Friday, November 30, 2012

Review: You're Busting My Nuptials

Tizzy and Ridge made it through the murder investigation that brought them together, but on the day meant to be their happiest...Ridge is nowhere to be found. Rumors that Ridge bailed on the wedding get Tizzy riled up and ready to hunt Ridge down. She fully intends to prove everyone wrong. She knows Ridge would never abandon her. Her gut tells her something is very wrong, and apparently she and her band of eccentric friends are the only ones willing to find Ridge. 

Tizzy's search to find Ridge is a serious problem, where she suspects the man she loves is in very real danger. That doesn't keep Ann Everett from throwing in a whole mess of hilarious situations and outlandish detours. I love Everett's humor. At times it is over the top, but never in an annoying way. Paralyzing fears of clowns and garden gnomes could be a turn off in the wrong hands, but Everett weaves every humorous element into the story seamlessly. The amount of humor was always well balanced with tender moments where the reader gets to see inside Tizzy's head and really experience the emotional struggle she faces. 

The characters in Ann Everett's books are very well written. Their are goofy elements to each character, but these fun aspects make each one come alive, and give the reader confidence that a situation always has the potential to devolve into hilarity. Even Tizzy's daughter, who isn't a main focus of the book, has a backstory that compels readers to care about her and hope everything turns out for her sake as well as Tizzy's. It's even more fun knowing that many of the characters are based on real people.

The mystery surrounding Ridge's disappearance does not take a backseat to the humor in this book. Each step in the search to figure out where and why Ridge disappeared was well though out. Everett throws out possibilities to give the reader plenty of possible endings, but keeps the secret right up to the end. I enjoyed following the trail with Tizzy the whole way. 

Overall, this was a fabulous book. There's so much love about it. Even though Ridge is not in this book as much of the first, the romance remains strong throughout. Those looking for a well developed mystery will enjoy the search for Ridge. And of course, Everett will keep you laughing the whole way through. The emotional ride pulls readers along from scene to scene. You'll be laughing one moment, then tearing up next. Everett weaves a wonderful tale of humor, love, and danger. 

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! I loved every part of this book. It's a great read that many readers will enjoy. 

Who would I recommend this book to? Romance, mystery, and humor readers will eat this book up. It's hard to find a group that wouldn't enjoy this book. Ann Everett will quickly become a favorite for readers of many genres. The only warning I want to point out is that some of the romantic scenes may not be appropriate for younger readers. 

You're Busting My Nuptials is available now from Amazon in paperback and Kindle, as well as from Ann Everett's website

You can also get in on the fun of the Tizzy/Ridge Trilogy by helping Ann name her next book. Head over to Ann's website to find out how you can read an excerpt from the third book and make your suggestion for a title. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Favorites: You're Busting My Nuptials

No one can deny the humor in Ann Everett's writing, but one of my favorite aspects of this book is how well balanced it is. It isn't just comedy. The characters are hilarious, with their fears of garden gnomes and creative names for baked goods, but there are plenty of moments when the seriousness of the situation will strike deeply with readers. 

In between posing as strippers and coming up with new taglines for selling jeans, Tizzy is trying to deal with the disappearance of her fiance. Making this even harder is the fact that not everyone believes he disappeared. Rumors that Ridge ran away hurt Tizzy and make it hard to answer her daughter's questions about where Ridge has gone. 

You're Busting My Nuptials is not another superficial comedy. Readers will enjoy the humor and connect with the struggle Tizzy faces as she tries to find out what happened to Ridge. 

You're Busting My Nuptials is available now from Amazon in paperback and Kindle, as well as from Ann Everett's website

You can also get in on the fun of the Tizzy/Ridge Trilogy by helping Ann name her next book. Head over to Ann's website to find out how you can read an excerpt from the third book and make your suggestion for a title. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post: Ann Everett

Ann Everett is here today talking about what inspired her wonderful characters and the town they call home. Keep reading to find out more! 


When I was going up in Brownsboro, Texas, I thought the world stopped at the city limits. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to live anywhere else. Maybe it was my lack of imagination or simply my love of small town life. But whatever the reason, I look back now and wonder— what the heck was I thinking?
I lived in Brownsboro until 1967 at which time it had a population of about 400. Today, its population is slightly over a thousand.

Both of my humorous, romance, mysteries, LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT, and YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS, take place in Brownsboro. It’s located half-way between Tyler and Athens, Texas, on Hwy. 31. Unless the route you’re traveling takes you down Hwy. 31, you’ll miss Brownsboro, because you’ll use I-20 and by-pass the small town with one main street and two red lights.

 It’s my feeble attempt to put it on the map…literally. Some maps don’t show it, it’s just too small. Of course there are hundreds of towns in Texas like that.

So, many of the scenes in my books are taken from locations and a mixture of characters I’ve known…and know. Some of the silly sayings I use are things I’ve heard all my life. Such as:
When that woman dies, she’ll be deader than everybody else….Pattiecake, Laid Out and Candle Lit

I’d rather be stung to death by a bunch of piss ants…Synola Harper, You’re Busting My Nuptials
Nobody don’t like no bone, even a dog will bury it every time…Eldora, You’re Busting My Nuptials

Many of the names I use in my books are from my family. Pattiecake and Sugarpie are based on me and my sister. Of course, it’s fiction, so I made us younger and with bigger boobs. We actually go by those names. That’s what our grandchildren call us, and now just about everyone else. 

Sheriff Dan McAlister is based on my brother, Dan, who was in law enforcement for many years. Saint McAlister, Tizzy and Dan’s dad, is based on my real daddy, who went by the nickname Saint. Most people didn’t know his real name was actually William.
I always find it funny when someone mentions cliché’s found in a Texas novel. Texas is one big cliché! People in small towns really do talk exactly the way I have them talking in my books. Not so much in Dallas or other metropolitan areas, but small town folks still talk twang and I find it funny as all get out! 

Laid Out and Candle Lit and You’re Busting My Nuptials are the first and second installments of the Tizzy/Ridge Trilogy. The third and final book will revolve around the “real” girls from my graduating class at Brownsboro High School…GO BEARS! There were 16 of us and I’m excited to include them in the final book of this series.

I’m having a contest to name the third book. Please go to my website, and read the first chapter, then email me with your entry. I’ve already had several suggestions and I’d love to have more. You won’t win a big prize, but if you win, you’ll get credit in the book.
If you have questions concerning Brownsboro or my books, please feel free to contact me."

Check out Ann's books today!


Excerpt from You're Busting My Nuptials

Tizzy knocked back the rest of the drink and
thought of every possible scenario for Ridge’s absence.
Wrong church? There was only one Methodist
Church in town. Flat tire? He lived close enough to
walk to the ceremony. Cell phone gone dead? Two
land lines were at his disposal. Heart attack? The
chance of that couldn’t be high, but it would definitely
be the best excuse.
“No, Rayann. It’s been over an hour. He isn’t
answering his phone. Daddy went to his house. His
truck’s gone. He’s not coming.” She started to pace.
Her bare feet sank into the deep carpet, a small comfort
against the ache the rest of her body was suffering.
“What’s wrong with me? My first husband joined the
Marines to get away and now Ridge doesn’t show up
for our wedding. Am I that bad?”
Rayann fell in beside Tizzy and matched her
pace. They zigzagged across the room like a band
formation during a half-time show. “C’mon, Tiz. It
has nothing to do with you. Boone enlisted to avoid
Marlene. You know better than anybody what a witch
his sister was. He didn’t want to spend his life working
with her at the bank.”
Tizzy stopped at a small table and stared down
at her wedding invitation. James Ridge Cooper and
Marjorie Louise “Tizzy” Donovan, request the honor
of your presence.
Up until an hour ago, it had been a perfect day.
There’d not been a cloud in the sky. The sun shone
across a heaven of endless blue, and the temperature
hovered in the upper sixties. It held promise of being
one of the best days of Tizzy’s life and now was turning
out to be one of her worst.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Introducing: Ann Everett

You can't read any of Ann's book without wondering who the talented writer is who wrote them and where her inspiration for the characters and town came from. Today you will have the chance to learn more about Ann Everett, and come back tomorrow for Ann's guest post where she will talk about the real life characters and town that inspired her book. 

"Ann Everett is a Texas girl from her big-bar-hair down to her bare toes. For many years she did stand-up comedy for businesses, corporations, and non-profit organizations.

Creator of the White Trash Facelift, halter tops, and beer bling bracelets, Ann embraces her small town upbringing and thinks Texans are the funniest people on earth.

She’s an award winning author and active member of Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization where she serves as director of their twenty-seventh annual writers’ conference.

When Ann’s not writing, she spends her days listening in on people’s conversations at the local Wal-Mart, beauty shop, grocery store, and numerous other gathering spots. She draws from that research to pen her romantic comedies full of southern sass and Texas twang." 

To follow her blog and learn more about Ann, go to or follow her on Twitter: @Talkin’ Twang

You can also get in on the fun of the Tizzy/Ridge Trilogy by helping Ann name her next book. Head over to Ann's website to find out how you can read an exerpt from the third book and make your suggestion for a title. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Book: You're Busting My Nuptials

Ann Everett last visited us with her hilarious Southern mystery, "Laid Out and Candle Lit." She's back with the next book in her series, You're Busting My Nuptials! Jump back into small town life and big mysteries when Tizzy Donovan gets thrown into yet another mess, one closer to home than ever. 

"You are invited to a Wedding! After almost five years, widow and single mother, Tizzy Donovan finally met the man of her dreams in Texas Ranger Ridge Cooper. But when he fails to show up for their wedding, she’s determined to find out why. 

Enlisting the help of first cousin Jinx Monroe, and best friends, Rayann Tatum and Synola Harper, it’s not long until they’re dealing with clowns, yard gnomes, a missing stripper, and a Baptist deacon. After a car chase and gun fight, head-strong Tizzy is more committed than ever to claim her happily-ever-after. All she needs is a séance with an old witch and a little help from Positive Jesus." 

Praise for You’re Busting My Nuptials: 

“What stands out with an Ann Everett novel is her true-grit Texas writing. She lets you know what her characters are thinking and pulls you into their world, a world where you'd like to be.” —Teri C. Taylor, Girls From the Trailer-Phoenix Rising 

“Ann Everett captures the flavor of the south. The characters are real, funny, and larger than life!” —Patty Wiseman, An Unlikely Arrangement 

“Ann Everett’s Tizzy/Ridge series is a fresh breath of east Texas air, laced with the heady aroma coming from Sweet Thangs Bakery.” —Susan Royal, Not Long Ago

You're Busting My Nuptials is available now from Amazon in paperback and Kindle, as well as from Ann Everett's website

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cover Reveal: Lie to Me (Angela Fristoe)

Angela Fristoe is following up her debut novel, "Songbird," a touching story of loss and starting over with a new series! 

Lie to Me is the first book in Angela's, "A Touched Trilogy," the story of three sisters who have very special gifts. Whether these gifts are a blessing or a curse remains to be seen. 

Lie to Me  is available now from Smashwords and will be available from other major retailers soon. 

Come back January 28 - February 1st for a full week feature on Lie to Me!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Violet Shadows

Without her brother, Violet feels lost. Tristan gave his life as a Royal Air Force pilot in the war, and Violet now feels she must give just as much to not only avenge her brother, but follow his example of strength and bravery. Joining the French Resistance and donning the name Marie could give her what she wants...until she meets Philippe, one of the French gendarme - her enemy. 

Violet Shadows is a novella featuring the struggle of Violet Creeley to find her place in the now lonely world and serve a purpose. She has all but given up on having a real life. Her goal is to lose herself in a worthy effort and sacrifice as her brother did. The beauty of this story is that Violet's search for death leads her to experience life in a way she never expected. Her journey is brief, but memorable. 

Violet is a complex character. Her motivations for joining the resistance stem from the death of her brother, but also from being a very lost young woman who no longer seems to have a purpose in life. She basically borrows her brother's passion and purpose in the best way she can, and attempts to live the life he lost. This complex and deep motivation was a theme with all the characters. Even Jean, the roguish resistance fighter no one really trusts, has deeper motivations than you might think. Philippe, the French gendarme Violet befriends, is on the other side of the war effort, but his motivations are profound as well. The characters in this book make the story. The setting is France during the second world war, but the real focus is the lives of these people. Readers will care what happens to each one and want to follow their journey. 

The relationship between Violet and Philippe is also another drawing point. When they first meet, Violet is frightened and resistant. Philippe is the enemy, after all. But it quickly becomes apparent that Philippe wants a friend, not another person to arrest. Their friendship builds slowly. You won't get pages of steamy encounters. What you will get is a realistic portrayal of two people in very difficult circumstances becoming friends in the middle of a less than ideal situation. Both are faced with tough choices and heartbreak. Their story is one worth following to the end. 

This was a story I enjoyed quite a bit, for its history and characters. My only real complaint was that parts of the story could have been developed further. This was a novella, but I was left wondering at the end why the author didn't expand such a deep story. I found myself wanting to experience more with Violet and Phillipe, as well as Father Michel and the other Resistance fighters. There were opportunities to delve into the characters and story deeper that weren't taken. I enjoyed the book as it was, but I do think there were missed opportunities to expound on this story. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. It's a quick read, but a worthwhile one. The characters will suck readers into their story. 

Who would I recommend this book to? This is a book that is a little harder to place. It has appeal to WW2-era and historical readers, but it doesn't go into as much detail about the circumstances of the time as other historical novels I've reviewed. The relationship is very well done, but is not as intense as those looking for a "romance" story might expect. This book is for those who are looking for a character driven, thought provoking read. It's one that will stay with you for a while. 

Violet Shadows is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

You can win a copy of Violet Shadows this week by entering the Rafflecopter widget below. 

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Favorites: Violet Shadows

Aside from the fascinating history of the French Resistance during WW2 portrayed in Violet Shadows, the characters and their various motivations really struck me. Each character introduced has a story, and each story has provided that character with motivations for their actions during the war. 

Marie/Violet wants vengeance for her brothers death. Father Michel wants to do what is right and protect the parishioners in his care. Jean wants to serve his own needs, and for the moment the Resistance seem to serve his purposes. You even get to see a little of those serving on the opposite side of the movement. 

What was so interesting about these characters is that Melanie Rose was able to make you understand both sides, to a certain degree. No character was superficial. Each had motivations that drew you in and made you care about their lives, and whether or not they would be successful. The depth of characters pulls readers into this glimpse of 1940s France. 

Violet Shadows is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

You can win a copy of Violet Shadows this week by entering the Rafflecopter widget below. 

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interview: Melanie Rose

Today, Melanie Rose is on The Edible Bookshelf talking about the inspiration behind Violet Shadows, and about her writing life and future projects. Read on to find out more!

1. What was your inspiration for "Violet Shadows?" The character of Violet/Marie was introduced in my earlier novel, Ashford, as a side character.  She was one of my favorite characters to write, so it seemed natural to continue her story.  Though Violet Shadows is not a sequel, per se, there are a few references which readers of Ashford will appreciate.  I've been fascinated for years with the French Resistance during WWII and particularly with the young English women who went to France under cover, so the research for Violet Shadows was particularly enjoyable.

2. What spurred Marie/Violet to engage in such dangerous work? Basically, it's revenge, though that's mixed with plenty of other motives.  Early on we learn that her only brother Tristan was a Royal Air Force pilot who was killed when his plane was shot down over Germany.  His death left her alone, and her personality is the sort that uses action to overcome grief.  Working with the resistance is her way of punishing the people who killed her first anyway.

3. Jean is paired with Marie as she works. Can you tell us a little about his character? Jean is that co-worker we've all had...he's annoying and kind of creepy and you wish you could avoid him but you can't because he's really fairly good at his job.  He has good points.  He's brave, and, like I said, he's good at his job, but he's also overconfident, and he's a complete opportunist.  He doesn't really care about anyone but himself.  Even though he's her partner, Marie can't ever quite bring herself to trust him.

4. Marie is struck by Father Michel's attitude and the way he carries himself. Can you tell us more about this character? Father Michel is one of my favorite characters.  When I was doing the research for Violet Shadows I came across a lot of information about Catholic priests who worked with the resistance movement, in France and elsewhere, during the war.  The Vatican's official status of neutrality created the perfect cover, and many priests became leaders within the movement.  That's where Father Michel came from.  In many ways he is the real hero of the story.  He is constantly pulled between what he feels to be his duty to protect the innocent, and his fear that the resistance fighters will descend to the same level as what they fight...yet he remains a center of calm in the midst of the insanity.  His strength of character provides a kind of solidity for Marie and gives her someone to trust.

5. Gendarmes was not a term I was familiar with before reading this book. Can you tell us who the gendarmes were? The gendarmes were the French police.  When the Germans invaded, they left the police structure in place, but the gendarmes became puppets of the Nazis.  This led to a sense of betrayal, as they were then often responsible for arresting their own neighbors to be sent to the labor camps.

6. Marie's goal in her work is to prove herself worthy, and if death is the price, so be it. What inspired this attitude? Marie has an almost unhealthy sense of duty, on top of which the death of her brother has made her feel that she has nothing left to lose.  At the beginning, death is almost her goal.  In her eyes, her brother made the ultimate sacrifice, and she feels that she can do no less.  She's kind of a mess.

7. Without giving away too much, in what ways does Marie change because of her experiences? I think she finds her heart again, and she learns to accept individuals on their own merit.

8. Who are your favorite authors? Elizabeth Goudge, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, Anthony Hope, Norton Juster, Tolkien, Muriel Barbery...and many more!  I'm a sucker for the classics, and just kind of an all around nerd.

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? It always begins with coffee, and good music.  I like to write in coffee shops.  It makes me feel sophisticated, but only if they serve their coffee in ceramic cups.

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? I just released a new edition of a children's book that I wrote years ago and my mother illustrated, An Amazing Alphabetic Anthology.  The print quality for the illustrations has really improved and the distribution is much better than it was when we first printed years ago I think.  I'm also working on a new novel.  It's still in it's early stages, but I'm pleased with how it's going so far.  I'm taking it in a different direction...a more contemporary setting, and a touch of the paranormal.  I'm having fun watching where it goes.

Check out Melanie's new website to stay up to date on her writing. 

Violet Shadows is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

You can win a copy of Violet Shadows this week by entering the Rafflecopter widget below. 

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Introducing: Melanie Rose

Get to know a little more about Melanie Rose. Find out what set her on a path to writing today, and tomorrow, come back for my interview with Melanie, where she'll be discussing the details and inspiration for Violet Shadows

"One day in her childhood, Melanie Rose told herself a story about the apple she was eating. It was a planet, inhabited by one tiny man-like creature who kept having to move house as his various residences were devoured by a giant alien. It was a tragedy, of course, ending in the planet's destruction, but the author has been telling herself stories ever since.

Melanie Rose currently resides in Chewelah, Washington, with her husband, singer/songwriter Aaron Gabriel, their dog Leo, and a hedgehog named Ferdinand. She loves to dance and travel. Her debut novel, Ashford, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion in 2012."

Violet Shadows is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

You can win a copy of Violet Shadows this week by entering the Rafflecopter widget below. 

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Monday, November 19, 2012

New Book: Violet Shadows

What happens when you join the resistance during WW2, but develop a friendship with a man from the other side of the war and are forced to choose? That is the question Violet is faced with in Violet Shadows. Read on to find out more. 

"Violet, turned Maria, entered Nazi-occupied France in the summer of 1943, seeking only a worthy death in the service of a noble cause. She did not expect that her quest for death would, in the end, teach her how to live."

Praise for Violet Shadows

"Melanie Rose delivers, once again...and writes prose as if playing classical music." --Katherine Owen, Author of Seeing Julia, Not To Us, and When I See You 

Violet Shadows is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

You can win a copy of Violet Shadows this week by entering the Rafflecopter widget below. 

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: The Blemished

GEMs and Blemished aren't meant to be together. Reproduction outside of genetic facilities is forbidden. Blemished genes can never be reproduced, and to make sure of that, Blemished women are subjected to sterilization. But Mina refuses to become one of those women. She yearns to live her life without the government hovering overhead. MIna's father attempts to keep her safe from GEMs and the operation alike, but Mina's special talent and the fact that she has set her mind to change the oppressive and frightening world she lives in pushes her right into the maw of danger. 

The interesting thing about this dystopian fantasy is that it isn't that far distant. The main character  Mina, is only a few decades late to experience the once beautiful and free England. Many of the older residents remember life before GEM took over and Blemished became segregated. Adding to the closeness of the story is that the idea of genetically enhanced humans is not that fantastical. Dalton did a good job of creating a world that was real enough to be frightening, but fantastical enough to be an enjoyable read. 

The idea of how the classes had been segregated was interesting as well. GEM are afforded all the comforts they want while Blemished are trained to serve their betters. The interesting thing about the Blemished was that only the girls went to school. The boys were apprenticed out to learn trades and were not taught to read and write. The feminist slant to this setup was what the author intended, but I was not sure there was any reason behind this decision. With the GEM's fear of the woman's ability to birth children, I wondered why they wouldn't keep the women as ignorant as possible. My other concern about the structure of this society is that if the Blemished weren't allowed to procreate, when the last of them died, who would serve the GEM? There were a few issues with the structure of this society, but overall, it worked to show the vileness of the government and the desperation of Mina's situation. 

The characters in The Blemished were very well done. The complexities of each person in the story added layers to every interaction. Dalton did well to show the hidden motives, uncertainty, or falseness of some characters through their words and actions. Murgatroyd was especially well done. This horrible woman clearly had deep seated issues that led to her actions. Readers get hints of what those are, but the majority is left to later books. I was very interested in learning more about her. Each of the characters experience emotional conflicts that tore at them, and their realistic reactions draw the readers in with every stab of pain or promise of happiness. 

The romantic side of this story was intriguing. You get introduced to the suave and charming Sebastian right off the bat and know he will be a factor, but then you meet Daniel, a strange yet compelling young man, and know he too will tug at Mina's heart. Add in the fact that Daniel's adoptive sister is also in love with Daniel, but Daniel only views her as family, and things get even more complicated. I was quite drawn in by the romantic elements of this book, however, I did feel the ultimate choice of who Mina would choose was fairly clear from the beginning. Not that Mina does make a choice by the end of the book, per se, but it was obvious who she wanted. What continued to pull me to the love story aspect was that their were still barriers to Mina getting what she wanted. I know who she will choose, but I'm not sure how she will get what she wants. 

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. I am definitely interesting in continuing the series, however there were a few issues that will hold me back from giving this book my top recommendation. The beginning chapters were rather a rough start for me. There were too many moments were I felt the influences of The Hunger Games and books like Gattica were too strong for this world to stand out on its own. The reason for genetic modification to get rid of pre-dispositions to disease seemed right out of Gattica, while the ghettos divided up into Area 10 and Area 14 were very reminiscent of The Hunger Games. Steering away from such stark comparisons would have helped the first few chapters set this book apart much better. 

There were some areas where the explanations of the world were doled out in big chunks rather than spread throughout the chapter that slowed my reading down a bit. At many times there were awkward transitions between scenes and I was left unsure for a few paragraphs of what was going on. Some areas were rushed through with a recap where it would have been more beneficial to experience the moment along with Mina. For example, the first time she witnesses Daniel collapse after a vision. There is also some language used, but it is infrequent. The editing was also in need of improvement. The use of commas between independent and dependent clauses was lacking, and there were multiple missing words. The editing errors did slow down my reading in many places. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. It was an entertaining read with good, deep characters. 

Who would I recommend this book to? YA dystopian readers will enjoy this book. YA romance readers will enjoy it as well. This book does have crossover potential to adults, but I do think adults will be more bothered by some of the issues noted above than younger readers. 

Find out more about The Blemished by checking out the YouTube book trailer!

The Blemished is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Favorites: The Blemished

Something readers don't always get in YA fiction is real depth in the characters. Some writers bank on the love story or the action or the mystery of their book to carry the reader on to the end. It may be a very good story, but there is something missing, and readers know it. They want depth and complication. 

Sarah Dalton provided plenty of depth in her characters. The cast of The Blemished held and array of deep backstories, twisted motives, and conflicting emotions. This enhanced the romantic elements of the book, as well as made the "villains" much more realistic. 

One of my favorite characters in this book was Murgatroyd. For those that have read The Blemished, that may seem odd since this woman is the bane of Mina's existence. She is a horrible woman, yes, but she has very complicated reasons for her actions and an emotional depth that exceeded any other secondary character. I honestly look forward to reading more about this woman and finding out what turned her into a woman who canes children and hunts them down relentlessly. I'm sure it will be a fascinating story. 

Find out more about The Blemished by checking out the YouTube book trailer!

The Blemished is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interview: Sarah Dalton

Half cloned, half natural human...GEM and Blemished...Let's find out more about this dystopian world created by Sarah Dalton. 

1. What was your inspiration for "The Blemished?" I've always been interested in the idea of human cloning and the pros and cons behind it. I was a teenager when scientists cloned Dolly the sheep and I just found it fascinating that humans can do that. I've read a lot of Margaret Atwood, she's a huge influence on my writing, I love her feminist themes and clever twists on a futuristic society. I wanted to write something akin to Atwood but for a younger audience. I want teenagers to have a strongly feminist sci-fi book that maybe makes them think a little more or a little differently about the world. When I read 'The Handmaid's Tale' I had an 'Oh!' moment and I want that for other teenage girls. 

2. What were your influences when creating the structure of this dystopian world? One of the biggest themes in the book is about segregation and poverty. I wanted to write a world where the two opposites of the extreme - rich and poor - are shown with a great divide. I want the reader to be able to picture what a ghetto looks like and I want them to picture the 'GEM' district with ease. The structure came out of these ideas. 

3. Can you give us a little information on the difference between a clone and a GEM? A GEM is not a replica of another human, they are genetically altered. The idea is that a parent can decide what sort of child they want to have, what they want them to look like and what they want their personality to be. The scientists then splice these genes together to create a perfect child. 

4. The main character, Mina, is a Blemished. can you explain a little about what this means? A 'Blemished' person is someone who has been born without any genetic alteration. The Genetic Enhancement Ministry have a law that if a family want to procreate it must be through genetic altering and they must have at least some genetic make-up from the parents. People who have been marked 'Blemished' have genetic history of illnesses, such as a predisposition to cancer or mental illness, and are then banned from having children all together. They are not allowed to share their genes. 

The GEM believe this is the way to create a strong, healthy race of human beings, filtering out diseases like cancer. In reality it has become a cruel way of controlling people. Because Mina is Blemished, she is facing the 'Operation' to make her sterile for life. 

 5. Do to a frightening event, Mina's outlook on the world around her begins to change. Without giving away too much, can you explain how she changes? She realises, deep within herself, that she has to fight back. She also realises that she has the power to do this, that she is stronger than most other people. 

6. The two main male characters are quite different. Can you tell us about their differences and how they affect Mina? Mina is drawn to both of them, but it's only as she gets to know them that she realises what she wants. One of the male characters turns out to be quite controlling and intense (due to family problems rather than being a nasty person) whereas the other character lets Mina decide for herself and never takes away her decisions. There's been a fashion for controlling men in fiction for the last few years, girls are being shown to desire these characters who are very intense and often rich and powerful, I wanted to show the teenage girls reading my story that life isn't like that. They aren't the good guys. When you compare the two characters side by side you can see this, but in books where the only option is the intense and controlling man, you don't see this.  

7. The effects of this society on the parents greatly affects the young characters. Can you explain more about this? We meet the characters only a few decades after the fighting and the revolution of Britain, called the 'Fracture', first started. The older characters remember the events. They have lived through them, faced all the changes and in some cases been forced into a medical procedure they didn't want. There are many attempts at escapism, especially drinking, but there are also rumours that the medical procedure causes dementia in women. One of the young characters has to get help for her mum, because no one else will help her.

8. Who are your favorite authors? Well, I've mentioned Margaret Atwood, obviously! I love sci-fi by Ray Bradbury and John Wyndham. But I also love American literature, particularly JD Salinger and Richard Yates. I love Victorian literature too, Bram Stoker, Emily Bronte and Oscar Wilde. I read across the board! 

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? Not really, unless you count 'TV breaks'. Every so often I break and watch TV on my computer for a while! Most writers hate distractions but I find that they keep me sane.

10. can you tell us about any future projects? Well, I'm putting the finishing touches onto the second book in the series, titled 'The Vanished'. I'm writing a book for nanowrimo which is completely different! Then I'm going to write the third in the series. I'm hoping to write a series of either short stories or novellas for some of the main characters in The Blemished. I'd like to write something for Elena, definitely. Watch this space! 


For updates and more information follow Sarah on twitter @sarahdalton and Facebook, or visit her blog

Find out more about The Blemished by checking out the YouTube book trailer!

The Blemished is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Introducing: Sarah Dalton

It's time to find out more about the created of the world of the GEM. REad on to find out more about Sarah Dalton. 

"Sarah grew up in the middle of nowhere in the countryside of Derbyshire and as a result has an over-active imagination. She has been an avid reader of most of her life, taking inspiration from the stories she read as a child, and the novels she devoured as an adult.

Sarah mainly writes speculative fiction for a Young Adult audience and has had pieces of short fiction published in Apex magazine, PANK magazine and the British Fantasy Society publicationDark Horizons. Her short story ‘Vampires Wear Chanel’ is featured in the Wyvern Publication Fangtales available on Amazon.

She has recently published her first novel The Blemished, a dystiopian for young adults, which is set in a fractured Britain controlled by the Genetic Enhancement Ministry." 

For updates and more information follow Sarah on twitter @sarahdalton and Facebook, or visit her blog

Find out more about The Blemished by checking out the YouTube book trailer!

The Blemished is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Book: The Blemished

Genetically modified foods are a hot topic right now, but what about genetically modified humans? What would the world become if babies were designed, modeled after past superstars, treasured for their beauty over everything else? Sarah Dalton attempts to answer that question in The Blemished

"A beautiful world comes at a price...

In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child.

Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to…

The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion." 

Find out more about The Blemished by checking out the YouTube book trailer!

The Blemished is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Louisiana Longshot

In Fortune's mind, blowing her cover to save another woman's life wasn't a mistake. It was the right thing to do. Her boss doesn't agree. Regardless of who's right and who's wrong, the fact is, Fortune now has a price on her head. Hiding is the last thing she wants to do. Pretending to be an ex-beauty queen turned librarian...Fortune would rather takes her chances with the hitmen. Promises that Sinful, Louisiana will be the perfect place for her to lay low only last until a human bone turns up in her backyard on her first night in town. 

The setting for this book is so enjoyable. I loved meeting the people of Sinful and finding out about them and their town. It's such a fun and unique little town with the race to get the world's best banana pudding and the Sinful Ladies Society running pretty much everything. There are laws about everything under the sun, and a story for every one. Nothing about this town was flat. 

The characters were just as good. It was hard to say even the secondary characters were really all that secondary. Each person you meet is very realistic and meld's into the overall story seamlessly. DeLeon does a great job of hinting at what some character's story might entail, but leaving you wondering and ready to pick up the next book. Fortune and the Sinful Ladies Society gals are fabulous characters. They had me laughing half the time and kept me curious about what these eccentric older ladies were really hiding. They really kept the story moving well. I was interested in them as characters as well as in the story as a whole. 

Fortune, especially is a great character. Her initial reaction to small town life is funny and believable, and watching her try to adjust and not blow her cover for a second time was just too funny. Not only that, but she's a strong female character who is ready to take care of business, but in many situations can't. Her emotion and struggles throughout the book were paired well. She was definitely a character I cared about and would like to read more about. 

Deputy Carter LeBlanc was a good character as well. He doesn't play as prominent a role as I was expecting, but DeLeon hinted at a deeper story that will be touched on in later books. He's a complex character, not to mention handsome, and he is someone that catches your attention even though he isn't trying. I look forward to watching his relationship with Fortune develop in later books. 

The mystery that the main plot is centered around was well done. DeLeon throws out enough "maybes" to keep you guessing about what really happening, and keeps you entertained up to the end. I thought the mystery was planned out very well and wrapped up nicely at the end. Even though it was the main plot, I felt like Fortune and her new friends were really the main story. Overall, it was a very enjoyable book that I had a difficult time putting down. 

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. It was funny, entertaining, and interesting. The characters and plot were both very well done. 

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who enjoys good Southern humor, mystery readers, chick lit's really a book a lot of people will enjoy. The only thing that might not be what people expect is that the romance is not a strong feature in this book, but it promises to play a more prominent role in late volumes. 

Louisiana Longshot is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

You can also enter to win a $25 eGiftcard to Amazon for Barnes and Noble courtesy of Jana DeLeon!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Favorites: Louisiana Longshot

Having grown up in a small town, I love reading about the quirks and eccentricities of small towns, real or fictional. It's always fun to hear about a greased poll climbing competition or the Sunday mad dash for Banana Pudding. (That first one is from my own home town :-)

While Sinful is maybe a little more unique than some people may think is possible, DeLeon makes it feel as real as if you had lived there your whole life. Everyone has a history in the town. There are secrets. There is intrigue. There are plots. 

Sinful is such a fun place to set a book. On the surface, it seems like a great place to hide from a pack of goons looking to kill you. Who could guess that this tiny town was a hotbed for murder, gun-toting old ladies, and mystery? This is one small town that's hard to forget. 

Louisiana Longshot is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

You can also enter to win a $25 eGiftcard to Amazon for Barnes and Noble courtesy of Jana DeLeon!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Interview: Jana DeLeon

Let's find out more about the inspiration behind this very funny story of a CIA agent in hiding turned Sinful Ladies Society co-conspirator came from!

1. What was your inspiration for "Louisiana Longshot?" I don’t really think it was one particular thing. I love fish-out-of-water stories, and the idea of making a tough girl morph into a girly girl appealed to me. I loved the movie Miss Congeniality, and I’m sure that contributed to my storyline. I have also always wanted to be an assassin. It sounds like a really cool job. 

2. The main character's nickname is "Fortune." Can you tell us about this nickname? Groups of “tough guys” – firemen, military, cops, etc. – often assign nicknames to each other based on something they’ve done while on duty. If you’re lucky, it was something you did well and not something embarrassing. Fortune claims her nickname came from Soldier of Fortune magazine, but that’s not all there is to the story. Over time, readers will learn more about Fortune’s secrets.

3. Sinful is a great town for a book to be set in. What inspired this unique town? People who have never lived in a small town often have this Hollywood idea of beautiful landscaping and women baking pies that they share with neighbors. There’s no crime, divorce or sadness in them and people even iron their bed sheets. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. People in small towns are no different than people in cities except that in small towns everything you do is more noticeable, so people go to greater lengths to hide their less-than-desirable behavior. I thought Sinful was the perfect name, especially since a lot of the day-to-day conflict surrounds the two rival church congregations.

4. Anyone who reads this book will find themselves wanting banana pudding when they're done. What made you decide to center the town conflict around pudding? I was raised Southern Baptist-which pretty much answers the question for other Southern Baptists. One of the favorite things to do in SB churches is covered dish lunch/supper. And the staple of all covered dish suppers is the banana pudding. I’ve actually heard a preacher do a sermon on obesity, but provide an “out” clause for banana pudding. 

5. The Sinful Ladies Society is made up of an interesting group of women. Without giving too much away, can you tell us about this group? In order to be a member of the Sinful Ladies Society, you have to be an old maid or widowed at least five years. The Sinful Ladies believe that cohabitating with men causes the brain to fog and it takes a decontamination period to return to the naturally occurring sharpness that a woman who’s not entangled with a man has on a daily basis. The Sinful Ladies Society has been overtly running the town since Vietnam.

6. The main character, Fortune, is hiding out in Sinful, but ends up in a whole other mess. Can you give us the basics of how she gets tangled up in a Sinful murder mystery? Fortune is assuming the identity of a librarian/ex-beauty queen who is supposed to be in Sinful to take care of her late aunt’s estate. Along with the house and furniture, she inherited an ancient hound dog named Bones, who digs up a human bone in her backyard her first evening in town.

7. Can you tell us a little about the deputy and his role in the book? Deputy Carter LeBlanc is young, sexy and a former Marine. For reasons yet unknown, he returned to his hometown of Sinful when his military service ended. He has a keen eye and seems to run into Fortune at the worst possible times—for Fortune.

8. Who are your favorite authors? There are so many! But my tried and true favorites are Agatha Christie, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Stephen King. I’m not sure what anyone will make of that combination, but there you have it.

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? First thing in the morning, I write in a local café. I’ve been writing this way for years. I have a favorite waitress, who has become a close friend, who serves as food delivery and secretary as she reminds me when it’s time to eat so that I could make my day job on time.

When working at home, I have to have the television on. I am accustomed to writing with noise, but can’t listen to music. I’m a classically trained violinist and find that music distracts me because I start listening for the different instruments. I always play something on television that I’ve already seen, so I have no compulsion to spend all my time watching it. Netflix on demand movies is perfect for this. I think I’ve been through every season of the X-Files at least 20 times. 

10. Can you tell us about any other books or future projects? In addition to my single title humor, I write for Harlequin Intrigue. I have a 3-book related series releasing right now—Oct, Nov, Dec. I have another 3-book related series releasing with Harlequin next summer/fall. 

I will release the second in the Miss Fortune series (a follow-up to Louisiana Longshot) Spring 2013. In good news, November 2nd was my last day of full-time employment so I hope to release at least four single title humor books next year. 

Louisiana Longshot is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

You can also enter to win a $25 eGiftcard to Amazon for Barnes and Noble courtesy of Jana DeLeon!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Introducing: Jana DeLeon

Get to know more about Jana DeLeon and where the ideas for her funny and entertaining books come from. 

"Jana DeLeon was raised in southwest Louisiana among the bayous and gators. Her hometown is Carlyss, but you probably won't find it on a map. Jana spent thousands of childhood hours combing the bayous in a flat-bottom aluminum boat and even more reading books in a giant rope hammock at the end of the pier. She’s never stumbled across a mystery or a ghost like her heroines, but she's still hopeful.
She now resides in Dallas, Texas, with the most spoiled Sheltie in the world."

Louisiana Longshot is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook

You can also enter to win a $25 eGiftcard to Amazon for Barnes and Noble courtesy of Jana DeLeon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway