Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Truth Be Told by Marsha R. West - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marsha will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. An extra entry can be earned by signing up to follow her blog: Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre?

I write romantic suspense because it’s what I most enjoy reading. I also like romantic suspense with a hint of paranormal, but I haven’t tried my hand at writing that yet. I’m sure my early reading of Daphne du Maurier’s REBECCA set my feet on this pathway. As a reader we’re getting two stories for the price of one. Both stories have conflicts to be resolved. From Daphne I went on to read Victoria Holt, Mary Stuart, and Phyllis Whitney. Then real life grabbed front stage and I took a hiatus from reading for fun. When I came back to it after twenty or so years, I discovered Kay Hooper, Linda Howard, and Elizabeth Lowell. And my goodness, hadn’t the romance heated up during those intervening years! I liked that, too.

What research is required?

I write real world, so sometimes, I just know stuff. My second book is set in Fort Worth where I’ve lived most of my grown up life. But the parts of the book about the police department, I researched on line and by asking a few friends who are within law-enforcement. It’s amazing how generous folks are with their time. They seem glad the writer is making an effort to get it right. Though of course any errors are all my own.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

I learned from the hero that sometimes things we think are noticeable or even distasteful about ourselves, others frequently don’t notice at all. We need to take ourselves a little less seriously.

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

My writing quirk is one I don’t get to indulge often. I like to go away for the weekend for a writing retreat. I’ve found I can usually type 15 to 20 thousand words in that setting. The kicker is of course, that I can’t just run away every weekend. But if I could, I’d finish the first draft of a book in just over a month! I frankly don’t understand why this works so well for me. I’m on my laptop and not my great big-screened Dell with its ergonomic keyboard, where I can type so fast. My shoulders tighten from sitting at the computer, but not like they do when I’m on the laptop. I guess at home I just let the internet and social media interfere, too much.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’ve morphed into something of a combination “plotser” leaning more toward the plotter end of the spectrum. I’m not an extreme plotter with little notes everywhere, but I do have my charts. I first get a location for the story. (Maybe I should have listed that as a quirk. I know few authors who work that way. LOL) Then I figure out who the characters are and ask what their conflict can be. I fill out lengthy charts about each of the main characters, including the villain, answering questions like what’s their family like? Who are their close friends and mentors? What are their likes, fears, goals? I’m trying to figure why they do what they do. Then from an internal/external conflict sheet, the story evolves. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “This woman only thinks she pantses.” Well the pantsing happens during the writing. It’s kind of weird, the keys just start typing, and all of a sudden, I’m way off the plan. Often some tricky rewriting is required to blend everything.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

Always even in the winter my iced tea glass. It’s unsweetened, a special blend I get from an antique mall in town—apricot/mango.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

My third book is scheduled for e-release winter of 2014/15. I’m very excited about SECOND CHANCES. The story takes me back to my theatre roots. The hero is a secondary character who threatened to take over my first book, VERMONT ESCAPE. I realized I’d have to give him his own book, if I wanted VE to continue to be that and not end up as RETURN TO FORT WORTH. LOL SECOND CHANCES begins a four-part series about women in their 40’s who met when they were kids at summer camp. Each book tells one woman’s story.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Which format of book (e-book or print) do you prefer and why?

SWAT member teams with brother's former homicide detective partner to stop a blackmailer. Falling in love wasn't one of their strategies.

Longer Blurb: Needing a peaceful visit with her Fort Worth family for Christmas, Meg Bourland is shocked to discover someone is blackmailing her father. When he rebuffs her offer to help, the Atlanta SWAT team member enlists the help of her brother and his former LA police officer partner to uncover the truth. She fights her attraction for Scott and the immediate tug to her heart. But her life is in Atlanta, and his is in California.

Scott McClaine, medically retired, came to Fort Worth to recuperate from life-threatening bullet wounds he received saving the life of Meg’s brother. Hard enough to accept his new physical limitations, but in Scott’s mind they make him unacceptable for a strong Meg. Regardless, he commits himself to helping her stop the blackmailer. Working closely with her, a bond forms. Could she feel the same?

In the search for truth, Meg and Scott uncover pieces of the puzzle, which threaten to ruin her father’s career as mayor and destroy the family she holds dear. Will Meg and Scott find their way through the maze of family secretes? Will they find the strength to make the sacrifices required for real love before the blackmailer kills?

About the Author:
Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and theatre arts teacher. She writes “Romance, Suspense, Second Chances. Experience Required.” Her heroes and heroines, struggling with life and loss, are surprised when they discover second chances at love.

Marsha, who loves to travel, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren.

Her first published book, VERMONT ESCAPE, was e-released by MuseItUp Publishing in the summer of 2013. The print version releases in June 2014 . TRUTH BE TOLD e-releases by MIU in May, 2014. She’s sold a third book to MIU. In SECOND CHANCES, the hero, Mike Riley, played a supporting role in VERMONT ESCAPE. SECOND CHANCES is the first of a planned series about four women who met when they were kids at summer camp. It’s scheduled for e-release in winter 2014/2015

Thoughts on Thursday and Tuesday Author Chats Hope you’ll stop by. She’d love to hear from you.
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Buy Links for TRUTH BE TOLD:

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Unintentional by M.K. Harkins - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

M.K. Harkins stopped by to answer some questions for us. Welcome, M.K. Tell us some things. Essential to life: Coffee, Vodka or Chocolate?

An easy one! I would like to order a hot coffee with a shot of vodka and please drizzle it with chocolate

A little known book we should read:

The Spirit Dragon by Kerry Morgan

Why do you write?

It’s fun. I love to read – now that I’m on the flip side, I’ve found that I love writing even more! Instead of reading a book thinking “No! Don’t do THAT!” I can be the Master of the Universe (haha) and have the characters do what I want :-)

Nicest compliment:

My daughter recently posted on Facebook “I’m pretty sure I have the coolest mom ever!”

What would surprise us about you?

I’ve always considered myself a reader, not a writer – until a quiet Sunday (Feb 3rd, 2013) when I became bored with my Kindle offerings. I opened my laptop and I didn’t stop until Intentional was complete (I did take bathroom breaks and slept occasionally)

Cade, the gorgeous song man, has every reason to steer clear of commitment and train his soulful eyes, killer dimples, and sexy voice on every beauty swaying to his band. So why is it that he finds himself truly, deeply and unintentionally, fixed on the one woman who is not so easily swept away?

The sequel to Intentional, the debut romantic novel by MK Harkins, Unintentional is the heart-racing new work that follows the tangled thread of Cade in the aftermath of his heartbreak in losing the one woman he thought was his soul mate. After taking a hiatus from his job as an engineer, as well as his role in the band as lead singer, Cade reemerges in the Seattle music scene. Enter Laurel, the tenacious and determined music agent. Laurel is determined to sign him, no matter how clearly reluctant he is. Though they try to resist one another romantically, the magnetism is as immediate as it is powerful.

Unintentional offers readers an intricate, riveting story about the fraught paces of love, while also offering strains of heartwarming humor. With rich detail, authentic characters, and plenty of blood-pumping romance, Unintentional is a moving and multilayered look at how love can slip through our fingers, only to be pulled back again at the most surprising, stirring moments.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I’ve never understood how Scott, and especially Ayden, can do the whole “one night stand” thing. In college maybe, but they’re too old to still be doing that shit. But I guess some people never outgrow it.

“You know that’s not the way I roll, Scott. Never has, never will be.”

Scott grins and says, “I had to give it a try. I could never understand why a guy like you, with women literally throwing themselves at you, doesn’t take advantage of that shit.”

Scott can be so dense at times. “You’ve just said the operable word. Advantage. I don’t take advantage of girls, Scott. Anyway, they’re just wrapped up in the fantasy of a singer in a band. It’s not me they really like. It’s just who they think I am, some bad boy rocker with tattoos. They don’t know I just like to hang out on the weekends and watch sports like everyone else.”

Scott laughs. “So true! You are a boring bastard. You should give them a chance though. Maybe one of them will like football?”

“Have you seen the girls at the bar? I have yet to see one who looks even remotely interested in anything other than a good party and having fun. I don’t want a party girl, you know that, Scott. Besides, I tried that coping technique after Jennifer, remember?”

I remember it all too well. I walked in to find my then girlfriend, Jennifer, having a little too much fun with her college math tutor. It was our senior year in college, and I was devastated.

I spent the next year escaping into the beds of whatever girl was available, hoping Jennifer would notice. She never did.

“How about one of those chicks at your engineering firm? They should be boring enough for you.”

“Too boring. Mattie was it for me,” I state unequivocally.

About the Author:
MK Harkins is the author of the romantic novel Intentional. An avid reader, she began writing fiction when she ran out of reading selections on her Kindle. Her new novel, Unintentional, is a sequel to her first work and is based on the life of the character Cade. A business owner, Harkins spends her free time traveling, watching movies, reading voraciously, in addition to creating her own fiction. The author currently lives in Mercer Island, Washington.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

A Darker Rain by Claudine Kapel - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Claudine will be awarding a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Enjoy our interview with her.

Claudine, welcome to It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

A Darker Rain is a science fiction action/adventure novel. It is the first book in the Ryan Cole series, which chronicles the adventures of Cole and his team of investigators as they tackle unconventional security threats posed by beings and technology from other worlds.

I enjoy writing in this genre because in science fiction, anything is possible. One can envision whole new worlds – or new ways of being in this one. There are boundless opportunities for imagining new things – which is especially great when you’re writing a series!

What world building is required?

Although A Darker Rain is a science fiction novel, it is set on modern-day Earth. To that end, it did not require as much world building as might be needed for a novel set in an imagined galaxy.

Nevertheless, some world building is required to establish the context and environment in which the book unfolds. For example, although the book takes place on Earth, this version of Earth includes beings from other worlds that have decided to play a more active role in the day-to-day affairs of the planet. Some of these beings advance their sinister agendas by sharing their advanced weapons and technology with power-seeking human allies.

So the world building in this case is about articulating the presence of aliens on the planet, including where they come from and how they engage with humans, as well as the details of their weapons and technology and how these operate.

For example, one of the important story lines is that Cole and his team must find a set of powerful alien artifacts called guardian stones before the artifacts fall into the wrong hands. In this context, the world building includes defining how the alien artifacts operate and the back story of how and why they ended up on Earth.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

The female lead character has a unique perspective about life on Earth. Giving her a voice enabled me to enrich my own thinking on a variety of subjects, including the possibility of life on other planets and the nature of paranormal phenomena.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I find inspiration for my writing by listening to music. Sometimes I hear a song and a plot development or new scene will suddenly click in my mind.

Sometimes I look for music with a particular theme to help me clarify the mood or details for a given scene. The book is set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, where it rains quite a bit. I compiled a playlist that included a number of songs referencing rain to help inspire my writing.

Plotter or pantser?

I’m definitely a pantser. For those unfamiliar with the terms, “plotters” map out their storyline in detail before writing, while “pantsers” build their plot as they go – essentially “by the seat of their pants.”

For me, writing a novel is both a journey and an exploration. I generally start with a foundational story arc and a few pivotal scenes – although the points are mostly in my head. I don’t generally work with a physical outline.

From there, I follow where the story goes and where the characters lead me, and I’m open to new ideas and directions. I don’t necessarily write the entire book in sequence either. Sometimes a scene or section that takes place later in the book will demand attention – so I’ll capture it when it arises and then define a cohesive path to flow the story to that future point.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

I write in my home office. So to my right, there’s a speaker, a phone, and a backup drive for my computer. There’s also a printer and a bookcase to the right of my desk.

I love to listen to music – mostly instrumental – when I’m writing so I have a good pair of speakers connected to my computer, and I also have a fairly large music collection.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m currently working on the next book in the Ryan Cole adventure series, which is slated for release in late 2014.

In the second book, Cole and his team are on the hunt for a spaceship that has crashed in the Mojave Desert, while someone from Cole’s past engages him in a dangerous investigation that puts him in the crosshairs of his greatest adversary. The team learns more about the power of the guardian stones while Cole makes one of the most astonishing discoveries of his career.

Do you have a question for our readers?

What do they enjoy about science fiction?

“It’s definitely not a good time to be going into the woods of Hawkley Ridge.”

When a red-eyed wildcat starts threatening ranchers in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan Cole recognizes the danger is far more menacing than the ranchers realize. Cole specializes in tackling unconventional security threats, particularly those with alien origins.

His investigation puts him in the crosshairs of Antoine Drake, an international arms dealer with a penchant for weapons from other worlds. Both men are hot on the trail of powerful alien artifacts known as guardian stones.

Cole and his team of investigators embark on a dangerous quest to recover the guardian stones before they can be assembled into the ultimate alien weapon. To succeed, Cole must also decipher the wildcat’s deadly secrets.

But in the woods of Hawkley Ridge, it’s easy for the hunter to become the prey.

A Darker Rain is the first book in the Ryan Cole series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Suddenly Cole stopped, raising his hand to halt Dalton’s progress. He heard something. It sounded like a growl, off to the left of the path. The forest became deathly quiet. The night creatures were also aware of the danger in their midst.

Cole reached for his gun. He sensed Dalton doing the same. The cool metal in his hand was reassuring, although he couldn’t forget what the leopard had done to Scofield.

Then he saw the shadowy figure, maybe twenty yards away. Red eyes watching him in the darkness, but well shielded by the forest.

Cole remained still, pondering his options. Memories of countless military operations that had unfolded in forests and jungles flickered through his mind. He had faced many opposing forces in his life, but never anything quite like this.

Cole knew they weren’t in a position to get a good shot, not with trees and brush in the way. He hoped the leopard’s options were equally limited. The animal was large as far as wildcats went, so it was unlikely it could advance through the brush with ease.

Suddenly the red eyes were gone. Within moments, sounds of life returned to the forest.

Cole heard Dalton exhale.

“What the hell was that?” asked Dalton in a whisper.

“A genetic nightmare on four legs,” replied Cole.

About the Author:A Darker Rain is Claudine Kapel’s first novel. She lives in Toronto and enjoys books, music, and travel. When not working as a consultant, she can be found writing, reading, or contemplating what else may be out there.

The second book in the Ryan Cole series is planned for release in 2014.

Claudine loves to hear from readers. You can reach her at

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Tesla's Imprint by Kimberly Adkins - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kimberly will be awarding a Kindle version of Tesla's Imprint to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Some things just can’t be erased.

Simon’s visions of a little girl are the only memories he has. Like an imprint on his heart, the visions cling. Who is she? Who is he for that matter? Tracked and hunted across the world, and in possession of a device that sets him apart from time and space, danger follows him at each turn.

He never meant to drag Tess into his drama. But with one slow, seductive dance in a candlelit night­club, that’s exactly what he’s done.

Tesla’s own heritage is a mystery in itself. Born of wealth into a corporation with no paper trail, she’s called back to take the helm. But what’s the nature of the business she’s supposed to lead? And how does it connect her to Simon?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Simon leaned with his back against the door. The metal was searing hot through his layers of clothing, but he barely reacted to the burn. He understood the feeling that flooded through his being, the sense that the young woman from the nightclub was just on the other side of the frame. It was false, of course. Once the device opened the slice it automatically detached and became inactive. When the door closed she was a world away.

What am I thinking? He firmly banged his head against the solid door, tacky with hot paint. When he’d told her he made a promise, he couldn’t have been more serious – and more disturbed by his reaction to the encounter in the night club than he cared to admit to himself.

What could he possibly have to offer such a beautiful young woman after a dance like the one they shared? God, he didn’t even know who he was. The only thing he could even be sure about was that he was in danger, all the time.

He had to learn the truth about his past and why he knew the things he did without remembering them. Until then, the only thing he could be is a shadow on the edge of society. Everyone was safer that way.

He replayed the way she felt in his arms, how she stood on her toes to kiss his chin with her irresistible lips. She felt familiar to him in a way he hadn’t experienced for what seemed like a lifetime. It didn’t matter, though. He couldn’t let it matter. She was halfway across the world now, and all the better for it.

…besides, he had work to do.

About the Author:
Kimberly Adkins is an author and artist who spends her spare time working on worm hole theories so she can go back in time and enter Star Gate’s ‘Get in the Gate’ sweepstakes as many times as it takes to win.

Says Kimberly of romance, “Fate lines up to reward the faithful who believe that love holds a power beyond our understanding and dreams have a chance to come true.”

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Together Always by Mimi Barbour - Book Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mimi will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and an eCopy of Together Always to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

A new body, a new life…

Because of a facial disfigurement, Nurse Grace Joye has never felt beautiful, and when she’s told a brain tumor will end her life within a matter of weeks, she’s devastated.

Grace’s friend, psychiatrist Dr. Tobias Andrews has been experimenting with spirit travel. He suggests that Grace transfers her spirit to the body of his newest patient—Mrs. Vanessa Knight, a gorgeous-looking woman who is soon to be released from life-support. Grace doesn’t take much convincing to take this drastic step: she will live on and realize her two dreams: to be a mother, and be loved by a man….Only to hear her soon-to-be husband’s whispered words just before the life-support is switched off: “Good-bye, darling. I'm glad I’ll never have to see you again.”

Lucas Knight has been contentedly preparing for Vanessa’s death when the plug is pulled and the ventilators turned off. Throughout their marriage, this volatile woman had become increasingly vicious towards him and their young son. Therefore, he’s appalled and traumatized when, miraculously, she comes out of her coma. Strangely, this girl isn’t anything like the witch he’d said goodbye to. He could love this gentle angel. But, could he trust her to stay this way?

My Review:

I was intrigued by the premise of this book and had to read to find out what happened.

We meet Grace right off and know what an awesome person she is, so can certainly understand when she's offered the chance to live in another body, the body of a woman declared brain dead.  However, as it turns out, things aren't exactly as they seem.

I loved Grace, Tobias and Lucas quite a bit. Who I did not love was Vanessa.  I think I was supposed to feel sorry for her once I discovered her background, but I didn't.  I really wish either she'd actually not been part of this book. I honestly think there would have been enough conflict without her, and she truly colored my enjoyment of what might have otherwise been a really amazing romance.  Watching Grace and Lucas fall for each other was wonderful.

So, while I'm glad I read this book, and I'm especially glad I found this author because I completely enjoyed her writing style and voice, because of Vanessa, this book wasn't one of my favorite reads.

3 flowers - This was a good book. I liked it.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Oh, Mother! I'm sorry I was such a bad boy. You were so ang-angry with me that you got into an ac-accident. It was my fault, wasn't it? You weren't looking where you were going ‘cause I made you lose your temper.”

The sobs grew louder and Grace became fearful that the little guy would never stop. Hiccups wrenched his body and the wails broke her heart into smithereens. Suddenly, she experienced a tremendous welling of emotion from within and it overpowered her to where she felt she'd lose consciousness. Afraid, staggering under the double onslaught, she reached her hand toward the man whose eyes were brimming over.

He came closer, gingerly sitting on the bed next to them and rubbed his large hand gently over the boy's back. It seemed to soothe Sam and his cries quieted while he lay with his head nestled on her chest.

Lucas spoke softly. “Take it easy, Samuel. Don't cry so. Everything is okay now.”

The boy refused to look up and burrowed even harder into Grace's embrace. “Sammy, please, you must stop or you'll be sick. Listen, baby, the road was slippery, and I wasn't being careful. It was my fault the car went off the road, not yours. I didn't want to have to admit this but here's the truth: your mum's a rotten driver.”

“You are?” Hope lit up globby eyes of green glass, and sniffles replaced the bawling from seconds earlier. His body relaxed and he leaned away from her so he could stare into her face.

Grace had always had a soft spot for children, but since they tended to shy away from her birthmark, she’d never had the pleasure of any up-close relationships with them until they were sick and needed a nurse. Then she'd been in her element.

Having this precious little guy stare at her with such adoration brimming out of his gorgeous eyes filled her heart. Love, such as she’d never before experienced, overflowed and oozed into every pore and cell until she belonged to him. From that moment on, she knew he’d be her first consideration in the same way that a dog knows its own pup.

She swallowed and prayed her voice wouldn’t break. “I'm afraid so, Sammy-son. Actually, I'm really quite awful.”

“Is that why you'd never take me anywhere with you?”

Sickened by the actions of the woman's body she now controlled, she shook off her anger and stared into his questioning, glistening eyes, then nodded. “Uh huh! I'd never want anything to happen to you, baby…ever!” She dropped a kiss on his soft blond hair. “But I promise you one thing. From now on I'll not go anywhere in a car until I've gotten lessons so I can learn how to drive better.”

“Then you could take me with you.”

She looked up at Lucas, a question blazing. His nod was hesitant but finally forthcoming.

She smiled at the boy. “I would like that very much.”

The indecision the boy fought before he kissed her cheek was telling and, oh so sad. She leaned forward ever so slightly, encouragingly, and felt his warm lips caress the one area on her body that needed the tender touch. She knew before falling asleep, and every night afterward, she would relive that moment over and over again.

She hugged Sam once more, and like little boys do, he settled down beside her and curled up in her arms. With a loud sigh, his eyelids began to droop. Sifting her fingers through his blond curls worked the magic as he released one last quivering sound and then went limp.

Lucas shifted and drew her attention. Still pale from watching his son suffer, he rubbed at his cheek one side and then the other, his hand finally covering his mouth as he leaned his chin onto it and stared at her with his head angled to the left.

Mesmerized, his grey eyes compelling, she couldn't look away, not even a little. His held her prisoner, and having no talent or skills in concealing her feelings, she knew her emotions were open to him like a picture on a television screen. God, don't hurt me, she worried, her skin flushing hot and cold—terrified.

Before she knew what he would do next, he leaned over and kissed the same cheek his son had moments earlier. When the little boy lips had touched her skin, love had resulted. When the man's lips touched the same place, she thought she'd swoon. Never in her life had a moment been so beautiful.

His hand reached up and caressed the opposite side of her face and he leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “We both know you’re a terrific driver, Vanessa. Get better soon. I want you to come home.”

About the Author:
Author of five series: The Vicarage Bench, Angels with Attitudes, Vegas, Elvis and the brand new sizzling romantic suspense series called Undercover FBI. Mimi lives on the East coast of Vancouver Island and writes her romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. “If I can steal a booklover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”

My website:
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

What Echoes Render by Tamsen Schultz - Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tamsen will be awarding a signed copy of What Echoes Render to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, an I "heart" Hudson Valley tote to another randomly drawn winner, and letterpress cards ( to one more randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. (US ONLY)

There’s a killer in Windsor intent on making Jesse Baker burn for the sins of others. But arson investigator David Hathaway isn’t about to let that happen. As the past echoes through their lives, will they remember that history, like fire, can give life just as easily as it can destroy it?

My review:

The blurb to this book isn't very descriptive, so I really didn't know what to expect.  First, while this is apparently part of a series (there are a couple other couples who are already married, and it's clear from their backstory they figured in previous books), it very, very easily stands alone.

What Echoes Render focuses in equal parts on the mystery and the romance, and juggles the two quite effectively. It also seasons the book with the feel of a small town community, and readers become well acquainted with many folks there.  It really combined some of my very favorite things to read, and added in exceptionally skilled writing and clean editing to make a book I very much enjoyed.

There were a few parts that were a bit slow, but they didn't happen often, and I suspect I know who the next book will be about, as we meet a man in this book who is clearly hero material. I really enjoyed reading about Jesse and David and their families and friends. They were good but flawed protagonists with believable backgrounds that fed their behavior.  The mystery was strong and, while I suspected the reason behind what was happening, there were enough red herrings to make me wonder.

As a fan of romantic suspense and small town stories, I really hit the jackpot here, and fully intend on both hunting up the previous books and will be waiting for the next in the series.  If not for the few places that dragged a bit, this book would have earned all five flowers, but even so, the author has made herself a fan and I'm so glad I got to read this book.

4.5 stars - This was a very good book! I'd recommend it to my friends.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jesse looked at the clock on her dash as she pulled into a spot across the street from Julie’s Spin-A-Yarn shop. She wasn’t too late, just about fifteen minutes. She spotted Julie out front chatting with Jason, the owner of the local health food store, and waved. Main Street was still quiet this time of day, except for those partaking of breakfast at Frank’s Fed Up and Fulfilled Café, and both proprietors looked up and waved back as she got out of her car.

She smiled and was just sliding her keys into her purse when a deep sound reverberated around her. In a flash, Jesse felt like she was being swallowed, like a weight was pressing against her entire body, stealing the air from her lungs, making it impossible to scream. A cacophony of sounds assaulted her ears, then suddenly everything seemed to slow down. Somehow, the noises that had seemed so angry before became dampened and muffled. With no time to comprehend or react to what was happening, she watched as the windows of Spin-A-Yarn erupted outward, exploding onto the street toward her.

About the Author:
Tamsen Schultz is the author of several romantic suspense novels and American Kin (a short story published in Line Zero Magazine). In addition to being a writer, she has a background in the field of international conflict resolution, has co-founded a non-profit, and currently works in corporate America. Like most lawyers, she spends a disproportionate amount of time thinking (and writing) about what it might be like to do something else. She lives in Northern California in a house full of males including her husband, two sons, four cats, a dog, and a gender-neutral, but well-stocked, wine rack.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dream Huntress by Michelle Sharp - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michelle will be awarding $30 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.  Click on the banner to visit other stops on this tour.

Detective Jordan Delany has a gift. Through her dreams, she connects with dead victims of violent crimes. Her isolated life as a drug cop is perfect for hiding the freakish visions, until her newest investigation has her posing as a cocktail waitress in a down-and-dirty strip club. When she’s saved from a drunken customer by a handsome stranger, the heated chemistry is exactly why she intends to keep Mr. Arrogant at bay. But learning he’s the new bouncer for the corrupt club she intends to bust just might be the one reason why she can’t.

Tyler McGee suspects a drug ring operating out of the local club is flooding the streets of his hometown with heroin. Determined to get answers, he plays the part of a fallen cop and lands the job of head bouncer. What he discovers is that the club owner isn’t the only deadly obstacle he’s facing. His attraction to an intriguing cocktail waitress with a penchant for danger just might kill him first.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Her breath hitched, and her gaze locked on his. He pulled his hands back, as if the impact of the connection startled him, too. She wasn’t sure if chemistry was the right word, but something foreign, and not altogether unpleasant, crackled in the air when they touched.

Oddly compelled to test the theory, Jordan reached out and ran a finger over the scratches on his chin. “I’m sorry, I hurt you.”

He continued to hold her in that dangerous gaze, and when she pulled her hand away, he swallowed. Hard.

Definite chemistry.

He offered a thin smile. “You almost gave me a heart attack; my blood pressure was probably high enough for me to stroke out. I thought you were dying. Probably took ten years off my life, and you’re sorry you scratched me?”

He was attempting to lighten the mood. But his humor only made her throat swell and her eyes burn. She’d put him through hell, and he was still being sweet.

“Well, then, I’m sorry for the stroke and heart attack, too,” she teased, managing to yank a knot in her unraveling emotions. “I thought you left, and I took something for the pain. The doctor at the hospital said it would help if my back started hurting again, but I should have known better. I have bad reactions to most drugs, even the mildest ones. They help with the aches but also give me weird nightmares. Usually, I don’t even take aspirin, but tonight I thought it might help. Guess it backfired.”

“You think?” He lifted his hand to her face and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Okay then, no more drugs for you. Trust me when I say you won’t even get a baby aspirin out of me.”

He let his knuckles fall against her cheek, and the zing of chemistry returned. Then the pad of his thumb smoothed across her bottom lip and stalled there. Along with his gaze.

There was no escaping the fact that he was contemplating kissing her. And she was seriously contemplating letting him.

Michelle Sharp is a romantic suspense author from the Midwest. Although she has a degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University, she finds weaving tales of danger, deception, and love much preferable to reporting the cold, hard facts. Her goal in life? To team resilient, kick-ass heroines with the sexy alpha’s who love them. As most writers probably are, she is an avid reader. Her husband and kids would call it obsessive—but whatever. Her first choice is usually a story with a thrilling combination of danger and love, but any book with a great voice and intriguing story will keep her turning pages well past any reasonable bed-time. Her debut novel will be published with Entangled Ignite in summer of 2014. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Missouri Romance Writers.




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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Moccasin Trace by Hawk MacKinney- Book Review and Giveaway

MEDIA KIT MTCover-Poster… it was about the land…a tale of love and loss and hope…

(Historical Romance

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Hawk will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

"The most engaging and brilliantly crafted historical work since Margaret Mitchell’s great classic.”
Barbara Casey
Author, The Gospel According to Prissy

Hamilton Ingram looked out across the fertile Georgia bottomlands that were Moccasin Hollows, seeing holdings it had taken generations of Ingrams to build. No drop of slave sweat ever shed in its creation. It was about the land…his trust, his duty to preserve it for the generation of Ingrams to come…

It is July of 1859, a month of sweltering dog days and feverish emotional bombast. Life is good for widower Rundell Ingram and his Hazel-eyed, roan-haired son, Hamilton. Between the two of them, they take care of Moccasin Hollows, their rustic dogtrot ancestral home, a sprawling non-slave plantation in the rolling farming country outside Queensborough Towne in east Georgia. Adjoining Ingram lands is Wisteria Bend, the vast slave-holding plantation of Andrew and Corinthia Greer, their daughter Sarah, and son Benjamin.

Both families share generations of long-accepted traditions, and childhood playmates are no longer children. The rangy, even-tempered Norman-Scottish young Hamilton is smitten with Sarah, who has become an enticing capricious beauty—the young lovers more in love with each passing day, and only pleasant times ahead of them.

But a blood tide of war is sweeping across the South, a tide that might be impossible to stand before.

My review:

It is the 1860s and the country is in turmoil. We've seen the big picture, but this novel is how those times affected not only the nation but the individual. It begins after the war--times are harsh, people have been hardened and lost not only their belongs but a sense of who they were. It begins in near despair--then travels back in time to happier days and shows you how two once proud families came to the circumstances in which they find themselves.

The author has done a wonderful job at recreating the times before the Civil War. Whenever men would gather, they would discuss politics and the changes they saw looming. Hotheads vied with those who urged a more guarded approach.

And, behind them all stood the women-- and it's in these characters Hawk MacKinney really stood out, creating some memorable characters... characters this reader came to care for deeply. Especially the two mother-figures in the novel--they are different yet the same in one very important way--their strength and their deeply rooted love for their family.

There is a romance of a sort--but it's not the "omg are they going to get together" kind of story--when the novel starts, Hamilton and Sarah are already married. It is, instead, the poignant tale of how two people who love each other can come together after disaster hits.

Even if you aren't normally a fan of Civil War era stories... give this one a try. 4 stars.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The Captain lowered his brass spyglass. "My apologies for having to disturb you," he said to Hamilton. With full steam and sail for now we have speed on their lead ship. They'll try to angle us off from the inlet this side of Santa Rosa, but I mean to give 'em no chance of that. Too shallow in there for them to clear the reef. Once we get lee to the shoals..." he raised his glass. "Lead frigate is gaining." He shook his head. "First time we've picked up anything this close in."

Sarah walked to the bridge railing and fixed her eyes toward the tall white sails of the onrushing juggernaut. Her father's enemy, Hamilton's enemy, her enemy; until this moment the battles had been some place far away. Tall and sleek in the distance, coming toward them, a deadly beauty in the mad fury of men's devotion to destruction and death.

Hamilton asked the Captain, "Will they try to board?"

His jaw set, "When we don't heave to, she'll try to force us to ground. Failing that they'll use their guns."

The thought of this pirate flag bearing down on them, their seafarers clamoring over the side, stabbed Hamilton into a heated white-hot hate of Yankies -- good ones, bad ones, any of them.

"They're not boardin' us," the Captain said. "We'll scuttle first. No Yankee's puttin' a foul foot on my ship, as long as..."

The distant muzzle flash was followed by a muffled boom rolling across the water. Hamilton sheltered Sarah in his arms. The shot smacked the water off their port bow, sending up a tall blossoming white plume tall and falling back in a graceful slow splash.

"...a warning shot for us to heave to," the Captain frowned. "Allows 'em to ]adjust their range." He eyed Sarah, "Missus Ingram..." he agonized, "To avoid exposing you to harm, I am prepared to yield to..."

"You will do no such thing!" Sarah bristled. Her head turned toward this full-sailed invader. "These philistines are in our waters -- attacking us!" Sarah's blood was up.

"Sarah, the Captain's right," Hamilton said.

"No, I say!" Sarah whirled to face both men. "We will not yield to those...those barbarians!" Greer fiery rage showed in full vigor. Her fists clenched, "You said you could make a run for it! Our armies need your cargo. If there's a chance..." She glowered toward the oncoming menace.

Hamilton saw not the pampered daughter of a rich plantation father, but a wind-whipped chalk-faced New World Jeanne d'Arc girded for battle, blazing with indignation, exchanging armoured horse for ship and English for Yankee, and loved her the more for it.

He nodded to the Captain, "We run for it."

"I know how Papa felt," her lip quivered, "...when he said he hated runnin'."

" fight another day," Hamilton hugged her tighter.

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Hawk-DSC3024_jpgWith postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.

Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention. Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.

"Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy--these are the things that take Hawk's main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation's capital and across Europe and the Middle East."

Barbara Casey, President
Barbara Casey Literary Agency
Website Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Happy Pants Cafe by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Three randomly drawn commenters will each received a prize pack of eight autographed paperbacks. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Do YOU Believe in the Pants?

Each summer, thousands secretly flock to a tiny yet charming hole-in-the-wall known as The Happy Pants Café. And what are they searching for? It’s not coffee. And it’s not pants. It’s true love, and they find it!

So what’s with the quirky name and what, exactly, is the café’s big secret? Harper Branton, a columnist for the San Francisco Tribune, who’d sooner believe in unicorns than in true love, is about to find out. And it’s the perfect story to save her train wreck of a career.

Too bad she’s got competition. He’s sexy, he’s arrogant, and he thinks she’s crazy. What kind of person doesn’t believe in love? And this coming from a dude!

When these two rivals go head to head, it's more like a WWF smackdown. A shared history binds them in wonderful, terrible ways quickly making their duel about more than just a news story. Will they tear each other apart for the win or end up as two new satisfied Happy Pants customers?

For an excerpt, as well as a look at the characters and places from the story, visit the author's website.

About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author, Host of The Man Candy Show

When San Francisco native, Mimi Jean, went on an adventure as an exchange student to Mexico City, she never imagined the journey would lead to writing Romance. But one Mexican MBA, one sexy Mexican husband, and two rowdy kids later, Mimi would trade in corporate life for vampires, deities, and snarky humor. She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most. She also enjoys interacting with her fans (especially if they’re batshit crazy). You can always find her chatting away on Facebook, Twitter, or saying many naughty words on her show MAN CANDY on

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Ophelia’s Lessons by Esmae Browder - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Esmae will be awarding the first three ebooks in the series: Ophelia's Lessons, Ravishing Rosaline, and The Taming of the Prude to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Five Things You Never Knew about Esmae Browder and Ophelia’s Lessons

Thanks so much for having me as a guest today! I love writing about topics that are fun and (hopefully) engaging for readers. I gave this top five list a lot of thought, and here’s what I came up with! Enjoy!--Esmae Browder

1. I hate touching wooden spoons. I know. It’s a little neurotic, but the texture of that kind of spoon gives me the chills. My husband thinks I need aversion therapy and tries to rub the one wooden spoon I allow in the house on me whenever he is in the kitchen. Hmm….maybe I’ll use that in my next Naughty Shakespeare book. Only it’ll have to be some sort of sexual turn on for a character!

2. I have a huge crush on William Shakespeare. Yes. He’s been dead for 400 years. Okay, so he may not be looking his best right now, but those portraits of him are adorable. That and I’m totally into his writing. I do wish his women were a bit more developed though….that’s one of the reasons I started writing Ophelia’s Lessons. Ophelia needed a chance to be more than just Hamlet’s doormat! I would definitely give Shakespeare a lesson or two on how to write women in his plays.

3. In another life, I was a peasant girl with a flock of sheep. I’m sure of it. Nothing much happened to me and I died of consumption. Sad. Uh-oh…I feel an erotic story about my past life that I just made up coming on…

4. Everyone should have one drink that is their “Go To” drink at a bar. When in doubt, this is the one you order. What will yours be? A dirty martini? A Cosmo? An Oil Slick? Personally, my go to drink is a Vodka Tonic. It’s really hard to screw up, and it allows you to look slightly sophisticated and drunk at the same time. Go ahead and try it the next time you go out! I even included it in Ophelia’s Lessons as her drink of choice. In fact, I like to imagine what all my characters would prefer in an alcoholic beverage. I find that it rounds them out and gives them certain edge. Check out the Naughty Shakespeare series by moi (Esmae Browder) and see if you can pick out who drinks what!

5. I will be at RWA in San Antonio July 23-26 which means that all of my Naughty Shakespeare stories will be free those days. Drop by Amazon and get your copy! I’m really excited about the Romance Writers of America Conference 2014. Parties, workshops, free stuff, and romance writers all in one room--it’s a dream come true. Please drop by and say hello if you happen to be there, too!

Sweet, innocent Ophelia--she wants nothing more than to marry Hamlet Elsinore. But what does a simple virgin know about pleasing a man like the sophisticated and charming Hamlet? Not a whole lot, but when her seductive roommate, Portia, learns of Ophelia’s interest, she gets Horatio to “teach” the innocent girl everything she’ll need to know to seduce his best friend, Hamlet.

Set in modern day, this prequel to Hamlet is steamy enough to have even the Bard blushing! Enjoy this first book of Literotica in the Naughty Shakespeare series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“There’s a difference between flirting and sex.”

“Are you sure?” Horatio moved to her, his gaze intense, as he tucked a stray ringlet of her dark hair behind her ear. “Why don’t we find out?”


“Portia, you can go now.” He cut off her protests, but never took his eyes off Ophelia. “Come back in a few hours.”

“Have fun!” Portia winked at Ophelia. “You look fabulous.”

The click of the door behind her best friend caused Ophelia jump.

Could she do this? Should she do this? It was one thing to want to learn the art of sex to please the man you loved--even if he didn’t really see her like that yet--but another altogether to be seduced by his best friend.

And could she even claim seduction? After all, she was a willing party. She’d gone along with Portia’s plan without much thought.

Anything that would make her better for Hamlet.

“I didn’t know it would be you.” Ophelia swallowed hard. “I assumed it would one of Portia’s ex-lovers.”

“And who’s to say I’m not one of those?” Horatio laughed lightly. “Would you like a drink?”

He gestured to the champagne Portia had prepared for them, and without waiting for her answer, went to it. He popped the cork with expertise, filled their glasses and handed one to her.

“To you, Ophelia,” he said, raising his glass. “To the woman you are about to unleash.”

She drank deeply, letting the bubbles tickle her throat, letting the warmth of it relax her.

“Come here.” Horatio took her hand and led her to the mirror. “I want to show you something.”

He twirled her so she could see herself in the wide mirror on the wall above the couch.

“You are gorgeous.” Horatio stood behind her, barely pressing against her back. He sipped from his champagne glass. “Have you ever really looked at yourself?”

“No,” she whispered and to avoid doing so any longer, Ophelia drained the rest of her glass of champagne. “It’s not right to think about yourself like that. Very vain.”

“Who told you that?”

“My father, maybe my brother.”

“They were fools, afraid of the power you represent as a woman.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have everything a man wants.” His voice rumbled as he wrapped an arm around her and placed his hand over her heart. “We want this.”

She could feel him pressed harder against her, could feel his breath tickle her neck.

“And we want this.” He moved his hand to rest on her crotch. “Your heart and your desire. That’s what we want. Fathers and brothers don’t like seeing it in their sisters and daughters. It reminds them of the sexual animal inside all men.”

He dropped his hand, but didn’t move away from her. For a long moment, their eyes met in the mirror. Then Horatio stepped back just far enough to put down his glass of champagne.

He placed both hands on her shoulders.

“Let’s begin.”

About the Author: Esmae Browder is an ex-Catholic school girl from New Orleans who loves vodka tonics and romance. Combining her love of literature with a flair for erotic fiction, she has created a unique series which includes prequels and retellings of some of the Bard’s most famous works. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew--nothing is sacred in Esmae’s Literotica world. You may know your Shakespeare, but you haven’t heard the whole erotic story! An avid blogger at All Things Writing, you can learn more about Esmae there or stop by her website: Visit with her on Twitter @esmaebrowder or Facebook. Buy the book at Amazon.
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Dreams of Perfection by Rebecca Heflin - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rebecca will be awarding an author-graphed ebook to two randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What if perfection isn’t truly perfect?

Best-selling romance writer, Darcy Butler, is holding out for perfection in the form of her own carefully-crafted heroes. Once blissfully engaged to be married, Darcy’s post-traumatic commitment phobia is depriving her of the very thing she wants most: her very own happily-ever-after. Now, here she is just six months shy of her thirtieth birthday, and not a Prince Charming in sight.

Successful lawyer, Josh Ryan, is the boy-next-door with a soft spot for the less fortunate, and Darcy’s best friend without benefits. Darcy often comes to him lamenting her love-life, or the lack thereof, whereupon Josh patiently doles out his sage advice. Problem is Josh is in love with Darcy.

But when Darcy finds herself looking into the handsome face of the man who graces the cover of her soon-to-be-released novel, she’s convinced her dreams of perfection have come true. Or have they?

About the Author:
Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women's fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.


2013 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Winner (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award of Merit (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Georgia Romance Writers Published Maggie Finalist (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Shooting Star Award (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist (Rescuing Lacey)
2013 Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers' Awards Finalist (The Promise of Change)
2011 Royal Palm Literary Awards Finalist (The Promise of Change)

Twitter: @RebeccaHeflin

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