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Book Review

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester

A Facebook friend of mine (another book blogger) asked the question, “What have you read this summer that made you laugh?”. There is not a whole lot of laughter in vampires, demons, and serial killers (sometimes I wonder what other people would think if they could see into my brain). Then came this book about a reindeer gearing up for the ultimate endurance test. Decked out in his crazy hat made by his grandfather (nice switch on stereotypes), he has to ignore his bullies and focus on his dream- to fly with Santa. Well, this book made me laugh. The author does a fantastic job setting the scene for this book and describing these characters I saw as real people. This is one of those kiddie lit books that may do better for adults than kids because of the warm fuzzies we all need and don’t get enough of in our adult lives. I read this to my daughters (8 & 11) and they loved it too.

 

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license and becoming one of Santa’s reindeer, just like his hero, Vixen.

In the first adventure in the Ronaldo series, the second year flying cadets face their toughest ever flying test – The Endurance Challenge. Will Ronaldo be victorious and lift the silver cup? Or will mean brothers Dasher, Comet and Prancer ruin his chance for success?

 

Maxine Sylvester was born in London, England. She grew up with a passion for Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear. She also loved anything Disney and enjoyed drawing the characters.
Maxine’s love of ‘fun’ art grew and she had the privilege of being mentored by cartoonist and caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. She completed further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist and illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.
She is currently working on Rudi’s Birthday, the third in the Ronaldo series, due for release in 2017.

 

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Life’s Gateway to Happiness, The Show Me Series: Book Two by Anne Stone

For me, any story that forces you to turn the next page and drives you to the end to see how it ends up is a good one. This book does just that. It was a smooth sailing kind of love story that lulls you away from you predictable life. (I read this one a road trip, and after awhile, all the trees look alike). The author does an excellent job of slowly developing this story, so the reader feels invested in the characters and the plot line. The male love interest was certainly an incredible Knight in shining armor and a strong foil for the female lead. This is book two in the series. I have not read book one, but I feel like this one certainly serves well as a stand alone. There was nothing I didn’t understand because I had not read the first one. I did have a couple of issues with this book. The male dialog seems a little too strained. I do not know many men who talk in long paragraphs. So for me, it felt like a woman trying to talk like a man. I also think the author repeated a lot of details making the story a little longer than it needed to be. However, those two issues did not take away from the story, and I enjoyed the book. This is an author I would like to read more from especially on a cold night when all I want to do is cozy up and enjoy a fire.

 

Kelly Samuels is dedicated to her career and has received several promotions in her short tenure at Lattice Works. Kelly’s family is shocked when she returns home unemployed and without an explanation.

Alec Alvarez, a pediatrician from a family full of doctors, is focused solely on his career. He’s declared his bachelor status for life and has no desire for love, marriage, or babies. When Alec finds Kelly stuck on the side of a snowy road, neither of them are prepared for the feelings they begin to have for one another.

As Kelly and Alec grow closer, he wants to know why the once happy-go-lucky Kelly is hesitant to his touch, while Kelly just wants to find purpose to her life again. After Kelly tells two conflicting stories as to why she lost her job, Alec steps in to discover what truly happened. Can Kelly come to terms with what happened to her and move on with her life? And can Alec love enough to give-up his bachelorhood status for good?

Life’s Gateway to Happiness is the second book in Anne Stone’s The Show Me series.

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Anne Stone was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. but now lives in the cold state of Wisconsin with her faithful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She writes heartfelt sweet contemporary romance and is the author of the Show Me and Williams & Company series. She loves to tell a story and that’s what you’ll definitely get in an Anne Stone novel.

Anne’s degree is in education but has worked in the corporate sector managing a large number of staff. Now, she works from home where part of her day is still spent in the corporate world and the other part is dreaming of her heroes and heroines.

Anne loves to share giveaways and free books through her newsletters. Sign-up here to learn more about her new releases: http://eepurl.com/bU-KFj. Learn more about Anne by visiting www.AnneStoneAuthor.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Remedial Rocket Science: A Romantic Comedy Susannah Nix

I think this die-hard fantasy nerd is falling in love with romance books, especially romantic comedies. This book is a good example of why. It was a lot of fun to read. I like, Melody, the main character because I have walked in her shoes so many times and if I haven’t I have friends who have. She was such a real character. The author created the plot and all the dialog so it was easy to get into her mind and laugh when she laughed and cry when she cried. All the supporting characters were just as strong and well-developed. We get to see not only the male love interest grow throughout the story, but also a few of the minor characters as they work to accomplish their goals.

I enjoyed the way the author incorporated pop culture references. It added a sense of comfort because I totally knew what she was talking about. I also liked a female lead who came from the science world which is typically not a female domain. The author did a good job reminding us of the lead’s computer background without making any of her descriptions too difficult to understand.

Since it is a romantic comedy there is a lot of predictability. However, I never felt like the story lagged and I just had to finish reading it so I could see how it ended. It was a fun to read and gave me all the feels of a good rom-com. It’s a great nod to the genre.

 

~ ◘ ~ ◘ ~ ◘ ~ BOOK SPOTLIGHT ~ ◘ ~ ◘ ~ ◘ ~
Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix
BUY NOW – http://amzn.to/2x4Dcoy
Hosted by Itsy Bitsy Book Bits
Rocket science is no problem. Falling in love, on the other hand…
College student Melody Gage is craving a night of no-strings fun when she meets charming out-of-towner Jeremy, and that’s exactly what she gets. Until three years later, when Melody relocates to Los Angeles and finds herself thrust back into Jeremy’s orbit.
Not only does her hunky one-night stand work at the same aerospace company where she’s just started her dream job, he’s the CEO’s son. Jeremy’s got a girlfriend and a reputation as a bad boy, so Melody resolves to keep her distance. Despite her good intentions, a series of awkward circumstances—including an embarrassing crying jag, a latte vs. computer catastrophe, and an emergency fake date—throw her together with the heavenly-smelling paragon of hotness.
As the billionaire playboy and nerdy IT girl forge an unlikely friendship, Melody’s attraction to Jeremy grows deeper than she’s ready to admit. How much will she risk for a shot at her happy ending?
The debut novel from author Susannah Nix, Remedial Rocket Science follows in the tradition of contemporary romantic comedy favorites like Penny Reid, Sally Thorne, and Jennifer Crusie. This lighthearted second-chance romance is the first in a series of standalone romcoms featuring geeky heroines who work in STEM fields.

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Susannah Nix lives in Texas with her husband, two ornery cats, and a flatulent pit bull. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, knitting, watching stupid amounts of television, and getting distracted by Tumblr. She is also a powerlifter who can deadlift as much as Captain America weighs.

 

 

 

 

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Gone with the Dead edited by Lori Perkins

I am not a huge Gone With the Wind fan (please don’t throw rocks), but I am in love with the antebellum south. And if you read many of my reviews, you know I love a good paranormal story line. So this anthology of short stories truly felt like a good fit for me. I enjoy reading anthologies because I get introduced to several authors at one time. There was not one author in this group that I had heard about before reading this. Now I’m in love with each one of them and added several to my TBR.

Not everyone likes short stories, but I love them. I honestly think they are harder to write because there is limited space to tell the story. Each one of these authors did a fantastic job of creating powerful stories that started with a bang and ended with an even bigger bang. The plots moved fast, the characters were well-developed, and the stories felt original. It’s hard to say which were my favorites. There was only one I could not finish and that was no because it was written badly. In fact, it was written so well it gave me the willies. It was about bugs and I hated bugs. If a gun was held to my head and I had to pick two, I would pick “A Piece of Him” and “A Ferocious Blossom”.  But trust me when I say all these stories were good. It would be fun to read some of these for a Halloween book club.

 

Gone with the Dead
An Anthology of Romance and Horror where Gone with the Wind meets The Walking Dead!
When a convention of more than 4,000 romance writers and readers descends upon Atlanta Georgia, it can only mean one thing…a mash-up of two of the finest Georgia traditions.
Erotic romance anthologist Lori Perkins has brought together 16 tales of Southern love and death in this unique short story collection.
Stories By
Christina and the Virus by Sarah Bale – A Dead Man is Hard to Find by Ellay Branton – A Piece of Him by R. L. Merrill – A Happy Medium by Freddie Milano – Bait by Isabelle Drake – Bloody Line by Carolyn Haven – Devil’s in the Well by Harley Easton – A Ferocious Blossom by Marie Piper – Kissing Summer by Megan Hart – If I Only Knew By Genevieve Williams – Animals by Sue Ayers – Dogs of War by Andrew Robertson – The Music Man by Kimberlie L. Faye – Fallen by Xio Axelrod – Leftovers by Cassandra Chandler – Here for You by Kate L. Mary

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**I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This post originally posted here.

Greatshadow by James Maxey

About the Audiobook

Author: James Maxey

Narrator: Jake Urry

Length: 13 hours 20 minutes

Publisher: James Maxey⎮2017

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Series: Dragon Apocalypse, Book One

Release date: May 29, 2017

 

Complicated plot lines always intrigue me because it challenges my brain to remember everything. And when done right, it’s awesome. The story line for this book was done right. It was an intense action pack story about dragons and warriors. Right now, I’m on a dragon kick, so this book came along at the right time. The author’s world building is well-developed and it was easy to see the story unfold as if I was watching a movie. I think listening to the story helped with that because the narrator gave the story and even more intense level. I enjoyed the characters and the narrator did an outstanding job making each one of them unique. I was not expecting some of the twists this author wrote since my first impression was this book was going to lean heavily on testosterone. The female lead was just as strong and I am always very impressed when a male narrator does a great job with a female character. Overall the marriage of this story and the audiobook worked well and I still think about it even though it’s been weeks since I finished it. Books like this continue to challenge my writing ability and inspire me to be a better writer.

 

Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim.
The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow’s vast treasure trove. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?

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About the Author: James Maxey

James Maxey’s mother warned him if he read too many comic books, they would warp his mind. She was right. Now an adult who can’t stop daydreaming, James is unsuited for decent work and ekes out a pittance writing down demented fantasies about masked women, fiery dragons, and monkeys. Oh god, so many monkeys.

In an effort to figure out how Superman could fly, James read a lot of science, books by Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould and Stephen Hawking. Turns out, Superman probably wasn’t based on any factual information. Who would have guessed? Realizing it was possible to write science fiction without being constrained by the actual rules of science proved liberating for James, and led to the psuedo-science fiction of the Bitterwood series, superhero novels like Nobody Gets the Girl, and the steam-punk visions of Bad Wizard.

In 2015, James was honored as the Piedmont Laureate by the United Arts Councils representing Orange County, Durham County, and Wake County. This is almost certainly a sign of the ongoing cultural decay gripping the nation.

James lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his lovely and patient wife Cheryl and too many cats.

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About the Narrator: Jake Urry

Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 17 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl, and the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen. His narration work is often dark and suspenseful, and he developing a reputation for Mysteries, Thrillers and Horrors. In 2017 Jake will be working on more work by John Nicholl and Richard Storry, along with a sprinkling of Fantasy adventures.

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**I received a free audio copy of this book in exchange for a review**

Torment (Damned book 4) by L.M. Pruitt

Starting a series in the middle is always a risk. It must be hard for authors to balance continuing the story for devoted fans while also creating a book that could attack new readers. I think the author of this book did a good job of both. This is book four of the Damned series. I will admit, there were times when I was a little confused as to what was going one, but Pruitt did a good job of filling in the gaps of the story line. I like the fast speed of the plot kept me entertained and I pretty much ignored everyone until I made it to the end. I just wanted to see what would happen next. I like the idea behind this story and I do not know of another story that creates demon characters as anti-heroes. I believe, if I had started this book from the beginning I would have a closer connection to the characters and the premise of the story.

 

 

The international bestselling series continues…
Enemies are so stimulating.
–Katherine Hepburn
If you can look past the part where they’re trying to kill you.
The Damned want my head on a platter. The Winged have similar plans.
As for Morning Star and the Power… well, only They know.
One false step… and everything is lost.
CONTAINS SCENES OF GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND SEXUAL ACTIVITY. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

 

L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. She is the author of the Winged series, the Jude Magdalyn series, the Moon Rising series, Taken: A Frankie Post Novel, and Pearls. Ms. Pruitt is currently at work on INSTRUCTION, a new adult romantica releasing in August.

 

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The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker

 

This book started out a lot like a typical damaged-detective-must-solve-the-crime-and-the-serial-killer-wants-to-play book. For me, that’s ok because I really like that genre. So I was already hooked from the very beginning.  However, the added twist that this author includes slammed me upside the head and I could not get this book read fast enough. (It will be hard to finish this review without giving spoilers, but I’ll try.)

The author tells a parallel story of the lead detective and the serial killer by including a diary written by the killer. In this diary, he shares a snippet of his life, and man, what a snippet. A series of events over a few days set this guy off on his quest for revenge in a most gruesome manner. I understand that most serial killers have deranged childhoods, but this guy lives in a family that is nothing like I have ever known. The chapters from “The Diary” and very detailed and intense. It was easy for me to see this story taking place as if I was watching a movie. The action of both stories is fast-paced and almost a little too much and the ending totally surprised me and I’m pretty good at figuring out stories.

I do want to warn any would-be reader this book contains graphic violence and sex.  However, it is done to further the story and explain the insights of the character rather than sensationalize the story.

 

Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, “A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”

For five long years, the elusive Four Monkey Killer has terrorized his victims and sent Detective Sam Porter chasing lead after lead.

When one last clue surfaces, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding 4MK’s latest victim, before it’s too late . . .

 

 

J.D. Barker is the internationally best-selling author of FORSAKEN, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His work has been compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. His latest novel, THE FOURTH MONKEY, released in June 2017. His third novel, THE FIFTH TO DIE, releases June 2018. He has been asked by the Stoker family to coauthor the forthcoming prequel to DRACULA due out in fall 2018. His novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, and their two dogs, both of whom sit outside his office door daily, eagerly awaiting his next novel.

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Under the Parisian Sky by Alli Sinclair

**This post was originally posted on July 25**

 

One of my favorite parts of book blogging is interacting with the authors. I have a small amount of awe for all the authors I’ve reviewed. The ones that have been my favorite are the ones who put a little of themselves into the books they write. I haven’t met Alli, but after reading this book, I feel like I have. As I read this book, it was obvious how much heart and soul went into creating this love story.

The first part that impressed me was the dual pov. Telling one story well is hard, and telling two stories well is almost impossible. Sinclair does a fantastic job telling and connecting both stories. I enjoyed reading about Viktoriya and learning about the history of the time period. Sinclair did a good job showing us what life was like without any major info dumps that sound more like a history class than a novel. I enjoyed the interplay between Lily and Yves. I felt their connection and passion. The storyline about Lily and her sister was very realistic and it wasn’t until almost the reveal moment that I figured out the twist in their story (sorry no spoilers here- read the book to see what I mean).

The plot pushed me forward to the end. This was one of those “just one more chapters” kind of books. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

 

In the City of Light, one dancer must confront her fears about love and loss before she can step into a brighter future . . .
Lily Johannson has returned to Paris, the city that broke her heart and destroyed her ballet career, with two goals in mind: to overcome the grief surrounding her fiancé’s death, and to make amends with her estranged sister, Natalie, also a ballerina. But when Lily meets charming composer Yves Rousseau, he is convinced she has a third mission—as his muse . . .
Struggling to finish a score about an infamous Ballets Russes dancer from 1917, Yves believes Lily is meant to help him. Despite her resistance, she is swept once more into the exhilarating arms of the dance—and into Yves’ passionate embrace. But when her sister is cast as the infamous dancer and begins to imitate her tragic life, she soon goes missing. Now Lily and Yves must set out to find her—and along the way face their own demons, while also discovering that art, like love, should not be abandoned so easily . . .

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Alli Sinclair is a multi award-winning author who spent her early adult years traveling the globe, intent on becoming an Indiana Jones in heels. She scaled mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafted the Ganges, and rode a camel in the Sahara. Argentina and Peru became her home for a few years and when she wasn’t working as a mountain or tour guide, Alli could be found in the dance halls dancing the tango, salsa, merengue, and samba.

All of these adventures made for fun storytelling and this is when she discovered her love of writing. Alli’s stories capture the romance and thrill of exploring new destinations and cultures that also take readers on a journey of discovery.

Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading amongst young people.

To find out more about Alli, please visit www.allisinclair.com

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The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

There are times when the stars align and the right book at the right time falls into my hands. That is what happened with this book. I have honestly seen this plot in other books with some tweaks, but I have not enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed this book. Also, the idea of a woman learning to stand on her own and overcome some huge obstacles is always something that moves me. I think the reason this book struck such a nerve is that the author created characters that felt real, especially the main character. It was easy to walk in Nina’s shoes as she dealt with the death of her husband, learned of the big lie he told, and relocated her sons. The dialog between her and Tiggy, her sister, was so indicative of what sisters would say in real life. The story never lagged and went pretty fast. There were times when I felt tears forming and times when I cheered.  Maybe my connection to this book stems from the similarities I have with the main character. She had two boys- I have two girls. She grew up in poverty- I grew up in poverty. She married a higher social class- I married a higher social class. I will absolutely talk this book over with other readers.

 

 

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

 

 

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author who has published sixteen novels in dozens of languages. Her recent chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’ and ‘My Husband’s Wife’ have sold millions of copies around the world.

Other novels by Amanda Prowse include ‘A Mother’s Story’ which won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award and ‘Perfect Daughter’ that was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016. Amanda’s latest book ‘The Food of Love’ went straight to No.1 in Literary Fiction when it was launched in the USA and she has been described by the Daily Mail as ‘The Queen of Drama’ for her ability to make the reader feel as if they were actually in the story.
Now published by Lake Union, Amanda Prowse is the most prolific writer of contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also score the highest online review approval ratings for several genres.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda Prowse is a regular panellist on the Channel 5 show ‘The Wright Stuff’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She makes countless guest appearances on BBC and independent Radio stations where she is well known for her insightful observations of human nature and her infectious observational humour.
Become friends with Amanda on Facebook: AmandaProwseAuthor and follow her on Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse or Instagram: MrsAmandaProwse. For more information on her books, lifestyle and inspirational advice see www.amandaprowse.com
Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

Praise for Amanda Prowse…
‘A powerful and emotional work of fiction’ – Piers Morgan
‘Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Prowse handles her explosive subjects with delicate skill’ – Daily Mail
‘Uplifting and positive, but you will still need a box of tissues’ – Hello!
‘A gut-wrenching and absolutely brilliant read’ – The Irish Sun
‘You’ll fall in love with this…’ – Cosmopolitan
‘Deeply moving and eye opening. Powerful and emotional drama that packs a real punch.’ – Heat
‘Magical’ – Now magazine

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**I recieved a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review**

10 Step Self-Publishing Boot Camp: The Survival Guide for Launching Your First Novel by S.K. Quinn

 

I read this book based on a recommendation from one of the Facebook groups I belong to, and before you ask- no I don’t remember which one. I’ve read a few other how-to books, but this one has been one of the best so far. Her casual style made me comfortable and I felt like we were talking over drinks. She was never condescending and I did not feel like she was bragging. I like that she talked about her personal stories, but she also included success stories from other people. I learned a ton in the couple of hours it took me to read this.

 

 

 

Launch Your Author Career!
Do you want to make a living with your books?
Do you see self-published authors succeeding and want to join them but are unsure how?
This 10 Step Boot Camp gives you everything you need to conquer your fears, target the market, and launch your first novel… and your career.
Veteran indie author Susan Kaye Quinn walks you step-by-step through the process, start to finish.
In BOOT CAMP, you will find:
• How to decide when to make the leap into self-publishing
• How to make a gorgeous cover, write a killer blurb, and select the right categories for your book… all the things you need to publish a book that will sell
• How to launch your novel, plus examples of successful book launches
• How to build your fanbase and market in a way that will get your book in front of the people who want to buy it
BOOT CAMP will start you on the career you really want. The one where your words will surprise and delight readers around the world.
BOOT CAMP will give you the insider tips and marketing tools that really work.
BOOT CAMP is the essential guide you need to start your author career.
Get started on your journey today!

 

GET A FREE QUICK START GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING: http://smarturl.it/FLOMsubscribe

S.K. Quinn is a veteran indie author who’s published over 30 novels under Susan Kaye Quinn and another penname. She has been making a living with her fiction since 2011, and she wants you to live out your dreams as well. She’s a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German and French, and featured in several anthologies.

Join 2,500+ other indie authors in SKQ’s For Love or Money group on Facebook:
http://smarturl.it/FLOMgroup

 

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