Thursday, 4 December 2014

Book Review -- The Courage to Love by Christina Tetreault

The Courage To Love (Love On The North Shore)The Courage To Love by Christina Tetreault
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

This sweet and endearing tale revolves around celebrated Hollywood actor Mia Troy, who yearns to have a quiet few days to herself, away from all the glare and spotlight, and Sean O'Brien, who co-owns the modest and homely bed and breakfast joint that Mia comes to, to spend those "quiet and peaceful" days. As luck usually has it, Mia and Sean are drawn to each other. While Mia battles her fears for what would come out of it, Sean, who has been shouldering a lot of responsibilities right from a pretty young age, is convinced that all Mia is looking for is a short and casual fling. Do they clear each other's misunderstandings, or do they go their separate ways, is what the book takes us through.

Although mildly predictable, the plot holds the reader's interest all the same. The book is set at a good pace and helps the readers absorb the depth of the two protagonist characters. Sean's character is particularly carved out well, helping the reader understand the reasoning behind his cynicism and his contempt. The character's turmoil, when being pulled between his inner voice and Mia's alluring presence, is nicely narrated too.

Overall, this was a good read and I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of romance genres.

My rating for this book: 4 stars

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Author Spotlight -- Virginia De Parte

Interview with Author Virginia De Parte

Guest Post by Author Virginia De Parte

Sneak Peek into "Romancing the Memory Collector" by Virgina De Parte

Virginnia is a New Zealand based poet and writer who publishes exclusively on e-books. She writes flash fiction, short stories and romance. Her futuristic novels are spiced with romance and adventure. Her books are published by Secret Cravings Publishing and Total-e-Bound. Her poetry and young adult novels are published under the pen name of Deryn Pittar.

A love of words and changing the way they are arranged, drives her writing.  Setting her stories in the future allows her imagination to run riot and she waits for the world to catch up with her inventions, instead of having her work dated by the rapid present-day advances in technology.
She lives in the aptly named Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, a land of beautiful scenery, four million people and a number of hobbits.

Guest Post by Author Virgina De Parte

How to rejoice over rejections
Hands up if you have NOT BEEN disappointed when a rejection letter arrived in your mail or inbox. Ah, I see there are a few hardy souls out there with tough rhino hides. Lucky you.
As for the rest of us, we need to create an alternative standpoint from which to view rejection letters. It’s not easy but unless you can look at rejections letters as positive feedback it’s very hard to get over them and move forward in your career as an author. Putting them on the floor and jumping on them will make you feel better, but it won’t help you get your work published.
The first thing to remember is -  at least the publisher bothered to reply. Some publishers and agents don’t even do that. If it’s a ‘thank you but no thank you” type letter, without any comments or suggestions then you are free to fold it carefully into a paper dart and aim it at the nearest rubbish bin.  You should then send you piece off promptly to another market you have researched, and suits your work. Think positively. Your shiny new rejection letter proves you are a writer and have had the courage to submit your work for scrutiny.
Once you’ve got over the initial shock that someone doesn’t like your beautiful ‘child’, you need to look for their comments. Whatever they say, and however much you may disagree with them, remember they are the people you have asked to publish your work.
It may be that your story doesn’t suit their publishing stable. This is a valid reason to decline your masterpiece and if that is the only criticism then whip it off straight away to another publishing company on your list. It could be ideal for their selection.
It might be your plot. If they say it doesn’t ring true, has holes, needs to be more plausible, then put your thinking cap on and fix it. If you thought of the plot you can think of a remedy.
Perhaps they don’t like one of your characters. Look at ways to improve them and make them better. One of my male leads was once considered too brutish. I had to look the definition up in the dictionary. Then I put in a whole chapter from his point of view, allowing the poor fellow to have deep feelings and fears – bingo, he was saved and no longer brutish, despite acting like a proper jerk on further occasions. The reader knew his inner turmoil and marshmallow centre. Problem solved.
Too many grammar errors? Find a critique partner who loves correcting grammar or use a programme to fix your manuscript. Then send it off again, elsewhere.
Not enough courtship? Throw in a couple of extra chapters. Put a spanner in the works and take a couple of heart-rending chapters to fix it.
The thing to remember is to be flexible. The story you have created may be the most wonderful arrangement of words the world has ever seen – but if it never gets published the world will never know. Cut a bit out here, add a chapter there, fill this plot hole and kill off another character because there is always the next story you can use those bits in.
When you can’t bear to part with a phrase or paragraph, here’s your answer.  Do as the publisher suggests, but instead of ‘killing your darlings’ as writers are told to do, save them. Cut them out and put them in a file. Call it ‘lost moments,’ ‘precious pieces’ or just plain ‘discarded bits.’ They will sit there safe and secure, like diamonds in a vault, until you need them.
As you edit and rewrite and dance to the suggestions of various publishers who return your unruly ‘chilld’ again and again, consider it all part of the steps you have to climb to be a published author.
The first story is the hardest to get published.  I know. I have a full length novel, completely rewritten three times, that will never be published. I’ve labeled it ‘a learning experience ‘ because rewriting it taught me so much. My current prose, point of view and plots are all the better for 75,000 words rewritten three times.
Let’s consider the case of the writer with one manuscript. S/he’s been writing and rewriting it for years. He won’t submit it anywhere because he can’t face the thought of it being rejected. There are a few of you out there, because I know of three people like this and I don’t know that many writers. My solution to this would be to look for a competition and submit just a portion (the first three chapters or however many words required). Dip you toes in the water and wait for feedback. At least the whole manuscript is not at risk of criticism! Some competitions cost money, some are free – chose your preference.
Another thing you could do is to write a new short piece of fiction. Aim for a novella 15 – 30,000 words. You could use the plot you have, alter it slightly, change some of the major events and wrap it up sooner.  This will give you a second ‘child’ you can send off heartlessly and submit to all the horrors of rejection without ever putting your first creation at risk. Or, try your hand at poetry; write a short story 3 – 5,000 words perhaps. This is a great exercise for condensing a plot. Use these shorter pieces as experiments. Submit them to the horrors of the publishing world, thus protecting your masterpiece until you are ready.
If you do this I guarantee the day will come when you will be ready to submit your ‘first born’ to the rigors of criticism. After you have paddled in the publishing pool with your smaller pieces you will gradually harden up. With luck and perseverance you will receive some feedback and best of all you will gain confidence in your ability to write.  Who knows you could be an undiscovered poet or the master of short stories.
Just a few words of advice: never, ever write a nasty letter back to an editor who has refused to publish your work.  Always reply with a short note thanks for the time and effort they have taken to read it. Remember it has progressed from the slush pile into an editor’s warm grasp, a huge leap toward publishing. I suspect editors may keep a black list of people who write angry missives to them and you may want to submit work in the future to this publisher.
I received a rejection letter recently because my submitted novella “wasn’t erotic enough”. It made me smile.  I truly didn’t mind. I won’t be adding to the already explicit descriptions, or leaving home to indulge in some physical research sessions.   
By being flexible, and saving the ‘diamonds’ in the script, I could remove all the sex scenes and turn it into a murder mystery. I have this lovely character in mind. I could use him as the lead. He’s rugged and lovable with a major problem. He doesn’t have a home, a plot or a reason to live – yet. I don’t care how many times he comes home from the publishers, his gnarly hand clasping yet another rejection slip; or how often I have to change his life to suit another publisher’s whim, I’m going to get him out there, covered in stars on Amazon -  one day.

Interview with Author Virginnia De Parte

How does a typical book get written in your world – what do you start with?
Sometimes I start with an idea for a plot. Other times I dream up a character and his/her foibles and conflicts then build the story from there. I don’t have a set process.  Each story has a different ‘birth’.  I have a wonderful title tucked away and one day I’m going to write a story to fit it. Whatever kernel the story develops from I try and work out a few ‘goal posts’ to aim for and write towards. Mostly I have no idea of how the story will end  but one day I guess I will visualize an ending and will have to write a story to get there.
If a scene is very strong in my imagination and bugging me, then I will write it out completely, file it and work toward it with the plot line. By doing this I can stop worrying that I might forget a precious detail. In ‘Romancing the Memory Collector’ there is an adoption scene that insisted on being written long before I reached that point in the story.  However, once I got there I enhanced the scene I’d previously written with more of the character’s thoughts and emotions. I  had the ‘bones ‘already written to hang more words on.

How would you compare the protagonists in your books with yourself?
That’s a tricky question.  I guess my protagonists have the same values as I do: fairness, honesty, kindness and a desire to move through life without causing distress and pain to others. That sounds really pious, but while I strive to be a good person and to write books that entertain, I truly try to avoid hurting other people’s feelings.  (I’m sure I do, often, but at least I’m constantly trying not to). I challenge myself to write in a wide range of genre; and I like to laugh and enjoy life.
How would you typically choose the names of your characters?
I’ve used some family names in my novels, but while I am ‘hatching’ a character a name that suits him/her will often pop into my head. I’ve twice changed the name of a protagonist and each time it has caused many problems in editing because I revert to typing the original name in the manuscript.  I have a notebook I scribble names in, if I hear a name that’s unusual, rolls off the tongue, or a surname that really amuses me. I haven’t used many of them yet, but I will.
What is the one classic work that you wish had been written by you?
“Í, Robot”  by Asimov.  I think this classic is a masterpiece. The three rules that a Robot must follow are brilliant in conception. We may never be served by robots, but if we are then these rules will be the guideline for how they behave. I began reading Sci.Fi as a teenager and love this genre. It allows me to sit back and watch science catch up to my imagination.  I’m sure many of the early Sci.Fi .writers is doing that today.
How would you deal with reviews?
I read them occasionally, but not on a regular basis.  I note the comments and try and learn from any recommendations.  I don’t let them upset me. Reading, like your personal taste in food, is subjective and I don’t expect to please everyone. I write for my own pleasure and if I can entertain others then that’s a bonus.
What is your favourite writing location?
I write at the dining room table, using my laptop. Prior to getting a laptop I wrote on the big computer down the back bedroom.  I’m more social being in the dining room.  However, I’ve learnt that I need peace and quiet to be really creative, so sometimes I recline on the bed with my laptop propped on a tray; a lovely way to spend a winter’s day.
What awesome books and projects are you working on at the moment?
My current work-in-progress is a step away from my romances. It’s a mystery/drama and is the story of a private investigator (ex policeman) whose marriage has broken down. The stress of this has given him agoraphobia (the fear of open spaces), making his life very difficult. Hoping it might help, he gets a dog. The protagonist has clients whose problems he has to solve. How he does this alongside coping with his illness and the dog’s needs, has given me hours of delight. I’ve created a few interesting characters with unusual problems and set my protagonist the challenge of sorting them all out. I’m nearly finished this piece and may just write another set of puzzles for him to solve. I have become very fond of this man.

The Accidental Assassin by Nicole Chase

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The Accidental Assassin

About THE ACCIDENTAL ASSASSIN: Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London. When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try. Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list. As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?    

Excerpt: I twisted the steering wheel sharply as I exited the garage and almost knocked over the doorman. But he was holding a large gun in one hand and to my shock he fired directly at my window. The glass shattered, but I didn’t feel any pain, which I hoped meant I wasn’t hit. I ducked in a belated reaction and the car swerved wildly, but the gun-toting hottie next to me steadied the wheel. “I knew that doorman didn’t like me.” I gritted my teeth. “What an asshole. He’s almost as bad as you are.” “I’ll drive now, if you’d like.” He said it like we were taking turns on a road trip, not running for our lives. Maybe he wasn’t running for his life. But I was still running for mine. I didn’t know what this guy wanted with me. Was I supposed to just let him drive me to some creepy kill room? An image of walls draped in plastic, knives on a table, and a bed with chains filled my mind. I didn’t think so. “Now? You want to drive now?” My voice rose with each word. “Sure, I’ll pull over at the corner for a snack and let you take over. Holy shit! Are you crazy?” “Has anyone ever told you that for such a beautiful woman you have a very dirty mouth?” He smiled at me as my mouth worked silently. “I think I like the odd combination.” “Fuck you.” I glared at the road. “So does that mean you don’t want me to drive?” He nodded toward the traffic that was growing thicker. “Do you have a plan for where to go?” “The cops.” I didn’t mention that I had no idea where they would be located. I’d just stop the first one I saw. “And you told me to get in the driver seat.” “You’re sure you want to go to the police?” He leaned back into his seat, getting comfortable. He looked, for all the world, as if riding around in a car with a bomb attached to it was normal. “You killed a man and fled the scene in his stolen car—which has a bomb attached to it. Oh, and someone was trying to kill you. I’m sure being locked in a tiny room with nowhere to run will make their job much more difficult.” “Maybe they were trying to kill you. I can imagine why they’d want to.” I growled and turned down a street that was one way only. And I was going the wrong way. I muttered under my breath as I dodged cars and people honked at me. “I should’ve stayed in bed today.” “Possibly. They were very sloppy.” He pointed to a street. “You should turn here and take the roundabout.” “Roundabout?” My heart dropped into my stomach and I broke into a cold sweat. “That seems like a bad idea.” Roundabouts were the devil. If you’ve ever tried to drive through a roundabout after years of driving in America, you’d understand. Everything was completely backward to how you instinctually drove. It gave me an ulcer just thinking about it. “We’re being followed. We need to lose them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “If you want to live, we need to put distance between us and the people in the black sedan.” “Oh, Jesus.” I jerked the wheel and our car shot down the road toward the evil traffic circle of death.

Author Photo Nichole Chase Bio: Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories. She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy. Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.      

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Bound by Melody Anne


Title: Bound
Series: Forbidden Series #1
Author: Melody Anne
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Summary: Relinquish Control has just opened its doors in Seattle, and already we are not shy for customers. Relinquish Control is an exclusive escort service catering to the most distinguished customers, from business magnates to foreign royalty. This proven and well-established international business offers an elite selection of women who are ready and willing to attend to your every need with no questions asked. Confidentiality is our special obligation.

Jewell Weston is homeless and desperate at age twenty-four. Two years ago, she quit her job to care for her ailing mother and her young brother; the medical bills incurred because of the cancer that killed her mother two months ago took everything the family had, and the state then took away her brother, now age fourteen. The only way for her to get the boy back is by finding a job and securing a home.

When she’s approached by a woman in cashmere and pearls who tells her she can change her life, and is handed a card with the business name Relinquish Control on it, she thinks she has nothing to lose by calling the phone number. Maybe this will be the answer to her prayers, a way to save her little brother from the nightmarish foster home he’s been placed in.

Blake Knight, known to the world as cold and without a heart, is given an exclusive membership to Relinquish Control by his devilish younger brother, who thinks it would be amusing to make his staid brother squirm. Little does this brother realize that Blake does indeed have unusual desires that Relinquish Control can cater to perfectly. What started as a joke turns out to be just what Blake needs. Though the world sees this man as deliberate and emotionless, it’s nothing but a façade. What lies underneath would shock all those who know him.

When he and his two brothers were six, eight and ten, they were tied up and forced to watch while their parents were murdered. The image has been burned into their minds, though they’ve tried to forget, leaving each of them guarded and unwilling to give their trust to anyone other than each other. No one is allowed to have their hearts. The brothers would never think of letting down their guard with anyone else, certainly not with a woman.

Follow Blake and Jewell’s journey and see if they can find a happily ever after… 

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About Melody Anne: Melody Anne is the author of the popular series, Billionaire Bachelors, and Baby for the Billionaire. She also has a Young Adult Series out; Midnight Fire and Midnight Moon - Rise of the Dark Angel. She's been writing for years and published in 2011. She hold a bachelors degree in business, so she loves to write about strong, powerful, businessmen.

When Melody isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and pets. She lives in a small town that she loves, and is involved in many community projects.

See Melody's Website at: She makes it a point to respond to all her fans. You can also join her on facebook at:, or at twitter: @authmelodyanne.

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