Book Blitz/Release: A Bleak December by Author Hanleigh Bradley

Author: Hanleigh Bradley

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance,

Release Date: 1st May 2018

Price: 99c / 99p

Key Words: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Short Story, Novella, Christmas, Death of a Parent, Loss of a Loved One, Office Romance, Depression, Grief,

Length: Just below 20K

Availability: Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo, etc.

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oTOGJg

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38943078-a-bleak-december

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Blurb:

Her Christmas list isn’t long. It is the shortest it has ever been. She doesn’t want a pretty new pair of shoes or a new dress to wear to her work’s New Years Eve bash.

All Ella wants is a Christmas Miracle.

With a sick mum in hospital and a little brother at home, she struggles to maintain order in the chaos that is quickly engulfing her. If she doesn’t get her miracle will her entire world fall apart? And if it does, who will help her put it back together again?

Excerpt:

He’s my boss. That doesn’t stop me though. It doesn’t stop my mind from picturing him naked standing in my shower, water cascading down over his toned, muscular flesh. No. It doesn’t stop my inappropriate thoughts, and it definitely doesn’t stop me having them at the most inopportune of moments. It’s not like I just think about him when I’m lying in bed late at night. No, I fantasise about him during staff meetings, when he’s being a pain in the arse bossing us all around and when he’s reprimanding me yet again for being late.

Do you want to know the worst bit? It’s not the thoughts. I can deal with my dirty mind; it’s always been that way. Dirty thought after dirty thought, wrapped in a world of dirty thoughts. No. The thoughts are fine; it’s the things that come out of my mouth. The actual words that I apparently have an equal lack of control over. Like right now, the whole room has gone silent in shock because of my stupid, big mouth. As if I just said that. I can feel my cheeks redden with embarrassment and my best work friend is laughing under her breath beside me. The bitch.

Tristen had asked me why I was late. It was a reasonable enough question but why, oh, why couldn’t I give him an equally sensible response??? No. Instead, I only went and gave him the most ridiculous cock and bull story known to man.

“Why are you late?” Tristan Riggens, my boss had asked in that deep, authoritative, yet almost disrespectfully uninterested voice of his. It’s a voice that threatens to destroy you while drawing you in, keeping you walking some imaginary tightrope.

“My dog ate a condom.” Why that sentence made it passed whatever filter I have, I will never know. Sometimes my mouth does unexplainable things, embarrassingly unexplainable. It’s a problem I’ve had since childhood and it shows no sign of improving.

The room goes silent, but he doesn’t react at all. His face remains expressionless except I think I can see humour in his eyes, or at least I hope I do. He’s not exactly easy to read and right now I really have no idea what he thinks. “Well, I hope your dog is okay now.”

“He’s absolutely fine.” I’m probably the colour of the Christmas tree in the corner. I think I might throw up my breakfast from the sheer embarrassment that I now feel.

“Someone should call the RSPCA.” A voice says from somewhere behind me.

“You might want to reconsider where you stash your condoms.” Another of my colleagues laughs.

My best friend, the one who’s supposed to be on my side is in fits of hysteria. In fact, she’s laughing so hard she’s close to choking. I hope she chokes.

“Okay.” Tristen tries to divert their focus from me and my condom eating dog, back to the meeting. “New Year – we’ll be having an office party.”

If he thinks talk of a party might divert their attention from my poor imaginary dog, he is wrong and he clearly doesn’t know his team that well. “How on earth did your dog get a hold of a condom?”

“Did it still have the foil wrapper on?”

“Eww, it wasn’t used, was it?”

I’m shrinking into myself. Massively embarrassed. Eyes on the floor. Cheeks burning hot. Head pounding. Heart palpitating. How the hell will I get out of this one? I have an uncanny knack for getting myself into a bit of a pickle and absolutely no skill at getting myself back out again. “That’s enough – I’ve heard more than enough about condoms and dogs for one day. Back to work.” He’s shaking his head as he dismisses us all before leaving the open offices of our floor of the TRW Advertising building. Walking into his office, he closes the door behind himself. Lucky sod. At least he has a door he can hide behind.

“Fuck.” I say under my breath.

“Only you Ella.” Sadie laughs beside me. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“I just open my mouth…” I sigh.

“You don’t even have a dog!”

“I know.” I’m groaning in mortification. “We should get back to work before Tristen gets all shitty.”

“Or worse,” Sadie whispers, “Delos might come out of her office and have at us.”

“As if – Clara’s too nice for that.”

“To you. She hates me.”

“That’s not true.” I laugh gently. The door to Tristen’s office opens once more, and he pops his head out. “Winthrope. Reed. Do I need to find you something to do?”

“No sir.” Sadie nods her head before turning back towards her cubicle.

I move to follow her, but Tristen is still talking. “Winthrope, in here please.”

“Shit.” I grumble before following him into his office. This is the moment when he finally tells me that enough is enough and I need to start being on time, or worse look for a new job. The new job scenario is probably more likely. My tardiness is my biggest failing. I’m lucky I haven’t already lost this job.

 

He’s sat behind his desk; calm and composed in a way I have never been. He motions a hand towards the leather chair in front of him, and I take it gratefully because my legs are like jelly. My mouth is practically glued shut because I can’t trust myself not to say something completely absurd. His eyebrow is raised. “Your dog ate a condom?”

“Yes.” My sister Tia says when you lie you have to own it.

“Have you taken him to the vets?”

“No. He… he just coughed it up.” I tell him, desperately hoping that he doesn’t see through my lies.

“You do need to make a better effort to be on time for work in the morning.”

“Sorry Sir.” I tell him honestly. It’s not exactly news to me that I need to get my shit together.

Author Photo

About The Author:

Hanleigh loves books more than nearly anything in the world; whether its reading them or writing them, Hanleigh just can’t get enough. She relishes in the way authors can create worlds with the words they put in their books. She loves the way your imagination introduces you to a new world when you read a book. It may well be a world completely foreign to the one you live in. That world is brought to life; inspires you to dream, captivates your imagination, entices your senses.

Hanleigh first took to reading as a small child reading Dr Zeus. She then fell in love with romance literature when she first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; when she first swooned over Mr Darcy. She’s read more books than she can count and owns more books than some libraries.

Although born in Scotland, she sometimes wishes she could live inside the world that she can create inside her mind, but since that isn’t possible she puts pen to paper and shares that world with this world instead. There is something addictive about being able to mould your words into something that causes the reader to fall into your mind. When you put pen to paper and create a world, it’s exhilarating. Every word has meaning. You know every character intimately. You know every secret, every whisper, every smell, every look; as the author you know the world you created and more so than even the most avid of readers you can get lost in your own creation.

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Author Links:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authorhanleigh/

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hanleighbradley/

Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hanleighsstreetteam/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HanleighBradley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hanleighbradley/

AFWB: http://authorfriendswithbenefits.com/members/HanleighBradley

Readers Group: http://authorfriendswithbenefits.com/afwb-groups/hanleigh-s-brits

Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/1/+HanleighBradley

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14468232.Hanleigh_Bradley

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Awake Under The Night Sky by Vanya Sharma Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

It’s a story as old as time itself. Two people from very different worlds meet by chance and find themselves falling madly in love, only for fate to intervene in their happily ever afters. Yet in author Vanya Sharma’s novel Awake Under the Night Sky, we get to feel the raw emotions and the powerful way that love impacts the lives of these two young people. Here is the synopsis:

Witness to the ravages of poverty and neglect, Vivian is driven by a purpose, in a world that seems to have lost its conscience. In the fires of loss, a young and fierce Andre has forged an iron will to succeed. His journey halfway across the world does not deter him, but only strengthens his determination.

Two people on the threshold of their lives, touched by love but driven by duty, following separate destinies. He has a past to restore, she has a future to change. Are their paths destined never to converge, or might the vagaries of fate unlock the buried dreams of two proud hearts, and offer a new beginning?

I loved this story. It was incredibly emotional throughout the entire read. Its an interesting concept, as it showcases that we do not always know when or if we will find love, and how that love will impact the dreams we once had. It makes us as readers question what is more important in life: one’s dreams or true love? It also showcases how outside forces can intervene and cloud our minds in the face of love, and how our lives are forever impacted by that found love, both good and bad.

The only small critique I have is that the book ends surprisingly abrupt. This may be a creative choice by the author, but it was shocking as you expected a final scene to play out and instead were left to draw your own conclusions on how things played out in the end. While readers will have a good idea of where things go from there, you become so invested in these two characters that you are left breathlessly wanting more, or at the very least to have confirmation as to these two lover’s fates. Other than that the author does a wonderful job of drawing the reader’s emotions out through this powerful romance. As the Valentine’s Day holiday passes, this book is a great way to keep romance alive and witness the way love changes us forever.

Overall this was a wonderfully written book with a beautiful story and rich characters throughout. Exploring various cultures and backgrounds, the story does a great job of connecting people from different worlds through one singular and purposeful thing, and that’s love. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Awake Under the Night Sky by Vanya Sharma today!

Rating: 8/10

 

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36281528-awake-under-the-night-sky?from_search=true

The Writers Corner Episode 27: Interview with Javier Velazquez

The laws of reality are about to be rewritten citizens! This is author Anthony Avina, and today we are going to be sitting down and having
a discussion with one of my own creations. Fresh from the dramatic contemporary romance novel VOID, Javier Velazquez is going to discuss
the events of the book, his backstory, his current plans and his future plans.

WARNING: This interview will contain spoilers from VOID by Anthony Avina. If you haven’t yet, please go download the eBook version on
Amazon Kindle or get the paperback version on Amazon.com, Createspace or other paperback retailers. Once you’ve read the book, come back here
and read this and other interviews with the characters of VOID! OK, now here we go.

A (Anthony Avina): Hey there Javier. Thank you for taking the time to talk with myself, the readers of this blog, and the audience for
The Writers Corner Podcast and the Avina Vlogs YouTube channel!

JV (Javier Velazquez): No problem Anthony. Thank you for having me, and for creating me for that matter. So weird to be talking with the man
behind my existence here.

A: I cannot imagine. Quite the meaning of life kind of thing for you I guess.

JV: Yeah, kind of surreal.

A: Well first things first. For those in the audience and the readers who don’t know you or your backstory, give us a glimpse at who exactly
is Javier Velazquez.

JV: Well, I live in Los Angeles, CA. I am in my late twenties, and work as a writer. I kind of lost myself for a bit after the loss of my
longtime girlfriend, Elaine. It wasn’t until my best friends in this whole world, Pam, Jasper, Julian, Brianne and Michelle, came and gave
me a sort of “intervention” that I was able to regain a sense of myself and start living again. Now I’ve found a new romance, I have a new
little Yorkie named Sammy, and I have some great plans for the future.

A: Oh my gosh, I have a Yorkie named Sammy too. How weird is that?

JV: Not all that weird actually. You did create my life you know.

A: Of course, duh. Anyways, tell us a bit about what you experienced throughout VOID and how it has impacted your life.

JV: Well a few big things happened that I was involved in. My good friend Jasper decided to come out to his parents, who are super religious.
Not just religious, but old testament style religious. They abhor many things that seem normal and natural to you and I, but they especially
consider the LGBT community to be sinners, which doesn’t sit well with us. I went with him to tell them the news, and helped him after they
rejected him. Yet I’m happy to report that his mother has since apologized, left her husband and is repairing her relationship him.

Then there was Michelle. Her boyfriend was a seriously abusive man, and after she finally left him to protect her unborn child, he attacked
her, and both Jasper and myself fought him. She landed in the hospital, he landed in jail, and Jasper and I came out of the fight with some
nasty scars, but thankfully Michelle is alive, the baby is healthy and the pregnancy is on track, and she is now living with Jasper close
to my house.

The big thing that happened for me personally though was I found love. I struggled for so long to let go of the memory of Elaine and move
on with my life. Then one night, we all went out for a night of dancing at this jazz club, and Pamela and I danced together. She’s my best
friend, and when we were dancing, the emotions began to fly, and sparks just flew. After connecting and then disconnecting after I started
to struggle again with Elaine’s death, I had a revelation about things after the fight with Michelle’s ex, and I knew that I couldn’t keep
living in the past. I had found a note from Elaine that she wrote in the event that something happened to her, and after reading it, I knew
it was time to move on, so I went and found Pam, and professed my love for her. We’ve been together ever since. It hasn’t been a happily ever
after scenario. I still struggle with depression, and we have our spats like any other couple, but I love her so much, and can’t imagine my
life without her.

A: Wow, I’m so glad for you Javier. You are a big piece of the puzzle that is your friendship with the group. Why do you think you are the
one many of your friends go to when they are in need of help, advice, or a shoulder to cry on?

JV: I’m not sure. I think it may be because I’m just a good listener overall. I don’t like to judge others, and I’m a big believer of being
yourself and accepting others no matter what their differences. We’re all equal here, and what bothers me more than anything is when someone
tries to impose their beliefs on others or judge someone who doesn’t believe in what they believe. So when my friends are in need of advice
or just want to vent, I sit there and listen, and if I have any helpful tips I’ll tell them, but overall I just listen and give them my
friendship, my love and my hope. We’re all in this together, you know?

A: Exactly how I feel. I think I definitely based a lot of you and your personality on myself. I’m glad you could speak with us today. What
does the future have in store for you and your friends?

JV: Well, as a group we all are starting an entertainment company. We’re going to combine our passions and love and form a company that’s
built for the fans, by the fans. Other than that, Jasper, Brianne and I are working on a comic book project together, and Pamela and I are
working on a photo book about the city of Los Angeles. Personally, Pamela and I are living together, with our little Yorkie keeping us busy.
Other than that, the future is in your hands I guess.

A: I guess it is. Well thank you for stopping by today Javier. I got to say speaking with one of my characters is kind of refreshing.

JV: Same here Anthony. I look forward to living the life you set out for me in the book, and hope there are more adventures ahead for us.

A: I hope so too Javier. I look forward to working on your story again in the future.

Well that was our interview with Javier Velazquez. I hope you enjoyed this post/podcast/video, and I want to ask you guys a question now.
What character would you like me to interview from one of my books next? If you could choose one other character from another author’s book,
a tv show, a movie or video game, who would it be and why? Leave your thoughts down below, and don’t forget to share this with all your
friends, family, and loved ones online across your social media platforms. If you have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share
with me and have me discuss in a future podcast or video, leave them down below or on any social media platform with the hashtag #AskAAvina,
#AskAnthonyAvina or #AuthorAnthonyAvina. Thanks guys, and I’ll see you next time for an all new episode of The Writers Corner podcast!

A Chance Encounter: An Intriguing Experiment

It’s funny, isn’t it? The memories and experiences that fade with each year we get older can pop up in the most unexpected ways. I happened
to be out with my mom one afternoon recently, and we were talking about how long it’s been for each of us to go to one of our favorite spots
in Southern California, and that is one of the many gorgeous beaches we have here. I went to Newport Beach earlier in the year, but I’ve
always dreamed of venturing out to Santa Monica or Venice Beach, or maybe even Laguna Beach. As we talked about our hopes of getting there,
she suddenly remembered a fun day when I was just a few years old, and we went to the beach. Apparently, we had decided to go on a boat ride
to watch for dolphins and whales, and on that boat, I’d met a young girl whom I had befriended quickly. According to my mom, we were inseparable
for the rest of the day, and sadly parted ways, never to meet again.

I have no recollection of this day, but I was suddenly intrigued. I’ve always been a shy guy, but this encounter painted me as a talkative,
active young man with a natural charisma I didn’t think I possessed at that age. I was curious, so I went looking through some old photo albums,
and sure enough, I found the pictures of me and this young girl, (pictured above). Now, the memory still alludes me, but I thought to myself,
how intriguing, that after all these years, these pictures should surface at a time where I’m looking to bolster my confidence.

I began to think about the power that a chance encounter or a spontaneous moment can have on our lives. Hearing that I wasn’t always the
shy, soft-spoken young man I am today gave me a boost of inspiration that I’ve been looking for. Sometimes, the tiniest, most random moments
in time can have a huge impact on others. The world can seem like such a random, chaotic place a lot of the time, but other times, I can
see how we are more connected than we realize. I’m not sitting here saying that fate brought me and this girl together, nor am I saying
that it was our destiny to meet that day. I’m a semi spiritual man, but even my spiritual tendencies are based in science. What I’m talking
about here is the fact that the connections we make ourselves, not the ones destiny has forced upon us, are powerful themselves. We have the
power to impact others and ourselves.

Now, I also found myself curious to know what happened to this young girl. I have no name, only a picture of the two of us together. We were
both so young, but I find myself wondering, what happened to her? What is she doing now? Who is she, and more importantly, is she happy? I’m
not sitting here hoping for some big, Hollywood style romantic scene, where we reunite at that same beach, (I believe it was either Newport
or Laguna, I can’t remember), and have some huge, heart-pounding moment with the rain pouring down around us. No, this is just a curiosity
more than anything. She apparently was one of my first friends, albeit for merely 1 day. Even if I never meet her in person again or get
the chance to be her friend, I at least would love the opportunity to say hi, ask how she is, and thank her for her day of friendship. Like
I said, I’m not expecting anything, but if anyone knows or recognizes this little girl from an old photo, or has seen this photo and would
know who she grew up to be, feel free to let her know about this blog post, or even tag her on social media. I’m curious to see whatever happens
with this blog experiment, because as I said, the smallest moments in our lives can have lasting influences, and this little trip down memory
lane gave me the burst of energy and inspiration I needed to push forward with my career. To her, and to all of you who have left impressions
on me and those in your lives, I say thank you.

Romanticism in the 21st Century: Author Anthony Avina’s Inspiration for His Novella, VOID

Hello there everyone. Today’s blog post is going to be partly a behind the scenes look at my creative process and inspiration for VOID, the
novella I just released for preorder on Amazon Kindle. It’s also going to be partly personal, in which I talk about a big part of my life,
and that is my romantic side.

Let’s get personal guys. I am what is referred to as a hopeless romantic. That means that basically, I believe in love. I believe in the
power of love and that when you find love, it’s a rare but beautiful thing. I know that for most guys, the bachelor life appeals to them.
They enjoy moving from one night stands and flimsy relationships to the next one. I also know that women might be wary of a guy who speaks
of love, especially at my age, (25). Yet a bachelor lifestyle never appealed to me, and I’m not interested in a one-sided relationship where
I’m more invested in the relationship than she is. I have no interest in being one of those men who is clingy, or too focused on the relationship
and not on myself. No, what I want is a partner, whom I love and who loves me.

There’s a saying that I think fits my thinking best. Love is patient, and love is kind. To me, that means that everyone is different. Sometimes,
a person is lucky enough to know at their first encounter that they’ve found the person they love. Others take time to grow their feelings.
It’s about respecting love’s timetable. It cannot be forced. It cannot be arranged or brought on unnaturally. Love is a living, breathing
thing. It grows when two people, (and I mean any two people, but more on that later), work together in unison, taking in both the good and
the bad aspects of one another, and at the end of the day deciding that their love for one another is stronger than any apprehensions or
fears.

This has been a driving force in my life for years. I’ve always been more in touch with my feelings and the feelings of those around me, which
made me a good friend and shoulder to lean on for friends I’ve made over the years. While most people won’t agree with me, I am looking for
love, and I know I’ll find it one day. I have no interest in forcing it or assuming I’ll find it immediately. I just am allowing myself to
open up to love, and going along for the ride.

Now on to how this applies to VOID. You see, as a romantic, I’ve always incorporated love into my horror stories. I believe in showcasing
romance even in the face of horrific situations. Yet I felt inspiration strike after listening to a song. It was A Great Big World’s “Say
Something”. This song spoke to me on a new creative level. I listened to the song, and heard a message of loss, of hope, and of love. It
spoke to me about how life throws us curve-balls. How through pain, through loss, and through tragedy, one can find hope. Although the song
can be open to interpretation, this is the message I heard, and so VOID was born.

I decided to write a story about six friends, each undergoing a tragedy or dilemma of some sort. I decided to incorporate bits of my life
or things I believe in into their stories, such as Jasper, who’s undergoing a tragic set of circumstances as he is a gay man with parents
who are devoutly religious people who are against homosexuality. This is a subject I’m passionate about, because not only have I met and
known people who judge people by their sexuality, but I believe that love knows no sexual orientation. I felt like I needed to showcase
the mistakes and pitfalls of judging people. I wanted to highlight the struggles of the LGBT community in the face of adversity, and showcase
that friends could help him overcome his debacle.

I am writing this all down because I wanted to give you all a deeper understand of how I write and what I believe in. I’m a straight man
who fights for equality for everyone. I believe whole heartedly that everyone, no matter your race, gender or sexuality, is equal, and I
choose to believe this because I believe in love. You know, I just recently watched a very heartwarming and romantic video on YouTube of
well known YouTubers Colleen and Joshua Evans. It was their wedding video, and the love I saw in this video spoke to me. Not only the bright
love between this young couple, but the family that grew among their friends and family. Bonds were formed out of this love. A new family
was created out of this love. That is what I wanted to convey in VOID. Love among friends can bloom a new family. Love is one of our world’s
most powerful forces, and it should be cherished. That is what defines the theme of VOID.

Thank you guys for listening. To Josh and Colleen Ballinger, congratulations on your wedding. I’m always happy to see love blossom like in
your case. It’s a beautiful thing, and as a fellow YouTuber and romantic, I couldn’t be more proud and happy for you. To the rest of you guys,
I hope this gives you a better understanding of who I am and my creative process. I feel deeply, and I have always striven to incorporate
my thoughts, my feelings, and my romanticism into my writing. I hope you guys will check out VOID and see for yourself how love runs throughout
the veins of this novella. It’s available for preorder now on Amazon Kindle and will be out on October 1st, 2015 in both paperback and eBook
formats.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010VUR5QK?*Version*=1&*entries*=0