Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review of Pinocchio Syndrome by Casea Major

Pinocchio Syndrome
Pinocchio Syndrome - Casea Major

Blurb: Chio Pino, Chicago’s newest wiseguy, has been given his most important assignment to date – a week of protection detail for Rosaria De Luca, the mob boss’ daughter. Home from college on spring break, Rose is determined to lose her virginity to the man she’s had a crush on since she was in fourth grade. With a meat cleaver wielding godfather on his ass and an overly amorous temptress in his face, Chio’s problems are growing like his dick when he lies. Will he lose his expandable man part and his heart with one impulsive act?

Review: I'm not the biggest erotic romance reader, but the blurb really interested me on this one. 

Rose is a likeable character, but Chio made this short story for me, in my opinion. I absolutely loved this guy's outlook on romance and his love of the Buick Lucerne. I couldn't stop laughing at some points in the story. 

I thought this was a great twist of the original fairy tale. It's loaded with humor, which is something I truly enjoy in my books. The best I can describe the story without giving too much away is "sexy, short romance meets fairy tale Goodfellas".   

If you are looking for a fun, sexy short read packed with humor, definitely give this book a read. I'm certain you will enjoy it.

Available for purchase at: Amazon
Please visit the author at: Website

Saturday, June 23, 2012

So, anyone up for a bit of play?

Now who doesn't like truly awesome heroes? I know I do.

I love a strong, protective man that will watch over his woman and take care of her. Of course, every person has their own preference. Some women lean towards the charmers, while some love the classic alpha males.

So, I'd like to give the opportunity for you guys to leave an excerpt of one of your works in progress. Give me an excerpt that defines your hero's character. Is he honorable, charming, sexy, commanding? How does he feel about his lady? You tell me. I'd love to find out.

I always enjoy reading snippets of writer's works. So, here's your chance to showcase your story's hero. If you do you not have a WIP, give me one of your favorite snippets of a hero you love from one of your favorite books.

Also, I'll be offering up a $5.00 gift card to (2) random people who leave me an awesome excerpt. Can't wait to hear what you guys come up with. :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interview with D'Ann Lindun

Howdy, you lovely cowgirls! I’m happy to have a very sweet D’Ann Lindun with me today. She's a lady of few words and a true blue cowgirl if I've ever seen one!

I know you're a busy lady and I appreciate you taking the time to drop in today. I suppose we'll just jump right in. So, D'Ann, can you tell the readers a couple things about yourself that we might not know?

Hmmm...I coached horsebowl and hippology in 4-H for 16 years. That means I coached horse knowledge bowl teams. Loved it, and loved my kids. Still do. It's intense and a lot of fun. 

Sounds pretty fun actually. Wish I knew more about horses. Where did the idea of  Castaña Castillo come from? In my opinion, she's a very strong, pro-active character. Just curious if she happened to be based on a real life person.

Thanks! She's just a character who lived in my head with a whole bunch of others. Maybe she's a bit like me in that she loves horses, and doesn't stand around talking about things. 

It's funny you say that, but that's precisely why I asked. I easily see some of your characteristics in her. I've already mentioned how much I liked her "can do" attitude in my previous review. I see you as the same type of woman. You're definitely a very knowledgeable horsewoman. It shows in your books, for sure. What is your take on wild mustangs?

Thanks. I've been riding since I was three years old. I think the American mustang is in a real bad place. They need a certain amount of land to live, and that land is dwindling fast. They are being rounded up and sent to live in government holding pens, or worse, sent to slaughter. It sickens me. 

Doesn't sound very good to me either, D'Ann. I was in Wyoming last August and so wanted to visit Pilot Butte in the southwest to try to catch a glimpse of the group there, but didn't have the extra time to travel further south. Perhaps next time, I hope. As a published author, what's the best advice you could offer to up and coming writers?

I always say don't give up. It took me 20 years to get a contract, then they came fast and furious. But I'd like to say learn your craft. It matters. 

Awesome advice. I like to ask this next one because I'm nosy, I mean curious. What's the first thing you did when you found out you were going to be published?

Cry. I burst into tears. I was shaking so hard I wasn't sure I was reading it right. I called my daughter over to read the email out loud.

Aww, I don't blame you. :) So, from what I understand, you also have a second book that just released as well. Can you tell us a bit more about it? Anything else in the works?

Yes, thanks! A Cowboy To Keep is the story of Laney Ellis, whose husband is killed by a ranch bull, and her new love, a professional bull rider. I have two more releases coming from Crimson Romance this summer and fall, then another from Ruby Lioness Press in the fall as well. 

Wow! When you got the call, you really got the call. :) Congratulations. What is one of your favorite scenes from Wild Horses and why?

Hmmmm... let me see. Okay, got it. This scene is when Jake recalls why he's in trouble with the FBI. 

     Jake refused to listen when Kelso told him Linda Navarone appeared suspicious. He was sick to death of Kelso’s barbs and putdowns. “I’d know if she were dirty. Besides, I met her before I ever went undercover.”
     “Kingston has spies everywhere.” For months, they’d built their case, working every angle until they were dead sure they had enough evidence on the drug dealer to put him away for life. They’d  marked every dealer, every mule, and every connection. When the arrests went down, they were going to be career-making busts. All they needed to put the ringleader out of business was to catch him with drugs on his person. Jake had worked undercover for months to get close to Kingston and had finally earned his trust. Dozens of agents from various law enforcement agencies were in place, ready to move on the rest of the ring as soon as Kingston was arrested.
      “I’m telling you there’s no connection.” Jake refused to believe the dainty blonde had nefarious motives.  Right before he went undercover, they’d met at a supermarket. Linda bumped into him in the produce aisle, asked his opinion of Arizona tangerines, and they ended up at Bill’s Bar and Grille for a dinner of tangerine almond chicken. To his surprise, it turned out she was a beat cop, but they had never crossed paths.
     In a moment of passion, he told her what he was doing. She begged him to be careful, not to get hurt . . .
     Everything seemed normal that day, about a month later. Kingston had been his usual affable self, even smiling in understanding when Jake took a phone call from Linda. She wanted him to meet her at Bill’s. No, she couldn’t wait. It was urgent. Like a lamb to slaughter, he’d walked into her deadly trap.

Nice excerpt! If you could spend the day with one real life cowboy throughout history, who would you pick and why?

Ah, one of my favorite questions. My dad. He's kind of a legend around here, but he's not famous. I would spend the day with him riding horses, working good dogs, moving cows. Heaven. Those chances are rare nowadays. I miss them. If not Dad, Wyatt Earp is pretty hot. 

That's super sweet! :) And I agree about Wyatt Earp, too. In your life, has there been one or two very special horses that you will always remember or even still own?  Of course, I understand you can't pick a favorite, I'm sure.

You bet. My mare named Molly. An ordinary red dun. She carried me on many an adventure. Fawn, my old mare now. Another red dun. She cheated death twice. A lovely thing, as her name suggests. As different as night and day, but equally special. 

What are five things that make D'Ann Lindun a happy lady?

Spending time with my daughter. Horses. Australian shepherd dogs. Flowers. Writing. 

Sounds like a winner to me. Now that you are a fancy published author (big hurray!), how have you celebrated/will celebrate that major feat?

Fancy? LOL. That's funny. Oddly, I thought I'd have a big party, get lots of flowers, calls, telegrams...! My daughter and I went to Red Lobster and we toasted. It was great. 

Sometimes, great company is all you need, regardless if where you go or what you are doing. Glad you and your daughter celebrated together. That's awesome. Btw, I can still call up 1-800-FLOWERS right now or something, you know. It's never too late for flowers! :) Right, and so, last but not least, this is strictly fiction of course, but what sort of character would you have been in the Old West? For example, I would have rocked as the mean old madam of the local brothel. Just saying. So, what about you?

LOL. Yes, you would have. Women in the old west didn't have it easy. I would have been a woman rancher. Tough. Fair minded. Strong. Kind of like me now.

Ha! I'm totally going to agree with that! You are definitely a cowgirl, lady. Thank you so much for stopping in today. I really enjoyed Wild Horses and A Cowboy To Keep. I wish you tons of success with your upcoming releases, D'Ann. And hey, perhaps you could stop back in sometime. Live long and ride hard, chickie!

D'Ann Lindun Bio: I draw inspiration from the area where I live, Western Colorado, my husband of twenty-nine years and our daughter. Composites of our small farm, herd of fourteen horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, eight ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in my stories! My road to publication was long and rocky—twenty years of dashed hopes and crushed dreams before I got the call (email)!
Please stop by and visit D'Ann atWebsite

Blurb: Her family ranch outside of Payson, Arizona, is the last place Castaña Castillo thought she’d ever see again. But when her mustang activist brother goes missing, Castaña returns home to lead the search. Years of bad blood between local law enforcement and the Castillo men lead Castaña to believe the local cops won’t put out much effort to locate her brother. Especially since they think he murdered two federal wildlife agents.

Disgraced FBI agent Jake Breton needs to bring in Martin Castillo to redeem himself and resurrect his career. Falling in love with someone related to the suspect is the last thing he can afford to do. The last time he followed his heart, and not his head, it nearly cost him his life.
Danger, adventure, and death push Jake and Castaña together. Will they learn to trust each other and leave their pasts behind?

Excerpt: Jumping inside the trailer, she checked over both geldings.  Both horses rolled their eyes and pawed, but otherwise seemed unharmed. She sagged with relief and tucked the gun in the back of her jeans. Back on the pavement, she noticed something next to the road. She rubbed her sand-dry eyes with her fists and stared.       
A man!
         A man staggering to his feet. Had she clipped him? No, she would've felt the bump. She hurried toward him. "The sun—  I couldn’t see." 
He came toward her, weaving. Was he drunk? On drugs? Maybe dangerous? Did she need to go for the gun? 
     "Some . . . body . . . tried . . ."  He swayed again.
      "You need to sit down." Was he the big blur she’d noticed? What kind of idiot thought a truck and horse trailer could come to an instant halt?  Didn't he know she couldn't slam on her brakes when hauling horses? "I truly didn't see you."  
     "Obv'sly," he growled, leaning a little.
     "I couldn't see—”
     "Fast.  Goin’ too fassst."
     "I was not driving too fast. Why were you standing beside the road?" Looking over his shoulder, which wasn't easy considering he towered her own five-nine by at least four or five inches, she searched for a vehicle. "Where's your car?"
     "I need," he swayed like a tree about to come crashing down, “help.”

Available for purchase at: Amazon
Blurb: After Laney Ellis’ husband is killed by a bull, she is left to run their small cattle ranch and raise their son, Justin, on her own. Despite some of Laney’s worst fears, the dream Justin holds dearest is to be exactly like his dad, a champion bull rider. He finds his chance when world champion bull rider Cody Utah moves in next door.
Although attraction between Cody and Laney flares, neither act upon it. Laney refuses to get her family involved with another bull rider, and Cody has heard rumors Laney trapped Wyatt, her late husband, into a high school marriage by getting pregnant.The last thing Cody wants is children.
At a rodeo, Justin is thrown and knocked unconscious. As Justin lays in the hospital, Cody begs Laney to forgive him. He realizes he loves her enough to discourage Justin from the sport. Will Laney let Cody into their lives? Will Justin ride again?

My Review: So, I read Wild Horses and really got into it easily. I thought it was a great novel. Since reading and enjoying that book so much, I figured I might as well go ahead and pick up A Cowboy To Keep

I'll just say, if I wasn't a true western genre convert before, I am now. 

You can't help but sympathize with the heroine, Laney. She's such a strong heroine whose love and protection of her son make her tremendously endearing. From page one, she's such a force to be reckoned with, always jumping to protect those she loves with little regard for herself. I rooted for this character from the start. 

The hero, Cody Utah (Ha, love the name), is a down-to-earth man who fought to bring himself up in the world and make a name for himself. And he did, as a professional bull rider. Having a horrible childhood, he's reluctant to settle and be part of a family much less start one. 

To be honest, I even liked Justin. Might have popped him a few times for being a typical teenaged boy. However, I don't really care for kids, so there you go. Though, it's easy to empathize with his rebellious nature. Missing an important part of your family can definitely cause such behavior.

All in all, I loved this book. Once again, Ms. Lindun shows her expertise with horses and ranching, which I happen to enjoy reading. And she crafted a well-developed, emotional read that I couldn't put down. And I have to say the end result was so very rewarding for me. I even had a little tear in my eye when Cody answered one particular question Laney asked him toward the end of the story, which I have to share - '"Because you were watching," he said simply.' That one simple line made my heart swell for the heroine. One thing I've noticed and love about Ms. Lindun's heroes is while they may be men of few words and only say one plain or straightforward line of dialogue, there is a wealth of meaning behind that one little line.  
 Available for purchase atAmazon