Category Archives: What to Read Wednesday

What to Read Wednesday with Amber Hart and Giveaway

Thank you for coming back for another round of What to Read Wednesday :) Please help me welcome author Amber Hart to the blog. She’s sharing her secrets and process for writing memorable characters.I think you’ll enjoy her information. She’s also giving us a sneak peek at her release Until You Find Me, which released November 11th.

Don’t forget to enter her awesome giveaway at the end of the post :)

Take it away Amber…


The Secret To Writing Memorable Characters


Undoubtedly the #1 question asked about writing is: What’s the secret? And more specifically, what’s the secret to writing characters that jump off the page to live in people’s hearts forever? Well, I’ll tell you. So grab a cup of coffee and a comfy spot. Here goes.


The secret to writing memorable characters is…



Yes, really. I’m totally serious. That’s where it all begins. All too often aspiring authors think up their characters, entire scenes play through their mind, but they freeze when it comes to writing. There’s no “right” way to begin. You can start with sticky notes or paragraphs or outlines or whatever works for you. Most importantly, though, is to start writing. You can always go back later to edit. You can add, cut, or embellish in time. So, grab a laptop—or if you’re old-school, a pen and paper—and write.

Picture the characters you want to create. Are they magical? Are they surrounded by dragons and beasts and monsters? Or are they human, living in the real world? Wherever they belong, detail is the key. It’s what will make a story come alive with imagery. It’s the difference between flat and 3D characters. Details matter. And unless it’s a haunting story, most people don’t like to read about skeletons. So flesh your characters out. Slap on the meat and skin and personalities. Where do they come from and where are they going? What is their dilemma? What stands in their way? How can they reach growth? What is their relevance to the story? What makes them important? Where do they reach a breaking point? Characters need life breathed into them so they feel as real as your best friend, or as real as you.

When what makes up the core of a character is apparent, focus can shift to what they look like, what they sound like, little quirks they display. Some characters stutter, some have a sweet voice, while others have deep, gravely tones. Does your character have freckles or scars or distinguishing markings? Does your character have a nervous tic, or an odd habit? Maybe they tap their feet, or rub their fingers along the hem of their shirt? What are their physical traits? When a character is as real on the page as the person you see in the mirror, it will show.

Remember: Development and growth take time. Relationships, more often than not, bloom naturally over the course of chapters and events. Characters are not perfect. Actually, it’s important that they not be faultless. I’ve always found the most relatable characters to be flawed, because so am I. So are you. The most memorable characters are those who go through struggle—not to come out impeccable in the end, but to come out flawed AND stronger. You’ll get it wrong. You’ll get it right. You’ll repeat this torturous pattern probably forever. It’s a process that demands dedication and determination. It can take months or years. Best way to see if your character is real enough, is to ask someone else to read your words. Or to draw a picture based on the descriptions you listed in your novel. Does their feedback or picture look like the character you meant to create? If so, congrats. If not, tweak. Practice makes progress. Keep writing. Never stop writing. And don’t be discouraged. Even the best writers in the world struggle with words. We all fall peril to the depths of our writing caves but those who preserve eventually do see the light again. So, write and write and write. I hope to one day read your words, too.

Amber Hart is the author of the YA contemporary romance Before & After series, and the NA romantic thriller Untamed series.  She’s rep’d by Writers House and is often on social media. You can meet her there.






Until You Find Me

Until You Find Me # 1

By: Amber Hart

Releasing November 11th, 2014

Loveswept: Flirt

 Until You Find Me_Hart



Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits in this heart-pounding novel, the story of a girl who travels to Africa to protect the legacy of one man . . . and stays for the love of another.

Raven Moore, a twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, feels out of place in the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon, staying in the habitat where her father gave his life to help protect endangered gorillas. He left home years ago; now Raven refuses to return home until she unravels the truth about his last days.

Raven certainly doesn’t count on crossing paths with a handsome young hunter—especially one as charismatic and intense as Jospin Tondjii. Instantly, she’s hooked. But Jospin is hiding a dark truth: He is the heir to a powerful poaching empire, part of a ruthless black market that is responsible for the dwindling gorilla population.

Their fathers may have been enemies, but Raven and Jospin forge a bond that goes beyond blood, a relationship that is tested as Raven draws closer to the source of her father’s death. Can she and Jospin bear the weight of the secrets of the wild—and the secrets of their pasts? Or will the rain forest destroy them both?


Advance praise for Until You Find Me


“If you think the jungle is hot and dangerous, wait until you meet Jospin. He and Raven turn up the heat to scorching and burn the jungle down!”—Lisa Desrochers, USA Today bestselling author of A Little Too Far

“A beautiful, unconventional story that takes you to the jungles of Africa to fall in love, Until You Find Me contains the perfect balance of angst, thrills, and page-turning appeal.”—K.A. Tucker, USA Today bestselling author of Ten Tiny Breaths

“Wonderfully unique and utterly unputdownable, Until You Find Me is a breath of fresh air. Each page is sexier than the one before.”—Lauren Layne, author of Isn’t She Lovely



 Link to Follow Tour:

Goodreads Link:


Buy Links : Purchase Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo






Author Info

Amber Hart is the author of Before You and Until You Find Me. She grew up in Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia, and now resides on the Florida coastline with her family. When not reading, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or dipping her toes in the sand.


 Amber Hart

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads






($25.00 eGift Card to Book Seller of Choice and FLIRT Mug & Tote)



Posted by on November 19, 2014 in What to Read Wednesday


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What to Read Wednesday with author Charlee Fam ~ Giveaway

Thank you for joining me on What to Read Wednesday. Today we have author Charlee Fam visiting. She’s sharing a deleted scene from her release Last Train to Babylon.

I think you’ll enjoy her visit and afterward don’t forget to sign up for her wonderful giveaway :)

Take it away Charlee…


Deleted Scenes


If you’ve read Last Train to Babylon, you already know that Aubrey Glass is the novel’s

22-year-old, slightly contentious narrator. In it’s finished form, the book is written

entirely in first person POV.

But fun fact: I originally intended to write Last Train in alternating POVs between

Aubrey and her high school boyfriend, Adam Sullivan. I was about halfway through

writing when I realized I had way more Aubrey than Adam chapters. So as I made a

conscious effort to beef up the Adam scenes, they started to feel forced and extraneous

– like I was rewriting the exact same scenes with different commentary for the sake of

word count.

I struggled with it for a while. I even put the whole writing process on hold while I tried

to figure out how to finish the book. I considered everything short of cutting out the

Adam chapters. I’d put a lot of heart into some of those scenes, and the thought of axing them felt sort of like betrayal. I eventually realized this was Aubrey’s story, not Adam’s.

And in the end, I had to let go of his side of the story. But I saved his chapters, just in



Here’s a deleted scene:


She’s in her room. It looks the same as it did back in high school. She doesn’t notice me at first, and just sort of moves around the place like she’s in a hurry. But she’s definitely not dressed like she’s going anywhere — at least not to a funeral. So I just stand in the doorway, not really sure how to break the silence, and wait for her to see me. I practice a few poses — prop my hand up against the door frame, cross my ankles, but it seems too forced, too seductive. That’s not really what I’m going for. I’m going for casual. Curt but causal.

She’s in these sweatpants, they look like they might belong to a guy. I heard she’s got boyfriend, at least that’s what it looks like on Facebook. So I think maybe they’re his.

She doesn’t look the same though. Her room looks the same. But she doesn’t look the same. She’s too think and pale. Her hair is too long, too ratty. She seems kind of skittish too, real nervous even though she doesn’t know anybody’s watching.

I adjust my position again, cross my arms over my chest, but I lose my footing and the floor boards sort of creak, and I see her stiffen. Great, now I have to say something.

“Um,” I cough. “I thought you might want a ride.” She knows its me, even without turning around. I know she knows, but its almost like she’s expecting me, so she turns around really slow, like real slow.

Her lips have got this purple tint to them, the way Rachel’s used to get on those nights I’d pick her up from the beach and she’d be clutching a half-empty bottle of red wine. But Aubrey’s lips are more dry, I can tell even from where I’m standing. And the wine, probably from last night, is just stained through her dry swollen bits of lip.

She holds eye contact for about a second. And she’s got this glassy gleam in them, like maniacal almost. But then she looks away and goes back to whatever she was doing.

“I’m not going to the funeral,” she says. Her voice is shaky. She hasn’t looked at me again. I see the empty wine bottles lined up in front of her bed, and everything starts to click for me.

“Aubrey,” I say. “Come on. She was your best friend. It’s really quite a statement if you don’t go.” I think of Aubrey and Rachel before and I think of them after, even though there never really was an after. They were both two completely different people, at least the way I see it.

Before and After.

She mumbles something. I can’t really make it out, but I think it’s something about Rachel not ever being her friend.

“Aubrey,” I say. “Look at me.” She doesn’t look. Just sort of flits around the room, all jittery. Her hands are shaking, I can tell when she picks up an empty wine bottle and tosses it into the bottle. “Since when do you,” I stop, and remember that Rachel is gone. Rachel is gone so we speak in the past tense. “Since when did you not consider her your friend.”

I know the answer. But I need to hear it from her. I need to hear that she knew. If only ease my own conscience.

She perks up at the question. It’s what she’s been waiting for, I can tell. It’s what she’s been waiting for for five years, I’m sure.


Last Train to Babylon: A Novel

By: Charlee Fam

Releasing October 28, 2014

William Morrow Paperbacks / Harper Collins



It’s been five years since Aubrey Glass left her Long Island hometown and since then, she’s crafted five perfect suicide notes—just in case. Now, her former best friend has gone and killed herself—Rachel always did have to be the center of attention—and Aubrey can’t believe her luck.

But Rachel’s untimely death doesn’t leave Aubrey in peace. There’s a voicemail from her former friend, left only days before her death that Aubrey must face—and worse, a tasteless after-party, disguised as a memorial for Rachel, that promises the opportunity to catch up with everyone…including the man responsible for everything that went wrong between her and Rachel.

As the event approaches, memories of friendship tangle with painful new encounters while underneath it all, Aubrey feels the rush of something closing in, something she can no longer run from. In one devastating night, everything will change. As the past and present collide, facing the future will force Aubrey to confront herself and decide what will define her…what lies behind or what waits ahead.

LAST TRAIN TO BABYLON is a gripping novel of twisting relationships and raw emotions pulled taut by a touch of delightfully dark comedy as a young woman faces the demons of a past she’s buried and discovers that the life she desires is one she must demand from herself.


Link to Follow Tour:

Goodreads Link:


Buy Links :  Amazon Barnes iBooks | Kobo






Author Info

CHARLEE FAM is a twenty-something novelist living in New York City. A Long Island native, Charlee graduated from Binghamton University in 2010 with a degree in creative writing and several awards to her name. LAST TRAIN TO BABYLON is her first novel.

Charlee Fam

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook






*William Morrow is hosting a TOUR WIDE Rafflecopter Giveaway for Three Signed Copies of LAST TRAIN TO BABYLON*



Posted by on November 12, 2014 in What to Read Wednesday


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What to Read Wednesday with Callie Hutton ~ Giveaway

Howdy! So glad you could join me for What to Read Wednesday :) Today we have my friend Callie Hutton stopping by for a visit. She’s been on the blog several times and we always have a great time.

Callie is a fabulous author who writes wonderful Western romances and Regency romances. You’ll love her stories and the characters she creates.

Don’t forget to check out her latest book and enter her giveaway at the end of the post :)

Take it away Callie…
I am of the generation that spent Saturday afternoons at the movies. Two movies and cartoons. A great way to while away an afternoon – especially for my mother who got four kids out from under her feet. A lot of those movies were Westerns with big stars such as John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, and Jimmy Stewart, to name a few. There they were, cowboys big as life saving the ranch and courting the pretty girls.
Our television life followed the same with Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Davy Crockett, and The Rebel. As you can see, I spent a lot of my growing up years idolizing the old west and strong cowboys. They were handsome and muscular and could shoot, ride, and rescue the ladies. What’s not to love?
When you combine all of that with being a History major in college, it certainly followed that one of my favorite types of books to read and write is Western Historical Romance. Give me a strong sheriff with a feisty heroine and my story pretty much writes itself.
Women of the old west were different than their east coast counterparts. You had to be a tough gal to travel to the west, set up housekeeping in the middle of nowhere, and survive. In my book, Emma’s Journey, I detailed the horrors and pain of the Oregon trail. Emma was subjected to Indian encounters, floods, river crossings and flu epidemics. It was not an easy life.
Although my book An Angel in the Mail had a lot of humor in it, the story still acknowledged how difficult a woman’s life was in the old west. Especially if you’re a newly penniless young society lady on your way to Oregon to marry a stranger with five children!
I have one of five stories in Wild Western Women, about spirited western women, with four other well-known western historical authors: Kristen Osbourne, Sylvia McDainel, Caroline Clemmons, and Merry Farmer. My story is A Chance to Love Again, which is the third book in my Oklahoma Lover series. In Wild Western Women, our heroines are gutsy and give their heroes enough of a bad time to make the men stand up and take notice. That’s what the old west women did.

Here is the blurb from my story: A Chance to Love Again
Widow Rachel Stevens is very happy with her job as a cook for the Lazy Sunset ranch where she is raising her son. However, the new foreman, Rusty McIntyre, is turning her life upside down. She could overlook how her son has begun to idolize Rusty, but she’s having a heck of a time ignoring the flutters in her stomach every time the man smiles at her.
But Rusty has problems of his own. His previously unknown fourteen year old daughter has just arrived to live with him. Used to always being on his own, now he has a young boy following him around imitating his every move, and a surly young lady glaring at him. Throw into the mix the tug he feels toward the ranch cook—who wants no part of him—and life is no longer as easy as it once was.


Wild Western Women on Amazon:
A Chance to Love Again on Amazon:
Both books are also available on Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Apple Books.

One commenter will be drawn to receive an e-copy of A Run for Love (the first book in the Oklahoma Lovers series) or another of my books, and a $5 gift card from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice.)


USA Today best selling author of The Elusive Wife, Callie Hutton writes both Western Historical and Regency romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). She also pens an occasional contemporary or two. Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, two adult children, and daughter-in-law (thankfully all not in the same house), and her top cheerleader husband of thirty-eight years. She also recently welcomed twin grandsons to her ever expanding family. Callie loves to hear from readers, and would welcome you as a “friend” on Facebook. You can contact her through her website:

If you would like to keep informed on sales, contests and new releases, sign up for her newsletter, Callie’s Comments here: or join her street team, Callie’s Cohorts, where fun, gossip, contests, and general mayhem lives and flourishes.


Posted by on November 5, 2014 in What to Read Wednesday


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#1 What to Read Wednesday with Laura Simcox ~ Giveaway

Happy Wednesday :) Thank you for joining me for Part I of What to Read Wednesday. First up we have author Laura Simcox visiting. She’s sharing her 10 favorite words and then her latest release Various States of Undress : Virginia. I love this cover, and the blurb draw me right in. This sounds like a fun book :)  (please come back for our second author who will be visiting later today)

Laura’s also got a fun contest going on…so check it out….and she’s offering up a wonderful giveaway :)

So, Enjoy!

Take it away Laura…


My Ten Favorite Words

By Laura Simcox


Understatement of the year—I love words. I’m an author. Awesome words? Right up my alley—which, I’ll warn you, is a random, winding alley that involves stops for food. (I could use a snack at the moment.)

Anyway…my favorite words:

  1. Selection: Okay, not a big, impressive word, but such a great one. It’s pleasant, and makes me think of making good choices. “Have you made your selection?” “Why yes, I have. I’ll take the hot guy who’s nice to kittens, please.”


  1. Cartography: Maps are totally fun. When I think of map-making, it makes me want to take a nap, but when I think of looking at maps, plotting adventures (especially for my characters) or finding impossible-but-true town names in real life, it’s a blast. No, it doesn’t take much to entertain me, thanks.


  1. Buffalo: Again, the adventure thing. I don’t write Western-themed romance, but the idea of plains, whipping wind and a cowboy are pretty cool. There’s also the chicken wings thing. I think I love buffalo sauce more than ice cream, and that’s saying a lot.


  1. Dupioni: My favorite kind of silk. It shimmers, it’s soft but tough, and it has layers of color. Back when I designed costumes for a living, if a theater’s budget would allow it, I always reached for it!


  1. Shasta: I love grape soda, that’s why, and if I could find it in diet (any suggestions?) I would buy it by the case, unless it ended up tasting gross. I also want to name a cat Shasta someday. Wouldn’t that be an awesome cat name?


  1. Benediction: Okay, going all churchy for a moment, but a blessing before parting ways is a good thing. It also calls to mind very cool names: Benedicta. Benedict. Cumberbatch? Or Benedict the Shakespeare character, who is so much fun.


  1. Breezy: It’s a multi-use word, and it rhymes with stuff. Characters can be breezy (a lot of mine are) and the weather can be, too, which makes me happy because I hate being hot. I have also named a fictional cat Breezy.


  1. Gack: I use this word all the time, in place of the F word, because I have a little kid. “Mama gacked up dinner again.” I was curious, so I looked gack up in an online dictionary and found that it meant “an exclamation of disgust”. Close enough.


  1. Petite: When referring to food, it makes me feel as if it’s okay to have two or three of something, because it’s small. Petite items are also generally cute and fun. Everyone needs more cute and fun in their lives.


  1. Serendipity: Well, first of all, there’s the wonderfully romantic movie with John Cusack. Secondly, it’s a word with amazing promise. It makes me think that the future’s so predictably bright, I’ve gotta wear my petite, breezy shades. (I have some, too! They have flowers on them.)


So those are my ten words! What about you? Do you have a favorite word—why?

VariousStatesVirginia mm c


When the president’s daughter risks everything with her sexy new boss, they’re bound to find themselves in Various States of Undress!

If she had it her way, Virginia Fulton—daughter of the President of the United States—would spend more time dancing in Manhattan’s nightclubs than working in its skyscrapers. Tired of dodging paparazzi, she needs a change. And a real chance. So when she finds herself in the arms of sexy, persuasive Dexter Cameron, who presents her with the opportunity of a lifetime, Virginia sees it as a sign … but can she take it without losing her heart?

CEO-to-be Dexter Cameron knows he’s taking a risk by hiring a stylish party girl to jumpstart his family’s legacy department store. But the president’s gorgeous daughter has her thumb on the pulse of Manhattan, and the partnership seems like a win-win … until Dex discovers that his goals now include more than securing the corner office—they include Virginia herself. Dex must decide: does he make a move up the ladder? Or on the girl of his dreams?


Putting on her best smile, Virginia took a slow, deep breath; nodded to people on the sidewalk; and walked into the museum with Dex.

The usual gasp that occurred when she walked into a public place barely registered in her mind, but the short silence afterward did. Her lips curved into an automatic, friendly smile. “Good evening,” she murmured.

Dex nodded and glanced around the room. “We need to move before half the people in here come this way.”

Virginia looked over her shoulder at several society matrons who crept forward like zombies wearing couture. Ugh. She glanced back, her eyes resting on an area where a string ensemble was playing softly. “Want to dance?”

“Really?” His gaze followed hers. “Nobody else is yet.”

“So? They will if we will. But if you really don’t want to—”

“It’s not that.” He stared down at her. “I’d love to dance with you.”

Suddenly, she wanted nothing more than to see what it was like to be in Dex’s arms. Her breath caught at the unexpected thought. Yes, he was attractive—but so were a lot of men, and she’d danced with plenty of them without getting all giggly about it. He wouldn’t be any different, right? Taking his arm, she winked up at him. “We’re going to put on a show.”

“No, we’re not.”

“We already are,” she pointed out and raised her chin toward the crowd who was pretending to be too worldly to watch them, but were anyway.

“Right.” Dex let out a breath. “Virginia, maybe I spoke too soon. I’m a bad dancer, just so you know. Maybe this is a terrible idea.”

Virginia grabbed his hand and led him forward. “How bad can you be?”

“Spasmodically bad.”

Her eyes widened even as she pulled him onto the dance floor. “Well, it’s too late now.” She placed one hand on Dex’s shoulder and felt a rush of heat as his fingers slid across the bare skin of her back. Swallowing, she raised her other hand and placed it in his. “Box step?”

“Box what?” He began to haul her in a diagonal motion.

Oh hell. Giggles threatened to spill out of her mouth, and she gently tugged on his shoulder. “Slow down and just move around in a circle.”

He tried. He really did, but the look of concentration on his face—teeth gritted in a fixed grin, eyebrows knit tight—made her lose it, and she laughed.

“Thanks,” Dex muttered. “Thanks a lot.”

“I’m sorry for laughing,” she said. “You did warn me about your dancing ability.”

“I did.” He glanced around. “Oh, thank God.” Several couples had joined them, and after a moment he relaxed into a smoother rhythm. “At least they’re only staring at you.”

Virginia wanted to tell him that a lot of the people were staring at him too—with quite a bit of curiosity—but she held her tongue because if he got super nervous, he might rip her arm out of her socket. She needed to concentrate since she was acutely aware of his hand on her back, which had begun rubbing gently against her skin in time to the music. She doubted he realized he was doing it or that his chest brushed against her breasts every time he attempted to turn her—but she knew, and the longer they danced, the shorter her breath became.

This situation wasn’t good. Like, at all. She needed to be able to think straight, and how could she even entertain the idea of working with him if she couldn’t quit looking at him and fantasizing that . . . no. No. Why would she turn down a job in fashion just because she’d danced with the man and liked it a little bit too much?

 Link to Follow Tour:

Goodreads Link:

Series Link on Goodreads:


Buy Links




Purchase: Amazon | Barnes | iBooks


Author Info

After spending years in professional theater as a costume designer, Laura Simcox eased out of the hectic whirlwind of opening nights and settled in a comfy desk chair to write romance. She believes that life is too short not to appreciate heartwarming, quirky humor and her novels are lighthearted journeys into the happily-ever-after. She lives in North Carolina with her true love and adorable little son.

 Laura Simcox

 Author Links



*Avon is hosting a TOUR WIDE Rafflecopter Giveaway for Two Digital Copies of VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: CAROLINA.*



Suggest A Secret Service Nickname for VSOU: Georgia

Laura Simcox, author of the fabulous VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS series, wants your help for the next installment of VSOU: Georgia! Simcox concludes her fun, flirty Various States of Undress series featuring three presidential daughters with the tale of love at the ballgame.

Each sister in the three story series has been given a nickname from her Secret Service agents. VSOU: Carolina was lovingly called Care Bear and VSOU: Virginia was nicknamed Candy Cane.

Laura would love readers to suggest a nickname for the last of the President’s daughters! Help decide what the Secret Service should dub Georgia, the sexy intellectual of the three!

*****If your nickname is chosen for VSOU: Georgia, Laura will include your name in her personal acknowledgments in the book, and you will receive a free copy of the first two books in her series!*****

FUN FACT: Historically, all First Family code names begin with the same letter. The Obama’s are Renegade, Renaissance, Radiance and Rosebud.



Posted by on October 29, 2014 in What to Read Wednesday


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What to Read Wednesday with Anna Richland ~ Giveaway

Thank you for joining me and author Anna Richland for What to Read Wednesday :) Anna is visiting to share her latest release His Road Home. I enjoyed the blurb and her guest post and think you will too.

Also, she’s offering up a unique giveaway that is sure to grab your heart. You can enter at the end of the post.

Take it away Anna…

His-Road-Home-Anna-Richland (1)

Thanks for hosting His Road Home on your blog! I’m so excited to be sharing my new release with readers.

Can you tell us something about Rey that isn’t in the book blurb?

One thing people don’t expect is that Rey is a big-time reader. Grace can’t keep up with how fast he reads what she picks for their personal book club. Even though he dropped out of high school, Rey pursued his education through the military and is working on his college degree. He loves to read nonfiction, but he’s also a massive fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books and he’s written the author emails discussing the real incidents behind a few of the stories Lee Child tells.

Big confession: I really like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books too, and I was thrilled to meet him at RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans in 2014.

And one question about Grace. If she’s Korean-American, why do her parents have a Chinese restaurant?

Where I live in Washington State, it’s common for restaurants to mix Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisine – the best of all the traditions! – often regardless of the ethnicity of the owner. For instance, the Chinese restaurant closest to my house serves wonderful Korean barbecue beef, Chinese vegetable dishes and Japanese-style stir-fried yakisoba noodles. They do both Japanese miso soup and Chinese hot and sour soup. It’s the direct inspiration for the restaurant Grace’s parents own – and I think it’s a great symbol for the way America can, in the best of times, combine all of us from different backgrounds even while celebrating our differences. Isn’t Korean barbecue paired with Japanese noodles as American in its mix as pineapple pizza or Cincinnati-style chili spaghetti?

Here’s a brief excerpt from a scene at her family’s restaurant, near the end of the story:

One week wasn’t long enough to revise all of her misconceptions about her parents, especially a week filled with catch-up at work and obsessively checking weather conditions in the pass for her drive Friday, so the news that her mother and father were throwing a town-wide celebration for Rey at the restaurant was a shock. How much they relished the chance to host everyone in Pateros and Brewster who wanted to shake Rey’s hand was an earthquake.

Standing in the dining room, she studied the familiar restaurant. The red and gold wallpaper had seen better days, but it highlighted the fresh Christmas tree centered in the window and the garlands tied across the booths. An American flag, a Washington state flag and an army flag—where had they unearthed that?—clustered in front of the register. No one would pay for today’s buffet of Chinese food sitting next to tamales and empanadas from Rey’s family.

Her phone chimed with the signal that meant him.

On the way. Have a surprise for you.

What? she texted in reply.

Have to wait until we’re alone.

Best kind!

“Grace, Grace,” her mother called. “You hung the award, didn’t you?”

“Yes, already.” The mayor had proclaimed today an official celebration in honor of Reynaldo Cruz.

The distinctive red hanbok her mother wore for celebrations had a full-length A-shaped skirt in the Korean style and was at risk of catching in the swinging doors as she carried food to the steam table.

“Mom, let me take that.” Grace held out her arms for the tray of fried noodles.

“No, no. You are also guest of honor.”

Then she understood. In her parents’ minds this was also an engagement celebration. By her silence, she’d permitted the status quo to continue since the news had originally announced the engagement. Whatever people thought in Pateros hadn’t affected her in Seattle, and now that Rey was home and had satisfied her father’s career interrogation, they must assume wedding plans would move forward. If her offer of living together had made him need independence, her parents’ expectations might make him freeze. Or disappear.

I’d like to explain one more thing before I leave a question for your readers. Instead of the usual types of gift cards, with this blog tour I’m giving away a $50 donation to the Fisher House Foundation in honor of a veteran of the winner’s choice. The Fisher House Foundation is a charity that provides free lodging for families of injured veterans in fully-equipped homes near military hospitals. I support them with part of the proceeds of all my books, and characters in my debut First to Burn and Rey’s mother in His Road Home stay in different Fisher Houses. So please enter my contest – and when you’re reading His Road Home, remember that Fisher House is a real charity, and really amazing.

Here’s my last question for your readers. What’s your favorite dish to order at a Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Thai restaurant? The one that always makes you happy. My kids adore stir-fried green beans and garlic noodles, so those are always on our order. What’s yours?

His Road Home final cover


Special Forces medic Rey Cruz needs to find a fiancée, fast, to avoid insulting a matchmaking Afghan warlord. Finding a picture online of a girl he barely knew back home, he fakes an engagement photo, thinking no one else will see it. But when Rey is injured while rescuing a local boy, the image no one was supposed to see goes viral.
Seattle marine biologist Grace Kim is shocked to find out she’s engaged. When she’s offered a plane ticket to visit her “fiancé,” she takes it, looking for the answer to one question: Why did he lie? A traumatic brain injury means Rey can’t tell her, until they figure out how to communicate. Touched by Rey’s funny texts and determination, Grace offers friendship—a big step for someone who prefers whales to most company.
And when Rey is finally sent home, Grace agrees to help him drive his classic car cross-country over Thanksgiving—a once-in-a-lifetime road trip that leads to what feels like real love. In front of his friends and family, she plays the caring fiancée, but what place will Grace have in Rey’s new life once he’s ready to be on his own again?

EXCERPT : Grace Arrives at the Hospital (478 words)

(Book Liaison, MM Jaye Writes, Sarah’s StoryLines)

Chapter 2

The rose-tinted stone buildings and immaculate landscaping of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, reminded Grace of a university campus more than a military hospital. On the parking shuttle route, signs pointed to the Warrior Center and celebrated Warrior Pride, and she half expected men in blue paint and kilts to swarm the bus.

The massed display of flags inside the main lobby pressed home the weight of her false pretenses. The closer she drew to reception, the harder the fictions she hadn’t created but had been too obedient or timid to unravel squeezed her stomach. Five feet from the front desk, her charade bit more uncomfortably than the airplane seatbelt she’d worn all night.

“May I help you, ma’am?”

No one else was behind her. She was the ma’am.

The man on the other side of the desk smiled at her. “Are you here to see someone?”

Although she’d read his name in dozens of news articles, she hadn’t said it aloud. Her first attempt was a whisper. “Reynaldo Cruz.”

The keyboard clicked as he asked, “Are you Sergeant Cruz’s next of kin?”

“No.” Her stomach somersaulted as another lie rose to the surface to join so many others.

“Whoa, ma’am.” He reached across the desk as if to catch her. “Sergeant Cruz arrived yesterday from Landstuhl, but we have to ask because sometimes people pretend to know soldiers who’ve been in the news.”

That was her, a pretender. She clutched her jacket over her chest, chilled even inside the building, and hoped the airplane bagel didn’t revisit the scene.

“Name and photo identification, please.”

“Grace Kim.” Her driver’s license shook until she dropped it on the counter.

More clicking and peering before he said, “I don’t have you listed.”

If she couldn’t find out why Reynaldo Cruz had turned her life upside down, she’d never put it back together. Her chest expanded with bottled frustration.

“Hold on, I’ll call the ward to get permission.”

While the receptionist muttered into the phone, she willed the hot ball in her throat to dissolve. If she had to leave, this farce would end without an explanation to share with her family, her boss, her co-workers. The reporters calling her parents would change their tone, and people in Pateros would stop eating at the restaurant.

“Duty nurse confirmed you’re Sergeant Cruz’s fiancée.”

Relief snapped through her, even as the label made her squirm.

“Petty Officer Boichek will escort you. Visiting hours until twenty-hundred.” He clarified, “That’s eight tonight. I’ll add you as a permitted visitor. Here’s your temporary badge.”

Her escort was a woman, younger than her. “Morning, ma’am. This way to the elevators.”

As they left the lobby, Grace’s clogs clomped on the gleaming bare floor. At least her escort wouldn’t hear her thudding heart.

“No matter what, when you see your warrior, smile.”



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Anna lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. Like the heroine of her debut paranormal romantic suspense novel, First to Burn, Anna joined the army to pay tuition, a decision that led to a career on four continents.

She donates a portion of her book proceeds to two charities: the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free accommodations near military hospitals for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.

To sign up for Anna’s newsletter and find out about her next release, The Second Lie (The Immortal Vikings, Book Two), visit her website at

 Anna Richland

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*Anna is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for $50.00 Donation to THE FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION in Name of Veteran of Choice.*




Posted by on October 15, 2014 in What to Read Wednesday


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What to Read Wednesday with Cecy Robson ~ Giveaway

Thank you for coming back for another What to Read Wednesday :) Please help me welcome author Cecy Robson. Cecy has a new release she’s sharing with us titled Once Perfect. This sounds like a emotion packed read….just check out the blurb to see what you think.

But, before we check out Cecy’s book, enjoy her guest post about some fun facts she survived on her road to publication :)

And finally, she has a wonderful giveaway that you can enter at the end of the post :)

Take it away Cecy…


I Met my Agent in the Bathroom and other Facts About My Path to Publication

I’d like to say I’m joking, but I’m dead serious. I met my agent and now BFF, Nicole Resciniti, in the bathroom at a writer’s conference. No, it wasn’t on purpose, and no, I wasn’t creepy about it. Here’s what happened from the beginning with some facts thrown in along the way. On May 1, 2009, I decided to write a novel. I didn’t take a class, I didn’t sit through “How To” instruction videos on YouTube. I honestly wanted to write a novel simply to see if I could. I’m a registered nurse by trade. To this day, I consider the comma as my evil nemesis. That said, I gave it a shot.

My first book was the Weird Girls, an urban fantasy romance about four unique sisters who obtained their powers as a result of a backfired curse. I’d read close to forty UF and paranormal romance novels in the months prior so I thought I knew what I was doing. Um, yeah. Not quite.

My first draft . . . and possibly the next seventeen revisions that followed didn’t have a plot. Plots are important. Seriously, every fiction book should have one. But one of the things I discovered was that plots aside, I could tell a story. So I kept rewriting, especially when those poor suckers―I mean, my kind and patient friends― who I begged to beta read for me continued to tell me that I had “something.”

Eventually, I did take an online course on query preparation and worked on pitching my series. I also attended a writer’s conference for the sake of connecting with other writers and for the opportunity to interact with agents and editors. During this time period (approximately August 2009 until about April 2011), I aggressively began to query literary agents who represented my genre.

Twenty, no, I’m mean fifty―okay, okay, perhaps seventy-five rejection letters later, in addition to quite a few more novel rewrites, I thought I was ready to pitch my series again. My husband thought I was ready, too, and sent me to a New York writer’s conference to give the traditional publishing venue yet another chance.

I was horribly sick and needed to use the bathroom even before the conference started. While I was blowing my nose to the tune of “I’m a baby elephant and I’m trying to call my mother” the woman in the stall next to me asked, “Allergies?”

I was in no mood to be social, but she was being sweet so I answered, “No, I just have a bad cold.”

She stepped out to wash her hands at the same time as I did. She smiled, I smiled back and asked her what she wrote.

“Actually, I’m an agent,” she answered.

And yeah, that was Nicole, and yes, the rest is history. Nicole sold the first three books of my Weird Girls series to Penguin following our little meet and greet in the bathroom. About a year following the publication of the first novel, SEALED WITH CURSE, Nicole sold two series to Random House: the continuation of my Weird Girls urban fantasy series, and my brandy new Shattered Past contemporary romance series.

ONCE PERFECT is the first novel in my Shattered Past series and is scheduled for an October 7, 2014 release date. ONCE LOVED, ONCE PURE, and four additional books will follow with each book releasing between three and six months apart. As thrilled as I am, sometimes I still find myself recovering from the shock and the speed in which everything happened. But that doesn’t mean I’m not forever grateful to Nicole, my husband, and all my friends who supported me on my path to publication.

Lastly, if you take anything from this rant, let it be this: keep going and keep trying―no matter what your goals are and how many rejections you receive along the way. Crazy things can happen, like meeting your future agent in the bathroom.


For more information about me, and my upcoming releases and series, please visit my website or follow me on Facebook and / or Twitter.

Once Perfect_Robson



His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy series debut—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.

Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.

Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid.

As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her.


“Malibu Barbie. We need more cocktail napkins!”

I stopped wiping the bar booth, torn between throwing my bucket at Sam or at the cluster of bouncers chuckling at his Barbie dig. I still had two more booths to clean before the doors to the Main Line’s infamous Club Excess opened and the real work began. A crowd of spoiled brats―offspring of Philly’s wealthiest families―with too much money and too much attitude already crowded the doors. I should know. I used to be one of them. Except they still had the money.

I had a screaming boss.


“Jesus, Sam, I’m going.” I tossed my towel on the table and stomped across the dance floor in my black, thigh-high boots. If it weren’t for the crazy tips the drunk idiots dropped like bowling balls, no way would I work at a place where I had to accessorize tiny black shorts and a skimpy tank with these hooker boots. The white dress shirt tied at my belly was Sam’s way of compromising when me and a few of the other waitresses complained about our new “uniforms.” The more desperate among us tied it closer to their cleavage. I didn’t. Even if it meant less money, I wanted to hang on to what little pride I had left.

My steps slowed as I neared the group of bouncers huddled around Mateo. He was young, younger than at least half of them, and still they looked up to him. ’’Considering Mateo was an ex-con who fought in fight clubs, you’d think the staff would avoid him’’. I sure did. Hell, I’d barely spoken to him in the six months I’d worked at Excess, using any excuse to keep my distance. That said, there was something about him that made people take notice. His burly arms crossed his chest. Power was inked on one forearm in bold Gothic lettering, Wrath on the other, and black flames crawled up both, disappearing beneath the sleeves of his tight black T-shirt.

My puny shoulders tensed as I drew closer. Mateo had served time for beating some poor guy so brutally the guy had spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from the bashes to his face and body. I watched Mateo, a lot. Every now and then, I’d catch him glancing my way, too. He’d offer me a brief nod or a small smile, but I never offered anything in return. His size, the depth of his voice, and his aptitude for violence scared me, despite his captivating looks. He moved like a panther staking out his turf, ready for anything, his steely hazel eyes taking everything in.

He spoke low and rough as the last of his crew arrived. “Listen up. Keep the drugs and the dealers out. They come in with that shit, you see anyone selling―send their asses out the door. Sam doesn’t want another OD in his place. If those rich pricks want to die, they can do it somewhere else.”

The others answered Mateo with stiff nods, except for Dale, who whistled as I walked by. “Nice ass, Evelyn . . .”

His voice trailed off. I turned to shoot him a dirty look over my shoulder only to catch the death glare Mateo was firing his way. “Leave Evie the fuck alone and pay attention, Dale,” Mateo told him. Dale immediately dropped his gaze, allowing Mateo to return his attention to the rest of the group. “With the first week of classes over, these fools are looking to party hard, and the dealers are ready to assist. ““Don’t go it alone. Call for backup if you need it, when you need it. I’ll take point near the bar. Ant’s my second. He’ll take point left of the floor. If I’m mixed up in some other shit, you call him. Got me?”

The bouncers collectively muttered in agreement. Even Dale.

My heart was thumping against my sternum and I lost my footing. I reached for my ponytail and tightened it fast, trying to pretend that was the reason I’d tripped and not, absolutely not, because ’Mateo had stuck up for me and shut Dale up on my behalf. Or because he’d called me “Evie.” Again. No one else had ever called me that.

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Author Info

Cecy Robson is the New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family’s vehement protests. A full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.

 Cecy Robson_Author Photo

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*Loveswept is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a $25 eGift Card of Winner’s Choice Bookseller and Copy of ONCE PERFECT*




Posted by on October 8, 2014 in What to Read Wednesday


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What to Read Wednesday with Rachael Johns and giveaway

I’m so excited for this installment of What to Read Wednesday! Please help me welcome author Rachael Johns. She’s visiting to share a wonderful guest post about why she writes what she writes. She’s also sharing her latest release JILTED. I just love the cover and the blurb…sounds like a winner. And, don’t forget to sign up for her wonderful giveaway at the end of the post.

Take it away Rachael…


Why I write rural romance!

By Rachael Johns


In Australia today one of the biggest selling fiction genres is RURAL ROMANCE. I suppose this genre is quite similar to the small town cowboy romances that people have been devouring for years, in that they are set in rural communities and populated by men and women who work the land.

But why did I set out to write rural romance?

Almost eight years ago my country boy hubby and I upped and moved from Perth to the sticks. We landed in the small country town of Kojonup in Western Australia (,_Western_Australia) and spent a fabulous six years there. Of course, you’re never a local in a country town until you’ve lived there about 37 years but that doesn’t mean we weren’t welcomed. Kojonup very much felt like home when we left six years later.

Although always a city girl, I’ve grown to love living in a country town, the community spirit, the fact everyone knows everything about everyone – not always a good thing – and the way people look out for each other.

We now live in Goomalling, Western Australia (,_Western_Australia), an even smaller rural community, but the characteristics of a rural community are strong in both towns. Let no one ever say rural Australia is DEAD! When I launched my first book, the Goomalling Community Resource Centre offered to help – they put on a fabulous spread of food and so many locals came to offer their support. That’s what living in a country town is about. Looking out for each other, encouraging and supporting through good times and bad and being proud of residents’ achievements.

I love that when I go to the local shop (which we happen to own), I pretty much knew everyone. I love the community events – the fundraisers, movie nights, agricultural shows and the revival of the local theatrical society, which was the actual event that inspired me to write JILTED (out now with HQN).

I could go on about my experiences living in rural communities all day – the time my hubby’s work place (the Kojonup Co-op) burnt to the ground in the middle of the night and the whole town was out in their pyjamas watching, the time a plane crashed in our friend’s paddock, the experiences my children get that they wouldn’t get in the city – but I won’t do that to you.

I just wanted to say that THIS is why I chose to write rural romance. Because I love living and reading country! I want to convey the wonderful experiences that I’ve had living in a country town to readers all across Australia, and hopefully now, the world!



She left him at the altar, but her heart was always his…

After more than ten years away, Australian soap star Ellie Hughes returns to the small country town of Hope Junction, determined to remain anonymous while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.

But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn’t long before the people of Hope’s are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie’s visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.

Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together again, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. For Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.

When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?

Goodreads Link:

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Author Info

Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at

Rachael Johns

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*Rachael is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for FIVE Print Copies of JILTED and $20.00 Amazon eGift Card*



Posted by on October 1, 2014 in What to Read Wednesday


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