Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of SHADOW FALLING, a Scorpius Syndrome novel by Rebecca Zanetti

After reading MERCURY STRIKING, book one in the Scorpius Syndrome series by Rebecca Zanetti, I was hooked but worried that as good as the first book was could she keep me hooked with this desolate, dangerous post-apocalyptic world. Oh yes, she could and has with SHADOW FALLING, book two…in fact, I think it’s getting better.

***eGalley provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unscripted review


Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Kennedy was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.

If the FBI were still around, they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk.

And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .

~*~                  ~*~                  ~*~                  ~*~

Vivienne Kennedy has managed to survive Scorpius, the deadly plague bacteria working its way through what is left of the human race, and having been kidnapped, drugged, and tortured by the most vicious of Scorpius human turned Ripper—the President of the United Statesbut now she must survive the enigmatic, sexy, and possibly the most dangerous man, Raze Shadow. With her brain somewhat fried from whatever drugs Bret Atherton used on her as well as the after effects of Scorpius, her filters seem to be malfunctioning and she’s incredibly attracted to Raze, the man who rescued her from her torture. The only thing keeping her away from him is that Raze is one of the uninfected and being who she is as well as a doctor, she doesn’t want to be responsible for bringing harm to him through infecting him with Scorpius. But then it happens, he’s infected by a Ripper attack…now she’s free to jump the gorgeous man’s bones but should she, and does he want the same or is she just going mad?

Raze Shadow is usually a loner, a man with a conscience but he knows that sometimes the wrong choices have to be made for the right reasons. What he has to do in regards to Vinnie is necessary if he’s to get his sister back from the Mercs. He doesn’t want to trade her but he has no other choice. He also knows that Jax Mercury will probably kill him if he gets the chance but it’s a risk he has to take or so he thought. All hell starts to break loose for Raze. His heart begins to soften toward the somewhat crazy but beautiful head doctor, and then Jax does the impossible to save his life after a Ripper infects him. He begins to see that being a loner in this new and dangerous world no longer works well…trust becomes the new order of life after Scorpius.

The survivors of Vanguard are incredible characters, their hearts are huge, their bravery intense, and they continue to surprise me with their open caring for strangers and once trust is gained, they’d lay down their life for everyone around them. Rebecca Zanetti has conjured an incredible cast of characters, a dangerous and somewhat terrifying post-apocalyptic world akin to other plague driven themed stories such as Richard Matheson’s I AM LEGEND and television’s The Walking Dead, but with an intensity that keeps me glued to the pages and wishing the next book was ready as soon as I finished the current.

SHADOW FALLING, book two in the Scorpius Syndrome series pulls us deeper into the characters, the atmosphere, the craziness, and need to survive that would most likely exist after an apocalyptic event such as Rebecca Zanetti has created. Life isn't easy, danger exists around every corner and trust is hard to come by, but those under the charge of Jax Mercury become more than just good soldiers, they become family. This is something that Vinnie is seeking, but that Raze had never expected to find. It’s wonderful to see how both these characters, who want opposite things, journey to the point where they find the same thing and it satisfies them in a way neither expected.

I highly, highly recommend SHADOW FALLING by Rebecca Zanetti if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead. I’m not, by the way, but I am of this amazing series…it is way better!

SHADOW FALLING is an action-packed, character-driven, emotional adventure that will have you turning the pages late into the night and hanging on the edge of your seat so many times that you wonder if you’ll survive along with the characters. Although this is a series where it’s somewhat necessary to read them in order, it’s not impossible to pick up along the way but I wouldn’t advise it. SHADOW FALLING hooked me, took me hostage, infected me with the adventure and relationships, and then delivered me to the end of this book still wanting more. January is a long way off to get Tace and Sami’s story in JUSTICE ASCENDING…I hope I survive the wait.

Happy Reading Everyone!

SHADOW FALLING, a Scorpius Syndrome novel by Rebecca Zanetti, Zebra Books at Kensington Publishing, release date – August 30, 2016. It will be available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of OBSESSION, an Arum novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I’m going to be honest up front and say that before now, I had not read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I had meant to because I’d heard such good things about her stories but hadn’t gotten around to it. I’ve actually had the first Lux book, OBSIDIAN, on my reader since November 2015 when Entangled brought it to my attention but it was OBSESSION that caught my attention better in May, because it was adult rather than YA. I’ll get around to the Lux book later.  All of these books have been available for years actually…yes…I’m still trying to catch up.

***purchased for my own personal reading but sharing my honest and unscripted review

This is a stand-alone novel that is an adult spin-off of the Lux Series—You do not need to read a Lux book to read OBSESSION and vice versa.

He’s arrogant, domineering, and... To. Die. For.

Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn’t chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.

Serena Cross didn’t believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something... unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.

Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life… or is it Hunter?

~*~                  ~*~                   ~*~                 ~*~

When a man, who glowed with bright light and shot electricity from his hands, murders Serena Cross’s best friend Mel in a parking garage she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. When the same man shows up at her apartment and tries to kill her, a man who claims to be with the Department of Defense turns into smoke, and then something dark and even more unusual, saving her life but then seemingly sucks part of her life away. When she wakes up, she’s far from home and discovers it’s not a dream but that aliens are indeed real—very real.

Hunter is an Arum. Arum are a race of beings bred to kill Luxen, an alien species that nearly wiped out the Arum. Now both species are living among humans on Earth, only the humans don’t know it and if they find out, those in charge exterminate them. Now Hunter has been asked to babysit a human female until it can be determined exactly what she knows. His only problem is that she is unlike any human female he’s ever met before and he’s not sure what to do about the situation, or her. If he doesn’t protect her, she will die but it’s very possible that if she stays with him, he may kill her—and he doesn’t want her dead. He wants something he never thought capable of an Arum. He wants her.

OBSESSION by Jennifer L. Armentrout is a good story…not a great one…but I liked it. There were times I felt it stagnate a bit but then it would pick up with deadly action and so kept me hooked. I liked Hunter, he was hard with a soft center that he was only just beginning to recognize, but there were times I just couldn’t understand why he had such thoughts about killing her when he seemed to have so much control the rest of the time. Serena did get on my nerves a bit, but I appreciated her desire to find out the truth in regards to her best friend’s death even though her nearly immediate attraction to a very bizarre alien was a bit unrealistic. I can understand her attraction to the human Hunter but the alien one…yikes, he sounded anything but attractive even if still muscular.

Overall, it was an interesting read and since I’m all for aliens, government cover-ups, and science fiction, I will say that it was worth the visit. I’m still up in the air about reading the Lux series but I know that eventually, I will read my copy of OBSIDIAN—because I have it and I don’t like to let books go unloved and because I am curious about the Luxen side of the story now. Whereas, OBSESSION by Jennifer L. Armentrout isn’t the most intriguing or even the best-written story, I will say that if you’re into alien/government cover-up stories, it’s a good read so try it out. It might surprise you more than me. OBSESSION is promoted as a standalone, and it does work but perhaps it would have been received better had I read the Lux series first.

Happy Reading Everyone!

OBSESSION, an Arum novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Entangled Embrace, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne

When asked if I wanted to read and review THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne, I was a little hesitant because I thought the blurb teaser sounded a little bit blasé, but then my Avon Addict sisters started raving over how they couldn’t put it down. So I gave in, pushed back a read I’ve been waiting all summer for and gave into THE HATING GAME. I’m so very glad that I did.

***eARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unscripted review


Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

~*~                 ~*~                 ~*~                 ~*~

Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman work opposite each other for two different bosses. Every day, they act pretty much like a couple of fifth graders with their games—mirroring each other’s moves, making snarky remarks, and one-upmanship behavior. Only when they go up against each other for a promotion that might end up costing the other his or her job…that’s when the real competition begins. They begin to learn things about each other that might turn the Hating Game into something much different, and much more serious.

I love a debut novel because it’s an introduction to a fresh new voice and it’s always interesting to see where that new voice might take us as readers. Sally Thorne is a new voice with an extraordinary knack for creating truly fabulous banter between characters. My only real complaint was that there were times when I had trouble discerning which character was saying what. Otherwise, I loved the romantic comedy nature of this story, and Lucy and Josh are perfection albeit at times, a bit corny. The story started out a little slow for me but once we reached the elevator scene, the true nature of the relationship exploded within the pages and had me hooked to the point of choosing to keep reading rather than sleep. Normally, not a good move on my part but it was totally worth it.

I highly recommend THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne to anyone who is a fan of romantic comedies such as The Proposal or You’ve Got Mail…this is a love/hate relationship with enough sexual tension burning so hot beneath the surface that it could cause volcanic eruptions worldwide. I’m looking forward to reading more from Sally Thorne.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne, William Morrow Publishing, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of TEMPTED BY FIRE, a Dragons of Bloodfire novel by Erin Kellison

Already a fan of Erin Kellison’s unique imagination and character building talents, dragons just sucked me in. I’m so glad I didn’t resist buying and reading, TEMPTED BY FIRE, book one in the Dragons of Bloodfire series.

***purchased for my own personal reading but sharing my honest and unscripted review


Dragon shifter Thane Ealdian has waited six hundred years to avenge the loss of his family, and finally a clue has surfaced that implicates an old adversary. Thane will stop at nothing to seek his revenge, but to prevent violence between the clans, the Bloodkin Triad has forced a mediator on him. Some upstart named Emerson Clark...

Emerson is fed up with all Bloodkin and how they've managed to control every aspect of her life. While she doesn’t believe that Bloodkin can shift into dragons—because, really?—she has to admit, they are exceptionally nice to look at. But once the mediation is over, she wants nothing to do with them ever again.

When Thane discovers that the clever and beautiful Emerson is the key to uncovering the truth, he has no intention of letting her go. Although she wants to run, she can’t turn her back on Thane or her intense feelings for him. His quest pulls at her heart, just as his nearness sparks something dangerous inside her. With evil in hot pursuit, sooner or later everything will ignite—the mediation, the shifter within her... and their passions.

*TEMPTED BY FIRE was previously published in the anthology, DARK AND DAMAGED.

~*~             ~*~             ~*~             ~*~ 

Emerson does not believe that she has dragon blood and since becoming involved with the Bloodkin – a dragon society – she is definitely convinced she doesn’t and wants nothing more to do with them. She doesn’t even believe there are dragons much less her being one. When she is asked to mediate a dispute over the remains of a woman and baby, she begrudgingly goes but fully intends to quit and disappear as soon as it’s over. Things don’t go quite as planned, especially after she meets the reclusive and rather grumpy, Thane Ealdian. Even more shocking for Emerson is to discover that dragons do exist and then things get very interesting…very.

Thane is ready to accept his dragon and travel to Havyn, the isle where old dragons go to fly free, flame, and fall to ash but when the remains of his wife and son are recovered he must first discover who killed them. To complicate matters, he is unusually drawn to the beautiful young woman who has been sent by the Bloodkin Triad to act as mediator. His dragon seems to desire her dragon and so perhaps, it’s not quite time to let his dragon fly free.

Wow, and double wow! I loved everything about this book…the characters, the story line, the action – even when a bit gory – the premise of dragons living among us with their hoards and magic life-extending blood. Thane is grumpy, introverted, and possessive but actually a complete romantic. Emerson is everything strong and modern in a woman but her dragon knows what she wants, and I’m with her. Erin has conjured a modern world, which we all recognize but has layered within it, a mysterious and magical paranormal realm that fits like a glove. I can’t wait to read the next one, AWAKENED BY FIRE, which I’ve already bought. I want so much to read it next but it’s going to have to wait just a bit longer.

In the meantime, I highly recommend TEMPTED BY FIRE, the first book in this extraordinary Dragons of Bloodfire series by Erin Kellison – even if you’re not a fan of paranormal, it’s everything exciting  castles and fast cars, and intrigue driven by amazing characters and buried secrets.

Happy Reading Everyone!

TEMPTED BY FIRE, a Dragons of Bloodfire novel by Eric Kellison, Fire Flower Publishing, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, a Bad Things novel by Cynthia Eden

Already such a huge fan of Cynthia Eden’s stories, I was immediately hooked by the premise of THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, the first book in the brand new Bad Things series. Demons, angels, shifters, sirens, and bad guys from a secret government group…can it get any better?

***purchased for my own personal reading but sharing my honest and unscripted review


Don’t make the devil angry…

Luke Thorne loves having one hell of a good time. As the ruler of every dark creature to walk the earth, he certainly has more than a bit of a bad side. He lives for danger and isn’t the type to lose his heart—mostly because he doesn’t have one. Then she walks into his life.

Mina James is seduction in the flesh, a perfect temptation that the devil himself couldn’t pass up. Too late, Luke realizes he’s let a real siren into his life, a woman who is bent on using his dark powers to free herself from hidden enemies. Since Luke isn’t the type of man to be used, he should walk away from her, but…something about Mina draws him close.

Soon he’s realizing that she isn’t who she appears to be. Not dark and cold, but burning red hot. Mina is a woman fighting for her life—and the Lord of the Dark suddenly finds himself in an unlikely role…hero. Luke isn’t going to let her enemies destroy Mina. He will fight heaven and hell to keep her. But in the end, the secrets they both carry may just rip apart a love that should never have been…

There are Bad Things in the world…very, very bad. Are you ready for them?

~*~               ~*~                ~*~               ~*~

Thinking she can use her siren voice to manipulate Luke Thorne into giving her the Eye of Hell so that she might rid herself of her paranormal abilities, Mina James miscalculates her influence over him. Now she has more to worry about than freeing herself from the danger of falling back into the hands of the mysterious government group bent on turning paranormals into weapons. Now she has to survive Luke and her attraction to the Lord of the Dark.

Luke is not one to give up what he wants and he wants Mina. When truths come out, he shows himself to be truly selfless even if it means a broken heart.

THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, book one in the Bad Things series by Cynthia Eden starts out a little slow. There were even times when I almost gave up but then all of sudden, things started happening and I was hooked from that moment on. What started out slow turned into an exciting, action-packed, twist-filled story about truths, assumptions that were all wrong, loyalty, and selfless acts coming from where you least expect.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE…once it got going anyway. I’m very excited about the series too. Cynthia is so good at creating characters that you care about and want to see have a happy ending so just when you think it isn’t possible, she hits you with a twist that makes you smile. This story was written with lots of imagination and you’re always really wondering exactly who are the good guys and the bad because frankly, it could go either way.

I absolutely recommend THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, book one in the Bad Things series by Cynthia Eden. Perhaps you won’t find the start slow and if so, great…just be sure to read the rest of it because it will knock your socks off. Oh, she also gives us some steamy scenes too…even one that made me sniffle a bit. I know I’m not supposed to like demons and devils but Luke Thorne is one hot stuff bad – good – bad guy. :-)

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, a Bad Things novel by Cynthia Eden, Indie Pub, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Unwrapping a Review of ONLY HER, a K2 Team novel by Sandra Owens

I love the K2 Team series by Sandra Owens and it’s coming to an end with the fifth and final book, ONLY HER. I thought that would be enough to make me cry but on no, this book is so emotion-filled that I was in tears nearly from the beginning. Oh, I still laughed on occasion but this is one to be experienced. I’m still sad to see the series end and can’t help wondering if you haven’t read any yet, why not? Check out the other 4 books because they are currently on sale. 

***eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unscripted review

Blurb for ONLY HER:

Former SEAL sniper Cody Roberts has returned from Afghanistan with too many demons and a simple wish: to be left alone. Working for K2 Special Services, caring for the war dogs he rescued, playing his guitar—that’s all he wants to do. But Cody is as protective as his nickname, “Dog,” suggests. A man like that can’t sit back when he realizes the beautiful veterinarian next door is being targeted by an unknown enemy.

Riley Austin is desperate to find out who’s poisoning her animal patients, and she’s stunned by her mysterious neighbor’s suggestion that it’s personal. But Cody makes her feel something else, too: a powerful attraction. He insists he’s no good for her, but those haunted eyes and that chiseled body tell Riley that surrendering to their mutual lust is worth the risk. And despite his conditions—no falling for each other, no regrets once it’s over—she’ll fight to love him just as fiercely as he’ll fight to save her.

~*~                      ~*~                    ~*~                   ~*~

Cody Roberts has joined the K2 Team at a time in his life when he needs purpose but he worries that his past will destroy him before he can become a true member of the team. Nightmares from his last deployment plague him nightly even though he tries to ward them off with liquor. Constant worry over his missing dog, Layla, doesn’t help even though he has the comfort of Sally and Pretty Girl. His natural talent with dogs earned him the nickname Dog. When his ability to control his dogs is questioned by the beautiful and intriguing woman living across the street, he can’t resist getting to know her, even though having a relationship with her is not in her best interest.

Riley Austin has a past that keeps her from getting too close to anyone. She has her own ghosts to deal with so when she quickly surmises that her sexy new neighbor has his too, she tries to resist his magnetic pull but can’t. With more than enough on her plate dealing with her animal patients being poisoned, she tries to put the sexy guitar playing man out of her head—without much luck.

When Riley is assaulted, her home invaded, and her cats attacked, Cody goes into full force protective mode despite his own troubles. With the help of the K2 Team, he is determined to make sure Riley is protected at all times, and solve the question of who is trying to hurt her and why. Pulling together, Cody and Riley discover that as a team they are comforting, calming, and good for each other in more ways than either expected.

ONLY HER by Sandra Owens is the final book in the K2 Team series and I am very sad to see it end…not only the series, but this book. I have loved every one in this series and after reading each one, thought Sandra couldn’t get any better but I was wrong. ONLY HER is amazing from page one straight to the end which will have you clutching tissues just as you will too many times throughout—especially if you’re an animal lover like me.

Cody and Riley are two damaged people, drawn to each other by lust and need but fall in love with a passion that you feel emanating from the pages. They become a family with their pets. It’s natural, it’s real, and the emotion is strong with this one. Cody is a romantic at heart and Riley has a hard time accepting attention or acquiescing control so he has his work cut out for him, but he succeeds where none has before with her.

ONLY HER, book five in the K2 Team series by Sandra Owens is filled with intrigue, lots of good guys, and one really off the wall crazy bad guy. There are adorable animals, angst galore, heart-wrenching scenes, steamy sexual tension plus more sexy action, plus an abundance of romantic gestures that will have you grabbing for more tissues so make sure you have them available. I highly, highly recommend ONLY HER by Sandra Owens, along with the previous four books in the K2 Team series, because this one, as well as the others, is story about falling in love, friendship, brotherhood, compassion, healing, and fun. This group is always fun. Perfect couple stories.

If you haven’t read any yet—do, and then I dare you to pick your truly absolute favorite. I can’t.

Happy Reading Everyone!

ONLY HER, a K2 Team novel by Sandra Owens, Montlake Romance, release date, July 19, 2016 and will be available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tasty Book Release Blast for the documentary film, LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS with trailer, bonus clip & #giveaway

A Documentary Film
Written, Produced & Directed
by Laurie Kahn

available now at iTunes Movies | Amazon

Love stories are universal. Love stories are powerful.  And so are the women who write them.

LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS is the fascinating story of the vast, funny, and savvy female community that has built a powerhouse industry sharing love stories.  Romance fiction is sold in 34 languages on six continents, and the genre grosses more than a billion dollars a year—outselling mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet the millions of voracious women (and sometimes men) who read, write, and love romance novels have remained oddly invisible. Until now.

For three years, we follow the lives of five very diverse published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while empowering others to do the same. Romance authors have built a fandom unlike all others; a global sisterhood where authors know their readers personally and help them become writers themselves. During the three years we’ve been shooting LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS, we have witnessed the biggest power shift that has taken place in the publishing industry over the last 200 years. And it’s the romance authors who are on the front lines, pioneering new ways to survive and build communities in this rapidly changing environment.

Distributed by The Orchard

Author Jayne Anne Krentz talking about her first encounter
with romance—something we all remember.

10 Surprising Facts about Romance Novels by Laurie Kahn

Four years ago, when I began making my documentary film Love Between the Covers, I stepped into a community I knew nothing about: the global network of women who write, read, and love romance novels. What I found surprised me. Here are ten things I learned: 
   1. Romance fiction is a billion-dollar industry
Romance novel sales total more than a billion dollars a year. They sell as much as sci-fi, mystery, and fantasy combined. 
   2. The romance readership is HUGE and global
More than 70 million people in the USA alone read at least one romance novel per year, and most of them read many more. The work of popular American romance writer Nora Roberts is translated into 33 languages and distributed on 6 continents. 
   3. There is a surprisingly wide range of romance novels 
Like romance blogger Sarah Wendell says, "Whatever your cup of tea is, someone's pouring it."
Romance novels are often equated with "bodice-rippers," but the steamy historicals with Fabio on the cover were published back in the 1970s and 1980s. Since that time, the spectrum of romance novels has exploded. On one end of that spectrum, there are chaste evangelical romances. On the other end, there are BDSM romances (yes, like that one). 
In between, you'll find paranormal romance with vampires and shapeshifters, time-travel romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. There are growing romance subgenres for LGBT love stories, a large community of writers who specialize in African-American romance, and there's even a popular Amish romance subgenre.
    4. Everybody's writing romance
Women of every description (and a small number of men) are the engine of this industry.
Contrary to expectations, romance authors come from every economic class, every racial group, every sexual preference, and every level of education.
When I asked the pioneering African-American romance author Beverly Jenkins about her peers, she told me, "Women from all walks of life do this. We're not sitting in the proverbial trailer park in ratty nightgowns, eating jelly beans and watching soap operas. There are some pretty powerful women doing this! Geneticists, astrophysicists, lawyers, doctors..." The list goes on.
Len Barot (pen name Radclyffe), one of the main characters in Love Between the Covers, began writing lesbian romances during her surgical residency. Mary Bly (pen name Eloisa James), another main character in the film, is a Shakespeare scholar by day and an author of historical romances by night. 
I interviewed PhDs, lawyers, and insurance executives. I also interviewed romance authors who worked in factories. There's an open door for anyone who wants to give it a try. Nora Roberts, the rock star of the romance industry, never went to college.
    5. Women in the romance community are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner.
We've all seen depictions of the lonely, lovesick romance writer, who pens titillating novels while eating bonbons and sobbing over her keyboard. 
Don't believe the stereotype. While romance does offer women a place to escape daily life and live out their fantasies, this community of readers and writers are statistically more likely than most to be in happy relationships.
   6. Romance authors become personal friends with their readers, and readers find one another.
In the romance community friendships that begin online - based on a shared love of books-- often become real and enduring friendships. 
Beverly Jenkins and her readers are in constant contact at Beverly's Facebook page, talking about books, football, music, and the ups and downs of their everyday lives. Every other year, Beverly takes a trip with her readers to places where her novels are set.
Radclyffe invites beginning authors to her farm in upstate New York, where she leads workshops on romance writing, and several of Eloisa James's loyal readers told us they found their closest friends, with whom they communicate every day, through Eloisa's blog.
   7. Romance writers get tremendous support from one another
Why are these women so happy to pull a less experienced writer up the ranks? I asked many authors this question, and almost all of them told me stories of their early romance mentors--and their desire to pay it forward.
At a Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference, unpublished writers are always welcome (something that does not happen at other writer conferences), and there are dozens of workshops taught by established writers about everything from plot structure and writing knife-fights, to social networking and negotiating contracts. You will see bestselling novelists sitting down for coffee with unpublished newbies, critiquing their work and giving them business advice.
   8. Romance authors are on the cutting edge, pioneering new technologies 
Romance writers and readers were the first to enthusiastically adopt e-books, a service which works well for anyone who buys hundreds of books, and romance writers have always been mavericks of social media, using it effectively to build fan communities. 
Romance has been at the forefront of the biggest change to take place in publishing in the last 200 years: self publishing. Together, romance authors have figured out how to succeed in self-publishing. Instead of being secretive, these one-person indie publishing houses share their knowhow and numbers (not a common practice in publishing).
   9. You can take courses about romance fiction at Princeton, Harvard, DePaul and dozens of other universities
Literature scholars, cultural historians, and popular culture studies professors founded the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance five years ago. They hold annual conferences, and they've also started the peer-reviewed onlineJournal for Popular Culture Studies. It's a growing interdisciplinary field.
   10. Romance writing isn't an easy gig
You might think writing romance novels is more of a breezy pastime than a professional venture, but the deadlines that romance novelists face are incredibly rigorous. Susan Donovan described the feeling of being on-deadline saying, "There's always a flame behind your ass." Some women publish three or four books a year. On top of this, most novelists handle their own promotion, and self-published authors also handle their novels' distribution. When you're a romance novelist, you are a one-woman business.

I had a blast exploring the romance community over the last four years. In creating Love Between the Covers, I discovered one of the few places where women are always center stage, where female characters always win, where justice prevails in every book, and where the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.

*Originally featured in The Huffington Post:

About Laurie Kahn:

Director/Producer - LAURIE KAHN’s films have won major awards, been shown on PBS primetime, broadcast around the world, and used widely in university classrooms, and community groups. Her first film, A Midwife’s Tale, was based on the 18th century diary of midwife Martha Ballard and Laurel Ulrich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book A MIDWIFE’S TALE. It won film festival awards and a national Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction. Her film, Tupperware! was broadcast in more than 20 countries, won the George Foster Peabody Award and was nominated for a national Best Nonfiction Director Emmy. Kahn previously worked on Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, The American Experience, FRONTLINE’S Crisis in Central America, All Things Considered, and Time Out. She’s a resident scholar at Brandeis’s Women’s Studies Research Center.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Release of SAM, a Men of Clifton, Montana novel by Susan Fisher-Davis with #excerpt

A Men of Clifton, Montana novel #7
by Susan Fisher-Davis

available now at Amazon

An honest man wants an honest woman to love. But when a lie comes between them, can their love be saved?

Everyone tells Sheriff Sam Garrett to find a good woman and settle down. When he sets his sights on Clifton’s veterinarian, he fears she despises him yet he’s desired her from the first moment they met. She is quite possibly the only woman in town who isn’t attracted to him which might be why he wants her even more.
Tessa McGuire has a secret and she fears anyone learning it, especially Sam who she can’t seem to resist even though she knows she should. After arresting her for outstanding warrants, desire fuels their mutual needs to the point where neither can resist its pull. Once they start seeing each other, she’s happier than she’s ever been but knows she should tell him the truth.
Tessa wants Sam to be happy, but wanting him for her own is dangerous because her secret could change everything… When her secret comes out, Tessa’s life and hopes fall apart, possibly putting everyone around her in danger. What once was a hopeful relationship with Sam comes to a heartbreaking end. Now can she win him back and save what they had?

Excerpt from SAM:

Tessa wiped the tears from her face as she drove back to town from Ryder’s place.
What kind of veterinarian are you? You're not supposed to cry over the loss of an animal.
Her dream of being an equine vet had come true right after she graduated and a large equine hospital in Pennsylvania had hired her, and then when the opportunity for her own practice opened up, eighteen months ago, she jumped on it. At first, she wasn't thrilled with the small town of Clifton but after being here for a while now, she loved it and the people in it—well, all the people but perhaps, one.
Her hands gripped the steering wheel, her jaw clenching as she thought of him. The man drove her crazy and as far as she could tell, he didn't like her either.
She glanced in her rearview mirror and swore aloud when she saw blue and red lights flashing. Speak of the devil. Tessa pulled over, got her license, proof of insurance, and registration out, and then put her window down. Glancing in the side view mirror, she saw him get out of his big SUV patrol cruiser, put his black Stetson on, and walk up alongside her car. Tessa bit her lip to hold back a groan. She handed her information out the window before he could ask for it.
"You in a hurry today, Doctor McGuire?" Sam Garrett asked in that deep voice of his that drove her nuts, even though she didn’t want it to.
Tessa refused to look up at him. Way up. The man topped six foot five, and every inch was mouth-watering. "I didn't realize I was speeding, Sheriff.”
"Ten miles over the posted limit," he murmured. "I'll be right back."
"Take your time," Tessa mumbled.
Her eyes went instinctively to the side view mirror and watched his retreating backside—those broad shoulders. Why was he so hot? That dark brown, almost black hair was sexy enough but those beautiful blue eyes could make any woman want to jump his bones. She watched him take his hat off before getting back in his cruiser. His hair touched the collar of his khaki shirt. That wasn’t very professional, but then neither was the way his jeans hugged his butt.
She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel. What was taking so long? Knowing Sam, he was deliberately taking his time just to irritate her. He was the only person in town who called her Tessa. Everyone else called her Tess or Doc Mac. Not Sam, though. He had to be different, and too damn good-looking for her peace of mind. He was the sexiest man she’d ever laid eyes on. She gritted her teeth so hard that she was surprised they didn't shatter.
Turning around in her seat, she looked through her back window at him. What was he doing? He was looking down at something then he grabbed his hat from the dash, and opened his door. She quickly turned back to the front but the longer she sat there, the angrier she got. Throwing her door open, she stepped out, folded her arms over her chest, and leaned against her car. She saw him hesitate when he saw her outside the car. His sexy mouth twitched at the corner.
"Getting impatient, Tessa?" He tilted his head.
"What was taking so long? Believe it or not, I have patients to see."
"And I have speeders to stop."
Tessa snorted. "Must get boring for you." She put her hand out. "Can I have my license back now?"
Sam tapped it against his palm. "You have an unpaid ticket."
Tessa's mouth dropped open. "I do not!"
Sam nodded. "Yep. Seems I have to take you in."
Tessa put her hands on her hips. "You will do no such thing, Sam Garrett!"
"Sheriff Sam Garrett." He reached for her arm.
Tessa jerked away from him. "You are not taking me to jail for an unpaid ticket," she shouted at him, her anger getting the best of her.
"Tessa, calm down. You didn't pay the fine and so a warrant’s been issued. Just get in the cruiser and I'll take you to the station. You can pay it there." He reached for her again.
"I will not go in that cruiser. I'll follow you." She clenched her jaw in defiance.
"I can't let you do that. With a warrant, I have to take you in."
Tessa poked him in the chest with her finger. "You are not taking me anywhere," she said through gritted teeth.
"Should I add assaulting an officer to the charge?" His eyebrow rose, a sense of mocking which infuriated her even more.
"Oh, you'd love that, wouldn't you?" She poked him again.
Tessa heard him take a deep breath right before he spun her around and placed her against the car. She sputtered. "What…what do you think you're doing?"
She tried to turn around, but Sam pushed her against the car again and pulled her arms behind her. Her throat expelled an exasperated gasp when she felt the handcuffs go on her wrists.
"Sam Garrett, don't you dare," Tessa screamed at him.
He spun her around to face him. "Sheriff Sam Garrett and I asked you nicely, Tessa and you wouldn't do as I asked." He leaned down to look into her eyes. "You do not touch an officer of the law." He straightened to his full height. "Am I clear?"
Tessa glared at him with narrowed eyes. "Crystal. You want to frisk me too?"
Sam's lips rose in a slow, sexy smile. "Do you want me to?"
Her heart skipped a couple of beats at the idea of him running his large hands down her body and it was all she could do to keep from saying yes.
"You touch me and I'll have your badge." Tessa scowled up at that handsome face. Although he was clean-shaven, a faint shadow accentuated his chiseled jaw. Sideburns blended into the shadow, ending right before his earlobes. His nose was straight and sat over a gorgeous set of lips, a bowed upper and full bottom lip that had her wanting to nibble on them, and then gorgeous deep dimples that showed even when he spoke. His baby blue eyes, surrounded by thick lush lashes, were striking in his tanned face. Regardless, she refused to look away from him.
He shook his head at her.
"You do realize that I have every right to frisk you? There is a bench warrant out for your arrest. That gives me the right." Sam pulled on her arm to lead her toward the cruiser. "You have the right to remain silent…please do…anything you say…God help us…can, and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney—"
“I don’t think the handcuffs are necessary, Sheriff. I’m not going to run. I need to get my purse and keys…please.”
“Fine…I’ll take them off, but you are still going in. Understand?” Sam regarded her as if she was going to run as he unlocked the cuffs.
"I understand…Sheriff." Once her hands were free again, Tessa reached into her car to get her keys and purse. After locking it, she walked to the cruiser without looking at him, and stood by the back door.
Sam strode toward her. "You can sit up front."
When she shook her head, he sighed and opened the back door. He helped her in, his hand on the top of her head for which he apologized. “Sorry—habit.” Then he closed the door.
Tessa watched as he took his Stetson off, settled into the driver’s seat, and set his hat on the passenger side. His blue eyes looked into the mirror at her before he put his sunglasses on. She glanced away. He started the SUV and pulled out. Tessa watched out the window as the green fields flew by. Old wooden barns stood vacant. She rubbed her hands over her cheeks, refusing to cry. Those blue eyes saw everything and she refused to let him see her cry. She leaned her head back against the seat, closed her eyes, and listened as he called the department to notify them of the arrest.
Sam shook his head, and swore under his breath. He felt like a real ass for handcuffing her and taking her in but once he ran her license and the warrant came back, he couldn't let her go. It was only a misdemeanor so all she had to do was pay the fine, and then she could leave. His eyes shifted to the mirror. Her head was back against the headrest. She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Her long, curly black hair was in its usual ponytail. He'd never seen it down. Those long curls made a man want to bury his hands in them. Her hair must be nearly down to her waist, since the ponytail hung between her shoulder blades. Her bangs were the only straight part of her hair and those eyes… Sam shifted in his seat as his groin tightened. Her dark brown, almond shaped eyes made his mouth water. Her lips were lush and full, and he wanted so much to taste them but then he scowled thinking how she hated him…for some unknown reason…rather a reason known only to her. She avoided him every chance she got and he had no idea why.
Sam drove the cruiser around to the back of the sheriff's department to avoid embarrassment for her. Of course, with Betty Lou being dispatcher, it wouldn't be long before the entire town was aware of the arrest. Sam mentally groaned as he got out and knew he’d never live this down. Opening the back door, Tessa stepped out with a huff. He inclined his head for her to walk ahead of him, and almost laughed when she scowled at him then tossed her head. That long ponytail swinging as she walked into the building. When she stopped inside the door, Sam moved around her since he knew she'd follow him as he headed for his office. He hadn’t even had a chance to take his hat off yet when Betty Lou burst through the doorway.
"Are you out of your mind?" She put her hands on her ample hips and stared at Sam. He took his hat off and hung it on a hall tree beside the door. Tessa took a seat in a chair in front of his desk.
"I don't need your input, Betty Lou." Sam sat down at his desk without looking at her. Betty Lou patted Tessa on the shoulder.
"I've got your paperwork done, honey, so you can get on your way." With a glaring look at Sam, she left the office. She was his godmother but at times, she really tried his patience.
Sam grumbled and ran his hand through his hair then he shuffled through piles of papers and swore when he couldn't find what he was looking for. His office was well organized and as neat as a pin. The large windows behind his desk let the summer sun shine in through the venetian blinds. Two metal file cabinets sat against the wood paneled wall and the scuffed hardwood floors along with the old wooden desk showed years of wear. Sam pushed his chair back and stood then strode from the office.
"Betty Lou," he shouted. "I need the paperwork for Tessa to sign so she can pay her fine and leave."
Betty Lou marched toward him and shoved the papers at his chest. She narrowed her eyes at him. "Your mother's going to hear about this, Sam Garrett." She spun away and went back to her desk.
Sam rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath as he headed back into his office. He glanced over at Tessa and knew she was trying not to laugh.
"You think something's funny, Doctor McGuire?" he said with an annoyed growl and watched as she straightened up in the chair. She still wouldn't look at him as she shook her head. He gave a curt nod and took a seat behind his desk.
"Your fine is fifty dollars," Sam told her, reading the paper in front of him.
Tessa's mouth dropped open and she jumped up out of the chair. "Are you serious? Fifty dollars?"
"Yes, and before you go getting all pissed off, just remember you could have paid thirty-five instead…had you not tried to skirt the fine in the first place." Tessa sat back down, reached into her purse, and withdrew her debit card. Sam shook his head. "Nope…cash only."
"How am I supposed to get cash? You have an ATM in here somewhere?"
Sam grunted. "Not likely."
"Then how do I pay you? I don't carry a lot of cash." She nibbled on her bottom lip and Sam almost groaned at the effect it had on him. "I can go over…what?" she asked when Sam shook his head again.
"You can't leave here until you pay the fine."
"You're crazy, Sam Garrett," Tessa exclaimed. "I can walk right across the street to the ATM. I'll be right back. Do you seriously think I'm going to run?" She was shouting now. "I live in this town."
"You tell him, honey," Betty Lou yelled in from the other room.
"Betty Lou," Sam growled. "Shut up!"
Tessa dropped back down into the chair. "Sheriff, please. I swear I'll be right back."
"I'm not letting you out of my sight. It's the law. But I can go with you."
"Wonderful," Tessa mumbled as she followed him through the office, and out the front of the building. "How do I get back to my car, Sheriff?" she asked as they crossed the street.
"I'll take you," Sam told her.
"It just keeps getting better," Tessa muttered.
Sam frowned. "I could have Betty Lou take you but I think I'm the lesser of two evils." He halted and looked at Tessa. "She'll talk your ear off, unlike me."
"I know that's right. You barely speak to me at all."
"I think you have that backwards."
"Whatever. Excuse me so I can get my money." She moved around him and stepped up to the ATM. Sam folded his arms across his chest, leaned against the building and hooked his boot heel against the brick. He put his fingers to his hat when Lacey strolled past him. She always seemed to be around when he was.
"Hello, Sheriff." Lacey winked at him as she spoke.
Sam smiled until he met Tessa's gaze. "What?"
Tessa shook her head. "Seriously? Lacey Cosgrove?"
"Jealous?" Sam grinned.
Tessa snorted. "Please."
Sam leaned down, close to her ear. "Oh, I could please you, angel. I can promise you that."
“You think so, Sheriff? Maybe I should make you prove it,” she said before spinning around to march back across the street while Sam stood there and watched her as she did. He couldn't keep his eyes off her ass in those tight jeans. The woman was built like a brick shit house. Christ. His dick wanted to salute.
He jogged to catch up to her. She opened the door and went inside right before he got to her. Sam took a few deep breaths before he opened the door and entered the building. Tessa slapped her money down on the counter for Betty Lou and waited for a receipt.
"Do you want me to drive you back to your car, Tess?" Betty Lou asked, sending a scowl at Sam. He ran his hand down his face. This was getting ridiculous.
"I'll take her back. How about you do your job and that means no gossiping while I’m gone," Sam told her.
Betty Lou huffed and gave Tessa her receipt. "I'll make sure it's out of the system."
"Thank you, Betty Lou." Tessa headed for the back door to where his cruiser was. She pushed the door open and went outside. Sam blew out a breath.
"Sam—" Betty Lou started.
"Not one word, Betty Lou. Not. One. Word." He turned away from her and followed Tessa out the back door.

About the Author:
   Susan Fisher-Davis writes steamy, hot, sexy books that women love to read. Her stories always have a happily ever after and isn’t that what romance is about? After starting out with Secret Cravings Publishing, she decided to go indie when SCP closed their doors in August 2015. Now she writes and publishes with Blue Whiskey Publishing.
   Susan was born and raised in a small town in the western part of Maryland surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. She moved to Tennessee in 1996 with her husband and two children where she enjoys walks in the woods, fishing, and dreaming about hot men to share with us.
   She currently has two series out, The Men of Clifton, Montana and The Bad Boys of Dry River. Cowboys and bad boys...what more could any woman want? Her newest series, The Callahans, a series about four cousins, begins with A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS, a novella, which is now available but the following books in the series will be full-length.


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