Bloggers and Book Trailers: Generosity found along the trail

The path to publication rolls through hilly terrain, sometimes bright and sunny, but usually, at least for me, filled with shadowy fingerposts. You see, I have to be just about the slowest writer on earth, easily distracted by books to read, trails to bike, and rivers to paddle.

But one thing on this journey has been a constant: the generosity of my fellow writers and bloggers–always willing to help with constructive criticism, literary tips, or a promotional shout-out.

And now I can add my talented and generous brother-in-law Kevin Radwanski to that list. The following book trailer is his creation, and I think it perfectly captures the spirit of my novella, Blood Stitches:

I am also forever in debt to the following bloggers for giving the book trailer a boost this week:

-Sandra Cox http://sandracox.blogspot.com/

-Ebooks Galore http://nkuhnebooks.blogspot.com

-2 Bibliophiles Guide 2bibliophiles.blogspot.com

-LBM Book Blog http://lifebooksandmore.blogspot.com

-dreamer talks books http://cometomefantasy.blogspot.com

-A Bit Bookish http://www.abitbookish.com

-Ebook Addicts http://ebookaddicts.net

-Indy Book Fairy paranormalbookfairy.blogspot.com

-Amanda’s Blog! http://amandahigelmire.blogspot.com

-midnightangel book heaven www.facebook.com/midnightangelbookheaven

-Spreading the word with Denise&Donna spreadingtheword319.blogspot.com

-Panty dropping Book Blog https://www.facebook.com/pages/Panty-dropping-Book-Blog/295274823946802

-author sandra love http://authorsandralove.blogspot.com/

-shelly’s books http://booksshelly27.blogspot.com/

-A BookAddict’s Delight http://abookaddictsdelight.tumblr.com

-Sapphyria’s Steamy Books http://saphssteamybooks.blogspot.com/

-Literary Nook http://literarynook.com

-Traci Hayden http://tracihayden.blogspot.ca

-Literature Litehouse http://literaturelitehouse.blogspot.com/

-Cu’s eBook Giveaways http://cusebookgiveaways.weebly.com/

-Room With Books http://roomwithbooks.com

-One Book Boyfriend At A Time http://www.facebook.com/onebookboyfriendatatime

-Butterflies Books Dreams butterlfiesbooksanddreams.blogspot.com

-Angee’s Afterthoughts http://www.angeesafterthoughts.com/

 

From Journalist to Romance Writer: Vina Arno’s new book is a knock out

InHisCorner-Cover-smallAuthor Vina Arno’s journey from reporter to novelist is as fascinating as the books she writes. So I’m excited to have her on my blog today and discover more about her path to publication and new novel.

Q: How did you come up with the title?

A: My debut romance, In His Corner, is about an Olympic gold-medalist boxer known as the Juggernaut who goes to the ER for stitches and falls head over heels with the beautiful doctor who treats him. I originally called it Taming the Juggernaut, but Martin Biro, Kensington Publishing associate editor, didn’t like it. I submitted 17 alternative titles and he chose In His Corner because he said it immediately tells you the book is about a boxer and it’s more suitable as a romance title. I’m very grateful for his choice. Admittedly it’s a more accessible title than the original.

Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

A: Everything about this book is enjoyable. It’s my first romance book and the first story I’ve written with a happy ending. I started writing this book in July 2013, just two months after finishing another manuscript (a historical novel) about Douglas MacArthur, the iconic World War II general. It was a heavy experience that took me 10 years to finish, from research to writing and rewriting. In His Corner was a real treat for me.

Q: What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

A: The book’s unique selling point is the Juggernaut. The market is saturated with mixed martial arts and other sports heroes, but there’s not much out there about a boxer.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I’m a late bloomer. I was already a professional journalist working for the Associated Press when I realized I wanted to have a voice as a writer. As a journalist, I have little choice about what I write and how I write it. There are rules I have to follow and the stories I cover are assigned to me. I don’t have a voice. When you read my news story, it reads like an AP story because that’s what I was trained to do. Fiction writing gives me the privilege to develop my own voice.

Q: Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

A: Two places—Japan and Australia. I’m originally from the Philippines, a stone’s throw away from both countries. I always thought I can go anytime because they’re so close. I had no idea I would immigrate halfway across the world. I don’t want to have any regrets, so I would like to travel to those two places one of these days.

In His Corner 

Coming from Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing on April 14, 2015.

Pre-Order: Amazon.com ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo Books ~ Kensington Books ~ iTunes ~ Google

Blurb

WORK OUT
No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild workout…

KNOCK OUT
Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stitches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…

Excerpt

Dr. Siena Carr dropped the clipboard on the counter and washed her hands. When she turned around, she gasped. “What are you doing?”

The Juggernaut was undressing. Before she could say another word, he was naked. A glorious sight that sent her heart racing and her face burning. Did he know that he looked like a sculpture by Michelangelo? Except for the tattoo on his right shoulder, this man was David incarnate.

She looked away abruptly, grabbing the clipboard. She didn’t even know his name! She looked at his paperwork. Tommy Raines. “Mr. Raines, please put on your clothes.”

She continued scanning his form. Occupation: boxer. Age: twenty-two. Weight: 160 pounds. Height: six feet. Blood type: O positive. No pre-existing health conditions. His temperature and blood pressure were normal. Reason for ER visit: a cut sustained from sparring.

She faced him. Thank God, he was clothed again.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “I thought you’re supposed to check me out.”

Did he just say check him out? “Mr. Raines, this is an ER, not a bar. I don’t check out patients. Do you mean to say check up?”

He smiled. “Yeah, check up.”

“I’m going to take care of your cut, but I’m not doing a checkup. If you need one, you should go to your primary care doctor.”

“I don’t like doctors. I avoid hospitals and clinics as much as possible, but my cut kept bleeding even after I showered. So here I am.”

CindyFazziakaVinaArno-smallMore about the author

Vina Arno is a pen name used by Cindy Fazzi, a Philippine-born American writer who has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. Her short stories have been published in the Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.

Read this Forbes article about Vina Arno: 3 Career Reinvention Tips From A Reporter Turned Romance Writer 

Find her online

Web site ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Google

The Griffin’s Secret: Risking everything to escape an invisible prison

It’s wonderful to once again host Cate Masters on my blog and participate in her most recent cover reveal, which are always spectacular.

Griffin'sSecret-MD

The Griffin’s Secret by Cate Masters
Reimagined fairy tale/fantasy romance novella

Coming May 12, 2015

Preorder: Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | Kensington

In this contemporary re-telling of Grimm’s classic fairy tale The Griffin, two people must risk everything to free themselves from the invisible prisons that keep them from love…

Jackson Grant had it all—the girl he loved, his Harley, and his guitar. Until a tragic accident stole it all away. Now, more than scars and a tattoo remain. Jackson has a secret. Cursed by his dead girlfriend’s mother, he can never fall in love again or his beloved will die. With his heart on lockdown, he keeps to himself—until a roadie gig with Malcontent, the world’s most popular band, entwines his fate with sweet, wounded Layla’s…

Music is what Layla lives for. She has no choice. She’s bound by magic to serve Malcontent, cursed to propel them to stardom with her musical powers. Then Jackson appears and gives her hope that he’s the hero who will save her. A reluctant hero, yet one she can’t resist. But freedom will come at price—and who will pay…?

Excerpt

The faint scent of an exotic flower on an ocean breeze hit him the second the girl walked in. Every part of his body stood at attention, taking in the way she moved. The curve of her slender hips. Those long legs…they’d wrap around the back seat of his Harley perfectly. Wrap around him perfectly, too.

A flip of her onyx-silk hair sent it behind her shoulder as she sat opposite. “Who are you?”

Good question. He’d been seeking the same answer for too long. “Jackson Grant.”

Her eyes darkened, deep brown to charcoal diamonds. “Why are you here?”

“For the roadie job.” Was she the first gatekeeper? A gate she kept locked, he’d bet. Or maybe she was another test. Kev had warned him there’d be tricky questions and to answer straight. Something told him she asked out of curiosity.

“You think you’re up for such a demanding job?”

Again, the impression hit him she was making these questions up as she went along, ad-libbing off his replies.

He’d play. “I’m strong. Dependable. I follow orders, keep my head down, and stay out of trouble.” And he liked his privacy.

Her features smoothed, hard as porcelain. “Do you.” Not a question.

He’d answer anyway. “Yes.”

Did disappointment curl her lip? Or boredom? Why did he care? If he could, he’d blast out of there before his own curiosity got the better of him. Already, she’d gotten under his skin. Crazy how the tat no longer singed him, but now twisted like a trapped animal.

With a plastic smile, she batted her eyes, and the false flirtation didn’t suit her. “So. You’re a yes-man.”

The way she said it, he’d be no different than any other roadie serving the great rock star, Malcolm Fetterman. Fine by Jackson. The less he stood out, the better. Except for her. He hated to think of her glossing over his presence, but that would be better, too.

He drummed his fingers on the table. “I need the job.” Where the hell was Malcolm anyway? The longer he stayed with her, the more he wanted to. Definitely couldn’t afford that kind of trouble. He glanced at the open door, hoping he wouldn’t have to go through the same interrogation again.

She tapped the table. “You’d have to travel constantly.”

Perfect.” No different than his usual way of life. Except this time, his paycheck would remain steady.

“You wouldn’t miss your family?” She dipped her head. “Your girlfriend?”

He curled his lip this time. No one’s business but his. He shifted in his seat. “They’re better off.”

Her brows knit, and then her expression became unreadable as the Sphinx. “The hours are long, and the equipment’s heavy. Everything has to be exactly as Mal orders.”

Did he imagine it, or had she winced at her own words?

He shrugged. “It’s his show.” Someday, Jackson would have his own roadies. And would treat them much better than Malcolm Fetterman did, if the stories proved true.

Her steely focus cut into him. “Mal doesn’t hire musicians except for those in the band. And there aren’t any openings in Malcontent.”

He didn’t allow himself to blink. “No problem.”

“But you play, don’t you?” Her gaze dropped to his callused fingertips drumming the tabletop.

He drew his hand down. “No.” A necessary lie. She might suspect, but couldn’t possibly know the truth. Almost like leaving one of his limbs behind, he’d locked his Fender in storage in New Jersey with his paltry possessions for six months. By then, he’d know whether this gig worked out.

About the Author

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Email: cate.masters@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts
Twitter:  @CateMasters

Blood Stitches Steps onto the Dance Floor

It’s official: my novella, Blood Stitches, has joined the spring debutantes patiently waiting to strut their stuff on the dance floor. And at a $1.99, she’s not only an inexpensive date but will also keep you mesmerized until the wee hours of the morning.

BloodStitchesLyricalPage

Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

And an enormous thank you to my Facebook friends and the following blogs for helping with her big reveal:

http://catemasters.blogspot.com/
http://calisarhose.com/chit-chat-blog/
http://christamaurice.com/
http://desiremeonly.com/
http://www.danilynalexander.com/blog.html
http://maeclair.net/blog/
http://tracybilen.com/blog/
http://sandracox.blogspot.com/
http://jencolly.weebly.com/
http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
http://ninacrespo.com/category/nocturnal-nina/
http://asfenichel.net/blog/
http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/
http://www.kristirose.net/
http://www.aniserae.com/journal/
http://www.pamela-turner.com/
http://www.sundaewithnuts.com
http://pattigail1.com
http://aprilvineauthor.blogspot.com
http://cindyfazzi.com
http://www.itchingforbooks.com
http://addictreaders.blogspot.com/
http://www.dinagiven.com
http://desertrosereviews.blogspot.com
http://thereadingchameleon.blogspot.com
http://readingadd.blogspot.ro/
http://bitchesnprose.blogspot.com/
http://www.starangelsreviews.com
http://iheartyabooks.blogspot.com/
http://www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com
http://crasyabout.blogspot.com
http://rockinbookreviews.com
http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/
http://bookclubsisters84.blogspot.com
http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Sapphyria’s Book Blog

Bibliophilia, Please

Confessions of a Reader

Urban Girl Reader

Book Liasion

RhiReading

Crazy Four Books

What is That Book About

Carti Cu Colti

I Smell Sheep

Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

The Gal in the Blue Mask

Review From Here

Literal Exposure

The Literary Nook

The Writer’s Life

The Dark Phantom

The Revolving Bookshelf

The Book Refuge

Bent Over Bookwords

Love can be hell: Deception~Demon Hunters Book Two

The demon hunters, first introduced in author A. S. Fenichel‘s Ascension (see my review here), are back, and I’m thrilled to host the cover reveal for Deception, Demon Hunters Book Two, along with a sneak peek at the adventurous–and steamy–plot.

DECEPTION_hi-res_by_Morgan_Pielli_jpeg[1]

Coming July 7, 2015 from Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing.

Pre-order: Amazon  ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kensington

Enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

When Demons threaten Regency London, only a Lady can stop them.

Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn…

For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.

These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…

About the AuthorA.S.

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in erotic paranormal, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.

 

Love, Lattes, and Mutants: Adventure and humor meet teen romance

Love, LattesWith a book titled Love, Lattes, and Mutants (available today!–see my review here), you just know that author Sandra Cox has a good sense of humor, along with an adventurous spirit and a creative imagination. Delving  into Love, Lattes, and Mutants proves it, as does the following mini-interview…

Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.

Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why…

Then Piper is captured on one of her secret missions rescuing endangered sea creatures and ends up in the same test center where her mother was engineered. There she discovers she isn’t the only one of her kind. Joel is someone she doesn’t have to hide from, and she finds herself drawn to the dolph-boy who shares her secrets. Talking to him is almost as easy as escaping from the lab. Deciding which boy has captured her heart is another story…

Sandra CoxBio and mini-interview

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee, and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
England. I love listening to Brits.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, shop and go to the movies.

What were your favorite books when you were a child?
Anything that had a horse in it.

Buy Love, Lattes, and Mutants

Amazon , Barnes and Noble , Kobo

And be sure to enter the giveaways:

First prize: A Piper-approved necklace and $10 Starbuck Card

SandraCoxGiveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Prize: A Piper-approved bracelet

SandraCoxsecondprize

 

Goodreads Review: Fantasy and History Blaze with Steamy Romance

Ascension (The Demon Hunters, #1)Ascension by A.S. Fenichel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Lord Gabriel Thurston, the Earl of Tullering—his formidable title is equaled by his handsome, powerful bearing—returns from a French battleground, he finds his fiancée, Lady Belinda Clayton, greatly changed. Gone is the sweet, innocent debutante he knew before leaving for war, replaced by a strong, secretive beauty with a bravery to match and a tendency to explore London’s seamier neighborhoods late at night.

So begins A.S. Fenichel’s adventurous novel—the first in the Demon Hunters series—and what follows is a page-turning blend of historical romance, fantasy, and mystery, mixed with steamy passion.

Soon Gabriel discovers that Belinda has joined forces with an army of demon hunters to battle the evil hordes overtaking Great Britain. He enlists on the effort, and together they confront a force that might tear them apart. The combat takes them to Scotland, where Belinda unearths a dark family secret, and risks her life to destroy a demon sect.

I strongly recommend this novel. Hidden below the intrigue and bloodshed is a deeper message, connecting the shadowy demons lurking in Belinda’s England to the evil hidden in our own world. Its heart-pounding action, romantic hero, stereotype-breaking heroine–stronger and more adept at fighting than most men–will have you looking forward to the next installment in the series.

View all my reviews

I just can’t leave things alone…

Well, I’ve done it again, fiddled with my website while looking for a clean, minimalist header in which to place the Blood Stitches cover when it’s revealed soon by my publisher, Kensington-Lyrical. So this is the layout I decided on, and I would love some feedback. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new site.

Literary Criticism, Little Friends, and Shameless Self-Promotion

AnneI’m not usually influenced by literary criticism. My reading has a more capricious slant—a year spent exploring the space program or delving into the Anne of Green Gables books, which I somehow missed when I was young, thinking myself, mistakenly, too sophisticated to enjoy them.

This, however, wasn’t always so. During my years as a young adult and reference librarian, I read millions—perhaps a slight exaggeration but fairly close to the truth—of reviews, knew what books were the popular, as well as literary, darlings, and could answer countless questions about current literature.

But I left all that behind when I switched careers. Now I drift from book to book, happy in my ignorance.

So it came as a surprise when I encountered the controversy swirling around Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (see: Why the backlash against Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’ was so extreme by Douglas Perry of The Oregonian). The Goldfinch was, of course, on my too-read list, along with dozens of other books, but I had no idea it carried such dissension on its spine.

The critics, however, can keep their wordy quarrels and objections. Age and attempts at writing–with my own book, Blood Stitches, coming May 12 from Lyrical Press— have mellowed me.

Mr. Perry’s article reminded me of another Donna Tartt novel, The Little Friend, and the many happy hours I spent between its covers, lost in a fictional world so realistic I wouldn’t have been surprised to see one of the characters walk through the door. My time with The Little Friend whirled by much too quickly, and I fell into a slight depression when I arrived at its final pages.

Because of this, I’ve decided to devote part of my blog this year to revisiting old literary friends, whether the critics liked them or not, and to the occasional blast of shameless self-promotion for my own writing, which I hope the critics will love. But if they don’t then I’ll fall back on what I’m sure Donna Tartt is thinking–any publicity is good publicity.

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What book(s) have you loved but the critics hated?

Where Are My Strawberries? Realism in Fiction

HellishHaven_200x300I’m thrilled to have a guest post from L.K. Below , author of Hellish Haven–a dystopian multicultural romance (how’s that for a genre buster?)–from Kensington/Lyrical Press. In the following,  she discusses how even seemingly small decisions when creating a character’s world can take on a larger meaning and come to symbolize an aspect of the character’s desires.

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During the early drafts of Hellish Haven, I based some of the heroine’s likes and dislikes on my own preferences. When I needed a food which would be considered a decadent treat, a food which her husband could hand-feed to her and increase the tension between them, I settled on strawberries. Sweet, juicy, and small enough for Grant to tease over her lips. Not to mention they are among my favorite fruits.

Unfortunately, there are no strawberries in war time. Certainly not in the middle of winter. Think to yourself how hard it is to find good strawberries in December. I constantly sigh and wait for summer, for plump local berries. Eva and Grant wouldn’t be able to scour their local grocery store for produce. When they have made themselves the enemy of the government, they can’t venture into places kept firmly beneath government surveillance. So they have to make do with what they can get.

I had to go back to the drawing board. I thought of produce the rebel forces would be able to grow in their own homes. I erased the strawberries from Eva’s story, no matter that it was her (and my) favorite fruit. I replaced it with greenhouse-grown cherry tomatoes. An infinitely more practical solution.

In a way, that fruit symbolises Eva’s life. Set against a vigilant and ever-present threat, she can’t afford to let down her guard. She can’t afford to indulge in toeing the line, not even to visit an abandoned church set too near the enemy border. She has to be practical, when she wants to live free and unfettered. When I changed even that one small fact from desire to necessity, I thought to myself…

Where are my strawberries?

As an author, I am tied to my characters more closely than to my deepest friends. My characters are a part of me. They are born of my fears, my doubts, my hopes, and my dreams. I have to put my characters through the most heinous struggles in order to give them the happily ever after they deserve. That means taking away the comforts I sometimes take for granted. It means stripping my heroine of everything she knows and loves, even something as simple as her favorite fruit, in order to expose her true strength of character.

Because Eva is strong. She faces death, torture, brainwashing, and the ever-present threat of leaving her son an orphan. She does it to protect her family, her friends, and her freedom. I cringe with every punch doled her way. I cheer every obstacle she crushes beneath her heel.

And I make a promise that once it is all done, once her war has been fought and the book is over, there will always be strawberries.

About the author

L.K. Below grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada, where her only peek into the wide world was through books. She’s been a bookworm ever since she learned to read, and loves any book with characters and worlds she can lose herself in. She wrote Hellish Haven to take one of her favorite classic books, George Orwell’s 1984, into the modern day…or, in this case, near future. She writes as obsessively as she reads and likes to Tweet about both at @LBelowtheauthor.