Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guest Blogger, Dr. Mikel Brown

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Mikel Brown as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Dr. Brown is the author of UNEXPECTED TREASURES: 72 WAYS TO UNCOVER YOUR HIDDEN WEALTH, a new motivational self-help book.

The book is written for readers struggling with addiction, depression, divorce, financial challenges or any myriad of life's challenges. UNEXPECTED TREASURES provides proactive steps to help them escape the imprisonment of failure and discouragement. Based on his experience as a Licensed Clinical Counselor, businessman, and religious leader, Mikel shares 72 motivational triggers to help readers overcome these obstacles, and bring change to all areas of their lives—personal and professional.

Without exception, we each have, or will, face unwelcomed challenges throughout our lives. UNEXPECTED TREASURES inspires readers to delve deep within themselves for answers and gives readers the strategies to overcome obstacles and ignite the passion in their lives once again. 

Mikel, joins us today to talk about his reasons for writing UNEXPECTED TREASURES.

I wrote UNEXPECTED TREASURES for the many people whom I have counseled from marriage to depression to the victors who overcame their defeated mentality and to future entrepreneurs who are frustrated with getting their dream business off the ground. Unfortunately, not all of my clients and protégés have experienced the kind of success in life or business they were expecting, but many of them have. Some continue to get up after a fall, even though they are tired of making the same mistakes. Nevertheless, they have not surrendered to personal failure.

I personally know how it feels to struggle financially…not being able to pay your bills. I know what it’s like to sit a dark house because I didn’t have a measly ninety-nine dollars to pay my electric bill. People usually have a propensity to scan your current condition without ever giving thought to where you’ve been. I have been very acquainted with hard times, but I also know how to get up from my stupor and change my way of thinking.

I have played all the games that people who struggle with their

finances have played. For example, when your phone has been temporarily terminated and a friend informs you that they have been trying to get in touch with you, you quickly scan your thoughts for information, not wanting to lie, so you stretch your explanation to talk around the true reason for your disconnected phone service.
It is during times like these that a person struggle with capitulating to low self-esteem, a defeated self-image, frustrations, and suicidal tendencies. It is easy to speak out of your frustrations and sentence your life to doom and gloom. Therefore, people have to be reminded of the value placed in them despite the disappointments and challenges one may face. I often say that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Oftentimes, people prolong their suffering, due to errors or mistakes they’ve made, because they seem to toil with the prerequisite of being decisive and moving forward.

Mistakes will be made and consequences will be a result of those mistakes because it is a part of life. Nevertheless, mistakes can be corrected and consequences do not have to result in prolonged sufferings from those mistakes. UNEXPECTED TREASURES gives the reader real life people, in real life situations, who did not crumble of the weight of their blunders. My book gives the reader 72 motivational triggers to help strengthen them throughout periods of discouragement or mental collapse resulting from prolonged battles with unpleasant incidents.

This book is not a systematic, comprehensive guide to locating your personal treasures. However, it does point to the fact that under the debris of disappointment and frustrations, there is a creative individual waiting to emerge with personal peak power and a strategic thought process that makes the individual mentally ready to escape and overcome any of life’s challenges. Just as King David said in the Bible, “encourage yourself…”
UNEXPECTED TREASURES is designed to inspire its reader to overcome the obstacles and roadblocks that are designed to zap the life out of you. The 72 anecdotes will burst in your heart like a thousand suns and motivate you to get up after a fall and make your life exciting.

Thanks Mikel for stopping by today and telling us about your book. To read more of Mikel’s insightful writings, visit his blog at

Friday, July 30, 2010

Guest Bloggers, Lisa & Claire Hultin

Today I’d like to welcome the mother and daughter writing team of Lisa and Claire Hultin as special guest bloggers at Thoughts in Progress.

This pair is also online dating experts who recently released LOVE, SEX & DECEPTION: THE CHRONICLES OF ONLINE DATING. This book offers a bird’s-eye view of what daters most likely will encounter when they take the plunge into online dating. The book exposes “the real” cyber scene using the authors’ own unique and hilarious stories from their experiences dating online. Reality is the best education as seen in the many anecdotal stories from singles across the country.

LOVE, SEX & DECEPTION reveals the positive strategies daters can use to find true love and avoid deception and outrageous incidents. Claire and Lisa share the do’s and don’ts of online dating as well as tips, tricks and witty advice for those dipping their toes in the online dating pool. Get ready for unforgettable dates, like the man who dressed as Elvis when it wasn’t Halloween or the man who divulged he was divorced but failed to mention that he had since remarried. Learn how to become a savvy shopper of the online menu while making your most important investment---your affection, trust and time!

I asked the duo who used the online dating service first and did they recommend it to the other.

Lisa: I have been divorced for seven years dating online off and on. My daughter decided to join the online dating as a way to meet a new set of people outside of the college graduates and her circle of

friends. She recently moved to Los Angeles where she did not know anyone and online dating and networking has been a great source to meet a lot of people.
We decided to embark on a fun project of writing a trendy and educational book of "how to" and high comedy of anecdotal stories from men and women across the country.

It has been a wonderful bonding experience combining each of our talents and creativity to deliver a book for singles to know they are not alone. Almost everyone can relate to one of these stories in the book. We have compared our notes on "internet frogs" and actually survived! Reality is the best education as seen in the humorous stories of singles who expose the "real " cyber scene.

This book teaches how to be a savvy shopper online with strategies to protect your most important investment---your affection, trust and time! We started out with a website as a way to reach out to singles who would like to share their experiences. Now after our book has been published we have a new site moving forward with our blog and a line of products that appeal to the ladies.

Lisa, thanks so much for blogging here today. This is an interesting topic as we move more and more into the technology age I guess online dating is becoming the way to go. BTW, Lisa is a Georgia author, residing in Atlanta.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roseflower Creek by Jackie Lee Miles

If the prologue of ROSEFLOWER CREEK doesn’t pull you in, nothing ever will.

This dramatic story is told through the thoughts and memories of the 10-year-old protagonist, Lori Jean, who has been killed.

Your heart will ache for the hardships this child had to endure in her short lifetime. There are only a few rare moments she enjoyed happiness or felt loved.

The relationship she had with her grandmother seems to give her the strength and wisdom she had. The relationship with her best friend, Carole, was where she found happiness and enjoyed life as a child should. But even that time was marred with sadness.

Her closeness with her step father’s brother, his wife, and their children gave Lori Jean a taste of what family was and what she craved most for her own family unit.

Author Jackie Lee Miles gives readers a glimpse of the hardships endured by poor families living in the 1950s in a rural Southern town. She also gives a pertinent view of the cycle physical abuse can have in a family, along with the destruction it causes.

ROSEFLOWER CREEK is an easy read as to the writer’s use of the dialect of the region and era, as well as the engaging plot. It’s a hard read because of the nature of the story. You start with the outcome and look back at Lori Jean’s life to see how it got to that point. Knowing where it’s going, you can’t help but hope there’ll be a different ending after all.

After reading ROSEFLOWER CREEK, I think readers will feel the need to hug their children and grandchildren a little longer and a little tighter. Lori Jean is a strong and remarkable character that will stay with the reader long after they’ve put down the book.

Author Jackie Lee Miles’ website is

Roseflower Creek by Jackie Lee Miles, Cumberland House, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-4022-4001-0, Paperback, 256 pages

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guest Blogger, Douglas W. Milliken

Today’s post is a bit different from what I’ve done in the past and if you’ve been following this blog lately that shouldn’t surprise you.

Mary from Mary’s Detroit Photoblog is conducting the interview at Thoughts in Progress today with author Douglas W. Milliken about his recent fiction release, WHITE HORSES. 

Here’s a brief description of the book from the publisher’s website: “A dogwood. A kestrel. A tax collector fingering the slobber from his mouth. Italian prostitutes and pirate-eyed men. Overweight Americans trapped on the fire escape, tapping at your window. A husband who cannot tell his dreams from his waking life. A wife who cannot find her husband in the arms of any lover. No actual horses. A walk by the ocean. A walk though a blizzard, freezing and lost. A house full of emperor moths and a house slipping into the sea. A hole at the base of a skull and a hole in your neighbor's backyard. Another walk by the ocean. Another solo moth. A bird that refuses to migrate in winter and a father who dies before an argument can be won. The son whose argument will never be heard. The long road that never leads you home. One hundred percent disapproval. WHITE HORSES.”

The publisher is NaDa Publishing and their website is

Now the interview.

MARY:  WHITE HORSES is so powerful. It clutches me, wrings me out, leaves me with a deep melancholy. What kinds of syntactical choices did you make to inject it with such utter sadness (or, how did you do it?)

DOUG: I don't know how I did it. I had read an interview with Gary Lutz around the time I first started writing WHITE HORSES. There was a lot of discussion on his process, which I found really inspiring. The way he writes a story like a stonemason building a wall. Only one stone can fit between all the others. Only the correct words will tell the story correctly. Any substitutes are just filler.

I know I did not come anywhere near the expert finesse of Lutz, but then again, I wasn't aiming to. I was pushed by the idea of Lutz's work, not the possibility of recreating it. I was also morbidly depressed while writing WHITE HORSES. It was a cold winter, and

the woman that I lived with was slowly falling out of love with me, which was sort of like watching a car crash in slow-motion. I was haunted by nightmares of her and my brother and all the other people I loved disappearing or being murdered or simply leaving me.

I think WHITE HORSES was my attempt to create something that might possibly make all these bad things better. Like I could weave a safety net out of words. Like I might be able to save what little I still had. I think all these desperate factors together created a sort of poetry.

MARY:  WHITE HORSES seems to be a series of dream-like yet very realistic stories. It's also very poetic. Yet it somehow hangs together, almost like a novel. How would you define it, or, would you prefer not to?

DOUG: I don't know of any succinct term that can sum up whatever literary form WHITE HORSES might be. "Interconnected short stories" doesn't seem to cut it. A patchwork novella? Whatever. I'm not terribly concerned with labeling my work. From a traditional writer-publisher standpoint, being unable or unwilling to define what you do is almost always a near-fatal pitfall.

Luckily, NaDa is not traditional by any way, shape, or means. Andy (Lyman, of NaDa Publishing) read the manuscript and immediately got behind it. There was no real talk about its potential marketability. There was no conversation as to how it should be defined. As far as either of us was concerned, WHITE HORSES was label enough.

Thanks to both Mary and Doug for sharing this information with us. I’m always interesting in finding new authors and new books to expand my reading and share with everyone stopping by here

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Blogger, Cynthia Eden

Please join me in welcoming author Cynthia Eden who will be the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress today as part of her virtual book tour.

Cynthia’s latest release is DEADLY FEAR (ISBN: 9780446559249) and thanks to Anna and the folks at the Hachette Book Group I have 5 copies of this book to giveaway. To enter the contest, send me an e-mail ( Your subject line should read, “Win DEADLY FEAR.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. Just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter for giveaway is 8 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the 416 page book: FBI Special Agent Monica Davenport has made a career out of profiling serial killers. But getting inside the twisted minds of the cruel and the sadistic has taken its toll: She's walled herself off from the world. Yet Monica can't ignore fellow agent Luke Dante, the only man who ever broke through her defenses.

Luke has the unique ability to put victims at ease . . . professionally, he and Monica made a perfect team. Now they're reunited to catch a murderer who uses his victims' deepest, darkest fears for sport - but their investigative skills aren't enough. Luke and Monica will have to face the secrets from their past, the ones that terrify them the most, if they are to have a future together.
But can they catch a killer whose weapon is . . .DEADLY FEAR

Cynthia joins us to talk about writing and the research she did for this book.

My first romantic suspense novel, DEADLY FEAR, required some pretty extensive research. Lucky for me, l love research. 

When it comes to researching my books, I tend to divide my research into several areas. First up, career research for my characters. Since both my hero and heroine are FBI agents in DEADLY FEAR, it was pretty easy to focus my research. I learned about FBI training, about the tough standards for the agents, and the behind-the-scenes stressors that an agent faces. It’s not all glamour and glory—and I tried to portray that in my Deadly books.

Then, it was time for some crime scene investigation. Thanks to CSI, readers are pretty crime scene savvy these days.  So I wanted to make sure all of my crime scene details were accurate—and that meant hitting the books. My research shelves are full of crime scene and evidence handbooks. I joke to my husband that I could get rid of a body and all blood evidence in twenty minutes (well, he thinks I’m joking—I’m not).

Next, it was time for one of the most challenging aspects of my research…getting into the mind of a serial killer. Monica Davenport, the heroine of DEADLY FEAR, is a profiler. So it’s her job to think like a killer. And since I was writing her character—yes, you guessed it, I had a crash course on profiling.  One of the psychology professors at my local university happens to be a very good friend of mine, and when I needed psych advice, she was my go-to-girl.  (I do pity the poor people who were seated next to us during some of our killer conversations at restaurants.) Aided with her input and the massive amount of information that is available on the Internet, I began to construct my killer.

Sure, he changed a bit along the way, but characters do that. They always evolve during the story.  The best-laid plans with characters can often go awry—or, go down a more interesting path than the one originally planned.

Research is one of the most interesting aspects of my job.  I know dozens of ways to dispose of a body, I know how to lead an arson investigation, and I know how to conduct a ghost hunt—all courtesy of research I’ve conducted for my books.  And I’m already looking forward to my next research adventure!

Is there any area that you’d like to research? Do you think you’d like hand’s on research (like going on a real ghost hunt…I did that a few weeks ago!) or would you prefer getting your information from books and the Internet? Thanks!

Cynthia, thanks for joining us today and sharing this. It’s always interesting to see how authors go about doing the various types of research needed to write a novel.

Cynthia’s website is and she can also be found on twitter at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Changing Things Again

I’ve mixed up my reading/giving book genres so much lately I figured reviewing something totally different like dinnerware sets from wouldn’t be that much more of a stretch.

When Alexandria from contacted me recently about doing another promotion, I agreed to do a review of some of their items. I’m looking at some baking dishes and dinnerware, but also at some items for the cats. They have such a vast array of items it’s hard to decide and I’ve only browsed through a few of their online stores.

While I decide what to review I’m passing along a couple more book giveaways from Anna and the Hachette Book Group.

Be sure to check back this week as author Cynthia Eden will be guest blogging here tomorrow about her latest release DEADLY FEAR and author Doug Milliken will be here on Wednesday for an interview about his release WHITE HORSES. I’ll have a review of Jackie Lee Miller’s novel ROSEFLOWER CREEK on Thursday and on Friday….who knows what we’ll talk about.
Now the giveaways. Here are the guidelines for the giveaways. Note that I have 3 copies of each book and each book will have a different deadline date. To enter the contest, send me an e-mail ( Your subject line should read, “Win and the book title.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. Just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose.

The first book is THE GLAMOUR OF GRAMMAR (ISBN: 9780316027915) by Roy Peter Clark. This language arts and

disciplines book contains 304 pages and is paperback. The deadline for this book will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, Aug. 15.

Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer concrete nouns and active verbs. THE GLAMOUR OF GRAMMAR gives readers all the tools they need to"live inside the language"--to take advantage of grammar to perfect their use of English, to instill meaning, and to charm through their writing. With this indispensable book, readers will come to see just how glamorous grammar can be.
Read "Dream Blurbs"
Interview with Roy Peter Clark
Roy Peter Clark blogs at Writing Tools @

The next book is AH-CHOO! (ISBN: 9780446541152) by Jennifer Ackerman. This health and fitness book contains 256 pages and is paperback. The deadline for this contest will be Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Some colds are like mice, timid and annoying; others like dragons, accompanied by body aches and deep misery. In AH-CHOO!, Jennifer Ackerman explains what, exactly, a cold is, how it works, and whether it's really possible to "fight one off." Scientists call this the Golden Age of the Common Cold because Americans suffer up to a billion colds each year, resulting in 40 million days of missed work and school and 100 million doctor visits. They've also learned over the past decade much more about what cold viruses are, what they do to the human body, and how symptoms can be addressed. In this ode to the odious cold, Ackerman sifts through the chatter about treatments-what works, what doesn't, and what can't hurt. She dispels myths, such as susceptibility to colds reflects a weakened immune system. And she tracks current research, including work at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, a world-renowned center of cold research studies, where the search for a cure continues.

Hope everyone has a great day and happy reading.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Salon: Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a charming cottage in the countryside then FARM FATALE is a must read book. Plus, who could resist a book cover like that?

Author Wendy Holden weaves a funny and delightful tale of a London couple’s move from the big city to a small country town.

Rosie, a freelance illustrator, is bored with city life and longs for the countryside. Meanwhile, her live-in boyfriend Mark loves the city and is sure he’s about to get his ‘big break’ at the newspaper he works for.

The ‘big break’ turns out to be a new column concerning city dwellers versus country living. With continuous pressure from Rosie, the couple makes the move to the countryside.

What they find in Eight Mile Bottom is not all that Rosie had dreamed of. The locals are an eccentric group including a recluse rock star, a gossiping mailman, next door neighbors who are a throwback to the hippy-era, and a rich couple searching for something difference themselves. Oh, and there could be a ghost around too.

The witty dialogue and fun-filled adventures of the group will keep you entertained page after page.

FARM FATALE reminds me of GREEN ACRES, the sitcom from the late 1960s. The difference in FARM FATALE, the woman wants to move to the country instead of the man, but the adventure is just as funny.

Author Wendy Holden has created a funny and unpredictable story with wonderful characters you’ll enjoy. This a diverting summer read.

Author Wendy Holden’s website is

Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden, A Comedy of Country Manors, Sourcebooks Landmark, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-4022-3716-4, Paperback, 432 pages

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

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Books

I know at times by reading my posts you would never guess my favorite reading genre is mysteries, particularly cozy murder mysteries.

Since starting this blog I have expanded into other genres that I hadn’t read that much before and I also enjoy promoting books in various genres that I don’t even read. I know that just because I don’t like a certain book or a certain genre doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It just means it’s not my taste but others enjoy it.

Today, thanks to Anna and the folks at the Hachette Book Group, I’m passing along the chance to win a number of self-help books and a science book. I’ve never been very big on reading science books, but this book is intriguing. Be sure to click on the link, the site is quite interesting.

Real life is taking me away from blogdom for much of today and tomorrow. I will have a review up tomorrow, but won’t be able to visit much until late tomorrow evening, if at all. Please overlook my absence and I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful weekend.

Here are the guidelines for the giveaways. Note that I have 3 copies of each book and each book will have a different deadline date. To enter the contest, send me an e-mail ( Your subject line should read, “Win and the book title.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. Just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose.

The first book is THE VIXEN MANUAL (ISBN: 9780446179980) by

Karrine Steffans. The contest for this 288 page self-help paperback will end at 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Aug. 7.

Since she exploded on the scene with her two juicy and impossible-to-put-down tell-alls, readers have wanted to know even more about what makes Karrine Steffans tick. How was she able to meet all the high profile politicians, movie stars, and other celebrities that are her close acquaintances? What skills does she possess to keep men wanting more? Finally, Karrine lays it all out and explains exactly what a woman must do to win over the man of her dreams. With chapters like "Never Let Him See You Sweat," "Flirting," "Encouraging His Manhood," and "Give Him What He Wants," this hot and sexy manual is a must-have for every woman's bookshelf.
Read an excerpt
Download the Podcast

The next book is FIT FOR LIFE (ISBN: 9780446553643) by Harvey Diamond and Marilyn Diamond. The contest for this 336 page health and fitness paperback will end at 8 p.m. (EST) on Monday, Aug. 9.

It's the program that shatters all the myths: FIT FOR LIFE the international bestseller that explains how to change both your figure and your life. Nutritional specialist Harvey and Marilyn Diamond explain how you can eat more kinds of food than you ever ate before without counting calories...and still lose weight! The natural body cycles, permanent weight-loss plan that proves it's not only what you eat, but also when and how, FIT FOR LIFE is the perfect solution for those who want to look and feel their best. Join the millions of Americans who are FIT FOR LIFE and begin your transformation with:
* The vital principles that bring you permanent weight loss and high energy
* The FIT FOR LIFE secrets of timing and food combining that work with your natural body cycles
* A 4-week meal plan, menus, shopping tips, and exercise
* Delicious recipes and more.

Read an excerpt

The next book is GET POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL (ISBN: 9781599951447) by Carmindy. The contest for this 224 page health
and fitness paperback will end at 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Aug. 11.

According to a recent study, only 2% of women describe themselves as 'beautiful.' (Dove Global Study 'The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report', 2004) The media instructs women how to 'look ten years younger,' 'cover up wrinkles,' or 'get fuller, plumper lips.' And even makeup products play off women's insecurities, promising to conceal perceived flaws, define cheekbones, or make eyelashes fuller and longer. The underlying message? That there's something inherently wrong with the way women look and that they have to spend time, money, and energy keeping up with all the ways they should 'fix' themselves.

In GET POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL, makeup artist Carmindy from TLC's hit program What Not to Wear shows you how to change your mindset from negative fault-finding to a positive beauty philosophy. You learn how to find and focus on your best features and how to combat negative thoughts about your appearance. Carmindy demonstrates easy makeup techniques for eyes, brows, lashes, lips, cheeks, and skin, and how to adapt looks to different weather conditions and 'beauty moods.'

The last book is THE LINK (ISBN: 9780316070096) by Colin Tudge

and Josh Young. The contest for this 272 page science paperback will end at 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, Aug. 13.

For more than a century, scientists have raced to unravel the human family tree and have grappled with its complications. Now, with an astonishing new discovery, everything we thought we knew about primate origins could change. Lying inside a high-security vault, deep within the heart of one of the world's leading natural history museums, is the scientific find of a lifetime - a perfectly fossilized early primate, older than the previously most famous primate fossil, Lucy, by forty-four million years.


These all seem to be quite interesting books. Be sure to enter for a chance to win one or all. Remember tomorrow I hope to have a book review to share with you. In the meantime, have a wonderful Saturday. I’ll be thinking of all you even thought I’ll be away from blogdom. Be safe.

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Conquer A Highlander by Mary Wine

To travel to a different time and place all one has to do is pick up a copy of Mary Wine’s TO CONQUER A HIGHLANDER.

Laird Randal McBoyd raids McLeren land in an attempt to show the Earl of Atholl that he is on his side in his bid to be King of Scotland. McBoyd assumes Atholl will send more men to help fight off the Highlanders when they retaliated. McBoyd promises his daughter to Atholl’s nephew to seal the bargain.

Shannon McBoyd is awaken and told she is being sent to Atholl’s nephew to wed. Though she knows her place, Shannon questions her father’s actions and feels his rage with a slap to her face.

Meanwhile, Laird Torin McLeren is enroute to confront McBoyd for his actions. When McLeren discovers Shannon enroute to wed, he decides to kidnap her.

That’s when the fun begins despite the warring between the clans.

Shannon is a strong minded, independent woman in an era when women were less than second class citizens. She worked hard, but always felt women should be equal to men.

Torin is a handsome, brave Highlander who protects his people and rules with compassion. He believes in love in a marriage, not just an arrangement to further clans and land holdings.

The back and forth bantering between Torin and Shannon makes for most enjoyable reading. Author Mary Wine’s beautiful descriptions of the countryside and wonderful dialect transport the reader to Scotland.

TO CONQUER THE HIGHLANDER is a historical romance that will take your breath away. Some scene are quite intense and will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next.  This is the first in a trilogy of sexy Scottish Highland romances.

Mary Wine’s website is

To Conquer A Highlander by Mary Wine, Sourcebooks Casablanca, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-4022-3737-9, Paperback, 352 pages

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

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time Slips Away

Ever had one of those days when it seems time slips by way too fast?

With summer well underway and our temperatures range from 90 to just above 100 degrees (F), it seems time is flying by at an alarming pace. I turn around and the week is gone and there is still so much to do. Before I know it, summer will be gone and winter will have arrived.

I bring this up because time slipped by and several giveaways are up. In addition, I have two new giveaways to announce.

First up let me announce the winners, next I’ll tell you about the new giveaways, and then we’ll talk again.

Winning Robert Ludlums’ THE BOURNE OBJECTIVE are Tabathia B. of North Carolina, Jemi at Just Jemi, and L. Diane at Spunk On A Stick.

Winning David Foster Wallace’s THE BROOM OF THE SYSTEM are Dawn M. of Oklahoma, Joyce S. of Texas, and Linda D. of Oklahoma.

Winning Tony Hsieh’s DELIVERING HAPPINESS are Eleanor H. of Pennsylvania, Thomas T. of Georgia, and Ron M. of Minnesota.

Winning Christopher Hitchens’ HITCH 22 are Pearl E. of New Mexico, Dawn M. of Oklahoma, and Heather J. of Florida.

Winning Jerry Weintraub’s WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU’LL KNOW I’M DEAD are Linda D. of Oklahoma, Sharon B. of New Mexico, and Eleanor H. of Pennsylvania.

Winning Amanda Scott’s TEMPTED BY A WARRIOR are Theresa N. of South Carolina, Jen at Unedited, Theresa at Substitute Teacher’s Saga, Cecile at All I want and more..., and Vicki at Rambles & Randomness.

Winning Eileen Dreyer’s BARELY A LADY are Meredith M. of Florida, Sue A. of California, Mary S. of Texas, and Anita Y. of Georgia.

Congratulations to all the winners and a special thanks to everyone who entered the giveaways.

Now the new giveaways. First up is the audio I have to offer thanks to Anna and the folks at Hachette Audio Books. I have 3 unabridged

copies of  THE ISLAND (ISBN: 9781067882404) by Elin Hilderbrand and read by Denice Hicks.

Four women — a mother, her sister, two grown daughters — head to Tuckernuck for a retreat, hoping to escape their troubles. Intead, they find only drama, secrets, and life-changing revelations.
Listen to an Excerpt

Start Reading Online

View the Video

To enter the contest, send me an e-mail ( Your subject line should read, “Win The Island.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest ends at 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Aug. 5, and is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. Just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose.

The next giveaway is for the 384-page fiction paperback NEW

TRICKS (ISBN: 9780446505888) by David Rosenfelt. Thanks to Valerie and the folks at Hachette Book Group I have three copies to giveaway.

Attorney Andy Carpenter is about to represent an adorable Bernese mountain dog puppy, whose owner was brutally murdered, in a custody fight. Few can rival Andy's affection for dogs, and he's determined to keep Waggy from falling into the wrong hands. But this playful pup possesses a valuable secret that some people will resort to violence to obtain. It will take more than Andy's usual courtroom theatrics to save Waggy, including help from the lawyer's golden retriever, Tara. Andy soon discovers that everyone around him is in danger, including his longtime girlfriend, Laurie--and only some high-risk new tricks will save those he cherishes most.

To enter the contest, send me an e-mail ( Your subject line should read, “Win New Tricks.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest ends at 8 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, Aug. 8, and is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. Just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose.

Two more good books, be sure to enter. I hope to have another book review tomorrow and then a few more books to giveaway on Saturday. The month is winding down and I’m busy scheduling authors for August.

Just a couple of things I want to pass along, just in case you haven’t already heard about them. The ladies at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen are having a week-long celebration for their one year blog anniversary. They’re giving away a daily prize, as well as a grand prize. Kathi at Kathi’s Writing Nook has a great contest going on to promote her upcoming release of THE STONE TRAVELER. Be sure to check it out.

Thanks for stopping by. Take time to enjoy a few minutes with a good book today, you’ll never know where it will take you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Marilyn Meredith, Guest Blogger

It is my pleasure to welcome award-winning author Marilyn Meredith back to Thoughts in Progress as a guest blogger on her tour of the blogosphrere.

Marilyn, who writes two amazing series, is here to today to talk about a book that is a little different and more personal than what she normally writes. In addition, she has an unusual contest she’s running during her tour. Be sure to check at the end of the post for all the contest details. Marilyn, tell us about your latest book, Lingering Spirit.

First, let me say I feel so privileged to be on Mason Canyon’s blog once again. Thoughts in Progress is a great blog with so many interesting topics—and Mason is so faithful about checking out other people’s blogs and leaving comments. I truly appreciate that thoughtfulness.

Today I thought I’d write about the supernatural aspects of my latest book, Lingering Spirit.

Basically a romance, this story is based on a true happening in my family—a tragic event. My son-in-law, whom I loved like my own son—was killed in the line of duty, leaving my daughter a widow and three little boys without a father.

Though this event and some of what transpired after were the basis of the story I wrote, it is not my daughter’s story. The characters in the book are much different in looks and personality than anyone in real life. It is a fiction.

What did happen, in real life, which I built on in my story, is my son-in-law’s spirit did not leave this world immediately. Several things happened to make us know this.

I stayed home to babysit my youngest grandson and a family friend’s little girl while everyone went off to the viewing the night before the funeral. I was sitting in a place where I could see the

front and back door. The kids were in the back of the house. The little girl came out and said, “There’s a big man in your daughter’s bedroom.” I didn’t go see, I knew it wasn’t a flesh and blood person, but that it was my son-in-law’s spirit. And no, no man ever came out of that part of the house.

When everyone came back for refreshments after the viewing, my son-in-law’s radio came on in the garage, blaring the country music he liked to listen to. The garage had to be unlocked so the radio could be turned off.

Several nights both my daughter and her boys felt someone kissing them on the cheek.

I definitely believe in Heaven and I know in my heart that’s where my son-in-law is now. But he died an unexpected and violent death, and I think it took his spirit awhile before it was ready to leave his family.

Whether or not you believe in such things doesn’t matter, but now you know why I wrote this book.

Marilyn, thank you so much for including Thoughts in Progress on this tour. There are many things that happen that we are unable to explain especially when it involves a loved one who has died. Thank you for sharing this.

Marilyn is the author of nearly thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Dispel the Mist from Mundania Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, An Axe to Grind is the latest from Oak Tree Press.

In addition, she is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and her blog at

Now for the contest guidelines: Have you ever dreamed of being immortalized in print? Well, here’s your chance! Marilyn is running a contest during her LINGERING SPIRIT Virtual Book Tour, which runs through July 30th. Marilyn will name a character in her next Rocky Bluff P.D. book after a reader who comments on the most blog stops during her virtual book tour. The next Rocky Bluff P.D. book is currently scheduled to be released in 2012. Leave a comment here and check out her blog to find the other stops on her tour in your quest to get your name in Marilyn’s next Rocky Bluff P.D. book. 

Just found out there is a book trailer for LINGERING SPIRIT so I'm adding it here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nowhere To Hide by Terry Odell

Author Terry Odell, who is also a fellow blogger, has a new book that was just released on Friday, July 16.

I had hoped to have my review ready prior to the release date, but was unable to do so. This is a enjoyable fast pace read. Be sure to stop by Terry’s Place this week for her virtual launch party. Now my review.

Terry Odell’s novels are listed as romantic suspense. However, I think she writes action-packed suspense and intrigue with just enough romance sprinkled throughout for an amazing read.

Colleen McDonald has moved to Orlando, FL, from the small town of Cedar Grove, OR. She’s trying to start a new life and put a traumatic past behind her. Deputy Graham Harrigan wants to work in the CID unit of the Orlando Sheriff’s Department and prove he’s overcome some bad mistakes he made as a Rookie cop. 

When a woman reports her step father, Jeffrey Walters, is missing Harrigan is given the routine case. When checking on the man’s property, he discovers that Colleen has rented the cottage and Walter’s aunt is now living in the main house. There is an immediate attraction between Colleen and Graham but both are reluctant to act on it.

Harrigan is determined to solve the case in order to get the slot in the Criminal Investigation Division. He needs to prove he is nothing like his unsavory former training partner.

The search for Walters continues. Harrigan and Colleen continue to run into each other and soon they are working together to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Harrigan finds he’s drawn to Colleen in ways he’s never felt before even thought he knows she hiding something from her past. Meanwhile, Colleen is having trouble accepting Harrigan at face value. She has no trust nor experience with men.

The fast-pace drama of NOWHERE TO HIDE will keep you spellbound from the first page to the end. Along the way you’ll think you’re on a roller coaster ride at Disney World. The ups and downs, twists and turns of this case will have you wondering, guessing, hoping, and pleading, not to mention a little breathless too.

Harrigan and Colleen dig deeper into this case and unravel a real estate scheme, murder and deceit. As they pursue the case, their personal lives become intertwined. Harrigan learns Colleen is a former cop suffering from a bad experience where her partner was killed. He begins to share his feeling with her and open up a bit about his own checkered past.

The plot is gripping and the characters lovable and realistic. Graham is Colleen’s knight in shining armour if only she’ll open her heart and mind to the possibilities. The ending will take you by surprise. 

Terry Odell blogs at Terry’s Place  and her website is

Nowhere To Hide by Terry Odell, The Wild Rose Press, @2010, ISBN: 978-1601547675, Paperback, 314 pages

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