Monday, April 30, 2012

Author Sue Moorcroft Talks About Writing

It’s my pleasure to welcome award-winning romance author Sue Moorcroft here today to talk about her writing and her latest release, LOVE & FREEDOM.

Here’s a brief description of LOVE & FREEDOM: New start, new love.
That's what Honor Sontag needs after her life falls apart, leaving her reputation in tatters and her head all over the place. So she flees her native America and heads for Brighton, England. 

Honor is hoping for a much-deserved break and the chance to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby. What she gets is an entanglement with a mysterious male whose family seems to have a finger in every pot in town.

Martyn Mayfair has sworn off women with strings attached, but is irresistibly drawn to Honor, the American who keeps popping up in his life. All he wants is an uncomplicated relationship built on honesty, but Honor's past threatens to undermine everything. Then secrets about her mother start to spill out ... 

Honor has to make an agonizing choice. Will she live up to her dutiful name and please others? Or will she choose freedom?

Sue has graciously answered some questions for me.

Mason - Have you always wanted to write or was there an event that led you to writing?

SUE - If there ever was a time I didn’t want to write, I don’t remember it. When I was asked to write stories at school I thought it was a bit of a cheat that I received good marks. After all, all I was doing was making things up! Easy. 

I had a horrible teacher when I was ten, the kind who makes you scared to go to school. But he told me that I could write and that one day there would be books on the shelf with ‘Sue Moorcroft’ on the spine. It was quite a long time before I made that come true. For many years, I wrote for myself and made up stories in my head or for my children … then one day I found I wanted to write a novel and had a story inside me that was trying to get out. I had a few hours each week when the children were at school or preschool and looked forward to that time as an oasis of indulgence – writing my story. 

I wrote two novels in that period. Publishers returned them to me so promptly that I decided I needed to do a course. Around the same time, I read that it was possible to get interest in a novel if you had about twenty short stories published in national newsstand magazines, so I took that route, selling three stories while on the course.

I had eighty-seven short stories, a serial and some articles to my credit before I got the call, ‘I have an offer for you’. But, loosely, the strategy worked.

Mason - What advice have you received that you pass on to aspiring writers?

SUE - Don’t make enemies. I have a tendency to react/speak impulsively, but remembering this advice from fellow Choc Lit author, Margaret James, has probably kept me out of awkward situations. 

Also, from a poster, ‘The editor may not always be right, but s/he’s always the editor.’ Very useful, that one!

Mason - How do you go about doing research for your writing? Is it a process you enjoy or just find it necessary?

SUE - It depends on the research but, generally, I love it. For LOVE & FREEDOM, I had to research the area around Brighton on the south coast of England, and west Connecticut. Also, cakes. (It’s a hard life …)

Researching Connecticut was great because my brother lives there and he and his lovely wife drove me around the state while I took photos and asked brainless questions.

Happily, I don’t at all mind hitting on people … erm, I mean, asking people politely if they’ll help me. I’m always open about my project and what I need. Usually, I get it, sooner or later. I’m keen that my research should be correct, so that people won’t read my books and tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Also, I harness the power of Twitter and Facebook and ask followers and friends to help me out. For LOVE & FREEDOM, that got me help from an attorney on identity theft and from all kinds of people on hacking. It was scary how many people knew how to cause havoc on the Internet, actually.

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

SUE - Influence … does that suggest that I wish to emulate them? My aim is to write like Sue Moorcroft rather than like someone else, however fabulous they might be. 

I’ve had a lifelong affair with the works of Nevil Shute and Georgette Heyer and still reread their stuff frequently. I have a huge admiration for writers such as Suzanne Brockmann and Linda Howard who write really hot romantic relationships on brave bold canvases. But I don’t feel my talents lie in the same area. 

Mason - What is next on the agenda for you?

SUE - DREAM A LITTLE DREAM. I’ve just received the cover (it’s scrumptious) but I haven’t yet completed my edits. It’s a book about realizing dreams. Just to make it interesting, I made Liza’s dream conflict directly with Dominic’s dream. And, as Dominic has a rare sleep disorder, he has his own take on dreams ... 

I REALLY enjoyed the research for this book. I think I officially joined the Research Junkie Club. Apart from meeting a really nice guy who gave me endless help with the sleep disorder, narcolepsy, I had to have a whole load of reflexology treatments, a fish pedicure, learn to drive (sail?) a 28 foot river cruiser and spend an afternoon in an air traffic control tower. 

(I’m thinking that, in my next book, my heroine will get a facelift and a toy boy. The research would be amazing.)

Sue, thanks so much for sharing these answers with us. I so enjoy your take on doing research.

Now for a bit of background on Sue. She writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Her latest book, LOVE & FREEDOM, won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance. 

Combining writing success with her experience as a creative writing tutor, she’s written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (Accent Press). Sue also writes a regular Formula 1 column for, short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum. She's a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner. 

For more on Sue and her writing, check out her website and her blog at for news and writing tips. You can also befriend Sue on Facebook or Follow Sue on Twitter.

Do you think research is a big factor in writing? Thanks so much for stopping by. Remember, LOVE & FREEDOM and Sue’s other novels can be purchased at book stores and online retailers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Author Karen Kondazian: Women Who Lived As Men

Reading can transform us into anything our imagination envisions. But what about becoming someone else just to survive? 

Author Karen Kondazian makes a stop here today on her WOW Blog Tour launching the release of THE WHIP, a historical fiction novel based on a true story. In her book, Karen takes readers on a trip back in time to the Wild West and a woman devastated by loss who hides from her pain by masquerading as a man (and she happens to kill a couple desperados while in disguise).

Here’s a brief synopsis of THE WHIP
Life can be tough! Imagine falling in love with a runaway slave and having his child. Or tracking a killer who destroyed your family. Living your life as a man, making your living as a stagecoach driver, or killing a famous outlaw. Any one of those things would qualify as a tough life but what if they ALL happened to you? They did to Charley Parkhurst and THE WHIP is the story of her incredible life in the Wild West of the 1860s. 

Karen joins us to talk about ‘the original Steel Magnolias: women who lived as men.’

KarenKBookCoverFor a myriad of reasons, many women throughout history have put on britches and lived their lives as men. Charley Parkhurst, (1812-1879) the main character of my novel, THE WHIP, was one of those free spirited women. 

That females have chosen to live as men is no surprise though, since women always, since time memorial, have confronted constraints and rules in how to behave and how to live their lives in their 'gentile cage'. Ninety-nine percent of the 'gentle sex' had two choices in which to live out their dreams: that of wife or prostitute, and on rare occasions, if they had some education, they could aspire to become a teacher, but always under a man. 

So for a few brave and extraordinary women who wanted to live their lives out loud, there was sometimes no other choice except to don men’s clothing in order to gain freedom and access to man’s privileges. Many of these courageous women are known, but most lived and died and were not famous, so their names are lost. But Loreta Velazquez and Hannah Snell are two women we do know of who made the same bold decision as Charley Parkhurst, but for different reasons.

Loreta J. Velazquez (a.k.a. Henry Buford)

image Though born in Cuba in 1842, Loreta Velazquez eventually made her way to New Orleans for schooling, where she learned English. There in Louisiana she fell in love and eventually eloped with a soldier known only as William, and at the outbreak of the American Civil War, joined the Confederate Army. When Velazquez wasn’t able to convince William to let her join him, she disguised herself under the name of Henry Buford and went to Arkansas. She recruited over 200 men in several days, and presented them to her husband to command.

Disguising herself as a man must have been liberating because she later moved on to Tennessee and fought in the siege of Fort Donelson until the Confederate Army surrendered. During this period, Velazquez became a lieutenant. At the battle of Shiloh, she fought the same battalion she’d raised in Arkansas but was wounded. When the doctor discovered that he was a she, she quickly left for New Orleans and gave up her uniform. Later, authorities would hire her as a spy (as a woman) and while traveling north, officials hired her once to search for herself!

Hannah Snell (a.k.a. James Grey)

Hannah Snell, born in 1723, would marry in 1744 and move to London. Two years later, she gave birth to her daughter. However, her daughter died and her husband later deserted her. Maybe as a way to cope with her grief, she assumed her brother-in-law’s name, James Grey, and, dressing in men's clothes began looking for her husband. 

In her search, she moved to Portsmouth and ended up joining the Marines. Her unit set sail on the ship Swallow, and sailed to Lisbon, Mauritius and eventually India.

Fighting in the battle of Devicotta in 1749, she was wounded several times in the legs as well as her groin. Somehow, she was able to treat her groin wound secretly and her sex was never revealed. 

Probably tired of keeping her sex a secret, when her unit returned to Britain, she revealed her true self to her shipmates. Snell would then petition the Duke of Cumberland for her pension, and sold her story to the publisher Robert Walker, who published her account in several different newspapers. 

She would be honorably discharged and the Royal Hospital officially recognized Snell’s military service, granting her a pension. At the end of it all, though, she eventually remarried and had two children, coming full circle to where she began.

Karen, thanks for sharing these stories with us. It’s fascinating to learn how these women survived (and thrived) as men.

Here’s a bit of background on Karen. Her life dream was to be a CIA spy…until she turned eight and she was invited to appear on Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. After several days of missing school to tape the show Karen realized that acting was indeed her true calling. 

Karen has an extensive list of both theatre andWOWblogExcellence television roles she’s played and also teaches at the Lee Strasberg School of Theatre and Film in Hollywood. Karen’s first foray into writing also stayed in the acting realm: The Actor’s Encyclopedia of Casting Directors. But now she’s branched out into historical fiction with a main character that any actress would love to play! 

For more on Karen and her writing, visit her website, check out her blog, find her on Facebook, or chat with her on Twitter at @thewhipnovel and on Twitter the hashtag is #WhipNovel.

Now here’s an intriguing book trailer where the author discusses THE WHIP with Peter Robinson.

Ladies, have you ever dressed up as a man? Men, what about you - anyone ever dressed as a woman? Thanks so much for stopping by today. It’s always fun learning more about history and the people who made it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rooted In Danger by Terry Odell

Enjoying a good suspense/mystery/romance story is always fun, but when it’s a continuation of a series you feel as though you’re returning to greet old friends and catch up.

The Blackthorne, Inc. Series by author Terry Odell is one such series. I had the pleasure (and honor) of reading the latest in the series, ROOTED IN DANGER, before it’s slated released May 11. Be sure to pre-order your copy today.


159118781From the first page of ROOTED IN DANGER, I was captivated by the fast-pace story and the fascinating characters.

Author Terry Odell has created an elite team of undercover covert operatives in her Blackthorne, Inc. series. As she focuses on different members of the team, she brings out the characters flaws and their charming qualities making them sexy, macho men with hidden teddy bear traits.

ROOTED IN DANGER highlights the talents and personal side of Foster “Fozzie” Mayhew, an Intel Specialist with Blackthorne. After a tense rescue mission on a tropical island, the cocky Aussie is given a ‘cushy’ assignment before being sent on leave time. Fozzie only has to located the daughter of an extremely wealthy client and tell her she’s wanted at home.

Victoria Hamilton wants nothing to do with her father or the family business. She’s even changed her name. Now Torie Stoker, she’ is determined to follow up on scientific research her best friend, Kathy, was doing before she died after a recent trip to a tropical island.

Just as Fozzie locates Victoria/Torie, he discovers someone else is looking for her too and their intentions are far more deadly. The suspense builds as Fozzie and Torie try to figure out who is after her and why. At the same time, sparks begin to erupt between the unlikely couple.

The story flows quickly with likable, well-developed characters. The tale is a good mixture of mystery and romance with just the right sprinkles of humor and suspense.

This is the 3rd installment in the Blackthorne, Inc. series, but is a stand alone read. However, after meeting Fozzie, you may find you want to know more about the other operatives of this elite group.

Author Terry Odell’s website is

Rooted In Danger by Terry Odell, A Blackthorne, Inc. Novel, Five Star Publishing, @2012, ISBN: 978-1432825850, Hardcover, 388 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.
Do you enjoy a mixture of mystery, romance and suspense in your reading? Thanks so much for stopping by. Remember to share your love of reading with others.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Author James Ross On Writing Backwards

It’s my pleasure to welcome author James Ross here
today as he makes a stop on his Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tour with his latest release, PABBY’S SCORE

James is here to talk about writing backwards. But first here’s a brief description of PABBY’S SCORE:
Pabby and Shae, teens with special needs hoping to expand their experience outside Footprints of Hope foster care center arrive at Prairie Winds Golf Course on the east side of St. Louis. 

Innocence and youthful enthusiasm get caught in an undercurrent of sinister events. Civil injustice prompted by an unethical attorney arrives in the form of a bogus insurance claim. Alcohol and greed taint a dishonest judge. An internet dating site feeds an affair. Shady police work attempts to stain the reputation of head pro, J Dub Schroeder. As the court spins out of control an ethics board investigation and an edgy game of instant messaging tempt the hands of fate. 

Savant-like tendencies, dementia and flying falcons intertwine with Native American customs, thoroughbred racing, and a trip up the river road to Lighthouse Point. A retired barrister hints about a corrupt underground society. 

Can revealing a dark secret settle PABBY’S SCORE?

Now James asks, ‘Have You Ever Tried Writing Backwards?’ 

Have you ever tried writing backwards? I don’t mean that in a literal sense. That thought was what lead me to my first novel.
How can that be? The answer provides an interesting story. 

timthumb.phpA good doctor friend and golfing buddy suggested that the story that I had would make an entertaining movie. With all of the twists and turns and quirky characters he thought that the story was made for the big screen. 

I chewed on that suggestion. One month became about a year and a half. Finally after a golf trip he asked me what I was going to do that night. I told him that I was going to start that movie. 

He had forgotten what he had said. So I reminded him of his suggestion. I went home, searched online and found a screenwriting club based in Hollywood. I signed up, eventually purchased screenwriting software and stared at a blank page. Understanding the commands was like learning a foreign language. 

After a while I figured bits and pieces of the software out and pounded away on the keyboard. Three months later I announced that I had written my first movie which was destined to become a blockbuster. 

Wrong! I had the masterpiece reviewed and there was enough red ink to make two Sharpies proud. Two rewrites later my reviewer and I decided that the story, plot and characters were good enough to get professional help. 

The next step took me to a hired consultant. Eight rewrites later the script got pretty decent. I asked him what would help it sell. He said, “The book.” 

Ouch. I didn’t want to write a book. I thought about that for a couple of months and admitted that it was something that I should pursue. The script provided a wonderful outline for my first novel – LIFETIME LOSER.

Then a funny thing happened. The characters were screaming for another story. FINISH LINE was born. Then TUEY’S COURSE. After that was OPUR’S BLADE. PABBY’S SCORE was recently released. It is the fifth in the Prairie Winds Golf Course series.
Anything can happen when you go to a blank piece of paper. After that aggressive path I’m slowing down a little. One novel a year for five years has been time consuming, but very rewarding. 

I dug the LIFETIME LOSER screenplay out of a buried file. We’re going through that with a fine-toothed comb right now. It has gotten a lot better with every rewrite which is approaching 20 or so. Maybe I can eventually have my writing career come full circle. That screenplay was certain impetus for my first novel. Talk about doing it backwards. 

James, thanks for sharing your story with us. It’s always fun to learn how authors begin their writing journey and how books find life.

Here’s a bit more about James. Known best for living life to the fullest James decided early on that he was going to work to live, rather than live to work. With a persuasive demeanor and a “don’t-take-no-for-an-answer” attitude he embarked on a journey that allowed for him to live life along the way. 

Born in Central Illinois in the early 1950’s James grew up wanting to be a professional athlete. He was the oldest son of a high school basketball coach and a homemaker. Early in his life his dad took a job as a textbook salesman for a division of Doubleday. Soon thereafter the family relocated from the corn fields of Illinois to the Metro St. Louis area. 

He took up the game of golf at the age of twelve when the family moved to a golf course development in the western suburbs of St. Louis. His passion for the game grew from that moment on and with continued practice he became a low-handicap player. 

After a few years of traveling and a two year stay in Los Angeles at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, James returned to the St. Louis area to embark on a career in sales. After turning 50 he decided to get in touch with the creative side of his mind and sat down to write. Three years later his first novel, LIFETIME LOSER, was published. Upon completion the writing bug had consumed him. 

When he is not writing, James is out looking for a golf game around town or traveling to some warm weather destination to enjoy an amazing life. Many of his stories will be centered on a sports theme complete with applicable analogies. Being a native of the Midwest they will also carry references to the heartland of America.
For more on James and his writing, visit his website at

Have you ever written anything backwards? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Remember enjoy a book and share your love of reading with others.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Author Tara McTiernan: Voracious Reader Turns Writer

When an insatiable reader turns to writing, you know
you’re in for a treat. That’s the case with author Tara McTiernan and her current release, BAREFOOT GIRLS.

Here’s a brief synopsis of BAREFOOT GIRLS:
When her hometown newspaper reviews Hannah O’Brien’s newly released novel, the nature of her book is called into question when the reviewer suggests it is a memoir depicting her neglectful alcoholic mother – Keeley O’Brien Cohen, the most beloved of the Barefoot Girls -  a little too accurately for fiction, citing rumors rather than sources.

Deeply hurt and betrayed, Keeley cuts Hannah out of her life. Desperate, Hannah does everything she can to apologize and explain, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. Meanwhile, the rest of Hannah’s life starts to unravel, pushing her to risk her engagement to Daniel, the one man who had been able to scale the high walls around her heart. At the eleventh hour, the Barefoot Girls are able to convince Keeley to send Hannah the keys to the Barefooter house, the home and heart of their friendship. Barred from their clubhouse since she was twelve, Hannah grabs the chance to visit the little shack filled with memories and perched at the tip of Captain’s Island in the Great South Bay on Long Island, New York.
As Hannah battles to come to terms with her equally blessed and troubled childhood and understand her mother and her sister-close friends, she’s confronted with the power of forgiveness and the dangers of holding on to the past.

Tara joins us today to answers some questions about her writing.

Mason - The age-old question, What inspired you to write this book?

TARA - It was a combination of things that inspired BAREFOOT GIRLS. I've always loved books about the mother-daughter relationship and wanted to write about it. I felt that there had been many books that explored a mother's feelings of jealousy toward her daughter - missed opportunities and lost youth usually playing a large part. However, I had never read of a daughter envying her mother, and I had envied my mother quite a bit during certain stages growing up. It felt that it was something that needed to be explored. 

Secondly, one of the things that I see going on more and more with women today is the loss of long-term friendships in our lives due to various factors including the increased mobility of our culture, people rarely remaining in their home-town. Yet most women I know crave these close long-term friendships desperately. I wanted to show a lifelong friendship between four women with the hope that women would identify with the "Barefooters" and enjoy getting to know them.

And finally, I spent many summers of my youth on a similar island to Captain's and thought it was such a unique and special place. Wanted to share that, too!

Mason - What was the best/worst thing about writing?

barefoot3TARA - Best thing: when I'm writing well and the story is flowing. Worst thing: when it's not. Sounds simplistic, but being in the throes of creativity is when I'm happiest. When I can't do it for whatever reason, usually because I'm tired or the story is going in the wrong direction, it's a unique kind of agony.

Mason - Is there a message you’d like readers to take away from your book or is it just for fun entertainment?

TARA - Certainly there's a message; there are several in fact. I believe the thing that drives most writers of fiction are the things that matter most to them, the life-lessons we've learned and would to like to impart. The trick is never preaching, but instead focusing on the story and let it tell its message without jumping in and wagging a finger around like a know-it-all. 

One of the messages of BAREFOOT GIRLS is: don't let fear make your decisions. Two: holding grudges doesn't hurt anyone but you. And one of the messages is contained in the words of a lead character, Zo, near the end of the book, "Love is all that matters. We do the best we can in this crazy world, we make our stupid mistakes, but if we have love and we show it to each other, nothing can be that wrong that it can’t be fixed."

Mason - Have you always wanted to write or was there an event that led you to writing?

TARA - I've wanted to be a writer since I got my first creative writing assignment in fourth grade (or at least the first assignment I remember). I ran all the way home because I couldn't wait to start writing the narrative that was already unfurling in my head. Of course, it didn't hurt that all of my teachers constantly praised my writing until my head blew up to the size of a zeppelin. 

Mason - What can readers expect next from you?

TARA - I'm working on another novel, but I prefer not to discuss the story until it's completed. I find discussion of an ongoing work damages my ability to write it. I will say that it's in the same genre, contemporary women's fiction, and that I'm very excited about it!

Tara, thanks for answering these questions for me. The messages you weave into BAREFOOT GIRLS are important and are done in a way (as you said) that’s not preachy, but still gets the point across.

Here’s a bit of background on Tara. A voracious reader known to complete a book in a single sitting, Tara grew up in Riverside, Connecticut where the librarians learned that she had a terrible addiction to certain books - re-reading them and continually checking them out until her parents had to be called in and limits set to the number of times she was allowed to take out a book. "Other children would like to have a chance to read this book, too," she was told to her great consternation. To this day, there are certain books Tara will not lend out to others as she has to have them on hand at all times.

Around the same time as the library-lending--debacle, Tara started writing and found her true calling. The only problem was that she was told that, unless she was ridiculously lucky along the lines of a lottery winner, she would never make a living as a writer. So, she dabbled in various careers, never finding her way back until her forties, when she became obstreperous about her writing, refusing to back down again. The result is her novel BAREFOOT GIRLS, as well as several published short stories in literary magazines. 

She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, Ash, and their collection of dog-eared books. For more on Tara and her writing, visit her blog at .  

The ebook of BAREFOOT GIRLS can be purchased at, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. A print version will be available early this summer. 

Do you enjoy stories that relay a message in a subtle way? Do you enjoy mother-daughter relationship stories? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a great day and remember to share the love of reading.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Celebrate World Book Night With A Mystery

Today (Monday, April 23) is the day we celebrate World Book Night and you can’t help but love their slogan: “Spreading the Love of Reading, Person to Person.” 

With that in mind, I’d like to ‘spread the love of reading’ by telling you about 3 new releases from Berkley Prime Crime and Obsidian. Reading a cozy murder mystery is a great way to celebrate this special day that is all about books.

An Embroidery Mystery #49780451236463
Obsidian, 336 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780451236463
Paperback, $7.99 

This is a series that I have enjoyed from the very first book and the latest release, THE LONG STITCH GOOD NIGHT, just draws me right back in.

Marcy Singer’s specialty embroidery shop is among the establishments of Tallulah Falls, OR, gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day. During a St. Patrick’s Day/fraternity reunion party at Todd Calloway’s pub the Brew Crew a shot is heard and police find Todd and his friend Blake standing with a smoking gun and the body of their former fraternity brother.

Although she’s taken an interest in Irish embroidery, Marcy can’t help but abandon her needlecraft when the handsome brewer finds himself accused of murder. Both Todd and his friend Blake’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and neither is talking about what happened. Marcy is determined to stitch together some luck from more than a few four-leaf clovers and prove that the culprit was someone else. 

Author Amanda Lee has created a protagonist and a group of supporting characters that are realistic and likable. The story flows easy and at a quick pace. With a few twists and turns along the way, the story holds you captive until the end.

While this is the 4th installment in the series, it is a stand alone read. Other books in the Embroidery Mystery series include: THE QUICK AND THE THREAD (August 2010), STITCH ME DEADLY (February 2011), and THREAD RECKONING (September 2011).

Amanda Lee is a pseudonym Gayle Trent using for the Embroidery Mystery series. For more on the author, visit her website at

REAP WHAT YOU SEW by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

9780425247068A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery #6
Berkley (Prime Crime), 288 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780425247068
Paperback, $7.99 

Who knew sewing could be so much fun and so deadly? Author Elizabeth Lynn Casey knew as she returns readers to the cozy setting featuring the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle.

Sweet Briar is chosen for the setting of a new movie, and everyone has dreams of stardom as they hope to be cast as an extra—and lucky Tori Sinclair lands the gig. But fame has its price, as the town learns when the film’s leading actress, Anita Belise, is found murdered. 

When suspicion falls on a member of the sewing circle, Tori must catch the killer to keep the tight-knit group from coming apart at the seams. 

REAP WHAT YOU SEW is a fun read filled with southern charm and intriguing characters. The suspense will keep you guessing until the killer is revealed. An added bonus is a number of helpful sewing tips and a Rag Quilt sewing pattern included at the end.

This is the 6th installment in the series, but is a stand alone read. Other books in the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series include: SEW DEADLY (August 2009), DEATH THREADS (May 2010), PINNED FOR MURDER (October 2010), DEADLY NOTIONS (April 2011), and DANGEROUS ALTERATIONS (November 2011).

Author Elizabeth Lynn Casey’s website is

LET THEM EAT STAKE by Sarah Zettel

A Vampire Chef Mystery #29780451236456
Obsidian, 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780451236456
Paperback, $7.99 

If you think preparing meals for your crowd is hard, just put yourself in Charlotte Caine’s shoes - she’s the “vampire chef” to New York’s burgeoning undead community.

It’s a dream for a “Vampire Chef”-cater the high-profile wedding of a 200-year-old vampire and a wealthy witch. So why did celebrity chef Oscar Simmons walk away from the money and the publicity? 

Charlotte agrees to take his place, even though she knows this paranormal wedding, thrown by power-hungry vampires and witches, could make (or break) her career, her restaurant, and her life. But when Simmons turns up dead, the groom’s family starts vanishing, and the police start asking pointed questions, Charlotte fears she may have picked the wrong wedding to stake her reputation on.

Author Sarah Zettel will have you believing catering to vampires and witches is a normal event, while tickling your funny bone with laugh-out loud moments. The story flows smoothly and will keep you in suspense. 

This is the 2nd installment in this series. The first book in the Vampire Chef Mystery series is A TASTE OF THE NIGHTLIFE (July 2011).

Author Sarah Zettel’s website is

FTC Full Disclosure - These books were sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review them. However, receiving these complimentary copies did not influence my reviews.
Do you have any special plans for celebrating World Book Night? Thanks so much for stopping by. Enjoy the day and spread the love of reading.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Giveaway: An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi

Each day I’m amazed at the number of wonderful 9780316196772_388x586books that are published in so many genres that there is always something for everyone to enjoy.

I’m especially delighted when I have the opportunity to host a giveaway that features a new intriguing release. Today’s giveaway features the 288-page hardcover, AN UNEXPECTED GUEST by Anne Korkeakivi, just released.

Here’s what Margot Livesey, author of THE HOUSE ON FORTUNE STREET, had to say about this book: "Anne Korkeakivi writes wonderfully about embassy manners, food, and Paris, and she writes even better about the darker world that threatens to disrupt not just Clare's seating plan for dinner but her entire life. AN UNEXPECTED GUEST, like its heroine, is a novel of great elegance, enormous surprises, and unexpected depths."
Thanks to the author and the delightful Anna at Little, Brown and Company, I have 3 copies of AN UNEXPECTED GUEST to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the guidelines. Here’s a bit more about the book.

Clare Moorhouse, the American wife of a high-ranking diplomat in Paris, is arranging an official dinner crucial to her husband's career. As she shops for fresh stalks of asparagus and works out the menu and seating arrangements, her day is complicated by the unexpected arrival of her son and a random encounter with a Turkish man, whom she discovers is a suspected terrorist. 

More unnerving is a recurring face in the crowd, one that belonged to another, darker era of her life. One she never expected to see again. But it can't be him--he's been dead for 20 years....

Like Virginia Woolf did in Mrs. Dalloway, the author brilliantly weaves the complexities of an age into an act as deceptively simple as hosting a dinner party. 
Anne Korkeakivi was born and raised in New York City but currently lives in Geneva, Switzerland, with her husband, who works at the United Nations, and two daughters. 

She has also lived in France, Finland, and a number of states in the Union, accumulating a B.A. in Classics and an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature. Her short stories have run in The Yale Review, The Atlantic, The Bellevue Literary Review, and other magazines. 

For more on Anne and her writing, visit her website at, like An Unexpected Guest on Facebook, and say hello to Anne on Twitter @AnneKorkeakivi 
Here are the giveaway guidelines. To enter this giveaway, please send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win AN UNEXPECTED GUEST.” 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. In addition, Canadian residents have to include their telephone number. 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 AN UNEXPECTED GUEST is 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, May 5.

How do you handle unexpected guests? Have you ever caught a glimpse of someone in a crowd from your past, only to lose them before you had a chance to say hello? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Be sure to send an email for a chance to win a copy of AN UNEXPECTED GUEST.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Socialpunk by Monica Leonelle On Tour

It’s my pleasure to be a part of the virtual blog tour
for author Monica Leonelle who is touring blogdom with her latest release, SOCIALPUNK.

Monica is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit.

Here’s a brief description of SOCIALPUNK: Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. 

When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win. 

Monica is hosting a contest in conjunction with her SOCIALPUNK blog tour that continues until April 30th. Be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post.

To give you a taste of what SOCIALPUNK is all about, here’s the Prologue excerpt for your enjoyment:

After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life. 

A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future. 

Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him. 

He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.
But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.
He looked at his last and final creation sitting in the chair across from him—his own son, not awakened yet. The law forbade him to have any children of his own, so this boy would substitute. 

But he had done the unthinkable with this creation—he had bestowed on it his own thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. He’d given the boy his own mind, his own physical characteristics, his own wants and desires. 

He had never done so with any of the others because of the dangers of investing too heavily in any one of his subjects. But who could he kid? He had not stayed objective thus far, watching some of his subjects more closely than others, wishing for the happiness of some at the expense of others. He had become an abomination, a monster of his own doing, who had created subjects only to watch them suffer. 

He couldn’t forgive himself; not now, not ever. His eyes lingered on the vial that sat next to his breakfast smoothie, that he’d stowed away for the day when they destroyed all his work, his entire world. He would save it, tuck it away for now, for as long as he could protect them. When things spun out of his control, he would drink it and end himself the way he had ended them. 

In the ancient stories, gods frequently gave their sons as gifts. Now, he would give his son as a gift to her, number 3281. So she could be happy in her last months on earth, before they destroyed her with the rest of them. 

Be sure to check out the contest below: