Saturday, March 28, 2015

SMT: Royal Opposites

Royal Opposites
Lori Crawford
Contemporary Romance

What can a coupon queen possibly have in common with a Crown Prince? Everything. 

After being accused of attempting to rob a bank that was actually trying to rob them – legally – a coupon queen goes on the run with a Crown Prince who’d been living in the U.S. anonymously for the past year. Armed with only her coupon binder, the two flee the area in an effort to meet up with his royal head of security for protection. But first, they must elude the two very determined bank guards who will let nothing stop them from retrieving the damning video of the bank incident from the couple.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Spotlight: Devon's Choice

Devon's Choice
Catherine Bennett

Faith, love and a cup of coffee can change everything.

Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.

Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?

Author Bio:

I grew up in Ohio where I currently live with my husband and our two rescue Labradors. Some of my favorite things include reading, shopping, pepperoni pizza, Hershey bars and hanging out with my two grown sons. I also love dogs; so going to the dog park is cheap entertainment for my husband and I!

Growing up an only child, I had many imaginary friends. I believe this - and a love of books - fueled my desire to write. It was many years later that my dream of becoming a published author came true.
My Romantic Suspense, “The Trouble With Charlie” is also published by Astraea Press. Visit my website for buy links and excerpts.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @author_cbennett

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Language and Literature

Today's post is a little different.  I was approached by a company which has created translation software with an interesting topic to ponder.  What, in the realm of literature and the written word, is the most important aspect when considering translation into a different language.

I'll admit I was intrigued by this topic.  As a bilingual person myself, I remember in my studies the difficulties when it came to translating stories, as well as poetry and music.  Though I could do a direct translation, it rarely even made sense, let alone brought the same feeling into the second language.  So much of the written word is about the eloquence of the words on a page, not because of the vocabulary being used, but in the way the text dances off the page and into your mind.  It is this feeling and essence of the story that is more important than the text itself.

Granted, there is great value in the words meticulously chosen by authors to tell their stories.  As a writer, I know the agonizing work that is put into every page of text before it is put out in front of the world.  However, when retelling the story in another language, the words will never be exactly the same.  That is the nature of translation.  It is more the essence of the story that needs to be preserved.  The feelings and images and scenes need to come alive in the same manner, no matter what language is being used.

In my specific focus, of romance novels, this would spell out mainly in the love story.  The story's essence is the romance that unfolds slowly, and passionately, and confusingly, and desperately.  If you were to take any classic romance novel, or any of the wonderful novels I've featured here, or even my own novels, this, above all else, would be the most important aspect of the story to maintain in a translation.  Of course, it is also the most difficult.  Translation is more than finding words that have similar meanings, but really a full understanding of both languages, as well as the words being retold.  In that, though it is less direct, will be the truer translation.

What do you think?  What is the most important part of a story or book to be preserved when translated into another language?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SMT: A Question of Boundaries

A Question of Boundaries
Sandy Bruney
Fantasy Romance
Paranormal Romance
Science Fiction Romance
Time-Travel Romance

Caroline trusts Nathan with her life…but can she trust him with her heart?

By 1895, the United States is in the 80th year of the isolation imposed by King Thomas I and upheld by his successors. But, some are chafing under the shortages and restrictions, and when inventor Dr. Featherstone declares he has found a way to override all borders, there are those who applaud the discovery and those who fear it.

When Dr. Featherstone fails to return home for an important scientific gathering, his daughter Caroline enlists the help of the Member of Parliament from Charlotte, Nathan Llewellen. As the two search for the kidnappers, Caroline is plunged into a world where travel to other realities is possible in the blink of an eye, and people can assume the forms.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Covering Home

Heidi McCahan
Contemporary Romance

"One tall, handsome baseball player with an incredible smile, pulling her close and offering an adventurous evening in Tokyo …what’s not to like?"

Britt Bowen is a professional, and this interview promises to make her career in sports reporting.  Caleb Scott dropped out of the limelight after a terrible tragedy, and no one knows the whole story.  Now that he is reemerging on the baseball diamond - in Japan - Britt is determined to find a way to get an interview with him and launch her career on her own.  The only problem is, the interviewee isn't exactly cooperating.  Caleb doesn't want anything to do with reporters, and certainly not the very attractive Britt Bowen.  But good intentions or no, he finds himself attracted to her, and giving the tabloids a run for their money.  But can a relationship truly be born amidst the spotlight and their two demanding careers?  In the end, just what will have to be sacrificed, and who will pay the cost?

My Opinion: This book started off with a cute and unconventional concept.  Being anxious for baseball season to start, I was thrilled for a book to throw be into the depths of game-day excitement, with some romance on the side.  However, the story tended to lose focus several times.  Pasts were unexplained a little too long, so actions and reactions were confusing.  The story had action that brought you from point a to b to c, but no real overarching arc that pulled it all together.  The romance was sweet, though I wanted to throttle Britt more than once.  I couldn't relate to her, personally.  While it had a great start and some fun interactions and romance, it was too choppy  in plot and had enough poor grammar to be distracting from otherwise enjoyable scenes.  Overall, made me more excited for the next baseball game than my next date.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and review are 100% my own.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book Spotlight: Seventh Heaven

Seventh Heaven
Elizabeth Bailey

In the tradition of Regency Romance, a fast-moving humorous Georgian romp: a sweet and crazy tale of the poet and the wealthy widow. Can Lady Louisa Shittlehope’s common sense save her from an unwise attraction to Septimus Berowne, poet, and stop her falling in with his disreputable gold-digging family?

Author Bio:
Elizabeth Bailey is the author of historical fiction, including 18 romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon and the Lady Fan mystery series with Penguin’s Berkley Books. She is delighted with the opportunity to present her books directly to readers.

Other Links:
Amazon UK

Saturday, March 14, 2015

SMT: Spell Fire

Spell Fire
Ariella Moon
Fantasy Romance
Paranormal Romance
Young Adult Romance

High school sophomore Ainslie Avalon-Bennett works hard to hide her Crazy Girl past. But as long as her best friend’s disappearance remains unsolved, she can’t shake the depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder that once landed her in a mental ward. Then she meets Thor Grael, a teen dragon shaman who spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. But will Ainslie lose him once he discovers her past? Or will Thor’s deadly secret be their undoing?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Tour: Losing the Ice

Courtney and Josh are in love and excited to finally compete as skating partners. When they take the ice for their first competition, they want to show everyone, especially Josh's family, they are the perfect pair.

But ice is slippery, and one misstep puts all their dreams in jeopardy. Now they must show each other both their love and their partnership are strong enough to survive.

About the Author
Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a die-hard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating.
One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. Jennifer loves to hear from readers!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Clean Categories at Big Book Sellers...please!

Ever notice that it's so hard to find clean fiction?  Not always because it's not there, but because it's not a filtered category.

I know I do - it's one of the reasons I started this website years ago.  I was so tired of having to read half of a book to see if it was clean, or thumbing through it to try to catch out scenes before I bought or borrowed it.  Wouldn't it be great if places like Amazon (and consequently Goodreads) and Barnes & Noble had a way for the authors to catagorize their books as "clean" fiction?

A good author friend, Cami Checketts, is leading up a campaign to petition these companies to add in "clean" categories for such already existing categories such as romance, historical, suspense, fantasy, etc.

I'm happy to help spread the word.  Hopefully, if we all work together, we can convince these retailers that there is a need and desire for such categories to be labeled and thus easily found by the customer.

Barnes & Nobel Contact

Amazon Contact Form

Here's an example of what you could write:

I'm looking for more clean fiction -- stories that don't include sex as well as clean language and minimal violence. Listings and category labels for clean books in romance, suspense, historical, fantasy, and comedy would be wonderful. Thank you very much. ​

Saturday, March 7, 2015

SMT: To Dance One More Day

To Dance One More Day
Rachel Jones
Contemporary Romance

From her early teens, ballet has been an integral part of Jillian Russell’s life. One by one, she loses her parents, grandparent, husband and child. If being alone in the world wasn’t bad enough, a medical diagnosis takes away her chance to become a prima ballerina.

Knowing a part of her will die if she walks away from ballet, she changes her focus and builds a ballet company and opens a dance school. This endeavor takes all her resources and leaves no time to build new relationships outside her world of dance. Jillian rationalizes if she doesn’t build relationships, she can’t be deserted. And she’s not sure she would survive another loss.

Handsome trauma surgeon, Alan Armstrong has relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina for a fresh start. Until a few years ago, he had always envisioned his future to include a wife and children. But after his father died in a plane crash from lack of medical attention, his focus for the future has shifted to equip himself professionally to set up a rural clinic. A supporter of the arts, Alan finds himself on the board of the North Carolina Ballet Company. He has always had a penchant for fixing things. Realizing Jillian’s professional life could use some help, it is not long before he realizes he is drawn to her romantically as well.

They fall in love, but when Alan discovers Jillian has been misdiagnosed, he tells her she must decide between their love or a performance career in ballet.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Author Interview: Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson
author, Just to Hear 'I Love You'

Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)

I was born in TN and raised in TX from about 8yo on, then married a wonderful husband and traveled around on the Army’s orders for fifteen years. (My favorite place to live was our stint in Germany). We are now back to civilian life and settled in Texas with our six kids, focusing on homeschooling, helping with community organizations, and for me, writing.

Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?

I am currently working my way through books by Rachael Anderson – on book 2 of her series, Meet Your Match. I love her style and can’t wait to read more!  My go to novels are usually the classics—with my three favorite authors being Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, and Catherine Marshall.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Well, I am self-published, so that would definitely be an interesting conversation. LOL. All kidding aside though, England! I never made it there when we lived in Germany, and it is top on my list of places my husband and I would love to visit and be tourists for a few weeks…or a few month. Visiting Chatsworth is #1 on my places to visit in England list! Hubby’s is London.

What is your favorite genre to write?

Historical Regency romance. So far all of my stories have been based on Jane Austen’s characters from Pride & Prejudice, but I have a few ideas rolling around in my head for an original. Maybe once I finish the series I am currently in the middle of I will be able to write one.

What is your favorite genre to read?

It is an odd mix of classics and moderns, but usually all set in a previous era, anywhere from Georgian era through WWII. I have a high standard for stories to not just be about sex, so classics really are my go to. I love finding clean romance books that are not Amish. No offense to the Amish story writers, but it is just not a culture I get that into with books.

What is one silly fact about you?

I love singing fun songs, and would love life if it were a musical.

What got you started on your writing journey?

One of the Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) forum sites hosted a new writer’s challenge, and so I decided to try it out. I won a pretty nifty coffee mug with a fun Darcy-esque drawing and quote, and an “I <3 Darcy” bumper sticker. My husband laughed at when I pulled it out of the box. (My 14 year old daughter now has it hanging in her room – passing on the Darcy love to another generation!)

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance?  Do you write steamy romance as well?

It is just my personal choice, based on my Christian beliefs and the fact that I would not want to write something my own kids cannot read or that I would be embarrassed if my mom or husband read (which they do with all my stories).

What other things do you have planned with your writing for the next year or so?

I am currently working on book 4 of a 5 book series, adapting my first very long story, Leaving Bennet Behind, into a more manageable series. Since the story follows all five Bennet sisters through their respective romances and down the aisle, I thought it would be fun to do a five part series. Each one focuses on a different sister’s romance.

I will also be joining with 5 other JAFF authors in offering a group set of novella stories all centering on the theme of flowers. My novella for this is called “Whispered Kisses”.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Writing “The End” on something that came from your own mind, and then finding that the plot bunnies for even more are still hopping happily around in your head, taunting you to open a new document and begin the process all over again.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

There are certain aspects of some characters that are bits of me – like my fear of water, heights, and horses – but on average my characters are not based on my own life or personality. If anything, they are opposite of me.

Where do your ideas come from?

Oh goodness—anywhere! I can’t watch a movie or see a funny billboard without having a fun idea pop into my head for a story line or a scene, or sometimes just a sentence. The muse never rests!

How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?

So far, I have five published books, with at least 5 more this year already in the works. I self-publish, so once a story is completed and edited, I can get it out pretty quickly.

What are the elements of a great romance for you?

Man and woman fall in love despite whatever obstacles they perceive to be in their way. Other than that, I am game for just about any deviating path that eventually takes them to that end.

Please share about your book 

Just to Hear ‘I Love You’ is a novel variation based on Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

Mary Bennet’s life changes forever when a childhood accident leaves her isolated in a silent world. Her sister Elizabeth emerges as her fiercest champion and unstinting protector. When further tragedy befalls Longbourn, Aunt and Uncle Gardiner embrace their orphaned nieces into their London household. Mary and Elizabeth must face the disapprobation of London society as they endure a Season of intense scrutiny. Will Mary’s own dearest wish— just to hear ‘I love you’ —ever come to be, or will her deafness forever consign her to life apart? The sisters must face their past and Mary’s worst critic when another family’s tragedy lands directly on their doorstep. Will they both have the strength to return love from unexpected suitors?

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

Strong, compassionate, forgiving, determined, vulnerable

What are your hero and heroine of the story like?

The Heroine, Mary Bennet, is a combination of strength and determination, as well as vulnerability. She is deaf and faces many complications that lead, eventually, to her finding love and acceptance.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Just to Hear ‘I Love You’ gives insight into a rarely discussed subject, that of the difficulties those with disabilities have had to traverse through the ages.  Add in the sweet, romantic story of love and acceptance, and this is a book that will have you burdened for Mary’s trial, rejoicing when she overcomes, and satisfied that sometimes the hardest things life throws at us can be what sets us on the path to our own happily ever after.

Do you have a favorite character you have written so far? 

I have a few. In this story, Mary is my favorite.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Tour: A Thousand Stolen Moments

 A Thousand Stolen Moments by Connie Ann Michael
Anaiah Romance

Can you choose between fighting for your life and fighting for your heart?

When twenty-two year old Emme Sawyer joins a Marine unit heading into Helmand Providence, she focuses on what she does best: keeping her men safe. But, when the unit is hit by an IED, Emme realizes she can’t save everyone. With her humanity on the line, and her faith in question, she seeks comfort from Raven, her commanding officer. Soon, Emme develops feelings that don’t belong in a combat zone, where each step could be your last.

Raven keeps his emotions locked up tight, never allowing the men to see him sweat. But when Emme joins his unit, all bets are off; and the feelings he thought he left stateside begin to emerge. Knowing that the deserts of Afghanistan are the last place to start a romance, and the United States military’s view on fraternizing; Raven tries to deny his heart. Emme and Raven learn you can’t always choose where love finds you. And that sometimes, you just have to trust in God’s plan.

Release Date:
March 3, 2015

Book Links:

Buy Links:


The freezing temperatures of the night woke Doogie. The area was quiet, except for a few light snores coming from the men. She got up, stretched her muscles, and then grabbed an MRE and headed to the fire.
Raven’s shadowed outline was visible next to the fire as she approached.
“Quiet tonight,” she said.
“You should be sleeping. Not sure when it will be this quiet again.” Raven’s deep voice sent a chill through her.
“I’m not much of a sleeper.”
“We have guys with NVG’s watching. The Taliban might be using the dark to maneuver around our flanks. But I don’t think so. You should at least rest.”
“Hmm,” she hummed while she squeezed the bag she held.
“What’s for dinner?” Raven’s expression was more relaxed than usual.
            “Uh?” Doogie held the label toward the fire. “Applesauce. But it’s debatable as to the amount of apples in it.”
            “I have some beef stew in my pack if you want it. You can’t keep up with only applesauce.”
            “Why is it always stew? Why can’t they MRE a cheese burger?” Doogie sucked on the bag.
            “I think the food has to be juicy to get out of the bag.” Raven shrugged.
            “Stew has chunks of mysterious stuff. You’d think a few chunks of normal food would fit in there. Besides, ketchup is juicy.”

            “Well when you get out you can go into the business of creating wonderful gourmet MRE’s. The men would love you.”
            “And the women.” Doogie smiled at him.
            The corner of Raven’s mouth looked like it might have turned up, but she wasn’t sure. “Who can forget the women?”
            “I’ll hire you if you need a job after the war,” Doogie offered.
            Raven snuck a quick glance at her before returning to stare at the fire. “I’d appreciate that. I could be your tester. I’ll see if the cheeseburger is up to par. I’ve been known to cook a mean burger.”
            “Excellent. Maybe you could even cook the burger since I don’t cook.” Doogie rubbed her hands together at the thought of seeing Raven after the war.
            “You don’t cook?” Raven seemed surprised.
            “I enlisted at nineteen so didn’t have time to hone my domestic skills.”
            “Oh,” was all he said.
            They stood in awkward silence for a few minutes.
            “Today’s Valentine’s Day,” she blurted.
            Raven narrowed his eyes, his mouth in its signature scowl, and then started to laugh. “Yeah, I guess it is.”
            “It’s just. Well Tahk told me.” She was such a dork.
            “Was he planning a party? Handing out Valentines to the locals?”
            Doogie’s head jerked to look over at Raven. Had he just tried to be funny? She’s never had an actual conversation with him. Usually he talked at her…or yelled at her. She let out a stiff laugh. “No.”

Author Bio:
Connie grew up in Seattle but moved to Central Washington to be closer to all things outdoors.  Married with two college boys she keeps busy kayaking, mountain biking, skiing ,and hiking through the beautiful hills of the Wenatchee Valley.  Growing up with a love of reading the transition into writing seemed natural and she can be found on summer days writing under the tree in her front yard surrounding by her three dogs.

Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
I am originally from Seattle Wa. but currently live in a small town in Central Washington. I have two college age boys. My oldest plays football for his college and my youngest is an avid rock climber. I have been married for 23 years to the love of my life and partner in crime. We love to do anything outside and can be found mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, or camping whenever the weather allows.

Fill in the blank favorites - Type of hero. Type of heroine.
I love strong, confident, faithful heroes that have a soft spot for family and their kids. The kind that will protect you, no matter what and loves you more than anything. I like heroines that put others first and love their family. I also find that honest heroes and heroines are important.

Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list? 
I like Maggie Stiefvater for a YA fix and completely love L.N. Cronk and the Chop series. 

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go? 
Well I write contemporary and unfortunately military romance so I would probably need to go to Afghanistan or Iraq.  Maybe I should write my next book in Hawaii.

What is your favorite genre to write? 
Contemporary Romance

What is your favorite genre to read? 
Contemporary Romance

What is one silly fact about you?
I love cheez its! I mean LOVE!

What got you started on your writing journey? 
I have always wrote stories and more so had stories in my head. I would watch television as a child and rewrite the story line in my head so it included me. I can’t count how many Love Boat episodes I was in or Little House in the Prairie, so when my boys got older and didn’t want to hang out with me I wrote some of the stories down.

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well? 
I chose to write clean and sweet because my kids were still at home and were going to high school and I didn’t want them to be embarrassed by my books. Since I have written a few stories where things get a little steamy.

What other things do you have planned with your writing for the next year or so? 
I have the second book in the 1000 series done and am finishing up the third and final. I also have a contemporary NA and a Zombie book I will finish this year.

Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader? 
I love talking with readers so the fact they are even asking me anything just blows my mind!

Please share about your book 
1000 Stolen Moments is about Emme Sawyer, a corpsman deployed with a marine unit in Afghanistan. Her unit is an integral part of the Battle of Marjah, which takes place on Valentine’s Day and is intended to give a major outdoor market, under the control of the Taliban, back to the villagers. Of course as with any good romance Sawyer is drawn to the stoic commanding officer of her unit. Regulations make falling in love difficult but soon they are drawn together by tragedy and their faith.

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be? 
Faithful, loyal, giving, sacrifice, friend

What are your hero and heroine of the story like? 
Both of them are willing to sacrifice all they can for their fellow soldier and always are putting others need before theirs. They both have a deep seated faith and although at times it seems they aren’t equally yoked they are just in different places in their faith at different times. My character love with their entire soul and aren’t willing to give only a part of themselves which tends to be a bit overwhelming some times.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book? 
My book is timely with what is going on in the world today and gives the reader a window into hearts and feelings of the service men that are on the front lines sacrificing daily while trying to keep a piece of their humanity.

Do you have a favorite character you have written so far? 
I love Raven

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