Monday, September 24, 2012

Review - A Lady and Her Magic

A Lady and Her Magic
Tammy Falkner
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
September 2012

Sophia Thorne is an outspoken beauty who has been taught how to behave while in the ton. But while she can intermix with them, she isn't really one of them. She's a fairy and she's come to help out the beleaguered Duke of Robinsworth and his obnoxious daughter. Of course, she's not the fairy who was given this assignment. She took it on her own to prove herself to her relatives and to the Fae elders. She's fully confident she can help the child with her nightmares. But she's surprised to find herself attracted to the dangerous Duke.

The ton believes Ashley, the Duke of Robinsworth, killed his wife and there's no way he can prove definitively that he didn't. He hates the fact that he is the fodder for all the gossip mongers in the Ton. Even more, he hates the nightmares his daughter, Anne, has suffered since her mother's death. He knows that even with his dastardly reputation, Anne will need to be a member of society eventually. As much as he hates the idea of his little girl growing up, he wants to do the best he can for her. So when Miss Sophia Thorne is able to turn one of Anne's tantrums into polite behavior, he thinks he's found his answer. But he doesn't bargain for the instant attraction he feels for Sophia.

While the historical details can get a little 'muddy', A Lady and Her Magic is a delightful adult fairy tale. It has magic and enough steamy scenes to satisfy any paranormal romance lover. Ms. Falkner is one half of the writing duo behind Lydia Dare. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review - Kiss of Steel

Kiss of Steel
Bec McMaster
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
September 2012

Fleeing from the Blue Blooded Echelon, Honoria Todd tries to mask her identity enough to stay free but not so much that she can't make an honorable living. That's hard to do when she's reduced to living in Whitechapel. She works in town as a tutor to young women who want to move up into the Echelon. But the minute her employer finds out where she lives, she'll be let go. Though her sister works as a seamstress, they don't earn enough to keep a roof over their heads, food on their table and a doctor for their ill brother. She's a woman stuck between a rock and a hard place and that place is Blade, the rogue Blue Blood who runs Whitechapel.

Blade has his own problems. He's a rogue Blue Blood, infected by a virus by one of the Echelon. He lives on the blood of his thralls, whose debt of loyalty insures his safety and their own. As a rogue, his enemies are any human crime lords who want his territory in Whitechapel and the Echelon. The humans he can handle but the Echelon takes a deft hand of control, threat and balls. He's got all three. What he doesn't have is much longer before he turns vampire. When that happens, everyone will turn against him and hunt him till he's dead. Turning vampire is inevitable so he checks his blood levels every day. When it reaches the point where he has no choice, he, or one of his trusted lieutenants, will make sure he doesn't turn.

His blood levels are almost there when he meets Honoria Todd face to face. There's something about the chit that compels him. He doesn't want to admit that she might be his soul mate but he can't keep her at arm's length. Honoria, too, doesn't want to admit that she's attracted to Blade. She doesn't want anything to do with any Blue Blood. But the way he develops trust between his thralls and confidants makes her see him as something more than just a blood sucker.

I'm not a Steampunk expert but I did enjoy the setting of early 1800's England and the descriptions were handled skillfully. The characters were superb and the writing excellent. Overall, this book was a FANTASTIC read. I loved every word, every nuance, every twist of the plot. Ms. McMaster has created an intoxicating read that is hard to put down. I highly, HIGHLY, recommend it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest - Karen Kelley

Good morning all! Happy Hump Day! We have author Karen Kelley visiting us today with a post about her hawt and fun to read books. Enjoy!


I’ve always loved movies and books that were a little different. Some of the first stories that hooked me on reading were the romantic gothic’s.  I devoured them.

My first published book was a contemporary, then I moved toward suspense, then my Nerak and Symtarian series which had sexy heroes from another planet, the latter being shapeshifters. With my new Good Girl series, I’m writing about the nephilim.

The nephilim are actually talked about in the Bible. Their fathers were angels who came down to earth centuries ago and mated with mortal women. When the women bore children, a new race was created. Immortals with powers—demigods.

Ahh, but the children don’t live by the same rules as mortals, nor that of the typical robe-wearing, bright-light-surrounding-them angels. Most of the time the nephilim are breaking the rules and making up new ones as they go. As long as they don’t cross over to the dark side, everyone pretty much stays out of their way. 
Then there’s Haley. The good girl. She tries to please everyone. Over the years her overly helpful family has brainwashed her into believing she just doesn’t quite measure up. Now she’s a frump. When one of her coworkers tells her that he owes her dinner after she spends all week doing his work, she gathers her courage and takes him up on his offer. Except he stands her up. As she cries herself to sleep, she prays for a miracle.

The next morning when her doorbell rings she finds a sexy cowboy on her doorstep claiming he will answer her prayer. She promptly slams the door in his face.

This is a paranormal erotic romance with a splash of humor. I made them cowboys because I live in Texas and, well, cowboys are sexy *grin*. But I hope the reader will come away with a little insight how someone can manipulate another person if they let them.

Maybe you’ve already been through something similar? Has anyone ever made you feel inferior? Have you ever kicked yourself because you let them? 

Karen Kelley is the author of over twenty-two books. I’m Your Santa spent three weeks on the USA Today bestseller list. Karen lives in a small Texas town with her very supportive husband, their spoiled Pekinese, a host of wild birds that eat way too much.

She makes jewelry as a hobby because she’s a firm believer that one can never have enough bling-bling. You can visit Karen at  where you’ll find lots of fun stuff! 


-- Lynda Again
     Check out my review of Where There's A Will at
     That's it for today! I hope you all have a fantabulous week/weekend! Head out to the cider mill (if apples are ripening in your neck of the woods) and spend some time with your S.O.

    Have a Blessed Day~

Review - Where There's A Will

Where There's A Will
Karen Kelley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
September 2012

Everyone knows Haley Tillman has poor taste in clothes. That she's plain. Too fat. Gawky. Unattractive. Everyone knows it. So does Haley. Half in chance, half in desperation, she prays for a miracle. A second of thought revises her request to 'a really hot, drool worthy, sexy man.' One who 'stands above mere mortals.'

Boy, is she surprised when she gets one. Ryder, a  half mortal, half angel, Nephilim, in his favorite cowboy outfit is on a mission. He wants to convince Haley that she is far, far better than the sum of the opinions others have about her.

Haley, of course, thinks she's losing her mind. Really, how many super-fine, totally HAWT guys show up at your door? Or sprout big, fluffy angel wings when you demand proof? You'd think you'd lost your mind too.

But as the story continues with Ryder letting Haley enjoy all the sexy fantasies she's written about in her diary, Haley begins to open up to life and all its possibilities. Not only that, but she begins to have real feelings for Ryder. He knows that's a problem. He's encountered it before with others that he's helped. But the bigger problem is that he's losing his heart. To her. Every new thing he discovers about her attracts him. When it's time for him to leave, he can't force himself to do it. He tells himself that Haley just needs a little more time to begin seeing herself as he sees her and he's determined to do that.

This is a fun, sexy read that will warm you up on these cooler autumn days. The characters are charming…well, except for Haley's nemesis at work who makes Haley's life a mini-version of hell. It's really great to see how Haley grows and learns to develop and trust her own judgment. The only thing that bothers me is that underlying message that a woman needs a man to help her see herself as beautiful. But once I remember this is a fantasy itself and not a social commentary, I found it easy to lose myself in the story.

And, yes, I would like a Ryder of my own. I'd sure let him 'convince me I was beautiful'. Any time, any day.

Where There's A Will is definitely worth a read. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest - Juli D. Revezzo

Good morning! Very interesting post from our guest, Juli D. Revezzo today. Enjoy!


Marriage vs. Status Quo in romantic fiction and The Artist’s Inheritance

Thanks Lynda and crew for inviting me here today. Hi, my name’s Juli and I write…paranormal fantasies. I understand it’s a little different from Lynda’s usual fare, so I thank her for having me.

I have a question for you and your readers: What do you know about your beloved? Is it enough to save him when the gods take out after him?

I posed that question in my debut novel The Artist’s Inheritance.

Caitlin, my main character, knew everything about her beloved. She knew that his brother and sister were artists, she knew that his mother had gone missing, she knew that the brother and sister both committed suicide. That seemed far too much information for someone who had just met her paramour. Being realistic and rational, these are not things one usually brings up to a girlfriend in the opening stages of a relationship.

Caitlin said I was right: She insisted she and Trevor were married. Wait, said I, that doesn’t fit the romance I’m trying to make here.

“Too bad,” she said. “Something very weird is going on with him. If I don’t see what he does in those off hours, if I can’t see this weird thing he’s creating in secret, how do you propose I find out about this?”

Spies? I tell, I cringed from the look she gave me.

“No,” she said. “I have to live with him, at least. It’s all about his family, sister, secrets he only tells family. Let me in there. You have no idea what’s going on in their circle!”

;) See? She knows her man, doesn’t she?

I had no choice. I had to start the story after Caitlin and her beloved Trevor married and I ask you, what’s more romantic than a man or woman willing to fight imps and gods bent on your family or your beloved’s destruction?

So I ask, what do you really know about your beloved? I hope the secret isn’t as wild as Caitlin and Trevor’s family faces!

Even though my story is not a typical paranormal romance, I hope you will give The Artist’s Inheritance a chance, and like what you see.


The Artist's Inheritance

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?

Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

The Artist’s Inheritance is available at: Amazon:

And will be coming soon in paperback at Createspace.

About Juli D. Revezzo
Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock, and the classics and has a soft spot for classic the “Goths” of the 19th century. Her short fiction has been published in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted Summer, Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station Quarterly. She also has an article and book review or two out there. But her heart lies in the storytelling. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Tampa Area Romance Authors, and the special interest RWA chapter Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal.The Artist’s Inheritance is her first novel.

Social Media Links.

Thanks again, Lynda for having me here!

-- Lynda Again
    Thanks, Juli, for visiting us. Okay, all you lovely readers, what are your thoughts? How well do you know your loved one? Do you know all his/her secrets?

    Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9-11

Remembering 9-11, the day so many died as a result of a terrorist attack on the United States.

It would be marvelous if we could all have a moment of silence and, perhaps, chose one name from the list of over 3000 victims to honor and remember today. You can find the list here

Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest - Isabo Kelly

Good morning! Today's guest, Isabo Kelly, is talking about one of my favorite subjects - World Building - and some of the drawbacks writers face when they do it. She's got a giveaway too so make sure you find out how to enter her drawing.


The Dangers of Being a World-Building Addict

Hello, my name is Isabo Kelly, and I’m a world-building addict. True fact. I’m not going to admit out loud how many different worlds I have published at the moment, but, well, it’s more than one. And we won’t mention the as-of-yet unpublished worlds. I love building worlds. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Parnormal, it doesn’t matter. Give me a good woo-woo world idea and I’m away. What can I say, I’m a kid at heart and this is how I play.

This addiction does have a few draw backs, though. I discovered one of those drawbacks while writing and trying to publish my latest novel, THE SECRET OF NARAVA. This is Book 2 in The Naravan Chronicles and is the sequel to my very first published novel, THE PROMISE OF KIERNA’RHOAN (published for the first time more than 13 years ago). Kierna’Rhoan is a science fiction romance—highlight on the romance part. Which meant the sequel was also supposed to be a science fiction romance.

Now, you’re saying, “But wait, you already built the world in the first book. What kind of trouble could your addiction possibly cause when writing a sequel?” To which I will laugh out loud with a slightly hysterical edge. Then I will calm down and admit—sometimes you have to do even more world-building for sequels. (Hehe! Yay, world-building! *Cough* Okay, sorry. Back to the post.)

For The Secret of Narava, I had to do some digging into the biology and history of the native Naravan species, the Shifters (aliens, not were-animals; I named them before the paranormal boom and now it’s too late to change. Ah well.). I had to figure out how to manage an interesting twist in their biology (have to read the book to find out what that is!). And I had to research and develop the way a paleontology dig would take place on another planet in the future. All this great research led to some really fun world-building details.

Too many details. Way way too many details.

By the time I was finished with the first draft, I’d actually written a science fiction novel with a romance story mashed into it. The balance was all wrong. The scientific ramblings and details too extensive, the pace not what was expected from a sequel to a fast-paced SFR novel. I’d gone completely over the top, all because I couldn’t stop with the world-building.

This was a problem. It took me years and years and years (roughly 10 to be exact) to get this book published. And editing it to get to the correct balance of SF and Romance was one of the hardest edits I’ve ever had to do.

In the end, thanks to the help of my wonderful editor, I think we got it right. The book is now faster, the romance balance is much better, and the world-building has been beaten back to what is necessary on the page. But there was a lot of sweat and tears involved with getting the book to this point. All because I am a world-building addict.

I may need help.

I did learn my lesson though (ha!). For all future sequels where further world-building is required (all of them! Yay!), I promise to control myself and ensure that what makes it to the page is actually necessary to the story. At least by the time the book is published.

So what story addictions get you into trouble? (Can we say book-buying addiction? Oh yes, I have one of those too.)

BOOK GIVEAWAY: I will be giving away one free ebook copy of The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan (or winner’s choice of one other ebook from my backlist if they have this one already) to one random commenter. Please either leave your email address in the comment (with spaces if you like) or send me a separate email to isabokelly @ (no spaces) referencing the Star-Crossed Romance blog. This contest will be open to entries until Wednesday September 12th, midnight EST.  

And now, for those curious, here’s the blurb and a little excerpt from THE SECRET OF NARAVA, in which I focus on the romance like a good SFR author. Enjoy!

Their discovery could lead to war…

Paleontologist, Dr. Ti’ann Jones, uncovers a mystery that could alter the course of her planet’s future, putting her and her people in grave danger. She’s forced to call in security to protect her dig site. But the man who shows up threatens Ti’ann on a much more personal level. She’s spent the last three years trying to forget Nathan Longfeather and the incredible things he did to her body, but it’s apparent he’s already forgotten her.

Nathan thought guarding an archaeological dig site would be an easy and welcome break from his normal high-tension contracts. But when he comes face-to-face with a woman he hasn’t been able to forget for the last three years, he finds himself torn between the job and dragging Ti’ann back to his ship to remind her of those brief erotic nights they spent together. Nights she seems to have forgotten.

As the truth of Ti’ann’s discovery is revealed, Nathan’s job gets a lot more serious, and keeping Ti’ann and her team alive becomes his top priority. In a time when anything to do with Narava’s native species, the Shifters, leads to violence, Ti’ann and Nathan face enemies from both sides of the conflict and will have to find a way to prevent a planet-wide war. If they can survive, they might just have a future…together.

EXCERPT: (set-up) Ti’ann and Nathan are sitting at the side of a cliff, just outside Ti’ann’s campsite in the growing darkness after sunset. They’ve been discussing a very eventful day. Now Ti’ann has decided to risk moving into a more personal conversation. And Nathan is having a hard time keeping his hands to himself. (Slightly edited for PG-13 audience)

“How long have you worked in security?” [Ti’ann’s] voice was quiet, distant. She pulled her legs up to her chest, wrapped her arms around them and rested her chin on her knees.
[Nathan] couldn’t tell if it was a defensive move, but the pose made her profile appear both innocent and erotic. Sitting here with a contemplative expression, her hair silvery blond in the weak moonlight, it was so easy to see the woman he’d been preoccupied with all these years. And she was even more fascinating than the first time he’d met her, so much more to her than he’d guessed.
He turned to face her, wondering what she was really thinking. She wouldn’t look at him.
In a way, he was grateful. Every time she did, he reacted. Those big, soulful eyes of hers tugged at him, urging him to touch her. And his willpower wasn’t nearly as strong as his sanity required. He swallowed and concentrated on answering her question.
“About thirteen years now.”
“Why security?”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
He grinned when she frowned and rolled her eyes. Her look of frustration captivated him. He could sit here and frustrate her all night just to see that expression on her face.
Okay, so he’d rather spend the night satisfying her instead of frustrating her, but this was a close second. And since he couldn’t spend the night satisfying her, as long as she was his client, frustrating her would have to do.
“What did you do before going into security work?” Her natural curiosity once again overcame any other emotion.
He’d watched her curiosity dictate her actions all evening. Even when he thought she was shocked speechless, when most people would have concentrated on the political ramifications or dangers they were facing, Dr. Ti’ann Jones had focused on the riddle and the discovery. That kind of natural curiosity told him a lot about her. And promised some very interesting sex.
“This and that,” he answered. That look again. He almost chuckled.
“Not much for sharing details, are you Mr. Longfeather?”
Mr. Longfeather?”
“Nathan, then.” She shrugged as if it made no difference to her.
He remembered her groaning and panting his name in the dark. Just hearing her say it brought back a rush of sensory memories. He sucked in a breath. He knew he was torturing himself. It wasn’t like him, but he couldn’t seem to help it.
Any more than he could help easing a little closer to her, near enough that her heat permeated his jacket and warmed his arm. Her scent was elusive, caught and carried on random breezes, drifting around him in tempting eddies. He’d know her scent anywhere.
He let his gaze roam her face and settle on the curve of her neck. What would she do if he leaned in and kissed her, just there? The last time he’d done something like that to her, her reaction had led them into yet another delicious round of sex. For a long moment, he considered the spot just below her ear, the soft skin and her warm smell. Without conscious thought, he leaned a little bit closer.
Warning claxons went off in his head and he straightened away just enough to regain some semblance of control. One touch. All it would take was one touch and he’d be lost.
He couldn’t decide if that was bad or not.

About Isabo:
Isabo Kelly is a multi-published, award-winning author of numerous science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romances and erotic romances. She’s traveled and lived around the world doing crazy things like training dolphins in Hawaii, being a shark caretaker and snake nurse at the Natural History Museum in Las Vegas, and watching deer mate in Dublin Ireland (for her Ph.D.) She currently lives in New York City with her Irish husband, fabulous 4 year old son (Destructo), silly dog, and is expecting her second baby (already nicknamed Dancing Baby).

Isabo has two upcoming releases in October. The first is a spin-off short story from The Secret of Narava, called INTERFACE (Tirgearr Publishing) which was originally published in the anthology Dream Quest. Her second is a re-release of her Christmas novella, CHRISTMAS PRESENT (Tirgearr Publishing).

You can find out about the many many worlds of her fiction at, follow her on Twitter @IsaboKelly (where she spends most of her social media time), or friend her at Facebook She very occasionally blogs at

Buy Links for most recent books (or related stories):

The Secret of Narava (Book 2, The Naravan Chronicles)

The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan (Book 1, The Naravan Chronicles)

Brightarrow Burning

-- Lynda Again,
    Thanks, Isabo, for the great post! I hope our readers give you a warm welcome!

    Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Guest - Liese Sherwood-Fabre

Good morning all! Today's guest is Liese Sherwood-Fabre. Liese has two giveaways for us so make sure you read all the way down to find out how to enter her drawing.


Connecting with Characters

In her keynote address at the national RWA conference this year, New York Times Bestseller Stephanie Laurens described the relationship between an author and her reader. At its most basic level, the author is a storyteller whose goal is to create an emotional connection with the reader. Books that sell are those where the story makes the reader laugh, cry, get angry, etc.—to somehow touch and involve the reader with the characters and their lives.

Readers choose books based on their own interests and preferences, but regardless of genre, they are drawn into a story because they care about the characters.

While working on my debut novel Saving Hope, I came across a discussion about making this connection in Sol Sten’s book Stein on Writing. He describes how one writer used as an opening scene for her novel in which the main character observes her nightly ritual of patting her sleeping son’s head before leaving to work as a police decoy. Throughout the rest of the book, Stein points out, readers remember this woman as a loving mother with a small child waiting for her at home, and any danger she faces is heightened because of this emotional attachment.

In Saving Hope, I also had a small child who was the motivation for my main character’s struggle in post-Soviet Russia. The unemployed scientist struggles to get her daughter the medical care she needs and will do anything—include working for a foreign government—to get it. But I needed to heighten the emotional stakes for the reader even more, according to one of my creative writing professor.

He noted in one lecture that if a story contains a child, she should be put in peril at some point. In one of those “light-bulb” moments, I put these two bits of advice together and the whole basic structure of my story unfolded. I rewrote the opening scene with a child’s parents rushing her to the hospital after she contracts pneumonia. This child’s critically needed medical care propels the mother into Russia’s underworld. Her fight for her daughter’s life culminates in the story’s climax where the girl’s life literally hangs in the balance.

Now, whenever I begin a new story, I seek to form a bond between the reader and the main character by putting the protagonist into a relate-able situation—such as a parent fighting for her child’s life or being at the receiving end of other students’ teasing. Such a bond ensures readers will continue to read and root for her throughout the rest of the book to a satisfying end.

What books have you found that truly draw you in and get you to root for the main character? What stories have you found disappointing?

I'd be glad to do two giveaways--one copy of Saving Hope to one commenter and one of Corazones to another commenter for anyone leaving a remark from Septemeber 3-10 . The winner just needs to say what format (Kindle, Nook, or pdf) and make sure she/he leaves their email addy in the comment.

A collection of three award-winning literary short stories exploring the impact of love. “A Stranger in the Village,” nominated for the 2007 Pushcart Prize, describes how the arrival of a young woman into a Mexican mountain village changed sixteen-year-old Hector forever. “Sacrifice” offers an Aztec tale of political intrigue and love. Doña Rosa, a market-place curandera, assists the lovelorn through the heartache of infidelity.

Deep in Siberia in one of the Soviet Union’s former closed cities, Alexandra Pavlova, a talented and unemployed microbiologist, struggles to save her daughter’s life. She turns to her oldest friend for help and is drawn into Russia’s underworld. His business dealings with the Iranians come to the attention of Sergei Borisov, an FSB (formerly the KGB) agent, and Alexandra finds herself joining forces with Sergei to stop the export of a deadly virus in a race to save both her daughter and the world.

Liese Sherwood-Fabre grew up in Dallas, Texas and knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ in the second grade for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD from Indiana University, she joined the federal government and had the opportunity to work and live internationally for more than fifteen years—in Africa, Latin America, and Russia. Returning to the states, she seriously pursued her writing career and has published several pieces. Her debut novel Saving Hope, a thriller set in Russia, is now available from Musa Publishing. Corazones, collection of literary short stories, is also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Contact info and links for Liese:

You can follow her upcoming releases and other events by joining her newsletter, or visiting her Facebook, Twitter, or Bebo accounts. You can also contact her at
Website--can join my newsletter and get a copy of another short story.
My email:
Buy Links:
For Saving Hope:
For Corazones:
Barne and Noble:


-- Lynda Again,

    That's a great post, isn't it? Please leave a comment and let Liese know which book/format you'd like. Make sure you follow the directions so you can be included in her drawing ;-)

    Happy Labor Day to all our USA readers! Stay safe and enjoy your holiday!

    Have a Blessed Day!