Tag Archives: romance

Happy Wednesday, readers

So many of my fellow writers have started their #NanoWriMo journey, and I wish them nothing but luck. By the end of today, you should have 6668 words if you’re participating.

I am not participating this year. I completed one year, and that’s about all I have in me. I mean, look how long it’s even been since I wrote… Some stuff – a lot of stuff – happened. And my life is finally back on track. Sort of. But with two jobs, a move in progress, three active dogs, and a new relationship… I don’t have the time.

But… I am working on writing prompts every day, with the goal of either being able to use them in my current project or being able to use them as background for the project. So far, I’ve only had one that wouldn’t fit. And I have been doing these writing prompts since 01 October.

Yes. You heard that right. I have a new project. I’m still in the planning stages right now, but I am writing again. And since it’s Wednesday, I wanted to share with you a little bit of it…

The sound of the flute whispered over her skin. Elodie stopped in her tracks, unable to get the lazy harmony out of her head. She spared a glance for the wisened gypsy playing a few yards away. There was something entirely too familiar about the figure, but she could not put her finger on it.

At her side, Adam shifted noisily. He gripped her elbow, and whispered in her ear, “this is no time to answer Silene’s call, brat. Let’s go.”

She blinked several times, shaking loose the tendrils that were snaking through her head. “The siren? In London? But wasn’t she -“

“Hush, brat. We have places to be, and we do not discuss the hidden in public.”

Book Two: The Devil of Dunakin Castle

Right up front – let’s agree on the facts. I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of both of these books in exchange for an honest review. And I’ve always been up front that I won’t sugar coat things, and I won’t agree to a minimum number of stars for a book. If you wrote a 1 star book, I’m going to give it a 1 star rating. Reviews are subjective, and personal to each individual reviewer.

Scandalous RDB (1)

Sorry guys. I wasn’t given a picture of just this cover by itself.

The Devil of Dunakin Castle

Englishwoman, Grace Ellington, has made a home in Scotland, but to escape from the meddling people around her who seem to think she needs to wed right away—because women need saving, right? —she volunteers to journey north to aid a friend in childbirth. 

Keir MacKinnon, the younger brother of the MacKinnon clan chief, has been raised to strike fear in people, on and off the battlefield. Trained to uphold MacKinnon law, he has hardened into a lethal warrior. Caught in a Highland blizzard with the feisty Grace, Keir realizes the beautiful woman who saved him can also save his nephew’s life. 

Sparks fly when he takes her against her will to his home, and Grace’s courage is put to the ultimate test. Is Keir MacKinnon the passionate, kind man she saved in the Highland blizzard, or is he truly the cruel executioner who seeks to solve all issues by the sword?

✭ ✭ Purchase links ✭ ✭
Amazon: https://goo.gl/treaUE
B&N: https://goo.gl/GS6mFj
iTunes: https://goo.gl/WZ4oMv
Kobo: https://goo.gl/oSw4yc
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/6pCSte

So, about this book. Let me say that my ARC had formatting issues, and that made it difficult to read the book. I don’t believe that to be a fault of the author, however, and that will not affect my feelings toward the book.

Like the last book, I had a hard time buying the premise of this book. First of all, this involves kidnapping. While the heroine acknowledges that she’s been kidnapped, it’s otherwise fairly well glossed over. And sure, maybe it was for a good cause – the man’s nephew appears to be dying, after all.

And yet… I enjoyed the book. I like spirited, fiesty Grace. I liked her for leaving behind a life of wealth and privilege in England. I further liked her for recognizing her own worth. I enjoyed getting to know Kier, although he was a bit watered down. It was almost as if, in humanizing him, he just became someone other than who he was meant to be. I don’t actually know how to explain it.

There’s quite a bit of foreshadowing involved, and the bad guy is obvious from the first mention of his name. Despite the obviousness, the situation wasn’t easily resolved, which I enjoyed. I like to see people actually fight for their Happily Ever After.

I’ve not previously read anything by Heather McCollum, but I’m tempted to go back and read the others. I would definitely recommend this one.

✭ ✭ ✭ About the Author ✭ ✭ ✭

Heather McCollum

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical and YA paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay, and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist.

When she is not picking her teen’s brain for authentic attitude for her YA books and finding time to write, she is usually found educating women on ovarian cancer symptoms. Ms. McCollum has recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own hero and 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

Connect:
Site: http://www.heathermccollum.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherMcCollumAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4185696.Heather_McCollum

My library

No, not the one at home. With our recent (01 April, 2017) move, all my books are pretty much still in boxes. Heck, some of those babies are still at the old place. I mean, we shared a house with my brother before buying our own, and he still lives there. And is even using some of our stuff, so… NBD? 

Yep, NBD. 

Anyway, I’m talking about our local public library. For five loooong years, we lived in an unincorporated township buried within city limits. So we were outside city limits while being surrounded by the actual city. Other than having to wait for the county sheriff department, do you know what that means? 

$80 per year to have a library card. 

Eighty dollars. 

I just couldn’t afford it – there was always something that needed that money more than the library. And I’m a huge library supporter. 

So yes, one of the first things I did was establish a library card. Yay!! 

I’m there a couple times every week or two. Lately, I’m on a huge cozy mystery kick. I especially love historical cozies (for this genre, Rhys Bowen is Queen). 

New to me are the Kate Shackleton mysteries by Frances Brody. I’m only on book 2, but that’s because I try to read in order. Very good. I definitely recommend them! 

I’ve also discovered Victoria Hamilton‘s Vintage Kitchen series lately. Ive read a few of these out of order, so I’m trying to correct that now – it might involve buying the first, but that’s perfectly fine. She has another series, that I’ve picked up a few books from. 
My favorite thing about her Vintage Kitchen sleuth? Mid-thirties (I’m early 40’s now so I can still relate), doesn’t want a career but likes to work odd jobs around her quaint Michigan village, and best of all? She’s a huge romance fan, and big names are dropped. 

So today, I brought home six cozies and one historical romance. And it’s even a new-to-me author. Kelly Bowen. 


I think I’ll start this one first. I’ll let you know what I think!

To Tame a Scoundrel’s Heart – a Review

I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

First, as is tradition, the official blurb:

Katrina Needham had her whole life planned: Marry her beloved Major Richard Domont and live happily-ever-after … until he’s seen with another woman. Distraught, and needing a distraction, she agrees to assist the rugged, and dangerously handsome privateer, The Saint of the Sea, find a wife.

Dominic St. Monté loves everything about his life as a sea captain, but when he unexpectedly inherits a dukedom and the care of his young sisters, he reluctantly decides he must marry. Afterward, he can return to the sea-faring life he craves, leaving his duchess to oversee his dukedom.

Nic, now The Duke of Pendergast, enlists a family friend’s help in finding an acceptable bride and soon realizes Katrina possesses every characteristic he seeks in a duchess. However, he cannot ask for her hand. Not only is she promised to another, a man still determined to make her his, she has absolutely no interest in becoming a privateer’s wife.

Can Nic and Katrina relinquish their carefully planned futures and trust love to guide them?

Next, my opinion –

Quite simply, I loved it. The characters were fully fleshed out, and they just seemed to leap right off the page. This is part of a larger series, but I have not read any of the others, and I did not feel as if I was missing any information. (Something I’m working on in my own writing!)

The romance built at a believable pace – and was helped along by the fact that Dominic and Katrina knew each other beforehand, which allowed them to express already existing interest.

Perhaps the only thing I didn’t like is that the Major, Katrina’s intended, was made out to be a bit of a… butthead. Considering he had not yet asked for her hand, I don’t feel that was necessary. For the record, I like stories with bad guys – I just don’t like to write them, so this is 100% a personal opinion, lol.

I highly recommend this book, though. It’s a short, fun read!

 

The Unforgettable Hero

No, I’m not talking about Rupert. At least, not right now. Be on the lookout for something in the future. We can get together and discuss crafting an unforgettable hero. No, today I wanted to share my review of The Unforgettable Hero by Valerie Bowman.

Where to start? Ah yes, the blurb. As always…

“To escape a forced marriage to her loathsome, social-climbing cousin, Cecelia Harcourt banks on selling a romantic novel. But when she’s hit by a coach on the way home from meeting a potential publisher and loses her memory, the accident leads to an encounter with a fascinating man. . . who she’s convinced is the hero of her novel.

Due to his brother’s influence, Lieutenant Adam Hunt finds himself honorably discharged from the army. Adam intends to make his way in the world without the help of a war-hero duke, brother or no. He finds his plans for independence sidetracked by a chance encounter with a lady whose memory has gone. She believes he’s a hero. Can Adam become the man he was meant to be and fill that lofty role?”

First of all, I’m sold on a Lieutenant Adam because I am slightly obsessed with Kylo-Ren. Adam Driver. Mmmm…

Anyway.

First of all, I was given a copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review…

Now, this is a novella, and I am finding that I love novellas that are done well. When done right, one gets all the emotional punch of a full length novel with not as much commitment, which one needs while attending school full time, working full time, and writing a novel of one’s own.

Here’s the thing about reviews – you get the gist of the story itself from the blurb, so I don’t want to bore you with that. What I do want to do is tell you why I feel you should read it.

1. It’s lighthearted, despite the presence of a thoroughly offensive cousin.
2. The characters are well-developed.
3. The premise (amnesia) is well-handled and not done too frequently.

I will state that there are a few minor mistakes with editing, but despite seeing them, I was able to glide right past them.

To summarize: fun, well-developed, quick read. Buy it.

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.

jason-momoa-conan-21-6-10-kc

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 20

Look at that. I am officially about to start the last leg of my ridiculous journey. And I’m doing fairly well, if I do say so myself. My official count is 34,809, which puts me approximately 1470 words over where I have to be to finish 50,000 by 30 November.

Of course, since we are going to Indiana to visit my step-mom for Thanksgiving, I want to be done by Wednesday, but I doubt I will be. But, I have ten days left and only 15,191 words left to write.

And I have a mess of a story, lol. I have two romances intertwined within this story, and I’ve neglected both of them. The good news is that, while my story itself will not be complete with just 50,000 words… there will be a story 🙂

So, anyway… And today’s question is: What Makes You Happy?

Oh, so many things. Writing makes me happy. My puppies and cats make me happy. Music… oh, music makes me so happy. But mostly, Chris.

Chris makes me happy.

Ideas

I have so many ideas floating through my head right now. The current series I am working on involves twenty different stories, although some will occur at the same time. I am still 100% devoted to the story of Sarah and Stratford, but the other Ladies are pounding at the door. I already have an idea of what is going to happen with at least 4 other couples.

So what happens? Clearly, an entirely unrelated idea pops into my head. I mean, seriously Laura? Get your stuff together, woman. And not entirely a romantic idea, either. Ugh. What to do?

Well, there is really only one thing to do isn’t there? Take notes, write several stories at once. Follow the inspiration. Right now, inspiration has me investigating what psychiatric care was like during the Victorian Era. That’s your only hint. Well, there’s another one, but I buried it.

Did you find it? Let me know if you figured it out.

This is really short because I just wanted an excuse to share this:

11659303_10153372019386291_7858232130080102095_n

What Is She Thinking?

I had to put the historical romance to the side because… Well, to be quite honest – I’ve never been to England and I’m not sure why I want to write this. While I love reading Regency (and other English set) Romance, I kind of want my romances to be more “local”…

That, plus that week I had to take off while I was sick really did a number on me, and I’m just not able to get my head back in it – not right now anyway.

So what am I working on? Well, I had that dragon fantasy thing I was doing for the contest. Except now, I cannot find the contest link. But I am having FUN exploring 3rd Omni, and trying to create a fantasy world that is still a little more English than local (no queens and kings in Illinois, folks – sorry). I never thought I would write fantasy, but when I first learned of Gaslamp Fantasy, I fell in love.

So, this is what I’ve been working on lately. This is my serial project. I’m aiming for pieces that are 10,000 words each – ones that I can then package as larger pieces for selling, perhaps? Who knows.

A great while ago, when the world was full of wonders, dragons roamed the earth. When the humans became humans and shifters, the dragons adapted. When humans and shifters became humans, shifters, and vampires, the dragons retreated. Abandoning their great cities, fortresses, and castles to the humans, they escaped back to the impenetrable forests, mountains, and oceans from whence they came.

The humans moved in to the abandoned territories, savagely protecting what they claimed was theirs by right, by birth. Vampires were sent to hunt in the dead of night, shifters by light of the sun. The mighty beasts dwindled. Too soon, only a handful remained. When the Great Mother passed into Eternal Night, she foretold of a future in which dragons no longer have to hide. One in which the healing waters of Hydros mingle with the rebirthing flames of Hephaestus to bring forth a new generation.

These few remaining dragons soon abandoned their forests, mountains, and ocean floors for the cold mountainous regions known as Devil’s Back. There, they lost hope, relinquished their fleeting humanity – to await the birth of the prophesied child. Craving the touch of man, the lone water dragon slipped away one night. Nine months later, she birthed a daughter of fire, blind at birth. The choice is presented: abandon the crippled girl to the humans, or they could both die outcast and alone. Unable to condemn her child to death, or relinquish the company of dragons, Emmaline abandons her only daughter to the Children of Prometheus, hoping she will learn empathy, love, and kindness. Hoping that she will save them all.

That daughter is now twenty-one, and this is her story.

Update

So, who caught this stupid cold making the rounds right now? If you guessed me, you win. I’ve been trying to get back to this blog for weeks. But there just isn’t any motivation. I set myself too grueling a task and I failed. It was really frustrating.

And frustration leads to… More failure? Ugh. Depression. Feelings of not being good enough. Bet you know the drill.

11150617_10205646100368148_8483514894847707659_n This is my cat, Parker. You can call him Prks – I do. Pretty stinking cute, right? He has three legs – he’s missing a hind leg. That puts him at a disadvantage because his jump skills aren’t on par with other cats. He climbs really well – digging in claws and pulling himself up. He never gives up, either. Never doubts himself, even if he is scared of everything.

Would that I could be as strong as my cat, eh?

Well, I recently made a decision to stop dwelling on the negative. I am (almost) forty damned years old. Why the hell am I letting negativity and shame or hate rule my life, by allowing them to sway my feelings? You know what that does, right? Turns you bitter, builds knots in your innards that will (not so) slowly kill you.

I’m not ready to die. Not in the slightest. In fact, as I face the barrel of 40, I find a renewed interest in life. Specifically, island life. While I would certainly love to pick up and move to the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight, as an adult I have responsibilities. Specifically, responsibilities to my husband. We’ve come up with a compromise – Hawaii. And I want to make sure we enjoy the time we have there to the fullest, so we’re saving as much as we can for 10 years – and getting as healthy as we can, too.

Anyway, I’ve sort of lost my train of thought. See, here’s the thing – I started my Serial Sunday with the intent of developing the back story for my male lead, Duncan. But it wasn’t necessary. Not only did I change the background story so that his parents have a happy marriage (if not a happy ending), but there’s that whole Dragon Horde and whatnot. It had zero business being in my historical romance.

A Gaslamp Fantasy, on the other hand? Yes. Especially one centered around dragons.

No, I have not abandoned Midnight Garnets. Absolutely not. I’ve just realized where all that other stuff belongs.

That said, there are going to be some changes going forward.

One, I am dropping the Serial Sundays – for now. I love the idea of serializing a story, whether here on my blog for free or on a site where people pay to read it, but it has to be an actual story. One with at least a theme and an idea of a plot. I love the idea of audience participation guiding the story. What about you? Interested?

Two, The pieces I share going forward are going to be from stalled projects or something I am reading. Something that I own. And even then, just tidbits – ten lines or less. Perhaps my favorite line of a story or one I think readers will enjoy. Something to get you involved in what I’m reading.

Three, I am definitely going to be sharing more from blogs I follow through reblogging or pressing – or whatever we are calling it these days. There’s so much good stuff out there right now. It needs to reach everyone.

So there you have it. Also, I need to find a legit way to bring in extra cash to put into my savings account. Any tips?