Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crossfire of Love by Ella Jade

Crossfire of Love by Ella Jade is my featured novel today - check out this author and her work, they are well worth the read!

About the Author:

Ella Jade has been writing for as long as she can remember. As a child, she often had a
notebook and pen with her and now as an adult, the laptop is never far. The plots and dialogue
have always played out in her head, but she never knew what to do with them. That all changed
when she discovered the eBooks industry. She started penning novels at a rapid pace and now
she can't be stopped.

Ella resides in New Jersey with her husband and two young boys. When she's not chasing after
her kids, she's busy writing, attending PTO meetings, kickboxing and scrapbooking. She hope's
you'll get lost in her words.

About the Novel:

Can an arranged marriage lead to love?

Recent college graduate Gabriella has finally married the man of her dreams, the older, charismatic attorney Lorenzo Martinez. She's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember and always imagined they'd one day find their happily ever after. Unfortunately, they enter into a union arranged by their fathers.

Lorenzo is charming, protective, and loyal to his crime lord father Carlo. When Carlo asks Lorenzo to marry Gabriella he jumps at the opportunity. He's been drawn to her for many years and knows by marrying her he's helping to protect her father.

Gabby is resentful and won't be Lorenzo's charity case. But sparks fly and the couple soon gives
into their desire, realizing they were meant to be together.

What happens when Carlo's enemies threaten their future? Will someone get caught in the

Content Warning: This is definitely an ADULT novel :)


Lorenzo walked up the porch steps, turning to stare at her. "Are you coming, Gabriella?" No
one but Lorenzo and his father called her by her full name. She liked when Lorenzo said it. He'd
always made it sound so formal and sexy.

These were the first words he had spoken to her since they left the courthouse. They were
married in the chambers of the prestigious Judge John Cartwright. He'd been a family friend of
the Martinezes for many years. He was their go-to man whenever they needed something done
fast and legally. Well, legal in her new father-in-law's eyes anyway.

She hurried up the steps and followed Lorenzo inside their new home. It was built within a
matter of months after she'd agreed to marry him. Carlo wanted them to have their privacy,
but he also wanted to keep them close. He didn't trust she'd hold up her end of the bargain,
and keeping her on the property was the best way to ensure she wouldn't run.

It was silly, really. How could she run from a family like this? They had ties all over the world.
There wasn't any place she could escape to that they wouldn't know about. She was a woman
of her word. She said she would marry Lorenzo and she did. She'd find a way to cope. She
always had.

Lorenzo pulled his jacket off, poured himself a scotch, and then loosened his tie. "Would you
like a drink?"

"No, thank you," she said.

Most brides would be dancing the night away and drinking champagne by this point in their
wedding night. She didn't think that was part of Lorenzo's plan.

"I didn't think you'd go through with it." He sipped the amber colored liquid as he looked her

"I said I would."

"I know, but when push actually came to shove, I thought you'd run."

"You don't know me that well," she said. "I don't run."

"Good." He smirked as he put the glass to his lips.

Gabby couldn't take her eyes away from those lips. She'd never had the pleasure of having
them on her own. Judge Cartwright hadn't asked him to kiss his bride. She hated herself for
thinking about him that way.

"You could've stopped this. Why didn't you?" she asked.

As they stood in front of the judge, she kept hoping he'd put an end to the charade and stop
the wedding. It didn't make sense to her why he had agreed to marry her. She didn't have a
choice. Her father's gambling debts made sure of that. But she didn't understand why he'd
allowed things to get as far as they had.

"I was just as trapped as you were." He downed the rest of his scotch.

She didn't believe that. She knew he respected his dad, but she didn't get why he wouldn't have
put his foot down and said no to such a life-altering decision.

"You could've told your father no from the beginning. Why would you agree to marry someone
if you didn't have to?"

"Look." He shook his head. "It's done now. We're going to have to make the best of it."

"Make the best of it?" She plopped down on the leather sofa. "I'm twenty-two years old. I just
graduated from college, and you want me to make the best of it?"

"I know this isn't what you might have wanted, but it is what it is. You agreed, and now it's
done. You can't go back on it now. My father won't forgive that."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Love, Again Anthology

I am delighted to share this anthology with you today, it really is a great read to break up some of the heavier reading!

Love, Again is a Valentine’s Day anthology from Ruby Lioness Press with a second chance theme. Love, Again released on February 14, 2012. Below you will find a short blurb for each of the stories in the anthology.

Home by Ella Jade

Dr. Chase Avery has worked hard to give his high-school sweetheart and the love of his life, Elyse Jacobs, the life she deserves. In working toward their happily ever after, however, he got sidetracked and missed out on the important things in life. He was so busy moving toward the next step in making their future perfect that he forgot to live in the moment. He was stunned when Elyse walked out. She couldn't deal with being second; now Chase has to live with his mistakes.

Chase finds himself alone and overworked on Valentine's Day, trying hard to fight the memories of his lost love. What happens when she shows up at his house unexpectedly? Can an old flame be rekindled? Or is it nothing more than one last night of passion?

Wanted: Wife by Lacey Wolfe

Darcy White is between jobs and is about to lose everything she has. She reads the help-wanted ads every morning. Day after day, she fails at finding anything—that is, until one morning when she comes across an ad she finds intriguing. The help-wanted ad in the paper states that a man is looking for a wife. Before she knows what she’s doing, Darcy’s exchanging emails with him, agreeing to meet him for lunch.

Steven McDonald is looking for a wife in order to keep his family business, an apple orchard, as his grandfather told him that he couldn’t keep this orchard unless he got married. He gets the crazy idea to put a want ad in the paper. After a lot of nutty women respond, one e-mail comes through with a name that sounds very familiar: Darcy White. He was in love with Darcy in high school, but was too afraid to step away from the popular crowd to talk to her. He spent countless nights just thinking about her. Could this be his second chance?

From the moment they enter each other’s lives again, the chemistry is there. Steven believes that Darcy is even better than he remembered her. This is Darcy’s dream come true; she hopes that Steven might start to feel the same way about her as she feels for him.

Forever Love by Melissa Keir

“Forever Love” is the story of a woman who comes back to her hometown of Amherst, Ohio fifteen years after leaving it for the bright lights of Chicago. Syndie Wilder returns home to take care of her ailing father, not expecting to run into the childhood friend who dumped her in high school.  Thom Johnson had regrets about how he treated Syndie. He had never stopped loving her.  When fate causes the two to meet, sparks fly again.  Will a childhood friendship turn into a forever love?

This Time is Different by Autumn Jones Lake

Sydney and Maddox were high-school sweethearts who planned to be together forever. Maddox had dreams of his rock band, Afterlife, making it big. As soon as Afterlife landed a record deal, he left Sydney behind, breaking her heart.

Four years later, Afterlife is about to hit it big. Their manager contacts Sydney looking to buy back racy photos of Maddox. Furious that he couldn’t ask her for the photos himself, she goes to confront him after a local show. Instead of giving him a piece of her mind, she ends up giving him a piece of her heart…again.

Maddox realizes what a fool he’s been. He’s been too ashamed these past four years to contact Sydney and apologize for his past behavior, so he’s ecstatic when she shows up at their hometown concert. When she misinterprets something he said and runs off, he knows he has to go after her. He can’t let her get away again. This time everything is different.

Crazy for You by Sabrina Luna

Shawn Flint wants to rekindle the spark between him and Erica Kelly when he surprises her and his family by flying into Charlotte, North Carolina for his stepsister’s wedding, but Erica is still cautious, wanting to keep their affair a secret.  Can Shawn overcome Erica’s protests and convince her that he is totally crazy for her?

Vows by Tamaria Soana

Addison Klein, finally realizing how unfulfilled she feels in her marriage to Tyler, is contemplating whether she should fight to keep her family together or walk away from her marriage. The death of her best friend Peyton causes her to sit back and rethink her life. After a fight with Tyler and a scary episode at work, Addison knows that she needs to make a decision about her future. Just when she thinks she is completely alone in making this life-altering decision, she gets a little guidance from a guardian angel. Addison comes to terms with the fact that she needs to deal with her past before she can move on and focus on the future. With the help of her therapist, Addison rediscovers herself and realizes that the vows she said on her wedding day meant something to her...“for as long as we both shall live.” Wanting to be a better example to her two little girls, she makes a decision that will change their lives forever when she sets out to seduce her husband.

Life in Suitcases by Melissa Kendall

Elise Morgan's childhood seemed perfect until one event changed everything. Placed in Abbott's Home for Displaced Children, she meets and quickly befriends Anthony Scott. After high school, Elise sets out on her own, looking for life away from her past, only to return to her hometown as fate gives her an unexpected chance and another meeting with Anthony. Will the only family that she'd grown up with be what she needed all along?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King

Bad enough that Zanna abandoned James Graber and disgraced her family on her wedding day: older sister Abby Lambright is the one Zanna returns to, to reveal she’s pregnant. As speculation whirls around Cedar Creek, Zanna confesses and is shunned, yet refuses to reveal the identity of her child’s father. She spends her time at Abby’s little house making rag rugs, until finally—when Adah Ropp insists on knowing who disgraced Zanna, the Lambright family, as well as James and the Graber family–Zanna reveals that Adah’s own son, rebellious Jonny Ropp, is to blame. She can’t possibly marry Jonny because he’s left his family rather than be baptized into the Amish faith—not that he’ll ever settle down and marry anyone.

ABBY FINDS HER CALLING as she guides her sister through some tough times while convincing her family—and even the bishop—that because Zanna truly loves this baby, she should keep it rather than giving it up for adoption. Meanwhile, because Abby has always been in love with James (who is oblivious to the torch she carries) she tries to soothe his emotional wounds as he watches the young woman he was to marry swell with Jonny Ropp’s child.

When disaster strikes, however, and the Ropp home burns to the ground in December, the folks in Cedar Creek put forgiveness into action . . . and even Jonny is changed by the power of this love! This time Zanna shows up for her wedding, with baby Harley charming all who meet him—and their ceremony sets the stage for the second book of the Home at Cedar Creek series, due out in October, 2012.

About the Author:

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Naomi King writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Home at Cedar Creek series. Like her series heroine, Abby Lambright, Naomi considers it her personal mission to be a listener—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls—and to share her hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and frugality are hallmarks of her lifestyle: like Abby, she made her wedding dress and the one her mom wore, too! She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to travel, try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Naomi now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie, Ramona.

To find out more about Naomi or her work please visit http://www.naomikingauthor.com.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely adored this book and I highly recommend it to everyone!  I am really getting into the Amish historical novels and this was a great way to kick off a new string of them for me.  This is the first novel in the Home at Cedar Creek series and I am definitely looking forward to more in the series and from this author.

The characters definitely make this novel - they are well-developed, fluid, and really draw readers in.  I loved following them through their trials and tribulations and while it was quite a different life than I am used to I found it refreshing and the author really does do a great job illustrating the beauty of the Amish way of like.  At times, I found myself envious of their way of life!

Naomi is a one-of-a-kind writer, one who draws you in and keeps you invested in the characters and their story.  I love how she incorporated the verses into the text and as a Christian I really appreciated these references.

I highly recommend this author and novel to you - you won't be disappointed and I am fast becoming a long-term fan!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Abby Finds Her Calling: Book Spotlight

Bad enough that Zanna abandoned James Graber and disgraced her family on her wedding day: older sister Abby Lambright is the one Zanna returns to, to reveal she’s pregnant. As speculation whirls around Cedar Creek, Zanna confesses and is shunned, yet refuses to reveal the identity of her child’s father. She spends her time at Abby’s little house making rag rugs, until finally—when Adah Ropp insists on knowing who disgraced Zanna, the Lambright family, as well as James and the Graber family–Zanna reveals that Adah’s own son, rebellious Jonny Ropp, is to blame. She can’t possibly marry Jonny because he’s left his family rather than be baptized into the Amish faith—not that he’ll ever settle down and marry anyone.

ABBY FINDS HER CALLING as she guides her sister through some tough times while convincing her family—and even the bishop—that because Zanna truly loves this baby, she should keep it rather than giving it up for adoption. Meanwhile, because Abby has always been in love with James (who is oblivious to the torch she carries) she tries to soothe his emotional wounds as he watches the young woman he was to marry swell with Jonny Ropp’s child.

When disaster strikes, however, and the Ropp home burns to the ground in December, the folks in Cedar Creek put forgiveness into action . . . and even Jonny is changed by the power of this love! This time Zanna shows up for her wedding, with baby Harley charming all who meet him—and their ceremony sets the stage for the second book of the Home at Cedar Creek series, due out in October, 2012.

About the Author:

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Naomi King writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Home at Cedar Creek series. Like her series heroine, Abby Lambright, Naomi considers it her personal mission to be a listener—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls—and to share her hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and frugality are hallmarks of her lifestyle: like Abby, she made her wedding dress and the one her mom wore, too! She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to travel, try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Naomi now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie, Ramona.

To find out more about Naomi or her work please visit http://www.naomikingauthor.com
Book Excerpt:
Home at Cedar Creek
Book 1
Abby Finds Her Calling
By Naomi King

James Graber inhaled the crisp October air and grinned up at the rising sun: his wedding day! All his life he’d lived in anticipation of something grand, something beyond the immense satisfaction of his carriage making, and finally, in about an hour, Suzanna Lambright would become his wife. As he gazed across the road, where the carriages were entering in a steady stream, the clip-clop! clip-clop! of the horses’ hooves made his heart sing to their ageless rhythm.

ZAN-na! ZAN-na! he heard in that beat. Silly, the things he thought of when he envisioned her pretty face gazing up at him in that playful way she had. Lord, please help me make her happy, every single day of our lives! he prayed as he continued watching their guests drive down the Lambrights’ lane. His mother and Zanna’s mamm, Treva, had been heading up the cooking and table setting all week, for the nearly four hundred friends and family members who would gather with them for this occasion–some from as far away as Holmes County, Ohio and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was glad to be marrying on a perfect autumn day, because it meant these folks from back East had a chance to celebrate with them: here in Missouri, Old Order Amish married any time during the year, not just in November. And what a backdrop for their day, all the sweet gum and maple trees ablaze in their red and orange glory, with a hint of frost to make them sparkle in the sunrise!

“That’s a mighty fine smile you’re wearin’, brother. I hope to see it gracin’ your ugly face every day now!”

James cocked an eyebrow. His younger sister Emma smoothed the front of her new blue dress as her snapping brown eyes challenged him to respond. “And what would ya have to make fun of if I were a handsome man, Emma?” he countered with a laugh. “Zanna thinks I’m downright perfect, ya know.”

“Gut thing, too. Old as you’re gettin’, none of the other girls’d have ya.”

“We’ll see what ya say about that when you’re spittin’ distance from thirty!” James shot back. Then, with a welling-up of love for this sister who kept their household running–as well as anyone could–he slipped his arm around her. “Denki for keepin’ Mamm’s head from spinnin’ off these last couple weeks, gettin’ ready for this wedding,” he murmured as he hugged her. “A lot of the weight falls on your shoulders, takin’ care of ‘em–”

“They’re our parents, James. They’ve been takin’ care of us all our lives.”

“Of course they are, Emmie, but–” James sobered, focusing on the window of Zanna’s upstairs room, in the tidy white farmhouse across the road. He couldn’t see inside, of course, but he liked to imagine her there . . . probably putting on her new dress and apron about now, with Treva and Abby, her mother and sister, helping her get ready. “Not my place to ask Mamm and Dat to move into the dawdi haus but I can’t help wonderin’ . . . do ya think it’ll go all right, when Zanna moves in with us? Mamm’s tongue cuts kinda sharp, and we all know how Dat’s hearin’ gets worse when he doesn’t want to listen to all her carryin’ on.”

“Zanna’s known them all her life, same as everybody hereabouts. Not like she’s walkin’ in blind.” Emma rested her head on his shoulder, a rare moment of affection from the girl who was usually busy at the stove or the sink or the washer, or looking after their parents while he built custom carriages. “Truth be told, brother, Zanna’s nothin’ but smiles when she talks about ya. Her eyes light up and she’s been a different girl these last few months since ya asked for her hand. I’m real happy for the both of ya.”

James smiled. His sister hadn’t been as generous with her praise when she’d talked about other young women he’d courted over the years. Maybe he was making up things to worry about–which wasn’t normally his way–because all in all, his times with Zanna had been the happiest he’d known. He looked forward to a long life with many children to bless them. Even Sam, Zanna’s older brother and the owner of the Cedar Creek Mercantile, had remarked about what a fine couple they made–how he thought James would be the steadying influence his impetuous youngest sister needed.
Imagine that! Sam Lambright, a stickler for the proper order of things, thought he could fashion Suzanna into a fine wife and mother. James suspected that would take some doing: Zanna wasn’t one who took to being molded into anyone else’s ideal. But what a happy challenge this presented! And what a fine-looking woman she’d grown to be. Truth be told, he secretly admired her tendency to think and speak for herself rather than to say jah and submit to the men in her life.

“I’m thinkin’ that with the next several weekends you’ll spend visitin’ the kin and collectin’ your presents,” his sister continued, “we’ll all have time to adjust to Zanna’s bein’ in the house. Same kind of change every family goes through after a wedding.”

“Jah, but change has never been Dat’s favorite thing. And ever since his stroke–”

“Mamm’s gotten crankier, keepin’ after him. Jah, there’s that,” Emma agreed with a sigh. “But Lord love ‘em, they’re gettin’ by as best they can. I’ll work on ‘em while you and Zanna’re out makin’ your family calls these comin’ weeks. They may as well get used to the fact that their last two kids have lives of their own.”

And what will we do when ya marry, Emma? James breathed deeply and then exhaled the tightness this thought caused in his belly. The day would come when his sweet, capable sister would leave them to cleave to her own husband, just as all their older sisters had done . . . which would leave him, as the only son, and Zanna to care for his parents. As well they should.

But it was no time for such downhearted thinking: his bride awaited him! Quickly kissing Emma’s temple, James released her. “I’m thinkin’ what with all the hens cacklin’ across the way, I’d best go over and help Sam with the last-minute details.”

“I’m sure they’re all missin’ Leroy about now,” Emma agreed wistfully. “Too bad he couldn’t’ve lived to see his little girl marryin’ the boy from across the road.”

“Just have to do the best we can with who we’ve got, ain’t so?” James smiled, determined that none of these fretting points would dampen his day. “Seeya in a few. Or would ya rather I helped ya get Dat over to–”

“Get outta here! Why do ya think I invited our big, burly carpenter cousins to stay with us last night?” Emma shook her white apron at him to send him on his way.

“Jah, you’re right about that. But don’t let it swell your head!”

“If ya dare to poke your face in that kitchen fulla women, ya might see how Mamm’s doin’. Tell her and Abby I’ll be there directly.”

James strode down the gravel lane, smiling at the pie pumpkins in the garden . . . waving at Zeke and Eva Detweiler and the two buggies of younger Detweilers following them–including the carriage he’d designed to accommodate young Joel’s wheelchair.

It struck him, how many of the parked, tipped-up buggies behind the Lambright barn had come from Graber Custom Carriages . . . how every family in Cedar Creek depended upon his vehicles and repair work. It was a gift, indeed, to live among the friends he served and to be entrusted with getting their families where they needed to go–and today, it seemed every man, woman, and child for miles around was showing up to wish him and Zanna well. Men in their black hats and suits chatted in clusters near the barn while their women entered the house to help with the wedding feast.

His gaze fluttered up to that bedroom window again as he trotted across the county road. Had Zanna come downstairs yet? Did she feel as frisky and excited as a new foal, like he did? In his black vest, trousers, and high-topped shoes, with a shirt so white it radiated its own light, James trotted eagerly past the Cedar Creek Mercantile building and down the long lane that led toward the Lambright house. In less than an hour, Zanna would be seated at his side, trying not to wiggle during Bishop Gingerich’s long sermon before they got called to stand before this gathering of family and friends–
James paused when a familiar figure stepped out the front door. Ordinarily folks came and went through the kitchen entry, but something about Abby Lambright’s expression announced she was on no ordinary mission. And she was headed straight for him.

“Gut mornin’ to ya!” he called out, hoping to dispel her gloomy frown as she pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders. Abby was a maidel, a few years older than he, and in his entire life he’d never known her to raise her voice or lose her temper–even when her willful little sister Zanna had gotten her in trouble while they were all growing up.

“James,” she replied with a stiff nod. Her eyes looked puffy yet her gaze didn’t waver as she stopped a few feet in front of him. “There’s something I’ve gotta tell ya, James, and–well, there’s no easy way to say it.”

Frowning, he stepped closer. “Somebody fall sick? Or get hurt carryin’ all those tables and pews and–”

“I wish it were as simple as that.” Abby nipped her lip, sniffling. “Zanna’s nowhere to be found. Didn’t sleep in her bed last night, and–and we have no idea where she might’ve gone or . . . why.” 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Will Follow...

My absolute favorite song right now...listen to it ALL THE TIME!

Buying Books = Giving to Charity

I have a wonderful story to share with you today, and one that I hope you will share with others...any time we can give back or help others in need it is worth the time and effort.

From Marissa over at Sizzling PR:

Mother to five year old and 3 month old sons, Twenty-six year old Lindsay McKeever’s life changed forever on January 21st 2012 when she was hospitalized with toxic shock syndrome. With her blood pressure at 30/50, oxygen level 50%, kidneys incomplete failure and in a coma, she was given little chance of surviving. But miraculously one week later, against all odds, she came out of her coma and slowly made her way back to the living. Because most of her organs began to shut down during the week she was in the coma, her hands and feet turned black and she had to have all her fingers and toes amputated. She was released from the hospital March 13th and has to have care 24 hours a day. She is unable to walk, or take care of herself in any way, not to mention the care she needs for her children. With no insurance Lindsay needs help to pay for physical therapy to learn to walk again and to do small things like feed herself, etc. A care fund has been set up for her by US Bank in Iowa and a paypal account for donations. She shares her amazing journey on a facebook page set up for her called “Lindsay McKeever Care Fund.”

Now thru April 30th, paranormal romance author Terri Grimes will be donating 100% of the proceeds from both the print and ebook version of Now I Lay Me Down To Die to the Lindsay McKeever care fund. Help a deserving young woman and have a good read at the same time. Pass the word! Thanks!!!

Print version ($11.99):  https://www.createspace.com/3495161

eBook version ($2.99):  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29213

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Flesh and Feathers by April Fifer & Danielle Hylton-Outland

I am so excited to share this novel with you, these two authors are delightful and you will definitely want to check them AND their novel out!

And is that cover not one of the most beautiful you have ever seen?  Draws me right in!

About the Novel:

Azaleigh's life was simple. Then she meets Kale and Gage, two very different and charming men -- one she loves and the other she can't live without. As she struggles with her feelings towards them both, she begins to realize they are hiding a secret -- and to her surprise -- they aren't the only ones. Soon after, Azaleigh finds herself running for her life from a bounty hunter that is far from human, and with every narrow escape, she begins to unlock the secret that will change her life forever. In a world of good and evil, angel and fallen, Azaleigh must choose between fate or the one she loves. What do you do when hell won't let you win and evil just won’t die?

About the Authors:

Danielle Hylton was raised in Virginia. She grew up having a huge appetite for daydreaming; always wanting to live in the spectacular worlds she created in her mind. She now lives with her husband and dog where she is pursuing a degree in literature. Danielle is a strong animal activist. She is currently co-writing the second book in the Flesh Series, "Flesh and Flames".

April Fifer grew up in a small town in Virginia, where it was common practice believing that dreams could only be found in stories. At the age of seven she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was told that she would struggle through life and would never pick up a book to read for pleasure. Although school was hard, she was able to find her way with the help of two teachers who taught her self-discovery. Ignoring what she was taught growing up, she turned it around and found that your dreams could become stories.
Contact information:


Author Guest Post:

We want to thank the very awesome and cool Lindsay for having us on her blog!

How To Make Your Characters Believable

This is the most important question we could ask ourselves! When we started writing Flesh and Feathers our number-one statement was, “They have to be believable.” We would read every single scene, over and over, trying to determine it was actually believable. Some nights we were drunken by sleep deprivation, mixed with an overdose of Sheetz coffee, and would act out the scenes just for confirmation it could be true. (DISCLAIMER: Do not try this at home. The authors are professional idiots and act out scenes under the extreme supervision of Ceazar the dog.) Yeah, these weren’t always our best ideas because something always ended up broke, but it was worth the laugh. 

So what really makes a character believable? This, in our opinion, is different for everyone. To believe something, you must have an understanding of it. And of us, we completely understood Azaleigh in our book. As we believe that most read would. Anyone can relate to her because she is a normal every girl with real problems. One thing we did learn when trying to make these characters real, was the fact that sometimes you really do not react to something like you thought you would. Example A: When Jane Doe’s (not naming names for confidentially purposes… *cough* …April) dog jumped the fence and took off running, Jane did not leap the fence and dive through the air to catch him like she thought she would. First, she stood in shock, thinking, “Holy Crap! Look at him go!” Then reality sat in, and she realized she needed to go get him. After running around the yard for twenty minutes, Jane said, forget it, and sent her kids to go do it. Therefore, Jane’s response was not at all what she thought it would be. 

We analyzed everything about Azaleigh, and if we could relate to it, we wrote it. Believing in a character, for us, is the only way to live in the story.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Emlyn will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $50 Amazon GC to the host whose post receives the most comments (excluding Emlyn’s and the hosts).

For more chances to win, check out the entire blog tour schedule HERE!
Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

About the Author:

Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

Author Website: www.emlynchand.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/emlynchand
Twitter: www.twitter.com/emlynchand
GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/emlynchand
Google+:  www.gplus.to/emlynchand
Novel Publicity: www.novelpublicity.com
SUPER AWESOME BOOK TRAILER:  http://youtu.be/tZjskE5zjzM

Book Excerpt:

Simmi and I arrive at this rally point together from Mrs. Warszynski’s to wait for Shapri. Several minutes go by. I want to suggest we leave without her but don’t think that’ll score me any points with Simmi.

“You didn’t want Shapri to come tonight, did you?” Simmi asks.

“Well, I—no, I mean, it’s fine. I’m glad she could come,” I sputter.

“You’re such a horrible liar,” Simmi teases, pushing me playfully.

“Hey, that’s not fair. I can’t hit you back. You’re a girl.”

“I’m just teasing you.” Simmi blows a raspberry and pulls her body up onto the circular wall surrounding the flagpole area. I hesitate before pulling myself up too. Simmi scootches over so we touch at the hip. She loops her hand through the crook of my arm and places her head on my shoulder. “I never would have gotten away with this in India,” she says. “But I’m glad I can here. I’m a psychic feeler. I need to be in touch with others.” She pauses and strokes my arm with her free hand. “You know, when I touch someone I can make them feel what I want them to, but I can also sense their existing emotions. It’s almost the same as being able to read minds. Everything important has to do with the heart, not logic.” She lightens her tone. “But don’t tell Dr. Brown I said that, he’d take marks off of my next chem exam out of spite.”

I laugh nervously. Is she like Miss Teak in a way? Can she read my feelings for her? If she can, why hasn’t she said anything? I contemplate reaching over and kissing her, so I can know for sure how she feels. But I’ve never kissed anyone before. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to initiate it. Do I take her out for dinner and a movie first? Or make some lengthy speech declaring my intentions? Do I kiss her, just like that? Or do I ask for her permission before making my big move?

I decide to ask if it’s okay. Simmi is a classy girl. She needs respect. I swallow, hoping the motion will open up my airway, because right now, I’m kind of having trouble catching my breath. “Simmi,” I start.

“Yeah, Alex?” She lifts her head and links her hand in mine, nudging her slender fingers in between each of mine.

“Would it be okay if I…”

“There you two are!” Shapri says, running over to us, panting heavily. “I thought we were meeting in the commons.”

“No, we agreed on the flagpole,” Simmi says, hopping down from the wall.

The moment is gone. I don’t know when I’ll get the chance and the nerve again. My opinion of Shapri transforms from cautious indifference into outright hatred. Why did she invite herself along?

Shapri clears her throat. “Did I—Did I interrupt something here? Maybe a little romance?”

“What? No, no,” Simmi says shaking her head adamantly. “Nothing like that, Alex is like a brother to me.”

Ouch. Pain. Stabbed in my heart. I’m like a brother to her? I guess this means romance is off the table…

 My Thoughts:

What a debut!  This novel is a great start to what I am sure is a captivating series!  The author certainly does do a great job tailoring this one to young adults and she writes according to what a young adult reader would be most interested in - that's not to say that she doesn't reach ALL types of readers out there!

The characters are the best part of this novel - they are well-developed and above all else they compliment each other.  I like a young adult novel that shows GOOD characters who have sense and a good foundation and Alex, and Simmi do just that.  I would like to see more characters like this in our literature for children!

The storyline keeps the reader's interest and made me want to keep reading to see what would happen - I know just by reading one that reader's are in for a treat with this series...I look forward to more from Emlyn!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Reluctant Marquess by Maggi Andersen

 Charity Barlow wished to marry for love.

The rakish Lord Robert wishes only to tuck her away in the country once an heir is produced.

Book Excerpt:

He would be gone for over a week. Charity missed him. Even though they’d reached a kind of frigid truce, she liked to see him at breakfast or over the dinner table. She tried to fill in the lonely days, taking lessons on the harp and riding with friends in the park.

She attended another literary soiree at the Duchess of Devonshire’s house where ladies of the ton read poetry. Mrs. Smedley read John Donne’s poem The Broken Heart in throbbing tones, her large bosom swelling with emotion. Donne’s concept of love failed to cheer Charity. She did not want to think of love as a ravenous pike, or liken her heart to the small fish it feeds on.

After the polite clapping died away, Lady Ellis leaned forward and tapped her on the arm. “I must say I wouldn’t mind if my husband fought for my honor, Lady St Malin.”

Started, Charity said, “I beg your pardon?”

Lady Ellis’ plucked brows rose. “Surely you heard that your husband fought Lord Southmore?”

“I hadn’t, where was this?”

The lady’s small brown eyes gleamed. “In the early hours of the morning on Hampstead Heath.”

Charity widened her eyes remembering Robert’s bruised and cut cheek.

“He would not tell you, of course. Lord Southmore was laid up for some time with a broken hand.”

Charity returned home deep in thought. Had Robert sought to defend her honor? Or was it his pride he defended? She shook her head. She remembered wishing Robert to plant him a facer. Well he had, but she wasn’t thrilled by it. Not knowing he’d seriously hurt someone because of her.

About the Author:

Maggi Andersen is an Australian author. She lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales with her lawyer husband, their cat and the demanding wildlife. Maggi has two degrees, a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing. Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart were strong influences on her writing. She began her career when her children left the nest and writes in a variety of genres. Her historical romances are set in the Georgian, Regency and Victorian era.

Maggi will be giving away a $10 Amazon GC to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

AUTHOR WEBSITE: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com
AUTHOR BLOG: http://www.maggiandersen.blogspot.com
TWITTER: @maggiandersen
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggi-Andersen-Author/372854959805

Author Interview:

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog.

My critique group of historical writers is invaluable. We support each other, commiserate when someone gets a bad review or has their work rejected. And we celebrate when the reverse happens. Having others read your work is very important. But I believe you have to choose your readers carefully.  Someone who doesn’t read in the genre you write may not appreciate it so much, or be able to offer good feedback. The wrong reader can even destroy a writer’s confidence which isn’t always that robust.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. I work hard every day at writing. I’m curious to learn more, about my craft, about other writers and what’s happening in the industry. It is enormously time consuming, but I don’t mind. Writing is my passion.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Just don’t tempt me! I could always improve my stories, even after their published. It’s hard to know when a work is finished. My rule of the thumb is when I can’t bear to look at it again. But then when it’s in print I read it and think – I could have added something here…

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

At a very young age, when I was sick in bed and wanted to read something new. I set about writing it myself.  I’ve been writing stories all my life, but bringing them to the public’s notice took a while.  It takes courage to put your work out there and have it criticized. Even authors with a string of bestsellers might write a book that doesn’t appeal. Bad reviews follow, the publisher isn’t happy. It’s a hard industry to be in. 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

The Reluctant Marquess is a historical romance set during the English, Georgian period. It has a marriage of convenience theme. Charity Barlow is a country girl who is forced by circumstances to marry a sophisticated rake who is quite as reluctant as she. She wants a loving marriage like the one her parents had, not the cool arrangement most of London society seem to enjoy. But Lord Robert wants an heir, after which he plans to settle Charity in the country while he continues his rakish life-style in London.

They must come to understand and respect each other, and it’s a very bumpy ride to love.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Love scenes. To be fresh, they should spring from the deep point of view of the characters at that point in their relationship. It should be sensual and romantic, earthy and real.  It’s a challenge to write one that makes a reader lose their breath and be compelled to read on. I just read Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady. Wonderful.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Joanna Bourne as I mentioned above, is my current favorite. The depth of her research lends authenticity to the world she creates.  A cliché I know, but her two main characters do leap off the page. Heart stopping action and passion which makes your breath hitch.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I’m planning a trip to England next year, but it’s more to connect with my UK publisher and meet up with friends and family.

My romances demand a certain level of accuracy in their period detail and that requires quite a lot of research. But there is so much research material at one’s fingertips now, it’s not really necessary to travel. I still think it’s great to be physically in the place you’re writing about though. The Northern skies differ from the Australian; the colors generally are more muted. It’s difficult to grasp from a book, the smells, colors and textures of a country village, an ancient cobbled lane or the landscape. Being there brings all the senses into play and it becomes vividly alive. I know some writers consider it important. I enjoy spending time in British libraries too.  When I was last in Richmond, I spent days in the library there and discovered articles I’d never find anywhere else.

Who designed the covers?

My latest cover was designed by Knox Robinson Publishing. I love it and can’t wait for the next one. I believe they’re adopting a more painterly classical style for A Baron in Her Bed, the first book in my The Spies of Mayfair series.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I’m a panster for the most part, so the first draft almost always writes itself in a few fits and starts when my muse deserts me. I have to call on the left side of my brain for the second draft, tidying the work into a cohesive whole, strengthening themes, building more into the characters. I never have to worry about the descriptive detail though. My mother was an artist and I’ve inherited her pleasure in painting a scene, only I do it with words, not a brush. I’d love to do both, but didn’t inherit that talent unfortunately. I have several efforts tucked away where no one can see them.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Unforgiven by Sarah Ballance

Riley Beckett's past just came back to haunt her . . . and this time, he's got a gun.

When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot dead on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage's former lover, Riley. He and she didn't part ways on good terms, and he's not planning to rekindle anything now--not when he's got a revolver pointed at her head and a finger on the trigger.

A year after Riley swore she and Gage were over, he returns in a hail of gunfire. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes and she knows how wrong she was to let him go, but now far more than their heated past stands in the way. A twist of fate puts them in the crosshairs of a killer, leaving Riley with two slim options:  trust her greatest betrayer or face a murderer on her own.

Buy the book on AMAZON
Buy the book on BARNES AND NOBLE
Buy the book on NOBLE ROMANCE


Something was wrong. Was the dark playing tricks on her? Riley Beckett froze, arm outstretched, hand poised to toss her keys on the table just inside her front door. But she didn't let go. Instead of dropping them in their usual spot, instinct whispered for her to feather pieces of the makeshift weapon between her knuckles. Heart pounding, she pressed the keys in a silent, white-knuckle grip and prayed her concerns were her imagination, that the paranoia of coming home alone to a dark house was getting the better of her.

One, two steps in. Wood planks echoed underfoot. She fought to breathe in air that grew thinner with every tense second.

Three steps.

Then it hit her. The scent. His scent. And with it a flush of memories. The burn of hot grass on her bare skin. Rough hands, a tender touch. Love so sweet she ached for it, her dreams raging, and her body drenched with need.

Their first time.

Her last.

"Gage?" Her voice broke on the single syllable. Riley's grip on the keys tightened, her blood raging hot and cold all at once.

A creak sounded from the corner chair. Her eyes refused to adjust in the darkness, but not even the faint light kept the blond streaks in his russet hair from giving him away. Like rays of sunshine, she used to tease, and her words never failed to draw a scowl across his rugged face.


God help her, her name on his lips sounded as it always had. Coarse. Dangerous. Forbidden. Even before . . . The memory surged, hot and vivid, leaving a metallic taste in her mouth. White heat assaulted her from every corner of the room.

The keys fell to the floor with a clink.

"An eye for an eye, is it?" His voice sounded unpracticed, as if he hadn't spoken in a long while.
She couldn't see his face, but she knew his expression. Flat and humorless. Broken. She remembered the day he stopped smiling. Every part of her wanted to flee, but she stood frozen to the spot.

"What do you mean?" Riley wondered if the words, whispered and weak, had the strength to make it across the room. Hadn't she always known she'd shatter the next time she saw him? Hadn't she dreamed of it anyway?

"You have to ask?" Gage laughed, cold and hollow. "Billy's dead. Hell of a thing to come home to, Riley. My brother blown to bits on my back porch."

"Oh, God." Riley swayed, bile rising in her throat. The room filled with a distant buzzing. She took one unsteady step to the side and stumbled.

When she found his gaze, it was over the business end of a revolver.

He leveled the gun in her direction. Everything else in her world trembled, but his aim held rock steady. Unyielding.

His eyes burned blue and bright. "What I want to know, sweetheart, is why you did it."

He worked his finger over the trigger, and a veil of blackness threatened her last discerning thought.

About the Author:

Sarah and her husband of over fourteen years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep.  She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren't much better than her kids.  Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research "the good parts."  She's never had to ask twice.

Author's WEBSITE
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Author on TWITTER
Author's BLOG
Author on AMAZON

Voices of the Dead by Peter Leonard

 This tour has been on my radar for some time now and I am excited to share this novel and author with you.  He is one of a kind and really does know his craft - I hope you enjoy his work as much as I have!

About the Author:

Peter Leonard’s debut novel, QUIVER, was published to international acclaim in 2008 (“A spectacular debut...you will be holding your breath until the final page.”– The New York Sun). It was followed by TRUST ME in 2009 (“TRUST ME is fast, sly and full of twists.” – Carl Hiaasen, New York Times bestselling author). The Story Plant will publish Leonard’s newest novel, ALL HE SAW WAS THE GIRL, in the spring of 2012.

Peter can be found on the web at http://peterleonardbooks.com/
The Story Plant can be found at www.thestoryplant.com.

About the Novel:

PUBLISHED BY:  The Story Plant
ISBN-10: 1611880327
ISBN-13: 978-1611880328
GENRE:  Suspense

The year is 1971. The place is Detroit. Harry Levin, a scrap metal dealer and Holocaust survivor, has just learned that his daughter was killed in a car accident. Traveling to Washington, DC to claim the body, he learns that the accident was caused by a German diplomat who was driving drunk. This is only the beginning of the horror for Harry, though, as he discovers that the diplomat will never face charges – he has already been released and granted immunity. Enraged and aggrieved, Harry discovers the identity of his daughter’s killer, follows him to Munich, and hunts him down. What Harry finds out about the diplomat and his plans will explode his life and the lives of everyone around him.

Brimming with action and dark humor, Voices of the Dead, firmly positions Peter Leonard as a writer ever suspense fan needs to read.

Book Excerpt:

 Hess found out the woman lived on P Street in Georgetown, not far from the consulate. He told the ambassador he was having dinner with potential clients, and wanted to drive himself. It was unorthodox, but plausible. He had been issued one of the embassy’s Mercedes sedans. He stopped at a bookstore and bought a map of the area, and located P Street. He drove there and saw the Goldman residence, a federal-style brick townhouse.

Hess went to a restaurant and had dinner and a couple drinks. At ten o’clock he drove back, parked around the corner on 32nd Street between two other vehicles so the license plate was not visible to anyone driving by. He walked to the Goldmans’, stood next to a tree in front of the three-storey townhouse. There were lights on the first floor. He walked to the front door and rang the buzzer. He could hear footsteps and voices inside. A light over the door went on. Hess stood in the open so whoever it was would see he was well dressed. The door opened, a man standing there, assumed he was Dr. Mitchell Goldman, dark hair, big nose, mid-forties, top of the shirt unbuttoned, exposing a gold chain and a five-pointed star. Hess smiled. “My car is on the fritz. May I use your phone to call a tow truck?”

Dr. Goldman stared at him with concern.

“I am staying just down the street at the consulate,” Hess said, smiling. Now the door opened and he stepped into the elegant foyer, chandelier overhead, marble floor.

“Mitch, who is it?” a woman said from a big open room to his right.

Dr. Goldman looked in her direction. “Guy’s having car trouble, wants to use the phone.”

“It’s ten o’clock at night.”

“He’ll just be a minute,” the dentist said.

Hess could see the woman sitting on a couch, watching television.

“The phone’s in here.” The dentist started to move.

Hess drew the Luger from the pocket of his suit jacket,and aimed it at Goldman.

The dentist put his hands up. “Whoa. Easy.”

“Who is in the house?”

“Just the two of us.”

“Are you expecting anyone?”

He shook his head.

“Tell her to come in here,” Hess said.

“What do you want? You want money?” He took his wallet out and handed it to him. “There’s eight hundred dollars in there.”

“Call her,” Hess said.

“Hon, come here, will you?”

“I’m watching ‘All in the Family.’ Can you wait till the commercial?”

Hess could hear people laughing on the television.

“Just for a minute,” the dentist said.

Hess saw her stand up and step around a low table in front of the couch, moving across the room, still looking back at the television. She turned her head as she entered the foyer and saw him holding the gun. Her hair looked darker in the dim light but he had only seen her briefly that day.

“Oh-my-god,” she said, hands going up to her face.

“We’re reasonable people,” the dentist said. “Tell us what you want.”

“The pleasure of your company,” Hess said. “Where is the cellar?”

Author Guest Blog:

Why Book Covers Are So Important

Book covers are more important than ever. In a crowded bookstore it’s the best way to get readers to notice you. And if you’re an unknown writer it’s the only way.  I owned an ad agency for twenty-five years. I was still in the ad business when I sold my first novel, Quiver. The publisher, St. Martins designed several covers and sent them to me. I taped them on the wall in my office and looked at them, thinking: they’re awful. So I asked Jim Tocco, head of our art department, to create a cover and he came up with a spectacular design. We took it to Borders and positioned it in a bookcase among the best sellers and it jumped off the shelf.

Jim also designed my new cover for Voices of the Dead that I think is wonderful in its simplicity. Before submitting the design to my publisher, we took it to Barnes & Noble and positioned it in the best seller bookcase, and once again it seemed to be the only book you saw. We’re now trying to develop a cover for my next book, All He Saw was the Girl, which is set in Detroit and Rome, Italy.  Stay tuned.

All the best,
Peter Leonard   

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

However Long the Night by David Pereda

I have a wonderful author to share on the blog today, one I think you will really like and want to check out.  He stopped by to spotlight his new book, However Long the Night, and talk about minor literary awards.

THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY ($20 Amazon GC) and the more you follow the tour and comment, the better your chances are!  The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/01/virtual-book-tour-however-long-night.html.  

About the Author:

David Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards twice, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards. He has traveled extensively around the world and speaks several languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching college-level courses, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Qatar, among others.

A member of MENSA, Pereda is the regional director of the Florida Writers Association and the co-founder of AWE (Asheville Writing Enthusiasts). He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events.

Pereda lives with his family in Asheville, North Carolina.

Please visit him at…

About the Novel:

ISBN:  However Long the Night
 978-1-61572-598-4  E-Book
 978-1-61572-599-1  Print Book

Successful Miami Architect born in Cuba learns from his dying father buried family secrets that compel him to return to the land he abandoned to search for the woman he left behind and the son he never knew. Cuban-born, award-winning Miami Architect and successful real estate developer Cid Milan suddenly faces a dilemma when his dying father reveals to him a shocking twenty-five year old family secret. Cid realizes there is only one thing he can do to unravel the mystery of his own past and right the wrongs committed. He must return to the land he abandoned. In his quest, Cid rediscovers himself and his roots as he searches frantically throughout Cuba for his teenage flame, Sandra, and the secret she kept from him all these years. In the process, Cid learns an invaluable lesson about love, forgiveness and redemption which changes his life forever.

Book Excerpt:

Cid’s mother leaned on the rail next to him. She wrapped an arm around his waist and hugged him tenderly. “How are you doing, Son?”

Cid looked into her soft brown eyes. “Fine, Mama.”

“I know you. You’re not fine at all. You always try to be so tough, but you’re not. Manny is like your father. They see life one way, like bulls. You’re like me. We feel every little emotion, because we care. So I know you’re not fine. You’re hurt.”

His eyes filled with tears. “She doesn’t love me, Mama. She didn’t come.”

“Maybe she had a reason for not coming, Son.”

“No, Mama. I tried talking to her for days, and she disappeared on me. It was as if she was angry about something. It was her way of breaking up with me.”

“Give her a chance. Call her from Tampa and listen to her explanation. You can always send for her.  Maybe even come to get her.”

“I will, Mama. But deep down I know she doesn’t love me anymore.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I remembered something she said to me once. She told me, looking at me with those beautiful hazel eyes of hers, ‘Cid, the day you don’t love me anymore, don’t tell me. I don’t want to be hurt. Just go away and disappear. I’ll understand.’” A tear rolled down Cid’s cheek, and he wiped it away with the back of his hand. “And that’s what Sandra did, Mama, you see? She disappeared.”

They watched the Cuban coast in silence, gold and green and blue. A cool breeze replaced the strong wharf odor with the briny smell of the open sea.

After a while, Cid noticed his mother was crying. “What’s wrong?”

“Don’t mind me. Just an old lady’s tears.” Her gaze was fixed on the receding coastline. “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”


“I’ll miss her.”

“Me, too.”

Author Guest Blog:

Are These Minor Literary Awards Worth It?
By: David Pereda

With the advent of new technologies like print-on-demand and the proliferation of small publishers and subsidy or self-publishing presses that have made it much easier for writers to publish their work, there has also been a mushrooming in organizations handing out literary awards. We all know the impact a major award like the Nobel Prize, the National Book Award, or the Pulitzer Prize could have on an author's career -- or, on a more specialized basis, the Edgar, Shamus or Anthony awards.

But what about all these other awards littering the landscape. Are these minor literary awards worth it?

The answer is a resounding yes, and the reasons are plentiful. Here are five of them:

1- They give beginning writers confidence,
2- They provide established writers a yardstick to be measured against
3- They outline a step-by-step learning process -- first compete in the easier ones and then move on to the harder ones
4- They allow winners to add these wonderful words to their bios: "award-winning writer"
5- They provide winners with gold stickers to attach to their books, thereby making them more attractive to potential buyers

An award-winning writer I know always says, "To win a minor literary award, you don't have to beat the best writers in the world; you just have to be better than the rest of your competition."

Now, mind you, don't think for a moment that it's easy to win any award; it isn't. There are many good writers competing and trying to make a name for themselves by winning all these minor literary awards.

Consider the awards I have won -- the FWA Royal Palm Award, the FWA Lighthouse Book Award (twice with different books), the Indie Book Award, the Readers Book Award. I won't mention here all the other awards I entered and got to the finals but didn't win. Hey, you know how it is, you win a few and you lose a few.

The FWA Royal Palm Awards are handed out once a year and they are prestigious awards, available throughout the United States and internationally. FWA (Florida Writers Association) is the largest writers organization in Florida, consisting of more than one thousand members, and with chapters all over the state of Florida and other states, including North Carolina. Awards are handed out at the Florida Writers Association Annual Conference, usually held at Disney World every year, and attended by thousands.

The FWA Lighthouse Book Award is handed out annually at Ponte Vedra, Florida, and it's available to all FWA members as well as writers from all over the united States.

The Indie Book Awards are held annually and many small publishers compete.

The Readers Favorite Award is held annually, too, and many small publishers compete.

What's my next step regarding awards? I'm gearing up to compete in either the Edgar, the Shamus or the Anthony with my next book, a thriller I'm currently writing as the third installment of my Havana Series of thrillers titled, Twin Powers.

So, to summarize. Are minor literary awards worth it? Yes.

And if any of your readers is a writer wishing to make a name for herself or himself, I have a word of advice. Find a suitable literary award competition for your level of writing, polish up that short story or novel in your drawer you think so highly of but are afraid to show anybody, and get out of your cave and go find the cheese.

As Theodore Roosevelt said,

"The credit belong to the man who is actually in the arena;
who strives valiantly, who errs and come short again and again;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement;
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly;
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who know neither victory nor defeat."

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Unexpected Bride by Shadonna Richards

I am delighted to showcase An Unexpected Bride today here on the blog - I think this is something romance lovers will want to get their hands on and it is the kind of novel that I love to read between other novels because it breaks up the monotony a little!

About the Author:

Bestselling author Shadonna Richards enjoys reading and writing about the magic of romance and the power of love. She has a B.A.  Degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Nursing. She is the author of the non-fiction books, A Gift of Hope and Think and Be Happy: 365 Empowering Thoughts to Lift Your Spirit (an Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller in Meditation). Winner of Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write 2010 Day Two Challenge, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America. An Unexpected Bride, a contemporary romance, is her first novel and an Amazon Bestseller in Romance. It has sold 30,000 copies in its first six months on Amazon Kindle. She's a proud mommy and wife and lives in Canada with her husband and son.

Author's WEBSITE
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About the Novel:

Emma Wiggins is about to marry her heart-stopping, gorgeous boss, CEO Evan Fletcher, in seven days—too bad he doesn’t know it yet!

Desperate to fulfill her ailing grandfather’s last wish to see her settle down and get married, Emma Wiggins, a 30-year-old, career-focused executive tells him a little white lie on his deathbed that she is in fact engaged--to her boss, deliciously handsome and emotionally unavailable, Evan Fletcher.

The situation takes an unexpected turn when her grandfather's condition improves slightly and to her shock, he goes ahead and arranges a wedding ceremony at his hospital bedside before he passes on.

Now, all Emma has to do is convince unsuspecting, commitment-phobic Evan to tie the knot with her in seven days. Can love blossom in the most unlikely situation?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Educating Ethan by Jennifer Lynne

Thanks so much for visiting today - I am featuring what I think is a great new novella, one that you will want to pick up.  It seems to me to be the perfect type of read for this time of year when it is cold and you want to curl up on your couch in your pajamas with a good book!

About the Novella:

Ida Deloraine intends to build herself a new life and a new career in catering, after a painful divorce. When the much younger Ethan Holt moves in across the street, an innocent flirtation quickly becomes serious when the two realize their age difference is no barrier to all-consuming passion.

But Ethan is the exact opposite of what Ida is looking for in a sexual partner. He is young and vibrant, with his life and his dreams still ahead of him, whereas hers are all in the past. Can Ethan, who is fighting his own demons in the form of a car accident, failed marriage and forced career change, convince Ida to overcome the past and live for the moment?

And just who is educating who in this cougar encounter?

About the Author:

Jennifer Lynne is a multi-published author who writes sensual and erotic romance from her home in Melbourne, Australia. She has two novellas published with Red Sage, including Seducing Serena in Secrets Volume 28 Sensual Cravings, and Pandora's Gift. Her first sensual romance with Breathless Press, Educating Ethan, will be out in February. Jen lives in hope that readers will continue to enjoy her novella-length tales of love and lust!

Find Jennifer on the web at:

Book Excerpts:

Excerpt #1:

It was hard to maintain eye contact as she spoke, with his magnificent chest bare to the world, the pinkish brown nipples puckered slightly in the air-conditioned room, and the faint sprinkling of dark hair that led downwards in an enticing line like a persistent arrow directing her wayward gaze.
And her wayward gaze complied, whether she wanted it to or not, noting the curve of those thighs and the implicit strength in the coiled muscles as he moved forward to reach for another roll. She glanced only briefly this time but still he knew. She could tell in the amused curl of his lips as they lifted and the knowing way he slanted his eyes at her. God, what was wrong with her today?

He's too young, she reminded herself. And he sure as hell won't be thinking of me that way.

He probably misses his mother's cooking.

She took a deep, steadying breath. "Careful, Ethan. They're really hot."

There. A mother would say something like that. Wouldn't she?

"But delicious." His eyes crinkled at the corners as he chewed and swallowed. He looked adorably young. She moved around to the other side of the island and gripped its edges. Now she couldn't see anything below his hips. Much safer.

"What's it called?" He spoke around the food, and for a moment, she wasn't quite sure to what he was referring. 

It's called lust, she thought. Or maybe cradle snatching? "Umm…"

"Your catering company. What's it called?"

"Oh!" Tension released from her shoulders as they ventured into a familiar topic of conversation. 

Work she could deal with. "Simply Delicious."

"How very…appropriate." The look he was sending her had her breath catching in her throat and had nothing to do with food.

Excerpt #2:

Possibility, she thought. He represents the possibility of excitement. Of passion. The transient headiness of lust about to be fulfilled. All the things that most women wanted and rarely got. All the things that she wanted and had never truly had before.

"Ethan, do you mind if I ask how old you are?" She strove for dispassionate interest, took a careful sip of her wine, then sat where he indicated— on a bench seat in a little breakfast nook. But her glass clattered hard on the windowsill when she put it down.

"No, I don't mind," he answered. "I'm twenty-five. And you're…what? Thirtyish?"

Author Interview:

1. Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Necessary. Challenging. Rewarding.

2. What is your favorite genre of literature?

When reading, I love anything containing spicy romance, whether it be contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, mystery, thriller – as long as there is a hot romance thread I'm a happy reader! In terms of writing, I tend to favor erotic or sensual romance – usually in a contemporary setting and occasionally with a touch of the paranormal.

3. At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I feel as if I've always written, but it probably wasn't until I was at university and someone dared me to write a romance, that I realized I did actually need to write in order to be happy. I submitted that first manuscript to Mills & Boon, and while it was rejected (of course!), they were very encouraging about my unique "voice". I continued to dabble for years, until I finally gathered the courage (after a painful divorce) to submit an erotic romance to Red Sage. That story was Seducing Serena, and Red Sage bought it for their Secrets anthology (Volume 28). Pandora's Gift followed, then my indie release, Platinum Passion (Gods of Love #1), and now Educating Ethan is out with Breathless Press. Only took 20 years, but it feels as if I'm finally doing this writing thing properly!

4. What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?

This question is too hard! There are so many books I've loved over the years, and the ones I value most highly do change at times depending on my mood. It could be anything from The Horsemasters (a childhood favorite) to The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye. The one I've read most over the years is The Lord of the Rings (before the movies, too!). There are too many great books to list here!

5. Describe the process of getting a book self-published.

Self-publishing is both easier and more difficult than being traditionally published. By that, I mean you are your own boss, so you get to make all the decisions about content, edits, cover, price, where you distribute, where and how you market, which is wonderful, but at the same time, it all falls on your own shoulders and that can be quite a heavy burden. It is nice to be part of a publisher's "family", though with all the support out there for indie authors these days, you can be part of an indie "family", too. Join indie or self-publishing chat groups on Yahoo and surf the net to find blogs that offer advice and support for indie writers. In terms of process, once the book is written, get it professionally edited, get a professional book cover designed, develop an author website/blog, join social media, open accounts with whoever you intend to publish through (e.g. Amazon, Smashwords). You may need to purchase ISBN's, though it is not essential for either Amazon or Smashwords ebooks. Research categories and key words so you can place your book in the right category. Develop a business/marketing plan, which includes price and promotion ideas/opportunities. I keep a spreadsheet for my marketing these days! And once you've published that first one, write the next!

6. What message, thoughts, or ideas do you want readers to take away from your novella?

Educating Ethan is not just about an older woman seducing a younger man. I wanted to twist the classic "cougar" idea and create a situation where the age difference is merely a part of the overall picture, and where both Ida and Ethan have the possibility to learn and grow as individuals through the power of love – regardless of their age. I hope that by the end of the story, the age difference becomes almost irrelevant for readers, and that the message they take with them is that when love finds you, you should grasp it with both hands and live for the present, and the possibility that the future offers, not dwell in the past.

7. Any sneak peeks at what is upcoming from you?

I'm currently working on Book #2 in my Gods of Love series that began with Platinum Passion (December indie release). Aphrodite Calling is the story of Himeros, the ancient Greek god of sexual desire, and his interaction with a modern day career woman in contemporary Melbourne. I'm also developing Gods of Love #3, tentatively titled Sex Club Secrets, about Anteros, god of requited/unrequited love. He's a handful of a character, let me tell you. Finally, I'm writing an erotic fairy tale based loosely on the story of the princess and the pea. A woman with super-sensitive skin is ideal fodder for an erotic romance writer! So there's plenty to keep me busy this year.

8. What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?

When I'm not reading or writing, I'm usually found either at my day job in medical admin, or ferrying my teenage children around to their various school, part time work and social activities. I love red wine, coffee, and drives up into the hills near our home to visit some of the art galleries, craft shops and cafes. I'm also addicted to lifestyle and reality TV, including Escape to the Country, Survivor and Amazing Race, and when Trueblood is on I'm addicted to that, too!

9. How do you react to a bad review of your book?

Obviously I hate the idea that someone might read my book and dislike it enough to post a bad review, but at the end of the day I understand that we don't all like the same things. Mostly I try to just get on with my writing.

10. Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

Yes, they are important. I think very carefully about naming my "babies", so to speak! I try to reflect the personality and style of my hero and heroine in their names. And the name I choose for them also needs to sound good and fit with the overall theme and flow of the story. For example, Ida in Educating Ethan is an older woman, and I wanted her name to suggest a slightly more traditional flavor. In my contemporary paranormal romance, Pandora's Gift, the hero, Flint, is described as having "a hardness to him, both physically and metaphorically, that spoke of stone." Hence his name.

11. Why do you write for adults instead of children?

The type of stories I like to write are geared for an adult audience. Quite simply, I like my romance hot! Super-hot at times, such as my ménage erotic romance, Platinum Passion, released in December last year. So my audience would be those aged 18 and above.

12. Who would play you in a film of your life?

Me? I don't think anyone would want to see a film about me! My characters and stories – yes. But me? I'm just an ordinary suburban working mum who happened to get lucky and have some of her stories accepted for publication. I'd much rather stay behind the scenes and write the film, rather than star in it!

13. What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Maintaining priorities, and time management. If I don't write, I'm not happy, and I find with a family and work it is very easy to put my writing time to the bottom of the priority list. So I try and build writing time into my schedule on a regular basis. Not always possible, but I do try! The other issue to remember is that it is so easy to get caught up in all the emails and social media which can be a huge time drain at times. If you want to write, you really need to set a particular time each day to deal with emails, facebook and twitter, so that it doesn't impact on the time you've set aside to actually write. As I said - priorities, and time management! The keys to sanity!