Posted in Children, excerpt, Spotlight on November 30, 2014

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas



Aside from their kind of unusual names, Mophie and Picholas are pretty much your average 6 year old girl and 3 year old boy, who live in a pretty average house, in a pretty average town. But outside of their town, well nothing is pretty average at all. For example, just a hop, skip and a jump away is a wonderful place called the Kingdom of the Magic Horses. And way down the river is the Kingdom of Bongo Bongo, ruled over by the meaner than mean, crueler than cruel, rottener than rotten Queen Blunderpuss. She is very happy trying to make everyone else very unhappy, and she has a big bully of a nephew, Bobby, who helps her do just that!

With the aid of their special friend, Sylvester (an excellent and devoted dragon if ever there was one), Mophie and Picholas go from one adventure to another, battling the Blunderpusses, as well as assorted other not-very-nice characters.

In Book 1, evil Queen Blunderpuss and Bobby try to take a happy event like a day at the park, and turn it into a gigantic, yucky disaster for our young heroes and Mophie’s good friend, Allison. Will Mophie and Picholas be able to find a way to outwit the despicable duo? And will Dad ever resume breathing normally after discovering that his children are friends with a dragon? Come along, and let’s find out!

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas series is intended primarily for children ages 3 to 8.


Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Google Play * Kobo

The ebook version is being offered for free until December 31, 2014, at all of the above stores, except Amazon.   Amazon would not permit the eBook to be offered for free, so we have listed it at $.99, which is the lowest price they would allow. But keep checking back as we have submitted feedback to have Amazon match the price!


They turned to look in the direction Mophie was pointing. And there was the answer to the mystery. Leaning against the big slide, with a sly grin on his face, was none other than Bobby Blunderpuss. Bobby was 12 years old, and the biggest bully anyone had ever known.

excerpt 1

And to make matters even worse, he was the nephew of evil Queen Blunderpuss, the ruler of the Kingdom of Bongo Bongo, which was located many miles down the river that ran through Mophie and Picholas’ town.


excerpt 2

She had super magic powers, and a lot of issues. Never a good combination. Instead of using her magic powers to help people, she used them to make people unhappy. Many times she would send her nephew Bobby to carry out her wishes. And that is exactly what happened today.


About the Authors

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas series is the result of the collaboration of the dynamic (and thoroughly charming) father and son duo of Joseph and Anthony Pandolfi. Joe and Anthony share a love of writing and photography, and a couple of years ago began creating poetry gift prints. Ever the adventurers, they decided to explore new horizons, and journey into the world of children’s books. “A Very Strange Trip To The Park” is the result of that endeavor, and the first book of The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas series. More information can be found on their website: .

Twitter * Facebook * Website


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Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, women on November 30, 2014




Bill Ludowski, owner of the town’s largest employer – Bill’s Big and Tasty Sausage- dies whilst he and Mandy Minhouser’s grandmother Lila Rose were doing their best Adam and Eve imitation under the hydrangea bushes. That Gran and Big Bill had an affair that began around the same time as World War II is a secret that everyone in Kassenburg knows. But a new secret is about to be revealed. Big Bill has bequeathed the sausage factory to Lila, with Mandy as CEO.

Mandy doesn’t know squat about the sausage biz and Bill’s grandson Hughes, the factory’s CFO, does everything in his power to close the Big and Tasty. But Mandy has the one thing that Hughes doesn’t– family and friends willing to put themselves on the line to save the factory. With hope, faith and a whole lot of luck, Mandy and company might manage to do just that.


Champagne Books * B&N * Smashwords * iTunes * Amazon * Kobo Books



Over at Over’s Pond

You might think that driving all the way out to Over’s Pond, to the little bend where Randy kept the Airstream parked, somewhat illegally, on Big Bill Ludowski’s land, was overkill. It was eight miles out of town. On that day, of all days, I didn’t have eight miles to spare. Besides which, Randy, despite the transient look of an Airstream with a chemical toilet, was pretty much a permanent fixture in my life. He had a cell phone. A cell phone whose number was on my speed dial as three, one being Gran Lila’s house and two being Sammy’s school. Given all this, you’d no doubt think that driving all the way up an old dirt road to remind Randy to pick up Sammy from kindergarten was overkill. You could have just called, you are probably inclined to say. Which is, pretty much word for word, exactly what Randy said.

“Your phone’s turned off,” was my response.

“So leave a message.”

“For when? Next Thursday?”

“I’m not about to forget my own kid, Mandy.”

“Right. Like you didn’t forget him at the Sausage Festival softball tournament.”

“That was different,” Randy said, “we won. And it only happened once. And I turned around and got him, didn’t I?”

“Half an hour later, Rand. He’s going to require a lot of therapy.”

“Given his family, he’s going to require a lot of therapy anyway.”

Because I know that you are a bright person, by now you have probably figured out why I drove eight miles to remind Sammy’s other parent of his responsibility to his five-year-old son.

I could add to my case by telling you that, when I drove up, my Neon kicking up dust like nobody’s business, Randy was sitting under the awning with the dog, a lovable mutt we call Alpo, on the green Naugahyde couch that passed for lawn furniture. Randy was the one barking.

Well, okay, he was trying to teach Alpo to speak and Alpo, sweet mutt that he is, might be what you call a slow learner. It took him six months of intense training to learn sit.

When I drove up, Randy had his head tilted back full howl while Alpo sat with his head cocked, trying to figure out what his man was doing.

“Nice howl,” I said, climbing from the Neon. “I always knew you were part wolf.”

By now you are no doubt wondering how I ended up with a guy like Randy in the first place. I mean, I’m a nice enough girl, relatively smart, okay looking in a blonde-haired-blue-eyed-girl-next-door kind of way. You’d no doubt question my judgment, Randy-wise, if I told you that he had nine pink flamingos sitting in tableau on the weed patch that passed for a lawn. And that the couch, the aforementioned Naugahyde, was one of many treasures he unearthed along his garbage route. Randy could have opened his own treasure museum. His booty included, but was not limited to, an ashtray in the shape of Texas, a little silver jaguar that was, presumably, once fastened to the hood of a little silver Jaguar, and a gold gilded statue of a naked boy that peed when you pushed down on his head.

Given this, you would be inclined to ask, “What are you? Crazy?”

I have no ready defense, except to say that love or lust or whatever that weird chemical reaction between two people is, well, it’s weird. It’s chemical. It’s uncontrollable.

There is also the look. The one Randy gave me after I made the wolf remark. Not wolfish, exactly. More as though I were a banana cream pie and he was deciding whether or not he had room for desert.


About the Author

Ute cUte (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is an award winning author of women’s fiction, comedy, and romance. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon * Pinterest * Love Stories (available daily via Paper Li)

Books and Stories by Ute Carbone:

Blueberry Truth * The P-Town Queen * Afterglow * Searching for Superman * Sweet Lenora
The Lilac Hour * To The Wind * Dancing in the White Room * All Things Returned * Confessions of the Sausage Queen



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Posted in excerpt, fiction, Spotlight on November 29, 2014




Set against a 1969 psychedelic love-in backdrop, The Girl From Long Guyland is a psychological thriller shared through the eyes of Laila Levin when decades later, an unsolved murder pulls her reluctantly into her past. A dramatic collision of then and now entwining family, marriage, profession and ethics.

Laila enjoys a successful marriage and a thriving career in Austin, Texas. When her company announces a layoff, she is caught between an unscrupulous CEO and her promiscuous boss. Then news of her college roommate’s suicide stirs up an old love triangle and dark secret from her past.

Suddenly, it’s 1969 again and Laila’s left her sheltered Long Island home for college in Connecticut. She’s tempted by the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll that rule her generation and gets swept up in a deceptive love triangle and initiated into an unethical hippie family leading to tragedy.

Laila must now juggle the demands of her perplexed husband, her successful career, and her baby boomer past, endangering her survival and challenging her conscience. She learns that the lines between right and wrong are often blurred, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.

The Girl From Long Guyland has been called everything from, Gone Girl in the sixties, to memoir-meets-thriller, and I feel that Kirkus really nailed the theme in their review: “While effective as a page turner, the novel also tells a timeless, universal tale of a woman’s journey toward self-acceptance.”


amazon buy




Lost in Texas

Austin, Texas, 2012

A couple dozen stars and the eye of a yellow moon pierce light through a sky filled with smoke. I look out the broken window to the ground below. Crumpled in the weeds is a lifeless body with red-flecked eyes, a bushy mustache, and sweet smile.

Vapor seeps into the room. I can barely breathe. Ben wraps his arms around me as I weep. Denise lies in a catatonic state perched on the bed. Why is she only wearing her bra and panties?

Chris stumbles inside the room. His eyes glow like diamonds. He cranes his head out the window. “We gotta do something, man.”

“I’ll call for an ambulance,” I say.

Ben gulps, “That’s not a good idea.”

“We have to,” I insist. “For Godsakes.”

He’s dead, Laila,” Chris says.

Tears sting my eyes.

WITH A JOLT, I awake whimpering. The nightmare has infested my dreams for years. It may be time to see a shrink.

The anxiety subsides when my husband Eduardo arrives with a cappuccino and the morning paper. “Are you okay? It sounded like you were crying.”

I clear my throat. “No, no, I’m fine. Just a dream, I guess.” I’ve never discussed these recurring nightmares with him. Eduardo’s got his own problems. He was recently laid off in a corporate downsize and refuses to talk about it. There’s lots of tension in our home right now. Maybe we should both see a shrink.

From our king-size Tempur-Pedic bed, I sip the coffee and stare at a cloudless sky and the sapphire water of Lake Travis. The serenity of the moment is interrupted by the sound of NPR news blaring from my alarm clock. Time to go to work. I shower and dress for a managers’ conference forty miles away.

AN HOUR LATER, I enter a pavilion filled with mounted animal heads and good old boys, and wonder how this counter-culture Long Island girl ended up in Texas. Yes, it’s Austin, home of tree huggers and music lovers, but I’m mystified by the path my life has taken.

The Hobbs brothers, proud owners of the Burnet County Landfill and Exotic Park where LBJ Electric holds its annual manager retreat, greet me with toothy Texas grins and matching Stetson hats. “How y’all doing today, darlin’? Welcome to our home.”

I flash a smile but it pains me to know these men are the proud hunters of the dead animals in the hall. It gives me pleasure imagining their heads mounted next to the trophies.

As I head to a long pine table and retrieve my white-sticky badge with the letters LAILA LEVIN printed in magic marker, Darlene McIntire, dressed business-gorgeous in a navy suit and cleavage-leaking blouse, approaches me and waves. Darlene is an upper-level manager who advocates for women in the company and played a key role in my promotion from Database Analyst to I.T. Solutions Manager two years ago. “Meet me in the little girls room at break, hon,” she whispers. “There’s something I want to share with you.”

During the morning, two hundred LBJ managers and I feign interest in long-winded corporate presentations. One of the executives reminds us that DIVERSITY is one of our company’s “Foundation Values.” Right. As one of only twelve women in the room, I try to look at the bright side: short lines to the ladies room.

A bald guy grabs the microphone and informs everyone it’s time for a break.   Conversations revolve around Longhorns and Aggies, and of course, the beloved Cowboys. Go Tony Romo!

With nothing of substance to add to these discussions, I dash to the ladies room where I find Darlene at the mirror applying a fresh coat of mascara. She smiles at me. “Nice outfit.”

“Thanks.” My reflection reveals a contrast of wild curly hair with the Ralph Lauren suit and high-heeled boots I bought at Dillard’s yesterday. Like most in I.T., my preference is jeans and sneakers.

Three coats later, Darlene pops the mascara back in her purse and turns to face me.   “Can you keep a secret?”

“Of course.” “John is going to announce his retirement.” John Bell is the LBJ Chief Executive Officer. Rumors of his impending retirement have been rampant for weeks. “I’ve heard talk.”

“That’s not the secret. Bob E. is the heir apparent. Not to be announced today, but it’s pretty much a done deal. And he’s promised me V.P. of Corporate Services.”

I look away hoping she didn’t see my eyebrows jump to my hairline.    “Congratulations.” Darlene is important, but not that important. This promotion is a big leap from Human Resources Manager. Certainly not done often in a company like LBJ. “Wow. Didn’t realize you had the seniority.”

Darlene blushes. “Succeeding in the boardroom is not the only way to get ahead.”

Oh my God. She’s sleeping with Bob Englewood, a.k.a. Bob E., the biggest flirt alive. Darlene has a great-looking husband and two kids. Makes no sense to me. But then I’m not that ambitious.

I’m trying to think of a good response when the buzzer goes off over the building’s loud speakers indicating the end of the break. I produce a weak smile and head back to the conference area with images of Darlene and Bob E. spinning in my head. Why did she share this with me?

I take a seat at my assigned table. John Bell, a short, stocky man sporting a bolo tie and a fine pair of ostrich boots, stands onstage tapping the microphone. “Good morning, LBJ managers. It’s good to be here at our annual meeting. I have some important announcements to make today. Before I do, I want to point out the emergency exits, and ask y’all to make sure to turn your cell phones off.” John delivers his big retirement announcement then drones on about the accomplishments of the company under his watch.

I doodle with colored pens trying to digest Darlene’s news, wishing I were anywhere but here.

John pauses, takes a sip from his bottled water, and clears his throat. “While I can’t promise there won’t be another layoff . . .”

The news jolts me to attention. I look around at my compadres who clearly are thinking the same thing. Brace yourself, it’s going to be a big one, and it could be ME this time.

Everyone sits in stunned silence as the sound of a cell phone chimes the Beatles’ song “Yesterday.”

Damn, it’s mine!

My neighbors smirk at me as I rummage through my purse. This cannot be happening. I could swear I turned it off.

Finally, I locate my iPhone, press a couple of buttons, but the melody plays on. Oy vey, my troubles don’t seem so far away. I just switched to the phone from my tried-and-true Blackberry last week. Vainly, I attempt to locate my reading glasses but after endless seconds, I bolt from the room. My face feels red and puffed like a ripe tomato.

On the patio, damage done, I finally locate my glasses and glance at the display, which reads “PRIVATE NUMBER.” Could it be Human Resources calling already?

The voice on the other end says, “Hey Laila, it’s Katie.”

It takes a moment to recognize the New York intonation behind the affected English accent. “Katie, how are you? Gosh, we haven’t spoken in ages. You sound so British.”

“I lived in London for a couple years but I’m back in L.A. now. You better sit down.”                      Katie B., always the drama queen.

I sit in an antique rocker and stare at the pale blue Texas sky.

Katie clears her throat. “Denise committed suicide yesterday.”

I try to speak but my mouth feels like it’s stuffed with tissue paper. Finally, I gasp, “My God.”

“She was never right after …”

“Don’t say it. Remember the pact,” I say.

“I remember it.”

“It’s kept us safe.”

“We’re gonna have to talk about it. Denise left a suicide note,” she whispers.

Fear fills the membranes of my eyeballs. “Oh, Jesus.”

“I just got off the phone with Chris. A private detective showed up at his house in Denver.”

“I can’t believe that son-of-a-bitch lives in Denver. My sister has lived there for years.” It’s been four decades since I’ve seen or heard of Chris, yet his name causes goose bumps to parade up my arms.

“I’m surprised you’ve never bumped into him,” Katie says.

“Denver’s a big place.” Would we even recognize each other now?

“He googled me and found my phone number. He and Ben think we should go to the funeral.”

“Ben? Did you speak to him too?”

She laughs. “Yes, Jesus still lives.”

I blush at the sound of his name. “What is he like?”

“I don’t know. Same old Ben, I guess.’

“Did they find–?”

She swallows. “No one knows what they’ve found, or what she wrote in her note.”

To think just five minutes ago I was worried about my job, trophy animals, and Darlene and Bobby E. doing the deed.

Katie takes a deep drag of a cigarette. “We could all go to effing prison.”




“In Reznik’s debut novel, a woman confronts long-buried secrets when an old college friend commits suicide … while effective as a page-turner, the novel also tells a timeless, universal tale of a woman’s journey toward self-acceptance. And exciting tale of past crimes and dangerous friendships.”  —KIRKUS

“Laila Levin is an IT executive in Austin, Texas with a happy marriage and a successful career, but her life is about to get much more complicated. Laila is forced to confront a dark part of her past that she never shared with her husband … readers, particularly those who remember the late 1960s, will find this an entertaining read.”  —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

“I love a mystery and I love stories about the late 60s/early 70s, and this book didn’t disappoint. Really fun read.”  —Barbara Gaines, THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN

“Great mystery and suspense. Add a star if you were a ‘flower child’ from the sixties —Leslie Goodstein, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

About the Author

LARA REZNIK author portraitLara Reznik, a native New Yorker, left for the wild west of New Mexico in the 1970s in a Karmann Ghia that she jump-started cross-country. As an English major at the University of New Mexico, Lara studied under esteemed authors Rudolfo Anaya and Tony Hillerman. Ambidextrous from birth, she preferred her right-brained creative side, but discovered she could make a better living with her left-brain skills, so entered the I.T. field.

In 1995 she and her husband Rudy, and their three children, relocated to Austin, TX, where she worked as an I.T. manager for a utility. Since that time, she’s written and optioned three screenplays and two novels.

After the breakout Amazon success of her first novel, The Girl From Long Guyland, Lara left her career in I.T. to write full time.

Website * Goodreads

Screenplays by Lara Reznik:

The M&M Boys

Bagels & Salsa

Dance of Deception

Novels by Lara Reznik:

The Girl From Long Guyland

The M&M Boys




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Posted in Guest Post, Romantic Suspense on November 29, 2014

Today we welcome author Jassy De Jong and her insight into the four fatal flaws of a romantic hero.  Jassy is the author of Drowning which I featured not too long ago.


My first introduction to romance novels were the piles of old Mills & Boons which could be found in every bookshelf in our house (I have three older sisters). This was in the early 1980s, when romantic heroes were very different from what they are today. As an impressionable pre-teen, my role models were the flashing-eyed, self-obsessed, controlling and jealous archetypes that populated those pages. No wonder I started off dating all the wrong guys… it took me decades to overcome this conditioning.

So, in the spirit of public service, here are four “don’ts” to avoid in a romantic hero, whether real life or fictional. I’ve included made-up 80s excerpts to illustrate.

Jealous 80s excerpt:

Roger’s eyes blazed. “Don’t let me see you speaking to that man again… ever!” he exclaimed. “You are mine… all mine and only mine. I’ll have no stranger devouring you with his lustful gaze!”

“B-but Roger,” I stammered, “that man is my brother Tom!”

Jealousy… definitely one of the least likeable and most destructive traits a romantic hero can possess. A heroine who ends up with a jealous man can expect to be alienated from her friends, estranged from her family, and have her choices criticised and controlled. Which brings me to the second flaw…

Controlling 80s excerpt:

“What will it be, Monsieur?” the waitron asked, as I admired the sumptuous decor of this three-Michelin-starred restaurant.

Roger’s powerful jaw tightened decisively. “We’ll have a bottle of the Chianti, the caviar starters, and the lobster mains, Luigi.”

By all means choose Mr Controlling as your romantic hero if it’s the last choice you ever want to make. He’ll decide everything for his heroine, from what she wears to what she eats and where she travels. She’ll never get another look at a wine list, and if she’s on a diet and he fancies dessert – well, let her eat cake.

Violent 80s excerpt:

“We’re leaving now!” Eyes flashing, Roger grasped my arm in his own powerful, muscular grip, holding me so tightly with his sculpted fingers that I cried out in pain.

If the alarm bells aren’t ringing so loudly for this romantic heroine they sound like a fire truck, she must be deaf. The only time your hero should grasp your arm tightly enough to cause pain is when he’s pulling you out of the path of a runaway train, or a charging elephant.

Patronizing 80s excerpt:

“What’s that” I asked, looking at the small clockwork gadget with interest.

“Oh, it’s an invention I put together in between writing my PhD and winning my Olympic gold fencing medal,” Roger told me dismissively, adjusting the collar of his starched Armani shirt. “I’d explain how it works, but it’s rather complicated and you wouldn’t understand.”

The subtext here, of course, is that you need to be the owner of a penis to understand this. Really, why would a romantic heroine want to trouble her frail, feminine mind with its workings… or with any knowledge at all beyond how to remove her lacy underwear on command? In future, she must do the sensible thing and leave these weighty issues to the menfolk… or, of course, she could make the really smart choice, and look for a different hero!



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About the Author

JassyJassy de Jong was inspired to write her first novel, Random Violence, after getting hijacked at gunpoint in her own driveway. She has written several other thrillers including Stolen Lives and The Place for Fallen Horses. De Jong also edits a hair and beauty magazine. She lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg with her partner Dion, two horses and two cats.



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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on November 28, 2014


He was attractive, talented…and way off limits. 

Heather Gadway may have been a world-class college pitcher and a top university coach, but she’s a rank amateur when it comes to managing the Falcons, her father’s struggling minor league team. And when it comes to managing her aggravating attraction to Garrett Wolf, their talented new pitcher. It’s going to be difficult enough to make it as the first female manager in the league and prove to her overly critical father she’s worthy. No distractions. No missteps. And certainly no romances with players. Everything stands between them—including their troubled pasts—even as Heather’s world falls apart and Garrett’s the one who’s there to catch her…





“What else do you want?” The question came from a part of her she didn’t recognize. Asking a man like Garrett a flirtatious question was playing with fire.

Garrett groaned, longing sharpening his features. “You.”

Without waiting for her response, his lips captured hers. She knew she should push him away, but instead her head fell back, her pulse leaping in her throat. The pressure was exquisite as he nibbled and explored. Soft. Warm. Gentle. His lips moved slowly, gradually exerting more pressure.

This felt incredible. Better than the last time. She had to stop this, but need seized her, shoving aside her good intentions.

Her body hummed and a fuzzy sensation filled her head, making it hard to focus on anything but the feel of him, the evergreen scent of the forest and his aftershave heightening her senses.

His hands gripped her waist as she swayed against him, holding her as his mouth sampled her lower lip, then put pressure on the top. Nerves sent small shock waves through her chest, and her hand rose to stroke the back of his neck, making him tremble against her.

Suddenly his kiss intensified, growing fierce and demanding. His lips moved fast against hers, their tongues tangling, causing warmth to explode in her body, melting every piece of her.

She moaned and Garrett’s arms tightened, bringing her closer still. Her lips maneuvered against his in response, loving his sweet taste. Garrett shuddered, curling his fist into her hair with a groan. She loved how her touch affected him, how it affected her.

At last his lips let her go, and he looked down at her tenderly, pleasure in his eyes, his chest rising and falling hard.

“I wasn’t getting involved with anyone. Planned to focus only on baseball,” he said when his breath came easier. “But I can’t stay away from you. You follow me, even in my sleep. Your eyes.” He kissed each lid. “Your smile.” He pressed his lips to each corner. “These freckles.” His warm mouth brushed her cheeks.

Her chest expanded, taking in his beautiful words. This incredible moment. And then it hit her, reality a cold shower.

She opened her eyes and scooted away. “Garrett. I don’t know.”

His eyes moved out over the falls, tracking the sprays of water as they hit the jutting rocks and tumbled to earth. “You don’t trust me.”

Her mouth opened and closed. He was right. While he touched a chord inside that’d never sounded for anyone else, she still couldn’t put her heart in harm’s way again. And she knew without a doubt that if Garrett let her down, he’d devastate her as much as her mother had. Even more. She’d loved and lost too many times to try again, especially with her father gone so recently.

“I’m sorry,” she said inadequately as he stood and helped her to her feet.

His blank expression gave little away. She wondered if, deep down, a part of him was relieved they weren’t taking things further. He’d said he hadn’t wanted distractions. And now she wouldn’t be one.

“I can’t make you believe in me, Heather.” His voice was steady and strong. “I need someone who’ll give me a chance to earn her trust.”

About the Author

Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time author.  With her co-author, Joanne Rock, she’s penned the CAMP BOYFRIEND series with Spencer Hill Press under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. She also writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Enterprises. Her wholesome romance, Heartwarming novels have won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the 2014 Golden Quill Contest. When she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother’s family recipes and hiking. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love.



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Posted in coming of age, Crime, Spotlight on November 28, 2014

company of educated men



Lennie Ashland is a Harvard Graduate without a plan for the future. With the mind of a philosopher, Lennie has an unquenchable thirst for meaning; for finding his ‘place’ in the world. He and his friends embark on a soul-searching road trip which quickly leads to disaster – a fine example of how one bad decision can spiral completely out of anyone’s control. They meet Jessie, an armed teenager with an abusive past and a hopeless future, and Cindy, a little girl running from a hostile home life. One thing’s for sure: this road trip is something Lennie will never forget.

In the Company of Educated Men touches upon some sensitive themes, including socioeconomic gaps, racism and hate crimes, anxiety and depressive disorders, and domestic abuse. Gaiter’s heart-pounding thriller leaves you breathless while his poetic prose induces an intensely cerebral reading experience.


Amazon * B&N * Astor + Blue

About the Author

Raised in New Orleans, Washington D.C., Germany, Missouri, Maryland and elsewhere, Leonce Gaiter is the quintessential army brat—rootless, restive, and disagreeable. He began writing in grade school and continued the habit through his graduation from Harvard College.

His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, LA Weekly, NY Newsday, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Salon, and in national syndication. His noir thriller; Bourbon Street was published by Carroll & Graf in 2005. His 2011 historical novel, I Dreamt I Was in Heaven was also recently published. He currently lives in Northern California.


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Posted in fiction, Interview, Spotlight, suspense, Thriller on November 26, 2014

Deadly Odds



Twenty-three year old Arnold Gold is a Seattle-based odds-maker and local computer genius.  Described as a “part-time hacker and full-time virgin” by his friends, the awkward young shut-in flies to Vegas to try and get lucky–in more ways than one.  But his high stakes activity on the Net inadvertently thrusts him into a vortex of international terrorism.

Dark Net Hacking has resulted in murder, and now it will take every last bit of Arnold’s genius intellect and legendary hacking skill to stay one step ahead of the murderous terrorists, the FBI, the local cops and his lawyer.  Gold’s only chance to save himself is to find a deadly bomb hidden somewhere in Vegas, and somehow prevent the explosion that will turn Sin City into the scene of the deadliest terror attacks since 9/11.


Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Astor+Blue



Q:  How did you come up with the idea of the story?

A: The first novel I ever wrote was based on this story’s kernel: a geek who develops a strategy to successfully gamble draws unwanted attention to himself. But that novel turned out to be disaster and was rejected by every agent I queried. However, the idea of being able to beat the odds remained intriguing yet elusive. Then one day I read about Nate Silver and his uncannily ability to accurately predict various phenomenon based on statistics. After all, this was what the 2011 Brad Pitt movie Moneyball was based on. Once I read about Silver, I knew the plot was much more believable.


Q: What influenced you to create a computer hacker protagonist than the usual medical professional?

A: There are several reasons. First, I don’t like being pigeonholed into the subgenre of “medical thriller.” In addition, it’s unbelievable to believe that a healthcare professional would have the computer expertise—or time—to pull off something like Arnold Gold does. More importantly, in doing my research for this story, I became fascinated with the Darknet and Internet security. I really wanted a way to weave this interesting information into a compelling story. So… a likeable computer hacker seemed to be a much more interesting character to develop than another neurosurgeons. I love Arnold Gold’s character and am really glad I settled on him.


Q:  Why Vegas? Have you always wanted to write a book with Sin City as the setting?

A: When first developing the story I didn’t have any city in mind other than I knew Arnold lived in Seattle. (I love the city as a backdrop to stories.) I also knew Arnold wanted to get laid but was so uneasy about seeing an “escort” for this purpose, that it made sense for him to go someplace far from home where he’d be unlikely to run into anyone he knew. Given the reputation of Sin City, it just felt right to send him there.


Q:  Do you plan on writing more thriller books outside of the medical thriller genre?

A: You bet. I like exploring topics dealing with computers and the Internet. I’m especially intrigued with hacking and the Darknet. My next book, Cutter’s Trial, however, is not a thriller and lands me right back in the medical arena because it explores the issue of physician assisted suicide. Having been involved in a couple start-up companies, I’m also toying with using that subject as a basis for a book, but I have nothing in development along these lines at the present time. We’ll see what happens.


Q:  Would you ever consider a sequel to this book?

A: Glad you asked the question. Both Arnold Gold and Palmer Davidson are such wonderfully rich characters that Robert Astle (my agent) and I agree they are well-suited for a sequel. At the moment I’m busy writing Deadly Odds 2.0.


Q:  Do you think this book could be a movie? Who could you picture playing Arnold?

A: Of all my prior thrillers, I think this one has the most cinematic potential. I’m lousy at casting, so if it were ever made into a movie (my wildest dream), I’d leave that choice to the producers.


About the Author

Wyler_AllenAllen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute.

In 2002, he left active practice to become Medical Director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest.

Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 70’s, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.

He and his wife, Lily, divide their time between Seattle and the San Juan Islands.


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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Monday, mystery, Review on November 24, 2014

maggies image



When Florida psychotherapist, Maggie McGill, plans a vacation visit to her daughter, Allie, in California the mysterious events initially seem only coincidences. But as the visit is plagued by a series of increasingly dangerous events they begin to fear for their safety. The two unsuspecting women are caught up in a mystery that causes them to follow a twisting trail of terror and uncover a diabolical conspiracy that threatens their very lives. Who is the inscrutable Sufi mystic who provides aid through their travails? How did he become part of their adventures? This is suspenseful story telling at it peak of gripping power tempered by a sense of fun and lighthearted mystery.


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This book has action pretty much from the beginning, I just felt a little lost with the characters and what was happening at times. Maggie and Allie have an excellent mother/daughter relationship and it is nice to see them enjoying spending time with each other…even when it is under not so great circumstances.

I do wonder if this book was to be set about 10 years or so ago because Maggie takes pictures with a camera that uses film. Although they do have cell phones, so maybe she just prefers this type of camera?

There is a variety of interesting characters and I was very surprised at who the underlying “bad guy” turned out to be. The storyline keeps you hopping and wondering what situation Maggie might find herself in next.

We give this 3 1/2 paws and will be interested in seeing what the next book holds for Maggie.



About the Author

Sharon Burch Toner is the author of the Maggie McGill Mysteries series.

This series of lighthearted mystery adventures features a mother/daughter team, Maggie and Allie McGill. The two strong, independent, and resourceful women romp through their mysterious and frightening adventures with grace and an enduring joie de vivre that serves them and the reader well.

The seventh book of the series, Maggie in White, is now available in both print and Kindle editions. Work on the next Maggie book, due out late 2015, will begin in January.

Sharon Burch Toner’s Irish grandmother gave her a lifelong appreciation for a story well told. Her love affair with books began at age six when she discovered the public library in her small town. From that young age, she proceeded to devour any printed material that crossed her path.

After a life as mother, psychotherapist and spiritual explorer, writing is her retirement occupation. She says that for her writing is as necessary as food and shelter.

She lives with her two feline roommates in southern California


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Posted in e-books, excerpt, Romantic Suspense, Sale, Spotlight on November 23, 2014

Man Law cover


Title:                            Man Law
Series:                         Private Protectors, #2
Authors:                       Adrienne Giordano
Release Date:              July 4, 2011
Genre:                         Romantic Suspense
Sale Price & Dates:      $0.99 from November 20, 2014 – November 26, 2014



Security Consultant Vic Andrews lives by his Man Laws:

Never mess with your best friend’s sister
Never get caught
Never get attached

But he can’t deny his irresistible attraction to Gina Delgado, a young widow with three kids and plenty of strings attached. Even so, having a physical relationship doesn’t mean they’re “in a relationship.”

Gina lost her husband to tragedy; she is not getting emotionally involved with another man in a dangerous profession. Sleeping with Vic is just stress relief.

Until one of Vic’s assignments goes wrong and the target selects Gina and her kids for revenge. There’s nothing Vic won’t do to protect Gina and the children–the family he realizes, too late, he wants. He’ll accomplish his mission but will he have lost his only chance at true love?


Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Carina Press


Chapter One

Man Law: Never mess with your best friend’s sister.

“Ah, shit.” Vic Andrews, butthead supreme, listened to the churn of the ocean’s waves. Or was it his life skittering off its axis?

Gina laughed that belly laugh of hers and he couldn’t help smiling. He extracted himself from her lush little body and rolled off. The St. Barth sand stuck to his back. Yep, they’d worked up a sweat. Salty sea air invaded his nostrils and he inhaled, letting the moisture flood his system.

Jesus Hotel Christ.

What had he been thinking? He’d been heading back to his room after closing down the resort’s bar and there she was, the girl—er, woman—of his dreams, crying on the beach. No condition for her to be in after witnessing her brother’s marriage to the love of his life.

Vic didn’t mention the fact it was 3:00 a.m. and she was alone on a secluded beach where any drunken asshole, like him, could have at her. Although technically he wasn’t drunk. Buzzed maybe. Big difference. Besides, they’d been at a wedding. Buzzed was allowed.

Gina moved and he finally turned toward her. “I’m—”

“No, absolutely not,” she said. She swiped at her curly mane of dark hair. Her face gave away nothing, but that meant squat. Gina knew how to hide bad moods.

The whoosh of the ocean lapping against the shore distracted him and he stared into the blackness.

“What did I say?” he asked.

“You were going to apologize. I don’t want to hear it.”

Apologize? Him? “I’m not sorry.” He touched her arm. “Are you?”

Please don’t say you’re sorry. Please.

That would be all he needed. He’d just freakin’ obliterated the sister rule Mike had invoked nearly a million—maybe two million—times. The sister rule was Man Law, and Man Laws were about the only rules Vic followed.

He only wanted to check on her, and before he knew it, voila, the clothes were off, the condom was on and they were humping like bunnies right there on the beach. At least no one saw them. All the well-meaning people were asleep.

Gina brushed sand from her legs and stood to straighten the sliplike dress he’d shoved up over her hips. The silky fabric glided over her curves, and the activity in Vic’s lower region made him groan. A thirty-five year-old mother of three, and she was killing him. He should be ashamed.

Screw that.

She was right there. Right there. And, because he’d probably never get the opportunity again, he should grab her and—

“I’m not sorry,” Gina said. “Not about the sex. I’m sorry about other things, but this, I loved.”

Vic retrieved his pants and stood. Gina and her honesty. Good or bad, she just put it out there and didn’t worry about the repercussions. He guessed it came from losing her husband at the age of thirty-one. She had nothing to lose.

“I need to go,” she said, watching him with her big brown eyes as the moonlight drenched her face. He put his shirt on. Did she have to look at him that way? Particularly when he wanted a replay.

“Aren’t the kids bunking with your folks?”

“They are, but you know how Matthew is. He might search for me.”

Fifteen-year-old Matt, her eldest son, took his job as man of the family seriously.

“Right. Okay.” Vic motioned toward the resort. “I’ll walk you.”

Gina held up a hand. “I’ll be fine.”

Nuh-uh. No way. “I am going to walk you. It’s late and you shouldn’t go by yourself.”

Hell, she shouldn’t have been out here alone in the first place, but he knew she’d tear him a few new ones if he said it.

She stood there, peering up at him and—God—she was fantastic. She had a classic oval face with high cheekbones and a nose he knew she hated. For over two years now he’d imagined running his finger over the little bump in it, but never dared. Every inch of her seemed perfectly imperfect.

Blown sister rule.

About the Author

Adrienne Giordano HeadshotUSA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery.  She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.

 Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Street Team

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Posted in Book Blast, Cozy, Giveaway on November 22, 2014


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Cranberry Bluff

Cranberry Bluff by Deborah Garner

Molly Elliott’s quiet life in Tallahassee, Florida, is disrupted when routine errands land her in the wrong place at the wrong time: the middle of a bank robbery. Accused and cleared of the crime, she flees both media attention and mysterious, threatening notes, to move across the country to Cranberry Cove, where she has inherited her Aunt Maggie’s bed and breakfast on the Northern California coast. Her new beginning is peaceful – that is, until five guests show up at the inn for a weekend, each with a hidden agenda.

Mix together one blushing honeymoon couple, one flamboyant boutique owner, a deadpan traveling salesman, and a charmingly handsome novelist, and there’s more than scones cooking at Cranberry Cottage Bed and Breakfast. As true motives become apparent, will Molly’s past come back to haunt her or will she finally be able to leave it behind?




About the Author

Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Website * Facebook * Twitter


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Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/23/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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