Updated Silver


Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin Drew Westfall wants nothing more than to forget what he had to do in the name of "smart" business. Cutting off all ties with his parents—including handing over the entire contents of his trust fund to a charity—he takes off for Bridger, Colorado where his best friend has an extra room for him. It doesn't take long for him to realize that his business degree won’t do him much good in a town as small as Bridger, but he's broke and has nowhere else to go. Eden Torresi has every reason to wallow. Not only did she have to sell her house to pay for her mother’s medical expenses, but she also had to drop out of school and is in a relationship with a guy unwilling to commit. But Eden isn't the wallowing type. Instead, she chooses to spend most of her time taking care of the seniors at Silver Linings Assisted Living. When she learns that her boyfriend's new roommate is down on his luck, her caring nature makes her want to reach out to him and offer what help she can. But the more time they spend together, the more complicated things get, especially when the seniors of Silver Linings decide to play matchmaker.


KayleeAuthor Kaylee Baldwin When Kaylee Baldwin isn’t writing, she’s usually chasing after her four children, checking her email, trying to get motivated to train for that race she shouldn’t have signed up for, hanging out with her pretty awesome husband, and reading whatever good book she can find. She graduated from Arizona State with degree in English Lit. Her published books are Meg’s Melody, Six Days of Christmas (part of the All I Want collection) and Silver Linings.


Updated Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love." Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver Book 6: Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/14/14

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This post will have Denise Grover Swank - author of the After Math - live chat! She will be talking about her books, herself, and questions you have! Please tweet #DeniseLiveChat if you want to ask Denise a question.


Title: The Unwanted
Author: Jeffrey Ricker
Genre: Gay YA fantasy
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Date of Publication: March 18, 2014
Cover Artist: Sheri 


Book Description:

Jamie Thomas has enough trouble on his hands trying to get through junior year of high school without being pulverized by Billy Stratton, his bully and tormentor. But the mother he was always told was dead is actually alive—and she’s an Amazon! 

Sixteen years after she left him on his father’s doorstep, she’s back and needs Jamie’s help. A curse has caused the ancient tribe of warrior women to give birth to nothing but boys, dooming them to extinction—until prophecy reveals that salvation lies with one of the offspring they abandoned. 

Putting his life on the line, Jamie must find the courage to confront the wrath of an angry god to save a society that rejected him.


Excerpt:

The house was empty. No big surprise there: Dad never got home before me. When I checked my nose in the bathroom mirror, it was starting to swell up and look like someone had painted purple under my skin. I didn’t think it was broken, but no one had ever punched me in the face before, so what did I know?
At that moment, I knew three things. I didn’t want to explain my nose to my dad when he eventually got home. I probably needed to put ice on it. And I didn’t want to go to school tomorrow.
In the kitchen, I filled a towel with ice. As I tilted my head back and lifted the towel to my nose, a flash of white darted past the sliding glass door overlooking the backyard. Our yard was fenced, so no one should have been back there. By this point, thanks to the almost-daily antagonism from Billy, it was in my nature to see every unexpected or unexplained thing as a possible threat. It seemed foolish, but I grabbed a knife from the butcher block before I opened the door and peered out.
I was lucky I didn’t stab myself in the foot when I dropped the knife. A white horse, its head lowered to the ground as it searched for bits of grass to its liking, ambled slowly across the yard. When it heard the knife clatter, it looked up and stared right at me, blinked its glossy black eyes—
—and shook its wings.
I was glad no one was around to hear me, because I screamed like a girl. My first thought—well, my second thought, right after Oh my God there’s a horse with wings in our yard—was that Billy must have given me a concussion when he hit me and knocked me down. I looked away, shook my head, and blinked a couple times.
When I looked back, the horse was still there. It had folded up its wings and gone back to browsing the lawn.
“Richard, is that you?”
The voice, a woman’s, came from upstairs. It was followed by a clanking noise, like someone rattling pots and pans. I picked up the knife again and slid the door shut as quietly as possible.
“Richard?” she called again, then, in a more threatening tone, “Is someone down there?”
She started coming down the stairs. Pressing my back to the wall, I inched out of the kitchen and into the dining room. I watched the kitchen doorway, wondering who this woman was and how she knew my father…and what was all the clanking about? When it appeared she hadn’t followed me from the kitchen to the dining room, I turned around and prepared to make a run for the front door.
She was standing right behind me.
I screamed, again. Like a girl, again. (What? She scared the hell out of me.)
She also snatched my wrist and twisted the knife out of my grasp before I remembered I was holding it. Then she put her hands on my shoulders to keep me from running headlong into her chest, which was covered in a bronze piece of armor that made her look like Xena, Warrior Princess.
“Oh, it’s you,” she said—not in a dismissive tone, the way that sort of thing is usually said (at least to me), but more in a sense of wonder, as if I were the last person she expected to see. She put a hand under my chin, gently, which I didn’t expect since she wore a sword at her waist. “You’re so…” Her voice trailed off as she took in all of me. “Short.”
Short? I’d never seen this woman before and she was calling me short? Admittedly, she looked taller than my dad, even, maybe by a couple inches. Before I could protest, she turned my chin left, then right, inspecting my face.
“You’ve been in a fight, haven’t you?” She smiled, and it seemed like a smile of admiration, like being in a fight was a good thing.
I batted her hand aside and backed away. “Who are you?”
She frowned. “Didn’t your father tell you anything about me?”
“Tell me what?”
Before she could answer, the doorbell rang. In an instant, everything about her changed. Her expression hardened as she whipped around toward the door. She’d drawn her sword without my even noticing, and now she crept toward the foyer. Her steps were so light I didn’t even hear her armor clank.
The doorbell rang again, sounding far away to me, like a dream. I started to ask her what she was doing—hadn’t she ever heard a doorbell before? Why was this clearly crazy woman in our house? And why did she know my dad? But she silenced me with a gesture.
This time, instead of the doorbell, there was a knock.
“Jamie?” It was Sarah. “Are you home?”
“Who is she?” the Xena wannabe asked.
“Who is she? Who are you?”
She lowered her sword for a moment and looked at me as if I were asking a stupid question. “He really never told you anything about me, did he?”
“Tell me what?”
Her face softened, neither stony nor angry, but sad.
“I’m your mother.”


About the Author:

Jeffrey Ricker’s first novel, Detours, was published in 2011 by Bold Strokes Books. His second novel, The Unwanted, will be published by Bold Strokes in 2014. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Paws and Reflect, Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction, Blood Sacraments, Men of the Mean Streets, Speaking Out, Raising Hell, The Dirty Diner, Night Shadows: Queer Horror, and others. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he is pursuing an MFA at the University of British Columbia.



Guest post:

I can't listen to music when I'm writing. I've tried. It doesn't work for me, which is a pity, as I love music and listen to it whenever I have the opportunity. But I can't concentrate with music playing, especially if it's a song with lyrics. I find myself paying too much attention to the words I'm hearing and not enough to the words that I'm trying to put down on the page (or the screen, as the case usually is). So when actively I'm writing, the radio and the iPod are off.

Whenever I'm in the middle of a project, though, I do find myself tuning into songs during my down time that bring to mind whatever I'm working on. Sometimes it happens without my even realizing it consciously; I just hit the "replay" button, and 40 plays later I'm wondering, "Why have I been listening to this song for the past two hours?"

It usually doesn't take me long to make the connection. A song might remind me of a character, or it might provide backing music for a particular scene, or it might sum up my feelings about the relationship between certain characters.

Giveaway:




Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Unwanted by Jeffrey Ricker

The Unwanted

by Jeffrey Ricker

Giveaway ends April 16, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


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Hello peeps! I'm giving away two copies of Don't Look Back and one copy of White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout! Good luck.


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This hop is dedicated to the stigma of mental health disorders. Mental illnesses include such disorders as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic and other severe anxiety disorders, autism and pervasive developmental disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses that affect the brain. Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders.  They cannot be overcome through "will power" and are not related to a person's "character" or intelligence.


I need to pick out a book that inspired me to be something greater, something that helped me through a terrible time, or a novel that is about dealing with mental health.

Inspired me to be something greater (the winner can pick ANY Chicken Soup book, not just Teenage):



Something that helped me through a terrible time:


A novel that deals with mental health:


These three books are up for grabs! Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.





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What would you risk for the love of a stranger?

Ilyse Charpentier, a beautiful young chanteuse, is the diva of the 1894 Parisian cabaret scene by night and the unwilling obsession of her patron, Count Sergei Rakmanovich, at every other waking moment.

Though it has always been her secret desire, Ilyse’s life as “La Petite Coquette” of the Paris stage has turned out to be anything but the glamorous existence she had dreamt of as a girl. As a young woman, Ilyse has already suffered tragedy and become estranged from her beloved brother, Maurice, who blames her for allowing the Count to drive them apart.

Unhappy and alone, Ilyse forces herself to banish all thoughts of independence until the night Ian McCarthy waltzes into her life. Immediately taken with the bold, young, British expatriate, Ilyse knows it is time to choose:  will she break free and follow her heart or will she remain a slave to her patron’s jealous wrath for the rest of her life?

Find the book:


City of Lights Excerpt: Diva in the Wings

Taken from City of Lights: The Trials and Triumphs of Ilyse Charpentier, Chapter 1, A Chance Meeting
       The balmy night air of August had served to fill the halls of La Perle de Paris to capacity once again. Not a seat was unoccupied, save one quiet table in a secluded, unlit corner of the club—a table that was always reserved. The chants had commenced long ago, a gradual build from a quiet murmur to a dull roar—“Coquette, Coquette, Vive la Coquette!” The raucous mob wanted their star, and in a moment, their hunger would be satisfied.
        “Ten minutes, everyone!” a burly man bellowed, pushing his way through a mass of tulle and silk. He made his way down the backstage corridor until he came upon a solitary girl stealing a peek through the Tyrian purple-hued curtains.
        “Ten minutes, Ilyse, get ready!” he ordered.
        “Yes, Giverne,” she returned, smiling, and watched as he huffed down the hall. In a moment, her olive-brown eyes were once again fixed upon the throng, and she resumed rehearsing her lines. “City of Lights, Paree, do you see?” she sang, “I am the Diva on the stage. Hope—” But her soft chanting was suddenly interrupted by a wild flurry running down the corridor. In an instant, the commotion materialized into a profusion of blonde tendrils, which framed a pleasant round face and a pair of large, over-bright blue eyes.
        “You’re late, Manon,” Ilyse said, trying to sound reproachful as she addressed the frazzled young woman.
       The girl panted stertorously while she tried to straighten her costume and smooth her unruly curls. “Well, you know how it is. Wardrobe problems.”
        “Yes,” Ilyse answered, a knowing smirk playing about the corners of her mouth. “I know exactly how it is … too much chocolat, no?”
       Manon stopped her primping and looked up at her dearest friend. “I can’t help it if I have a sweet tooth!” she blurted out. “Now stop all this nonsense and fasten me up, will you?”
        “Oh, very well,” Ilyse laughed, and abandoned her post to come to her disheveled friend’s rescue. “Now, hold it in.”
        “I can’t,” Manon squeaked.
        “Well, that’s because you’re not wearing your corset.”
        “Never!” Manon retorted as if someone had just accused her of killing Marat. “I can’t wear that monstrous thing. It crushes me terribly. And what’s more, I can’t even breathe with it on.”
        “No one ever said beauty was painless, darling,” Ilyse said, not having any luck in her struggle to hook the fasteners on Manon’s dress.
        “Well, this beauty will go without!”
        “Then it’s hopeless.” Ilyse sighed and released her hold on Manon’s costume. “You’ll have to play ‘Sourd et Muet’ tonight.”
        “Ah, ma foi, such is my fate.”
       For a time, silence reigned, each girl fighting not to be the first to laugh. Finally, as always, Ilyse was the first to break. “Oh, stop playing the martyr, you ridiculous fool!”
       Manon made a lavish bow and struck a theatrical pose. “Don’t you think we should use that in the act?” she suggested, her large cerulean eyes widening expectantly.
        “Oh, most definitely,” Ilyse acquiesced, still laughing. “If only we can get Giverne’s permission.”
        “Forget it, then. Now, enough about Giverne. Is my Marquis out there?”
       Before Ilyse had time to stop her, Manon had pulled back the curtain and poked her head into the hall. “Oh, I see him, the darling,” she cooed, spying her Marquis and flailing her bejeweled hand through the air in a gesture that was meant to be a wave but never amounted to more than a flash of rubies and emeralds.
        “Don’t wave at him, you fool!” Ilyse whispered, and just as she said this, the glare of the candlelit hall vanished and Manon found herself staring at a suffocating wall of purple velvet and her friend’s less-than-pleased face. “Discretion, Manon,” Ilyse reminded, fighting to repress the smile that was threatening to destroy her facade of seriousness, “discretion. We are not to be seen or heard until our grand entrance. How do you expect to keep the Marquis interested?”
        “I suppose that’s true,” Manon agreed. “But I couldn’t help taking just one peek.” Ilyse smiled at her impish friend and noticed that Manon’s irrepressible dimples had appeared—a certain sign of trouble. Whenever those two little indentations arose, Ilyse knew she had to do something to damp Manon’s mischief or there was no telling what social atrocity, however hysterical it might seem in hindsight—and there had been many—her friend might commit.
        “If you’re so interested in peeking, my little sprite, then I have a wonderful surprise for you.”
        “I love surprises!” Manon answered with glee.
        “You’re going to adore this one. Now, if you really want to peek, you must do it like so.” Ilyse took hold of Manon’s hand and drew back a corner of the curtain so that only a sliver of light shone through. “Look who’s here.”
        “Where, where?!” Manon squealed, her eyes roving over the crowded room.
        “Why, there in the back. If it isn’t Gaspard and his troupe of provincial darlings! Oh, what fun it will be for you to dance with them. And look! That fat one in the front has seen you! Oh, wave, Manon, wave and show him your smile! Make that Marquis of yours insanely jealous!” Ilyse uttered a musical little fake-laugh and gave Manon a playful shove.
       Manon let the curtain fall from her grasp as though it had singed her fingers and stared at Ilyse. “I find your humor lacking, Ilyse” Manon said sourly. “The last time I danced with Gaspard’s band of ruffians I couldn’t walk for a week and my feet will never forgive you for pushing me into that rustic’s arms!”
        “Oh, come now, Manon,” Ilyse laughed, “It’s my job to liven things up a bit, too. I can’t let you and your dimples have all the fun.”
        “All right, all right,” Manon said, rising to the challenge, “Well, I saw my Marquis, and I saw Gaspard and his bumpkins, God save my feet, but I didn’t see him.”
       The instant Ilyse heard this word, all her previous mirth vanished and a terrible mix of anger and fear roiled within her. “Sergei?”
        “No…No,” Manon stumbled. “Not him, never him. I meant your ‘one true love,’ of course.”
       Ilyse’s brow relaxed and her lips curled into a faint smile as she remembered the little secret she and Manon shared.
        “Oh, Manon, for the five years we have known one another, you’ve never missed an opportunity of showing me how hopelessly naïve I actually am. Well, who’s to say he’s not out there? What harm is there in hoping, however futile the hope may be? This nightly ritual is my escape. Don’t begrudge me this little reprieve.”
       Manon, usually so effervescent, seemed crushed by her dearest friend’s accusations and blushed with shame. “Ilyse, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I never meant to make light of your feelings. Don’t hold it against me, ma soeur, don’t.”
       Regardless of what had passed, Ilyse was incapable of holding a grudge against her confidant and only friend. “I know you meant no harm, Manon. Forgive me for acting so maudlin, it’s just that I feel as though I can’t keep up this charade much longer. If I didn’t have you to make me laugh and be my one light in this darkness, I don’t know how I could’ve survived all these years. He torments me by day with his ceaseless advances, and at night, even while I’m onstage, he finds a way to invade my peace. He’s always there, waiting for me to give in. But I swear I won’t. I don’t fear him as I did before. My fear has been overtaken by anger and turned to defiance. I hate him, Manon. It sickens my heart terribly.” Ilyse lifted her eyes and saw Manon standing motionless, lost in thought. Though she didn’t say a word, Ilyse knew exactly what was racing through Manon’s mind, for she had heard it all before—the painful memories of the past that bore uncanny similarities to the existence Ilyse had described. But in Manon’s circumstances, unspeakable terror had never allowed defiance to surface. She had been an impressionable young girl, dreaming of stardom, allowing him to lead her down a path from which there could be no return. He had robbed her of her fortune, although he was richer than all the kings of Europe combined, and destroyed everything she held dear. She refused his advances, and when she tried to escape, he committed a crime so drastic that she was forced to keep silent or die. Luc Dagenais had been her one true love, and the innocent Provencal had been murdered simply because he had given her his heart—an unpardonable offense in the eyes of her jealous patron. And so the years passed, and Manon fell out of favor, replaced by Gervaise, Collette, Brigitte, and finally Ilyse, who had become his most favorite of all. She had stayed for her dearest friend, and also because La Perle offered her the only respectable means of survival—a cabaret where she could earn a decent living without selling her soul to the devil himself. So was the fate of Manon Larue.
       And Ilyse knew the vicious cycle would continue until she herself put a stop to it. But those were thoughts for another moment, for the public would not be kept waiting. The crowd was restless. Violent invectives were being hurled, if the mob were not satisfied, chaos would break loose. The star’s time had come.
       Giverne blustered through the line of dancing girls, nearly stampeded Manon into oblivion, and snatched Ilyse by the arm. “You, now,” he boomed, “get onstage!!!” And before she had time to blink, he had already begun to raise the curtain.
        “Bonne chance, Ilyse!” Manon squealed, but her voice was drowned by the crowd’s rabid cries.
       La Petite Coquette had arrived!

Why Should I Read City Of Lights?

Journey back in time to fin de siècle Paris, those heady days when dancehall divas captured everyone’s imagination. Glitz and glamour dripped from every corner of these clubs and their clientele, but backstage, the reality was entirely different. When the greasepaint came off, there was nothing but emptiness and the oppressive, ever present patrons who stifled your very essence, micromanaging your every move—choosing what you wore, whom you associated with, and even if you should associate with anyone at all. This is the world of Ilyse Charpentier, and after five years, she has grown tired of living a lie. She has fame, glory on the stage, but something she has always yearned for is missing: love. 

And then one night, she meets her soul mate, Ian McCarthy, and experiences the giddiness of first love—the carefree euphoria, the “there is nothing in the world but you and I” freedom. This is different, this is real, and Ilyse is prepared to fight to claim what she has been denied for so long. But in her bliss, she has forgotten one thing. Casting aside a patron like Count Sergei Rakmanovich is not as easy as she first assumes. After all, this is the man with a boundless desire to control the lives of others, the man who went so far as to bestow a new identity on Ilyse to make her more appealing to the Parisian populace. At this point, the idea that City of Lights is simply a romance ceases, for giving up a life of privilege as the count’s captive muse has now become far more serious and consequential than Ilyse could have ever imagined, especially when the one thing she holds more precious than her own life becomes a pawn in the Count’s sadistic game: her estranged brother and only living relative, Maurice. 
But although the struggles in this story are titanic and seemingly insurmountable, there must be laughter, which is provided by many characters, but most noticeably by Ian, for how can there not be mirth in a novel where an Englishman comes to Paris and falls in love with a French girl? Not only do we have the intrigue provided by the intertwined destinies of Ilyse, Maurice, Ian, and the Count, but we also have the clash of cultures as Ian tries to adjust to expatriate life in France. The battle is launched almost immediately during a very heated argument with a nationalistic French waiter over the merits of Guinness versus the vaunted wine of France—Ian’s foreign ignorance being, to the waiter, tantamount to a guillotining offence. This thread continues throughout the novel and serves to lighten the mood by offering moments of laughter and glimmers of hope to Ilyse for the future she and Ian might share, if only she is willing to grasp for it.

From the glittering palace of music and enchantment where Ilyse reigns supreme, to a fogbound train station in Munich, Germany, where only death awaits, you are taken on a whirlwind ride through the life of this young girl whose only wish was to believe that the City of Lights would hold some magic and romance for her, too. Yet although this is Ilyse’s story, everyone in her orbit is vitally important to bringing this saga to a close: ever faithful Manon, her best friend and confidante, whose bubbly exterior masks deep scars from her own ordeal at the hands of the count years before; Count Sergei Rakmanovich, the “cause of it all,” who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to have Ilyse for himself—as if controlling her every move for the past five years weren’t enough; Vasily Markolovick, Sergei’s lackey, who has always carried out his precious master’s wishes, until now; Maurice, too selfish to see his sister’s anguish, too stubborn to understand that he has abandoned her when she needs him most; Ian McCarthy, passionately in love with Ilyse and wildly different from anyone in her stifling world, a man for whom she would willingly flee the gilded cage.

And lastly, there is Ilyse, who is faced with an earth-shattering decision. Her choice will decide who lives and who dies. After being enslaved for so long, can she really give up her one chance at happiness to save the brother who loathes her?
Would you?

   
About the author

I have been an author since the age of fourteen and write Young/New Adult historical romance, suspense, supernatural/paranormal thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi, short stories, novellas—you name it, I write it! I am also a classically trained soprano/violinist/pianist and have been performing since the age of three. Additionally, I hold a BA in Management and an MBA in Marketing.
If I had not decided to become a writer, I would have become a marine biologist, but after countless years spent watching Shark Week, I realized I am very attached to my arms and legs and would rather write sharks into my stories than get up close and personal with those toothy wonders.





This post will have Polly Holyoke - author of the The Neptune Projec - live chat! She will be talking about her books, herself, and questions you have! Please tweet #PollyLiveChat if you want to ask Polly a question.


This post will have Shana Norris - author of the The Boyfriend Thief- live chat! She will be talking about her books, herself, and questions you have! Please tweet #ShanaLiveChat if you want to ask Shana a question.


Home Matters Updated


Home Matters by Julie N. Ford According to her mother, Olivia Pembroke was born to be a star. But how is she supposed to be famous when she can't even get a decent acting gig? Her lucky break comes when she lands an audition for a wildly popular home improvement show. Even though she has no design training and has never even held a power tool, she refuses to let that stop her. She's confident that her destiny is finally within reach. When her affections are torn between her heartthrob co-host and the irritating, yet somehow endearing lead contractor, does she continue to reach for the stars? Or does she design a new happily ever after? One that leads not to the fading lights of fame and fortune, but to a love that will burn forever.








JulieAuthor Julie N. Ford Julie is a forty-something, dangerously close to becoming a fifty-something, graduate from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama, which has only made her better able to recognize the unhealthy, codependent relationship she has with writing. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a marriage and family counselor. She is the author of four women’s fiction novels, including Count Down to Love, a 2011 Whitney Award finalist. When she’s not writing, she entertains delusions of being a master gardener, that is, when she’s not killing the unsuspecting plants in her yard with her good intentions. She lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, two daughters, a Betta named Bob, and a Scottish fold kitten, Ardweal.





Updated Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love." Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver Book 6: Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/31/14   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY

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This post will have Jody Casella - author of the Thin Space - live chat! She will be talking about her books, herself, and questions you have! Please tweet #JodyLiveChat if you want to ask Jody a question.


orphan tour


orphan thief  The Orphan and the Thief An adventure that will keep you and your kids spellbound.
Toad thought it’d be easy to steal from Mr. Edward P. Owl. Unfortunately for Toad, he isn’t the best of thieves. Caught in the act, he’s in more trouble than ever before. Now to save his hide, Toad must track down five rare potion ingredients for Mr. Owl. Or else.All Melena Snead wants is her family back, but after the Miggens Street Fire, that isn’t very likely. Orphaned and miserable, forced to work in an apothecary, she’s determined to find Milo, her missing brother. No matter what. When Melena finds Toad ransacking her apothecary, Toad gets a nasty shock: apothecaries don’t carry Mr. Owl’s ingredients. Luckily, Melena’s willing to help, for a price. With Melena’s pet Spit-Fire dragon and Toad’s enchanted talking beer mug, they embark on a fantastical journey, traveling the country in search of the potion ingredients. But can they gather all of them in time, what with monsters, pirates, and axe-wielding thieves? And if they do, is there an even greater danger waiting for them at the end?


  Praise: [LeGette is] able to twist her unique fairy-tales to fit the imagination of children and the attention of adults. Five stars ... The Orphan and the Thief is definitely worth reading! -- Abigail / Goodreads Review M.L. Legette conjures up a captivating magical tale in The Orphan and the Thief. I loved this story and I could not put my Kindle down until I finished the last page. This charming story is so good that it may very well become a classic. -- Karen Dowdall, Author of Delphi Altair: Strange Beginnings  

Excerpt:

Panicking, Toad rushed, “Come on, Gent. There’s gotta be somethin’ that ya want! My prices are reasonable!”
            “The price is your life,” Mr. Owl stated, gently placing the dragon statue upon the desk.
            Mr. Ogg stopped again, his ham-sized hands falling back to his sides. Toad fell silent, too stunned to dare hope that he wasn’t about to be killed.
            “Let me explain how this will work, Mr. Toad. If tonight was like any other night I would happily see your neck snapped and toss you out like the bit of filth that you are.” He gave a heavy sigh. “However, the Hickory Guard have become annoyingly tedious ever since that upstart became Captain.”
            “Ya mean Dowell?” asked Toad.
            “The man has become so inflated with self importance that he’s actually having me followed. Can you imagine? Me?”
            “That’s … awful?” said Toad awkwardly, unsure how to respond.
            “So, you will forgive me for not wanting to waste Mr. Ogg’s talents on you with so little preplanning.” He gave the window a casual glance. “I’m sure a guard is stationed outside somewhere and disposing of your body without detection will be troublesome to say the least.”
            “Pardon me, sir,” Mr. Ogg interrupted, “but it would be no trouble.”
            “Ah, Mr. Ogg! How I like you!” Mr. Owl cheered. “Always ready to break a neck. Good fellow!”
            “We can stash him in one of the upstairs rooms,” Mr. Ogg continued in his deep, ocean floor voice. “I’ll make sure he won’t bleed.”
            “But a body, even in such a large house, will be difficult to hide if Dowell decides to search the place, as he has been hinting at for the last fortnight. No, no, my man. We cannot afford the risk of housing him here.”

            Toad sat still in his chair. It wasn’t every day that his own murder was discussed in such a light, conversational manner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAM.L LeGette: Melissa Lee LeGette has been writing seriously since she was a teen. She loves an old world vibe with a magical twist, and she puts her full focus on creating believable characters--even if they happen to be a talking beer mug. Her books are targeted for children and teens, but have been enjoyed by adults of all ages. She lives in Georgia where she helps run a family farm, so her nails are a fright.




 
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/27/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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This post will have Dorine White - author of the The Emerald Ring - live chat! She will be talking about her books, herself, and questions you have! Please tweet #DorineLiveChat if you want to ask Dorine a question.


This post will have Maureen McGowan - author of the Dust Chronicles - live chat! She will be talking about her books, herself, and questions you have! Please tweet #MaureenLiveChat if you want to ask Maureen a question.


This post will have Jessica Brody - author of the Unremembered - live chat! She will be talking about her books, herself, and questions you have! Please tweet #JessicaLiveChat if you want to ask Jessica a question.


Summary

Corcitura.  Some call it hybrid, others half-blood, mongrel, beast.  They are all names for the same thing:  vampire—the created progeny of the half-wolf, half-vampire, barb-tongued Grecian Vrykolakas, and the suave but equally vicious Russian Upyr.  Corcitura:  this is what happens when a man is attacked by two vampires of differing species.  He becomes an entirely new breed—ruthless, deadly, unstoppable…almost.

London, 1888:  Eric Bradburry and Stefan Ratliff, best friends since childhood, have finally succeeded in convincing their parents to send them on a Grand Tour of the Continent.  It will be the adventure of a lifetime for the two eighteen-year-old Englishmen, but almost from the moment they set foot on French soil, Eric senses a change in Stefan, a change that is intensified when they cross paths with the enigmatic Vladec Salei and his traveling companions:  Leonora Bianchetti, a woman who fascinates Eric for reasons he does not understand, and the bewitching Augustin and Sorina Boroi—siblings, opera impresarios, and wielders of an alarming power that nearly drives Eric mad.

Unable to resist the pull of their new friends, Eric and Stefan walk into a trap that has been waiting to be sprung for more than five hundred years—and Stefan is the catalyst.  Terrified by the transformation his friend is undergoing, Eric knows he must get Stefan away from Vladec Salei and Constantinos, the rabid, blood-crazed Vrykolakas, before Stefan is changed beyond recognition.  But after witnessing a horrific scene in a shadowed courtyard in Eastern Europe, Eric’s worst fears are confirmed.
Six years removed from the terror he experienced at the hands of Salei and Constantinos, Eric finally believes he has escaped his past.  But once marked, forever marked, as he painfully begins to understand.  He has kept company with vampires, and now they have returned to claim him for their own.

Find the book:

Corcitura Excerpt: The Dwelling of Night

Taken from Corcitura, Chapter 8, A Tavern in Venice

       I looked at him warily, knowing it was just another trick, this cajoling of his, to get me to go on. I had no desire to spend another minute in this wretched place and was on the verge of making my feelings known, when I suddenly felt the urge to discover what it was that Stefan and the other patrons found so enticing about this mysterious fourth floor. Against all my better judgment, I gave in. The pull of this place, coupled with my inordinate curiosity, was becoming too strong to resist.
       “Very well,” I agreed.
       “Splendid! Come, the hour is growing late.”
       I watched him dart up a few more steps before I began to trudge along behind.
       As we passed the third landing, I noticed for the first time that Stefan was carrying a cane of some sort. Why he hadn’t used this to stop my attacker was beyond me, and the thought that he had had a weapon handy and had done nothing with it made anger well up inside me all over again.
       I hurried after him, trying to catch a better glimpse, since the light was growing a trifle brighter at this stage. But when I finally saw it, I wished I hadn’t. My heart somersaulted in my chest. The top of the cane was made of gold and had been carved into the shape of a beast’s head.
       A wyvern’s—exactly the same as the pendants the vampiresses had worn.
       The only difference was that the gems that were set into the eye sockets were emeralds instead of rubies, yet they still sparkled with an unearthly intensity. I had never seen him with that cane before, but the sinking feeling in my stomach told me it had been a gift from his newest and dearest friend, for it had been personalized just for Stefan. The eyes were green like his, not red like Salei’s had been when he had revealed himself to me, if only for an instant. This wyvern was fiercer and more striking than the others. I wondered if it had been designed to symbolize Stefan’s transformation into a monster more powerful than even Vladec Salei.
       “So it has begun…” I said, but the words faded away.
       We had finally reached the fourth floor.
       I thought I was standing on the threshold of a seraglio. Silk hangings of red and gold, crimson and brilliant ochre, met my eyes everywhere I looked. The room was nearly full to capacity, with people lounging about on overstuffed cushions or sitting at one of the few tables scattered around the chamber. As I looked up, I saw several gold chandeliers dangling from the frescoed ceiling. Each chandelier contained a single candle that guttered in a red Venetian blown-glass holder. The effect was striking yet eerie, since the lights cast a reddish pall over the room, making everyone appear to be bathed in blood.
       I looked over at Stefan to see if he shared my concern, but he was smiling so broadly I thought his face would split.
       “What did I tell you?” he said, taking my arm and guiding me over to an empty table at the farthest end of the room. “A birthday to remember!”
       Stefan signaled to a waiter and ordered the man to bring us two glasses of the taverna’s finest wine. The man gave me a sidelong glance that made me feel decidedly unwelcome, then bustled off to the elaborate, mirrored bar at the other end of the room. There must have been over a hundred bottles of wine encased in the intricately wrought Venetian glass holders resting on the bars’ shelves. I had no desire to join Stefan in fraternizing with our neighbors at the next table—whom he seemed to be getting along famously with—so I decided to make a count of the bottles to keep my mind occupied until the drinks arrived.
       I had counted twenty bottles before I noticed the gondolier sitting at the bar, glowering at me over the rim of his wine glass. My mood did not improve when I saw that he was advancing to our table, our drinks set atop a golden platter he was carrying.
       He placed Stefan’s glass down first. After Stefan gave him a pointed look, he set the other glass before me.
       “Grazie,” said Stefan, but the gondolier was already walking back to his post at the bar.
       “I’m not drinking that,” I said, pushing the glass into the center of the table. “Why in the world would he be giving us our drinks?”
       “A member of the brethren.”
       “Beg pardon?”
       “It’s a guild they have here,” he said, waving his hand dismissively. “I remember reading about it before we arrived. Quite powerful, I’ve heard. Its members are not limited to a single profession.”
       He was mocking me. I could see his mouth beginning to lift in a maddening smirk, a smile that was half sardonic and half secretive, as if the fate of the world depended on the answer to a riddle only he knew and would never share.
       I looked away from him in disgust, my eyes lighting upon the goblet I had refused. In all the tumult, I had not paid attention to the contents of the glass. Now that I studied it, I realized that it was the most viscous looking drink I had ever seen in my life. It did not look anything like wine, but rather resembled a thick, red-black custard. I felt sick just staring at it. Stefan shouldn’t drink that. Who knew where it came from and what it even was. I reached for the glass, but stopped myself before my fingers could close around the stem. Something distracted me, something I hadn’t noticed until that moment.
       Everyone else in the taverna was downing the same drink.
       “At last,” Stefan said, eying the glass hungrily. “It has to be drunk in one fell swoop, so the locals say. Well, when in Rome, eh, old friend?” And before I could answer, he set the glass against his lips, tilted back his head, and the liquid was gone. After a minute, he let out a satisfied sigh and opened his eyes. “Not bad,” he said. “Not bad at all.”
       Stefan signaled to the gondolier again. “Another two glasses of Sangue di Vita for me and my friend here,” he said in Venetian. By the time the gondolier turned away, Stefan had claimed my glass and drunk the wine in that goblet, too.
       “Tell me, Eric,” he said, licking a droplet from the corner of his mouth. “Have you ever tasted blood?”
       My mouth was so dry I could barely find the voice to answer him. “What an odd question…”
       “But a valid one. Well, have you?”
       “I’ve cut my lip before, so yes, I suppose I have tasted blood, but…”
       “Not your own, you foolish boy.” He let out a short, derisive laugh and leaned in so that he was only a few inches from my face. “I mean the blood of another.”
       “Good God, Stefan, of course not!”
       “Pity…”
       I jerked away from him in horror. There was such genuine disappointment in his voice when he said this that I believed he had finally gone insane.
       “Stefan, this is madness,” I said, my voice cracking in spite of my resolve to remain calm, “listen to yourself. What are you saying?”
       “I’m saying that there are things in this world you cannot understand. Things you don’t even want to imagine.”
       “And why should I be concerned about any of this?”
       The gondolier returned with two more glasses of the wine. Stefan inclined his head in thanks, took the goblet between his fingers, and looked me dead in the eyes. “Because, my dear Eric, I have tasted the secret knowledge. I know how much to say and when to pull back. I know what to see and not see. And now that I have become whole again, I can never go back. All these things he has given me. Better than my supposed mother and father ever could. For that, I owe him my life and allegiance.”
       “Stefan, this is nonsense!” I cried. My voice echoed off the walls of the suddenly silent room. Apparently, my outburst had made our table the center of attention. Dozens of bloodshot eyes were now leering at us. And all of those eyes looked…unnatural. It was something about them, the way they were illumined in the darkness, as if they possessed a light all their own. Of course, it could have been the sheen that occurs when one has had too much to drink, but I doubted that was the reason.
       I had seen the same glassy look in the eyes of the gondolier when he had attacked me.


About the author:

I have been an author since the age of fourteen and write Young/New Adult historical romance, suspense, supernatural/paranormal thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi, short stories, novellas—you name it, I write it! I am also a classically trained soprano/violinist/pianist and have been performing since the age of three. Additionally, I hold a BA in Management and an MBA in Marketing.
If I had not decided to become a writer, I would have become a marine biologist, but after countless years spent watching Shark Week, I realized I am very attached to my arms and legs and would rather write sharks into my stories than get up close and personal with those toothy wonders.

Find her:
  


Muse tour


Muse UnexpectedMuse Unexpected "We're Muses. Not vampires, not fairies, not werewolves. We're Muses." Sophie was sure her mother had reached an epic level of crazy. ‘We're Muses?' She thought Muses were lame, not to mention she found the idea ridiculous. However, Sophie couldn't explain away her physical transformation that made Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries look like a bad Walmart make-over, not to mention why her mood swings triggered an uncontrollable ability to shoot powerful bursts of energy out of her hands. Sophie soon realizes modern day Muses have evolved into powerful guardians of humankind, tasked with keeping mortals on the right path and the original Olympians locked away from the world. But old hatreds don't die easily, especially for immortal enemies that have an eternity to plot and gather their forces. Well aware of the Fates' foretelling of another Olympian war, and a young Muse that would rise up as a warrior and defeat them, the Olympians have vowed to either possess Sophie or destroy her. Either way, they will make sure everyone associated with their imprisonment will reap an eternal damnation in the Underworld, leaving the Olympians to restore Mount Olympus and force humankind into a future of never-ending servitude and misery.


Praise for Muse Unexpected "Ripe with conflict, skin-crawling creepy that is sprinkled with a wonderful sense of humor and a plot fraught with horrific danger in every step taken by Sophie, this book should be on the top of everyone's must read list. Simply put, I loved it and can't wait for book 2 to come out." ~Olive (Amazon Review) "I remember learning about mythology & Greek gods in elementary school....boring! Well, this fantastic book takes everything you thought about gods/mythology and turns it on it's ear, sort of like "Wicked" did to the "Wizard of OZ". At times funny at times gruesome and scary, this story definitely kept my interest. I loved the way the writer made the gods "human". I also liked the subtle, blink and you'll miss them hints sprinkled throughout the story. Don't let the young adult genre scare you away. This is an engaging story that can be enjoyed by all. Can't wait for the next one!!!!" ~Paula (Amazon Review)   Author V.C. Birlidis V.C. Birlidis was born and raised in Miami, Florida and has always been involved in the arts. He attended the New World School of the Arts and was a member of The Miami Ballet. Mr. Birlidis moved to Ohio to attend college where he earned his Bachelor's degree in marketing and communications from Capital University. He currently is the Director of Marketing at one of the top midwest advertising agencies, SBC Advertising. He has freelanced as a writer for Outlook News and Tickled Pink Magazine, where he wrote a comical advice column named Ask V. Five years in the making and inspired by the numerous Greek myths his father would utilize as demented bed time stories, Muse, Unexpected is Mr. Birlidis' first novel. It is the first book in his Muse series.  


Excerpt:

“Mom, step away from the mirror. Let me see what has happened to me.” “But I need to explain first. It’s like this, some people may have a few additional doors open and because of those open doors, they have some extra abilities like being able to tell the future or being able to speak with the dead. Now, beings like us have the majority of our doors opened and our soul is expanded to allow us to do the things we can do. Otherwise, our soul would be ripped to shreds.” Sophie’s arms shook; a searing heat building inside her as crackling electricity filled the air. “What has happened to me, Mom? I need to see.” She lifted her head; her eye’s meeting her mother’s. The heat was almost unbearable, burning in her eyes and moving toward her clenched fists. Her hands tingled and burned. She was sure they were going to explode. Callie held firm. “Honey, calm down. You don’t have control of your emotions. It’s always difficult at first, but—” Sophie was furious and she let whatever control she had slip away. Her eyes were burning through her mother, in an attempt to reach the covered mirror. With a steady voice, Sophie said, “Let me see.” She shook her hands, in an attempt to shake off the heat pooling in them. Instead of feeling relief, the energy surged from her. Callie threw herself out of the way, falling forward onto the floor as the energy burst hit the mirror, ripping the heavy curtains and massive iron rods off the wall and cracking the mirror from top to bottom. Sharp pieces of mirror rained down, as both women crashed to the floor. “Ow!” The slivers of mirror glass sliced her palms. She grew silent watching the mirror-shards pushing themselves out of her skin. The cuts bled a little then stopped bleeding and healed before her eyes. She stood, afraid to move, trying to get her mind around what she was seeing. “What the heck is wrong with me?” Sophie said, as she burst into tears. Although a good portion of the mirror was destroyed, Sophie could still make out most of her reflection. She lifted her right hand and touched her face, realizing she was staring back at the girl from her nightmare. It was the girl who had pushed her into the grave. This is more than just a little liposuction or a hair straightening. Am I a victim of an alien attack? Was this the work of body snatchers?


Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/21/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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orphan tour


orphan thiefThe Orphan and the Thief An adventure that will keep you and your kids spellbound.
Toad thought it’d be easy to steal from Mr. Edward P. Owl. Unfortunately for Toad, he isn’t the best of thieves. Caught in the act, he’s in more trouble than ever before. Now to save his hide, Toad must track down five rare potion ingredients for Mr. Owl. Or else.All Melena Snead wants is her family back, but after the Miggens Street Fire, that isn’t very likely. Orphaned and miserable, forced to work in an apothecary, she’s determined to find Milo, her missing brother. No matter what. When Melena finds Toad ransacking her apothecary, Toad gets a nasty shock: apothecaries don’t carry Mr. Owl’s ingredients. Luckily, Melena’s willing to help, for a price. With Melena’s pet Spit-Fire dragon and Toad’s enchanted talking beer mug, they embark on a fantastical journey, traveling the country in search of the potion ingredients. But can they gather all of them in time, what with monsters, pirates, and axe-wielding thieves? And if they do, is there an even greater danger waiting for them at the end?


Excerpt:

Panicking, Toad rushed, “Come on, Gent. There’s gotta be somethin’ that ya want! My prices are reasonable!” “The price is your life,” Mr. Owl stated, gently placing the dragon statue upon the desk. Mr. Ogg stopped again, his ham-sized hands falling back to his sides. Toad fell silent, too stunned to dare hope that he wasn’t about to be killed. “Let me explain how this will work, Mr. Toad. If tonight was like any other night I would happily see your neck snapped and toss you out like the bit of filth that you are.” He gave a heavy sigh. “However, the Hickory Guard have become annoyingly tedious ever since that upstart became Captain.” “Ya mean Dowell?” asked Toad. “The man has become so inflated with self importance that he’s actually having me followed. Can you imagine? Me?” “That’s … awful?” said Toad awkwardly, unsure how to respond. “So, you will forgive me for not wanting to waste Mr. Ogg’s talents on you with so little preplanning.” He gave the window a casual glance. “I’m sure a guard is stationed outside somewhere and disposing of your body without detection will be troublesome to say the least.” “Pardon me, sir,” Mr. Ogg interrupted, “but it would be no trouble.” “Ah, Mr. Ogg! How I like you!” Mr. Owl cheered. “Always ready to break a neck. Good fellow!” “We can stash him in one of the upstairs rooms,” Mr. Ogg continued in his deep, ocean floor voice. “I’ll make sure he won’t bleed.” “But a body, even in such a large house, will be difficult to hide if Dowell decides to search the place, as he has been hinting at for the last fortnight. No, no, my man. We cannot afford the risk of housing him here.” Toad sat still in his chair. It wasn’t every day that his own murder was discussed in such a light, conversational manner.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAM.L LeGette: Melissa Lee LeGette has been writing seriously since she was a teen. She loves an old world vibe with a magical twist, and she puts her full focus on creating believable characters--even if they happen to be a talking beer mug. Her books are targeted for children and teens, but have been enjoyed by adults of all ages. She lives in Georgia where she helps run a family farm, so her nails are a fright.




Praise: [LeGette is] able to twist her unique fairy-tales to fit the imagination of children and the attention of adults. Five stars ... The Orphan and the Thief is definitely worth reading! -- Abigail / Goodreads Review M.L. Legette conjures up a captivating magical tale in The Orphan and the Thief. I loved this story and I could not put my Kindle down until I finished the last page. This charming story is so good that it may very well become a classic. -- Karen Dowdall, Author of Delphi Altair: Strange Beginnings

 

Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/23/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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What is Twilight?

twi·light

/ˈtwīˌlīt/
Noun
  1. The soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun's rays from the atmosphere.
  2. The period of the evening during which this takes place, between daylight and darkness.
Synonyms
dusk - gloaming - nightfall

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