Authors, opinion, Samhain, Secret Cravings Publishing, Thoughts, TWRP

Reviewer’s thoughts on the publishing world #Samhain

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I’ve always loved this but it just never quite fit for the blog.  Anyhoos…

My thoughts on Samhain closing it’s doors.  I am sad.  I’ve met some great authors through them.  Even fellow reviewers that have become good friends.  I even pitched a book to them at a conference.  Nothing but professional and kind.  Even though I was never on their preferred/review list, this blog featured their books often.  In fact, my first ever review was Emma Jay’s Two Step Temptation from February 23, 2011.

I am glad that they are going out with their heads held high and a positive note.  There are some that we are STILL hearing about because their bad behavior and I fear that it will happen again.  Secret Cravings Publishing went out with their heads up and Samhain will do the same.  Samhain is a class act through and through.  From editing, covers, the “warning labels”, authors and especially the groups that I belong to that are associated with them.  I feel for each and every one of you in this trying time.

Most authors, I sense are going more hybrid than anything.  This saddens me and alarms me to some degree.  Not that I don’t love the indie author but as a reviewer, I’ve read some really bad indie books that should have never made the light of day.  From the cover to editing, to being lied to from the blurb to the overall plot of the book…I just shook my head.  This is where the publisher comes in and makes the book better.  I feel as if the indie author just wants the sale and the minions to follow.

In my opinion, that’s not how publishing should be.  Writing is an art, not a NASCAR race.  The author should learn the craft, be patient and try to NOT be the next Nora Roberts.  It took her a few years before she even caught on and she was traditionally published.  Readers will come to you if you put out a quality product and don’t care about the sale.

This is the problem I have with the smaller presses folding.  They had the quality but not the sales.  Readers want instant gratification and the next Fifty Shades book.  Okay, maybe NOT that book but they want the book that everyone is talking about or that the media is trying to hype.  One of my all time favorite small presses is The Wild Rose Press.  Constantly putting out great books from a great company.  They never disappoint, just like Samhain and Secret Cravings.  I never had to worry that the book was going to be poorly written, the cover sucks or that the blurb lied to me in some way.  That goes a long way with this reviewer.

So you can see why I don’t review much anymore.  The quality isn’t there for me and I have a life that doesn’t revolve around publishing and trying to be the biggest and best review site on the block.  I tried that, didn’t work out and it made me sick for a couple of years.  I will stick with the presses that I know and love.

As for the indie writer, I will support you too and you know who you are.  The quality is there for me and you don’t disappoint.

If you want to hear my thoughts as a writer, here is the link to the author site.

Author link

Excerpt, Release Week, Reviews, Samhain

Review of Kiss from a Highlander & Taming His Rebel Lady (Georgian Rebel series #1 & #2)

Kiss from a Highlander (The Georgian Rebel Series~Book One)

Taming His Rebel Lady (The Georgian Rebel Series~Book Two)

by Jane Godman

About Kiss for a Highlander: A passio n that burns away centuries of hate…
Stranded in the heart of England after Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hasty retreat, highlander Fraser Lachlan has sworn to stay by his injured friend’s side. But when a kindly English family takes Jack in to be cared for by the governess and healer at their Derbyshire estate, Fraser can only watch helplessly.

It’s just a matter of time before Jack is turned over to the Crown as a traitor, but Fraser’s attempt to rescue his friend is met with the blunt end of a candlestick.

Martha Wantage wears every reason she hates the Scots on her body—in the scars from a violent, fiery attack that killed her family. Now she has not only one unconscious Jacobite rebel at her mercy, but two. And she can’t resist cursing her enemy with the “kiss of hate”.

That kiss unleashes a storm of passion that rages quickly out of control. But with the legacy of Martha’s scars weighing heavy on her mind, and Fraser’s duty calling him to battle at Culloden, it may be too late to explore whether theirs is a desire born of hate…or love.

Warning: Contains a very sexy, masterful highlander and a demure, but defiant, governess who discovers the hard—very hard—way exactly what a Scotsman keeps under his kilt.

Excerpt: A Kiss for a Highlander

Half an hour later, Martha hardly recognized the tall, powerfully built man who strode into her kitchen through the open back door. It was only the bandage on his head and his badly cut hair that alerted her to his identity. Somehow, the severely cut breeches, shirt and jerkin Tom had lent him only accentuated the breadth of Fraser’s shoulders and the strong muscles of his thighs. It was plain from his expression, however, that he did not approve of his new attire.

He plucked at the cloth of his breeches with distaste. “I look like a cursed lowlander. ’Tis unmanly and a reproach to my heritage for me to appear in public without my sporran, kilt and dirk.”

Privately deciding that Fraser had far too much manliness for any garment, Martha disregarded this comment. “Sit here while I cut your hair and shave you,” she said, indicating a seat at the kitchen table.

He regarded her with suspicion. “Must I present my throat to you while you’ve a blade in your hand, wee crabbit one?”

“Yes, and I do wish you’d stop calling me that. I lived in Northumberland until ten years ago. I know exactly what it means.”

“Aye, ill-tempered, unpleasant and all-round disagreeable.” He grinned, a gleam of genuine humour in his eyes. “It suits you just fine.”

Ignoring the look she threw at him, he took a seat and, leaning his elbows on the table, made no further comment while she removed his bandages and trimmed his hair into a semblance of order. The red-gold curls clustered close into the nape of his neck and over his ears, and Martha concentrated on her task rather than his proximity. He smelled of masculinity. It was a warm, earthy, musky scent that was out of place in her kitchen. Whenever she moved into the line of his vision, she was conscious of his unwavering stare on her face.

“Northumberland was once a part of the kingdom of Scotland,” Fraser said. Martha gritted her teeth and did not respond. “Aye, and is it not true that the Northumbrians are known for their wild and revolutionary ways? Before the stabilising influence of a Scottish king on the English throne, was it not known as the most lawless county in the land?”

“At least we know who our enemies are, unlike the highland clansmen who seem determined to annihilate each other,” she said.

His jaw tensed at that, and he lapsed into silence so that the only sound for several minutes was the click of Martha’s scissor blades.

“How old are you?” he asked. The question was so unexpected that the scissors made a jumpy arc that came perilously close to his ear before Martha got them back under control.

“That has nothing to do with you,” she said in her best teacher’s voice. He waited, and eventually she capitulated. After all, what did it matter? “I am six and twenty.”

“Past the marriageable age, ’tis true, but not quite at your last prayers. Why is it that you try so hard to appear older?”

That was going too far. No-one had ever spoken to her that way before. Ignoring the peculiar lump his words brought to her throat, she attempted to change the subject. “Where are your other clothes?”

“Why?” He leaned back slightly, watching her now that she had finished her task.

“They will give your identity away. I don’t want them to be discovered.”

A savage fire blazed gold in the hazel depths of his eyes. “That’s right. They are my identity. I’ll not let you dispose of the only things I have left of my name, my pride and my honour.”

“I was going to offer to wash them and store them safely until you are able to wear them again,” Martha said placidly. “Believe it or not, I do know the significance of the kilt and the tartan to your countrymen.”

The fierce look faded slightly. “You grew up on Lord Jack’s estate, at St. Anton?”

“Yes, on the northern part of the estate, close to Bamburgh. My father had land there and farmed cattle.” She didn’t need to explain what that meant. Although Fraser was a highlander and, therefore, hailed from an area far to the north of the border between England and Scotland, he would know and understand the practice of reiving. Conflict between the kingdoms of England and Scotland was as ancient as the lands themselves, and cross-border conflict was bloody, brutal and relentless. Families living on either side of Hadrian’s Wall existed in the certain knowledge that bloodshed, treachery and grief would come their way. The border traditions, passed down through generations, did not die out when King James I, great-great-grandfather of Bonnie Prince Charlie, to whom Fraser had sworn allegiance, united the two crowns. Reiving—raiding for cattle, sheep and anything else that could be transported—was a way of life that continued unabated. But theft was the lesser evil of reiving. Murder, rape and kidnap were all part of daily life on the border.

“Tell me about the reivers who hurt you.” His voice held more compassion than she would have imagined possible. What had wrought this odd change in his approach? Never trust a Scotsman. Her father’s words rang in her ears. It was sound advice, and yet Fraser seemed genuinely interested. He had a knack of triggering a chain of warring emotions in her breast. It was most unnerving.

Martha bent her head, unable to speak. Instead of trying, she busied herself by picking up the knife in preparation for shaving him, but her hand shook so hard that the blade was a silver blur. Fraser watched her thoughtfully, then reached out and clasped her wrist. Carefully, he removed the knife from her grasp.

“On second thoughts, perhaps it might be best if I do that myself?”

Where to Buy:

Amazon Samhain Publishing

review

A Scotsman, kilts, an English woman, intrigue and passion.  Did I mention kilts?  Oh yes, kilts and when Martha finds out about what is underneath that kilt that Fraser wears…I about laughed too loudly for my husband.  Great scene.  Since I read both of these books back to back, I’m just going to do a top 5 for both of them.  It is a series but they can be read as standalones.  Problem with that is that you might become pissed off because the the final book isn’t out until next MAY!!!!!  I must have Rosie and Jack’s book…like now.  *sigh*

Top 5 things about the book:

  1.  Fraser – for some reason in my mind I pictured him as the dad from Brave.  Big, brave, red hair and had the Ewan MacGregor accent.  Plus he had a little bit of the humor from him, too.  Fierce, loyal and didn’t want to be in love with Martha at all.  I loved him from the beginning.  He could be brutal but when it came to Martha he was a softy.
  2. Martha  – talk about an English Rose with the backbone of a Highlander Lassie.  She, also was a great character.  I loved how she fell in love with Fraser and found her “womanly” desires wanted and not shameful at all.  She has a great teacher in Fraser and in the second book, those thoughts/feelings are helpful to Iona.  🙂
  3. Setting/Plot – First in England and then the glens of Scotland.  Ms. Godman describes them perfectly to me and I felt like I really was in Scotland.  She also does her research when it comes to history and culture of the Highlanders.  As an American and with Scots blood in me, it still gets to me how the English treated them and view them today.  *shakes head*
  4. The smexy times are a plenty.  At first I wasn’t sure how I was gonna take it all in (I know, I’m weird when it comes to historical romance and the sex part) but there is a definite point to it all and it shows the great overall character growth in Martha.  In fact, I completely  understood why Ms. Godman put that many scenes in.  Not too many authors can pack that much heat in an historical and the reader come out with the complete understanding of the characters and their growth in the story arc.
  5. The battle scenes are bloody but not numerous.  I really liked how much intrigue was introduced in the overall story arc.  Who is Falcon?  Is Jack really dead?  I fell in love with all of the characters.  The villains are villains but one of my favorite secondary characters has to be Cora.  She is a hoot at the Lachlan Castle in dealing with Fraser and his sister Iona.

Keep in mind that the English and Scots during this time period truly despised each other.  There was no middle ground.  Some English were sympathic to the Scots but it was few and far between.

This is a great book to start of a great story arc that I’m waiting, impatiently, to finish.  🙂  Did I mention kilts and Scotsmen?

5harlies

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About TamiTamingHisRebelLady300ng His Rebel Lady: Can the heat of passion burn too bright?

In the six months since the Jacobites met defeat at Culloden, the English have ruthlessly routed the remaining rebels. Now Sir Edwin Roxburgh rides to claim Cameron House, his reward for his loyalty to the king.
His welcome comes at the point of a sword. It’s only after a fierce fight that Edwin discovers that underneath the banned tartan, the “boy” he’s just wounded is none other than the lady of the house.
If the crown thinks Lady Iona Cameron will allow an English soldier to turn her out of her own home, the crown is sadly mistaken. She never thought her desperate attempt to defy authority would send her to a traitor’s death—unless she agrees to marry Roxburgh.
Edwin quickly realizes he has his hands full trying to control the fiery, rebellious widow—and trying to control his own desire to fill his arms with her beautiful body. But he has a dark past that makes love not only impossible, but dangerous—especially if Iona manages to slip past his guard.

Warning: Contains a rebellious heroine with a secret identity, and a hero with a secret past who’s determined to tame her wild ways. Be warned: his methods are erotically unusual.

Excerpt: Taming His Rebel Lady

He had been fighting for his life for the last ten minutes, yet in spite of this Edwin Roxburgh was still grudgingly able to admire the skill of his opponent. It was rare for him to find someone whose dexterity and determination matched his own. Now, after possibly the fiercest sword fight of his life, Edwin could finally sense his opponent weakening. Unable to see clearly in the darkness, he had assumed that his opponent was only a boy since he was a slender youth, whose head barely reached Edwin’s shoulder. It made this unprovoked attack all the more surprising.

Presumably the lad’s motive was robbery. Although they were far from the main highways and a lone rider with no luggage could hardly be expected to yield any great gain. Heaven help me, Edwin thought as he swung his sword in response to a forward thrust. I have been accosted by a robber who is stupid enough not to know that and also seems hell-bent on murdering me.

“Have done with this foolishness, lad.” The words came out between panting breaths. “Throw down your weapon. I’ve no wish to kill you.”

The response was a desperate lunge. His assailant’s sword point came within a whisper of Edwin’s chest, and he swore furiously. It was time to end this. The situation was not helped by the treacherous terrain on which they fought.

Earlier that day, Edwin had led his men through the dramatic valley of Glencoe in daylight. As darkness descended, he had left the soldiers to make camp, while he rode on ahead. The increasingly steeper ground had forced him to dismount, and he had been leading his horse up a craggy ridge of rocks known as the Devil’s Staircase when, from nowhere, a figure had hurled itself upon him from above. Cold steel had been pressed to his throat before he had been able to use the advantage of his superior size to throw his attacker to one side and draw his sword. Instead of running off, as he had expected, the boy had flung his dagger aside, and moonlight had glinted on his narrow sword as he took up a fencer’s stance. Edwin had gained a brief impression of burning hatred and anger before the lad had come at him in a whirl of movement.

Now, in a final, determined attempt to bring the encounter to an end before it resulted in either of them losing their lives, Edwin used his greater strength to drive his opponent back against the rocks. As the boy, sensing defeat, thrust wildly, Edwin feinted, and brought his sword arm up and across the boy’s right side.

The blade went neatly through the lad’s shirt and sliced across the flesh of his shoulder, piercing deep into his upper arm. It was a classic wound, intended to incapacitate, but not kill, an opponent. The lad’s blade went spinning out of his now-useless right hand, and with a hoarse cry of pain, he pitched face forward into Edwin’s arms.

Edwin dropped his sword and reached out instinctively to catch the unconscious form that fell toward him and to prevent his assailant from tumbling off the rocky ridge into oblivion. As he did, his outstretched hand caught the knitted bonnet on the lad’s head. To his horror, as the hat was swept away by his grasping fingers, a mass of soft, fragrant and unmistakably feminine curls tumbled free. Realisation hit him like a punch in the gut. His would-be murderer was not a lad at all. The person he had been fighting, and upon whom he had just inflicted a devastating stab wound, was a woman.

Blood, hot and sticky, covered his hands as he swung the unconscious girl up into his arms, carrying her to the edge of the ridge where the moonlight shone brighter. Ripping open the front of her linen shirt, he exposed the ugly wound his blade had made. A quick scan of her body also confirmed that which had, until now, seemed impossible. The flesh of her upper body gleamed pale in the silvery moonlight. Her unbound breasts and narrow waist left him with no further doubt about her gender. The outlawed tartan trews of the clansman encased her long, slim legs, and her discarded blue bonnet bore the Jacobite white cockade. Whoever she was, this girl had been dicing with death even before she had drawn her sword and challenged him.

Cursing under his breath, Edwin turned to look for his horse. The well-trained animal was waiting patiently exactly where he had been walking it when the girl had launched her assault. There was water and cloth in his saddlebags. He would tend to her injuries and then deal with the mystery of who she was. Rising to his feet, he went over to the horse to collect the items he needed.

When he returned the girl had gone.

Where to Buy:

Amazon Samhain Publishing

 

review

This was such a great second book in the series.  Much more intrigue that still left some unanswered questions.  Why did Rosie marry that awful man and move to England?  We get to see who the Falcon’s henchmen are and their true quest for what they do and why.  Plus, we get know Lady Iona more and what makes her tick.  Plus, I’m a sucker for a Englishman that fights the good fight and is a lover to boot.

Top 5 things:

  1.  Edwin – You could probably hate him in the beginning but as the excerpt is written, I fell for him.  He had a good heart but when he found out that he was fighting a woman, that was his undoing.  He had morals and a heart that he didn’t know he had after Lillian.  Poor guy.  It took one helluva of lassie like Iona to finally see him figure it all out in the end.
  2. Lady Iona – Such a great lassie.  I loved how she and Fraser interacted with each other unmarried and then married to different people.  That’s true sibiling love.  They both had the same goals, just with two completely different people.  Also, finding that she had a friend in her SIL Martha.  Bravo for showing us that even though they were and Englishwoman and a Scotswoman, they were still women.  Needing each other, confiding in one another and learning from it, too.  It could have gone on a different path but Ms. Godman showed what really binds women together…men in general.  🙂
  3. Setting/Plot – This story had a lot more intrigue and brutish acts in it.  Iona especially found herself in some situations that were sometimes hard to read.  One in particular was not easy to read but again, Ms. Godman showed Iona has the stronger person.
  4. Edwin’s demons – Ms. Godman threw me a curveball on this one.  I didn’t see it coming at all but necessary in the end for him.  I silently wept for him when he was explaining everything to Iona.  I understood his hatred for the Redcoats and why he changed sides in the end.  🙂
  5. Smexy times – Like in the first book, they are plentiful and but I truly did like that Iona and Edwin had to work towards their first time together.  Since Iona was married before and Edwin was somewhat of rake in London, they had a lot to learn from each other.  I giggled when Iona explained to Edwin what her “womanly duties” were and showed him.  The look on his face had to priceless.  🙂  This is where Martha plays a big part in Iona’s sexually growth.  Their conversations were spot on and well thought out.

Please pick up this series from Ms. Godman.  She writes in a style that I adore.  Sexy, intriguing and features that you will love instantly and characters that you are supposed to hate.  Great job.  Too bad I have to wait in next May for the final book.  NOT FAIR!!!

5harlies

recommend-harlies- new

 

AbouJane Godman (426x640)t the Author: Jane Godman writes in a variety of genre. Many of her stories are heavily tinged with the supernatural and elements of horror, with haunted characters tormented by dark secrets.

The Jago Legacy Series, her Gothic romances, are love stories with a dash of horror and a creepily ever after. Her dark erotic romantic suspense books, The Cunning Prophet Series feature supernatural elements and a charismatic, obsessive villain. Jane also writes steamy historical romance for Samhain Publishing and is working on a three book series for Harlequin in their Nocturne (paranormal) line.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Young Adult horror novella she has coming out later in the year with MuseItUp Publishing!

Website: www.janegodmanauthor.com

Follow Jane: Facebook Twitter

 

Cover reveal, Giveaways, Samhain

Cover Reveal for To Mate an Assassin by Ceri Grenelle w/ 2 GC’s Giveaways!

To Mate An Assassin CR Banner

To Mate an Assassin
by Ceri Grenelle
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Romance

To Mate an Assassin Cover

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Synopsis: Love is her enemy…until his beast sets her free.

Cymbeline Kendall’s life is quiet, solitary—until a letter appears in her P.O. box. Then she becomes an Incendiary, a human chosen at birth to be trained to strike like lightning to take out the most dangerous of the Werekind, then fade back into the shadows.

She is a weapon only to be used by the leader of North American shifters. But when she learns the Alphar was unseated three years ago, she sets out to find who’s been pulling her trigger.

Kerrick Masterson has borne the burden of leadership for only a short time, yet he already feels the Alphar power tempting his soul toward the insanity that destroyed his predecessor. He has no time for the woman who breaks into his compound claiming to be his Incendiary, but his beast insists he make the time—for his mate.

In one searing, soul-consuming breath, everything Cymbeline was taught to believe is ripped away. Yet the mystery of who’s been sending her orders remains…and finding the answer could lead to all-out war.

Warning: Contains an assassin who doesn’t tolerate those who hurt the weak, and a shifter leader determined to unlock his new mate’s repressed emotions—even if that puts his balls at risk. Explicit sex, violence, and references to abuse that could be rough on sensitive readers.

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About Ceri Grenelle

Ceri Grenelle

I’ve always had an active imagination. An imagination that usually took form in the way of zoning out in the middle of conversations. I eventually decided it was time to share my daydreaming with the world and began to put my musings on paper. It started with Harry Potter fanfiction and grew from there.

I am currently living it up in Northern California after a big move from New York City. And by living it up I mean staying home with my cats, obsessively watching episodes of my favorite TV shows, all of which are extremely geeky, and simultaneously reading the next book on my reading list. I do all this while trying not to pig out on unhealthy snacks. As you can tell, I lead a busy life.

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