Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review: For Gods and For Men by James R. Johnson

For Gods and For Men (Lifeblood Saga, #1)For Gods and For Men by James R. Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What were the main relationships explored in this book? Marcus - Priscus - Sedjet. The story explores all angles of Marcus' relationships with others as he goes about his quest of saving the world. I loved the dark feel of the book although the cover doesn't seem to relate to the story and I think a more appealing cover would do wonders for the story.

3 things I liked about the book … I loved the concept. The book description states it is epic written in a unique setting and time frame. This is definitely what you get from the story. The use of immortality and how Marcus deals with. Death scares many of us but immortality seems to bring its own set of problems as well. Lastly, I liked the ending. Although it is not open ended, it enables the reader to reflect on the story they have just read.

Favourite character(s) … Marcus, obviously. He starts off trying to find out more about himself but by the end realises that he has more strength and knowledge than he knows. Whether he is comfortable with this is a different story, but there's more than one story in this book and this is why I liked it.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Orangeberry Book Tours – Love & Other Subjects by Kathleen Shoop

For every woman who wonders if she chose the right career…

In Love and Other Subjects Carolyn Jenkins strives for two things—to be the greatest teacher ever and to find true love. She’s as skilled at both as an infant trying to eat with a fork. Carolyn’s suburban upbringing and genuine compassion for people who don’t fit effortlessly into society are no match for weapon-wielding, struggling students, drug-using colleagues, and a wicked principal.

Meanwhile, her budding relationship with a mystery man is thwarted by his gaggle of eccentric sisters. Carolyn depends on her friends to get her through the hard times, but with poverty-stricken children at her feet and a wealthy man at her side, she must define who she is. The reality of life after college can be daunting, the road to full-fledged adulthood long and unscripted. Can Carolyn take control and craft the life she’s always wanted?

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Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG15

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Orangeberry Free Alert - Swimming with Maya - Eleanor Vincent

Swimming with Maya - Eleanor Vincent
Genre - Memoir
Rating - PG13
Free until 1 April 2013
Previously available only in hardcover, Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent - and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter.
Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor's life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya's fate.
Ultimately Eleanor chooses to donate Maya's organs. Years later, she is able to hear Maya's heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as Eleanor's traumatic life as a child and young woman. In a story that has been called "heartbreaking and heart-healing," Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one's balance after unthinkable tragedy.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Orangeberry Spring Fling - Dark Lady of Doona by Christine Frost

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Known as “Granía of the Gamblers,” Granía O’Malley makes a high-stakes bet to buy her freedom and the ability to continue her livelihood as pirate queen on Ireland’s west coast. She enters into a dangerous agreement with Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, and soon finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue that is plunging her country, as well as her family, into chaos. 

At war with a cruel governor while serving as one of Walsingham’s many spies, Granía struggles to maintain stability within her family and fleet and provide an enduring legacy for her heir to the seas. A story full of adventure and passion, Dark Lady of Doona portrays the life of a formidable woman who defied traditions by commanding her own fleet of ships and leading her loyal followers into rebellion.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction (R)
Connect with Christine Frost on Facebook & Twitter

Orangeberry Free Alert - Black Hole Sun - David Macinnis Gill

No one, except Durango.

Genre - YA

Rating - PG13

4.0 (20 reviews)

Free until 1 April 2013

Mars stinks.

IThe air reeks of burning fuel; the rivers and lakes seethe with sulfur. In the shadows, evil men plot terror and beasts hunt the innocent. Out on the barren crags of the terraformed planet, there is nowhere to hide. No one to heed a call for help.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day - The Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan

Murdered artists. Masterful forgeries.
Art crime at its worst.

A straightforward murder investigation quickly turns into a quagmire of stolen Eurocorps weapons, a money-laundering charity, forged art and high-ranking EU officials abusing their power.

As an insurance investigator and world renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Dr Genevieve Lenard faces the daily challenge of living a successful, independent life. Particularly because she has to deal with her high functioning Autism. Nothing - not her studies, her high IQ or her astounding analytical skills - prepared her for the changes about to take place in her life.

It started as a favour to help her boss' acerbic friend look into the murder of a young artist, but soon it proves to be far more complex. Forced out of her predictable routines, safe environment and limited social interaction, Genevieve is thrown into exploring the meaning of friendship, expanding her social definitions, and for the first time in her life be part of a team in a race to stop more artists from being murdered.

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Genre - Mystery
Rating – PG13
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Connect with Estelle Ryan on Facebook

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Orangeberry Spring Fling - Playing the Genetic Lottery by Terri Morgan

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"Caitlin’s story touched me deep in my soul" ~ Marina

"Terri Morgan's depictions of the disorder are realistic as well as haunting." ~ Allizabeth Collins

At fifteen, Ava ran away from home and changed her name to Caitlin to escape the chaotic childhood of having two schizophrenic parents. However, she lives with the constant fear of what lies in her DNA. Will she succumb to the disease that robbed her of a normal childhood? Will her children be the next victims of the family curse?

"its a roller-coaster ride of emotions" ~ Sandra

Looking for an emotional and touching story of human strength and overcoming obstacles? Read Terri Morgan's fictional memoir PLAYING THE GENETIC LOTTERY.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Fictional Memoir (PG13)
Connect with Terri Morgan on Facebook

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Only A Glow (The White Warrior) by Nichelle Rae

What if the world was ending? What if only you had the power to save it? And what if your power wasn't in your control? Welcome to Azrel's dilemma. "Only A Glow" is the first book in an epic new fantasy series, The White Warrior. Join Azrel, her brother Rabryn, and her best friend Ortheldo as they journey across their land to try to save the world from another age of the Shadow Gods rule. Along the way they try to find out what's wrong with Azrel's magic, because her magic is the only power that will cause the Shadow Gods to stumble and fail.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Epic Fantasy 
Rating – PG13
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Connect with Nichelle Rae on Facebook & Twitter

Orangeberry Spring Fling - Tongues of Angels by Julia Park Tracey

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Author Julia Park was married to a Roman Catholic priest for several years and heard many stories of wonder and woe. From those tales comes a novel, Tongues of Angels, an insider's view of the Catholic Church and the priesthood as it stands today.Tongues of Angels:Meet Rob Souza as he faces the challenges of the priesthood-gossip, innuendo, church politics, public scandals-and Jessica, a young woman with a secret past. Meet Lawrence, Rob's best friend, a gay priest who somehow becomes the third in this odd love triangle. While Jessica finds hope and healing, Rob and Lawrence discover that, despite their best intentions, a promise of celibacy is hard to keep. Tongues of Angels offers a peek behind the curtain of the priesthood, offering a funny, poignant look at Catholic angst and ambiguity. Based on a true story, Tongues of Angels is a canny, warm and surprisingly spiritual novel for our time.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Romantic Suspense (PG13)
Connect with Julia Park Tracey on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - Temptation (Under Mr.. Nolan's Bed) - Selena Kitt


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Genre - Romance

Rating - MA

4.4 (29 reviews)

Free until 29 March 2013

"Lead us not into temptation..." ~Matthew 6:13
What happens when you fall in love with your best friend's father?
Leah is a good, Catholic girl, and she and Erica have been best friends since their first communion. Sure, Erica's father is handsome and charming, but Leah spends so much time at the Nolan's--just Erica and her famous, photographer father now, since Erica's mother died--that she's practically part of the family.
Both girls have led privileged, sheltered lives and are on the "good girl" track at St. Mary Magdalene's Preparatory College, Leah pursuing her love of dance and Erica sating her endless curiosity as editor of the newspaper. Neither of them could have ever imagined that one fateful discovery will not only push the boundaries of their strict, repressive upbringing, but the bonds of their friendship as well.
Leah certainly never could have imagined finding herself torn between her best friend and her best friend's father. Sure, Leah's mother had always talked about Mr. Nolan as "a catch," but Leah herself had never thought of him as anything other than just Erica's dad--until the girls discover something darkly erotic under Mr. Nolan's bed, a deep, shameful secret that will not only lead them into temptation, but will deliver them into a far greater revelation than any of them could ever have imagined.

She danced with the memories, she danced the sin and shame of her own lust, the final acquiescence to her body's need, and the sweet triumph of reaching that peak. The dance was hers now, no longer anything she had learned. It was the pure expression of her essence, every feeling and thought that had been running through her head on some endless loop.
When she finally collapsed in a heap in the middle of the floor, breathless and panting, she felt like crying, as if her body had been filled to bursting and it must now have some sort of deliverance. The dance she had hoped would exhaust and deplete her had simply served to energize her further. Leah lifted her head, opening her eyes slowly, and saw him standing there in the shadows, like a dream.
Her heart fluttered to her throat like a trapped butterfly and her hand leapt there, as if she could catch it. He was watching her, just outside of the circle of lamplight, leaning against one of the tall supports she and Erica used to dance around that ran floor to ceiling throughout the warehouse.
"Mr. Nolan?"
She heard the click of his throat as he swallowed dryly. "You're so beautiful."
The look on his face was the one straight from her imagination, like he worshipped her, and at the same time, like the big bad wolf accosting an innocent red riding hood, like he wanted to eat her all up.
"I didn't mean to wake you." Her voice was barely a whisper. "I just... couldn't sleep..."
"So fucking beautiful."
She was stunned to silence, lips parted with words she couldn't speak, staring at him as he took a step toward her, the light on his face now, a wolfish look in his eyes making her skin bristle all over. She had never heard Mr. Nolan swear before. Ever.
"Leah..." Her name on his lips was like a caress. His gaze moved over her, no tights, no leg warmers, no toe shoes. He'd seen her like this a hundred times of course, but she had never felt so naked. The look on his face changed when he met her wide eyes. She saw the emotions cross his features, from horror and shame to something like anger. "Jesus. Go to bed."

Orangeberry Book Of The Day – Playing Nice by Rebekah Crane

Martina “Marty” Hart is really nice. At least, that’s what people think.

It’s Marty’s junior year at Minster High. Minster’s a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances–including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration–gets you … what? Marty’s not sure.

Instead of dreaming about a sororities-and-frats future at nearby University of Michigan, she’s restless, searching for a way out of the box her controlling mother and best frenemy Sarah have locked her in. When Lil–don’t call her Lily!–Hatfield transfers to Minster, Marty gets her chance. Lil’s different. She smokes, wears black, listens to angry punk records, and lives in a weird trailer with her mother. Lil has secrets–secrets that make her a target for all the gossiping and online bullying Minster can muster. But so does Marty. And Marty sees something different in Lil. Something honest. Something real.

Playing Nice is the achingly real story of a girl who’s been following the rules for so long she’s forgotten who she was when she started. It’s about falling in love with the wrong people and not seeing the right ones, about the moments in life when you step out of line, take a chance … and begin to break free.

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Genre – Young Adult / Bullying

Rating – PG13

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Website http://rebekahcrane.tumblr.com/

Orangeberry Book Tours – ‘Til the Last Drop by Marquis Boone

It is February of 2000, and Arthur and Valencia Todd and their twelve-year- old daughter, Lindsy, are living very happily—until Valencia receives a life- changing phone call. Life deals her a crisis that requires a miracle of biblical proportion.

Six months later, Valencia’s life is still in shambles. As she walks on a path lined with grief, frustration, illness, and loneliness, Valencia is too frightened to seek help from doctors, on whom she quietly blames her mother’s premature death. As she prays for answers, nothing seems to heal her persistent medical condition, prompting Valencia to plummet down a dark tunnel of despair. Desperate for answers, Valencia draws inspiration from the worn pages of her mother’s Bible, fueled by an unyielding determination to find healing. But three years later, as she is led to the doors of a holistic center where she believes she will finally be helped, Valencia helplessly watches as her life disintegrates once again—completely unaware that the Holy Spirit is waiting to comfort her.

’Til the Last Drop is the inspirational story of one woman’s journey to the truth as she learns to listen to her heart, never give up, and, above all, trust in God.

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Genre – Religious Fiction

Rating – PG

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Review: The Hunter's Son (JC Mather, #1) by B.E. Jewell

The Hunter's Son (JC Mather, #1)The Hunter's Son by B.E. Jewell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What were the main relationships explored in this book? JC - James / JC - Abby / JC - Chuck / JC - Paris - James. The book is centred on JC's relationships with others and I think, as his life changes, he reflects on these relationships and realises which are more important than others.
3 things I liked about the book … It was about witches and slayers. It was well-written and absolutely entertaining. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Favourite character(s) … Of course, JC was my favorite. The reader grows and feels with him. I love to know what inspired the author to portray JC the way he did.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Orangeberry Spring Fling – I Have People by Taylor Dean






ihavepeople thumb

Holly Sinclair is happily married to the love of her life, Gabriel. Young and in love, Holly hopes to have their first child soon. Of course, Gabriel wants to wait till Holly’s health is restored, much to Holly’s dismay. She feels perfectly fine. So what if she just woke up from an eight-month coma? So what if some of her memories are missing? She remembers Gabe and that’s all that matters, right?

That is, until HE enters her life again . . . she forgot about HIM.

Buy at Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance (PG13)

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Website - http://www.taylordeanbooks.com/


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Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Retta Heikkinen knows the unspoken rule of society: love between androids and humans is forbidden. A simple enough edict until Hemingway Koskinen spends an evening charming her with his intense gaze, bewitching smile, and sparkling conversation that hints at so much more than the usual obsessions of high school boys. Rules were meant to be cast aside, especially when love beckons.

If only it were as simple as being in love.

Trouble is brewing, not just for Hemingway--for all androids. Secrets have been kept, lies propagated, and Retta soon discovers that a frightening future awaits thousands of androids if she doesn’t do something to stop it. Worse yet, she will lose the one love she’s ever endangered herself for: Hemingway.


"Nothing like I've read before. A true original story! Everything is so well described. Now if they could make a follow up book and movie, that would be great!" ~Mrs. Z (Amazon)

"I was addicted to this book from the beginning. Life on Mars was very real and not at all a sci fi world I didn't understand . . . I found myself rooting for Retta and Hemingway from the very beginning. Easy reading, couldn't put it down and had it read in a weekend. Waiting for a sequel!" ~TNielsen (Amazon)

"The ending of this book is exceptional. While it was different from what I imagined, the way the author brought in a shocking revelation was amazing. I probably reread the last chapter 3 times letting it sink in and the meaning behind it. It was truly beautiful . . . I would love to see more of Retta and Hemingway!" ~Kat Meyer, (Goodreads)

"I love how the author populated Mars . . . so descriptive and comprehensive . . . I could clearly picture everything as if I was seeing the movie &/or was along for the ride. . . . Retta, the main character, is strong, opinionated, and a great champion for her cause." ~Megan (Amazon)

"I had been in the worst reading slump ever and came across this on Goodreads and thought I'd give it a try. Well, I was pleasantly surprised on how funny and exciting and mysterious it was . . . Mei, Retta's bff, had me laughing out loud quite a bit as well as Retta herself. I'd definitely hang out with those two." ~Deanneluvbooks (Goodreads)

Blue Hearts of Mars has made it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Readers are invited to download the excerpts (here) and rate and comment on the entries. So please, if you want to contribute, download and rate Blue Hearts! Your support is incredibly appreciated!

Or purchase the full version of the book here: Amazon

Author Nicole Grotepas

Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time.


Tour Schedule

Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/14/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Orangeberry Book Tours – The Hunter’s Son by BE Jewell

Another work-related move has brought JC Mather and his father to the small town of Hawthorne Valley, Michigan. JC has resigned himself to another short, friendless stay in a drab rental house until he meets Abbie, a mysterious and electric blonde who turns his world upside down.

JC rejects his fate as a social outcast and begins to blossom–until a series of unfortunate events reveal the truth about his family’s history, his father’s real job, and his mother’s untimely death. These secrets will lead JC to question everything he thought he knew, and he will be forced to decide whether his life will be guided by love, family, or a centuries-old organization bent on destroying the things that go bump in the night.

The Hunter’s Son is a supernatural thriller exploring the dynamics between father and son, the power of love, the crippling effects of fear, and one’s ability to control their own fate.

The Hunter’s Son is the first book in the J.C. Mather series.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA Supernatural Thriller

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with BE Jewell on Twitter

Website http://www.jewellbe.com/

Blog http://jewellbe.blogspot.com/

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Orangeberry Book Tours – So Much Time, So Little Change by Thomas Sullivan

Life is full of strange and awkward events seemingly designed to annoy us. To Thomas Sullivan, these trials and tribulations are actually meant to entertain us. Within these pages you’ll encounter a guy who finds humor in:•Searching for a cozy, old-school barber in a gentrifying neighborhood, but landing at a frantic corporate salon that smells like a meth lab.•Running late for a flight, only to find himself on The Terrorist Watch List.

•Watching The Peoples Court with a stranger in the world’s gloomiest bar.

•Surviving condemnation from the hard-working folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

•Fixing up a house when he knows nothing about home improvement.

•And much, much more wonderful absurdity.

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Genre – Humourous Essays

Rating – PG

Connect with Thomas Sullivan on Twitter & Google Plus

Website http://www.thomassullivanhumor.com/

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Author Interview – Marquis Boone

What is your favorite quality about yourself? – I would defiantly have to say that I am a people person and easy to get to know. People really like talking to me, I guess because I am a great listener.

What is your favorite color? My fav color will have to be blue but I am a huge fan of earth tones.

What is your favorite food? Don’t laugh but my favorite food is ice cream. I just love ice cream if you consider that a true food lol.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? My favorite place in the entire world is my home :) I really enjoy being at home since I travel so much every week.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I have always been a fan of English. Even though I have a hard time speaking it sometimes lol. English was my favorite subject so it all started there in a class in high school and my teacher really enjoyed my writing and helped push me into developing my writing more.

How long have you been writing? I have been writing since I have been in grade school. But I would have to say that I have been writing professionally since I was in about 9th grade.

What inspires you to write and why? life really inspires me to write. I think everyday just living and dealing with people everyday, I find that people want answers and hearing their stories cause me to explore the unknown and makes me start to write.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Religious Fiction

Rating – PG

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Maggie Harryman – Why I Published my Novel


Why I’m still happy—six months later—I self published my debut novel, Here Among Us.

by Maggie Harryman

When I think back to how I felt when I finished writing Here Among Us, one word comes to mind— and it isn’t elated, gratified or proud.  It’s depressed.

Let me explain.

I’d spent years writing the book, had it professionally edited… twice (and there were still typos!). Had it read by two of my most respected writer friends (one a well-published poet, the other a published and award-winning novelist), let it sit for six months and then went through it again. I believed in it deeply. When I asked myself if I was sure I’d written the best possible book I could write and the answer was yes, I knew I was ready.  I began looking for an agent.

I set about compiling lists of agents, reading every “how to find an agent” website I could and generally trying to determine what to say in my query. I felt reasonably confident about writing the query. I’m a working copywriter, so writing sales copy—essentially what a query is—was pretty much second nature.

So why was I depressed?

It took me a while of feeling down to figure out that after more than four years of writing and refining this novel, I was deeply unhappy that the second leg of the journey involved completely giving up control of my work. It wasn’t that I felt I deserved an easier path than other writers before me, and I certainly didn’t resent the idea of jumping through hoops until I signed with an agent.  My depression had to do with time; the entire process could take anywhere from several months to a full year or more and even then, there was no guarantee that my agent would find a publisher.

I was chastened by stories like a gifted writer friend lived through. A few years back, after months of sending out queries, she’d found a well-known New York agent who was excited about her beautifully written memoir chronicling her years in the circus. After a valiant, twelve-month effort to place the book, and despite serious interest on the part of several publishers, not to mention significant praise for the writing style and story, the agent came up short.

When I thought about the possibility of investing that much time for zero results, I felt depressed.

Do I want to compete with Snooki?

I asked myself to be realistic about the likelihood of an agent placing my book. I was an unknown who had written a literary novel (not easy to sell under the best of circumstances).  I had no platform and no track record of previous sales (anyway, even if I had been published, without adequate sales, I could still be passed over).

Depending on the month, the NY Times bestseller list brimmed with books by celebrities like Snooki and Kris Kardashian. Looking at the list of bestsellers, I got even more depressed, because let’s face it, if the big publishers were looking for ROI, they weren’t going to publish me. It looked to me like traditional publishers were only interested in reality tv stars, sports figures and the Dan Browns and Stephen Kings of the world.  In short, high powered public figures with well-established platforms (and in the cases of King and Brown, well deserved) that would justify a serious marketing effort. And of course, all but guarantee a healthy return on their investment.

Sure outliers slipped through.  But again, I could be looking at years of trying to find an agent and publisher. And even if by some miracle a publisher decided to take a chance on me, I’d be giving up complete control over the novel, including—but not limited to—all the rights to the work.  In the stories I’d heard from published friends, this always seemed to be their biggest regret.  When the book didn’t sell and the bookstore returned their books to the publisher (generally a short six weeks after they arrived on shelves), they couldn’t turn around and sell the leftovers on Amazon because they didn’t own the rights to their own books.

So I decided to go the self-publishing route, understanding that I, not some deep-pocket publisher, would be the one footing the bill for the cover design and lay out. In the process I’ve learned a few things about the pros and cons of self-publishing literary fiction.

Let’s start with a pretty big con. I gave up the prestige of the big publishing house.  Prestige, the admiration of ones peers means a lot to most people and authors who write literary fiction are certainly not immune.  Let’s face it, we’re obviously not doing it for the money (other genres like sci-fi, romance or suspense/thriller are far more likely to pull in the big bucks).  We’re doing it purely for the love of attempting to create a multi-layered, beautifully written story that attempts to tackle the big questions. Whether we succeed is quite another matter.

And the pro?

Having said that, I was surprised at how little my readers seemed to care who published my novel.  In fact, I’ve only had a few people ask me who the publisher was and when I tell them “Straight On True Publications,” they just sort of nod fake sagely and crinkle up their eyes like they’ve heard the name but can’t think where (typical human nature; people don’t like it when they don’t know something and especially don’t like to admit they don’t know).

It seems that the only thing my readers care about is whether or not I’ve delivered on my promise (unspoken but still, it’s there in the cover design, in the product description, in the first pages available for reading before they buy) to write the best book I could write.  In my case that’s meant a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon and a whole lot of other readers who have sent me emails saying how the book impacted them.  Most ask when I’m planning on publishing the next.

So while I may have given up some prestige by self-publishing my novel, I gained control.  If I hadn’t done it, I’d be checking my email everyday, wondering why some faceless, voiceless, overworked mid-level publishing person in New York didn’t think I was quite good enough. Instead, when I’m not working on my next novel, I’m reading positive reviews on Amazon of Here Among Us, putting checks in the bank, scheduling public and book club readings, developing a solid fan base and most importantly, writing, writing, writing. If I hadn’t done it, I’d still be floating in limbo.

I’d still be depressed.

Instead I’m happy.

And grateful.  Very, very grateful.


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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – R (Strong language, adult themes)

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Author Interview – Alex A. Akira


How did you come up with the title? Well, I wanted more action in this book than its predecessor and The Italian Job is one of my favorite movies.

I generally give my stories a working title in the midst of writing them, with the intent to “really name it” after I complete it. It’s an artist habit of mine, we don’t name the artwork until after the piece is done, which is why you get a lot of “Untitled” works in the art world. Anyway, I knew I wanted an Italian male in the story so “The Italian Connection” became its working title… Afterwards I got very busy preparing for its release, so the name struck.

Can you tell us about your main character? Ah, Philippe Michael Ponty the angst-ridden lead of this story is actually a supporting character from Dragon & Crow, my previous novel. Readers pretty much demanded to know his story and so I decided to write a short story about him. The story kind of took off and turned into a two Volume novel.

How did you develop your plot and characters? The plot of Volume One, the love story, came from simply imaging what happens when you fall in love but are rejected. Well, for me you keep busy and bury yourself in work. If it’s still too painful, you get out of town or move away and isolate to a degree.

Tommy and Julian, the other leads in Volume One, were developed because I wanted to add an alternative rock edge to the story. For some reason Tommy immediately appeared in my head as a young Denis Leary “aka Tommy Gavin” of the television series Rescue Me. I tried to shake him, but I couldn’t, so went with it.

Julian, the Italian lead? Well, I wanted someone really special and manly for Philip, someone who had struggles of his own, but who was seriously mature and of course smoking hot and extremely passionate. I chanced upon a photo of the very British David Gandy and I couldn’t shake it… he became Julian, lol.

Who designed the cover? I do my own covers, mainly because I couldn’t afford Pl Nunn or Anne Cain and I wanted something in-between a manga illustration and a photograph.

Who is your publisher? Triple A Press.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? Actually this book was much easier to write than my previous efforts, because I had lived with Philippe for a longer time and knew him very well.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Get an editor, everyone who writes to publish needs an editor.

How do you promote this book? Well, so far, in the usual manner, Tweeting and FB and social networking. I try to be a little different in that I generally add pictures of the characters and images from the books that I doodle. Yes, promotion, especially self-promotion is not my strong suit, but I’m learning.

Will you write others in this same genre? Yes, I like the MM Romance genre.

I hope to have a anthology of short stories that answer a few questions about supporting characters from the completed Dojo Boy books.

Than a final 2 Volume installment of the Dojo Boys series, which will be a more active, action-adventure/romance featuring adrenaline junkies and additional information about the espionage organization known as The Tanaka Dance Company, Michael Black and Kiyoshi Kimura.

I also have a college student/drug dealer/Russian mobster series in the works


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Genre – M/M Romance

Rating – R

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Orangeberry Book Tours – Here Among Us by Maggie Harryman


When unemployed San Francisco attorney, Flynn O’Shea, and her teenage daughter, Didi, are summoned to New Jersey for the Thanksgiving holiday by Flynn’s socialite sister, Maeve, she expects a fight.

After all, she has been battling Maeve most of her life. Disagreeing about the extent of their Irish mother’s creeping dementia and the fate of the family’s thriving restaurant business, named for their beloved, long dead father, Paddy, is surely a recipe for a world-class brawl.

What Flynn doesn’t expect is the fragile truce the sisters forge to save O’Shea’s from the clutches of Maeve’s scheming husband, Jeffrey. Flynn and Maeve are reluctantly aided by their forty-four-year-old brother, Osheen, a handsome Peter Pan still cruising the Jersey shore, getting high and dodging responsibility.

And while Didi tries to convince her mother that “everything is as it should be,” just when Flynn is sure she’s gained the upper hand on Jeffrey, her own mother’s shocking confession sends her into a wine-soaked tailspin and forces her to deal once and for all with the ghosts of her past. Devastated, Flynn must choose to save O’Shea’s or risk losing forever all she has left of her father.

In Here Among Us, the O’Sheas find themselves dealing with the very timely issue of Alzheimer’s, a disease that strips the victim’s identity and wreaks havoc on the family left to pick up the pieces. But Flynn, Osheen and Maeve’s troubles began long before their mother started to “slip.” For the O’Sheas, much of their shared angst is rooted in the single most devastating event of their lives–the death of their father when they were young children. The novel explores not only how deep wounds can seem impossible to heal, but how the O’Sheas’ refusal to let go of the stories they desperately cling to about who they are, threatens to hasten their demise.

Buzz about Here Among Us:

“Here Among Us, by Maggie Harryman, is a book I couldn’t put down. Flynn and her college-ready daughter, Didi, fly east for a Thanksgiving family reunion, a holiday during which the family comes together, falls apart, and ultimately comes together again–the same but forever changed. The O’Shea children grew up helping their late father and still very much alive mother run an Irish pub and restaurant in New Jersey, and the connections forged in that pub are still the important connections in their lives. Flynn, whose story this is, has fled this scene for San Francisco but finds herself drawn back into all the old currents of love and strife she thought she’d left behind. Here she reconnects with Michael, whom she didn’t choose first time around, but with whom she finds herself getting a second chance, a chance she’s not sure she’s ready for.

These are the Irish and they love to talk and the talk is always smart and more often than not, piercingly funny. Harryman has a pitch-perfect ear and an eye for the telling detail.”

Robin Beeman is the author of three works of fiction: A Parallel Life and Other Stories, A Minus Tide, and The Lost Art of Desire.

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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – R (Strong language, adult themes)

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Orangeberry Blast Off - Away From The Spotlight - Tamara Carlisle

away from the spotlight

In the closing weeks of law school, Shannon Sutherland meets handsome and charming Englishman Will MacKenzie. Initially swept off her feet, Shannon finds that Will has a secret that, once discovered and the consequences realized, could destroy their fledgling relationship. Will and Shannon take great pains to have a normal relationship but, ultimately, find it impossible to do so. Will the pressures of their careers and the temptations of others drive Will and Shannon apart? Can Will and Shannon live a happy life away from the spotlight?
Tamara Carlisle takes you on a romantic ride that explores the consequences of fame and a love that endures all.

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Genre – Contemporary Romance (PG13)

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Website - https://tamaracarlisle.com/

Check out this author’s book feature, guest post, Top 10 & interview


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Avery Snow Book Blast and Giveaway

Are you an Avery Snow fan?
The highly anticipated sequel to The Many of Lives of Avery Snow is here!
The Unraveling of Avery Snow 
by Christy Sloat
Enter below for your chance to win the ultimate fan prize pack
Chat LIVE with Christy Sloat
Twitter Party, March 26, 10 am EST

And get your own copy of The Unraveling of Avery Snow
As Avery Snow settles into her life and relationships with those around her, she fights to forget her past lives. All of which she spent with Landon, who still has no recollection of who she really is. It seems better that way. Even though she still feels a draw to his soul, she chooses to ignore it.

For now everything is fine. Her boyfriend, Dallas, has opened a new restaurant. Her friends, Ianni and Kerri, are settling into their lives as well. But when news of a new Dark Guide is revealed, Avery is forced to start thinking about the life she truly leads. One that is very abnormal. One she is desperate to forget. This Dark Guide is determined to make Avery pay for the death of someone she held dear.

Now Avery’s life has gone from seemingly perfect to falling apart. What will be at stake next? Her life? Her love? And who will be there in the end to help her up off the ground?

Even the strongest love can unravel.

Will Avery be able to hold it all together, or will she just let go?
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Review: The Italian Connection 1 (Dojo Boys, #4) by Alex A. Akira

The Italian Connection 1 (Dojo Boys, #4)The Italian Connection 1 by Alex A. Akira
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did the book end the way you expected? No, I did not like the cliff hanger. The author left too much open to satisfy me.

Top 3 things I liked about the whole book. The emotion involved in each character, mystery surrounding Phillipe, Truly a unique read.

Who in this book would you most like to meet? Jun, really do not like his character. Just would like to punish him for the abuse he committed.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author.

View all my reviews

Here Among Us by Maggie Harryman

Here Among UsHere Among Us by Maggie Harryman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Favourite character(s) … If I had to pick a favorite, I guess it would be Flynn.

Favourite location / setting … The Oshea Bar was my favorite.

Favourite scene …. When Flynn, Oheen and Maeve drug the bronze statue behind the Bentley.

Favourite quote … "There is only one path to enlightenment, you must acknowledge that you are the one with the source."

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 25, 2013

Orangeberry Book Tours – Dojo Boys: The Italian Connection Volume 1 by Alex Akira


This swiftly-paced two-volume romantic Yaoi love story tells the tale of the multi-talented thief/dancer Philippe Michael Ponty. First introduced in Dojo Boys: Dragon & Crow Volume II, the now twenty-two year old platinum haired, petite Adonis struggles to make a home for himself in America.

Volume I finds Philip settling in Connecticut in disguise, as he doesn’t want to draw too much attention to his true line of work. Despite his caution, he meets and befriends a local rock musician, Tommy Sear, who despairs of ever having his band make it.

Quickly smitten by the dark-haired, shy Asian male that is Philip, Tommy seeks to make the young man his, but Philip doesn’t believe in love; besides, he has a very real problem. He can’t seem to get the victim of his last burglary, a green-eyed, virile Italian male… out of his mind.

With Philip’s encouragement, Tommy renews his efforts to get his band, Sear, a record deal. He makes a demo and shortly after a scout contacts him, from Italy no less. The Italian scout is coming to America hear them play in the hopes of signing Sear to the much sought-after label, Romano Studios.

But Tommy has a secret and he’s afraid that without Philip’s help, they may not get the deal.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains sexual content, explicit language and situations that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.

Genres: Yaoi, Boy’s Love, M/M Romance, Gay, Action Adventure

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Genre – M/M Romance

Rating – R

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Orangeberry Book Of The Day – Gallows Ascending (Stone Quest) by Leigh Podgorski



Gallows Ascending continues the saga of tracker and pyschic visionary Luke Stone in Book Two of the Stone Quest Series.

It has been thirteen years since Luke’s confrontation in the desert with his nemesis, black magician Armand Jacobi. Luke’s wife Consuelo, whom he met at Eppie Falco’s Desert Inn and Café has died, and Luke has placed himself once again in exile. This time, his wanderings have brought him to the seaside village of New Camen, New Hampshire.

Into his self-imposed solitude drops Dr. Bethany Rutledge. Accused of the murder of her eight year old daughter, stripped of her license to practice medicine, her marriage to politician Adrian Mountzaire in tatters, Beth Rutledge is haunted nightly by the chilling vision of a young woman’s brutal death by hanging.

Adding to this mix is the disappearance of an adolescent boy that appears to be centered in the tiny hamlet of New Camen. Then, Adrian Mountzaire turns up dead with his estranged wife Beth Rutledge lying in the sand beside him.

Despite his best efforts to resist the temptation, Luke is falling in love with Beth Rutledge, and she with him. Beth has unlocked the frozen reaches of his heart–the heart that was frozen when his beloved Consuelo was taken by breast cancer several years before and he could do nothing to save her.

Now, Luke must not only find the lost boy, but find the real killer of Adrian Mountzaire in order to save his beloved from the same fate that haunts her restless dreams.

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Genre – Metaphysical / Mystery

Rating – PG

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Orangeberry Book Of The Day– The Symbolon (The Sibylline Trilogy) by Delia Colvin


The Symbolon is the passionate second novel of the addictive Sibylline Trilogy!

For 3000 years, Alex has dreamt of a life with his mortal beloved, Valeria. And it appears that they will at last have a chance for a life together!

But when they approach the ancient council of immortals, for approval of the marriage,
they discover that sinister forces object to their union. Soon they find themselves faced with terrifying threats including a devastating separation that neither may survive!

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Genre – Paranormal

Rating – PG

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Website http://www.deliacolvin.com/

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Author Interview – Rick Johnson

Tell us a bit about your family. Helga: Out of Hedgelands (and the Wood Cow Chronicles series overall) have been written with the irreplaceable assistance of Barbara, my beloved wife, and our two children. Indeed, some of the essential “research” into the history of the Wood Cows has been conducted during the odd hours of family reading and storytelling “around the campfire” as we say—even when there was no campfire! This research continues and grows richer as our children have begun their own careers and families and the storytelling expands across generations and continents.

What is your favorite quality about yourself? Well, actually, my goal is to live a balanced life, so I have several “favorites” I try to develop. I certainly can’t claim to have mastered these, but there are four qualities that I strive to live: first, enthusiasm and perseverance in the face of challenges; second, a smiling face and general happiness; third, seeing things with my own eyes and not relying only on the word of others; and fourth, finishing a task I have begun.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? On those days when there is a possible choice between work and taking a hike in the mountains, the mountains, for the most part, win. J

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “You must work – we must all work to make the world worthy of its children.” Pablo Casals. I believe we must all work to make the world worthy of its children—all its children. I am filled with wonder at the systematic way we ignore the needs of children and youth in our society. It astonishes me how passionate we can become for a week or two when particularly tragic violence occurs involving children, while the wholesale needs of vast numbers of children and youth seemingly does not disturb the national discourse at all. And, this is only the overt violence, if we mention the other putrid conditions that beset children in our society, we can only wonder at the deafening silence. Yet, these children are our children also.

Why is there so much interest and eager sympathy shown towards the slaughtered individuals In Connecticut, for example, while for thousands of others there is none? I can only come to the conclusion that our society simply values some children more than others. I leave the question of what criteria we apply in making this distinction to all of us to ponder. It is my sincere conviction that, without serious consideration of that great question, nothing will change–even for those in such places as Newtown. My heart breaks as I remember those killed—but my heart has been breaking long before this. When will we value all children? We must all work to make the world worthy of its children—all its children.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Having raised two children who appear to be far better than I am.

What is your favorite color? I like all the diverse colors and hues when they mingle together as in a delightful flower garden. Many colors are more glorious to me than one.

What is your favorite food? I like many kinds of foods, but it’s pretty hard to beat a plain old plate of rice and lentils with some kind of hot spice.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? I am a native of the Great Plains of the United States, having grown up on a farm in the Platte River Valley of western Nebraska. I love the wild beauty of the Plains and nearby Rocky Mountains—the too hot, too cold, too empty, too full of life extremes. Typically, the awesomely diverse and the awesomely stark are much the same, even as they are different. Although I have lived in Michigan, North Carolina, and British Columbia, the western plains, high mountains, and desert are in my heart. If you cannot find me at my desk, I’m likely out hiking these places.


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Genre – Fantasy / Middle Grade

Rating – PG

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Website http://www.woodcowbooks.com/

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