Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Etch your soul on the tattered page

(by Ciara)

When I first started as a book blogger, I was starry-eyed and tongue-tied at meeting my first Author. And my second. And third. And so on, these Artists who, god-like, constructed the vibrant worlds between the pages of my beloved novels. My first thought was: "Squeeee! Let me bathe in your brilliance!"

Eventually I realized Authors were ordinary people who had grocery lists and dirty socks. The glaze wore off, but the empathy grew. Writing a griping, emotion-filled story is harder, much harder, without god-like powers. It requires more than blood, sweat, and tears. It requires soul, and soul is an intimate, embarrassing thing. Imagine walking through Times Square and stopping every person to share your deepest, darkest moments. You worst fears. Everything in you that is good. Everything in you that is shameful.

"Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open."
Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within)

I didn't understand that until I finished writing my second book. It's like I didn't understand my parents until I became one myself. Some things I understand academically, but I don't really, really know them until I've lived it. Now that I understand that, every book that I read has become a coded diary. What darkness inside the author has she transcribed on these pages? Which tears has she shed? Which hearts has she broken?

A story can be fine without that messy emotional input, but it can only be great with the tarnished, shining soul of the author staining its pages.

And that takes a big set of balls to splash your darkness across the blank page like so much dirty laundry.

We are advised to be ourselves on social networking to connect with readers, while still being professional. Be you, but only the good parts. Show your colors, but not if they offend. Writing a book is different. It's the black parts that make it interesting, and it's those parts that make writing a terrifying endeavor. I know I have the tendency to edit my own darkness out of my books, just like I edit it out in my public persona. It takes courage I'm still searching for.

So while my starry-eyed wonder for the glowing gods who write books is no more, it's been replaced by something real: the deep respect of a soldier who has seen her first battle. Now when I meet a new author, my first thought is this: "I salute you, comrade."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lusty Wenches and Book Club Favorites

Ciara here, hoping you east coasters made it safely through Irene, and are warm, dry, and reading a good book. Nothing like a power outage to make a person appreciate paper books again, right? :P But seriously, stay safe out there. I'm sending you mellow weather vibes from the Pacific Northwest.

One of the things I've loved most about joining this community of book bloggers is having people to gush about romance novels with. I came late to the genre and started blogging about books because I didn't have any friends who read romance (except for my college roommate, but she's too busy doing sekrit spy stuff to gush with). I instantly found this amazing group of women who love these books as much as I do, and who recommended a ton of excellent ones (leading me astray from grad school to write full time!).

The Lusty Wenches Book Club
I've been fortunate to find a few Seattle friends who also read romance since then, and we've started a book club. There are five of us, four writers. It is SO much fun to get together with girl friends over tea and frittata to dish about the latest fabulous books we've read. Our original intent was to analyze what makes the good ones work and the bad ones fail. We started off reading all the RITA finalists for best first book, plus Meredith Duran's debut because we needed a historical. Bloody hell, that was a bad year of books. Duran's was the ONLY one we liked, and we've since read all her new releases. So the next year we branched out and suggested books we'd heard were good. This means mostly I suggested books I'd heard were good from you lovely group of book bloggers. Much more successful! We've been trying to let all members select a book and trying to keep a well-rounded list of historical, contemporary, and paranormal. The list has slanted heavily paranormal, but the ones we've liked best have been historical.

After a lackluster run of books, this year we are trying something different. We've made a list of our FAVORITE authors, and we are going to read their new releases. First up is Richelle Mead's BLOODLINES, which is a Young Adult paranormal and a spinoff from her super popular vampire academy series. (On a completely random note, I dreamed last night she had her baby, but it was a girl. Neil Gaimen was there too, and he had a baby who looked just like Garrison Keillor. Weird, I know.) In November we will be reading Meljean Brook's HEART OF STEEL, because I loved the Iron Duke and made everyone read it. It was a big hit. Also on the list are Lisa Kleypas, Meredith Duran, Loretta Chase, Karen Marie Moning, Kristin Cashore, Joanna Bourne, Nalini Singh, and Julie James.

Do you belong to a book club? How would you organize it? What books would you pick? What fabulous books should we add to our list?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Rant About Editing: Authors Should Revolt!!

Yes, that's right!! I am on a tear!! As a book reviewer, among other things, I spend a lot of my time reading. I always have. Books are so much a part of my life now, as they have always been, that I have developed some serious feelings about the quality of writing, the attractiveness of the cover, the cost of books (especially ebook novellas and short stories) and so on and on. I think all this stems from my previous life as an English teacher and having to grade junior high and high school English essays. Even when I was in graduate school I taught part time and there were many occasions when I was sitting up at 2:00 am grading English essays and term papers. Believe me, I have seen everything from sentences that are strangely assembled, creatively misspelled words, and essay papers that were filled with cut and paste paragraphs that had little if anything to do with the subject assigned or the title of the paper.

So I come to the reviewing task with a fairly hefty set of prejudices about writing and publishing, and to be entirely truthful, I am thankful for all that experience. The down side, however, is that I spot some glaring difficulties in books, especially ebooks, that just drive me absolutely CRAZY! And my greatest concern is that I think authors are getting the "short end of the stick."

I feel deeply for authors who sit at their computers day after day, at the expense of their family involvement, losing sleep when deadlines approach, etc. I think authors work just as hard at their craft as do construction engineers at theirs. They then turn in their manuscripts to the publishing company editors and often there are two or three steps to that process. It is for the fact that editors appear to be working through a manuscript several times that heightens my upset over the sloppy editing I encounter in books. Either the editors are just letting a book lie in their in/out box and then returning it to the author or they are reviewing these manuscripts late at night and when they are not their sharpest, or for a variety of other reasons.

One ebook I read recently was so poorly written that I could hardly stand all the grammatical, spelling, and tense errors. OK, so I'm picky, but for crying out loud!! These are authors and editors who are supposed to be knowledgeable about the English language. If the author is that poorly versed in the fine points of writing in English, then it is the editor's job to make it look good, so someone really fell down on the job with this one. In a flash of pique that I usually don't give in to, I printed off a couple of chapters and got out my trusty old red pencil from teaching days, and started making corrections. I was absolutely appalled to see the number of errors I found.

Now I happen to know from conversations I have had with some blogger pals and other reviewers that this is not an isolated situation. My concern is that authors are being short-changed!! I know some publishers are better than others and I have found that Harlequin, Carina, Siren, Berkley, Kensington, and others in that class of publishing do a very good job. Yet even there I find extra words in sentences, bad tense use, possessives (there really is a difference between "there" and "their"), poor spelling, messy use of quotes, etc. It is really, as my grandmother used to say: "Enough to jar your mother's preserves."

So my feeling is that authors should revolt and insist on quality editing. After all, it is the author's persona and reputation that is hanging out for all to see. In the case of self publishing, I am not really sure what the process is there. But even then, I have found some self-published books to be very well done grammatically. If a writer spends the amount of time writing that they do, then editors owe them the time and effort--and I think courtesy is a part of this--to do a careful and comprehensive job of editing, not just to make the story flow better, or re-writing an erotic scene to make it hotter, or whatever the concern with the story may be. The words, the sentences, the tenses and possessives are all the packaging for an author's work. And it would be so much nicer for the readers, too.

Thanks for listening . . . I don't intend to step on anyone's toes specifically. I'm just tired of very good stories being showcased poorly. Nevertheless, keep those noses in those books.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Does It Have To Be "In With The New And Out With The Old"?

So who of us isn't interested in upgrading? I'm perfectly comfortable with new cars, new clothes, new houses, new computer programs, and new and improved products of varying kinds. From what I can tell, over 50% of the society are upgrading their spouses as well. But that's another discussion. (lol)

The same seems to hold true for books. OK, I am just as prone to want the next new novel an author is writing, and I get just as excited when the new addition to a series comes onto the shelf or the ebook publisher. But I have been discovering some of the books that authors have written 3-10 years previously, some of which have turned out to be really good and I, for one, am just a little distressed that they seem to Perhaps this is a characteristic of my naturally generous nature (Ewww) or it might just be driven by the realization that I am not among the "new and improved" humans anymore. Whatever the cause, I have been deliberately seeking out some of the older, sometimes forgotten earlier works by authors. As a fan of second-hand book stores, this is easier with print books. But discovering ebooks that have been around for awhile isn't all that difficult, espe
cially when searching through clearance sale stashes online.

Morgan Ashbury is an author I discovered some months ago and I have come to really enjoy all of her writing. Lily in Bloom is a novel that was released in 2007 so has been around for a while. Yet its core issue is just as contemporary as any found in romance fiction.

It is a May/December story of a 43 year old woman who finds herself divorced and living on a rural property left her by her uncle and one that is quite valuable. Lily Martin had a mother who hated her, an ex-husband who still thought he could control her, and children who treated her as a servant and in an overt disrespectful way. The truth was that she had allowed this, all in the name of pleasing a mother who would never be pleased, trying in the worst way to find love and acceptance.

Enter Ryan Kincaid, a man over a decade younger than Lily, and
one she had first met when he was 16 and skinny dipping in her neighbor's pool. (Lily didn't think Ryan saw her watching him.) He was beautiful then; he is magnificent now. And unbeknownst to her, Ryan has been in love with her for nearly as long. He is single and now so is she. All during the years of his university experience and his decade of traveling around the world, he matured into a man who is comfortable in his own skin and knows that loving an older woman is no different than an older man marrying a much younger woman. And as their affair grows more intense and Lily allows Ryan to help her see herself and her relatives through a different set of inner lenses, she begins to allow herself to grow and "bloom."

It is a woman that will have readers cheering Lily on as she takes on her disrespectful children, her controlling and intrusive ex-husband, and her mean and nasty mother. And readers will appreciate the deep kindness and sensitivity of a man who accepts Lily's love as a precious treasure, an experience she had never had previously.

Speaking of treasures, some of the older works of our favorite authors are just that: treasures. Yes, they mature and grow in their writing style and their list of interests and subject matter changes and grows with time. Even so, we owe it to them and to ourselves to appreciate their work, even if it has been sitting on shelves for years.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Paradise Found by Hunter Raines

Paradise is just an illusion . . .

Or so Philip thinks as he vacations on exotic Anguilla. He should be celebrating the end of law school and the start of his successful career, but he's tired of living a lie for his family's sake. For just one night, he lets down his guard with two men he thinks he'll never see again.

He isn't the only one with secrets. For years, Cameron Drake has suppressed his need for dominance, afraid of hurting his lover, Mark Wilder. But when Cameron's hand meets Philip's ass, there's no more pretending. Mark can't face his conflicting feelings about the ménage; does Cameron want more than Mark can give?

The three of them may have been perfect together but consequences follow them back to their real lives. Will their desire for another encounter shatter the illusions they've built to protect themselves or clear the obstacles to paradise?

Those who know me well know that reading, much less reviewing M/M novels has been a journey of discovery for me. I just hadn't come into close contact with M/M stories previously and we all know that in the past few years there have been a literary avalanche of M/M and F/F stories published and made available on ebooks. So finding this book on Net Galley was a bit of a challenge to myself to take it and read it and try to find the underlying issues that drove these characters and why this story played out as it did.

All that being said, I found these three men to be compelling characters as each was allowing deep fears to motivate them in their relationships. Obviously Cameron and Mark had moved past the fear of "coming out of the closet" and were in a committed relationship for several years. That wasn't the issue for them at all. Yet their relationship was foundering, emotional distance between them was growing, and frustration over this was almost at an unbearable level in light of the fact that they continued to love each other dearly. Perhaps a vacation--a trip to Paradise, if you will--would help to re-connect and mend whatever was slowly killing their relationship.

Phillip didn't have the luxury of having come out regarding his sexual orientation. His ultra-conservative, starchy, steel rod up the butt Father was driving him crazy with his expectations both professionally and personally. He was living a lie and he was royally tired of it!! Now he had completed his law education, taken his state boards, and was now all ready to become a productive member of his dad's law firm. But that entry into the firm also included finding a socially acceptable wife and begin a family. No gays allowed!! And Phillip had to continually live with this prohibition, the realization that owning up to his gay-ness would put him in the sewer with his dad and family. How was he to live?

Cameron and Mark decided that a "one night stand" with a stranger would bring some needed spice into their relationship and they hooked up with Phillip. But some things happened that threatened all three. And in the months that followed that night together, all three made some decisions about themselves and each other that changed the course of personal history and the nature of their relationship.

I have read some of the reviews for this book on Goodreads and I have to say that I found this novel deeply moving. I was drawn into their individual pain as well as the sense of frustration that seemed to cloud Phillip as he tried to live his life to please everyone except himself. Cameron and Mark didn't fare much better and their relationship was still headed for the dumpster if something more wasn't changed. About half way through the book I felt that the obstacles to resolution for any of them were almost insurmountable. I have to hand it to the author for managing to pull this threesome out of the deep emotional holes in which they found themselves.

This novel is really about honesty--the kind that doesn't let anyone off the hook, including one's self. All of the 12-step programs counsel that " . . . there is no recovery without honesty." And it was certainly true for these three--honesty about themselves and their own inner needs, about their willingness to be open with each other, and in Phillip's case, willingness to live to please himself rather than everyone else. Cameron and Mark needed to learn that no love, no matter how genuine and caring, can flourish and be sustained in an environment of dishonesty, driven by fear and resulting secrets. Phillip knew that his hidden life and inner needs to be himself in every way could only be sustained for so long. The constant badgering of his dad to "bring home a nice girl" could only be tolerated so long. His secret life, his hidden need, his true self could only flourish in honesty. Once he faced himself, Phillip also had to face his hidden and long suppressed his attraction--actually his love--for Cameron and Mark. In the final analysis, only honesty would do.

I really got into this book and am so glad I read it. I'm not nearly so concerned at how people live their lives and how they relate to one another as long as it is done with honesty, caring, a willingness to give more than take, and a desire for the well-being for everyone in the relationship. As I traveled the literary "journey" toward that kind of realization with these three characters was one that made this novel come alive for me and one that turned out to be so instructive for me personally. Can a heterosexual female be instructed by the fictional experiences of three homosexual males? I think so, and found that I was challenged to be more honest in my own relating to husband and family as well as good friends and colleagues. For me, this makes for a fully satisfying read. Add to that the good writing, good editing, and the work of an author who obviously knew how to put together good characters with a good plot and storyline, and you have an entertaining as well as an instructive book. The best kind, in my humble opinion.

This book was released in June, 2011 by Carina Press. I think those who like good M/M books will find this a book they don't want to miss.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


How about some men to keep us occupied while we're waiting for the next blogger? 

Saturday, August 20, 2011


After moving twice in less than six months, I've hit a bit of a rough spot in my reading habits. I love to read; do it as much as I can, but I seem to have hit a brick wall lately.

I've read some good books. Thea Harrison comes to mind. But I'm not reading anywhere near as much as I did before the move to Michigan. Not only that, but I haven't found the "spot" yet. You know, the place I go to buy books. There aren't anywhere near as many used bookstores here. In fact, I haven't found a single one. This is sad to me, because I love used bookstores. *sigh*

So, I'm looking for recommendations to bring me out of this reading funk I find myself in. Romance is key...but at this point I'll read almost anything but self-help. I'm not much of a self-help kinda girl.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Random Thoughts & Such

I finally got cable in my apartment over the weekend. One of the perks is FINALLY having HBO. Now I'm able to watch shows like True Blood & Game of Thrones, instead of seeing what my friends Twitter about.

As I'm watching GoT (which is fascinating, btw), I noticed a couple of things. 1. Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo is super delish! 2. Why do bad things always happen to Sean Bean's characters? I love Sean Bean. I'm not usually partial to blonds, but he does it for me. I think it's the fact that he's got such a lived in face and has such a yummy accent. 3. Peter Dinklage has one of the sexiest voices out there. Don't know why, but it is delish! And I love his character. Such a smartass. 4. Communication doesn't seem to be a priority in this series. Eesh! There have been many a time I just wanted to smack people upside the head. Ah well, it's still interesting. I'm such a geek for epic fantasy anyway.

True Blood-Alcide! *thuds* Okay, I'm going to admit something that will probably ostracize me from the social sphere, but I don't get the appeal of Mr. Skarsgard. *ducks and hides* I'm serious! The dude freaks me out something fierce and not in a good way. Again, it's probably because I'm not partial to blonds, but he gives me the heebie-jeebies anytime.

And I like Alcide from the neck down. Ack! My friend Bells will totally disagree with me on that, but it's true. His face does nothing for me.

Here's another observation...boobs rule on HBO! I've never seen so much T&A!!! I know, it's because they can, but still. I don't need to see that many boobs. *hides eyes*

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Keeping Motivated

I'm trying really hard to keep myself motivated when it comes to my writing. Moving twice in less than six months, working at least 8 hours Monday-Friday and just life overall keeps me on my toes. I have been writing, just not as much as I would like.

I need to figure out some sort of schedule; something that would allow me to write for a certain amount of time per day and maybe, just maybe, I would actually finish something. *gasp* What a concept!

Sadly, I am not a very regimented person. I hate planning out my life. I want to live each day as it comes and try to enjoy it. However, if I want to be a published writer at some point in my life (yes, please!!!!), I have to make some sort of adjustment to my thinking.

What are my options? Hmm...well, I could write for a bit in the morning. Or after work. Maybe before I go to bed every night. I admit, I'm stumped.

So...those of you out there who DO schedule yourselves writing time, what do you suggest? What works best for you? Help a would-be writer out. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting to Know You... Getting to Know All About You

Hello everyone!  It’s D.L. from The Romance Girl’s Guide to Fiction back on the Island for the next few days.  I was scheduled to pop by last May, but my pesky final exams got in the way.  Quick thanks to everyone at the Island for picking up the slack and covering for me.

Looking back over my first stay on the Island, I posted about people’s reactions to romance readers, my love of John Matthew, and dislike of Scorpios, but I never did an official introductory post.  So without further ado…

Ten Facts About D.L.

-So some of the basics: I’m a 21 year old English major.  I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing after I graduate, but I’m not going to be a teacher or a journalist.  For some reasons those are the two things people always assume English majors are going to be…

-I have a cat named Abyssinia.  How did she get that name?  There’s that scene in Sense and Sensibility where Margaret crawls out from under the table declaring “the source of the Nile is in Abyssinia!”  Haven’t seen the movie?  Well, you better get on that.

-I have four false teeth.  Two are implants and two are veneers.  They’re not cosmetic; I was born without two teeth, thus the implants.  My before and after pictures are on my dentist’s website!  And it’s always fun to tell a guy I have “implants” on a first date.  The reactions are priceless.

-I love bad paranormal movies.  And I mean real bad ones.  Not the campy ones, but the ones that take themselves seriously.  Daybreakers, Constantine, Priest… Bring ‘em on.  I can’t get enough.

-I hate wearing shoes, both indoors and out.  But when I walk barefoot indoors, my heels don’t touch the ground.  I walk on my tip-toes.  It looks a bit odd, but it does make me look a bit taller though!

-Just like Bet Me’s Min was waiting for her reincarnation of Elvis, I’m waiting for my reincarnation of Cary Grant.  Or Humphrey Bogart.  I’d be happy with either.  I love classic films.  I would have loved to have lived in the 40’s, except for the sexism… and racism… and war…

-I have no fear of snakes or large spiders, but bunnies used to frighten me.  I’ve gotten over that fear, but I’ve always wondered myself where the fear of rabbits came from.  Watching Monty Python one too many times?

-I love love love spicy food.  I can eat a jalapeño straight.  Buffalo wings are my weakness.  My friend and I used to go to Buffalo Wild Wings so often that we had a regular waitress who knew are usual order.

-My mom helped me make my junior year prom dress… out of camouflage fabric.  My high school sweetheart had a matching vest.  All the photographers told us we were the cutest couple they had seen that year.

-I’m a huge Iditarod fan (ya know, that dog sled race up in Alaska… think Balto!).  My mom and I follow it obsessively.  We have our favorite mushers and Iditarod families and we make bets.  I won this year.  Oh yea.

Want to know me better?  Come back tomorrow for my next post, or visit my blog, The Romance Girl’s Guide to Romance, where I occasionally remember to post.


Thank you to all that entered to win one of the 5 books I had on offer (as no one entered for a Game of Thrones there are only 4 winners)

Without further ado, the winners are as follows -

The Seductive Imposter - Deborah R

The Search - Aurian

Kiss of the Highlander - Sullivan McPig


Dreamfever - Musk

Congratulations Ladies!

Ladies if you could all email me your addresses i will get your books out as soon as possible

mail me at amanda DOT murphy44 AT gmail DOT com

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Taken By Surprise by Tonya Ramagos

Dr J Here. I have been asked to share the review of a novel that I particularly like and so I have chosen one that I think is a wonderful example of what I call "The Complete Novel." You will find hot love scenes, covert action, suspense, unresolved issues, partially resolved relationships, human and imperfect characters, consistent writing quality, a plot that can stand alone but has been expertly connected to all the stories that precede it. The publisher's blurb is as follows:

Rhonda Ramsey's future plans didn't include a man until she met temptation in a set of exotic eyes and a six foot package of pure sex appeal. Unable to resist, she lets him into her life only to watch him walk away months later.
She's furious with herself for allowing her desires to control her head. But when a drug lord takes her hostage, depending on the man who tempts her soul might be her only chance to survive.

DEA Agent Michael Cosmos has done a lot of tough things in his career. Walking away from Rhonda topped the list. He did it to keep her safe. He failed. Now she's at the mercy of a drug lord out for revenge. Michael will put his career and his life on the line to get her back in his arms. But will it be enough to hold on forever?

This novel is actually the 7th book in "The Heroes of Silver Springs" series which features the stories of firefighters and local law enforcement officers. There are also some secondary characters that have been introduced in previous novels that serve with the FBI, DEA, and a Special Ops SEAL team. Throughout the novels, like a poisonous snake, winds the presence of a Cambodian drug lord. He is highly successful in his international drug business, seemingly velcro-coated as he continually eludes law enforcement and continues to bring disaster and destruction to individuals and families. Silver Springs is a fictional community that is on the Easter seaboard and thus is a target port for drug illegal importation. Thus it is also the site where these government agencies and their personnel have gathered.

Michael Cosmos has been a presence throughout several of the novels and it was during another rescue operation that he encountered divorcee Rhonda Ramsey. She had finally left a 9 year marriage that had really been over for six of those years, was working so hard to support herself and her young son, and was on a mission to become a truly independent woman. She had dreams of becoming a published author of erotic romance and she wasn't about to allow another man to take over her life. Their attraction was immediate and almost impossible to resist, but Rhonda never lost sight of her goals. Michael couldn't stand the thought of having some involvement in her life, so they agreed to just remain friends. I didn't get the impression that anyone else bought that story, and Rhonda and Michael knew it was just biding their time. After several months of doing things together and just hanging out, it became evident that the drug lord had plans to use Rhonda to nab Michael, just about his #1 target for revenge. In an effort to protect Rhonda and Lucas, Michael just walked away, broke contact, with no "good-bye" or "see you later," or "it's been fun."

Many months later, Rhonda had an opportunity to take a vacation trip to Thailand with a good friend, and it was during their sojourn in Bangkok that the drug lord kidnapped Rhonda, murdered her friend, and took her back to his Cambodian jungle compound where he promptly fell in love with her and planned to keep her. Even though she hoped otherwise, because of Michael's turning his back on her months earlier, she really didn't think he would ever come after her. She was really wrong on that score.

Throughout this story there are several other tentative love relationship that were hanging fire. Michael's FBI partner was gay, was suffering a massive crush on their boss who was bi-sexual and keeping that fact under wraps, but Adrien was also strongly attracted to one of the new Silver Springs firefighters. Even after they spent a night of hot loving together, Adrien still couldn't get past his crush and thus he and Thaddeus were at an impasse, one he knew he could end with a word. Another FBI agent who accepts an undercover assignment as a sexual submissive in a fetish club is twin to a Silver Springs firefighter. ( His partner in this operation is with the DEA, has spent several years establishing herself as a dominatrix who doesn't share her lifestyle with the DEA and doesn't allow the DEA affiliation to influence her participation in the BDSM lifestyle.) He has long hankered after the sister of his boss, a woman who really wants him as well but her fear of commitment prevents them from anything more than an occasional sexual romp. Their story continues on in segments throughout this book.

I think the only moment of puzzlement for me was thinking about the heroine taking a vacation in the Far East when she already knew that the Cambodian drug lord was taking hostages and kidnapping children of those connected to the U. S. government agencies. This may have permitted a smooth segue to the rest of the story, but that really seemed patently foolish for a woman who appears to be really smart in so many other ways. I guess even in such a good book as this overall, the author must be permitted some literary license. I can't figure out why she wouldn't be aware that she was putting herself even closer to danger by visiting a country that was in very close proximity to Cambodia. Oh well . . .

All that aside, this is one of those novels that not only brings all the strands that are woven throughout the series into final form, it also is the kind of book that doesn't require the preceding novels for the reader to make sense of it all. However, I would recommend the entire series as being a wonderful introduction to a community that holds its firefighters and police officers in high esteem, who have a deep sense of being connected as a community, and who care deeply about one another. It is the kind of book that readers will find digs deep into the emotions and which celebrates the best that people can be while being honest about the pervasive evil of drugs and those who live by their sale and distribution. I think any reader can relate to many of the feelings that the characters express, their hopes and dreams, their disappointments, even their delayed gratification.

Tonya Ramagos is a writer I first encountered about ten months ago and I have been so delighted with the consistency of her writing, her stories that are so well told, her celebration of people involved in all kinds of relationship configurations and orientations, and her characters that seem to display the full range of feelings and opinions common to all people. She has rapidly moved on to my "favorite authors" list and I am careful not to miss any of her new releases. I am now working through some of her early publications and shorter series.

I hope you will take a serious look at this series which is published by Siren Publishing and especially this novel. For a number of reasons, I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Playing the Game of Life: Hardball by V. K. Sykes

After years of hard work and keeping her nose firmly to the grindstone, Dr. Holly Bell has finally achieved her dream: a position as a pediatric surgeon at a prestigious teaching hospital. Children’s lives rest in her skilled hands. That means total dedication to her work and her patients without letting anything or anyone get in the way. And a hot affair with a superstar athlete is most definitely getting in Holly’s way.

Nate Carter, star pitcher for the Philadelphia Patriots, has the world in the palm of his baseball glove. He’s at the height of his game, a west coast team is about to lure him with even greater riches, and the most gorgeous women in town are in full pursuit. Nate has everything he wants, or at least he thinks he does, until he meets the beautiful and brainy Dr. Holly Bell. He’s totally up for a hot affair, and Holly turns out to be the hottest.

But will Holly be willing to play his game? When the lovely doctor starts changing the rules, Nate realizes he just might be playing for keeps.

Coming from a family with a confirmed baseball "fanatic" as a husband, this book was one that I found extremely interesting as it involved a professional baseball player as the hero. My hubby is still talking about the great players of the old Brooklyn Dodgers even though he is now a LA Dodger fan (and his all-time favorite is Sandy Koufax, a pitcher), and I found it interesting that the hero, a star pitcher, was considering possibilities with the LA Dodgers. So it was with a great deal of background that I came to this story. Add in my own involvement with the medical community as a nurse in past years, and I felt I could sit down and find something I understood contextually.

Having said that, I must say that I was truly impressed by this novel. I have not read any works by this team of writers before and so came to this reading task with no preconceived notions about "good, bad, or indifferent." Yet the story held my interest from the first paragraph. (I have a particular bias that good writers need to do as much to grab their readers with the first paragraph as they do about the rest of the story.) Doctors must deal with lots of issues that are, in many ways, side issues to the actual treatment of patients. In this doctor's case, she was new to the teaching hospital, was taking over patients from a retiring pediatric surgeon, and was getting to know the hospital personnel as well. Add in the long days, getting settled in a new living setting, and dealing with parents who know almost nothing about her, and you have a pressure cooker of context before she even lays a single hand on a single patient. So it was with Holly Bell, a young woman who had finally reached one of her life goals--be a pediatric surgeon in a well-known teaching hospital. It took lots of time, study, sleepless days, and working with lots of other professionals and patients to get to this place, and she was confident she could meet any challenge given her. That is, until she met a parent who absolutely refused to allow her to operate on his son, a youngster who needed an artificial heart valve to not only prolong his life but to increase the quality of his life. But it wasn't just the parent's refusal; it was the violent nature of that refusal and the threats that went with it--threats that kept on increasing in tone and intensity. Not a good beginning for Dr. Bell.

Now she has come face to face with Nate Carter, professional baseball pitcher, charmer par excellence, and reputed all-round ladies' man. He was the last person she needed in her life, but she was captured by his open manner with her patients, his apparent love of kids and concern for their morale as they lay in the hospital, as well as feeling an unaccustomed physical response to his nearness. As for Nate, he was bowled over by the good Dr. Bell and determined to find a way to begin some kind of friendship with her, hopefully leading to a more romantic involvement. He was quite up front about that.

This novel is about the clash of two worlds--professional baseball and surgical medicine--and the cultures that surround them. There was no doubting the sparks that flew between them and the fire those sparks ignited. But it didn't take too long, just a matter of a few weeks, for the realities of their lives to intrude on their love affair. But I think there was far more going on with these two. Nate was a joyful pro athlete, making buckets of money, enjoying all the perks of being the darling of his fans, and able to select just about any woman he desired for however long he chose. His life was all about fun and women were all about fun, too. He loved to play! And considering the fact that he was being paid millions to play what was originally a child's game, Nate took the concept of play to the maximum degree. Consider Dr. Holly Bell: a woman who had effectively expunged "play" from her life in her efforts to reach the lofty goals she set for herself. She also came from a family where she dealt with an absentee father and a mother whose acidic "drip, drip, drip" of bitterness about the untrustworthiness of men shaped and formed her attitudes whether she was aware of that fact or not. There was lots more to overcome than the gap between their professional worlds. And those life issues were the very ones that threatened this relationship.

Perhaps it is also a book that might pose the question of whether or not love really can conquer all. I sometimes wonder if that is a truism we all want to believe but are loath to recognize that there are situations where just loving someone falls short of what is needed. Certainly Holly came to love Nate, but their values, their approach to living and relationships, their view of fidelity and trust were so different. Add in the need for a mature understanding of oneself and life's challenges, and you have, in my opinion, the core issues that drove this story and out of which grew the crisis in their togetherness.

This is a wonderful story that certainly embraces the reality of a very hot love affair, filled with erotic loving and descriptions of encounters that were steamy, to say the least. Yet there were the raw realities of a dying child, an angry and threatening parent, the inadequacies of law enforcement to provide safety for those who are threatened, the necessities of trust and fidelity between two people, the pressures of a professional team management, the worries surrounding an incapacitating injury, and the prospect of a long-distance relationship. All gave balance to a story that was certainly romantic, but one that is rooted in real life and its stresses. I found the characters to be very realistic, edgy, clearly defined and able to stand on their own, with strength and with a sense of who they were. Even the secondary characters were quite wonderful even though several of them were "on stage" only briefly.

Sports-based novels can be a drag when they contain so much about the sport that readers are turned off. That is not the case here. This is really about people and relationships. Ultimately, that is what romance fans are looking for, and that is what the reader will find here. There are surprises, and certainly I was thrilled to see that the plot took some twists and turns that were unexpected. Kept me on my toes, to be sure. I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review this novel, and I highly recommend it as being a story that is well told, characters that are engaging, a novel that is vastly entertaining, and one that is well-worth the time to read. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A TBR pile of GARGANTUAN proportions and book give away

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen of the Island.

How are you all? This is a well needed trip to the Island for me the weather here in Ireland is appalling at the minute and there are is so much rain. But as you can see below that has not stopped our rugby boys training in preparation for the World Cup!

So the topic I would like to bring to the Island today is the size of my TBR pile. It has taken on proportions of the peach in James and the Giant Peach!!

As a young girl I grew up with the image of the library in Beast's Castle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and like any bibliophile of my generation, I wanted it.

Now I am all grown up (which is debatable hehehe) and I realise that there are not enough hours in the day to read all the books I want to read, let alone have a library of the proportions of Belle. Although my new kindle is certainly helping me expand my book collection.

My TBR pile I am starting to think is multiplying while I sleep!! There seems to be a new book every week that I want and have to have on release day but I never get to read them when I want to read.

So for that reason I have brought some of my books to the island with me to send them to a better home where they can be loved and bring someone else happiness. Plus my boys are happy that some of their potential 'competition' are being sent to new homes just in case my affections would have been transferred even momentarily.

The books I have on offer are the following, these books are all by some of my all time favourite authors and I hope that you will have as much fun with them as I have had and fall in love with the author's writing and will discover something new to you -

Karen Marie Moning's - Kiss of the Highlander

Karen Marie Moning's - Dreamfever

George R R Martin's - Game of Thrones ( I have two copies of this as the book cover for tie in with Sean Bean got me!!)

Janet Chapman's - Seductive Imposter

Nora Robert's - The Search

All you have to do is leave me a comment and tell me which book you would like and tell me what your TBR pile is like and I will pick a winner on Sunday for each of the books using a Random Generator!

So while you are tying to choose the book you would like to give a new home to, I can hear my boys arguing over whose turn it is to give me a massage..... don't they realise they can all do it together?!

I am off to enjoy some Mojitos and soak up some sun before I go back to the real world.

Monday, August 8, 2011


The winner of PT Michelle's Brightest Kind of Darkness is:

Dr. J

The winner of one book from the backlist of Sandy James is:

Jen B.


The winner of J.R. Barrett/Julia Barret's book Incorporeal is:


Aurian please email Tracy at redneyrae AT ca DOT rr DOT com your email address so that we can get your book to you.

Congratulations to you all!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: The Rifter Part 6: Broken Fortress by Ginn Hale

Warning: This review contains a number of spoilers for the previous parts of The Rifter.

After all the excitement of part five of this serialised novel, which ended on a heart-stopping cliff-hanger, this sixth part seems at first a little, well, dull in comparison. In actual fact that turned out not to be the case, as the quietness of the first few pages soon begins to build in intensity. It's a different feel, both in pace and tone, from the previous 300 pages, and at first I was frustrated at the change of pace because I wanted to know how things would work out for John and Ravishan. As it is, we get to find out some of their story within the memories of Kahlil and Jath’ibaye, some of which were tender reminders of their romance and some which were much darker. It also answered a few questions for me over Jath’ibaye's initial reaction to Kahlil when he sees him in part 2.

The book can be divided roughly into two themes. Firstly there is Kahlil's struggle with the knowledge of who he was and who he is. His changing memories cause him great consternation as does the knowledge that he is both Kahlil, who was sent to Nayeshi and spent years observing John from the coldness of grey space, and also Ravishan, who met John as a young man and fell in love. During the book there is a consolidation and affirmation of those feelings which led to a number of very romantic scenes. My one criticism, or maybe, again, it was more of a frustration, was that I really wanted to know Jath’ibaye's thoughts during the first half of this book. This is possibly because I'd just spent the last 300 pages in John's head and the switch to Kahlil then denied me John's voice. This frustration lessened as the book continued as I settled back into Kahlil's narrative, and also because of some of the events which happen later in the book.

The second theme is that of the coming war between Jath’ibaye's country of Vundomu and the counties of the South ruled by various Gaun'im. The political discussions and the rising tensions added to the interest, but the main attraction for me was in the threat from Fakiri and what he and his Lady are trying to achieve in the Northern lands once occupied by Rashal'pesha. We discover a number of chilling revelations about this and I am now very much anticipating the direction that the story is heading with Fakiri.

In and around these two main themes the author continues to add to the world of Basawar, the character of Jath’ibaye as Rifter, the role of the Kahlil and life at Vundomu. We are introduced to new characters who help and hinder our heroes, and whose allegiances could easily change given a change in circumstance. The development of even minor characters and the way their thoughts and concerns are shown, creates vivid characterisation in even the most minor of roles. It is this masterful showing of character, along with the many thoughtful touches which seek to add even more layers onto the personalities of Kahlil and Jath’ibaye, which leaves me in awe of this author's talent.

I've been deliberately vague in some of my references in this review, simply because I don't want to take away anyone's pleasure by accidentally spoiling this book. Despite its slow start, and my initial frustrations, the way the the plot built, layer upon layer, through the book kept my interest and left me anticipating the coming events. We may be on the downward slope in terms of numbers of books left in this serialisation, but the story is in no way slowing down. Instead we are being pulled inevitably towards both disaster and victory; death and new life. I'm very much looking forward to what is coming in book seven.

You can either buy this sixth part - and then any of the other parts - separately for $3.99 each, or buy the whole book at $29.95 and each month the new part will be sent to you via email. More information about this and the buy now page can be found HERE.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My First Ménage

Heather Rainier writes erotic ménage romance and shares with Desert Island keepers her memory of...
My First Ménage

I’ll never forget them as long as I live. The big, sometimes demanding alpha, his gentler and more diplomatic brother and their dark, damaged younger sibling. They made no secret of what they wanted and I was enthralled from the moment I realized “it” was really going to happen. What amazed me most was that they didn’t want a fling. They wanted forever. I was about to experience my first ménage. My heart pounded as I turned the page…

What? Did you think I was talking about myself? *snicker*

There are a few books I’d take with me for a desert island getaway, but dear to my heart will always be the first ménage romance I ever read, “Colter’s Woman” by Maya Banks.

What’s not to love about the idea of three men devoted to loving you, cooking for you and protecting you from evil-doers? Reading that book, along with a few notable others, was the beginning of something wonderful in my life. Within their tantalizing pages, I explored taboos, secret lives and heroines with hearts so big they had enough love in them for more than one man.

A couple of years later I celebrated the realization of a long-held dream of becoming a published author with the release of my first erotic ménage romance, a contemporary western entitled “Divine Grace.”

So, if I ever get to that desert island, you can bet Holly, Adam, Ethan and Ryan Colter are coming with me.

If you’ve never read a ménage romance, “Colter’s Woman” holds a special place in my heart and I’d recommend it to anyone. If you enjoy erotic ménage romances, why not leave me a comment and tell me about your favorites.

Heather Rainier writes erotic romance exclusively for Siren Publishing. Her latest release, Maya’s Triple Dare, book 8 in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection is available at Siren-Bookstrand. Also visit Heather’s website.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Overcoming Obstacles (and a giveaway)

Please raise your cocktails glasses and give a warm tropical welcome to author Sandy James!

I’m thrilled to be blogging at DIK! Thanks so much for having me!

I thought a lot about what to write—everything from writing to publishing to finding agents. But they always say to write what you know, so I’m veering a little bit to talk about what it’s like to be a writer with a “silent illness.”

What do I mean by silent? I have lupus. If you see me, you’d say, “You look perfectly healthy!” Well, yeah. Thanks. I do. It’s what you don’t see that makes my road a little more rocky.

Let me back up a second and explain what lupus is. Our bodies have the great ability to make antibodies to kill off things that attack us. Like viruses. These little soldiers go to war and kill off whatever they are sent to attack. In people with autoimmune illnesses, those fantastic little antibodies decide to target a certain part of the body and set about destroying it.

In my case—which is fairly typical of women with lupus—the main symptoms are fatigue and pain. And I’m not talking the I’m-dragging-and-need-some-coffee fatigue. It’s more like moving-is-simply-impossible-for-a-while fatigue. But I swallow it down best I can and drag my behind out of bed to face a classroom full of far-too-energetic high school seniors every day. I’m lucky because I can do that. Many lupus victims can’t. In fact, many victims of “silent illnesses” can’t.

Another author friend of mine has multiple sclerosis. You’d never know it from looking at her, which is my point. I admire that she keeps churning out bestselling novel after bestselling novel regardless of the disease. She’s an inspiration to me and one of the reasons I keep my butt in the chair and hands on the keyboard despite how blah I might feel.

Perhaps the message here is more along the lines of “never assume,” which is good advice in general. If you see a woman in her thirties getting out of a car she just parked in a handicapped spot, but she isn’t limping, doesn’t need a cane, and looks fine to you, never assume she is simply looking for a great parking spot. Maybe she has rheumatoid arthritis. Or chronic fatigue syndrome. Or even a severe case of lupus.

As I said, I’m lucky. The pain I have tends to be in joints and places on my body called “pressure points.” The way it affects my writing is that I sometimes have to coax myself—a lot—into churning out a few thousand more words instead of taking that nap. And if I sit too long in one position, when I get up, I look a little like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. Nothing works quite right, and it takes some work and quite a bit of grimacing to get things functioning again. I don’t let it stop me. Probably because I’m more stubborn than God should ever allow a person to be. (At least that’s what my husband tells me all the time…)

I think being stubborn is important to a writer. We have to persevere because the road to publishing ain’t easy. In fact, it’s downright treacherous. So we have to keep plugging away, no matter the obstacles. Illnesses. Family obligations. Rejections. All these things—and more!—we simply have to learn to address and compensate for, or they will become nothing but excuses.

So what are the hurdles you have to jump to be able to write? I’d love to hear your story!

Sandy James


Sandy has been wonderful and is offering one lucky winner a copy of one of her books!  To enter just leave a comment and your email address.  Contest runs until 7:00pm (pacific) on Saturday, August 6th. 

These are the books you have to choose from.  
Blurbs can be read here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guest Author Julia Barrett Giveaway

Creative Freedom

a note from paranormal romance author, Julia Barrett.

I thought long and hard about self-publishing. I wasn’t worried about striking out on my own; I’m used to blazing my own path. Regardless of whether we are with a publisher or publish a book ourselves, every author wonders if his or her work will be accepted and, most importantly, read. That’s normal. The technical aspects were scary, but friends helped – actually author friends were life-savers.

The barebones concept of Incorporeal, a ghost romance, was rejected by three different publishers.

“A ghost romance won’t work,” I was told. “Nobody wants to read about a dead man.”

Well, I did, I wanted to find out how Sara Wise, a reluctant ghost seer, fell in love with Natan de Manua, a man who’d been dead for five hundred years.

I wanted to know, is love stronger than death? Can these two unlikely lovers have an HEA? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Here’s an excerpt:
Sara stood on the porch, her purse over her shoulder, keys in her hand. She didn’t want to leave him. “You’re sure you’ll be all right?”

Nathan grinned at her, his grin heating her all the way down to her toes. “I’ve lived in this house for three months. I’m sure I’ll be safe for one day.”

“If you take a shower, don’t scald yourself. Test the water first. I left you a full pot of coffee and there’s cream and sugar if you don’t like it black. And be sure to drink water. Remember, you need to drink water now or you’ll get dehydrated. Eat whatever you want, but maybe it would be better if you didn’t use the stove, and…”

“Sara, shhhhh.” Nathan slid a warm hand beneath her chin. Tilting her head up, he kissed her soundly. When he ended the kiss, he said, “I’ll be fine. Go.”

“You’re sure you can’t come with me? You can’t come outside?”

He shook his head. “I cannot cross the threshold.”

Sara studied his face. “You’re sure?”

Nathan gazed down, first at his bare feet, and then his eyes roved over the grass, green and lush from the winter rains. “I’m tempted to try, but no, I cannot leave this house.”

“What will happen if you do?” Sara cleared her throat and waited for his answer.

Nathan rocked back on his heels. “I believe I would vanish again and I have no desire to become incorporeal.” He winked at her. “I would miss the taste of your, uh, coffee.”

Sara couldn’t hold back what she knew was an ear to ear grin. “All right, I’ll go.” She reached for his hand and gave it a squeeze. “Be here when I get home. I have more questions for you. Promise you’ll be here.”

“I promise.”

“Okay, bye.” She continued to stand on the porch steps.

“Sara, you must let go of my hand if you wish to get to work on time.”

“Right.” She laughed out loud. “I’m going. It’s just that, well, over the years I’ve met many incorporeal beings, but never one like you.” She stared at Nathan for a moment. “There’s something we never got around to discussing, and I have to ask this question because it’s going to bug me all day.”

“Ask your question.”

Sara took a deep breath and blew it out. “What are you?”

It seemed to Sara that Nathan looked everywhere but into her eyes. At last he met her gaze. “I don’t know. Sara, I wish to hell I did, but I don’t know what I am.”

Sara knew she should leave, but she couldn’t let go of Nathan’s hand. “One more question. What language do you speak? I mean, when we make love, sometimes you say things to me, words that don’t sound like Spanish.”

Nathan’s smile crinkled his eyes, causing her heart to flip-flop. “I speak Castilian, Andaluz, Arabic and Hebrew, Greek, Latin and of course, English. I’m not always aware which language I use when we make love.”

Blushing now, Sara made a move to leave the porch, but Nathan tugged her back. “You have another question on the tip of your tongue. I can sense it.”

Holding back her laughter, Sara asked him, “You can, can you?”

“Yes. I’ve come to know you very well. Remember, I watched you for a very long time before I made my presence known.”

“Hey, that’s right. About that…” Nathan drew her into his arms, interrupting her thoughts.
“I have to leave, Nathan.” Sara looked up at him.

“Yes, I know. Ask your question.”

She rubbed her cheek against his rough linen shirt, realizing she’d have to buy him some clothes now that he was corporeal. “Your mother,” Sara murmured. “What was her name?”

Nathan’s chest expanded as he answered. “Katherine Neville.”

For an instant, the name didn’t register. Sara sucked in a breath and took a step back.

“Katherine Neville, as in the War of the Roses Nevilles? You said she was from a semi-royal family. Did you mean, like, the Kingmaker’s family? Richard Neville?”

Nathan nodded. One look at the expression on his face told Sara it would be better to leave well enough alone, at least for now. She rose on tip-toes and gave him a kiss before leaving him, forcing her legs to walk to the garage. This is a lot to digest.

“Will you write it?” He called after her, his voice low. “Will you include my mother in your book?”

Sara turned. “I don’t know, Nathan. I don’t know that I want to finish the book.”

Before she could run back to him and bury herself in his arms, she threw up the garage door and climbed behind the wheel of her car. Unreality is starting to set in. I’ve got to leave because I’m about to convince myself that I’ve lost my mind. There is no other explanation; at least nothing logical comes to mind.

In fact, the only real question here involves my sanity.

Sara backed the car down the driveway, shooting a glance at the house. The front door was closed and Nathan was nowhere in sight. The story of his family’s fate spun round and round in her brain like a windmill.

They were burned by the Inquisitors. The Crown confiscated his father’s wealth only to lose it a year later. His mother was a Neville. I’m in love with a man who’s been dead for over five hundred years. But he doesn’t remember dying. Gaaaa! Sara smacked the steering wheel with her open palm. Quit it! You’ll go mad if you think about the impossible nature of, well, this, of everything. Nathan is impossible. Sure there are ghosts, you’ve seen plenty, but Nathan’s presence is simply impossible.

He can’t exist. You’re in love with a man who can’t exist on any plane. Not on earth, not in heaven, and not in hell. Apparently, he’s only corporeal in your house and between your thighs.
Sara stopped at a red light and rested her forehead on her hands. Your mother was right, you know; you girl, are certifiable. I wish my dad was still alive.

Thanks so much to Ms. Barrett for stopping by to chat with us!

For your chance to win a pdf ebook of Incorporeal, answer her question above!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

eBook Giveaway: Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

Leave a comment on this post (along with your email contact) no later than Saturday, August 6th at 7:00pm to enter to win a free ebook copy of Brightest Kind of Darkness.  Winner will be announced on Sunday, August 7th.

Brightest Kind of Darkness is a dark paranormal YA full of mystery, adventure, romance, and even a touch of horror.

Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.

Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.

Read an excerpt : http://www.ptmichelle.com/brightest-kind-of-darkness/

Purchase Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Patrice Michelle | Twitter | Facebook

P.T. Michelle | Twitter | Facebook

Monday, August 1, 2011

What Type of Stories Make It To Your DIK Shelves?

Please welcome author P.T. Michelle to the our Island home!

Hello everyone!

Thanks so much to Tracy for inviting me back to DIK. If any of you have read my Patrice Michelle novels, you know I love writing about sexy alpha heroes *rowr* (as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure "sexy alpha heroes" is what I discussed when I visited the DIK blog a few years ago. :) )

I've been reading and writing about tough, confident men (with their own irresistible brand of arrogance LOL) for years when I branched out and and read some wonderful young adult stories that made me sit up and take notice. What I loved most about the YA romances was the slow build. I was taken with the off-the-charts chemistry portrayed in the young adult stories. WHERE were these stories when I was a teen? ;)

When I wrote my young adult BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS, I strove to create a hero who was a younger version of the types of heroes I've always written. Those thirty-something seductive men we gobble up in adult romances weren't always so irritatingly yet lovingly confident. They started out with their own doubts and worries, had to experience some rough times and tough circumstances to help them mature into the men they would ultimately become. But as young men, they were already the stubborn, dependable guys they would ultimately become--the kind of guy a girl dreams about, the kind of guy a girl fights for through thick and thin.

In the BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS series, my goal is to write an electrifying, simmering burn between Ethan and Nara; an emotional connection that sparks and crackles, building with raised stakes and explosive revelations along the way until their story culminates to a fulfilling and satisfying ending.

Sometimes I'm in the mood to read an electric, flash-burn type of romance. Other times I'm in the mood for an intense, make-you-squirm-until-they-finally-FINALLY-connect kind of romance.

How about you? What types of stories make it to your DIK shelves?

All the best,

P.T. (aka Patrice :) )

Don't forget to check back on Wednesday for a chance to win a copy of Brightest Kind of Darkness!
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