Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Pen & Muse Blog Has Moved

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Interview : Teaching Tyler author, Glynnis Ivy

I had the pleasure of interviewing Glynnis Ivy. I look forward to reviewing her book as well. 

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born an only child and raised in the wilderness of British Columbia, Canada where my parents ran a logging camp. I spent much of my childhood reading and mostly my mom's books because that was all that was around.  So  I grew up loving books like Mrs. Mike, Yargo by Jacqueline Suzanne, The Godfather and tons of Danielle Steelel. In my teens, I briefly "graduated" to Harlequin and Silhouette before moving onto more mainstream romances with my last literary stop being erotica. Throughout it all, I really relished writing little stories about love and the way it can always change one's life for the better. 
What inspires you to write?
Everything! From music, magic moments, scenery, my animals, my boyfriend, memories, wishes, dreams...if you can name it, it will inspire me.

Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?
Totally! It's like I'm not even the one writing the story sometimes.
What inspired this story? What was your favorite part?

As women hit their sexual peak in their 40's and men in the 20s, I've always wanted to write an older women-younger men love story but one that had emotional depth as well and didn't just focus on the sexual fireworks.

My fav part in this story is the moment when Alene "decodes" the pendant Tyler bought for her.

Do you have any other works in progress that you want to share?

I'm just finishing my unofficial nod to Yargo. Still untitled, this story is about a woman who wakes up to find herself in a strange new world and a sex slave to not one but two delicious locals who are overly eager to learn all about her human body. And heart.
What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?

Write what you love. That way it NEVER feels like work.
What are your favorite books at the moment?

Right now, I'm reading an older book by John Grisham - The Client. It's a great page turner so I am really devouring that.
What is your favorite word? Least favorite?

Surrender and resist.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sex and Solar Flares...a Review

Author: Larissa Lyons

Author Website:

Genre: A Fantasy Novella

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave:

Info: ISBN: 9781419928901

Price: $4.45 Available as e-book


From the first page Ms. Lyons pulled me in with the carefree, off-the-cuff hints at her heroine’s fantasy life and her mission. When Aurora landed on earth on a cruise ship, during a mission to earn her ‘wings’, we share her experience: the crowds, the smells, the ocean’s vastness-through her alien eyes.

The author’s insight into her male character’s head was amusing. I loved hearing Charlie’s thoughts as he became more disgusted with his body’s reaction to Aurora. I LOVED the scene on the boat’s bow when Charlie gives an astronomy lesson to the captain and fellow guests while Aurora is sliding her fingers all over him. When he gives in to the pleasure, I cheered.

I liked how the author showed us the slow, eventual joining of two very opposite creatures. This story was filled with erotic sexual tension. Ms. Lyons tempered it with laughter and Aurora’s slight problem with earth language and customs, quirks that made her VERY human to me.


Can a fearless fairy seduce a stuffy scientist?

After crash-landing into the sexiest man on Earth, apprentice fairy Aurora abandons her assigned task in favor of seduction. And during a starlit constellation tour, she takes her own journey—right into Charlie’s pants!

Boarding a cruise ship bound for Hawaii, astronomer Charles Morgan is entranced by the whimsical beauty who propositions him in the most amazing way. Would he like to have sex with her? Does the sun shine and the galaxy spin?

A night full of lust and stars, dusted with a hint of magic, just might bring these two unlikely lovers together for their own big bang!

Publisher’s Note: This story was previously published elsewhere under the title of Written in the Stars and has been revised for Ellora’s Cave

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Soul Keeper by Natalie Dae

Title: Soul Keeper

Author: Natalie Dae

Author Website:

Genre: Contemporary Erotic

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

Price: $2.49

Link to Purchase

What I liked: Soul Keeper by Natalie Dae is a sweet, well-written short story with some very hot sex. The premise of two lovers connecting in person after getting to know each other on the internet is definitely a relevant theme these days.

With Carrie eagerly awaiting her new lover to arrive by train in nothing but her underwear and an overcoat, the reader becomes equally nervous wondering if he truly will show. Ms. Dae brought out Carrie’s naughty girl persona perfectly and the fun romp is the perfect lunch time read.

I look forward to even more from Ms. Dae, hopefully in more than a short story.

Book Summary:

Carrie Marsh anxiously awaits her online lover of two years, pacing the station in her stylish red coat with nothing but luxurious black lingerie underneath and stilettos on her feet. Will Rob Edwards really be on the train from Scotland? Will the attraction still exist in person? Can she even stave off the first anticipation-induced orgasm before he arrives? Excitement spirals through her, for Carrie has planned a night to remember.

Rob is shy, and Carrie intends to show him how to unleash his sexy side during a series of sexual encounters. But once he arrives, she can’t wait until they get to the hotel, let alone a bed. No. They hardly make it to the first tree, where anyone could spot their antics.

One unforgettable evening of passion leads two virtual lovers to a lifetime as each other’s soul keeper.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: Mantis: Book One – Mantis Nights by: Joshua Scribner

Title: Mantis: Book One – Mantis Nights
Author: Joshua Scribner
Author Website:Joshua Scribner
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Lyrical Press Incorporated
Price: $5.50
Link to purchase

What I liked: “I’m telling you, Mantis, you don’t want to go over there again.”
Mantis stared across the street. There were forces in this universe that one never wanted to disturb, even to help other people. Could he resist?

Pity often washed over him. He’d never wanted a woman before, not for keeps anyway. Now two had come into his life and left him longing for more. Chloe lived in a different time, Kendra in a higher realm. He found himself bitter at men who need only cross land to be with their lover.

Fear of being trapped nibbled at his nerves, but didn’t debilitate him. He was coming to accept the dangers of his special ability. It had become something more than a trick. Was that good or bad? He didn’t know.


In Mantis Nights, the first book of the Mantis Series, author Joshua Scribner delivers a read reminiscent of 1930s gangster movies. Snappy dialog and swift imagery take readers on a journey into Mantis’ world of nocturnal exploration. Dispensing with the usual ‘getting to know you’ details of Mantis’ life, readers are not mired in the sad childhood or tales of introspection, Scribner stays focused on the present events. Readers find themselves thrown right into the action and watch as Mantis’ once safe and controlled means of escape has turned on him. The book stays true to adventure and suspense without letting the 'love interest' take over as is often the case.

Mantis used his special gift to enter worlds removed from the vulnerabilities and fears typical in his daily existence. Each adventure bent to his control. But now he cannot manipulate the journeys or the outcomes. What was once escapism is now a dangerous mission to survive.

Along the way, Mantis meets up with a variety of supporting characters that all seem to merge between the daily and nightly worlds. Mantis is compelled to push aside his fears to help those he encounters in his series of adventures. Yet the closer Mantis is to his goal, the more he is drawn into the psychological force that threatens his existence. Who wants Mantis dead and why? What forces from his daily existence are following him into his no-longer safe dream factory? Where can he possibly feel in control again?

Book blurb: Mantis enjoys escaping from reality -- until he can’t get back!

Mantis Shed has the perfect escape from the doldrums of ordinary life: he can enter alternate realities, becoming any character in whatever adventure suits him.

But those alternate realities trap him in battle, forcing Mantis to fight for his life against nightmare creatures. With a mysterious woman in black stalking him, will Mantis get his life back?

Graphic violence and mythical creature violence.

Book excerpt: Back on Main, his evader stood a block away in the middle of the road. The kid looked around, his high-pitched sobs loud in the still night.

A voice broke through the air. “Come out, come out wherever you are.”

The voice and the machinegun laugh had come from the same source, a little girl.

The kid looked around, his sobs getting louder. Someone came out on the street further down. The boy turned his head toward her, then started backing away. Mantis stepped toward him. The horrible laugh ripped again, stopping Mantis in his tracks. The little girl, dressed in a white nightgown, sped down the street at an inhuman rate. The boy had no more than turned before she caught him.

She laughed again, this time not loud, more playful. “Freeze tag,” she shouted with glee.


Mantis turned to where the whisper had come from. There was a bar at the corner of the block. Down low was an open basement window.

“In here. Hurry!”

On the street, the scary child twirled around the frozen boy. Maybe she hadn’t noticed Mantis yet.

Or maybe she was just that confident.

Tammy Elizabeth Southin

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review: Bewitching Finn





























Bewitching Finn

Emma Wallace

Genre: Contemporary/Paranormal Romance


Publisher: Ellora's Cave

What I liked: Grace Woodrow needs some help in the love sector. One spell and that's exactly what she gets when she has one hot night with Finn. Although Grace thinks she just needs one night to get what she needs, she finds out that Finn is more than she bargained for. In a chance meeting, Finn finds her only to want her again and again. Will Grace accept Finn's advances ? You bet she will when she sees that there is more to the handsome Irishman than a one night stand. Wallace really knew how to throw magic and love together in this tale. I really connected with the characters. I felt Grace's pain when we find her sad story of a past love gone wrong, but I really loved Finn's character and his wanting happiness and love. He knew what he wanted and he went for it. Wallace makes this story magical, beautiful, and a story that a reader will want to read again and again. This is a book not to miss.

Book Blurb:

Armed with a secret family recipe book, Grace Woodrow is cooking up a storm. And as every good witch knows, the real power of magic isn’t in the lotions and potions but in the intent. Grace wants a simple life but events conspire to keep her world complicated. As a result, Grace resorts to drastic measures that inadvertently trigger a chance encounter with a sexy, stranded Irish stranger. It’s lust at first sight, and after a year of being virtuous, the temptation to succumb to the promise of a no-strings-attached night of pure sexual indulgence proves too much to resist.


But once isn’t enough. And as if Grace doesn’t have her hands full with her interfering mother and Finn Delaney, the locals are acting…well… Frankly? Weird. Soon the rest of the island is unable to resist the side effects of her notoriously decadent delicacies, and before long it isn’t only Grace and Finn who are making merry…




Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Pen & Muse Needs More Book Reviewers: Spread the Word!

Do you enjoy reading books and reviewing them? Well then the Pen & Muse needs you!
If you are interested in reviewing and reading books, we could use another good one.

Benefits: Free Books

Requirements: Lover of books, romance genre reader and open to others, and be willing to read and write about the books, read about 2-3 books when reviews jobs come in.

If you are interested please email me @ thepenmuse(at)

Friday, August 13, 2010

San Gabriel Valley Author Receives Two Awards From Military Writers Society of America

Please feel free to use this release as is or to include any information in it that might benefit your reading audience. Please let me know if I can help in any way.


CONTACT: Carolyn Howard-Johnson


San Gabriel Valley Author Receives Two Awards 
From Military Writers Society of America

Glendale, CA, August, 2010—Carolyn Howard-Johnsonreceived the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) two awards for her books, one the gold medal for her marketing book A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion and honorable mention for her chapbook of poetry celebrating mothers She Wore Emerald Then. It is a cooperative effortwith Aussie poet Magdalena Ball.

MWSA President Joyce Faulkner, said, “Among the benefits for (Author) and other award nominees will be appearances on various Internet blogs and radio talk shows, features on MWSA’s website and in our monthly Dispatches magazine, and interviews on radio and public-access TV during our annual conference in Pittsburgh.”


Although these two winning books have nothing to do with the military (all writers are welcome to become MWSA members), Carolyn Howard-Johnson often writes to increase awareness for the plight of our troops. She wrote the foreword for Support Our Troops published by Andrews McMeel, blogs resources for our soldiers and their families at www.warpeacetolerance.blogspot.comand has included military themes in many of her poems. She is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and has been published in many print and online journals.

All awards recipients will be honored at the MWSA’s conference, Thursday, Sept. 30 – Sunday, Oct. 3, at Pittsburgh’s Wyndham University Plaza. The Conference will include a special ceremony at the Dawn’s Early Light Flag Retirement Plaza in Pittsburgh’s South Park, special interest luncheons around the city, a play featuring the works of MWSA authors at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Oral History Day, workshops, book signings, and the awards banquet. Many of the events are open to the public. Joseph Beth’s Book seller is the official MWSA Pittsburgh Conference bookstore.


Howard-Johnson is among more than 900 authors, poets and artists who comprise Military Writers Society of America. Most MWSA members are active duty military, retirees, or military veterans. Others are life-long civilians who’ve chosen to focus on military and/or historical themes with their writing or art.

Learn more about Howard-Johnson, a multi award-winning author at


Learn more about MWSA at: or contact Joyce Faulkner, MWSA president, Bridgeville, PA (412) 496-5034.


Support Materials are available on request.


If you wish to unsubscribe, please return this e-mail to be removed from this list for the media.

Review: Whispering Bones by: Rita Vetere

Title: Whispering Bones
Author: Rita Vetere
Author Website: Rita Vetere
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Publisher: Lyrical Press Incorporated
Price: $5.50
Link to purchase

What I liked:

“No,” the old woman declared, her voice turning imperious. “I forbid you to go.”

“No Italian will set foot on that island.”

“She’s as dead as the others. Put her in with the rest.”

The clock in Rossi’s office chimed the half hour. At two-thirty in the morning, he sat on a crumpled blanket at the edge of his bed, staring at the dissected brain sitting on his desk. With a trembling hand, he raised an almost-empty liquor bottle to his mouth, swilling down the remaining contents in one gulp. Then he tossed the empty bottle against the wall. It shattered, sending shards of glass spraying across the floor.
Another dead end.


Anna LaServa has been handed the career opportunity of a lifetime in the land of her ancestors, Italy. Anna’s excitement slams into her grandmother’s dire warnings, which Anna chalks up to the worrisome personalities of old women. After all, the job entails working with professionals who specifically chose Anna for her expertise and this is the 21st century for heaven’s sakes – what could possibly go wrong?

Anna’s present day story mingles with the back stories in the shadows of both centuries and decades past. What Anna does not realize in her blissful daily routine is that she herself is a part of a long chain of events set into motion long before her existence. As Anna is pulled into the mysteries of the doomed Poveglia – an island no self-respecting bird or even insect visits – she must come to grips with the feeling of doom she has carried her entire life. Can Anna break the chain of terror and end the curse? How long and how far can ill-fated genetics carry a lust for revenge? How many more must suffer the same fate?

In Whispering Bones, author Rita Vetere avoids the confusion that sometimes happens as readers are pulled in and out of storylines. Vetere uses impeccable timing in each of her narratives along with a steady pace that gives all these stories equal respect with pace and placement in the overall narrative. The back stories do not bog readers down with mundane details; they provide strong character insights and perspectives. Each story could be strong enough for its own individual full novel treatment, and this is what keeps the chills moving up and down the spine during the book. In a short volume, tight writing keeps readers on their toes along with clues that help deduce without being blatantly obvious.

Book blurb: When someone dies in outrage, a curse is born.

In 1576 Venice, during the second and worst outbreak of the plague, a dying child is shown no mercy. Her death spawns a curse, one which has endured for more than four centuries.

In 1927, the curse manifested in acts of madness and murder in a newly constructed asylum, events which, almost a century later, have not quite been laid to rest.

Now, in a rendezvous with fate, architect Anna LaServa has arrived in Venice, opening the door to the next fulfillment of the curse. She will uncover the reason behind her ultimate confrontation with the barbaric executioner whose name is... Revenge.

Content warning, some scenes of violence.

Book excerpt: From the open cylinder of the incinerator, a hand shot out. By the light of the trembling flame, she could see the raised purple veins covering it. Ragged black fingernails scraped against the metal as whatever was on the other end tried to claw its way out. Anna screamed and dropped the lighter again. Oh God... Oh God, please.

Panic bit into her as she frantically felt around the floor for the lighter. The scraping of nails across metal sounded behind her again, followed by a slithering, dragging sound. Her frenzied hands couldn’t locate the damned lighter. Whatever was in the room with her would reach her in a minute and—

Her fingers brushed against the lighter and she grabbed it, flicking it on, terrified that the thing had clawed its way out and would be at her side. But the incinerator door hung open, the cylinder empty.

Without wasting a second, Anna whirled, lifted the heavy bar securing the doors and tumbled outside. Shaking all over, her heart pounding painfully, she backed away.

What had just happened in there? Something had tried to crawl out of the incinerator. Something not alive.

Tammy Elizabeth Southin

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: Her Reluctant Bodyguard by Jennette Green

Her Reluctant Bodyguard
by Jennette Green

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Publisher: Diamond Press
Cost: $3.99 for Kindle

What I Liked:
There are no words. Honestly, there are no words to explain how much I loved this book. This is probably one of the absolute best books I have ever read in my entire life. I just don't know where to begin.

First of all, I should say that, having just read the book, I am sitting on my couch, sobbing, just totally impacted by the experience of connecting with Alexa and Jamison through their love story.

This is a totally unexpected love story. She's an "Amazon" in heels and he's an Italian "imp" all in black. But in her flats, she looks in his eyes, and he looks into her soul, and absolutely unbelievable magic happens.

There is NO sex. None. And yet this was the most fantastically developed sexual relationship I've ever read in a book. I really didn't think it would be possible, but wow. By the end of the book, I was shouting "JUST GET MARRIED already, people, so you can get in the sack!" I know it sounds crude, but it was just unreal. The sexual tension in this book was hotter than hottest. And yet there was no sexual contact, no sex, no nudity (well, there was a little nudity, but it was HOT!). Every scene was emotionally charged. I kept thinking that I had to be nearing the end, because they couldn't possibly get any hotter without consummating, and then it would just get that much hotter. Oh, wow. It was incredible.

It just proved to me how unbelievably hot chaste relationships can really be. I mean, I've been in them... I know they can be hot. But at 31, you sort of lose your sense of awe for that experience. I review erotic romance, for crying out loud. I'm used to the "wow, you're hot, let's screw (and then fall in love)" kind of book. But I think I've converted officially. Give me no sex until the cows come home. That was the most beautiful love story I think I've ever read.

I mean, the hero is a short guy! Although he's Italian and has a thing for soccer, which immediately puts him to the front of my line. But who would have ever thought? My new favorite hero is 5'8"??? I love it!

Okay, you have to go out and buy this book right now. I know, I know, I never say that. I never encourage people to buy books, because I know that taste is really subjective, and I don't want you to come back to me and demand some kind of refund for your money because I recommended something that wasn't to your taste. But I'm going to break my rule. Go and buy this book. (If you don't want a paperback copy, which I'm going to buy immediately, it's for sale on Kindle for $3.99... that's less than a mocha, for crying out loud!) If you don't like it, I apologize... we don't have the same tastes. But I'm relatively certain that you'll like it. And when you do, please come back and tell me about it. And tell the author, because I'm sure she'd like to hear that you liked it.

I know I wrote her a long, weepy email right after I read "The End". It's definitely worth the slobbering all over my keyboard to be able to say to a really fantastic author, your book changed my life. Because it did. I don't mean to be overly dramatic or anything, but Alexa's story is my story. Take out the rock star and the happy ending, and it's my story. And it was just so profound to see myself in the mirror and think, there's something else out there, and on some level to really believe it. Even if I don't fully believe it yet. Someday, I hope I will.

Once again, there are no words.

Book Blurb:
Alexa's dream job becomes a threat to her life...

Successful biographer Alexa Kaplan never expected to meet her favorite pop star on the Today Show set. When Colin asks her to write his biography and tour with him in Europe , she's thrilled. It all seems like a fairy tale come true—until she begins to receive death threats.

To her dismay, Colin puts her under the 24/7 protection of his chief bodyguard, Jamison Constanzo—a man with whom she’s clashed from day one. If only she could spend more time with her perfect man, Colin, rather than spending all of her days with this black-hearted thorn in her side! Alexa struggles to control her flip attitude toward Jamison. Why does opening up her heart to him feel almost as dangerous as dealing with the stalker’s threats? But when the killer strikes, Jamison is the only one she can turn to…

An excerpt is available at the author's website, and the first chapter is available to read here.

Review by Rebecca Lynn.

Review: The Witch Awakening by Karen Nilsen

The Witch Awakening
by Karen Nilsen

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: CreateSpace
Cost: $14.95 ($.99 for Kindle)

What I Liked:
The author did an interesting job with pov in this book, switching between the main characters. I found it interesting, rather than the typical deep pov of 3rd person omni. And for fantasy, especially, it seemed more appropriate.

Nilsen tells a sweet story of Safire's tumultuous life and her love affair with Merius of Landers (who, by the way, was my favorite part of the book). From the first time she introduces this dashing young man, I was as captivated as his heroine was. You can't help but fall in love with someone who is so in love with her, and yet so desires to be his own person as well. The villains were bad, and the heroes were good. All in all, a good fantasy read. This is truly a saga, and it looks as though it's the first in a series, as well. So it has all the benefits of good fantasy.

Plus, for 99 cents on the Kindle... you can't beat that. A good read for a buck. That's good business.

Book Blurb:
The odor of burning flesh and the screams of those condemned to the flames disturb the dreams of young Safire of Long Marsh. Safire struggles to keep the curse of her psychic abilities secret, lest she be burned at the stake as a witch in her native land Cormalen. Forced to keep her talents hidden instead of learning how to use them, Safire is ill-prepared to face the evil that awaits her. When she meets the rebellious Merius of Landers, a nobleman determined to escape his overbearing father's influence, she finally finds someone who accepts her. But their romance interferes with court plots and family duty and ultimately leads Safire to confront the dark secrets of the House of Landers alone. What she finds there proves to be a test of her unusual gifts, a test that could free the soul of a haunted man--or end in her death.

Review posted by Rebecca Lynn.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: Eden Fell


Title: Eden Fell
Author: Lily
Author Site: 
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Damnation Books, Sept 1st/09
What I liked: After reading Lily's Eden Fell, it introduced me to a new way of telling of the story of falling from grace. Lily tells an interesting tale of Eden and her journey to the ends of the earth. This is not your typical fantasy, Lily surely takes the reader on a ride of a lifetime. Read the excerpt for yourself and decide. It's out of this world, literally!
A dark and modern tale that chronicles Eden's life as she falls from grace. Following a stream of consciousness, she journeys with her constant companions, the snake and the rhinoceros, through her life as an abstract painter to the end of the world. Together, the three of them encounter zombie marionettes, a frost prince, a winter sprite and a diligent gardener. Without the snake and the rhinoceros, there is only a punk kid, a clerk at a convenience store, an agent and a smattering of acquaintances. Watch... as Eden falls.
I am a seed husk, a pea pod, a sunflower shell, just another hole to fill. Fill me up, relieve yourself of the burden of being a man so that just for a moment while you’re deepest inside, just for a moment, you can forget the sin of your own precious, precious seed. I am your service, your need, a container to hold all that melts away with the first hit of a climax. Do you understand me? You’re not suppose to smile at me like that, like I am human.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Eternal Press Reviews: May Releases























Author: Wendy Stone

Length: 70,545 words/ 254 pages

Genre: Paranormal Romance


What I liked: What a thrill ride, Sanctuary is! This is a book that will have you reading from start to finish. I really felt sorry for Chloe and how she gets snatched up by horrible person and what he does to her. Stone certainly knows how to take the reader on a journey. I also loved Chief Dane's charisma, how determined he was to get the case solved, and to save Chloe. Very good read.


Sanctuary, Michigan is a town like no other. Its people are happy and private. So when a serial rapist and murderer starts preying on young hitchhiking girls in the area, Police Chief Dane Alistair takes action.Chloe Sinclair is a young girl searching for answers. She hitchhiked into the vicinity of Sanctuary and took a ride from the wrong person. When she finds herself being attacked and then raped, she can only scream no and pray for someone to help her. Will Dane be able to help Chloe? Will they be able to survive what happens next? Take a trip to Sanctuary and find out!


“Need a ride, girlie?”

Chloe waved a hand in front of her face as the smoke he blew out the window threatened to choke her. Cheap cigar, bad breath and a lack of personal hygiene made her feet hurt less, and she shook her head. “No, thanks. I’m almost where I’m going.”

“You aren’t thinking of going to Sanctuary?” the man said, his tone one of horrified disbelief. “You don’t want to go there, girlie. You go there and you won’t be heard from again.”

“What are you talking about?” Chloe let her hands rest on her slim, jean-clad hips and blew a strand of black hair away from her face. “Come on, I’m a bit old to listen to ghost stories.”

“I’ve been driving these roads for a lot of years, girlie. These aren’t stories. Lots of hitchhikers go missing on this road.”

A clap of thunder rent the air around them, followed by a gust of breeze that sent a shiver down Chloe’s spine. “Is it always so cold around here?”

“It’s Michigan in October, girlie. You’re lucky we don’t have snow. Now, do you want a ride or not?”

Chloe glanced down the dark road and the forest that lay just beyond the ditches. Another shiver shuddered through her, this one not due to the cold. A sharp wind blew through the trees, stirring up the leaves and making a rattling kind of noise that had her reaching for the door handle.









Title: Love at Last

Author: Cassidy Ryan

Genre: romance



Just good friends?

What I liked: I have always liked romances that begin with friendships. It comes so natural as the characters start to see more than just friends. I love how the how the author uses such a incident between the two characters for one to understand what's been in front of her all along. Classic romance and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read romance that is heart warming.


Since she met him at college, Wade has been Peyton’s best friend and the one person she can rely on. So, it is no surprise that he is there to help her when her private life suddenly becomes very public. Fleeing a media circus, pursued by a particularly zealous paparazzo, Peyton and Wade are involved in a car accident. Sitting by Wade’s hospital bed Peyton comes to realize the true depth of her feelings for Wade. Dare she risk the most important relationship in her life by telling Wade?


She closed the door quietly and walked slowly along the hallway to the door of the living room, where she paused, eyes drawn immediately to the figure in front of the windows. With the morning sun shining bright behind him, he was just a dark silhouette, but relief bloomed warm in Peyton’s chest. She would know those wide shoulders, those long legs and that mess of dark hair anywhere.

A sound like a sob escaped her when he wordlessly opened his arms, and she was crossing the room, bag falling from her hand. Without hesitation, knowing that he would catch her, Peyton launched herself at him, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.

Looks like I can’t leave you alone for a minute, can I?” Wade Rafferty squeezed her until she could barely breathe, and then pulled back to look at her, a smile on his handsome face, but concern in his brown eyes.

Peyton sighed and leaned her forehead against Wade’s chest. “God, you have no idea how glad I am to see you.”


Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: An Improper Lover


Maggi Andersen
Genre: Historical
Publisher: Eternal Press
Everything seems very proper on the surface but murder, intrigue and lust embroil Harriett in a very different scene…Lady Harriett Edgerton and her family visit a relative in his country mansion in Kent, England, in the early nineteenth century. Harriett finds herself not only caught up in a murder investigation, but falling in love with the wrong man. Determined not to become an old maid with no romantic dalliances, she plans a night of passion to ensure a scandalous past.
What I liked: This was a great story to read. It reminds me of some of the first romance novels I began reading that were Historical Novels. Anderson does entertain with murder and intrigue in this one. I really liked Lady Harriet's character and love how the book follows her and her life especially when Gerard is near. He brings out the blushes and a new side to Harriet that the reader is privy to. I also liked how Anderson describes the two sisters and two different people, one wanting the bustle of the city and the other not wanting anything to do with it. Anderson's An Improper Lover is a great read, one that a reader can enjoy over and over again.
When the tea arrived, Harriett left her parents to their attempts at a civil conversation and wandered out into the grounds. She had played here as a child when Aunt Elizabeth was alive. It had been a very lively place then. She wandered along a path through the trees dressed in their summer green, recalling how she’d made up stories and narrated them to an audience of birds. A stately old oak tree she used to climb as a child caught her attention. She paused, remembering that Pendleton lay on a rise above a wide, green valley, and the tree offered a wonderful view all the way to the Channel from its topmost branches. She might see the French coast on such a fine day. She looked around. Finding no one in sight, she untied her bonnet and pulled off her taupe kid half-boots. She removed her stockings and tucked them into her shoes, then gathered her cream percale gown up around her knees. Placing a foot on a low branch, she began to climb. She had climbed a good way up and stopped to consider her way forward when a figure rose from the shrubbery below her. He stood examining something in his hand. He looked up and caught sight of her, then shoved it into his pocket. Whipping off his hat he stared up at her in surprise.
“Can that be you, Harry? It must be. Taller, but as skinny as ever.”
From her lofty perch, Harriett took a deep breath. “Gerard.”
“’Tis I.” He came to stand below her. “So, you can still climb that tree.”
“Why ever not?” She put a foot on a lower branch in an attempt to climb down without affording him a scandalous view up her dress but soon found it impossible. “Turn your back, will you?”
He gave a sly look at her bare legs before he turned away. “Are you sure you don’t require my assistance?
“I’ll ask if I do,” she said waspishly. She reached the bottom branch and stood considering whether to jump and possibly fall in a heap at his feet. In the end she swallowed her pride. “You might help me,” she suggested.
Gerard turned around and put up his arms. She leaned over and rested her hands on his broad shoulders. He gripped her waist and lifted her down. For a moment, he held her close against his chest. “Not so scrawny after all,” he said with a grin.
“But you are just as outrageous.” Harriett blushed as his hard male body pressed against hers, his mouth close enough to kiss.

He set her on her feet and stood with legs spread and arms folded, studying her. “You always were tall for a girl.”
In her bare feet, Harriett’s head reached his shoulder and Gerard stood well over six feet. “Too tall for beauty, or so I’m told,” she said pragmatically.
His dark brows rose. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Beholding Gerard, Harriett quite agreed. With his well-shaped mouth and the cleft in his chin, he was quite the handsomest man she had ever set eyes on. She bent to pick up one of her boots.
“Allow me.”
Her cheeks burned. “No. I have to put on my stockings. Would you turn your back again, please?”
“What gentleman would refuse?” He turned his back.
Harriett was securing her garter around her stocking when he turned. She hastily pulled down her dress. “You agreed not to look.”
He grinned. “I didn’t say I was a gentleman. May I assist with your shoes?”
He kneeled at her feet and took hold of her ankle. Harriett’s senses swam at the gentle touch of his fingers as he eased her foot into the shoe and fastened the lace. She almost lost her balance and had to resort to holding on to his shoulder. It felt broad and strong under her fingers, and she quickly let go.

Monday, August 2, 2010

INTERVIEW: Jackie M. Smith

Today I had the privilege of interviewing Jackie M. Smith, author with XOXO Publishing.

Jackie, welcome. Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Canadian romance writer from Montreal, Quebec but born and raised in New Brunswick. I have three younger sisters. I love ice hockey, reading and I’m a big fan of Sex and the City.

What inspires you to write?
Anything and everything inspires me to write. Watching movies, documentaries, reading books or any day-to –day things can inspire me. It only takes a spark and the fire of creativity ignites.
For A Soldier’s Vow out now with XOXO Publishing, it was a WWI documentary on the History Channel that inspired me. Of course, I always take my idea to the next level and ask myself “What if?”

Do you find that your muse takes over when you write?
Definitely. I immerse myself in my story and fall in love with my characters. The hero and heroine take over the story in the middle. And I don’t fight them. They guide me and help me discover who they are and what they go through.

Do you have any works in progress that you want to share?
I do have a new historical romance in the works. This story is set in the late 1890s Klondike Gold Rush. Klondike Winter is about a young woman who must find gold in order to repay her father’s debts after his death. She gets help from her brother’s friend, a unconventional soon-to-be English lord, and together they travel to the Klondike. In my book, my characters learn about themselves, life and love. And of course, I always add some action, adventure and lots of sexual tension.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?
Keep writing. Keep learning. Don’t ever lose your love of writing despite rejection. Build a network with fellow authors and talk with them. They are the best resource when starting out. Ask questions. Don’t be shy or afraid. And get your name out there with the help of social networking.

What are your favorite books at the moment?
At the moment, my favorite book is Knight of Passion by Margaret Mallory. I love historical romances. When I read this book, it takes me back to a time where men were knights in shining armor and chivalry was a code of honor.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite?
My favorite word is passion.

My website:
Buy link:
Blurb for A Soldier’s Vow
Winnie Douglas always loved taking pictures of her family and her hometown. One day, while reading a war magazine, pictures of the soldiers whose strength and courage touched her. With her family's blessing, she journeys to Paris where a French magazine hires her to take pictures of the war.
Henry Whitfield answers the call of duty and travels halfway across the world to fight in the war. Far away from his family and Canadian hometown, he feels the loneliness. On the battlefield, he meets an angel. Afraid she is just a dream, he befriends Winnie.
War brought them together. Will it tear them apart?

Thanks so much for joining us today, Jackie, at The Pen and Muse. The best of luck with your books!

Review & Interview: Frugal and focused Tweeting for Retailers: Tweaking Your Tweets and Other Tips for Integrating Your Social Media by Carolyn Howard-Johnson












































Frugal and focused Tweeting for Retailers: Tweaking Your Tweets and Other Tips for Integrating Your Social Media

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Publisher:HowToDoItFrugally Publishing,

Paperback. 130 pages.

ISBN: 9781451546149

Order at Amazon:


What I liked: Howard - Johnson as a a lot useful and valuable information as to how to use Twitter for those of us trying to make it out here as writers, sellers, etc. She provides all the easy set up and goes through sample processes as to how to use Twitter to our advantage. This is a must read for those of us who write or are in the industry in general where we have to market out goods. From the setup to the other tips and tricks - as to how to integrate your other social media as well as all those different Twitter apps and which ones are better. These are all valuable tools that everyone can benefit from. Howard-Johnson is a talented person and she grants us these Twitter gifts and more. Go ahead and pick up this book, you won't be disappointed!

Book Blurb:

· How to Get Twitter--The Simple Way

· How to Set Up Twitter as a Selling Machine

· What to Say: Sample Tweets and Critiques

· What All Those Links Mean--And Which You Need, Which You Can Safely Avoid

· How to Drive Traffic: Integrating Twitter with Your Other Social Media

· Sample Media Release

· Sample Blog Post

· List of Tried and True Applications for Twitter

· Making Online Life Easy: A Glossary of Important Twitter and Tech Terms

Don’t be fooled by the word Retailers in this title. The book is not exclusive. Retailers also include any author trying to promote their book. This information, as is true of all Howard-Johnson’s acclaimed books for authors, is invaluable to your promotion arsenal. And Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers is all about beating the recession one tweet at a time.

Twitter has become the Web phenomenon of the decade even though many say they “don’t get it,” and even those who think they do "get it" appear to be missing something. Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers will help those with businesses—large or small, online of off, or individual author—use Twitter in ways they never imagined by “doing it right” and integrating their efforts with all the other marketing they do.

This book gives authors and retailers the benefit of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s nearly three decades experience in publishing and as founder and manager of her own chain of stores, a stint as a New York publicist, retail consultant and journalist and a veteran Tweeter (If there can be such a thing as a veteran of such a new concept!). It is the second in the Survive and Thrive series for retailers in her USA Book News award-winning books.

What the professional say about Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers:

“Experts say that when business is slow, the last budget one should trim is advertising. Frugal and Focused Tweets lets a retailer have their promotions online and do it very nearly free.” ~ Robert Ricciardi, President of About Face

“In thirty-five years in the industry, there are only a handful of retailers I have observed reach the success level of Carolyn Howard-Johnson. There is only one thing you need to learn from her to succeed . . . everything she says!” ~ Randy H. Eller, industry speaker, business consultant, and President Eller Enterprises, LLC

“As a columnist for Home Décor Buyer, Carolyn’s no-nonsense approach to retailing and her easy-to-read writing style made her a coach to thousands of retailers.” ~ Jim Carper, founding editor of Home Décor Buyer

“The use of social media by retailers is tricky business. Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers details practical strategies for retailers to connect with their target audience in a way that delights them, builds relationships, and creates a sense of community with people of like interest. It will help you not only drive new traffic to your site, but it will also help you create a loyal following of repeat clients . . . It’s a treasure trove of information." ~ MaAnna Stephenson, Web site training and designs and author of Just the FAQs series of books on tech .

Retailing Bio:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, has nearly three decades of retail experience plus oodles more in the fields of journalism, public relations, publishing, and marketing into this Survive and Thrive series of books. She consults in the three Ps: publishing, promotion and publicity and is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and award-winning books of fiction and poetry.

She founded and operated stores ranging from home décor to gifts to antiques and other collectibles. She owned and operated the souvenir shop at the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. During that time, she served on the boards of directors of the malls where her stores were located, of the boards of cooperative catalogs her stores utilized, and on the board of the California Gift Show. She speaks at retail industry conferences including The National Stationery Show, The California Gift Show, The California Mart and the LA Mart and has written articles for the LA Mart, Home Decor Magazine and others. She puts this world of experience in retailing to work for anyone trying to sell books in this economy with her series of Survive and Thrive books, or in private consultation sessions.

Howard-Johnson was named by members of the California Legislature Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment and American Women Business Association (ABWA) Impact Council’s Woman of the Year.  Find more information on her speaking in the retailing industry and others  here.

Visit her literary pages on this Web site as well as the published works almanac on this site.  Her formal education includes a BA in English Literature from the University of Southern California (USC), a certificate of completion for instructors at UCLA and courses at these universities in writing and editing:

· University of Utah

· Utah State University


· Herzen University, St. Petersburg, RU

· Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

· Cambridge University, Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

· Glendale Community College

Author Bio

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, won eight awards and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, won three. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. A chapbook of poetry, Tracings,was named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads list and was given the Military Writers' Society of America's Silver Award of Excellence. She speaks on Utah’s culture, tolerance and book promotion and editing and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She is an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program and her how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t was named USA Book News’ “Best Professional Book 2004." and the Irwin Award. Her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Successalso won a nod from USA Book News and won Readers' Views Literary Award. Her marketing campaign for that book won the marketing award from New Generation Indie Book Awards.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award and her community's Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly's list of 14 women of "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen."

The author loves to travel and has studied at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal with her wherever she goes.  Her website is:



Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

Oh, dear. I love writing. I love writers. I'm loving helping both retailers and writers with my HowToDoItFrugally books!

What inspires you to write?

I guess about everything. I never get writers' block. There are always stories in my head, poems roiling around on scraps of paper waiting to be typed, and ideas for nonfiction books that will help others waiting to be published. Or edited. Or written.

Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?

Well, most times. Mostly the secret is to put bottom in chair. Push chair up to computer and make fingers push the keys.

Tell us a bit about your Frugal and Focused Tweeting?

Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers is part of my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for retailers. There is a series for writers, too, but in all practical matters, both series work for both groups. That's because marketing is marketing is marketing. The principles are the same. And lots of the specifics can easily be adapted.

What inspired it?

I love Tweeting. And I love marketing--especially fruitful marketing. And I got tired of hearing people say "I don't get tweeting," or "Tweeting isn't my audience," or "Tweeting won't work for me." Especially when I saw how well it can work when it's done right.

Do you have any have any other works in progress that you want to share?

Well, I just published Your Blog, Your Business ( and A Retailer's Guide to In-Store Promotion ( . And a nifty little booklet that is a fun brush-up on some tricky word trippers waiting to humiliate anyone who writes--from business letters, to blogs, to full-blown manuscripts. It is Great Little Editing Tips for Writers ( and it's only $6.95.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?

Not to give up. Not to give up writing and not to give up promoting their writing. The only failures are those who give up.

What are your favorite books at the moment?

I just read FREE: The Future of a Radical Price which has influenced my thinking on some promotions I'm doing.  It's probably still on the Bestseller list. Creative work? I love Marrying George Clooney (by Amy Ferris), a memoir.  And nothing will ever replace To Kill a Mockingbird as my all time modern (?) favorite.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite?

My least favorite are the ones I mistype. I type about 120 words a minute. I know because typing teachers used to measure those things. But I also mistype about 60 words a minute. (-:  My favorite word.  Mmmmm. Acceptance. I use the meaning behind that word in lots of my poetry and fiction.