Win a Kindle! (And get some great books while you’re at it!)

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Check out the April Showers LKS Super Sale & Giveaway!

Your favourite Romance Authors are offering their suspenseful romances… Most of them are on sale for a limited time. It’s just our way of thanking our loyal readers. Even better, we’re giving away an Amazon Kindle!

Enter to win a FREE Amazon Kindle just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media. Here’s the link to the April Showers LKS Super Sale & Giveaway:

CLICK HERE FOR BARGAINS AND YOUR CHANCE TO WIN

Author Interview: Carole P. Roman

Here is the second in my series of Author Interviews. You can check out the one I did with R.L Jackson here!

And, now for my interview with Carole P. Roman

1. Tell us about yourself and what you write:

I write children’s books all ages. I have five different series. My first series was Captain No Beard which is an adventure series for both boys and girls. In the ten books, young pirates battle imaginary foes and learn to work as a team. My second two series are non-fiction. If You Were Me and Lived in…has two ages groups. The first is for ages 4-8 and is an introduction to culture and customs around the world. There are 23 books in this series in you include If You Were Me and Lived on…Mars- a fun trip to a Mars colony in the year 2054. The other half of the series is ten books for ages 8-12 that are a trip to different time periods around the world. All ten books traverse the globe visiting Ancient Mali or Greece, or take a trip to the American West, or even the Middle Ages. Both series puts the students into the shoes of a child living there and gives them a fun way to learn about life. I have a nursery series that tackles coping and self-worth and lastly, my newest is an Early Reader Chapter book called Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag. Oh yes, and I forgot a self-help book called Navigating Indieworld.

2. You’ve published books in a few different genres now—mostly children’s books, but now an advice book called Navigating Indieworld, as well. What’s the best thing about publishing in the areas that you do, and what’s the most challenging?

Writing and putting together a book is both fun and fairly easy. Publicizing any book is the most challenging part. It’s getting harder and harder to gather those much-needed reviews. You spend time and effort to publish and you don’t want your book to fall into the dark pit of high rankings. If it disappears from the public, nobody will buy it.

 

3. Why did you choose to be an Indie Author?

I think being an indie author chose me. My kids dared me to write a book. I did, never expecting the book to become an award-winning best-seller out of the gate. When the first one fell into place so easy, I decided to develop a brand. It’s been a lot of fun and very rewarding.

 

4. What are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned since publishing?

I learned that I can pretty much do things I never thought I was capable of doing. I wrote a book, finished it, polished it. I have been on Youtube, panels, Forbes has interviewed me twice. I am sought after as a strong voice in indie publishing. I have my own blog radio show. I have met great friends in the chat rooms and every day is a learning experience.

 

5. If you could give some advice to any authors just starting on this journey, what would it be?

Get onto a good thread on Goodreads and Bookworks. Be vocal. Ask questions. If the other authors shut you down, find another thread. You will learn so much by talking to the people who forged ahead of you. They will help guide you better than any seminar.

 

6. You seem to be growing a bit of a publishing empire! What’s next for you and your team? Will you be expanding into other genres?

I started a YA novel and then abandoned it. Julie, my social media partner and beta reader, reminded me about it yesterday. I may go back to it. I would like to expand the Oh Susannah series if it takes off. I will be promoting my son who has made the leap from indie to traditional publisher. They have asked to work together on promotions.

 

7. If you had to do one thing over in your writing career so far, would you? And what would it be?

Buy my own ISBN’s. I finally understand them now and whatever I’ve learned, I discovered the information in our chatroom on Goodreads. I think it is smart to own your material.

 

8. What’s your writing process like? How often do you find the time? Do you outline first? Do you listen to music while the magic happens? Give us some insight.

I can write in an office full of people. I have that ability to talk to someone and read at the same time. I write anywhere in the house, can stop to make dinner or answer the phone and go right back to the story. I usually write every night from nine to eleven, then I spend an hour or two reading other people’s books.

 

9. Where do you get your ideas?

They just happen. Sometimes, like with Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis, one of my family members stands as a muse from a conversation. Susannah was based on a remark that an exhausted working mother said. The books are born from my life and when you read them, in some way you are reading about my home and family.

 

10. How do you recharge your imagination when you can feel your creative well getting dry? (Or is it just me that happens to!)

Never gets dry. It’s too active and always has been. Give me an issue and in five minutes I’ll have five solutions. Our family is solution oriented, so we are always brimming with ideas.

 

11. You seem to have worked with a few different illustrators. For those that don’t know, what’s that process like?

I have worked with remarkable illustrators. Bonnie Lemaire who did the pirate series must be telepathic, because she nailed my characters without ever speaking to me, but for a few sparse emails. Kelsea Weirenga who did the cultural series has the patience of a saint and embraced the series with her entire being, working hard to get everything as accurate as possible. Mateya Arkova is a gift from Europe. She approached me to illustrate and is the hardest working artist I’ve ever met. I love them all dearly and count them as my friends. They never took ownership but served as silent support to make my dreams comes to life. They are wonderful women.

 

12. What are you working on now?

Just finished If You Were ME and Lived in…Cuba and Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag.  Have to work on promoting them now.

 

Just for fun:

 

13. Sweet or savoury?

Sweet.

 

14. Hot weather or cold?

Both!

 

15. If an apocalypse comes, what would be your most valuable skill?

I would remember our past for the future generations.

 

16. Which celebrity would you choose to be stranded on a desert island with?

Brad Pitt- Guess why.

 

17. Dream vacation spot? (Other than the island with the celebrity, naturally)

Vegas, baby. I have a home there and am a celebrated craps player. (It is true.)

 

18. If you won a million dollars tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

Ice cream to celebrate. Ice cream for everyone.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Visit Carole at the following places!

Author Interview: Me!

So, a while back I did an interview with Tara Woods Turner. And it’s finally live! If for whatever reason you’ve ever had a burning need to hear my voice or see my face (I had thought it was a podcast, so sorry not sorry about the lack of makeup!) then, firstly, whyyyyy? My voice is horrible. And secondly, you’re in luck!

I can’t listen to it back because I get the heebie-jeebies listening to my voice, so if you do watch/listen, be sure to tell me if I said anything super embarrassing. (Also, they spelled/pronounced my name wrong, but I get it’s a tough one 😉 )Thanks!

Author Interview: R.L Jackson

Please welcome R.L. to my blog for my first ever Author Interview!1

  1. Tell us about yourself and what you write:

A Bahamian-born native, R.L Jackson writes fiction and enjoys reading Romance, Fantasy, Dystopian, YA, and everything in between.
Her first novel “Crashing Into Me” was released on Feb 14, 2017 and is available on Amazon in kindle format as well as in paperback.

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  1. What’s the best thing and hardest thing about writing romance, do you think?

The best thing for me is creating new people, new experiences and the journey they take to find that love. The hardest is finding interesting and unique ways to tell stories that haven’t been told before.

  1. Would you ever write in a different genre? (Even a different sub-genre of romance) 

I write in different genres already, just none that I’ve published yet.

  1. What’s your favourite trope in romance?

I use a mix of different tropes, it just makes a story more realistic to me. I don’t believe in instant love, in novels because in real life that is a rarity, outside of middle school aged “love” lol.

  1. What are some of your favourite genres or authors to read?

I don’t have a favorite author, but genres are Thriller, Romance, Paranormal, Dystopian, and some Fantasy depending on what it is.

  1. Why did you choose to be an Indie Author?

I chose it for the freedom of controlling my own creative process after reading up on the pros and cons of both from the mouths of trad and indie authors, I decided indie was the best for me.

  1. What are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned since publishing?

The real work starts after you press publish. I wish I had a marketing plan in place before I did it to be honest, as well as the marketing budget. There aren’t many places that will promote your book for free unless it is free or discounted, which makes me roll my eyes because it’s frustrating. Or if they do promote your book, the cost is huge. From what I can tell indie Publishing may have taken the decision to publish their work out of trad publishing hands, but simultaneously given others (bloggers, promotion sites) the power to decide if and how they will promote them, thus creating brand new hurdles and hoops to jump through.

  1. If you had to do one thing over in your writing career so far, would you? And what would it be?

Marketing plan, marketing budget, virtual assistant to handle social media etc so I can focus on writing.

  1. What’s your writing process like? How often do you find the time? Do you outline first? Do you listen to music while the magic happens? Give us some insight.

My process starts with the concept, plot, then outline. I write my ending first and work backwards. I outline and listen to music when I get blocked or need inspiration for a particular scene.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

Sometimes they hit me out of the blue, others are based on my personal experiences.

  1. How do you recharge your imagination when you can feel your creative well getting dry? (Or is it just me that happens to!)

I watch a movie or binge watch Netflix to get out of my head for a while. Then I go back and read what I wrote making changes as I see fit.

  1. What are you working on now?

Book two of my ‘Crashing” series and a few surprises I can’t mention yet.

 

Just for fun:

  1. Sweet or savoury? Both
  2. Hot weather or cold? Cold
  3. If an apocalypse comes, what would be your most valuable skill? Fighting
  4. If you won a million dollars tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

Is this 1mill before or after taxes lol. Seriously though, I’d pay off my outstanding bills, start a charity I’ve been wanting to start for a while, and purchase my first home.

 

Thanks so much R.L. for stopping by my blog!

 

Short Stories Available!

Exclusively You

Yesterday, a short story I’ve been working on finally went live! This is an exciting step for me, because it represents my first published work in Contemporary Romance, as opposed to Romantic Suspense. This is a trend you’ll see more of from me this year, in preparation for a contemporary romance anthology that I’ll be in for Christmas! I have a few novellas (both contemporary romance and romantic suspense) mostly-written that I’ll probably release in the meantime. I hope this will be an exciting step for my career.

An Escalating Threat to the Heart

A reminder (I did tell you guys, right?) that An Escalating Threat to the Heart is also available on Amazon now (with a fancy new cover!) but this one is also available for FREE if you sign up to my newsletter. This one, while short, is more my usual style of romantic suspense.

I hope you guys enjoy these stories! I had a lot of fun writing them. It’s been great to step out from my Soldiering On series and stretch my writing wings a little. If you read them, I hope you’ll leave an honest review!

Book Review: Known by Kendra Elliot

Known (Bone Secrets, #5)Known by Kendra Elliot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this tale of two people, Chris and Gianna, both with damaged pasts, coming together when a killer targets Gianna.

This book had a lot of tropes I like, such as the stranded in a snowstorm, the scarred/wounded hero, the intriguing suspense plot, and it was competently written.

I liked that Chris was a solitary loner; quiet, tense, and a little grumpy. He had scars from when he’d been kidnapped by a serial killer as a child, both internal and external. He was very capable and deadly. My one complaint was that his very serious, dramatic background as a child played no part in the current mystery. I would have liked that to have more impact on the current plot, because while it played a part in his character backstory, it felt like a very dramatic part of the narrative not to use more. I think, though, that this same plot may have been explored a little more in a previous book I haven’t read, which based on this book is about Chris’s biological brother and his adopted sister. (As far as I can tell it’s not incest-y, though).

I was also a bit disappointed that Gianna’s role as a medical examiner never came into play. She never even went to work on the page. It was, again, a shame to waste such an interesting profession, which could have been very relevant and useful in a suspense plot.

Another thing I didn’t like – but this is totally personal preference – was the scenes from the villain’s POV. I’m just generally not a fan of this, as it rarely adds to the overall story. The villain should be scary from the POV of the hero and heroine. We shouldn’t need to be privy to his thoughts in order to feel afraid of him.

I listened to this in audio. I thought the narrator was fine – I’d heard her narrate a different book, and she’s solid. However, and this isn’t something that’s the narrator’s fault, just something I noticed I think because I was listening to this book not reading it: the author overused ‘stated’ A LOT. As in, ‘he stated/she stated’. It drove me nuts. I finally understand the advice to writers about not overusing words other than ‘said’.

Overall, I would recommend this to people who like more low-key heroes with their suspense, and an intriguing mystery or two to go along with it.

View all my reviews

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

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I may have mentioned my love for Beauty and the Beast stories on this blog before. Once or twice.

So, you can imagine my excitement when this film was announced. A live-action adaptation of one of my favourite stories of all time. Featuring a lot of actors I really like (I’ve had a crush on Dan Stevens for almost a decade, since Sense and Sensibility), and the songs stayed in tact!

Given my level of anticipation, it’s almost inevitable that the film didn’t quite match my (admittedly ridiculous) expectations. Not that I’m saying the film is bad – it’s not! I really did enjoy it. But it wasn’t the perfect masterpiece I wanted it to be.

First, the good. The performances were almost universally excellent. Luke Evans was incredibly charismatic as Gaston. For me, he was the standout performer. Dan Stevens still managed to be sexy and expressive even under a bunch of CGI. Kevin Kline was solid. All the actors that played the servants/household objects did a fine job. Some of the best moments in the film came towards the end, and it was mostly for the acting. When Beast lets Belle go, you really feel the weight of the sacrifice. They are so close to being free of the curse, but he loves her so he has to let her leave. His pain, and his servant’s disappointment and understanding are really pretty affecting. As are the moments as the servants are saying goodbye to each other, thinking they are about to become useless household items forever.

I did like their attempt to bring in some diversity, both with two Black actresses, and by making Le Fou blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gay.

The film also looked beautiful, like a fairytale come to life. Some of it bordered on cartoon-y, particularly the backgrounds, but it fit the style and tone of the film. The costumes, too, were great (the Belle’s iconic yellow gown was not quite as iconic as I might have liked.)

I also liked all the added backstory. Almost every complaint that someone has made about the Beauty and the Beast cartoon over the years was addressed – the age of Beast (in the cartoon they make it seem like he was only 11 years old when he was cursed), why none of the townspeople remembered having a prince, whether the prince actually deserved the punishment meted out to him, etc. It made for a much richer, detailed, and consistent world.

I also liked the new song additions! I have been listening to Evermore on repeat for a few days now.

Now, for the bad.

I have to get this out of the way: I don’t think Emma Watson is a particularly great actress. She certainly looked lovely enough, and she sang pretty well, too. For most the film I didn’t mind her performance, but I don’t think she particularly stood out. When next to such incredible, charismatic performers like she was (particularly Luke Evans and Dan Stevens, but frankly she was also out-acted by Ewan McGregor as a CGI candlestick) she was just kind of…bland. And sometimes a bit mannered. The scene where she’s given the library – literally my dream – it felt so much like she was acting. It wasn’t quite natural, like she was thinking too hard or something. It’s a shame, and it certainly wasn’t bad enough to ruin the film for me. But I wanted something more from her in this.

The second major issue I had was that the beginning was simply too long. Once Belle got to the castle, things kicked off. But I wished they’d trimmed some of the earlier scenes of her in the village, because I just honestly didn’t really care. I was here for the romance!

And, man, seeing that romance brought to life on the big screen was totally a dream come true. Despite my minor complaints, this is definitely a film I’ll buy on DVD and watch over and over again. In fact, I want to see it again now, but I think I’ll just settle for listening to Evermore for the hundredth time.

 

Have you seen it? What did you think?