Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Special Post for My Hard of Hearing Friends (Or for those who also have hard of hearing friends)

I've totally come to terms with the fact that I can't hear, that I'm slightly different from everyone else, and I'm okay with that. But even though I say, "I can do everything you can do, except hear", I've had to admit there are some frustrations. One of them has always been the telephone.

Growing up, my mother would have to listen to my phone conversations on another line and cover the mouthpiece while she relayed what they were saying to me. Everyone was always asking me what that echo was... I was too ashamed to tell them the truth. It was just one more thing that made me different from everyone else...something else for them to make fun of.

As an adult, I used VCO (Voice Carry Over). The process went something like this: 

I called a 1-800 number, a relay operator. I would tell the relay operator what number I was calling. The operator dialed that person and connected us. The operator then proceeded to listen to our conversation and type out whatever the other person was saying. The words would appear on a screen. I would talk back. We had to remember to say "go ahead" every time we were done speaking so the operator would know to switch lines again.

The upside to this:

I could make my own phone calls without my mother having to drop everything and listen in.

The downside:

More often than not, folks would hang up on me. "I'm not buying anything. Sorry." Also, the process of explaining to everyone how it all worked and what they  needed to do...eh.

And I had a stranger listening to all the details of my personal life.

This was before text messaging.

Then text messaging came along and I thought I'd never need anything else...but you can't text the doctor and make an appointment. You can't text the groomer and get your dogs hooked up and so on...

So hubby became my secretary after a while. Poor guy.

But to make a long story short, there is now something for us. It's funny how this came about. I follow another deaf author named Dawn Colclasure. In her newsletter a few months ago, she mentioned yet another deaf author, Shanna Groves. Shanna and I connected and as I was heading her way (Kansas City), we agreed to meet in person. We met at the Deaf Cultural Center (more about that soon) and while there, my stepmum grabbed the latest edition of Hearing Loss Magazine.

In that magazine is an ad for CapTel with Sprint.

And tomorrow I am getting a new cell phone!!!!!!!!! That I will be able to talk on!!!! I will no longer have to text 15 messages to relay the latest drama in my life when crap goes down. I can just call my friend! Just like anyone else. And my hubby no longer has be my secretary.

How it works: You register with CapTel. *You must have an Android-powered cell phone, but this service is FREE. HOWEVER, there's also a home phone. I did not check into this though. I use the cell for everything.* Someone calls your CapTel number...and they just natter away and the program itself converts their words to text on your screen right before your very eyes. You natter back. And the program also works for voicemail!!!!

I'm very excited about this and as I learned from talking to Shanna last week, for some reason, people are not advertising that they have stuff for the hearing "impaired". You have to ask for it. And I'm not afraid to ask for it.

The people in the Sprint office hadn't even heard of this feature their own company is offering. It was a learning experience all the way around. I just want to share this...we need to spread the word about this awesome feature. I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't know of it. I hope that this post reaches at least one Deaf/Hard of Hearing person who can utilize this feature.

Find out more about it here or here

Talking Women in the Marines with Heather Long

Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here (1 Night Stand, Always a Marine, #2)First and foremost, let me say thank you for having me today. In Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here, I introduced my readers to Jasmine “Jazz” Winters, and in the follow up No Regrets, No Surrender, introduced Jazz’s fellow FET teammates Mary “Stormer” Phillips (Combat Barbie) and Roxanne “Roxy” Cortez—all Marines and Marines who have all seen combat.

On January 25, 2013, the Department of Defense reported that women would no longer be forbidden from front line combat roles, but the truth is women have served in combat since the formation of the first armies in the late 1770s. Where there is war, where women are—women are in combat.

No Regrets, No Surrender (Always a Marine, #6)If you do your research, you will find that the Continental Congress awarded a military disability pension to Mary Corbin for the battle of Fort Washington in New York. What did Corbin do? She manned a cannon during the battle and was injured in the line of duty. She only received half the pension that her fellow male soldiers received, but she did get her full ration of rum.

Arguments Against Women in Combat

One of the primary arguments was that women in combat couldn’t perform on the same physical level and that the presence of women in combat would distract the cohesion of the male unit—that men wouldn’t be able to function or not want to protect them at the cost to themselves. Counter arguments point that brothers in combat don’t leave their brothers behind and they go above and beyond to protect their fellow sailors, soldiers, Marines, and airmen.

Combat Barbie (Always a Marine,  #11)Women who serve in the military don’t have to be on the front lines to see combat. In October, 2013 Specialist Brittany Gordon was with a team meeting with some local Afghani leaders when a suicide bomber targeted the Afghan and a piece of shrapnel killed her. IEDs do not pay any attention whatsoever to the gender of the target nor does a bullet or a war.

Female Engagement Teams

The roots of the FET teams can be found in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Communicating with the female Muslim populations is extremely important and the culture precludes their contact with foreign males or any male for that matter who is not a member of their immediate families.

Marine Lioness teams in Iraq would search female Iraqis for contraband and concealed weapons and the FET teams developed from there. They provide an invaluable resource not only to their commanders and units, but also to the local communities in a way that had never been managed before.

The Two and the Proud (Always a Marine, #8)Female Engagement Teams can interact with women and children in the local populace, report information and provide it. They implement community development programs, and they can gather intelligence without violating cultural standards. The women who serve on these teams are highly skilled and screened and serve their country with distinction.

These are the women that inspired me to create Jazz and Mary in the first place.

Semper fi.


Heather Long lives in North Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Bandit's Stolen Heart by Michelle McLean

A Bandit's Stolen HeartThis is a hard review to write for the simple reason that except for a few moments I honestly found a tad preposterous/unlikely, I absolutely loved it. I could very easily leave it at that.

Loved it. It's a fantastic western adventure about three incredibly spunky sisters with a huge dash of romance and I can't wait for the next book.

You got a lady bandit playing Robin Hood, who bashes a handsome stranger over the head and forces him to marry her pregnant sister...only to fall in love with him herself...what a mess!

The villain is their very own half brother and the town sheriff. I loved the westerized version of this classic Robin Hood tale and I loved even more that the bandit is a woman/women.

Abandoned mines, stealing daggers and getting shot, love and honor, frame-ups for murder, secrets and lies, bossy women, heartache, dead bodies. It's all here.

The story is full of conflicts that keep one on the edge of their seats. She loves him, but he's married to her sister now and she won't dare cross that line cause her sister needs a man now that the father of her baby (the hero's brother) is gone, possibly dead. Their brother wants their land, but what for? What's going on? Why is he framing her? What's he going to do next?

The excitement never stops. There were a few moments my eyebrows rose...namely the train scene. (I couldn't even COUNT to 3,000!) LOL But it's fiction and it's moments like this that make a book fun and the reader wide-eyed. 

Otherwise, my only quibble is the very formal dialogue. I get it's a historical, but these aren't New York socialites and it's a western. I was distracted at times by the lack of contractions in dialogue. It made for oddly formal prose.

But that's me being nitpicky. This was a fun book and even better, it's not full of sex. The author didn't need to throw a bunch of nastiness in to keep readers hooked. It's nice to pick up a great adventure for a change.

Five bikes and I got this from netgalley.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Falling for You (Reality TV Romances) by Heather Thurmeier

Falling for YouI don't watch much reality TV--only Ink Master and a few car shows, but I love reading about these shows. I can't compare this to the Bachelor cause I haven't seen it, but this was neat. It had a unique twist too.

Cassidy doesn't fall for the "bachelor", but a cameraman! Her very own cameraman who follows her around. And the man she's "dating" on national TV is her ex-boyfriend! I loved this. I also loved the look into "behind the scenes", what it's probably like: wearing voice boxes, cameras in the bedroom, cameramen walking backwards.

There are challenges and I thought it was interesting that they weren't really about what Brad liked/who Brad (the bachelor) was, but all things they felt viewers would enjoy. There's jealousy. The cameraman gets jealous cause his new girl is smooching the bachelor. The women get jealous of each other. Drama!

The ending was surprising..I confess I was doubtful that Cassidy and Evan were getting away with what they were doing...I mean, you have four cameras in your BEDROOM. Someone is bound to notice you've gone into the adjoining room and not come out til morning. LOL. BUT I wasn't expecting it the way it was played out. Thumbs up for surprising me. It was a terrific ending and romantic.

There were oddball times I wondered if Cassidy was having feelings for Brad again too. It did sorta of keep me guessing. 

Quibbles: I'd have liked more interaction with the other contestants. I didn't fall in love with Paige as viewers did. There wasn't enough of her. I didn't get this "we're best friends" probably because the interaction btw them was supposedly happening, just not on the page. Some parts felt rushed, like more could have been done. Cassidy has an intense fear of water...but isn't the least scared when she falls into a river. I thought that was strange.

But those are little things. Overall the book was good. It was FUN. I've had one of those weeks when I've disliked everything I picked up, but this one, I smiled, chuckled along, and read till the end. I'll be reading book two and I'm looking forward to it.

Four bikes.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Is There a Right Way to Read?

Last week, I talked about authors and some of the bad habits I'm seeing. To be fair to them, this week I'm going to talk about readers. There's no right or wrong way to be a reader, but there are ways you can be more supportive.

Here is how you can support authors:

LIKE them on Facebook. It takes a second. And with the Facebook system being the way it is nowadays, trust me, you won't see half of what they have to tell you or share with you.

Log onto Facebook, look to the left. It says Favorites, Ads, Pages. Beneath PAGES, you see Pages Feed and an orange flag. If you click on that once a day, you'll see what your favorite authors had to say that day. Take a moment to LIKE their posts. It's really very little effort and it makes a huge difference. The more likes a post gets, the more interesting Facebook will determine it is, and the more folks they will permit to see it.

Honest truth from me: I have over 1,000 page likers, but Facebook only permits about 33 of those people to see a post. We need those likes. EVEN BETTER, comment!

Don't wait for a book to be free. (It may never be free) If you're interested, buy it. Remember, authors spend hours, months actually in writing and editing a book. They then spend countless hours trying to tell you about that book. Seeing an alarming number of people say things on goodreads like, "Oh, just wait for it to be free."

Don't buy on Amazon if you can avoid it. Don't be afraid of publisher sites. Dirty little secret here. You love those 99 cent books, right? Who doesn't. Amazon takes 65% of that, leaving the publisher with 35 cents and if the publisher retains 45% of all royalties, your favorite authors is only making 35% of 35 cents. So even after 50 books are sold, she is left with...2 bucks.


Now, I'm not saying boycott Amazon, but if there is a publisher site you find easy to use, USE IT instead. Sadly, I cannot seem to get people to head to publisher sites and have given up entirely on sharing those links. But if more people got on board...

Don't read a book you know you won't like. I'm seeing more and more readers reading simply for the sake of writing snarky reviews. If you didn't like the first five books, why are your reading book six? Just to poke fun?

Do write a review. Being honest in a review often means there are bad reviews, but don't make it personal. Shelves like "worst book ever", "don't give up your day job", and others...is that really necessary? And don't attack the author personally and tell that author they should not be writing.

Too self-conscious to write a review? Just tell your friends about it. Word of mouth goes a long way. Share it on your Facebook or twitter, your book club.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Plotting to Win Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself...

As you can see, Plotting to Win is now available for pre-order on Amazon...and I think it's cheaper than it will be upon release.

Reality TV has made stars of dancers, bachelors and singers. Now authors get a turn.

In New York City, seven writers compete for a hundred thousand dollars, a publishing contract with Bright House, and the title of the next bestseller. One is Felicity James. One is Victor Guzman.

Drama, plagiarism, and trash talk play out to enthralled audiences across the country as all seven contestants compete against each other in a range of heated challenges, with tensions reaching breaking point. As Felicity and Victor start up a show-mance, their relationship burns up the ratings.

Will this sizzling fling escalate into a vicious battle for money and fame, 
or will these two authors manage to write their own happy ending?
This one is a novel length nearly and I had a LOT of fun writing it. Funny thing is...I don't actually watch a lot of reality TV, but I do enjoy reading about it. I hope you do too.

Tasty Blurb Tour: Homerun by Ruth Roberts *Chance to Win $5 Gift Card*

Cynthiana, beautiful, intelligent, and by all appearances, a spoiled socialite, finds herself as chair of the Inner City Youth League Charity Gala.  Her Co-Chair, Roberto Luque, is Major League Baseball’s newest playboy from the Domincan Republic.  Far from being in the League of men her parents expect her to choose from, which is just fine with her since she has sworn off playboys.  But, as they work together she discovers his devotion to the inner city children and wonders if there is more to him than his playboy reputation.  Will she break her no playboy rule long enough to find out? 
Roberto fought his way into the Majors.  Now, a successful pitcher for the Texas Rangers, he is living the life he always dreamed of.  Until he faces off with a bad-tempered, blue-eyed, red head that is not his type.  So, why is he drawn to her?  The Charity Gala gives him a chance to find out.  What he finds beneath that socialite veneer captivates him, heart and soul. 
When her powerful father threatens to tear them apart, destroying not only their love, but also Roberto’s hard won career, will he be willing to give it all up for love? 

Copyright © 2012 Ruth Roberts
How could she have been talked into this? She was in way over her head. Cynthiana Davenport did not plan fundraiser Gala’s, she attended them. So how is it that she was now head of the planning committee? And for baseball of all things. She didn’t even like baseball, much less know anything about it. So what if her best friend had married a hunky major league baseball player last year. Just because Stacy had to learn about the sport didn’t mean she did. She was going to call her right now and tell her the deal was off. Someone else would have to take her place.
Cynthiana dug her phone out of her purse and was about to hit speed dial when she sighed in resignation and threw it back into her purse. Stacy was seven months pregnant with twins and on total bed rest. She couldn’t back out, Stacy didn’t need that kind of stress. The Gala was only a month away and everything was practically done. It would be a piece of cake. She could do this. Besides, it was only a big party and if there was one thing she was good at it was throwing parties. Sure, this one was a little larger than she was used to but hey, how much trouble could five hundred wealthy people and athletes be?
Not nearly as much trouble as managing her growing feelings for one very gorgeous, very charming baseball player with deep brown eyes and a killer smile who just happened to be her right hand on the planning committee. Roberto Luque. If she could just ignore his adorable dimples she might get through the next few hours. Roberto was a playboy and she didn’t date playboys. Ever. So she would just have to keep her feelings under tight control until the night was over. She had managed to do just that every time they had seen each other over the past year. Admittedly, it had been getting harder and harder, especially since he seemed to be stepping up the charm. A man like Roberto knew very well when a woman was attracted to him, but she was determined not to be one of them. So far she had been safe by provoking some sort of argument with him any time they were together, that usually cooled things down, but she hadn’t been able to do that since they started working together on the Gala. Thankfully they wouldn’t be alone, the rest of the committee would be there too. Which was a good thing since they were meeting at her house. Heaven only knew what would happen if the two of them were alone in a house together. Spontaneous combustion came to mind.
Her two story, red brick house on twenty-five acres in a small Dallas suburb gave her the privacy of having a slice of country while still close to the city. Deciding they would be more comfortable working in the living room she finished laying out the last of the Chinese food boxes on the coffee table. The door bell rang. Refusing to glance in the mirror by the door, she opened it to find Roberto. Just Roberto. It was dangerous to womankind for one man to be so handsome. That mischievous look in his dark eyes, a touch of humor on his full lips, dark tendrils of hair curled on his forehead and at his nape. How is it that the sight of him made her feel light headed? Get a grip girl, he’s only a man.
“Hi Princesa. I brought the wine and the guest lists as you ordered.”
“I don’t order, I request.” Defensive mode was her method of survival around him. She stepped back and let him in.
Roberto stood just inside and surveyed her house. Lots of windows let in plenty of sunlight. Sheer red curtains over white slatted blinds complemented the white carpeting and black leather sectional with red and white throw pillows scattered over it. Why was it so important that he like her home?
With a smile and a shake of his head Roberto said, “Nice. It suits you. Fiery yet warm. By the way, Jennifer and Raquel won’t be able to make it tonight.” He set the wine bottle on the table next to the wine glasses and the manila folder containing the guest lists on the sofa.
So much for her well laid plans. “Why not? We have a lot to do tonight, and why didn’t they call me?” She wanted to stomp her foot like a child. Fortunately, she was able to control that urge. Unfortunately her face felt as hot as stoked fire. Darn, why did she have such pale skin? Was it anger or the thought of being alone with him? Anger, definitely anger.
“Because they called me,” Roberto replied. “Between the two of us we can get everything done. Not to worry Princesa, hard work is not hazardous to your health.”
“I know that Roberto. Why do you insist on thinking I haven’t worked a day in my life?”
“I never said that. Now let’s eat, I’m starving.”
The man was impossible. Maybe she’d just send him home and do all the work herself. The idea had merit. She plopped down on the sofa as far away from him as possible and still reach the food. She ignored his knowing smile and shake of his head as she picked up a box of her favorite sweet and sour pork. Who cared if he thought she was a chicken for wanting to keep distance between them.
He poured them each a glass of wine and sat down next to her. He scooted closer to her as he handed her a glass. Now he seemed to ignore her scowl as he took a sip of wine, set down his glass and chose his own box.
“You’re always starving,” she said a few bites later, “it must be some sort of rule for athletes that they can eat whatever they want and still look great.”
“You think I look great?”
Darn! Why did she have to say something to make him smile? There were those dimples again. Heat started creeping up her neck and face, the telltale signs of a blush coming on. Be more careful with your words!
“All athletes look great, it’s not just you. Don’t let your head get too big, if it gets any bigger we won’t both fit on the sofa, I’ll find myself on the floor.”
He put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to his side. “Don’t worry, there will always be a place for you by my side.”
His teasing tone turned serious causing her to look up at him. He stared down at her, his expression unreadable. Was he joking? Was he serious? She couldn’t tell and her heart was doing funny little flip flops, his fingers stroking seductively up and down her arm weren’t helping either.

Author Bio:
Ruth Roberts has worked in public relations for fifteen years.  She lives in Texas with her very own romantic hero of eighteen years, their teenage daughter and their dog, Kimi.  Her hobbies are reading romance novels and writing them.  Her family says she is addicted to books, in her opinion that’s not a bad addiction to have.  You can find her on Facebook or on the web at RuthRobertsRomance.com. You can also email her at ruthrobertsromance@yahoo.com.  She loves hearing from fans. 

Follow the rest of the tour

Ms. Roberts is giving away a $5 Gift Card (Amazon or B&N) to ONE lucky commenter on this tour. Leave a comment any blog tour post (link above) WITH A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS to enter. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Chloe Lambert

Book: Hundred Dollar Bill
Author: Sherry Silver
Heroine: Chloe Lambert

During WWII, Chloe Lambert goes to Washington to fill the boots of one of our boys at war. She earns a job in the Secret Service's Counterfeiting Division. Deep undercover at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, she infiltrates a counterfeiting ring and falls for Hundred Dollar Bill, one of the wise guys. Unfortunately he is married. To President Roosevelt's personal secretary. His jealous wife kills him in front of Chloe and frames her for the murder. Agent Lambert is on the run from the counterfeiters and the law, yet she'll stop at nothing to clear her name and bring the counterfeiters to justice.

The year is 1945. Roosevelt is President. World War II is coming to a head. Thieves, spies and other wise guys are working everywhere…including in branches of the U.S. government.

Chloe Lambert is a sweet little thing whom mothers love to love and sailors love to pinch. She's also a sharp-tongued Secret Service agent—a Secret Service agent who has been framed for murder by a band of counterfeiters.

Mike Taurus, also an agent, is tough as nails, cool as ice and devilishly handsome. He also has a past with Chloe.

As the two of them make a mad dash from Washington, D.C. to Miami Beach, they'll stop at nothing to solve this monumental caper. It's a made-for-the-movies adventure that Alfred Hitchcock could only wish he'd dreamed up himself!

Excerpt from Hundred Dollar Bill:

Miss Chloe Lambert stepped off the streetcar at the corner of Fourteenth and C Streets. Frigid  air played tag with her breath and steam from underground. Strolling carefully on the slippery sidewalk, she watched as Sergeant Bill Blandings hoisted the loading dock door and stepped outside  the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He struck a match to light the cigarette dangling from his  lip then ascended the ramp, locking his gaze onto hers. Heart pounding, Chloe paused to refresh her  lipstick. Bill sucked the smoke deep into his lungs as he watched and waited. Finally exhaling, he blew five smoke rings. She stepped up to him and scattered the circles with her blue gloved hand.
He said, “You are one gorgeous dame tonight.”
Chloe gazed into his midnight blue eyes. Nobody has eyes like Bill. He has the devil in them. They are so darned…irresistible. She brushed him aside.
He threw down his cigarette and snuffed it out with one twist of his black steel-toed police boot. Powdery snow blew off the retaining walls as they walked down the salted ramp. Chloe and Bill  entered  the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He lowered the door. It thumped against the concrete floor.
She led the way through the cavernous federal building. The scent of floor polish wafted up from the pristine terrazzo.
He confided, “We’re pretty much alone now. The bureaucrats departed hours ago. The charwomen came and went. Just the skeletal police detail is left. Me, Schwartz and Krankowski.”
Bill followed Chloe into the printing room. He balked. “Jeez, this place is a pigsty.” In her sweet  southern drawl Chloe said, “Alcohol was the most popular guest at our office party today, resulting in a whole run of botched hundreds. They didn’t change the plates. The same image is printed on both sides of the notes.” She pointed to the sloppily bundled currency and a big ink stain on the floor. “They ought not to have bothered working at all. As the currency inspector, I have to file a report. I feel like a lousy snitch.”
Bill eyed her fur. “Hey, where’d ya get the coat from? It’s not from that weasel
Myron in personnel, is it?”
“Eww! No, Bill. It’s Mrs. Grogan’s. My landlady. She let me borrow it. I told her this was a special night.”
Bill grabbed her collar. They kissed hungrily.
Finally  taking  a  much-needed  breath,  Chloe  pulled  away  and  smiled  as  she unbuttoned the full-length sable. She was wearing his favorite blue dancing shoes…and nothing else.
“Jeez, Chloe—lay off of them doughnuts.”
Before she  could  process  the  insult,  Bill  slipped  his  fingers  under  the  fur.  She shoved him away.
Her voice trembled, “I won’t be your dirty little secret anymore. Divorce Vera.”
There, I’ve said it.
Bill ran his fingers through Chloe’s soft red hair. He knew just the spot to touch. “Lovey, we’ve been all through this. You know I can’t possibly divorce her while he’s in office.  How  would  it look  if  the  President’s  secretary  all  of  a  sudden  up  and  got divorced? The Republicans would go wild!  And  it’d be rough on my little girls. Just wait a little bit longer. Lovey, I promise we’ll be together soon. He ain’t gonna be Prez for the rest of his life ya know.”
Chloe fought back tears. Whatever was I thinking? Momma was right. I should have stayed in the mountains. But eleven months ago, her country had called for good girls to fill the shoes of the boys at war. When I was still a good girl. I had no idea what I’d have to do for my country. It might as well have been eleven millennia ago. I can’t ever go back. Not now. She shoved her hands in the deep silk-lined pockets…where she felt the cold steel of a revolver.
Five shots exploded down from the supervisors’ catwalk. Chloe dove under a metal desk,  pulling  in  an  olive  drab  trash  can  for  cover.  Bill  slumped  face  down  into  a carelessly heaped pile of hundreds.
Chloe peeked from behind the can. She watched a female silhouette blow smoke from the barrel  and stroll back along the catwalk then out of sight. No! This can’t be happening. I’m in a bad movie. Bad dream. Bad world.
Shaking, Chloe crawled to Bill and rolled him over. A C-note covered his eyes. She yanked it off and screamed in horror.
Chloe ran through the building and slammed straight into the loading dock door. She struggled to hoist it high enough to crawl under. Rolling onto the ramp, she pushed herself up on hands and knees, then to full height. She put her hand on the revolver in her pocket and lit out running. As she looked back over her shoulder, she slipped on the icy sidewalks, battering her knees.
Back on her feet, she forced herself onward. A dry lump ached in the back of her mouth,  forced  open  from  heavy  breathing.  Frozen  rain  stung  her  face.  As  Chloe tumbled again she pulled her hand out of her pocket, not letting go of the pistol. The cobblestones abraded her wrists as she broke her fall.
As she scrambled up again, one blue heel snapped off in a snow-covered grate, propelling her face first into a police call box. Moaning in agony, tasting blood, Chloe looked over her shoulder. A lone car sped past. Forcing herself onward, she made it to the Fourteenth Street Bridge. Gasping for breath, Chloe leaned over the concrete railing and threw the revolver. It slid along the surface of the frozen Potomac River. “Damn it. I can’t even dispose of a gun properly. It doesn’t matter anyhow. It  isn’t the murder weapon.” Murder weapon? “No!”
An icicle fell from the lamppost above her. Chloe drew back as it seemed to shatter in  slow  motion.  She  looked  at  the  hundred  dollar  bill  still  crumpled  in  her  hand. Benjamin Franklin’s  picture  adorned  both  sides.  The  drunken  printers  should  be ashamed of themselves for such a mistake. Chloe dreaded turning them in. But right now that was the least of her worries. She shivered almost convulsively as she clutched the paper to her heart. Tears blinded her as she buttoned the fur coat.

Buy here

Are you an author with a strong heroine in your book? Want to see her featured? Find out how here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dancing at the Chance by DeAnna Cameron

Dancing at the ChanceDancing at the Chance is about the last day of Vaudeville, when moving pictures began to destroy the stage. We have a young dancer, an orphan who lives in the theater, dreaming of...I'd say being a successful dancer, but she can't seem to focus...of running her own show. She's free with criticism/suggestions and doesn't get along with the manager.

She's rebellious yet also naive. She thinks a fine man is going to marry her and while I could tell from the get-go he only intended to make her a mistress, it took her ages.

Liked: The look at how the vaudeville stage was run back then. Pepper's feistiness. Em. She was by far my favorite character. I wish there had more of a substory with her. The ending.

Disliked: The book's idea of romance. I wasn't feeling it. There are two suitors: one the jerk with ill intention and he is the "love" interest for the first 3/4 of the novel. The other fella...though we follow him around as he learns about the early video cameras and attacks people in alleys, Pepper and him...I didn't feel that connection at all and when he suddenly became the love interest, it threw me off.

It also took me a while to figure out where the plot was going. It just seems to be a lot of "He loves me, he loves me not. Oooh, I hate Stanley. What's going to become of the theater?"

However, this book was really rich in historical detail. I was truly transported to another time and place. It's a unique storyline and time period and situation. As historical fiction, it proves to be educational as well as entertaining. I just don't feel it's a good historical romance.

Three bikes. I bought this one.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Riding on Air by Maggie Gilbert

Riding on AirI've never really understood rheumatoid arthritis before. This story was a real eye-opener for what sufferers...well, suffer. Their joints swollen and in pain, the inability to do the simplest of tasks--braid your hair, button or unbutton your coat, text on a cell phone, and ride your horse.

Melissa loves riding and loves her horse Jinx, but she can no longer control her horse and thus, she probably shouldn't be on him. He throws her off a few times and she gets seriously hurt...but she stubbornly keeps getting back on.

Did I mention this is about the world of dressage? I not only learned a ton about the affliction, but also this particular field of horse sports. It was fascinating. I had no clue. I know of racing and jumping, but this was new and intriguing.

Anyway, back to the story. It's a YA. There's a new boyfriend. There's flutterings in bellies, sweaty palms, jealous feelings. And her riding and her hands...get in the way of her happiness. I'm not going to say more about that because it comes toward the end. There's also drama about pain pills--this is an important message to put in a YA novel.

I love the heroine and the first person narrative really worked in this case, allowing us to feel what Melissa feels, see what she sees, think what she thinks. I understood and appreciated her determination, though I confess I had some moments I didn't agree with her. At times, she just stands back and has her friends train her horse, saddle him, rub him down, basically--someone else is always doing the grunt work because of the pain in her hands, but she does the fun part and rides him. This struck me as selfish, BUT she has an epic realization and admission at the end of book and it all comes into place then.

I understood her.

Otherwise, my only quibble is sometimes it felt repetitive. She gets nervous and tongue-tied a LOT (kind of normal for teenage girl though, really). We are constantly reminded of the pain in her joints. (Again, though, this was really eye opening. I can't imagine having pain just from something touching my knuckle.)

Four stars. I received this from Netgalley.

Favorite quote:
"We aren't all given the same amount of time to do the things we dream of doing. For some of us, the clock is winding down a lot faster than it is for everyone else."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Interview and Spotlight on Veronica Tower & Healing

You may remember Veronica Tower from before. I read and reviewed (and loved!) her Rock Idol. She has a new release and I'm pleased to be one of her stops. Let's talk to her:

Hi Tara, thanks for inviting me to your site today to talk about Healing. It’s always so much fun to visit Book Babe.

Why don’t you tell us about your new release?

Healing is a paranormal romance that built inside me for a very long time. Like just about everyone, I’ve seen too much sickness and death strike the people around me and I’d long to have a magical cure available for those I love. Unfortunately, few things in this world are unmitigatedly good and my crazy imagination began to wonder if there could be downsides to receiving the miracle of restored health. That train of thought led to this very sexy and deeply emotional novel.

That sounds intriguing. What else can you tell us?

Well I don’t want to say much, but I will say that this is my longest and most involved novel to date and an awful lot of those pages are dedicated to very hot and steamy sex. But this book isn’t erotica—it’s most definitely a powerfully emotional romance.

This is the second book of yours I’ve featured on this site. Where do you get your characters from?

That’s a hard question. Characters evolve slowly and by the time they pop out of my imagination I don’t always know exactly where they started. What I do know is that by the time I finish writing them they’re unique individuals who stand on their own.

One more question, you’ve got more than twenty books and stories in print. Which is your favorite?

The thing about writing is that for a story to come to life, you have to be able to live and breathe it while you’re creating it. You can’t do that without loving your story. So Healing is definitely my favorite book, at least until I publish the next one.
STORY BLURB: Healing by Veronica Tower


HEALINGIf you lost the use of your legs, what would you do to walk again? When an automobile accident severs Ari's spine, she's willing to try anything to regain her mobility and the independence that comes with it—even travel to a mysterious clinic in the Rocky Mountains in search of a miracle. But no one will tell her how the clinic achieves its fabulous cures or how an unbelievably handsome young man living at the facility factors into the process. Can this hot young man regenerate Ari's spine? And if he does, can Ari live with the hidden price of Healing?


Veronica Tower was married to her high school sweetheart for five deliriously happy years and ten far less wonderful ones. Now she is taking the time to make up for lost opportunities. In addition to returning to school to pursue a degree in psychology, Veronica has committed herself to fully exploring her fantasies, both in writing and in person…

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig

The Ashford AffairI liked some of this and didn't like some of this.

I appreciated the historical setting: Kenya, the look into the flapper lifestyle, the parties, the difference between classes. That kind of drama is always intriguing. I liked the modern-day heroine and the conflicts she faced. It was realistic and I could relate to her...

I could relate to her much more than I could related to the historical heroines. We have two cousins playing tug of war with a man, a man so not worth it in my opinion. Bea is a snot-faced tramp. She looks down on others, is promiscuous with no regard to anyone else, steals her cousin's man, must always be the center of attention. 

Addie is spineless. She follows her cousin around like a puppy. She lets her man slip right out of her hands, and is just... You know, perhaps I'm the only one, but when I'm wronged, that's it. You ain't coming back. Let's move on, you know? I never came to respect Addie any more than I did Bea.

The romance: I didn't feel it between anyone but Clemmie and Jon. That was my favorite romance.

This is entertaining and well researched, but for me to thoroughly enjoy a novel, I must like the main players at least somewhat. I didn't like them, so I had some difficulty with it.

For those wondering what the heck this book is about, I'll post the blurb here rather than summarize it:

As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .

What follows is a potent story that spans generations and continents, bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters. From the inner circles of WWI-era British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.

Three bikes. I got this from Amazon Vine.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Are You An ABB?

Author Behaving Badly.

You've heard that saying before and mostly on goodreads or Amazon. Immediately, what springs to mind is "Oooh. They must have commented on a negative review. Tsk. Tsk."

Not necessarily. And this may sound funny coming from me, but first and foremost, I'm a reader. I LOVE to read and this is my reader two cents and this how if you're not an ABB, you can avoid being one. ;)

I mentioned previously that lots of folks are being twits. Twitter...just spam, spam, spam. I said nobody talks about anything at all but their book. And then there's Pinterest. I don't need or want to see fornicating couples every time I log on. But here are some more examples of what I'm seeing in the industry that is just :O.

Facebook: Don't friend 5,000 people and spam them. If you have more friends than you can keep up with, than you can honestly take an interest in, then it may be time to reevaluate. Personally, I no longer bother friending strangers. If I don't know you personally, I won't friend you. My account now is strictly friends only. The entire world does not need to be privy to all my deep thoughts and occasional rants of frustration. 

Don't friend me just to sell me a book. It doesn't work.

Just because you are published with the same publisher does not mean you are not a stalker, murderer, or psycho. To tell the truth, some of the books I'm seeing from some of my publishers...um, err, there's def a chance there are some perverts sending me friend requests. Sorry, but no. Please go like my author page, which is open to the public--including perverts. LOL

Don't friend me if you don't plan to give me the time of day. It's really not hard to "like" something someone says periodically, let them know you are there.

Otherwise, just have a page. It won't clog anyone's feed... Lemme tell you a secret... Log onto Facebook, look to the left, in the sidebar, Favorites, Pages, Groups... Beneath Pages, there's a pages feed with an orange flag. You click on that and you can see what was posted on all the pages you like.

And hey, it's a page dedicated to YOU, about YOU. Spam away!

Events: DO NOT invite all 400 of your friends to your book release party. Facebook, sadly, has it set up so that we receive these really annoying notifications to everything said in the event, whether we want to go or not, until we can actually log onto the computer and turn them off. This is irritating. I have gotten hate mail because someone mass invited hundreds of people to an event I was hosting.

Authors, follow directions. There's apparently a sudden influx of illiterate authors...somehow they can write, but can't read.

A prime example is I have posted about my Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week feature a few times. It's very specific about what I want/need an author to send me. So, why then, do I get five emails, all asking me "What do you need?"

Please, READ the instructions before you go ballistic and email me.

Also...if someone agrees to host you on their blog, REMEMBER it. Send your stuff in time. Bloggers are not your secretaries.

If it feels like I'm attacking authors, I'm really not. I have began to follow these rules myself. I'm an author too! And next week, I'm going to post my thoughts on how readers can better support them. But it's a two-way street, folks.

If you want readers to support you as a writer, show them these tiny signs of respect.

'Til next Saturday. :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Plotting to Win Cover Art Reveal

Cover Art Reveal!

Coming June 1st from Escape Publishing - Harlequin Enterprises, Australia Pty Ltd, is Plotting to Win, a new reality TV show romance by Yours Truly!

In New York City, seven writers compete for a hundred thousand dollars, a publishing contract with Bright House, and the title of the next bestseller. One is Felicity James. One is Victor Guzman.

Drama, plagiarism, and trash talk play out to enthralled audiences across the country as all seven contestants compete against each other in a range of heated challenges, with tensions reaching breaking point. As Felicity and Victor start up a show‐mance, their relationship burns up the ratings.

Will this sizzling fling escalate into a vicious battle for money and fame, or will these two authors manage to write their own happy ending?

Mark Plotting to Win to read on Goodreads.
Request a Review copy on Netgalley.
What writing challenges do you think they will face?
I'm hoping this story will not only appeal to wanna-be writers, but readers too. Ever wonder what the life of a writer is like, what kind of little challenges they face when they sit at their keyboards?