Cephalopod Coffeehouse - Unmade by @CarolOates

I've joined a new blog group that I'm very, very excited about: The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, brainchild of The Armchair Squid.  In Squidward's own words, the idea is that "each month, participating book enthusiasts shall post about a favorite book from the previous month's reading.  Bloghop meetings are held the last Friday of the month." If this sounds fun to you too, you can join the club in the linky below.

I'm going to warn you all from the get-go that I'm a slow reader. Marry that with me being knee deep in writing a new manuscript, an editing assignment on the verge of being dropped into my lap, and all the other things I call "my life" and I don't see my book-reading rate increasing any time soon. So, there will be many months in which I only read one book, and sometimes I won't like that book, but still, I hope that sharing my thoughts even on books that I don't enjoy will make for interesting discussion within the group.

For my first contribution, I very happily get to report on a story that I lovedUnmade, a novella by Carol Oates. With limited reading time, novellas and short stories have become my new best friend. It's wonderful to be able to experience a whole arc within a short time, and this is one story that's still living large in my head even though it was only 51 pages.

I share my thoughts about everything I read at Goodreads, and these are my copied and pasted thoughts on Unmade:

Great, great story. A classic. From the very first words, Unmade has an eerie tone that gets steadily darker as you--- wait, no, I don't want to give away any spoilers. Just know that this is a beautifully-written story that had me riveted throughout, wanting to know where it was going, and where it went was highly satisfying. For a short novella, it brought up a lot of interesting themes that have kept me thinking. I'd classify it as dark NA with explicit scenes that are wonderfully and tastefully handled. 

One of the very subtle themes in the story that particularly struck me was regarding a specific dynamic of relationships---at what point does being a "good influence" become controlling behavior that discounts your friend/mate's ability to think and choose for him/herself?

I think that what I love most about this book is that it follows through on all the ominous prospects promised by its opening. I hate having my expectations built up at the beginning of a story only to have the ending fall completely flat---this story does NOT do that.  If you're hankering for a bit of soft-core horror, I highly recommend this short novella.

And now I get to hop around and see what the other CC members have been reading. Here are links to the other Coffeehousers if you'd like to join me. New members are being accepted if you'd like to add your link.


Cover Reveal: On Best Behavior by @JenLaneBooks

Here it is, the cover of the third and final book in the Conduct series by my pub sister, Jennifer Lane. Isn't it fun? A good fit for this thriller/romance series set in Chicago. And how's this for an awesome tagline: 

Planning a wedding is never easy—especially when the Russian Mafia wants you dead.

The Conduct Series, #3
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Expected release: September 24, 2013
Genre: Romance
Age Group: Adult 

On Best Behavior—the third and final book in The Conduct Series—finds our favorite couple moving forward, despite the odds. Following a pardon by the Governor of Illinois, ex-cons Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen are finally free to pursue their love and the life that lies ahead for them. Grant now fights the forces that have hurt his loved ones by working undercover for the FBI, and he has infiltrated the Russian Mafia in Chicago. Sophie dives into swimming with Grant’s nephew, Ben, and into her career as a psychology professor.

Thankfully, now it’s Ben’s turn to heal through therapy sessions with Dr. Hunter Hayes. With so many things going right for Grant and Sophie, it's too bad the Russians aren’t their only threat. When Grant’s father, Enzo Barberi, discovers his own son thwarted his plan to break out of prison, his overdeveloped sense of vengeance flares to life. As Sophie scrambles to save her fiancĂ©, it's impossible to say who will kill Grant first—the Russians or his Italian family. Can love triumph over evil? Are hard work and a pledge to be on best behavior ever enough? Once again, author Jennifer Lane brings a harrowing tale of romantic suspense with a psychological twist, and it's sure to leave readers breathless.

  photo goodreads-badge-add-38px11_zps1ae6e47f.jpg

About the Author People fascinate the psychologist/author (psycho author) known as Jennifer Lane. Her therapy clients talk to her all day long about their dreams and secrets, and her characters tell her their stories at night. Jen delights in peeling away the layers to scrutinize their psyches and emotions. But please rest assured, dear reader, she isn’t psychoanalyzing you right now. She’s already got too many voices in her head! Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love.

She is the author of The Conduct Series—-romantic suspense for adult readers—-and recently completed the third and final installment: On Best BehaviorStreamline is her first foray into writing for young and new adults, but she’s found this sort of writing even more fun. A former college swimmer, Jen was able to put a lot of her own experiences into this book. Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and hanging out with her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.

   photo AToMRToursC66a-A00aT03a-Z_mdm_zpsa3cc6896.jpg


Popping the Bubbly for @CherieColyer!

You've seen the countdown widget on my sidebar for a while now, and today I'm excited to tell you that Hold Tight, the sequel to Embrace by Cherie Colyer has arrived! If you haven't started this magical YA series, you're in luck---to celebrate the release of the second installment, the book that started it all is on sale for only 99 cents in Kindle and Nook

Hold Tight
by Cherie Colyer
Available in Paperback, Kindle and Nook

When you're new to magic, one spell can be the difference between getting what you want...and ruining the lives of everyone you love.

Sixteen-year-old Madison has just embraced her magical powers. The trick now is learning how to control them. She and her boyfriend -and fellow witch- can't even enjoy a simple kiss without getting shocked when their powers collide. Instead of mastering her new skills, though, Madison is stuck watching her kid brother and doing chores.

But being a witch does have its benefits. With a simple spell, Madison instantly conjures the help she needs around the house. Or so she thinks. Her idea of "help" invites trouble of its own as a pair of dangerous yet enticing beings enter her life. When a classmate disappears soon afterwards, Madison discovers she's the next victim of a threat she's powerless to resist...and there's nothing it won't kill to make her surrender.

Caught in the crossfire between two dashing but deadly creatures, Madison must figure out which one to trust and how to rid her world of the other-before one of them destroys her and everyone she cares about.

Please tell Cherie congrats at her blog or on Twitter @CherieColyer.


Angelic Gifts = FREE eBooks!

We’ve been teasing you about special benefits for members of the Angels in Romantic Fiction Goodreads group, and now we get to tell you all about it! Starting today and running through Friday, September 13, when you buy an angel title by any of the Omnific Angel authors in any format, you’ll get an eBook of another title by that author absolutely FREE!

Sooo, when you buy (in any format) Bittersweet Seraphim by Debra Anastasia,
you get (in ePub, mobi or PDF) Crushed Seraphim by Debra Anastasia FREE

When you buy (in any format) Divine Temptation by Nicki Elson,
you get (in ePub, mobi or PDF) ThreeDaves by Nicki Elson FREE

When you buy (in any format) Divinity by Patricia Leever,
you get (in ePub, mobi or PDF) Cat O’ Nine Tails by Patricia Leever FREE

When you buy (in any format) Ember or Iridescent by Carol Oates,
you get (in ePub, mobi or PDF) your choice of either Ember, Iridescent, or Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates FREE

All you have to do is e-mail beverly.nickelson@omnificpublishing.com with:

1. Your purchase receipt, dated between 8/12/2013 & 9/13/2013

2. A link to your Goodreads profile (to verify group membership)

3. Indicate your choice of format for your FREE eBook: either ePub (works on Nook), mobi (works on Kindle) or PDF. If you purchase a book by Carol Oates, please also indicate your choice of FREE title by Carol Oates.

With the Omnific Publishing Fall Sale, all titles are only $2.99! That means you can get 8 great books for less than $12!!

If you're not already a member of the Goodreads group;
you can find it & join by clicking the button below:

BONUS: if you read and review Divine Temptation by October 15,
you can enter this Alternative Ending Giveaway.


Cover Reveal: Daughter of Isis by @KelseyKetch

I'm thrilled to be part of this cover reveal for the debut novel of Kelsey Ketch, one of the first writers I met in the blogworld, back when we used to do the Meet an Author Monday hops.

Daughter of Isis (Descendants of Isis, #1)
Release Date: 10/26/13
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak

“Her mouth parted slightly, waiting for Seth to breathe life into her own body, just like in the story. She wanted him to awaken her senses.”
*Note: Content for Upper YA*


There was a crash and a loud gasping moan. She turned to the door next to her and stepped into the room. Her eyes widened as two entangled bodies jumped in the dark; the light shining from the hall streamed over the couple. She recognized the tall, copper haired upperclassman from the parking lot; the boy who had sent her the enchanting smile. Now he was completely shirtless, his fly clearly unzipped, and a brunette held tight in his arms. The girl glared at Natti. She struggled a little against the boy’s grasp, trying to cover herself with her bra.

Natti blinked in complete shock. “Okay.” She finally glanced at the empty room. “This is obviously not American Literature.”

“No duh!” the brunette snapped.

The young man smiled and turned to the girl in his arms. The brunette’s cold demeanor melted away once her eyes met his. He stroked her cheek, sending visible shivers through her body. Natti rolled her eyes, ready to gag.

“Now, now, Charlotte.” The honey-sweet voice made Natti freeze when she was just turning to leave. It gave her a dizzy feeling; a fog creeping at the back of her mind. “We shouldn’t be rude to our guest.” The boy’s eyes traveled Natti’s curves again. His grin widened. “Perhaps she’d like to join us. Maybe we can all get to know each other a little better.”

He motioned Natti to come inside. She unconsciously took a step forward; a strange force compelled her to join them. Her hands were reaching to pull her shirt off. It was as if she was no longer in control.

What the hell . . . ? Natti shook her head, finding the strength to resist through a familiar heavy sensation that rested against her chest. It was one she often got when someone lied to her. She was born with it. A gift, her grandmother called it, which could tell her when something wasn’t right. And as much as her body suddenly wanted to be next to the boy, feeling the skin of his lean, muscular chest, her gift was telling her something was off. His intentions were not pure.

She lowered her hands to her side, taking a step back into the hall. “Sorry.” She shook her head. “I don’t do threesomes.”

About the Author

During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble CafĂ© in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.Daughter of Isis is her debut novel. For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.

***Author Links***
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

Cover Reveal Organized by:

Congrats Kelsey!!!


Angelic Quickies & Guide to Giveaways

I know the massive hop featuring the angels of Omnific Publishing got a little hairy to find your way through, so today I give you the quick & dirty version, which includes direct links to each of the 4 separate giveaways:

The sweethearts at The Book Bellas incorporated lots of Divine Temptation goodies into one post. There you will find an interview with my angel, an excerpt, AND you can enter to win a paperback copy of DT plus pretty angel swag. 

Read Everything and Discuss provides a snippet on each of our angel books, and if you scroll down past all that, you'll get to speed-date each of us authors.  Plus, this post includes TWO of the four giveaways, featuring books by Carol Oates and Patricia Leever + angel swag.

Wild and Wordy Women features Debra Anastasia (and Satan Jack - who got charmingly naughty at our Twitter party last night) and gives a direct link to the giveaway of her books plus bonus swag.   

Have a great weekend!


IWSG: No God Allowed

Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by our fearless leader, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, I have a question for you. First, a bit of background. My first published novel, Three Daves, is a mainstream, college-age, chick-lit/romance. Early on in the story, two of the students have a brief discussion about King David and the Bible. Soon after, the main character tosses the Bible into her bolster, never to be seen again for the rest of the story, but I cap off each chapter with a relevant Psalm, offset from the main text and easy to skip over should a reader choose to do so. If you haven't read the book, you're just going to have to trust me that it's done in an entirely non-preachy manner.

Well, every once in a while a review will pop up in which the reviewer leaves a comment to the effect of "I almost stopped reading when they started talking about the Bible" or "I was afraid when they started talking about the Bible."  I don't understand this. Real people do discuss Biblical figures and scriptures from time to time, and isn't college a time when minds are extra curious and exploring all manner of topics? Would anyone almost stop reading or be "afraid" if the characters instead talked about an historical figure like Abraham Lincoln or if I quoted Shakespeare at the end of each chapter instead of King David?

Actually, that question I can answer---I do quote Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln in the text, and I've not gotten one single comment about those bits. So here's my question for you: why do you suppose that a small, non-preachy reference to Biblical figures and scripture in a mainstream novel scares some people to the point of them almost putting the book down?

And by the way, the reason I chose King David wasn't a religious one at all...anyone care to take a stab at why he, of all historical figures, would've been appealing to me for this particular book?


Angels Take over the eVerse!

I'm not the only author at Omnific Publishing who has a taste for angels in literature. My pub-sisters Debra Anastasia, Carol Oates, and Patricia Leever also have books out that feature angels, and this week over 50 book bloggers are hosting us with guest posts and excerpts galore PLUS four different prize packages. Here's a link to participating YA Book Blogs and here's a link to participating Adult Book Blogs.

If anything you read along the way sparks a question, head over to our Angels in Literature group at Goodreads to ask the authors directly. We already have a couple of other discussions going too PLUS Omnific has approved members-only benefits to start after the bloghop event ends.

To cap off this week's festivities, the four of us invite you to a Twitter Party this Thursday evening from 6 - 8pm EST using #OmniAngels. We'll be chatting about angels, sending fun links & going wherever else you want to take it.


Art Imitates Art (or Squees in a Museum)

This is just a random post to share some writerly giddiness I had yesterday when my kids and I made an impromptu visit to the city to wander the galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago. I have a little story I've written called "Impressionism 101" that's very special to me. I wrote it for a contest called Silly, Sexy & Supernatural, which the story ended  up winning. Then I submitted 500 words of it to D.L's WRiTE Club and it made it through a few rounds. Then I was blessed to have it chosen for publication last year in the debut issue of Insatiable: The Magazine of Paranormal Desire. But even if not for all this, I'd still love the damn thing. 

Anyhow, the story is told through paintings that are part of the institute's collection, and yesterday, front and center as we entered the Impressionism gallery. lookie what two painting just so happened to be hanging right next to each other---my main characters! I know I've been lax on the blog lately (buried in a work project, sorry) but I just wanted to share the silly, authorly thrill of discovering that these two are getting their happy-ever-after. :)

Opening paragraph, Impressionism 101
I’ve been stealing glances at him for the last two weeks.  Always reclined back in his chair with his elbow resting on the table, a cigarette perched between his finger and his thumb. Most of us are just so stiff and formal in here, especially me with my hands crossed demurely over my velvet coat and my hair pinned up properly under my hat as I sit on the terrace with my baby sister. His aspect is much more appealing. I wish I could lounge like that in a rumpled white T-shirt and rowing pants, smoking a cigarette and relaxing with friends.

Speaking of art, on Wednesday artist and writer Michael Di Gesu announced that he's offering wonderful new services for authors! Need a crafty blurb, clever book cover reveal, editing or book cover design? He's your man. 

Also, if you're interested in reading the whole of "Impressionism 101" plus other great paranormal quickies, I'm offering up an opportunity to get your hands on a print copy of Insatiable

Okay back to work for me, but I'll be around soon to visit your place!