Friday, November 30, 2012

Mona Lisa's Room by Vonnie Davis - virtual tour and giveaway

Today we're featuring an excerpt from the contemporary romance, "Mona Lisa's Room" by Vonnie Davis on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions.

The author is giving away a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during her 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!

Gwen,

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I'm feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

Don’t worry. I’m safe…the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

Alyson

Suddenly, screams followed by loud thumping and books falling filled the bookstore. Niko sprinted in the direction of the high-pitched shrieking, gun in hand. He bounded up the steps and rounded the corner. “Aly! Aly! What the hell.”

He skidded to a halt. One of the well-dressed men he saw entering the store earlier was on the floor, books covering most of his body. His companion was staggering, holding his hands over his eye and screaming like a banshee as blood ran down his face.

In the corner stood a pale and trembling Aly, her frightened blue eyes dominated her face. “They…they grabbed me! Said they’d kill me if I resisted. I…I karate kicked them.” She swallowed, obviously trying to gain control. “Kung…kung-fooed the hell out of them, too. And…and…”—she pointed to the screaming man still on his feet—“I think I poked his eye out with one of my stilettos.”

Niko ran a hand down his face, keeping it over his mouth to hide the smile. What a piece of work. He wanted to laugh. He wanted to hug her. And damned if he didn’t want to shake the daylights out of her for stepping out of his sight. Hadn’t he told her to stay with him?

“You okay?” Niko’s gaze swept over her, looking for injuries. He fought the urge to pull her to him and embrace her until her trembling stopped. Frankly, if he were honest, his nerves weren’t the greatest right this moment, either. When he heard her scream earlier, cold fear did a free-fall straight through his system.


Vonnie Davis holds a degree in English with a concentration in technical writing from Penn State. She is retired and has traded in her technical writer’s tailored clothes for the feather boa of a romance writer. Her debut novel, Storm’s Interlude, was awarded the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit in two categories: Best book by a Virginia author and Best Mainstream Single Title. She lives in southern Virginia with her husband, who is also a writer.

Website ~ http://www.vonniedavis.com
Blog ~ http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com
Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/vonniewrites
Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/WritingStoriesOfTheHeart

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Foretold by Ron Hartman


Today we're welcoming author Ron Hartman to the blog on his tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her fantasy novel, "The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Foretold".

Ron will be awarding signed cover flats for each tour stop and a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment today AND follow his tour (if you click on the banner over there on the top, it'll take you to a list of his 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 prize!

Ron was kind enough to answer all my prying questions. Thanks!

Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

When I was young and started reading, fantasy was my first love. Over the years my tastes have widened considerably, but still fantasy is where my heart is. I think I am drawn to it because of all of the great possibilities. Magic lurks around every corner! How can you not like that? For Prophecy Foretold I wanted to tell a fantasy tale, but I didn’t want it to be overwhelmed by mystical creatures and powerful magic. I did pepper it with the magical, like the Quarenian Waye, a carnivorous horse with long shaggy hair, a ram’s curled horns, and glowing green eyes. Aside from a few obvious examples like that, the magic is pretty subtle in the book, only to be fully explained in Prophecy Chronicles 2 and 3.

What world-building is required?

Naphthali is a country on a large continent called Enialé. I wanted this land in turmoil to be part of a greater whole, but also separate from it, so Naphthali is geographically isolated. It is on the eastern coasts of the continent, separated from the whole by an immense mountain chain called the Cloudspeak Mountains. At the southern end of the mountains is the vast Darjeeli Desert, to the north the Great Northern Swamp. There are only two passes through the mountains…which are where the Empire strikes.

I put a lot of effort into creating a world that was influenced by an outside presence, but at the same time alone against the world. They are invaded, but not beaten. Broken, but not irreparably so.

Name one thing you learned from your protagonist.

I think I knew this all along, but I never really considered how disconnected we all are from nature anymore. When Daniel Marten, a man from our modern world, gets pulled into Naphthali he is overwhelmed by how helpless he is. He realizes pretty soon that he has no choice but to follow where others wish him to go…he can’t protect or feed himself, defend the weak or stop the tyranny of those who’ve captured him. His relatively cushy life has him completely unprepared for the rigors that face him when awakes along a battlefield. Daniel taught me how much we should all be prepared, in case we find ourselves without the comforts of modern technology.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I don’t know if I have any superstitions, but I do know that every time I turn on my computer to write, I always check email first. Also, when I’m really busy, I might go a week or two without writing. When that happens I am almost always thinking about getting back to the grind, but a part of me knows that if I tried nothing would come. I’ve always felt that when it was time for a certain sequence to be written, I’d write it. Usually pushing the pace would only result in a paragraph at most being written before I’d give up with a curse.

Plotter or pantser?

I’m not entirely sure what this means, but I’m guessing you’re asking if I “fly by the seat of my pants”. If that is the case, my writing is mostly of the plotter variety. I start with an outline, but even that is only written after carefully considering the story arc and working out the major points ahead of time in my mind. Occasionally, though, a sequence will just come to me while I’m writing. Those are really exciting! I’ve no idea where these tangents come from, but they are some of the most enjoyable portions to write. I love it when I sit down without any idea what I’ll write and when I’m finished say, “Wow! Where did that come from?” One example is a character that appears near the end of Prophecy Foretold. He is a hermit living in the Great Northern Swamp. I had no idea he was there until Daniel found him, but his home and personality really lit up that part of a dark swamp!

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

I have a very cluttered office! To my right is a countertop that is overflowing with textbooks, old electronics that probably don’t work anymore, a case of Puffs, a jumbo-sized box of Tootsie Pops and a calendar. The calendar is behind the mound of everything else so I can’t even see the days of the month, just an inviting tropical scene on top. Oh, there are also a couple monuments to my great loves in childhood—Lego Star Wars ships, fully assembled and on display stands!

Anything new coming up from you? What?

Yes! Prophecy Foretold is the first in The Prophecy Chronicles trilogy. I’ve already written rough drafts of both of the sequels, so currently I am revising those while also starting on a new project. The new book will be more of a mainstream fictional tale following a group of high school friends twenty years after they’ve graduated. The overall theme will be about forgiveness and what happens if you do (and don’t) ask for or receive it.

Do you have a question for our readers?

What would be your ideal vacation? Would you be skiing down a snowy slope or across a sapphire lake? Would it require a lot of clothes or only a little (or none at all)? Most importantly, would it include a good book?!? Read on!

An accident made him a savior. Now Daniel Marten struggles to find himself and a way home while the armies of Naphthali battle to control him.

These are dark days for Naphthali. The king has been murdered, the land invaded by the Imperial Army. It will absorb Naphthali into an Empire that stretches across all of Enialé at any cost. The ravaged people cling to an ancient promise, an assurance that a Prophesied savior will come to set them free…Daniel Martin is trapped in a life that hasn’t gone as expected. His pharmacy is struggling and he is losing all hope of making a difference in his patients’ lives. His family is the one shining light in his disenchanted life, but he is torn from them when an accident draws him to Naphthali. The people need him but Daniel is driven by his need to return to the family he loves. Is he the Prophesied One? Only time will tell as both the Empire and the Resistance battle for Daniel while the fate of Naphthali hangs in the balance…


“Is there another way out?” Soren asked. Alaric grimly shook his head. The captain rested his hand on the door knob and looked back at the men. “We move quickly. Away from the house, back to the other district…we’ll lose them in the streets.” He glanced at Daniel and snapped, “Get your hood up!” When Daniel complied he glanced around once more. “Ready?” He threw the door open and launched himself down the steps, everyone racing behind him.

Daniel glanced to the side and saw a large bloody stain on the wall, the headless body of Dalen lying on the ground beneath it. Soren took one step and froze when a man emerged from the shadows across the street. Daniel froze also, his legs nearly unhinging and dropping him to the ground. He recognized the red robes and his heart skipped a beat before he even saw Malthion’s face. Without a word, the sorcerer raised his arms and crossed them, making an X with his little fingers and thumbs extended. He lowered his head for a split second until a pulsing ball of light grew before him. He threw his chin up and arms out simultaneously and the light launched toward Daniel, moving almost too fast to follow.

Daniel closed his eyes and cringed, but just before impact he was pushed from behind and Regnar vaulted in front of him. The light hit the carpenter in the chest and he was instantly engulfed in flames. He never cried out. The intense flames seared away flesh and melted bone. Regnar managed two steps before falling face-first to the cobblestones. Daniel froze as he stared in horror at his friend’s corpse and gasped, “No!


Ron Hartman has had a life-long passion for the written word and is an avid reader. The Prophecy Chronicles are his first written works. Ron graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2000 and lives in Ottumwa, Iowa with his wife and three children.

Links: www.prophecychronicles.com

To purchase book: www.roguephoenixpress.com; www.bn.com; www.amazon.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Author Interview: Lianne Simon

Today I'd like to welcome author Lianne Simon here to talk about her novel, "Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite".

Thanks for stopping by, Lianne, and for being brave enough to share five things about yourself that we might never guess. The floor is yours!

(1) ADHD and bad IQ scores

Back in the third grade, our class was given standardized intelligence tests. Our teacher gave us each a test booklet and a multiple-choice answer form for each section. For each question the answer form had a row of boxes. We were supposed to pencil in the box for the correct answer.

After answering the first three questions on one of the sections, I got bored. So I started playing with the answer form. It was made from multiple sheets of paper, connected at the top and bottom. When I spread the sheets apart, I discovered that inside there was only one box for each question. My first three answers were each in boxes on the inside page. I thought that was neat. So I marked the rest of my answers so they’d be in the boxes too.

In about ten minutes I was finished, so I played with my pencil until my teacher walked back to see what I was doing. “Are you finished already?” she asked, amazed.

“Yes, ma’am.”

She gave me a dubious shake of her head, but didn’t say anything until the test was over. She was rather surprised when my results came back—IQ 161. The put me in with the smart kids after that.

(2) Swapping twins

As a child, I was small and frail. I have this genetic thing going on, you know. At nine, I could share clothes with my six-year-old sister. People thought we were twins. We thought that was funny, because my six-year-old brother really was her twin.

(3) Aviatrix adventure

I learned to fly in a Piper J-5. It’s an old taildragger airplane with tandem seating. Most of my instruction was out of Sunset Strip, a small grass field in northern Ohio. My instructor was an ex-military pilot who was always pulling some emergency or other. Just so I’d be comfortable in any situation. After I got my license, I bought an Aeronca Champ, another tandem-seat taildragger. It didn’t have an electrical system, so someone had to hand prop it. No radio either, so I used this little hand-held unit.

Since I had to travel to Texas for graduate school, I decided to fly the Champ down to Waxahachie. That’s about 1200 miles in an airplane that cruises at about 55 miles an hour. I’d stop every few hours for fuel, or food, or whatever. Then ask someone to prop the plane for me. Everything went well until I was near Sulphur Springs, Texas. Then the engine lost oil pressure. The temperature climbed. The engine power faded. The airplane started losing altitude. I kept thinking there’d be a nice place to land just past the next clump of trees. But there wasn’t, so I landed in a small pasture. With cows. I’m not sure who was more frightened. See the photo up top!

(4) Motorcycles and young ladies

A bit of a wild child in college, I got stopped once for weaving through rush-hour traffic on a motorcycle. Probably riding side-saddle. Okay, so it wasn't the brightest way to stay alive. The officer screamed at me, face red, little flecks of foam at the corner of his mouth. When I started crying, I pulled off my helmet, shook my hair loose, and blubbered something like, “I’m sorry, sir.” He stopped swearing and just stared for a moment. Then he shook his head, got back in his car, and drove off.

(5) INFP—The Dreamer

Y’all know Myers-Briggs? INFP—Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. I’m the same personality type as the protagonist in my book. The last time I went overseas, I arrived in Edinburgh at dusk. With no reservations. I like to just...go. Have an adventure. My husband doesn't consider adventures any fun. He likes to plan everything.

Endorsed by one of the leading researchers on Disorders of Sex Development, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite is a young adult novel, an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by an intersex teen.

Jamie was born with a testis, an ovary, and a pixie face. He can be a boy after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone. Well, that’s what his parents always say, but he sees an elfin princess in the mirror. To become the man his parents expect, Jamie must leave behind a little girl’s hopes and dreams.

At sixteen, the four-foot-eleven soprano leaves home school for a boys’ dorm at college. The elfin princess can live in the books Jameson reads and nobody has to find out he isn’t like other boys.

When a medical student tells Jamie that he should have been raised female, suppressed childhood memories stir. The elfin princess can thrive, but will she risk losing her family and her education for a boy who may desert her, or a toddler she may never be allowed to adopt?

Lianne Simon's father was a dairy farmer and an engineer, her mother a nurse. With two brothers and one sister, she grew up in a home filled with love and good books. Frail and tiny, Lianne shared toys and clothes with a sister three years her junior.

While seeking answers to her own genetic anomalies, Lianne met a family whose daughter was born with one testis and one ovary. As a result of that encounter she spent more than ten years answering inquiries on behalf of a support group for the parents of such children.

Lianne and her husband live in the suburbs outside Atlanta, where she writes, tutors, and performs volunteer work.

Author website: www.liannesimon.com

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Teenage-Hermaphrodite-Lianne-Simon/dp/0985148209/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337908838&sr=1-2

Publisher link (for ebook purchases): http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=362&category_id=6&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

Monday, November 26, 2012

Highland Magic by Christine Young - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Today we're featuring an exclusive excerpt from the historical romance, "Highland Magic" by Christine Young on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions.

The author is giving away a $15 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during her 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!

Throughout the Highlands she is known as Keely, the witch woman. She is a great healer-a woman whose dreams come true. Ian MacPherson is a man who puts honor, loyalty and duty above everything. Their lives are entwined when Ian is sent by the Scottish King to bring Keely to trial for witchcraft. He is attacked and left for dead, but Keely rescues him. When he wakes, he discovers he has no memory. As he remembers his lost past, Ian finds that his need to protect the woman who has saved his life eclipses his duty to his king and country., He is a man torn between honor and duty to his country and the woman he loves.

He stopped, his arm stretched out to keep Keely from moving closer to the entrance. Dropping to the ground, he crawled forward and peered downward, toward the house.

Flames shot skyward. On horseback, men circled the house, tossing burning brands onto the thatched roof.

"Keep down," he whispered to her, his voice hoarse with emotion. She crept closer. He heard her swiftly indrawn breath of air and felt her tremble against him. If he'd had any thoughts of returning, they vanished while he watched the flames reaching into the sky.

"My home!" She rose, yet he pulled on her dress, tumbling her to the ground and swiftly rolling on top of her.

"Nay, you can do nothing."

"But--" she began, still struggling against him, then broke off in a sob, her face in her hands.

"We will stay here."

"We cannot." Her desperation flowed into him.

"We must and we must make plans." With Keely in his arms, he scooted back to lean against the cold stone of the cave. He held her close and let her cry out her terror and her heartache.

She nestled into him, soaking his shirt with her sorrow-filled tears. He stroked her back, knowing his futile efforts did little to ease the pain simmering inside. Deep in the back of his mind, he wondered about Whipple and what part he played in this.



Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

Blog: http://christineyoung-romancewriter.blogspot.com
Buy Links: http://shop.roguephoenixpress.ieasysite.com/category.aspx?categoryid=72&startpage=2

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cera's Place by Elizabeth McKenna - Author Interview

Today I'd like to welcome author Elizabeth McKenna here to talk about her romance release, "Cera's Place".

Thanks for stopping by, and for being kind enough to answer all my prying questions! The floor is yours.

Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

When I decided to write a book, I chose historical romance because of my love of history and a happy ending. When I was younger, I was very jaded and disliked romance books. Life didn’t happen that way! You don’t get the guy you want in the end! So instead, I read books filled with angst and pain, and sometimes the characters were happy in the end, but mostly they weren’t. Around the time I hit 40 years old, I decided I wanted a sure thing. If I was going to invest time in a book, everything had better work out. I wanted love and happiness. As for the historical part, I love to do research. Before I had children, I was studying for a Masters in Library Science. I also love to learn something when I read, whether it is about history, another culture or another country. Historical romance is a perfect fit for me.

What research is required?

Once I pick a location for my story, I research the history of the place, which then leads me to choose a time period, subplots and backstories for the characters. For example, when doing research on San Francisco for Cera’s Place, I found several articles on Chinese prostitution, which then became a conflict for Cera and her friends to resolve. Since Jake was an ex-Civil War hero, I researched battles and a regiment for his backstory. I found a 19th century map of San Francisco to determine where Cera’s saloon would have been located. I made sure language, clothes, and scenery were as accurate as possible, often consulting old photos and archives. I looked up details such as how far a horse could travel in a day, what type of guns were popular, and whether telegraph messages were available. Because I wanted the story as believable as possible, I think I researched every other paragraph I wrote – which is probably why it took me so long to finish!

Name one thing you learned from your heroine.

I learned from Cera to accept help when offered and to take time for myself. As a mother and a control freak, I try to take care of everybody and do everything myself to the point of exhaustion – a common problem for mothers everywhere! Cera is the same way. She never stopped to consider what she needed or wanted out of life. Her only mission was to help her friends. When Jake enters her life, she says she doesn’t have time for romantic love. Can you imagine? However, she finally comes to her senses. (I’m still trying to.)

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Before I can work on my story, I have to check all of my various websites (Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) I can’t concentrate unless I do.

Plotter or pantser?

With Cera’s Place, I was definitely a pantser. I had ideas on what I wanted to happen, but I never did a formal outline. I just wrote. With my current story, Venice in the Moonlight, I am paying more attention to formal story structure. I’ve had an outline from day one.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

I’m sitting on my couch watching the Green Bay Packers (Go Pack Go!). To my right is a Diet Coke, a glass of water, an empty Reeses Pieces wrapper (it’s Trick or Treating today), a few writing reference books, and a folder containing notes for my current story, Venice in the Moonlight.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m working on Venice in the Moonlight, a historical romance set in 1753. Here is the story so far:

After her husband’s death, Marietta Gatti is banished from the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. With nowhere to go, she returns to Venice only to find her estranged father has also passed away. According to his friends, the once esteemed painter died distraught, drunk, and penniless. Upset by the gossip, Marietta retraces her father’s last days and discovers someone may have wanted him dead. When the prime suspect is the father of the man she may be falling in love with, Marietta faces a heart-breaking decision. Should she risk her future happiness to avenge the death of a man she has hated for the past five years? Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to the days of Carnival and Casanova, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.

Do you have a question for our readers?

What is your favorite historical period? Why?

In 1869, San Francisco saloon owner Cera Cassidy offers redemption to any woman looking for honest work. At Cera's Place, men can get a decent hot meal with a whiskey, but if they want anything more, they have to take their desires elsewhere. One summer night, a distraught Chinese girl bursts through the swinging doors with a shocking tale of murder, kidnapping, and prostitution. Outraged, Cera vows to set things right.

Jake Tanner, a scarred ex-soldier haunted by the horrors of the Civil War, is on a mission to fulfill a friend's dying wish. The trail has brought him to Cera's door. Captivated by her Irish beauty, he wants to join her fight - but will she let him?

Elizabeth McKenna's debut novel is a fast-paced adventure filled with memorable characters that will leave you wanting more. Get lost in a time gone by and fall in love today!

Cera noticed the stranger while she leaned against the bar, drinking her third cup of coffee for the day. It was the first chance she’d had to catch her breath. Business was brisk, as everyone wanted to talk about last night’s fire over some food and drinks.

He sat alone, hunched down into his faded officer’s coat, reminding Cera of the many war-weary drifters who had passed through her place. His worn boots rested casually on the seat of a chair, and though his Stetson sat low over his eyes, she got the sense he could see just fine. He seemed to be waiting.

More often than not, Cera could see trouble coming. When she looked at this stranger, an uneasy feeling rose in her belly. Unfortunately, she couldn’t decide if it was because of the bowie knife and Colt revolver strapped to his sides or because his tangled, dark hair and chiseled jaw made him the best-looking man she had seen in months.

As she pondered the stranger, his face moved out of the shadows, revealing a thick jagged scar running from the outer edge of his left eye to the corner of his mouth. Startled by the sight, Cera’s hand jerked, sloshing coffee over the cup’s rim. Their eyes met and, for an instance, Cera thought she saw a flash of anger in the stranger’s gaze.

Embarrassed, she turned away to hide the blush blooming in her cheeks. As she wiped her wet hand on her apron, she chided herself for such squeamish behavior. Since the end of the War Between the States, plenty of men had walked through the saloon’s doors with injuries far worse than a scar. There was no reason for this one to unsettle her.

When her composure returned, she sought out Ginger. “See that drifter over there?” She inclined her head slightly in the stranger’s direction. “Has he said anything to you?”

“Oh my, my, my, that dusty Yankee? I’ve been trying to catch his eye since he sat down. I think they’re blue, by the way. Too bad about his face, but luckily I’ve never liked my men prettier than me.”

Cera laughed, despite her present worries. “Well then, you’re the perfect girl to go charm him—find out what he’s about.”

Ginger’s painted on eyebrows knitted together as she cast a discreet glance at the stranger. “You think he’s trouble?”

“Maybe, but maybe I’m just nervous because of last night. Either way it will be good to know who he is and what he wants. He looks barely able to afford the beer sitting in front of him. Who’s been serving him?”

“Sonya, I think.”

“Try to get him talking. I’ll go see if he’s paid for anything yet.” Cera gulped the rest of her coffee and moved to where Sonya sat playing cards with three other men.


Author Bio: Elizabeth McKenna is a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. She never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).

She had always wanted to write fiction, so when a psychic told her she would write a book, Elizabeth felt obligated to give it a try. She combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her first novel Cera's Place. She has also written a short story titled The Gypsy Casts a Spell, which was published in eFiction magazine and can be read on her author website.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin (Packers, Brewers, and Badgers - oh my!) with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and sassy Labrador. When she isn't writing, working, or being a mom, she's sleeping.

Links:
Elizabeth McKenna website: http://elizabethmckenna.com/
Cera’s Place on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ceras-Place-ebook/dp/B005PNP3BI/
Cera’s Place on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ceras-place-elizabeth-mckenna/1105957860?ean=2940013430365&itm=5
Cera’s Place on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/104546
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMcKennaAuthor
Twitter: @elizamckenna

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack - Virtual Review tour and giveaway


(Full length, paranormal romance)



This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding the winner's choice of a Kindle touch, Nook Simple Touch, or a $100 Apple gift card to a 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 his 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 an awesome prize!



Left destitute by an unscrupulous ex-boyfriend, Grateful Knight takes her father up on his offer to live rent-free in a house he hasn't been able to sell. Desperate to make a new start, Grateful tries to overlook the property’s less desirable features, like the graveyard that stretches to her back door. On the bright side, the unbelievably gorgeous cemetery caretaker, Rick, is dead set on helping her feel at home. She vows to take things slow, considering her recent disastrous relationship, but is baffled when she literally can’t keep her hands off of him.

When things in Grateful’s house start moving on their own, another man enters her life—a sexy ghost with a dark secret. Magical forces are at work in the tiny town of Red Grove and they're converging on Grateful. Solving this ghostly mystery won’t be easy and with the caretaker becoming increasingly jealous of her spectral relationship, Grateful will be forced to choose between the ghost and the graveyard.




First I just have to say how much LOVE I have for this cover!  Truth: the cover is why I opted to review this book.  Yes, the blurb was interesting, but it was the cover that pushed me over the edge.

That's not to say the book wasn't good -- it was, and I'm glad I opted to read it.  Word of warning for the faint of heart, though: it's smoking hot.  In fact, a very integral part of the plot revolves around sex, so if you're not into heat in your romances, this may not be the book for you.  I admit to being taken aback at how uninhibited Grateful was around Rick, right from the get-go.  Eventually, we find out why, but I have to admit that their first real scene together made me think just a little less of her and her morals.

Grateful is a hoot, though. Snarky in all the right ways, smart and a smart aleck, so aside from her inability to keep her hands off Rick, she was an awesome heroine.  Rick was a little too perfect, at least in the beginning, and I admit to really preferring the ghost, Logan, as a love interest though I couldn't imagine how that would work out.

 The story takes plenty of twists as it progresses, and Grateful (and Rick and Logan) all turn out to be far more than they appear.  While the story did move a bit slowly in places, and sometimes felt overly focused on sex, I really enjoyed it. It's clearly meant to be the beginning of a series, and the ending introduces more questions than it answers, but I wasn't dissatisfied.  It's a solid start to what sounds like a fun, sexy, exciting series.  I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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


Genevieve Jack grew up in a suburb of Chicago and attended a high school rumored to be haunted. She loves old cemeteries and enjoys a good ghost tour. Genevieve specializes in original, cross-genre stories with surprising twists and writes a best-selling young adult series under a different name. She lives in central Illinois with her husband, two children, and a Brittany named Riptide who holds down her feet while she writes.

Visit Genevieve at:
http://www.GenevieveJack.com
http://genevievejack.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/Genevieve_Jack
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGenevieveJack
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477522.Genevieve_Jack

Monday, November 19, 2012

Watch Me Disappear by Diane Vanaskie Mulligan - Virtual book tour and giveaway

Today we're welcoming author Diane Vanaskie Mulligan to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her YA novel, "Watch Me Disappear".

Diane will be awarding a $25 Amazon or BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter on her 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 prize!

Diane was kind enough to answer all my prying questions. Thanks!

Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

I definitely believe in the motto, “Write with door closed, revise with the door open.” When I write a first draft, I don’t think about genre at all. My focus is on the story. If I am moved by the characters and the situations they are in, I’m doing my job. When I begin revising and refining my work, I think more about audience, so that’s when genre enters the picture. The result is that my first novel is YA, but my current project is for adults, and if it were categorized it would most likely be considered women’s literature. I write things I would like to read. I read YA novels, for fun and to find things my students might like (I’m a high school English teacher), and I read contemporary fiction with strong female characters. As a reader my tastes are diverse; I like realistic fiction, but I also have enjoyed some historical fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi, so who knows what my next project will be! Actually, I’d love to write historical fiction, but I don’t have time right now for the necessary research.

Name one thing you learned from your protagonist.

I learned a lot from Lizzie, the narrator and protagonist of Watch Me Disappear. Lizzie is a lot like me. Although the situation she’s in of starting over at a new school is nothing I ever experienced, a lot of the situations Lizzie and her friends encounter are loosely constructed from my own memories of high school. I think the biggest thing I learned from Lizzie is more of a reminder than a lesson. Adults often criticize teenagers for being self-centered or dramatic or lacking perspective, but writing from Lizzie’s point of view helped me remember what it felt like to be 17 and gave me a lot of empathy for teenagers today. Instead of trivializing teenagers’ concerns and experiences, adults, especially those (like me) working with kids, should be sensitive to them.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits, or superstitions?

I’m woefully unquirky in my writing habits. I wish I had more quirks. They make for great storytelling. Recently, I have returned to pen and paper for first drafts. I used to do all my writing at the computer, but for the past year or so, I found myself more and more drawn to writing longhand. It started for the practical reason that I developed pretty bad carpal tunnel syndrome. I had no choice but to move away from my computer. Now, even though I have Dragon Dictation software and an ergonomically correct keyboard, I have found that I just prefer to write on paper. It’s freeing not to be tethered to a computer, not to have the lure of the internet one click away, not to have that annoying cursing blinking, blinking, blinking as I struggle to find the right word.

Plotter or pantser?

Both! First drafts, I wing it. I usually start with a character and a situation and just see what happens. Once I have a completed draft, I map it out, reshape it, and see if there are better ways to organize it. Before jumping into my second draft, I do a detailed outline. I don’t always follow that outline 100%, but I do like to have a guide.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My bookshelf. How appropriate, right? I have a little office in my house. It’s just big enough for my child’s sized desk, an arm chair with my alma mater’s crest (Yay, Mount Holyoke!), two small bookshelves, and a filing cabinet. About two years ago, I got a Kindle and fell in love with it, so I don’t buy a lot of physical books these days, which is for the best, because my shelves are overflowing. The top shelf of my bookcase is devoted to signed copies, which I recently began collecting. My most prized signed titles are AFFLICTION by Russell Banks, BRIGHT’S PASSAGE by Josh Ritter, UNFAMILIAR FISHES by Sarah Vowell, and SOURCE by Mark Doty.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m working on my next novel. Right now I’m on the third draft, which I hope is the last. For me, the process of drafting and revising is long and messy. My first book took 6 years to complete. I’m hoping this one will be faster. I started this one during National Novel Writing Month in 2009, and I think I’ll have it ready next summer. It’s much more complex than Watch Me Disappear, with three point-of-view characters who form a tension-filled love triangle. I still have not decided on a title, but right now I’m calling it WORK OF ART (IN PROGRESS).

Do you have a question for our readers?

I would love to know what your readers’ favorite literary love triangles are, and also what their favorite books set in high school are!

Thanks so much for hosting me!

Lizzie knows it isn’t right to eavesdrop, but is it really eavesdropping if her neighbor Maura makes all of her phone calls on her parents’ pool deck in easy earshot of Lizzie’s backyard? And of course it’s wrong to go snooping around on someone else’s computer, but is it Lizzie’s fault that Maura keeps her computer turned on (and logged in to Facebook) all the time?

Lizzie Richard’s father has moved the family around every few years to advance his career, so she has never had a chance to develop the kind of “BFF” relationships she thinks most kids have. She’s bracing herself for another lonely year at her third high school when her new neighbor Maura gets sick of watching her little brother when she could be partying. Thanks to Maura’s plotting, Lizzie becomes everyone’s new favorite babysitter. Seeing her opportunity, Lizzie breaks her strict parents’ rules and uses Maura’s computer to create a secret Email address and Facebook account. She is quickly friended by Missy, a fellow transfer student as eager for a friend as she is. Things are looking up for Lizzie until Maura’s ex-boyfriend Paul sets his eye on Missy. Caught between her new best friend and the neighbor whose friendship promises instant popularity, Lizzie doesn’t know what to do—because she’s fallen for Paul, too.


“He’s won the high average award the past three years, so unless someone can knock him down this year, he’ll be valedictorian.”

“Him?” I ask. The kid in question looks like some kind of wide-eyed farm boy, not like a valedictorian. He is tan and athletic-looking, but there is nothing cocky in his walk or his expression. If I had to guess just based on appearances, I would say he is probably of average intelligence at best but great with big animals like cows and horses. It is hard to picture him acing a calculus exam.

“Yep. His name is Hunter Groves. Valedictorian and star of the soccer team.”

“No kidding,” I say.

“He’s a nice kid,” Wes adds. “Usually the number one guy is a serious geek, but Hunter’s ok.”

I either hate Hunter Groves or love him. Maybe I am even madly in love with him. It may be shallow, but the guy of my dreams is both hot and smart, and he’s genuine enough to fall for me despite my mere average appearance. I know it’s a double standard to want a guy with looks and brains and maybe even athletic talent, and simultaneously to want people not to judge me by my looks and lack of athletic talent, but there it is. I guess I’m not a good person. And anyway, whatever dream guy I have in my mind, real boys intimidate me completely, and I steer clear of them. The good-looking jocks use their arrogance to compensate for their dull minds, and the really smart guys usually have the people skills of lab rats. There I go again, proving myself to be superficial and judgmental, but I’m just calling it like I see it. The point is, if Hunter Groves is the smart, athletic, nice guy Wes says he is, maybe dreams do come true.


Diane Vanaskie Mulligan began writing Watch Me Disappear during an after-school writing club she moderates for high school students. This is her first novel. She holds a BA in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s degree in teaching from Simmons College. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she’s the managing editor at The Worcester Review and the director of The Betty Curtis Worcester County Young Writers’ Conference. You can also find her occasionally strumming her guitar and singing at various bars in central Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband.

Connect with Diane:
Website: www.dvmulligan.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dmvanask
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DianeVMulligan
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/dmvanask
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/pub/diane-mulligan/53/839/124

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tumbling Hearts by Kellie Kamryn

Today I'd like to welcome author Kellie Kamryn here to talk about her erotic romance release, "Tumbling Hearts".

Thanks for stopping by, and for being kind enough to answer all my prying questions! The floor is yours.

Why do you write in your genre?

I never thought I’d write in the erotic romance genre, but I’ve always loved reading explicit romances. When I wrote my first erotic short story, I think it was at a time in my life when I felt comfortable with myself as a person. I wanted to explore that side of my writing to see if I would be any good at it. Pleasure Island and Monkeys, Sex and Other Birthday Surprises were the first two erotic romances I ever wrote, and both were accepted by two different publishing houses. Now, here I am and I love creating stories of varying heat levels. Tumbling Hearts is part of the Love and Balance series which is a very sensual series based around the sport of artistic gymnastics – my first passion.

What draws you to it?

One word comes to mind – freedom. The freedom to use language I wouldn’t use in everyday life, the freedom to explore intimately detailed scenes and create that trust between two people even if it is in story form. I love a fantastic, steamy story and so I strive to create that in my own writing.

What research is required?

For the Love and Balance series, I researched the change in rules for competition. It’s been a few years since I’ve coached competitive gymnastics and some things changed. Since I have a lot of contacts in the sport, it wasn’t difficult to get the information I needed. Having said that, I don’t inundate the reader with a lot of jargon they can’t understand. Anything I do say, has a sufficient explanation or it should, so anyone can enjoy the stories not just gymnastics lovers.

Name one thing you learned from your heroine.

My characters always surprise me in some way, but perhaps Anna surprised me in the way she went from a shy girl with a crush to a confident woman by the end of the book. I wanted her to have that development which most of us women eventually get around to! I really strove to make it believable in the book because it’s important to me she comes off as real. I believe that when people are ready for a change in their life, they will embrace it and be better for it. Anna was ready for her transformation and boy, did she blossom!

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

You know, I think I’m kind of boring in this department. I don’t need a special talisman on my desk, I don’t drink a certain beverage while I write, (unless water or tea count), and I don’t have any rituals I perform before I sit down to create a story. I treat writing like a job – a job I love – and after my kids go to school, I sit down at the computer and do my job just like other people do theirs.

Plotter or pantser?

I’m mainly a pantser, however, I do a brief plot outline before I write. For me, being too detailed in a plan doesn’t work. I’ve found over time that my characters like to help me along the way and often what they suggest for a scene or dialogue is better than anything I could’ve planned out. So, I go with it. Once I’m done a manuscript, I read through it and make detailed notes to make sure things tie together, and then I begin self-edits on it before anyone sees it. This process works for me.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My dog – on the couch, lol If I had to say I have a writing companion, she’d be it. While the kids are at school, she either sleeps on the couch beside me or at my feet.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I have two more erotic short stories coming out as part of The Harder series. Two more will be written in that series for a total of five. I’m working on an erotic romantic suspense and will be submitting that one soon. I also narrate audiobooks and there is no shortage of work for me with that at the moment. I am a busy lady!

Do you have a question for our readers?

I love to laugh or be so caught up in a story that I don’t want to put it down. What types of romances do readers love to read? What makes you want to try out a new author?

When his former elite gymnast tumbles after his heart, one man must choose between his sense honor and giving in to desire.

Anna Fortier has had the hots for her gymnastics coach since the first day he walked through the gym doors. Now nineteen years old, her feelings haven’t faded one bit. Soon to attend University in another province, Anna decides to act like the woman she is, and win his heart.

Twenty-four year old Ukrainian ex-Olympic gymnast, Taras Volkov, traveled to Canada to continue his coaching career and further his education to provide for himself and his family back home. A man who values honor, he fights his attraction to his beautiful ex-gymnast. When she declares her feelings for him, he takes a leap of faith in re-defining their relationship.

Life couldn’t be more perfect until a careless winter driver causes an accident that renders Anna blind. Taras vows to take care of her no matter what. But when he discovers his mother has fallen ill back home in the Ukraine, he is torn between his duty to family and his love for Anna. Their hearts may tumble as one, but will it be enough to keep them together?

While his demeanor suggested nonchalance, Taras’ heart rate had sped up a notch as soon as Anna had entered the room. This had become a regular occurrence over the last year, and he no longer thought he had some sort of heart condition. It’s a condition all right. One he’d become accustomed to.

He took in Anna’s appearance—her curly blonde hair fell about her shoulders, and she wore a green skirt that hung to the floor with a white scoop top, revealing a red, tight T-shirt underneath, showcasing a generous amount of cleavage. He quickly brought his eyes back to her face.

When they’d first met, her breasts had been average, maybe even a little larger than most gymnasts. Since she’d quit training, they’d grown a lot. He’d tried not to notice. Tough to do when you’re a breast man.

A hint of makeup brought out her features. Such an angel. A snort nearly escaped. Yeah, Angel of Torture. He knew the time was drawing near when he’d either have to tell her how he felt or explode with repressed lust.

He studied her face again. Usually by this point, she’d have teased him about something or made some act of flirtation he’d have to ignore. Tonight, she seemed nervous, and he wondered why. She wet her lips, and his attention zeroed in on their shiny plumpness.

“You look nice,” she said.

No comment about wearing black? He’d purposefully dressed in one somber color to see what she’d say. Even though he’d never acknowledged her teasing, he secretly enjoyed it.

“You look pretty tonight. Good enough to eat.” His cheeks burned at the thought of what his words implied. He stuttered an explanation. “Be-Because y-you are wearing colors like a candy cane.”

“Thanks.” Her blush deepened, and she swished her skirt one way, then the other, revealing Christmas themed socks and white Skechers. “It’s a Christmas party. I wanted to look festive.”

“You succeeded.” His cock twitched against the zipper of his jeans. I want to make you blush all over. Would she ever cease to have this effect on him?

She tucked back a piece of hair behind her ear, and all he could think of was nibbling on the delicate skin of her lobe. Stop thinking like that! Epic fail.


By day, Kellie Kamryn is captain of her crew wearing many a hat: chauffeur, cook, maid, and arm chair psychologist. In her spare time, she lets her sassy side out to play, writing stories and poetry that sweeps readers into other worlds of contemporary erotic romance.

Sweet and romantic, or sassy and hot, Kellie's writing will melt your heart - and maybe your undies! Her vivid style of storytelling has gained her erotic romances numerous 5-star reviews. Mulit-talented, she does voice work recording audiobooks, available on Amazon, iTunes, Audible and other retailers.

Website: www.kelliekamryn.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KellieKamryn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellieKamryn
Blog: www.kelliekamryn.blogspot.ca
All buy links for my book can be found on my website.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Congratulations to the Thankful For Books Giveaway Hop!


I sent my followers and all the comments through www.random.org and the winner of the $10 Amazon. com GC is:

Sandra, I've sent you an email.  Thanks to everyone who visited!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rhythm of My Heart by Kemberlee Shortland - Virtual Review tour and giveaway



(Contemporary romance novella)


This review is done in conjunction with the publisher's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Tirgearr Publishing will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of their whole library, which includes the next six books which are publishing soon (one at the end of the month, the last five over five days the first week of December, including their year end special publication). Total retail value of $150, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of his tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new publisher AND win an awesome prize!



Artist Representative, Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career so that other women could have a fair chance at having their music heard. Having suffered rejection from callous men in the industry, she thought she would get away from ‘casting couch’ mentality. But when she finds herself in the office of Fergus Manley, all bets are off. Disgusted by his continual come-ons and lewd invitations, Eilis is looking for ‘the one’ who will take her career to the next level, getting out from under Fergus’s controlling thumb.

Aspiring blues guitarist, Kieran Vaughan, is looking for his big break. But after suffering near bankruptcy at the hands of an unscrupulous business partner, Kieran is left picking up the pieces. He’s unsure if the debts will ever be paid or if he’ll ever have a chance to do something with his music. At his whit’s end, he’s about ready to throw in the towel and find a full-time job with real hours.

When Eilis discovers Kieran playing in a seedy pub in Dublin’s Northside, she knows he’s the one rare talent she’s been searching for. With her know-how and his talent, Eilis will finally get everything she’s been waiting for. Neither of them count on the powerful attraction from first meeting. Eilis is so rocked by Keiran’s forthright words that it sends her running. Kieran risks being arrested as he chases Eilis across Ireland.

Seeing what’s happening between Eilis and Kieran, anger wells inside Fergus and he steps up his pursuit of Eilis. Refusing to let Kieran get in his way, Fergus vows to add Eilis’s notch to his bedpost, whatever it takes.

Will Kieran be able to protect her?



I love Ireland, and one of the best parts about Rhythm of My Heart is the way the author incorporates Ireland into the story—from the descriptions of the city to the Tunnocks Teacakes (and, after the description of them, I have to find a stateside source!)

This story is classic romance—boy meets girl; they feel a connection (literally, in this case); because of a misunderstanding on both sides they spend time apart; and I'm not giving away any spoilers (after all, like I said, it IS a romance) when I say there is a HEA at the end. In the meantime, you get the chance to see how two people learn to trust each other. Once the misunderstandings are cleared up, the way is clear for two people to fall in love—or is it?

Another man is also interested in Eilis…and he's not one to give up.

I'm glad this is a series…there are secondary characters I'm looking forward to knowing more about.

If you love Ireland, if you love a nice romance—give Rhythm of My Heart a try.

Rated: 4 Flowers - This was a very good book! I'd recommend it to my friends.


Kemberlee is a native Northern Californian who was raised in a community known as Steinbeck Country, home to author John Steinbeck, as well as Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson and others. With so much literary influence around her, it's not hard to see why Kemberlee fell in love with the printed word.

Sarah's Secret, Kemberlee's first novel, was the result of years of short story writing. It was completed, though unpublished, in 1989, several other novels following as she learned the craft of writing and developing her voice.

Kemberlee began her professional writing career as a reviewer in 1995, publishing reviews with Compuserve Romance Reviews then What I'm Reading. She was a co-founder and charter member of RIO (Reviewers International Organization), chaired the RIO Award of Excellence awards, headed up the RIO newsletter and served two terms as RIO President. And she's published travel articles since 1998.

It was in 1997 while employed by Clint Eastwood that Kemberlee couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend six month in Ireland. While in Ireland, she met a man who eventually became her husband. Upon permanently relocating to Ireland, Kemberlee established an Irish travel consultancy and built a reputation as one of Ireland's foremost Irish travel experts.

Living in Ireland has allowed Kemberlee to study the country's torrid past and unique culture first hand, and has even picked up a cúpla focal . . . a few Irish words.

http://www.kemberlee.com
http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Shortland_Kemberlee/rhythm-of-my-heart.htm

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Secret of Narava by Isabo Kelly - Review tour and giveaway


(Science Fiction Romance Novella)


This review is done in conjunction with the publisher's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Tirgearr Publishing will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of their whole library, which includes the next six books which are publishing soon (one at the end of the month, the last five over five days the first week of December, including their year end special publication). Total retail value of $150, so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of his tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new publisher AND win an awesome prize!



Their discovery could lead to war . . .

Paleontologist, Dr. Ti'ann Jones, uncovers a mystery that could alter the course of her planet's future, putting her and her people in grave danger. She's forced to call in security to protect her dig site. But the man who shows up threatens Ti'ann on a much more personal level. She's spent the last three years trying to forget Nathan Longfeather and the incredible things he did to her body, but it's apparent he's already forgotten her.

Nathan thought guarding an archaeological dig site would be an easy and welcome break from his normal high-tension contracts. But when he comes face-to-face with a woman he hasn't been able to forget for the last three years, he finds himself torn between the job and dragging Ti'ann back to his ship to remind her of those brief erotic nights they spent together. Nights she seems to have forgotten.

As the truth of Ti'ann's discovery is revealed, Nathan's job gets a lot more serious, and keeping Ti'ann and her team alive becomes his top priority. In a time when anything to do with Narava's native species, the Shifters, leads to violence, Ti'ann and Nathan face enemies from both sides of the conflict and will have to find a way to prevent a planet-wide war. If they can survive, they might just have a future…together.



I haven't read a lot of science fiction romance (though I'm a big fan of fantasy!), so wasn't sure what to expect from this. The good news is, I enjoyed it!

I didn't realize that this was part of a series when I started it, so the good news is this: even if you've not read any other books in this series, you won't be lost.  There were some political things that happened that were a bit confusing, but otherwise it stands alone just fine.

The story starts quickly and seldom slows down and I was never bored.  I enjoyed the characters very much -- Ti'ann's relationship with her best friend Krin was both amusing and heart-warming and perfectly portrayed.  And the sizzle between Ti'ann and Nathan all but crackled off the page.  This is one sexy story, from the heated glances and tension at the beginning to the smoking hot love scenes from the middle to end.  But Ms. Kelly didn't ignore emotion for sex.  The heart was there right along with the heat.

The only "bad" thing I found is something that may not bother others, but I'm an admitted grammar freak, so the occasional wrong word use jolted me from the story (angle instead of angel, heal instead of heel, peak instead of peek, etc).  I'm betting the vast majority of readers wouldn't have even noticed, but it did give me pause.

Still, that was a small thing and overall this is an amazingly good story that has it all: good plot, excitement, love, heat and a satisfying (albeit a little bit of a cliffhanger... when is the next story out?)  ending.  I'm so pleased I got to read "The Secret of Narava"!

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


Isabo Kelly grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and has found a way to live in cities that attract tourists ever since. Though she started making up stories at an early age, Isabo originally chose science as her first career. She persued this by moving to Honolulu, Hawaii for her undergraduate degree in Zoology where she was lucky enough to work with dolphins for two and a half years.

From there she returned to Las Vegas and worked at various jobs, including the aptly titled position of Shark Lady (which included the care and feeding of live sharks, other tropical fish and reptiles) at the Natural History Museum. It was during this time that she started her first novel.

When the opportunity arose to move to Germany with her family, Isabo jumped at the chance. She spent a year and a half traveling Europe and developing her skills as a writer.

http://isabokelly.blogspot.com/
http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Kelly_Isabo/the-secret-of-narava.htm

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Arrival by Nicole MacDonald - virtual tour and giveaway

Today we're welcoming author Nicole MacDonald to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her SFF romance novel, "The Arrival".

Nicole will be awarding a $50 Amazon or BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter on her 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 prize!

Nicole was kind enough to answer all my prying questions. Thanks!

Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

I like most genres but Fantasy has been my very favorite since I first could read. I love the idea of other worlds, of abilities, of fantastical creatures and stories so outside my every day life.

What research (or world-building) is required?

More than I ever expected! I’ve created an entire new world in the BirthRight Trilogy and its required research on all many of subjects, from the distance a griffon could travel in a day, to the striations in caves, to how phytoplankton works. And of course lots of research on weapons and mythical creatures.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Big battles require an extraordinary amount of patience. Nothing happens overnight and each little step gets you closer.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Friday the 13th is always my lucky day and I prefer to write when it’s stormy. The first scenes I wrote for the BirthRight trilogy were directly inspired by storms over the Wellington Harbor, in New Zealand.

Plotter or pantser?

Both. I need to do a good amount of plotting for certain sneaky threads that run through the story and usually pantser for the initial excitement of the idea.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

.. No one, but on my left my partner is cackling over Dragons Den Canada. He really doesn’t like Kevin.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

Two YA series and a stand alone black comedy about crazy old cat ladies… seriously *grin*

Four friends in the midst of a man drought cast a love spell on a whim, unexpectedly landing them on another planet.

Oops.

On a foreign and often hostile world, love teeters on the horizon while the threat of civil war looms thanks to the girls' surprising gifts. Will the girls master these gifts in time to survive a war in which not only are they the ultimate weapons, but also the ultimate prize?


Introduction

'Cat’s down!' hollered Sensei as he tracked the grappling pairs in the room.

I wrapped my legs around Nathan’s hips. The look of shock on his face amused me, even more so when I gave him a suggestive smile, arching my eyebrow.

Cheap shot? Not if he fell for it. He didn’t register what I was up to until his head connected with the mat. I smirked down at him.

Sensei had a wide smile as he called, 'Catherine wins.'

Nathan scowled at me.

'Get off, would you?'

I stood and sauntered to the side, joining Kassie as we watched the final pairs fight. Tonight I’d won all three of my fights.

Not quite as good as Loi. I watched as she brought Daniel down to the mat hard enough that he yelped in pain. Sometimes the two inch mats didn’t feel that thick. I felt a pang of sympathy for him.

'Laura wins, making her this evening’s champion,' Sensei crowed in triumph. Kassie and I hollered, clapping for Loi as she stood, ever graceful, and walked our way. Most of the guys in the room had rueful smiles as they joined in the applause.

'I can’t believe you’re letting yourselves get beaten by girls,' Sensei shook his head in mock distress. 'What will I tell the other sensei at the meet?'

'That you train Amazons,' Jason, the class smart ass, quipped back.

Actually that was a good description for Laura, though I didn’t think you’d see many Amazons with Scottish accents. Five foot eight, with a figure like a pin-up girl and thick black hair to her waist, Loi made most people look twice.

'What’s the magic word?' demanded a saccharin sweet voice, interrupting my thoughts.

The three of us, along with those sitting out, turned to look. There was Sian, the fourth of our quartet, with Grant beneath her tiny thighs.

For some reason Grant felt the need to be stubborn when tapping out with Sian. It may be due to her dainty appearance. Sian was the blond in our group and just adorable to look at. Dainty and precious, more like precocious, truth be told, she scraped in at just five foot like Kassie. But while Kassie had a curvy busty figure, Sian was petite in every sense of the word; except personality.”


Nicole MacDonald is the Independent author of The Arrival, and, Awakening, the first two books in the BirthRight Trilogy. Writing had never been a lifelong dream for her until she began The Arrival, but it now is an all-consuming passion.

A proud Kiwi (New Zealander) Nicole dreams that one day Peter Jackson will be in touch to option the film rights for the BirthRight Trilogy. When she's not daydreaming about that she's working on book three in the trilogy - Feel the Burn, available December 2012 - and planning future works.

Blog: www.damselinadirtydress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBirthRightTrilogy
Twitter: @DmslinaDrtyDrss
Youtube link to book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKcn9LMrK30&list=WL994280763A299228&feature=mh_lolz

Amazon US - free: http://www.amazon.com/The-Arrival-BirthRight-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B004HD5WAE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1347750674&sr=8-3&keywords=the+arrival
Itunes US - free: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-arrival/id431517784?mt=11
Itunes UK - free: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-arrival/id431517784?mt=11
Kobo - free: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Arrival/book-fW1uiT1a2U27zweXd_D9jw/page1.html?s=m6zvEHUwuU6GCa6fCqs70A&r=1
Sony ereader store - free: http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/nicole-macdonald/the-arrival/_/R-400000000000000340919
Smashwords (any format) - free: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/34874

Friday, November 9, 2012

Torn Together by Emlyn Chand - Virtual Review tour and Giveaway


(Full length, contemporary women's fiction with romantic elements)



This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $50 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 his 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 fun prize!



From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.”

Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship.

Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair?

"Torn Together," Emlyn Chand’s first sojourn into Literary/Women's Fiction, illustrates how our similarities often drive us apart.



What a rollercoaster!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I opted to review this book, but I enjoyed the YA by the author I read some time ago, so knew that the writing would be solid at the least.  It was.

Ms. Chand has serious writing chops.  Her prose is descriptive and clear, grammatically correct and evocative.  It was for this reason I read through the entire book, even when Daly's anger wore me out or Laine's strange personality (loving, giving and sacrificial to anyone except her daughter) irritated me.  There were moments I wanted to slap them both silly.  On the other hand, that certainly makes it clear that I was wrapped up in the characters!

Truth be told, I feel very ambiguous about this book.  I recognize the wonderful writing, but I just didn't love the story.  I can say that the author painted a clear picture of India, for instance, and her characters are certainly three dimensional, but I'm not a big reader of books that are meant to be more edifying than entertaining.  I'm a believer in "the world is depressing enough, read for fun" mantra.

That's not to say the book didn't entertain.  Much of it was very fun and interesting.  I enjoyed watching how Daly and Kashi worked through their relationship and how Meghann (a girl Laine all but adopted who is an unmarried pregnant teen from the center where Laine works) held her head up and remained strong despite bullying from her peers and blatant disapproval from her dysfunctional parents. She was inspirational.

What I didn't love was how the story ended.  Intellectually, I understand why it was that way and the lesson is very clear and heart-warming.  That doesn't mean I enjoyed it.  However, I know a whole bunch of people who would have absolutely loved the ending and would put this book on their keeper shelf to be read again and again.  So, how do I rate this?  It's hard when you recognize a book is well done, but didn't completely enjoy it yourself.  It's a bit like reading the classics in some ways.

After much agonizing, I'm giving this book...

3.5 flowers - this was a good book


Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dapple in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit EmlynChand.com for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!

http://www.facebook.com/emlynchand
http://www.twitter.com/emlynchand
https://plus.google.com/100227436861049512391/posts
http://www.goodreads.com/emlynchand
http://amzn.com/B008XPKNWY