Congratulations, Donna Tartt!

donna tarttThis year’s Pulitzer Prize recipients were announced and the winner of the fiction prize is Donna Tartt‘s novel, The Goldfinch. Congratulations, Donna!

I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Donna Tartt. It all started back when I was working on my MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her first novel, The Secret History, had just been published, and everyone was talking about it. I was really looking forward to reading it–I’d read some of her short fiction and loved it, so I was certain I’d love The Secret History. Well, that didn’t really happen. Everyone else loved it. I hated it. I thought maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it, so I set it aside and decided to give it another try later. So I waited…in fact, I waited six months and tried again. Nope, no dice. Still didn’t like it. I felt like I’d been duped. I thought the language was inauthentic, and I couldn’t suspend my disbelief to accept that anything like what was taking place in the novel was even possible. I shoved the book back into my bookshelf and forgot about it.

Fast forward a few years and I moved to Sweden. I was having a hard time finding any books in English that I really wanted to read and books in English were rather expensive for a very broke English teacher who was only working part-time. I was going through a box of old papers and found my copy of The Secret History, which I didn’t even remember packing. Out of desperation, I began reading it again. This time, though, I really enjoyed it. Perhaps it was the watery grey light of Swedish winter that lent itself to the book’s mood. Suddenly, I liked The Secret Historythough I never fell in love with it in the same way that many others did.

But I came to see that Donna Tartt‘s writing style was moody, lush and exquisite. When her next novel, The Little Friend, was published, I practically devoured it. It was such a riveting story…terrifying, compelling and a great example of modern Southern Gothic.

Now it’s been a while since The Goldfinch was published and, while I have it on my To Be Read List, I haven’t managed to get to it yet. Perhaps it’s time. It’s been on my Kindle long enough.

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Blog Tour: Zack Love’s The Doorman and City Solipsism

Book Blitz Banner The Doorman Cover Synopsis

Alex seems to have it all: a great penthouse apartment, a lovely girlfriend, and a prestigious Wall Street job. But below the surface he is sure of nothing but his angst-ridden doubts. And when he realizes that his doorman may be God, or sent by God, he will question things like never before.

This novelette is a story of New York doormen, tormented love, empty office life, and the theological questions that arise in response to the horrors of evil.

City Solipsism Cover Synopsis

Have you ever been on a train, bus, metro/subway — or any other shared space with strangers — and started to wonder what that person right next to you is thinking? Did you ever start to think or hope that maybe your temporary neighbor was somehow sharing your thoughts and/or desires? Ever sensed some sort of romantic connection or sexual tension and wished you could get into the individual’s head, to know for sure?

“City Solipsism” will take you on a journey into the mind of one commuter on a New York City subway car, riding next to and thinking about a person standing awkwardly close…The man and woman are total strangers but their proximity is almost intimate, as their hands share the same metal subway pole…

NOTE: Readers seeking the over-top-hilarity of “Sex in the Title” should know that “City Solipsism” is written in a very different style. Rather than a comedic series of misadventures in New York, this short story takes more of a philosophical and psychological walk through the mind of one New Yorker observing and speculating about another.

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CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

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THE DOORMAN

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CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

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MeetTheAuthor

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Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he tried to create a bachelor’s degree in Women. With the bachelor portion of that degree in hand, he settled in New York City but – to afford renting his bed-sized studio – found himself flirting mostly with a computer screen and stacks of documents. Determined not to die a corporate drone, Zack decided to sacrifice sleep for screenwriting, an active social life, and Internet startups offering temporary billion-dollar fantasies.

To feed his steady diet of NYC nightlife, he regularly crashed VIP parties in the early 2000s and twice bumped into his burgeoning crush, a Hollywood starlet. But – much to Zack’s surprise – neither of those awkward conversations led to marriage with the A-list actress. Zack eventually consoled himself by imagining fiascos far worse than those involving his celebrity crush. In the process, he dreamed up a motley gang of five men inspired by some of his college friends and quirky work colleagues. And thus was born Sex in the Title. But the novel is not autobiographical: Zack never had his third leg attacked by any mammal (nor by any plant, for that matter). In fact, keeping his member safe has been one of Zack’s lifelong goals – and one of the few that he’s managed to accomplish.

Excerpt

THE DOORMAN

During my first year at 777 Fifth Avenue, I came to realize that Lenny had never made a false prediction or failed to supply the correct answer to a question, no matter what the subject. He wasn’t just a handyman who could fix a twitching toilet or stubborn sink; he could look at his watch while taking you down in the elevator and accurately estimate the number of minutes before a downpour would start or a cab would show up outside. He could tell you the corner where the scent of fresh lox and bagels mixed just right with the scent of the neighboring Laundromat; he knew the best place to buy your curtains or cut your hair or get your suits dry-cleaned; and he knew every phone number you needed, like the yellow pages on two short legs. He was a pipe-smoking almanac, energetically rattling off any fact about the world. “Bhutan’s current population? Let me see,” he would say, looking up for a moment before launching into his usual light-speed speech, “2,047,453. But seven more were just born yesterday, so it’s at 2,047,460 now.” Of course, I couldn’t verify such a preposterously precise claim, but he was always right about everything else, so I was inclined to believe him. He could tend to any wound or malady, as though he had perfectly mastered the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine, and his advice always seemed more effective than any doctor recommendation I obtained. And despite the swiftness of his incessant chatter, there wasn’t a word he uttered without gentle passion and infectious enthusiasm. And so he would engage you in some topic you never imagined could interest you for more than a polite minute – the history of vacuum cleaners, or the different flavors of ice cream in China, or the intricate ways of the delicate blue ball turning third in line from the sun. The elevator ride would be over but you’d still be listening until someone else called the elevator or Lenny jokingly reminded you that you had originally entered the elevator with a look of great purpose. Mercifully enough, Lenny always kept it brief in the mornings, knowing that I had to be at work by 8:30 a.m.

At one point, I began to think that I had a divine doorman. Lenny was the most unlikely incarnation of God I could imagine, and yet I kept drifting irresistibly towards this absurd conclusion. Despite my staunchly atheistic inclinations, I couldn’t explain Lenny any other way. But eventually I came to my senses and realized that he was just one of those game show freaks with an encyclopedic memory. That didn’t make him God, did it? Would God proclaim so regularly how much he likes Patsy’s Pizza?

Excerpt

CITY SOLIPSISM: A SHORT STORY

The pages of my calendar flip by faster each year as the bewildering march of time presses forward through alarm clock blues, dinners at the office, and “free time” planned away – in the same way – month after month. As I stand on the same subway platform, waiting for the same local train, I think to myself how youth is marked by a breathtaking novelty that diminishes with each year of age – until life becomes a delusive struggle to break routines, escape the ordinary, and rediscover the joy of discovery.

“What does it take now – as a ‘grown-up’- to make a month memorable?” I wonder. “How do you make treading the treadmill feel like trailblazing a trail? What would make this morning any more remarkable than any other morning?”

And then I notice someone who doesn’t look quite so beleaguered by it all. She’s a woman in her early-twenties with features that hail from either Italy or Spain – I can’t be sure because it’s been about six years since I played my guitar for coins across Europe (and even then, I wasn’t great at differentiating Italians from Spaniards).

Summer sticks to her skirt sumptuously, in the shiny gray fabric hanging loosely from her curves. Her chestnut eyes, apparently hidden from strangers; her simple but graceful face, unpainted by Madison Avenue; and her straight black hair, parted down the middle without ego, all suggest a minimalist – almost pastoral – beauty that is oddly discordant with her fashionable attire, comfortable indifference to the crowds, and quasi-attentive perusal of the Time magazine unfolded over her hand.

I don’t know her name and I’m sure that I’ve never seen her before, but there is something familiar about her. She seems to have this schizophrenically interested or curious look that reminds me of the female shoppers I once observed in a busy Florentine marketplace. The young Italian women in that spice-filled outdoor market, buying their extra virgin olive oil and red ripe tomatoes, seemed flirtatious in their enjoyment of the young men eyeing them, yet guardedly guilt-ridden about any deviations from a properly Catholic day of shopping. And here in our subway car, the way in which this bucolic belle’s eyes occasionally seem undecided between the text of her magazine and the people standing around her makes me wonder how those Florentine shoppers would look if their daily routine were transformed from an outdoor Tuscan shopping spree to an indoor New York subway ride. Would they all look at the magazines in their hands more or less than this woman two feet away from me does?

At the risk of fetishizing an unsuspecting subway rider, I’m going to call her “Florence.” The name of that city evokes in me so many magical memories that I’ll call her “Florence” even though the vestiges of my origin-detection skills insist that her roots might actually be Spanish. Calling her “Madrid” just wouldn’t sound as good, and admitting my uncertainty by calling her “Southern Europe” would sound even worse. So she’ll be Florence for now.

Teaser

The Doorman Teaser 1

The Doorman Teaser 2

The Doorman Teaser Pic

City Solipsism Teaser Pic

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Posted in Blog Tour, Guest Blog Post, Indie Writers, Lad Lit, Rom-Com, Self-publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog Tour: Stealing His Heart by Ella Jade

Stealing His Heart

by

Ella Jade

Erotic, Contemporary Romance

 

When the players take the field this spring come meet my players…

Stealing His Heart Guest Post

Ella Jade

 

From Ella: Who Wants a Hot and Sexy Baseball Hero? Book Boyfriend Material…

When the players take the field this spring I have a sports romance to help heat up your night.

Do you like sexy, dirty talkin’, southern pitchers? Paxton Hughes may be your next book boyfriend.

 “Baby, I have a filthy mind, and you’re on it constantly.” He squeezed her against his side as they walked. “If you could see the things I see in my head when it comes to the two of us, you’d be blushing all the time.”

 Pax has got to be one of my naughtiest heroes. When I created him I wanted him to have that raw charm that would not only make a girl swoon but make her drop her panties too. He’s hot, charming, athletic and know how to treat his girl. Who would say no to all of that?

The cool thing about writing this kind of man is developing his transformation when he meets the right woman. Paxton changes for the heroine, Sophia, but in a good way. She never asks him to change but as their relationship grows he becomes more of a man a girl would be proud to call hers.

 Don’t worry… although his character evolves throughout the book he never loses that sexy edge that makes him yummy. He stays true to that bad boy persona so many of us have grown to love in our romance heroes.

 I hope you’ll consider adding Stealing His Heart to your TBR pile.

  

Will the bad-boy pitcher strike out when it comes to love?

Shy music teacher Sophia Ballis has sworn off men. After a bad experience with a college jock she decided it was better to be alone than to get burned again. She focused on her education and now her new job at a local private school.
Professional baseball pitcher Paxton Hughes is a player both on and off the field. He’s signed to the Kingston Crushers to bring home the coveted championship title. Nothing can get in his way. Serious relationships don’t mix with a life on the road and he never loses focus on the game. One-night stands are his specialty for a reason.

While out jogging one spring morning, the two collide, setting their course in motion. Pax is immediately drawn to the unassuming beauty. Sophia is aware of his reputation and decides one night of meaningless sex with the attractive Texas charmer is just what she needs to get over her self-imposed dry spell. Pax has more than a one-night stand on his mind, but will his bad-boy persona and demanding schedule ruin any chances of a happily ever after?

Content Warning: contains explicit sex and adult content

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“Can I walk you to your car?”

“Thank you.” Sophia got up from the table and took his hand. “I’m parked right out front.”

Pax led her across the dance floor, waving to the few people who were left, and then out to the parking lot.

“It’s that one.” She pointed to her beat-up car, the one she’d bought her freshman year of college. It was used then but it still managed to get her where she needed to go. “Probably not as nice as what you drive.”

He leaned her against the car and wrapped his arms around her waist. Her heart pounded hard against her chest, strumming loud between her ears. She could smell the beer that lingered on his breath. His hazel eyes narrowed as he swiped the tip of his tongue along his top lip before tilting his head.

“I have a feeling I’m going be seeing you in my dreams tonight.” He sighed as he brought his mouth to hers. “Give me something to remember these next few days.”

She nodded as she placed her hands on his broad shoulders and guided him to her, closing any space between them. When his warm lips touched hers, she thought she would explode. A burn coursed through her and settled between her legs. The mild tingling she’d experienced when they danced was nothing compared to the intensity she felt now.

As he deepened the kiss, his tongue massaged hers. Increasing his hold on her hips, he pinned her between the car and his massive thighs. She tightened her grip on him when his erection grazed her center. Every nerve ending in her begged to be satiated. The ache inside her stomach moved lower until the dampness invaded her panties. Her nipples poked against the thin material of her silk bra.

When she moaned into his mouth, he placed one last kiss on her lips before pulling away. He looked at her for a moment, pressing his forehead to hers, as he stuttered a few words.

“That was…well, I’ve never…” He ran his fingers through his hair. “You have me tongue-tied, sugar. That doesn’t happen often.”

Now she wanted to know what else he could do with that tongue.

“You best get in that car and drive away before I…”

She’d never wanted to have a one-night stand more than she did at that very moment. Maggie had said if there was ever a guy to have one with, Pax would be the one. He was a no-strings-attached player. Why hadn’t he asked her to go home with him?

“Be safe driving home.” He reached for the handle and opened her door. “You have some sweet dreams. I know I sure will.”

Sleep? That was the last thing on her mind.

Ella Jade has been writing for as long as she can remember. As a child, she often had a notebook and pen with her, and now as an adult, the laptop is never far. The plots and dialogue have always played out in her head, but she never knew what to do with them. That all changed when she discovered the eBook industry. She started penning novels at a rapid pace and now she can’t be stopped.

Ella resides in New Jersey with her husband and two young boys. When she’s not chasing after her kids, she’s busy writing, attending PTO meetings, kickboxing, and scrapbooking. She hopes you’ll get lost in her words.

You can connect with her at:

Blog: http://ellajadeauthor.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ella-Jade-Author/186959391390708?ref=hl

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ellajade1

Ella is giving away a Bath and Body Works Hand Sanitizer, A Keychain with the cover art and signed swag to three winners throughout the tour. Enter here…

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Blog Tour, Erotic, Guest Blog Post, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog Tour + Review: Breaking Kate by D. Kelly

 

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Review

At long last, D. Kelly’s debut novel, Breaking Kate, is live! I had the chance to read an ARC of it and really enjoyed it.

It features one of my favorite plot devices–a love triangle featuring Kate, Michael and Daniel–and asks whether fate plays a hand in love, especially when a lost love reappears and wants to prove himself again.

With plenty of twists and turns, we follow Kate’s journey as she tries to decide who and what she wants. Will she get her happily ever after? You’ll have to read Breaking Kate to find out. :) A quick, fun read when you’re in the mood for a good love story to get lost in.
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Synopsis

Michael Matthews has been in love with Katherine Moore since the second grade. In Michael’s mind there is absolutely nothing that will ever be able to keep the two of them apart. The night Michael is set to propose to Katherine the evening is interrupted by an unexpected tragedy that tears the two of them apart for good.

Three years have passed since that fateful night when Katherine, now known as Kate meets Daniel. After an awkward start sparks fly between them. Daniel and Kate fall hard and fast into the most passionate and intense love affair of their lives. In three years a lot can change, Michael knows he made the biggest mistake of his life when he left Katherine and he will do anything to get her back. Asking his best friend Daniel for help is his first step in righting the wrongs he made so many years ago. Unfortunately, neither of them realizes that Michael’s long-lost love Katherine is Daniel’s true love Kate.

While attending the engagement party of a mutual friend, all of their paths collide. How is Kate supposed to choose between the two men that mean the most to her in the world? Kate has to push past her heartache and put some serious thought into what comes next. One wrong choice and not only could she lose them both but Daniel and Michael may never recover their friendship.

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Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19198761-breaking-kate

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Take a Sneak Peek at Breaking Kate – Excerpt

 We only talked a few days ago about the possibility of me putting myself out there again and he’s presumptuous enough to think he can fix me up on my first date in ages? Of course he is; he’s Connor fucking Houston. As pissed off as I am, I have to admit a bit of morbid curiosity as to who it might be.

Over the past year, I have heard all about his best friends Daniel, Jake, Mike, and April. I have yet to meet any of them in person, although I sort of feel like I already know them from Connor’s stories. Connor Houston is HOT! Scott Eastwood hot. Melt in your mouth hot. ‘Yes, you can fuck me right here, right now, in this room full of people just because you looked at me with come fuck me eyes and I don’t even know your name’ kind of hot. I can only begin to imagine what his friends look like.

 

Author Bio

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I’m a wife, a mom and a dog lover. I’m also a taxi, problem fixer, extreme multi-tasker and my kids biggest fan in anything that they do. I love to write, so when my career suddenly turned into a job that I hated I turned back to my love of writing. I married my high school sweetheart… how cool is that? Margaritas and sarcasm make me happy. Chocolate makes that happiness grow exponentially. People who make me laugh are my favorite kind of people. I believe Karma is a bitch who slaps back hard and that mean people suck. I’m California born and raised, I love the beach but hate the sand. Breaking Kate is my first novel and is part of The Acceptance Series.

Connect with D. Kelly 

Website: http://www.dkellyauthor.com/

Mailing List: http://www.dkellyauthor.com/mailing-list/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dkellyauthor

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7492436.D_Kelly

 Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/468564623250213/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dkellyauthor

And check out the giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTQ5MjJiODJlODc3ZWYzZDVjY2JhMmJhOTMyZjM0OjE2/

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Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Wallbanger_Cover-e1352210304296I’m always on the lookout for books that speak to me. Now, of course, I realise books are inanimate objects that won’t literally speak to me, but you know what I mean. You read the blurb, it sparks something inside you and you just know you must read that book. Well, that is exactly what happened with Alice Clayton‘s novel, Wallbanger.

I first heard about it on Facebook. I was on a book blog page (I think it was Novel Grounds) and some people were raving about it. Now, I usually avoid books people rave about because they don’t always live up to the hype. I glanced at the cover on Amazon every now and then, read the blurb, thought it sounded interesting but still didn’t buy it.

Finally two friends in the US read it and loved it and, since our taste in books is similar, I finally caved in and bought it. It took another few months before I finally read it, which I did last weekend while en route to London for the London Author Fair.

Was I disappointed? Absolutely not! Wallbanger is a fun read and the repartee between Simon and Caroline is quick, sexy and just a little silly (in a good way). And I rather liked Clive the cat. His antics made me laugh and snort a few times on my flight from Stockholm to London. :)

I think the only thing that didn’t work for me in Wallbanger were the text messages from her friends–since the entire novel was from Caroline’s POV, it felt a bit strange that there would suddenly be text messages between other characters and Caroline wasn’t a part of these conversations.

Still, that didn’t deter me from reading. I thought Wallbanger was nice, fluffy fun and, even though I’d figured out a few things halfway through the book, it didn’t lessen my enjoyment.

So now I’ve decided to read a few more Alice Clayton novels. That should take me through the weekend, especially since I have a cold now and feel like I need something to cheer me up. :)

Posted in Chick Lit, Chick Lit & Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Stacy-Deanne’s Captivated Book Blast

Book Blast: Captivated (Book 2 in the Bruised Series)

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Genre: Interracial Romantic Suspense

Release Date: March 1, 2014

Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press

Synopsis:

When she first lays eyes on Mya Riley’s slashed up body, Baltimore Detective Lisa Swanson is certain that the Sandman, a ruthless serial killer from her past has reemerged. Lisa dives headfirst into the case with her partner Dee, and lovesick Winston Lewis, a detective who grows more captivated with Lisa by the day.

The Sandman wreaks bloodthirsty havoc throughout the city, and this time he is determined to make Lisa his victim.

Armed with intense hatred for the Sandman and a stifling fear of who might end up dead next, Lisa struggles to solve the case by the book. But when the Sandman switches up his plan and goes after her lover Jake…Lisa ignores all the rules.

Excerpt from Captivated:

“There’s a song stuck in my head.” He hummed it. “I was listening to it earlier but can’t think of the name.” He swayed Lisa while he hummed. “It’s been a while since we danced.” He twirled them around in circles.

Lisa laughed. “Whoa! You’re putting all the moves on me.”

“You always like it when I do this.” He lifted the front of his wheelchair off the floor and came back down. “You like that, huh?”

“Whoa!” She laughed. “You’re right. It’s been a while since we went dancing.” She put her hand in his as he swerved them across the kitchen. “So we can go dancing then.” She lifted her head from his shoulder. “We could both use a break, don’t you think?” She played with a button on his shirt. “We can go to the Rush.”

He rolled his eyes. “How come we always go to the wheelchair nightclubs?”

“I thought it was your favorite place. I just want you to be comfortable.”

“I want us to go dancing for real.” He laid his arm on the armrest. “I used to love dancing.” He got teary-eyed. “I miss that the most.”

She kissed his hand.

“I wanna take you dancing like a real man would.”

“You are a real man.” She got off him. “And we can dance the regular way right here.”

He got a paper towel off the table and dabbed his eyes. “What are you talking about?”

She went across to the living room and turned on the stereo in the entertainment system.

“Okay, let’s find something good.” She stopped on her favorite station that played old-school slow jams. The sultry beginning of Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat” began. “Uh-huh.” Lisa bobbed her head. “That’s what I’m talking about.” She shimmied back into the kitchen.

“I love this song.” Jake tossed the paper towel on the table.

Lisa stood in front of him and held out her hands. “May I have this dance?”

“What?” he whispered.

She bent down. “You said you wanted to dance the real way. Let’s dance the real way.”

“You know my legs are too weak.”

She took his hands. “Then lean on me.”

He took a deep breath and slowly rose from the chair. “Oh.”

“It’s okay.” She put her arms around him. “I got you.”

He stood straight and put his weight on Lisa. “I’m six three and two hundred pounds.” He leaned on her. “I’m gonna crush you.”

“I’m stronger than you think.” She laid her head on his chest. “Just take it slow and relax.”

He stumbled a bit then picked up his feet in perfect rhythm.

“Wow.” Lisa held him tighter. “You’re a smooth dancer, Jake.”

His lips brushed her cheek. “This feels amazing.” He swayed. “Just like the old days.”

“See?” She moved her hand up his back. “Now you’re leading.” She lifted her head. “How does it feel?”

“I…” His voice cracked. “I haven’t danced since two thousand eight.”

“Well, you’re dancing now.” She kissed him. “And you’re doing it beautifully.”

Dream Cast:

 Nia Long as Lisa

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Ryan Philippe as JakeRyan_Phillippe

 Christian Bale as Winston

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Publisher Link: http://www.sugarnspicepress.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=1&zenid=c3eb9402ba170decf717c8b78407b845

(Will be on retailers shortly after release)

Captivated @ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19465039-captivated

Disturbed (Book 3) Coming April 12, 2014!

Stacy-Deanne Bio:

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is a published novelist of interracial romantic suspense and mystery novels. She started writing professionally in 1997 when she was nineteen years old. Stacy grew up loving the suspense genre. Her idols are Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock. Her love for Psycho and many of his movies fueled her fire for suspense.

She was born, raised, and resides in Houston, Texas.

http://www.stacy-deanne.net

Mailing List: http://www.stacy-deanne.net/newsletter.htm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stacy.deanne.5

Twitter: @stacydeanne

Posted in Blog Tour, Multicultural Romance, New Adult Fiction, Romantic Suspence | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Guest Post: Claire Duffy & Life Is Swede Day on 21 February

A few months ago, a colleague told me about a blog I had to read–and I was hooked from Day One. That blog belonged to Claire Duffy, who is our guest blogger today at Kim Talks Books.

For six months last year, I blogged as a fictional character.  The idea – inspired by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds – was to create a fictional world that initially appeared authentic, so that people could step right in, interact with the characters, and almost become part of the story themselves.  I’ve always been fascinated with that concept: who wouldn’t want to enter a novel they’re reading, ask questions or give a character a few home truths?

When I moved to Stockholm and the story of a lonely ex pat who gets drawn into a murder mystery began to form in my brain, I knew I’d found my War of the Worlds.  It felt organic: of course Regan would blog daily about her impressions and experiences struggling to settle into her new life.  Within weeks, she had built a fantastic, loyal following, who advised and supported her through culture clashes and the language barrier, a rough patch with Anders and her struggles dealing with his apparently cold and reserved friends.

Regan’s early accounts of being an ex pat in Stockholm are extremely autobiographical: one of my friends only clicked that it was fiction when she realized how much of what happened to Regan had happened to me. I love living in Stockholm, and love Swedish people – but my first year or so was definitely a struggle against loneliness, homesickness and frustration.

I remember at times feeling that I couldn’t read people any more – often I would meet someone and diagnose that they had no interest in being friends with me, then later discover that they were just being Swedishly reserved upon first meeting. For me it was just a case of getting to know and understand a new culture, but, but it was a ripe emotional state to toss a little murder into!  When one of Anders’ close friends is murdered and he is arrested, Regan sets out to clear his name – but unable to trust her perception of the people involved, unable to understand what she hears, it’s easier said than done!

Now that the final blog has been posted, the whole project has been put together into an ebook.

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Friday 21 February is Life is Swede day!!

The idea is to gather up all the fantastic support the blog has had over the last few months – and welcome some new friends into the fold – and see if we can get this little project that could onto the Amazon best seller list for a day*!

(*and also for the rest of all time. But you know, one step at a time ;) )

To pull this off, we need to spread the word as much as possible to everybody in the whole world (ideally) to buy Life is Swede on Friday 21 February. Join Regan’s Army and blog, share, re-post, tweet, like, submit, pin with abandon! There’s even a Facebook group you can join and add your friends to if you really want to go wild!

Anyone who:

* tweets, shares, mentions the project on any social media will get a thank you & link of their choice on www.lifeisswedeblog.com

* hosts my guest post about the project & plan (I’ll email it on request!) or adds friends to the event Facebook group will get a thank you & blog button displayed on www.lifeisswedeblog.com, plus I’ll tweet & share to the Facebook group a link of your choice.

* blogs about the project (the story, the concept, the plan!) or reviews the book on Amazon will get the button on www.lifeisswedeblog.com, plus a thank you and link on the last page of the book itself, and will go into the draw to be name-checked as one of Regan’s blog friends in the text of the book.

These are just the thank yous I could think up myself (and though my fuzzy, cold addled brain!) – if you have any thoughts or co promotion ideas, I am all ears!! I’ll be monitoring any activity of course, but please do give me a heads up if you are getting involved so that I can be sure to thank you!!

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What I Read When I Read About Love

Our Valentine's Day at the Avenue Hotel. Photo: Avenue Hotel, Copenhegen

Photo: Avenue Hotel, Copenhegen

I know, I am a few days late–but I was in Copenhagen celebrating Valentine’s Day with my gorgeous hubby. I won a Valentine’s Day stay at Avenue Hotel, a design boutique hotel in Copenhagen’s Fredriksberg district. The stay included a cozy tower room at the hotel (breakfast included), champagne, pastries from Strangas Dessert Boutique and an amazing dinner at Höst. Needless to say, inspiration came to me while I was there and there will definitely be a a follow-up to Maybe Baby.

But while I was there, I starting thinking about which books would be on my Books About Love 2014 list–if I had one.

 

Sex in the Title CoverSex in the Title by Zack Love – a satirical rom-com set in New York City in the 1990s that revolves around the romantic adventures (and misadventures) of five guys who think they are going to conquer the world. Since it’s set in the 90s, the New York we find is pre-smart phone, the Twin Towers are still standing and there’s a wonderful air of nostalgia (perfect for someone like me who was a teenager in the 1980s and in college and grad school in the 1990s). Contrary to the title, the book is not all about sex. It’s more about the pie in the sky ambitions and goals we set for ourselves when we’re young and naive and what happens when we are finally faced with reality. Now, how can this be a rom-com then? Well, Zack Love interweaves the tales of five friends and their pursuit of love. Yes, there are foibles, nothing is perfect–even the people who almost seem too perfect are just as flawed as you want them to be. This is a book with so many laugh-out-loud moments as you are reminded of your own romantic foibles and dreams of youth. Bravo, Zack!

 

cover-jod-webcover-joy-webJust One Day/Just One Year by Gayle Forman – Wonderful books about Allyson and Willem, who meet by chance in the UK during an open-air performance of Shakespeare and what happens when Willem convinces Allyson to do something unexpected–go to Paris with him even if it’s just for one day. What happens during that day and, in the next book, as they try to reconnect, is amazing. If you liked Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, you’ll love these books.

 

Is Marriage coverIs Marriage for White People?: How the African American Marriae Decline Affects Everyone by Ralph Richard Banks – The title alone is enough to stop you in your tracks but there is more to this book than meets the eye. It is an interesting study of love and marriage within the African-American community and how antiquated ideas of the black woman’s place in society had led to a decline in marriage within the community and the implications it has on US society. Banks questions why it is considered acceptable for African-American men to marry outside of their race while the same is not always true for African-American women. He also examines the mixed messages sent to young men and women by the media, their families, the church, etc about their place in society. So why do I consider it a book about love? Because quite a bit of the book examines why African-American women may maintain friendships or be attracted to men of other races but will not, or are reluctant to, pursue relationships with these men. Since I write a lot about interracial relationships, I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that social pressure can prevent someone from seeking love.

 

The-FLAVOURS-OF-LOVE-HB-654x1024The Flavors of Love by Dorothy Koomson – Dorothy Koomson has always said that what she writes is heart fiction–not simply women’s fiction. Her books are always about love and the choices we make because of love. This book is more suspense than romance–the story revolves around Saffron Mackleroy, a widow whose husband was murdered eighteen months prior to the start of the novel. On the outside, Saffron looks like she’s coping well with her situation–she’s even decided to finish writing the cookbook her husband was working on. But then her fourteen-year-old daughter Phoebe gets in trouble at school and confesses to something that begins to tear apart the semblance of normalcy Saffron is trying to maintain. And then the person convicted of killing Saffron’s husband begins sending her letters and claiming to be innocent. It’s easy to get hooked by The Flavors of Love. I know I did! Another great one, Dorothy! Can’t wait for your next book. :)

That’s it for now! What books would you put on your Books About Love list?

Posted in New Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Reading, Reading List, Rom-Com, Women's Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover Reveal: Breaking Kate by D. Kelly

Breaking Kate_high

TitleBreaking Kate (Book 1 of The Acceptance Series)

Author: D. Kelly

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Expected Release Date: March 25, 2014

Cover DesignerMae I Design and Photography

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Synopsis

Michael Matthews has been in love with Katherine Moore since the second grade. In Michael’s mind there is absolutely nothing that will ever be able to keep the two of them apart. The night Michael is set to propose to Katherine the evening is interrupted by an unexpected tragedy that tears the two of them apart for good. 

Three years have passed since that fateful night when Katherine, now known as Kate meets Daniel. After an awkward start sparks fly between them. Daniel and Kate fall hard and fast into the most passionate and intense love affair of their lives. In three years a lot can change, Michael knows he made the biggest mistake of his life when he left Katherine and he will do anything to get her back. Asking his best friend Daniel for help is his first step in righting the wrongs he made so many years ago. Unfortunately, neither of them realizes that Michael’s long lost love Katherine is Daniel’s true love Kate.

While attending the engagement party of a mutual friend, all of their paths collide. How is Kate supposed to choose between the two men that mean the most to her in the world? Kate has to push past her heartache and put some serious thought into what comes next. One wrong choice and not only could she lose them both but Daniel and Michael may never recover their friendship.

 

 

Teaser

“There’s no doubt in my mind, Kate, that this is going to be a very long term relationship. You are mine in every sense of the word. I want to—no, rephrase that—I need to own you, body and soul, but even more than that, I want you to own me body and soul. You’re the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of before I fall asleep at night. I don’t care that this is fast, Kate, because fast or not this is fucking right; I feel it in my core. You are the other half of my soul and I don’t care who knows it or who judges it. In the end, all that matters is you and me.”

About the Author

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 I’m a wife, a mom and a dog lover. I’m also a taxi, problem fixer, extreme multi-tasker and my kids biggest fan in anything that they do. I love to write, so when my career suddenly turned into a job that I hated, I turned back to my love of writing. I married my high school sweetheart… how cool is that? Margaritas and sarcasm make me happy. Chocolate makes that happiness grow exponentially. People who make me laugh are my favorite kind of people. I believe Karma is a bitch who slaps back hard and that mean people suck. I’m California born and raised, I love the beach but hate the sand. Breaking Kate is my first novel and is part of The Acceptance Series.

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Giveaway

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Posted in Blog Tour, Contemporary Romance, Cover Reveals, Events, Giveaway, News, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Release: Phantom Lover by Tamaria Soana

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 06.31.21Phantom Lover by Tamaria Soana

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 06.31.38Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 06.29.15

Every night Olivia longs to fall asleep in hopes that once again she’ll be joined by her phantom lover.

Can true love transcend life and death?

Olivia Shaw-Clayton’s life revolves around her job ever since her husband was killed eight months ago in Iraq. She slaves away at her desk in hopes of numbing the pain of her loss and the guilt of longing to fall asleep once again to be joined by her phantom lover.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 06.29.04 Olivia was out waiting for her friends at Vipers after work, when in walked the most gorgeous man that she’d ever seen wearing an Army uniform. He was tall and built like a god. She watched as he took off his coat and placed it over his shoulder.  She licked her lips at the sight of him in a t-shirt.  His huge arms were covered in tattoos. She knew she was staring, but couldn’t tear her eyes off of him. Finally, she turned away and took a sip of her almost empty drink. When she looked up again, she found the most amazing hazel eyes gazing at her. She thought her heart was going to stop right there. He smiled and began to walk toward her.

“Hello, my name is Aaron Clayton and I was wondering if you’d do me the honor of having a drink with me?”  He extended his hand.

Olivia bit her lower lip and took his hand in hers. He smelled just as good as he looked. It was a mix of amber, musk, and spice.

“Hi,” she finally sputtered out as he brought the top of her hand toward his mouth. She cleared her throat. “My name is Olivia.”

“Nice to meet you, Olivia.” His smoldering eyes never left hers as he placed a gentle kiss on top of her hand.

Her heart fluttered and a warm jolt rushed through her body. A feeling she’d never had before. All her senses seemed at that moment to be on fire. All she could think, smell or breathe was this stranger that stood in front of her. She cleared her throat again, in hopes of snapping herself out of the trance she was in. “I’m meeting my friends, but I’m early, so a drink sounds great.”

He smiled. My friends are in the back playing pool, but they can wait.” He winked. “What are you drinking?”

“Gin and tonic, please.”

He leaned toward her. “I’ll be right back,” he whispered in her ear.

A shiver went down her spine and her stomach fluttered as she watched him walk toward the bar. By God his ass is fine! Her mind swirled with all the things she would like to do to that body. Get a grip. Olivia. You just met him and you already want to jump his bones. Olivia looked around the bar and noticed that most of the girls’ eyes were on Aaron. Jealousy spiked through her veins but at the same time she felt a little smug that he’d walked up to her. Now all she needed to do was figure out how to get to know him better. If she had her way she would be underneath him by the end of the night.

“Here you go,” he said as he handed her a drink. “So, Olivia, tell me about yourself?”

She quickly glanced around at all the other females glaring at her and a large smirk crossed her lips. Ladies, eat your heart out! He’s talking to me. She quickly focused her attention on the god in front her, smiling at her with the sexiest dimples she’d ever seen, and she melted.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 06.28.47 Trailer Link  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1WirWB9OhI

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 06.17.08Tamaria Soana is middle aged, but just feels her life has begun. She writes sexy contemporary romance stories that always end with a ‘happily ever after’. Growing up she loved to read and make up new places in her head to escape to. In her late teens she began writing short stories and poetry; it wasn’t until her late thirties before she began to spin a full story.

She’s married and a stay-at-home-mom of two beautiful young girls, they reside in Western New York. Cuddling up with a good book under an electric throw is her way to escape the cold Buffalo nights.

Besides writing, she co-owns Shades of Rose Marketing and hosts a talk show on Talkshoe called Live with Tamaria ~ Giving authors a voice.

Author Links: Site | Facebook Author Page | Twitter

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 06.28.23Crimson Frost Books  | Amazon

Posted in Blog Tour, Paranormal Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments