Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Writing Wednesday: "Filling the Well, Stocking the Pond"

According to Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, "Filling the well involves the active pursuit of images to refresh our artistic resevoirs. Art is born in attention. Its midwife is detail... In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun."

She also says, "Art is the imagination at play in the field of time. Let yourself play."

Let's face it, we're all busy. And overwhelmed. And stressed. When was the last time you took a few hours to just relax and enjoy nature?

My neighbor and I took a few hours this week to visit the local Heritage Museums and Gardens, located in Sandwich, Massachusetts. It's on Cape Cod but it's also a totally different face of Cape Cod than we usually see. No lighthouses or beaches, but beautiful flowers, shrubs, sweeping meadows, paths around the lake, art exhibits and herb gardens. I've visited many times with my children and with my Girl Scout troop, but never on my own or with only adults. What fun!

Make a plan and write it down. Do something for yourself to refill your creative well. What are you going to do?

In case you're visiting Cape Cod any time soon, think about stopping by the Heritage Museum and Gardens. Well worth the trip!







Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Book Review: RAVENOUS by Erica Stevens

Ravenous, by Erica Stevens
Book One of the Ravening series
Published 2012



About the Book:

The world didn’t end with a bang, it didn’t go out in a ball of fire and fury, nor did it end in ice. But in some strange way, ice was the end; or maybe it was the beginning of something more.

Bethany is stunned and horrified when she finds herself suddenly alone in a world that was alive only moments before. Terrified, she flees into the streets of her town, looking for answers, and desperate to reach her family. Panicked, she is nearly captured by the monsters hunting her until Cade steps in to rescue her. Dark and distant, most people in school are wary of Cade, yet oddly fascinated by him. They had once been close as children, but it has been years since Bethany has had any real contact with Cade. As their situation becomes even more perilous, Bethany struggles to come to terms with her past, her terrifying new reality, and her growing love for a boy that is powerful, mysterious, and perhaps even more frightening than the aliens hunting them. Aliens that want more than their lives, they also want their blood.

Book 1 The Ravening Series

Young Adult. This book contains some language, violence, and sexual situations. Recommended for ages fifteen and up.

My Take:
The book description drew me in, because the cover does nothing for me. The title seems okay, but after reading the whole freaking book, it was never put in context or explained. I get the feeling some line somewhere got cut out that would have explained more, but without it the title doesn't work for me.

And then there's the cliffhangers and unanswered questions. Not to mention the complicated backstory thrown in at odd moments and the inexplicable attraction between the two main characters.

Argh.

The book starts well, quickly sucking you into the future dystopian world where seemingly benign aliens have come to earth as friends but the book starts on the day that changes. Great start! The story pulls you along at breakneck speed, and then takes odd little meandering detours to throw in backstory and context for why the characters act the way they do in certain situations. Frustrating. The author throws in hints and clues about other things that never get answered or addressed, at least not in this book. And then the ending just ends, with no resolutions to anything and one of the main characters missing in action.

Also, about halfway through the book, the author lets us know the setting is actually Cape Cod, and the characters need to walk across one of the two bridges and get to the mainland. I actually live on Cape Cod, and had no clue whatsoever as to the setting until she got to that plot point. Why did she wait so long? Up until that point, the book could've been set anywhere, from New Jersey to Minnesota to almost anywhere in the U.S.

While I read the whole book and appreciated the complicated dystopian future she outlines, I'm not going to continue this series.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Feature: Excerpt from MY KIND OF CRAZY

I've been working on my Young Adult books a lot lately, and thinking about young love and first kisses. But a first kiss between two adults is still that - a First Kiss. Still a magical thing. Thought it might be a nice way to kick off the long Memorial Day weekend to share my favorite first kiss scene, from my 2014 beach romance, My Kind of Crazy....

Excerpt:



He reached out and gently wrapped his fingers around her arm, not letting her leave the front hall. “Kendall?” 

Again with the major electrical sparks zinging through her! She was afraid to look him in the eye, afraid he’d be able to see it in her face, the devastating effect he had on her. They stood so close she felt the heat from his body radiating, warming the small space between them. His touch was fire on her bare skin. She finally raised her gaze to meet his eyes, luminous and deep. She felt like she might fall into those green pools and drown.

Breathe in, breathe out. She searched for words to answer the unasked questions in his eyes but none came to her.

“Kendall.” He whispered her name again as if it were the answer to some puzzle he was trying to solve.

Thoughts whirled through her head at lightning speed. Nothing about this made any kind of sense— especially not her attraction to a complete stranger. But there was no denying the electricity that ran through her body from his simplest touch.

“I’m not looking for a relationship right now.” Her low whisper matched his.

“What are you looking for?” He moved closer, his lips brushing her mouth, tasting of beer and salted peanuts. His warmth pulsed through her in shock waves, her traitorous body responding all too eagerly. He tasted so good, the salt sizzling on her tongue. The kiss shifted from soft and gentle to solid and deep. Arms slid around her, pulling her close, but she was too wrapped up in the kiss to protest. Why complain? He felt so good, the hard muscles of his arms and planed chest underneath that thin dress shirt, and another hardness evident, despite his proper dress pants.

Suddenly Kendall remembered that this was the same man who was fooling around with the married cougar of a librarian. She wanted to be outraged for the unwitting spouse, but all she could think was, Lucky librarian.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and shoulders. Vaguely she registered the wall behind her, pressing hard against her back. His clever tongue tangled with her own, sending fresh waves of desire rippling through her.

Even as her body screamed Yes! she slid her hand between them, firmly pushing him backward and breaking the connection. “I can’t do this. I don’t want to get hurt again.” Her eyes searched his before she turned her head to look away. If she looked into those eyes for one more second she would forget all about saying no and let her body do whatever it wanted.

Buy it now on AMAZON

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writing Wednesday: Do You Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Everyone does it.

Not all the time, maybe, but more often than we want to admit.

What's the first thing a reader sees? The book cover. You want a cover that sucks you right in, and makes you want to know more about the book, the characters, the situation, the author...

Do you ever buy a book with a bad cover? Yes. When someone tells you it's a good read, or when you know the author and like her writing. Or when the author is a friend. But really, what draws you in the first place if not the cover art?

On some of the email newsletters I receive, the covers are blocked and I have to click to allow images. So sometimes, I read the book descriptions and don't bother to see the covers. That must be how these two books ended up in my TBR pile, because I dislike both covers pretty intensely. As in, I can't believe I bought these books. And yet, I really enjoyed them. It's like when your daughter bakes you the ugliest birthday cake ever, and it turns out to taste really, really good. What a nice surprise!

Another Shot at Love, by Niecy Roy
What's Love??? Series, book one
Published 2013
New Adult contemporary romance

About the Book:
Imogen Gorecki needs a date to her sister’s engagement party—especially since her cheating ex-boyfriend is on the guest list. But finding Mr. Perfect in a time crunch is proving impossible.

Just when she’s about to give up, she face-plants into the crotch of the sexiest guy she’s ever met.

Matt Sesnick is everything Imogen wants in a man, but he’s not looking for a relationship so soon after his recent divorce. Will Gen’s pregnant and hormonal older sister, her bridezilla twin, and all of her past Mr. Wrongs get in the way of their happily-ever-after, or can she convince Matt to take another shot at love?
My Take:

Hate the cover, and truly hate the series title. Why do we need three question marks? Are we in middle school passing notes about cute boys?

That said, I enjoyed this book quite a bit! It's the first book of a trilogy about three friends in their early twenties (twin sisters and their mutual best friend) who are each struggling with figuring out the complexities of relationships and finding true love. Told in first person POV this new adult tale of twenty something's was engaging and entertaining. A quick, fun read, I'd recommend it for a fun beach book, and may have to check out the next two tales to see how the sister and friend fare when it's their turns to find out what love is. But please, spare me the extra punctuation marks.


I Love the 80s, by Megan Crane
Published 2014 by The Tule Publishing Group
New Adult time travel romance

About the Book:
Live in the now, they say, but for Jenna Jenkins, the now sucks.

Her fiancĂ© dumped her, and she's lacking the drive that might lead to a promotion at the eighties-themed cable station where she works. The only thing keeping her sane is her obsession with a brooding rock star, and an era, that died twenty-odd years ago. But then lightning strikes—literally—and sends her back to the year and the man she’s loved her entire life. Jenna has no choice but to take action to save Tommy Seer, lead singer of The Wild Boys, from the tragic accident that only she knows will claim his life.

But the real Tommy Seer is very different from the one who's spent all this time starring in her favorite fantasies. As Jenna falls deeper into Tommy’s world—under his spell all over again, only this time without the schoolgirl crush—she realizes that his death was no accident. Can she find a killer, prevent a murder, and save the man she loves without everyone thinking she’s crazy?

And who thought shoulder pads were a good idea, anyway?
My Take:

Hate the cover, but even more than that I absolutely hate the title... But I totally loved this engaging tale of time travel and 80s nostalgia rolled into a sweet romantic suspense. The narrator started off a little too whiny but watching her develop her backbone and grow throughout the story was satisfying. The storyline is a little bit of a hot mess, and yet I couldn't seem to put it down, and kept it open on my desk when. I should have been doing other things, like, um, work. If you like time travel stories and remember the 80s and that music with any sort of nostalgia, this is a fun, quick read.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Book Review: THE SHELL GAME, by Chris Keniston

The Shell Game, the Aloha series, Book 0.5
By Chris Keniston
Published August 2014

About the Book:
He's High Risk... She's High Stakes.
Tricked into taking a Caribbean cruise, former Navy SEAL Luke "Brooklyn" Chapman is expecting free-flowing booze, bikini-clad women, and an abundance of recreation.
Hardworking Sharla Kramer has her hands full keeping her sticky-fingered grandmother out of trouble. Looking forward to a nice rest while on vacation, the last thing she needs in her life is a high risk Navy SEAL.
Toss in a couple of swindlers, a retired cop, and a few fun-loving ladies in red hats, and a little high seas R&R quickly becomes a lot of high stakes shenanigans!

MY TAKE:
First I will admit I haven't read any of the other books in Keniston's Aloha series. My opinion after finishing is that its not necessary to read the series to enjoy this prequel. This is a stand alone book, although I guess if you already know and love these characters, it might be really fun to finally get this backstory. Because these are fun characters. The author does a great job introducing both main and secondary players and investing the reader in their stories. The majority of the book takes place on a cruise ship, and having been on a few cruises it all rang so true I had to laugh at points.

Sharla Kramer is a hospital nurse who lost her policeman husband a few years back in an on the job shooting. Now her grandmother has moved in with her, an aging former con artist with a definite twinkle in her eye. Sharla ends up accompanying Nana on a vacation cruise, where her only plans are to keep Nana out of trouble and read through the many books back logged on her Kindle (sounds like a plan to me!) Nana has other ideas, especially after she bumps into one particular hunk who seems to be the only single guy in her granddaughter's age group.

Luke "Brooklyn" Chapman is a former Navy Seal who now works for the CIA taking down the bad guys in a more surreptitious but no less dangerous way. After a close encounter with a knife, his superior sends him on a mandatory vacation cruise to rest and relax. When he and Sharla meet, it feels less like sparks flying and more like he's finally found a home and someone to care about. Which is crazy, since they're in the middle of the ocean and Sharla has sworn off dating men with dangerous jobs. Nana has other plans, and she's a woman who gets what she wants.

They say it takes a crook to know a crook, and Nana spots a con man working the cruise line clientele with a real estate shell game. (Thus the title.) The adventure starts when they all team up to bring the guy down.

This book is a lot of fun, and a fast romp of a read. I recommend it for entertaining easy summer reading, especially if you're headed out on a cruise.

p.s. when I wrote this review, the Kindle edition of this book was on sale for free! Grab a copy today and save it for summer fun!



Friday, May 15, 2015

FRIDAY FEATURE: New Release! CARPE DEMON by J.C. McKenzie

My friend and fellow author J.C. McKenzie is celebrating the newest addition to her sizzling paranormal series that began with SHIFT HAPPENS and then BEAST COAST. Her tangled tale continues with CARPE DEMON, which I was lucky enough to beta read and know what a wonderful story it is! I love this story and these characters - the world J.C. creates is rich, vibrant and real, populated with colorful supernatural characters of every stripe and type. 

If you haven't tried any of her books yet, pick up the first one today! Fans of Charlaine Harris will love J.C. McKenzie's take on shifters, vamps and demons. If you love J.C.'s stories as much as I do - let's happy dance together and grab a copy of the newest installment of Andy's snarky take on all things supernatural!


About the Book:

As an ambassador with the Supernatural Regulatory Division, Andy McNeilly is responsible for acting as the Liaison for the Vancouver Vampire horde. The problem? She detests the Vampire Master, and the SRD can’t discover the beast she keeps locked inside.

After a menacing Demon throws an important Vampire event into chaos, Andy finds herself sniffing out crime scenes to identify and locate the mystery fiend from the nether realm. What she learns chills her bones.

Threatened by the Master Vampire to deal with the Demon, Andy's complicated personal life doesn't make things easier. She's willing to risk her life and pride to keep loved ones safe. But how can she make a choice that will break one heart…and complete another?


Grab your copy today -
 
All Romance Ebooks | Amazon | BookStrand | Chapters | iTunes | Kobo | The Wild Rose Press
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writing Wednesday: Author Chrys Fey and her new short story GHOST OF DEATH

Today I'm excited to welcome author Chrys Fey to my blog! She hosts the popular WRITE WITH FEY blog, offering great advice for both published and aspiring writers and has several published short stories, including her latest - GHOST OF DEATH. (I loved her story HURRICANE CRIMES and can't wait to read her new ones!)

 * * * *

Hi, everyone! I’m Chrys Fey, the author Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. Today I am celebrating the release of my newest short story, Ghost of Death.

Have you ever wondered what detectives do every day? Well you’re in luck, because I followed the detective of Ghost of Death around for a whole day and documented everything she did. Check it out:


A Day in the Life of Detective Avrianna Heavenborn:
*Based on this story, not real life.*

3:31 am – Avrianna puts away an unsolved case she’s been working on for over a year to get some much needed sleep.

4:00 am – She actually falls asleep.

6:15 am – Wakes to a phone call, it’s her boss telling her to report to a crime scene.

6:37 am – Arrives at the crime scene and begins inspecting the area, looking over the body for clues, and checks for identification.

6:52  am - The body is removed by the coroner’s team. CSI comes in to sweep the area.

8:12 am – Avrianna goes to the medical examiner’s office to check on the body and to see if Dr. Simone Rose has found anything suspicious yet.

8:25 am – With next of kin information, she informs the family of the death of their loved one.

8:48 am – After consoling the grieving family member, Avrianna escorts the person to the police department to make a positive identification.

9:09 am – In her office, she starts to go through what she saw at the crime scene for her report and begins to make a list of possible suspects and motives.

9:32 am – Speaks to one person of interest.

10:25 am – Speaks to someone close to the deceased.

10:55 am – With a new piece of information from the deceased’s friend, she requests surveillance footage.

11:40 am – Identifies the possible murdered.

12:21 pm – Requests a warrant from a judge to search person’s home.

1:15 pm – Warrant in hand, she goes to the suspects residency and searches for evidence to pin the suspect to the murder.

2:02 pm – Finds evidence.

3:14 pm – Makes an arrest.

7:11 pm – With this new case closed, she picks up her unsolved case again.

10:00 pm – Leaves office.

12:22 am – Gets called into another crime scene.

And so the cycle continues....


Title: Ghost of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 41 (short story)
Release Date: April 22nd, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:

Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.


Book Links:

Excerpt:

            With the sound of her mom’s grief wafting up to her, Jolie came to terms with her present state. I’m dead and now my mom knows it. She eyed the door in front of her. She hadn’t yet walked through a door, but if her hand could pass through metal then she knew she could move
through wood.
If I have to be a ghost then I’ll be a damn good one. All across the afterlife I’ll be known as the Ghost of Death! And I’m going to start by walking through this damn door!
            She would’ve taken a deep breath to brace herself if she could have, so she mentally pumped herself up instead. You can do it! Easy-peasy. Nothing to it. And she took a step forward. Solid matter slipped around and through her form. On the other side, a familiar site confronted her: a black and white bed, the bright green shag carpet in the middle of the room, and a white desk.
            Stepping up to her desk, Jolie eyed her ancient desktop computer, the one she used before her dad gifted her with a laptop when she announced she was accepted to the local university. Wanting to send out the first ever tweet from the afterlife, she pushed the button to bring the device to life, but her finger poker straight through it. Resigning to her Twitter-less fate, she moved toward the full-length mirror hanging on the wall. She saw nothing. Not even a shimmer in the air hinted at her presence.
            Being a ghost sucks!


Available for PRE-ORDER:


Blurb:

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

Book Links:


BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she watched her mother pursue publication and knew she wanted to be an author. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 



Author Links: 

Thank you for having my on your blog, Katie. You rock!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Book Review: GAME OF LOVE, by Melissa Foster

Game of Love, by Melissa Foster (Love in Bloom #10, The Remingtons #1)
Published February 2014

About the Book:
Ellie Parker is a master at building walls around her heart. In the twenty-five years she’s been alive, Dex Remington has been the only person who has always believed in her and been there for her. But four years earlier she came to Dex seeking comfort, and then disappeared like a thief in the night, leaving him a broken man.

Dex Remington is one of the top PC game developers in the U.S. He’s handsome, smart, and numb. So damn numb that he’s not sure he’ll ever find a reason to feel again.

A chance encounter sparks intense desires in Ellie and Dex. Desires that make her want to run—and make him want to feel. A combination of lust and fear leads these young lovers down a dangerous path. Is it possible to cross a burned bridge or are they destined to be apart forever?

MY TAKE:
This is the first book in a new series (sort of) by the prolific New York Times best selling author Melissa Foster. I've been trying to read more books by some of the authors at the top of the romance game, to see what works and how the best selling authors hook their readers. If you write romance, its good to keep up with what resonates with readers. Besides, you can't be a writer if you're not a reader first.


Foster has character development down really well, for both her main characters and the secondary figures that populate their lives. With a few quick strokes she makes them come to life in the reader's mind.

Dex Remington is a successful gamer, creator of some of the top video games in the world and owner of a gaming empire. He could have any woman he desires, but he only wants the one that got away, a friend from childhood who came back into his life briefly four years earlier. He feels like she's the only person who ever truly understood him or saw him for himself and not the millionaire he's become.

Now she's back in New York, running from a broken relationship and looking for a new job. Fate has them both in the same bar on her first night in town and all kinds of unresolved feelings get stirred up on both sides.

Ellie Parker has too many skeletons in her closet, and one of them is her unrequited love for Dex, the only bright memory she has from a troubled childhood of foster care and abuses. She's always loved him and the quiet way he makes her feel safe and cared for, but she doesn't feel worthy of his love. Dex must work to change that perception before she runs again, or before her past catches up with her.

Fast read, plenty of sexual tension and longing, and interesting alternating points of view between Dex and Ellie. Enjoyed this and understand how Melissa Foster is so well respected in the industry.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Feature: Excerpt from CRAZY ABOUT YOU by Katie O'Sullivan, coming soon from The Wild Rose Press

I have a new summer romance coming soon from The Wild Rose Press. No I don't have a release date quite yet, but the editing process is complete. Waiting on galleys and copyedits. Well, and cover art - eagerly awaiting cover art!

Here's the back of book blurb:



Drawn together by a dead cell phone, it's the dead body that changes everything. 
Climate scientist Chase Anderson races from one project to the next, unwilling to slow down in his quest to save the world’s oceans. He has no time for family or relationships until he crashes into an impetuous blonde with a quirky sense of humor. One sizzling kiss makes him seriously reevaluate his priorities. And his sanity.
Emma Maguire left her small Cape Cod hometown years ago, seeking the fast pace and anonymity of New York City. She’s not sure what she’s searching for, but when a family crisis brings her home to Provincetown she’s caught in a crazy tangle of half-truths and mistaken identity… and falls for the handsome stranger who broke her cell phone.

Will untangling the web of lies drive them crazy, or lead to something even crazier – like love?


 

I had to choose an official excerpt last week and thought it might be fun to share the little snippet that will be blurbed in the front of the book...

Excerpt:



A blinding smile lit her face, and she waved with enthusiasm. His heart skipped a few beats as his blood all went lower down.

She beelined to the table, calling his name. “Chase? Chase! It’s so good to see you again! Thanks so much for inviting me to lunch!” 

He found himself rising to greet her for the second time inside an hour. Instead of sitting, she came to where he stood and wrapped her arms around his neck. She planted an exaggerated kiss on his cheek, like the one he’d envied Tony for the prior day, those soft red lips wet on his skin. His arms slipped around her waist and his stomach clenched hard, inappropriate thoughts racing through his head at breakneck speed, leaving him dazed. Staring down, he saw similar confusion mirrored in Emma’s eyes, as if she felt it too, that electric current running fast and furious between them at every point where their bodies connected. And she wasn’t letting go.