Monday, January 31, 2011

Interview & Int'l Giveaway: Suzanne Barrett

I am so excited that I have been given this opportunity to interview Suzanne Barrett. She currently has two contemporary romance books available; In Love and War (her newest) and Late Harvest. There is also a giveaway and one winner will get their choice of one of these books in e-book format! Form is below.

Welcome Suzanne, I am so glad to have you on the blog today.

Thank you for having me.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Some years back, I left Corporate America and an engineering job to write full time and haven't looked back. I live in the country, raise chickens, garden and make jewelry, and sell at arts and crafts shows. I've always been an avid reader.

Late HarvestWhen you got word Late Harvest was going to publish, what was that feeling like?

Extreme pleasure that finally this manuscript was going to be a beautiful book I could hold in my hands and share with my family.

Tell us a little about Late Harvest in your words?

I've always been interested in wineries, and living in a small wine-making region, I wanted to write about what I knew. The Beringer House in Napa Valley interested me, and so I drew on my German background to create a story about German vintners and Eiswein, a particular late harvest wine where the grapes are picked after a freeze. Of course I added an appropriate amount of sturm und drang to give the story a plot.

In Love and WarYour newest book is In Love and War, tell us a little about this one.

In Love and War is my favorite book and was written after a winter's stay in Ireland. Every place, every incident was carefully researched. It's the story about Meaghann Power, an Irish dairy farmer and cheesemaker who runs her farm almost single-handedly and struggles to make ends meet. When an opportunity presents itself for her to rent her converted castle keep to an embittered Irish American war correspondent, she jumps at the chance. Of course she doesn't know he's embittered, wounded and surly, but in short order she learns that much more than Quinn Lawlor's broken body is in need of mending. What begins as indifference, turns to interest, and later passion. But Quinn hates political conflict and Meaghann is exactly the woman he should never love. Moreover, Meaghann has secrets she cannot reveal.

What do we have to look forward to in terms of new books from you?

Three novels and a Christmas novella are scheduled for release in 2011. One of these is a new Western historical titles Sierra Bride about an Irish mill worker who escapes a would-be murderer to become a mail order bride. Another book I'm working on is a wine country story set in the Santa Cruz mountains and will be a romantic suspense. Two more completed contemporary books set in California, plus a medieval set in twelfth-century Wales and an Irish story set during the Easter Rising of 1916 are also in the works.

Being an author of today, what is the difference you have seen with E-Book sales versus paperback? Has it surprised you?

Actually, I don't consider myself an author of today since I made my first sale in 1998 when my New York publisher did all the promo and e-books were barely getting off the ground. Now, jumping back into the publishing world of 2010, I see huge changes. E-book sales often out-perform paperback sales, and most readers have Kindles, Nooks or Ipod applications where they can download and read various digital formats. Electronic books are less expensive and downloading is super simple. While I still love the feel of a paperback or hardcover book, I love that I can take my Kindle everywhere and have dozens of book loaded on it. So, yes, I would have to say I am surprised, but technology is moving forward so rapidly that it was bound to happen, and if a writer doesn't move along with it, he or she will be left behind.

Do you have any writing quirks?

Only that I can't work in a cluttered environment. I have to have a tidy desk and neat office.

What gets you into the mood to write?

A walk around my property, a cup of tea in the garden, communing with Nature. Or an idea that demands I put it to paper.

Favroite book, if you can choose one?

That could change from time to time. The book that got me thinking that I could write a romance was LaVyrle Spencer's Hummingbird. A favorite book is a series of Celtic fairy takes by a little known author, Ann Moray, titled A Fair Stream of Silver.

What are you currently reading?

Since I also review books, I read a fair number of them. Just finished Blood Stains by Sharon Sala (excellent, BTW). I'm currently reading Susanna Kearsley's Mariana. My taste varies--anything from romantic suspense to contemporary to historical, and I also enjoy the wonderful inspirationals by Julie Klassen.

How about an “interesting” fact about yourself that everyone might not know.

Just one? :-)  I design jewelry, specializing in wire wrap, and have a website at I write articles for my own Irish travel site at www.irelandforvisitors. I am a certified water fitness instructor and I love cats.

Lastly, is there anything else you would like to share about your books?

My stories tend to center on the tortured hero, a strong heroine. The books are sensual, but more along traditional romance lines with out-of-the-ordinary settings and/or themes. (e.g. dairy farmer, female structural engineer, wine-making occupations)

Here is the form below. Fill it out and check back on Valentine's Day to see who the lucky winner is. This is int'l! Good luck

Friday, January 28, 2011

Guest Post: Heather Wardell

I am so excited today to have Heather Wardell on the blog. She is an excellent author and has a unique writing style. Today she is going to tell us a little bit about her life as a writer. Enjoy, I know I did.

My reviews on her books:
Planning To Live
Stir Until Thoroughly Confused

Thanks to Rebecca for letting me tell you about my life as an author! 
I'd love to tell you I work every day from six in the morning to ten
at night without a single break. I'd also love to tell you I work for
only fifteen minutes a day and write a book a week. But I only make up
stories in my novels not in real life. :)

The truth is, I am constantly struggling with my schedule and how best
to work on my books. I am fortunate to be a fast writer, averaging
about 1500 words an hour for a first draft and able to do more if I'm
particularly on fire. Most of my books are in the 75,000-80,000 word
range, so in less than sixty hours I can have a first draft done.

Go Small or Go HomeSo why am I NOT writing a book a week? It turns out, and I'm sure
you'll be shocked by this, that writing is hard work. Have you ever
written a three-hour-long exam? Do you remember how your head feels
afterward, like all the brain cells at the back are just sitting there
stunned? That's how I feel after, at best, two hours of first draft

I have spent a lot of time, far too much, beating myself up for this.
But it's a fact. Writing may not be physical exertion but it is most
definitely mentally draining. While I am gradually building up my
strength, writing a first draft for more than three hours leaves me
unable to have any sort of conversation for ages afterward. I just
can't think.

Seven Exes Are Eight Too ManyBut a work day of at most three hours a day feels a little wimpy. So
at the end of 2010 I decided to try something I'd never done before:
work on two books at once. I get very immersed in my characters, to
the point that I can find myself surprised that I don't have a
ponytail if my character does, and I've always been afraid that
working on two books would take that away from me.

I decided to give it a shot, though, and I was relieved to learn that
I can switch from 'being' one character to being another without any
difficulty. So I am now writing the first draft of one book and
editing another. Editing, while still a challenge, doesn't cause the
same "making stuff up out of thin air" brain exhaustion as a first
draft does, so I'm able to handle a bit more of that a day.

Planning to LiveNow that I'm doing two books at once, my ideal schedule is two hours
of first draft and three of editing a day. I don't make it every day,
especially since I also handle the housekeeping and grocery shopping
and meal preparation for me and my husband, but I try. I want to
release at least three more books this year on top of this week's
"Stir Until Thoroughly Confused", so when I feel like slacking off I
remind myself how bad I'll feel in December if I can't truly say I
gave it my best shot.

Between those five work hours and the housework, I answer email from
readers (which I love - seriously, email your favorite author today,
Stir Until Thoroughly Confusedwe appreciate it so much), contact bloggers like the lovely Rebecca to
see if they'd like to review my work, and keep my website updated.
Getting everything done is challenging, but I adore what I'm doing and
I want to be writing for years to come.

I would love to get the five hours a day up to six or seven because of
how much faster I'd be able to produce new books. (There's something
both amazing and depressing about getting an email, the day after a
book releases, saying, "I just finished your book and I love it.
When's your next one coming out?") But for right now, five is what I
can do with consistency, and I am finally learning that five
consistent hours a day are much better than a day of seven and a day
of one or even zero because I'm too tired from the seven.

Life, Love, and a Polar Bear TattooI used to compare myself to other writers and their schedules, but now
I only compare myself to myself. Am I doing my best? Then that has to
be good enough. I hope you can all find a way to arrange your
schedules so you can always know you're doing your best.

If you haven't read any of my books yet, why not pick up "Life, Love,
and a Polar Bear Tattoo" as a free download from my web site
( If you do, remember that I'd love to
get an email from you letting me know what you think!

Thanks again Heather, I enjoyed learning a little more about you. Now everyone better run out and grab that free download so you can see just why I love her as an author!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How Sweet It Is by Sophie Gunn

How Sweet It is
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Add to your Goodreads TBR List
Format: E-book and Paperback
Series: Book 1 of Enemy Club
My Rating:

Book Blurb: Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she's raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her "Enemy Club"—high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!
Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante "Tay" Giovanni soon appears. He's sexy, kind, and offering assistance—no strings attached.
Slowly, steadily, Lizzie's heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he'll fix more than Lizzie's home. He'll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.

My Thoughts: What woman wouldn't want her wish to come true? Apparently Lizzie, who says out loud that she wants a man who will fix up her house and leave her alone. That would be the perfect man for her. Her wish is granted and she isn't happy about it. In fact, she just wants him to go away. Tay however just wants something to do to keep his mind away from his thoughts and he wants to help people. Fixing up Lizzie's house is perfect for him.

This is an adorable story yet there is a lot going on. Tay is a troubled man. A year ago he caused an accidant and killed the driver leaving a daughter orphaned. He wants to be forgiven. He thinks doing things to help other people are just what he has to do since the daughter to the woman he killed wants nothing to do with him. He also just can't forgive himself.

Lizzie also has a lot more going on in her life then just wanting to chase away the man who wants to repair her home. She also has a teenage daughter who is getting ready to meet her father for the first time and the daughter is convinced she will be swept away to Europe to live her this great father. Lizzie's sister is having post partun depression and is jealous that her husband is always at Lizzie's beckoning call.

This book is packed full of plot that there doesn't ever seem to be a moment where nothing is going on, which will leave you feeling satisfied.

**This book was provided to me by the publishers in return for my honest review.**

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stir Until Thoroughly Confused by Heather Wardell

Stir Until Thoroughly Confused
Publication Date: January 2011
Format: E-book (available in paperback)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Add to your Goodreads TBR list.
My Rating:

Book Blurb: Mary's given up everything, including an unsatisfying marriage, to become a chef. But the career comes with a side dish: Kegan, her sexy but controlling new boss.They're soon in a relationship, and in all-too-frequent arguments, and when it becomes clear they can't work together and be together Mary faces a dilemma: keep her dream job or her dream man?

My thoughts: This is my second book by Heather Wardell. I like her style as an author a lot. She begins her story's where the character has to take time to think back and reflect. So when you start a story by her, you are with the main character at the turning point in their life. You then get to turn back the clock and learn how the character got there. Its nice in the back of your mind, you in someways know where the story is going and you get to enjoy the ride there.

This story is no different. Mary finally has her dream job and a boss, Kegan, who fully supports her. The two are drawn to one another from the moment they meet. They dance around the idea for a long time of a romance and you can tell the two want to fight it. Eventually though they have to give into one another. Kegan has to work on his control issues and this is where the problem sets in. Eventually the two know they can no longer be together. It just isn't working, so what are they to do. That is when Mary has to decide, does she want her dream job and keep the restaurant that she built or does she keep the man she truly loves.

The story had a soft spot in my heart. In some ways it reminded me of my husband and I. No, I am no great chef at all, however when I met my husband, we met in a restaurant and he happened to be my boss and I was a waitress. So, it was fun watching them dance around on whether to date or night.

Be sure to check out my review for Planning To Live by Heather Wardell. This one will keep you hooked and the ending will leave you staring at the pages for almost hours after.

**This book was provided to my by the author in return for my honest review.**

Monday, January 24, 2011

Achooo! Its no fun being sick.

Post have been lacking, but I have been sick! LOL, so it has been time for a little break from blogging and reading. I spent all day today in bed resting while the kids were at school. I am feeling 80 percent better. I have several books to get reviewed and up on the blog. Hopefully things will be up and running again soon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Update on Pass It Forward

There are still some giveaways going on from the Pass It Forward blog hop giveaway. Click here to see them.

I think the first month went well. I hope the next month goes even better. Mark your calendars for February 7th for the next Pass It Forward.

I am going to be making a few changes. I am going to have this more of a hop, so if  you enter you can grab the linky to add it to your page also if you want too. I am also looking for a co-host or two. If this is something you might want to  help me with please contact me beckaboo3283 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks to everyone who participated this month.

How To Meet A Guy At The Supermarket by Jessica Degarmo

How To Meet A Guy At The Supermarket
Publication Date: November 4th 2010
Genre: Chick-lit/ Contemporary Romance
Format: E-book and Paperback
Add to your Goodreads TBR list
My Rating: 3 1/2

Book Summary: Join Quinn on a hilarious journey of self-discovery and dating. Will she find a beefcake or a rotten apple? Will Quinn find love or sour grapes at the supermarket? Quinn is a successful journalist who has been so busy trotting the globe looking for stories that she sort of forgot to invest in her private life. Eventually, she takes on an assignment with a nationally-syndicated travel magazine back in her hometown in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and is able to settle down. The problem is she's lonely. She's too young to be a spinster and too old to pick up a man at a bar, so what is she to do? Quinn sets out to find a man in the unlikely setting of the Grocery King Supermarket. She devises crazy plans to find a mate, no matter what it takes. Cue a whole series of misfortunes as Quinn is mistaken for a prostitute, has the whole world looking for her imaginary dog, and resorts to doing the strangest of things--like fainting in the bakery section--to meet the man of her dreams. And what does she have to show for all this trauma and hard work? Yep, a hapless collection of Mr. Wrong, Mr. Wrong and Mr. WRONG. Jessica L. Degarmo's 'How To Meet a Guy at the Supermarket' is classic witty romance/ chick lit with a difference - Quinn actually feels like a real person written by a real person. You have probably met her, and she no doubt confused the hell out of you every bit as much as she confused herself.

My thoughts: This was a cute read. Quinn is tired of being single and is ready to meet Mrs. Right and the supermarket seems like the perfect place. She has tons of stunts that she decides to use to meet the right guy. The only person she remotely attracts is the guy is the meat department, whom she calls "Shrimp boy." He is a bother to her to begin with and after a few months, she finally starts to have a friendship with him. Quinn does dive into several relationships in this book as she struggles to find Mr. Right. This is where my complaint comes with this book and why I couldn't give it 4 stars. The time length she was with these guys in the book, seemed unrealistic to me. If she had doubts about these men from the beginning, the way the character was written, in my opinion never would have stuck around. Quinn didn't come off as extremely desperate and she would marry anyone. Yes, she was lonely, but she had a lot of spunk to her that both of these men crushed in her. The time length in a lot of this book to me was too long. Now to jump back to positive, the story was very cute and well written. The author really knows how to paint a picture. Quinn is a very likeable characger and I would love to be a friend of hers. She has a very positive attitude and made for a fun read.  So please don't let my one draw back keep you from picking up this book. You will sit down and have a few laughs on Quinn's journey to love. Many times you will want to whack her in the head and tell her to look in front of her.

** This book was provided to me by the author in return for my honest review.**

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tick Tock by James Patterson

Tick Tock (Michael Bennett)
Publication Date: January 24, 2011
Genre: Suspense/thriller
Series: Micheal Bennett #4
Add to your Goodreads TBR list
My Rating:

Book Summary: A bomb set in one of New York's busiest places is discovered before it explodes. But relief turns to terror when the police realize it is just a warning of greater devastation to come. The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside vacation with his ten adopted children and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine--leaving his entire family open to attack.Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Beth Peters. His affection for Beth grows into attraction and then something stronger, and his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. Another horrifying crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern--and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan.

My Thoughts: This book is a race against the clock, literally! Someone has a mission to reenact crimes of history and they are targeting Micheal Bennett. This is my first book is this series. Micheal is not only a detective but he is also a father of 10 adopted children. So you get to go in a little more with his personal life and what the kids are going through. So there are two plots going on in some ways. Micheal solving the case of who is setting off these bombs and the family who is bullying his children. There is even a little romance in this book as Michael has two women who want to be his leading lady. This book will keep you wanting to pick it up at anytime that it isn't in your hand. I don't know how Mr. Patterson does it, but he has another best seller in his hands.

**This book was provided to me by the publishers for my honest review.**

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Through The Walls by Keri Ford

This book is for readers 18 and older.

Through the Wall (Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas)
Publication date: December 19th, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ erotic
Format: e-book
Series: Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas (Book 1)
My Rating:

Book Summary: She doesn't want wild and raunchy, just a little spice. Stephanie Faulkner listens to her neighbor's nightly sexcapades through her bedroom wall. What used to make her blush now has her reaching for her vibrator. But she's had enough self-fulfillment and now wants the real thing.
He wants commitment and long-term, not a quick roll.
The only woman Parker Madison ever wanted for long-term was Stephanie...but she's off-limits. He's tried to find a substitute but there just isn't another woman like her. Now that she's available, if he gives her time to get over her ex-husband...will he finally get his long-desired chance?
Short-term doesn't lead to long term. Or does it?
But when Stephanie digs up the courage to ask Parker for something a little exciting and spicy, he nervously rejects her. Still, she sets out to get what she wants a little sexcapade of her very own. No commitment. It's just sex, right?
Parker knows he could never be satisfied with having Stephanie temporarily. But as she continues to tempt him and he finds it harder to resist, he begins to think short-term might be better than nothing at all. Unless he can convince her into more.

My Thoughts: This is a fun read. Its a quick read that will keep you entertained the whole time. Stephanie is recently divorced after her husband Jake cheated on her. Parker is her neighbor in her apartment complex who also just happens to have his bedroom on the other side of her wall. She has spent many night listening to him and all his different women and she knows that he is what she wants. He is what she needs and she is determined to get him. Parker however isn't wanting just a hop in the sack with Stephanie, he has always wanted her to be his forever. He has got to resist her. There is a lot of humor in this book. You will find yourself laughing along as well as feeling the sizzling chemistry between these two. I can't wait to read book 2 in this series. You definitely want to check this book out if you want a quick afternoon read that will leave you pleased.

**This book was provided to me by the publishers in return for my honest review.**

2 different giveaways, 2 different winners!

Its time to announce winners to my Pass It Forward giveaway hop and to the Dreaming of Books giveaway hop.

Up first---Pass It Forward---Jude Deveraux "Scent of Jasmine"
Winner will have 48 hours to get back to me before I move on to someone else.
The winner is:


Up next is the Dreaming Of Books giveaway. This giveaway blew me away. The most entries I have ever had in a giveaway was about 30 something. This giveaway had 92 people enter! I am blown away. I know some people had more I am sure, but I was shocked as I keep seeing the form grow and grow.
The winner will also have 48 hours.
The winner is:

A Real Librarian!

The giveaway winners were chosen with


Monday, January 17, 2011

Today I am Famous!

Today I feel famous! Well, a little maybe. Today I was not featured on 1 but 2 blogs. Not sure how I got so lucky. So, go check out these two great blogs and learn a little more about me.

This is my guest post at The Subtle Chronicler. I was asked to talk about how I incorporate books into my kids life.
Read it HERE

I also had an interview from The Crazy Bookworm. So to learn a little more about me here, go check it out HERE.

Both bloggers were fun to work with, so you should definitely check them out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Love This Bar by Carolyn Brown

I Love This Bar
Publication Date: June 1 2010
Genre: Western Romance
Series: Honky Tonky (#1)
Add to your Goodreads TBR list
My Rating:

Book Summary: Funny, sexy, and sure to appeal to the huge audience of country music fans, this new trilogy features the Honky Tonk beer joint and its succession of lovelorn owners. Serving two counties, one wet and one dry, the Honky Tonk is the gathering place for every hothead, thirsty rancher, and lusty lady looking for a good time. Owner Daisy O'Dell vows she'll run the place until they drag her cold dead body through the swinging doors. That is, until the day Jarod McElroy walks in, looking for a cold drink and a moment's peace from his ornery Uncle Emmitt. The minute Jarod sees Daisy, with her hot looks and smart mouth; he knows he's met not only his own match, but Uncle Emmitt's as well. Now, if only he can convince her to come out from behind that bar and come on home with him-

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed this book for the most part. I don't think the genre Western Romance if for me, however I am hooked on the series and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. The story line was good and did keep me interested. It was a very clean romance book. Its one of those where the chemistry is there between the characters but the author closes the door and you are left out like a dog in the rain. However, that is ok. I like to know a little more then was let on, but I can still enjoy a book either way. I was not crazy about how people in the book were so stereo typical. Everyone had a problem with Daisy being a bartender, including Jarod in he beginning. However learning that she is also a vet tech changes every ones opinion. I think knowing she owns the Honky Tonk and that its an well going business should have been enough to impress anyone. I am hoping that in the next book, the characters aren't so judgemental. I also hope by the end of the series all the Walter boys are married off. Especially Billy Bob. He had his heart quite broken in this one.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop

I am participating in the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!

For this hop I am giving away (a book). All you have to do is fill out the form below AND then look at the linky list below and hop on over to another blog to see what they are giving away. This contest will end on January 17th and I will announce the winner on Tuesday January 18th.

So, what book is up for grabs?

Not So Snow WhiteDonna Kauffman's Not So Snow White. This is a delicious book and one with Donna Kauffman at her best!

Can a down-on-her-luck princess really have it all? A whisper away from thirty, gorgeous Tess Hamilton has been the tennis world’s top titleholder and celebrity since she won her first championship at fifteen. Now the headline-making party girl is getting her first taste of mortality–thanks to new teenage phenom Gabrielle Fontaine. But it’s Gaby’s cool, calm, and all-too-collected brother and manager, Max, who really has Tess seeing double. He’s the first man she can’t seem to seduce–or intimidate. It appears Tess is truly off her game, until a real-life, modern-day fairy godmother steps in.…Aurora Favreaux, a founder of Glass Slipper, Inc., and an old family friend, has a plan to get Tess back on her stilettos, and it includes an unlikely meeting between Tess, Max, and Gaby at Glass Slipper’s new London headquarters–just in time for Wimbledon. It seems that Tess is going to hit the courts in a whole new way, to prove to the world–and herself–that a woman with the heart of a champion can ace life and love–even after the big 3-0.

Fill out the form below to enter into this contest then scroll down and hop along in the giveaway hop.