#ReleaseBlitz “Pairs with Life” by John Taylor

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Humorous Fiction, Romantic Comedy 

Date Published: September 15, 2020

Publisher: Hurn Publications

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 Forty-eight-year-old Corbett Thomas, a one-hit wonder of the 90s, now works as the lead sommelier at Napa Valley’s hippest restaurant. Set to become one of the few Master Sommeliers in the world, Corbett self-destructs during his final exam, ruining his last chance at capturing the stardom and adoration he got a taste for in his youth.

When billionaire game designer, Brogan Prescott, asks Corbett to consult on a major vineyard acquisition, Corbett sees it as a shot at redemption, until he learns of Brogan’s ridiculous vision of a virtual-reality, Woke Ant Colony Winery. Disgusted, Corbett decides to buy the vineyard himself and preserve its magic and history. Cashless, clueless, and with his reputation in tatters, Corbett enlists the help of his bass-player-turned-lawyer Seamus O’Flaherty, who may have finally lost his stomach for Corbett’s bad ideas; his uber-rational daughter Remy, who wants Corbett to uncork some family secrets he’d rather leave in the cellar; and Sydney Cameron, whose sudden appearance in Corbett’s life may repair his heart or shatter it forever.

With their help-and sometimes despite it-Corbett discovers what Brogan has known all along: a four-billion-dollar gold deposit lies beneath the vineyard. If Brogan acquires the property, the ensuing gold rush will destroy Napa Valley.

But if Corbett can get out of his own way long enough to purchase the vineyard first, he’ll be faced with the hardest decision of his life: take the fame and fortune he desperately craves, or save the soul of the valley he loves so much.



Let’s get one thing clear – I won that bet fair and square, even though I cheated.

I blame the whole thing on Rick Dornin, who was being particularly douchey that night. I used to be able to choose whichever party I wanted to serve without question. That is, until Dornin arrived at Appellation with his anal-retentive online calendar and industrial-grade Napoleon complex.

Yes, that Appellation. The most coveted dining experience in all of Napa Valley, and one of only nine restaurants in America awarded three Michelin stars. It took a DNA sample and a copy of your credit report to get a table, and then you’d better be ready to cash in your 401(k) when the bill came.

The evening started out normally enough. I arrived at the restaurant an hour before my shift to check reservations, talk to Chef Dan about the evening’s specials, and think of pairings for the prix fixe. Dornin was in his office—a modified broom closet next to the staff bathroom that looked like a hoarder’s den with one, tiny deer trail leading to his desk. In fact, he was always in his office, even when service was slammed, which drove me batshit crazy. I don’t care if you’re General Manager or General Patton—when it’s time to schlep a plate or buff a glass, you step up and do it.

Anyway, I poked my head through the doorway and said, “Hey, Rick,” trying to keep things light and cheery. “What do you know about this Harrison party at eight?”

“Whales,” he replied, not bothering to look up from his purchase orders. “Big whales, like Moby Dick whales.”

“Sweet!” Visions of stockbrokers trying to one-up each other with bottles of Screaming Eagle at five thousand bucks a pop danced in my head. Tips so big they come in a brown paper bag.

“Yes.” Dornin finally looked up at me and grinned like he learned how to do it from an infomercial. “They’ll be in the Veraison Room. With Andrew.”

“What?” I lunged into the tiny office, nearly tripping over a carton of water glasses. “You can’t give it to Andrew!”

“I can give it to whoever I want.” He went back to his purchase orders, feigning a nonchalance that made me want to smack him. “If I want to move Felipe off of bussing and let him pop some corks, I could do that, too.”

Time for a different tack—one that wouldn’t involve me going full-on Hannibal Lecter. “I’m just saying that a party like that comes to a restaurant like this to experience the highest level of service in the world. I’m the guy they’re coming for, not Andrew. I sit for my Master Somm next week, and—”

 “You know what you are, Corbett? You’re an overpaid bartender.” Dornin had thin lips and an Adam’s apple the size of Detroit, and it bugged me. “You trained for twenty years to learn how to pull a cork from a bottle and tell people that red wine goes with steak. Whoop-tee-freaking-do. You’ll work the floor tonight, and you can have the Jansen party on the terrace at seven-thirty.”

My left eyebrow started twitching, which happens when I get stressed out. Apparently, no one can see it, but to me, it feels like a two-year-old is digging tiny fingers into my face and stretching it like saltwater taffy. I considered trying the No One Has Experience At Up-Selling Like I Do approach, but this was the third time in as many weeks I’d had such a run-in with Dornin.

I was done.

It was time to talk to Chef Dan.

Most people remember Chef Daniel Foyer from his five seasons on Elite Chef, The Food Channel’s number one show from 1998 to 2002. With a chin so chiseled it could slice a burnt chuck steak and blue eyes that screamed, “Come taste this gazpacho in my bedroom,” he was the prototype celebrity chef. But Father Time had been most inhospitable to Chef Dan, and for the past couple of years the poor soul tried to counteract a rapid aging process by dunking his scalp and Sam Elliott-sized mustache in a fifty-gallon drum of jet-black hair dye. The net effect was so incongruous with the rest of his wrinkled face that I could barely look at him without drowning in the shore break of cognitive dissonance.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the guy. He was a loyal and trusted friend, and straight-up the most amazing culinary artist of my generation. But if I’d had any money, I would have bought stock in Just For Men and eventually retire on my Chef Dan profits alone.

About the Author

John Taylor has been writing about wine since 2012, but his meanderings on life began way before that. Born and raised in San Diego, California, John moved to Los Angeles in 1982 to pursue dreams of screenwriting and filmmaking. He attended the University of Southern California, where he majored in Shattered Dreams and False Hopes, with a minor in Getting Gut Punched By Reality. After being handed a degree in Journalism in 1987 as a consolation prize, John dove into a career in music. Because getting gut-punched just isn’t painful enough.

By 1996, John and his band, The Uninvited, had produced four independent albums and became one of the most popular acts in the western United States. This lead to a deal on Atlantic Records, which released the band’s self-titled debut album in 1997. The band had two Top 100 hits, and toured nationally with Dave Matthews, Blues Traveller, Third Eye Blind and many other acts. Their music appeared in the TV shows Beverly Hills 90210 and Party of Five, and in the motion pictures The Commandments and North Beach. The band can also be heard in several HBO Documentaries, video games and on that annoying “One Hit Wonders of The 90’s” station your co-worker always plays on Spotify.

In 2001, John’s vast experience in shattered dreams was once again called into play as the band hung up their touring shoes for good. After a brief but horrifying career in real estate, John got wise and made a career out of his favorite hobby – wine – and has held various sales & marketing positions in Napa Valley since 2011. John’s writing career started in earnest at this point, with blogs, essays and short stories appearing in various publications. John is the author of three novels, including the aptly-titled Pairs With: Life, which will be released by Hurn Publications in September 2020.


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#ReleaseBlitz “Playing for Keeps (The Game Changers Series)” by A.C. Arthur

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The Game Changers

When the world counted them out, they knew it was time to change the game. They’ve been friends since landing in the same group home when they were teenagers. Now, due to life altering events, they’re each forced to once again pull themselves out of the ashes in a quest to find who they were meant to be. The answer, now that they’re all back in their hometown of Providence—a small town centrally located between Washington D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia—is to stick together. By pooling their resources, the wayward town troublemakers are now owners of Game Changers, a sports bar where their goal is to make sure that the good times outweigh the bad. Except, the bad always finds them. Luckily, a woman will come into each of their lives, not only to challenge them, but to also bring out the best in every member of this group of Black men that nobody ever expected to succeed.

This fall get ready for a small town with big city problems, boys growing into men and learning to stand their ground, strong women with their own goals and hearts full of love, and of course, hot and steamy nights!


Delano “Del” Greer plays by the rules at all times. Especially after a scandal ruined his career at the police department and threatened to destroy his family’s reputation in his hometown of Providence. Now, he’s focused on establishing Game Changers as a  reputable sports bar. Once a staunch adversary of social media, Del puts the success of the bar first and gives it a try, using a fake name of course. When his trial run quickly lands him in a steamy online affair he’s happy to play along, until he learns that the woman on the other end of those hot text messages is his sister’s best friend.

Working alongside her father at his auto body shop since she was six years old, Rylan Kent is the polar opposite of her beauty pageant winning sister. She’s been best friends With Terra Greer for about the same amount of time. So imagine Rylan’s surprise when she inadvertently learns the identity of the guy who responded to her drunken chat and continued to share explicit ways he could bring her pleasure. Now, Rylan has no idea how the temperamental and all-about-keeping-up-appearances Del is going to react when he finds out the woman he’s been talking sex with is actually the one he called “greasy-peasy” all through high school. 

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AC Arthur was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently resides with her husband, three children, grandson and an English bulldog named Vader. An active imagination and a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school and she hasn’t stopped since.Working in the legal field for over twenty-five years, AC has seen lots of horrific things and longs for the safe haven of a romance novel. To date, she has written in several genres: YA paranormal (w/a Artist Arthur), small town romance as Lacey Baker, and sexy contemporary and paranormal romance. With intriguing plots and sexy love scenes, AC brings a new edge to romance!



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#ReleaseBlitz “Love Me Always Anthology” by Multiple Authors

Title: Love Me Always: A Romance Anthology  
Genre: Multi Romance
Release Date: September 15, 2020
It’s all in the name of love…
Get lost in nineteen African American romances filled with passion, desire, and love. This collection includes short reads ranging from sweet to sensual, to dark and addicting. These dirty alphas and sassy heroines will keep you up until long past your bedtime. Believe us, there is something for everyone in this anthology. Don’t delay. This collection of tales will only be available for a short time. One-click now! Note: This collection contains material for mature readers (18+ and older) only. The publisher’s proceeds from Love Me Always will be donated in their entirety to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Please note that Love Me Always is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NAACP.
Authors featured: Peyton Banks LeeSha McCoy Ally Vance Theresa Hodge L. Loren E.S. McMillan Sade Rena Tami Lund Barb Shuler Marie Long ML Preston Ava Mallory Gwen Knight Reina Torres Amanda Faye Cara North Meka James A.C. Nixon Amabel Daniels

#NewRelease “My Soul is a Witness” by Yecheilyah Ysrayl


My Soul is a Witness is a collection of poems that reminds us that there is still hope in our darkest moments. Nothing we go through is without a purpose. No pain we suffer, and no trial we experience happens without reason. It all ministers to our education and the development of ourselves into the people we are ordained to become. It helps to cultivate in us a spirit of patience, faith, humility, and self-control.

I hope these poems will do that for you. I hope this piece will invigorate and restore your Soul.




#AuthorSpotlight “Meet Penny Hampson, author of The Unquiet Spirit”

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Thanks for stopping by Nesie’s Place today! Author Penny Hampson is here to share a little bit about herself and her latest release, The Unquiet Spirit.

Welcome, Penny! What inspired The Unquiet Spirit?

I was also keen to introduce elements of real life that are sometimes overlooked or ignored — issues that I feel strongly about that don’t easily fit in a historical novel. One of the characters in The Unquiet Spirit suffers from a chronic illness, and I wanted to show how that can impact the whole family, something I have personal experience of as a carer.

Do you have a favorite character in the story?

No, I quite like all my characters, even the ones who are a bit naughty. I think that, as a writer, one has to feel something for the characters one creates, even the villains, in order to make them believable.

What is your work schedule like when writing a book?

My work schedule can be erratic whether I’m writing a book or not. I try to write most days but it is not always possible. As soon as I finish one book, or at least the first draft, I start the next one, it’s a continuous process. I find it’s good to leave a gap of time between completing a first draft and then going back to it to correct and rewrite. 

When did you write your first book?

coverI started writing my first book, A Gentleman’s Promise, about four years ago. I was working full-time then, so I was only able to write at weekends. I came to writing quite late in life, so I feel like I’m catching up. The downside is that I don’t have the same amount of time to devote to reading because I no longer have lengthy commutes.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written four books in total. The Unquiet Spirit is my third book and my first contemporary novel. My fourth book, an historical novel called A Bachelor’s Pledge will be released next month. I don’t have a favourite book, I enjoyed writing them all, though they each had their difficulties. The Unquiet Spirit was in some ways easier to write because it’s set in the present day, so there were no tricky historical issues to deal with.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I’m a hybrid author. My historical novels are all self-published, but The Unquiet Spirit is published by Darkstroke. It’s good having total control over one’s stories and how they look, but the costs of professional editing, proofing and covers are significant. These are costs which I considered to be essential before releasing my books. However, I’m happy to say that my experience with Darkstroke has been excellent.

Do you write full time, or do you also work outside the home?

I gave up full time work a few years ago to care for a chronically ill member of the family. While this restricts my writing time, I now have considerably more time to write than I did before.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

A lot of my time is taken up with the usual household tasks like cooking and cleaning, but in my downtime I enjoy going for walks, swimming, reading, and visiting family and friends. Of course, this year has been rather different for everybody, thanks to Covid, so trips away and socialising have been off-limits. I still manage to fit in a daily walk, and now lockdown here has relaxed I’ve been able to get a bit further afield — doing the same circuit round my town everyday for several months was beginning to send me crazy!

Coffee or tea?

I drink both, but only decaffeinated. The husband is a budding barista who is working on his latte art, so I enjoy a wonderful decaffeinated flat white every day.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

I can’t have pets I’m afraid, because of the ill-health of a member of my family. If I could, I’d probably have a dog – one like Sal, who appears in The Unquiet Spirit.

Where’s Oxfordshire located? What’s one interesting thing about it?

Oxfordshire is a county just north-west of London. It’s quite a rural county, which is lovely for me, because it means that the countryside is on my doorstep. Being city born and bred, it’s still a novelty for me to see green fields and open vistas every day. Oxford, the county town of Oxfordshire has two universities, one of them, established in the 12th century, is the oldest university in the English speaking world.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I have a Twitter account and I’m on Facebook, so I suppose you could say I’m addicted. I spend some time on both everyday.

What’s your next project?

My next book is already written. A Bachelor’s Pledge, an historical mystery/romance set in 1810 will be released on 7th October. It tells the story of government agent, Phil Cullen and Sophia Turner, the young lady he rescues from a notorious brothel. Both become embroiled in a plot to unmask a ruthless French spy and prevent a hidden cache of gold reaching French shores. Expect lots of adventure and action. Like The Unquiet Spirit, it too is mainly set in Falmouth and Bath, making my research trips to these places doubly useful! 

Beyond that, I have more contemporary paranormal mysteries to come. I’ve plans for Freddie, a minor character from The Unquiet Spirit, to have his own encounter with the supernatural, and I’m also working on a short story about witches set in Glasgow.

Please share an excerpt (extract) with us from one of your favorite scenes.

This scene occurs on Kate’s first morning in Falmouth. She’s in a coffee shop where she’s had an abrupt encounter with a guy who couldn’t get away fast enough and his dog Sal who contrarily had wanted to stay. After the guy and his dog had departed the waitress is eager to chat.

“Think you made a bit of an impression there.” Kate jumped at the waitress’s voice. The woman placed a fresh cup of coffee on the table.

“Sorry?” Kate guessed she meant the dog. The guy had wanted nothing to do with her. Hadn’t even given his name.

“On Tom…and Sal, of course. Lovely dog, but very shy; doesn’t like strangers. Bit like Tom, really. Sal usually sits good as gold outside the door while he gets his coffee. It’s his parents’ dog, but he brings it for a walk first thing. Nice bloke.” The woman started to clear the table of Kate’s now empty plate and used mug.

“Really?” Kate was unconvinced. He was brusque and overbearing in her opinion.

The woman nodded and put the dishes back down. She was in no hurry to work. “Yeah. Known Tom for years. We were at primary school together. He went on to the grammar and then university. He was working in London, then out of the blue he came back.” The waitress gave a sigh. “S’spect he’d made enough money. Keeps himself to himself. No girlfriend as far as I know – and that’s not for want of trying by some of the local girls.” She giggled and leaned forward conspiratorially. “Most he does is one date and that’s it.” She smirked. “Yeah, there’s a few disappointed ladies in Falmouth, I can tell you.”

“Hmm?” was Kate’s response to this flood of unwanted information. Why would anyone think a guy so rude was a catch? Though she had to admit, he was easy on the eye when he wasn’t scowling.

The waitress leaned her hip against the table. It seemed she had time on her hands and wasn’t ready to finish the conversation. “You on holiday then?”

“No, I’m here for a while. It might be permanent, not sure yet.”


Oh, I love chatty waitresses, Penny! They know everything about everyone! LOL! Looking forward to reading more about Kate, Tom, and Kate’s house! Many thanks for spending time on the blog with me!

Thank you, Felicia for choosing me and my book, The Unquiet Spirit, to feature on your blog. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.

Keep scrolling to read more about, and get your copy of The Unquiet Spirit. It can also be read through Kindle Unlimited!



A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Fans of Barbara Erskine will enjoy this tale.

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Author Bio

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/