Thursday, May 31, 2012

Favorites from "Better Off Without Him"

Without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of the book is when Mona starts "practice dating." Everyone has probably been on at least one really awful date, so we can all relate to Mona's pain. Dee Ernst came up with some very funny experiences for Mona to suffer through (which I won't give away and spoil) but she had me laughing. Even better were the "We thought you knew..." comments from her friends after the bad dates. A word of advice, if you know your friend is going out with a loser, TELL HER, because she might not be as up on the local gossip as you think she is! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview with Dee Ernst

This week we're welcoming author, Dee Ernst to The Edible Bookshelf. Dee was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself and her writing. Keep reading to learn more about what inspired Better Off Without Him and how she developed the book and her entertaining characters.

1. What was your inspiration for Better Off Without Him?
I wanted to write a book that I would enjoy reading. I loved the idea of chick lit, but hated the typical heroines – younger women, not as strong or secure as I’d like, whose happily ever after depended on a man. I wanted a tough yet funny woman who knew that happiness was about who you were and not about who you were with.

2. You stepped out of the typical romance format, but still maintained some of the pure romance aspects regular romance readers would enjoy. How did you balance the two sides?
This book went through lots of re-writes, and several top editors looked at it and passed on it. But each of them had a suggestion or two, and I made it a point to listen to the experts. The ‘romance’ aspect of the book was not there in the first version, but I realized that if I wanted that audience, I’d need something to keep them interested. I’m not a big reader of genre romance anymore, but every time an editor suggested something that brought it closer to the ‘true’ romance book, I worked it in. I must admit, I dug up some old Rosemary Rodgers as inspiration.

3. You write about the life of a romance writer so easily, was this mainly from personal experience?
I am by no means as successful a writer as Mona. My agent had a client, Barbara Pierce, who IS a successful romance writer, and Barbara was generous enough to let me pick her brain. I wanted Mona to not only have a successful career, but an authentic one as well. I couldn’t afford for any romance authors to read this and throw it down in disgust, because what I’d written could never happen in real life.

4. I enjoyed the descriptions of the beach and its culture and residents. Have you spent time on Long Island beach?
Yes. When I was a kid, my family would spend a week’s vacation at the Jersey shore, and as an adult, it’s one of my favorite places to relax. There’s a certain vibe there that I haven’t found anywhere else – and I’ve spent lots of time at lots of beaches!

5. The main character, Mona, has relationships with several different men in the book that vary from working, to friend, and romantic. How did you build each relationship so they stayed unique?
Each of those men were as real to me as my real friends and neighbors. I didn’t base any of them on any one person, but in my head, I knew each of them – who they were, what their backstory was, where they’d be in ten years. And since they were such strong individuals, their relationships with Mona (seriously) wrote themselves. It was like I just threw them in a room and recorded what happened.

6. The many different characters, from MarshaMarsha to Anthony, provide a good variety of personalities. How do you develop your characters?
I try to start with a kernel of something from a real person I know. Then, I cast a movie in my head, and who would be the actor/actress in that role? Once the character is in my head, they take on a life of their own. Being a writer is one of the few instances where it’s good to listen to the voices in your head.

7. Mona goes though significant personal change during the book. She seems rather naive in the beginning when it comes to her relationship. Can you describe how you developed her progression during the book?
For Mona, her journey was an awakening. She was always tough, strong, and capable of making decisions. She was never one of those who took her value from the man in her life – she was always her own person. But she was in a marriage that was bad for her, and she didn’t realize it because it kept moving along smoothly. After Brian leaves, and she can look at her marriage through different eyes, then she sees how he was never good enough for her. That’s when she could shake off those ties and move ahead, and that’s how she’s able to put herself first then next time love comes calling.

8. Who are you favorite writers?
I love Susan Isaacs. I’ll be attending a writer’s conference in a few weeks, and the deciding factor on whether or not to shell out the big bucks was seeing her name on one of the panels. I’ve always loved Mary Stewart – her books were my first ‘romance’ novels, and they’re still my favorite. I like Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George for mysteries , and I have every single Nero Wolfe mystery that Rex Stout wrote. I love the ‘Dresden’ books by Jim Butcher, and anything by Neil Gaiman. I’m all over the map with the kinds of books I read and enjoy.

9. Do you have any interesting habits or rituals when you write?
I generally run things through in my head just as I go to sleep. I try to see where the story is going, and even though my memory about most things is terrible these days, I can always remember when I sit down to write what I thought about the night before.

10. Can you tell us about your other books or upcoming projects?
This past April I released a book call A Different Kind of Forever. It was actually written before Better Off. It’s the book that got me signed with an agent, although she could not sell it. It’s much more of a traditional romance, but the heroine is still my kind of girl – older, tough, wise, and not in need of a man. But she finds one – of course – a hot young rock star. It’s kind a perfect fantasy for me.

But since so many people responded so well to Better Off, what I’m working on now is much more in that vein. This time, our plucky protagonist is a 55-year-old who starts ‘the next phase’ of her life – a new job, new condo, and on-line dating – only to have her adult children start moving back in with her. I’m really enjoying writing it.


Thanks so much to Dee for answering my questions!

And don't forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of Better Off Without Him by sending an email to with *Giveaway* in the subject line.

Better Off Without Him is also available on Amazon now!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More about Dee Ernst...

Dee Ernst was born Elizabeth Diane Ascoli in Newark, NJ. Her family moved to Morristown, NJ when she was still a toddler. She started writing stories on a battered Royal typewriter when she was about ten or twelve, and she graduated Morristown High School determined to pursue a career as a writer in some form or another (she considered advertising, but luckily came to her senses). 

Creative writing majors were hard to find in 1974, so she attended Marshall University as a journalism major. That wasn’t working, so she tried Education, but that didn’t quite work either. Several jobs and years later, staying home with a three-year-old and trying to figure out what to do when she grew up, Joan Hamburg on WOR radio in New York was interviewing someone who said if you wanted to know what to with your life, remember what you were playing when you were ten, and try to turn that into a career. 

Since Dee was writing stories at ten, she sat down and wrote her first novel. It went nowhere. Her second novel got her a terrific agent and upwards of fifteen rejection letters (She reread them all in preparation of this biography). Her third novel, Better Off Without Him, garnered even more rejection letters from a much higher caliber of editor. Undaunted, she self-published Better Off Without Him in October 2010. She is now waiting patiently for fame and fortune.

You can read more about Dee Ernst and her writing by visiting her website at

You can also connect with Dee on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter

Don't forget to register for the FREE giveaway of Dee's Better Off Without Him by sending an email to with *Giveaway* in the subject line. 

Come back tomorrow for my interview with Dee! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

New Book: Better Off Without Him

For romance writers, every story should end with a happy ending and the plucky heroine getting the handsome man. So when popular romance writer Mona has her husband walk out after twenty years for a younger, blond, French, skinny mistress, writing another happily ever after is the last thing she wants to do. 

"Mona Berman is an expert at Happily Ever After – after all, she’s a best-selling Romance writer and happy endings are what she does best. So when her husband of twenty years leaves her for somebody 15 years younger, 20 pounds lighter, and French, she’s got a lot of adjusting to do, both personally and professionally. Lucky for her she’s got three savvy teen daughters, a few good friends, and Ben, the world’s sexiest plumber, to help her along the way.

First she decides that her next book will be the anti-romance – her heroine finds the best part of her life AFTER getting dumped. Next her daughters tell her she needs to start practice dating, and summer at the Jersey shore is the perfect place for that. She’s also juggling her soon-to-be-ex, a loony aunt, and a match-making neighbor, while Ben is sending her romance-driven imagination into overdrive. Can Mona’s life imitate art? Can she write her own happy ending?" 

Better Off Without Him is available now from Amazon, and you can enter to win a FREE copy this week by sending an email to with *Giveaway* in the subject line!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Giveaway!!!

I don't usually post on the weekends, but I have exciting news. Next weeks featured author Dee Ernst has graciously offered to give away five ebook copies (Kindle or ePub) and one print copy of her book "Better Off Without Him!"

You can enter to win a copy of "Better Off Without Him" by sending an email to with Giveaway in the subject line. The winners will be chosen at random next Saturday, June 2nd and winners will be notified the same day. 

So, don't forget to enter, and good luck!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review of "No Turning Back"

The first time you meet your boss, tripping and landing face down in his lap probably isn’t the best way to make a first impression. Memorable, yes. Good for keeping your job, no. Kathleen Turner manages to dodge Blane long enough to not get fired, but events like a murdered neighbor and someone breaking into her apartment quickly escalate, leading him back into her life, for better or worse.

I think one of the best parts of No Turning Back was the characters. Names are such an important part of how we think of ourselves and how others think of us. I thought the family history of naming their children after famous Turners was a nice touch that instantly gave a little depth the Kathleen’s character. Tiffany Snow did a great job of this throughout the entire book. Every character, even the ones that seemed unimportant at the time had an interesting story to tell. Their pasts made them who they were, but events changed them. I don’t think there was a one dimensional character in the entire book. So even though the book was fast paced and filled with adventure, it was still a very character driven story as well.

And like any good story (in my opinion) there was a romantic element. Blane and Kade were fabulous characters. The way they interacted with Kathleen was as compelling as the mystery. Both were so different, and more than a little hard to figure out, but I enjoyed reading about them and was interested throughout to see were each would end up. Tifffany did create a bit of a love triangle, but it wasn’t the typical kind of triangle. I found the complexity of their relationships very intriguing. There was none of the gushy teenagery “Oh but they’re both so wonderful, how will I ever choose between them?” nonsense. The relationships were meaningful, even in the middle of a murder mystery and a lot of guns, and they definitely pulled you in.

The mystery side of the book was also very good. It wasn’t the type of vague, superfluous action movie story line where there were more explosions than actual plot. Tiffany presented multiple likely possibilities for what and who had been behind the murders, and she kept you guessing until the very end. There were hints that were subtle enough that you weren’t always sure if you should believe them, and I didn’t feel like anything had been overlooked or intentionally misleading by the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I am excited to read Tiffany’s next book “Turn to Me,” and I plan on inviting Tiffany back later this summer for a review of book two. I will give a warning that there were several sex scenes that did get fairly detailed. Aside from that, the book had a lot of good humor, exciting action scenes that didn’t drag on forever with endless description, a wonderful romantic element, and a solid mystery that stitched it all together.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I had a good time reading it and I am looking forward to the rest of the books in the series.

Who would I recommend this book too? Really anyone who enjoys romance, action and adventure, mystery, and books with great characters. I think men and women alike would enjoy this book. The action and romance are very well balanced. This is definitely for adults, though. It’s not one I would let my nieces read.
No Turning Back is available now from Amazon, and you can get a head start for later this summer by getting a copy of Turn to Me from Amazon as well. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"No Turning Back" Favorites

There was a lot to like about No Turning Back, but I think what really kept me reading was Kade. I found his character to be fascinating. He had a difficult past, which is always interesting, and a very vague future. At times he drove me nuts, and in rare in stances he showed a very surprising compassionate side that instantly grabbed your attention. I really wanted to know where his part of the story would lead. I look forward to finding out. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interview with Tiffany A Snow

This week we’re welcoming Tiffany Snow to The Edible Bookshelf. Tiffany was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about her writing, as well as share a little bit about herself. A big thanks to Tiffany for taking the time to share with us. If you want to find out more about No Turning Back and Tiffany, read on!

1. What was the inspiration for No Turning Back? 

I wanted to write what I love to read - a romance.  The most important part in any book, for me, are the characters.  I wanted to write about characters that had depth and room to grow into themselves and in their relationships with each other over the course of the series.  The plot was derived from my "day job" which is in Information Technology - a field I've been in for over ten years.  Combining that knowledge with an idea for an issue security specialists are still trying to deal with - securing online election voting - seemed like an interesting idea.

2. Your main character, Kathleen, has a very interesting background. How much of her back story was developed before the book was written and how much developed along with the story? 

Kathleen became who she was over the course of the book, though I believe I had her roots down once I decided on her name - Kathleen Turner - and the family tradition of famous "Turners."  Kathleen is young and her actions and reactions show that.  Sometimes I know that can frustrate some readers, but I always try to stay true to her character.  She learns and experiences a lot in the first two books of the series, which causes her to grow and change - as it would anyone. 

3. There are several male lead characters with vastly different personalities. The differences between Blane and Kade keep the story very interesting as Kathleen has to deal with both of them. How did you pit their characters against each other in some ways while still keeping them both likable? 

Since I knew I had several books to explore the characters, I took it slow in developing who Blane and Kade were and how Kathleen comes to know them both.  The story is told in first person, so we only know what Kathleen experiences.  My goal wasn't necessarily to keep them likable - and Kade can be downright nasty sometimes - but to keep them real.  They are both inherently good men, though they sometimes make choices that put them at odds with each other, and with Kathleen.

4. There is a lot of action in No Turning Back. You handled the hectic scenes very well and made them very believable. Where does your inspiration for the fight scenes come from and how to you handle the weapons and fighting so well? Is there a lot of research involved for the weapons? 

Oh my, no, I'm afraid I have no experience with weapons.  The internet is a valuable research tool, as I'm sure any writer can attest to.  I try to picture the scene before I write it, and write it in such a way that the action doesn't slow down with too much description.  It's a balance between too much information that bogs down the narrative and too little so the reader can't imagine the scene.  Either way can pull them out of the story.

5. The mystery aspect of the book keeps readers guessing. There were multiple characters that seemed shady, but you keep readers on their toes by never giving away too much to make it obvious. How did you develop the plot twists and ultimate solution? Do you plan everything ahead of time, or let it develop with the story?" 

A mixture of both, actually.  I start with a framework of the plot and a basic timeline.  Each book revolves around a holiday for a timeframe.  I plan where the characters begin and where I want them to be in their relationships with each other by the end of the book.  For me, it's enough structure to work and still leave room for the creative process.

6. No Turning Back is the first book in the Kathleen Turner Series. Are most of the characters from the first book going to make a reappearance in the second book? 

Absolutely!  Including some characters you may not expect to see again.

7. With this being a series, what type of series is it going to be in terms of length? Do you have a predetermined number of books, or will Kathleen keep having adventures for the foreseeable future? 

I didn't want this to be a series that goes on without end.  From the outset, I decided the series would consist of five books.  Book three will be released Christmas of 2012.

8. Who are your favorite authors? 

Oh my, that's tough.  Jane Austen is my favorite author of all time, my favorite books Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.  Other authors I greatly enjoy include Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Eloisa James, Jane Feather, David Hackett Fischer and Neil Stephenson (Cryptonomicon is one of the best books I've ever read).

9. Do you have any interesting habits or rituals when you write? 

Not really - I'm just glad to have a free moment in which TO write! 

10. Can you tell us more about the second Kathleen Turner book, "Turn to Me," and any other upcoming projects?  

In Turn to Me, we learn more about Blane, Kathleen and Kade as they grow and change.  Blane's career has an immediate, and dangerous, impact on Kathleen and their relationship.  The fallout from these circumstances affect all three of them.

The third book in the series will be released at Christmas of 2012.


Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions Tiffany!

Now that my readers’ interest is piqued, get your copy of No Turning Back now on Amazon. And you can get geared up for later this summer when I plan to have Tiffany back to discuss her newest book in the Kathleen Turner Series by picking up a copy of Turn to Me as well. Get it now from Amazon

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More About Tiffany Snow

Tiffany A Snow is an IT Manager and the author of the Kathleen Turner Series. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, two daughters, and their adorable dog. Tiffany is a graduate of the University of Missouri - Columbia with degrees in History and Social Studies Education. She is a self-taught IT network specialist who currently works as an IT manager. When she is not involved in her IT work Tiffany is writing. Her books include No Turning Back and Return to Me.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for my interview with Tiffany Snow where she tells us more about her first book No Turning Back as well as more about herself and her writing. 

To learn more about Tiffany and her books, visit
You can contact Tiffany through:

or on Twitter at TiffanyASnow 

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Book: No Turning Back (Tiffany A Snow)

Oceans and quiet moments have no place in our featured book this week. When Kathleen Turner's neighbor is murdered she finds herself caught up in the middle of danger and confusion. Thankfully the trouble she's in is frequently punctuated by handsome men, but as often happens with men, they only seem to make the situation more confusing. 

"Kathleen Turner has goals. She moved to Indianapolis to start seeing to them, but things aren't going quite as well as she'd hoped. She's a runner for a high-powered law firm in town, not the most prestigious of positions, but it and her part-time bartender gig at least pays the bills. And one of the senior partners is a dreamboat in that obscenely rich, disturbingly good looking, slightly snobbish sort of way.

She was quite happy ogling him from afar, before she did a mortifying face plant in his lap during a meeting. After that...well...she was more about the avoiding. Mature, no. More likely to assure she keeps her job, yes.

She's made some friends in the few months she's been in Indy. One of those friends is her neighbor Sheila, though Kathleen can't say she's completely comfortable with Sheila's job choice as a high-dollar escort.

It's the middle of the night when Kathleen hears fighting coming from Sheila's apartment. As disturbing as that is, it's the ominous sound of silence afterwards that keeps Kathleen from falling back to sleep. Slipping from bed with the intention of making sure everything is okay, Kathleen knocks on her friend's door, only to find Sheila murdered, her naked body sprawled on sheets stained crimson with her blood.

Shock and horror are followed by gritty determination when it becomes clear that Sheila's death isn't random and it isn't the result of a jealous boyfriend. It's the opening gambit in a web of murder, deceit, conspiracy, and fraud that stretches to the law firm for which Kathleen works. Maybe to the very office that Blane Kirk commands.

And Kathleen Turner, law office runner, can trust no one if she wants to survive." 

No Turning Back is the first book in the "Kathleen Turner Series" by Tiffany Snow, and is available from Amazon

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review of "Middle Watch"

Orphaned by her parents’ deaths, that is hardly Bridie O’Neill’s biggest problem. The horrible foster mother she ends up with is somewhat balanced by her loving foster father, but he is rarely at home, leaving Bridie to suffer in silence. To Bridie, this will always be her life. She has accepted that fact. So when news comes that Dad Joe has taken a new job as a lighthouse keeper and intends to take Bridie with him, she is stunned and overjoyed. Her happily ever after hasn’t arrived just yet, however. Unwanted and unbrotherly attentions from Jim, loving yet domineering attention from Ryan, and the urge to find out who Bridie really is are waiting for her at the lighthouses.

I mentioned yesterday in my post how much I enjoyed the descriptions and imagery in Middle Watch. It was like being on a tour of the English seaside. Loretta Proctor did a wonderful job of pulling you into every scene of the book with her details of the scenery. Her attention to detail didn’t stop there, however. While not all of the characters were meant to be likable, they were all very interesting and unique. The two love interests, Bridie’s foster brother Jim and her friend Ryan, are as different as night and day. Both have sweet aspects to their characters as well and scary, but they were unique even in their similarities. Loretta also did a great job of keeping her characters consistent through the book.

Bridie is the most fascinating of all the characters. She is so complex and multifaceted. The poor girl lived through so much pain and heartache before getting to have even a little joy. I enjoyed seeing her start out as a child, so accepting of the brutality laid on her and unwilling to fight, and grow into a stronger woman. Having said that, I had been hoping that by the end of the book Bridie would have progressed a little more than she did.

I’ll warn you, there may be a few spoilers in this next part, so feel free to skip if you want.

At one point in the book Bridie tells Ryan that she needs some space and some time to discover who she really is and what she wants from life. The trip to London proves more difficult than she expected, but I had been glad she was brave enough to venture out on her own. The trials she faces there didn’t have the effect I was hoping for, in some ways. Yes Bridie was made stronger by having to face difficult situations, but I felt like when she returned home she lost some of that strength. I wanted her to stand up for herself and take the initiative more, especially when it came to talking to Ryan about Jim, and I wanted her to be the one to bring a resolution to her problems with Jim. I wasn’t totally sure why she felt like Ryan wouldn’t believe her about her issues with Jim either, but perhaps that was due more to the time period and society at that time.

Loretta had warned me that there was a shock at the end, and indeed there was. I had a suspicion a few chapters earlier of what the surprise would be, but I was glad Loretta chose the ending she did. I felt like it was very fitting.

Overall, Middle Watch was an enjoyable book. It captured a side of humanity many would prefer to overlook, and it created a crisp picture of what life was like during that time period. Loretta’s writing felt very authentic, and truly pulled you into Bridie’s life. The lighthouse aspect of the book was beautiful as well. I learned quite a bit out lighthouses and their keepers that I had never known before. I came to appreciate their hard work and their dedication to a craft that is now extinct in most aspects. I’ve mentioned before that previously I was not a big historical fiction reader, but I am beginning to appreciate it quite a bit.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. It was a fascinating story. It is not fast paced or action packed, but if you are looking for a very human and emotional book you will enjoy this.

Who would I recommend this book to? While this book doesn’t center on a specific historical event, it is set in the 40s and 50s. Historical readers will appreciate the authenticity of the book. Women’s fiction readers will connect will Bridie’s pain, joy, and struggle to know herself. Those looking for a romantic drama will be pleasantly entertained. This was far from a true “romance” novel of the Harlequin variety, but there was a sex scene that was descriptive. However the main focus of the romance was more character driven then hormone driven.
Middle Watch is available now from Amazon USAmazon UK, and Matador.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Middle Watch Favorites

I have to say that I'm not much of a beach person, but I find lighthouses fascinating. Loretta's descriptions of the seaside, and especially the lighthouses was captivating. She draws you into the scene with each word. I could picture each cove and beach in detail. The expertly polished glass in the lighthouse created an appreciation for the lighthouse keepers dedication. Even if you've never visited the English countryside, you'll feel as if you had after reading Middle Watch

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Interview with Loretta Proctor

Today we are welcoming historical fiction author, Loretta Proctor, to the blog. Loretta was kind enough to answer a few questions about her novel, Middle Watch, as well as a few questions about herself and her other novels. Thank you, Loretta. 

1. What was your inspiration for "Middle Watch"?

I have a friend whose life has been complex and very sad sometimes. Over a coffee one morning, she told me that her foster father had taken them to live in a lighthouse after retiring from the Navy.  She was an orphan just like Bridie, my heroine, and had an unloving relationship with her foster mother and brothers. Living by a lighthouse!  This caught my imagination at once, and so Bridie O'Neill was born.  She's quite a different person to my friend, of course.

2. Are lighthouses something you have always been personally interested in,
or did you become interested for the sake of the book?

I've always loved lighthouses and admired the wonderful, brave men who ran them; a lonely
job, but close to the elements and close to danger.  There is something peculiarly atmospheric about these amazing pillars that withstand the seas and storms and beam their light to save passing ships from foundering on treacherous rocks.

3. Your descriptions of the scenery were all very well written. Are the places in the book all areas you have visited?

Yes, I visited the lighthouses mentioned in the story in Cornwall, Devon, Yorkshire, plus a few others.  All wild and rugged and lonely spots but so beautiful. Broughhampton is an imaginary place, but I know Bournemouth, a seaside town in the UK, from many visits when my children were small. And I lived in London for thirty years and worked in some of the areas I've written about during that part of the story.

4. How much research was involved in writing “Middle Watch”?

Most of the research was done from visiting the areas and reading a lot of interesting books.  Some from my own life experiences.

5. "Middle Watch" is a chronicle of Bridie's life beginning at a young age and going to adulthood. How did   you develop her story, and how did you decide what areas to pay particular attention to?

Well, we had to start with the 'orphan' story to establish the pain and misery of Bridie's early childhood.  The story hinges on those experiences and the anxiety and fear that never ceased to dog her life. Her joy at being 'rescued' would then follow on. In a way, though, the story just grew naturally.  I seldom plot in much detail, just let the story flow and create itself. The characters always seem to know what they're doing, even if I don't!

6. The two main love interests in the book are very different. How did you build these characters? Do you decide all of a character’s qualities beforehand, or let them develop with the book?

As I said they come to life by themselves.  Ryan had been brought up in lonely places all his life and so his nature would be more inclined to thoughtfulness and silence. Jim had to be a contrast, more urbane and charming, to provide the conflict and to indicate the two sides of Bridie's own animus, her own inner conflict.

7. Bridie, despite her rough life, remains a very naive girl in many ways. How did you balance the abuse she suffered (which could make one very cynical), and her life spent away from people which contributed to her naiveté?

I think she is one of life's innocents and yes, naive as well...due, as you rightly say, to the lonely life she led... but also to something intrinsic in her, a Nature girl with a love of simplicity, silence and peace - which is why she recognizes Ryan as her soul mate. Some people have a childlike nature but also have a wisdom that goes with it; the Wise Child who understands life at a deep, natural level. Thus she could roll along with what life flung at her and take it pretty philosophically. Nature would always heal her.

8. Who are your favorite authors?

Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Daphne du Maurier, Robert Goddard, Ruth Rendell, Nikos Kazantzakis.

9. Do you have any unusual rituals or habits when you write?

Oh yes. The desk has to be tidy and everything in place. It clears the mind, I feel!  And I do like to have pictures of what I'm writing about around me such as lots of lighthouses with Middle Watch, Pre-Raphaelite pictures with The Crimson Bed and WW1 pictures with The Long Shadow. It sets the mood.
I bought lots of little lighthouse ornaments when writing Middle Watch! Just love them around me.

10. Can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?

I'm currently writing a sequel to The Long Shadow called Dying Phoenix.  The Long Shadow will come out as an e-book in July when I get my rights back. It's been in a 'desert' for seven years and I want to make it known and loved to a wider public. Both these stories are set in Greece, the first one during WW1 and the sequel during the takeover of Greece by a military regime of Colonels. Being half Greek myself, I do enjoy writing these stories and exploring this part of myself.

Thanks again, Loretta for taking the time to let us get to know you and your writing a little better!

Middle Watch is available now at Amazon USAmazon UK, and Matador.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More about Loretta Proctor

Writing is Soul Substance - that is how Loretta Proctor views writing. Keep reading to find out more about her outlook, and the experiences that have shaped it. 

"Writing is for me a process of self-exploration.  That’s why I say it is soul substance.  From an early age I was bathed in experiences that arose from a deep, delightful inner source, a pagan, cthonic layer of being that was connected with the woods, the trees, the waters and the land which to my innocent, uncluttered childhood imagination were inhabited by gods, nymphs, dryads and other beings.  In adult life, I studied the works of Jung, Goethe, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, The Geeta and all those poets and writers who expressed their ideas and experiences of the soul. It’s been said that the journey is more important than the goal.  This inner journey into the labyrinthine parts of the psyche is often terrifying and dangerous.  But it is also filled with laughter, beauty and meetings with extraordinary people." 

Loretta was born in Cairo, and later moved to Britain. How she ended up there is a fascinating story (the story of her parents "ill-fated" romance), which you can read about on her website. Also on Loretta's website you'll find out more about her books and articles. So hop on over to and get to know Loretta Proctor. 

For "art, music, books and all things creative and beautiful" check out Loretta's blog at

Come back tomorrow for an interview with Loretta about her novel Middle Watch and her upcoming projects. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Book: Middle Watch (Loretta Proctor)

Jumping back a few decades, before nearly every aspect of life became automated and connected wirelessly, is the story of Bridie O'Neill in Middle Watch. This historical fiction novel by Loretta Proctor chronicles Bridie's life from childhood to the frustration and confusion that accompanies being an adult, especially when love is involved. 

"Middle Watch is a time when a man alone on a lighthouse in those wee small hours feels he's the only person in the world. A man awake and alone in the darkness of the night has time to think, and sometimes those thoughts turn towards revenge and hate. Bridie O'Neill was taken in as a baby by Dad Joe, whom she adores as if he were her real father. 

Unfortunately, Joe is away at sea most of the time and Bridie has grown up under the thumb of his mean-spirited wife, Millie, and her two bullying sons. The only joy in her life comes from the beautiful coastline near their home and Joe's occasional visits. When things come to a head between Bridie and Millie, Joe realises he needs to take Bridie - and himself - away from his poisonous wife. He starts a job as a lighthouse keeper at Longships Light. 

Bridie's life is transformed by this new life close to the wild Cornish seas. There she meets the dark, brooding Ryan, son of the Principal Keeper. The two young people fall deeply in love with one another. But Joe's family are not ready to let Bridie go. She is haunted by the idea that Millie will come after her, and Joe's older son Jim is starting to look at Bridie with a most unbrotherly interest. Wanting to escape the emotional turmoil and prove herself, Bridie sets out on her own to find work in London - but her actions set forth a chain of events that will end in tragedy on a lonely lighthouse amongst the crashing waves of the sea..." 

Middle Watch is available now on Amazon USAmazon UK, and Matador

Friday, May 11, 2012

Review of "Trouble in Mudbug"

A mother-in-law that only agrees to help you pay off your disappeared husband’s debts if you pay her back-with significant interest-isn’t the kind of person any woman would want hanging around watching her every move. Maryse Robicheaux is no different. When her mother-in-law Helena dies suddenly, she doesn’t exactly miss her. However, her moment of relief only lasts halfway through Helena’s funeral. She can’t figure out why no one else is freaking out at the site of Helena climbing back out of her coffin. The bigger problem is, Helena isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Trouble in Mudbug is the first book in the “Ghost-in-Law Series” by Jana DeLeon. The adorable cover first caught my eye. The covers for all three books are cute, but the premise of the book sounded interesting as well. It reminded me of Ann Everett’s “Laid Out and Candle Lit,” which I loved, so I was willing to give this book a try. For those who enjoy Ann Everett and Janet Evanovich, you’ll probably be entertained by this one.

It’s not nearly as funny as Everett or Evanovich, but it did have me chuckling when Maryse finds herself completely unable to ignore Helena’s ghost and ends up making statements like, “I never wear underwear!” There is also a lot of humor between the two main characters as far as the romance goes. DeLeon did a good job of playing Maryse and Luc off one another. Helena was by far the funniest part of the book. Her wardrobe challenges provide humor in just the right places, and her antagonistic nature frequently riles Maryse up to the point of something going badly wrong.

Given that this is a mystery romance, I expected both to play a big part, and I wasn’t disappointed for the most part. The romance between Maryse and Luc is engaging and steamy. Maryse is determined not to give him the time of day, practically throwing herself at another man to accomplish it, and Luc is supposed to stay focused on his work, not Maryse’s curves. DeLeon kept the tension up throughout the book pretty well. There was one sex scene that I wouldn’t let my teenage nieces read, but that was the only part like that.

As for the mystery, it was interesting. I didn’t feel like it was incredibly gripping, and at times I thought the clues were not terribly subtle. I correctly guessed who the killer was two-thirds of the way through the book. I was still entertained by the twisty path DeLeon took the mystery down before revealing the answers, but the mystery behind Helena’s actions was more entertaining to me than the murder mystery in some ways. Throughout the book you get hints that even though Helena was the worst mother-in-law on the planet, she had reasons for at least some of her vileness. I enjoyed learning more about why she did what she did quite a bit.

Thinking of the book as a whole, it was a fun read. It was made me laugh, had a good romance, and was filled to the brim with memorable characters. I’m not running off to buy the next book, but I am planning to read books two and three. They were entertaining and fun, and DeLeon’s writing ability leaves nothing to complain about. I look forward to getting the rest of the details about what’s going on in Mudbug, especially figuring out who really did kill Helena.

Would I recommend this book? I would, but it was more of a fun casual read than a serious favorite. It was a good book to relax with and have some fun with a whole cast of quirky characters.

Who would I recommend this book to? It’s not a hardcore mystery or romance book, and it’s not laugh out loud funny like some, but readers of all these genre’s will enjoy it. I wouldn’t recommend it to teens because of the sex scene, but that’s just my opinion.

Trouble in Mudbug is available now on Amazon and the Kindle Store

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mudbug Favorites

Even though all the characters in Trouble in Mudbug were fun, I really enjoyed Helena, the mother-in-law from Hell. She definitely lives up to her name, but she does it in the most entertaining way possible. I loved the fashion challenges Helena's character was forced to battle. It begins with a stay-puft marshmallow man dressed in Pepto-Bismal pink polyester suit that transition to a skin tight leopard print bodysuit for a little B&E. Even in death she makes main character, Maryse, miserable, but you'll chuckle the whole way through.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Underwear vs. Commando?

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get in contact with Jana DeLeon for an interview this week. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up with her later this summer if I get a chance to review her other books. So, instead of an interview, I'll ask a question. The main character in Trouble in Mudbug, Maryse, lets just about everyone in town know that she doesn't wear underwear during an ill advised date. Now I know this is just a device for making the book a bit more steamy, but I'd really like to know...does anyone actually go commando all the time? Seems like that would be uncomfortable, but maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

More about Jana DeLeon

This week our featured author is Jana DeLeon. Jana is the author of The Ghost in Law series, as well as several Harlequin books. The Ghost in Law series is the focus for this week, starting off with Trouble in Mudbug. The second and third books in the series, "Mischief in Mudbug," and "Showdown in Mudbug," are also available now, and will hopefully be reviewed later this summer. 

To learn more about Jana DeLeon and her writing, visit

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Book: Trouble in Mudbug (Jana DeLeon)

The fact that the cover for this book is too cute, but don't be fooled by it. Jana DeLeon's, Trouble in Mudbug, is muddled mess of murder, ghosts, explosions, hunky botanists, and the mother in law from hell who refuse to depart. 

"Scientist Maryse Robicheaux thought that a lot of her problems had gone away with her mother-in-law’s death. The woman was rude, pushy, manipulative and used her considerable wealth to run herd over the entire town of Mudbug, Louisiana. 

Unfortunately, death doesn't slow down Helena one bit.

DEA Agent Luc LeJeune is wondering what his undercover assignment investigating the sexy scientist has gotten him into – especially as it seems someone wants her dead. Keeping his secrets while protecting Maryse proves to be easier than fighting his attraction for the brainy beauty." 

For any of you who have enjoyed Ann Everett's "Laid Out and Candle Lit," this book is right up your alley. Trouble in Mudbug is the first in a series of Mudbug mishaps. It is available as a FREE Kindle book on Amazon

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Update on "Finding Sara"

Nancy DeMarco's fantastic novel Finding Sara is now available in paperback! It was sold out earlier, but it is back in stock today, so head over to Amazon and get your copy before they run out again!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Review of "Faerie Wishes"

Immortal, beautiful, peaceful, Talia lives a perfect life. But is perfect enough? Watching humans is fascinating to the faerie. They intrigue her to the point that she considers giving up immortality to join them. The heaviness of the choice holds her back until she happens upon one human male that brings new meaning to her life, and strengthens her desire to step away from peace and beauty. The other side of a wish is rarely ever as glorious as one expects, however…something Talia soon finds out.

Faerie Wishes is a young adult romance novel, centered on the dual existence of humans and fae. I would pin it down as more of a mystical, rather than paranormal romance. Faeries like Talia just don’t seem to fit into the same category as demons and vampires. Quite the opposite. Mixing the real world with myth and legend is obviously a hugely popular right now, but unlike many other urban fantasy or paranormal romances out there, the focus is more on the experience of the characters than the mystical, often dangerous aspects of whatever fantastic element is employed.

The relationship between Talia and Cayden is the main focus of the book. Within their romance, the central problem is whether or not Talia is going to give up her immortality and join Cayden in the human world. I enjoyed the simplicity of the romance, but at times I did wish there had been a little more than just the two of them. Later in the book (probably not until the last third) you find out that in the past Talia harbored very deep feelings for another fae. This was an interesting addition to the story, and added good conflict, but when Deaghan was introduced I immediately wondered why he hadn't been mentioned earlier.

So much focus was put on Talia and Cayden with no external conflict through most of the book. Even though their relationship was very sweet, I did feel like it lacked some intensity because I had no reference point to compare their feelings for each other. Had I known from the beginning that in the past that Talia loved Deaghan, but had been spurned, her finding comfort in Cayden’s arms would have taken on new meaning for me. 

Another issue I had with their relationship was that the progression was very quick in the beginning, and then slowed down quite a bit. Talia sees Cayden the first time, and is intrigued, and then a few chapters later they are very much in love with each other. I’m not against love at first sight, but this felt very abrupt because there was very little lead-in to the sudden change. Then, for a large section of the book the relationship stayed fairly stationary, focusing mainly on Talia’s choice. I felt like the progression could have been a little more fluid. The climax was done well, but it could have been even more impactful if there had been additional back story and a consistent building up to that point.

This next comment may not be an issue for every reader, but for some it may be. I found the level of editing to be a distraction throughout the book. I know how hard it is to edit when you self-publish. My books have some typos in them that need fixing once I’m done with final exams as well. Even the last Robert Jordan book I read had a couple of missing words and misspellings. But when it is consistent and interrupts the flow of the book, it can affect readability. I don’t think the editing issues were so major that it made the book unreadable, but more thorough editing would improve the flow and keep the reader from getting distracted.

Having brought up these points, I did enjoy the book. It was a charming love story with interesting characters, and a good moral. I thought it was a good casual read, especially for the upcoming summer months. It isn’t the kind of love story that will have you zipping through the pages, but I think it will appeal to upper middle grade, younger teen, and reluctant readers. There is no sex and almost no language, so it’s great for younger ages. Reluctant readers will probably also enjoy the streamlined plot and smaller cast of characters. And let’s face it, most kids could use a reminder that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, but it won’t be for everyone. If you’re looking for a cozy romance you’ll enjoy it, but if you want intense relationships and complicated plots this may not be the book for you.

Who would I recommend this book to? I would suggest readers aged 9-14, reluctant readers, and those readers enjoy stories of the fae.

Faerie Wishes is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lulu, and Smashwords

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Favorites from "Faerie Wishes"

I read all kinds of genres, reading levels, and topics because I just love to read, but young adult fiction has always been my favorite. What I love about YA is that you can usually get a great story without so much of the violence, language, and sex. I know that's changing in some ways, but one of the nice things about Faerie Wishes is that is captured that young, slightly naive, tone that is really one seen in kids.

The cast of characters is small in this book, but I did enjoy Juniper. I liked how she was able to counsele her friend without trying to force her into a choice. Those kind of friends aren't always easy to find.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the simplicity of the book. I'm a fan of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and I love the intricacy of their plots and characters, but every once in a while it is nice to have a story paired down to the basics so you can focus on the characters.

These are just a few tidbits about the book I wanted to share today. Tomorrow I'll have a full review posted for Faerie Wishes, so stop back by tomorrow to find out more!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interview with Valerie Bowen (author of Faerie Wishes)

This week’s featured author is Valerie Bowen, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about herself and her writing. So read on to find out more about Valerie, faeries, and even Amelia.

1. What was the inspiration for Faerie Wishes? 

Wow that is a tough question. I wrote Faerie Wishes for a friends daughter. She never seemed to be happy with her life, so I took the old saying "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" and added a little twist to it. Everyone knows a human always wishes to be a faerie, but rarely do we hear of a faerie wishing to be human.

2. There are many legends and myths about the Fae. How much research did you do for this book, or did you create your own legends? 

Actually there are more legends and myths about the fae than I care to mention. I did do a lot of research even down to the name Talia Saturnfrost. Although she wasn't designed after any particular myth, her image popped into my mind when I first decided to write this novel. 

3. In the beginning, Talia is faced with making a wish to send her into the human world, or staying with her sisters. How did you come up with the rules for the wish granting?

The rules of the wish game was a rather easy idea. I simply decided the fae only knew a tree sprite could grant wishes. Juniper knew she was allotted only a certain amount of wishes before her life was over. I had to make a strong friendship bond between Talia and Juniper so the reader would understand the meaning of true friendship. I wanted the young adults to realize with a friend's love they could accomplish their dreams...but at what cost? Talia was a little naive as to Juniper's wish granting capabilities, she never stopped to think what her selfishness would do to her dear friend.   

4. Cayden and Talia come from very different worlds. How did you balance their differences in the book? 

I balanced them by making them both lonely and in need of love. Everyone in life craves the love of another. I needed to show the reader discrimination in our world is not acceptable by placing a fae with a human. This just shows we can't control who we fall in love with (a simple lesson for the real life humans to learn).

5. Talia's experience in the human world is more complicated than she expected. Can you describe your process of deciding what she would face? Do you plan everything out, or let the story develop as you write? 

To tell you the truth, I imagined the fae realm to be quite different than the human realm. So in my mind I imagined how gravity would play out to a creature from a realm with little or no gravity. I just wrote what I imagined, and I think that particular chapter in the book was quite comical.

6. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? 

I have to admit when I'm writing there is little that distracts me. I have no rituals or interesting habits, although I do find my self easily distracted. I always write directly on a word document. With that said, I find myself searching the internet or procrastinating on social websites. I never put a time limit on my writing, when the ideas come into my head I put them on the computer screen.

7. Who are your favorite authors? 

I would have to say one of my absolute favorite authors is Dianna Gabaldon. I love the way she brings her characters to life. I think reading her books gave me insight as far as describing people and landscapes. Another favorite author is Karen Marin Moning. she also has a way of pulling the reader into a time long past..

8. Your other books are quite different from Faerie Wishes. What genre do you feel is your niche? Or do you see yourself as a multi-genre writer? 

I have often wondered that myself. The Amelia series was my first attempt at writing, and I must say I have received many compliments from the readers. I never thought for a moment that I could write a novel geared specifically for young adults. I think my actual niche is leaning more toward the thrill of the kill. I have been writing a series about a psychotic killer and have found myself engrossed in the madness. I know it probably sounds a bit warped, but I found it was exciting to write a great murder scene.

9. Can you tell us a little about your publishing experience? 

My publishing experience has been quite easy. It all came about with a post on Facebook. I said, "I had to go to do some writing" well one thing lead to another and a contact asked me if he could read my novel. So I sent For the Sake of Amelia Tormented to him and he read the entire book in one day. He then asked if his wife could read it...well to make a long story short she put me in contact with an indie writer that gave me some answers to my questions. You have to understand at this point, I had never heard of indie writers, let alone self publishing. After much research I decided to publish on smashwords which in turn I decided it was easy enough, so I published on amazon and Barnes. The paperback was a bit tougher to comprehend, I wanted to do everything myself. I chose lulu for the pod and asked a friend to design the cover from a photo I had taken while vacationing in Camden, Maine. I have to say if your willing to do the work yourself, it won't cost a dime for you to bring your novels to the hands of the reader.

Since the time of the Amelia series, I discovered a better way of getting my novels out to the brick and mortar bookstores. I investigated how to purchase my own ISBN number so the entire book and the publishing rights would belong to only me...the writer. Although Lulu and Create Space will assign an ISBN the actual number doesn't belong to you, it belongs to the company who provided the number. So in reality, you may have self published the book, but the actual distribution and printing rights belongs to the company who gave the ISBN to you. To make another long story short, I purchased my ISBN's from my novels the have my ISBN's can be distributed through Ingram books and they can be ordered by libraries as well as the brick and mortar book stores. I also want to add, now that my novels have my own numbers purchased from Bowker, they are in the Library of Congress (this is done at the time you assign the book a number). With a Lulu or Create Space number you don't own the rights to place your novels in the Library of Congress (just something to think about). 

10. Can you tell us a little more about the Amelia series?

The Amelia series is a story about a woman who had been brutally abused by her ex-husband and her determination to take back her life and to stop living in fear. Although in the novel Amelia was brutally whipped, I tried to get the message out to anyone that has suffered abuse in their lives no matter how slight or evil, there are always people willing to help you get away from a potentially harmful situation. In the story, Amelia's ex-husband makes a vow in the courtroom to finish the job he started as soon as he's released from prison. Amelia decides to move from her home in Kansas to a place she thought her ex could never find her. As the story progresses she falls in love with a man that is more than willing to protect her for her abusive past only to realize the ex has hired someone to do the evil deed for him. The Amelia series is a roller coaster ride of emotions as the reader is pulled into the loving and terrifying world of Amelia's. Throughout the series you see Amelia go from a strong woman to a terrified person that can't be alone. By series end she comes out a stronger person, taking back everything that the men in her past had taken from her. 
Thanks to Valerie for sharing with us. If your haven’t gotten a copy yet, Faerie Wishes is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lulu, and Smashwords