made her really stunning was her eyes.

When next their gazes met, Jeff saw they were a wonderful green, the color of sea glass. They drew his stare like the face of a mermaid, like the siren’s song entices the ears. He couldn’t look away, and his gut clenched tighter as excitement radiated through him.

Their gazes were fixed for so long that her friends noticed, and looked at him too. He stood there, spellbound, one hand gripping the edge of the information panel.

God, he had to talk to this girl.

• • •

JD Martins has been called Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Philippine and English and Australian. He is none of these.

He's lived in four cities in three countries on two continents, but he doesn't feel like he's travelled very much. His life in each city was rather mundane and he didn't get out much - tending to move his pen more than his body.

He still aspires to see much more of the world - probably when his wife becomes rich enough to let him retire from day jobs.

He would like to live like Ernest Hemmingway: periodically sending novel manuscripts to his publisher from various far-flung corners of the world, though he's not sure the quality will be quite the same. Until then, he has contented himself with living like Robert Graves - in a pleasant part of Spain with a quiet life - and being able to do some things that Hemmingway did - trout fishing in Spain, game hunting in Africa, watching bullfights and running with the bulls, - and a few that he did not get to do - surfing, skydiving, bungee jumping, and getting erotic stories published.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Available Now: Death at Dawn by Norren Wainwright

An Edith Horton Mystery, #2
Noreen Wainwright

ISBN: 9781311764348

Length: Novel
Genre: Mystery
Price: $3.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

WWI is over but its echoes are still felt in the 1930s. Giles Etherington was a brave officer who also had a darker side. He does not return from a lone morning’s shooting for grouse on the “glorious 12th”. Is his death an act of revenge for his actions during the war, or as a result of his behaviour since? Edith Horton, his wife’s best friend finds herself drawn into the quest for his killer.

• • •

Revenge is a dish best ate cold–was that how the saying went?

Anyway, it was a thought, a distraction. Nights out with the boys always led to odd feelings the next day; the alcohol led to panic and a sense of impending doom. Nights out in the pub with old comrades–the thought of going was enticing, but the reality was different; watching while they all got on with their lives…Stephen, Ben, Michael, while his own had stopped somewhere in a trench in France. That wasn’t just self-pity; that was fact.

The pace was too manic now, the physical signs of panic becoming too overwhelming–the heart racing, the damp hands and tingling over the upper lip, prickling cold with sweat. The strange weakness. Now, in addition, there was a rushing noise, like that sound when you pressed a seashell to your ear.

This was no good. Much more of this and he would postpone it–that would lead to self-hatred and the depression that went with it. Already there was an echo of the lacerating feelings, the venomous self-talking–“you are useless, couldn’t even do this, coward.”

No, the panic would have to be faced, borne. Look at what other people had had to face. Look at the terrors overcome in a spirit of comradeship and bravery. That is supposed to be what bravery was, after all—feeling frightened but going ahead regardless.

Nausea rising in the throat, sweat breaking out now on the brow.

Limping across to the window. Deep breaths. Pushing the window open. Drawing in the air, which was warm but freshened by a slight breeze, and it was clean, clean air, life giving. Close the eyes, take in deep breaths. Conjure images of steel in the backbone.

Turn quickly now. Resolve coming from somewhere. Reaching for the steel of the revolver. Steel in the pocket now, steel in the backbone and…Please, steel in the mind.

• • •

Noreen is Irish and now lives in the Staffordshire Moorlands with her husband, a dairy farmer. She works part-time as a mentor at Staffordshire University and the rest of her time is spent writing. Many of her articles and short stories have been published and she has co-written a non-fiction book.

She loves crime fiction, particularly that of the “golden age” and that is what she wants to recreate with Edith Horton’s world.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Available Now: Living the Dream by Celia J Anderson

Celia J Anderson

ISBN: 9781310701337

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $4.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

When dreams and reality crash and mingle, escape can be the hardest challenge of all.

Longing to get away from her troubled marriage, the opportunity to cross America by train seems like a dream come true for Vita Craythorne. But charismatic travel agent Moriarty Miles has other ideas; by replacing their mutual friend Jack on the trip, Vita has unwittingly set herself up as a guinea pig for Moriarty's mind-blowing and potentially dangerous virtual-travelling project. His plan is to give clients the holiday of a lifetime without ever having to leave the comfort of their own homes. It's exciting. It’s time-saving. It's innovative. Maybe this trip is just what Vita needs? That is, if she can avoid becoming trapped inside her own, miraculous dream world.

• • •

My husband is leaving his body to medical science. Sometimes I wonder if they’d like it sooner rather than later.

I used to think Ronan was the nearest thing to perfect this side of Colin Firth. When we first met, I’d imagine him coming out of a lake soaked to the skin, rivulets of water pouring from his clinging white shirt. He would throw me to the floor and tear the clothes from my body, regardless of buttons, zips or other tricky fastenings. He would never, ever ask me if I’d paid the electricity bill yet or if I could lend him a tenner.

Now, if I daydream at all, it’s of a cottage of my own, with a log burner, a shaggy dog called something quirky like Nigel or Beryl, and a huge, soft sofa. My house would have exposed beams, one tiny bedroom, and a patio with just enough room for a swinging hammock and a few geraniums in tubs. The kitchen and living area would be all in one room and have soft lighting and candles. Each evening, I’d work my way through my mum’s recipe book, scaling the quantities down to make just enough for one. Visitors would be by invitation only. It would be bliss.

You might have guessed from all this dreaming that I’m not enjoying my life right now. For one thing, it isn’t easy looking so much like Kylie Minogue. People don’t take you seriously. Not that Kylie herself isn’t sensible – she’s probably very level-headed and organised – but she definitely hasn’t got the image of your everyday pillar of the community.

My name is Vita Craythorne and I’m a marriage guidance counsellor, so it’d be better if I was a dead ringer for someone who was a bit more sturdy and sensible. I’m quite good at giving marital advice even though I’m only thirty-two, which is ironic because my own marriage is about as much fun as a car crash.

It wasn’t always this way. Ronan and I used to love doing the same sort of things – long train journeys to Scotland or Cornwall (let’s face it, everywhere’s a long way from the Midlands), hot curries in the back streets of Bradford, late nights cuddled up in front of the fire watching black and white films, Sex on the Beach. The cocktail, not the actual thing; we never got round to that. Who knows where the sand might end up? But over the last few years, while I was nursing Mum, things went downhill in a big way for us.

Anyway, enough of this rambling. The stop press news of the day is that Ronan’s body is one day going to help others less fortunate. He made the announcement this morning just as I limped into the bedroom, still damp from the shower and with my left foot dripping with blood after standing on my razor. He’d taken ages in the bathroom so I was already late for work. He usually waits until he hears the door slam behind me before he even sticks a toe out of bed, but today he sneaked in there while I was making a cup of tea.

This isn’t the first time that Ronan’s seemed preoccupied with his own death. The idea that he’s not long for this world has been brewing for a week or two, ever since he had that dizzy spell when he was bending over to get the last bottle of vodka from the bargain bucket in Sainsbury’s.

‘I’m away into town to the solicitors to make my will,’ he said, frowning at the trail of blood on the cream carpet, ‘just in case you forget the details of what I want when the time comes.’

‘I’m not sure why you’re bothering. It’s bound to be a really boring will. Our flat’s rented and we haven’t got any children or savings, have we? Unless you know something I don’t?’

• • •

Celia J Anderson spends most of her spare time writing in as many different genres as possible, including children’s fiction. In her other life, she’s Assistant Headteacher at a small Catholic primary school in the Midlands and loves teaching literature (now comfortingly called English again but still the best subject in the world.)

She tried a variety of random jobs before discovering that the careers advisor at secondary school was right, including running crèches, childminding, teaching children to ride bikes (having omitted to mention she couldn’t do it herself) and a stint in mental health care. All these were ideal preparation for the classroom and provided huge amounts of copy for the books that were to come.

Celia enjoys cooking and eating in equal measures, and thinks life without wine would be a sad thing indeed. She is married, with two grown up daughters who have defected to the seaside. One day she plans to scoop up husband and cats and join them there.

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