Monday, December 30, 2013

BLITZ: "The Three Sisters" - by Bryan Taylor (Virtual Book Tours Cafe)

Bryan Taylor The Three Sisters CoverBLURB
"Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns, Coito GottTheodora Suoraand Regina Granthave too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run. Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on the 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest."

Genre: Humor, Satire
Publisher: Dragon Tree Books
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Buy: Amazon

Bryan Taylor is a double PK, a preacher’s kid of a preacher’s kid.  He decided to switch from the Southern Baptists to Catholicism, but when he applied to join a convent, he was rejected (sex discrimination!), so he decided to do the next best thing: write a novel about the three nuns he would most like to meet. Bryan Taylor was born in Louisiana, grew up in Michigan and Texas, went to school in Tennessee, South Carolina and California, taught in Switzerland for a year, and has traveled to 50 countries. He now lives in California, which is one of the few places with people crazier than him.



     The college I was at had a small Newman Club for committed collegiate Catholics, who still spent most of their youthful years behaving more like St. Augustine than Cardinal Newman. Some of my friends and I set up a Joyce Club as a refuge for lapsed Catholics, and during our years there, we successfully filched several members of the Newman Club and got them to join our own. Whenever this occurred, I could share the great joy the father in the Bible must have experienced when the Prodigal Son returned home, or the shepherd had found his lost sheep. Working with this close-knit group of friends and learning from each other made college worthwhile...
Academic life also gave me the opportunity to express my artistic talents in ways that impressed my coterie of college friends. When it snowed, a not infrequent event in Chicago, we created chionic masterpieces that lasted until the sun melted them away. Some were conventional, like Marie Antoinette Gets the Guillotine, but when the college was too cheap to build new sidewalks for its students we put together a column of legless snowmen and snowwomen sitting on their carts and pushing themselves along with paper signs on them saying, “Chicago’s disabled demand new sidewalks!” Thus we married the avant-garde to social activism.


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REVIEW: "Ruby Heart - The Neve & Egan Cases" - by Cristelle Comby (Tribute Books Blog Tours)

"When elderly client Doris Hargrave informs private investigator Alexandra Neve that her beloved antique ruby heart necklace has gone missing for the second time in a period of over sixty years, Alexandra knows this is no ordinary jewellery theft. The ruby heart is a family heirloom and the only thing that connects an ailing Mrs Hargrave to her parents, who were murdered during the Holocaust.

To solve the case, Alexandra and her business partner, blind history professor Ashford Egan, must sift through obscure Holocaust documents to find out the truth. It’s that way that they learn of a secret World War II-era love affair which could hold the key to all the answers they are looking for. Meanwhile, Egan is under immense pressure from the university to quit his private investigating business, and Alexandra is afraid that a man she trusts will leave her. Again.

When Alexandra begins to receive anonymous threats and her flat is vandalised, this all becomes personal. Knowing that there is someone out there to hurt her, Alexandra vows to find that elusive ruby heart if it’s the last thing she ever does."



Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

Ruby Heart is her second new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.


It doesn't take a lot of cultural examination to discover Americans' love for mystery...especially when that mystery comes with a British accent.  Sherlock Holmes still captures our imagination, we still flock to watch whodunit shows, we involve ourselves in real life mysteries as if it is our very lives they touch (and, sometimes, they do), etc.  Mystery adds a little spice to life....but what if that mystery comes with a touch of the Holocaust and its horrors, physical limitations, the Russian mob, and romance?

Friday, December 20, 2013

BLITZ: "Insanity" - by Cameron Jace (Xpresso Book Tours)

Seeing as a super good friend of mine is reading Alice in the Wonderland, I'm more than a little intrigued by this.....

"After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland’s real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science."

Insanity by Cameron Jace
Publication date: December 20th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal


"Wonderlander, Neverlander, Unicorn-chaser, enchanter, musician, survived a coma, & totally awesome. Sometimes I tell stories. Always luv the little monsters.  I write young adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and science fiction mostly. The Grimm Diaries series is a seven book saga that deals with retellings of fairy tales from a young adult POV - it connects most of the fairy tales together and claims to be the truth about fairy tales.  I live in San Fransisco and seriously think circles are way cooler than triangles."


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EXCERPT - part of Chapter 1

"The writing on the wall says it's January 14th. I am not sure what year. I haven't been sure of many things lately, but I’m wondering if it’s my handwriting I’m looking at.
There is an strange key drawn underneath the date. It's carved with a sharp object, probably a broken mirror. I couldn’t have written this. I'm terrified of mirrors. They love to call it Catoptrophobia around here.
Unlike regular patients in the asylum, my room is windowless, stripped down to a single mattress in the middle, a sink, and bucket for peeing--or puking--when necessary. The tiles on the floor are black-and-white squares, like a chessboard. I never step on black. Always white. Again, I'm not sure why.
The walls are smeared with a greasy pale green everywhere. I wonder if it's the previous patient's brains spattered all over from shock therapy. In the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum, politely known as the Warneford hospital, the doctors have a sweet spot for shock therapy. They love watching patients with bulging eyes and shivering limbs begging for relief from the electricity. It makes me question who is really mad in here.
It's been a while since I was sent to shock therapy myself. Dr. Tom Truckle, my supervising physician, said I don't need it anymore, particularly after I stopped mentioning Wonderland. He told me that I used to talk about it all the time; a dangerous place I claim I have been whisked away to when my elder sister lost me at the age of seven.
Truth is, I don't remember this Wonderland they are talking about. I don't even know why I am here. My oldest vivid memory is from a week ago. Before that, it's all a purple haze.
I have only one friend in this asylum. It's not a doctor or a nurse. And it's not a human. It doesn't hate, envy, or point a finger at you. My friend is an orange flower I keep in a pot; a Tiger Lily I can't live without. I keep it safe next to a small crack in the wall where a single sun ray sneaks through for only ten minutes a day. It might not be enough light to grow a flower, but my Tiger Lily is a tough girl.
Each day, I save half of the water they give me for my flower. As for me, better thirsty than mad.
My orange flower is also my personal rain check for my sanity. If I talk to her and she doesn't reply, I know I am not hallucinating. If it talks back to me, all kinds of nonsense starts to happen. Insanity prevails. There must be a reason why I am here. It doesn’t mean I will easily give in to such a fate.
"Alice Pleasance Wonder. Are you ready?" the nurse knocks with her electric prod on my steel door. Her name is Waltraud Wagner. She is German. Everything she says sounds like a threat and smells like smoke. My fellow mad people say she is a Nazi; that she used to kill her own patients back in Germany. "Get avay vrom za dor. I an coming in," she demands.
Listening to the rattling of her large keychain, my heart pounds in my chest. The turn of the key makes me want to swallow. When the door opens, all I can think of is choking her before she begins to hurt me. Sadly, her neck is too thick for my nimble hands. I stare at her almost-square figure for a moment. Everything about her is four sizes too big, all except her feet, which are as small as mine. My sympathies, little feet.
"Time for your daily ten-minute break," she approaches me with a straitjacket, a devilish grin on her face. I never get out. My ward is underground, and I take my break in another empty ward upstairs, where patients love to play soccer with a hedgehog’s head.
A big muscled warden stands behind Watlraud. Thomas Ogier. He is bald, has an angry-red face and a silver tooth he likes to flash whenever he sees me. His biceps are the size of my head. I have a hard time believing he has ever been a 4-pound baby.
"Slide your arms into the jacket," Waltraud demands in her German accent, a cigarette puckered between her lips. "Slow and easy, Alice," she nods at warden Ogier, in case I misbehave.
I comply obediently and stretch out my arms for her to do whatever she wants. Waltraud twists my right arm slightly and checks the tattoo on my arm. It’s the only tattoo I have. It’s a handwritten sentence that looks like a thin arm band from afar. Waltraud feels the need to read it allowed, “’I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.’” I was told I have written it myself while still believing in Wonderland. “That Alice in Wonderland has really messed with your head.” She puffs smoke into my face as she mocks me.
The tattoo and Waltraud’s mocking is the least of my concerns right now. I let her tie me, and while she does, I close my eyes. I imagine I am a sixteenth century princess, some kind of a lucky Cinderella, being squeezed into a corset by my chain smoking servant in a fairy tale castle above ground, just about to go meet my Prince Charming. Such imagery always helps me breathe. I once heard that it was hope that saves the day, not sanity. I need to cool down before I begin my grand escape."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

BLITZ: "Positively Mine" - by Christine Duval (Xpresso Book Tours)

Answer in the comments: what was one of the most difficult parts about the freshman year of college for you, if you attended, or about the first part of anything new that you tried?  For me it was being around new people - I was a grew-up-in-a-log-cabin-in-Alaska kid suddenly living in a metropolis.  I could not imagine doing that adjusting, and adjusting to being a mom...

"It is four weeks into her freshman year of college, and Laurel’s first test was unexpected. Discovering she’s pregnant isn’t exactly what she had planned for her first semester, and while she intends to tell her emotionally-distant father, being away at school makes it all too easy to hide.

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and isolated during what should be the best time of her life, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she confronts teen pregnancy, in secret."

Positively Mine by Christine Duval
(Freshman Forty #1)
Published by: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication date: December 19th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Christine Duval
Christine Duval is an author and freelance writer who lives in New Jersey with her guitar-playing husband and two children. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, New Jersey's Women Who Write, and the Authors Guild. When not creating fictional characters, she writes for an upscale real estate company and has overseen online content and social media for several well-known magazines.

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Excerpt from author's Q&A with Goodread’s New Adult Book Club

Raquel wrote: "Hey Christine! I'm curious about where you got your inspiration for the idea behind Positively Mine? It was unlike any book I've read, in a refreshing way!"

Hi Raquel,
A couple years ago my dearest friend announced she was pregnant and at the same time my babysitter was going off to her freshman year of college. I don't know why but I started thinking, wow, if you were newly pregnant and heading away to college, you really could hide it from people back home (I know I have a weird brain). I've had 2 kids, so I know how the weight comes on and realized Laurel could easily hide it through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I just let Laurel tell me her story. 
Caryn wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed Positively Mine. How did you weave together elements of fiction with such a strong sense of place that was based on a specific area of upstate?"

Easy...I lived up in the Finger Lakes for 4 years. It is a beautiful place when the sun is shining but there are a ton of dark, grey, cold days. You live for the sunny ones but honestly, when I was there in college, my mom received more than her share of phone calls from me begging to come home just to see the sun. Ultimately, the good friends I made kept me planted but it is a long, hard winter (thus easy to hide behind a big coat).

Holly wrote: "Hi Christine! Really enjoyed Positively Mine! What is your writing process? Do you find you write better at certain times of the day or do you run to the computer when inspired? Also, how did you connect with your publisher?"

Hi Holly,
I am the most undisciplined writer that ever lived! I have no process. I drive a lot in my car and let the story unfold in my head and then go back home and recreate it when I have time. Still, that usually backfires because at that point my characters have changed their minds and all of a sudden I am writing a completely different story. A prime example of this is in Positively Mine. I never meant for Sheryl to end up pregnant. It happened as shocking for me as it was for Laurel! Seriously, I was writing and all of sudden she just cleared the room and announced it. I had no plan of this, no outline. Regarding Bloomsbury, I saw on NA Alley - a blog I follow - that they were starting Bloomsbury Spark and I sent an inquiry to Meredith Rich and a few months later the rest is history! 
Beatriz wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed reading your book. Congratulations! Are you working on a sequel? If so when can we expect it by :) I would like to know how long did it take you to complete your book?"

Thanks so much Beatriz! I am working on the sequel and hopefully will have it complete this winter, after Positively Mine is released. I wrote the first draft two years ago during a NANOWRIMO competition (National Novel Writing Month), where you are challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Then I put it away for December, picked it back up in January and had it complete to enter into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest around the third week of that month. But it has evolved quite a bit since that version thanks to a bunch of beta readers and a really good critique group who demanded more of my characters and more from the plot.
I'd recommend doing NANOWRIMO if you are just starting out writing your first novel. It really is an inspiring month and around the clock, through Twitter, there is someone in the world working on their novel. I remember I used to do word sprints in the middle of the night with a girl in South Africa. We'd turn on the timer and race write for ten minutes then compare how many words we wrote. With NANOWRIMO, it is all about quantity, not quality. You push yourself to write as much as you can and amazingly by doing that, you let your guard down and really surprise yourself with what you come up with. Plus, it forces you to look at your novel every day so it is always with you, you are always thinking about your characters. And, there's one right around the corner since it is an annual event. Best of luck with your project! 
Sherry wrote: "One of the things that struck me about your book is the very strong and distinct voice of Laurel. She feels very real. Is she based on anyone, or a group of people, you know?"

She really isn't based on any one person or even a group of people. Some of the situations she finds herself in are based on real things. Not the pregnancy but the premature death of her mom, the places, the struggle to move on while her dad is building a new life with someone. I don't think there is one person out there who hasn't witnessed, whether first hand or via a good friend, someone who needs to accept a parent's new husband or wife. And the gossipy doorman...yeah.

I think the choice to write the book in first person, present tense helped to strengthen Laurel's voice. It isn't an easy way to write because everything is happening to your character while you are writing it. I was very influenced by two books when I set out to create this story: Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak" and Julie Buxbaum's "The Opposite of Love." I loved how Laurie was able to keep Melinda quiet the whole year in a believable way when she had such a big secret to tell. And, I love the way Julie balances strong emotion and humor as her main character Emily is forced to face her fears. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

INTERVIEW: "Buried Appearances" - by D.E. Haggerty (Reading Addiction Blog Tours)

I did a cover reveal for this awhile back, and am still just as intrigued.....(I've also been in a place of great sadness, as noted in the excerpt below, though that place was Wounded Knee).  Hang in there to the end of this post - it's pretty dense...but you won't want to miss the interview!

"Skylar Dewitt has been ostracized her entire life due to her grandfather’s well-known sympathies with the Nazis. But now her grandfather’s body has been recovered in the Netherlands in an area famous for being a Nazi killing ground. Why would her grandfather be buried in a place legendary for assassinations of resistance members? Skylar jets off to Holland in search of answers about her grandfather’s demise. Along the way she finds long-lost family and old friends but will she solve the mystery of what happened to her grandfather? And maybe she discovers something more valuable than resolving any mystery could be: herself."    

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By D.E. Haggerty
Date Published: 12/1/2013
Historical Fiction

I was born and raised in Wisconsin but think I’m a European (a cloggy to be exact). After spending my senior year of high school in Germany, I developed a bad case of wanderlust that is yet to be cured. After high school I returned to the U.S. to go to college ending up with a Bachelor’s degree in History at the tender age of 20 while still managing to spend time bouncing back and forth to Europe during my vacations (oh the benefits of a long-distance relationship). Unable to find a job after college and still suffering from wanderlust, I joined the U.S. Army as a Military Policewoman for 5 years (the Peace Corps was too much paperwork). While stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, I met my future husband, a flying Dutchman (literally). After being given my freedom from the Army, I went off to law school. I finished law school and moved to the Netherlands with my husband and became a commercial lawyer for more than a decade. During a six month break from the lawyering world, I wrote Unforeseen Consequences. Although I finished the book (and another book that I may or may not revise and publish), I went back to the law until I could no longer take it and upped stakes and moved to Germany to start a B&B. Three years after starting the B&B, I got the itch to try something else and decided to pull the manuscript for Unforeseen Consequences out of the attic and get it published as an e-book. Between tennis, running, traveling, singing off tune, reading, playing part-time lawyer and running the B&B, I’m working on my 2nd book.

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"After I hang up the phone, I sit and stare at my computer for a while. I still have no clue how to carry on. I am completely and utterly stuck. I am at a loose end and don’t know what to do. I do have one promise, however, that I made to Griet before I left Michigan that I have to fulfill. I head off to the Wertheim park to fulfill that promise. 

I stand at the Auschwitz memorial in the park and try to hold back my tears. It is so breathtakingly sad here. The smashed mirrors dominating this tiny park are heartbreaking. The memorial epitomizes the dichotomy that is the war and Holland. On the one hand, I am standing in front of a heart wrenching monument to the Dutch victims of the Holocaust that died in Auschwitz but in the background I hear the tram rumble by, dogs barking as they run around the grass of the park and children playing soccer on the other side of the fence. 
The Dutch continue with their lives as I slowly kneel and place white tulips on the memorial. I have one tulip for each member of Griet’s family that perished in the camps. As I stand, I can’t help but let the tears fall. I don’t know how Griet has survived such sadness, such heartbreak. “Gaat het me u,” I hear behind me."

  1. In a movie of this book, who would you choose as director and why?

Paul Verhoeven. He’s a Dutch director famous for the film Soldier of Orange, for which he wrote the screenplay and which he directed. I think a Dutch director is necessary to film this story as it plays in the Netherlands and concerns the country during the years in which the country was occupied by the Nazis.

  1. Which character pulls at your heartstrings the most?

Oh gosh. This is really a tough question as almost everyone in the book has a horrible story to tell. If I’m forced to chose just one character, I would have to be Griet. In addition to the heart wrenching family history, Griet felt forced to kept her story secret from everyone.

  1. What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?
I really had a hard time with the romance that develops at the end of the book. I’ve never written anything close to romantic before and I had no idea where to begin and how to proceed.

  1. What was the most rewarding thing about writing this book?

In researching the book, I came across a lot of amazing stories of ordinary men and women that became heroes during the occupation of their country. I tried to include some of these stories in the novel so that people don’t forget about the brave men and women that fought for their country in secret. 

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

GUEST POST: "In the Light of the Eclipse" - by Bryan Caron (Fire and Ice Book Tours)

"Where God so loved the world, Heather (or as few have dared to dub her “the goddess of condemnation”) holds a much crueler hand over her inhabitants. Every seventeen years, under her ever-watchful eye, an eclipse renders her land dark, taking the soul of everyone over the age of seventeen to the land of the unknown nothing. In its wake, Heather bestows the gift of a child upon the land. Some believe this child has special powers; others believe she inhabits the souls taken by the eclipse. But no matter the belief, one thing is certain—without the child, the land would crumble.

Most accept the eclipse and live every breath with a love unmatched by any other. This is especially true of Zoe, whose seventeenth year of breath nears ever so close. Born under the eclipse, Zoe understands her life is a gift and that she will return that gift in kind—whenever that day may be (that is until she falls in love and discovers the dark secrets hidden in the heart of Heather).

Still others yearn for a longer life and curse Heather’s name. One such person was branded the name Kayla on her day of breath eighteen years ago. Unable to comprehend the meaning of such viciousness, Kayla believes such a sacrifice is unnecessary, even for the worst of mankind. Little does she know that a mysterious traveler may hold the key to ending the eclipse forever.

Zoe and Kayla are best friends.

This is their story."

Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

Bryan Caron is a multi-talented, award-winning artist with works in several mediums, including print, film and design. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and an associate’s degree in computer graphic design, Bryan studied filmmaking and film editing while working at a performing arts studio in San Diego, California. He took this knowledge to write, direct and edit films under his banner, Divine Trinity Films. Soon after, he would team up with the Fallbrook Film Factory, a non-profit film consortium, to continue his growth in the areas of writing, directing and editing, all the while fleshing out his talents in fiction writing (publishing Year of the Songbird and Jaxxa Rakala: The Search in 2013), working as a graphic designer, and beginning his first blog: Chaos breeds Chaos.

His works as writer and director include the short films My Necklace, Myself (Best Screenplay, Short Film, 2009 Treasure Coast International Film Festival) and 12, the feature film "Secrets of the Desert Nymph", and the commercial "Charlie’s Ticket", which ran on dozens of television stations and in movie theaters in San Diego County to advertise the Fallbrook International Film Festival. He works as editor include the short film "Puzzle Box" and "No Books", the first of several episodes he has edited for the online sketch-series, "Treelore Theatre".

Bryan currently resides in Riverside County.

GUEST POST - The Meaning Behind My Acknowledgments

Of the majority of books in the marketplace today, there is at least one page that mentions a person or persons who helped in some way to make the book possible. It’s in some ways an awards speech that’s meant to show gratitude to those who had a hand in the book’s ultimate creation, whether that be giving feedback on different drafts of the book, supplying the author with their undying support, or just someone who stayed out of the way while the author painstakingly created their new world.

But no matter the gesture, the author gives them thanks, even if the author and the receiver are the only ones who know the reason why. I’ve had two books published this past year, and while they both had an acknowledgments page, the first didn’t have a lot to say about the reasons behind it, while the second did explain a bit about the production of the book.

In my newest novel, In the Light of the Eclipse, I have two separate acknowledgments, one with a slightly vague reason behind it, the other with no explanation whatsoever. If I may, I would like to take this time to expand on the reasons behind them.

The first acknowledgment thanks five specific people:

I would like to thank the dreamers who challenged me to write this tale:
Amber, Sammi, Rebecca, Dustin and Heather
Your inspiration is everlasting

Who are Amber, Sammi, Rebecca, Dustin and Heather? They are kids that I see every Christmas Eve (and have for the last, oh, I don’t know, probably eleven or twelve years, ever since Rebecca was just a wee little baby). Two of them are my niece and nephew (bet you can’t guess which ones) and the other three may or may not be related to me (as in, I think they may be second or third cousins or some such thing… who really knows).

A few years back (when the kids were anywhere between 5 and 16), I mentioned to them that I was a writer. In typical witty fashion, they all razzed me about it, unable to believe me in the slightest (or in the very least, teased me about it, as we tend to do with each other). Perpetuating the banter, I asked them to come up with characters and a story for a book that I would then write for them. They didn’t miss a beat—they spent the next hour or so spouting out all sorts of things.

The two main points to keep in mind was that Amber and Sammi were to be the two main characters and that something magical would happen. Beyond that, there were a lot of ideas, suggestions and thoughts thrown around, all of which were just amazing. I couldn’t wait to write it all down.

I thought about it all the way home, filling in the gaps and making it a cohesive story. As soon as I could, I threw it all on the computer, reorganized it, added some stuff here, removed some stuff there and ended up with a perfectly decent outline. I even went and wrote a few opening paragraphs.

Then, life got in the way and the story faded from my mind in favor of other projects that demanded my attention. But every Christmas Eve, as we gathered to enjoy the holiday, the thought of that story returned and a new fresh energy to write the book emerged, only to diminish when the holidays were over.

A couple of false starts and minor changes later and the book was going nowhere. The group did ask about it a couple of times and my main excuse was that I was waiting for the opportunity to get it published before I wrote it (I know—weak—but what are you gonna do?).

At one point, I asked my place of work (which had its very own printing press) how much it would cost for me to print a few hundred copies (one for each of them, and then to have some on hand to sell if anyone else might like to have it) and they all but ignored me, so I started looking for other avenues. When I found a way to publish my other books, I had no more excuses. It was finally time to focus and bring this story to fruition.

The second acknowledgment is actually a dedication:

For Paula

This one was added quite recently after my grandmother, Paula, passed away. Her spirit lives on in a lot of lives because she was entirely selfless, always looking to help others before herself. For that reason alone, dedicating this book to her was a no-brainer, as she embodies what In the Light of the Eclipse represents at its core.

To do anything less would have been unacceptable.


Bryan is giving away 3 signed copies of his book. USA only. Enter through Goodreads!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

REVIEW: "Meant for Me" - by Faith Sullivan


Having read/reviewed the prequel to this book recently, I was super excited to get a chance to read the continuation of the story.  I wasn't disappointed! 

"Eric thought he had forever...before.

Divided between reliving the past and embracing his new life with Ivy, Eric fears that love will once again be ripped from his grasp. Having faith in the future is hard. So many things can go wrong.

Ivy is convinced that what they have is meant to be...but no one can escape the wheel of fate.

Her love for Eric and the life they're creating make every sacrifice seem worthwhile. Until she's forced to reveal the truth surrounding her delicate condition. Even if it shatters his hope.

Can they hold onto their newfound happiness or are events already in motion to keep them apart?"


"I really hate talking about myself. My goal is to have the shortest author bio imaginable. I would much rather have a conversation with my readers. Are you able to escape within my pages? Does my writing make you feel something? Are there characters that you can't get out of your head? Let me know!" 


Pregnancy is a joyous time as brand-new parents anticipate their upcoming little one.  What will s/he look like?  What will s/he like to eat?  What will his/her hobbies be? What/Who/Where.......but what if that pregnancy is in jeopardy and those who may be able to save its little life are embroiled in an emotional spaghetti that would make the writers of "Passions" sit up and take notice?

"Dangit, Faith!"  When I'm mentally hollering at the author of a book when I finish it because I didn't get enough, that is a good thing!  Meant for Me jumps right in where Take Me Now left off, albeit after it seems a few weeks/couple months have passed.  This is a wonderfully accessible and well-written book that reads quickly, and the gut-wrenching drama will have you pulling for the main characters in a way that is well-informed as we see the situation from every angle (viewpoints of good and bad guys included).  The emotional roller-coaster continues as we journey with Ivy and Eric down the next few steps of their expectant parents who have a lot of some baggage with which to contend.  I still want to hug everyone in this story line.  Well, almost everyone. 

(Oh, and by the way - this is a book solely for those aged 18+.  Sorry, young ones - too much steam.)

Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 on a 1-5 rating scale. 

The Good
Faith, Faith, Faith...what am I going to do with you?  A cliffhanger of that magnitude?  Seriously?  :P  

There, now that my frustration with the author has been vented, I can get to the book (in reality, I'm quite fond of the author, just frustrated with where the story left off...imagine your favorite television show ending a season on one of the biggest cliffhangers EVER.  Yeah.)


Let's see, Meant for Me picks up right where the prequel (Take Me Now) left off, soon after Ivy and Eric have learned that their *ahem* physical relations have caused the beginning of a new entity.  Yep, they are pregnant (sorry dudes, I'm totally of the "if the woman is prego, the couple is prego" mindset).  We rejoin them a couple of months after learning the joyous news.  Ivy and Eric are living together in his little cabin.  Will is getting Ivy's help writing his big screenplay.  Lauren is out of all of their lives for a good long time....or is she?  duh duh duh *cue dramatic music*

Just like in the last book, I can't delve too much into the plot without giving away significant points that you should read the book to find out (beware, though, that this is an 18+ book!).  Suffice to say there is drama drama drama.  This drama, however, threatens Ivy's very life in a way that puts Eric through flashbacks and seriously threatens the stability of their relationship....something Lauren delights about, I'm sure.  Oh boy, there I go again just about to ruin the plot.

Anyways, this book is still set in small-town America where everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows the color of your new dress before you even get back to the house (can you tell I grew up in a tiny town?).  It has a small-town feel: ostensibly super simple and easy to understand, until you actually get to know the people and truly figure out just how everything and everyone works.  Drama + complication begets more drama + complication begets more drama + complication.....

Sullivan truly set the stage for these characters in the first book, so she didn't have to spend a whole lot of time here setting up the scene.  She did, however, go into the past of certain figures a bit more than in the last book.  Writing in a style that takes up multiple viewpoints (each chapter is told from a different person's point of view), Sullivan here has crafted a piece that truly allows readers to get a glimpse of the background, inner thoughts, and motivations of characters in a unique, matter-of-fact way.  We get a sense of what is motivating Lauren, Will, Ben (oh wait, you may not have met him yet...) and a deeper sense of what is behind Eric and Ivy's actions/thoughts/words.  I love this!   As someone who is forever trying to get people to look at where another person may be coming from, I absolutely love that Sullivan has here written in a way that does just that.  Yayz!

Everything in this work is just so real.  I could actually see a scenario like this playing out in my hometown (and I've an idea who would be whom....) or among those in my friend group.  Miscommunications lead to undue frustrations, which leads to certain people manipulating those miscommunications for their own self-serving interests.  Assumptions are made, feelings are hurt, and we are caught in a web of interactions that tugs on our own heartstrings as we pick out who we feel is villain and hero.

Let me just say this as well - Ivy at one point nearly loses her baby due to a medical condition that is very similar to one that almost caused me to lose my baby as well.  While the ending for Ivy and her baby is unclear (c'mon Sullivan....that next book should come out very soon.....that cliffhanger is going to drive me insane!!), my baby boy survived the condition.  The child of one of my friends did not.  I drew near to Ivy on a very personal, emotional level in this book since I'm a mother who as "been there, seen that, heard those "options" and hated them too".  Okay, probably TMI, but there you go.

This book is very well-written, accessible (it's not terribly "deep" in a philosophical way, but in an emotional way - while it is fiction that I enjoy, it is not something that my philosophically minded husband would be able to get into), a fast read, and one that will leave you craving more.  Seriously - I'm considering sending Sullivan an email every week until the next book is released.  I need to know what happens!  

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
I'm happy to report that one of the buglies that I noted for the first book (Eric and Ivy sounding too much like each other in their respective chapters) is resolved here.  In this book, each author has his/her own unique voice.  I'd like them to be a tad more distinct, but they are distinct.  Awesome!

Also, motives for specific characters are made much more clear in this work, which resolves my other bugly.

That all being said, my major bugly with this book revolves around the absolute fourteen-teen mile high cliffhanger which closes the work.  It ends...but it doesn't.  Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know this is to keep people reading, and it for sure worked for me!  You can bet I'm gonna stalk the release date of the next book.  Seriously people, I need to know what happens!!

So I guess I don't really have a bugly.....this feels weird.

FEATURE: "Living Separate Lives" - by Paulette Harper (Write Now Lit)

C'mon, who hasn't kept a few secrets from their friends?  

"Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny
Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.

Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?


Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print. 

 GUEST POST:  Five Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing
Every Writer needs Inspiration. No matter how many books one has written, there are times when we need a little inspiration to get us going.

Many times I sit at my computer, starting at the blank screen, waiting for words to start flowing. Sometimes they do, sometimes I need a push.

Here are five ways you can get inspired:
  1. Pictures
Whether you take them yourself, look through an old photo album, or spend some time searching through Google, photographs are a great way to find inspiration for your writing. There is a Facebook group that uses pictures for this purpose.
  1. Books
I use this method a lot. Reading what other people have written may be enough to spark a few ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise had. Grab a book and mediate and let the inspiration flow.
  1. Eavesdropping
I know it’s not polite to do but it does work. Next time you’re at work, the store or the coffee shop, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Listen to the conversations people are having. Body language says a lot. Watch the movement of the people around you. Remember always have a pen and tablet with you.
  1. Experience
This is the best teacher. Sitting at home may not be the greatest idea to stir your mind. Go for a walk, sit at the park, run or ride somewhere, go sit at the beach. Keep your eyes and ears open while you do it.
  1. Music
Some people can write while listening to music. If this is you, grab some of those tunes and go for it. Playing old tunes can sometime jar memories that can be used to get the juices flowing. Try finding music that you’ve never listened to and see what happens.

Are You Inspired Yet?

We are surrounded by information, people, by stories. Things we see, people we hear, any person you meet can bring the inspiration for your next best seller.

Be Inspired!