New Reviews

Check out my new reviews, both under “Romance”

THIS DAY IS OURS by Gretchen Jeannette – an epic historical romance set in 1776 Philadelphia area with realistic characters and settings. Full of action, battles, romance, intrigue, and more. If you like historical fiction, you’ll love this.

LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn – everything about hand lettering you ever wanted to know with a little romance, fun, and a touch of intrigue thrown in.

Guest Author: Kim Fielding

Hi! Kim Fielding here to celebrate the release of Love Has No Direction, my 26th novel!LoveHasNoDirectionFS_v1

Protagonists of romance novels are flashy, right? They have to be, because for the story to work, readers need to fall in love with them. Need to care about them so much that it’s vital for obstacles to be overcome and True Love to find a way. We may remember these protagonists long after we’ve finished a book and might even miss them—we might hope their creators share more of their story with us.

The leads get star billing in romance novels, which is as it should be. But what about the secondary characters? They’re important too. Unless the entire story takes place while the heroes are isolated from the rest of the world, secondaries are what make the tale work. They’re the friends and family, the exes, the bosses, the villains. Maybe they have such a small part they don’t even get names, or maybe they’re fully fleshed characters in their own right.

I have a special love for secondaries. They serve important narrative purposes and assist with the protagonists’ character development. But they’re also just plain fun—a chance for the author to play with someone new and interesting. Some examples of what I mean? Miracle Max and Valerie in The Princess Bride. Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. Batty in Bladerunner. Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King.

When I write, many of my secondaries feel as real to me as the protagonists. You probably won’t learn all that much about them since it’s not their story, but rest assured: in the universe of my mind, their histories and personalities are as fully fleshed as the heroes’.

A really fun thing about writing a series is that it allows me to revisit those secondary characters—and to give them some little adventures of their own. In the Love Can’t series, Rhoda Levin shows up periodically as the owner of P-Town Café, where the protagonists tend to hang out. She’s a friend to them and an encouraging voice. In the newest book, we learn a bit more about her backstory—and get some hopeful hints about her future.

Of course sometimes a secondary character in one book can become a protagonist in another. Nevin Ng was a secondary in the first book of the series but starred in book two; he’s back in a supporting role in book three. On the other hand, Parker Levin (Rhoda’s son) got only some brief mentions in the first two books, but now it’s his turn to shine.

Who are some of your favorite secondary characters in books or movies?

***

Blurb:

 A Love Can’t Novel

Yet another series of poor decisions lands Parker Levin back in his mother’s house, working at her coffee shop, and feeling like a failure. Then he learns his ex-boyfriend has died by suicide and things go from bad to worse. When he meets a handsome stranger, he doesn’t have much left to lose.

Ten years ago Wesley Anker made a grave mistake. Since then he’s lived in near isolation, supporting himself by making custom furniture and only rarely connecting with other people. When he attempts to make amends, he encounters Parker, a beautiful and colorful young man, and he agrees to Parker’s impulsive request to join him.

Together, Parker and Wes find quick friendship and fierce attraction. But Wes’s past demons haunt his footsteps, and Parker’s struggle to plan a future has him stumbling through life. Then they uncover evidence that suggests Parker’s ex’s death might not have been a straightforward suicide, and every path seems to lead to dead ends and destruction. Can Parker and Wes find their way to lasting love when the route is hidden?

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Has-Direction-Cant-Book-ebook/dp/B081G9MXJH/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-has-no-direction

Author info:

Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

Having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls California home. She lives there with her family and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Instagram: @KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bau3S9

 

Guest Author: Andrew Grey

FireAndOnyx_FBbanner_DSP

A Carlisle Deputies Novel

Undercover sheriff’s deputy Evan Whittaker is close to infiltrating a vicious local gang. He just needs to find an opening. Instead, he finds Wes Douglas, a web designer who is raising his irresponsible brother’s son. Wes agrees to help with a stakeout, but he pays the price when his home is destroyed in a shootout.

Evan’s always been a loner, but when he invites Wes into his home, living together feels right, and the two men only grow closer as they adapt to each other’s lives and rhythms. A future as a family looks brighter by the day, but all of that could collapse when Wes’s brother—and his connection to the drug dealers—crashes into the life they’re carefully building.

Book Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Excerpt:

“Blocking a public sidewalk, causing an obstruction. You most certainly did. Littering, creating a public disturbance—do I need to go on? I will, and the more I talk, the deeper the trouble you ‘brain surgeons’ are going to be in.” The deputy looked past the four guys. “Are you and the baby okay?”

“Yes.” Wes’s voice seemed so small in comparison to the deputy’s. “We’re fine. Thank you.”

The deputy took all the guys’ names from their IDs and put the pad back in his pocket. “I suggest you call the department tomorrow to see what charges are going to be filed. Now move along and be courteous to other people.”

Wes suppressed a smile as the guys lost their swagger and their shoulders slumped. It was a beautiful thing to see them taken down a peg.

“We were just walking,” Mark, the leader and the only one with any guts, said.

“Well, I have your names and addresses. I’ll check you all out and if you so much as step out of line again, I’ll be there to make you wish you had never been born. What kind of person forces someone walking a baby off the sidewalk?”

“Jackasses,” a man mumbled as he walked by, and clearly the guys heard it. Normal behavior would be to bluster and threaten, but the one tool in their arsenal had been pulled away.

“It seems you aren’t very popular.” The deputy pulled out his phone and made a call to request a background check on each of them. It was funny to see them sweat, and Wes half expected them to make a run for it. “Go on home and explain to your parents what you’ve done and to expect a call.” He tilted his head, and the guys hurried away, turning back and then walking faster out of there. “Are you really okay?” This time he broke into a smile, and dang, it was electric.

“Yes. They’re jerks but largely harmless.” Greyson was getting fussy and wanted to go. Wes rolled the stroller back and forth to generate some movement.

“What’s his name?” the deputy asked.

“Greyson,” Wes answered, and the deputy leaned over the stroller.

“You’re going to be a handsome boy, aren’t you?” he said in a baby voice, and Greyson grinned, actually reaching for the deputy’s hand. “Wow, now that’s a smile.” He straightened back up. “I’ll let you get back to your walk, but you have a nice evening.” The deputy smiled at him again and then continued down the sidewalk.

Wes stood, watching him go, and told himself not to stare at the way the deputy’s jeans clung to his perfect backside. He actually groaned and then turned away. The last thing he needed was to be caught ogling.

**

Andrew GreyAndrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

 

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

 

New reviews posted

For an action/adventure ala Indiana Jones, but with a female who talks to ghosts and angels in the lead, check out “Debriefing the Dead” by Kerry Blaisdell under our Fantasy page. 5 sparklers for this one.

Under Non-fiction, we have a new review from Teresa on “Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time by Sarah Ruden” – a 5 sparkler plus look at one of the apostles.

Guest Author: Elle E. Ire

Writing the Likable Assassin

ViciousCircle_FBbanner_DSPPVICIOUS CIRCLE was my first published novel, first in 2015 from Torquere Press, and then re-released in January 2020, from Dreamspinner Publications.

I have always had a fascination with difficult-to-like main characters. All my protagonists struggle with themselves for a variety of reasons: their morally questionable jobs, their horrible childhoods, a need to be perfect, a desire to project invincibility at all times, a belief they are unlovable, trust issues, lost memories, severe injuries and other traumas. Then I have to find them the one person in the universe who can get past all that and love them, truly and deeply, for whomever they are. Oftentimes, the persona projected on the outside is very, very different from the real person on the inside.

Cor Sandros, from VICIOUS CIRCLE, was a particular challenge for several reasons. For one thing, she was my first protagonist to get a romance. I’d never written romance before, even as a subplot, though I’d read a number of them.

Second, Cor is an assassin. I had to find a way to make an assassin a viable romantic partner and someone with whom readers could identify or at least sympathize. Without too many spoilers, Cor has a very difficult childhood. She’s suffered through many traumatic experiences. She’s been betrayed by those she loved, so trust is extremely difficult for her. She has every reason to be evil, but she is most definitely not.

Cor is a heart-of-gold assassin. She belongs to a guild dedicated to eliminating the worst of mankind to better the lives of the rest of humanity. Every contract is carefully examined, investigated, and vetted before being accepted and signed. Despite all that, Cor still sometimes wrangles with guilt. It’s killing, even if she thinks it’s deserved, and who is she to decide? And what if the Assassins Guild makes a mistake in judgment?

To do what she does, Cor must maintain an emotionless façade, an impenetrable shell allowing herself few friends and fewer lovers. Toss in an addiction to painkillers after a crippling injury and you’ve got a very difficult protagonist indeed. How to make a character like this approachable?

To start, I realized I had to go with writing in first person point-of-view. Only by gaining insight into Cor’s inner thoughts, dreams, and desires, her perception of herself as flawed, her loneliness and longings, could I hope to help readers understand her perspective and identify with her on some emotional level. You have to really see and hear her to get her. Or you have to see her through the eyes of someone who loves her, who has broken through the shell to get to the passionate and caring person beneath.

Enter Kila, a pacifist. Because what sort of romantic interest character would be the absolute most difficult person to pair with an assassin? Someone who abhors violence and especially killing, that’s who. But through Kila’s eyes, the reader sees the inner Cor, the person Cor could have been if she hadn’t joined the guild, and Cor begins to see that person in herself as well.

I also had to create Cor’s entire backstory. Why is she the way she is? Why would she choose a violent profession? I had to show her as a survivor of those she would later hunt down and eliminate. I had to show why she believes that sometimes killing someone is the only way to be certain they stop. But I also had to balance that with an understanding that some people could be redeemed. And I had to give Cor the insight to know one from the other to the best of her ability and realize that she couldn’t always be right.

I had to make her fallible, had to make her know she’s fallible. She knows she will make fatal mistakes. And I had to make her live with that.

I’m sure there are readers who will never get past the violence of Cor’s career choice, but hopefully by understanding why she does what she does and what made her the person she’s become, most will make that connection to the character.

I hope you’ll like Cor as much as I do.

BLURB: Assassin meets innocent.

Kicked out of the Assassins Guild for breach of contract, hunted by its members for killing the Guild Leader, and half hooked on illegal narcotics, Cor Sandros could use a break. Down to her last few credits, Cor is offered a freelance job to eliminate a perverse political powerhouse. Always a sucker for helping the helpless, she accepts.

The plan doesn’t include Cor falling in love with her employer, sweet and attractive Kila, but as the pair struggles to reach the target’s home world, pursued by assassins from the Guild, Cor finds the inexplicable attraction growing stronger. There’s a job to do, and intimate involvement is an unwelcome distraction. Then again, so is sexual frustration.

BUY LINKS: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/vicious-circle-by-elle-e-ire-11479-b

 

About the author: Elle Ire writes science fiction novels featuring kick-ass women who fall in love with each other. Her first novel, VICIOUS CIRCLE, released from Torquere Press in November, 2015, and will be re-released in January, 2020, by Dreamspinner Publications. Her second novel, THREADBARE, the first in the STORM FRONTS series, was released in August, 2019, by Dreamspinner Publications with the sequel, PATCHWORK, to follow in April, 2020. Her work is represented by Naomi Davis at the Bookends Literary Agency.
MEDIA LINKS:
website: ElleIre.com

Facebook: Elle E. Ire 

Twitter: Elle E. Ire (@ElleEIre) | Twitter

 

 

Guest Author: Jordan Gillepsie

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Young officer-in-training Lailani Harris is just trying to survive in a violent world, and survival means following orders… until her conscience will no longer allow it.

After the old government collapsed, the American Republic formed. Prisoners are used as live target practice for trainees such as Lai, and her world is shattered when her cousin ends up at her firing station. Rather than kill her, Lai and her best friend break her cousin out, and all three go on the run as fugitives. Hunted by the government she once served, Lai will learn just how corrupt the country has become. She might have a part to play in changing it, if she can find the courage to grow into the leader she’s meant to be.

Amazon

Harmony Ink Press

Goodreads

Excerpt:

“Harris!” the sergeant yelled. “What do you think you are doing?”

Lai looked back to Mel, the only kid still alive on the wall. Mel was breathing heavily, and her forehead was slick with sweat.

“Lailani Harris!”

Lai forced herself to look her sergeant squarely in the eye and tried to keep her voice from shaking.

“That’s my cousin,” she replied in a weak voice. The other students around her gasped. Jaime stepped up beside her but did nothing more.

“Why didn’t you shoot her?” the sergeant demanded. Lai blinked several times, unsure she had heard correctly.

“She’s my cousin,” Lai said again. She realized she was holding her gun in a death grip and relaxed her fingers.

“That does not mean you are allowed to let this felon live.”

Lai sucked in a sharp breath. She had never heard of this happening before. Even if a family member of a student were on death row, they would never be assigned to that student. No one could be that careless. Perhaps it was because she and Mel were only cousins through marriage and did not share the same last name.

“But—” Lai began, but was quickly cut off by the sergeant.

“I don’t want excuses, Harris. I want that girl dead. You are going to face her and shoot her in the head. That is the exercise.”

“I can’t shoot my own cousin,” Lai cries. Jaime finally spoke up.

“Sergeant, there must have been a mistake. Lai’s cousin shouldn’t have been at her station. She shouldn’t have been assigned to this group at all. She’s in shock. That’s all.”

“I don’t want any excuses from you either, Martinez.”

Jaime took a step back and said nothing more. Lai glanced back to where Mel was still chained to the wall. Her eyes were wild, pleading. She wanted to die about as much as Lai wanted to kill her.

“Harris, I don’t care if she’s your twin sister. If you don’t put a bullet through her head this second, I will put you on kitchen duty for the next year and drop you to a Delta group!”

Lai knew she was serious. Sergeant Washington never put up with anything. Either you did what she instructed or you would find yourself dropped a year in training.

Lai’s hands tightened around her gun again. She turned to face Mel, the girl she had been inseparable from since she moved to the Republic until she had left for training. With shaky hands she lifted her gun and trained it on Mel’s forehead. Mel was crying openly now, and she fought weakly against her bonds. No officer moved to stop her. Lai took a deep breath and allowed herself to think for a short moment.

If she didn’t shoot Mel, someone would. If she didn’t shoot, Mel would die anyway and she would be dropped to a Delta training group for another year of basic training. There was nothing she could do. The logical part of her mind told her to do it. For Mel to be on death row, she had to have done something terrible.

What Oscar had told her floated back to Lai’s mind. That wasn’t necessarily true. She could have stolen a car. She could have hurt someone in a fight. She could have done any number of things that did not call for her life. In that moment, Lai made a decision she knew she could never return from.

In one fluid motion, Lai spun around to face Sergeant Washington and shot the woman in the leg.

About the author: Jordan Gillespie is a young author living in British Columbia, Canada. She is enrolled at the University of Victoria with the hopes of eventually becoming a librarian. She has been writing since she was too young to hold a pencil and had to dictate stories to her mother. When she isn’t writing, Jordan enjoys rock climbing, baking, playing with her pets, spending time with her girlfriend, and losing to her girlfriend’s little brother at Mario Kart. She is a lover of tea, coffee, and any local café where she can buy a good vegan muffin.

Including LGBT characters in her writing is hugely important to her. Young people especially deserve to see themselves represented in a diverse range of genres, and Jordan hopes to add to this body of work with her own writing. She has published three short stories with Harmony Ink Press in their Harmonious Hearts collections, and won the pride month short story contest in June 2019 at the locally owned bookstore Bolen Books. Her favorite genres to read are science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction, and her favorite authors are Ursula K. Le Guin, Madeline Miller, and Neal Shusterman. Accuracy is her first published novel.

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New reviews up

Two new reviews posted:

THEN THERE WAS YOU by Lynn Crandall: Contemporary Romance. Good premise, but it just didn’t draw me. So… sweet romance, lots of action, HEA that satisfies. If these work for you, pick it up.

PUBLISH OR PERISH by Kerry Blaisdell: Romantic suspense. Kerry has great promise as a romantic suspense author. I would definitely read more by her and with that in mind, I do recommend this book, though because of hot scenes, not for the under 18 group.