Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Freebies

Today I have two Friday Freebies for you--a medieval romance and a paranormal romance.  I haven't read either of them, but they look good!

The first one is called The Unveiling by USA Today best-selling author Tamara Leigh.

Here's the back copy:

12th century England: Two men vie for the throne: King Stephen the usurper and young Duke Henry the rightful heir. Amid civil and private wars, alliances are forged, loyalties are betrayed, families are divided, and marriages are made.

For four years, Lady Annyn Bretanne has trained at arms with one end in mind—to avenge her brother’s murder as God has not deemed it worthy to do. Disguised as a squire, she sets off to exact revenge on a man known only by his surname, Wulfrith. But when she holds his fate in her hands, her will wavers and her heart whispers that her enemy may not be an enemy after all.

Baron Wulfrith, renowned trainer of knights, allows no women within his walls for the distraction they breed. What he never expects is that the impetuous young man sent to train under him is a woman who seeks his death—nor that her unveiling will test his faith and distract the warrior from his purpose.

If this one looks interesting to you, you can click hereto download your free Kindle copy!

The second one is Haunting Secrets by Marie Higgins. 

Here's the back copy:

Victoria Fawson desperately needs answers about her father’s death. When she visits the Maitland Manor to discover those answers, she finds only secrets…haunting secrets that leave her wondering who she can trust. Should she trust her feelings for the one man who hides from the world—the man who might put her in danger?

Justin Maitland hasn’t been human for over a year. He knows things about his family—things that could destroy Victoria. The only way to help her is to send her back home without learning anything. Yet, how can he let her go when he’s given her his heart?

 If this one looks good, click hereto download your free Kindle copy.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Audio Book Journey (Part 4)

So, I got the first fifteen minutes of my audio book for All Fall Down.  I got the notification in the evening and I rushed downstairs to hear it.  I was excited!  I put in my earphones so I wouldn't be distracted and settled down to listen.

It's still surreal to have a professional reading my book.  My words.  The story I wrote.  It's like having the story come to life.

I loved the performance.  The way he read it, with great tone, building in suspense, using different voices, it was everything I wanted.  But as I listened to it again, I noticed a few things I wanted the narrator to tweak.

Last week I mentioned that I would be looking for pacing, pronunciation, and whether he captured the characters and their voice.  Keeping that in mind, I listened to my first fifteen minutes three more times, specifically looking for those things (and I also sent the download to a few trusted people that had experience with audio books and knew my work).  They mostly all agreed that there was one character that needed a bit of a change, and a few minor pronunciation things here and there, but other than that, it was awesome!

I do have to say that I was curious as to how other narrators did things, so I went to Audible and listened to a bunch of samples.  I can now say with confidence that I think my narrator is doing an incredible job.

So, now I'll message the tweaks and changes to the narrator and he will fix them.  Or, at least I expect that's what will happen.  I will let you know!

Read the rest of my journey!

Part 5

Meet My Narrator!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Write My Goals Wednesday

photo credit: plnaugle via photopin cc 

So, last week I talked about what I'd accomplished so far in my writing goals.  Today I'd like to check in again with what I did to accomplish my goals in the last seven days.  Feel free to check in with your progress on your goals!

  • I have progress on my audio book (which I'll talk about tomorrow)  And this one is pretty exciting!

  • I am nearly finished the revision and edit of the first book I ever wrote, Through Love's Trials, and it should be ready for re-release next week!  Woohoo! This has been a project dear to my heart and has taken a lot of time and energy.  I have come so far from the writer I was when I wrote that book.

  • I have started writing the companion novella to All Fall Down.  Still in the beginning stages, but I like the direction so far.

  • I finished all the promotion stuff for All Fall Down that I was doing and feel like it was a success with the number of downloads and buzz that was generated.  I have a few new ideas for marketing that I'm going to try next month.

I'm really enjoying doing little babysteps to get me to my goals.  I work on one or two things each day and it really is adding up.  The revision and edit has taken up a lot of my time, but I know it will be worth it in the end. The story is so much stronger.  I'm excited for you all to see it!

How did you do with your goals this week?

photo credit: Celestine Chua via photopin cc

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

.99 Cents Bargain Books For Today!

Since there was no new Castle last night *sniff* I decided to just go to bed early and read.  And guess what? I found some .99 cent bargains out there and thought I would pass them along to my loyal readers..

The first one is The Timeless Romance Anthology Winter Collection.  It's only .99 cents! I've never seen it that low.  You can download your Kindle copy here here

You can see my review of it here.

Here's the back copy:

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed brand new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection. A collection unlike any other, readers will love this compilation of six sweet historical romance novellas, set in varying eras, yet all with one thing in common: Romance.

The Road to Cavan Town by Sarah M. Eden, set in 1864 Ireland, combines Eden’s sense of humor with her signature sweet romance. Alice Wheatley walks each weekend into town, accompanied by Isaac Dancy. And while Alice finds herself falling in love with the gentleman, unfortunately he has his eyes set on the belle of the town, Miss Sophia Kilchrest. Alice must find a way to turn Isaac’s eyes toward her.

Regency author Heidi Ashworth’s delightful story, It Happened Twelfth Night, set in England 1812, follows Luisa Darlington who discovers the man of her dreams, Percy Brooksby, isn’t in love with her as much as she thought he was. When Percy’s friend, the mysterious foreigner, Mr. Flynn, visits for the twelfth night holiday, he promptly sweeps Luisa off her feet, quite literally. Luisa is left catching her breath in more ways than one.

An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon is a captivating romantic novella, set in remote Wood Camp, the snowy canyon of Logan, Utah, 1880. When Caroline Simpson is forced to thwart the aggressive advances of Mr. Butch Larson, she discovers that her long-time friend, James, has genuine affection for her. But as stubborn as Caroline is, she minimizes the feelings he’s awakened in her, and it takes almost losing James to admit her true feelings for him.

In Joyce DiPastena’s charming medieval story, Caroles on the Green, we enter England of 1151, in which Lady Isabel has a dilemma. She promises herself that she’ll marry the man who sent a ring hidden in her pastry since the man she truly loves, Sir Lucian de Warrene, has proved to be impossible and exasperating. To forget him, Isabel sets her eyes on other eligible men, only to face another confrontation with Lucian—who isn’t about to back off and leave her to her newest plot.

Donna Hatch’s enchanting novella, A Winter’s Knight, begins when Clarissa Fairchild’s coach just happens to break down in front of the most forbidding estate in the county, that of Wyckburg Castle, a place where young brides have been murdered for generations by their husbands. Clarissa is horrified yet curious all in the same breath. When she meets widower Christopher de Champs, Earl of Wyckburg, she must decide if she should flee or uncover the greatest secret in the county about her handsome rescuer.

In Heather B. Moore’s exciting turn-of-the-century story, A Fortunate Exile, Lila Townsend finds herself the victim of a broken heart—broken by the most notorious bachelor in 1901 New York City. If that isn’t bad enough, her father sends her to Aunt Eugenia’s remote farm where Lila must wait for her father’s anger to subside and the gossip columns to find new fodder. When Lila meets her aunt’s boarder, Peter Weathers, she discovers a man who isn’t afraid to stand up to her formidable family and take a chance on a woman with a sullied reputation.

The other book bargain I found was Falling Fast.  It has three full length romance novels by Susan Aylworth, Shannon Guymon, and Lu Ann Brobst Staheli for only .99 cents!  I have read Come to Me by Shannon Guymon, (you can read my review here) and Temporary Bridesmaid, (you can read my review here) but I haven't read Danny's Girl and who can resist such a great sale price!  Not this girl! You can get your Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

FALLING FAST: A TRIPLE TREAT ROMANCE BOX SET Three Bestselling Authors, Three Contemporary Romance Novels, One Great Price

DANNY’S GIRL by Amazon bestselling author Susan Aylworth
When highway patrolman Danny Sherwood is called upon to stop a dangerous speeder, he has no idea how the moment may change his life. Manon DuPre spent her childhood with negligent parents and her past year in the clutches of a brutal man. Now she is running to save her life. When she is stopped in Nowhere, Arizona, she fears the worst, not knowing how this moment may change her future. A chance encounter on an Arizona highway brings together two very different people who may just be perfect for each other.

COME TO ME by Amazon bestselling author Shannon Guymon
Will the past repeat itself? Rob hasn't had the best of luck when it comes to women and his epic failure with Kit Kendall is still very fresh. Rob might be successful in sports and in business but does he have what it takes to be successful in love? When Rob gets to know Wren Tyler, his sous chef, he's willing to try again even knowing he could get hurt. Wren on the other hand, is very attracted to Rob, but she knows she's not in his league. So when he starts to pay her attention, who could blame her for being a little suspicious? But have Wren's past heartbreaks destroyed her ability to trust? And will Rob be able to overcome his past failures and become the man Wren needs him to be? Only true love will be able to heal Wren's heart and help her trust again.

TEMPORARY BRIDESMAID by Amazon bestselling author Lu Ann Brobst Staheli
Jenny Grant has given up on men, and therefore her dream of ever getting married. But when James Cox comes to work in her building as a temp, she has to convince herself to stay true to her new conviction. James has no idea why he has given up his position as a California CEO to move to Salt Lake City, but he’s certain it isn’t to find a bride. When the call comes for a temp position at a computer programming company, his co-workers are not easy to get along with, especially the fiery-tempered woman named Jenny Grant. If he didn’t find her so beautiful and interesting, it might not matter. Except that it does.

The last one is another Triple Treat set called Whispered Promise, but this time it's three full length historical romances for only .99 cents.   All of these looked good and I can't wait to dive in!  Click hereto download your copy

Here's the back copy:

Three Bestselling Authors, Three Historical Romances, One Great Price

THE BRIDE LOTTERY by Amazon bestselling author Kristin Holt

Colorado, 1881—It’s too bad the mail order bride agency failed to round up even half their order, ‘cause every man on the mountain wants a bride—except Sam Kochler. When Evelyn Brandt steps off the train, a last-minute addition to the brides, he can’t help but wonder why a pretty, well-to-do pregnant lady would take her chances with a bunch of unruly miners. Forty Bachelors. Fifteen Brides. What could go wrong?

THE RANCHER by Amazon bestselling author Kelli Ann Morgan

The deal was to share the ranch, not her heart... Abby McCallister can ride and shoot better than any man she’s ever met, but when the threat of losing her ranch forces her to find a husband, she is unprepared for the mysterious stranger who takes her hand and evokes in her a sudden desire to be a lady fit for his arm. He'd sworn to protect her. He couldn't do that if she married someone else... Cole Redbourne, immersed in guilt over the accident that claimed his best friend, discovers there was nothing accidental about it. When he sets out for Silver Falls, Colorado, to fulfill his friend’s dying wish and to flush out his killer, the last thing he expected was to find hope again disguised as his impromptu bride.

THE MAN FROM SHENANDOAH by Amazon bestselling author Marsha Ward

Returning from the Civil War, Carl Owen finds the family farm ruined and his father set to leave Virginia. Then Carl falls in love, and he battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother—all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates.

With all these books for just .99 cents, you'll have everything you need to snuggle in for a night of great reading. I know I did!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Triple Book Review

Today I have two novels and a novella to tell you about.  So let's get to it!

The first book I want to tell you about is Me Tarzan, You Jane by Camelia Miron Skiba.  This book has an intriguing blurb and the first chapters really hooked me (even though there is some language) so I continued with it.  Our heroine, Jane Sullivan, is a widow with a young daughter.  She's a budding writer at a writing conference where there are several cover models there.  One cover model in particular has all the ladies gushing over him, but all Jane can do is roll her eyes.  Lucas Oliver is the epitome of a player and she wants to stay far away from the likes of him.  Circumstances keep putting them together, however, and the sparks are flying.  But no matter what Lucas makes her feel, Jane feels there is only one love of your life per person and she won't be given a second chance.

Not that Lucas stops trying to change her mind.  He's drawn to Jane and her daughter and really wants her to see who he is behind his outward appearance.  It was fun in the beginning to see them both try to work through their scars of the past, but there was a lot of sexual innuendo in the first half of the book that moved on to sexual situations (not detailed, fade to black) for the last half.  For me, it started to become more about the lust than falling in love, which took a little of the lustre off the book. I felt like the author is good at her craft, but for my taste I wish she would have continued with the back and forth of the first half where the writing and romance shone and less of the sex and a few relationship cliches in the last half.  This might not be the case for everyone, obviously, and there were a lot of things about the book to like. You can buy your copy here for $2.99 and decide for yourself.

Here's the back copy:

Moving on doesn’t always have to mean goodbye.

Widowed makeup artist Jane Sullivan is more comfortable keeping her husband's memory alive than dating a pool full of sharks. Ella, her 4 year-old daughter, is her whole world.

When Jane meets Lucas Oliver, famous cover model, it’s hate at first sight. His playboy persona rubs her the wrong way.

Accustomed to every woman fawning over him, Lucas is drawn to the shy, uncompromising single mom and completely melts at the sight of Ella. He is determined to convince Jane that sometimes a second chance can mend a broken heart.

The second book I want to tell you about today is is a novella that Shana Galen did as a prequel to her Covent Garden Cubs series, The Viscount of Vice.  We meet Henry Flynn who is a tortured soul. Years ago he was supposed to be watching his little brother and lost him during a game of hide and seek.  The little guy was never found---until now.  A Bow Street runner has turned up a man that he believes is the lost brother and Henry goes to Bath to see if it's true.  

Everything gets more complicated when Lady Emma Talbot is also in Bath and inserts herself into his investigation.  Emma has secretly loved Henry for years, but her brother the Duke had warned him off.  (I would have, too.  Henry started to fall for her when she was sixteen.  And he's a lot older, so that was a teensy bit skeevy, but okay.)  There were some really emotional scenes and the seedy side of society was shown quite well, I thought. The dialogue was sharp and the main characters were relatable and realistic. There was a brief sex scene that was easily skipped over.  I really enjoyed this series introduction.  You can buy your copy here for $2.99

Here's the back copy:

Whispers and secrets are no match for love...

Henry Flynn, the new Lord Chesham, still blames himself for the disappearance of his younger brother when they were children. That incident destroyed his family, and now he's on a path of self-destruction that no one can interrupt...
Lady Emma Talbot can't stand watching the man she secretly loves destroy himself little by little. She's determined to show him that no one holds him culpable, before it's too late. But Emma doesn't know what really happened to Flynn on that fateful day long ago, so what chance does she have of saving him from himself?

The last one I want to tell you about today is Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen. This is the first full-length novel of the Covent Garden Cub series.  It starts out with a pickpocket named Marlowe pulling jobs with her gang of thieves.  They all work for a very scary man who will never let them go and he's got special plans for Marlowe.  She's learned to fend for herself, but even in the slums, behind her dirty curtain that gives her a bit of privacy, she remembers a time when she was called Elizabeth.

Things get really interesting when she's kidnapped off a street by a Bow Street Runner who thinks he knows who Marlowe really is.  He takes her to his brother's house, but Lord Dane is not thrilled to have a dirty, angry thief in his home where his mother and sister are.  I laughed out loud at the dialogue between the two and how Lord Dane handled the situation.  These two are definitely opposites, but Lord Dane sees something in her that even she has a hard time seeing.  Before they can explore anything further, Marlowe's gang life intrudes and Lord Dane finds himself pulled to Seven Dials to try to save her. There were brief sex scenes, easily skipped over, with a lot of romance and intrigue.  You can buy your copy here for $6.15

Here's the back copy:

His heart may be the last thing she ever steals . . .

Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker—and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before—a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.

Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton while his brother attempts to confirm her true identity. But Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her world of danger and violence, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Freebie--Five Sweet Romances!

Today's Friday Freebie is a boxed set of five sweet, full-length romantic novels.  Just in time for Valentine's Day! I haven't read any of these authors before, but they look good.  To download your free Kindle copy click here

Here's the back copy:

This boxed set is a collection of sweet romantic novels by five multipublished authors:

RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, by Susan Aylworth. A FATHER FOR PHILIP, by Judy Griffith Gill. JENNY'S TURN, by Vanessa Grant. MARRY IN HASTE, by Moyra Tarling. A CHANGE OF PLANS, by Donna K. Weaver.


Marcie Carmody feels broken. Wounded by a disastrous relationship, she limps home to Rainbow Rock to heal. Ryan Fields has never felt so broken, separated from his family and the life he planned, redirected to Rainbow Rock. Little can they know of the wounds and healing that will alter both their lives.

A FATHER FOR PHILIP, by Judy Griffith Gill

Eleanor's son Philip needs a father. When his "imaginary" playmate, Jeff, turns out to be David Jefferson—the husband who went missing from Eleanor's life before her son was born—can she accept him back? She knows she still loves him, but why won't he tell her the reason he stayed away seven years?

JENNY’S TURN by Vanessa Grant

Jenny loves working for documentary filmmaker Jake Austin, but after five years doing things Jake's way, she's had enough! The only way to get over Jake is to get out of his life. So she leaves--but fleeing to a Pacific island just south of Alaska isn’t nearly far enough!

MARRY IN HASTE by Moyra Tarling

Years ago Evan Mathieson broke Jade Adams’ heart when he ended their engagement. Now he’s back and he needs a wife to help parent his orphaned nephew. Jade can't refuse the man she’s always loved, but will the secret she holds in her heart jeopardize their chance for happiness?

A CHANGE OF PLANS by Donna K. Weaver

Lyn wanted to move on. She just didn't know it would take pirates, shipwreck, and an intriguing surgeon to do it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My AudioBook Journey (Part 3)

First of all, I'm featured on Story Finds today and you could enter to win some books (including mine) or an Amazon $20 gift card! Click here to enter.

So, last week I had messaged the narrator and we were talking about terms.  He is an actor that is touring right now, so we had to give a little leeway on deadlines, but in the end, we found a timeline that is great for both of us.  I offered him a contract and he accepted!

With the signed contract in hand I sent him the manuscript.  I also sent him a short character sketch of all the characters in the story so he can have a grasp on them as people.  I also wanted him to be able to see the cast of characters at a glance and have a reference to refer to.  Pronunciation guides for difficult names are obviously a great tool, too.  (Even my own name, since no one gets Bellon right!)

I will be getting the first fifteen minutes of the book next week and I'll be looking for several things when I'm checking that over.

  • Are the voices sounding right? Has he captured the character? 

  • Is he pronouncing names and phrases correctly?

  • How is his pacing?  Is he reading too slow or too fast?

Once we've gone over that initial check, we'll be finishing the book and it should be released in late March/early April.  I'm so excited!  I will definitely keep you updated.

Read the rest of my journey!

Part 4
Part 5

Meet My Narrator!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How A Writer Mom Gets It Done

photo credit: hbp_pix via photopin cc

I was thinking today how much a writer's life (especially a writer mom's life) consists of reaching our goals with baby steps.  For example, since I have small children, I have to work my writing life around them.  I am currently editing my manuscript by printing out a chapter a day (sometimes two if I'm lucky!) and I take it with me while I wait at orthodontist appointments, at carpool, and yes, even while I'm supervising bath time.  (The pages are a little worse for wear, I must say.)  But I'm halfway through the edit. Woohoo!

I have made small goals for myself this year (as I mentioned here) and I'm doing small things to accomplish them every day.  

  • I have progress on the audio book (which I will talk about tomorrow.)  

  • I figured out yesterday how to make a beautiful professional blog header so I can change that by myself.  (And this might not seem like a big deal to some, but for me, that was huge!)  

  • I've participated in two promotions this week for my book All Fall Down. (Which I've never really done before).

  • I changed the cover of All Fall Down and made sure that was taken care of on all the major retail sites.  

  • I've started the process of forming my own publishing imprint.  

It's been a really productive week, but when I look back over it, I got it done by just doing one or two things per day, and working steadily toward my goals.

Mother Theresa once said, "We cannot do great things, only small things with great love."  As I put that in perspective, I think it applies to all aspects of my life.  I'm doing small things with love in my writing career (and as a mom) and I know if I can keep going with it consistently, it will all add up to reaching my goals both professionally and personally.

Do you have a plan for achieving your goals? How are you doing so far in 2015?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Castle and a Cover Contest!

My novel Ring Around the Rosie is in a cover contest! If you think it's the most visually appealing, you should go vote for it!  You can see all the nominees and cast your vote here

Last night's Castle was okay.  It seemed a little forced and I was disappointed after last week's snappy dialogue and solid case.  But it was still good, just not as stellar as I've come to expect this season.

We start out with a lady dressed in an evening gown trying to get buzzed into her building because she's lost her purse with her keys in it.  She's grabbed and found dead the next day.  Espo is actually a fan of Anahita, the murder victim (she's a big telenovella star.)  It's funny because he claims it's his Tia that is the fan, but he just knows so much about the characters and storylines, it's obvious it's really him. (I can't really imagine him sitting down to watch a telenovella, but I digress).

Castle doesn't have any cases and he's bored throwing pencils in the ceiling.  Beckett sees that the murder victim's best friend, Sophia, is distraught since she lent Anahita a clutch purse worth half million dollars and she needs to get it back to the boutique by 5 pm the next day, so she gives her Castle's name as a recommendation.  Castle dives into the lost purse case and of course, it intersects with the murder investigation.  Sort of.  They're going to all the same places to retrace the victim's steps, like finding out she went to the opera and made an exchange in the ladies room of a flash drive.  Beckett goes after the angle of who gave Anahita the flash drive and finds out it was the daughter of a Saudi diplomat.  When she's called in for questioning, she's less than cooperative, however.  So, a dead end. Thankfully, Perlmutter gets a fingerprint off Anahita's neck and it belongs to a gun for hire named Harlan Mathis. They go to bring him in.

Meanwhile, Castle finds out a white stretch limo came to pick up the murder victim, so he figures out who owns it and heads down there.  He sneaks in the garage and slips into a white stretch limo, but doesn't find the purse.  He does get caught, however, and taken for a drive by a man pointing a gun at him.  And hey, he looks like the picture the gang had of Harlan Mathis! Uh oh.  Castle is tied to a chair and being questioned, but the gunman doesn't believe his story and pulls out a knife. Before it gets ugly, Espo and Ryan burst in and save the day.  For which they demand Castle buy them floor seats for services rendered.

Mathis alibis out, but he does say that Anahita didn't have a purse in the limo. Castle goes back to the drawing board and the opera house where he finds the purse in a bush.  He takes it back to his office and realizes it's a cheap knockoff, just as Sophia comes in and demands the flash drive.  At gunpoint. Castle wrestles the gun away and is quite proud of himself until Espo informs him the gun was a prop and besides, the lady is maybe 110 pounds. The gang finds out that the flash drive connects to a Swiss banking account with 100 million dollars in it.  Once they question her about it, they find out that Anahita and Sophia were going to start their own network and the Saudi diplomat's daughter was investing in it.  But then who killed Anahita?  The only time they talked about their plans was in Sophia's trailer.

The gang finds listening devices in the trailer that lead back to the manager of the telenovella that we met at the beginning when they were questioning Anahita's co-workers.  He'd made them stars and couldn't bear to see them leave him high and dry.

We end with Espo getting an autograph from Sophia for his "Tia" whose name is Javier. haha. He's totally starstruck and that was cute.

So, like I said at the beginning, it was an okay episode.  I liked it well enough, but it won't go on my favorites list if you get my meaning.  The preview for two weeks from now looks good, though. I'm excited for that one!

Did you see it? What did you think?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway--Wedding Cake by Josi Kilpack

Wedding Cake (1)

Today, I'm excited to be part of Josi Kilpack's Wedding Cake blog tour! I've been reading her cozy mysteries with Sadie from the very beginning and I was really sad to see it end.  The last book in the series, though, Wedding Cake, really was exceptional.  I was so happy to see all of my favorite characters come back and help Sadie solve the biggest mystery of all.

Sadie is getting ready for her long-awaited wedding to Pete Cunningham, but the day before she gets a strange text.  An old enemy has come back and she will do anything to turn Sadie's life upside down.  Her attacks escalate and while Sadie tries to fight back, her enemy is always one step ahead of her.  I loved how feisty Sadie still is, and yet she's not as rash as she once was.  She's grown over all these books and investigations.  I love how her family rallies around her and even when things go from bad to worse and then to horrible, there is still the unbreakable connection that we've come to love about them all. (I love Sadie's kids. They are such great characters. And we get to see Pete's as well.)  Sadie and Pete are two of my favorite characters ever in a book. Their romance is a subtle thread through all of the chaos and yes, I know they are older, but they still make me smile.  Every time. 

The book ramps up the attacks, the mystery, and the questions of how will Sadie ever get out of this one, and will she even get married at all, with every page.  I honestly read it late into the night just because it's one of those that you can't put down until you see how it ends.  And while I was sad to see it end, I know this will go on my keeper shelf to read on rainy days.  The entire series is well-written, well-plotted, and one I highly recommend. (And they all include yummy recipes that I've never tried, but that look so, so good. One of these days I will go through and try them all I think! I heard there's a Sadie recipe book for it and that will be one I buy just to have them all within easy reach.)

Scroll down to enter in the giveaway!

Wedding Cake

Here's the back copy:

 After years of mysteries, murder, and mayhem, the big day has arrived, and Sadie wants nothing more than for her wedding to Pete to be completely uneventful. When she receives a threatening, anonymous text message just days before the ceremony, she's determined not to let it interfere with the celebration she has carefully planned for months. But as the threat escalates from a distant fear to a frightening reality, Sadie realizes just how much she's underestimated the situation. Desperate to put an end to the games, lies, and manipulation that has shadowed her life, Sadie, her fiance, Pete, and her children pull out all the stops. What they don't know, however, is just how far Sadie's nemesis is willing to go to make good on the thread she made to Sadie three years ago. Will the wedding go off without a hitch, or will "'til death do us part" come far too soon? There's no turning back for anyone in the riveting conclusion to this twelve-volume culinary mystery series.

Josi culinary

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  Author Josi S. Kilpack

 Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.


Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/10/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Nearly Freebie Friday

All Fall Down, the first novel in my Hostage Negotiation Team series (that won the RONE award for Best Suspense!) is on sale for only .99 cents! Hooray! (And don't you love the shiny new cover for it?! I sure do!)

Click here to download your Kindle copy

Click here for your Nook copy

Click here for iTunes

Click here for Kobo

Here's the backliner:

Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down . . .

That simple rhyme turns negotiator Claire Michaels’ current hostage situation into an international incident. Claire just wants to help get everyone out safely, but as the crisis escalates she realizes she’s dealing with an al-Qaeda operative who has the means to become another bin Laden---with the potential to attack America. Claire has her own personal reasons for wanting to stop al-Qaeda, but time is slipping away as negotiations break down. Can she overcome her scars of the past in order to get the hostage out alive and possibly stop an assault on U.S. national security?

Navy SEAL Rafe Kelly is on leave to recover from a knee injury he suffered during his tour in Afghanistan and he doesn’t expect to be fighting terrorists on his home turf. But when he is taken hostage and his brother is kidnapped, Rafe teams up with a hostage negotiator in order to stay alive and get his brother back. The terrorist is always one step ahead of them, however, and the situation quickly turns from desperate to deadly. Will Rafe be able to save himself and his country without anyone he loves getting caught in the crossfire?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Audiobook Journey (Continued)

So, last week I told you about the start to my audio book journey.  Here's what has happened since then.

I got several incredible auditions. It was SO HARD to choose one.  One did sound effects with the story. One had so much experience I was awed he'd even audition for me.  But it came down to two specific narrators and I listened to their auditions over and over trying to decide which one really captured the essence of my characters and story.  That was what really helped me to choose.

Once the choice was made, I messaged the narrator to discuss timeline and terms.  ACX offers a really convenient messaging system that keeps track of little details.

I left feedback for the other narrators to tell them how wonderful they were. Because they really were.

So, I am in the middle of hammering out the details with my chosen narrator so I can make an offer and we'll get the contract in place.  It's very exciting for me!

Hopefully by next week we can discuss the finished contract and I might have a tentative projection as to when the book would be available.

Do you have any questions about the process?  I just think it's exciting all the avenues that are available to authors and readers these days.  There really is something for everyone.

Read the rest of the journey!

Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Meet My Narrator!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Book Is On Sale & My 2015 Writing Goals

With the new year, I've been thinking a lot about my writing and where I want to go this year.  I'm really excited about some of the goals I've set for myself and thought I'd share with you so you know what to look for.

1.  I've been going through and updating my first three novels.  I have come so far as a writer and really wanted to go back and revisit those stories and give them a little facelift if you will. It's been an eye-opener for me diving into those older novels. Cringe-worthy in places and fun in others.  I hope you all like the end result!

2.  I'm revamping my website and I can't wait to show you the finished product. I think you will love all the changes!

3.  As I mentioned last week, my books are being done as audio books. This has been an incredible process so far and I think you will love the finished product.

4.  I'm going to be working on special perks for my newsletter subscribers and Julie's SWAT Team members.  I really want to reward those who have supported my work for so long. If you haven't signed up for the newsletter or joined my SWAT team, now is the time.

5.  I'm going to be releasing a novella this spring.  I am so excited for this one! So many of you have asked for it and I'm happy that the story finally came to me.

So there you have it, my writing and career goals for at least the first six months of this year (maybe the whole year, we shall see, haha!).  Did you make any goals this year? Care to share?

Also, for Nook and Kobo users, my novel All Fall Down (Hostage Negotiation Team #1) is on sale right now for .99 cents!  Click here for the Nook deal and here for Kobo deal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Review of Castle the P.I.

Last night's Castle had so many awesome moments. Even the shake-up with Castle no longer being allowed to work with Kate and the boys didn't cause a stumble.

We start the episode out with a young woman coming home. Her apartment is dark, and just as she realizes a window is open, a shadowy figure appears and shoots her.

Cut to Castle's loft and he's in the kitchen cooking. His mother and Beckett come down and seem shocked that he's dressed.  That made me laugh. There have been weeks in every writer's life I'm sure where the writer and the pajamas are very well acquainted for days. Maybe weeks.  Beckett gets a call about the murder and has to leave, but not before Castle tells her he has a surprise for her.

And what a surprise it is. The team is gathering evidence and Ryan is trying to take Castle's place with thinking outside of the box, when Castle shows up at the crime scene and proudly shows everyone his PI license.  Beckett is more than surprised, but tells him he still can't be there.  Perlmutter uses his clipboard to prevent Castle from looking at the victim, Shayna Baker, any longer and Esposito points Castle to the door. So funny.  Castle says he has to go follow up his own confidential leads and leaves.

He beats Espo and Beckett to the victim's workplace because as he said, "the neighbors didn't know much, so I figured this would be your next stop."  They go in and find out that the victim was in charge of admissions at an elite preschool, but after all the acceptance letters had been sent out, she took a few days off.  Espo and Beckett head back to the precinct and Castle seems kind of forlorn watching them leave.  He notices a picture of the victim on her desk, with her dog Sparkles. He takes a picture of the collar then starts tracking its chip.  A large muscular man has it and Castle starts to follow him.  He's terrible at following people and when the guy goes down the alley, Castle goes, too, and gets jumped.  And pepper-sprayed.  When Castle can finally show him his PI papers, the guy tells him he was friends with Shayna and she unexpectedly asked him to look after he dog and didn't say where she was going.

The team has found a threatening message on Shayna's answering machine and they track down the voice to someone whose kid was denied entrance to the school.  They bring him in, but he says he was being dramatic and Shayna changed her mind and let his kid in. (And his alibi checks out). So they let him go.

Castle heads down to the morgue and Perlmutter finds him reading the victim's chart and they chase each other around the table while Castle says what the contents of Shayna's stomach were. Stuff you'd find on an airplane, so she traveled somewhere before she died. Perlmutter is furious and so when Beckett calls he tells her what Castle found out.

The boys are following financials and street cam footage, etc., and they find out she went to Boston. But she stopped for a lunch meeting with a high-powered attorney before she left.  (Castle also finds out this information by breaking a few rules.) Ryan calls her office and are told that maybe they can catch her at her 3:00 appointment.  When Beckett gets to the building, she finds Castle there with the attorney.  And Beckett is at Castle's new PI office.  They argue a bit in the hall about telling each other things, but they both sit in on the interview with the attorney, Nicole Morris.  Nicole says she didn't want to know what Shayna was after, but she was asking about statutes for murder in Massachusetts, what the charges are for conspiracy, stuff like that. When she leaves Castle and Beckett start to theorize together like they have hundreds of times before, but just when it was really going somewhere they stop.  We can't do this, Beckett says. She gets a call from Espo about a coincidence and has to leave. Castle is so fun and flirty. "You can tell me. We're alone here, no one will know." Kate almost caved!

They brought the threatening dad back in because they found out he sits on the board of Radnor University, where Shayna went on her Boston trip. He finally admits that she asked him to get her a meeting with the Dean of Students so he did. That's it.  The Dean of Students says that Shayna was looking for campus police files from 1999. The boys are pressuring Beckett to call Castle and see what he's got so far. It was so funny with both of them trying to get information about the other one's day and making sure it was clear that their day was good. Great. Excellent. (And it was a cute dinner scene with Alexis, too. I like her so much more this season!)

Castle comes home to find that Kate has poured him a large glass of wine. He pours more into her glass. They talk about trading information, for the victim's sake and it comes out that Shayna was looking into her old boyfriend's death.  Kate texts Ryan the information which puts them ahead of the "competition." Castle isn't exactly pleased.  But he continues with his own investigation (and is able to hack the victim's social media because her password to everything is Sparkles, haha) and he's looking through old newspapers and notices something odd. There is an ad next to the story about the boyfriend's death and it's above the fold. You don't do that unless you have extra space at the last minute. He tracks down who was responsible for that at the time and he's a New York reporter now.

The team has zeroed in on the same guy, but they can't track him down. They receive information that he was seen with a man resembling Castle and Beckett gets worried when Castle doesn't answer his cell. But he comes to the precinct with the reporter who tells them that he was asked to cover it up by a powerful father whose son was in the room with Shayna's boyfriend right before he died. It's the dad of the now top federal prosecutor in the state.

They bring him in for questioning (and that's who I thought the murderer was) but the man insists he's being framed. Castle brings in Shayna's dog and proves that the murderer couldn't be the prosecutor because he's deathly allergic to the dog and breaks out in hives. He didn't have any hives at the fundraiser he was at that night right after the murder.

Castle is once again booted out of the precinct and the team tracks the "frame" evidence down to the real killer---Nicole Morris. Beckett lets Castle ask her who hired her to kill Shayna and frame the federal prosecutor guy before she puts the cuffs on. It's a nice little "team" moment, I thought, since they both worked so hard on the case. At the end, Beckett gives Castle a cute little Sherlock hat and magnifying glass.

I was so glad that the P.I. thing went so well.  It brought a freshness to the episode and the competition was funny.  I'm interested to see where they take it next week since it looks like Castle gets himself in trouble with a new client.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Painting Kisses

 Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson was such a great read, I started carrying my Kindle with me everywhere I went "just in case" I had a free second to get in another page or two. And when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. It was so good!

There were so many things to like about this book.  Lia Carswell is a famous New York artist whose work commands six figure price tags. But when her ex-husband embezzles her money and she feels like she's losing her soul, she retreats to Utah to help her sister who is a single mother trying to go to school, work, and take care of her little girl.

I loved the characterization of Lia. She was so easy to relate to, and her inner demons were ones that made you wonder how you would deal with them if that happened to you.  One of the standout things about this novel, though, was the descriptions. The art, the way art made Lia feel, the way her pictures came about, it was so breathtaking. I could completely see it in my head because of the amazing descriptions of the author. She just had a way of making a certain turn of phrase easily create the scene in my head, and yet it didn't come across prose-y or literary. It was just so well-done.

Of course, Ms. Jacobson is known for her witty and fun guy/girl relationships and this book does not disappoint. Lia is now working in a diner to help make ends meet and she has a "regular" customer named Aidan who flirts with her shamelessly.  They have a little bet going as to who can make the other one laugh first with the winner buying the orange juice.  Lia is totally drawn to him because he's funny and smart, and well, hot, but since he has some of the same characteristics as her ex, she keeps herself fairly aloof.  Then there's Lia's neighbor Griff, a guitar-playing, sort of shy guy who might have some potential. He's adorable with her niece Chloe and definitely easy to be with.  Some of the funniest scenes were in the diner with all the regulars (including the banter with Aidan) and Lia, but I enjoyed the interactions Lia had with Griff as well---casual and fun. I know I had my druthers in who I wanted to see her with and the author really works the "love triangle" so the reader can experience it all with Lia.

Another thing I enjoyed was Lia's niece. The relationship that Lia has with Chloe is sweet and realistic and Chloe is adorable.  Lia's reasons for starting to paint again are completely understandable when you see the relationship these two have and makes you love Lia even more for her sacrifices and the type of sister and aunt she is. Her character was really well-rounded and absolutely made the book. It was more than just a romance, it was a glimpse into Lia's life and choices and growth as a person.

This was the first book I bought in 2015 and it was a good choice.  My only complaint was that it ended! I wanted more. Just one more page. An epilogue. Anything! I really do hope we see these characters again in a future book maybe.  Perhaps her sister's story? I think that would be awesome.

Here is the back copy:

Lia Carswell is good at what she does, even if it isn't as glamorous as her old artist life in Manhattan. The popular waitress works hard in a small Salt Lake City diner, with the goal of easing her sister's financial strain. And with her witty personality and good looks, she's something of an enigma to the male customers who vie for her attention. Ever the professional, Lia keeps her distance, with one exception. Aidan is a breakfast regular, and his gentle, clever teasing draws Lia's attention and builds an easy rapport between them, though Lia would never let their relationship get serious, especially since he's not the only one trying to catch her eye. Her handsome neighbor Griff has been hinting that he wants more than a neighborly relationship.

Then her old New York artist life comes knocking, and an offer is made for a series of commissioned paintings. Lia knows it would ensure financial security for her family, but she doesn't know if she wants that life anymore. When she undertakes one final project, she reawakens her heart and soul. And as she finds herself falling in love and needing an outlet more and more, she realizes her paintings might be her saving grace.

You can buy your own Kindle copy here for $10.49

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Freebie

Lee Strauss has a new episodic series out and the first one, Run, Run, Run, is free! The second one is only 99 cents! It looks creepy and is billed as a cross between Fringe and Castle. I've never seen Fringe, but I love Castle, (and I've enjoyed Lee's Minstrel series) so I'm definitely going to download this one. Get your free Kindle download here

Here's the back copy of Run, Run, Run:

College girl meets boy online.
A killer targets girls like her.
She's next on the list.
The boy wants to save her.
She thinks it's him.

It's worse than they both think.

RUN RUN RUN is the first part of a three part episode - Gingerbread Man - in the romantic suspense series, A Nursery Rhyme Suspense.

And the second installment in the series, As Fast As You Can, was released last week. Click hereto get your copy for only 99 cents!

FRINGE meets CASTLE in this New Adult Sci-fi Mystery Suspense by Amazon best-selling author Lee Strauss.

Marlow finds himself in a "new world" and has to convince Sage of the danger at hand. Their friendship grows as they work together to track a killer and hopefully find their friend Teagan before it's too late.

AS FAST AS YOU CAN is the 2ND part of a three part episode - Gingerbread Man - in the romantic suspense series, A Nursery Rhyme Suspense.

Episode release dates:

Run Run Run - December 31
As Fast As You Can - January 7
You Can't Catch Me - January 14

Gingerbread Man (ep 1-3) complete - January 28

Thursday, January 8, 2015

One Of My New Projects---The Audio Book

Well, I'm a teeny bit nervous.  I started a new project and I'm hoping it goes well.

*drum roll*

I'm putting my books out as audio books.

I've started with All Fall Down and I'm to the point of auditioning narrators.  It's a little scary, but so far the process has been fairly easy.

Here's what I've done so far:

  • Made an account with ACX.

  • Entered in all my book information.

  • Made a little marketing blurb to showcase my book. (This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I need to hone up those skills again so I can be more concise!)

  • Made a script sample for the narrators to audition with.  (It had to be two to three pages with description and dialogue, which was actually a little hard. There were so many I could choose from! But don't worry, I narrowed it down and finally got it together.)

I've been checking my account like a crazy person and as the auditions come in, I'm just trying to be patient and make sure I choose the person that's best for this book.

(And I have to say it is totally surreal to hear people reading your book.  It's just so crazy awesome! Especially when they are good at what they do. Yeah, okay, you caught me, there's one audition I have listened to more than once.  But they're all so good! And this is fun.)

I will definitely keep you updated!

Do you use Audible? Listen to audio books?

(Click here to see the rest of my journey!)

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Meet My Narrator!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review--Prejudice Meets Pride

It's a bonus book review this week because I couldn't wait to tell you about this book. It's Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson.  I've liked Rachael's books in the past, but I loved this one. I had to stand at my stove to stir my dinner so it wouldn't burn, with my Kindle in my hand because I absolutely COULD NOT put it down and needed to see how it ended. It was that good. I would even say it's Ms. Anderson's best work to date.

Our heroine is Emma Makie, a woman who has just taken temporary custody of her two young nieces after their mother passes away.  Her old Aunt Maude left her a house that was in need of a lot of work, but since Emma has no money and no job, she moves there. I loved all of Emma's little quirks---like naming her car Sunshine and wanting to take care of her own problems and not take charity.  Of course that last trait gets her into trouble when her handsome neighbor tries to step in and help her.

Kevin Grantham is a successful pediatric dentist who likes everything just so.  He doesn't like messy and is rolling his eyes at the woman next door who seems to love everything messy. She attempts to do everything on her own from fixing a broken lawn mower or turning the sprinklers on, but every time Kevin tries to help her, he's met with fierce resistance. He can't figure out why---yet something inside him wants to get to know her better.

I loved the interactions between these two. Their dialogue was realistic and funny, their "moments" sweet and sigh-worthy to sassy.  Their romance was paced so perfectly, it was a great build and I ended the book with a huge smile on my face.  The obstacles were perfect, the resolution was perfect, this book was perfect.

Did I mention I loved this book?

If you are looking for a fun romance, you need to get this book now.  Click hereto buy your Kindle copy for $3.99

Here's the back copy:

After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.