Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Tour Review and Giveaway: Anything You Want by Erin Nicholas

(Contemporary Full length romance published by Samhain Publishing)


This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Erin is giving away  a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during her tour, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!


Suppose the solution to all your problems is the one thing you never wanted…

It figures the one time Sabrina Cassidy is determined to do the responsible thing, karma kicks in. After four years on the road chasing her musical dream, she’s stranded six hours from home with no money, a ruined credit history—and morning sickness.

Out of options, she swallows her legendary independent streak and calls the only person who won’t hang up on her. Luke, the man she left behind.

Marc Sterling’s first instinct is to protect his business partner and best friend from another broken heart. That means letting her think she’s talking to Luke, then finding a way to send her in the opposite direction.

When he shows up at her hotel room, there’s something in the air beside their customary insults. Sure, her rebellious attitude, smart mouth—and purple panties—still drive him crazy, but now it’s a different kind of crazy. The kind that has him driving her home instead of to the nearest airport.

And when Luke offers to solve all her problems if she’ll only say “I do”, Marc realizes he’s just crazy enough—about her—to forget whose heart he wanted to protect.

Warning: Contains two people who don’t like each other very much, a Toyota that can’t quite handle the road trip home, and a spontaneous proposal. Or two. Or three. And foreplay with—what else—pie filling.


I've never read anything by Erin Nicholas, but this book sounded fun and I just couldn't turn it down.  I'm glad I took the chance.

The author's voice is wonderful... fun, breezy, descriptive.  I love her writing ability. She makes it look easy.  The first few chapters of this book are absolutely fantastic and I have nothing at all negative to say about them.  Sabrina had my sympathy, Marc made me fall in love with him and I could understand why they both felt the way they did about each other. Sabrina did break Luke's heart, and she knew she had, but I got why she did what she did. 

Then I hit a bit of a stumbling block.  You see, I loved the scenes with Sabrina and Marc.  They melded perfectly, their chemistry was amazing, their dialogue sparkled.  I couldn't get enough of them.  They were fun, hot, interesting... but as soon as they added others to the mix, I struggled a bit. I didn't like Sabrina very much once she started trying to implement her plan of getting Luke to marry her so she'd have security for herself and her baby.  Luke is a great guy, and he didn't deserve to be treated the way he was, so it made it hard for me to like the heroine of the story, which in turn made the story tough to read.

But I continued because by that time I was so completely invested in the characters (and madly in love with Marc) that I had to know what happened.  It certainly helped that the author has mad talent -- she has me so won over by it that I have every intention of going back and grabbing copies of her backlist to read (it's pretty extensive) and ready to pounce on the next book in this series as well (because, didn't I mention Luke was a great guy?).

The author doesn't let anyone off easy in this book and kept the tension high right up to the end, a satisfying ending with serious cuteness that I grinned like crazy.

I know I had some issues with the book... it wasn't perfect. But it was really, really good.  And every time I wanted to smack the heroine upside the head, something happened to make me smile again.  Keeping things that emotionally charged, making me care as much as I did -- that matters.

Anything You Want is a book I can happily recommend, especially if you love fun, super sexy novels with seriously hot heroes and negligent (but creative) use of apple pie filling.

Rated:  4/5 Flowers

Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, flawed heroines, sex with food and happily ever afters. She does not like to write dark moments, synopses or bios.

You can find Erin on the web at www.ErinNicholas.com , www.ninenaughtynovelists.blogspot.com, on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ErinNicholas) and even on Facebook (when necessary).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Virtual Book Tour Review and Giveaway: Golden Chariot by Chris Karlsen


(A contemporary romantic suspense novel, self-published )


This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Chris is giving away  a $75 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during her tour, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

The rare discovery of a ship sunk during the time of the Trojan War has been found off the coast of Turkey, near Troy. Charlotte Dashiell is an American nautical archaeologist and thrilled to be part of the recovery team. The wreck may contain proof of her highly controversial theory about the Trojan War.

Charlotte is present when the Turkish government agent assigned to guard the site is murdered. Her possible involvement and a questionable connection to a private collector of black market relics bring her under suspicion. Atakan Vadim is the Turkish agent sent to investigate her. Unknown to either of them, the smuggler behind the murder plans to steal a valuable artifact and frame Charlotte for the theft...after they murder her.

The mere mention of the Trojan War intrigued me.  I knew I needed to read this book with such a unique premise and I'm glad I did.  The plot was solid, the suspense good, the ending satisfying. 

Charlotte is a strong woman ... occasionally stronger than I would have expected, but her steel spine gets her through some difficult times.  Admittedly, it gets her in trouble a bit too.  And, while I knew Atakan was our hero, it took a while for both Charlotte and I to warm up to him--but he turns out to be quite the hero!

The story begins quickly, with a shipwreck and mayhem.  I felt a bit lost at first, with characters being thrown at me from every direction... it was difficult to know who was who, and which persons were friends with whom.  Still, it definitely hooked me, and made me want to continue reading.  This is very much a plot-driven story, with details galore.  The characters may not have been as easy to get to know as I would have liked, at least not at the beginning.  The story was the focus, and the characters necessary to move the plot forward, but they weren't fully fleshed out right off.

Over time, however, they shared their secrets with me, and I came to care about them, enough that I worried terribly for Charlotte several times, especially at the very exciting ending!  I've not turned pages that quickly in a long time.  I had to know if she'd be okay...

If you like a solid action/suspense story with romantic elements and a solid plot, with heart-pounding excitement and question after question posed (and eventually answered) with an ending that will make your heart sigh, then this is the book for you. 

3.5/5 Flowers




I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.

http://www.chriskarlsen.com/index.html
 http://www.facebook.com/#!/chriskarlsenwriter

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Anything You Want by Erin Nicholas

Today we're welcoming author Erin Nicholas to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her sexy contemporary romance (I get to post a review next week -- *squee*), "Anything You Want" available now from Samhain Publishing.

Erin has a seriously cool prize:  she is awarding an Anything You Want Apple Pie Pack—red and white tote filled with red pot holders, a red & white apple apron and towel set, apple pie cookbook, gourmet apple pie filling and an apple pie scented candle to one randomly drawn commenter (US/Canada only please) AND choice of an eBook from her backlist to one commenter at every stop. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a really cool basket of goodies or a book from Erin's backlist (if her other books are as fun as this one was, you'll LOVE it -- so COMMENT)!

Erin shared five things we'd probably never guess about her -- read and enjoy!  The virtual floor is yours, Erin ... take it away!

This was hard as I’m pretty much an open book. Honestly, I’m too lazy to put on a fa├žade and keep it up! *G* But here are five things you might not know about me:

1. I’m a night-owl. I LOVE to stay up until the wee hours of the morning and would do so routinely if my children and “day job” didn’t require me to be up at 6 a.m. I’m most productive in my writing after nine p.m. 2. I’m a chocoholic for sure. Eat some every day. But if presented with a chocolate dessert or something lemon-y, I’d pick the lemon. Weird, right?

3. I’m not a beer drinker or much of a wine drinker (it has to be white and sweet or no thank you) but I love liquor *G* Rum, tequila, Kahlua (my favorite), schnapps, vodka—I like it all! (but don’t worry, I don’t drink it daily or anything. Usually.)

4. I love men in uniform. All of them. Firefighters for sure! But I’ve recently realized that if I had to pick, I’d choose men in military uniforms over the rest. Something about the guns maybe? *G*

5. I’d rather do revisions than write a first draft. I’m a great revisionist. I don’t mind going back in and changing things up. It’s way easier for me to do something with words than it is to do something with a blank page.



Suppose the solution to all your problems is the one thing you never wanted…

It figures the one time Sabrina Cassidy is determined to do the responsible thing, karma kicks in. After four years on the road chasing her musical dream, she’s stranded six hours from home with no money, a ruined credit history—and morning sickness.

Out of options, she swallows her legendary independent streak and calls the only person who won’t hang up on her. Luke, the man she left behind.

Marc Sterling’s first instinct is to protect his business partner and best friend from another broken heart. That means letting her think she’s talking to Luke, then finding a way to send her in the opposite direction.

When he shows up at her hotel room, there’s something in the air beside their customary insults. Sure, her rebellious attitude, smart mouth—and purple panties—still drive him crazy, but now it’s a different kind of crazy. The kind that has him driving her home instead of to the nearest airport.

And when Luke offers to solve all her problems if she’ll only say “I do”, Marc realizes he’s just crazy enough—about her—to forget whose heart he wanted to protect.

Warning: Contains two people who don’t like each other very much, a Toyota that can’t quite handle the road trip home, and a spontaneous proposal. Or two. Or three. And foreplay with—what else—pie filling.

Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, flawed heroines, sex with food and happily ever afters. She does not like to write dark moments, synopses or bios. You can find Erin on the web at http://www.erinnicholas.com/ , http://www.ninenaughtynovelists.blogspot.com/ , on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ErinNicholas ) and even on Facebook (when necessary).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Virtual Book Tour Review and Giveaway: Moving On: A Prairie Romance by Annette Bower


(A contemporary novella from XOXO Publishing)


This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Annette is giving away  a $25 GC to All Romance eBooks to one randomly drawn commenter during her tour, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!


Anna is a mysterious woman that has just moved to Regina Beach. The residents of the small town know everyone’s business and they are very interested in discovering Anna’s secrets. Nick was a Sergeant in the Canadian Army, doing active duty until a horrific accident sent him home to recover. He helps Anna feel safe and comfortable in her new environment, just as he has always done for his men in strange, dangerous places. Meanwhile, he focuses on preparing for his future physical endurance test to prove that he is capable of returning to active duty.

Anna doesn’t talk about her past, and Nick doesn’t talk about his future therefore she is shocked to discover that his greatest wish is to return to active duty. She won’t love a man who may die on the job again. Intellectually, she knows that all life cycles end, but emotionally, she doesn’t know if she has the strength to support Nick.


This story is got my attention from the very first page. After reading the first couple of paragraphs, I was hooked. I had to know what was going on. Why was the heroine was there, and why she was so sad?  The amount of character building the author did in only a few words was fantastic.

The writing was beautiful and descriptive, and I felt as though I was inside the heroine’s head while she lived through the things that were going on. She was starting a new life and hoping to be happy again someday, and because I was so caught up with her, I wanted the same thing.

The town she moved  to was a small, delightful place, warm and friendly to everyone, including strangers. They took you into their hearts immediately.  It was a place where folks were family.  You mattered.  And even when they butted in to your business, it was only with your best interests at heart.

The hero was a soldier who lived at a B&B and was injured physically and mentally. That they would meet and come together was a given, but it became more than that. They were both wounded spirits. As they spent time together, it was a lovely, warm and fun story. Everyone in the village helped them in their search for life again.

I couldn’t put the story down until I finished it. I wanted the both to be happy again. And although the story ended somewhat abruptly, I was satisfied with the finish. I think anyone looking for a sweet and warm romance will love this story.

4/5 Flowers


Annette Bower lives and writes in Regina, SK Canada. She is an author of many short stories published in anthologies and magazines in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. She explores women in families, women in communities and women at the beginning and end of love and their quest for love. She pursues the writing craft in workshops, conferences, Writing with Style, Banff Centre for the Arts, Victoria School of Writing, Sage Hill Writing Experience, the Surrey International Writing Conferences and the Romance Writing of America Conferences.

When she isn’t writing she walks or bikes around the streets and parks in her neighborhood imagining complex worlds behind seemingly ordinary events.

Her first contemporary romance, Moving On A Prairie Romance is published by XoXo Publishing™ a division of Ninni Group Inc.

Website: http://www.annettebower.com/
Blog: http://www.annettebower.com/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Annette-Bower-XOXO-Publishing-Author/378438088839629

Recommendations:

I have just been reading MOVING ON on my Kindle. It's lovely... -- a gentle, feel-good book with a nice variety of individualized characters and a positive over-all message. The familiar setting was a treat too. Congratulations! I would recommend it. - Mary Balogh: http://www.marybalogh.com/

“Moving On: A Prairie Romance” by Annette Bower In “Moving On: A Prairie Romance”, Annette Bower explores the redemptive power of affection. When we meet Nick and Anna, the characters at the centre of the novel, both are reeling from devastating personal tragedies, and both are fearful of making a connection that would open them to future pain. In the course of the novel, Nick and Anna slowly but surely learn to trust and to hope. Bower’s warm tale of the coming together of her two very likable protagonists is told with a keen eye and an understanding heart. This lake-side romance is perfect summer reading. ….Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn series. http://www.gailbowen.com/

Friday, May 18, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Finding My Faith by Carly Fall

Today we're welcoming author Carly Fall to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her paranormal romance novel with the very clever title (read the blurb, you'll see why!), "Finding My Faith".

Carly will be giving away two eBook copies of The Light Within Me (the first book of this series) at each tour stop; a $15 All Romance eBooks GC for one randomly drawn commenter. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win!

Carly graciously answered my questions.  Thanks, Carly!

Your book is a departure from most paranormal books. Where did you get your idea for "Finding My Faith"?

The whole Six Saviors series was born when I toured a decommissioned missile silo in Tucson. They had a program where you could spend a boatload of money and spend the night there, and I began thinking about what it would be like to live in a missile silo. Then my husband and I were joking around about how funny it would be if aliens lived in a missile silo, and there was the series.

Finding My Faith is the second book in the series and focuses on the warrior Rayner, who is a Forest Dweller on his planet. They live off the land as Native American Indians used to, so I wanted all of that to tie together within the story.

What kind of research went into your story?

Faith is a Native American who is part of a legend. I did a lot of research into Native American legends to try to find one that would fit within the book, but I couldn't find one. I had to make up my own.

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

Not really. I do have a bunch of white noise on my Ipod that I listen to when I write, but that's about it. And I know that they will soon discover that Hershey's Kisses increase creativity. That's what I tell myself anyway :)

Plotter or Pantser?

A little bit of both. I do plot out my books, but sometimes things don't go as planned and I end up going by the seat of my pants until I can get things back on track.

Do you have anything new coming up?

I do. I'm currently in the editing process of the third installment of the Six Saviors Series that will focus on the warrior Hudson.

Do you have any questions you'd like to ask our readers?

Do you prefer your heroes to have a softer side to them, or just to be totally alpha?



Growing up in a small Northern Arizona town, Faith Cloudfoot’s life was spent playing in the forests surrounding her house under the protective eyes of her father, and learning about the legends of her Native American heritage. Yearning for more out of her life, she moves to Phoenix, Arizona at the age of twenty-three where she is kidnapped and almost killed.

Rayner has a special ability, one that weighs on him like a curse. He can see spirits trapped in between life and their final resting place. Because he can’t do much to help them, he studiously ignores them. He concentrates, instead, on working with his fellow warriors to right the wrongs caused by the evil criminals from his home planet.

When Rayner sees Faith in her spirit form while investigating a lead in Phoenix, his attraction to her is immediate, yet he follows his own personal code and ignores her cry for attention. When he realizes that she may be a stepping stone to getting him home to his own universe, he engages Faith and begins to use her as a means to an end: going home.

As the attraction grows stronger, Rayner finds himself breaking all sorts of self-set rules, as well as the code of ethics set by him and his fellow warriors. When Faith nears death, Rayner realizes that he must do everything in his power to save her, because if he doesn’t, he may just lose himself.

I live in Arizona with my incredibly supportive husband, our son and our dog.

I love my family, hiking, writing, our pool, and wine, and depending on the day, not necessarily in that order.

To receive my monthly newsletter, please go to CarlyFall.com and sign up at the big box on the right. I promise not to spam you or sell your information (even if someone tries to bribe me with chocolate chip cookies), but instead I want my newsletter to inspire you, make you laugh, and let you know of super fun promotional activities I'm involved in that usually mean free stuff for you.

To visit my blog, go to www.carlyfall.com, or give me a thumbs up on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carly-Fall/135934843166283

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/CarlyFall1

I also love to see what you're reading, so let's get friendly on Goodreads as well! http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4877034.Carly_Fall

Here are the buy links:
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Faith-Six-Saviors-ebook/dp/B007EZ5F72/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1330535849&sr=8-9
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13505060-finding-my-faith
Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-my-faith-carly-fall/1109160383?ean=2940014005883&itm=1&usri=finding+my+faith+carly+fall
All Romance eBooks:  http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-findingmyfaith-728552-140.html

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Seized by Lynne Cantwell

Today we're welcoming author Lynne Cantwell to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her urban fantasy story, "Seized" available now -- and with one of the most eye-catching covers I've seen.

Lynne is awarding a $10 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Lynne is sharing five things we'd probably never guess about her -- read and enjoy!

5 Things about Lynne Cantwell

• I have been in forty-nine of the fifty US states. When I was a kid, my parents and I would take a driving vacation every summer. I nailed forty-five states with them, missing only North Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska. Since then, I’ve whittled the list down, and now Alaska is the only one left. Maybe next year….

• When I was just a teeny writer, maybe ten or eleven years old, I got into paper dolls, to the point where I was making my own. I would draw and color them on cardboard and cut them out, and then make clothes for them by tracing around each doll on typing paper. I had probably ten or twelve dolls, all told. Of course, they were all friends (some were siblings), and they had their own rock band called The Leading Lamplight. And then I wrote several stories about them, one of which I turned in as a class assignment in fifth grade. I put a note on the story that the characters actually existed as paper dolls that I had created. My teacher, bless her heart, didn’t quite seem to know what to do with that information.

• I went off to college intending to major in music – specifically, clarinet – but I was so intimidated by the TA who was my instructor for private lessons that I never even auditioned for admission to the school. I went home for holiday break after my first semester with no clue what to do next. Then I overheard my mother tell a neighbor on the phone that maybe now I would go into journalism. So thanks, Mom, for inadvertently pointing me in the direction of my first career.

• Former presidential candidate Howard Dean once called me from a humvee in the middle of an ice storm. No, really! I was working for Mutual/NBC Radio News at the time. There had been a pretty severe ice storm in Vermont overnight, and I was delegated the task of calling the state’s office of emergency management to try to get some comments. The woman who answered the phone took my number and said she would have someone call me back. A little while later, then-Governor Dean called me while he was touring the affected area. This was in the days of brick-sized cell phones, so having someone call you from a car was quite the novelty. He proceeded to give me an enthusiastic description of trees bent to breaking under the weight of the ice, power poles snapped, and so on. I always thought afterward that if politics didn’t work out for him, he had a promising future in sports announcing.

• Another time at the same job, I got to interview Larry King. He used to do his radio show from our studios, so we had his direct number in our rolodex. Frank Sinatra had been hospitalized – this was toward the end of his life – and our producer on duty said, “Larry is friends with Frank’s daughter Nancy. Call him and see what he knows.” So I did, and he was very gracious about it. But I’ll tell you, it was a little disconcerting to be interviewing one of the best interviewers in the business.



The winter solstice 2012 won't be the end of the world. It will be the beginning of the end....

Naomi has a pretty sweet life. Respected as a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. And her handsome boyfriend Brock has just proposed to her. But a white buffalo calf is bowing to her in her dreams. And who is the Native American man who has been following her around?

Naomi doesn’t know it, but things are about to change....

Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was Susie and the Talking Doll, a picture book illustrated by the author about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. Her third novel and her first urban fantasy, Seized: Book One of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, was released in March.

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Cantwell/e/B005JTP5NE/
Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lynnecantwell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/696603.Lynne_Cantwell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynne-Cantwell/172485489493956
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynneCantwell
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lynnecantwell
Blog: http://hearth-myth.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Feedback: How To Give It, How To Get It by Jo Sparkes


Today we're welcoming author Jo Sparkes to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her non-fiction writer's guide, "Feedback: How To Give It, How To Get It" available now.  Honestly, I think this might be more than a writer's guide, but could be a life guide because, who doesn't need to know how to give and get feedback?

Jo is awarding a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Jo was brave enough to share five things we'd probably never guess about her.  Take it away, Jo!

5 Things about Jo Sparkes

1) I listen to the NFL channel on my car radio all year long. Kinda sad, really.

2) There is this 'egg phobia'. It's not just that I can't possibly eat them, I hate to touch them or look at them on someone's plate.

When I was a little girl, we raised chickens. My father let me hold an egg in my hand once as we gathered them. The egg hatched – and I held and beheld that miracle of the little chick inside. I wondered if that would happen if we didn't eat the eggs, and my father told me yes, little realizing the effect it would have.

The next morning I ran outside and got all the eggs before he gathered them – and hid them under my bed. Fortunately, my mother found them before the smell got too bad.

To this day, the idea of eating them literally horrifies me.

3) One of my more embarrassing moments was fresh out of college. I was working for a large corporation, and in an office filled with older, wiser folk.

Being a voracious reader, there were words I'd seen often enough to know what they were, but had not heard pronounced. So I' pronounced them my way in my head.

Anyway, in this office with the wiser folk, a woman mentioned her little “faux pas”. The others were smiling and commenting, when I suddenly snapped my fingers – having made the connection – and cried out, “FOX PASS!”

The room burst into laughter, my face went bright red, and it took me six months to live it down.

4) I'm a second degree black belt. Chinese Kenpo.

5) Coffee is a very serious thing with me. I buy Starbucks (Kenya is my favorite), grind it fresh each morning, and insist on natural sugar and cream. Not milk, not half and half. Heavy cream.



Feedback … a kinder word for criticism, is an organic component to life.

When a toddler learns to walk, he falls. He screams, cries – and persists. What would happen to the human race if he gave up after a few bumps?

Before we could read self-help books, before we could understand a language and sit in a classroom, we learned by trial and error. “Feedback” is the natural teaching process. It’s how the creator set it up. It’s how the world actually works.

Here, at last, is a simple process for getting the most from all the feedback the world offers us.

A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes "writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read." Not only are those words a compliment to Jo’s skills as a writer,but a true reflection of her commitment to her work.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program. Years later, Jo renounced life in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing.

Taking every class she could find, she had the good fortune to study with Robert Powell; a student of renowned writers and teachers Lew Hunter, and Richard Walter, head and heart of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.

The culmination of those years was the short-film "The Image", which she wrote and produced single-handedly. And in so doing, she became fascinated with the dynamics of collaboration on a project.

Since then, Jo hasn’t looked back. Her body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, television commercials and corporate videos. She's been a feature writer on ReZoom.com and a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network; where she was called their most popular writer, known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.

She has adjunct taught at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, has teamed with a Producer on a low budget thriller, and a Director on a New Dramady.” She went in front of the camera for a video, “Stepping Above Criticism”, capturing a popular talk with her students.

Her new book, FEEDBACK HOW TO GIVE IT HOW TO GET IT, shares her lessons learned with writers, and indeed everyone dealing with life's criticism.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, along with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.

http://www.feedbackthebook.com/
http://josparkes.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“In her compact, wisdom-charged Feedback Jo Sparkes provides sharp, sharp, cogent, advice not only for writers but for all people who value creativity and seek to lead fulfilled, creative lives.

“This slender volume provides more bang for the buck than far longer, weightier tomes. It is a splendid resource to which writers will refer repeatedly.”  - Richard Walter Chairman of Screenwriting, U.C.L.A.

“The lessons contained in “Feedback” are not for the writer who is merely looking for a compliment, but rather for those who are striving for accomplishment.” - Barton Green Author, Screenwriter and long-time friend

"Jo Sparks simplifies the feedback process in this concise easy to implement guide to giving and receiving feedback. As an actress, I believe everyone can benefit from her experience, not just those in the industry." - Tonetta Weaver, Actress

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Virtual Book Review Tour and Giveaway: A Walk in the Snark by Rachel Thompson

(a full length, non-fiction humor, self-published)


This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel is giving away a chocolate treat to a random commenter at every stop and a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win sweet treats and a GC!


Be forewarned -- the material in this book has been called controversial in nature. It is based on the author's popular blog. There are recurrent themes regarding men and women, love and loss. It's not all funny. But it is all honest. Can you handle the snark?

I admit, I wasn't sure what to expect when I opted to review this book.  I wasn't familiar with the author at all, but I have a pretty warped, rather sarcastic sense of humor, so didn't think I could go wrong.  And I didn't... much.

Even when I struggled to identify with the somewhat stereotypical man vs. women thing in this book, I enjoyed it.  You see, I'm not a girly-girl.  I own about five pairs of shoes (one for each purpose: sneakers, hiking boots, snow boots, flip-flops, and pumps), I see the hair-stylist once a year (if I'm lucky and work up the energy), couldn't care less about jewelry (the only thing of value I have is my wedding ring) and don't even know what a cosmopolitan is.  The charm of Sex in the City was lost on me.

So, when the author ran with the assumption that we were all similar in type, it made it a little hard for me to identify, but as I pushed forward, I realized the truth is, under that wrapper we are all much the same.  She may wear Manolo's, and my most expensive shoes are my Crocs, but we feel the same about those things that matter.

I did a lot of nodding, snorting in laughter, and just plain grinning as I continued.  The part about the remote control and men -- absolutely right on.  And, she makes it clear she's not ridiculing anyone, but simply finding the fun and humor in real life (at least life in the OC -- write what you know, right?).  I think we can all appreciate it, smile and smirk (because it's true: my husband can't change the toilet paper roll ... I swear, it's a universal fact that men are genetically unable to do so).

Before you think it's all fun and games, though, think again. She addresses a very real problem some women live through: domestic abuse.  With the same depth of emotion she entertains us with, she puts a face on the fear.  She doesn't pull punches, but puts her experience out there in the hope it will help someone else.  I admire her for digging deep and being willing to share what she went through.

A Walk in the Snark was a very enjoyable read.  It's uplifting, definitely fun and surprisingly edifying.  More, I was excited to see she has a blog on which this book is based, so that means I can keep on enjoying her insight into life even though I've finished reading the last page.  I'm so pleased I was introduced to this author...because I'm absolutely a fan.

4/5 Flowers



I'm a chick who writes stuff that makes you laugh. My book A Walk In The Snark hit #1 on the Kindle Motherhood list this past September (do you think they know I talk about sex? Shhh.). It's since hit about oh, SEVEN more times. #woot! I've been nominated for Funniest Blog, Best Humor Writer & Redhead Who Makes A Killer Dirty Martini (okay, I made the last one up, but it's true. Honest.).

I released The Mancode: Exposed right after Thanksgiving 2011! Two books of snarky goodness, baby.

I've been told I write in the style of that Dickens guy. Kidding.

I'm a mom, a wife, and a recovering pharmaceuticals rep. It's been a long process but I'm doing okay, thanks.

I also used to sell Trojan brand condoms. Yeah, it's hilarious, I know. I did it for three years way back when, and I was their top salesperson in the Western Region, a dubious honor at best. My number-one customer was the Mustang Ranch. No, seriously. The Mustang Ranch. I couldn't make stuff like that up. The experience definitely gave me insights into the... er... ins and outs of men. So it should come as no great surprise that I write about how men (The Mancode) and women (Chickspeak) approach most things differently. And since I did, in fact, grow past my Trojan days (in more ways than one or--insert your own joke here), I've thrown in a few tidbits about marriage, kids, being a mom, living in the OC (ya know-being a pale redhead living in a sea of blondes), coffee, and vodka. Not necessarily in that order, depending on the day.

Don't read this book to find advice about how to be sweet or nice. I'm pretty much allergic to both of those words. Actually don't read this book for advice on anything. (My lawyer made me put that in just in case you know, you thought I could save your marriage or something - not).

Or if you are looking for some light, heartfelt humor in everyday life (Erma Bombeck-style), well, I'm really not your girl, either. Nothin' homespun about the Queen of Snark, baby. Mostly I just laugh at stuff and make up words (See "Refrigeratoritis and Manesia.") Yet somehow it all seems to work.

And don't call me cute. (Hint: Babies and puppies are cute. Grown women are soooo not.) Special note to men: I write frequently about "The Mancode"--like how you guys do goofy stuff and we women try, and often fail, to understand. (Um, change the toilet paper roll much? Yeah, that's what I thought.) If that offends your sensibilities, this may not be the book for you. Yeah, I'm crushed.

Like everyone, I've also had some rough times. I share those with you, too. Life can't always be martinis and beaches. Wait, this is the OC (Orange County, CA, for those of you from Canada, or people on the East Coast who don't know California beyond LA). Naw, not even here.

So, welcome to RachelintheOC.

Now go read an essay or two and find something to laugh at, would ya?

I have to go help my husband find the butter. Again.

Blog: http://rachelintheoc.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rachelintheoc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExposingTheMancode

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Sunny Days for Sam by Jennifer Shirk



Sunny Days for Sam by Jennifer Shirk
(a sweet, full length contemporary romance published by Avalon Books)




Sunnyva “Sunny” Fletcher is a firm believer in fairy tales. With the recent debt she’s acquired, the hope of something magical happening in her life is the only thing keeping her going. She needs a job fast. So when Sunny learns the sexy new vacationer in town is looking for a nanny, she starts to believe she just may have a fairy godmother after all!

Internet guru Sam Calloway is only in town for the summer and needs a nanny for his two small children. However, the beautiful and inexperienced Sunny is not exactly the kind of caregiver Sam has in mind. It doesn’t take long for Sunny’s tenderhearted and bubble-blowing ways to soon have the children—and Sam—enamored with her. She’s a dream come true. But after what Sam’s been through, he’s stopped believing in fairy tales long ago.

Sunny manages to work her way into Sam’s closed-off heart, but at the end of the summer, will the workaholic dad go back to his life in New York City, or will he decide his days are much sunnier here with Sunny?



This is a very sweet, funny and romantic story and I a lot of fun reading it. The heroine, Sunny, was sweet, a little quirky but a very loveable person. I liked the way her character was clearly defined in the first few paragraphs as we learned about her life, her job and her heart in a few very cleverly written paragraphs. I love it when I feel that I really know who a character is.

The hero, Sam, is a sad, withdrawn widower with two children. The children are adorable, but are real children with their behavior -- good and bad. I appreciated that. These children were neither perfect nor rotten, but just children. The way the children, their father and Sunny relate is very nice, lots of fun, and I caught myself smiling many times as I read; other times, I giggled. There was also some rather sad moments, but they were very necessary to the story line.

Although you knew there had to be a happy-ever-after since this is a romance, getting there was tricky, interesting and lots of fun to read. Watching the way each person had to come to grips with their own problems and learn to solve them was really fun.

For someone who is looking for a sweet, romantic story that will leave you with a happy heart, I would recommend this one highly.

4/5 Flowers

Friday, May 11, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Zurian Child by Jessica E. Subject


Today we're welcoming author Jessica E. Subject to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her science fiction romance, "The Zurian Child" available now from Silver Publishing.

Jessica is awarding cover flats and a magnet at every stop, as well as a $10 Amazon GC plus swag package to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win!

Jessica graciously answered all my questions. Thanks, Jessica!

Why do you write Science Fiction?

I’ve always been fascinated, looking up into the sky, and wondering what’s out there. When I started writing, it just came naturally, as if it chose me. The romance aspect is the most important to me though. The future in space doesn’t have to be about fighting aliens.

What are some of the challenges of the genre?

With science fiction romance, it’s combining two genres that haven’t taken well to each other. They seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, one relying heavily on science, while the other with feelings and emotions. Science fiction romance, is happy medium for lovers of both. And it ranges from hard-core science facts to softer, more fantastical ideas. Sometime the romance is the most important aspect (how I write it), and other times it is more a background element. Drawing in readers from both sides can be tricky, but I’ve heard from a lot of readers who have never read SFR before, and one book has drawn them into the genre. That’s the best thing to hear, whether about my book, or one from another sci-fi romance author.

What kind of research went into your story to make sure the details were correct?

I contacted a RCMP officer from “O” Division Headquarters, the Public Affairs Officer of 22 Wing/CFB North Bay, an orthopaedic surgeon to answer questions. I researched my fictional planet all over the internet. And many others have helped along the way as well. Many of the places the story is set, I’ve visited myself.

Do you have any writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Honestly, I don’t have time for any of that. I fit writing time in when I can. Though before I begin a story, I usually plan it in my head for a couple days, write point form notes, and sometimes make a playlist of music.

Plotter or Pantser?

I’m a little bit of both. As mentioned above, I plan out my story in my head, and write point form notes, but while I write, those points often change. Especially when the character opens my eyes to something I didn’t know before.

Anything new coming up for you? Do tell!

Right now, I’m working on the second book in the Mark of the Stars series, and I have several short stories coming out soon with Decadent Publishing. I’m really excited to be one of the launch authors with their new science fiction line.

Any questions you'd like to ask our readers?

I’d like to know if they’ve read any science fiction romance, and if so, what was the first book in the genre they read.

Thanks so much for having me on It’s Raining Books today!  All the best!



Lindsay Beckett longed to be reunited with her first love, Quinn Montgomery, until she learns the secret that sent him fleeing from her in the first place. He’s an alien, a Hemera, and she’s half-Hemera herself. As if that wasn’t enough to ruin her dreams of a perfect life, when their child is born, they discover she fulfills a prophesy told twenty light years away and many years ago. Lindsay wants to ignore it, until her husband is murdered and suddenly believing becomes a matter of survival.


Lindsay and her young daughter are forced to rely on another Hemera, her husband’s partner and best friend, Bryce Beuermann as more and more of the Hemera are slaughtered. Bryce will do anything to help his best friend’s widow—including suppressing his own deep feelings for her. But he must prove they can trust him, even pretending he doesn’t want her with all his heart.


Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.
Website/Blog: http://jessicasubject.com 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/jsubject
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-E-Subject-author/205759796126370
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4959083.Jessica_E_Subject
Google +: https://plus.google.com/100079570422204018357/posts
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-E.-Subject/e/B007BG6E10
Publisher Buy Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/new-release-c-1/products_id/786 Book Video: http://youtu.be/-Nfy6AAoee8

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: Seeds by David Ankrah


David Ankrah stops by today on his tour with Pump Up Your Book promotions for his book, "Seeds".


If you would like to help children understand some of the benefits of using money wisely from an early age then this is a story that will inspire them…

Without actually mentioning the word money until after the story ends, this story is designed to show them some of the choices they have in life when it comes to looking after not only their money, but their friends and family.

In fact, you should find that this story has parallels in your life whether you are 6 or 60.

So find out what happens to Palooko and Greecho as they go through life and one mysterious day an event takes place that would change their lives forever…

Zoniye…

A wonderful place to live…And that is where our story begins…

David Ankrah is a quiet individual with a background in media, finance and all things creative, full of ideas and compassion for those around him.

He lives in London with family and likes nothing better than to help people and put smiles on faces.

The inspiration for this book came out of wanting to see an end to some of the hardships we face in modern times with a simple story that everyone can enjoy and in particular for adults to read to children all over the world so that they can share the ideas that come to them as they read about the inhabitants of that wonderful place called Zoniye.

You can visit David at his website, http://seedsthechildrensbook.com/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Shadow's Edge by Jami Gray

Today we're welcoming author Jami Gray to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for Shadow's Edge: Book 1 of the Kyn Kronicles, an urban fantasy novel available now from Black Opal Books.

The author is giving away a $10 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!


It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking. Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.

When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head. Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.
Excerpt:

“You’re going to have to move fast if you want to save your boyfriend, Raine.” It took a second for the words to penetrate through the static.

“Who are you?”

“Let’s just say you and I are kin of sorts.” The voice was a vibrating growl.

“Strange, I don’t remember attending a family reunion recently.” Her heart rate kicked up and static whispered across the line even as she struggled to stay calm.

The static cleared. “Perhaps because you have no family left.”

Her blood froze at the words. “What do you want?” Her own voice came out cold, merciless.

“Ah, ah ah,” the voice chided. “No need to get so upset, cher. I just wanted to let you know if you want lover boy to make it out sane, you best starting moving on Dr. Lawson’s little lab.”

“What lab?” she bit out.

There was a huge elaborate sigh. “I’m so disappointed at how slow y’all move. Hasn’t your boss found lover boy’s car yet?” The gruff voice didn’t wait for answer. “Check the glove compartment. I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.”

Her mind raced furiously. “How do I know this isn’t just another little trap?”

The growl rumbled. “You don’t, but since you and I know exactly what’s happening to lover boy, I have a feeling it won’t matter. That Chet character, he was getting way too close, but this one they’re keeping alive for now. He shows promise.” A guttural scream cut through the airwaves, and she felt her breath stop.


Growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater. Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab. Writing is what saves her sanity.

Come find me, if you dare:

Buy Link: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/
Website: http://www.jamigray.com/
Blogs: http://www.7evildwarves.wordpress.com/  or http://www.jamigray.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jamigray.author
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JamiGrayAuthor

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Fighting Gravity by Leah Petersen


Today we're welcoming author Leah Petersen to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her science fiction debut novel, "Fighting Gravity".

Two random commenters during the tour will receive a prize pack both containing these items hand knit by the author: a hat, a replica of the symbol of an important institution referenced in Fighting Gravity.. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win!

Leah graciously answered my questions.  Thanks, Leah!

You've chosen an interesting non-niche "genre" to write in -- non-erotic M/M Science Fiction. Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I used to think I was crazy to have written, as you said, in a non-niche genre. Who in the world was going to read a gay sci-fi without at least the payoff of steamy sex? I’ve come to learn that maybe I was underestimating people, or perhaps overestimating my own uniqueness. I didn’t write the story down for a long time for just that reason: I didn’t think it had an audience. It’s surprised me how many people expressed an interest in it, and then really enjoyed it.

I definitely didn’t set out to write anything like this. I’ve always imagined in sci-fi and fantasy universes. That was always a given. The m/m angle took me completely by surprise. At that point, I’d never read any fiction with a gay relationship as the focus. Literally never. I did a lot of catching up on that when I was trying to learn the industry and get my book published, but I was as genuinely surprised as Jake was when he fell in love with the Emperor.

Worldbuilding always fascinates me. What did you do to create the world in "Fighting Gravity"?

Well I “cheated” in that I simply fast-forwarded the world we’re already in. It’s lots of fun to look at the hot issues of the day and imagine them settled in some drastic, definitive way that changes society as we know it. I started by imagining what would happen if devastating religious wars turned society away from organized religion to idolizing a strong central government, and went from there.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I like to write outside, which isn’t all that strange, but my favorite is when I’m outside and it’s raining. Granted, this is on a covered porch because my laptop’s not waterproof, but there’s something amazing about the sound of the rain. I don’t think there are many muses more powerful than that.

Anything new coming up?

The sequel, what else? ;) Fighting Gravity’s the first in a trilogy, so coming next is IMPACT VELOCITY.

Anything you'd like to ask our readers?

Yes. If you were (are) a writer, what’s the story you’d like to write? As a reader, what is the story you’d love to find to read?



When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.

Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.

FIGHTING GRAVITY is her first novel.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeahPetersen
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LeahPetersenAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/leahpetersen
Google+: http://profiles.google.com/leahpetersen
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lpetersenauthor/