Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sir Princess Petra's Talent: Blog Tour and Q&A


Book Description:
Sir Princess Petra has already proven she is a kind and noble knight. This, however, does not please the king and queen---they want her to behave like a princess and forget this
silly knight nonsense of hers!

But when the king writes a new rule in the royal rule book that requires her to attend Talent School and acquire a princess talent certificate or suffer the spell of the royal magician, Petra, reluctantly, agrees to go. But who could have guessed what Sir Princess Petra’s Talent would be?


Book Description:
‘I have thought hard and for many passing moons. Jewels, frocks of lace, and princess games have become boring. The thing I want the most…’ Petra hesitated and bit on her lip. ‘I want to be a royal knight.’ 
Princess Petra’s unusual birthday request sends the court into a frenzy, but when she agrees to undertake a knight’s quest they can’t stop her. Armed with a cake knife and outfitted in the best royal pots and pans, Petra sets off to face a dragon and win her real armor before encountering a bog witch, and an army of the kingdom’s worst enemies.

Will Petra’s kindness and acceptance prove to be more valuable than weapons and armor?

1.  What inspires your writing?

A. Dragons, gnomes, faeries, ogres, princesses, and dwarves. They all live in my forest--my magical forest. Well, okay, I'm pretending, but pretending is what inspires my writing. When I walk amongst the whispering and secretive trees of my magical forest, wondering and imagining about the fantasy creatures that surely dwell there, the inspiration just comes naturally from imagining.

2.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A. Creating stories that children will read and love. Inspiring children by the moral values in my stories, and having my characters show children that anything is possible if you put your heart into it. My favorite part of writing is creating characters.

3.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A. Editing, editing, editing, ahhhh, editing! Oh, and marketing.

4.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

I'd have to tell the stories in pictures with my art. I'd become an illustrator. I am a part-time art teacher to children, and I really enjoy doing art.

5.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. A Knight's Quest.

6.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. The Gnome-Mobile, originally entitled the Gnomobile by Upton Sinclair.

7.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. Legolas Greenleaf, from Lord of the Rings.

8.  What character from all of your book are you most like?

Petra Longstride, Sir Princess Petra. She's really not me and I'm really not her, but there are similarities like: stubborn, naïve, kind-hearted, tom-boy, daring, defiant against silly rules, likes dragons, non-judgmental, hates frilly dresses . . .
Hmmm, maybe we are each other.

9.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

Lord of the Rings.

10.  What is your favorite season?

Summer, summer, summer!

11.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

My book cover was designed by the illustrator who works at the publishing house. We talked about different scenes in the book to use for the cover. In the end, the cover illustration was a mutual agreement for a specific scene that would appeal to the reader's sense of wonder. The illustrator, Samantha Kickingbird, did a wonderful job. She is the same illustrator I had for book one.

12.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. Well, at an author visit to an elementary school, after I had done my author talk and book reading, the kids had their chance to ask me question. One little girl asked me if my hair was real and if I ever combed it. Everybody burst out laughing, including me. I assured her my hair was real and that I had put my hair into this tousled updo on purpose. She simply replied, “Oh”.

13.  Are you working on something new?

A. I am working on book three in this series of The Pen Pieyu Adventures, and I am writing an easy-to-understand grammar book.

14.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

Believe in yourself as a writer, and edit, edit, edit. Thanks for stopping by.

Diane Mae Robinson HeadshotAbout the author: Diane lives in a hilltop castle surrounded by a forest. In this forest, many magical and fantasy creatures dwell and are her inspiration to write about them. Diane has a journalism diploma and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children's Literature. Sir Princess Petra-The Pen Pieyu Adventures is her first children's chapter book in a series.

Diane’s Social Media Links
Twitter - @DianeMaeRobinso

September 24th

September 25th (Jessica) review & giveaway

September 26th (Tina) review

September 27th (Brittany) review

September 28th

September 29th (Chris) Book Blast / Meet the Author (Sue) interview

September 30th

October 1st (Tonja) review & giveaway

October 2nd (Author C.L. Murphy) interview

October 3rd

October 4th (Diane) review

October 5th (Erik – review & giveaway) (Author Steve Lothian) review

October 6th (Dawn Heslin review & giveaway)

October 7th

October 8th (Author Elaine Ouston) review (Sue – Special Post for Tour Sites)
October 9th - (Author Diane Robinson – for Tour Sites)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Michele Drier series highlight!

Book 2 in series

Vineyards around Monroe are being harvested, the ripe grape bunches sliced off the vines and trucked to wineries, where they'll be crushed to make some of California's finest wines. Amy Hobbes, managing editor of the Monroe Press has other stories in mind, until Clarice Stamms, her cops reporter blows in with news about another harvest, two bodies tucked up under the vines. The field workers were stabbed and their throats sliced. Are they just victims of a worker's anger? When the town's most popular and well-known hooker turns up at the vineyard's labor camp, sliced and stabbed as well, Amy and Clarice are on the hunt again, the adrenaline tingling down their nerve endings. Who's the killer stalking the vineyards and why?

The second in the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries is available now in both ebook and trade paperback.

Buy the book
For Kindle and/or paperback: 

book 1 in series

Amy Hobbes never expected to solve anything more than a crossword puzzle. When she left her job as a journalist in Southern California, she planned to give the adrenaline a rest. But she needed a job when her husband announced a move to Chicago with his pregnant girlfriend. A meeting with the local newspaper publisher netted her an offer to be the Managing Editor.

She relies on her friend and police reporter, Clarice Stamms, for support and stories. After a respected Senator and World War II hero dies and two more people turn up dead, the news heats up. Both victims had ties to a hotel owned by the Senator’s family. Research into the family uncovers a shadowy figure, also a World War II veteran, linked to the Senator.

The third victim at the hotel is a surprise. It’s a cousin of the current owner—and grandson of the Senator—who’s fallen, or been pushed, from the attic.

Visiting the hotel, Amy and a friend meet an urbane European, a Holocaust survivor who’s spent sixty years tracking down Nazi loot. Amy learns that three people have just died to keep the secret of a stolen da Vinci drawing.

Buy book one:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Bad Dog Bailey and What Will You See When You Go to the Zoo by Harrison Lacy

I love when authors are so very generous!!!  I love authors who give back!

For the month of September, they will be donating 100% of the proceeds of their books to The Monday Life. They have written a second children's book called "What You Will See When You Go to the Zoo!" which is a fun, rhyming book about zoo animals.

They are really hoping to raise awareness of the charity and be able to provide a generous donation for the month. To launch their September promotion, they visited the Duke Children's hospital to hand deliver over 40 copies of our books to the children!

Below is a summary of our two books and the charity they are supporting.

Our first children's book is called "Bad Dog Bailey!" and the inspiration behind the book is my son's relationship with our golden retriever, Bailey. It has beautiful illustrations and fun, simple phrases that children love to repeat. The second book that we just released a few weeks ago is called "What You Will See When You Go to the Zoo!" It is a cute, rhyming children's book about the amazing animals you can expect to see when you visit the zoo. Whether laughing at the ostrich who's not too good at hide and seek or admiring the penguins dressed for a night on the town, readers will love the vibrant illustrations and silly situations.

The Monday Life is an organization dedicated to improving the environments for hospitalized children around the country. They do this by enhancing the environment inside children's hospitals through art, music, lighting, color, technology, massage, expression, and fun. Outside of the month of September, we will always be donating 10% of our sales to The Monday Life.


I adored this book.  It has amazing pictures and a cute and funny story.  We are a hose full of dog lovers and me and my boys simply adored this book!  I also want to create a lesson plan and art project around this story!!!  5 stars!!!


Who doesn't love going to the Zoo?  I loved traveling to the Zoo and seeing all the funny and silly character that call the Zoo home!!  Again me and my boys adored this book!  The pictures are super colorful and interesting.  I love that these books also allow the kind of books that allow the kids to look at the pictures and create there own stories.  They are great for all all early reading levels.  As a mother and teacher, I LOVE both there books!!  5 stars!!!!

Harrison LacyAbout the author~

When I'm not at the beach or the park, I like to write children's books with my parents. I can also do some pretty amazing things with crayons! I have written two children's books and we donate a portion of all the proceeds to an awesome charity, The Monday Life. They help improve the environment for hospitalized children through art, music, lighting, color, technology, massage, expression, and fun.

In "Bad Dog Bailey!" I give a first hand account of all the trouble my dog Bailey finds herself in on a daily basis. It has beautiful illustrations and simple, fun to repeat phrases which makes it a great addition to any family's library of picture books for kids.

"What You Will See When You Go to the Zoo" is a cute, rhyming children's book about the amazing animals you can expect to see when you visit the zoo! Whether laughing at the ostrich who's not too good at hide and seek or admiring the penguins dressed for a night on the town, readers will love the vibrant illustrations and silly situations!

Please check out my books and if you like them, I hope you will take a minute to leave a review- with a bazillion stars! It would mean a lot!

Contact and Purchase links below!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pub Day Highlight: The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden



When prestigious plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister.  Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not a proper southern belle she appears to be with ambitions of loving who she chooses and Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible and it will leave you enraptured until the very end.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait that will leave readers breathless.

Marlen Suyapa Bodden

Marlen Suyapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City. She has more than two decades' experience representing poor people and low-wage and immigrant workers, many of whom are severely underpaid, if paid at all. 

She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel, which will be globally published on September 24, 2013 by St. Martin's Press.

Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University and has a Doctor of Laws (honorary) from the University of Rhode Island. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Highlight: Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples


Love always comes when you least expect it, at least that’s what PA Alice Fletcher tells herself as she looks forward to another Friday night of trash telly and wine-for-one. 

But what happens when the unexpected is daytime TV crush Jimmy Mack, and he’s sitting on your couch watching the news… of the accident that claimed his life? 

Soon, Alice finds her ordered life turned upside down by helping Jimmy cross over to the ‘other side’. 

But most unexpected of all is Alice’s growing realisation that her gorgeous ghost has taken up residence in her heart as well as in her home.

Jill Steeples

Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.

From an early age she fell in love with the fabulously funny romances of Jilly Cooper, and vowed, one day, she would have a go at writing one of her own.

Jill loves writing short stories, particularly those with a twist in the tail, and her work has appeared in popular women’s magazines around the world and in a number of charity anthologies.

Her debut novel 'Desperately Seeking Heaven' is published by Carina UK in August 2013.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Highlight: Sweet Deception by Grace Henderson


Three years ago, tragedy struck Cassie Wilson’s family and pushed her away from her hometown. Now, one phone call pulls her right back…

Cassie’s had more than her fair share of heartbreak and the last thing on her mind is finding love. But when she meets the charming, arrogant and drop-dead gorgeous Blake Richards, she has to decide whether she can open up her heart to him.
Blake has a bad rep with women but that doesn’t stop them lining up to spend the night with him. What he wants, he gets. And he wants Cassie. 
The attraction is obvious, but Cassie soon realises he’s holding something back. When his past threatens to destroy his future, will he share his most guarded secret with her? A secret that connects them both, in ways neither could have imagined.

Get the book FREE below!!!!  This weekend only!!!



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Highlight: Books by April Lindner: JANE and CATHERINE


Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. 

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.


A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

About the author!!!

April Lindner
I'm the author of Catherine, a contemporary retelling of Wuthering Heights, and of Jane, a retelling of Jane Eyre, both published by Poppy.  I'm also a poet.  My new poetry collection, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped, was just published by Able Muse Press, and my first collection, Skin, will be coming back into print in early 2013.  I also write literary criticism and edit poetry anthologies.  Last but far from least, I'm a professor of English at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. 

Here are a few things to know about me:
  • I was born in North Merrick, NY, and though I've lived many places since then, I will always be a New Yorker at heart.  
  • I've been writing stories and poems ever since I could hold a pen.  
  • I started out majoring in art but soon realized my talents lay elsewhere.  But I'm still a champion doodler.
  • My sister is a roller derby queen and one of my best friends.
  • Jane Eyre is my favorite novel of all times, with Wuthering Heights a close second.
  • I love rock and roll, so put another dime in the  juke box, baby. (Apologies to Joan Jett.)
  • I teach creative writing, freshman composition, and literature at St. Joe's.  
  • My favorite color is electric blue.  
  • I'm seriously addicted to Facebook and Instagram.
  • I love to cook, especially Italian food.  
  • I'm mom to two lab mix dogs--Reuben and Ophelia--and two little rescued guinea pig girls, Tootsie Roll and Leeloo Dallas Multipass.  
  • I play acoustic guitar (badly) and attend way too many rock concerts.
  • I met my husband at the University of New Hampshire where we both lived in a dorm for the creative arts.
  • I'm secretly shy but I work hard to hide it.
  • When I was 22, I backpacked solo around Europe and had all kinds of fun and misadventures.
  • I've just started blogging.  Please drop by for a visit!
  • In high school I wrote a rock opera about the tragic love between  punk rocker Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungeon.
  • Coffee, dark chocolate, Bruce Springsteen, thunderstorms, exploring cities I've never been to before: these are a few of my favorite things.

*visit her website!

Buy the books!!!!

Review and Guest Post: A Criminal Defense by Steven Gore


Betrayal wounds.Revenge destroys.

Over three decades, Hamlin's practice devolved into just another racket: intimidating witnesses, suborning perjury, destroying evidence, laundering money. But is he the victim of murder—or of a dangerous sexual encounter gone wrong? And when law enforcement believes justice has already been done, who can be trusted to find out?

Once again in the city where his career came to a shattering end, former detective Harlan Donnally resolved it wouldn't be him. He had no desire to immerse himself in the deceit that was Hamlin's career . . . nor entangle himself in the corrupted loyalties that turned the dead lawyer's associates into both co-conspirators and suspects . . . nor make himself the proxy for the hatreds and betrayals Hamlin left behind.

But the presiding judge demanded otherwise—and that might cost Donnally his life.

 I haven't yet read the first book in the series, Act of Deceit, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything and felt this read well as a stand-alone.   A Criminal Defense is the second volume of a trilogy about a retired San Francisco cop, Harlan Donnally.  I was drawn into the story and the characters were engaging.  There were plot twists and turns, which I really enjoyed.   I was in the mood for this type of read and it satisfied the need for action and thrills!  3.5 stars.

Steven Gore, A Criminal Defense

If there is single word that characterizes my encounter with writing crime fiction after decades as a criminal investigator,it’s counterintuitive.
And it’s part of the explanation why true crime makes for lousy crime fiction, why so few career-long law enforcement officers and private investigators succeed in crime writing and why most of those who do have only worked in the field briefly. In truth, much of what readers want from investigator protagonists are characteristics and habits that experienced investigators have to train out of themselvesand trainout ofyoung investigators in order for them to succeed.
Readers want different things from investigators than do law enforcement agencies and private investigator clients. Readers want to feel increasing tension, while, with the rarest of exceptions, experienced investigators aim to lower it; readers want to watch investigators overcome obstacles, while experienced investigators aim to avoid them; readers want to read about characters who are uniquely qualified, while in the real world there are only investigators who are especially qualified; readers want to watch investigators run up against walls and then force their way through them, while experienced investigators aim how to slip around them; readers want spontaneity and surprise, while experienced investigators plan and plan in order to limit surprises; readers want to see investigators try and try again, while clients want real investigators to get it right the first time; readers are not troubled by brash, aggressive protagonists injecting conflict into a scene, while real investigators don’t inject it, they anticipate potential conflict inherent in a situation and work to mute it.
In the end, in the real world, doing all these things in these ways is both the criteria of competence and the conditions for successful investigations.
There is one kind of law enforcement that matches readers’ expectations: narcotics. But it isn’t at heart a crime solving assignment. Narcotics cases are generally built from leaning on people who’ve already been caught dirty—by patrol officers and street drug task forces and through search warrants and wiretaps--to give up those above them. It’s less about solving crimes and more about discovering crimes already in progress or creating crimes by means of informants or undercover agents.The problem is that since the skills and attitudes that succeed in narcotics enforcement fail in investigations, few narcotics officers become first rate homicide detectives. Observe the contrast between the drug enforcement reality shows and A&E’s TheFirst 48. In TheFirst 48, at least during the first few years of the show and before detectives began to play to the camera, nearly all of the excitement came from the music and the jump cuts. The detectives themselves were generally low key and methodical.
The problem for me was to translate the reality of investigation into fiction. That is to say, there could be no “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand” of Raymond Chandler or “My way of learning is to heave a wild and unpredictable monkey-wrench into the machinery” of Dashiell Hammett. Rather, plots had to be driven internally and conflict had to be exploited from within, rather than imposed from without and the methods used had to be those that succeeded in real life.

On the domestic front,I’m making this effort in the Harlan Donnally novels of which A Criminal Defense is the latest, and on the international front, in the Graham Gage thrillers of which Power Blind is the latest. In each series, the central problem I faced was investigativecompetence: the protagonists had to apply real world methods and approaches in a realistic way. That meant applying the techniques of genre fiction to stories whose aim is realism. And the challenge was to make the stories not only informative about the real world of crime and investigation, but exciting for readers. In the end, it’s the readers who will judge whether I have truly bridged the gap between the real and the fictional.

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