Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Daryn Cross
Today I’m reviewing my friend Daryn Cross' novella MILLICENT, now available from Smashwords and Amazon Kindle.

Daryn is a Southern Belle now isolated in the cotton fields of West Texas. What a culture shock! She is surviving by writing a gazillion words a day and turning out books like crazy. Hmm, there must be something to be said for being stranded in the middle of nowhere with only a chololate lab for companionship. LOL On with the review of MILLICENT.

Millicent Robinson began life as the daughter of an abusive father whose drunken anger horrified her. Imagine the terror of a child whose mercurial parent routinely beats everyone in the house without cause. As the story opens, we see her cowering in hiding, crooning to her doll while Mr. Robinson beats her brother. All the while, her father yells at her that she’s next and he is going to beat her with his belt. Millicent falls back on her weak-willed mother’s training to overcome frightening situations.

“Think summer and the lake is there, not cold but warm and inviting. We’re taking a boat ride, Mil. Don’t you see the birds in the air?”

Available Now!
This time, even Mil’s imagination cannot disguise the situation. Her father’s abuse kills Millicent’s brother and begins beating her mother. Finally, her mother defends herself and kills the father. Life is better for Mil for a while, until her mother remarries and has additional children. Her new siblings are much favored by Mil’s stepfather and her mother is no stronger with this husband than the first.
 Eventually a marriage is arranged for Millicent with William Davis. Neither Mil nor William wants the marriage. He intends the union to be chaste because he is in love with Julia Cash, a woman below his station who he is not allowed to wed.

Millicent is a woman scorned when she learns the reason William does not want to be intimate with her. She plots her revenge and oh, she excels in her task.

William and Millicent have much to learn about themselves, one another, and the future. Don't miss this prelude to the CASH CHRONICLES series. This is a saga fantasy and steampunk sci-fi fans will not want to miss!

MILLICENT is available from Smashwords and Amazon Kindle.

As for the rest of the story, here is Daryn Cross’ description of her series:

First of the Chronicles
"The Cash Chronicles is a series of books that tell the story of subsequent generations of the Cash family, starting with William Davis and Millicent, his wife. William, though not a Cash, is Caleb Cash's father, and it is because of William and his diabolical wife, Millicent, that the Cashes are faced with centuries of trials and tribulations to steady the plight of man and establish peace throughout the planet.

Please note this is not a timeline, for time is not linear but a spiral. The Cash Chronicles transcend time.

There are gaps--on purpose. For some stories need to be told in longer works than novellas. I'll let readers tell me which parts deserve to be highlighted. These will be released as ebooks, but later packaged in print."

Watch the great video:

April 1-2
No April Fool's Day tricks here! Instead, a genuine treat awaits you. Please return Friday, April 1st, for the FOOL FOR BOOKS GIVEAWAY HOP when over 200 blogs will be offering prizes drawn from the names of those who comment on each host's blog. The FOOL FOR BOOKS GIVEAWAY HOP is sponsored by the blogs Book Snobs and I'm a Reader Not A Writer.

I’ll be giving away a copy of my new release, SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME, a western historical from The Wild Rose Press. SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is very special to me, and has received a 5 HEART review from Sizzling Hot Book Reviews.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Werewolf stories have attracted readers since there've been readers. Please help me welcome Amanda E. Alvarez, author of a an exciting new werewolf tale which promises to frighten and tantalize readers.

Caroline: Readers love to get to know authors. Please tell us about growing up. Siblings? Locale? Were you the shy kid or the tomboy? Married, single? Children? Share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.

Amanda E. Alvarez
 Amanda: I grew up all over Texas, we moved roughly every four years when I was a kid. As I result I now find I tend to have itchy feet. I was both a tomboy (always into sports) and very shy until I hit my later years of high school where I finally found my stride. I have one younger brother whose contribution to my writing endeavor was to offer to be the cover model. (He’d fit right in on romance novel covers but that would just be flat out weird!) I’ve got two cats, one massive, one shrimpy. I currently live in Dallas and spend far too much time working, writing or avoiding the gym to manage a relationship.

Caroline: So nice to host a fellow Texan. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Amanda: Tough question! I love the Harry Potter series and I really enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy. As a young adult I read a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz (there’s always a well thumbed copy of LIGHTNING around my house). I didn’t start reading romance novels until I was in law school. Iris Johansen’s THE UGLY DUCKLING was my first and I never looked back from there. Paranormal romance and romantic suspense continue to be my sub-genres of choice.

Caroline: How many books and what genres do you read a month? What are you reading now?

Amanda: I’m a binge reader so some months I won’t read anything. (This is especially true if I’m trying to get a lot of writing done.) Other months I’ll read several books a week. I generally stick to romance and its varying subgenres, mostly because I know that if I branch out, say into YA, I’ll get ideas…

Caroline: Oh, yes, those new ideas can distract us from our projects! When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Amanda: I go to the gym as often as I can fit it in and talk myself into it. In the fair weather months I play tennis and just recently I’ve started going to the driving range with a friend of mine. I’m also an avid movie attendee. I can’t wait for the summer blockbusters.

Caroline: Perhaps you could lend me some of your energy. I hate exercise. Describe yourself in three or four words.

Amanda: Procrastinating cupcake aficionado.

Caroline: Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

Amanda: I like having various finger foods. Twizzlers are good because they’re like a toy and food. And I’m a strong believer that M&M’s raise IQ and skittles are vitamins.

Caroline: I hear that Nora Roberts keeps M&M’s on her desk at all times, so they must be good for authors, right? At least, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. How long have you been writing?

Amanda: HUNTING HUMAN was my very first project, so since about 2008. I wrote for school and such but it wasn’t ever something I thought I’d pursue seriously. But I like a challenge and eventually I just wanted to see if I could. Then I discovered that I also enjoyed it.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet or music or solitude? PC or laptop?

Amanda: Laptop – it’s the only computer I own. I research on my iPad and I never work in silence. Working productively from home is a challenge (I’m getting better!) so I love to go to Starbucks or The Pearl Cup, a local coffee shop with the best mochas on the planet.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Amanda: Plotter, plotter, plotter, plotter… PLOTTER. I’m physically incapable of writing if I don’t know where I’m going. This is often a problem.

Caroline: I’m a plotter also. Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Amanda: It really just depends on the project. I usually do research as a method of getting my feet wet, learning the terrain and working out my direction. This includes everything from character sketches to general information to surfing name generators.

Caroline: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

Amanda: I wish I wrote daily, but that simply isn’t realistic for me. I try to write every Saturday and once I hit a groove on a project I’ll write every single day until I get the first draft down. Finding this groove however, now that’s a challenge.

Caroline: Isn’t that groove wonderful once you hit it? Do you write full time or do you have a day job. If you have a day job, what is it?

Amanda: I’m a lawyer by day so I only get to write in my spare time.

Caroline: I would imagine you have very little spare time. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Amanda: That sense of escape that novels have always provided me. I think the best compliment in the world would be for a reader to e-mail me because they fed their kids cereal and slept through their alarm because the simply couldn’t put the book down.

Caroline: Yes, those are words that thrill an author’s heart. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Amanda: Keep writing! And set realistic goals; don’t hold yourself to other people’s stories or standards. You have to make your own.

Caroline: So true. Tell us about your latest release.

Available Now From Carina Press

Amanda: Here’s a blurb for HUNTING HUMAN:

For two years, Beth Williams has run from the past, and the beast that dwells inside her. She is haunted by memories of being kidnapped and the savage attack that killed her best friend. Now Beth finally thinks she's ready to move on...with Braden Edwards, a charming, irresistibly sexy man who tempts Beth to embrace the present.

But the past lurks closer than Beth realizes. Markko Bolvek, one of the werewolves who kidnapped her, has tracked her to Portland, Oregon, his pursuit fueled by a hunger for vengeance. Only Braden, a werewolf himself, senses the danger shadowing her steps. The Edwards and Bolveks have been enemies for centuries and despite the instant connection he feels with Beth, Braden isn't sure which side of the war she's on.

With suspicion at odds with their attraction, Beth and Braden must learn to trust one another to stop Markko for good. Can Beth accept the wolf within and love a man who embodies everything she fears?

Caroline: Oooh, sounds enticing and the cover is beautiful.

Amanda: Here’s the Excerpt: (PG)

Liz shivered. Nights in Estonia, even in the height of summer, were cool. As silence settled around them, cold began to creep in, spreading across the cobblestones and seeping through her clothes. Liz looped her arm through Rachel’s and urged her to walk a little faster. “Come on Rach, a couple of blocks and you can be horizontal in no time flat.”

“I’m dreading the morning.” The giggle attached to the statement said Rachel had no idea what she was in for. With any luck, she’d sleep straight through the worst of it.

They rounded the last turn and started the uphill walk, their destination finally in sight. The street, with lots of little shops and cafés, was empty but well lit. A white delivery van sat parked in an alley, nestled between a bakery and a tourist shop. In just a few hours, the street would start to come alive with residents and tourists walking up and down the cobblestone ways. There wasn’t a chance in hell she’d be awake to experience it.

Rachel let out a long yawn followed by a groan. “I’m exhausted. Are we there yet?”

Liz shot her an amused grin over a shoulder. “Watch it, missy. Or you could share his fate.” She inclined her head toward the kid slumped on the stoop of a small shop. He was propped up sideways against the brick wall and the store’s blue door. His head hung at an undoubtedly uncomfortable angle, curly brown hair obscuring most of his face, an open bottle of beer next to him.

This was their routine. Rachel partied, Liz studied. Rachel drank, Liz drove. Rachel got them into trouble; Liz got them out of it. It had been that way since they were kids, and as annoying as it was, Liz wouldn’t change it. It was who they were; it just worked.

Up ahead on the other side of the street, someone leaned against the wall, the red embers of a cigarette the only thing distinguishable in the shadows. The small flame arched through the air. A man emerged into the lamplight, crushing out his dying cigarette as he went. Liz’s pulse stuttered into overtime as she recognized him as the man from the bar. She pulled Rachel closer and focused on the hostel up ahead in the distance.

Walking parallel across the street, the man called out, “I figured you for the hostel.”

His words shot through darkness, thick and heavily accented, clearly Eastern European. Increasing her pace, Liz narrowly avoided a collision with a man who stepped out of a shadowed doorway and into her path. He was shorter than the man across the street, but broader in the shoulders. The sleeves of his dingy white shirt were pushed partway up his forearms, revealing angry vines of tattoos that disappeared under his shirt and reappeared at his neck, twisting around his throat like a noose.

“Lizzy?” Fear now, more than alcohol, tinged Rachel’s voice.

“It’s alright,” Liz murmured. “Excuse us.” She focused past the man and stepped off the curb with Rachel clinging to her side. In her peripheral vision, she tracked the other man moving parallel along the street. They were only two hundred yards away from the hostel. It felt like miles.

Liz stumbled as Rachel jerked away from her, letting out a terrified squeal. Refusing to relinquish Rachel’s hand, Liz spun. A third, younger man had grabbed at Rachel’s shoulder. Fear slid down her back. The kid from the café doorstep stood grinning, rocking back and forth on his heels, looking neither drunk nor harmless. Rachel backed up, pressing herself as close to Liz as she could. They took a few steps back in tandem.

Staccato barks sounded next to them, sending Rachel spinning wildly in panic. Liz forced her fingers into an iron grip on her friend’s sweater and yanked, keeping Rachel from bolting from her side. Tears of fear and frustration welled in Rachel’s eyes.

“Shh. Listen to me. Stay with me,” Liz murmured, trying to keep Rachel out of panic’s grasp. The man across the street stepped off the sidewalk, ego lengthening his stride.

“Poor little Americans. Alek, I think you’ve frightened them,” he taunted.

Alek’s face stretched into a wide, pleased grin, his mass of tattoos contracting over the muscles of his neck.

Liz glanced over her shoulder; the kid was still behind them, though he had fallen back a few yards. She and Rachel might be able to rush past him, but to where? Beads of sweat began sliding down the back of her neck, slipping along her spine and eliciting a chill unrelated to the temperature.

An ignition fired, the hum of an engine filled the air; hope sparked in her chest.


The van parked by the bakery edged onto the street, creeping toward them. Hope twisted and died when the van’s headlights remained dark. They’d have to run.

Decision made, Liz spun back toward Alek, who’d gone from barking to panting, his tongue lolling obscenely in Rachel’s direction in a sick imitation of an animal. There was a small gap between him and the man in the middle of the street. Liz knew she and Rachel could never get past both men. Squaring her shoulders, she threw her foot into Alek’s crotch with enough force to have him choking on his balls. His animal-like pants turned to howls of pain and rage as he doubled over from the blow.

Shoving past him with every ounce of her strength, Liz propelled Rachel forward, placing herself between her friend and the remaining two men.

“Run!” Liz commanded.

Rachel didn’t need to be told twice. She hurtled up the cobblestone street, Liz following close at her heels.

One hundred yards.

White-hot pain erupted in the back of her head–someone had caught hold of her hair and wrenched. The force pulled her off her feet and she hit the street, breath snatched from her lungs and tears of pain burning her eyes. Relief mingled with terror. Rachel hadn’t realized what had happened.

Almost there, almost safe.

Seventy-five yards.

She grasped at the wrist that viciously gripped her hair, pulling her back up to her feet. She didn’t need to see his face to know that the body pressed against hers belonged to the man she had encountered in the bar. “Call her back,” he demanded.

“No,” Liz ground out, proud her voice didn’t waver.

Fifty yards.

“Stop!” The shout startled Rachel enough to glance behind her and slow. “Come back, or I’ll have to hurt your friend.” He shifted his grip, freeing up his right hand. The heavy swish-clink of a butterfly knife opening reached her seconds before the blade bit into her throat. To Liz’s horror, Rachel stopped.

“No!” The tip of the knife nicked her, a bead of blood trickling down to join the sweat running down her neck. Rachel stared at her, eyes wide, mouth open in terror. “Rachel, please, just go.” The pleading tone —so typical of Rachel and so alien to Liz, kept Rachel from moving forward. But she didn’t move back either.

“She won’t go. She won’t leave you.” Amusement laced his voice.

Alek moved forward, taking a few cautious steps toward Rachel. In seconds Rachel would have no chance of escape at all. Liz opened her mouth to yell at her again, but the blade slid up to press tightly to the underside of her chin.

“None of that.” His lips pressed close to her ear, his warm breath sending unwelcome shivers down her spine. “Come here, Rachel,” he ordered.

When Rachel remained frozen, his knife widened the nick in Liz’s neck to a shallow cut. “I will slit your friend’s pretty throat.”

His promise skittered down Liz’s spine.

“It would be such a waste.” Panic clawed through her as his tongue stroked the shell of her ear.

“Lizzy…” Rachel’s torment resounded through Liz’s chest. In that instant, she knew Rachel would never leave her. Liz wanted to be mad. She wanted to scream. But she couldn’t have left Rachel either.

Time snapped forward. Alek grabbed Rachel roughly by the elbow and propelled her forward. The van pulled up right next to them, the sliding door screaming open on a rusty track. Liz didn’t get the chance to brace herself for the impact as she was shoved to the floor of the vehicle, cheek pressed against the cold metal, her hands yanked behind her back and secured with plastic ties. The last thing she saw was Rachel’s tearstained face as she was forced down next to her. Then the sliding door slammed closed, plunging them into absolute darkness, leaving only Rachel’s terrified sobs to focus on, echoing in her head and slicing through her heart.

Caroline: Wow, that captured my interest and gave me goose bumps! Where can readers find your books?

Amanda: Carina Press
Barnes and Noble

Caroline: What’s your next project?

Amanda: Right now I’m working on a new romantic suspense novel with strong paranormal elements.

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Amanda: You can find me here:

Twitter: @amandaealvarez
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaealvarez1
Web: http://www.amandaealvarez.com/

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

Amanda: Nah, I’ll just get boring. Thanks for having me today, Caroline. It’s been a lot of fun!

Caroline: I doubt you are ever boring. Thanks for sharing HUNTING HUMAN with us.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Thomas Jefferson on his
way to visit a cobbler
The other day I ran into Thomas Jefferson. It’s true. I’d been adjusting the setting on my camera while crossing the dirt road in Old Williamsburg, Virginia when we came face to face. He offered a faint smile, tipped his tri-cornered hat and said, “Good day, Madame.”

“Oh, yes,” I stumbled for the words. “Good day, sir. ‘Tis a lovely day.”

“Truly, it is. My apologies, my eyes were fixed on my worn shoes,” He smiled and looked across the street, “I’m off to the cobbler.”

I looked down at his pointed shoes with his stocking covered legs and did my best to conceal a laugh. Truthfully, our founding father looked very dapper, but I was picturing my husband in the 18th century apparel/attire.
 “Madame, I believe something sounds of music in your handbag.”

“Oh,” I said and pulled out my cell phone. I’d lost my husband somewhere between Ye Olde Coffee house and the Governor’s mansion. I excused myself and took the call. Mr. Jefferson nodded politely and walked on.

Ruth and new friends
at Williamsburg VA

I told my husband he interrupted my conversation with Thomas Jefferson. He said to meet him by the shackles. Oh, no!

Not to fear, we found each other and took a shuttle bus over to William and Mary University. We walked the grounds in awe of the school’s historical value and scholarly reputation.

My “Step back in time,” proved to be more than what the entrance of Colonial Williamsburg boasts. For me it was an experience of the 18th century coming alive and reeling me in.

Available from Whiskey Creek Press
Though I write historical/romance, my writings take place a century later. Perhaps the most visible contrast to the times, Levi’s. And, of course, a country that was growing well beyond the thirteen colonies. However, it is these thirteen colonies and our founding fathers with their great insight and integrity that brought our country to where it is now.

I thought about my brief conversation with Thomas Jefferson later that night. There is so much I would’ve like to have said to him. Of course, I would’ve been careful, not wanting him to think I was a witch. Though he had it in his mind to get his worn shoes repaired, I might have deterred him with a cup of tea. Certainly, a lady did not go to the pub for ale. How improper.

Thomas Jefferson
Over tea, I would share with him my concerns for the natives of this “God laid land.” And for the people placed in slavery simply by the color of their skin and the rigorous journey that had taken them from their African tribes forever. Without changing too much of our future, I’d hope to eliminate prejudices, persecution and strive for equal rights to be attained for all. As a woman, the latter would prove to be most difficult.

Of course, I realized the following day another tourist would most likely “run” into Thomas Jefferson. And, he would once again be polite with light conversation taking one in with his eloquence. He’d have no time to discuss politics with such worn shoes. “This is not the time,” he might say, prioritizing the writings he labored over to thoroughly discuss his resolutions for the growing nation. Resolutions that were ahead of his time.

I am grateful for the leaders of this era and their determination. No doubt, the cobbler had a great deal of shoes to repair in a time when things were not taken in light stride.

Who would you want to “bump” into from the past? What would you ask or discuss with this person?

Ruth Zavitsanos

Ruth G. Zavitsanos has been writing since the age of 12. She has three books published, FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE is a historical romance and her two children’s chapter books, THE VILLA DOG (nominated for the EPIC award, the recent conference took place in Williamsburg, VA) and THE OLD FORTRESS DOG. Please visit her website at http://www.ruthzonline.com/.

Ruth's children's books are available from Wild Child Publishing at http://tinyurl.com/4omn2T4.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Author Kelly Moran

Please welcome award-winning author, Kelly Moran to the blog. Kelly is an author of several published books, recipient of an Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement, inducted into the Who’s Who Book of Americans, placed as a Finalist in the 2008 Best Books Award, a Finalist in the 2009 Indie Excellence Book Awards, a respected reviewer for Bookpleasures, a former staff writer for Poetic Monthly Magazine, and a Romance Writers of America member. Whew! As if that’s not enough to keep her swamped, she also interviews authors on her blog and offers Manuscript Critique Consultations. Though most of her family is in the Carolinas, she resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, twin sons, and black lab. Welcome, Kelly.

Kelly: Thanks for having me, Caroline!

Caroline: How did you get into writing as a career? Do you write full time or still have a day job? If so, at what?

Kelly's children's book about
friendship and forgiveness
Kelly: I began writing when I was very young with poetry and short stories. I quickly learned that my calling was romance, though. After having kids, I began writing children's books too. I learned everything I could about the craft by reading blogs, books, and joining groups like RWA. I work part time in the healthcare field when not writing, reviewing, judging writing contests, interviewing authors on my blog, or chasing kids.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Kelly: Romance is such a hard market, though a high selling one, because you have to strive to stand out and be unique. I like my stories to not only be about the joys, but the heartache too. I incorporate illness, loss, etc. because those things are life. I hope readers can take away a good cry, and a good laugh, after reading.

Caroline: Ours is a very hard market, but I think all markets are difficult in today’s molten publishing environment. In what genres do you write? If more than one, why?

A Romance
Kelly: Why would be because my brain never shuts off. I wrote a literature novella, IDLE THURSDAY (2009), two poetry and short story collections, AN INSOMNIAC'S DREAM (2005) and BEYOND THE CLOUDS (2010), two romances, WHEN THE LEAVES STOP FALLING (2007) and SUMMER'S ROAD (2011), and a children's book, THE TINY CATERPILLAR AND THE GREAT BIG TREE (2009). From here on in I'm sticking to romance and children's books, both genres of which I actively have a work-in-progress going on.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors?

Kelly: There's just too many to mention, but topping my list are: Carla Neggers, Nicholas Sparks, Caridad Pineiro, Denise Hunter, Lisa Dale, Gina Showalter, Annie Solomon, and Susan Crandall.

Caroline: Describe yourself in three words.

Kelly: Stubborn. Organized. Tired.

Caroline: The tired I can imagine! Mothers of small children are always tired--but twins? Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Kelly: Plotter, mostly. Ideas will come, or characters, and from there all the plotting on how to make that work comes. There's twenty stories in my head right now. Kinda crowded up there.

Caroline: Do you have a writing schedule?

Kelly: That depends on the kids or work schedule. I usually try to fit writing in the morning or afternoon, some on weekends. I have to write in near silence.

Caroline: Are you attending any conferences this year or scheduled as a speaker? Blog tours or other promotions?

Kelly: I'm pregnant and due in July, so I am unable to travel for conferences this year. I'm am doing a blog tour in March for my new release though. See my blog or Web site for details, http://www.authorkellymoran.com/, http://authorkellymoran.blogspot.com/

Caroline: Our youngest was born in July. Very hot weather for a pregnant lady. Any guilty pleasures or vices you’d care to share?

Kelly: You mean like coffee, chocolate, hot baths and sleep? That would be it really, LOL.

Caroline: When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?

Kelly: What is this 'relax' thing you speak of? I am not familiar with the term. Seriously, I read before bed, or take a hot bath. That's about it.

Caroline: I imagine you have very little time to relax. Amazing you find time to write. What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

Kelly: Too much to mention in great detail, but for starters, join a writer's group--enter contests, attend workshops, and get a critique partner. Read and study your genre. Do NOT query editors or agents without properly learning how. Steer clear from clichés. Most importantly, do not give up. This market changes constantly. Dreams die when hope does.

Caroline: Very sound advice, Kelly. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

Kelly: If interested, I offer manuscript critique consultations for new writers. I also have helped other writers do their book trailers. Check out my site for details. My trailers can be found on my site, or on YouTube at, http://www.youtube.com/user/AuthorKellyMoran?feature=mhum

Caroline: Please tell us about your latest release.

Available March 25th
from The Wild Rose Press

Kelly: SUMMER'S ROAD-- Contemporary romance coming March 25th, 2011. Blurb:

After her father’s death, Summer Quinn realizes just how alone she feels in the world. With no family to fill her life now, she finds comfort among friends, but yearns for true love, contentment, and family. When her boyfriend, Matt, suggests they raise their relationship to a higher level, Summer jumps at the chance to get everything she’s always wanted. Only, she doesn’t expect the heat arising between her and her best friend, Ian – a man who never seems to settle down. A man the complete opposite of what she’s looking for. But when her estranged mother reappears after twenty-eight years, Summer’s world completely flips upside down. As secrets from her family’s past and Ian’s true feelings for her emerge, Summer’s now faced with choices she’s not sure she can make. The rest of her life’s happiness hinges on her confronting a past she’d rather deny and legitimately opening her heart to love, even if it’s not where she expected to find it.

Caroline: Your book's cover is beautiful. Makes me want to step in and enjoy the peaceful scene. Can you share an excerpt with readers?

Kelly: Here’s a PG excerpt:

Summer stepped onto the pier and gazed out over the ocean. Nighttime here was different than back home. There weren’t any city lights to disguise the stars. The ocean looked black, as dark as the sky above, so that across the horizon, she couldn’t tell where the sky ended and the water began. It was kind of like looking into heaven, like looking into the earth’s soul.

The drum of footsteps behind her broke her from her reverie. Turning, she saw Ian coming toward her. Shirtless, he hadn’t even bothered with the button on his jeans, he strode closer in bare feet with a bottle of wine in one hand and glasses in the other.

All she could think was how damn delicious he looked in the moonlight. Heat pooled in her belly and spread throughout her body like a wildfire. Ian Memmer. Not good.

“You shouldn’t be out here by yourself,” he said, pouring a glass of white wine and handing it to her, the look in his eyes saying it looks like you need this.

She took the glass from him and sipped before answering. “That’s the point, to be by myself.”

He raked a gaze over her. “And if you fell in?”

Maybe it was the moonlight. Maybe it was the call of the ocean. Whatever it was, something made her want to test the boundaries between them again. Matt or not. Friendship or not. Consequences be damned. “Then you’d save me. You always do.”

Caroline: Wow, great excerpt! Where can readers find your books?

Kelly: All of my books can be found at the usual retail sites like Amazon, B&N, etc. Here is the link to my Amazon Author Page, http://www.amazon.com/KellyMoran/e/B002BOHE8Y/ref=sr_tc_ep?qid=1299343054

Caroline: Kelly, your life sounds complicated and hectic, but readers like me are glad you find time to write. How can readers learn more about you?

Kelly: If interested, you can find trailers, reviews, my books, and more on my Web site at http://www.authorkellymoran.com/,
or my Blog at http://www.authorkellymoran.blogspot.com/. I'm also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorkellymoran,
Myspace at www.myspace.com/authorkellymoran,
Goodreads at www.goodreads.com/authorkellymoran, and
Twitter at www.twitter.com/authorkmoran.

Caroline: Is there anything else you'd like to tell readers?

Kelly:  It is with great sadness that I announce my previous blog is gone. I woke up Sunday a.m. to find the blog, my 500 plus followers, my 100 plus author interviews, and my 200 plus reviews gone. Blogger gave no explanation. I have reloaded the interviews and reviews, plus redesigned the blog. But if you could, please hit the "follow" button so I can reclaim the fellow bloggers I miss. Please also pass the link around and spread word for me.

Caroline: Kelly, that's tragic for any author. I scooted over and "followed" you again. I'm sure many others are doing the same thing. Best wishes for continued success!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Before I introduce you to a guest with an extremely interesting  story, let me remind you that we are in the midst of our Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop. For more info on the blogs participating and the prizes, check out the 273 blogs participating in the Lucky Leprechaun Hop giveaway at http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-hop.html
Now, to our fascinating guest, Rachel Brimble:

Rachel Brimble and Max
 I live with my fantastic husband, our two young daughters and my beloved black Labrador, Max in a small market town near the famous Georgian City of Bath. Having always ‘played’ with writing, I didn’t seriously sit down and write toward publication until I became pregnant with my second daughter – then I told myself to get my butt in the chair and get on with it before she grows up and I’m forced to get a real job!

Rachel Brimble and family 
on a 2008 Zante vacation
Lots of short stories followed as did lots of rejections! I took a few distance learning courses, joined some online writers groups and basically, learned my craft. Finally deciding short stories weren’t working for me (they are an art form in themselves!), in 2006 I decided to embark on my first novel and voila SEARCHING FOR SOPHIE was born! Since then, my other books have followed each year. I love writing and although I work part time for at my husband’s financial adviser’s firm, I write at every opportunity…and I mean EVERY opportunity!!

And when I’m not writing? You’ll find me with my head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with my family. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused.


In an interview recently, the interviewer ask me to tell her something interesting about me that few people know…so I told her I was rescued by helicopter from the center of the flash floods that hit and nearly destroyed the beautiful hamlet of Frejus, in Southern France last June.

When Caroline read this, she asked me to tell her the whole story on my visit today – and I am happy to oblige!

It all started with a phone call at 2 am from my friend who was holidaying with us in a caravan park in the hamlet. We’d had a gorgeous four days there already with the temperatures in the high eighties, the kids swimming in the three pools, drinks on the decking, outside eating…glorious.

But then on day five, it rained like we had never seen before – and bearing in mind with live in England, we are used to rain! It didn’t stop from the minute we woke until we went to bed at midnight. Two hours later, my friend rang telling me to grab as much as my husband and I could carry, wake the kids and get out of the caravan – my friend had already been evacuated because their caravan was situated closer to the river, which had burst its banks. We leapt out of bed, woke the kids, filled a backpack each with a change of clothes, some bits and pieces and then left.

The sight that greeted us outside was unbelievable. While we had been asleep for two hours, the entire caravan park had been covered in a half a foot of filthy dirty, muddy and rapidly running river water. We got in the car but within minutes the road to the center of the park was gridlocked and cars were abandoned. When my husband opened the car door, the interior immediately flooded and that was when we realized how quickly the water was rising.

Not what you hope to see on
your vacation!

We grabbed our two daughters and together we waded through the water into the park’s restaurant where we were reunited with our friends. We all embraced as though we hadn’t seen each other for weeks. That’s when I knew all of us were silently thinking the same – how are we going to get out of here?

From the time of my friend waking us to 5 am, the rain didn’t stop and when the sun rose we saw the extent of the devastation. By this time, all 500 of the park’s residents had been moved to the roof of the clubhouse, which is where we stayed until we were rescued at 2 pm.

Not the way to spend time at the club house

This is a picture of us on the roof taken by the circling news cameras – family, my friends and me are standing by the red and white umbrella!

The ordeal of waiting and watching as the police and army helicopters rescued five people at a time in a relay was as traumatic as it was surreal. The four children with us were amazing, so well behaved and calm – the after affects came out the next day when my eleven year old slept in our bed with my husband and I for the first time in eight years…

Happy sight

Being involved in a natural disaster like this changes you. I have a huge respect for life, for the power of water, for the men and women who put their own lives on the line to save others and most of all, the courage and unity of people thrown together in crisis – God bless the 25 people who lost their lives that day.

For the entire twelve hours we were on that roof (in one hundred degree heat), there was no arguing, fighting or scuffling. Thankfully, the park staff managed to rip off the roof of a storeroom and a line was formed to pass out water, Coke, lemonade and tinned fruit. It was humbling to see…

Five people at a time rescued

And here I am to tell the tale! The next question is when I finally write about this in a novel, who will the heroine in the helicopter be??

Rachel’s latest novel is GETTING IT RIGHT THIS TIME – available from Lyrical Press.


She's back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.

Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.

A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.

Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work. But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter? Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?

Buy Link


In addition to her recent release (and isn't that a gorgeous cover?), Rachel has other books available at The Wild Rose Press at

Thanks, Rachel, for sharing a harrowing experience. Thanks also for sharing a bit about your new novel, GETTING IT RIGHT THIS TIME. Don't we all wish we could do that?

Keep reading!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day and Happy Irish American Heritage Month!

Don’t forget to participate in the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop. My giveaway is open to international readers. Comment on my blog today through the 20th to be entered for a free PDF download of one of my books--winners choice.
Please remember to leave your email with your comment. If you sign as a follower, you will be entered twice. If you subscribe to my newsletter on the sidebar form, that's also another entry, but please mention this in your comment. The list of Lucky Leprechain Giveaway Hop's 272 participants (each with a giveaway) is found at: http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-hop.html

This is the month to celebrate all things Irish, but especially this week. Even if your name is Stanislavsky, Cho, or Martinez, everyone’s Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day! 

Are you superstitious? Ever knock on wood? Ever say "Bless you" when someone sneezes? Most of us are more superstitious than we care to admit. To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, here are some Irish superstitions among photos my Hero husband and I took while we were in Ireland, a place we love to visit, and it's even lovelier than the photos.

Irish fields in vivid green, separated by hedgerows and
unmortared rock fences.

Many of the ancient pagan religions considered objects in nature such as animals, rocks, and especially trees to be of much importance. Trees were believed to have magical abilities, specifically in the area of healing. Even human characteristics were attributed to trees; it was thought that they had memories and the ability to communicate with people under the right circumstances. So important were trees that there were a system of fines to be imposed on any who cut one down unnecessarily.

Killarney Park Estate with 52 chimneys and
365 windows, home open to public for tours
Even some of the rituals and superstitions that still exist today can trace their roots to Ireland of old. The practice of saying "touch wood" or "knock on wood" (often while performing said action) for good luck is a remnant of the pagan beliefs regarding trees. I asked you if you'd ever said or done this, remember? That will certainly bring new meaning to the expression the next time you hear it or say it yourself, won't it?

Blue building is the B&B in Sneem where Maureen O'Hara
stayed during the filming of the movie "The Quiet Man."
Hero and I had lunch there but then our tour moved on.

When yawning, make the sign of the cross instantly over your mouth, or the evil spirit will make a rush down and take up his abode with you. [Same reason for saying "Bless you" when a person sneezes.]

If the palm of your left hand itches you will be getting money; if the right, you'll be paying out money.

If your elbow itches, you will be changing beds.
Two Irishmen
shaking hands

It is unlucky to offer your right hand in salutation, for there is an old saying, "A curse with the left hand to those we hate, but the right hand to those we honor."

Riding in a jaunty cart at Killarney park
in County Kerry, Ireland
Breaking a mirror brought seven years of bad luck, while two people washing hands in the same basin at the same time courted disaster.

Never disturb the swallows, wherever they may build, and neither remove nor destroy their nests; for they are wise birds, and will mark your conduct either for punishment or favor. [Note: In reality, they are raptors that will eat the insects that annoy animals and people.]

If a man is ploughing a field, no one should cross the path of the horses.
Irish Traveler playing for coins at roadside rest stop.
For more on Irish Traverlers, see Caroline Clemmons' book,

By accident, if you find the back tooth of a horse, carry it about with you as long as you live, and you will never want money; but it must be found by chance.

To breakfast by candlelight on Christmas morning is lucky.
Two people washing hands in the same basin at the same time are courting disaster.If a chair falls when a person stands up, it is an unlucky omen.

My favorite:  Every day has one hour in which a wish may be granted and in which a person has the power to see spirits.

Please return on the 18th when British author Rachel Brimble will tell us about her harrowing escape from floods in Frejus, France last summer that rearranged her holiday. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by. Keep reading our books!

Monday, March 14, 2011


First, be sure to return on the 17th for the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop sponsored by the blogs "Books Complete Me" and "I Am A Reader, Not A Writer." Check out the participants and prizes at http://tinyurl.com/6c7zo63.

Available Now! I Got
My Copy At Amazon
FREE For Kindle!
I must admit up front that what first attracted me to INVISIBLE was that it was free on Kindle, and that it was the first of a new cozy series. I love romances and mysteries, so I snapped up the book before whoever priced it could change his or her mind.

INVISIBLE, by Lorena McCourtney, is filled with humor. I loved the premise that as we grow older, we become invisible. Have you ever felt that way?

If you remember THE PRINCESS DIARIES, you know the distinction of being invisible is not limited to older people, but to anyone who doesn’t “measure up” on the yardstick of the shallow and superficial. Yes, that definitely includes me (the puny, nerdy, bookworm with too many extra pounds, and the athletic ability of a large rock), so I was quite taken with INVISIBLE's premise and with Ivy Malone, the book's protagonist. 

Ivy considers herself a LOL, which for her stands not for “laughing out loud,” but for “little old lady.” Because Ivy believes people no longer pay attention to her--and she has several experiences to reinforce that opinion--she decides invisibility could become an asset to investigate tombstone destruction at the local cemetery.

Her decision to hide behind a marker shaped like a VW bug costs her a lot of sleep because she spends several nights there in a row, armed only with a thermos, flashlight, and occasional snacks. All she reaps is a bad fall and being spotted by the men she hoped to ID. She did get a look at one man's face, and would not forget him or the unusually squeaky voice of the other man. The vandals didn’t identify her, but she later gives herself away. You have to read the book to learn how and the result, no spoilers included here!

For reasons I can't divulge--also without ruining part of the plot, Ivy takes over dealing with her neighbor's basement tenant, a very nice and attractive young woman with an air of mystery about her. When the woman disappears without packing, Ivy fears the worst. She enlists the help of a nice young detective.

Yikes! This is where Ms. McCourtney almost lost me! She spends so much time evangelizing with/to/about the detective, that she completely detracts from the mystery's pace and storyline. In fact, INVISIBLE is actually two stories: one is a very good  cozy mystery, the other is a strong evangelical witness--perhaps suitable for a devotional--but which has absolutely nothing to do with the mystery. It's as if they were written separately and then shoved together.

In my opinion, Ms McCourtney should have separated the two. As Logan Pearsoll Smith said, I love a writer not so much for what he says, as for what he whispers.”

Although not a large percentage of my reading, Christian fiction is one of my eclectic genre interests. Christian author Marta Perry is my favorite in that genre, but her message is woven gently into her books rather than her beating the reader over the head. That's also true of Suzanne Woods.

I strongly feel Ms McCourtney’s testimony would have been much more effective if it were subtle enough to make it palatable to all readers. Surely influencing people who are without faith would be more important to a Christian author than preaching to the choir. As written, it turns off those it might otherwise impact as well as some of the intended Christian audience (me). However, that’s only my opinion, and certainly Ms McCourtney’s success and awards imply others disagree.

Lorena McCourtney pulls all the mystery’s threads together nicely at the end with a tiny dangling lead for another book. Sure enough, this is the first of a series, so Ivy Malone is already busily involved in other adventures. If you like Christian fiction, INVISIBLE will interest you. If you like cozy mysteries, this may interest you. It is a clever premise and a cute mystery with an attractive cover. Although I've never met her, from her website and interviews, Ms McCourtney sounds like a nice person. I always enjoy reading a book more if I think the author is nice, don't you?

I give the cozy mystery a Five but will refrain from rating the evangelistic portion I so disliked. As of this writing, the book is FREE for Kindle at Amazon, so what do you have to lose? You can't beat the price.

About the author of INVISIBLE, Lorena McCourtney, condensed from her website at www.lorenamccourtney.com/:

Author Lorena McCourtney
My husband and I live in southern Oregon. For many years we lived on rural acreage, lots of space and country peace and quiet. But a few months ago we decided it was time to make the move to town.

I started writing in the fifth grade. All my stories were about horses. This love of horses carried me through a degree in agriculture from Washington State University. My first job out of college, however, was with a big meat-packing company in the Midwest, where I quickly discovered that writing about hogs and sausage making was not my life’s calling.

Marriage and motherhood intervened, and by the time I got back to writing, I knew fiction was what I wanted to write. I started out doing short stories for children and teenagers. Finally, After 24 published romance novels, it was time to become a Christian author and write exclusively Christian fiction. The first 6 of these books were with the Palisades line of Christian romance, but with my 7th book of Christian fiction, WHIRLPOOL, I turned to a stronger emphasis on mystery.

Available Now!

Thanks for reading my blog. Keep reading books--especially mine!

My latest release, in e-book only, is available from The Wild Rose Press, at http://tinyurl.com/2cho67v and other online stores. This book recently received a 5 Heart review from Sizzling Hot Book Reviews!

My backlist is available on Smashwords and Kindle, and my current releases are available from The Wild Rose Press as well as Amazon and other online stores. Many thanks to those who have already purchased them!