Book Excerpt www.Cupid

perf5.000x8.000.inddExcerpt from www.Cupid

Allison slammed her hands on her desk. “Your ‘much better idea’ just landed me in hot water with Cupid! I’m sick of being called on the carpet because you can’t follow the rules and do your job within the parameters of the file you’re given.”

“Come on, Allie. The fact he proposed while she was throwing up after getting off the roller coaster and she accepted, ought to count for something. Think of the great stories they’ll have to tell their kids.”

She narrowed her eyes. The fact he still insisted on calling her by her college nickname told her he’d never live up the become the agent she, and Cupid, she quickly added, wanted him to be.

“Their future relationship is not our department. Shape up or I swear I’ll ship you back down to Flowers and Poetry. As much as you complained about being there, do you really want to go back?”

He stared at her. “No, ma’am. But you wouldn’t do that to me, would you?”

“Yes, I would. In a heartbeat.”

Interview: Annette Miller

wwwCUPID_w9883_300.jpgTell us about your new release.

My new release is titled www.Cupid. It’s part of the new Candy Hearts series from The Wild Rose Press. It’s a paranormal, sweet romance, kind of like what you’d see on the Hallmark Channel. It’s about a woman who is an executive for Cupid in his company and an agent who works for her. He was by the book when they dated in college, but now, is a bit loose with the rules. As a result, she’s in trouble with Cupid almost as much as her agent is with her.

What led you to write this book?

My publisher sent out an open call for submissions for this new series. As I was reading the guidelines, this story just popped in my head. I knew everything instantly; the setting, the characters, the plot, everything. I just had to get it down and I had the first draft done in a week.

Which is more important, character or setting?

Both are important but I tend to think character is more important. Setting is great for mood and getting a feel for time and place, but without the characters, nothing much happens. Characters drive the story forward, giving setting meaning and depth.

Do you people watch for character inspiration?

I am a great people watcher. There are so many interesting faces and styles of dress. You have a whole catalog of characters to draw from. One of the best things to do is hang out at the mall and just watch the crowds walk by. Guaranteed, you’ll leave with a hero or villain, possibly both.

Do you have a favorite fictional character by another author you’d like to meet?

I have a lot but one of my favorites is Richard Sharpe from Bernard Cornwell’s books. He started out in the ranks of Wellington’s army and rose to an officer, excelling despite the obstacles thrown in his way by the men who were able to purchase their commission instead of working for it the way Sharpe had done. I’ve read all the novels and own all the movies. What a great character; the epitome of hero, soldier, honor, and romantic. Richard Sharpe is one of the most well-rounded heroes I’ve ever read.

New Releases

Bidding900BIDDING ON THE BILLIONAIRE By JM Stewart Erotic Contemporary Romance Released March 1, 2016 by Grand Central Publishing/Forever Yours in ebook (Print to follow)

Shy bookshop owner Hannah Miller finds herself having an erotic online fling with a man she’s never met. Her lover’s scintillating words leave her hooked on him and longing for his touch. Corporate Attorney Cade McKenzie is addicted to their hot exchanges. When business brings him to her doorstep, he finally meets her in person. Their agreement is an exclusive, no-strings fling, but when Cade’s sister volunteers him for her charity bachelor auction, Hannah is forced to make a tough decision. Is she willing to make a bid for the billionaire’s heart?

51ISlAxQJxL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_A BED OF SCORPIONS By Judith Flanders Mystery Released March 1, 2016 by Minotaur Books

Dry humor and zany supporting characters are back when amateur sleuth Samantha Clair finds herself embroiled in an other mystery. Author of Murder of Magpies, Flanders’ continues her fiction series.

 

perf5.000x8.000.inddA WEDDING IN RED CREEK By Randi Alexander Erotic Romance Released Jan 29, 2016 by author in ebook

With their wedding day fast approaching, Rori Hughes and Jackson Walker have much to do. Their red-hot courtship, swift and deep emotional bond, and Christmas engagement have proven the strength of their love for each other. But with real life commitments just days away, they find themselves battered by serious communication challenges. While one of them contemplates their unachieved goals, the other struggles to ignore the call of adventure. The sudden uncertainty of a future spent settling into a routine threatens to drive a wedge between the couple. Can Rori and Jackson find what they’re looking for in Red Creek, or is the town nowhere near large enough to hold them and their dreams?

GamblersChoice_w9208_750GAMBLER’S CHOICE By Linda Nightingale Romantic Suspense Released Feb 17, 2016 by The Wild Rose Press

Becca McQuaid came to England to find the perfect horse but instead met a darkly mysterious challenge in Austen Heath, Baron of Hampton. She’s determined to buy Austen’s stallion Gambler’s Choice. He’s determined not to sell, but the rivals are thrown together by an accident that leaves Austen with a broken leg and the threat he’ll never ride again. Austen Heath has the title, heritage and manor house…but not the fortune. Becca is wealthy. Her charms are irresistible, but he believes she’s shopping for a Ladyship to go with her money. He has another reason to hold the sexy blonde at arms’ length—the unexplained disappearance of an old friend everyone thinks was his lover. When her body is discovered on his property, he becomes a suspect in her murder.

Review: SPINNER by Michael J. Bowler

Spinner front cover - FINAL VERSIONSPINNER by Michael J. Bowler

Young Dudes Publishing, August 2015 ~ 4½ Stars

Blurb: Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.”

Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight. In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity. The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humanity. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.

The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty. If he survives…

Review: From his wheelchair, fifteen-year-old Alex Maracles struggles with the complications of spinal bifida every day. It’s the same wheelchair that gives him the nickname of “spinner.” Somehow, he manages to take care of everything he needs to do, showering, dressing and getting himself off to school each morning. As a foster child, he doesn’t have any support at home. His foster mother incites competition, emotionally and verbally abusing the boys who live with her. She deprives them of what could be considered basic human needs. She even locks up the food and literally chains up the refrigerator. Where is the social worker who should be protecting Alex and the other boys?

In addition to the physical deprivations, Alex must contend with his foster mother attempting to document his paranormal abilities and use them for profit – hers, that is. He can “heal” injuries and unfortunately his youngest foster brother is often the victim who receives most of Alex’s treatments. Not only is Alex a healer, he also has precognitive dreams filled with gloom, despair and even murder. One of the first that he views shows the death of his beloved teacher, someone who has never made him feel less for being in a Special Education classroom, or for being unable to read very well. His friends in the class can’t help him since they suffer from the same functional illiteracy.

Like the rest of his friends, Alex is a complex, well-drawn character. The reader will easily recognize them as individuals who could be met on the street or in any school because they always remain consistent. While they label themselves as “losers”, in fact they are more truly “winners.” The authenticity of the background embellishes the story and so does the dialogue which may prove too authentic for some readers. Yes, there is swearing but it feels natural for these characters, not extraneous. The treatment of Special Education students in the public education system is all too often sadly similar to that depicted by Mr. Bowler, although not all substitute teachers are evil.

The major drawback in this story is the fact that the women and girls are so clichéd. We rarely see one with empathy and they die horribly. It becomes difficult to believe that females are either angels, or demons, or the “hoes” that the boys call them. Hmm, generally “hoes” are garden implements and prostitutes, or women who act like them are called, “ho’s” in dialect. This story has a well-developed setting, a diverse cast of male characters, good dialogue and pacing but the women characters need as much attention to detail as those that the male ensemble receives.

REVIEW PROVIDED BY SHANNON KENNEDY FOR HER COLUMN SHANNON’S SPACE IN THE FEB/MAR 2016 EDITION OF THE BOOK BREEZE.

The Binge Report: Nurse Jackie

The Binge ReportUnknown

Nurse Jackie

“What do you call a nurse with a bad back? Unemployed,” and with a quote from T.S. Eliot and the music from Valley of the Dolls we begin the complex tale of Nurse Jackie, an emergency room nurse at All Saints Hospital, mother, wife and drug addict.

With brilliant storytelling, each half hour episode shows the lives of the men and women who are there for people experiencing “the worse day of their life.”

This award winning show was produced by Showtime and is now airing on Netflix where I happily binged all 7 seasons.

**SPOILER ALERT** If you haven’t seen it STOP READING AND START TO BINGE.

Humanity is a mess lot and Nurse Jackie gave us multidimensional characters that crashed and soared, sometimes simultaneously.

Nurse Jackie – Masterfully played by the highly nominated, award winning Edie Falco who also played in The Sopranos. Jackie is a sociopath and a drug addict, an unlikely heroine who tackles life on her own terms. Her greatest passion, besides opiates, is her desire to save lives.

Zoey Barkow – Played by Merritt Wever (who is now Dr. Denise on The Walking Dead), Zoey makes an amazing journey from nervous nursing student to a confident woman and accomplished nurse. In one storyline Zoey enters into a relationship with the very handsome Dr. Prentiss played by Morris Chestnut. The nervous nurse in bunny scrubs became a self-assured woman capable of attracting the hottest doctor on staff. Dr. Fitch

Cooper “Coop” – Played by Peter Facinelli is pretty much a buffoon who stumbles into some remarkable moments. Primarily comic relief, Coop suffers from a form of terrets syndrom where under stress he grabs the nearest breast – much to the dismay of the staff.

Gloria Akalitus – Played by Anna Deavere Smith is the ER Administrator who appears stuffy and rigid but under the right circumstances is as much a rule breaker as Jackie. One of my favorite episodes is where she assists Lana, a transgender patient, on how to cut corners and get assistance in health care.

Thor – Wonderful sarcastic Thor, a male nurse seaching for love and backing up Jackie’s every move. Played by the talented Stephen Wallem who put diabetes on TV.

My most memorable episode involved Wallem’s character. It was entitled Soul (Season 5 Ep 10). It involved Wally, a gay man with advanced liver cancer who had been 22 years sober and refused pain meds. As he dies Thor tells him how honored he is to be with him, because he was not just a survivor of the closet, stonewall, the plague but he survived it so elequontly. By the time Jackie gave him last rights I was sobbing uncontrolably. The episode ends with Thor singing a song for Wally at a local club.

The series ends with the hospital closing and everyone scattering. Jackie gets a job at another hospital and Zoey volunteers with Doctors Without Borders. Jackie keeps asking her to come with her but Zoey tells her that it’s time for them to part company. Basically Zoey has had enough of Jackie’s antics. The “I love you but not your behavior” speech.

As everyone is saying goodbye, Jackie goes into the ladies room and overdoses. She stumbles out and falls at the feet of her co-workers and friends.

This is where there is some contention. Some people believe that she doesn’t die but is saved, but I believe that Jackie does die.

Remember back in the first episode when Zoey called Jackie a saint? Jackie reflected that if she were a saint that she would be St. Augustine because he knew he had good in him but he also had some bad which he didn’t want to give up – just yet. Jackie says, “Make me good God, but not yet.” It’s poignant because she is thinking that as she talks with her husband, whom she is cheating on with the pharmacist who provides her with drugs. And as she thinks that, she steps back into the shadows.

In the end, in full view of everyone, Jackie is on the floor dying of an overdose. No more shadows, no more secrets. Zoey strokes her head and says, “You’re good.” not, “You’re going to be okay” but “you’re good.” It was Jackie’s time to be good. **Sob**

To everyone involved with this project, WELL DONE!

Fan girl review of Mercy Thompson series

By Laurel Newberry

patricia briggs credit Mike BriggsPatricia Briggs is right at the top of my list of favorite authors. She is a brilliant storyteller who weaves vivid three-dimensional characters through a tapestry of regional history and believable fantasy. These characters will stay with you long after the cover is closed and keep you checking back to see if there is a release date for the next installment.

Fire TouchedMarch will see the release of Briggs’s ninth Mercy Thompson book, “Fire Touched”, which shares a timeline with her Alpha and Omega series. This makes it the fifteenth in what the author calls the “Mercy-verse”.

Urban Fantasy at its finest, this series invites the reader to explore an entire community of creatures that range from werewolves and fae (like you see on Grimm), to witches and vampires, all living in community with the unsuspecting human population. Based on locations you can actually visit, Briggs creates the supernatural so well we are left to wonder if she knows something we do not.

The series begins with “Moon Called” where Mercy Thompson, a coyote shape-shifter, is making a living as a Volkswagen mechanic in the desert of southeast Washington State. Moon CalledWhen she offers assistance to a needy teen her singular act of kindness takes her out of the safe(ish) life she has made for herself and straight into the heart of werewolf business. Raised by werewolves in Montana, she has made it a point to maintain her independence from the local pack, especially the very attractive Alpha, but soon she is embroiled in a mystery that puts everything she values in jeopardy. She is a wonderfully strong female protagonist, one who uses her limited supernatural powers to their greatest advantage and who suffers the consequences when things go wrong.

The secondary series, starting with the short story “Alpha and Omega,” follows Anna 51nnEip13XL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_Latham, a werewolf abused by her own kind, who gets a chance to rescue herself. This first story offers extra details about the events in the first Mercy Thompson book. In addition to this extensive series, Briggs has written nine other full-length books and a number of short stories. You can find details on her books and other adventures at her website: patriciabriggs.com

Okay, I’ll admit it, I am a fan of Patty Briggs. Not just the “I really like her, she writes good books” kind of fan. I am a – sit in the front row at the book signing -“Don’t you think you could write faster? – Please keep writing this series! – Can you give me a hint about the next book? – Would you please sign all of the books I brought with 51ZWzrdWhVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_me?” – honest to goodness fan girl. I LOVE her Mercy Thompson books as well as her Alpha and Omega books.

Why do I love them? For one thing, they are written in a world I know, the southeastern corner of Washington State, right on the banks of the Columbia River gorge. It isn’t the part of the region most people think of with the trees and rain and mountains. This is desert, dry and stark and desolate… and beautiful. It looks and feels simple – until you read this series. Thanks to Briggs, the world I thought I knew has become home to an entire cadre of frightening, mysterious, and sometimes heroic creatures. I have to admit that every time I drive east out of Portland, up the Columbia River, I wonder just what lurks out there. I recently listened to the audio book version of River Marked as I drove along this route. I found myself looking at the landmarks with new appreciation. Briggs’ writing has always been vivid to me, reminding me of hot dry summers and cold windy winters, blue skies and scouring wind.

For another thing, there is a vivid cast of characters who live and breathe and struggle to survive. Mercy Thompson is tough and snarky character who knowingly makes some tough choices, ones with dire consequences, for good reasons. I love Mercy’s humor and her sense of optimistic fatalism. Or should that be fatalistic optimism? Who can blame her, what with the potential love interests ranging from an old werewolf with ulterior motives, a vampire who drives a Scooby-Doo mystery-machine VW bus, to the overly protective and imperious Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack.

This is more than fantasy. Briggs weaves in local history and Native American legends with Old World mythology. You will find the Fae (fairytale folk) of the British Isles brushing up against shape-shifters from Native stories, a seethe of vampires, and a pack of Werewolves. Sometimes there are creatures from other cultures and continents. It is a complex world with political hierarchy and territorial disputes and intrigues. Every group has their villains and heroes just as in real life so that you never know for sure just where the trouble will come from next.

If you are looking for something new to read I wholeheartedly recommend anything by Patricia Briggs. You will find her shelved under Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, and sometimes under Romance.

Interview: Jana Lane from PORCELAIN DOLL

PorcelaincoverInterview with Jana Lane, the leading character in PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery by Joe Cosentino, published by Wild Rose Press

Welcome, Jana Lane. It’s my pleasure to interview America’s most famous ex-child star.

It’s my pleasure to be here.

For our readers, what do you look like?

I’m an average forty-year-old woman living in 1982.

I’ll tell you, folks. Jana has porcelain skin, sky-blue eyes, a button nose, deep dimples, ruby red lips, velvety strawberry-blonde hair, and terrific petite figure. Jana, what’s it like to be middle aged in 1982?

I believe women are like wine. We get better with age. 1982 is a wonderful time to be in my prime with music like Laura Brannigan’s “Gloria” and Diana Ross’ “Mirror, Mirror.” I also love the teased hair, shoulder pads, off the shoulder blouses, blue eye shadow, and bold colors.

What’s it like living in a five acre estate in Hyde Park, New York, with twinkling Hudson River and stoic mountain views?

My husband, three children, and I love our home. Though I lived in Hollywood for most of my childhood, New York will always be home. 

You were America’s highest grossing child star from the time you were six years old to eighteen years old in hit movies like Daddy’s Girl, The Cowgirl and the Bandit, Jungle Girl, Young Mermaid, Pink Ballerina, Surfer Girl, Girl Astronaut, and the Sweet Candy Striper. What was it like being America’s sweetheart?

I felt like God’s special child. Every move I made mattered to someone. What I ate or didn’t eat. What time I went to bed. What I wore. The length of my hair. A lot of people’s livelihoods depended on me. I worked hard. And my personal life was well, I didn’t have a personal life. I couldn’t date. I couldn’t go out alone. I couldn’t talk to a reporter without someone from the studio with me.

What was fun about it?

Learning how to do things like steer a motorboat, swim for hours at a time, ride my horse Ginger. It was also fun to be recognized—and it still is! People I would meet on the street expressed an unwavering devotion to me. They really believed that I was the girl in the movies who could outsmart the villains, perform acts of bravery, and save those she loved from every evil fate.

What was it like going to movie premieres?

Once we arrived at the movie theater in the limousine, a red carpet led us inside. Camera flashes went off in all directions. Hundreds of people screamed and cried out my name, as I smiled and waved. Once inside the theater, I saw my face on that screen as large as a billboard. I was not only the central character in my own life, but in everybody’s life in that audience. I felt so loved and protected, until it all went away when I was eighteen.

Why did you leave the business?

I was attacked at the studio. I didn’t discover the identity of my attacker until twenty years later. You can read all about it in PAPER DOLL.

I will. But now in PORCELAIN DOLL you are making a comeback film, His Obsession.

With my husband, Brian, away on business, and my boys at summer camp, it was the perfect time to do a film. I was thrilled when my longtime agent, Simon Huckby, told me the film was packaged by mega-agent Mryna Buller, and will be directed by the top director of thrillers, Jack Capello. What made me jump for joy was when Simon told me the film would be shot at my home!

Tell me about Simon.

Simon is somewhere between sixty and a hundred years old. He discovered me in a play on Broadway when I was five years old. Ever since he has been my watchdog and my greatest fan. He and his partner, Cornelius Chamberlain, live in Rhinebeck, the next town, to watch over me.

What’s the film about?

I play a married ex-child star being stalked by her personal assistant, played by Trevor Masquer, a James Dean type rebel without a cause. Tom Strong, a John Wayne type actor, plays my husband.

And who plays your leading man?

Jason Apollo, America’s heartthrob plays the detective on the case and my love interest.

For the straight women and gay men out there, what does Jason look like?

He’s thirty-four with sculpted features, sparkling blue eyes, thick blond hair, and a muscular body. Though he’s one of the biggest box office movie stars, he has a sensitive, boyish quality and slight southern accent that turns women into putty.

Even you, Jana?

You have to read PORCELAIN DOLL to find out.

I’ll have to ask your makeup man, Hylas, or your son’s nanny, Gloria.

Don’t ask Reverend Rodney Charlton. He’s been causing trouble for us on the set.

In what way?

Saying our film and our company are immoral.

As I understand, Reverend Charlton isn’t your only problem on the set? Gloria has been carrying on with various men in the company.

Very true. And our assistant director, Ryan O’Halloran was murdered when a light fell on him during shooting—with everyone standing near him.

Who’s going to figure out who-dun-it?

Since the local detective, Mario Rivera, doesn’t believe Ryan was murdered, it’s up to me. I’ll figure it out by using the skills I learned as a child star in films like The Girl Detective, School Spy, and The Cutest Scientist.

Which as I’ve heard makes PORCELAIN DOLL a page-turning mystery romance with clever plot twists, engaging characters, and lots of clues leading to a shocking conclusion.

I agree.

 

What’s next for you Jana?

In SATIN DOLL (not yet released), my family and I head to Washington, DC, where I play a US senator in a new film, Madam Senator, and become embroiled in murder and corruption at the senate chamber. I also embark on a flirtation with Chris Bruno, the ex-football player/detective. In CHINA DOLL (not yet released), I head to New York City to star in a Broadway play, China Doll, and become enchanted by my gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off.

You’re an amazing woman, Jana Lane.

I give all the thanks to Joe Cosentino, the man behind this woman. I would not be here if it weren’t for him.

 

How can we read PORCELAIN DOLL to spend more time with you?

Go to: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=6684, or find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance, or other booksellers.

Thank you for a stimulating interview, Jana.

My pleasure!