12 Books—Month 4

Friends! I am so glad I chose Jennifer M. Lane’s Stick Figures from Rockport as my monthly Twitter-friends read. It was delightful! I’m pretty particular when it comes to women’s fiction, so I always hold my breath a little for the first fifty pages or so.

I like women’s fiction, but as a strong empath, it hurts to read about raw pain too often. And hello, what is women’s fiction, if not a whole lot of raw pain? Good women’s fiction, in my opinion, offers more than just a painful scenario, more than loss and hurt, more than fractured relationships and terminal illness. It offers the opportunity to grow. It offers insight into our own lives. Good women’s fiction allows the reader to peer into the pain of another female, peeling the layers page by page, and emerge with a deeper understanding of oneself. 

And that’s what Lane was able to do in Stick Figures from Rockport. She did what many women’s fiction writers can’t—took me on a journey with a grieving character who was able to solve a mystery by piecing together a troubled past that once seemed perfect. It’s about love…and loss. And how learning a new truth doesn’t make your own truth any less real.

If you like women’s fiction, pick this one up! Lane is a talented writer whose writing flows gracefully and whose prose is poetic without being overly “purple.” Stick Figures from Rockport was a treat, and I can guarantee that I will pick up more of Lane’s work in the future.

Bonus—Lane lives fairly close to me geographically speaking, which means her main character (who lives in a Pennsylvania farmhouse) drives roads I know well and visits towns where I’ve worked in the past. How cool is that? Eastern Pennsylvania girls unite!

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Soul of the Storm

Join me in welcoming author Jean M. Grant to my blog again today as she releases the second of her three 2019 anticipated books and novellas. Soul of the Storm is a sweet romance novella  ebook from the Deerbourne Inn series that features a heroine you’ll enjoy rooting for, a hero you can fall in love with, and a rescue dog who will steal your heart. 

Did I mention the rescue dog who will steal your heart?

Soul of the Storm (a synopsis):

Charlotte MacGregor lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Still guilt-ridden, Charlotte heads for a vacation to rustic Vermont with a friend—where she’s surrounded by reminders of her devastating loss and plagued with unanswered questions.

Matiu Christiansen is an outdoors buff. He works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s never quite felt at home in the United States and he yearns for his Maori roots, but his attraction to Charlotte puts a kink in his plans to move home later this year.

Thrown together by coincidence, Charlotte and Matiu form a kindred bond through their shared love of the outdoors. Can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? And can Matiu help Charlotte heal from the pain of the past?


An interview with the author:

LRS: Tell us about your writing, about your history, what you love to write and why!

JMG: I began my writing journey in the Scottish middle ages. My first love has always been medieval romance, and later 18th century stories of kilted men (ala Outlander…). Castles and crags, warring clans and cultures, sweeping landscapes of mystery and moor, lairds and ladies, gallantry and greed. After spending a good deal of time hanging out with my medieval heroes and heroines, I jumped ahead in time and wrote a contemporary novella as part of a new series put out by The Wild Rose Press. It takes place in Vermont…and I jumped at the chance to write about my region of the world. At the same time, I delved into a contemporary women’s fiction story. Now I’m back finishing up a trilogy in historical Scotland. Jump, jump through time and space…

LRS: So why write across genres? 

JMG: Good question. I have diverse interests. Maybe too many interests? By writing different genres I feed different passions and my ideas don’t fall stagnant (though I am amazed by authors who stick with one sub-genre and continue to churn out incredible, fresh stories!). Maybe I am too faceted, a bit scattered, and just write what my heart tells me. It’s fun though. Going back and forth in editing between my brogue Scottish men and my modern voices can be tricky, but it keeps my brain sharp (and exhausted!). I also write in both first and third person. 

Will I delve into another genre? Probably not. But never say never. I’ve found my niche in historical (with paranormal elements) and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. There is a central thread weaved into all my stories: journeys of hope, spirituality, and of course happy-ever-after. My women’s fiction usually has a romantic element. So even though I write across genres and sub-genres, I find that I home in on a central theme with each story.

LRS: Now the quick questions. What are some of your go-to methods for writing?

JMG: Notes, charts, charts, charts. Plotting, planning, but being flexible to divert off the path if my characters take me that way. Being willing to kill my darlings.

LRS: Where is your favorite place to visit?

JMG: Tie: New Zealand or Scotland.

LRS: Makes sense. You write about both!


And lastly, an excerpt!

Charlotte sat on the top porch step instead of in a rocker. Her breath puffed in a misty cloud before her as she waited. Again, the scent of a fire from the back pit infused the air. She traced the knots in the planks of the porch with the toe of her shoe, ignoring her thudding pulse. Matiu shuffled through the side door. She rose to help him with the cups. 

“Hi.” 

“Kia ora,” he said, smile deep and teeth bright beneath the lamps. “It’s colder tonight.” 

“You need a jacket,” she said with a nod to his thinner long-sleeved top that clung nicely to his muscles. 

“I’ll sit closer to you. Nice quilt.” 

“I’m always cold. I won’t have much heat to share.” 

“Logging in my assessment file.” He tapped his temple. 

She shivered from nerves as he settled beside her on the top step. 

“Ya know, we could have tea inside,” he suggested. 

“What about consorting? Besides, I like the clear sky and fresh air. Night is my time.”

He nodded. “Ah, clear skies are amazing. I prefer morning. Not sure about tomorrow. Neil’s sick with the flu, and so is Kelly. They work on the search and rescue team, and Kelly also does mucking with us for the US Forest Service. Seems like the germs haven’t left for the season.” 

“Nor the cold temps. Both tend to bite us in the ass in April.” 

“I was serious. You going to share that quilt with me?” He inched closer. 

“Nope. Get your own.” 

He pressed a hand to his heart. “Shot down!” Tea splashed as his laugh vibrated. 

Her pulse quickened with the idea of sharing warmth with him. 

He said, “I’m knackered. That paddle got me sore. Bit more wind today than I’d expected.” 

“You’re not the only one.” 

He was so close. She subtly inhaled his natural scent. She couldn’t place it. Probably his shampoo… combined with sweat and cooking oils. They sat quietly, unsure what to say next. His nearness upset her equilibrium. She drank the tea.


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Like what you see? You can order Soul of the Storm through any of these online vendors:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay

Want to see Jean M. Grant’s other published works? Visit here and here.

12 Books—Month 3

How is it already March? Guess what? That means another of my 12 Books segments! For this month, I chose The Changing Tide by K.A. Dowling. I’ve been following Kelly on Twitter for quite some time. She’s a ton of fun, has a bazillion hilarious stories about her toddler, and is relatable on just about every level. She’s real in a way a lot of people aren’t when it comes to Twitter.

Dowling is a phenomenal writer and a master at painting with words. One peek into her life and it’s clear to see perhaps why she’s so damn good at describing the world. She’s spent her life acknowledging it in a way most of us can’t even imagine. Because Dowling is deaf. Is this why her words feel so poetic to me? I don’t know. I’ll never know. Hearing or deaf, she’s clearly an amazing writer either way.

I chose The Changing Tide because I’ve been following K.A. Dowling long enough on Twitter to become ever-so-slightly familiar with a couple of the book’s characters. Here and there, I’ve gotten to take a peek at a few pages from a sequel to this book. I loved Dowling’s style so much that I had to delve in. What I found was both intriguing and frustrating. The Changing Tide reads like book 1 of a trilogy. 

Um, Storms? It is. 

Oh, right. So maybe I should get into a little more detail. I expected to be as immediately invested in the story as I was from the few pages I’d gotten to read long ago, but what I found was that this particular book was slow to move forward with the action. I wasn’t quite sure where the plot was going or when the adventure would begin, which means, of course, that now I have read books 2 and 3. It’s a good thing I’m a sucker for trilogies!

The one piece of Dowling’s writing that really hits me more than anything is her ability not only to create so many different characters, but to dive deep within them since she changes character point-of-view multiple times throughout the book. Each chapter is dedicated to following a specific character. The ease with which she shifts gears and slides into each character’s head, even though they differ extensively in thoughts and mannerisms, is positively awe-inspiring.

So if you get a chance, check out The Changing Tide. Then gear up for The Forbidden City and The Winding Maze, books 2 and 3 respectively, because you won’t be able to stop with just book 1.

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12 Books—Month 2

It took me a little while to decide which book to pick for my February read since there were so many wonderful choices from my Twitter writing buddies.

This month, I decided to go with Sorchia DuBois’s Just Like Gravity. I’ll preface my review by saying I’m not a huge reader of the romance genre. While I love a good romance subplot, outside of my teenage years, I’ve never been able to read a story exclusively for the romance.  That said, I cannot resist a reincarnation tale. You see, DuBois is a paranormal romance writer…and now you’ve got my attention.

Just Like Gravity was a fun tale with a ‘crabbit’ main character who can handle her whisky as well as she can handle her Scottish highlander, but what really grabbed me were the past life incarnations of the two main characters and I almost wish I could have spent more time in those stories. What can I say? I’m a sucker for history, particularly when it’s a haunted, tragic tale! In Just Like Gravity, there’s fortune-tellers, treasure, danger, murder, and romance. What’s not to love?

If you’re a reader of romance who can appreciate a good dose of historical and contemporary fiction, this is the perfect blend!

(I love DuBois for other reasons, too! She’s a fantastic editor who was a pleasure to work with, so if you’re looking for editing services, look no further. She can do it all! Check out her website. Also, follow her on Twitter!)

Just Like Gravity

 

Did you miss Month 1 of my 12 Books series? Catch up here.

Wings of the Wicked Release!

Nothing is more exciting than cheering on a fellow author’s release! So check out Wings of the Wicked (you can order the entire collection for $0.99 at any of the usual retailers here), featuring Guarding Reese by RS McCoy.


unknownIndulge in 25 breathtaking adventures of dangerous worlds where the lines blur between saints and sinners.

Come meet the creatures that fuel your every lust filled nightmare, where angels are not always encased in a light of righteousness and demons are not always dealing in all manner of debauchery. Where you might just end up rooting for the bad guy…

If you like demonic games, angelic interventions, and thrilling temptations, you’ll love this urban fantasy and paranormal romance collection of twisted proportions in Wings of the Wicked.


29c649_08281f4d6bab4e5e8fda785f2b281c68About the featured author: Rachel McCoy is a Texan living in New Jersey. Between binge-watching MTV reality shows and baking gluten-free treats, she writes paranormal fantasy and science fiction novels. She is the self-published author of the Sparks Saga trilogy, The Alder Tales series, and The Extraction Files. Back when she lived in the real world, Rachel earned a degree in marine biology, which contributed to her die-hard love of manta rays. She writes “smart fantasy with a class romance twist.” To learn more, visit McCoy’s website.


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12 Books—Month 1

Last month, I announced on Twitter that I planned to purchase and review one book a month from my Twitter author friends. I asked my dear followers for recommendations, but it seems very few of my Twitter friends actually wanted to scream from the mountaintops about their own work.

I get it.

Marketing is HARD. As authors, we write hundreds of thousands of words again and again. (And again—omg—it never stops.) But when it comes to explaining to others why they should read our words over someone else’s, indulge in our story instead of the next author’s…well, amazingly enough, we tend to be quite suddenly (and ironically) at a loss for words.

No matter. I’ve made my list regardless.

And in month one, I am NOT disappointed. This month, I read Patti Larsen’s Exit Stage Left. I was delighted from page one. Larsen has an unbelievable penchant for creating a main character who is both vulnerable and confident at once—a rare talent. A dynamic character like Riley James is one of my favorite surprises to discover within the pages of any book. I connected with her from the start and stayed along for the ride. If the rest of Larsen’s work is like this one, I may have just found a new favorite author!

Larsen’s writing is strong and grounds the reader in the moment. In fact, I was so in the moment that I may have stayed up a bit too late two nights in a row because I had to finish the book. To be fair, I’m a bit of a marathon reader. I don’t dawdle when it comes to stories I’m loving. The more intense, the faster the read.

And Exit Stage Left was a super-fast read.

Guys. Get this one. Read this one. Then go review it.

Patti Larsen is my beloved Prince Edward Island discovery and she’s a hidden gem. To learn more, check out Patti’s website. And follow Patti Larsen on Twitter!

Exit Stage Left

Indie Author Storms

Indiana_Jones_in_Raiders_of_the_Lost_Ark
I’m no Indiana Jones.

Maybe it doesn’t quite have the ring of Indiana Jones, but I think Indie Author Storms has a nice sound to it. So why did I decide to go indie and what’s next?

I’ve been writing seriously for seven years, querying for four, and have four completed manuscripts—some of them with quite wonderful feedback from agents and editors. And until the last year, I really wanted to take the traditional route to publishing.

So what changed?

Cancer.

Cancer is one hell of an eye-opener. And when my husband was diagnosed in April of 2017, it didn’t just change the rules; it changed the entire game. He’s doing well now—a year and a half cancer-free. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t celebrate this. (Insert happy dance emoji right here!)

But his diagnosis wasn’t all.

At the beginning of my foray into Writer Twitter, I made friends with a wonderful professor and writer who had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She documented her journey in life, and through diagnosis, and I had the pleasure of beta-reading for her about a year and a half ago. As with most interactions on social media, we dipped in and out of each other’s profiles here and there, commenting and leaving digital hearts in our wake. I learned only recently that she passed away in June.

 

Before she succumbed to the terrible disease, she followed her dream and published Blooming Out of Darkness: A Memoir about Cancer, Spirits, and Joy. The book, which sits on the bookshelf beside my piano, is a stark reminder each and every day—a reminder that we don’t always have the time we think we have. Between Alicia’s story and my husband’s ordeal over the last year, I’ve decided that it’s time to take the next step in the journey to authorhood. 

There’s a beautiful change in perception that occurs when you reach your forties. (Okay, I’m not quite there, but I’ve got less than a year, so…) You begin to care less about what other people think or what other people would do in any given situation, and so much more about what you feel and how you can be good to yourself.

Indie authorhood is me being good to myself. I’m ready to have the fun, to release a book baby into the world, to take the next step and grow as an author. A Thousand Years to Wait is my gift to the world, yes. But it’s also a gift to me. And I hope we can enjoy it together.


A Thousand Years to Wait will be released on April 30th, 2019. You can add A Thousand Years to Wait to your Goodreads list here. Check back for excerpts, teasers, a cover reveal, and more! I’ll be updating regularly over the next six months.