This blog is for those 18 and older.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Die for Me by Karen Rose

Another bestseller from a multi-published romantic suspense author.

Karen Rose is a master at suspense as she constantly keeps the reader guessing who the sadistic and psychotic murderer is, leaving his prey buried in the snow covered fields of Pennsylvania.

Rose has an extended cast of characters beginning with a beautiful, twice bitten archeologist, Sophie, who’s position is to analyze the medieval torture used on the victims. Detective Ciccotelli fights his attraction to the archeologist, yet guards her life, as he mourns the death of a former girlfriend.

The other characters are relatives, business associates, and friends scattered throughout the East coast. Rose does and amazing job of bringing all the issues of the characters to a connected and screaming climax, some dead and a few lucky enough to be alive.

A great novel to stay awake for.

Dawn

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guest: Grace Elliot - Lost in the Regency



Firstly let me say a big thank you to Happily Ever After Thoughts for hosting me today. It’s such a thrill to be here!

My name is Grace Elliot and I lead a double life; as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Like many authors I came to writing through my love of books, and I write what I love to read – historical romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a veterinarian but it’s not all fluffy kittens and some days are hard, real hard, such as saying goodbye to a much loved pet – so what I need in a good read is escapism, and historical romance has that by the carriage load!

Curling up with a Regency romance, I find myself suspending disbelief. How much easier to believe my regency alter ego can waltz provocatively, or calm a bolting hunter, than my bumbling 21st century self.

Heck, I don’t want to read about the real world I’m trying to forget, take me back to when men rode stallions but couldn’t handle emotion.

Lord Ranulf denies his attraction. (From A Dead Man’s Debt.)

Every fiber of his body screamed to reach out and hold her hand, and yet he resisted. Never had he encountered a woman as dangerous as Celeste; her hair in a tousled plait and eyes all the colors of the sea. And yet it wasn’t her physical beauty but her honesty and trust that was bewitching. For the first time he could almost believe that he’d found a kindred spirit. His fingers tightened on the tumbler. He was staring and yet he couldn’t help himself. An inner voice warned him off. She deserved better than him.

And then there’s something about the Regency. Perhaps it those gowns, wonderfully impractical and yet so alluring with their tiny bodices and puff sleeves. And let’s not forget chaperones! How resourceful did the regency heroine need to be to snare her dark lord under the eye of a chaperone? And then of course there’s the bone tingling romance – how something long denied is so exciting….

Ranulf finds Celeste in his arms. (From A Dead Man’s Debt.)

But then she tipped her head back and he glimpsed the curiosity in her eyes. Acting purely out of animal instinct he tilted her chin to gaze deeper into those mossy eyes. Gladly she arched toward him, pressing the length of her body against his rising need. He brushed his thumb over her lips. With a soft groan she strained upwards, inviting the touch of his mouth against hers. He drew back, trying to distance himself from the responsive femininity pressed against his chest. That he desired Miss Armitage he did not doubt, and yet he held back and the reason puzzled him; more than propriety, more shocking than that… he liked her.

Ok, so if I’m totally honest, I’d hate to live in the Regency – I’m far too fond of hot and cold running water…but that’s where historicals come in: I can dream …and I hope you will to!

Grace

 A Dead Man’s Debt by Grace Elliot.
- A story of sacrifice, pain and redeeming love, against a backdrop of blackmail and family duty.
‘Celeste Armitage has a plan…and that plan doesn’t include marriage.

After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…

Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a fa├žade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer tries to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….’

A Dead Man’s Debt is available from most eBook retailers, Amazon Kindle bookstore and http://www.solsticepublishing.com/products/a-dead-man%27s-debt.html

If you would like to know more about Grace Elliot and her work visit:
http://www.graceelliot.webs.com/

or
http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com/

I love this book already and I haven’t even read it yet! Thank you, Grace, for sharing a little of yourself and your book with our readers. I hope you will come back and visit us again.

Alexis

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bring On the Emotions!

I love a story that brings out my emotions, sometimes unexpectedly, don’t you? I’ve read books that have made me so angry I couldn’t speak and some that have made me giggle at the most inappropriate times. I’ve even read some that have made me cry…and I’m not talking about polite little sniffles and misty eyes…I’m talking flat-out sobbing here. Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook did this to me. On a bus. In Phoenix. During rush hour.

When I got to the part where all the pieces fell into place and I realized what the story was about, well, I couldn’t help the gasp that escaped me nor could I help what happened next….the unexpected flow of tears. I was so caught up in the story, so caught up in the heartbreaking reality of Alzheimer’s, I completely forgot where I was. On a bus. In Phoenix. During rush hour.

Needless to say, I was not the only one surprised by the force of my emotions. The poor gentleman next to me actually moved away, several people stared. One woman glanced at the book in my hand, nodded slightly and confessed she had the same reaction, but you know? I didn’t care that I was a sobbing mess. The story had transported me to another time, another place, into someone else’s heartache, and that to me, was worth all the tears. And isn’t that the reason we pick up a book in the first place?

Happy reading!
Marie

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Special Guest - Vijaya Schartz

Meet my guest author today Vijaya Schartz, who has been around the blog circuit a few times and has a lot of questions to answer from readers, so take a look and feel free to ask your own. And remember, if you comment you may win one of her books :-)

Thank you so much, Alexis for inviting me to your lovely blog. Here are a few questions I was recently asked and their answers, of course.

Vijaya, what is your latest release, and your current project?
The Chronicles of Kassouk is my current sci-fi romance series with Desert Breeze Publishing. Book One, White Tiger, came out in 2009, Book Two, Red Leopard came out in April, and Black Jaguar is out this month. Two more books will follow, in 2011 and 2012. Black Jaguar is a story of exploration, not unlike the discovery of the Americas, except that my natives can read minds and are controlled by aliens with an agenda. Where would be the sci-fi otherwise?

Sci-fi romance?
Yes, I mix genres. My heroines are high-octane, kick-butt warriors who are not afraid of challenges. And of course, they need heroes who can take the challenge. No matter how strong, a woman needs to find a stronger partner, which is sometimes a challenge for a woman warrior.

Lots of new covers on your website. What’s happening to your out of print books?
They are being reissued in eBooks by a new Canadian publisher, BWLPP. They love sci-fi and romance. They are creating fresh new covers for my older titles, except for Ashes for the Elephant God, which kept the same cover. You can see my kick-butt, gun-toting heroines on the new covers of ALIEN LOCKDOWN, ANAZ-VOOHRI, AND RELICS.

Is this new publisher going to issue new titles as well?
Absolutely. In January of 2011, look for the third book in the Ancient Enemy series (one of the translations of the word Anasazi). After Anaz-voohri and Relics, the third and last book, contracted but never released by my defunct publisher, is coming under the title: KICKING BOTS. Also, look for a brand new sci-fi romance adventure titled SNATCHED, involving a modern woman warrior turned Amazon, and a deliciously sexy Viking, both snatched out of their own time and propelled into a parallel universe.

Vijaya, do you have any other series brewing in the back of your mind?
I always have other books and series on the back burner. The Chronicles of Kassouk's last book is scheduled for the spring of 2012, but I already have other projects. I have a fantasy Historical series (medieval faeries) I've been working on for years. I also have an angel series in mind, but it's only a twinkle in my eye at this time, although it is calling to me.

Do you ever work on more than one book at a time?I can't concentrate on two novels at one time. I can only have one story in mind. I write it, dream it, it never leaves my mind until the very end. I can do edits on one finished book while writing a new one, but I can’t focus on developing two stories at once. I guess it's one of my limitations.

Do you ever struggle with burnout, and if so, how do you overcome it?
Burnout to me is like writers' block. Just get over it and get your butt back in the chair. But sometimes after working too much, the writer just needs a vacation. Stress and overworking can deplete the imagination. Good sleep and relaxation are important to keep body and mind in tip top shape and the creative juices flowing.

What is the most effective means of promotion for your e-books?
eBooks are sold on the web, so that's where the readers are. Promotion should be done there. I used to promote on yahoo groups, but I recently discovered that Facebook and Twitter reach more people faster with a better volume of response. Blogs work, too, but it depends greatly on the traffic of that particular blog. In my experience, however, what sells the most books is a great cover and a great blurb. After all, that’s all the reader has to go by when they make their choice.

For more on me and my books, visit my extensive website at:
http://www.vijayaschartz.com/ 

My books are available at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JP7UJ4

and in download at ARe:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Vijaya+Schartz

Become a facebook fan at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vijaya-Schartz-Author/109777709045040

Thanks again, Alexis, for letting me share.

Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Sci-fi and Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com/

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: Bound, Branded, & Brazen by Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton gives us three treats in one. Her novel, Bound, Branded, & Brazen, is actually three novellas, which reveal three sisters with three distinct personalities. The sisters reunite on the family Oklahoma horse ranch where their contemporary issues on relationships meet their match.
Each sibling has a fast paced and heated romance with their own particular conflicts. Valerie returns to face her ex-husband, whom she still loves, yet has a hard time admitting. Brea isn’t sure she can make a commitment and deliver what she assumes her target-man wants. Jolene’s the boss, so how can a man date his superior and still be a man?

Burton’s voice comes alive as she includes the necessary parts for a fulfilling story. My disappointment only surfaced in the fact that I was reading three intertwining novellas instead of one novel as I had assumed when I initially chose the book. When attached to a character, I like to stay with them longer. That’s actually a compliment!

I’m going to assume that Burton’s Wild, Wicked, and Wanton is written in the same style, so if you’re a heated novella fan, this is an author for you to check out.
Dawn

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Special Guest Wendy Ely

Alexis: Hi Wendy. Welcome to Happily Ever After Thoughts. Thank you so much for coming. You’ve had quite a bit of success with e-publishers. Can you tell us what you like about e-publishing?
Wendy: I think the biggest things I like about e-publishers is how fast the production of the e-book goes. I can sign a contract and then have the book released in about six months.

Alexis: That is nice. I know the wait with print books can sometimes be over a year. How many books have you published so far and what are their titles?

Wendy: I have 4 so far with Lyrical Press. The titles for those are: Jesse’s Brother, Confessions, Cross the Line, and Midnight Secrets. I have 1 coming out from Captiva Press titled New Year’s Resolution.


Alexis: So your latest one is Midnight Secrets. Can you tell us what that is about?

Wendy: Midnight Secrets is the second book in The Desert Secret Series. Each book reads as a stand-alone so nobody should worry if they haven’t read them in order. In Midnight Secrets, Allison Montgomery is a single mom trying to keep her kids while trying to fulfill a dream of hers to open a bakery. Even though Miguel seems like her hero from the start, she fights off the temptation to rush into his arms.

Alexis: What are your favorite character traits of Allison and Miguel?

Wendy: Allison was a great character to write. She is so outspoken and passionate about what she believes in. She is tough on the outside but really has a kind heart which Miguel sees from the start. Miguel believes in the good of the world even though he has gone through some rough spots in life. When many people would lose that insight, Miguel didn’t. He stayed strong.

Alexis: I like Miguel already ;-) What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

Wendy: Someone poisons the food in Allison’s bakery. Since I didn’t want to have a common poison, I had to do a lot of research on poisons and the reactions they had on the body. It was fascinating research which gave me the opportunity to interview new people on the subject.

Alexis: What a great way to do research. So why did you decide to start writing romance novels?

Wendy: I love the happily-ever-after that comes at the end of each one. I believe everyone has a happy ending out there and romance novels serve as a reminder to my belief.

Alexis: I agree with you. I believe there is a happy ending out there for everyone as well. I imagine writing novels based on your own belief in true love is fun. What do you find the most challenging about writing romance? Most rewarding?

Wendy: The most challenging is keeping the story lines and love scenes unique. It is so easy to repeat certain elements that you’ve already done, especially when you only write one or two subgenres. The most rewarding is going on the adventure each story takes me. I’m a pantser when it comes to writing, so when I start a new novel I never know how it is going to turn out.

Alexis: I know that feeling. It’s so exciting to see what happens in your own book. Do you have any other romance novels in the works?

Wendy: I always have several in the works. I’m about halfway done with Jesse’s Girl, the sequel to Jesse’s Brother. I’m also writing the third book in The Desert Secret Series and a contemporary romance about a ballet dancer.

Alexis: Good, so we will have plenty to look forward to from you. Thank you so much for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts. We like talking about romance novels especially with the people who write them :-)

Wendy: Thanks so much for having me here, Alexis! It has been fun and I’d love to answer any questions from visitors :-)

Alexis: Oh yes, that’s right. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Midnight Secrets, so be sure to chat with Wendy. Here's an excerpt from Wendy's Midnight Secrets.

Excerpt:
She wasn’t like Christine, but that didn’t mean she would accept what he’d done. But how long would he be able to keep it from her? Each time they were together, he felt the words linger on the tip of his tongue, ready to slip out at any moment.



As he drove down Allison’s street, a nervousness settled over him. All the lights were off in the house. She always left her light on, but not tonight. He hoped she hadn’t fallen asleep. Even though he felt like a teenager again, sneaking in her house at night, he understood the issues she was facing tonight. Her mom was sick and no sitter. He’d do what he had to in order to see her.


As soon as he pulled into the driveway and flipped off the headlights, the front door opened. He climbed out, set the alarm on his car and hoped the beep didn’t wake anyone inside. She smiled at him as he ran across the yard and up the steps. His lips planted against hers. As far as he was concerned, he’d been away from her long enough.


She held the door open for him as she put her finger to her lips and said, “Shh.”


He nodded as he walked in and followed her down the hall. He peeked into a poster-covered bedroom and smiled at the sleeping teenager. “Hannah?” he whispered. Usually the doors were shut, preventing any sort of view of the kids.


She smiled back at him and stopped outside another room. “Kyle.” She pointed to her sleeping son.


She moved further down the hall, shut another bedroom door before stepping into her room. Done in creamy tones, the effect was very girly, but he liked it. It somehow fit Allison. She seemed nervous as she folded her hands in front of her and looked at him with wide eyes. “You can sit down,” she whispered, motioning toward the bed.


Miguel sprawled out on the bed and reached for her. “Come here.”


She slowly walked over to him as he kicked off his shoes. With her hand in his, she sat by him on the bed. He pulled her down until her lips met his again, his heart pounding in his chest. He had to tell her the secret so they could move forward. The thought of telling her twirled around in his mind as he tried to focus on her tongue pressing against his.


Pulling away from him, she slid up to the pillows and under the covers. Her mouth formed into a sexy smile as she patted the bed next to her. He loved the itty bitty shorts she wore and the tight t-shirt hugging her curves. Even though the shape of her body made her a little uncomfortable, he had never seen a sexier woman in his life and if it took every day to convince her of that attraction, it would be worth it to him.


But first the secret.


He moved to her side, but leaned up on his elbow so he could look in her eyes. If she told him to go away, he would honor that request, even though it would be less painful if she ripped his heart out. Taking a strand of her hair and looping it around his finger, he said, “Allison.”


“Yes.” Her gaze moved down to his lips, letting him know she was ready for another night of hot passionate lovemaking.


“I have something to tell you.” His heart pounded. His hands trembled. His heart prepared itself to break.

For a chance to win this book, be sure to leave a comment.  Thank you for stopping by Happily Ever After Thoughts :-)

Alexis

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Choosing A Book - The Goose-bump Factor


How do you choose a book? Or a new author to try? For many of us, this is a very personal matter and we all have our own way. We might read a review and just know, we’d love that story. Or we might get a recommendation from a friend who tells us we have to read this author or this story.

I have taken recommendations from friends and not been disappointed. I might choose a story because the review was fabulous. I do have a long list of favorite authors I regularly read (and have been reading for many, many years) but my own way of choosing a new book or author is something I call the goose-bump factor.

First, the title and cover must strike me enough so that I pick up the book and flip it over. If the blurb on the back gives me goose-bumps, I investigate a little further. When I open the book at random and read a page and the goose-bumps remain, I must buy that book. I’ve been buying books and falling in love with authors for over 35 years this way…..hasn’t steered me wrong yet!

Happy reading!
Marie