Sunday, April 30, 2017

Romantic suspense titles...and chatting with authors!

In order of release...


Breaking the Honor Code
by Stanalei Fletcher

release date 5/31/17

by C.B. Clark
release date 6/7/17

by J.J. Montgomery
release date 6/17

(feel free to click on the covers or titles and add to your wishlist...or even better, to pre-order them!)

Over the past few years I've had the opportunity to work with several delightful romantic suspense authors. Somehow...three of them have books being released a week apart, starting at the end of May. (yep, there's a reason why I haven't been keeping up with the blog and/or my reviews, lol)

A couple of them will be at the Writerspace Chat at this link on June 16, 2017 at 6 p.m. (west coast time) and/or at the Night Owl Chat at this link on June 19, 2017 at 5 p.m. (west coast time)

Those of you who haven't participated in typing chats, try these out. We're all friendly and happy to meet other avid readers, and it's so fascinating to be able to chat with the person behind the stories. Some of us (dinosaurs, lol) who don't use Facebook (I refuse to get caught in the FB/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram black hole) enjoy this opportunity to interact with authors, and we always find plenty of titles to add to our tottering TBR mountains. There is a chance you can win a giveaway (make sure you register ahead of time at Night Owl if you want to be eligible) and you just need to be ready to discuss books (and sometimes other subjects, lol).

I will warn you, that things can go by pretty fast, but at Night Owl you can place your cursor over the screen where the conversation is going on and stop the scroll. At Writerspace, you can always use the scrollbar on the right to go back and review the conversation.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will answer to the best of my ability.

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Man Down by Tracy Tappan (review) ADULT title

Man Down
by Tracy Tappan

Man Down by Tracy Tappan is Book 3 in the ‘Wings of Gold’ series, that is first and foremost military fiction, with some romance interspersed. This particular tale focuses on Lieutenant Commander Jason Vanderby as he tries to survive after being blindsided by a horrific attack. He is joined in his arduous journey by his estranged former best friend, Shane Madden, and Dr. Farrin Barr. They have to depend on each other through a crucible of challenges, and survive long enough to work through their past and present traumas in order to have any kind of meaningful future.

This is a thrill-filled, suspenseful tale that starts with a description of the intense challenges faced to become a SEAL and ratchets up higher and higher throughout the story. Told through three points of view, this glimpse of the stamina and courage required to survive in a war zone is full of violence and savagery yet is leavened by the emotion and complicated relationships shared by the three main characters. The history between the two males, Jason and Shane, is revealed gradually in a counterpoint to the revelations of Farrin’s past while the intense action accompanying their struggle for survival keeps the reader invested in their story.

I love the realism this author brings to her stories even as I ache at the experiences that form the framework for her repertoire. The ability to draw the reader in and allow insight into the daily tragedies and heartbreak that is compartmentalized to allow these brave soldiers to continue fighting for our freedom and safety is a remarkable gift that she shares unstintingly. Those who have triggers should be forewarned that there is considerable grisly violence, including a heartwrenching execution of a family pet.

This is a story that you want to start only if you have plenty of time, because once you start, you will be immersed in a thrilling and vivid adventure that will keep you up late at night while you cheer, groan, and bite your nails, willing things to turn out positively. Those unfamiliar with the series will have no problem reading this as a stand-alone story, but will undoubtedly be gladdened to discover there are more alpha males to read about when this book is finished. Enjoy the adventure, I am sure there are plenty more to look forward to!

A copy of this story was provided to me for review, a version of which has been offered to Night Owl Reviews

Amazon link


Friday, April 28, 2017

LA Times Festival of Books

Every year a Festival of Books is held in Los Angeles...most of the time, at the University of Southern California. There are lovely panels with authors from all genres and types of written works, tons of booths, and entertainment...most of it for free. It's a fantastic opportunity to interact with others who enjoy the written word, and there were booths hosted by the various elements of the USC School of Medicine branches where one could have eye exams, dental evaluations, blood pressure and blood glucose checks. The only drawback was it was HOT! Sadly, I do not tolerate the heat well, and I am suffering from some weird rash that is exacerbated by prolonged exposure, so I am paying the piper for my enjoyment this week.

I had the opportunity to attend the panel on "Science Fiction & Fantasy From All Angles" hosted by the delightful Maryelizabeth Yturralde from the fabulous Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore (which, alas, only has the San Diego branch nowadays). The panelists were: Becky Chambers, Ellen Klages, Sarah Kuhn, and Seanan McGuire. The pre-panel discussion was hilarious, especially once Seanan started with her observation of how useful the straw purse of one of the audience members would be for carrying snakes, and segued into a description of inadvertently smuggling umpteen toads who hitchhiked a ride in her underwear. The moderator asked such insightful questions while giving a brief glimpse of each author's current work, and it was fascinating to learn the thought and creativity that each person instills in her stories.

There were signings at multiple locations, including the RWA booth as well as The Ripped Bodice and Mysterious Galaxy, and I was delighted to realize that Dreamspinner had a booth...and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet both Andrew Grey and the fascinating Tara Lain! What fun!
Update: See Rhys Ford's blogpost on the terrible travails that Dreamspinner has just gone through, PLUS an amazing discount!

The pictures aren't great, since I wasn't using the flash...





Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cold Reign by Faith Hunter (spotlight, character profile, review, and GIVEAWAY) LTP

by  Faith Hunter
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker…and the woman rogue vampires fear most.
Jane walks softly and carries a big stake to keep the peace in New Orleans, all part of her job as official Enforcer to Leo Pellissier, Master of the City. But Leo’s reign is being threatened by a visit from a delegation of ancient European vampires seeking to expand their dominions.
And there’s another danger to the city. When she hears reports of revenant vampires, loose in NOLA and out for blood, Jane goes to put them down—and discovers there’s something unusual about these revenants. They never should have risen.
Jane must test her strength against a deadly, unnatural magic beyond human understanding, and a ruthless cadre of near-immortals whose thirst for power knows no bounds…

Publisher: Roc
Price: $7.99
Release date: May 2, 2017
ISBN: 978-1101991404

Character Profile: Aggie One Feather

AKA Egini Agayvlge i in the speech of The People. Elder and Shaman of the People. Has grown children who don’t live with her. Has dogs, and later a cat.

Aggie is slender, a black-haired woman who dresses casually in jeans. She is spare and muscular with little gray in hair, though she is mid-fifties or older. She is lithe and fluid in movement with black eyes that are full of compassion, life and laughter. Her voice is soft and melodious, the gentle voice of dreams and nightmares, both.

She is a Spirit Walker who drives a little four-wheel-drive Toyota. She takes Jane to sweat and later to water. These are Cherokee ceremonies that help Jane to learn who she is.

Her mother is Eva Chicalelee, Ewi Tsagalili, (U ni lisi—mother of many grandchildren.)

**Compiled by Melissa M. Gilbert of Clicking Keys, for the Character History of the Jane Yellowrock world**

Purchase links:

About Faith Hunter:

 New York Times Bestselling author Faith Hunter writes three series: the Jane Yellowrock series, dark urban fantasy novels featuring Jane, a Cherokee Skinwalker; the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy / post apocalyptic series and role playing game featuring Thorn St. Croix; and the Soulwood Series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram.

Visit Faith online at, or follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.



There’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of Cold Reign and totes featuring Beast!
Open to US residents only.

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My review:

4.5 stars

Cold Reign by Faith Hunter is an urban fantasy that is part of the ‘Jane Yellowrock’ series. Jane’s role as Enforcer for the vampire Leo Pellisier, Master of New Orleans, is particularly challenged by the upheavals accompanying the machinations of European vampires who are reviving ancient alliances and threatening to repossess the American lands. A horrendous lightning storm is wreaking havoc with Jane’s system and the arcane powers sparking may be part of an insidious plan that will destroy the fragile alliances that hold New Orleans together.

The stories in this series are both mind-boggling and a thrill to read, with their fascinating blend of paranormal, fantasy, and mythic elements, not to mention the sexy and capable characters that abound. I love the appropriateness of the title, with its dual meanings that reflect the weather and the intense vampire struggle for power and control. Now, I admit, there are so many connections and significant events that have occurred in the past books that sometimes I am a bit lost while I comb through my memory (and realize that I have missed a book or two!) and try to figure out what ties and artifacts are significant, but that doesn’t prevent me from having fun with the story.

There are intense emotions and creepy developments that permeate this particular adventure, and just when one is trying to catch one’s breath after an intense fight and enjoy a brief respite…something else goes wrong! I kept losing track of who was allied to who and why it was important, so I suspect a new edition of the “Jane Yellowrock World Companion” would come in handy. Nonetheless, the dual point of view between Jane and Beast, the snarky repartee with those she depends on and who depend on her, the underhanded maneuverings of Leo and his allies and enemies, plus the arcane intervention of beings who seem to have a vested interest in some of the conflicts make this a breathtaking addition to the series.

I particularly love the arcenciels, and any book with an appearance by them, however brief, is delicious…and even more so when the pragmatic runs into the fantasy (who worries about a bathroom break when getting the chance of a lifetime? Jane, of course). Those who are squeamish should definitely not be reading these stories, as bloodshed and decapitation abound, but those who love a kickass female who speaks her mind and refuses to be manipulated…enjoy!

A copy of this title was provided to me for review

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Smoke by Emily Mims (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY)

I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Emily Mims, who shares with us her answer to the question...

ELF:  What is one of your hobbies and how has it enriched your writing?
EM:  My second passion in life, after telling my stories, is music. I was blessed with parents who bought a piano when I was nine and treated me to nine years of piano and organ lessons. I played both for fun and semi-professionally during my teen years and served as church organist during high school and college. That extensive background on keyboard and theory enabled me as a teenager to pick up a guitar and teach myself to play it. As an adult, I continued to play on and off, but teaching school, writing and rearing a family got in the way, and I was lucky to sit down at the piano three or four times a year.

I found myself returning to my interest in music in the summer of 2012. I was in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and happened upon a luthier demonstrating a mountain dulcimer. I sat down and in just a few minutes was making music on it. Needless to say, that dulcimer came home with me and I found a tiny but enthusiastic group of dulcimer players, the San Antonio Riverpickers, who taught me the old mountain tunes that they play. I fell in love with a second instrument, the ukulele, on my first trip to Hawaii in the winter of 2013. I brought home a ukulele, got chord charts and within just a short period of time was playing that little instrument also. Since then, I have picked up a bowed psaltery, an autoharp, a hammered dulcimer, a banjo dulcimer and a mandolin dulcimer. I don’t play all of them yet, but give me a little time!

Through the Riverpickers, I discovered and began attending the various dulcimer festivals held in Texas and the ukulele workshop held at the Kerrville Folk Music Festival every year. These festivals are wonderful. As well as offering performances by true masters of the craft, there are plentiful workshops offered to interested participants. Almost everybody there has a gig bag with them! My husband and I also play with Ukulele Ladies and Gents, an all uke group that performs frequently for everything from parades to murder mystery dinners.

So when I was thinking about a second series to write, having mined the lake community in the Texas Hill Country series to its limit, I wanted to do something with this renewed love of mine. So I combined my musical knowledge and background with the place where it all began-Appalachia. I’ve spent literally months in the region since my son and his family moved there in 2009 and love it there. My characters in some ways are based on the musicians I’ve met and studied with at the festivals, many of whom have sat down and shared with me what it’s like being a professional musician. My heroes and heroines all play mountain and bluegrass music (these are two separate but related genre) in a fictional bluegrass club in Bristol, Tennessee. My characters play the same songs on the same instruments that I do. Francesca learns the same songs on her fiddle that I learned on my dulcimer. Cooper’s bowed psaltery looks and sounds a whole lot like mine does, although he plays it a lot better than I do. The festivals portrayed in ‘Smoke’ and the other books in the series, aptly dubbed the ‘Smoky Blue’ series, are like the ones we’ve attended. Research for this series has been minimal. Or does going to a music festival count as research?

More importantly, my heroes and heroines share my love for music. Music is a passion with them, just as it is with me. It’s what draws them together in the first place and what holds them together against all odds. It holds Francesca and Cooper together when it would seem they have nothing else in common and draws them back to one another in the end. I sincerely hope that my readers can feel this passion that my characters feel for their music. If they can, then I have done my job.


by Emily Mims


GENRE: Romance/Romantic suspense



A concert violinist and musical prodigy, Francesca Giordano is internationally acclaimed and always in the spotlight—right where she doesn’t want to be. Not after she’s witnessed a murder. Suddenly on the run, she finds her way to Bristol, Tennessee, and to the music club Acoustics. There, as “ Chessie Hope,” she can hide out in the open. But with this newest gig comes a different kind of danger. Older and impossibly sexy, bluegrass singer Cooper Barstow is everything she’s ever wanted in a man, and his daughters are just as easy to love. Yet Francesca cannot enjoy the luxury of such a relationship, not even if he could protect her from the men on her trail or if she could be honest with him about who she is. Cooper is as wounded as he is strong, and he needs someone who will stay by his side for the rest of his life. Just as Francesca does. And the smoke on the mountains and the haze of desire almost make her believe that could happen.



“No, it was more than that.  You’re wise for your tender years, Chessie.  How did you get to be so smart?”

“I’m not all that smart.  You’d eventually have figured it all out.”

They stared into one another’s eyes for a moment.  “I was jealous.”  Cooper was abrupt.  “Of Jeremy.  When he came on to you.”

Chessie cupped his face between her hands.  “Cooper, why?”

Cooper put his good hand on Chessie’s shoulder.  “He’s young and he’s cute and he has both his arms.”

“If I were into boys, I might have been impressed.  But I’m not into boys, Cooper.  I’m into men.  One man, in particular.  And you know what?  I’m going to kiss that man, right now.”

Cooper stood, not moving, as Chessie went up on her tiptoes and placed her lips against his.  She held his face in her hands and nibbled, touching and seeking in the gentlest of caresses before deepening their embrace.  At first Cooper let her take the lead, but as hiss torment became unbearable he crushed her to him, her soft curves fitting just right into his hard, muscled body like a cool drink of water in the parched Arizona desert.  She wrapped her arms around his body and held him even closer.  Her nipples stiffened with desire and poked into his chest.  Cooper was overcome with longing.  He wanted this woman so badly he could taste it.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 Author of thirty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time.  The mother of two sons and grandmother of six, she and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit grandchildren in eastern Tennessee and Georgia.  She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands.  She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them.  Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”

Twitter: @EmilyMimsAuthor



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The tour dates can be found here

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Flip by Michael Phillip Cash (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Michael Philip Cash, who explains...

-->ELF:  What is your writing process?

MPC:  My day begins at 530am. I’m up early because I like to throw in a quick lifting workout before I begin my day. I kiss my wife and kids goodbye and make the long trek to my den to begin my work.  When I’m writing about a certain subject i.e. werewolves, ghosts, zombies, etc…I must know everything there is about the subject.  My entire day is filled with research and development.  I comb google and take notes and develop ideas for my book. Then by the time the wife and kids get home, I have a general idea on where my story needs to go.  We eat dinner together, I play with them, and then tuck them in for bed.  Then, it’s off to the races and I write every single night. Whether it’s a paragraph or chapter I try to put down as much as I learned about that day, into my book.  Food Network or Travel Channel will always be on mute in the background. I do this 7 days a week. I have managed to pump out 14 plus books in over 5 years, and I’m just getting started.  I just signed a two book deal with WordFire Press for Monsterland 1 & 2 that will be due out end of 2017.   



The Flip

by Michael Phillip Cash


GENRE: Ghost/Haunted House/Horror



Julie and Brad Evans are house flippers. They buy low, clean out the old occupants junk, and try to make a profit. Enter Hemmings House on Bedlam Street in scenic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Too good a deal to pass up, but with an ominous secret. The old Victorian Mansion has dwellers that do not want to be dispossessed. As the house reveals its past, will the couple's marriage survive The Flip?



“I hate this place,” Brad grumbled, as he shoved another piece of crap into the super thick black garbage bag. The basement smelled like shit, and here he was, alone on his birthday and shoveling hundred-year old junk from a dank cellar. This had to be the worst flip they’d ever attempted. He gave the creaky stairs a gimlet-eyed glance and for a nanosecond hated Julie. Really hated her and her cockamamie ideas. Where did that idea of hate come from? he wondered. He loved his wife, didn’t he?

“It has so much charm,” she’d cooed every time they discussed the place. And then, last night, she’d sprung it on him. “Let’s keep it.”

“Over my dead body,” he told the decaying piles of newspaper. Once they finished this job and paid their bills, he had some thinking to do. She picked the homes, went back to her tidy little job in the city, and left him to muck around in the garbage. He couldn’t see himself doing this for the next twenty years, not anymore. Not after this dump. It wasn’t that he was afraid of work, or even plain old elbow grease. There was something about this project that turned him off. From the moment he entered the house, his skin crawled, and he found himself unaccountably angered by Julie and her insistence that they buy this place. It was as though his opinions didn’t count, and she made him feel like a hired hand instead of her partner.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award winning and best-selling author of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels. 

He's written ten books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist, The History Major and Battle for Darracia series.  Michael’s books are on the Amazon best-seller list and have also won numerous awards. Additionally, he is a screenwriter with 14 specs under his belt. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

“Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island”, “The Hanging Tree”, and “Schism: The Battle for Darracia” have all been named to Foreward Reviews Book of the Year Awards.  His newest book, “The History Major”, has been taking readers and reviewers by storm.

If you’d like more information on Michael Phillip Cash, check out his websites:



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