Thursday, September 4, 2014

Julie Coulter Bellon's RING AROUND THE ROSIE Book Tour


I'm happy to be participating in Julie Coulter Bellon's blog tour of her latest book, RING AROUND THE ROSIE, the fourth and final book in her hostage negotiation series. 

My review: 

Captain Ron Reed thinks getting a bit to eat with his hostage negotiation team at the end of the day will be a great way of celebrating a good outcome to a case, but also because Claire Michaels, is best negotiator, is getting married the next day. What he doesn't know is a bomb-happy criminal with a grudge against Reed has targeted him and his team.

I first met Captain Reed in ALL FALL DOWN, book 1 of the series. Julie Coulter Bellon chose to tell us Reed’s story for the final book in the series, and I’m glad. Over the past couple of years, he’s been a solid secondary character. Not this time. Ron Reed is a hero who discovers he never fell out of love with his ex-wife. Sarah Reed might be my favorite in this story. Her spunk and determination shines through her fear, even with all the dirt and concrete blowing up around her.

You don’t have to read all of the other three negotiation series to totally enjoy RING AROUND THE ROSIE, but to understand why Reed has such deep emotion for his team, I’d suggest that after you finish this story, go back and start from the beginning. You’ll have an exciting, action-packed journey written by a talented storyteller.

Buy your copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo 

Julie is married with eight children and eleven published books. She loves to travel and her favorite cities she's visited so far are probably Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She would love to visit Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland someday. She loves to read, write, teach, watch Castle, Hawaii Five-O, and eat Canadian chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.  


Her words were cut off by a blast of hot air and fire, an explosion so large it blew them all backward. Ron hit the floor hard and lay there dazed and groggy. Glass and debris rained down. Confetti-sized menus and napkins floated like snowflakes in slow motion all around him. For a second the entire world was a silent tunnel with him at the end of it. It would be so easy to just close his eyes and let the blackness suck him down into unconsciousness. But he couldn’t. Not yet. Get up. Get everyone out.

“Sarah?” he croaked. He tried again. “Sarah?” His legs felt like lead and the urge to just lie back was stronger than ever. No. Keep moving. “Claire?” He coughed and tried to catch a breath, but couldn’t get the oxygen to his lungs. With a shallow intake of air, he turned over on his stomach and used his arms to raise himself to a sitting position. The inside of the diner looked like a destructive madman had rearranged it. The booths were toppled or stacked on top of each other. The hostess station was next to him now. The only thing that was still standing where it had before the blast was the four walls, the ceiling, and the antique counter.  “Sarah,” he called again. “Bart? Colby?” The little girl. Was she still in the back with her mother?

No one answered.  ”Where is everyone?”  He crawled forward. Sarah had been nearly right beside him. Now there was no sign of her. He rubbed his eyes and coughed. Moving slowly, he prayed she was alive. It didn’t take long to find her sandwiched between an overturned booth bench and the podium for the hostess station. With some effort he managed to maneuver close to her, the adrenaline kicking in as his blood pounded through his system. Don’t let her be dead. Not like this.


Prize #1---$30 Amazon Gift Card 
Prize #2---Booklovers Basket
Prize #3---Four Book Set of Hostage Negotiation Team series 
Ends 9/15/14 
(Booklovers Basket & Four Book Set are eligible to anyone in the continental U.S. or Canada. Gift card is international)

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Tour

Jennifer Griffin Bryce, author of the soon-to-be-released HALEY’S SONG, a YA historical western romance, tagged me in the “Meet My Character Blog Tour.” Jen’s a young mother of active boys, took adult jiujitsu classes, twice a week, this summer before going back to nursing school this month, and she still finds time to write! She’s my inspiration with her seemingly endless energy. Below are the six questions that are being passed from one author to the next, and it’s my turn to answer them. What fun!

Where does your story take place?

RELATIVE EVIL is a romantic suspense set in the west; from Phoenix, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah, to southern New Mexico and on up to Santa Fe.

What is the name of your character? Is he/she historical or fictional?

Claire Abney is a purely fictional character, but she looks just like my daughter-in-law. When you’re a writer, you get to model characters after whomever you want, good or bad, and I have beautiful DILs and sons to draw from. 

What should we know about her?

Claire, twenty-five and single, is a struggling author whose two published romance novels sold barely enough to keep her in new boot money, it certainly didn’t give her that “fame and fortune” she thought would come with being a writer.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

Claire doesn’t necessarily believe that her new stepmother deliberately causes her dad to have accidents bad enough he breaks his bones. Well, maybe she does after she sees the way Adelaide marinates in the praise she gets from being the perfect caregiver. Claire turns to her writing as a coping mechanism. She loosely bases the evil villain in her new suspense on her stepmother, giving her an obscure mental illness, Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy. Not wanting her family to find out that she wrote about their lives, Claire uses a man’s pseudonym, and her publisher furnishes her the man—for book signings. How do you spell “love interest?” 

What is the personal goal of the character?

After Claire’s dad has a heart attack and dies, she suspects Adelaide committed murder, but trying to find the evidence may be impossible. Being the obstinate, sometimes oddly dressed woman, Claire vows to either prove her stepmother is truly sick, or a cold-blooded murderer before another member of her family is targeted.

When can we expect the book to be published?
RELATIVE EVIL was released July 25th and can be purchased through Amazon HERE, and from Smashwords HERE, and for your Barnes & Noble Nook from HERE 

I tag Julie Coulter Bellon, the author of RING AROUND THE ROSIE, Hostage Negotiation Series #4, a romantic suspense novel, over at the LDSWriterMom blog. I highly recommend all of the Hostage Negotiation Series. Do it! 

I also tagged Marsha Ward, the author of GONE FOR A SOLDIER, a soon-to-be-released historical romance set during the civil war. Go to her blog Writer in the Pines.   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Single Moment in Time

In writing contemporary romantic suspense, like any genre, it's hard enough to sit down and write that first paragraph of a new story. But most of us don’t necessarily have a clear plan plotted out all the way to “the end.” At least I usually don't. Why not?

Because I am a “pantser,” or, I tell a story by the seat of my pants, without knowing from one scene to the next what is going to happen. When I first heard that term, I resented being called it, mostly because I have a hard time defending myself against anybody criticizing me. It’s not in my nature to confront anybody. But after I had a chance to think about it, I figured out that I am not a true pantser. No, I am a cross between a plotter and a pantser. I mean, I can clearly “see” exactly how I want certain pivotal scenes to “look like” and all I need is the time to find the right words to describe those scenes, including the ending. I always know how I want the story to end, even before I know how it begins.   

I’ve been an artist since I was six or seven years old, and I’ve always been able to “see” the piece of work before I start it—I mean actually see it! It’s called visualization. Every pencil stoke, every swipe of colored pastel brings me closer to that finished product. I don’t do anything to that painting that isn’t advancing my project. Why would I? It would be a complete waste of precious time and energy--and it might ruin the project.  

A painting is a single moment caught in time. I think that's why I like writing so much. It takes that moment and makes it move, creating a scene that leads to a whole story. Visualizing each scene as if it were real life is important, but what is more important is having that scene mean something. It needs to work. 

Everything you write needs to push your story forward! 

Would you have your main character stop and smell a pretty rose if it had absolutely nothing to do with the story or her character other than you wanted to have a chance to describe a rose? I don't think so. It would be a waste of your time in writing it, and a waste of time for your reader to read it. But--if she needed to be there so a handsome hero could push her out of the way of a truck with darkened windows intentionally trying to run her down, then you've just driven home that fact that your character is in mortal danger--and advanced your narrative forward. 

Ah, but in the next scene your character clobbers the handsome hero with a solid upper cut to his jaw with a closed fist and tells him she doesn't need or want his help, you've just given us insight to her unappreciative, or even independent nature. This is also moving the narrative forward. As readers, we need to know more than just the action around the characters. We want to know what makes that characters tick, their motives, the desires, their idiosyncrasies. If they are stiff and uninteresting, then we won't care if that truck runs over them, and we most likely won't turn the next page, either. 

Make every word count. Make every scene work optimally.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Janice Sperry's REBEL PRINCESS blog tour

Life can be so stressful for a teenaged fairytale princess living in the real word. Raven Perilous, who is “more evil witch than princess,” has her scowl down to a science.
Thirteen-year-old Raven, prone to losing shoes, Cinderella-like, whose kind words produce sparkling jewels from her lips, but since being nice isn’t on her list of things-to-do, frogs and slugs slide out instead. Ew! The day her nemesis arrives, in the form of the cutest-boy-who-ever-lived, named Eric Charming, strange things happen. Uh, stranger things happen, like her almost-BFF begins to sparkle.  
Janice Sperry creatively weaves an entertaining story of what life might be like if a princess grows up in the “real world,” using elements from children’s fairytales we all know and love. I read this adorable story in one sitting, riding the adventure along with Raven and Charming, as well as Edgar, Raven’s sorcerer, flame-throwing twin brother. 

This is a middle-grade fantasy, published by Cedar Fort. I received an advanced readers e-copy in exchange for this review, but that didn't taint my view of Janice's story. I loved it. My guess is, you will too. 

Rebel Princess
(This damsel is NOT in distress!)

"I was born to be evil.
Nice is NOT in my blood.
Besides, nice girls get locked in towers."

Raven Perilous is like any other middle school girl--if middle school girls are usually evil princesses. The daughter of a gentle princess and evil sorcerer, Raven spends most of her time being as wicked as possible to avoid being stuck in a tower.  So when Prince Charming shows up at her school.  Raven knows she has met her nemesis.

In The Rebel Princess, loyalty, heroism, and a pinch of enchantment are perfect for conjuring up an adventure that you'll never forget.

Janice Sperry lives in Utah with her husband and three children and assorted kitties.  She enjoys volunteering at the local elementary school and is exceptionally good at finding missing shoes, unless they are her own. You can follow her blog at

Buy your copy from Amazon here (The Kindle version is only $5.99)

Buy your copy from Barnes and Noble HERE
Click HERE for a link to her Goodreads author's page. 
Click HERE to go to her author's Facebook page.
Click HERE to go to her Twitter page

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cover reveal: Laura Johnston's REWIND TO YOU

I am very happy to be a part of Laura Johnston's cover reveal for her debut YA novel REWIND TO YOU. 

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

Laura Johnston lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children. Growing up in Orem, Utah with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, dancing (deduced to dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner these days), traveling, writing, writing and more writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU, her debut novel, was inspired by the loss of her father as a teenager.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Publishing, Book Contracts, and Patience.

Nothing in life is ever easy, I can attest to that without hesitation. Ask most woman who have given birth: is it worth it? Besides those few who are probably currently sleep deprived, the answer will be a resounding "Yes!" There are those who spend years in higher learning institutions earning degrees for a specialized career. Is it easy? I wouldn't be the one to tell them that it is and still be within arm's length.

I don't know how many of you know this, but I signed two book contracts with a publisher nearly two years ago. Through some very high ups, and too many extremely depressing lows, I terminated those contracts last year. I crashed smack-dab in the middle of Disappointment Valley knowing that my writing career would be set back by at least two more years. 

I didn't stop writing. In fact, I wrote two more books, honed my skills, took in conferences, and talked to friends who understood the writer in me. I've entered short story competitions, and had them accepted. My name appears in three anthologies, and this winter another one of my short stories will come out in Michael Young's Advent Anthology. So far, I'm a just a little fish daring to swim in a larger bowl. 

It's nearing my predicted loss of time--two years, and today I enthusiastically signed my contract with Hamilton Springs Press/Xchyler Publisher for my full-length Romantic/Suspense novel, RELATIVE EVIL (I sure hope they keep the title!) scheduled to come out this summer. This time, I won't be swimming in dark waters.

And how do I know this, you ask? I did my research on HSP/Xchyler Publishing, and although they're a fairly new company, (Ironically enough, two-years-old) they have a strong staff. Before I signed, I met with Senior Editor McKenna Gardner in person for an hour-long face-to-face conference. Her protectively caring attitude went a long way in my decision. Also, Heidi Birch, the managing partner who sent me the contract, patiently explained clauses I didn't understand clearly. These are just two hallmarks of why I'm besotted with HSP/Xchyler Publishing.  

I'm excited for whatever comes next! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Julie Coulter Bellon's Cover Release!

Isn't it dramatic? It's beautiful, yet mysterious. Ring Around the Rosie is the forth book in Julie's Hostage Negotiation Series. I've loved her other three books, and I can't wait to read this one. I'll let you know when you can find it--just as soon as I know.