Monthly Archives: February 2016

Book Review – Gems of Vice and Greed (and a giveaway)

In an effort to expand readership – and participation – I am going to be dedicating more time to my blog, and yours. To kick this off, I’m going to start reviewing books more frequently, and occasionally, I will give away a copy of the book I’m reviewing.

First, a few things of note – yes, I received this as an Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review, but I also purchased a copy to give away, so. Also, yes, this is an Affiliate link, but I will only be using the Affiliate link for products I like. not just to make money. That’s not what this is about, after all…

On to the review…

I feel like I should preface this review today with – I do not like most contemporary romances. I like contemporary chick lit, but not much current romance. It’s all the Billionaire’s this or the Millionaire’s that… So, when I tell you to read this book, I suggest you listen.

First of all, The Gems of Vice and Greed is book three in the Contemporary Gothic Romance series by Colleen Gleason. I have not read the first two, but you absolutely do not need to. That’s a major factor in a series for me – can it stand alone?

So, Vice and Greed tells the story of Leslie and Declan. Leslie, having removed herself from the corporate rat race, has settled down in Michigan to restore a historic mansion so that she can open an inn. Declan, the local blacksmith (drooling already,  aren’t you?) has moved to the same small town to raise the daughter he never knew he had.

Throw in a ghost and rumors of long lost jewels, and you’ve a sexy, intriguing story full of charming characters, simmering sexual tension, and mystery.

This is a must read!

Gems of Vice and Greed, Colleen Gleason

Now then, I promised a giveaway, did I not? So… Comment to tell me you want a copy, and I will pick a random winner 2 weeks from today – and that person will receive a copy of the book. This giveaway is only available for Kindle, and is not affiliated with Colleen Gleason or Amazon or anyone else. And if you’ve one available, share a picture of the sexiest (could be an ironsmith) you can find.

When I picture Declan, I am totally picturing Jason Mamoa, especially as the new (and improved) Conan.


Questions for the Audience

I am trying to build an audience here, and I know we frequently visit each other’s sites and like posts… But I want to increase interaction with you, my beloved audience.

In that vein, I have created a poll that I hope you will take a few minutes to answer. I did set it to allow you to enter your own answers, so please, be honest.

Audience Participation
What would increase your interaction with my blog?


I’ve read several stories, historical romances, that include a quote at the beginning of each chapter and/or have the characters exchange them…

I am going to do this with my own current project, not because it’s popular but because it fits the direction my book is taking. Here’s my first line, which likely illustrates what I mean:

Since the precocious age of five, Fig Clarence had known a universal truth of her own: people in books are much more easily managed than those in real life.

Do you have a favorite quote? I’m going for period appropriate quotes, so 1813/1814. I’ve collected a few in my writer’s notebook, but I also get daily quotes through the Jane Austen app on my phone.

Now, this is not particularly relevant to the story I’m telling, but I’ll bet I can fit it in. If the timeline fits, of course. Being only an average Austenite, I like the books but cannot place them by publication date. Nor can I quote from them at will. Of course, I cannot quote anything at will. It’s not how my brain works.

It’s a beautiful Saturday, and I truly hope you enjo my it, wherever you are. As for me, I have a ton of homework to do.

And some quotes to find. Tell me, do you have any favorite quotes of your own? Ones that have slipped into your own works, or even influenced them?

Famous First Lines

I know, I know.

This really would be more appropriate for Friday, for a first lines post. But that’s not what you’re getting, and this isn’t even a full post.

It’s an invitation to you to share your favorite first line.

Mine is:

“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”

Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre (1847)

Simple, yet beautiful. I shall never have the talent of a Bronte. *sigh*

What a Week!

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you enjoyed yourself – spoiled your significant other if you’re in a relationship; spoiled yourself if you’re single because you still deserve it.

My great beastly Bearded Rogue was supposed to work today (he’s a bartender, holidays are, typically, out for us) but due to a snow storm, he got off early and we braved the lines at the store. Not because of the storm, but because Sunday’s are for shopping in our house.

It’s a day for kisses, however, and I just happen to write stories in which kisses make frequent appearances. Except, I have yet to write one… I have a scene that is ripe for a kiss, however, so you give me a few minutes and let me see what I can come up with…

“You are leaving.” The question – no, it was decidedly not a question – came from the door, and she paused her packing, hands frozen in midair.

Their eyes met across the length of the bedroom. Briefly, she wondered if he could see the evidence of her tears, but quickly dismissed it as of no matter. Newly engaged women often shed tears of joy, after all.

She owed him an explanation, and opened her mouth to provide one, but found she could only say, “I am.”

Her shoulders dropped, and she leaned against the window, letting the cold seep into her hot skin. She owed him everything, but could give him nothing. “We cannot be, Rupert. It does not work, and you know this.”

He closed the distance between them, sweeping her into an embrace. Before she could protest, his lips crashed down upon hers. Despite an outward appearance of calm, she was eager for the kiss, for it would be the last they shared, and she wanted to savor every moment of it.

He took his time, slowly parting her lips with his tongue, and she knew she would relive this kiss for the rest of her days. When his lips left hers to trace the vein that led to the pulsing hollow at the base of her throat, she thought she would catch fire. Surely the frost upon the window panes would be melted from the contact.

All too quickly, the embrace ended, and she was cold again.

He laughed at her obvious discomfort, a bitter sound so unlike the laughter she had coaxed so many times over the months of their acquaintance. His eyes grew hard, and the temperature in the room felt as if it had dropped several degrees. “You would kiss me like that, then tell me nothing lies between us, Fig? You could lie to me? To yourself?”

She pushed away, unable to face the censure in his eyes. She desperately wanted to cave in, to confess all, but she could not find the words.

Shocking – Two in One Week!

In between the stress of my full time day job and a 16 hour course load via SIU online, I am still plugging away at Fig and Rue’s story. Hopefully I’ll have time tomorrow to knock out at least one more chapter (about 3 scenes), even if just by hand and not in a document…
Alas, I have an exam (and an exam quiz??) plus a lab/lab quiz and a reflection paper. I can do some of it Sunday while pretending to watch the Superbowl, but not the exam, so time is limted…
Anyway, even as I plug away at Under the Mistletoe, I have thoughts of Sarah and Stratford (With This Kiss) swirling in the background. Well, today, I was listening to a song, and a sentence unfurled in my mind. I sat down tonight to sketch out some notes on the scene, and it just poured out of me, including notes for the following scene. Inspiration. Yes! 
So, I’m going to give you a special glimpse into the world of Sarah and Stratford, another fairy tale revisioning. Can you guess which one?
Silver moonlight flooded the worn path from the stone terrace, through the beds of hibiscus, and down the manicured lawn, but Sarah had no need of it. She knew the lawns and paths and gardens of Raven’s Nest as well as she knew her own, despite the passing of years. She could walk the land blindfolded, and she would know every step just by the scent hanging in the air. Her bare feet sank into the thick carpet of grass, blades tickling the bottom of her feet, when she veered to the left, heading through the canopy of wisteria, straight for the folly.
Built more than a century before she was even born, it was designed to mimic the the great house, down to the ornate door knocker. As children, they often escaped here to hide from the governess the boys allowed her to share. She snorted rather indelicately at the idea of being allowed the education the boys gladly shirked.
The snap of a branch close by caught her attention, and her head snapped up, memories forgotten. She froze, heart racing in her chest.
Was it a poacher?
Carefully she inched toward the stone building, glad to see it looming ahead of her, and not fallen into disrepair and ruin. Rupert had cared for it after all.
No, she reminded herself, he is home now. The responsibility lies at his feet.
She was just a few short feet shy of the thick door when a flash of movement at the corner of her eye alerted her that someone was close. She sucked in a large breath of air, head swinging to the sides as she sought escape. She needed to hide.
Or run. Yes, that would be…
Her thoughts trailed off as a figure stepped from the small copse of trees that led to the bond. Stratford. Her heart, that feckless creature within her chest, cried at the sight of him, drinking in every detail. She found herself unable to look away from the rigid muscles of his lean, bare chest; her eyes followed the trail of dark hair to where it disappeared in the falls of his trousers. The moon, full and bright above, cast a silver glow across his bronzed skin, and she swallowed, throat suddenly dry.
“Hello, Red.” He tossed her the cheeky grin she remembered so well from their youth.
“Do, do not call me that, my lord.” Her heart might be a traitorous beast, but at least her brain was sensible enough to put an icy distance between them.
He tsked. “When did we let such formalities grow between us, Red?” He came to a stop before her, cupping her chin with the hand not grasping his boots. She looked into the unfathomable depths of his muddy eyes, calling herself ten times a fool as she wished and hoped and prayed he would lean down and sweep his lips across hers.
Wrenching free of his grasp, she twisted away from him. “There is more than just formalities between us, my lord. There is time, and – and…” She trailed off, unable to finish the accusations her brain would fling.
“And? Time and – what, Sarah? Surely not time and distance. I am here, in the flesh. In the now.”
“You left me, damn you.” She hid her face, lest he think her tears caused by longing or anything akin to it. Lest he think them caused by anything other than the mounting frustration. “We had a deal, my lord. Crossed our hearts, and swore it would be forever.”
He closed the distance between them, and she felt the warmth of his flesh through the thin muslin of her nightrail as he enveloped her in his strong arms, crushing her to his chest. The whisper of his lips against her fevered brow sent a frisson of heat through her.
“I had no choice, Sarah. Surely you see that now?”
“I see nothing but the man who swore he would rather die than leave me. The man who slipped away in the dead of night just hours after leaving my bed. You left me with no one.”
“Rupert was -“
“At war, my lord. Rupert left the next morning, thinking you just sleeping off a hangover, and I was alone again.” She allowed herself the comfort he offered, resting her wet cheek against his chest. In a small voice, one she hoped he did not actually hear, she added, “It was never him anyway. Only you.”

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday, and I’m about to watch a couple lecture videos, so I’ll keep this short.

On many blogs, it is Work-in-Progress Wednesday, where we share not only our works but invite readers to share theirs.

I’ve shared this bit on two blogs, Jude Knight and Bryn Donovan – both wonderful writers, whom you should definitely check out. I definitely recommend Bryn’s blog if you struggle finishing a book. 😉

So, here’s the bit I’ve shared. I already want to change it, so I will later this week.

(everything after “I am.” is completely off-the-cuff made up as I posted this on Jude’s blog. Agonizing!)

“You are leaving.” It was not a question.

Their gazes met across the length of the room. Rupert’s large frame filled the doorway leading to her bedchamber, and she took a step back, bumping into the small table by the balcony doors. Briefly, she wondered if he could see the evidence of her earlier tears. It was a thought most quickly dismissed; newly engaged women often shed tears of joy, so it was of no matter.

She owed him an explanation, and opened her mouth to give him one, but found herself saying only, “I am.”

He scowled, but did not protest, and her shoulders fell. She leaned against the window, letting the cold seep into her burning skin. She owed him an explanation, and yet, could not speak. She closed her eyes, blocking out

She owed him everything, but could offer nothing in return.

“Fithian takes you to London, then?” Again, it was not a question. Likely, Lord Fithian had already apprised the others of their plans.

“Only briefly, to obtain a special license.” Perhaps he did not know the plans.

“And your father?”

Her eyes flew to his face, and there she saw her own pain echoed. His hands clenched at his sides, and a bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face.
She stepped forward, to close the distance between them, but he stopped her by throwing up one hand.

“Do not,” he said through clenched teeth.

(And I’m not sure where I’ll go from there. I’m still trying to rein myself in and stop writing all willy-nilly through the book so I can get the first 5 chapters done for a beta read.)