Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goddess Fish Presents: Burn on the Western Slope by Angela Smith

On the ski slopes of Montana, deception turns deadly and seduction becomes more hypnotic than jewels.

Reagan McKinney is on a mission to discover more about a deceased uncle who mysteriously left her a sizable inheritance, a condo in the mountains, and a stash of stolen jewels.  With both her graphic design career and her love life in shambles, the opportunity to begin a new life couldn’t have come at a better time.  When she becomes involved with the sexy FBI agent next door, she finds her struggle is not only to keep her heart intact, but her life.
Grief stricken after an undercover investigation ends in the tragic death of his partner, FBI Agent Garret Chambers goes home to find solace in the arms of his mountain home.  That is, until his boss assigns him to investigate the spirited brunette staying in the condo next door.  He is assigned to investigate Reagan’s involvement with a large jewel fencing organization, but his investigation becomes comprised when his attraction to her heats up.  Will his discovery destroy everything he has come to love, including Reagan?

Garret blinked, slowly, and she watched his chest rise and fall. “Did you know something about Kyle?”

She threw her boot at him. He caught it. She cursed.

“I knew he was a dirty cheating slime ball. Just like you.” Reagan tugged on her socks and her knee-high boot, tightening the lace in record speed. Standing, she marched to him and seized the other from his grasp, refusing to look at him. Her balance teetered as she tried to slip it on, but she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing her helplessness. She braced one hand on the wall as she loosened the lace and lugged on the boot, refusing to sit. Refusing to reveal any kind of vulnerability or regret.

Garret remained in the doorway, watching. Unmoving. She pushed past him, his woodsy scent all the more reason to hate him, or at least hate the effect he had on her. She donned her jacket, slipped on her gloves, and tore out the front door.

“It’s too far to walk,” Garret called behind her.

“I’ll take my chances.”

Garret pulled on her arm and whipped her around. Eye level with his chest, she didn’t fail to notice the tension streaming out of every pore of his body. The cords in his neck bulged with each breath. His eyes, a deep, dark, abysmal dye, wouldn’t let her inside his head. Which was a good thing, now that she knew the psychosis of his mental state.
 Author Bio:
During my senior year in high school, I was dubbed most likely to write a novel because I always had my nose stuck in a book.   I would hide my romance novels under my history book until my teacher called me out on it.  Writing has been my dream ever since my mother read Brer Rabbit to my sister and me so often that we were able to recite it back to each other before actually learning to read.  I love reading about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed my love of suspense. I believe love is a mystery that most people have trouble resolving.  While I don’t expect we’ll ever solve that mystery, I love to read and write about characters who work to solve their love’s mystery.  See more about me at my website or tweet me @angelaswriter
Publisher Website:

Angela will be awarding one of three prizes: a car mirror hanger or key chain (a seashell as a tie-in to her book), an mp3 album by Pretty Little Blisters, a $10 Amazon gift card, to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Please follow the tour and comment to better your chances of winning.  The tour dates can be found here

Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: Hero's Redemption by Georgie Lee

Hero’s Redemption
by Georgie Lee

London, 1817

Devon, the Earl of Malton, is a hero for his deeds at the Battle of Waterloo. But he suffers terrible nightmares, and drinks himself to sleep most nights. A habit he vows to break when he awakes one morning to find a woman sharing his bed, no memory of how she got there, and her angry brother at his door.

Cathleen is mortified when her wastrel brother and his greedy wife propose a blackmail scheme involving the earl, but as a penniless war widow she's at their mercy. She goes along with the plan and sneaks into Devon's bed one night, and ends up comforting him through a night terror.

Charmed by her beauty and kindness, Devon determines that rather than pay the blackmail, he will offer his hand in marriage to Cathleen. Although she is deeply attracted to the stoic earl, Cathleen cannot understand why Devon would want to marry her. What she doesn't know is that Devon owes her a debt that can never fully be repaid…

Regencies aren't my typical cup 'o tea but I had more free time than usual last week thanks to a family camping trip so I decided to go ahead and give Hero's Redemption by Georgie Lee a shot. The story immediately sucked me in and at thirty-four thousand words, it made for some great summer reading beside the fire. I finished the story over the course of a day and never had any difficulty staying involved in Cathleen and Devon's story.

Cathleen is wonderfully strong-willed and assertive. As a destitute widow, she has the unfortunate circumstance of living with her dastardly brother, Lucien, and his wife, Martha. The story starts off with Devon waking up in Cathleen's bed as part of a contrived blackmail scheme cooked up by Lucien.

A hero of Waterloo, Devon suffers from terrible PTSD, including traumatic nightmares. He is smart and courageous, but also deeply wounded. Cathleen happens to comfort him during such an episode and he finds solace within her presence. The pair share an immediate attraction to one another. An unfortunate past event involving Cathleen's deceased husband also binds them together.

I loved how Devon rushed to rescue Cathleen from her greedy relatives and wanted to protect and shelter her despite his initial trust issues. As a couple, their scenes together are sweet and tender, and the reader really wants for them to overcome their differences and fall in love. I'll admit to harboring some preconceived notions about what to expect from sex scenes in Regency romance (I thought it was all closed-doors). But I was pleasantly surprised to discover sensual-to-spicy lovemaking scenes.

There wasn't a whole lot of action but the author managed to keep events moving right along to the very end. The characters are well developed and secondary characters contribute to the story, although I found the occasional scenes involving Lucien and Martha to be less enjoyable. The story is well written and editing is professional.

It's easy to recommend Hero's Redemption to anyone looking for an easy-to-read summer romance set in the British Regency period.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Available for purchase at: 

Author's Bio:
A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Las Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.

Her first novel, Lady’s Wager, and her contemporary novella, Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and Studio Relations, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Look for her Regency novella, Hero’s Redemption from Carina Press on July 29, 2013, and her Regency novel, Engagement of Convenience, from Harlequin Historical on October 1, 2013.  

When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit for more information about Georgie and her novels.

Where can readers find you on the internet?
Twitter: @GeorgieLeeBooks

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Survivor's Story by Heather McCollum

“I’m pregnant?” “Will you marry me?” “There’s been an accident.” “You have cancer.”

Words strung together into phrases like these steal your breath, twist your stomach, and could possibly make you pee your pants. They are the waving flags that signal a “before and after” moment in your life. Like before you met the love of your life and after you met him. Before you were a mom (or dad) and after you held your first child in your arms. We all have them, some wonderful and some terrifying.

Good morning, everyone! I’m Heather McCollum: author, mom of 3, dog-mom of 1, married to my Highland hero, and teal warrior. It has become one of my passions to share my most recent “before and after” moment. I call it “Shouting Against the Whisper.”

Two years ago I had just turned 40 years old. I was busy writing, carting my kids around to school, and working hard to keep my 39-year-old body. I was playing soccer with my husband’s co-ed indoor team and running my dog every day. I wasn’t tired beyond the normal late nights. I had just published my first two historical romance novels and was awaiting the release of my third. Life was good.

I first noticed that my skinny jeans, the ones I could wear easily three days into my period, didn’t zip quickly. I had to suck in. Then I got a pain in my right side. It felt like an ovulation pain, but it continued throughout the month. Odd. I had just been at my GYN to check something five months earlier and everything was normal, so I ignored the twinge.

In the soccer play offs, a man weighing a hundred more pounds than me, kicked the ball toward my face. I managed to fend it off with my hand. I thought for sure the side of my hand was broken and went to see my nurse practitioner. While checking out my wrist I mentioned the bloating and pain. She did a quick feel of my abdomen.

Her brows wrinkled. “I need to do a pelvic exam.”

“For a broken hand,” I teased.

“Something’s not right.”

“I’m seeing my GYN next month for my annual. It can wait.”

“No, it can’t.” She wouldn’t let me leave. She saved my life.

Her exam and then follow-up scans and surgery a week later found Ovarian Cancer spreading rapidly through my abdomen. Because of her, because of that soccer kick, because the doctors moved fast, we caught it at Stage IIc. If I had waited until my annual, it could easily have been Stage III which would have given me only a 20% chance of surviving five years.

The day we met with my oncologist a week after the surgery and she told me my prognosis and all the terrible things I would be undergoing to save my life . . . God, I was lost. After the debulking surgery which removed all my girlie parts, I underwent 5 months of weekly chemo treatments and then 10 more months of chemo every three weeks. I lost my long thick hair, eyelashes, brows, GI health, taste buds, and for awhile my hope. I gained 40 pounds on the steroids and could hardly walk. It then took another 6 months after the last chemo of taking pain killers to be able to walk, eat, and move without wincing as all my nerves grew back.

Yeah…it was beyond rough, but love like I’ve never seen before flooded in: food, cards, notes, e-mails, child care, dog walking, etc. My kids stepped up to help. My 4-yr-old tucked me in on the couch after each 6-hour chemo session. My 12-yr-old designed sea glass jewelry to raise money for research. My 10-yr-old called periodically from the front office at school to check on me. And I had certainly loved my husband before, but after he carried me (sometimes literally) through those long months, I love him a thousand times more.

I learned a hell of a lot during that time. I learned to stare fear in the eye until it blinked long enough for me to catch my breath and I learned that I’m tougher than I thought. I’m convinced that one of the keys to survival is not to give up on our passions. Not just survival from cancer, but survival from all sorts of tragedy. We all have terrible “before and after” moments in our lives. How many of you are surviving divorce, loss, pain in some form or another?

I am a writer. It has always been my passion. Even though I couldn’t write about happy endings (my fiction) during that time, I still wrote about all the lessons that came with my scars. It gave me a way to bleed out my pain and fear. If you too are going through difficulty, I urge you to look for an outlet, perhaps even try a new art or hobby, a way to express yourself and what you are going through.

Life is loud, loud, LOUD, and ovarian cancer whispers. So my husband and I started the “Shout Against the Whisper” campaign to educate women on those whispers. Doing so gave what I was going through some purpose.

The main symptoms of OC are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency). You should see your gynecologist if you have any of these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks. Your doctor should perform a pelvic exam and if anything feels abnormal with your ovaries he/she should follow up with a trans-vaginal ultrasound and a CA-125 blood test.

As for me, I’m in remission! It’s a lovely place to live and I hope never to leave. I’m checked every 3
months for the next few years and will be considered cured when I reach my 10-year anniversary.

Love to all of you out there dealing with your own crises, pain, or struggles. I’d like to hear your ideas for tapping into a passion when life feels like torture. Please also pass along “Shout against the Whisper” to your friends and family, and let woman-kind know about this silent killer. Kiss your kids, smell the flowers, hug your pets, and truly live!

For more information about Heather McCollum, check out her web site at . She can be found on Facebook at and .

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Guest Blogger: How To ‘Write What You Know’ for Urban FANTASY by Renee Charles

As authors, we are told to be successful we must write what we know. But how does that work for an author of Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy? If authors only wrote what they knew, we would have very few genres out there to read. 

How many of us have been to Narnia or The Push for that matter? Don’t get me wrong. There is something to be said about cutting your teeth on the familiar. (Just ask my dog and my slippers.) But what if we writers went another route? Another philosophy? What if we went in with the intention to get to know what we are writing about? After all, at some point it becomes necessary to branch out past our experiences to create worlds beyond our own existence. Otherwise how would Oz, Wonderland, or Frankenstein have been created? 

So how do you write the unfamiliar with authority? How do you bring authenticity to what you make up?

In a word, Adventure.

We’ve all heard the story of the fateful night Mary Shelley and several others created their monsters in a macabre challenge born of wine, boredom and conversation; conversations about the work of Erasmus Darwin, which reportedly led to her dream and then later, her novel. But, did you know Mary Shelly crept around graveyards at night? Yep, typical teen, snuck out at night to meet her future husband at her mother’s gravesite once he and her father had a falling out over a business matter. (Well maybe not so typical. I didn’t meet my boyfriends in a graveyard.) 

Adventures supply real experiences, which we can draw from when describing the worlds we make up.

For example while writing my new romance novel, Only Love Survives, I shot an automatic rifle called an Hp45. Now, I did not shoot a Zombie or a person in any way shape or form, of course. (I know, quit saying ‘duh’, and follow me a minute.) But how would I know how to describe the weight and recoil of the weapon if I had not experienced it? Using a weapon allowed me to incorporate all five senses into writing the scenes. To me that is not writing what I know, but getting to know what I am writing about. Oh and btw, after seeing what it did to a watermelon, it was easy to envision what such a weapon would do to a Zombie. 

How can you write about the ocean if you have never tasted the salt air?

Each author has a different process. I can only share mine. But your writing will be enriched if you seek out ways to explore the world you’re writing about, even the made up ones. If you are writing about a faraway desert that rivals the Sahara, by all means don’t be afraid to write it just because you have not been there. But do take a trip to a beach on a sunny day, otherwise you might miss what it’s like to burn your feet on hot sand.  

Not all genres have the luxury of writing what you know, but don’t let it stop you. Seek new experiences to draw from, and your writing will remain fresh as well as realistic.

About the author:

Author, Renee Charles believes all love is legendary. Being the only female in a house full of giants (husband and two teenage boys) she tends to lean toward the strange and unusual, but inevitably the softer side shines through.

Whether life leads her to a snow covered mountain top, sun dappled forest, or the bottom of a ravine (yes, ditches happen) she always has a pen and note pad ready so wherever the next adventure takes her, she can take notes.

Her own romance began in an insane asylum. Luckily, both she and her husband only worked there. But it makes sense her romance novels have strange beginnings that lead to passionate endings. Romance with a twist.

In the face of zombies, werewolves, and big foot she always seems to find a happily ever after to leave you with a sigh at the end.

Find Renee Charles at:

Find my Books:

About Only Love Survives: 

Amidst an epidemic ravaging the world, all Megan Fletcher's hopes for the future lie in getting to Las Vegas where newscasts reported scientists were gathering to search for a cure for the modern plague. After rescuing her from a rooftop surrounded by Zombies, Sam Woods appoints himself her escort.  While he knows she is determined to get to Vegas no matter the cost, he doesn't know her secret. And with his hatred of all things Zombie, she doesn’t dare tell him the truth. The more he kisses her, the harder it is for Megan to hide her growing feelings…and the bite-shaped scar. 

But Vegas is not the haven it was promised to be, and when Megan’s immunity to the disease is discovered, she realizes her future and her heart belong to Sam, if he will trust her.  An idealistic school teacher and ex-corporate mogul manage to find love despite a looming worldwide catastrophe. Can their love survive while everything around them is dying? Will they learn that when facing the end of the world, Only Love Survives.   

A storm that spelled danger flashed across Sam’s face. He advanced on Megan so fast, she backed up against the side of the Suburban. Planting a hand firmly on each side of her, he pinned her with his arms as well as his gaze.
“What I want? Are you so hard headed you can’t tell what I want?” He covered her mouth with his lips and crushed her clever comeback with an assault on her senses.
Megan pushed him, but he didn’t budge. Instead, he continued to kiss her until her heart raced and cheeks flushed with need. All resistance melted and she succumbed to the warmth of his embrace. Her arms wound around his neck of their own accord pulling him closer while her tongue sought his in a passionate dance, completely ignoring what her heart wanted.
When he finally broke away leaving Megan breathless and wanting so much more, Sam put his forehead to hers and watched her mouth like a drunk watches amber liquid poured into a glass. “You,” he rasped. “I’ve wanted you since I found you hanging from that damn roof, and all our little encounter in the river did was add fuel to the fire.”  

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