Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Release Feature Feels Like Home review and Q&A w/author Vicki Lewis Thompson

 New Release Feature 7-24-12 Feels Like Home
and Q&A w/Vicki Lewis Thompson

Debbie - Vicki Lewis Thompson is a multi-award winning multi-talented author, so please welcome her to the forum.
Vicki thanks for joining us today and celebrating release day for Feels Like Home, tell us a little about the new novel.
Vicki - Thanks so much for inviting me here!  I always get wrapped up in my characters, but with Rafe and Meg I was more involved than usual.  He’s a city slicker who needs to discover his inner cowboy, and she’s a woman who’s learned how to live for the moment.  She has so much to teach him, and once he opens up, he has so much to give her.  And then there’s Diana, the wayward mother who abandoned Jack Chance when he was a toddler, moved to San Francisco, remarried, and had twins – Wyatt and Rafe.  Rafe and Jack have issues, understandably, and when Diana shows up, it’s every man for himself.  I’ve been building toward Diana’s reappearance for nine books.  I loved writing that scene.

Okay I’ve been doing a little spying on your website and according to your bio you have more than 100 books published, so first WOW and second, how does this release day compare to the very first one.
I won’t lie to you.  The first day you see a book with your name on the cover sitting right there on a bookstore shelf is magic.  I’ll always love that first book and the thrill of finally being a published author.  But ego is not such a factor anymore.  These days I’m eager for readers to find the story and get involved with the characters, because I love those people.  I’m excited for my characters to go into the world more than I am about me, personally, having my name out there.

Also according to your bio it says that you’re fascinated by the many ways a man and woman fall in love.
Tell us what you mean by that and how does that reflect in your writing
I’m obviously in the right profession because relationships, especially romantic relationships, do fascinate me.  Ideally, two people come together and help each other grow.  While real life doesn’t always work that way, sometimes it does.  I write about the times that it works.

I see that your Harlequin books are mostly contemporary and I see that the new featured is a Blaze title. What does Blaze mean and is this title part of a series.
Blaze is the hot line, which suits me because I’ve been drawn to the more explicit stories from the beginning.  FEELS LIKE HOME is the ninth book in the Sons of Chance series, which is part of the Blaze line.  Fortunately my wonderful editor Brenda Chin is enthusiastic about the Sons of Chance series, so it will continue for another eight books!

You also have a paranormal series, tell us a little about that.
I’m writing a comic werewolf series for New American Library’s Signet imprint.  It’s a total departure from the Sons of Chance, which turns out to be a good thing.  Writing both keeps me from getting into a rut.  My werewolves are rich, sexy, and non-violent.  They don’t kill people, and they don’t bite them and turn them into werewolves.  They’re noble, gorgeous, and they prefer their steaks rare with a good red wine.

Are you a reader as well as a writer, which authors do you like to read, what genres
I read literally everything, from YA to contemporary to historical.  I’m a wuss, so romantic suspense that’s too scary doesn’t find its way onto my shelves.  But I do read mysteries sometimesOne of my favorites is The #1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.  I don’t dare start naming romance authors because I have too many friends in the business, and I really do try to read them all!

You as I mentioned above are a multi-awarded author, is there one in particular that means the most, is there one you’re still hoping for.
The most amazing award I ever received was in 2008 when Romance Writers of America gave me the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.  I was Cinderella that night, and I’ll never forget it.  As for the one that got away –I’ve been a finalist for RWA’s RITA award eight times, but I’ve never won the thing.  I wouldn’t mind getting it someday, but if I don’t, I’ve had my share of recognition and I really can’t complain.

What is coming next for you
More cowboys and werewolves!  I have WEREWOLF IN DENVER coming out in October, and I’m in a December anthology I’m crazy about.  It’s called RESCUING CHRISTMAS and features stories about rescue animals from me, Catherine Mann, and Kathie DeNosky.  It’ll warm your heart!  Then next summer more Sons of Chance books will arrive, along with WEREWOLF IN ALASKA.

Do you write full time and do you belong to a writer’s group
I write ALL the time, LOL.  Well, not quite.  I take some breaks for visits with family and trips to Disneyland.  Last fall my daughter and I went on a Greek cruise.  But whenever I’m home, I’m writing.  It’s what I do.
I have three writers I meet with twice a year and we plot our books together.  We don’t critique pages, but we do hammer out plot ideas, and we’re all involved in multiple book projects, so having the chance to discuss plots is wonderful.  My plotting partners are Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair, and Andrea Laurence.

I’m sure that fans here would love to meet you in person, do you have any B&N events or signings coming up.
I don’t have specific plans for a B&N signing, but I’m always open to the opportunity!  Barnes and Noble provides such a friendly venue for readers.

Thank you Vicki for your time and Good luck with the new book!!
Thank you, and thank you for the chance to talk about what I love – reading and writing!

My Review of Feels Like Home

Feels Like Home
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Harlequin Blaze series # 699
ISBN 13:9780373797035
224 pages

Rafe Locke came to The Last Chance to see his twin brother married and perform his duties as best man, he’s not looking forward to the drama having his mother here will cause or the pain she may cause his older half brother who she abandoned as a small child, but he’s willing and up to the task. There’s another task he’s willing to perform when he meets the maid of honor, only there’s nothing honorable about the performance he has in mind.
Meg Seymour traveled from PA to see her best friend married and as soon as she arrived at The Last Chance it starts to feel like home to her and since she’s more interested in being happy than having money she’s already looking for ways to become a permanent resident another thing that will make her happy is getting up close and personal to best man Rafe Locke who’s one handsome gift and she’s ready to unwrap him.
The explosive attraction they have for one another starts as pure lust but soon grows to something that neither has expected or thought they wanted. Will they be the next recipients of the magic of the Last Chance or will this love affair fizzle out before the bride and groom say I Do.

This is my first Vicki Lewis Thompson read but it won’t be my last. She gave me a country feel romance with down home characters right along with big city slickers and made them all fit together in a great story set under the big sky country of Montana. Her hero and heroine are a most unlikely couple for that all elusive HEA but totally spot on for that hotter than Hades scorcher of an affair, but as we get to know the real people behind the masks we also see just how right they are for each other and have the added fun of watching them trip and fall in love and it especially impressed me how playful she made them in regards to lovemaking and just interacting in general. Her love scenes are definite sheet burners and should come with a warning of rapid pulse and heartbeat. So if you’re looking for that modern day knight in shining armor we call cowboys look no farther.
Ms Thompson thank you for one heck of a line dance and just so you know I’ll be dancing to your tune again real soon. YeHa!

Buy the book here
Fans visit Vicki’s website here, she always has a monthly contest and this month she’s offering a B&N gift card along with one of her novels.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of When In Doubt Add Butter + Q&A w/Beth Harbison

New Release Feature When in Doubt Add Butter
and Q&A w/Beth Harbison

Please welcome Beth Harbison #1 NY Times Bestselling author to the forum

Debbie - Beth Welcome, tell us a little about your new Release – 

Beth - It’s about a private chef who works for a crazy collection of people, all of whom fire her imagination one way or the other, and ends up following her personal recipe for life only to end up with a dish she never imagined.

Tell us the biggest challenge going from Silhouette Romance to mainstream fiction – Remembering I have the freedom of more words/pages to tell more of the story.  Ideally every book concentrates on one central and compelling question and the sub-plots, if you have room, fan out from there, adding depth and other perspective.  Silhouette didn’t have a lot of room for sub-plots, though focusing on the romance was definitely fun.  I think Jennifer Crusie once said that writing series romance is like writing Gone with the Wind on the head of a pin – not easy!

Where do you get your ideas for your novels – 

Everywhere, anywhere; each usually starts with one question, i.e. “what if you ran into your first love again and found out he’d never gotten over you?”

If I was say your mother-in-law :) would I recognize myself in any of your novels – 

You might think you do, because everyone who knows a writer well thinks they must inevitably end up on page, but the truth is everyone I write about is an extension of myself in some way – either what I am or what I never want to be, or something in between.   It’s the only way to write anything that will come across as authentic – every emotion, rationale, etc. must have a logical initiation, even if the outcome (like PTA moms doing phone sex to pay off a debt) seems really ill-advised.

How does it feel to also have a published author daughter Paige (who I’ve read and reviewed) and did she come to you for advice on becoming an author – 

We read each other’s work and offer critique.  It’s very funny but somewhere along the way she turned a corner from being someone who made me want to scream because her school essays were so fragmented to being an enviably awesome writer.  Every single time I read her work, I am amazed at how good she is, how that brain developed and knows things, even intuits things, that I never taught it.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but I think every doting over-protective parent out there can probably relate.

Are you already working on your next novel – 

Yes.  Always.

Do you write full time – 

Yes.  Apart from parenting, it’s my only job.

Are you a reader and if so what authors and genres do you enjoy – 

I love humorous essays: Quinn Cummings, Jen Lancaster, Jenny Lawson, Laurie Notaro, Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, etc.  If I want to get wrapped up in a story, I head toward cozy suspense: Nicci French is a favorite, Harlan Coben, Stephen King, Peter Straub, etc.

I’m sure your fans here would love to meet you in person, do you have any B&N events or signings planned – 

I don’t at the moment, but I’m easily found and contacted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorBethHarbison

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us get to know you a little better and Good Luck with the novel

My  Review of When In Doubt Add Butter

When In Doubt Add Butter
Beth Harbison
St. Martin’s Press
338 pages

Gemma Craig has a dream job, a few select friends and her cousin, best bud and confidant Penny. Gemma is a private chef and she loves being her own boss and doing what she’s most passionate about in the world, cooking. Even though some of her client’s are a bit off she has others that she genuinely likes like Lex and one who’s a mystery that she’d love to solve she calls him Mr. Tuesday who she’s never met. Oh and she’s also terminally single it seems with no prospects on the horizon which never bothered her in the past, but with Penny’s pregnancy her clock may have just started ticking again. As fate would have it a one night stand seems to be the turning point in her life and unfortunately not for the best, even though the sex was. It seems someone’s trying to sabotage her reputation as a chef, and since she doesn’t have the requisite 6months savings it’s not good news, oh and the result of her tryst has just tested positive on a certain stick and even though the man in question seems to want to see her again fate isn’t being kind to them. So now her future’s in question not just professionally but personally too and although she has the support of her friends she knows this is her own demon to face. Fortunately she’s gotten through other tough spots in her life, unfortunately it looks like they’re back. But she’s older and wiser now and after all it can’t all be wrong when your motto is “When In Doubt Add Butter”.
Beth Harbison is another first timer for me and it’s been a pure pleasure to get to know her a little through her fiction. This tale shows her maturity as well as her quirky sense of humor how she deals with all of life’s injustices and inadequacies as well as the good. Her protagonist has a few blooms off her vine but she’s by no means decrepit, she has the sense of humor that lights the pages of what could otherwise be dooming and a narrative that is very visually stimulating and at times salivating. Her other characters are a stable full of kooks, villains, and good friends with one or two that are completely outside of the box of normalcy. This is a love story yes, but it’s far from just a romance, it’s about making lemonade when life hands you lemons, it’s about realizing you can come of age at any age and it’s about trusting in yourself and recognizing the care and love of those around you and finally it’s about a leap of faith even when the cliff is looming.
You won’t need a leap of faith to enjoy this novel and if you love women’s fiction you’ll love this as much as I did.
Ms. Harbison to you I say, what took me so long to find you and I can’t wait for our next journey together.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Here is a sample of the audio book

2276K   Play   Download  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review of Immortally Yours by Angie Fox (Pub date 8-28-12)

Immortally Yours
Angie Fox
St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date 8-28-2012
320 Pages

The war between the immortals is raging out of control, in the balance hangs the lives of all the mortals on earth most of them never knowing what’s happening on the front lines in Limbo. One ray of hope is the prophecy that’s predicted to turn the tide. A healer is predicted to sound the charge and change the outcome. Dr. Petra Robichaud meets those predictions but she’s been burned before and is not in a believing frame of mind anymore until a certain Demi-God turns up on her operating table and not only makes her think the prophecy has a chance but also effects her in a visceral way that hasn’t happened in many years. Galen of Delphi is an immortal warrior who believes wholeheartedly in the prophecy especially when the sexy doctor saves his life, touches his soul and takes his heart. Galen knows she’s the missing piece of the prophecy puzzle but convincing her will be the hardest battle he’s ever fought. Will Petra and Galen fulfill the prophecy and save all the mortal and immortal souls or will they burn in the fires of Hades.

I have enjoyed Angie Fox’s Demonslayer series and when I opened the pages of her debut novel in her new series I thought I’d find something similar, I was right and wrong. I found the comedy relief that the first series provided but I also found a darker tale a story that held a more serious feel. She introduced me to many new characters and did a great job of building not only them but her new and dark world as well and makes me wonder where she goes from here. Her dialogue is what you might find on any battlefield, a take no prisoners speak that fits her story and characters well. Her romance between Galen and Petra have obstacles that seem impossible to overcome and their love scenes burn like the vents of Hades featured in her novel.
If you liked Angie’s first series I think you’ll like this one as well, if you’re into adult fairy tales, hard urban fantasy with a romance this one fits that bill as well. If you’re tired of the copy-cat series and are looking for something unique you’ll like this one too.
For Angie's other titles and more information on her upcoming novel visit her website here
To Pre-order the book go here

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review of Shadow of Night and Q&A w/Author Deborah Harkness


Q: A Discovery of Witches debuted at # 2 on the New York Times bestseller list with publications following in 37 countries.  What has been your reaction to the outpouring of love for A Discovery of Witches? Was it surprising how taken fans were with Diana and Matthew’s story?

A. It has been amazing—and a bit overwhelming. I was surprised by how quickly readers embraced two central characters who challenge our typical notion of what a heroine or hero should be. And I continue to be amazed whenever a new reader pops up, whether one in the US or somewhere like Finland or Japan—to tell me how much they enjoyed being caught up in Diana’s world.

Q:  Last summer, Warner Brothers acquired screen rights to the trilogy, and David Auburn, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer of Proof, has been tapped to pen the screenplay. Are you looking forward to your novels being portrayed on the big screen?  What are your favorite casting ideas that you’ve heard from friends and readers?

A. I was thrilled when Warner Brothers wanted to translate the All Souls trilogy from book to screen. At first I was reluctant about the whole idea of a movie, and it actually took me nearly two years to agree to let someone try. The team at Warner Brothers impressed me with their seriousness about the project and their commitment to the characters and story I was trying to tell. Their decision to go with David Auburn confirmed that my faith in them was not misplaced. As for the casting, I deliberately don’t say anything about that! I would hate for any actor or actress to be cast in one of these roles and feel that they didn’t have my total support. I will say, however, that many of my readers’ ideas involve actors who have already played a vampire and I would be very surprised if one of them were asked to be Matthew!

Q: SHADOW OF NIGHT opens on a scene in 1590s Elizabethan England featuring the famous School of Night, a group of historical figures believed to be friends, including Sir Walter Raleigh and playwright Christopher Marlowe.  Why did you choose to feature these individuals, and can we expect Diana and Matthew to meet other famous figures from the past?  

A. I wrote my master’s thesis on the imagery surrounding Elizabeth I during the last two decades of her reign. One of my main sources was the poem The Shadow of Night by George Chapman—a member of this circle of fascinating men—and that work is dedicated to a mysterious poet named Matthew Roydon about whom we know very little. When I was first thinking about how vampires moved in the world (and this was way back in the autumn of 2008 when I was just beginning A Discovery of Witches) I remembered Roydon and thought “that is the kind of identity a vampire would have, surrounded by interesting people but not the center of the action.” From that moment on I knew the second part of Diana and Matthew’s story would take place among the School of Night. And from a character standpoint, Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, George Chapman, and the other men associated with the group are irresistible. They were such significant, colorful presences in Elizabethan England.

Q: In SHADOW OF NIGHT, we learn more about the alchemical bonds between Diana and Matthew.   In your day job, you are a professor of history and science at the University of Southern California and have focused on alchemy in your research.  What aspects of this intersection between science and magic do you hope readers will pick up on while reading SHADOW OF NIGHT?

A. Whereas A Discovery of Witches focused on the literature and symbolism of alchemy, in Shadow of Night I’m able to explore some of the hands-on aspects of this ancient tradition. There is still plenty of symbolism for Diana to think about, but in this volume we go from abstractions and ideals to real transformation and change—which was always my intention with the series. Just as we get to know more about how Elizabethan men and women undertook alchemical experiments, we also get to see Matthew and Diana’s relationship undergo the metamorphosis from new love to something more.

Q: SHADOW OF NIGHT spans the globe, with London, France, and Prague as some of the locales. Did you travel to these destinations for your research? 

A. I did. My historical research has been based in London for some time now, so I’ve spent long stretches of time living in the City of London—the oldest part of the metropolis—but I had never been to the Auvergne or Prague. I visited both places while writing the book, and in both cases it was a bit like traveling in time to walk village lanes, old pilgrim roads, and twisting city streets while imagining Diana and Matthew at my side.

Q: Did you have an idea or an outline for SHADOW OF NIGHT when you were writing A Discovery of Witches?  Did the direction change once you sat down to write it?

A. I didn’t outline either book in the traditional sense. In both cases I knew what some of the high points were and how the plot moved towards the conclusion, but there were some significant changes during the revision process. This was especially true for SHADOW OF NIGHT, although most of those changes involved moving specific pieces of the plot forward or back to improve the momentum and flow.

Q: A Discovery of Witches begins with Diana Bishop stumbling across a lost, enchanted manuscript called Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, whose secrets Diana and Matthew are still trying to uncover in SHADOW OF NIGHT. You had a similar experience while you were completing your dissertation.  What was the story behind your discovery?  And how did it inspire the creation of these novels?

A. I did discover a manuscript—not an enchanted one, alas—in the Bodleian Library. It was a manuscript owned by Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer, the mathematician and alchemist John Dee. In the 1570s and 1580s he became interested in using a crystal ball to talk to angels. The angels gave him all kinds of instructions on how to manage his life at home, his work—they even told him to pack up his family and belongings and go to far-away Poland and Prague. In the conversations, Dee asked the angels about a mysterious book in his library called “the Book of Soyga” or “Aldaraia.” No one had ever been able to find it, even though many of Dee’s other books survive in libraries throughout the world. In the summer of 1994 I was spending time in Oxford between finishing my doctorate and starting my first job. It was a wonderfully creative time, since I had no deadlines to worry about and my dissertation on Dee’s angel conversations was complete. As with most discoveries, this discovery of a “lost” manuscript was entirely accidental. I was looking for something else in the Bodleian’s catalogue and in the upper corner of the page was a reference to a book called “Aldaraia.” I knew it couldn’t be Dee’s book, but I called it up anyway. And it turned out it WAS the book (or at least a copy of it). With the help of the Bodleian’s Keeper of Rare Books, I located another copy in the British Library.

Q: Are there other lost books like this in the world?

A. Absolutely! Entire books have been written about famous lost volumes—including works by Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare to name just a few. Libraries are full of such treasures, some of them unrecognized and others simply misfiled or mislabeled. And we find lost books outside of libraries, too. In January 2006, a completely unknown manuscript belonging to one of the 17th century’s most prominent scientists, Robert Hooke, was discovered when someone was having the contents of their house valued for auction. The manuscript included minutes of early Royal Society meetings that we presumed were lost forever.

Q: Unlike Twilight’s Bella and Edward—hormonal teenagers who meet in the halls of a high school—your leading characters Matthew and Diana are established academics who meet in the library of one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.  This is a world where vampires and witches drink wine together, practice yoga and discuss philosophy.   Are these characters based on something you found missing in the fantasy genre?

A.    There are a lot of adults reading young adult books, and for good reason. Authors who specialize in the young adult market are writing original, compelling stories that can make even the most cynical grownups believe in magic. In writing A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children’s vampires and witches.

Q: Thank you Deborah for answering these questions, for all the B&N fans here is a list of her B&N appearances

July 12- Barnes & Noble, The Grove, 189 Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 7:00 pm

July 16- Barnes & Noble Walnut Street, 1805 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 7:00 pm

July 18- Barnes & Noble East 86th Street, 150 East 86th Street, NY, NY 7:00pm

July 24- Barnes & Noble Wauwatosa, 2500 N. Mayfair Rd. Wauwatosa, WI 7:00 pm

My Review of Shadow Of Night
Shadow Of Night
Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches recap: Historian and witch Diana Bishop is no longer able to deny her heritage after an ancient book makes it’s appearance and powers known not just to her but to many creatures who have been searching for it, some evil and some not. Matthew Clairmont is a Vampire who’s lived for centuries and is certain the book contains the answers to questions he and others have been searching for, it might contain the origin of all the different species on earth and it might help to stop those same creatures decline.
Together Matthew and Diana begin a journey that will lead them to danger and to love.

Diana Bishop and Matthew de Clermont a witch and a Vampire newly married and with the blessings of their families travel to the 16th century in search of the Alchemic tome that first brought them together and has caused nothing but trouble for them in the 21st century known as Ashmole 782. They’re hoping it contains answers to not only the decline of creatures in the present but also answers to the questions of how they all came to be in the first place. The group who killed Diana’s parents, almost killed her and have been trying to stop the pair and get the book will stop at nothing so the journey back in time is necessary to where they think the tome originated. Diana’s powers have been spellbound by her parents since she was a child when it became clear that they were all in danger, so with limited training by her aunt Sarah and Matthew’s strong knowledge of the time they go back to Elizabethan England to find answers, the book and the hope of unlocking the secrets of her powers from the witches of the time. The time in history is especially dangerous to witches so with care and the help of Matthew’s circle of close friends they span Europe following clues. Being in the past is bittersweet for Matthew for there are people he’s loved that no longer live, there are many secrets he’s keeping from his wife and he’s afraid her knowledge of them will kill their newfound love and he’s deeply afraid of the danger he’s putting her in because there are more enemies than the Protestants and they must choose carefully who knows their secrets and who’s kept in the dark.

This amazing second novel in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy picks up from the heart stopping first and led me into a secret world not only of supernatural creatures of legend and myth but also of the accurate and fragile politics of 16th century Europe, the intrigue and espionage would alone make a great tale but she takes it farther by adding time travel, sorcery and magic and farther still by introducing me to all the famous and infamous folks of the time. Her invaluable knowledge as a historian and teacher validate the read and also make it enjoyable for a history infant like me as she takes me through the twists and turns of present and past while her words paint the happenings and her narrative tells me how the past was and also how it could have been, how lives lost and gained by the fickleness of the Crown and how Diana and Matthew made their mark while they were there. Her characters illuminate the pages and will stay with me especially her tabooed lovers Diana and Matthew, but to say they alone make it brilliant is not fair to all the others that made this a remarkable tale. This is a gem, a multi-genre and many leveled novel it will appeal to a huge fan base from Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal, Alternate History, Romance and if I may be so bold Literary too. If the third and final novel is any where near the level of the first two it will be one of the most loved, most read and most coveted trilogies on anyone’s keeper shelf and will remain so for many years to come. I urge readers who have not read the first to do so before they take this journey for it will enrich their enjoyment and understanding many times over.
To Deborah Harkness I say thank you once again for this most awesome of ideas that you had the courage to put to paper and if I could time travel I would advance a year so that I could have immediate access to the third and final volume in this story.
 Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review of The Other Woman by Hank Phillipi Ryan

The Other Woman
Hank Phillipi Ryan
Forge Publishing
Publish Date 9-4-2012
416 pages

Jane Ryland was going places in TV news that is until she got the camera pulled out from under her. Now she finds herself out of work and the forefront of a lawsuit as a result of a news story where she won’t reveal her source. She’s given a chance to work as a newspaper reporter on the Boston Register and is given her first assignment to interview the wife of a candidate to the Senate. But nothing is ever as it seems and Jane’s nose smells a bigger story one where there seems to be “The Other Woman” involved, and the more she investigates the deeper the subterfuge seems to go and the more danger Jane is put in because of it. In the mean time the case that got her fired from Channel 11 is raising it’s ugly head again and she may just get her head taken off because of it. She only has her wits and one particular sexy cop to protect her and they’re both spelling trouble with a capitol T.
Jake Brogan has his plate full with multiple murders that the press is screaming serial and the cops are trying to keep the screaming down to a dull thud. And the murders are taking him right into the path of a certain girl reporter that he’d like to know a lot better, but for professional reasons she won’t let him. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to keep her informed and keep her out of harms way especially since their paths seem to be crossing with great frequency and he’s not above using those crossings to strengthen his case for them to be a pair.

Hank Phillipi Ryan has wowed me before with her Charlotte McNally series and she’s doing it again with her debut novel in her brand new Jane Ryland series. Her quirky, and laughable sense of humor is still front and center and there’s a deeper and more complicated feel to Jane that makes her a most interesting protagonist. Her storyline is a quagmire of puzzle pieces that she fits together perfectly, but she doesn’t fill in all the pieces until the end but much sooner than that she had me hook line and sinker. Her dialogue is filled with cop-speak and reporter jargon that made me wince, tense and laugh sometimes all on the same page while she filled my head with images from the words on her pages. Her characters are awesome, both bad guys and good guys and sometimes I had trouble figuring out who was who until she told me. Her Jane is a complicated woman who’s nose for news sometimes battles with her sense of responsibility and it was my pleasure seeing her work them out. They always say write what you know about which is what makes this such a slam dunk of a crime drama told in an expert voice that knows exactly what she’s talking about. If you like seriousness  mixed with humor you’ll love Hank Phillip Ryan, if you’re a crime drama lover, a lover of mystery or heck just a fantastic read put this on your wish list for September. Hank Pillipi Ryan is a brilliant and relatively new voice in this genre and already she’s had to move over her Emmys for all her writing awards, so if you haven’t tried her do and if you have and you’re biting at the bit, your wait is almost over.
Hank thanks for another unforgettable journey fueled by your imagination I can’t wait to see where we travel from here.

I’m also excited to announce that Hank will be spending the whole month of October with us at the B&N.com General Fiction forum where we will read and discuss this brilliant new novel.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here and in October join us at the B&N.com General Fiction forum here as we read and discuss the novel as a group and with Hank joining in

 Here are the Charlotte McNally novels by Hank Phillipi Ryan


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Release Feature Vanished In The Dunes review + Q&A w/author Allan Retzky

New Release Feature Vanished in the Dunes
and Q&A with author Allan Retzky

Allan Thank you for your time and welcome to the B&N.com General Fiction forum

Debbie - Vanished in the Dunes is your first novel, tell us a little about it please
Allan - The story follows a character that has been left psychologically weakened after his career is upended. This vulnerability allows an innocent encounter with an attractive woman to take a dark turn and lead him into a pattern of deception that spirals dangerously out of control.
You spent a long time in the business sector, how has this or has it infiltrated in your writing.
The major influence was in the development of my characters. Since I worked in international business for so many years I needed to concentrate on understanding different cultures in order to determine the most effective way to approach people.  A by- product of this was realizing that most people have vulnerabilities.  When I began writing I found that it was interesting to explore such flaws.  
On your conversation on the publisher’s website you mention that you started writing after you stopped working, and you also list some very varied interests.
Is there one in particular that you’ve considered taking up, or are they equal opportunity interests.
Writing was the only interest I wanted to pursue. I was once an avid sculptor but I wanted something different. I had taught myself to be a decent cook and I do still work at that, but it doesn’t have the daily pull of writing.
Are you a reader and if so what authors and genres interest you
Yes I do still read, although ironically not as much as I did before I began writing. A few of my favorite modern authors are Ian McEwan, Jose Saramago, Ann Patchett, Alan Furst and the Swedish mystery writer Henning Mankell.  They all write clear and straightforward prose with elements of believable tension.

Being a relatively new author what advice would you give an inspiring author
Believe in yourself and what you have to say. Don’t be discouraged. It’s a tough literary market. Even if you never sell a word always remember that success is as much of a journey as it is a goal.

Do you belong to a writer’s group
I did at one time, but I found it too distracting to read other in-process work while I was involved with developing my own. I do periodically show my work to a few readers for feedback and to see if I’m reasonably on track. That’s an important part of the process.

What’s next for you in terms of writing
I have a few projects in the works. The setting is still the East End of Long Island with its beaches, ocean proximity and seasonal influx of visitors. I like the dynamic inherent in such a mixture.

How would fans find you, do you have a website, or belong to a social media platform.
My web site is www.allanretzky.com and I have an author’s link on Facebook.

Now tell us something personal, you’ve traveled to many foreign places for business so where and what would your perfect vacation be.
Italy offers the best combination. One can go from Lake Como and Florence in the north and down through Rome and to the Amalfi Coast and it’s all impressive and beautiful. And after you’ve seen the ruins, the art and the views there’s always the food. Bella!

I’m sure that you’ll have many new fans that would love to meet you in person, do you have any B&N events or signings planned.
Yes I do, and I post them on my web site as they are scheduled.

Allan thank you so much for taking the time to let us get to know you a little better and good luck with the new novel.

My Review of Vanished In The Dunes

Vanished In The Dunes
Allan Retzky
Oceanview Publishing
240 pages

Debut author Allan Retzky does a great job spinning his tale of mystery, mayhem and disaster and he does it with an economy of words. In his thrifty use of dialogue he brings me into the life of his main protagonist Amos Posner who’s semi innocent actions brings about the unraveling of his life, a life that was already in turmoil, then his Detective Peter Wisdom comes on the scene to hopefully solve a strange series of events that eventually lead me to an unsuspecting and powerful ending. He gave me enough information about his characters to know them and enough insight into his plot to lead me to conclusions , he used his lifetime of experiences to put validity in his novel and kept enough secrets to keep me turning pages to find out what comes next. This novel will appeal to a wide fan base from Noir, to Thriller, to Crime Drama, even Cozy lovers. And as he perfects his newest trade I know that we will hear from this talented author in the future, I in fact look forward to his next journey.

When your life falls apart where will you be, that’s what Amos Posner asked himself after the events leading from the bus ride from NYC to the Hamptons. When an innocent question from a beautiful woman leads to disaster what will he do to clean up the mess that has become his life. When questions from the police make answers into lies what will he do. With his marriage holding on by a thread will he choose the truth or deceit.  And when the end doesn’t justify the means where will all the mistakes eventually lead him. With all these questions going through his mind where will he be at the end of it all.
When Detective Peter Wisdom gets the disappearance of a NYC doctor on his desk little does he know where that case will lead him, what twists and turns it will take him on and what the eventuality of it all will mean to him personally, but he’s about to find out.
When a doctor from NYC goes in search of his missing girlfriend little does he know that his demons will follow him and his life will be altered forever.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review of One Mountain Away by Emilie Richards

One Mountain Away
Emilie Richards
Mira Books
480 pages

Emilie Richards has always given me a sense of completion when I’ve finished one of her novels, she has a unique way of telling a story and this story is her 70th published novel, and a debut in a brand new series. What a grand accomplishment. Maybe it’s her perspective from being a minister’s wife, maybe it’s she was born with that storytelling spoon in her mouth, whatever it is this story is special, unique and very emotional. As I recall her past novels I remember laughter and I remember a certain way she gave me life lessons, I’ve seen her mature as a writer as she’s matured as a woman and all of those things culminate in this most amazing read. The story is one any of us women of a “certain age” can empathize with, with all of our accomplishments but especially our regrets, it’s what Emilie did with the regrets part that will always stay with me. Her characters are as in depth as if they were my neighbors or friends, even enemies and she takes time to establish each one in her or his own part of her tale. Her narrative is what I’ve come to expect from her, her quiet and calming words that tell of explosive situations that’s easy to read and understand, she brought me the sights, smells and sounds of her story and I saw each scene with only her dialogue needed for my guide. This is much more than a love story although there is certainly that as well, but it’s a lesson to us all that it’s never too late to change and to remember that memories are sometimes flawed by emotions.
If you like the writing of Karen White or Patti Callahan Henry you'll love Emilie Richards.
Ms. Richards I'm so looking forward to where you take this series from here and thank you for always taking me on a trip worth remembering.

I'm also proud to announce that Emilie has graciously agreed to be my featured author for the Barnes & Noble General Fiction forum's September group read, so please pre-order the book now below and join us when we read and discuss this wonderful piece of literature together.

Charlotte Hale has always had to be in control, little does anyone know it stems from  uncontrollable fear in her past. She’s done everything to get to where she is today, but she’s suddenly reminded of the costs she paid to get here. Now at a painful crossroads in her life she’s vowed to make amends, the trouble will be to convince those she needs that a leopard change her spots and the hope that she’ll have the time she needs to accomplish these difficult but important things.
Taylor has always relied on her father’s support ever since her mother’s words cut her heart out, but now at a crossroads of her own Taylor learns of her mother’s attempt to be a part of her and her daughter Maddie’s lives.
Ethan Martin is about to have a revelation when he sees his first ex-wife watching their grand-daughter from a bench in the park where she’s playing, is his heart willing to listen or has it become hardened to her voice.
Harmony Stoddard has escaped a hopeless situation at home only to find herself in the middle of another one, she’s about to meet a woman who will change her life. The question is will she recognize it for the miracle it is or will she let her past relationships rule her future ones too.
Reverend Analiese Wagner is going to be given an opportunity to practice what she preaches when she sees Charlotte sitting in an empty pew waiting for her.
With divine intervention and human tenacity this unlikely group will have the possibility to make a change for the better in not only their own lives but also their community, the question is will they recognize it as a gift or will they let what came before predict their futures as well.
Buy the book here visit the author’s website here