Sunday, March 13, 2016

Blog Hiatus

Well, friends. It's time to face facts. I haven't been an active blogger of late, as you may have noticed. Life got in the way. My day job and writing have taken priority, and something had to give.

Image: Courtesy of Paul Drummond via Flickr
So after considerable thought, I've decided to take an extended -- and possibly permanent -- hiatus from my blog. I'm not too disappointed. It's difficult to keep up with social media on a good day. And while I've enjoyed posting here, I've come to realize that I prefer Twitter and Facebook to blogging. Besides, I want to spend my limited free time writing, pursuing my goals, doing research, and exploring my family's history. 

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by, commented, and/or followed my blog. Stay tuned for a new website coming soon. For now,  feel free to browse through the archives and find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

See ya! xoxo
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Releases


London Explorers, Book One
By Susanne Lord
December 1, 2015

In 1850’s London, the city is abuzz with the tale of Will Repton. The lone survivor of a massacre in Tibet has returned to England a hero, but the traumatized explorer has no time for glory. With only months to prepare for another dangerous expedition, nothing will deter him from his quest, and no one will unearth his secret. Until Will meets Charlotte Baker...

Vivacious Charlotte Baker is on a quest of her own- the discovery of a heroic husband to raise the family name. The Incomparable of the Season has bachelors panting at her dainty, spangled slippers but scandal is sinking the family and no aristocrat will have her to wed.  When Charlotte meets Will—quite literally, the man of her dreams—no other man will do.  The only problem is, marriage is the last thing on his mind.

The mantel clock is ticking.  The tides are changing.  What if an explorer’s greatest adventure doesn’t lie across an ocean, but within his own lost heart?

I'm looking forward to reading this debut. It sounds really good.

Birch Hall, Book One
By Kathleen Kimmel
December 1, 2015

Joan Price is a wanted woman. A thief and a fugitive from the mental hospital where she was falsely committed, she’s now on the run from her former partners in crime. But luck must be on her side—just when it seems all is doomed, she runs straight into the arms of Martin Hargrove, Earl of Fenbrook, who mistakes her for his distant cousin, Daphne.

Lord Fenbrook has no intention of marrying, and certainly doesn’t consider his notoriously scatterbrained cousin a prospect. But her flighty persona seems to hide something far more intriguing—a secret self she trusts with no one. And Martin is determined to earn that trust…

When Martin’s sister discovers Joan’s charade, they strike a bargain: Joan can remain within the safe walls of Birch Hall, as long as she doesn’t allow Martin to fall in love with her—for their flirtation would surely ruin them both. She’s convinced she poses no threat to his heart, but she’s beginning to realize that her heart may be the one in danger. Especially as he seems very set on seducing her

A debut worth reading. 

By Mila Gray
December 8, 2015

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.
Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness.  The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.

I love a good New Adult novel. =)

What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' websites.
Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Releases


The Playful Bridges, Book Four
By Valerie Bowman
November 3, 2015

Certain that no man wants a bluestocking for a wife, Miss Jane Lowndes is careful to wield her books and her spectacles as weapons against matrimony. Convincing her ambitious mama that she’s content to stay a spinster is easier said than done, however. It’s a good thing Jane is not above a bit of manufactured scandal if it will keep her from the altar, and the argumentative, contrary Lord Garrett Upton… 

With the war over, Garrett is determined to enjoy his bachelor’s life while he can, even when it means attending a house party in celebration of a friend’s wedding—and suffering Jane’s notorious disdain. But when a masquerade ball leads to a mistaken kiss, he’s surprised to learn that Jane’s bookish exterior hides a truly passionate soul. When two such headstrong people are determined to remain unattached, can love lead to a happy ending?

A rogue  + a bookish heroine + a happy-ever-after-ending = Yes, please.

The Thief Takers, Book One
By Alissa Jonson
November 3, 2015

Years ago, Owen Renderwell earned acclaim—and a title—for the dashing rescue of a kidnapped duchess. But only a select few knew that Scotland Yard’s most famous detective was working alongside London’s most infamous thief…and his criminally brilliant daughter, Charlotte Walker.

Lottie was like no other woman in Victorian England. She challenged him. She dazzled him. She questioned everything he believed and everything he was, and he has never wanted anyone more. And then he lost her.

Now a private detective on the trail of a murderer, Owen has stormed back into Lottie’s life. She knows that no matter what they may pretend, he will always be a man of the law and she a criminal. Yet whenever he’s near, Owen has a way of making things complicated…and long for a future that can never be theirs.

Ooo, I'm intrigued! And I love the cover.


Highland Guard, Book Ten
By Monica McCarty
November 24, 2015

Six years ago, Eoin "Striker” MacLean endured the greatest betrayal of his life, a disaster that led Robert the Bruce to a crushing defeat and left Eoin without the spirited woman who ruled his heart. Eoin knew that falling in love with his sworn enemy’s daughter was risky, dividing him between a possessive desire for beautiful Margaret MacDowell and an undying loyalty to his king. He promised Bruce that he would keep his fiery bride in the dark about the elite Highland Guard, but he could not predict the dire consequences his secret would have on his young marriage. Nor could he foresee how surrendering to temptation could cripple Bruce’s cause, forcing Eoin to blame his wife—and himself for trusting her.

Now, as Bruce prepares to challenge the resistance’s remaining strongholds, Eoin finally has his chance for revenge against the woman he once loved so fiercely and her entire clan. But when ferociously independent Margaret reveals a surprise that unites her with Eoin, neither of them will let their love go down without a fight.

Santa needs to put this book in my stocking on Christmas Eve. ;)


By Colleen Hoover
November 10, 2015

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

Ooo. I'm intrigued.


By Suzanne Young
November 3, 2015

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she's grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother's death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions--including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey's pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel's dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She's torn in different directions--the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between in a place that is so much more than it seems...

Welcome to the Ruby.

I like the premise of this book!

What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' websites.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October Releases


A Scandalous Highlanders Novel
By Suzanne Enoch
October 6, 2015

When a mad lass in trousers shoots at him, Munro "Bear" MacLawry isn't sure what impresses him more-the girl's sure aim or her irresistibly tempting curves. Catriona MacColl has fled to the Highlands with her half-sister to escape an unwanted wedding, and wants no part of him, nor any man. But he can't abandon the flame-haired, sharp-tongued wildcat now that he's discovered her--not when she fits so perfectly in his arms...

Munro has more than earned his nickname-he's a well-muscled, well-favored mountain of a man with an engaging bad-boy grin and a string of well-satisfied lasses behind him. Bringing Catriona food, blankets, candles, everything she needs to survive a winter in an abandoned abbey, Munro is an unexpected gift in her reckless bid for freedom-and an unexpected complication. Clan MacDonald has plans for her, and they don't include her falling for a MacLawry. But this man makes her feel like a woman--and he may be her one chance to live a life about which she's only dared dream...

Highland Weddings Trilogy, Book One
By Gayle Callen
October 27, 2015

Shaken from sleep during the night, bundled off to the Highlands by a burly Scot, Riona is at first terrified, then livid. Hugh McCallum insists they were promised to each other as children to ensure peace between their clans. The stubborn laird refuses to believe he’s kidnapped the wrong Catriona Duff. Instead, he embarks on a campaign of slow-burning seduction…

At first, Hugh cares only what their marriage can do for his people. Now he’s starting to crave Riona for her own sake. But her true identity jeopardizes his clan’s contract. And unless she chooses to risk all to be his bride, he’ll lose the only thing he prizes more than the lands he’s fought so hard to save—the passionate marriage they could have together.​

I love me some Highlanders! ;)


By Christina Lauren
October 6, 2015

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness.  The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.

The perfect October read.


By Teri Brown
October 20, 2015

Samantha Donaldson's family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women's spy group La Dame Blanche, she's torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can't refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known only as Velvet. Deep undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Sam must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she must fight a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Sam find Velvet before it's too late . . . for them both?

A thrilling story of one girl's journey into a deadly world of spy craft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.

Oh. Em. Gee. Major cover love. And the story sounds amazing too.

What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' websites.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

31 Days of Writing

For eight years the Syfy Channel has hosted a spooktacular scarefest known as 31 Days of Halloween. It's a movie-a-thon of over 600 hours of bloodcurdling programming between October 1-31st. I saw a promo about the event the other day on TV, and out of the blue inspiration struck.   

Photo source:
I have a non-existent writing routine. It's been that way for months. It depresses and annoys me. My story should have been completed a long time ago. However, I have not made writing a priority since the end of July, when my Summer Writing Challenge ended. My progress stalled. My Muse disappeared. Stress got to me. Doubt crept in. I fell back into old habits. As a result, I took an unnecessarily long break from writing. Days turned into weeks. Before I knew it summer was over, and I hadn't written a single word in August. Just when I mustered the courage to open my work-in-progress, something awful happened.

My father passed away three weeks ago. In the days prior to and after his passing, I was too brokenhearted and emotionally exhausted to focus on anything, let alone write. Nothing mattered to me anymore -- not my writing or my big dreams. Then I read Steal Like an Artist, a terrific little book by Austin Kleon. A day later, Syfy's 31 Days of Halloween promo inspired me to create a 31 Days of Writing plan for myself. Now I finally feel ready to write.

So today I'm going to sit down at my desk, open my laptop, and see what happens.

No more procrastinating. No more excuses. I have a story to finish.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Releases


Victorian Rebel Series, Book One
By Kerrigan Byrne
September 1, 2015

Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London's wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who've wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception--and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands...

But Farah is no one's puppet. She possessed a powerful secret -- one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could imagine is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heard he'd long thought dead?

Great cover and interesting premise. I'm anxious to read this romance! 

The Covent Garden Cubs, Book Two
By Shana Galen
September 1, 2015

Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London's dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society's most untouchable women—Lady Susanna Derring.

Susanna has spent her life in London's glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother—and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it's too late. But as she descends into London's underworld, she finds that nothing—not even Gideon—is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she's willing to pay...for the love of a reformed thief.

You had me at London's dark underworld.

Untamed Highlander, Book One

By Sabrina York
September 1, 2015

Hannah Dounreay has no time for suitors who only seem interested in her family's land, which she manages as well as any man. If she marries, she wants to be loved for the educated, independent woman she is. But when a strong, silent-and spectacularly handsome-Highlander saves her from a violent attack, her heart is stirred. Who is this man? And if he asks for Hannah's hand, will she be able to resist him?

Alexander Lochlannach, Laird of Dunnet, has no time to lose. The Highlands are in an uproar as clans battle for land-without mercy-and Alexander can't afford to fall for the wildly attractive, strong-willed Hannah. What's more, he has a desperate secret, one that could destroy them both. But as their attraction turns into an all-consuming passion, Alexander has no choice but to prove to Hannah that he's the only man for her-body and soul.

I've yet to read a book by Sabrina York. I'm definitely reading this Highlander romance!


By Alex Flinn

September 15, 2015

Celine's life is the stuff fairy tales are made of. She's beautiful, talented, and brave. Unfortunately, her tale comes complete with a wicked stepmother! When Violet steps into Celine's life, everything changes and weird things begin to happen to her—bizarre accidents, strange illnesses, and rabid animal attacks. Celine doesn't feel safe anywhere. It's almost as if some hateful witch is out to get her.

And there is. Violet has been waiting all her life to have Celine's father to herself. Getting rid of his gorgeous daughter is child's play for a witch as powerful as she is. Happy-ever-after isn't enough for Violet. She wants to be the fairest of them all, and Celine is in the way . . . but not for long.

Forced to take refuge with her friend Goose and his family, Celine gives up everything she loves and goes deep undercover. But will it be enough to fool Violet, or will Celine's fate be decided by a reflection in a magic mirror? And where do you find Prince Charming in Miami anyway?

I like fairy-tale retellings. This one sounds good. 

What's on your must-read list this month? Do share! 
Book blurbs from authors' websites.
Thursday, August 13, 2015


Belle (2014)
The broad skirts of the mid-1700's needed necklines to match, and the most popular style was wide and low, trimmed with a band of fine lace called the tatez-y or "touch here". A bow at the neck was called parfait contentment, or "perfect contentment".

Kirsten Dunst, Marie Antoinette (2006)
Amazing Grace (2006)
But clotheshorses who thirsted for a little more decoration gussied up the fronts of the gowns, either by wearing wraparound bodices, with a teasing ruffled dickey peering out from the deep vee; or more commonly, by adding robings.

These ornamenta trimmings lined the edges of the bodice, from the shoulders to the waist, where it meets the stomacher -- still around and tormenting its wearers after two centuries. Since women often designed their robings and stomachers themselves, bodices became a showcase for personal taste.

Marie Antoinette (2006)
Belle (2014)
By the 1760's, many women abandoned stomachers, but not to increase their circulation. Instead, they pressed their corsets into double duty -- now covered with elegant fabrics and trimmed with metallic lace just begging for display.

18th Century corsets via Pinterest.
Not only fashionplates wore corsets. In the eighteen century, there were styles for every occasion -- including pregnancy and horseback riding -- for everyone, including young boys.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Releases


Victorian Adventures, Book Three
By Lillian Marek
August 4, 2015

Safe in the embrace of her loving family, Lady Emily Tremaine longs to feel more intensely alive. Surely the magic and mystery of Assyria and the fabled ruins of Nineveh will bring about the transformation she seeks.

Scarred by his past and estranged from his noble grandfather, French adventurer Lucien Chambertin desires neither a home nor the chains of emotional attachment. He seeks only to explore the far reaches of the world. But he did not know the world contained the likes of Lady Emily-whose curiosity and sense of wonder match his own.

I've yet to read a book by Lillian Marek, but I really want to read this historical romance. It sounds like the perfect summer escape.

Castles Ever After Series, Book Three
By Tessa Dare
August 25, 2015

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

I can't wait to read this book! I adore Tessa Dare romances. 

The Oxenburg Princes, Book Two
By Karen Hawkins
August 25, 2015

Max Romanovin, Oxenburg’s warrior prince, is escorting his grandmother to a house party deep in the Highlands when he and his entourage are robbed at sword point by a group of ruffians led by a man the locals have dubbed “The Scottish Robin Hood.” The battle-savvy prince instantly realizes there’s something different about this thief, and it’s not just the Scottish accent— it’s the fact that “he” is really a “she.”

Lady Murian, a young widow out for revenge against the powerful earl who killed her husband and stole his birthright, is now living in the woods with her family’s banished retainers. To stay alive, she and her band of men rob rich nobles coming to visit the evil earl. But when she ambushes the Prince of Oxenburg’s golden coach, she gets far more than she expected. For when the prince uncovers her true identity, she’s afraid that he might be the real thief…of her heart.

I need to read the first book in this series ASAP, so I can read book two.

Scandalous Scots
, Book Two

By Sue-Ellen Welfonder
August 25, 2015

Proud, passionate Lady Gillian MacGuire is known as the Spitfire of the Isles. She can take care of herself and hasn't yet met a man who could impress her . . . especially not Donell MacDonnell, the odious older man she was promised to five years ago. She's been dreading his return, but when her intended comes back to claim her, she's stunned at how different he seems. The man she swore she would spurn forever now invades her thoughts, her dreams, and her heart.

When Roag agrees to assume the identity of the recently deceased MacDonnell chieftain, no one warns him that the man was betrothed. As a member of the King's Fenris Guard, he is oath-bound to embark on whatever mission the crown gives him. Of course, he was expecting a battle-not a bride. Yet after sharing one kiss with Lady Gillian, the powerful Highlander becomes the one seduced and captivated. Now giving in to temptation could ruin them both . . .

Hooray for Highlanders!


Devil's Isle, Book One

By Chloe Neill
August 4, 2015

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused…

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack — in full view of the French Quarter — Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs—even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

As more and more Sensitives fall prey to their magic, and unleash their hunger on the city, Claire and Liam must work together to save New Orleans, or else the city will burn…

I don't normally read urban fantasy novels, however this one interests me. Why? Well, it's set in the French Quarter (!), the hero's name is Liam (swoon), and it has paranormal elements. Me likey.


By Alexandra Sirowy

August 18, 2015

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.

And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.

Oooo, creeeepy!

By Katie Alender
August 25, 2015

Delia's new house isn't just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females -- an insane asylum nicknamed "Hysteria Hall." However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep "troubled" girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia becomes trapped. And that's when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the hallways in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia learns that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, too, harbors shocking truths within its walls -- truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

And she'll need to act quickly -- before the house's power overtakes everything she loves.
 Oooo, yeah! I like Katie Alender's creepy tales.

What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' websites.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Walk Like A Man

Think of Queen Elizabeth I or Golda Mier and you just might see Queen Hatshepsut of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Her name might not come as easily on the tongue, but in her day she was a household word. In order to seize power when her half-brother husband died, she knew she had to look like a warrior. So, for twenty-two years, whenever she appeared in public, she concealed her breasts and adopted the ceremonial false beard.

Image Source:
Soon she was being hailed as the "Son of the Sun" and "Lord of Two Lands" with obelisks and temples built in her honor. And, as legend has it, it was she who found the baby Moses in the bulrushes while having her daily bath.

Image Source: I Harsten via Flickr Creative Commons
She was the third pharaoh to reside in the Valley of Kings. When she died, to show that Hatshepsut was no longer powerful, the new pharaoh had all the beards chopped off her statues.

Strangely enough, even  male pharaohs continued to use false beards as a sign of distinction, rather than grow their own. There were three major styles: short and stubby for high-ranking men; larger and thick for kings; and slender and curved for gods. Men used copper razors to maintain the cleanshave look that was de rigueur.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Releases


Prelude to a Kiss, Book Three
By Erin KnightleyJuly 7, 2015

After her mother’s death, May’s sea captain father sends her halfway around the world to live with his stodgy sister in England. The summer festival in Bath made for a lovely distraction, but now she can’t wait for her father’s return so she can leave this country, its suffocating rules, and one infuriatingly proper nobleman in particular behind.

Because he is the Duke of Radcliffe, William Spencer’s whole life revolves around his duties. He never steps foot outside the bounds of proper behavior, and he expects the same of those around him. With her devil-may-care ways, May vexes him nearly as much as she tempts him, but there’s something about her that he just can’t resist. He knows he’s falling hard for her, but with lives that are worlds apart, will they ever be able to find any common ground?

I adore this cover
. It screams romance.

By Jenna Kernan
July 1, 2015

Running Wolf is a valiant Sioux warrior.  During his first raid as war chief, he captures a surprising Crow enemy--a woman!  This spirited fighter is unlike any he's ever met.  Her beauty and audacity are entrancing, but threaten his iron resolve...

Snow Raven must focus on freeing herself, not on the man who keeps her captive.  But as she falls deeper under Running Wolf's spell, she realizes he is her warrior--and she'll risk everything for him!

This Indian romance sounds like a good summer read.

Warriors of Ireland, Book One
By Michelle WillinghamJuly 2015

Physically and emotionally scarred, Lady Taryn of Ossoria knows no man would want her for a wife. Nonetheless, she’s determined to free her father from his merciless overlord and enlists powerful warrior Killian MacDubh to help.

He has his own motives for confronting the High King… Born a bastard, Killian longs to carve out a place for himself. Unaware of her true beauty, Taryn is an alluring distraction to his plan, but as traitors are revealed and loyalties tested, their forbidden love becomes the only thing worth fighting for!

What's not to love about an Irish warrior named Killian?!


By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
July 7, 2015

When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 "fixer," known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.

Ooo, you had be at "secrets pile up".

By Caroline B. Cooney
July 14, 2015
Miranda and Lander Allerdon are sisters. Miranda is younger, a dreamer, and floating her way through life. Lander is older, focused, and determined to succeed. As the girls and their parents begin another summer at their cottage on the Connecticut River, Miranda and Lander’s sibling rivalry is in high gear. Lander plans to start medical school in the fall, and Miranda feels cast in her shadow.

When the Allerdons become entangled in an unimaginable tragedy, the playing field is suddenly leveled. As facts are revealed, the significance of what has happened weighs heavily on all. How can the family prepare for what the future may hold?


What's on your must-read list this month? Do share!

Book blurbs from authors' websites.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Summer Challenge: June Results

So to recap, my writing besties and I kicked off June with The Summer Challenge, a plan to create writing and exercise goals. The Challenge runs through the end of August.

For the month of June, I came up with a personal writing and exercise goal that I wanted to do every day. The goals were small and manageable to avoid a freak out. My goals: To open my WIP and write/edit for a minimum of 1 hour each day, including weekends. Also, do 100 sit ups a day (in addition to my daily exercise routine).

I bet you're dying to know how I did. Weeelll, I confess I didn't have a perfect record in June.

It's okay, really. I knew I wouldn't be able to write or exercise every day, thanks to my mini vacation getaway to Oregon, so I went into the challenge fully aware that I'd fail come up against a roadblock. Little did I know I'd get a cold after I returned home from my trip. I felt so terrible, I didn't write or exercise for a week. 

No worries. Life happens. I'm still satisfied with everything I accomplished this month. When I was home and able, I wrote and exercised. In other words, I did my best. Though I'm a perfectionist, I don't have to be perfect. What I mean is, I don't brood and moan and agonize for hours if my day doesn't go as planned. What's the point?

Tomorrow is another day. As long as I made an effort to accomplish my goals, I'm satisfied. Of course that wouldn't have been the case had I simply procrastinated and not met my goals. 

A new month starts tomorrow, and with it comes a brand new challenge. Forget those daily goals for June. Now we're aiming to accomplish a whole new set of weekly goals.

My goals for July are: 1) Line edit 30 pages a week. 2) Do Pilates 2 times a week.

I still intend to stick with the daily writing and exercise goals I created in June. I'm currently on summer break, so setting aside writing time every day is something I can easily do. Also, the glorious summer sunshine gives me a sort of adrenaline rush. I feel more energized and eager to tackle my tasks when the sun is out. 

 Watch out July, I'm ready for you.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Funks Happen

Sometimes funks happen. My most recent writing funk was in April. The sky was gray, the air was cold, and some family woes had me worried. I wanted to be on vacation far away from the gloomy Pacific Northwest and all of my stress, which made it terribly hard to focus on my writing.

I just couldn't bring myself to sit down at my desk, turn on my laptop, and open my WIP. I wanted to stop procrastinating, really I did, and nearly drove myself crazy trying shake off my winter blues.

I watched costume dramas and read historical romances, hoping they would inspire me to write. Nothing jarred me out of my funk. A week passed, and I was still stuck in my pity party. To be honest, it was mentally exhausting.

As the days flew by, I became more discouraged and upset with myself for not meeting my self-imposed deadline. Why wasn't I writing? I didn't have writer's block. I wasn't uncertain about which direction to go with my story. I had characters and a routine that excited me. My goals weren't ridiculously hard. I knew I could meet them, if only I tried.

All I had to do was put my butt in my chair, my hands on my keyboard, and get some words down. Put in the hours. Write. Revise. Repeat. It was the only way I was going to finish my story.

Giving up for one week is what worked for me in the end. Weird, I know. But giving myself permission to step away from my writing for seven days gave me the mental break I needed.

I brooded. I watched more movies. I read another book. I worked on craft projects. And when I reached the day that I told myself I'd snap out of my funk, guess what happened. I sucked it up, sat down with my computer, turned on my timer, opened up my WIP, and started writing.

Everyone needs a break from work from time to time -- it's no different for a writer. So take a mini vacation if you need one. Then get back to work.