Sunday, August 9, 2020

EXCERPT ~ TELEPHONE ROAD

 

 

Chapter One: Twenty-Three Steps

 

            When I walked into the long narrow art gallery behind my roommate, Joanna, it felt as if I were being funneled toward him. Preston Stevensen. Perfect hair and a smirk for a smile, he appeared to be the man of the hour. Even gazing at me over the head of a ponytailed patron in a slick, yellow shirt, he somehow made me feel like the center of attention.

            Twenty-three steps. 

            His eyes were on me the whole way.

            My name is Marlena Matthews. Joanna calls me Marlena “Miss Priss” Matthews. She thinks I’ve led a sheltered small-town life and she’s right. That’s why I felt so fortunate to be accidentally paired with her my freshman year. We were both serious students.

            Joanna’s friend, Antonio, is the one who invited us to the Visual Arts Gallery. He had several pieces of his beautiful high-glaze pottery on display.

            But nothing compared to Preston’s art. It took up the entire back wall. Every piece featured some sort of wide-slashed mouth or other wide-open gash. Some of the mouths were created from melted red lipstick and some were splash-painted on canvas; a couple were fashioned of metal, then shellacked onto blank mannequin faces made of charred or broken plastic. I overheard a girl walking ahead of us refer to the mouths as Freudian. “Yeah,” her companion snickered. “All about sex. Weird sex." They both laughed behind their hands.

            Twenty-three steps. Each one carried me closer and closer to the guy who would change my entire life. In hindsight it seems obvious that Preston’s art should have been a big red flag. But Joanna didn’t call me Miss Priss, The Sheltered One, for nothing.

 

http://www.5Princebooks.com/annswann.html



Tuesday, August 4, 2020

RELEASE DAY ~ TELEPHONE ROAD ~

"You can't always depend on others. 
Sometimes you have to save yourself." 
http://www.5Princebooks.com/annswann.html


Stalked, assaulted, and left for dead, Marlena thinks her life is over. Then she meets Destiny and they decide to take matters into their own hands. For these two, justice has a new meaning. It's called revenge.

REVIEW:


Jul 18, 2020rated it it was amazing
I started this book at 10 am and put it down for the first time when I read the last word at 7 pm. Wow. What a genre-bender! Twists and turns I didn't see coming kept me turning pages - that the writing was wonderful. I felt like I traveled with the flawed characters on that roller coaster. The ending will stay with me a long time, wondering what I would have done.

Highly recommend it!

NEW EXCERPT:

            I pulled my sweater close. The air grew crisp as the sun went down. The giant moon rose even higher.

            “How about a cup of hot cider?” Jimmy asked.

            I nodded. “I’ll lay claim to a table before they’re all gone.” I couldn’t believe how quickly they were filling up. It appeared the entire town had turned out. I’d heard about these dances, seen them mentioned in the weekly newspaper and on Facebook, but I’d never attended one. My high school friends had called them lame. Said they were for the old folks. The old “settlers.” Guess something had changed my tune. Perhaps it was just being away from home for the past few months, or maybe it was Jimmy. Nothing seemed lame with him.

            He proved to be an excellent dancer, too. 

            “Do you have to know how to waltz and two-step when you own a ranch?” I asked as he steered me around the floor.

            “Oh, sure.” He swung me in a tight circle. “I practiced on the steers every night growing up.” When the song ended, he said, “And what about you, Miss I’ve-never-been-to-a-Settlers’-Day-dance? You’re holding your own pretty well for a newbie.”

            I felt a little heat rise to my cheeks. “If I tell you, will you promise not to laugh?”

            He crossed his heart and held up his fingers like a boy scout. “I would never laugh. Dancing is serious stuff.”

            I elbowed him in the ribs as we made our way back to our little table. There had been a Sharpie marker tucked in amongst the tiny pumpkins and we’d immediately decorated the round gourds with mustaches and triangular eyes, then Jimmy signed his with a flourish so of course I did the same. I think that’s why no one sat there while we were dancing. The little pumpkins turned out to be excellent placeholders.

            “So? Are you going to fess up or do I have to tickle it out of you?” He made crawly fingers in the air.

            “No, no. You don’t have to bring out the tickle-spiders. I’ll tell you.” I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one was listening, and then I leaned toward him and whispered, “Lana and I took dance lessons one summer. We learned all the basics plus a few line dances, too.”

            Jimmy threw his head back and laughed out loud.

            “Hey!” I slapped his knee. “You promised not to laugh.”

            He couldn’t seem to stop. “Sorry. It’s too good not to laugh.” Grinning, he leaned back in his folding chair and tried to get control of himself. “At least now I know why you had the cowgirl footwear.” 

            I looked down at my beautiful turquoise-inlaid boots. “You didn’t think I bought them just for tonight, did you?”

            That shut him up. “Well, maybe I did. I mean—”

            I let him off the hook. “Oh, it’s all right.” I patted him on the arm. “You can’t help it if you’re a guy.”


AFTERTHOUGHT: Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a FREE Ebook ~ or go to https://www.authorannswann.com and sign up for my reader's list to be entered to win a paperback.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

TELEPHONE ROAD ~ Revenge Fiction

Available for Preorder Now through Aug. 4th

Stalked, assaulted, and left for dead, Marlena thinks her life is over. Then she meets Destiny and they decide to take matters into their own hands. For these two, justice has a new meaning. It's called revenge.



Excerpt:
  
The remains of the sunset reflecting across the rippling water drew me to lean down and dip my fingers into the cold, bubbling flow. The sounds lent a storybook feel to the scene. The air was cool and still, fragrant with the loamy, nose-tickling scent of damp earth and fresh water. Multicolored leaves and drifts of pine needles carpeted the ground, softening our steps and turning the whole area into a painter’s fall palette.
I sat cross-legged on the plaid blanket he’d spread. “This is kind of amazing,” I admitted around a mouthful of pizza. “How’d you find it?” 
            Preston looked into the distance. “I spend a lot of time in the woods,” he said. “It’s my refuge. I just needed you to share it with me.” 
            He looked at me and I knew, suddenly and without a shred of doubt, that I had made a huge mistake. His light blue eyes had gone as cold as the water in the creek. 
            I tried not to panic, tried to keep my suspicions in check, but alarm bells clanged inside my head. “It’s really beautiful,” I said. “Thank you for sharing it with me.” I put one hand down to push myself to my feet. “Now I’ve really got to get bac—”
            He grabbed my shoulder, forcing me to remain seated on the blanket. For a moment, I had a ridiculous hope that he was playing, roughhousing the way Jim and I had done. But when he held me there, when his other hand clamped down on my opposite shoulder, when he smashed me backward onto the remains of the pizza, I knew this was no game.
            “Stop!” I cried. “What are you—?”
            His face came closer and closer, his lips questing. 
            I jerked my head from side to side. “Preston, stop! What’re you doing?” 
            His weight pinned me to the blanket, his hard chin dug into the side of my neck. He tried to hold my face still without using his hands.
            “I love you.” His voice had gone as hard and cold as his eyes. “I know you love me, too. I don’t know why you won’t show it.” 
            His lips found mine and he let go of my right shoulder long enough to tangle his fingers into my hair.
            My head was trapped. Anger crashed through my body. I jerked my head aside to get his mouth off mine. Strands of my hair were ripped out of my scalp, but suddenly my hands were fighting, clawing, raking at his face, his clothing, his skin. Anything to get him off me. 
            He tightened his grip on my hair, but his other hand came up holding the campfire lighter. Just as he depressed the trigger to ignite it, my right hand found the wine bottle lying on its side. I wrapped my fingers around the neck of the bottle and swung it through the air, smashing it into the side of his head with as much force as I could muster.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

COVER REVEAL AND GIVEAWAY!


Release day August 4, 2020

Stalked, assaulted, and left for dead, Marlena thinks her life is over. Then she meets Destiny and they decide to take matters into their own hands. For these two, justice has a new meaning. It's called revenge.

Sign up here or Click the link for the new website to sign up for minimalist newsletter ~ never spam ~ and you will be entered into a drawing for a signed copy! Current newsletter members are already in the drawing. Giveaway ends the day after release!


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Amazon says YEAH, BUT I DIDN'T is a Hot New Release!

Wow! I kinda like that post title - my little novel is #7 on their Hot New Releases list. I can totally get on board with that.




I'm liking these early reviews, too. And to celebrate, head over to my other website and sign up for my Reader's List if you'd like a chance to win a hardcover copy, or if you just want to keep up with me. I've got two more new releases on the horizon. https://www.authorannswann.com 

K.C. Finn 
Review Rating: 5 Stars 

Yeah, But I Didn’t is a work of teen fiction in the drama and coming of age genres, and was penned by author Ann Swann. Written with a mild caution for scenes of violence and an attempted sexual assault, the central plot focuses on the harrowing experiences of fourteen-year-old Benji Stevens. Falling into circumstances of emotional and physical trauma, a heart-breaking betrayal and a loss of faith in life, love, herself and everyone around her, it will take a real miracle for her to rise up again and be happy.

Author Ann Swann delivers a harrowing emotional tale that offers messages of hope and renewal of spirit despite some of the darkest times that life can throw at us. Suitable for teens and adults alike, one of the most accomplished things about the novel is how authentic teenage Benji is in her thoughts, weaknesses, actions, but also in her strength and growth later on. This is a highly realistic portrayal of the devastating effects that dark interventions can have on young, fragile minds, but also an admiration of the strength and power of regrowth that young people can have too. Overall, it sends a strong, hopeful message through highly relatable characters and a well-constructed narrative of support from all around. Yeah, But I Didn’t is an emotionally compelling and genuinely helpful work of fiction to create talking points for teens and adults everywhere.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Yeah, But I Didn't - Cover Reveal

Ta-dah! Here is the amazing Wordcrafts cover for my new semi-autobiographical novel, Yeah, But I Didn't. Comment below to be entered into a special giveaway. The book will be available beginning November 20, 2019 at all major retail outlets.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

HUSH ~ Romantic Suspense by Leanna Sain ~ Preorder Now!


Preorder Now!

Hush – by Leanna Sain

She dreams a murder before it happens.
A young woman is strangled while her killer sings the words from the lullaby “Hush, Little Baby.”
Lacey Campbell’s life is full, but not idyllic. As head chef for a chic restaurant and primary caregiver to a mother with Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t have time for the nightmare and at first she tries to deny it. But the next day, she discovers it’s a disturbing reality. When she dreams the second heinous murder she knows it’s time to tell the police.
Detective Ford Jamison is called back to the little coastal town to help with the case and soon notices an alarming trend: the killer is using the lullaby as a “blueprint” to target women who resemble Lacey. This doesn’t slow the killings and now Lacey is afraid to fall asleep at night because the next face she sees in her dream might be her own.
As a hurricane churns ever closer to the little coastal town, danger and suspicion spin out of control. Time is running out. Can they stop the killer before the last verse of the lullaby?

Excerpt:

“Shhh. Don’t worry. No one will bother us here,” he soothed the young woman as he settled her on the porch swing, propping her up with a pillow. “We have all the privacy we’ll need. The shop is closed.”

Terrified dark eyes welled with tears above immobile lips, sending a silent plea, begging him in the only way she could.

He smiled tenderly, and smoothed the tears away with a gloved hand before spreading her dark curls out like a fan over her shoulders, adjusting individual tendrils so they lay just right. “Your hair is one of the reasons I chose you. You have to look the part, you know.” 
“I’m sorry it has to end like this. I really like you, I do, but your role is just a minor one in this play.” He shook his head sadly. “Minor, but important. It sets the stage for the rest of the performance. It’s not your fault, and it’s not personal. It’s just the way it is. There,” he leaned back and cocked his head to the side, surveying his handiwork. “Perfect.” 
Thick foliage of a nearby maple tree kept them mostly in the shadows, but flickering illumination from the corner streetlight spotlighted her face, just like he’d planned, strobing through fluttering leaves, silvering the wet paths tracking down each of her cheeks. He’d arranged her pale limbs into the position he desired, like a life-sized Barbie doll: bendable, pliant. Presentation was everything. 
“Hush, little baby. Don’t say a word,” he whisper-sang under his breath, staring into the frantic gaze below him, eyes that were wide with the silent scream her lips couldn’t muster. His finger stroked along the side of her head, down her long pale neck to the edge of her blouse, arranging the collar just so. “Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird.” He closed his eyes, concentrating on the feeling of his fingers closing around the warm malleable neck, tight, tighter. He continued humming the sing-song tune while his fingers squeezed deep into flesh, bruising, crushing, feeling the rapid throb of pulse grow fainter and fainter, until it stopped altogether. 
When there was nothing left, he blended into the darkness like another shadow. 
Author bio:
Leanna Sain earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, before moving back to the mountains of  NC. Her Southern suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method that successfully rolls elements of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon all together, making it her own. She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit: www.LeannaSain.com

Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hush-Leanna-Sain/dp/1645262502/ref=sr_1_1?

Website and blog: http://leannasain.com


Why I wrote this book:
The idea of a serial killer using the verses of the lullaby, “Hush, Little Baby” as a blueprint for his murders had been banging around in my brain for a while, but it wasn’t until my mother moved into the final stages of Alzheimer’s that I actually started writing it. Watching Mama struggle caused me a lot of pain, anger, confusion and frustration. I needed a way to funnel those emotions. I decided to make my main character’s mother have Alzheimer’s so that we could travel this road together. It was a sort of therapy and it really helped. I was able to weave some of the things my mother said and did right into the story. When Mama died a little over a year ago, I decided that I’d donate my royalties to Alzheimer’s research to honor her. Hopefully, someday soon, they’ll find a cure for this horrible disease so that other families won’t have to go through what mine did.



Wednesday, October 2, 2019

COPPER LAKE on sale 99¢

 That's right, COPPER LAKE, the 3rd entry into the Stutter Creek companion series is on sale for only 99¢ for the month of BOOKTOBER! Grab your ebook now. And don't forget to leave the light on ...

Excerpt:
Kendra stepped onto the porch and pushed her way inside the empty house. The silence enveloped her as surely as if cotton wool had been stuffed into her ears. 

“What’s the matter with your face?” she grinned. “You look like you tangled with a wildcat.” She aimed at his groin and pulled the trigger. 

COPPER LAKE ~ REVIEW:

http://ow.ly/WLztZ 
 
http://www.5princebooks.com/annswann.html
There were times I wanted to scream or run and hide somewhere as the book delivered graphic details of the found bodies. I felt like I was reading a Stephen King novel that makes you jump at every noise. The author has done an amazing job of writing a story that clearly will have you on the edge of your seat. I have not read a book this well defined in horror in quite some time. The serial killer is diabolical and quite possibly the scariest character I have ever read. "I reviewed this for Lone Star Book Blogs"



Friday, February 9, 2018

Saturday, February 3, 2018

AND THE WINNER IS ...


The winner of THE REMAINS IN THE POND is Kaitlyn Lin! 



So the book will be in the mail soon, Kaitlyn. I hope you enjoy it.
And for all of you who have read a good book recently (including any of mine), remember the meme ... reviews are always needed!