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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: A Killing Frost by Patricia Wynn



Ok. I admit it. I am a hopeless fan of Patricia Wynn’s Blue Satan Series. A Killing Frost is the fourth book in the series which is set in the early 1700’s in England.

The two main characters are Hester. Kean and the outlawed Lord Hawkhurst, (Viscount St. Mars), who was wrongly accused of a murder in the first book and who remains in hiding. In each book, Mrs. Kean and St. Mars work together to solve a mystery. In this case, the mystery revolves around a corpse found at the Frost Faire. The deceased man seems to be a threat to the current Lord Hawkhurst in whose household Mrs. Kean serves. She calls on her friend the Viscount St. Mars to help her solve the mystery.

St. Mars has been asked  to help free an imprisoned Jacobite rebel who was part of the uprising to re-establish the deposed King James, the Pretender. Doing so may help St. Mars possibly gain an edge in regaining his holdings.

Each book brings a little more romance in and the tension between Mrs. Kean and Lord Hawkhurst really heats up in this one and Wynn is the master at keeping us hooked and though I wanted more romance between the two characters, I cannot fault her at all for the way she has them part.

I won’t give away the ending but let’s just say, I am always sad when I have to close the book and will be waiting impatiently until I can read the next in the series. I give this five out a five stars. Well done.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Author Interview & Book Giveaway--Matthew Horn author of Nothing Good is Free



I'm honored to have Matthew Horn visiting my blog today. Matthew's most recent book is Nothing Good is Free. In his interview with me, Matthew talks about what makes a hero. Leave a comment at the end of the interview and we'll enter you in a free book giveaway for Nothing Good is Free.

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Tell us a little about your new book.

My new book is called Nothing Good is Free and is the sequel to The Good Fight.  It continues to follow my vigilante hero, Jeff, after the death of his friend and mentor, Jim.  Before Jim’s death, he was struggling with his moral compass using weapons and tactics that Jeff didn’t approve of.  Jeff, having now accepted his role as a vigilante, is searching frantically for signs of what caused Jim’s change, hoping that the same thing won’t happen to him.  Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Dept. has come up with a scheme to catch the city’s vigilante, and put Jeff’s only friend with the police, Detective Martell, at the head of it.  Martell must balance his relationship with Jeff with trying to keep his job. 

The story also revolves around Jeff and Brooke’s romance as it continues after the end of The Good Fight.  Brooke’s job often has her away and her new boss, Rick, is spending more time with her than Jeff is. It’s a story with a unique ending and is packed with adventure.  I’m hoping that readers will get to continue reading about Jeff and Brooke in this the second installment of the The Good Fight series called Nothing Good is Free.
 
What audience did you have in mind when you wrote it? 

I would almost call the first book, The Good Fight, a young adult reader based off of the content.   I think this story is more mature than its predecessor.  Brooke’s role is expanded and the romance plays a much larger part in the storyline.  Also, Jeff’s maturation is a central theme, and I think that a slightly older audience will have a much better appreciation for it. 

What do you hope people will learn from it?  

First and foremost I want my readers to simply enjoy a good adventure novel with action, romance, etc.  That being said, I hope that readers can also look past the basic storyline and see something deeper in Jeff and his world.  I try to emulate Tolkien and C. S. Lewis when I write, and I’ve given this book what I hope is a deeper, spiritual level.  Maybe it will never be seen, but I think it’s there if the reader is looking for it.

Where can people purchase your book?  

My books are available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and can be ordered from nearly all book stores across the nation.  Also, readers can follow me on Facebook and Twitter and can email me directly at matthew_horn@hotmail.com                                                                                                 

What makes a good hero? 

What makes a hero great; anonymity, a broken past, power?  Once you’ve got your hero, what makes him or her the best?  In modern writing few heroes come from a blessed background.  If they do they’re often seen as weak or soft.  Heroes hailing from backgrounds of loss or failure are seen as tough, strong, persistent.  So why do we find ourselves wishing we were them?  Who dreams of being a guy that watched his parents be gunned down right in front of him when he was a boy?  Of course I’m talking about Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s Batman, the quintessential tragic or broken hero.  Maybe, however, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman had it worse than Batman.  His whole planet, parents and all, was destroyed leaving him the last of an entire civilization.  This all happened when he was a child who was too young to know his family.  He never truly knew what he missed.  Maybe the question of “who had it harder” is one for the reader to decide. 

The more interesting question for me is what is the ‘best kind’ of hero?  Using a sampling of my followers on Twitter, I asked this question and monitored the results.  Answers seemed to vary about how or why a hero does what he or she does, but a majority of the responses did have a central theme.  A hero is one that does not try to cash-in on his actions; a person who doesn’t contemplate the after-affects of being a hero, but instead acts without thought of reward.  My memory takes me to visions of the Three Amigos.  “Our reward is that justice has been done,” says Ned Nederlander as he throws the bag of money back to the innocent villagers.

What about all the other thousands of characteristics that make up heroes?  Could someone that was gifted with strength or speed still be a hero if he used his skills only for reward?  What about Mel Gibson’s character in the movie Payback?  He was a thief and killed people to get his money back.  He also went out of his way to save his girl, and oddly he took nothing that hadn’t been taken from him already.  It wasn’t a reward.

I think the answer is no.  The underlying theme that makes a hero great is that in the end his goals were something other than reward for himself.  In my new book, Nothing Good is Free, Jeff Scott is a vigilante in Chicago.  He can fight, he’s smart, and he has an advantage of being lucky, or blessed depending on your point of view.  However, he’s also a mid-twenties kid with a job and a girlfriend.  He does what he does without any thought of rewarding himself.  It’s almost a requirement in order to be considered the best kind of hero. 

Where to Buy the Book:

link to barnes and noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nothing-good-is-free-the-good-fight-sequel-matthew-r-horn/1113863507

link to amazon http://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Good-Fight-Sequel-ebook/dp/B00AEYFJ58/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

Contact Info:

web address www.matthewrhorn.com

email matthew_horn@hotmail.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/matthewrhornbooks

Twitter www.twitter.com/hornmr

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC36lBcv7Vr8oYrWERBnX7vQ

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/108922564558289353037/108922564558289353037/admin

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4642246.Matthew_Horn






Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Blast: The Missing Piece (Inspirational Love Story) by Carol McCormick - Plus $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Title: The Missing Piece (Inspirational Love Story) By Carol McCormick

About the Book:

"Fresh dialogue, realistic characters, a powerful message," The Romance Readers Connection How does a man pick up the pieces when his world crashes around him? Misplaced priorities shattered his marriage. Problems almost crushed him. Love motivated him to mend the damage, once he found all the pieces. After only a few months of marriage, Lorraine left Dylan on a wintry night after he'd spent one too many nights out with the guys. Unable to cope with the loss, Dylan escapes the painful feelings by drinking them away. This decision costs him a year-and-a-half of his life after he stops in a little mountain town and ends up in the local jail. When he's released, he returns home in search of a job to get his life--and his wife back. THE MISSING PIECE is not only a love story about a man who loves a woman, but is also a love story about a merciful God who loves mankind, even when he falls. The novel is an emotionally-charged journey of hope and redemption with a touch of spunk, a hint of humor, and a few twists along the way. "Inspiring and encouraging. Anyone who desires a restoration to their spirit should read THE MISSING PIECE," Myshelf.com "A wonderful, heartwarming Christian romance. This is definitely a story that I recommend to all lovers of Christian romance," Escape to Romance

Download on Kindle | Purchase Paperback

Carol McCormick e77606749f110a7e9d9a7b.L._SX750_SY470_[1]Carol began writing years ago after reading a ten-page story her grandmother wrote about growing up in the early 1900s. It was then that she began to write down her own stories to share with her daughters someday. Later, she began to write as a way to draw herself and other people closer to the Lord. Carol writes for Christians to encourage them in their faith. She also writes for those who are unaware of God's grace, to show them how to connect to Him in order to experience His love and goodness. Her writing is applicable to life with its direct, yet sensitive, and oftentimes humorous messages and lessons. Carol has been a speaker for Christian Women's Connection (Stonecroft Ministries International) for over fifteen years. She is also an international bestselling author who has appeared on regional and Christian television programs and has been a guest on over fifty Christian and secular radio stations.
Follow Carol McCormick Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Impromtu Romance Makes Sparks Fly



Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and if even though I think the day is no big deal, all the Face Book posts from friends and acquaintances said otherwise.

When I was first married, Valentine’s Day was a big deal to me. I still remember the time my husband forgot and came to me sheepishly holding his hands out and opening an imaginary card. He said something sappy, hoping I would forgive him. I did, but was really miffed. My oldest daughter, who was a witness, still laughs about it with me.

But as the years have passed both Jeff and I have come to recognize the day for what is really is. It’s commercial. It’s hyped so people will buy candy, cards, jewelry and dinner out. The pressure, for the most part, is on the man. Whoa to the guy who forgets.

So, this week I remembered Valentine’s Day but I had been very busy and a) didn’t really have time to buy a card and b) thought to myself, he probably won’t buy a card or gift and if he does it will be out of guilt and c) if I do buy him a gift, then he’s going to feel bad and will rush out and try to find something to make up for it.

Truly, that’s what I thought.

We’ve both been extremely busy. He’s got a new job that has kept in running. We haven’t been connecting much and I could tell the distance between us was growing.

He called me at work on Valentine’s Day to tell me he was sorry and he had forgotten what day it was. I figure he saw all the posts on FB and did one of those palm slaps against the forehead in a “I coulda’ had a V-8 moment.”

“No problem, I said. “I didn’t get you anything anyway. I’m fine.”  He told me he would actually be home for supper. “Cool. Looking forward to having dinner with you,” I replied.

Then I got busy at work. I talked with the custodian and learned he had bought his wife a spa treatment. I talked to another guy who calls in regularly and found out he had bought his wife a card and dinner out. In both cases it sounded like they did it to stay out of trouble.

 Hmmm.

Around 2:45, I started thinking. What do we have for supper? Not much in the freezer. Maybe I should pick something up. On a whim I looked up a favorite restaurant, Bistro 127 in Hickory,  to see if they had carry out. Cool. They did so I called in an order for two servings of steak frité. (It came with potatoes. Double cool.) I sent Jeff an email telling him I was bringing home dinner.

He was already there when I got home.

“When you told me you were bringing home steak, I took off work early,” he said.

I threw a red table cloth over a card table, lit some candles, and put the dinners on plates. He threw some salad on plates and poured the wine.

He turned his ever present phone off. Triple cool.

That night we had the best conversation ever as I talked about my art passion and new focus in entrepreneurship. He talked about his new job and how it was going. We talked and talked. The best conversation we’ve had in ages.

Then we watched a Netflix movie and cuddled on the couch. The movie was so-so. The company was awesome.

After that, we went to the bedroom. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

After all these years, why is it a new revelation to me that the best romance happens when you make time for each other.

####

Teena Stewart is author of The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of  Your Loving Heavenly Father http://tinyurl.com/anf7wza 

 and Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship http://tinyurl.com/avnuuvx




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review-- Indie Author Book Marketing Success

This book, compiled by Shelly Hitz and Heather Hart, of http://www.self-publishing-coach.com/ gathers together an assortment of independent book authors and marketers who have expertise in the area of book promotion for the independently published author.

The book contains 14 chapters, each written by a different individual.  I have read numerous articles and materials on book marketing but still learned some valuable information from these guest writers. Most impressive was the fact that there was little to no duplication of material and the subject covered everything from Search Engine Optimization to paid advertising. Though at times if feels like drinking water from a fire hose, there is so much information, readers would do best to choose what they have time to do and decide what works best for them.

If you are marketing your own books or plan to market books for others, this book is well worth the money and will help you gain an edge.  It's currently being offered on Amazon for 99 cents in Kindle format.  Here's the link Indie-Author-Marketing-Success