Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Desert Series by Lisette Brodey

The desert is a fascinating place. It could be the arid landscape or the many types of cacti, that draws my interest. It also might be the danger and endless questions as to how anything could survive there. I've recently read Lisette Brodey's, Desert Series. She used the desert as her backdrop and made it come alive in her three-book YA paranormal series.  

In my humble opinion, I feel that each story has incredible depth. Lisette wasn't afraid to expose some real-life issues through her characters. She made me feel their struggles and their happiness. I became invested in who they were and how they dealt with things. 

I decided the best way to present the books in this series was through my reviews: 

My thoughts for book #1 - Mystical High:

The friendship between Jinxy and Jessie is awesome. They're true blue to each other and to those they love. Lots of serious issues come to light in this book. How Ms. Brodey has her characters deal with everything that's thrown at them is what kept me hooked. I could feel the characters' turbulent emotions, but also their joy. There were twists and turns I didn't see coming and I'll admit to getting misty-eyed when the author tied everything together in the end. 

My thoughts for book #2 - Desert Star:

I loved book one, so I knew I would feel the same about book two - Desert Star. The author didn't disappoint. Ms. Brodey gave us two main characters, Larsen and River, who you can't help but care about right away. There's also an amazing cast of secondary characters that add to the conflict and to the joy in this story. Larsen's world spins out of control when he is bullied for being gay and when his own mother turns her back on him because she can't deal with who he is. River comes to his defense and they become great friends. The trials of being teens in high school seems to multiply by the day. On top of it, there's a paranormal element that fits into the story perfectly. In my humble opinion, this is a well-thought-out tale that brings to light -- bullying, the difficulties of being LGBTQ, insecurities, starting over in a new school, the haunts of your past, parents who don't support their children because they don't agree with their lifestyle, and how great friends can make all the difference in your life.

My thoughts for book #3 - Drawn Apart:

I wondered how Ms. Brodey would spin Avalon and River's story. I finished reading the book before I went to bed. When I woke the details were still with me. I absolutely loved how Lisette gave Avalon a best friend and soul mate in Stephanie (they affectionately call each other North and South). Steph is in an accident and ends up in a coma. The real story starts from there. I think Lisette did a great job with the flashbacks and current situation of their friendship. While Avalon tries to handle the tragedy, she also tries to deal with her feelings for River. She fears losing the love of a dear friend to an accident and the love of River to another girl. Avalon is stressed to the max. One scene in particular made me cry. In the midst of all that chaos, Lisette tossed another heart-tugging issue out there - a selfish mother who tries to manipulate Avalon. The twists and turns in this book kept me intrigued. The paranormal element tied everything together perfectly in this story and the series as a whole.

All three stories are unique, but each one contains paranormal elements as well as romance, mystery, serious issues, friendship, strong characters and some seedy ones as well. 

If you'd like to check out this amazing series, click on the links below:

Be sure to visit Lisette at...





Did I mention she has an adorable dog named Bentley?


Saturday, May 20, 2017

And those lips... (small snippet from Keeping Kylee)

From KEEPING KYLEE (book #2 in my Texas Boys Falling Fast series)

Kylee puffed out a small breath. She would never understand men. They were complicated and frustrating and she was of the strict opinion that every last one of them qualified as a pain in the butt. Her father was a huge pain who broke away from the family to start a new life with a much younger woman. Asher Hutten, the man who fathered Kylee's three-year old daughter Gabbi, definitely was a pain. Without reading all the things printed in the newspapers about Quinn Randel, her instincts pegged him to be a pain too; a dangerous one with blue-grey eyes capable of stripping her naked with just a glance. All three men were well-known skirt-chasers. Two of the three had already turned her life upside down. Quinn's remarkable blue-grey orbs said he'd do it too if given the chance. The steamy looks passing between them promised paradise between the sheets, nothing more. She quietly scoffed, "Been there, done that. With Asher." Maybe she should be upfront with Quinn and let him know that he stood an ice cube's chance at the equator of hooking up with her. No way could she risk her heart and sanity with another meaningless liaison, especially with someone who would toss her aside before he put his clothes back on. Kylee tried not to stare but the man lassoed her attention the second he entered the reception hall. It was hard not to stare at the infamous millionaire. Quinn Randel was drop-dead handsome. There was no other way to describe him. Mischief and lust radiated from his every pore. And those lips...

* I just love Kylee and Quinn's story because just about every girl who has ever struggled emotionally over her bad decisions and wrestled with her finances to make ends meet, has daydreamed about hooking up with a guy who can fix everything. At the same time, if that guy can work wonders with your life, he still might be a risk to your heart. Do you take the chance? Or keep him at arm's length in the name of self-preservation? 

If you'd like to check out how Kylee deals with Quinn and vice versa...


Loving Lindy - 7 sentences

I was recently combing through some stored Word documents and ran across this...

7 Sentences from LOVING LINDY.  

These sentences made me snicker when I wrote them and just now too. They're from a humorous scene in the book, but also a tender one. 

     "You want me to do what?" Lindy swallowed a chunk of asparagus at the same time she asked for clarification. She gasped and clutched the arms of the chair when the asparagus stuck in her throat.
     Gunther yanked her up and wrapped his arms around her from behind.  He placed his fists just above her navel and with quick upward thrusts dislodged the asparagus. It torpedoed into the fire.
     Lindy was embarrassed all the way to her core. She stood trembling for more reasons than having her life flash before her eyes.

In this scene, Gunther delivered a wild request and it caught Lindy by surprise. Have you ever had someone ask something so bizarre they startled you to where you knocked over your drink? Fell off the side of your chair? Or choked on asparagus? (Probably not, but hey, in my mind this stuff happens. *Grins*) 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sun Chara - Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife

Today I have the pleasure of having author Sun Chara on my blog with her newest release, Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife. The title alone was a big draw for me. When I read the tag, I was doubly intrigued -- 'A tempestuous fling...a marriage...a betrayal?'

*Raises coffee cup* Welcome, Sun! 

Check out the blurb for Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife --

When Michalis Leonadis' bride jumps ship at the first sign of rough waters, he's annoyed. When she costs him a marriage and a billion dollar deal, he's furious; but when he discovers she ditched him whilst harboring a secret...he's out for revenge. 

Ex-model, Julia Armstrong gave up everything for Michalis but when she catches him with another woman, crushed, she jets out of his life. The proud Greek blasts back into her world seeking retribution -- in exchange for a divorce, he demands she relinquish the one thing she cannot. Her daughter. Only one other bargaining chip remains...Julia herself. 

Wow! Sun writes stories that jet you across the globe for you to tour the glamorous lifestyle of the wealthy and the beautiful, with heart stopping alpha males and spunky heroines who ignite the passion and the pain in their tug-of-wars to get Happily-Ever-Afters. I can see all that and more from the blurb. Let's check out an excerpt from chapter one too. 

Chapter 1
“I’ll take that one.”
“The green gown, Monsieur Leonadis?”
“No, the model.”The man chuckled. “The model’s not for sale, monsieur.”
“You wanna bet?” Michalis Leonadis loosened his tie, lifted an arrogant eyebrow at the sales manager of the Haute Couture show in Paris, and geared up for battle...not with the manager but...with her. Tracking the model every step with his slitted gaze, he slipped a hand inside the pocket of his jacket and extracted a card, then a pen.
Julia, strutting down the runway and steaming up the ballroom in the Hôtel de Crillon had cost him a marriage, and a billion dollars in a Tokyo deal gone belly-up. As if that hadn’t been enough, his head of security informed him she’d recently given—
Applause broke out, splintering his thoughts, and spiking his fury...his passion. For revenge.
She’d ripped his heart out. Shredded his pride. Cost him.
Her untimely exit had rocked his sphere and his bank account. She nearly bankrupted him. He’d put everything on hold to search for her, and to clean up the legal mess his uncle’s amour had created when she’d charmed... er... scammed the old guy into signing half the Leonadis fortune to her and ultimately her heir. The fortune Michalis had slaved over years to amass.
He set his jaw, batted that distraction from his mind, and turned his laser sharp eyes back to the supermodel, his present dilemma.
When he found out Julia had been living it up in Paris, he’d shut her out, and scrambled to salvage his business and stay afloat— he’d waste no more time on her. He was better off without her.
A spike lodged in his aorta, but he ignored the sting.
He clamped his teeth, his breath rumbling in his chest and escaping through his nose in a hostile sound. How dare she keep that a secret from him?
Cold, calculating bi—the expletive stinging his tongue was smothered by shouts of “Brava!” from the audience.
He scrawled a message on his business card, adrenaline pumping him to action.
She’d definitely pay. He curled his lip. His way.
Michalis slapped the card in the man’s hand. “Make sure she gets it.”
The man glanced at the bold insignia of the Leonadis Cruise Line on the card and inclined his head. “Oui, Monsieur Leonadis.”
Michalis tuned him out.He liked things simple. She’d been anything but.

From Harper Impulse and Sun Chara

If you'd like to see where Michalis and Julia's story goes from there, you can find it at:

*Available also in paperback 

About the author:

Sun Chara, a multi-published, JABBIC winner for Manhattan Millionaire's Cinderella, writes sexy, hip 'n fun contemporary romance, high adventure historical romance, and any genre that knocks at her imagination. Globetrotting for lore while keeping tabs on Hollywood leads, she loves the challenge of creating stories for book and screen. Designer frappuccinos with whipping cream/sprinkles on top makes every day a celebration!

Find her at:  


** Information for this post provided by Sun Chara and Petra at Sparkly Word (

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Doing it all wrong!?

I've been a published author for a while now, yet lately I've wrestled with the question -- Am I doing it all wrong? I'm a fairly confident person, so it isn't doubt in myself as a writer. It's more of an inquiry into how I promote myself and my work. Networking with other authors is an amazing thing. You learn what works and what doesn't. I've come to realize, I fall short when it comes to promo. I've dug deep into my personality for the reasons why. I'll share them later in the post. Here are some of the things I either do too much of or not enough: 

I don't put out a newsletter.

I've never done a blog tour. 

I don't have a separate author page on Facebook and use only my personal page.

I blog when the mood strikes me. 

I tweet or retweet on Twitter a lot. (Way too much according to some)

I don't actively pursue an agent.

I believe in a sense of community, yet in the big scheme of things I'm a lone wolf.

I have no street team to put the word out about my books.

When I get cover art for my next book, I don't do an awesome reveal to build anticipation. I get so excited I share the art right away.

I have a LinkedIn account I don't know how to use.

I'm on Goodreads, but have never done a giveaway there.

I have an Instagram account going to waste.

I don't post a lot of selfies.

I don't post my books regularly in all the different Facebook groups for authors and readers.

I've never done a Thunderclap campaign for my books. I've been involved in one though for the box set I'm part of.

I don't take advantage of all the programs Amazon offers (Kindle Scout, Kindle World, etc.) 

Okay, so that's some of the things that sets me apart from other authors. Do I need to step up my game? Probably. Do I need to follow their road map? I don't see that happening. As much as I hate to admit it, there's a small rebel in me. (I imagine my sisters and brothers rolling their eyes and saying 'Ya think?' Ha.Ha. Love them.)

Am I doing it all wrong? Nope. Everyone has to do what they think is right for them. I occasionally like to step out of my comfort zone, so in the future I may try the Kindle Scout program or rev up my activity on Instagram and Pinterest. (Don't hold your breath. LOL) For now, I'm happy to connect with readers and fellow authors the way I do. You can count on me to over-tweet and get all giddy when I get cover art. But that's just me.

Big love to all of you!

~ Jan

Friday, April 7, 2017

Comedy with a dash of Romance - Jude Haste!

My guest today, is author Jude Haste who comes to us from London and writes comedy with a dash of romance. Jude is also a strong anti-bullying advocate.

Instead of an interview, Jude chose to write a guest post. Take it away, Jude...

Raising awareness of Bullying and Work Stress
By Jude Haste - Author on Amazon

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my latest novellas. I write comedy with a dash of romance that I hope raises awareness of the subjects of bullying and work stress. These are important themes as they involve people's mental health and stability.

I began writing to deal with my own work stress and I cut my teeth on a quirky comedy called Loaded. I then went on to write Toxic I and Toxic 2 novellas which follow a lady's life as she deals with her toxic boss. I wrote the Knockout novellas with a bit of a 'Carry On' theme in mind and dealt with a bully in the bedroom rather than the boardroom.

My latest works include: You're Just a Picture On My Wall. I took this title from a song track which my older sister wrote the lyrics to decades ago, so it is quite a personal story. It starts with an incident that actually happened to me. I had to switch off this fire alarm after doing a fire drill at a school and the blasted thing would not shut up. So, I made the situation worse by attacking the alarm box and cursing at it only to turn around and find an entire fire brigade standing right behind me. How embarrassing! Later on in the story, there is a skiing trip and again I used one of the thousands of embarrassing incidents in my life in this section of the story too. It was my first time skiing and my group had to carry their skis to the top of the mountain and then the instructor has you put them on and explains what to do. Unfortunately, when I clicked mine in I was facing the mountain and as soon as I stood up, I shot backwards down the mountain out of control. The instructor raced to save me by skiing backwards behind me and catching my butt in between his thighs to slow me down. Again, how embarrassing!

My main inspiration for writing this book though is based around a character called Ms. Reed, who is the elderly headmistress of an all-girls private school in London. She is a quirky and eccentric character, a bit of a snob, but the point is that she is NOT a bully, in my opinion. When I think of the word bully, the word 'relentless' springs to mind, and Ms. Reed, as quirky as she is, is never shown in the story to be relentlessly picking on or excluding anyone. We all have flaws. 

I always deal with second-chance romances as my  heroes and heroines, who are around my age and I can identify with. The main characters, in this novella, have both been through heartache and need to put their feet back on the ground to deal with the present.

My next novella, Jaywalker, is set in New York, although there are flashbacks to scenes in London. It is based on bullying in the workplace. The main character meets and falls in love with a New York cop but the course of true love does not run smoothly and there are many bickering scenes. The hero is depressed after a failed long-term relationship. When we meet him, he is in rather an unhygienic state. This was deliberate as one of the first signs of someone being depressed is that their own hygiene standards deteriorate. The workplace bullying is based around a series of emails that are received from the boss's sidekick, a lady who seems to spend most of her time relentlessly writing emails, criticising other people's work.

This novella, as it played out in my head really took me out of my comfort zone, but we meet a lot of other characters, like Simon the Psychiatrist who was a wacky character that I created to add to the comedy.

Just an Illusion was another novella I wrote, that I set in India. It is based around an interracial relationship and was important to me in that I wanted to highlight that most mainstream religions share a lot of similarities. I wanted to dispel myths that make us see each other as odd or different.

The boss in this book is actually held a bit accountable for his bullying, but unfortunately with men or women in positions of power, they always try and justify their actions, feeling that the use of bully boy tactics gets the job done. There are courses in conflict resolution that exist and should be taken up by managers. These courses aim to get managers to acknowledge their workforce as people. We are not robots!

We should try to have a positive impact in this world we live in. I hope that from my work, people may learn to come to terms with their work stress by finding an outlet for it, as my characters did and that my novellas bring a bit of comic relief in what can at times seem like a dark and hopeless night! 

You can follow Jude here...  (click the links)


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Exactly how I pictured it!

Have you ever imagined a place and when you finally got the chance to visit, it was exactly as you pictured? 

In my book, WILD GOOSE CHASE, Olivia Pence and Dezz Casey had a love-hate relationship since kindergarten. When they ended up working for the same magazine, all hell broke loose. Their boss had her fill of their back and forth taunts, and ordered them to take a two-week cooling off period. They were to travel separately and find serendipitous situations to write about and if the time away didn't fix their woes, the boss threatened to take drastic action. 

Of course, Dezz laughed in the face of danger (a/k/a being fired) and followed Olivia, who was on her way to Florida. Some funny situations took place along the way and so did some romantic ones. Of course, trouble also found it's way into their adventure. Dezz headed back to New York and Olivia continued on.

Olivia visited Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park in St. Augustine, Florida. When I wrote this scene for her, I'd never actually been to this amazing attraction and had to heavily rely on information from the internet. WILD GOOSE CHASE was published in May 2016 by the Wild Rose Press. In February 2017, I finally got to visit the place I wrote about. I admit to being in awe when I realized how close I came with my descriptions in the book. The second I saw the albino peacocks I got all warm and gushy inside. There were also colorful male peacocks strutting around, making noise since they were in rut. I drank from the Fountain of Youth. The water tasted remarkably like well water. I'm still waiting for the 'youth' bit to kick in. At present, those pesky crows feet are still creasing the corners of my eyes. 

In my story, Olivia sat on a bench and tried to come to grips with her true feelings for Dezz. I think I sat on that same bench after I finished touring the park.  

For me, this after-the-fact research was surreal. It was a writer's retreat that not only helped me reconnect with the characters in the book, but also recharged by my creative batteries for future stories. 

There's a lot of beauty and history to enjoy at Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. If you get a chance, check it out.

~ Jan