Blood of the Volcano by Imogen Howson/Her Highland Laird by Debbie Mumford

Today’s Two for Tuesday is a full length novel, and a short, quick story. First, let’s review the Short Story.

Her Highland Laird by Debbie Mumford HER HIGHLAND LAIRD by Debbie Mumford is a kindle edition and about 52 pages long. A short story for sure. A slightly different take on the age-old time-travel romance story, it has its good moments and its bad moments.

One of the good moments is that the heroine, Cat Logan wanders into a store where the shop keeper has a beautiful antique box, a silver casket. No one has been able to open it, but Cat is able to do so. Inside, she finds…
For me, the bad moments were that because the story is so short, it feels very rushed, without a lot of characterization of the hero, (Eideard ), a 15th Century Scotsman or the Heroine, Cat Logan from the present time.

The story is told mainly from the female’s point of view, with a few turns for the male point of view. I would have preferred to have seen the man’s POV a bit more, and for the story to be longer, allowing it to be fleshed out considerably more.

This book was good, but it just wasn’t fantastic for me. It was merely okay. average, I believe is what I’m trying to say. I see that Ms. Mumford has written a fair number of books, and if I’m seeing correctly, this may have been one of her first. If I were to do a star rating, I’d rate it a *** .

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this kindle book to read and give an honest review.

Next up is a full length novel by Imogen Howson.

Blood of the Volcano by Imogen Howson

Blood of the Volcano involves shapeshifters, but it’s not your run of the mill werewolf. No, Maya is a maenads. Not juBlood of the Volcano.st any maenads, but the leader of the Temple Maenads. These women are sworn virgins, touched by the blood of the volcano god. She lives for the ritual.

Philos is a shifter and an empath who is marked for killing. You see, his gifts are illegal. Not considered to be given by the gods. He’s been hiding his empathic gift near all his life.

Maya goes on the hunt for this fugitive, but the hunter has become the hunted. Philos traps her, in her human form, and she feels worthless, craving only to be maenads again. It’s truly what she lives for.

Over time, Maya begins to realize that Philos is not the criminal she was led to believe he was. Through a series of events, that include a number of other ‘gifted’ people, Philos and Maya must decide what is important. The dream of what they each have wanted, or the love they are beginning to share.

Blood of the Volcano was a nice read. I read it over several weeks, while going to the Dr. (So, it didn’t get read in one sitting as I like to do…but it worked.) For the most part, I liked this book by Imogene Howsen. It was my first time reading her, and I am sure I’ll be looking to find more books by Ms. Howsen.

If you like shifters, and you want to read something just a bit different, you should try Blood of the Volcano. You’ll enjoy it. I give Blood of the Volcano a **** rating.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book and have reviewed it on my time and because I wanted to be able to let Ms. Howsen know I enjoyed her book. No other compensation has been made.

Dara Young: Friday Friends

Here’s our second edition of Friday Friends. This week, I did an interview (kinda did it some time ago, reworked and reposted from an old blog) with author Dara Young. What follows is said interview. Enjoy.

Today, we have a special treat. Author Dara Young braved the wild jungle known as the Internet to be with us today. So, of course, I had to ask her some questions. You know me, I don’t ask the typical questions, you see. No, I had to ask the ones to make her think.

  • What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

Putting words on the page (most days). Editing is the bane of my life. I suck at it and hate doing it. The cleaner I can write the first time the happier I am later.

  • What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

I think the toughest has been just the generic form letter rejections. If someone gives specific criticism I can at least consider it, weigh its value, and then use it or discard it as I see fit. But with those generic form letters you get nothing. Nada. Zilch. Just a thanks for your submission but it’s not right for us at this time. I mean, what am I supposed to do with that?

  • You are having a dinner party. You are able to invite one literary character, one president, one musician, one sports figure and one movie villain. Who do you invite?

Literary Character: Rhett Butler, because I have always loved Gone With The Wind and really, the man is just sexy.

President: George Washington because I want to know what the fore-fathers were thinking when they revolted and established the US.

Musician: Celine Dion, she just has such an amazing voice.

Sports Figure: Nadia Comaneci, I just remember her as being the epitome of gymnastics and yet she was a little thing.

Movie Villain: The Joker from The Dark Knight, he was just so freaking crazy, and scary, and yet totally funny.

  • What is your favorite heroine’s favorite color?

Uh…that I’ve written

? I wrote a character called The Golden Lady, she favored black because it helped hide her in the shadows when she was pirating. 😉

  • What is your favorite hero’s favorite color?

Again, that I’ve written…no clue. I don’t think I’ve given my men a favorite color before. LOL!
Here’s a quickie question:

  • Crayons, markers or paint?

Markers! I love writing on things with markers.

  • And Word Association. Aren’t I fun?!

Writer: bald

Cheese: stinky

Bestseller: me 

Supermarket: food

So, to be really nice, I’ll let you ask me a question, Dara. (Don’t be too hard on me, I bruise easily. *Wicked Evil Grin*)

What’s your favorite book of all time, regardless of genre?

I’d have to say that right now it’s Crista McHugh’s “A Soul for Trouble” as it was just so interesting. A real page turner for me. Very well written and for a fantasy paranormal, very believable.

The Cancun Dancer and the Duke
Available now: Wild Rose Press

The Cancan Dancer and The Duke
The Wild Rose Press

Can a lady on the lam and a duke on the make find love at the Moulin Rouge?

Cathedrals and museums are not Lady Charise Colton’s idea of European adventure. Turn-of-the-century Paris beckons, and she wants to grab it while she can…or rather, cancan. Flirting with fate and half of Paris, Charise eludes her chaperones and joins the cancan revue at the Moulin Rouge.

Ethan Greer, Duke of Lofton, is in Paris to settle some estate business. Chafing under his responsibilities, he discovers an enchanting distraction at the Moulin Rouge, a flirtatious dancer who stirs his lust and something more. He must have her—even if it means offering carte blanche.

Terrified of discovery, Charise tries to hold her persistent suitor at bay, though her heart has already surrendered. Will she lose him if he learns the truth, or is love enough to bind the cancan dancer and the duke?

Excerpt:

The singular sound was a soft whisper at first. The audience strained forward to catch even a note of the eerie melody carried on the fetid air of the cafe. As the song picked up, her voice grew stronger, the words more clear. Ethan relaxed into his seat and let the warm rich alto caress him. His body grew warm with the promises carried by the witch’s husky tones.

He remained unaware of anything in the room except the siren walking toward him. Each steady, unhurried step she took further drew him in. His gaze feasted on the curve of her hip, the swell of her breast. Ethan rode the knife’s edge between lust and propriety.

The song described, in lurid detail, two lovers in the throes of passion. Upon reaching him, the dancer propped the toe of her boot onto the edge of his seat—square between his thighs. The luscious creature presented impossibly sheer bloomers which hid everything and yet nothing, causing him to let out the breath he, until now, unknowingly held. His cock grew rigid, the uncomfortable throbbing causing him to shift. The desire to haul her into his arms and demonstrate every action she described with the most sensuous mouth he’d ever seen rode him hard. Her full lower lip begged for his kiss. Ethan wanted to see it slick and glowing pink from his attentions.

The wanton dancer continued to taunt him, but his good breeding won out. Forcing himself to stay seated, his fists balled and his jaw grew rigid with frustration, but his raging lusts remained leashed. The song ended, sending her into the nether regions of the cafe in a swirl of skirts.

Add it to my shelf at: GoodReads

Website

Facebook

GoodReads

Klout

Lady Jane’s Salon San Diego

LinkedIn

Pintrest

Twitloss

Twitter

Thanks for being with us, Dara, and for being such a good sport and answering questions that are a little out there. *smile*

8 Ways to Market Yourself on Facebook: Workshop Wednesday

Workshop Wednesday

Last week, we discussed  5 Ways to Promote Yourself on Facebook. This week, we’ll take it a step farther and discuss how to Market Yourself on Facebook.

You’ve set up your page, got your timeline cover up, found just the right picture for your profile pic (Avatar), so now what?

1.  Update Your Page Regularly. Trust me, I’m the first to say this isn’t always easy. This is where your automation with Hootsuite and having Twitter/Facebook and WordPress/Facebook connected come in.  When you post on Twitter, or blog on WordPress, you can have both media giants post directly to your Facebook Page. This helps to keep your content new and fresh. Many who don’t do Twitter or WordPress will often go to a Facebook page to read. Appeal to this group by using every available resource to help yourself.

2. Exclusive Fan Content. I know, do as I say, not as I do, but I am working on this one. I’ve just redone my whole Facebook Page, and one thing I am working on is exclusive content for fans. In my case, I want to offer Facebook Timeline Cover with matching Profile Pics. Maybe wallpapers. Because I am both an artist and author, and Heaven’s Garden Production promotes both, this makes sense.  You may wish to offer a free read to entice readers, a spreadsheet that is ready to go for them to keep their personal library organized, and so on. You’re only limited by your imagination.

3. Promote Your Speaking Engagements/Workshops/Book Signings. Not everyone does this, but for those who do, this is a great place to promote it. Most especially if the engagements relate to the book you have written, or to writing in general. I will be promoting the Monday Mania, Two for Tuesday, Workshop Wednesday, Friday Friends on my page. It can help with keeping the page updated on a regular basis, and bringing new readers and potential followers to my blog. Every little bit helps.

4. Say Thank You. That’s right, you can use your Facebook page to say thank you to your new fans who have liked your page by having a “LIKE” contest. For instance, when Heaven’s Garden hits 100 likes I will be giving away 1 copy of What Reviewers Want: Get Inside One Reviewer’s Mind. At 250 likes, I’ll offer two eBooks, and so on. This is a way of showing gratitude to those who have liked your page, and also, it promotes your book.

5.  Badge it. Facebook allows you to create a “badge” that can be put on your blog or website. This is something I recommend., and as I write this, I’m trying to remember if I’ve done it. If not, it’ll be up by the time this is posted.

6. Advertise Yourself. This is optional. I have not done this as of yet, but know of several authors who have, and have had success with it. Others, not so much.  Basically, you can create an ad that will show on Facebook for a set amount of time for a set amount of money. Learn how to Advertise on Facebook.

7. Cover it. You can use your timeline cover to promote your books, workshops, etc…just follow Facebook’s rules regarding what is allowed and what is not. I’m working on a cover for my husband, Rob Graham, that will include the books he has out. and when the covers are finished, it will include “Coming Soon” books. This is a great way to get interest in your books.

8. Profile it. Use your book cover as a profile picture. Have your cover artist create a 180×180 avatar you can use, so that it doesn’t look scrunched up or misshapen. Another free way to promote yourself and your book on Facebook. You’ll need to upload it to your Facebook Page Photo Album.

There you have it, 8 ways to market  yourself on Facebook. Now, go out, Page it, and have fun.
Please feel free to leave a comment, make suggestions for other ways to use Facebook to promote your book(s). I’m sure I’ve left something out.

The Wolf’s Destiny by R. F. Long/Coveted by Shawntelle Madison: Two for Tuesday

Welcome to the second edition of Two for Tuesday, where you get Two reviews each Tuesday.  This week brings us Werewolves in Shawntelle Madison’s, Coveted and sorcery, intrigue and deceit in R. F. Long’s, The Wolf’s Destiny.

First, we have R. F. Long’s,  The Wolf’s Destiny

The Wolf's Destiny by R. F. LongThe Wolf’s Destiny by R. F. Long is a mostly interesting read. I confess to at times being a bit confused by what was going on. This may be due to the fact that The Wolf’s Destiny is of Book 3 of A Tale of the Holtlands series.
The Wolf’s Destiny begins where The Wolf’s Mate, Book 2 of the series leaves off. Again, Jeren and Shan are the central characters, with others who also stand out in this tale of fantasy, sorcery.
Gillead is the crazed, insane Lord of River Holt, and Jeran’s brother. Jeran, in The Wolf’s Sister, met Shan and through many situations falls in love with Shan.  Book 3, The Wolf’s Destiny, completes the trilogy and show us that Shan and Jeran have married, but can it last?
Without revealing too much, we have a crazed, suicidal old man who uses magic,  two people in love with each other, but afraid to tell the other, a madman intent on having a son, sorcery and so much more. Shan makes a decision that could cost him not only Jeran, but his own soul…and life.
You’ll need to read Wolf’s Destiny to learn more.  If I were doing ratings, this would be a **** . Well done, Ms. Long
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.)

Second up is Shawntelle Madison’s, Coveted

Natalya Stravinsky is a werewolf…with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In her human form, she works forCoveted by Shawntelle Madison a goblin selling  antiques to other mystical creatures. Thorn, Natalya’s ex-lover, returns to town to lead the pack against the newest threat, a pack from Long Island, New York, which is  intent on capturing Nat, and taking over South Tom’s River,NJ.

This was a rather fun read. I identified so much with Nat, as I struggle with OCD myself. My downfall is Musical Carousal’s.

I have to say that I’m not Thorn’s fan at all. I found him to be quite unlikeable. It felt like he was constantly toying with Nat and her emotions. He has been promised to another werewolf by his father, the leader of the South Tom’s pack, yet he keeps doing things that lead Nat to believe there could be a chance.

Enter the good looking magician, Nick. He’s got some problems of his own, and he understands some of what Natalya is going through, but can he get past her love for Thorn, who left several years ago and has only now returned, to get married…to someone else? Personally, I hope he can.

I recommend Coveted to anyone who likes knowing that the supernatural creatures have their own quirks like we ‘normals’ do. On a rating scale, this would be a ****1/2 for sure. I so want to read the second installment, Kept now.

Thank you, Shwantelle for the opportunity to read and review Coveted.

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy  of the print version as a gift from a contest. It was my own decision to review and was not asked for, nor expected.)

There you have it, this week’s, Two for Tuesday has brought us new authors and new books, at least for me. Have you read either of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? Comment below and tell us your opinion.

Agent in Training by Jerri Drennen: A review (Monday Mania w/Rob Graham)

Agent in Training by Jerri DrennenI have a small confession to make. Although I write romances, both erotic and paranormal, I don’t read them often. They generally don’t appeal to me as I find them formulaic.

However, I suffered a bad bout of insomnia a few days ago. At three in the morning I opened up my iPad and started up my Kindle app. Running my eyes over the books available I selected Agent in Training by Jerri Drennen.

I ended up finishing it in one sitting.

Firstly, I was charmed by the set up. The heroine is taking over a national security agency and the hero, a new agent there, is not happy about it. This leads to friction between them.

At the same time they are very attracted to one another. An attraction that adds to the friction. It was rather fun watching the two of them spark off each other, try to deny how they felt, succumb ‘for just one night’ and then move away only to start over again.

Added to that is it quickly becomes apparent that some one wants the heroine dead.

For some extra pathos, which I quite liked, the heroine’s father is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s which creates still more stress for our reluctant lovers, and leads to some questions about what the real lineage of the heroine is and how she got her job.

But what ultimately won me over is that the book broke one of the unwritten rules of romance. One I’ve railed against in the past.

Bluntly, I’ve rarely read a romance where the hero wasn’t above the heroine on the social scale. Nurse falls for doctor. Lieutenant fall for her Captain, and so on and so forth. That meme bugs me a lot considering how far women have come.

The heroine in this book is ten years older than the hero, and the head of the agency they both work for. It was this delicious breaking of the rules that made this book quite enjoyable. The heroine certainly wanted the hero, but she didn’t need him.

Even at the end, when she was confronting the person out to get her, she saved herself. The hero was on his way, oh yes. But she had dealt with the problem on her own.

That, more than anything else, made Agent in Training a very good read for me.

Since people like stars in their reviews I’ll give it 4.25 out of five.

Much enjoyed and highly recommended.