Friday, August 31, 2012

Timeless Desire by Gwyn Cready

When looking for a new book to read, I check outTimeless Desire Cover releases by my favorite authors first. But no matter if I know the author or not, I’m always drawn to amazing book covers.

Such is the case of the recent release by author Gwyn Cready, whose work I consistently enjoy. Cready’s latest release, TIMELESS DESIRE: AN OUTLANDER LOVE STORY, is a wonderful read with a fabulous cover that you can’t resist picking up.

Cready is a RITA Award winning author who’s been called “the master of time travel romance” and whose writing has been called “delightfully original” and “sexy” by trade publications.  

Here’s a brief description of TIMELESS DESIRE:
Two years after losing her husband, overworked librarian Panna Kennedy battles to distract herself from crushing grief, while she wrestles with yet another library budget cut. During a routine search within the library’s lower levels, Panna opens an obscure, pad-locked door and finds herself transported to the magnificent, book-filled quarters of a handsome, eighteenth-century Englishman. She soon recognizes the man as Colonel John Bridgewater, the historic English war hero whose larger-than-life statue loomed over her desk

However, the life of the dashing Bridgewater is not at all what she imagined. He’s under house arrest for betraying England, and now looks upon her—a beautiful and unexpected half-dressed visitor—as a possible spy. Despite bad first impressions (on both sides), Bridgewater nonetheless warms to Panna, and pulls her into his escape—while both their hearts pull the other headlong into their soul-stirring secrets.

Very quickly Panna is thrown into a whirlwind of high-stakes intrigue that sweeps her from Hadrian's Wall to a forbidding stone castle in Scotland. And somewhere in the outland, Panna must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband, or with the man whose life now depends on her. 
TIMELESS DESIRE is more than just a paranormal romance. Cready incorporates humor and heart-touching moments, along with sprinkles of mystery and intrigue. It’s a fast-pace adventure filled with thrills that will keep you spellbound until the end. If you’re new to the paranormal romance genre, you’ll find Cready is a master at making it seem real.

Cready won a RITA Award for Best Paranormal Romance 2009 and is the author of several paranormal romances including Tumbling Through Time, Seducing Mr. Darcy, Flirting with Forever, Aching for Always and A Novel Seduction. Timeless Desire is her latest foray into the time travel genre and men in kilts. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family. 

Don’t you just love the wraparound cover of TIMELESS DESIRE? Have you ever dreamed of traveling back in time or to the future? What era would you visit, if you could? Thanks so much for stopping by today.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blame It On Texas Tour With Author Christie Craig And A Giveaway

It’s always a pleasure to welcome author Christie Craig back to Thoughts and today she’s touring with BLAME IT ON TEXAS, the second installment in her Hotter In Texas series.

BLAME IT ON TEXAS is a lethal combination, so prepare yourself for a story laced with irresistible charm and undeniable sexiness. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Zoe Adams has always been content with her quiet nights at home, watching TV alone-until her life turns into a real-life episode of Unsolved Mystery Hunters. The story of a kidnapped girl triggers unexplained memories, and Zoe is dead-set on figuring out why. Her search leads her to one of the Lone Star State's richest families-and to sexy PI Tyler Lopez.

Tyler has sworn off women, especially redheads with killer curves who poke their noses into his clients' private lives. Still, he can't deny the attraction any more than he can deny that some of Zoe's crazy story makes sense. But when she becomes a hit man's target, this cold case starts heating up. Suddenly, Tyler will do anything to protect Zoe-even risk his heart.

Thanks to Christie, Brianne and the good folks at Forever, I have 3 copies of BLAME IT ON TEXAS to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway guidelines.

Christie has graciously answered several questions for me about her writing.

Mason - What is a typical writing day like for you?  

Christie - First, thanks so much for having me at your blog.  I love talking about writing. Now to answer your question . . . 

Honestly, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I get up around 5:30 or 6 AM every day. I grab my coffee and head to my office which is a converted garage. 51aUSv9QUL._SS500_I spend about an hour sipping coffee and checking blogs and emails. I try to get in an hour of work before I take off to meet my writing buddy/friend for an hour walk. When I get back, I eat a quick breakfast with my hubby, and then I’m back in my office to get pages done. Lunch is a quick sandwich or salad. I usually work eight to twelve hours a day, depending on deadlines. Hubby and I share cooking responsibilities. So, some days he’s in the kitchen fixing dinner and some days I am. Again, if I’m under a tight deadline, I might eat dinner with my hubby and son and then go back in for another hour or two of work. I’m very lucky that my hubby does kitchen clean-up most days. By about eight, you’ll usually find me with a glass of Cabernet sitting in front of the television with my hubby. I try to slip into my hot tub most nights for twenty minutes, and then it’s off to bed with hubby and a good book.   

Mason - What type of research, if any, do you do for your books and do you find it fun or just necessary?  

Christie - Research? Ugh. I’m a writer, not a researcher. But I have to do it. I have what I call my cop in a pocket whom I call with cop questions, which happens quite a lot because most of my heroes are in law enforcement. I have lawyer friends whom I call with legal questions. If I have a medical questions, I just make an appointment with my doctor. She knows I’m a writer and she’s stopped worrying when I ask things like. “Where could I shoot someone that wouldn’t kill them, but would hurt a lot?”

Mason - Why do you think cowboy themes are appealing to readers?  

Christie - I think what defines a cowboy, and a good ol’ boy Texan, is loyalty, honesty, and someone who wouldn’t hesitate to stand up for what he believe in. They speak their mind, which makes for some wonderfully witty dialogue. My heroes aren’t riding horses, or herding cattle, but they are Texans through and through and their loyalty to seek justice for those who have been unjustly accused makes them a true hero.

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

Christie - Oh, thanks for asking. I also write the YA Paranormal Shadow Falls Series for St. Martins/Griffin under the pen name, C.C. Hunter. After BLAME IT ONE TEXAS, which released August 28th, I have my fourth young adult book, WHISPERS AT MOONRISE, releasing on October 2nd. I’m working on the fifth and final book in that series right now. After that, I’m full speed ahead on the third book in the Hotter in Texas series, TEXAS HOLD ‘EM. I’m already brainstorming two new series, a humorous romantic suspense and a new paranormal young adult series for my publishers.  

Thanks again for inviting me here to your blog. If your readers want to know more about me and my books, they can find information at my website, For a little taste of my Hotter in Texas series, watch the video below.  I hope you enjoy! CC


Christie, thank you for returning to Thoughts and talking about your writing. It’s always interesting to see what an author’s day is really like. BTW, great video.
Christie is also sharing ‘Ten Things You Will Learn from BLAME IT ON TEXAS.’
1. Guys don’t like to play dress up; but when one willingly dresses as a clown for their six-year-old niece’s birthday party—because the real clown canceled—he’s one special uncle. And could possibly make a special hero for some lucky lady.
2. Sometimes, fear itself can do much more damage to us than the thing we’re actually afraid of.
3. Any man who doesn’t cuss up a blue streak when you dump a plate of hot grits on him can’t be all bad. (In fact, he might just be The One.)
4. It’s important to remember the lessons of the past so we can use them when making decisions for the future. But those lessons should never keep us from having the future we deserve.
5. Before accusing the sexy guy who pounced, knocked you down, and crawled on top of you of being foreplay impaired; check to see if someone is shooting at you.
6. The southern delicacy of a banana and mayonnaise sandwich may be an acquired taste, especially when a hungry hero chomps down on the delicacy and is expecting ham and cheese.
7. If you think getting caught screaming and dancing on top of a mattress—all while attempting to rescue your cat from an overzealous dog—can be slightly embarrassing, try doing it while you’re wet from the shower, and as naked as a jay bird. Oh, and just to make it even more fun, make sure you're caught by your possible love interest who hasn’t seen you naked yet, and  . . . (yes it can get worse) his two best friends.
8. It’s downright amazing how playing a few rounds of Strip Scrabble can spice up an evening.
9. A family doesn’t always have to be the people who share your bloodline; sometimes, the best families are those we make when we gather together all the people we love.
10. Learning to trust yourself is usually a lot harder than trusting another person.  But both are generally required before finding true love.

Now the giveaway guidelines. To enter, send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win BLAME IT ON TEXAS.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. And, just so you know, I don’t share this information with anyone other than the publisher nor use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance at one of 3 copies of BLAME IT ON TEXAS will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Sept. 13.

If you’re a writer, is your day similar to Christie’s? As a reader, what have you imaged a writer’s day to be like? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Be sure to send an email for a chance to win a copy of BLAME IT ON TEXAS.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Take Time To Enjoy

It's hard to believe that the last holiday of the summer is almost here. Before we know it, we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Today I want to share another fun puzzle with you. Hopefully this will give you a chance to show down a bit, catch your breath and relax a few minutes in what I'm sure is a very hectic schedule.

Just look at how relaxing this view is. I do believe this is probably just down the beach from Carol and Under the Tiki Hut. What do you think. 

Click to Mix and Solve

There's so many endless plots that can came from this scene maybe it will spark your muse into creating something you hadn't expected. As always, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to stop by. Hope everyone has a wonderful day and remember to relax a bit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Circle of Cozy Mysteries

Life is a series of circles and connections that we might not always see or even understand. One thing can lead to another and that leads to something else and on to another before coming back to the first.

What does all this have to do with cozy mysteries? In the shortest explanation possible, I had a favorite author who lead me to blogging which lead me to another author that I now also consider a favorite which is now friends with the first author and they both publish through Berkley Prime Crime. See the connections and how the circle just widens for more enjoyable reading? 

With that in mind, I’m sharing my thoughts today on both authors’ latest releases.

A BREW TO A KILL by Cleo Coyle

9780425247877This is a series I first picked up some years ago simply because it said ‘Coffeehouse Mystery’ on the cover. Being a coffee lover, I couldn’t resist, ON WHAT GROUNDS.

I quickly fell in love with the protagonist, Clare Cosi, and her group of zany supporting characters. The tantalizing mysteries have continued to entertain me and the latest in the series, A BREW TO A KILL, is no exception.

While her coffeehouse characters are all well-developed, author Cleo Coyle continues to evolve her protagonist thus keeping the series from growing stale. In addition, the author incorporates real events into her plots making the scenarios very plausible.

This time around Clare and the gang at the Village Blend coffeehouse are busier than ever with their new Muffin Muse coffee truck. Combining premium drinks and poetry by Esther, it’s a slam hit. But a shocking hit-and-run followed by a mysterious death at a food truck-catered wedding spurs Clare into investigator action. 

Meanwhile, her ex-husband Matt, the shop’s globetrotting coffee buyer, has found some amazing new Brazil coffee beans. However, Matt’s in for a surprise when he discovers he’s importing more than just beans.

With the new discovery, it seems Clare may have been the real target of the hit-and-run after all. Now Clare and Max must put aside any differences they have and work as a team to find the killer before it’s too late for Clare. So between a drug kingpin, federal agents, a Dragon Boat festival, dealing with her ex and running Village Blend, Clare may have a few minutes for NYPD Detective Mike Quinn - personal minutes that is.

A BREW TO A KILL is a fast-pace adventure with as many twists and turns as there are coffee blends. The action is heart-pounding with shots of humor and romance mixed in for a well-blended tale. Coffee with Clare and the crew just keeps getting better and better.

An added bonus to this delightful mystery is the coffee tips and delicious recipes included in the back of the book. You don’t have to be a coffee lover or even a coffee drinker to enjoy Clare’s mad cap journey as she searches for a killer.

A BREW TO A KILL is the 11th installment in the Coffee House Mystery series and can be read on its own. However, for a better understanding of the protagonist and her group of zany friends read all the prior installments: ON WHAT GROUNDS (September 2003), THROUGH THE GRINDER (October 2004), LATTE TROUBLE (August 2005), MURDER MOST FROTHY (August 2006), DECAFFEINATED CORPSE (July 2007), FRENCH PRESSED (April 2008), ESPRESSO SHOT (October 2008), HOLIDAY GRIND (November 2009), ROAST MORTEM (August 2010), and MURDER BY MOCHA (August 2011).

Author Cleo Coyle’s website is Cleo Coyle is the pen name for Alice Alfonsi, who writes with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Cleo is also the pseudonym for Alice Kimberly.

A Brew to a Kill by Cleo Coyle, A Coffee House Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2012, ISBN: 9780425247877, Hardcover, 384 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. 

BRUJA BROUHAHA by Rochelle Staab

bruja-pressStories dealing with dark magic, the occult and psychology can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but author Rochelle Staab has a way of bringing all these elements together in a captivating read.

Staab’s latest release, BRUJA BROUHAHA, features protagonist Liz Cooper, a psychologist, and her boyfriend, Nick Garfield, an occult professor. Liz and Nick are among friends helping Paco and Lucia Rojas celebrate their sixteenth wedding anniversary.

During the celebration, Paco has to leave to let a tenant into the building. When gunfire erupts, the celebrating group rushes to find Paco and a friend of the tenant have been killed by a drive-by shooter.

Overcome with grief and blaming their neighbors for the increased violence in their area, Lucia places a vengeful hex on the entire neighborhood. A Santeria priestess, Lucia soon finds herself in danger as dark secrets are revealed.

Liz doesn’t believe in curses, but with Nick’s help she does what she can for Lucia. It’s up to Liz and Nick to get to the bottom of the strange happenings before someone else, possible Liz, becomes the next victim.

Staab has created a fun and likable protagonist in Liz and given her a delightful group of supporting characters to interact with. Liz and Nick are both strong and independent characters, but each with flaws readers can relate to.

BRUJA BROUHAHA flows at a steady pace keeping the reader’s attention from beginning to end. The sparks of romance between Liz and Nick add another layer to this intriguing story. Filled with surprises and suspense, this is a must read for the summer and a refreshing series to follow.

BRUJA BROUHAHA is the second installment in the Mind for Murder Mystery series, but can be read alone. The first installment is WHO DO, VOODOO? (November 2011).

Author Rochelle Staab’s website is

Bruja Brouhaha by Rochelle Staab, A Mind for Murder Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2012, ISBN: 978-0425251492, Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. 

Do you have a favorite series you discovered by accident? Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gotta Love A Mystery Series

Anyone who stops by Thoughts from time to time knows I enjoy returning my attention to favorite cozy mystery series and that I love to find new series as well.

This month the folks at Berkley Prime Crime and Obsidian have a number of established series with new releases. In addition, they have several new series making their debut. Today I’d like to talk about a returning favorite and two new series that I definitely will be following. 


9780451237620Book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright is an amusing and spunky protagonist I enjoy visiting with again and again. A book lover, Brooklyn may have met her match and then some in Grace Crawford, the wealthy and eccentric aunt of her neighbor, Suzie Stein. It seems Grace has a book obsession.

Brooklyn is invited to Grace’s fiftieth birthday party. A retired founder of a major video game corporation, Grace has decided to have an old fashion house party to celebrate the big 5-0. She turns her Lake Tahoe mansion into a fun house, full of everything from pinball machines and giant props to secret passageways and trap doors. Brooklyn is most excited to catalog Grace’s extensive collection of rare paperback pulp fiction.

As the fun gets underway, a séance is held but things go drastically wrong when the lights flicker and a guest is killed. It appears death was caused by a poisoned cocktail meant for Grace. Apparently the roman á clef Grace has written about her life is the reason for the attempted murder and could possible hold the key to the killer’s identity as well. It’s up to Brooklyn to stop the murderer before the fun house turns into a house of horror.

Author Kate Carlisle has created a cast of zany and lovable characters readers are drawn to. Their quirks and flaws make them realistic and the kind of people you wish you could meet.

PERIL IN PAPERBACK is a delightful story with just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. The story flows at a steady pace making it easy to get lost in the reading.

PERIL IN PAPERBACK is the sixth installment in the Bibliophile Mystery series, but can be read alone. The book contains a sneak peek at the next installment in the series, A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, slated for release in June 2013 from Obsidian. The other installments in the series include: HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER (February 2009), IF BOOKS COULD KILL (February 2010), THE LIES THAT BIND (November 2010), MURDER UNDER COVER (May 2011), and ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE (February 2012).

Author Kate Carlisle’s website is

Peril in Paperback by Kate Carlisle, A Bibliophile Mystery, Obsidian, @2012, ISBN: 978-0451237620, Paperback, 304 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


9780425251478With cool weather not far off, a book featuring murder, mystery, mayhem and soup recipes is a book lover’s dream.

When her parents are killed in a car wreck, Lucky Jamieson has to return to the small tourist town of Snowflake, Vermont. She’s faced with taking over the family restaurant, By The Spoonful, as well as deciding what to do with her parents’ home. In addition, there is her grandfather Jack to consider. He’s been showing signs of Alzheimer’s.

Adding to her problems, a tourist is found frozen to death behind the restaurant. But when her soup chef, Sage DuBois, is arrested for the murder, Lucky knows it’s time for her to take action.

Author Connie Archer has created an enchanting tourist setting with Snowflake and filled it with delightful characters. Lucky is a protagonist who starts off showing her vulnerable side due to her parent’s death and the decisions facing her, but she quickly shows a strong and spirited side.

This is a fun new series to follow no matter what the weather is outside. A SPOONFUL OF MURDER contains a number of yummy recipes and a sneak peek at the next installment in the series, A BROTH OF BETRAYAL, coming soon from Berkley Prime Crime.

Author Connie Archer’s website is

A Spoonful of Murder by Connie Archer, A Soup Lover’s Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2012, ISBN: 978-0425251478, Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


9780425251461As readers turn their attention to healthier menus, it’s only natural that mystery protagonist would do the same.

Author Peg Cochran’s new protagonist Gigi Fitzgerald is the owner of a diet catering business, Gigi’s Gourmet De-Lite. All seems to be going well for Gigi until one of her signature dishes causing the death of restaurant reviewer Martha Bernhardt.

It seems someone has tampered with one of Gigi’s recipes adding peanut oil. It’s up to Gigi to cut through all the fat and find the real killer before her business dries up.

ALLERGIC TO DEATH is a fun read with well-developed characters. The pace is steady and filled with plausible twists and turns. There’s also a dash of humor to lighten the drama.

This is the first installment in a delightful new series. ALLERGIC TO DEATH also includes De-Liteful Diet Tips and delicious (and healthy) recipes that will tempt any eater.

Author Peg Cochran’s website is Peg Cochran is the pseudonym for Meg London.

Allergic to Death by Peg Cochran, A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2012, ISBN: 978-0425251461, Paperback, 272 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Do you enjoy finding new series that have a theme? Aren’t these book covers fabulous? Have you looked real close at them to see all the little hidden images? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Wishing you a fun Monday filled with great reading.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Salon: Call Me Wild by Robin Kaye

Photo source: Wikipedia
It’s that time of the week once again when we sit back, relax, make sure our cups are filled to the brim with our favorite beverage and discuss the wonderful books we’ve discovered. 

I'm talking about Sunday Salon. This week I have a tantalizing, fun book to share from an author whose books I enjoy reading again and again.

CALL ME WILD by Robin Kaye

New York sportswriter Jessie James is thrown for a loop when she receives a pink slip, but quickly recovers and decides it’s time to write a bestselling novel.

image005Borrowing a friend’s cabin in Boise, Idaho, Jessie sets out to write a romance novel. Despite the face she’s never read a romance novel and doesn’t much believe in love, Jessie undertakes the task thinking it will be quick and easy. She soon realizes just how wrong she is.

Meanwhile, Jessie has caught the eye of sports doctor Fisher Kincaid. He keeps running into her all over town making her wonder if she’s being stalked. When Fisher learns what Jessie’s doing, he offers his services as a test subject. When the two get-together, sparks and fun make for an interesting combination.

CALL ME WILD revisit’s the zany Kincaid family featuring Fisher and his brothers, Trapper and Hunter, and sister, Karma. Their interaction is contagious drawing readers into their fun-loving, mad-cap follies. Add in the spunky Jessie and you have a light-hearted romance sprinkled with humor, sense of family, loyalty - an out-and-out great read.

Author Robin Kaye creates characters that are well-developed, realistic and easy for readers to relate to. They each have their strengths, but also a vulnerable side with doubts and flaws. Readers become invested in Kaye’s characters and want to learn more and more about them. Kaye delivers this and much more as she explores each family member and those they come to love.

CALL ME WILD flows at a steady pace giving you laugh out-loud moments while leaving you breathless other times. The chemistry sizzles as the couple discovers what true romance is all about. This is one summer read you’ll want to keep the AC on high for as you visit with this steamy duo.

This is the second installment in Kaye’s Wild Thing series, but can be read alone.

Author Robin Kaye’s website is

Call Me Wild by Robin Kaye, A Wild Thing Series, Sourcebooks Casablanca, @2012, ISBN: 978-1402257339, Paperback, 352 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
What books have you discovered this past week? What’s on your list to read this week? Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful Sunday. Be sure to stop back by later this week when author Robin Kaye drops in for a visit. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dying To Read by Lorena McCourtney

Down on her luck and unemployed, Cate Kinkaiddying-to-read agrees to help her uncle out doing some minor P.I. work. Little does she know what major changes a little leg work can cause in her life.

Attempting to locate Willow Bishop’s current address for an out-of-state relative seems simply enough. But what Cate finds instead is an upset group of gray-haired mystery readers, a missing Willow, and Willow’s employer, Amelia Robinson, dead at the bottom of her back stairs.

The death appears to be an accident and Cate continues her search for Willow, but can’t let go of the feeling something is wrong. Returning to the scene of the accident later, Cate discovers Amelia’s niece who is threatening to send Amelia’s beloved cat, Octavia, to the animal shelter. Unable to help herself, Cate takes the cat home with her hoping to find her a good home later.

As her search for Willow continues, Cate encounters Mitch Berenski who isn’t all he seems to be. Finally finding Willow, Cate quickly discovers she’s gotten herself into a much deeper problem that could be fatal for her as well.

Author Lorena McCourtney weaves a fun tale of mystery, murder and mayhem. She has created a perky protagonist in Cate with flaws and doubts readers can relate to. The supporting characters are zany and unique in their own ways adds to this delightful story.

While the story deals with murder and mystery, McCourtney adds generous sprinkles of humor throughout especially when Octavia is involved. In addition, the author adds moments of inspiration.

DYING TO READ is a witty and fun Christian, cozy mystery with twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. The story flows at a good pace and will hold your attention from the first paragraph until the last sentence. Cate is an intriguing new protagonist that will soon be a favorite with readers.

Author Lorena McCourtney’s website is

Dying To Read by Lorena McCourtney, The Cate Kinkaid Files, Revell, @2012, ISBN: 978-0800721589, Paperback, 320 Pages 

*Available August 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher as part of a book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a fun and safe Saturday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Author Sophie King: Different Styles Of Writing

I’m always delighted to find an author who has been or currently is a journalist and my guest today fits this bill. Bestselling author Sophie King recently released a collection of her short stories entitled, TALES FROM THE HEART.

TALES FROM THE HEART brings together some of Sophie's best-loved short stories which have been published in a range of UK magazines such as Woman's Weekly and My Weekly. There are 20 stories on the themes of love, family and friendship. As a special bonus, the collection also contains the first two chapters of Sophie's brand new witty romance novel, DIVORCE FOR BEGINNERS, which will be published later this summer.

An e-book exclusive, TALES FROM THE HEART initially published only as a Kindle eBook but is scheduled to be released in other e-formats shortly. It was published by Corazon Books in July 2012.

Sophie has graciously answered some questions for me about her writing.

Mason - What is an average writing day like for you? Do you write longhand and/or on the computer, have a favorite place to write, a favorite time to write, listen to music, etc.?

Sophie - I like to get up between 6.30 and 7 to write for an hour before taking our dog for a run along the beach. My husband and I moved to Devon three years ago and I still have to pinch myself. Then, after breakfast with my husband, I write until lunchtime. I normally do about 2000 – 3000 words in three hours. Later in the afternoon, I’ll catch up with emails and then revise what I have written that morning. If I’m writing a novel, rather than a short story,  I will write every day (maybe with Sundays off). I need to do that in order to keep the story running in my head.

Tales from the Heart by Sophie King coverI write at a desktop with a giant screen although if I’m traveling, I’ll write on my laptop. I was taught to write straight onto the keyboard as a journalist when I was straight out of uni, and the habit has stuck.

I like to write in my study which is on the top floor. You can just about see the sea from there. But I’m thinking of decamping to the library because I get disturbed if the door bell goes or the phone rings. I can’t have any kind of noise, as my family will tell you! The seagulls can be really loud too! 

Mason - You’re a journalist, have written novels and now your short stories are published. Is there a difference in the way you approach these 3 different types of writing?

Sophie - Yes, there is a difference. As a journalist, I was taught to pare down a story and present it in an eye-catching (and accurate way). The story took precedence although the case histories were important too. 

As a short story writer, the idea has to be able to take off quickly and get wrapped up within 1000 to 2000 words. At the same time, you need to draw thumbnail sketch characters which are believable. 

With a novel, you need much more time in your head to let the idea grow and to also let the characters come to life. It’s a real commitment – rather like marriage instead of a short term relationship. I don’t write many short stories when I’m writing a novel as I need a different mindset for each one. Writing in three different ways, is  a bit like playing the same game (like tennis, for example) but employing different footsteps. 

Mason - What is the worst advice you’ve ever received concerning writing?

Sophie - The worst advice? It was at a careers evening in London when I was 18 and an older woman told me that it was very difficult to get a novel published. She told me to try something ‘safer’. I walked back across Hyde Park, crying my eyes out. Then I proved her wrong. Nowadays, I tell aspiring writers that although it’s difficult, SOMEONE has to do it. So why not them?

Mason - Of all the authors (past and present) you enjoy reading, has any one (or more) been an influence in your writing?

Sophie - I adore Fay Weldon’s books for their feisty heroines and also Maeve Binchy’s earlier books because  she took lots of different characters and made us see life through each one’s eyes. I particularly loved Evening Class. Maeve made me realize that I wanted to write multi-character viewpoints myself.
Mason - You have been shipwrecked on an island. You have 2 books, 1 food item (plenty of it) and your favorite _____. Name the books, what food would you want and fill in the blank.

Sophie - The blank would have to be my laptop. I can’t imagine being stuck somewhere and not being able to write. The books would be the Bible to keep me going from a spiritual point of view and also the complete works of Somerset Maugham. I devoured him at the age of fifteen: he’s timeless. In fact, we’re related by marriage through Robin Maugham: a fact which my mother was very proud of even though we never met him! The food item would have to be drinkable water but if that was already provided, I think it would be fruit or maybe ice cream (my secret vice).
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

Sophie - My first Sophie King novel, THE SCHOOL RUN, is being reissued in a new edition this month and I have a brand new novel, DIVORCE FOR BEGINNERS, which will be coming out in September. I also write as Janey Fraser, and my latest novel, THE AU PAIR is now available. My next Janey Fraser novel has already been commissioned by Arrow. I never talk about what I’m writing but it will involve some harassed parents who are trying to do one of the most difficult jobs in the world – bringing up children.

Sophie, thanks so much for answering these questions. I always enjoy learning more about a writer’s process. You have a number of interesting books coming out for us readers, can’t wait.

Here’s a bit of background on Sophie. She is the author of THE SCHOOL RUN, MUMS @ HOME, SECOND TIME LUCKY, THE SUPPER CLUB and THE WEDDING PARTY.  Her books are aimed at teenagers, mums and grans, or anyone else who can identify with a chaotic family life. Sophie has three children, a dog, a cat and a sleepy terrapin – all of whom make her laugh or cry, depending on how she feels.

Sophie has a pen name to distinguish her novels from her journalism. As Jane Bidder, she has written for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, My Weekly, Good Housekeeping and many other national publications. 

For more on Sophie and writing, visit her official website at and you can find her on Twitter @sophiek_writer.

Here’s a brief synopsis of TALES FROM THE HEART:
A woman cooks a meal for her ex-husband, but has more than food on her mind...
Can a new arrival remind a family of what is really important in life..?
A young couple's love transports an elderly woman into the past...
Will love second time around heal old scars..?
Warring grandparents refuse to see eye to eye...
Are family secrets best kept hidden..?
A wise man's last request brings surprises for his great-niece...

Told with wit, understanding, humour, love and romance - these Tales from the Heart, which have appeared in a range of popular women's magazines such as Woman's Weekly and My Weekly, are brought together in one collection for the first

Do you enjoy short stories? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Friday.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

Some authors pen 2 or 3 books a year (a wonderful treat for us readers), while others pen only one.

179987866Author Louise Penny is one of those authors who pens only one book a year and what a book she has this year. Penny’s latest release is THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, a Chief Inspector Gamache novel, well worth the wait.

The book is intense, powerful, suspenseful, nerve-racking, moving - an out-and-out great story. The narration by Ralph Cosham just boosts the story up a notch further. The audio also offers snippets of the enchanting music featured in the story. 

Cosham does an excellent job portraying Chief Inspector Armand Gamache interrupting his emotions, his highs and lows. In addition, Cosham gives unique voices to each of the other characters. He brings the characters to life with his distinct accents and cadence drawing the listener into this amazing tale. Not to disparage Penny’s wonderful story, but Cosham has an alluring voice that would make even the reading of a phone directory captivating.

The choir director of a forgotten order of monks in northern Quebec has been murdered. Gamache and his second in command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, of the Sûreté de Québec are called in to investigate. They are the first outsiders allowed in the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups (St. Gilbert Among the Wolves). The monks’ vow of silence has been lifted, but still they are not forthcoming with information.

The Gilbertine monks have been forgotten for hundreds of years. A recording of their beautiful ancient chants has made them world-famous and caused a division among the monks. Something tipped the scales causing one brother to kill another.

As Gamache and Beauvoir search for clues, they each are tormented by demons of their own. In their search for the killer there are twists and turns to provide a number of plausible suspects. When Superintendent Sylvain Francoeur shows up unexpectedly, Gamache is faced with new emotions and uncertainness that could effect his entire family.

The powerful emotions of the lead characters pulls you into the story. Penny does an excellent job describing the monastery in such a way it becomes a character as well. 

Throughout the story one phrase/action is repeated - ‘deep breath in, deep breath out.’ Penny’s writing goes along these actions. She takes you to a critical tense moment only to change course in the next paragraph giving you time to catch your breath before returning to take you over the edge. The characters are well-developed with flaws listeners/readers can relate to. Listeners/readers become invested in the characters anticipating, dreading their next action for fear where it will lead while eagerly rushing for more.

THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY is the 8th installment in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, but is a stand alone book. Back story from previous books is scattered throughout, but will only heighten a new reader’s interest (in the series) while not leaving them in the dark.

Once you begin THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, you won’t be able to stop and it will stay with you long after the end. The book takes you on a wonderful journey of highs and lows, good and evil, friend and foe before leaving you breathlessly at the stunning conclusion gasping for more.

Author Louise Penny’s website is
THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY is slated to be released Aug. 28. 

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Read by Ralph Cosham, MacMillan Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1427226099, Unabridged, 11 Discs, Listening Time: 13 Hours 30 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Are you easily pulled into stories? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Hope your day is filled with peace, wonderful friendship, a good book and maybe even a little music.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cabernet Sauvignon Beginners Guide by Sara F. Fasolino

Almost every romantic setting, whether real or imaginary, features a perfect bottle of wine.

SaraBookCoverYou think romantic dinner for two - nice bottle of wine. Relaxing in front of a roaring fireplace - nice bottle of wine. Picnic in the park - nice bottle of wine. You get the picture.

While I enjoy a glass of wine now and then, I really have no clue when it comes to selecting that nice bottle of wine. Author Sara Fasolino, a certified sommelier, has the solution to this problem. She has written a series of brief books (under 25 pages each) covering all types of wines. 

Sara is currently highlighting the CABERNET SAUVIGNON BEGINNERS GUIDE edition through her WOW-Women on Writing Blog Tour.

As a fun introduction to the series, Sara is offering each and every reader of this post a free eBook from her Wine Series. The offer is available throughout her tour run which ends Sept. 7. There are 21 books in the series to select from. Just click on this link which will take you to the series’ Facebook page. There you simply register and choose which wine you’d like to learn more about.

I was interested in learning more about CABERNET SAUVIGNON. This booklet give a brief history, talks about where the grapes are grown, and some basic winemaking practices.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a hearty grape making it one of the most widely planted. Since it is grown in many regions, the price can range from under $20 to well over thousands of dollars. In addition, the numerous regions where it’s grown gives the wine amazing variety.
The author gives a brief explanation of the winemaking practices, as well as details about the different ways the wine can be stored prior to bottling. She notes how to read a label in order to know more about the wine and what region it came from.

The glasses used to drink wine can make a difference in the taste. Also, the way a bottle of wine is stored before and after opening are important to the taste.

However, one of the most important things the book explains - Cabernet Sauvignon is the ‘be-all and end-all’ when it comes to pairing a wine with chocolate.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON BEGINNERS GUIDE is a quick and easy book to read. It’s informative and presented in an easy-to-use style. This is a great book for anyone wanting to learn about wines while also a helpful reminder to those who already know a bit about wine.

You can find this book and series on Tweeter by using the hash tag #Wine101CabSauv. 

Cabernet Sauvignon Beginners Guide by Sara J. Fasolino, Wine Series, 101 Publishing, @2012, ASIN: B008GW15T2, eBook, 347 KB 

FTC Full Disclosure - This eBook was sent to me by the publisher/author as part of the author’s blog tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Do you enjoy a glass of wine now and then? What’s your favorite? Do you know how to select the right wine? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Remember to stop by the Wine Series Facebook page by Sept. 7th for a free eBook from the series. Have a great Wednesday and enjoy a good book with your glass of wine tonight.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Author Douglas Corleone On Ending A Series

It’s always a pleasure to welcome an author back to Thoughts and author Douglas Corleone is returning today as his third novel, LAST LAWYER STANDING, hits bookstores.

Doug is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime series published by St. Martin's Minotaur. Here’s a brief synopsis of his latest release, LAST LAWYER STANDING:

Defense attorney Kevin Corvelli fled from New York to Hawaii after the sensational death of one of his clients three years ago. Now, in the wake of another client’s death—a client Kevin had fallen in love with—Kevin would run again if only he could pull himself free from a couple of high-profile, high-risk cases. The FBI is investigating the poisoning of a young woman who happened to be Governor Wade Omphrey’s mistress. The governor was off the island at the time, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t order the hit or that he doesn’t need a hotshot lawyer like Corvelli defending him.

Then the DEA raids a local meth lab and Turi Ahina is picked up in the sweep. A career criminal, Ahina has set Corvelli up with plenty of client referrals, but Corvelli owes him for much more than that ever since Ahina saved his life. Now Ahina’s only way out is to turn in the big man, and he can’t just tell the FBI who it is—they already know that. He needs to find him and set a trap, a trap that won’t succeed without Corvelli’s help. The plan is simple, as foolproof and dangerous as a suicide attempt.

As the stakes rise, Corvelli gets drawn in deeper and deeper until the only way he can escape is to stick it out to the end in LAST LAWYER STANDING, Douglas Corleone’s most compelling legal mystery yet.

Doug joins us today to talk about a reader’s worst nightmare - when an author ends a series.

last lawyer standingSaying goodbye is never easy – unless it’s to a miserable job or to your in-laws or to a particularly nasty head cold. But sometimes saying goodbye to a good thing is necessary, too. As an author it’s sometimes necessary to move on from what first got you published in order to move to the next level in your career. I’m talking, of course, about ending a series.  

In genre fiction, series have their pros and cons, for both the writer and the reader. Picking up a second or third or twelfth book in a series is like catching up with an old friend. You immediately experience that comfortable familiarity and within a few minutes (or a few pages) it’s as though you were never apart.  

Knowing you’re going to pick up where you left off makes it easy for a reader to follow several of their favorite authors without having to keep hundreds of different characters and dozens of unfamiliar settings in mind. Once a reader finds a character she adores, she wants to know what’s happening in that character’s life after the initial adventure that brought them together.  

For a writer, continuing a series cuts out a lot of the early legwork. Developing a fresh protagonist for a single book isn’t easy. Developing one for each new book you write over thirty or forty years can drive you insane. If every new protagonist has a different career, there’s an awful lot of research involved. (That’s probably why you see an awful lot of protagonists who are writers.)

On the other hand, developing new characters and creating new settings is part of the excitement of writing novels. Researching new careers enables a writer live several different lives throughout their own writing career. And, of course, if the series that got you published didn’t break you out as an author, moving on can feel a lot like moving forward.  

So it’s bittersweet for me to say goodbye to hotshot Honolulu defense attorney Kevin Corvelli. Kevin was with me for three books, from my debut ONE MAN’S PARADISE through my sophomore effort NIGHT ON FIRE, right up through 2012’s LAST LAWYER STANDING. I cherish every minute and every page I spent with Kevin and his colleagues and lovers. And I’ll miss him in 2013. But I’ll also be experiencing the excitement only a new series can bring.  

Next spring, my international thriller GOOD AS GONE will be released. It will feature a former U.S. Marshal named Simon Fisk, who specializes in recovering missing children around the globe. How long Simon sticks around will largely be left up to the readers. But there are high expectations going in, and I for one, can’t wait to see what happens next.    
Doug, thanks for returning to Thoughts and giving us a look at how ending a series also effects the writer. I can say as a reader, I don’t look forward to a series ending but I do look forward to finding a new series to begin. 

Doug’s debut novel, ONE MAN’S PARADISE, was nominated for the 2010 Shamus Award for Best First Novel. A former New York City defense attorney, Doug now lives in the Hawaiian Islands, where he is currently at work on his next novel.  

For more on Doug and his writing, visit him online at

What are your thoughts on a series ending? If you’re a writer, why would you continue or end a series? If you’re a reader, do you think a series should go on for only a short run or indefinitely as long as the writing remains true? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a great Tuesday.