J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Too Much (or Not Enough) of a Good Thing?

medium_5795161232J:  I’m trying to think of the stuff I’ve read lately

My nerd kick led me to Nerd in Shining Armor

ehhhhh

and Love Kinection

better than ehhhh but still not everything I ever dreamed of

I should actually say Shining Armor was cute

but not what I expected

and the author of Love Kinection took too much pride in the nerdiness, but the story was pretty cute

M:  Oh yeah? I like the titles

J:  It was just a big dump of the geekiest things the author could think of

like she polled people for ideas and then threw them all in there

pop culture references galore

you know how I feel about those

besides dating a book…

I mean, there was Buffy, Star Wars, Star Trek,

stuff I’ve never heard of, comic books, nintendo, nerdy references that only nerds get, joss whedon, conventions. it never ended

that was Love Kinection

cute story. cute hero

too much nerd

M:  it’s a fine balance, like the alpha bad boy/alphahole. Too much is sometimes…too much.

J:  yeah. I would have loved the story otherwise

and the Nerd in Shining Armor was like “what else can we get these guys into?”

psychic brother, psychotic boss, heroine from the hills of Tennessee (little offensive there, too, though I know there are people like that here), color blind hero, set in Hawaii, plane crash, overprotective mother

the hero was adorable, just as I’d hoped

and adoring, like the shy guys are

but I sighed a lot

M:  I finished the Alpha Bad Boys 7 book pack – 99 cents when I bought

I liked the Olivia Cunning stories, I’d read her again

and Shayla Black’s story was good. Worth buying for those three stories alone

Started out good with those, but the rest I pretty much skimmed through

like, major skim

J:  assholes instead of alphas?

M:  snoozeholes

J:  hahahahaha

M:  the stories from the third one on did not hold my interest

not so much alpha or enticing

I mean, I was expecting some serious, bordering-on-alphahole heroes, and none of them really were

I was a bit disappointed. Maybe my idea of alpha bad boys differs, though, so…

J:  I can’t handle alphaholes

M:  I like a certain amount of arrogant alpha

as long as they have a good heart

these weren’t heroes I’d pull together specifically for a collection of that title, but that’s me

and there is a difference between an alpha bad boy and an alphahole

so there’s that

but these were just…romance heroes

and not that they weren’t good heroes, but just not what I get excited about when I think of alpha bad boys

J:  I feel like I’ve read more than just the geek ones lately…hmmm

M:  I read a couple of Entangled Brazen that were/are on sale to celebrate their birthday

all were pretty good

Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson – football player hero marriage for convenience/bolster his reputation. I’ve read a few by her lately and they’ve all been pretty good

Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey – hostage negotiator hero who falls for his boss’s daughter, forbidden romance angle. I’d read more of her stuff

I started One Night with a Hero by Laura Kaye, military hero one night stand turns into next door neighbor and related complications

only a little ways in, but so far so good. I’ve read a few of hers before, too, and they’re all  solid good-old sexy romance.

J:  Ooh, an Entangled one comes out today about a geek

must go buy

M:  read a couple m/m that were free and pleasant surprises

Reaching the Edge by LM Somerton. On sale for 80 cents

and Yes, Sir – a free short erotic novella that was pretty steamy and decent. I’d read more from both of them.

I read a couple of Skye Warren books, too

they were solid, but very different subject material. dubious consent, non-consent, that very dark side of erotica. Definitely not for everybody.

J:  holy crap. when do you read?

has it been that long since we chatted about books?

M:  I’ve read a ton. the past couple of weeks have been hella stressful and distracting

so I read if I can’t write

the one click ordering is so dangerous

J:  I agree with that. I ration myself

hahaha

not myself. my books. my money

or I’d never do anything

M:  I tried, but fell into the purposeful delusion of “oh, it’s on sale. That doesn’t count.”

and wheee

I can find lots of good books on sale

but I do have a new house and lots of fun remodeling to pay for soon, so…

budgeting sucks

but then, “it’s only 99 cents. What’s 99 cents?”

times fifty

J:  it’s a lot if you buy one a day

exactly

M:  I figure I’m doing good with one a day

I mean, I don’t buy coffees or anything. No Starbucks on the island.

right? heh

J:  that’s how I justify my pedicures

lol

I don’t buy handbags or shoes, so….

M:  yeah, those aren’t my crack

Buying books? Oh, yeah.

Speaking of which…

brb

photo credit: Domiriel via photopin cc


J to tha M: Fangirling on Kate SeRine

Sharing a Big Announcement from a Fave Author

kate serineM: Kate SeRine, one of our new favorite authors, had a super fun announcement this week

and we can feel pretty smug because we kind of chatted/stumbled into/guessed earlier

even though I’m just fangirl excited more than smug

J:  GIDEON!

sorry.

I was overwhelmed

M:  haha – yes!

J:  I’m jumping up and down

and I’m so so happy that we can tell people

M:  Kate SeRine is continuing her Transplanted Tales series

and Gideon is next!

J:  But seriously

for everyone to understand our excitement about Gideon,

they need to read the first three – Red, The Better To See You, and Along Came A Spider

We’ll be talking more about the new one–Spider–next week. Release date Aug 1!

M:  They need to read the first three, period

J:  Because, well, this guy–Gideon–is super hot.

She’s made him so with the least amount of words possible

which is such talent

M:  She’s kind of super talented that way

haha – there we go

on the same page again

J:  Let’s just recap the hotness, shall we?

I mean, we met Nate right away

hot

but she also introduced Seth with such few words

but we still COULD NOT WAIT to meet him in the next one

and then there were the little mentions of Nicky Blue

where he sounded so, so cute, but really steaming hot at the

same time

like a hotter Sinatra

way hotter

and I, for one, couldn’t wait to read his story, just from the few words here and there about him

M:  more like Brando

J:  How does she DO that?

oh, yes. Brando. I’m on it.

M:  I know. Each hero she writes is all swoonified

J:  but I’ve never been so excited about one

even as excited as I was about those heroes

she’s just made Gideon this AMAZING character with so few mentions.

and I already want one.

WANT.

M:  I’m like – Nate’s my favorite kind of hero. Oooh, Seth is. No wait, Nicky. Yes. Nicky. But

wait, Gideon.

She manages to hit all the buttons

all of them

and not just the hero buttons

J:  And I can’t wait to see his actual spot in the Fairy Tale lore

oh, talk buttons

then we’ll discuss his possible character

M:  She hits the heroine buttons, too. And story. And plot. And

characterization. And suspense. Fun. Mystery, worldbuilding. Cleverness.

I have so much love for her writing

just perfect escapism

J:  exactly

so

my guess on Gideon is that he’s more than he’s appeared to be so far

It would be hard to write a whole book about a peripheral character

so I’m wondering if she’s going to bust out some secret fairy tale

M:  or literary character

J:  the frog prince?

M:  or maybe the heroine is a Tale?

whatever it is, I’m looking forward to the unexpected and clever

J:  I’m sure it will be so amazing

who could the heroine be?

who’ve we met so far?

maybe Cindy gets her real Prince Charming?

M:  ooh, I did think Cindy needed a good story and turnaround

or the DA – Mary Contrary

the snarky one

there’s a story there, I think

maybe we can convince Kate to tell or give a hint

J:  I’m for that. gentle persuasion. blackmail. whatever it takes

M:  exactly. we must know so we can discuss and contemplate

and then before we get Gideon’s story, we get more of Nate and Red

Grimm Consequences – a short about the trials and tribulations that were hinted at in the last two books

like a extra little bonus to tide us over while we wait. I think that one will be released February 2014.

J:  siiiiigh

Nate

Look, I really loved Nicky and Seth

But there’s still something about Nate

and the depth of his devotion

he loved the longest

it wasn’t a “hey, she’s cute”

he loved her for years and bided his time

and that…

well, aside from the slight stalker angle

is just so effing sweet

when he told his story, I was just tied up inside

all breathless and near tears.

just unf

M:  Nate was my favorite

But Seth was sooo sexy

and I loved Nicky Blue

J:  oh yes

M:  sigh. Nicky…

J:  they’re all amazing for various reasons

M:  I have such serious sexy fun love for this series

I rec to everyone, and I haven’t heard anyone who has been disappointed

J:  I need everyone to read it

M:  Kate’s giving away a copy of one of the first three Transplanted tales novels–winner’s choice.

J:  wonder if we’re allowed to win. I wouldn’t mind something with her signature on it

M:  yes, a signed paper copy of RED and swag!

We all must enter.

J:  I WANT SWAG

Is it a rafflecopter?

M:  plus, on top of all the talented awesomeness, Kate’s a super nice person.

yes, a rafflecopter entry through the end of the week

enter, enter!

J:  you got it. I’m going to enter rtfn

brb

a Rafflecopter giveaway

photo credit: Alex Dram via photopin cc


J to tha M: Fangirling on Kate SeRine

Sharing a Big Announcement from a Fave Author

kate serineM: Kate SeRine, one of our new favorite authors, had a super fun announcement this week

and we can feel pretty smug because we kind of chatted/stumbled into/guessed earlier

even though I’m just fangirl excited more than smug

J:  GIDEON!

sorry.

I was overwhelmed

M:  haha – yes!

J:  I’m jumping up and down

and I’m so so happy that we can tell people

M:  Kate SeRine is continuing her Transplanted Tales series

and Gideon is next!

J:  But seriously

for everyone to understand our excitement about Gideon,

they need to read the first three – Red, The Better To See You, and Along Came A Spider

We’ll be talking more about the new one–Spider–next week. Release date Aug 1!

M:  They need to read the first three, period

J:  Because, well, this guy–Gideon–is super hot.

She’s made him so with the least amount of words possible

which is such talent

M:  She’s kind of super talented that way

haha – there we go

on the same page again

J:  Let’s just recap the hotness, shall we?

I mean, we met Nate right away

hot

but she also introduced Seth with such few words

but we still COULD NOT WAIT to meet him in the next one

and then there were the little mentions of Nicky Blue

where he sounded so, so cute, but really steaming hot at the

same time

like a hotter Sinatra

way hotter

and I, for one, couldn’t wait to read his story, just from the few words here and there about him

M:  more like Brando

J:  How does she DO that?

oh, yes. Brando. I’m on it.

M:  I know. Each hero she writes is all swoonified

J:  but I’ve never been so excited about one

even as excited as I was about those heroes

she’s just made Gideon this AMAZING character with so few mentions.

and I already want one.

WANT.

M:  I’m like – Nate’s my favorite kind of hero. Oooh, Seth is. No wait, Nicky. Yes. Nicky. But

wait, Gideon.

She manages to hit all the buttons

all of them

and not just the hero buttons

J:  And I can’t wait to see his actual spot in the Fairy Tale lore

oh, talk buttons

then we’ll discuss his possible character

M:  She hits the heroine buttons, too. And story. And plot. And

characterization. And suspense. Fun. Mystery, worldbuilding. Cleverness.

I have so much love for her writing

just perfect escapism

J:  exactly

so

my guess on Gideon is that he’s more than he’s appeared to be so far

It would be hard to write a whole book about a peripheral character

so I’m wondering if she’s going to bust out some secret fairy tale

M:  or literary character

J:  the frog prince?

M:  or maybe the heroine is a Tale?

whatever it is, I’m looking forward to the unexpected and clever

J:  I’m sure it will be so amazing

who could the heroine be?

who’ve we met so far?

maybe Cindy gets her real Prince Charming?

M:  ooh, I did think Cindy needed a good story and turnaround

or the DA – Mary Contrary

the snarky one

there’s a story there, I think

maybe we can convince Kate to tell or give a hint

J:  I’m for that. gentle persuasion. blackmail. whatever it takes

M:  exactly. we must know so we can discuss and contemplate

and then before we get Gideon’s story, we get more of Nate and Red

Grimm Consequences – a short about the trials and tribulations that were hinted at in the last two books

like a extra little bonus to tide us over while we wait. I think that one will be released February 2014.

J:  siiiiigh

Nate

Look, I really loved Nicky and Seth

But there’s still something about Nate

and the depth of his devotion

he loved the longest

it wasn’t a “hey, she’s cute”

he loved her for years and bided his time

and that…

well, aside from the slight stalker angle

is just so effing sweet

when he told his story, I was just tied up inside

all breathless and near tears.

just unf

M:  Nate was my favorite

But Seth was sooo sexy

and I loved Nicky Blue

J:  oh yes

M:  sigh. Nicky…

J:  they’re all amazing for various reasons

M:  I have such serious sexy fun love for this series

I rec to everyone, and I haven’t heard anyone who has been disappointed

J:  I need everyone to read it

M:  Kate’s giving away a copy of one of the first three Transplanted tales novels–winner’s choice.

J:  wonder if we’re allowed to win. I wouldn’t mind something with her signature on it

M:  yes, a signed paper copy of RED and swag!

We all must enter.

J:  I WANT SWAG

Is it a rafflecopter?

M:  plus, on top of all the talented awesomeness, Kate’s a super nice person.

yes, a rafflecopter entry through the end of the week

enter, enter!

J:  you got it. I’m going to enter rtfn

brb

a Rafflecopter giveaway

photo credit: Alex Dram via photopin cc


Contesting the Competition

Writing Contests and Flashes of Genius

Guest Post by Andrea Downing

 

Love’em or hate ‘em, if you’re a writer, most likely you’ve entered a writing contest at some stage of your career.  You may have done it in the pure and simple hope of getting your work in front of an agent or publisher, or you may have just wanted more feedback on your work in order to know you were going in the right direction. Perhaps you were just hoping for a win to use as promotion for your book. Whatever your reason, the value of entering could well depend on where you placed and what the judges said about your writing.

A couple of years ago I entered a writing competition and, unfortunately, came in fourth where the first three places were the finalists.  Like anyone would be, I was disappointed that, by a mere two points in this case, I had been pipped at the post.  My personal reason for entering had been to get feedback on my writing since I had undertaken to write a western historical romance which no one, but no one, in New York reads.  Therefore, I obviously looked to the three judges of this contest for some useful critique.  Two of the judges scored me at 99 and 94 out of 100 respectively, and the third—whose marks happily didn’t count as the contest only took the two highest scores­­­­— scored me a whopping 56.  After I was able to stop catching flies with my mouth hanging open, I asked myself….WHY?  Where the first two judges raved about my dialogue and said they could hear the voices of my characters, No. 3 said they sounded like the 1960s instead of the 1860s.   Whereas Nos. 1 & 2 loved the story and claimed they wanted to read more, No. 3 told me it was over-plotted and maybe I should try writing something else.  In fact, No. 3 didn’t have a single good thing to say about my opus until at the end she conceded that I had “flashes of genius!”  Not even ‘some bits were ok,’ but actual genius! Hmmm.

So, was Judge 3 having the literary equivalent of a bad hair day?  Was she simply a hard marker? Can there be such a gap between critics as to explain my results?  I looked at the marks for all 20 contestants and the nearest gap to mine was a measly 20 point differential to my 40.  Did my critic just hate “westerns?”  Or did she see something the others hadn’t? And who was right?  Can one be subjective about good writing?

When sentences are grammatically correct can ideas, imagery, voices, story be thought ‘good’ by one person and ‘bad’ by another?  Obviously, they can or critics would be out of a job. There are books—stories—you may not like while knowing they are well-written. The existence of classics and bestsellers says that there is often a general consensus of opinion.  But why (and how and when) does a difference of opinion occur?  And what is the value of all this to the entrant?

Obviously, if you enter a competition purely in the hope of winning for promotional purposes, your chances are pretty slim that you are going to reach your goal, and the same might be said about hoping to get your work in front of an agent or publisher.  You might, of course, but it’s not something you can count on.  What you can count on is getting criticism, and what you do with that criticism is entirely up to you.  I had some very good advice from a fellow writer, and it’s guidance I followed in the contests I entered following that fateful one.  I take the criticism I believe in and ignore the censure with which I don’t agree.  I go back over the manuscript with the remarks to hand and look at my work and see whether I feel the judge was right or wrong.  And—I repeat!—I ignore the rest.

In time the above manuscript became my first book, Loveland, and it has, to date, received quite decent reviews.  In fact, it’s currently a finalist as Best American Historical for a RONE Award—a competition which I did not enter but with which inclusion is purely based on having received a 5* review. Whether entering previous contests paid off, it’s difficult to say.  Or maybe those flashes of genius just flashed enough at an editor to get me in print.

 About the Author

Andrea Downing likes to say that, when she decided to leave New York, the city of her birth, she made a wrong turn and went east instead of west.   She ended up spending most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire.  She married and raised a beautiful daughter and  stayed on to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District, Wales and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, was her first book and is a finalist for the RONE Award of Best American Historical.  Lawless Love, a story, comes out as part of The Wild Rose Press Lawmen and Outlaws’ series on Sept. 4.  Andrea is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

Follow Andrea on her websiteTwitterFacebook, and purchase Lawless Love and Loveland on Amazon

J to tha M: What We’re Reading (Still)

Sharing is Good

 

photo credit: <a

photo credit: <a

M: so, I have a couple fluffcloud stories for you to try

two that are free Honeymoon for One and The Princess Problem

they were cute

and another I’d be interested to see what you think – She’s Got Dibs

it’s a beta hero

J: oooooh

I bought another Delphine Dryden last night, the second in the Science of Temptation series

with a beta hero – The Seduction Hypothesis

And the Lila Dubois that was reviewed on Saturday – Undone Rebel

M: you’ll have to tell me if you like the other Dryden. I’ve read the first and second in the Undone Dom series and really enjoyed

J: I like both of Dryden’s. A lot

cute

and I really liked Undone Rebel.

I love the beta heroes. I checked out She’s Got Dibs

if the heroine doesn’t get a clue soon…

the hero is a doll

and I want to keep reading for him

she decided to just be friends

and I was facepalming

M: I like the first few chaps I’ve read, but yeah. I agree

J: I just think the heroine is being a dumbass

I wanna kick her

M: I’m worried about all the pushing him away going on for another 300 pages

argh. I die

and not in a good way

stupidass girl

J: yes

YES

because he’s adorable

sweet

hot

rich

M: sexy

J: but mostly sweet

M: good to her

J: wtf

M: I knoooow

shut up, stupidgirl

J: k, i’m getting a little irritated with her again

M: just jump his ass

J: hahaha

M: well, you do love your beta geek heroes, so definitely let me know what you think when you finish

J: I’ll read it all

just downloaded the free reads

M: I’ve been having a streak of luck with the freebie ones – almost all self-pubbed

read a couple stinkers, but for the most part, they’ve been pretty good reads overall

maybe I just know more what to look for and what to avoid

J: the blurbs say a lot

I read a blurb last night that made me LOL

for real

it was TERRIBLE

M: yeah, and I do skim through the reviews and read samples if they have them – that really helps

I just started a short with a rock star and curvy girl waitress

shows some promise – I’ll let you know

I’ve read a few blurbs that just make me shake my head

but that’s good, I guess. You know not to waste any more time

J: I wanted to share this one with you

but apparently I was so traumatized that I put it out of my head completely

M: haha – that’s not good

J: It was so ridiculous

it must be read

M: Like the ones where they put an excerpt in the blurb area on Amazon and it’s O.O

Thank you, next

J: oh, I finished Beyond Shame

I thought it was good. I’d read the second

M: I really liked that one

better than the first

J: took me some time to get into the dystopian

M: yeah, she kind of jumped right into the different world

I would have enjoyed a little more background worked throughout

I rec the second in the Undone Lovers series (Undone Dom, maybe?) and the second in the Beyond series

Interested in one or both?

J: yes. going to order

brb


Book Review: Undone Rebel by Lila Dubois

Guest Review by Heidi LaVista

book review undone rebel by lila duboisAfter the gushing about geek heroes last week, I begged them to let me review Undone Rebel, the first in the Undone Lovers series by Lila Dubois. Like J and M, I’m a big fan of the shy guys, especially when they drop that shyness in the bedroom. Undone Rebel has such a hero, as well as a heroine I couldn’t help but love.

Ms. Dubois begins beautifully, giving us a very clear picture of Addie, the pin-up girl with a solid backbone and a heart of gold. Upon meeting her, we see the future conflict clearly. How could someone with such a strong will naturally submit? Still, in spite of this fiery nature, she agrees to model for erotic photography, where she’ll play the part of a submissive to three separate Doms with three distinct styles.

And then we meet Lane. Upon first impression, he’s strong, capable, and smokin’ hot. Ms. Dubois also created such lovely tension here, showing us two decidedly strong characters with immense amounts of sexual chemistry. Because her introduction to Addie is so well done, we already care for them and hope for some kind of future before she can even meet the second Dom.

In a twist that really threw me for a loop and cemented my regard for the book, we discover Lane is a computer geek with a history of trouble with girls. His Dominant nature developed as he learned to interact with women. AND I BELIEVED IT. I believed every single word. Adorable and so hot.

Were there a few issues here and there with sentence structure and other stuff my editor mind itched to fix? Yeah. In the end, these didn’t matter. I was invested in the characters, the story, and the outcome too much to really see the blemishes. I felt the author avoided many of the pitfalls of erotic romance, gave us character development, a fun and relatively believable plot, some pretty smokin’ sex, and a hero that I’d fall for over and over and over again.

Book Review Undone Rebel by Lila Dubois

About the Book

When amateur fetish model and rockabilly princess Adelita “Addie” Sanchez is asked to model for an instructional BDSM book, she turns the offer down—she’s not a porn star. Then she meets the three male Dominants behind the project, including Lane Therres, who convinces her the book is more art than porn, and she’ll be safe in his hands.

The rules of the photo sessions are clear—there’s no sex, and Addie can call a halt to anything she’s uncomfortable with. But self-reliant, strong-willed Addie doesn’t count on liking what the powerful Doms do to her body with their ropes, chains and toys. Enjoying Emory’s touch after falling for Lane, Addie turns away from both men, scared of what they’re making her feel. She’s worried that a relationship built on a BDSM contract can never be anything but whips and chains.

Lane will exchange Dom leather for shining armor to prove to his rockabilly princess that even the most gallant knights sometimes prefer dungeons.

About the Author

Lila is a multi-published, bestselling author of erotic, paranormal and fantasy romance. Having spent extensive time in France, Egypt, Turkey, Ireland and England, Lila speaks five languages, none of them—including English—fluently. Follow her on Goodreads or her website.

About the Reviewer

Heidi LaVista loves to combine words and song, reads more than a lot, and dabbles in writing stuff sometimes. Loves editing, stuffed animals (not clowns), cute guys, cats and dogs, and chocolate-covered pretzels.


Book Review: Undone Rebel by Lila Dubois

Guest Review by Heidi LaVista

book review undone rebel by lila duboisAfter the gushing about geek heroes last week, I begged them to let me review Undone Rebel, the first in the Undone Lovers series by Lila Dubois. Like J and M, I’m a big fan of the shy guys, especially when they drop that shyness in the bedroom. Undone Rebel has such a hero, as well as a heroine I couldn’t help but love.

Ms. Dubois begins beautifully, giving us a very clear picture of Addie, the pin-up girl with a solid backbone and a heart of gold. Upon meeting her, we see the future conflict clearly. How could someone with such a strong will naturally submit? Still, in spite of this fiery nature, she agrees to model for erotic photography, where she’ll play the part of a submissive to three separate Doms with three distinct styles.

And then we meet Lane. Upon first impression, he’s strong, capable, and smokin’ hot. Ms. Dubois also created such lovely tension here, showing us two decidedly strong characters with immense amounts of sexual chemistry. Because her introduction to Addie is so well done, we already care for them and hope for some kind of future before she can even meet the second Dom.

In a twist that really threw me for a loop and cemented my regard for the book, we discover Lane is a computer geek with a history of trouble with girls. His Dominant nature developed as he learned to interact with women. AND I BELIEVED IT. I believed every single word. Adorable and so hot.

Were there a few issues here and there with sentence structure and other stuff my editor mind itched to fix? Yeah. In the end, these didn’t matter. I was invested in the characters, the story, and the outcome too much to really see the blemishes. I felt the author avoided many of the pitfalls of erotic romance, gave us character development, a fun and relatively believable plot, some pretty smokin’ sex, and a hero that I’d fall for over and over and over again.

Book Review Undone Rebel by Lila Dubois

About the Book

When amateur fetish model and rockabilly princess Adelita “Addie” Sanchez is asked to model for an instructional BDSM book, she turns the offer down—she’s not a porn star. Then she meets the three male Dominants behind the project, including Lane Therres, who convinces her the book is more art than porn, and she’ll be safe in his hands.

The rules of the photo sessions are clear—there’s no sex, and Addie can call a halt to anything she’s uncomfortable with. But self-reliant, strong-willed Addie doesn’t count on liking what the powerful Doms do to her body with their ropes, chains and toys. Enjoying Emory’s touch after falling for Lane, Addie turns away from both men, scared of what they’re making her feel. She’s worried that a relationship built on a BDSM contract can never be anything but whips and chains.

Lane will exchange Dom leather for shining armor to prove to his rockabilly princess that even the most gallant knights sometimes prefer dungeons.

About the Author

Lila is a multi-published, bestselling author of erotic, paranormal and fantasy romance. Having spent extensive time in France, Egypt, Turkey, Ireland and England, Lila speaks five languages, none of them—including English—fluently. Follow her on Goodreads or her website.

About the Reviewer

Heidi LaVista loves to combine words and song, reads more than a lot, and dabbles in writing stuff sometimes. Loves editing, stuffed animals (not clowns), cute guys, cats and dogs, and chocolate-covered pretzels.


J to tha M: What We’re Reading

We Want YOUR Recs!

book recommendations from ruthie knox

© Makarand | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J:  I put out a request for geek heroes on twitter

and got responses from Ruthie Knox, Delphine Dryden, and Charlotte Stein

A little surreal

M:  I love recs, and getting some from those ladies has to be great.

J:  reading a Charlotte Stein now

I think you’d like

M:  someone rec’d her to me a while back

I looked at her Amazon author page

she has a bunch that sound good

J:  reading Power Play

geek sub

M:  Right up your alley

J:  only I’m getting the feeling the geek part is an act to draw out the Domme nature of the heroine

there is some suspension of disbelief necessary

M:  I can deal with suspension of disbelief if the story is done right

J:  everything takes place in the workplace so far

which twangs my HR strings pretty hard

M:  see, that would twang my OCD. I sure hope they clean that desk

J:  I can’t watch The Office without stressing out

so you can imagine how tough I find BDSM in the office

M:  heh

J:  But we have to discuss – at least a little – the ARC of Kate SeRine‘s Along Came a Spider. Due out Aug 1?

M: August 1, yes

J:  I mean, Nicky Blue…

M:  I loved him. Loved.

She writes a really great hero

J:  and I got this weird feeling this is the last

which makes me a little sad if true

because I want to see Gideon’s story

M:  I don’t know. I think she left Gideon pretty open for his own story

I’d like to see more about Lavender’s brother Puck, too

And Cindy needs a real Prince Charming. And Al needs a good romance. And…

J:  I hope she keeps going

M:  Oh, yes. Me, too

J:  she did mention she’s got a WIP, so at least we’ll see more from her, whatever it may be

M:  I’ve read a couple interesting ones

I did finish Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha and was caught up so I bought the second in the series, Beyond Control

I really liked that one

I’d highly recommend for those who like erotica that’s a little different and really sexy

and wowsa hot

J:  I’m about half through Beyond Shame

I kinda stopped when I got the chance to read SeRine’s ARC

:-/

M:  I know some readers are looking for erotic tales a little beyond the usual after That Book

and this is a series and writer(s) I’d definitely rec

I liked Beyond Shame, but I really liked Beyond Control

got into the characters a lot more

Looking forward to the third in the series

J:  Well, you know I loved Delphine Dryden’s books and rec Theory of Attraction

and Ruthie Knox’s Flirting with Disaster. Hero with a stutter. Be still my heart

even quiet and stuttering, she made him so sexy

unf

there’s something about her technique, too

M:  I’ll try it. I read Big Boy - Strangers on a Train from your rec, and it was good

J:  short and different

M:  I like different

J:  but the technique got me with that one. a kind of ebb and flow to the sentences

M:  got you in a good or not so much way?

J:  mostly good. sometimes I just wanted her to come right out and SAY what was going on

it was hard to imagine that kind of arrangement, for one thing

I mean, for me

M:  I enjoyed the story, but for some reason, it was more like reading, not living the characters and scenes

if that makes sense

J:  yes, it does

like, you’re in the scene, you see it happening, but you have no effing clue why

M:  I felt the connection to the characters and story, but not as deep as I thought I should

J:  because it was like watching two strangers do something a little strange

rather than BEING one of the strangers doing something a little strange

M:  well, I like strange. I’m on board with strange

J:  what did get me, though, was the hero’s attempt to fix things at the end

I like a guy that won’t give up without making it right

even if he knows he may not get his desired result

M:  I like that, too

He was really kind of odd and dislikable in his reaction to her wanting more at first

and maybe the reason came a little too late?

or maybe there should have been more hints of vulnerability? I just don’t know

J:  maybe. but I saw it as wanting to desperately cling to that double life. to avoid showing her anything that might scare her off, even if it meant letting her go. at least it was on his own terms

but then he did show that vulnerability. he did decide to let her in

to take a chance

even if it might have been too late

M:  he did. I guess I would have liked to see a little more a little earlier, been given little hints through her eyes kind of thing

but it was a very fun read. I’d definitely read more by her.

J:  all these things I’ve read lately have helped so much with my writing

**dances**

M:  I’m dancing with you – yay!

reading is good

I read a book by Tracey Garvis GravesOn the Island

I’d seen her name here and there, and the ebook went on sale

I’m not a fan of survivor island books, but I liked

J:  oohhh

is this the one where she’s with her student?

I’ve seen such mixed reviews

M:  I liked. I recommend

I thought the whole story was well done

He’s in remission from leukemia, and his parents hire her to tutor him to catch up over the summer

they rent a vacation place in the Maldives, and she and TJ fly out a few days later than the family

the plane goes down, and they’re stranded on the island

Nothing happens between them until he’s almost nineteen

I had my skeptic hat on until I read, but I thought she did a good job of handling the whole situation. I believed, and you know I can be picky

J:  fair enough

M:  She actually took a bunch of my not-favorite tropes and really made them work

well written both in editing and story

very layered

what I really liked is that the story didn’t end when they got off the island (hope I’m not spoiling)

there was still a lot of developing in the characters and plot, which made the second part as interesting as the first. Maybe more

And – ugh. He makes a gesture that just about broke my heart

J:  you’re not spoiling. I need urging to read it. otherwise, it would stay on the shelf

M: read it

J:  heh. Okay.

M:  honestly, the whole book is worth the one line

she nails it

She had the first chapter of her next book at the end. She’s tackling some really difficult and different subjects, and after seeing how she handles this, her next book is going on my buy list

difficult subjects, but handled realistically in my opinion, without the overwrought drama

And speaking of which, pretty much my entire family is coming to visit this week (Stop reading this, Mom. I’m just kidding.)

J:  So you may not brb

M:  probably not

and I can’t say “laters” or you’ll slap me

so…smell ya later?

J: Just go


Book Review: Lawless Love by Andrea Downing

Guest Review by Heidi LaVista

book review Lawless Love by Andrea DowningWhile tracking a suspect in the murder of a local ranch owner, US Marshal Dylan Kane encounters Lacey Everhart twice in the course of one afternoon. First bathing in the river, and then as the proprietress of the town’s only lodging house. When her younger brother, who matches the description of his suspect, returns home, Marshal Kane’s long-held beliefs of right and wrong, black and white, are challenged in the interactions that follow.

Lawless Love is an enjoyable historical short story. Andrea Downing’s imagery is great, as are the historical aspects. I did have some trouble with the phonetic use of dialog, which was abundant and somewhat inconsistent. The words and pronunciations are most likely accurate for the time and setting, but spelling them out distracted me nonetheless.

Also distracting are a couple of my personal pet peeves, which won’t bother most readers, but I have to mention. I. Don’t. Like. This. Effect. At. All. Yeah, that. The story does require some suspension of disbelief, suffering from the insta-lust and love often seen in novellas. I had a hard time believing Lacey would think about kissing a man she was rightly furious with for spying while she bathed in the nude. I also didn’t get much of a chance to experience what the hero and heroine saw in each other to make them fall so hard into love—or even lust—so quickly despite their beliefs and values of the time period.

I do have a couple of sentences that show the great potential for Ms. Downing’s imagery, but mix with passive phrasing:

“As night whispered about him and he watched the curtains billow before they were sucked out into the silver light of the moon, Dylan lay imagining what it would be like to hold Lacey in that nocturnal quiet.”

Loved the imagery, but the passive phrases and words not so much.

“Outside, a ball of tumbleweed spun by as branches tried to meet the earth and the gate crashed open and shut.”

Same thing. Loved the imagery, would have liked to see it more active, but that’s just me being picky. And then the repeated line a few pages later:

“Out the window, the front gate crashed and slammed on its hinges as tumbleweed bowled by.”

Essentially the same thing, but with active rephrasing. Blend the two sentences together, and I think we’d have something very nice indeed.

Overall, Lawless Love entertained, and I’m interested to read the author’s other works. I love the potential of her talent and would like to see the results of a little stronger editing in the more technical areas.

book review lawless love by andrea downing

About the Book

Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.

Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong.  He’s never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he’s followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers…but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless?

About the Author

Andrea Downing likes to say that, when she decided to leave New York, the city of her birth, she made a wrong turn and went east instead of west.   She ended up spending most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire.  She married and raised a beautiful daughter and  stayed on to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District, Wales and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, was her first book and is a finalist for the RONE Award of Best American Historical.  Lawless Love, a story, comes out as part of The Wild Rose Press Lawmen and Outlaws’ series on Sept. 4.  Andrea is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

Follow Andrea on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and purchase Lawless Love on Amazon

About the Reviewer

Heidi LaVista loves to combine words and song, reads more than a lot, and dabbles in writing stuff sometimes. Loves editing, stuffed animals (not clowns), cute guys, cats and dogs, and chocolate-covered pretzels.


J to tha M: Writer’s Block Blues

When Did Writing Become WORK?

overcoming writer's blockJ:  have you been working on your Wraith novella for Rory lately?

M:  not much

J:  having Jonas out there hasn’t inspired you?

M:  I haven’t had much time for anything. Jonas just came out on kindle, and I need to get notice out into the world

and try to write

and try to edit

and try to get through the million things that keep popping up in life

summers are crazy, and we just bought a new house–yikes

so there’s that

J:  I’ve definitely been there. To go from hours in the day for writing to only one or even less

to sit down with even the intention of writing, only to find that you

need more than that hour just to remember what you were doing last time you had an hour to write

M:  it’s not even just the sitting down part. The characters are getting pushed aside in my head

I’m not getting the conversations and scenes just popping in or developing

that’s so frustrating. Damn writer’s block

At the same time, we’re all kinds of fun busy, so I guess it’s a trade off just like everything.

it stinks when things that were fun and an escape become work

more like chores

or cause stress

J:  but it does become work after you publish

there’s the editing, the marketing, the organization

it’s a job

and it’s harder than any other job I’ve ever had

M:  it is

I’ve never worked so hard in my life

never shuts off or ends, it seems

there’s always something else to do

J:  in a way, those other things will help…eventually

they’ll take your mind off the story you’re having trouble telling

clear that blockage

you’ll sit somewhere, happy enough to be where you are, and Rory will suddenly speak

M:  most likely

but the problem is, now I can’t just sit around and wait for that

to happen

J:  the inspiration always comes when you’re supposed to be doing something else

M:  there are these things called deadlines and expectations

J:  we should re-institute the WC

and hold to it

I’ve been writing on Sunday nights with Susan

M:  I never did well with those, though

you know this

I never look at word count

J:  but the true goal isn’t word count

it’s setting aside time just for writing

M:  that’s not my problem

J:  putting down words even if you’re not sure you can use them

M:  it’s having something in my head to write

J:  sometimes you have to force it

M:  that just doesn’t work for me

trust me, I’ve tried

J:  my problem is definitely just trying to find those minutes to work

with no “other job” distractions

or husband distractions

cooking dinner

having a social life of some sort, however pathetic it may be

M:  when the words are there, I can make myself do all that

carve out the time

right now, it’s just figuring out how to get those pesky characters playing again

J:  remember we used to do brainstorming sessions?

would one of those help? where you tell me where you are, what needs to happen, and we figure it out from there

M:  that might work

make me think more

I’ve got the plot and major points plotted out

it’s all the little scenes and details that actually make the story I’m having trouble with

J:  you know I love it

M:  let’s schedule a day to do that

brainstorm our stories

when it won’t interfere with your WCs

I love it, too

J:  I have several stories I need to finish. I think I’ve got Jinx under control now

but I want to finish Soundtrack and get moving on the third Kingdom book and the second

Oracles

M:  and…and…and…

J:  hahaha

I know

plus, I got a fun idea for a follow-up to Jinx

M:  Yay – fun! I love blarghing out story ideas. Let’s schedule a date. Let me move things around on my damn calendar. Let me find my damn calendar.

brb
photo credit: john.schultz via photopin cc