Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rhuna: Crossroads by Barbara Underwood - Giveaway

Title:  Rhuna:  Crossroads
Series:  Rhuna #2
Author:  Barbara Underwood
Publication Date:   March 8th 2015
Length:  310pgs
Genre:  YA fantasy
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google PlaySmashwords

Back Cover Blurb:

The sequel to Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom, and the second book in an exciting and unique historical Fantasy series, Rhuna: Crossroads is set in exotic Ancient Egypt and features unforgettable characters and a riveting adventure.

Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her new home of Atl├ín, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some disturbing reports. She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark Master's followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated to stopping them. 

In the process of trying to carry out her assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges which could drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever believed in!

My Review:

Underwood returns to her fantasy world with the same vibrant and inviting writing style that I loved in the first novel.  The change in locale allows for even more enticing world building, drawing me deep into the mystery that Underwood develops in the beautiful locations that she transports readers to.  The seamless plot kept me hooked throughout as Rhuna battles through the challenges before her.

I loved meeting the new characters that Underwood presented here, but also fell deeper in love with those who returned from the 1st novel.  The continuous character development made everyone seem so real.  The way that their thinking changes, even if minutely, through the events that they face was fantastic.

Once again Underwood has created a novel that I couldn't put down.  It was a one of a kind experience that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to others.  That said, for the full experience I would also suggest reading the entire series in order. 

And now, be sure to enter the fantastic giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of author Barbara Underwood!
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm Nov 5/16. 
Winners will be drawn Nov 6/16. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Guest Post with author Carl Schmidt

The Importance of a Good Editor: by Carl Schmidt, author of the mystery novel, Dead Down East

Every seasoned novelist will tell you that there is absolutely no substitute for a good editor.
An editor doesn’t just alert you to mistakes in spelling, grammar, sentence structure and punctuation; editing goes way beyond that. Your story needs to be consistent, factually correct, clear, and succinct. This might sound obvious, but when you are dealing with a 90,000 word novel, there are plenty of ways to muck it up on every single page.

So. You’ve written your first novel, or maybe you’ve just completed a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Chances are you’ve read it several times, and it looks good to you. You’re excited about it. You’ve created a likable story or perhaps you’ve made some kind of definitive statement. Now you want to have it published.

Hold your horses, Kemosabe.

This last sentence is a perfect example of why you need an editor. I know what “Kemosabe” means, but do you? I was raised on The Lone Ranger and Tonto, but if you are considerably younger than I, you might not have a clue. And if you don’t, I may have just lost you as a reader. A good editor will bring this to your attention and make sure you use references that will be familiar to your target audience.

Every chapter in your novel needs to have a fresh beginning and a logical conclusion. The fresh beginning will keep your reader awake, and will revitalize his/her interest in your story. The logical conclusion will wrap up that particular scene and give the reader a breather. It may have taken you a week to write the chapter, and in that time you have been so wrapped up in the content of the storyline that you may have lost sight of what your reader knows at this point, and the pace of his reading experience. If your editor suggests that the chapter rambles, then clean it up and shorten it. If your editor says that something is missing or unclear, then you probably have left too much to the reader’s imagination.

Another important purpose of editing is to broaden your vocabulary so that highly descriptive words or phrases are not overused. A Thesaurus can help with this, but every author has a tendency to repeat himself in some way, either with specific words or sentence patterns. Repetition will blemish your story, and a good editor can spot it.

JanMarie Moullen edited my first three novels. She has an uncanny ability for recalling my use of unique adjectives and adverbs, and letting me know when they appear too often throughout the book. There were instances where she went back 50 pages or more in the text to find that I had used an unusually graphic word, and when it appeared for just a second time, much later in the book, it stood out to her as tiresome. And…she was right.

Overall, I took her advice about 95 percent of the time. I learned to trust her judgment, and it paid dividends. Several reviewers have commented on how crisp the editing is in my first novel. She deserves most of that credit.

About the author:

Carl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow he studied mathematics at Brown University.

Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.

Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.

Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize. 

Connect with Carl: Facebook Page - website

About Dead Down East:

Dead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor or Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.

Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.

Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.

Get your copy here:  paperback Amazon - Kindle Amazon - Goodreads - Smashwords

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Sure Thing & Q&A with author Marie Harte

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a book lover, a romance novelist, mother to two boys, caretaker of a puppy and cat (who rules the house), and was lucky enough to hit the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in my career. Oh, and I’m a coffee addict.

Q ~ If you were stuck in a dingy floating in the middle of the ocean, who and what would you want with you and why?
A large Viking, for eye candy, and to row us to shore.

Q ~ Are there any new (or new to you) Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
I’m a huge Faith Hunter fan. She’s not new at all, but kind of new to me. I’m really into urban fantasy lately.

Q ~ What was the first romance novel that you ever read?
I love this book: A Gentle Feuding by Johanna Lindsey

Q~ Who is your favorite literary villain and why?
The devil. Because he’s portrayed in so many varied ways, and I think the guy gets a bad rap.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
I used to write as a child because I had so many stories swirling in my brain. Plus it was a form of defiance if sent to my room without TV. I might not have TV, but I always had entertainment. Professionally, I started writing (seriously) while working at a job I didn’t like. I had always wanted to be a full-time writer, but I never wrote! I just dreamed about it. So during a job I wanted out of, I wrote during lunch breaks, before work, and at home at night. Until finally I quit to write full-time. Took me two years to get published, and this was back before Amazon became a powerhouse. So different back then!

Q ~ What is one thing that you absolutely need when writing?
My coffee cup at hand.

Q ~ How do you decide on the setting of your books?
Depends on the book and publisher. A lot of my work for Sourcebooks is set in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. So my overlapping series continue from that area. My paranormal stories take place in urban or rural settings I’ve visited or hope to visit. Someplace intriguing.

Q ~ You get a brilliant phrase/idea/thought at an inopportune time (while driving, drifting off to sleep/in the shower) what do you do?
Repeat it over and over until I can note it in my phone or a notebook.

Q ~ Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My readers are great. Nice, demanding, kind. As they should be! LOL Then they ask why certain books aren’t available when they used to be. Because I keep getting my rights back to older titles and am so busy I haven’t been so good about putting the older stuff back out.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release and what inspired you to write it?
A SURE THING was a concept I had five years ago, the first of the McCauley cousins to get a happily ever after. Except it took a while to get my McCauley Brothers published. And the first cousin I’d planned on writing about will be in the third book instead. Landon, the oldest, goes first. J

Q ~ Have you written an outline for the The Donnigans series or do you make it up as you go?
I tend to write on proposal for Sourcebooks, so an abbreviated synopsis is needed before I begin. I have a rough idea of where the story is headed, but no outline, and things can change as I go.

Q ~ What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
Why do you keep hinting that J.T. Webster looks like The Rock? Because he does! I think The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) has a super cool personality, muscles to die for, amazing sex appeal, and yes, he’s funny. Who wouldn’t want that man in their book? Or, um, a likeness of him, at least?

Q ~ Of the works you’ve written, which is your favourite? Is there also a character that holds a special place in your heart?
The one I’m working on at present. Ha. So that would be…edits for Just the Thing, the second Donnigans book.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
I’m currently getting ready to start a new project for Sourcebooks that I’m really stoked about. It’s not connected to anything I’m doing for them right now, and I can’t mention exactly what it is yet. But it’ll be out next year! I’ll update the minute I’m given the green light. J

Thanks for having me!


Title:  A Sure Thing
Series:  The Donnigans #1
Author:  Marie Harte
Publication Date:   November 1st 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  352pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play 

Back Cover Blurb:

Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone's mind...

Can this Bossy Badass Marine...
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.

Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.

My Review:

Wow!  Harte has definitely created the backdrop for a fantastic series with this one.She brings the entire town to life, while focusing on the main couple that we come to love.  Vibrant scenery melds with a vivid story that definitely captured my heart.

The characters in this novel were loveable and easy to get to know.  I love how things weren't easy for them, nor were they unnecessarily hard either.  It was all so real & I could picture myself in the story with them.  And a hero who was drool-worthy amidst his imperfections didn't hurt either.  

This was a fantastic start to Harte's new series.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others and definitely can't wait to see what comes next.

Continue Reading...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Wind River by Lindsay McKenna

Title:  Wind River Wrangler
Series:  Wind River #1
Author:  Lindsay McKenna
Publication Date:   October 25th 2016 by Zebra
Length:  384pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:


First in a new series by the author of Night Hawk and Out Rider

Still waters run deep . . .

From the moment Roan Taggart picked up the pretty redhead at the Jackson Hole airport, his training and experience told him she was spooked. She’s left New York City to visit the Wind River Ranch, where Roan is a wrangler, and just as he can pick up a horse’s mood, he can feel the tension coming off her body. And that vulnerability is triggering all his protective instincts...

Shiloh Gallagher likes the gray-eyed cowboy’s dry humor—and the Special Forces background that lends him a stoic, powerful presence. But she’s been scarred by trauma and her mother’s murder . . . and knows a strong man can be dangerous. She came to wide-open Wyoming to flee a threat that’s left her unable to write her novels. Now, as she rides horses with Roan and helps him build an isolated cabin, she’s slowly letting down her guard. But danger has followed her west, and they won’t have a future together unless they defeat a killer from her past…

My Review:

McKenna's new series launcher definitely sets the stage well for upcoming novels.  Throughout the story McKenna takes the time to explain a lot of the technical aspects of the story and the characters' lives.  It made everything supremely easy to understand.  As much as I loved the details, sometimes it was a little too much, detracting from the story.  I found I was about 2/3 of the way through the book before anything really happened with the plot proper.  Don't get me wrong, there was lots of character development and scene setting, which one would expect in the first novel in a series, but a lot of the time I felt that was all that happened.  It was still an enjoyable read but not one that I couldn't put down.

There was loads of character and relationship development at the beginning of this novel.  I enjoyed getting to know the main characters so well but felt that it stalled the forward motion of the plot as a whole.  The author switches views between the main characters to let readers get both of their feelings and thoughts.  Sometimes I felt as if this was done a little too quickly & I felt a little jarred from the story, but for the most part it really added to the tale.  Also, the predictability of the identity of the 'bad guy' was also, well, predictable.  From the moment he was first mentioned in the story I knew he'd be back.  That said, what McKenna did with said character was interesting.  

As a whole this was an enjoyable story with likable, original characters.  McKenna is off to a good start with this new series.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rhuna: Keeper of Wisdom by Barbara Underwood - Giveaway

Title:  Rhuna:  Keeper of Wisdom
Series:  Rhuna #1
Author:  Barbara Underwood
Publication Date:  October 16th 2014
Length:  327pgs
Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy/Historical Fantasy
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google PlaySmashwords

Back Cover Blurb:

Barbara Underwood marks her debut in the world of fantasy fiction with the spellbinding novel, “Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom” which follows the adventures of a young heroine with an extraordinary gift. It also features a cast of richly drawn characters and compelling storytelling that will rivet readers from beginning to end.

The story is set in an idyllic utopian society, not unlike the Atlantis of myth, and follows the adventures of the title character, Rhuna. A series of extraordinary events unfold after the young girl discovers the startling truth about her father and the enemy that caused his demise known as The Dark Master. As Rhuna struggles with her newfound discovery, her beloved homeland is thrust into chaos, threatened by her father’s old nemesis. In the midst of the unfolding cataclysm, Rhuna must find her extraordinary destiny and the courage to stop The Dark Master from destroying everything and everyone that she loves. Suffused with magic and menace, “Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom” will send readers on a journey to astonishing realms, as only the most exquisite kind of fiction can do.

My Review:

Fantastic world building and an intensely gripping plot draw you into this vividly penned novel from page one.  Underwood easily & fully transports readers into the fantastic world that she's created, keeping them there.  I couldn't put this novel down, dying to know what the next plot twist would bring; and believe me, there were many.  Underwood's writing style also called to me.  I love how she involves her audience in the story, leading them forward as if they're there alongside her, rather than simply telling them what happened to her characters.

And the characters!  Oh wow the characters!  I loved the individuals that we met throughout this story.  I couldn't get enough of them and was definitely sad to see them go at the end of the novel.  They were so easy to get to know and to connect with.  I felt as if I'd made friends, rather than simply reading a novel.

This is definitely a novel that will be loved by readers of all ages.  It's clean enough for a YA audience and exciting enough to grip adults and not let go.  I know I sure couldn't put it down.  Nor can I wait for the next novel in the series.

And now, be sure to enter the fantastic giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of author Barbara Underwood!
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm Nov 5/16. 
Winners will be drawn Nov 6/16. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

Continue Reading...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Necessary Evil by Jamie K. Schmidt

Title:  Necessary Evil
Series:  Sentinels of Babylon #1
Author:  Jamie K. Schmidt
Publication Date:  November 1st 2016 by Loveswept
Length:  234pgs
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  Netgalley
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

In this steamy series opener from bestselling author Jamie K. Schmidt—whose writing has been called “hot and sexy, with just the right amount of emotional punch,” by Lauren Layne—a vigilante biker takes the power of love into his own hands.
Lucy Simmons comes from a rough family, but she’s a damn good public defender. Even though she hates to see criminals walk due to sloppy police work, the law’s there to make sure everyone gets a fair trial, and Lucy certainly doesn’t believe in the kind of justice meted out by the leather-clad ex-cop they call “Evil.” He’s stubborn, cynical, and out of control—but he plays her body like no man ever has. For once, both Lucy’s boss and her brother agree: The biker is trouble.

Evan Villiers took a sacred vow to let no killer, rapist, or pedophile go unpunished. When scumbags fall through the system, his motorcycle club cleans up the garbage. Although the Sons of Babylon and their methods may not be to Lucy’s liking, the beautiful lawyer has become Evan’s light in the dark. But his next hit is Lucy’s own brother—a murderer who got off on a technicality. Now, with his loyalties split, Evan must turn his back on his brothers . . . or lose the woman who has claimed his reckless heart.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
My Review:

Wow!  Just wow!  Was this novel ever hot!  The main characters sizzled whenever they were near each other.  The plot was solid with some interesting twists.  The descriptions were vivid yet dark at times, changing the entire mood of the story.  Schmidt brought everything to the forefront in remarkably intriguing ways.

In this novel the vigilante justice tends to overshadow the MC aspect of the tale, yet at the same time, for this club, they appear to be one and the same.  This gives a very different feel from so many of the MC novels out there on the marked at the moment.  There are definitely some subplots left unfinished at the end of the novel that lead into the rest of the series.  This is to be expected in a series launching novel but be warned, not everything in this novel is tied up in a pretty little bow at the end.  It's like real life, only much darker.  

I also enjoyed the character development in this novel.  We got to know everyone as we me them, yet the development didn't stop there.  Little tidbits appeared throughout the novel as we got to know all the major players quite well.

As a whole this was a hot, exciting start to Schmidt's new series.  I'd definitely recommend it to others and can't wait to see what happens next.

Continue Reading...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Her Halloween Treat & Q&A with author Tiffany Reisz

1) How did you come up with the relationship between Joey and Chris?
I have a lovely Twitter friend who used to live in Hawaii and she’s in love with actor Chris Evans especially when he’s wearing a beard. She posts a lot of sexy Chris Evans pictures and gifs and in one picture he’s wearing flannel and looking like your ultimate HGTV sexy handyman fantasy. It wasn’t too hard to come up with the sort of woman who’d fall for a guy like that.

2) What is your favorite part about writing for Men at Work?
Hard to say because I had so much fun writing every single book. I think the most fun I had was with the supporting characters. In HER HALLOWEEN TREAT, Joey’s best friend is a co-worker named Kira who keeps her encouraged and entertained. In HER NAUGHTY HOLIDAY, I had a blast writing Erick’s snarky 17-year-old daughter who is playing matchmaker for her boss and her dad. And in ONE HOT DECEMBER the heroine’s neighbor is Mrs. Scheinberg, a feisty 88-year-old woman who can’t stop giving my heroine and hero very good advice. Writing the funny best friend or wacky neighbor never stops being fun.

3) Your Harlequin Blaze novels seem to be either around Halloween or Christmas, which one is your favorite?
The entire trilogy is set around the holidays. In HER HALLOWEEN TREAT it’s Halloween. In HER NAUGHTY HOLIDAY it’s Thanksgiving. And in ONE HOT DECEMBER it’s Hanukkah and Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday because it’s when all my family gets together. I’m a vegetarian so Thanksgiving is kind of wasted on me. And Halloween is great but when you have as many fillings as I do, you tend to avoid candy.

4) What was the first book that made you cry?
I picked up a copy of THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY by Karleen Koen when I was on vacation with my parents in Virginia when I was, oh, 14 or 15, I think. I probably got the book because it had a pretty cover and was very long, and I liked to read big books since I thought that impressed people. I devoured the book in just a few days and remember weeping onto the pages when Roger dies. That was the first historical romance I’d ever read and loved and Roger was the first bisexual character I think I’d ever encountered in fiction. I adored the book and still have that giant purple hardcover at my parents’ house.

5) How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I didn’t do any research for the Men at Work books. My father has been a contractor/handyman type all his life so I knew a lot about the work the guys do. I usually research as I write. Too many writers use intensive research to put off the actual writing. Write and research simultaneously and then you can pinpoint exactly what you need to research and save yourself time and trouble.

6) How do you select the names of your characters?
Names are hard. You want to get them just right and I’ve been known to “Find and Replace” on a draft when a name just isn’t working. I’ll try several out until I find one that works.

7) If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I’d probably die. But before I was a writer, I worked in a bunch of bookstores. I could easily go back to working in a bookstore tomorrow.

8) Do you believe in writer’s block?
I’ll quote Steve Martin here—“ Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.”

9) What is your favorite thing about fall?
How happy it makes my husband. That and long-sleeved shirts. I’m a big fan of long-sleeved shirts.

10) Are you excited for Halloween? If so, do you have a favorite scary story?
I’m excited for Halloween decorating. In fact, I already did it. Favorite scary story? Probably “The Haunted House” from the original SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. I was in a school play version of that story. I had one line and that line was just a scream. I do a very good scream.

Title:  Her Halloween Treat
Series:  Men at Work
Author:  Tiffany Reisz
Publication Date:   October 1st 2016 by Harlequin Blaze (first published September 20th 2016)
Length:  224pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Trick…or wicked treat!

It was a devastating dirty trick—Joey Silvia just found out her boyfriend of two years is married. What. A. Dick. Joey knows her best chance to get over one guy is to get under another. Of course, heading home to her family's remote cabin in Oregon poses some challenges in the "available men" department…until she discovers this cabin comes with its own hot handyman!

Holy crap, Chris Steffensen. When did her brother's best friend turn into a hard-bodied pile of blond-bearded hotness? He's the perfect Halloween treat—and a surprisingly dirty rebound guy. For a couple of weeks, anyway. Except that Chris has other ideas…like proving to Joey that this blast from the past is a whole lot more than a naughty Halloween hookup.

My Review:

This novel is explicitly vivid.  Reisz's descriptions pop and truly do the story justice.  The spice and chemistry between the characters is unmistakable.  I thought that my ereader was going to go up in flames as these two combusted.  I loved how the characters had both friendship and chemistry.  These weren't two strangers coming together, but rather two individuals with a very close and personal past. 

I really enjoyed how much we got to know about the characters and their pasts, both their childhoods together and their adult lives apart.  

This story was hot and fun at the same time!  Reisz has definitely created a tale that will keep you warm on those cool winter nights!

Continue Reading...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Guest Post with author CJ Burright - Giveaway

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (and to celebrate, get your FREE copy of my novella The Druid, the Witch, and the Love Curse at the end of this post). It might be the change in season, the falling leaves and crisp winds whispering of things to come. It could be the perfectly valid opportunity to dress up and scare kids and eat all that leftover candy. Or maybe it’s just the pumpkins, skeletons, and ghosties and goblins on every corner.

Personally, I think it has more to do with my Celtic roots, Samhain, and the thinning veil between the living and spirit worlds. There are just too many spooky stories surrounding Samhain to completely discount the possibility of visiting phantoms, and I have a few family tales, too weird to be explained away. Want to hear one? I thought you might. :)

It was a dark and stormy night. Kidding. It was night, and it was dark, but I don’t remember any storm happening. A quick C.J. history lesson—I grew up in the boonies. Miles from town, boxed in on two sides by endless acres of government-owned forestland, the closest neighbor a run-across-the-field away. On a good day, we got two television channels, and HBO wasn’t one of them. We lived in a double-wide mobile home with an attached garage, and the long driveway led straight into the garage. Any headlights shone right into the living room windows, so when visitors showed up, you knew it.

This particular night was the parental units’ romantic Saturday evening (aka bowling league) and my older sister was at a friend’s house, so it was just me and my younger sister, Cathy. We were hanging in the living room, watching whatever questionable television show our antennae would pick up, Hee-Haw, I think…did I mention this was long, long ago? Headlights reflected in the windows, and as it was about time for mom and dad’s return, we didn’t think much of it. The motor’s rumble echoed from the garage and cut out. The back door leading from garage to house clicked open and shut softly.

But no one came into the living room.

It took a couple minutes for my curiosity to kick in. What was taking mom and dad so long to come into the living room and why was it so quiet? Dad loved to prank us, and even though mom never played along, I suspected foul play. I strolled from the living room to the kitchen, fully prepared to foil his plans.

No one was there.

I peeked through the kitchen window into the garage.

No car.

Prickles ran down my arms as I tried to connect the empty garage with what my senses told me only minutes ago. A car had come up the driveway. Someone had come in.


Not willing to turn my back on the kitchen or the garage, I backed into the dining room. The large windows looking out into the night didn’t help the cold racing through my veins. The dining room and living room were connected, and Cathy was lounging in a recliner, still watching television. I said, “Mom and dad aren’t here. You saw the headlights, right? Didn’t you hear the car, the door open and shut?”

Thankfully, her disbelieving expression told me if I was going crazy, then so was she. Clinging to each other, we crept back into the kitchen. Nothing had changed, no car, no parents. We agreed we had to check the house because someone had come in. Someone was in our house with us, and there were three bedrooms and two bathrooms they could be hiding in. No way would we sit around, waiting.

Like so many horror movie victims before us, we armed ourselves with kitchen knives and inched down the hallway. My sister’s room was dark, the door open. Shaking, our knives gripped tight, we flipped on the light.

The room was empty. The closet held the usual clothes and shoes, no axe-wielding ghost clowns. But we had more rooms to go.

The bathroom was easy, nowhere to hide other than the shower. We slid further down the hall, to the room we shared. I made Cathy turn on the light, my knife raised right behind her, ready to slash, stab and gouge.

Nothing hid behind my bookcase or beneath our bunkbed. My heart roared, a stampede in my ears. We looked at each other. Only our parents’ room remained. This was it. The showdown. I could hardly breathe and my fingers ached from holding the knife so tight. Together, we opened the door and hit the light switch.

The bed was made, no red eyes peering from beneath. The bathroom was empty. We both turned to the closed closet door. Final spot. Cathy flung open the door as I yelled and flicked the switch.

Nothing. Nothing in the hanging clothes. Nothing crouched behind shoes boxes. Nothing clinging to the ceiling.

What the hell?

As relieved as I was to not confront some horror that my brain could never erase, it made no sense. We’d both seen the headlights. We’d both heard the car. We’d both acknowledged the door opening and shutting.

My parents came home some time later and didn’t seem to notice the way we huddled together on the couch, every light in the house on. Neither one of us mentioned anything. What could we possibly say?

Now, I can’t blame that weird incident on the thinning of the veil on Samhain, but it was during the autumn season, when life is dying and settling in for winter. Whatever the cause, I have never forgotten it.

Do you have any unexplainable occurrences to share? Any family haunts or tales?

FREE FOR YOU! Just in time for the Samhain season, the novella start-up of my future series, Moonlight and Madness, is available for anyone who wants it. The key to unlocking The Druid, the Witch, and the Love Curse is signing up for my newsletter HERE. Have a fabulous Halloween!

With only three days to live, an ancient druid must choose between true love or ultimate freedom.

Druid Kellen Ravenwood yearns for freedom. Cursed to an enchanted dungeon with only three days out every half century, he determines to finally break the hex during his respite, no matter the cost.

But when fresh-out-of-divorce court Maggie O’Malley shows up on Samhain with the key to his prison–and his heart–Kellen must decide what to sacrifice…love or liberty.

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