Monday, April 27, 2015

THE PIRATE'S SECRET BABY is a winner!

The New England Chapter of RWA presented the Readers' Choice Award to The Pirate's Secret Baby at its conference this past weekend. I was thrilled to receive word of the award, and humbled when I saw the finalists, all excellent novels from top writers.

It's recharged my writing batteries and I'm back at work on the follow-up tale. I realized this week that I needed to go back and steer my characters in a slightly different direction, ramping up the conflict. However, even though this re-writing puts me behind schedule, it's a lot easier to change what I've got than start fresh. One of my favorite writing quotes is, "You can fix anything but a blank page."

For this morning though, I'm basking in the love my pirates received. I'm so happy that readers enjoyed my tale of pirates, puppies, precocious poppets and a befuddled governess. Thank you all for your support!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Review--It Started with a Scandal (Pennyroyal Green, #10)

It Started With a Scandal (Pennyroyal Green, #10)It Started With a Scandal by Julie Anne Long
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another winner from Ms. Long, who continues to delight with her Pennyroyal Green series. I liked everything about this novel: the slow build, the dialogue, the use of place,  the secondary characters. It was not an over-the-top romp, and the problems the protagonists faced were very real problems.

As always, I look forward to Julie Anne Long's next novel with great anticipation.


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day! Now, with more pirates!

There was a rustle from the roof and the ancient ladder creaked as
Roberts lowered himself next to the back window where she stood.
“Let’s see,” he said, wiping his forehead and looking out behind the
house. “You have got cabbage palm, mangoes, tomatoes, and if I’m not
mistaken, some yams and peppers gone wild in that garden.”
Amanda was impressed.
“For a sailor you know a great deal about the things growing here.”
“When I’m on land, Mrs. Stephenson, I usually stay at my farm.”
“You’re a farmer?”
His silver eyes twinkled.
“Shocked you, have I? I enjoy growing things and bought some
property on the St. Johns River years back to farm. Nothing grows on
the ocean,” he said softly, looking back out over the garden. “Some of
the sailors on the Zephyr were farm boys who ran away to sea. And I
wanted nothing more than to run away from the sea and spend my days
on my farm, eating fresh food I grew myself.”
--Captain Sinister's Lady

I'll be at our farmers market later this afternoon, as I am every Wednesday when I'm in town. Today's special because we'll all be celebrating Earth Day. Be sure to thank an organic farmer, and remember to be kind to your Mother Earth. She's all you've got, and she's depending on you.

My agrarian pirate and his story (Book Four of the Florida Pirates series) are on sale now at Amber Quill Press for 50% off during their Spring Fling Sale. It's a great time to stock your ereader with seasonal reading.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review--Lighting the Flames

Lighting the FlamesLighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this story. It was sweet, and funny, and about friends-to-lovers, and summer camp, and so much more.

I started reading it at a Jewish summer camp in the off-season, during the holidays. Yes, this is a real thing. So much of what Wendell describes in Lighting The Flames rang true, and I loved being in that place at that time reading about Gen and Jeremy.

I loved how the camp friendship blossomed, and I loved that Jeremy was in what's a non-traditional role for romance heroes (he's a funeral director). Wendell, through the character of Jeremy, explained with great sensitivity the unselfish act of kindness that it is to be a shomer (shomeret for women), sitting with the dead before they take their final journey. I've done it, and Jeremy's recounting of his time doing it was meaningful and added depth to his commitment to Gen. It was pretty clear how she could fall in love with a mensch like him.

Lighting the Flames is a gentle, timeless tale of finding light and love in the cold and darkness of grief. Wendell may have started out simply wanting to tell a Chanukah tale to romance readers getting bombarded with Christmas stories, but the little flame of this romance story about people who celebrate a different winter holiday burned brightly indeed. I hope to see more of her fiction in the future!


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Review--The Girl on The Train

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The people in this book are terrible human beings and are all unreliable narrators. I enjoyed it immensely. It's like a train wreck you can't tear your eyes away from, one bad decision and senseless act following another, but it builds and builds until you're dying to know what really happened.

Kudos to Ms. Hawkins on her debut thriller. If she can duplicate this skill and storycrafting, she has a great career ahead of her.


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review--This Gun For Hire

This Gun for HireThis Gun for Hire by Jo Goodman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know who I liked better in this excellent novel, the hero or the heroine, but I thought they were both fabulous. Goodman hits all the right marks with her snappy writing, wonderful story, and characters that linger long after the last page is turned.

It's also great fun to read a Western historical romance again. Too few really good ones get published today, so this was a treat. I look forward to Goodman's next book with great anticipation.


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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review--Pocket Apocalypse (InCryptid #4)

Pocket Apocalypse (InCryptid, #4)Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anyone who's visited Australia knows that while the humans are friendly, there are hundreds of other Aussies of the flora and fauna variety waiting to kill you as soon as you exit the airport. I live in Florida, where we've got our share of dangerous plants, insects and critters, but we're amateurs at killing people compared to Australia.

The Australians are also extremely strict, and rightly so, about preventing the introduction of non-native species to their unique habitat, so leave it to Seanan McGuire to make things worse by adding werewolves into the mix.

Pocket Apocalypse is the latest in the InCryptid urban fantasy series, and a welcome return to the Price family and the creatures and humans in their world. Alexander Price joins his Aussie girlfriend on a trip to her home. He has experience dealing with werewolves, though it's a trauma he'd rather not revisit. The novel features some returning characters (Aeslin mice!) and some new ones, along with new critters as befits a closed ecosystem like Australia's. There are laugh out loud moments, and hanky moments, and it's a fun roller coaster ride that will be enjoyed by fans of this intelligent series.


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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Review--Radiance

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)Radiance by Grace Draven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this new book in a series. The human woman/non-human lover/mate is now a common one in fantasy, but it's delightful to see it done well, with some thoughtful world-building and interesting conflicts. I'm looking forward to the next Wraith Kings book.


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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Giving Back

I'm thrilled to be able to add "award winning author" next to my name, and to list the awards my books have won. It's not bragging (well, OK, maybe it is), but winning a prestigious award, I believe, helps potential readers be more willing to take a chance on an author or a book. I know I've discovered some wonderful books that way.

Every time I enter a book in a contest, I promise myself I'll judge at least one writing competition. That's how it works in many contests--authors, librarians, booksellers are the judges. But the contests only work when people are willing to step up to the plate, when they give back to their community.

I'm judging a contest now. I won't say which one, but I volunteered because if I had entered that contest, I'd want to be confident there were judges in place to take on the task of reading and evaluating the submissions. Our close community of romance readers, authors, editors and publishers only works when we all pitch in.

Finally, it's time for a shout out to the contest coordinators. These are the people who keep track of the submissions, making sure they meet contest criteria, getting judges lined up, shepherding the books that final to the next level of competition. Well done! Thank you for all you do to help readers find quality books.