Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Book Review: A Warlock's Secrets, by Tena Stetler

A Warlock's Secrets (Demon's Witch Series), by Tena Stetler
Published June 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Years ago, a sacred ceremony at the Dragon’s Moon Coven turned deadly. Son of the high priestess, Tristian Shandie’s life changed forever. With a price on his head and revenge in his heart, he has no choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps to a profession shrouded in secrets. Now his skills as an enforcer for the Demon Overlord are second to none. But dangerous secrets he harbors are a liability he can no longer afford.

A chance meeting with a woman he finds irresistible flips Tristian’s world upside down. Hannah is a cyber security specialist with secrets of her own. Bad boys never appealed to her until Tristian, who changes everything. In his darkest hours, she is dragged into his magical world.

If they survive, is she strong enough to heal his heart and tame the warlock? Or will their secrets destroy them?
My Take:

A Warlock's Secrets not only takes us back into the world and characters Tena Stetler created in A Demon's Witch, but also overlaps with that first story from a different perspective. This second book of the series can stand alone, but if you want the full picture, I'd recommend reading the first book as well.

The warlock from the title is Tristian Shandie,  the dangerous and mysterious older brother of Angie, the witch from Ms. Stetler's first title. Their parents were murdered when they were young, and he's been overprotective of Angie ever since. Between caring for his sister and his stressful job as a magical assassin, he's never had time for a real relationship, nor has he had any inclination.

Tristian is furious when he discovers that his sister is marrying a demon. Not just any demon, mind you, but the Demon Overlord, who also happens to be Tristian's boss. If you read the first book, you know just how angry he is, but you don't know why.

With this story, we find out.

Enter Hannah, who has her own magical secrets. When the two meet by chance the sparks between them fly. Could she be the woman to finally heal the warlock's heart? Will she be able to live with the secrets he's been keeping for so long? When is she ever going to share all of her many secrets with the warlock?

This is the fourth book by Ms. Stetler that I've read, and still find it interesting how normal and everyday she makes the magical world seem. Generally, paranormal stories are more fast-paced and action-packed, eager to make sure you know how out of the ordinary everything is. Which is why some readers don't go for paranormal romance. They want something more relate-able, I guess.

Stetler's witches, demons, fairies and warlocks eat, sleep, laugh and worry just like the rest of us. She weaves the magick in with the mundane as if these magical beings really could be hiding in plain sight among us. The pacing is slow and steady as we follow Tristian's journey of healing his family.

If you're looking for adrenaline-packed fast-paced paranormal, this isn't the book for you. However, if enjoy paranormal romance that gently mixes the magical and the mundane, give this author a try.

Find this book as well as her others on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

RELEASE DAY for #HunkstotheRescue ! Grab a copy for #99cents!


If you haven't grabbed up a copy of this anthology yet - go get one today to help us celebrate!

99 cents buys you 18 heart pounding stories 
of both daring rescues and everyday heroes.


Buy Links (On sale 99 cents):
Hunks website and landing page:
Barnes & Noble:

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Feature: Chatting with C.B. Clark

Please welcome my guest today, C.B. Clark! 

Hi C.B.! Tell us a little about yourself, and what kind of books you like to read and write.
I’ve always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn’t until I lost my voice for a year that I considered writing my own romantic suspense stories. I grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, I’ve worked as an archaeologist and an educator. I enjoy hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with my husband and dog near my home in central British Columbia.
What’s your favorite part of being an author?

I love creating new worlds and peopling them with interesting characters, and then upping the stakes and watching them scramble to reach their goals. There’s a letdown once a book is finished, and a sense of loss as you say goodbye to the characters who have become friends.
3.     What’s your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

I’m definitely a pantster. That’s part of the fun. I start with the germ of an idea and a first sentence and go from there. Some days writing is a wild rollercoaster ride with ideas coming hot and heavy; other days, it’s like wading in mud. I love not knowing what’s going to happen next and letting my characters write their own stories. Of course, that means there’s lots of revising when I’m finished.

4.     If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? 

I’d definitely want to fly. How cool would that be? I’d soar on the wind currents just like the birds. The freedom of not being stuck to the ground and viewing the world from high above would be wonderful.

5.      Tell us about your new release.

Here’s the blurb for Bitter Legacy:
She only had ever wished for two things—a red dress and her father’s death. Now, her wishes have been granted, and after a seventeen-year absence, Sharla-Jean’s returning to her hometown with vengeance in her heart. From the very beginning, her plans go awry when she meets devastatingly handsome Josh Morgan, the man to whom her father left half of his multi-million dollar lumber mill.
Josh, suspicious of Sharla-Jean’s reasons for returning to town after such a long absence, vows to keep control of the company he feels is rightfully his. She is equally determined to prove she can run her father’s mill, even though it means working side-by-side with Josh, a man whose very presence evokes an attraction that is increasingly difficult for her to ignore. In the process, they must overcome a villain who’s determined to destroy both the lumber mill and their lives.
Will Sharla-Jean succeed and heal the anguish that has long filled her soul? Will she and Josh find the passion of a lifetime? 

6.     Okay, you’re casting the movie version of your novel—who would you choose for the main characters?
Sharla-Jean Bromley: Amy Adams (‘Junebug’) She often plays characters with a strong will.
Josh Morgan: Scott Foley (‘Scandal’) Tall, dark and handsome with piercing green eyes. What’s not to like?
7.     My book can be found:
The Wild Rose Press:

Find C.B. online in all the usual places:

Thanks for being my guest today,  C.B., and best of luck with your latest release!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Some Girls Like it Hot #Giveaway June 1-12

Hey there and HAPPY JUNE! FINALLY!
Summer is on the way...

To help celebrate the upcoming June 13 release of the HUNKS TO THE RESCUE anthology I signed up to be a host for this awesome 100 author giveaway and Facebook Hop (You may have heard me mention my upcoming release? No? Lemme remind you...)

Scroll down to the Rafflecopter below to enter the first of two Some Girls Like It Hot giveaways. You could win a Kindle Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa ($299 value), Kindle Fire HD 8 with Alexa, a Kindle Fire 7 with Alexa, or one of two Amazon $25 gift cards. For more details, you can check out the Some Girls Like it Hot website:

Some Girls Like It Hot Giveaway #1 is Sponsored by the Following Authors
Alyson Hale • Amy Knupp • Astrid Arditi • Cailin Briste • Cheryl Matthynssens • Christa Paige • Constance Phillips • Cynthia Clement • Debbie White • Eden Rose • Elizabeth Rose • Elizabeth SaFleur • Emily Leigh • Enigmatic Books • Felicia Beasley • Gayle Parness • Jeanne St. James • Jenna Barwin • Jennifer Allis Provost • Jennifer Wilck • Joanne Dannon • Jody A. Kessler • Josie Litton • Katie O'Sullivan • Kris Michaels • Kristina Knight • Laura Marie Altom • Lynda Haviland • Margo Bond Collins • Marie Booth • Melissa McClone • Mia Ford • Michelle Jo Quinn • Nancy Segovia • Olivia Wildenstein • Peggy Jaeger • Romance Author Quinn • Saint Brothers Series • Sarah Williams • Siera London • Sophia Knightly • Soraya Naomi • Sorchia Dubois • Stacy Gold • Stella Marie Alden • Stephanie Julian • Stephanie Queen • Sydney Aaliyah Michelle •  Tamara Ferguson • Tania F. Walsh • Victoria Pinder • Aileen Harkwood
And then don't forget to join the Some Girls Like It Hot Facebook Hop on June 9-12, when over 100 gift cards will be up for grabs, one card per stop on the hop! 

This Giveaway starts on June 1 and ends at midnight on June 12. Winners will be announced on June 14, with first names and last initials in the entry form. All winning entries will be verified, so don't click an entry button unless you've done the task associated with it. (If you say you signed up for a newsletter but didn't and your name is selected as a winner, you will be disqualified. We do check!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Writing Wednesday: What's in a Name?

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the proliferation of odd names cropping up in romance these days?

You kind of expect odd names in fantasy or science fiction. Different races, different worlds, different names. Makes sense and adds to the fantasy.

But in a romance where the hero is above the age of 25?

How many guys do you know in real life who have names like Blaise, or Deek, or Rafe, or Jase, or Zak with just the k, or Derk with an e, or Chance...

Okay, I do have a cousin named Chance. But he's ten years old.

And heroines? They all seem to have fancy names and saucy nicknames. Personally, I know there are more Emmas and Emilys and variations of Kathy in my kid's high school than there are Anastasias, and half of the moms seemed to be named Susan. In fact, there aren't any girls named Anastasia at the high school. But I've read two books in the last month where the twenty-something heroine's name was Anastasia. And none where there's a character named Susan.

My point is, I think sometimes authors try a bit too hard to find a "unique" name for a character, without thinking about how "real" it sounds. Then again, in today's multicultural world, maybe these names are more common than I think they are and I'm living a sheltered New England life.

What do you think about recent trends with names? And how do you go about choosing a name for your hero? Your heroine? Your secondary characters? Is it all the same process or different formulas for different types of character?

What does your character's name mean to you?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday Book Review: Words and Dreams by Laura Strickland

Words and Dreams, by Laura Strickland
Published April 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Dorothea Sinclair has left her small home town in Maine and come to Boston to begin a career as a newspaper reporter. But so far her job on the Guardian has proved disappointing. More skivvy than reporter, she’s even been subjected to a humiliating proposition from the chief editor’s son. She needs a break but never expects it might come from a chance meeting with an Irish ruffian.

There’s a great deal of injustice in Boston, and O’Hare, embroiled in his fight for equality on behalf of Boston’s Irish, is well aware of it. When he rescues Dorothea’s hat on the waterfront, he’s surprised to learn she’s a reporter. And when she offers him the opportunity to state his case in the Guardian, what can he do but accept? It’s the perfect chance to put his dreams into his own words—and the only sure way to see her again.

My Take:

This historical romance is set in Boston in 1871, a time of upheaval and unrest among the classes. Irish immigrants were clamoring for equal pay and equal rights,  at the same time that women all over the country were asking for the same.

Dorothea Sinclair left her hometown in Maine to pursue a career in journalism at a Boston newspaper. When she arrived at her new job, she found herself delivering tea and warding off advances from her boss's son instead of reporting news. Finally at the end of her rope, a tall dark stranger helps her pull it back together and gives her fresh purpose.

Hare O'Hare -- which of course isn't his real name, but that's not important right now -- was born in the United States, but his mother was a poor Irish immigrant and he relates with the immigrant plight. A tradesman by day, he also helps organize the dock workers who seek equal pay and fair treatment. With Somewhat of a Robin Hood-type legend, O'Hare gets a lot of blame and bad press.

Dorothea sees an opportunity for him to tell his side of the story, and in the process make a name for herself as a reporter. But not everyone in Boston is happy with either of those outcomes, and there are forces determined to keep both the Irish and women in their proper places as second class citizens.

Words and Dreams is an interesting, well-written read, and kept me turning pages and rooting for both justice and a happily ever after. The glimpses of the everyday work life from two hundred years ago were truly fascinating, as so many historical novels are set in the lives of upper-class heroines with social --but not necessarily societal -- woes.

This is a sweet romance, with barely a kiss let alone any sizzle, but an engrossing read nonetheless. If you like your historic romance with more history than heat, give Words and Dreams a try. Trust me. You won't be sorry!

Grab a copy on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Should You Read Your Own Reviews?

I recently returned from a vacation in Mexico (yes, it was wonderful and fabulous and you should all be uber-jealous) and during the first week I got a lot of writing done on my young adult WIP. It's the third book in my Son of a Mermaid series, and I'm pretty excited about the way the action is moving along.

But then...

Sometime in the second week (again, go ahead and send all those jealous curses my way. It was worth it.) I got a Google alert about a new review on Goodreads.

I made the mistake of clicking the link.

It was not a good review.

And yes, I read it several times, trying to parse it out. Feeling worse each time I read it. The sinking feeling in my gut had little to do with the tequila I'd had the previous night, and more to do with self-doubt. Why was I wasting my time trying to get my characters to cooperate?

I didn't open my manuscript for the last few days of the trip, nor have I returned to it since getting back home. Now, granted, I've been crazy busy catching up with work that piled up at my day job, as well as organizing the bake sale for the high school musical and cooking dinner for 50 for the drama department fundraiser and opening the pool for the season.

But I've found enough spare time to read 5 other books and write two reviews.

Just not work on my WIP.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you do to snap out of it? How do you let the criticism roll off your back - or do you?

How do you deal with negative reviews? Please share your strategies, because I need a boost.

And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Book Review: Her General in Gray, by Linda Nightengale

Her General in Gray, by Linda Nightengale
Published April 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Autumn Hartley purchases Allen Hall at a steal, but the northern lass gets far more than a beautiful plantation in the South Carolina Low Country. The house comes complete with its own ghost, a handsome and charming Civil War General—for the Confederacy. The stage is set for another civil conflict.

John Sibley Allen died in battle from a wound in the back, the bullet fired by the turncoat, Beauregard Dudley. The traitor’s reincarnation is Autumn the Interloper’s first dinner guest. Sib bedevils her date and annoys her with fleeting, phantom touches, certain he can frighten her away as he did previous purchasers. As time marches on, her resident ghost becomes more appealing while her suitor, Beau, pales in comparison. Autumn finds her ability to love didn’t perish in the divorce that sent her south seeking a fresh start.

After over a century in the hereafter, Sib discovers he is falling for none other than the feisty Yankee girl, but what future could a modern woman and an old-fashioned ghost possibly hope for?

My Take:
This short novel jumps right in without much preamble, presenting us with a Yankee heroine confronting the ghost of the Confederate general who haunts her Southern mansion. Just what every new homeowner dreams of, right? Well, maybe, but only if all ghosts could be as handsome and charming as General John Sibley Allen.

Autumn Hartley moved to South Carolina to start over, never considering the ghosts of someone else's past might also come haunting. General Allen was shot in the back by a traitor and his angry spirit is unable to move on. Which doesn't fully explain why he's so drawn to the new owner of his ancestral home. The pair have natural chemistry, and with every passing moment they spend together, their relationship grows stronger, but actually being in love with a ghost from a different time period? An interesting concept to explore in a romance for certain!

This sweet novella is told in alternating points of view, between the General and Autumn, and makes for a fast fun read. I hope the author writes more with these characters because I'd totally love to see where this romance leads.

If you like ghostly romances, check this one out. Grab a copy on AMAZON

Monday, May 15, 2017

#HunkstotheRescue - Preorder Today! #Giveaway

Title: Hunks to the Rescue
Authors: Margo Bond Collins, Author Krista Ames, Raine English, Tamara Ferguson, Aileen Harkwood - Author, Lynda Haviland, Katie O'Sullivan, Author, Constance Phillips, Romance Author, Stephanie Queen, Nancy Segovia, Emily Wilder, Jan Romes, Debbie White Books, Michelle Jo Quinn

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Add the book to Goodreads ➜

Heroes by Day…Sinful Bad Boys by Night
Fantasized about being rescued by a red-hot hunk? Indulge in this box set of alpha rescuers with a delicious talent for romance. 15 stand-alone novellas from New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors will steam up your nights and leave you begging for more.
Whether the hunk you lust for is military, a firefighter, first responder, FBI agent, cowboy, bad boy mafioso, or that sexy, everyday guy who plucks you from danger only to kiss you senseless, this bundle has your hero.

15 hunks. 15 heart-pounding rescues--13 brand-new stories. Get ready for a passionate and thrilling ride!

Saving Necessity by Margo Bond Collins. For this cowboy, risking his life to save a movie star from a fire is easier than risking his heart.

An Unexpected Twist by Krista Ames. Used to fighting wildfires, Boone Michaels isn’t prepared for the sexy stranger who blows into town fighting battles of her own. Nor for the twister that tries to blow her right back out again.

Destiny’s Secret by Raine English. Eden Wright’s fixer of a Savannah mansion comes with two unexpected extras, a not so friendly ghost, and a hunky paranormal investigator whose agenda includes seducing her.

That Unexpected Kiss by Tamara Ferguson. Can an undercover FBI Agent rescue the woman he loves, when she’s targeted by his father’s killer?

Unreachable Heart by Aileen Harkwood. Mountain rescue expert Hart Renker isn’t counting on sharing a tent in a blizzard with the stunning survivor he pulls from a plane crash, but the heat between them could melt the bitterest cold.

Dark Current by Lynda Haviland. When Ben Kane hitches up to the dock at her troubled marina, with a murky past and a body hotter than the Florida sun, Willow Vega can’t tell, is he destined to be her savior or her downfall?

Unwrapping Treasure (A Granite Lake Romance Novella) by Jody A. Kessler. Two paramedics, one disastrous night shift, and a sexy holiday vacation that changes everything.

Breaking the Rules by Katie O'Sullivan. Undercover at a 5-star resort, police detective and rule-breaker Jake Campbell finds the prime suspect impossible to resist.

Falling for Captain Hunk by Stephanie Queen. Always one to go for the wrong damsel-in-distress, Captain Colin “Hunk” Lynch worries his attraction to a fellow law-enforcement professional could be the mistake of his life…if it prevents him from saving hers.

Fire and Ice (A Sunnydale Days Novella) by Constance Phillips. If only someone warned injured firefighter Brian his old flame, Charlene, would walk into his physical therapy session. He should still be angry with her, but instead, he wants nothing more than to rekindle the flames of passion.

Two More Miles by Jan Romes. Keith Miles, rescues Ava Beckenridge after she falls at the gym, and the chemistry between them is undeniable.

Come Hell or High Water by Nancy Segovia. Stranded on a rooftop with first responder Dwight during a hurricane, Maisie’s resolve to swear off men weakens as she finds some promises are meant to be broken.

Coaching the Sub by Debbie White. Substitute teacher Shannon has her hands full with bullies in her classroom until Coach "Brock" Andrews gives an assist, while also teaching Shannon a thing or two about love.

Path to Grace by Wilder and Quinn. Daughter of a mob boss, Carina wants nothing to do with the family business until she becomes a target in need of a rescue. Enter Matteo, the Family's “cleaner,” tasked with handling messes of the dangerous variety, and the passion between them is most definitely messy.

Hunks to the Rescue Website:

Margo Bond Collins

Krista Ames

Raine English

Tamara Ferguson

Aileen Harkwood

Lynda Haviland

Jody A Kessler

Katie O’Sullivan

Constance Phillips

Stephanie Queen

Nancy Segovia

Debbie White

Author Quinn

Emily Wilder

Pre-order your copy of Hunks to the Rescue (releasing June 13), and get a second box set FREE right now. Beyond Hunks includes 12 novels and novellas by the Hunks to the Rescue authors not normally published as a set, with a combined value of $26 individually. Don’t wait too long, however. This BOGO offer expires June 12, when Beyond Hunks will no longer be available. Details here:
Orlando Universal Giveaway
We’re giving away a boatload of fantastic prizes during our pre-order giveaway, including a $700 Universal Orlando Theme Park Family 4-Pack, which includes 1 day passes to 2 parks and a special welcome at the park from Hunks to the Rescue author Lynda Haviland. To find out the details, click here

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Book Review: Luke's Redemption by Anni Fife

LUKE'S REDEMPTION, A King Security Novel
by Anni Fife
Published November 2016 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Red-hot sex. Searing betrayal. A passionate and elusive love...

Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart and the only leverage she has against her father. She is left with no choice except to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.

Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he's in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It's a promise he can't keep.

When Katya's past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.

My Take:
This sizzling romance will take you on a roller coaster adventure filled with sex, violence, and betrayal, but ultimately lead to a happily ever after. Hot, steamy, and HEA, what more could you ask for?

Twenty-something Katya has just run away from home to avoid an arranged marriage when she first meets Luke. Except he's undercover at the time, just trying to get back something she stole from her mobster father on her way out the door. She spends one perfect day with him before he disappears, taking both her virginity and her heart. She moves on with her life on the run, raising their daughter alone until circumstances bring them back together to face the danger she thought to leave behind.

The story is told in alternating points of view, with only Katya's chapters told in first person, which I found a little disconcerting at first but quickly adjusted. Actually, more disconcerting was Katya's repeated overuse of exclamation points, which I know is a common device in steamy New Adult novels, but I felt like these characters were a little old for so many exclamatory statements.

Regardless of the punctuation, the story line barrels along at breakneck speed from one narrow escape to the next. The sex scenes are steamy, urgent and powerful, the chemistry between the characters palpable. The language and dialogue are also raw and urgent, and if you're looking for a sweet romance or are easily offended, this isn't the book for you. However, if you enjoy sizzling heat and nonstop action, give this new author a try. You're in for a wild ride.

Okay, that's then end of my official review, but I need to add a few critical words - the cover? I don't really like it. I do like the "King Security" logo, and think it'll be a great way to brand this series, and fits in well with others in the genre. But the purple flower petals? Umm, where's the dislike button? They seem to imply a paranormal flair that's not anywhere to be found. They made me expect witches -- or voodoo, with the New Orleans angle. Nope. After I finished the book and looked at the cover again, it surprised me because I forgot it was like that. I also think the muscular chest should be a little more in focus. A little more sizzle-worthy - because this book is ALL about the sizzle.

But that's it. The extent of my complaints. Take away the purple flower petals, and maybe a few of the exclamation marks and this book is a winner all the way. Totally on my recommend list, but make sure you're sitting next to the pool or the ocean because you'll definitely need a way to cool off after reading this steamy suspense. And I mean that in the best possible way.

Grab a copy on Amazon. No really. Grab one for your beach bag now.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Writing Retreats and Wordcount

This week I've traded in my beloved coffee mug for a tall glass of endless margaritas.  Yup, I'm in Mexico.

Going on an "official" retreat is always something I've wanted to do. Writers always say how productive they get on these kinds of trips.

Well, until the kids are all out of the house, I can't even think about it. But I can dream.

And I can do a mini-retreat, even if it's not official.

As of Saturday, I've been in Mexico with my husband (sans kids). We flew down early for a company event/retreat that starts this coming weekend.

And I brought my WIP with me that needs to be finished for this summer. Fingers crossed.

The last time I was alone in a hotel room with my computer and book, the words wouldn't come. But I did end up reading through, finding plot holes and problems and writing out an outline of how to fix it. Which I've accomplished in the last month. Unfortunately, in the process, I lost 2,500 words despite writing lots of new ones. Yup. Had to cut that much. Hopefully the word count goes in the opposite direction over the next week.

My goal? At least 50,000 new words by the time I return to the U.S. Or half that and a solid outline of how to finish. 

Have you ever been on a writing retreat, official or not official?

What worked for you - what didn't? How do you get the most out of the experience?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Monday Book Review: Cooking with Kandy, by Peggy Jaeger

Cooking with Kandy
By Peggy Jaeger
Published 2017 by Kensington Press
About the Book:
Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .
My Take:

I've been a fan of Peggy's writing for a while now and was so excited to be offered a chance to review an ARC of her latest release in exchange for my honest review. Her characters are always so real and her stories never fail to satisfy. Cooking with Kandy is no exception, and I'm very excited that this will be a series of books.

First let me say, I'm not a fan of this cover art. I don't think it does either of the main characters justice. Reading the story, I imagined them both slightly older. Kandy's hair should be darker, her curves more pronounced. Josh should be rougher, with more planes and angles... and bigger biceps. Much bigger. But on to the actual story and writing.

Kandy Laine is a celebrity chef who's written a few best selling cookbooks and has the top rated cooking show on television. She's the oldest daughter in a tight knit yet slightly dysfunctional family, and takes pride in the fact that her relatives all pull their weight in her food-based empire.

Success breeds envy, though, and someone has been threatening her... so her cousin, who is also her personal assistant and planner and right-hand woman, decides to hire a private investigator to figure out if its simple harassment or something more. Enter Josh Keane, an ex-cop turned PI who takes the bodyguard/investigative position.

Sparks immediately fly between them as the tension quickly ratchets up. The harassment turns from annoying to dangerous and  Josh becomes Kandy's shadow to keep her safe.  Kandy feels the heat in his every look, despite his insistence on keeping his distance. But will he be able to keep his focus on his job and keep her safe?

Told in alternating points of view, the story moves at a satisfying pace, with lots and lots of sensual tension sizzling between the main characters. The cast of characters and multiple red herrings reminded me of some of Jennifer Crusie's romantic suspense novels. Humor, heart, and sizzle wrapped into a puzzle to be solved.

If you like a touch of suspense with your romantic tension, give this novel and this series a try. You will totally be glad you did.

Grab your copy on AMAZON.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Gathering Reviews

You've finished your manuscript, edited it to within an inch of its life, polished and preened it to perfection, found a publisher, gone through the process all over again with your assigned editor, approved your cover art and blurb, waited for what seems like eons for that release date to finally arrive, accepted the heartfelt congratulations of friends, family, and Facebook... and...

Why aren't there more reviews on the Amazon page for your book?

All those friends and family members who told you they couldn't wait to read it... did they hate your book baby?

Phone calls and Facebook posts are great - but it's the actual online reviews that get your book noticed beyond your own circle, and launched into the Amazon algorithms that may help it succeed.

My mother-in-law called me several weeks back. She'd finally read the copy of GHOSTS DON'T LIE that she'd bought and downloaded onto her Kindle. She called to tell me how much she really loved it, but that she wasn't going to leave a review on Amazon - even though it was a verified purchase - because it was "just too hard to figure out their system."

Who else has heard that from a friend or relative?

Here's another good one. My father's new wife read my books (my dad has all the signed copies I've given him and mom over the years) but then she asked me at Christmas why I didn't have more reviews for them on Amazon. "You're a good writer, why don't more people leave reviews?"

Did she leave any reviews? No. Why? She didn't buy them on Amazon, she read my dad's copies.

Does that mean people who come to our book signings and events, who buy signed books from us in person... they don't think they're "allowed" to leave reviews on Amazon because it's not a "verified purchase"?


You can leave reviews on Amazon for books you bought direct from the publisher, or paperbacks you bought at your local bookstore. Or ARCs you've been gifted from the author or won in a contest. If you've read the book, you can leave a review on Amazon. They've become the defacto review site, whether they like it or not.

So how do we as authors get more people to leave reviews? To understand it's not supposed to be a time consuming process or an eight page book report. It's choosing a number of stars, and a short reason why you liked the book - or didn't like it, as the case may be.

How pushy would it be for us as authors to follow up with readers who won books from us and ask again for a review? How pushy is it to email those friends and family when they send that note of praise and say, "So glad you liked it - can you leave a review on Amazon too?"

Obviously, I'm not very good at it. As my father's wife points out, I don't have overwhelming numbers in my review column. So I'm asking for input here - what's your strategy?

How do you go about turning readers into reviewers?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Book Review: Mugs and Monasteries by Cait O'Sullivan

Mugs and Monasteries, by Cait O'Sullivan
Published 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
When Orchid hunter Evie Bourke stumbles across a near deserted monastery deep in the Burren, she doesn’t realize that she’s the first person alive to see it. All she knows is that her life suddenly takes a strange turn and nothing will ever be the same.

Aiden Dunne’s family has been connected to Munster Abbey for generations, he is determined to find it and to find out what happened to his ancestral relative, the former Prior. What happened all those years ago and why does Aiden seem so familiar to Evie when they’ve never met?

Together they must face the Wanderer and dispatch him back to the darkness where he belongs before he destroys everything they hold dear. Can they trust each other before time runs out?
My Take:

Okay, first things first. I am not related in any way to the author of this fast-paced ghost story, except as authors in the same publishing house. Cait lives overseas in the U.K., and I'm ensconced on Cape Cod in the U.S. We shared a laugh on Twitter about the similarities of our names and went back and forth for a bit before I decided to download her story to my Kindle. Glad I did!

This short paranormal novella speeds along at breakneck pace, dropping the reader straight into an action filled scene at the very start. Ghosts, and demons, and time travel, oh my!

Evie Bourke is in Ireland to study orchids, when she's caught out in a sudden thunderstorm. Seeking shelter, she stumbles into an odd situation, meeting Eamon, who seems to be the caretaker for a dusty, nearly abandoned house. The evening gets stranger and stranger until she passes out, only to wake up in her own room back in the village B&B, with no memories of what happened, except for the feeling that time is running out.

When she meets Aiden the next day at the pub, she feels an instant connection without understanding why. Slowly the pair put the put the puzzling pieces together, as Evie's memories trickle back. Will it be in time?

I really enjoyed this story and only wish it had lasted longer, that it had been a full length tale with all the extra embellishments that would've meant. I loved the little details about the orchids and the alpacas (yes! In Ireland!) and I would happily stay ensconced in this world longer.

If you like ghostly tales, give Mugs and Monasteries a read. Quick and satisfying, the story will leave you thinking about it long after you're done turning pages.

Grab a copy on AMAZON.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Taking it Seriously

When I first told my mother I was trying to write a novel, she was pretty excited. She was a former teacher, and a big-time reader (voracious doesn't begin to cover it) and had been telling me for years I should try to be an author. Or a lawyer. One of those things that deals with words.

Yeah, I know. I shoulda gone for the law degree and I'd be better off financially. But here we are.

And I love being a writer. I love calling myself a writer. I love talking to people about writing.

So, that first year she knew, my mom started sending me articles and books about writing. Her MO was to rip pages out of magazines and articles out of newspapers, stuffing them into envelopes on her desk with my name on it. Oh, she had envelopes for her other two girls as well. One sister is a farmer and one sister is a chef, so we all had our "things" she could rip out and stuff in there. When the envelope was full, she'd send it to us. With or without a sticky note to say hi, but we all knew who sent the jumble of articles every few weeks.

One Sunday the Savannah newspaper must have run an article about books on writing, because instead of tearing and stuffing, she called right away. "Have you read any of these books?" Of the six she mentioned, I'd only read one.

The other 5 arrived in the mail 3 days later.

One of the books was Stephen King's ON WRITING: A Memoir of the Craft. I quote it to people all the time, and I think I need to reread it this summer. If you haven't read it yet, go find a copy. Maybe some loving relative sent it to you at some point when you confessed to a writing obsession?

I've added the link to it on Amazon, but the Kindle is $12.99, so may as well order the paperback for less than a dollar more. That way you can dog-ear the pages and add stickies.

Why do I bring this up? In the last week, I've downloaded and started at least 5 books on my ereader that broke so many rules I couldn't get past the first chapter. The sixth book I read through to the end cringing the entire way. With the advent of being able to self-publish anything you want to, that's just what people are doing. And many of them aren't taking the process or the craft seriously.

I figure if you're here reading my Wednesday blog where I rant about writing, you're one of the people trying to take this job seriously. It's a job, people. It may not pay very well, but it serves an important function in society - keeping us literate and sane. Throwing sex on the page without knowing how to use commas is not writing.

I'm going to quote Stephen King here, and then leave it at that. Go forth and write, my friends, and remember to take yourself seriously.

From ON WRITING, by Stephen King:

"I'm not asking you to come reverently or unquestioningly; I'm not asking you to be politically correct or cast aside your sense of humor (please God you have one). This isn't a popularity contest, it's not the moral Olympics, and it's not church. But it's writing, damn it, not washing the car or putting on eyeliner, If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can't or won't, it's time for you to close the book and do something else.

Wash the car, maybe."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Book Review: Feyland, by Anthea Sharp

Feyland: The Dark Realm, (Feyland Trilogy, book one), by Anthea SharpPublished by Fiddlehead Press, December 2013

About the Book:
Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn't suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch - or that she'll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries.

Tam Linn is the perfect hero, in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he's the only one who can help her.

Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen... before it's too late.
My Take:

Set in an undefined future of hovercars and wrist implants for identification, where the distance between haves and have-nots is greater than ever, FEYLAND takes the reader on a perilous journey into another realm.

The story starts with a high school gamer who gets in way over her head. In this future world, SIM gaming is the elite level, and Jennet's father is a bigwig at one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. When he brings home a prototype full-submersion simulator game, she can't resist checking it out, and gets caught up in a game that's much more than just a game.

Tam Linn is from the wrong side of the tracks, literally, but he's the glue holding his little dysfunctional family together. When Jennet finds out he's a nationally ranked gamer, she knows he's the one who can help her, but he's got enough problems without some rich girl adding to them.

This is a YA book, but with a sharp edge and a focus on the gaming world that probably won't resonate with teenaged girls. That said, its an absorbing story and as someone who loves fairy legends, I totally appreciated the imagery and nuances the author layered into the novel.

This is the first story in a series, but has a happy-for-now ending that satisfies and stands alone on its own two feet.  I'm not sure I will read more of the FEYLAND series, but was completely engrossed by this book and recommend it to those that like young adult books with a touch of fairy magic.

Grab a copy on AMAZON.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Feature: HUNKS TO THE RESCUE, #99Cent Preorder and BOGO

Heroes by Day…Sinful Bad Boys by Night...
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Who hasn’t fantasized about being rescued by a hunk who steams up her nights? Indulge those fantasies with this box set of 15 hot alpha rescuers with a sizzling talent for romance. Whether you lust for a hero in the military or a fire station; a hunky undercover detective ready to break the rules…in bed; a cowboy who plucks you from danger only to kiss you senseless; or that sexy, everyday guy who springs into action just when you need him most, this box set has your hero.
These hunks will keep you warm and entertained but only for a limited time.
Pre-order your copy for $0.99 cents today!

Can you believe this awesome deal? If you preorder the HUNKS TO THE RESCUE anthology, you can also grab this BOGO deal! Submit your receipt and we'll send you 12 more romances to read while you wait for the anthology release date! Seriously!

Visit our HUNKS website at for all the details - including buy links and full descriptions of all 15 books in the boxed set.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Reading Sex Scenes to Strangers

I write romance.

I write romance and adventure for both Young Adults and the young at heart. And yes, my adult books tend to contain sensuality and - you guessed it - sex.

So when I was asked to participate in a Valentine library program back in February, I signed right up. The title of the program was "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered: Authors Talking Romance."

And then there was a blizzard.

So this past Monday night, the rescheduled program took place, without all the Valentine hype and advertising they'd had for the original program so the turnout wasn't the greatest, but most of the seats were still filled.

Eight authors, including myself, read from our published work on the general topic of "sex" and the stories ran the gamut of time periods and situations. We heard tentative first kisses between near strangers on a high school field trip in the 1970s, and a princess in ancient Egypt slicing off her brother's phallus to keep him from raping her.

The Egyptian scene actually kicked off the readings, and it was bloody and filled with explicit words and actions. If anyone in that audience didn't know what they were in for, they got the idea pretty quickly.

We heard scenes from contemporary political thrillers and 16th century courtships.  Two authors read from books that featured the pirate Sam Bellamy and his crew. This is Cape Cod, after all. Gotta have pirates.
One older gentleman had the audience in stitches with a tale of hot tub antics - not what you'd expect, but rather a humorous mishap with misplaced bubble bath. The actual sex scenes were alluded to behind closed doors, but he actually said "nipples" out loud without stumbling over the words.

I read a scene from MY KIND OF CRAZY, with kissing and touching and overwhelming feelings... everything leading up to but just shy of actual sex. I thought long and hard about what I would be comfortable reading out loud, and wasn't sure how far I wanted to go. Pun intended.

I read last, wrapping up the evening. By then, the audience and other authors had all relaxed and gotten over the shock of hearing the word "penis" read out loud in the library. But here's a secret - I'm a painfully shy public speaker.

So why did I sign up to read a sex scene out loud in front of a crowd? Actually, I figured if I could do this, it would go a long ways to helping me overcome my fears of public speaking. Which, you know, is a thing you need to do when you're an author and you want to connect with your readers. You need to actually go and talk with them.

What did I learn from the experience?

I can do this. The audience was receptive and engaged, and several stayed to chat with me afterward. It wasn't as awkward as I'd thought it might be - I mean, think about reading romance out loud to a group of strangers. The potential for discomfort is pretty high up there. But I'm really glad I participated. And now I know I can do it.

How have you challenged yourself lately? Authors, have you ever read one of your sex scenes out loud to a crowd?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday Book Review: DEMON CURSED by Karilyn Bentley

Demon Cursed, (Book 3 in the Demon Huntress series) by Karilyn Bentley
Published 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Gin Crawford, the world's newest demon huntress, just wants to enjoy a football game, but finds herself hunting a serial killer minion instead. When his victims turn out to be the local football star’s female fans, she must determine if the player has joined forces with the minion, but her efforts lead her deeper into danger. When her mentor, Aidan Smythe, is attacked, Gin resolves to go to any lengths to save him, even if it exposes her most tightly held secret. Minions and demons, however, aren't the only terrors she faces. Will she realize the greatest danger lies within—before it's too late?
My Take:

Demon Cursed  is the third book in Bentley's Demon Huntress series, and if you haven't met Gin Crawford yet, you need to catch up! Fast!

Gin Crawford was a fairly ordinary ER nurse with empathic abilities and a troubled past.  Then she was gifted with a special silver bracelet, a justitia that turns into a sword in the presence of demons. And it came with her very own super sexy Mage, the dark and brooding Smythe.

Bentley writes with a snarky first person POV from Gin's perspective that is both audacious and totally self deprecating, and sucks you right in along her high speed journey. It's not as much of a roller coaster as a first time luge ride, fast and furious into uncharted territory. The reader discovers everything right alongside Gin, as consorting with demons is as new to her as it is to the reader, and she pulls no punches in the telling.

Although this could really stand on its own and be a satisfying read, I totally recommend starting at the beginning of the series and reading them all. And if you haven't already read the first two books in the series, you should probably stop reading this review.

Okay. Everyone who's left reading this review is caught up with all things demon huntress, right? Because only readers will understand when I say...

Thank God that Gin and Smythe finally kissed! Hurray for a little heavy petting after all the smoldering tension! The heat between them has been growing to impossible heights, but their first kiss seemed well worth the wait. And no, I'm not going to tell you if they get beyond kissing, you need to read it for yourself!

Smythe's jealousy over the football player was actually pretty cute. At first. With what we know of his broken past, I guess the reader shouldn't be surprised that jealousy and mistrust come so easily to Smythe, but I wanted to reach through the pages to shake some sense into him.

The middle of a series can be hard ... Book 3 of a 5 book series is traditionally a point when our hero and/or heroine faces their inner demons (as well as, you know, the actual demons they're chasing and trying to kill) and the characters reach their lowest point, where they need to make the choices that will lead them to ruin or redemption. Bentley gives us a great example of this, but no, I'm not spilling the details. Read it for yourself, and join me on the twitter bandwagon to urge the author to write faster and get us book 4 soon!

If you enjoy Urban Fantasy and strong but flawed female heroines,  I totally recommend this series and this author. Grab a copy on Amazon.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Feature: Author M.S. Spencer on finding Inspiration, and an #excerpt from LAPSES OF MEMORY

Today I'm thrilled to welcome multi-published author M.S. Spencer, with an excerpt from her latest release LAPSES OF MEMORY. She's talking today about the inspiration behind this story, and how the kernel of an idea became this intriguing new romance. 

Thanks for being here today, M.S., and sharing with us!

Thank you so much for having me, Sydney, and Elian today, Katie. I’d like to talk a little bit about my new romantic suspense novel, Lapses of Memory.


A few years ago, a former publisher tossed out the idea of a series based on “love in the air” and the kernel of Lapses of Memory was born. Sitting quietly in what I euphemistically call my lotus position, I mulled. “Planes,” I said to myself. “Love in the air…snakes on a plane (nah, overdone)…old planes…my first trip on a plane…” Eureka (or aha, whichever you prefer)!  I saw before me an enormous, bulbous silver bird with EASTERN written in red across the side. I’d recently seen it at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and remembered because seeing it there made me feel old, since the plane was, in fact, the very first plane I’d flown on at age four. A Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, one of the first to make the transatlantic voyage a regular event, it allowed—with its sleeping berths and formal dining—for luxurious air travel in the 1950s.
My heroine, Sydney, would take that plane. And so would the hero Elian. Everything was going swimmingly, until I realized that, this being a contemporary romance, Sydney and Elian would be too young in 1958 to fall in love. So I was forced to make them suffer through an intermittent romance as they (and airplane design) matured. In the excerpt below, they’re in their twenties when they meet again—and the romance that begins to build fizzles out once more. Sigh.

Wild Rose Press, 3/15/2017, Imprint: Champagne Rose
Contemporary romantic suspense/Action Adventure; M/F; 2 flames
Ebook (70,560); Print: 296 pp.

Sydney Bellek first meets Elian Davies in the 1950s when she is five & he is seven. While he knows from the start that she is his true love, she does not. Later, as rival journalists, they vie for scoops on international crises. The handsome and intrepid Elian beats her out at every turn, even while keeping his love for her secret.

Only after years of separation does she finally realize they are meant to be together, but, in a twist of fate, it is Elian whose memory of her is gone. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the
old one?

Excerpt (PG): The Lady Doesn’t Remember

Several beers later, they wobbled out to the lobby holding hands. Sydney had learned enough to know this Elian was a complex person and really, really cute. When they reached her room, he backed her against the door. She could feel his penis throbbing through his jeans and took a minute to revel in the desire the friction kindled before pushing him away. He set his arms on either side of her and regarded her with serious eyes. “You still don’t remember me, do you?”
She shook her head. She didn’t really want to recognize him. Placing him in some other context could only be deflating. She liked him now, a tall, thin, russet-haired man with a pulsing member and inviting mouth, currently blowing a tidal wave of pheromones in her direction.
He continued to stand there, making none of the moves she wished he’d make. Finally, she took a step toward him and held out her lips. Leaning in, he took them with his. The link pulled the rest of their bodies together. Arms went around waist and neck, bellies ground against each other, thighs intertwined. Sydney fell into a long, dark, winding tunnel that squeezed her, taking her breath away. She no longer felt corporeal, but more like a soft piece of quivering tissue, the bones dissolving, reduced finally to a pool of liquid heat.
He broke away, panting. “Now do you remember me?”
Her arms empty, she tried blinking to drag herself back to the present. Elian swam into view. His cerulean eyes shot signals, signals that she couldn’t decipher. What does he want of me? Why can’t we live for the moment? Just be in the here and now? For an instant she thought of lying, but somehow she knew he would see through it, that it would only push him farther away. “I’m sorry.”
He lifted his hands, then dropped them in frustration. He gazed at her, pleading. She couldn’t help him. Bits of him seemed familiar—as though those features belonged to someone else she’d known a long time ago. Other bits, like his deep, gruff voice and his air of insolence, were strange and new. A fleeting sense of abandonment passed through her. Whoever he reminded her of had left her once before. She didn’t want that loneliness again. She turned from him and put the key in the door. He caught her arm. “We’ll meet again, Sydney.”
She tried to match the hope in his voice. “Perhaps we will.” She ran inside and threw herself on the bed. After a good cry and a call for room service, she paced the room, trying to get a grip on her emotions. Something deep in Elian’s eyes drew her. She didn’t recognize his face, but she felt a linkage, a bond with him. An affinity shared, but long ago. She understood him, knew him. A face rose before her, but all jumbled as though she looked at it through a kaleidoscope. Eyes, chin, nose, cheeks, all split up into triangles and rhomboids, making the face as inscrutable as a Picasso painting. She gave up.
Halfway through the chicken cordon bleu, she stopped, fork stalled two inches from her mouth. Why does he care whether I recognize him? What is this rapport I sense? Is there some deep, dark secret I should know? Oh my God, is he my long-lost brother?

Buy Links:

About the Author

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.


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