Archive for January, 2013

Cover RE-Reveal: AWAKEN by Sarah M Ross

Posted January 14, 2013 By Jennifer

Hello, my lovelies… check out what I’ve got for YOU!!!

YA/NA author of the Patronus series, Sarah M Ross has a NEW COVER for the first book in the series, AWAKEN… just in time for it’s first anniversary!!!!

Awaken new cover final

Lucy Donovan was supposed to have a weekend of fun in the sun, celebrating her upcoming graduation from college. In a split second, everything changed. A drunk driver ended Lucy’s mortal life.

Lucy opens her eyes to a world she never imagined possible and a new destiny: as a Patronus, a guardian of spirits. Adjusting to her new role and abilities while negotiating this confusing realm will test her limits and push her further than she ever dreamed she would go. From wayward spirits who don’t want her help to soul stealing vampires, and even a stuck-up British royal, Lucy must brave them all to save one spirit she can’t bear to lose.

Further complicating her life is an inexplicable yet growing connection she feels to a member of her team, Max, whose mysterious behavior leaves her both confused and intrigued.

Waking up dead was just the beginning of her problems. Lucy’s death is about to become the greatest adventure of her life.

You can also check out the follow ups to AWAKEN… AVENGE and ATONE (novella).

Sarah is also the author of the Earth Angel Trilogy, book 1, ECHO OF AN EARTH ANGEL, is out now.

 

So… whattaya think??? That door has me VERY interested, lol!! Congratulations, Sarah!!!

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Q&A & Chance to win BLOOD VINE with Amber Belldene

Posted January 10, 2013 By Jennifer

Hello, my lovelies 🙂 Today, I’d like to introduce you to an author I just discovered about 2 weeks ago. Amber Belldene just released her debut, BLOOD VINE. It’s looks to be a very different take on the vampire mythology, and I CAN’T WAIT to read it!!! I posted the blurb and the trailer for the book earlier this week, and today, Amber stops by to chat. Please leave any questions for her below, she’ll be popping in to answer throughout the day, and one of you will win an ebook copy of BLOOD VINE!!

Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for us

Jennifer, these are great questions–both fun and thought provoking!  Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog!

1) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?

Honestly, I don’t like to listen to music when I’m writing. It distracts me too much, and I prefer the words and the story to set the mood.  But music does figure in to my books–my characters have their own preferences, and those often come out in the story, sometimes even as plot points.  I’m really grateful to the vocal ensemble Kitka, who granted me permission to use one of their tracks on the trailer, because it captures the haunting, traditional feel I was striving for in the book, even though there’s plenty of lighthearted silliness in there too.

2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffeeshop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?

I write at home, mostly, in the early hours or after my kids go to bed, and always on my laptop, wherever I can get comfortable–usually on the couch while my husband plays video games.  I do have great critique partners, but if I tried to write alongside them, I’d never get anything done but laugh and drink wine, and the risk of spluttering that wine all over my keyboard is too high!

3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers?

Ha, ha!  I’ve only done it this once, and not with much grace, I’m afraid.  It’s a big roller coaster of excitement and anxiety!  It must show all over my face, because an author friend met me for lunch, took one look at me, and said “You too, huh?”  Of course I’m thrilled people are reading my book and some of them are even liking it enough to ask about the sequel (I’m just about to submit it).  That’s all I could ever hope for as an author, and it makes me very happy. 

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of costumes–I always look for a short cut, or an easy way out.  Last year I taped wings to a viking helmet and said I was one of Kresley Cole’s valkyries.  Yep, it was lame.  The year before that, I wore my alb (a white robe I wear for my day job, which I will tell you more about below) and did up my hair in side-buns.  It was about the easiest Princess Leia get-up ever.

5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?

Hands down, I would go to Croatia, where my hero, Andre, is from.  It looks so beautiful, and there is so much history. I also hear wonderful things about the food and the people, and of course the wine!  I would take my kindle, my camera, and my laptop.  Can I bring my husband too, or do I only get three items?

6) What song best describes your life? If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?

This is a tough question because no one song can encapsulate everything, so I’ll just say the first one that comes to mind:  I’m a big fan of the jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, who just died last fall.  His classic “Take Five” has a unique time signature, and is upbeat, but with melancholy undertones.  Its bittersweet feel really speaks to me.  And, whoa–I wish he’d written a song for me! 

7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?

BloodVineIt would be vampire Andre Maras.  I love all my characters, but he is really my friend.  This probably makes me sound nuts, but I always know what he’s thinking about everything I do.  I’d likely make better choices if I’d remember to ask myself “what would Andre do?”  Not that he is a saint, but he is curmudgeonly and wise in a way I admire.  And I’d like him to teach me to swear in Croatian.

8) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fastest 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)

Great question!  Do you remember how in one of the Harry Potter books Hermione had that special watch that allowed her to stop time and essentially get more done by being in two places at once?  I’m super jealous of that watch!  I’d like to set the record for most efficient multi-tasker.  While jogging on the treadmill, I would cook dinner, iron clothes, read to my kids and critique a friend’s chapter–all done perfectly!  I do a lot of mediocre multi-tasking now, and I bet lots of people do it better, so there is probably stiff competition for this World Record. 

9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why? If you could ADD one word, what would it be?

Oh, how funny!  It’s a strange pet peeve, but I really hate the business-speak word impactful.  There are simply a million better ways of saying what it means, and yet, it’s very common. 

I don’t have any specific suggestions for adding one, but I thought Jill Sorenson’s post “Vagina Envy” on Heroes and Heartbreakers was hilarious and spot on.  She playfully tried to invent a word for vagina that didn’t have negative associations.  Like Jill, I wish our culture was more comfortable with women’s bodies and women’s sexuality, so that vagina would be a sexy word, and not one that makes us think of pelvic exams. 

10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well?

My books aren’t religious at all, but I still like my readers to know about my day job–I work full time as an Episcopal priest.   I tend to be a little irreverent, and I often joke around about being a naughty priest who writes racy romance.  But it’s also important for me to say that I don’t think there is anything naughty about sex—it’s a very holy expression of love and our most basic instinct for intimacy.  And I believe that my work as a romance writer and in the church are not at all in conflict. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope this was something different, and that you had fun telling us a little more about yourself.

Thank you so much for having me as a guest, and letting me think about these fun questions!

Congratulations on all your successes, and good luck with all you have planned for the future!

Ok… so… what would YOU like to know about Amber, or BLOOD VINE?? Ask questions, or just say Hi in the comments below. One random commenter will win an ebook copy of BLOOD VINE!!! Contest runs through tonight, midnight pacific.

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Check These Out!!!

Posted January 8, 2013 By Jennifer

Hi guys!!! There are soooooo many books that come out every week, I rarely do “new release” posts, because I hate leaving people out, and I know I’ll never get them all. I’m breaking that rule today because I REALLY can’t wait for you all to find these books!!

BloodVine

BLOOD VINE by Amber Belldene

(from GoodReads.com)

Bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign.

When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one night stand she can’t forget.  After her husband’s suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again.  But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?

Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine  to cure his fellow refugees.  Now he needs Zoey’s PR expertise to reach them.  After his wife’s death, Andre has a vow of his own– never to risk another painful blood bond.  And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally.

And this one is a second book in series, so you need to grab KING OF DARKNESS if you haven’t already…

princeofpower-300 (1)PRINCE OF POWER by Elisabeth Staab

(from GoodReads.com)

This Fight Is Personal…

Wizards and vampires have been mortal enemies since the beginning. Now Anton, son of the Wizard Master, has one last chance to steal the unique powers of the vampire king’s beautiful sister, Tyra…and then kill her. But when he meets Tyra face-to-face, everything changes…

Tyra will stop at nothing to defeat the wizards, until Anton saves her life and she suddenly sees an opportunity she never could have imagined…

As the sparks ignite between them, together they could bring an end to the war that’s decimating their people, but only if they can find a way to trust each other…

So… along with all the other awesome books that are available today… don’t miss your chance to pick up one of these awesome new releases!!

Oh… and what do you all think… would you like a couple of suggestions for new releases each week? (Even though it wouldn’t be everything that’s available?)  Or are there enough of those “New Today” blog posts out there to cover everyone’s budgets? Lemme know. 🙂

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Words & Music Monday with Debra Anastasia

Posted January 7, 2013 By Jennifer

Hello words & music lovers 🙂 Happy New Year!!

Our first Words & Music Monday guest of 2013 is a woman who I’ve been fangirling for a very long time. Debra Anastasia is hilarious, and charming, and writes awesome stories that will break, and then heal your heart.

WordsAndMusicMonday

Music.

I actually don’t think I could write without it. When I was a kid, I would slap my favorite album in my Walkman and just lose myself to my imagination. Little did I know I was developing plots! (Oh my gosh, if you do the whole picturing things to music you need to give writing a whirl.) While I write this post I’ll put what I have on in the background in parenthesis

(On now: Ed Sheeran – Give Me Love)

It’s funny how when you’re going to buy something, or want something you see it everywhere. When we were in the market for a minivan after I had my second child, I finally realized how many were driving around. I lusted for the minivans. When we finally got one, I started noticing our brand at stoplights and parking lots.  Why am I bringing this up? Well, when I’m writing a story I finally start noticing lyrics in songs! And sometimes they match the book perfectly.

(On now: Alex Clare – Hold Yuh)

A sweet reader pointed me in Ron Pope’s direction as I wrote Poughkeepsie. He was absolutely the voice of that book. His lyrics are poetic and heartfelt, just like Blake Hartt, my main character. The first song I heard was “You’re the Reason I Come Home”

Do yourself a favor and have a listen. It is simple and stunning. The second I heard it I needed more Ron Pope. I purchased his albums immediately.

Ron Pope – You’re The reason I Come Home

If you’ve read Poughkeepsie, you’ll hear Blake. Tender and dedicated, right?

Okay, so needless to say, while I was writing Poughkeepsie had Ron singing in my head all the time. Music can set the mood perfectly. Almost like writing foreplay!

[On now: Delilah – Inside My Love  (This video is so freak hot!)]

Although I wrote Poughkeepsie first, Crushed Seraphim was my debut novel. It’s about an angel with a filthy mouth and a sexy Devil. When it came time to pick out trailer music, I emailed Ron Pope first never in a million years imagining he would let me use one of his songs.

Ron replied to my email with a very sweet “yes.” I danced around the kitchen like the idiot I am.

Crushed Seraphim’s trailer was born. There was only one, perfect song for my angel book. Shoot Out the Lights by Ron Pope was it. Here’s that trailer:

Okay, right? That song just rocks. And now, I’m releasing the sequel to Crushed Seraphim called Bittersweet Seraphim and you know whom I had to contact by now, right? And Ron did the honors for me again. The song, I Do Not Love You, is off his newest album, Atlanta.

Two more perfect songs for the Seraphim series are Heaven by O.A.R.  (about drinking and being locked out of Heaven!) and Locked out of Heaven by Bruno Mars (Awww “You can make a sinner testify!”

Okay, so now in between Crushed and Bittersweet, I released Poughkeepsie. It’s a story about a homeless man who counts the smiles of a beautiful woman at the train station.  The trailer has Wait For You by Ron as its anthem:

His website is RonPopeMusic.com when you fall in love with his songs.

There are some scenes in my books where I will put one song on repeat while I right. It captures the perfect mood for the scene. Usually I’ll wear headphones so I don’t drive my family bonkers. In a very pivotal scene between Blake and Livia (the smiling girl)

(On now: Lake Street Dive – You Go Down Smooth)

I had Lying in the Hands of God on repeat. It is just a stunning song. I needed its bravery and encouragement for Blake. He had a huge obstacle to overcome and the lyrics and composition of this song let the words flow.

Here’s a live version because the Dave Matthews Band has to be live.

I come from a long line of music hoarders. My grandfathers, my mother, my grandmother, aunts, and uncles, we all have or had an obsession with music. It has to be on and it has to be loud.

Thanks to sweet Jennifer for letting me ramble. XO

~Debra Anastasia

DebraAnastasia.com

@Debra_Anastaisa

poughkeepsiePoughkeepsie

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she’s surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.
Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

~~~~~~Amazon ~ ~Barnes and Noble ~ ~~~~

crushed seraphimCrushed Seraphim

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him-just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls-certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she’s surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.
Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

~~~~~~~~Amazon ~~ Barnes and Noble~~~~~~

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2013 Reading Challenge: “Out Of The Genre Box”

Posted January 2, 2013 By Jennifer

Sooooooo… last year I didn’t do so hot with my *own* reading challenge. I only made it through about 75% of the color themed books. I still plan to read the others, they’re on my TBR list… but my goal to read them each month didn’t work out too well. I’m hoping to dedicate myself better to this year’s challenge.

We did have ONE blog reader that completed the challenge!!! ANGIE!!! Click HERE to read her wrap up of the 2012 Rainbow Reading Challenge. I’ll be putting together her bracelet and sending it out in a few days. So… now it’s time for THIS YEAR’S reading challenge…

BMMH2013ReadingChallenge1

2013’s challenge is “Out Of The Genre Box”. The idea is to read one book each month that is NOT something you’d normally read. (Or, in *MY* case, not something *I’d* normally read, as a pretty dedicated paranormal romance reader.) Each month will be assigned to a different subject. Some months will be fiction, some months non-fiction. I’m really excited to expand my reading horizons a bit! (Keep in mind… you don’t have to buy books that are out of your genre box… you can check them out from your local library.)

Those of you who already venture away from the magic, creatures, and sizzling storylines of UF/PNR might find this challenge easier to complete than others. I’m hoping that this not only gives me a few fun options for casual reading, but that I can learn a few things while I’m at it.

  • January – Comedy (Any book that you’d find in a bookstore humor section. Could include something written by a comedian, a parody of some other book, funny lists or facts. Excludes standard joke books or picture books.)
  • February – NON Paranormal Romance (Can be historical or contemporary, but can NOT include any paranormal aspects. This should be pretty easy for a lot of you. A bit more of a challenge for me.)
  • March – Science (Any book that explores any aspect of science. And don’t look at me like that, lol… check out your local bookstore’s science section… there are some REALLY interesting looking books back there!! Weather, nature, biology, astronomy, etc…. trust me… it’ll be good for us.)
  • April – Poetry
  • May – History (Can be any non-fiction book that explores world or American history. Interestingly enough… if you really look… you can find historical counterparts or relationships to some of our favorite paranormal stories.)
  • June – Self Help/Personal Growth (Serious or funny, there are tons of interesting looking books available in a huge variety of areas. Health, relationships, self-confidence, inspiration, time management, etc… there really is something for everyone.)
  • July – Kids Book (That’s right… any kids book. If you haven’t been in the kids section of a bookstore lately, you’re going to be VERY surprised at the selection. I really can’t wait for this one, actually. I’d love for everyone to go back as far as middle grade, but young YA would work, as well. Keep in mind, both Harry Potter and The Hobbit are considered middle grade!)
  • August – Biography (Any biography or autobiography)
  • September – M/M, F/F, or Menage Romance (The growing popularity of M/M fiction has created an influx of awesome stories available. For some ideas and a little direction based on your mainstream story preferences, check out MANtastic Fiction.)
  • October – Fairy Tales / Mythology (Considering how many of the UF/PNR stories we read have basis in, or mention some form of fairy tale or mythology… this should be an easy one for us all to get into.)
  • November – Holiday (Any book, fiction or nonfiction, in which a holiday is the main subject, or plays a major roll.)
  • December – Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (Ok… Ok… I had to put one in just as a breather. All this “out of the genre box” is exhausting, lol.)

So… is everyone ready to read out of their genre box?? Here are a couple of rules for the challenge… and the prize 🙂

  • You must post EACH MONTH on the main reading challenge page. It’s in the tabs above, or you can CLICK HERE to go there. Please include the title/author of the book you read, and a link to your review. Can be reviewed on your own blogsite, or simply on goodreads.
  • The book must be at least 150 pages. Exception is for poetry in April, since poetry books range so much in page count. Please be reasonable.
  • If you have a blog or website, please include the reading challenge button, linked to this page.

Those of you who finish the challenge… will get a GENRE BOX!!! Most of you who are reading this are UF/PNR fans like me… so as a reward for reading so many books OUT of the genre box, I’ll send you a box with some of the hottest UF/PNR titles from this year. I’ll divide up the titles available (which I’ll be collecting through the year, I’m hoping many of them will be signed or will come with bookplates) between all those who complete the challenge.

Here’s what I’m planning to read so far: (titles subject to change)

  • January – Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk – David Sedaris
  • February – No Flowers Required – Cari Quinn
  • March – Death By Black Hole (and Other Cosmic Quandries) – Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • April – A Night Without Armor – Jewel Kilcher
  • May – In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life – James Deetz
  • June – The Tao of Pooh (The Wisdom of Pooh) – Benjamin Hoff
  • July – Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King – William Joyce
  • August – J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend – Colin Duriez
  • September – Happy World – Kiernan Kelly & Tory Temple
  • October – A Cavalcade of Dragons – Roger Lancelyn Green
  • November – Kiss and Tell – Suzanne Brockmann

So… there we have it. As a bookstore employee, I can PROMISE you that there are fun, interesting, entertaining reads in all these categories. Trust me… it’ll be good for you!! So… go forth… and bust open that box!! Happy reading!!

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