Friday, November 29, 2019


As Anna Brown watched her best friend Callie marry Tom Sullivan, she wondered if she would ever find her own Prince Charming. No stranger to dating, Anna had yet to meet anyone she would even consider to be marriage material. Do such men even exist or had Callie snagged the last good one?

Liam Sullivan was a busy ER doc as well as one of the doctors for Doctors Without Borders. His life was busy helping those less fortunate. He was content until a chance meeting at his brother’s wedding. Could Anna Brown be the key to his future happiness?

HIS CHRISTMAS SPIRIT is a sweet romance novella with new content. It was previously published as "A Fairytale Romance.

Amazon buy link: 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

#Excerpt: DISTANT MEMORY by Maureen A Miller

Distant Memory
Maureen A. Miller
Publication date: November 25th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

From USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller comes this romantic thriller.
Whose life does Hollie Musgrave recall? Is it even her own?
Dreams of a house Hollie has never been to plague her. They haunted her since childhood when her mother used to joke about reincarnation. Now, as an adult, the dreams have returned.
Desperate for relief she seeks out a hypnotist to pry any clues from her latent memories. One notion leads her to a farmhouse hundreds of miles away.
Todd Hewitt bought the farmhouse in Pennsylvania in search of seclusion after the drama of the past three years. When a woman shows up on his doorstep he assumes she is just another reporter looking for an interview, however, her tale is too absurd to be a hoax.
Together they try to piece together her missing past.
And someone has been waiting for that.
Someone has been waiting for Hollie to remember.

“You should go.”
The words were husky. Uttered from a woman who was struggling to maintain her composure. Skin that was normally effused with sunshine was pulled taut across high cheekbones making the shadows below her eyes more prevalent.
He considered her warning. Seriously considered it.
“I should,” he hedged. “But I won’t.”
Solemn eyes rose to meet his.
“For God’s sake, why? You don’t need this. It was a big mistake to come down here. I was a fool to encourage you.”
Setting aside any reservations he might have, he couldn’t stand to see her fighting to hold herself together. Someone was tormenting this woman and it ticked him off.
“Look,” he set the note down, watching her eyes follow the motion. “I could point out that it’s not just about you. Whatever is going on, whatever these warnings are–they clearly deal with the house I’m living in. Everything that has happened to you happened directly after visiting my home. That makes it personal for me.” He paused. “Yeah, there’s that–or–” deep breath, “–I could admit that for the first time in three years I’ve met someone I’d like to know more about–that I’d like to spend time with.”
A shrug that didn’t come easily hefted his shoulders. “And you’re right. I have to decide if my desire to spend time with you is strong enough to deal with these threats–this stalking that you’ve been subjected to. Do I really want that sort of conflict in my very quiet, very private life?”
Hollie’s face pinched in pain and she looked away from him. “I guess I know the answer to that.”
“Do you?”

Author Bio:
USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.
Maureen's first novel, WIDOW'S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.
Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense...just on another planet!
Find more about Maureen at

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

#Review: THE PRINCESS PLAN by Julia London

  3 of 5 stars

First, the advanced reader copy I downloaded had formatting problems with the first 2 chapters being repeated 3 times. It was tempting not to even bother to read this book, but I did continue reading. I would hope that any and all glitches will be fixed by publication. In addition, the opening chapter about Eliza Tricklebank's father was not necessary in my opinion. All that info could have easily been teased out during the story. It felt like an info dump which is never a good thing to keep a reader engaged.

I found the story between Eliza and Prince Sebastian to be almost comical and not really romantic. For them to even have any interactions beyond the first ball seemed far-fetched, but with the murder of Sebastian's private secretary, Sebastian kept seeking Eliza's help. Evidently he felt she was the only one who would honestly express her opinions to him. I had figured out who the murderer was early on, but there was a bit of a twist at the end that was a little surprising. While this book was not my favorite, I will definitely pick up the next book in the series as I enjoy Ms. London's books.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 25, 2019

#Excerpt: BLOOD ROSE by Rachel Vaughn

Blood Rose
Rachael Vaughn
Publication date: November 22nd 2019
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Fleeing her past and a dark tragedy that haunts her every waking moment, Rose settles for a crummy retail job in a crummy town in the middle of Indiana. Her one solace – the sprawling forest behind her apartment complex – leads her down a dizzying path into a topsy-turvy world where Rose escapes her painful memories…but finds herself at the center of a dangerous plot.
A mysterious (and frequently unconscious) stranger, a technicolor landscape, and a sinister but charismatic leader pull Rose deeper into an unexpected adventure…where nothing is as it seems.
Follow Rose on her journey through this perilous but beautiful land, as she wonders if she can save it…or herself.

The stranger was back before long, and Rose didn’t miss the flash of relief on his face when he saw her standing where he had left her. He carried with him a bowl of water, steam rising in tendrils from the surface, and an assortment of other supplies. When he reached her he continued on past, beckoning her to follow, and Rose turned to see him heading toward a small seating area near the door. A low, backless sofa ran along the wall, each end lifting to curl in a tight spiral. An equally low table stood in front of the sofa, and two matching chairs framed either side.
After a moment of hesitation, Rose took a seat on the sofa, and the stranger placed the bowl and supplies on the table before lowering himself hesitantly to sit beside her. He gave her a questioning glance as if asking for permission, and Rose offered her wounded palm. She kept quiet, not wanting her barrage of questions to break the trance she felt from his calming influence. The man chose a soft cloth from the pile on the table, dipped it in the warm water and began to gently wash the blood from her hand. She winced when the water stung the cut, and the man grimaced in apology.
As he worked, the lace cuff fell back from his left hand and the sleeve of his jacket rode up slightly. Rose caught a glimpse of something thick and dark winding around his arm. It appeared to have the texture of an old scar, thick and ridged, but jet black and stark against his pale blue skin. It grew thinner the further down it reached, tapering out into thin tendrils at his wrist, leaving the skin of his hand smooth and untainted. Rose felt his hands falter in their movements against hers, and she looked up to see him following her gaze to his wrist. He self-consciously pulled the cuff back down into place, covering the black lines, and Rose hastily looked away.
“Sorry,” she mumbled. He didn’t respond, only retrieved the cloth and began wiping blood from her other hand. Once both were clean, he let the cloth fall into the now pink-tinged water, and took a bandage from the table. He paused for a moment, before setting the bandage back down unopened.
“You must have a lot of questions,” he said softly, not quite meeting her eyes.
A startled laugh escaped Rose’s throat. That was the understatement of the century. He gave a soft chuckle and she realized she had voiced the thought aloud.
“Yes, I imagine that must be true.” He turned to face her directly, and his eyes met hers. She was alarmed at the intensity in their purple depths, and his voice was urgent when he spoke again, the words coming fast.
“Listen, I’ll explain everything, I promise. But you’re not safe here, and I need you to trust me.”
Rose opened her mouth, but he continued before she could respond.
“I know we’ve only just met, but I promise I won’t let any harm come to you. There’s so much you need to know, and so little time, and I—” he paused, seeming to exert quite a bit of effort to gather himself. He took a deep breath and lifted his eyes to hers. “Will you trust me?”
His gaze bored into her, and without the slightest idea why, Rose found herself nodding. Anything to get that look of desperation off his face.
He seemed to wilt, relief coloring his features, and he held out his hand for hers again. She placed her wounded hand in his, and he flipped it over, palm up. Lifting his other hand, he gently placed his index finger against the gash in her palm, and without warning, a burst of light emanated out of his fingertip where it met her skin.
Rose felt strangely detached, as if she were watching this happen instead of actually experiencing it. She felt no pain, only a bright, comforting warmth that grew to encompass her whole hand. He traced his finger slowly down the length of the wound, the bright light following the path of his finger, and Rose watched in surprise as the line of her blood began to glow bright, the same iridescent glimmer she had noticed when she’d touched the handle of the door what seemed like ages ago.
Rose watched in wonder as the stranger lifted his hand, the light fading. The shimmer faded from her palm as well, the wound sealing in its wake.
“There,” he said, releasing her hand. His voice sounded faint, its resonance muted. Rose looked up, sensing something was off, and found his face pale, nearly white, the silver lines practically nonexistent.
“Are you okay?” she asked, suddenly worried for this man—creature—she didn’t know, but he simply nodded and waved off her concern. She looked down at her palm again in amazement, a thin faded line all that remained of the red gash.
“What was that?” she asked, “How did you—” But her attention was caught quite suddenly by his hands, which were clutched tightly in his lap. He held his right hand wrapped protectively around the left, but past his grip Rose could see the black lines moving on his skin, creeping slowly beyond the edge of his cuff and onto the back of his hand, tendrils snaking across the pale flesh there.

Author Bio:
Rachael Vaughn is the creative brainchild of husband-and-wife writing duo, Laura Rachael Black and Trenton Vaughn Hockersmith.
Laura is the wordsmith of the pair, and a bona fide dabbler. With interests in everything from mosaics to wood carving and playing the hammered dulcimer, there isn't much that doesn't appeal to her insatiable need to create. When she isn't writing, Laura stays busy as the co-owner of Firefly Tattoo--one of Indianapolis's premier tattoo studios--where she is also a full-time artist. You can check out her professional tattoo gallery at
Trent acts as the bookends of the writing process. He serves as the team's world-builder and plot developer on the front end, and acts as an editor and proofreader (plus the ultimate voice of reason) on the backside. His educational background in English and psychology help him craft vibrant worldscapes and compelling, authentic characters. When not mired in the trenches of world-building, Trent enjoys reading, playing video games, and practicing jiu-jitsu and tai-chi.
The team shares more than a pen name. Their home outside Indianapolis is also inhabited by their daughter, Seva, and Helena, the world's fluffiest cat.

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Friday, November 22, 2019

#Review: JOY TO THE DUKE by Darcy Burke

  4 of 5 stars
Calder Stafford, the Duke of Hartwell, pushes everyone away to the point that he is left alone, exactly what he wants, or is it? Calder suffered greatly at the hands of his cruel father, including losing the girl he loved when he was 20. Now he tries to do everything the opposite of what his father did, including withholding funds from the celebrations and charities his father loved. Felicity Garland fell in love with Calder at 18, but when he rejects her for her low birth, she's devastated and marries an older man. Now widowed, Felicity returns to the her hometown village after 10 years away to nurse her mother back to health. When she runs into Calder, she's astonished at how cold he's become. Can she melts Calder's heart and find the joyful young man she fell in love with?

Ms. Burke has written another entertaining tale, loosely based on 'Christmas Carol.' Calder is a scrooge when the book opens up, but when he runs into Felicity, the feelings he's long since buried surface again. I liked seeing Calder's sisters appear in this book as well as they try to reach Calder as well. While the ending is entirely predictable, it was a pleasure to read to the happily ever after ending for everyone.

I voluntarily read an advanced read copy and all opinions are my own.

Interview with Kathy Coleman, SEALER'S GAME

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Sealer’s Game is my first novel. It’s the first book in my fantasy romance series, The Sealer Saga. Sealer’s Game is about Lucian Veradayne, the Lord of Death, who is given a mission to convince the moon goddess, Ruby, to have a child with him. Lucian and Ruby, who are from two distinct lines of Sealers (essentially Gods) are the only people in existence who can create a being capable of thwarting a foretold calamity that will otherwise destroy an entire realm. Unfortunately, they hate each other. 

Lucian’s mission is both enhanced and complicated when he meets Ruby’s latest Champion, Carita. He is immediately drawn to her, but isn’t sure how to deal with his attraction toward her considering the mission that has brought them together. But since his opportunity to get Ruby to comply with his mission comes in the form of competing in a contest she has created to find a male worthy of bearing a child with, and Carita has offered to help him claim a place in that competition, the two must work together and learn to trust one another.

Do you have a favorite character?
In this book, Ruby was hands down the most fun to write. I adore writing villains, especially when they are just going through their lives and have no idea that other people think they are evil or even bad. Ruby’s moods and actions span such a wide range of emotions. On one hand, she is lonely and can be vulnerable, but has no idea that the way she has taught her followers to relate to her is at the root of her solitude. On the other hand, she can be vicious and totally lack what most of us would consider a conscience. Lucian hates her because the two have had a child before and she cut out one of his eyes and then tried to drown him. She is also a snarky character who tends to get some really funny lines and reactions to certain situations, which is always a plus.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Later in Sealer’s Game readers get to meet Ruby and Lucian’s son, Zakariah. When I first ‘met’ Zak he was actually part of another character (whom I won’t spoil here) who eventually took on a life of his own and became his own person. I think what I love most about him is that despite having dark and potentially frightening powers—he’s the Lord of Fear, Pain, Judgement, and Healing (that last one is complicated and has a history!)—he is actually a very gentle person who deals with social anxiety, loves gardening, and is extremely protective of small animals. The way others perceive him and who he actually is are two drastically different things.

Sealer’s Game is the first book in The Sealer Saga, but it’s not the first book I’ve written with these characters. I actually have four additional novels and a prequel novella in various stages of development. I’ve been writing about these people and their world for almost ten years now.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
In my late teens and early 20s (late 90s / early 2000s) I was all about studying different imprints and trying to write to fit within them. It was a good next step from fan fiction and helped me learn to write consistently and within a set of parameters. But there were certain things I wanted to do in my writing that weren’t really ‘to market’ at the time, and back then my primary focus was on trying to pursue a career singing country music, so in the end it was more of a daydream than something I took with deep seriousness.
I sat down and wrote my first novel, which would eventually be titled Sealer’s Promise, back in 2011. Self publishing was just starting to find its legs and I studied it while running a book blog (I Write, I Read, I Review) for three years. But I knew my stories weren’t ready yet. The overall arc of the Sealer Saga was still forming and despite having several books in the series written I had to figure out what order I wanted to present things in.

Once I decided it was time to publish, the choice to self publish was a matter of wanting control. Not so much over the publishing process—although that’s been fun and I've enjoy the learning the necessary skills—but over the future of my characters. I am very invested in them and the idea that someone could essentially end up with the right to tell me I could or couldn’t write them again depending on whether they sold well was a big pass. Would I like success? Sure. Who wouldn’t? But I care far more about telling my stories and being able to tell them how I want to tell them.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
A story has likely been rattling around inside my head for months or years by the time I start trying to pin it to paper as an outline or a draft. Music is vital to my creative process and characters, scenes and places within my story world are all tied to different music depending on what is going on. Sometimes I’ll play music when writing, sometimes I’ll choose silence. But even if I’m going to write in quiet, I usually start with whatever music I associate with the characters who are in a scene or the music I’ve associated with that scene before I get into my writing program and get to work.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I view my outlines as story maps, like I’m on a road trip with my characters and we are trying to get to a set destination. If they want to take a detour that’s fine, but they need to show me where and how we’re gonna get back onto the highway—or if we’re going to need to recalibrate. When I’m doing a rough draft I’m all about forward momentum. I keep a file open to make notes on what and where I’ll need to go back and change previous decisions when I get to my first round of revisions so I don’t have to do too much hunting for my big changes. But as someone who writes my first drafts linearly—I want to experience the story as much like my readers will as possible—getting from start to finish without too much stumbling or fumbling is important.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I did a lot of the design production aspects of my book, most importantly the formatting and the cover. I actually really enjoy the design processes for both of these things. I don’t think I’m really interested in pursuing them in a business sense (making them for others), but as someone who really enjoys learning new skills, and who had years to research and learn this stuff, the fact that I know how to put a basic book together—let’s be real: I’m not saying I’m on the same level as a professional designer—is pretty cool. 

My biggest weaknesses are that I’m not aggressive enough in marketing my work (yet) and because of Early Onset Osteoarthritis my hands can get very tired / sore, which can make it harder to keep up with having an update blog / active online presence, which is essential in convincing people to check out an actual book. A book, by itself, is a very hard thing to get someone to take a look at. There is a legitimate time investment involved in that, even if the book is 'only' $2.99 or something.

When I was doing music and trying to get 3 minutes of someone’s time for a song, that wasn’t as much of an ask. That’s where and why articles, short stories, podcasting, youtube or whatever other online presence an author can create is so essential. It’s way easier to convince people, over days, weeks and months, to invest in you than to get them to flip open to that first page without somehow proving you're worth their time.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
A) Write something you want to read. I understand that, depending on your goals, you might just want to finish a book. Or you might want to make tons of money and be a best seller. Your goal for publication could be something totally different. What I can tell you is that regardless of what your goal is, writing a book you would want to read will put you ahead because it ensures you’re wring a book you believe in and that you will be proud of. There are many things in the later stages of self publishing that are hard to control. What we write about isn’t one of those. Control is the biggest advantage an indie author has, so take advantage of that while you can.

B) Know what your goal is as an author, but be willing to set realistic milestones along the way. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s highly unlikely that you will publish your book, turn in for the night, and wake up as the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling the following morning. Self publishing frees a writer from needing to be chosen by a publishing house. But that comes at the cost of needing to be chosen by readers, and they can be just as—if not moreso—discerning. Remember, it’s not merely the cost of your book. The true cost that a reader pays when they commit to consuming something you (or I!) have written is their time. And time is way more strict than money—there are no refunds or exchanges.

C) Be prepared to play the long game. When you are getting started and releasing your first book, it can be very tough to get those first readers and reviews. That can be frustrating, because building that initial foundation is really important. There are two things you need to remember. The first is to not give up. We all start here and while sticking with it won’t necessarily guarantee success, giving up immediately upon the first sign of struggle will guarantee failure. The second is to realize that a lack of immediate success does not automatically mean that you or your book sucks. It’s a lot harder to convince someone to read 300 pages of text than it is to get them to listen to three minutes of music.

D) The best way to promote your first book is to get your butt back in the chair and get busy writing the second book. Building a backlog of quality writing that a new fan can devour when they do, finally, discover you means that your readers have more books to buy and that you are actively and consciously learning new things as an author. Because that’s where most of our learning about the craft of storytelling comes from. Being knee deep in the next tale, standing next to our characters (or behind them, or hovering like a fly on the wall, or whatever analogy strikes your fancy!) as they face the greatest and most meaningful challenges of their lives.

E) People get to live one life. Readers can use that life to explore a thousand more if they so choose. And as authors, we are granted a chance at having one of the lives we have constructed be one of the lives those readers chose to envision and explore. I think that’s quite an incredible privilege. So whatever you’re sitting down to write, make it count. Not everything you say on a page needs to be true—after all, many of us (myself included!) are writing fiction. But by starting from a point where we are writing a story we believe in, we can ensure that when a reader chooses to invest in our work, that we are presenting, to the best of our ability, a book worth reading. And that’s something to be proud of.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I’m really into decorative planning and journaling. I love stickers, markers, washi tape, and documenting my life in creative ways that are distinctly unique to me.
I am a lifelong fan of video games. Turn based and strategy RPGs tend to be my favorites if I’m playing. I’ve also invested hundreds, if not thousands, of yours into MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. What I can’t play physically because of my arthritis or cerebral palsy, my boyfriend will generally play for me. We beat Far Cry 5, Far Cry: New Dawn, Mortal Kombat 11, Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered and Resident Evil 2 Remastered, among other things, this year. We're currently working on Death Stranding together and playing Pokemon Sword and Shield with the intent to trade and battle each other.

I got really into board gaming this year. Some of my favorites include Pandemic (normal and legacy), Gloomhaven, and Rise of Queensdale.

I’m a bit of a shopaholic. Not in the sense that I spend tons of money, though. My favorite aspect of discovering new interests or products to enhance my existing hobbies is spending countless hours studying what’s being offered by a variety of different companies and choosing those I want to add to my own collections. I have a very set amount of living space and need to make these choices with care.

What’s next for you?
I am busy revising Sealer’s Queen, which is the sequel to Sealer’s Game. I’m also getting ready to write Sealer’s Key, which will be the third book in the series. I always try to make sure I have a rough draft of the next book well underway before I get too deep into editing the next book or worrying about releasing it, because I want to make sure the books connect properly and its much easier to make changes to something when it hasn’t been published yet. I get annoyed when changes get made to things after the fact (Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you Marvel Cinematic Universe…) so I wouldn’t want to do that to my readers.
Thanks very much to Two Ends of the Pen for having me on their blog today. I had a lot of fun answering these questions and I hope someone found something here interesting or helpful. :)

Sealer’s Game
Kathy Coleman
(Sealer Saga #1)
Publication date: October 22nd 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Hell hath no fury like a goddess scorned…

As Champion, Carita of Bel Auryn thought she would spend her days fighting demons. Instead, she is drawn into the latest scheme of the Moon Goddess, Ruby: a contest to choose a man who will have the “honour” of fathering her child.
When Ruby encourages Carita to choose a man for herself, she picks the man she is most drawn to–and immediately regrets it.
Lucian Veradayne is the Lord of Death. He knows he must win Ruby’s game at any cost. It doesn’t matter that he has avoided her for two thousand years. Nor that she tried to kill their first child. And it really doesn’t matter that he would much rather woo Carita.
The Soul Well has given Lucian a prophecy: he and Ruby must have another child. A child who will save the world.
Dealing with their mutual attraction will be the least of Lucian and Carita’s problems. They are not the only ones who have been drawn into Ruby’s game. Someone else wants to win. Someone who wants Ruby dead. Will Carita and Lucian be able to protect her long enough for a victor to be named? And if they succeed, will they be able to walk away from each other to ensure the prophecy is fulfilled?
Sealer’s Game is a 55,000 word fantasy romance novella about the King of the Underworld, a kick-butt warrior priestess, and a ruthless goddess who will stop at nothing to get her own way. It contains language, descriptions of violence, and sexual themes that may not be appropriate for all readers. Recommended for ages 18+.

Author Bio:
Kathy Coleman lives in a little town in Ontario with her parents, one younger brother and two mischievous little dogs named D'Argo and Coco. She attended Trent University, majoring in English and Cultural Studies.
When she is not being kept awake at 3 a.m. by characters who refuse to quit talking, she can be found performing karaoke at charity events, updating her book blog I Write, I Read, I Review, shopping, or playing video games.

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#Excerpt: PINKY PROMISES by Deana Birch

Pinky Promises
Deana Birch
Publication date: November 18th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When her long-distance teaching buddy goes on maternity leave, New York City native Leyla Harraq, temporarily transplants to a sleepy beach town on the West Coast to manage her friend’s Hot Yoga studio. But the yogini’s brash spunk leads to an immediate social gaffe when she insults her new landlord, carpenter Adam Fields, and must backpedal to save face.
Watching her hottie landlord wallow in solitary confinement after a brutal break-up will never do. Motivated by her own need for physical contact, Leyla happily offers herself as the perfect rebound. She’ll be gone in a couple of months, no one has to know, and she can wipe his ex right out of his mind… and body. After all, if anyone knows how to turn up the heat, it’s her.
But when the studio owner realizes she can’t return to teaching full-time and asks Leyla to stay, the fish-out-of-water must make a choice. Can she abandon her commitment-free lifestyle for small town drama and a chance at love with a hunky hammer wielding man?

She bent over. Again. And I stared. Again. And possibly drooled. What the hell was wrong with me? I’d been dating my girlfriend for ten years and never once thought of another girl in a totally inappropriate and downright lusty way.
Plus, I was her damn landlord. There had to be some kind of weird power thing making my dirty mind even worse. When the hell had I turned into Creepy McGoogly-Eyes? I shook my head like a confused dog and headed through my glass door into the open kitchen.
“Chicken okay for you?” I asked over my shoulder. That was the other thing. Why had I asked her to dinner? Maybe it was because I couldn’t figure her out. New York sass one minute and stupefaction the next. Yeah, that was it. Not her bendy little butt, coal-black hair or insanely charming accent.
“Chicken is perfect. Thank you so much for your hospitality; I really didn’t expect it.” Leyla’s soft smile revealed a small dimple in her chin. She tapped the counter a couple of times and surveyed the room before meeting me at the fridge. “What can I do to help?”
Damn, she was short. She didn’t even have to hunch down to look in at the shelves. And I didn’t fail to notice her offer. Whenever Holly came over, which was most nights when she wasn’t traveling for work, she would find excuse after excuse not to chip in. Either she’d just gotten her nails done or was too tired or would just blink and say, “I do love it when you spoil me, babe. You don’t mind if I chill, work was a bitch.” It had just seemed like something I’d accepted in our relationship. I’d often wondered how much she would do if we ever had kids. And if I was honest, it was one of the things holding me back from buying a ring.
“Give me something to chop.” Leyla held open her hands. “Or I can just rummage around and make a salad out of whatever I find.”
I pulled out the marinated chicken breast from the bottom drawer and met her olive eyes on the way back to standing. “Go for it. There’s a head of lettuce and vegetables in the second drawer. You want a beer?”
“You trying to get me drunk?” A small, sarcastic snarl wrinkled her face.
I yanked my head back, and she cringed.
“Fuck. I’m sorry. Oh, Christ, now I said fuck. And Christ. I’m so sorry.” Rapid blinks were followed by one long one and a sharp exhale from her nose. “I think I have a little bit of fish-out-of-water syndrome. I’m sorry if I offended you with my language or implied…”
She really was quite the little pickle. I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Is that a yes or a no?”
“Maybe it will help me stop committing social faux pas. A beer would be great, thanks.” Leyla pulled out two red peppers and an onion and set them on the counter. I stepped out of the doorway, opened the cooler, grabbed a longneck, and wiped the ice water it dripped onto a nearby dish towel.
A quick hiss escaped the bottle as I twisted the cap and brought it back to the kitchen. I slid the beer across the counter, where Leyla was already busy chopping vegetables.
“Just for the record, I don’t consider the swearing a problem. The gawker comment, yes,” I deadpanned.
Her face fell as she reached for the beer. The bottle hovered below her lips and her eyes went wide. “I—”
“Relax. I’m fucking with you.” And dear God, it was more fun than I’d had in a long time. She was easier to wind up than a toy from the dollar store.
She set the beer down and crossed her arms. Her eyes narrowed, but a glimmer of something, maybe mischief, betrayed what she probably wanted to read as anger.
“You were kinda staring at my ass.”
Her ass was kinda staring back as far as I was concerned, sending all kinds of voodoo messages that had somehow convinced me to check it out every chance I got. But no way was I confessing to that.
“Sorry. But no. I told you. I was just trying to figure out how you’d made yourself into a human pretzel.” Human pretzel in ridiculously revealing shorts.
Her slightly pouty lips plumped out and Leyla rolled her eyes. “Whatever, Mr. My Girlfriend is in Vegas.” She turned back to the vegetables, took a swig of the beer, and went back to work.

Author Bio:
Born and raised in the Midwest, Contemporary Romance and Erotica writer, Deana Birch, now lives with her family in Europe. She can be found teaching yoga, ruining her children’s French homework, cleaning up dog vomit, writing her next book, or reading someone else’s.

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

#Review: A LADY'S PAST by A.S. Fenichel

  3 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've read in the Everton Domestic Society series and while it can be read as a stand alone book, I think I would have benefited more if I had at least read Preston and Millie's story. A Lady's Past revolves around Jacques and Diana. Jacques meets her on his way to London, at first fearing she is a highway robber. When it became clear, she only required a ride to London, Jacques agrees to escort her. This chance meeting is all Jacques needs to be fascinated by Diana. 

I really enjoyed the Everton Domestic Society parts of the story. The Society's goal is to help women in difficult times and secure employment if they so desire. Diana was a clever scientist and she soon was placed as an assistant to a peer. Turns out, Jacques knows Francis and reconnects with Diana again, but Diana is reluctant to share any of her fears with him or anyone. Her nemesis, Victor Caron, a French loyalist who killed her parents, is bent on capturing Diana and returning her to France. When it becomes clear Jacques can no longer protect her on his own, they are whisked north to a castle, home to the Buckrose Horsemen, a secret contingent of men working for the Crown.

There are a couple of things for me that made this book only a 3 stars instead of 4 stars. First, after the first couple of times, having Jacques call Diana 'Goddess' all the time was annoying. I get it, there was no need to constantly repeat this incessantly. Second, without spoiling anything, I found the Buckrose Horsemen a bit incompetent at the end of the book and not consistent with the theory that they are the best at protection. I started skipping paragraphs just to get to the end of the book.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Interview with Sophia Menesini, THE VEILED THREAT

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
The Veiled Threat is the first book in a nine-book series called The Veiled Duchess Series. It’s about a young elven woman who after completing her adoptive father’s dying wish, she comes across a mysterious offer halting her retirement of Captain of The Veiled Duchess, the most fearsome pirate ship in all of Nereid. In exchange for kidnapping and marooning the crown princess of Arethusa, the northern queendom on Nereid, on an island at the world’s end. She will be given the information she needs to take down the elven slave trade and destroy her arch-nemesis, the Empress of Lycos, the southern empire on Nereid. 

She takes the offer from a mysterious man in Arethusa and kidnaps the princess the following midnight. On her quest to drop the princess off, she finds her self slowly falling for her highness much to her dismay. When she’s betrayed by her employer, she changes sides and helps the woman she’s fallen in love with to take back her queendom from veiled usurpers. Shea has to survive taking back Arethusa for her princess from a threat more lethal than Jo, or she knows because something larger is brewing on the horizon, something that plays a more significant part in who Shea is and where she comes from. And Nereid will need her to stop it.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
The most significant minor character change would probably be James, the sixteen-year-old helmsman. He started out as a whole other character but as I was developing the next couple of books and Aster’s storyline as well he became a love interest for Shea’s fourteen, fifteen when they begin their relationship, cabin boy. I wouldn’t say it necessarily changed the direction of the novel but it definitely evolved Aster’s character. While writing the sequel, I’ve had tears from watching my baby character grow up, become a man, and fall in love. It’s been a satisfying character development and I think everyone will be thrilled to read it in the sequel next year.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I knew I wanted to self publish because of my writing style. I write in the third person, present tense, and basically, all of my English professors were like you will never be published. I ignored them and also became a history major to help with my historical fiction. But I submitted the book a few times, and I had one company write back and say, “the reason we can’t publish you is the tense is incorrect, fix it and resubmit.” And I didn’t want to do that, so I decided to self publish. I decided to tell my story the way I wanted to tell it, and that included third person, present tense. I’ve thought about resubmitting, but I feel comfortable with what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished, and I’ve got nine books to the series, so maybe down the line, we’ll see.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I used a fantastic graphic designer by the name of Despina Loupeti. This is her website: and if any self-publishing author is looking for an incredible designer, she is the best! She definitely came up with the design but my one request for every cover for all nine books, the cover features The Veiled Duchess ship in many different conditions. A little foreshadowing on my part for what awaits in each book but Despina is absolutely the creative mind behind the beautiful covers.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
Both. I outline the plot and then I create chapter maps but I’ll add a chapter or turn one chapter into two depending on where the muse takes me.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
No, I didn’t. For one, I’m a student author, a newlywed, and I’m broke, so a two thousand dollar editor for my 300+ page manuscript was not going to happen. Instead, I hired one of my good friends who is an English major and wanted to be a book editor and she edited my book for free. She did an incredible job and I learned a lot about the process and she definitely caught more things than I could have on my own. I finally saved up enough to hire a professional editor for the first and my second book coming out next July and she’s editing The Veiled Threat now for re-release.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Absolutely. I’m a self-published indie author with no ties to the entertainment industry so I’ve had to do everything on my own. I have Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter accounts and my website with a blog attached to it which I post, hopefully regularly, if my class schedule isn’t too heavy. I’d love to become more consistent with my blog posts though it’s an excellent way to stay in touch with readers and vent new ideas.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Not necessarily, it’s less the marketing and more the rest of my life that likes to get in the way of my writing schedule. I’m in college, hoping to transfer soon with a full-time course load. But I love my book series and nothing can get in my way from finishing it. My education is important to me but this is my dream and my job, forever and always. So I try my best to keep up with my writing schedule even if that means sacrificing 3 followers a day on some form of social media.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and even intimidated, but I promise everyone else who has self-published has started where you are right now. We are a community of authors if you have questions reach out. If you’re wondering about how something needs to be done, find other indie authors on social media and their websites, and I promise you 99% of the time they will reach back to you. It’s hard work, and there’s going to be days when a social media post gets one like or your book has been out for months, and you feel like maybe this isn’t what you’re supposed to do. I guarantee there will be those times, but those are the times that you remind yourself that you don’t write for other people; you write for yourself. You are telling your story not only to the audience but so that you can be heard as well. Persevere, it will be worth it. Do the work, because no one will do it for you. Love your work, because not everyone will and if you love it the ones who don’t won’t matter.

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, even though I love my kitten Bowie, my chihuahuas are my life. Chocolate, I worked for Godiva when I was a teen but milk or dark, I prefer dark, only, I can’t stand white chocolate. Tea, I have cabinets and cabinets filled with tea and my awesome mother in law always restocks them at Christmas, I never run out. I prefer to talk because I talk so much and I feel bad sending paragraphs. Day, I love the night time because it’s beautiful but I always feel like I’m running out of time once the sun sets to finish something, anything. In the morning, I’ve got the whole day to begin. 

The Veiled Threat
Sophia Menesini
(The Veiled Duchess #1)
Publication date: June 30th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance

Captain Shea Lara is the current leader of The Veiled Duchess. The most feared pirate ship in all of Neried. And now, after completing her former mentor’s final score, she’s retiring. Everything seems to be coming to an end…
Until a mysterious stranger drags her back into the fold with an offer for a score she can’t refuse. All she has to do is kidnap the crowned princess of the northern Queendom, Princess Joana of Arethusa. The prize is just within reach. But sparks fly as the two women collide. And an obscured threat that could upturn Shea’s entire world storms on the horizon. She’ll face it alone unless she can allow herself the support she needs from old and new allies alike. Something’s coming and Shea is at the center of it.

Author Bio:
Sophia Menesini lives in Martinez, CA with her husband, and their two small Chihuahuas, Ziggy and Zeppelin. The Veiled Threat is her first novel and the first book in The Veiled Duchess Series. Sophia is an avid tea connoisseur and lover of Scotland with an unconventional memory for obscure Disney and Broadway song lyrics.
You can find my blog, updates, and other entertainment at my website:

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