Friday, March 29, 2013

Puppy Tales: Jellybeans vs. Carrots

To Puppy's way of thinking, Easter is all about the candy. And the carrots left out for the Easter Bunny. As for the Egg Hunt, she's interested but tries not to get in the way of the kids as they run screeching around the house in search of the real and plastic eggs hidden throughout. She stays off to the side with me, so as not to get trampled.

Puppy has quite the sweet tooth... She likes to "ask" for candy, and think chocolate smells most intriguing. Since chocolate can be bad for dogs, we draw the line at actually giving her any (although I can't say she's never tasted it) but in her mind, jellybeans are just as good. And carrots are actually better. Go figure. Now if I could only convince the kids of that, I'd save a fortune on chocolate...

So what's your favorite thing about Easter? Are you a chocolate fan or do you prefer jellybeans? (Or carrots?)

Happy Easter Weekend to All!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: SPEAK OF THE DEVIL by Shawna Romkey


By Shawna Romkey

Published by Crescent Moon Press, March 2013

Genre: YA paranormal


When falling in love and falling from grace collide...

High school junior Lily Tyler dies along with her two best friends in a car accident, but miraculously she comes back to life several minutes later. Unable to deal with her loss and her survivor's guilt, she moves to her dad's. While there trying to heal from this tragedy and come to terms with the event, she meets some people at her new school who are all too eager to help her.

Struggling to fight her feelings for two of these strange new acquaintances, Luc and Mo, she finds out their true identities. Lily must move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, and find a way to stop a divine war with the fallen angels, all while trying to pass the eleventh grade.


This well-written debut novel features a quirky heroine who struggles with issues of self-doubt and self-discovery. Ms. Romkey does a nice job of bringing the reader into Lily’s world, and making us root for her to succeed. The narrator’s often sarcastic and self-deprecating asides will appeal to teen and adult readers alike as we watch Lily try to make sense of her world.

The story is told in first person, entirely from Lily’s point of view. She’s a typical teenager, and seems fine with being her own person, slightly on the nerdy side and happy to do her own thing, hanging out with two best friends. When their car crashes, it throws Lily’s life into a tailspin – especially as all three teens die in the crash, but somehow Lily alone comes back to life.

Angry, bewildered and feeling more than a little bit lost, she moves to her dad’s house to get away from the painful memories. At her new school, she meets a group of teens who are not what they appear, but she can’t quite put her finger on what it is that’s different about them. And there the plot thickens, with a few twists and turns thrown in for good measure. I don’t want to give anything away, as watching Lily unfold each mystery is part of the fun of the book. And it is definitely a fast, fun book.

A solid debut novel, I look forward to reading more from this author!

About the Author:

Shawna Romkey grew up in around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons and two rescue dogs, one of which is an overgrown puppy from hell. She's a non-conformist who follows her heart.

She has her BA in creative writing from the University of Kansas where one of her plays was chosen by her creative writing professor to be produced locally, and two of her short stories were published in a university creative arts handbook. She earned her MA in English from Central Missouri State University where she wrote a novel as her thesis.

She's taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can't quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she's managed to stay the same. She's a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.

Find (and/or stalk) her online in the following places:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL Excerpt and Giveaway!

Today I'm featuring Shawna Romkey and her novel, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, for the second day this week. Shawna has a cool giveaway going on - check yesterday's blog post for the details, and check this post for today's "Easter Egg"  - hint: it's a letter, it's colorful, and you only need one from today. But which one?

Book Blurb:
 What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?
After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.

Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

Excerpt from SPEAK OF THE DEVIL:

Rain fell, not uncommon for late spring in Missouri. “If you don’t like the weather here,” my grandfather would say, “wait five minutes.” Of course, I’d visited distant relatives in Maine once before, and they said the same thing.

Julie fumbled with the wipers while I pulled the sun visor down to check my face in its little rectangular mirror, even though I’d only left my vanity like five minutes ago. The lights on either side lit up the interior of the car. I reached into my tiny party purse to find my lip gloss, which was easy to locate since I’d only packed the essentials in my bag: phone, some cash, and make-up. As I glanced at myself, I saw Mike in the reflection, smiling at me from the back seat. I stuck my tongue out at him, making him laugh, and put on the lip-gloss, fully aware of how flirty I acted.

The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the sudden downpour. The pitter-patter turned to thumping. Hail came down in gumball-sized pellets. “Damn.” Julie jerked the steering wheel to keep The Whale off the curb.

“Slow down, Jules.” Mike gripped Julie’s headrest. “We can pull over until it passes.”

“Yeah.” She squinted to see the road before her.

I pressed my lips together to smooth out the gloss. “Damn is right. I didn’t bring a jacket.”

The Whale swerved to the right crunching along the gravel on the side of the road. I braced myself in my seat. Julie leaned up to the steering wheel and peered over it as my grandmother sometimes did when she drove. I squinted because of the stupid light up visor mirror. I slammed it shut, but Julie panicked and over corrected, pulling The Whale to the left and careening over the yellow dotted line in the middle of the street.

“Julie!” Mike shouted.

Time slowed and ticked out in heartbeats.

Ba bum.

Julie cringed, her hands moving up to shield her face. Her head turned away from the highway.

Ba bum.

Mike reached protectively from the back seat.

Ba bum.

The headlights illuminated the rail of the overpass.

Ba bum.

The car hit the rail on the opposite side of the road with a hard thud.

Ba bum.

Crap. We’re going over the bridge.

Ba bum.

The Whale’s nose pointed down toward the water.

Ba bum.

A jolt forward and my forehead slammed into the dashboard.

Ba bum.

The Whale flipped in the air. I’m upside down.

Ba bum.


Ba bum.

Did my mom say good-bye when I left?

Ba bum.

Cold water rushed into the car.

Ba bum.

Is this it?

Ba bum.

I can’t breathe. Oh my God, I can’t breathe. I can’t see or breathe!

My heart quickened. It pounded. The Whale leaned on its side under the surface of the water which rushed in fast, and I couldn’t see a damn thing.

Calm, stay calm. Don’t panic. They say when you’re drowning not to panic because you use up your air faster.

Dammit, am I drowning?

I tried to get myself upright and jerked out of my seatbelt. Luckily, it gave way. I fought the latch to open the door facing up, but the pressure of the water from Black Water River held it closed, trapping me inside.

Jesus. I know this river. It’s more of a creek. It can’t be more than fifteen feet across and ten feet deep.

I pushed at the door. Opening my mouth to scream, I swallowed water.

I couldn’t see or hear Julie or Mike. My watch ticked. Or was it my heart beating?

Ba bum. Ba bum. Ba bum.





Defying gravity.


The dreams came. Like a good sleep you don’t want to wake up from. I felt heavy and floaty. I wore this long white gauzy gown and the wind blew my dress and my hair like in some feminine hygiene commercial. I could breathe slowly and deeply. Completely relaxed and at peace, but I was alone.
I floated along in a white space for a while. Drifting. Breathing. Relaxing. Had I gone to a spa? After an immeasurable amount of time, others appeared. They wore white clothing, too, and they floated like me, reaching out. They opened their arms as if to welcome me to them.

I stopped and frowned. I heard no sound, and I didn’t know who these white floaty people were or why they welcomed me. They smiled, genuinely happy, and held their arms out to me. I panicked.
Where’s my mom? My family? Wait, Mike and Julie were just with me, where are they? Are those wings?

I noticed the others floating with me had white feathery wings.

“Lily,” one of them called out.

Holy hell. I’m dead.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meet Shawna Romkey and SPEAK OF THE DEVIL

I'm excited today to have Shawna Romkey as my guest on my blog! Her new book is a cool YA tale of angels and redemption, just released this month from Crescent Moon Press. (LOVE that cover!)

She's on a whole giant blog tour all month long (including this stop to chat with me! *yea*) and she's doing a great giveaway - she's hidden "Easter eggs" along her tour. You need to find them and decipher the pass code for a chance to win a signed copy of her book, a super-cool swag pack and a $25 Amazon gift card!

To enter, read through today's post and look for the "Easter egg" (a letter that stands out.) Find her other blog entries for the tour (HINTS: the list is posted on her website at and the letters are in order...) There are Easter eggs in all the starred blog posts. Once you've found the eggs in each post, put them together to find the secret code. Tweet the code including @sromkey #speakofthedevil

One winner will be chosen from all entries at the end of the month, on Easter, March 31! Good luck!

(Oh, and check back right here tomorrow to hunt for the next "egg"!)

Okay, so let's meet our guest! Hi, Shawna! Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to read and write.

Let’s see. I’m going to give you something other than the bio blurb I have on my web site. My day job is to teach marketing and communications at a community college. I also run a small Kobo eBook promotions site and do some private marketing consulting.  I’ve been married 10 years and have lived in Canada for 11. I have a 6 year old son and 14 year old step-son. I love dogs. I have two rescue dogs of my own and try to help out local animal rescue groups when I can.

I like to read classics, YA, fantasy and paranormal. I like most everything Crescent Moon Press publishes. I was thrilled to sign with them.
What's your favorite part of being an author?

I got my creative writing degree in university twenty-ish years ago. I started writing when I was 5. I’ve wanted to get published for a very long time, so I think finally getting signed has to be my favorite part. I finally feel a sort of validation for my work and all of the writing I’ve done in the past. It is really a dream come true for me. Being able to feel like I can really say that I’m a writer now and have it mean something is important to me. I know there are other routes I could have explored with self-publishing, but I felt like for my first one I need to get signed to make sure it was real. 

What’s your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

I make a general outline of where I think the story will go. Where it begins and ends and some of the major plot points along the way, and then I write. Often times the characters have a different outline in mind for me and end up going a different direction. I love when that happens. I think the outlining is my left brain organizing the story, but when the characters or the stories change as I go, I feel like that’s the right brain getting creative. When writers write, they are sort of in a light trance, like when you watch TV. So my subconscious takes over and does some cool things I couldn’t have imagined. I think that’s the best part of it. It’s like a creative magic fairy dust or something. Love when that happens.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I think it would be teleportation. I have family spread out between the US and Canada that I’d love to be able to visit more. And I’d love to travel, but I hate the transportation part. I hate flying. I hate lugging luggage. I hate waiting for planes and trains. I’d love to just blip wherever I wanted to go.

That or super fast metabolism.

Tell us about your new release, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL

Speak of the Devil is the story of a high school girl who gets in an accident with her two best friends who die. This causes her to question her faith in God and her faith in herself. She runs away to her dad’s to get away from the reminders all around her and meets a group of friends who are way too interested in her, leaving her to wonder why.

Okay, if you’re casting the movie of your book, who gets to play the main characters?

Chord Overstreet from Glee is my Luc and I just recently came across some pics of Candice Accola from Vampire Diaries with red hair which totally looks like Lily in my head!

Where can readers find your books and where can you be found on the web?

My books will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. (no links yet)

And everyone can come visit me on these fun sites!

Thanks for coming to visit today, Shawna! And readers, can you tell which letter was today's Easter Egg? (Hint: a rainbow of color to make it stand out, but you only need one letter from today!)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guest Author Jody Kessler and DEATH LIES BETWEN US

My guest today is Jody Kessler, talking about being a writer and her debut novel, DEATH LIES BETWEEN US . I Lo-o-o-ved this book, and posted my review a few weeks ago (when I decided I'd ask Jody a few questions...)

Welcome to my blog, Jody, and thanks for stopping by! Give us a brief bio and tell us what kind of books you like to read and write.

The simple stuff: I am wife, a mom, and a yoga teacher. I spend the majority of my time with my son and I don’t really get out much unless it is to play at the park or grocery shop.
Becoming a mother has changed almost every aspect of my life, but it was also the catalyst to start writing again. (Something I used to do when I was much younger.) I used to work all the time as a massage therapist and yoga teacher. I ate, slept, worked, and traveled occasionally. Now, I play silly games with my son during the day and create worlds at night.

I write paranormal but I think the paranormal genre chose me. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with the paranormal and the supernatural. I also enjoy reading paranormal genres, but I also really have a really sweet spot for historical fiction.

What's your favorite part of being an author?

It’s the total freedom of expression. For me, there is nothing else like finding that perfect combination of words to describe someone or something. I really love every part of writing.

What’s your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Honestly, I am somewhere in the middle. I plot, and then I often find that my characters have a different plan and change things on me. The characters usually have it right and then I begin plotting again.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Oh, this question is hard. There are so many good answers, like being able to know someone’s true character — but that would have too many downfalls. So, today, I think I choose the ability to shapeshift into a raven.  That sounds pretty cool right now.

Tell us about your debut novel, DEATH LIES BETWEEN US

Death Lies Between us is the first novel of the series, An Angel Falls. When you get down to its core, it’s really about falling in love with someone despite all obstacles. Death Lies Between Us touches on a lot of other powerful subjects like the love of family, drug and alcohol addiction, misplaced spirits, and of course, angels and the afterlife.
The book is full of Native American lore and herbology. Are these things you’ve studied?

Studying herbal medicine has been a long time passion of mine. It is very satisfying to me, knowing that nature provides everything you need to be healthy. For fun I make salves, tinctures, lip balm, body cream, and soaps. I like to enlist my friends and family for experimentation. For the most part, they put up with me. As for the Native American lore and spirituality, most of my writing inspiration comes from my husband, who is Native American, or from his extensive collection of books. More often than not, my writing is the complete effort and occupation of my imagination.

Okay, if you’re casting the movie of your book, who would play the main characters?

I have never seen an actress that I think would make a good Juliana. Zac Efron’s eyes and hair remind me of Nathaniel’s. Jared is definitely a figment of my imagination that cannot be rivaled by any one actor, but he is super cute and has the whole package working for him.  
Where can readers find your book and where can you be found on the web?

To find out more about Death Lies Between Us, you can click here: Amazon

My website is  I blog and I try to keep my events calendar up to date.
Or connect with me here:  Facebook  Goodreads  Twitter  Pinterest

About the Book:

Saving the life of someone you love should not be the worst thing you have ever done, unless you are an Angel of Death.

Disgruntled with his position in the afterlife and conflicted by his feelings toward his new client, Nathaniel Evans forgoes the rules and saves nineteen year old Juliana Crowson from being hopelessly stuck in Forge Creek. This alters Juliana’s destiny and she finds herself in a series of near death accidents.

In the mountains of Colorado, Nathaniel comforts Juliana as she struggles to understand her paranormal abilities while coping with her brother’s drug addiction. When an ill-tempered Native American Shaman teaches her the difference between ghosts and place memories, she decides she wants nothing to do with the supernatural world. Too bad she doesn’t know that Nathaniel is part of it. 

 Will fate bring these two together, or has Nathaniel made the biggest mistake of his afterlife?

About the Author:

Jody A. Kessler enjoys writing paranormal novels and is a member of Pikes Peak Writers.  She is a yoga instructor, Reiki Master, and a graduate from the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy. When she took an extended leave from her massage practice to stay at home with her newborn she returned to her first true passion —writing. She spends most of her time being a mother, writing, and teaching yoga, but also likes going to concerts, hiking, practicing herbal medicine, and reading anything that catches her interest. Jody lives in the mountains of Colorado with her family.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Author Wendy Russo talks about Marketing Your Book

Hello, all! I’m glad to be here today. Katie and I have been talking recently about book promotion. Somehow she’s gotten the mistaken impression that I know what I’m doing. * wink * In all seriousness, I’m winging it, but I am willing to share with you what I have done to apparently look like I know what I’m doing. Like spaghetti noodles tossed at the cupboard, I am hoping some of this sticks.
First though, authors--published and not--please bookmark Anne Mini’s blog “Author! Author!”
Ms. Mini herself
True story. I found this blog in Summer 2011. I had gotten quite a few rejections for January Black at that point, mostly form email and non-response. Anne was posting about standard manuscript format at the time with a focus on how to present numbers. (Spelled out in most cases for numbers under 100, if you’re wondering.) She answered a question I had about whether to use digits or spelling for astronomical coordinates. Anyhow, I completely reformatted my manuscript after finding her blog. I rewrote my query letter, synopsis and blurb. The very first submission I sent after finding her blog got a request for a full manuscript, and later a contract.

Ms. Mini was recently in a car accident and has not been posting. Also, her home page has been replaced with a note that says “It works.” She’s aware of the problem and it might even be fixed by now. Bookmark her blog either way. When Anne comes back, she may be the single best free resource for writing/editing/submitting on the whole Internet. She also has a page on Facebook. Like her!

[Wendy cracks knuckles.]

Okay! Now, onto all the stuff I don’t know. Seriously, I went about marketing back-assward, playing catch up the whole way. And I’ve been learning, the hard way, fast.

       1. Make friends before your release.

I didn’t. My pre-launch marketing involved the Crescent Moon Press author’s group, friends I’ve met on Twitter, and a few more from Six Sentence Sunday. All writers mind you, whose acquaintances are writers. This is not a bad thing, necessarily, but reaching readers is important when you’re trying to sell a book.  Since the release of January Black, I’ve connected with several pages on Facebook.

·       Authors’ Social Media Support Group (asmsg) Books (
·       Coffee and A Good Book (
·       I Heart Books (
·       International Girls YA Book Club (
·       Paranormal Book Club (
·       Platinum Book Reviews* (
·       Young Adult and Teen Readers (
I’ve starred Platinum Book Reviews because Vicki Rose Stewart is a woman with whom every indie author should be familiar. The next best thing to knowing people is knowing people who know people...and Vicki’s good with people. She’s also a sweet lady who loves authors. (She’s running promotions in between throwing up cancer meds, if that telling you anything about her how much she loves authors.)

These pages are just the ones that I have found and have been interacting with. Contacted prior to a book release, they can post your cover reveals, share your book on release day, and get their fans involved. Posts after a release don’t have the same impact, but now I know.

2. Giveaways.

Some people will say that you should give away swag opposed to books. It the giveaway is the book, it encourages people to wait to buy, just in case they win. I don’t subscribe to that advice. January Black is my first book and readers don’t know who I am! I’m happy to giveaway my book if it means that person might talk about my book to other people.

I’ve given my book away to readers, reviewers, to blog tour hosts to give away to other reviewers, and to people who’ve guessed my favorite color on Facebook. I’ve given two copies away to IGYABC to readers interested in reviewing. I’ve given away copies as part of other writer’s release tours. I’ve given away signed print copies for charity auctions and to a Facebook page just because.  I’ve also donated to my hometown libraries and a Baton Rouge high school. I’m giving a print copy to the USS John C. Stennis, because I’ve heard their library needs fresh ink.

Kristy Barr, schoolteacher from Bar Nunn, WY, won a print copy of 
January Black for finding and commenting on a hidden excerpt

I didn’t publish January Black to make money. I published because I wanted to share it with more readers than just my close friends and family. I wanted to be able to put “published” on my next query letter. I want to walk through an airport or a doctor’s office and see a complete stranger with my book. If giving away copies builds the kind of audience I need to make that last bit happen, then every giveaway is worth it.

3. Swag.

I love free stuff. Who doesn’t love free stuff? I’ve tried to come up with cool free stuff. I created a logo for the tea/book shop in January Black and put it on coffee cups. I’ve also created cover cards and bookmarks that I can sign.

I’m also in the process of setting up a CafePress shop where fans could buy LiberTea and January Black’s logos on T-shirts, coffee mugs, fridge magnets, and ornaments.

I have given coffee cups as prizes and sent several to Texas for a book lovers’ weekend at a bed and breakfast. I’m planning to send some of all of these goodies to Shawna Romkey, who will be attending the RT Conference in St. Louis. If you’re going, find her!

4. Multi-Author Events.
There’s strength in numbers. Recently, Crescent Moon Press authors have been teaming up during their book releases, and it’s been very successful. I figured that if it could generate a lot of attention for a release, why not a review effort.  Joanne Brothwell, Toni de Palma, Shawna Romkey, and I have joined to give readers a great deal on our books. All four for the price of one, which averages out to $1.99 a piece. All the reader needs to do is write a review on Amazon of 20 words or more to request the next book. It’s a deal that Joanne, Toni, Shawna and I will think is awesome, and that will generate Amazon reviews quickly. 

That is pretty much what I’ve been doing so far. I’m looking for more ways to let people know about my book and more cool swag. I just keep looking for more opportunities and more time to work on my new story ideas. It’s a day-by-day thing.

About the Author:

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.

Wendy S. Russo’s Links: Blog |  Facebook |  G+ | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

January Black’s Links: Kindle | Print

About the Book:

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school's headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty's future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master's diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It's a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty's journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king's bluff.

 Read my Review HERE


Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE, by Toni DePalma


By Toni DePalma

Published by Crescent Moon Press, 2013
Genre: YA

When 17-year-old Cooper dies in an attempt to burn down his school, he finds himself in the afterlife. Lucy, the Devil's sister who has crossed party lines, decides to give Cooper another shot at heaven. 
The deal? Cooper returns to Earth and has to find a girl named Grace. The rest is up to him.

While Cooper figures out his mission, he's thrown into the life he's always wanted. Great parents, a spot on the Varsity football team and a real future are all within reach. But what he really wants is Grace, a feisty girl with an abusive boyfriend that can pound Cooper into pulp if he doesn't watch out.

While Lucy plays demonic-puppeteer, clues to an unknown past between Cooper and Grace start to unravel. Cooper discovers that what's keeping he and Grace apart is far more sinister than anything this bad boy could have ever imagined.


This was a fun, well-written book that kept me wondering where it was all going. As the story slowly reveals its secrets, I enjoyed watching the snarky Cooper unravel the twists that had his attitude toward life tied in knots. The story is told in first person by the sarcastic Cooper, including all the fun-to-read inappropriate thoughts that run through a teen boy’s mind.

Cooper starts as an angry and unrepentant young man, with enough attitude to rattle Heaven’s gates. He’s in Purgatory awaiting judgment, after burning down his school and himself. Given his sarcastic tone of voice and thought, it’s unclear to the reader why Saint Peter would give him a second thought let alone a second chance to redeem himself. Even Cooper doesn’t think he deserves another shot at life.

It’s the Devil’s sister, Lucy, sitting at the table next to Saint Peter, who advocates for letting Cooper return to earth to save a girl named Grace. This is the only part of the story that bothered me. (Lucifer has a sister who works for God?) But again, it seems this is all part of larger machinations afoot.

As the story unfolds, the reader finds there’s a whole lot more to Cooper than meets the eye. His body, his relationship with Grace, and his sleepy little town have become a living chessboard in the battle between good and evil, with real life playing pieces fighting for their souls. Cooper had no idea what he was getting himself into – and little did he know he’d already been playing a part in this drama for the last five years!

I liked the character of Grace, a troubled teen with an abusive boyfriend. She’s the one Cooper is supposed to save, but the reader can see she’s an independent thinker, despite being stuck in the position of total damsel-in-distress. Ms. DePalma does a good job of revealing her complex character, slowly removing the layers until we realize Grace’s motivations for doing the things she does, and her inner strength.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next chapter in Cooper and Grace’s journey.

About the Author:

Toni De Palma was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her first middle grade novel, Under the Banyan Tree, was published in 2007. Under the Banyan Tree was selected as a Kirkus New Voices Pick and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Her second middle grade novel, Jeremy Owl, was published in 2010.

Toni holds her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College and she is a recipient of a New Jersey Arts Fellowship. She currently resides in New Jersey.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Puppy Tales: In which Puppy Says Erin Go Bragh

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all!

Enjoy your corned beef and be safe out there - and remember,
friends don't let friends drink green beer.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Guest author Kate McKeever, and CADEN'S FATE

My guest today is Kate McKeever, a fellow Crescent Moon Press author. She writes romance and paranormal romance and loves all things paranormal... and she's here to explain her obsession... take it away, Kate!

Hello, my name is Kate and I’m a trekkie, Whedonite, Whovian, and nerd extradinaire. In other words, I love other worldly fiction.

I think it all started in Kansas, with the Wizard of Oz. Don’t you love the sight of the house flying in the air, the scene of the crabby neighbor riding the bicycle in the tornado? I still remember this scene when I think of the movie. And the monkeys? Well, I liked them. Didn’t think they were scary at all.

When I was young, my interest in the other world expanded with what was called The Early Show. My mother would occasionally let my brother and I watch the afternoon movie on television. Usually there was an old movie, sometimes an adventure movie, but my brother and I always chose to watch the paranormal movies. 

I remember watching ancient movies with werewolves, Frankenstein and even The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Granted, some of those movies were viewed from behind the edge of the sofa, but I loved them. As I grew, I became enamored with Star Trek, the Quantum Leap and Sliders and now, watch anything I can find from Joss Whedon and Dr. Who.

So, is it any wonder I write paranormal romance? I know, little of those shows I mentioned above had romance in them. Did I mention I also grew up on Harlequin romances? 

My mother would take me to her beauty shop appointments on occasion and while I waited on her to finish getting a trim and curl, I’d rifle through the magazines and books that other customers left behind. Apparently some of them were Harlequin fans because there almost always was a romance in the stack. From an early age, I began to travel to exotic places in my imagination, meet tall, dark and handsome strangers and fall in love, over and over.

Now, I love writing about women and men who are strong, yet vulnerable.  Each of my heroes and heroines have something they have to overcome, whether it’s an enemy that they can fight or an internal weakness that has to be overcome.  

 My books tend to take place in our own time and our own world, but with a bit more added. Whether it’s magic or creatures that you have encountered in your dreams (both wonderful ones and nightmares) or human abilities that have become enhanced, the bottom line is that my characters have obstacles to overcome, just like we do in everyday life. It’s just that their lives are a bit more exciting than ours.

My latest book is Caden’s Fate. It’s available from Crescent Moon Press, through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Kobo.
  About the Book:
Fate Halligan is a Death Maiden, a woman who has spent her life training to help souls journey from life to the next level of existence. When her life is threatened, she must turn to a man she has been taught to view with caution.

Caden Greene is a Soldier of Light, a man who will risk his life and more to save dying souls from being stolen and used for evil by the Obsidian Guard. As a team, Caden and Fate join forces and must make decisions about not only their lives, but the future of the very world they have loyally served.

About the Author:

The essential Kate McKeever is a dreamer, paranormal romance writer, and voracious reader.

She started writing at a young age, like all writers, but decided to break into romance writing when she joined her local Romance Writers of America chapter. She published two sweet romances  with a New York publisher and now has turned her attention to her first love, paranormal romance.

Kate grew up in the mountains of the southern highlands. After college, several tries at different careers and a lot of soul searching, she has returned to her first passion, writing. You’ll find her in front of her computer most evenings, surrounded by her pets, a calico tabby who is convinced she is queen of the keyboard and a terrier mix whose love of rawhide bones is only surpassed by that of Kate’s  books, with ketchup! You’re also likely to find the remains of coffee and chocolate.

You can visit Kate at her website,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Writing Wednesday: Book Reviews?

So I'm sitting here with my blue coffee mug - oh wait, let me refill it. Okay, I'm back, coffee in hand.

Anyway, I just finished writing out a review for the book I finished yesterday. I've posted it to Amazon and have it scheduled to run here on the blog next Monday. Reviews are important, as they help readers decide which books are worth buying, or bring new books to a reader's attention. I may not review the best sellers I read, since those books are already getting the attention, but for indie authors I enjoy, I'm happy to take the time to help spread the word.

... and then I started thinking about gathering reviews for my own books.

I found out this week that Crescent Moon Press doesn't send ARCs out for review. The authors have to do this for themselves. One of my fellow authors emailed me her list of review sites that she sends to, and I guess I have additional research to do, as there are probably good places for YA reviews and even places that favor mermaid books...

Do you read reviews to help make your purchasing decisions? Does a review on a blog get you excited for a new author?

Are Amazon reviews more important than Goodreads reviews? In your opinion, what holds the most sway over a reader?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guest Author: Constance Phillips and RESURRECTING HARRY

The Skills Needed to Escape Death – Resurrecting Harry


Thank you, Katie, for having me on your blog today!

The core idea behind Resurrecting Harry is that an escape artist is able to achieve the greatest escape ever – the chains of death.   Besides having the help of a supernatural being, I knew the person to achieve that feat would have to be a skilled, dedicated, and driven. It didn’t take me long to settle on Harry Houdini.

Just look at this interesting tidbit I found on an internet article about Houdini.

In order to achieve his death-defying stunts Houdini had to train himself to be both physically and mentally fit. He had an over-sized bath tub fitted into his house so that he could practice holding his breath (he could hold his breath for three minutes). He trained himself to be ambidextrous, making his left hand as able as his right. Determined to reach the peak of his profession, Houdini would practice card tricks over and over again without looking. As he sat down to talk with friends he would repeatedly untie knots with his feet. (10 Fascinating Facts About Houdini)

In the book, I had to give Harry’s physical ability to endure some time on the page, and compare it to Erich’s.  In one passage in particular, Harry’s memories and skills take over Erich’s new body.

Harry’s memories, his very soul, pulsed inside with each beat of Erich’s heart. Was it even possible for him to use those memories to accomplish the skills Harry had worked tirelessly to learn? There was much more to picking a lock or escaping shackles or a straight jacket than the mental knowhow. In this moment, nothing seemed more important than proving those skills were not as dead as his previous body.

Erich may not spend hours in a tub working on holding his breath or pass the time untying knots with his feet, but Harry’s soul, that pulses within him, carries Harry’s memories, and they do effect his actions.

For better or for worse…

About Resurrecting Harry

Can the greatest escape artist ever known break the grim reaper's chains to save the only woman he's ever loved?

In order to save Bess from self-destruction, Harry Houdini puts his afterlife on the line by entering a wager with purgatory's keeper. He gives Harry a younger face and body, and a new name: ErichWelch.

Bess clings to his promise to deliver a coded message from beyond the grave, determined to provide the bridge for him to cross, even if that means befriending her husband's sworn enemy. Erich needs to help Bess over her loss and put her on the road to healing, but will any good come from Resurrecting Harry?
Trailer for Resurrecting Harry

wOw, Constance! Way to hook a reader! Thanks for coming on the blog today to talk about the inspiration for your latest novel. If you missed the review of RESURRECTING HARRY that I posted yesterday, you can see it here.

To buy your own copy and read this fun story, here are the links:

About the Author...

Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff. When she's not writing about fairies, shifters, vamps, and guardian angels, she's working side-by-side with her husband in their hardwood flooring business.

Constance is actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA) and the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club. When not writing or enjoying the outdoors, she loves reality television or can be found at a Rick Springfield concert (just look for the pink Converse high tops).

Constance blogs regularly at You can also follow her on Twitter or friend her on Facebook.