Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Witchy Halloween with Denyse Cohen

Happy Halloween! Today I'm happy to have Denyse Cohen with me to talk a bit about witches and share an excerpt. And what better holiday to do it on! *As a special treat, you have a chance to win your own digital copy of Witch's Soulmate and a $5 Amazon GC. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment to enter to win.*

Without further ado, Denyse is going to tell us just how she came up with her concept for her new release, Witch's Soulmate, out November 5th!

Writing about witches was something I thought I’d never do. It’s just not the kind of books I read most. But as with most things in life, inspiration comes from rather unexpected places. When the idea for Witch’s Soulmate came about I was driving in South Carolina and all of the sudden the wind picked up, rattling the branches of the tall trees that framed the quiet country road I was on. At that moment, I started to ask myself “What if ?”

So imagine with me … What if all life in our planet came from within Earth itself; everything connected into a grid of energy invisible to humans. The guardians of this "living energy" are women who call themselves witches.
The witches share a deep connection with all the elements and are mighty powerful, but they have one weakness: soulmates - few humans in the entire world whose life energy is a perfect match for them.
When a witch meets her soulmate their attraction is uncontrollable and, because the witch's power will grow exponentially if they’re together, an ancient organization is out to hunt and kill them.

That’s Witch’s Soulmate: when falling in love means fighting to stay alive.


“Oh, God Mother Earth.” As soon as I left the coffee shop I sprinted around the block to my car. When looking for a parking space earlier I was irritated there was not a spot close, but now I found it a blessing.

I unlocked the car and got in, gripping the wheel until my knuckles were white. “Jade, you just found your soulmate.” I had to say it to myself out loud to make me believe.

The jolt of energy I felt when I bumped into him was like nothing I’ve ever felt before, as if gravity had shifted and I was being pulled toward him by an invisible force I couldn’t hope to control. The look on the poor guy’s face was priceless, though. It would had been comic if it wasn’t so tragic. I imagined he must have felt the same indescribable attraction and a bit of shock at seeing a pair glowing eyes.

I can’t deal with this now.

I’d just arrived in San Diego from my two-year exile in Massachusetts, turned twenty-one and found a job at the San Diego Aquarium. I was just starting to live my life and I was not ready to give it up yet.

I turned the engine, still reasoning with myself. “I ran away. It was just for a second. He will forget me. It was like it never happened.” At that instant, I devised a plan: I’d never think of it, I’d absolutely never mention to Grandma or Aunt Marion, and I’d never come to this coffee shop again. Forget they have the best chocolate croissant in town.

It was too bad I never wanted to fall in love, because my soulmate was really hot. If he was just another guy I’d be all over him. He was tall with broad shoulders, not overly muscular but with a ripped body, rugged manly face, dirty-blond hair cut short and neat like a Boy Scout. I felt my temperature rise about a dozen degrees just thinking about his deep green eyes and luscious lips. Oh, stop it, Jade. If I wanted this plan to work I had to control myself and not send out this kind of energy, so Aunt Marion and Grandma could sense it and pay me a visit. If they found out I’d met my soulmate, I would have no say in the matter. My only choice would be to elope with the guy and run for our lives, and that was not what I wanted. I looked at the dashboard clock and hurried to work deciding to never think about him again.

Blurb: Witch’s Soulmate is the first book of the Living Energy Trilogy. Throughout history, the women who guard Earth’s living energy have been known as goddesses, fairies, mermaids, and alchemists, but they prefer to call themselves witches.

Jade is a young witch scarred by the murder of her parents and determined to evade her soulmate and never fall in love. Unfortunately, falling in love is not up to her or Peter—the human whose life-energy is identical to hers. The soulmate is the missing key to unlock the witch’s power and Arrow, a powerful organization whose only intent is to kill the soulmates and keep the witches in check, is ready to do whatever it takes to destroy their connection.

After a chance encounter, Jade and Peter are swept in a battle that takes them to Europe and Brazil in hopes to uncover a secret that will decide the very fate of their love—and their lives.

Review: I received this book as an ARC for an honest review. I have to say I'm very glad I did. It was a thoroughly engaging read that has really put me in the Halloween mood since the main theme is witches. But, not they're not your cackling, ride on a broomstick sort. They're actually human beings with direct energy links to the earth. The author wove a interesting tale about mythical witches and their soul mates.

Once I started reading it, the premise quickly pulled me in, and the story held my attention to finish it in one sitting. I had to know the fate of our heroine and hero, Jade and Peter. While the romance was fast to blossom, the author explained it such a way I had no problem with it. I loved Peter's humor and the way he could soothe Jade as she carried a heavy burden on her shoulders. They're actually a pretty sweet couple together. But something else I really liked that stands out a bit from most books I've read with romantic elements, Jade was much stronger than Peter. I really liked that fact. It was up to her to protect her man. Ha, gotta love that. Don't get me wrong, Peter wasn't a woosy or something, he just lacked the magical abilities Jade possessed.

All in all, I enjoyed this read and will await more from this author.

 Available for purchase at: Amazon

Be sure to visit Denyse at: Website 

Remember to include your email address with your comment to be entered to win a digital copy of Witch's Soulmate and a $5 Amazon GC. 

Halloween Book Giveaway!

Happy Halloween, you lovely people. :) I'm back again with more books to hand out. Just like the last time, these are used books my neighbor graciously passed along to me. And I honestly just don't have the room, or I've already read them. So here's how I'll do it this time - I'm going to lump them into groups. If you interested in a certain group, or even all of them, just specify which number(s) you'd like to have and be sure to include your email so I can contact you for your mailing address later. I'll let this go until November 4th, then I'll pick some winners that night. :)

Group 1 is:

Group 2 is:

Group 3 is:

And last, Group 4 is:

So there you have it! If you're interested, be sure to comment with your email so I can contact you for your mailing address and please specify which groups you would like to be entered to win.

And you can visit our featured authors here: Christine Feehan

Have a great Halloween and eat lots of bite sized candies. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review of The Driver's Seat by Casea Major

Blurb: Seattle Attorney, Belenda “Len” McCreevy has had one hellacious week, but when her battery dies during an ice storm in backwoods Wyoming, it only gets worse. The resort-bound Len is rescued by Jack, local mechanic with a Matthew McConaughey smile and a truck load of dominate appeal that has her hormones raging. It soon becomes clear he’s looking to service more than just her car, but while the man might be good with his hands, Len’s determined to maintain control and be on her way.

Against his better judgment, Jack agrees to let the stubborn woman drive off in the middle of the winter squall with the understanding that if he has to pull her out of a ditch, he'll also spank her ass.

When Len careens off the road, more than just her car crashes at rock bottom. She swallows her pride and calls the only man who can help.

Stuck in the storm, the two find they have more in common than lust. But will Jack’s secret destroy their growing love and take him out of the driver’s seat?

Review: A new short sexy, sweet read from Casea Major. Once again, she delivers a well-written novella with very likeable characters and lots o' sexiness. The hero and heroine, Jack and Belenda, are two characters that are well developed in such a short span of pages. You will actually root for these two to find their happy ending together. And I did find the ending quite satisfying and cute.

If you're looking for a quite hot and sexy, but sweet read with a happily ever after. Look no further. Only thing wrong with this whole picture is I need my very own Jack Johnson. Just saying.

Available for purchase at: Amazon

Be sure to visit the author at: Website 

Cleaning off my bookshelves, so a book free for all

Right, so I find myself overwhelmed by books. I love them, don't get me wrong. But I can hardly buy new ones if I have no room on the shelves, right? Not to mention, my neighbor is one of those "buy it new, read it one time, give it away" type readers. *Le Sigh* However, I can't complain since she is gracious enough to knock on my door and pass them right on over to me. :)

So that brings me to my point. She gave me some books that I'll never read. So I'm giving away 3 books today. Bear in mind, they are previously read, but from what I can see, they still look brand new, outside and in. What I have is:

Interested? Well then you should enter with your email address so I can contact you for a mailing address later. This is only open to US/Canada commenters. I know some awesome people in Canada, so I had to include you guys. I'll let this giveaway go until next Tuesday, the 30th. Then I'll use random.org and select one winner.

You can find this author at: Goodreads

Be sure to check back. I'll have more in the next month as I weed down some of the content from my shelves. Good luck. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Alpha Male Blog Hop Winners! Yay.

Hurray on such a fun hop! Thanks to all the wonderful blogs that participated and the readers that hopped from blog to blog. I know we all appreciate your comments. A big thanks to Carrie Ann for putting the whole thing together. Thanks to all.

And now your winners. The Grand Prize winners are: 
Kindle Fire Winner:
Marie Hahn
$130 Amazon Gift Card:
Jessica Mange
Swag Pack:
Natasha Donohoo
The winners chosen with rafflecopter on my blog are: 
 $10 Amazon Gift Card:
Deb P.
 (2) $5 Amazon Gift Card:
Marlena F. 
Jolene A.
Congratulations to all. And I do hope to see you again soon for the next blog hop. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alpha Male Blog Hop! - Get you some!

Okay, okay. So I admit to being stuck on the Turtle Man lately. Definitely not in the "alpha" male way, however. Just in the way one has a fascination for anyone who picks up "varmints" with their bare hands.

Right, so the moral of that story - Live Action! Obviously you're here for the Alpha Male Blog Hop, which I'm excited to be a part of. Who doesn't like those hard, rippling abs just begging for our touch, or that stern knit brow set over deep, intense eyes. Whether he's gun-toting, sword-wielding, or just plain sharp-tongued. We love 'em. So what does it take to make your perfect alpha? Does the alpha male of your dreams ooze authority and strength? Is he a surly bastard with a scowling visage 99% of the time?

So, here we are, folks. You tell me what it takes to be your dream alpha male.

I'll have a rafflecopter set up for the giveaway on my blog, which I'm offering a $10 Amazon GC and 2 - $5 Amazon GCs. Wish I had thought to get a couple stacks of random books ready to offer also. Alas, the work week was crappy. But I'm sure I'll have another giveaway later. In the meantime, be sure to fill out the rafflecopter to be eligible to enter to win on my blog.

**You MUST include your email address with your comments to be eligible for the Alpha Male Blog Hop Grand Prizes**, which are:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!
(The Swag Pack is only limited to commenters in the US. Sorry international commenters. Never fear, you're still eligible for the 1st and 2nd prizes though.)
Now would you just look at that mug! I know you want to win it!
Be sure to stop by all the other wonderful blogs participating in the giveaway, which means over 200 chances at prizes and multiple entries for the grand prizes. The Hop will last from October 19th at 10am EST until October 22nd at 11:59pm EST. Good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, October 15, 2012

Victoria Adams and her main character, Robert, stop in for a visit

I'm happy to have Victoria Adams talking a bit about her new release, Dancing in Circles. In additon, I had the chance to quiz her main character, Robert, a bit.

So glad to have you here, Victoria. Care to introduce yourself a bit?

Hi, I'm Victoria Adams and I am super excited to be here at Melissa's [Insert clever quip here]. Why am I so excited? Today I'm announcing the release of my latest book – Dancing in Circles. It is book one in the Circles Trilogy series. And to celebrate, I brought along the hero of Dancing in Circles – Robert Holiday.

I promised him a beer if he'd sit down and chat with Melissa. So I'm going to step back and let you take it away, Melissa.

Does that mean I get a beer, too? *Shrug* Seemed appropriate to ask. Right, now let me just jump on in here. So Robert, I have to know, what made Julie any different from the other girls you've been with? 

Oh fu…uh, jeez, where do I start? First day at Westland Prep, I walked into Biology and there was this girl. She's the only thing I saw. I mean, here's this gang member walkin' into such a rich-bitch (uh, can I say that??) school. I'm tryin' to be cool. Naw – I'm cool. Anyway, she was just sittin' there. I almost ran into the teacher's desk tryin' to look at her but not look like I was lookin' at her.

As I got to know Julie, what set her above the rest was her heart – her soul. She's beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. She has a huge capacity to love and the patience of – gawd, I don't know, but she managed to break down all my barriers.

Julie's the only person, who, when she first looked at me, didn't see a hot cool guy or a gang member, she saw me. And ya know what? That scared the hell out of me. And nobody's ever done that before. 

Awww that's sweet. I don't suppose you have some hot friends, eh? Perhaps that like older women? *wink wink* Ha, just kidding. No, don't look crazy. Jeez. Okay, back to it. Now what plans do you have for the future?

*Eyes me suspiciously* I got all sorts of plans, but I don't think I can mention those here.

It's cool Julie ain't here. Cause she'd roll her eyes at me on that one.

My plans – get myself out of prep school, keep workin' at the ranch and keep lovin' Julie.

Secretly, I'd like to go to college and I wish I could get out of the gang – alive.

Wish I could offer you some help, dude. But I have a feeling all will work itself out. Perhaps you might could talk with your writer about that, hmm? How's it been living with Julie and her family? I know you haven't really had much of one yourself.

Weirdly cool. At first, her family pretty much hated me. 'Cept for her little sister, Ashley. We watched cartoons together. But her mom and dad – not so much on the likin' me thing. Her dad's a judge and he sent me to jail, so at first he saw me as nothin' more than a gang punk. Don't know how Julie convinced him to look past that and get to know me – not the gang member, but the person.

Her mom was pretty cool, after she got over the fear of me. For the first bit, I felt like I had a sign hangin' over me – Danger! Bad person alert!

Somehow, Julie convinced her parents to let me stay after I got healthy again.

Sounds like you have your own personal cheerleader in your corner, Robert. That has to be an awesome feeling. Sorry, but I have to ask this. What does the future hold for your gang, The Shoresmen? You don't have to tell me, if you'd rather not.

*Rubs his face and pinches the bridge of his nose, then sighs heavily* Ok – uh, didn't expect you to ask about them. Well, I gotta keep my eye on Marco. He's pretty pissed at me right now. I wouldn't be surprised if he tried somethin'. Somethin' really f'in' stupid and it'll probably involve Julie. The two gang leaders I fought - Blood and the other guy from Death's Desire – I put their leaders on my war council. Gotta keep'em close, so I can keep an eye on them. Had to put a couple of their guys in line, but other than that, things is same old - same old. 

Jeez, man, sounds tough. Better you than me. Heck, let's move on to something brighter, eh? If you could whisk Julie away for a long vacation anywhere in the world, where would you take her? And what would you do there? 

Well, pretendin' I actually had some bank so I could afford to take her anywhere. It'd be somewhere super romantic. Like a little island with a big beach and nobody else around. There's so much about her I want to learn. I just want to spend hours talkin' with her.

Ok, yea, I want to hold her and kiss her and stuff. Especially the stuff part. But I want to know what's going on inside her head. What are her hopes and dreams. Hell, I don't even know what her favourite food is. (Mine's beer, if anyone's askin'?)

Jokes aside, I wish I could release what's buried in me and maybe if we had some time I could tell her about the things that haunt me. Maybe she could hold me and scare the monsters away.

Especially the monster that keeps tellin' me that someday I gotta let Julie go. I have to give her up. Come on, gang member and prep school girl – that's like Romeo and Juliet. And that didn't work out so well, did it?

I suppose we'll have to see just what Ms. Adams has in mind for the two of you. Personally, I'm anxious to find out. It's been a pleasure talking with you, Robert. And thank you so much for letting me get a bit up close and personal with your main character, Victoria.

Great Job, Melissa and Robert. And Robert, your beer's in the fridge. You earned it. Thanks so much for letting me visit and announce my new release, Melissa.

My pleasure. :) Feel free to drop by anytime you like. And now for an excerpt, folks!

Book One in the Circles Trilogy
Blurb: Dancing in Circles is the story of two prep school students, one (Julie) from privilege, the other (Robert) from poverty and how fate threw them together while society tried to rip them apart.

Excerpt: **Fair warning - contains profanity and gang violence**

"This is Frank Guiles for CBHY News. Our reporter, Jack Hanes, is currently in North Shore. He has some eyewitness, late-breaking news. Jack?"

The camera focused on a crouching reporter then panned over to an area where a group of men stood. It zoomed closer as the reporter spoke in a barely audible whisper. "Yes, Frank, we're in the field next to Bells Shopping Center. Both gangs are here, Devil's Blood is on the left of your screen and Shoresmen on the right."

As the camera focused on each group, Julie scanned the screen to find Robert. One man from each gang stepped forward and squared off. The screech of tires interrupted their stares. A tall male strode over and stood between the opposing groups.

The reporter looked at the camera. "We're going to open our directional mics to find out what's going on. I advise you to censor who is watching. The language may be offensive and this could get violent."

"Where the fuck did you come from?" The shortest of the three males spoke.

"None of your fuckin' business."

"It's Robert." Julie jumped out of her chair. "He's alive." She settled onto the edge of her seat, fists clenched and heart pounding.

Robert pushed the person to his left. "Move Marco. We got Pete's killer. Get out of here."

"You fuckin' disappear and then try to tell us what to do." Marco shoved Robert.

"I was tryin' to keep the god damn peace." Robert grabbed Marco's jacket then released it with a flick of his hands. "Now, get back or I'll take ya out here and now."

The two Shoresmen stood nose to nose. Marco blinked first and walked away. Julie released the breath she'd been holding. 

Robert turned to the shorter man. "Juan, get your guys outta my territory, or I'll let my guys eat ya alive."

"You sure you got control of them?" Juan nodded towards Marco.

"He'll be dealt with. Now get outta here." 

"Let's say, for the fun of it, you and I fight. Winner takes all." Juan stood tall, trying to appear threatening.

Robert snorted. "No problem. I ain't got no plans for the next two minutes."

Juan pulled a knife out of his jacket pocket. "Big tough guy. Thinks he's so fuckin' tough." 

"I'll pound your face into the pavement and take your gang." Robert threw his arm out and pointed. "Just get the fuck outta here." 

With screeches of brakes and slamming doors, several carloads of gang members lined themselves alongside the Blood gang. Another person walked over to the spot where Robert and Juan stood. He was almost as tall as Robert was. Even his long, unwashed hair added to the impression of height. His voice was too low for the microphone to pick up what he said.

"Fuck!" Robert shook his head and aimed his index finger at Juan. "Point for ya. I didn't realize ya was stallin'. I just thought ya was just fuckin' stupid." Robert shifted and yelled over his shoulder. "Blood and Death want Shoresmen turf." 

The Shoresmen screamed obscenities and threw visual insults at the other gangs. 

Robert waved his arms silencing them. "You'se guys sit. This is between me and them. Last man standing."

"Shoresmen rule!" A voice called out.

Robert raised his right fist. "Shoresmen rule!"

The leader of the second gang jerked his thumb towards Robert. "Who gets to go first?"

Juan sneered. "I've had to put up with this hombre for longer than you. I get the first crack at killin' the bastard."

Robert gave Juan a push. "Leave my lineage out of this."

Available for purchase at: Amazon
Book Two in the Circles Trilogy coming February 2013
Book Three, Circles Interlocked, is available at:  Amazon
(Totally fun to type that, just saying)

Victoria loves to chat. Stop by and visit her at: Blog

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lyrical Press's Release Party for Jennifer Lowery's Hard Core

I'm sure there are many of us who are excited over Ms. Lowery's new release, Hard Core. I know I am. I've awaited this book for quite a while. And that cover.. *Le Sigh* If I could just reach out and touch those rippling abs, all would be well in my world. :)

To celebrate Ms. Lowery's new release, Lyrical Press is giving away a digital copy of Hard Core to one lucky winner. Please be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below. At the end of the week, a winner will be chosen to receive their prize from Lyrical Press.

Congratulations to you, Jennifer Lowery. May this be the first release of many more to come!

Blurb: He takes lives. She saves them.

A supposedly hassle-free job for mercenary Cristian Slade becomes a mission of mercy when he saves a life instead of taking one. Slade's new mission might be his most dangerous yet, because the danger is to his heart.

Tragedy has sent esteemed surgeon Alana O'Grady to a remote a remote Nicaraguan island where she immerses herself in the lives of a native American tribe, using her talents for goodwill instead of wealth and prestige. But life turns upside down when her work requires she protect a rugged mercenary who commands her attention when she's awake and dominates her dreams while she sleeps.

Doctoring Cristian puts her entire tribe in danger from the man who's hunting him. Is it her professional oath or her unprofessional attraction to him keeping her from sending him away to heal on his own? Alana's fire warms Cristian's heart, but he's a hardened assassin and has no business falling for someone like her. Can they fight hard enough to keep what they might have together?

Content Warning: Sexual content.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

Be sure to stop by these other blogs for a chance to win your own copy. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Guest post with Tamaria Soana

Author Tamaria Soana is here to share a bit about the wonderful cause she is supporting with her release, The Calm Before the Storm. Please be sure to check out her latest release. Take it away, Tamaria.

To say it’s surreal to have my short story come light is an understatement. The vision for this story came to me months ago. I wanted to write a short story to raise awareness for Domestic Abuse. This cause is very near to my heart. I also wanted to find away to use my story to raise money for the cause. After a few phone calls I decided I needed to look no further than my own back yard. I live near Buffalo, New York,  and we have a wonderful woman’s shelter that has helped countess woman and children get back on their feet.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I will donate 100% of the proceeds from The Calm Before the Storm in October to my local woman's shelter, and 50% for the life of the book.

Here are some Domestic Violence Statistics:
  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
  • Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
Those facts alone make you want stand up and do something. One thing you can do if you're in an abusive relationship or know someone that is please get help by calling the hotline.

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224

Things you can do to make a difference:

  • Buy the Calm Before the Storm  Amazon
  • Donate to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence NCADV.org
  • Support your local woman’s shelter by donating money, clothes,  and basic toiletries.
  • End the Silence on Domestic Violence Dr. Phil's Site View Dr. Phil's Campaign
The Calm Before the Storm by Tamaria Soana
Blurb: The last two years of Erica Bloom’s life have been spent looking over her shoulder. Sawyer Marsh promised the day she filed for divorce and left him, that if he couldn't have her no one would. Even though Sawyer hasn’t contacted her in two years she’s still feared for her life. She remembers all too well the nightmare their marriage was and what it felt to be on the receiving end of his wrath.

The news of Sawyer’s engagement allows Erica to finally let her guard down and enjoy her new life and budding relationship with Brock Maxwell.

While away relaxing at Brock’s vacation home on the Willow Lake, the past comes back to haunt her. Were the past few years just the calm before the storm?

Excerpt: Erica picked it up and smiled when she saw it was Joann calling.
“Hey, Joann.”
“Hi, Erica. You busy?”
“No, not at all. I was just reading the paper.”
“Did you hear the news about Sawyer?”
Erica stood up.  Chills ran down her spine at the mention of his name. “What news?” she replied, just above a whisper.
“He’s getting married.”
The words stunned her.
“Erica, are you still there?” Joann asked.
She took a deep breath, trying to calm down so she could respond.
“How do you know?” she managed to stammer. So many feelings were flowing through her body as she paced the floor. They ranged from fear to relief. Was he truly moving on?
“Tim ran into his cousin at the hardware store. He said they’re getting married in a few months.”
“Wow.” Erica breathed out.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes. This is good news. He’s moved on. Maybe I can stop looking over my shoulder every time I go out. Do you know who she is?”
“No. From what I understand, some woman he met while on a business trip and Sawyer’s  cousin mentioned  that she’s much younger.”
“The poor girl doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into. I feel for her because I know all of his tricks. He’s sexy and charming in the beginning and you’re so over the top in love with him.  You marry him and get so caught up in the fairytale you believe is your life, until one day he changes into the man he truly is. A monster,” Erica stoically stated.
“Erica, I know you went through hell with him, but it’s been two years. You have a terrific man in your life. I think it’s time you let go of the past and live again.”

Erica sank down on the couch. She felt like she was hit by a freight train.  “I have a lot to think about. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Let’s get together soon.”
“Sounds great.”
“Erica, relax. The nightmare is finally over.” Her friend reassured her.
“Bye, Joann.” Erica ended the call and stared into space. Could it be that easy? Am I honestly free from that man once and for all?

Author Bio: Tamaria Soana is middle aged, but just feels her life has begun. She writes sexy contemporary romance stories that always end with a ‘happily ever after’. Growing up she loved to read and make up new places in her head to escape to. In her late teens she began writing short stories and poetry; it wasn’t until her late thirties before she began to spin a full story.

She’s married and a stay-at-home-mom of two beautiful young girls, they reside in Western New York. Cuddling up with a good book under an electric throw is her way to escape the cold Buffalo nights.

Besides writing, she co-owns Shades of Rose Marketing and hosts a talk show on Talkshoe called Live with Tamaria ~ Giving authors a voice.

Be sure to visit Tamaria at: Website

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Interview with Allison Merritt

I'm happy to have the awesome Allison Merritt on my blog today. She's a pretty rocking lady with a fabulous sense of humor.

***And she's kind enough to offer up a digital copy of her first book in the Legends & Lovers series, The Treasure Hunter's Lady to one lucky commenter. Be sure to leave your email address so you can be contacted. :)***

So we'll just jump right on in here. Can you tell the readers about yourself?

I’ve always been a serious reader, so it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I wanted to be an author as well. I’m from the Ozark Mountains in Missouri where I live with my husband and our dogs. Hiking and photography are two of my passions besides writing.

Now what kicked off your writing career? What motivates or inspires you?

As a teenager I was impressed by writers like Louis L'Amour and Linda Lael Miller. Harold Bell Wright was a clencher for inspiring me to write. His novel The Shepherd of the Hills really pushed me in a writerly direction. It's funny how as youngsters we plan our futures. I intended to be a journalist—and I did get my degree in mass communications and thought I'd write novels on the side—but my adviser told me I needed to harness my creative writing and turn it toward journalism. Sad to say, that didn't work out for me (the funny part is, she writes romance novels too and she's really good at it. She has an impressive contest resume). I haven't written a news article in years. I actually stopped creative writing in 2003 after my dad died suddenly and didn't turn toward novel writing again until late 2008, early 2009. I was really depressed and I knew I had to do something to take my mind off trouble, so I started writing again and haven't found a reason to quit.

I commend you for picking up writing again. You certainly have a talent for it. So how, in this great big, giant world, did you come up with the Legends & Lovers series?

I live in a part of the country that steeped in folklore and history. I love to study local history and the more I got into that, the more I started learning myths and legends from other parts of the world. I love the weird. L&L was really inspired by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I love the technology in that movie and how they portrayed Tom Sawyer. I told my husband one day after we watched it for maybe the 100th time, “I'm going to write a book like that.” He thought I meant with Sean Connery in it, but that's not quite what I was getting at. The whole series was never part of the plan. I was working on a historical romance set in Australia, but while I was editing it, I decided to write the rough draft of The Treasure Hunter's Lady, which was originally set in Australia as well. It freaked the agents I queried out to think about trying to sell a book set in Oz to Americans. So after I made my first live pitch, I took on the major task of relocating the setting and had to change the whole serpent myth. But it worked out in my favor in the end because it opened up the series to more American Indian lore.

You know, that's an aspect of the Legends & Lovers series I really like, the American Indian lore. It's fun to read. What are you currently working on? What else can we expect with the Legends & Lovers series?

I finished the first draft of the third book in August. It's titled The Turncoat's Temptress. The hero is one of the minor characters from The Sky Pirate's Wife, Basil Tinwhistle. Here's the unofficial blurb: 

Basil Tinwhistle's life ended when he was nine years old and he revealed that he had a proclivity for finding the paranormal. Taken from his family and raised by a special order of men dedicated to memorizing legend and hunting monsters, he's risked life and limb to keep the United States safe from terror in the night. More than that, he left behind the only woman who ever held his heart.

Nora Frost's parents abandoned her in favor of pursuing a sideshow career in a circus. Her grandmother raised her with a strict hand to prevent history from repeating itself. Nora has never felt comfortable with herself, except for the brief summer Basil spent at her grandmother's antebellum mansion. When Basil vanished without a word, he broke her heart and she vowed never to fall in love again.

Years later on one of Nora's worst days, Basil suddenly reappears. The attraction between them is as strong as it was that long ago summer, but Basil is about to reveal a danger Nora never imagined—one that might tear them apart before they can repair the past.

Look for it next spring. I'm currently writing the fourth novel, which has taken an even stranger path than its predecessors.

Sweet! I just read about this character last night and was curious if I would be seeing him again soon. Can you share one of your favorite excerpts from your latest release, The Sky Pirate’s Wife, with the readers? And why is it your favorite?

There are so many parts of The Sky Pirate's Wife that I love. It's hard to pick one. But this one is right after Sophie and Alwin are married and he's brought her aboard his ship, Bright Hope. She really didn't expect him to try to seduce her while they were in front of crew and just hours after what was practically a shotgun marriage.

Excerpt: Sophie looked at the book in his hands. No one held the wheel but her. “You let go!"

He grinned. “You're doing fine, zoete. Keep her steady, she's climbing on her own.”

It wasn't the idea of being the only thing that stood between them and another flaming airship wreck that made her tremble. It was his smile. The kind that all women yearned to receive from a handsome man. “You should really take the wheel.”

“My hands are full.” He waved the logbook at her, but replaced it and remained standing beside her. “You're doing very well.”

“Are you certain?” The wind blew her hair and snagged her skirt. The horizon filled her line of sight and she suddenly understood the thrill of piloting a ship. It was like having the same freedom as a bird. She could point the ship in any direction and go wherever she pleased. Nothing had ever made her feel so alive. Except kissing Van Buren. Her head turned his direction like it was on a spring. She covered the sudden movement with a laugh. “I think I'm in love with your ship.”

His eyes darkened from icy gray to the shade of wet concrete. He lowered his mouth to her ear again and put his hand on her back. “Flying is a great deal like making love, Sophie.”

She nearly melted at her name on his lips. “W-why do you say that?”

“It's instinctual. The mind and body work together, creating a moment of beauty. The first time is a little frightening, but once you find the rhythm, the proper technique, you have something very enjoyable on your hands. Something that you feel deep within your soul. Something that you never want to give up. With the right person, the kind of relationship you'd die to protect.”

So, am I a weirdo to be lusting after Alwin or is that completely acceptable? Now, is it true you actually have a model of a sky pirate ship? If so, where can I get my own? And will it come with my very own Alwin action figure? I'm not going to lie, it would be kind of sweet.

It's true, all right. I had a booth at a literary festival and I knew an airship would be quite the decoration, so I planned on making one out of paper mache. My husband was like, no, we can do better than that. We scoured craft stores, appalled at even the lack of pirate ships, but we finally found one at Michael's craft store. I had to punch all the pieces out of this sheet of wood and it's not like they number them, so putting it together was quite the feat. If it had been me alone, I'd never have finished it, but my husband is pretty handy with things like that. Attaching the balloon was the tricky part because obviously it came with sails instead of a balloon. The trick, my friends, is super glue. Never underestimate the power of super glue. Unfortunately, there aren't (as of yet) any Alwin action figures. I wish I was handier with clay, because I'd resolve that problem. Action figures of the L&L characters would rock!

I'm going to agree with you there. I feel like I need my very own Alwin at the helm of the Bright Hope or something. Food for thought, just saying. :) You seem to have a penchant for writing such swoon worthy heroes, in my opinion. How do you do that, woman?

Maybe it's because I've read romance novels since I was a teenager. I definitely have a thing for bad boys. The heroes in the L&L series so far have a dangerous side—they have secrets, they have fears, and they don't want the heroines to find out. I love watching them grow and change and face whatever I throw at them because they're men who don't back down, particularly when it comes to the people they love.

You said it, sister! I'm sold on your heroes. I have to ask. You wouldn’t happen to be an Indiana Jones lover, would you?

We're not counting Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, right? I mean it had potential, but it failed in so many areas. Temple of Doom is my favorite, but I do love me some Indy.

The Crystal-whaty-what? Ha, just kidding. I know that one, but I was definitely going with more of the Temple of Doom-ish type Indy. :) So which of your characters do you feel the largest affinity with? And why?

It's so  hard for me to choose between Abel and Alwin. On one hand, Alwin is so gruff and wants to prove himself, but he's often unintentionally funny and he has his soft, squishy side. But Abel is the hero who no matter what happens to him always finds a smile. He's modeled after my dad that way because my dad was a very funny man who knew that you could get through anything if you could find a way to laugh.

Aww, that makes me love that even more about Abel's character now. Now, if you could sit down with any person in history and share a conversation at length, who would you choose?

I've recently been on a Nikola Tesla kick. I can't get enough of the guy. He has a role in the movie The Prestige with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, powering all those light bulbs with just the earth. He was a ghost in Dean Koontz's latest Odd Thomas novel, where he built a time machine, and he had some really awesome ideas about power and all kinds of inventions. Plus he was good friends with Mark Twain. He even convinced Mr. Twain that getting shocked by this machine he built was good for you, which makes me laugh because I can just see them shocking each other and having a hell of a time doing it. I think they enjoyed it because I'm pretty sure it actually shocked the shit out of anyone who used it. Poor Tesla was ruined by Thomas Edison because Edison was going to pay him to harness electricity in a different way than we do it now (don't ask me the specifics, science isn't really my thing), then bailed on the deal when Tesla did it. He died destitute and took his ideas and inventions to the grave and no one has been able to replicate his experiments. Gee, thanks, Edison.

Ha, I remember that about The Prestige. David Bowie. :D Since we are talking fiction after all. Let’s say you woke up tomorrow as the captain of your very own airship. What would a normal day for you include? Would you be smuggling goods or transporting passengers? Or sailing the high skies in search of evil flying creatures?

Sadly, I'm afraid of heights, but for the sake of fiction, we'll pretend I'm not. I honestly think I'd love to smuggle goods in boxes marked as legitimate cargo, getting paid under the table while trying to maintain an untarnished reputation. There's something about the thrill of knowing you're doing naughty business that secretly makes me feel awesome. Of course, you always have to worry about the Board of Air Traffic and Safety finding out about it. I'm sure it would just end with some leisurely time in jail, right? Or, how cool would it be to guide tours where paying customers can get up close and personal with evil flying creatures? Provided they didn't blow up your ship. There'd have to be a big sign right on the gangway that said NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCIDENTS.

Hmm, not sure I'd want to get up too close and personal with your flying creatures. I'm thinking a person might draw back a nub. Ha, had to say that, sorry. My mom's said it for years, and at times, I find myself looking for opportunities to say silly things. For my final question, If you had the opportunity to explore and treasure hunt any place in the world, where would you go? And what would you be hunting?

Funny you should ask that. Way back before the Civil War there were brothers by the last name of Yokum (or Yoakum, or Yocum, or Joachum, or … well, I could go on, it's spelled dozens of ways) who settled in the Ozarks and married in with the local Delaware Indian tribe. James Yokum minted his own silver coins for trade because there was no official legal tender in Missouri at the time since it was still a territory.

Yokum silver dollars are extremely rare, I don't think I've ever seen one, but I'm descended from the Yokums on my mom's side. Supposedly, the mine was pretty rich with silver and the Yokum offspring wouldn't reveal its location, but one of them drew a map that a local man still has. I've been to that guy's house and he's pack rat and half, but he has some seriously cool historical documents and maps I'd love to get my hands on.

That is pretty neat actually. I love checking out older historical documents such as land grants, deeds, etc. Ha, go figure! You're a treasure hunter, Allison! And your husband makes sky pirate models. So you two could form your own league. You know, Treasure Hunter Lady and the Sky Pirate Model Kid. Okay, well maybe not.

I really want to thank you for stopping by and having such great answers. You are an interesting lady to say the least. In the meantime, I'll anxiously be awaiting the next book in the Legends & Lovers series. And you are more than welcome back here any time, madam.

Legends & Lovers: Book 1

Blurb: For years, Romy Farrinton traveled at her world-famous archeologist father's side, exploring new lands and uncovering ancient secrets. It was everything she ever wanted, until a near-fatal encounter with hostile natives forced her and her father into a life of retirement in Boston and an undesired advance into proper society.

Everything changes again when she's saved from an accident by a brash Texan in a back alley. Abel Courte may act like a care-free cowboy, but he's harboring a secret—he's searching for the Diamond of Uktena, a legendary jewel that can cure any disease known to man. He needs information Romy's father has in order to get to the jewel. When he traces the origin of the Diamond to Dakota Territory, he sets off to claim the treasure, only to find the archaeologist's fiery redheaded daughter stuck to him like a bug in sap.

In a race against time, Romy and Abel must learn to trust each other as they undertake a cross-country journey that will expose them to lands uncharted by white men, a deadly battle against the fearsome creature in possession of the Diamond and a fight to return to civilization where they might make the greatest discovery of all—love.

Review: So I kept seeing this beautiful cover when I would stop by to read Ms. Merritt's blog, which I find quite humorous. The temptation became too much. I had to check it out. 

And I'll just say.. What in the world took me so long?

From the start, it captured my attention. Immediately, we are introduced to Abel Courte who is the epitome of an Old West cowboy, or atleast we think that. He's a character of many facets, our Mr. Courte. Nonetheless, he's quite an honorable hero that always has a ready smile to brandish. In addition, he's a loyal, protective hero who can turn the charm on thickly when he wants. You can't help but love this guy.

At once, we start off with a bit of mystery that links Mr. Courte together with the heroine, Romy. The sparks between these two fly from the first initial meeting and never seem to fizzle out throughout the entire story. I enjoyed their exchanges and the adventurous path to love that they traveled. 

There are many things to love about the book. The writing, flow and characters are all well-developed. But, the three aspects that I absolutely loved the most about the book had to be the blend of Native American folklore, which is quite interesting to read. It will definitely hold your attention. In addition, it's quite an adventurous read. So that automatically hooks me and keeps me turning the pages, anxious to learn what this pair's next course of action would be. And lastly, in my opinion, I thought the hero and heroine were fantastic characters. They seemed to embody every quality and characteristic that I appreciate in my heroes and heroines. They're both kind, protective, and fearless when it comes to protecting their loved ones. Perhaps, I'm sappy, but I love that. We all have our things we love and that just happens to be mine. 

If you are looking for absorbing adventure romance with likeable characters, inventive weaponry and sky travel vessels then this is the book for you. 

Available for purchase at: Amazon 

Legends & Lovers: Book

Blurb: After a tragic airship wreck, Captain Alwin van Buren makes a drastic decision to obtain a wealthy bride in order to save his flagging business. He meets his match in Sophie Banes, heiress to an airship empire. After he seduces her and ensures their marriage—igniting a rivalry with her godfather—he learns the green-eyed beauty is as headstrong as he is.

Sophie knows Van Buren's reputation based on a series of dime novels written about his adventures. Determined to be more than an end to a means, she despises him for luring her into marriage. In fiction, he's a no-nonsense captain on the verge of piracy, but the flesh-and-blood man wins her heart by proving she's worth more to him than her money.

Their love is threatened when Sophie learns Van Buren's airship accident was a result of mythical creatures. Winged predators that appear to have a grudge against him, a fact he deliberately hid by accusing her godfather of sabotage. If she can forgive him for that, they still have to face the danger when they're cornered and at the mercy of beasts and the evil that controls them. The real test comes when Van Buren is asked to make a sacrifice that could destroy them both.

ReviewNow it was a given I was going to read book two in the series. You all should have expected that. I have to admit I was totally anticipating this book once I read The Treasure Hunter's Lady. In book one, we were introduced to Captain Alwin van Buren, a sky pirate. Yep, you can swoon now because I sure did. 

As with book one in the series, I was sucked in from the start. We meet up with the gruff giant Captain who I seemed to form a soft spot for in the first book. The adventure starts from the very beginning on the deck of Alwin's airship. 

We are once again thrown into a world were mythical creatures from Native American lore exist and are bent on Alwin's destruction. At a particularly vulnerable point, he meets the heroine, Sophie, and things kick off from there. The couple soon finds themselves dealing with consequences that result in a rushed marriage. 

Personally, I loved this book. I'm "Team van Buren" all the way. In my opinion, Alwin is such a stellar hero. He's such a gruff, large man whose usual countenance is a scowl, but he's quite a bit of a charmer when he wants to be, especially with his little Sophie. In addition, he has such a protective, gentle nature when he's dealing with Sophie. Gotta love that about a hero. Not to mention, when a hero is ready to risk life and limb for his lady love, I'm sold. 

Something else that really stood out for me in this book was the heroine. She's a bit more feminine and refined, but she's never whiney, shallow or insipid. Sophie was quite a memorable heroine for me. She really was such a sweetheart and would do anything for Alwin, despite the circumstances that bound them together. But it was nice to see she didn't allow him run all over her. In fact, she held her own with Alwin quite well. The pair were well suited and deserved each other. 

Ms. Merritt has once again delivered an engrossing romantic adventure with a fantastic hero and heroine and lots of sky travel and winged creatures from myth. So, I suppose I'll be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series since I'm hooked now. 

   Available for purchase at: Amazon

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