amreading, amwriting, Art and Writing, Author Marketing Plans, Author Research and Travel, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, Bestselling Indie Author, blog post, blogging, book reviews, From the Editor's Desk, new adult, New Adult Romance, paranormal, paranormal romance, Supernatural, Supernatural thriller, suspense, urban fantasy, Writer's Craft, YA, YA paranormal, YA Romance

FROM ROMANCE JUNKIE TO FULL TIME AUTHOR: Q and A with Catrina Burgess #amreading #romance #blogger #reviewer

Catrina Burgess author (aka Cat Brown)
Catrina Burgess author (aka Cat Brown)

Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) is an author and blogger based in Arizona. When she’s not writing, she loves to bake and spend time with her husband and three rescue dogs  Coco, Trouble, and Ashy and their cat Shitty Kitty.

Welcome Cat!

When did you launch Romance Junkies and what made you decide it was time to step back from running it?

I started Romance Junkies back in 2002. At that time I was a freelance web designer and aspiring romance writer. I’ve always been a big reader and in between working a day job and writing I was doing a lot of reading. I thought it would be fun to start doing book reviews with some of my friends. And since I was a web designer I decided to whip up a little website where we could post the reviews. I thought the site was going to be a small weekend project, but the first week we were open, I got a very nasty email from one of the big romance review sites. The letter had a very threatening tone and was telling us we couldn’t feature certain authors that were apparently “their authors.” I remember reading the email to my husband and afterward saying in an astonished tone, “Who knew there was a romance mafia.” I’m pretty laid back, but I don’t like bullies. I decided that day to spend all my free time working on the Romance Junkies. My goal was to try to make it as big as possible, for no other reason than to annoy the “Romance Mafia.”

After 13 years of running the site, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to spend more time working on my writing, and I wanted to try some new projects. Some new challenges.

Are you still involved in the Romance Junkies site?

Marie Harte, who writes contemporary romance for Sourcebooks publishing, is the current owner/operator. She is a good friend, and I know she is going to do a fabulous job with the site. I have stepped down from all Romance Junkies management, site decisions, and actual work, but I’ve stayed on with the site as a reviewer. I plan to do a few reviews here and there.

When you founded Romance Junkies back in 2002 what was the online world like for romance authors/novels and how has it changed since then in your opinion?

Big review sites and big blogs filled Romanceland. I remember I would hit my favorite sites and blogs each week to get news and gossip about what was going on. Over the years, social media has expanded with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now I get a lot of my Romanceland news via Twitter and Facebook. Rather than blogs run by a big group of people you see a lot more small, individually run blogs. A lot of young book reviewers are doing their reviews on YouTube.

You’re also an author – when did you start writing and why?

awakeningI started writing back in 2001. When I turned 36 years old, my husband lovingly told me, “You need to start working on that writing dream you’ve had since you were a kid, because let’s face it time is running out.”  I told him I had no idea how to write a book, and he gave me one of his no-nonsense stares and told me, “Stop whining and go figure it out.” Now in his defense, he does tend to be very straightforward in the things he says. He will tell you the honest truth, whether or not you want to hear it. He is also the most supportive husband—he is one of my main critique partners and has really helped me over the years become a better writer.

I started working on that first book in 2001. It took me eight months to write that first book and five months to edit it. While writing that book, I realized how much I loved the whole writing process. Yes, it’s crazy hard, impossible some days, but so much fun. There’s nothing better than battling through and writing a book and getting to those sweet words—THE END. Nothing cooler than seeing the characters you have in your head become walking and talking entities.

What genre do you write in and why?

I started out writing romance. I have four stories that were published with one of the big epublishing houses. I’m not going to name them since my career with them ended when the house blew up with a bunch of crazy drama.  Around that that time I got very sick. So sick I had to give up my day job—I was teaching computer classes and doing freelance web design. My husband, who had always helped me run Romance Junkies, took over the bulk of the work on the site. He also had to take on an extra job since I was no longer able to work. The poor boy had a sick wife at home, was working two day jobs, and was putting up features on Romance Junkies during the wee hours. I told you he’s a very supportive husband. Every year I got a little better and after two years I was able to get back to working on Romance Junkies. Though sadly I was still too sick to go back to working a regular day job.

possessionWhen I was really sick, every six months I would try to write. The first two years the fatigue was so overwhelming I just couldn’t write. I didn’t have the mental clarity to get words down on paper. And then after year three of being sick I saw that author Candace Haven was offering a fast draft class. I decided to give it a try, even though I knew there was a very good chance I wouldn’t be well enough to participate. To my surprise suddenly I could get the words out. The tips I learned about fast drafting in that class really changed the way I wrote. Instead of editing as I worked, I started just banging out a fast, rough first draft. It was so freeing to allow myself to be creative and to turn off the editor in my head. Of course with no editor on duty, that meant my rough drafts were incredibly rough, and it would take me as much time to polish and edit a manuscript as it did to write it.

Before I was sick, I wrote romance, but now the stories coming out of me were much darker. Even more surprising—they were YA. Working on that first young adult book Awakening was a life saver. When your life is full of fatigue, your world becomes very small. You mourn the high energy person you used to be. You have so many limitations on the things you can do you get depressed. I took all that depression, all those dark thoughts and I poured them into my story. I spent the next two years writing the four books in the Dark Ritual series under the pen name Catrina Burgess. Those characters in the book, the Scooby gang as I call them, kept me entertained and I truly believed helped me get better. I’m still sick, and I still have a lot of limitations on the things I can do, but on a good day I can think clearly. I’m mentally 70% there, which is a huge improvement. More importantly, I’m well enough to write. I never realized how much I loved writing until I couldn’t do it anymore.

fff-logo-clear copy10014760_659073720820922_1636794537_o1-e1415204780483You’re published by Full Fathom Five – the publishing company launched by James Frey – who shot to fame years ago with his bestseller A Million Little Pieces – how did that come about and how is it going so far?

I’m with the infamous James Frey publishing through the Full Fathom Five Digital house. I wrote the first three books in my Dark Ritual series and posted them on Wattpad. Wattpad is a teen writing community. I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading my YA books. I was writing them to entertain myself and my teenage nieces. I was shocked when the series started to get a lot of traction on Wattpad. Before I knew it, the first three books had over 3 million reads. I was getting fan email from teens from all over the world. I decided to enter Awakening, the first book in the series into a Wattpad writing contest. To my amazement, out of 3,000 entries, Awakening was picked as one of ten winners of the Wattpad 2014 Prize. Awakening was named best suspense book. After winning the contest, I was contacted by Full Fathom Five.

I spent a good deal of time researching the new house and their management. It’s always a risk to go with a new house, but I decided to take the risk. It took six months to negotiate a contract we could both live with. Once I was on board with the house, I got to know the staff as I worked with them. And I really enjoyed working with them.

The toughest part of the whole process was the eight months of publisher edits. Since I signed in January and the first three books all came out the month of October, I was under very tough deadlines. But somehow I survived them, though I don’t remember much about last summer, it seemed to have whizzed by in a blur of edits.

Revenant2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700-683x1024I love how the series turned out. I adore the covers. And I would have happily continued working with FFF, but unfortunately the digital house this year decided to downsize. They are not taking on any new submissions. I plan to write a half-dozen books set in the same world as the Dark Rituals series, but now I’m free to do whatever I want with those books. It’s a bit scary having an orphaned series. It’s very unlikely another house will pick up the rest of the series. At the moment the plan is to self-publish the rest of the books. Nowadays when you self-publish you have to consider covers and edits. Those expenses come out of your own pocket. You cross your fingers and hope that the book sells enough to repay the money you paid out of pocket. There is no guarantee it will. There is a risk, but there is also quite a bit of freedom having full control over your book. It allows you to take more risks with the story and the characters.

Given your background at Romance Junkies – what do you think are some key things that every author should do to promote their books?

If you asked me this question three years ago, I would have had a pat answer for you. There seemed to be a roadmap that authors could follow to find success and sales. But in the last three years the publishing industry has been in a free fall. Suddenly authors who had been making a great living writing are having a hard time surviving.

I’ve given a lot of thought to why there has been such a drastic change in Romanceland in the last three years. Is it because Amazon changed its algorithms?  The fact that so many indie authors are now publishing romance? Has the avalanche of free books turned readers off from buying books? Could it be that the middle class is shrinking, and people seem to be working more which leaves them less time to read and less money to spend on books? I think it’s a combination of all of the above.

Legion3-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700-683x1024So what can an Author do that will ensure she/he sells a zillion books? If I could answer that question, I would be the most popular person in Romanceland. I think it’s still important to try and get your name out. It helps to be active on social media. Book blog tours, Facebook ads, reviews—I think these things still help with book sales. But when it comes to the big sales I think it’s lightening striking—the combination of timing and luck. If you are lucky enough to have a project that hits big with Amazon rankings and somehow gets found by the readers and those readers spread the word about the book to all their friends–you get this grass roots buzz happening. The rankings and readers interest gets the blogs all talking about the book, and the big sales seem to follow. I don’t know that anyone has found a guaranteed way to make all of those things happen. If they did, I’m sure the whole of Romanceland would be talking about it.

Personally, I’m going to try a few non-writing projects see if I can raise my Author visibility. In the fall I’m going to start doing YouTube videos about paranormal topics. Hopefully, I can make the videos informative yet zany enough to entertain my teen readers.

Let’s say your book has been out there for six months, and the shine is off the apple – what are some key things that an author should do to keep their name out there?

Another good question. The answer seems to be write more books. It’s a tough time in publishing—authors are expected to write multiple books a year and, at the same time, do a ton of social media and marketing. You see many authors struggling to find time to write with all the marketing they are doing. Some authors seem to be able to juggle the two seamlessly. I’ve seen authors who are somehow on Twitter all day long interacting with their readers and yet they still find time to write. I wonder when they sleep.

What do you love reading and who are three of your favorite authors?

spiders-bite517UL7sjo-LI love Jennifer Estep’s spider series. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is on my “auto-buy” list. I just discovered Calia Read, and I love the books in her new series–Unravel and Unhinge.

You have chronic fatigue syndrome – how does it affect your writing and daily routine? What are some things you do to help keep yourself balanced?

Chronic fatigue is a dreadful thing to have. Most people don’t realize how debilitating fatigue can be. There are days when I feel like I have a house sitting on my shoulders and getting up and putting a load of dishes in the dishwasher seems like an impossible task. I’ve always been a type A personality, but no amount of mental strength or willpower can fight through that much fatigue.

I found what works for me, is if I set a weekly page count. I try to write every day, but that’s not always possible. I find with the weekly page count it helps me push myself to get pages done on those days when I feel well enough to write. But there are many days during the week when I’m too sick even to sit at the laptop. Especially if I overdo it.

imgres-1Last Olympics the women’s volleyball team had a mantra they used—breath, battle, believe. It’s a mantra I’ve adopted to help me get a book done. I breathe and take it easy on days I can’t work. I battle and work on the book on days I feel good. And I believe that if I keep working away the book will eventually get done.

Bonus: What are you really good at and why? (can be something silly) J

I can crochet afghans. It disturbs and amuses my friends that I can crochet. I’m someone who lives in graphic t-shirts, jeans, and vans, and I guess crocheting is something that people always think of grandmothers as doing.  I’m good at it thanks to my very own grandmother who taught me how to crochet.

Thank you!!!!!

Connect with Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) via her website and via facebook, goodreadswattpad, and via her blog

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us on twitter.

amreading, amwriting, blog post, book reviews, Comic Books, contemporary fantasy, Dark Paranormal, dystopian fantasy, dystopic fantasy, Fantasy/Adventure, Good Books, Graphic Novels, Horror, horror fiction, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, paranormal, Shapeshifters, Shapeshifting novel, Supernatural

Ghosts of Glory book review #amreading #urbanfantasy #paranormal

Ghosts-of-Glory-453x680Prepare yourself for a world of graphic violence and mythology, topped off with a dose of delicious suspense.

GHOSTS OF GLORY by Morgan Chalfant is an incredibly fluid read that held me captivated from the moment I began reading it.

The story follows an ex-boxer named Jersey the Brawler, a man who finds out he’s half-human and half-demi god and the son of the Twilight Goddess, who is also the creator of his hometown of Glory, USA.

Told in first-person narrative, GHOSTS OF GLORY takes the reader down the dirty streets of the town’s underbelly, where evil creatures are plotting Glory’s complete destruction. Only Jersey, who shares a an unwanted connection to the leader of this evil force, can prevent the worst from happening.

I loved this book! The narrative was extremely vivid and the hero, Jersey is a battered and beleaguered hero we can all root for. Author Morgan Chalfant, puts us right into the action and makes us feel everything that Jersey feels. And do we ever!

Chalfant‘s writing grips us from the first page to the last, and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future and can’t wait for Book 2 in this series!

Reviewed by Sara Brooke.

Morgan Chalfant is a native of Hill City, Kansas. He received his Bachelor’s degree in writing and his Master’s degree in literature from Fort Hays State University, where he now teaches writing.

You can purchase Ghosts of Glory by Morgan Chalfant at  Lachesis Publishing, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble.

Connect with Morgan Chalfant on facebook, tumblr, and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebookFollow us Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

amreading, amwriting, blog post, blogging, book reviews, contemporary romance, From the Editor's Desk, Good Books, Good Reads, new adult, promoting your books, Publishing industry, reader appreciation, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels

The Write Review: Q and A with prolific book reviewer Megan Cooke #amwriting #amreading

Megan Cooke, book reviewer
Megan Cooke, book reviewer

Megan Cooke is a 20-something special education elementary school teacher based in southern Maryland. 

“The crazy wonderful shenanigans of my students keep me busy in the best way, and I love getting to work with each and every one of them.”  

A dog person Megan has a golden retriever named Cameron, who she says is “the best 65 pound lap dog a girl could ask for.” Megan also loves photography and travel and does a lot of both in her spare time. 

But Megan does something else in her spare time. She reads prolifically and writes about the books she reads, posting her reviews on her blog, on Facebook on Goodreads. She also has a Pinterest page. She used to post her reviews on Amazon, but that changed a few months back when Amazon banned her from its site. More on that later. 

Megan’s fan base is in the thousands. Fellow readers look to her to give an honest and informed opinion on a variety of books. Readers like Megan have something to say, not only that, they also have a lot of clout when it comes to impacting book sales.

Welcome Megan to the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog.

LP: Tell us how you got started reviewing books and why?

10313820_842341429110180_6158526084508575521_nMC: I have always been an avid reader, and have always loved talking about books, and one day on my way home from work I got to thinking about the possibility of starting a book blog to combine both of those loves. I had blogged a bit in college for school related things, so I was somewhat familiar with how to get started, so after talking to my best friend about it, I created my blog, The Never Ending Book Basket. My goal for my blog and reviewing was really just to spread the book love as much as I could, and to have recommendations and reviews for other readers like myself looking for that next great read. I truly believe books can bring us all together if we let them, and almost 3 years later, I still have the same goals for my blog: to connect to other readers and to spread the book love like crazy.

LP: How do you juggle work/family and your passion for reading and reviewing books – how much time do you spend per week reading and reviewing books? How many books do you, on average, review per week?

Diana Durbin can't decide which book to read.
Diana Durbin can’t decide which book to read.

MC: I will admit when I first started my book blog, I really had no idea what I was doing and I was pretty terrible at balancing it all, but I’ve definitely gotten better about that over the past few years. Now I set aside time two nights a week to set up blog posts and social media posts for my blog’s Facebook page, so that way I can spend the rest of my nights reading and reviewing, as well as spending time with my family and friends. I typically read every night for at least a couple of hours, and I definitely read more on the weekends, so I’d say I read and review about 3-5 books in a typical week. Some weeks I read more, and some I read way less, it just depends on what’s going on. I also beta read for some authors, so if I’m doing that and beta notes, I definitely read a bit less during the week. For me reading has always been an escape, so it never really feels like work to run my blog or to read and review a book. I truly love every minute of it!

What genres do you review and why? How do you acquire the books? Do you buy them yourself or do authors send them to you or both?

Marilyn Monroe book love
Marilyn Monroe book love

MC: I am a true lover of love stories, so most of the books I read and review currently fall into the romance category. I read many subgenres of romance, and I am a huge fan of new adult and contemporary romance, but I also read many other genres of books too. I love young adult, some mystery and suspense, and memoirs too, but really I’ll read any kind of book that piques my interest. Many of the books I review I have purchased myself (my blog got its name from my real never ending book basket full of unread books), though I do sometimes read and review books that are sent to me by authors. I also sign up for blog tours for books, and have received ARC’s in exchange for posting an honest review of that book.

Do you review only new releases or do you review older titles – and why?

MC: I review both new releases and older titles, because I equally love finding those new must reads and getting the chance to tell people about them, while also discovering and loving older titles that other readers recommend to me. Most of the books from my real never ending book basket are older titles. I read and review newer releases, typically when I sign up for a blog tour. When I decide to read a book, it’s because I really want to read that particular book at that moment. I’m definitely a mood reader, and will shift my book choices depending on what mood I’m in and what kind of read I want. Sometimes I want a more emotional read that’ll make me want to throw my tablet or book across the room, and other times I want something lighter that’ll make me laugh and smile like crazy, so I choose my books, both newer and older, accordingly.

LP: Tell us about your blog and your various social media sites. Where can we access your reviews?

Sophia Loren lost in a book
Sophia Loren lost in a book

MC: I like to think of my blog as a recommended reading list of sorts. In addition to review posts, I post cover and excerpt reveals for upcoming books, as well as random book related posts. Every book I read is reviewed on my Goodreads page, which is linked to my blog page. I don’t do a full review post on my blog for every book I read, but when I do write a review post, you can find that review on my blog, as well as on my blog’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

LP: What kind of audience reach do you have? And what kind of feedback do you get from YOUR readers about your reviews?

MC: I have about 4000 followers on my blog’s Facebook page, a couple hundred followers of my actual blog, and some followers through Goodreads While I do try my best to get my reviews out there to support the authors I read, and to spread the book love as much as I can, I really try to focus on building authentic connections with my followers. My goal for my audience reach is to have meaningful connections with the people who read my reviews and follow my blog’s various pages, and so far I think I’ve been pretty successful with that. My reviews are typically positive and detailed, so much of the feedback I get about them from other readers is that they can tell I really loved the book based on what I wrote, so that makes them want to read it too. I’ve also had readers tell me they really got a great sense of the book I was reviewing based on what I wrote in my review. A lot of readers also tell me how they felt the same way I did about the books that I’ve read and reviewed, and it’s always great to share the same feelings about books!

Rita Hayworth relaxing with a good book
Rita Hayworth relaxing with a good book

LP: Do you ever get contacted by authors regarding a review you wrote about one of their books? And if so – have you had any negative/positive connections with authors?

MC: I have been contacted by authors regarding my reviews of their books, and that has led to some amazing connections with authors that have pretty much made my blogging life, haha. There’s been a few times when some of my all-time favorite authors have messaged me to thank me for my review of their book, and I’ve even had the chance to meet some of those authors who’ve messaged me, which has led to some unforgettable moments. I am a true fangirl at heart, so meeting and connecting with these different authors, even through a message or a comment about my reviews, truly means the world to me.

LP: You recently have gone through something quite negative with Amazon. Your blog post about it generated almost 2,000 comments (and counting). Tell us what happened and how you plan to move forward from this. 

Alexis Carrington was a bitch, but Joan Collins loved her books.
Joan Collins’ alter ego Alexis Carrington invented bitch. Amazon, you are no Alexis Carrington.

Oh Amazon . . . About two months ago I received an email from Amazon notifying me that I was banned from reviewing anything on their website, and that all of my previously written reviews had been removed because I had “manipulated product reviews”. I’m still not even sure what that means exactly, and I’ve been given no further clarification from Amazon, despite my repeated efforts for answers. After I wrote about what happened, many people have said that I could’ve been banned for being a part of Amazon’s Affiliate Program and for reviewing books that I linked to, others have said it could be because I know authors or because I have too many 4 and 5 star ratings, and many have told me that Amazon just does what it wants, so that’s why I was banned. At this point I really have no idea why this happened. I have always been a huge supporter of Amazon in the past, using them as the only retailer I purchased e-books from, in addition to buying paperback books, and giving away e-books and gift cards to their website, so to say this whole thing was disheartening is putting it lightly. They removed hundreds of my reviews that I had worked hours on, and they were all gone in an instant and they won’t even tell me why. I’ve since found out that this has happened to countless other book bloggers, as well as other everyday product reviewers. That’s what led me to writing my post, Amazon, You Hit Like a Bitch. I was frustrated, but really I wanted to show that what Amazon did wasn’t okay at all, at least not in my book. I also wanted to show that despite Amazon doing all this to me, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from being the book blogger I wanted to be, and it wasn’t going to stop me one bit from spreading the book love as much as I could. Going forward, I plan to use other book retailers to purchase both paperbacks and e-books, as well as to review my purchases. I also plan to keep sharing what happened to me in hopes that one day maybe Amazon will get its act together with this, or that one day we’ll maybe get an answer as to why they keep doing this to consumers who consistently support them.

LP: I know it’s hard to pick your top three favourite authors (definitely a toughie for me LOL) – but tell us about three authors that consistently wow you.

513zFgygDFL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_MidnightLily_v2-430x688MC: This is a seriously tough question! (I feel like I’m picking between my favorite tiny humans right now, haha!) I hate to pick just 3 because I could pick tons and tons of authors, since I’ve read some amazing ones in my reading career, but three authors that consistently wow me are Colleen Hoover, Mia Sheridan, and Kim Holden. Each of these seriously talented authors have written some of my all-time favorite books, and I will never forget reading and experiencing their books that have made me cry like a baby in public, on more than one occasion. I’m definitely a lover of emotionally charged stories, and each of these authors have thoughtfully crafted stories that have touched and pulled at every single emotion I have in ways that are distinctive to their specific writing style. They consistently write books that make you think and feel and question with all that you have, and they continue to give me some of the most utterly phenomenal reading experiences.

LP: Way back when, I was a movie critic for a morning radio news program. Over the years I had a few “favourite” moments on air. Tell us about some of YOUR favourite reviews where you felt that you really connected with the book and you were able to convey that in how you wrote about it.

Bright-Side-Kim-Holden26201118MC: I definitely have had a few reviews stick with me over the past few years. When I wrote my review for Bright Side by Kim Holden, I was an emotional wreck, but in a good way. I was so moved by that book, the meaning of its story, the literal goodness of its main character Kate, and Kim Holden’s writing, and I think I literally poured all of that into that book review. To this day it’s one of my favorite reviews, and I like to think it really captured what it’s like to read that book. (And a fun fact about that review is, 3 days after I wrote it, I got a tattoo of a quote from that book.) Another more recent review was this past January when I read Hallowed Ground by Rebecca Yarros, which is hands down one of the most breathtakingly emotional books I’ve ever read. I was so swept up by the emotions of that book and all that those characters went through, that I started full on crying while writing my review. I was still that consumed and affected by everything with that book, even though I’d finished it days earlier. I worked hours on that review, trying to get it just right, so that I could accurately convey how phenomenal that book and Rebecca Yarros’s writing are. I personally think it’s one of my strongest reviews that truly showed how connected I was to the powerful and emotional journey of the characters in that story.

LP: In your opinion what is the purpose of a book review and what should a well-constructed book review contain?

Marilyn Monroe would have made a fine novelist
Marilyn Monroe would have made a fine novelist

MC: I think the purpose of a book review is to show one person’s thoughts and feelings on a book that they read, as well as to show other readers what it might be like to read and experience that particular book. I think it’s important to remember that a review is one person’s opinion, so I think as readers it’s important for us to know what we do and don’t like in the books we read. That way when we read a book review, we can make connections to the review to see if that book is something we might like, or if we might feel the same way as that reviewer. I think a well-constructed book review should really be about what it was like to read that particular book. It should be specific enough to give an idea and a sense of what the book is like to read and what it’s about, but not too specific to where any spoilers or major plot points are revealed. Reviews should also be honest, and whether they contain praise or criticism, or a combination of both, it should always be done in a constructive way with some elaboration. Maybe it’s just the teacher in me needing support for an answer, but I personally want to know why a reader felt a certain way about a book, which is why I make it a point to include that kind of reasoning in my own reviews.

LP: Have you ever considered becoming an author? Why/why not?

15950494MC: I have considered becoming an author, and it’s definitely something I aspire to be. One day I hope to get my act together by actually consistently writing and working on one of the many story ideas floating around in my head. I definitely have a few stories and characters that I’ve been working on for a bit now, and often times my long work commute comes in quite handy for plotting more on those ideas. My phone and various notebooks are filled with these characters and their stories that I’ve come to know and love, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to get it all out on paper.

LP: Bonus: What’s one of your favourite books from your childhood or teen years?

MC: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is hands down my favorite book from my teen years. While I could NEVER pick a favorite book, if I had to make a list of my all-time favorite books, this book would definitely be on that list. That book is amazing, and it means so much to me.

Thank you Megan Cooke for joining us today! 🙂

Connect with reviewer Megan Cooke via her blog: THE NEVER ENDING BOOK BASKET, on Facebook on Goodreads and on Twitter

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

amreading, amwriting, blog post, book reviews, Dark Paranormal, Hauntings, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis Blog, paranormal, paranormal romance, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, YA, YA paranormal, YA Romance

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: THE POSSESSION by J.D. Spikes #amreading #YA #paranormal

Secret-Journals-Posession-1400x2100-500x724 THE POSSESSION BOOK 1 SECRET JOURNALS by J.D. Spikes

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Reviewed by Kim Baccellia

Almost seventeen-year-old Daphne Wentworth finds out that she’ll be spending the next two months at her aunt’s lighthouse in Maine. While there, she starts ‘seeing’ things and hearing voices. Then she runs into Zach Philbrook, a cute Micmac native, who works for her aunt. Zach faces extreme prejudice from the town’s teens who don’t accept him. Daphne stands up to the bullies and is drawn to Zach. She finds that whenever she’s around him, chemistry literally sparks. But Daphne encounters things worse than bullies when she sees the ghost of the former lighthouse caretaker, Ro. Through possession, Daphne learns about Ro’s forbidden love for Vincent, a Micmac native that ended tragically.  The closer Daphne gets to Zach, the more dangerous the ghostly lovers become.

Will Daphne be strong enough to withstand these ghosts and still stay true to her heart?

What worked: I’m a huge sucker for a good ghost tale. I enjoyed this paranormal world along with the mystery behind the centuries-old forbidden love story. Daphne’s interest about the lighthouse grows to almost an obsession. I liked how she pursued going after the mystery and her bubbling relationship with Zach. She has spunk and courage to not back down on seeing Zach even with the town’s racism. The scenes at the cemetery, which includes a ritual, are also very engaging.

What I did have troubles with was how fast Daphne went from just ‘liking’ Zach to having a consuming love for him though this could in fact be due to the possession.

Intriguing YA paranormal with a Wuthering Heights feel going for it. There’s a mystery behind the ghostly forbidden lovers; Native American lore; romance; and suspense. All of this set in a paranormal world that is complete with ghosts and a curse. A fast-read for fans of the paranormal and romance.

You can get The Possession by J.D. Spikes right at Lachesis Publishing or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe

Connect with J.D. on her web site and on facebook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

amreading, blog post, book reviews, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, paranormal, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, Superhero fiction, Supernatural, Uncategorized, women's fiction

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: Sisters of Spirit by Annette Blair, Christine Mazurk, Jeanine Duval Spikes and Lynn Jenssen #amreading

Lachesis Publishing Anthology
Lachesis Publishing Anthology

Sisters of Spirit Anthology

Reviewed by Charlotte Daly

This is truly an amazing collection of stories written by authors whose talent is mind-boggling. As an author myself, I know how difficult it is to devise a well-crafted book. How much harder must it be to coordinate with three other authors on interconnected tales!

The Prologue by Annette Blair whet my appetite by laying out a truly unique premise: the legend of the Sisters of Spirit. Four unrelated women wash up on a beach and, bonded by their mutual support, consider themselves sisters. They respond to calls for help – an “SOS” sent out by women in difficult situations. The magical quality of this setup hooked me from the first pages – what woman doesn’t have friends who they consider sisters?

Each story that follows spotlights a different woman with their own unique dilemmas. In New View, by Lynn Jenssen, Marina Simms is facing what she feels is a breakdown of her seven-year marriage. In Identity, by Christine Mazurk, Bryce Evans has shed a large amount of weight, but not the heavy burdens in her life after she meets a successful personal trainer with his own heavy burden. In Shaman’s Shell, by Jeanine Duval Spikes, Clara O’Keefe’s discovery of a mysterious necklace leads her to working with an archeologist, one whom she feels drawn to, but does not know if she can trust. Finally, in Moving Pictures by Annette Blair, Anastasia Jones is at a low point in her life when she discovers a camera, and decides to try to return it to its owner. This leads her to a job and challenging relationship with a man who is as emotionless as a robot. Anastasia decides to break the man’s icy armor.

In this last story, all four women come together. Events that occurred in the other stories are woven together, leading to a wonderful realization: all were all going through their changes simultaneously. Each woman’s journey is expertly braided together, making me truly believe in the power of Sisters of Spirit.

A wonderful read by extremely talented authors, I highly recommend this book. I already have several “sisters” to whom I will be gifting this inspiring work.

You can purchase the Sisters of Spirit Anthology at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Connect with Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk, Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair on facebook.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

 

 

amreading, blog post, book reviews, Dark Paranormal, Hauntings, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, paranormal, paranormal romance

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: The Awakening by Sara Brooke (reviewed by Jessica Penot)

The-Awakening-Book-1-The-Bloodmane-Chronicles-by-Sara-Brooke-500x724THE AWAKENING by Sara Brooke: 

Renda Bloodmane, the heroine of the THE AWAKENING, is a likeable woman.  She is a quiet, bookish girl who prefers to live in the worlds that exist in the pages of a novel to the real world.  Renda’s life is turned upside down when she goes to visit her friend Bobbie Trillo in Georgia.  Renda is immediately confronted by the visage of a strange man staring at her from a window that should be empty.  Renda tries to explain her vision away, but it becomes impossible to ignore the ghosts of Trillo House when they come to her that night.   Ms. Brooke’s novel unfolds from here delicately intertwining romance and mystery.  Ghosts and spirits thrive in Georgia and Renda is forced to confront both in her friend’s family house.

This is the first romance I have read with a ghost as the romantic lead and that made it engaging. The hero in this story is the ghost of a mysterious and darkly handsome man who Renda feels herself drawn to. This ghost warns Renda that danger is lurking around every corner of the Trillo family house and that an evil is trying to destroy the Trillo family.   Renda is determined to save the family from this evil.

Ms. Brooke’s writing style is clear and steady as she guides  the reader deeper into the mystery at the heart of the haunted Trillo house.  Ms. Brooke’s novel is a little more romance driven than I usually read as I usually prefer ghosts and demons to true love, but the book is engaging and the romance is passionate.  I enjoyed this book immensely and would definitely suggest it for anyone who loves paranormal romance.

You can get Sara’s Lachesis Publishing release – The Awakening: Book 1 Bloodmane Chronicles at Lachesis Publishing, as well as amazon.com, barnes and noble, kobo, and iTunes.

You can Like Sara’s facebook page  – called, The Bloodmane Chronicles . Connect with Sara on facebook, on twitter @SaraBrooke8, and on her website. Sara welcomes feedback and questions from readers.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.

amreading, amwriting, Art and Writing, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, blog post, book reviews, Good Books, Good Reads, Horror, horror fiction, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog

Books That Changed My Life by Morgan Chalfant #amreading #amwriting #writingcraft

onwritingOpen a book and you better be prepared to take a journey. And like all journeys, some are more nourishing to our souls than others. Some offer a key to our cage when we need an escape to a magical fantasy land, others offer us a grim look at the things that scare us the most, and some are there to remind us that everything is going to be okay, that we are not as alone as we think. There are lots of books that have had an effect on me—certainly too many to name all of them. We lovers of books all have too many to fill a single page (or seventy). Here are a few that found just the right spot in the little place I like to call ‘my soul.’

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – Part memoir, part writing treatise, Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft was suggested to me by a fellow author and mentor when I was at college and quickly became one of the most pivotal books in my growth as a writer and to some degree, a person.

thief1The Thief of Always by Clive Barker – Want a good coming-of-age story? This is it. While more well-known as a horror writer and pioneer of the tales that became the Hellraiser franchise, The Thief of Always shows that Barker can pen a book that speaks to young adults just as powerfully as his horror novels speak to lovers of the macabre.

thecrowThe Crow by James O’Barr – Graphic novels are books too. Any other argument is null and void. That is why The Crow by James O’Barr makes my list. It seemed to leap off the shelf at me in a time when I sorely needed a good escape. In many ways, The Crow is the ultimate love story, as well as being the ultimate revenge tale too. Beautiful for the stylistic artwork and touching for its emotional tale of love transcending death, The Crow has since developed a cult following (especially due to the sad events surrounding the movie adaptation). Pick up the special edition of this one which has added content (including a dedication to the late Brandon Lee by O’Barr) that is not in the original and one of my favorite sequences ever, “An August Noel.”

theroadThe Road by Cormac McCarthy – I’m not sure why this book affected me so much. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre and maybe it’s because I grew up watching The Road Warrior one too many times, but regardless, it touched me deeply. A powerful story of a father and son trying to make it to a safe haven in a post-apocalyptic world where food is scarce and kindness is even harder to find, this book, in this humble writer’s opinion, is McCarthy’s best work to date, if only because it stands out from his normal wheelhouse.

readyplayeroneReady Player One by Ernest Cline – I’m a sucker for 1980s nostalgia. Cline and I would probably get along well because this book is dripping with pop culture references. It is something Cline does extremely well weaving into his story. When I picked up Ready Player One, I was pleasantly surprised to be not only thoroughly entertained, but also because the book found the kid in me again. This book reads like part The Goonies and part Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, combined to create a story for all ages.

Ghosts-of-Glory-453x680Morgan Chalfant is a native of Hill City, Kansas. He received his Bachelor’s degree in writing and his Master’s degree in literature from Fort Hays State University, where he now teaches writing.

You can purchase Ghosts of Glory by Morgan Chalfant at  Lachesis Publishing, Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

Connect with Morgan Chalfant on facebook, tumblr, and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebookFollow us Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

amreading, blog post, book reviews, Dark Paranormal, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, paranormal, paranormal romance

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot (reviewed by Sara Brooke)

THE-ACCIDENTAL-WITCH-COVERJessica Penot‘s THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH takes you to a small town, in the moody, wooded landscape of Alabama, where a psychologist named Phaedra Michaels, works tirelessly at a local hospital, trying to help the desperate and troubled souls in her town.

Phaedra’s life is like the lives of many women, she’s recently divorced and battling a penchant for junk food and pop, but as the story progresses Phaedra discovers that she has a lot more to worry about than a few pesky extra pounds. She finds out her mother, who abandoned her as a child, is in fact a witch. And she inherited Mom’s talents.

When evil demons start showing up in town, Phaedra has a real fight on her hands to not only keep herself alive, but to keep the town safe from harm.

Phaedra possesses a wonderful sense of dry, self-deprecating humor that has you chuckling as you travel with her on her dark adventures. She is an immensely relatable character and a very refreshing change from the sometimes “hysterical” female leads that you may come across in paranormal romance novels. Instead, Phaedra is clever and down to earth as she goes through her metamorphosis from small town psychologist, to small town psychologist and witch!

THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH is vividly and thoroughly entertaining. My only criticism (and this is probably because I am a hopeless romantic at heart) would have been for Jessica to spend a bit more time on the Phaedra/Fred relationship to allow it to simmer a bit more.

This is a novel I would highly recommend for those who are interested in delving into the mystical world of the paranormal and who also love a damn good story.

You can buy Jessica Penot’s THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH right here at Lachesis Publishing or at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.

Connect with Jessica Penot online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

amreading, amwriting, blog post, book reviews, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Legal Thrillers, Marketing and Promotion, mystery, Publishing industry, romantic comedy, suspense, suspense thriller, suspense thrillers

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce (Reviewed by Jacqui Morrison)

Elegant spy portrait

From its very first line: It started with a dead body on my living room floor, a Bodyguard to Remember, by Alison Bruce will have you hooked.

The novel is fast paced and the excitement continues until the very end. Prudence Hartley arrives home to find a body in her living room. Her first instinct is to protect her children and her second is to call the police.

Her home becomes a crime scene with all that that entails. The RCMO gets involved because of the identity of the dead man. Stoic Sergeant Merrick quickly becomes a friend to our heroine, Pru, and maybe (hopefully) something more.

The novel, a first in a series, is set in Guelph, Ontario, a small city, which makes the crime and the story all the more interesting.

The dead man hid something either on Pru or in her home, that could get her killed. Because of the nature of the crime, she is immediately under police protection, along with her kids. Slowly but surely an attraction kindles between Pru and Merrick. The back and forth romantic tension between them is an wonderful thread that runs throughout this thoroughly enjoyable book.

The main character Prudence or Pru as she’s often referred to, is a single mom and Alison Bruce has captured that “single mom” spirit beautifully. Children come first no matter what, in this thriller. Pru is a writer and editor. There is an interesting sub-plot where art becomes reality as Pru’s science fiction book is published and she embarks on a promotional book tour while trying to lure the killer out into the open.

Pru has the wit of Kinsey Millhone from the Sue Grafton novels, but through the eyes of a mom. Her humour is quick and often references Star Trek, which is hilarious. I thoroughly enjoyed Pru’s ability to compare everyone she meets to a Star Trek character.

A Bodyguard to Remember is the perfect book for a holiday on the beach. It’s quick-paced fun and it keeps you guessing until the very end.

You can connect with Alison Bruce on her website and on facebook and twitter.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 CENTS. THIS WEEK ONLY. You can also purchase your copy at amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

amreading, blog post, book reviews, Crime Thrillers, Dark Mystery, Lachesis Blog, Legal Thrillers, mystery, Police Procedurals, suspense, suspense thriller, suspense thrillers

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: The Vigilante by Jacqui Morrison (Reviewed by Alison Bruce)

THE-VIGILANTE-COVERIf the long-running Law & Order franchise ever spins off to Canada, The Vigilante would make a great template. Jacqui Morrison’s book has the right balance of police and legal procedural with a good helping of character development and social commentary thrown in.

On the police side, we have Lynette Winton, her colleagues at work and her mother at home.

A rookie detective, Lynette is determined to prove herself. At first, however, Lynette seems to be a study in what not to do. When we find out her family situation, it’s easier to understand her behaviour. She lives with her loving, but passive aggressive mother, who is so secretive about Lynette’s biological father that any child would become obsessed with discovering the truth.

Lynette might be wrong about how she finds the truth, but find it she does. She arrests the suspect dismissed by her senior colleagues, while saving the life of the next intended victim.

On the legal side, we have defense lawyer Maxine Swayman.

Maxine is Lynette’s opposite in more than the court case even to having a loving and supportive father. She is confident, charming, and has a sexy surgeon for a boyfriend. One thing both women share is determination. In this case, Maxine is determined that the accused, Wanda Chambers, gets the help she desperately needs.

imgresIt’s on the legal side of the story that Morrison really shines. It’s no surprise that the author’s community work has given her experience with social justice and court procedures. My one disappointment is that she failed to mention the robes that barristers wear in Superior Court. Also, unlike the U.S. (and civil cases in Canada) the defendant is customarily addressed as “the accused.” Those, and many more details that Morrison does touch on, highlight the differences we’d see in Law & Order CA as opposed to the US and UK varieties.

The guest star is, of course, the accused. There is no doubt that Wanda Chambers is guilty, the real question is whether the troubled woman will end up inside a prison or a hospital. And which one is justice? Through Lynette and Maxine, Morrison argues both sides of the case.

Since this is the first of a series, the personal story arcs have only just begun to unfold. The Vigilante’s case, on the other hand, is settled more than satisfactorily. ~ Alison Bruce (suspense author)

kaitlyn-wolfe-crown-attorney-500x724Jacqui Morrison is a crime thriller author. Her suspense thrillers include Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney and The Vigilante. You can purchase both books at Lachesis Publishing. But that’s not where it begins and ends with Jacqui. You see, Jacqui works with victims and witnesses of crimes. Her passion for working in the law started at at a young age, when she was inspired by a character in a popular TV show . . . 

You can get The Vigilante. on amazon, barnes and noble, koboYou can also purchase Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney on amazon

Connect with author Jacqui Morrison online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.