Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wenesday's Writer - Debra Burroughs/Sevanstian Winters

Having dabbled with the KDP Select programme myself, I know the value of free downloads during the days the programme allows it and try to support other authors when they use it, if I think their book appeals.  This often means finding free books I wouldn't normally read and these are worth a mention.  

One book that did appeal at the time was 'Three Days in Seattle' by Debra Burroughs.  I have to be honest, I'd never heard of this author before, although I've since discovered her to be a popular writer with several successful titles under her belt.

Having taken advantage of the 'Look inside' option and reading the first chapter, I was interested enough to download this title and read on.  And I'm glad I did.

There is no doubt this writer knows how to construct a plot, create interesting characters and settings to draw the reader in as well as building enough suspense to keep the momentum going. The story held my interest throughout and I didn’t feel at any time like abandoning it.  When her sister, Whitney goes missing in Seattle, Kate is forced to drop everything and fly out and help solve the mystery.  En route, she meets Ryan and I have to admit there were times when I thought Kate was beginning to enjoy herself a little bit too much, given the circumstances.  The romance was sweet and there was enough tension in relation to Whitney's plight to keep the momentum.  The ineffective police made me rather glad I didn't live in Seattle, however.
I think Debra Burroughs shows a great deal of promise, but this book does not reflect her full potential.  With a sympathetic editor to help her weed out tedious detail and guide her through issues such as weak dialogue, I think she could become very good indeed. 

I know these are not always major considerations in popular fiction.  The main criterion of a novel must be a good story which sustains interest throughout and, despite the technical weaknesses, Debra Burroughs certainly achieves this.  It was a quick, easy and enjoyable read and one I would recommend and award four cute kitties to.

And here's a quickie, but this book definitely deserves a mention:

This was a real treasure among the free downloads one weekend.  It is compelling reading for any would-be or even already-published writer. It's full of pertinent advice presented in a lively, entertaining and very frank style. It makes great reading even if you aren't an aspiring author - but if you are, and want to become even 'gooder', Sevastian Winters tells you how to do it. Read this book - you won't regret it.

(Please note I have not included covers for these titles because I have not approached the writers for permission to do so.  This is not a review site, merely a blog about books I have found worth mentioning to others.  The Amazon links can be found by clicking on the titles and you will find many helpful reviews and other information about each).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Well it is Sunday here already, so hopefully I'll be forgiven for starting early!

This week for my Six Sentence Sunday contribution, I thought I'd offer something from my latest contemporary romance, Shopping for Love.  This rather desperate little speech is uttered by my lovely hero, Greg - who has just about reached the end of his tether, poor darling.  Can you blame him?

"Whoa there!  Who said anything at all about happy families?  I’ve not had a single happy moment this week, thanks for asking.  My grandfather keeps drifting in and out of a coma; I’ve dragged my father from the other side of the world only to watch him cry like a baby and know there’s nothing I can do to help him; I’ve had to turn a blind eye to blatant fraud at work; your ex-boyfriend keeps badgering me to criminalise myself and as for Josie – don’t even get me started on that poisonous bitch.  And the sweetest, most wonderful creature ever to enter my life – the one shining light that could have made everything else tolerable for me – has locked me out in the cold.  Refused to talk to me, to explain what I’m supposed to have done that’s so heinous."

You can check out other participating blogs here:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Push

to the FIRST EVER BookPushalooza!

July 26th ONLY

Books, only .99.

each purchase you get the chance to WIN while Helping Authors reach new heights
in Amazon’s ranks.

so easy a CAVEMAN could do it!

the Instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget and for each book you purchase (or
Borrow through Amazon Prime for Free) you get an entry in to WIN ---

(1) Grand
Prize- $100 Amazon Gift Card

(2) Runners
up of $25 Amazon Gift Cards

not all! Purchase all NINE (9) books and get an additional 5 entries!

delay, this offer is good for JULY 26th ONLY!

Overview of Dark Isle

When evil begets evil, a choice is forced on Quinn, the one person who can see
the danger. Does she save the ones she loves, or does she save the world from

As the realms of Fae and human collide, Quinn's future has never
looked so grim, or so damn impossible.

Genre- Urban Fantasy

Overview of Enemy in Blue

 The streets aren't safe when your enemy wears a blue uniform and a gold

What if the good guys weren't good?

What if a cop went
rogue and killed an innocent man?

What if it was all caught on video and the cop would do anything to
cover it up?

Chase this lawless cop through the streets and to a
scintillating series of showdowns with Cruz Marquez, a young attorney trying to
nail down his enemy in blue.
Will justice be served?

Genre- Thriller

Overview of Land of the Noonday Sun

When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams,
they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known
as Land of the Noonday Sun.

A man with a
traumatic past is able to turn his life around and is happy with his chosen
career as a whitewater guide. Everything changes though when fate hurls a woman
into his path. His carefree life is in turmoil, and his former weaknesses
threaten to overtake him. Will he be strong enough when tragedy strikes and is
once again in danger of losing everything he loves?
Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of This Time Forever

Delaney Brannigan and Blake Morrisson
met at the Cedar Cove annual costume dance, known only to each other as the
leopard and the cowboy--but, as Delaney soon discovers, the cowboy she'd
thought had ridden off into the sunset never to tempt her again, is none other
than the man she came from New York to find and discredit. Against her will,
Delaney is drawn deeper and deeper into an overwhelming attraction to Blake--an
attraction she can't give in to if she wants to keep the one thing she values
more than anything else.
Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor
accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her
body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed
have been radically enhanced.

Lives are put at risk when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous,
action-packed adventure. Soon they are forced to confront a maniacal villain
willing to do anything - including murder - to reach his own ambitious goals.

Genre- YA/MG Superhero

Overview of Gray Justice

Gray Justice is the fast-paced debut
thriller from Alan McDermott. When a killer walks free from court, the victim's
father sees just two options: accept the judge's decision; or take on the
entire British justice system. Tom Gray chooses the latter and his crusade
attracts instant worldwide media coverage. It was just what Tom was hoping for,
but it brought him a lot more than he bargained for.

Gray Justice is much more than a simple tale of revenge: it's a rollercoaster
ride with an ending you'll never forget!
Genre- Thriller

Overview of Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00

"Their lives are in the hands of two 18-year-olds..."

A Prominent P.I. is
gunned down - killed by a sniper - and it’s broadcasted on live TV.

her daughter, along with her childhood pal, are thrust into a complex and
riveting thriller forced to take on a secret club whose members call themselves
The Privileged Ones.

Murder. Teen abductions and illegal underground

They’re chased by men in ski-masks, nearly gunned down by
members of a cartel, and the only way to bring down this criminal enterprise; is
to crash a Mardi Gras bash and stop their private cruise ship from sailing off
into the sunset.


Overview of Allegiance

Who do YOU pledge allegiance to?

After exposing one of the most notorious rings of police corruption in history,
lawyer Cruz Marquez planned on starting a new life south of the border. That
plan unraveled when an extremist group of Minutemen captured and tortured him
and his wife.

Will Cruz pledge allegiance to do right, or will he do anything
to serve up revenge?

Genre- Thriller

Overview of Curbchek Reload

Curbchek-Reload is a dark account of the streets as they were worked by
Zach Fortier, a dangerously deranged cop. Welcome back to the inner city and
the twisted mentality of Zach Fortier. Patrolling the streets, broken and
mentally damaged from years of urban violence, Zach fights a losing battle to
maintain a hold on reality. Join him in the passenger seat of a police cruiser
for more of the darker and meaner side of life: The inner city. In
Curbchek-Reload you get a front row seat to an attempted murder of a cop,
suicide attempts, rapes, and DARK cop humor. Curbchek-Reload - Fasten your
bullet proof vest and buckle your seatbelt, it is gonna be a wild ride!

Genre- Police Procedural" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

All winners will be notified via email July 28th 2012. For a list of winners contact

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wednesday's Writer - Bonnie McCune

Here in the UK it's already Wednesday - and a hot, sticky and very uncomfortable night lies ahead.  With the whole nation going Olympic Games crazy, what better refuge for me to take than in front of my fan with a lovely book.  And of course, sharing that with you is the point of my Wednesday's Writer spot.

Another book I've thoroughly enjoyed in recent months is A Saint Comes Stumbling In and it gives me great pleasure to feature this in my new Wednesday's Writer slot as it's definitely very high on my list of recommended delightful reads.

A Saint Comes Stumbling In

I'm ashamed now to admit that I actually had a couple of reservations about this book before I began reading it which delayed me starting it.  The first was the title, which initially didn't appeal to me and the second was seeing (from the 'look inside' feature on Amazon) that it was written in present tense. I felt the writer would not be able to sustain this throughout. How completely wrong I was - on both counts!

The title is a brilliant choice - but you'll have to read the story yourself to discover exactly how clever it is, and the use of the present tense is a genius stroke. It's the mark of an exceptionally good writer, beautifully sustained throughout, keeping events and dialogue immediate and the heroine larger than life in front of our eyes. I'd die happily if I could write like this!

Another truly excellent quality of this story is the witty, intelligent humour and writing style. Humour pervades every page - it's dry, it's wry - it had me giggling so much on the train one day while I was reading it that at the end of my journey, a fellow passenger nudged me and asked me if I wouldn't mind telling her what I was reading that was so good.  Now any London commuter will know what an accolade that is!

A Saint Comes Stumbling In is almost a coming of age story, in that the heroine, Joan, never had a chance to discover herself and grow up in the normal way. Married to her one childhood sweetheart, she let him dominate her life...until he decided to move on to pastures new, leaving Joan stranded and alone on life's confusing highway. We follow her bumbling, stumbling progress through that difficult first year of her abandonment and watch her grow (and also shrink) along the route. It's impossible not to love her more with every page we travel into her life and heart (to which she, incidentally, seems to be a complete stranger!)  If I tried to summarise the story more than this, I'm afraid I might spoil it for others and I'd hate to do that. It's too good a story and too delightful a journey for me to ruin it for you with spoilers - you must make this one on your own.

I promise you, it's a journey you won't regret taking. Bonnie McCune is a truly talented and refreshing new writer. I will be reading everything she writes from now on. Her first novel is superb and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

This is most certainly deserving of another 5 cute cats of total approval!

About Bonnie McCune

B.F. McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in public relations and also in freelance news and features. But her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards.  For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.  Her first novel, “A Saint Comes Stumbling In”, was published early in 2012.  McCune lives in Colorado.

You can visit her at

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to this week’s Six Sentence Sunday where I choose six sentences from one of my books. This weekend (since it’s available FREE on Amazon today and because today is also my birthday) I’m offering a little snippet from my debut contemporary romance The Apple Tree, which was the the Grand Prize Winner of Inspired Romance Novels' 2011 Writing Contest. 

The Apple Tree

Their eyes met for an instant but he was guarded, his mask of indifference firmly back in place.  He shrugged and looked off into the distance as they began to walk back to the cemetery gate along one of the narrow gravel paths between the rows of graves, many of which were adorned with huge flowers in their many autumnal shades of rust and yellow. 

"It’s nothing," he replied dismissively and they walked the rest of the way in silence, leaving Julie wrestling with her emotions.  She wanted to shout, but it is! It is!  How can I bear your kindness when I know you have such a low opinion of me?  

I hope you'll support me and download your FREE copy of The Apple Tree today.  This is available from:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday's Writer: Jenny Twist

As a UK resident, reader and writer, I've occasionally run into difficulties when dealing with THAT SHOP across the pond.  They recently withdrew all the book reviews I'd written without explanation, much to my chagrin.  When I'm not writing, I'm reading - those are my two priorities in life.  And when I read a book I've really enjoyed, I want to share it with the world and try to encourage everyone else to read it too.

So I thought: I have a blog, why not post my reviews on that?  It may not attract as many readers as that shop, but who can tell?  From little acorns and all that.  My only difficulty here is in choosing where to start.  Not terribly difficult though.  

One story that has seriously impressed me is Domingo's Angel, by Jenny Twist.  Since reading this book, I've had the privilege of getting to know this delightful author and have read more of her works.  She never lets me down, but Domingo's Angel has set the bar very high for me.  This will be the first recipient of my cut cats award.

Domingo's Angel by Jenny Twist

Jenny Twist is a wonderfully talented storyteller and ‘Domingo’s Angel’ weaves a spell of enchantment around the reader from start to finish.  Although set in the 1950s (when the English woman, Angela, first arrives in the remote mountain village of Amendillas), there is nonetheless a timeless quality to the story.  Through seamless flashbacks, the narrative takes us through the dreadful days of the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s despotic rule, then forwards into a happier, hopeful future. 

The small, self-sufficient community seems untouched by the outside world and, on the surface looks like paradise. However, every character has been affected and deeply scarred by past tragedies and each nurses his or her own secret pain.  Widows, who have long ago stopped weeping and have put away their smiles - seemingly forever, are the backbone of this community now devoid of men of a certain generation.

The English Angela is escaping from her own tragic secrets, but her healing process begins when she meets Domingo who worships her as his angel, then little by little, the healing magic begins to spread.  But it is Rosalba, the excellently–drawn village matriarch, whose complex life-journey really captivates our hearts.  Angela is quick to realise that “Whatever Rosalba thinks today, the village will think tomorrow” and the true love story is the growing bond between these two women, who learn to heal each other.

I read the latter half of the story almost entirely through misty eyes as the main characters grew larger than life with every page, unfolding their astonishing stories to me like good friends trusting me with their heartfelt secrets.  When I reached the final page, I felt bereft and lonely, though completely satisfied that I had left them all in very good hands.  Domingo’s Angel is a story I will certainly read again and this author goes straight to the top of my favourites list.

Domingo's Angel deserves a straight 5 cute cats award!

About Jenny Twist

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike,the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family. 
She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat
Her first book, Take One At Bedtime, was published in April 2011 and the second, Domingo’s Angel, was published in July 2011. Her novella, Doppelganger, was published in the anthology Curious Hearts in July 2011, Uncle Vernon, was published in Spellbound, in November 2011,  Jamey and the Alien was published in Warm Christmas Wishes in December 2011 and Mantequero was published in the anthology Winter Wonders in December 2011.
Her new novel, All in the Mind, about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger, will be published in September/October 2012.

You can contact Jenny Twist via her website:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Win Lots of FREE books

This year, along with numerous other writers,  I'm sponsoring Freado's Summer Romance Festival.  You can win three of my titles as well as 200 others.  There are also many more special prizes.  All you have to do is play games!  Seriously, it's all about having fun in the sun.

Just go to:

You can earn 500 bonus points for the Festival by typing in the code: "ROMANCE".

Happy winning!