Simple Smile Saturday (June-4)

Are you ready for the reveal of book number five in the editing hall of fame of me? We have Eleni Konstantine’s Enchanted Realms released by Urania as of yesterday. I sent the poor author on a bit of an excursion in the editing process, but the book is now very strong and tight. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading the stories as much as I did editing them.

Thom may be used to the dangers of the forest, but nothing has prepared him for this. When he stumbles across a woman dressed in weird clothing lying on the ground during a storm, he has no choice but to help her.
Ellie finds herself in another world, having travelled through time and space thanks to what Thom calls The Rifts. The question is whether she will ever be able to find her way back, or if she will be stuck in this new world forever. Or if she will even want to go home…

Vera’s dreams are haunted each night by a man she only knows as Angel Eyes. He feels more real to her than anything else in her life, including her fiancé. Vera must try to forget her childish dreams of soul mates and happily ever after… but are they really only dreams or can she find a way to be with Angel Eyes forever?

 Previous Smiles: The RadianceThe DruidThe Grimm LegacyAccidental Immortal

Book Review: Jump Start by Lisa Renee Jones

Synopsis:  Seven years ago Bobby enlisted into the army leaving nothing behind but a “Dear Jennifer” letter. After a mission gone wrong, Bobby is back to face the fears that caused him to run.  For Jennifer, no man ever measured up to the man she had planned to marry and she intends to get the closure she needs to move on in her life. One is looking for an ending and the other is looking for a new beginning in love…

Author: Lisa Renee Jones writes contemporary, suspense, paranormal, and even erotic fiction. She has over a dozen books and a few novellas but always with dangerously sexy heroes.

Location: The setting for this book was kind of jumpy. I didn’t really notice this as I read, but after, when actually thinking about it. The prologue takes place on a foreign mission and then the rest of the book takes place in Texas. But while in cowboy state it goes from house to house, town to town, place to place, and ends in Mexico.

Plot: The multiple locations sort of make sense since that jumpiness mirrored the jumping of the plot. Bobby and Jennifer’s relationship mimicked by Mark and Marcie’s relationship but not excluding Bobby’s relationship with his father, Joey, who also had a tempestuous relationship with his second wife Kate. There’s an awful lot going on in just over 200 pages.

Character: Sergeant Bobby Evans is tall, blond, and gorgeous. A man in uniform who is a good kisser, good in bed, and crazy in love.  Need I say more?

Quote: “Why would I leave, Jen?” he asked softly.  “I finally came home. “

She didn’t do lack of sleep well, but when she was forced to, she did cranky exceptionally well.

The Verdict: A light read with the heat turned up, it’s fluff gone wild. It is a cute read, and I would be willing to crack the pages again if only for the enjoyment of having a dream man in my life again… even if he is just on paper.

 Previous Reviews:  SEALed with a KissNo Surrender,  Absolutely PositivelyHot Zone

W.W.W. Wednesday (June-4)

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  All you have to do is answer these 3 questions: 

1. What did you recently finish reading?

2. What are you currently reading?

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am finished reading “Promise Canyon” by Robyn Carr
I am reading “Wild Man Creek” by Robyn Carr
I am next reading “Bring Me Home for Christmas” by Robyn Carr

 Previous WWW: May-4June-1June-2June-3

Teaser Tuesday (June-4)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.


A Comfortable Wife by Stephanie Laurens

…that’s one of the traits that distinguishes a man from a boy –that a man thinks of his actions in a wider context, not just in terms of himself.

“It was, quite definitely, the most sickeningly cloying exhibition of humbug I have ever witnessed… pure flummery from start to finish. I’m surprised it didn’t stick in your throat.” 

 Previous Teasers: May-5June-1,  June-2June-3

Writerly Questions with Emma Lane

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

It may be the last week of June, but that doesn’t mean this blogger is taking a holiday! Today we have an interview with the lovely Emma Lane, author of Dark Domino. This short story was released by Aurora Regency this past April. Be sure to check out her blog here

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
Young love faces the challenges of life in the early 19th century and endures.

How long did it take you to write this book?
Two days, but the idea had been simmering for a while before I sat down to the computer.  It’s a short story.

I suppose short stories wouldn’t take nearly as long as a fifty-thousand-word novel *L0L* Did you go through very many drafts in those two days?
Three drafts, and some random tweaking afterwards.

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
Whenever I get the chance.  I own and operate a plant nursery and ‘herbtique’ with two partners. This time of the year (spring and summer) is manic as we help set up gardens and suggest plants. Don’t get me wrong. I love my work, but there’s just so many hours in any given day. I’m a bit tired in the evenings, but I manage to read. Mostly I do my writing in the fall and winter.

Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a lovely office that overlooks a park across the street, and a door to the room that closes firmly whenever I need it to. I’m not a tidy person and I like having piles of material, books, thesaurus and other reference books, favorite authors, and a stash of chocolate close by.

Doors definitely come in handy when you need solitude, especially ones that have locks on them *wink* Do you prefer to write with a typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
Desktop computer, and laptop when I’m out of town.  My equipment is ancient. The lappy is older than my desktop but it travels with me whenever I leave home.

What do you drink or eat while you write?
Whatever I can cram into my mouth. I especially like cheetos, but they make the computer orange. I like ice tea/lemonade in the can.  I keep M&M’s with peanuts around for emergencies.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
Nope. Music has a strong voice. It invades my soul demanding I listen with all my attention. TV rarely manages a flicker of interest and provides me with ‘white noise’.

I know how you feel about music. IF a song is playing, more often than not I’m the one singing along or dancing around to it *L0L* Do you have any other writing rituals?
Whenever I finish a chapter, I print it to discuss it later with my hubby. He likes to read it and make notes on paper, and then we discuss. This routine helps me anchor my thoughts.

The chapter discussions with your husband, do you have a set time to sit down with him to talk about your writing?
I work with my hubby who is retired. He is one of my partners in the plant business and we are almost always together. He is a good listener and an excellent supporter of my writing.

Sounds like a wonderful man, your husband. This now makes me wonder if you plot chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis or detailed outlines?
I have occasionally used an outline. I needed that when I wrote sequels to MY PASSIONATE LOVE. I needed to remember names and places.  For my short story, DARK DOMINO, it wasn’t necessary.

Did you already have Dark Domino all planned out in your mind then, or did you just have an idea for it and let the story flow where it would? 
Dark Domino was a enigma with no rational explanation.  I was working on another novella when this ‘voice’ kept tugging at my attention. (No, it wasn’t the TV.) Finally I sat down and wrote Sarah Louise and Ethan’s story in one sitting.  Who knows where these thoughts come from as they coalesce in the back of our minds?  It was a total mystery to me. I wrote their story to clear my thoughts for another story line.  DD turns out to be one of my favorites. Who doesn’t love the scamp, Sarah Louise?  I think it was probably she who bugged me to write the story. Ethan provides a solid counterpoint for her antics.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I just grab them from the sky. Sometimes I use family names, and once I used a variation of a couple of my friends’ names. They were amused.

Who is the first person to read your manuscript? The second?
My husband. He doesn’t often read the entire manuscript after I’ve edited it several times. I take pity on him. My daughter teaches college English. I sometimes wrangle an edit from her, but she is very busy with her job, hubby and two delightful children. I have a good friend who does a great critique.

What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
High-fived with my husband. Ate chocolate. You won’t believe it, but my life runs at such a swift pace, I rarely have time to dwell on anything. I’m more of a ‘do’ person. My daughter and her family gave me a framed copy of the cover of my first published novel, A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR. I was so touched.

That is sweet of them. If your book were to become a movie, you could put a framed autograph of the actors next to that picture. Who would you like to see star in Dark Domino?
George Clooney would be the Dark Domino, his heroine would be Sandra Bullock. I like them both and would love to see them star together. Sandra could perfectly play the hoyden, Sarah, in my opinion. George is just eye candy. He can do anything–twiddle his thumbs, comb his hair, eat boiled peanuts– and I’d watch.

Sandra Bullock is one of my favourite actresses, and I have to agree that George Clooney is gorgeous! I am keeping my fingers crossed your story gets options, because I want to see these two in it *grin* But let us get back to books… What is the first book you remember reading?
See Dick, See Jane, See Spot.  I read the comic strips with my dad before I knew I could read. How often, I don’t know, but if I learned to read, it must have been frequent. Hey, I was only three years old. My younger sister was sickly and my Dad ‘babysat’ me a lot of the time while my Mom took care of her. I liked the pictures and he taught me the words to go with them.

What book is on your nightstand right now?
Several. JD Robb, Lee Childs, Georgette Heyer, a Grisham, an old Jo Beverly and a Steinbeck. I’m an eclectic reader.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
I have no guilt about reading.  I  am an adult.  I keep a paperback in my purse so as not to waste time if I am in line for something.  I am never interested in the décor of my friends’ houses, but I love to peruse their books. I am always sure they have some treasure I didn’t know about.

I admit, the bookshelves at someone’s house is one of the first things I usually look at myself *L0L* How do you organize your library/book collection?
Hard back and paper backs.  I try to keep authors together, but then I reread them and they get all mixed up again.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Yep. There was never an epiphany. I grew up in a family of achievers.  Our parents expected and encouraged us to have goals. That was mine.  Actually I wanted to be a newspaper reporter like Lois Lane and live in New York. I achieved half of that. I married a pilot, but he needed a machine to fly–unlike Superman.  We won’t discuss the ‘man of steel’ part.

You write and your husband flies… Yep, sounds pretty close to me! If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
I have a collection -vignettes, sort of- that I wish I would sit down and finish. Some really good stuff in there, mostly contemporary.

So the book you wish you had written is one of your own ideas you wish to work more on?
Reading Regency Romances was an addiction for me like eating potato chips.  At some point, I wondered if I could write one. One day I sat at my computer and did just that. It was so much fun I did it two other times and called them ‘The Vicar’s Daughters 3.’ Then I veered off into another of my addictions and wrote two Contemporaries with heavy nature/environmental settings.  I love the outdoors. SANDPIPER AFFAIR and, just epubbed with Desert Breeze Publishing, GONE TO THE DOGS was the result of that flurry of activity. How much fun can a lady have? I hope all occupations provide as much sheer joy as writing does for me.  Look for another Regency from me called BELOVED SOLDIER RETURNS to be epubbed by MUSA  in August.  It has gypsies—I did quite a bit of research for that one.

If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
Probably Nora Roberts. I’d ask her to describe her workday and tell how she manages to write so much.  Oh, and William Shakespeare, also I kind of like Blake… Just one? I wouldn’t mind chatting with an apostle or two. They were formidable authors inspired by God.

If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Lois Lane -that’s a comic book, but just the same.  She gets to write, have all sorts of adventures, and have a hunky boyfriend who can fly.

Oooh, good choice. I can totally understand the appeal of that one! *wink* Since authors generally don’t get to have a gorgeous flying superhero in real life, what is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Uninterrupted time. Oh, maybe a computer if they don’t have one.  And after all that, how about an acceptance of a submission.

I don’t think any other author has yet given me the answer of a contract as a “gift”  *L0L* Do you have any advice for writer’s themselves?
Write, write, write and write some more. It’s difficult to edit a blank page.

One last question: What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
I am a wild flower buff and an avid bird watcher.  Nature is a favorite thing.

 Previous Interviews: PattiYDelagrange InterviewLauren Hunter InterviewSharon Ledwith Interview

Books In My Mailbox (June-4)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

I honestly had a hard time figuring out what books I have had come into my possession this past week. I already mentioned in last week’s IMM that I was reading a series, and I haven’t gotten any other books from the library nor have I purchased any either… but there is one exception.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

These past couple weeks I have been going through the arduous process of auditioning for the local theatre’s production of this play, and had in fact gotten a copy from the library for a short time. There were two rounds of auditions plus the call back audition, and I managed to get through all three to land the part of Cecily. So now I officially have the script of this hilarious drama!

 Previous IMM:May-5June-1June-3

Book Review: Bamboo and Lace by Lori Wick

Synopsis: Twenty-four year old Lily Walsh has been raised in a remote Asian village where women are second-class citizens, but goes to visit her brother in Hawaii for three months. Mere days after her arrival, Jeff is called away on business and Lily is to stay with the Kapaia family at their resort until he can return. Lily has a difficult time adjusting to this new culture and also finds herself falling in love with Gabe, Jeff’s best friend.

Author: Lori Wick is a renowned inspirational fiction writer. Her stories are set in various time periods from historical to contemporary, and often include a romantic element. She has approximately fifty novels in print through Harvest House Publishers.

Writing Style: Lori Wick uses a fish-out-of-water scenerio, but does it in a way that is meaningful rather than take it to humorous extremes. It allows the reader to consider what it would actually be like to move to a foreign country with different practices and languages. It also illuminates how we North Americans take for granted all our advantages, such as running water or even sun block and bubble gum.

Location: Part of the novel takes place in Kashien where women are subservient, always keeping their eyes lowered, keeping silent, dressing conservatively, and walking ten paces behind the men.  The other portion of the novel takes place in Hawaii where females can speak and act on equal terms with men.

Character Development: Lily was raised in a culture where women are considered a second-class citizen.  She arrives in America and struggles with learning that women are equal to men, and that she is just as important as anyone else. Lily gradually learns that she does not need to suffer in silence, but can speak out and share her feelings because she is valued as a person.

Theme: One of the ideas behind this story is that we must all be held accountable. Pastor Owen is the Christian leader in Kashien and helps lead others to God’s word, but fails to see his own sins while constantly finding fault in others.

Character: Evan is Gabe’s brother-in-law, and is the epitome of a family man. He is considerate to his wife, and shows his children by example what it is to be a good person. Whenever the children misbehave he takes the child to a different room to discuss the problem, never embarrassing them in front of others.

Romance:  Gabe and Lily knew of each other through Jeff, but soon care for each other during Lily’s stay. Their budding relationship grows through caring, conversing, and prayer. The physical side of their relationship never goes beyond handholding and the occasional kiss, not just because of cultural differences but also because of religious belief.

Secondary characters Evan and Bailey have been married for years and realize they have become “lazy” with their relationship. It reminds the reader that marriage is not just happily-ever-after but a relationship that needs to be worked on through compromise, dialogue, personal time, and keeping faith.

Point of Interest: Lily tries to explain to Ana the relationship between God and humanity. She compares God’s right in asking us to be obedient followers to a sculpture’s right in asking a lump of clay to conform into a bowl.

Memorable Moment: I had read this book years ago and the scene that has stuck with me the most is a telephone conversation between Lily and her father. Mr Walsh allowed Lily to go to Hawaii for the purpose of learning new things and when she accidentally dented golf cart, her father said she shamed him and made her promise not to eat until she learns to golf.

Do It Yourself: When Lily was feeling discouraged her friend Wang Ho asked where she was a year ago and what she had now; he reminds her that in one year she will have still more blessings. So when struggling through a tough time, just think of the blessings you have received in the past year, and know that in the year to come you will obtain more.

Quote: For years, whenever any of his siblings teased him about getting married, he would say that he would marry the first woman he found who knew what “perspicacity” meant.

The Verdict: I love Lori Wick novels, and this is one of the few stand-alone novels she has written. This book had been on my mind lately, so I picked it up from the library on a whim. I found that I enjoyed the novel just as much as I did reading it the first time, and believe it can open your eyes to something new every time you crack the cover.

 Previous Reviews: Cassandra’s SongA Place Called HomeThe Doctor’s BlessingJune