Monday, 30 September 2013

New Paranormal from Caridad Pinero!

Monday Moments on Features would like to introduce you to the latest work from Caridad Pinero. 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word and in 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released. Over a decade later, Caridad is the author of more than thirty published novels and novellas. When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista.

Caridad’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Caridad's sharing a little of her journey to publication with us today. 
Thank you so much for letting me visit with you, Nancy.
A lot of people ask me when I first realized I wanted to be a writer.  The answer is always the same:  the fifth grade.

People are generally shocked when I say that and I understand.  It’s kind of young to realize what you want to be, but it was one of those awakenings that you never forget.

See, I was always an avid reader.  Precocious even.  By the fifth grade I was already reading Wuthering Heights.  I got all caught up in the saga of Heathcliff and Catherine and hated that it didn’t have a happily-ever-after.

I always wanted the happily-ever-after.  For as long as I could remember, I’d been putting myself to sleep by creating stories in my head.  Tales of romance believe it or not.

And then my fifth grade teacher assigned a project:  to write a 10 typed page book for a class lending library.  The book could be about anything and it wouldn’t be graded. But you did have to do it to pass the class.

I went home and started writing.  I wrote all year long until it was almost time to turn in the book.  My mom helped me type it.  120 pages and I didn’t really get to put the whole story down because I’d run out of time!!  So I hastily cobbled together an ending and turned it in.

It was a big hit with the class and never spent much time on the library shelves.

I knew then that I wanted to be a writer!  When my daughter was born many years later, I decided that it was time to try to get published and although it took several years, I finally was lucky enough to achieve my lifelong dream.

Thanks again for letting me visit and listening to my story.  Now, I’d like to hear yours! Did you follow a lifelong dream?  How did you do it?

I'm not sure about any readers of the blog post, but like you, Caridad, I've always been an avid reader. Unlike you, I had no thoughts at all about being a writer  - beyond what I did to teach the 11-12 year olds in my primary classes. It was only when a teacher friend volunteered me for a non-fiction writing project that I stumbled into the world of published writing.

But let's fnd out about Caridad's newly released novel, 'For Love or Vengeance'.

FBI Special Agent Helene Alexander is a goddess.  An actual frickin’ goddess. And her mission is clear, see that justice is served at all times or her days as a goddess are numbered.
Helene’s new FBI partner defines good-looking, but Miguel Sanchez, wants nothing to do with her ends-justify-the-means attitude. He knows through experience the type of guilt her actions can bring and Miguel wants nothing to do with Helene’s careless ways. Even if she’s so damned hot she makes him burn with the need.

When the serial killer they’re tracking strikes again, Helene and Miguel are drawn into a case that will challenge their most fundamental beliefs about justice and vengeance. But it’s the passion between them that forces a goddess to choose: eternal life with all her powers…or death—to save the man she loves.

Here's a little excerpt to keep you going till you purchase the book! 

“My job was to protect her,” he finally said through a tightness in his chest that threatened to strangle him.

To his shock, she reached up and cradled the side of his face. Her palm was smooth. So smooth. So warm and…comforting. He had never expected that a woman as hard as Helene could offer comfort, but there it was, adding yet another intriguing layer to his partner. That sensation coursed through him, freeing up the tension in his chest so he could breathe again.

“It was her time. Nothing you did could have changed that,” she said with absolute certainty.

Her words resonated within him, bringing unexpected peace as if she were a priest who had just granted him absolution.

He brushed his hand against the thick waves of her hair and urged them away from her cheek. Then he dug his fingers into their softness, cupped her jaw, and tracked his thumb along the edge of her mouth.

“Thank you,” he said, at a loss to find any other words to express what he was feeling. Knowing in his gut that there was only one thing that might.

He leaned forward until her warm breath spilled against his lips. Her gaze filled with part surprise and part anticipation. A heartbeat later, he allowed insanity to take over.

* * * *

Helene’s breath became trapped in her chest as Miguel closed the distance between them and covered her mouth with his.

Craziness, she thought for a millisecond before all that he was—all that goodness and honor and sexiness—made her lose her head. Her supposedly more powerful refined goddess senses didn’t stand a chance against the wonder of his kiss.

He moved lightly against her mouth, an invitation rather than a command, as if knowing the latter would have been refused. Tentatively she accepted, meeting the sweep of his lips and deepening the contact. She opened her mouth to taste him and permit his exploration as he eased the tip of his tongue in to graze hers.

She moaned with need and the unexpected desire he aroused. The sound was loud in the quiet of the room. So loud it awakened them from whatever insanity had possessed them, breaking them apart.

They were both breathing heavily as she stood there, her fists clenched against the desire to reach for him again.

Someone walking in might have assumed they were fighting. And maybe they were. She was definitely fighting—for control.

He spoke first. “I’m sorry, Helene. That was out of line.”

“No need to apologize. We’re both adults and desire is a natural thing,” she said, attempting to downplay her fear that it had been much more than passion that had brought them together.

It worked. Miguel wasn’t the kind of man who indulged in desire just for desire’s sake. That would be too shallow. His lips—those mobile, engaging lips that had only seconds before brought her such pleasure—became a pencil-thin line.

“It won’t happen again,” he said, and before she could utter another word, he stalked from the room.

Very intriguing, Caridad....

For Love or Vengeance Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books   

Entangled Publishing – ignite imprint
Publication Date: September 23, 2013 

Best wishes with your launch, of 'For Love or Vengeance' Caridad!


Thursday, 26 September 2013


I just finished reading LADY GWENDOLYN by Magnolia Belle. This was the best medieval romantic adventure I've read for quite a while- definitely the best this year!

The writing and editing was superb and my congratulations go to the team who produced it. I find the cover design beautiful, too.

Here's what I thought about the novel:

Magnolia Belle plunges the reader immediately into a dangerous journey, one that is fraught with deception and treachery. Yet, this initial journey is only one of many - betrayal and a degree of confusion a continuing thread throughout the plot.

Lady Gwendolyn and her maids - Madeleine and Ruth - are set upon, abducted and  embroiled in a trap that becomes filled with all the horror and bloodshed that the Middle Ages was famous for. At times, the current situation calls on characters, main and secondary, to act according to their conscience though they are torn about doing their duty to their liege lord. In Lord Richard’s case, he has some maturing to do very quickly to ensure the best for the people who are under his care…and for the lady he genuinely loves.

The detail throughout the novel is vivid and richly accurate, the locations straddling the border between Scotland and England. Magnolia Belle has created very believable characters, the developing relationships indicating just how constraining the era was in many ways regarding who might marry whom – according to their station and their contractual duties. I was very taken by the character of Beowyn, someone to rely on and wholeheartedly trust. Others were tainted, (no spoiler names here) and yet were redeemable. The little twists at the end bring the plot to a nice and tidy closure.

A very well written and well edited novel, I can thoroughly recommend Lady Gwendolyn to lovers of the medieval era

I gave this novel a well deserved 5 *****

About Magnolia Belle:

My pen name "Magnolia Belle" came from a dream of one day owning a riverboat that offered dinner, sultry jazz and hot R&B while floating down the Mississippi. Realizing I didn't have the millions it'd take to get that dream off the ground, I took the name to write under. I figured it'd be one hard to forget. Plus, it's as southern as I am.
I live in Texas with my husband and our 'pack' of fuzzy children (aka dogs). Before that, I grew up in a military family and lived all across the US and in the Orient. In 1977, I got married and in 1978 I graduated with a degree in Accounting. Yeah, I know. BIG leap from accountant to novelist.
I started my company, "Black Wolf Books" in 2005 as a venue to publish and sell my work. The name "Black Wolf" comes from the first series of 5 novels I've written (and am still working on).
My characters become very real to me, and I often find myself not writing, but rather taking dictation as they tell me their stories. That's also why I tend to write in series of novels. My characters are a gabby bunch!
I hope you'll take the time to meet them. You'll probably fall in love with them just like I have, fuss at them when they do something stupid and cheer them on when they face a hard challenge. When you reach "The End" you'll feel like you've acquired a new set of friends.
All my best!

You can find details of all of Magnolia Belle's books on her Amazon Author Page

Monday, 23 September 2013

Sweet Treason - Brand New Release!

Today, I'm featuring Sweet Treason by Gail Ranstrom, which was launched yesterday!

Gail's on tour just now but has taken time out to answer some questions so that we can get to know her.  

She's also including a spectacular *giveaway* during her tour, so keep reading and look out for the details below.

Hello, Gail. Take yourself back 20 years and tell us if you had any aspirations to become an author at that time.
Twenty years ago?  Hmm.  I was an avid reader and often wished I could create worlds and stories as brilliant as those I read, but I was pretty busy just trying to take care of my family and keep the bills paid.

That sounds exactly like me, Gail. What were you mainly doing as a daily occupation at that time?
In 1993, I lived in the greater LA area and had just transitioned from an Advertising Account Coordinator and PR writer to an Assistant Commercial Property Manager.  The best job changes I ever made!

And today? How do you mainly spend an average day?
I have an empty nest now, so I do whatever calls to me.  Mostly I write.  But writing also includes editing, researching, networking, reading and trying to keep up with the industry.  So I’m never too far from my computer and my cell phone. 

Again a very typical 'authorly' day. Now jump forward 20 years from today. What do you think you’d like to be doing then?
Lounging on a pristine Florida beach with my feet in the warm gulf water and an umbrella drink in my hand. Of course, I’ll have a notebook nearby and I’ll be plotting my next epic.  The nice thing about being a writer is that you can do it until you drop.  No one can fire you or retire you.

Lounging on a warm beach sounds quite fantastic to me, since Scotland is getting very autumnal. What’s your preferred genre for reading material?
Romantic Mystery/Suspense – in all its forms: contemporary, historical, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, futuristic, inspirational...all of it!

What genre/ sub-genre do you feel comfortable writing in?
I love writing Historicals.  Mostly the Regency sub-genre, but all historicals.  I’m comfortable there.  However, I’ve just gotten the bug to try my hand at a contemporary, but I worry that my ‘voice’ might be too formal for that.  After I get the next historical off my desk, I’m thinking of trying to write a ...hmm, not quite futuristic and not quite paranormal, but a contemporary story where genetic research has opened the door for amazing possibilities, which are highly classified.

I write in many genres, too,  but also feel very comfortable writing my historical work. What do you think will be the main reading materials within the next decade? Books, some form of portable tablets?
I really hope print books will not go away entirely, but the wave of the future is definitely electronic.  I read on my phone, then got a tablet, and finally an e-reader/mini tablet (7” Kindle Fire HD). The convenience can’t be beat—you can hold an entire library in your hand and you don’t have to destroy trees!—and the versatility will only get better and better.  I would expect that in five years, there will be a single device that does everything, and those of us who love the smell of printer’s ink will just have to get an app for that.

I'm sure someone will invent the sensory experience! In recent years there’s been a movement towards popular cult-type stories- sometimes driven by what’s been popular on TV and the cinema, like Vampire, shifter, time-shift sub-genres. What do you see as being the ideal focus to capture the imagination in 5 years time?
I hope we’ll still have the current variety in choices, but I think dystopian world story lines will continue to increase.  There seems to be an air of impending doom these days, and I’m certain some amazing stories will grow out of that.

Can you give us an idea of what your writing schedules might be like during the remainder of 2013 and on to 2014?
I’ll be finishing the book that’s half way done and then I might turn my attention to that contemporary.  Or I might stay in my comfort zone and write another historical.  Many of my readers have asked me to continue the Wednesday League series.

Fast and furious now:
Ice cream or chocolate cake?  Ice cream

Home made lemonade or rum cocktails?  Rum cocktail

Cycling tour of France or a beach holiday in the Caribbean?  Beach in the Caribbean

A date with a politician or a date with Gerard Butler?  Hate politics.  Gerard Butler!

Children or pets?  Children

Brilliant answers, Gail. Thank you!

Gail has been a seamstress making waitress uniforms for a German Beer Garden, Inventory Clerk at the UofM, an Advertising Account Coordinator and PR writer in a crazy high pressure office, and a Commercial Property Manager in the Los Angeles area. In between, she’s partnered in an Antique business—don’t ask her about Antique Auctions.
Finally, she was tempted by a vocation where she was in control of the next crisis, and could solve it, too—writing.  She is the author of ten novels, three novellas and a brand new release, SWEET TREASON, from Entangled Publishing.

Gail’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

Passion and deadly secrets…
On the run from British troops, American Revolutionary War spy Ryan Straughn forces Emily Nevins to hide him on her English farm. But Emily already keeps secrets that could mean her demise if discovered. Nevertheless as the long night wears on, attraction sizzles and they give in to unexpected passion, sure they’ll never see each other again…
Deception and desire…
A chance encounter in London society stirs heated memories of their sensual night together. They begin a heady dance of suspicion and desire. Though sympathetic to the struggling Colonists, Emily cannot trust a traitorous spy who may expose her dangerous intrigues. And Ryan risks his very life by trusting a woman privy to his true loyalties. But they are unable to deny their need for one another, even as Emily’s secrets are about to be exposed, and the noose around Ryan’s neck grows tighter.
Betrayal and love…
And now someone has discovered both their secrets. The price of silence? Betrayal. Of their causes, their love, their futures. In the end, lives will be lost and sacrifices made. Their choice is impossible. Which will they surrender—their lives…or their hearts?

Sweet Treason Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books

*Gail's GIVEAWAY* 

FIRST PRIZE  $20 Amazon giftcard, 3 books by Gail
SECOND PRIZE  2 books by Gail, 1 Swarovski Crystal Book mark by Gail
THIRD PRIZE  1 book by Gail, 1 Swarovski Crystal bookmark by Gail

And Gail has also shared a great excerpt with us today:  

The stranger lowered his head further to leave a path of soft insistent kisses from her earlobe to the well of her shoulder blade. The sensation was like nothing she’d felt before—intimate, urging, almost desperate. Heaven help her, Emily wanted more. He slipped his hand down her back, molding her against him. The hot, hard bulge pressing against her belly ignited an answering heat in hers. Naughty. Wicked. Exciting…

He asked a question, his voice a deep vibration that reached to her toes. Her very flesh tingled, sending shivers of delight through her. Her breasts ached and became exquisitely tender. She gasped as he drew her even closer, his large hands moving along her spine.

“Yes…,” she sighed, affirming her suspicion that this man’s arms would be heaven.

“Sweet…” His voice was hoarse with desire as he lifted his head to speak as he brushed across her lips. “Are you the most courageous woman I know…or the most reckless?”

Reckless. Unconscionably reckless…

He nudged her robe open with his chin and lowered his mouth to the slope of one aching breast. She caught her breath and choked back another gasp when he captured one tingling crown with his lips and tugged gently. She tangled her fingers through his dark hair to hold him close. The sensation was so foreign, yet so completely delicious, that she wanted it to go on forever. She sighed. “Tell me your…name, sir, that I…may know who my dreams…”

“You mock me?” he growled.

She gave a soft, husky laugh at his pretended outrage.

The deep vibration of his voice against her skin sent shock waves along her spine.

“By all that is holy…I must be mad! Were it any night but tonight, I’d sweep this desk clear and take you here and now.”

Emily fervently wished it were any other night. She’d have yielded him anything—everything—when he nibbled a greedy path back up her neck and cherished the tender flesh at the hollow of her throat before lifting his head.

He brushed tendrils of hair back from her cheeks with this thumbs. “Now that you’ve seen my face, my only safety—and yours—lies in the fact that you do not know who I am.”

She did not bother to deny his accusation. But betrayal had been the furthest thing from her mind. She caught her breath on a gasp as he slipped his hand up her bare thigh, exposed in the gap of her robe.

She struggled free of his arms and moved away, fighting to regain her composure and recall the true nature of this man.

Blood-red splotches on his shirt sleeve reminded her that this man had murdered someone this very night. She would be fortunate if she escaped with her life. She pushed him away to gather her robe more closely around her. This had to end before she forgot herself again. She was breathless when she spoke. “Your ten minutes are up, sir. If you are a man of your word, you will leave.”

Thank you for visiting, Gail, and best wishes with your tour.


Friday, 20 September 2013

My thoughts on A Guide To Becoming Distinctly Average

I've recently finished reading 'a guide to becoming distinctly average' by Amy Elliot-Smith. (Crooked Cat Publishing)

I didn't find this book easy to read at first, wasn't even sure if I could continue after the first 20% or so, but I'm glad I carried on.
At that early point of reading, I didn't find the snippets of daily life particularly appealing and nor were they LOL to me- but then, I have very little sense of humour. I'm pleased I carried on reading, though, since it seemed to grow on me after that point. I will never be able to say I thoroughly enjoyed it, since I'm not sure how anyone could, given the subject matter, but I very much repect the writing.

How much is truly autobiographical, and how much invented, may only be divulged by the author, though I think there is a little of that loneliness in everyone. It's how we deal with it which makes the human race such varied characters.

The gregariousness of some people may be hiding a nature that borders on manic depression, yet, it's what they do to pull themselves out of 'the slough of despond' that makes them the person they are, and loved by whomever does the loving.

In 'a guide to becoming distinclty average' I interpret that even 2 years of adult therapy may only impact on the attendee's bank balance, and am glad I've never had to fork out those expenses -f  though I've never needed to. that's not to say there ahve not been times in my life which have 'sucked' or that I've never felt a tad depressed. We all do, but it's the matter of how much we allow it to rule our other daily actions which seems paramount to being averagely depressed...or worse.

I'm very glad never to have been in situations as are depicted in the novel - though I do have to be honest and say as an adolescent I remember contriving to be in certain areas just in case a boy I'd taken a 'fancy to' might just be somewhere near. As a thirty something, that is likely to be construed as an event of an entirely different nature!

My thoughts as expressed on Amazon, Goodreads and in the Crooked Cat Publishing Bookstore:

This is an excellent piece of writing, the language flowing around a deeply disturbing subject. Parts of it are humorous and others are downright cheerless. I'm truly not sure what to say about the two years of therapy sessions - were they just time and money wasted? The journey through life seems like it really needs to be ridden on the open top deck of a bus, and not the back seat of the downstairs area. Witty, cringingly sad and a very poignant way has what seems like a pointless ending. Though, of course, it's not!

I gave it 5 stars

This award winning book will appeal to many, and I challenge you to read it for yourself. (Beryl Bainbridge Prize). 

Saturday, 14 September 2013


99cents/ 77pence 

It's the end of summer in Edinburgh, Scotland, home of my publisher Crooked Cat Publishing.

Since people need to stock up on e-books for the colder nights ahead, they have decided on a SALE of ALL Crooked Cat books this week on Amazon, from 13th September to the 20th September. 

There's a fantastic selection to choose from, as well as my own historical THE BELTANE CHOICE,  and my ancestral mystery TOPAZ EYES
See my books at my author pages Amazon UK
and Amazon US

Pop over to the Crooked Cat Bookstore to see everything else that's on offer from the fantastic selection- books of all fiction genres. Choose on the Crooked Cat site and then buy on Amazon at 99 cents / 77 pence! 


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Slayer by Cindy Dees

The Slayer by Cindy Dees
is part of the Time Raiders series for Mills and Boon Nocture line.

I looked forward to reading this novel, the back blurb of which, indicated the main character would time travel back to the Persian Empire and Ancient Greece. In general, I tend to be disappointed that there isn't enough historical details in many historical romances, but this novel kept my interest so well that even if there hadn't been enough historical detail I would maybe not have noticed the lack.

However, Cindy Dees' writing is so well done that plenty of historical details mesh with the modern in this time travel, the sci-fi fantasy/magical elements also well incorporated. 

The plot is fast paced, the story interesting and enjoyable. Prince Rustam is a character I'd love to see in the 'flesh'- enough said! Tessa is fiesty enough, but not quite so appealing to me.

(I did wonder where Cindy Dees got the name Rustam from. Sohrab and Rustum, a poem by Matthew Arnold, is the nearest I've ever heard to that name. If she names a character in a follow on novel to The Slayer as a version of Sohrab, then I'll hve my answer.)

I didn't buy this novel from Amazon so my thoughts are posted only on this blog.

I give it a strong 4 and a half stars.