Interview and Giveaway: Jo Richardson

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jo Richardson, whose latest book Cookie Cutter was recently released. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card plus a digital copy of Cookie Cutter.

Cookie Cutter is about a single mom who struggles to deal with her new status, a new job, an ex-husband who still wants to control her, a teenaged daughter her own issues, all while supporting the community she’s come to know and care about. She thinks she’s got it all together, but really, one slight pull of the thread, and it could all crumble around her. She’s come to grips with the fact that this is her life until Carter Blackwood moves in across the street. That’s when the fun starts. That’s when Iris’s fun starts.

Jo actually wanted to be an artist when she grew up, originally taking art as her major in college, with English as a minor. Life took her in a different direction (and major) but she never stopped be creative.

“I’m glad I finally took the plunge in getting something published,” she admitted. “It’s pretty awesome to see a story you’ve written in book form.”

Jo found her favorite author by accident one day while browsing in an aisle at Barnes and Noble – Jim Butcher.

“I was looking (desperately) for something new to read, and this woman noticed that I was there a while. She came right up to me and handed me one of his books. She said, just do it. So I did. And I’ve been hooked ever since,” Jo told me. “I love him because he writes about a wizard (but not the Harry Potter kind) who is forever having one bad day after another. He’s snarky, sarcastic, a hard ass, and he gets up every time he’s knocked down. He makes some bad decisions but he is always trying to rectify those mistakes. He taught me that when writing a story, you don’t always have to have perfect grammar, perfect characters, or perfect endings, you simply have to have a great story to tell.”

For Jo, in her writing, her characters come first. She will usually have an idea on the type of person she wants to write about. She starts to see and understand who they are, what makes them tick, what’s happened to them in the past? Then she starts working on the story she want to surround them with.

When it comes to titles, she likes to do play on words and wants the title to mean multiple things with regards to the story. For example Cookie Cutter doesn’t just reflect the type of neighborhood Iris lives in, it refers to her love of baking, and it also, in some ways, resembles how her day to day life has become. Or at least how she perceives it.

I asked Jo to describe her writing space.

“It’s pretty neat and organized. I’ve got a desk set up in the front room of my house, a laptop, windows so I can remind myself there’s life going on outside, and a notebook to jot ideas down into. There’s usually a black lab hanging out at my feet and two kitties who pop in and out of the area throughout the day, reminding me to feed and love them.”

It’s hard for her to find time to write, though, since she works full time, has a husband, and two daughters with school and sports going on.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to write when I’m hit with some inspiration for a scene or need to finish up my edits,” she admitted. “I make the time though, because I love what I do, and even though it might take me a year to finish a story, I’m going to finish the story.”

She writes early morning, before work, during lunch, and late afternoons when everyone is home from school, but still working on homework.

“Aside from that, we have a lot things going on at any given moment. Sometimes, if my husband happens to take the girls somewhere and I’m left alone (gasp) I take full advantage of the time I’m given.”

She was surprised to discover how much additional work is involved in getting books published, and then how much work is involved in marketing after publication.

“It’s a never ending circle of making time to write, while pimping yourself (something I am personally horrible at) and making sure you search for the write audience to pimp yourself to,” she said.

“Ebook or print?” I asked, “And why?”

“This is an interesting question. I’m not sure if it’s referenced to my own books or any books I’ve read. For my stuff, if I had to choose? Print. Because I love holding something in my hands that I’ve written, and putting it up on my shelf and remembering I DID THAT. For most books that I read, I like eBooks because it’s so easy, and convenient, but there are books that I buy in print that I’ve read in eBook. Because when the story is that special to me, I want it on my shelf.”

Finally, I asked, “If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?”

“This might have been a different answer a year ago, but today, I would pick Robin Williams. And I would ask him to please reconsider his decision to end his life. I would make him see how much he impacted so many people by leaving us too soon. I still get choked up when I think about it. He has been a role model for me since the very first time I saw him on Happy Days. He’s made me laugh through good times and bad, and I just wish he understood how important he was. It breaks my heart that he felt so alone in the end.”

4_24 coverfinalcovercookiecutter copyIris Alden and Carter Blackwood couldn’t be more different. Change-averse Iris likes her life neat and organized, while Carter’s itchy feet mean he doesn’t plan to stay in the same place for long.

When Carter moves into the house across the street from Iris, to renovate it, she fights the disruption it causes in her life. Before long, though, it’s not simply the house Carter’s rebuilding, but Iris’s heart, too.

About the Author:4_24 jo richardson BIO200x230 A movie fanatic, a writer of stories, a lover of life.

Jo grew up in Maryland with four siblings, three parents and an endless number of cousins within the vicinity – but it was too cold up North for this thin blooded girl. So today, she lives in Florida with her two girls and a husband that shares her same sense of humor and basic take on life as we know it.

Life is too short to put dreams on the back burner.

Jo tells contemporary stories with romance, humor, the supernatural, the paranormal, suspense, mystery, action and anything else she can think up.

In 2012, she wrote Cursed be the Wicked, a character driven, paranormal mystery romance that was picked up by Soul Mate Publishing and released in March of 2014. Jo has also written a couple of short stories as well, and her most recent full length novel, Cookie Cutter, released through Little Bird Publishing in March of 2015, broke into the top 100 contemporary romantic fiction category on Amazon during its first week of publication.

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Red Tide Rising by Allie Gail – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Allie will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Watch the video:

MediaKit_BookCover_RedTideRisingAges 18+. Contains strong language, explicit sex and elements of horror. This book is the final installment in the Immortal Touch trilogy.

*****
What good is immortality when every moment is agony?

The vampire Ash has returned from his watery grave, proving that death is merely a minor inconvenience. Picking up where he left off? That might not be as easy. Because someone else is vying for Sami’s attention – the last person he ever would have expected.

Fulfilling her desire for immortality seems the surest route to winning her favor. But for Sami, this gift will come at a terrible price. One simple lie of omission is all it takes to send her spiraling into a terminal state of madness. And as the last remnants of her sanity slip away, Ash can no longer deny that her maniacal behavior is putting them all at risk. His perfect angel has become a perfect liability.

But can he find it in his heart to destroy her?

RTR - Teaser 1

Enjoy an excerpt:

Almost simultaneously they blinked, the two heads bobbing about in disoriented confusion as they struggled to assimilate. Straightening, Ash took a step back and spread his arms open with a haughty smile.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the freakshow! I am your host and master of ceremonies. Tickets are nonrefundable and the rules here are simple. There are only two, so please give me your undivided attention as I will not, I repeat, will not be going over these instructions twice. Listen up, here we go. Rule number one. Do. Not. Scream. First motherfucker in here that wigs out on me gets their gray matter painted all over the walls. Unless you want this place redecorated with your brains, I suggest you take ol’ Sparky’s advice here and – how’d you put it? Oh, yeah. Keep. It. Down.

“Rule number two. I am in charge here. In case you illiterate hillbilly dumbasses don’t know what that means, I’ll clarify. You will do what I say, when I say it, without asking why. These rules are non-negotiable and subject to change at any time, without any warning, in accordance with my whim. Do we have any questions from the audience?”

Sami watched, enthralled, as the startled couple exchanged panicky looks. Once again almost synchronously, their bulging eyes returned to the gun being waved around in front of their faces. Neither of them seemed to know what to do.

The woman was the first to hazard a question. Bringing a shaking hand to her chest, she coughed twice before saying in a croaky voice, “P-please…I need a Xanax. I think I’m having a panic attack.”

“A panic attack? Really?” Asher’s free hand flew to his mouth in exaggerated dismay. “Oh, my. Now that is unfortunate. Regrettably, management won’t allow us to stop the ride and let you off once it’s started. However, we will have some nice parting gifts for you. May I have your name, please?”

“My…name?” Her cheeks grew even more wan if that was possible. She looked dangerously close to face-planting into the floor.

“Yes. Your name. What people call you. Comes above the street address on your mail. Generally the first line on your birth certificate. Any of that ring a bell?”

“Brandy,” she whispered before coughing again.

“What was that you were asking for, Brandy? A Xanax?”

“Yes…please. They’re in…in my purse. Over there.”

“My dear, you don’t need medication. What you need is a transfusion. Request denied. Next?”

At her side, Kemper seemed to suddenly spring to life. “What’s going on here?” he snapped indignantly. “Who are you people?”

“I apologize, but due to union rules we are only permitted to answer one question at a time. Kindly select just one.”

Not only baffled but clearly getting pissed off, Kemper gritted his teeth so that his lower lip protruded in a way that reminded Sami of Slingblade. “I said…who ARE you people?”

“Oh! That’s right! You don’t even know how to address me yet, do you? Please pardon the oversight. Let me introduce myself. I am known as Alpha to the fortunate, Grim Reaper to the unfortunate, and Total Prick to everyone else. You can simply call me Sir. To my left is my lovely assistant Samara. Take a bow, gorgeous.”

Smiling brightly, she gave a dainty little curtsey. “How do you do?”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RedTideRisingAllie fell in love with books from the moment she was issued her very first Sally, Dick and Jane reader. Born and raised in Alabama, she now resides in the sunny panhandle of Florida with her own blue-eyed Prince Charming and two fat, obnoxious cats. When she’s not busy obsessing over the lexicon of her latest project, she can usually be found watching B-movie horror (the cheesier, the better!), reading or playing online computer games while indulging her unhealthy Pepsi addiction.

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RTR - Playlist
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The Tyranny of Facts by Joel Fishbane – Guest Blog

THE TYRANNY OF FACTS
or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fiction
Joel Fishbane

There’s that old proverb about writing being one-tenth inspiration and nine-tenths sweat, but I think that ratio needs adjusting: at least one of those tenths has to be reserved for the act of reading other people’s books. A good writer is a great reader. Archimedes famously got inspiration while taking a bath but he was in mathematics; my own Eureka-moment came while reading P.T. Barnum’s 1869 autobiography, Struggles and Triumphs.

Writing about the various marvels he showed at his “American Museum”, Barnum wrote briefly about Anna Swan, declaring that “she was an intelligent and by no means ill-looking girl.” The comment intrigued me. Here was a woman who was around eight feet tall and Barnum had reduced her to a paragraph that was 160 words long – 161 if you count “ill-looking” as two separate words.

The idea of using Anna’s life as the basis for a novel did not come all at once. She simply began to sweep around my head, where she eventually mingled with a short story I was writing in which an actor named Nicholas was in love with a very tall girl named Andorra. Creative evolution did the rest.

Researching Anna’s life revealed a frustrating truth: everything we know about her comes from someone else. There are no letters, diaries, or quotes. Barnum tells us she was intelligent but we have no proof for ourselves: history has robbed us of her voice. This is a shame because Anna witnessed the American Civil War, Canadian Confederation, the reign of Queen Victoria, the abolition of slavery, and the beginnings of the woman’s right’s movement (the first woman’s right’s convention happened two years after her birth). She must have had some interesting thoughts – already unique, she almost certainly would have had the perspective of an outsider looking in.

Anna was silent but her world wasn’t: there is no shortage of information about the era in which she lived. The first draft of my novel was 190,000 words, which is almost three times as long as it is now. It had been weighed down by what I like to call the Tyranny of Fact: I had tried to put every last bit of research onto the page. It was good history but it was bad fiction. And so the rebellion began.

The novel belongs to two women – Anna Swan and Andorra, the woman hired to play Anna in the movie based on her life. Any fact that helped me tell their story stayed; anything extraneous was promptly deleted. I was surprised by what I cut. In 1865, for instance, there was a fire at Barnum’s Museum and it was reported that Anna was carried to safety via a fireman’s derrick. I always assumed this story would make it into the book but the attentive reader will not find it in the final draft. Given that the book jumps from 1863 to 1871, the story of the fire became a digression. The book never suggests it didn’t happen; it’s simply a tale that now lives between the lines (or the chapters, as the case may be).

I was also saddened to cut the story of Isaac Sprague, the living skeleton who the newspapers called Anna’s “best friend.” Possible reporter’s hyperbole aside, there is something enchanting about the idea of an eight foot tall girl being friends with a man who is only 43 pounds. Yet as I edited, I found I couldn’t give Isaac a narrative role that wasn’t already being fulfilled by others. This is the harsh part of historical fiction. Isaac was no doubt important to Anna, but I exiled him so I could write a stronger book.

In the end, Anna Swan lived in the world of myth and while most myths are based on fact, they always spin off into a fictional extreme. It is appropriate, I think, that fact and fiction should be blended in the retelling of Anna’s life. Let the actual historians set the record straight; as for me, I’m satisfied that I didn’t reduce her life to a handful of pithy sentences. She was more than the sum of her measurements – and of the few words that Barnum used to describe her.

4_23 fishbane thunder of giantsFrom Canadian novelist and playwright Joel Fishbane, comes the extraordinary, out-of-this-world tale of The Thunder of Giants. Nearly 8-feet tall and hoping to build a better life for her children, Andorra Kelsey escapes to Hollywood to star in a film about Anna Swan, the giantess who toured the world as part of P.T. Barnum’s American Museum decades earlier. Their stories parallel each other as both women struggle to find tranquility in a world that sees them as anything but human. Anna and Andorra long for normalcy, but first must tackle the society that is too small to contain them. Will Anna and Andorra find love and peace? Will society see them as more than the mere sum of their measurements? This story, with its underlying themes of the ever-present issues of body image in society, captivated my heart and blew me away.

About the Author:4_23 author photo 8188251
JOEL FISHBANE is a novelist, playwright, sous-chef, actor, trivia host, amateur boxer, occasional clarinet player and general man about town. His various plays, short stories, articles, critiques and literary musings have been published, performed, honored, and otherwise applauded in Canada, the United States and Europe. He lives in Toronto and almost always wears a hat. For more information, visit www.JoelFishbane.com.

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Square Affair by Timmothy J. Holt – Guest Blog

4_22 timmporchLong and Short Reviews welcomes Timmothy J. Holt, whose latest book Square Affair was released earlier this year.

Guest Blog
 

Ann Buxton, founder of Straight Spouse Network, has estimated that in at least two million marriages, a spouse has revealed being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. I am one of those men.

Growing up in a small Midwestern town during the 60’s, I was expected to marry and have children, even though I knew, deep down, it wasn’t for me. I knew about the affair in the courthouse and secretly longed to have known the men. I didn’t find gay sex in the courthouse, but found it in many places after my marriage and move to Chicago. I found it in store restrooms, movie houses, peep shows, steam rooms, and forest preserves looking for anonymous sex with other men. The police never caught me, but my wife did. My subsequent divorce outed me to my family and to the world. The story of Square Affair became my story, a complex tale of social norms that didn’t match my biological need. I loved and still love my ex-wife, but it was not fair to continue the betrayal, no matter how hard it was to face the truth. My world needed to eliminate the lies, no matter how painful, just as did the city of Dewers.

4_22 SquareAffair_Cover ImageIn the small Midwestern town of Dewers, among the turmoil of the 1960s, the conversations of five men leads to sexual exploration, which takes them and the town on a journey through good and evil that will change the entire community and confirm the town’s resolve to survive.

Arrested on charges of public indecency for anonymous sex in the courthouse restroom, five men reveal complex, unknown, and differing motivations for their actions. As they face not only criminal prosecution, but also the tribunal of Dewers, two questions are on their minds: Who am I, and is anyone out there like me?

Clara May and Frieda, guardians of Dewers gossip, narrate Square Affair, where the reader becomes a citizen of Dewers: walking the square, in a bar drinking, trick-or-treating, in a store buying a hat, or in a car gossiping. It is not erotic, but gives the reader an insight into the behavior’s erotic appeal.

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What the Duke Wants by Amy Quinton – Spotlight and Giveaway

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MediaKit_CommenterPrizeThis post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amy Quinton will be awarding a heart shaped enamel, kiln fired copper charm on a leather corded necklace (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (designed and made by Keri Sereika at Pink Lemonade). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_WhatTheDukeWantsUpstanding duke desperately seeks accident-prone wife from trade…

England 1814: Miss Grace (ha!) Radclyffe is an oftentimes hilariously clumsy, 20-year-old orphan biding her time living with her uncle until she is old enough to come into her small inheritance. Much to her aunt’s chagrin, she isn’t: reserved (not with her shocking! tendency to befriend the servants), sophisticated (highly overrated), or graceful (she once flung her dinner into a duke’s face). But she is: practical and in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

The Duke of Stonebridge is an agent for the Crown with a tragic past. His father died mysteriously when he was 12 years old amid speculation that the old duke was ‘involved’ with another man. He must restore his family name, but on the eve of his engagement to the perfect debutante, he meets his betrothed’s cousin, and his world is turned inside out… No matter, he is always: logical (men who follow their hearts are foolish) and reserved (his private life is nobody’s business but his own). And he isn’t: impulsive or in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

Can he have what he wants and restore his name? Can she trust him to be the man she needs?

Enjoy an excerpt:

A knowledgeable lady understands that, typically, the best way to make a good first impression is not to fall bottom first into a puddle of mud. Alas, Grace Radclyffe, with her inclination towards unfortunate mishaps, found this knowledge to be generally useless in the reality of her everyday life.

Therefore, despite the uncomfortable feeling of wetness seeping through her gown and the faint-though-nearby sound of dripping mud, she did what any sensible lady of good upbringing would do in less than ideal circumstances. She cursed. With conviction.
“Bloody hell. Not again.”

So maybe she didn’t say that. But it was something she occasionally thought in her mind, though only in her mind.

In actuality, she chuckled lightheartedly (because it’s always best to set yourself and any potential rescuers at ease in awkward situations) and graciously procured the proffered handkerchief dangling over her left shoulder. Then, after clearing the mud from her face so she could actually see and with cheeks tinged only slightly from embarrassment (because, really, that kerchief hadn’t been dangling over her shoulder on its own), she peered up to thank her would-be rescuer and

Gasped. Out loud.

For staring down at her with one eyebrow lifted in question, were a pair of eyes—emerald green eyes to be more precise. The most deeply penetrating emerald green eyes she had ever seen in all of her near twenty-one years.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_WhatTheDukeWantsAmy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her English husband, two boys, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).

Amy has lived in or around the Charleston, SC, area her entire life. When she’s not home, at the beach (weather permitting), or camping in and around the Great Smoky Mountains (Check out Mile High Campground and Devils Fork State Park!), she loves to visit the United Kingdom. She loves the history, the culture, and the people – hence her love for Scottish and Regency Romances. She especially loves to visit the Isle of Skye – in the Highlands of Scotland; where the scenery is both rugged and breathtaking.

Amy graduated from the College of Charleston, a liberal arts college located in beautiful, historic Charleston, SC. She worked 10 years in the computer industry as a software designer before becoming a full time mom and now, a full time novelist. Contact her at AmyQuintonAuthor@gmail.com

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Shadowed Origins by Shyla Wolff – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Shyla will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

4_20 BookCover_ShadowedOriginsThe road to freedom is rarely an easy journey.

Following a lifetime of captivity and torture, fate tosses Kyley into a world of freedom and opportunities, danger and espionage. During her inspirational journey, discovery of life’s offerings shores up her determination to conquer the fears that keep her from exploring a world where romance is more than a fantasy. Her continued hard-won freedom hinges on the abilities of the paranormal group that rescued her. Always looking over her shoulder, she knows Roth must reacquire her to complete his plan for mass annihilation and anarchy.

Taylor’s telekinesis and special-ops training granted him seamless passage to work with Kenner’s paranormal unit. When he rescues a young waif from the clutches of her psychopathic guardian, he’s unprepared for the emotional backlash created by their connection.

The knowledge that her emotional baggage includes years of abuse dictates he help her conquer her triggers and fears. Aware she’s not encountered a kind touch, much less any expression of passion, he represses his own desires in order to teach her that not all physical contact includes pain. He longs to free her adventurous streak and inspire her to achieve emotional as well as physical confidence.

Since being adopted by her psychic warriors as a kid from the streets, Kiera’s never doubted her place in life or the direction of her path. Her unusual upbringing included weapons training, unique fighting skills, and how to maximize her paranormal abilities. After pulling Carlin, a computer prodigy, from death’s grasp, she learns you don’t always get to choose whom you love. Her destiny is twofold. Protect Carlin from the monster who wants to destroy the USA and find her mate—a man who will save her life, more than once.

A chance meeting between Kiera and Kyley sets off a chain of events they couldn’t prepare for and might not survive. Can the girls work together and prevent Roth from destroying the ones they love?

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

To make matters worse, he held her now while the river’s filth and bacteria bathed her wounds. The extent of her acute injuries weren’t severe. Yet years of enduring Roth’s degradation etched her body with crisscross scars.

Despite the dark chaos swirling in his mind, her body pressed against him provoked his animalistic response. He couldn’t stop a groan from escaping.

“Okay, um, Taylor?”

“Yeah?”

“You doin all right?”

Hell no I’m not. You’re killing me, sweetheart. “Yeah, we’ll get through this and be in a warm car shortly.”

“Um okay, I just thought you’d want to take your cell phone out of your jeans and stick it in your shirt pocket. If it gets wet it’ll be ruined, and it’s kinda jabbing me.”

Hells Bells. Now what?

“Actually, I can’t get to it without losing my balance. It’ll be all right.” This freezing cold water will kill it. “I’m sure I can get another.”

As he spoke, the horse stopped walking and started swimming. Cold water swirled up over their laps. “Damn, this water’s cold.” Thank God.

Soon, her fingers would prune in response to their predicament, as would his twin boys.

Kyley shivered and huddled deeper into the warmth he offered. Warm breath caressed the skin at the base of his throat when she turned her face into his neck. His heart made a valiant attempt to remember what a normal beat resembled. It failed.

Don’t do that! I’m not made of stone. He groaned. “Kyley.”

“You okay, Taylor? Am I too heavy against you?” As if sympathetic to his cause, she tried to lean forward to give him more space. The result seated her tight bottom more firmly against his pain.

He took one hand off her hip and covered his mouth. The painful moan reverberated through his body. The cold water should’ve started boiling.

About the Author: 4_20 AuthorPhoto_ShadowedOriginsLife teaches us many lessons. One of the most important ones Shyla’s learned is to take the time to enjoy family and friends. Our circumstances change on a daily basis. However small the differences may seem, they add up over time. Through a lifetime of various trials and tribulations, she’s discovered the enjoyment of sharing her stories with those that would relish participating in the journey of extaordinary people through their everyday lives.

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Triple Play Curse by Lori Ryan – Q&A and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lori will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Oh, I have so many that I love for so many different reasons. When I want sexy, fast paced, intense military romance, I go for Toni Anderson or Kaylea Cross. When I need funny, small town that makes me feel good, I go for Jill Shalvis or Terri Osburn. If I want someone to whisk me away to another world, I grab a Bev Petersen and check out the scenes behind the world of race horsing or a Robyn Peterman so I can visit the fantastical places she creates in her mind.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

The hero in book one is based on the ever-sexy Nomar Garciaparra! I love this man!

4_20 nomar

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?

I’m currently working on a new book in my Sutton Capital Series that involves a sexy, but somewhat awkward computer geek and a former Navy SEAL. The heroine is actually cracking me up. I love the way she has no internal filter when it comes to him. She just says whatever comes to mind!

What is the hardest part about writing for you?

Well, with three kids ages five and under, time is my biggest obstacle right now! But, besides that, I often struggle if I don’t really know my characters. I have to let them sort of play around in my head for a while. I need to listen in on their conversations and see what they like and don’t like and get an idea for their sense of humor or lack thereof. Then, I can really sit down and write!

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Well, with a two month old, all I do is nurse, change diapers, and try to catch up on my sleep!

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

Yes! And I love it. I’m still amazed every time someone reaches out to me; at my first book conference, I tried to convince everyone who approached me that they were thinking of the wrong Lori. I kept thinking, “Oh, they mean Lori Foster or Lexi Ryan.” I’ve gotten to the point now where I accept the compliments a bit more graciously and don’t try to tell them they have the wrong author now, but it still floors and humbles me every time. If you ever wonder if an author wants to hear from you or cares what you think, they do! We really, really do!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Wonder Woman.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Oh, that is sooooooo not ever getting put down on paper.

The Triple Play Curse
Every member of the Strikers, San Francisco’s professional baseball team, knows about the Triple Play Curse. When one Striker falls in love and gets either married or engaged during the season, two more will fall for a total of three. And, whenever the curse is in play, the team suffers for it. More errors and injuries, lost pennant runs, you name it. No one wants to trigger the curse.

Game Changer (Book One):

Shortstop Rafe Wilson has his routines down to a science. How he ties his shoes, what shirt to wear under his jersey, which foot touches the field first, and how to enter the batter’s box. It works for him. The proof is in his stats. No question; the routine works. Until it doesn’t. When Rafe is left scrambling to figure out what went wrong, he quickly finds the newest addition to his pregame routine. A kiss. And, not just any kiss. Ashlyn Daniels’ kiss to be exact. But, can he convince Ashlyn to be part of his arsenal of “superstitions” that keep his game going? Or will the pregame kiss trigger an even worse superstition? The Triple Play Curse.

Game Maker (Book Two):

Pitcher Aiden Kyle knows the Triple Play Curse has the ability to mess with his life and with his team’s performance. And, now that the curse has been triggered, Aiden also knows he has to do all he can to avoid being its next victim. And that means strippers and hand lotion in the shower for the rest of the season for him. Until Lily Dupree whirls into his world with a crash that puts a kink in his plan. If Aiden can find a way to help Lily and get her out of his life, he just might avoid being the next victim of the curse.

Game Clincher (Book Three):

After two of his teammates fall prey to the curse, Gage Collier realizes he’s got worse things to worry about than the power of the curse alone. He’s got his mother to fear, and the woman is on a mission. When a columnist spills the beans that the curse is in play and there’s only one victim left to be had, Gage’s mother spins a web designed to trap him into being its third victim and give her the grandbabies she’s been wanting. Though the bait she sets is tempting, Gage has no interest in falling in love. With his mother strategizing against him, Gage probably doesn’t stand a chance, but he’ll go down fighting before he takes this hit.

Enjoy an excerpt from Game Changer, Book One

Ashlyn couldn’t believe how nervous she felt, standing in one of the tunnels beneath the baseball field, waiting where the security guard had told her to wait for Rafe. The guard stood at the end of the tunnel, his gaze averted, though she knew he was watching her from the corner of his eye. She wondered how often he’d had to escort a player’s—well this was awkward, wasn’t it? What was she? Not a girlfriend. But, that’s probably what the guard would assume. The guard would probably assume Rafe wanted to kiss his girlfriend before the game. He certainly wasn’t likely to guess Rafe wanted to kiss his good luck charm before the game. A good luck charm he’d cut a deal with to be here.

She’d been relieved to see she wasn’t seated with the wives and girlfriends behind home plate. That would be weird. What would she have said to them? How would she introduce herself? Rafe must have anticipated that she’d feel uncomfortable there and had gotten her a ticket that was every bit as good as the wives and girlfriends’ section, but was just behind the team dugout.

A door opened and Rafe jogged down the deserted tunnel toward her, nodding to the guard as he passed him. Ashlyn couldn’t help but notice the raw power he displayed in his uniform—arms pushing at the edges of his sleeves, thighs filling out the tight pants with muscles that made her mouth water. His hair fell onto his forehead in a way that should have said boyish charm, but on him, it said something more along the lines of lick me.

The ease with which he jogged toward her, completely comfortable and in charge, was sexy as sin. That was her single thought as he approached. Just sexy as sin. He pulled up short in front of her.

“Hi.” His voice was low and quiet, as he leaned into her.

Ashlyn realized she had no idea what they would do. In Anna’s kitchen, the kiss had just kind of happened. There hadn’t been time for her to be nervous or edgy, which was the way she felt now. But, here, in the ballpark tunnels, it was awkward for a split second. And, then, suddenly it wasn’t. Suddenly, Rafe was grinning at her as he cupped the back of her head with one hand, pulling her hip toward him with the other. Her whole body pressed to his and his mouth lowered, capturing hers in a kiss that curled her toes. And, nothing was awkward or uncomfortable about it. It was incredible. And, all too short.

He pulled back and looked her in the eyes. “I’ll see you after the game, Ashlyn.”

And, that was it. He was jogging away and her legs were jelly. Before she knew it, the guard was clearing his throat. She followed him up to the stands where she took her seat and proceeded to watch one of Rafe’s best games ever. Only, her mind was still stuck on the way her lips tingled after that kiss, and she squirmed in her seat every time she looked at him out on the field.

About the Author: 4_20 lori ryan smaller1Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romance with a twist of suspense. Her books range from sweetheart to steamy in heat level (for sweeter, read the Evers, TX series.)

She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, two mostly well-behaved dogs, and a lone little cat in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has fallen in love with writing. She is the author of the Sutton Capital Series, the Evers, Texas Series, and will be putting out several novellas with baseball player heroes in Bella Andre’s Kindle World, Game For Love, in late 2014. She loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog.

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Buy Game Changer at Amazon; Game Maker at Amazon, and Game Clincher at Amazon.

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Who we are and why you should review for us

Who is Long and Short Reviews?

Long time readers of romance, Marianne and Judy wanted a place to share with others about the books they loved. The one thing they promised themselves when the germ of an idea was born to start their own review site was to treat books and authors with respect and dignity. Not all books are destined to be great, but they bring enjoyment to someone somewhere, so, how to spread the word? Long and Short Reviews opened its doors August 27, 2007.

What Genres Are Reviewed?

In the beginning it was Mainstream Romance. As of 2014, Long and Short Reviews publishes reviews for Women’s Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, New Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Erotic Romance, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Mystery and Thrillers, and even Children’s Literature.

Who Can Review?

Anyone can review. No experience is necessary, just a desire to share your opinions about what made you like and enjoy the book. The only requirement is the ability and willingness to read in electronic format. Long and Short Reviews is an online review site and while print books are sometimes used for review, the majority of books are delivered via the Internet to a valid email address. No special computer programs are required other than the free programs of Adobe Reader and Adobe Digital Editions which can be downloaded from Adobe’s website.

What is the Cost?

Free. There is no cost to a reviewer for any book they review. In fact, we have a reviewer incentive program that allows you to earn gift cards weekly and annually to the online bookstore of your choice (i.e. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc).

How are the books I review chosen?

Long and Short Reviews leaves it up to a reviewer. Reviewers choose, always. A reviewer is not obligated to review a poorly written book or one that has content that is against Long and Short Review’s policy. There is a return policy in place for books that fall into those categories.

Common Issues

Time is a common concern. The minimum commitment is two reviews a month. That’s it. More is always welcome but we understand how precious time can be. If grammar is an issue, Long and Short Reviews has editors on staff. Current reviewers include some from France and Croatia where English is a second language. All reviews go through an editing process. There is reading material available to help with format and verbiage. Current reviewers are a good source as well; they enjoy helping.

What is Long and Short Reviews Looking For?

You! Reviewers are needed. An average month will see 900+ books submitted to our databases for review but many go un-reviewed because there are more books than people. Books come from Harlequin, Carina Press, Avon, and many other top online small publishing houses like Samhain Publishing and The Wild Rose Press. A full list can be provided if interested. Books are added to our databases every day.

Please consider becoming a reviewer and share your love of the written word. See here for more: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/become-a-reviewer/

Which Montgomery Brother is Right for You? by Samantha Chase – Guest Blog and Giveaway

4_17 samantha MontgomeryBrothersSeries
Take a quiz to find out which Montgomery Brother is right for you. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a Samantha Chase romance book bundle + $50 gift card.

Which Montgomery Brother Is Right For You? With Author Samantha Chase

With plenty of Montgomery Brother books on shelves now (and more coming your way soon) bestselling author Samantha Chase invites you to take this quiz to find out which Montgomery man is right for you.

1. What is your ideal hero’s idea of a perfect date?

a) Wandering the aisles of IKEA – if you don’t break down and start yelling at each other, then you know it is meant to be!

b) Locking yourself in your office to work. Who has time for fancy dates?!?!

c) A pizza picnic at the local arboretum. Ten points to the one who can guess the most species of plants and flowers!

d) Bungee jumping followed by a long, hot soak in a hot tub. The both can provide an adrenaline rush!

2. Which flavor of ice cream do you associate with your guy?

a) Neapolitan because there are just so many different sides to this man.

b) Coffee Mocha Fudge because he is strong and intense and can stay up…all night long.

c) Rocky Road because loving him is a journey with ups and down, but definitely worth it!

d) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough because he is amazingly sweet and indulges your every whim.

3. Where would your perfect man take you on vacation?

a) An isolated ski chalet, including a snow storm that would keep you two alone for days.

b) New York City – plenty to do there, both business and pleasure.

c) A super-private beach resort where you can feel like you’re the only ones there, complete with candlelit dinners and dancing in the moonlight.

d) A nature walk in the woods, a pampering day at the spa, whale watching … it really doesn’t matter to him, as long as you can be together.

4. Your man’s best quality is:

a) His nurturing nature. Once you get past his gruff exterior, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for you.

b) Rock solid work ethic.

c) Independence. He knows who he is and doesn’t let anyone push him around.

d) Deep down loyalty to everyone he cares about.

5. His best physical feature is:

a) His devastatingly strong shoulders – he’s got the body of an athlete.

b) His smile – wicked or sweet, one smile can melt your heart.

c) His hands – he really knows how to use them!

d) His kind, soulful eyes that see the real you.

6. A romantic gesture that he plans just for you is…

a) Having the band play only slow songs so he can continue to dance with you in his arms.

b) Buying you tickets to your very favorite sporting event.

c) Planning a surprise engagement party!

d) Sweeping you off your feet (literally!) to convince you that he loves you and wants you to stay – forever.

***

If you chose mostly ‘A’s, then Lucas Montgomery from Wait for Me is your soul mate. To the world, Lucas seems like a loner, but deep down he’s not. He cares fiercely about the people in his life and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for them. He may come off as grouchy, but don’t let his growling get to you because this just hides his big heart. Lucas is not afraid to apologize and admit when he’s wrong and, in the end, he’ll do anything to prove how much he loves you.

If you chose mostly ‘B’s, then you will not be able to take your eyes off of the delicious Jason Montgomery from Trust in Me. Confident, level-headed, and seemingly all about business, Jason is a man of action. He likes to take control of almost any situation and prefers things to go his way. But all this aside, he’s considerate of those around him and pays close attention to details – a person’s likes and dislikes – and incorporates them into the relationship. Whether it’s business or pleasure, Jason is a man who takes notes and remembers exactly what it is that will mean the most to you.

If you chose mostly ‘C’s, then James Montgomery from Return to You is the hero of your dreams. James is a very hands-on type of man. He enjoys working with his hands and his love language is primarily all about the touching. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does – he loves deeply and hurts just as much. His pride and his need for privacy may get in the way at times, but the lucky woman in his life will know that she is everything to him because he loves so completely.

If you chose mostly ‘D’s, Meant for You’s Ethan Reed will have you melting like butter. While he may not be a Montgomery, he has been in the family for years as a best friend and confidant. There is nothing boring about Ethan! The woman in his life had better enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle because Ethan offers it all – romance, adventure, passion. He knows his limitations and his sense of loyalty to the people that mean the most to him may have him hesitating in going after what it is that he truly wants, but in the end, he’ll make it worth the wait!

Return To You

James Montgomery has achieved everything he’d hoped for in life…except marrying the girl of his dreams. After a terrible accident, Selena Ainsley left ten years ago. She took his heart with her and she’s never coming back. But it’s becoming harder and harder for him to forget their precious time together, and James can’t help but wonder what he would do if they could ever meet again.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

Meant For You

Summer Montgomery wants to be taken seriously almost as much as she wants her brother’s best friend, Ethan. But with a long resume of seemingly random career choices and a protective brother on watch, those things are nothing more than pipe dreams…

Ethan Reed would like nothing more than to live by his own rules. Not wanting to disappoint his best friend Zach, or any of the Montgomerys, Ethan’s had to push his long-denied feelings for Summer aside. But it only takes one night away from watchful eyes to make impossible dreams come true…

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

Wait For Me / Trust In Me Duo

Wait for Me

Former NFL superstar Lucas Montgomery is perfectly fine in his self-imposed solitude until sweet, sexy and completely off-limits Emma Taylor comes crashing into his world…

Trust in Me

With a make-or-break business expansion in the works, the last thing Jason Montgomery needs is a hands-on assistant who wants to get her hands on him…

Buy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

About the Author: 4_17 Samantha ChaseNew York Times and USA Today bestselling romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

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Writing Effective Characters by T.M. Williams – Guest Blog and Giveaway

4_17 NBTM_TourBanner_Clusters

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Writing Effective Characters

One of the most common mistakes that even seasoned writers make is creating ineffective characters. I’m a reader before I’m a writer and I’ve spent most of my life reading and loving books. One of my biggest pet peeves is a character that doesn’t pop off a page and a character that is black and white, good or evil. No one in real life is like that. Even Adolph Hitler had a reason for doing what he did. There were people who saw good in him, why? There were people who loved him, why? He believed he was doing the right thing. Although, today, we agree that he was an evil man – that wasn’t the general consensus when he was alive. There were many who gave their lives for him.

Yet, when we write a protagonist – we tend to forget they have their own back story or a reason to being who they are. When we write our hero or heroine, they’re flawless in their decision making. They never have a truly selfish deed and everything falls into place. Do we really know anyone like this? So why do we write this way?

The dialogue of a character speaks volumes for them. Here are some great questions to ask yourself about your character:

Are they verbose?
Do they beat around the bush?
Do they use a lot of idioms?
Are they soft-spoken?
Are they always playing the peacemaker?
Is their English broken?
Are they more of a listener than a talker?

A real hero usually has a lot of help from those around them, whether it was a direct or an indirect influence. These are all things to keep in mind when writing a character. And hardly anyone ever speaks or communicates with each other perfectly.

Example of bad dialogue:

“I’m going to need a lot of help with rescuing her so I’m going to ask John and Jill to help me. Then I’ll give you a call so you can pick us up,” Monica said.
“I think that’s a good idea. I’ll go to the warehouse and wait there with your mother.”

Shoot me with boredom! This is a major revelation in a story and there’s no mystery. A better way would be:

She paced back and forth, repeatedly running her hands through her hair.
“You’re going to need help,” he stated.
Monica stopped in her tracks and pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead. Shaking her head she said, “I know, but I can’t ask them to do that.”
“They’d want to.”
She took a deep breath and pulled her cell out of her back pocket. “Okay, I’ll call John and Jill.”
He nodded and his shoulders slumped, relaxing. “We’ll wait for you at the warehouse,” He forced a smile. He stood up and wiped his hands absent-mindedly on the front of his jeans. “I’ll go pick up your mother,” he said as he walked out of the apartment, leaving her alone to make the call.

This was just a quick way to demonstrate painting a picture. Which dialogue gave you a better idea of the type of characters we’re dealing with? Which dialogue painted a better picture? Through the dialogue in the latter example we saw the main characters stress in having to ask for help. We saw that this was a big deal and was something she was hesitant to do. We also see that perhaps the male character is someone she trusts because she is quick to take his advice.

Often times, the biggest statement made is without words.

4_17 BookCover_ClustersSeven year old Olivia Baxter and her dog vanish while playing in the front yard of her family’s home. After a week of searching, Olivia’s body was suddenly found in the closet, even after the police had thoroughly investigated the home.

Ethan Franco is a troubled journalist working for the Washington Gazette. His inability to move on from the past has deflated the passion he had for his career, causing him to lose his edge. Frustrated with Ethan Franco, but not wanting to lose his once star journalist, Editor-in-Chief, Jameson Stone assigns him a story to cover as a last chance to prove he could be the reporter he once was.

Ethan Franco begins his investigation into the mysterious death of Olivia Baxter and other unexplained disappearances, believing there may be a connection in the cases. No sooner did Franco begin his investigation then he realizes he is being tailed by government agencies.

Large footprints in the woods, strange sounds, foul stenches, and a looming government presence become pieces of the puzzle in cases of the missing.

Inspired by real events, the author of the Bohemian Grove trilogy and the Apocalypse brings forth a story that has been kept a secret for over a century — a story that a large group of people are still trying to keep under wraps.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Just as Michael reached for the pot of coffee, replaying that scene in his head for the thousandth time, a noise from the back room stopped him. Claire was closest to the hallway where the sound came from and she spun around quickly, drawing her gun.

Deena shot up to her feet, her eyes bright with concern. “Who’s back there?” she whispered to the officers.

The Captain shook his head. No one was back there. Michael had checked the bedrooms just an hour before, like he had done every morning, hoping to find some missing clue as to Olivia’s sudden disappearance. Claire backed up to the north side of the hallway while Sean and Craig flanked the other side, their guns drawn as well.

The noise came again, clearer this time. “Is that a dog?” Claire whispered, her eyebrows drawn together in a deep V.

Whimpers filled the home, followed by – scratching? Claire narrowed her eyes as they made their way quickly down the hallway toward Olivia’s bedroom, with Michael leading. As they entered her room it was clear where the noise came from.

“I think that’s our dog,” Deena said, wide-eyed.

The rangers all exchanged looks. The family dog had disappeared the same morning as Olivia.

Michael approached Olivia’s closet door and motioned for Craig and Sean to flank his right. He opened the door in one quick motion just as the frightened looking dog bounced out of the closet, causing Michael to stumble back at the sight inside.

Deena’s tortured scream pierced the air as she fell to the floor, crawling over to the dead body of her little girl, curled up on the closet floor.

About the Author:4_17 AuthorPhoto_ClustersT.M. Williams began her writing career by accident when a song inspired a story. Once she discovered the writing bug she couldn’t stop. Since starting her writing career late in 2012 she has gone on to write several more novels, including two Amazon best-sellers.

She writes Experimental Fiction and Non-Fiction. She is also a freelance journalist, copywriter, and public speaker.

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Buy the book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

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