Spotlight, Excerpt & Author Interview: Magic Takes Manhattan + Giveaway

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Magic Takes Manhattan
Manhattan Magic  #1
by Jade Greenberg
Genre: Paranormal Women’s Fiction / Romantic Comedy
Date of Publication: 04/26/2022
ISBN: 9781957615004
ASIN: B09WQGRP43
Number of pages: 186
Word Count: 30k
Cover Artist: Jennifer Schatten
 
She always knew New York was a magical city. She had no idea how magical.
  
A hilarious, quirky, and enchanting, “riotously funny night of magical mayhem” from USA Today bestselling author, Jade Greenberg.
 
She always knew New York was a magical city. She had no idea how magical.
 
What do you do if you tend to attract unfortunate incidents? Make it work for you, that’s what. Take me, Mandi Muscovitz, independent insurance claims adjuster and master of disaster. I’ve made a career out of bad luck. But no matter how good I get, every year on April 30th, my birthday, mayhem always ensues. This year’s no different, and I expected that. What I did not expect was to find myself at the center of a magical apocalypse. 
 
Lucky for the fate of the universe, I ain’t new to this type of stuff. And it don’t hurt I got a hot wizard to stare at while I save the planet from an eternal winter.
 
Yeah, alright, I may have caused the problem, but it wasn’t intentional. And I’m going to be the one to fix it, so it’s like it cancels itself out in a way.
 
But whatever. Don’t worry. I got this… Probably.
 
Join Mandi on her May Day adventure as she saves the world in Magic Takes Manhattan, a not-to-be-missed, humorous Paranormal Women’s Fiction novella. 
 

Excerpt:

Sometimes I’m blown away by my city. Trudging through the tedium of daily life, trying to survive, it’s easy to forget how Liberty Island is so close, or Ellis Island, or any islands with tourist attractions.

“The last time I was here, I was eight.”

“I come here often.”

As we head toward Lady Liberty, I swear she looks down and gives me a wink.

“Did you see that? She winked at me.”

“Maybe she finds you attractive.”

“Ha ha.”

“You should be so lucky,” Jack says, surprising me by having a sense of humor.

As we approach the entrance, I stop. “Don’t tell me I got to walk it.”

With a cocky grin that makes him look too hot to be human, he wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me in close.

Hello. This has taken a strange turn. Can’t say I hate it. The man is gorgeous. If a golden sunray were a person with an eccentric sense of style, it’d be him. Even so, I’m not marrying a stranger.

With a wave of his hand, we shoot straight up, flying past the top of her head into the sky, and I scream at the top of my lungs the entire time. Next thing I know, we’re in a shrine made of light and gold that shines like we’re standing inside the sun. It’s a big, ornate room suspended above the Statue of Liberty.

“Wow,” I breathe.

“Please try something for me.”

“Uh oh. If it has anything to do with jumping out one of these windows to see if I can fly on my own, the answer is no friggin’ way.”

“Perhaps try something simple.”

“Simple works.”

“Focus.”

“Alright. Focusing.” Deep breath in and exhale.

Oy, I feel like a dope, but I stop myself and open to the possibilities. Hello, I’m in a magic temple floating over the Statue of Liberty. Anything is friggin’ possible. Time to give this a real shot. What if Mr. B’s right? What if I’ve got powers? Who knows?

“Let’s start with something simple any witch could do—I’d like you to float a feather.”

A small white feather flutters in, hovers before me, and drifts toward the ground.

“If it touches the floor, the floor will disappear,” he says, and my heart jumps into my throat.

With as much speed as I can muster, I try to snatch the thing. No matter what I do, it flies away. Soon enough I’m chasing this thing around like a psycho, flapping whatever parts necessary to create enough wind to keep it afloat.

“Magic! Use Magic,” Jack chides.

“The stakes are too high!” I shout as I keep it up with the breeze from my spastic body movements.

“Use your powers!”

“I don’t have any!”

Wait, I know! I pull out my lint roller with such speed it might as well be magic and use the rest of my body to guide the feather to the sheet of stickum. Thank God, it works!

“Screw you, feather! I win!”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“I know, but I don’t want to die like that, and I don’t have any powers. I’m sorry.” I plop down onto the gold floor etched with sunray patterns.

He takes a paper out of his pocket and reads as he paces before me.

“Have you ever felt like you knew when the disasters you experience would strike?”

“Only around my birthday because it’s always a disastrous time. The others catch me unaware, even now. I mean, I’ve gotten to where I can spot and avoid them, but that’s from experience, not from a magical power or nothing like that. It’s my job to notice those things.”

“Do your dreams ever come true, or your nightmares?”

“Yeah,” I say with a chuckle.

“Why’s that funny?”

“If I remember my dreams, it’s always boring stuff, like I’m at work filing or some random crap. I don’t have interesting dreams. Never have. They come true, but it’s because I’m dreaming about the stuff I do every day.”

“That’s unique.”

“Is it?”

“Perhaps not,” he says and sighs, massaging the bridge of his nose.

“If I had magical powers, I’d have used them by now, wouldn’t I? It’d be great to be a goddess, but that’s not my reality. And it’s cool. Most people don’t have magical powers. I’m happy to be most people.”

“Maybe we could try one more time. Maybe you’ll undergo some transformation if you find them–”

“I’ll look like a woman you could love?”

What a dick.

“I… I’m sorry, but I’ve had a very clear image of her in my mind my entire life and you are nothing at all like her.”

The sigh that escapes me is unavoidable.

“Look, I want to be offended, but I saw her in Evelyn’s memory. She’s smoking hot, and I am nothing like her. That’s alright though, because she’s a goddess, and I’m just a person.”

“If they buried the magic… Maybe we could try—”

“—Alright, let’s try again.” I pull myself up to standing. “Go ahead. Give me another test. Can it not be a life-or-death thing, though?”

After a moment, he proffers his arm, his hand reaching into a ray of light that shines in through one of the ornate windows. He grasps the light and squeezes it. When he opens his hand, a glowing amber colored marble is there.

“Uh, so, how do I do that?”

“Catch the light in your palm and make it solid.”

“Oh, sure. No problem. Make light solid. Easy peasy,” I say and walk over to the same sunbeam.

When I try to grab the light like he did, nothing happens.

“Maybe it’s that sunbeam that’s the problem, since you already grabbed it,” I say, trying to appease him and go to the next one, and the next. Each time, reality reminds me it exists by laughing in my face. “I feel like an idiot,” I say, and he sighs. “I suck. Admit it. I suck at magic.”

“This is not the way it’s supposed to happen,” he says as he sits on the floor, his head falling into his hands.

Defeated, miserable, and distraught, he pouts. I sit and give him a pat on the back.

“I wish I was her. Believe me, I do. You’re a jerk, but you’re a handsome jerk. Who’s not into me. Most everyone else is though, so I’m not worried.”

“Belvedere says it’s the human body—it’s nothing like living as a god—but visions of her plague me. If I look somewhat like who I was, why wouldn’t she?”

“No clue.”

“If you’re a pawn and not a minion, then the Winter Witch cursed you too. I’m not so sure being near each other is best for either of us. We’re at the brink of the apocalypse.

Somehow, you are at the center, perhaps to create disasters, obstacles. From what I’ve gathered, you’ve been disastrous since birth.”

“Let me make sure I’m hearing you right—you’re saying every messed-up thing that’s ever happened to me—”

“—Is part of a curse to keep me and Flora apart, to end our reigns as gods. Which means the death of Spring and Summer for eternity. No growth, only decay. Nothing to harvest. Only cold darkness year-round. If I die, if she dies, both seasons die with us. Gods are immortal for a reason.”

“You’re a god now? An actual god?” I say and snort. Talk about ego problems.

“I am the God of Summer. Flora is the Goddess of Spring. That day, we were to commit to each other for eternity.”

“But I was born the day before—”

“Of course, the Winter Witch knew what she would do to us before she did it. She was prepared. With you and who knows who else.”

“Basically, you’re saying all the tragedy in my life is because of you and your girlfriend and the old hag who hates you, and now the end of the world is going to happen because of me.”

“Put in the most remedial of ways, yes.”

Talk about screwing someone over. I’m cursed because of this crap I ain’t got nothing to do with no how? Who does that to a baby that ain’t even born? There’s no way I’m causing the end of the friggin’ world. This winter witch can keep dreaming. She picked the wrong girl… woman… whatever. And if I am cursed, and she’s the one who cursed me, I wonder.

“Let’s say I find your goddess for you. Does my curse break too?”

“If your misfortune results from this curse, yes, it would, in theory, break too. But if we find her, Mandi, I promise you, I will break the curse for you. I am a God. When I have the full force of my powers returned to me, I will remove your curse and bless you. You have my bond.”

“Does this blessing include magical real estate? Specifically, I could use a rent-free penthouse with magical perks, like built in cleaning and laundry. And one of those enormous gardens the size of Central Park like you got. That’d be incredible.”

He cracks a smile and almost laughs, but I’m not kidding.

“I’m being serious, Jack. If you could hook me up, I’d appreciate it. Living without disasters…” I stop and think about what that might be like. “I never thought about that as a possibility. That’d be…” Knowing nothing was going to happen to me would change everything.

“I guess that’d be blessing enough. But I’m homeless. I don’t want to go back to Danny.”

“How would that even be an option?”

“What do you mean? I got nowhere else to go.”

“What about a friend who might let you stay on their couch?”

“Nah, I’m not a social person.”

“You don’t appear to be introverted. In fact, you should be far more introverted than you are.”

“Alright, I’ll ignore that because you’re stressed. Don’t you worry, Jack. A witch-goddess, I may not be, but I fix screwups for a living. You’re looking at an expert—this is what I do. I got this,” I assure him. “Come on. Let’s blow this sunbeam. We got work to do. I got a plan. Magic us on out of here.”

“I knew it wouldn’t work,” he says with a sigh, takes out a golden whistle, and blows it, but I don’t hear nothing.

“Dog whistle?” I ask with an arched brow. “I’m not riding no dog back to the city, magic or not.”

“Dragon whistle.”

As the vaulted ceiling opens to the sky, a massive golden dragon glides down and lands, perching on the top of the wall. A staircase of light materializes, and we climb it to a landing.


Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.
—The amazing and wonderful Mandy Roth invited me to be a part of a Paranormal Women’s Fiction anthology, Aged to Perfection, featuring diverse female main characters forty and over. The anthology released Valentine’s Day week of this year and contained nineteen novellas featuring new and established authors in the genre. We hit the USA Today bestseller list in our first week, which was a blessing. I was honored to be a part of it. It was available for about a month before it went off the market. Since, I’ve expanded Magic Takes Manhattan and am sending Mandi, my MC, on more adventures through New York City. As of now, I’m planning on releasing three more books in the series.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
—So many things. I did a considerable amount of research into the magical history of New York. But perhaps the most fascinating discovery I made I use in my book—there really are crystals and gems running through the ground in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.

The southern tip of Manhattan Island is heavily serpentine, and so is about half of Staten Island. This blew my mind. When they dug out the subway tunnels, they found all sorts of gems, and I named my main character, Almandine “Mandi” Muscovitz, after a large stone that was pulled from the ground here in NYC—almandine garnet on muscovite.

And what’s particularly interesting to me, is the crystals in the ground throughout the city have metaphysical properties that seem to correspond to the predominant activities that take place in the neighborhoods they lie embedded in. For example, Wall Street is located toward the southern tip of Manhattan Island, which is heavily serpentine, and serpentine is supposed to help clear the mind and open it up to psychic abilities and things like making predictions—a skill a stockbroker could use. I could go on and on with those sorts of examples.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
—I’ve written comedy for quite some time, but never in novel form. Mostly, I wrote for character comics and live performance. I had never thought of fusing my work as an author with my work as a comedy writer for some odd reason. But I felt like the world needs to laugh right now, even just for a moment. People need an escape, we need to feel joy. So, I wrote this book to hopefully give that to readers who want it, and in the process, I found myself laughing, escaping the drama of the world today, and feeling the joy I hoped to give to others. It was a blast. And I hope Mandi gives everyone who reads her story the joy she’s given me.

4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
—I love finding magic in unexpected places. But what if magic took over your hometown? My hometown is Manhattan—Hell’s Kitchen, to be exact—and if I could suddenly see the once invisible magic of my city, I’d probably commit myself. Manhattan is a place most people have either visited or seen pictures of or movies and TV shows that take place there. I hoped the title would evoke images in the mind’s eye of what a magical Manhattan might be like. It’s been such a pleasure writing it

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
—No, although another writer friend of mine, Joe Crawford, is a former independent insurance claims adjuster, which was a crazy coincidence, and he helped me a great deal with understanding the way someone with that job would approach a problem and go about an investigation. He was a huge help to me, and I give him a big fat thank you in the acknowledgments of my book.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
—Absolutely. I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll just say a common theme in my work is self-actualization.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?
—I love the New Yorkisms I’ve gotten to incorporate, but even more than that is the Yiddish. Most New Yorkers, no matter what their ethnic background may be, understand basic Yiddish words used in everyday life in the city. It’s a great language, and even though I’m Jewish, I believe Yiddish is for everyone. There are so many great Yiddish words people use they don’t even realize they’re using. Like glitch, clutz, and spiel. Yiddish is chock full of good words I use regularly, and I’d love to see more people using Yiddish words into their everyday lives.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
—Creating characters is what I love to do. It’s probably the one part of the writing process that usually goes smoothly for me. I come from a theatrical family—my parents are performers, so were my grandparents, and so on. Although I always wrote, I started out as an actress, went to drama school, and basically spent a lifetime learning how to create full characters who successfully serve a particular function in a story.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
—To continue releasing books in the series and begin recording the audiobooks. That is something I am super excited to begin. We are currently in pre-production now. They’re being produced by Audiobook Empire, and I’m going to be performing Mandi along with a full cast of actors, some of whom you might recognize from television shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Law and Order; films like Welcome to the Dollhouse, Requiem for a Dream, and Judas and the Black Messiah; and from original Broadway casts of shows like Titanic and Tommy. I couldn’t be more excited to go into production on this, and that should be happening very soon.


About the Author:

 
Jade Greenberg is a USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal Women’s Fiction with a Rom-Com twist. She lives in New York City with her family and loves finding magic in unexpected places. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: It started With a List + Giveaway

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It Started With a List

Pacific Grove University Book 1

by Tinia Montford

Genre: New Adult Romantic Comedy

 

A BUCKET LIST. THE POPULAR GUY. A LONER. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Time’s up for Vassa Blackwell.

With her college graduation looming, Vassa reflects on the past four years. Man, she is mega disappointed. No wacky misadventures, no drunken nights, and no regrettable mistakes you can NEVER tell your parents. Work and class, Class and work. That’s it. College is suppose to be the best years of one’s life… Right?

Vassa feels as though she’s cheated herself out of a full college experience. Notably with romance and boys and stuff. So, she makes a college bucket list. Then the worse thing ever happens.

Her list falls into the hands of Lazarus Gilbert. King of the baseball team, sworn enemy (in her opinion), and her annoying upstairs neighbor. He thinks he’s found something fun to do. She thinks she’s in trouble. With the pressures of post-college decisions and failing classes looming, can they complete the bucket list before the semester runs out? Are Vassa and Lazarus just too different to get along? Or will Vassa learn to live and let live, and let love enter her heart?

It Started with a List is an opposites-attract romance. Perfect for readers who love drunk karaoke, spring breaks to Las Vegas, and sea lions at Pier 39. This novel contains cursing and sex scenes, and intended for audiences 18 years and older.

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itstartedwithalist - excerpt

Craning her neck back, she looked at the sign. “Crooked Cloud Lounge. Sounds like a brothel.”
Lazarus threw his hands up. “Karaoke!”
Vassa shook her head. There was no way. She wasn’t drunk enough for that. She turned around when he pulled her arm. “C’mon, you can do it.”
Vassa shook her head. No, no way. She sang off-key in the privacy of her shower. He dragged her into the establishment anyway. The place was empty. Just a bartender and a bunch of standing tables. In the corner was a couple, a sleeping security guard, and a random businessman on his phone. He brought her to the table in the middle with a thick binder.
“We’re not leaving till we each do a song.”
Vassa shook her head still. She was the audience. The one that clapped and cheered for the people that were obviously horrible, but had self-esteem (and liquor) through the roof.
“We should just go home; it looks like it’s about to close, anyway.” Vassa looked around.
“How about Smashing Pumpkins, or are you feeling Michael Jackson at the moment?” Lazarus flipped the page.
“I’ll watch you do it. I need more liquid courage,” Vassa said.
He frowned. “You have to live, Vee. When are you ever going to get an opportunity like this again? A nearly empty karaoke bar and me?”
She tried to ignore how he was kinda making sense.
“Let’s get this over with.”
Lazarus smiled. “Now we’re talking.”
Flipping through the binder, she felt overwhelmed by the selections. Should she pick something classic? Off the Wall or Slippery When Wet? Or something modern?
“I’ll get us shots while you look.”
He left and Vassa looked around the room again. At least she didn’t know anyone here. They would only know her as the stranger who couldn’t hold a note. She was doubly grateful Dara wasn’t here to record. She tapped her hand against the table as her eyes scanned the names of the songs, but she found nothing was calling to her.
“Did you pick yet?” Lazarus sat the shots down onto the table. Six shots. Three for him, and three for her.
“Three shots at once?” Her liver was crying.
He rubbed his hands. “We can’t do this sober, can we?”
“What is it?”
“Tequila.”
Vassa made a face. “No vodka?”
“They were out.”
She resigned herself and reached for the lime and salt. “You’re going to have to pick me up off the floor.”
“Someone might have to pick me up,” Lazarus muttered and passed the shots to her. “Back-to-back, no stopping.”
She placed the salt on the curve of her thumb and picked up the first shot. Lazarus counted down. On three, she licked the salt and took the shot. She shivered as she swallowed, the liquor burning every tastebud on the way down. She tried to ride out the burn for as long as she could before biting into the lime. She looked at Lazarus, and he looked as winded as she did.
“That was one,” he gasped.
Vassa steeled herself as they tossed back the next two shots. She was feeling pretty warm at this point. They let the alcohol kick in longer before they went up.
“What did you pick?”
He closed his eyes leaning against the table. “It’s a surprise.”
They let the bartender, who was also serving as the DJ, know what their songs were. Lazarus grabbed another round of shots. The TV on stage turned on and the strobe lights whirled. The first cords of the song played and Vassa didn’t recognize it at first, but then she looked at Lazarus, who moved toward the stage.
“No, you didn’t.”
He winked before jumping onstage. Vassa covered her face. No, he wasn’t doing this. Peeking through her fingers, she saw him roll his shoulders back like he was getting into a fight. The beat of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor started.
Vassa shook her head at him. No, he really wasn’t doing this. He pointed at her and shook his hips. This was not happening right now. The tequila was kicking in because she was hot and her body felt loose. She swayed to the beat and clapped as he hit the chorus. Lazarus pranced across the tiny stage. It was like a reject strip show. He gyrated his hips, pointing to the couple off to the side and then the businessman too.
He didn’t care that he was singing off-key. The couple cheered for him. Even sleeping security guard woke up.
Lazarus worked the small crowd. He jumped down from the stage and walked around the empty tables, dancing. He looked at Vassa and made a come-here motion with his finger. She shook her head as she laughed. He came to their table and pointed the mic directly in her face.
“C’mon, sing Vee.”
The music continued to play, and she shook her head again. The surrounding people chanted for her to sing.
Lazarus looked at her, and with the demand of the crowd, there was nothing she could really do. She sang a line before backing away from the mic. He said the next line and pointed the microphone back.
“Don’t leave me hanging!” He wiggled his fingers.
Vassa sang. They took turns for a few more seconds before he moved on, dancing around the tables. She clapped her hands together with the rest of the crowd. When the song finally ended, he did a bow. Vassa cheered for him. He passed the couple, and they reached out to high five.
Lazarus took a shot at the table once he came back.
“I don’t know what to say.” Vassa blinked slowly, her hands on her face.
“There’s nothing to say. You just saw a master at work.”
“If baseball or event planning don’t work out for you, maybe you could be a drag queen?”


Tinia Montford is a Pisces who’s a sap for romance, especially when there’s (loads of) kissing. Loves eighties sitcoms and will consume anything with chocolate. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in English and Graphic Design.

She is a world traveler having climbed a volcano in Nicaragua, scaled Angkor Wat in the blistering sun, and basked in the Acropolis of Athens. Oh, she also dabbles in short stories on occasion and blogs.

If you can’t catch her writing, you can bet she’s overindulging on poke bowls, listening to the same four songs, or chilling with her adorbs doggie. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction.

You can catch Tinia here and sign up for her newsletter: tiniamontford.com

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Spotlight: The Reboot, by Clodagh Murphy

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The Reboot
by Clodagh Murphy
Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Ella and Roly have bright futures ahead of them when they meet as teenagers and strike up an unlikely friendship. She has her career in academia all mapped out, and his star is in the ascendant as member of a manufactured boy band.

But ten years later, neither is where they expected to be. A chronic illness forced Ella to abandon her studies and put her dreams on hold, while Roly got kicked out of the band and lost everything – all his money, his career in music, even the underwear-model girlfriend.

When they cross paths again they’re both ready to start over, and they rekindle their friendship as they each try to get back what they lost.

But Ella didn’t tell Roly what really happened the last time they met. And if he finds out, will it be the end of their new beginning?

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Author Bio:
Clodagh Murphy lives in Dublin, Ireland and loves writing sassy, sexy romantic comedies. She has worked as a bar waitress, cleaner, secretary, editorial assistant, mystery shopper and movie extra. But she always dreamed of being an author, and after more jobs than she cares to remember, she now writes full-time. For more information about her books or to sign up to her newsletter, visit her website at http://clodaghmurphy.com/.


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