This looks like a great series that I plan to check out in the near future!
More than three thousand years ago Angels saved humanity from destruction, but Earth was lost. The Angels spread humanity across the stars and ruled the universe for twenty-five hundred years. Then they vanished.
Angelolist Rachel Jordan has come to the hellish world of Gehenna in search of a lost relic said to hold all the knowledge of the angels. But other factions seek it for themselves, and religious zealots will stop at nothing to keep it safe.
Did you know there is a Shine On Award for bloggers? I sure didn’t until Deanna from The Book Lover’s Attic contacted me because she chose me as one of the nominees for this award. Can I use the excuse that I’m unaware of these things because I’m off somewhere with my nose stuck in a book? Well, technically I don’t think I can get any body part stuck in my iPad, but the saying is still relevant. I want to thank Deanna for thinking of me when passing along this award.
September signifies Sun Mountain Reviews’ six month anniversary and two weeks ago I celebrated the occasion with a giveaway: Six Month Blogoversary and Giveaway
I am continuing to celebrate before the month ends with one more giveaway. Lynn Raye Harris has partnered with me and has graciously offered to give away a copy of Hot Pursuit, the first novel in her new military romantic suspense series about a covert special forces branch of the army, Hostile Operations Team (HOT).
I really enjoyed reading this book and am now a HOT fan!
You can learn more about the book and this exciting new series by checking out my review and interview with Lynn in August : ARC Review and Author Interview for Hot Pursuit (HOT #1)
Rasmus Lindgren recently released his book The Lifestyle Business Rockstar: Quit your 9-5, kick ass, work less, and live more!
Title: Shattered Skies: Fire & Ice
Author: Heather Linn
I wanted to be a tour host for this romantic suspense because I definitely intend to read it in the near future. I was also happily surprised to learn that Barb Han also lives in North Texas, right in my neck of the woods!
Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han
Release Date: June 17, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count/Length: 60,000 words/244 pages
Lauren James had ignored the recent spate of calls from her brother. After all, he was a big player linked to a major cartel, and he’d been dead to her for nearly a decade. Then she receives the one call she can’t ignore—her brother’s been kidnapped and will be killed if she doesn’t bring money. No matter how far gone her brother is, Lauren can’t turn her back on him completely. Deep down she’s always wanted to save him. Now, she’s forced into action because he’ll die otherwise.
Ex-Special Forces sniper Jaden Dean owns a private security firm and after losing his older brother to gang violence, needs to take down as many scum bags as he can—single-handedly if need be. And he was the best. Until he trusted the wrong woman on his last assignment and ended up nearly dead in the street.
On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, Lauren and Jaden will need to work together to survive and find her brother. The cartel seems to be one step ahead, and Jaden’s operatives are being killed one-by-one. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe. Their magnetic attraction isn’t helping matters…because even a slight distraction might just get them both killed.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers
Releasing Sept 17th, 2013
Have you ever gone just a little too far?
Lexie Banks has.
Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for better part of the last few years…and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome. But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to Confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt…and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy on the eyes deacon…only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.
When Tasty Tours sent out the notice about the upcoming book tour for A Little Too Far, I looked over the book’s description and decided no, I don’t think I’ll read this book. Lexie is probably not a character I’d really like or connect with. She probably likes the allure and danger of pursuing men who are off limits. Perhaps, if I want to be really honest with myself, I thought she’s probably going to be a selfish young woman, only thinking about what she wants and not considering the pain she has the potential to cause others who will be affected by her choices.
I admit I couldn’t help but think…temptress…whose alluring charm will eventually wear down the defenses of two men struggling to do what’s right, who know they shouldn’t want what’s forbidden to them, and who fall helplessly under the power she has to bring them to their knees if and when they find they aren’t strong enough to give into their carnal desires.
So for me, it was no thank you, I don’t want to sit back and watch the devastation that’s bound to happen after a lust-driven tornado tears through the landscape of two men who are just starting out on their journey in life, following a path that seems to be clearly laid out for them.
However, then it seemed that everywhere I looked, I kept seeing some type of promo for this book, and I found myself unable to resist the hype. So I changed my mind and decided to take the plunge, read the book, and let the chips fall where they may.
I’m so, so glad I gave this book a second chance because it proved to be such an enjoyable reading experience. Lexie blew up all my assumptions, and the depth of her character, as well as the inner turmoil she feels helped me see how real she is; she a good young woman who struggles with the guilt over her actions and feelings toward two men who play pivotal roles in her life.
When the story opens, Lexie has just experienced her first major heartbreak. Her boyfriend of three years has betrayed her, and even though she’s scared to let go of him, deep down she knows it’s the best thing she can do for herself. At the age of twenty, Lexie is just beginning to spread her wings and fly, both literally and metaphorically. The only problem with that is she’s afraid of heights, so flying isn’t her strong suit. She’s leaving to spend her junior year in Rome, studying Art History. For the first time in her life, she’ll be away from her family and friends. She’s taking a huge step toward life as an adult. I thought Lexie’s fear of heights and flying were symbolic of the inner conflicts she must face and overcome if she is to to experience emotional growth.
Right before she leaves, though, she turns to her step-brother, Trent, after she has a painful run-in with her ex-boyfriend, who offers comfort and support. Just as the book’s blurb indicates, she and Trent end up having “rock my world” sex that changes the dynamics of the typical “brother/sister” relationship they’ve tried to have over the past five plus years when they began spending time together while their parents dated and eventually brought them all together under one roof once they married. Needless to say, things get awkward around the house after that.
The entire story is narrated from Lexie’s POV and in the present tense, which pulled me in. Her tone is casual, conversational, I felt like her confidant, the one who listened as she grappled with her range of emotions and feelings: desire, guilt, self-loathing, loneliness, fear.
The author does an excellent job of describing how close Lexie and Trent have always been. They are best friends, know each other’s deepest secrets, insecurities, and have supported each other emotionally through all the ups and downs of their teenage years. So, it isn’t that Lexie goes home after seeing Rick, the man with whom she thought she’d found true love, and decides to jump her sexy hot brother to soothe her pain. Their relationship is complex and they’ve been pushed into the roles of brother and sister by their parent’s marriage. They’ve tried their best to fulfill their roles as siblings, but it’s clear from their history that the emotional bond they’ve forged is precious and rare, and the heart wants want it wants, no matter what they try to tell themselves. Unfortunately real life smacks them in the face, and they struggle to forget the incident happened and try to go back to the way things were. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and realistically impossible.
I think it’s great that Lexie leaves for Rome soon the incident with Trent. Being in Rome gives her a chance to deal with the shame and guilt she experiences and offers the chance for her to begin to find herself.
She hopes that time and distance can help heal the fissure that has now emerged in her relationship with Trent. Rome allows her to focus on establishing her own identity, and one thing I like about Lexie is her passion for life. She channels her conflicting feelings into her love of art, and it’s the Reverend Alessandro who helps her begin to find her way.
Over time, she and Alessandro become close, and, just like Trent, he accepts her as she is and doesn’t judge or condemn her when she decides to share her feelings of shame, doubt, and fear with him. Alessandro, too, has had his share of demons to contend with, and their friendship grows after he shares his non-too-perfect past with her. Alessandro is very attractive, and Lexie is drawn to him, but is certain she has nothing to worry about since Alessandro is very close to being ordained as a priest. Again, though, the heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes, consequences be damned.
Lexie has some tough choices to make and she’s cognizant that those choices will have a significant and long-lasting impact on her future and the existing world of those she loves. Lexie’s a likeable young woman; no, she isn’t perfect and just like all of us, she wrestles with trying to do what is right on her way to finding happiness. She’s authentic, full of vitality, and she perseveres through the emotional pain she experiences over the course of the story. She has a spark, a vitality for life that draws others to her, including me. I was pleasantly surprised with the laugh-out-loud moments interspersed throughout the book that provide a bit of relief and offer a reprieve from the constant angst and conflict in Lexie’s life.
Lexie’s brassy style and voice along with a well executed plot made for a wonderful reading experience. Forgive me for misjudging you, Lexie. I think fans of NA romance will really enjoy book.
Source: I received an ARC of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lisa Desrochers lives in northern California with her husband, two very busy daughters, and Shini the tarantula. If you’d told her five years ago she’d write a book, she’d have laughed in your face. As it turns out, she’d owe you an apology. Writing has become an addiction for Lisa and A Little Too Far, courtesy of HarperCollins, is her first novel for adults. She is also the author of the young adult Personal Demons trilogy from Macmillan. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise. Connect with her online at www.lisadwrites.com, on her blog at lisadesrochers.blogspot.com, on Twitter at @LisaDez, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LisaDesrochersAuthor
Enter to Win a Mini iPad
Follow the Tour Here: : http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/08/now-booking-tasty-review-tour-for_31.html
Music to Complement the Book
Thank you, Lisa, for introducing me to Jason Wade and Lifehouse
“You Belong to Me”
Ooh, this book has caught my attention, and the excerpt is intense! I hope to have a chance to read this book in the near future.
Good luck in entering the giveaway!
Replacing Gentry by Julie N. Ford
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Date of Publication: April 2013
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 88,000
Cover Artist: Steve Novak
When Marlie agrees to attend a cadaver ball at Vanderbilt Medical School, she did not expect to actually see any cadavers. Or, that a strange apparition would issue her a chilling message.
Despite the cadaver’s warning, Marlie is married a year later to Tennessee State Senator, Daniel Cannon, and living in a plantation-style mansion with two step-sons. Add to the mix her growing suspicion that something is amiss with the death of Daniel’s first wife, Gentry, and newlywed Marlie is definitely in over her pretty Yankee head.
What begins as an innocent inquiry into her new husband’s clouded past ends with Marlie in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy.
A modern twist on the classic Gothic romance novels of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, Replacing Gentry follows Marlie’s precarious journey as she learns the truth about the man she married.
The loud clank of the door fastening shut behind me gave me a start. My steps skidded to a stop in the sudden darkness, and I pulled a breath deep into my chest. The air was heavy like icy needles probing my throat. I rubbed the chill bumps on my arms with the heat of my moist palms.
Where am I?
Squinting against the hazy glow of a single bulb, I scanned one way, then the other, unable to determine the end of the passageway in either direction. From the other side of the door, the steady drumming of the bass from the Cadaver Ball sounded miles away. The perceived distance was a welcome relief. I needed some time to think, to center, and to get a grip. What had just happened between Daniel and me? One minute he’d been leading me around the dance floor, the next I’d lost track of how many dances we’d shared and found myself kissing him. Sure, I’d considered the possibility, but fantasizing about kissing a total stranger and actually going through with it were two very different things. I’d only known one man before who’d been able to draw me in so quickly.
I’d also met Finn at a ritzy Nashville party I had attended with my best friend Anna-Beth. Only that had been years ago, back when she and I were still in college. Like Daniel, Finn had been handsome and wealthy. My time with him had ended in heartbreak and loss. Tonight, being back in Nashville, it was like I could feel him all around me—a cagey presence deft at staying just beyond my line of sight. And then I’d met Daniel.
Paul leaned forward to rest his elbows on the table. “Next question.” His eyes took a discerning turn around our fellow dinner guests as if he were about to say something profound. “Do you believe in love at first sight? And if so, if you met the man of your dreams and he asked you to marry him right then and there, would you say yes?”
As had been the case the entire night, my thoughts rushed to Finn, how I’d fallen for him the first time we’d met. And how two weeks later I had boarded a plane to Vegas where I’d become his wife.
Obviously, my true answer would be yes. “I’d like to send the dilemma to the social worker,” Paul’s voice sailed across the table, bringing everyone’s focus to me. “Marlie is a therapist for the California Department of Corrections,”
Anna-Beth corrected. Her reproach was polite, as always, with a touch of perkiness. She slanted another salacious look to the dark-haired, fair-eyed plastic surgery intern she’d introduced earlier as Steven. A far cry from the teary-eyed socialite who had picked me up at the airport the day before after insisting twenty-four hours earlier that she couldn’t possibly go on living without the support of her “dearest friend.” Yesterday she’d been practically suicidal after the loss of her latest “future hus- band.” Tonight she’d evidently discovered that there was at least one more potential spouse left to explore.
“Psychiatric social worker,” I clarified. “And, my training and experience has taught me that a man willing to jump quickly into marriage is more than likely hiding some unfortunate character flaw, something he’s afraid he can’t keep hidden for long,” I answered, feigning a professional confidence.
I was looking into the black hole of my thirty-first birthday, doubting with every day that slithered by I’d ever again meet a man I could pledge my heart to. Besides, what woman, over thirty or otherwise, doesn’t secretly fantasize about a chance meeting with the man of her dreams?
Paul considered my answer with a shrewd stare. “I don’t believe you. I think you, like all women, would jump at the chance to be married,” he said, his drawl stained with a hint of headiness.
Despite the fact he was clearly wearing a platinum band on his left ring finger, Paul had been ogling me all evening, and I could sense a growing affinity. But I was one hundred percent sure I wanted no part of it. I inwardly groaned. This impromptu game of Scruples was get- ting on my last nerve. It ticked me off that Paul had accurately called my bluff, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of yielding to the fact.
I fixed him with a cold stare. “I’m wondering why you bothered to ask me the question when you’d already made up your mind as to my answer?”
Paul’s smirk, downright creepy now, tugged at his lips again. “Fair enough,” he conceded. “Your boss congratulates you for a brilliant suggestion and hints at a promotion. One of your subordinates gave you the idea. Do you mention this to your boss?”
Clearing my throat, I offered up an answer. “Of course I would give my subordinate his or her due credit.”
Paul leaned forward. “Even if it meant you’d get passed up for the promotion?”
I squared my shoulders. “How could I feel good about a promotion I hadn’t earned?”
Shaking his head, Paul grunted out a snort. “I’m sorry, Marlie, but no one subscribes to such outdated, bogus ideals of integrity anymore.” He sent his gaze around the table for confirmation. “I say she’s bluffing.”
I rolled my eyes in return. “So, outdated stereotypes regarding women are perfectly alive and well but showing a little integrity … that’s old fashioned?” I retorted, though an announcement had every- one shifting toward the front.
From the stage, the emcee was lamenting about a doctor—Dr. Peter Daschle—a pioneer in the field of reconstructive plastic surgery who’d been strides ahead of his time when he’d met with tragic death and how his expertise would be sorely missed … Then, after a minute of silence, the emcee introduced the band and invited everyone to the dance floor. The buzz of attendees taking one last drink, or bite of dessert, before pushing back their chairs was quickly overpowered by the band’s version of Hip to My Heart as everyone paired up and filed out to the dance floor.
Glancing across the table, I could see Paul fighting the flow of bodies, cutting a path straight for me. A look of cool, self-assuredness seemed to be driving him against the fray. My gaze flitted quickly around the room as I considered my options. I had two choices: run for the safety of the service exit and spend the rest of the night hiding, or turn, face him, and let him know exactly what I thought of his presumptions. Given that I had a general dislike for cowardice, option number two was my obvious choice.
I’d just started in his direction when I heard a voice asking, “Would you like to dance?”
“No, not right now,” I said through tight lips. “I’ve got something I need to take care of first.”
The voice came back along with the light touch of fingertips on my elbow. “I think what you’re fixin’ to do can, and should, wait for a more appropriate settin’.”
I hesitated. It wasn’t like I was planning to make a scene, and who was this man that thought he knew what I had in my mind to do? Whirling around, I shot a bothered stare into the face behind the voice.
Gazing down at me, the hint of a smile on his lips, was a man Anna- Beth had introduced as her cousin, Daniel something-or-other. In his early forties, he had thick dark hair tapered neatly around his neck and ears but longer on the top and combed back. His nose was slightly crooked, his chin distinctive. A trace of gray at the temples gave him the look of striking maturity, a man accustomed to the finer things in life.
His dark blue eyes conveyed a subtle insistence as he stepped to the side and motioned to the dance floor. “After you,” he said with all the graciousness of a Southern-born gentleman.
Swallowing back a portion of my resolve, I found myself at a sud- den loss for words. Unnerving since I rarely, if ever, found myself with nothing whatsoever to say. After a final glance back at Paul—I would deal with him later—I adjusted my course and headed for the dance floor. Daniel pulled me in close and proceeded to lead in a smooth cowboy cha-cha. After a few silent turns around the parquet floor, I glanced up to see that his eyes, dark blue like a moonless night, were searching mine as if looking for a truth that eluded him.
“Back at the table … your answers, were they sincere, or were you playin’ devil’s advocate?”
My head spun under the heat of his gaze. At the moment I couldn’t recall each and every response, there had been so many, but thinking back, I was fairly certain I’d meant them all.
“As hard as it may be to believe, they were all my true opinions.” Pulling me closer still, his mouth was just a kiss away as he whispered,
“Just so you know, I don’t think integrity is outdated.”
Why am I so inanely attracted to all the things I’m not? I mused as I began to pace the tight circle of light that fanned out into the darkness. Even more puzzling, why had Daniel been attracted to me? I wasn’t particularly tall, and while my face and figure were not unfortunate, I tended to blend easily into a crowd. But then, he had said that I reminded him of a slightly older Emma Stone, which I modestly denied, while secretly I’d kind of thought so too.
And then there was always the possibility that because I was from out of town he’d considered me an easy mark for a torrid one-night- stand. Except from what I could see, he seemed to be a perfect gentle- man—not at all the womanizing type. I stopped pacing and started chewing my thumbnail while the toe of my sandal tapped the floor.
Why was I so cold?
I should go back in. Only now I felt like an idiot for running out the way I had. It was too frigid out here to spend any more time second- guessing my reaction. How should I play it when I see Daniel? Act casual? Ignore him? I was mentally pounding my head when another sound joined the echo of my tapping foot. Slamming my shoe to the floor, I held it still and listened to the darkness. I couldn’t hear a thing, not even the muffled drumming of the band.
Turning in a circle, my eyes searched the shadows, unable to see anything beyond the thick blanket of blackness surrounding my solitary swath of light. An unsettling feeling began a slow crawl up my spine. Was it the sudden quiet or the complete darkness that had me feeling on edge? I couldn’t be sure at first, but then there was noise, or maybe just a feeling as the presence of something unseen crept over me, and I realized I wasn’t alone.
“Hello,” I called, my voice echoing down the dark passageway. “Who’s there?”
The only reply was the hiss of my own breath, the rush of my blood as it beat against my ears. “I know you’re there,” I said. I thought I heard something—a sigh or a brush against the far wall.
“Hello?” I tried again. Nothing. Maybe my imagination was getting away from me? I mean, who wouldn’t be creeped out in a dark, frigid hallway? Nothing to worry about.
In case something feral was indeed lurking out there, I retraced my steps, one foot behind the other, my eyes sweeping the abyss in both directions until I bumped up against the steel of the door.
Reaching back, I pushed down on the handle and then pulled while keeping a close eye on a predator I wasn’t sure existed. The door didn’t budge. I turned to face the door, pushed down with both hands this time and pulled. Then I lifted and yanked again. The door stayed put.
I was locked out. The fear of being trapped squeezed my chest with a ruthless grip. Droplets of perspiration rolled from my temples and down to my neck, burning a steamy trail over my cold skin. The air grew more frigid. The darkness pressed closer. My heart began to race, my breath grew more shallow as panic pushed hard at my need to stay calm.
“I’m locked out here!” I pounded my fists on the door as the music started up again. “Can someone—anyone—hear me?” I yelled until my throat was raw, the shrieks shooting from my lips in puffs of white smoke.
Pressing my cheek against the door, I listened to the muffled sounds of a rousing party. The cool metal did little to relieve the heat of my exertion. There was no indication that anyone had heard my screams—at least no one on the other side of the door.
A thump, followed by a drag was the first undeniable conformation that someone—something—was there.
I slowly turned. “Who’s there?” my voice rasped out again. I heard no audible answer, just another thump and a drag. “Can you help me?” I asked. “The door seems to be stuck.”
I waited. The dragging grew closer, the darkness slowly consuming what little light was there in the dark hallway.
“Please, say something.” My voice crackled against the black walls, my eyes focused toward the sounds as the silhouette of a body materialized out of the haze.
At first, all I could make out the bareness of a man’s feet and legs against the grey floor, one foot taking feeble steps forward while the other dragged along in its wake. His flesh was white like a thin sheet of paper stretched over iridescent blue veins.
“Are you all right?” I called out, thinking maybe he wasn’t an attacker at all but someone in desperate need of help. “Do you need medical assistance?”
Another thump and a drag brought him closer. The dim light turned blinding as it reflected off the whiteness of his skin. He was completely naked. His shoulders were slumped over. His arms hung long and limp at the sides of his torso. A stitching in the shape of a Y marked across his chest. His hair was disheveled and receding from a long forehead above sunken cheeks and lifeless, gray-rimmed eyes. He looked like a walking corpse.
My hand flew to cover the scream that exploded from my chest. “Oh my gosh!” I pressed my back harder against the door, feebly edging myself away. My ankles gave way beneath me. The man took a few more steps and stopped.“Marlie Evans,” he said,
the words booming over stiff lips. The breath solidified in my throat. Absolute silence filled the flickering shadows cast by the light of a dying bulb. A flash of steel running down to a wheeled box on the floor behind him caught my attention. Then the squeak of a pulley had my mind leaping back to the dark-humored skits that had opened the medical school ball, but I was unable to recall this particular prop.
“Is this some sort of joke?” I called out through quivering lips.
“You don’t belong here,” he said, raising a shaking arm to point a crooked finger in my direction. “You should go back, go back to where you belong.”
I cranked the door handle down again. Again, the latch didn’t release. “Yeah, no kidding,” I said, forcing a weak chuckle. “I would go back in but like I said before, the door seems to be stuck.”
“Marlie Evans,” he repeated with more insistence. I shrank farther back, my eyes darting about the space, waiting for the prankster to reveal himself. “If this is meant to scare me for some twisted amusement you’ve done a good job . . . I’m officially freaked out!” I screamed then waited, my gaze unwittingly locked with the unfathomable site before me. “Enough is enough already!”
His face was like that of a ventriloquist’s dummy. “You are weak and will lose all that is precious to you, and still, you will not change what has already been decided.”
Each syllable pressed down on me like a heavy weight. I sucked in a ragged breath. Why was I trapped in the cold, the darkness, with death standing before me? Suddenly, this didn’t feel like a joke.
Supporting my weakening body against the exit, my nails bent and cracked as my fingers dug into the hard surface. “Change what?” I pled, tears blurring my focus. “I don’t understand.”
He blinked once, slowly. “The end has already been written,” he said with what sounded like considerable effort.
Terror pushed the blood hard through my veins. “What are you talking about?” I cried. “What end?”
A sneer pulled across his sullen face, his features contorting into a look so vile I felt as though something evil had reached inside me and taken hold of my soul.
Julie N. Ford graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English Literature. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a Marriage & Family Counselor.
In addition to Replacing Gentry, she is the author of two women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married and No Holly for Christmas, published in 2011. She also wrote a romance/chick-lit novel, Count Down to Love, published in 2011. Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award finalist.
Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one baby hedgehog. For more information or see what Julie is working on now, you can visit her at JulieNFord.com.
As an author, I’m often asked, “Where do you find inspiration for your stories?”
This is a very easy question. I’m inspired by everything around me. Mostly by dreams, but also by a random word or phrase. Hearing myself, or someone else say something like, “wouldn’t it be weird—cool, strange, interesting—if . . .?” will get me thinking.
For example, the inspiration for Replacing Gentry was ignited by a question my daughter asked regarding spirits. Even though the paranormal elements I’d originally included in this text were mostly edited out, the plot originated with her inquiry. The concept for my current WIP started with a lustful comment my baby sister made regarding her hunky, much younger physical trainer. Then the idea for my next project dawned during book club when a friend of mine mused aloud as to why no one ever writes books about women who have more than one husband, instead of the other way around. Had me thinking, “Hmm?”
Long story short, I literally get dozens of new ideas all the time. Since I’m sort of a slow writer, I have to file the majority of them away. But once I hit on a plot that won’t let me rest, all I have to do is allow myself to put some thought into the idea. One impression morphs into another and another, until a basic storyline starts to unfold, and then I begin making notes. Once I start drafting, the plot and characters start to sink deeper, the story takes root, and grows as I write.
And voilà, a novel is born.
I loved both Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix so I look forward to reading this book to learn more about the literary connections between the two creative works!
The Matrix and the Alice Books by Voicu Mihnea Simandan
The Matrix and the Alice Books presents aspects of intertextuality in three primary sources: the script of the motion picture The Matrix written by directors Andy and Larry Wachowski, and the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.
Intertextuality is a set of relations with other texts, which can include direct quotations, allusions, literary conventions, imitation, parody and unconscious sources amongst others. In The Matrix there are few explicit references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
This book by Voicu Mihnea Simandan presents both the explicit references and the less direct ones, giving evidence from primary and secondary sources. In doing so, it makes use of a literary construction developed from Gérard Genette’s structuralist theory of transtextuality as a framework to present how a web of intertextual relationships is clearly formed between the Alice books and The Matrix.
Read an Excerpt
“In The Matrix, Neo comes from the Oracle a bit disappointed with what he had just found out, but Morpheus tries to show him the way: “Neo, sooner or later, you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path… and walking the path…” Alice wakes up only when she is ready to face the real world, just as Neo has to understand that, in order to defeat the agents and end the war, he has to face his demons and take control of his own life. […]
In The Matrix, Cypher confesses his regrets to Neo over getting unplugged. “You know, I know what you’re thinking, because right now I’m thinking the same thing. Actually, I’ve been thinking it ever since I got here… Why, oh why, didn’t I take… the blue pill?” The repeated phrase shows hesitation and the intensity of Cypher’s emotions. Neither Alice nor Cypher understand the new world they have entered, and both have second thoughts about remaining there. But, while Alice tries to unlock the secret of wonderland and eventually is able to control it, just as Neo does in the end, Cypher betrays his crew members in a desperate move to be reinserted into the Matrix.
Despite an ever-changing environment and logic, both Alice and Neo continue to deal with the challenges that beset them. No prior experience in wonderland or the Matrix can teach them about what to expect in their next undertaking; nevertheless they manage to get through each encounter, ready to face new situations.”
About the Author
Voicu Mihnea Simandan is a Romanian writer and freelance journalist who was born in 1978 in Arad, a small city in Transylvania. He has published short stories, non-fiction, and books for children. He has been calling Thailand home since 2002 and he has been a member of the Bangkok Writers’ Guild since 2009 and a member of AP Writers since 2012. He is now teaching Language Arts and Social Studies at an international school in Bangkok. His upcoming debut novel, The Buddha Head, a suspense thriller set in Thailand, is scheduled for publication in late 2013. He loves archery, martial arts and travelling.
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Wow! I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, except around Halloween. Now, I’ll have a good excuse to watch The Shining again before I read the sequel. I’m so excited!
Published September 24, 2013
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon. (from Amazon)
Available from Amazon
Miranda’s Mate (The Company Store # 1) by Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Release Date: 8/5/13
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Work for The Company is nothing if not covert. Miranda’s life is on the line. Will Garen risk exposure to save her?
As an agent for an international security firm, Miranda has her hands full. Between secretly lusting after her boss, Garen, and making sure the dirty little secret about her double life as a wolf shifter remains hidden, she’s still a virgin at nearly thirty.
Sent to eliminate the head of a human trafficking organization in Amsterdam, she barely escapes with her life. Injured, frightened, and under attack the second her private jet lands in the U.S., she doesn’t know where to turn.
Garen’s been watching Miranda just as surreptitiously as she’s been eying him. Unfortunately, the fact that she works for him is a showstopper. Plus, Garen has a few secrets of his own that have kept him single. He’s frantic once he discovers his oldest friend is besotted with Miranda, too. When she insists on heading up a covert operation, he’s worried sick, but can’t come up with a plausible reason to stop her.
Miranda’s life is on the line. Will Garen risk exposure to save her?
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche’s Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for two more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: Fortune’s Scion and Earth’s Requiem.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)
Click on the Book Cover To Purchase Miranda’s Mate on Amazon
The With Me in Seattle series looks like a collection of great romantic reads. I especially am interested in reading Safe With Me based on the book description and have added it to my future reading list.
Congratulations to Kristen on her new release!
Safe With Me by Kristen Proby
SAFE WITH ME Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17201110-safe-with-me?ac=1
Purchase from Amazon: Safe With Me (With Me In Seattle)
Keeping others safe is what Caleb Montgomery does. He’s never had a problem taking on an assignment, whether it was during his dangerous SEAL days or his most recent job of training war mercenaries. But being assigned to keep Brynna Vincent and her adorable daughters, Maddie and Josie, safe from an unknown threat has thrown Caleb off his axis. Hot for the tall brunette since she came back to town more than a year ago, being close to her day in and day out is cracking Caleb’s resolve to keep his hands off her gorgeous body and his head in the mission.
Brynna is sick and tired of being afraid. All she wants is a normal, quiet life for her and her precious girls. Just as she’s settling into her new home in Seattle and feeling safe again, Caleb shows up on her doorstep insisting the danger is as high as ever. But whether she needs to be sheltered from the threat in her past, or from the intense emotions she feels for the sexy, protective man sleeping in her home, remains to be seen. What will happen if Brynna and her girls fall in love with a man so broken he may not be able to protect them from the danger that threatens, much less himself?”
SAFE WITH ME is the fifth book in the With Me In Seattle series, and continues to follow this tight-knit, loving family through life’s trials and tribulations with humor, passion and everlasting love.
Kristen is the author of the Amazon and USA Today bestselling With Me In Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.
Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kristenproby
Enter to win a set of signed copies of the With Me in Seattle Series
Hell or High Water (Lost and Found, Inc. #1) by Jerrie Alexander
A woman in danger. A man she loves but can’t trust.
When ex-SEAL Nate Wolfe learns a woman from his past is in danger, nothing will stop him from protecting her. Not even her.
Dallas Child Protection Services Investigator Kay Taylor doesn’t want or need Nate in her life. But he doesn’t seem to understand the word no. He seems to also have forgotten the brand he left on her heart.
When Kay is taken and sold to a monster, the devil himself couldn’t stop Nate from doing whatever it takes to find her…but will he be in time?
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
“Nate,” she whispered into his neck. “You saved me.” Her flesh heated when his large hands flexed against the small of her back and drew her closer.”
“Come hell or high water,” he whispered, his warm breath sending heat streaks across her skin.”
Hell or High Water is a great start to a romantic suspense series involving a close-knit college group called Wolfe’s Pack who reunite ten years later, when one of their beloved members, Kaycie (Kay) Tayor becomes the target of a human trafficking operation.
Alexander has established a solid framework for the series by starting out with plot that is well-written and creating dynamic characters that make you want to get to know them better. I like that the author gradually introduces you to the main characters who will play an integral role in the series without overwhelming you with too much information. She establishes the relationships among the characters, provides just enough exposition about their individual situations as a set up future storylines, and gives them enough personality for you to connect with and emotionally begin to invest in their well-being and futures.
The story launches right into the middle of a dramatic situation with Kay, an investigator for Dallas Child Protective Services, trying to escape her kidnappers. The lead-in creates interest and excitement; after all, it’s hard to put down a book when the character is in immediate danger! For me this first intense scene was over much faster than I expected, and it was a bit anticlimactic. However, Alexander more than makes up for any disappointment I may have had with this initial scene in the latter part of the book when she ratchets up the stakes heightening and prolonging the intense, suspenseful situations to the point I became edgy – as in biting my nails, holding my breath, wondering how much more I can take until the story’s resolution.
And I loved every minute of the heart pounding action that takes place.
Kay is an amazingly strong heroine, and, even with her law enforcement training, I still admired how she kept herself together in the bleakest of situations. I can say the exact same thing for Kay’s best friend, Holly. Both of them are fighters, both emotionally and physically against those who mean them harm. Not only is Kay in physical danger, but her heart is as well when her former college love, Nate Wolfe, enters the picture determined to protect her no matter how much she protests.
Nate has recently returned to Dallas as a PI and is building a company specializing in providing security. He’s knows he broke Kay’s heart ten years ago, and he doesn’t have any intention of trying to reenter Kay’s life until their mutual friend, Tyrell, calls to warn him about Kay’s situation. Kay is very angry and bitter toward Nate, and I wanted to know exactly what happened that tore them apart because it becomes clear early on they had so much more than a casual fling. The details of their past are gradually revealed as they struggle with their unresolved feelings for one another. The chemistry, the sexual tension is definitely still between them.
The major question is whether they can overcome the hurt from mistakes made long ago.
At first, I thought Kay was over-reacting once the reason for going their separate ways is revealed,
but after I learned about about Kay’s personal family pain and suffering, I began to understand why she thinks Nate betrayed her. She immediately lets Nate know how she feels when he surprises her at home: “Get over yourself.” Her tone matched the hate in her eyes. “You really think I care enough about you to shoot you?”
Fortunately, Nate refuses to let Kay’s behavior deter him, and he lets her know he won’t be cast aside so easily: “I want you. More than I want to breathe. Just know I won’t stop trying.”
He’s changed over the years, and he’s no longer afraid of love. I really appreciate Nate’s persistence and his willingness to take any opening Kay’s will provide: “He leaned down and grazed her lips with his. It was brief and she didn’t kiss him back, but then she didn’t bite him. All in all, he figured that was a good sign.”
Although both Kay and Nate want to be together, both of them are reluctant to express their feelings so directly, and there were so many times when I just wanted to say to them:
In so many books, the bad guys are exactly as they are meant to be portrayed. Bad. Guys. Yet, I was drawn to Johnny Darling, one of the central antagonists who’s part of the vile human trafficking operation that Kay stumbles upon. Johnny is not a nice man, and he can be counted upon to follow his boss’s orders without question. His loyalty to this man who took him off the streets and gave him a job outweighs any moral hang-ups he may have about performing his duties. Yet, Johnny’s POV reveals a complicated man with a conscience, who seems to believe that the young women he helps to kidnap are sold for purposes other than sex, at least that’s what he tells himself, anyway. I just find it hard to believe that someone with his intellect and who is closely involved in the operation can really be this naive. Let me just say there is much more to Johnny than the one dimensional flat character you might expect, and he has the potential for redemption.
Overall, this is a great read from start to finish. The plot is engaging, the central characters are well-rounded, and the romance sizzles! If you enjoy romantic suspense, then I encourage you to check out this series. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
Rating 4.5 shining suns
Click on the Book Cover to Purchase from Amazon
Music to Complement the Book
T. Graham Brown “Hell & High Water”
When Kay appears wearing a faded George Strait T-Shirt –I definitely knew she was my kind of gal!
George Strait “True”
Pro Resumes Made Easy by Andrea Drew
Written by a professional resume writer of 15 years, this book takes you through the step by step process to write your resume and cover letter like the Professionals do it – at a tenth of the cost!
Contains samples and examples to assist you along the way, along with a free resume critique with every book sale.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1 – Some basics
What is the purpose of a resume? If you ask most people, they will tell you it is “to get a job interview.” Yes, that’s right it is designed to get you a job interview. But a resume is also designed to sell you, or generate enough interest in you to make the reader make contact and schedule a meeting time. Your resume has had enough impact, that out of the hundreds of resumes a recruiter receives in their email inbox daily, yours has stood out.
If you’ve heard the saying that recruiter’s look at most resumes for between 5 and 20 seconds, it’s true. Add to that equation the fact that resumes are now received via email inbox, and you need to consider the fact that this means that the top third of your first page will be the first thing the recruiter sees when they click open the attachment.
I’ll be running you through the step by step process I use when writing a resume.
My resumes are written in a way that they;
a) Catch the recruiters eye immediately
b) Give them a reason to keep on reading
c) Stand out by writing them in a way that only 5% of all job applicants use effectively; and
d) Works with scanning software sometimes used by recruiters
e) Makes the reader want to meet with you!
About the Author
Guest Post from Andrea
How to Write and Get Published
So for many writers, finishing the book can seem like a huge relief – I know it was for me. Then came the editing, reviewing, editing, proofing and cover design etc. Once all of that was done, I decided once I uploaded it to Kindle/Amazon all I had to do was sit back and wait for the money to roll in right? Wrong.
Yeah, sure I got some sales. But nothing like what I imagined I would make after such a herculean effort. I’m currently selling about 50 a month, but then it’s taken a year to get to this point.
Then I read about an indie author who made $40K in royalties on a book about….bees. yes, that’s right a spiritual allegory about bees.
His name is John Penberthy and he made this money in less than a year selling foreign rights. So I figured, if he can do it, then so can I!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone down the whole contacting literary agents road with very little success. I’m based in Australia, and down under there are only a total of between 15-20 literary agents for a population of 23 million. My response was generally “thanks but no thanks.” Ditto for US agents. This is despite writing a book about resume writing, and having been a professional with what I thought was a pretty good platform established over 16 years as a pro resume writer.
For me, foreign rights is the best way to get around this.
So, what did I do? Well I followed John’s tips and advice. Firstly he suggests having a video trailer made about the book which agents can look at very quickly. So I hopped onto fiverr and got one of these made for 5 dollars.
I then bought a list of all foreign rights and literary agents from this website (it cost $6) http://www.bookmarket.com/authors.htm
I then prepared a short(ish) email and sent it out to all relevant agents. That’s right I highlighted the relevant part. Once you read the list you will see that not all agents necessarily are interested in your work. So this list purchased for $6 can save you a lot of time and help you target the right agents.
Yes I received quite a few rejections. Many didn’t respond at all. Then, two weeks later I received an acceptance from an agent! It seems my book has good possibilities in Asia, where they love “How to” books. Who would have known?
So while I haven’t yet landed a “traditional” publishing deal – I do now have an agent for foreign rights. From here, my plan is to reinitiate contact with US and Australian based agents once my book makes some sales overseas.
Here’s to your success!
Purchase on Amazon by clicking on the cover