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Friday, July 10, 2020

The Umpire Was Blind! by Jonathan Weeks - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Jonathan Weeks and his new book, “The Umpire Was Blind!”  For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Jonathan and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!


The Umpire Was Blind!
by Jonathan Weeks

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GENRE: Sports History/Biography

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BLURB:

In the words of former American League umpire Nestor Chylak, umpires are expected to “be perfect on the first day of the season and then get better every day.” Forced to deal with sullen managers and explosive players, they often take the blame for the failures of both. But let’s face it—umpires are only human.

For well over a century, the fortunes of Major League teams—and the fabric of baseball history itself—have been dramatically affected by the flawed decisions of officials. While the use of video replay in recent decades has reduced the number of bitter disputes, many situations remain exempt from review and are subject to swirling controversy. In the heat of the moment mistakes are often made, sometimes with monumental consequences.

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EXCERPT TWO:

JOE DiMAGGIO’S 56-GAME HITTING STREAK:

…“The Streak” was in serious jeopardy on multiple occasions. In fact, DiMaggio extended it during his final plate appearance nearly a dozen times. But never was he more in danger of losing it than on June 10 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. After a pair of groundouts and an infield pop-up, the Yankee icon came to bat in the seventh inning against right-hander Johnny Rigney, who was one of Chicago’s top hurlers in those days. DiMaggio smashed a sizzling grounder to third, where the sure-handed Dario Lodigiani was stationed. “Lodi” could only block it with his body, but he recovered in time to nail the Yankee centerfielder at first by a quarter of a step. Fortunately for DiMaggio, first base umpire Steve Basil saw things differently, making a “safe” call on the play.

Basil, who had turned to umpiring after his playing career stalled out at the Class-D level, was in his sixth year of major league service. Though generally even-tempered, he was not afraid to assert his authority when his calls were held in question. Never was this more apparent than in June of 1938, when he tossed three members of the St. Louis Browns out of a game for arguing balls and strikes.

According to AL arbiter Joe Rue, Basil was a bit of a tattletale who was constantly trying to curry favor with MLB officials. In particular, he had established intimate relationships with umpire supervisor Tommy Connolly and AL president William Harridge. “Basil was always playing up to Connolly,” Rue asserted bitterly. “And he’d run to Connolly and Harridge with everything.”

There was no need to seek the counsel of league officials on the date in question. In fact, the White Sox hardly protested at all as DiMaggio’s streak was extended to twenty-five games. Basil’s call proved to be of monumental importance when Joe D. grounded into a double play in his final at-bat of the day. Had Basil made the correct decision, “The Streak” would have been divided into two roughly equal halves—impressive, for sure, but not exactly the stuff that legends are made of.

The events of July 17, 1941, have attained an almost mythical quality. DiMaggio had pushed his streak to fifty-six games and was on his way to Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium in a cab when the driver, recognizing the iconic outfielder and his teammate Lefty Gomez, said ominously: “I got a feeling if you don’t get a hit in your first at-bat today, they’re going to stop you.” (Several versions of the quote exist) Flabbergasted, Gomez snapped: “Who the hell are you? What’re you trying to do—jinx him?”

…Gomez might have been on to something.

The jinx appeared in the form of Indians third baseman Ken Keltner, who made a pair of spectacular stops to rob DiMaggio. “The Streak” ended that day and “Joltin’ Joe” hit safely in his next 16 games. Many years after the fact, he claimed to have had an encounter with the mysterious Cleveland cab driver. “Now this is thirty years later,” DiMaggio asserted. “He apologized and was serious. I felt awful. He might have been spending his whole life thinking he had jinxed me, but I told him he hadn’t. My number was up.”

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GUEST POST:

UMPIRES OF THE OLD SCHOOL:
DICK HIGHAM

If there were a Hall of Fame for dishonest umpires, Dick Higham would be a founding member. To date, he remains the only arbiter ever to be permanently banished from the sport.

Born in County Suffolk, England, Higham was two years-old when he moved with his family to America. He began playing baseball as a teenager. After spending time with the New York Empire and Marrisania Union clubs, he ascended to the majors with the New York Mutuals. The promotion was bittersweet as his mother passed away within weeks of his big league arrival.

Higham was a talented hitter, compiling a lifetime .307 batting average for six different teams. Most often appearing at the top of the order, he led the National League in doubles twice and runs score once. A versatile fielder, he played every position on the diamond except for pitcher. He served in the outfield more often than not, but also spent a significant amount of time behind the plate. Catching was a hazardous profession in the 1800s due to the lack of protective equipment. Gloves were sparsely padded. There were no shin-guards and the use of masks and chest protectors was uncommon.

Over the course of his career, rumors began to circulate that Higham was fixing games for a price. Though nothing was ever proven, his playing days ended when he was still very much in his prime. Upon retiring in 1880, he settled in Troy, New York. Despite his questionable past, the National League hired him as an umpire in 1881. At the time, NL umpires had to be approved by team owners. Of the two dozen candidates selected that year, Higham placed third in voting.

Umpires were assigned to specific teams and Higham ended up with the Providence Grays to start the season. Later that year, he called games for the Detroit Wolverines and Troy Trojans. In all, he drew fifty-eight assignments, performing well enough to be honored with a testimonial game at season’s end.

In 1882, Higham placed eighth in voting during the selection process. He started the season with Detroit and drew the suspicions of Wolverines owner William G. Thompson, who believed that Higham was making calls against his team. A private detective hired by Thompson confirmed those misgivings. A letter written by Higham to a notorious gambler was discovered. In it, a simple telegram code for placing bets was established. “Buy all the lumber you can” was a cue to bet on the Wolverines while no telegram was an advisement to bet against them.

Confronted by a group of disgruntled owners, Higham was fired from his position and banned from the sport. He never admitted to any of the charges made against him. Upon being dismissed from his duties, he settled into a career as a bookkeeper. He was married with two sons at the time of his death in 1905 from complications of Bright’s disease (an ailment characterized by chronic inflammation of the kidneys).

Higham’s case helped raise awareness of the dishonesty within baseball and the need to hold umpires accountable for their actions. 1882 was the first year in which umpires, players and managers were all prohibited from betting on games. Though shady dealings would continue to pervade the sport over the next few decades, the situation was more closely monitored following Higham’s expulsion.

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AUTHOR BIO:


Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District region of New York State. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany. In 2004, he migrated to Malone, NY. He continues to gripe about the frigid winter temperatures to the present day. He has published several books on the topic of baseball. He would have loved to play professionally, but lacked the talent. He still can't hit a curve ball or lay off the high heat. In the winter months, he moonlights as a hockey fan.

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CONNECT WITH JONATHAN:

Website:

BookBub Book Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page #1:

Goodreads Book Page #2:

Amazon Author Page:

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BOOK BUY LINKS:


Amazon Kindle eBook:

Amazon Paperback:

Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook:

Barnes and Noble Paperback:

Kobo eBook:

Google Play eBook:

The Book Depository Paperback:

BAM! Books-A-Million Paperback:

McFarland Books Paperback:

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GIVEAWAY INFO:

Jonathan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Blue Magnolia by W.F. Ranew - Book Tour - Book Review - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host by W.F. Ranew and his new book, “Blue Magnolia”!  For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with W.F. and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!


Blue Magnolia
by W.F. Ranew

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GENRE: Mystery-Thriller

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BLURB:

PI Red Farlow dives headfirst into a hornets' nest of extremists. His new client, Hank Tillman, only wants to get a shot at country music stardom. While playing in a Georgia bar, Hank—known as Cowboy to his fans—stumbles into trouble. The kind that kills. PI Red Farlow steps in to help him.

Hank’s song, Redneck Devil, attracts the attention of a violent group called the Blue Magnolia. Its leaders want him to perform at their next hate rally. There's another, darker reason the Blue Magnolia wants Hank in its fold.

An elderly patient in a Florida insane asylum reveals a decades-long secret that devastates Hank. It’s the worst kind of fake news.

Can Farlow root out the truth? The PI has his own problems as he confronts a hired killer face-to-face.

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EXCERPT THREE:

As he connected the amp to the microphone, foot pedal, and other electrical components, someone walked up to him.

“Can I get you a Coke, sweetie pie?” the tender young voice behind him asked.

Hank turned to see a divine presence. He couldn’t say anything for a moment because he started trembling. Did her beauty do this to him? Or perhaps the way she gently touched his shoulder and bent over slightly, revealing her ample cleavage right there in his face? Yes, those things made him quiver at that moment. Her perfume, her hair, everything about her tossed him up, down, and all over the place. He didn’t think he could stand up. He just squatted there, right knee on the floor, and nervously fiddled with the amp.

Shy Hank. Shaky Hank. What-the-hell-do-I-say-now? Hank.

Finally, he uttered, “Uh . . . ah . . . yes ma’am, please. A Coke. Yeah, that would be fine. Thank you.”

Sybbe smiled down at him. She turned and walked to the bar. She swayed, undulated, bounced, all in a graceful way. She asked the bartender for the soft drink, a big one, and cocked her right hip wide out with her left foot resting on the foot railing, and looked back across the room at Hank.

She winked.

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MY BOOK REVIEW:


I am a huge fan of country music and mystery books, so I was so excited to read this book!

This book allows the reader to fully immerse in the Southern culture and way of life.

This book follows the story line of Hank “Cowboy,” Tillman and his ups and downs of trying to make it as a big country music star.  Hank often finds trouble or trouble finds him sort of say.  This leads to Hank getting into many bar fights and ending up in jail.  His cousin, Mary Ellen, is supportive of Hank and often bails him out.  While on a phone call to her mother, Mary Ellen discusses trying to prevent Hank’s messes instead of cleaning up after them.  Her mother suggests hiring PI Red Farrow to attend Hank’s gigs and help keep him away from mischief.  But when Hank’s latest song draws the attention of the Blue Magnolia madmen, his level of danger is about to skyrocket, and he will need Red now more than ever.  No spoilers here!!  But you definitely will want to read this book and find out what happens!!

This book featured an interesting and intriguing story line with many elaborate plots and very detailed scenes.

This book was written with a strong, gritty, rough, and rowdy kind of vibe.

I really liked that the author used real places in his book.  For example, many of the bars and clubs featured are actual places in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.  I love being able to recognize locations and possibly even visit those landmarks in the future. 

I also really liked that the author included actual music lyrics in the book.  While Hank was singing and writing songs those lyrics were featured, which made the singer seem more credible and realistic.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters.  This book strongly portrays Hank as a good ol’ Southern boy, but I didn’t find him come across that way.  At the beginning of the book it states that Hank has just recently had his THIRD DUI CRASH, which caused him to lose his truck and his driver’s license.  Sure, that sounds like a celebrity alright, but this all happened before Hank’s big break.  And personally, I don’t think “good people,” drink and drive, get into bar fights, and constantly end up in jail.  Sorry to be blunt, but I found Hank to be a selfish, irresponsible, drunk jerk!

I liked Red for the most part and enjoyed reading his case notes that were featured throughout the story.  I would be interested in possibly reading one of his other cases going forward as it seems he will be a main character in additional books in this book series.

I also enjoyed and appreciated the author’s depth of research that was thoroughly highlighted in this book.  His awareness of the music industry, bar scene, and Southern history and culture – all added insight and authenticity to the story.

However, I have to admit that I found the writing style a bit confusing.  There were many times I had to re-read several passages as it either didn’t make sense, felt awkward wording, and/or displayed improper tenses.

For example, the book mentions Hank going to jail for 24hrs.  Then his cousin, Mary Ellen, bailed him out and got him a lawyer, who settled the case by paying a fine.  Afterward, Cowboy headed back to Georgia.  Then the next chapter starts with Hank calling his cousin, Mary Ellen to tell her he’s in jail and needs her help for the exact same situation he already mentioned was solved.  I had to go back and start both chapters over because I thought I missed something, but I didn’t.  It just made no sense!  Then there’s odd wording such as, “Hank smiled his smile…” (Ranew 173).  And “The August he was eight…” (Ranew 15).  Also, “Before going to meet the Nashville cops, Red peeked into the private dining room and saw everyone, save Hank, was there for the celebration.” (Ranew 170).  I don’t know what “save Hank,” means in the middle of that sentence.  I felt it should have been the word, “except,” or something along those lines.  There is also lots of wording using the name “the man,” which refers to several different characters.  One man reference is a drunk bar patron, one man is a man at a bus station, one man is a CEO, etc.  It felt weird and confusing to keep reading the same reference to multiple characters.

This book is Book Two in the Red Farlow Mysteries Book Series.  This book can be read as a standalone.

All in all, there were just a few hang-ups for me, but overall, I still enjoyed reading this book and would still recommend it.  I think all mystery fans and thriller readers will like this book too!  So, add it to your TBR List and get to reading - you won't be disappointed!

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**

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AUTHOR BIO:


W.F. Ranew is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and communication executive. He started his journalism career covering sports, police, and city council meetings at his hometown newspaper, The Quitman Free Press. He also worked as a reporter and editor for several regional dailies: The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, The Florida Times-Union, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ranew has written three previous novels: Rich and Gone (Tirgearr Publishing), Schoolhouse Man and Candyman’s Sorrow. He lives with his wife, Dr. Lynn Ranew, in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Ga.

Find W.F. Ranew Online at the links below.

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CONNECT WITH W.F.:

Website:

Blog:

Email:
WFRanew@gmail.com

Facebook:

Twitter:

LinkedIn:

Tirgearr Publishing Author Page:

BookBub Book Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page:

Amazon Author Page:

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BOOK BUY LINKS:


Amazon Kindle eBook:

Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook:

Kobo eBook:

Tirgearr Publishing eBook:

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GIVEAWAY INFO:

W.F. will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.



**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hard Lust by Tina Donahue - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Tina Donahue and her new book, “Hard Lust”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Tina and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!


Hard Lust
by Tina Donahue

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GENRE: Erotic Romance

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BLURB:

Don't ever trust a demon. Unfortunately, Megan has learned that lesson too late. The deal she made to save her sister's life has landed her in hell about seventy years early. And now she has three sexy demons trying to tell her what to do.

Nope. Not going to happen.

These guys have never had to deal with such defiance. Andros figures she's due for some erotic discipline, which he'll happily provide. Racan's pure alpha, his hardcore plans include bondage and submission. Quiet yet intense, Vespar expects endless kink to spice up their carnal play.

Who would have ever expected she'd end up falling for them? Too bad demons can't be trusted...because someone is trying to kill the magic and threatening her stay in this lusty world.

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EXCERPT ONE:

Even during her worst days, Megan Wynters never believed this would happen.
I am so screwed. Afraid to budge, she stood paralyzed in a garish room decorated in more gold and mirrors than Versailles, a weird symbol she couldn’t decipher painted on blood red walls. Displayed throughout the cavernous space were countless marble statues depicting nude men and women screwing or going down on each other or…Thunderous bass from a death metal tune pounded through the wall to her left, the pornographic paintings there bouncing on each deafening beat.

She curled her upper lip, turned and flinched. A guy who hadn’t been in here a second before, sat in the throne-like chair behind the humongous desk. Early thirties or so, he had hazel eyes, and thick blond hair that fell in soft waves to his shoulders. Those suckers and his chest were beyond broad, his well-toned muscles straining against his black silk shirt. Her stomach fluttered at the astounding picture he created, and then her insides clenched when she recalled where she was. That didn’t keep her from eyeing him further. The sun or a tanning lamp had tinted his complexion gold, while his features… Not only were they masculine, but beautiful enough for an angel. Down here? In fucking Hell? Given his great looks, she had to be anywhere but there. Her pulse ticked up. Hope surged. Someone moaned.

The statue to her right was climaxing. Jeezus. The writhing life-sized figures weren’t stone but people, or demons, or something animate. The pure white woman threw back her head and wailed. The pasty guy kept pumping his cock into her. God, god, god. This definitely wasn’t Heaven. But not quite the other place either, considering the coolish air circulating, causing goose bumps to rise on her arms. Rattled and wary, she faced the guy, and then jumped. Two other men, also early thirties, stood on either side of his desk. Both took her in from her mouth to her boobs and lower. Much lower. Unexpected heat rolled through her, her folds creaming at the guys’ raw male appeal, appreciation for their physical gifts stealing her breath and—
Hold it. She couldn’t be turned on by them. It’s a trick. They’re fucking doing this to me because they’re…

Uncertain what they were, she cringed at the possibilities, but still couldn’t glance away.
The one to her right was tall and luscious, his skin olive, his longish black hair combed back. He wore a black tee and low-slung jeans, no shoes or socks. If this were Hell, he should have cloven hooves, not large feet and long toes. Maybe this was purgatory? Please, please, please. That part of the underworld, or whatever they called it, might be bearable.

A pendant hung around his neck boasting a dark red symbol—the same as those on the walls—against a black circle. The blond guy sported an onyx ring on his left forefinger displaying an identical design. Which means? Her stomach rolled and wouldn’t stop. She didn’t want an explanation on what the symbol signified. It might kill her dream this wouldn’t turn out too bad. The third guy had a tat on his left pec showing the exact figure. He’d dressed in black leather pants and biker boots, no shirt, his light brown hair worn short, skin bronzed. Her ears buzzed in approval then rang from unease. The blond smiled, producing deep dimples in his cheeks. Her knees weakened at his normal, friendly greeting. The way a mortal guy would show delight at seeing her and that this could lead to something good. Conversation, a few laughs, then other great stuff. If they behaved nicely, she wouldn’t mind. Damn, she hadn’t had fun in forever.
Another statue climaxed.

Holy hell. Snapped back to reality, she remembered her presence here was a colossal blunder she had to straighten out. Her mouth was so dry she struggled to speak. “I don’t know who you guys are, but—”

“Andros.” The blond touched his thumb to his chest then inclined his head to the shirtless guy.

“Vespar.” He gestured to the one without shoes. “Racan.” His smooth baritone caressed and enticed. “And you’re Megan.”

She wasn’t admitting to anything.

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GUEST POST:

Fierce Female Lead Characters: How to Create Strong Role Models in Books

I love writing feisty female characters who are comfortable in their own skin. By that I mean, they don’t change who they are in order to fit a man’s idea of what a perfect woman should be. For example, in Hard Lust Megan couldn’t care less whether she’s a guy magnet or not. She’s cool with the person she is. If a man likes her, fine. If he doesn’t, no biggie. Of course, Andros, Racan, and Vespar, the sexy demons who own Hard Lust—the ‘gentleman’s’ club she’s been condemned to—think she’s hotter than sin just as she is.

In creating Megan, I knew she’d face major obstacles in her attempt to escape Hell and get back to earth. Her being shy or retiring wasn’t going to cut it. Although escaping Lust—the circle she landed in—is a major reason for her to flee I wanted something more. Her love for her younger sister afforded the perfect opportunity. Megan must be strong to get back to her. That also makes her a nice person and a likeable character…always important in a book.

Motivation is key in building strong female characters. It’s not enough to say a character is strong because she’s a feminist. Megan’s one. In fact, when she lands in Hell on the opening pages, she’s wearing a T-shirt that states: FEMINIST AS FUCK. Still, it’s just a label until the character does something to prove she believes what she says – or in this case, what she wears. That proof comes when Andros tells her to ditch her clothes then put on the scanty uniform she’ll be wearing in Hard Lust. She refuses. Even being threatened with boiling oil won’t change her mind. When he assumes she’s sensitive about how she’ll look in the uniform, she gives him a ‘scolding’ he didn’t see coming. Humorous, but true. That’s the way you create a strong heroine – by her words and action. Showing, not telling, your readers what’s deep inside her.

Here’s a teaser that shows she doesn’t wait around for what she wants.



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AUTHOR BIO:


Tina’s an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes passionate romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, was named a finalist in the EPIC competition, received a Book of the Year award, The Golden Nib Award, awards of merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competitions, and second place in the NEC RWA contests. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

On a less serious note: she’s an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, brakes for Mexican restaurants, and has been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally while wolfing down tostadas. She’s flown a single-engine airplane (freaking scary), rewired an old house using an ‘electricity for dummies’ book, and is horribly shy despite the hot romances she writes.

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CONNECT WITH TINA:

Website/Blog:

Website/Blog:

Website/Blog:

Newsletter:

Email:
tinadonahuebooks@gmail.com

Facebook:

Twitter:

Pinterest:

Instagram:

Wattpad:

Triberr:

Fantastic Fiction Author Page:

BookBub Author Page:

BookBub Book Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page:

Amazon Author Page:

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AMAZON BOOK BUY LINKS:


Amazon US Kindle eBook:

Amazon AU Kindle eBook:

Amazon CA Kindle eBook:

Amazon UK Kindle eBook:

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GIVEAWAY INFO:

Tina will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.



**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.