Friday, April 29, 2011

Winners of Turned...

Turned (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals)

Jennifer, Awilda & Katie!

Bookmarks being mailed to Teresa & Laura for commenting!

Congratulations to everyone!

Behind the Book

Guest post written by Adrianne Hunter
for A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews.
An Easy Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food
When my son was at the age to start solid food, I started doing a lot of research on homemade baby food vs store bought food. I am, by no means, an “organic” person! I was really looking into it in hopes of saving our family some money. At that time, things were tight – real tight – with our finances. I just thought there had to be some way to provide my son good, nutritious food without breaking the bank.

I spent countless hours researching the ins and outs of making his baby food. Mind you, I was also working full time, so many of these hours either pulled me away from my family time or kept me awake far too late. I went into several bookstores looking for books – only to walk away empty handed, frustrated and overwhelmed by the 200 – 300+ page books on the topic. No way did I have enough time to read those books. I didn’t need to read 100 pages on how nutritious fresh vegetables are, nor did I need to read another 100 pages on how to get my kid to eat vegetables by making them into a smiley-face.

Wasn’t there just a short, simple book where I could find easy recipes and directions on how to do it? Because for some reason, I couldn’t even figure out how to cook carrots I was so overwhelmed by everything.

Writing a book was not on my “bucket list”. But I had so many of my friends and family ask me about it, literally one day I thought, “I should write a book to help other mothers out there like me – stressed and frazzled yet totally concerned for my son’s health and well-being.” My husband agreed, and off I went.

Writing the book came really easy – I knew what I wanted to say and felt passionate about sharing my ideas and tips with others. The hard part was finding a way to publish it. Since I was completely ignorant of the publishing world, I literally stumbled my way through the process: tons of internet research and reading books in order to find ways to write a proper book proposal, where to find possible publishers, etc. But I truly believed in my book, and I was thrilled when Diversion Press made the offer to publish it! I tell people my book was published with a lot of God’s help, a little bit of luck, and an editor who was also a mother!
My Review--

For anyone who has children, the idea of homemade baby food is probably one that has passed through your mind at one point or another.  The process and implementation is entirely different!  Like Adrianne, I did not find books that were helpful for this topic.  It was much simpler to buy baby food out of a jar rather than make it and store it and worry about expiration dates, etc.  Adrianne's book,  An Easy Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food is a wonderful remedy to the problem areas of this mom debate.  What used to be the question "To make or not to make" is now a simple answer, "Make."

An Easy Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food is 48 pages full of simple recipes, helpful hints, guides and practical foods for your baby.  There is a convenient chart located at the back of the food that lays out the appropriate foods for your child's age group.  Best of all, many of these recipes could be used for the entire family if desired.  Baby's portion could easily be chopped smaller for appropriate swallowing capabilities. This wonderful book touches on all the need to know topics and leaves everything else behind.  It is simple, easy to understand and fun to read.  Best of all, the book is written by a mom who understands, was frustrated and wanted to help other moms!  It truly is a straight to the point and easy guide on preparing baby food without relying on a jar!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Choosing Your Setting Is Important

Guest post by Kaira Rouda, Author of HERE, HOME, HOPE
Book Trailer:
Author website:
FB Fanpage:

Why choosing your setting is important by Kaira Rouda

I love the setting of HERE, HOME, HOPE. You know why? It’s cozy. It’s what I know. I’m a product of the suburbs. Heck, the majority of us are and that shared experience, that common culture, fascinates me. The unspoken rules, the pecking order and what it means to be a member of the community all provide great fodder and a meaningful context for what I write about.

But that is hopefully, where it stays. In the background

The ForeWord Review summed it up: “Though Rouda’s novel is compared to Desperate Housewives and The Middle Place, its focus does not remain on the superficial contrivances of marriage and living in suburbia. . . .Inspirational and engaging, Rouda will touch readers who can relate to the frustration of being sidelined on the field of life, never allowed to play and always needed behind the bleachers, until finally experiencing the joy of participation.”

I hope the rather common setting of an upper-middle class suburb is but a back drop to the action and insight. If you’re like me, you can tell when an author is stretching far beyond their setting comfort zone. Unless they author is exceptionally adept, he or she has spent time in the setting of choice. Perhaps an evening, perhaps 20 years. My setting, Grandville, is part of me, part of my experience, part of my life. It isn’t a real place, but it is foundational to my view of life. It could be in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois or California. Grandville could be anywhere. I hope when you read my novel, if you choose to, that it feels real and alive. Perhaps similar to where you live; and if not, provides some insight.

I don’t write fantasy, or science fiction. I write what I know – and I hope, no I’d be honored, if you find yourself joining me and my characters in Grandville, too!

Thanks Kiara!!  Here, Home, Hope is a wonderful book!  Read my review on May 1st!!

Why Book Covers are So Important

Today's guest post discusses a topic I cannot stress enough... The Book Cover!  Please welcome Gregory Turner-Rahman, author of Ellabug, as he discusses why the book cover is SO important!

Why Book Covers are SO Important
Guest Post for A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews by Gregory Turner -Rahman

So, you've written your masterpiece, edited it so many times you no longer love it, and, after endless rejections, finally found a publisher. Now you can rest, right? You're thinking, "That front cover is not my problem." Why worry about it, you're not a designer. Why should it matter?

Fact is, it does matter. In our attention-deficit, hyper-glossy, consumerist society, we form judgements within fractions of a second. The cover of your book could say more about you than you think and, worse, it could put off potential buyers. Poorly designed covers read as amateurish thus can present your hard work in a less than stellar light.

We all know it is the story that matters. You'd never consider the opening titles of movie as significant as the movie itself. More recently, however, there have been great title sequences that extend, give clues to, or even begin to interpret the plot that will unfold. In the same way, designers often explore ways of using covers to give potential readers an idea of the story, a feeling for the characters, or even try to give a conceptual interpretation of a key idea.

Trade paperbacks and hardcovers are usually given more design consideration than smaller paperbacks. This is due to the fact that paperbacks are published after the initial release and are more often than not bought on an already established reputation. The other formats have to make a splash as they present the book to world the first time. It can be fun and enlightening to really study book covers. Start by comparing paperback and hardback covers. Study the differences and, when looking at the hardcover, ask yourself why the designer chose this image, that typeface. If you've read the book this can be an easier task. If you haven't, read the synopsis after you've studied the cover. How did the designer tell the story or evoke a mood?

For your book, don't assume that the most obvious solution - an image representing the most significant part of the story - is the best solution. Think of your cover as another character perhaps. You've got the vivid back story now flesh it out in the details. Give it life by giving it a complex or even enigmatic image. Make it as compelling and nuanced as your protagonist. Before you exchange emails with an art director or designer do some research and some thinking. Ask yourself what is a visually interesting, unique way of encapsulating what you hope to impart.

Finally, explore The Book Cover Archive online. Look at the work of great designers like Chip Kidd and Rodrigo Corral. Start a conversation with your designer. Do whatever it takes to best present your work. Most importantly, don't make the cover an afterthought.

Learn more about author Gregory Turner-Rahman through our interview!

Please tell me 5 things about you.

My name is Gregory Turner-Rahman. I took my wife's name (Rahman) as a gesture to my father-in-law - he had four girls and I wanted that name to live on - but, ironically, two of my sister's-in-law married guys with the last name Rahman (in certain parts of the world it is a very common name). I teach in an Art and Design department at the University of Idaho. I worked for many years as a graphic and web designer but am trained as an industrial designer and architect. If I could start school over again I'd study quantum physics - I find it mind-blowing. Finally (this is a bit non-sequitur but I must share) last Friday I was driving down a hill, on my way to work, when I discovered I had no brakes. It was a nightmare come true but I surprised myself by how calmly I handled it.

What are 3 unique aspects about Ellabug?

1.) Ellabug was a story that I made up for my daughter over a number of nights. The metered rhyme helped me remember it. I was about six years before finally wrote it down. The rhyme worked. I remembered it after all those years.

2.) I thought of the ants in the story as little German performance artists and Ellabug’s family members as loved but worn plush stuffed animals.

3.) At the last minute, I shifted the pages - destroying the original spreads - because, in a moment of creative impulse, I decided that the story worked better the way it is now presented. I second guess this decision all the time.

Have you considered writing an adult novel?

I have many ideas that would work well as novels, perhaps. I am, however, more apt to create a protracted web comic or graphic novel because I love visual storytelling.

Do you have another title in the works?

I am finishing a book chapter (geared towards an academic audience) and am starting the drawings of my second children's book. I am also beginning a graphic novel.

Name 3 things that help you gain inspiration for writing.

1.) I am a cinephile but have trouble finding time to watch movies. So, I watch movie trailers incessantly and make up my own plots for those movies. (I am surprised by how often I am pretty close to the actual plot. Perhaps I've seen too many films).

2.) I love to people watch. I can sit in a cafe and watch people all day. I try to figure out their stories from the glimpses of their personal dramas in various, fleeting moments.

3.) My family often say or do things that I find funny or really compelling. I have two daughters whom have provided much material for stories and drawings. They are complex creatures who, because they're still young, are constantly changing in new and exciting ways.

What are your top 5 favorite books?

1.) Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri - The stories could have come from my life. The theme of being between cultures (my wife is Bengali) resonates.

2.) Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson - Fascinating cyberpunk story set in a hyper-corporatized future mixed with Sumerian lore and vivid virtual worlds.

3.) Matilda by Roald Dahl - Dahl is such a masterful storyteller. Matilda reminds me of my girls who are both bibliophiles. I try to be the anti-Mr. Wormwood in my parenting.

4.) Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware - Ware creates a sad, lonely world that is kept tight and controlled by the almost-sterile line work and coloring. It is an incredibly complex graphic novel.

5.) Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino - This book sets my mind churning. Calvino describes many fantastic cities (through the eyes of Marco Polo, if I remember correctly). I love to go INTO this book and explore.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?

I once did a school visit to work with three classes. I was to talk with and teach them about visual storytelling. During the last class a young girl decided she'd had enough of me and she wanted to teach the class. I’ve had a lot of experience working with university students but younger children are different matter. This girl was far more fastidious than any college student I've met. I didn't know what to do and let her take over for a while and she had me in stitches.

About Ellabug
Ellabug is a simple story about non-traditional families that follows Ella, a small but strongly willed young ladybug, as she begins to question her identity. Raised in a family made up of different animals, Ellabug desires 'normality' and uniformity which she finds in a family of ants whom she meets in the garden. Ella decides to escape the craziness in her own home by joining the ants. They, however, have a very different life and Ella is surprised when they work endlessly. Ella fears she has lost her parents forever and she quickly grows to appreciate her quirky family. Just when all seems lost, Ella's parents call to her and they are reunited. All ends happily. Ella has learned that each family is unique in their own way.  

I found Ellabug to be a cute story!  At some point in all of our lives we question who we are, where we came from and why we are related to the people in our families!  Don't you remember thinking "Am I really related to these people?" as a child, teenager or maybe even an adult!  This book reminds children that while its normal to question or wonder, we are each part of a unique and wonderful family.  As the saying goes, "The grass is not greener on the other side"  each family has their own issues and quirks that make them unique.  I enjoyed this title!  It's definitely worth taking a look at!  I'm sure one of the special children in your life would enjoy this book!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview with Erica Nelson

Erica Nelson is the author of
Happiness Quotations: Gentle Reminders of Your Preciousness

Please tell me 5 things about you.

1. I’m a native Californian, born across the bay in Sausalito. I still get mesmerized by the
view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco from my birthplace.

2. I’ve written since I could walk, and I write like it is breathing. I believe I will be writing
until I can’t walk anymore.

3. I can talk to animals. I can telepathically hear what they say. I don’t tell most people this.

4. I wrote for newspapers, my parents published newspapers, my grandfather owned a
printing press, and ink runs through my veins (just kidding).

5. I would secretly like to write a hit country song,

What are 3 unique aspects about Happiness Quotations?

1. Every quotation is inspired differently. People ask “what inspires you” and every day,
inspiration strikes me from a surprise angle. I’m just never sure where they will come
from. I might look at a stunning photograph, or see the laughter in my daughter’s eye, or
see murder in my son’s face when he loses a hockey game.

2. I genuinely learn from each quotation, each one teaches me something I need to know.

3. The cover of a “gift” concept showed up in my mind when I was riding my horse on a
cold winter morning. I just saw it “GIFT” and with my first book “Prospect When You
Are Happy,” my publisher came up with the cover concept but this time, it showed up for
me on a ride.

Name 5 things you wished you knew about publishing?

1. I wish I knew that marketing your book was so intensive, of course, then I might never
have written either of my books because I write better than I market.

2. I wish I knew how to get my book into everyone’s hands who could love my book.

3. I wish I knew how I could magically appear in bookstore signings all over the country
without leaving my children for even one night at home without me.

4. I wish I would be discovered by a publishing house that does all the marketing and lets
me go be in a cave to write and write and write.

5. How a bestseller is born.

Name 3 things on your bucket list.

1. Spend a week at an all inclusive resort where the kids are playing with a nice babysitter while I have no responsibilities at all for at least a week. Ten days would be better.

2. Oprah loves my book and tells the world how beautiful and inspiring it is.

3. We own 40 acres (or more) where we can getaway and play.

Name 3 things that help you gain inspiration for writing.

1. In the very quiet of the morning, before anyone is awake, I can listen to the universe and words flow.

2. I am inspired everywhere I go. I am inspired when I am riding my horse miles above the city where I live, looking out on the entire San Francisco Bay Area. I get quotations in
my head all the time when I ride then I just have to remember them when I climb down
from my horse.

3. I can also be inspired stuck in traffic or when I’m coaching a particularly challenging
client on getting into her happiness.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?

I remember walking into a court house in a tiny town in Northern California when I was writing for the Sacramento Bee. I walked in and these two old men were sitting on a bench. They said to each other “Did you hear the Bee was coming today?” I looked over and I said “Really? The Bee?” and they had no idea The Bee reporter was a 20-something woman, me.

If you were stranded on an island and could magically name 2 people, 3 things and 1 book you could have to have with you who/what would they be?

Marci Shimoff (author of Love for No Reason), author Mark Victor Hansen, a lot of watermelons, a player so I could be listening to music, a basketball hoop setup (sorry if that makes it 4) and a journal. I could talk with cool people, play basketball, listen to music and eat watermelon. I’d catch up with my husband later.

Do you have another title in the works?

The second Happiness Quotations is mostly still in my brain and not on paper yet. It wants to be born and when I breathe from the book launch of the first Happiness Quotations, the second will be born.

I am in creation on a 70 days to happiness course that started as 21 days, jumped to 60 days, and now it’s 70 days -- 10 weeks of daily practices to change to experiencing a glass half full (not empty) and optimism about your life.

What is your favorite season?

September, because I live in California and the seasons are all kind of similar. We can have cool summers at 75 and warm winters at 75. When I lived in Santa Barbara CA it was 72 every day mostly! So, I love September. It’s my birthday, the kids go back to school, it’s just a perfect month.

Your dream vacation would be?

I’m vacation deprived. I have four dream vacations. A few weeks at Whistler snow skiing; a week at an all inclusive resort that provides babysitting (I’ve found one in Florida where there is ocean, sun, waves, sand, and babysitting. Did I say babysitting?). Camping in no where land completely unplugged for four days. And taking the kids to discover Kauai, we went when they were tiny and I would love to take them back.

Best childhood memory?

Summer in Mendocino with art classes on the beach. We spent every summer in Mendocino California, walking in this quaint town, drawing, building sand castles, and I got to bring my cat with us.

If you were given the chance to re-live any one moment, what would it be?

When Jack Canfield endorsed Happiness Quotations. That was a moment, indeed, when I
understood why writing from my heart was better than selling real estate well or doing anything else well. Since I can’t seem to answer one with one, I will also re-live the moment my adopted daughter Isabel was placed in my arms, weighing in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and started to nurse.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

I need to work on that. Summer is 10 weeks with three kids home from school with plans and things for them to do and we are short on plans and things for them to do. If I say August 20 ish when they go back to school does that make me rotten as a Happiness coach?

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep getting inspired. Draw inspiration, and get into the highest possible state of inspiration and connection to source energy before you write. Write every day at the same time. I write between 5 and 7 a.m. every single day except Sundays. And, keep figuring “who would love my writing” and find those that love my writing. Allow them to find you, don’t be afraid to google keywords that your readers will google. So, be inspired (centuries old) and use google (centuries new) and of course, stay with it. Your success may show up sneakily years after you start, or minutes. You won’t know if you don’t start.
To purchase Happiness Quotations: Gentle Reminders of Your Preciousness on Amazon:

To connect with Erica Nelson click the following: or

About the Book

Each of more than 125 passages delves deeper into one happiness quotation, each originally created so you can make leaps into your brightest and most amazing future. Learn how to deal with unhappy people, learn why you were born and get in touch with your purpose, let go of pain you may have been carrying around. It is time for you to step into your own happiness, right from where you are today. Step into your most bright and beautiful beingness! Most people don’t own their Happiness Quotations copy very long. As soon as someone comes over who needs a helping hand, they give it away and have to order a new copy. It was meant for that.

Here is a passage just for you:

Happiness Quotations # 24

Transformation Beckons

Transformation beckons on sweet wings. Allow it in and go for a ride. Allow yourself into happiness, into safety. Smile into a stranger’s eyes. Allow transformation, one person at a time.

You are drawn to the light. You are drawn to becoming your most precious self. Allow this.

As you consider choices, as each day brings choices and opportunities to you, choose the opportunities that bring joy. Choose this with complete certainty. As you allow life force to fill you with power, you will fly high on wings of love. This is why you were born – to transform.

Thank you Erica!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Interview with Sarah Jio

The Violets of March: A Novel

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

I think I may have been born with a pen in my hand! I was writing stories as early as the first grade, when I won a “Young Author” competition. My first “book” (don’t laugh) was titled “A Tug Boat’s Dream.”

Please tell us a little about “The Violets of March”.

The Violets of March follows a heartbroken woman on her journey from New York City to a small island near Seattle, Bainbridge Island, where she spends the month of March as a guest of her great aunt Bee. It is here where she finds an old diary, dated 1942, written by an anonymous woman. It is only when she’s able to solve the mystery of the diary that she’s able to put her own life back together.

How did you become published?

I worked for many years in magazines before I found the right idea for a novel. I wrote The Violets of March and signed with an agent, who sold it to Penguin (Plume) in February of 2010.

What was the publishing process like?

Very exciting. There’s so much about selling a book that I did not know about. For instance, there’s a lot that happens in the year before a book is published that I didn’t know about until I experienced it—the editing, revising, copy-editing, cover copy, title discussions, book cover selections, marketing, publicity, etc. It’s a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I’ve found the experience very exciting.

What is something you wish you would have known about the publishing business?

I can’t think of anything specific, though it would have been nice to have a crystal ball and know that I’d be having a book debut right around the time my third child would be born. Then again, if I knew that, I may have been too afraid—so, ignorance is bliss on that one, I guess.

What has been your best author experience so far?

Hearing from early readers! I have gotten the most amazing, heartfelt emails from readers. It’s flattering of course to hear that someone loved something I wrote, but what’s more amazing is knowing that this little story of mine touched people—made them smile, laugh, cry, etc. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that. So fun!

What is the least thrilling/attractive part of being an author for you?

I’m not sure just yet, so far I’m really loving all of it. I sold my second novel, The Bungalow (out in April 2012) again to Penguin, and the editing process (which we’re going through now) has been terrific. I was fortunate to turn in a pretty clean draft, and my editor was really pleased with it, so I didn’t have to tear the manuscript apart. I suspect if it were different, I would say that the revision process is the least thrilling, because it can be very tedious and difficult to go through a novel and make changes—it can sort of feel like finding a needle in a haystack when solving plot problems.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing, of course. But specifically, only start writing a story that absolutely thrills you. For a novel to be good, and sale-worthy, and reader-worthy, it has to grab you, grip you, and keep you up at night. If the story and its characters don’t get you excited, it’s probably not the one. And why would you want to spend a year of your life working on a story you don’t really love?

Congratulations! What was it like to see your debut novel in print?

Thrilling. I’m still in disbelief actually. It feels like a dream.

How did you decide to write novel in this genre? Do you plan to write in any other genres?

This story just hit me, and I had to write it. I don’t know if my book really fits in any category, per se. But, since I’ve already sold my second novel and am hard at work on a third, I can say that all fit into the same sort of genre, where past and present are weaved together, where mystery is present, and there’s always a sprinkling of romance mixed in, too.

Do you have a novel in the works?

Yep, as mentioned earlier, my second novel, The Bungalow, will be out in April 2012. I’m currently writing my third, and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

What is your favorite book?

I don’t have one favorite book. But I do have a long list of favorites. A few random mentions: I adored Sarah’s Key (as hard as it was to read due to the emotional subject matter); L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables will always have a special place in my heart, and I read The Thornbirds on my honeymoon in a beach bungalow in Tahiti, and I adored it.

What is the last book you read?

I just read Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong. I’m a runner, and I loved her musings about running and life.

What are you currently reading?

It’s hard to believe, but I think I’m the very last person on the face of the Earth who has read The Help. I finally picked up a copy and am cracking the spine this evening, in fact!

Do you have a pet?

Yes, a rascally golden retriever by the name of Paisley. She steals socks, diapers, shreds napkins, and is generally loveable.

You recently had another baby, how do you balance writing and parenting?

I work at night a lot, which means very little TV time. It helps that I’m very goal-oriented, too, and happen to love what I do—so writing feels like playtime for me. I also have a fab husband who is so incredibly supportive. He took our two little boys out for daddy adventures on Saturday mornings for two months while I finished my second novel last fall.

Name three things you couldn’t live without.

My family. My Blackberry. My Nespresso coffee machine.

If you were given the opportunity to invite any 5 people to dinner who would you invite?

Oh my goodness, so hard! OK, I’d pick: Gwyneth Paltrow (I interviewed her last week for Glamour and she was so lovely!), Nora Jones (so she could sing for me!), George Clooney (eye candy), Maya Angelou (adore her), and my husband, Jason, who is always my favorite person to have dinner with.

Name three things on your bucket list.

Not sure exactly sure what a “bucket list” is! :) sorry, can’t answer this one!

Are you a night owl or early bird?

I’m more of a night owl, but I have to get up early each day because I have small children who wake up at the crack of dawn. Yawn.

Who is your favorite author?

I can’t commit to one, but I think Maeve Binchy is pretty much all-around amazing. I’d like to live in one of her stories. She is the reason why I want to visit Ireland just as soon as my kids can handle the long flight.

What is your preferred writing atmosphere?

At night. With the window cracked a tiny bit, and a rainstorm outside (I live in Seattle where this happens quite a bit). Kids in bed. Mug of hot tea on my desk. Peace.

What do you do with your time when you’re not writing?

I love to cook and bake. I also am a runner, so I try to squeeze in a jog daily (which is tough sometimes). And, I think gardening is the most energizing and calming activity ever.

Do you have a favorite reading/writing snack?

Almonds! They are so healthy and satisfying.

Which question in this interview was your favorite?

“What has been your best author experience so far”--because this is a new journey for me and it’s absolutely thrilling. Thank you so much for having me on your beautiful blog, Tiffany!
Sarah xo

Thank You Sarah!! I have one copy of "The Violets of March" for giveaway thanks to Sarah!  If your interested please fill out the form below and leave a comment on this interview!  Must be a follower or subscriber of this blog to enter.  US/CAN only.  Thank you!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bound to Love

Bound to Love (Red Velvet)Author: Sally Clements
ISBN: 978-1844718474
Publisher: Embrace Books
Source: Author for review on A Cozy Reader's Corner
Purchase Link: Bound to Love (Red Velvet)
Reviewed by Megan Bennett for A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews

Synopsis from Book:
Jake Forrester, a controlled, self-reliant security expert scarred by his father’s murder is pursuing his goal of an independent life, relying on himself and logic, until he’s forced to accept the help of an impulsive, spirited goldsmith who follows her instincts, wherever they may lead.

When Tempest MacKenzie witnesses a gorgeous stranger being bundled into a van, she tries to help him, but becomes tangled in a complex web of intrigue. Tempest finds stubborn Jake attractive, compelling and infuriating, his logic the complete antithesis of her reliance on her instincts. And Jake is fascinated and attracted to the feisty redhead.

As they spend time together trying to thwart a heist at the British Museum, the attraction between them flares out of control. The thief has a grudge against Jake, and danger stalks their every move. Will Jake learn to trust Tempest’s intuition, before it’s too late?

Characters: The personality traits of the two main characters in this novel were pretty important for the story and I feel the traits were well developed. Tempest always follows her instincts and Jake is all about being logical. The characters are typically not attracted to the other's personality type so that is part of the struggle in the development of their relationship. Also, both main characters are influenced greatly by deaths in their past which enhances their understanding of one another throughout the story. Also, I feel like the author did a great job voicing the characters' honest thoughts about the situation throughout the story by including commentary from their inside thoughts.

Storyline: The storyline was creative, yet somewhat predictable. I kept waiting for an unexpected event to occur, something to put a spin on the story, but never encountered quite what I was hoping for. Nevertheless the story kept my attention and it didn't take me long to read the book. Also, while the two main characters get together quite frequently, it is left mostly up to the reader's imagination. So if you are in the mood for steamy sex scenes this may not be the book for you.

Style of writing: I enjoyed this author's style of writing. You are able to read from more than one point of view which really allows for a sense of what the two main characters are thinking. The author seemed very experienced and was able to add good detail to help create images of the setting and characters.

Pace: Overall the pace was good. There was never a dull moment in the story, but it never felt rushed.

Setting: The story took place in multiple parts of the country, however, mainly in the UK. The author took advantage of different locations to move the story along and used France as a place where Jake and Tempest really started to fall for one another - very romantic. I always enjoy reading stories set outside of the United States and this author provided great detail in describing cities that I really have no knowledge of.

Overall opinion: I found the characters to be unique and the plot interesting, but it felt anticlimactic at times. I would recommend this to someone else to read if they enjoy a tame romance with a little bit of suspense.

3.5 out of 5 Photobucket

Friday, April 22, 2011

Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?

Guest Post by Author Alain Gomez

Payroll (Jimmy Cochran Series)

Outlining is actually a newly acquired skill for me. Although I was taught the art in school by my excellent teachers, I never really had a need for it. I’ve always been comfortable writing school-related topics and my brain tends to be of a logical bent. So the five paragraph essay and I understood each other quite well.

But things have changed now I am an electronically published author with barely a copy a day flying off the digital shelves. I’ve still stuck to my policy of “just write anything that comes to mind and go back to correct later.” However, I find that I more and more need to go back and jot down a short outline just to help keep the flow of the story on track; especially now that I have been trying to make series.

While the short outlines help me to stay on track, I still don’t like to get too bogged down with them. My personal feeling is that the author should really just let the story take its natural course. I don’t think I’ve ever ended a story the way I originally “planned” it. I’ll be in the middle and suddenly realize that the characters are taking it in a different direction. Which is really the best part about writing!

Thank you Alain!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Interview

I was contacted by the editor in chief of Gate Keepers for an interview.  Here is the link!  I hope you enjoy it!

Dont' forget to rate it when you're done!  I'd love to see a bunch of wonderful ratings!

Yesterday's Tomorrow

Yesterday's Tomorrow
Author: Catherine West
ISBN 9781602902787
Publisher: Oak Tara
Source: Author for review on A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews
Purchase Link: Yesterday's Tomorrow
Reviewed by Malissa Weimer for A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews

About the Book:
She's after the story that might get her the Pulitzer. He's determined to keep his secrets to himself. Vietnam, 1967. Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something. Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they're forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts. 

I enjoyed reading Catherine West's story of Kristin Taylor, a young journalist trying to make her mark covering the Vietnam War in the book entitled Yesterday's Tomorrow. Determined to honor her father's legacy, after he was killed covering the same war years earlier, as well as keep an eye on her brother who’s is stationed in Vietnam, she heads into the country alone.

Once she arrives in Vietnam, she meets Luke Maddox. He is a photographer also covering the war. Luke is struggling with his past and Kristin is convinced he has a secret. The relationship between the two of them is very complex, yet it's easy to sympathize with both of them.

The author's Christian views are present in the story but don't overwhelm it. Kristin's struggle with her faith is very relatable after the death of her father and the surroundings in Vietnam. Luke's strong beliefs are somewhat enviable after all that he has been through.

I found the portrayal of Vietnam War pretty accurate based on what I've read and seen in movies. My stepfather is a Vietnam vet, so I was exposed to quite a bit of material growing up. I like that she touched on the homecoming the soldiers received when they returned from the war. She also covers the emotional toll it took on those who fought the war as well as witnessed the war first hand.

Overall, I found Yesterday's Tomorrow to be a very enjoyable book. I give it four stars. It moved smoothly from start to finish. I never got lost or had to go back to re-read a section. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a love story without the sexual content in most romantic novels.
Malissa is a contributing reviewer for A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Interview with Alain Gomez

Alain Gomez is the author of Payroll, a western romance.
Payroll (Jimmy Cochran Series)

About the Book:
Jimmy Cochran thought that he had left his rough past behind him. But Ralph McCormick, the brother of the man he killed, didn't forget... or forgive... so easily. Jimmy knows he should just hightail it out of town to avoid getting into trouble. That is until Ralph puts the woman he loves into danger...

The Interview

Please tell me 5 things about you.

I live in San Diego. I am a private violin/viola instructor. I hate deadlines which is why I stick to self-publishing e-books. I especially enjoy writing short stories. I like experimenting with a variety of genres including sci-fi, fantasy and western.

What are 3 unique aspects about Payroll?

“Payroll” is a clean western romance. So, for better or for worse, there is no adult content in the book. It’s a novella, so it’s a fast (but fun) read. I originally started writing “Payroll” when I was sixteen. Personally, I think one of the more enjoyable aspects of this story is that it sticks to a basic plotline. I really don’t like needless drama and questionable loopholes in movies and books. “Payroll” is just a boy-meets-girl and then a showdown with the bad guy type book.

Name 5 things you wished you knew about publishing?

Hmm… that’s a tough one. Many of my questions about publishing are things every author wishes they could answer. How do I find my niche audience? What’s the most effective means of marketing to a niche? Is it worth spending the money doing long term advertising? I only publish e-books, but would it be worth it to sell hard copies at some point? Are agents really worth it?

Name 3 things on your bucket list.

I want to visit Australia and at least one Eastern country. I’ve been to Europe several times already so those two places are next. At some point in my life I would like to go canopy surfing. I am also slowly working my way through the piece “Cliffs of Dover” on the guitar. I figure even if it takes me 30 years to learn it, no one could ever question my mad guitar skills.

What are your top 5 favorite books?

I’ve read thousands of books. Many are favorites. But books/stories that have had the most impact on me I would say are: “The Nonesuch” by Georgette Heyer, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, “Young Jedi Knight Series” by Kevin J. Anderson, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde.

If you could invite and 5 authors on a cruise who would you invite?

Probably the authors of my five favorite stories =D It would also be fun, I think, to talk to the “authors” of classic Greek Myths.

Name 3 things that help you gain inspiration for writing.

The shower is number one. Most of my hard core thinking is done there. Other than that, I get most of my inspiration from just daily life. I’ll see something or witness a scenario that will cause ye olde creative juices to flow.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?

Since I write short stories for the most part, I’ve had some pretty entertaining feedback from various readers/reviewers. Something about the genre (or the length?) can invoke violent reactions in people.

What's the most embarrassing author moment you've had?

None so far. But my work has not been for sale for very long so I’m sure this will be remedied eventually.

Do you have another title in the works?

I have several. One nice thing about being a short story author is that you can crack out new ones every month; gives me a chance to explore all sorts of ideas. Currently I’m working on finishing up part three of the Space Hotel Series, “Hotel Moonwalk.” I’ve also been outlining how I’m going to do a new fantasy series. Part three of the Jimmy Cochran series is on the drawing board.

Driftwood Cottage

Driftwood Cottage (Chesapeake Shores)Author: Sherryl Woods
ISBN: 978-0-7783-29447-3
Publisher: Mira Books
Source: BookPleasures
Purchase Link: Driftwood Cottage (Chesapeake Shores)

Connor O’Brien is the next project for the O’Brien clan of Chesapeake Shores. When Heather Donavan, Connor’s live in girlfriend, leaves Connor and moves to Chesapeake Shores with their son, Connor is upset. Heather knows Connor doesn’t believe in marriage but since the birth of her son, a life without marriage and family is not something she wants. When she settles in Chesapeake Shores, the meddling O’Brien clan happily embraces her and Mick which seems to make matters worse for her and Connor. The O’Brien’s are unlikely to give up and are focused on getting these two love birds back together, no matter what.

Connors jaded views about marriage quickly start to change when he realizes he has a real possibility of life without Heather. In the midst of this realization, the tables turn and the stakes are high. Will Connor and Heather reunite in love or will their stubborn natures keep them apart? Are dreams really worth fighting for? Can a person change?

Driftwood Cottage is the newest installment in the Chesapeake Shores series. In this novel, Connor and Heathers story is finalized, though not without it’s quirks. My biggest issue with this novel was its repetitive nature. I quickly tired of reading how against marriage Connor is. It is clear how he feels and it is clear how Heather feels. The repetitive nature of these feelings in this story seemed to delay the real story rather than add to it. Other than this, the story was an enjoyable and easy read. The meddlesome O’Brien family is as loveable and annoying as always. The characters will keep you on your toes as you root for Connor and Heather to settle their differences and re-unite.

The book mostly stands on its own, though I think this one would be best read within its series. Reading this series gives the reader a deep connection to all of the O’Brien’s which adds to the story. Those who follow Sherryl’s Chesapeake Shores series will enjoy this novel. If you haven’t read the series its worth the read. The novel, much like Sherryl’s other novels, is a clean and basic contemporary romance. The heat level is barely a one. Overall, it is an enjoyable, light weight read that will put a smile on your face when all is said and done.