Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Please welcome author Amber Leigh Williams

Hello, Amber, I'm so glad to have you as my guest here!

Hi Laura! Thanks for the invitation to share my book on your site today! I’m pleased to announce that my western romance trilogy, the Ridges of Wayback, TX, will launch this month at AudioLark.com!     Here’s a peak into the first book in the trilogy, 1st Place More Than Magic Novella 
BLACKEST HEART….


America's Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family’s ranch.

The changes that have taken place since her departure are enough to rock her world again. She uncovers a buried tragedy, struggles with the penetrating stares and questions from townsfolk, and comes up against an intriguing and unexpected spark with the silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black. Their wounded souls draw them together and Stella begins to realize that only in him can she find the solace she sought by leaving the bright lights of Hollywood.

Excerpt…
“I love the way the air feels here,” she murmured, watching the fire in the sky take its sweet time burning out. “I love how it tastes.”

Her companion didn’t speak. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a tall figure leaning against the fence. She turned her head when he didn’t reply. A stunning zap of electricity surged through her.
Judd had taken his hat off, revealing his thick crop of black hair, and was holding it between his hands draped over the fence line, elbows braced on the rail. His boot was propped on the lowest. His eyes squinted against the bright display, trained on the sun’s showcase. Beside him, sitting dutifully was an adorable mutt.

The man was an enigma. It got to her. That pleasant burning sensation began to swell within her again.
He straightened, catching her stare. She didn’t look away. Remembering how he’d raced with her over the field that afternoon, how he’d ridden that mean bull at the rodeo, she thought he must like challenges. Her admiration for him peaked.

She liked a challenge, too.

His brows rose as she stepped to him. Interest instead of astonishment filled his complex eyes. She came to a halt with the dog between them. “What’s with you, Judd?” she asked, punching just enough challenge into the question. “Didn’t Apache Jim ever teach you any manners? Didn’t anyone ever tell you how rude it is to stare?”

Something welled beneath the interest.

Amusement.

A sharp breath escaped her as she watched his eyes smile at her, crinkling up at the corners. She was the astonished one. Her body froze up when he reached out with one of those hard, wide-palmed hands. If she could’ve moved, she wouldn’t have stepped back.

His fingertips brushed over her damp hair, from her brow back over her crown. She fought against the urge to close her eyes, sigh and melt. Her scalp tickled under his light touch. His fingers combed through the ends of her tresses and repeated the motion, slower the second time through. She gripped the rail next to her, afraid she’d sway.

The amusement in his eyes had faded. They’d lifted to the scars she’d left exposed by combing her hair back from her face. His thumb traced the smooth, jagged line, tracing it to the corner of her eye.
She tried to read his face. The tender moment between them intensified. The tingles deepened. Though she wanted to turn his attention away from those imperfections on her face, she drew comfort from his whispering touch. His eyes darkened. There was anger there now. He was angry she’d been hurt. Her heart picked up pace, welcoming his fury.

She allowed her eyes to close. Her blood was singing, warming skin chilled by the nightly breeze. She could hear him breathing, just barely. Edging closer, she reached up to touch him. Her fingers found the chords of his upper arm. They wrapped around them, gripping them for support.

His fingertips found the scar by her mouth and began to trail down the angled mark. Her eyes popped open, fixed on his and her breath seized when he touched the very corner of her mouth. His fingers lingered, eyes tracing the line of her lips. She wanted his mouth to do the same. She waited breathlessly, heart thudding hard between them.

Praise…

“This story is absolute perfection! From the beautiful setting to the well thought out plot to one of the sexiest heroes I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. Sexy, funny, and wonderfully heartwarming, Blackest Heart is a definite keeper. And the best part? There's two more stories in this incredible series featuring Stella's yummy brothers!” — Donna Marie Rogers, author of Meant to Be and Golden Opportunity

“I’m not a great Western/ cowboy fan myself but this story went a long way towards converting me. Ms Williams has a good writing style; polished and confident, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. Definitely recommended.” —Writers & Readers of Distinctive Fiction

“In this touching contemporary story, when a young actress returns home following a car accident that has left her scarred she finds healing and love in the arms of a quiet cowboy… "Blackest Heart" is a wonderful story with characters that will touch the heart and I for one am glad I got the chance to read it.” —Long and Short Reviews

“The tensions and conflicts with others made the couple seem even more real. The sensuality was super charged and dynamic. I could not put this book down. It was mesmerizing to read. I truly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to everyone." —The Romance Studio

“Stella Ridge discovers that home sweet home and the arms of a strong, quiet cowboy are just what she needs to get her life and heart going again in Amber Leigh Williams’s fantastic Wayback tale- Blackest Heart. With a wonderful cast of supporting characters, including Stella’s adorable brothers, Stella and Judd will warm your heart and make you believe in the wonder of sweet homecomings.”—Marguerite Arotin, author of One Enchanted Summer and Return of the Prodigal Daughter

BLACKEST HEART is now available in ebook editions at The Wild Rose Press, along with Books II and III of the award-winning Wayback Ridge Trilogy:

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/amber-leigh-williams-m-352.html. It is also now available in the trade paperback anthology THE WAY BACK HOME:  http://www.thewildrosepress.com/the-way-back-home-p-3548.html.

Look for BLACKEST HEART audio book debut at
http://www.audiolark.com on September 7!





Congratulations on your book release, and I wish you many sales! Your book sounds great. :)
-warm regards, Laura

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book review for The Macgregor's Daughter by Dee Julian

The Macgregor’s Daughter by Dee Julian is a delightful read. A sweet, historical romance, it's set during the era of the American Revolution and is filled with historical intrigue. I enjoyed the escapades of spies and romance, adventure and humor.

The Scottish castle setting is alluring and makes for a great backdrop. Rich, accurate details color the story, and I could practically hear the Scottish brogues from the well-written dialogue, heavy, but understandable, unless a reader is not used to anything Scottish, then it might be hard to maneuver.

This story contains much witty conversation between the hero, Lucien, and the heroine, Dreya. It is a delight.

Lucien has an accident and temporarily loses his sight and memory. He ends up on her Scottish island, in her family castle. She’s the Laird’s daughter, and a spunky one at that. She handles disputes well in her father’s absence and is quite clever.  She also takes care of Lucien while he recovers.

Interesting secondary characters come onto the scene. Edwina the healer is great and adds charm to the story. She has a wise way of seeing things. I also liked Dreya’s cousin, but I wished he would have told Lucien who he really was to her earlier (he’s family, not her romantic love). The love of the Macgregor for his daughter is touching and comes across well.

Lucien and Dreya get to know each other a bit, and the sexual tension sizzles. There’s a scene where Lucien shows his brave nature in a daring rescue. He’s a hero, so why does Dreya then have him thrown into the dungeon? Sudden terror overcomes her when she realizes a certain truth.

It’s lovely how Lucian likes her so much even though he’s temporarily blinded and has no idea what she looks like. Theirs is a complicated relationship in the making: they often treat each other poorly, yet they show signs of caring about each other very much. 

The novel ends in an exciting, dramatic way, and it kept me turning pages. The ending is quite satisfying. I was entertained by the story itself, the endearing characters, and the setting and would recommend this book to fans of historical romance.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A warm welcome to author Dawn Chartier

Hello, Dawn, and welcome! Congratulations on the release of your spicy vampire romance, "Not an Angel" out with The Wild Rose Press.

BLURB:
Kira McCoy wants to die. Losing her husband and daughter tragically left her without hope. Now her disturbed brother-in-law will stop at nothing to have her for himself.  All she wants is to find peace, but instead finds herself on top of a bridge ready to end her suffering.

Protector of the Poryria, Trace Stuart is called to defend his race or embrace death. Defending humans is not part of the plan, but he cannot stop himself from saving Kira.
 
Realizing that he shares a special bond with Kira, Trace defies his Queen and rushes into the heart of darkness in order to rescue the woman he loves. Will Kira be able to reach past her own pain to pull them both into the light?


EXCERPT:
As he measured her, his gaze warmed the consuming chill that had invaded her body. She glanced down, holding the material out. Nothing she could ever afford. Standing next to him in his stunning black suit, gave her more confidence than if she wore plain clothing.

“I wouldn’t have picked it out for myself, but you have good taste.”

“I know.” Trace’s gaze traveled down her torso, to her exposed toes and slowly up to her face. “And you take my breath away.” He kissed the inside of her wrist.

Heat shot up her inner arm overpowering any nervousness she may have felt earlier. She leaned into him and whispered, “You breathe?”

Trace half smiled. “Sometimes.”

She blinked. “Oh.” That meant sometimes he didn’t breathe either.

Trace stiffened, then glanced toward the entrance flanked with four massive columns. It took a moment before she heard footsteps in the foyer. Five men entered the parlor. All dressed similar to Trace, except their cold penetrating eyes made her worry. Scared was more like it. One man strode toward her, eyes narrowed, mouth pulled down in a frown. She swallowed, then took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. They will not get to me. I will be strong.

“He won’t hurt you. Will you, Dev?” Trace stepped forward and crossed his arms.

Dev smirked and stared through his long dark lashes. “Depends.”

An eerie rumble vibrated the room. Kira advanced toward Trace. The sound of a wild cat drifted in the air. She tilted her head, glanced at Trace and realized the noise came from him.

“Boys. Boys. Boys. Dev won’t touch her, but I might.” A slender brunette appeared out of thin air and stood directly in front of the other men. Oh hell.


Thanks for the being my guest here, Dawn. Not an Angel sounds like a great read and your characters irresistible!


www.dawnchartier.com
www.thewildrosepress.com
www.dawntheauthor.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/dawnchartier
www.twitter.com/dawnchartier

Buy link

Reviews:

The characters were beautifully developed. There were many conflicts, external and internal, and all of them difficult to overcome. The reader is pulled into these unique characters’ lives from the first sentence: “Death was her only savior.” I couldn’t stop reading, even though I knew being a romance how it had to end.
- Starla Kaye – Got Romance!

Ms. Chartier creates an intense read that keeps the reader totally engrossed. I could feel for Kira and Trace with all their conflicts they each endured. Kira was deeply grounded in her love for her family and that definitely shined through in the story. I love the way Trace fights all obstacles to protect her. Not An Angel is a captivating read. The dialogue is wonderfully penned, the emotions mind-blowing; so incredibly sincere that the reader cannot help but have their heart pierced by the way Kira and Trace always make contact in this stirring read.
- Cherokee  - Coffee Time Romance & More

Friday, August 20, 2010

CSN Stores shoe review

Hello, I'm a busy writer who works in a school during the day and takes the bus and the train home at night. I do quite a bit of walking as well, so when presented with the opportunity to review a pair of shoes, I chose something I could wear often, the Gram Central Mary-Jane by Aerosoles; though I was tempted by the nice dress shoes offered at CSN Stores. There was no financial compensation offered for this review. The company sent them to me for free, and the opinions here are strictly my own.

Wanting to go with something different, I chose the dark green pair.  The green metallic leather appeals to the artist/musician in me. They are versatile enough to wear to work, (being nice enough for that) or out and about on casual excursions. The shoes would go well with corduroys or jeans, or other things as well.

They are made of leather and suede, and have a mesh upper section. The sole is rubber and the lining fabric. There is a suede sock lining and Velcro straps with side silver grommets. The heel is one inch tall.

I ordered them online, and they arrived in less than a week. The ordering process was quick and efficient. I appreciated that. When they arrived, I was not disappointed in how they looked. They weren't misrepresented at the store's Web site. Ever have that happen? ;)

Slightly nervous that they wouldn't fit right because I hadn't had the chance to try them on in person when I ordered them, I slipped them on. They fit perfectly! And that Velcro strap, being adjustable as it is, allows for tightening or loosening. If I wear socks, for example, or my feet swell a bit from all that walking I do, no problem; I'll loosen the strap. If I go without socks, I can tighten it. I like how trouble-free these shoes are.

I walked around in them and couldn't believe how comfortable
they were! They feel better on my feet than my tennis shoes do, pure comfort, cushiony. These shoes are so cozy, in fact, I'll probably wear them often, and over time, I hope to get those other colors (the black, brown, purple, and silver combos).

They're well-made, attractive, a combination of classy but casual, and feel so good on my feet, that I'd like to own them in every color they come in eventually. :) Highly recommended.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My beautiful state

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A challenge

Hello, as a writer, I challenged myself to find a color that began with every letter of the alphabet. Here's my list: (I know some of the colors have other meanings as well, such as nouns)

auburn, burgundy, copper, dove (a creamy color), eggplant, fuchsia, gold, hazel, indigo, khaki (dull brownish-yellow/tan), lavender, maroon, navy blue, ocher (light yellow to brown or red), puce (dark red or purplish-brown), quail (medium brown-beige mixture), russet (yellowish brown, light brown, or reddish brown), silver, teal, umber (dark yellowish-brown), violet, white, xanthic (yellow or yellowish color), zaffre (a deep blue and orange pigment). I have others. (I like to collect lists.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

10 facts that most Americans probably aren’t aware of.

1)David Rice Atchison served as president for only one day. Zachary Taylor was about to be sworn in as the new president back in 1849. Inauguration day was on a Sunday, but Taylor wanted to wait until Monday. President James K. Polk concluded his duties officially on Saturday, which left Sunday, March 4, without a president. David Atchison of the Senate took over for that day. He slept the day away.

2)1886: The first woman to appear on U.S. currency, Martha Washington, was featured on the $1 Silver Certificate.

3)John Hanson, in November 1781, became the first President of Congress to be elected under the terms of the Articles of Confederation. Because of this, some people claimed that he was the first President of the United States.

4)25% of Americans have appeared on TV.

5)There are five US states with no sales tax (last time I checked). They are: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

6)Ohio is the birthplace of more Presidents than any other state - eight.

7)In 1912, the government specified official patterns, proportions and colors, for the Flag we know today.

8)The Median age of an American is 36.8

9)We have a 99% literacy rate here

10)We have slightly more females than males in the general population

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cats

Hello, I love cats. My husband and I have rescued more than one from the streets over the years. This little fella was stranded in a snowstorm last winter, hungry and alone. The rest is history. I wish we could rescue all the cats.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CSN stores

Hello, I hope you are having a great week! Since I'm going to be doing a review soon, (I love doing reviews, books and otherwise) I thought I'd post a little blurb about the place I'll be reviewing a product for. They have so many cool things there: everything from a dining table to writing desks (If I weren't in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, I'd like something like this to write on:
Wall art like this piece with a clock makes me think of the Victorian era and maybe the Steam Punk genre.



Mm, coffee...

At any rate, CSN stores carry a wide variety of products.

Cheers!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Winner of my novel

Congratulations to Rae S. for winning a copy of my fantasy novel, "Why, My Love." :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Follow me back Tuesday

Follow Me Back Tuesday is another day of the week that you can gain more followers and find other great blogs to follow on a weekly basis. Follow Me Back Tuesday is hosted by Survey Junkie, Little Yaya's, Review Retreat and Boobies, Babies & A Blog.
Each week we will choose a random number every week from the blogs linked and add the random blog to the #5 spot to link to the following week ...
This weeks guest host for the #5 spot is Shanna from Mommy Of One...And Counting. Be sure to stop by and welcome him! I’m curious to know if Dave has any secrets to turning my hubby into a blogger. Then, I may be able to hear less lip about it!


How it Works

  1. Follow the 5 hosts, #1 – 5,  ( leave us a comment & we will follow you back- only leave a comment if you follow please ).
  2. Create a blog post about FMBT (you may copy this post if you wish).
  3. Follow as many blogs as you would like ( Leave a comment so they can follow you back).
  4. When you receive a comment from a new follower  return the favor & follow them back.
***Please link directly to your Follow Me Back Tuesday Post. Links that lead directly to your personal blog hop will not be accepted and will be deleted.***
 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book review for The Sorcerer's Songs

The author sent me a free copy of this book for review. I was not financially compensated, and the opinions within are strictly my own.

The Sorcerer’s Songs by Kiki Howell was an enjoyable read, a bit different than your average romance.

The hero, Adam, is a sexy musician with an intriguing quality about him: he’s a wizard with interesting gifts.

The story starts with him playing his guitar and singing to an enthralled audience. His music calls out to them, in a way truly good music does, but it’s more than that. His gift enables him to reach people emotionally.  He breaks down inhibitions but never tampers with free will, establishing his honor.

As a musician myself, the descriptions rang eerily true for me. The feel of the guitar in his hands, the rhythm and melody of his soul, the purpose of his music, the sympathies awoken in him through the music…if you’re a musician, you’ll know how realistically this is written, and if you’re not, you’ll understand after reading this.

He has telepathic powers with his sorcery and calls out to women in the audience to temporarily soothe his loneliness, creating a sense of empathy. He’s the dark, haunted musician who seems to have a chip on his shoulder, looks dangerous to women, but comes across as deep with the soft poetry of his music.


At first, it began to seem he was using women, and his pain was apparent. Then it became clear that the women were using him.

I liked the line, “…in need of the comfort only a song could bring him.”

He worked his way back home, west to Ohio, thinking of his broken heart after decades of loss, of his lost love Stacey. He still longed for her.

I enjoyed the scene where he arrived back home after so much time and ran into Stacey again.  Did he call her there with his magic?

Her reaction to him was interesting, emotionally touching.

The author has a talent with painting the romantic connection between them, and the pain, with words.

There is great tension as Adam prepares to tell Stacey his great secret, his magic. What will she think? Will she run away in fear?

It was very sad and romantic when Stacey discovered his powers. He left because he was afraid he might accidently hurt her with his magic the way his father hurt his mother, and Stacey had been truly frightened of him.

I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that this was a charming, engaging story with likeable characters. There was some “telling,” distant writing, and vagueness, but I really liked this tale of music and magic and would read more by this author.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Winner of $40 gift card!

Congratulations to Deb, tnshadylady, winner of the $40 gift card! Thanks, everyone, for entering my contest! I appreciate you all dropping by. A wonderful August to you. :) -laura