More titles for your tbr pile

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

To those of you who share a country with me, Happy 4th of July!
(yes, I realize there are some folks elsewhere who view this date a little differently, lol)

I wish you a safe and enjoyable day...celebrate with thoughts of food safety and plenty of sunscreen!  Those of you who are in my poor drought-stricken state, please be aware of the fire dangers and the poor frazzled nerves of the nervous doggies and people!

I actually tried making potato salad with microwaved potatoes, and it worked well, although I wonder if it is a little more creamy than usual.  I am weird in that I like to actually taste chunks of potato in my salad.  I am a no-frills potato salad, I microwaved 5 medium-sized potatoes, boiled 3 eggs, cut up sweet pickles and added mayonnaise, a small squeeze of mustard, pickle relish and stirred.  One of my friends is dealing with heart issues, so I set her portion aside before I added salt to the remainder of the salad.  Tasted fine to me...although I tend to be pretty light on salt anyway.

I remind those of you who want to support our troops that there are many organizations to help those who serve.  They include:

Wounded Warriors
Operation Paperback
Soldiers' Angels

I am always too shy to walk up to those I see in uniform and thank them for their service, but it is definitely appreciated, so be braver than me and greet a soldier!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

For Your Love by Beverly Jenkins (review)

4.75 out of 5 stars

For Your Love by Beverly Jenkins is part of the ‘Blessings’ series that centers around a small town called Henry Adams, in Kansas. The population is increased by four, when Kelly ‘Kiki’ Page, her boyfriend Bobby Douglas, and their twin babies are welcomed through the auspices of Crystal Chambers Brown. Besides the culture shock of a very different climate, the new couple must adjust to the unique town that was purchased on eBay by the indomitable Bernadine Brown, Crystal’s mother, and become integrated into a society that believes in giving a helping hand to anyone willing to work hard and live in a positive fashion. All is not rosy, though, as a rival mayor strives to undermine the progress made in Henry Adams, and the mayor of Henry Adams, Trent July, faces unexpected stresses both professionally and privately, and must depend on his personal fortitude and on the strength of everyone around him to overcome the crises. Fortunately, as always, there are plenty of blessings for everyone to share.

This lovely contemporary novel is both inspirational and romantic, even as it blends a touch of whimsy and realism. The characters are deftly presented, and even though this book is part of a series, there is absolutely no problem getting drawn into the wonderful tapestry of this fascinating town. I love that there are multiple threads woven together as the magic of acceptance and camaraderie exert their effect on a young man who is defensive and prickly yet wants the best for his small family, even as he gets to see a society that works to bring everyone up, rather than being judgmental and competitive. Admittedly, there is a fairy-tale quality to the concept of Bernadine and her very deep pockets—complete with a wicked witch who tries to undermine everything, but there is also a very uplifting quality to the story and a poignant twist with regard to Trent and the pain of his past. I was fascinated by the presentation of so many blended families, both in terms of biological, ethnic, and social backgrounds, and delighted by the positive message of acceptance and teamwork. There are a couple of things I think were glossed over a bit in order to make the story work but overall, this was a beautiful story that celebrates love, acceptance, and neighborliness and makes me wish there were plenty of towns like Henry Adams…but until then, I will savor the books in this series and enjoy the blend of realism and idealism, as very real issues are worked out and most problems are solved with love. This is the first story that I have read by this author and I am enchanted by her style and her message and will look forward to reading other of her works.

© Night Owl Reviews 

I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blog Tour Elements

I recently had the (not as terrifying as I feared) experience of presenting to a group of the great authors at The Wild Rose Press a chat on what was involved in putting on a blog tour.  I spent quite a bit of time putting things together properly, and even more time fretting about the presentation--I had discovered in the past that I am still nervous about speaking in front of a group even when it is virtually, lol.  Well, the day of the presentation...I discovered something to terrify me even more--I couldn't copy and paste!  Thanks to the timely intervention of Crystal (from Reviews by Crystal) my talk was a success.  I have since realized that there are a lot of folks who might benefit from it, so, at the risk of looking narcissistic, I am reproducing it here because there are very few folks who know about my editor's blog, where I posted it originally.

Planning for a blog tour

When trying to publicize your work, one avenue to try is a blog tour. You may take the extremely frugal route and try to do it yourself (make sure you have a LOT of time and patience) or you may wish to use an established company and avoid reinventing the wheel. Make sure that you look around the blogosphere and check out different companies, talk to your colleagues and find out what they have been most happy and most disappointed with, and find out whether they believe it has been a good return on investment.
Ideally, a group of colleagues will host each other and help cross-promote, but if you go that route, make sure that you can depend on those you choose to work with and that you provide reciprocity. You also may want to keep in mind that if you are only working with those you have in your own clique, you may be limiting your audience. You also want to check out some of the blogs who are willing to host you. Do they seem to have a lot of traffic? Do they feature more than one title a day? What kind of giveaways seem to attract the most attention? Make sure you review your budget and decide what you can afford, and if you are offering a cute tie-in to your title, how much is it going to cost to ship, will it arrive intact, and are you willing to offer an alternative if the prizewinner is not in your country?

Having made that decision…how you’re participating in a blog tour and what, if any, kind of giveaway you are offering, make sure you are prepared well in advance. Are you prepared to do interviews or guest posts? Do you have several excerpts you can use? Do you have all of the information you need to disseminate? Even though I am a procrastinator, it’s really important to me to have the information well in advance, and, if a review is needed, most of us need at LEAST 4 weeks, if not more, to have time to work the story into our piles and get it read and written up. So, if you are always frantically juggling, make sure you get everything together well in advance of the time you are going to need to provide it. (Maybe work on it while you are waiting for your editor to do the next edit!)

Make sure that you drum up an audience. Promote in the forums you belong to (on the appropriate days, if there are rules for that sort of thing), post on your social media, participate in chats and mention it, etc. Please do the hosts the courtesy of going by and at least saying hello or thanking them. Leaving a comment or responding to the visitors is always appreciated (although you may have to figure out how many ways you can respond to… “I liked the excerpt/cover/blurb” because that is often the default comment folks use to cover the requirements for entering the giveaway.)

Blog tour elements

Blurb: Most of you have a blurb that has been vetted by the committee, but if you are publishing independently, please remember that the idea is NOT to tell the entire story, but to pique a reader’s interest. Include key words…lost love, lovers to friends, wounded hero/heroine, etc. that you think will attract a reader’s notice.

Buy links (written out or live link). I am only SEMI-computer-literate. For some reason, links don’t always transfer live for me when I copy and paste, so it really helps to have the web address written out in the info I am given. I like my blog neat, so I like to just have the link itself, but I often have to manually put it in, so it is essential to have the entire address.

Banner? If you are using a banner, make sure that it isn’t too large or too busy. If you are using a fancy one that cycles around between different titles, make sure it works!

Author picture or picture related to book. I am camera-shy, so I don’t want my picture out in the ether. If that is you, make sure you have a nice substitute graphic that can either represent your brand or a link to the book.

Social media links. I am one of those folks who barely keeps up with the mailbox and, hopefully, my blog. I don’t use the rest of the rapidly exploding social media, and, I find it frustrating when the author I am hosting has more than three or four links for me to make sure are live. I understand that you want your readers to be able to find you, but perhaps you can include one or two AND a link to your social media page that has the rest of the listings. When you have a laundry list of links, that takes away from the focus on the book you are promoting.

Other titles? Some of you are really prolific (congrats), but again, I don’t want to make live links to a myriad of titles. Part of that is my own pickiness, I am an Amazon affiliate, so I MIGHT get a small stipend (one of these years) if someone clicks through and buys anything, so I try to make the book titles link to Amazon BUT the other issue is that I highlight and italicize titles so they will stand out, and it is time-consuming. If the title being promoted is part of a series, by all means, mention one or two titles…but please don’t list all 200 of the books you have written!

Excerpts? Various tour companies have different techniques. One of the companies I like to work with assigns a particular excerpt to a group of hosts, thereby making sure that there are a variety of excerpts. I think it is great when at least 3 different excerpts are provided, and make sure you mention if they are PG or R or X-rated, so that the blogger can put the appropriate warnings up.

Guest posts. I usually request guest posts. I am always crunched for time and have tendonitis issues, so having to deal with an interview and highlighting and boldfacing the questions and answers is just too cumbersome for me. Other people prefer interviews. Usually those are pre-written and you can include a link or two in them. One of my favorite types of interviews to read is between the characters and the author or the blog host. If you are comfortable with it, you can give a great introduction to your characters by having them interviewed.

Some folks love recipes. You can tie them into your story, provide pictures, give anecdotes on how you stumbled upon this particular recipe or give hints on how to serve it.

Playlists seem to be popular also. Lists of the music that either connects to the characters or that you listened to while writing the story.

Anecdotes about the story. Readers are always curious how you came up with the story/characters/setting. You can include a picture or two that you used (if you own the picture), talk about where you did research, places you visited.

Some of you are great with YouTube or Pinterest pages, so you can include links to that as well.

Decide how much personal info you are willing to share and how. Euphemisms for family members? Broad statements about where you live? Unfortunately, there are fairly odd people in the world, so make sure you protect your privacy as much as you can.

 Giveaway. Some authors are talented and offer something handmade, or something that reminds them of something in the book, a copy of the book (decide whether you want to offer an e-copy or a print copy and don’t forget about price and postage when you budget that in), or a gift certificate to different places. When figuring out what you want to use in the rafflecopter or whatever method you use, please remember that not everyone uses all of the social media. Increase traffic to your website (but make sure it is current and error-free), get subscribers to your newsletter, blog or Facebook/Pinterest or other social media.  One of the companies I work with offers an incentive giveaway to the tour hosts, which doesn’t compensate for the time and effort that go into posting, but does offer a nice surprise sometimes!


Timeliness is important (especially if trying to get reviews)—life gets in the way for ALL of us, if you aren’t going to be able to meet your deadlines, have the courtesy to inform the blog hosts (or tour company) so that bloggers are not scrambling at the last minute to either post your material or fill the day with something else. I like my review copies at LEAST 1 month in advance, my blog materials at least a week or two early, because I tend to procrastinate and end up posting a week’s worth of blog posts at a time.

Use relatively clean copy (irksome if formatting issues/typos, etc.). Sometimes the formatting doesn’t translate, so the apostrophes, dashes, and quotation marks don’t come through, so make sure you check to see what format you should save your copy in. Personally, I tend to ignore posts that have a lot of machine code in them (especially in the forums) so you may be turning off potential readers.

Again, don’t have too many links, and make sure links work! (I like clean pages, want live links but they don’t always translate live, so should have it both as a live link and written out (with a note to delete one form or the other) but don’t overwhelm the poor anal retentive person such as myself who goes through trying to tidy things up and ends up having to work through 15 different links! If all else fails, put a link to your social media page that has your Twitter, FB, Goodreads, Tsu, Pinterest, website, etc. links)

Long excerpts…if you really can’t find a short eye-catching excerpt, post a link to a space on your own site that has a longer excerpt.

Authors’ experiences with tour hosts can be good or bad, and that works in both directions! Talk privately with your colleagues, ask how the experience went.

I tend not to sign up for tours with companies that have not been timely. If I have to poke the hosts in order to get my material, I don’t have time to do that, and I tend not to host for them any longer.

Don’t criticize the blog tour or host in public. I had an author go into some rant about how useless blog tours are and how irresponsible the hosts are…and cite my blog. When I pointed out that he was being really insulting and that he wasn’t scheduled to be on my blog until a future date, he had to retract some of his statements, but he left me with a REALLY bad taste in my mouth, especially since he fails to realize that I do this in my (snort) spare time and I DON’T OWE ANYTHING to the author. If you have an issue, try to contact the person directly, don’t get into a flaming war, and remember that you have no idea how folks can be interconnected, so things can get really sticky sometimes.

Which brings me back to reviews. You and/or your tour company should make sure that the host is reminded that the story given for review is for the use of that reviewer ONLY. It is not to be shared, posted or otherwise used for anything other than the review. Also, diplomatic language should be used to remind the reviewer that you have no problem if they did not like the story, but if they have a negative review, you politely request that they not post it as part of the tour, but to feel free to post it after the tour is over. There is no point in your paying for a tour to bad-mouth your hard work!

Input from a couple of blog tour companies:

I reached out and asked a couple of the tour companies I interact with for their input and received the following comments (with a little paraphrasing).

The author should take the initiative in opening dialogues on the tour posts … ask the commenters a question to get the ball rolling. The author should be the one that drives the interaction.
Read ALL the instructions the tour company sends you BEFORE you ask a question.. there’s a good chance you’ve already been given the answer. (Made with the assumption that other companies send comprehensive instructions like we do — if they don’t they should, and maybe an author should keep that in mind when booking a tour).

Conversely, if you can’t find the answer to your question in the instructions, never be afraid to email with questions and make sure what’s expected of you is clear.

Things that make us a little crazy is getting completed posts a day or two prior to the stop.  Not stopping by the tour stops to say thank you.  They should always be polite, even when something makes them unhappy — I’m assuming that all tour companies want their authors to be satisfied, so we’ll do everything we can to make it so, but being yelled at for things just makes everyone cranky.  

OH … and do everything with the tour company (at least when it comes to us — other companies may be different). I hate when authors contact a host directly for something. First of all, that’s what they’re paying us for and secondly, it’s hard for us to make sure everything is coordinated properly when that’s going on.  Ditto hosts contacting the author directly.  The tour company is the intermediary for a reason.


Major Pet Peeve, response time to emails! When authors contact you for a tour and you set dates, etc, then never hear back, not good!  Be on top of things, if I email for info needed, etc, work to make sure I have the info and the correct info at that.

I have had numerous indie authors who don’t even send the buy links on release day (say if we are waiting to get out to hosts for a blast, etc), I have had to chase down the links myself to get out to the hosts.  Which I don’t mind, but you would think the author would want the links to purchase to be a top priority.

Definitely time is an issue always.  I prefer to book two months out and sometimes you will get a request from an author for a tour and her book is releasing next week.  That is just unfair to the coordinator and hosts.  I can work magic when needed but with a full schedule, I usually have to turn a lot of people away or recommend another company that might have an earlier opening.  

I thought those were great points, and I admit that I salute the tour companies for their patience as they deal with computer-challenged procrastinators such as myself and interact with authors and try to keep everyone happy.

I tend to work primarily with two tour companies but I have been a host for about 15 of them over the years, so I have seen a lot of variation.   Please leave a message in the comments if you would like to ask any questions or have suggestions that would help others.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Releasing Rage by Cynthia Sax (ADULT title) Pre-release informatiom

Releasing in August!  Another exciting erotic series by Cynthia Sax...The first in the Cyborg Sizzle series!

 Releasing Rage

ADULT title


Half Man. Half Machine. All Hers.

Rage, the Humanoid Alliance’s most primitive cyborg, has two goals—kill all of the humans on his battle station and escape to the Homeland. The warrior has seen the darkness in others and in himself. He believes that’s all he’s been programmed to experience.
Until he meets Joan.

Joan, the battle station’s first female engineer, has one goal—survive long enough to help the big sexy cyborg plotting to kill her. Rage might not trust her but he wants her. She sees the passion in his eyes, the caring in his battle-worn hands, the gruff emotion in his voice.

When Joan survives the unthinkable, Rage’s priorities are tested. Is there enough room in this cyborg’s heart for both love and revenge? 

R-Rated Excerpt

“I serve you. You’re my cyborg.”

“I’m your master.” His eyes glowed with pride and passion. “You belong to me, are mine to do with as I will.”

“Yes, sir.” She couldn’t form a longer reply. Her breasts were alive with his touch, his nanocybotics working her like a thousand tiny tongues, concentrated where his mouth engulfed her skin. Her pussy warmed with the friction of his palm.

“Right now, I wish to repair your damage.” He laved her breasts with his tongue, covering her with his unique form of care, spreading his seduction across her entire chest, and she writhed against him, fighting her release, wishing to delay this delicious torture.

“I want my female in prime condition when I breed with her.” Rage pushed two of his large fingers inside her.

She whimpered, the fit tight, stretching her.

“You’ll take me, little engineer.” He spread his fingers, increasing the pressure. “Not today. You haven’t yet earned that reward.” He pumped her, his rhythm fast, hard, squeezing the breath from her chest. “But soon. I’ll fill your snug human pussy with my cyborg cum.”

“Yes, sir.” Joan wiggled, impaled on his fingers.

“I’ll breed with you whenever, wherever, however, I desire.” His lips moved against her as he thrust his fingers between her pussy lips, filling her again and again. “And you’ll deny me nothing because you serve me.”

“I serve you, sir.” Let me come, she wanted to beg yet didn’t dare. He was in control, would give her relief when, if he wished.

“When I tire of you, when you no longer satisfy my needs—”

She shook with want and need and an endless yearning. “You’ll kill me, sir.” Saying the words gave her some power and she wasn’t scared of death, only of not finding release.

“Yes.” He drove into her pussy with his fingers and nipped her breast with his lip-covered teeth.

She screamed, bearing down on his hand, taking him deeper inside her. Her inner walls constricted around him, as though trying to make their bond permanent.

His mouth tugged and pulled at her nipple, extending her orgasm until she had nothing left, sagging against him.

Rage drew her upward with one arm, this demonstration of his strength impressing her. “My female.” He licked the scratch on her face. His nanocybotics warmed her skin as they repaired her damage. His fingers remained inside her.

From the Author

This is dark SciFi erotic romance. If you're sensitive to violence (of ANY kind), please read one of my lighter SciFi erotic romances.

Releasing Rage IS a romance and has the expected romance ending.

There will be at least five stories in the Cyborg Sizzle series.

 Releasing Rage
Being Green (this is a short story with Green as the hero and will be in a yet-to-be named anthology)
Breathing Vapor (Vapor's story - he's one of the new K model cyborgs and had been assigned to Rage's battle station)
Crash And Burn (Crash's story)
Minding Gap (Gap's story)

I expect Intrepid, Vector and many of the other cyborgs will have stories also.

To be notified of when stories release and to hear insider information about the cyborg's world, sign up for my newsletter

If you ever have any questions (about the science behind the story, any of the characters, the future of cyborgs, anything), send me an email and I'll happily answer them. 
Cynthia's blog is Taste of Cyn 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Glimmer by Beth Kery (review) ADULT title

Fair warning...
For some reason, I didn't book tours this week...which is good and bad...bad, because I have no giveaways to offer, but good because I am not frantically trying to get things posted.  I will try to put in some of my reviews from the past few weeks and some of my musings...but, if you are looking for the tours, they will be back AFTER the 4th of July.  Have a lovely holiday weekend!

4 out of 5 stars

ADULT title
Glimmer by Beth Kery is the first book in the ‘Glimmer and Glow’ series and introduces MBA graduate Alice Reed, who has managed to obtain a position at a unique training camp that could be the key to securing her future. Her intense attraction to Dylan Fall, the CEO of the company that runs the camp, is inexplicably reciprocated, and their heated affair elicits multiple complications, including the issues from her past that threaten their future together. Dylan’s quest to help her become all that she can be, in and out of the bedroom, has frightening implications and Alice must decide whether the price to fully accept everything that is being offered to her is too high to pay.

This intensely erotic contemporary story has both eerie elements and a tantalizing mystery that combine in a mesmerizing story. The gradual flowering of the relationship between the suave, rich, self-assured, and somewhat kinky CEO and the naive, newly-minted graduate is a vaguely familiar theme but the mysterious twists in the story and the incandescent intimate encounters described remind one of the author’s dexterity at creating a sizzling and intriguing tale. I was a bit uncomfortable at some of the revelations that teeter on the bounds of unethical behavior, given the inequity of knowledge, but I can’t deny that I was drawn into the spell of the story. The pragmatic explanation for the almost paranormal occurrences is a nice twist, but I wasn’t quite ready for the story to end where it did and I am anxious to read the next in the series.  

© Night Owl Reviews 

I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Queen's Guard: Rose by Traci E. Hall (review)

4 out  of 5 stars

The Queen's Guard: Rose by Traci E. Hall is part of ‘The Queen’s Guard’ series about a group of women who protect Queen Eleanor, who is also Duchess of Aquitaine. This particular story focuses on Lady Mamille de Rou (Mamie), one of the remaining bodyguards, who accompanies her liege on her quest to the Holy Land, despite many setbacks and the loss of her fellow bodyguards. Mamie is known as Rose in the queen’s bouquet of guards, and is adept at using both her warrior skills and her feminine wiles, but she is strangely attracted to the Templar Knight Dominus, and tempts him despite the strictures that forbid any relationship. Each of them must comply with their primary mission directives, but the swirling currents of political maneuverings and danger that overshadow the quest may bring about more than just their personal downfall if they cannot protect their respective charges, it may unbalance the fragile political accord and shift the balance of power with fatal consequences.

This medieval historical romance provides an intriguing portrait of an atypical and powerful woman at the heart of many of the political maneuverings of the time. The vivid descriptions of the machinations of various powerful figures are both enlightening and somewhat dismaying as they show how often the heart and political expediency are in opposition. The author does a wonderful job of evoking the difficulties of the journey, the constant fear of betrayal and chess game of manipulation, and the wonder of women who are just as loyal and adept at protecting their charge as their male counterparts. I am not an ardent fan of history, but these stories have a way of capturing one’s interests and investing one with a desire to see the characters succeed, although there are definitely both highs and lows of the journeys described. This is a story of both a foreign place and time that affected the balance of power in this part of the world and it was fascinating to get a glimpse of some of the players involved. An entertaining read for fans of history and the Crusades who like strong proactive women who are not afraid to fight for what they believe in.

© Night Owl Reviews 

I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.


The other titles in this series are:



 The Queen's Guard: Violet
My review is at this link

The Queen's Guard: Peony
My review is at this link


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Various things...

Reposting this, in case you missed it...

The Assassin's Lover (The Elven Lords) is Released--$175 in Prizes up for Grabs, By Kathryne Kennedy

ENTER TO WIN $100, $50 OR $25 IN BLOG

Just copy and paste this entire announcement
onto your blog, then send an email to with the url to
your post. You can also earn additional entries
by: SHARING this on Facebook, by TWEETING
the url: ,
by DOWNLOADING the book and forwarding
the receipt. Be sure to include the number of
entries in the subject line of your email. Only
one entry per site or share. Prize is in the form
of an Amazon gift card. Three winners will
randomly be chosen, the most site entries
chosen first for the grand prize.

Download the novelette
for 99 cents at:


Until Jak meets his new mark. Since his job as
an assassin for the Rebellion results in saving
the lives of hundreds of Englishmen, Jak has
never had a problem fulfilling his orders. But
then he meets Minerva Overon, and she has
such an unusual request that he soon finds
himself more involved with the woman than he
wants to admit.

Because of her special magical gift, Minerva
knows that when Jak crawls through her
window, he is there to kill her. She is ready and
waiting for him, determined not to die a virgin.
But she harbors many secrets, and it takes Jak
several revelations before he figures out the
real truth.

A winner will be randomly chosen using
RANDOM.ORG. Your information will be kept
confidential. Contest ends June 30, 2015.
Winner will be notified via email provided. If
winner does not respond within seven
business days, a new winner will be chosen.
We are not responsible for any misdirection of
email. Rules are subject to change for any
reason without prior notification. Void where
prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or
older to enter. No prize substitution permitted.
Odds of winning are determined by number of
entrants. This contest is subject to all country,
federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
You accept all terms and conditions by
entering into the contest.


Time is running out for the Heatwave Giveaway Hop  (link), don't forget to visit all of the other participants as well!

Stanalei Fletcher is offering a print copy of her romantic suspense novel Proving Ground on Goodreads at this link.  This would be a good time to read it, as the sequel should be out in just a few months!



And...I got my PinchMe box!  If you haven't joined, leave me a message, I will be happy to refer you...and you can get started receiving great samples as well.  I was thrilled to get samples of Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion Aloe, Gold Bond Ultimate Skin Therapy Cream, Strength & Resilience, a sample of Fisher Nut Exactly Snack Bites (almond popcorn dipped in milk chocolate), Kraft Parmesan Grated Cheese, Italian, and Olay Fresh Outlast Cooling White Strawberry & Mint Body Wash
(which I have to admit is for sending to my soldiers, since I am sensitive to most body washes).


I got my sample from Smiley360 (again, leave me a message with your e-address in the comments if you want to sign up and I will be happy to refer you).  I have a sample of Nexium 24HR Capsules to try for my acid reflux!