Archive for July, 2011

Hi everyone! Do you know Sandi Shilhanek of Fresh Fiction fame? Well, she’s a friend and she’ll now be doing a monthly guest spot! The last Saturday of each month? A reader post by Miss Sandi! Yay! (Last week Sandi switched places with Jessica, who had been vacationing in Ireland, that fancy girl.) So everyone, please welcome Sandi now, officially. 😉

Recently I went to the bookstore to see what new titles were out.  I saw two my Lori Foster that I was aware of, but hadn’t yet decided if I was going to buy in print or for my Kindle.  Other than that I didn’t see much that was really calling my name.

Later that same week I had tea with the wonderful ladies of the DFWTeaReaders.  Naturally one would think that because we are tea and readers groups that talk would consist more of the latest greatest books, than anything else.  It should surprise no one that while we do discuss books, life and gossip comes first and foremost.

O.K… I’m getting sidetracked.  When talk eventually turned to books the name Sharon Sala came up.  I can’t even remember when I first discovered Sala, but I was a fan for a long time.  Then for me at least her writing took a turn that I just didn’t care for, and even though I continued to support her by buying books, I just couldn’t make myself read them.

Come 2010 and the release of her Storm Front trilogy, and I was once again   reminded of why I love Sala.  That brings me to 2011 and the release of her new trilogy, The Searchers.  I read the first one Blood Stains, and was eagerly awaiting the next, Blood Ties.

Well, to my surprise I found out that I had my release dates wrong, and Blood Ties was available!  I don’t know how I missed it when I went to the bookstore, but I did.  I was like I have to go home and buy it for my kindle so I can read right away!

So this brings me to my question of the day…how do you find out about new releases?  Do you have a favorite website you stalk?  Do you have friends who have similar tastes and keep you informed?  Do you wander the bookstore aimlessly just hoping that something says buy me and read me?

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Another review from our friend Caffey Cathie!

Midnight’s Wild Passion by Anna Campbell
Historical romance release by Avon, April 26, 2011

London’s most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge . . .

The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister—now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas’s vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe’s unsuspecting daughter.

Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue—banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie—Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.

Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes . . .

I haven’t read all of Anna Campbell historical romances, but after this read of Midnight’s Wild Passion, I so want to experience this special way she writes again. Ms. Campbell has a way of bringing us back to the heroes of those historical romances from the bodice rippers time without the bodice rippers heroines! You get the feel of that intensity of the hero as a rake but with a strong heroine.

Midnight’s Wild Passion takes place in London 1827. Our hero, Nicholas Challoner, Marquess of Ranelaw is a rake and if his plans go as he predicts he will be one of the worst. As he has set out in revenge for his half sister, Eloise, who was ruined by Godfrey Demarest, one of the richest men in England. Godfrey Demarest, known as Demarest, is a womanizer and gone for most of the book in Paris pursuing women. He was one of his Nicholas’s father’s friends. Ranelaw’s hatred for Demarest is intense and has been stirring on him for years. That hate is what finally has drives Ranelaw to action.

Ranelaw sets out to attend balls and parties as a ruse, pretending to be in need of a wife. He’s not under suspicion because of his age. Ranelaw plans to seduce Demarest’s daughter, Miss Cassandra Demarest. Cass is out for her debut. She’s a mostly smart, sensible young woman. For Ranelaw to get to Cass, he first he has to get by her chaperone, Antonia Hilliard, aka Antonia Smith.

Antonia’s second cousin and employer, Demarest, is Cass’s father. In exchange for a place to stay, Antonia agrees to chaperone Cass’s debut into society while Demarest is in Paris. Antonia knows all about rakes. She was ruined 10 years ago, falling for a rake herself. She hides behind her glasses as a chaperone and no one suspects anything, but Ranelaw. She needs to remain hidden and any misstep in her identity and being discovered will bring scandal to Cass. Ranelaw begins to see the real beauty of Antonia behind her drape-less dark dresses, glasses and her role as a chaperone. Based on how Antonio meets Ranelaw, there’s a challenge immediately between them. The banter with Antonia and Ranelaw is a delight to read! The more she confronts him and attempts to keep him away from Cass, the more he’s up to the challenge to get her both Cass and Antonia. He wanted his pursuit of Antonia to be private but his interest in Cass to be the talk of the ton!

As the story unfolds, more of Ranelaw is revealed about his half-sister’s disgrace, his family, as well as his hatred for his father. There are scenes that bring out the strong emotions that Ranelaw hadn’t shown or revealed. He’s finding and believing he’s not the cruel rake he thought himself. This may sound like a familiar theme, but this author has a special way that is felt so strongly by the reader. The characters come to life as well as the settings and scenery of the book. I fell more in love with Ranelaw after each page. So many of the characters dealing with ruination and how harsh it was during society that they had to hide for the rest of their lives. But even more so, how it affected Ranelaw as a child and into his adulthood. He had set out to get revenge for what Godfrey Demarest did to his sister by planning to ruin Demarest’s daughter Cass. But Antonia gets in the way, in a way that was so unexpected for him that his plans don’t go as he wanted. Love gets in the way. The unique story of the heroine hiding as a chaperone was unique to read. As Antonia feels her past is happening all over again, this time Ranelaw, she feels a love like nothing before but still a future that would be worse if she is found out. Ranelaw is melting for Antonia. His good side is coming out and he feels it too. The intensity between Antonia is a strong sexual tension but so much more, a strong emotional one that they feel for each other.

Grade: A

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Today we have author Laurie London sharing an exclusive excerpt of her newest book, Embraced by Blood with us. It’s part of her Sweetblood Series. (Hint – her books are paranormals about vampires, in case you couldn’t tell ;).) Without further ado, the purpose of this post!

Is she a deadly temptation…or the one woman who can quench his eternal thirst?

Alfonso Serrano is a hunted man. For months he’s managed to elude the Darkbloods, vengeful foes who won’t rest until he’s dead. But he still craves one dangerous temptation: Lily DeGraff, the sexy Guardian agent he’ll risk anything to protect.

Lily is a wanted woman. Her talent for tracking Sweet-a rare blood type that’s addictive to vampires-makes her a prime target for enemy capture. Her only hope is the stealthy vampire operative who stole into her bed…then left her in despair. Danger aside-Lily won’t let Alfonso near her heart again-until an irresistible hunger draws them back together…and into an assassin’s snare.

Out on the main drag, they slowed their clip to a fast walk. As they passed a sandwich board advertising late night psychic readings and a second-hand clothing store with barred windows, Alfonso grabbed her arm and yanked her inside.

“What are you doing?” Lily said, as the door bell jangled loudly over their heads. The smell of stale clothes and old furniture reminded her of all the times she and her mother went antique hunting.

“Since you wouldn’t stay inside the car, we need to disguise your scent in case they recognize it. Muddle it up. With their all-blood diet, a Darkblood’s sense of smell isn’t all that acute, but I don’t want to take chances.” He sifted through the rack by the door, the wire hangers clicking together with purpose, like he was on the hunt for something in particular.

“But we don’t have time for—” She eyed the long fake fur vest he held up in front of her. “That’s hideous. With all the bare spots, it looks like it’s got mange. Who knows where it’s been?”

“That’s the point.”

He took it to the counter where he grabbed a bent straw cowboy hat.

“Turn around.”

“What? Why?”

“Just do as I say.”

When she didn’t, he spun her around anyway and started to loosen her ponytail.

His fingers in her hair sent shock waves echoing through her system. “What the heck are you doing?”

“Just finishing the job.”

Before she could stop him, he pulled out her hair band and plunked the hat on her head. He turned her to face him again, smoothing her hair behind her shoulders with what seemed to be a little more care than was necessary, an odd, unreadable expression creasing his face. She caught his eye and, in an instant, the look was gone, replaced by icy determination.

“You’re going to make me wear this get-up while you get to waltz in looking normal?”

“Fine.” He grabbed a blonde afro wig still sporting a price tag and pulled it over his head. “Happy?”

She laughed, holding her cowboy hat in place to keep it from falling off. “You can’t be serious. You’re going to attract attention looking that way, not deflect it.”

He shrugged. “You’ll see.”

“Well, you look ridiculous.”

“Thank you,” he said as he tucked his hair inside.

He paid the shopkeeper and within minutes, they were standing outside the club a few blocks away. Its giant neon sign, a flashing arrow and caricature of a bikini-clad woman, lit up Alfonso’s wig as if it were rainbow-colored.

“You’d better be right about this.” She flicked the length of the vest behind her hips to have easy access to her weapons, and tucked her fingers into the front pockets of her field ops fatigues to avoid touching the matted fur too much. “Halloween is over,” she grumbled, feeling like a weird version of a cowboy with the hat and duster. Either that, or a female pimp minus the gaudy jewelry.

“Trust me. We’ll fit right in.”

You’ve gotta love some great hero/heroine interaction, yes? Especially in fraught situations, or when they’re going “undercover” – like the episode of Bones where Booth and Brennan go to the circus… What’s your favorite thing about the hero and heroine in romances?

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Julie Leto’s Winner!

Remember when the fabulous Julie Leto guested with us? (I hope she comes back to visit in the future!) Well, the winner of her prize, which is the reader’s choice of one of her back list books is lucky sherie lagarde! Sherie, randomizer.org has chosen you! Please contact me by Thursday, July 28th, to claim your prize. You can browse Julie’s site and choose which book you want. She has almost all of them. Email me at * to claim your prize.

There will be more giveaways in the future, of course, and remember – there are prizes for commenting on my charity blog post as well! Won’t you please help Save the Children? A simple comment will result in people donating more money. And of course, everyone is more than welcome to join in. ❤

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Here we go, everyone! First of all, I want to say thank you so much for your support and generosity. Wow!

In case you missed it… I’m doing a “Social Media for Social Good” charity drive.

Next, I’ve had a few questions about donating. Awesome. I’m not collecting any of the money. I figure that would be way too complicated and potentially questionable. If you’d like to donate, please do it directly at the Save the Children website. But wait – they have a Matching Gift Appeal, where your gift can potentially be quadrupled. So if you’re going to donate… please make sure you click to that page.

This is the Matching Gift Appeal page – please click here to start your donation.

(If you’re international, let me know. I’m more than happy to do my best to hunt down that page for you – Save the Children is in something like 21 countries, I believe.)

I also want to remind you that the fundraiser is going on for a month, so if you are considering a donation but need to check your budget, there’s no hurry. Take your time and consider carefully. I know finances are tight for everyone.

Along those lines, if you’re donating, won’t you please let me know? Any amount is fantastic, and I’d like to know for a month end grand total to see how much we raised. If you don’t want to put it in the comments, feel free to email me, and I’ll ask if you want your name and amount listed. Everyone is more than welcome to opt out of that part.

Next, I want to highlight some of the challenges that have been thrown out within the Romance Community. First of all, there’s this:

Avery Flynn issued this challenge –  that if 50 small press authors donate money, she’ll increase her donation by $50.

Next, not quite a challenge, but Maya Banks is wondering if anyone is willing to match her donation. (Any group?)

Also exciting, the people participating in “Romance Biggest Winner” are joining together to make a donation as well. I’ll update the post to reflect that when I get all the information.

Won’t you consider asking any group you’re part of to do the same? If your yahoo group for example, has 50 people, and even half donate $1 each, that’s $25! Just something to consider.

Last things. If you have any questions, please contact me. People are still offering prizes, contributing donations, and so on. It’s wonderful. I’ll definitely respond. If I don’t, it means I didn’t get it, so please try again. This is important. Also… in case you were wondering “what does Limecello get out of all of this?” – nothing but the pleasure of seeing a group of awesome men and women be incredibly caring and generous. And the satisfaction of knowing we can make a different.  We haven’t met all the goals yet, so keep spreading the word please!

I’m closing comments to this post as well, so there won’t be any confusion as to where to comment. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

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So you know my 2011 Social Good drive? Well, if you comment over there, you have the chance to win one of these prizes!

(If you want to offer up a prize, please email me.)

  • Christine Bell – Two e-book bundles, where each winner can choose 5 of Christine’s books!
  • Susanna Fraser – One of her books in the format of the winner’s choice
  • Inez Kelly – Sweet as Sin, Turn It Up, Jinxed plus Lip Butters in Sweet as Sin & Chocolate Orgasm
  • Nadia Lee – A set of her books (in e-format), including an author e-copy of her upcoming December Carina release
  • Dee Tenorio – A backlist e-bundle of your choice of her series books
  • Anne Holly – A PDF copy of one of her books
  • Jill Sorenson – A print copy of Stranded With Her Ex (international)
  • Toni Anderson – 2 winners, who each get to pick one of her books in an e-format
  • Sarah Morgan – a signed print copy of any of her Harlequin Presents, including her upcoming release, if we hit 500 comments
  • Jeanette Murray – a PDF copy of her August 29th release, The Game of Love – and a video excerpt if we hit 450 comments!
  • Olivia Gates- Twenty winners will receive the backlist book of his or her choice from Olivia when we hit 525 comments
  • A lovely gift basket from some of your favorite St. Martin’s Press romance authors, stuffed with goodies if we hit 525 comments.
  • Nikki Duncan – one winner will receive both of the Sensory Ops books (in print or digital – the winner’s choice), and another winner will receive an ARC of Tangled in Tulle
  • Shiloh Walker – if we hit 500 comments, one person will receive all of Shiloh’s Grimm books in e-format, including her upcoming release. That’s Candy Houses, No Prince Charming, I Thought It Was You, Crazed Hearts, and Locked in Silence
  • Samhain Publishing is offering to one person a box of 15 signed print books from our RWA signing, which includes books by Maya Banks and Lauren Dane, as well as several print ARCs, and to five additional winners, the ebook of his or her choice if we hit 550 comments.
  • Larissa Ione is offering a set of trading cards and an Immortal Rider gift set of a tropical body spray and coconut lipbalm

I would like to note that since the purpose of all this is to raise awareness and ultimately money for the children in Africa who are suffering from the results of a famine, this contest will be a little different from the “fun” ones I usually hold. At the end of the month, I will draw names, or the authors will (it’s their choice). I’ll post winners a week after the fund raiser ends. You will have four days to claim your prizes. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited and not reassigned. Since the authors have graciously agreed to provide prizes simply to support a good cause and not for sales or promotional purposes, there will be no negotiation over formats or titles unless otherwise stated. Thanks in advance for understanding! 🙂

And now, as promised… the first “prize” for everyone – a super long excerpt of Shiloh Walker’s awesome upcoming Romantic Suspense book, If You Hear Her, which she has posted on her site.

So please, head over here to comment!

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“What we are doing here can seem like a drop in the ocean but the ocean will be a drop less if we don’t do it. It’s a challenge, a really big challenge.”

Social Media for Social Good. That’s the idea, and I think we can really do something great. I’ve met some fantastic people via social media – blogs, twitter, and so on. The fact that I already have people offering donations is testament to that. My challenge to the rest of you is… join us.

In my previous post, I talked about the suffering in the Horn of Africa. Everyone loves facts, so here are some.*

  • A current [refugee] camp with the capacity for 90,000, currently has 380,000 people crammed into it
  • Some 10 million people are said to be affected by the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in 60 years.
  • The United Nations said on Wednesday [that] 3.7 million people in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation risked starvation
  • Across East Africa, more than 11.3 million people need aid, the World Food Program said.

Definition of Famine

  • More than 30% of children must be suffering from acute malnutrition
  • Two adults or four children must be dying of hunger each day for every group of 10,000 people
  • The population must have access to far below 2,100 kilocalories of food per day

[Famine] conditions include more than 30% of children being acutely malnourished, and four children out of every 10,000 dying daily. – BBC News

And from my charity of choice (as well as the same article):

Save the Children’s Sonia Zambakides told the BBC the situation in Somalia was shocking.

“I was talking to mothers with children, the children looked maybe nine months to one year old – the mothers were telling the children were three and four years old, so they are absolutely tiny.”

She said some of the mothers had walked up to six days with no food to try to find help.

A point of reference – this is the area I’m talking about, with a great break down from information gathered from various agencies such as BBC News (obviously), as well as the UNHCR, USAID, OCHA & Fews Net.
So far, we have some amazingly generous contributions already. Really, any amount is great. Remember, these amounts are tax deductible, because it’s giving to a charity. I know (truly I know) we’re in difficult economic times. I’ve been, as I say, a “victim of the economy” since ’09, really, and am currently unemployed. Anyway, Save the Children is wonderful because your donation has the potential to be quadrupled due to the grants they applied for. Some of you might also want to check with your employers, who often match donations as well. (I also like Save the Children because if I recall correctly, they don’t send you massive amounts of mail after you donate as well.)

Without further ado… the initial names (in alphabetical order) and pledge amounts.

Ali F – $100 if we reach 50 comments + and additional $10!
c² – $50
Christine Bell – $50, $75 if we reach 100 comments!
Portia da Costa – £30 if we reach 30 comments
Melissa Cutler – $20
Dana/vitch36 – $15
Limecello (yes that’s me) – $50 if we reach 50 comments
Courtney Milan -$1 per comment up to 300 comments
rissatoo – $20
Shelli Stevens – $50 if we reach 50 comments, and $150 to Doctors Without Borders
SonomaLass – $1 per comment up to $100
Shiloh Walker – if we hit 400 comments, she’ll increase her donation by $100, and also post a long excerpt of If You Hear Her

Comments matter. Trust me on this. Also, this year, to help raise awareness, we’ve got prizes! As an incentive to comment – and hopefully donate!- some generous authors are offering prizes. You can find the list here. Those will be drawn when this drive closes, which is a month from now, and posted a week after that. But that’s not the purpose.

I have to say, I hope to be updating this post with more contributions! I have no questions for you today. Just the hope that you’ll spread the word. Thank you. ❤

Tiny, emaciated children with wrinkled skin hanging off their bones, rib cages jutting out, bulbous eyes gazing out forlornly, flies covering their faces – the all-too-familiar images of African hunger.

“Some of them die on the way, some die in the wards,” said Dr Christopher Karisa. “What we are doing here can seem like a drop in the ocean but the ocean will be a drop less if we don’t do it. It’s a challenge, a really big challenge.” – BBC News

And this, from the same article as the previous quote, which just breaks my heart.

One aid worker told me: “We were supposed to have an early warning system but what is the point of warning the rest of world when it doesn’t listen?”.

So what are we going to do to help alleviate the tragedy and suffering? Donate to Save the Children. Specifically, this page that can potentially quadruple your gift! HERE! Please – join us. Challenge your friends and family to donate as well. I’m keeping this post/drive open for a month.

To end on a positive note – there is of course, always hope. Take for example, this woman, who I think is one of the most incredible in the world. Read her story. You won’t regret it.

*I also got info from these sources here, here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE! This is a list of fantastic, lovely, generous people who have also decided to donate! Join them! Make me keep adding to this post! ❤

Carey Baldwin – $50
Kiersten Krum – $10
Evangeline Holland – $25
SBTB Sarah – $1 per comment up to $200
Sarah Mayberry – $100
Pam Jaffee – $100 for 100 comments
Ang Phillips – $100 for 100 comments
Landra Graf – $5
Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe – $100
Tessa Dare – $100
Tamara Allen – $1 per comment up to $500
Leslie Dicken – $25
Natalie J. Damschroder – $10 for every 100 comments
HelenKay Dimon – $1 per comment up to $200
Melissa Schroeder – $1 per comment up to $250 $600 for 700 comments!!!
Miranda Neville – $100
Maya Banks – $500
Kira Brady – $100
Avery Flynn – $50, and an additional $50 if we get 50 small press authors to make a donation!
Toni Anderson – $20
Vivian Arend – $1 per comment up to $300
Kathleen Collins – $20, but she’ll donate $50 if we hit 500 comments!
Larissa Ione – $100
Pamala Knight – $25
Raine Weaver – $20
Dariel Hendy – $100
Lauren Dane – $100
Jaci Burton – $100
Cara Carnes – $50
Vanessa Kelly – $25
Holli Winters – $10
Sutton Fox – $50
Phyl – $25
Lissa Matthews – $100
Julie Leto – $100
Liz – $100 to Doctors Without Borders
Amanda Twentyfive aka Cassandra Carr – $25, and then an additional $5 for every 100 comments
Farrah Rochon – $25, and $50 more if we hit 525 comments
Jess Granger – $50
Romance Biggest Winners Participants – $235 if we reach 350 comments
Farrah Rochon’s Mom – $25, and $50 more if we hit 525 comments
Cathy MacDonald – $25
Emily – $25
Lisa – $45
Sarah Morgan
Joanna Chambers – £50
Jeanette Murray – $50 if we hit 450 comments
Jess Dee – $50
Meljean Brook – $50, and an additional $50 if we hit 450 comments!
Liz Talley – $50
Nikki Duncan – $25 for now
Melanie C Duncan – $10
Liz Kerrick – $25
Pam K – $10
Brandi Drapinski – $10
Layla Hunter – $50
Jennifer Haymore – $100
Marika Weber – $75
Mary M. – $50
Cecilia Grant – $100
Lynn Raye Harris – $100
Leigh Ellwood – $25
Robin L Rotham – $100
Liza L – $25
Shannon Stacey – $100
Laura Hunsaker – $10
Anonymous – $125
Carla Gallway – $10
Bailey Stewart – $10
Laurie London – $100
Jules Bennett – $20
Carolyn Crane – $10 for every 100 comments
Ciar Cullen – $50
Minx Malone – $25
Lori – $18
Sasha Devlin – $25
Cathie – $25
Brandy W. – $25
Joely Sue Burkhart – Small Press Author Challenge
Lorelie Brown – Small Press Author Challenge
Danielle Monsch
R.G. Alexander – $100
Karen Erickson – $25
Bella F. – $5
Moira Rogers (Bree) – $25
Crista McHugh – $25
Taryn Kincaid – $50, and $50 more if we get a total of 50 small press authors to donate (only 15 off!)
Stacey Joy Netzel – $25
Amber Kallyn – $25
Kate Davies – $10
Selena Illyria – $10
Diana – $10
JM Kelley – $5
Christy Lockhart – $50
Miranda Baker – $10
Alisha Rai – Small Press Author Challenge
KD Sarge – $10
Sami – $20
Valerie Parv – $50
Jennifer Lohmann – $50
Leslie – $20
Kathryn – $30

If you plan to donate, please remember to go here, where your gift can be matched with grants and potentially quadrupled!

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