Monday, June 26, 2017

Realm Explorers Part XCVII: Visit the Shattered Galaxy with David G. Johnson

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name: David G. Johnson

Title of book and/or series: Star Wolf (Shattered Galaxy Series)

Brief summary of the story: 
Molon Hawkins, a daring, free merc captain, earns his living navigating the dangerous borders between factions in the civil war that shattered humanity’s vast star empire. For the former scout captain and his veteran command crew aboard Star Wolf, most contracts are milk runs. Most…
When a routine rescue mission goes awry, Molon finds his rescuee, Dr. John Salzmann, inextricably tied into a web of intrigue that threatens to upset the balance of power in the galaxy. Can Molon and John follow the threads and discover the forces behind the plot? If so, what can a lone ship do to stop it? 

Star Wolf is the debut novel in the exciting new Shattered Galaxy setting by David G. Johnson, bestselling author of the award-winning Chadash Chronicles series.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: 
This is set several centuries in our future. Mankind has discovered another dimension known as “voidspace”, a malleable dimension where locations can be manipulated and “folded” together allowing people to enter voidspace, fold together the current location with a far distant one, and then exit at the other point, effectively traveling great distances in real space in a very short time. This basically allowed FTL travel and the expansion of a vast human star empire. Unfortunately, we quickly discovered we were not alone…

If we were to visit the Shattered Galaxy as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? 
There are so many different worlds and systems within the setting of the Shattered Galaxy, but in this story the main “location” in the story is on board the ship known as Star Wolf. There isn’t a lot of recreational activities aboard this mercenary star frigate, but lots of great characters to meet and interact with. It is the breadth and depth of characters aboard Star Wolf, all of whom are like a large, somewhat dysfunctional family, that makes it a unique place in the galaxy.

What dangers should we avoid in the Shattered Galaxy? 
There are of course the universally hostile aliens (or the politically correct term “non-human sophonts”), the Prophane, which should be avoided at all costs. Even the member of Star Wolf’s crew who is a Prophane Pariah (outcast from her people) is someone you might want to tread lightly around. Her call sign is Voide and she is Star Wolf’s security chief, but the volatile nature of her people runs in her veins. Beyond that, pirates, money-grubbing corporations, the infamous GalSec (Galactic Security), and anyone not of the same faction as you in the galactic civil war are pretty much dangers to steer clear of if you want to survive.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served aboard Star Wolf? 
There is a wide variety of fare available catering to many different non-human sophont races aboard ship, but rumor is the best brandy on the ship is the captain’s private stash…

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in the Shattered Galaxy? 
Technology levels vary greatly from world to world and system to system. Low tech worlds might still be dealing with swords and bows or early gunpowder firearms while core worlds might have neural weapons, lasers, flechette rounds, or sometimes even more experimental weapons. A mercenary captain has to be prepared to face and function in a wide variety of situations where planetary laws might greatly restrict what weapons can be carried.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to other worlds? 
Voidspace capable ships are the only way to travel between systems without spending decades or centuries to get from place to place. Once in a system, however, or on planets, again technology level of that local system will determine whether local transport is horse and buggy, ground vehicles and airplanes, or hovercraft and anti-gravity vehicles. Intersystem travel is relatively affordable and safe if you book a low berth, which basically means you are a passenger-popsicle for the duration of the flight. More expensive high berths accommodate more wealthy travelers who stay awake for the journey and enjoy luxury amenities on board transports. Of course most of our heroes are based on Star Wolf, so they get to travel awake, and all it costs them is a mercenary contract and signing up to risk their lives to carry out the mission decided on by Captain Molon Hawkins.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Shattered Galaxy that we don’t see on Earth? 
I already mentioned above the Prophane, gray-skinned, yellow-eyed, and a mind set only to kill and destroy all non-Prophane. Beyond that, Captain Hawkins is a Lubanian (loo-BAN-yun), a wolf-anthro humanoid race. We also meet the comms officer, Mel. She is a Fei, a light-blue-skinned race with psionic/empathic abilities. There are also the Angelicum (Angels) and Daemi (Demons) who actually are offshoots of the same parent race. Beyond those are many minor races, Doppelgängers (shape shifters) Dractauri (large reptilian centaurs), and thousands of minor races who have not achieved a technology level to permit voidspace travel. Needless to say if you travel around much in the Shattered Galaxy, you will find no shortage of new races and people to meet and get to know.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Shattered Galaxy?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
While there is not “magic” per se, certain levels of technology can be almost magical in its ability to do things far beyond mundane capabilities. Beyond that, there are rare individuals (and the Fei race) who have psionic abilities, mental powers that can range from telepathy to telekinesis to mind-control to even more strange and powerful manifestations. I’d say the broad spectrum of psionic abilities are the closest thing to “magic” in Shattered Galaxy.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Shattered Galaxy?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples. 
Many have already been touched on, but many of the technological advancements have been driven by the civil war, so they revolve around weaponry, defenses, and medical technology. One interesting offshoot is the development of CIDs/NIDs (Cerebral Interface Device/Neural Interface Device). These are datajacks that tap into a human brain and/or nervous system and allow humans to control or interface directly with machines. While we see some instances of how CIDs/NIDs are used in Star Wolf, future books in this setting are going to explore these aspects of technology much deeper.

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Shattered Galaxy as on Earth? 
Actually with Earth being the origin of humanity, and time being so variable and relative, Earth’s standard time of days/weeks/months/years are used as a calibration or plumb line for time aboard Star Wolf and other ships/systems. While individual planets obviously will have day/week/month/year cycles dependent on their planetary and orbital characteristics, all human colonies and ships also keep a conversion algorithm in place and for all interstellar messages, etc, the Earth-standard time and date stamp is used. Interestingly the variable gravity for all the different worlds are measured in Gs. One G is standard Earth gravity, and all other calculations are either percentages or multiples of that standard.

Is there a particular religion practiced in Shattered Galaxy?  Please describe what it involves. 
The remnant of Christians are called the Faithful in Shattered Galaxy, but they are largely persecuted and hunted by various anti-religion factions, particular Dawnstar Technocracy. One of the heirs to the pre-Shattering Emperor Halberan, Enoch Halberan, actually took vows and became a minister in the Faithful religion. He has set up his region of space, the Theocracy of the Faithful, as a safe-haven for Faithful refugees from other factions. Non-Faithful are not discriminated against or hunted in the Theocracy, but Faithful from everywhere are welcome to seek refuge under the protection of Enoch Halberan and the Theocracy.

What is the political or government structure in Shattered Galaxy?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she? 
There are five main human factions, four led by the Halberan children and heirs, and the fifth is the remnant of the old Empire under marshal law and controlled by High Archon Zarsus. The other human factions are the New Halberan Empire under Seth Halberan, The Rimward Demesne under Phoebe Halberan (allied with Seth), the Dawnstar Technocracy under Tubal Halberan (allied and a puppet to High Archon Zarsus and the Provisional Imperium), and The Theocracy of the Faithful led by Enoch Halberan.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book? 
Yes, a love of Sci-Fi and living for the last six years in a country where religious freedom is controlled and often persecuted. That contributed a lot to the situation I have set up with the Theocracy of the Faithful in Shattered Galaxy.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book? 
Well for Christians there is the question of “do aliens exist”. I speculate here that they might, and what that might look like within the context of Biblical truth. The Bible does not explicitly preclude the possibility, and while Shattered Galaxy is a work of fiction, I endeavored to keep my speculations to areas that are at least “gray areas” or open to interpretation within Scripture. It is merely a “what if”.

Author Autobiography: 
I have a Bachelor’s in Asian Studies and a Masters of Divinity in Biblical Languages. I have been a lifelong fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy and have endeavored to write my novels from a biblical worldview and contain my “speculation” to the gray areas not explicitly contramanded by Scripture.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  Please include links.

Where can readers connect with you online?  

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to the Shattered Galaxy.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week's edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

Monday, June 19, 2017

Realm Explorers Part XCVI: Visit Alora with Lara Ann

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name:
Lara Ann

Title of book and/or series:
The Alora Chronicles

Brief summary of the story:
I’ve just met the perfect guy…pity he’s a figment of my imagination.
What happens when your dreams are better than reality?
Ash has been dreaming about Wyn, he’s different than anyone she’s ever met before. He’s been trying to convince her that he’s real and he needs her help.
It’s like something out of a fairytale and we all know fairytales aren’t true…right?

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Alora is a parallel universe to earth. It is a land of forests, Elves and magic.

If we were to visit Alora as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Who wouldn’t want to see what an Elven city looks like? I know I certainly would. I would recommend doing a tour of the Castle and then taking a horse ride up to the lookout that gives you a view over the city all the way to the ocean. After that I would go and see the treehouse stronghold known as Sanctuary.

What dangers should we avoid in Alora?
Like anywhere, there are bad Elves that live in Alora. The place I would definitely stay away from though would be Onvyr. The Elves there would probably kill you once they realised you were human.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Alora?
Well Argus would probably serve you some eel stew and then laugh at you while you pulled faces. I would recommend some of the sweet desert balls as a favourite.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Alora?
Stave fighting is the predominant form of combat, although archery and magical elements are also used. The honour code says stave fighting is the true form of combat to display your fighting skill.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Alora?
Elves ride horses or walk to get where they are going, although to travel between worlds you will need one of the rare travelling artefacts. The Jaega Locket belonging to Ash is the most powerful of the artefacts.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Alora?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
All Elves possess magic in the form of gifts. Some of these manifest in childhood, while others aren’t apparent until the Elf reaches adulthood at the age of 18. These gifts can be almost anything from the rare gift of mind telepathy with animals that Wyn has, to the more common gift of speed. Some gifts are used to help others like healing, where others can be used to inflict pain and influence mood.

Is there a particular religion practiced in Alora?  Please describe what it involves.
Elves believe in a Creator. Although this is not widely discussed in the books.

What is the political or government structure in Alora?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Alora is a Monarchy, although the rule is not passed from generation to generation. Instead there is a competition of strength, skill and moral courage that determines the next ruler. All Elves are eligible to compete as we see in book 3.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
The Elves are probably a reflection of what I feel makes a more ideal society. Although they certainly aren’t perfect, they strive to work together for the good of all. Even though there is a ruling monarch ideally they don’t see themselves as greater than the people they rule, but rather a a protecter and organiser of the society. This is evidenced by the fact that anyone can become King or Queen.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Loyalty, war and racial inequality and social standing as well as slurs upon a person because of their birth parents.

Author Autobiography:
Lara is an Australian writer who writes young adult fiction. She lives in Tasmania. 
Having moved to the island state in 2013, the stunning coastline and beautiful forests inspired her to set part of her series The Alora Chronicles here.
In her spare time she enjoys wandering through national parks and chasing waterfalls with her family.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books? 
All my books are available on Amazon

Where can readers connect with you online?

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Alora.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week's edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Girl in the Spotlight: an Ice Skating Romance with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Girl in the Spotlight
By Virginia McCullough

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below...

Launch - Author Interview

If you could sum the book up in one sentence, what would you say?

Lark McGee and Miles Jenkins shared the painful experience of giving up a child, but without fanfare or effort they’re given a path to see their daughter, and if they have the courage, to grab their second chance with each other.

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Who are Lark and Miles?

When Miles and Lark met as college students both confided their big career dreams. It was such a
pleasure to portray a guy who early in life chose to become a professional speaker/consultant. I’m
familiar with that life, so I know how much time speakers spend in airports and hotel rooms, with phones and laptops as their only companions.

"I so loved this story and I was pulling for Miles and Lark to not only get to meet their daughter, but to realize they were meant to be together. This is a heartwarming tale of love almost lost but found again. I highly recommend Girl In The Spotlight."

Book Lover in Florida - Love Those Second Chances

What would life be without second chances? Pretty bleak, I’d say. I think most of us fall in love with second chance stories. And why not? It’s a universal theme in many ways, because all our lives we identify with the longing for second chances. People joke about Zog and Grog sitting around “the cave” or the campfire telling stories, but for as long as humans have been on the planet, we’ve be inspired by stories. Whether a particular story involves popular culture, folklore, or religion, the “plots” likely offers the characters second chances.

"Girl in the Spotlight by Virginia McCullough puts you right in the audience, sitting high up in the arena seating, experiencing the skating competitions along with the fictional spectators. You’ll hold your breath for every axel and lutz and salchow, and you’ll easily be able to picture the sparkling costumes and the ‘kiss-n-cry’ bench as we all wait for the scores. Though the pace is slow in some places and the story overall is light on romance, you’ll be emotionally invested in this compelling story from the very first chapter!"

Perrie Lynn skated to the center of the ice, and after one last quick pivot, she assumed her starting position in the center of the ice and the melody of Moonlight Sonata began.
Lark’s tears flowed freely. Miraculously, though, after the first couple of jumps her tears stopped. Along with all sense of time and any focus on technical elements. She lost herself in Perrie Lynn’s graceful journey across the ice and the triple jumps that brought outbreaks of applause. Maybe it was the lightness of her arm movements that enchanted Lark the most. No, the extension of her dramatic arabesques captured Lark’s attention.

When Perrie Lynn finished her final spin, Lark let her head drop against Miles’ shoulder. “Thank you for this.”

"Girl in the Spotlight was well written and the words flowed perfectly. I enjoyed getting to know Miles and Lark as well as there children. . . . The book was enjoyable, the characters truly loved the daughter they had been unable to watch grow. "

Becky on Books - Excerpt

Detecting an edge of apprehension in her voice, he said, “Oh, Lark, it’s nothing bad. No need to worry.” He put his hand on his chest, hoping to slow the pounding of his heart. “It’s just that I believe it’s possible, not a certainty, but possible, our—our child, our daughter…is a figure skater. Sort of a rising star.”

A sharp intake of air. Then silence.

"I really enjoyed reading this book. It has a really sweet story that could very well be a true story. It is very real. . . . I would recommend this book to other readers. It is a clean sweet story. I enjoyed it very much."

Mel's Shelves - Hope and Healing Come First

Whenever I’m asked about the broad themes of my novels, I quickly respond, “Hope, healing, and plenty of second chances.” GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT is no different. Lark and Miles earn their second chance in stages starting with hope. Lark never stopped hoping that one day she will learn what happened to the child she gave up, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll be give a chance to meet her. Miles hopes Lark will forgive him for not stepping up when they were young and faced with such a life-changing decision. It’s his biggest regret.

"I really felt like this was two books in one – love story meets long lost child story. It had the perfect balance of both stories – neither one dominated the other. This is the first time I have read a book by Virginia McCullough, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve heard from others that I would not be disappointed, and they were right! She has a charming way of telling a story that will tug at your emotions, yet leave you with a smile."

Harlie's Books - Excerpt

Lark could probably calculate the exact number of days and hours that had passed since she’d murmured reassuring words to the tiny bundle in her arms. I’m so sorry, but it’s for the best, little one. She’d stared at the perfect little face one last time and drew her closer to her heart. I promise you’ll have a good life with people who will love you so, so much. They can give you what I could never hope to. A family.

It's All About the Romance - Let’s Go to the Movies! What are Your Favorite Second Chance Movies? 

So many all-time favorite movies have a second chance theme. Maybe this is why big fans have watched them multiple times. Here are a few of my favorites.

AMUSED BY HOW proud he was that he’d asked Lark out on a real date, Miles’s heart raced. Even his hands were clammy, like a teenager who knew that his date wasn’t just any girl. She was special. At some point, maybe after watching Perrie Lynn skate live for the first time, Miles was hit by how fast the weekend had passed. He’d wished he could have slowed it down, made it last.

“The girl is a beautiful skater,” Andi said. “From the flash I saw, you and Lark seemed like quite a couple, huddled together, all smiles. Is there something you’re not telling me? And what about Perrie Lynn’s mother? I heard she’s sick.”

I Am A Reader - What Do we Know about Perrie Lynn?

A couple of my reader-writer friends have remarked about Perrie Lynn being so vibrant and real, even though she’s not “on stage” in the book. One friend said she found herself tense waiting for Perrie Lynn’s performance scores—just like the minutes of waiting during televised competitions! I like that—as far as I’m concerned, Perrie Lynn is out there living her life. So, even seeing her from afar, what do we know about her?

The kiss. It was all she’d thought about the last two days. She sat on her couch in the TV room with her feet tucked under her, warm in heavy wool socks. Her open tablet sat balanced on her lap. How delicious to be held in his arms. She shook her head—again—to concentrate on the article displayed on the screen. Normally, a piece on rare and virulent viruses captured her attention. Dawn even teased her about her fascination with medical research. But not that evening.

"The meaning of a second chance is personified in Virginia McCullough’s debut Harlequin Heartwarming novel! . . . The characters are well developed, their story is well thought out and leads us into the turmoil they are feeling from the first chapter. Ideally I would have wanted the ending to happen earlier in the book so we could have seen a little more of what happened after such a build-up, but overall, a great read and a satisfying resolution!" - Excerpt

“You can leave now, Lyle. I think you’ve done enough damage for one night.” She moved alongside Evan in the small space by the front door. Showing her alignment with her son was the only way to contain her rage at her ex-husband.

And don't forget to enter the giveaway below...

Girl in the Spotlight
by Virginia McCullough
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
June 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The daughter they never knew

When Miles Jenkins sees the graceful young figure skater on TV, he can't believe how much she resembles Lark McGee, the girl he dated briefly in college. Could this aspiring star be the child Lark gave up for adoption eighteen years ago? He has to find out.

Locating Lark ignites conflicting emotions in Miles—including regrets for what might have been and romantic feelings that take the two single parents by surprise. As they prepare to meet their daughter, this deeper connection between the two just might be the chance at love they never got.

Advanced Praise

Mesmerized by the real world of characters--brought to life beautifully, I found myself entranced by this thoughtful, delightful, sad, and joyous, novel about second chances and all forms of love. The situation, characters, and consequences left me shedding happy tears at the ending. — Casey Clifford, award-winning author

A compelling love story crafted with characters you'll fall in love with. Miles and Lark's journey to be reunited with their child captured my heart, as did their blossoming romance. The best book I have read this year! —Lily Silver, author of Dark Hero

McCullough is always adept at creating suspense on multiple levels. In Girl in the Spotlight, the intrigue builds from page one and doesn’t let up until the end. But she understands that readers need relief from tension, and through her masterful storytelling and perfect pacing, McCullough delivers satisfying outcomes along that way. The relationships she’s developed are complex and realistic, and their evolution is deeply satisfying. — Lynda McDaniel, author of A Life for a Life

Girl in the Spotlight swept me away to Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shore and reminded me of loves left behind. McCullough invokes deep emotions through her writing, which will pull at your heart. More than a romantic love story, it is a love story of parents for their children. A must read."  — Anne Parent, author/reviewer

About the Author

A writer all her adult life, Virginia McCullough has had the opportunity to write the stories of her heart in her novels, including Girl in the Spotlight, the first book in her Two Moon Bay series for Harlequin Heartwarming. (Book 2 is scheduled for release in January 2018). Her award-winning romance and women’s fiction titles include The Jacks of Her Heart, Amber Light, Greta’s Grace, The Chapels on the Hill, and Island Healing.

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

Tour Giveaway

1st Prize (US only): Tea & Contemplation, a collection of favorite things, starts with an uplifting message from “Seize the Day” Pop Open Cards. Fill a ceramic thermal mug to sip Lavender Chamomile Tea while you contemplate your ideas and dreams. Write your thoughts in a journal, whose guiding words are: When Your Heart Speaks... take good notes! A Wish pen is included. Finally, pick a place to display a large piece of gemmy rose quartz, a stone long linked to matters of the heart. It’s said when rose quartz is nearby, love (of all kinds) comes along to keep it company. These items will be arranged in a “keeper box” and delivered to your door.

2nd Prize (open internationally): You will receive a $35.00 Amazon eGift Card, and a digital copy of GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT, plus one digital copy of another of Virginia’s five award-winning novels—it’s your choice.

Ends June 16th

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Man She Knew: a Romance Novel with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
The Man She Knew
By Loree Lough

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below...

Launch - Note from the Author

Researching this novel was different from any other I’ve written, because Ian Sylvestry is my first ex-convict hero! A very troubled teen, Ian got involved with some bad dudes, and didn’t realize just how bad they were until, one rainy night, he goes along with them as they commit a felony. He had plenty of time to think about his unwise, immature choices while he served ten years for the crime. Plenty of time to think about all the people his imprudent decision had hurt. Upon his release, he works tirelessly to become a respectable citizen, and earns the respect of family and friends. But is it too late to win back the heart of Maleah Turner, the love of his life…?

Rockin' Book Reviws - Review

"The story is a very good one. The characters were portrayed well, the scenes easily visualized from familiarity, and had a steady smooth flow throughout most of the book. A few real social problems are addressed. It is also a story of strong family relationships and support, and of dysfunctional homes. It is often uplifting and has a few twists which adds to the drams. I truly enjoyed the quite predictable tale."

deal sharing aunt - Interview

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

For The Man She Knew, I learned that everyone, no matter what terrible thing is in their past, deserves a second chance. I also learned a whole lot about life in prison, and what it’s like to return to a society that flat-out doesn’t trust you. Those who succeed in life after serving a prison term are to be commended, because my research and interviews proved…it ain’t easy!

Booklove - Review

"Amazing, beautiful and captivating with strong and lovely characters and a flowing and engaging plot. I loved it and would recommend it to everyone."

Beck Valley Books - Excerpt

Those final moments in the courthouse were as vivid now as they had been that dreary morning: Ian, looking like a terrified boy as one guard slammed the prison van’s side door and another put the vehicle into gear. He’d raised a hand to wave goodbye, but the chain connecting handcuffs to leg irons stopped him. Tears filled his eyes, and unable to watch, she’d closed her own. By the time she opened them again, the driver had already made the first turn onto Lombard Street and started the hour-long trip Lincolnwood Correctional of Central Maryland…

Hearts & Scribbles - Character Descriptions

Ian Sylvestry:

Mid-30s, 6’2”, 190 lbs.; green eyes, dark hair (ponytail), diamond stud in left earlobe, tattoos; former convict, now owns a popular bistro in historic Fells Point.

Janice's Book Review - Review

"Loved that beside that he owed and ran a restaurant that he also did search and rescue with his dog. Love the families on both sides and closeness. I definitely recommend this book."

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Introduction to the Series

“By Way of the Lighthouse” features heroes and heroines separated by hurt, anger, and disagreements.

Falling Leaves - Excerpt

Was this it then? The end?

When they tell her I’m gone, will she cry?

Ian hoped not. He’d only seen her cry once, on the day the carted him off to Lincoln.

Most awful thing ever…

Because he’d caused her tears, and it shamed him, even now.

If the powers that be decided to give him one more chance, he’d make things right.

Somehow, I’ll make things right…

Brooke Blogs - Character Interviews

Interview with Ian Sylvestry:

Q: So Ian, tell us what led up to your arrest…
A: I was a dumb kid with a big chip on my shoulder. After my mother ran off to England with another guy, my dad turned to alcohol to hide from what she’d done to us, leaving me to pretty much raise myself.

Q: And that’s how you got involved with what you’ve referred to as “some bad dudes”?
A: It makes no sense to me now, but back then, they were like brothers, there for me no matter what.

Reading Is My SuperPower - Review

"There are a lot of things going on in The Man She Knew – and it all combines to make a great read! An inspiring story of second chances, forgiveness and family, this novel more than lives up to its ‘heartwarming’ brand. It never gets sappy, though, or saccharine; instead, Lough has given us warm characters, a compelling plot, and a tender romance."

Cinnamon Cindy's Book Blog - Excerpt

It had been a mistake, asking Andy to drop him this far from her grandparents’ drive. Walking on flat ground had been a challenge with crutches, and then the cane. He took his time, but tromping through deep snow made him wince with every step. If you put yourself in the hospital, you’ll only have yourself to—

Becky on Books - Interview

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

For some reason, I kept hearing stories about how difficult it is for the newly released—men and women—to return to normal lives. From reuniting with family to finding a job, they meet obstacles of every variety. Now, I’m no Pollyanna…I realize some of these people are hardened criminals that will return to their old ways and probably end up right back in prison. But some of them honestly want to leave that life behind, and do everything in their power to start fresh and stay on the right path. So I wrote a story featuring a guy like that, who made a stupid mistake—and paid for it—and wanted little more of life when he left prison bars behind than to prove himself a changed man.

Christian Suspense Author Mary Alford - Review

"This is a heartwarming story of love overcoming all obstacles. I thoroughly enjoyed the romance and the characters that Ms. Lough created in this epic story and I can’t wait to read what she has in store for us next."

It's All About the Romance - The Setting

All stories in the “By Way of the Lighthouse” series are set in and around Baltimore, and feature the quaint, picturesque, and historic streets, shops, and homes.

Bookworm Lisa - Review

"This book dealt with some real emotional issues. I was impressed the Loree Lough took a tough subject matter and turned it into a positive. There are so many psychological issues that had to be overcome for this book to succeed. I felt that it was done well.

If you like books about second chances, success in spite of obstacles, family loyalty, and honor, this may be a book for you to dive into."

Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

He’d forgotten how good, how right she felt in his arms. If she kept looking up at him that way he’d kiss her, long and hard and…

Ian cleared his throat. “You look pretty good in an evening gown.”

“And you look pretty good in a tux.”

“Good thing it didn’t snow, like Marty Bass said it would.”

“In his defense, he said might.”

“So he did…”

“But you’re right. If it had snowed, I’d break my neck in these shoes.”

Nicole's Book Musings - The Song that Changed Everything

On the night of the big charity ball, Ian and Maleah shared a dance. Just one dance. But it was enough to remind them both how perfect their young love had been…

Getting Your Read On - Review

"The whole premise of the book is such an interesting one and I was caught up in Ian's struggle. There is just something about a story of second chances, especially one in the extreme like this one. It wasn't just a second chance at love but a second chance at life."

Thoughts of a Blonde - Review

"Redemption, turmoil and undying love are brought to life in Loree Lough’s latest release! We meet Ian, a tarnished man who has gone to great lengths to turn his life around and is such a joy to grow to adore throughout the book. The heroine however, is not easy to love. She’s a kind and generous soul to everyone else, but to him, she’s self-righteous and hurtful. In the end, we have to find forgiveness in our heart as well as we make our way through the story towards that happily-ever-after..."

underneath the covers - Excerpt

He missed hearing her sweet-yet-sultry voice. Missed those big glittery blue eyes, too. Once, that cheery smile had the power to light every dark corner of his life and make him forget that his mother had chosen another man over him and his dad.

Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader - Review

"This book has every thing you could want from a clean contemporary romance. You have heartache, love, laughter, and of course the Happily Ever After. If you looking for something to just make you feel good while your reading it and keep a smile on your face this book is perfect for you."

And don't forget to enter the giveaway below...

The Man She Knew
(By Way of the Lighthouse, #1)
by Loree Lough
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
June 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Don't they both deserve a second chance?

Fourteen years ago, one reckless act cost Ian Sylvestry everything, including the girl he planned to marry. Since then, he has fought hard to turn his life around. Returning to his Baltimore town after serving a prison term was the first step. Winning back Maleah Turner's trust is a far more daunting challenge. From their first sparks-flying reunion, it's obvious they still have powerful feelings for each other. In fact, they might be even stronger together now. But if their second chance is going to work, Maleah has to believe that Ian is a changed man. She really wants to believe…but she simply isn't convinced.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

About the Author

Bestselling author LOREE LOUGH once sang for her supper, performing across the U.S. and Canada. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two, but mostly, she writes novels that have earned hundreds of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards, 4- and 5-star reviews, and 7 book-to-movie options. The Man She Knew, #1 in her “By Way of the Lighthouse” series, her 3rd for Harlequin Heartwarming, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and

Tour Giveaway

- Two winners will receive a $10 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
- Two winners will receive an ebook of THE MAN SHE KNEW (open internationally)
- Two winners will receive a print copy of THE MAN SHE KNEW (US only)
- Ends June 13th

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