If I Could Stay Deleted Scene

It’s time for a deleted scene from If I Could Stay!

While the final plot line had Leila leaving her go-bag in the trunk of her car, my original plan was for her to lose her money belt/wallet/purse in Jack’s truck. And since she can’t ask him for help due to the illegal nature of her fraudulent IDs, she ends up taking matters into her own hands. This ultimately didn’t work out for a lot of reasons, but I do like this scene and wanted to give y’all a chance to read it.

 

I hadn’t stolen anything since the first year I’d been on my own, but I was out of options. Jack was a cop, and if he decided to do some kind of investigative voodoo on me, then something was bound to end up in the system. If that happened, there was a good chance it would tip off my father. And I could not let my father know where I was, especially if I had no resources to run. Plus, there was always the chance that Jack would put the pieces together and figure out who I was. Then I’d really be screwed…

If you would like to read the rest of this deleted scene, please sign up for my newsletter and you will receive a link giving you access to all of my bonus content. Those who have already signed up should look for the email that was already sent out. (If you have gmail, it will be in your “promotions” inbox.

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The Mushy Stuff

Have you ever been reading a book, and when someone asks you what genre it is, you kind of wince as you admit that it’s “just” a romance? I know I’ve had this inclination. Heaven forbid I be caught reading that mushy love stuff. What a waste of time, right? Except that, no, it’s not. The romance genre shouldn’t be viewed as less than any other genre, but somehow that’s the hand it’s been dealt.

But where did this need to undermine the value of the romance genre come from? Somehow action and comedy and sci-fi feel more acceptable. Is it because they’re more male-centric? Well…yes. I believe so. Action is about being tough. Science fiction is about sciency stuff. Comedy makes you laugh. But romance. Ooh. Geez. Romance is all about feelings. That’s girly stuff. As if men don’t experience emotions. As if valuing and discussing and wanting love someone makes a person less than.

And when I say that out loud—or write it down—it reminds me of just how ridiculous it is. Heaven forbid that I value love, that I acknowledge and want to understand my own emotions and those of others. Do we really want to live in a world where the thing we value most is action—wars, contention, death?

I am not belittling action or any other genres. I just want to point out how very wrong it is that we’ve thrown the romance genre under the bus.

We feel good recommending action movies to everyone. Let’s all go see a comedy. Star Wars is for the masses. But that chick flick? Better make it a girls’ night.

And if we do make it a girls’ night, that’s okay. My husband doesn’t care for romantic dramas. I don’t care for action movies. So we tend to not watch either of those genres together. But it took me a while to be okay with saying no to seeing an action flick if it didn’t appeal to me, and saying yes to a romance movie even if it meant watching it on my own. Not because my husband cared one way or the other, but because I didn’t want to impose my unimportant, girlier opinions on our marriage.

What the? *FACEPALM*

I believe that’s entirely a reflection of the society I grew up in. Where throwing like a girl or running like a girl somehow means you’re bad at it. Where gender-neutral clothing lines have everything to do with making girl clothes more masculine, but nothing at all to do with making boy clothes more feminine. Women taking on more masculine attributes makes them “stronger” but men taking on more feminine attributes are “weak.”

We all know this. We’ve all seen it. And it’s sad, but what can we do? Well, we can start by making a conscious effort to not apologize for having feelings or wanting love. Do you really think that guy over there doesn’t need love in his life? I promise, he does. So then why is it “girly” to want it? We have to stop apologizing for our emotions and stop letting others write them off as hysterical or irrational. And we need to stop rolling our eyes when someone tells a “silly love story.” So that novel over there has scroll writing and a wedding dress on the front; that doesn’t automatically mean the writing is going to be trite and shallow. It just means it’s a love story.

And since love is an integral part of life, it’s likely to play a part, whether big or small, in every story. After all, most of those beloved action movies have a love story.

Super hero movies? Love stories.

Comic book adaptations? Love stories.

Han has Leia, Spiderman has Mary Jane, Batman has…whichever woman is in that particular film. Harry has Ginny and Hermione has Ron. We seem to be just fine with love stories so long as they’re couched in bigger, tougher elements, but if the romance is center stage, suddenly it’s fluff. Vapid. Just for the ladies.

The inclination to apologize for the romance genre in general is something I had to get over when I started publishing my books. I had to learn not to brush aside my own accomplishments when people asked me what kind of books I wrote. I write novels. Romances.

And I’m proud of it.

FBI. Research. Oh my.

Just like all of my other books, If I Could Stay involved a lot of rewrites. I’ll write a scene as I imagine it and then I’ll realize that I don’t know enough about a subject to be sure that the scene is realistic. For Painting Rain, it was the painting scenes. I had to go out and research renaissance painting techniques and then go back and incorporate them. For Keeping Kinley, it was how to tend an orchard. What fruit should I use? How can you tell if a pear is ready? And then I went back and rewrote.

However, in the case of If I Could Stay, the rewrites were nearly always caused by the fact that I am woefully unqualified to speak about law enforcement and police procedure. So I did some research, but trying to figure out how law enforcement would respond to a very specific circumstance is hard to find with just Google.

Luckily I have friends/relatives/aquaintances who are better informed than I am. In my efforts to be sure that this book was realistic, I spoke with a state trooper, a lawyer and an FBI agent.

And then I realized I would need to rewrite the second half of my book.

And rewrite it I did. It is vastly different from how I originally wrote it, and though it was tough at the time to murder all my precious darlings, it made it so much better. The relationship was more realistic, the circumstances felt easier to navigate, and even the romance improved.

Just goes to show that the first idea isn’t always the right idea.

Point of View

I write from one perspective. All of my novels are told from the point of view of one character only—the heroine. I do that on purpose, and I’ll tell you why.

  1. With a romance, I feel like dual perspective can slow down the story-telling. You end up rehashing portions of the same action from both points of view. That can turn into more words telling less of a story.
  2. If I were to do dual perspective, I would need to write half of the book from a male point of view, and I simply don’t think I’m good enough at that to commit to it.
  3. My biggest reason, though, is this: My books are—first and foremost—romances. The big question that is going to be answered at the end of the book is always:

HOW WILL THEY END UP TOGETHER?

 

I’ve read a lot of romances that are dual perspective. You get the girl’s point of view, and then it switches to the guy, and so on. This allows you to see how and why they fall in love with each other. A lot of great authors write that way, and many readers enjoy it. Dual perspective definitely has its advantages. But as I’ve given this subject a lot of thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that if the main question of my book is WILL THEY END UP TOGETHER? Or maybe DOES HE REALLY LOVE HER?, then the best way to create doubt, mystery, and uncertainly is for the reader to see, hear, and know only as much as the main character sees, hears, and knows.

For example, if Jane sees John (the guy she likes) sneaking off to have a private conversation with another girl, it’s a lot easier for us to understand and empathize with Jane’s feelings of rejection/uncertainly/anger if we don’t have any clue why he’s sneaking off with that other girl.

However, if it switches points of view and we then see that John is actually meeting mystery girl to pick up a necklace that he special ordered from her, and that this necklace is intended for Jane, readers no longer have reason to worry and stress along with the heroine. We are reassured that John likes Jane and we know that Jane’s doubt is unfounded.

That’s a problem if the main suspense in the story is the question of whether or not their relationship will work out. We, as readers, say, “Phew! He likes her. What a relief,” and the suspense is cut off at the knees.

That’s not to say that dual perspective romances don’t or can’t work. It’s just a choice. I like the suspense of wondering, both when I write and when I read. That’s why I choose to stay in the heroine’s head, allowing the reader to experience the vulnerability and excitement that comes along with not knowing.

So, I invite you all to join me in the not knowing.

**My newest book, If I Could Stay, was released last week and is available on Amazon.

Fun Facts about If I Could Stay

Happy release day!

IF I COULD STAY is officially out. Those who pre-ordered should have their ebooks waiting on their Kindles, anxious to be read.

If you haven’t picked up your copy, it’s available in ebook and paperback here.

Now, I thought I would share a couple fun facts about the details that I included in my book.

Locations

I needed a small town setting for a good portion of If I Could Stay. I chose Cameron, Missouri because I was familiar with it. I spent my High School years in St. Louis, and during that time, my cousin (who happened to be one of my best friends) was living in Cameron, which is on the other side of the state. I would go to stay with her several times a year and enjoyed the hospitality and quirkiness of that small town.

Flagstaff, Arizona is another location in the book, and it’s a city that holds a very special place in my heart. I lived there for eight years of my childhood, riding bikes, playing in the snow, and admiring the blue sky.

People

There is a side character in my book named Adeline. I won’t give anything away, but suffice it to say that she is based on a real person. All of the quirky details I included—totally real.

This is the first time that I’ve purposefully based a character on a real person. I don’t expect I’ll do it often, but for this character it was perfect.

Song

I always pick a theme song for my couple, but I don’t think I’ve ever found a song as perfectly suited for a couple as this one.

You Matter to Me, by Sarah Bareilles (sung with Jason Mraz) is not only a gorgeous song, but it applies—word for word—to my characters. Click this link to listen to it.

Or, you could watch this dance which was choreographed to a part of the song (though it doesn’t include the first verse which is the part that REALLY applies to Jack and Leila). When I saw this dance, it was the first time I had heard the song and (after watching it multiple times) I had to go find it on iTunes so I could buy it. Love, love, love.

I truly hope you all enjoy this book just as much as you’ve enjoyed my Dalthia series. Releasing a new book is always nerve wracking for me, but with the switch in genre, I really don’t know what to expect! So I’ll sit back and bite my nails (not really. I’m not a nail biter) and hope that sales are good and, reviews are good, and that I don’t end up crashing and burning.

If I Could Stay PRE-ORDER

If I Could Stayreleases in just ONE WEEK! It is now available for pre-order. Click here or on the photo to pre-order now.

 

AND! The Paperbackis available for purchase NOW. Yes, right this very minute.

Want to read the first couple pages??? Well, okay!

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1

Left. Right. One foot after the other. Keep moving. Ignore the cold. This was a road, and despite it being the middle of the night, that meant that at some point someone would drive by. Please, let someone drive by.

The large tree on the horizon was my focus. I was determined to at least make it to that tree. It was starting to snow, and I knew that the lack of feeling in my feet was a bad thing. My ballet flats were insufficient for this weather. Everything I wore was insufficient. But when Silas had shown up this morning at the salon where I ran the reception desk, I hadn’t bothered going home to gather my things. I’d seen him in the parking lot before he could walk in and spot me. I had felt the blood drain from my face and for a moment I was rooted to the spot, barely able to breathe. Twice in my teenage years, I’d seen the people that Silas had dragged back to my father. They were always bloody, and I never knew if they made it out of my father’s house alive after spilling their secrets.

My mind had clicked into gear. I’d grabbed my purse and asked Janelle to watch the desk while I went to the bathroom. Then I’d speed-walked to the back room and ran to the door that spit me out into the alley behind the salon. The old car that I’d paid cash for was there waiting for me. My go-bag was in the trunk with all the money I’d saved while working at the salon, along with clothes and a few other essentials.

I had pointed my car toward Kansas City and the bus locker that held everything I needed to start over. But less than an hour from my destination, my car slid off the road. Now it sat sideways in a ditch, stuck in the snow. Black ice and my exhausted brain had landed it there. I’d been lucky to get up to the road before my clothes could become completely soaked through with the snow. Unfortunately, the trunk had been crunched enough that I couldn’t get to my go-bag.

This morning, I’d been living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Now I was somewhere in the middle of Missouri, on an empty backwoods highway in the dead of night.

I didn’t know what time it was, but it had been dark for hours. My phone was in the dumpster behind the salon, the SIM card snapped in half and tossed along the side of the road a couple miles out of town. It had to be left behind just like everything else. I would need to use another name, like so many times before. Nothing traceable would go with me. I had planned to abandon my car as soon as I had the new ID and cash from the locker. So even if it were found by the police, it wouldn’t do them any good. I’d left behind my license, passport, and all traces of Maggie Lawrence, just like I had with Claire Maguire, Jenny Tolman and Emily Chandler.

This time though, my departure was even more panicked than all the times before. None of my father’s people had ever gotten this close in the past four years. Plus, this was Silas. He was my father’s favorite pit bull—and a police officer. One of New York’s finest—so long as you ignored the bloodlust and corruption.

I looked up to gauge how much progress I had made. The tree didn’t look any closer. Was I even moving? Glancing down at my feet, I realized that each step moved me forward only a couple of inches. Perhaps I’d be better off just sitting down. But the ground looked icy and hard, so I kept shuffling, my small purse bouncing against my leg with every step. It was important to keep moving, right?  Wasn’t that what I had decided?

A hazy light flickered at the edge of my vision and I blinked, afraid I might be on the verge of fainting. The light grew steadily brighter, casting my shadow in front of me, and I realized it must be headlights coming from behind. I turned and stumbled into the road. Maybe that was idiotic of me, but it seemed the best way to ensure that the car would stop.

The headlights were all I could see, and they slowed as they came closer, then stopped. I blinked against the harsh light but could only stand there and wait.

A door opened.

“Miss?” a male voice called. His silhouette hurried toward me. He came right up to me and ducked to look me in the eye. He was tall and probably in his twenties. “You all right, miss?” He gave a little shake of his head, grimacing. “No, you’re not all right; you’re freezing.” He stripped off his coat and wrapped it around my shoulders, then yanked off his stocking cap and pulled it onto my head.

Oh, sweet warmth. I said thank you. Or at least I thought it. The words never made it to my mouth.

“Let’s get you in the car. I’ll take you where you need to go.” He put his arm around me, propelling me forward. I managed only a lurching step or two. “Are you hurt?” He looked me over, but I wasn’t bleeding, so he waited for me to respond.

I shook my head—a jerky, awkward movement. If I was hurt, it wasn’t enough to want to talk about it right now.

“I’m going to pick you up, all right? We have to get you inside the truck.”

Again, the words stuck in my throat, but I managed the slightest of nods.

He lifted me, and my mind wandered to his question. Was I hurt and just didn’t recognize it through the cold and shock? That would be very bad. True injuries required hospitals, and hospitals required names and a paper trail. There could be no paper trail.

My head lolled against his shoulder. He was so warm. Even though he was out of his coat and in this freezing air, I could feel the heat radiating off of him. I snuggled in, trying to get closer to the heat.

He sucked in a breath when my cheek touched the skin of his neck. “Sheesh. You’re freezing.” He fumbled for the door handle and got it open then hoisted me up inside. When he tried to pull away, my hand was fisted in his shirt and I was shaking so hard I didn’t know if I’d be able to let go.

“I need to get in the other side, miss.”

I shook my head, afraid of letting go of his warmth.

“We need to shut the doors. I’ll get in the other side and try to warm you up a bit before we start driving.” He didn’t wait for a response, but pried my hand away and shut my door.

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Hopefully that gets you excited. I know I am. Here are those links again.

If I Could Stay ebook preorder

If I Could Stay Paperback

Add to your Goodreads Want to Read shelf

If I Could Stay Cover Reveal

It’s time! It’s time!

I have a release date.

I have a blurb.

I have a cover.

I have an excerpt.

Release date for If I Could Stay: February 22nd.

The blurb:

They killed her mother, and if they find her, Leila could be next. Being pursued from one state to another, she has learned to constantly look over her shoulder, and when necessary, to become someone new. She’s burned through four cities and four identities, always managing to stay one step ahead.

Now Leila is left with nothing. No car, no money, and no choice but to trust the man who finds her, half frozen, wandering the back roads of Missouri.

Despite the fact that Jack seems to genuinely care about her, Leila knows all too well the danger she poses to anyone brave enough to get close to her. Her growing feelings for Jack force her to make a choice. She could risk staying and hope she’s not found, or she could do what she’s always done, and disappear.

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My cover!

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A little different from my other covers, huh? As well it should be! This is a new genre for me, and that deserves a spicy new cover style.

Excerpt:

I don’t know how long we sat in that pickup truck, two strangers wrapped around each other. One desperate for help, the other willing to give it without a thought for himself. But it was long enough that my shaking stopped, and my breathing slowed, and I started to feel very, very tired.

“You falling asleep on me?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I whispered.

“So you can talk.”

I cleared my throat and took a deep breath, realizing for the first time how good he smelled. “Yeah. I can talk.”

“You got a name?”

Hmm. I hadn’t decided on a new name yet. Now was as good a time as any. “Celeste.” It came out sounding like a question.

“You sure?”

I let out a little chuckle. “No, I’m not sure. What do you think my name should be?” I was feeling a little bit floaty, safe, like everything was suddenly fine.

He grunted. “Angel seems appropriate.”

My brow furrowed in confusion. I wasn’t an angel. I might not have been sure of much right then, but I did know that. “Why?” I asked as I was finally able to unlock my arms and wrap them around him.

“That’s what you looked like, standing in the middle of the road. Your hair looked like it was glowing. Though that might have been frost.”

I was guessing my white blouse, beige pants, blonde hair and pale skin all added to the image.

He cleared his throat. “Wow, that sounded cheesy. I swear I’m not trying to hit on you.”

I smiled, knowing that was true. “What’s your name?”

“Jack.”

“Nice to meet you, Jack. I’m pretty sure you saved my life.”

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Go ahead and add it to your Goodreads shelf.

 

And follow my author profile on amazon to get notifications when new books are release.

There is also a cover reveal giveaway that you can enter over on I Am A Reader. So hop on over if you’re interest.

 

It’s been nearly two years since I published Painting Rain, and I really don’t know how I let that much time pass without posting some bonus content from it. For shame!

I’ll try to make it up to you.

This scene is the first part of an entire chapter that was deleted from Painting Rain. I was several thousand words into this particular scene before I realized that I had no idea where I was going with this story line and that it really didn’t serve a purpose. So it ended up on the cutting room floor.

This scene happens during her trip from Dalthia to Faria. I hope you enjoy it!

I wallowed there until the carriage gave a mighty jolt and I was thrown from my seat. I fell to my knees, catching myself on the bench opposite where Sarah was trying not to slide from her own place. Then one side of the carriage dipped low, throwing me against the door, where my panicked gaze darted out the window and fell to the ground, which was much closer than it should have been. The leather strap that supported this side of the carriage must have snapped.

 

Subscribe to my newsletter to read the rest…

If you’ve already subscribed, an email with the link should already be in your inbox.

 

Spotlight and Giveaway

Hello readers!

This is the post put together by I Am A Reader. Please pay special attention to the sale prices of Just Ella and Keeping Kinley!

I’d also encourage you to head over to the I Am A Reader site and check out the other authors she has highlighted to see if there is anything else that catches your fancy.

 

Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.

“I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.”

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Praise for Just Ella

“This book is so well written it felt just perfect. Honest. I loved it from beginning to end.” -Aimee Brown, Getting Your Read On

“Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well.” -Jana, The Writer’s Assistant

“Loved every second of this book. It was engaging, eventful, beautifully written and hard to put down. It’s wonderful for all ages!” -Jen, Goodreads

 

 

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He gave me a sad smile and shrugged. “I apologize if my bluntness offends you. I figured you would leave if you were upset by me.”
“That would be very rude of me.”
“It’s what I’d expect.”
“Why? Because that’s what a noble would do?”
“Well.” The confusion was back, forcing him to make a slight concession. “Any other noble.” It was somewhat gratifying that he no longer felt compelled to lump me with the nobles he despised. However, the fact remained—I wasn’t a noble. And I knew he would think even less of me when he knew what I was.
I wouldn’t lie. “I told you, I’m not—”
“Come now, Ella. Your tree climbing hasn’t got me fooled.” He used an almost paternal tone, his eyes laughing. “You are nobility, aren’t you?”
I buried my hurt. “No, I’m something worse.”
“Oh, come now, I don’t think that badly of people. The only thing that might be worse is royalty.” How charming he was, even when insulting me.
I stood silent for a moment, wondering if he would catch on. When he continued to gaze at me, I simply said, “Exactly.”
A look of horror crossed his face and I gave him a sad smile before turning to leave.
“Oh,” I heard him stuttering behind me, sounding utterly mortified. “No, I…my apologies, miss—Your Highness,” he corrected himself sharply. “Princess, I’m so very sorry, I…”
I shook my head as I turned to face him again. He looked so different: the confidence, the grin, the amusement were all gone, replaced with a look akin to physical pain. “It’s all right,” I said quietly. “You’re not wrong.” I should have inclined my head, waiting for him to bow before I left. Instead I lifted my hand in farewell.

 

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Author Annette K. Larsen

I was born in Utah, but migrated to Arizona, Missouri, and Virginia before settling in Idaho.

Though I dabbled in writing throughout school, being an author seemed like an unattainable dream. It took me seven years to write my first book, Just Ella. During that time, I taught myself how to write a novel. Not the most time effective method, but it gave me an education I wouldn’t have received from a class or a how-to book. Something about the struggle of writing without a formula or rules worked for me.

I write clean romance because I love it. Jane Eyre is the hero of my youth and taught me that clinging to your convictions will be hard, but will bring you more genuine happiness than giving in ever can.

I love chocolate, Into the Woods, ocean waves, my husband, and my five littles. And I love books that leave me with a sigh of contentment.

 

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Also by Annette K. Larsen

 

 

Keeping Kinley is on Sale for just 99 cents!

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/28/17

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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

12 Days of Clean Romance

I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in this event. Kathy, over at I Am A Reader chose 12 authors to highlight as a 12 days of Christmas theme, but with clean, romantic books! This promotion includes lots of giveaways, so check it out!
I’m copying her post here, so that y’all can look over the details.
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* $100 Kick-Off Giveaway *

12 Days of Clean Romance!

This promotion is hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader and features 12 of her favorite authors whose books you can trust to be clean, fun and 100% worth reading!

Just look at this great list of Participating Authors!!

12 Days of Clean Romance Schedule

Jennifer Peel – December 4th
Taylor Hart – December 5th
Rachael Anderson – December 6th
Josi S. Kilpack – December 7th
Janette Rallison – December 8th
Jennifer Griffith – December 9th
Taylor Dean – December 11th
Sheralyn Pratt – December 12th
Heather B. Moore – December 13th
Annette K. Larsen – December 14th
Lucy McConnell – December 15th
Cami Checketts – December 16th

In total $500 will be given away as part of this promotion so be sure to sign up for email updates so you don’t miss any of these giveaways!

If you have a blog and want to help promote these authors for the chance to win additional gift cards you can sign up here.

 

Now on to what you are here for

The $100 Giveaway!!

 

Giveaway Details

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/17/17

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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway