Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Feature: SOMETHING WICKED by Carol Oates, #NewRelease, #Excerpt, #Vampire, #Giveaway

by Carol Oates
Add to Goodreads
Buy from Amazon | B&N

Infected by the vampire virus on the streets of Dublin in 1886, the search for a cure brought Henry Clayton to London and to the brink of madness. Salvation and friendship arrived in the form of Dougal, an immortal Highlander with a devilish sense of humor and a love of life.

Amidst turmoil in vampire society, Henry returns to modern day Dublin. The Circle, a cult determined to awaken their Celtic blood god, the first vampire, is once again active.

When Henry meets a young American woman who sees past his human pretense, he fears exposure. However, his fear is overshadowed by curiosity. What is the source of the strange energy between them? Why are vampires stalking her? Determined to find answers, Henry takes Ari into his home and under his protection.

As their connection grows, Henry begins to suspect Ari isn't what she claims to be. Their shared history may hold the answers to his uncontrollable bouts of rage and thirst. Perhaps, even a cure for his wicked blood.

19th century

“It’s not very inventive.” The Scot caught up to me.

“I beg your pardon.”

“No need for begging, brother, I give it freely.” He chuckled at his own ridiculous joke. “The name, The Leather Apron” He rolled his eyes and waved his fingers by his head in a gesture I felt sure meant to insinuate fright, but came nearer to emulating a fit of some sort. “Well, aprons don’t exactly instill terror, eh?” 

I noticed the intensity of his accent fluctuated, indicating he had probably travelled extensively outside his homeland. 

“How about The Ripper—‘Jack the Ripper’?”

I spared him a sidelong glance in question and he scratched his temple. 

“I knew a man named Jamie once, well hardly more than a boy really, but a big bugger. Legs as thick as tree trunks and a face that looked like his mother dropped him a few times. Anyway, when he swung a sword, sure it’d nearly cut men in two. They called him The Ripper.”

“So why not ‘Jamie the Ripper’?”

“Och, we’re in England. A good English name for an English madman.”

I flinched at his insult, but he didn’t appear to notice. “So what happened to The Ripper?”

“I killed him.” 

I hummed thoughtfully. “The Ripper got ripped.”

“So, where are we going?” enquired my new acquaintance, appearing suddenly anxious for a shift in the direction of our conversation. 

“We are going nowhere,” I answered flatly.

A weathered preacher stood at the junction of the Whitechapel high street, half-crazed and hollering at the top of his lungs to a rag tag captive audience. He called on them to repent and return to God, lest they be struck down for their sins.

I chuckled darkly. Now I was doing God’s work.

The preacher’s glassy eyes grazed across the two mysterious, beautiful gentlemen passing by his improvised pulpit. He heart stuttered out an uneven beat. By the sound of it, the man would be dead before the week was out—a blockage of some sort, preventing steady blood flow.

“Keep your pretty speeches, old man. Own the salvation of your soul before mine. He has already struck me down and I will rage against His damnation until the heavens burn and He feels the heat of the fire He cast me into.” The perfect vision of a tiny child’s hand dripping blood fortified my whispered vow, too low for the preacher to hear.

“How do you move?” The other vampire asked curiously, his eyes narrowed briefly, all joviality suddenly gone.

“I beg your pardon, sir?”

“That weight you wear around your neck like chains.”

I pursed my lips and continued walking. He was persistent—I had to give him that—and almost childlike in his enthusiasm, albeit a naughty child. I couldn’t help wondering what his story was.

With no warning or explanation, I experienced a pressure at my breastbone, as though a hand pressed over my chest. My own covered the curious warmth. I experienced the strangest sensation of being observed, of someone staring at the back of my head. I turned, searching. However, as quickly as it manifested, the sensation vanished and the only thing I felt was the London chill settling deep into my bones.

“I live a good distance west,” I told the vampire. “Keep up or I will leave you behind.”

“Nae problem. I’m Dougal, by the way.”

Carol Oates came into the world on Christmas morning, in an elevator. Raised just across the street from the childhood home of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, it was only a matter of time before Carol’s love of all things supernatural would emerge. 

She began experimenting with fiction at school and keeps the notebook containing her first unpublished novel in her desk drawer. Over three decades later, all her stories still begin life scrawled on paper. 

When not writing, Carol can be found exploring history, old buildings, castles, and tombs.

MY KIND OF CRAZY featured over at Tricia Schneider's Book Spotlight, with #excerpt

My most recent romance from The Wild Rose Press is in the spotlight today at Author Tricia Schneider's blog, including a steamy excerpt (hey, it's PG-13, no worries!)

Hop over and visit - and if you haven't read MY KIND OF CRAZY yet, grab a copy for your Kindle. At less than $5, it's an inexpensive way to visit Cape Cod and get swept away from reality for a few hours. 

Happy Reading to All!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

MY KIND OF CRAZY featured today at The Velvet Lair

Today I'm visiting The Velvet Lair blog, talking about first kisses and MY KIND OF CRAZY. I've even got an excerpt of the sparks that zing when Kendall and Jon first kiss (something t heat up this cold January morning!)

So click the blog title above to hop over for a visit. Let us know what you like to read in a first kiss scene!

And be sure to stop by here again tomorrow for an excerpt from Carol Oates latest vampire romance, SOMETHING WICKED. It's available on Kindle as of last week (bought it the first day!) Finished it (before the blizzard) and loved it! Review soon, but be sure to stop by for a taste and a #giveaway here tomorrow! Here's a teaser:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Writing Wednesday: When Life Gets in the Way

I had plans for this week. Big plans.

I have a beta reader all lined up for my next romance, and last week I cruised along - only a few thousand words and the last day of the adventure to write in a frenzy and hit send to my critique friend. I even had a list of projects written down for bouts of writer's block. Nothing like organizing a closet to work through a sticky plot point.

Saturday I got a phone call that put me in a funk, and an email that knocked the wind out of my sails. I decided to take the day off from writing and just read. Just one day. Maybe two.

And then the "snowpocolypse" hit Cape Cod.

My sister came to stay for the duration, wine in hand. We snowshoed through the empty streets, kept the vents clear, baked cookies and pies and breads, played games with the kids, laughed a lot, watched movies, drank wine...

...and did no reading or writing at all.

Now I need to shovel out... and then get back to writing. And it's already Wednesday.

What do you do when life gets in the way of writing? Tips? Tricks? Advice? Any and all words of wisdom welcome.

And now, back to shoveling snow instead of words.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Book Review: THE BLEMISHED, by Sarah Dalton

The Blemished, by Sarah Dalton
Published 2012

About the Book (from Goodreads):
A beautiful world comes at a price...

In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child.

Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to…

The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It has so much potential to the storyline, and the situations and dilemmas facing the characters are interesting....but something is missing.

It's all first person POV from the main character, a 15-year-old "blemished" girl named Mina Hart who has some interesting powers. The dystopian future world is set in the English countryside, after the government has been overthrown by a genetic corporation that promises "perfect" children. No one is allowed to give birth naturally anymore, and all the "natural" people are labeled "blemished" and relegated to serving positions and ghettos. Blemished girls are sterilized when they turn 16.

There are resistance fighters trying to retake the government, but the lower classes are afraid to fight back. The corporation controls everything. Mina's mother left years before to join the resistance, and now Mina and her new friends need to flee before anyone learns of her particular genetic mutation and the kinetic power of her mind.

Like I said, all cool concepts, but the execution is missing something. The characters alternate between acting too young and too old for their given ages. Some of the interactions between classes are not believable.The subjugation of the majority isn't well explained nor is the timeline well defined. Maybe the answers lie in the next book of the series? I'm not sure, but am disappointed with so many loose ends.

This book was featured as a free read on Book Bub, and I see it hit #2 in Amazon's dystopian YA Kindle books and hope this self-published author the best of luck turning this success into something sustainable. I know she has more books in this series but I don't think I will be continuing on this author's journey.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: FEARLESS by Tawdra Kandle

Fearless (Book One of the King Series) by Tawdra Kandle
Published 2012 by Hayson Publishing

About the Book (from Goodreads):
Tasmyn Vaughn didn't expect much when her dad’s job moved them to a small town in Florida; it was just another new school. But there is more to King than meets the eye, and soon Tasmyn’s ability to hear other’s thoughts is the least of her worries. Entangled in a web of first love, quirky and secretive townsfolk, magic and blood rituals, she discovers the town’s secrets aren’t just bizarre, they’re deadly.
Fearless is a paranormal romance set in present day Florida, combining contemporary high school scenarios with witchcraft and ESP. The author does a good job creating interesting characters and settings, and setting up a world of characters to start this series.

Tasmyn is a high school junior, new to her school and to Florida in general.  Her family moves around the country a lot, both for her father's work and to keep her unique abilities a secret.

Tas can hear other peoples thoughts and feelings, and her parents fear the ability will land her in some government facility. While their paranoia might seem a little overblown, the mindreading does  seem to keep landing her in trouble quite frequently.

Right from the start, she meets a boy, Michael, whom she can't keep the secret from.  He's inexplicably drawn to her and their relationship is a whirlwind affair of insta love for both of them, which gives her an instant ally and insight into the strange insular community her family has moved to.

Founded by carnie folk years before, there are supernatural and mysterious elements afoot in the town, as well as witchcraft. Tas gets herself embroiled in a mean girl scenario with the head of the popular group, with her mindreading skills giving her strange visions of what the girls are planning.

The storyline held my interest inasmuch as I wanted to read to the end, but the plot twists were predictable and the insta-love was not all that believable. For someone who has spent her entire life hiding her gift and not having any friends, Tasmyn jumps into this new world of boyfriend-full-disclosure pretty quickly. Her parents also don't react how I would have expected, if they've spent their entire lives hiding their daughter's talents.

This is the first book of a series about these characters, but frankly I won't be reading more of them.  Interesting read, but in the end not as satisfying as I would have hoped.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writing Wednesday: Kickstart your 2015 writing with Suz deMello's ABOUT WRITING

It's a new year and I'm renewing my commitment to both this blog and my writing career. As in, I need to take it all a lot more seriously.Write every day. Blog about more than book reviews and promos. Talk about, think about, seriously discuss both the craft and business of writing. And most of all, write.

Do you have new writing goals for the new year? I'd love to hear what other authors are thinking and your plans to take your writing to the next level. (I can use all the encouragement I can find!)

 * * * *

When fellow romance author Suz deMello, aka Sue Swift, contacted me recently to see if I wanted to feature her latest book about writing, I said sure. A book (or two) about writing should definitely get onto my TBR list sooner rather than later! Here's what she sent me about her new book, ABOUT WRITING.

Both of Suz deMello’s writing manuals - Plotting and Planning and Write This Not That, are now in one handy paperback.

Here’s what folks said about Plotting and Planning:

Sue has written a concise manual that is valuable for both beginning and seasoned writers. Going to write a book? Read this first!
--Bestselling suspense author Kylie Brant

Suz deMello's PLOTTING AND PLANNING is a concise, informative, and entertaining look at writing a novel.
--Paranormal author Silver James

Not only did Write This, Not That! reach #2 on Amazon’s writing reference list, but it also garnered many five star reviews:

Five stars...good advice and fun to read.
--Jo Frye

Five stars... Kudos to the author for a well-written manual!
--Book CraZ

Five stars from me... This short guide covers the essentials and is
useful for both new and experienced writers.
--Author Catherine Cavendish


About Suz deMello:

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written nineteen books in several subgenres, including nonfiction, memoir, erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

Stalk Suzie online:

--Find her books at
--For editing services, email her at
--Befriend her on Facebook:
--She tweets @Suzdemello
--Her current blog is

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Book Review: ANGEL DREAMS, #New Release by Jody Kessler

Angel Dreams, by Jody Kessler
Published January 15, 2015
Book 2 in An Angel Falls series

About the Book:
Supernatural boundaries will be crossed as Angel of Death, Nathaniel Evans, risks his eternal soul to save the one he loves, the paranormally gifted and nature-loving, Juliana Crowson.
While working with a new client, Nathaniel finds out that pissing off a demon-wielding warlock in order to help a suicidal teen with misplaced sexual tendencies may be the last thing he ever does as an angel. Unable to stand aside, Juliana’s involvement in Nathaniel’s new case quickly develops into a misadventure with gun-toting bikers, table dancing, and a shamanic exorcism performed by her temperamental Native American friend, Chris Abeyta.
Can Nathaniel and Juliana’s love endure blood-letting rituals in the forest while helping a terrified teen find the will to live, or will fate and the rules of the afterlife tear them eternally apart?
My Take:

I totally loved the first book in this series, Death Lies Between Us, even re-reading it again recently before getting the opportunity for an ARC of book 2.  If you haven't read the first book yet, definitely grab a copy and immerse yourself in this world.

Jody Kessler has done it again with another absorbing tale of angels working with humans to combat the darkness, set against the lush beauty of the Colorado mountains. ANGEL DREAMS is a great sequel packed with action, romantic tension and suspense. Her characters are complex and believable, even as they find themselves in totally incredible supernatural situations.

Nineteen-year-old Juliana Crowson has unique abilities that even she doesn't fully understand. The fact that she can see see angels and spirits is only the start. Her boyfriend Nathaniel Evans is not only an angel, but an angel of death. Or rather, he was until botching his last assignment.

Nathaniel has been reassigned to another division, and given the task of helping a scared girl with suicidal tendencies. But there is more to this girl's story than Nathaniel realizes and it drags both him and Juliana into a dark and twisted adventure.

Nathaniel has his own inner conflicts to work through, but he is my favorite angel book hero boyfriend. I love that he has layers of emotion and self doubt, and his feelings for Juliana are also so complex and so sweet.

Some secondary characters from the first book appear in this story, including the local native medicine man, Chris Abeyta, who is more fully fleshed out than he was in the first book, making him a real person with real feelings and motivations. One of the new characters we meet was so super evil he made my skin crawl, and I couldn't stop reading, wondering how in the world Juliana would defeat such a monster.

While the plot and characters are not as straight forward as the first book, I enjoyed this quite a bit and can't wait for the third book in the series. Totally recommend this author and this series to fans of angel/demon paranormal romance!

(And it's on sale NOW for 99 cents for your Kindle. Grab a copy today! And visit Facebook for more great opportunities and giveaways at Jody's Angel Falls celebration event!)

About the Author:
When Jody isn’t navigating the terrain of her imagination and writing it down, she can be found exploring the wilderness of Colorado with her family, or in the kitchen baking cookies & brownies – and then trying not to eat them all. She’s passionate about continuing to learn and reads anything and everything that catches her interest. Jody is a full time mom, a Reiki Master, and has taught Hatha yoga for over a decade.

Jody’s debut novel, Death Lies Between Us, is the winner of RomCon’s Readers’ Crown award for best Paranormal Romance in 2014. She is currently working on a historical time travel series set in Montana in the 1860’s. The first book in the series, The Night Medicine, will be published in March 2015.

Jody A. Kessler invites you to visit with her at:, or on Facebook & Twitter
For a chance to win a $10 amazon gift card or a signed paperback of the Death Lies Between Us (An Angel Falls, #1) please enter the rafflecopter!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Feature: #New Release! STORMEE WATERS by Lynda Coker, #TWRP

Earlier this month, I did a cover reveal for my fellow Wild Rose Press author, Lynda Coker, and her new book STORMEE WATERS. The book released this week and as my Friday Feature, I've got a short interview with the author and a quick excerpt from this new contemporary romance!

Hi, Lynda! Tell us about your writing space.

I have one room in the house that doubles as a writing and art studio. My author area occupies one side and my artsy stuff occupies the other. They don't seem to mind sharing the same space. 

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I love fabric and I enjoy designing original art pieces for my home.            

What books might we find on your bedside table?

At the moment, you'd find 18 books of varied genres and lengths. Since I enjoy doing book reviews for my blog, I read a diverse range of stories, including nonfiction. 

Describe yourself in three words.
Dreamer - Procrastinator - Romantic

What do you do when fresh ideas just won't come?

I stop writing and start day-dreaming, playing the what if game. I think about where I’m stuck in the story and start questioning every conceivable plot change, personality twist, motive, conflict, and resolution. In playing the game, I guess you could say that I really go off the deep end... What I mean is, I reach for the extreme, fanatical, impossible, or crazy answers. None of those ever end up in my stories, but they serve as springboards to new ideas and inspiration. 

What is your favorite thing you've written? 

My favorite is always the last one finished, in this case, STORMEE WATERS. I think that is because I've been married to this book for the last year throughout the submission, contract, edits and release launch. If a writer doesn't love the book, they won't get through this process.

What do you think makes good writing? 

For fiction, a writer must tell the story that lingers in their mind and heart, from their perspective, with their feelings. Tell the story they would like to read. I want characters that aren't perfect so that through their struggles and change, I come to care about them and want to stay in their story, even wondering how their lives are progressing long after I've finished the book.

Where can readers find you online?



EXCERPT from Stormee Waters:

“How old are you?” His tone possessed a clipped edge of exasperation.

What does my age matter? Mortified, she fidgeted with the small purse she held in her lap.

“You blush and fidget like a little girl.”

To her astonishment, and with more force than necessary, he closed her door, circled the car, and
slipped back behind the wheel. A few minutes later, he parked in front of the Stardust Restaurant. 

This time, when her door opened, he helped her out and led her toward the restaurant’s entrance, stopping just short to maneuver her into a secluded niche in the building’s exterior.

With her back against the rock wall, Stormee muttered, “What are you doing?”

“Time to make up for leaving me standing in your doorway.”

Shock kept her immobile, while the sweetest pleasure she’d ever experienced sensitized her mouth beyond bearing. With unhurried, soft kisses, he explored the corners of her clenched lips. Mrs. Stanton’s warning echoed in her ears. “Remember to keep it professional, Stormee. He’s not the kind of man you’re used to dealing with.” She pushed away the annoying memory as he wet her bottom lip with his tongue.


About the Book: 
Dirk Savage never fails to acquire what he wants until he encounters Stormee Waters and a backwash of trouble...
Stormee Waters knows about hard times. Needing to care for her aging grandmother and teenage brother, she moves to Houston, Texas and takes a writing job for a popular magazine. Her first assignment is to interview a successful business man for a series of articles entitled, Make My Man Texas-Sized. Her target, Dirk Savage, appears to have the right criteria. He's adventurous with the air of a conqueror. Admired by his peers and coveted by beauty queens and debutantes, he's just the type of man that Stormee needs to make her first article sizzle and sell. But can she handle the heat when she catches his attention?
Dirk Savage is used to acquiring what he wants, except in the illusive quest for the one woman who can fill his heart. The shock of discovering her in the naive young woman assigned to interview him sets his jaded emotions on high alert. Can he convince her that his pursuit is genuine?

Available from The WildRose Press OR Buy it on AMAZON

About the Author: 
Lynda is an author of contemporary romance that lingers in a reader’s mind long after they’ve closed the book. She lives in Northeast Texas with her husband of fifty years. They enjoy traveling, trying new foods, spending time with family and friends, and doing community service work together. When she feels the need to take a break from writing, she enjoys creating fabric art.  She offers an open invitation to view both her writing and fabric art on her blog.