Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Written Fireside: Can't You See? Part 3 by Angela Campbell

Written Fireside: Can't You See?

Noah Hale is an author suffering from PTSD related insomnia, needing peace and sleep. All he wants is to be left alone. A certain little dog has other ideas.

Amanda Bell, a teacher, is grieving the loss of her sister, Rachel. Caring for her sister’s dog is comforting until a new neighbor moves in the other half of her duplex. Suddenly, the dog starts escaping her yard, running to the
man on the other side of the fence.

Part 1 by Lori Connelly 
Author of
Author of

Part 3 by Angela Campbell:

Hours later, Amanda had managed to clean the kitchen, the bathroom, and the living room, but she still couldn’t get the vision of haunted green eyes out of her head. Cleaning was always her go-to distraction when she needed to distance herself from bad memories or unwanted thoughts, but nope. Didn’t work this time.

The pain she’d seen glimmering beneath Noah Hale’s delicious green gaze had been easy to recognize because she’d seen it in her own eyes when looking in the mirror these past few weeks. Perhaps he’d lost someone, too.

A low whine caught her attention, and she turned around to see the small brown and white dog lying in the doorway, watching her. Wiping the sweat off her brow with the back of her wrist, Amanda shook her head and pointed the mop handle at Gertie.

“This is your fault. It’s your fault I can’t stop thinking about him.”

The dog’s eyebrows shifted anxiously as Gertie sighed and lowered her chin to her paws. Guilt tightened Amanda’s chest, and she sank to her haunches to pet the pup’s furry little head. Lord, Rachel had loved this dog, but Amanda had never had much time to spare for a pet. This was the first summer since she’d started teaching that she hadn’t traveled somewhere. Italy had been on the agenda this year — her once-in-a-lifetime vacation. She’d spent years saving to tour the streets long ago roamed by the likes of John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. But one month before Amanda's plane was scheduled to take flight, that heartbreaking phone call had shattered everything. A massive pileup on the highway. Her little sister hadn't survived the impact.

The hot burn of tears threatened to spill again, but Amanda sniffled and pushed them back.

After helping her mother with Rachel’s burial expenses, there simply hadn’t been enough money left in the bank to go anywhere, and besides, she had a dog now. A dog she didn’t know how to properly care for, considering it had only been a week since Gertie had gotten into some raw yeast dough, which had led to days of explosive flatulence and projectile diarrhea. The veterinarian had given Amanda a chastising look before lecturing her on all of the foods that were bad for dogs. It had made her feel inept, had caused her to burst into tears right then and there, and made her question whether keeping Gertie had been the right decision.

“You deserve better, Gertie.”

Gertie whined and then licked Amanda’s hand as if to say “It’s OK. I don’t blame you. You can’t help being stupid.”

Amanda sighed. “I’m a mess. Let’s take a shower and go to bed — what do you say, girl?”

Woof! Gertie’s butt began to wiggle as she jumped to her feet and pranced around the hallway, knowing a treat was in her near future.

Amanda set the wet mop outside to air dry and then leashed Gertie for a short walk.

After a quick shower and changing into a pair of tap pants and a tank top for bed, Amanda brushed out her hair, wondering what Mr. Tall Dark and Sexy next door was doing right now. No doubt a man like him was enjoying a fun night on the town with someone as equally attractive. Meanwhile, here she was, getting ready for bed before ten o’clock with only a dog to keep her company.

“I lead such an exciting life, Gertie.”

Woof! Woof! Gertie tapped out her frustration at being made to wait for her treat, alternately watching Amanda prepare for bed and then running back and forth to the kitchen where her doggie biscuit awaited their new nightly ritual.

Smiling, Amanda followed the precocious animal into the kitchen, gave Gertie her treat, and then remembered to bring the mop back inside since rain was in the forecast. Click. Standing on the outside back patio, Amanda turned and saw Gertie pressed up against the bottom glass of the patio door — inside the house.

The dog had closed the door behind her! Oh, no. Please tell me I didn’t have the door set to automatically lock.

She gripped the doorknob and tried to turn it. Oh, yeah. It was locked.


Standing against the door, the dog wiggled its butt and grinned a tongue-lolling grin at her through the door.


Leaning back in his desk chair, Noah lifted his arms above his head and cracked his knuckles. Fifteen pages. Not bad considering the trouble he’d had getting started a few hours ago. It was damn hard to write when every scene in his skull tonight wanted to involve a certain gorgeous blue-eyed schoolteacher as the main character.

Snapping his laptop shut, Noah stretched his legs and smirked a little. Come to think of it, he’d actually been more productive tonight than he’d been in weeks. Maybe his new neighbor wasn’t so bad after all, not if she turned out to be some kind of muse.

Wiping a hand down his face, Noah pushed to his feet. What was he thinking? The woman hadn’t exactly been friendly earlier, and he’d picked up on that spark of — what? — disapproval when she’d looked him over. He hadn’t exactly been courteous either, so he supposed he didn’t blame her all that much.

Noah moved to the fridge and peered inside, grimacing at the lack of beer in stock. The sudden tap tap tap at his front door drew his attention to the clock. Not yet ten, but still, pretty late to be having visitors.

Frowning, he stomped to the door and glanced out the peephole. Not believing his eyes, he jerked the door open.

“Um, hi.” His alluring new neighbor stood on his front step dressed in, hell, hardly anything at all. “I’m sorry to bother you, but I got locked out of my house. I was wondering if I could borrow your phone?”
Find Part 4 by Jane Hunt on July 14!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Harper Impulse Fortnight: Feeling the love

In case you aren't aware, several book bloggers are celebrating all of the wonderful books being published by the Harper Impulse line — which publishes some of the best romantic fiction I've read in years. You can follow along on social media with the hashtag #HIFortnight to see all of the author interviews, Q&As, and reviews being featured through May 10. 

I'm incredibly fortunate to be published by Harper Impulse because there are some amazing authors over there. I know because I've read more than a few of the titles. In a perfect world, I'd have time and be independently wealthy enough to read all the titles. All of them! Because they are just that good. So, to join in #HIFortnight, I culled my Goodreads profile for some of the reviews I've done for Harper Impulse books and have compiled them here for easy access. Sure, I've gotten to know some of these tremendously talented folks, but my reviews are completely honest. I can't wait to read some of the other Harper Impulse titles still waiting for me on my Kindle, but until then, here are some for you to consider:


The Keepers: Sienna and Archer
I absolutely love this series by Rae Rivers. As a fan of all things paranormal, I’m glad to see a series based on witches with a fresh, new take. Sienna is a witch, and she has three gorgeous brothers as her keepers, or protectors. These two books reveal a passionate love between Sienna and Archer, one of her Keepers, and the rough times they must weather to be together. I’ve been anxious to read “The Keepers: Declan” but haven’t managed to find time yet. I need to rectify that soon!

The Songbird and the Soldier by Wendy Lou Jones
It’s hard to reveal why I enjoyed this book without giving away spoilers, so I’ll simply say this book is hauntingly beautiful, in the way it stays with you long after you close the book. It does feature a triangle of sorts, although I was rooting for Andy from the beginning. Ultimately, the heroine must choose between two soldiers, and her journey is incredibly emotional — you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love this book.

All Wrapped Up in You by Sun Chara
This was a short novella that’s Christmas-themed, although I read it in August. In this one, the hero and heroine are married but going through a rough patch after Ellie leaves Peter because she doesn’t feel fulfilled in their marriage. There’s angst and passion, which always makes for a good read. Plus, I love a good story where the hero/heroine get a second chance at love.

Twitter Girl by Nic Tatano
As a journalist, I am pretty wary of reading books that feature journalists as characters because they are usually misrepresented, with authors constraining those characters to most people's stereotypes of journalists. Thankfully, that isn't the case here. The "Twitter Girl" is Cassidy, a TV reporter who is fired for snarking in public that a tornado improved a certain state's landscape. She's hired because of her following on social media to work for a politician, and while I mistakenly assumed the hero of this book was going to be the politician, I was pleasantly surprised by who the hero turned out to be. Mr. Tatano's writing style is easy and fast-paced and kept me smiling as the story unfolded. He also portrays a realistic journalist, with all her quirks, and Cassidy reminded me of some of my colleagues. Many of her tweets were hilarious, and I was truly sad when this book ended. It was a quick read, fun, and entertaining.

What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan? By Jill Knapp
I really enjoyed this book, which is weird because I am among the rare minority who never liked the “Sex in the City” TV series and this book had the same kind of vibe. Here, there are lots of young adults trying to establish themselves and connect with one another in the bustling metropolis of Manhattan, but the main character is Amalia, who is, thank God, very grounded compared to a lot of her friends. But Amalia isn’t without her faults, which also makes her very relatable as a character. I didn’t spend my young adulthood in NYC, but who didn’t make mistakes or endure heartbreak when they were in their early 20s? A lot of the dialogue was witty and fun, allowing for a quick read. I assume there will be more books in the series, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

An American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne
First of all, I read this book in one sitting, which should signify how much it captured my attention. The romance was a little slow to build, but honestly, I liked that Carly and Michelangelo had a rough meeting and a lot of "cute" moments before emotions got involved. As Carly noted early on, most romcom movies start out that way, which shows how clever and self aware the author was in her setup. I really liked Carly--her insights into being a career-minded member of an orchestra were often humorous and always interesting. Michelangelo was an honorable and worthy hero, which I found refreshing. Overall, this was simply a fast-paced enjoyable read.

Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman
I read this book in July, so it doesn't have to be Christmas for readers to enjoy it. What great read! Juliet is a fun and feisty heroine — I giggled when she thought about rolling the potatoes she'd just purchased at a market in the dirt to appease her employer who preferred fresh and organic — and her journey is one a lot of people can relate to, despite the high drama around her. The author has a real talent for creating likable characters, even if you aren't sure you're supposed to like them, and the romance builds and has a good, rewarding end. If you love contemporary romances, romantic comedies or Christmas stories, give this book a try.

Santa Wore Leathers by Vonnie Davis
This was a fun book to read at Christmas! I admit it — the dog on the cover had me reading it before all the other seasonal titles on my Kindle! Einstein was a great doggy character.

Waking Up in Vegas by Romy Sommer
This book features one of my favorite tropes — a h/h waking up married without any memory of how it happened. Plus, it features a lovable, zany heroine named Phoenix (I love that name) who needs some convincing by Max, her new hubby, not to run. Max, it turns out, believes in love at first sight, or at least, his family does. And Max is a great hero. This book was simply a lot of fun to read.

Monday, April 27, 2015

If I can do it, so can you

Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals. LOVE them. Cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, wolves, bears, elephants, snakes...well, maybe not so much on the snakes, but you get the idea.

For the past year or so, I've gotten involved in animal transporting, which means I pick up some at-risk animals from my local kill shelter and drive them to an animal rescue group, where volunteers foster and then help find homes for these lucky cats and dogs who were only within hours of death. This past weekend, I drove six cats from my local shelter to a rescuer in North Carolina — and I made a video explaining what transporting is and why it's so important. Make no mistake here. I'm not the heroine of this story; that credit belongs to the folks who arrange to pull the animals and then take them in until the fur babies find a new home. I'm simply giving these critters a lift, and anyone can do that. Unfortunately, it was far too dark to film on my phone any footage of the actual handing over of these kitties, plus I'm not gonna lie. I was too exhausted to film anything at that point. But the video below should give you an idea of what the entire process is like. I hope after watching it, you'll consider donating money or time to YOUR local animal shelter. Or, maybe you have a few hours to become an animal transporter, too. It's totally worth the cost of gas to give a few animals a second chance at life. Trust me.

In the meantime, please do me a favor and spay or neuter your pets. It really does save lives.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Grab some great fantasy YA books from Story Bundle

A while back, I had my friend and fellow author Nic Tatano here on the blog — or rather, his character Cassidy Shea aka "Twitter Girl" stopped by to chat with me. Nic is a great writer who not only has one cool fantasy book just released, but another one coming up soon.

Even better, one of his books is part of a young adult fantasy bundle right now. Check out his blog for more details on Story Bundle and how you can name your price for the books AND enter to win a Kindle or a $100 gift card.

Here's a bit taken from his blog about the story bundle in which "Destiny's Hourglass" can be purchased:

The young adult bundle is called "Crossing Worlds" and every book features a young protagonist dealing with amazing challenges in magical worlds. In my case, "Destiny's Hourglass" is the story of a teenage boy who can change the future with his mind. Yeah, I know the current trend is to write kick-ass girls, but I thought the guys deserved equal time. And, ya know, that Harry Potter kid seemed to develop a decent following.
Take a closer look at the Story Bundle here.

 And if you love fantasy YA, check out Nic's exciting Jillian Spectre series:


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Still here, but, you know, busy...

Every now and then someone will email me or contact me through my website with kind words about one of my books. I was fortunate enough to receive one over the weekend — thank you Lisa P. — asking about the status of more books in my psychic detectives series. So, I thought I'd post a very brief update here for any of you who might be wondering. I've noticed a slight bump in sales for each of the books in that series, so thank you, thank you, thank you! And welcome to any new readers who've come here searching for information.

Yes, I'm still writing, and the book I'm currently concentrating on finishing is Connor's book in that series. I'm over halfway finished with it, and yes, I know, I'd hoped to be finished with it by now. For those of you interested (seriously, thank you for being interested!) please accept my apology for not writing faster. It truly has been a challenging year so far, and at the moment, the day job is demanding more of my time than usual.

This is pretty much my constant look these days (well, except I'm not near as sexy as Jensen Ackles, dang it)...

So yeah. That's it in a nutshell.

I really do appreciate all the new readers, and I'm definitely still writing. My fingers and my cat's paws are crossed I'll soon have more time to wrap up this book. Thanks for your patience!

In the meantime, here's something to make you smile!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fun Friday: New releases from Lorraine Wilson!

It's been a while since I invited anyone to visit for my Fun Friday post. Since author Lorraine Wilson is celebrating not one but two new releases, including a freebie yesterday (Congrats, Lorraine!), I wanted to give her a chance to tell you all about it and her series, which I've read two books of and is a really fun read. Without further ado, here's Lorraine:


You know how it is, you wait ages for a new Chalet Girl release and then two come along at once ;-)

I wrote ‘Chalet Girl Plays Cupid’ specifically as a freebie giveaway. I wanted something fun to give to my readers as a thank you for all their support. The dedication reads ''For my lovely readers - thank you so much for your support, your friendship...oh, and for buying my books! Without you I'd be nothing x.’

The one part of being published that took me by surprise was how rewarding it would be to connect with readers - online via Facebook and Twitter and by email. When you’re having a bad day a reader telling you how much they’re looking forward to reading your next book can be just the spur you need to keep you writing. There is nothing more satisfying than someone enjoying a story I’ve created.

Hope you enjoy the freebie. Chalet Girl Plays Cupid is FREE everywhere. Get your copy here- hyperurl.co/3opy8z

If that wets your appetite there is another Chalet Girl release this month - 'Rebellion of a Chalet Girl’, publication date 26th March 2015, get your copy here- hyperurl.co/gz7je4

To celebrate having two releases this month I’m running a special competition. Enter for a chance to win a Lorraine Wilson Design Shoulder Bag made with novelty magazine cover fabric, a Chalet Girl book bag complete with signed copies of all 4 Chalet Girl Paperbacks!

Enter here - http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6aa9629d12/

Chalet Girl Plays Cupid 
A match made on the slopes… 
After a messy break up that’s left her homeless, jobless and single, temporary chalet girl Emily needs a fresh start! So when best friend Holly asks her to help out before the start of the winter season at the exclusive Chalet Repos in Verbier, Emily jumps at the chance. What broken heart can’t be fixed by apr├Ęs ski cocktails?

Verbier seems like the perfect escape, until Emily meets super-sexy and darkly brooding winter athlete Jake. She’s meant to be avoiding men at all costs, but the spark between her and Jake is sizzling! As she finds herself increasingly left alone with Jake, Emily begins to wonder if Cupid has paid a visit to Chalet Repos…!

Rebellion of a Chalet Girl 
Always the Chalet Girl… 
Year round chalet girl Tash doesn’t do attachments—she’s learned the hard way that relationships of any kind never last. But when self-made millionaire and hit TV star Nathaniel Campbell arrives to spend a month at Chalet Repos, she’s tempted to reconsider her no-strings rule…

Tash and Nate may be from different sides of the tracks, but the connection between them is undeniable! And Tash soon realises that one hot night with Nate will never be enough. But can Nate ever think of Tash as more than a fling, especially once the truth about her past comes out? 
The Chalet Girls are back! Set in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, winter playground of the rich and famous, ‘Rebellion of a Chalet Girl’ is the latest addition to the fabulous ‘Chalet Girl’ series.

Find out more about the Chalet Girl Series:

Many thanks to Lorraine for stopping by today. You can learn more about Lorraine here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Marketing Mondays: Cooperative promotions with other authors

My friend and fellow author Cindy Spencer Pape has published more than 50 books and has been around the promotional block once or twice. I asked her to share her thoughts on book marketing in today's Book Marketing Monday post. Take it away, Cindy!

Cooperative promotions with other authors — yes, they work!

Promotion is the bane of most writers. On the one hand, many of us are thin-skinned and insecure about our work, but on the other, we have to be out there, telling the world how fabulous our latest book is. It’s tough, sometimes mind-bogglingly so.

After over 50 published titles, I’ve found that most promotions work…sometimes. I haven’t yet found that magic promotional bullet to catapult me into best-sellerdom. Some people read ads, some people don’t. Some follow Twitter, others don’t. If you can get help from your publisher, those promos probably work better than almost anything else I’ve tried, but most publishers have lots of authors and limited resources. You’ll get promoted if you’re already a best-seller, but it’s hard to stand out in the crowd otherwise.

Next to that, the best luck I’ve had is cooperative promotions with other authors. When readers see an author they like recommend another author’s book, they’re inclined to believe it. Promoting your friends on Facebook or Twitter isn’t seen as self-serving the way promoting yourself can be. Also, being cooperative gets you the reputation as being a “nice person” which doesn’t hurt either.

Blog-swapping (thank you to Angie for having me here today!) is one cooperative form of promotion that a lot of authors use. I’ll admit, after several years of intense blogging, I’m kind of burned out and only blog occasionally now. Special projects like this one, though, keep me out there in the blogosphere, without having to try to fill my own blog every day. Group blogs, where you only have to post once a month or so are another way of authors helping authors—and also a great way to make friends. The same goes for reader-author Yahoo Groups or Facebook Groups.

Generally speaking, if you’re kind to your fellow authors, they’ll be kind to you. And that’s probably better promotion than money can buy.


Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Award-winning author of 19 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons, granddaughter, and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.

Website: http://www.cindyspencerpape.com (http://bit.ly/ybxKjP )

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CindySPape

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gjbLLC


Check out Cindy’s latest paranormal romance, Sea Change available now from Ellora’s Cave. http://www.ellorascave.com/sea-change.html


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