Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Valentine Special Offer: 'With Love' - 3 heart-melting romances

When I produced my boxed set of three contemporary romances, my intention was to make this special officer set available for two limited 2-3 week periods around Christmas and Valentine's Day. The set is now available once again until February 21st only.

For $3.99 plus VAT—that's less than half the price of the three individual books—you can buy all three heart-melting romances during the first three weeks of February.




The individual stories are:

The Apple Tree - Prism Book Group's Grand Prize Winner of 2011

A disaffected young hospital doctor mistakes a successful businessman for a gardener and an unlikely love blossoms.  
But she has a past she wants to forget and he lives by strong principles of truth which drive them on separate, painful journeys of self-discovery. 





Wishful Thinking - Amazon UK's #1 seller in 2012

A struggling single mother and a pop-icon turned Hollywood star meet in unusual circumstances. 
Fate drew them together but the intrigue and trappings of stardom threaten to unravel love's ties.








Shopping for Love

They shop for others out of kindness and naturally fall in love; but he is still raw from his painful divorce and she is his children's teacher.  
Add to the mix a spiteful ex-wife and scheming ex-boyfriend and love may have too high a price tag.


Click on any of the covers to take you to Amazon (US) or any of the links below for more information about each story:

Amazon UK 
Amazon US
My Website

Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Writing Mistakes Cost Money

I was recently approached by Grammarly to include an article for them on my blog.  As a former English teacher turned author, I know that accurate and correct English is of paramount importance to success throughout life.

As a teacher, I was often asked by parents how they could help their children's writing skills and my answer would invariably be to foster a love of reading at a very early age.  Lead by example, I would say.  Children who see their parents enjoying a good book are likely to be more inclined to read themselves.  Sadly, all too often adults would tell me they enjoyed reading but didn't really have the time.  Confident readers usually make more confident writers, and confident writers have a greater chance of success in their working lives.  

Careful proof-reading of written work can help rectify mistakes and give the final polish needed to any form of written communication. Students invariably dislike proof-reading, so why should busy working adults be any different?   Yet the importance of accurate writing cannot be stressed enough, and a reputable grammar checker and proof-reading service is invaluable. Grammarly told me:

"We proofread 400+ freelancer profiles from all eight categories of the Elance platform for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. To adjust for quality of work, we only selected freelancers with an average rating of four stars or above. We then looked at correlation between earnings and number of mistakes. We hope the direction the data is pointing in spurs some thought and conversation about the importance of good writing."

Grammarly's infographic elaborates on their findings:


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review - Deep Breaths: Tales of Hope and Inspiration by Tara Fox Hall

I always feel privileged when authors let us into their private worlds and so I entered Tara Fox Hall's world with wonder and some trepidation.   I'd read (and thoroughly enjoyed) her stories before, but not her factual essays.  But I needn't have worried; stepping into Deep Breaths: Tales of Hope and Inspiration was like entering an enchanting new world - and one I didn't want to leave again.

Tara's family
Deep Breaths is a collection of reflections on the author's daily life in the idyllic-sounding environment in which she lives.   She enjoys complete harmony with the natural world around her and with which she communes as she goes about her daily routine, doing her chores or walking her faithful dogs (and cats).  Her extended family of pets is especially delightful and unique, each with their own quirks and personalities as interesting as their names.

Wild creatures, some of whose names I've only ever come across in films, surround the author. Coming from the UK, I've never seen coyotes, chickadees, groundhogs or hummingbird moths, but Hall encounters them every day… and generally rescues them from various dramatic plights. Whether she's saving trapped dragon flies, stray toads, adventurous snapping turtles or opportune starlings nesting in the eaves of her house, her sense of humour and powerful faith shines through her accounts and descriptions, making them uplifting to read.

I found Sunset, in which she ensures a trio of beautiful moths with singed wings meet a dignified end particularly poignant; while Letting Go, her reflections on her beloved, aging dog, Kesteral, had me unashamedly in tears.  And only Tara Fox Hall can make the stacking of firewood into such a delightful subject as in Keeping it Straight.

This collection of writings will draw you into the author's special world, lift your spirits and leave you feeling deeply satisfied.  She writes with wit, perception and immense sensitivity.  Each short essay can be read and savoured in isolation, to raise flagging spirits during short breaks from the mundane routine, or read as I did, in a couple of sittings, because I simply could not tear myself away from Tara Fox Hall's captivating world.  Highly recommended, as my five cute kitties prove.
About Tara Fox Hall

Tara, husband Eric, Legolas and Strider (in black)
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on www.childrens-stories.net.





Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Release– End of Lonely Street by Alicia Dean – Plus an Awesome Giveaway

I’m excited to share my latest release from The Wild Rose Press on what would have been Elvis’ eightieth birthday. ‘End of Lonely Street’ is a Vintage Romance Short Story set in 1957, in the era when Elvis first burst on the scene. Like my heroine in the story, I am a diehard Elvis fan. (As you probably figured out, I took the title from a line in Heartbreak Hotel, which was Elvis’ first million selling record).


Blurb:


Can she let go of the past, before it destroys her future?

All Toby Lawson wanted was to go to college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and the painful memories of finding her and the guy Toby loved kissing. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away, helps her escape from everything wrong in her life. 

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, and even though she knows her mother initiated the kiss, and that he didn’t kiss her back, she can‘t seem to get past what happened. He soon realizes that the true problem lies in Toby’s belief that she’s not good enough for him and in her fear that she will be just like her mother. 

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Excerpt:


Chapter One
Mapleton, Tennessee, November, 1957
Toby Lawson closed her eyes and shut out all sounds of the diner, except for Elvis Presley’s voice. He was crooning about how she was the only one for him…no matter where he went or what he did… he’d spend his whole life loving her…
Rough hands landed on her waist and shattered the fantasy. She caught a whiff of hair tonic and too much cologne, and she snapped her eyes open. Wes Markham’s hateful face replaced the image of Elvis’ beautiful, crooked smile and smoldering blue eyes.
“Let me go.” She gritted her teeth, keeping her voice low. If her boss, Mr. Winstead, knew there was trouble on account of her, he’d explode. He’d barely let her have the job in the first place. Everyone in Mapleton knew the Lawson women were trouble.
“Come on, honey. If you like that hip swivel, Presley ain’t the only one who’s got it. I got it too.” He released her with his left hand so he could run it over his slicked down hair and gave her a big-toothed, wolfish smile. “Only we’d be naked.” He shot a cocky grin over to his two companions—Chuck Stenson and Billy Garfield—who were leaning against the jukebox making kissing and whooping sounds.
Toby gripped his right wrist with one hand, tightening her hold on the utensils she held in the other. “I said let me go. Now!”
“Aw, be a sport, Green-Eyes.”
The bulge of his pelvis pressed into her abdomen, and she gasped in shock. Nausea tightened in her esophagus. “Wes Markham, I’m warning you…”
She shoved against him, but he didn’t budge.
He pulled her tighter. “Your momma’s a whole lot friendlier than you are. They say the apple don’t fall far from the tree, so how’s about you cut the pretense and we go someplace quiet? Winstead won’t miss you for a few minutes.”
Her cheeks heated. She didn’t dare look around. No doubt the customers were watching, listening. Elvis had stopped singing and everyone in the place could hear what he’d said about her mother. It wasn’t like they didn’t all know, though. Constance Lawson hadn’t exactly kept her escapades a secret.
Toby clenched her teeth and brandished the utensils. She spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. “Release me this instant, or I swear, you’ll be pulling this steak knife out of your eyeball.”
He held her gaze for a split second, then gave a laugh that was somewhere between nervous and furious. “Sure, sure. Okay.” He released her and stepped back. “I was just foolin’ around anyway. I got better things to do with my time than waste it on a used up chick like you.”
Muffled laughter rose around her. Oh God, she could crawl into a hole.
“How about you apologize to the lady, then beat it?”
Toby whirled at the male voice. Noah Rivers stood behind her, looking handsome and sharp in his police uniform—even with his dark hair in the military buzz cut. Her knees weakened, and tingles swept over her skin. She swallowed against the sudden dryness in her throat. She’d heard he was back, but hadn’t seen him until now. And what a time to have a reunion.

*** 10% of all of Alicia Dean’s net royalties for End of Lonely Street will go to The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation http://www.graceland.com/epcf/  ***



Check out End of Lonely Street and enter to win GREAT prizes…

GIVEAWAY: - Entries accepted from January 8, 2015 through noon on January 22, 2015


Three prizes

Elvis Gift Basket including DVD, CD, plus more
$25 Amazon Gift Card
$10 Amazon Gift Card

First place winner has first choice, second place winner has second choice, third place winner receives remaining prize.


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About the Author:



Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of
supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.
Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Find Alicia here:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Review: An Open Letter to Stephen King and Other Essays by Jenny Twist (@JennyTwist1)

I've been an avid fan of Jenny Twist's stories for a number of years, so, not surprisingly, have also come across her non-fiction writing on various blogs.  She is an extremely talented author with an often wicked and very British sense of humour that really appeals to me and I never tire of reading her work.

It was therefore a real delight just before Christmas to find this collection of essays and articles reflecting on life, people, places and practically everything else.  Even though I've read some of them before, the re-reading was nonetheless a great treat.  In fact, they are probably better in the re-reading because you can appreciate her wit and style more.  It would be impossible to have favourites, but the essays on Spain and in particular the three articles on the Andalusian villages so beloved of the author touched me so powerfully that a visit to them is now high on my bucket list.  I defy anyone to read them and not feel themselves transported in spirit and long to make the experience physical.

But there is so much more in this diverse collection.  Whether she's describing sex education in the (I'm guessing here) early sixties, the generic female inability to read maps, grammar usage and abusage or the journey to publishing success, her penmanship and humour shine through and make them all such a pleasure to read.  On a more serious note, she provokes topical debate over the gun culture in America and attitudes to guns and violence in Britain.  She explores the portrayal of evil in modern fiction and opens her doors and her heart to give us some insights into her own life and struggles, which have provided inspiration for her many stories.
 
And of course, ghosts (and the occasional vampire) infiltrate the pages!  A great horror writer, Twist recounts her own chilling experiences, some of which inspired her stories, while others lie in wait ready to inhabit stories yet-to-come.


An Open Letter to Stephen King and Other Essays makes engrossing reading whether you prefer factual writing or fiction.  It is well worth the read at any time of the year, but I couldn't wait and devoured it immediately.  It certainly was one of my favourite books over the Christmas season and well worth dusting off all five cute cats for.

An Open Letter to Stephen King and Other Essays can be purchased from

About the author:

Author Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and an escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
In 2001 she and her husband moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.
Jenny's other published works include: Domingo's Angel, All in the Mind, Away With the Fairies, The Mantequero series, Take One At Bedtime, Bedtime Shadows (with Tara Fox Hall) and dozens of short stories.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hot Off the Press and Highly Recommended - Torn by Gilli Allan (@gilliallan)

It's always thrilling to hear a success story in this business, especially when you know the author to be highly talented and deserving.  I've enjoyed Gilli Allan's books enormously, so was delighted to hear that after some years of being a self-published author, her work was spotted by Accent Press, snapped up and is now being republished.  

The first of these stories is Torn, published this week - and I highly recommend it.  If you like contemporary fiction, with an unconventional and edgy love story at its heart - you'll enjoy it too. 

Here is the blurb:

Jess has made a series of bad life choices and all have let her down.
Escaping London, she sets out to recreate herself in the idyllic countryside, and this time she wants to get it right! 

She wants to lead a responsible, tranquil life with her young son Rory, but soon discovers stresses which pull her in opposing directions – conflict over a new bypass, between friends, and worst of all, between lovers. 

Educated, experienced, and pragmatic, James is a widowed farmer whose opinions differ from, and enrage, Jess. His young shepherd, Danny, is an uneducated and inexperienced idealist. Jess is attracted to them both, and realizes if she wants her idyllic countryside life to survive, she must choose her Mr Right. 

Torn is now available from Amazon by clicking on this link.

Gilli Allan - Then and Now:


Gilli Allan started to write in childhood, a hobby only abandoned when real life supplanted the fiction. Gilli didn’t go to Oxbridge, but after just enough exam passes to squeak in, she attended Croydon Art College. 

She didn’t work on any of the broadsheets, in publishing or television. Instead she was a shop assistant, a beauty consultant and a barmaid before landing her dream job as an illustrator in advertising. It was only when she was at home with her young son that Gilli began writing seriously. She has had three books mainstream published - two further books will be published in 2015. 

Gilli has been a school governor, a contributor to local newspapers, and a driving force behind the community shop in her Gloucestershire village.  Still a keen artist, Gilli designs Christmas cards and produced the illustrations for the children’s book The Tale of King Harald -The Last Viking Adventure, which was published in 2014. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Highland Pearl by Brenda B Taylor - Release date December 2nd

Just in time for Christmas shopping, A Highland Pearl, is available at Amazon.com for $3.99. An ebook copy of the novel will be awarded to a commenter.

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practising witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the 16th century Highlands of Scotland. 

A Highland Pearl, is the first novel in the Highland Treasures series. The story takes place in 1508 A.D. Scotland when clan chiefs ruled the highlands. Loyalty pledged to a clan chief meant provision and protection for the clansman, but in return rents were paid to support the chief and his family and service in the chief’s army was required of each able-bodied man. Within the walls of the great castles, intrigue and mystery reigned. Clans vied for land, livestock, and power. Fighting and reiving or stealing were prevalent, yet a gentler side with passion, love, romance, family and faith permeated the life of the Highlanders. A Highland Pearl tells about all aspects of life in the Highlands of Scotland.

Excerpt from A Highland Pearl

Andrew stood. He must tell Maidie how he felt. He took her chin into his hands and looked into azure eyes. First, he kissed the tip of her nose, then a freckle on both rosy cheeks, and at last he found her mouth with fervor. Maidie wrapped her arms around his neck while he embraced her, pulling her closer. She returned his kiss much to his amazement. Her moist lips pressed firmly against his. His lips left hers, planting kisses on her eyelids, around her face, down her neck, and then on her mouth once more. She tasted sweet like heather ale and smelled of roses. His heart ached with love for the lass. How could he let her go, now that he had just found her?
He lifted his head. She sank into his chest. “I love you, Maidie. With all my heart, I love you.” He said it with little difficulty, because his heart brimmed with a deep love he had never before experienced.
“I pledge my fealty and my heart to you, Laird Andrew Munro. With all my heart I love you,” she answered with her head tucked under his chin. 
He pushed away to look into her eyes. “I’ll come for you. No matter where you are.”
“I will be waiting.” Her eyes reflected the deep emotions of her heart like the black water of Cromarty Firth reflected the blue sky above.
“Come on, Munro, you’ve done enough love making. Time to get on with this exchange,” the leader of the guard commanded and nudged Andrew with his mount.
Stumbling, he released Maidie. The leader kept nudging him on. He looked back, but Maidie and Sven were surrounded by MacKenzie warriors and he could not see her. He took Briana from Colin as they walked to the grove where Gavin waited. Andrew pumped his fisted right arm into the air, calling out the Munro battle cry, “Caisteal F├árdach A Chaoidh.” An embrace from his brother with whoops, hollers, and returns of the war cry from his warriors followed. 
The mounted guard left Scara and Crag then turned back to the castle. Maidie and Sven had reached the gates. His men turned to ride back, and he watched the love of his life walk into the bailey of Castle Lach. God, take care of Maidie and the lad. Help me get her back.

About Brenda B. Taylor

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication. 

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.


Read more about Brenda and her books at:
Buy A Highland Pearl