Wednesday, October 30, 2013

THE ANTIQUE LOVE by Helena Fairfax

One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book. Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way.


ebook, First eBook edition, 197 pages
Published August 30th 2013 by MuseItUp Publishing

First line:
"The tall man stood in the doorway for a second, his keen grey eyes sweeping the interior."

Good, clean romance that will make you wish for more such stories from Ms. Fairfax.
Penny is a romantic. She wants to find true love with a man who will be utterly in love with her. 
Kurt is a logical thinker and wants a wife who will not be romantic or passionate. 
The two meet at Penny's antique shop and Kurt is soon enthralled with the way Penny tells the stories and history of her antiques. He decides she's the perfect person to rennovate and furnish the house he just bought. 
But there isn't always a silver lining in England, even though it rains there often enough. Penny's business partner is mean and a thief. Thankfully, we don't have to deal with him too much. And thankfully, Kurt is there to protect Penny.
How will Penny be able to break through Kurt's protected heart and show him what love can be? Will Kurt be able to set aside the past to find romance and passion?

Rating: PG
V: No
L: No
S: kissing

Liked:
Penny
Kurt

Disliked:
Nothing

4 STARS
 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Three things I do to help me be a better writer


http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lp1t0fu5he1qcg4f2o1_400.jpg1. Read ~ I was musing on this yesterday. Why read when I could be spending the time writing? The answer: Reading helps me with grammar, dialogue, chapter endings, hooks, character arcs, etc etc. I'm not talking about plagiarism but learning from others style. Why did they start the book here? How do they build worlds? Who is the protag? What is the inciting incident?  I may not ask these questions as I read but when I finish, I often ponder on what I can take away from reading the particualr story that will strenthen my writing.

Over on a friends writerly blog, she posted three things she does to be a better writer. That got me thinking: if I wrote a post about what I do, what would I say?


2. Write ~ Every. Day. I don't care if it's blog posts or editing a chapter or writing 500 words, daily writing trains my brain and fingers. This reminds me of something I learned when I took anatomy in college. We have blood vessels feeding our heart and keeping it humming. For ease of this illustration, let's say you have twenty little vessels in your heart. If you experience a heart attack, fifteen vessels die. Ouch! That leaves five to work and that's not much. For health sake, Doctors suggest exercise to help our hearts. Why? Here is one reason: more blood vessels.

As we exercise, our heart pumps more blood and pumps it faster. So guess what our remarkable body does? "Grows" more vessels in our heart to help with the extra blood flow. Isn't that amazing? But why is it amazing and how does it apply to writing?

When you start exercising on a regular basis, your heart soon develops more blood vessels until you have, say, forty vessels. This time, if you have a heart attack and fifteen blood vessels die, how many are left? Twenty-five! Much better than five. It's worth it to get some physical exercise daily if you can, don't you think?

If we can write every day our writing grows and develops and strengthens. We find we are ready to write/edit as soon as we sit down to our computers or paper. When a crisis comes up and we need to miss a day, hopefully our writing muscles have enough vessels to carry on and keep the creativity humming until we can return again. Miss too many days and it feels like starting over or it takes longer to get started. Writing daily helps strengthen our good habit and skills. I promise you will benefit from it.


http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/ee/28/d7/ee28d7cd7817d25eb92a489eeb752047.jpg3. Learn ~ I began writing five years ago. This great story was rolling around inside my head, waiting to be written and read. After typing it out, I thought my baby was ready to debut. HA! I had not learned much about the writing, except what my English teachers tried to teach me. But there is more to writing then proper nouns, grammar and dangling modifiers. I needed to be educated. I read books, went to writer's conferences and joined a critique group. I will admit I've come a long way, but there is still much to learn. Which is good because learning keeps my brain and creativity fresh.
Never stop learning. I take one day out of the week to go through blog posts that teach me something from my craft. Then I usually take time to read about writing/editing/marketing as well. Many of my published author friends admit they can still learn more.


What do you do to be a better writer?

Let's hope there's more than one!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

FRIENDS AND TRAITORS (SLAYERS #2) Interview BLOG TOUR









Today I'm excited to have Janette Rallison, AKA CJ Hill visiting as her newest book, FRIENDS and TRAITORS, releases. We are practically besties because we both have twins and we know where Chandler AZ is. I have to put a plug in for Jeanette's books too. I have enjoyed every book of hers I've read. So far my favorites are IT'S A MALL WORLD AFTER ALL and MY FAIR GODMOTHER.  


What is the elevator pitch of your newest book? Slayers is about a group of teens who have superpowers to fight dragons, which is a good thing because dragons are coming back and they don't want to be our friends.

 Do you eat or listen to music while writing? I don't listen to music. I want to be so wrapped up in my writing that I don't hear anything that's going on around me. When my story isn't going well, I find that I'm frequently wandering into the kitchen for a snack. When things are going really well, I forget to eat.

 What is your favorite food? My favorite food is chocolate. Bacon is a close second. Despite that fact, I do try to eat healthy (and then I go have chocolate. Or bacon.)  

Do you have pets? Do I have pets? Oh yes. More than I want, actually. Stray cats keep showing up (sometimes in the arms of my children) and I've kept way too many. One day I will officially become the patron saint of stray cats. So if anyone is looking for a cat, email me. I can help you.  

What was the first book that turned you into a reader? The Phantom Tollbooth. I loved that book as a child and have read it many times since. I've written a book that is basically a tribute to the Phantom Tollbooth (full of wordplay) called The Wrong Side of Magic. It will most likely be out sometime in 2014 or 2015.  

Are you a night owl or early bird? Definitely a night owl. When the children aren't in school, I routinely stay up until 2:00 am. (Hey, that's some of the best writing time. You never get interrupted at 2:00 am.)  

What do you never leave home without? I never leave home without a notebook and pen tucked in my purse. You never know when you'll get a really good plot idea.  

What piece of advice would you give aspiring writers? Get a degree in anything else. You never know how long it will take you to make a living as a writer (if ever). Most successful authors start out by writing in addition to doing another job. If you can quit your day job eventually, great. If not, you won't starve.  

What are your writing goals for 2014? I need to finish the third Fairy Godmother book. (It's long overdue, fans. Sorry!) Then I need to write the last book of the Slayers trilogy. (And in case you're wondering, I still haven't decided who Tori ends up with.) If you have an opinion, email me about that. I'm keeping tally. So far, it's split down the middle.





 CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.)  Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.)   Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother.  CJ Hill was her mother’s pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published.  Her mother wrote a few children’s books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.
(Most writers’ first novels aren’t publishable.  CJ Junior’s first novel wasn’t, but somehow was published anyway.  Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness.  This was another good reason to use a pen name.)
CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble.  She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.

Author website/blog/goodreads/macmillan/twitter

FRIENDS and TRAITORS (SLAYERS #2) by CJ Hill BLOG TOUR






Book Summary: The Slayers – teens who have powers to fight dragons—are back by popular demand in this high-octane sequel, now with a new cover package!

Tori is at a White House dinner party when she hears a horrifying sound: dragon eggs hatching. It means in less than a year, the dragons will be mature and dangerous. The Slayers are well-trained, but their group is not yet complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker Davis, the mysterious Slayer who has yet to surface.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers: she isn’t a Slayer after all, but a Dragon Lord, with a built-in predisposition to protect dragons, not kill them.
How will she overcome this to save the lives of her friends?





First line:
"It would be ironic, Brant Overdrake thought as he paced around the cabin of his jet, for a man who could fly to be killed in a plane crash."

I think I enjoyed this book more than the first, if it's possible to enjoy a second book in a series.

Tori learns she is a dragon slayer and spends the summer training to be one. She falls for Jesse and they seem to hit it off but by the end of the summer, he wants to end it so he doesn't get distracted. So, Tori turns to her counterpart, Dirk, for comfort.

BUT a crisis interrupts the love triangle in the shape of baby dragons, who will be fully grown in about two years. The Slayers have to learn to work together for the good of the team and America. Unfortunately, there is Dragon Lord and his off spring involved who are determined to kill all the Slayers so the Dragon Lord can take over the world. Who will win? Who will die? And who will Tori end up with??

Hopefully, all questions that will be answered in the next book.

Rating: PG 13

F: Fighting with bad guys and dragons
L: No
S: No



Liked:
Story

Disliked:
Have to wait for the next book



About the author:

CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.)  Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.)   Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother.  CJ Hill was her mother’s pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published.  Her mother wrote a few children’s books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.
(Most writers’ first novels aren’t publishable.  CJ Junior’s first novel wasn’t, but somehow was published anyway.  Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness.  This was another good reason to use a pen name.)
CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble.  She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.

Author website/blog/goodreads/macmillan/twitter

Monday, October 14, 2013

SLAYERS (SLAYERS #1) by C.J. Hil

Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?


First line:
"Mrs. Harriet Davis had never been afraid of dragons--until now."

Dragons. Knights. Slayers. 
Very cool premise of dragon slayers but there are no damsels in distress in this story. Tori can take care of herself, right down to getting her hair extensions. She's a spoiled, rich daughter of a senator who cares more about her clothes. 
She's sent to a special dragon camp where she hopes to overcome her fear/hate of dragons but what she finds at summer camp isn't what it seems. Sure, dragon fanatics go to camp, but unbeknownst to Tori, there is a second, hidden camp. One that trains dragon slayers. WHAT? Dragons are real? That is the truth Tori has to face as well as her abilities. 
I read this book in a day. It's a good, quick, clean read with great dialogue and good twists. 
The end of the book gets the reader ready for book #2. 


Rating: PG
V: Some fighting
L: No
S: No

Liked:
Story
Camp training

Disliked:
First couple of chapters were a little slow 

4 STARS