BTS Book Reviews June 2013
Your Guide to Great Reading - Featuring Eloisa James, plus columns, book reviews, featured authors, sneak peeks and more!
Purchase at New Concepts Publishing CONTENTS | BTS Book Reviews | June 2013 | CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL Featuring: Jill Shalvis Rochelle Allers Bobbi C. Bandy Gina Conkle 16 Book Reviews EROTICA Featuring: Nicole Morgan MaryLynn Bast 27 44 11 Book Reviews SCI FI & FANTASY Featuring: Marie Hall Karen Wiesner Timothy James Holloway Book Reviews PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE Featuring: Henry Sanders Ashlyn Chase 59 74 Book Reviews New York Times Bestselling Author 4 | www.BTSeMag.com JAMES ELOISA YOUNG & NEW ADULT Featuring: Kevin Hearne Chloe Jacobs Book Reviews COLUMNS The Lowdown with Laurie 8 Reading A.b.b.r.e.v.i.a.t.i.o.n.s. Chic Trends in Romance 28 Beyond Grey The Scrying Eye 61 Dare to Read Lynn’s Writing Tips 79 How 2 Make Promo Groups Work 4 U Tech Savvy Writer 83 Author’s Blog Marketing Guide Second Chance Cinema 87 Remake Mistakes? SHORT STORIES & SERIALS THE GLOVE AND THE SHAWL by Susan Muller 53 Blog Beat 90 Top picks from Riverina Romantics Ishia pushed through the heavy woods as fast as she dared. The sun was long past its zenith and the shadows grew even longer. A chill filled the air. Soon her father would demand her presence at the evening meal. Her mother would stall as long as she was able, but when darkness fell, Ishia needed to be seated with her family around the old wooden table, or she would feel her father’s anger... FEATURE ARTICLE What Your Author Website Says About You 81 by Dawn Seewer SEX & THE SINGLE WOMAN by Nicole Morgan 38 “Oh my God, I can’t believe what a fool I’ve been,” I whispered with a look of shocked horror on my face. I looked at each of my friends, wondering if they thought I was the biggest dimwit to walk the planet. Of course he’d been trying to blow me off. The writing was on the wall, painted in glowing neon... June 2013 | 5 From the Desk of Myra Nour BTS CEO BTS Book Reviews Book & Trailer Showcase New Name for the Magazine: We have changed the name from BTSeMag to BTS Book Reviews. Changes to Magazine: As you can tell, we’ve been revamping the magazine. We have always made some tweaks each month, but with our Executive Designer’s guidance, we’ve ramped those changes up. This month’s issue has all the new changes in place unless there are minor tweaks in the future or additions to information. One major change you will notice is that features have been divided into sections: Contemporary & Historical Erotica Science Fiction & Fantasy Paranormal & Suspense Young & New Adult New Website: As of June 1st we will open our new website www.btsemag.com. It will be geared toward promoting the magazine and the authors inside the issues. New Review Coordinator: We are proud to welcome Annette Stone as our new Review Coordinator. Her experience includes reviewing and editing for PNR, and co-owner of RomFan Reviews, www.romfanreviews.com. She also owns Author’s Assistant Agency, which provides much needed assistance to authors such as social network maintenance, website contests, research and more. Review Section Changes: BTS has a new vision for the review section. We want to “brand” the BTSeMag Reviews, so that they are recognized and sought after by authors. I believe readers will appreciate this too. Executive Coordinator Myra Nour Executive Designer Dawn Seewer Designer/Scheduler Christina Wilhelm Designer/ Review Team Assistant Nikki McCarver Designer Mike Milliken Editor Sheri Kraft Review Coordinator Annette Stone Promotions Coordinator/ Review Team Assistant Grinelda Markowitz Author Liaison Leslie Ferdinand REVIEWERS: Angelique Engelbrecht, Ava VonGiebel, Eniko Tolnai, Francine Alli, Iris Montalvo Pross, Jacque Burford, Lauren Johnson, Leslie Ferdinand, Liberty Ann Ireland, Lori Zalewski, Lynn A. Reynolds, Lynda Frazer, Marie Haney, Melanie Gordon, Naz Keynejad, Rhonda G. Dennis, Robert Jennings, Stephanie Phillips, Susan Frances COLUMNISTS: Sandra Bunino, Lynn Crain, Christy English, Laurie Garrison, Claire Gillian, Karen M. Gross, Kelly Hudson, Mary Manners, Nicole Morgan WEBSITE: BTSBookReviews.com EMAIL: info@BTSeMag.com Follow us on Twitter: Find us on Facebook: No material in this magazine can be used or copied without BTS or the author’s permission. © Copyright 2013. BTSeMag, BTS Book Reviews All Rights Reserved. By submitting material to BTS Book Reviews or its affiliates, authors certify they own the rights to all published information. June 2013 | 7 The Lowdown with Laurie Laurie Garrison Reading A.b.b.r.e.v.i.a.t.i.o.n.s. When I started really reading again a few years back, I got into reading erotic romance. Boy was that fun; I found so many different abbreviations for different kinds of sex that it made my head hurt just looking at all of them. To make matters worse when I started my review blog, I also found bloggers and writers also used quite a few abbreviations just for reading purposes. So, it was either I learn them or be up the creek without a paddle, so to speak.Here are a few of your basic reading abbreviations: HEA Happily Ever After UF Urban Fantasy DNF Did Not Finish T Teen NA New Adult IR Interracial Romance DH Dark Horror SFR Sci-fi Romance PWP Porn Without Plot LOL Lots Of Laughs PNR Paranormal Romance BBW Big Beautiful Woman H/h Hero/heroine YA Young Adult HR Historical Romance RS Romantic Suspense CR Contemporary Romance WR Western Romance IMO In My Opinion LMAO Laughing My Ass Off. HFN Happy For Now (The book ended with the hero and heroine as a Happy For Now) GBLT Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transsexual LGBTQ Some, like me, use LMBOâ€”Laughing My Butt Off. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/sexual, Queer/Questioning their sexual identity. Now that is a mouth full! Some readers even have abbreviations for their favorite reading series, but I’m not getting in to them; it’s way too much for me. Sex abbreviations are: M/F Male & Female couple M/M Male & Male couple F/F Female & Female couple Ménage can be hard to define because all authors will write them differently. But if you really look at the abbreviations and think about it, you can sometime picture it in your mind. Take, for instance, M/M/F/M—The men to the left will be having sex with each other while the female will be having sex with the other male. When you see M/M/F you’ll find two males together added with a female. This usually means both males are touching or are having sex together while one male is with the female. Some readers see this M/M/M/F and figure it’s a free for all and all are having sex. This is not necessarily true. This is a ménage where the three males are having sex and one male is having sex with the female. Most of the time if you read the blurb, you can tell, but if you still find yourself confused, by all means, e-mail the author and ask. I have always found authors very helpful because they don’t want you to buy something you won’t like, and they don’t want a bad review because you don’t like it. So be safe and just ask, if needed. So, off we go . . Ménage is where both males are having sex with the one female. The males do not touch each other. You might get anal sex with M/F/M. M/F/M F/F/M Ménage is where both females are F/M/M having sex, and one of the females is having sex with the male. F/M/F Ménage is where both females are F/M/M/M A female with three bisexual having sex with the one male. The females will not touch each other. Ménage means everyone is having sex, including the males. M/F/F Ménage means everyone is having sex, including the two females. guys (or two bisexual and one gay guy) in the ménage—there will probably be lots of M/M action. M/F/M/M A typical M/F/M ménage with M/M/F/M This is three guys and a girl, but there will definitely be some M/M action. Now onto the hard core kinky stuff: an additional male. There may be some M/M but not typically. Usually all are focused on the female—a guy for each hole <wicked grin>. June 2013 | 9 | The Lowdown with Laurie | Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, Masochism. Oh yeah, you get it all rolled up into one here. LOL. Bondage & Discipline. Meaning you’ll find some kind of discipline, like spanking or public humiliation, and some kind of bondage, either rope or handcuffs, etc. BDSM B/D S/M Sadism & Masochism Other random sex abbreviations: D/s Dominance & submission s/M Slave & Master Oh yeah, the trusty old Bob. He’s the Battery Operated Boyfriend. BOB CIM Come In Mouth CBJ Covered Blow Job GFY Gay for You Rim Licking the rim of the anus WS Water-sports Voy Voyeurism There are a lot more abbreviations out there besides these. If you ever find yourself in doubt about who is with whom, just Google or ask an author or blogger. If they don’t know, they usually will find out. Hello, my name is Laurie. I’m a mom that found the love for reading again late in life. I opened a book review blog a few years back and have been nonstop since. My review blog has led me to do different things in the writing world, such as the opening of the Indie Romance Convention and this column. I live in Tennessee with my hubby, daughter, and lots of fur babies. bittenbyparanormalromance.com 10 | www.BTSeMag.com June’s FEATURED COVER author AUTHOR SHOWCASE JAMES New York Times Bestselling Author ELOISA Once upon a time... A duke fell in love Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage. With a lady Edie—whose passionate temperament is the opposite of serene—had such a high fever at her own debut ball that she didn’t notice anyone, not even the notoriously elusive Duke of Kinross. When her father accepts his offer… she panics. And when their marriage night isn’t all it could be, she pretends. In a tower. But Edie’s inability to hide her feelings makes pretending impossible, and when their marriage implodes, she retreats to a tower—locking Gowan out.Now Gowan faces his greatest challenge. Neither commands nor reason work with his spirited young bride. How can he convince her to give him the keys to the tower… When she already has the keys to his heart? Eloisa James NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR Note from Eloisa: I grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales, since my father, Robert Bly, was fascinated by them. Years later, when I was in graduate school, he wrote a long analysis of one such story, called Iron John. When I was a child, he was just breaking into fairy tale analysis, as it were. I have a distinct memory of being challenged to give a psychological explanation of the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. I haven’t the faintest idea what I said; what I do remember is my father saying with real surprise in his voice: “That was brilliant. You’re a natural!” My father is a poet and a deeply loving father—but at times he was so caught in a web of words that he didn’t notice the children milling about him. I rejoiced in having caught his attention, and I don’t suppose it will surprise anyone to find that I’m now a professor of English literature, with a penchant for rewriting fairy stories. While I am not interested in the kind of cultural analysis my father did in Iron John, I inherited his fascination with the complexity of literary texts. Eloisa writes a feature column every month for Barnes & Noble’s Review website, an online publication that aims to bring serious readers smart and useful appraisals of current books. She has written about the socio-economic status of vampires and the Ovidian strains in contemporary romance. She’s been called the Lionel Trilling of romance critics – and her column is so popular that B&N commissioned a portrait just for her. Read Eloisa’s Archived Columns. Eloisa’s father is Robert Bly, winner of the American Book Award for poetry. She’s described herself as feeling as if she were Gilbert and Sullivan -- born into the family of Bach! One of Eloisa’s recent books is the tale of a young woman growing up with an eccentric, dramatic poet for a father! Desperate Duchesses is dedicated to Robert Bly. The public was fascinated – Desperate Duchesses hit #5 on the Publishers’ Weekly Mass Market Bestseller List – as well as 15 on the New York Times! Several of Eloisa’s books (Enchanting Pleasures, Pleasure for Pleasure, and Much Ado About You) feature plump, curvy heroines. Eloisa’s work often breaks all the so-called “rules” for romance--what other romance writer has featured a hero who annulled his first marriage on the grounds of impotence? New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James writes historical romances for HarperCollins Publishers. Her novels have been published to great acclaim. A reviewer from USA Today wrote of Eloisa’s very first book that she “found herself devouring the book like a dieter with a Hershey bar”; later People Magazine raved that “romance writing does not get much better than this.” Her novels have repeatedly received starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly andLibrary Journal and regularly appear on the best-seller lists. After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale and eventually became a Shakespeare professor, publishing an academic book with Oxford University Press. Currently she is an associate professor and head of the Creative Writing program at Fordham University in New York City. Her “double life” is a source of fascination to the media and her readers. In her professorial guise, she’s written a New York Times op-ed defending romance, as well as articles published everywhere from women’s magazines such as More to writers’ journals such as the Romance Writers’ Report. Visit her on her website at EloisaJames.com June 2013 | 13 Book Five in Eloisa’s Fairy Tales ONCE UPON A TOWER Chapter One May 2, 1824 No. 20 Curzon Street, London The Earl of Gilchrist’s townhouse Whenever possible, Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, chief of Clan MacAulay, avoided rooms crowded with Englishmen. They were all babbling gossips with more earwax than brains, as his father was wont to say. Though Shakespeare had got there first. Yet here he was, nonetheless, entering a ballroom in the heart of London, rather than casting a line into a Highland stream, as he would have preferred. It was a disagreeable but inescapable fact of life—or of his life, at any rate—that fishing for a bride had taken precedence over fishing for salmon. The moment he was announced, a flock of young women swiveled toward him, each face flaunting a gleaming array of teeth. To his mind they all looked constipated, though more likely the smiles were an automatic response to his title. He was, after all, an unmarried nobleman in possession of all his limbs. Hair, too; he had more hair than most Englishmen. Not to mention a castle. His hosts, the Earl of Gilchrist and Lady Gilchrist, were waiting at the bottom of the steps, so the young ladies did not instantly pounce. Gowan liked Gilchrist—he was stern but fair, and had a brooding gaze that was almost Scottish. They were both interested in financial markets, unlike most gentlemen, and the earl was a damned fine investor. Because Gowan was a governor of the Bank of Scotland and Gilchrist held a similar post at the Bank of England, they’d exchanged a good deal of correspondence over the last couple of years, though they’d rarely met. “Your Grace, may I introduce my countess?” Gilchrist asked, drawing his lady forward. The countess began telling him about her stepdaughter, Edith, so Gowan bowed and expressed his ineffable pleasure at the idea of meeting the young lady. Edith. What an awful name. A long-tongued woman would have that name. A fusty nut, a flap-eared Englishwoman. Theirs was an indolent race, as everyone knew. Their gentlewomen sat about doing naught but quaffing endless cups of tea and reading novels, while their Scottish counterparts to the north thought nothing of running an estate with a thousand sheep while raising four children. Then the countess drew him to one side of the chamber and stopped before a young woman, whom she introduced as her stepdaughter. It was the sort of moment that cleaves past from present, and changes the future forever. 14 | www.BTSeMag.com | BOOK REVIEW | Once Upon A Tower Eloisa James genre: Historical Romance REVIEW: Eloisa James is a master at creating such enchanting characters that will have you so engrossed in the story. Edie and Gowan fall quickly for each other but it definitely is not an easy road for them, not when Gowan is a Duke who gets whatever he wants. Ms. James had me chuckling from the first paragraph and kept me thoroughly entertained from cover to cover. | Reviewer: Annette Stone | Also by Eloisa James Praise from Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat, Pray, Love “What a Beautiful and delightful tasting menu of a book: the kids, the plump little dog, the Italian husband. Reading this memoir was like wandering through a Parisian patisserie in a dream. I absolutely loved it.” You are cordially invited to a ball party kidnapping Taran Ferguson, laird of his clan, is determined that his ancient (if not so honorable) birthright be secured, and when both his nephews refuse to wed, the old reprobate takes matters into his own hands: he raids a ball and makes off with four likely brides… June 2013 | 15 the HAPPILY ever AFTER CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL Featured Authors, REVIEWS and more CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL | book reviews | Dance of Love Anna Markland genre: historical romance Dating a Cougar Donna McDonald genre: contemporary romance He is a warrior stricken with a debilitating affliction. She is the daughter of a king. Where there is great love, there are always miracles. REVIEW: Dance of Love by Anna Markland takes the old tale of the Capulet versus Montague feud and presents it anew. Farah Giroux is a bold character, sharp tongued and self-protective, a woman who doesn’t fear showing her mettle. Izzy de Montbryce is the caretaker of Giroux Castle with a talent for seeing beyond the façade of others though his own disability makes him fear exposing his innermost feelings to the opposite sex. With attention to historical detail and a flair for highlighting the internal struggles of her characters, Markland has crafted a story that will resonate with readers creating characters they’ll embrace. Using a nail-biting battle scene as a metaphor for Izzy and Farah’s fight inside themselves, the pair find the courage to admit to their vulnerabilities and need for one another. Their love story is a journey into the human spirit making for an insightful experience. | Reviewer: Susan Frances | After several decades of looking for true love and never finding it, aging model and lingerie designer, Alexa Ranger, has finally given up the search. A couple years ago, she got tired of the game completely and just stopped dating. Now friends and family keep her mostly content, so it’s shocking at 50 yrs old to find herself suddenly wanting a sex life again. It’s even more shocking to be attracted to a much younger man this time. She definitely thinks medically retired Marine, Casey Carter is sexy, but can’t get passed their twelve year age difference to even consider a fling. Not that it matters anyway, anything resembling a normal dating relationship is totally out of the question because Casey is related to and living with her daughter’s boyfriend. The very last thing Alexa needs is yet another talk-show worthy drama in her already complicated life, no matter how amazing Casey’s kisses make her feel. REVIEW: Charming, fun and sexy, this book redefines the idea of what a cougar is by introducing characters that are full of raw emotions. Bitter towards men and determined to be strong and independent, Alexa is the complete opposite of a woman on the prowl. But when she meets the stubborn, sexy and much younger ex-Marine Casey, her walls slowly begin to come down. With the help of a great supporting cast of characters that will make you laugh, the author develops a believable and relatable story that is surprisingly touching. And, as Alexa and Casey’s unconventional relationship grows, the author proves, yet again, that age is just a number. | Reviewer: Marie Haney | June 2013 | 17 | CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews | Dating a Saint Donna McDonald genre: contemporary romance For the Love of His Life Fiona McGier genre: contemporary romance After divorcing her cheating ex-husband years ago, 42 yr old Lauren McCarthy is pleased with herself for finding ways to be happy that don’t involve dating and men. Who needs that kind of headache or heartache anyway? Her best friends call her a saint for choosing a celibate life over a man in her bed, but Lauren considers it just self-preservation. That’s why it’s so painful now to find herself seriously attracted to a married man. Or at least, James Gallagher says he’s married, even though Lauren has never actually seen him with a wife. His answers to her questions about it are vague and frustrating. Lauren doesn’t want to risk getting to know Jim only to find out he’s as bad as her ex. In fact, there are many reasons not to get involved with the mysterious man, but desire for him keeps overriding her common sense. Every single time James Gallagher puts his desperate and needy hands on her, the only thought Lauren has is that Jim belongs to her. If he would only trust her with his secrets, she might be willing to risk her saintly reputation if it meant ending up in Can a sexy Hispanic action movie star find himself in the BWCA of upper Minnesota? Will the local woman he grows to love believe someone who “lies for a living”? When a famous action star needs to clean-up for a major role that even he doubts he can deliver, the director sends him up to a resort owned by his grandmother in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of upper Minnesota, to learn to commune with nature. His guide is Veronica, the director’s cousin, a tall, athletic woman who has the relaxed, sensible nature of someone who knows herself well. Raul’s initial clumsy attempt to seduce her makes her laugh... so he calls her fat. There may be hope that their relationship will progress beyond its rocky start. Raul must overcome his partying nature to discover what is really important in life. REVIEW: An uplifting, romantic romp, For the Love of his Life has eroticism interspersed with moments of self-awareness exposing audiences to the contrasting sides of Raul Roderick. McGier sets a comfortable pace for the story enabling readers to glean each stage of Raul’s metamorphosis from decadent playboy to a faithful lover and thoughtful partner. His transformation is spurred by Veronica Sorrenson whose support gives him the impetus to grow from being a self-serving wastrel to becoming somebody that audiences can cheer for and feel inspired by. Veronica’s wholesome country girl innocence makes her the polar opposite of Raul until she discovers the wounded soul beneath Raul’s playboy shell. The author deftly builds a pastoral world in Minnesota that has a positive effect on Raul inspiring him to become the man he was born to be. | Reviewer: Susan Frances | REVIEW: Dating a Saint is a story about heartache, betrayal and redemption. Left with the scars of a cheating husband, the now celibate Lauren is the poster child of a scorned woman. Her tenacity to enjoy life without men is delightfully fun. That is until she comes across the mysteriously sexy and married James. The banter between the two of them throughout the book is exciting, building tension and keeping you engaged and eagerly anticipating the moment that they finally give in to their desire for one another. The author’s innate ability to create characters that are real made this book so much more than just another story. This was the third book in the author’s Never Too Late series. Although it is not necessary to read the books in order, I would recommend it, as these characters were introduced in the first book of the series. | Reviewer: Marie Haney | 18 | www.BTSeMag.com FEATURED AUTHOR jillshalvis.com June 2013 | 19 | CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews | or the mounting evidence against the man she is falling in love with. Bobby Bandy has written a novel filled with emotion, mystery and intrigue. The story captured me and held my attention until the last page. | Reviewer: Lynda Kaye Frazier | No Smoke Without A Fire Bobbie C. Bandy genre: contemporary romance REVIEW: No Smoke without a Fire is a well-crafted romance with a suspenseful twist. Beth Sawyer, a 40 year old ER nurse finds herself insecure and unsure of herself after her husband leaves her for a younger woman until she meets Jackson Stanton, a sexy 27 year old fireman. The sparks ignite and the heat builds between the two until a series of fires break out with Jackson being sought after as the arsonist. As the death toll rises with each fire Beth must make a decision to either follow her heart How to Pursue a Princess Karen Hawkins genre: historical romance The sensible solution to her family’s dire financial woes is for Lily Balfour to marry the Earl of Huntley, a wealthy widower handpicked by her matchmaking godmother, the Duchess of Roxburghe. Huntley is pleas- Sarah Sanders was always the reasonable sort, until she kissed a cowboy against her better judgment. Feeling strangely drawn to this mysterious ranch hand with a dark past, she finds herself swept up in an adventure that will force her to question everything she believes. Jim Anderson’s cowboy gig is going pretty well. Except for one thing he thinks he’s going insane. Night terrors, hallucinations, and now a girl he has no business falling for. It’s better to keep his distance. But when Sarah is nearly killed, he will risk it all to save her. 20 | www.BTSeMag.com AUTHOR INTERVIEW rochellealers.org June 2013 | 21 | CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews | ant and attractive, the perfect candidate in every way. But Lily knows she’s in big trouble as soon as passionate, unprincipled Prince Wulfinski sweeps a hot, possessive glance over her. Powerful and sexy, Wulfinski declares he will make her his— no matter the cost. By his own account, Wulf is a pauper, barely able to afford his own cottage. Yet nothing will stop him from pursuing the elusive beauty with every cunning trick he can muster. But which is more important: power and money . . . or love everlasting? To make the right choice, both Wulf and Lily must trust their hearts, not just their heads, to lead them to the happiness they desire. begins when Jon asks Gayle pops big question - come over for Thanksgiving and meet the family. The mayhem that ensues when everyone lets it all out will have the readers rolling in the aisles. The story is presented from Gayle’s point of view so the reader gets to experience meeting all of Jon’s family for the first time with her. Each character is perfectly written and completely lovable. The dialog, which is quirky and fast-paced, will keep the reader entertained from beginning to end and have you begging for more. Over all, author Claire Gillian did an excellent job with Purely Relative. I highly recommend this book to everyone. | Reviewer: Jacque Burford | REVIEW: This is a delightful historical telling of stubborn young woman determined to give up her own happiness in order to ensure the happiness of the ones Lily loves. Set on finding a man with wealth to help ease her family’s burden, she did not count on running into the rakishly dangerous and sadly very poor Prince Wulfinsky. The story had such a fascinating draw that any reader would find it difficult to put the book down. Lily is such an amazingly refreshing character that you will find yourself rooting for her and the prince’s happy ending right from the start. Will she choose true love or will she choose to save her family? | Reviewer: Angelique Engelbrecht | Purely Relative Claire Gillian genre: contemporary romance After narrowly surviving her murderous ex-employer, Gayle Lindley must face a challenge even more daunting--meeting her boyfriend’s family and close friends. Too bad those friends happen to include an ex-fiancee and her parents. Purely Relative continues Gayle and Jon’s friends- to-lovers to possibly more? romance begun in The P.U.R.E. REVIEW: Anyone who has spent the holidays with his or her family will love Purely Relative. This laugh out loud comedy www.soulmatepublishing.com 22 | www.BTSeMag.com FEATURED AUTHOR No Smoke Without A Fire Bobbie C. Bandy bobbiecbandy.ubergreenart.com June 2013 | 23 | CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews | Thirteen West Jane Toombs genre: contemporary romance REVIEW: Building a thrilling suspense with well-developed and memorable characters, Jane Toombs has created a brilliant and unforgettable story. From the horror and intrigue of a psychiatric hospital, to the compassionate intimacy of caring for another person, Ms. Toombs strikes every chord on the emotional spectrum. Taking very troubling characters and situations and humanizing them with wit and charm, she has made every page worth reading. The relationships between the characters, especially that of Sarah and those around her are touching and hit close to home. This was my first book by Jane Toombs and after reading this; it definitely won’t be my last. | Reviewer: Marie Haney | Ever been inside a state psychiatric hospital? That’s an experience Sarah Goodrow Fenz had hoped never to repeat. Years ago, as a young woman, she’d been a student nurse taking her psychiatric affiliation at the state hospital. Now, matured and affluent enough, with an adult daughter by her side, Sarah is suddenly compelled to pick up a drunken derelict off the streets of San Diego and take him to a motel. Leaving her daughter standing speechless in the street, Sarah hails a cab, shoves the derelict inside and rides away. Compelling, horrifying and too real to ignore, Thirteen West. Can love bloom in the midst of horror? 24 | www.BTSeMag.com AUTHOR INTERVIEW ginaconkle.com June 2013 | 25 Featured Top 10 10) DARK LOVER - JR Ward 9) THE DARKEST SURRENDER - Gena Showalter 8) DARKER AFTER MIDNIGHT - Lara Adrian 7) PLEASURE OF A DARK PRINCE - Kresley Cole 6) LORD OF THE FADING LANDS - CL Wilson 5) LOVER ETERNAL - JR Ward 4) AT GRAVE’S END - Jeaniene Frost 3) BONDED BY BLOOD - Laurie London 2) LIVING OUT OF THE BOX - Kallysten 1) HONEST ILLUSIONS - Nora Roberts 26 | www.BTSeMag.com see BEHIND closed DOORS EROTICA Featured Authors, REVIEWS and more Chic Trends in Romance Sandra Bunino Beyond Grey The Fifty Shades phenomenon did wonders for the super sexy subgenre: erotic romance. This month marks the second anniversary of the book that started it all. I’m happy to report erotic romance is still more popular than ever. But... believe it or not... a few “erorom” fans are still stuck in the grey. Here’s an example: I recently had a “what are you reading?” lunch conversation with a coworker. She admitted reading Fifty Shades . . . for the sixth time! The rest went something like this: Me: “What? Why?” Her: “Because I love it and I don’t know what else to read.” Me: *pulls out e-reader from purse* “Welcome to my world.” Thirty minutes later she left with a long list of smoking hot titles. The conversation made me realize some new erotic romance readers are not sure where to go next. It’s like tasting and loving a yummy Thai dish. However, every time you eat Thai, you end up ordering the same exact thing because it’s the safe bet. Take a chance! There’s a wide world of erotic romance out there, my friends. Let me tempt you with a few tasty bites . . . The first erotic romance book I read was written by Lynda Chance. She’s known for her ultra-possessive, territorial, and hot alpha-heroes. Let me tell you, 28 | www.BTSeMag.com they are alpha! I love Lynda’s style. Her latest book, The Mistress Mistake, begins as a relationship based on an agreement, as the title suggests, but the ending is pure HEA (Happily Ever After). The Mistress Mistake by Lynda Chance (Indie Book) released March 12, 2013 Can love come from a sinful beginning? Jessica Conway is at the end of her rope. She desperately needs a few things that her moral values can’t buy: food, shelter, a chance for a better life. Connor Montgomery is tortured with guilt from the past and wants only one thing from Jessica, something he’s very willing to pay her for. Setting her up as his mistress seems like the perfect idea. But how long can a situation continue that was a mistake from the very beginning? I adored Cat Kelly’s The Truth About Numbnuts and Chubbs. It’s a witty story with just enough humor, intelligence, and romance. I also recommend her second title, Falling for Sir. The Truth About Numbnuts and Chubbs by Cat Kelly (Evernight Publishing) released January 9, 2013 Raised in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood, they’re both scrappers who survived their share of struggles. But Ben turned his bad-boy reputation into a billion-dollar business empire. Now he lives in a Central Park penthouse, travels in his private jet and gets everything the way he wants it. That is, until he runs into Bryony again. The girl he once called “Chubbs” is all grown up, smart as a whip and has curves that silicone can’t recreate. She also has no patience for “Numbnuts” Petruska. Sure, she might have had a crush on him . . . once. But if he plans to trap her in his web of sex games, turning her into another submissive conquest, he’s in for a surprise. This time he’s about to bite the panties off the wrong woman. Or maybe she’s been the right one all along. Lisa Renee Jones’s If I Were You was one of my favorite books of 2012. It’s a smart and suspenseful story involving a missing mysterious woman and a tortured artist. I’m anxiously looking forward to the second book in the Inside Out series, Being Me, due out in early summer, especially since Jones left us with a cliffhanger. If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones (Simon and Schuster) released Sept 13, 2012 When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer— until the terrifying final entry. Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more. Rounding out my list is another one of my 2012 faves, Katie Porter’s Inside Bet. Katie Porter is the pseudonym of writing team Carrie Lofty and Lorelie Brown. This dynamic duo has a knack of creating sexy-as-sin heroes and strong heroines. The resulting chemistry almost toasted my e-reader. I recommend the entire Vegas Top Guns series. Inside Bet by Katie Porter (Vegas Top Guns, #2, Samhain Publishing) released August 28, 2012 Zero to kinky in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . As junior partner of an accounting firm, Heather Morris is at the top of her game. Her straight-laced colleagueswouldn’t believe the secrets she hides: her wild teenage past, work-of-art tattoo and nipple ring. Her orderly life veers off course when she’s approached at a wine tasting by an arrogant pretty boy with a dirty mind and a hardcore dangerous profession. She finds herself tempted to step outside her respectable façade for some well-deserved excitement. Captain Jon “Tin Tin” Carlisle knows women. Loves women. One glimpse of the nipple ring under Heather’s conservative blazer lights up all his instincts. He’s stumbled upon a rare treasure: an exotic beauty with a sexy laugh and a taste for dares. After a red-hot hour of roulette, their simmering attraction bursts into an exploration of mutual passion that tests even Jon’s erotic limits. Soon he craves something he’s never desired before. More. But for Heather, more means trusting, and trusting leads to trouble. 30 | www.BTSeMag.com | Chic Trends in Romance | Now Jon must decide if the best sex of his life is worth chancing his heart on a woman who shields hers so well. Try one or all of these tempting treats this summer. Of course, Iâ€™d love for you to check out my new contemporary erotic romance, Marooned with the Millionaire (Evernight Publishing). Jason and Stephanie will take you on a lustful ride from a wicked Miami storm to the opulence of a Las Vegas night. Happy Reading! Sandra Bunino began a love of romance stories while penning a creative writing assignment in high school. The story ended with the heronie receiving a long stem red rose in her locker on Valentineâ€™s Day. Since then, all of her stories feature the hero presenting the heroine with roses. Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breath-catching reaction from her readers. - SandraBunino.com June 2013 | 31 EROTICA | book reviews | His Dark Promise K. R. Haynes genre: erotic is never explored. The ending is poignant and leaves you with the feeling that this is a couple well-equipped to have their HEA loaded with hot, sexy night and sinful, dark promises. | Reviewer: Leslie Ferdinand | Holly Shepherd is gearing up to leave New York for a yearlong transfer to the London office. So the last thing she needs is to indulge in her dark desires for her coworker Travis Kane. That won’t stop Travis. He is a persistent man, one who never gives up on what he wants, and what he desires most of all is her. One night he whispers his dark promise to her, that he will make her his in every conceivable way by the end of the night. Taking a gamble, Holly loses her tightly held inhibitions. Just once she wants to know what it would be like to spend one night in his arms and in his bed. What Holly didn’t expect, however, was that one night of unadulterated bliss to turn into many nights. Now days from leaving the country, Holly must make a choice. If she chooses incorrectly, however, she risks not only breaking her heart but his as well. Impetuous Nicole Morgan genre: erotic REVIEW: His Dark Promise is a fast-paced, hot, thoroughly enjoyable read. The sex was off the charts and Travis made Holly his in every conceivable way. When Travis whispers his promise to Holly, the heat of the moment and Holly’s growing desire is conveyed with such depth, the reader easily puts herself in Holly’s place and wishes for a Travis of her own. We’re with Travis as he realizes he might’ve overdone it to the point where he’s pushed the woman of his dreams away rather than drawing her in as he intends. I understood Holly’s reservations about Travis given his reputation and what would be a long-distance relationship if she moves forward with him. Holly has always held a part of herself back in relationships because she never wanted to be hurt. My only complaint is Holly’s reason for not wanting to be hurt The Callaway Corporation recently bought the high-end resort property Jenny Jacobson manages. In that time, they have micromanaged both her and it into the ground. With no budget for repairs, she does most of the work herself. She proves to be pretty handy with most of the daily mishaps, until she meets the mysterious drifter Thomas Beck. In the middle of a plumbing emergency, Beck comes to her rescue and fixes the problem, saving her from further disaster and costly repairs. Despite her best attempts, she cannot seem to get away from this man who shows up at every turn. Regardless of her cold treatment toward him, he turns on his charms. Will his cocky arrogance mixed with his sexy smile break down her tough exterior? If so, what secrets is Beck keeping that could ultimately ruin any chance they have to find happiness together? Note: This book was previously published with another publisher and has been extensively revised and expanded. ** A Siren Erotic Romance 32 | www.BTSeMag.com | EROTICA book reviews | REVIEW: If Jenny Jacobson is the stereotypical Cinderella working to keep the manor clean the Beck is the stereotypical Prince Charming swooping in to save the day. Jenny has been working for months to try and keep the Arcadia Resort afloat with a non existent budget and a devil for a boss. Independent and stubborn, she does not take well to Beck trying to help her out. Soon passions override all common sense and they find themselves falling in love. I thoroughly enjoyed the unravelling of Jenny. It was really well written and the passionate scenes were realistic and enjoyable. It was a fun escape to an island of romance and a definite must read. | Reviewer: Angelique Engelbrecht | they are looking and fighting over these souls, their past flares up as Robert and Rebecca’s second shot at love hauntingly mirrors their own. Fascinating hot and sexy scenes steam up the plot. This is a nice book for HEA fans looking for a short and fast read. Warning: slight BDSM, spanking, anal play, and bondage are present. | Reviewer: Francine Alli | Finding Hope Krystal Shannan genre: erotic Open House Krystal Shannan genre: erotic Book 2 Warning: The plot thickens with a passel of pissed off Olympians, but Ares and Aphrodite are in for a double dose of trouble! More Olympians join the mix in Finding Hope: Pool of Souls Book 2. A jewel addict, a kick-ass possibly-virgin huntress, and an insatiable ancient oracle are just a few. But don’t worry; Ares and Aphrodite are still front and center. Addison Connelly has given up on men. She is disappointed yet again when her best friend tries to play matchmaker, and the match falls flat…or does it? Her friend knows all Addison needs is a chance, a little hope, and maybe a dropkick in the right direction. With an extra push from Aphrodite, will this lonely soul learn to trust again? Or will she run from the only man who could make her happy? Adrian Colter, Nashville Police Detective and certifiable bachelor, puts his foot in his mouth in a big way when his roommate’s fiancé tries to match him up with her best friend. After making a horrible first impression, can he earn the trust of a woman who won’t speak a civil word to him? Adrian isn’t the only one trying to earn the trust of a beautiful woman. While Ares fights to rebuild the trust he lost thousands of years ago with the Goddess of Love, his parents do what they do best —show off their greed and selfishness. Will he find the hope and forgiveness he so desperate seeks or will his parents destroy his chance at happiness? Book 1 Intrinsically woven into the fabric of human existence, Aphrodite, Titan Goddess of Love and Passion, dedicates herself to matching soul mates. Rebecca Carol and Robert Corvin missed their original chance to bond when Ares, God of War, took control of Robert’s career ten years ago. Their souls have naturally pulled them back together for a second chance at love, but...How far will the gods go to get their own way? Will divine influence create another perfect match or will it tear them apart forever? REVIEW: Fast-paced and engaging, this introduction to the Pool of Souls series is interesting. With lively characters, the plot flows smoothly, capturing the reader’s attention fully. Inclusion of Aphrodite and Ares’ meddling add amusement and excitement to the story. Aphrodite needs fated human souls to bond for her to have power, but Ares needs the Robert for his own notorious plans. While June 2013 | 33 | EROTICA book reviews | REVIEW: When two souls miss their chance repeatedly through the centuries they start to lose hope of ever finding love. This is when Aphrodite must intervene and get those souls together so that they may be together for all eternity and the essence of their mated souls would join the other diamonds in her pool. Living an almost symbiotic relationship with the matched souls in the pool, Aphrodite guards them with her very life. Because as much as she nourishes the love found in each diamonds, they in turn nourish her life and immortality. Steal a diamond from her pool; you steal a bit of her life force. With other powerful Gods out to attain her powers, can Aphrodite trust that these two souls will finally find a way to each other? | Reviewer: Iris Pross | romantic suspense abruptly. This change interferes with the flow of the story and packed too much action into too few remaining pages. I would have loved for the story to be longer so that the plot and ending wouldn’t be rushed. All in all, this is an extremely sensual read that could use a few more pages for the ending. | Reviewer: Rhonda Dennis | Reckless Assignation Denyse Bridger genre: erotic A haunted and abandoned hotel is the setting for a very private party between two lovers, one of them a world-class, sophisticated intelligence operative who’s trying to teach his young and innocent lady that curiosity can sometimes take her places she’d be better off not going. Amid elaborate trappings meant to scare and entice, Rick’s seduction takes some unexpected but wickedly wonderful twists, with a hint of the paranormal. But Rick also has a lesson to learn when his past collides with his present, and almost destroys everything he cherishes most. REVIEW: A sexy romantic interlude, including some light BDSM is a nice start to this easy, sexy read. The sex scenes are extremely hot and draw the reader in. Towards the end of the story, it does a quick change from romance to 34 | www.BTSeMag.com FEATURED AUTHOR nicolemorgan1.webs.com June 2013 | 35 “Loving Sarah is a very compelling and gripping novel. I can’t wait to read more from this author.” - 4.5 Rating Winner of RR’s Top Pick Award Risqué Reviews “This was one smoking hot story” - 5 Angels Bella, Fallen Angel Reviews After an eight-year absence, Jesse Colter is back for one thing--Sarah Marshal, preferably bound, naked and on her knees before him. Jesse is a Dom. But is Sarah a submissive? Will she be able to give herself not only to him, but to his best friend Adam as well? Or will an enemy from her past destroy them all? SNEAK PEEK mlbast.com June 2013 | 37 Nicole Morgan “Oh my God, I can’t believe what a fool I’ve been,” I whispered with a look of shocked horror on my face. I looked at each of my friends, wondering if they thought I was the biggest dimwit to walk the planet. Of course he’d been trying to blow me off. The writing was on the wall, painted in glowing neon. Once it had finally hit me that my prince charming no longer saw me as his princess, everything else seemed much clearer to me. There were at least two dozen signs telling me exactly this for the past week, and I’d blindly ignored them all. As I sat there with my girls explaining it all, I wiped my tears and wondered at which point in my life I’d become so naïve. I had become the type of woman who would annoy me in the movies. The one who stuck it out with the biggest jackasses on the planet just because they believed their love was strong enough to save their man from himself. Love. Damn that four letter word and all that it implies. I knew it was the reason why I’d let Jack Dennison get by on his behavior this past week. Each and every time he offered up the lame excuses, he was probably sitting there wondering when I would wake up and take a hint. 38 | www.BTSeMag.com | Sex and the Single Woman | I pondered Jen’s suggestion that it had only been about sex, but that didn’t ring true. We’d had sex several times, and he hadn’t changed until this past week. Even if I wanted to consider that maybe the trip had become too serious of a commitment for him, I quickly dismissed that reasoning as well. The fact of the matter was the trip was his idea. He had insisted. He was the one who had wanted it so badly. Of course I was going to go along with him. I was head over heels for the guy. Sadly there probably weren’t many things he could ask that I wouldn’t do for him. Just knowing that made me feel that much more foolish. “Sweetie, what are you thinking? You look so . . . hurt. It makes me so angry. I just want to go kick him good and hard right where it counts.” I looked up at Kim. She, along with the other two, had been through a lot with me. We’d grown up together, and we always had one another’s backs, especially when it came to men. They were a hard enough gender to contend with, so we had always believed there was safety in numbers where our hearts were concerned. “Thanks, Kim, but I’ll be okay. Eventually. I guess it was right there in front of me the whole time. I must not have wanted to see it. I do now though . . . boy, do I see it now.” “You are too good for him. You’re too good for any man. They’re all pigs.” Jen insisted. “Hey! I can hear you, you know?” Jen’s husband, Paul, yelled from the living room. Rolling her eyes, Jen called back to him, “Well, if you had let me finish, you would have heard me say except for Paul.” “Riiiiiiiiight. Are you ladies done yapping in there? I’m hungry.” With a sigh, Jen held out her hand to me. “Come on. Let’s get a little food in you, maybe a couple of glasses of wine. We’ll have you giggling in no time at all. Come morning time you’ll be asking us who “Jack Dennison, my white knight, my prince charming, the man I’d fallen in love with was....” the hell this Jack guy is anyway.” All four of us girls embraced in one of those obnoxiously mushy hugs that only girls could master. Men surely wouldn’t be able to get that close without acting all awkward like their masculinity was at stake. Minutes later we all sat down to eat. As usual Jen was a master in the kitchen, making her famous, at least in her own mind, Chicken Parmesan. With it, her husband had served a chilled bottle of Riesling. It was the perfect pairing of both savory and sweet to complement one another. It wasn’t too long before I realized Jen was right. I may have fallen for Jack Dennison hook, line, and sinker but getting dumped by him was hardly the worst thing in he world to me. So, I’d been discarded by a dreamy hunk of a man. It was his loss. If there was one thing he taught me, it was that I was one hell of a woman. The rest of the dinner was a blast. I’d stayed a bit longer drinking coffee and talking with the girls while I waited for the wine to leave my system. Finally, at nearly midnight, I’d gotten in my car and headed home. I was just a block from my building when I heard my phone ringing in my purse. It was far out of my reach on the passenger side floor, so I let it go to voicemail. Once parked, I was shocked to see the call had come from Jack. With disbelief that he had actually even called, I pressed the button to retrieve my message and listened with bated breath. June 2013 | 39 “Hey, it’s me. I know it’s late. You’re probably in bed already. I’ve been going like crazy the past week trying to tie up some loose ends before you and I leave on Monday. I just wanted to say I was sorry. I know I’ve not been myself lately. There has been some stuff on my mind, business stuff, nothing to do with us, I just . . . well, I’ve been preoccupied. Anyway, I hope you’re dreaming sweet, honey. I miss you. Talk soon.” There was a click on the other end, and I sat there dumbfounded. It was obvious to me now that I’d read far too much into his behavior. A giddy feeling came over me. I would have been okay with being dumped, but not being dumped was a hell of a lot nicer. After locking up my car, I headed up the wide stone stairs to the building. A woman stood at the top, just outside the entrance, and looked down at me. When I tried to pass her, she placed her hand on the door. “You and I need to talk,” she demanded. I stared at the brown-haired beauty, who had a look of fire in her eyes. “I’m sorry? Do I know you?” “No. But, I know you. You’re the one who’s been sleeping with my husband, Jack.” Just as quickly as my excitement had returned, it dissipated just as fast. Jack Dennison, my white knight, my prince charming, the man I’d fallen in love with, was married. | Nicole Morgan is a multi-published author of erotic romance novels,which more often than not have a suspenseful backstory. Erotic romance mixed with a good old-fashioned whodunit. While she’s written everything from contemporary to paranormal, her leading men will more than likey be wearing a uniform of some kind. From military to police, she has a love for writing about those who protect and serve. nicolemorgan1.webs.com Lexis Morgan returned to New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Determined to focus on rebuilding her interior decorating business and saving her home, Alex has no time for relationships. She refuses to fall into the same trap that her mother fell into and become involved with a married man. Then, the soon-to-be-married Elliot Walker storms into her life, tempting her to forget the hard lessons she learned as a child. Businessman Elliot Walker is the youngest, and only adopted, son of a wealthy and prominent New Orleans family. The Walkers’ natural children are models of society and Elliot will do no less. Once his older brother marries, Elliot knows their mother will push him to marry the woman she believes is perfect for him, a high-powered attorney with a thirst for money, power, and sex. With six months to go before his wedding, Elliot hires Alex to redecorate his home. Suddenly, keeping his mother happy by marrying Rachel, a woman he’s beginning to realize he barely knows, isn’t as important as having Alex in his arms. But Rachel intends to have it all, and she’s willing to murder to get it. Now available from Liquid Silver Books 40 | www.BTSeMag.com Purchase at Amazon Now available from Melange Books “A story filled with action-adventurepassion-dark secrets...I say to those of you that enjoy romance and fantasy to pick up a copy of Serenya’s Song.” ~Robin, Romancing the Book No one ever said love was easy... Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she’s no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she’s ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down. Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe. When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in the town may die. Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they’ve always dreamed of. OUT of this WORLD SCI FI & FANTASY Featured Authors, REVIEWS and more SCI FI & FANTASY | book reviews | Hook’s Pan Marie Hall genre: fantasty The Ancient One Terrie Relf Leigh & Henry Lewis Sanders genre: fantasty Trishelle Page has known pain in her life, but instead of it making her weak, she’s stronger. Confident. That is until the day a fairy kidnaps her during her staring role in Peter Pan’s play and tells her not only do fairy tales exist, but that she’s the soulmate of the pirate they call Hook, making her question everything she ever thought she knew. Captain James Hook is a man at the end of his rope. He’s not the villainous bastard tales have made him out to be. So when the curvaceous blonde drops literally at his feet, he aims to prove it to her. If only to get her into his bed. What neither one knows is that fate and magic are conspiring and they can deny the attraction all they want but their happily ever after is already written, it’s just a matter of getting there. The Ancient One, book two of the Blood Journey saga, opens in Atlantis, circa 1450 B.C.E., where Chief Engineer Artas has just double-checked his calculations. After nightfall, he will meet with The Council, a race of Ancient Ones who had found sanctuary on earth over a thousand years before. They are about to learn there are cataclysmic forces even they are unable to control. And so the diaspora resumes. . . In Egypt, 2006, Vasilie and Hatshepsut express concern for Guenther, still haunted by Stefan, the one who made him. They will soon discover that not only is Stefan now seeking Guenther, but the Dark Church of Hekatae has paid a hefty sum to hire seasoned vampire hunters to destroy Vasilie and his family—and one of them is the daughter of the High Priestess Cassandra, whom Hatshepsut executed. While Vasilie’s family has grown, and Father Gregory and The Brethren remain dedicated to Vasilie’s cause, will their comingled powers be sufficient to battle the hunters and ward off the evil machinations of an Ancient One? REVIEW: I could grow too old for fairy tales and the stories that utilize their characters, but that is not a point I look to favorably. Bringing the fifth tale of another Bad Boy of fairy tales, this is the story of Hook, the debased and diabolical pirate with a hatred for Peter Pan. With storytelling that embraces the fantastic and manages to craft two flawed people, incorporating humor and some snappy dialogue these are characters that feel real, despite the fantasy of their setting and surroundings. As Trisha and Hook get to know one another in conversation and some truly erotic encounters, they also find their connection and are able to recognize their true bonds. This entire series is fairy tales reimagined for adults, with cameos from earlier characters and a fairy godmother that flitters between helpful and annoying: each installment is a joy to read. | Reviewer: Gaele | REVIEW: The second book of this series picks up where the first left off, continuing the exciting and fast-paced story of these unique and sexy vampires. There were new characters introduced, which added even more historical depth to this unique series, and proved yet again that the author knows how to write characters whose flaws define who they are. To the reader’s delight, the direction the author takes with the story in this book is very creative, and becomes far more complex than the first, creating an intense and fun scenario for Vasilie and his family. I’m not sure if there’s another book planned in the series, but if there is, I cannot wait to find out what’s next for these wonderful characters. | Reviewer: Marie Haney | June 2013 | 45 | SCI FI & FANTASY book reviews | Jinni’s Wish Marie Hall genre: fantasty Kingdom Series Collection Marie Hall genre: fantasty A long, long time ago there lived a man. A Jinni, who had one wish. To know love. But the woman he thought he knew betrayed him and the love he thought they shared. Tortured for his crimes, he was cast out of Kingdom, stripped of all his powers, left to langour in pain and solitude, until eventually he becomes nothing but a ghost... Paz Lopez is an artist with a dream. To buy a ridiculously large penthouse in the swankiest section of Chicago. But there’s just one hitch, she has no man to share her dream with. A fateful visit to a carnival and Madam Pandora’s tent sends Paz on a mission to find the love of her life before it’s too late. But the Madam forgot to tell Paz one very important detail... to meet him, Paz will have to die first. THE FIRST THREE KINGDOM BOOKS, ALL TOGETHER IN ONE COLLECTION. INCLUDED DELETED BONUS SCENES AND ALICE HU’S RED QUEEN’S REVENGE CUPCAKE RECIPE! Her Mad Hatter: Alice is all grown up. Running the Mad Hatter’s Cupcakery and Tea Shoppe is a delicious job, until fate--and a fairy godmother with a weakness for bad boys--throws her a curveball. Gerard’s Beauty: A not so classic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, as seen through the eyes of the villain Red and Her Wolf: This is the tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, as it really happened... REVIEW: Love in the metaphysical realm has never been this magical. Picking up from the third book, Jinni got left in the mortal world to meet his destined mate. Beautiful Paz undertook a huge risk to meet the love of her life as was predicted by a gypsy. Battling internal demons for the sake of a happy and love-filled future, this story has everything. A fairy hell-bent on making a match, a meddling sibling who only wanted his sister to be happy, and the tempting and mesmerizing white tunnel. Marie Hall proves that the future we want is within our reach, a little magic and self-forgiveness is all it takes to get there. | Reviewer: Francine Alli | REVIEW: Included in this collection are familiar fairytales, twisted into three unique and engaging stories. Travel the Kindom and see the Mad Hatter’s twisted Wonderland, get close and personal with the real villain behind the Beauty and the Beast and understand who Little Red Riding Hood really is. With exciting twist and turns, Marie Hall threads these stories together into one complex, multi-layered plot to realize the Bad Boys of Fairy Tales’ happy ever after. Sure to bring forth giggles and grins, these adult romances for the childhood villains are not to be missed. | Reviewer: Francine Alli | 46 | www.BTSeMag.com A CHARACTER INTERVIEW mariehallwrites.blogspot.com June 2013 | 47 AN INSIDER’S VIEW karenwiesner.com 48 | www.BTSeMag.com Purchase at Lulu/Melange-books AN INSIDERâ€™S VIEW peril.forumotion.com June 2013 | 51 Ishia pushed through the heavy woods as fast as she dared. The sun was long past its zenith and the shadows grew even longer. A chill filled the air. Soon her father would demand her presence at the evening meal. Her mother would stall as long as she was able, but when darkness fell, Ishia needed to be seated with her family around the old wooden table, or she would feel her father’s anger. Even her mother couldn’t slow the moon’s rise. Still, she had to watch her footing carefully. If she fell and twisted an ankle or tore her dress, questions would be asked. Questions she dare not answer. Finally the woods opened and she found her private spot. The only place in the known universe she felt free to be herself—to let her true being shine through. She sank to the ground and crossed her legs, resting her hands, palms up, in her lap. She emptied her mind and let it fill with silence. She had found this method in the remnants of an old book. One she had discovered wrapped in cloth and buried beneath a pile of the white stones man had once made. She had hidden the pages quickly in the folds of her skirt until she reached home and could study them in secret. The ancient ones had called it Yoga. She began to hum tunelessly. Soon she was at peace, part of the earth and sky, one with the trees and birds. As always, one corner of her mind remained alert. If the women of the village discovered she was a witch, they would stone her. There was a time, in the olden days, when witches were accepted. Revered. Now they took the blame for everything that had happened. Whenever the earth shook and a building that had once reached up to touch the sky tumbled down into a mass of rubble, or when the poison air crept through the window and stole the breath from a newborn, a witch was held responsible. Did your husband find pleasure with another woman? She must be a witch. Did the cow’s milk dry up? A spell had been cast. It was as bad for warlocks. If a neighbor got the best of you in a business deal, he must have clouded your mind with magic. If the dice fell in one man’s favor, he had put a spell on them. Once denounced, it was almost impossible to prove your innocence. When the sky came alive and rained fire, people had thrown off their religion and scoured books for the old ways. They turned to witches and warlocks. But when the old ways hadn’t helped, new religions were invented. Now it was death for anyone with magical power. The birds and cicadas had stopped their singing when Ishia entered the forest, but they started again as June 2013 | 53 soon as she sat down. Suddenly, the forest fell silent, and Ishia snapped out of her trance. Her heart lodged in her throat and her hands trembled. The brush rustled behind her and a small twig broke. Someone was watching. She drew up her knees and buried her face in her hands. Her shoulders trembled as if she were crying. “What are you doing here?” Her brother, Jaron, broke through the brush, his bow at his side. “You should be home helping Mother prepare our meal.” Ishia pushed her thumbs into her eyes to redden them before she looked up. “Jaron, please, let me have a few moments of peace. You heard Father order me to marry Fayad before the next full moon or to find someone else he approves of. You know how I feel about Fayad. I can’t stand to be near him. Not after the way he cheated Father out of our best land.” “All the more reason you must marry him. And quickly. Then our families can work the land together. Besides, I’m not allowed to marry or find my calling until you’re settled.” “You’re young. Only seventeen. You can’t marry for several years. And if you found a trade you wanted, someone would be happy to take you as an apprentice.” “I don’t want a trade.” Jaron almost spat the words. “I want our land, and you’re the one who’s going to get it back for us.” He grabbed her arm and jerked her to her feet. “The Gods didn’t bless us with much, but they gave you golden hair and a beauty that’s as good as currency. Now, get home and do your duty, or I’ll beat you if Father won’t.” Ishia didn’t need to force her tears as she stumbled home. Jaron hadn’t found her by accident while hunting. It was the wrong time of day for hunting. He had been following her. He’d be the first one to denounce her if he thought it would benefit him in any way. Even if it meant her death. Even if it meant death for Father and Mother. The next few days were crucial. She had to find time alone to cast a spell. Jaron would watch her every minute. He’d never let her get away. His greed and jealousy were more dangerous than any arrow. As she approached the cabin, the aroma of meat roasting on the spit enveloped her. She slipped unnoticed into the kitchen and began preparing the turnips. “How was your walk, my dear?” Ishia’s mother, Margrath, placed her arm gently around her daughter’s waist. Ishia shook her head slightly and kept her eyes on the turnips. “Jaron thought I needed to get home and help with the meal.” “Ssssst.” Margrath blew air between her teeth. “Foolish boy. He’ll get us all killed.” “Yes, and then he’ll have the house, the farm, and the livestock all for himself.” Ishia’s heart turned to stone. “No, my darling one. He simply doesn’t understand that he’s playing with fire.” Of course, her mother couldn’t admit Jaron knew exactly what he was doing. He was her son after all. “It’s not right.” Ishia stood and put her arms around Margrath. “I’ve only had ten years with my power. I’m not ready to give it up. Certainly not to the fat slob Fayad. How will I stand it?” “Maybe you won’t lose your power. I didn’t lose all mine when you were born. I can still nudge things when I want. And you’re much stronger than I ever was. We can keep you from getting with child for a few years. If you have to marry Fayad, you can do a love spell on him so he’ll be wrapped around you finger even if you lose your power. Your father is still under my spell and it’s been twenty-three years since you were born.” Ishia fingered the glove hidden in her pocket. “I’ll try again at daybreak, but you must keep Jaron occupied. If the Thane I saw today in the marketplace gets too far away, the spell won’t work and there’ll be no one left for me but Fayad.” “Are you certain he’s the one, daughter?” Margrath twisted the hem of her apron and glanced into the main room where the two men rested after a day spent working in the fields. Ishia tried to speak, but her mouth was dry. “I know I felt him the moment he rode into the village. My heart tells me he’s the one that appears in my dreams, but I’ve never seen his face before today, and my visions don’t tell me why he searches for me.” “If you’re mistaken, things will go badly for you. He could be searching to destroy you.” “I only know that I feel happy in my dreams. I’m not afraid.” She couldn’t explain the sense of warmth that comforted her when she had the strange visions. “I’ll give Jaron a sleeping draught tonight, but you must hurry. Your father will drag him out of the loft by his hair if he stays abed too long.” “You’d better give one to Father, too.” “Nae, he would suspect. There are other ways I can keep your father occupied in the morning if the house is quiet. Your father is a hard man, demanding, yet he has a softness in his heart for those he loves. I have grown to care for him over the years, as you will learn to care for Fayad if this marriage goes forward. He would not force this marriage if he did not believe it was the best thing for you. There have been whispers in the village, and he fears for your safety.” Full dawn was still an hour away when Ishia pulled the tattered dress over her head. She left her hair unbound. Her slippers were clutched in one hand as she crept toward the front door, her woolen shawl was nowhere to been found. She stepped into the morning air and shivered. The door closed without a sound, but she remained motionless, waiting to see if anyone stirred. She slipped her shoes on before stepping into the damp grass. The sun was rising fast, but it was still dark in the woods as she picked her way slowly through the branches. Her feet knew the way. They led her directly to her secret spot. Again she sat and let her mind empty. She felt herself dissolve into the earth itself. Finally she built a small fire in the area she had prepared. She stretched her arms toward the fire, not for warmth, but to draw power from its energy. In her hand was an amulet, and she placed it around her neck. It had belonged to her mother and her mother’s mother before her from before the days when all magic folk were reviled and cast out. The verses she chanted were older than time. Finally, she stood and placed the glove on the fire. She reached toward the heavens and sang a song without words. When the song finished, she heard a twig snap in the forest. Her blood ran cold. Had Jaron followed her again? She daren’t stop now. She glanced at the fire. If the glove didn’t burn completely, the spell wouldn’t work. In front of her stood the Thane she had seen in the marketplace. He was as handsome as she remembered with black hair that fell forward, almost covering eyes as dark as her own. The finest leather had been used in his boots and cloak. He was tall and his shoulders were twice the span of hers. The sword at his waist gleamed as he glanced at his glove, smoldering in the fire. Ishia gasped. Her heart stopped in her throat. What had she done wrong? She hadn’t meant to summon him. Her life was over unless she could distract him long enough for the glove to finish burning. June 2013 | 55 He reached down with a stick and removed the glove from the fire. “At last we meet in person, Ishia.” He knew her name. All was lost. She didn’t mind dying, in fact she preferred it to a life with Fayad. It was the harm she would bring to her family she regretted. If only she hadn’t been so selfish. She should have married Fayad and accepted her fate. She would have done so, could have done so, if she hadn’t seen this virile stranger the day before. At the first sight of him, her heart had faltered. She had dared to dream of a life filled with happiness. A Thane. How could she have been so stupid? “Aren’t you going to finish your spell?” The Thane handed her the stick with the remains of his glove. “I went to a lot of trouble to find you. I could feel your pull when first I entered the village. And you thought you could hide your powers. Not from someone like me.” Ishia took a step back. It was a trap. It had to be. If she took the glove and returned it to the fire he would have all the proof he needed. She tried to give the glove back to him. “Here, Lord. I found this by accident and was using it to start a fire. I didn’t realize it was yours.” He laughed and the sound soothed her heart. “Certainly you knew it was mine. You knew it was mine when you lifted it from my pocket yesterday in the market. Of course, I had to dangle it in front of you for several minutes before you worked up the nerve to pinch it. Even now, it’s taken you two days to use it. In my dreams you were not this timid.” She couldn’t move. She could barely breathe. “How do they call you, Lord?” “I am Stefen, Thane of East Nordland. At least I’ve been Thane for three months, since my father died. Until that time I was betrothed to the daughter of a neighboring lord. With my father’s death the engagement was broken, and I was free to look for you.” So he’d been searching for her. But to what purpose? “How do you know my name?” “I heard your mother call to you once in a dream, but you never turned so I could see you full. I was certain you were a hag. Aren’t all witches supposed to be ugly? Finally I could wait no longer. I had to find you.” “Is that why you search for me, Lord? To denounce me as a witch?” The thought of him hating her caused her heart to ache as if a knife had been plunged into it. “Nae, Ishia. Don’t you know why I’ve come? Can’t you feel it in your heart? It is our time to be together. I was drawn a hundred miles to find you out of all the women in the country.” “You don’t mind that I’m a witch?” She’d never said the words to any living person except her mother. Even then in only a whisper. She waited. She had handed him the proof of her crime, now what he would do? “Do you mind that I’m a warlock? Shall you turn me in for the reward? Or shall we go forward with the spell you started, and trust that the Gods have brought us together for a purpose?” He pulled her woolen shawl from his pack and held it over the fire. “If we complete the incantations, we will be bound to each other for all eternity.” “Wait.” Ishia yanked the shawl from the edge of the fire. “I need time to think. We only met a moment ago.” Her thoughts began to spin. Could she spend her life with this stranger? Her heart said yes, but her mind couldn’t move forward. He looked into her eyes. “If you’ve dreamt of me as often as I’ve dreamt of you, then we’ve known each other these two years. I have seen you pass the last piece of meat to you mother, even though I felt your hunger. When the village beggar passes your stall, you look away while he lifts a turnip. You wouldn’t have taken the glove if you hadn’t felt it was right.” “Aye, I’ve seen you in my dreams. I saw you beside your father’s bed and felt your sorrow when he passed. When your horse was startled and threw you off, you had to walk home. But once there, you saw to the horse’s needs before your own.” She had to stall while she forced her mind to concentrate. “My father wants me to marry Fayad.” “Your father will forget Fayad’s name when a Thane walks in the door.” Stefan reached out and took her hand. Her heart, which had frozen only seconds before, now melted at his touch. “My father will forget his own name when a Thane walks in the door. But what will our life be? Will we have to hide who we are? Will our children be in danger? If I lose my powers at childbirth, I won’t be able to protect them.” “I am Thane of all my land. We will never have to hide. Our children will be safe. You are much too strong to lose your gift for any reason. Come now, I have loved you from afar these two years. Have you not felt anything for me? Let me take you home to be my bride. I have brought my mother’s ring and offer it to you now. Will you take it along with my pledge?” In her palm he placed a ring made of braided silver with a stone she had never seen nestled inside a lovers knot. The stone changed colors as she twisted it, first blue, then green. Fire was magically trapped inside the gem and as the light hit it, flashes of color sparkled and moved. She would have dropped it in fear had he not slipped it on her finger and covered her hand with his own. He pulled her close and kissed her. When he finished she couldn’t speak, but her mind had caught up with her heart and she nodded. Stefen picked the two talismans off the ground where they had fallen. He pressed them into Ishia’s hand. “It is time. Let us finish the spell and start our new life.” “Nae.” Ishia kicked dirt over the smoldering fire. She lifted the ruined glove before her and hurled it into the woods, then spread her shawl on the damp ground. She sank onto the rough wool and reached for Stefen’s hand. “There is magic enough in this world already. We shall make our own vows. We need nothing but our love to bind us. Every day we are together, we shall know it is of our own choosing.” Stefen smiled as he laid his sword on the ground and knelt beside her. “Those are the words I have longed to hear from you since first I saw your face and lost my heart.” SUSAN C. MULLER is a fourth generation Texan. She attended Stephen F. Austin State University where she majored in Business Administration. She started her first novel at age eleven, but it wasn’t until after she had worked many years and raised a family that she returned to her first love, writing. She is a member of Northwest Houston RWA, Kiss of Death online RWA, and The Houston Writers Guild. Her novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, has won several awards. - SusanCMuller.com “The Pirates of the Caribbean meet the Last Samurai” - 4 ½ Wands from Wands And Worlds The Choice: To Serve the Undead or Become One of Them. Toshi never expected the strange visitor who one evening stepped foot inside his master’s shop - a samurai smelling of the sea, with water dripping on the ground, and algae strung from his armor. For the first time in his life, Toshi discovers that monsters do roam the earth. And this one has been specifically looking for him. Dragged from his home and all he has ever known, Toshi has no choice but to help the creatures who’ve taken him. Gaining his freedom will be no easy task. Now available at Amazon.com June 2013 | 57 NOW AVAILABLE AT AMAZON BEYOND the EXPECTED PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE Featured Authors, REVIEWS and more The Scrying Eye Dare to READ Kelly Hudson Ah! Can you feel the sizzling energy? The crystal ball is powering up, the Scrying Eye is opening, ready now to look into the future to see what magnificent fantasy tales await the curious reader. Do you dare enter? Do you dare cast your gaze upon the crystal ball and let it reveal to you upcoming stories of wonder, intrigue, mystery, and horror? If so, pull up a seat, take a deep breath, and let us begin . . . Fantasy/Science Fiction The Mist-Torn Witches by Barb Hendee (already available) is the tale of two sisters thrown into a world they do not understand but must navigate with special care in order to catch a killer. Orphan sisters Céline and Amelie sell herbal medicines in their apothecary shop while Céline also pretends to be seer, able to read people’s fortunes. They run afoul of a warlord prince and must flee to another province where they encounter a series of murders hey are bid to solve, all because of Céline’s “abilities.” Only by finding this murderer will they be given sanctuary and to do so is to court danger most foul. The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill (June 4, 2013) features the adventures of the brilliant young computer genius, Tak. He must bend space and time to save Samira, his object of love since high school. As if this wasn’t a daunting enough task the world around him is June 2013 | 61 | The Scrying Eye | spinning into an apocalyptic nightmare, for the inventor of the time device Tak is using is also a madman searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land. This inventor will destroy every timeline, including Tak’s, on his quest to seize the Beautiful Land. Can Tak save the love of his life before all is lost? Mystery/Suspense Horror The Last Word (Spellman #6) by Lisa Lutz (July 9, 2013) is a continuation of the Spellman series in which Izzy Spellman finds herself in trouble once again. Izzy has seized control of Spellman Investigations and this leads to all sorts of problems, from the return of her deceitful sister to anxiety-riddled employees. The worst of the turmoil centers around an accusation that Izzy herself has embezzled money from the firm. Izzy must solve this mystery in order to save not only the business and her employees, but her own reputation as well. Unseen (Will Trent #7) by Karin Slaughter (July 2, 2013) marks the return of Georgia Bureau of Investigations agent Will Trent as he gets caught in another case that could cost him his life. Trent has traveled to Macon, Georgia, deep undercover, befriending a drug dealer to get close to solving his case. Meanwhile, Sara, the love of life, has unwittingly traveled to Macon to get to the bottom of alocal cop shooting. Both of their cases are about to get tangled together, throwing the two of them into electrifying danger. Can they make it out or will their own inner demons and outer turmoil cost them their lives? Betrayal by Michael S. Gardner (currently available) is the perfect fix for your zombie needs. Two years after the zombie apocalypse has left most of humanity wiped out and the living dead ruling the world, a human outpost holds strong. Protected and dependent on a battalion of marines who go out on daring missions to forage for supplies and food, the community finds itself in dire straits when the last of the marines die. The fate of the group lies in the hands of a new group of foragers led by pilot Trevor Spencer, who’s about as dependable as a cockroach. Full ofdilemmas and pulse-pounding terror, Gardner’s novella brings you a zombie epic unlike any other. Tell My Sorrows to the Stones by Christopher Golden (August 20, 2013) is a collection of some of Golden’s finest short stories. If you have not read him yet, this is a great place to start, and the book features many fine tales: a circus clown who will give anything to be funny, a spectral gunslinger, a ghostly train, and many, many more accounts of the strange and unusual. This is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the coming of fall and the advent of Halloween . . . 62 | www.BTSeMag.com And now, the curtain closes and thus ends another session with the Scrying Eye. Go home, think on what you have learned today, examine your options, and choose your future reading wisely. You are now prepared for what is to come; the question is what will you do with this knowledge? Kelly M. Hudson has published over two dozen short stories in various anthologies as well as two horror novels, The Turning and Men of Perdition. You can read more about him and his work at kellymhudson.com Until the next SCRYING EYE... June 2013 | 63 PARANORMAL Curse of Black Tor Jane Toombs genre: paranormal/suspence REVIEW: Jane Toombs does not disappoint with yet another thrilling story that will leave you frantically turning the pages, eager to know what happens next. Full of mystery, the author has created an intensely secretive world on Vancouver Island that includes an exciting rumor of an ancient curse. Martha, a psychiatric nurse, is sent to care for a mentally ill young woman on the island where she encounters unique and intriguing characters that warn her of the dangers on the island. Suspenseful and fun, Marthaâ€™s journey to Vancouver Island is unforgettable as she searches for a way to end the curse and tries to keep her own sanity. | Reviewer: Marie Haney | Martha Jamieson is a psychiatric nurse who has been offered the position of caretaker for a troubled young woman on Vancouver Island. On the way she encounter with a bearded young man and receives a mysterious warning. Her destination, and an island shrouded in mist and mystery, does nothing to calm the unsettled feeling that she might be headed into real danger. Added to that she must cope with a young woman who might or might not be mentally unbalanced and try to get to the bottom of the rumors about an ancient curse. What has Martha gotten herself into in her quest to escape the past. & Suspense | book reviews | Jane Toombs CURSE OF BLACK TOR A psychiatric nuse fleeing her disastrous past accepts a position on Vancouver Island to care for a young woman. But instead of a sanctuary at Black Tor, she finds deadly danger. Now available from Amazon.com 64 | www.BTSeMag.com FEATURED AUTHOR samsdotpublishing.com June 2013 | 65 | PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews | Cursed Awakening Nikki Noffsinger genre: paranormal Eternity T’Monique Stephens genre: paranormal Ivy Morgan has re-invented herself and is looking forward to the future for the first time, in a very long time. Since fleeing for her life from an overzealous religious cult, she is able to be a modern woman that is gaining her independence; so taking up with a sexy stranger named Nyx is the last thing she needs. Or, is it? Nyx Wahpeton can’t stop thinking about the young woman he’s met. It couldn’t have come at the worse possible time with the clans meeting and his family wrapped up in a centuries old war that’s nothing short of what horror movies are made from. He’s been a protector of his people and those that reside at the Reservation. There’s betrayal and evil at his front door; but, in his heart he knows Ivy is the one for him. She’s surrounded by secrets that he’s vowed to unlock, as well as her heart. However, can he keep her safe from his own secrets? ROMAN NICOLIS Cursed for 2000 years, Roman Nicolis has tracked his lovers’ soul through each reincarnation only to lose her horribly every time. Reclaiming their love is their only salvation. He’s been her friend, her father, her neighbor, but never again her lover … until now. STELLA WALKER A late night walk home throws Stella into the path of a killer. The last thing she remembers are the deep blue eyes of the man trying to kill her—and the first things she sees after a seven-day coma are the same blue eyes in the handsome face of the man hired to protect her. Is he truly the owner of a security firm assigned to protect her or the man who wants to finish her off? Is it fear she feels when Roman touches her or the memory of something sweeter? She will have to push past her fears and reclaim a love that has lasted two millennia. Past secrets haunt them. An angry demon stalks them. Roman will do anything to recover what they had. Though Stella’s ruined childhood has made her close her heart and body to any man, he must get past the walls around her to gain her love and trust, for it will take their union to defeat an unexpected enemy sent from the Egyptian Gods. A man Romans respects, and Stella trusts. REVIEW: Paranormal romance lovers will enjoy the unique world of wolf shifters and other paranormal creatures in Cursed Awakening. Nikki Noffsinger draws the reader in with her broken heroine, Ivy Morgan, who is starting her life over after escaping years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of an elder in a religious cult. Noffsinger realistically portrays Ivy’s panic attacks and the lingering fears, making Ivy a sympathetic character. Nyx, a protective wolf shifter, instantly falls for Ivy and does a fantastic job of showing Ivy his love while walking through the various minefields that are Ivy’s triggers. Furthermore, his patience and caring make their union sizzle. True to life, Ivy’s fears don’t magically disappear, but this relationship helps Ivy discover her own inner strength—a beautiful sight to see. Cursed Awakening contains a perfect balance of romance and suspense, carrying the reader through to the perfect ending. | Reviewer: Lori Zalewski | REVIEW: In a cleverly crafted mystery meshed with mythology and a love story, Tmonique Stephens has created characters that will enchant and delight as you cheer them on to find each other, reconnect and solve the mystery that surrounds them. With a novel use of Egyptian mythological references, a new set of possibilities for archetypal heroes and situations has been opened, and with a smoothly written set of plot twists the action is near never-ending. 66 | www.BTSeMag.com FEATURED AUTHOR ashlynchase.com June 2013 | 67 | PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews | Heart-wrenching intensity of emotion is felt by both characters, from guilt to anguish to fear. The book is a pageturner that will have you cheering for the successes and holding your breath with each new twist and turn. What a nice start to a series, and one that is sure to build a world full of mythology less known but no less important or imaginative as the better known Greeks and Romans. | Reviewer: Gaele | Warrior Prince Nancy J. Cohen genre: paranormal Flirting Under a Full Moon Ashlynn Chase genre: paranormal Brandee has been dumped in every way possible, but by text is the last straw. That’s it—she’s officially done with men. Unfortunately, she’s just been told her “soul mate” is the drool-worthy hottie all her friends call One-Night Nick. Nick has been searching for true love for one hundred years. After all, werewolves mate for life, and he does not want to mess this up. As soon as he kisses Brandee, he knows she’s the one. But how will he convince a woman who knows nothing of paranormals that she’s about to be bound to a werewolf forever? When mythologist and Florida resident Nira Larsen accepts a job as tour guide for a mysterious stranger, she’s drawn into a nightmare reality where ancient myths come alive and legendary evils seek to destroy her. To survive, she must awaken her dormant powers, but the only person who can help is the man whose touch inflames her passion. After a dimensional rift in the Bermuda Triangle cracks open and an ancient enemy invades Earth, Zohar--leader of the galactic warriors known as the Drift Lords--summons his troops. He doesn’t count on a redheaded spitfire getting in his way and capturing his heart. Nira has the power to defeat the enemy and to enslave Zohar’s soul. Can he trust her enough to accomplish his mission, or will she lure him to his doom? SOCIAL INSECURITY Kate Eileen Shannon A five foot tall, blue eyed, blond, amputee isn’t your average detective. But in SOCIAL INSECURITY, cyber PI Brigid Kildare, turns amateur sleuth when old ladies in the Federal Hill area of Providence start to go missing. As her assistant and long time friend, Kevin, puts it: “Honey, if an old lady like Jessica Fletcher can do it, a one-legged PI and her gay PA can do it too!” REVIEW: Men have dumped Brandee every possible way and she wants nothing more to do with them, Nick is drool-worthy; known for his one-night stands and feels Brandee is his soul mate. They are the perfect match for each other if they can get past a few hurdles: like the paranormal world and oh yeah, Nick being a werewolf. Author Ashlyn Chase has created is a wonderful light-hearted romance that is zany, fast-paced and filled with great characters. The secondary characters are all quirky and lovable with my personal favorite being a very temperamental Mother Nature. The dialog is snappy and quick with quite a few laugh out loud moments. There are twists, turns aplenty but instead of confusion I found the mayhem is what made the story exciting and special. Over-all Flirting Under a Full Moon is delightful afternoon read for anyone wanting a fun escape from reality. | Reviewer: Jacque Burford | Now available from Amazon.com 68 | www.BTSeMag.com | PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews | REVIEW: Warrior Prince, the first in a series, comes across as a combination of stories. It starts out in the science-fiction realm, with a group of men from another planet trying to rid Earth of the bad guys from a very different planet. About halfway through, the story takes a leap into the ancient tales from Norse Mythology as the characters repeat ancient quests and reacquaint themselves with the Norse Gods. This combination has potential to work well in a story. However, readers will have a hard time following along, especially when the main ‘alien’ characters’ dialects keep switching back and forth between their home country and the current Earth setting. Nira Larson and Zohar Thorald each have redeeming qualities of inner strength and humility that readers will be able to relate to and appreciate. | Reviewer: Nicole McManus | Wolf Protector Milly Taiden genre: paranormal A woman with a secret… The Federal Paranormal Unit is an elite squad of supernaturals dedicated to solving missing persons cases. Erica’s gift allows her a special connection with the crime, but it comes at a deep personal cost… Until now, she’s kept her gift a secret, even from the other members of the team. But this case will throw her together with Agent Trent Buchanan. He’s the object of her secret desires, but he’s also a cocky womanizer. She’d rather swim in shark-infested waters with a paper cut than admit she has feelings for him. When Push Comes To Shove In Vampire parlance, Pushing is what Folk do when they need to get a drink and don’t want to leave behind any incriminating evidence. They just make their new friend forget they were ever there. What? ME a vampire? No way! But what if every human one runs across seems to have been Pushed in some way? And not a soul of them is up to any good? Which of the Folk is responsible, and what can this possibly be leading to? Callie London is certain there’s Something Bad Going On! If only she can figure it out fast enough to keep herself and her vampire girlfriends from getting themselves killed. Callie never dreams she is about to become privy to an ancient Vampire Secret. Shhh! No one can ever know! Soon she and her friends are fang deep in bewildering vampire politics. It’s the Kentucky Derby, and everyone knows that in Louisville, Kentucky, anything can happen at Derby time. Even though it’s spring, events begin to snowball. Callie’s adventures start with fireworks and tumble into exciting horse races at Churchill Downs, several assassination attempts, and a hairraising cruise aboard the Belle of Louisville steamboat. Available at Amazon for Kindle And When Push Comes to Shove, where will it all end? Take the adventure with Callie and find out! June 2013 | 69 | PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews | A man with one desire… Wolf Shifter Trent wants Erica more than he’s ever wanted any woman. He’s spent years patiently waiting for her to admit that she wants him too. Working one-on-one in a race to find a serial killer, Trent’s patience and Erica’s resolve wear thin. When Trent discovers the truth about Erica, will he accept her for who she is? And can he protect her from the horrors that her gift brings? A case that pushes them to the edge… Erica will have to risk it all if she wants to stop the killer, and when she does, Trent may have to put his own life on the line to make sure his mate is protected… his son from him, Logan vows to protect her. He races time to stop the culprit threatening Doriana and works to forge a bond with his son. Can the love and passion that still burn between Doriana and Logan overcome old lies and new dangers? REVIEW: Cara Marsi establishes a good premise for Logan’s Redemption that involves a crime drama befitting of an NCSI episode and a backstory for Logan and Dorie that will attract readers who pine over a lost love. What had me hoping for an action packed romantic suspense made me eager to skip the tension mounting between Dorie and Logan and the prolonged scenes keeping Dorie’s stalker a secret and jump to the next stage of the story. Repetitive monologues between Logan and Dorie prolong their conflict and work to stilt the plot as Logan refuses to tell Dorie why he left her, and she refuses to tell him about Josh, her rebellious son with Logan. Their conflict is a hurdle which keeps surfacing causing the story to drag out their emotional turmoil, but it’s the holding back of details about Dorie’s stalker that make for a bland climax. | Reviewer: Susan Frances | REVIEW: Wolf Protector combines great characters with intrigue and romance to create a book the packs quite the punch. Erica is a strong woman with a fragile past. Trent is a smoking hot shifter who has been patiently waiting years to claim his mate. Together they must solve a case before another woman goes missing. As their attraction for one another builds, so does the tension to solve the case. Along the way we meet great secondary characters with their own unrevealed paranormal abilities which prepares us for the rest of the series All this builds to the final climax when the killer and their true feelings is finally exposed This page-turner will keep the reader riveted until the very end. Author Milly Taiden has created a great series and I personally cannot wait for the next book. | Reviewer: Jacque Burford | Logan’s Redemption Cara Marsi genre: suspense Doriana Callahan’s life is unraveling. Someone is stalking her and sabotaging her father’s company; her teenage son is rebelling; and Logan Tanner is back in town. For sixteen years she’s kept an explosive secret from Logan, a secret he soon discovers. Despite the fact that Doriana kept the existence of 70 | www.BTSeMag.com | PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews | Reflection Kim Cresswell genre: suspence could barely take a breath before reaching the high-octane climax. Cresswell masterfully ties up the major plot points while leaving the door open to revisiting these characters again. I, for one, hope she does. | Reviewer: Lori Zalewski | Florida investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story. She finally found it, and now it may kill her. After receiving a lead pointing to the world’s first cloned human, now a small child, Whitney vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and murder. When she’s nearly killed, but is saved by undercover FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of his own objective--at least not right away. Caught in a lethal game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a decade ago... Can they save an innocent child before it’s too late? Faced with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many--Whitney soon realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story. REVIEW: A pulse-pounding opening is just the beginning of the non-stop action in Reflection by Kim Cresswell. Whitney Steel is a headstrong investigative reporter who wants to expose the truth at all costs even while falling for Blake Neely, an undercover FBI Special Agent. As they work to take down an evil billionaire, the romantic tension builds until they give in to their desires. But, is a physical relationship enough for Whitney when she believes Blake is keeping something from her? Watching Whitney and Blake’s struggle to trust each other makes them an intriguing couple. Meanwhile, Cresswell works multiple storylines with stunning plot twists that keep the pages flying by. Completely captivated with this romantic suspense, I June 2013 | 71 BEYOND the fairy TALE YOUNG & NEW ADULT Featured Authors, REVIEWS and more AUTHOR INTERVIEW kevinhearne.com June 2013 | 75 Young Adult | book reviews | Greta and the Goblin King Chloe Jacobs genre: young adult/fantasy the elaborate details in every scene. Readers will be shivering as they continue their journey across freezing Mylena. Though the beginning is a tad slow, the book will eventually capture the readers’ attention, making it difficult for them to walk away. Even the love triangle, where the heroine must choose between the good human and the bad creature, is more than it seems, as she tries to justify her past self within her present reality. Readers will be overcome with tears and will be desperate as they wait for the second book. Young Adult, Fantasy fans will want to add this book to their must-read list! | Reviewer: Nicole McManus | REVIEW: Chloe Jacobs bursts onto the scene with her debut novel, Greta and the Goblin King. This book is packed full of action and adventure, while Greta’s inner turmoil will overwhelm readers’ emotions. Jacobs does a fantastic job with 76 | www.BTSeMag.com FEATURED AUTHOR chloejacobs.com June 2013 | 77 turning WORDS into WORLDS WRITING Hints, Tips, How-Tos COLUMNS and more Lynn’s Writing Tips Lynn Crain How 2 Make Promo Groups Work 4 U One of the most important aspects of being an author is promotion. Everyone has to learn to make use of the tools out there to start what is known as name branding. Name branding is basically where authors makes their names known. I too had to learn about promotions and hope to teach you a little today. First, please notice the title to this topic. This title is in the abbreviated format used when sending a tweet or a text message. There is a lot more in this arsenal, which is why I wanted to expose you to the slang from the get-go. All right, let’s talk briefly about what is out there. But first, I need to suggest that each and every author get an account specifically with your name. One good place to go is to Gmail. The accounts are free, and chances are you should be able to find an acceptable e-mail address. I’m a prime example. I love x’s and odd a lot. I already had email@example.com and knew I needed a second account. So my second e-mail account for promotion became firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are just some of the ways you can promote yourself on the Internet: 1 Facebook 2 Twitter 3 MySpace 4 Blogspot 5 Yahoo! Groups 6 Ning 7 Book Tour 8 Goodreads 9 YouTube 10 Live Journal Let’s start with these ten as these are the best known, and I have a presence, sometimes more than one, in each area. Facebook is a social networking site and has worked out to be mainly adults. Here you set up your profile and befriend people. ( facebook.com/oddlynn3 ) Twitter is the place where you answer the question “What are you doing now?” in 140 characters or less. The title of this article is something I would tweet. Yeah, each of these have their own language. ( twitter.com/oddlynn ) MySpace is the social networking place for the younger set. It has music and more, plus a lot of cool backgrounds. ( myspace.com/lynncrain ) June 2013 | 79 | Lynn’s Writing Tips | Blogspot is run by Google and is a place where you can post longer pieces. Here you can establish a following who will drop by to read your weekly or even daily posts. Again, this one can be customized to your needs. ( themanyshades.blogspot.com ; lynncrain.blogspot.com ) Yahoo! Groups is one of my favorites. These are like the bulletin board systems of old. Here people join the “loop” and you can converse anytime you want. People have to join your group. These work especially well for authors as you can gather a following plus you only have to post your information in a few loops for the word to get out about your latest book or newsletter. I personally belong to over 100 Yahoo! Groups on which I promote. Here you can post your covers, do daily excerpts of your books, and continually notify your readership of your calendar. ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/XtraOrdinaryRomance ) Ning is another social networking site which is really cool in some aspects. This one allows you to really structure what everyone sees and does. Here you can have a page on many, many groups. This one is also great for authors because of that very aspect. Right now, I have eleven pages on eleven different groups. It’s fun and interesting. Book tour is a very interesting concept as it works like . . . well . . . a book tour. You sign up and then can get hosted to make special appearances on other author sites or blogs. Goodreads is a social networking site where you recommend books to others. It is almost like a library, and you can review each of the books you read. YouTube is the site where you upload videos. This is where an author would make a book trailer and upload it for people to see. Now a book trailer is similar to a movie trailer in it is all visual. These are fairly new to the promotion arena, and you can do one yourself with Windows Movie Maker or have one made. Check my channel out as I have links to other book trailers I like. ( http://www.youtube.com/user/LynnCrain ) LiveJournal is yet another social networking site and was one of the first. While similar to all the other sites, it has some subtle differences. Again it seems to be a hangout for an older crowd. ( www.lynncrain.livejournal.com ) Now this is a very quick rundown on just some of the many ways to promote yourself. Start with one. Once you gain confidence with that one, add another. Soon you will find yourself all over the net. And that’s exactly where you want to be. This is more than enough to get you started on the promotions tour. Good luck and don’t hesitate to e-mail me with any questions you might have. Lynn Crain has penned over twenty-five novels in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance, from erotic to tame in nature. She always knew writing was her calling even if it tok years at other professions to prove it. She has belonged to EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) and RWA (Romance Writers of America) for many years. Currently, she lives in Europe while her husband of thirty years pursues his dream of working internationally. Her stateside Nevada home is where family and friends wait patiently for their return. You can find her hanging out at her blog ( lynncrain.blogspot.com ) and various other places on the net ( theloglineblog.blogspot.com , twitter.com/oddlynn3 ). The thing she loves most of all is hearing from her readers at email@example.com. 80 | www.BTSeMag.com What Your Author Website Says About You by Dawn Seewer a professional image present you as a serious author of high quality products, while bad design often has the reverse effect. Want to know what your website says about you? Step back and take a look at it from a reader’s point of view. Is this the website of a professional author? The first view of your website by a reader says a lot about you as a writer and your craft as a whole. If your website looks cheap and self-made, then the reader is likely to make the assumption that your products (your books) are similarly cheaply produced. When it comes to dealing with readers on the web, there is a lot of competition. With each new book on the shelf and each new author in the spotlight, the average reader has more choices than ever. So many choices, in fact, that if you don’t present yourself as a quality author, you may get overlooked for someone who does. Is there something for me to do here? Ask yourself what your readers are looking for when they visit your website. Are they looking for information about your books? Are they looking to connect with other readers who enjoy your books? Is she simply curious about the life of a writer? The content of your website should provide the reader with the information she is looking for. A fiction author looking to promote her newest romance will want to develop a site that not only offers information on her book but also includes entertaining content that speaks to lovers of romance. She may include excerpts of her story, short reads, romance tips, and of course, glowing reviews from well-known reviewers, writers, or avid readers. Can I stand to stay on this site? In addition to being professional, entertaining, and informative, your website should be easy on the eyes. This essentially means that it should be as attractive as it is functional. If it’s hard to read, if the layout is confusing, or if the imagery induces seizures in the readers, they will click off your site just as fast they clicked on it. If your website is easy to look at and readers can navigate without much effort, they will want to come back. A good-looking website increases June 2013 | 81 Some say that a website is only as effective as it is beautiful. Others will argue that as long as it’s functional, a website’s aesthetics don’t matter much. The truth, like most things in life, lies somewhere in the middle. As a graphic artist, I believe that creating websites for authors is about creating art with a purpose. A website can be a visually stunning price of art, but unless it meets the needs of its readers, it won’t ever reach its potential as a marketing tool. For example, if an author website is visually captivating and wows the reader with every click, but she isn’t able to find the information she needs, her mind will not be inclined to take the action you want her to take (buy your book). On the flip side of that, a website that functions ideally, but is not visually appealing, runs the risk of being forgotten, or worse yet, it can turn a reader completely off. If the text is too hard to read, the color palette strains the eyes, or the layout doesn’t follow a logical order, your reader is more likely to close your site than stick it out and muddle through the blinking, blinding design to find what she is looking for. Beyond the basics of design and functionality, it is important to understand that your website, while maybe not your first impression, will certainly create a lasting impression on your readers. The presentation of your website says a lot about you as a writer. Good design, fluid functionality, and | What Your Website Says About You | its traffic naturally because those who visit it will not only be more likely to return if the experience is a pleasant one but will also, more often than not, share the link with a friend. Is this some place I want to visit again? Attracting new people to your website is a key factor in turning those just dropping by into avid readers. Your website must be a place not only for your legions of already adorning fans to hang out but also a place where those with mild curiosity can find out more. You’ll want to provide content that is current, entertaining, interesting, and most importantly, always changing. There is nothing that will kill repeat traffic faster than a website that never evolves and content that never changes. Educating yourself on the issue of website design and development is important when you are trying to do it on your own. If you find yourself overwhelmed, then you can always turn to a professional for the creation of your site. For many readers, your website is the only interaction they will ever have with you. And what they see, what they experience, and the way your website makes them feel will have them drawing a natural conclusion between you and the books you are trying to sell them. Your website should reflect you as an individual, as a writer, and as a contributor to the literary industry. Your readers should be able to get a sense of your style, your commitment to quality, and your professionalism. It should proudly state, “I am a professional author,” not scream, “Look at me, I write books!” Is this a little drastic? Perhaps, but then if it weren’t important, companies wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars a year on their website designs. Remember that for an author, the website is about establishing a genuine relationship with your readers. It should be geared to present you in the best possible light. While social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, plays a large role in establishing thriving communities, the author website is the anchor that holds your image in place. It is the platform from which all other media extends. It is static and reliable, and it doesn’t sway with the social fad. Above all, the website is the visual extension of the author herself. So, what does your website say about you? Join us next month for the continuation of this article as we delve beyond the aesthetics of the author site to discuss the impact of development on traffic and sales. Dawn Seewer is the Art Director for Everpress Media, a design firm offering custom web services and marketing materials for authors. Dawn has over twelve years’ experience in graphic arts, web, and marketing. Find out more about her work at EverpressMedia.com. 82 | www.BTSeMag.com Tech Savvy Writer Karen M. Gross AUTHOR’S BLOG MARKETING GUIDE Well, now you have a blog, and the question you may have is how will it help you sell books? And really, that is the goal, isn’t it . . . to sell books? Merriam-Webster defines marketing as ���the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” For marketing to be successful, you need two things: something to sell and someone to sell it to. This is what marketing firms do for their clients; it is what you can do when you are promoting your own work. Your blog is a platform for the overall goal of selling books. You don’t have to know everything about marketing to succeed with marketing your book, thank goodness. Today we are going to cover five things you can do on your blog to market your product. themselves from the feed with no input from you. 2 Pages are static, and you can control where they will be located on your blog by means of a widget in the sidebar. The About Page is a great place for your biography, but don’t stop there . . . think about what else you can share with your audience. Many authors like to read the first chapter of their book in a video format, bringing together images that reflect the content of the book and giving potential readers a taste of what they can buy. Or you can offer sample chapters to read, right on the blog. You are only limited by your imagination as to what you can put into a static page on your Author Blog. 1 Posts are made to reflect the journal entry that they were initially designed to be, each new post takes the top position moving down the ones prior. You can write text, add pictures, and insert links that will take your visitor to another website of your choice. Your goal is to fill your blog with new content as often as possible... search engines will love your site and make it available to their audiences. Keep in touch with your audience. If you are giving a speech that is open to the public, make a post. If you have books in the local library, give yourself and the library a boost with a post on the topic. Note: Your posts can be subscribed to by visitors via the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed that notifies them when you add a new one. You don’t need to do anything but write your posts. The visitors will add or remove 3 Blogroll is where you can preset links to direct your visitors to other web pages . . . (another author’s blog or even the links directly to sell your book). The beauty of the blogroll is that you can set the text to describe where you are sending them. “Buy Blue Daisy here!” or “Sandy Newton’s Blog”—both let the audience know in advance if the link is one that they want to click on. You can edit them via the blog settings and put them in the order that you wish them to display. Links are the seasonings that give a unique flavor to your blog. Be aware, though, that each link you add is an exit for visitors to leave your blog, and once gone, there is no guarantee that they will come back. 4 Links are a mode of transportation on the Internet...click on a link and you are taken to a new page. Not only can you fill your blogroll with them, but you can sprinkle them throughout the posts and pages of your blog. The more unique links in your blog, the higher the search engines will rate it, and that means free visitors. June 2013 | 83 | Tech Savvy Writer | The secret to links is twofold. First make use of the text portion to use keywords that relate to your product... (i.e. “Buy my Book Blue Daisy Here”). The keywords are “Book” and the title “Blue Daisy.” These allow the search engines to direct interested visitors to your blog. And second, the page ranking of the website that you link to can affect your Author Blog page ranking (search engines rank pages on the Internet by how closely they are related to the Internet user’s search) a popular website, such as Amazon.com, has a high rating which via the link, raises the rating of your blog. Let me repeat that because if you remember nothing else, remember this: Your text for links should reflect the keywords used to search for your product and the links you offer should be to quality websites. Combining the two can have a powerful, positive impact on your marketing. Social Media linking is a must-do in 2013. Your blog can be linked to your Twitter or Facebook accounts to maximize the number of visitors you get. There is no magic number of visitors that you should get to your blog on a daily/weekly basis, you may make a sale with one hundred people per day or it may take more . . . one thing is for sure, however, if you have no visitors, you will not make any sales. Congratulations! If you have been following along, you are well on your way to reaching your goals! Your manuscript is now a saleable e-book, and you have an Author’s Page and Author Blog to promote your work. The good news is it is time to start working on your next book... see you next month! Karen M. Gross A full-time affiliate marketer, she spends her time writing articles to help others when she’s not operating the home business. She is the editor of The Everyday Affiliate Newsletter. affiliateworkhome.com 84 | www.BTSeMag.com from the PAGE to the SCREEN CINEMA TRAILERS and more Column Second Chance Cinema Claire Gillian Remake Mistakes? Remakes. We’ve all seen them, for better or worse. Sometimes they are foreign films remade for domestic audiences. Other times they are updates of classics. I want to share a few pairs where the retelling paled in comparison to the original. I won’t necessarily say they failed, but they just didn’t do it for me. Let’s start first with the foreign (to me) flicks. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a purist and tend to lean toward the first-born foreign flick, but not always. Some of the Japanese horror films have been retold pretty well—Godzilla (yeah, chalk that one up to significantly improved computer graphics), The Grudge and The Ring have fared well. These, however, did not: The Return of Martin Guerre (1982) VS. Sommersby (1993) The Return of Martin Guerre tells the true story of a man who steals not only the identity of another but his entire life. He is such an improvement that he succeeds at the charade for quite a while. The man’s wife even welcomes the imposter into her bed. Now that’s having your cake and eating it too. Sorry Jody Foster and Richard Gere, but your Civil War era remake called Sommersby lacked all the humor, warmth, and intrigue that made Martin Guerre so unforgettable. Maybe that awesomeness was simply Gerard Depardieu as the eponymous main character. Maybe it was because the original French film was based upon an actual case a medieval scribe found so extraordinary, he recorded it for posterity. Fact really is more interesting than fiction. La Cage Aux Folles (1978) VS. The Birdcage (1996) This French-Italian comedy about a gay couple who owns and performs in a night club was in a class all its own. Albin is the star attraction, both on and off stage, who can only be who he is—a flamboyantly effeminate drag (and drama) queen. When the son of his partner, Renato, brings his fiancée and her parents home to visit, Albin and Renato try, but fail, to keep the nature of their relationship under wraps. The traditional and non-traditional lifestyles collide, but ultimately reconcile, when the pretenses are tossed aside. The American remake stars Robin Williams as Armand and Nathan Lane as his partner, Albert, who is also the star performer Starina. As much as I love both Nathan and Robin, the remake did not capture the heart and soul of the original nearly as well. June 2013 | 87 | Second Chance Cinema | Swept Away (1974) VS. Swept Away (2002) This remake should be filed away under “let’s forget anyone even attempted a remake,” especially as a vanity vehicle for the director’s wife at the time, Madonna. The original Italian film by Lina Wertmuller gives us a wonderful power reversal tale when a high-handed, wealthy woman is stranded on a desert island with one of her deckhands. Enemies-to-lovers never looked so good or sigh-worthy as a handsome young Giancarlo Giannini takes on his imperious employer, played by Mariangela Melato. Though Madonna managed to land a hunky costar in Adriano Giannini (yes! Giancarlo’s son) in the remake, that’s about the nicest compliment I can pay the film. Overboard, starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, while not technically a remake, borrowed many elements from Swept Away and did it well. I’d take that film as a tidy second place finisher any day over Guy Ritchie’s remake. And now the domestic remakes —not bad—just not as good: The Parent Trap (1961) VS. The Parent Trap (1998) Hayley Mills vs. Lindsey Lohan? I’ll take Hayley, a reigning Disney princess of the sixties, for the win, please. While both films were well done, the original Parent Trap, costarring Maureen O’Hara and Brian Keith, was one of those films I remember watching whenever it happened to pop up on network television. The split screen special effects that allowed a single actress to portray twins were fairly lame in the sixties compared to the nineties, but that never mattered. While Dennis Quaid has Brian Keith in the sexy dad department, I’ll still take Brian’s paternal portrayal over Dennis’s, and I definitely prefer Maureen’s rich hausfrau over Natasha Richardson’s career woman. In retrospect, it’s a kind of crummy setup—divorced parents who not only split up a pair of identical twins but also keep the existence of the other sibling a secret. But all’s well that ends well, especially if it involves the matchmaking machinations of the reunited twins. Footloose (1984) VS. Footloose (2011) Kevin Bacon vs. Kenny Wormald. Lori Singer vs. Julianne Hough. John Lithgow vs. Dennis Quaid. Sorry, but for Kevin and John alone, the 1984 film wins my vote, hands down. Lori also did better capturing the wild rebellion of Ariel, the oppressed minister’s daughter, fighting with Ren to bring dancing back into her little town. While the choreography of the original wasn’t as good, the Kenny Loggins-headlined soundtrack more than compensated for it. The original Footloose was the boy’s equivalent of Flashdance, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an exuberant celebration of dance and its emotional healing powers, even if it was a bit eighties cheesy. Claire Gillian is the pen name for a number-crunching executive by day and a darkly romantic curmudgeon by night. Her debut novel, The P.U.R.E. released in April 2012 and its sequel, Purely Relative, is hot off the press as of April 30, 2013. She also writes fifty shades of naughtier stuff under the pen name of Lila Shaw, but please don’t tell her mother. No matter which name she uses, Claire is happiest penning romance drenched in humor with a dash of intrigue and loads of spice. She lives in the Portland, OR area with her family who are all avid movie fans. - clairegillian.com 88 | www.BTSeMag.com the INSIDERS industry SCOOP CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is looking for reviewers! WANTED FIND US ON FACEBOOK BTS PROMOTIONS: Sweet/Mainstream Romance & Historical Fiction Sci-fi & Fantasy Authors & Readers Mystery & Thriller Authors & Readers Horror & Paranormal Authors & Readers YA Authors & Readers BTS Book Reviews Wants You! We are looking for reviewers Contact Nikki at ViajeradelMar@aol.com closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com Inspirational Writers & Readers Erotica Authors & Readers BTS VIRTUAL TOUR HOST Advantages of being a Tour Host: BTS Book Reviews Book & Trailer Showcase Do you have a love for reading? Can you read at least 2 books a month? • Blog Exposure to Media Outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, & Google plus • Free Reads • Opporunities to Review, Interview, & do Giveaways • Seasoned and New Author Interviews • Interaction between you and authors • Review exposure in BTS Book Reviews is chosen as top review on a tour Fill out the form to become a Tour Host today: http://booktrailershowcase.com/virtual-tours-2/ virtual-tour-info/ For more information what is involved in becoming a tour host please email Nikki at ViajeradelMar@aol.com If you answered yes, then why not consider becoming a BTS reviewer? We’re looking for good people to review books in a wide variety of genres. Become a part of a team that is all about sharing their thoughts on the books they read with their readers and let your voice be heard. Soon we will be a part of Barnes & Noble Virtual Newstand. Apply here: http://btsemag.com/ book-reviews/review-team/ June 2013 | 89 get YOUR BLOG on BLOG BEAT Hop on over to Jody’s Book Reviews, Giveaways and Tour to check out the latest happenings, upcoming tours, and great giveaways! JodysBookReviews.com It’s time to get wicked! New covers, book tours, events, contests and more from Susan Griscom. swblog.susangriscom.com Ready for a little sizzle? Check out Salacious Reads for book reviews, giveaways and more! SalaciousReads.com 90 | www.BTSeMag.com