Thursday, July 30, 2015

HEA Book Tours Presents: Something Like Normal Series by Monica James

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now Available from Limitless Publishing...

- One-click all 3 books today -
Book 1: Something Like Normal:
Book 2: Something Like Redemption:
Book 3: Something Like Love:

Author: Monica James
Series: Something Like Normal #1
Mia Lee has a secret… 

A secret she’s kept hidden since she was eight years old, however, Mia will no longer allow that secret to define her. 

An irrevocable decision has left Mia Lee a fugitive and on the run—a circumstance that should leave her weak and scared, yet Mia has never felt so alive. 

Under the pseudonym of Paige Cassidy, Mia is ready to live the life she’s never had, and she’s determined not to allow her tainted past dictate her promising future. 

Paige is on a Greyhound bus heading from L.A. to South Boston, Virginia, to start a new life. 

A life that includes finding her mother, who abandoned her at age three. But what she finds, is four people, who will change her life forever. 

Yet no one can outrun their past… 

Especially one filled with bitter memories, which refuse to remain hidden.

•••• PURCHASE •••• 

Author: Monica James
Series: Something Like Normal #2
Some secrets are best left untold... 

Mia Lee escaped to the sleepy little town of South Boston, Virginia with the intent to be normal, and to find a place she could call home. 

Sadly for Mia, her past has come back with a vengeance, and forced her to flee yet again. 

This time, however, she’s not alone… 

Mia and Quinn are on the run, fleeing for their lives, while attempting to prove their innocence for a crime they did not commit. 

But with a tainted past like Mia’s, it was inevitable that one day, it was going to catch up to her in a way she never fathomed. 

One ill-fated decision leads to an explosion of unimaginable events, and now Mia and Quinn are not only running for their lives, but also, for their redemption.

•••• PURCHASE •••• 

Author: Monica James
Series: Something Like Normal #3
The secret’s out... 

Fate has never been kind to Mia Lee, but her misfortune has driven her to seek redemption from a past filled with regret. 

Mia’s future depends on uncovering her past, but sadly, the answers lay with her mother, a mother who abandoned Mia when she was only a child. 

Now that Mia has finally found her kin, she’s determined to get the answers she so desperately seeks. 

But those answers come with a price… 

Mia’s blossoming relationship with Quinn Berkeley is the sole reason she carries on. But Quinn has a secret of his own. Will his secret destroy the one stable foundation in Mia’s life? And more importantly, what will Quinn’s secret do to him once he confesses the sins of his past? 

Life for Mia and Quinn is about to explode in a way she never thought possible…

•••• PURCHASE •••• 

•••• GIVEAWAY ••••
Enter for a chance to win a PAPERBACK COPY of ONE of the books in the SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL SERIES by Monica James! There are TWO ways you can enter!


Monica James

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson.

When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two.

She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers, and her inspiration comes from every day life. She is an Amazon best selling author in both the US and UK.

Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals.

She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Monday, July 27, 2015

HEA Book Tours Presents Wanton With A Vampire by Cassandra Lawson

Genre: Paranormal Romance
For more than two-hundred years, Aleksandr Draksel has avoided commitment of any kind. His life of travel and meaningless affairs was all he needed. That is until he met Trish Williams, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. She is also the one woman he cannot have. When Trish’s life takes a deadly turn, and she becomes the target of a killer, Alek finds himself in the strange position of protector. He is determined to do whatever it takes to keep her safe and resist the urge to seduce her.

From the moment she met Alek, Trish has been irritated, flustered, and aroused. Despite her attraction, a future with him was impossible because he could never have more than a short fling with a normal human. Unlike her friends, Trish has no psychic abilities- or so she thought. One broken shoe changes everything. Now, she is determined to live life to the fullest. She is also determined to seduce Aleksandr Draksel.



Trish looked up and touched the side of his cheek. “Will you sleep with me, Alek?”

Sucking in a sharp breath, Alek was instantly hard. “That would be a really bad idea.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Why?” he sputtered. “I don’t know where to begin with the reasons why this is a bad idea.”

“Listen, Alek, I haven’t had much experience,” Trish admitted. “That time with you was the only time I’ve ever climaxed with a partner.”

Alek opened his mouth, but all that came out was a strange gurgling sound.

The woman actually laughed at him. “You look ridiculous. Is this all it would have taken to get you to back off a month ago? Are you one of those guys who only want a woman who’s a challenge?”

“I prefer women who aren’t a challenge,” he admitted. “You’re an exception. That has nothing to do with the reason I think this is a bad idea. I’m not going to take advantage of you when you’re recovering from a serious injury. You’ve had some terrible shocks in the last couple of days.”

“Believe it or not, I’m just asking you to sleep,” she said. “I’m freaked out and emotional. I watched my father die today, and I don’t want to be alone.”

Alek was more than a little embarrassed about his assumption. “Of course. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You were thinking you’re an attractive man who has women throw themselves at him all the time. Bet not a lot of women invite you to their bed for reasons other than sex.”

“True, but I should have known you weren’t planning to seduce me.”

“I wouldn’t even know where to start,” she admitted. “Seduction isn’t something I have a lot of experience with.”

“You were doing fine when you told me I’m the only man you’d ever climaxed with,” he confessed. “That got me thinking about all sorts of other ways I want to make you climax.”

The shy smile she gave him made him even harder, something she must have noticed while sitting on his lap. “Good, because I do plan to seduce you, just not tonight.”

- Psy-Vamp Series -

Cassandra Lawson
Cassandra Lawson is an author and homeschooling mother of three from the San Francisco Bay area. She has always had a very active imagination and loves making up stories. When she is not writing, she enjoys baking, spending time with her family, listening to music, or curling up with a good book.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Review: Cinderella’s Enchanted Night by Amber Daulton

Title: Cinderella's Enchanted Night
Author: Amber Daulton
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
Purchase Link: AMAZON


Annalise Gallagher wanted Elijah Burleigh. Plain and simple. She’d watched him from afar for months, her friends called her ‘his own personal stalker’, and then she made a wish on a magic pendant for a full-body makeover. Transformed into the gorgeous knockout she’d always wanted to be, she asked Elijah out on a date and wore a haute couture gown straight from Paris to his friend’s wedding.
With just twenty-four hours on the clock, her enchanted night faded into the morning hours and everything crashed down around her. Annalise harbored a shameful secret and Elijah demanded the truth with the veil of magic gone.
The truth, however, could destroy her fragile confidence and push him away forever.


This is the third or fourth book that I have read of Ms Daulton's and I have to say I can really see an improvement in her writing style.

When she asked me to review her novella I happily said yes. I've always found her stories easy to follow and easy to give you a smile.

This time her story did more than just make me smile, it made me really like the characters.

Novella's are hard because you have a short amount of time to cram a lot of emotion into the pages.

Amber did a really good job of that in this novella. Better than the other books I had read in the past.

I was very glad that I agreed to review this book because it was a delightful little read.

4 stars to the light and sweet novella romance!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

HEA Book Tours Presents: Rarity by DA Roach

Author: D.A. ROACH
Genre: YA Romance
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Brogen Mathers can’t deal with teen drama…

As an empath, she is constantly bombarded with other people’s energies. Despite coping techniques taught by her psychologist mother, it’s often too much to bear, forcing her to avoid most activities a typical high school junior would enjoy.

Jay Wilken won’t let his past define him…

A dead mother and an alcoholic father brought Jay to Stanton, but he doesn’t want pity. His good looks, charisma, and friendly nature quickly win over the whole student body, but he has his eye on one girl…Brogen.

Brogen can’t believe anyone could be so genuinely nice. It has to be an act, right? But when Jay literally saves her from deadly jaws, she has to admit he’s exactly what he appears, and he’s worth risking the potential emotional upheaval.

“Drama” might as well be Becca Grant’s middle name…

Another newcomer to Stanton, Becca’s blonde beauty and abundant attitude shoots her straight to the top of the popularity charts—and she believes Jay belongs right there beside her. Accustomed to getting exactly what she wants, she launches a relentless mean-girl campaign to shake up Brogen and claim Jay for her own.

Everything changes with a devastating diagnosis…

When Jay learns he has a rare and potentially fatal disorder, he keeps it secret and begins to push Brogen away to spare her future pain—which is exactly the sort of opening Becca is waiting for.

As Jay’s well-meaning deception unravels,
Brogen realizes there is much more than her heart at stake…
But how far is she willing to go to fight for someone she loves?


 Things always looked different the next day. Skies seemed bluer, the grass was greener. The worries of yesterday were magically reduced to a manageable size, and brand new ideas and thoughts were born. Oddly enough, Mom’s words were like seeds planted in the night, now growing and blossoming inside me. Jay was very much alive. He was healthy, a bit fragile, but more alive than many kids my age who lived life mindlessly. If anything, this stupid disorder made him more alive. Made me more alive. I wanted to make memories with Jay— live each day to the fullest, laugh until my belly hurt, cry at sad movies with him, and watch the sunrise and the sunset whenever I could. Life was a gift, not to be taken for granted. It could be here one day and gone the next, or it could go on for a very long time.

Our eyes were locked on each other, and I was glad to see he seemed lighter. He took a step closer, closing the space between us so our bodies were touching each other. I felt my heartbeat quicken, and butterflies fluttered about my stomach. This was an intimate space, and he clearly entered it. The air between us changed, it was more electric. He put his hands on each side of my face, and then gently but possessively, he took my mouth against his. He kissed gently at first, and I felt my knees grow weak. His lips were soft, and his breath was hot. I let my mind go and became enveloped in the overwhelming love that Jay exuded. He urged my mouth open and our kiss became more intimate. I felt the heat rising in my cheeks and followed Jay’s lead. His hands trailed down my arms and wrapped around my torso. The kisses returned to gentle nibbles, and then to sweet pecks before he pulled away to look at me. All traces of sadness were gone from his face, from inside of me. There was light and love there instead. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time,” he said.


D.A. Roach has been telling stories since she was a young girl in the suburbs of Chicago. In college she met the man of her dreams, her happily ever after, and married him 2 weeks after graduating. They have 3 kids together and a pet cockatiel named Gimli. D.A. did not find a love for books until after college. Her parents were immigrants from Lithuania and found tv and radio easier ways to hear stories so they did not do much reading or encourage it. But once she finished college and D.A. had free time, she discovered how amazing it was to get lost in a story.

D.A. is a full time mom and wife. When she is not doing domestic things (laundry, bills, etc) she is writing, reading, creating mixed media art, and helping beautify her kids’ school landscape. Oh, and she is ALWAYS listening to music. Her favorite authors include Rebecca Donovan, Richelle Mead, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Meyer, E.L. James, and Sylvia Day. Reading great works from authors like these has motivated D.A. to write her own stories. She hopes to make positive changes in the world with her art and writing.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Review: No More Black Magic by A.L. Kessler

Title: No More Black Magic
Author: A. L. Kessler
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Purchase Link: AMAZON


Explosions, body parts, and black magic are all part of Abby Collins’ typical day. As the top Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent, she only gets the best cases, but when the Cult of Ra comes to play she might be in over her head. Finding a murderer while up against a hex, an overprotective coven, and a stubborn werewolf reminds her that nothing in the paranormal world is easy. As the death toll rises and a decades old crime, linked to Abby, is uncovered, disturbing information is brought to light. Abby must unlock an ancient language steeped in black magic to uncover the truth before the murderer comes for her.


Do you know that feeling when you have an author that writes a series that you totally love and they come up with something new and you're scared about not liking it? That's exactly the feeling I had when Ms Kessler told me about her new series. Of course I wanted to support her. I love her DWC series and when you love an author you support them.

So I got No More Black Magic.

I am happy to report that I was very much captivated by the first chapter with this novel. It had a very Kim Harrison feel with better character development.

The different players in this world each were easy to see in my mind as the story unfolded. I really enjoyed the drama and the push and pull of Abby and the PIB mixed in with the Vampire and Wolves.

A.L. did a fantastic job building a world from scratch and I really cannot wait for the next novel.

With all of the reviews I have been doing this year I really had begun to become burned out with indie novels because it seemed each one I had been given to review dragged on, wasn't edited or just wasn't captivating me. And then this gem popped up.

Thank god for Abby and her crazy and wild life!!

This was a 5 star wonder because a wonderful story like this deserves as many stars as I can give.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sage Blog Tours Presents: Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition by Justin Bog

Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition
By Justin Bog
Genre: Short Fiction/Psychological Literary Suspense

The Complete Edition of Justin Bog's First Collection of Dark Psychological Suspense Tales.

An award-winning collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories reveals twisted secrets that are mined like plutonium. These twelve literary tales are nothing short of an adventure through a roiling sea of emotion. With authenticity and eloquence, author Justin Bog holds a provocative and compelling mirror on the human condition.

"The stories are those of everyday people who might live next door or in the walk-up across the street . . . A man with a personal crisis takes a singles cruise – a woman leaves her toddler girl at the beach while having a romantic tryst – a B-list actor’s character is killed off – a girl is sucked below the sand into an underwater chamber . . . an old gardener who has dark secrets interacts with the bosses daughter in a most unforeseen way. The only commonality in these tight, little stories is they are unexpected. Having this book is like having a string of black pearls – each one slightly different, but each a perfect, dark, little gem . . . Bog paints pictures with words as Titian did with oil paints – startlingly detailed with deep perspective and rich complexity."

--Rosi Hollenbeck, San Francisco Book Review

Author Bio

Justin Bog lives in the Pacific Northwest on Fidalgo Island. Justin Bog was Pop Culture Correspondent and Editor for In Classic Style. He enjoys cooking, lawn mowing not so much, and spends time walking and handing out treats to two long coat German shepherds, Zippy and Kipling, and two barn cats, Ajax The Gray and Eartha Kitt’n.

Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition  on Amazon:

*The author will be selling two new stories separately in one bundle under the title: Speak the Word! as an eBook only for $1.99

Justin’s creative writing blog is here.
On Twitter @JustinBog
On Goodreads:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

HEA Book Tours Presents: False Finder by Mia Hoddell

FALSE FINDER by Mia Hoddell
★★ ON SALE for .99¢ ★★
*limited time*

✢✢✢ SYNOPSIS ✢✢✢
Cora has been able to detect lies since she was born, she’s…a False Finder. 

However when blackmail, betrayal, and lying are all the population has to protect themselves, it makes her dangerous. It also makes her a target. 

Because of Cora’s ability, Rogan Carvelli—London’s biggest criminal leader—has been trying to acquire her for years. 

Cora has learned to survive and remain undetected—at least until one careless mistake causes her friends to betray her. 

Sold to Carvelli, Cora is only left with the help of a secret organisation to escape. She knows nothing about them, but they have saved her too many times to ignore. 

However, the closer she gets, the clearer it becomes… 
Their motives are far from innocent.


✢✢✢ EXCERPT ✢✢✢
“In regards to your other question, yes there are more of us. I’m part of an organisation.”
Cora nodded but on the inside she was screaming. She just wanted all of the information laid out for her so she could decide what implications it would have on her life.
“An organisation that wants to do what?”
“We’re growing still. Every day we’re getting bigger and soon we will have enough people but we are missing one. We need you to complete our ranks,” he stated cryptically. He wasn’t even trying to answer Cora’s question.
“Hold up. Answer my questions first. What is this organisation?” Cora asked, irritated.
“We can help you.” Jed shrugged casually while taking a sip of his drink.
“I don’t need help. I’m doing quite well on my own thanks,” Cora muttered. She knew what was coming next.
“Really? Avoiding Carvelli numerous times because of tips we left you and then getting caught and having to escape? It sounds like you’re doing brilliantly.” Jed’s attitude shifted as he spoke with a sarcastic bite to his voice but his eyes danced playfully.
“Well I’ve lasted a long time without being caught.”
“With our help,” he responded quickly, while peering over the lip of his cup.
“Who are the ‘we’ you keep referring to?”
“Say you’ll help us and you’ll find out,”


Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything paranormal or romantic, and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning.

By the age of nineteen, Mia had published nine books, including the Elemental Killersseries and the Seasons of Change series. Since then, her books have charted on numerous Amazon Bestseller Lists, and she has also had poems published in a many anthologies. With an ever growing list of ideas, Mia continues to create fictional worlds through her writing, and is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them.

Limitless Publishing:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sage Blog Tours Presents: Making It by Amanda Gibbs

Making It
By Amanda Gibbs
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Poetry

Brief Description

Making It, Amanda Gibbs' debut short story, invites readers into the most intimate and personal moments of a couple's life spanning throughout decades. The story is told through prose, poetry, dialogue, lists, and focused vignettes, all with Amanda's signature concrete voice.  Each entry of Making It represents a day in a year of the couple's relationship, spanning from first meeting to 30th anniversary.

Auhor Bio: 

Amanda Gibbs is an eighteen-year-old student, photographer and actress from Toronto, Canada.  Writing since preschool with Crayola crayons, Amanda’s passion is writing stories that make the mundane beautiful, and the little moments in life profound.  Inspired by writers like Michael Faudet, Jamie McGuire, and Walt Whitman, Amanda loves experimenting with form, dialogue, and combining poetry and prose.  In her spare time, Amanda trains in mixed martial arts and takes care of her six dogs, as well as procrastinating schoolwork to write her next book.

Author website:

Author Amazon:

“How am I supposed to know when to say I love you?”
She passed him the tomato plant to put on the apartment balcony.  It was the first thing they had ever owned together.
“When to say I love you, or when you know you love someone?”
He reached over to rub the dirt smear off her cheek.  He licked his finger first to make sure he got it all.  She didn’t think twice of it.
She stopped planting for a moment to look out at the industrial view facing her.  Hotels, factories, more apartments.  A couple was having sex against the window across the street.  She didn’t look away as she said it.
“I think you know you love someone when you do things for them when it’s inconvenient for you.  I think you say I love you when they do too.”
-A week before the tomato plant died

The first time he said it, they were assembling an ikea baby crib for his sister’s newborn.  He was kneeling on the ground reading her instructions while she lay partway under the crib, screwdriver in hand to do the hard bits.  She didn’t even hear him the first time. She wore his old painting t-shirt and a pair of Roots sweatpants, and he had just yelled at her a half hour before for spending too much money on Wendy’s.

“I love you.”
She reached her hand out to pat his knee affectionately.
“No, babe, it’s fine, you didn’t shove me at all.”  
She had the screwdriver in her mouth so she could use both hands to piece the thing together, making it difficult for him to understand much of what she said either.  He did one of those nervous laughs reserved for 10th graders about to give a presentation on the reproductive organs, but, to his credit, he said it again quite factually and even toned, especially for a man who had only ever previously said “I love you” to his mother and goldfish.
“I love you.”
She dropped the screwdriver.  On her face.
“What did you just say?”  It barely came out as a whisper.
“I love you.”

The first time she said “I love you” was 13 weeks after he did.  He was sleeping, she was propped up on her elbow staring at him, as she had been for the past three hours trying to garner the confidence to spit out the three words.  It was his snore that did it.  He did this thing where he simultaneously exhaled and inhaled, while making a spitting noise which included an elephantine snore.  She started giggling uncontrollably, and didn’t even realize at first when the words popped out.  

“I love you.”

It didn’t matter that it would be six more months before she said it to his face, because she said it.  It was out there in the universe.  And she meant it.

- How she chipped her front tooth from a screwdriver

Her: If you could delete one thing off this Earth, what would it be?
Him:  Kim
Her: Tinder.
- mid back rub conversations

“I always get so sad when I see 80 year old couples eating at restaurants, not saying anything the whole time.”
She turned the pepper grinder over his soup exactly three and a half times; he didn’t need to ask.
He poured her wine to the half way mark; she didn’t need to ask.
“Because.  They’ve been around each other so long, they have nothing left to say.  I never want to be like that.”
He toyed with the stem of his glass for a moment.
“But what if they’re so comfortable around each other, they know each other so well, they don’t always need words to communicate?  They’ve gotten to the point where silence is comfortable...then I’d want to be exactly like that.”
They ate the rest of the meal in comfortable silence.

  • Tomato Soup and Chardonnay

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pump Up Your Book Tours Presents: Aeromancist by Charmaine Pauls

About The Book


Title:  Aeromancist
Book 2: Seven Forbidden Arts Series
Author: Charmaine Pauls
Publisher:  Mélange Books
Publication Date: July 6, 2015
Pages: 284
ASIN: B010766W5S
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Format: eBook / ePub / PDF

Preorder Book Buy Links:  Publication Date: July 6, 2015


Barnes & Noble:



Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Passion always comes with a price. 

All he could offer was thirty days of passion.

He condemned her to a terrible fate instead.

Now he’ll do everything in his power to save her.

He is known as the Weatherman. Lann Dréan is the last of his kind. A price on his head, chased for a power he should not possess, he can’t promise any woman forever. All he can offer Katherine White is thirty days of passion. But his uncontainable desire comes with an unforeseen price. Lann’s lust will cost Kat everything. Now he’ll do anything to save her from the fate he has brought upon her.

* This book contains adult content with explicit language and frequent, consummated love scenes, including light bondage, sex toys and breath play. Reader discretion is advised.

Book Excerpt:

Short Excerpt

From the expression on Lann’s face, Kat knew he hadn’t expected her. Alfonso hadn’t warned him of her visit. Lann sat behind his desk, very similar to the first time they had met, but this time he was in the library, and not in his office. He had probably been working on the restoration of his ancient books, because he wore his glasses. Removing them, he immediately got to his feet. The air felt lighter, as it always did in his presence. Wisps of her hair lifted as if to an invisible caress, but Lann didn’t acknowledge the subtle dance of molecules this time.
       As always he looked impeccable in tailored pants and a white dress shirt. He stood immobile, exerting calm, waiting for her to make the first move. Kat had never been fooled about the latent danger that lurked under his quiet sophistication and intellectual air. There was a raw energy about Lann that hinted at his wildness, even as his exterior was polished civility.
       “Alfonso showed me in,” she said.
       “Katherine.” His lips lifted in the corner, exposing his dimple.
       Her heart broke at his smile. It was the one he reserved for other people. Never for her. It was automatic, a practiced social stance, and she hated it.
       Hers was faint in return. She glanced at the employees who were handling his books with protective gloves. “May we speak in private, please?”
       He frowned. “Let’s go to my office.”
       He led the way. At least he hadn’t thrown her out on sight. She was walking the familiar path she believed she’d never walk again. The air gathered around his ankles as he moved, lapping at her feet as she followed in his wake. She had never felt it stronger, and yet, it should have been the reverse. She was supposed to be cutting the tie, not strengthening it, dammit.
       Inside his office he almost took a military stance, his shoulders straight, his arms behind his back, as if keeping them there would prevent him from touching her. But his eyes were filled with warmth and concern.
       “Katherine, I didn’t tell you I was back because I didn’t want to make it harder on you.”
       He didn’t owe her an explanation. She agreed to his terms. With her eyes wide open.
       “I came back to take care of the money,” he continued. “When Alfonso told me you returned everything–”
       “I don’t want your money.”
       “You can live in comfort. Why struggle, if I have enough to share?”
       “Because it wasn’t part of our agreement,” she snapped. She took a calming breath. “Because it’ll make me feel like a prostitute.”
       His expression was incredulous as he considered the statement, but after a moment he inclined his head. “Of course. I respect your decision.”
       “Lann…” She chewed her lip, thinking of the best way to tell him. Hadn’t she practiced her line a million times? “I wouldn’t have broken our agreement if it wasn’t necessary.”
       He stared at her expectantly. There was no easy way to break the news.
       “I’m pregnant.”
       He froze. The heat evaporated from his gaze. His upper arms flexed as he clasped his hands behind his back. She couldn’t tell if he was mad or disappointed. Either way, neither was the reaction she was hoping for.
       The silence stretched between them. For a while he seemed incapable of speaking or moving. Only his eyes lowered and rested on her abdomen.
       “It’s impossible,” he finally said.
       She opened her handbag, retrieved the blood test results and offered it to him shakily. Lann lifted one hand from behind his back and took the piece of paper. Kat watched him closely as he read it. His eyes widened and narrowed again. She presumed he was looking at the age of the child growing inside of her, doing the calculation in his mind. Emotions she couldn’t place played across his face. Was it sadness, envy, anger that made him press his lips so tightly together? Finally, he lifted his head. She didn’t like the way he looked at her.
            He handed her back the report. “Congratulations.” His voice was impersonal. “Who’s the father?”
       The words punched the air from Kat’s lungs with the same ferocity as when he had cut her airflow during lovemaking. Then it had given her an earth-shattering orgasm. Now it caused her pain, with the same intensity. She couldn’t believe he said that. Hurt and anger blurred her vision. She drew back her hand, and before she could stop herself, she slapped him. She took a step away from him, biting back the tears. The trace of her fingers lay red across his pale cheek. Lann accepted her abuse with a stoic expression, without uttering a word.
       “You bastard,” she whispered. “You needn’t feign your innocence by insulting me. Are you afraid I’ll ask you for child support? Do you think I expect you to play an unwilling role in this baby’s life? Maybe you think I’ll try to emotionally blackmail you into marrying me.” She clutched her bag to her chest like a shield. “I didn’t come here expecting anything from you. I want nothing. I only came because you had a right to know.” She took a ragged breath. “And to ask why you lied to me.”
       When he still didn’t speak, she nodded slowly, the unwelcome tears threatening to find their way to her cheeks. He wasn’t going to offer any explanation, any solace, any excuse.
       “I see,” she said. “Then we have nothing more to say to each other.”
       She turned for the door, but Lann’s voice halted her. “Please stay. You’re upset. I’ll take you home when you feel calmer.”
       To her dismay, a small gasp escaped her. Did he honestly think she’d stay after what he just said? Not looking back, she ran downstairs, not caring that Lann was calling after her loud enough for the building to hear, or that his employees were staring at her from the library window.

Seven Forbidden Arts – The goth pop genre defined

I classify my new Seven Forbidden Arts series, as well as most of my other novels, as goth pop romance. Some vendors place the series under the paranormal banner, which has absorbed the modern gothic novel to an extent, while others list it as erotic romance. Although the stories contain both paranormal and erotic romance elements, the genre I like to coin as goth pop categorizes these books most accurately.

What is goth pop romance? As goth pop music is a hybrid between the haunting lyrics of gothic music and the catchy melodies of pop music (such as The Cure, which happens to be one of my all-time favorite goth rock bands), goth pop fiction is the current-day, popular version of gothic romance literature.

‘Pop’ or ‘popular’ is self-explanatory. The term suggests literature that is appealing and accessible to a large audience. In marketing terminology this broad following can be referred to as a mass market. In other words, the genre’s reach in terms of general appeal is wide. The main aim of popular literature it to entertain. For this reason, pop literature is sometimes also described as commercial literature.

The term ‘goth’ or ‘gothic’ is derived from the medieval buildings in which many of these stories take place. Gothic literature strives to evoke a strong emotional response from the reader, the focus often being on fear. Setting and ambience are crucial elements of the Gothic novel. Subject matters include the supernatural, mystery and madness. To grasp a clear understanding of the Gothic genre, it is important to know its origin and historical development.

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, first published in 1764, is considered as the first Gothic novel. This style of extreme Romanticism that was popular in England and Germany at the time, led to the German Schauerroman and the French roman noir. Ann Radcliffe created the Byronic hero as the brooding, Gothic villain in A Sicilian Romance in 1790, as well as developed the explained supernatural plot. By the Victorian era, most critics dismissed Gothic as Sir Walter Scott popularized historical romance. At the same time, readers reconsidered overlooked Penny Blood serial fictions by authors such as G.W.M. Reynolds, creator of the Gothic horror trilogy, Faust (1846), Wagner the Wehr-wolf (1847) and The Necromancer (1857). Reynolds’ The Mysteries of London contributed to the development of the Urban as a Victorian Gothic setting. Edgar Allan Poe reinterpreted the Gothic with his focus on the psychology of his characters instead of on the traditional elements of Gothic stories. Madness was one of his major themes. Byronic Romanticism influenced the work of Poe, as well as the writing of the Brontë sisters. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) includes Gothic elements such as the eerie Moors, ghosts, and Heathcliff as the Byronic hero. The Brontës' novels are examples of the Female Gothic that explores women's submissive entrapment. Emily's Cathy and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre are examples of female protagonists in such a role. Charles Dickens incorporated the atmosphere and drama of the Gothic style in his work and modernized the genre with a contemporary urban setting in his novels Oliver Twist (1837), Bleak House (1854) and Great Expectations (1860).

The Gothic genre reached a new height in the 1880s with the fin de siècle and questions arising regarding ethical degeneration and social casts. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) are classic examples of the New Urban Gothic of this epoch. Bram Stoker gave birth to the most famous Gothic villain ever, Count Dracula in his novel Dracula (1897). With this book, Stoker also set Transylvania and Eastern Europe as the Gothic stage. Another Gothic classic from the early twentieth century is Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera (1909).

Pulp magazines such as Weird Tales reprinted and popularized Gothic horror from the prior century. New Gothic Romances became popular during the 50s to the 70s, featuring authors such as Phyllis A. Whitney, Joan Aiken, Dorothy Eden, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart, and Jill Tattersall. Covers often depicted a scantily clad, terror-stricken woman in front of a gloomy castle with a single lit window.

Many modern writers of horror, such as Anne Rice and Stephen King, include Gothic elements in their work. Thomas M. Disch’s novel The Priest (1994) was subtitled A Gothic Romance, and was partly modeled on Matthew Lewis' The Monk. Daphne du Maurier set the Romantic strand of Gothic in Rebecca (1938). Du Maurier's work inspired the Female Gothics with heroines that swooned over terrifying, wealthy Byronic heroes with a droit du seigneur, capturing the essence of the female sexual fantasy of male power, which is also present in some modern dark romance novels. Female Gothic permitted the introduction of feminine societal and sexual desires into Gothic texts.

J. R. Boyett coined the term Steampunk Gothica to refer to the use of the Gothic literary style in the Steampunk genre. While his work is influenced by period works such as Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu and The Vampyre by John William Polidori, his setting of a Steampunk Renaissance reflects the speculative and fantastic elements of authors such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.

To conclude, here is a list of elements that characterize Gothic literature. The specific element as found in Aeromancist, Book 3 of the Seven Forbidden Arts series, are included in brackets:
·         Virginal maiden (Katherine White, although not technically a virgin, she is virginal in her morality and values)
·         Older, foolish woman (Katherine’s mother, Felicity)
·         Hero (Lann Dréan, Russian aeromancist)
·         Villain (Godfrey, the man who wants to take over global communication companies to force a dark age of communication via total control)
·         Evil characters (the perverse vampires of Vamp Valley in Paris; the gila shifters, David and Daniel; Godfrey’s adoptive son, Adam)
·         Clergy (Marie, the Breton midwife)
·         Night journeys (Katherine being lost in the alleys of Paris, alone at night, and several journeys thereafter)
·         Madness (Nicolas, the blood son of Godfrey, in the wronged hunchback scenario; Godfrey himself; and Adam being the crazy cherry on the cake)
·         Miraculous survivals (can’t say too much in fear of giving away spoilers, but yes, there are some!)
·         Supernatural powers (Lann as aeromancist, Clelia as pyromancist, Maya as hydromancist, Joss as blood taster)
·         Fear (Plenty!)
·         Psychological overlay (Lots, i.e. Katherine being lost in Paris is a metaphor for her state of mind)
·         Setting (Franciscan Monastery; dilapidated cathedral and bell tower; modern sinister glass clinic; the Josselin Castle in the village of Josselin, Brittany, France; a deserted hotel with red paint peeling from the walls in a dark alley in Paris; a misty forest; a grey lake; etc. – all of these are real, existing locations)

Setting is an important element of the Gothic novel and deserves a paragraph of its own. Not only does it create ambience, but is also a character in itself. Gothic literature is intimately associated with the Gothic Revival architecture of the same era. This trend of using Gothic architecture began with the Castle of Otranto and became a major element of the genre from that point on. Examples of Gothic settings include castles, monasteries, graveyards, and abbeys or other religious buildings. The Gothic landscape is surrounded by mystery, legends and secrets. The backdrop evokes feelings of gloom and fear. The decaying, ruined scenery implies that at one time there was a thriving world. Without the decrepit backdrop to initiate the events, the Gothic Novel would not exist.

Who is the 21st century Gothic hero? I like to see him as a man who can be as loving and nurturing as he can be fierce. He makes a rival to be reckoned with in the boardroom, a brave soldier, a virtuous construction worker, and a great daddy. The Gothic Chapter of the RWA compiled the following Gothic hero motivation list (

·         He killed a man in his past.
·         His first wife died mysteriously. He knows why, but also knows no one will believe him.
·         Or he doesn't know why and believes it might have something to do with him.
·         He sired a child who he believes is lost to him forever, either dead, missing, abducted or ill for some arcane reason no doc can diagnose.
·         Accidents befall anyone who gets close to him. He doesn't know why, but this has made him a loner.
·         Everyone he has ever loved is dead for different reasons, 
making him feel he is somehow responsible.
·         He has a step-relative of some kind who is psychotic.
·         He sees ghosts.
·         He believes he is responsible for some devilish act because whoever actually did it made it seem the hero was responsible.
·         Mysterious incidents, seemingly or actually weird, surround him and those close to him.
·         There is a family curse that no one has ever broken.
·         There is a history of shape shifting in his family.
·         A ghost haunts him, making him afraid he's going crazy because 
he doesn't believe in ghosts.
·         He is hiding someone for what he feels is a good reason, but it isn't.
·         He has a malevolent enemy who is either a person he knows or one
he doesn't know. Or else this enemy is a supernatural being of some kind.
·         He was raised by a monster of a parent, who blamed him for everything going wrong in the father's life and abused him as a result.
·         He's scarred physically or emotionally by an accident he thought he was responsible for causing another's death.
·         He's involved in work that he can't talk about which makes him seem more mysterious or sinister than he really is.

As for the contemporary Gothic heroine, she is a strong woman who is not afraid to embrace her femininity and sexuality. She can be witty, intelligent, independent, strong-minded, shy, a party-animal, a career girl, or a housewife. Even though she is not perfect, she has a sound set of moral values. She is the kind of woman every gal would love to have as a friend. As in any HEA romance, the Gothic hero and heroine find everlasting love, and all issues are resolved by the turn of the last page.

Gothic novels transmit the joys of extreme emotion, the thrills of fearfulness and the magic of atmosphere. The Seven Forbidden Arts series novels contain the Gothic elements, heroes, settings, ambience and strong emotions described above, placed in a contemporary setting in existing locations, and written with the aim of ultimate entertainment. I am coining the genre goth pop for this new collection of multicultural, fast-paced, action-packed stories of unique setting, passionate emotions and obsessive desires that are frightfully beautiful in their forbidden beauty.

The Goodreads list of the top 10 Gothic novels of all time (

1.      Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
2.      Dracula by Bram Stoker
3.      Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
4.      Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
5.      Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
6.      The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
7.      The Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
8.      The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
9.      The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
10.  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

This book comes in at number 11 but is worth a mention:

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

    About The Author

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories here on

Contact Charmaine at:
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