From Frights to Flaws – Blitz

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Middle Grade Fantasy
Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions, Book 1
Publisher: S.A. Prasad Publishing
Published: October 2018
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An Adventure of Modern Magic
Twelve-year-old Alyssa McCarthy longs for a better life. She lost her parents at age seven and her aunt at nine. Her uncle also enforces unfair rules. But Alyssa discovers something she has never thought existed before… magic. A wicked sorcerer hunts her down. He kidnaps her from her ordinary New Jersey town to Yanowic, an enchanted island in Fiji.
Alyssa is trapped in the country due to a giant shield covering it. She must defeat dangerous creatures and the evil wizard in order to leave. But with sorcerers and enchanted technology getting in her way, can Alyssa succeed?
Originally published in 2013, the book has been updated to its full potential with edits, while keeping the storyline the same.
Excerpt
 
 1
Rain banged against the window. Alyssa looked up from washing her lunch dishes and stared at it. At least she could daydream while no one else noticed. After all, how else would she spend life without family fun—or even love? Her uncle enforced strict and unfair rules. Alyssa longed for the kind of life she’d lived before her parents had died in a car crash five years ago. She’d only been seven at that time, and now she couldn’t experience things like many children her age. Unless . . . she could find her godfather’s phone number and secretly call him. She hadn’t talked to him ever since she’d also lost her aunt three years ago. But she recalled his kind attitude. Her parents had even designated him as a legal guardian. But something seemed off with the raindrops. They turned grayish blue and darkened into black, looking as if ink fell from the sky. Alyssa leaned closer, squinting to determine the shapes it formed on the window. The rain formed—letters. No. That couldn’t happen. But a message formed as the rain plopped on other parts of the window. Nature couldn’t change its laws, right? Yet, the message finished putting itself together. Alyssa gasped at what it said.
 Your life will never be the same again, Alyssa McCarthy, as magic will interfere.
 What? Alyssa had never believed in magic. She’d been told at a young age that it hadn’t existed. Everyone on Orion Street was ordinary—at least, Alyssa had thought that ever since she’d moved here, right after her parents’ deaths.   Turning around, she saw her babysitter, Mrs. Hutchinson, examine the kitchen floor. Alyssa’s eleven-year-old cousin, Hailey, watched the progress. Hailey had mopped the floor. Would she earn a break now? Ever since her uncle, Bruce, had hired Mrs. Hutchinson, Mrs. Hutchinson had admired the way Hailey had done her chores more than Alyssa.  “Hailey, you can take a break until your next chore,” said Mrs. Hutchinson. “Alyssa, get back to work. You’ve been staring at the rain for too long.”  “Okay.” Alyssa turned back—only to see the message gone and the rain back to its normal transparency.   “What did I say?” asked Mrs. Hutchinson.  Alyssa sighed. “Fine, I’ll finish washing the dishes.”  She scrubbed her dish and glass with soap under warm running water. Her eyes focused on just those. No way would she want Mrs. Hutchinson to catch her looking out the window again. Mrs. Hutchinson was only in her sixties, but she’d sometimes seem to forget that was 2010 and not 1960 with her guidelines. Yet, it had taken Alyssa a while to realize that she wouldn’t even tolerate the mildest kind of nonsense, such as getting distracted by a windowpane when having to perform chores.  Now that she finished washing her dishes, Alyssa put them to the side and grabbed some paper towels to dry them.  “What do you think you’re doing?” Mrs. Hutchinson asked.  Alyssa stopped. “I’m just—”  “The last few times I was here, you left little bits of food on your dishes.”   “But they were stuck.”
 “Let me inspect them. Also, if something is rubbery, you have to wash it again.”  “Why?”  “Because clean dishes aren’t supposed to be rubbery. And boy, did you do such a sloppy job. Look at that stain on your sweater.”  Alyssa looked down.  “That looks like chocolate.”   Alyssa blushed and arched her eyebrows.  “Hey—it’s just water.” She covered the stain at the bottom of her sweater’s V-neck.  But Mrs. Hutchinson waved her index finger. “Don’t you ‘hey’ me, Alyssa. That’s rude. In my days, kids respected their elders. We never would dare talk to them that way unless we didn’t mind them smacking our bottoms.”  “Things change.”   “Not when I’m here, they don’t. Now let me do my inspection.”  Great—an inspection! How long would Mrs. Hutchinson take? She might spend a couple minutes or maybe twenty. Alyssa crossed her arms and tapped her foot. She wanted her break now. She wished to read, rest, do a small craft, like lanyards—anything but wait for Mrs. Hutchinson to finish her task.  “Mrs. Hutchinson?” Alyssa asked.  “Whatever you need to say, wait till I’m done,” she said.   Alyssa sighed. She continued to watch Mrs. Hutchinson run her finger down the middle of the front of the dish. She then rubbed it back and forth. When she put it down and nodded, Alyssa figured out that the dish had nothing on it.  Mrs. Hutchinson spent a few minutes of running her finger down the glass. She put it down and turned to Alyssa. “You’re good. Now what did you want to tell me?”  “Um . . . if I tell you, can you not give me a hard time?”   “Okay.”  “There was writing on the window.”  Mrs. Hutchinson pursed her lips and tilted her head. “Really?”  “Yeah.”  “Nonsense.”   “No, really, it was there.”   “There was nothing there when I came, and there’s nothing there right now. So don’t tell me stories.”  “But it’s not a story.”  “I don’t want to hear any more. Now it’s time for your next chore.”  “Aw, but I wanted my break.”  “Too bad. You have to go vacuum the living room.”  Alyssa dragged her feet toward the living room and took the vacuum from the corner. She cleaned and thought about that writing as well as how Mrs. Hutchinson wouldn’t believe her. Would a nicer babysitter have believed her? Mrs. Hutchinson had watched her and Hailey for three years, and not once had she smiled or assisted with anything.   After vacuuming the carpet for about five minutes, Alyssa decided that she had tidied the floor enough. So she stopped and put the vacuum away.  “Hailey, you and Alyssa need to go get the mail now!” Mrs. Hutchinson called, facing the staircase.   “Coming!” cried Hailey.
Another rule Uncle Bruce had placed on Alyssa and Hailey was they could only go outside together. He worried about people taking them or something, even though Alyssa would turn thirteen next month. But that rule had been placed because a few months ago, Uncle Bruce had heard about a seventeen-year-old boy who had been shot while skateboarding in his neighborhood. Violence could even happen here in Bursnell, New Jersey.  Hailey and Alyssa headed to the closet and put their raincoats on until Mrs. Hutchinson said, “It stopped raining outside.”  “Already?” asked Alyssa.  “Yes.” Mrs. Hutchinson went to the bathroom.   The girls walked outside toward the mailbox. Alyssa pulled the mail and headed back toward the door. But mud bubbled from the ground near the house. It piled up, looking like horse manure, and grew as more soil emerged. Alyssa dropped her jaw and stared at it.  “Alyssa, what’s going on?” Hailey asked.   “No idea,” said Alyssa.  The dirt stopped piling up, but it continued to bubble, and the effects spread throughout the whole pile. The bubbles stopped popping up and down. Alyssa and Hailey gasped as they expanded. They kept their mouths open as the bubbles merged together, each one attached to another, forming a single bigger shape. Alyssa and Hailey stepped back as the now giant bubble swelled. And it . . . popped! Particles of exploding mud landed on the girls. They shrieked.  The front door opened to reveal a glowering Mrs. Hutchinson. “What the heck have you two been doing?”   “T-the mud . . . it e-exploded,” said Hailey.   “Nonsense!” growled Mrs. Hutchinson. “Get inside!”  The girls returned inside, pulling and wiping the mud out of their hair. Alyssa could spot the mud in her straight pale-blonde tresses, unlike Hailey, who likely needed more patience to search for globs in her elbow-length red locks. But Alyssa’s hair fell a few inches past her hips, so cleaning out the mud would take longer, even with the shorter layers in the front.  “How could dirt explode?” Mrs. Hutchinson stomped.   “I-I think it was magic!” exclaimed Alyssa.  “There’s no such thing as magic!” screamed Mrs. Hutchinson. “Alyssa, you’re twelve years old. You’re too old to say things like that!”  “But nothing else can make mud explode!” Alyssa said.  “Mrs. Hutchinson, we swear it did!” whined Hailey.   “Enough!” snapped Mrs. Hutchinson. “You and Hailey—go upstairs and take showers!”  Alyssa followed Hailey up the stairs and heaved a sigh. How else would the mud have splattered all over them? Mrs. Hutchinson couldn’t have thought they’d play in the mud like small children.  “Alyssa, can I shower first?” asked Hailey.   “Sure,” said Alyssa.  As Hailey strode into the bathroom, Alyssa walked into her room. She scratched more mud off her skinny jeans (the only jeans she’d worn ever since they’d come into style) and the back of her hand. She stood by her bed since she wanted to keep it clean.  She considered the writing on the window and the exploding mud. Someone wanted magic to interfere with her life, but who, and how come?
 Also, why hadn’t she ever seen wizardry before? Why would her parents and others tell her that it hadn’t existed? Did sorcery just start on earth? Had it hidden somewhere? There had to be some reason why no one had ever believed in it.  Alyssa thought about the possibility that maybe magic might only interfere if she stayed here in her uncle’s house. Maybe if her godfather could arrange with his lawyer to let her move in with him, sorcery would hopefully leave her alone. However, unlike science, anything could occur with magic, which meant that it could follow her wherever she went.   The sound produced by the bathroom’s running water ended, which let Alyssa know that Hailey had finished. Now she could have a turn.  After about five minutes showering, Alyssa stepped out and headed back to her room. She put on leggings and a long shirt. But she gasped at something appearing out of nowhere on her bed. Now that had to have come from . . . magic.  Approaching it, she saw that it was a folded piece of paper. She opened it and read it. Hello Alyssa McCarthy, You must be wondering about the writing on your window, the exploding mud, and the note that appeared here. Who was responsible for them? You’ll find out at some point. Anonymous
 Anonymous? How dare someone create incidents and not say his or her name! Alyssa needed to know his or her identity in order to report him or her. She didn’t want strange, magical occurrences to keep happening.  Regardless of that, now she had proof to Mrs. Hutchinson that the writing and exploding mud had occurred. Mrs. Hutchinson had seen her write before, and this looked nothing like hers. She handwrote in a half-print and half-script style. This, however, was pure print. Alyssa jogged down the stairs and carried the note. “Mrs. Hutchinson, I have something to show you.”   “Not right now, Alyssa.” Mrs. Hutchinson left the kitchen. “You and Hailey have to go wash my car.”  “But it’s quick.”  “You can show me after you’re done with my car.” Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Hailey, who emptied the dishwasher and put dishes away. “Are you almost done?”  “I think so,” said Hailey.  “How many dishes do you have left?” asked Mrs. Hutchinson.  “Uh . . .” Hailey looked at the top rack. “Four.”  “Okay, hurry up.” Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Alyssa. “Why don’t you go put that piece of paper away?”  “But this is what I need to show you.”   “Do I have to repeat what I said before?”   “But—”  “Alyssa, do as you’re told.” Mrs. Hutchinson pointed to the staircase.  Alyssa sighed. This note contained so much crucial information. Only that paper itself had evidence to show that those incidents had occurred.
 After putting the note back in her room, Alyssa headed down the stairs and walked with Hailey toward the garage. The two grabbed sponges, buckets, and soap for washing cars. They filled the buckets with water and scrubbed Mrs. Hutchinson’s car.  “I wish we had another babysitter,” muttered Alyssa.   “What was on the piece of paper?” asked Hailey.  Alyssa told her.   “Who wrote it?”  “There was no name on it. Just ‘anonymous.’”  A girl whistling turned Alyssa’s attention away from the car. She leaned her head toward the sidewalk and saw her friend from grade school, Madison Jennings, riding her scooter.  “Hi, Alyssa,” said Madison. The wind blew her long dark-brown waves across her face. She stopped at Alyssa’s driveway, and her hair went limp. Hailey and Alyssa ran up to greet her and ask how she’d been.  “I just moved onto Draco Drive a few days ago,” Madison referred to a road off Orion Street.  “So how do you like the middle school?” asked Alyssa.   “Oh, I go to Catholic school now,” said Madison. “What about you?”  “Hailey and I are homeschooled now,” said Alyssa. “I never got to tell you.”  “That’s okay,” said Madison. “So you guys want to come over to my house on Saturday?”  “What time?” asked Alyssa.  “I’ll ask my mom and let you know,” said Madison. “Okay, bye, guys. Nice seeing you again.” She rode back in the direction she’d come from as Hailey and Alyssa waved goodbye to her.  After washing the car for another ten minutes, Alyssa and Hailey cleaned up and walked back inside. A snore suggested to Alyssa that Mrs. Hutchinson slept. Huh? She never napped while babysitting.  Alyssa strode toward the living room and saw Mrs. Hutchinson asleep on one of the couches. Hailey followed her. “Why is Mrs. Hutchinson sleeping?”   “I don’t know,” said Alyssa.  “Can you show me the note?”  Alyssa nodded and led her up the stairs. She opened her door but gasped at what she saw. The note that she’d left on her bed was gone.  “Where’s the note?” asked Hailey.  “It was right there,” Alyssa pointed to the bed.  But another piece of paper appeared onto the mattress. Alyssa picked it up and read it.
Hello again, Alyssa,
I have put your babysitter to sleep to reveal magic to you. You’ll find out why she is sleeping later. Anonymous
 “Not again,” mumbled Alyssa. “Why won’t they say their name?” She showed the note to Hailey.  “Let’s go call my dad before anything happens,” said Hailey.
 How much worse could this get? Alyssa thought as she followed Hailey down the stairs.
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About the Author

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Sunayna Prasad has published a few books between her late teens and her mid-twenties. She has won a Pacific Book Review Award for her novel, Wizardry Goes Wild, which will return as a new edition, like From Frights to Flaws. Sunayna also has a blog on different creative and entertaining topics, including writing and fiction. It is called “Sunayna Prasad’s Blog”.
Aside from writing, Sunayna also likes to cook, do art, and watch videos online. She has graduated from college in May 2017 and is looking to continue more writing as well as hold a graphic design job soon. Sunayna lives on Long Island, NY.
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Well Below Heaven – Reveal

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Literary / YA (older teen)
Publisher: Cur Dog Press
Published Date: February 7, 2019
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Seventeen year old Kelly is in a spartan boarding school in northern Idaho, sent away for drugs—as planned. Her little brother Sammy is left home in Missouri, getting ready for high school. He is twitchy, quick, writes dark poetry and longs to play football. He’s also got a nose for trouble, and Kelly has left a sordid truckload. Her sadistic ex is involved, so is one twisted teacher, and so is the object of Sammy’s crush. He’s in deep, and Kelly’s warnings fall flat, and the consequences will be dire.

 

About the Author
After an adolescence survived in the Midwest and a few obligatory years at the university, Idyllwild Eliot embarked on a journey of internal and external exploration. With stints in Houston, Louisiana, and even Thailand, where she studied yoga, Ms. Eliot has become a semi-professional vagabond. Most recently (at the time of publication) she has been experiencing the North American west. If not sipping a cocktail on a deck in the northern Rockies, she might be found bodysurfing in Southern California, watching Bald Eagles in Montana, or in some other picturesque town hiking, meditating, or sitting with her laptop open and, at its side, a stout mug of black coffee. Well Below Heaven is her debut.
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A CURSED MOON – Cover Reveal

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A CURSED MOON

by Cecy Robson
Weird Girls, #2.5
Publication Date: January 30, 2019
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance

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SYNOPSIS

Meet the furry big brother that the Wird sisters never had…

Bren is a cocky, brash hound of a werewolf who loathes the idea of belonging to Aric’s pack—much less finding a mate. But Bren’s hotheaded behavior lands him in the doghouse when he defies Aric’s authority in front of his pack, bringing up a sore subject that’s bound to make the Alpha wolf’s blood boil…

Luckily for him, no one can stay mad at Bren and his wild charm for long. And when some frightening ghosts launch a hostile paranormal takeover, Bren will team up with Celia to take down the evil ghouls before they hurt someone they both love…

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EXCLUSIVE REVEAL EXCERPT

“Damn it, Bren—wake up!”

“Hmmph?” Someone with a death wish was shaking me. You don’t disturb a werewolf’s sleep; that’s just common fucking sense. The breeze shot through the cracked opened window, bringing a strong whiff of Tahoe’s magic. I grinned and inhaled. That shit was better than witch ganja, and it lulled me back to sleep.

But then Dan flipped on the leg lamp on my nightstand and opened his yap again. “Wake up, I mean it.”

“Grrrrr.”

“You can take that werewolf shit and shove it up your ass.”

That made me chuckle into my pillow. Dan swearing was damn funnier than Elmo dropping the “F” bomb. He shook me again, this time harder. I flipped over and tried to get comfortable.

“For crying out loud, put some pants on! I don’t need to see your . . . stuff.”

“It’s my goddamn room. I can sleep naked if I want. And what the hell do you mean by ‘stuff’? What are you, ten?”

Dan ignored me. “Bren, your stupid one-night stand stole all our food, our DVDs, and our laundry detergent.”

I half-opened one eye. “Wendy wouldn’t do anything like that.”

“Her name was Natasha.”

“You sure?”

“That’s the name she wrote all over my bathroom with her lipstick.”

I sat abruptly, suddenly panicked. “She didn’t take my porn, did she?”

Dan’s jaw slacked. “Is that all you care about, that she took your porn?”

“No. For shit’s sake I’m hungrier than hell. How are you going to fix me breakfast without any food?”

Dan threw his hands in the air, in that same exaggerated way he always did when I pushed him to his breaking point. He kicked my dirty clothes on the floor and paced like an expectant dad. “You have the audacity to think I’d actually cook you breakfast—after what your one-nighter did?”

I scratched my beard. Damn, I needed a trim. “Well, yeah. It’s your job around here, you’re the woman. You’re supposed to cook, clean, and pay most of the bills. My job is to keep your ass safe from humans, vamps, weres, witches, little old ladies, and pretty much anything else you’re afraid of. It’s part of our deal, along with me getting you laid.”

Dan stomped to the side of my bed, stumbling over a pair of my old jeans. “First of all, it was just that one little old lady. I may be human, but I’m pretty sure she was some kind of spirit―especially given the amount of supernatural activity around here lately. Secondly, I don’t need help getting laid.”

I stared at my beanpole roommate. His messy curly hair hung over his thick black-framed glasses, and he tripped over air on a regular basis. Jesus. There were Girl Scouts more muscular and agile than him. “Yes, you do, Dan.”

“I’ve gotten laid a lot lately, all without your help.”

“Ugly girls don’t count, man.”

“Celia’s not ugly.”

I laughed and yanked at my overgrown hair. Damn, I needed a cut, too. But unlike Dan, I did grunge well. “Celia was more than eight years ago.” I chuckled again. Talk about a mercy lay.

He narrowed his eyes. “What’s so funny?”

“I still can’t believe you were her first. How’d you talk her into it? Did you promise to tutor her in chemistry or something?”

Dan’s entire face reddened, making him look more like a tomato than a walking piece of broccoli. “Whatever, Bren. I’ll prove to you I can get laid.”

“Sure, sure, you can get laid. Don’t get your thong in a bunch.”

Dan stamped his foot. Shit, I only thought girls did that.

“I mean it, Bren. I have to work late at the lab tonight, but I’ll meet you at eleven at the Watering Hole. I’m going to get a girl so hot your head will spin.”

I yawned. “Sure you will, buddy.”

“Fine. If you don’t believe me, how about we bet on it?”

“Dan, you don’t want to bet me on something like that. You’ll only lose and embarrass yourself.”

“You’re just afraid. I thought you were a wolf, not a chicken.”

My brows furrowed and I snarled. “Did you just call me a chicken?” This time it was Dan’s turn to laugh. I could be pretty damn intimidating, but he knew I’d never hurt him. He was a mothering pain in the ass, but also the best friend I’d ever had.

“You heard me, clucky.”

A slow grin eased across my face. “All right then, name the terms.”

“The loser has to clean and cook for the rest of the year . . .”

“Is that the best you can come up with? Oooh, I’m real scared now.”

“. . . wearing a French maid outfit, regardless of who’s in the apartment.”

My grin widened. The little turd had some balls after all. “You’re on.” I held out my hand. He refused to shake it until after I showered.

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ABOUT CECY ROBSON

Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

Connect with Cecy online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Bookbub | Goodreads | Amazon Author Profile

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Before We Were Perfect – Blitz

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Drama, Dramatic Comedy, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Moon Leaf Publishing
Published: January 2018
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Before We Were Perfect has been adapted into an award-winning screenplay titled Perfectly Normal in Flagstaff. The screenplay won Best Feature Script in the 2018 Top Indie Film Awards and a 2018 Silver Screen award in the Nevada International Film Festival.
Inspired by true events; Before We Were Perfect is a dramatic comedy about the Havreaux family and their ragin’ Cajun uncle. Julz Havreaux is a beautiful young woman with imperfections who meets an imperfect handsome wounded warrior turned writer. Through comedic mishaps and drama, they discover that in spite of their imperfections they are perfect together. Contains adult themes, intense drama, sensuality, humor, and love.
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About the Author

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Multiple award-winning Author: S.D. Moore writes in spite of being a brain-damaged, heart damaged Air Force veteran who also battles Lupus. She is the author of the award-winning screenplay, Perfectly Normal in Flagstaff which won a 2018 Silver Screen award in the Nevada International Film Festival. S.D. is also the author of Readers’ Favorite 2017 International Gold Medal (1st place) winning horror novel Wicked Prayers, the award-winning Adventures of PJ and Split Pea and the workbook Basics to Business: Minding Your Business with Excel. She is also a patented inventor of The Portable Hot Sink System; has an ABD towards a Doctorate of Education, holds dual master’s degrees in management and human resources development.
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THE SAFFRON CONSPIRACY by Marilyn Baron – Release Blitz

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The Saffron Conspiracy: A Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense, Mystery, Historical
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
Love blossoms after a chance meeting between Austrian Botanist Andreas Bauer and Charleston Heiress Savannah Sutherland at the Bahnhof St. Valentin. But dark family secrets and an explosive, centuries-old conspiracy cast deadly shadows and threatens to derail their romance.
Botanist Andreas Bauer, passionate about saffron, plans to reintroduce organic farming of the world’s most expensive spice to a region of Austria now known for its wine. Meeting resistance from vintners, he does research in a local abbey and discovers a dark secret regarding a king’s ransom gone astray hundreds of years before. Heiress Savannah Sutherland is on her way to learn the wine business from her uncle, who owns one of the largest vineyards in the area. She has no idea she is expected to marry the heir of a neighboring estate to expand her uncle’s empire.
Sparks fly when Andreas sets eyes on Savannah, and he knows they’re destined to be together. But their growing attraction is threatened by her uncle–and by whoever orders a deadly attack on Andreas. Dark family secrets and a dangerous, centuries-old conspiracy cast deathly shadows over the love Andreas and Savannah share.

About Marilyn Baron

Marilyn Baron

Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres, from humorous women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. The Saffron Conspiracy: A Novel is her 24th work of fiction. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel With Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance and was The Finalist for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for The Alibi and The Finalist for the 2017 GAYA Awards in the Romance Category for Stumble Stones: A Novel. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers and a member of Atlanta Writers Club. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, Marilyn graduated with a BS in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. She is co-chair of the 2018 Roswell Reads Steering Committee and serves on the Atlanta Authors Committee. Read more about Marilyn at www.marilynbaron.com.
Social media links: Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Giveaway

WIN AN ORANGE SHOP PRINT AND SAFFRON GIFT BAG
The Saffron Conspiracy: A Novel Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
1) Print of The Orange Shop by Florida artist Sharon Goldman
2) A Saffron Gift Bag
Contest runs from January 7 – 13, 2019.

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