Category Archives: My Shelf Monday
Hello lovely readers! I hope September is treating everyone well. It’s certainly been fantastic for Julia Kelly. Monday her new series from Pocket Star debuted on retailers everywhere! You all know Julia from First Draught and because she’s one of my favorite people. Get to know more about Julia in this short interview I did with her the other day. I ask her about her book, whether she’d prefer Thor or Loki, and her Facebook group: Really Old Frocks. If you love corsets, bustles, and fashion, you have to check it out on Facebook or Instagram! Then scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter (I have promised Julia whatever she wants from me, so be sure to enter!)
The Governess Was Wicked
Elizabeth Porter is quite happy with her position as the governess for two sneaky-yet- sweet girls when she notices that they have a penchant for falling ill and needing the doctor. As the visits from the dashing and handsome Doctor Edward Fellows become more frequent, Elizabeth quickly sees through the lovesick girls’ ruse. Yet even Elizabeth can’t help but notice Edward’s bewitching bedside manner even as she tries to convince herself that someone of her station would not make a suitable wife for a doctor. But one little kiss won’t hurt…
Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of sexy historical and contemporary romances about smart women and the men who love them. She picked up her first romance novel and the bad habit of reading well past her bedtime when she was thirteen. Years later, she decided to try writing books of her own and never looked back.
By day, Julia is an Emmy-nominated journalist in New York City where she chases breaking news and bosses reporters around. She never met a pair of stilettos she didn’t love and still stays up too late reading.
Want more Julia interview goodness? Check out this month’s episode of First Draught!
I like to think we all have a healthy fear of failure, but I know some of us have a bigger fear than others. Mine is kind of huge and it prevented me from doing a lot of different things with my life. Over the last month I’ve had to force myself to look that fear in the face and do what I’ve been dreading…read The Storm Inside.
I haven’t read it since I wrote it. It was my first book. It was three years ago. And I haven’t cracked that baby open and looked at it with two since I hit publish. Excellent sales, wonderful reviews, and heartfelt fan letters could not convince me that the words I put down in that book were anything but embarrassing (and no, I’m not talking about the smokin’ hot sex scenes.)
I was paralyzed, so I ignored it. I didn’t market the book the way I should have and as a result I’ve stunted my potential as a working writer. Over the holidays I had to take a long hard look at who I wanted to be. You can either be a successful writer who is proud of your entire body of work, blemishes and all, or you can hide in the shadows of “one day.”
So I’ve done it. I’ve re-read the entire book (sometimes peeking through my fingers because WHAT THE HELL DID I WRITE? Someone start a cold shower, those sex scenes…Jake’s story…their love??? Holy hell, what a book!)
I’ve given the whole series new covers and blurbs, and stepped outside of my own fears of failure because no one finds joy in hiding. Meanwhile I’ve been reading a half-dozen “first novels” from authors I consider my contemporaries and I learned a few things.
- It’s enjoyable to watch the transformation of a writer through their books. I don’t look down on those wonderful stories of love and triumph because of the typos or head hopping (it was only once.) I smiled because in the next book and the next book the writer grew stronger and my love of the author grew right along with it. I know I have readers who feel the same way. I love you guys.
- Most people don’t notice the stray typo so I really, really, really need to stop acting like HRH Queen Gatekeeper of Novels is going to cast me out into the barrens of Never Writing Again and Laughed At in Infiniti. No really, every book has typos, even the #1 NYT Bestsellers. Some people read books and get their panties in a bunch over every little nuance, but most people just want a fucking good story. Write a good story. Hire good people. Do better when you know better. Keep moving forward.
- I don’t take my own advice. I give pretty good advice, but I let my fear stop me from putting it in motion for myself. It’s been a good lesson to see several of these authors take my advice and succeed. It was a good smack in the face to realize if I’d done the same thing I wouldn’t have been cast out into the Barrens and might actually be pretty darn happy.
- I’m good at what I do (and I don’t need anyone to tell me that.) I used to admire those people who could throw themselves onto the fire without thinking. How did they write a book, put it out there, tell everyone it was the best thing since sliced bread… and have people believe it? Sure, some of those books were awesome, but most of them? Average. Totally and completely average. But the author had brash confidence and took the audience along with her. It’s taken a bolt of lightning and seeing my writing critiqued for me to realize that no one needs to give me permission to say my stories are good. No one but me is in charge of being proud of my work. My success is entirely up to me. I’m write damn good stories.
- “Fear is the Enemy” is not just a saying people throw around. Fear is the wall that stands between failure and success. Which side do you want to stand on? Do you want to live in the shadow of fear, or do you want to put that behind you and stand in the sun? (I live in Florida, I can tell you the sun is very enjoyable.)
Putting The Storm Inside out all over again has already transformed my life. It has sat in the iBooks Top 5 in UK for the last week and Reflected and Lightning have jumped up the paid charts…reminding me that the only one holding my books back is me. It was terrifying to re-read my book, but it’s turned into a lovely experience to re-edit the books. The new paperback proof is on the way to my mailbox right now. I’ll be sure to share the pictures with you all when it gets here!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I dreamt up a book about an archaeologist who solves mysteries and saves artifacts with the help of a ragtag group of brilliant bad asses, and her husband, the most bad ass of them all.
That dream was also followed by a series of children’s books about the archaeologist and her husband’s kids.
We’re not quite there yet, but the first book? IT’S OUT! It’s called D909: The Unspoken Game and it’s published under Alexis Sykes. Keep reading for the details, then go buy my book! (Please!)
D909 is a top secret task force organized to stop the flow of antiquities from terrorists to the black market. Looted artifacts are being used as currency to fund the most insidious criminals and until now, no one has been able to stop them.
Comprised of two independent but linked teams, D909 has a unique combination of brains and brawn that allows them to get in and out of active war zones quickly. Dr. Antonia Warren leads a select group of archaeologists with a vast knowledge of high-value antiquities. They’re supported by a tactical operations unit led by Cole Donovan, a former paramilitary officer with extensive covert operations experience working in areas where the US government can’t legally go. Together they give D909 a lethal effectiveness necessary to stop the flow of cash into the wrong hands.
A long-forgotten ancient city has been found deep in the Amazon Rainforest— directly in the path of a new and unrelenting faction of terrorists that has quietly grown in strength while the world was focused on problems across the globe. Lies, deception, and secrets from within the team will test their abilities as they race against the clock to save history from bankrolling a new war.
One of my favorite things about this story was the characters. The D909 team is full of uniquely drawn individuals, each with their own personality quirks, which leads to unconventional friendships and amazing teamwork in the face of danger. Think of it as GOONIES, all grown-up. —Mary Chris Escobar, Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner
Hey gang! Guess what? My Shelf Monday (#MyShelfMonday) is back for the next few weeks! I’ve missed this segment of my blog and I’m so happy to have a bunch of great books to share with all of you! First up is Personal Geography by Tamsen Parker!
The first book in a three book series, Personal Geography is romantic, suspenseful, and pretty much everything I look for in a romance. I relate to the heroine, I want the hero to be real, and I desperately want their happily ever after.
Tamsen did a great job of leaving me wondering where things were going, all while weaving a very interesting tale. These characters are dynamic and different from your normal heroine/hero combos. Things I enjoyed about this book and series:
- Beta dominant hero! Yes, you read that correctly! Our hero, Cris, is a dominant, but he’s also a beta (which in the land of Alexis Anne is equivalent to finding gold.) For more on the breakdown of Alpha/Beta/Gamma characters check out Dear Author, Olivia Kelly, or my personal favorite by Suzanne Brockman.
- Dueling personalities = finding your person = finding yourself along the way. I have serious soft spots for people with dueling personalities. In this case we have Cris, the dominant beta, but we also have India, the strong independent woman who lets it all go in the playroom to be a submissive. She has to have both as she navigates her life or nothing makes sense. It’s in the course of navigating these personalities that Cris comes into her life, helping her see herself in a new way, and putting together puzzle pieces of her life that she has been unable to piece together before now. He doesn’t do it for her, but he is integral in helping her over the wall she’s put up in her life. This is my crack.
- Interesting characters. Nuff said.
- Sexy times that are well researched and demonstrate a careful and respectful attitude toward sex, power dynamics, and BDSM. Really, I can’t say enough about how well researched this book is. Yes, there as stuff that made me hide the book under the bed. Yes, these are flawed characters who make bad decisions from time to time, but Tamsen carefully walks us through the steps of psychology and action.
- Enough fantasy to let go and enjoy, mixed with enough reality to make me feel connected to the characters ands story.
- Cris’s house in Hawaii. WANT!
Now for the fun! I have this paperback copy Personal Geography up for grabs! To enter to win, simply comment with your favorite season (Fall, Winter, Summer or Spring) on this blog post, the Facebook post, Twitter, or Instagram. One random winner will be selected from the entrants on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015.
It’s a crazy week! An awesomely crazy week! And lucky for you guys, it’s all before the holiday (which means I’m about to drop some reading suggestions on you, so get your one-click fingers ready!)
First up: The Lady Taken by Vivienne Thorne
Lady Viv is one of my best friends and this is her first venture into the world of erotic serial writing, so I’m doubly stoked to share this one with you! Her tag line is: Dirty, Sexy, Victorian. That pretty much sums things up! If you’re looking for a quick, fun, dirty read over your holiday, do not hesitate to grab The Lady Taken for $0.99 at your retailer of choice!
We got a cover reveal and preorder link for Anne’s new book! How hot is it?? Super hot. I got a very early read on this book many months ago and I can tell you that I was totally sucked into Kylie’s world. If you like Anne’s books then I know you’ll love Of Demons and Stones. It has the same gripping characters and crazy twists and turns we all love and expect from our former-lawyer-turned-author extraordinaire. Preorder today!
Anne is also part of a Fourth of July themed box set with several authors I know and love! A bunch of fabulous books for one low price! Grab When Sparks Fly and enjoy!
Thirdly: Drive Me Wild by Shari Slade
The third installment in the Devil’s Host MC serial by Shari Slade is here! I didn’t get an early peek at this one, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first two installments and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one! If you haven’t yet, you can start for free! Ride Me Hard is free to help celebrate the release of Drive Me Wild.
Fourthly: Personal Geography by Tamsen Parker
I will be doing a full My Shelf Monday on the series, but I wanted to share what I was reading while I was doling out book recommendations. I just finished Personal Geography and started the sequel, Intimate Geography (The Sexy Editor is a few pages behind). I’m totally sucked into this series and I highly recommend it for the BDSM readers out there. (Or the non-BDSM readers who just really love a super hot, really intense romance that just happens to involve some BDSM handled in a well researched and realistic way).
And lastly: Tempt: Volume 1 by Alexis Anne
Since my last post I’ve made a three chapter sample available and posted up an exclusive preorder at iBooks! Here are the links. July 14th is coming fast!
Read a three chapter sample: http://www.instafreebie.com/campaign/nUK34Y0NzL8mXzEeaYsKJhzQAJJNci
iBooks Preorder: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tempt-volume-1/id1009522282?mt=11
Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25733048-tempt
Join my Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1546784552238593/
Happy reading and Happy Fourth of July!!
I couldn’t come up with a great headline for this baby, so I went with a command. I hope I wasn’t too harsh. But here’s the thing: there are lots and lots of new goodies out there for you guys to read and I feel compelled to tell you all the things. So without any ado (because why waste time when, books) here are the things you need right now:
We’ll tackle the tamer stuff first. In no particular order:
How to Fall by Mary Chris Escobar–a novella following my favorite lady (and the man she will fall in love with) from How to be Alive! It’s a lovely story, perfect for anyone looking to escape the cold in the middle of winter!
Christmas Clash by Dana Volney- I love Dana’s books because they make me happy. Do you want to be happy and read about Christmas? Then you should check out this book!
RSVP by AL Parks- the final installment in the Return to Me series involves a wedding gone wrong/terribly right. If you haven’t started the series yet, start now. The first book is free. You’re welcome.
12 Days of Christmakwanzaha Blog Hop– the best thing about this one? ALL FREE! That’s right, every single stop on this blog hop was a FREE short story. Some are special companion stories to existing novels (Like my follow up with Jake and Eve from The Storm Inside), while others were all new flash fiction in a total mishmash of genres. It’s awesome! Go forth and read.
Now, for those us with dirtier minds:
Callie, Unwrapped by Amy Jo Cousins- well written erotica. Yep, you heard me right! Erotica (something for everyone here!) that is brilliantly written with a compelling storyline. I almost want to call this Women’s Fiction Erotica, but that makes no sense, so ignore me. But, bottom line, if you like reading beautiful prose filled with sex, then get this first book in the series by Amy Jo. Again, you’re welcome.
In Bed with the Transforming Alien Robot– more erotica, this time involving a transformer sent to Earth to learn about us..and subsequently falling in love with a human grappling with some feminist stuff. It’s very different and there are sexy times with a robot, what more could you want? (Also, I love having dirty friends, just saying! My inbox is an awesome place to be! …. wait, that sounded dirtier than I meant it to.)
Personal Geography— I haven’t read this one yet, but people I know and admire have said it is a must-read. Plus Tamsen is sweet and smart and I totally can’t wait to read it myself! I get the impression it is BDSM for the thinking woman. It sounds perfect!
The Hive–sex without a whole lot of story, The Hive is erotica about a secret exclusive sex club ruled by women. For those of us with sexy needs and not a lot of time, The Hive is good, dirty fun!
One final note: Stripped 2 is out now, too! So if you’re in the mood for sexy times with romance and music, then check out the latest installment in my serial!
So…I’m being pulled into a series. A paranormal series at that, by a friend who likes to get me addicted to sinfully fun books to read. She handed me Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon a few weeks back, but I got caught up in the busy end of summer and kinda forgot the book was sitting next to my purse (so I wouldn’t forget to return it).
Well, she texted me this week to see if I was ready for book two. So the book has moved to Defcon 1 and is on my nightstand! I will start it tomorrow… however, I’ve heard this is a highly addictive series. If any of you out there have read it, hit me in the comments with some information! I need to know how lost to reality I am about to be!
I can’t start it today because I’m finishing a different book tonight. The super secret-advanced-copy-from-a-favorite author kind! I will of course share the details of that on release day!
In the meantime, join me in reading Born of Night, or grab a fancy new paperback copy of One Week in Wyoming which is now available in all formats! (The paperback is super duper awesomely priced right now) and the ebook is only $0.99.
If you are looking to find a new author, take a peek at the new box set Up All Night! It is also only $0.99!
Woot! It’s another beautiful Monday in Booklandia! I finished reading Before Jamaica Lane, One Week in Wyoming is out tomorrow, and First Draught had a fantastic chat last week (see the video below!). So basically this post is chock-full of awesome. It’s getting all over everything, seeping into the nooks and crannies. Strap into your safety harness and keep reading!
Boom. Let’s get the My Shelf Monday out of the way first. Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young was fan-freaking-tastic. It’s written in the same style as all the Dublin Street books: female 1st person POV. It’s told in that same easy “we’re just BFF’s talking about life” style I love so much. And the characters were both grappling with a few things I find quite real in my own life. Plus, the hero was named Nate, so reading about all that great sex was extra fun for me (hehehehe!). Nate is awesome. He’s a genuinely broken-hearted bad boy (how can you not love that??) who is hopelessly and secretly in love with Olivia (because he simply can’t ever love again). He is very honest and a very good man underneath all the sex. Olivia is like a lot of us, she’s let some life and doubts overwhelm her to the point that she’s forgotten how awesome she is. Together they find a way to live life to the fullest again. I thoroughly enjoyed their story and have a fairly severe book hangover. I’m nursing with coffee and writing about Travis and Kristin in Stripped #1.
Which bring me to One Week in Wyoming!!! It’s is almost here (finally!) You guys know by now I have zero patience. I can’t sit on a story to save my life. So going through the paces of an extended release like this (gosh I want to make dirty jokes left and right…) is pretty much driving me crazy! But the waiting is over. Tuesday morning the book will be out in the world! Over on the One Week in Love website we’re blogging about how the book came to be. You can hop on over and entertain yourself there! You can also pre-order the book right now at iBooks so you don’t miss the release!
Pre-order link: One Week in Wyoming – Alexis Anne, Audra North, Julia Kelly & Alexandra Haughton
Julia Kelly also has a couple of excerpts from her story “Seduction in the Snow” over on her website. You can check out an excerpt from me below the First Draught video.
Which brings me to First Draught! We had a great chat last week. It was all about research and the stuff we need to do to get setting, people, careers, clothes, dialogue, and sex correct in our books. You can check out the show here (Wow..I’m making a rather interesting face in the freeze frame…):
And here is an excerpt from “Undressing Cara” in the One Week in Wyoming anthology:
“Eli, this is amazing,” she breathed, placing her hand on his arm to balance while she looked out at the scene below them.
He was grinning like a fool. “I knew you’d love it. I can’t wait to read about it in one of your books.”
“You really read my books?” she asked. It seemed so illogical that this insanely busy man had time to read.
He rolled his eyes. “Yes, I really read them. I like all your books, but Midnight was special.”
He shrugged, and his cheeks flushed. “Um, I guess because it felt real. That book, more than anything else you wrote—more than anything else I’ve read in a long, long time—felt real. I know a lot of people probably say this, but I felt like you wrote that book for me. Like I was Will and maybe that meant there was an Amy out there somewhere for me.”
“You want an Amy in your life?” Three days ago she would have laughed, but now, after having a chance to get to know him, she realized how wrong she’d been.
Eli grinned. “Amy is probably the exact woman I’ve been looking for my entire life.” He shook his head and chuckled. “I finally found the perfect woman, and she’s fictional. This probably explains why I’m still single…Joan was just teasing me about that the other day.”
She had put so much of herself into Amy. It was the most personal character she’d ever written. She thought that raw reality was a lot of the reason the book was performing better than her other novels, but maybe that was also what brought her to Eli. “Why is Amy the perfect woman?”
He turned toward her, and she felt the air around her shift. Hell, she felt the whole world move, like the entire Earth had just shifted on its axis. “She’s smart and funny, loves adventure and travel, and was willing to risk everything to make it work with Will.”
“You want a woman who will give up everything for you?” That wasn’t who Amy was, and it sure as hell wasn’t who Cara was.
“No,” he said firmly. “Absolutely not. But I do want a woman who is willing to fight for the man she loves as fiercely as he is willing to fight for her. I admire what they both sacrificed in the end. Neither of them gave up everything, but they both did what they had to in order to make their relationship work. It was so real. When the book ended, I was sad. I just wanted to stay with Amy and Will in their world for a little while longer.”
So did she. “I can write you a sequel.”
He gazed down at her. His breath was warm as it danced across the exposed skin on her face. The world was spinning, and her knees felt like they might give out at any minute.
“No,” he finally replied. “Don’t ruin the ending—it was perfect.”
“I’ll see if I can find you a real Amy, then?”
He shook his head again. “I just want you,” he breathed.
Oh. “Why me? Why are you so sure?” This was all so insane. They barely knew each other.
A smile pulled at the corner of his lips as his eyes searched her face. “You’re different. I knew it from the very first picture Joan showed me.” Then he reached up, cupping her face with his gloved hands, and pulled her lips to his.
At first she was too shocked to do anything but absorb the rush of sensations. Eli’s lips were so soft against hers, and his body was firm.
But then she kissed him back, and the whole universe seemed to explode. Everything else faded into darkness, and the only thing that existed was Eli and the way he made her feel.
She pulled back and realized he was panting. “Are you okay?”
He swallowed and kissed her again, harder this time. “I’m better than I’ve ever been. You can kiss me any time you want.”
HELLO PEOPLE!!! It is not MONDAY! Yesterday was Monday, and that Monday was a holiday. Therefore, I forgot to post my weekly shoutout of the book I’m reading (which is Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young). But this works out well for me because I have a lot to tell you and I’d rather do it all at once!
So, before I talk about Before Jamaica Lane, here’s what is up:
- One Week in Wyoming releases one week from today! We have a series of blog posts up on the One Week in Love website full of fun information. Today was my day to post. You can see it here.
- I have a book signing on September 13th in Tampa, Florida! You can find details here. I’ll be signing fresh new copies of The Storm Inside and the very first paperbacks of….
- Tease. The entire five-volume collection is now in paperback! I will have my very first set at the book signing. If you’d like to order a personalized copy, send me an email. In person copies are $10 and mailed copies (in the US) are $15.
- I will have swag packs and gift sets of all kinds of goodies ready to go out next week! Be sure you are following me and signed up for my newsletter if you want to win stuff!
- FIRST DRAUGHT is back tonight! This month we are talking about research! You know, that stuff we do before, and during, our writing to make sure it is accurate! Our special guest this week is AL Parks. She is currently doing a bunch of research and she’s super smart and funny! RSVP now so you can watch it live, or follow the link to YouTube any time to watch. You never know what is going to come out of our mouths next!
Alright, book time! This week I’m reading Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young. She’s my favorite author and my go-to for books that take me away from real life. My favorite thing about every book in the On Dublin Street series is that, from page one, I feel like I’m sitting down with a group of people I love, can relate to, and I’m simply listening to their love stories. I always feel swept away and like I know each of these characters personally. I’ve just started the book, so check Facebook, Twitter, and such for updates or to keep the discussion going! I love to talk about books!
This is the third book in the Return to Me series by AL Parks and I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed the rest! The suspense gets taken up a notch in this go-round as Jake and Eve settle in to their new lives (together) in Colorado. There is also a freaking awesome mountain home involved, a daughter whose custody is on the line, and a killer bent on keeping our couple apart.
I told you the suspense was heavier in this book!
I enjoyed reading every word and couldn’t put the book down. AL continues to develop each of these characters both individually and as a couple, which is a big part of why I enjoy this series so much. The story changes, but the characters grow with each book. We also get a closer look into the personalities and lives of each of their daughters. If you are looking for a good book, check out Lauren’s Return and the entire Return to Me series by AL Parks! (And DUDE, it’s only $2.99!)
Get it here: Lauren’s Return (Return To Me Book 3)