Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Getting back in the Groove

So... I've been a bit remiss with this blog. If you've visited in the last few weeks, looking for book reviews or writing tips or snarky commentary on life... I apologize.

Excuses? Let's see.

My two older boys were home from college for three weeks in December (both left again January 2) so I planned ahead and scheduled posts for the month. My dad and sister stayed with us for the holidays, and there was the usual holiday craziness swirling around...

...and by New Years Day I was exhausted.

And way behind on both day-job work and finishing the novella I have on deadline for an upcoming spring anthology. Not to mention the piles of laundry, guest rooms to be cleaned, etc. etc. etc. Keeping up with this blog loomed over my head as one more thing, one more responsibility, one more ball I needed to keep juggling, but I just couldn't.

I'm sure you've heard it all before, but I'm only one person. I'm continually amazed by how much women get accomplished on their own (sometimes that's me) but I'm also continually amazed by how much is expected from women and that goes completely unsung. (also me. But face it, it's every woman.)

So this is my mea culpa, to both my readers and to myself. We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it all, to just do it, to keep all the balls in the air at all times.

Sometimes we drop a ball.

Forgive and move on. Pick the balls back up, and keep juggling.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Book Review: A Witch's Journey, by Tena Stetler


A Witch's Journey, by Tena Stetler
Published 2016 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Pepper McKay comes from a long line of powerful witches. Unfortunately, magic brings her nothing but trouble. She learned the love of wildlife rescue and rehab from her Aunt Ashling. After graduating from college, Pepper works for Salem Wildlife Sanctuary and lives from paycheck to paycheck until she inherits the McKay property in Lobster Cove. With the family land and resources, she dares to dream of starting her own wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.

Lathen Quartz, a former Navy SEAL turned handyman maintains the enchanted McKay property for the McKay estate. But someone is trying to steal the McKay magic. Lathen offers to help Pepper achieve her life-long dream of building a wildlife center. During the long hours spent together on the project, their mutual attraction can’t be denied. But each harbors a deep, dark secret. Will they overcome their demons and give love a chance?
My Take:
Despite the witches, werewolves and ghosts that populate this tale, A Witch's Journey is a sweet paranormal romance, if there is such a category. Set in coastal Maine in the fictional town of Lobster Cove, the book is part is a series by this publisher that has different authors writing separate stories in various genres, all set in the same shared location. It's a cool concept in general, but I feel as if it may have restricted the author in this case, in that her characters didn't feel they could stir up too much trouble. Their biggest conflicts weren't external but internal, and their love story progressed a little too smoothly.

That said, if you enjoy sweet romances with likeable, warm-hearted characters, beautiful settings and minimal conflict, this might be a good way to dip your toes into the paranormal romance genre.

Find your copy on AMAZON.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday Book Review: DARKWALKER, by Kat de Falla


Darkwalker, by Kat deFalla
Published 2016 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
For years, Seamus Bran has been a hermit in a small English town. But when two seers arrive from America seeking the cup of salvation his family has hidden for over two centuries, Seamus must decide whether to protect his blood line or save a woman he's never met.

Adrienne Perdu is a wealthy orphan living in Paris. She has no idea the weekly meetings she attends are a group of Darkwalkers, pulling humanity in the selfless dredges of soullessness. But Seamus changes everything with a kiss. The illusion of her life is shattered when her eyes are opened to the world as it really is, with angels and demons walking among us.

At Mont Saint-Michel, a rocky inlet in Normandy, France the demons attack trying to gain possession of the Cup of Salvation. As Adrienne and Seamus grow closer, the danger of the ancient war between good and evil crescendos to envelop angels, demons, and seers alike. Will Seamus be able to save the woman he now loves and his family's prize possession?
My Take:

This is the second story in this series, where the characters and conflict are more fully introduced in the first book. If you haven't read The Seer's Lover yet, I would recommend starting there before jumping into this second story. (Find my review HERE on my blog)

Also, you need to enjoy personified angels versus demons end-of-days stories to really get into this series, where the angels sometimes act petulant and less than heavenly, the dialogue is uber-contemporary (except for when it's not) and the demons can sometimes redeem themselves back into God's grace.

While the love story between Lucas and Calise is central to the first book, this one gives us dueling love stories: the first between Ellen (Calise's angel best friend) and Shane (Calise's fallen angel college beau) and the second between new characters we meet in Paris.  Ellen has always had a thing for Shane, and when they are forced to work together, things between them heat up.

Shane almost kills Calise, and Lucas goes on a quest for the holy grail ( as in, THE holy grail) that takes him to Europe where he meets Seamus and his guardian, the angel Gabriel, as well as a dark walker named Adrienne. Dark walkers are humans who have lost their way and are pursuing selfish, if not evil, lives. Seamus has sworn to be the end of his line...until he meets Adrienne and decides love might be worth it after all.

The chapters  alternates between the U.S. and Europe, until the story lines finally converge at a monastery in Minnesota where the final showdown between good and evil forces (at least for this book) occurs.

While some of the dialogue and interactions drew me out of the narrative, I enjoyed reading this story and rooting for the good guys all the way through. The epilogue left things wide open as to where the story goes from here, as the author has made no secret that this is an end-of-days series and the horsemen of the apocalypse are on their way.

If you're a fan of the Supernatural series on television, you should check out Kat de Falla's take on angels and demons. Find your copy on AMAZON.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Writing Wednesday: NEW RELEASE from Marin McGinnis

About the Book:



After four unsuccessful London seasons, Lady Julia Tenwick despairs of ever making a love match. With spinsterhood looming on the horizon, she and a friend set sail for America on one last adventure. When her travels take her to northern Maine, Julia meets a reclusive but handsome artist, whose rudeness masks a broken heart Julia feels compelled to mend.
Still haunted by the betrayal and death of his pregnant wife two years before, Geoffrey Jordan is determined never to risk his heart again. Certainly not with the gorgeous and impetuous aristocrat who intrudes upon his small-town solitude, and is far too similar to his late wife to tempt him to take another chance on love.
But when Julia and Geoffrey find themselves united in a reckless plan to save Julia’s friend from ruin, they discover that temptation is impossible to resist.
 EXCERPT:


Julia pulled her cloak around her shoulders and left by the kitchen door. Soft snowflakes danced lightly around her head as she made her way toward the water. She loved the crisp air, the snow, the scents of wood smoke, salty waves, and pine. She walked around toward the lighthouse, imagining how much her brother would love it here. He’d have his sketchbook tucked under his arm, ready to pull out at a moment’s notice when the mood struck.
The snow began to fall faster, swirling around as she clambered over the large rocks at the water’s edge. The sky was streaked with red, orange, blue, and gray, and she stopped, perched, just to watch.
“Get out of the way!”
She jumped at the strident tone, nearly toppling into the water. Regaining her balance, she turned carefully, and sighed.
Geoffrey Jordan sat on a neighboring rock behind her, sketchbook in hand. His expression was darker than the sky had been when she started on this walk. Julia was unable to stop herself from stepping back in surprise. Apparently there were bears near the shore as well.
“You’re blocking my view.” The muscles of the man’s face settled into a grimace which Julia found only marginally less frightening than his scowl.
“All right, I’m sorry! I didn’t see you there.” Julia took another step back and cried out in pain as her foot slipped into a crevice between the rocks.
Geoffrey swore and tossed his sketchbook to the side. He strode over to her and held out a hand.
Given his expression, Julia considered whether it might be safer to remain where she was. Geoffrey stuck his hand out again, waving it impatiently.
Julia finally realized she was more annoyed than afraid. “How am I supposed to grab your hand when you wave it about like that?”
“Oh, for God’s sake!” He reached down with both hands and grabbed her waist, pulling her to her feet. She ignored the tingling of her skin where he touched her and focused on her anger instead.
“I don’t know why you’re so angry at me. It’s not my fault I fell. You startled me.”
“You stepped into my line of sight. And now the sunrise is nearly gone, I’ve missed it, and it’s entirely your fault.”
Julia realized his hands still rested on her hips, and she pushed them away. “You sound like a petulant child.”
He returned to his sketchbook and sat down again. He started scribbling, ignoring her. She ignored him as well and gingerly ran a hand over her throbbing ankle. Her stocking was torn, and a shallow cut showed through it. Deciding she should return home to clean the wound, thanks to this odious man, she slowly made her way across the rocks past him. She caught a glimpse of his sketch as she passed. Intrigued, she stopped and bent at the waist, looked over his shoulder.
“You’re barely drawing anything at all. What does that say?”
He scowled again, but he answered, “Scarlet.”
She pointed at the corner of the drawing. “And that?”
“Azure. I thought all proper English ladies could read.”
“Your handwriting is terrible. What does that say?” She pointed again.
“Orange.”
She peered closer. “It does not. It looks like ‘crindle.’”
He laughed, and she turned her head to look at him. He was much less frightening when he laughed. Handsome. She blinked and unbent.
“‘Crindle’? What on earth does that mean?”
Her cheeks warmed. “Well, I don’t know, do I? It’s your drawing.”
“And it says ‘orange.’ What are you doing out here anyway?”
“I wanted to go for a walk.”
“At the crack of dawn?”
“I didn’t think I would see anyone.”
“Why didn’t you want to see anyone?”
She sighed. “Because conversation tires me, sometimes. This one in particular.”
“I don’t disagree.” He stroked his pencil across the paper a few more times, and she craned her neck to look.
“Why didn’t you just paint the sunrise? Why describe it?”
“Because the sunrise is a fleeting thing. It never lasts long enough for me to paint it, so I sketch the scene and write the names of the colors, to jog my memory when I am in my studio.”
Julia turned to look at the sky. It was gray now, with little wisps of blue and white streaked across it. All of the stunning red and orange hues were gone. She suddenly felt terrible for ruining his view.
“I am sorry I got in your way. I don’t suppose you could try again tomorrow?”
He shrugged. “A sunrise like that one is rare.”
Now she felt even worse. “Well, I am sorry.”
“Where did you think you were going? The rocks lead out into the water, and the tide will be in soon. What if you’d fallen when I wasn’t here to help? You’d have drowned.”
Shame was quickly replaced by annoyance. “I wouldn’t have fallen if you hadn’t startled me!”
“Well, it was careless.”
Julia placed both hands on her hips and stared at the insufferable man. “You haven’t a very high opinion of my intelligence, have you?”
“I have no opinion of your intelligence at all. I think you take risks that a lady shouldn’t take.”
“I was hardly doing pirouettes out here! I would have been fine if you hadn’t yelled at me.”
“I didn’t yell at you.”
“Yes, you did!”
“Fine! I’m sorry I yelled at you. Now go home, before you truly hurt yourself.” Before she could reply, he tucked his sketchbook under his arm, stood, and scrambled away across the rocks like a crab.
She watching him go, annoyed with him and herself in equal measure. Well, mostly with him. Insufferable man. She gingerly followed, lifting her skirts higher to avoid the rising water. The tide was indeed coming in.
She hated that he was right.



Buy Links:
About the Author:

A northeast Ohio native, Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page. She’s dabbled with writing for a long time, but didn’t start writing in earnest until she discovered historical romance about a decade ago. Marin has three historical romance titles published with The Wild Rose Press, and is a member of RWA and its Northeast Ohio, Hearts Through History, and Kiss of Death chapters. She will serve as President of the Northeast Ohio RWA chapter in 2017. Marin lives in a drafty 100 year old house with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete.

Connect with her online:


Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarinMcGinnis  (@MarinMcGinnis)
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marinmcginnis/