Tuesday, July 17, 2018

#Review: LORD OF SECRETS by Erica Ridley



  3 of 5 stars

I've read several of Ms. Ridley's books and was looking forward to another good read. Unfortunately, this one wasn't one of my favorites. Miss Eleanora (Nora) Winfield is summoned to London to be a companion to her cousin who has broken her leg. While there, she unwittingly becomes the latest gossip when one of her drawings was sent to a publisher by her brother with the condition that Nora's name not be mentioned. As more of her scandalous caricatures are published, Nora becomes more nervous that her secret identity will be revealed. Mr. Heath Grenville has been hired by Nora's aunt to uncover the identity of the artist. This sets up the angst throughout the book.

I was not a fan of the content waxing back and forth from Nora about how she could never belong in Heath's world and him doing the same thing. This was mentioned in almost every chapter and it got old really fast. I understood the ramifications of any relationship between these two as being impossible without it being mentioned constantly. I also thought the ending was anti-climatic. It was resolved in a few paragraphs after the big secret was revealed. It just didn't seem to do the story justice.

While I loved reading more about the Grenville's, this book fell short of the other ones in the series. That's not to say that I won't be reading more of Ms. Ridley's stories.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review and was not obligated to leave a review.

Monday, July 16, 2018

#Excerpt: MARGARITAS, MAYHEN & MURDER by Mary Cunningham


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mary will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work! But is Ruby a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.

In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.

Excerpt:

“Señorita Jones?”

I know that voice. I was stupidly listening to the still-ringing phone when a tall man in a uniform slid a pair of aviator sunglasses to the top of his head and stepped toward me. I locked onto smoky hazel eyes. “Ye-yesss. I’m Miss Jones. But, how did you know?”

“Oh, we have our ways.” The corners of his mouth turned up as he pointed to his badge. “I’m Sheriff Gonzales. We spoke on the phone.”

I got nothing. Total loss for words. Even my wildest dreams couldn’t have pictured this square-jawed, golden-skinned, Aztec god, straight out of GQ Magazine. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ruby.

“I was already in the area on official business, and finished in time to meet your flight. I’m parked at the curb. May I take your bag?”

I blinked a couple of times. “What? No, thank you, Sheriff, I can handle it myself. I appreciate the ride, but I could’ve taken a taxi, you know,” I lied and disconnected the phone call to Ellie.

“Considering the stressful nature of the situation, I thought it best someone pick you up. Finding transportation into the city can be confusing. I wanted to blurt out, you might be the most handsome man I’ve seen in my life, but I said, “That might be true for the average tourist, but I’m a travel agent, perfectly capable of finding my way through the city.” I adjusted the strap of my carryon bag, tossed my head, and walked into the side of a trashcan. 



Review Blurbs for Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder!

“If Evanovich's Stephanie Plum were a travel agent, she'd fit right in working this case alongside Andi, a wanna-be detective readers are sure to love.” —Regan Black, USA Today bestselling author of the Escape Club Heroes and Knight Traveler novels.

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder...WOW. Snappy dialog, quirky characters, opens with a curious bang and yanked me through the pages. A fun, fantastic read. —Jean Rabe, USA Today Bestselling author, Piper Blackwell Mysteries.

“Grab a margarita and hold on tight; you're in for a wild ride.” —Karen MacInerney, Agatha Award nominee and author of the Dewberry Farms Mysteries

“Charming, lively, and unpredictable, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder excels in a vivid story mystery fans will relish.”—Diane Donovan, Senior Editor Midwest Book Review
 

Buy Links Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076N6KBM3
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/margaritas-mayhem-murder-mary-cunningham/1127355519?type=eBook
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/756600
Google Play: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/margaritas-mayhem-murder

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/ books/view/756600

About the Author:

Author, Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.

Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia's Attic. The setting is in her childhood home in Southern Indiana. Family stories and ancestors comprise the storylines. There are currently five books in the series: The Missing Locket, The Magic Medallion, Curse of the Bayou, The Magician’s Castle, and Legend of Lupin Woods.

Through a horrifying stint as a travel agent, the character, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, inspired her latest adult mystery series. Book # 1, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder was released Nov. 30, 2017. The author is currently writing Book # 2 of the series, along with another middle-grade series, The Adventures of Max and Maddie, a historical time-travel, and the biography of a former Army brat/University of Connecticut women’s basketball player who started a non-profit foundation to create scholarships for children of deployed veterans.

Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild.

When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband and adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.

Find Mary on Social Media:

Website: https://www.marycunninghambooks.com
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/marycunninghambooks
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaryCunningham
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marycunningham1/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/367223.Mary_Cunningham
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLNEK4

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Friday, July 13, 2018

$.99 #SALE: Regency Romance DARE TO LOVE A SPY by Debra Elizabeth



 Excerpt:

Camden’s gaze swept over Hannah Richardson, watching the gentle sway of her hips as she walked away. He could see she had a small waist, and just for a moment, he wondered what other delights he’d find under all that silk. She had surprised him with her directness, especially in one so young. He admired her spirit and wondered how she would feel in his arms while he kissed her sweet lips, but he knew that was impossible, especially in his line of work. She was someone he would court, but he would not allow himself that privilege; it was too dangerous. It was best not to become attached to anyone, although the thought of Hannah pressed against him sent a pang of longing and need through his core. It had been far too long since he’d enjoyed the pleasures of a woman. “A delightful young lady,” he said, turning toward Mary. “A bit forward for her first Season though. I would not put it past some of the ton to label her that or worse yet, loose if they overhear her.”
“She’s a handful, Camden,” Mary said, expelling a sigh. “Why do you think I’m hosting her this Season instead of her parents? They had wanted her to wait another year to curb her wild streak, but Hannah can be relentless when she wants something.”
“I’m sure you have the matter quite in hand, but there is something else I need to discuss with you, most especially without anyone else overhearing us.”
Mary nodded. “Of course, walk with me to the refreshment table, and we’ll find a quiet corner in which to speak.”
Camden extended his arm and escorted her around the dancing couples. With glasses of punch in hand, Mary nodded to the far corner.
When they took their seats at the small table, Mary raised her fan and whispered, “What is so urgent that you must relay the information here? This is most unexpected. I like it not.”
“I’m sorry for talking about this at your dinner party, but it’s terrible news I bring you. I would not have intruded on you otherwise.”
A look of alarm passed over Mary’s face. “What news?”
“White Knight is gone.” Camden watched as Mary digested the news.
She fanned herself furiously and blinked back the tears welling in her eyes. When she was able to compose herself, she asked, “When did it happen, and do we know who did this?”
Camden shook his head. “His body was found down at the docks a few hours ago, and I’m afraid there are no clues at the moment. It’s a mystery why he would be down at the docks at all. I swear to you that I will find his killer. He will not get away with this horrendous act. He had to have been very clever indeed to take down White Knight.”
“Are you sure it was a he?”
He paused at her question. Could that be how White Knight had been compromised? “Mary, you might be on to something. How else could he have been found out and attacked? He was far too careful to have been fooled so easily.”
Mary took a sip of her punch. “He wouldn’t be the first man to be undone by a pretty woman. It’s a possibility, that is all I’m suggesting.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Blurb:
Miss Hannah Richardson is enjoying a Season in London. She's not looking for a husband, at least not this Season. She wants to enjoy herself before settling down to married life. All that changes, however, when she sees the Duke of Wetherby. He's tall, dark and impossibly handsome and someone Hannah wants to get to know better.

Camden Darkin, the Duke of Wetherby, is not fond of attending soirees, dinners or balls, but his latest mission for the Crown demands he mingle with the ton. He has vowed not to marry because of his dangerous work and the constant bevy of beauties anxious mothers throw into his path is not tempting him in the least. That is, until he meets Hannah Richardson, a young woman unlike any other he's ever met. Can he learn to love or will his hardened heart rob him of the very thing he needs the most?

ONLY $.99!
Amazon buy link:

Reviewer Comments:

5 stars "I loved the murder-mystery flair thatseemed present and the deliciously tense undertone of the spy network.These points gave lots of flavor to the budding romance and caused lotsof conflict well so we ended up with a really meaty story" Unabridged Andra

4 stars "A very well-written book, I highly recommend it for those who love a witty, fast-paced Regency romance." Notes from a Romantic Heart

5 stars "Besides the strong love story plot there is also a murder mystery plot. I love a good love story, but a murder mystery just added another level and dimension to the story - plus an extra star in this review." Ally, Goodreads reader

5 stars "All in all, Dare to Love a Spy is a charming love story with an intriguing mystery to boot, and I recommend it to any fans of historical romance." Anna, Goodreads reader

4 stars "This story pulled me in from the first digital page and I carried my Kindle all over the house, reading while I cooked, baked cookies, and fed my toddler!" Dawn, Goodreads reader

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Interview with Alina Jacobs, THE SUCCESSOR


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
The Successor is the start of a series about the Holbrook family. (The books can be read in sequence or as standalone novels.) The Successor follows Grant Holbrook as he transforms from marine to the heir to a multi-billion dollar fortune and one of the leaders of a major corporation. Grant was given up for adoption as an infant. Part of the inherent drama in the story is the tension in the new relationship between Grant and his birth family. He was only brought back into the Holbrook family after a major family tragedy that has shaken the Holbrook clan. Now Grant has been thrown into a nest of family resentments and secrets, and is forced to navigate it without a map.
 
To help him through this entanglement is Kate Thurlow, the executive assistant to Grant's birth father. Kate and Grant fall for each other almost immediately, but Kate is held back by her professional obligations in addition to her own dark secrets. She doesn't necessarily want a forbidden relationship with Grant to become another secret she has to keep, but she can't help herself!

The Successor follows Grant's and Kate's relationship and includes a heaping side of upper class family drama in one fantastic full length novel! 

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
All the time! In The Successor, Nancy was originally a side character and just a family friend. She evolved into a full-fledge Holbrook (by marriage) and is now an integral part of the story and a mother figure to several characters as well as an actual mother to two of the cousins.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
My day job is an architect and so I am beholden to the whims of the client, who is more often than not a large corporation. I had no desire to also deal with that in the context of writing and publishing. I like being an Indi author because I have a more immediate connection to the readers.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I like to listen to music, but I find that my writing quality and speed suffers when I do. I really need all of my brain for writing, and especially for editing.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
No plan is better than a bad plan, but all of my plans end up thrown by the wayside as characters tend to get angry if you push them to do things they don't want to do.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes! I use Red Adept Editing and they do such a great job. They catch every little mistake and provide excellent commentary. I couldn't do this without them!

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Patience. Also to be more assertive. I think as women we are taught not to tout our accomplishments because it sounds bossy. But in Indi publishing you sort of have to self-promote if you want any measure of success. The skills and mindset I've had to learn has been helpful not just in self-publishing but in the rest of my life as well.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Absolutely. Creating a plan and a schedule ahead of time helps because I don't have to worry in the moment about whether or not I am forgetting to do anything. I consult the schedule and do what it tells me to do.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I love architecture and design. My favorite thing to do is to travel to a new city and walk around, look at cool buildings, and eat great food.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs! I like to give them small roles in my novels. Chocolate because duh. Tea, especially green tea. Text because I have horrible phone reception. Day becase I'm definitely a morning person. 


The Successor
Alina Jacobs
(Holbrook Cousin’s Saga, #1)
Publication date: July 5th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He’s gone from the battlefield to the boardroom; now this billionaire has to win his girl.
Hot tempered Grant Holbrook has just returned to the states and he’s already in trouble.
In jail and estranged from his adoptive parents, Grant thinks his luck is turning around when Kate, his birth father’s gorgeous assistant walks into the police station to bail him out.
As the newly discovered heir to a multi-billion dollar fortune, Grant is the talk of New Cardiff, his father’s exclusive New England hometown, and not everyone is happy that he’s there.
Deemed the most eligible bachelor in America, Grant has to run an international corporation and fend off the woman that want him.
But there is one woman who won’t throw herself at him—Kate.
How can he convince her that he needs her in his life not just for a night but for the rest of his life?
Sleeping with the boss’s heir is not in her job description.
Kate has sworn off men. After a string of bad relationships culminating in the absolute worst night of her life, Kate promised herself she was going to concentrate on her career and bury all of her bad decisions.
But when her billionaire boss asks her to find his long lost heir after a Holbrook family tragedy, Kate finds herself falling for the volatile Grant—but she cannot give in. She would lose her job and ruin her reputation if she were caught sleeping with her boss’s son.
Kate is the executive assistant of billionaire Walter Holbrook, and she prides herself in achieving the impossible. But when Grant starts pursuing her, he may be the one problem Kate won’t be able to solve.
As secrets from her past start to resurface, will it drive her into his arms or will she ultimately resist Grant Holbrook?
The Successor is book 1 in the Holbrook Cousins Saga, but can be read as a standalone novel. This 80,000 word steamy romance novel has no cliffhangers but a very happily ever after.

Author Bio:
Alina is an architect by day, writer by night. Her favorite thing to do is curl up with a hot drink and a good book. She lives in a large Southern city in an old house with an old dog.
Alina Jacobs is a pen name.




GIVEAWAY!
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#Excerpt: SECRET LIVES OF ROYALS by Shalini Dua


I’m getting a very weird feeling. I consider turning around and leaving, but getting a cab on a cold rainy night before 2AM is going to be tough as they don’t begin frequenting the area until the bars start to close, and the nearest Uber appears to be 25 minutes away. Plus, I did go to all of this trouble to get my lazy self dressed and over here.

There is a crest engraved in brass metal on the front of the red door, an intricately designed crown and some lettering. I tilt my head to read it all the way around. ‘Alea iacta est memores acti prudentes uturi modus operandi’ I read aloud, and below, ‘Posteriori’. I recognize the language as Latin from the three weeks we spent on it during Intro to Languages, which was designed to help us choose one to focus on during our tenure at the university


Against my better judgment, I push on the heavy door, which creaks open. I enter into a cold stone-walled hall with a stone slab floor, lit by what appears to be a row of fire lanterns on each side. I guess this place is a bit behind the times in converting, or maybe they think it’s super ironic and hipster to not jump on the modernization bandwagon. Or maybe it’s me. I’m not exactly the authority on architectural trends. Maybe converted vintage is over and re-vintaged vintage is back in. Ugh, I can’t wait until I’m old and have an excuse not to be hip.

I walk down a windy stone hallway that seems straight out of a period film. Wow, they are really taking this theme seriously. How cool would it be if this stuff was authentic? I take a few pictures with my phone just in case. I mean as Cultures Editor, it’s always nice to be the one to discover the next big thing, like Connor said.

As I round the corner I hear, before I see, a British male mumbling to himself, apparently in debate.

“It’s so bizarre. But it couldn’t be. Could it? Stranger things have happened.”

I find myself face to face with a short-ish man, though taller than me, with glasses, wearing a sports coat with suede elbow patches. I scream in surprise and jump about five feet in the air. He seems slightly taken aback as well but less jumpy than me, or at least less vocal about it. He’s good looking in an intellectual sort of way and his dark floppy hair is conservatively combed back. I’m not sure if he’s startled by our unexpected encounter or my scream, but he does a bit of a double back.

“Sorry,” he recovers charmingly, “I didn’t see you there.”

“No, me either.” I try to breathe. I feel like I know him from somewhere.”

“Stuart Stephens.” He proffers his hand in greeting.

“Olivia Grace Thorpland.” I shake his in return. “But you can call me Gigi.”

“Hello, Gigi. Nice to meet you.” He is impeccably mannered even after our near death collision. Must be the British thing.

“So are you here for the party too?” I inquire. “Do you know where it is?”

“Party?” he asks, confused. “No, I just had a meeting here.”

“Ah, I see,” I say, although I don’t, given the hour. I definitely know him from somewhere. Got it, he’s a comedian.

“Well, care to join me anyway?” I offer politely. After all, he’s British, I’m being a good ambassador. He appears a bit bewildered.

“No, thanks. I best be going.”

“Are you sure? My friends are in there.”

“Really? Your friends are in there?” He seems surprised to see where I’m gesturing.

“Yup,” I tell him confidently.

“Oh, well, thanks for the invite, but I’m completely sure. Thanks anyway,” comes his nervous reply. “But, can I ask you a question?” I nod. “Is this all, um, kosher?”

“I, I, don’t know.” I hesitate. Is he Jewish and British? Is that a thing?

“Well, I’ll let you get on “he says. “Have a good night.”

“You too. Bye,” I reply. And with that, we walk off in opposite directions.

Finally, I reach a semi-circled entryway that has the option of five doors, one straight ahead and two on either side. These are not your ordinary doors either. They are heavy, arched, rustic, dark brown, slated wooden doors. I’m not really in the mood to crash a wedding reception, murder, or worse, a live band performance; and, given that anything could be behind these doorways, I’m about to give up on this expedition completely, when one of the doors, the entryway smack dab in the center, starts to creak open, apparently of its own accord. A feeling of unexpected dread overtakes me. I brace myself, unsure of what to expect to find behind it.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BLURB:

Olivia can’t take it anymore. She’s had enough of the big city and it’s lack of fulfilling her dreams. Then, just when she’s about to give up and move home, out of the blue, she is offered her dream job. Olivia is suspicious but that could just be the New York in her. She decides not to pull at threads. Despite her best efforts to remain blissfully oblivious, the secret to her life upgrade is soon uncovered when she finds herself invited to be part of a secret society.

Olivia learns that there is a thin curtain separating our world from theirs. Just beneath the surface, an entirely different one exists. One that is controlled by those of Royal lineage. The chosen ones, the Royals, hold the fate of the world in their hands. Will Olivia be able to bear the weight of the crown?

Confessions of a Shopaholic meets The Adjustment Bureau, this contemporary fairytale is both relatable and aspirational. Taking a look at the current balance of media and power with a healthy dose of humor, fashion, food and wanderlust.

BUY LINKS

 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

An international upbringing and a love of stories laid the foundation for wanderlust. Shalini aspires to spend her time country-hopping and consuming pop-culture, comedy and good food but the reality is often frantically downing coffee, meeting deadlines at exactly the last second and working her unglamorous corporate job to fund all of the other pursuits.

The Secret Lives of Royals is Shalini’s debut novel. Her other work includes published poetry and scripts only she has read.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

#Review: WAGERING FOR MISS BLAKE by Callie Hutton



  3 of 5 stars
 
Mr. Giles Templeton, third son of the Earl of Wexford, first saw Miss Suzanna Blake at a wedding and decides in that moment that she's the woman he'll marry. However, Suzanna, will only encourage men with a title. This sets up the battle of wills with Giles confident that he'll win her hand in the end.

This wasn't a bad book, but I didn't care for how arrogant Giles was in assuming just because he has decreed he'll marry Suzanna, that he would actually be able do it and Suzanna wasn't honest with Giles about her directive of marrying a man with a title. She let him and everyone believe that she was shallow in looking for a husband. There was a lot of internal dialogue throughout the book that was repeated over and over again. That got old pretty quick.

I have read other books by Ms. Hutton and while this one wasn't my favorite, I'll certainly read more of her books.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review and was not obligated to leave a review.

Monday, July 9, 2018

#Review: LAIRD OF BLACK ISLE by Paula Quinn



  5 of 5 stars
 
Lachlan MacKenzie has a tortured soul for the past 2 years ever since his wife and daughter were murdered. He tracked down the 13 men responsible and killed them all, but it gave him no peace. He returned to Black Isle and became pretty much a hermit while still helping out the tenants who depended on him. When word comes to him that the unsavory Sinclair knows where his daughter is, Lachlan has no choice but to agree to Sinclair's terms and kidnap Mailie MacGregor and deliver her to Sinclair in exchange for the information about his daughter. What Lachlan didn't count on is for falling for the feisty Mailie. Can he do the honorable thing and release Mailie or will he do anything to find out if his daughter is alive?

I absolutely loved this book. I could feel Lachlan's pain and why he has become a hermit, thinking he had nothing to live for. Mailie, a loving and tender soul, slowly with tenderness and kindness shows Lachlan he could have a different future. The interaction and the chemistry between these two were wonderful and totally believable. I wasn't sure how all the plot points would be resolved, but Ms. Quinn does a fantastic job of wrapping up the story while keeping the reader turning the pages until the last one. Definitely recommend this one for fans who love Scottish romances.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review, but I was not obligated to leave a review.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Interview with Alan Lampe, Bill's Cajun House of Pleasure: A Romp in the Swamp of Historic Proportions


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series? 
Bill Valencourt is the oldest resident at Our Lady of Sorrows Nursing Home in Louisiana in 2024. He reluctantly agrees to tell his life story to Times-Picayune reporter Jimmie Rains. His tale begins in the swamps of Louisiana in 1939. His girlfriend, Anne Marie, is learning voodoo from her mother and wants him to live with her in the swamp. He works at his uncle’s bordello, a dilapidated shotgun house in Bayou Cove. His uncle’s employees convince him to stay in town and dump Anne Marie. After his uncle’s untimely death and World War II, Bill spends the rest of the nineteen-forties with Ariel, his uncle’s best girl, in Amsterdam.

Back in Bayou Cove, Anne Marie plots revenge as only a voodoo woman scorned can.
An accident with a piano brings Bill back to the swamps. He runs a bigger and better bordello than his uncle ever did, but still pines for his missing Ariel. Along the way, he employs a one-legged former trapeze artist, a red-haired hellion and the largest hooker west of the Mississippi, Hurricane Gussy. Nearby walnut farm workers and the long arm of the law visit his Cajun House of Pleasure often.

Through all the exploits, he swears he sees the shade of Ariel nightly. His girls think he’s crazy. In the summer of 1969, Ariel’s ghost confronts him for the final time. But will he survive the encounter?

This is not part of a series.

Do you have a favorite character?
I would have to say it is Top Shelf. He’s a migrant worker and is learning how things are done in America. He’s up for anything at any time and is always ready to share a drink with you. I had the most fun with him because he is the most flexible of all the characters in the book.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I did. I queried a publisher on-line, and then five at the Ozark Writer’s Conference. Oghma Creative Media liked my pitch and offered me a contract.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
I had the manuscript finished for about a year before I received the contract from Oghma. It was signed in November and by the following March, my publisher had my manuscript.

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first or latest book.
I started writing Bill’s Cajun House of Pleasure on Super Bowl Sunday in 2011. It took me a little over three years to write the manuscript and get it critiqued through my workshop group. Getting the contract only took six months, from when I queried a publisher on-line to signing with Oghma. It took 13 months to go through the publishing process with Oghma.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Yes, I belong to a critique group. It is Fiction Forge and we meet at our local library every Thursday. This group helped me improve my writing and pointed out inconsistencies with my manuscript. Critique groups are extremely helpful to any author.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I outline my stories, however, if my characters want to go off course, I let them. It’s then my job to get them back on track from wherever they went. When they do that sometimes, it can really make the story better than I would have imagined.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
It is available on the Barnes and Noble website.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am on Twitter (@AlanLampeAuthor) and Facebook (AlanLampeAuthor). I have a blog I update weekly at www.alanlampeauthor.com

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes, marketing is taking up a good chunk of time now, but it needs to be done. If no one knows about my book, I won’t make a sale and I won’t be successful. I have two nights I set aside for writing and several other nights of the week I am marketing.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I collect playing cards. My collection includes over 2,200 decks. They are from all over the world and mainly include souvenir/marketing/used casino decks.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs / Chocolate / Neither, I’m a water guy / Text for a short answer, talk for a conversation / Day

What’s next for you?
I’m two chapters short of finishing my second manuscript. I’m building a new medieval world where several of the towns/cities are based on actual cities and time periods of medieval Europe. I have Renaissance Italy mingling with Peter the Great’s Russia. I have a Polynesian culture interacting with late 1400s Spain. It’s a lot of fun mixing these environments. It’s a little short of a novel length, so I have room to add around 30,000 words. I hope to get it to my publisher in the fall.

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Author bio:
Alan Lampe has been writing down tales and stories since the second grade. Over the years, his writing matured and was recognized by The National Library of Poetry. They published six of his poems in their anthologies in the late 1990s. Jotting down ideas and cranking out numerous short stories off and on throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, he focused on his writing in 2011 instead of Super Bowl XLV.

Bill’s Cajun House of Pleasure is the brainchild of Alan and his former girlfriend. The first nuggets of this romp in the swamp were hatched eight years ago. Between workshops, critic groups, and conferences, he polished his prose in the following years. Wanting to leave no detail unchecked, he traveled to Louisiana to capture the essence of Cajun life. Wanting to leave no detail unchecked, he traveled to Louisiana to capture the essence of Cajun life.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Guest Post: WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING AN EDITOR by Carol James

Choosing a professional editor is very important, and how to do that is one of the most common questions when it comes to the whole book creation process. Let’s find out, what steps should be taken to hire the good editor.  

The professional editing is the most important part of the writing process; writers work on a book hard, and now it’s time to ship it off to a professional. Sometimes editing can be painful, but it’s also necessary; professional writers offer a variety of editorial services. Editors can do anything from marketability assessment to mentoring services, manuscript critiques evaluations and so on. 

Choosing the most suitable editing package depends on the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript. But how pick the best copyholder? What to look for? Continue the reading. The first step - get the references. 

Countless copyholders are floating around, and it can be had to sift through them all. The easiest way to get started is to ask for the references. Talk to other writers, ask them which editors they’ve worked with and whether or not they recommend them. 

It’s important to keep in mind that references are only valuable if they’re coming from authors who’ve produced quality content. If you’ve read their work and weren’t impressed by it… Guess what, you’re not going to be impressed by their reviser either. Talk to people you trust and respect. Allow them to point you in the appropriate direction. 

The second step – be confident that the proofreader is qualified. 
Believe it or not, one of the easiest ways to narrow down a list of potential editors is to check their qualification. There are lots of self-proclaimed proofreaders. Who think they’re qualified because they took an English class. And lots of people offering editing services are college students with little to no experience.
When combing through copyholders check their credentials, what do their education and experience look like, how long have they been in this field, how many edits do they have under their belts. Their experience should tell you that they know what they’re doing. 

The third step check their past work.
All editors should have a list of their past clients and books they’ve edited available on their website. If a proofreader does not have this information readily available – that is the huge red flag. If that person does have this information available, you need to go through it; check out the books they’ve edited. Are they any good? What do the readers think? The excerpts are available on Amazon; checking out an editor’s past work is the easiest way to get a snapshot of their capabilities. 

The fourth step – check for specialties.
Most editors have some specialty, which is usually genre or category specific. That’s worth paying attention to because if you’re writing a horror novel, you don’t want to work with a copyreader who specializes in romance. Some editors have a broad specialization, and that’s fine, but most credible editors draw the line somewhere.   

  
The fifth step – check their rate.
If someone’s offering insanely cheap rates that are too good to be true, they are not so highly professional or honest with you. While you’re searching editors compare their rate, see what the standard is for your level of edit. And if someone is offering pennies in comparison to the norm, they’re not reliable. 

The sixth step to communicate.
You should never choose an editor without talking to him/her first. Send them an email, start a dialogue, ask them questions. Convince yourself that you are in full agreement of the details, the projected time frame, what this level of edit will entail, the costs involved and how the payments will be transacted. 

The seventh stepget a sample.
After you’ve started discussing a working relationship with a prospective editor, it’s within your rights to ask for a sample edit. This will help you to make your final decision. It’s nice to see exactly how this person’s style works and what sort of elements they focus on.    
You need to be very careful when you’re looking for a reviser. Make a list of the principal requirements the candidate should meet. For example, someone who:
  • has the reliable qualifications;
  • knows your genre;
  • has a good reputation;
  • flexible;
  • helpful and encouraging.
Ask yourself five key questions before choosing a professional.
1. What kind of edit am I seeking?
2. What is my total word count?
3. How complex is my book?
4. What is my deadline? Is it flexible?
5. What is my budget?

Searching for an editor can be pretty daunting, but if you have the information about the things to look for it makes the process a lot easier. Good luck with that!

About the Author: Carol James is a writer and senior editor at writing service, so you can order essay outline sample from EssayLab

She has MA degree in social sciences and writes articles, reviews on the different actual subjects. So, if you have any questions regarding the writing, feel free to ask her.